Tuesday, September 16, 2014

How Many Sisters Does It Take To........

How do you make your birthday special and memorable? Make it a family event. Never a dull moment. At least not with my sisters. They were generous enough to take me away for one of my major milestones. We hadn't been away together since our 20's, so believe me; it was a long, overdue trip. The last time we were away together we went on a Club Med vacation at a time when we all were pretty wild. It was the era of drugs, sex and rock and roll, and we took full advantage of that. It was before we knew as much as we do now about STD's. Need I say more? This time was just a tad different though, but the fun factor was still there. It usually is when we're all together.

Let me just give you a quick glimpse into who we are. Both of my sisters are extremely successful business owners, and I have a successful career in advertising. But we are each on different levels of the economic ladder...and let's just say...I'm on the bottom rung of theirs. They need to extend their arms WAY down to reach me. But the positive side of that is I'm afraid of heights, so it’s a good thing I'm not up at the top near where they are. [Yeah...sure it is.] They are quite used to a lifestyle I will most likely never know as normal in my lifetime. [Although…at what age are you too old for a sugar daddy? Maybe there’s time!] When it comes to blue collar/middle class anything...it's a foreign language to them, whereas I'm just your average white collar, middle class person who can afford the necessities in life, with enough to enjoy the journey, but in a whole other stratosphere than they are. I've also lived in middle class, blue collar areas over the course of my adult life. They have not. I'm comfortable there as well as being comfortable in an upper middle class area. They would not be. It would be like living in a third world country to them where no English was spoken. See where I'm going with this?

They had asked me where I wanted to go for my birthday. 'Anywhere in the world...just pick a place.' How many times are you offered an incredible opportunity like that? So let’s see…Italy? France? Greece? Nope…San Diego. A place I have been to way too many times to even count and I lived there for a year. Why did I choose that, you ask? Because of my dog. My dog is on a restricted diet, takes quite a few meds and needs to be monitored, and I just couldn't leave her or entrust anyone with her. So I needed to go to a place that took dogs and was close enough where I wouldn't need to hop on a plane. The resort in San Diego allowed dogs and my sisters both have been there and liked the place, so off we went. (Am I crazy or just the best dog mom in the world? I'd like to think the latter.)

The first day we arrived, we checked in, had a late lunch, and went for massages. I've written about my massage experiences before so I won't get into details, but it was great. I could hardly move after...so I measured that as successful. The worse you feel, the better the masseuse. We showered and decided we would skip dinner and go to the movies.

Going to the movies with my one sister is an experience unto itself. Having gone with her quite often, I knew better than to sit next to her, so I let my other sister have the pleasure of sitting in the middle. When you do sit next to her she constantly whispers in your ear asking questions as if you’re not seeing the movie for the first time also. I wish I was as smart and intuitive as she thinks I am while watching a film I've never seen. Half the time I have no clue what's going on and wing it, hoping it will come together at the end. What I don’t do is constantly bug the shit out of the person next to me, so that they can’t enjoy the film because they are missing out on most of the dialogue because someone’s voice and breath are permeating their ear canal.

The closest theater we found was a Cinepolis...which none of us had ever been to and didn't know it was a different kind of theater. But when the admission ticket alone is $20, it had better be more than just a regular theater. If you've never been to one, you have to try it at least once. It's definitely the way to go if you can afford it. It's like watching in your living room, sitting in a luxurious Barcalounger [is that an oxymoron?] and being waited on. Except, of course, your dollar output is quite extraordinary. You have your own personal waiter and can order from a full menu and bar. The sequence of seats is two together, then an end table and another two seats, etc. My sisters sat together and I sat on the other side of the end table; which I came to find out made no difference. The movie started and I could hardly hear the dialogue on screen because of the outbursts coming from the peanut gallery next to me. My sister has to be the most animated viewer and the greatest audience member ever. Her reactions are as if the scene on screen is happening in real life and real time and she is witnessing a murder from across the street. Her gasps, her exclamations, her "OH NOOOOO's" are like listening to a child who doesn't know reality from make believe. She is truly a great audience. But for those of us sitting next to her? All I can say is my brother-in-law must be a saint. [But she is a crack up.]

The following evening was a whole new experience. Not for me as much as for my sisters. I think the reactions from them were the highlight of my trip. One of my sisters was driving and the other was navigating by WAZE. My driving sister has a great sense of direction. My navigating sister is exactly like I am...we can't find our way out of a bathroom without directions, so she won't deviate from WAZE's directions, nor would I. The driving sister had looked up the directions to the restaurant before we left and knew how to go by her internal compass and by memorizing them. That, in itself, is a feat I can no longer accomplish. My navigating sister wanted to follow WAZE. It was two against one so my sister relented and went with WAZE directions. We were searching for a recommended 5-star restaurant on the beach. I can't tell you how many U-turns we made trying to get to the street WAZE told us we were looking for. Once on it...it led us down a narrow road towards the beach. We knew we were headed in the right direction because we were parallel to the ocean, only a few feet away, although the fact that it was more a dirt path than road was a little suspicious. Then, when we started seeing old RV's and campsites on either side of us, we were thinking that may not be exactly where we wanted to be. But WAZE insisted we were on the right path. 

