Thursday, 28 April 2011

the one with the pubic library

Jennie Like Kat, my first job was babysitting, from the time I took a Red Cross Babysitting Course (yeah, that’s right) up until all of the kids I babysat got too old for sitting. But my first real job, the first job I got an actual paycheck minus taxes for, was at the public library.

I don’t remember interviewing, although I’m sure I did, and I was hired, along with several other high school students (and one woman in her twenties we called "Obegone" due to her love of Star Wars and her habit of cornering you with conversation forever and ever and ever) as a library aide. My responsibilities? Um, yeah, pretty much putting books away? And making sure the rest of the books were in order? But after a while, I was allowed to check out books for the patrons, which mean playing with the sonic-screwdrivery scanny pen thing. That’s the technical name, by the way.

I met some of my best friends at this job and, being 16-year-olds, we didn’t have the greatest work ethic. I mean, sure, we did what we were supposed to but there was a lot of downtime, especially if you worked during the day. And especially especially in the summer. We were supposed to do “shelf-reading” if we had downtime, which meant checking to see where the last person had stopped, and then going to that section of the library to make sure each shelf was in order. WHOOHOO. Actually, this wasn’t so bad if you were in the right section. Shelf-reading is how I ran across books called Be Your Own Dick and Mommy Laid an Egg.

Here are some things we/I did, however, instead of working:

1. Hid in the corner, “organizing” newspapers, but really just talking.

2. Raced shelving carts down the aisles.

3. Read books (duh, we were in a library)

4. Avoided a coworker I nicknamed Scary Larry because of his proclivity to talk to me like Forrest Gump, tell me I reminded him of The Virgin Mary, ask me if I liked snake handling, and ask if I liked to, and I quote, "do it like they do on the Discovery Channel"

It wasn’t all fun, I mean, it was still WORK. Once it rained so much that the roof started leaking and a soggy tile from the ceiling fell on my head. We had a patron that smelled like dirty feet, another who would wear only boxer shorts and a wife beater in the summer, a man who FREAKED OUT on me because the library’s copy of Fantasia was checked out, and one day, a sweet old man came to the counter and told me that someone had pooped on the bathroom floor.

Luckily it was the men’s room, so I didn’t have to deal with it, but that wasn’t the first poop incident the Dayton Library chain had ever dealt with. Before I worked there, someone had been going into another library branch, pooping in books he thought were inappropriate, and placing them carefully back on the shelves. It was on The Daily Show, back when Craig Kilborn hosted it, but I can’t find a clip, even though I’ve been Googling things like, “ohio poop in books” and “craig kilborn library poop,” for like half an hour.

Anyway, I left the job when I went to college but before I did, I took a souvenir:

The Public ibrary

I felt kind of bad afterward but at least I never pooped on the floor.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011


Three-fifths of my day is spent in contemplating my many, many flaws, the full list of which I've yet to come anywhere near finishing. I am moody and high-strung, quick to anger and slow to forgive. I'm too weak to lift heavy objects and too slow to be an effective running partner. I can't reach cans perched on high shelves. I am a light sleeper. But I think the very worst of my shortcomings is my remarkable capability. I can pretty much do anything, which leaves me particularly bereft of amusing anecdotes about past foibles. In short, I am FAIL Blog's worst nightmare.

deal with it

I was born with impeccable taste and an innate savoir-faire. A natural athlete, I was the youngest person to ever compete in the Tour de France, finishing a respectable sixth place at the age of three.

deal with it

In fact, as a child I was so witty and pretty and bright that I inspired all of my parents' many friends to go forth and procreate in hopes that their own offspring may one day emulate my many successes.

deal with it

It should therefore come as no surprise that I was (and this is really the only way to describe it) a RAGING SUCCESS at my first job: Babysitter Extraordinaire. Parents across South Florida had such faith in my abilities that they placed me in charge of their precious cargoes long before I could even drive a car. In later years I transitioned into full-time nanny for a rag-tag group of well-to-do moppets, ages ranging from three months to eight years, and for five years I single-handedly raised those four kids (on winter, spring, and summer vacations). In fact, when people ask why I don't have any children of my own (so good I am at motherhood) I tell them I ALREADY DONE DID THAT SHIT. And how could one possibly improve upon perfection?

