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Be A Netflix Sloth Today!

6 Jan
Give in to the lazy, my friend. Give in.

Give in to the lazy, my friend. Give in.

It’s freezing cold out. Well not in NYC, but anywhere in the Midwest is just a freakin’ icicle. So, if you are one of the lucky people out there who don’t have to venture out of the house in fear of hypothermia, what are you going to do? Laze around in your pajamas, maybe catch up on some housework, take a few naps, or Netflix your TV and/or laptop until it is too hot to touch. Some might say such activities would make them stir crazy. Ignore them. That is THE LIFE.

Last year when I was unemployed, I did that on the daily. And while my bank account did a plummet dive, I learned a few things. How much cookie dough a human body is able to consume in one day. No sunlight for a week makes my skin basically translucent. That there is true beauty in watching a television series in chronological order without stopping (except when refilling my plate of nachos). I also learned the art of making myself appear like I had been busy all day in a 15-20 minute time span. So when my significant other appeared at the door after being gone for 10 hours, I could boast that I actually emptied the dishwasher and attempted to take out the trash, but the sunlight hurt my eyes – I’m getting sidetracked here.

Oh the gods that made online television and movies available. Every season of Law and Order: SVU? Why yes – I love to imagine the worst in people! Orange Is The New Black? I’ll give women prison a try. I get to watch the love triangle that is Dawson/Joey/Pacey again? PLEASE, come back to me ’90s childhood. I wondered aloud many times what my life would had been like without this miracle service. I read books? I made real friends? I went outside and wasn’t allergic to vitamin D? Stop.

Are you a newbie to this world of hibernating laziness? Do you need help slouching onto the couch, pulling a blanket over, and putting a marshmallow or two in your Swiss Miss? Doubtful. But there are rules to starting a truly amazing marathon (very lax, BTW).

One, don’t listen to the recommendations of your friends or family. If they say you will LOVE House Of Cards or Downton Abbey over and over, that’s a bad sign. Don’t give in for at least a few months. Your expectations will be over the moon and if the first few episodes don’t appease, then you will just lose interest and move on to something else. That’s how I was with Breaking Bad. I really do think it’s one of the best executed television series out there, but I couldn’t handle everyone’s recommendations, so I waited.

Instead, start with a series you are familiar with, like Felicity or Friends. If you are being pure sloth, why bother with trying something new? That’s like learning and stuff, and this is not a day for that.

Are you worried that you will fall asleep from your food coma/lack of doing anything remotely physical? Have no fear, you will. And the beauty of an online television series – just restart your episode until you have actually watched the whole thing. (Sometimes I had to watch the same episode for an entire afternoon, but priorities.)

Wait, what? You don’t know the thrill yet of on demand TV systems? I am so sorry, are you in constant pain? Well, you can do somewhat the same inserting your Gilmore Girls, Harry Potter or Lord Of The Rings collection into your DVD player. Unfortunately, you will have to get up off the couch and insert each disc, so you will get some unneeded exercise out of the activity. So tomorrow’s first priority: Sign up for online TV. Not today though, just no.

Remember to get all the essentials to your bed/couch/the floor. Easily microwaved food, chunks of cheese, wine, coffee. If it gets cold, let it. I mean, you can reheat things, but that again involves physical activity. Avoid that at all cost. Make a cocoon of blankets. Your feet will get sweaty. Air out your socks, put them back on. Allow your face to get extra greasy. I tried to do the green face mask while watching, expecting to look like an angel afterwards, it just got all over everything and freaked out anyone who came into my apartment. You will just look a swamp thing sloth. Scratch that, do that, put the mask on.

And lastly, before getting too comfortable (this is important), make sure the batteries in your remotes are in working order. For the love of all things, this is essential.

Enjoy your laziness. My favorite days were the ones were I could barely make out words – oh, so jealous. Also, this is not a recommendation, but Freaks And Geeks is on Netflix. Just sayin’.


Elf On A What?

10 Dec

People may not have the same opinion as what I have stated below. That’s fine! After talking with others after posting this article on a different website, I’m not sure I completely agree with myself! So yes, I welcome criticism, I welcome agreement – but really, just realize that I’m not being completely serious. Sarcasm is my second language. THANX!


