31 Mar 2011

I Can't Explain It Either

Any dream analysts out there? I have yet another weird one.

Last night I had a really vivid dream where there were a bunch of young kids on a big trampoline. I was in charge of looking after a friend's son who was playing with them. A tiny little girl nearby, whom I was amazed could even talk, asked me if I was the boy's mom. "Nope!" I replied all too happily.

Suddenly, that tiny little girl (who, in my dream, was a daughter of a friend, but in actuality isn't someone I've ever seen in my life) got knocked over by another kid and landed head-first on a water drainage pipe on the ground (no idea why that would be there).

I freaked and picked her up. She was suddenly really tiny and practically fit in my hand. She had a huge bump on the top of her head and was having a hard time keeping her eyes open. I yelled to people that we needed to get her to the hospital. The parents around me just stood there. I then looked back down to her and her head had turned into a lemon - a lemon with a face on it. I had it in my mind that if her face disappeared, it would mean that she was permanently brain damaged and that she'd literally turn into a piece of fruit (er, vegetable?). I don't remember the rest of the dream, beyond waiting for an ambulance to arrive and being angry that the "real parents" who were there weren't taking over and being responsible.

Oddly, this isn't the only time I've had a dream where children and babies became produce. This is, in fact, the third dream I've had in the last few years that falls into that category.

One was a very short dream where I passed by a school that was having some kind of emergency. The children all ran out and hid in the schoolyard by becoming watermelons in a watermelon patch (not entirely unlike Cabbage Patch Kids). When the 'bad guys' came out looking for them, I was horrified to see one of the men pick up a watermelon and smash it on the ground for fun, not realizing he was actually murdering a kid. It was one of those dreams where you're paralyzed and when you actually do scream, you wake up. Super fun, right?

The other dream occurred when my friend Siobhan was pregnant. In the dream, she and her husband wanted to go out for a date night and have some drinks. Since she didn't want to hurt the baby with booze, she transferred her fetus into an onion and asked me to take care of it. I had to carry this onion everywhere, and even wore a fanny pack to put her baby-onion in (now that's a sacrifice of both fashion and dignity!). At one point, a little flake of the onion's brown skin fell off and I crapped myself, not knowing what that meant. I was pretty sure the baby was still deep in the onion, but had no idea if she was now less protected. I was also scared that Siobhan was going to came back and freak out on me over it.

Eee? Any theories on why my subconscious turns minors into morsels? Or why something bad always happens to them?


29 Mar 2011

Twins Are Like Dolphins

... in that they clearly have their own language that remains a mystery to us "normie" humans:

Even though I think both of these babies are boys, I'm pretty convinced that one of them said, "You go, girl!" in that second video.


28 Mar 2011

We Know Our Priorities

We were spending this past Saturday doing something super unheard of for us: lazing about like a couple of pigs. I was stretched out on the bed playing Angry Birds solving math equations when our building's fire alarm went off. If you've ever lived in a condo, apartment or dorm, you'll know that a fire alarm doesn't always mean there's an actual emergency going on. Nine times out of ten, someone's burned something in the oven (or if it's a dorm - too much patchouli-dosed incense is wafting in the air). It doesn't help that the alarms in each unit are extremely sensitive - we once set ours off by simply boiling water on the stove. Guess who was making hot dogs?

As usual, one of the building's staffers got on the intercom to deliver a robotic message to state the obvious:

"Attention, attention. The alarm has gone off."

It sounded as though he was talking into the ear piece, so it came out like a mumbled droning with a lot of loud rustling - as if the phone's mouth-piece was being rubbed against his jacket.

Think we jumped up and got out? Hardly. I don't even think I moved my head. As we live on a low floor and apparently believe we're invincible, we tend to stick around the apartment unless we've discovered it really isn't yet another false alarm. Patrick is a little more proactive than I am, so he stuck his head out our door to see if he could tell if anything was happening in the hallway.

"Uh, Jen, I think something is going on," he said.

I finally lifted my double chin from my chest and raised my head. "Huh? Is there an actual fire?"

"I don't know," he said, "but there's water pooling down the hall and people are trying to sweep it away from their doors."


"Is it coming our way?" I selfishly asked.

"I'm not sure, it could," he said.

I got up and wasn't sure what to do. Should I go out and try to help the neighbours? Start putting our own valuables into plastic bags? And then a big, loud voice suddenly told us exactly what to do. It was nothing like the staff member who had been mumbling into the wrong end of the intercom earlier.

"Evacuate the building. There is severe flooding. You must evacuate the building immediately."


"This is the Toronto Fire Services."


On went the jackets, the shoes, the purse. We were out and quickly discovered a rain of water coming down in the stairwell.

