Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Seriously, What the Hell Is That Sound?

Sometimes I hear it when I first open my eyes in the morning.


I almost always hear it when I'm down in the kitchen, doing my Bride of Frankenstein impersonation and staring sullenly into the sink, waiting for the coffee to brew.


"What is that?" I ask Jon Bon Jovi (not my husband's real name), who is rummaging in the pantry for food.
"I don't hear anything."


"You seriously don't hear that...that thipping thound?"

"You're lisping. And you're hearing things. Are you having a stroke? Because if you are, I'll wait and get a danish at the hospital."
Clearly, this sound is so evil that only I can hear it.
So I start looking around, following the sound, which seems to move around and change in intensity as I move from room to room. Just when I think I've got it nailed, it seems to be coming from somewhere else. Inside? Outside?

After about 20 minutes, though, I've got it narrowed down to two possibilities.

The thip-thip-thip is for sure coming either from this:

Or this:

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Who's Next to Xerox Their Butt?

Things are pretty crazy here in the LJKGW offices today since we found out this morning that we've been included in the AllTop.com humor listings! A woo-hoo!

Yep, it's big. We're chuffed, stoked and, well, amped. Thanks, AllTop!

(Apparently the AllTop folks didn't realize that this is actually a very serious blog about people with irritable bowel syndrome and the people who love them, but I guess it's all a gray area, yes?)

I was thinking, since no one's getting any work done anyway, how about if I show you around the LJKGW complex? Here we go...

Our lobby.

Hard at work on a new post.

Yes, we have on-site daycare.

We try to think outside of this, but most stuff piles up inside.

These are left over from last year's Christmas party.

Employee break room.

Seriously, don't touch that.

These guys are next door. Not very sociable.

None of us know what this thing does.

Okay, every time I see that guy, he's on the phone. He is SO fired.

Friday is burrito day in the company cafeteria. Don't come on a Tuesday - eggplant parmesan. [shudder]

Well, that's pretty much it. Thanks for...Oh, wait, do you hear that? I gotta go! They're playing Bohemian Rhapsody - that's my song! Thanks again, AllTop! Bye!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A Portent Of Doom (Plus News And A Group Hug)

Let's get the doom out of the way right now.

I don't know what it bodes for the weekend that I woke up this morning with a Hanson song on my lips. What unspeakable dreams must I have had that would culminate in the utterance of "Mmm-Bop!" just as my alarm clock started bleating?

I trust we shall not speak of this again.

And, in other news...
Congratulations to Jessica Gottlieb for winning our HARO contest (below)! Although no one got the answers exactly right, Jessica came closest. Therefore, according to the Big Book of Silly Blog Contest Rules (sitting right here on my desk underneath my nunchucks and a can of Raid), she wins the loot!

What's that prize again? Feast your eyes on this little piece of head candy:

[Note to self: look up "head candy" at UrbanDictionary.com to make sure it's not dirty.]

Yesss. So stand by, Jessica, because the fellas in fulfillment will be contacting you shortly to arrange for shipping and there will likely be some tax paperwork to complete as well.

And, for those of you playing the home version of our game, here are the answers:

These media inquiries are REAL:
  • Factoids On Mucus
  • Professional Chefs Who Ride Bicycles
  • Benefits to Having Longer Labia [I know! WhatEVER.]
  • Labeled a Slut in High School?

And these are the ones I MADE UP:

  • Use of Balloon Animals in Anger-Management Courses
  • Tips on Winterizing Your Mullet
  • Men's Sport Kilt: The New Choice for Casual Friday?
  • Finding the Right Personal Stylist for Your Baby or Toddler

It gives one pause, yes? Thanks to EVERYONE who commented and participated!

(On a side note, I, for one, think it takes a big man to wear a kilt. Especially in, say, West Virginia. And even more especially if your job is something like delivering bottled water or teaching 7th grade. In my book, wearing clothes that have a built-in danger factor is indicative of a certain heartiness of spirit melded with good-natured whimsicality that I find kind of appealing. I might be an enthusiast. Whatever. I'm just sayin'.)

Now, get over here and give me some sugar (and two cool badges).

On the blog bling front, I've had two lovely surprises this week.

The first is from Karen over at NouvelleBlogger, who put me in line for this:

Obviously, super-cool. Thank you, Karen! Karen and I met in prison and I highly recommend her blog. [Ahem. The link's right up there.]

I also received this from Deb at Debbie Does Drivel:

Wow! Thank you, Deb! Deb and I connected through HumorBloggers.com and her blog is hilarious. [OK, those are the only two places you have to go. I'm not asking that much, am I? Seriously, it's a little late in the evening to be playing this hard to get.]

