28 Sept 2008

Confessions of a Dork

A friend of mine mentioned that she was feeling like a bit of a jackass for something she did recently. It was truly nothing and she shouldn't give it another moment's thought. I've done way, way worse and some illustrations of this have already been mentioned on this site. The "Humiliation 101" tag can conveniently link you to some of my published moments of shame.

But it doesn't stop there. My life has been simply riddled with glorious examples of how uncouth and uncool I can be, and it started at an early age.

So, if you're ever down about something dumb you did, just take a gander at this small selection of personal low-lights. You should feel much better and smarter about yourself instantly:

1. Until Grade 10, I thought the song "Bette Davis Eyes" was sung by Rod Stewart. (C'mon, close your eyes and imagine it - I wasn't THAT crazy to think this!)

2. When I got my very first period, I thought that I had cut myself with the toilet paper.

3. At one point or another, I've had a crush on the following super cool objects of desire: Gilligan, Paul Pfeiffer, Gilbert Blithe, and Data, the android from Star Trek Next Generation.

4. For a very long time, I thought Jimmy Buffet and Warren Buffet were the same person. I'd be out somewhere with friends and Margaritaville would play and I'd say, "Isn't crazy that THIS GUY ended up being, like, insanely rich?" And my friend would stare at me confused. And then I'd say "Geez, don't you read the papers? He's heavy into investments!"

5. My first semi-serious-ish boyfriend only asked me out after he had already asked out two different girls. That day. And had been rejected. And I enthusiastically said yes. BECAUSE. HAVING. A. BOYFRIEND. WAS. IMPORTANT.

Expect more of these in the future!


24 Sept 2008

Jen's Crystal Ball of Musical Pimpage

Because I am an attention whore who milks everything she does, I'd like to elaborate more on the Quickie I wrote on Hitched about "Ten Songs From Commercials That Haven't Been Created Yet".

Song #1:

Song Title: A Cause De Garcon (Tecktonik Remix)
Artist: Yelle
The Dealio: When we went to France this spring, our uber-fantastic host, Gauthier, had mentioned that is girlfriend was named Yelle and "wasn't the famous one, of course!" to which I blankly stared back at him with a look a cat might have when one is speaking to a cat about anything. You see, in Europe, Yelle is crazy famous and her songs Je Veux Te Voir, A Cause De Garcons, Parle à ma main with Fatal Bazooka, Les Femmes were huge, huge hits. With good reason - they're extremely catchy, fun, and danceable. The Tecktonik remix and video of A Cause De Garcons is an energetic blow up of the original, and it really doesn't matter if you don't understand the lyrics or 'get' the look of the dancers - this song is tres hot.
I'd Pimp Them To: Alesse (hip birth control makers). The song's quite fitting as you'd be taking these "Because of the Boys" (but if your parents discover your sexy-time pills, you'd say it's 'A Cause De Acne'). Either way, this energetic tune would send Alesse sales soaring.

Song #2:

Song Title: Knickerbocker
Artist: Fujiya & Miyagi
The Dealio: Like Yelle, this is another group from across the pond (Brighton, England), but unlike Yelle, they haven't had the huge explosion. Yet. The beginning of this song reminds me of Stereolab, which is, of course, a good thing. It's one of the few songs that had me hooked straight away - I'm the type that usually needs a few listen throughs before I can determine if I like a song. It grows slowly but steadily and by time the three minutes are up, you're a fan. Screw cowbell, more organ!
I'd Pimp Them To: Gap. It's been a while since I've seen a Gap commercial, and something fun and insta-hooky is just what Dr Jen ordered. They could totally play on the "Vanilla" (GAP classics) and "Strawberry" (GAP trend-wear) of the lyrics.

Song #3:

Song Title: I Like You So Much Better When You're Naked
Artist: Ida Maria
The Dealio: Clearly, I have something for Europeans. Ida Maria is a Norwegian singer that charmed the pants off the Brits this summer with "I Like You So Much Better When You're Naked", a song that peaked at 13 on the UK charts. It's fun, rambunctious, raw pop by a young and unabashed leading lady, who, according to several interviewers, likes to get her drink on. Stamp of approval, says I.
I'd Pimp Her To: The Next Season of Rock of Love. Because I'm pretty sure the song title describes exactly what dear Brett thinks about many of the contestants.

Song #4:

Song Title: Human Hair
Artist: Lovvers
The Dealio: Brit Band #2 on the list. Don't they remind you of the early Matador low-fi days? Jon Spencer Blues Explosion (with less rockabilly more surf) comes to mind. The band's label, Wichita, is a favourite of mine as they play host to the musical goodies of Peter, Bjorn & John and Block Party to name a few. The video clinches this song - creepy meets playful meets my entertainment requirements.
I'd Pimp Them To: This song is the perfect soundtrack for late-90s fans of snowboarding, skateboarding and surfing - who are pretty much a gem audience of the next Balance Board games about to be released for Nintendo Wii (like Skate it and Shaun White Snowboarding).

