Sunday, January 29, 2006

"Are You Happy?"

Most of my friends are crazy, and this is not an accident.

As a sorta nutty person myself, I only feel really comfortable around the neurotic. If someone seems too self-confident across the board, I tend to think they're either serial killers or really, really stupid. How could you live like that, all puffed up and secure, unless you weren't really paying attention?

A few things I've heard lately from people/said myself, that underscore our (hopefully delightful) neurosis and self-absorption:

The Donut: "Is it nice outside?"

Me: "Yes! Gorgeous! I'm taking a walk through the EV right now."

The Donut: "Can't you stop pressuring me for even a second?"


Mrs. Piddlington: "So what will you write about on [such-and-such a theroretical project]?"

Me: "I don't know."

Mrs. Piddlington: "You must have some ideas."

Me: "Must I? Must I really?"

Mrs. Piddington: -

Me: "Do I really have ideas, Mrs. P? Am I an 'idea-having' kind of person? I'm just not sure anymore."

Mrs. Piddlington: "Are you taking your medicine?"

The other day I was at a party and a friend I hadn't seen for a couple of weeks asked me if I was happy since moving to New York. And I said, oh, yes, delightfully so, etc. He then looked at me very seriously and said, "Are you sure? Because it's OK if you aren't."

So suggestible am I, that I actually had to take a minute to figure out if I was lying to myself. So there you go, advertisers: I am your target audience. Make of my brain what you will.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006


Please peruse the latest Black List, in which Will Leitch shows that he can take a joke with the best of them.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Burn, Black Table, Burn!

Please enjoy the Black Table Roast, hosted by the comedy geniuses at Yankee Pot Roast. My section is here.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Rare Weekend of Productivity

I took this weekend off, for the most part, if you don't count Friday night. (OK, OK, if you don't count anything up til 5 a.m on Saturday morning. All-night diners are my kryptonite.) I promised myself that I'd do some writing, lie around, take naps and so on. I did all those things, but I also got an amazing amount of work done, including reorganizing my papers, selling my old TV on craigslist, cleaning my whole apartment, and returning every phonecall and email I've neglected over the past week. Kind of amazing, actually. The secret of productivity seems to be to decide not to do anything productive at all.

Because of my productive weekend, however, I have no good stories for you. Sorry about that. I haven't left my apartment in over 24 hours, unless you count opening the door for the couple that came to take my TV away, so I have no run-ins with the homeless, or funny stories about boys, or amusing anecdotes from the subway. I have, however, slept for more than 20 hours total and eaten so many vegetables that I'm practically a rabbit.

It was half past time for this. I was getting so worn out that I felt cranky all the time. Too much work and too much fun.

In fact, the other day, I was walking along the street, rethinking something from work and feeling half-awake and in need of a vitamin shot, when I realized that I was talking to myself. It was a cold day, so I was wearing a long coat and a small black hat and scarf. And then, from the opposite direction, along came a woman, just about 60 years old, wearing a long coat and a small black hat and scarf. She was elegantly dressed, but clearly a crazy person. And she was talking to herself. And I thought, "OK, that's it, I'm taking this weekend off." And, of course, then I realized that I'd said that aloud.

Hey -- I found a crazy person story for you guys, anyway! Don't say I never gave you nuthin'.

We Are Family

Cuz: (Somewhat drunkenly.) I just wanted to call to tell you that you're my favorite Jennie and that I love you so much.

Me: Aw, thanks, man. I love you, too. I really appreciate the call. I needed it tonight.

Cuz: Are you blue?

Me: No, not really. It's more like my face is collapsing and covered with wrinkles and fine lines and that I have no ideas and not much talent and I'm a fraud.

Cuz: (Pause.) Are you blue?

The wrinkles and fine lines obsession is a new one, or relatively so, and has gotten worse in the last day or two because I decided to go get my eyebrows threaded on Friday.

"You want your lip, too?" The lady asked.

"What? No. I don't -- do I need my lip, too?"

She looked at me with great pity. And then, because I always want fries with that, I allowed myself to be upsold.

Here is the problem with getting your whole face threaded and then going back to work: You wind up sitting at your desk with a swollen face. I informed my coworkers that I would be facing the window for the rest of the day, and not to take offense: I just didn't want them to have nightmares.

The problem with threading or plucking of any kind, of course, is that once your face is all swollen and bare, you can feel free to visualize the teensy beginnings of wrinkles that you'll probably get in about ten years. By the time I finished my makeup at the gym that afternoon, I was nearly in tears.