Now, I know there are all sorts of rules and obligations that come with these awards so I've sent those files over to the legal department where a couple of highly trained and appropriately degreed women are "reviewing" them, which I think in actuality means "removing all the paper clips, scattering the papers all over the desks then stomping down to the break room to sit at a plastic table, drink Tab and sullenly flip through Us Magazine while grousing about how it's just plain unattractive when young, female celebrities allow themselves to get so damn skinny!"

Thanks again, Karen and Deb! Sally Field moment!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Well, HARO, there!

My bud Karen over at NouvelleBlogger introduced me to HARO a little while ago. That is to say, I first heard of HARO when she mentioned it in passing on her blog. Naturally, I had to click over and snoop around.

Hmmm...interesting concept. HARO stands for Help A Reporter Out. (No, not out the door. Silly.) It's an email service that you can subscribe to (fer nuthin'!) and receive several emails a day containing lists of active, red-hot inquiries from both print and electronic media. You simply scan the list and if you are qualified to serve up expert information and/or opinion in response to a reporter's query, well, then let 'er rip!

For instance, the email might contain a topic like this:

"Starsky & Hutch" Enthusiasts' Favorite Ritz-Cracker Recipes

Oooh, I can answer that! I have one! So I click through and send that lucky reporter the dog-eared, Imperial Margarine-smeared recipe for Mock Apple Pie (no apples needed!) that my mama got from her mama on her wedding day.

See how that works?

So here's the deal: following is a list of media inquiry topics. Half of them are actual topics that came through HARO and the other half I made up. Can you tell which is which?

  1. Factoids on Mucus
  2. Use of Balloon Animals in Anger-Management Courses
  3. Tips on Winterizing Your Mullet
  4. Professional Chefs Who Ride Bicycles
  5. Benefits to Having Longer Labia
  6. Men's Sport Kilt: The New Choice for Casual Friday?
  7. Finding the Right Personal Stylist for Your Baby or Toddler
  8. Labeled a Slut in High School?
The first person to leave a comment that correctly sorts the real topics from the fake ones will win this (blog catnip - we're not above it):

That's right: it's a brand new, never worn, completely genuine Tito's Tacos cap from our local LA taco stand landmark, complete with embroidered corn cobs and peppers on the brim. (As always, we cover all shipping and handling charges...they're factored right into the LJKGW business plan.) A cap like this will cost you upwards of $12.00 (even more if you don't live here and have to factor in airfare and a rental car), but why should you stand in line to get one when I already browbeat Jon Bon Jovi (not my husband's real name) into doing it for you?
So, good luck, everyone! I'll reveal the answers - and the shrewd winner - in the next post!
And remember: everyone looks good in fluorescent yellow!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Flashback Friday!

Here's Morticia, almost a decade ago, all snuggled up with
Jon Bon Jovi (not my husband's real name).

By the way, I reject the notion that baby smiles are nothing more than the by-products of gas bubbles. I like to think she's smiling at something funny that Mommy said.

Monday, September 15, 2008

And Now, For Something Completely Random

File Under: Tragically Misdirected Marketing

Williams-Sonoma keeps emailing me little instructional cooking videos, like optimistic missionaries slipping yet another Bible through Charlie Manson's cell bars and thinking, This will be the one that does the trick. I finally became aware this morning that I am the target of a strategic intervention effort to put this wretched soul on the righteous path toward pureeing soups with an immersion blender.

But hear me, Chuck Williams: I will not be turned. I am a lifer. I sit here with my microwaved bowl of canned chili and I think we both know that I'm going to write my name across it with squeeze cheese.

I forever lost my culinary faith after the Tuna Noodle Casserole Incident of 1997 and, no, I don't want to talk about it. And to those who say that I need only rely on the benevolent, higher kitchen power that is available to each and every one of us I say this:

Dude, you didn't taste it.

File Under: Meteoric Rise To Mediocrity

Not to sound like I have a case of the big-heads, but the old blog here has scorched its way up through the Technorati rankings to a mind-blowing (are you ready for this?) 1,941,060. Yesss. I feel the searing heat of your envy through my monitor. I warm the soles of my feet with it.

Here's the crazy part: just a couple of weeks ago, my ranking was somewhere north of 4 million. So...I guess going from one page view a day to two (note to self: thank intern's mother for reading my blog) is considered a significant uptick.

That's math for you.