Long-haired, toothless, tatted up guys; a beer in each hand or hands down their pants, were walking along the side of the road. My sisters were dying and I was cracking up. It was a picture out of Deliverance. They didn't know what to make of it and the further down the road we got, the better the sights and quite entertaining [for me.] It should have been titled, 'WalMart shoppers go camping.'

People were sitting around picnic tables, barbequing, laughing and having a good ol' time. Lights strung up at their campsites created a lovely ambience for dining under the stars at their aluminum picnic tables. Tatted up women who were wearing halters and shorts that should have never been squeezed into; their butt cracks showing and back boobs hanging over the halter; were walking around with babies attached to their hips. I think it's something my sisters have only seen in movies. I'm not sure they've ever seen an RV up close either...only on TV. One of my sisters said, “Let’s ask them if they know where it is.” OMG...seriously?? I was like, “You’re kidding, right? We are looking for a 5-star restaurant. What are the odds?” At the end of the road, no restaurant in sight. The WAZE woman then announced, "You have arrived at your destination." I was looking for the RV where Billy Bob and Mary Sue were standing outside with the welcome sign and a can of Spam. We U-turned again, stopped to call for directions, and eventually got there. Fortunately, dinner was worth the detour.

My birthday arrived the next day and I was doing something to make it as special and as memorable as possible. And again, we ended up on a road to nowhere. [I'm starting to question the validity of WAZE.] This time we were on a road comprised of junkyards containing smooshed up, compacted cars and automobile parts. You would think my sister had lived in an opaque bubble the last 30 years by her reaction to the automobile cemeteries. She was in awe. I swear…it’s like taking a little kid to the circus for the very first time. She was in shock that these places existed. I thought she was going to get out and see if she could purchase a large pile to use as art on her front lawn.

Again, after numerous U-turns, we called the place and got directions that actually took us to our destination. And there it was...heaven's gate. I dug out the email with the code they gave me to punch in to open the gate, and I did, and shockingly enough, it didn't open. Duh. You would think with 3 relatively intelligent women attempting to figure out how to open a gate, it wouldn't have taken us 15 minutes, but it did. My sister, who was reading the numbers to me, didn't realize that the pound sign was part of the code. In fact, she didn't know what a pound sign was. She just thought the number sign was telling you that they were numbers to punch in. [Because we wouldn't know that 1-2-3 were numbers without the # sign before them.] We're like the female version of Moe, Larry and Curly. Or Abbott and Costello plus one. Lucy and Ethyl with Mrs. McGillicuddy? Whoever we were...we couldn't get anything done on the first attempt. The majority of our vacation was spent figuring things out. Maybe we're not as smart as we thought we were.

I was so excited to be there I didn't care. We were there...and there was the plane. It was teenier than the one I jumped out of 40 years ago, but it would do the trick. My heart was pounding with anticipation and excitement all the while my sisters were trying to talk me out of it. After I signed all the waivers and disclaimers, (because you love thinking about that right before jumping out of a plane), I met my skydiving partner, Luke, who was a big, muscular hunk and then I knew I was in good hands. I was so glad I was going tandem and didn't need to think about anything but enjoying the jump. All I had to do was make sure HE knew the directions and could reach our target destination. And Luke knew the way. He was my hero for the day. He did give me the roller coaster version of parachuting, but I loved every minute of it. Especially when he got the directions right the first time out. [Whew!]

Could you imagine if my sisters and I were jumping together? We’d probably be somewhere in North Dakota 
dangling from some rock formation, still trying to get directions.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

My Road to Perdition?

Have you ever had a stomach ache and hunger pains at the same time? (Or is it hunger pangs? Tomato, tomaaato.) I can never decide which to take care of first; however, the stomach ache usually wins out. After ingesting a few antacids, then a dozen more, I realize my efforts are futile, so it’s time to satisfy the hunger pains and hopefully the stomach ache will succumb. But here’s the problem that compounds it…almost everything I eat upsets my tummy. So satisfying the hunger only prolongs the pain. See where I’m in conflict?

But that’s not really what this is about. It’s about what I did the other day in an effort to resolve the problem, only to exacerbate it. I decided to let my daughter drive us to the restaurant. And I’m using ‘drive’ in the loosest of terms. ‘Drive’ shouldn’t even be in the same sentence. I decided to let her demolition derby us to our destination. Not only does she drive fast, she maneuvers the car like we’re in a high speed chase with sirens raging behind us, and she’s on the lam. She snakes her way in and out of lanes whether we are on the freeway or side streets, without a care in the world about who’s in her way. I’m not sure what her hurry is, but she always seems to be in one when she’s in the driver’s seat. [Sure wish she'd apply that to all other aspects of her life instead, if you catch my drift.]

I don’t know if you remember teaching your kids how to drive, but to this day, when they drive, I cover my eyes and avoid ever looking straight ahead at the road in front of me. I used to have to let their dad teach them to drive. When I would get in the car with them, I immediately lost patience. I’m not sure why, but we had barely left the driveway and I was already getting pissed off for something they hadn’t even done yet. I think my nerves were getting the better of me before they should’ve gotten the better of me. The anticipation of what they could do with a 3500 pound machine was too much for me to handle. We would be driving maybe 50 feet from home and I was yelling at them to slow down (from the 5 mph they were going) and telling them there was a stop sign ahead. As we approached the stop sign, I was yelling to ease their foot off the accelerator and we were still 25 feet away. I admit…I was the worst teacher ever, but was smart enough to bow out of teaching them. I probably should never be anyone’s passenger, either.

