Thursday, 16 December 2010

Mickey, what's pre-revolutionary France doing on a spaceship? Get a little perspective!


Why were you given your particular name?

I'm going to sort of steal Heather Anne's answer and say that almost every girl baby born in 1982 was named Jennifer. Almost all of THOSE babies were named Jennifer Lynn. Which is why I've spent the majority of my adult life answering to variations of my last name.

Before I was born, my parents thought I was going to be a boy and they were going to name me PJ. For Philip James, I think. Or Patrick. But let's go with Philip. Because! If they had named me Philip James and I married Stephen Fry when I grew up and I took his last name, MY NAME TOTALLY WOULD HAVE BEEN PHILIP J. FRY. I KNOW.

What is your favorite thing to do?

Lately it's been this: watching Doctor Who with Joe while wearing pajamas and petting Max, who is asleep on my lap, AND ALSO eating freshly popped popcorn.

What is your favorite food?

Pizza. All the time. Like, you could hand me some pizza at pretty much any time of day and I'd be all, "GIVE ME THAT PIZZA OR I WILL BITE YOUR FACE OFF."

What is your favorite book?

DON'T MAKE ME CHOOSE. Anyway. This answer varies, like, hourly, but I do seem to reread The Handmaid's Tale, Fahrenheit 451, and 1984 quite a lot. Oh, what am I saying, the answer is obviously Pride & Prejudice.

What is your favorite candy bar?


What is your favorite cookie?

Snickerdoodles. Not really. I mean, I like them a lot, and the name is fun to say, but the answer is chocolate chip cookies, freshly baked.

What is your favorite sport?


What is your favorite song?

POISON. Not really. I just wanted to post this video.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

I don't want to grow up. GROWING UP IS FOR SUCKERS.

What place would you like to visit?

Hogwarts. Like now, please.

What is your favorite thing about your mom?

She appreciates the merits of the awesomely ridiculous Lost in Austen.

What is your favorite thing about your dad?

He appreciates the merits of a well-timed smart ass remark.

What is your favorite thing about yourself?

Um...I have lots of t-shirts?

What are three adjectives best describe you?

What is this, a job interview? I refuse to answer this.

In five years, what kind of person will you be?

Cleverer, I hope. And maybe a little less procrastinatey.

In ten years, what kind of person will you be?

I'll answer this later.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Smile like you meme it.

Books! Books! Books!

Have you read more than 6 of these books? The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books listed here. Instructions: Copy this into your NOTES. Bold those books you've read in their entirety, italicize the ones you started but didn't finish or read an excerpt. Tag other book nerds. Tag me as well so I can see your responses.

[Actually, I looked this up and it is totally an urban legend. The BBC does not actually believe you are this illiterate. However, somebody does, so here it is.]

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - A.A. Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On the Road – Jack Kerouak
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Inferno - Dante
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - E.B. White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare [technically this is included in The Complete Works of. WAY TO GO FAKE BBC.]
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo


15 Authors

The Rules: Don't take too long to think about it. Fifteen authors (poets included) who've influenced you and that will always stick with you. List the first fifteen you can recall in no more than fifteen minutes. Tag at least fifteen friends, including me, because I'm interested in seeing what authors my friends choose. (To do this, go to your Notes tab on your profile page, paste rules in a new note, cast your fifteen picks, and tag people in the note.)

1. F. Scott Fitzgerald
2. Evelyn Waugh
3. Charles Dickens
4. Richard Wilbur
5. Dr. Seuss
6. JK Rowling
7. Vladimir Nabakov
8. Jane Austen
9. John Donne
10. JD Salinger
11. Kazuo Ishiguro
12. Chuck Klosterman
13. Kurt Vonnegut
14. Edith Wharton
15. Kevin Fanning

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

The whole thing's tumbling down

AbsWhy were you given your particular name?

Because my mom really wanted to name me Pheribee Savage (true story) and so my parents decided on Abigail which was unique but not that unique. My entire childhood I never knew another Abigail. It’s been in the Top Ten Baby Names since 2001. Abigail was the 154th most popular name in 1984. Pheribee is not in the top 1000 names for any year of birth in the last 100 years. Guess you’ll all know it’s me now when I start using my pen name.

