Tuesday, December 25, 2012

TOOLBAG TUESDAY


Christmas always makes me feel like I’m 12 years old. In a good way.

Our family celebrates the holiday at the same house we grew up in, with most of the same family members. We all have the same meal duties, and we still get presents from “Santa.”

But when I was 12, however, I didn’t have a cell phone.  Or Facebook.

I often imagine the chaos that would have been inflicted on my formative years if I had to worry about how many “likes” my status updates got (which would probably have consisted of melancholic Dave Matthews Band and Counting Crows lyrics haha.)

Anyway.

Last week, I didn’t have to imagine a 12-year-old Facebook confrontation anymore, thanks to David, a guy who my friend Samantha dated.

They had broken up a YEAR  ago, yet David still held a grudge, and decided that he would take to Facebook to annoy/upset her.

It started with a snide comment on something she posted in a group page. He commented on the post, not attacking the merits of it, but attacking the poster herself. He called her stupid. Yes, stupid.

Then, the immature insults turned to a private Facebook message. David berated her over and over and over, acting as if they had broken up yesterday, rather than a year ago. 

Why was he wasting this much time and energy into telling her she was terrible and selfish and “an idiot”? Out of the blue??

Didn’t he have anything better to do???

He did.

“I have to go now, I have a date to get ready for,” David wrote.

Hahahahaha.

A date.

What, was she supposed to be jealous?

 (Is he going out with the head cheerleader?? Will he carry her schoolbag for her??) 

God, it was so childish.

“Nice jab” Samantha wrote back, rolling her eyes.

Really, BFD -She had been on several dates over the past the YEAR, and didn’t feel the need to advertise it.  

“Well, he must not like her very much if he’s wasting all this time and energy messaging you,” a friend pointed out.

“That’s true…” Samantha said, adding that when the Facebook conversation was cut off, it turned to  nasty text messages. David was even more brutal via text than he was online. 

Cyberbully.

Samantha finally stopped texting him back, since that’s clearly what he wanted.  She deleted his number and all the text messages from her phone.

The next day, however, David was back for more.

“DATE WENT GREAT!” he texted, bright and early. Before 10 a.m.

Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha

So good that he couldn’t wait to text SAMANTHA???

Shouldn’t he be cooking this chick eggs or something??

Samantha didn’t text back.

That would have been stupid.

-Jenny

Thursday, December 20, 2012

I packed my trunk for a trip


When I was an intern at a publishing house in New York, I was asked to read a manuscript for a new “how-to” book they were considering mass-producing.

“We’re really trying to get into the ‘how-to’ market,” the boss said.

I looked at the title. The book was about how to properly pack a suitcase.

How to pack a suitcase?  I laughed. 

“An entire book on how to pack a suitcase?? Hey, I know, don’t pack sneakers that have dog poop on them, hahahaha!”

The boss blinked twice.

“Ok, I’ll read it,” I said, and walked back to the broom closet that was my workspace.

I smugly turned the first page, already coming up with synonyms for the word “DUH” to put into my review.

But, ya’ll…I was totally wrong.

I became absorbed in page after page as I read about how packing a suitcase is an ART, not just about throwing your clothes sloppily into a bag. 
(...especially not when hungover… an hour before you need to be at the airport…)

Um. Anyway.

For those of you packing to go somewhere for Christmas, or packing for the end of the world, here are a few tips I remember (and some I have actually used), courtesy of a bonafide “packing expert.” 

1.) Plan your outfit for each day. 

I know, I know, this means a lot of "thinking ahead," 
(especially when hungover…an hour before you need to be at the airport…) but something as simple as envisioning what you’re going to wear each day makes packing both easy and efficient. 

Rule: Only pack the outfits you’re going to wear. And quit looking in your closet for more shit!!! 

Much like when I used to pack Barbie to go to Hawaii with Ken, I planned her outfit for each of the five days she was gone, because that’s how many outfits she had. 

(Cheater version: After you have all your outfits picked out, add one pair extra of pants and no more than two extra tops, in case you spill all over yourself, or you find out your mom is wearing the same thing.)

2.) Divide and conquer. 

Once you've picked out your outfits, your clothes should be divided into groups and placed into different quadrants of your bag. 

QUADRANTS!

Step one: Stare at your bag from an aerial view. 
Step two: Assign positions. Like, SWEATERS- NORTH, PANTS-SOUTH – SHIRTS- EAST, UNDERWEAR- WEST. 

This way, when you’re looking for a particular item, you don’t end up looking like a Cathy comic throwing all your clothes up in the air.
(Ack.)