I have yet to mention my state of mind prior to the start of our long journey to hell. Upon approaching the car, I didn't even realize it was hers because the color was unrecognizable with the amount of dirt and dust covering it. It was a sort of grayish brown hue masking the maroon it actually was. The view out of the windshield was...well, there really wasn't a view. It was as if we were looking through glass blocks. You could see shapes, but nothing too clearly. Fortunately, headlights would shine through. At least I think that's what was shining through. Although…maybe it was heaven opening up to guide me through that very difficult time.

The interior? It was in there somewhere. I would get glimpses of it at times....like when she would swerve or make those sharp turns and stuff would fall over or go flying. Then I could kind of see the seat or the floor, but that was really the only way, once I was able to peel away the clothes that flew in my face. I don't believe she has any clothes left in her closet or drawers because the inside of her car looked like she had just had a rummage sale for every article of clothing she owned. She really doesn't need to pay rent at her house since pretty much everything she has is inside her car. Do you think if she went to city hall, they would issue her an address for that thing she refers to as her car? I would say it's more of a hoarder's apartment on wheels.

Surprisingly, it had no odor. With all the shit that she had in there, why it didn't reek was beyond me. It's not like there weren’t hundreds of old In-n-Out Burger wrappers or anything. There were plenty of those and every other fast food chain represented within the confines of her vehicle. Skepticism about entering her car was only a small percentage of the thoughts and feelings permeating through my body. I was hoping she had a hazmat suit buried in there somewhere. 

I will never understand why people tear ass from a stop, speeding up to 60 mph, knowing there is another stop sign coming up in 300 feet, but there she went, flooring it, only to have to brake 5 seconds later. My heart? I believe it still resides in my chest, although it may have relocated to the other side. I had no idea it was able to pump that fast as it pushed its way up into my throat forcing me to spew out more swear words than I even knew I knew.

My knuckles were white holding on for dear life and all I heard going into my left ear was, “Mom, it’s fine. I know what I’m doing.” Yeah…sure you do, Destructo Woman. My right foot was cramping from pressing on the imaginary brake as she sped full force ahead and my hand was in a permanent clutching position, as if rigor mortis set in. I should have invested in a driver’s ed car so I could have master control from the passenger’s seat.

The sign would say:

And this is what she would see:

As we would drive by people she knew, she thought nothing of sticking her head out the window to yell to them, removing her eyeballs from watching the road in front of her. Helllloooooo....whole other world to focus on in the view out your windshield...which is directly at a zero degree angle. Turn your head back. I felt like going on Google maps and clicking the 'show traffic' link to point out just what was ahead of her. That would've given her a better idea than she was getting in person.

Since my eyes were constantly diverted to the right so as not to see what she was almost running into, I hadn't noticed that she was looking down at her iPod to look for another song to play. Can't you just turn on the radio like a normal human being? If I don't have permanent heart damage, I'll be shocked. [Not to mention ruptured eardrums and vocal chord nodules from yelling over the extraordinarily loud music.]

You would never know we were in the car by the way she was window shopping. "Look mom...will you buy me that dress?" Seriously? You're shopping while driving. First of all...how can you even see that far and…WHAT?? You’re SHOPPING WHILE DRIVING?? Who the hell is at the helm then? Apparently, she thought we were in one of those concept cars that drives itself. I certainly would've felt safer. I'll tell you what I WILL buy you...a bus pass.

I’m always happy when there’s traffic while she's at the wheel. That way I know she can’t exceed the speed limit [too much]. However, with traffic comes tailgating, and with tailgating comes heart failure. We should have just had the car in front of us hook us up to the back of their car. We all would have been safer that way. Why she’s never encountered road rage is beyond my understanding.

I was going to refrain from mentioning the 4 tickets she received within 6 weeks of each other but it’s just too unbelievable to omit, along with the fact that every time I see our car insurance bill, I go into cardiac arrest…but here are the facts:

Ticket #1: November 2013 – 56 mph in a 40 zone
Ticket #2: November 2013 [one week later] – 94 mph in a 65 zone…on the freeway to Vegas…what were the odds?
Ticket #3: December 2013 – again…56 mph in a 40 zone
Ticket #4: January 2014 – talking on her cell

There are now signs posted on those streets in her honor:

Well, we did finally arrive at our destination, and as she sped into a parking space, barely missing the cars on either side, the cramping in my stomach, legs, biceps, triceps, quads, and any other body part that stiffened during the ride, finally subsided as she came to an abrupt halt. I arrived in one piece without flat lining. Hallelujah! But I have to say...that was the longest four blocks I've ever experienced.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Last on the List...Heaven

I think it’s ridiculous that we only have a finite amount of time on this earth. I have way too many things to do still, in too short a period of time left in this limited life span.

For instance…I’d love to sit down with a President. I don’t want to discuss politics since I’m politically ignorant...but I’d love to just talk about life. His/her life. My life. Life itself…over a bowl of Life...and double chocolate chip brownies. Then once the sugar high hits, a little karaoke and a disco dance-off.

