Thursday, December 30, 2004

No resolution, but a realization

You can only go on pretending that it's other people for so long. Sooner or later, you're forced to admit that whatever weird-ass shit happens to you, if it happens a lot, if it happens consistently, if it makes, say, a pattern, well then, it's probably you.

I'm okay with this, mind you. But just so my twelve readers are not deceived as to the type of person I am, I feel that I should tell you that I am the type of person who inspires people to:

1) Ask her for a few dollars, in order to buy a bus ticket to New York/Chicago/Chicopee, Mass./Florida/Maine.

2) Take pictures of their privates, and then send those pictures to her.

3) Make pictures out of snippets of pubic hair (probably, but not necessarily, their own), and then send those pictures to her.

4) Tell her their whole life story, beginning with birth and ending just after the divorce, massive doses of penicillin and bankruptcy proceedings.

5) Pat her on the ass, and then ask, "Can I pat your ass?" I mean really, why ask at all, Mr. McFeeley?

6) Ask her for help with various physical tasks that are clearly beyond her physical abilities, such as lifting ginormous objects many times her body weight, as if she were an ant, or reaching things for things that are located far above her head, which is located, still, a mere five feet above the ground.

7) Talk and talk and talk about religion/politics/current events, when it could not be more clear that all discussion of such leaves her wishing mightily that a piano would fall from the sky, crushing the speaker, and perhaps producing an amusing tune at the same time. Win-win!

8) Think to himself or herself, Am I an enormous large person of wide width? Yes, I am! That means I should sit next to her. She won't mind.

9) Ditto her newspaper. She longs to share it with me. I'll just ask.

10) See also: light, cigarette, chewing gum, chapstick, sanitary items, tissue, cough drop, etc. and so on.

And, at last, a resolution: Learn to look cranky, and thus make these people leave me alone.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Where's Jennie Smash?

Hiding under an afghan, stuffing her piehole with M&Ms. No really. I'm in my pajamas and I haven't moved in days. I'm typing this on my laptop from my the couch at my Mom's house, where I've been since Christmas. This would be understandable, but it's not like I've come to visit her from my home in Paris, or something. I live fifteen minutes away.

The lethergy has taken me. Keep your eyes trained on the news. A talk show host should be by at any moment now, armed with a backhoe and a news crew and determined to remove me and send me to the fat camp where I belong.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Horoscopes for fools

I'm addicted to reading my horoscope.

Those of you who know me in person, or who have been reading this site for awhile in any of its various incarnations, probably aren't surprised by this. I am a completely illogical person, and have an extremely addictive personality. I spend much of my off-time Googling old friends and boyfriends and crushes, and could probably get addicted to, I don't know, fruit juice or white wall tires or Hummel figurines, if I tried.

But anyway, my horoscope. I'm a Gemini, which means that I'm a big, big flake and also crazy. (It also means that I'm inclined to believe in bullshit things like horoscopes, I'm pretty sure.) I have a bunch of sites I read all the time, to keep up to date with what may or may not happen to me, but I'm very frustrated today because I'd like to know what's going to happen to me in the new year and none of my Web sites gives predictions for months other than the current one.

So, in typical Gemini fashion ("Clever Gemini, words are your passion! Your creative flair amazes your many friends!") I have decided to make up my own horoscope for the new year.

Dearest Gemini, this will be a year unlike any other! Except that it will be just like every other. You will make new friends this year, and lose some old ones, due to attrition, or big stinkin' fights, or your tendency to flirt with their boyfriends. (Also them, despite the fact that you don't like girls. Also complete strangers, including the bus driver, who does not speak english, and inanimate objects such as a plate of crab rangoon and an umbrella.)

You are a fickle, fickle woman, totally unable to make up your mind, or rather always able to make up your mind, and then changing it two seconds later. You will develop a split personality from fighting with yourself constantly. When deciding which direction to choose, think about which option seems totally outrageously horrible at first, and then take that one. No seriously, you know how you're always lost when you're driving, and your first instinct is to pick the wrong direction? Yeah, you're like that in life, too. Sorry, kid.

