Saturday, June 30, 2012

Social media spoilers

Let me let you in on a little secret.

I'm pathetic.

Yep. I'm one of those people who sit on my increasingly fat ass, watching the latest realobotomy TV or awards shows while simultaneously writing on a laptop. Being extremely Caucasian, not to mention cliché, I have an unhealthy relationship with Mad Men, Downton Abbey, and now Girls and The Newsroom. I take these shows seriously, often discussing characters as if they're real people, perhaps even my friends or coworkers.

"Can you believe what Pete said to Joan? And did you get a load of his leisure jacket? 

"Lady Mary and I have so much in common, not the least of which is our ability to bungle every romantic situation that presents itself."

Yes, I really do talk like that. Out loud.

So I'm rather put out (i.e., en-fucking-raged) when some Facebook or Twitter premature e-proclaimator decides to discuss an episode or plot point while it's still airing. In a different time zone! You're not an early adopter; you're a co-opting snot. I can't even imagine how the poor kahunas in Hawaii cope with the likes of loose-lipped or trigger-fingered mainlanders hashtagging #jaguarfail or #phillipphillips while a show is airing on the East Coast. Show some discretion and stop giving away the gasp-worthy moments. If you don't, let me clue you into a spoiler of my own: #iwanttopunchyouintheface.

(This post was inspired by blogger Ryan McRae, who writes Geek in Afghanistan.)


Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Whether I'm walking into a gift shoppe or someone's guest bathroom, the reaction is the same. When I get a whiff of a dusty bowl of potpourri, I immediately am transported to a land of abandoned Beanie Babies, nicotine-stained gingham curtains, and frosted tips on both fingernails and hair.

And not, let me be clear, in a good way.

I adore things that smell good. Hand-poured candles, fresh lavender, clean skin…  The smell of the great outdoors makes me swoon, but I don't want a nest of pinecones, leaves, orange peel, and dried rose petals artfully arranged in a Longaberger basket on the back of my toliet. That doesn't smell like the outside; it smells like a Bed Bath & Beyond managed by a chain smoker who just came off break and spritzed herself with a celebrity fragrance. Or maybe that's just me. Potpourri doesn't mask smells or freshen the room. It just smells like a big bowl of sad.

Like a mullet, I can't quite believe I haven't punched potpourri in its dessicated face. 


Monday, June 25, 2012

Nose hair

Aging blows.

I’ve always been a gal who wants to own her age. I haven’t had any work done, but I stay out of the sun and use spendy lotions and potions to look as great for my age as possible.

I’ve done a fine job of preventing turkey neck and crow’s feet, but even I couldn’t stave off the nose hair (or chin whiskers, for that matter). Now, look, I’m not looking a genetic gift horse in the mouth (or nostril). My Western European ethnic makeup has resulted in very light to no body hair. For that, I’m thankful (and a bit super-cilia-ous since I have the highly waxed, lasered, and bleached Armenian Sisters Kardashian beat in this arena).

However, time marches on and up my nose, apparently, because as of late, small little dark hairs have the nerve to show their follicles at the entrance to my schnoz.

I turn up my nose at this turn of events, but only to better tweeze the random hair apparent. Aging blows, just like my nose.


Friday, June 22, 2012

5 Decisions Away with Matt Paxton Podcast

Let's be honest: I stalked Matt Paxton.

It wasn't hard, actually. I quickly zeroed in on him during the first season of Hoarders. His humor, empathy and take-no-shit-while-actually-shoveling-shit attitude quickly won me and a lot of other viewers over.

I wanted to write a book with him, so I e-mailed him. We were on the phone two days later. He already was working with a coauthor on what would become The Secret Lives of Hoarders, but we kept in touch. Not only is he frank and funny, he's been generous in advising me in various business opportunities and ventures and in commiserating with me over what it means to live the dream.

So when he came to Seattle last week to film an episode of Hoarders for Season 5, I jumped at the chance to meet him and be a guest on his killer podcast, 5 Decisions Away.

It did not disappoint.

We sat in his suite at the Residence Inn, bellies full of beer and fish and chips (when in Seattle, go to the Lockspot for salmon and chips—trust me on this one). And we talked…and talked…you get the idea. 

I don't think two hours went by that fast since I saw Deathly Hallows 2. And it was just as exhilarating as seeing Voldemort finally take that pesky Elder Wand up the arse (metaphorically speaking, natch). I don't know about you but great conversation jazzes me. In the podcast, Matt and I cover everything from being present to getting published to yes, all the various things I want to punch in the face. Matt is not one of them.