I’m all for Christmas tradition. When I was little, we always had an Advent calendar. Each morning, one of us kids would takes turns opening each little slot that indicated the day of the month. Some years, there was chocolate inside for the taking. One year, there was mouse poop instead (oh, old Iowa houses).

We hung stockings from our wooden staircase. We baked an enormous amount of cookies and candy. We would pile into the car with our grandparents and go look at Christmas lights. We listened to holiday tunes every morning before school. We would make our way through an enormous amount of holiday classics – from Rudolph to Pee Wee’s Playhouse. Christmas Eve meant a huge vat of oyster stew and a gathering at my family’s home for games and conversation. And every year, we would leave out food for Santa and his reindeer.

But there is one “new” tradition that this girl can’t get behind – Elf On A Shelf. Call me a scrooge or whatever, but I just can’t. First off, they are just beyond ugly. I get nightmares pretty easily, and the best way to trigger them is by surrounding myself with little dolls. That is why I wasn’t into Precious Moments, trolls or china dolls dressed up in their finest when I was younger. The creep factor. Even as an adult, it would probably skeeve me out to see an elf staring straight at me while I was vacuuming, placing gifts under the tree – you name it. Gross.

But it has a book, you say, and a movie. Yes, but the interactive Polar Express has a train whistle, and those don’t freak me out in the least.

And there are five gazillion fun ways to place our little elf in the house. Hey, don’t get me wrong, there are some really smart cookies out there. My Facebook feed is inundated with the daily schedules of these elves. And man, the positions they put their creepy toys in are hilarious and brilliant. Those blogs telling you how to place your doll in the most inappropriate positions – I have read them all. The thing is, I don’t know about you, but I’m TIRED at the end of the day. I mean, Christmas is nuts. You have all the gifts to buy, cards to get out, traveling – besides all your normal work and everyday stuff. I don’t have kids yet and some days I am ready to crawl into bed as soon as I get home. So having to come up with another new, funny way to place that ugly thing in my home, cook dinner, and take the kids to all of their after-school practices? No thank you. I feel like it’s part of that whole parent mantra of “I have to do it all!!!” For me, as a kid, the whole month of December was exciting enough, I couldn’t imagine yet another activity to include in this jam-packed extravaganza.

The main reason I just am not all up on this new fad is the whole “big brother” aspect of it. Honestly, when I was a child, I was confused enough on whether Jesus or Santa was watching me. Did they tag team? Who reported to whom? Where was this ladder to heaven from the North Pole for their secret meetings? With our Catholic confessions, I knew Jesus was always out there and I had to be good on a DAILY basis, for I had to recite ten Hail Mary’s and ten Our Father’s if I wasn’t. And then when Santa came, woof dah, I tried not to put one toe out of line.

My parents made it pretty clear what the Christmas season was about, but I still had the Santa beliefs down ‘til fourth grade. And to add another little minion to the mix to do the fat man’s bidding? You are putting Catholic guilt times ten on a little kid. Besides that, my parents never empty threatened us with taking away our presents. “You better be good or you won’t get any presents from Santa for Christmas! He’s watching!” Yeah right, I doubt that really happens in most households. I can’t see my dad in the customer service line at Target during the holiday season returning all my Barbie toys. Not. Gonna. Happen. So instead of the “no presents” gag to get us to behave during the season, it was more of the usual, traditional time outs that were expected year round if we were not handling things right. I mean, why should good manners and well-behaved children be only expected at Christmas time? If that’s so, leave that stinkin’ elf out all year round.

And lastly, spending $30 on this thing? Dude … no. I can find ugly toys for as a little as $2. If I really need to EOAS it someday, I will grab my Ken doll in his mesh gold shirt and green board shorts and get crackin’! I love Christmas. I love tradition. I just don’t love the Elf. Sorry, little creepy, gross, ugly tchotchke. Sorry, since you you were introduced in 2005, I’m going to hope you leave in as big of a flurry as you came in.

A Sixth-Grader’s Nightmare: Christmas Edition

6 Dec

709fd2be62450971e334b29ee4c7f54aMortified. Horrified. Petrified.

I used to flip through teen magazines to the back section, a place where girls would write in to share their most distressing personal tales of embarrassing mishaps. “It was mortifying!!!” said every girl ever.