All this to say that I am terribly vain, but you all knew that already. However, I am fun at parties. And now I am virtually hair-free. Really, you can't ask for much more than that.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Shabu Shabu: Japanese for "Expensive Egg Dish You Make Yourself"

Many of my friends are cultured individuals who grew up in New York and have traveled the world in search of ... I don't know what, because I don't understand them, but let's just say that I'm betting none of them ever spent two hours looking for pizza in Paris. Which I have. Just so you know what you're dealing with, here.

This disparity in our goals, inner make-up, etc, makes it hard to find a late night snack sometimes, especially when we're drinking. Example:

Friend: Oooh, we should get dumplings.

Me: Do they have cheese?

Friend: No, they're like ... you've never had dumplings?

Me: Is there gravy?

And so on.

Usually, I win the argument and drag them sighing into a pizza joint. But sometimes, because I grownups are expected to "compromise" and "listen to people" and "pretend to care," I have to eat something that is not primarily Wonderbread and Ragu.

As a result, I wound up in a Japanese place the other night where you cook your own food at your table in a pot of boiling water. Your "food," BTW, consists of weird-looking mushrooms, various sea creatures that might still be alive and definitely were an hour ago, scraps of unidentifiable land mammal and a big chunk of lettuce. Also an egg, which the Mouse explained to me is meant to be cracked into your sauce dish and mixed with various condiments, for dipping. I want to repeat that, so that I can be sure you understand this: You are supposed to dip your food, excuse me "food," which you have cooked yourself, for $15, into RAW EGG and then eat it. And then, when you get food poisoning and wind up in the hospital, one assumes that the nursing staff will triage you to the Room Full of Assholes Who Have Only Themselves to Blame, where you will occupy a gurney next to a late-stage alcoholic and a tourist who got shanked by a homeless dude outside Bowery Mission while examining a giant map and wearing a straw hat and holding his wallet in his teeth.

The dips themselves were confusing. There was green stuff and white stuff and a couple different bottles of red stuff. I asked the Mouse to show me the soy sauce for white people, and he gave me what looked like a pitcher of maple syrup.

"Is this maple syrup?" I asked.

He shook his head sadly.

"Cuz I like maple syrup."

No dice.

At the table, he showed us how to turn on our burners and crack our eggs and prepare the sauce. For some reason, my burner worked best, so my water started boiling before anyone else's.

"Why is hers boiling?" Madcat asked. "Why isn't mine boiling? Mine is broken. It doesn't work."

So the Mouse had to get up and adjust her burners. By this time, I'm sure he was wishing we'd just gotten pizza.

"What are you doing?" he asked me.

I was up-ending my dish of egg and soy sauce into the boiling water.

"I'm making myself a poached egg."

He paused. "That's almost brilliant."

"I have excellent coping mechanisms."

Later, I got a slice of pizza.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Oh Grumble, Grumble

I'm out of sorts these days, for a variety of reasons. One is that I'm on the New Hotness Diet and Exercise Plan, so I'm tired, sore, starving and pissed off. Another is that I am so over dudes, and I know you've heard that before, but this time, I mean it, I swear. Those other girls are kidding, but I have never been more serious. In the last week, I have had at least two conversations with dudes about the Dating Siesta and its implications for their behavior (or at least my reception to their behavior) and neither took it well.

Also, I'm pretty sure my friends are tired of hearing about all of this, which is why I'm bothering all of you with it. Ordinarily I try to shield you from the less entertaining aspects of my life, my little pumpkins, but it's either this or a therapist. And ever since my last therapist stalked me, well, I've been a little gunshy.

My guy friends do not understand my dilemma at all. The Mouse for example, set down his beer and glared at me.

"Now let me get this straight," he said. "You're telling me that your big problem right now is that men want to have sex with you?"

"When you put it like that, it sounds stupid," I admitted. "But listen, that's all they want."

"Honestly, most of the time, that's all any of us want. That and beer. Oh, and an Xbox 360."

And then I went and lay down in the road. No, I didn't. I just blinked twice to let the fog clear and said, "But the problem is, that's all they want."

I have many problems, but perseverance isn't one of them. (Or, depending on how you look at it, it's the only one. Hmm. Hmm.)

