Monday, October 31, 2005

Enron in Training?


Through the goodness of my husband's heart, I found myself volunteered this evening to hand out candy in the lobby of my building. Having lived in the city for a number of years in apartments that didn't lend themselves to small children, this was my first face-to-face encounter with real trick-or-treaters in a number of years.

Fifteen minutes into my shift, I pondered over the predictive power of trick-or-treating behavior. When instructed to "take two or three," some kids carefully select out a few, before shyly saying "thank you." Others decide to interpret the instruction broadly, and they take two or three handfuls. Still others ignore the instruction altogether, and those tykes fill up until you actively put a stop to them. There are the kids who wait patiently in line, and those who elbow to the front. There are shy Carebears, and pushy Darth Vaders. There are even princesses who take a few choice pieces before asking "do you also have any money for hurricane relief?" Perhaps my favorite child though, is the small but noble enforcer. Lacking the guts to assume this role in my own childhood, I stood in awe of the cowboy who reprimanded a particularly bratty vampire with "it's not very nice to take more than everyone else, you should put it back."


I've always been a sucker for the strong kind types, which is probably why I allowed myself to be volunteered. As it is, I'll try not to be too mad at my own cowboy once he gets home.

Ms. J

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Getting Your La Las

Last night, Mr. J and I participated in one of the city's great institutions. We sang karaoke in K-town. Although Mr. J and his posse only joined us for the tail end of our singing excursion, I like to think that a grand 'ol time was had by all.

Plied with liquor and a healthy dose of weekend-humor, I generally like karaoke. Not the kind of karaoke where you belt out Blondie at a bar full of strangers, but Korean-style karaoke where you belt out Blondie to a room full of people you'll inevitably have to face again. It occurred to me last night, while Ms. L performed an admirably accurate version of 99 Red Balloons, there is something bizarre about karaoke in general.

Like most people, I can't sing. I occasionally sing in the shower or alone on the elevator, but even then, I'm aware of my serious lack of talent. Similarly, as much as I adore them, my collection of friends aren't exactly song birds either. Which is why it's absolutely mystifying that I inevitably find myself every few months in a dark room on 35th Street, trying to figure out how to get "American Pie" onto the play list. Within the safety of our karaoke suite, my cohort and I will wail to our hearts content. Not only do we treat eachother to truly astonishing Guns and Roses hits, we generally hoot in appreciation. When the karaoke gods will it, we also beat a mean tambourine. In our everyday lives, you probably wouldn't be able to pay any of us to (1) sing or (2) listen to exceptionally chilling renditions of 80s ballads. Which of course leads us to the wonder that is karaoke, where WE dole out $10/person to subject ourselves to both (1) AND (2).

Some may say that alcohol can lead a horse to pretty much anywhere, but I feel that's an oversimplification. There are a variety of other generally undesirable activities that have not taken off as weekend diversions. You never overhear drunken hipsters say, "Let's go downtown and take practice SAT exams!" No, there is something magical about karaoke that wins over the most resilient of us. If one could somehow distill down exactly the motivating factor, think of the possibilities. In the meantime, I will stick to my closeted renditions of Acqua's "Barbie Girl" in anticipation of my next moment in the spotlight.

Ms. J

Episode VI - Return of the J

In a moment that most of you have been eagerly anticipating, I, Mr. J, have finally returned for my follow-up post. Now I'm sure most of you were wondering, "After such a wildly successful first post, why would you wait so long before posting again, thus destroying any positive momentum this blog has developed." However, remembering that absence makes the heart grow fonder, I have purposely delayed my subsequent post to build hype. By this point, I'm confident that most of you are practically salivating over the prospect of this post. See, there is a method to my madness! (Alternatively you might think I just got busy with work. I'll try to be better in the future, my apologies)

So the other day I was reading the paper and they talked about a "groundbreaking study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention" in which they apparently found out that younger generations have an increasingly casual view towards oral sex. Not to discount anything that the CDC does, but if they find out something that the average high school senior already knows, can we really classify that as “groundbreaking?” Even more mind-blowing though was the fact that said study cost 16 million dollars. I’m still unable to grasp how it would take that much to find out about people’s sexual attitudes. The other day I went out for drinks with a few friends, about 7 rounds in, I was hearing the craziest stories about their late-night escapades. Now while I know New York is expensive, I think our tab still came out to significantly less than a few million. Perhaps it would be a tad unethical, but I propose the CDC takes a similar plan of action for their next study. At the very least, I’m sure it’d give them some good stories, and at the end of the day, we all know that’s what’s really important.