You will have many boyfriends in the new year, but will break up with them in under two months, due to your craziness and fickle nature (see above). You will write all kinds of things, most of them having to do with your favorite topic (see this entry). Your friends will stand by you, because they are better people than you are, and value, for some reason, your ability to make a fool out of yourself at large gatherings where alcohol is served.

Speaking of that: Your liver will fall right the fajuck out of your body and wriggle away, gasping, "No! No! No!" It will leave a slime trail and it will be disgusting. Like the chicken that glimpses its own head a second before its demise, you will have just enough time to marvel at the sight of your fleeing liver before the toxins (mostly scotch) overwhelm your body and send you into death spasms.

Your general adherence to AP style will make it impossible for you to read your horoscope in the new year, because of all the exclamation points! (Avoid.)

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

The lottery

I woke up at 2 a.m. this morning with a vague sense that I'd had a nightmare, but I didn't remember what it was. I was at my parents' house, in my sister's room, where I've been sleeping while she's home. Later, Meg said she had heard me whimpering in my sleep. This is nothing new. I'm a famous sleep-talker. I've been known to order people around in my sleep in much the same tone as I do when I'm awake.

Meg had a nightmare, too, she told me later. She dreamed that she was on a boat. There were dead animals all over the deck. She looked down, and saw a baby chick, still alive, struggling for air. She picked it up, and fed it a sunflower seed, and it flew away.

The next day, I decided to work from Mom and Dad's. I felt like crap, like I hadn't really slept all night. At about 10:00, I checked my personal e-mail and saw the headline on Yahoo! news: 22 Dead in Mosul.

My brother-in-law is a first lieutenant in the army. He was ROTC in school, not because he had to be, but because he -- get this -- wants to help people. He's currently in Mosul serving in the 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment, also known as "Deuce Four." No matter what I think about why we're over there, I know he's doing good things.

The news said that 22 people were dead, and more than 50 wounded, and that it had happened in the mess hall at noon their time, and that multiple units and civilians were involved.

My first thought was, "How do I hide this from Meg?"

Fortunately, people in my family are EXCELLENT at denial, so I had an inspiration right away. All I had to do was turn on E! Entertainment Television, let Meg sleep til noon, and keep her away from her e-mail if and when she got up. Hopefully, by then, her Family Readiness Group leader would have called to tell her that everything was okay.

She got up at 10:30, and her mother-in-law called right away, hoping that she had heard something.

So then we started the game, the morbid calculus of hope. We scanned all the news channels and every Web site we could think of, looking for news.

"13 were soldiers, CNN is saying," I told her. "And two were from Virginia. That leaves only 11 to worry about."

"He never eats lunch," Meg said. "He hates food. And he always has a lot to do."

"Maybe they're mostly Iraqis," I said. "Oh my God. OH MY GOD. What has become of me? I'm thisclose to signing over our civil liberties and supervising the interrogations at Guantanamo."

"You're not," said Meg. "We don't want anyone to get hurt, right? Not anyone. But people have already been hurt. And I'd just rather one of them wasn't my husband."

Meg is so brave and fine in these situations. She reminds me of a Douglas Sirk heroine, someone in full skirts and perfect pancake, looking dewy and teary-eyed but never snotty. And she never ever puts her fist through a wall, which is only one of many reasons why I know she's a much more stable person that I am.

At about 1:30, one of her friends called to say that her boyfriend had spoken to John after the incident, and he was okay. I felt like someone had ripped a two-foot wide bandaid off my chest. I felt like slumping to the floor and crying.

Meg put on her hat and coat, and went out to buy Christmas gifts.

"If anyone calls," she said calmly. "Tell them they can reach me at any time on my cell phone."

I sat down at my desk and got back to work.