Later this week, I caught up with my friend Deete on IM. Most people like to start their IM conversations with a simple, "Hey, how are you?" I like to open with a poll:

Jennie SMASH!: so let me ask you a question
Deete: go
Jennie SMASH!: do i seem like a giant ho-bag?
Deete: ohyes
Deete: i've always said that about you
Jennie SMASH!: because i'm on this dating siesta, and 80% of my male friends seem to think they're going to coax me into the sack
Deete: ha
Deete: um just want what they can't have
Deete: esp. if you've made it known that you're on the siesta in the first place
Jennie SMASH!: well, that might have something to do with it
Jennie SMASH!: but it's starting to piss me off, not to put it too strongly
Deete: i could see that
Deete: it would be one thing if they were sincere
Jennie SMASH!: exactly
Deete: but you can tell they're not?
Jennie SMASH!: but it's not really a compliment
Jennie SMASH!: oh, they're sincere
Jennie SMASH!: they sincerely want me to remove my pants
Jennie SMASH!: and i'm sincerely sick of it
Deete: you should write just that in your blog
Jennie SMASH!: i think i will

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The Saga of the Cheese

My delivery from FreshDirect arrived today. Only there was no fucking cheese in it. Is this a joke? Am I on camera? Well, I assure you, it's not funny. You don't want to get between me and my cheese, FreshDirect. I will take you down. I will beat on you with my meaty, dairy-swollen little fists and crush you beneath my calcium-dense skeleton. Do not mess with me. You'll be sorry.

My Friend Laura is Insane

...however, she's quite good with the Photoshop. This piece is entitled: "Jen is stolen by a hot pirate," and I found it in my MySpace comments today.

Monday, January 16, 2006

FreshDirect and I Are Totally Breaking Up

So, I just got my delivery from FreshDirect, only an hour-and-a-half late, and one of the boxes was missing. It wasn't on the truck, either, cuz I asked the delivery dude. Guess which box it was?

It was the box with my cheese in it.

This is clearly unacceptable. They're just lucky that I'm too damn lazy to shop for myself.

Look Away

I just burned my thumb making myself microwave macaroni and cheese at 5 a.m. I assume there are more ghetto injuries than this, but I can't think of what they might be. I also assume that this will seem really funny in ten years when I'm getting the kids ready for preschool, etc.

"Remember the days when I had time to drunkenly injure myself with noodles?" I'll say. Oh, it will be hilarious.

Seriously, I think we might have to amputate.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

I Can Now Die Happy

My Black Table piece was linked to on Gawker. Thanks to Madcat for pointing it out!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Fame and Fortune, the Frey Way

Still waiting for your book deal? Never fear, my darlings. I have concocted a plan to get you to glory that much faster, via a time-honored method: Lying. Check out the Black Table for further instructions.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Finally: The One About Cheese

The New Hotness is being seriously threatened by two things: 1) this gee dee cold, which I have now had for eleven-hundred years and counting and which is apparently immune to medication, rest, prayer, etc.; and 2) the fact that I can not stop stuffing cheese right down my piehole like it's about to be taken away from me.

This reminds me of a conversation I had with the Mouse the other day, as most things do. We were discussing people who refer to the subway systems according to color. For those of you who don't live in New York, this is incorrect. The subway goes by letter here, and even though the letter-signs are different colors, well, you just don't call them that, OK?

In fact, "I never even think of them as being colors," I said to the Mouse. He had two beers in front of him, for some unknown reason. This often happens to him, and I'm not sure exactly why. He'd say charm, I'm sure. Never trust a Mouse. "I know the F-train is orange and the ACE is ... er, blue..."

"Yeah, yeah, and the 7 is purple and fat kids like pie. Doesn't matter. We still don't call them by their colors."

Fat kids like pie? I ask you.

Where was I? Jeebus. Cold medicine. Anyway, cheese. I just ate a bag of shredded cheddar, which is totally not awesome for my gut, but which had immediate positive effects on my mood, so scrrrreeew.

I'm going to go lie down now.

Monday, January 9, 2006

From My Spam Folder

Headline: "Have you always wanted to use your penis as a pool cue?"

Um, OW. Anyone who answers "yes" to that question deserves to be frantically scanning the Cialis website for an antidote.

Posting About Cheese Will Commence Shortly

I'm sort of enjoying my attitude problem lately. Shortly after the holidays, I decided to embark on a Dating Siesta (tm Madcat), and short of spraying pheromones behind my ears, I probably couldn't have thought of a better way to get guys to think I'm extra delightful. (Also, that's one complicated sentence, there. Have I mentioned that I'm sick?)

The other night, I was out at the frattiest bar I've been to since college, and this huge meat-head guy came up to me and grabbed my hand. I never know what to do when people touch me unexpectedly. I was raised to be polite, so generally I smile nervously, which is a mistake. Anyone would take that to mean that the touching was well-received, when in fact, what I mean is usually more along the lines of, "Oh, my, that's my person you're grabbing there. How very uncomfortable and embarrassing for us both. I'll pretend this isn't happening if you will."

