Sunday, November 21, 2010

Thanksgiving Comes First (even if you want to tell the whole holiday season to suck it)

I'm writing this for my new friend, Suldog, who writes fabulous blog entries that I need a thesaurus to interpret but inspires me to be a better - or at least a more loquacious yet articulate - writer (like that?!).

Sully hates the fact that Christmas is now officially celebrated for a quarter of the year.  And I tend to agree, although for slightly different reasons.

It used to be when I was a kid that I looked forward to Thanksgiving for the pure reliable family traditions.  Every year, me and my mom, dad and brother would walk up the street to my grandparents' house for the yearly Thanksgiving feast.  The men would watch football while the women finished up the meal preparations.  Around 2:00, everybody would sit down to turkey, potatoes, cranberries, rolls and some kind of veggie/fruit jello mold thing.

To this day, Thanksgiving just isn't Thanksgiving without a mystery-fruit jello mold.

After dinner, everybody would lay around like giant slugs, maybe play a game of Scrabble or cards and then reconvene in the living room for pumpkin pie and the inevitable showing of The Ten Commandments or The Sound of Music on TV.

There was a lot of comfort in this familiarity.  Family spending time together before the advent of cell phones and Twitter.

The next day, you would start to see traces of Christmas here and there.  Christmas lights on the neighbors' houses, candles and poinsettias in church, holiday trees in the department stores.  Christmas had officially begun.

The sales circulars didn't show up in the newspaper until Thanksgiving Day.  It was fun to sit around after Thanksgiving dinner with a 10-pound newspaper and piece together an imaginary Christmas list.

But Thanksgiving always came first.

I don't know exactly when it started to happen, but Christmas started to creep.  Some years ago, I noticed that stores started to kick-off the season the day after Halloween.  And then it started before Halloween.  In a year or two, I imagine that we will start to hear Santa Claus is Coming to Town on July 5th.

This year, I admit, I haven't paid much attention to the holiday creep.  But now with Thanksgiving just around the corner, it's hard to ignore.  Something about being newly single again tends to make the holidays seem not so warm and fuzzy, and more like a axe hanging over one's neck.

Perspective changes everything.

To me it's not so much that Christmas is taking over, it's that I don't want to deal with the holidays... period.  How does starting it so much earlier sound like a good idea to anybody...except maybe Best Buy?

The holidays as an adult are tough as it is - parties you don't want to go to, gift-exhanges for people you don't like, forced jolliness, fruit cake.  Add into it the pressure to singly provide a fun and memorable holiday for a 11-year old when money is tight and your entire family lives 2000 miles away, and the holidays are downright frightening.

I'm not in the mood for the neighbors who never took down the Christmas lights from last year but turned them on the day after Halloween with a "look how on top of things we are, fuckers".

I don't want to hear Christmas music on the radio before Thanksgiving...or Halloween...or the first day of school.  It's bad enough to be depressed and flipping through the radio stations and have to deal with occasionally landing on the easy listening radio station that plays "all love songs all the time" - or as the newly single like to refer to as "stick-your-head-in-the-oven love songs".  But throw in deck the halls and chestnuts roasting and Frosty and I'm ready to forego something as elaborate as the oven and head straight to the George Foreman grill to see what kind of damage I can inflict there.  I'm not sure I know how to use the oven anyway.

Let's not move this shit up on the calendar any earlier than we absolutely need to!  Sheesh.

But there are things for which I am grateful and I will remind myself of those things on Thursday when everybody takes a break from a full month of Black Friday and gorges themselves on turkey and jello molds.

I am thankful for my amazing 11-year old daughter who, with one smile, makes me forget everything else.

I am thankful for my friend, B, who has had pity on me and invited the me and the Princess to Thanksgiving dinner because she knows that we are alone and I don't cook and I'm a vegetarian and the Princess should definitely not have to suffer without turkey and would likely be served Oscar Meyer processed turkey if we didn't go to B's.  (Note to B - shall I bring the jello mold?)

I'm thankful that the Princess's Christmas list has gone down from "everything in the Pottery Barn Teen catalog please" to a pair of Uggs and a new cell phone.

