Tuesday, November 30, 2004

I am an ass, but I know people

Last month, my pal Rob Web (not his real name) agreed to let me read at the Circus of the Shattered Monkey at the Zeitgeist in Cambridge. I told my funeral story, because I'm obsessed with it, apparently, and I wore orange flowers in my hair, because I love orange.

Roodles took some pictures, the better to immortalize my foolishness. I swear to you that I am much better looking in real life. I'm not 60 years old, for one thing. It's not Rod's fault, by the way. I am, in actual fact, the least photogenic person on the planet, including Tom Brady. Those of you who live in the Boston area and have seen his Dunkin Donuts ads will know what I mean.

What you can't see, because this is a still picture, is that my hands are shaking so badly that I can barely see the words on the page in front of me. Have you ever tried to read on the Stairmaster? It was like that.

"Thank you, Cambridge! Good night!"

At this point, I have regained control over my pages, but I am still terrified that the microphone will get away from me. Note the white-knuckle grip. I don't know what to say about my facial expression.

Monday, November 29, 2004

I also have a lovely singing voice

I cope with stress really, really well. So when the tow truck guy didn't believe that our address was correct, I handled it with grace and aplomb.

"I'm standing in front of a sign that says I'm at 325 Huntington Ave." I told him. "Is your guy standing in front of a sign that says he's at 325 Huntington Ave.?"

The tow truck driver said that he was.

"Well, then we've got some kind of a problem, because I don't know what other address to give you. I mean, if they're just going to start posting signs with fictious addresses on them, then I guess we're all just hopelessly lost, aren't we?"

I'm going to spare you the play by play. Here's the summary: we went back and forth for quite some time, as I got more irate, and he got more patronizing, and finally, I used the F word.

Don't ever use the F word with a tow truck driver. You might as well strap on your sneakers and start walking home.

Three hours later, when the tow truck driver arrived, I had wept away all my anger and was prepared to wash and wax his truck if he'd just fix the tire. Not that I had to wash and wax anything, because it was pouring out. POURING. My coat smells like a drunk lama and my hair is STILL frizzy.

Oh, and the sign I was standing in front of? Was wrong. Let this be a lesson to you all. When you think you're most right, you're probably dead wrong.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

The Chinatown bus: $15 and the self-realizations are free

I got into town early Friday night after a horrifyingly long and uncomfortable bus ride. I'm a big fan of the Chinatown bus, generally speaking. It's about a four and a half hour trip from Boston to New York, it's only fifteen bucks, and my boyfriend is at the other end. I can deal with the cramped seats and the masses of unwashed humanity. I'm not nearly as OCD as I used to be. I will not use the bathroom, however, but that's just smart: the bathroom on the Chinatown bus resembles the toilet in Trainspotting.

This time, however, I was really starting to wonder if maybe I'd gotten on the wrong coach. It was dirtier than usual, and more full of folks, and the woman who was sitting in front of me definitely looked like she'd just escaped from somewhere with hinges on the wrong side of the door.

I had chosen the seat in the first place because I was avoiding a guy who'd started chatting me up in the line. I'd thought he was gay at first, but then realized fairly quickly that he was just sort of fashionable. And while I'm not so vain that I think every guy in the world wants to sleep with me, I don't care to test out the boundaries of someone's interest on a four hour bus ride.

Make that five and a half hours, because with traffic, that's how long it took. Meanwhile, in my efforts to dodge the not-gay-maybe-hot-for-me guy, I'd squished myself in behind the giant ex-convict lady, who was tapping out messages on her cell phone and looking surly and hard. Needless to say, I didn't feel all right about asking her to return her seat to its full and upright position.

It would have been fine, except for the fact that a tiny Japanese girl politely squished herself in next to me -- with her enormous luggage. She asked me if she could sit next to me, and instead of saying, "No, I hate people" or "No, I have fleas" or pulling a horn out of my pocket and tooting on it, I said yes, because I'm a pussy. I passive-aggressively compensated, however, by talking on my cell phone the whole time. Because I'm a bad person.

