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"This is the most exciting day of my life...and I was pulled on stage once to dance at a Bruce Springsteen concert."
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Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Quick! What's Wrong With This Picture?

The following is the actual copy that accompanied this picture in Rowan Magazine. Look verrry closely...

The first dorms on campus, Oak and Laurel, served as offices for several years during the 80s and 90s, then closed for renovation and re-opened for housing in 1999. Their big draw: healthy living residents only no alcohol or tobacco users need apply. A waiting list each semester shows the halls popularity Posted by Hello
Monday, August 30, 2004

I Could Hardly Believe It When I Heard The News Today

Laura Branigan, pop star of the eighties, has died at age 47. Apparently she died in her sleep of a brain aneurysm. Immediately I was struck by this information. Sure it has been years since any of us have heard hits from Laura like "Gloria", "How Am I Supposed To Live Without You," "Solitaire" and "Self-Control". In fact, many teenagers today might not even know who she is. But for me, the connection was different.

I was about five or six years old when Laura Branigan first became popular. I had no choice in NOT knowing who she was though considering we shared the same last name, only a different spelling.

This however didn't stop teachers, friends and strangers from constantly asking me if I was related to her. Sometimes I got the generic, "Are you guys related?" other times I got, "Is she your sister?" and even OTHER times I got, "Is she your mom?" I guess she was closest to being my mom, unless I was a change of life baby. Still something tells me that if I was in kindergarten and my mom had a hit song on the radio, everyone would know about it, since kindergartners, share EVERYTHING...some of it even being important.

There's also the fact that she spelled it B-R-A-N-I-G-A-N. and I spell it B-R-A-N-A-G-A-N. Over the years I've come to realize though that people hardly ever spell my last name right. It sounds like there should be an "i" in there someplace, and so they put it in anyhow. I've gotten some creative spellings over the years too, like the, "and suddenly I'm Jewish", Branigman.

Innovative spellings aside, since my name kinda became synonymous with Laura's, I always thought of her has a sort of distant relative. You know, the cool one you never see or who sends you an autographed picture every once and awhile.

So for some of you, the news of Laura Branigan dying might sting a bit or cause you to take a brief pause. But for me, the hurt cuts a little deeper for the famous "mother", "sister" or even "cousin twice removed", I very nearly almost had.
Sunday, August 29, 2004

Fifty-Seven Channels and Nothin' On

Sometimes it's best to just suck it up and go to Best Buy.

A local man bought a 52-inch plasma screen television on eBay for $2,000. When his "shipment" arrived, however, it only played one movie, "I'm Gonna Git You Sucka".

See his television's picture was sweet, but that's ALL it was; a PICTURE....of a 52-inch plasma screen TV.

Apparently the guy who sold the photo is an eighteen year old kid from Georgia. He was arrested and charged with theft by deception for allegedly scamming at least three people, bringing his profit up to $6,000 for you folks playing along at home. Meanwhile his bail is set at $5,600, so he made a $400 dollar profit when all was said and done. And thank God. Now he's still got enough money leftover to buy a Tivo.

Now don't get me wrong, I feel bad for the man who was punked and all, and to get a $2,000 picture in the mail would piss me off too. BUT it also made me laugh. And you gotta admit, that kid is pretty darn resourceful.

I mean at the very least he can still watch the local news coverage of his arrest in hi def.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Top 10 Signs You're Addicted to Blogging

1. You like to update your site every two minutes in order to constantly reappear on the "recently updated" list.
2. You formally ask your friends if they'd like to make comments on a story you just person.
3. Something, anything happens and you think, "Oh! I so have to blog about THAT!"
4. Templates are like smoke alarms. One design is simply not enough.
5. You make comments on other people's blogs just so they'll visit, comment and blogroll, yours.
6. You 'Google' your blog to see if anyone has plucked you from obscurity... yet, since really, it's only a matter of time.
7. You scour the net looking for ways to "get your blog out there".
8. You wake up, pour yourself some coffee, sit down at the computer and suddenly, it's 4pm.
9. You enjoy making loose connections with random strangers.
10. You came up with a list of 10 ways you could be addicted to blogging.
Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Training Days

As a child, I always knew school was starting soon once I started to have dreams about going back. I began to wonder things like...

What will my new class be like?
Will my school be nice?
Will I make new friends?
Will I get a lot of homework?

