Thursday, November 20, 2003

Deep Fried Jelly Bracelets

It has come to my attention that most people (people I don't know) end up here looking for one of two things. So, in an effort to be the most helpful superjen I can, here you go:

1. How to make deep-friend turkey instructions can be found here and here, the last one includes a recipe for the seasoning.

2. The legend of the jelly bracelet, and what color means what... OK, girls, listen very carefully to what I am about to tell you. It doesn't matter what color means what, it doesn't matter what ANYONE tells you. Wear them (if your school lets you) or don't wear them (if they are banned or you don't like them). However, no boy has the power to make you do anything you don't want to do. Repeat after me the girl's ultimate defense against pressure of this type: WhatEVER. That's right, the perfectly timed "whatever" (especially accompanied by rolling eyes) ought to do the trick. Barring that, kick em in the nads. But you didn't hear that from me.

Friday, November 14, 2003

What a Way to Wake Up

I turned on the Today Show this morning to try and motivate myself to get out of bed. Yeah, it's sad, but the most trying part of my day usually happens somewhere between opening my eyes and taking a shower. So... warm... so... comfortable... can't... zzzzzz

This morning, they had a feature about teenagers that wear "jelly" bracelets to school. Apparently, the new urban legend at middle schools is that if a boy breaks off a certain color bracelet, the girl would then have to perform a corresponding ... act. Now, I'm unclear about whether it is supposedly on the boy that breaks it, or just on somebody, but regardless, schools are now banning the bracelets. Here's my question about the whole thing, who is more idiotic?

1. Girls who buy into the whole bracelet thing, which seems to me about as serious as the urban legend when I was in school: If you wear green on Thursday, it means you're horny. Seriously.

2. Schools that buy into the whole bracelet thing and decide to ban them, giving it a lot more attention than it deserves (Hello! It made it on the Today Show!) or

3. The father that they interviewed who claimed, and get this one: It is my daughter's Constitutional Right, her God-given Right, to wear jelly bracelets to school.

And Moses said unto the people, thou shalt have no other bracelets before the jelly bracelets. Or is it Life, Liberty, and the Wearing of Jelly Bracelets? I'm sure our forefathers are now pirouetting in their graves.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

A Little Late, But...

I thoroughly enjoyed the bit on the hook hand urban legend story at The Morning News. Yeah, it was for Halloween, so deal. The one by Tobias Seamon was my favorite. A psychotic gleam in his eye, an itch in his armpit. Indeed.

Monday, October 27, 2003

Bicth or Bitch?

When I walked into my office this morning, these words greeted me. They were drawn on one of my tables in permanent marker, and then circled. Now, I'm pretty sure the second spelling is the correct one, but I had no idea how someone had gotten into my locked office and left me a multiple choice like this one.

As it turns out, the building hired a painting crew to paint doorframes that needed touching up. The painter assigned to the job had a death in the family, and had to bring his children with him so they could leave directly from here to go to the funeral. It is what happened next that puzzles all of us here. Apparently he unlocked every door in the building and then let his children run amok - they dumped out wastepaper baskets, dumped the hole punch into the copy machine, erased our docket board, wrote on my desk, left candy wrappers all over the place... it was basically Lord of the Office Flies in here.

So, the painting company has apologized and will be cleaning off the exercise in profanity. My suggestion was to shackle the children to the desk and have them clean it off, but then again, we don't really want them back here THAT badly.

Thursday, October 02, 2003


We stayed up far too late last night, victims of a re-run of the X Files that neither one of us had seen before. We absolutely had to see how it ended. Finally, it was over and we drifted off to sleep.

In my dream, I was being chased by something that I couldn't see. Running like hell, I heard it make a loud noise, but I could tell the noise was fairly far away from me. It moved around a bit, but then got louder and louder until I knew it was right next to me. Abandoning any hope of escape, I struck out hoping to defend myself against this formless noise...

I woke up when my arm hit something, and then realized it was Ryan. Not fully awake and still pretty freaked out from my dream, I grabbed his hand. It was at this point that I realized I COULD STILL HEAR THE NOISE. I grabbed his hand tighter and shut my eyes, wondering if this was one of those dream-within-a-dream things, since the noise had stopped. Then I heard the noise go streaking up the stairs, and realized it was the stupid cat.

So, at 3:30 in the morning, I got out of bed, fully awake now, and headed up the stairs to see how the cat could be making so much noise. I crouched down at the top of the stairs, and looked for him under the futon. He came slinking out from behind it with a shopping bag attached to his head. He had somehow managed to slip his head into one of the handles on a paper shopping bag, and had been running around, trying to dislodge it. Also chasing me around in my dream, but I guess I can't really blame him for that. I got it off his head and threw it away - he sat in the middle of the floor making soft wheezing noises while I tried to tell him everything was OK. There is still some question in my mind as to who was more freaked out by the whole experience.