"Patrick - maybe we should grab some stuff before we go?"

"Yes, let's be quick."

So we charged back into our apartment and grabbed the "important and necessary things." Think we got clothes? Our wedding photos? A necklace passed down in my family? Nope. Instead, we snatched:
  • Our laptops
  • Our laptop chargers
  • Our phone chargers
  • Our iPod chargers
Oh, eye roll.  Apparently the most important things in life need to be plugged in. To make matters more ridiculous, I didn't feel like we had time or the arm capacity to grab other "important things", so I instead threw garbage bags over our TV and PVR. Again, never mind the family albums or the artwork: I need to protect the PVR and its precious recording of the episode of The Facts of Life where Mrs. Garrett says the word "retarded" five times.

We then locked up and hoped for the best. In the end, we were very lucky. Despite a big ol' pipe explosion, our apartment is fine. Untouched, even. Others in our building aren't so lucky. Sigh - I feel awful for them.

Image Source: ServiceMasterClean


25 Mar 2011

Germans + Homeschooling =


23 Mar 2011

Wiener of The Oatmeal Book!

Thanks for all your entries to win a copy of The Oatmeal: 5 Very Good Reasons to Punch a Dolphin in the Mouth (And Other Useful Guides)! Only one will be crowned the big wiener of this prize, and that is ...

Congrats, LidiaLF! I'll be contacting you today! Enjoy your book!

And now, awkwardly without a segue, a dead person honouring a dead person:

I do believe we now know who will be the last face in next year's Oscar "In Memoriam" clip feature. RIP, Elizabeth Taylor.


22 Mar 2011

This Is Way Better Than Bill Nye the Science Guy

The next time I don't understand something sciencey, I'm going to ask a Japanese animator to explain it to me:

Also, have you donated to relief efforts yet? There's no time like the present!


21 Mar 2011

A Crappy Start To The Week, Almost

This morning I decided to take care of a laundry basket of "stuff" that we had put to the side. It was a random collection of odds and ends that included a bag of first-aid materials, a mini chandelier that we had intended to install ages ago, some pens, iPod chargers and - when I lifted the chandelier - discovered this as among the stuff as well:

My heart sank and my bile rose. It appeared that Mickey was back and more fibre-loaded than ever.

If you've read my blog for a while, you'll recall that we had "issues" a couple years ago with a mouse and its baby. Barftastic issues. And now, despite the fact that I had been upkeeping the cleanliness of my home to freakish-for-me standards thanks to the 50s Housewife Experiment, it appeared that our problem was back.

Mouse droppings can impact your health, so I took no chances: I donned a little face mask, strapped on the rubber gloves and - instead of going for my usual pansy-ass green cleaning products - I took out The Deadly Stuff. Sorry, environment, but I have shit to deal with.

So, as I'm cleaning and grossing myself out (Random Jen Fact: I have a very active gag reflex), I'm looking at the non-poop contents of the basket to determine if I can can clean them or should just chuck them. And then I notice something. I feel relieved and idiotic at the same time (the perfect combination for a blog post). Behold:

Here I was dressed like one of those guys who experimented on E.T., spraying harsh chemicals around, gagging away - all because of a spilled packet of chive seeds.

Let this be a lesson to anyone who takes me seriously: I am absurdity incarnate.


17 Mar 2011

Muppets, SNL and the Original Shamrock Shake

It's St. Patrick's Day and in honour of that, I'm already wasted I've pulled up this clip of the Swedish Chef, Animal and Beaker singing "Danny Boy". It's from a July 1980 episode of The Muppet Show.

You know how they say that all modern rock "borrows" from the Beatles? I feel that way about Jim Henson and comedy. You can't tell me this December 1988 SNL sketch doesn't remind you at all of anything:

Just sayin'.

In case you came here for the 50s Housewife stuff, I also dug something up for you - a St. Patrick's Day dinner plan from the Searchlight Homemaking Guide. So, what's on the menu?

Carbs! Lots and lots of carbs!:

The only thing that is truly foreign to me on that list is Mint Ice. I looked it up, and it's basically a precursor to the Shamrock Shake, minus whatever drug McDonald's puts in its food to form happy childhood memories in your brain. Here's the recipe (sorry for the blur - the binding is tight - but you should still be able to figure it out):

Sort of a frozen, minty meringue with green dye - surely direct from the ancient family recipes of the Flanagans, O'Briens and Gradys of the world.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!