Although my childhood is now but a "distant" memory, I realized the same apprehensions suddenly apply all over again.

Bright n' early Monday morning I began my week long teacher training. The school where I will be working is beautiful, it's the neighborhood that takes some getting used to. I guess the old adage is true. You can take the sheltered, suburban girl out of the suburbs, but not the suburbs out of the girl.

So far we learned a lot about the town, the district and the schools. All I know is so far I've seen more one-way streets and alternate side of the street parking than I ever have before.

Yesterday I got into MY classroom for the very first time. Instantly I realized space would not be an issue, but then there's the teensy, tiny matter of organization and the guy who I'm replacing.

Basically, he had none.

Things were thrown everywhere, boxes broken, books in random filing cabinets throughout the room. It is complete and utter chaos. So, I stated doing what any first year teacher who has no idea what to do but feels compelled to do something would do- I started arranging desks and handing out supplies like I had a distinct vision in mind.

Twenty-four arranged desks later it was time to tackle those pesky closets and filing cabinets. But alas, there is an unforseen bump in the road. While normally we can stay in the school till late at night, they are closing early this week to clean the floors. I'm in training this whole week, culminating with Friday's bus tour of the city, followed by a visit from the town's mayor.

Oh yeah, these guys don't mess around.

So that leaves me with three FULL days next week to give order to the disorder. To disinfect the infected. To look like I know what the hell I'm doing, basically.

Who knew I'd be in the Amazing Race of workplace readiness?

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Sad, Martyr-Like Songs Say So Much

A few months ago, I came up with a theory. The music we like, or more specifically, the songs we like, are often a very good indication of the kind of person we are attracted to.

I know what you are thinking. This is not exactly ground breaking stuff. But hear me out and then feel free to tell me I'm full of it, k?

I started looking at some of the songs that I have personally found the most romantic over the years. Songs like Wild Horses, Jealous Guy and Angel Eyes, or my most recent addition to the messed up collection, The Reason. Looking at all the lyrics, I noticed one common theme: The girl saves and/or inspires the guy in some way. And then it hit me.

I am that girl.

Or at least I've spent a good portion of my life trying to be.

As if these songs weren't proof enough, I then looked at one of my favorites of all the time, a song I always said I would love to have as my wedding song one day. I guess I should have picked up on the problem when I picked the song before I picked the guy. I've even taken the liberty of highlighting some key phrases that support this claim.

I Love You- Climax Blues Band

When I was a younger man, I hadn't a care
Foolin' around, hitting the town, growing my hair
You came along and stole my heart when you entered my life
Ooh babe you got what it takes so I made you my wife

Since then I never looked back
It's almost like living a dream
And ooh I love you

You came along from far away and found me here
I was playin' around, feeling down, hittin' the beer
You picked me up from off the floor and gave me a smile
You said you're much too young, your life ain't begun, let's walk for awhile

And as my head was spinnin' 'round
I gazed into your eyes
And thought ooh I want you

Thank you babe for being a friend
And shinin' your light in my life
'cause ooh I need you

As my head was comin' round
I gazed into your eyes
And thought ooh I want you

Thanks again for being my friend
And straightenin' out my life
'cause ooh I need you

Since then I never looked back
It's almost like livin' a dream
Ooh I got you

If ever a man had it all
It would have to be me
And ooh I love you

Suddenly my love life made perfect sense. I'm obviously attracted to "wounded birds", and the evidence is all right there in the lyrics. I don't go ga ga for normal love songs like From This Moment or Endless Love. Songs that reflect a well-balanced, well-adjusted love affair. A corny and sappy relationship, but a well-adjusted bunch all the same.

Oh no.

I gotta go for the guys who are on the brink of disaster and try to bring 'em back

...unsuccessfully I might add.

Friday, August 20, 2004

What A Difference A Day Makes

It's been a sad, sad week in Janet's world of reality television. Gone from Amazing Race 5 is the oddly lovable Charla. Of course, that means Mirna is gone too. I never had the chance to truly decide if she was evil or not. Guess I never will.

On an even sadder note, my beloved Will was voted out on Big Brother 5 by that evil, evil Adria and her, "I want to be treated like an individual but I will do everything exactly like my twin sister",Natalie. And we are to believe God spoke to these girls? Give me a break! One of these in one week was enough of a blow but two at once? My poor, poor heart, not to mention my poor, poor viewing pleasure.