[I was looking for a cool photo to slide in here, so I went to a stock photo site and put the word "rank" in the search engine. It gave me the above photo entitled "Man Inspecting Cheese." So I'm thinking either my improved Technorati ranking means I'm a big cheese, or this cheese is so old that it smells rank.]

File Under: Tax-Deductible Blog Improvements

Pardon our dust, but LJKGW is now sporting a snappy new masthead which was just built and installed over the weekend. (Thanks for noticing.) We'd love to hear what you think of it (unless you're the guy who took the "totally authentic" UFO picture that the slackers in research boosted off the Internet, in which case the masthead was already up when we got here and we know nothing about it).

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Notorious K.I.D.

Well, summer ended almost two weeks ago for Morticia and Gomez (not my children's real names). Last night was back-to-school night and it was...um...interesting.

The husband and I stroll up outside the cafegymatorium (a term we've absorbed from "Everyone Loves Raymond" - giving credit where it's due) and are pleased to see lots of parent friends we've not caught up with yet since summer ended. There is much hello-waving and near-miss hugging. The husband moves off with a couple of dads and I stand with one of the moms, swapping information about our son's new teachers.
Mom #1: "Oh, you're so lucky! Gomez is going to love that teacher - she's fabulous! So who'd Morticia get?"
Me: "Mrs. Yummy. I met her the first day and she seems really nice."
Mom #1: "Oh." [looks away]
Me: "What?"
Mom #1: "Oh, nothing. I'm sure she's great." [avoiding eye contact]
Me: "What is it?"
Mom #1: [lowers voice] "It's just that...you know who's in Mrs. Yummy's class, don't you?"
Me: "No, who?"
Mom #1: [looks side to side and leans in closer] "Chuckie." (Note: totally random, made-up name)
Me: "Who?"
Mom #1: "Morticia's pretty quick on her feet, right?"
Me: "Why do you ask?"
Mom #2: [approaches] "Hey, guys, what teachers did you get?"
Mom #1: "Morticia got Mrs. Yummy."
Mom #2: [hand flies to throat] "Oh, no! Your daughter's in with Chuckie?"
Mom #3: [approaches] "Who's in with Chuckie?"
Mom #1: "Anna's daughter."
Mom #3: "Oooh, tough break. Does she know Tae Kwon Do? Any martial arts at all?"
Me: "What?"
Mom #3: I'm just saying, best to be prepared."
Me: "Wait a minute, isn't your son in Mrs. Yummy's class, too?"
Mom #3: "He was. For a day. Then we got out."
Me: "How'd you manage that? They said no one could switch teachers. No exceptions."
Mom #3: "They make an exception when you have a restraining order."
Me: "A restraining order?"
Mom #3: "Just against the mom." [she looks over my shoulder and her eyes sweep the crowd of parents]
Me: "What?!"
Mom #3: "It's a long story."
Mom #1: "Yeah, and a good one." [wiggles eyebrows]
Mom #3: "She has to stay 100 yards away from me. Except on school grounds she's allowed to come as close as ten feet." [she turns suddenly and looks behind her]
Mom #2: "I can't believe you don't know who Chuckie is. He's, like, famous throughout the district." [sees another parent friend walking by and calls to him] "Hey, who'd you get?"
Passing Dad: "We got Mrs. Rainbow!" [raises fists in triumph] "No Chuckie!"
Have I mentioned that I miss summer vacation?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

New Mommy Post at LA Moms Blog

I have a new post up today at LA Moms Blog.

It's titled "Satan's Chore Chart" and you can check it out here.

Today's Specials and Super-Villain Names

Band: Something for Rockets

Color: Aquamarine

Website: Fontifier
Vice: Excessive sarcasm

Tree: Chinese Berry Tree

Frozen Yogurt: Mint with chocolate sprinkles

Animal: Owl

OK, my daughter's reading a book called My All-Time Top Five and we've been going through it together. One of the chapters explains how to come up with your personal, deluxe super-scary villain name. Here's the formula:

"The" + [color of your car] + [your biggest fear]

So, for me, there are two options:

"The Silver Clown" OR "The Green Menopause"

Like I said...scary.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

What's Up With The Sharing?

A few weeks ago, Camille (not her real name but I think I'll start calling her that), who runs my writing group, gave me an exercise. She does this once in a while and, although I seize up each time at the thought of being given an "assignment," I invariably end up benefiting greatly from the process.

In this most recent exercise, she asked me to write about a moment during which I recognized or acknowledged my calling or purpose (independent of motherhood, family, etc.). I never had considered the existence of a particular moment or transition, but when I looked back, there it was - waiting for me.