Anyway, by the time we got to New York, the Japanese girl, the ex-con, and the gang of obviously middle class wanna be gang members in the, I kid you not, turbans in the front probably all wanted to kill me. But not the not-gay guy. He wanted to know what I was up to for the weekend, and how to get to the 6. Just then, however, the Moozle rounded the corner and fixed him with his best Get Away From My Woman stare, and he skittered off.

Which means that this bus ride taught me that, in addition to being passive-aggressive, I am probably both prejudiced and anti-feminist. That's a lot of self-realization for only fifteen bucks.

Monday, November 22, 2004


New Yorkers are thin. If you mention this to a New Yorker, they will most likely tell you that it's because they walk everywhere, or that they're so poor they have to choose between booze and food, and booze wins. These things are true. It is also true that they are very fashionable people, New Yorkers, famously so, and that thinness shows off their clothes better.

But mostly, I think New Yorkers are thin because there's no goddamn room in this city for fat people.

I have been in New York for four days now, and I notice that I have perfected the art of taking up next to no space. Sitting in a restaurant, I fold my huge coat into a teensy bundle at the back of my chair and turn my purse into an armrest, all while managing to ignore the fact that the people at the "next table" are, in fact, sitting exactly three inches from my right elbow. It's not okay to talk to them unless they want you to, you know. And if they want you to, that usually means they're crazy.

Let's have a tangent, shall we? I've been talking to everyone in New York, crazy or no: people in bars, people in stores, people on the street. And I have no idea what anyone is talking about when they say New Yorkers are rude. New Yorkers aren't rude. They're actually really friendly. Now, whether or not they'll steal your wallet after you finish your chit-chat -- that's another story.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

I don't feel so good myself

My coworker brought in her six-year-old son today, because he's sick. He's one of those really cute kids that seem just like teeny little old people. Very serious, very solemn. I like a kid who's a little concerned about how things are turning out. Plus, he's stuffy, so he's even funnier than normal.

I've been sick myself, the past day or so, so I thought we could compare symptoms, one prematurely old person to another.

"So what are you sick with?" I asked him.

He tapped his chin thoughtfully, and gave me the list: "I have a cold, a cough, a stuffy head, and I don't feel good either. Also..." He held up his thumb, which had a bandaid on it. "...I have a strip on my thumb."

"A strip?"

"An ouchless strip."

"What's wrong with your thumb?"

He looked very concerned, and said in low, confidential voice. "I don't know, but it hurts."

I love this kid.

And in this corner...

My Dad tried to teach me how to box once.

He had my best interests at heart. You see, I know some of you might not believe this, given how cool I've become as an adult, but as a child I was kind of a nerd.

(Brief pause while I reorganize my Buffy the Vampire Slayer DVDs.)

But this was a long time ago. I was five. We had just moved to a really poor section of Vermont, and I was going to school with kids who lived in trailers and shot their breakfast every morning and only had one pair of clothes. My nerdiness -- while deep and profound and involving culottes, OCD and a preternaturally advanced vocabulary -- was probably less of an issue than the fact that I was the second richest kid in school. The first richest kid, my best friend Emily, was the scion (scioness?) of a granite empire. Her father owned every granite quarry in the state of Vermont. My Dad? Had a job.

Anyway, every morning, I'd walk down to the end of our street with my Mom and sister and catch the bus. Meg was pretty much an adorable bundle of clothes at that point. She was shy even as a baby. The bus would pull up, and the doors would open, and Ward, the two thousand year old farmer who drove the bus would say, to Meg, "And how's my little girlfriend this morning?" And Meg would blink at him. For some reason, he found this extra charming. Fifteen years later, she would have the same effect on men with the same minimum of effort, and I would remain perplexed by the whole thing.

I'd get on the bus, and lean forward until my forehead was pressing right against the seat in front of me. I didn't get car sickness. I just liked to sit that way. I also liked to wash my hands forty times a day whether I needed to or not, and to rearrange the seams on my knee socks so that they lined up perfectly under my toenails. I had some issues, okay?