What is your favorite thing to do?

Hang out with my friends and/or snuggle animals.

What is your favorite food?

Bread, vegetables, cake, pasta, and carb-like things that surround those. I’ve been very fond of butternut squash ravioli for the last year.

What is your favorite book?

The entire Harry Potter series. I’m actually re-reading them right in hopes of being able to better rank them in order of preference.

What is your favorite candy bar?

Milky Way Midnight Minis (and only in mini form), Twix, and above all others PEANUT M&Ms!

What is your favorite cookie?

Chocolate chip! ["My grandmother said she got the recipe from her grandmother, Nesele Tolouse."]

(Yeah, I figured I’d just leave that in.)

What is your favorite sport?

The Olympics because Wackopedia has bottomless knowledge about it.

What is your favorite song?

Band of Horses, “No One’s Going to Love You.” Still painfully and hopelessly shipping me and my unrequited love.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Ruler of the Free World.

What place would you like to visit?

I’ve recently become obsessed with Utah. Also, I’m now a Silver Elite Member with Hilton so I’m letting that go to my head. I CAN GO ANYWHERE.

What is your favorite thing about your mom?

She treats animals like humans. Also, she bounces back like a G6.

What is your favorite thing about yourself? What are three adjectives best describe you?

I had to stop making these lists, because I just don’t know anymore. I have my Christmas depression messing with all my settings. Not vulnerable, that’s for sure.

In five years, what kind of person will you be?

Oh I wish I knew.

In ten years, what kind of person will you be?

Pheribee Savage, bitches.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Open your brain tank, bro, ’cause here comes some premium 91-octane knowledge.


Why were you given your particular name?

Because it was the law that every girl born in 1978 had to be named Heather. The only saving grace for my VERY PLAIN name is that my Anne has an "e." ["Yes, this is Anne Shirley," said Marilla. // "Spelled with an e," gasped Anne, who tremulous and excited as she was, was determined there should be no misunderstanding on that important point.]

What is your favorite thing to do?

Stories is my favorite thing to do. Book ones, TV ones, movie ones, all the ones. ["The world is dark and light is precious. Come closer, dear Reader, I am telling you a story."]

What is your favorite food?

Burritos! Just think about it: A burrito can be whatever you want as long as it is something wrapped in a tortilla (second best food!) covered in cheese (first best food!). It's the perfect thing to put in your mouth! ["OK, who'd like a banger in the mouth? Right. I forgot. Here in The States, you call it a sausage in the mouth."]

What is your favorite book?

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. ["No good sittin' worryin' abou' it. What's comin' will come, an' we'll meet it when it does."]

What is your favorite candy bar?

Reese's! ["Candy doesn't have to have a point. That's why it's candy."]

What is your favorite cookie?

Chocolate chip! ["My grandmother said she got the recipe from her grandmother, Nesele Tolouse."]

What is your favorite sport?

Basketball! ["Strap, God wants you on the court."]

What is your favorite song?

The Rainbow Connection by Kermit the Frog! ["... the lovers, the dreamers, and me."]

What do you want to be when you grow up?

A writer! ["Imagine being able to tell such stories, whispering miracles into other people's brains! To live by imagination alone!"]

What place would you like to visit?

I'm never, ever going to grow tired of visiting Britain. Ever. Ever. Ever. ["Heaven take thy soul, and England keep my bones!"]

What is your favorite thing about your mom?

She loves everyone just the same, regardless of race or ethnicity or social status or gender or orientation or anything. ["I think there's just one kind of folks. Folks."]

What is your favorite thing about your dad?

He's a mega-genius and he loves me very much, just as I am. ["Bright young women, sick of swimming, ready to stand ..."]

What is your favorite thing about yourself?

I can quote a lot of lines from a lot of stories. ["Can somebody tell me what kind of a world we live in where a man dressed up as a BAT steals all of my press?"]

What are three adjectives best describe you?

Whimsical, warm, selfish. ["Fuck wank bugger shitting arse head and hole!"]

In five years, what kind of person will you be?

