Honesty. When is it right, and when is it wrong? If one of your friends still fashion-cuffed his jeans (you know… circa 1985, fold the cuff over, then roll extra tight at the ankle), would you tell him that he is no longer in style? What if it were a co-worker instead of a friend? Now what if, instead of fashion-cuffing his jeans, he insisted on doing the fist bump every time you saw him at work?
Because that’s my real problem. I’ve tried to leave him hanging for a suitably awkward amount of time, but then I always cave in and give him a piece of fist. Sometimes I don’t even lift my eyes from my monitor – I just keep typing with one hand and silently knock my fist against his with the other.
I can’t say for sure, but I’m pretty certain that I said something like, “Are we still doing this?” or “I thought the fist-bump went out in 2002…” at least once or twice, but the bumping continues.
Now I just try to make sure that whenever I see him, I have my hands full. So far, an armful of reports and notepads doesn’t seem to faze him. My next tactic will be to walk around the office with a scalding cup of coffee in one hand and a newborn baby in the other.
But that’s only going to last so long before someone asks me what the hell I’m doing with that cup of coffee. They all know I don’t drink caffeine.
So I’ve decided to come up with my own move to replace the fist bump. A move so ridiculous that it will force my co-worker to seek out infants and dark corners just to avoid my signature move.
Here’s how it works:
1. Extend the index finger on your right hand
2. Wait for the target to extend his index finger
3. Slowly reach your right arms out toward each other
4. Let your index fingers touch, then pause for a moment as you look deeply into each other’s eyes
5. Pull your arm back to your side
I call this move “The E.T.”
If you want to add an extra flair, you can also say, “Ouch,” slowly and in a raspy voice. My guess is that after the third or fourth time I make him do this, best case is he’ll duck into the copy room whenever he sees me coming down the hall, worst case is he calls HR to file a harassment suit. Either way, I’m free of the fist bumping.
Be good.

How Deep Is Your Love?

I’m not sure if it technically qualifies as an addiction, an obsession, or just an intense passion. Whatever you want to call it, however you choose to label it, I simply cannot get enough Juicy Fruit gum.
About a month ago, they started stocking it in our vending machines at work. I remember clear as a bell the first day I noticed it, inconspicuously positioned at the bottom of the machine, right between the Tums and generic Life Savers.
“Huh,” I thought. “I haven’t had Juicy Fruit in ages – didn’t even know they still made it.”
I didn’t give it much more thought than that. I just bought my bag of Cheez-Its and went about my day. But later, during meetings and on conference calls, I noticed my mind kept wandering back to the Juicy Fruit.
“I wonder if it still loses its flavor as fast.”
“Did it really say it was only $0.50? That seems like a good deal. Even the low-fat animal crackers cost $0.65.”
The next day, it wasn’t even 10:00am before I found myself jingling two quarters together in my pocket, a nervous habit I picked up from my father. I don’t like people prying into my eating habits, so I waited until a couple particularly chatty co-workers left the kitchen. I slid the money into the slot, punched in the numbers and watched as the yellow pack shot out of its holding cell with a satisfying thwack.
I liked the way it felt in my palm, but I didn’t dare open it while I was still in the kitchen, so I slipped it into my pocket and went back to my desk. As I opened the wrapper, the first thing that struck me was the color.
“Yellow? Juicy Fruit is supposed to be grey. All Wrigley’s gum is grey.”
Obviously a few things had changed since the last time I had tried the gum, so I didn’t get my hopes up too high.
“Why can’t they just leave well enough alone?”
But the second I put the crumbly stick of gum into my mouth and started to tentatively chew, I was sucked into a tidal wave of memories of Proustian proportion.
The park! Playing games! Some balloons! Got an A! Those friends! So happy! Favorite shoes! Hey, kittens! Dilly Bar! New bike! Summer vacation!
And then 90 seconds later it all stopped. The buzz had worn off. The gum was hard. The flavor all gone. I spit the gum into a tissue, took a sip of water and started running some reports for my next meeting. Every so often I would glance down at the yellow pack of gum on my desk until finally I couldn’t resist any longer. I popped in another piece.

Oh fun! Catching fireflies! Best friends! Turtle sundaes! Snow angels! Big wheels! Baby hamsters! Shrinky-dinks! Pizza party! Coleco-vision! New jeans!