A few stops later, we'd hit the trailer park, and my arch nemesis Gretchen would get on. She hated me so much, it was like she was in love. She'd make a beeline for my seat, and take the one right in front, and lean over and start addressing the top of my head.

"Hey, freak farm," she'd say. "Why don't you sit up?"

"I don't like to." I'd explain.

"Well, I'd like you to. Sit up."

"No, thank you."

"Hey!" Sock, sock, sock. Right in the arm. Later, I'd have a bruise like someone had been giving me shots. "I said, sit up."


"Are you retarded?"


"Sit up!"

I craned my neck a bit, so I could look her in the eye, but kept the top of my head against the seat. "I'd rather not, but thanks. That really hurts, you know. Would you stop doing that?"

"I'm sorry, freak farm." She often, for some reason, had a box of cereal with her on the bus, something sugary that my Mom never would have bought, except for a snack. "Want some cocoa puffs?" She reached into the bag and stuffed a big handful into her mouth.

I eyed her warily. "Well ... I don't know. Did you wash your hands?"

Sock, sock, sock.

It wasn't long before my father discovered my bruises. He was horrified.

"Doesn't Ward notice this?" He asked.

I shrugged.

"Don't you tell him?"

I shrugged again. All this shrugging was making my bruises hurt.

"Well, if you won't tell him, I'm going to teach you to defend yourself."

In the background, from which she'd been letting my father 'handle this', my Mother raised her eyebrows.

So Dad and I had boxing lessons. He taught me how to make a fist that wouldn't break my thumb and how to hit from the shoulder and plow straight through a person without pulling up at the last second. We worked the heavy bag. (It didn't move when I punched it.) We worked the speed bag. (I couldn't seem to find it, once it was in motion.) Finally, he declared me ready to meet my enemy.

The next day, I got on the bus with a renewed sense of dread. Today, I would be picked on, and I'd have to hit someone. This seemed worse than just being picked on.

I took my usual seat, and sat straight up. I waved to my Mom and sister at the curb. My Mom looked a little worried. Meg grinned toothlessly at me from the depths of her hood. I was clearly already her hero.

A few stops later, Gretchen got on.

"Hi, freak farm." She said. "Why aren't sitting funny?"

"I'm probably going to hit you," I told her. "I know how to box now."

"You know how to box now? You know how to box now?"

"You're repeating yourself and you sound really stupid. My Dad taught me how to box and now I'm going to..." I struggled to remember the words "...knock your block off."

Gretchen dissolved in hysterics.

I looked at the window. "Well, I am."

She sat down next to me. Held out her box of cereal. "Want some Froot Loops?"

I looked back at her. She was smiling. I decided, hey, a tough girl who knows how to box doesn't have to be afraid of trailer park germs. I reached into the box defiantly and took a big handful of cereal, and stuffed it in my mouth. Gretchen reached out, fast as lighting, and punched me in the face while my mouth was full. It was a really beautiful jab and my Dad would have been proud. I choked a bit on my cereal, but I didn't hit her back.

Later, at home, my Mom wrote me a note to give to Ward. He read it gravely, and then told me to sit up front behind him. Which I did, for the rest of the year. The front seat on the bus has no seat-back in front of it, just a bar you can put your feet up on. But I got used to it soon enough.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

A girl's lament for Old Dirty Bastard

Apparently, my blog is boring now that I'm not pissed off all the time. At least, that's what I've been hearing. There's nothing that will strike less terror in a blogger's heart than being accused of dullness. After all, this is an entirely self-centered and lazy-minded enterprise anyway, this blogging nonsense.

Still, I'm desperate for approval, and so in an attempt to spice things up around here, I asked a few friends for some input on what I should write about. One of my friends, a guy, obviously, suggested I write about Old Dirty Bastard, who passed away a few days ago, apparently after blowing one too many lines off a hooker's bum, or whatever it was he like to do for fun. (Note to ODB's legal team: I have no money. Don't even bother.)

