Death of a Pacman: A Play in Five Acts

Cast of Characters:
Ms. Pacman – Jenny Amadeo
Pinky – Natasha de la Vista
Clyde – Farnsworth Featherbottom III
Act I
Scene: A maze
Enter Ms. Pacman, fair heroine. March of the Pacman sounds.

ms pacman
Ms. Pacman: In sooth, I know not why I am so hungry. It wearies me, this aching. But feed I must. Look ho! More dots, I spy.
Ms. Pacman: And such thirst! This burning of throat might only be quenched by the sweet, brown ale of Newscastle.
Enter Pinky, murderous enemy of the Pacman clan.
Pinky: Silence, swift feet! For yonder doth feast the widow Pacman. Oh, gluttonous fool! I see the death of your husband hath not stifled thine unending quest for pellets.
Ms. Pacman retreats, sensing imminent danger.
Ms. Pacman: Wokka wokka wokka wokka wokka.
Pinky: Run, yellow demon, run! For thou art certain to be trapp’d in yon dizzying maze.
the attack
Exit Ms. Pacman and Pinky

Act II
Scene: A maze
Pinky: The widow Pacman hath narrowly escap’d my grasp, but such fortune shall soon fade. Hark! Here comes Clyde, my most noble kinsman!
Enter Clyde.
ghost love
Pinky: How now, dear Clyde! Where have you been gadding? But, gentle friend, what reason for this blue pallor?
Clyde: ‘Tis the widow Pacman, dear Pinky. A pellet of power once consumed hath made me vulnerable to her detestable maw. Fear comes upon me!
Pinky: Fear not, kind brother. Harm wilt not befall you whilst in my company. Look! The widow Pacman arrives. To the chase!
the chase

Scene: A maze
Ms. Pacman: O, nimble feet! Do not betray me, for my husband’s murderers are close. The blue one is weak, and his death shall bring me great fortune of at least 100 points.
faster ms pacman, kill, kill
Ms. Pacman: Condemned villain, I do apprehend thee! With your death, mine husband is revenged.

Act IV
Scene: A maze
Clyde: O Pinky… death’s pale flag hath advanced upon me. The light, it grows dimmer still.
No, god, no!
Pinky: Alack the day! Dearest Clyde, thy lips are warm. Let not this breath be your last!
Pinky: He’s gone, he’s kill’d, he’s dead! O foul death, that hath suck’d the honey of thy breath! Curse you, hateful widow Pacman!

Act V
Scene: A maze
Enter Pinky and Ms. Pacman

Pinky: O noble Clyde, with the unreasonable fury of a beast shall I revenge your foul and most unnatural murder. About! Seek! Burn! Fire! Kill! Slay!
Ms. Pacman: Wokka wokka wokka wokka wokka. Look ho! A treacherous ghost doth cross my path. I see she loved her kinsman Clyde dearly. But it is no matter, for I am a widow driven into desperate terms, precious husband kill’d at the evil hands of this clan.
Pinky: How many pellets are left, Ms. Pacman? Enough for Inky? And Blinky? And Chino? Enough for all of you? And still one left for me? Well, I can kill now too, because now I have hate! How many can I kill, Ms. Pacman?
Ms. Pacman: Wokka?
Pinky: The devil, take thy soul!
Ms. Pacman: Heaven make thee free of it! I am dead, husband. Wretched ghost, adieu!
death of a pacman
Pacman death march sounds.

Marathon, Man

I didn’t want to make a big deal out of it, because it wasn’t like I broke any records or anything, so this is the first I’m mentioning the fact that I ran in the Chicago Marathon this past Sunday. What? You don’t believe me? Perhaps some photographic proof will change your cynical minds:

[Photo by Dr. Greene – click to enlarge. But why, Dr. Greene, did you not tell me what a clown I looked like in this getup?]

Now, many of the real athletes out there may feel inclined to send me nasty emails that say, “Jesus, Jenny! What the hell is wrong with you? Only a real jackass would cut across the street during the Chicago Marathon!”