16 Mar 2011

The Oatmeal Book Giveaway! Also: Cartooning Ain't Easy

The Oatmeal is a favourite non-porn website of mine. Cartoonist Matthew Inman likes to take everyday things (and some completely bizarro things that only exist in his head) and turn them into clever comic panels that brim with absurdity, social commentary and unexpected humour. He tackles everything from the tragic life of the male angler fish to handwriting abilities to explaining what it means when you use the word "literally" - like in this example:

If you cruise the website, you'll quickly discover why The Oatmeal is so popular and why the lucky bastard got a book deal out of it. The Oatmeal: 5 Very Good Reasons to Punch a Dolphin in the Mouth (And Other Useful Guides) was released recently and has already appeared on the New York Times Best Seller list. I've heard that's a good thing.

Delirious with jealousy, I've decided to give socially-relevant cartooning a go as to secure my own book deal. Here are my attempts at creating cool visuals to capture my hip observations:
Hmm. Ok. Honest ... but not really what I originally had in mind ...

Getting better ... sort of ...

Ah, yes. Edgy, edgy stuff, Jen. Seinfeld will be calling you shortly.

Hot, sexy, contemporary. And it's funny because its it's true.

Well, it's on the pulse of what's happening with the kids today. Let the book offers roll in!

Clearly, cartooning ain't easy, so let's give credit where it's due, yes? And while we're doing that, let's give you something, too! The nice people at Simon & Schuster Canada are giving away one copy of The Oatmeal's new book to a lucky Jen But Never Jenn reader (and if you know anything about my readership, it means your odds are really good to win this).

The book contains many of the cartoons that are available online, but it also includes 27 new! comics! plus a poster! Whose home couldn't use a poster? Our copy (compliments of the publisher) has been on our coffee table for the last few days and has been well thumbed-through and enjoyed by guests wanting to escape the banality of our company.Our friends have all left our home thinking we entertained them thoroughly, when really all the credit goes to this book and their own literacy skills. Thank you, The Oatmeal.

To enter in this random draw, please leave a comment in this post by TUESDAY, MARCH 22, 2011, 6 PM EST. Write anything you like, even expletives. Especially expletives. You'll need to include some way that I can contact you, should you win, such as your e-mail address, linking your name to your website, or telling me how we're related (hi, dad!).

This contest is only open to Canadians, eh (sorry, not my rules!), so Americans, please do the American thing and indulge your capitalist nature by buying a copy of The Oatmeal: 5 Very Good Reasons to Punch a Dolphin in the Mouth (And Other Useful Guides). You won't regret it! Of course, you don't have to take my word for it. There are a bunch of reviews on Amazon that back me up on this one.


15 Mar 2011

I Dare You To Watch This And Not Have "Careless Whisper" In Your Head For Days On End

Apologies to Facebook friends who already saw me freak out over this video a few days ago. Original content coming tomorrow!


14 Mar 2011

Things I Think While Watching TV

He feels your pain.
The "interesting story" each contestant tells on Jeopardy is hands-down the most awkward part of my day. As the people goofily smile and enthusiastically relay these sad facts about themselves, I'm usually on the couch cringing and putting my hands over my face.

Didn't any of these contestants practice these at a dinner party first? Didn't any of the blank stares or slow responses of "Okaaaay ....?" tip them off?

Since these hanging, Asperger's-esque stories are a hallmark of the show, I'm guessing that everyone has been given strict instruction to tell very specific, but dreadfully dull things about themselves. They've maybe even been promised bonus points if they put on a look that says, "Oh, you're gonna love this one!". It's like the Jeopardy producer in charge of this segment is on a mission to maintain America's perception of nerds.

You know what would make a good trendy-thing-for-a-day Tumblr blog? One that transcribes every dull and random Jeopardy story. Like this (from Thursday's show):

I don't have the time to do this regularly, but maybe you do! So, please, take this idea and run like the wind with it, Future Internet Star.

If you're bored, tell me your own crappy Jeopardy story. Let's share our mediocre moments!


11 Mar 2011

Sometimes, The People of Toronto Test My Non-Violent Nature

Overheard, while walking near my home:

Sorry Excuse For A Woman (said stoically): I think I'm going to have sushi today. You know, in honour of those in Japan.


Shoveling dynamite rolls down your gullet does not honour people who are in the midst of a horrible tragedy, you magnificent turd. Sorry, I take that back - that's an insult to turds.

Want to really show you care?
  • Donate to the Red Cross. Click here if you're in Canada. Click here if you're in the US. You can also text donations ($10 to Canadian Red Cross: Text REDCROSS to 30333 or $10 to American Red Cross: Text REDCROSS to 90999). If you're reading this blog, there is a very good chance that you can chip in $10 or more and not even feel financially impacted. That money, however, will help these earthquake and tsunami victims and their families when they need it most.
  • Be nice to people. Even (or especially) people you don't know.
  • Stop whining for a day. Have some gratitude for all that you have.
  • Keep the victims of this disaster in your thoughts (or if it's your thing - in your prayers).
  • Eat sushi.