Monday, December 20, 2004

I'm regressing so quickly, I'll be a teenager by Christmas

My sister is home. Meg, or Mrs. Piddlington, as I call her, for no reason that anyone can figure out, is three-and-a-half years younger than I am and about ten years more mature. Oh no, you say, surely not. You are merely young at heart. Effusive. Exuberant. Many other words beginning with "e" and meaning "fun."

But I assure you, it's true. I am about twelve years old at heart. And being around my little sister makes me worse. For some reason, whenever we hang out, I start acting like one of those retarded brothers played by Casey Affleck and Scott Caan in "Ocean's Eleven." (Also, "Twelve.")

My favorite thing to do right now is to wait until Mrs. P says something, for example, "Your pants are falling down," and then say, "YOUR pants are falling down," whether or not it's true.

Here are a few more examples of this sort of thing in action:

"It's cold out."

"YOU'RE cold out."

"Let go get chocolate beer."

"YOU'RE a chocolate beer."

"You're annoying me."

"YOU'RE annoying you."

And so on.

The best example of this so far happened today when Meg and I were watching one of those forensic detective crime shows on cable at my Mom's house. (My poor Mom. It's like she's running a hotel this week.) Anyway, this particular show was about a hobo who killed people in the trainyards where he was doing his hoboing. At one point, the announcer said, "Behind a trash barrel, they found the corpse of a 39-year-old drifter." And I said to Mrs. P, "YOU're the corpse of a 39-year-old drifter." And she said, "Okay, STOP."

At war with the little things

On my way to visit my sister this weekend, I stopped at a Dunkin Donuts, as I do, to get an iced coffee. (Yes, yes. It's cold out. I like iced coffee. Sue me.)

I was irritated, because I hadn't gotten much sleep and really needed coffee and the woman behind the counter was more interested in finding out how many different ways she could express to her coworker, using only four words and a limited number of inflections, her disbelief in various things the coworker had done -- "No, you di'n't! You did NOT! NO! NO! You di'n't NO. NO!" -- than she was in getting me my coffee. And then, when I took a sip of my coffee, which I di'n't do til I got back to my car, way out in the lot, I discovered that it was hazelnut.

I've been having a rough couple of days. I've been busy, and stressed out, and I've started doing stupid little busy-stressed-exhausted things like misplacing my keys and my eyeglasses and dropping everything I pick up and snapping over little stuff. It doesn't take much to push me over the edge, at the moment. A little thing, like, say, getting hazelnut, which I hate, instead of regular coffee, which as necessary as oxygen and all a person really needs to be happy, could tip me right over the lip into cuckooland.

"Goddammit," I said to my invisible audience in the parking lot. "I HATE HAZELNUT." And then I paused for a minute. And took another sip.

It was actually kind of good.

"My mistake," I told my make-believe minions. "This is actually kind of good."

They rolled their eyes at me as I got in my car and drove away.

So let me ask you this: Which is a bigger sign of my incipient insanity? Talking to people who aren't there, or discovering that I like a type of coffee I've always hated? I'm just not sure.

Coffee, no sympathy

This is such a tired, tired source of corporate humor, but I think you all should know that if I have to make one more pot of coffee this morning, I'm probably going to go insane, finally, and start running around my office screaming and flapping my arms like a chicken. I've just made my third pot, after finding it empty once again, and I can't take much more. I just don't want you all to be surprised when you see it on the news, that's all.

Oh, and when the cops ask you: You did see this coming.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Holiday swag

It's Christmas time, and, in the publishing world, that means just one thing: swag.

My office is cluttered with candy and booze and stress-relieving squeeze toys with the logos of software companies printed on them. Actually, precious little booze. We're a trade publication, so PR agencies go cheap with us, typically. But in my head, they send booze, because we're all so important here.

Anyway. My point is that there's a lot of crap around, and it sort of frightens me to think of how much money these PR agencies spend on these holiday tchotchkes. Also, the theory behind it mystifies me: has anyone ever written even one article because some company's PR person sent them a greeting card and a keychain? I guess it's just supposed to a be general "hey thanks", but it's still kinda weird, if you ask me. But then, I don't even send Christmas cards to my family and friends, so perhaps we should ask someone else.