On a totally unrelated note, my position at the school has been officially switched from Intervention Teacher to Third Grade Teacher so it seems I'm getting my own classroom after all.

And now the panic sets in.

Training is all next week. The week after that is in-service. The kids start on the 8th. I don't know what I have and/or what I'll need to get. I don't know when I get in the room. I don't even have a plan for the first day, let alone for the first week...which I figure would be nice right?

All I know is dollar stores can't see enough of me these days.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Amnesiac Vagabond Patrons Appear To Want Food: News At Eleven

Went out to dinner with the rents last night.

As is common practice while waiting for a table, the hostess was announcing names over the loudspeaker. They usually say your name twice, perhaps three times, before they kindly thank you for playing and move on to the next group of hungry patrons.

Hostess: Shaw, party of 3 your table is now available. (one time)

Hostess: Second call for Shaw, party of 3 your table is now available. (2nd time)

(Insert a 5 minute intermission from paging Shaw here)

Hostess: (now outside, just walking around): "Is there a Shaw, party of 3 here?"

No one responds. Immediately I'm suprised that the hostess went that extra, non-amplified voice step of actually coming OUTSIDE the establishment to page them a third time. That's quite some persistance in the hopes of serving up these folks some riblets.

But what happens next is even more perplexing.

To the left of our party was a mother and her two children. The mother leans over to her daughter and says,

Mother: Daddy wouldn't have put our reservation under Shaw, right?

Here's the thing. It wasn't like the woman paged John, Jim or even Smith. She said SHAW. And you're "not sure" if this could be you? Excuse me if I'm off base here, but you would think, *think* that if Shaw in any way was even a POSSIBILITY that could be the name he put down that you might want to go for it. You also think that, oh I don't know, YOU WOULD KNOW IF THAT NAME FIT. I mean unless of course your husband enjoys putting down names that have no bearing on the family whatsoever. To each his own I suppose.

And if that's the case then he also apparently likes playing games like "who isn't eating tonight" considering the reservation was for three people, not four.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

When There's Something Strange In the Neighborhood

Some smells are good smells. The smell of baking bread for instance. Or newly washed clothes, just taken out of the dryer. A candle being blown out is another personal favorite.

Then there are your bad smells. Bathroom odor. Body odor. Usually anything that you attach the word "odor" to actually fits nicely here.

Last night I was having this really weird dream. I mean, I actually woke up because I was smelling a skunk. Only problem is when I woke up, I realized it wasn't a dream at all.

I really WAS smelling a skunk.

Many of us have been driving along on a nice spring or summer day, windows down, radio blasting, when we come upon the smell of a skunk. Instantly we cover our noses, roll up our windows and even drive a little faster (if possible) in an attempt to get away from the skanky skunk smell.

But then there are cases like these. You can't drive away. You can't run away. In fact, you can't even find the source of the stupid smell, which makes you feel sick to your stomach in more ways than one.

So in the middle of the night, we all wake up because of this damn smell. My dad walks around the house, down in the basement etc but finds nothing. At the time he swears the smell is stronger outside. Personally I can't tell the difference. Skunk is skunk. Plain and simple.

When I go to work this morning I notice I don't smell anything as I head towards my driveway. Slowly I realize this probably isn't a neighborhood thing, but instead a Branagan household type deal. When I come home, same situation. As song as you walk in the door the smell is strong. The longer you are in the house, the easier it is to not smell it, but every once and awhile you get a whiff. And before anyone asks the answer is no. We don't have a dog.

I did a little reading on the Internet and so far, what I'm finding out is what I feared the most. Skunk smell is hard to get rid off. Half the battle is finding out where it is coming from which could be under the deck, the house or trapped in a vent somewhere. I suppose the "good" news would be if a skunk simply sprayed the area and went on his merry way. BUT if he still on the premises, or even worse, DOA, things could actually get worse before they get better.

I don't know what to do about this one...suggestions?

In the meantime I think I'll simultaneously go do some laundry, bake some bread and have a birthday party for my imaginary friend.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are

Ok, so who is the person who found me by googling the following:

"randall batinkoff gay rumors"

We SO need to talk.

