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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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Monday, June 26, 2006

Everybody Needs A Little Time Away

Today is officially the last day of school which of course means more time and thus, more end of the year stories coming soon!

But not only does today start my summer vacation, it also begins my actual vacation. As of tonight, I will be on a plane, headed to Florida.

I will be there for one week, relaxing in the sun, or what there is of it (forecast is not good).

Of course, what truly addicted blogging girl can leave for a week without her laptop? So the plan is I will bring her (and all of you) along for the ride. I can't make any promises I'll be reading all of your blogs a lot, or even getting the time to faithfully update this one, but for some strange reason, I am definitely going to try. I may even post a repeat or two. That's what summers are all about anyway, right?

Oh, and here is tomorrow's Tell It To Me Tuesday to keep you guys busy for awhile...what is your favorite summertime memory?

So in the off chance you don't hear from me in the next week, hold off on sending out the search parties just yet, k?

Blog to you soon!
Sunday, June 25, 2006

Write Back Weekend "Coming Around Again"

On Tuesday I asked you the question:

What would you like to be reincarnated as and why?

Since this is a post all about getting a chance to redo things, I figured I might as well take this opportunity to repost the interesting answers I received:

MCF said (and Kestrel agreed): "If it were possible, I'd come back as myself, but only if I could retain all knowledge from my first time around."

Nat chimed in: "I don't buy that reincarnation mumbo-jumbo, but if I did, I'd like to come back as a drop-dead gorgeous, rich, kindly Hawaiian woman and live in paradise."

Dan replied: "I'd come back as a boardgame. If only so that the little pieces of me hurt when you stepped on me."

Dawn gave us: "My cats. They're spoiled little babies. But seriously? hmmm, how about Vanessa Paradis - I mean she's married to JOHNNY DEPP!"

Whimsy Chick shared: "Assuming my campaign to become the next God(dess) doesn't go as planned, I'd like to come back as God(dess). Why? Because I think I could do a much better job than the current god(s).I guess my second choice would be to come back as a dolphin."

Sayre exclaimed: "A four-legged animal that RUNS! I've always wanted to know what that feels like. My cats make it look so effortless! Then I'd like to be a large bird and soar high above the earth, riding thermals. No man-made contraption gets the feel of that just right...And if none of those were available - I'd like to be Santa."

Celise told us: "I'd like to come back as me, but financially richer.To the point where I never, ever, ever, have to work another day in my life. I could write and travel to my heart's content."

Sara replied: "I think a turtle. Cause I saw one on the way to work today. And I'm pretty convinced it was a sign!"

Catmentioned: "Why the fuck would I want to come back to this hell hole? I'm praying this is my last trip!"

Ms. Cornelius teased: "Well, I'm going up, up up, baby, beacuse I've been assured I have an old soul, which means I am a slow learner, but I'm gonna get to make it official and be at least a demigoddess. Otherwise, I wanna be Professor McGonagall."

Becky wondered: "I have to admit that I'm curious to see what it's like on the male side of the species."

Tim stated: "If I can choose what I am reincarnated as, I think I'll choose a wildflower."

and finally Matt wished to: "Another human being. Male. Good looking. with good genes."

Now on to what I'd like to come back as. Before I read all of your responses, I had a few things in mind:

First I thought I'd like to return as an animal, preferably a dog, cat, talking bird, monkey or chimp. I chose these animals because sometimes I swear they have a sixth sense. In fact, you've ever been around any animal for that matter that seems to act like a human, you know what I'm talking about.

One time, on Animal Planet, I watched this great show about therapy llamas. They talked about this one llama that lived with them that they let wander the house from time to time. Almost everytime he'd come in the house, he'd gravitate towards the mirror. Oh sure, he'd walk back and forth as if he was trying to make it look he wasn't looking at himself, just like a human would do, but he was. Finally he just stopped and stared. I wondered what was going on in his brain as I do when I watch most animals. I wonder what makes them tick and if they were ever ticking before.

Then I thought if I could choose anything else to return as I think I'd choose to be a member of the opposite sex. This is because men and women always say they wish the other sex knew what it was like for them. And the truth of the matter is, Tootsie just doesn't cut it. I can't state objectively who has it rougher because I've only ever been a woman. Or have I? Which brings us to the other problem with reincarnation. Just because it happens again, doesn't mean we know it's happened to us before. Damn you, deja vu!

Finally I agreed with MCF's idea of returning as yourself. As we are told over and over, we are doomed to repeat our mistakes until we learn from them. They say it about history, why can't the same adage apply to humans? Maybe we do come back as ourselves over and over, only the 2.0 version of ourselves is equipped with the equivalent of a patch that fixes the quirks in the original version. But no version is perfect just yet so you keep returning until you get it right. Maybe you're always you, or maybe you're in someone else's body but your soul is you. It's all kind've exciting when you think about it.

In fact, remind me to read this post again, in my next life.
Friday, June 23, 2006

I Wanna Rock?

For as long as I can remember I have loved all kinds of music. Lately though, one type has started to irk me. It's a genre called Christian rock.

Christian rock.