I achieved equal success in subsequent jobs. In college I consistently navigated Tulane University's enormous grocery shuttle through narrow, bumpy New Orleans streets, perfectly parking the behemoth every time. The summer before law school I was George Stephanopoulos's favorite barista. The United States of America has awarded me THREE medals for my outstanding lawyering. But nothing will ever top my first triumph, which has now morphed into my latest failure. So I'd like to take this opportunity to apologize to you, our dear readers. If I'd only fucked up more during my first job, I'd actually have something to write about today.

Monday, 25 April 2011

The first (sticky) paycheck I ever received smelled liked apples and cinnamon

Ladies and gentlemen, I have a secret.

A long time ago, I was illegally employed by a little shoppe called the Long Grove Apple Haus under the table because I wasn't of working age yet. They hired me for a weekend to assist for the Annual Long Grove Apple Fest, a tradition "as American as apple pie."

Long Grove is a Historical District, founded in 1838, with over 80 shops with names like Charlotte's Chapeaux (selling hats for all ages!) and Paddy's On The Square (Irish music, art, and sportwear!) and about a gazillion antique stores that my grandmother frequented often. This place had to be the prototype for Stars' Hollow.

My grandmother had secured me the position. When antiquing she would stop at the Haus and get some apple goods for the way home. After discovering that one of the owners had a grandson my age she immediately offered my apple services.

Being only 15, I had no apple services. I really had no services aside from the quadratic equation and AOL instant messaging but, hey, everyone likes money. Especially secret government-free money.

The thing about being paid under the table is that you don't get things like overtime. Overtime would have come in handy since we worked the entire festival. I'm talking 14-hour days working at an Apple Haus. Haus, people!

It was so sticky. My first duty was boxing the fresh-out-of-the-oven pies. The kitchen of the establishment was in the basement. It was a cellar really. An I-cannot-believe-it-passed-fire-code cellar. They put my fifteen-year-old self down there with the big scary oven with a stack of brown bags. I boxed 30 pies in a row. Then I boxed another 30 pies 15 minutes later when the first 30 had already sold.

The spring Chicago weekend was filled with dreary, damp weather and after I caught up with the oven I was sent outside (in the rain!) to give away free samples of the famous Apple Cinnamon Donuts.

I met the grandson there, under a soggy tent distributing mini sticky donuts. We chatted a bit and I fell in love. I wondered what he thought I might look like not covered in sugar. I wondered what it would be like to be dry again. I never saw him again. I turned 16 before the next fest and moved on to a real-deal, government-approved, timecard-punching job.

At the end of the fest they let me bring home tons of apple pies. I couldn't stand the smell of them. They fed us for almost a week. My mom says she knows they survived that long because it's so memorable that there was actually enough dessert to last that long.

I can't remember what was worse: standing outside in the pouring raining distributing hot cider and donuts for six hours straight, being in cellar hell with no promise of survival, or having to smell all those Apple Haus smells for days after. Or, you know, the unrequited love I forced upon myself.

I was going to quote High School Musical 2, but you're already going to judge me hard enough after reading this post.

When I was just a teenager I used to get so mad when adults said things like “You’re just a teenager.” Like I was too dumb to understand the world or something. But looking back on it now: Jeepers H. Christmas, was I ever too dumb to understand the world or something. I mean, a) Science (your skull is still soft when you’re a teenager and also your brain isn’t finished growing), and b) Tesseract (teenagers have exactly zero frame of reference outside their tiny square on the space-time continuum). Maybe that second thing isn’t true for every teenager (Hermione Granger, for example), but it was true for me in my one-horse town.