No! Instead, you can just think about the item and the associated quadrant. 
Need to change your shirt?? EASY!! Head…east.

3.) The liquids stand alone.

Even if you’re not traveling on an airplane, putting your liquids and  other toiletries into a plastic bag (and, if, possible, a separate bag from your clothes altogether) is a good idea. 

This is not just for the general well-being of your limited number of packed clothes, but for when you need to find your deodorant in a hurry because someone turned the heat up waaaaaay too high and you’ve been drinking red wine.

4.) Pack a garbage bag.

A garbage bag!!! I know! When I read it, I thought, for what?? I’m not doing community service on my holiday.
But then I read on. 

The garbage bag, I was told, is for “soiled clothing.”
"Soiled" as in clothes that are dirty, wet, smoky, stinky, etc.

After all, you don’t want to run out of pants because they all smell like red wine/heater sweat.

5.) Put your shoes inside a plastic grocery bag before packing them into your suitcase.

For the dog poop.

Duh.

-Jenny

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

TOOLBAG TUESDAY

There are some things in life you can wiggle your way out of and blame somebody else.

The airline lost my camera! (Left it on a park bench before my flight.)

I got caught by that stupid train!! (Overslept)

My cat was throwing up all night and I had to bring her to the vet!!! (Overslept)

In relationships, though, blaming someone else is tricky, because there’s only one other person to blame (And he’s an asshole.)

Some people go the annoying route, and blame the other person for their very clear transgressions.

“You MADE me sleep with your best friend!”

But even in that case, people who wrong still manage to stand by their statements. Which makes it very hard (uh, supposedly) to determine who exactly is to blame.

“You MADE it so I couldn’t tell you!!”

Ugh.

Jared, this guy who dated my friend Natalie, was the KING of blaming everything on her. EVERYTHING.

Including things that were absolutely, unequivocally, 1000% NOT her fault.

Here’s my favorite one:

Jared, an alcoholic, had too much to drink one night and while Natalie was talking to other friends at the bar, he got thrown out by the bartender for doing TRUST FALLS to no one off his bar stool.

“You’re gonna bring him home?” the bartender asked Natalie, after he alerted her to Jared’s faceplant.

“Oh…yea, sorry,” Natalie said and picked Jared up and led him outside. Jared was confused about why he was thrown out and (obviously) blamed the bartender.

“Ok, right,” Natalie said when they approached his car. “He’s an asshole. Oh, and I’m definitely driving home.”

“NO YOU’RE NOT!” Jared screamed. “IT’S MY FRIEND’S CAR AND I’M THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN DRIVE IT!”

“Um…babe, you just got thrown out of the bar for being too drunk,” Natalie said. “I’m driving home.”

Jared was incensed, but Natalie refused to get into the car and refused to let him drive.

“OK, FINE!” Jared said. “BUT IF YOU STALL THE CAR AT ALL, I’M DRIVING!”

“Done,” Natalie said, since driving a stick shift was her hidden talent and there was no way she’d stall out.

She backed the pickup truck out of the parking space and started the 2-mile drive back to her place. She didn’t stall out once or go over the speed limit. But Jared still had to pick a fight.

“YOU’RE WEARING OUT THE CLUTCH!” he yelled. “YOU’RE GOING TO RUIN IT!”

“Really? I’m going to ruin a piece of shit pickup truck?” Natalie asked, irritated beyond belief that Jared didn’t appreciate her leaving the bar on his behalf and driving him home.

Maybe it was the “piece of shit” comment that set him off, even though it wasn’t even his truck.

That’s when, at 1 a.m., Jared decided to JUMP OUT OF THE MOVING VEHICLE.

Natalie was just shifting from first to second gear and about to turn onto a busy road when Jared opened the door and FACEPLANTED onto the street. Natalie slammed on the brakes, horrified.

“WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!!!?” she wanted to yell. “I could have rolled over your F-ing neck! I would have gotten DUI manslaughter!!”

(Yes, this is something that could be blamed on him.)

But before she had the chance to scream, Jared stood up and walked back to the open car door and showed Natalie his palms.

“LOOK WHAT YOU DID! YOU MADE MY HANDS BLEED!” he screamed.

Hahahahahahahahahaha

Natalie made his hands bleed???

Hahahahahahahahahaha

Oh yes, He blamed this on her. Not the fact that he exited the moving car on his own. NOT. HIS. FAULT. Never his fault.

He might as well have said, “YOU MADE IT SO I HAD TO EJECT MYSELF FROM THE CAR!!!...WITH YOUR…PERFECT DRIVING. HOW DARE YOU!!”