Here's a story: A couple years ago, during the holiday swag season, we took in a particularly good haul over here in editorial, and started keeping our toys and candy and whatnot in baskets, also sent by PR firms, at various locations around the department. Whenever someone would start feeling peckish -- low blood sugar, no doubt, on account of the stress of producing all those "Best of the Year/Worst of the Year" wrap-up pieces -- they'd holler "Hey, throw me some candy!" and the person sitting nearest the Swag Basket would toss them a festive green-and-red Snickers or whatever.

One day, one of the marketing guys stopped by to say hey. If you're not in publishing, here's something you should know: the marketing guys make more money than editors. (The janitors make more money than editors, but that's another story.) So this guy -- who's very nice, by the way, so nothing against him -- happens to see all of us munching on our candy and tossing Hersey's Kisses at each other and whatnot and says, "Ah, editorial. Home of holiday graft."

The stress and the sugar must've gotten to me, because I said, "Yes, that's right, [marketing person], editorial is the home of holiday graft. Is that your Audi out front? I can see how you must be consumed with jealousy. You make twice as much money as I do ... and I get a candy apple."

It's amazing I haven't been fired. Yet.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Don't make me come back there

Look, everyone, I'm sad that Pedro's leaving, too, but there's no need to be mean about it. The Mets have clearly lost their minds, offering him that much cash at this point in his career, and I'm happy for him that he's managed to milk his situation. That being said, Petey, they might make you lose the Jheri Curl. And your little pal definitely has got to go. You only get away with that shit in Boston, pal.

I've heard such awful stuff about Pedro in the past couple days from people around the office and from various blogs and media outlets and whatnot, and it's all so silly. This is the one aspect of the Boston fanbase that's always bothered me: we'll turn on you like that.

Join with me, Boston fans. Buck the whiny bitchiness that has defined us, along with losing at the last minute, for nearly a century now. We won, people. Get it? Time to grow some grace.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

How to be a karaoke superstar, or Even bloggers get the blues

I love me some karaoke.

I'm not that girl with the golden voice who stands up and sings "A Sorta Fairytale" or something from "Les Miserables." No, I'm the girl with an octave and a half range and a lot of life-style-induced gravel in her throat who sings Billie Holiday, or, depending on my level of drunkenness, "Every Rose Has Its Thorn." And then talks to people during the guitar solo.

Saturday was an "Every Rose Has Its Thorn," sort of night.

I'd started out by calling my pal Cathy and telling her that I didn't think I was up for a crazy night out on the town. She was very patient and understanding, and suggested a number of replacement outings that wouldn't be so trying on my recently broken heart. Probably because she knows me very well, and therefore was entirely aware of the fact that I would be calling her back in a few short hours to suggest that maybe karaoke was just the thing to lift my spirits. To her credit, she did her best to sound surprised.

Now, Cathy is awesome. Awesome like free booze or an extra-cool Mom. How awesome is she? When I got to her house, she had a Get Well gift for me containing Reese's Peanut Butter cups, a nip of Johnnie Walker Black, a lottery card, three candy rings (one for me, one for her, and one for my sister, who also attended and who had the privilege of acting as my chauffeur) and a dirty greeting card.

I drank my nip and scratched my scratch ticket and modeled my ring for everyone. And then we headed over to the Jeannie Johnston to make some magic.

Two scotches, four beers and a warm-up song later ("I Will Survive"), I was clutching the microphone and doing my Axl Rose impression. By this time, I was having some difficulty seeing. I was also wearing a ginormous light-up Jesus pendant, which I'd bought in the T station earlier and which I'd started referring to as "Jeebus" as in "Jeebus loves your shoes, Cathy" or "Don't make Jeebus angry, or I'll sing Guns N Roses."

Anyway, I developed a neat new karaoke gimmick, which I will share with all of you now, and which you should feel free to use whenever you're confronted with a particularly long guitar solo during karaoke. (They go on so long! What do you do during that time? Head-bang? Dance? What if you can't dance? You know, theoretically speaking?)