How awful! That would never happen to me, I thought. And as I chuckled over their misfortunes, in the back of my mind, I prayed that similar events would never happen to me.


It was my sixth-grade year. Instead of a traditional Christmas chorus concert, the entire grade put on the play The Runaway Snowman. Four kids would lead the production while the rest of the grade chimed in as the choir. I was one of those lucky few selected to fill one of the acting/singing parts.

This is it, I thought. People will recognize me, my talent, what I can bring to the table. As a sixth grader, I was consumed with the ideas of popularity, fitting in and standing out (go figure). And without athletic talent, this was an arena that I could perhaps shine in somehow.

So after many practices, our class was ready to present the show to our parents. It was a Friday afternoon and I spent the entire school day beaming. I was a star, I was brimming with absolute joy and excitement. My fellow cast mates and I were let out of class early to prepare for the production. A band director’s office was our costume slash prop room, and we had carefully laid out our clothes and makeup ahead of time.

After the lead character, the snowman, had put on his ensemble and headed out the door, I prepared to put on a dark blue jumper dress and a pair of my mother’s high heels. Not only was I playing the part of an adult woman, I would look the part. Absolutely stunning. There was a boy in the choir that I had been crushing on hard core. I kept thinking with the blush, lipstick and outfit (forget the thick glasses, buck teeth and braces), it would be hard to not take notice of me on stage.

And standing with just my Pocahontas underwear on (I was changing from my sports bra to a training bra), it happened. The door opened. And not one, or two, but four of my fellow male classmates happened to be standing right there. Wide mouthed.

I didn’t know what to do. How did they get in? Why were they here? What did they see?

I started to scream, “Get out! Get out!” I suddenly crossed my arms against my bare chest, realizing what they had just seen.

And the guys started screaming and running from the door, almost as horrified as I was.

I leaped under the teacher’s desk, crouched, breathing heavily. Was this a dream? It had to be. No way would something this horrible happen – it was too humiliating.

The frightened boys had come into the classroom to get the props for the stage, and I had forgotten to lock the door for privacy.

Something that people have nightmares about just happened to me. A 12-year-old girl just gave some of the cutest boys in school quite a show.

I couldn’t go back out there, even with just 15 minutes until the production would start. It took quite a bit of coaxing from the director to get me to show my face, and the confidence I had displayed earlier (after displaying my assets) was completely out the window.

For months, I couldn’t live it down with students teasing me about the incident. The boys were also unable to make eye contact with me or utter more than two words at a time in my presence.

Honestly, I hadn’t remembered the incident until a few days ago. Repression has most likely hidden many of my middle school slip-ups – especially terrible ones like this one.

After the event, it was difficult to visit that embarrassing moments page in the magazines. Part of the fun was knowing those events couldn’t happen to you. But I now knew for a fact that they could.

And although it was the worst thing that had happened to me at that time of my life, a few years later, I would understand that I could fill a couple pages with horrible moments similar to this one.

I Heart MST3K

21 Oct


I bought a stockpile of “classic” Halloween movies a week ago. Unfortunately, I accidentally shipped them to my parents’ house in Iowa.

So I guess I won’t be seeing them until after the fact. Last year, I was too broke to consider purchasing “The Addams Family” movies, “Hocus Pocus”, “Beetlejuice”, or my sister’s favorite television show “The Munsters”. I couldn’t fathom spending a few bucks on a pre-owned copy of the ’80s magic that is “Teen Witch”, without thinking about my empty bank account.

So what’s a girl to do without these masterpiece videos? Netflix, of course. For a thrill, we’ve gone through Hitchcock’s classic “Psycho”, delved into “Paranormal Activity” for a sleepless night, and “Blair Witch Project”-ed myself.

But what about the humorous, the lighthearted that my trick-or-treating self enjoyed so much in earlier days? I looked no further than what is absolutely near-and-dear to my heart: MST3K. For those of you non-nerds that haven’t immersed yourself in a 24-hour extravaganza of Mystery Science Theater 3000, you are missing out.