Image Source: Chicago Now


10 Mar 2011

Further Proof That Everyone Screws The Pooch

I was doing my daily navel-gaze (i.e.: looking at my blog traffic) and noticed this:

It turns out at that people who work in high profile, high stress government departments surf silly websites on the job. They're just like us!

Actually, of the ISPs I can identify, several come from US government offices, be it a city government, state or - most often - federal level. Department of Transportation, Naval Intelligence, the Senate ... you name it, they've shown up here at some point. Pretty much all of those people come for the 50s Housewife Experiment. Read into that as you will.

Um, it's because it's the only part of your blog worth reading. Also, you shamelessly promote the hell out of it.

Oh, right.

Of course, I think this kind of traffic is hilarious and awesome - so, please, mystery reader from the Department of Homeland Security, don't put me on the no-fly list for pointing you out. As an extra suck-up, in honour of you and other government readers, I'm posting this clip, from the LIFE's December 24, 1956 magazine (which you can gleefully read in its entirety here) of Mrs. Sally Luther, an elected member of the Minnesota House of Representatives:

Funny how we still ask women how they manage to work in government and juggle a home and family, but never question how men in government do it.

(Let it be known that I am no fan of Sarah Palin, but, seriously? Bah.)

Anyhoo - regardless of where you work or don't work - enjoy your break! Thanks for coming here!


8 Mar 2011

Owning the F-Word

I like how she looks unimpressed.
In honour of the 100th International Women's Day, I'm doing something special: Taking the day off to watch Classic Family Feud while feasting on cheese and Campari in bed. Just kidding - I do that every day. 

Nope, today I'd like to chat a little bit about feminism, which I'm sure is a disappointment for those who came to this website to read about bitches and 1950s housewife life. I assure you, I'll get back to all that very shortly.

If I had to write a list of all the things I am, the word "feminist" admittedly isn't the first thing that comes to mind. But if asked the yes or no question, "are you a feminist?", I'd immediately and enthusiastically answer "Yes!" To me, it's like answering the question, "Should people be nice to each other?" or "Are Cool Ranch Doritos delicious?" It's so automatic, that I can't help but be surprised when I hear modern people say that they're not feminists - or to even suggest that they're anti-feminist. I think there's a valid argument for someone who prefers to think in terms of being a humanist vs. feminist, but to me, that doesn't explain anti-feminism.

So, if I were to guess why some people flinch at the thought of being labeled a feminist, it has to do with what they think feminism is. I'll give you a hint: It's not about burning bras or hating men or voting liberal. It's not about dumping on women who wear make-up or get married or have kids or stay at home. It's even not about ignoring biological differences between men and women.

For me, feminism is about the freedom of self-determination. It's the idea that a woman shouldn't be limited in her chosen path because of notions of what a woman should, shouldn't, can, or can't do.

(Fellow humanists, feel free to replace the word "woman" with a race, class of people, or sexual orientation.)

It's a philosophy that ultimately encourages women to strive to become the individuals they want to be. Do you believe that? Yes? Surprise, you're a feminist! Doesn't it feel great?!?

Frankly, the only people I can think of who are opposed to this concept are those who are entrapped in a belief system that profits, depends on, rewards and punishes based on keeping a woman (or herself) "in her place". If you are such a person, I hope you have the freedom and drive to question it for yourself.

If you are already a feminist, I hope you have the freedom and drive to help your fellow lady out (here and abroad) and work to build and protect that which allows women to choose their own paths in life ... which leads me to the one political thing I'll say:

The defunding of Planned Parenthood in the United States is an atrocious affront to women. This isn't about abortion (none of Planned Parenthood's federal dollars ever went to abortion, and roughly only 3% of Planned Parenthood's work involves abortion procedures) - it's about affordable and safe access to health services, birth control and family planning education. Not sure how that fits in with a woman's freedom to live the life she wants? I'll let the legend, Loretta Lynn, explain it to you:

Agree with me (and Loretta)? Do something about it.

Have another bone to pick when it comes to women's rights and advancement (like how women perform 66% of the world's work, earn 10% of world's income and own 1% of the world's property)? Check out We Are Equals


7 Mar 2011

Lazy Man Loaded

On Friday, we had friends over for a casual dinner party. I took it upon myself to do all of the grocery shopping - a chore that naturally also involved a stop at the mothership friendly neighbourhood liquor store. Even though there would only be six of us for dinner, I thought it was imperative that I fully replenish our bar before the guests arrived. So, did I buy an entirely unnecessary and dangerous quantity of booze for the evening? Let's let the picture from the next day answer that question:

So ... you're wearing a Cosby sweater?