Mr. J

Friday, October 28, 2005

Shit for Sale

I will buy anything on sale. I grew up believing that paying full price is akin to dumping food as starving children from China stand tragically next to you, their drool pooling onto the floor. We were the kind of family that never ordered soda at restaurants because "For that much, we could buy a whole six pack at Wal-Mart!" Since leaving home, my greatest moments of self-assertion have been ordering diet cokes with my burgers.

Raised with this mentality, I spend countless hours delving through bins of clothing that others have wisely rejected. All for the triumphant moment in which I can say "I paid 50% off retail!" Recently it occurred to me, however, that I have become addicted to the bargain. In the pursuit of savings, I recently purchased some truly hideous sweaters. Sweaters that look as if I knit them myself, blindfolded. Sweaters that my husband looks at, and says "that's interesting...is that the top?" I then shout from the tire-sized neck with a random shard of ribbon emerging from it, "Yup! And it was 50% off retail!" After returning an armful of said sweaters, I have learned some important lessons about market economies. If no one but the legally blind would pay the retail price for something, it doesn't mean I should pay 50% off retail for it.

I think this is an important life lesson. Now if only I could figure out how to return the single ply toilet paper that my husband refuses to use, even though it was 2 bucks cheaper than the Charmin...

Ms. J

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Playing to the Masses

Thus far, having a blog has been pretty interesting. Perhaps the most difficult parts have been (1) finding the time to post, and (2) figuring out what to post. I have clearly surpassed my brother in (1). This is largely because Mr. J has a real job. It's okay though, our four readers are primarily my friends anyway. Mr. J informs me that his friends read, but I think he's making it up. If he's not making it up, that's just depressing. As it would mean that, not only is my younger brother cooler than me, all his friends are cooler than my internet-obsessed friends. There's only one solution to the "coolness" question, and that would be to get more people reading. Don't ask how the logic flowed there, just trust me on this.

Mark has suggested that more people would read if I had links to freakish things on the internet. Having googled "weird shit," I have come up with the following websites. The first one is http://www.drunkbastard.net/weirdshit.htm. This website largely has X-rated humor videos, including one very disturbing video of a penis singing soft rock. The second Google link is http://www.blowfish.com/catalog/videos/surreal.html. I'm not even sure what that is, I think it has something to do with porn. All I know is that the opening line is "Finally, a movie for electric chair fetishists!" Finally, we have this very unclear link http://feministing.com/archives/002026.html, which appears to be an article about left-handedness. Apparently, left-handedness has alot to do with being weird. Who knew?

All of this said, let's see if Mark's theory will hold true. Although, now that I think about it, I'm not sure if we want those electric chair fetishists reading. That's a little too weird, even for this internet-obsessed loser.

Ms. J

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Starstruck

Walked past a movie filming this afternoon. Something called "Margaret" starring Anna Paquin. It seemed like an interesting scene. They were filming someone getting hit by a bus. According to the tech guy preventing me from crossing the street, the bus driver is not paying attention because he is watching Anna Paquin.

Anna looked very pretty. She basically looked the way she does in this picture. Watching the scene, I came to the following conclusion "Anna Paquin has a good gig." Let's face it, being a movie star is a sweet job. You don't appear to have to do a whole lot. Stars bitch and moan about how filming is so difficult, how they're up all hours, how they have to deal with adverse weather conditions. For instance, today it's rather chilly. The scene calls for Anna to wear a mini skirt and a flimsy looking top. This seems unpleasant. You almost sympathize with the stars until you realize, "Wait! My job can be unpleasant too!" Having this epiphany, most of us come to the conclusion that we would rather make the gajillion dollars that Anna is getting paid to wear the mini skirt, than the mere piddling that we get paid to deal with all the bullshit that our current job entails. Don't get me wrong, there is the whole lack of privacy problem. Although Anna had to deal with the fact that I was walking down the street thinking, "Hey! There's Anna Paquin filming a movie." Anna was likely not watching me and saying "Hey! There's Ms. J!" This seems like a small deal though. After all, from the number of applicants for reality t.v., people across the country are dying for us to notice them.

For all of these reasons, I am considering abandoning my current career trajectory and becoming a movie star. If anyone has any leads on this, let me know. I can even bring my own mini skirt.

Ms. J

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Little to No Clothing


As Halloween fast approaches, I am struck with the perenial problem of what to wear. Or, as I frequently find to be the case in New York, what not to wear. I am 100% supportive of people asserting their identities, and I also believe strongly that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. All of that said though, I think it probably wouldn't hurt for people to wear a little more clothing.