Is it just me, or is that a bit of an oxymoron?

Let's break it down a bit. Rock music is usually categorized by something that moves you to move your head. A lot of people would also argue that rock music began as an avenue to get out frustrations. This is why rock has always been deemed so controversial, because it's a response to all that is unjust in the world. Today's music might not have the got the same soul, but it still makes the neighbors go nuts.

Then we have the "Christian" part of the equation. Christianity is often associated with purity, salvation and sacrifice. Unless your Ozzy Osbourne sacrificing a rabbit up on stage, rarely do the two worlds have a reason to meet. In fact, perhaps the only thing they have in common is that they are both vested in making music predicated on making a statement. Of course their messages are as opposite as declarative and exclamatory statements at a cocktail party full of diagrammed sentences.

But even more frustrating then the marrying of these two genres, is the Tom Foolery it presents. This is because on more than one occasion, I have been listening to a song, getting all into it, when I realize it is indeed a Christian rock tune.

Now rarely do these songs cross over to the mainstream, but it does happen from time to time. Some might even argue Creed, a very popular, mainstream alt rock band was the epitome of Christian rock. Then again, their lead singer did indeed, believe he WAS Jesus so Eddie Money can keep his walk on water, thank you very much.

At first when I hear Christian rock I think it is a torch song for the guy/girl they want to be with. But then when I realize the guy or girl they want to be with is Jesus, the man they believe who died for their sins, and just like that- the romantic vibe is totally shot. No offense to Jesus and all. I just can't swoon over the concept of someone being nailed to a cross. Forgive me father, for I have sinned.

There are bands, however, that have managed to have cross over hit regardless of their intention. Jars of Clay, for instance, is an excellent band that has had mainstream success, all the while really belonging to the Christian rock crowd. Then suddenly, one day, mainstream rock called out "Red Rover, Red Rover...We call Christian rock over!"

The first Jars of Clay song I remember really liking was a song called Flood. Unfortunately, even with a title like Flood, and choice lyrics like "But if I cant swim after forty days, and my mind is crushed by the thrashing waves, lift me up so high that I cannot fall...lift me up." I was still a little slow on the uptake.

Then came Love Song For A Savior. I know, I know the title should have spoken volumes, but still I didn't want to believe the truth. Not even after one of my first dates in college with this guy was when he took me to the local, non denominational religious center near campus and this song was playing. At this rate, God is going to have to hit me over the head with that white light.

I wonder sometimes if bands like Jars of Clay are as conflicted about playing Christian rock to stage diving, mainstream audiences as us mainstream audiences are about digging them. Admitting to liking Christian rock is just about as cool as outting your obsession with Barry Manilow. It might not be outwardly acceptable, but it's done all the time.

Even my favorite contestant on this year's American Idol, Chris Daughtry, seems to have been in a Christian rock band before whoring himself out in lame Ford commercials for AI. Don't get me wrong, I love Chris and all, but having any sort of religious affiliation on American Idol is about as accepted as outing yourself when you're in the military.

But one good thing has come out of this unlikely pairing. Finally, we have the answer to the all important king of vague questions, What would Jesus do?

Apparently, he would rock.
Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Open The Door and Let 'Em In

My renter this week is the super, Adventures In Everyday Life. Ok, so I don't really know if she is super, but her template was. And really, who can resist a real life, Wonder Woman?

Early in their developmental milestones, children often have a fascination with keys.

Perhaps they enjoy the jingle jangle sound they make. Or maybe it's the fact that they are shiny and bright. Or maybe, just maybe, it's because they are the right amount of chunky to fit perfectly into a curious toddler's mouth.

As we get older though, keys continue take on a different importance. As a teenager we might need a key or combination to get into our locker in high school. Another rite of passage is when we get the all important driving license. In both instances, keys symbolize freedom- something kids this age crave so badly.

But no matter what our age, keys are something we guard. For instance, we don't give just anyone the key to our homes. I mean, maybe you do. But I certainly don't. We also don't give just anyone a key to our hearts. Of course there is no literal key to someone's heart, but the metaphor, I believe, speaks for itself.

So why, I ask, are keys "to the city" given out as freely as one night stands with Paris Hilton?!

No matter what "reality" show I watch lately, some sort've celebrity somewhere is mentioning being honored with the key to the city. It happens every year with the final three on American Idol who also, by the way, get a day in their city in honor of them. Meanwhile there are past presidents and inventors who never rated getting put on any sort of currency.

Then the other day on Kathy Griffin's show she was in Louisville, Kentucky where, you guessed it, SHE got the key to the city. A whole 10 people showed up. But that's not really the point. At least with the American Idol crew they are getting honored by their own hometowns. But Kathy Griffin?! She is about as much a Kentucky girl as Angelina Jolie is sane.

I want to know, whatever happened to good things come in small packages? Gone are the days where a nice gift bag or certificate were enough. Now keys to the city are downright passe.

Not to mention (although I know, I'm mentioning anyway) there's the problem of what a key to the city really means. If what Frank Sinatra once said is true, New York City never sleeps. So you can LoJack that place all you want. A key might say hi honey I'm home, but in New York, plenty of people have broken in gotten there before you.