On this particular night, however, I was feeling bitchy, so when the guy grabbed me and started his spiel, I just said, "I'm sorry. I really can't right now," disengaged my hand, and walked away.

My cousin, who was hanging out with me on this particular evening, leaned over and whispered in my ear, "Big man likes you!"

"Oh, hooray. Maybe if I keep eating, we can buy matching pants."

So we ordered some nachos, as you do.

An hour or two later, the Drunken Mouse's roommate sidled up to me, and asked if he could do a faux-lean on my shoulder.

"What's that?"

"A faux-lean," he said. "Like this." And he mimed leaning on me.

"Um, OK, sure." I shrugged went back to shoveling nachos down my throat.

"You hate me, don't you," the roommate said.

"No, I don't hate you." (This is a pet peeve of mine. Guys who say "you hate me, don't you?" are the male equivalent of girls who toss their hair back and say, "you think I'm hideous, don't you?" Like I don't have enough trouble without validating other people? C'mon, folks. Get a therapist like the rest of us.)

"You do. I can tell. You hate me."

I sighed. "No, dude, I don't hate you. I just know you're a nightmare with women."

He looked at me in horror. "I am not!" He jerked his thumb at the Mouse, who was chatting up a girl at the end of the bar with evident success. "What, just because this guy says I am? Don't believe him!"

In fact, the Mouse had told me a bit about this gentleman's sexscapades, but I didn't need the cheat-sheet. "I didn't just fall off the turnip truck, you know," I told him.

"I can't believe you think that of me."

"Look, I think you're a nice guy: I'm just not going to be macked on, is all."

For the rest of the evening, I had a new best friend. The Mouse's roommate was determined to get my approval one way or the other. By hook or by crook, as they say, he would convince me that he was a nice guy. And then, one imagines, he'd seal the deal by tricking me out of my pants. Is it any wonder I'm tired?

My stop is first on the F-train, so I got off before anyone else. I waved goodbye without looking, and pushed my way out of the car.

The Mouse claims that I would have been fooled by this guy, had I not had the inside scoop. But the power of the Dating Siesta is strong, my friends. You are no match for its kung fu!

Sunday, January 8, 2006

Oh, Boo Hoo

So, everyone I know got engaged over the New Year, and the Black Table is closing up shop. Mrs P told me on the phone the other night that she knows I'm depressed, because I hadn't updated the blog in almost a week. She's awfully clever, that Mrs P.

I also have a cough. A horrible tickly cough way down in my chest, like grasshoppers flying around in my lungs or something. Fortunately, I live in New York, so I was able to have cough syrup delivered, along with some cheesy horror movies. For reals, I don't know how people live anywhere else.

Anyway, to get out of my bloggy slump, I'm going to need your help. In the comments section, please vote for your favorite Jennie Smash theme, and I will write you a story about it:

1) Those crazy New York subways with those crazy New York people!
2) Hobos I've known.
3) Boys hit on me in bars! They do!
4) Animals are cute.
5) [Fill in the blank.]

Thank you for your help in this and other endeavors.

Saturday, January 7, 2006

Another One

For those of you who are keeping score, I now have my FOURTH cold of the year. This is a germy damn city.

I'm pretty upset about this, because the New Hotness was going so well. I got to the gym four times this week, which has not happened since I was in high school and trying to have an eating disorder. (I wound up eating 4000 calories a day instead. Hubleys are good eaters.)

Tuesday, January 3, 2006

J'heart New York

There's definitely something wrong with me, because I feel better in New York.

Everyone -- people who live here, people who've never even been here, people who got their idea of New York by watching "Friends" -- will tell you that New York is no one's idea of a relaxing good time. However, I've noticed something on my last couple trips home from other parts of the world: I start to relax the instant I see the lights of the city come up in the airplane window, or the institutional brick of Co-op City creep into my view from the train.

My theory is that the hecticness of New York appeals to my neurotic nature. Whatever the reason, it's good to be home. Even if I am convinced that the Giant Roach of Sumatra is not foiled by caulking, but merely waiting patiently for me to leave my apartment. I'm totally sure that as soon as I shut off the lights, he creeps out and climbs all over my dishes and knives and coffee pot and sponges and dish-drainer and antibacterial soap and so on. He's just gotten smart, y'see.