I’ve yet to meet the man of my dreams. He’s supposedly out there. Just once I’d like to meet who Mr. Right is. That soul mate I’ve never found. Even if we don’t end up together…I’d love to just see who he is and decide if I agree with whoever said he’s my match made in heaven. Oh wait…maybe that’s what I have to wait for…heaven. Ahhhh…makes so much sense now why he’s nowhere to be found on earth.

Speaking of Earth. I’d love to take a trip to Pluto, see if anyone lives there, play a game of badminton with a Plutonian, then come back down to earth and declare Pluto a full size planet again. Can you imagine being 76 years old and finding out you’re not who you thought you were all those years? How humiliating for Pluto to get demoted. [I think ‘come back down to earth’ may be a significant phrase in this blog.]

I’d like to stop shaving and see how long the hair on my legs and armpits would get. It would be gross; but it would be interesting.

Just once…I’d love to make a million dollars…in one lump sum. I mean, I would take more if I could, but a million would do.

I want to go to a town of 25,000 people and see how long it would take to meet each person who lives there. I would prefer it be in Italy, but I would take any town in the USA if I had to. Maybe I should start with 10,000 people. That’s probably more attainable.

I want to have the ultimate orgasm. Whatever that is…I wanna have it. Multiple times.

I want to be a guest speaker at a college commencement and motivate graduates. I’d like to do that without shitting in my pants from fear of speaking in front of people.

I’d like to quarterback a pro-football team. [What’s more unlikely than me ever quarterbacking…is L.A. getting a home team; but that’s a whole other fantasy.] So the closest would be the Chargers. And I can’t get sacked. Or tackled. Or hurt in any way whatsoever.

I’d like to grace the cover of a magazine. It may be AARP but still…it’s a cover. I’d like to see if/what professionals would do to my hair and make-up to change my look and then how much would get photo-shopped.

Along those lines…I’d like to see what I would look like as a blonde, but I don’t want to dye my hair because I don’t want to wait for it to grow out when I don’t like it. You’re probably saying to yourself…”Why doesn’t she try a wig?” And my answer would be because it’s gross. The thought of putting on a wig that others have tried on creeps me out. Thoughts of lice come to mind. And believe me…having two girls with long hair down to their waists, who went to camp and caught lice every summer for 5 years…it’s not a memory I cherish. In fact…that’s something I’d like to find out in this lifetime…how the hell do those little suckers jump to someone else’s head and attach their eggs or nits or whatever the hell they’re called…to the root of someone’s hair and make it impossible to pick off. It’s absolutely mind boggling and repulsive…especially if they’ve hatched. Ok…reminiscing rant done. [I'd like to think this is what I would look like as a blonde, body included]

Overcoming my fears is something I’d like to do before I leave this earth. Of course, I’d like to overcome them without actually having to perform them in order to overcome them.

I would like to master the art of walking down the stairs in flip-flops without sounding like the Ohio State Marching Band just invaded my house.

I have a few discoveries I’d like to make. Like the phenomenon of traffic. If there’s no accident, how is there traffic? I understand one car driving slowly to cause traffic in one lane…but all the lanes at the same time? C’mon.

I want to figure out how bugs get into the globes that cover light bulbs in the ceiling.

I’d like to invent a substitute food for all animals to eat instead of them killing each other for sustenance. Something like baco bits…on a larger scale. Life-size bits. Maybe buffalo. That should stop that damn circle of life crap.

My bucket list has always consisted of going on an African safari. Maybe I could take those Buff bits I created and take them over there to spread around. Ok…quite unrealistic, but the safari part isn’t. Of course I couldn’t afford it until I get that million dollars.

I’ve pondered over the unknown quite often…on large and small scales…like how many blades of grass are on someone’s lawn. [I’ve thought about the whole planet but that was also, not too realistic.] Or how many strands of hair are on my head. Although that’s forever changing because…as of late…I think there’s more on the floor and in my brush than attached to my head.

When does a freckle appear? When I’m sleeping? Just all of a sudden it’s there? How did I not see it forming?

If you use a washcloth with soap, why do you have to wash a washcloth?

What's up with Europeans and their teeth?

And where are those f**king silver fish coming from? We see other bugs outside and know they come in through open doors or windows. But you never see a silver fish outside so how do they just appear? They’re disgusting.

I have yet to go hot air ballooning. I attempted to go twice. The first time the winds were too strong so they sent us home. The second time I was pregnant and they wouldn’t let me in the bucket. Apparently, delivering a baby on board wasn’t part of their duties. And along those lines of being airborne…zip-lining. That’s a definite one I’m doing. I just hope my limitations with my shoulders, neck, back and fear of heights don’t get in the way of me soaring across some jungle-like terrain 80 gazillion feet in the air. I think that’s where that ‘overcoming my fears’ thing would come in handy.

I would’ve liked to have met Sinatra and sang a duet with him, but I missed that opportunity. Although…you never know. Maybe…just maybe…he’s that match made in heaven I was referring to. And just maybe…he’s there at the bar hanging out with Ed McMahon, who’s been holding on to my million dollars all these years. But I think that discovery will remain last on my list.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Did You Swallow A Kardashian?