Tuesday, September 16, 2003


North Carolina is really a lovely place to live. It's an easy drive to both the beach and the mountains, there are trees and greenery all over the place, the winters are mild, there is air conditioning for the summers, etc. etc. Every so often, Mother Nature reminds us that we have to pay a toll for all this. The ice storm last winter was one such toll - people lost a bunch of trees, which led to a loss of power, water, and phone service. Now, we have a hurricane sitting off the coast. We have had so much rainfall this summer that our trees are once again turning from things of beauty into weapons against our power lines, phone lines, and roofs.

Hurricanes, for the most part, are very polite. They usually move at about 10 miles per hour, giving everybody plenty of warning. In contrast, for example, tornadoes are unbelievably rude. I like to think that's why we don't get as many tornadoes here in the South. The hurricane is much more gentile and takes its own sweet time about doing things, just like your typical native southerner. Hurricanes do tend to pit one state against another, however. Here in North Carolina we focus our telepathy at the hurricane and urge it to hit Florida, maybe, or on up into Maryland, if you please. Those bastards in Virginia haven't gotten their fair share of bad weather! Come on, give us a break.

I have only seen three hurricanes since moving here. Bonnie was the first one, and when the people at work told me there was a hurricane coming I left work and went home in a hurry, figuring that it was going to hit any minute. See, Wisconsin is the land of tornadoes, and I figured it was one of those rude-type storms. When I got home, Ryan said we had better go to the store and prepare, and I said... but there's a hurricane coming! We can't go outside! Yeah, he laughed. Anyway, Bonnie was the "good" kind of hurricane - the kind that blows like hell and you can sit inside and watch the trees turn sideways and the rain come down like somebody turned on a faucet... but nothing flooded and the trees were spared for the most part.

We managed to move away from the coast for the next two, Denis and Floyd. However, we moved in with a friend in his BASEMENT apartment. My friends, there is a very good reason why there are hardly any basements in North Carolina. I woke up one morning, swung my feet over the side of the bed and they went splash. What the... oh crap! The whole apartment flooded during Denis, and again during Floyd. Raleigh as a whole was spared, though. We are hoping that Isabel sees fit to behave and not toss too many trees around. The psychology here is to be prepared, since that will definitely make the hurricane not hit us at all. Nothing like a stockpile of expensive batteries to ward off Mother Nature, after all.

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Take Them Bowling

We rented Bowling for Columbine this week-end, and I would like to personally deliver it to each of your houses and watch it with you. Barring that, I guess I will just recommend that you rent it. We will probably end up buying it - I for one would like to watch it again. To blatantly steal a thought from a fictional movie, it makes me want to be a better (wo)man. It was depressing, it was uplifting, it made me laugh, and it made me cry. Who would expect that from a documentary? To some extent, it made me mad that Michael Moore went to the lengths he did in order to try and add some spice to the film - it would have stood on its own if he didn't, for example, track down Dick Clark in Hollywood and try and make him look like an asshole. He has a very meaningful interview with Charlton Heston until he decided that he needed to try and make him look bad. But for all these shortcomings (at least in my opinion), it makes a huge impact on the viewer. I believe it is to the movie's credit that it doesn't try and answer any of the questions it asks. Why are Americans so afraid? Of different races, of crime, of strangers, of the Orange Alert, of any number of things. WHEN PETS ATTACK, tonight on Fox. Now we're supposed to be afraid of our pets?

But I digress. The message I am taking away from the movie is to be involved, and not to buy into a culture of fear that is being preached to us from the media and the government. Also, to try and get other people to watch the movie. Grassroots, people, grassroots.

Saturday, August 23, 2003

Billy Whoooofleck??

Not a phone call I would want to get again, really:

Phone: Jennifer?

SuperJen: Yes..

Phone: This is Carol, from [my oncologist]'s office.

[insert sound of heart stopping... here.]

Carol: Hello?

SJ: Yes, hello.

C: [my oncologist] would like you to come back in and have your blood tested again, because your Billy Rubin was low.

SJ: What?? Billy who? I don't know anyone named Billy.

C: Bilirubin, it's an enzyme having to do with liver function.

SJ: Uh-huh.

C: So, he would like you to come in in 2-3 weeks.

SJ: 2-3 weeks. Right.

C: OK so we'll see you then.