Same as now, probably. Hopefully a little smarter and a little more mature. A little more confident in my ability to succeed. ["I already feel like an idiot most of the time anyway, with or without the fireman's pole."]

In ten years, what kind of person will you be?

Hopefully one with a hoverboard! ["Roads? Where we're going, we don't need roads."]

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Bananas are good. (Brownies are better.)

Jennie Like most of my favorite recipes, this first one came from Kat, before In Kat's Kitchen existed. Before Twitter even existed. I know. You forgot there was a time before Twitter, didn't you? The other recipe comes from Martha Stewart, who I guess sort of knows her way around the kitchen.

Banana bread is one of the first things I ever learned how to bake. Brownies were the other thing. My mom taught me how to make both and I have many fond memories of us baking together on rainy weekends. I would mash the bananas while my mom got the other ingredients ready, my mom would sigh heavily when (not if) I spilled the flour everywhere, and (my favorite), if I helped, I'd get to lick the beaters (not Fred and George Weasley) after mixing the brownie batter.

Both of these recipes are from the comfort food department (located directly across the hall from the Department of Mysteries).

Kat's Banana Bread (with rum!)

You will need:

4 bananas (old ones that have gone a bit soft)
1/3 c melted butter
1 c sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp dark rum
1 tsp baking soda
pinch salt
1 1/2 c flour

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.

2. Mix all the ingredients in that order.

3. Bake for at least an hour (possibly more...just keep checking it after it's been in for an hour or it'll get burnt and gross and you'll hate everyone).

4. Let cool, slice, and eat. I like to spread a bit of butter on a warm slice until it's nice and melty. DROOOOOL.

Martha Stewart Brownies* (nutty or nutless)

You will need:

1/2 c unsalted butter
8 oz semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 1/4 c sugar
3/4 tsp salt
3 large eggs
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease an 8 inch square baking pan.

2. Place butter and chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl set over (not in) a saucepan of simmering water. Heat, stirring frequently, until almost melted. Remove from heat and stir until completely melted. (Note: sometimes this seems like a huge pain in the ass so I melt everything in the microwave.)

3. Whisk sugar and salt into chocolate mixture until smooth; whisk in eggs until combined. Gently whisk in flour just until smooth (don't overmix). Fold in nuts (heh), if desired. And who doesn't desire nuts every now and then?

4. Spread batter evenly in baking pan. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, 45 to 50 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool completely.

5. Cut into tiny squares or big squares or, I don't know, triangles if that's your thing and try not to eat them all in one sitting because THAT'S HOW GOOD THEY ARE.

*from this cookbook

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

About Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

I mentioned once before that I have exactly two cookie recipes, and this is the other one. And can I just tell you how lucky you guys are that you’re getting this today? Because it’s H-E-DOUBLE-HOCKEY STICKS week at work and I’ve been (a) away from the computer, and (b) STUCK IN MOTHER EFFING VIRGINIA.

So, to recap, cookies = delicious and Kat = busy. And this recipe = 18 delicious oatmeal raisin cookies, which are made of oatmeal and raisins, and since oatmeal and raisins are very healthy and good for you, you should feel free to eat all 18 by yourself. Which you are sure to do, because as I said, cookies = delicious. Here’s what you need:

  • 12 tablespoons (that would be 1 1/2 sticks) of unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 2 cups rolled oats (and I mean the good, Irish rolled oats, not the quick-cooking or instant oats)
  • Sea or kosher salt, for sprinkling

You can easily make this recipe by hand, but since I now have this amazingly amazing stand mixer courtesy of my non-mother-in-law (gift registries RULE!!!11!!!!!!), I will be making it in that. So. In a large bowl, beat the butter for a few minutes (on medium-high speed if applicable) until it’s light and fluffy.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl (if applicable) and add the sugars, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon, beating until the mixture is well blended.

Reduce the speed of your amazingly amazing stand mixer (if applicable) to medium and add the eggs and vanilla extract, mixing until well incorporated.

Stir in the raisins. Then, reduce the speed of your amazingly amazing stand mixer (if applicable) to low and add the flour and oats, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary and mixing just until they are incorporated.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill your dough for at least an hour before baking. Meanwhile! Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat silicone non-stick baking mat. (Thanks, Jennie and Joe! Gift registries RULE!!!11!!!!!!) Form the dough into balls about the size of balls of golf and place them on the mat about 2 inches apart.

