It’s moving weekend. I don’t expect to be online much between now and Tuesday. But I should be back next week with plenty of stories from Adventures in Relocating.

Until then, there’s this guy . I featured Jeremy Harper on CNN back in June. He gets kudos for keeping at it.

Happy Labor Day.

Speaking of food,

I’m not much of a cook. And by “not much of a cook,” I mean, I don’t cook at all. I can make turkey chili and rice, and that’s about it. And even the rice part is hit or miss most of the time.

But I love food. I watch a lot of Food Network. I have food preparation envy. I’m just more of a take out/order in kind of gal.

I never cooked much as a kid. My mother was an excellent cook and my father was a spectacularly particular eater so there was no need to mess with either side of that equation. When I got to college, there wasn’t much cooking involved in maintaining the frozen yogurt and pretzel diet. And living in various studio apartments in Manhattan with microscopic kitchens, I was never inspired to buy decent cookware, let alone attempt to fire up a meal.

I’m sure if I ever get to a place with space, I’ll take a stab at learning to cook. I think it’d be fun to try. Worst case scenario, I contribute to The Burnt Food Museum .

A liquidity crisis is when there’s too much milk in my oatmeal

I HATE runny oatmeal. I actually don’t like oatmeal that much even when its NOT runny. And I hate that people call it that. It’s “oats” or “rolled oats”. “Meal” denotes flour that is made of something. Corn meal is corn flour. Corn Flakes are not corn meal. “Oats” are not “oatmeal”. It’s sort of like saying “tunafish,” which everyone says, even though “tuna” never refers to anything but a type of fish. It’s not like the reader was going to think maybe you had a “tuna bird” wrap for lunch.

My meds have worn off so I get derailed easily. The point I WANTED to make is about business. That’s what I do for a living – I talk about business. Not to you. Not right now. All the time. And right now I am saddled with the least sexy confluence of stories imaginable. A “subprime” mortgage meltdown, combined with a credit crunch and a liquidity crisis. It’s the business equivalent of a “tuna fish” wrap with a side of carrots and runny “oatmeal”. I can’t make this sing if I wanted to. My producer, who shall remain nameless, but we’ll call him “Adam” for purposes of this entry (‘cuz that’s his name), says he’s bored with the story. It’s become like identity theft: it happens all the time, to millions of people, but it doesn’t matter until it happens to you.

So I have decided to put a face to the mortgage story. Tomorrow morning I go public with the fact that I am, in fact, subprime. Uh huh. According to research I have done, having a credit score of less that 700 makes you sub-prime. Guess what? I been late a few times. On my payments. I never automated them, and I am habitually late. My car company, for whatever reason, feels the need to report my late payments to the credit bureau EVERY SINGLE TIME. My credit score has taken a fierce beating as a result, and I am one of the millions of subprime homeowners that are, apparently, part of the problem.

If you can’t beat em, join em. Maybe I’ll kick it up a notch. I’ll be Optimus SubPrime.

Bad Poetry for the masses

Ever sat on the floor
And scraped gum off a shoe?
That’s now how hopeless
I feel about you.
I poke and I prod
I can’t seem get through.
But I’m not giving up
It’s just not what I do.
Cause like it or not,
I stepped in that gum
And I’m bound to keep going
’til I’ve dented it some.
Plus I like these shoes
They look good on my feet
And if I scrape hard enough
I might have that gum beat.
Sure there’ll still be a spot
Where the gum used to be
But if it’s no longer sticky
Then it’s ok by me.

You do the math

I should probably stay away from sexual content simply because you never know what’s going to come back to haunt you, but this is just too good to ignore.

Reuters reports that HPV could be causing a rise in oral cancers in men.

One study found that men with 6 or more oral sex partners were at higher risk.

Where are all these men that are performing all this oral sex? Seriously. I love men, but did the researchers explain this meant giving not getting?

Plus, the CDC says that by age 50, at least 80 percent of women will have acquired genital HPV infection.

With numbers that high, you’d think all these “generous” men would just be dropping like flies.

I’m just saying.

Technically speaking

I’ve always been fascinated by the Internet. I remember sitting at my Mac IIsi in the playroom in my parents’ house logging into AOL for the very first time. I skipped from chat room to chat room peeking in on a world that was totally foreign and yet totally fascinating. I spent five straight hours online talking to strangers until one took the chat a little too far for comfort. I instantly escaped. I had tested my boundaries and found the difference between alright and wrong. At least for me.

But what I remember most about that night is how fast the time flew by and how I lost myself in this world of connectivity. It was something about people engaging in a way I’d never seen before. No physical recognition. No significant sound. Just this constant scroll of line after line. A/S/L. Hi room. Hello? There was never a good way to jump into the noise. I was alone in my actual space but well aware of the crowd in this virtual space and eerily concerned about what they might think of me. Was I doing it right? Was there even a way?