Billy Rubin, that bastard. How could he abandon me in this fashion? So, I went back in and told them that I had flunked my blood test, but had studied really hard and would like to take it again. I got nuthin - people who talk to cancer patients all day have very little sense of humor, actually. Then they stuck me again, and said they would only call me back if it was low again. I think it has been long enough that I'm out of Billy Rubin's woods. And man, no more splitting a bottle of wine before my blood tests. I'm thinking that was the culprit - my liver was trying to send an SOS to the oncologist. Help! Help! I'm being oppressed!

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Life's Little Victories

These apparently happen to Keith Knight a lot more frequently than they happen to me, but I'm starting my own list.

#1: You hear an all-to-familiar sampled bass line on the radio

No! It's Vanilla Ice! Dear Lord, make it stop!!

And then it's the original song in all its glory!

Bowie! Mercury! YES!!!

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Getting Fuzzy

I invite you to feel the cold wrath that is my spork. Thank you.

Thursday, July 24, 2003

In the Fark Personals Forum

jessss: OK, 11-letter word for Star Wars character

LawTalkingGuy: Luuuuuuuuke?

Monday, July 21, 2003

I Have Tried the Ice Cream of the Future

... and it was OK.

I recently signed up to sing the National Anthem at a Carolina Courage soccer game with some people from the choir I belong to off and on. The hubby and I decided that we would spring for the (free) tickets and stay around for the game.

Initially, we thought that getting something to eat would be a challenge. After all, we have stopped eating dairy products so pizza was out, and forget about hot dogs just from a basic self-preservation standpoint. Luckily, one of their sponsors is Nuri-Mond Deli, so we were able to get grilled vegetable wraps and hummus with pita bread. But then, we looked around for something bad. Sporting events are made for dietary sinning. When I saw a big sign for Dippin' Dots, the Ice Cream of the Future, the deal was sealed. I mean, how can you not want to try the ice cream of the freakin' future?

So, we shelled out $3 for a cup. When he started scooping it in, I thought - oh crap, that looks like gravel. Or Nerds, that teeth-breaky candy from the Wonka people. We looked at each other and psychically sent the message, "Oh well, it's only money." But it wasn't bad, really. I think I would describe it as cold, soft, creamy gravel. It's a little plasticy, and of course it's dairy so you won't find me eating it again anytime soon. But damn it, I have tried the ice cream of the future and that is what's important.

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

Community Property

I just went into the kitchen in my office building to try and microwave my lunch. Someone had already stuck their food in there, though, so I figured I would have to wait until 1) it was done and 2) they came back to actually remove it. I checked the timer, and it said... 7:48???? What? That means that they probably put their food in there for at least eight minutes, if not more. I checked inside - looked like your standard frozen dinner fare to me. Didn't look like, say a frozen steak or other sort of non-instant food that need to be actually *cooked* not just warmed up. I took a trip to the restroom and returned when the timer was at about 5 minutes, and the dinner was actually making little popping noises in there. I'm thinking that when the nuker returns, this plastic food is going to be melted like the plastic container in which it is presented. Mmmm, radioactive.

Sunday, July 13, 2003

Duck, duck, ... ew

As with most office buildings, there is a culture of people who smoke that congregate outside. I'm not going to go into how much I dislike running the gauntlet of toxic fumes to get to work. If you cross through the parking lot and go down a hill, there is also a pond that serves as eye candy for the backyards of houses that are nearby. In the summer, the pond gets all sorts of water fowl, ducks and geese and stuff. A few of the ducks were always seen wandering around the parking lot - I don't know if the pond was not good enough for them or what. Maybe it was their exercise regimen. At any rate, the smokers decided that they would feed these ducks while they were giving themselves lung cancer. Now, not only do the ducks permanently reside right next to the building, but they laid their eggs there. There is all manner of duck feces all over the sidewalk, and we see the maintenance guy out there every morning trying to clean it all up so nobody slips and falls. Now there's some real thinking ahead, smokers. If you think about it, picking up smoking and feeding ducks up by the building can be related to missing the thinking ahead genetic material. A very simple cause and effect logic is clearly missing.

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

Fear the boob

I realized this morning that it has been a little over a year since I found out I had cancer. The great part about that is I forgot about it until it was a year and month - not like I had to sit here and count the days or anything. I like the fact that I have to go see the oncologist but I don't need to go see the oncologist. It so beats the alternative. In other news, my mom told me she is back to getting the mammogram once a year now, like "normal" people. Go mom! Thanks for the tough genetic material!

Thursday, July 03, 2003


A friend of ours has recently discovered that her apartment building has an infestation of mice.

We're talking here about people walking in to their apartments and finding 20-25 mice that scatter when the door opens. Residents hear the mice scrambling around in the walls when they are trying to sleep. This was evidently caused by the destruction of a pond and forest in order to build more apartments.