5 Decisions Away is available on iTunes. I'm in episode #35: Word. I encourage you to check out his other episodes as well. He really is a hilarious dude, with great anecdotes and a big heart. His mantra of never give up, coupled with his personal trials and tribulations and triumphs, will win you over in short order. He uses hoarding as a launching pad into a much bigger discussion about life, love, and the pursuit of a good raunchy belly laugh.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

White pizza

I have similar feelings about white pizza as I do about white chocolate and white-bean chili.

In a word, imposter.

White pizza a big round tasty breadstick but it’s not pizza. I may not be Italian but I’ve eaten a buttload of pizza during the course of la mia dolce vita. A perfect pizza, with chewy crust, bubbling cheese, and a tangy tomato sauce, can cause me to temporarily lose my mind, only to find it right next to an empty pizza box or tray. I have been known to hoover the whole thing, be it a thick Chicago-style pizza from Gino’s East or a homemade jobber with a cornmeal-dusted crust and fresh sauce.

A white pizza, however, has never inspired me to do more than flip the page on the menu and order another carafe of chianti. I need some color in my life and if I can’t get it from my pizza, I’ll just drink my dinner instead. I’m not saying it’s not tasty but when faced with a choice between a pizze bianche or a tomato pie, why would I ever choose the white one? Olive oil is an oil, not a sauce.

I call bullshit on white pizza.


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Vegan baked goods

The farmers market in my neighborhood is a delicious place of magic, wonder, and things to delight the senses. I love to peruse the stalls, sampling soups and spreads and breads. The vegan bakery looks so charming, like etsy was blended with anthropologie and shot through with a dash of country café. 

So I suspend my disbelief and reach for a peach muffin.

Five dollars lighter, I lick my lips and prepare to make my oral assault. What’s that? How is it? Ummm, hmmm, gaaaaa, uhhh, kakakaaaaaaaa.

Hey, thanks for that sip of organic goat’s milk. Whew. I forgot there for a minute that sawdust is vegan.

I’m pretty particular when it comes to breads, pastries, pies, and baked goods. Since I don’t eat them every day, I want to make sure that when I do, it transports me to my grandmother’s kitchen, an authentic pâtisserie, or a dessert cart at a four-star restaurant.

I don’t want to conjure up the lumber yard, lawn clippings, or a wood chipper.

When it comes to baked goods, no butter + no eggs = no dice. There’s a lot to be said for going vegan, sure, but melt-in-your-mouth muffins and flaky croissants sure as shit isn’t a vegan baker’s sweet spot.


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Miley Cyrus's feet

Britney, bless her trashy heart, started it but Miley picked up the baton and is running with it. Barefoot. Like Zola Budd barefoot.

Over and over again, Miley and other teen sensations are scampering around Toluca Lake and Malibu in their bare feet. I love walking around bare foot as much as the next country girl-turned-city slicker, but usually I like walking on grass or sand or my hardwood floors, not on asphalt or stained gas station bathroom linoleum. There's always gonna be another mountain, and you need some proper fucking footwear to climb it.

Slip on some flip flips, dingaling, before I have a real party in the USA and go off on your ass. Don't even get me started about the side boob and dreamcatcher tat. That's a whole tumblr blog waiting to happen.


Friday, June 15, 2012

Special-occasion fleece

As the curtains opened on my evening, things looked promising. I bellied up to the bar, where I was greeted by a handsome man in a natty suit. We moved on to the theater to see Lewis Black's charming and funny play, One Slight Hitch.

There was, however, one slight hitch. Actually, there were a few hundred hitches surrounding me. Men and women alike were sporting fleece vests, cargo shorts, baseball caps, polo shirts adorned with Microsoft logos, and grotty comfort sandals. The audience looked like they were ready to gut a fish, not watch a performance by professional actors (that they paid good money to experience).

Like weddings, job interviews, and black-tie galas, the theater is a special event. Like spotting a unicorn or rainbow, it's not something that happens every day, at least in my world. The theater is a reason to get dressed up, not give up. Akin to wearing pajamas as outerwear, wearing convertible pants and your favorite hoodie is a sign that you don't give a shit, either about yourself or the cultural institution. I know I live in Seattle, but for fuck's sake, people and REI employees, would it kill you to wear tinted lipgloss or pants that reach to the floor?

If you keep insisting on wearing the same garb for weeding the garden and supporting the arts, I'll have no choice but to bring the lights down on your sorry performance. And...scene.


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Preschool graduation

Ahem, what is a four year old graduating from, exactly? Pull-ups? These days, every kid gets a trophy, a sticker, a certificate just for showing up to school, to soccer, even to the breakfast table. And they spend a good fortnight in class making mortar boards and crowns, baking Cake Pops, and scribbling out a sloppy diploma for a ceremony that causes overworked parents to rework their already jammed Outlook calendar.

