Dragons Are Fierce

When I dusted off my very first published novel and posted it here a few weeks ago, I was feeling pretty happy with my talent as a seven-year old. It may have been the pinnacle of my career, in fact. But then, last weekend, I visited my brother and his family, and realized that I had been dethroned by both my nephews.
At just six and eight, their raw talent far surpasses anything I could ever hope to achieve. My eight year old nephew is delving into the world of prose poetry, and the six year old clearly has a knack for historical non-fiction.
At this point, I’m going to focus all my creative energy on getting them both agents so that I can retire early. I mean, a six year old who uses the word, “fierce?” He has made Tyra Banks and me so very, very proud:
Dragons Are Fierce
Illustrated by Andrew, Auther is Andrew (Age 6)
Dragons breathe out fire
They have scales that are rock solid.
And they drink water like us.
Dragons have sharp teeth,
Some dragons have white teeth.
Dragons are like dinosaurs except dragons have wings,
When dragons run out of meat they have to eat nothing,
Or else they will die.
Dragons are fierce, they also have a devil’s tail.
They love to play in the fire like devil’s.
Dragons have a flame box.
If they don’t have a flame box they cannot breathe out fire
Or else they can’t breathe out fire.
Sometimes dragons have horns,
Sometimes they don’t.
Dragons usually have a spiky tail.
Moast dragons had red or blue eyes.
The End.

[Don’t] Save the Date [Yet]: The Con of Tequila, 2007 A.D.

“Hey, hon. So… what do you think about going to Portland the weekend after Valentine’s Day?”
“Portland? Oregon or Maine?”


“In February? Seems like it would be kind of cold. What’s the occasion?”

“Um, well, there’s gonna be this thing, with a bunch of bloggers, and drinking tequila, and talking about the Internet.”

“But, I don’t have a blog.”

“That’s okay – you don’t have to. It’ll be really fun to meet-”

“And I don’t want to talk to a bunch of computer nerds I don’t even know.”

“Well you don’t have to talk to them. I’m sure there will be other people who don’t blog.”

“I don’t want to talk to a bunch of non-computer nerds either. What kind of Valentine’s Day gift is that supposed to be?!”

“God! Can’t you ever just let me enjoy something? How about I get you nothing for Valentine’s Day? How about that?”

“Fine by me! And how about you take your shit out of my apartment for your Valentine’s Day gift?!”

“You don’t understand me! You’ve never been supportive of anything I do! Nobody understands me like my blogger friends!”

“They’re not your friends! They’re just freaks on the Internet!”

“Shut up! I hate you!”

“I hate you too!”



This is a conversation I hope will begin taking place all across the country, nay the world, as plans begin to formulate for what looks to be the greatest blogger get-together of all-time. It will be hard to top TequilaCon’06: New York City, but I think we can do it, with your participation.

So put it in your Franklin Day Planner – in ink – and start saving your dimes. Because this time, there will be no excuses.


TequilaCon ’07: Electric Boogaloo
February 17, 2007 TBD
Portland, Oregon


Almost forgot to mention, I’m already compiling the first of several spreadsheets detailing the demographic, socio-economic, and psychographic breakdown of all attendees, so be sure to let me know if you think you might attend.

TequilaCon ’07 – now with 50% more pie charts!


Okay – so due to the eagle eyes of Dave2, we just discovered that the Portland Int’l Film Festival is being held for the two weeks that cross over our original dates. Hotels are already starting to sell out, so we’re probably going to have to pick a new date – most likely in March/April. I’m open to suggestions, so feel free to send them my way. Details to follow.