I am thankful that I have a job.  And that I have a job that only makes me want to stab myself in the eyeball with a fork about half the time.

I am thankful I have good friends who still love me even when I'm sad and anti-social.

I am thankful that I don't have any cavities.

I am thankful for my friend K, who let me cry on her shoulder even though she was 3000 miles away.  And then I forgot her birthday, making me the worst friend EVER.

I am thankful that I have my health and good shoes.

Even though I will likely only receive a hand-knitted slightly crooked Princess-made scarf for Christmas, I am thankful that I will be receiving a hand-knitted slightly crooked Princess-made scarf for Christmas.

And I am thankful that I know when I am coming dangerously close to insufferable self-pity.

So for candy canes until after the tofu turkey.  No Christmas shopping until after the actual Black Friday (or the next paycheck, more likely).  No holiday music...ever.

I'm going to stop and be thankful.

And then I can be a Grinch.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

"Touch my junk" and other reasons to feel better about the world in general

I was fully planning on sulking for a while longer, but then I heard the airport security tale of John Tyner.  And nothing will temporarily pull me out of a funk faster than hearing somebody bitch about TSA security processes.

In case you haven't heard, John Tyner - a software engineer from San Diego – chose to “opt-out” of the new and improved full-body naked airport scanners and was asked to submit to the new and improved full-body pat down by a TSA agent.  Mr. Tyner decided, that, no, he didn't want his crotch grabbed by a complete stranger, told them so and offered to go through the regular metal detector like most of the other passengers.  The conversation soon escalated and Mr. Tyner was told that he not only couldn’t board his flight, but also couldn’t leave the airport AND he was likely now subject to civil charges and a $10,000 fine.  Mr. Tyner left the airport.

The best part is that he recorded everything on his cell phone and now the phrase “touch my junk” can be inserted into polite conversation.  


You can read the first-hand account through this link.

Much like the Jet Blue guy who grabbed a beer and exited his plane via inflatable ramp, Mr. Tyner has received both resounding praise for his actions, and loud derision. 

I, for one, am a fan.

I started writing about my experiences with TSA at the San Jose airport back in September.  Back then – which I can now refer to safely as “the good ol’ days" – my biggest issue was continuously setting off the security metal detector with my underwire bra and having to face a friendly “back of the hand along the boobs” pat-down to ensure that I hadn’t stuffed an uzi or exploding breath mints in my bra.

Then it was the backscatter scanners – or the porno scanners as I've now heard them lovingly referred to.  I submitted (and I really can’t think of a better word here) to the new naked Kodak box in September and then was surprised on the other end, without warning or notice, with another friendly “back of the hand along the boobs” pat-down.  The TSA chick just reached and started working me over – although, truth be told, I DO have nice boobs.


Now, because somebody tried to ship something in a box…on a cargo plane…that was definitely NOT a passenger plane...TSA has been given permission to feel you up with the front of their hands.  They are allowed to reach until their hand "meets resistance", like your crotch or testicles or tampon string.  In other words – and as John Tyner implied – government-condoned sexual assault.  Where else in the world would you allow somebody to do that to you?  

I’m still waiting for somebody to coherently explain to me how cupping my breasts and taking naked pictures of me is going to make flying safer or stop bad guys from shipping bad stuff on planes.  Evidently, the porno scanners likely wouldn’t have even detected the underwear bomber's tighty-whitey bomb because the scanners are not good at detecting plastics, liquids or other low-density materials.  

I am, however, pretty certain that there will be a few TSA agents who like their jobs a whole lot more.

In TSA’s defense, there are some pretty awesome officers out there.  I've encountered several at security checkpoints in Oakland and, yes, even San Jose.   I didn’t want to like them – but they were nice and professional and didn’t show any interest in touching my boobs.  This, of course, is the quickest way to my heart.

In fact, the last few times I’ve been to San Jose, the big porno Kodak boxes have been unused and roped off.  I hope it stays that way.  I hope that the TSA receives so much flack on the issue that they have to let their expensive new toys sit and collect dust.  Maybe they can cover them with wreaths and tinsel for the holidays.  