I got my first job when I was 17 at Lake Lanier Islands Resort like every other 17-year-old that attended every school in my county. I’m not even kidding. Practically every kid I knew worked for LLI. It was like when the Saved By The Bell gang got jobs at Mr. Carosi’s beach resort. Or like the second High School Musical.

There were about a gazillion jobs at LLI. You could be a cater-waiter at the hotel or an errand-runner at the Harbor Office or a caddy at the Legacy on Lanier golf course. You could sell ice creams inside the water park or work at the tube rental station. Or you could be a lifeguard. It paid the least of any LLI job — $5.15 an hour for shallow-water guards, $5.35 an hour for deep-water guards — but it was at the tip-top of the social hierarchy and you got to sit in the sun in a swimsuit all day. And so a deep-water lifeguard I became.

About 150 lifeguards worked at the water park, and 130 of us were under 18. I don’t know how to over-emphasize how catastrophically insane that was. Our supervisors were all college kids, which meant one thing: access to booze. I worked at LLI for two summers and never did I ever make it through a whole water slide or wave pool rotation that didn’t include at least one lifeguard who was still drunk from the night before. Even the guards like me, who were absolute teetotalers, were skilled in the art of not giving a fuck. We were teenagers; it’s who we were.

Adults who couldn’t swim felt perfectly safe riding the slides all day long. Or riding an inflatable tube in the ten-foot-deep wave pool. Parents would drop off their elementary school-aged kids on the way to work and pick them up on the way home. Once a week, this inner-city camp would bring us four busloads of kids who couldn’t swim. Their counselors would just strap life jackets on them and then abandon them for the shade.

Did this misplaced trust make me and my fellow lifeguards worry? Did we think maybe we should take things a little more seriously, like CPR lessons and, you know, staying awake? No. No, we did not. We saw those buses of sinking kids and giggled to each other about, “The rocks are here!” before getting back to our primary concern of sunscreen application.

It seems impossible that no one has ever died at that water park.

I’m ashamed to know that an actual grown-up with an actual fully-formed skull was either dumb enough or greedy enough to hire a gaggle of teenagers to keep people alive. I’m also ashamed to know that if I had a time machine to take me back to those summers, the first thing I’d say to my young, dumb self is, “Oh my God, look at your tan!”

Friday, 22 April 2011

Bitch, please.

What do you love to hate?

Tell us in the comments!

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Lose it? I didn't lose it. It's not like, "Whoops! Where'd my job go?"

Jennie  I don't hate much, really, Two and a Half Men, of course, and black licorice and people who talk during movies and waking up early on the weekends, you know, THE USUAL. But I've spent the last week or so sort of hating myself and it's been EXHAUSTING.

You see, last week I found out that I'm losing my job. This wasn't exactly a surprise...the state of the business coupled with the news that all of HR services were going to a call center by September (GREAT IDEA) made it pretty obvious that my job was going away at some point this year. Also, my boss told me a while ago to start job searching, so that was a pretty good indication. Heh.

That's not why I've been hating on myself, though, at least not entirely, because I was ecstatic when I was told that I was being laid off. So excited! I've been hating my job for a while but have been hanging on until I found a new job or was asked to leave nicely, because when they ask you to leave nicely, sometimes they give you presents on your way out the door.

It helped that I'd been interviewing for a position that I was sure, ABSOLUTELY SURE, I was going to get. The Universe had other ideas, though, and I did not, in fact, get that position. The Universe is a bitch sometimes. So now applying for jobs will be my full-time job, until some sucker decides to give me one. I've already been through a series of interviews for two different positions. The position mentioned above was one for which I could not have been more qualified, and there was another position at a company for which I so desperately wanted to work, even though the position wasn't all that exciting. I didn't get either, obviously.