As alarming as that would be to anyone who has to live in the building, our friend has taken this extremely hard. She has been in the building for about ten years, and developed something of a sentimental attachment to the building. It is where she lived with her (now deceased) cat, it is where she has set down her roots, she used to feel more at home there than anywhere else she has ever lived. More than just that, though, the invasion of mice has triggered some sort of rebirth of her entire personality. The neurotic genes that she inherited have been catalyzed, and a superheroine is born. Neurosa, champion over germs, Brillo pad in one hand, Clorox Wipe in the other, she will find and destroy any trace of anything human in the apartment. Everything in the closets and the kitchen will be disinfected or discarded; she will have no mercy. The apartment will smell like a hospital, and no food will be prepared. If the mice win (and the mice will NOT win, Neurosa will not allow that to happen), a suitcase and a car is all that will remain of this former life, this secret identity if you will. Neurosa takes no prisoners and is not sentimental over a bedroom suite (that might have been touched by a mouse with germs). Nor is Neurosa sentimental about the cat's earthly remains - ashes that were to be scattered off the balcony of the apartment when Neurosa moved out now have an undetermined fate. For Neurosa is the conqueror of anything unclean, especially mice, and Neurosa will be damned if her beloved cat's ashes will be devoured by mice.

Friday, June 27, 2003

Thursday, June 19, 2003


We went to see Norah Jones the other night. Usually when it has been raining for the last umpteen days, the last thing you would want to do would be to go to an outdoor concert. And yet, the weather cooperated and held off raining until we were leaving. In fact, there was a nice breeze during the concert that made it not too muggy and kept the bugs away, at least for the most part.

Norah just rocks. I can usually overlook when a musician is not quite as talented, but has a unique sound, like Anthony Kiedis. He makes their sound work, but hearing him live you can tell he's making it up as he goes along. Or Britney Spears - when you hear her sing live you can tell how much work they have to do to put enough effects on her voice to make it palatable. Not Norah. I didn't have to overlook a thing - every single member of the ensemble was just solid. She sounded just like she does on the radio - just satiny smooth and beautiful. She only did one song (The Nearness of You) from jazz repertoire, and it was killer. I almost wished she had done more along those lines, since everything she sang made me go "aahhhhhhhh." The sort of music where you can just relax and enjoy.

Friday, June 13, 2003


I think the day this country should have realized it was in trouble was the day they replaced the street sign:




Yeah, we dropped them off this morning with some stuff, but we are not prepared to guarantee that they're actually working. But they're out there, so... don't hit them with your car. Thanks.

Thursday, June 05, 2003

Just a Geek

Yup, borrowed that from Wil Wheaton. I am planning to purchase his new book, by the way, it sounds amazing from the reviews I have read so far. I am just having a major geek moment today, and figured I would share. See, most people that know me know that I am a big geek. No, no, don't argue - underneath this smooth, polished exterior lies the heart of a major geek.

Case in point: I really haven't gotten as much sleep as I would like lately because I have been playing Dark Age of Camelot. Last night, they instituted a patch that lets me instantly level my characters from the "Gosh I wish I could kill that spider" stage to the "RAWR!!! I will put the HURT on you!" stage. Way too much fun, so, y'know, that justifies staying up until 1:30, right? ... oh, I am a geek, and a bit ashamed at my lack of control. They also added a feature where you can check the time from within the game. That has to be a feature requested by parents. Oh yes, we associate regularly with characters in the game whose controlling humans are 13. They are... interesting. Mostly I just get annoyed by the net speak - even though I understand it (I'm a geek, after all), it just doesn't fit in the Medieval period, and they DON'T UNDERSTAND THAT.

Me: "Drakkel, why are you talking so funny?"

Drakkel: "lol what u mean i m happy 2 b here.


Friday, May 16, 2003

Other People

I have recently discovered a website called Other People's Stories. It is an excellent way to pass some time if you're bored, and an excellent way to read some good writing even when you're not bored. Check 'er out.

So, I am a married lady now. Funny, I feel pretty much the same as before we got married. Pictures should be arriving within whatever schedule our photographer is on, so I'll probably put some up. We had terrific weather, which was significant because that was the ONLY DAY in the whole week where it wasn't rainy and cold in addition to being pretty windy. Wisconsin in May can be a bit... unpredictable that way. We are not sure about this, of course, but we think the good weather may have been a wedding present from my husband's father. Thanks David, wish you could have been there.