Now here’s the (arguably) weird part: generously sprinkle sea or kosher salt on top of each dough ball. Trust me on this one; it makes all the difference.

Bake 1 sheet at a time for 15 minutes or until the cookies are puffed and beginning to turn golden.

Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. If you can wait that long. Me? I eat them as soon as they stop burning my fingers. And then I eat them all. Which brings us to today’s PROTIP!

You can go ahead and scoop out all of your golf balls onto a baking sheet like this:

and then stick that baking sheet (without the sprinkling of salt) in the freezer. As soon as your dough balls are frozen through, transfer them to a freezer bag for storage and safe-keeping. Then! Whenever you want warm fresh-baked oatmeal raisin cookies, take a ball or two out of the freezer, sprinkle them with salt, and stick them in your toaster oven. They’ll bake at the same temperature, but add a minute or two to the cooking time. Then! Voila! Warm fresh-baked oatmeal cookies whenever you want them!


Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Make or sell 7 more to improve your Red Table Wine recipe.

AbsI don’t cook.

It’s not that I don’t know how. I get the general idea. And if I actually did it I’m sure I’d get along fine.

But I hate it. I’m too lazy, I’m too hungry, I’m too bored, I’m waaay too interested in other things. I can imagine a time in the future when I have all the time in the world and maybe I could “menu plan” then and things would be different. But for now, if I want to eat anything remotely healthy, I need to buy pre-prepared food. Both Trader Joe’s and Fresh & Easy excel at these. There are salads, sandwiches, egg rolls, tacos, and other heat-able delicacies that are fresh and just as healthy as if I made them myself. Plus, they cost a wee bit less than fast food. Win win.

However, it’s recipe week. What recipe can I show you?

Oh, look. It’s my farm. Awwww. And what are those buildings? Why, they’re my bakery, my winery, and my spa. I make things in them. Delicious things. Let’s peek inside the bakery.

Looking at that Potato Bread makes me hungry. Unfortunately, I can’t make it right now. I’m missing potatoes, onions, wheat, and posole corn. I should focus on Triple Berry Pie which is a lot easier to make.

Or Carrot Cake. Mmm. Although, this Carrot Cake recipe requires soy, so that worries me a little. But my favorite things of all to make can be found in my winery.

Why isn’t farming real life?

Monday, 29 November 2010

Oh, you Americans always butcher the French language.


I have this theory called The Rachel Green Theory that I use to explain why I hate all Jennifer Aniston movies. It's totally weird because I am Team Jenn through and through and there's a very real part of me that still hates Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie because of that whole debacle from a decade ago. Like the other day Amy and I saw the trailer for The Tourist and she whispered, "Do you think Angelina Jolie slept with Johnny Depp when they were filming this?" And I totally whispered back really loudly, "PROBABLY. GOD."

And I mean, I pay money to see Jennifer Aniston movies, practically all of them. But, I don't know, it always feels like I'm just watching Jennifer Aniston prance around doing her Jennifer Aniston thing for 90 minutes or whatever. I don't believe her. She's always going to be Rachel Green to me because she was in my living room every Thursday night for ten years being Rachel Green.

That's the Rachel Green Theory and it is absolute fact.

Except — Look, I'm going to tell you something and it's probably going to really send Abigail and maybe even my sister into a rage blackout, but something happened to me the other day that I'm not proud of. I put in a Friends DVD because I always watch all the Thanksgiving episodes every holiday season, and it took me, like, 45 minutes to stop thinking of Monica as Jules. Yeah. That's right. Jules. Her character from Cougar Town. Which: a) I know I'm the only person in America watching that show. And b) I know I should have punched myself in the face the first time I thought it and continued to punch myself in the face every subsequent two minutes until I'd beaten it into my own head that Courteney Cox will always be Monica, Monica, Monica. (RULES HELP CONTROL THE FUN.)

