Friday, August 28, 2015

Five lessons Hurricane Katrina taught me

1. Buy real estate following a disaster. Houses in New Orleans are now being sold for HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA amounts of money, houses that you wouldn’t even walk by ten years ago. Empty lots have STARTING bids at $80,000 at auction. Think about that during the next major natural disaster in your town!

2. You don’t need home insurance. Katrina showed us that it doesn’t matter if you put money every year into home insurance, flood insurance, disaster insurance, etc. everyone got paid out (or bought out) from the government. And what didn’t get paid out, religious groups came down to fix it for free. ‘MERICA!!!!!!

3. Keep an ax in your attic. Before Katrina, I certainly didn’t consider the possibility that anyone would have to exit their house from the roof. And a roof does not have a human-sized door. Keep an ax in the attic so you can hack your way out in an emergency, or, you know, if a serial killer was lurking below.

4. Kids need therapy. When I was a newspaper reporter in New Orleans after the BP oil spill in 2010, I wrote an article about how BP was paying for therapy for all the children on the Gulf Coast who were traumatized by the spill. An excellent PR move and wholly important. And I’m sure there were some therapy programs for kids post-Katrina, but nothing that springs to mind. And now the “kids of Katrina,”—not the ones who were born ten years ago, but those who were impressionable 10-year-olds then who are 20 years old now—just may be EFFED up. I have no way to prove a correlation, but New Orleans has a major problem right now with teenagers and 20-something young people shooting, stabbing, terrorizing the French Quarter and beating people senseless for no apparent reason. I can’t help but wonder if these are children of the storm.

5. It forced you to care about your ex.  No matter how much you hated them in the end, after Katrina, you got in touch with your ex, asked them where they were, if they were OK and even asked them about their mamma. 

...Even if they were a toolbag.


Tuesday, August 25, 2015


Do I need an opening paragraph? Does today’s post even need any sort of introduction?

This past weekend, my friend Mallory told me that on a THIRD date, the guy she was seeing, Brett, asked her for her urine so he could pass a drug test.

(spits out vodka drink) AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA



Naturally, we had a lot of questions.

Such as...“Shouldn’t you wait until at least date FIVE before discussing drug use?”


Just kidding mom.

No. Nothing about this was OK.

It was so not OK that when Mallory told the group of us four girls about it, we each had a very valid, very different concern about Brett's request.

“If he knew you didn't do drugs, why would he think you'd be OK with the fact that he is a drug user?” asked girl number one.

“Why would he ask you on a THIRD date?” asked girl number two. “Shouldn’t you wait until at least date FIVE before discussing drug use?”

“And how were you supposed to give him your urine? Like in a solo cup?” asked girl number three. “Wouldn’t that take away any sort of romance?”

Perhaps the best point came from girl number four: 

“So, basically he has no other friends who have clean urine.”



Mallory tried to answer our questions the best she could, only saying that Brett, this WINNER she met at a minor league baseball game, told her that he had bought a “whizzer,” a pouch/fanny pack that you put either fake pee or someone else’s clean pee into, and you use that liquid instead of your own during a drug test.

“That’s really sick,” my mom chimed in. (Visiting this weekend, overhearing the conversation.)


But Mallory’s question for Brett wasn’t any of the things we had covered.  

Instead, she asked, “What do you mean a drug test? I thought you had a job at a fine dining restaurant. They drug test servers at restaurants now?!?”

That’s when Brett broke the news: No, he did not have a job. 

He DID have a job at a fine dining restaurant (so he says), but got fired a month earlier, and lied about it when they met so he wouldn’t look like a loser.


And now he's applying for jobs and needs clean pee.




Mallory shook her head.

“SO...about the whizzer...” he said.


Piss off.


Tuesday, August 18, 2015


I wasn’t allowed to watch TV growing up because all the shows had “disrespectful kids” and “all the adults were idiots” (my mom’s words) and she wasn’t very well going to raise kids who think it’s OK to moon a teacher or something.

Because that’s what kids do, isn’t it? Imitate what they see on TV?