The Ubiquitous Political Post

In case you haven't already noticed, I try to avoid political posts. In my opinion, that's just not the sorta stuff this blog is made of. Sure, I have my own political opinions, observations and generalities. But rarely do I adhere to anything politcal--at least not enough to hold my own in a sparring match with a self-proclaimed diehard.

Still, being from NJ, it has been almost impossible to avoid the latest bombshell that has developed over the past few days. In case you are living under a rock, or some place other than Jersey, our Governor McGreevey resigned because he is a homosexual who had an affair with another man. Not only is he a homosexual, he's a homosexual with a wife and 2 kids, and a looming court battle up ahead, thus the main reasons why he has resigned in the first place.

In NJ this story is understandably, everywhere. I can prove this by using two main reasons:

-I'm writing about it here.

-My 86-year-old grandmother, the very same woman who upon referring to the presidential race said, "the guy with the short name won", brought the McGreevey situation up on the phone the other night. Only poor grandma probably half heard a story making fun of the scandal and inadvertently referred to the man as "McQueery". No setting grandma straight. Trust me on this one. We're lucky we tore her away from Jeopardy repeats, period.

Then there's my opinion.

Do I think McGreevey is wrong for being gay?
Nope. Not at all.

Do I think he was wrong for cheating on his wife in the first place?
Probably. Assuming of course, you still believe this union was ever about love and marriage and not about appearances.

Do I think it was a little weird that his wife stood there all Stepford-like as he told the entire country?
Umm...yeah. Then again, see previous comment.

A lot of people think he was brave when he admitted the truth, but others think his bravery ended the minute he stepped down.

Of course as time goes on and the story gets more convoluted, only one thing will remain true. This matter will grow less and less to be about politcal ramifications and more and more about super curious people who live on a healthy diet of too much reality TV.

Did he sleep with the guy? Will he sleep with other guys? Who cares! Personally, once the dust has settled, I'd rather know what this means to the state of NJ.

But then again, as usual, maybe it's just me.

Friday, August 13, 2004

Sandy, You Must Start Anew

Presto! Chango! Abracadabra!

Welcome to my new template! I would have posted this sooner but to be honest, I didn't even know the changes had officially been made.

In all fairness, I can take credit for the content, but not for the actual design. That honor belongs all to this man. I wanted to give him a site credit as well, but he said there was no need. So here's a shameless plug for his "place of business" anyhow. Y'all should blogroll him, pronto.

There's still a few things I want to work on, but already I think this is much improved from my old, ho hum, please get me out of here, template.

Comments about the comments.
I need to get these things emailed to me, as they were a luxury I had grown accustomed to. Haloscan apparently makes you pay twelve dollars to make it so. I'm too lazy to keep track of them by actually logging on to my own site, so I'm gonna have to change that. I also lost all my old comments in the transfer. I guess there's always a tradeoff.

I might also play around with the font style and/or size and add a few more images. I wanted to renovate my site counter too as I have a specific plan for that, but I don't know how to change it.

If you've got an opinion or suggestion for the new site, feel free to leave a comment in the tip jar.

Other than that, most everything else has stayed the same, at least for now. You know, baby steps and all.

I hope you continue to visit the new and improved AOGB. Now serving sarcasm, sunny side up.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Out of All the Schools In All The State, You Had To Walk Into Mine


In a word, it's how I feel about taking the job with school #2.

But let me backtrack a bit...

Where we left off last, I had made a choppy phone call to the principal over at school #1 only to follow up with an email, and a deadline. I hemmed and hawed, hoping I'd hear something before 11am. I just couldn't let it drag on past then.

And I did. Hear SOMETHING that is. Two somethings actually. I got a call for another interview, although I declined considering it was only half time and really far away. The other something came from school #1 in the form of an email at exactly 11am. That something was I didn't get the job.

Instantly I didn't feel crushed or mad or defeated at all. I just sucked it up, picked up the phone and accepted the offer at school #2. (Cause honestly, I think I'd be crazy not to at this stage of the game)

The principal reminded me that everything had to go through board approval. Of course the next board meeting isn't till September, so there will have to be some creative reorganizing at the last minute as it has been in every school district I've worked in so far. New teacher training is the week after next. I don't even know about salary yet. The personnel guy probably doesn't even know about ME yet.

Of course once the dust had settled, the offer had been accepted and the realization sunk in that I would be working wonderfully early (note the sarcasm) hours until further notice, it started to hit me on a deeeper level. I will be working with one of my oldest friends.