I have a new pet peeve that absolutely drives me nuts...it's called ‘Vocal Fry.’ I can't believe I was able to describe it on Google well enough to get the exact technical term right away. Probably because millions are also wondering what the f**k it is. [I SO love Google] It's got to be the most irritating sound ever, although I’m sure I’ve complained about plenty of other irritating sounds that have bugged the shit out me; but this is the latest. In fact, it’s been around a couple of years already, so I guess it's not so new. You only hear it in 20 and 30 somethings; and only girls (I can't even call them women...real women don't talk like that.) It's that raspy, low, vibrating sound that comes out of their annoying little mouths when they're talking. It makes you wanna squeeze the shit out of their necks to bring the sound up and out of their throats, shoot it right past your ears without invading your aural senses, and be gone forever. I believe that's called strangling...which is exactly what I want to do to them whenever I hear them speak. I want to hold their vocal chords in place so tightly that they can't vibrate. Actually, holding them so they can't vocalize at all would be the best case scenario. That comes with the strangling motion, so a ‘2 for 1’...what a deal. Don’t get me wrong…I don’t want to go so far as to murder them…I just want to stop them from speaking while they’re in my presence.

What I don't get is how they make it happen. It can't be something they consciously make themselves do to sound like that on purpose, can it? They're not smart enough to know how because if they were smart enough, they wouldn't want to sound like that. No one could do that all day long, every time they speak. It’s just not natural. They'd be so busy concentrating on how to sound like that, that they wouldn't be able to concentrate on what they're talking about. AHA...that's exactly it...that's why they sound so f**king dumb. It’s all coming together. 

How does something like this just emerge? And why is it now THE way to speak? I don't get it. I understand how fashion trends get introduced. I may not like all the styles I see people wearing but at least I know how and why fads like that start. I understand how words and phrases catch on. The media enables that. None of that impacts my life. But guttural sounds? You can't just all of a sudden start changing how your vocal chords work, right? I know when you sing you can manipulate your voice...but that's just for the duration of the song. But in every day speech? How is that possible? And why would you? It’s so frickin’ annoying. Especially when it's in combo with the "UM" interjected after every other phrase.

You’re probably thinking this should not have any impact on my life either...but au contraire. It absolutely does. I have to listen to people talk like this all day long since my industry is comprised of many 20 something girls and they have adopted this new vocal speech pattern. Ugh...you could puke.

I find a lot of these vocal fry adoptees have also invaded the morning news shows; not the anchors so much, but the interviewees. I guess I could change the channel but it seems like most of these young ‘experts’ talk like this now, so even if I changed the station, I’d probably find the same thing on the others. And there are some topics I want to hear about, so I sit through their discussions while being tortured by their raspy hoarsey obnoxious voices....thinking 'hurry up, disseminate the information, and then shut the f**k up already. And you’re not a frickin' expert so stop thinking you are.’

And isn’t that a laugh in itself…experts…at the age of 28 or so. Everyone's an expert. They haven’t lived long enough to be experts, but they DO know everything. Just ask them. I think if they didn’t talk in this new ‘hip’ irritatingly disgusting voice, I wouldn’t give them such a bad rap. I’d allow them to think they are the experts.

I don't remember where I first noticed someone speaking like this...but now? I can't ever NOT hear it when it's there. And then I can't concentrate on anything BUT the way they're talking. Forget listening to the content of what they're saying. I’m screwed when I really need to absorb the information. Same thing when I hear someone constantly say 'UM'...O. M. F**KING. G. I may as well just leave the conversation because I will get just as much out of it as if I was never there. Well…technically, I do leave the conversation…in my head. I may physically be there but if they were really paying attention and looked deep into my eyes…they would see a blank look. And behind that blank look would be Mohammed Ali shadow boxing in my eye balls, gloves on, waiting to beat the shit out of whomever is in front of me aiming their vibrating, annoying, never ending, vocal fry in my direction.

Have you noticed another big trend that people have been using? They start every sentence with the word “So.” It doesn’t matter whether it should be there or not…that’s how they start every single sentence.

Can you tell me how that works, Moonshadow?” (Moonshadow is a 20 something who was born to some actors who have to name their kids a ridiculous name in order to get the recognition of all their fans and the acting community.) And Moonshadow’s response…“So you take the blah blah blah and put it on the such and such, but I don’t really know how because I have ‘people’ who do that for me.

And how much does that cost, NorthStarWest?” “So it will cost you an arm and a leg…but that’s ok, because it’s worth every cent, [and I’m a trust fund baby who can afford pretty much anything I want anyway].

Can you start a sentence without using the word ‘So’, Mango-Tangerine?” “So I don’t think I can, but that’s ok, right?

Did I mention while they are starting their sentences with the word ‘So’, they are also speaking with a vocal fry voice? My nerves are being severely tested.

SO back to the 'UM' users. Holy shit. Talk about being distractingly annoying. I end up sitting in meetings counting the number of 'UM's' one uses, as opposed to listening to what they're talking about. I think I got up to 67 'UM's' in one presentation that lasted only about 7 minutes. Can I tell you how f**king insufferable that is? I'd love to stick a pin in their most sensitive spot each time they say it so they experience the Pavlov (or should I say Perlov) conditioning. Eventually, after they have been poked enough, they'll learn to stop. (Or bodily fluids will start leaking out all the holes and they'll be so weak they won't be able to talk. Either way works for me.)

