Archive | July, 2008

Stuff Kids Like: Thomas the Tank Engine

22 Jul

A scene from our kitchen on Saturday night (as told by my husband, Fritz)

Me: “Sweetie, there are some things about “Thomas and Friends” that are kind of bugging me. There really is a lot of bad behavior there.”

Fritz: “Yeah, there is. Hubris is usually the big one. Whenever an engine gets too full of himself, something bad happens. Plus there’s a lot of conflict and infighting between them.”

Me: “And I’m not crazy about the whole management-worker dynamic. Sir Topham Hatt keeps them in a dark shed under a tarp until he suddenly comes in one day and pulls it off. He says, ‘If you work hard, I’ll let you out’. Then he orders them around like slaves.”

Fritz: “Oh, I don’t know, honey. An engine’s fondest wish is to be Really Useful. I think Sir Topham Hatt has a kindly way with the engines. He mediates their disputes fairly and picks them up when they get down on themselves. He only really chews them out when they do something dumb like blasting through someone’s dining room wall at breakfast.”

Me: “Yeah, I guess so. And what’s with all these people building their houses and setting up barber shops five feet away from a sharp turn in the rails? How do they get insurance, anyway?”

My Next Top Reality: Columns 1-6

16 Jul

For those of you who have requested the links to my Reality TV column, “My Next Top Reality” on Shuffleboil.com, here they are:

My Next Top Reality: The Price of Pain in Hollywood
My Next Top Reality – Weigh to Go
My Next Top Reality – “Hey! I’m Trying to Eat Here!”
My Next Top Reality – America’s #1 Writer
My Next Top Reality – What the hell sort of happiness is this?
My Next Top Reality – “Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares”

The Conversation: Barack Obama

14 Jul

Beep…

Me: Wait, someone’s calling on the other line. Let me check who it… cool. It’s Barack. Can you just e-mail me that cashew chili recipe? I gotta take this. OK? Thanks.

Beep…

Me: Hello?

Obama: Hi, Jennifer, How are ya?

Jennifer: Honestly? I’m just about fed up with some stuff, and I need to vent. You ever get that way? You just bottle it all up and try to stay positive and look on the bright side and use words like “challenging” instead of freakin’ off-the-charts “terrible”? Doesn’t it get to you that you can’t say exactly what you think all the time?

Obama: I do say what I think.

Me: I know, I know. But you’re a politician. C’mon on now.

Obama: No. Seriously. On the most part I do say what I think.

Me: How did you like that cheesecake I made for you?

Obama: It was awful. I had to toss it. I couldn’t in good conscience feed it to my staff.

Me: Uh huh.

Obama: I mean, have you ever even made a cheesecake before? I’m just asking cuz…

Me. Yeah, yeah. I get it. You’re honest. I bet if I was the Queen of Siam, you’d make yourself like it. You’d…

Obama: There is no Siam.

Me: OK, Brainy McSmarts-a-lot. I don’t know who’s briefing you on international stuff or whatever. But there is a Siam. For crying out loud, I just ate at King of Siam Buffet last Friday night. If you think you want to be president you really have to study up on…

Obama: Well, it’s still there. It didn’t disappear. It’s just called Thailand.

Me: Oh.

Obama: So anyway, I was just calling to check in. I wanted to see if you would consider joining my strategic communications committee. Actually, I have a need for someone who can give me some important counsel on reaching out to a wide variety of voters.

Me: But you’ve got my vote.

Obama: Yes, I think we’ve got the lifelong yellow dog Democrat/East Coast liberal arts college educated/ artist/creative consultant/feminist/cat person/dog person/rabbit person/Catholic Buddhist/organic vegetable eating/Target shopper vote all nailed down.

Me: Are you sure? Because I think I have a really good handle on the issues that mean so much to this segment of the population. We need access to free healthcare and three day work weeks and mandatory kitten adoptions for families with two or more kids, and some other stuff. I can send you a list.

Obama: Yeah. I know. But I think I could really use your help with some other folks.

Me: Well, I’ll try. What are you thinking about?

Obama: We’ve had some challenges…

Me: You mean you’re terrified of losing…

Obama: OK Fine. I’m terrified of losing… the carny vote.

Me: The swami vote?

Obama: The carny vote.

Me: The Blarney Stone?

Obama: CAR-NY.

Me: Carny? You’re afraid of losing votes of traveling carnival workers?

Obama: Is that what they prefer to be called? Carnival workers?

Me: How the hell should I know? I’m just seeking, you know, some clarification on what you’re looking for.