Introduced by my dad, we never could get enough of this Minneapolis-based show when it first appeared on Comedy Central. The Thanksgiving holiday wasn’t devoted just to turkey, no, it was also about “Gamera”, “Zombie Nightmare” and other D-rate movies. Listening to robots and humans make fun of the horrors of cinema made us have such gut-wrenching belly laughs, there was nothing like it. We had quite a few of them dubbed on VHS tapes, and after school or on Saturday afternoons, my two siblings and I would spend hours rewinding the parts we found the funniest. It got to the point where we would find old movies on television and try our hand at sarcasm – sending us in a fit of hysterics over our own humor.

The best were the shorts – 15-minute films that were obviously shown to the youth of the ’60s in P.E. class. My personal favorite was a half-hour black and white promotional flick from Iowa State University. In an effort to recruit the female persuasion to their home ec studies program, the college created one of the most sexist and hilarious films of all time. Add in the snark of Tom Servo and Crow T. Robot, and you have got just the best thing around.

My fiancee has been subjected to my family’s humor time and time again, and he has been forced to watch a couple of our all-time favorite episodes. Instead of watching a traditional holiday movie last Christmas Eve, we chose “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians” – it just seemed fitting.

We were able to find a few of the episodes on Netflix a couple nights ago. We chose “The Final Sacrifice” on Saturday evening. On Sunday, neither one of us could stop repeating some of the more memorable lines from the show. So imagine my surprise, when Nate and I sat down to watch an hour of TV and he suggested, “Um, could we watch another one of those?” I didn’t even suggest the beloved series, he did it all on his own. How ’bout that?

I knew I picked the right guy.

Favorite NYC Pastime

14 Oct
My closet is pretty similar, but I like to think that it's somewhat coordinated and not a complete clusterfuck.

My closet is pretty similar, but I like to think that it’s somewhat coordinated and not a complete clusterfuck.

Yesterday was one of those perfect fall days – a walk around Soho, pumpkin-caramel latte in hand, scarves, finished by a hike through the park. And as glorious as listening to Ella Fitzgerald croon “Autumn In New York” in my ear buds was, my wandering eye kept me from thoroughly enjoying the day. No, I wasn’t gawking at handsome men with my fiancee at my side, no, instead I was cheating on my wardrobe.

Forgive me, I don’t have much to complain about in that department. I know what I like, what my style is, and I buy accordingly. My clothing selection used to be filed with binges – items that I would never wear more than once, but in the last two years, I have really cleaned that kind of spending up. While in some boutique or a place like Macy’s, I try hard in my mind to rack up different options – how often would I wear it, what in my current closet could be paired with it, etc., etc. In years past, it would be “this would look good for this event” or “someday I will buy the boots, pants, whatever, that will go with this outfit.” After a gigantic purge before I moved east, it’s a bit easier to know what is in my closet and what I might possibly like in it in the future.

While on a budget, NYC fashion is always tempting. There is always someone somewhere – on the subway, in the park, walking to work – that has a garment that I covet. I will fixate on this item, today a navy pleated midi skirt, thinking of all the different outfits I could coordinate. Maybe we are going out for lunch or to a reading – I can’t concentrate on anything other than that beautiful item. Sometimes I am able to forget about the pair of strappy heels or the vibrant green scarf, but a lot of times, it continues to be front and center. I NEED IT! I WANT IT! I HAVE TO HAVE IT NOW!

My birthday recently came up, and a few of those “needed” items were given to me as presents. THANKS! And a few others sit on a wishlist, for whenever I am able to afford those purchases. Unfortunately, I work near Century 21 – a department store mecca for all things fashionable and at a cheaper price than most places (so it claims). So after a marketing exec walks by my desk wearing a beautiful light-grey cashmere sweater, at 6 p.m., I run to the fourth floor womens’ department. Or I will take the train across the water to the three-story mall that is too, too close to my apartment. Most of the time, I won’t find the exact item, but I will come close. And if I haven’t bought something in a while and the garment is in my price range, I might go in for the kill.

Once that NYC outfit is fully assembled, I will don it proudly out and about. Maybe some other girl will see something she likes in my ensemble, so I hope. And then it happens. A girl in my neighborhood walks by in a leather jacket and boots, closely resembling things that I currently own. She is also wearing a ’90s-inspired baby-doll dress and looks oh-so adorable. Where did she buy that? It it vintage or purchased at a little boutique? Here I go again.

Love NOT Actually

24 Sep

To me, this movie was PERFECT. Absolutely perfect. If wanting to rip out your eyes is the definition of the word.