Big, expensive, dusty Christmas trees.

Now THAT is something to cheer me up.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Jane is going to curl up in the fetal position for awhile but not forever

Sometimes life is fun and easy and sometimes it just sucks.  This is one of those times when it just sucks.

I'm sure that in a few days blogging will be a welcome distraction, but right now I got nothing.   I'm going to take a few and lick my wounds and will be back shortly.  I promise.

Try not to have fun without me.  

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

When hippies have a baseball team...

Baseball fever has struck San Francisco.  The Giants are in the World Series.

This has come as much of a surprise to most residents of the area who weren't really aware that San Francisco had a baseball team...or that there is a sport called baseball.

But they seem to have - after likely inhaling large quantities of pot - adapted quite well to the idea.

This is a city that prides itself on many things - the intellectuals, the liberals, the pot, the tree huggers, the techies, the arts, the pot, the environmentalists...the liberal intellectual tree-hugging art-loving environmentally-savvy pot-smoking techies...

When you ask your average sports fan to name the greatest sports cities, however, chances are San Francisco is not going to be at the top of the list.

After all, it's hard to swing a bat when you're high.  (Pitching is apparently an entirely different story.)

The city is exited about the Giants.  Everybody wears orange.  Giants flags flutter proudly from the back of the city's fire trucks.  Coit Tower glows with orange lights.

The local newscasters are giddy.  OMG, they have something to talk about besides shootings in Oakland and fog!

Now, I'm not a fan of the local news reporters anyway - we have one or two that would make Ron Burgundy jealous - but hosting the World Series has seemingly pushed them over the edge of reason and good taste.  Case in point...I watched a report the other night about the "cultural differences between Texas and San Francisco".  Right out of the box, the over-excited reporter deducted that the difference was, and I quote, "gays and pot."  Seriously...gays and pot?!  So on the flip side, did his Texas counterpart deduct that the difference was "steers and queers"?

He then went on to - not kidding - interview the homeless people on their thoughts on the Giants.  It went something like...

Reporter to homeless man:  So how about those Giants!  Are you a Giants fan?

Homeless man:  Dude, can you spare some change?

Reporter:  Have you seen lots of Giants fans out here on the street?

Homeless man:  Do you have any food?

Reporter:  Will you be heading down to AT&T Park to enjoy the excitement of the crowds during the World Series?

Homeless man:  Do you have any pot?

I wish I was kidding.

Candace got me thinking about the differences between the Ranger fans and the Giants fans.  Go here for her observations on deer antlers and the "claw".  Let's examine the San Francisco side of the story.

The panda hat.

Adults wearing stuffed bear heads.  This is homage to Pablo Sandoval, the Giants third baseman who is lovingly referred to as the "Kung Fu Panda".

I don't get it.  Pandas are fat and slow and don't do much except eat and shit.  Frankly, I think this is a uniquely west coast passive-aggressive way to make fun of the fat kid on the team...but who am I to judge?

My friend, S, who is my friend despite this look.

San Diego Zoo panda taking a dump...not exactly the symbol of stealth and speed

The beard.

At some point towards the end of the regular season, Giants pitcher, Brian Wilson, started growing a beard in solidarity or something stupid like that and dyed it shoe-polish black.  So Giants fans decided it would be fun and stylish to attach foam beards to their faces....or tape them...or glue them...or whatever seemed sensible after a bowl and a bag of Cheetos.

They carry signs that scream "Fear the Beard!", which, like the strange choice of the claw or the deer antlers in Texas, doesn't really seem to inspire all that much fear.

This really speaks for itself.

And I won't even go into the "Jersey Shore Fist Pump" dance that is featured between innings.  

I think it's fair to say that both cities have lost their fucking minds.  But in a week or so, Texans will remember that they actually shoot deer and San Franciscans will remember that foam beards are not biodegradable, and both will recover from their World Series hangovers and return to their roots.