Plus how many keys are there out there, ripe for the taking? If Kathy Griffin got one in Louisville, does that mean she holds the master and if so, can she make copies? Can she give a copy of the key now to other comics like Ellen DeGeneres, and God help us, Jon Lovitz?! Where is the glorified mat to put these things under when you need one! Not just anyone should be able to come in and make a mess of the carpet!

I guess these people receiving these keys should be honored, but I'm still skeptical. Personally I'd rather have free drinks every time I went to visit or a free sandwich after ten purchased sandwiches. At least with this gift the city is guaranteeing my return. And suddenly, both parties are happy.

But if all else fails give someone the key to something... nothing else says we appreciate you with the same amount of ambivalence or impracticality.
Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Tell It To Me Tuesday "Deja You"

For awhile there it looked like the comments on Last Stop, Twenty-Nine were actually going to 29. Talk about irony. Now they are holding fast at 30. At least I have one more for good luck.

Today's question comes courtesy of a comment Sayre left a few weeks ago on a past TITMT.

What would you like to be reincarnated as and why?
Sunday, June 18, 2006

Write Back Weekend "Games People Play"

First off, a happy Father's Day to all you father's out there. It's a day I've shared with fathers everywhere for sometime now, so in a way, it's the gift that keeps on giving!

On Tuesday I asked you about your favorite childhood games. Now it's time to read about some of my own...

For me, childhood games often relied heavily on my own creativity. This was because I am an only child and there often weren't other people around to play games with. A lot of times I would simply take games I played with my friends and adapt them to be one player games. If you think it sounds sad in theory, you would be right.

For example, with my friends I loved to play Barbies. We would put all the clothes and dolls in a pile and throw them up to see who got what. As two of my closest friends at the time have since confirmed, they often cheated during this "game", hiding clothes under their legs or peeking to get the best doll. I was an only child so I played fair and square. I did not need this survival tactic from day to day.

When I was by myself though there was no need to argue over the best dolls or clothes because they were all mine. You would think this would somehow make it better, but often it just managed to make it more boring. On some level I think I craved quasi sibling rivalry fights considering it was a novelty to people like me.

Together, my friends and I also liked to play things like restaurant, store and doctor's. These games were extra hard to play by myself without any customers, patrons or patients. This was often when a parent of mine would step in and save the day by ordering something, buying something or "falling ill". It was a nice gesture, but it almost never was the same.

Then there were the creative games only our warped little minds could make up. Mostly these included the theatrical side of ourselves. We played "Kids Incorporated" or "Rags to Riches" where we put all the names of the characters in a hat. Whatever name you pulled was the person whose role you would reenact. No one ever wanted to be Gloria on Kids Incorporated, so we all complained considerably when this happened. In retrospect, it made the game all the more fun.

We also liked to play another game we called "soap opera". It was simple really. Being the soap opera fanatics that we were, we would create a character and act out a dialogue. For some reason I loved to play this game, but my friends never liked it quite as much. I guess I was a drama queen, but only in the most literal sense of the word. Our acting skills also took center stage when we did the radio game. This game was two tiered fun. On one level, we would simply dance to whatever song came on the radio. If it was a great song, you danced your little heart out in a "good" dance. But if it was a bad song, you made fun of it with gusto, not unlike the Gloria performances I mentioned earlier.

On another level we played the radio game in the car. It was like Choose Your Own Adventure books, only with music. Whatever song came on next dicated things that we would do or things that would happen to us or our favorite characters on tv shows cause yes, we were dorks that way.

Then we had the classic pasttimes actual board, card and video games. I used to say only board minds played board games. Still, on a rainy day or with a rowdy group of people, some of these games were lots of fun. Some of our favorites included Sorry, Clue, Aggravation, Spit and even Girl Talk. With video games, I really, truly didn't need anyone else to be entertained. This is why I wasted hours away playing games like Frogger, Ms. Pacman, Super Mario Brothers and The Goonies II. Graphics were much more simplistic back then, but then again, so were the times, so we didn't mind.

Finally we've reached the last milestone phase of my gaming life, outdoor games. These were games that not only required additional people, they usually required lots of them. These games were preferably played outside, later at night, in the summer. They also often involved multiple locations. I'm talking about games like Manhunt, Red Light, Green Light and Red Rover. I saved these games to last because not only has their time passed in my life, their time seems to have passed- period. You hardly ever see kids playing outside nowadays and when they do, they are usually highly structed play dates revolving around specific activites, dates and times. Jump roping and hopscotching has been replaced with text messaging and downloading. Block parties have become extinct. As Madonna one said, this used to be my playground.

Every once and awhile a friend of mine will suggest having a game night and usually I'm all for it. Sure some of the games have changed and alcohol has been added, but the premise remains the same.

Be it nostalgia or the inner child in me still trying to achieve that group game quota, I definitely enjoy playing well with others.
Friday, June 16, 2006

Last Stop, Twenty-Nine

Note: I did not forget about Write Back Weekend. My answer will be posted late tonight or early tomorrow!

As many of you already know, I turn 29 in two days.