I don't deal well with rejection. I mean, WHO DOES, really, rejection sucks. But, as far as employment goes, I'm just not used to it. I've never NOT been offered a job that I've interviewed for. Is that weird? I mean, there's a big difference between job searching now and job searching a few years ago, but, still...that seems weird.

Anyway. This all unfortunately coincided with the death of my great uncle, my grandma's brother, a mere six months after my grandma's death. I found out that he died on the same day I found out I was losing my job, but tucked it all away over the weekend so I could celebrate at a friend's wedding without being a total Debbie Downer. The funeral was on Monday and I immediately regretted not having given myself the time to grieve beforehand. Oh! And I found out that I didn't get the job I'd been counting on about an hour before the funeral, so that was fun. It was the like the perfect storm of TEARS.

So, yeah, it's been kind of a shitty week and I've been hating on myself for most of it, questioning every decision I've ever made, blah blah blah, but my main worry is that I have no idea what I want to do next. No clue. I have some vague ideas but that doesn't really help when you're staring at a job search engine, wondering what to put in the search fields. But I'm still looking and I'm ignoring the screechy voice in the back of my head that's going, "OMG JENNIE WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR LIFE PICK SOMETHING PICK SOMETHING PICK SOMETHING QUICK!"

I think, I think, that I'm slowly snapping out of it. I get notes from The Universe every day, and sometimes I just skim them if they're really long or I roll my eyes because it's too twee for words, but every once in a while, I'll get one that I just really needed to see. Today was one of those days because today's email said:

Psss-s-s-s-t-t, Jennie! S-h-h-h-h-h-h!

Around the bend, in the unseen, arising from the very uncertainties that may now seem to taunt you, there are some amazing surprises, awesome twists, and spellbinding coincidences about to emerge that you can't even now imagine.  

Optimism! Get some. Anyway, instead of hating on myself anymore, I think I'll just start hating on the weather because WHERE DID THE SUN GO?

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

They storm the crease like bumblebees.

The thing about hate is that's it's just so exhausting, and these days I'm plenty tired from the insomnia to need any supplement to my sleeplessness. That there are things I hate is inevitable--human nature simply dictates it, you see--but I try really hard not to think about those things, especially since I've been told that when I think about those things my eyes start a-rolling and suddenly my list of friends is two shorter from a moment ago. No, I get no pleasure from hate, but you know who does? My co-worker. He hates the Pittsburgh Penguins SO MUCH he'll sit in my office for hours at a time, spitting vim and vitriol until the tips of his ears and fingers both turn hot pink with unadulterated glee. Sometimes I wish I could hate like that. Mostly, I just hate that I can't each nachos on the beach every god-damned day.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Good ol' Rocky Top

My thing in life is that whole Harper Lee business about never really knowing a person until you climb into their skin, and about how there's only one kind of folks. Folks. Entrenched myopic hate is just about the worst thing, and it's so pervasive in our society it makes me physically ill. I don't want to be a hater. I want to learn the good things in the bad things, so maybe I can love them too.

Except for one thing.

Geno Auriemma and the UCONN women's basketball team.

There isn't enough grace in the universe to make me stop hating those fuckers.

Friday, 15 April 2011

If a little dreaming is dangerous, the cure for it is not to dream less but to dream more, to dream all the time.

So, The Proust Questionnaire. Here's how it made its way into Vanity Fair + little Marcel's answers at 13 and 20. HOWEVER! We want to hear YOUR answers. Post them in your comments or on your own blog (with a link in the comments!).

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Tesla is the electric Jesus


 What is your idea of perfect happiness?

I'm pretty simple so it would be this:

Sometimes Joe and I aren't home on Thursdays to watch our stories so, if we don't get to them on Friday, we'll wake up on Saturday morning, make breakfast (eggs and toast or cereal and toast, MAYBE EVEN WAFFLES), and sit in our pajamas and watch Community, The Office, Parks and Rec, 30 Rock, and Archer until it's early afternoon, at which point we might shower and get dressed, but maybe we'll watch more TV, who knows?