Obama: Well, we had a staff meeting, and I think it goes without saying that the Carnival Worker population has been woefully underrepresented. Every year they are tasked with providing all-American entertainment in parking lots and open fields across America. They travel and because of this many of them fail to claim a resident state. Without a resident state, they are less inclined to vote– even by absentee ballot. But these people are the salt of the earth. They are hardworking Americans who need to be heard. I can be that voice.

Me: Um, OK. Can I just ask you something?

Obama: Shoot.

Me: Why?

Obama: Why what?

Me: Why do they need to be heard? I mean, why don’t you just leave them alone?

Obama: Excuse me?

Me: Baby steps, Barack. You’re getting way ahead of yourself.

Obama: What do you mean?

Me: I’ll be blunt. I know this is an historic election.

Obama: That it is.

Me: And you’re totally going to win.

Obama: Yes, I am.

Me: And all sorts of crazy hoo-ha is gonna happen because you’re young, you’re liberal, you’ve made history in so many incredibly awesome ways, and you’re just not gonna take it anymore. Am I right?

Obama: Go on.

Me: Point is… just leave the carnies out of this. I figure, most of them are off the grid. Most of them probably haven’t paid taxes their entire adult lives. And you know what? Do you think they have disability insurance, not to mention health insurance, even while they’re operating equipment called “Sizzler” or “Megadrop” or “Horror Train”? I don’t think so. They’re rebels.

Obama: You see, that’s exactly the point I’m…

Me: Shhhh… shhh…

Obama: OK, I’m Shhhh-shing.

Me: So anyway, just don’t do any photo opps with guys named Lefty or Big John or Ghost Eye. Just don’t.

Obama: If you say so.

Me: You’ll thank me.

Obama: So what was it you wanted to vent about?

Me: I just saw that documentary “Sicko” and I am asbsolutely outraged that our government, unlike the French, does not send ladies to houses to do other ladies’ laundry when they have babies. Their daycare is, like, a dollar a day and they are awesome. And doctors actually make housecalls– and they like it! Why don’t we have that? Huh? Why?

Obama: I’m working on it.

Me: Oh you better be… or I’m moving to France. I mean it this time.

Obama: Au revoir.

Me: Yeah, well, I would ditch the jokes too.

Obama: Whatever you say.

Me: Thanks.

Obama: You’re welcome.

Me: Now go kick some McButt.

Thanks, Matt. Whoever you are.

12 Jul

Congratulations and General Praise for Awesome Friends

9 Jul

Doing a quick scan and reconnecting with some of my friends, I feel so proud that great things are happening. It’s been sort of an isolating year and a half being a new Mom and trying to get in a groove with various writing projects all the while running a business. It’s just been, well, a lot. I just want to give some love to people. And for anyone that reads this blog, I urge you to check out their work.

Sonya Feher: Not only is she my best sister mama, she’s pulled together an amazing memoir detailing the highs and lows of her pregnancy while dealing with generalized anxiety disorder. She’s pulled together an incredible piece of work– something I desperately wish I had had when I was pregnant. But, of course, I got something even better… the author! Cavanaugh (her son) and Ben are only a month and a day apart. Her book is just like nothing else out there, and it’s really a matter of time before agents start scrambling to rep her.

Scott Von Doviak: Just one of the funniest, smartest all around brilliant guys I know (who now lives in Austin). He wrote Hick Flicks: The Rise and Fall of Redneck Cinema and does regular film reviews, well, all over the place. He is now (brace yourself) reviewing the 100 worst films ever made. Keep strong, brother.

Jana Christy: Amazing, amazing illustrator. Her work is so beautiful, sensitive, true, inspired and smart. The woman should be in the New York Times– every day. Someday I hope to collaborate with Jana on a children’s book. That would be a dream come true. She’s a class act.

John Mitchell: True renaissance man and one of the most savvy, prolific and thoroughly engaging writers I have ever had the pleasure to call my friend. I am forever indebted to John for starting Shuffleboil.com where I was allowed to write silly essays on TV and even write a fiction serial. His tastes in art, music, lit, and every facet of creative life is one for the books. He often serves (whether he knows it or not) as my personal creative guide.

Andrew Osborne: OMG– he just won an Emmy… for CASH CAB! Isn’t it funny how things work out? Andrew has directed movies, written screenplays and fiction, blogs– the man does it all. I’s so happy for him and especially glad that he got to meet Oscar the Grouch at the ceremony!

Ernie Cline: Even though Fanboys is on the back burner for now, our friend Ernie sold his next screenplay recently. It’s called Thundercade. Yeah!! Ernie got to quit his job and just focus on what he does best– being a screenwriter and a new Daddy!

Genevieve Van Cleve: Gen’s been MIA because she is kicking so much ass working on the Diane Maldanado campaign. It’s heavy lifting for the Dems, but Gen’s as strong as they come.

There are so many others that I have to break this up into two or more posts. More later!!

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