If you asked my dad how old he was when I was a little kid he'd always say, twenty-nine. In his mind, as well as the mind of many others, twenty-nine is the last of the great ages. You're still young, but you're also old enough to have a little wisdom under your belt. Also, your body usually hasn't the inevitable meeting with gravity yet. As Eddie Money would say, baby hold on to me.

Of course as we all have been told, 50 is the new 40 and 40 is the new 30 which makes 30 the new 20. The only people who say this though are those who are in the 30, 40 and 50 age groups. Anyone under twenty-five isn't buying it cause they think y'all are simply varying degrees of crotchety.

When I was a kid I too felt victim to this stereotype. I didn't think 30 was old, but I did think of it is an age that lived in a galaxy far, far away. I had friends whose moms were thirty after all and of course, if you were somebody's mom you HAD to be old!

When I reached twenty, I got to finally say I was twenty-something. Let's face it, twenty-something has such a nice ring to it. You can be twenty-something and be 20, or you could be twenty-something and be 29. That was your little secret. For just a little while longer though you are able to hang on to that younger demographic for dear life. My boyfriend's sister fully embraced this theory by asking for a "surprise" twenty-ninth birthday party in lieu of the big 3-0 party next year. After all, which one is really someone in the moment would want to celebrate? The last of the great ages or the "beginning of the end"?

I've never been one to fear growing old. But then again, I never really had anything to fear before because I'm NOT old. But then I sit down and think about how I'm knocking on the door of thirty and I realize I'm not ready to go in yet. Thirty still seems like its an age to describe someone else, not me. The good news being if you saw me, you wouldn't think I was twenty-nine. My students still insist I'm a high school student. If 90210 were still on the air, I'd blow Gabrielle Cateris out of the water. This is precisely why I don't mind revealing my age, because I don't look it.

But in little ways, I have been starting to panic. Sometimes I hear a song on the radio and think "what are kids listening to these days?!", or one of my students might tell me about the latest game everyone is playing and I have no idea what they are talking about. This freaks me out a bit. Age might be just a number, but out of touch is just plain unacceptable.

But then again, having some experience to draw from but potentially a lot of time left to put it use is exciting. Life doesn't end at thirty. If anything, I'd like to be 55 and over. They are the ones who get the kick ass resort type houses these days and don't need to work anymore.

Incidentally my dad has finally given up the firm grasp on twenty-nine. Now he settles for thirty-nine. Everyone has to renegociate at sometime.

Yet, for once in my life I understand what my dad was talking about. Twenty-nine isn't so bad, but I still know when to hold 'em.
Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The Final Countdown

June is a peculiar month for a teacher.

Technically, most of us are still in school for a varying amount of days, but as we all know, you can physically be someplace while your mind is some place else.

This adage describes my students perfectly.

As any teacher will tell you, there is a bit of a bell curve approach to breaking down the school year. The first few months are what I like to call the "getting to know you months". In September and October you are establishing routines, procedures and expectations. Some teachers will also tell you they subscribe to the "don't smile till Christmas" ways of thinking. This is because you want the students to respect you from early on and establishing strict rules is necessary for such respect.

These months overlap with what I call the "lesson plans guided by holidays" months. October revolves around Halloween, November around Thanksgiving, December around Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, and New Years. These months fly by because nearly everything the children do revolve around the holiday. Math Multiplication Christmas trees, Social Studies The First Thanksgiving lessons, Halloween spooky stories. You get the picture.

Then we enter phase three of the school year, "Test Prepping Till We Drop aka How Many More Days Till Spring Vacation?". These are the dry months of the year. January, February and March. The weather is cold and there are no significant breaks coming up. The only good thing about this time of year is that in the bell curve of learning I mentioned earlier, your students are usually at their academic peak. This is because the routines have been established and spring fever is too far away to set in. If you ever want to see the best your students can be, wait till a day in mid February to see for sure.

Finally, there is the last phase to the 10 month school year. Depending on where you go to school, this phase includes April, May and June. This portion of the year is the "Why Do I Bother?" months. This time of the year begins whenever your students return from spring break and the curve drops considerably. The weather gets warmer. The children get antsier. The next grade is just around the corner.

In my school, this portion of the year is currently in full effect.

I have to say that with this particular bunch of students there was never really a mid February high point. Their behavior got a little better. They tried a little harder academically, but for the most part, it was a pretty even keel, low average "eh" year.

So what happens when you take the kids who haven't been giving a lot all year into a month like June? Well things go from bad to worse. Adding insult to injury, our school ends later than most. Our last day of school is June 26th.

This is why teaching these past few weeks has no longer been teaching. Instead, it's more like crowd control at a Marilyn Manson concert.

There is literally nothing to hang over these kids heads in June. Retentions are a done deal. Suspension is a welcomed joke. When you've got under 20 days left in doing anything, anyone is bound to sing take this job and shove it. I know my students would.