Soon after we started dating, we were sitting at my apartment watching something on TV or a movie, I don't remember, and we each had our laptops out and were working on who knows what between taking breaks to giggle over nothing and I realized at that moment that that's all I really needed. Someone who made doing nothing feel like doing something.

And now Max curls up on our laps while we watch TV, so what could be better than that?

 What is your greatest fear?

Zombies, DUH.

Which historical figure do you most identify with?

Nikola Tesla.

(not really, I just wanted an excuse to post that video)

Which living person do you most admire?

Hermione Granger.

What is the trait you deplore most in yourself?

I never finish anythi

What is the trait you deplore most in others?

Whining, which is ridiculous, because I whine all the time.

What is your greatest extravagance?

I'm kind of a miser, so I can't even think of anything.

On what occasion do you lie?

Pretty much never, as I am a terrible liar.

What do you dislike most about your appearance?

I think we, and by we, I mean LADIES, spend way too much time disliking way too much about our appearances, so I'm not playing this game and you can't make me.

When and where were you happiest?

I was pretty happy around this time:

mustaches wedding
balcony honeymoon

If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?

I wish I had more self-discipline. Like, any, really.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

The Evil Summer.

If you died and came back as a person or thing what do you think it would be?

I love this question. I'm not very religious, but I choose to believe that the afterlife is going to be fucking awesome. I hope it's either like Defending Your Life and you get to eat all you want and wear comfortable robes before (hopefully) moving on WHATEVER THAT MEANS. Or I hope it's like Vegas (wait for it) and you, like, play the slot machines to see who you're going to be reincarnated as while people bring you free drinks. That doesn't sound that awesome (except for the free drinks) but what if the afterlife is like a time machine and you can be reincarnated as Cleopatra or whatever and it's like, when you were alive, she was already dead but really she hadn't even lived yet because OH WAIT NOW YOU'RE BEING REINCARNATED AS HER.

What was the question?

What is your most treasured possession?

I have this stuffed bear that I've had since I was but a wee baby. It's green, I think it's a generic Carebear or something, but I've had it forever and I will never, ever get rid of it. I used to call it my Dabbledoo because I couldn't say bear. Because Dabbledoo is way easier to say than bear.

What do you regard as the lowest depths of misery?

My current job...oh, ZING.

Who are your heroes in real life?

Calvin and Hobbes. Or maybe Bill Watterson would be a better answer:

“Creating a life that reflects your values and satisfies your soul is a rare achievement. In a culture that relentlessly promotes avarice and excess as the good life, a person happy doing his own work is usually considered an eccentric, if not a subversive. Ambition is only understood if it’s to rise to the top of some imaginary ladder of success. Someone who takes an undemanding job because it affords him the time to pursue other interests and activities is considered a flake. A person who abandons a career in order to stay home and raise children is considered not to be living up to his potential - as if a job title and salary are the sole measure of human worth. You’ll be told in a hundred ways, some subtle and some not, to keep climbing, and never be satisfied with where you are, who you are, and what you’re doing. There are a million ways to sell yourself out, and I guarantee you’ll hear about them.” - Bill Watterson

What is it you most dislike?

Small talk. I hate small talk, mostly because it seems like such a waste of time. Let's not talk about how hot or cold or rainy or snowy or windy it is today. And I don't want to talk to you, casual acquaintance, about my job, and I don't want to hear about your job unless you're a lion tamer or something. Can't we talk about something important? Like how much we cried during Toy Story 3? Or how you felt about the end of Lost? Or whether it will be slow-moving zombies or fast, rage zombies who bring about the end of the world?

How would you like to die?

Avada Kedavra. That's quick, right? Plus, MAGICAL.

What is your motto?                