The problem is that I'm a girl, so I don't give a crap about Old Dirty Bastard. I mean, I'm sorry he's dead, and all, I guess, but ... well, wait. How dirty was he? Was he, like, filthy? Did he smell? Or was it more metaphorical dirtiness? Was he a misogynist? I seem to have some memory of him both being physically repulsive and also kind of mean. So forget that. I'm still sorry he's gone, of course, and I wish all condolences to his family and friends, but it would be kind of silly to pretend that I have a personal stake in his demise. (Pronounced "de-MEEESE", the Robert Shaw in Jaws way, of course.) Cuz I just don't.

So, okay. Farewell, Old Dirty Bastard. You were good, I've heard. And also, possibly not all that clean. And many people, mostly boys, thought you were interesting. Rest in peace. If you like that sort of thing.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Monday Quiz (the first)

Hello! Welcome the first ever Monday Quiz. This is a new feature on JennieSmash.com. Expect to see it every Monday, unless I get sick and fucking tired of it, in which case it will go away with no explanation. We're slightly understaffed here at the Smash.

Speaking of sick and fucking tired, that's the theme of the Quiz. Every Monday from now on, expect to see a new and more boring answer to the question: What is Jen sick and fucking tired of?

Today, I am sick and fucking tired of losing buttons from my coat. My coat is awesome. It's almost forty years old, very Audrey Hepburn, and a fetching shade of camel beige. I look extremely stylish in it, as well as more than usually attractive, and any day now, drag queens will start dressing up like me and having contests to see who can portray the most convincing Jennie Smash.

There's only one problem with my excellent forty-year-old coat, and that's that the buttons keep flying off, often with a velocity normally associated with machine gun fire. So I'll be sitting in some bar, talking to one of my lovely friends, and a button will go winging off my boob and hit them in the eye. All of my friends are one-eyed now, and making comments about my boobs' ability to pop buttons. They'd be bitter if it weren't for the fact that they now have a brand-new thing to make fun of me about. Bitches.

The button situation has nothing to do with my boobs, by the way. The problem is in the forty-year-old thread attaching my buttons to my coat. But now I've double-stitched them all back on there with new, cheap, style-free nylon thread, and we could probably use my buttons to fish for trout or whatever, and they'd still hold. So there.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Rod Webber is crazy

Or at the very least, severely bored. How bored is he? Listen to this and you tell me.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Sing it with me: Boys are dumb

I was looking at my stats this morning, and I've figured out that I get the best traffic when I whine about boys. This is amusing to me, because it supports a theory that I've had for a long time, which is that the Internet is basically just a ginormous electronic version of Opposite Day. (You remember Opposite Day from elementary school. "I love Jimmy Feldman. PSYCH! It's Opposite Day! BURN!" And Jimmy Feldman would slink off into the corner and cry. Or plot his revenge. Most of my friends were Jimmy Feldman in school.)

Anyway, my point is that the Internet seems to take boring things like, say, incessant complaining, and make them interesting to people, and I'm not sure how. I suspect it has something to do with all of us Internet addicts being a self-selecting audience of nerdlingers (hi, Jimmy!), and also being stuck at a desk all day.

Because I believe in giving the people what they want, whether it's George W. Bush, green ketchup or dumb blog entries about dumb boys -- marketing! It's the American way! -- this entry will be entirely about the stupidity of men.

So. Today's whine is light white with a tinge of bitterness and an oaky foundation of bemusement. I have selected it to compliment a hot steaming plate of ... oh screw this metaphor. Listen. Here's the deal. I've had a boyfriend for like half an hour now, and already I've lost one male friend. Where'd he go? I dunno. A month ago we were chitter-chattering on e-mail like old pals, and now he's scarpered off to wherever boys scarper off to.

Oh, give him a break, you say. Maybe he's busy.

Grow up, okay? He's not busy. He was plotting to get into my under-roos and now that I'm spoken for, he's not returning my calls.