The other thing that is funny is that although we are at an institution of learning, nearly everything that is going on works against this, thus the "why bother?" I mentioned earlier. Last week alone half my students were in and out of the room for practices for various assemblies going on. Then we had the 2nd grade show, a school wide talent show and a walking trip. This week we have the 1st grade show and a Flag Day assembly. Next week we have school awards and a Drama show. You try giving a test after a two hour salsa fest. It's like trying to walk against the tide in a whirlpool.

So over the next week and a half if you've got a spare moment, think of me down in the elementary school trenches, averting stage dives and dirty looks. July and August aren't the times to relax, they are the times to reboot and rejoice.
Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Tell It To Me Tuesday "Do Not Pass Go. Do Not Collect 200 Dollars."

My new renter this week is Useless Advice From Useless Men. Some might argue that "useless men" is a bit of a redundancy, but I'l let you be the judge of that. I would elaborate more, but I'm afraid I'm fighting off an assumable bout of food poisoning, so the sarcasm is on a low simmer today.

Now on to the main event...

Further proof that they will air anything on television these days, A&E, a network normally full of hard hitting programming such as Intervention and Biography, showed a Rock, Papers, Scissors Championship last night.

(Boy, is that a run on sentence if I ever heard one!)

Yes, you read that correctly. A Rock, Paper Scissors Tournament where the winner gets $50,000. Now if only they had one of those fortune cookie paper offs, I'd be set.

Anyway, all of this got me to thinking about the games I liked as a child and so I'm asking you that very question...

What were some of your favorite childhood games and why?

Just as with any game let me make sure you understand the rules.

1. It can be a game you made up.
2. It can be a game you play by yourself (be nice).
3. It can also be a game that everyone knows.
4. It can be a game you play with others.

Have fun and let the games begin!
Sunday, June 11, 2006

Write Back Weekend "The Little Janet That Could"

My question this week came to you courtesy of the creative, Muttering Muse. The question was:

What would you attempt to do if you knew you couldn't fail?

As always, I was intrigued by the varying degrees of interpretations. Some of you took this question and looked at it from a truly altruistic perspective. You'd give back. You'd save the world. You'd give peace a chance.

Others of you saw the question and emphasized the YOU, instead choosing to focus on things you would do for yourself. You'd ask out any girl you could. You'd become invisible. You'd become invisible and say the heck with asking the girl out, I can do to her whatever I want anyway. You get the idea.

In all fairness, no matter which path you chose, you are both right. After all, I didn't really make it clear whether or not I wanted to hear things you would do for yourself or things you would do for others. I suppose you could say which path you chose says a lot about the kind of person you are, but that might be reading too much into it.

As for my interpretation of the question, I didn't think about it in terms of what you would do for others. I don't know what this says about me. No, instead what I what I saw it as was an opportunity to fulfill personal dreams that I might not attempt to otherwise. Altruism is admirable, but I'd be lying if I said that's where my head was at when I read it.

So now that we all know which interpretation I went with, I'm sure you'd like to know what it is I'd like to do. The first thing that came to my mind was that I'd like to be a successful writer/comedianne.

As corny as it sounds, for most of my life, I have inexplicably felt that I should be entertaining people on some level. Even writing this here feels a little weird, as if I shouldn't be admitting this in public. In a weird way, I have achieved that goal by writing for all 20 or so of you, day after day. When I was little, I thought I wanted to be a soap opera actress. I loved dancing and performing in front of others, but shyness stemming from a little something called puberty stunted my growth in this area of my life.

But the weird thing is this-- while I've never been the type of person to seek out the limelight, I think I can hold my own when I'm in it. I'll never forget making a video for a project my freshman year of high school English. My teacher commended me for really coming across as a true news reporter. In fact, most of my chance to show what I enjoyed doing came out in English class via papers I wrote and presentations I gave. The students in my classes didn't expect me to be witty and entertaining, because I was one of those "blend into the woodwork" type girls that roam around every school across the nation. Maybe you were even one of those yourself. Back then that made me potentially special, but now I'm just another girl with a dream.

In college, this streak continued. The few people who knew me always told me I was "hysterical", but I never felt the need to be the life of the party. Maybe that's because I never knew if it was true or not. Even now, people who just meet me in person are surprised to see that I am so wacky considering I initially come across as very serious. I guess this is because I also have to feel comfortable to show this side of myself. The notepad in my mind is always making mental notes for new "material" but I don't always have an audience for such thoughts.

While writing, humor and being surprisingly comfortable in front of a group of people have all been positive traits of mine, I never really thought about putting them all together until the last five years or so. One reason is when I watch comedy on television. This is when I think that there are very few successfully funny female comediannes out there. I also feel that I have a knack for going on and on about things most people normally have nothing to say about. If you don't believe me, just check out how long posts on random topics like spice and screen print tee shirts have been on this blog.

Unintentionally, a lot of the posts on this blog could be used as stand up material. Not that I have any idea what I am talking about considering I've never done stand up before. I mean I stood up before and I might have even been stood up before, but I've never done stand up before.

Then again, my current profession might be proof otherwise. As a teacher, I have to stand up and present things in an interesting and refreshing manner each day. Some days lessons bomb, other days they are "crowd pleasers". I imagine this is a lot like what it would feel like to actual be a writer/commedianne.