In the spirit of blogging and reaching out and all that good stuff that has been tapping me on the shoulder over the past months and even years, I am sharing my response below. What follows is the unvarnished and unedited text that came from this exercise. I dedicate it to that tiny filament in each of us. Glow, baby.

I sat at the desk in the master bedroom of what we now refer to as the “little house” – the house where we had our children – our first house. The desk was large - with a hulking hutch balanced above it – and the room was small, maybe 14 by14, certainly not living up to the title of “master” anything. I sat in the indirect light of the desk lamp that had had its head torqued to face the wall and looked around the room. Husband’s dresser, my sewing table with its Bernina sitting on top, a half-made play quilt impaled on its needle, husband’s valet with his suit coat flung across it, a brown leather recliner that I had been convinced to give him as a gift as long as it didn’t end up in our bedroom, our California-king bed with husband asleep in it, a changing table piled high with wipees, burp cloths and newborn diapers no bigger than a kleenex, a beige embroidered bassinet with our tiny son asleep in it. It was like a dorm room and seemed to be crammed with everything we owned. A space capsule. It was 11:00 at night and I was in my ancient California Berkeley sleep shirt and giraffe-print fluffy slippers, sitting quietly at the computer, looking around the room, thinking. There was something I’d been thinking about doing for a while now. An idea that had been flitting around the edges of my mind for months, but seemed to evaporate when I looked directly at it. I felt its presence, though, a tiny bit stronger every day. It was an audacious notion, especially for someone for whom a five-page college paper was a crushing, Herculean undertaking. God, how I hated writing papers. The monotonous rehashing and regurgitating of the professor’s theories or the textbook’s recitations. Five pages of double-spaced misery. What was I thinking? I had tried to shake off the notion. Ridiculous, I told myself. But the notion persisted, unbowed, and I eventually named it in my mind, although not out loud yet. I was going to write a novel. Then there were the press releases. How many scores of press releases had I written over the years? Gads, too many and too painful. Saccharine, insincere weavings of desperation, designed to hint at something that wasn’t true or distract from something that unfortunately was. They were arguably more painful to write than the papers. At least at Cal I knew that the person critiquing my work was smart. I gave a bemused smile and watched to cursor wink at me from the empty page. Who would ever see what I wrote here? What did it matter? Did I even have any business writing my so-called novel? I had a toddler and a new baby, for crissakes. Anyone could tell you I had no time for self-indulgent projects like novel-writing. Sheesh, what did I even have to say? Wink, wink, wink said the cursor. It seemed to know something I didn’t, but it wasn’t telling. I yawned. I festered. I pushed back my cuticles. I glared at the husband. How could he just lie there? And then a sentence appeared in my mind. Hmmm. I typed it and it glowed on the screen. The cursor winked at me again and I felt a tiny filament of a light flick on somewhere inside, no bigger than a single bulb on a Christmas strand. Hmmm. I cocked my head and studied the sentence. It was all mine. Off the syllabus. No client approval required. I was drunk with power. Now what? Another sentence appeared behind it. Well. Where did that come from? I looked around to see if anyone was seeing this activity that surely was a naughty waste of precious mommy time. Where did I get off thinking that – oh, there’s the next sentence. Ha, that’s pretty funny. Wouldn’t it be funny if now, oh, wait, there it is, happening on the screen. That’s crazy. Who do I think I am? I’m not a baseball-cap-wearing, laptop-toting writer, for crying out loud! I’m a spin doctor. A corporate animal with Liquid Paper in my veins. Give me your indicted, your explosive, your politically incorrect…I will retool them, repurpose them, revarnish them. But I’m not a creative. I would have known that years ago, right? If I had magic beans I would have known long ago and I would have been doing a different job all along. I pushed back in the chair and took a deep breath. I was a spin doctor and now I’m a mom. There’s no room for [gulp] novelist in there. You self-deluded, wretched - but wait. There on the screen. I wrote that. It came from me. It wasn’t there on the screen a few moments ago…but there it is now. I created it. It’s a tiny little corner of a napkin of a world that no one knows but me. What if that was what I did…officially? How would that work exactly? Who would I be? What an outrageous idea. I scooted forward to the screen again and studied the lines I’d written. I wondered what was going to happen next in the story. And then I knew. Yes, I thought as I typed, that’s how she would talk. And this is what she needs to say. And she is part of me. And this is what I do. Tonight. And tomorrow. And the days after that.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Is It Me?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

So Long, Summer.