Especially if it’s something that a character does that’s funny like....uhh...whatever the 2015 equivalent to "I'm Bart Simpson who the hell are you?” line is.

(I wouldn't know. I don’t have kids, I have hangovers.)

But I imagine the concept is the same: parents don’t want their kids emulating something crude or rude or use an annoying catch phrase that they picked up from TV.

But what happens when the rude, crude behavior isn’t coming from the TV at all? 

What happens when all you really need to do is turn DAD off???

This was the case for me this past weekend, when, on a long beach walk, I observed a guy and his three sons taking professional photos.

(They were all wearing matching khakis and white button-up shirts.)

I didn’t notice them at first, since their colors blended in with the sand perfectly (haha) but then I noticed the dad...doing something.



Well, pretending to do her from behind.

What?? I squinted my eyes and looked harder. No way, I thought...that’s what frat boys do 23 beers in on the dance floor, not dads taking professional photos.
But then I saw it clearly.

In order to MAKE HIS SONS LAUGH, he was pretending to DO the photographer from behind, humping the air, and then he PRETENDED TO SMACK HER ASS.

The poor girl (dressed in all-black, professional) bent over to get a good eye-level picture not even realizing what this guy was doing behind her.

“WTF?!” I asked to no one, horrified at this guy’s...what...”dance moves?”

But it worked!

The three boys, ages 8-11 (or so) were CRACKING UP LAUGHING at their dad who was air-humping, pretend smacking, swinging his hand from side to side of the photographer's ass. It was embarrassing to even witness.

He’s was basically doing a one-man show of “let me ride that donkey donkey,” only the photographer was clueless.

Is THIS supposed to be these kids' role model??!? 

Way to teach the next generation of kids on how to behave, DAD. I'd rather have Bart Simpson.

I could just imagine one of them going back to third grade doing that to a teacher when she bent over thinking it was funny.

Doggy-style and ass smacking. WTF.


Is that no longer funny??? 

Since when is simulating sex with an unknowing professional the funniest thing you can think of? In front of your elementary school boys?

He really was playing the class clown role perfectlywhen the poor photographer turned around to see what was so funny, dad would pretend to look at his watch.

And then when she started clicking, he'd start again with his hands simulated on her waist humping the air behind her.


What a douche.

There is no amount of money he could have possibly paid her for having to endure that kind of humiliation.


Change the channel!!!

Better yet: Where's Shark Week when you need it??


Tuesday, August 11, 2015


It’s one thing to look up someone on Linkedn or Facebook before a first date to make sure they have a job and friends, but it’s QUITE another thing to run a full-on background check.


Because that’s like a violation of privacy plus it shows that someone has way too much time on their hands AND gets off on uncovering mug shots.

Moral of the story: Don’t go out with a cop.


This happened to my friend Gia last week, when she went on a date (Tinder is for losers) with Steve, a seemingly cute guy who as it turns out, used to be a cop.

Steve did legal work now, and so did Gia, and they talked about their jobs when I guess Steve...uhh...wanted to impress her by telling her that before their date, he ran a background check on her.

“Oh yea?” she asked, thinking he was messing with her. “Then what’s my real name?”

“Genessa Erin,” he said.


Gia was taken aback, and felt violated.

“ did you get my full name?” she asked. “And my last name?”

“Your phone number,” he said.


“My cell phone number?”


WTF. Dude.

The god damn white pages doesn’t even list cell phone numbers! Did he PAY money to run this “check”?

Steve then said that he normally doesn’t tell the girls he goes out with that he ran a check, but that “Gia could handle it.”

“Well that’s because I have nothing on my record but a speeding ticket,” Gia said, trying to hide her OMG YOU’RE A CREEP face.

“Yep. Speeding. Ten miles over,” he said.


“I actually know the cop, too,” he laughed.



Saying you know a cop that gave a girl an expensive speeding ticket gets you NO POINTS.

It was just creepy.

“Umm,” Gia said. “You run a background check every time you meet someone for a date?”

“Yes,” Steve said.

Gia sat there uncomfortably wondering if he somehow knew her credit score, too.

Whatever happened to Linkedn?!??!?! Or finding them on social media???