This cycle of intense and instant gratification followed by utter letdown and depression continued for weeks, leading me to my current four pack a day habit. Now I just wait until people leave for the day and then buy up all the Juicy Fruit so that the vending machine guy will stock more. It is my greatest hope that one day someone at B&H Vending will take a close enough look at their inventory management records to understand that they need to get rid of the Cinnamon Dentyne that no one ever buys – EVER – and stock at least two full rows with sweet Juicy Fruit.
H2. It’s always in H2. Every time I approach the machine, I feel a slight electric buzz of excitement and fear. What if I got there one day and it was all sold out? I don’t even want to think about it.
Sometimes, when I’ve finished off a pack, I just smell the wrappers for a while. The best is when you take the empty foil pack and squeeze it open a bit, then lean forward and take a deep whiff of the sweet stuff. God, it’s so awesome.
What kind of fruit is in Juicy Fruit anyway? If I could find out what fruit tasted like Juicy Fruit, I would gorge myself on it until I became sick. If they made Juicy Fruit scented perfume, I would bathe in it. If I were Willy Wonka, I would make scratch-n-sniff wallpaper that smelled and tasted like Juicy Fruit. If I were a coroner, instead of rubbing menthol under my nose like Clarice Starling did in Silence of the Lambs, I would just stick a fresh wad of Juicy Fruit over my nostrils. Juicy Fruit can make even death smell sweet.
I guess maybe this finally helps explain why I’ve always felt such a connection to Chief Bromden from One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest. We’re both passionate. We’re both thinkers. We both love Juicy Fruit so much. And we would both smother our closest friends with a bed pillow if they were ever lobotomized.
If that isn’t love, I don’t know what is.

An Equation for Fun

One Jimmy Buffet endorsed Margaritaville brand margarita maker
One pair of 1978 Christian Dior sunglasses
Alexis Dior
Natasha Dior
Jenny Dior
Baby G Dior
Innumerable references to snorting cocaine in the bathrooms at Studio 54
Studio 54
Outstanding Memorial Day weekend

Perspective, or Oops

The instructor spent the first hour of class talking about the psychology of portraiture and the visceral reaction most people have to seeing their photos and how we typically only like photos that capture us with our “photo front” on and how we don’t really know what we look like and so there’s this: I was wrong. The photos are really quite nice… aside from the ones taken from underneath where I look like a bug-eyed turtle (which unfortunately, happened to be the first ones I reviewed, leading to my eventual freakout).
I’m so glad I didn’t take that stupid Blues Harmonica class.

Global Thermonuclear War

Shall we play a game? It’s called “I would rather…”
Which of these would you rather do? And keep in mind that there is no “Other” option – you must choose one of these options:
A) Lick all the door handles in a New York City train station bathroom
B) Spend the entire day walking around town naked, and running into all your co-workers, exes and relatives
C) Have four root canals at the same time without anesthesia while listening to Kenny G
D) Have a classmate in your photography class give you the direction to look serious while she takes 300 photos of you at extremely close range and then later that week, have to sit through class while the instructor and all your other classmates critique the photos of your face which, at 10 mexapixels each, highlight everything you hate about the way you look and make it impossible for you to continue deluding yourself into thinking that you are in any way photogenic
Because holy hell, right about now, A through C are sounding mighty appealing. Remind me again why I didn’t take that Blues Harmonica class?


You know, sometimes I have to remind myself that it’s really all too easy for childless folks like me to quickly pass judgment on how other people raise their kids, and get all high and mighty about what we’d do differently.
So now that I remember how easy that is, here’s what I’d do differently: I would teach my 4-year old daughter that no matter how young and cute you are, a) it’s not appropriate to wear a pair of underwear ON YOUR HEAD in a grocery store, b) you lick it, you buy it, because nobody wants to catch your baby mono from that loaf of French bread you were just Frenching, and c) your father is a complete tool for walking around the grocery store in his fancy suit, on his fancy cell phone, letting his underwear-head daughter lick her way down the bakery aisle.
I really just wanted some French bread. I should’ve smashed a cupcake in his ear.