Rage in a Cage

Usually, it takes a lot to really get my blood boiling, and even when it does start to bubble, I can usually keep it under control. I’m kind of like an M&M with a molten Sicilian center surrounded by a thick, level-headed German shell. Melts in your mouth, not in your hands.
But when I’m really stressed out at work, like I have been for the past two weeks, and then I lose my DSL and phone service for three days and have to spend 45 minutes beeping and booping my way through seventeen layers of automated help menus at AT&T, and the sushi place forgets to put my ebi in the takeout box and I don’t realize it until I’m all the way home, the little things start to make me crazy.
So today, the object of my hatred is the universe of people who simply do not understand how to ride a train. The collective rage deep inside me has been churning up, so much so that I had to do the only thing I know that can calm me down: I made a list. Some people drink, some people smash things. I drink, smash things, and then categorize. For your reference, I have listed these in the order in which I typically encounter them.
Premature evacuators
These are the people who, for whatever reason, feel the need to get up from their seat and stand by the door for the remaining five minutes of the train ride into the Loop. Apparently, if they are first off the train, they win.
But instead of simply asking the person next to them if they can get out, they will shuffle their papers and zip up their jackets and snap shut their briefcases and look at their watches and wiggle in their seats and exhale heavily all with great dramatic flair so that the person next to them gets up. Well you know what? You can shuffle your ass and snap your pleather briefcase all you want, but unless you speak to me, or until that train comes a-screechin’ into the station, I will never let you out. Ever. Even if I’m in a hurry. DO YOU HEAR ME! NEVER!
First-time revolving door users
Are there parts of the world that don’t have revolving doors? Because the train stations in the Loop seem to attract an inordinate amount of people who have no idea how they work. So here is my advice to those people: IT’S NOT F*CKING DOUBLE DUTCH, PEOPLE! JUST JUMP YOUR ASS INTO THE FIRST AVAILABLE SLOT AND SHUFFLE YOUR FEET! DONE!
I swear to god, at 6:00pm rushhourtryingtogethomeafterareallycrappyday why do I always get stuck behind the family from the suburbs that has just been on a shopping spree at the American Girl store and has fifty two bags and forty three children who are ascared to step inside the revolving door? And then they shove in, two at a time, which brings the entire process to a screeching halt.
Smelly food eaters
I understand that some people are stuck on the train for a good hour or so, right at dinner time. You want to eat? I’m totally cool with that. But please, please, can you please just not get the jumbo double onion burrito from Taco Bell or the extra garlic chicken wings from Popeye’s two seconds before you hop onto the train?
These are smells that waft through the train car like cartoon skunk spray, weaving their way around every single passenger and ultimately fusing with my skin cells, so I actually smell it when I get home. Look – there’s an Aunt Annie’s pretzel store right by the doors, or a Subway sandwich shop over there in the corner. Cinnamon raisin pretzel, turkey club and chips – healthy, satisfying, and pretty much odor free. That’s all I ask.
I’ve been toying with the idea of claiming that I’m pregnant so that I can ask people to not sit by me with their smelly food. “I’m so sorry, but you see, I’m pregnant [touches belly and smiles], and very sensitive to strong scents like the rank odor that is seeping out of your chicken and jalapeno quesadilla right now. Would you mind moving down? Two or three cars should be fine. Thank you ever so much!”
This will mostly make sense to Chicagoans, so I’ll explain a bit. Every summer, there are nightly open air concerts at a place called Ravinia Park, where you can bring a picnic dinner, some wine, and enjoy the Chicago Symphony Orchestra with your sweetheart.
Lovely, no?
No. Not if you are just trying to get home, but your train happens to be on the Ravinia Park route, in which case 50% of the train is filled with first-time train riders who don’t exactly understand that:
a.This vehicle is first and foremost a commuter train. For people to commute. It does not become your private party bus after 5:00pm.
b.You cannot stack your six lawn chairs with built-in cup holders on the four seats next to you, and make other people stand in the aisle.
c.If you and your eight friends from college carrying beach blankets and margarita mix do not move your frickin’ Corona ponchos away from the doors, none of us will actually be able to exit the train, in which case you will never get to hear the sweet soulful sounds of Patti LaBelle.
d.While I’m really excited that you’re going to see Bobby McFerrin and the Beach Boys all in one night, if your picnic basket hits my kneecap one more time, I will set it on fire. I carry matches in my bag just for moments like this.
That one guy
So finally, there’s always that one guy who, through no real fault of his own, just annoys the shit out of you. Okay, out of me. He annoys the shit out of me. In my case, it’s that one guy who looks like Harry Potter.
I mean, first of all, what grown man goes out of his way to make himself look like Harry Potter? Now, come on. Those glasses? Why don’t you just get yourself a wand and a lightning bolt scar and call it a day?
I honestly can’t help it – he doesn’t deserve my rage – I know that. He’s just minding his own wizardly business… oh, wait. Except for the part where he always has to call his wife/girlfriend/whatever and get all schmoopy woopy with her because apparently he can’t bear to live without the sound of her voice FOR THE THIRTEEN MINUTES IT TAKES TO GET FROM DOWNTOWN TO MY STOP where she then picks him up.
I’m not a praying woman, but please lord, let me never be so dependent upon another human being that I cannot somehow occupy myself for thirteen minutes without no-I-wuv-you-more and goo-goo ga-ga-ing with them on the phone in a public setting. Amen.
There are actually at least three to four more categories I could discuss, including the Seat Hoggers, Garbage Leavers, and Nail Clippers, but releasing this pent up rage into the universe has gotten me too worked up. Now I have to go back to drinking and smashing things.