(Ironically, her public Instagram account was more incriminating than her background check.)

After a minute or so, she asked, “So, what ‘charge’ would be a deal breaker? Murder? Prostitution?”

Steve thought for a minute. “Domestic violence,” he said. “I don’t need a ‘boyfriend beater.’”



Steve must have mistaken Gia’s line of questioning for interest or even her being impressed, because he unfortunately continued.

“ have a sister? Who lives in Los Angeles?” he asked.

Gia put her fork down.

“What?!?! How do you know that!”

“I saw her mug shot,” he said, smiling, like she should give him a medal or something.


“Her mug shot...from her underage drinking ticket from COLLEGE?” Gia asked.

“Oh, I can’t read the charge,” he said. “But I saw the mug shot.”



Uhhhh who the hell gave him permission to run a background check on her OR her sister? 

Isn’t that something you need to approve??! And sign??

Or did she just need to change the name on her phone number to MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS.

Steve then made a comment about how Gia had been on that day looking at his profile again, and he knows this because Match tells you the last time someone was on the site.

“ are...quite the investigator,” Gia said.

Then she imagined, very much like Kirstie Alley’s character in Look Who’s Talking (I swear I make other movie references), in the scene where she envisions the rest of her life with each guy she goes on a first date with.

Gia envisioned Steve checking her phone records, placing a GPS under her car hood, following behind her in an unmarked vehicle or something. OH, AND FOLLOWING AROUND HER WHOLE FAMILY TOO.

I mean, just imagining him sitting at a little computer typing her full name into an effing background check search engine was an absolute turn off.

And the idea that he goes out with girls and doesn't tell them that he, oh, just knows their entire legal history (and their family members' history) is creepy.

I, for one, think Gia should have made a citizen’s arrest on his ass. 

For disturbing the peace...of mind.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to call Verizon Wireless and change my name to MS. NUNNYA BIZ.


Tuesday, August 4, 2015


FOR the record, I’m all for finding cute excuses to see someone you have a crush on, like, if you were to be a regular customer at a bar a person works at, or signed up for a gym where a particular trainer makes you googly-eyed.

It's a great way to see them regularly, and also show that you have something in common.

Like...I ALSO like to work out! I ALSO like to take jägerbombs! Let’s move in together!

But there are wrong ways to find excuses to see someone. An this is one of them: 

If you are interested in your local veterinarian, DON’T KEEP YOUR DOG SICK JUST SO YOU CAN SEE THE VET.

This will not win you over with anyone who works there.

Or pretty much anyone else in the entire world.

Somebody make a poster! (And call P.E.T.A.)

The offender in question was Bart, this guy who my friend Hailey, a veterinarian, said was cute, had a successful fishing charter business and had a very unique dog breed that made him seem rather interesting.

The office employees had alerted Hailey, who was single, to Bert when he first came into the office. 

The office manager winked when handing over his dog’s papers.

Hailey and Bert talked about his job, her job, flirted a little and then finally got around to talking about some “health issues” Bart’s dog was having (ha). 

She said it had something to do with allergies or skin rashes or something.

She told Bart that the problem could be easily solved with medication that he could get from the pharmacy. 

She wrote him a prescription (or called one in? How does a vet work??) told him she’d maybe check out his fishing charter business one day, and then he left.

But then Bart was back.


...For the same problem.

“Yea...I think my dog is sick again,” he said picking the miserable thing up and putting him on the metal table.

“Oh no, the pills aren’t helping?” Hailey asked.

“Oh. No. I actually haven’t been giving him the pills,” Bart said. “And I figured I'd just rather bring him in when he’s so sick.”


“He wouldn’t be sick if you gave him the pills,” Hailey said, confused and pissed.

“Yea, I know. But he was getting better on his own know...I'm sure he's fine, it’s just nice to get a ‘professional opinion’” he said.




Hailey said she had to give the poor sick dog a steroid shot while Bart, unconcerned, INVITED HER OUT ON HIS BOAT FOR THAT WEEKEND.


Why couldn’t he have just called up the vet’s office and asked her out? Why did he have to drag his poor dog in there? Why couldn't he have just given the dog the damn pills?