Here's what you do: You talk. I decided to offer my audience a list of the many things they could do while Slash regaled us. Here are the ones I remember:

1) Go to the bathroom.

2) Have a snack.

3) Smoke 'em if ya got 'em.

4) Do your taxes.

5) Make a few phone calls.


Okay, I didn't say that last one. It really wasn't a hostile sort of evening.

At the end of the night, Isaac and Cathy put me and Jeebus into our coats and rolled us back to their house, where I passed out on the couch next to a copy of "In Style" that I had been meaning to read. Cathy said it looked like I was spooning with it.

Ah, "In Style." I hope karaoke isn't jealous.

Here's my point

If the Happy Bunny guy can make millions (or, you know, less than that, but still more than me) with his adorable-yet-crude drawings of animals saying nasty things, I should be able to figure out a similar gimick and liberate myself from this cycle of poverty and wage-slavery. I'm thinking of this in particular because it's review time, a time of year that always makes me feel like I've forgotten my homework and will be forced to explain the situation, naked, in front of my ninth grade math class.

Also, I don't know if you've noticed, but it's fucking cold outside and I'd rather be on an island somewhere.

Brilliant idea

The only way out of this mess is to start a line of t-shirts.

More on this later.

Animals endangered, delicious

I was kind of bummed out this weekend, so I did what any redblooded American woman does when she's bummed out: I went to buy shoes.

Specifically, I bought myself a pair of fuzzy boots, which are NOT Uggs, thank you very much, but rather very cool, hip boots that Kate Hudson would never, ever wear with a mini-skirt.

I'd seen them in the Tannery in Harvard Square the week before, and hadn't bought them, because they were too much money and also because they were made of rabbit fur. When I went back to buy them, I still had some doubts.

"Can I really buy something made out of rabbit fur?" I asked my sister.

"You eat meat, don't you?"


"Well, then..." She reached out and stroked the toe of the boot. "EW! You can, like, feel its SKIN."

"I know."

She paused. "But they're so cute!"

In the end, cute won out, as it always does. I have very few principles that I hold more dear than cute. And after all, as Mrs. Piddlington pointed out, I eat meat.

Of course, cows don't twitch their noses in an adorable fashion, but hey.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Monday Quiz: What is Jen sick and tired of? (Tuesday edition)

Today's edition of the Monday Quiz is a little late, because I was actually sick yesterday. It follows, then, that the answer to today's quiz is, "Jen is sick and fucking tired of being sick and fucking tired."

This time of year always blows, in terms of health. (In terms of most things, actually, but that's a separate blog entry.) The rounds of holiday parties, the travel in confined spaces with germy strangers, the late nights, the stress -- it all adds up to me turning into a giant petri dish for cold viruses and stomach bugs.

So you'll have to excuse me if this entry is somewhat brief. I have to go lie down.

Thursday, December 9, 2004

Station Break: Self-indulgent IM conversation #4372

Hi-C: My head is swimming ... I'm proofing my friend's letter of intent to a marine biology and fisherie Ph.D program.

JennieSmash: Wow.

JennieSmash: Who's this?

Hi-C: My friend meaghan.

Hi-C: One of my friends from high school.

Hi-C: You would probably have never met her.

Hi-C: She is away a lot because she is smart and always in school and the such.

Hi-C: Or scuba diving.

JennieSmash: Hey, just like me!

JennieSmash: But replace "away" with "here" and "scuba diving" with "drinking beer and burping."

The tiger or the lady

I like to spend as much of my free time as possible e-mailing my friends. This accomplishes two goals: it allows me to waste time gossiping instead of doing important things like work or cleaning my apartment, and it keeps me from getting too much exercise, which might make me develop an exaggerated view of my own attractiveness and start torturing people with my miniscule pants size and bad attitude.