A co-worker told me he read a news story about a woman in Croatia who was dead for 35 years before neighbors discovered her mummified remains. It wasn’t that they missed her, they were just trying to break into what they thought was her abandoned apartment. I brought this up with Nat and Farnsworth over dinner yesterday.
“In a sense, that story kind of makes me feel good about myself, because no way would it take people 35 years to notice I was gone. No way. Maybe a year, max.”
“A year, Jenny? Right. If I didn’t hear from you in a week, I’d definitely notice.”
“A lot can happen in a week, Nat.”
“Like what?”
“Like my cats could eat my face by then. You know they’d do it, too.”
“Well, I won’t argue with that.”
“That would be just like them, too. I can’t get them to eat this expensive all-meat cat food, but they’d totally eat my face, given the chance.”
“Why your face?”
Then I drew them a diagram over dessert:
“Wow. Why do you look like Riff Raff from Rocky Horror when you’re dead?”
“BECAUSE MY CATS ATE MY FACE! Way to make fun of my misery.”
Nat tried to smooth things over and show her concern by asking how I had died. It wasn’t entirely clear to investigators, but it was most likely because I tripped on a cat toy, or a summer sausage.
The how doesn’t really matter, it’s all about the when. I just really don’t want to end up like that Croatian lady. I mean, seriously, how embarrassing. A couple years, maybe, but 35? Not me. I’m going to make it my business to ensure that a) people expect to hear from me at least every week and b) my cats become vegetarians.


Is anyone else still trying to catch up on sleep from last weekend? I sure am. And my fatigue has prevented me from formulating any cohesive thoughts except this one:
I want to own a platypus so badly that it hurts.
Part bird, part reptile, part mammal? With venomous spurs on its back legs? If anyone is looking for ideas on what to buy me for Christmas, look no further. That’s all I have to say. I hope to have other more important thoughts next week.

TequilaWeekend: The Recap

The Day Before…

…is mostly a blur because my trip got off to a rough start due to an unwelcome cold that on Friday turned into what felt like an icicle being stabbed in my left eye for 15 hours straight. Mercifully, a good night’s sleep and lots of what I now affectionately call Italian Tylenol (“Hey! It’s red, white and green!”) helped me pull it together in time for TequilaCon.

The Morning Of…

… was when I tried to fit in at least a few essential sightseeing activities since it’s been over a decade since I’ve been to Philadelphia. My friends Natasha, Farnsworth and Dee-Dee decided join me in Philly, so we all started off the day with a trip to the Reading Market.

I was so sad that I jumped at the first food opportunity and filled my belly with a stupid (albeit tasty) almond polenta cake because I would find out minutes later that mere steps away stood the Amish lunch counter where they served HOMEMADE CHICKEN POT PIES and APPLE DUMPLINGS. I didn’t even know apple dumplings were real – I thought it was just the name of the gang. Once again, the Amish get everything right.

Next we got our history on by checking out the Liberty Bell. A Japanese tourist in front of me was confused and disappointed to learn that he couldn’t bring a knife with a 5” blade into the building, nor could he throw it outside for the kids to play with. “Whatever happened to the right to bear arms?” is what I almost said, but I was being strip searched at the time.

After I took Dee-Dee’s picture in back of the bell, because no one could get past the droves of tourists in front of the bell (apparently, if you can’t see the crack, it’s just like any other bell), we headed over to Philosopher’s Hall, which is what I like to call the Poor Man’s Independence Hall, mostly because it’s the only option for those of us who didn’t plan ahead and get tickets for Independence Hall.

Dee-Dee loves freedom

The Evening Of…

… actually began in the late afternoon. Vahid, Dustin, Dave and I all arrived at the Northbowl Lounge and Lanes around 3:30pm to stake our claim on some seats to prepare for the actual event. If you could have videotaped me walking up the steps to the upstairs lounge, you would have seen a 10-year old child who just got a Wii for Christmas.

I flipped my wig, seriously. I think this is a direct quote, “Ohmigod you guys! Ohmigod! I’m freaking out! This is so perfect! There’s no one here! Ohmigod! Look – they have Family Guy! Ohmigod it’s Ms. Pacman! You guys this is so awesome! I am so happy! I can’t even tell you how happy I am! Ohmigod it’s a Spiderman pinball! Oh wait I don’t think I’ve ever played Spiderman pinball so I don’t know if I should be excited about that one but anyway! Ohmigod you guys! Everyone is going to love this! Ohmigod! I’m so happy!”