Perhaps Jared can blame gravity for them braking up.

Or Toyota.

-Jenny

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

TOOLBAG TUESDAY


Sometimes I’m jealous of bartenders, because they get to drink on the job, sleep till 4, and don’t have to deal with things like Microsoft Outlook.

But then, I think about how, as a bartender, people you hate can come into the bar any time and you have to a.) be cordial and b.) serve them.

Well, that’s what professionals should do, anyway.

Mike, this guy my friend Candace dated in college, was NOT a professional, and he had zero intention of being cordial or serving her anything after they broke up.

And they didn’t even date that long!!

They had met at the bar he worked at, a popular bar that we all frequented, one of the few that allowed underage drinking. Candace and Mike struck up a conversation one day, exchanged numbers, and went out on a few dates.

It was fun dating a bartender and Mike was cute and nice to everyone. During the time they dated, Candace and Co. were always served first and given a nice discount on beverages. (Score!)

But, alas, the VIP treatment didn’t last long.

Candace broke it off after about a month, for reasons she would only describe as, “he was part boring, part shady.”

She had stopped returning his phone calls and then told him that she wasn’t feeling it anymore.
We all patronized another bar down the street for the next few weeks, out of respect.

After what we thought was enough time, we went back to our old bar to meet up with friends that had flown to town for the holiday break.

Mike was working, as usual, and we all said hello as we walked in.

He didn’t acknowledge anyone.

“What an asshole,” someone commented, and we took seats in the back of the dive bar.  

Candace said it would be better if someone else ordered drinks for her so we had one friend buying for the whole group.

After a few drinks, everyone loosened up. Candace even thought that it wouldn’t be so terrible to approach the bar and say hi.

She walked over.

“Hey,” she said. “Happy Thanksgiving!”

That’s when Mike exploded.

“GET THE F*CK OUTTA HERE!” He screamed. We all looked over.

“Excuse me?” Candace asked.

“YOU'RE TOO DRUNK TO BE HERE,” Mike said, lying, and on a high horse. “I’m NOT serving you.”

(Dude. Get over it. Be a professional.)

“What are you talking about?” she asked. “I haven’t even done anything.”

That’s when Mike turned even less professional than before.

Out of nowhere, he bent down and picked up an empty box that had formerly held Newcastle beer AND HURLED IT ACROSS THE BAR AND HIT HER IN THE HEAD WITH IT. 

It bounced off her forehead and landed on the floor.

“I SAID GET OUT!!!!!!” He screamed. Our jaws dropped.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

AN EMPTY BEER BOX! 
AT HER HEAD!

(WHO THROWS A SHOE??)

That was our cue to leave, and we hustled to get our things as Candace, mortified, got into a screaming match with him, picking the box up off the floor and flailing it back over the bar.

We left immediately and decided we were never going back to the bar when Mike was working, since he was completely unstable and unable to control his emotions.

And then we spent the next four years laughing about it.

What ever happened to just overcharging people you don’t like? 
Come on, Mike. Be a professional.

-Jenny 

Fair Lady


“I have a really dumb question,” I said last weekend. "What year are we supposed to be in?”

I had been walking around the Louisiana Renaissance Fair for about 15 minutes and had no clue.

I saw castles and people serving port wine, women in corsets and a group of guys with furry foxtails attached to their pants.

“Somewhere around the 1400s,” my friend Aaron said, an avid Renaissance Fair Fan. 

He was dressed as some sort of monk and had his own fox tail. I sheepishly looked down at my 21st century outfit and was glad I had the foresight to wear a necklace with a feather on it.

1400s? Really? 

“Huh.” I said.

Was this supposed to be the time frame of Robin Hood (Men in Tights)?? Or more like the Headless Horseman?

Pirates of the Caribbean??

 Monk and warrior.

My friends and I wandered around the massive grounds that host the month-long Reniassance Fair each year, a circular space surrounding a large pond with little village stores, primitive rides and plenty of lace up boots.

It’s an hour away from New Orleans, but the time change is way longer.

Ha.

It surprised me how much in costume everyone was, not just wearing traditional Reniassance outfits, but how they fully embodied their characters. Everyone had English accents. (Pirates of the Caribbean!!)

“All I won't (want) is a piece of choc’late,” said a woman, who was cleary some sort of maid/pauper following around a fancy lady who was wearing a big dress.

I wondered what made her decide to be a servant in this make believe life. And then I wondered who they were putting this ruse on for. 

They were simply walking in front of us, not putting on a show on anything.