Unfortunately, there's one big thing I'm lacking, NERVE. In theory, I think I'd succeed at these things, but it's the unknown and the possibility of major failure that prevents me from even trying. It's also the idea that when you're in the public eye, you are also opening yourself up to public scrutiny. I don't need someone out there making fun of my physical flaws or hate mail telling me how NOT funny I am. Why risk that having that done to me when I can do that to others via this blog?

But seriously- There's something to be said for my good friend, anonymity. With this blog I can get my "material" out there, but still hide behind the screen if there are any virtual tomatoes being thrown at me. In a crowded club, there's no denying chants of "you suck!" while in blogland, you have time to compose yourself and think of a witty comeback in a day or two.

Perhaps one day, if it's meant to be, I will come out of the shadows and blossom into whatever it is I am supposed to be. Best Week Ever, you know where to find me. Until then, this little train will just keep chugging along.
Friday, June 09, 2006

The Gong Gone Show

Now that it's June, the axe has fallen yet again on many great and underrated tv shows. I notice that is around this time that people will also reflect on all the great television shows that never quite made it past a season or two. These are the shows that are gone, but not forgotten.

But what about all the great shows that never quite make it, period? These are the shows that are gone, but not remembered, and with good reason.

That's why I say bravo to the Bravo network for trying to damn the man. A few weeks ago, Bravo decided to unearth an idea to air great shows that never got a chance to air. In most cases, these shows got the green light to film a pilot and maybe even a few episodes, but after that most sit on a shelf somewhere collecting dust, never to be heard from again. Of course there is one exception--someone becomes famous from said show and it's rereleased on a Blockbuster DVD compilation for all the new fans of the flavor of the month. But I digress.

The biggest misconception is that shows that never make it to a network are crap. Sometimes this is true. But then again some make it to the network and they are still crap. You know the shows I'm talking about. Every year, inevitably a few premieres leave you scratching your head, wondering how this program above all other piloted programs, somehow received a stamp of approval. Once again nepotism rears its ugly head.

One of the shows Bravo decided to air was a little ditty from 2003 called The Jake Effect. While this show had the makings of a hit, it also had one big strike against had a shitty name. The Jake Effect just does not scream "Watch me!" Instead it quietly whimpers, "I'm having an identity crisis, watch me out of pity!"

The only good I learned about shows like The Jake Effect is that if you want your show to succeed, do not, under any circumstances, put Jake in the title. If you don't believe me just ask my witnesses to the crime: Jake 2.0 and Jake in Progress. Jake and the Fatman unfortunately, was unavailable for comment.

Anyway, The Jake Effect was the story of a disgruntled lawyer named, you guessed, it Jake. He was played brilliantly by comedical gifted actor, Jason Bateman. Ironically when I was a child, I mysteriously hated Bateman for all the same reasons I love him now. Back then I found him to be annoying and self absorbed. Now, some 15 years later, I find it to be irresistable and inviting. It's a hate/love relationship I've now come to terms with.

So Jake is this lawyer who is feeling burnt out and disconnected from any good in the world. This is why he decides to throw the book at his law career and instead, hit the books as a teacher. His best friend roommate and fellow lawyer, Nick Case (Felicity's Greg Gunberg) narrates the show and watches as Jake succeeds (and fails) from the sidelines. A name like Nick Case and he's a laywer? Strike number two.

But what comedy would be complete without a little romantic chemisty? Enter the goofy yet sexy Nikki Cox as Liza, Jake's new crush at the high school where he now works. Of course they are stuck in the "friend zone" but you know that they are meant to be more in 15.5 episodes or so, had those episodes ever been made that is.

The bad thing about watching shows like this, whether they get to air or not, is because of the "can't keep the puppy" syndrome. Puppies are cute, but everyone knows they become even harder to resist once you've had them living in your home for awhile. You might not want to love the puppy, but you know you end up loving him anyway.

But then your mom abruptly decides you can't keep the puppy for reasons that all seem like hogwash to you. Suddenly, all of your dreams of endless days playing catch and taking long walks have been snatched out from underneath you.

Let's just say I never my mom never let me even have that puppy come to visit, but I have a feeling I have an inkling what that feels like after watching way too many good shows go down the drain. They made me love them. I didn't want to do it. I didn't want to do it.

So the good news was that for all of us tv watchers who think the Neilsen ratings ain't nothing but a bunch of numbers, this concept of airing the "unairable" like the rest of the episodes of Love Monkey or all of the episodes made of The Jake Effect is great. But then reality sets in and you realize, I got to see the whole show, but I'll never get to see it again. This is when you wonder if you were better off not knowing the puppy ever existed at all.

If you're anything like me and still have a morbid fascination to undo the past, check out Bravo's Brilliant But Cancelled website. You'll laugh. You'll cry. You'll rue the day some tv ex took these shows away.

Just like in life, maybe tv shows get cancelled for a reason. After all, if The Jake Effect had aired and stumbled its way through a season or two, Jason Bateman might never have joined the cast of Arrested Development, a part he was truly born to play. Sure, The Jake Effect seemed like it could have grown into a great show, but Arrested Development is a GREAT show.