I was even more aggravated about this until I talked to my sister, who informed me that since she's gotten married, she's lost about 85% of her male friends. And not just because her husband has a lot of guns, either. Although, come to think of it, maybe that didn't help.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

The "fun" in funeral

My latest contribution to the Black Table is up. Go check it out, if you like funny stories about funerals.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Dr. W. David Hager owns your uterus, soul, sense of skepticism

The past few days have been hard, no doubt, so I'm willing to cut my peeps some slack on the my usual rule about e-mail forwards. My usual rule about e-mail forwards, by the way, is that people who send them should be prepared for me to box up my actual paper junkmail, smear it with poo, and shove it through their mail slot. I really hate e-mail forwards.

That being said, times are tough, so I can be a little understanding about the mass volume of pinko propaganda that's wall-papering my Yahoo! account at the moment. Quotes from Thomas Jefferson? Always good. United States of Canada and Jesusland? Hi-sterical!

But I swear before God and all that's holy if I get one more e-mail about W. David Hager and the FDA's Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee, I will come over to your house and swap out all your birth control pills with baby aspirin. Don't say I didn't warn you.

For those of you who haven't received this forward yet, here's a brief sampling. Just pretend we're penpals and get your baby aspirin ready.

President Bush has announced his plan to select Dr. W.

David Hager to head up the Food and Drug

Administration's (FDA) Reproductive Health Drugs

Advisory Committee...

...Dr. Hager, the author of "As Jesus Cared for Women:

Restoring Women Then and Now." The book blends

biblical accounts of Christ healing Women with case

studies from Hager's practice. His views of

reproductive health care are far outside the

mainstream for reproductive technology. Dr. Hager is a

practicing OB/GYN who describes himself as "pro-life"

and refuses to prescribe contraceptives to unmarried

women. In the book Dr. Hager wrote with his wife,

entitled "Stress and the Woman's Body," he suggests

that women who suffer from premenstrual syndrome

should seek help from reading the bible and praying.

Horrifying? Yes. Current? No. Dr. W. David Hager has been on the FDA's Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee for two years now. This information is available to all of you who currently have InTerWeb access.

So rather than send me a petition, here's what I want you to do. Write old W. David Hager a letter and let him know how you feel about how Jesus cared for women. His address, readily available for all who know that Google's not just something your eyes do when confronted with attractive naked people, is:

W. David Hager, M.D.

Professor, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology

University of Kentucky

Director, Ob/Gyn Residency Training Program

Central Baptist Hospital

Women's Care Center

2720 Nicholasville Road

Lexington, Kentucky 40503

Please bear in mind that this guy is probably somewhat inured to hatemail, not to mention that we liberal types have a reputation for being more piss and vinegar than brains and reasoned argument ... so if you write the dude, play nice, okay?

Tuesday, November 9, 2004

Self-indulgent IM-related post #473

JennieSmash: I have a headache and shouldn't be required to do anything.

Ilisah: There's a law about that. I know. I'm a law student.

JennieSmash: Omigod, I'm so glad we talked about this, then.

Ilisah: Yes, you could sue.

JennieSmash: Maybe I just will.

JennieSmash: I have my period and it's making me feel achy and old.

Ilisah: Ah, yes.

JennieSmash: Also, I don't know why you never told me that I have a moustache.

Ilisah: Probably because you don't.

JennieSmash: Oh.

Monday, November 8, 2004

New addition to the List: Michael Moore

Michael Moore has made my list, and I don't mean Christmas Card.

A few nights ago, at about one in the morning, my phone rang. For some reason, I'd left it by my bed, so all I had to do was reach over groggily and pick it up off my night table. The little caller ID monitor showed my sister's number in Tacoma. Thoroughly freaked, I picked up right away.

"Hello? Are you okay?" My brother-in-law is in Iraq. My sister is thousands of miles away, all alone and terrified, with nothing to do but worry about her husband.

On the other end of the phone, muffled sobbing. All my internal organs tried to climb up my throat.

"Is John okay?"

Through her tears, she told me that he was. The problem, it turned out, was that she'd Netflixed Fahrenheit 9/11, and so now she was afraid of the following: that something bad would happen to John, that he was embroiled in evil, and doing terrible things to innocent Iraqis. My field of vision immediately went red, just like in the Popeye cartoons.