I have a lot of feelings about Friends and most of them revolve around the fact that I could build a whole entire religion around Friends. You know how C.S. Lewis was a master Christian apologist? One thing he said one time was "I believe in God like I believe in the sun, not only because I see Him, but because by Him all things are seen." Which is how I feel about Friends: that it was the B.C./A.D. fault line and every sitcom after it is illuminated BY it. And this whole other time I was at a church building conference (you heard me) and the speaker was talking about contextualizing the Bible and he said, "The Bible is all truth, but the Bible doesn't contain all the truth in the world." Which is also how I feel about Friends. See, because Friends doesn't contain ALL the funny and all the true things in the entire storytelling world. But it IS all funny and all true things in the storytelling world.

Remember in "The One With Phoebe's Cookies" when Phoebe thinks she has a secret recipe for chocolate chip cookies that has been burned to smithereens? And Monica is bereft because it is the best recipe ever? And Phoebe says she has French relatives who might know it because he grandmother told her she got it from her grandmother, Nesele Toulouse? And then Monica is like, "Uh, Nestle Tollhouse?" And Phoebe shouts down at the floor (to her grandmother) "SEE IT'S STUFF LIKE THIS WHICH IS WHY YOU'RE BURNING IN HELL!!!!" Remember?

The point is that Phoebe and Monica were both right because out of all the chocolate chip cookies from all the recipes in all the whole world, NONE of them are as good as Nestle Tollhouse. And thanks to good old American laziness, you can now buy the dough already made at the grocery store!

And so this week is cooking posts and that little circumlocution was to remind you that Friends is always right, and so it is not a cop-out when I show you how to bake cookies for Santa in three easy steps below.

Step One: Buy Nestle Tollhouse dough.

Step Two:
Put the dough on a cookie sheet and bake it.

Step Three:
Take the freshly baked cookies out of the oven and put them in front of the Christmas tree with a glass of milk.

Next week I will give you 1,000 words on how I am the love-child of Ross and Leslie Knope. You're welcome in advance.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Friday, 19 November 2010

Phone it in Friday: You want thingamabobs? I've got twenty!

Dear everyone,

What would you like to see invented in 2011? What gadgets and gizmos aplenty? What whosits and whatsits galore?

Thursday, 18 November 2010



And then give it to me, duh.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Beam me up, Welshie.

Technology is for porn. Whether you're watching an old-timey fan dance in the penny arcade or whacking off in your popcorn at an adult theater or flashing your wang on Chatroulette or photoshopping Emma Watson's head on Megan Fox's body or WHATEVER, technology's sole purpose seems to be creating and disseminating porn. And now it seems our own government, under the auspices of "homeland security," is creating EVEN MORE PORN, this time starring you and me and poor little Emma Watson's actual body! Well I say EFF THAT.

Attention people who invent things! Get off of YouPorn and get to work on inventing that teleporter! And make it snappy! I have a long flight tomorrow and I'd just like to get there already.


Tuesday, 16 November 2010

be careful his bowtie is really a camera

AbsThere are a lot of amazing inventions already out there. My Sleep Cycle alarm clock app (though science now shows it’s less amazing than they first thought). Those coffee makers that take the pod things. Chase Instant Check Deposit thingy. Farmville. FARMVILLE. (Yes, we’re still playing that. Yes, we’re still awesome.)

Every day I learn about something new that already exists and amazes me. I took an entrepreneurship class last semester and we had to keep daily idea diaries (you should do this) and we gave pitches every week. There were so many great ideas. One of my favorite things about the U.S. of A. is the inventions, the ideas, the dream.

I have a soft spot for technology so I’m living in a lucky time. I can’t wait for the next iPhone, the next app, the next built-in-whatever for my car. Have you guys used a car with the camera in the back? Amazing.

But for now, you know what I’d like to see? A cure for cancer and a cure for broken hearts.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Hoverboards don't work on water! Unless you've got POWAH!


You know what I want to see invented in 2011? The same thing I've wanted to see invented every single year since 1989. Tell me, won't you, how it is that we have three billion iHoles in the world and an app for every single thing under the sun, but we still don't have hoverboards? HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE? Who is keeping the Hoverboard from me? President Obama? Steve Jobs? The United Nations? Ryan Seacrest?