Normally, I would agree with you completely, but let me defend myself by saying:

1. There was absolutely no other way, short of a helicopter, for me to get over to the side all my friends were on.
2. I waited over half an hour for the big crowds to die down.
3. At least 30 other people ran across the street before I did.
4. I can run like the wind for a distance of exactly one block.
5. My mad breakdance skillz helped me to bob and weave effortlessly throughout the crowd.
6. I spent five hours outside in 35-degree weather cheering all the runners on.
7. I look like I’m a lot closer to the runners than I really was.
8. My fleet-footedness and joyful spirit probably inspired some of the runners to go even faster, or to kick my ass.

I’ve always heard that running a marathon can be a spiritual experience, and I have to agree. But I really should have known better than to go to the marathon when I was at the height of my womanly hormonality. As I sat on the El on my way to meet my friends Dr. Greene and Seamus, I actually got tears in my eyes while watching some young 20-somethings try to decide what they should write on their signs for their friend Meg. For some reason, it was the “You can do it, Meg!” one that really got me. They even drew little pony-tailed stick figures running.

While I have absolutely no desire, and even less ability, to run a marathon myself, I felt so proud for everyone who did, especially my friends. Dr. Greene’s girlfriend, who is part human/part cheetah/part cyborg, kept us on our toes as we tried to keep up with her along the course. She finished in 3h11, which is exactly 15h39 faster than I would have.

Cheetah Girl
There she goes

And although I didn’t get to see my friends Mateo and Ryan, thanks to the miracle of modern technology, I was able to track their progress by getting text messages sent to me automatically as they passed key mile markers. I hope you guys felt me cheering you on – you are both total rockstars!

So to everyone who ran the marathon, you have my undying respect and deep thanks. I hope you can forgive me my trespasses, because for the few steps I shared with you on LaSalle Street, I felt part of your greatness!

[Click to enlarge]
mile 5





The last time Podo was projectile vomiting all over my house, I rushed her to the vet, who then poked and prodded, hooked her up to IV’s, ran blood work, and took x-rays ultimately to determine that she had… acid reflux. This diagnosis cost me $500 plus some over-the-counter Pepcid.
So Sunday, when she started the vomiting thing again, I was initially a bit suspect. Fool me once, Podo, shame on you. Fool me twice, and I saw a sign at PetCo for half off all guinea pigs.
But then she started to get whiney, and lethargic, and wobbly when she stood up. So I scooped her up, apologized for everything I had ever said about trading her in for a guinea pig, and called the 24-hour animal hospital.
“Hmm. Vomiting and non-responsive? Seems to be walking gingerly? Tail between legs? If it weren’t for the vomiting, I’d say it could wait, but that could be a sign of an obstructed bowel.”
I tried imagining how I would deal with a cat that needed a tiny colostomy bag, and since I’m not all that keen on cleaning the litter box, let alone an external intestine, I grabbed my credit card and headed for the hospital.
The biggest difference between my regular vet and the 24-hour animal hospital – aside from the 100% price increase – is that none of the animals were at the hospital for routine physicals or teeth cleanings. I tried to block out all the other people by flipping through a photography magazine from 2001 (“Digital SLR’s – Will They Ever Catch On?”), but their tragic tales kept seeping in:
…dog ate ten of my blood pressure pills…
…ruptured anal sac…
…kitten swallowed my sewing needle…
…nothing they can do…
Were there no happy endings here? By the time they finally called me into the exam room to show me Podo’s x-rays, I was more than a little worried. The vet opened up her laptop and I saw an x-ray pop up.
“Oh,” she shook her head, “that is one horrible pelvic fracture.”
She looked confused, then grabbed my arm, “Oh god, no. I’m sorry – that’s not Podo. That’s the dog who just came in – he was hit by a car… I still have to load Podo’s x-ray.”
After calming down, I leaned in close on the steel exam table as she pulled up the x-ray.
“Okay,” she said, “You see this over here?”
I nodded my head silently, bracing myself for the worst.
“That’s poop. And in between? That’s gas.”
I waited for the bad news, “So… what’s this huge dark mass over here?”
“That’s a big ball of gas. Overall she looks totally healthy.”
“So, you’re telling me that my cat has gas.”
“So we’re giving her some fluids right now. I’ll give you a few cans of bland wet food to take home, and then you can go.”
This time, it only cost me $300, so I guess I got off easy. Now, of course, I’m ecstatic that there’s really nothing wrong with Podo, but I just have to wonder why she’s so fragile. When did my cat become a delicate, young, bulimic Princess Di? Where are her cat instincts? Why doesn’t she eat mice, howl on the back fence, and play the fishbone xylophone like normal cats do? Why do I have an image-obsessed vegan cat whose entire diet consists of apples, yogurt, and plastic bags?