I mean was. Was a great show, cause it was cancelled, too.

Huh. That cancels out that theory.
Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Doing Time At The DMV

In less than two weeks, it will be my birthday.

Besides being another year older, it is also my turn to apparently, reverify I am who I say I am.

I'm talking about the renewal of my driver's license. I don't know how it is in your neck of the woods, but in New Jersey we renew our licenses every four years.

Now I know lots of cool things come in fours. Four leaf clovers. Foreplay. Seasons. Muskateers. Beatles. Unfortunately, a trip to the DMV is never associated with one of these things.

As if the renewal of a driver's license wasn't an annoying enough rite of passage, (up there with taxes and jury duty), New Jersey has gone ahead and kicked up the complication factor a notch. Yes, New Jersey sees your frustration level and they raise you. Because now, renewing your driver's license is no longer a simple process. You can't renew through mail and you can't just show up and pay your fee. No, you have to master the handy dandy 6 Point Identificaton Process.

In theory, I understand why they do this. I don't know about you, but I have people trying to impersonate me all the time. Thank God the DMV's of the world are trying to put an end to all the identity fraud. At the very least, the poor Freaky Friday people at Citibank can rest a little easier at night.

One glance at the phamplet and you realize that just like everything else in life, the Disgruntled Monsters of Vehicles Department of Motor Vehicles has managed to complicate something that is really very simple.

Some documents are weightier and worth four points. These are called primary documents and they include, but are not limited to: your birth certificate, your current NJ digital driver's license, a current or expired less than 3 years ago passport, a finger and/or the finger of your first born child.

Then there are 3 point documents including but not limited to: a divorce decree, a marriage certificate, a NJ firearm purchaser card, and five hunted animals killed with said firearm, uncooked and no less than seven days old.

Next up, two point documents: Basically this is any photo ID from any school, federal, state or government job. They also suspiciously accept photos with certain celebrities such as David Hasselhoff and Bea Arthur, but interestingly enough do NOT accept a photo that contains both of them. Clearly, my two point document was null and void.

Finally there are the one point documents which they clearly state, in bold print that you can not use more than TWO of. These documents include, but are not limited to the following: social security card, bank statement, high school or college diploma, a really, really good stand up routine, a recipe for chicken cordon bleu, a letter of recommendation from an elementary school teacher, and a "get one point free at the DMV!" coupon, courtesy of Chuck E Cheese.

But all math rules are thrown out the window when going to the DMV. See, they know you can bring in six, 1 point documents and still get six points, but frankly, they don't care. Because 1+1+1+1+1+1 apparently does NOT equal 6 like we've mistakenly thought all along. 4+2 still equals 6 and 3+2+1 still equals six. And in non citizen cases, 2+1+1+1+1 still equals 6, but not 2+4. So if you're adopted, divorced and from Bangladesh, God bless you.

So this past Saturday I decided to make the dreaded trip to the Department of Motor Vehicles. Lucky enough for me I'm not from the land of misfit toys. I still live at the same address and I didn't change my name-- though I have been toying with just "JANET" for awhile now. I am also still the same height, though mysteriously I was asked to confirm that information, too. Apparently a lot of people grow or shrink a few inches between the ages of 25 and 29, who knew?

Amazingly because of this, I walked away, new ID in hand in under 30 minutes. Which steered me to this conclusion: Maybe the DMV isn't such a bad place after all.

It's just the process that is enough to drive you crazy.
Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Tell It To Me Tuesday "If At First You Don't Succeed..."

My new renter this week is The Plumbutt Chronicles. If you decide to make the click (and really, why wouldn't you?), check out Plumbutt's take on today's 666 date. Incidentally I now know from experience this is also great traffic generator.

The other day Muttering Muse's Kestrel asked an intriguing question on her blog. With permission, I'm asking it again here. Between her readers and mine, we should get a wide variety of interesting answers (no pressure or anything). She asked:

What would you attempt to do if you knew you couldn't fail?

My dreams of glory will be posted, (all together now) this Sunday. In the meantime, share yours and please share a hello with fellow teacher, The Muttering Muse aka Kestrel, too!
Sunday, June 04, 2006

Write Back Weekend "Something Old, Something New"

Ok class, to quickly review let me restate this week's TITMT question:

If you could change one thing about yourself physically what would it be and why? And in part two, if you could change one character trait about yourself what would it be and why?

So without further adieu, one body part, coming up.

If I could change any part of my body I think I would get my legs transplanted. See, like a lot of other people, especially a lot of other women, I occassionally suffer from the "grass is greener on the other side" way of thinking. That being said, if YOU saw my legs you might not think they were so hideous. I also look around and realize I should be careful what I wish for, cause it could be much worse.

Yes, if I could trade in my legs I'd opt for longer, slimmer legs. The reason for this is twofold. First, I would finally be able to see what the world was like from a taller girl's point of view. I've always wondered about this. Then again, I'd have to sacrifice my children section shopping which I love so much. But secondly, my legs wouldn't look as stumpy since I'm so short.