Just from a practical standpoint, clothing is a good thing. Especially on a chilly fall evening like this Halloween promises to be, one may want to keep all their especially sensitive parts under wraps. It would also frankly help the prudish types like myself feel a little less awkward. There's nothing weirder than getting bumped in a bar by a free breast. What do you say? "Excuse me, your nipple dunked into my beer?"

Somewhere along the line, someone decided that pasties counted as clothing. This is just not true. My general rule of thumb is that if you can see the underside of a boob, it's out there. If you want it out there, so be it. I just want to make sure you haven't misplaced it.

One of my male friends this year decided he would take the typical Halloween cross-dressing theme one step further. Instead of dressing like a woman, he's going to dress like women dress on Halloween. He says he's going to be a "sexy leopard." There's apparently spandex and feathers involved. This will likely be horribly frightening. I guess it's appropriate though. What would Halloween be without something to strike fear into the hearts of innocent bystanders?

Ms. J

Thursday, October 20, 2005

You're (insert identity here) too?

There’s nothing more irritating than the identity group set-up. This is when a well-intentioned friend sets you up with someone who you have virtually nothing in common with, other than your shared membership in an identity group. The internal logic is “Dave’s black. Carla’s black. They should go out!” The inevitable result of 99% of identity group set-ups is:

Dave: So…I see you’re black?
Carla: Yup.
Dave: How’s that working out for you?
Carla: Well, and you?
Dave: Good here too!
Carla:….

My own theory as to why the identity group set-up persists is the common misconception that being a member of an identity group is like having a hobby. If you have two friends who appear to like skiing, you figure they’ll have lots to talk about. If you have two friends who appear to like being Latino, you figure they’ll have lots to talk about too. As a few model conversations will demonstrate, this type of thinking is obviously flawed.

Allen: Are you still actively gay?
Scott: I played varsity in college, but now I just play in the company intramurals.

Rachel: How often do you get to be Jewish?
Dave: I try to at least once a week, but the office has been crazy this month, so it’s been tough.

Aileen: When did you first get interested in being bi-racial?
Brendan: It’s funny, I don’t remember, it’s just something I’ve always been into.

Kevin: What equipment are you using these days?
Tiffany: I’ve really been liking the Asian American 400 series, but I still feel that the Titanium Yellow is better for my short game.

All of this is not to say that people can’t and don’t have very successful relationships with members of their identity group. They can, and they do. It’s just absurd to assume that two people in the same identity group will automatically have lots to talk about. That said, stop the insanity. Put an end to the identity set-up.

People you meet as friends on the other hand... "Oh, you're from Minneapolis? I know someone from Minneapolis! Do you know Karen Smith?"

Ms. J

Introducing . . .

Greetings! Before I begin, I’d like to correct a few statements my overly anxious sister made in her excitement.

1) Now that I’m a writer, I feel it’s a tad unethical to count myself as a reader as well. This unfortunately drops us down to 2 actual readers of our illustrious blog. However, keeping my mom’s teachings in mind, I’m remembering it’s not how you start but how you finish, and so I valiantly troop on with visions of one day building a blog empire (think Jerry Maguire minus the fact I don’t get Renee Zellweger and ideally I won’t turn into a crazy Scientologist in 10 years). Speaking of our mom, once she figures out what the internet is, I’m sure she’ll log on and we can get our membership count back up to lucky #3

2) I actually have not yet learned what a blogosphere is. In fact, my knowledge of blogs is even more limited than my sister’s. While some may perceive this to be cause of alarm, I like to think I can bring a fresh perspective to the world of blogging (at least that’s what I tell myself, humor me).

Anyways, the question on everyone’s mind must be, “so why are you here Mr. J?” Aside from the obvious one that I was suckered here by my sister under the pretense of “it’ll be a bonding experience,” I also have a purely selfish one. Namely, I secretly aspire to be a humor writer but have heretofore lacked an audience for my wit. And that’s where you come in, you lucky dog you.

So what then will this blog be? I envision an environment where I can muse on what it’s like to be a new resident of this fine city, perhaps engage in witty banter with my sister, and finally post a few longer pieces that will be the beginning of my soon-to-be-famous writing career. Of course that’s all in theory, and even the Hindenburg sounded good in theory, so we’ll just have to see what happens in the end.

Mr. J

How bout them Knicks?

This morning, the guy in front of me was painfully trying to engage the deli dude. It was like watching a first-date, where one of the participants has been forced at gunpoint to show.