author photo
Cats are tough. They have nine lives. If they go to a hospital, it’s because they got into it with that lazy-eyed Rottweiler, or fell from a 10-story building and landed on their feet. It’s not because they have GERD, or irritable bowel syndrome, or post-traumatic stress disorder.
Okay, I’ll just say it – why can’t she be more like her brother? Kodo is like Prince William – rough and tumble when he needs to be, strong and handsome, yet gentle enough to let me do his nails. Sure, Kodo has eaten the shoelaces off of at least half of my shoes, along with the fringe from my oriental rug, but you don’t see me rushing him to the ER.
lap cat
what do you think of my manicure?
Maybe I just have a different set of expectations. In my family, there were two rules when it came to food: you eat what you take, and you poop what you eat. So all I’m saying is that if Podo is going to take the entire Jewel-Osco grocery bag, she’d better be prepared to finish it, and if she’s going to finish it, she’d better develop the intestinal fortitude to digest the damn thing.
That’s all I ask, Podo. It’s all I ask.


I think I’m throwing in the towel. This writing thing is way too competitive. First, I had to contend with Dragons Are Fierce by my six year old nephew, and now I discover this prose poem by my eight year old nephew? I suppose I could always take up cross-stitch.
by Jenny’s Nephew, age 8
September looks like different kinds of red, gold, orange, yellow and brown leaves in the shady forest by my grandma’s house.
September sounds like the smashing of leaves being stepped on and jumped on in the forest by my grandma’s house.
September tastes like pumpkin pie at my grandma’s house in the woods while my family and I are having a party.
September smells like oak wood burning in the dark forest at night.
September feels like white tree bark by the creek by my house.
September is quiet like me in my secret hideout in my bedroom closet.

I’m not proud, I’m just saying

[WARNING! totally irrelevant yet cute photo ahead]
For the first time in my life, and for reasons I can only explain as a dizzying combination of thirst and laziness, I drank straight out of the milk gallon (half-gallon) yesterday. And then wiped my mouth on my sleeve.
I suppose now the only thing left for me to do is learn how to make rude noises with my armpit in order for my transformation to teen boy to be complete.