Song #5:

(It's video-less ... click here and scroll down to Veras)

Song Title: Veras
Artist: Los Alhama
The Dealio: I first heard Veras back in 1997 when I bought a "Folk Music of the World" CD at my campus bookstore. It was my big attempt to branch out and be 'wordly' without having to leave Alberta. It failed, but it put this song into my little brain where's it's stayed - dancing around on all those math tricks and history lessons that I can't recall anymore.
I'd Pimp Them To: The next Quentin Tarantino film (although upon looking up what the next Tarantino film (Inglorious Bastards) is going to be about, I could be very, very wrong. Not sure how he'd fit in a peppy gypsy tune in a movie about Jewish soldiers that scalp Nazis in occupied France ... but on the other hand, it could actually be perfect)!

Song #6:

* Note: Not the official video. Just sayin'

Song Title: Dancer
Artist: Woodhands
The Dealio: Look! North American band! And better yet, they're Canadian! I'd also disclose - the band's drummer, Paul Banwatt, is a friend through friends who also DJ'd my wedding (fabulously) - but that doesn't make this song any less fantasmatic. I don't even have to be drunk to dance to this one, and that says a lot. It's steamy. It's loud. It's sex-synth. (and their "I Wasn't Made For Fighting" is also worth a listen).
Who I'd Pimp Them To: Virgin Mobile. Because waiting around for someone to ask them to dance is probably something all the indie hipster kids do ... via text messaging.

Song #7:

Song Title: Knots
Artist: Pete & The Pirates
The Dealio: I have Barry Lachapelle to thank for my Pete & The Pirates obsession. He's one of Patrick's best friends who moved to London to work at an ad agency (dream scenerio, anyone?). Barry likes music. We like music. E-mails between Patrick and Barry are less about feelings and more about bands they like. I benefit from this on several levels. Pete & The Pirates are a band that should be rolling in dough but ... aren't. I don't get it. They're wildly likable, have songs that jump to the point and each band member has indie cute qualifications. WHAT'S THE DEAL, PEOPLE? I heard one of their earlier songs, Come on Feet, over a year ago and I could still listen to the thing 5x a day and not get bored.
I'd Pimp Them To: The big guns: iPod. Come on Feet more than Knots actually, but both would do super well. Break out the silhouettes, Apple - they want Pete & the Pirates to dance to!

Song #8:

Song Title: Sexy Grrl
Artist: Belladonnakillz
The Dealio: I didn't know this was a local band until I wrote this piece for Hitched. All I knew was that they blasted Lee's Palace with a really fun performance recently (was I there? Hells no. I was doing my usual evening thing: yogo pants and IFC. But I still heard about it, so I'm still cool. Right? No? Ok.). Sexy Grrl is a gritty electro-coustic anthem to a dreamy, faceless vision. It was me, boys, it was me.
I'd Pimp Them To: Runway show for Miu Miu. Nothing like a down-and-dirty track to make people forget that paying $800 for a sleeveless blouse is ridic.

Song #9:

Song Title: Bassment Party
Artist: The Cool Kids
The Dealio: And with number nine, an American band has finally made my list. I may be all about American brands, but it’s the music from other countries that are really the power houses. But such is not the case with The Cool Kids – a Chicago-Detroit duo that made things happen for themselves on MySpace. Bassment Party is a hip hop ode to getting drunk with pals, girls and frenemies.
I'd Pimp Them To: The Hills as the camera points to the exterior of an LA Club that none of use could ever get into.

***Edit*** This just in: The Cool Kids' Bassment Party was just featured on Sunday night's episode of Entourage. There you go ...

Song #10:

Song Title: Home Sweet Home
Artist: Those Dancing Days
The Dealio:
This Swedish band is the second act from Wichita records to feature on this list. What can I say - they're sweet, they have girl drummer, and they play easy-pop melodies that go down well with an iced Coca-cola, McFries and a sunny day. What's not to like?
I'd Pimp Them To: The highest bidder. This song could easily be seen in the new 90210, commercials for Volkswagen, IKEA, West Jet (if it wanted to mix things up), or any scene where Lauren is driving and/or crying. It's made for mainstream pimping.

Have songs you think would sell crap to people? Comment them!


23 Sept 2008

Older, and Probably Geekier

Today's the birthday. The 30th one. Yay.

Others my age may have had several important things on their plate today: children to manage, a business to run, a PhD to earn, whales to save ...