There's no real sense of achievement being cultivated when a diploma is handed to a pre-schooler for finger painting, playing well with others, and going number-two successfully. Where's the competitive spirit? I trounced the rest of my first-grade Lybrook Elementary class to win a spelling contest because cold hard cash was involved. I—no one else—scored a crisp dollar bill. That made me want to succeed, not a collective gold star for attendance.

Sorry to matricuhate, but too much fanfare over little piddly shit results in little shits growing up to be big shits with entitlement issues. Today's little graduate is tomorrow's massive unemployed bunghole.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Well drinks

I spent nigh on three decades wondering what all the fuss was about. I grew up with blue-collar alcoholics, I saw a buttload of drinking in college, and then I entered the working world, which meant a lot of ill-advised shoulder pads, crap happy hours, and drink specials.

Which meant a lot of cheap hooch and well drinks.

I didn't get it. Whiskey sours, sea breezes, white wine spritzers, Cape Cods, gin and tonics, highballs, vodka gimlets, screwdrivers, scotch and soda… I sampled the hell out of them all and found one common thread.

They all sucked gas-station attendant ass.

They tasted of medicine and jet fuel, laced with teeth-bruising sweetness. I didn't get it. I didn't cotton to beer and while I liked the pretentiousness of wine culture and barrel-aged reds, my migraines didn't.

So I stuck to Diet Coke.

Then something miraculous happened. I ordered a Tanqueray and tonic. My taste buds screamed their approval and I never looked back at the nameless bottles behind the bar. I traded up to the literal top-shelf liquors, trying Bombay, Tanqueray 10, Hendricks, Plymouth, Death's Door, and other kinds of fancy-pants gin. I asked a bartender to create a flight of martinis with different vodkas so my girlfriends and I could do a proper taste test. I no longer need to wish at the well because my dreams came true in a delicious green bottle.

 What's the worst drink you've ever knocked back?


Monday, June 11, 2012


I once engaged in a vigorous round of literary flirtation with a fellow writer. Scratch that. He was an aspiring writer. He would send lengthy e-missives designed to make me swoon, or at least open up my, uh, Rolodex. He wanted my agent’s information.

In the words of Alicia Silverstone’s Cher in Clueless, “As if.”

What made him especially odious, however, was not his naked ambition. It was his blathering nonsensical jabberwocky. He concluded with one simple sentence that I shall never forget.

“I’m speaking, of course, of Ulysses.”

Let me paint a portrait of this artist as a young man. He, and innumerable other numnuts, gather every June 16 to read the novel Ulysses (which takes place on this day), dress as the book’s characters, embark on pub crawls, and indulge their inner McAsshole.

The bloom is off this literary rose. While I generally applaud literary events of every kind, Bloomsday acolytes, in my experience, are not a cause to re-Joyce. They are pretentious prats who smoke pipes, affect accents that don’t exist in nature, and reference films that never made it out of the film festival circuit.

I’m speaking, of course, of punching each and every one of them in their monocle. And yes I said yes I will Yes.


Saturday, June 9, 2012

Celebutard authors

Nicole Richie did it. The Sisters Kardashian did too. Snooki, Lauren Conrad, and Teresa Guidice did it more than once.

I’m not talking about making a sex tape.

These dimwits all wrote books. Everyone mentioned above, save Teresa, wrote novels. And by “wrote,” I’m guessing that means they slapped their name on something a publishing intern knocked out.

Don’t you need opposable thumbs to write a book?

These celebs have all added “author” to their multi-hyphenated bios. Well, I’ve got a few choice words that might sum you up: Fame-seeker. Cooch-flasher. Grammar bungler. Low forehead.

Teresa Guidice can’t even string words together with any sort of proper syntax. She’s like Jersey’s version of Yoda. “Kidding me you are?”

And box of hair Snooki is even less believable, not because she’s mostly likely illiterate but because she would never take time out of her GTL regimen to direct her ghostwriter. I see it going something like this: “Um, yeah, let’s write a book—is nonfiction or fiction the one that’s not real?—where there’s a girl who, you know, is DTF with a juicehead she meets at a club. Wait, is that a pickle?”

Fuck yes, I'm mad bitter. Like prescription eyeglasses, let me have this. I’ve never been cool or tan or on a reality show. But I write. I have been published. You can have your reality show, oily bohunk and what will assuredly be an orange baby. Just let me and other writers have our bylines. I may not be a triple threat but I can live quite happily with my multi-hypenate of blogger-author-malcontent.

(Note that I'm talking about a select group of "famous for no reason" celebrities who parlay their celebrity into other products to extend their brand. I love loads of television personalities—Hello, Stacy London!—who bring integrity, wit, expertise, and intelligence to book projects. I'm a niche, not a broad-brushed, hater.)