Question: Crack is to junkies as antique stores are to:
a) Gangsters
b) Scientists
c) Jenny
d) Meter maids
e) None of the above
If you answered c, you are correct!
My addiction to antiques is a phenomenon that has grown slowly over the past decade or so, like most insidious habits. I mostly practice abstinence, because I’m not confident in my ability to control my urges. But this past weekend, while visiting my friend Dee-Dee in Milwaukee, a group of us stepped foot into a glorious two story antique mall, every corner packed tightly with bits and pieces of eras gone by.
I could sense my pupils dilating the moment we walked in, followed by the tell-tale quickening of the heart rate as my hand brushed across a row of old Nancy Drew mysteries. We were meeting up with more friends later, so we didn’t have a lot of time to shop. Torturous dilemma. It was like being at the scene of a crime – my eyes bounced rapidly from shelf to shelf, floor to ceiling, trying desperately to scan the entire room and take in as much as possible in the time we had left.
Dee-Dee called me over to look at a box of old sheet music – the swoony romantic illustrations faded by the years. Yes. Yes, I could frame these, and hang them in the living room. Just like that box of old magazine ads I bought last year. And the kitschy album covers from the 50’s. And the basket of postcards from the 20’s I got the last time we were here. They would look so nice on the wall facing the windows…Stop! There was no time to look through sheet music – that could take hours!
I abandoned Dee-Dee only to find Natasha modeling a 1950’s era kelly green overcoat with giant pearlescent buttons. She was spinning in circles to gauge the coat’s Mary Tyler Moore factor. It ranked high, but not as high as the short pink fur jacket she would try on later in the day.
Like disoriented spelunkers, we shouted to each other from across the aisles:
“Jenny! Jen – where are you? Come here – you have to see this footstool made out of antlers!”
“Natasha – have you seen Dee-Dee? I think she was looking for some milk glass lamps – I found a pair over here.”
“Where’s Farnsworth? Is he still trying on leather jackets and train conductor hats?”
“Dee! Did you need a Fozzie Bear mug? Wait – how does that even qualify as an antique?”
“I’m going upstairs now – follow my lead!”
My mantras:
• You live in a one-bedroom apartment, Jenny. A one. bedroom. apartment.
• Want and need are not the same thing.
• If you don’t know what it is, you can’t buy it.
• How would you get a barber chair into your car?
I carried a small silver desk fan around with me for a good twenty minutes. It’s only $15. That’s not bad at all. Does it work? Do I care if it works? I could totally replace the plug if it didn’t work. It would look cool on the antique television set in my living room. Maybe I should get that old Mission oak desk to put this fan on…
In the end, we all left empty-handed. I set the fan down, and exited only with a camera full of memories. Not nearly as satisfying, but they definitely fit into my apartment better.
Lead us not into temptation:
[more on flickr]
Two bits

Friday the 13th

So… yeah. I’m about 95% sure that what I’m wearing right now is the exact same outfit I wore to work two days ago.
Please don’t make a big deal out of it, okay?

Step Right Up!

We interrupt this blog to give you the following important announcement:
This Friday, Everyday Goddess is hosting the latest Carnival of the Mundane and is in dire need of your most brilliantly mundane submissions. Don’t know what the Carnival is?
The official definition: “The Carnival of the Mundane is a bi-weekly forum for bloggers who write tales of daily life, whether it be in the city, the suburbs, or a treehouse. You may think your latest post about socks that disappear in the dryer, or the trials of removing wallpaper, or your neighbour accidentally backing into his closed garage door wouldn’t be interesting to most people. You’d be wrong. We’re interested, and there are lots of us out there. The Carnival of the Mundane is the only blog carnival to have its own blog. We are open to all bloggers and readers, and everyone is welcome to take a turn hosting.”
So if you’re interested and have a post to submit (doesn’t have to be a new one), head on over to Carnival of the Mundane for further instructions.
We now return to our regularly scheduled blogging.

Expressions I’m going to start using at completely inappropriate times

“There’s our tax dollars hard at work.”
“Must be nice…”
“Like they say, you can catch more flies with honey.”
“Not if I see you first!”
It’s a working list, so I’m open to suggestions.

Death Wish

To: Natasha
From: Jenny
Date: October 6, 2006
Subject: Weekend Project
Nat –
I need you to come over on Sunday to help out with an important project I’ve got planned. You’ll need to bring:
– Leather gloves
– Neosporin
– Raw chicken
– Gauze
Are you in?
To: Jenny
From: Natasha
Date: October 6, 2006
Subject: Re: Weekend Project
Why – what’s up?
To: Natasha
From: Jenny
Date: October 6, 2006
Subject: Re: Re: Weekend Project
I can’t get into the details, but I will tell you that this could be a very dangerous project. If you’re not going to give it 100%, then you shouldn’t even think about it.
To: Jenny
From: Natasha
Date: October 6, 2006
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Weekend Project
It’s not that I’m not committed, but I have plans with Farnsworth for Sunday. Can it wait?
To: Natasha
From: Jenny
Date: October 6, 2006
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Weekend Project
I’m afraid not. Just hope for the best.
I decided to go it alone.

Your death will be a slow and painful one, human.
Wait a minute – I look kind of badass in this, don’t I?
Is it just me, or do I seem totally buff?
kodo mit skull
I’m counting to ten now. She just wants to get a rise out of you, Podo – don’t give her the satisfaction.