Not this gal. Nope. Instead, I basked in your love and then made a pie chart about it (I'm a PC, you see!):

Kind of interesting, isn't it? It's amazing how Facebook has made such a real dent into our communication style. Makes you wonder what it will be like when we're 40 or 50. You can bet I'll be all over making a chart then too.


22 Sept 2008

There is a Spotlight That Never Goes Out

There are some songs that I am better for having known and in many cases it's been pure dumb luck that I was introduced to them in the first place. It genuinely makes me sad that some people will never hear them.

Well, here's my effort to broaden the appeal of these forgotten gems. While I'm not suggesting that these songs are unknowns (especially among those who listened to college radio), I'm just saying that in my opinion, not enough people gave these a shot. My Top Fifteen Under-Exposed Tunes (for today - my opinion on the subject changes daily) await your clicking. Please give each song one full minute of your time. If you don't like them - fine - click on. If you do enjoy what you hear, Google their names and find other songs. Blog about them. Buy their stuff. They're just as good as any Britney, if not infinitely, ridiculously better.

In no particular order:
1. Ping Pong by Stereolab
2. No Milk Today by Herman's Hermits
3. Def Con One by Pop Will Eat Itself
4. 100% by Sonic Youth (PS: The cute skater with the chops in the video is Jason Lee (Earl in My Name is Earl) back when he was a pro skater). Also, please look up every Sonic Youth song ever made (Bull in the Heather, Kool Thing, Mildred Pierce, Teenage Riot ... oh, my heart is fluttering). You will not regret it.
5. The Queen of Cans and Jars by Guided By Voices
6. Playground Love by Air
7. Both Hands by Ani DiFranco
8. You're Gonna Miss Me - 13th Floor Elevators
9. Je vais a Londres by Renée Martel (on that note, there are loads of underexposed Quebec artists)
10. Simple Things by Belle and Sebastian
11. Scuba Scuba by The Revillos
12. Hurdy Gurdy Man by Donovan
13. Reverence by Jesus and Mary Chain
14. A Roller Skating Jam Named Saturday by De Le Soul
15. Ripple by The Grateful Dead

I also encourage anyone else who might possibly read this blog to create their own Under-valued / Under-exposed 15 (one good candidate is a certain Bellines, as I've always liked his musical taste) - because god knows, there's hundreds missing from mine!


19 Sept 2008

V is for Very Funny

When someone can poke fun of themselves, my like-factor for them always increases. It's probably why Matt Damon and Ben Affleck will likely always remain in my good books, no matter how many Giglis or Pearl Harbors they make. (Hmmm, those are all Ben examples - maybe someone should be running the scripts by his buddy Matt before signing on to shit). So, when a company manages to do this - somehow convincing 'top people' to not take their marketing sooo seriously - I want to become that company's girlfriend. And not just any girlfriend, the best kind of girlfriend - the girlfriend you are at the very beginning of a relationship. The kind that doesn't say "HA. RIGHT." at the suggestion of a blow-job.

A viral video by Verizon officially has me ready to break out the knee pads. We've all seen the Verizon Network commercials, yes? See what happens when Verizon decides to prank an unsuspecting customer with a public reenactment of their ad campaign:

Love it.


17 Sept 2008

I Am An Expert In Embarrassing Myself

This morning as I was getting ready for my day, I swung by the Wii Fit to do my daily Body Test (ie: weigh myself). As I was in no rush, I decided to goof around with it for a bit and started playing a few games, namely Hula Hoop.

For those not familiar with Wii Fit's Hula Hoop, you basically have to stand on a board and rotate your pelvis around to simulate hula-hooping. There's no way to not look like a moron while doing this.

Wii's demo of the game is below:

The person in that clip isn't trying really hard, I have to say. I'm rather competitive against myself, so I'm always trying to beat my high score - which means doing it really fast and getting my whole body involved to get more spins in.

So, yah, I'm having at 'er when I heard this huge, sudden BANG - like, right next to me. It surprised me so much that I even yelped (I don't know about you, but I'm not the type of person that audibly talks to herself, so I find it really weird and rare and noticeable when I make a noise when I'm by myself). Anyway, even though I closed our vertical blinds, I can still see quite clearly that there's a window washer about four feet away from me. And since he's essentially pressed up against the glass, he can totally see through the 'blind slits' at me.

But the worst part, was that this was all I was wearing at the time:

Nude Spanx pantyhose things.

And that's it.

No pants. No top. No bra. No dignity. All while feverishly gyrating my gut around.


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I have no shame

Need words? I'm a Toronto-based freelance writer who injects great ones into blogs, websites, magazines, ads and more. So many services, one lovely Jen (with one 'n').

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