A few years ago, my friends and I decided to live by the motto: WHATEVA, I DO WHAT I WANT. That was a fun year. The next year we chose: NO REGRETS. I think the next year it had something to do with saying yes to everything unless it would end in our violent deaths (and yet I still tried Internet dating, so there you go). We haven't done that the past couple of years, but today I woke up with Hakuna Matata stuck in my head, and that seems as good a motto as any.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Oh cruel fate, to be thusly boned.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

I count this as one of my true felicities, that no more than once every eleven months (and often sooner when luck holds) I may find myself lounging before the turbulent Atlantic nestled in warm sand, a book (now, likely, my Kindle) in my hand and a drink at my side. And though so much has changed from then until now, I find it comforting that what as a lonely, embittered child was my only respite, is now a haven in my busy, bustling middle age.

my beach

What is your greatest fear?

From the first time I crouched along a darkened cinderblock wall, head tucked between my knees and fingers interlaced behind my neck, I have been (very reasonably, I might add) terrified of being sucked into the sky as Mother Nature's terrible wrath hopped-skipped-jumped through the town, destroying whatever the hell happened to be in the way. Fucking bitch.

Which historical figure do you most identify with?

Woodrow Wilson. As a professor at Princeton University he once became enormously overjoyed when he heard a rumor that his students had given him the nickname "Woody." When he found that this was not, in fact, true, he was crushed. Poor, poor Woodrow Wilson.

Which living person do you most admire?

I admire the "quiet" philanthropists, of course, those however-many billionaires who have pledged to bequeath the lion's share (traditional usage, not modern) of their billions to charitable organizations of one sort or the other. But being rather mouthy myself I can't help but most admire those who back their money with their mouths, people like Brad Pitt (who refuses to let a forgetful nation forget how we--as a nation--failed New Orleans) and Angelina Jolie (who refuses to let a forgetful world forget how we--as the human race--fail the world's refugees) and Heather Hogan (who refuses to let a forgetful Kat forget how I--as an individual--have failed to do all I can).

What is the trait you deplore most in yourself?

If there is an easy way out you can bet I'll be there, taking it.

What is the trait you deplore most in others?

Selfishness. Pure, unadulterated selfishness. (I'm looking at you, pops.)

What is your greatest extravagance?

As a child of poverty extravagance is relative, and until about a year ago I felt my greatest was a very cold, very dry Grey Goose martini with three olives. Today, it's a very cold, very dry Jewel of Russia Ultra (with hand-painted bottles!) martini with three olives.


On what occasion do you lie?

Actually, Heather's answer is really good. Thank Santa I no longer have to worry about such things.

What do you dislike most about your appearance?

No. Absolutely not. We'd be here until the atmosphere evaporates, the glaciers melt into the sea, and the oceans boil off into space. No.

When and where were you happiest?

This was a good one:
Cold and drunk

So was this:

If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?

If only I could be interested in and ask about the right questions, those Can I see the ring?-How goes the wedding planning?-What the fuck is up with your baby? questions, I think my boyfriend's life would be a whole lot easier.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

After ten-plus years that Seth has not yet run screaming for the hills is a monumental achievement I think.

If you died and came back as a person or thing what do you think it would be?

A plain old worker bee is what I'd likely be.

What is your most treasured possession?

The first thing I'd save from fire is Winston, of course, but can something with free will be considered a possession? He chooses to obey when I say, "no," just as he chooses to look me straight in the eye while he knocks a water glass off the counter. I feel I no more "possess" him than anyone possesses me. So, I don't know, this I guess:

What do you regard as the lowest depths of misery?

Loneliness. The less said about this the better.

Who are your heroes in real life?

I've never really thought about this question before now, but in the 37 seconds it will take to think about and type my answer, I'd say Jim Henson, Dr. Seuss, Heather Hogan, and, I don't know, Hillary Clinton.

What is it you most dislike?

Celery. Can't stand the shit.

How would you like to die?