Monday, January 2, 2006


While reading The Lost King of France by Deborah Cadbury, about the final days of Louis XVII. It's a pretty horrifying story, since he was only eight when his parents were decapi-ma-tated and all, and also because he was kept prisoner for years and abused by his "tutors," who thought it was really cute to expose a kid to syphilitic prostitutes and the such. Awesome. Anyway, in the midst of clucking angrily over his treatment, I noticed the following passage:

"Surrounded by the phantoms of his previous existence, in a room that held such frightening memories for him, he was confined to a space of about thirteen by eleven feet."

My apartment has similar dimensions, I'd like to point out. Although I have running water. And since I recently had my yearly checkup and all, I can pretty much promise you that I am 100% syphilis-free.

Kibbles 'n Bits 'n Bits 'n ... Ew

Jennie Smash: Do you know what actually happened to that face transplant woman?

Ma Smash: She got a face transplant?

Jennie Smash: No, before that.

Ma Smash: No! What?

Jennie Smash: She tried to kill herself by taking an overdose of sleeping pills. And then her dog thought she was dead, so he tried to eat her face.

Ma Smash: No! Ew! Really?

Jennie Smash: Really, really. Dogs are predators, you know. Doesn't matter how much they love you. If you're dead, you're lunch. And they start with your face, it seems. I guess it's chewy, or something.

Ma Smash: Maybe he was just trying to wake her up, and he got carried away.

Jennie Smash: He ate her nose, lips, and chin.

Ma Smash: Oh, dear. Well, I guess it's true then. You can't believe anything you see on TV.

Jennie Smash: ?

Ma Smash: All this time, I thought Lassie was trying to tell Timmy's folks that he was in the well. Now it seems like maybe she was just waiting for him to float to the top.

Sunday, January 1, 2006

It's My World. This Woman Just Lives in It.

You know, every so often I start to think about someday having a kid or at least getting a dog, and then immediately afterward, something happens that makes me realize that I am just not at all well enough for either.

For instance, this evening my friends Isaac and Cathy and Sara and I took her pooch for a walk. Sara's dog is awesome. His name is Jake, he's a Shiba Inu, looks like a small docile bear, and never barks. His one problem is that he really doesn't like other dogs. He kind of wants to kill them. Because Sara loves her dog and doesn't want to get sued, and also because it's the law in Boston, she therefore walks him on a leash. Very smart, right?

Well, here's the problem: Many of the stupid hippies who populate Jamaica Plain do not feel that their dogs should be encumbered by silly little things like leashes. They have similarly lax ideas about child rearing, but that's another entry for another time. This evening, we're concentrating on the dog problem, or more specifically, on the owner problem, because this particular situation was definitely a case of Stupid Owner.

Let me sketch this woman out for you. Fortyish, wearing some kind of furry Peruvian sweater. Hair sensibly coiffed in what appeared to be a wiffle. Long feathery substitute art teacher earrings. One dog, of indeterminate breed. One child, who is clearly doomed.

Peruvian Sweater and child were walking a block behind us. Their mutt, sans leash, was dancing around poor Jake, snapping and barking and generally inciting riot.

"Is this your dog?" Sara called back to Peruvian Sweater.

"Oh, yes, that's him!"

"Well, you might want to come get him," she said, yanking on Jake's leash while he tried to go for the mutt's jugular. "My dog isn't friendly. Just FYI."

Peru ambled over, very slowly, making dumbass cooing sounds, like that would help. After a few feeble grabs, she managed to get ahold of what I'm sure was a 100% hemp collar, and haul her dog out of Jake's personal space.

"This is actually why you're supposed to have your dog on a leash," I told her.

She made irritated noises. "You're not very friendly! In fact, you're just as unfriendly as this dog!"

You know in the Popeye cartoons, when Bluto saw red? Yeah, that's what happened right then. "Oh, I'm actually a lot less friendly than this dog, believe me."

"I can see that! I can see that!" Ushering the kid and the dog away, she called back over her shoulder. "You need a muzzle!"

"Oh, yeah?" I said.

"Jen, she's with a kid--" Cathy cautioned.

"--Well you need to be spayed."

Keens of Peruvian sweater-clad indignation bounced over the snow as she tried in vain to block her kid's ears and hold the dog collar. And no one was really speaking to me on the way home.

But I'm here to tell you: That kid was ruined anyway. Her Mom is exactly the sort of person who pickets unjust corporations on the corner and then goes right into the nearest Starbucks and berates the baristas. I have absolutely no use for such people. And I'm taking them down, one unfriendly act at a time.