I is that attractive to a veterinarian?

That’s like smoking a pack of cigarettes to impress a hot doctor. Or texting a writer the wrong “your.”

It’s basically is the opposite of having something in common.

Wrong move.

Hailey smiled politely and made up an excuse. 

She didn’t tell him that she had actually changed her mind completely, that she now felt scared for his boat passengers if he was so irresponsible and cared so little about the well-being of another living thing.

...You know, in her "professional opinion."




Hey you! Sumbit your Toolbag Tuesday story, canine-related or not, to

Tuesday, July 28, 2015


Is it really Tuesday again?

Yes, I have been M.I.A. for the past two Tuesdays. I was on a week-long vacation in the Dominican Republic and it was the best vacation I’ve ever been on in my life. Sorry, not sorry. Haha

So that’s why I haven’t posted in a few weeks, for those of you who needed their Toolbag Tuesday fix and got NOTHING since early July.

(I normally wouldn’t bother to make a note about my absence at all, but it just so happens that a blogger I used to follow just quit posting one day without an explanation—her last nondescript weekly post was just her last...dangling there—and I felt really sad about it, like a friend who just all of a sudden stopped meeting me for a weekly drink or something.)

And I don’t want you to feel like that. So...SORRY (not sorry.)

I’m back!! I'm back in the contiguous United States!!!! And it feels nice to know that tap water is a drinking option again.




We all know that dating is awkward, but no one ever talks about how awkward the opening line is.

The pick-up line.

Maybe we never talk about how awkward the opening line is it is because we’ve made it a big JOKE and we’re too busy laughing at how heaven must be so lonely because me, angel, isn’t in there, or something about my clothes looking good on your bedroom floor or eggs in the morning or Chuck Norris.

(FYI: Chuck Norris doesn't use pickup lines, he simply says, "Now.”)


But with online dating, the pick-up line is making a grand comeback. 

Because you HAVE to have a pickup line. (Well, I guess, technically online you can “wink” at someone but eventually, you’ll have to type actual words.)

Could it be the super committal, “hey how’s your weekend” (Groan... “Going great, stranger! Thanks for asking!”)

Or is it a more thoughtful opening line, referencing someone’s online profile: “You love to cook Italian food? I love to eat Italian food!” (Better.)

No matter what, though, it’s awkward. All of it.

People say to make online dating conversations as close to real life interaction as possible.

Such as: you woudn’t very well ask a woman at a bar if you could eat her...P-WORD “cat” would you? (not if you value your face)

But aside from perv FREAKS, a very important lesson with a pickup line is being OK when you’ve struck out.

Because it will happen more often than not, in real life and online. 

You “wink” at someone or swipe right and then they don’t swipe right or wink back.

Or when you message someone and see that they SAW your profile but didn’t message back.

Sure. Ouch. Rejection happens.

But don’t make it more awkward by turning crazy.

Back to comparing it to real life: If in real life you gave someone HAAAAAY eyes at a bar and they didn’t respond, would you run up to them and yell in their face HELLO HELLO HELLO HELLO HELLO?


I mean...I hope not.

So imagine my surprise when my friend Natalie told me about this guy who kept messaging her on over and over and over.

Natalie said she had been scrolling one night and saw a photo of a guy who she thought was cute and “liked” it, or whatever.

The next day, he sent her a message.

“Thanks for the wink. How about we chat and get to know each other?” he wrote.

That was a perfectly fine opening line but then Natalie looked at his profile for the first time and saw that he was 25 years old. She was 33.

She didn’t notice he was that young when she "liked" the photo. 

And her profile specifically stated she was looking for someone in his mid to late 30s. 

This guy was way too young for her. She didn’t respond.

Then, two days later, she got another message from him: “Or not. Don’t wink if you’re not interested.”


Natalie rolled her eyes and didn’t respond.

Then, two days after THAT this HUGE BABY (literally and figuratively) messages her YET AGAIN:

“You could have easily said your not interested, obviously you are incapable of typing something so simple”




Imagine if this was in real life.