Thursday, April 03, 2003

Out of Mind Auto-reply

THIS MESSAGE HAS BEEN AUTOMATICALLY GENERATED, PLEASE DO NOT REPLY. I will be out of my mind from today until a month from now when I get married. I apologize for any inconvenience that this may cause. If you need to contact someone sane while I am out of my mind, please figure that our for yourself. Thanks, and have a great month.

Super Jen

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

Return of the Refinance Stalker

Now we're to the pathetic, "Don't you love me anymore??" stage of our relationship:

I just wanted to check back in with you to see if you have had any second thoughts about the refinance. I have everything ready to go if you are reconsidering the 5 year ARM. I would also be able to change the loan into a 5 year ARM if you are willing to let me. I hope everything is going well and look forward to hearing from you. Please give me an update when you get the chance. Thanks.

Dear Sir,


Tuesday, March 11, 2003

Oh yeah? Well... you can't play with my toys anymore

What is this country coming to? Seriously, take a good look around for a second. Yes, we still have more money than most nations, but what are we using it for? To wage wars on countries that don't attack us without even a majority of support from the population, and then to piss and moan and act like babies when our allies say the same thing that most people in our own country are saying. OK, the "majority of the population" thing is based on the sampling of people with which I have contact, and the majority of sentiment I hear people voicing on television. All I know is that every time there is a war protest, the White House doesn't comment. When a majority of Republicans were elected into Congress, however, the White House commented that it means America Wants War. And now, the freedom fries. I have no desire to actually move away (see refinancing saga below), but I would like to be put into suspended animation until reading the news doesn't make me want to hurl.

Friday, March 07, 2003

A Nice Warm Cup of STFU

We are currently looking into refinancing our house, and one of the things my fiance did was to apply at Lending Tree to experience that whole "banks compete over you" thing. Well, the first company that gave us a quote required a whole assload of financial information to be submitted, and then required that we have our house appraised. Then, they proceeded to lock the rate (without asking us if we accepted their offer) and tell us that we were closing that Thursday. HELLO! They basically railroaded us into getting it completed as soon as possible - not to mention without considering any other offers. Then, we got a competing offer from another place that was pretty similar, and still not exactly what we wanted. In discussions with the second company, they suggested a 5 year Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM), which sounded pretty attractive. We called the first company and told them thanks but no thanks, we're going with the ARM at this other company. Below is the email that my fiance got from the first company. I am not going to comment, I'm just going to sit back in amazement.

Despite my frustrations, I want to let you know that I understand your position. I am upset at the fact that I am able to offer you the same 5 year ARM that *company* is offering you. I did not present you with the option in the beginning because I don't feel that it is your best option. I have your best interest in mind and I truly feel that the 30 year fixed rate option is the best option. I was under the influence that you were planning on staying in the house for the next 10 to 15 years and I don't see why you would want the vulnerability of an ARM when you can lock into a 30 year fixed at the lowest rates in history. In the beginning, I asked what your goals were through the refinance and understood them to be eliminating PMI, saving money monthly, and lowering your interest rate. I have done all of these things for you and have a hard time understanding your hesitations. Your loan is ready to close and I have spent a significant amount of time and effort getting it to this point. I wish you could see the loan from my perspective and wish that you were as excited to get it done as I am.

*company* may be presenting you with a 5 year ARM option, but I feel like they are undercutting me and promising you that the 5 year ARM is your best deal. Keep in mind that the interest savings is about $80. The monthly PMI will have to also be added in, which I was under the influence was something you set out to eliminate from the beginning of this process. It is true that you can refinance in 60 months when the ARM increases (which it will every 6 months to 1 year) but you will have to finance the closing costs once again which will cash in even more of your equity and will eliminate any interest savings you received from the initial lower rate and will actually cost you more money. If you choose not to refinance, your rate will eventually reach 10% which you will pay for the remainder of the loan, probably at least 20 years. Not to mention that *company* will take at least another month to get this done for you, when I have what I feel is the best loan available ready to close today, not making your first payment due until May and this payment can be made for you with the cash you will be receiving at closing.

I apologize for going on about this, but the more I type, the more frustrated I get. I worked hard for you and to now have to turn this loan down is not fair. I don't understand why you would choose to go with *company* when I have worked this hard for you. I think that you would agree that my customer service is second to none and have been in contact with you on an almost daily basis. I have given you many different options and worked plenty of numbers for you. I hope that you are getting the same level of service from *company*, because it is very important and you deserve it and you will be sorry after the loan closes if this is not the case. I hope that you weigh all the options available to you and would like to change your mind and get your loan closed, but I wish you the best luck with the wedding and with your refinance. Please let me know when you change your mind, I would be happy to get this done for you. Thank You.