Speaking of Red: I nearly am, in case you're wondering. I'm so liberal, I'm practically a communist. I am not, however, a fan of Michael Moore's, and here's why: I firmly believe that Michael Moore is much more interested in furthering his own career than he is in telling the truth about anything. And like our illustrious leader G.W. "Motherfucker" Bush, he's willing to terrify people if it helps his cause. In fact, if you ask me, Moore and Bush should get together and go bowling. Or move to Mass. and get married. Because they're pretty much two ends of the same horrifying political phenomenom: Vote with your terror, not with your mind, or even your heart.

The next day, Meg heard from her husband, who told her that while he can't of course talk about what he's doing in Iraq, that the stuff he and his men are involved in are changing Iraqi lives for the better. I believe that. I didn't support this war, but now that we're there, I think guys like John can really make a difference. Iraq has a police force now, I think for the first time ever. They have some semblance of democracy. And while I don't approve of us just running pell mell into any political mess that begs sweeping up, I'm not shedding any tears over old Saddam.

Just don't try to tell me that we invaded because of Al Qaeda. They're in a cave somewhere with Injun Joe and we have no fucking idea where they are. But that's another blog entry.

I (heart) New York

But it's fucking EXPENSIVE. Matt the Moozle and I went out to grab a bite before I got on my bus back home and dropped eighty goddamn dollars. Fortunately, he picked up the tab. I am adorable but completely useless with money. Ah, well. I'll get him back someday, when I'm rich and famous. Or maybe after I knock over the liquor store and before the cops come to pick me up.

Other neat but expensive adventures this weekend: going to an all-mystery bookstore and buying many mysteries; going to Film Forum and crying like a little school girl during On the Waterfront; going (twice) to Matt's local hangout, which is called something in German or else Irish and means "Meat and Cheese Bar", and drinking lots of very good beer and eating, you guessed it, meat and cheese and also a big plate of chocolate.

We ate a ton this weekend, but my pants are loose. That's because people in New York apparently walk everywhere. They go on and on about how lame Boston's public transit is, but let me tell you, for every subway train we caught, we waited for two that never arrived. Part of this is because we were waiting for the JMZ, codenamed by the Moozle "Subway Train of the Disenfranchised." Part of it was because neither Matt nor I ever has a clue where we're going. Also, if you've seen our glasses, watches or wallet, please drop me a line. In addition, please allow me to apologize for the fact that we seem to have broken all of your plates and dropped food on the rug.

Thursday, November 4, 2004

SPAM fwd [65]

I have found at my age going bra-less pulls all the wrinkles out of my face.

A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.

As useful as a chocolate fireguard (or teapot).

What. The. Fuck? Dude.

Wednesday, November 3, 2004

How the world will change, now that Bush has won

1) All uteruses (uteri?) will become official property of the state. Women of childbearing age will be have their bits branded accordingly. Women past menopause will be boiled down for petrol. Female children will be sent to reeducation camps, to teach them to sew their knees shut until a suitable Neocon mate presents himself.

2) Halliburton will be given whatever contracts and endorsements they fancy. Look for "Halliburton Bank of America" and "Halliburton Fenway Park", coming soon.

3) It will be perfectly legal to batter persons of Filipino descent in the street. This is a charter program for battering all non-white persons. What, you expected them to start with the Dominicans? Those dudes are big.

4) Dick Cheney will be able to go into any home in America and claim all its candy by Imminent Domain.


Outside my window, it really looks like November. It's raining. The sky is gray. There are leaves pasted over everything like paper mache.

I dreamt of bats last night. I dreamt that I was living in a haunted house. My real-life landlords were the landlords, and they were sad because they couldn't rent the top floor. I offered to exorcize the place for them. They were pleased, not only because we could rent the place but also because I had apparently wanted them to rent it earlier to friends of mine, some mysterious people called "the twins" and they'd said no. They were happy that we were on good terms again.

Mrs. Piddlington and I stomped around on the upper floor, saying the Lord's Prayer. We shivered with cold and looked very fierce. Outside the windows, the bats gathered.