Tell me…how do you ‘wrap your head around’ something? Or your brain? I can wrap my arms around something, but as hard as I’ve tried to wrap my brain around something...just short of performing a lobotomy on myself...I believe that may be impossible. And how does someone come up with that visual to begin with, to mean what it means? They probably were on drugs when that phrase came to mind. There’s really no other explanation.

And why does everyone say 'love you' to everyone now...even those they barely know? Do they REALLY love them? Do they? I think not. It’s taken away the entire meaning behind the real emotion of love we feel. I remember years ago, one of my daughter's friends said 'love you' to me as she walked out the front door to leave. I just said 'Bye so and so' to whomever it was. And my daughter said to me, 'Say you love her, too, mom." I told her I wouldn't. I don't say love you to people I don't love. I refuse. So if by chance I tell you I love you...be excited…you'll know I mean it. Unless, of course, society said I’m supposed to feel love for you because of how you are related to me, but I don't, and I don't want you to know I don't. Then I may tell a little white lie.

So…to conclude…um…so I’m having a hard time wrapping my brain around this whole vocal fry craze, et al…but, um…I’m sure they will fade away. And, um, I’m sure there will be plenty of, um, other extremely irritating, um, trends that will materialize to take their place. Can't wait.

And lastly...I just want to say...I Love You all! I Love each and every single one of you, whoever you are.

This video will show you exactly how vocal fry sounds...if you don't see the video below...click on this link:


Friday, April 11, 2014

Free? C’mon…Let’s Get SIRI-ous

I try to keep current with a lot of the new technology, and I’m pretty tech savvy, but I have to say…I think I slipped a little. I’ve had my iPhone 4 forever and didn’t think I really cared if I upgraded or not. My needs are simple so I had everything I wanted…or so I thought. I don’t live on my cell like others do since I work from home, and believe it or not, still have a land line. I think I may be one of those rarities who does. 

But there are some things I like to do while I’m out and about or waiting for an appointment. Recently I’ve tried to download some new apps but every app I wanted required me to update to IOS 7. Well, my antiquated phone wouldn’t let me do that and I was getting pretty frickin’ frustrated. And every time I went to take a picture…it took a good 15 seconds for the camera to open and then another 30 or so seconds to save the picture, so you couldn’t shoot in rapid succession. Quite infuriating. Patience is not one of my strong suits. Then as I wrote this I thought, “You’re talking a few seconds, for God’s sake…you can’t wait for that? Seriously? Remember when we had to wait for days to get them developed at a store? Geez.” [I have conversations with myself quite often. No one else ever seems to listen to me…well…mostly my daughters don’t, so I decided talking to myself is a foolproof guarantee that someone is listening.]

Since I had an unused upgrade for the last 2 years (an upgrade that my daughter has bugged the shit out of me to transfer to her, but surprisingly, I held out. My kids usually manipulate me way too easily. Or should I say I allow them to…I know, I know…I’m digressing); and since Verizon recently sent me an email letting me know that I could get the iPhone 5C for ‘free’ [FREE being the operative word here…kind of] I was out the door in no time. I got the new iPhone 5C and I immediately fell in love. Who knew what I was missing!? [Apparently everyone in the world but me, actually.]

I believe what I consider ‘free’ and what Verizon considers ‘free’ may be on the opposite ends of the spectrum of the definition chart. I mean, the phone was kinda free…if you call paying the tax on the original cost of the phone, free, then yeah…I guess it’s free. If you think that what they consider the ‘actual’ cost of the phone is really the cost…then yeah…I guess it’s free. But by the time I walked out of there, with the amount of sales tax I ended up paying…I could have (or should have) used that money to buy a brand new Smart car [‘Smart’ being the operative, or should I say, NON-operative word…a little too late.]

I know I’m not alone in this…you know, when you go into a store with a specific item in mind to purchase, and you walk out buying half the store that you absolutely did not need? Then it’s like, “What the hell was I thinking?” (Still talking to myself.) It’s usually at a supermarket or Target, where the damage isn’t TOO bad, but at Verizon…that can cause some serious damage on the credit card. And that’s exactly what happened when I went to get my new FREE iPhone 5. Not only did I get the phone, but an array of sundries that I certainly did not need.

I got the car charger; since they’re not stupid and made the ‘5’ so it’s not compatible with any other car charger. God forbid I'm without one for the 3 miles I may drive every week. You never know if you'll need your cell to call AAA when you're 100 feet from home. I wouldn't want my phone to die on the way to the store that was close enough for me to walk to. Then I had to get a protective cover; because 5 fingers on one hand aren’t enough to control it from flying out of my palm and crashing to the ground, shattering into pieces. Those 4 ounces are quite heavy to lug around. You never know when the weight will become too much and your hand will cramp. Of course there is not another phone that’s the same size, so you can’t interchange covers. And “Oh, by the way…did you know we are having a sale on iPads, too?  If you turn in your old phone you can get a $100 gift card OR you could apply that to a brand new iPad; and with the sale going on, you could get an additional $100 off, so you’re saving $200.