No, that's my bruised arm.

But why are there so many threads coming out of it?

That's hair.

Barf. This blog should be called Jon but never John.

Har, har. I'm part Spanish - hair sometimes comes with the territory. You should have seen me before my mother dragged me to a waxer when I was 11. Until that point, everyday was Frida Kahlo Day.


I know. Can I get back to the story now?

Please hurry. 

So - what you see is a badly bruised arm and wrist. Are these pictures:
  • A result of a drunken spill? 
  • What it looks like to be on the losing end of an inebriated fight?
  • A "love stamp" that comes along with being one of Charlie Sheen's goddesses?
Nope. They're bruises from the heavy bags I was using to carry all that booze (and food, but mostly booze) home.

Heaven forbid that I not buy out the store. Or only purchase what I could reasonably Sherpa and just make a second trip for the rest. But, no, I didn't do that because the first suggestion would involve mental clarity and the second would require my lifelong nemesis, effort.

Jen = Idiot.


3 Mar 2011

Diary of a Bad Wife: Mocking the Man Cold

Patrick is home, suffering from a classic Man Cold. Not familiar with that term? Hopefully this video enlightens you:

I just heard him in our bedroom whimpering, "Ughhh, Bunbun." 

(Bunbun is our nickname for each other. Humiliating Cute, right?)

So, I go in and ask him what he needs.

Patrick: "Ugh ... nothing ..."

Jen: "Well, why did you call me in?"

Patrick: "I didn't."

I now realize when he was moaning "Bunbun", it was a self-pitying reference to himself. Good grief.

Patrick: "But now that you're here ... I could use some gingerale ...."

Jen: "Gingerale is for upset stomachs. I thought you had a cold?"

Patrick: "Ugghhh ... Bunbun."

Sheesh. He's lucky he's cute.


Patrick just came by and saw the blog post.

"Why did you put a picture of me on here?!"

"I didn't. That's Nick Frost."

"Oh, oh right. Ok, then.":


1 Mar 2011

Today's Downtown Toronto Juxtaposition

I couldn't make this up if I tried ...

I was in the grocery store just a few minutes ago when a mentally disturbed man burst in and started screaming "FUCK! CUNT! FUCKING CUNT! FUCK FUCK FUCK! CUNT!"

This, while the "la la la la" chorus of this song (at about 1:12-ish) was in full swing over the store's speakers:

If I ever write a movie (hey, it's possible!), I will so find a way to include that in a scene somehow.


Sweet Jane

As you might already know, the gorgeous Jane Russell passed away yesterday at the age of 89 ... probably from boredom of watching this year's Oscars.

I know a bit about Jane Russell that goes beyond what's on Wikipedia, in part because a) what supposed 50s housewife doesn't know something about Jane Russell? b) I've liked her Gentlemen Prefer Blondes co-star, Marilyn Monroe, for some time and c) I love to gobble up useless trivia about old Hollywood that only come in handy at times like these.

Marilyn Monroe was not a woman who had a lot of girlfriends, and her female colleagues on the set were often quite cool toward her. That is, except for Jane Russell. Jane had actually met Marilyn before she hit it big - it just so happens that Marilyn's first husband, Jim, and Jane were high school classmates. It also didn't hurt that Jane Russell was pretty secure in her own right. If she was intimidated by the bombshell on the set of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (a title I'll always take issue with), she didn't let it show. Rather, she was quick to take Marilyn (who was actually very shy and nervous) under her wing during the filming - an act that would spark a meaningful friendship for both actresses.

Here's a clip of Jane from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. During this song, around 3:28, you'll see her get (violently) flung into the pool. That was actually a complete accident on the set. She took it like a champ and the director quickly reworked the scene to keep the water dunk in - not only because it looked funny, but because they didn't have the time to dry Jane off and retake it all. She apparently laughed it up:

**I should also mention that this clip captures some of the gayest shit - and I mean that in the most flattering, awesome, butt-fucking way - I have seen on film. Nearly nude training outfits? Sword-suggestive Trojan paintings? Choreographed Muscle Marys? Say it with me (with a lisp): Yeth, Thir!**

I'm not particularly into Jane Russell's political stances (e.g.: she was staunchly anti-choice, in part because she had a botched "back alley abortion" at 18 that left her infertile) and as time went by, she made more and more crotchety statements of the old lady variety, but I can respect the actress and woman she was all the same.

RIP, Jane Russell.

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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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