Except by the time the World Series is over, pot may be legal in California and San Francisco probably won't remember any of it anyway.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Jane has baseball post-traumatic stress disorder

I haven't been around lately.  I admit it.  I've been a bad blogger.

It's all baseball's fault.  Stupid playoffs.

Baseball is an agonizingly long season.  My boyfriend, the Boy, leaves for spring training in February.  If his team sucks, he is done by early October.  Unfortunately, his team is pretty ok.  Which means that - depending on how far they go into the postseason - I don't get the Boy back until late October/early November.

This year they made it to the playoffs.  So my October has been a whirlwind of travel and baseball games.  I think I beat my own record this year with 5 games on two coasts in one span of 6 days.  Combine that with work and single-parenting and now the cold from hell and I think I'm officially brain dead.

My October has had the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.  I have enjoyed the obnoxious but mostly friendly fans of my team and the obnoxious but mostly angry fans of the visiting team (which is - mostly - how it should be).  I have been hugged and high-fived by some strangers and yelled at and flipped off by others.  I have had to explain new interesting words to the Princess.

I have flown across country in the middle of the night to get to the next game.  I have driven endless miles back and forth to the stadium.  I stayed up late and got up early.  Ate erratically, drank occasionally.

I had a blast.

I am officially exhausted.

But the Boy will be home soon.  And we can be exhausted together.

And since I'm tired and creatively brain-dead and have nothing really constructive to say at the moment anyway, I leave you with a picture I took this summer during my trip to LA.  It has absolutely positively nothing to do with baseball.

I give you George, my tranny Lego bodyguard, at the Hollywood monument to his hero.

George - overcome with bliss


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Dude, there's a big dead bear outside your store.

When I saw the title of Salt's most recent post, I immediately thought that she was writing about a bear incident that has been making the news in the Bay Area.

I was COMPLETELY off on this one (sorry Salt), but it made me think about this poor headline-making bear some more.

Click here for a link to the news story.

In a nutshell...

A guy walks into a meat market (sounds like the beginning of a great joke, right?) and mentions to the clerk that "Hey, there's a huge dead bear on the sidewalk outside of your store!".

And, sure enough, there was a huge dead bear on the sidewalk outside of the store.

It appears that the 300 lb black bear had been fatally shot in the shoulder and dumped outside the residential area market.

So how does a 300 lb bear end up in front of a meat market?

The Bay Area is just all aflutter with the possibilities.  Even though this is Northern California and we have lots and lots of bears and lots and lots of stupid people and it is bear hunting season, one of our crack local news teams called the Oakland Zoo to make sure they had all their bears.


Zoo Representative:  Huh?


Zoo Representative:  Yah, um, why again?


Zoo Representative:  You know it's hunting season, right?

Reporter:  BLACK BEARS!  AGH!

Zoo Representative:  The Oakland Zoo only has Borneo Sun bears, sir.  We don't have any black bears.


Zoo Representative:  We don't have black bears, sir.


Zoo Representative to colleague:  Norma, please go count the bears.

Norma:  Why?

Reporter:  AGH!

Zoo Representative:  GO COUNT THE FUCKING BEARS!

Needless to say all bears in the Oakland Zoo were present and accounted for.  I can just picture them raising their arms one at a time as the zoo personnel called out the roll...

Zoo personnel:  Bob?

Bob:  Here.

Zoo personnel:  Sheila?

Sheila:  Yup.

Zoo personnel:  Ducky?  ((silence))  Ducky?

Ducky:  here

Zoo personnel:  What's wrong with you, Ducky?  Bob, you can put your arm down now.

Ducky:  nothin

Zoo personnel:  Ducky, did you have anything to do with the dead bear?  Bob, seriously, put your arm down.

Ducky:  ((silence))

Sheila:  Ducky ordered the hit.

Zoo personnel:  Ducky???

Ducky:  Shut the fuck up, Sheila!  Man, dude was an ASSHOLE!  Owed me MONEY.  DUMPED my sister.  Fuckah DESERVED what was coming.  He's TACO meat now, man!

That's one theory at least.