Have you ever watched a movie from your past and come back with a completely different conclusion than before?

Well, that just happened to me after a viewing of Love Actually on Netflix. I first watched this in the theater while I was in college and LOVED it! What a true depiction of “love”. It was different, it was funny, it was unique. So basically, it was a movie made for me. I remember raving about the film with a friend, and we gushed and gushed over the various plot lines.

A few days ago? Not so much. It was a ridiculous pile of sh*t. Not even a little bit of an exaggeration there. It tried too hard, it made no sense, and it wasn’t sentimentally tugging at my heartstrings whatsoever. It was just plain dumb. Was I on drugs in college? I don’t remember taking drugs … does that mean I did?

It starts off with a voiceover from one of the too many famous actors in the film, Hugh Grant. People are congregating at Heathrow Airport, while Grant talks of what real love stories are. So you get the impression that you are going to hear about real love stories. Prepare to get really disappointed.

• The first story is about an aging rock and roll star Billy Mack. He goes from zero to amazing in five weeks flat, restarting his career. In ways that would make Miley Cyrus jealous, he uses shock and awe to show the world that he’s still a viable celebrity by making fun of himself. Not by writing new songs or becoming relevant (so I guess that is true to celebrities now?). At the end, he tells his manager Joe that he is the love of his life. It never clarifies if the love is platonic or if Mack just came out of the closet, so the audience is just left befuddled.

• Next, we come to Keira Knightley’s character getting married to a man named Peter. The groom’s best friend Mark might be in love with Peter? It seems that way. But then we find out that the pissed-off veneer that Mark has is really to disguise his love for Knightley’s character. What? Yeah, I understand friends falling for other friends and having to hide it, but usually it happens in a shy, standoffish way. Not by being a total jerk. Well, unless you are a 12-year-old boy. In the end, he’s still in love with her, and the film depicts the three of them just joyfully hanging out together like they are in a threesome or just accepting the situation. So confusing.

• Colin Firth’s character’s wife sleeps with his brother. Oh, well. No mention of either character after that! Because five weeks later he proposes to his Portuguese maid, someone he has not been able to communicate with. Attraction = perfect couple. Not.

• Snape, er, I mean Alan Rickman, plays Harry (was this name intentional?), a director of a design agency. His secretary is IN LOVE with him. She does this by spreading her legs, wearing devil horns, blatantly propositioning him – we get it, you like Harry. Unfortunately, he is married to Karen, played by über famous person Emma Thompson. She is just too, too busy of a mom to notice her husband buying jewelry for his maybe girlfriend/secretary. (The movie forgets to show us if he actually physically cheated on his wife or just likes buying gifts.) The only bright side of the movie is when Mr. Bean makes an appearance as the jewelry store’s salesman. BT-Dubs, Alan Rickman, please speak up. You mumble too much. For all that I know, you just cast a spell on Harry Potter or were just covering up for forgetting your lines to this awful movie. If I were in the situation: samesies! The wife eventually figures it out, but besides looking a bit perturbed, she seems just “what can you do?” at the end. Because really, what can she do? I guess Emma Thompson will just have to make some more banana bread!

• Back to the beautiful Hugh Grant. He plays the handsome prime minister. He falls in love with Natalie, a household staff member with a filthy mouth. The little bugger! But dammit, the U.S. President, played by Billy Bob Thornton, is just in the way. He’s too domineering, too take-control, and too USA. He gets what he wants. So he flirts and flirts and flirts with Natalie, finally kissing her neck. Natalie doesn’t seem to like the attention. So what does Hugh do? Well he basically butchers U.S.-U.K. political ties because he’s upset. Super smart. At a press conference, he pokes fun at the U.S. President (an easy caricature of President Bush) and says that Britain won’t be bullied and that the U.S. needs to watch out. Chivalry, dammit! The British crowd goes wild – wild I say. Because who doesn’t love allies with a long history of friendship becoming enemies? It’s sooooo realistic. He even asks Margaret Thatcher’s portrait what he should do in the situation. I would imagine she would say, “Probably the opposite of what you just did, asshole.”