Urgent Update!

SBC AT&T sucks ass.
That is all.

The Number You Have Reached…

Temporary phone issues have cut my blogging abilities off at the knees… it’s like living in the 80’s! And me without my cocaine and boat shoes.
Be back soon!

Home Sweet Home

“Oh Jen – I made the best chili this week! It was so spicy that it gave your dad a nosebleed. Twice! I still have some in the freezer if you want to take a bowl home with you.”
“Mm… tempting, but no. Call me if you make him some egg salad that gives him diarrhea, though.”

[Happy birthday, mom! I love you to pieces!]


I recently realized that last month marked the two year anniversary of this blog. Two years. That would almost qualify as a long-term commitment. In fact, in some states, this blog would be my common-law wife.
Now get me a Pabst and fry me up an egg sandwich, dammit! Lazy good for nothing blog!
While my first year of blogging was filled with change and the slow climb back from unemployment to financial stability, this second year can be summed up in two words: digital camera.
What a sap I was during that first year, always trying to think of stuff to say, worrying about grammar and shit. Now that I have a camera, I can just swear, put up a picture of a light bulb, and call it a day. See what I mean? I just said “shit” a minute ago and no one did anything. What are you gonna do? Call the internet on me? Ha. Here’s your damn light bulb:
No wonder I always preferred the “show” to the “tell” as a child – it’s so much more efficient. Now, if only someone could explain to me what white balance is all about, my life would be complete.
But still, I have to admit that I did learn a lot about myself during this past year. This blog isn’t all about giggles and candy, you know. Sometimes it’s my private little refuge, the place I visit when I want to be alone with my thoughts in a completely public forum. But then I think, two years is a long time. But it ain’t long enough. Sixteen years ain’t gonna be long enough. Hell, I wouldn’t care so much if there hadn’t been so many things I haven’t done yet. So many damn things I ain’t seen or done. Shoot, that time when you and me was in Windrixville was the only time I’ve ever been away from my neighborhood. You listenin’ to me, Ponyboy?
Whazza? Anyway, with that, let me share a few of the important self-discoveries I… discovered. About myself. [Aside from the fact that scotch makes a nice chaser to lemon/lime popsicles.]
1. Tattoos turn me on, in a big, BIG way.
2. I have an unhealthy obsession with my cats.
3. I :::heart::: macro.
4. Bloggers rock my world.
[And for those of you who prefer the “tell” to the “show,” I linked to some of my favorite entries from the past year over in the sidebar.]
I said fried egg, dammit! This is scrambled!