Wednesday, March 05, 2003


OK, I just read this very disturbing story about bloggers promoting a new milk-based drink. Not only am I bitter that they don't consider mine a "key blog" (yeah right, that really upset me), I am upset that this product is even being developed. I will say it at the risk of permanently damaging my reputation as a Wisconsin native: Milk is not good for you. Just say no. Seriously, you will thank me, your sinuses will thank me, your whole body will jump for joy after a week of dairy reduction and/or elimination.

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

Dude, You Should Totally Ask Her Out

I just walked past the office of an attorney down the hall, and did that glance in thing - you know, you're casually strolling past, and you just casually look in there, even though you have absolutely no business looking. I think it's instinctual, this compulsion to be completely aware of what's behind door numbers 1, 2, and 3. I mean, if the caveman didn't glance into every cave he passed, he could be lunch, right?

Anyway, the attorney was on the phone, as is normal for attorneys, I'm learning. So here he is talking to a client, presumably, and he's all curled up sideways in his chair with his feet dangling over his desk. I fully expected to hear him giggle and say, "So what did she say about me? Does she think I'm cute?" I think that seeing that will give me new perspective the next time I have to make a work-related telephone call.

Wednesday, February 12, 2003

Of All the Luck

The asshole who cut me off in traffic this morning, you know the one, the one who waits until the lanes are merging and then decides that he has to be right in front of you at the last minute? Yeah. I was behind him after that point, and even though he was going about 20 miles over the speed limit, ended up behind him once we exited. Then, he turned where I turned. Then, he pulled into my parking lot and parked.

Now, as upset as I was when he cut me off, I was ecstatic in equal part when he ended up at my destination. I mean, how often do you get the chance to actually see the guy that drives like that? Not only that, but possibly to hold the door for him as he enters the building? I hurried out of my car, if only to be able to point out to him that cutting me off didn't get him in the door any faster.

I think he was on to me. He didn't even get out of the car until I was in the building, and then suddenly he had something very interesting in the trunk of his car that he had to look at. In retrospect, I guess it was all for the best.

Friday, February 07, 2003


My back hurts. I think I hurt it trying to pull wet clothes out of the washing machine, which sound incredibly wussy, but there you have it. I hurt it Sunday, and it got better and better and then yesterday got worse again. It's funny how your perspective changes when there's a persistent voice in the back of your head saying "ow ow ow ow ow." Activities that I didn't even think twice about I now dread. I think it got worse yesterday because I went to the grocery store for a few things and - *gasp* - walked around some. Sneezing really sucks. Also, coughing, drying my hair, feeding the cat... bleah.

I made a phone call to a massage therapist that works in the same building that I do. I had to hang up the first time because I was laughing at how funny his British accent sounded saying MAA-sage. But I overcame. We are still playing phone tag, but hopefully he will be able to make me stand upright again. It has been very embarrassing to walk around the building like I'm 80 - I have developed this little waddle that feels pretty good but looks so ridiculous I want to laugh as I walk around. But laughing hurts.

Saturday, February 01, 2003

Ten Movies Flock Thinks You Should See

Yes, you. Flock has seen more movies than you. No, I don't care who you are or where you work or any of that other crap, he has seen more movies. Just trust me on this one. I have paraphrased his reasons below, since we hashed this out verbally in my living room. And no, Flock is not his real name. It's a long story. Forget that, check out these movies:

1. Citizen Kane He didn't have much to add about this one, except that you can't miss it for the young Orson Welles, and even if you know about Rosebud, the journey is what makes this movie great.

2. The Godfather The first two, really. If he had room, Goodfellas would have made it, too.

3. Seven Samurai Every western you have seen is based on this movie, the granddaddy of them all. If you have already seen Star Wars, you can see where the inspiration was obtained. Yeah, I'm going to geek hell for that one. I don't care.

4. Andrei Rublyov This one everyone should try and get through. It is long. And in Russian with subtitles. But what makes it all worth it is the emotional impact it has on you once you have finished.

5. Gone with the Wind Although he had seen it before, he caught this when they re-released it in theaters, also. Watching this movie, you forget that they made it in the 30's. Well-made, and the epic of all epics, everyone should have it at least on their viewing resume.

6. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb This, if you haven't seen it, is the one everyone in the world has seen that one part of. You know, the part where the guy jockeys up on the falling bomb? It's also very funny, and one of Kubrick's best films.

7. Taxi Driver He didn't have much comment about this, except that it's a great movie. If nothing else, see Jodie Foster before she lost all her baby teeth.

8. 2001: A Space Odyssey One of the rare movies where the script doesn't get in the way of the movie. This movie was done way before any of the special effects technology caught up to how Kubrick wanted it to look. With painstaking attention to detail, they created what would be the most expensive movie of all time if it were done with today's technology. It shows.