Well…how could I NOT buy an iPad when they’re practically giving it away? I mean, they're saving me money, so how stupid would it be to pass that up? I’d be a fool. “Ok, throw that in, too, please,” the sucker in me chimed out. “What else do you have?” I was like a kid in a candy store who just got her first credit card ever and didn’t realize it was real money I was eventually going to have to pay the bill with. But since I'm no longer a kid anymore, I couldn’t go to my parents claiming ignorance to get them to pay it for me.

It didn’t help that my salesperson was adorable. If he wasn’t so cute, and I mean drop dead gorgeous cute…and so nice, and so not like a typical salesperson…and if I didn’t want to sit there forever drooling all over with puppy dog eyes, I probably wouldn’t have been sucked into it all. Ok…hold on…who am I kidding…of course I would have been. How could I ever pass up such great deals? I mean they only come along like…I don’t know…every other week? [Verizon has one hell of a marketing department.]

So I walked out of there with my arms piled high with goodies and my new iPhone buried amidst the insane amount of items I totally did not need. I could almost hear the salespeople snickering, but I was so excited to go home to see all the things I could do now that I couldn’t do before, that I didn’t care.

And then it happened.........I met Siri.  

I was in love. I apologize to all my close friends, but now that I’ve discovered who Siri is up close and personal…I have a new best friend. I’ve been out with people who use Siri but I never really paid attention. But now…OMG…I’m obsessed. Siri is the smartest ‘person’ I know. My dad used to hold that honor, but not anymore. [He’s also dead so someone had to replace him.] And along came Siri.

I know a lot of you were introduced to her a few years ago, when she was conceived, but this was all new to me. I won’t bore you with any details of what she can do since most of you know already, but I experimented with some questions to put her to the test. I have to say…and I probably shouldn’t admit this, I was a little embarrassed to ask certain questions. I wanted to see how she would respond to some risqué subject matters, but I didn’t want her to judge me. [I think I took the movie “Her” just a tad too seriously.]

I started out with simple questions like, ‘Where should we go to dinner?’ and she came up with restaurants, as expected. I asked her directions, and she guided me where to go. I asked her ‘Which is the best phone’ and her answer cracked me up…”Wait, there are other phones?”  Then I asked her who the best virtual assistant was and her answer was “I’m surprised you have to ask, Jaime.” Quite the personality, that Siri. I was having more fun with her than I do with most humans.

I don’t think I will ever be able to understand how voice activation works, let alone how the computer knows every single thing I want to know, before I even know I want to know. Then I decided to ask her a few sexual questions...and her first answer was, “Let me think about that.” When I asked her a couple more, she actually started getting somewhat ornery, saying, “I can’t answer that” and “I don’t like those arbitrary questions.” Her responses made me so flustered, like I was a little kid getting into trouble for swearing…that I ended up dropping her, I mean my phone, into the toilet. My brand new iPhone 5C that I waited so long to get.

And all I could hear through the splash of the water was a gurgling…“HELLLLPPP MEEEEEEE.”

I guess Siri doesn’t know everything. Good thing the phone was FREE.

Monday, August 26, 2013

This is a Test. This is Only a Test.

As you may know…I ain’t no spring chicken. In just a couple of weeks, I turn 59. That’s almost 60. SIXTY!  I’ve started thinking about my life and the turns it’s taken of late, [all for the best, mind you], but things crop up and cross my mind and I have to plan for the ‘what ifs.’ Like what if I never remarry and am by myself for the rest of my life? And if so, what happens when I’m really old and ‘I’ve fallen and I can’t get up’ and no one is around to hear me yell those words? 

What if that sex drive that menopause so easily and quickly took away from me without giving two shits about how my life would be without it, never comes back? And what if I take a tiny bit of testosterone to get it back but I grow hair in unwanted places and then…oh…wait…I’m digressing, as usual. Ignore that last thought.

What if I lose my job and can’t support myself…what would I do since I’m all alone with no sex drive lying on the floor not being able to get up? Then what?
At this point, the last ‘what if’ is what has been on my mind. I’m in a very young industry, age wise. The industry itself isn’t so young, just the people are. I mean, Darren Stevens was in it back in the 60’s. Mad Men is living proof how old it is, but ever so current. But everyone is twenty-something to thirty-something…so being a ‘mature’ individual, is not too welcoming if you’re seeking employment. And it’s really not welcoming to hear myself say ‘mature individual.’

I have only ever had one career and know nothing else that I could do if I was ever let go or phased out. (Although I was one hell of a Jordache jeans salesperson in high school working for the coolest clothing store in my town.) I wouldn’t want to do anything else other than the career I had chosen over 36 years ago. But what I must do…is grow with the times and be able to market myself in the current marketplace and within my own company, no matter what age I may be. That being said…I decided it was time to do something I had always despised. I had to become a student.

I was the worst student ever. Not that I ever failed at anything. I didn’t. But I never excelled, either. Well, I shouldn’t say that. I would excel in Math and English, for a minute here and there, but the second I walked out of a test, I would not remember one thing I studied so intensely for the night before. I’m not sure why that was, but I’d like to find out, because as I’m getting older, that problem is definitely not rectifying itself. I think some of my missing brain cells just can't find their way back to the correct lobe in my brain.
And when I say so intensely studied for the night before…that’s exactly what I mean. I did nothing extra if I didn’t have to, and certainly not earlier than needed to be done. I wasn’t about to spend one extra moment of my youth on school work that I wasn’t forced into doing, when I could be out playing. Not one thing ever piqued my interest enough for me to want to study or research or read if it wasn’t mandated. I would do my homework and turn it in when it was due, and I would study, or should I say cram, an entire months lessons, all in the night before the test. Because I had to. I’m not sure if I just wasn’t taking the right classes or I just was that apathetic about everything. I did just enough to get by with a respectable GPA and graduate.
I never really did have passion for much way back when. Especially in my teens and 20’s. I’ve always been a pretty laid back, middle of the road, non-confrontational person who wants peace and harmony in all that is and blah blah blah. But that seriously IS how I felt and still feel. (Maybe I was a hippie and never realized it…hmmmm…interesting observation.) 