Frankly, my own personal opinion is that the poor thing offed himself after having to watch hours and hours of Meg Whitman / Jerry Brown ads for the California governor's race.  Lost his will to live.

I understand completely.

Friday, September 24, 2010

San Jose Airport Security - 5, Jane - 0

I'm going to vent for a moment and then I promise to maybe shut the fuck up about this for awhile.

Let me start by saying that I'm not an overly sensitive person.  I usually roll with things pretty well.  I don't get upset very often.  As a single mom, I've learned to be pretty tough.

But today, Friday, September 24, 2010, I admit complete and total defeat to the San Jose Airport TSA.

Since the unveiling of the new security equipment at SJC in June, I have passed through their basic security scanners 5 times.

And 5 times I have been subjected to a full-body pat-down.

Today, I went to the airport totally metal, no jewelry, no belt, no watch, NO BRA.  Yoga pants and a tank top, baby!  There was NO chance that I was going to have to endure the pat-down.

The Princess and I waited in the security line for a good 30 minutes, made it past the boarding pass checker, and then waited another 5 minutes or so to load everything in the bins to pass through the scanners.

Only today, I was greeted by one of the new full-body backscatter scanners.  People, these things which have until now been just a vague future impediment - are now operational and way way WAY creepy.

For those of you who aren't familiar with our newest weapon in the war on scary underwear and exploding mascara, here's how this works.

You stand between what looks like two large blue refrigerator-size boxes, hold up your arms and freeze.  A x-ray type scanner takes a full-body (essentially naked) picture of you.  The image is reviewed by a TSA agent in another room who pinky-swears not to make a copy or take a picture of it with his or her phone and post it on Facebook.  Once the image is approved, the hidden TSA agent radios the TSA agent in front of you with the "go" or "pat the fucker down" signal.

The whole process takes a few minutes, holds up the entire security line, is completely and totally demoralizing...

...and, today, ended in a pat-down anyway.  Even though I had on me no metal, no jewelry, no belt, no watch, no bra.

So somebody I'll never see or meet saw me bare-ass naked today AND I got patted down anyway.  Without - I might add - notice or permission.  The TSA woman just moved in and started working me over.

I hate it.

I get that we need to have security to protect us from scary things.  I get it.

I know that TSA says that the full-body scanners are "optional".  But their definition of "optional" is full-body pictures or full-body pat-down.  I'm not sure which is worse.  The "option" is printed in tiny print on signs in the security area.  These signs also provide you an example of the image that the scanner takes....which is detailed enough to show if you need to lose a few pounds and are hiding it under a big sweatshirt, if you are Team Tampon or Team Maxipad, or - for the boys - if your penis is playing scared turtle.

For the record, this is not me

I've also heard anecdotally that TSA seriously frowns on passengers opting out of the scanners and treats those passengers to aggressive full-body pat-downs.  I don't know what an "aggressive" full-body pat-down entails, but I've had the regular kind and it isn't much fun.

So you submit and hope like hell that the TSA agent that you can't see is actually a decent, respectful human being, who is definitely not making copies of these naked pictures of you and your daughter so that he use them to spank the monkey in his basement later.

When these controversial scanners were first introduced by TSA, I remember thinking that it wasn't really a big deal.  Whatever.

But it is a big deal.  Maybe it doesn't bother everyone.  Maybe it's because I'm a female that it bothers me so much.  I do know, without a doubt, that the actual experience is completely and utterly humiliating.

I wish that I could avoid it by booking my flights out of one of the other two area airports in the Bay Area, but it is estimated that there will be 500 of these damn things operational in airports across the country in the next few years.  There's no getting around the future.  It seems that the future is 1984.

Big Brother is here and probably judging your muffin-top and penis size.

Just sayin.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Since we're talking about boobs and flying...

And we really were.  Awesome, right?

I was in Philadelphia over Labor Day weekend.  In order for me to get home in time to meet the Princess's flight from Portland, I had to leave pretty early in the morning on Monday.  So I booked an 8 AM flight out of Philly, which left me with more than enough time to get back to San Francisco.