• Liam Neeson plays Daniel. His wife just died. His stepson Sam doesn’t seem too upset. His mom just died. He’s a tiny little kid “in love”. So he learns the drum set in five weeks to impress a girl. Somehow, he succeeds. Child prodigy. Liam Neeson falls for Claudia Schiffer. Did I mention that his wife just died like a month ago? Is anyone listening to me?

• Laura Linney’s character has been in love with Karl FOR YEARS. They almost get together, unfortunately Linney’s brother is crazy and keeps calling! Linney can’t stop taking his phone calls! Relationship averted!

• This British guy Colin decides to go to America to find hot girls. He finds them. American girls love guys with accents. No personality, dumb as a stump, but has a great accent! YAY! This storyline was SOOO needed.

The only love scene that seems um, “accurate” is between porn stars John and Judy. They star in a movie together, go on a date, and find they have things in common. The porn star thing is obviously weird, but the whole dating and finding things in common seems about right.

WTF, I don’t know what to say. Why did I like this movie? Did I just have horrible taste in college? I just, I just – I can’t. There was nothing real about it (besides the porn couple part with the younger Bilbo Baggins). So watch it if you want, but do it to make fun of it. Please. It’s just that bad.

To T-strap Or Not?

7 Sep


In all this wedding hoopla, I have been plagued by very few questions. The ones that stick all have to deal with shoes.

Forget vows, music, or even my dress (that was pretty easy), I need to know what my tootsies will be adorned with (God, I hate the word “tootsies.”)

I told the dress shop exactly what I wanted in a dress. Audrey Hepburn-inspired. Knee length. With a shirt-like top. Ordered. Donesies.

What do I want in a first dance song? Neil Young’s Harvest Moon. What else? (I mean, it’s about a couple breaking up, so yeah, gotta love that.)

And shoes. Sigh. At first, my shoes were going to be navy Jimmy Choo’s. Too much money. Then I found the perfect off-white Manolo Blahnik’s on E-Bay. And got outbid in the last minute of the sale. I seriously was down in the dumps for a good five days after that mishap. I imagined myself in all my bridal glory posing in pictures in those glorious vintage shoes. But that wasn’t going to happen. Finally, to stop all the madness of pondering over heels, I sprung for some vintage-like brand-new Kate Spade tan pumps at a Neiman Marcus clearance sale. I’m a classic kind of girl anyway, so these were perfect.

So basically, what I am saying is that the wedding is set. Seriously. Everything will be fine as long as I have some decent shoes on my feet. (If I didn’t, watch out, bridezilla on the loose! I don’t joke about shoes. Never.)

But here we are again, a day before my engagement photos in Central Park. And a dilemma hangs overhead. What to wear? Oh, my clothes were again an easy choice. At my workplace, one of the major perks of working at a magazine is the sales. When the fashion or beauty departments have too much in their inventory, they open up their closets to employees at deep-pocket discounts. High-dollar makeup for a buck? Why not? I come home each sale with a huge grin and with a gigantic stash of goodies. So when one well-known magazine at the company held a fashion sale a few months back, I didn’t hold back. Ten bucks for each item of clothing. Maybe that doesn’t seem that great of a deal, but when I picked up an Issa dress (a brand that Kate Middleton favors) for a bunch of dollar bills, I saved myself, oh, around 600 bucks. It’s a red and black boatneck-collar dress that flares at the knee. And fits perfectly. So there’s that.

Yet…shoes? When I buy a pair of shoes, it’s a big deal. Like I am saying to them, “Welcome to my closet family.” I favor vintage-inspired pumps, and I have six pairs in the black color category alone. (Of course, I have a ’50s pump, a ’40s T-strap, wedges, a skinny secretary-style pump, CK kitten heels, and some dressy strappy sandals. Black flats don’t belong in this category-too many of those to count.) So do I go with the Ralph Lauren fifties-style? They are classy, and if I happen to tilt my leg behind for a photo, it looks nice. But so does the Kimchi Blue T-strap. (My fiance knew about my addiction way before we got engaged, so please don’t feel sorry for him.)

Right now, I am sitting on my bed about to Skype with my matron of honor and mother over this serious problem. Did I need reinforcements when deciding over a classic Iowa dinner for my reception? No. Did I have to have a long conversation about table settings? Or my flowers? I said as long as they looked like they came out of an autumn Midwest ditch on the side of the road, they were perfect. But shoes.

This may take awhile.

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