This is a question I've long thought of, and my answer keeps coming out the same. Perhaps my mind is not well enough organized, but death, to me, is not just another adventure. When my time comes I'll need to warm up to it. Welcome it even. So a painful and protracted illness is the way for me to go.

What is your motto?

Ask not for whom the bone bones; it bones for thee.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

First, let me get this out of the way - I'm a big fan.

AbsI'm not going to lie: I feel confused about what this questionnaire is and why exactly Vanity Fair is involved with it--aren't they usually quizzing readers on body type and looking your age?--and also I didn't finish it because, well, me and questionnaires is very rocky. But there's a surprise anyway.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Being surrounded by friends after a full night's sleep.

What is your greatest fear?
Abandonment: either intentional or accidental.

Which historical figure do you most identify with?
Sister Suffragette.

Which living person do you most admire?
Oh, screw this. You know what Vanity Fair is really about?

And apparently what Google image search is really about as well...

Monday, 11 April 2011

The Proust Questionnaire


What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Being snuggled under my covers on a stormy Saturday with a delicious book. (And my puppies.)

What is your greatest fear?
There isn't a day that goes by in which I don't imagine some horrific, implausible scenario that rips Jenn and Amy and Hogan from my life.

Which historical figure do you most identify with?
The earnest, affable, self-taught, highly ineffective Martin Van Buren.

Which living person do you most admire?
JK Rowling

What is the trait you deplore most in yourself?
I am paralyzed by a fear of failure AND a fear of success, which means I spend most of my life swearing at myself in the mirror.

What is the trait you deplore most in others?
Lack of empathy.

What is your greatest extravagance?
Fancy dog things for two dogs whose favorite pastimes include rolling around in carcases and eating their own poop.

On what occasion do you lie?
Do you want to see me lie? Corner me and ask me if I'm in love with you: "... yes? Yes. Of course. Of course." (Spoiler alert: No, I'm not.)

What do you dislike most about your appearance?
My lazy left eye.

When and where were you happiest?
The gloriously naive months when I’d finished my last accounting job and hadn’t yet signed a writing contract with a deadline attached to it. (I spent much of that time frolicking gaily around Europe drinking beer.)

If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?
I’d remember what it’s like to have a keen sense of purpose that makes me come alive like fire.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Those rare moments when bursts of courage and cleverness and compassion collide and I am able to write something that helps other people feel less alone, less lonely.

If you died and came back as a person or thing what do you think it would be?
If you are what you eat, I’d be reincarnated as a half order of El Sombrero Texas Fajita Nachos (no onions, extra peppers).

What is your most treasured possession?
The books my grandmother makes for me.

What do you regard as the lowest depths of misery?
Clinical depression.

Who are your heroes in real life?
JK Rowling, Haven Kimmel, Barbara Kingsolver, Neville Longbottom, Jacob Clifton, Bryan Elsley, Kate Di Camillo, Rachel Maddow, Leslie Knope.

What is it you most dislike?
Myopia in all its poisonous forms.

How would you like to die?
Saving someone I love.

What is your motto?
Honey badger don’t give a shit.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Pizza Friday!

Hello, internets, let us rejoice for it is now PIZZA FRIDAY. Let us celebrate with talk of the wonder that is PIZZA. Tell us what kind of pizza to make tonight! And what kind of beer to drink with it.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Pizza + Beer = Heaven THAT IS JUST SIMPLE MATH

Jennie When I was a kid, every Friday was pizza night. We would either order pizza from any of the nearby delivery places or, my favorite, make our own pizza. My mom would make the dough, spread it out on the cookie sheet, and let my sister and I go to town with the toppings. I would painstakingly place the pepperoni on the dough (too much is gross, not enough is, like, WHY BOTHER, there is a VERY SPECIFIC RATIO) and try not to gag as my sister sprinkled on the mushrooms (which I would later pick off, once the pizza was cooked).