Natalie felt bad (aww bless her heart) so she wrote back something simple: “Hey, sorry, yes I did like your photo but didn’t realize how young you were. I’m looking for someone a bit older. Good luck!”

But instead of understanding, he wrote: “Next time, don't wink at people your not willing to talk to.”



This is why 25-year-olds are not cool. Deal with rejection.

Natalie, still trying to be nice said, “I don’t think you should take things so seriously. This is supposed to be fun.”

Then he wrote: “No, plenty of fish (another online site, mom) and tinder is for people who want to have fun. Match is made for people that are mature and serious.”



He obviously wasn't looking into a mirror.


"I think you should deactivate your account and stop waisting people's time"



How hilarious that this guy looking for someone “mature and serious” acts immature and crazytown after hearing a perfectly good reason why it wasn’t going to work out. 

How desperate.

Natalie ignored him, HAHAHAHA

And then he wrote her AGAIN:

“Stop messaging me or I'll report your account


That one made me laugh the hardest.

Did he mean to send that message to himself???! 

Because she had messaged him twice 1.) saying that he was too young and 2.) that he shouldn't take things so seriously. 

He's the one that had messaged HER like six times.

Natalie again ignored the message and soon got a message from administrator saying that he had “blocked” her.



"Is this real life?" Natalie texted me. "FML."


What the hell is wrong with people???

Chill the F out, dude. right “NOW” –Chuck Norris.


Friday, July 10, 2015

All in the family

I just got back from a trip to Los Angeles for the July 4th weekend—61 hours to be exact—and 60 of those hours were spent with my entire family: mom, dad, older brother Franklin and twin sister, Joy.

It was very much a family vacation in that we spent every single minute together, all in each other’s business with no closed doors or privacy, but that’s how we always are. 

And it’s just a few times a year we all get together with my brother living on the West Coast, Joy and I living on the East Coast and our parents in the middle in New Orleans.

“Are we like the family from that movie, While you were Sleeping?”  Joy asked.

She was currently getting yelled at for taking a shower too late and now didn’t have enough time to blow dry her hair before we had to leave for a baseball game. 

“NOBODY CARES IF YOUR HAIR IS BLOWN OUT!” my dad said, and Joy yelled at everyone but herself for why she was running late and I was laughing acting like I was ready to go, but then forgot my glasses on the nightstand as everyone was out the door.

(Our brother was thinking more along the lines of “Meet the Fockers”)

I would consider us a “communal family,” constantly talking about everything and nothing all at the same time, refilling wine and beer glasses, louder than most, a testament to our New Orleans roots.

For three days, we rolled five deep, plus Franklin’s girlfriend, Allison, and John, our longtime family friend who also lives in Los Angeles, accomplices to our While you were Sleeping cast. 

We all went to a Los Angeles Dodgers baseball game, just like last year.

And even though they lost horribly we all watched mesmerized at the 90-mile-per-hour pitches, the bright blue and white clothing and HOW CAN THE OUTFIELDERS CATCH THOSE POP-UPS IT’S SO HIGH I’M GETTING DIZZY LOOKING AT THE TOP OF THE STANDS.

“Look at his batting average—it’s .22,” my dad reported to me. “That means that for every ten times at bat, he only hits two balls. Can you imagine if at work you had 10 things to do and you messed up eight times, and you still got paid a million dollars?”


“Who’s on first?” my mom chimed in. 

Then: “How come they don’t broadcast the whole game on the jumbotron?”


The next day was spent together again, squished into the backseat, as we drove to the “most Los Angeles” restaurant our brother could find, as per Joy’s request.

It was a ridiculously delicious, ridiculously fresh and healthy menu that had the word MACROBIOTIC repeated over and over, which from my understanding means they only serve soy and almond milk options.

We then all squished into the backseat again to go to a photography exhibit and drove down Wilshire Blvd through BEVERLY HILLS to get there.

Joy and I squealed at the fancy clothing stores and kept our eyes peeled for movie stars.

“Movie stars leave town for the fourth of July,” Franklin said, ruining all our fun. “You’re not going to see anyone this weekend.”