Of course, since I had to leave so early, it didn't make any sense to actually - you know - sleep, so the Boy and I spent Sunday night in Atlantic City.  And when I say "spent Sunday night" I don't actually mean booked a room and slept.  I mean we played craps, had dinner, drove go-carts, played skeeball and walked around aimlessly until about 3 in the morning.  The Boy even won a pig/cow thing for me by throwing darts at balloons as hard as humanly possible.  I was glad to see that all those years of training had finally paid off.

I had never been to AC.  It's fun, in a "I really don't want to come here a lot but it's kind of entertaining once in a while" kind of way.

Pig/Cow came to dinner with us at Buddakan

The Boy took this picture.  And since he's not here to defend himself, I can tell you that I totally kicked his ass and lapped him at least once.

Caesar's was a little excited about Boardwalk Empire

We also saw the best sign EVER on an ATM in Caesar's that said "We're sorry, this game is out of order".  I wanted so badly to take a picture of it, but I was afraid that if I took a picture inside of the actual casino, the cast of the Sopranos would come out of nowhere and kick my ass.

We drove back to Philly, I picked up my stuff and went to the airport.

And it was EARLY.  And I was tired.  I dragged my tired ass through security (without setting off the scanners...go figure) and went in search of some breakfast.

I found a Le Petit Bistro, ordered my food and got in line to pay.

You know how when somebody breaches your personal space, your radar goes off and you shift your position to put more space between yourself and the offender?  This is exactly what happened to me in line.  I felt a woman move right up - and I mean RIGHT UP - behind me.  So I moved forward as much as I could without invading the space of the person in front of me.

And then she moved forward too.  She's yelling to her husband across the room, grabbing drinks, reaching around me for silverware...all of it IN MY SPACE.

Now I'm irritated.

I move up as far as I can to the cashier to pay.

The cashier hands me my breakfast and my change.  I can once again feel this woman inching closer.  I turn slightly to put my change in my purse and I can actually feel this woman's boobs IN MY BACK.
At this point, I'm not just irritated - I'm pissed.

Me:  Lady, BACK OFF!

Lady:  What?!  I don't touch you.

Me:  Lady, you imprinted your boobs in my back.  I can tell you your bra size.

Lady:  ((huffy silence))

Thankfully, she wasn't on my flight.

And I'm still not sure if I should feel amused or violated.  Or maybe both.

Regardless, I have decided that (1) I definitely need a break from the general population; and (2) on future flights I need to wear the sharpest Madonna-like bra possible in order to properly defend myself from this situation in the future.

It might even be worth setting off the security scanners.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

TSA considers my bra a threat to national security.

Flying sucks.

I know this is not any kind of earth-shattering revelation, but it seems to have sunk to new levels of depravity and humiliation.

And sometimes you don't even have to actually fly.

Every other weekend or so, the Princess flies to Portland to visit her father.  Since the Princess is 11 and in order for her to be able to fly on her own without an adult, I have to pay a super-special fee to the airline of somewhere between $25 and $100 - depending on the airline - each way.  This extra fee is very important and compensates the airline for....


Actually I'm not sure what this fee is for.  Maybe the extra pat on the head from the gate agent?  Frankly, I think the airlines find it somewhat comparable to checking a heavy bag....they put a sticker on her and everything.

Regardless, because she's a minor, I'm allowed to take her through security to her gate and wait there until takeoff.

Lately, she's been flying out of San Jose because the rates to Portland are slightly less expensive.  The San Jose airport is very cool and mod and screams "I'm the Silicon Valley airport, bitches!"  It is also in the process of a massive remodel, which has included the purchase of new high-tech security scanning equipment that I'm pretty sure can see what I had for lunch.

Everybody needs a nemesis, right?  The San Jose airport security scanners are my nemesis.

EVERY TIME I walk through these damn things, I set off the alarm.  EVERY TIME.

Now, I'm a pretty seasoned traveler.  I know the security drill inside and out.  Laptop out.  Liquids in baggie out.  Belt off.  Scarf off.  Shoes off.