I don't understand, you guys. I just know what I want. And I know someone should be able to make it for me.

2011: Year of the Hoverboard? Am I right?

Thursday, 11 November 2010

first born = best born

Jennie I'm the oldest of eight grandchildren on my dad's side and the oldest of seven on my mom's side. There are downsides to being the oldest child, sure. You're a guinea pig for your parents. They use you to find out what works and then try and do better on the next kid (kidding, Mom and Dad!) and they enforce rules with you that are only half-heartedly enforced when younger siblings come along.

But. There are benefits. Because when you're the oldest, it means you're the best. Don't argue with me, it's true. Plus, you get all those alone years with your parents and grandparents before any stinky siblings or cousins come along, and you know what that means? You get spoiled, like, all the time.

When I was a teeny tiny child, we lived next door to my grandma. And until my sister was born, I was the only grandchild in the area, which meant I got like 100% of the grandma attention. I think even mathematicians would agree that that's a lot of grandma attention. But even after my sister and cousins were born, I never felt like I got less attention. I think that's some kind of magic that grandmas have.

Every year, Grandma would take us out to lunch on our birthday, and then take us to ANY STORE we wanted to buy us a birthday present. I don't remember what any of the presents were, but I do remember the lunches. When I turned 12, we went out to lunch as usual, but instead of dropping me off at my parents' house afterward, I went back to Grandma's house, just to hang out. It was the first time I went over there by myself to just BE there, not for her to babysit me while my parents were out pretending they didn't have kids (kidding, Mom and Dad).

We sat in her living room for hours, not watching TV or anything, but just talking. She showed me a genealogy book that a distant relative had made and she told me stories about my great-grandparents and various great-great-uncles and aunts that I'd never heard of. We talked about my grandpa, her husband, who had died just before I was born.

When I think about my Best Days, those days in my life when everything fell into place to make the day so, so perfect, that day always comes to mind. It was my birthday, sure, but it was also the first time I had an adult conversation with Grandma, the first day I remember having that strange feeling you get when you're a child and you realize the adults in your life had very full lives before you came along. And yet, as Grandma grasped me by the shoulders, kissed my cheek, and pulled me in for a hug, I still felt like a kid, like the first (ahem, best) grandchild who was doted upon by a woman who prized her family above all else.

It's been about a month since Grandma died, and I find myself getting hit with reminders at the strangest moments. And it feels just like getting hit, right in the stomach, shocking me out of whatever I'm doing and leading me down memory lane, whether I want to go or not. This morning it was a story on the radio about a set of twins, one living in Ohio and the other in California. Grandma and her twin lived in Ohio and California, and as I listened to the woman on the radio talk about how excited she was to see her sister, my heart broke a little for my great-aunt.

A few days ago, it was hearing a Christmas song (already!) on the radio, and I thought about all the Christmases we spent helping Grandma decorate her house, and the Best! Christmas! Ever!, the one with the "Happy Birthday, Jesus" cake and the chocolate martinis, and I started laughing and crying at the same time and I wanted to yell, "this is what love looks like, bitches!" to anyone who would listen.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

gonna sip bacardi

AbsI’ve never been particularly good at wish lists. If I want something I buy it. If I can’t afford it then I move on to future dreams. If you want to buy me something, I love the idea of that, but I’m pretty picky about what I want and love and am overly sensitive about your ability to know what I want and love. I’m becoming increasingly fond of gift cards which makes me hate myself. Let’s not talk about presents.

Every year for my birthday all I really want is a gathering. I want everyone I love in one place with delicious food and flowing spirits and maybe some board games. I love that I get to pick where we go and I get to decide who’s invited. I spend a lot of my time worrying about other people, especially in social situations, so I try to not do that on my birthday. I think happy thoughts, or I drink until I do, and I celebrate a life I’ve made with people I love. It’s the greatest thing. An excellent playlist doesn't hurt either.

So, you all need to come to me next August. Okay?

Sunday, 7 November 2010

... and many more.


I concur on the subject of Impermanence,
but for one point
I will leave the world only if it is a day before you do,
so I never have to live in a world without you in it.