So I was delight to receive an e-mail the other day from my good friend J. Edward Medina, which in addition to the usual gossip, chatter and drinks invitations (always good), contained the following very interesting question:

What do you find sexier:

- A man who can hold his liquor like a Spanish bull, or ...

- A man with a current library card who uses it?

Isn't that fun? Really hard, too! Here's what I replied:

Thank God you wrote, J. Edward Medina. I was almost

forced to do work. Just imagine.

As for your questions, first I must ask you a

question, to clarify: Do Spanish bulls hold liquor? If

so, where do they swill this liquor? At Schiller's? I

would like to see that very much, is why I ask.

In answer to your question, however, I would have to

say that the library card wins, although I myself do

not read library books, because I am too crazy, and

can't stand to see all those suspicious brown

fingerprints all over the pages when I'm reading.

Also, library books smell bad, like mildew and

halitosis. New books are the way to go, J. Ed. Yes,

the landfill problem is all due to people like me, but

whatever else I am, I'm a good consumer first and


That being said, I have never been in love with a man

who did not have both the qualities you mention. My

current beau makes me look like a Quaker in the

drinking department, and can't shut the door to his

apartment anymore, for fear of knocking over a stack

of books. He's been robbed six times because of this,

but he's too drunk to notice. That's a joke.

All this aside, we should definitely get some



J. Hubley

Wednesday, December 8, 2004

Ugly Americans

Everyone knows that in order to be a true high school nerd, you must either belong to the band or the chorus. Since I had no talent, I joined the chorus.

My best friend Sarah, who was not a nerd, joined the chorus, too, but not out of social desperation. She had, as it happened, a beautiful singing voice. And she also wanted to go on the chorus trip to England our junior year.

England was not at all what we'd expected. We thought it would be like America, only with more tweed and cool accents. Instead, we discovered that England was this whole separate country, with different weather and food and an entirely different sense of humor.

The vicar at the Anglican church where we were supposed to sing was a lovely, older man who looked like John Cleese and acted like the murderer in every BBC mystery we'd seen on PBS. He was very glad to have us there. He was delighted that we'd be singing. And oh, yes, if we felt we wanted to come up to the front for Communion during the service -- or a blessing, if Communion wasn't our thing -- we should feel free.

Communion wasn't either of our things. Sarah was Jewish; I was agnostic. However, we both liked the idea of being blessed by an English vicar, so we decided to go up. As it turned out, we would have felt funny staying in the pew. Everyone went up, including the people who cut CCD to smoke cigarettes at Friendly's.

We got in line with everyone else and began the slow shuffle to the front of the church. As the first batch of communicants dropped to their knees, Sarah clutched my arm in terror.

"I can't kneel," she whispered.


"I can't kneel," she hissed. "I'm a Jew. We don't kneel. It's a rule. No golden calves, no kneeling."

"Well, look. Don't worry. I won't kneel either."

"You won't?"

"Nah. Who cares? I'm not Christian."

"Okay. You promise?"

"Promise. We'll look weird together."

Oh boy, did we look weird. Everyone else peered up at us curiously from their position on the floor, as Sarah and I stood awkwardly in front of the vicar. The vicar peered at us benignly, just a little puzzled, and held out the Host for us to take.

"Oh, no thanks!" Sarah squeaked. "No body of Christ for me! I'm a vegetarian!"

The vicar stopped smiling.

Tuesday, December 7, 2004

Mind of its own

I went to see a friend's open studios this weekend. I was a little nervous about it, for two reasons: number one, I get lost easily, and her studio is in a neighborhood I never go to; number two, her mother would be there, and her mother always hurts my feelings.

Let me be clear: my feelings are easily hurt. Now that I am an adult-type person, or at least wearing my adult-type clothes, I can pass this off as sensitivity and justify it by pointing to its usefulness in helping me craft scintillating observations about mankind. But until I started writing -- and telling people about it -- I was just kinda nutty and difficult to get along with.