“I DON’T MIND A D-LISTED CELEBRITY!” I said, craning my neck out the window.

“Where can we get yogurt where you add your own toppings?” Joy piped in from the back seat.

Frankling sighed loudly.


The photography exhibit was free, and was SO awesome and we saw the work of photographers from all over the world (many younger than Joy and me, my dad pointed out repeatedly, DAD WHAT IS YOUR POINT), photographers who take pictures of war-torn nations, crab fishermen in Alaska, portraits of black fathers in the Bronx.

I didn’t realize before what a wide variety of photography there is—I mean, I DID know, but now that it was all on display in front of me, it was crazy the variations of the same skill: citizen journalism, posed shots, warped images that put a red neon lightning bolt over the Nevada desert, glamour shots of ice cream for ad campaigns.

(Fun fact: Many of the photographers became really popular thanks to Instagram, and right there at the museum I started following a few of them.)

“What is an Instagram?” my mom asked.

We then went back to my parents' Air BnB and got ready to go see Smoky Robinson at the Hollywood Bowl.

Do you know about the Hollywood Bowl? It’s a large outdoor amphitheater with circular wooden seating all facing a stage and it looks like it’s from a movie set, which is fitting.

They let people bring in their own wine and food and there were mountains in the distance and I still couldn’t get over how gorgeous it all was.

The Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra  opened for Smoky Robinson and they played all songs American—the Star-Spangled Banner, America the Beautiful, the Star Wars theme song.

Then they played a compilation of each song from branches of the military (“they have songs???” Joy and I asked) and the conductor asked people who served in the respective branches to stand up when their song was played and Joy and I got embarrassingly teary-eyed seeing them stand up and wave to the crowd of 5,000 who were clapping for them.

“How come there’s no song for the Peace Corps?” my dad asked loudly. “I was in the Peace Corps. That was service.”

(Haha dad)

Then Smoky Robinson came on, in a green leather suit and he KILLED IT!!! He danced and sang for almost two straight hours with the philharmonic behind him. 

He’s 75 years old, an inspiration to my dad who is 73. My parents got all of Smoky’s references to old records and 45s and A-tracks.

There was another fantastic fireworks show, but this one had NO bangs, just swooooshing sound as lights and stars lit up the sky, and they emblazoned a Statue of Liberty that was built on top of the amphitheater in fireworks.

We then walked to dinner at California Pizza Kitchen and our server had to tend to our seven-person rowdy table in which Franklin kept repeating the “I’M STARVING” line from SNL at me because I was crabby and hungry.

Perhaps that was because I said aloud (instead of in my head) that I was ordering an entire pizza to myself and not sharing with anyone.

“I’M STARVING!!!!!!!” Franklin said, looking at me, which didn’t make me any less crabby or hungry.

“WELL, I AM STARVING,” I said, and Joy laughed and sipped on her sangria which was as big as her head.

(Our mom gave her disapproving eyes when it arrived at the table. “Ummm excuse me...”)


We gathered together the next day at the Air BnB (seven deep) and watched the U.S. Women’s Soccer team dominate Japan although Joy, my mom and I hated to see Japan’s goalie crying at the end.

“Why do they keep showing that???” we asked. “Now I want to cry!!”

Franklin sighed loudly.

We then took a walk around Echo Park Lake, took another identical photo as last year, and us siblings had some sibling time at Franklin's apartment while our dad cooked dinner.

Joy and I were taking the red eye flight out of Los Angeles at 12:54 a.m. that Sunday night (3:54 a.m. East Coast time...yikes) and had some time to kill.

So we played UNO as a family.

“I can’t tell which ones are green and which ones are blue!” our dad kept saying, as we tried to find brighter lights.



And then we all laughed and I laughed the hardest because I won, and then suddenly it was time to pack and head to the airport, and our krewe of seven turned back into a krewe of just two.

“Miss you already,” my mom texted four minutes after we left (seriously).


And then life went back to normal. As quickly as vacation started, before we knew it, we were back on the East Coast, back in the humidity, back in the non-mountainous Lowcountry.

Just like that, normal life returned on the cross-country overnight flight.

While I was sleeping.


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