By the time I got to Pseudo, the concept of online community had matured and evolved into a creature all its own. I not only had to reacquaint myself with the etiquette, but I also had to learn all about chat clients and admins and bots and a whole world of interactivity that had grown exponentially in a short period of time. It was exciting, and when I got the chance to marry that interactivity with the TV skills I’d picked up in the interim, I could not have been happier. The best part of all of it was how small the world became. I could talk to anyone anywhere at any time. And so could they. You. Whoever was reaching out through that computer to connect to people with similar interests or intentions. I don’t think online community makes you antisocial. I think if you are predisposed to avoiding personal contact, then yes, it can give you an excuse to continue to cocoon. But the majority of the people I have met through some online venture or another over the years have been interesting, smart, and creative people thrilled to have an additional outlet for what they choose to contribute.

Not enough is ever said about the good that comes out of online community. Predators and identity thieves and criminals dominate the news because worst case scenario always does. But I’ll see your creepy stranger who pushes the envelope of decency and raise you a whole slew of honest, compassionate, intelligent, forward-thinking chatters or bloggers or blog readers or friends or contacts who make the world – and the world wide web – a better place.

Cleaning house

It is astounding how much stuff I’ve collected -and kept – over the years. And not fancy stuff or pricey stuff or even stuff I’d necessarily want people to know I’ve got. Like that weird shiny blue wrap/shrug thing I bought a zillion years ago and have never worn or the thank you notes from my Bat Mitzvah. I am so not kidding. They’re purple cards that say Jacqueline on the front, and I still have them. They have not only survived decades, but they have moved with me through four cities and seven apartments. What’s the thought process here? That I am going to need them at some point down the line?

I’m a sentimental girl, and I think the reason I hang onto stuff is because I’m not great at saying good-bye. I’m clearly not afraid of change. I move all the time, and I’m the queen of taking a chance on The Gig Less Secure. But I do hold onto memories, and I hold on tight. And a lot of my stuff holds memories. Like the overalls I bought in the West Village with my Mom at the Army Surplus store. I’m not planning on wearing overalls anytime soon, but I just can’t bring myself to put them in the Goodwill pile. Same with the stuffed football from Walmart we picked out to celebrate my first on-air sports gig. Or the one maraca from Cozumel that came home from a cruise. It’s partner fell off the wall and shattered a long time ago. Now it’s just one lone gourd. Lonely and sitting in flower pot whose true occupant – a gorgeous orchid – died months ago (I murder plants, but that’s a saga for another post). Yes, I saved the empty pot.

There are cards from exes and ID badges from conventions and costume jewelry that hasn’t seen the light of day in at least 8 years. Don’t even get me started on the collection of VHS tapes I drag from place to place. They’re not movies. They’re me. On TV. Over the years. Yes, I do have a VCR, but it’s not plugged in, and I can’t remember the last time it was. No one actually watches the tapes. They just take up room. I have a cordless phone but no landline. A humidifier and a vaporizer. Neither gets used. I’m afraid to dig through my coat closet. I fear the Army of Unused Bags may attack. And in case you start conjuring up images of some Cribs-style tour of my shoe collection, just stop right there. Think less sample sale and more garage sale.

Even the cat’s got too much crap. She’s got some purple plastic thing that collects dust in the corner, and she hasn’t gone near that leopard-print kitty hammock in years! But how do you toss it? Any of it? How do you take years of your life and throw them away?

This move, I’m planning to give it a solid try. One unused something or other at a time. Not the important stuff. That’ll survive. But definitely the dust-collectors whose sole purpose is to leave imprints on shelves and take up space in drawers. If they say one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, then maybe my memories will make someone new happy too. Think of all the fun you can have with a blonde wig, an opened-but-never-played game of Risk, and a walkman.

Nevermind. I don’t want to know.

The games Wii play

Do you remember Night Driver? Better yet, do you remember Atari? It’s a shock to the system when someone says he doesn’t. I’m finding the older I get, the more often I encounter these someones. People who don’t remember the stuff I just assume everyone knows.

It first happened a few weeks ago on the Metro. It was rush hour, and I was minding my own business, eavesdropping as usual, and I heard the following exchange:

“Hey, have you ever seen that movie Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure?”

“No. What is it?”

What is it? Really? Shut up, Ted!

Now, I’m not saying Bill & Ted’s is necessarily iconic, but I do consider it one of those movies that you’d just expect everyone would at least recognize. Apparently not. The Metro incident stuck with me, and I quizzed an intern the next day. What had he seen? What did he know? Had he ever heard of (insert 80’s film here)? Specifics aside, I left that inquisition dejected too. Clearly, it’s an age thing.