Don't get me wrong, in some ways it is probably the best thing to be working with someone you know so well and who can show you the ropes, people and things to watch out for etc. But, there is an inevitable downside.

The first job I ever had was in high school. This same friend's mom worked at a bank and got both her daughter and myself a job there. For three summers we worked together at that bank (or was it two? whatever, that's not the point). At the time I found working with my friend a comfort but at the time... I was also a different person.

I have known my friend since I was five. For a good fifteen years of my life our names were interchangable. I was always the quiet, sarcastic smart one to my friend's outgoing, mischievous, slacker. Teachers and strangers constantly confused us, although neither one of us nor our immediate families saw why, beyond the fact that we both had blonde hair. In fact, my uncle even congratulated HER at MY confirmation.

Good times.

Here's another classic. One time in high school we went back to visit our elementary school to do a DARE presentation. Teachers were literally coming out of the woodwork, falling all over the grown up version of my friend. The very same teachers who had me in the very same classes, would then turn to me and say "And you are?"...OR "Did you go here too?" I mean I was always shy, but not transparent.

After high school we went to separate colleges and essentially, carved out separate lives. I have come out of my shell more while she has perhaps grown a little more reserved since she is married now. The roles haven't reversed, but I guess you could say they have shifted.

Still, whenever I hang out with my friend, which isn't often, I feel like that fifteen year old version of myself. The quiet, sarcastic yet smart back up singer to her outgoing, mischievous self. I think it will always be that way no matter how old we get.

But now things have come full circle. And instead of being able to look at this job as a clean slate, a fresh start, I can't help but thinking it won't be all that different from when I was in school. I'll be introduced to her friends, her enemies and once again, known as the girl who kinda sorta looks like her, and whose always by her side. Even if I don't. Even if I'm not.
Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Don't Call Us, We'll Call You.

Update on job dilemma-

Called first choice school today. I asked if the position had been filled yet. The secretary didn't ask my name, but told me she didn't think it had been. She forwarded me to the principal's voice mail.

So, I started leaving a message for the principal. I got cutoff. Twice. It was embarrassing, but obviously their system sucks. I felt I had no choice then to follow up in an email since that is how I got the interview anyhow.

I sent the email explaining how they were my first choice, but I had been offered another position yadda yadda. Basically I wanted to know if I was still in the running or not because I had this other offer on the table. I gave him till Friday because really, what else could I do?

Meanwhile school #2 I have to give an answer to TODAY. I figure the longest I can reasonably hold out with them is another hour. BUT my logic was that perhaps I could put off signing anything till Friday (if they even want me to do it that soon at all). This way if school #1 gets my email and wants me, that should get them acting fast. If not, I still have a job with school #2 lined up.

Ah. I really hate this hardball crap.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

You Can't Always Get What You Want

I think the last few hours can be best expressed by a lyric from my favorite eighties sitcom's theme song,

"You take the good, you take the bad. You take them both and then you have, the facts of life."

Yesterday I got a call for another job interview. Of course I didn't decline, although it did mean calling out of work last night on a moment's notice. (I actually HATE doing that.) As soon as I heard where the job was though, I knew I had gotten the position.


Well, for starters it isn't the most desirable district in the state. But in my flurry of email rage, I went a little crazy saying to myself "I don't care! I'll take anything."

Now I'm eating my words.

Another reason why I figured the job might be in the bag is because one of my oldest friends works in that very school, the kicker being even SHE didn't know about the vacancy. So, no my friends, having an 'in', although I had one, did not help me here.

I know what you are thinking. So why am I not jumping for joy? I mean at least one entry a week is devoted to the job I DON'T have, right?

Well, here's the breakdown:

1. I already told you about the not-so-stellar location, which I could deal with, but it also ties into the whole, "daring to dream the impossible dream" of moving out. For those of you who don't know, the cost of living in NJ is ridiculous. It actually gets worse the more north you go. Of course, this job is more north. And thus the predicament.

2. The position is not actually for a classroom teacher. I mean I'd be a classroom teacher and get paid the same amount, but I'd be something called an Intervention Teacher. Never heard of it right? That's ok cause up until yesterday, neither had I.