At the end of the dream, we got in our cars and drove off, just like in the Amityville Horror. Evil won. All we could do was run away.

I didn't dream about the elections last night. Not in so many dream-words, anyway. But I'll tell you this: no matter what happens, I'm not getting in my actual car and driving away. This is my country, too, no matter what the Republicans want you to think, and being a liberal does not mean that I love my country any less than they do. (I would argue that I love it more: As a profoundly nonconfrontational person, it's hard for me to offer criticism to anyone, and yet here I am, offering criticism to America.)

Don't talk about going to Canada, my fellow Democrats and liberal Independents and Green Party members and all the rest. Stay here and fight. We're going to have to be very strong over the next four years. We're going to need each other.

Hang on. The Revolution will be televised, and misinterpreted, on four networks and a score of cable news outlets.

Tuesday, November 2, 2004

I'm going to throw up

I didn't think I could be more nervous than I was during the World Series, bt I was wrong. My stomach has turned completely inside out. I may regurgitate it completely, just like a sea cucumber.


I was just settling in for a long and productive morning of forum monitoring and tip editing, when the VP of sales came by my desk. I like the VP of sales. We have a similar outlook on life. We're both obnoxiously friendly.

"Did you get married?" She asked.

My mouth fell open. For one minute, ya see, I thought she'd picked up the general improvement in my attitude and appearance lately, and come to her own conclusions. Then I realized what must've happened.

"Was there something in the Monday Update?" I asked.

The Monday Update is our internal newsletter. If you get married, or have a baby, or get promoted, or sell a bunch of stuff, or come up with a brilliant (read: money-making) idea, it goes in there. If you get divorced or fired, though, they don't mention it. Probably just as well. What would that call that section? "People We Don't Like So Much Anymore?" "Ginormous Loser of the Week?"

"Take a look," she said. I called up the Update from my e-mail, and there it was: On the left-hand side, with all the anniversaries, my name with the rest of the Four Year Crew -- only, due to an unfortunate cut-and-paste, I had an additional last name.

"Jennifer HubleyGould." I said. "It's nice that I kept the mid-word cap like that. Very appropriate for tech publishing."

"I liked that, too."

"Well, I'm happy to see that Bizarro Me rejected the hyphen, at least."


Vote. Vote vote vote. Vote.

And remember: If you vote for George W. Bush, a kitten dies.

Monday, November 1, 2004

Invasion of the ankle-biters

I went over to my folks' house last night to help pass out candy and hang out with Mrs. Piddlington before she headed home to the Pacific Northwest. Mrs. P. is inordinately fond of children, which is fantastic, because it means that she'll eventually have some nieces and nephews for me to play with ... and then return.

I've never been a big baby person myself. People would hold up their children like trophies and I'd say, "Oh, yes. That human is very small. Nicely done." And then parent and baby alike would roll their eyes at me.

Sometime in the past two years, though, that's changed.

Now don't get me wrong. I'm not saying I want one. There isn't room in my apartment for one thing, and you can't take them to bars. Also, they're woefully inadequate as conversationalists. And age is no excuse. I have it on good authority from my folks that I was a very witty baby.

Still. I can kind of see what people are talking about now, when they say babies are cute. I've caught myself making stupid faces at them a couple times. This is cool: they'll imitate anything you do. So it you were to, say, throw your hands in the air and yell, "BABY DANCE PARTY!", most likely any nearby babies would toss their wee fists and gyrate around accomodatingly. They're like Furbies, only you can't turn them off.

You can also dress them up in funny outfits. That's why Halloween is great for parents. Five years ago, they were using Halloween as an excuse to dress up like hookers. Now it's a reason to disguise their children as Michael Jackson's progeny.

(We had a lot of Spidermen last night. It reminded me of that creepy veil that Prince Michael the 47th was wearing in all those zoo pictures a year or so back. Anyway.)

Mrs. P and I were going to dress up her friend's baby and use it as bait for our own candy cache, but then we both got colds, and the baby's Mom said we were germy and to leave her baby alone. Moms. Jeez.