When I was in kindergarten, my dad told me he made $100 a week and I thought, My God! We must be the richest family on earth! And I had no evidence to the contrary. I was never hungry or thirsty. I was never worried about where I was going to sleep. I always had clothes, even if they were hand-me-downs. I always had a toy to play with, even if it was a sword fashioned from a sapling my dad cut down in the woods behind my house.

My parents were two kids trying to raise two kids, and if you want to know the truth, I am glad I grew up poor.

My dad had a rule that we could always have any book we ever asked for. And so my imagination had been 'round the world a dozen times before I ever even started school. My mom had a rule that we could always have affection, any time of the day or night. And so I never felt unloved. The currency of adoration in my world is still hugs and books and magic, actually, because I never developed a taste for stuff.

I don't remember much about my birthdays when I was a kid, even though I know there were presents. And anyway, my birthday isn't even my favorite one to celebrate. My very first memory is my sister's birthday. March 31st, 1980. Her very first day on earth. The beginning of her is the beginning of me. When I laughed, she laughed too. When she cried, I cried along. When I hit her, she hit me back. And we giggled and sobbed and walloped our way through the world together, hand-in-hand, lives intertwined for always.

I was in my college library writing a paper on the female labor force in World War II when she called to tell me she had cancer. I quoted Stalin. I thought about how he collectivized agriculture and killed millions of people. I wondered how many lives it's fair to trade for the progress of an entire nation. She said, "That lump isn't just a lump." And I wondered where I could sign on a line to trade my life for her own.

She had her first surgery on my birthday. There were more surgeries. There was radiation. There were hazmat suits and gallons of lemonade and years of tests and bloodwork and experimenting to find the right drugs.

I was in my college library writing my senior thesis on Bill Clinton's foreign policy when she called to tell me she was officially cancer-free.

I don't know how long it took from that first cancer call until the last one. It seemed like a hundred thousand birthdays had passed. But on the next one, the next birthday after the last cancer call, she held my hand and we ice skated around in the middle of a Christmas festival in the middle of Scotland in the shadow of the Castle of Edinburgh. We ate waffles with chocolate sauce and whipped cream and strawberries. We talked about Harry Potter and JK Rowling and how surely she had that very castle (on the hill, just above us!) in mind when she was writing about Hogwarts.

I'm not very good at birthday presents, really. At choosing them or buying them or remembering them in the first place. And I'm not very good at receiving presents either because when I say, "I can't think of anything I want." I mean it. I have t-shirts. I have books. I have enough hugs to power the sun.

My favorite birthday present isn't a present at all. On the day I was born, in the hospital in which we were both born, they cut open my sister so she could live.

And she did.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Phone It In Friday: Brevity Is the Soul of Wit

Happy Friday, canards! It's been a long, hard work week, so tell us a good story, but make it quick! Some of us have drinking to do. Share your best one-sentence stories in the comments!

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Tuesday, 2 November 2010


AbsSome days you look so much like my dad, that when you walk by my office I start biting my nails.

Sunday, 31 October 2010

One Setence Week!


"This is a clusterfuck," I said to the traffic jam of hay-riders and trick-or-treaters in the middle of my neighborhood, to which my nephew replied, "No, it's a Snickers."

Friday, 29 October 2010

Phone It In Friday: Happy Halloween!

Hiya, canards! So what are you gonna be for Halloween this year, huh? What's your favorite Halloween candy? What's your scariest trick-or-treating memory? Can we see your punkins?


Thursday, 28 October 2010

workin' on my night cheese

Jennie Last year, Heidi and I invited friends over for Halloween. We decorated with dollar store Halloween decorations and ghosts made from paper plates. I made a crock pot full of cheese dip, another crock pot full of apple cider, and we played Rock Band until we all got tired really early because we're old now. Joe and I dressed as Scooby Doo and Velma and had occasion to wear the costumes at least twice, which was good since Joe put a lot of work into his Scooby mask. I put in far less effort since I already had the Velma glasses/hair/face/height and all I had to do was buy an orange sweater.