Basically an Intervention Teacher floats from room to room and leads mini lessons or pull out lessons with smaller groups at times. In some ways this is an ideal first year position considering you don't have all the paperwork and stress a regular ol' teacher gets. Plus, if you get a group of particularly devilish cherubs, the upside is you are only there for 45 minutes or so, unlike their classroom teacher that has the little buggers all day. The downside though is some teachers might be harder to work with than others or resentful you are in their room, period.

3. And then there are the hours. I was willing to deal with all of the above... when I heard about the hours. The position starts at 7am and ends at 2:30. Some might say this is great because then you have the rest of the day to yourself. But for those of us who think it's just plain wrong anyone gets up BEFORE the sun, it kinda sucks.

4. There is still a possibility that after signing with this district period I will get switched to being a classroom teacher. The principal told me point blank: "If I have an opening in a classroom, it's yours". Of course, there's the teensy, tiny matter of actually have the sheer luck (or even charm) so that happens in time for September.

Now are we seeing why I got offered this job, on the spot? I mean really, there is some truth in the fact that a girl likes to be chased.

I asked the principal if she would let me sleep on it and give her an answer in the morning. Surprisingly, she didn't respond with, "I wanna know right now! Will you work here? Will you work here forever? Do you need me? Will you never leave me?. In fact, she simply said,


The thorn in my side is the other job, the job I really want that I interviewed for last week hasn't called. (Isn't it always the way?) They said it would be about a week. It was a week ago yesterday. So I might call tomorrow in a last ditch attempt to see if the position is still open, letting them know that if I'm still in the running, I've got another offer so they better come a callin', and quick.

So there you have it. I open up the floor to you, my faithful readers. What would you do, if you were me?

Who am I really kidding. You know I'm gonna probably end up taking it.
Sunday, August 08, 2004

You Would Mention It Too, If It Happened To You

Tonight I agreed to go to a free concert with my mom. The guest of honor was sixties pop singer, Lesley Gore. Right about now, some of you might be thinking you have no idea who Lesley Gore is and that once again, I've thrown you into an obscurely referenced, pop culture tailspin. Au contraire! If you've ever listened to an oldies radio station in 10 minute intervals, you have certainly heard Lesley's biggest hit, "It's My Party", among others.

Now that I've refreshed your memories, (and inadvertently placed that song on repeat in your minds), I will proceed with my story.

So mom and I are on our way to the concert. We go to pull out of the driveway and around the corner when we see two cars on the outer road. The one car proceeds to make a DEAD STOP in the middle of the intersection, not a busy intersection mind you, but an intersection nevertheless. Last time I checked this wasn't a good idea. Ever.

Luckily the car behind her had sense enough to turn and the woman driver (boys, keep your stereotypical comments to yourselves!) moved her car up a little bit, all the while flagging us down. As if we were going anywhere since like I've already covered, her car was blocking the intersection.

So, the woman gets out and comes over to the car and says:

Woman: Do you know how to get to the municipal complex?
My mom: Yes. We're going see...YOU.
Woman/Lesley: Great! Can I follow you there?
My mom: Sure!

Lesley, excuse me, Ms. Gore, gets back into her car and follows us the whole two blocks to the center. Of course we knew the show was going to start a little late, you know, considering, she had gotten lost and all.
I felt like we were part of some movie where there's a random cameo of a semi-famous, former star like say, Scott Baio in Frank McClusky, C.I.. But it wasn't. It was real life. And it was in a word, surreal.

Once the laughter died down, we started to reflect on how sad it was that she was driving herself to her own concert, alone. We wondered about things like how much money she got for the gig, or where she got her driving license. Also how hard it must be to see folks get up and start packing the second you are halfway through your biggest hit. She only had one more song to follow, but even that was a gusty move when all of your other hits look like Jackie, Tito, Marlon and Jermaine to the shall we say, Michael Jackson moment of your career.

In case you were wondering, LG did give a shout out to my mom after her first song. I think most of the audience thought her story of getting lost was a feeble attempt at humor, but we knew better.

So that's my story, and I'll share it if I damn well want to.
Thursday, August 05, 2004

Hitting Random Musical Notes

Holla Ashlee Simpson!

America loves your music Ashl double 'ee', hold the 'y'. So, probably, does Germany. But considering the whole David Hasselhoff thing, that was pretty much a given.