Anyway. My friend's mother is very good at saying the kinds of things that make sensitive nuts like myself cringe, and then cower, and then drive home shouting clever comebacks into the rearview mirror, and then climb into the bathtub with a bottle of bourbon and weep.

To make matters worse, the day of the open studios, I woke up ugly. The last vestiges of my summer color (not really anything so grand as a tan, but a bit of natural blush and an amplification of my freckles) had totally faded, leaving me pale and washed out and, it seemed to me, possessed of new wrinkles I'd never noticed before. I also had an enormous zit, right in the middle of my check where you can't pop it for fear of getting a pock mark. And my hair was frizzy and dry, and I was at my Mom's house and didn't have my regular hair gunk.

I've always hated my hair. It's curly, for one thing, and very full, but fine, so it won't hold a hair style or do anything I tell it to do. My sister claims that in this, it expresses my personality perfectly. I have obstinate hair.

But this is what hair pins were made for, so that's what I did. I stole some of Mom's conditioner and made my hair flat, and twisted it back off my face where it couldn't bother me. A few little broken off strands stood up immediately and started waving around like I was holding one of those static electricity balls at the Museum of Science, but I tamped most of them down with conditioner and figured it was the best I could do.

My friend's mother, on the other hand, had perfect hair. She'd just had it cut into a cute little bob with bangs, the hair style I've always coveted and can never ever have. The first thing she said to me was, "Look at your hair!" I winced.

"It's so long!" She said.

I opened one eye cautiously. Long isn't bad. Not necessarily.

"Yeah," I said. "It's not as long as it looks, though. I've just got it back."

"Oh, that's right," she said. "You have that BUSHY HAIR."

Later, when I was driving home, screaming into my rearview mirror, I thought of a million things to say:

"I don't have BUSHY HAIR. I'm just not GOING BALD LIKE YOU."


"It just looks bushy because I'm young. Once I'm OLD LIKE YOU, it will lie flat."


"You're mean! You're a mean, mean lady! Poopy!"

That last one is probably what I would have said, if I'd said anything. Which was why I kept my mouth closed.

And then ran right home to write about it.

Monday, December 6, 2004

Monday Quiz 2: What is Jen sick and tired of? (AOL edition)

Hello, and welcome to the second installment of "What is Jen sick and fucking tired of?" This was supposed to be a weekly segment here on the Smash, but I got lazy. This is a blog, after all. "Lazy" is our middle name.

Today, I am sick and fucking tired of automatic software upgrades. I work at an Internet publishing company (yes, there are a few of us left), and I do about 85% of my work on the Internet. All of the applications that allow me to post stuff to our Web sites, for example, are Web-based. So when I can't use the Internet for some reason, I pretty much can't work.

Cue AOL Instant Messenger, and their oh-so-helpful automatic software upgrade. (We use IM for work purposes, by the way. Just in case you were going to advise me to solve all my problems by getting to work for real.) Every other week, it seems, I get another little pop-up window when I log on, telling me that my Instant Messenger is hopelessly out of date, but not to worry: with one click of my mouse, I can download the latest version and get the latest smileys and wallpaper and obnoxious little door shut!/door open! noises. This will presumably keep me from being ostracized at work by my peers who remain more current with their free applications.

But I don't care about that, because my coolness comes from within, or rather not at all. So if it were up to me, I'd never ever upgrade IM. I'd still be using the first version that came on the market, the one where a little woodpecker appears on your screen and taps out your messages on a slate tablet. (Similarly, I still use a cell phone with the magical power of making and receiving phone calls, and not much else in the way of features. It is the size of a sandwich and weighs five pounds. It might have a crank on the back.)

However, you can't let IM lie fallow on your machine, not the way they've got it set up, oh no. After skipping two or three upgrades, you will start to notice that your IM doesn't work as well as it did a few weeks ago. You won't be able to see people's icons at all anymore, or you won't see a flash when someone is messaging you. Also, that one guy who works at every company and does nothing all day but try out new features on free software will message you incessantly, asking you if you can hear the Star Spangled Banner play while he types.