9. Children of Paradise At first, I thought he was talking about City of the Lost Children, which is also French, but no. This movie is an epic film on par with Gone with the Wind, but takes place in 1800's France. They actually made this movie under the nose of the Germans right before France was occupied in WWII.

10. The Third Man A film noir mystery. Good eats.

11. Our amplifiers go all the way to eleven! OK, he couldn't finish the list without adding Alfred Hitchcock movies. Start maybe with Vertigo, move on to Psycho, The Birds, Rear Window, Shadow of a Doubt... yeah, the biggest problem he had was with limiting the list to ten.

I am ashamed to admit that I have only seen three of these movies, so obviously I have my work cut out for me. Perhaps if I didn't spend so much time playing Dark Age of Camelot...

Wednesday, January 29, 2003

Is This Thing On?

Yes! I'm back, had a lot of extraneous activity for a bit, there, but I need to write some stuff down before I completely forget about it. So, let me talk about our trip to Florida over the MLK week-end. Some of us (but not me) get that Monday off, so we decided we would go and visit my fiance's grandmother in Daytona Beach. He hadn't seen her in roughly twenty years, which is a long story, but we figured it was about time. Since we are about eight hours away by car, we decided to drive.

Sightings from the road:

There is a Welcome Center in South Carolina that is smack dab in the MIDDLE of the state. There is NO WAY that the Welcome Center is welcoming anyone who hasn't been in the state for at least a couple of hours. My thought was they are welcoming all the incoming paratroopers, or the crash-landing aliens.

Speaking of South Carolina, I finally laid eyes on South of the Border. There are signs for this thing all the way into North Carolina along I-95, but I had never actually seen this monstrosity of tourism. The worst part is that we didn't have time to stop. I want to visit the monstrosity! Maybe some other time. I hear they have ashtrays with pictures of Elvis on the bottom that even the non-smokers can't resist buying.

So, we made it to "Florida," or so they claim. It was between 30 and 40 degrees almost the entire time we were there, including the day we spent walking around outside in St. Augustine. Probably the most humorous part of this is that the Floridians apologized for the weather. Then the day we left (naturally) it was in the 70s. I know this, because everyone we met told us. "It's nice today!" "It's in the 70s! Too bad it's windy." I have never heard people talk about the weather this much. Something in the water, maybe.

We had a good time with granny. She had cancer in her throat some time ago, so doesn't speak above a whisper, and eats through a tube. All the same, she seems to have boundless energy and practically leapt around her home, cooking us so much food I thought I was going to go into food coma every time we ate. The problem with having someone cook for you that can't eat is that there is absolutely no tolerance for leftovers. She's a good cook, however, and everything was really delicious. We played penny-ante poker, and while we had our lucky moments, I believe she would have cleaned us out if we had stayed longer.

Thursday, January 16, 2003

Do You Hear the Lambs, Clarice?

If you have a list of ten movies everyone should see, feel free to email them to me, still. My email address is at left, all code-like to avoid the evil spammers (hopefully).

Speaking of evil, there is a guy in our office building that has been creeping me out ever since he got here. If the police suspected that a serial killer was renting in our building, I would know EXACTLY who to point to, assuming that my safety was guaranteed. He is maybe a little old for "the profile" that they talk about in the movies, but he is very quiet, nondescript, keeps to himself, etc. Also, he will dig through every candy dish in the building to find the gold-wrapped Brachs candies. He will go to every dish, take ALL the candy out of it, and mumble to himself the whole time. I have seen the work he gives to the our shared secretary, and he literally cuts up other letters he's written and pastes the sentences onto a new piece of paper for her to type. He will then underline parts of them in pen. They look like ransom notes to me, and I'm sure she has her reservations. The other day, I walked to the kitchen and he was standing in front of the door, just staring in. I politely said, "excuse me," as I edged cautiously around him, and he looked startled, walked into the kitchen, and proceeded to stand in front of the soda machine, staring. As Strongbad would say, "That guy gives me the jibblies." Jibbly.

Monday, January 13, 2003

Dave's Ten Movies Everyone Should See

This means you.

I have known Dave since high school, and he has always been interested in literature, movies, drama, you name it. Hopefully, he still writes in his spare time, other than the vastly entertaining emails that he sends me (and other people too). Furthering his credentials, he managed a movie rental place for a bit, which means he has seen many more movies than I have. If some of his descriptions sound a bit touchy-feely, that's as a result of the San Francisco atmosphere he's breathing. Heh. I would like to point out that not only does Dave read what I write, he reads for content. You have to respect that in a friend.

1. Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back: I'd like to count the original trilogy as one movie, but picked this because a) it's the best of the current 5, and b) it's cheating--if a Star Wars virgin sees just this one, they will be obligated by forces of natural curiosity to see the other two. References to this movie abound in culture so much that one needs to be familiar with the story to prevent becoming a social pariah.

2. Ferris Bueller's Day Off: it reminds everyone of what it's like to be young and to seize the day. The kids aren't carefree--indeed real teen angst about relationships, college, et all pervades the film--but it demonstrates that those worries can be set aside, if only for a day.

3. The Breakfast Club: I wanted to let only Ferris represent the genre, but The Breakfast Club details class strife so well that it needed a shout-out. Nobody uses a pop movie to discuss the caste system as well as John Hughes, and no movie does it better than this. Plus, I think it's useful for society as a whole to know that 'Claire' is a fat girl's name.

4. Airplane: you can't watch it and not laugh (again, and again, and again) but the comedy comes in 2-5 layers PER SHOT. Hopefully people will walk away recognizing that life has complexity, but, more importantly, you should always look for the joke.

5. Dances With Wolves: nature is beautiful; destroying it is bad.

6. Trainspotting: if you take enough drugs and hang out with enough drug-users, you'll eventually end up grinning over a bridge with a sack full of cash. No... wait... drugs are bad! If you take enough drugs you'll see spirit visions of the baby you killed climb across your ceiling. Actually, it's just a good story of another culture and it uses music beautifully to help tell its story (I'm thinking specifically of "It's Just a Perfect Day...")

7. Pulp Fiction: no excuses, just a wonderfully entertaining movie. The only morals I can think are (again) drugs, organized crime, and pawn shops are bad. And it's not a motorcycle, baby. It's a chopper.

8. Holiday Inn: even black & white movies can be good! Irving Berlin wrote "White Christmas" for Bing to sing in this movie, and no one should die without seeing Fred Astaire glide across a floor as though he were on ball bearings.

9. The Shining: this movie uses brilliant suspense, contains a brilliant story, and has the best steady-cam big-wheel shot I've ever seen in my life. It's good to be scared every once in a while (vicariously, at least) and it teaches one never to disturb someone else when they're writing--good lesson. Ed. note: That's right. All work and no play make Super Jen all crazy.

10. Dead Poets Society: I know people have problems with this flick, and that's fine, but don't underestimate the utility of the life choice Carpe Diem. It also discusses the benefits (and punishments) of resisting totalitarianism, introduced a new generation to the sweaty-toothed madman, Whitman, and above all, teaches you to think for yourself.

Wednesday, January 08, 2003

Ten Movies Everyone Should See

I decided that I wasn't going to try and tackle something like "The Ten Best Movies of ALL TIME" like one of those corny VH1 shows (that I love watching, don't get me wrong). But let's face it, I do not have the time or the resources to watch every single movie ever made and make that sort of judgement call. So, I decided to list ten movies that I think everyone should see, whether it is because they are good movies, or just to increase cultural IQ. I encourage anyone (anyone?) who reads this to email me your list, and I will post it here. And like me, you don't need to have any credentials whatsoever. Whee! So here are mine, in no particular order.

1. The Breakfast Club - this is one of those cultural relevance ones, if you're wondering.

2. Dirty Harry. I only recently watched this movie. Not only does it have GREAT lines (including the one that everyone already knows), it feels like a documentary about what 70's movies are all about.

3. Star Wars. Speaking of the 70's... even if you "don't like Sci-Fi movies," watch the first one. At least you'll be able to correctly identify wookie impressions.

4. Lord of the Rings. Same advice as #3. Also, I realized that all my movies were old. So here's a new one.

5. So I Married an Axe Murderer - If only to witness the Scottish comedy in the middle, oh so worth sitting through the rest of it. A rare Mike Myers vehicle in that it contains very little if any potty humor.

6. Braveheart. This way I have my epic bases covered. Yeah, I liked Gladiator, but this one wins that little duel, at least for me.

7. Pulp Fiction... unless you don't like cursing with your movies. That's the only complaint I have ever heard about this movie.

8. Monty Python and the Holy Grail. You'll thank me when the office geek starts quoting it. Believe me.

9. The Princess Bride. This movie makes me smile.

10. The Blues Brothers. Nothing like an original. Music superstars galore, and lot of quotable lines.

Monday, January 06, 2003

Another Mystery Solved

A couple networks are struggling to answer that nagging question, "How long do you have to wait after a tragedy before you can profit by putting out a made for TV movie about it?" The answers vary, however. Some say a year and a half, while others are a little more conservative and say heck, let's wait a full four years. Wow, I'm glad they have that figured out.