Just a note to say we are totally, 100% behind you. At least until you run out of hair colors or your career runs out of steam...whichever comes first.


Your fairweather friends over at MTV

To Those Crazy Train Guys,

I know I'm in the minority here, but I actually think your song "Ordinary" is the best thing to come out of the whole Spiderman franchise. I hear a new Dukes of Hazzard movie is in the works. You might want to start thinking about orange trucks and angst sometime soon.

Call me. We'll do lunch.

Harvey Weinstein

What's up Lindsay Lohan?,

You don't remember me, cause we never met. But, if we did, I would tell you what I'm telling you now: having access to a microphone, a recording studio and lots of Disney dollars does not a singer make. Unless of course, you're me.



My man Usher,

Wow! Couldn't! You! Have! Thought! Of! Anything else? To! Say? Besides...YEAH! Yeah! YeAH! YEAH!!!

I mean, really. The English language is literally overflowing with words.


Overheard in an answering machine message to Rachael Yamagata.

Hey Rach. It's just me...again. I wondered if you had given any thought to us teaming up in the near future. We could like...write, or just chill and talk about how the yuppy studio execs are all about keeping us down. By the way, were you able to pass on my latest demo? Give me a call, you know...whenever. I'll be around. If not here. Page me. Anytime. Email is cool


Congrats on your big hit sweetheart! I knew all that pining in your bedroom would come to good use someday! I was standing online at the supermarket checkout the other day when I heard "Leave (Get Out)" was unoffically this summer's breakup anthem! I would ask what's next, but considering you're only 13 years old, I think we actually might BE going to Disneyland. Please don't forget to wear your sunscreen when you're on stage at Summerfest. I don't care if Avril calls you a dork. Her mother obviously doesn't care about what her skin will be like 20 years from now.

Oh, and by the way, the answer is still NO about Aaron Carter. See you soon, honey.

Hugs & Kisses,

Mom and Dad

Greetings Richard Marx,

Welcome back. 1992 was your ticket out. Welcome back, to the same old place that you laughed about. Well, the names have all changed since you hung around. But, power ballads have remained, and they've turned around. Now who'd thought writing songs for others would lead ya, back here where we need ya?

Yeah, they make fun of you a lot, but dude, look at all the money you got.

Welcome back. Welcome back. Welcome back.

John Sebastian

Dear Duff Sisters,

Listen. I won't be mad at you if you just admit what you did wrong. And stop.


That's really all I ask.

Thank you,

Janet Branagan
Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Here a Template, There a Template, Everywhere a Template, Template

The purpose of this post is simple. I am sick of staring at my blog. It is time for a change. And as Peter Brady once wisely said, when it's time to change, it's time to rearrange.

So I call upon my fellow bloggers, readers, countrymen alike. I need to at least find a temporary solution to my dilemma. I started looking into pre made templates found on places such as Blog Skins, but I have found this to be quite problematic. Lucky for me there are LOTS of templates to choose from. Unfortunately, most of those templates suck. Searching for a useful template has become as fruitless as searching for meaning in Britney Spears' lyrics. Also, searching there can take hours of which I don't, Ok, I MIGHT have the time, but I still don't want to, k?

I did find a few templates I was interested in using, but I found customizing them to be, in a word, a bitch. I even contacted the creator of one template I was interested in for tweaking advice and found her rates to be out of my nonexistent price range.

So there you have it. I have already put out a few pleas for template design help, but for the most part that has gotten me nowhere. Now I'm thinking if I take it down a notch and ask to simply pointed in the right direction (as in where have all the cool templates gone and how does someone like me work with them?) I would be much obliged.

Six Degrees of Bloggers

The power of the written word is really, quite a powerful tool. Take us bloggers for instance. If you've ever taken the time to Google yourself and/or your blog you might be surprised by what you'd find. I know I was.
In a recent Google outing, I discovered that besides the semi-strangers that read and post to my blog, that there are also TOTAL strangers doing this as well (only minus the whole posting thing, obviously). I have found these voyeurs, for lack of a better term, either by accident or by being, well...nosy.

There are even a few folks I found that had added me to their links unbeknownst to me. But just like the quiet kid who is crushing on you in the back of class, I might never have known of their existence otherwise.