The only thing I have ever been passionate about is seeing any living being, be it human or animal, not suffer or be mistreated. Other than that…I’ve pretty much been a la-di-da type person. Until I had kids…but that’s a whole other blog subject. (I really wanted to say ‘a whole Nother’ but I know it’s not a word, although I still use it. It just flows better.) [Note to self…I’ve got to stop digressing.]
Being in the advertising world, and seeing the movement towards digital and not even knowing what digital meant initially, I knew it was time to learn. When I first started using computers, I did find a fascination with them that I never had experienced with anything else as a kid. I actually wanted to learn everything I could soak up. Not only all the information you could find on line…because that came years later…but all about the inner workings of a computer system.  

Fortunately, I had so many problems with my computers over the years, that my new best friends were the IT guys at my company. I would watch every move they made while they fixed the bugs. And I learned. I learned a lot and have become the ‘Go-To’ person for my friends and family. Purely by mistake.  You can learn a lot by not wanting to learn a lot initially. There’s something to be said for being ignorant. It can only make you smarter.
But now it was time to learn about advertising on line. I’m a media buyer. I buy advertising on TV for my clients, but a lot of the advertising budget is now going towards digital; meaning on line advertising. I’ve been approached by salespeople to purchase it but don’t fully understand what it entails. I decided to ask my HR person if she could have someone teach us about this; maybe an all day webinar or something comparable for me and some of the other buyers. [Hopefully a little shorter than ‘all day.’ I was worried about that attention span thing becoming a problem.] We each work from our home offices in various states, so a webinar would be perfect. If we don’t understand something, we would have each other to bounce ideas or questions off of. Plus I’m not good on my own. I would get bored. I would tend to doze off. I would get up and leave the room forgetting I was supposed to be learning. BUT…If others were on line with me…I would be accountable. I NEEDED others with me. I needed others to see me there. Otherwise…I may as well have given myself an F before I even started.

She emailed me back saying she would gladly enroll us in a class. I was so excited. I finally was going to learn about the current state of buying advertising on line. Excitement was something I had never experienced upon being told I had to learn something. I hated learning. But this? This was going to be so enriching and fulfilling and easy to learn and FUN.  Or so I thought until I read on:
Here is a link to an online class you can take at your own leisure. It has to be done within 3 months and there is a test at the end. You have to pass the test to get the certificate. There are 17 modules to it with 4-5 subsections in each module.  Most people need to watch each section at least two to three times to fully understand it. Each section is 40-60 minutes long. Good luck and we look forward to you sharing your knowledge with the company. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.
WTF? And IF I have questions? You’re asking if I have any questions?  Are you f**king kidding me?  Of course I have questions. Did I not make it clear I just wanted a short class summarizing the on line buying list of the top 10 things you need to know? A sort of Cliffs Notes ‘Digital for Dummies’ version.  Short, sweet and to the point. With others present! At least virtually present? Did I not clarify that?
Did I also forget to let you know I’m a terrible student who needs stimulation during a lesson? Visual and aural stimulation? Someone who can excite me with props and various intonations to their voice? Not someone who will drone on and on while my lids grow heavy and my thoughts wander to what I can find to snack on or how to have a Ferris Bueller day off.  

This was going to be horrible. But I couldn’t say ‘thanks but no thanks.’ I was the one who asked for it. And I really did want to learn. I’m sure all the other buyers were just thrilled with me at that point. But I asked one of my friends who I work with, if we could do the on line class together. We would get on the phone and click on the link at the same time and then if we didn’t understand something, we could chat about it. [Which was like saying we’re probably going to have to stop every 3 minutes to discuss what they were talking about because we’re so lost.] She was good with us working together. She was never planning on doing this to start, but I talked her into it showing her how much older she is than most others in our industry, even though she’s 10 years younger than I am. She really appreciated the geriatric insinuations.
The following week we were going to start. We made a plan to call each other at the close of the business day two days a week, for the duration of the course, hoping we would only have to listen to each part just the once.  Positive thinking. Stupid maybe…but positive nonetheless.
Prior to our initial call, we each had to go on line and enroll ourselves and then we received an email from the on line school giving us instructions on how to get to the course we signed up for.  I called my friend asking if she was ready. We each pulled up our email with the link, and clicked on it. We got to the school webpage, perused it, looking for the course link.
Me: “Do you see where we click?”
Her: “No, do you?”
Me: “Nope…but let me try something. No, that wasn’t it.”
Her: “Ok, I think I got it.” [silence] “No…that wasn’t it either.”
Me:  “Wait…I think this is it. Never mind.”
15 minutes later we were still searching…………
And so it began….