The guys kindly humored me as I bounced around like a total freak for another 15 minutes or so, and then they ordered some food. When the menu came, it was Dustin’s turn: “Ohmigod you guys ohmigod! You didn’t tell me they had seven kinds of tater tots here! Ohmigod I’m so happy! Seven kinds – are you kidding me? I’m so happy right now!”

Sexy mofos, every one of 'em

But really, the space was just perfect. Huge, open seating areas with comfy leather couches, three pool tables, video games, pinball machines, a separate bar, and not a soul up there. Oh, except for a bunch of 13-year old girls having a birthday party. We kept giving them the stink eye every time they even thought about sitting down on one of “our” couches.

The only thing that could have made it better for me is if my TequilaCon co-founder and personal life coach – Brandon – could have been there. I did the next best thing, though, and ensured that he would appear in more photos and in more compromising positions than he ever would have accomplished in real life. He was everywhere… watching over us all, popping up in the unlikeliest of places.

Not creepy at all, Officer

Just eat the tot, dammit!

Dave set up the awesome swag table with his lanyards and buttons, and I set out the official TequilaProm mix CD’s. I was in charge of dance hits, while Brandon sent us his love from afar by compiling the greatest assortment of 80’s love ballads ever known to man.
Lisa and her husband, Dude, were the first to arrive and I was so excited not only to meet them, but to have some more bodies to keep the teenyboppers away from our couches. Shortly thereafter, more and more bloggers started to wander in, including my friends Seamus and Dr. Greene who had just arrived from DC.

I can’t even begin to sum up all that occurred that night, but it involved a ton of:
o Laughing
o Pinballing
o Tater totting
o Brandoning
o Mustaching
o Foosballing
o Dancing
o Tattooing
o Singing
o Voicemailing
o And a little bit of drinking

It was absolutely everything I had hoped for and more – but why did they have to close at 2am? There were so many people I didn’t get to spend enough time with!

The Day After…

… was my last chance to spend a little more time with everyone before they headed off to their respective homes, as well as my final opportunity to see more of Philadelphia. Everyone had raved to me about the Frida Kahlo exhibit at the Philadelphia Art Museum, so Dee-Dee, Dustin, Vahid, Dave and I went there after breakfast.

Art is fun!

My planning skills were clearly burnt out, because it never even occurred to me that we might have trouble getting tickets to THE MOST POPULAR ART EXHIBIT IN THE CITY at noon on a Sunday during its final two weeks. The earliest they could fit us in was four hours later, so we had to take a pass on Frida because she hates bloggers. She always has.

Instead, we just wandered around the art museum and looked at paintings of baby Jesuses and dead pheasants and transgendered Little Lord Fauntleroys. At one point, as we made our way through the contemporary art section, I transformed into a pre-pubescent boy and made myself cry laughing by pointing at abstract portraits and telling Vahid and Dustin, “That’s your girlfriend!”

I probably will not be asked back to the Philadelphia Art Museum.

No trip to Philadelphia would be complete, of course, without the obligatory photo in front of the statue of the founder of Pennsylvania, Rocky Balboa.

Rocky loves me

Some other stuff happened, like when Dee-Dee met some women in a public restroom who confessed that Steak Escape is way better than Geno’s cheese steaks, but I think we’re all pretty tired by now.

So in conclusion:
1. Bloggers = awesome
2. Philadelphia = awesome
3. Tequilacon = awesome
4. Rocky = awesome
5. That painting = Dustin and Vahid’s girlfriend

A million thanks to everyone who attended and made this such a fun-filled event, and a Brazilian thanks to Dave, Dustin, Vahid, Brandon and the extended Pacific Northwest planning committee who helped make this a total success! Until next year…

Not a Post

Hey, just so you know? Here’s who you don’t want to see when you drag your unshowered post-TequilaCon body off a plane and shuffle through through baggage claim with witch hair while wearing dirty jeans and a bunch of temporary tattoos that are half rubbed off: one of your company’s vice presidents, especially when you’ll be spending the next three days in meetings with him.

That’s who.

I need to go get some lunch before I can write my real TequilaCon post. Now where can I get a good cheese steak in this two-bit town?