The site meter has also served as quite an informative tool. I believe The Police said it best when they sang, "Every breath you take, every move you make, I'll be watching you." BTW, somehow this song was hailed as some big romantic gesture, wrapped up in swoonworthy Sting's vocal prowess, when in actuality it is really a creepy ode about some guy who makes Colin Farrell's obsession with himself look healthy.

But now, I've gone off on a few unrelated tangents.

For those of you who have a lovely site meter, the other thing to take note of is the interesting ways in which readers stumble upon your blog. Let's take my recent favorite for instance. Someone googled: "i love the 90's" "fat girl" on beach" A few others found me via: googling comedianne Gillian Vigman. I can just imagine the disappointment on these readers faces as I highly doubt my site filled their Gillian Vigman... OR even their fat girl on beach fix, for that matter.

Sometimes the path to one's blog is not as clear, but with a few simple clicks of the mouse, you can see how they know so and so... and so on. This is when you get the "a ha!" moment you were looking for. For a second you thought you were special, but you quickly come to realize you were merely a few clicks away from some dude who was probably bored one Sunday night. That or they were searching for Planet Janet or Janet Planet, sites which, are in no ways affiliated with mine. (Note to self: must change blog name as there is STILL too much confusion).

In short, I think I finally have gotten a tiny glimpse into what it must feel like to be Kevin Bacon. Of course there won't be whole games devoted to my blog anytime soon and I won't be winning awards or getting paid lots of money, but you know, there are some similarities. I mean at the very least we are both people with these lurking, seemingly unrelated connections... who have also been known to have a hell of a time as a result of Footloose.

Monday, August 02, 2004

Indian Dudes Tear Up The Movies

So, I saw M. Night Shyamalan's The Village this weekend. I went on opening night...I was THAT excited. Despite some wary critics, I have loved M. Night's three previous films and his Hitchcockian approach to filmmaking. I haven't been this into one writer/director since John Hughes won my accolades with his slew of teenage anthem films. Of course, Hughes then subsequently broke my heart when he sold out and started making family fun fare, but to all good things there must be an end, right?

Well, in the case of M. Night, (I'm omitting his last name on purpose folks, as I'm lazy and hate having to cut and paste it every 2 seconds considering it's too damn hard to spell) I am currently fighting the notion that this is indeed true. You might have heard this already, but The Village, in a not so grown up but completely apropos word, sucked. There were a few main reasons I hated this film.

1. Inaudible phrasing- perhaps it was just the theater I was in but most of the time I found myself hearing random cell phones ringing rather than the actual dialogue.

2. Bryce Dallas Howard- Hollywood's newest, and by NO means nepotistically chosen ingenue. It's not so much her fault necessarily. See the chick is supposed to be blind (ha ha, see) but she can "see" people based on their "color" or aura. This bit about the aura I will buy, but what I didn't buy was her BLATANTLY LOOKING AT actors in the movie. Aura watching or not, I've seen blind folks portrayed on film before and for some reason, this came off like a sham to me.

3. William Hurt- EW said it best when they referenced William Hurt's...own...brand...of unusual...phrasing...and timing...when....he speaks. This is by no means unique to The Village, but it still bothered me here more than usual.

4. THE Twist- Anyone who knows M. Night's history knows his trademark is the twists he includes in his movies. I won't discuss the twist here. The reasons for this are simple. For one thing, you might have not seen the movie. For another, you might have seen an incredibly lame twist that merely made you want to throw things at the screen and/or demand your $9.00 or so, back.

But for every brooding, slightly Blair Witchian mystery, there is a Dude Where's My Car?, high on "life" counterpart. The movie I am talking about here is Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle. First of all let me make it clear that I haven't seen this movie, so I cannot truly say whether it is worthy of a jeer or a cheer, but I can say I WANT to see this movie if only for the Neil Patrick Harris cameo I saw in the trailers.

Also, it should be said that I went to middle school with the now up and coming actor, Kal Penn. Known as Kalpen Modi, I didn't really know him, but a friend of mine pointed him out to me a few weeks ago. As a special treat, here is his 8th grade class picture, a bad scan job I might add, done personally by yours truly.

sorry Kal, but we've all been there Posted by Hello

Perhaps the then quiet Kal had the last laugh as he eeriely signed my friend's yearbook by saying something to the effect of "save this signature since I'm gonna be famous one day."

I can see it now. "Kal Penn. I'm gonna live forever. Baby, remember my name."



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