The year before, Joe and I dressed up as Lucy and Charlie Brown and went to the Oregon District with Heidi (Rainbow Brite) and Steve (Steve Holt!). We ended up at a party with funfetti cupcakes and a woman dressed as Sarah Palin who had glued creepy baby dolls to her costume. Before we left our apartment, I made everyone drink scary Kool-aid that I'd mixed with lots of sugar and all vodka, no water. It was...kind of gross and very strong and we didn't even finish half of it.

The year before that, Heidi and Steve and I dressed up as Three's Company. We went to the Oregon District with Wancy and it was freezing so we didn't stay long. This was relatively sane compared to the year before, when we went on a party bus bar crawl. Heidi and I waited too long to come up with costumes, so she ended up as some sort of scary person in a black cape and I borrowed her slutty devil costume. That Halloween marks the one and only time I dressed as a slutty anything (on purpose, anyway) and I think it (and the tequila) definitely affected me because I ended up making out with Heidi's friend's cousin, Farmer Joe. So. Yeah. We talked on the phone a few times afterward but he was very quiet and I soon ran out of questions to ask about farming once I found out he didn't even have chickens on his farm. WTF is that? Anyway.

I say all this to illustrate how CAPTAIN INSANO it is that I'm not doing anything for Halloween this year. I haven't bought any Halloween candy because I'm not sure we get trick-or-treaters where we live. I have no costume, or thoughts of what costume I might try and throw together. It's possible that someone might think I'm dressed as Liz Lemon (with no effort at all on my part), given my glasses, air-dried-wavy!hair, and tendency to fall down. I'd better go pick up some night cheese, just in cases.

I suppose this year, instead of dressing up and cavorting around some party-type-location with a beer in each hand, we'll just stay home. Maybe watch some scary movies. And, hopefully, dress Max up in a hot dog costume because OMG YOU GUYS:


Wednesday, 27 October 2010

If you try and hold my hand I'll slug you.

The Halloween episodes of Roseanne are some of the best television ever made, and in my head I do the holiday just like she does, complete with over-the-top parties, costumes, and shenanigans. In my head, I prepare for Halloween the way most people prepare for Christmas, with decorations and cookies and pies galore. Then again, in my head I’m witty and pretty and bright.

In real life, or “IRL”, I’m kind of a mess. I have no concept of time. Like, none. If you were to ask me when Halloween was this year, I’d be all, “This weekend!” but my brain would be all, “In three weeks or something!” Add to that the fact that I cannot multi-task, AT ALL, and... well... sometimes we carve pumpkins:

Halloween 021

nerds live here

and sometimes we don’t. Like this year, for example! Halloween is this weekend, but between dinner plans, and the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear, and drinking with the horse people (don’t ask), and just drinking in general, I DON’T KNOW WHEN WE’LL HAVE TIME. And then there’s the costume sitch. THIS YEAR was going to be the year I wore a totally funny and awesome costume. I even went online weeks ago and picked one out. But then I got distracted by something shiny, and did I ever order said funny and awesome costume? NO I DID NOT! So once again it looks like I’ll be donning my Groucho glasses or my tiny pirate hat and hoping for the best.

So, in summary, my Halloween traditions include maybe or maybe not decorating, maybe or maybe not carving pumpkins, maybe or maybe not baking, and maybe or maybe not dressing up in a totally funny and awesome costume. And public drunkenness. Lots and lots of public drunkenness.

See you at the rally!

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

My Halloween go-tos are pretty basic:

1. Candy is delicious and should be celebrated.

2. Don't be a whore.

3. Go to the parties you get invited to, even if it's a million in one weekend. Because if you don't, you'll stop getting invited. (Wah. Wah.)

I'm trying my best to gear up and observe my Halloween traditions complete with costume, candy, and non-whoring. But I don't have a costume idea yet. So far the best idea I've heard is "a joke." I mean, it's so weird and funny! I don't know what that would look like, but I love imagining someone asking me what I am and saying, "I'm being a joke!"

On account of that doesn't make sense and is only funny to me I'm open to other suggestions. I'd love to go as someone from one of my favorite million TV shows but those usually require me buying Dwight Shrute glasses and/or no one ever recognizes me. Maybe I should just rock a Buy More polo and call it a day.