Random Guy: Are these scales new?
Deli Dude: No.
Random Guy: I've never noticed them before.
Deli Dude: We've had them for over a year.
Random Guy: Oh...What do you think of the Knicks this year?
Deli Dude: I really don't watch basketball.
Random Guy: ....
Deli Dude: Is that it?
Random Guy: Um, yeah.
* Random Guy then slinks away into the cream cheese section.

From the deli dude's perspective, I can see how you just lose patience at some point. If I had to have 40+ conversations every day on the Yankees, with people who are secretly glad they don't have my job, I would be pretty surly too. I might even go postal. On the other hand, I felt sorta bad for the random guy. Public rejection just blows. Which then raises the question? In an uber-classed society like New York, is it better to make lame attempts at friendliness, or to just tacitly acknowledge the status quo by doing your business without meaningless pleasantries?

It's like I recently saw a couple say to their doorman "we're so glad you're here tonight!" The doorman rolled his eyes at me, and was like "duh...where else would I be, it's my frickin job." Similarly, during my short-lived stint as a bar back, a patron commented that "you're really good at opening those bottles, do you have to practice?" Since I figured he was a nice person on the inside, I refrained from replying "It's funny you should ask! It took me a while to figure out how to do it without the two brain cells that I need for breathing!" As it was, I didn't.

He left me a big tip.

Ms. J

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

A Tale of Two Js


In a stroke of genius, or perhaps laziness, I have once again decided to make a change to this blog's format. So many changes, so little content.

Everyone (i.e. the three people who read) meet my brother, Mr. J! **Mr. J waves happily from the the sidelines of cyberspace.** From now on, my brother and I will share this blog. Yes, our parents gave their children alliterative first names. Too cute indeed. The benefit of this is that we only need to slightly modify my original title for the blog, and there is also that lovely symmetry in our nomes de plume.
We figure that with two of us, there will be more postings. As far as we can tell, more postings = good. This is the extent of our knowledge of the blogosphere though.

We only just in fact learned the word "blogosphere." We have high hopes though, and we hope you do too.

Ms. J

What to say?

I was taking the train this morning, and someone tried to steal my iPod. I wouldn't have noticed it, had an elderly couple sitting across from me not whispered "she's in your bag." I turned to my right, and sure enough, a rather large woman had her hand in the pocket my iPod was tucked into. Caught a bit off guard, I let out a bit of a yelp. The would-be thief hastily removed her hand. She then looked at me and said "you scared me!" Instinctively, I mumbled "sorry..." and stared at her dumbly. She then got off the train at the next stop. It occurred to me later that I had just apologized to someone who attempted to steal from me. This once again confirms that there are certain social situations that happen on the train that you can never be prepared for. Ex-boyfriend, highschool teacher, old boss, pickpocket--all situations that Miss Manners never addressed.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Rats with Tails



Do you ever notice how foreign tourists in the city love to take photos of squirrels? It's like they don't have squirrels in their country. Come to think of it, maybe they don't? I've never noticed squirrels when traveling overseas. To be honest, I don't really miss them. Squirrels are basically rats with tails. If they didn't have the cute fluffy tails, most people would think they were gross. Once again proving that good hair is the key to success, it can even take rodents farther in life.

Truly Disturbing

Like the Sistine Chapel, this next post in my innaugural blog has been a while in the making. I've made a decision to post more frequently, but to have each post be shorter. I've also decided to make the posts more commentary oriented, as opposed to narrative. Finally, I've decided to join the technological age and include pictures whenever possible. Just because, let's be honest, everyone appreciates pretty pictures.

What better to celebrate this change in format than a toothpaste-poop reference! In a stroke of genius that will likely soon be regretted, Charmin has introduced baby wipes for adults. One of the good folks at Charmin apparently woke up and said to themselves "what the world really needs is a flushable, premoistened, adult wipe."

And to launch off this groundbreaking product, Charmin has released a truly disturbing commercial. Following some animation of a cuddly bear taking a dump behind a tree, there's a zoom in on a hand with toothpaste inexplicably smeared on it. The hand then tries to wipe said toothpaste off with a piece of regular ol' toilet paper. The toothpaste just sort of smears. The hand then reaches for a new Charmin Fresh Mate! Who woulda thunk it, the tooth paste smear is wiped totally off! Yay! For those (stupid people) who don't see it on their own, I'll elaborate as to why this commercial is just shockingly vile. The toothpaste is a stand in for POOP! Ewww!!! I don't know what's more disgusting, the fact that they DEMONSTRATE for us why a wet wipe would be more useful in those solitary moments, or the fact that they have now forced us to associate a daily use oral hygiene product with shit. Yummy.

Oh well, at least we still have Potty Palooza.



http://www.charmin.com/en_us/pages/offers_ploza.shtml