That age thing reared its ugly head again this weekend during what my friends and I refer to as “board game night” but should be lovingly renamed “wine, beer, and oh, weren’t we supposed to be playing something?” night. The crowd spanned from early 20’s to early-30’s, and when the conversation turned to video games, the distinction grew mortifyingly apparent. My younger friends knew Nintendo. They knew nothing of Atari. Not even a little. The joy of the Joystick and that one red button lost on a whole generation.

Don’t get me wrong. I totally appreciate where gaming stands today, and I accept my limitations. For instance, I can’t play fast FPS games because they make me nauseous, and my “Wii age” is downright depressing. I tried DDR at an ESPN Zone recently, and it ended before I could even move a foot. Twice. So I know exactly when video games outgrew me, and I am ok with that. It’s still fun to try. But it is not fun to learn that your pop culture references are no longer the norm and that you can get beat at Trivial Pursuit 90’s edition because your younger friends just remember the early 90’s better than you do. Who needs THAT age verification? No thanks. Your turn.

But overall, the good truth is that I feel great, I like getting older, and generally, I don’t think about my age. In fact, I wouldn’t mind figuring out how to get the rest of the world to stop reminding me on a regular basis.

Now, that would be an excellent game. We could call it Delusional Pursuit. Wanna play?

Service with a scowl

Here’s the fun of a personal blog. Venting!

I bought a t-shirt as a gift for someone about three weeks ago. It was a cute find from a cute little store that usually has some terrific stuff. Anyway, turns out the tee was a size too small. Since the giftee lives out west, I offered to swap out shirts and mail the new one back to her. Easy enough.

Except for the fact that I can be The Procrastinator when it comes to small tasks. The big stuff gets done fast and furious no problem. But mini errands – not so much.

Today was a free-ish day so I took a stroll down to the store to swap out the shirt. I found the receipt and noticed it said there was a 14-day return policy, but I thought it wouldn’t be an issue since I was just trading out sizes. The tag – a HUGE cardboard tag – was still on the shirt so it was clear it hadn’t been worn. And I can be relatively convincing with a smile and a little practical logic on my side.

I get to the store, and it’s empty. Not one or two people empty. Desert empty. Just the clerk and me. So I walk up to his little counter and say, “Hi. I’m hoping you can help me.”


“Well, I bought this shirt for a friend and it was the wrong size. I was wondering if I could just exchange it for a larger one if you have it.”

“Was it on sale?”

“Um. No. I have the receipt. I really like the shirt. I just want the same one a size larger. Would that be alright?”

He looks at the receipt and notices it’s been three weeks since my purchase, not two.

“I’m not supposed to do this,” he says.

“I know,” I say expecting him to follow up with something to the effect of, “but go ahead.”


“Um,” I continue, “Yes, I noticed that it was a little late, but it’s never been worn and I have the receipt and you’re not going to be out any merchandise or money because all I want to do it swap sizes.”

He looks at me with utter disdain.

“I’m not supposed to do this.”

Now at this point, I can’t understand where we’re going. Is he going to help me or not?

“Is there anything I can do? What if we make the exchange, AND I buy something new?” Go me for finding an excuse to shop!

“It won’t matter. I’m not supposed to do this.”

Ok. I just offered to give you MORE money in exchange for a small favor, and you declined? Or did you? I’m so confused. We just sort of stand there. He sighs and gets up from his stool behind the little counter. He then walks over to the t-shirt pile and pulls out three shirts in the same pattern but different color.

“Is there a large in here?” I say as I flip through them. There is.

“Can I swap?” I ask.

“I’m not supposed to do this. If I do it for you, then I have to do it for everyone.”

Did I mention the store is empty? Who am I going to tell? (I get the irony of my now blogging the saga. Let it go.)

Then he takes the old shirt, gives me the new shirt, and huffs off towards the back of the shop. I thank him profusely and try to continue to browse in the hopes of finding some more cute things and giving this cute little store more money. But moments later, the clerk is back behind the counter, and the longer I look, the heavier the weight of his stare of disgust. I can actually feel the scorn. I give up.

I thank him again on the way out. He grumbles. I leave. Then I call my mother and said, “Get this!” and recount the whole saga. She’s a good ear.

Yes, trivial in the scheme of things but here’s my issue: If you don’t want to make an exception, don’t. I’d get it. You can’t fault me for trying. There’s never harm in trying. And if you say no, I can cope. I’m a big girl. But if you ARE going to make an exception and do me a favor, then just do it. Be kind about it. Chalk it up to good karma and wait for it to come back around in some fabulously unexpected way. But attitude does neither of us any good. What’s the point?

I guess where I am going with all this is trying to figure out when little things became such big deals. And if you’re going to break the rules, then go for it. Shatter the suckers, and do it with a smile. Life’s just more fun that way.