I've since rethought my stance on mushrooms, but I still love making my own pizza. I mean, I love pizza PERIOD, and we routinely order it, but lately we've been making our own, too. Pizza Fridays are making a comeback. And the best part is, unlike Pizza Fridays when I was a kid, I can drink beer now.

I can't find any pictures of pizza and beer in my own collection but here's a picture I stole from the internet:


Wednesday, 6 April 2011


Confession: Pizza is my favorite food. Hot pizza, cold pizza, frozen pizza, delivery pizza, wood-fired pizza, pita pizza, pizza bagel, pizza roll, I love pizza. In fact, I'm kind of a pizza expert.

summer is
Jersey Shore pizza

Pizza is magic, kind of like beer is magic: even when it's bad it's good.

French-Canadian pizza: really bad! But really good!

You may be wondering how pizza achieves this nearly miraculous miracle. Well, as a self-proclaimed and certified Pizza Expert, I am here to let you in on the secret.

Pizza in the car

The key to pizza is, in fact, really simple: toppings. Toppings are what make the pizza. Specifically these, the Three Best Pizza Toppings.

Topping Number One: Sauce

Collective pizza

Sauce is key. Without sauce, your pizza is just plain old bread. I think we can all agree that your pizza deserves more.

Topping Number Two: Cheese

Pizza Mart pizza

Cheese is also extremely important. Without cheese, your pizza is wet bread. I think we can all agree that your pizza deserves more.

Topping Number Three: Anything Else

Bourbon Street pizza

Oh, shit. I forgot to finish this post. I blame my office firewall which has suddenly decided to BLOCK ALL OF BLOGGER. So if you notice a considerable drop-off in my commenting on your posts? That's why.

So... yeah. Put whatever else you want on your pizza except the following: broken glass, poison, used bandaids, asbestos, and kitty litter. Those would not be yummy.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

What's not to like? Custard, good. Jam, good. Meat, good!

AbsI have something controversial to say:

Meat and pizza should never go together.

Seriously: pizza loaded with tons of tomato sauce, olives, peppers, onions, mushrooms is the best. It doesn't need meat. And meat certainly doesn't need it. Please keep your pepperoni and sausage to yourself. And also all those other words that are just fancy words for sausage.

(And while we're at it: mac and cheese should always be vegetarian.)

Monday, 4 April 2011

When the moon hits your eye [OUCH!]


This week’s Collective topic is favorite pizza toppings, but I’m too boring to write about that thing specifically. Like, one thing I hate is sweet-tasting things on my pizza. Pineapple, for example. And another thing I hate is onions, and if you put them in the same kitchen as my pizza, I will have a fit. But pizza is one of my all-time favoritest foods, and so here are the five best pizzas I’ve ever eaten:

1) Gino’s East Pizzeria pizza with The Collective in Chicago. We had some delicious local beer there, too, and I think it was Kat who first said out loud to Jennie, “So this Joe guy -- do you love him?” And Jennie didn’t even blush. She smiled like Christmas and said, “Yeah. Yeah, I do.”

2) Pizza place whose name I can't remember with some random school kids in Verona. (Plus: gelato which is not pictured, but was still tasty, tasty.)

3) Gusher Pizza and Sandwich Shoppe with my family in West Yellowstone, MT. I know this sounds totally insane because it was the middle of winter and there were only like three restaurants open in the whole town, but heavens to Mergatroid, the pizza at this place was a deep-dish dream come true. We had some of the best wings ever there also.

4) Grilled pizza with Amy’s family in Chestnut Mountain, GA. Amy’s dad and brothers are, like, Master Grillers. They make the most delicious grilled pizza you have ever tasted in your whole life.

5) Angelo’a Pizza with just me in Manhattan. I could have eaten a whole pie by myself ‘cause of Mmm.

I don't want to brag, but I can kind of make a killer homemade pizza. If I love you. And you don't mind hearing me swear like mad while I burn my hands.