“NO, YOU WILL NEVER GET CHOC’LATE!” The fair lady said, and they both started laughing and walked up the hill.

Huh.

We walked into little pop-up shops that sold all kinds of Renaissance gear, everything from hand-woven leather bracelets to blacksmith knives, to harps and larps. It was a bustling little village.

The masks for sale were my favorite, although I was thinking, “this would be perfect for Mardi Gras” rather than, “This would be most excellent for viewing a joust.” 

(Can’t take the city out the girl.)
  
It surprised me at the time all the different characters one could be at a Renaissance Fair.

But now I get it; in this fully-visioned different world, every person has their place. 

There were the fancy ladies, the ones who wore heavy dresses and fake curls had lads following them around holding baskets of flowers. 

There were wenches, the ladies whose bosoms runneth over out the top of their bustiers and who screeched a lot.

We took in a wench show, where the ladies embarrassed male audience participants by licking the tops of their bald heads as they kneeled before the crowd.

Then there were your “Fringe” characters, the animal people who dressed as foxes and raccoons and other animals that I’m sure were skinned back in the 1400s; the fairies and pixies and people who wore a lot of feathers (chickens?)

And then there was this guy:

Aye, ogre.

“Who are you, a messenger?” my friend asked a guy who had come up to us while we were admiring the pond view.

This guy had fake, big pointy ears that came out from either side of his green felt hat.

“A hobbit?” I offered, to no one’s amusement.

I was impressed with the attractions at the fair; the rides, performers and people who worked there.

They all stayed in character (probably actors and actresses in their 21st century lives) and wore great period clothing. They performed magic tricks with knives, did comedy shows and recited off limericks that I didn't understand, except that lass rhymes with ass.

One game that I did not play had a man (pauper) with his face through a wooden hole and encouraged you to buy three tomatoes for $1 to throw at his face.

“Ye probably couldn’t hit me if ye’tried!” he jeered.

(I was told later that these people are called “barkers.”)

One barker followed me up a hill when I got separated from my friends, pestering me to take a rickshaw ride, which was literally two ox-like men pulling a cart.

"I promise a good ride!" Ha.

Lunch consisted of Shepard’s Pie, because they were all out of turkey legs.

We ate as we saw a comedian on a nearby stage with a billowy top juggle knives while balancing on a ball.


Then we saw the combat fighting. Or, the MMMA (medieval mixed martial arts)

Ha.

Dressed in HOMEMADE armor (one guy made his chest piece out of SPOONS, Y’ALL) they fought each other with fake swords and spears or whatever (“weapon of choice”) and were awarded a point when they got a clean hit on the other person.

It got pretty gruesome when one knight/fighter (...whatever) ended up winning the match by sitting on his brother’s face.

The spoons won't save ye now!!!

All the rides at the fair had a medieval/Renaissance theme, and I was presented with the opportunity to slay a dragon. For $2, it was a deal.

The grounds had constructed these wooden horses, very basic (they didn’t have eyes) that rolled down a decline and at the bottom, you were supposed to put your “sword” through a hole that killed the dragon.

When the ride was done, the workers pushed the wooden horses back up to the top. No need for electricity or safety measures. This is the 1400s.

I mounted the horse as my friend, Scott, took another.

“Now, what is your name?” A worker-wench asked me.

“Genevieve,” I said, trying to be a proper RenFair lady.

“Is that your real name or are you just getting into character?” she asked.

It’s my real name,” I said. 

She then asked me to come up with an alliterative adjective to announce aloud to the crowd. She frowned when I suggested “Gentle Genevieve.”

“GENTLE DOESN’T KILL A DRAGON!” she said in all seriousness.

We settled on Glorious Genevieve and we were off.

“On the count of, ‘Kill!’ ONE! TWO! KILL!!” the wenches said and down we went.

I killed the dragon NO PROBLEM, but then mistakenly dropped my sword because nobody told me the rules of dragon-slaying.

Arrrr??

At the end of the day, all the lords and ladies, including the QUEEN-elect gathered at the front of the grounds to bid everyone adieu (Good 'morrow) and rode off in carts pulled by horses.

(I saw those horses make a three point turn with those carts, they weren’t messing around).

Then, large cannons shot off three, maybe four BOOMS, marking the end of the festival for that weekend.  

The foxes scampered home, the fairies flitted away and we returned to 21st century New Orleans. 

Fare thee well! we were told. I promised to kill any and all dragons I came in contact with from this day forward. 

Same goes for any bottle of port wine. :)


Good 'morrow.  

-Jenny


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