Dutch Treat

Once, what now seems like eons ago, I worked for a Dutch company. At first, I loved the idea of working for an international organization, and dreamed of one day getting to see our headquarters in Amsterdam. According to corporate lore, our company was known by all in the Netherlands, and our brand was so strong there that we could command twice the price of our nearest competitor. But eventually, I would come to understand what it meant to be the unprofitable country within a global firm’s portfolio.
Whenever someone from “headquarters” paid a friendly visit to one of the US offices, it would inevitably end in tragedy. Within one month of giving a tour to one of our Dutch counterparts, we would have to initiate a complete reorganization, cut staff by 20%, and increase profits by 35%. And stop using so many envelopes. Because of this, we began to live by the mantra, “Trust no Dutch.”
Time and distance taught me that perhaps it was unfair to apply this standard to an entire country. I mean, I really do like tulips, and I think they make Edam cheese there, which I find quite tasty on a Stoned Wheat Thin cracker. I will admit, however, that I am still perplexed by the Holland/Netherlands thing. Why must they have two names for their country? What are they hiding?
Naming conventions aside, I realized that I could not pass judgment on the people as a whole based on this one experience. I learned to overcome my aversion to people with blonde hair, blue eyes, and double “a’s” in their last names. Everything was going fine… until this past weekend, that is, when I paid a visit to my local apothecary.
As I browsed through rows of tinctures and cough lozenges, I came upon a shelf of European candies. One bag in particular caught my attention: Licorice Made in Holland – Double Salt Salty kind.
I thought, I love salt, and I love licorice, and if the Dutch deem it a worthy combination then surely it must be divine! I bought a bag and headed out to a movie with fellow blogger, Dave, who happened to be in town for business. Somewhere in the middle of Pirates of the Caribbean, during a particularly noisy fight sequence, I ripped open the bag and grabbed one of the tiny discs.
I popped the candy into my mouth, bit down, and was instantly struck by the overwhelming taste of Play-Doh and Palmolive. Now, I am a grown woman, properly raised in the ways of social graces, but the taste of this candy, and the flood of saliva that immediately followed, forced me to audibly retch the licorice into the half-empty bag of popcorn at my feet. I then took a napkin and wiped the last remnants of it from my tongue. Five swishes of water later, and the taste still lingered.
Of course, this did not stop me from offering a piece to Dave at the end of the movie. “No, really. It’s so bad, you have to try it. It might be the worst thing I’ve ever tasted.”
Dave graciously acquiesced. And then retched the licorice into his empty soda cup. He couldn’t even bite all the way through it, it was so bad.
So once again, dear Holland – if that is your real name – you have betrayed me. And if you think I’m just going to forget about this, you’ve got another think coming. I’ve got my eye on you, Netherlands. Trust no Dutch, indeed.

I’m just wondering…

What would you do if you came home from work and found that the floor of the back stairway leading to your apartment had just been painted, and your front door was deadbolted shut from the inside?
I think I would probably go back to my car, pull two grocery bags out of my trunk, and tie them tightly around my nice work shoes, thinking that plastic wouldn’t stick to the paint as much.
In this case, I would be wrong. Dead wrong.
As a Plan B, I might want to walk up to my neighbors’ doors in the bagshoes, so that no one could trace the bagprints back to my apartment.
That’s what I think.


“Hey, Jen. Sorry I missed your call – I was at a poetry reading.”
“Of course you were.”
“So did you end up seeing Strangers with Candy?”
“No, I mostly spent the day at the cemetery.”
“Viv? You still there?”
“I’m here. Okay, now exactly why were you at a cemetery?”
“Well, it was really gorgeous out on Sunday, and it just seemed like such a waste to spend the day in a dark movie theatre.”
“So you spent the day in a graveyard instead?”
“Mmm hmm.”
“Did you go with someone?”
“No, just myself.”
“All day?”
“Weren’t you creeped out? Crazy people live in the cemetery!”
“Well – it’s not like I went at midnight! It was the middle of the day. Although, there was one point where I got a little weirded out. I saw this dripping faucet that looked kind of cool, so I squatted down to take some pictures…”
“Uh huh.”
“…and one by one, about thirty crows flew into the two trees next to me. They didn’t come all at once – it was very Hitchcockian. And then they all started cawing at the same time, so I got the hell out of there.”
“You are such a freak.”
“What? It’s the largest cemetery in Chicago, and I’ve never been there. It just seemed like a good way to spend the day.”
“Taking pictures of dead people.”
“Not the people, just their tombstones. Did you ever notice that the ground in cemeteries is really soft? It’s kind of hard to walk on. And the next time I go, I’m going to be sure to get a map. I kept getting lost and having to listen for traffic to find the way out.”
“Oh my god, you’re crazy.”
“But then I saw this group of people who didn’t quite seem like mourners, because they all had sandals on and were carrying water bottles, so I casually followed them toward the exit.”
“Did you duck behind tombstones to hide from them?”
“No, but I did pretend to be taking pictures of this one angel statue.”
“Jenny, I really think you need to get involved in some group social activities.”
“What do you mean? I do stuff! What’s so wrong with going to a cemetery for fun? People do it in Europe all the time!”
“So on a gorgeous summer weekend, you decided to spend the day – by yourself – getting lost in a labyrinth of death and decay, and photo documenting the entire thing?”
“Well, geez, when you put it that way…”