Now I know some of you would look at me and say "what does that skinny b**tch need to be complaining about?!" But I'm not complaining. I never said I was fat. I'm not. I've got legs. I know how to use them. I just wish sometimes that my legs were someone else's and vice versa.

But beauty is only skin deep. So let's dig a little deeper, shall we?

If I could change anything about character it would be that I didn't worry so much. I know I worry a lot. I know because I worry about the fact that I worry.

See what I mean?!

Worrying has got me into trouble physically, too. Now I have to wear a mouth guard when I sleep at night because I grind because I...worry. Apparently even when I'm sleeping and I think I'm not worrying, I'm worrying.

Technically I could have just chosen worrying as my physical trait and character trait and called it a day.

I don't know why I worry so much. I know that worrying doesn't do anybody any good. But I can't help it. My mind is always three steps ahead of real time. In any given scenario, I plot out all the possible outcomes instead of just letting the outcome...come.

I know the cliche sayings because I've said them before myself, sometimes even to myself. Whatever happens happens. Don't sweat the small stuff. etc. etc... Sometimes though, for a worrier not worrying is easier said than done.

So now I know better. I'm going to worry. It's just who I am. And I'm not going to worry about it. Worrying about worrying, that is.

That goes for what you people think of my legs, too.
Friday, June 02, 2006

It's The End Of The World As We Know It

Nat from Mini-Obs was kind enough to "nominate" a post from AOGB in Momma K of Petroville's "Perfect Post" contest. The nominated post is Put Me In Coach. If you have a second to spare, please go visit the generous Nat and the ingenious Momma K whose idea has brought some great posts all together in one place.

Waaay back in 1898 author H.G. Wells released a book entitled War of the Worlds. In short, this book signifies the end of the world via an alien invasion. Since the original writing of this sci fi classic, many remakes, spoofs and references have been made to the original. Most recently, the movie War of the Worlds was released in 2005. This version starred an actual alien, Tom Cruise.

And now, the theme has come full circle.

But War of the Worlds is just one example of our culture's morbid fascination with all things armageddon. Hell, there was even a movie called Armageddon. If that doesn't get right to the point, I don't know what does.

About two months ago I started seeing these creepy billboard ads. It's a black background with white writing. All the writing says is "The Signs Are All Around You" while others say, "You Have Been Warned." Then there's my personal favorite. The ones that simply have the numbers 6.6.06 and nothing else.

My curiosity peaked, I went online and did a little research. Imagine my surprise (insert sarcasm here) when the billboard turned out to be an advertisement for the "new" movie, The Omen. Note I carefully chose to put the words "new movie" into quotations. This was no mistake. This is because The Omen, along with every other movie that is released these days, is a remake of another movie also called, The Omen, originally released in 1976. By the way, if you're really looking for creepy, look no further than anything seventies.

The Omen is a story of an mischievous little boy who turns out to actually be the Antichrist. In every day life this is an honest mistake to make. For instance, I have at least three or four boys in my class that could very well be contenders for the title.

Apparently 6/6/06 was meant to be the release date for their little movie. Nevermind that nearly all big films open on a Friday or even a Wednesday (if it's a holiday week). No The Omen, had to open on this date. Call it a omen about... The Omen.

The makers of The Omen aren't the only ones cashing in on this creepy calendar mishap. Heavy metalish acts like Slayer and even David Lee Roth have releases also slated for 6/6/06.

And then there are the mothers-to-be. Now most mothers do not know their due dates in advance for obvious reasons, but there are a considerable amount of mothers who are scheduling C Sections in advance just to ensure their baby is NOT born on June 6th of 2006. This might sound a bit maniacal, but think about it. Would you want to worry your child's terrible two's may be eluding to early satanic worship? I didn't think so.

For every paranoid mother, there is a crackhead mom. These are the mothers that think it is "funny" to buy into the whole 6/6/06 thing with avengance. Not only do they want to have their babies on this date, at least one mother plans on naming her son Damien, after the character in The Omen. Another one wants to name her baby after Regan from The Exorcist. Yes, I've been around the world and found that only stupid people are breeding.

But what post about conspiracy theories would be complete without a reference to websites that are full of speculation about the significance of 6/6/06? Take this one for instance. It's an in depth look that, at the very least, should put these expectant mothers minds at ease. They need not worry their son is the next Antichrist. According to this site, he's already living among us.

It may be a little premature, but I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that June 6th, 2006 is just going to be another day like any other. Six and a half years ago we partied like it was 1999. Then it was 2000 and guess what? We still partied. Do you think that people everywhere were running for cover on June 6th of 1906?

Who knows? Maybe Richard Pottier, Paolo Stoppa or Brooke Temple are already to blame for all the destruction. Sure, you might think you don't know them, but that's what any good Antichrist would want you to think, right? Go ahead, pin it on them. They're dead anyway.

No people. 6/6/06 is just a Tuesday in the middle of the year. An unfortunate cousin of all Friday the 13ths. Assuming otherwise is nothing short of paranoid. The real end of the world is probably going to be just as random as the day the world started or even, the day the music died.

But all conspiracy theory hope is not lost. At least movies like The Omen have all signs pointing to the end of something.

Original thought.



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