So I keep having to upgrade. This last time, AOL thoughtfully installed a toolbar with a pop-up blocker that essentially cancelled out half our content management applications. Like a total boob, I sat there for half an hour, waiting for the pop-up window to appear telling me that my content was ready for preview. In vain, alas, in vain.

I can only hope that my new toolbar will cancel out AOL's next "free upgrade!" pop-up.

Friday, December 3, 2004

I am here to help

Hello, my friends, friends' friends, family members, ex-boyfriends and stalkers. I am starting a new feature here on the Smash, and I need your help. It's going to be called "Ask Jennie Smash", and it will be, as you might expect, an advice column. There's a twist, too, but I hate to spoil things for people.

So send me your troubles and cares: iscribblez AT I am not a trained anything, and I often give very bad advice. How's that for a pitch?

Thursday, December 2, 2004

Pixies, yay! Yay, Pixies!

So, I went to see the Pixies last night in Lowell. It was a good show, despite the fact that I was tired and feeling sort of grumpy and old. Fortunately, the Pixies themselves are now grumpy and old, and so is most of their audience, so I didn't feel out of place.

Because I'm lazy, as well as being grumpy and old, here are my observations from the show, in no particular order:

1) Frank Black has a big, fat head. And it gets worse from there: his neck looks like it's trying to swallow his noggin. I've heard he's kind of a dick, and all I can say is that if my neck looked like a foreskin, I might be, too. That being said, he's still a completely awesome weirdo.

2) I still wish Kim Deal would be my friend.

3) Everyone has little pigtails now. It used to be just a few people and now it's everyone. Why can't I have little pigtails? Maybe I'll just cut all my hair off.

4) Here's how I know I'm old: I sat down at the show. Like, for almost all of it. And I thought it was too loud.

5) My imaginary baby, which some of you may remember from my livejournal, was in full force last night. Actually, it was more like an imaginary fetus. I was so hormonal with PMS that it was like I was pregnant. My premenstrual self wanted a lot of salt, so I got a big bag of popcorn and snarfled it down. And then I stole some of Isaac's M&Ms. He was a little confused when I told him that my imaginary baby thinks M&Ms are delicious.

6) Where do people find time to sew little skulls on the back of their vintage coats? I don't even have time to sew buttons on. I just wear the fucker until I'm down to, say, two buttons and then I throw that shit out.

7) I seem to have stopped recycling. I just left all my garbage on the floor. Also, at work, I'm not using my recycling bin for its intended purpose. What does that mean? Have I given up?

8) Crowds are always full of awesome freaks. This is true at concert venues, shopping malls and outdoor gun shows. Get more than ten strangers in a room and you're bound to have at least one mutterer with questionable hygiene.

9) I want robotic lights like the ones the Pixies had. They hung on trees and moved just like the spotlights in the future scenes of The Terminator. If I had these robotic lights, I would program them so that they would go on whenever I spoke in a meeting or told a joke when I was out with my friends. Just imagine how shocked you'd be if we were hanging out and I said something and then this huge purple spotlight shone on me.

10) People don't wave lighters anymore. They wave cell phones. DUMB. (I did it, too.)

Wednesday, December 1, 2004

A recent realization

This is just life: I'm stressed out and that's how it is.

I realized that today, because I was talking to my good friend and fellow stress-bunny Cathy, and one or the other of us (could have been either) said, "Well, it's just been a hard year." And then I realized that I've been saying "it's been a hard year" for oh ... the last five years or so at least. So basically, as long as I've been out in the world, working and paying rent and trying to figure out how to have normal relationships with other humans, it's been a hard year.

For my new year's resolution, I think I will start saying something else instead. Not necessarily something positive, mind you. I don't want to get dizzy and confuse myself. But instead of saying that it's been a hard year, maybe I'll just use a different adjective. Maybe I'll say it's been a fuzzy year, or it's been a purple year. Maybe I'll say, "this year does not quite match the other years, but the light is so dim in the bar that no one will notice."