I usually stick with my "safe outfit" when I know I have to face security in any airport...cotton cargo pants (with no metal rivets), t-shirt, wrap, ballet flats.  All comfy and metal-free.

But every time I walk through the damn security scanning machine at San Jose I set off the alarm and am then treated to a super-special pat down that includes what is essentially a breast exam by a TSA agent in front of a large crowd.  It's so great.

I've come to the conclusion that it must be the underwire in my bra that is setting the damn thing off.  So each time, I try a different bra.  Each time I am hopeful that THIS is the bra that TSA will finally concede is not threatening to national security.

This last time, I kinda lost my shit.  I was wearing metal-free sweatpants, a tank top, simple bra with thin underwire and socks.  I intentionally broke every fashion rule in the book JUST so I wouldn't set off the damn scanner.  I was ready.  I was pumped.  There was NO way any beeper was going to go off.

So I sent my daughter through the scanner first.  Nothing.  Good to go.  Whew.

And then I followed her.




Me: I have NOTHING on me to set this off?  Do I look like I have metal on me????

TSA: Ma'am, do you have an implant?

Me:  What?  It's my bra.  I'm telling you it's my bra.  It's got to be my bra.  I like nice bras and they set off your scanners.  Please don't make me go through the pat down.

TSA:  Please step over to the screening area, ma'am.

Meanwhile, my daughter, who has witnessed this interaction a few dozen times already, is rolling her eyes and trying to pull half a dozen things off the security belt by herself.

Me:  My daughter needs help.  Can I help her get our stuff?

TSA: You can't touch your things.  Sorry.

Me: Fuck.

They then proceed to once again feel me up in front of a large crowd.

Me:  I haven't been to my OB/GYN in awhile.  Do they feel healthy to you?

TSA:  I'm sorry about this, ma'am.

Me:  They're nice, right?


TSA:  It must be your bra, ma'am.

Me:  Ya think?  Now can you please explain to me how I can wear a bra and NOT set off your scanners?

TSA:  I don't know, ma'am.

Me:  Should I take my bra off in line?  Put it in a container with my shoes?  

TSA:  You can go collect your things now.

It's here where I decide this is a battle I'm never going to win and leave in a huff.

This whole series of events has now left me in mortal fear at the security checkpoint at every other airport.  I break into a sweat at about the same time I'm putting my shoes in the bin.  I hold my breath and pass through the scanner.  AND IT NEVER GOES OFF.

The Princess flies out of San Jose again next weekend.  I swear I'm going to reach underneath my shirt while in the security line and do the under-the-shirt bra removal.  Set the girls free and sail through security.

There's no rule against that, right?

How come Lady Gaga doesn't have to put up with this shit?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Forgive me, San Francisco...

Everybody knows that when you live in an area that attracts tourists, that you never EVER go to those places where tourists congregate.  Ever.

I grew up in northeastern Ohio and never once visited the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame or the Football Hall of Fame.  Ohio is evidently very good at "halls of fame", but not much else.  That's really all Ohio has.  Oh, yes, and Amish places.  But I only went to see Amish stuff when out-of-town family members visited and my parents threatened me with bodily harm if I didn't shut up and show proper awe and appreciation in front of our guests for the dozen or so Amish cheese factories that I was forced to endure on any given trip.

So when my brother called to ask me if he and my niece could come out to California and stay with me for a week to "see the sights", I knew I was fucked.

As a current resident of the San Francisco Bay Area, I have intentionally avoided many of the most well-known attractions in the area.  Don't get me wrong...I'll admit freely that I've caved on a few.  You try living in San Francisco with a child and NOT take a ride on the cable cars.  I dare you.

However, I have gazed across the bay at Alcatraz hundreds of times and never felt the slightest interest in joining the herds of tourists who make the pilgrimage to the Rock.

But my brother wanted to see Alcatraz.  He's from Ohio and technically a tourist, so he's allowed.

I'm a resident.  Visiting Alcatraz is most definitely against the "code of residents".


I wanted to be a good sister and aunt and host though, so I caved, loaded my houseguests and the Princess in the car and headed to the pier to catch a ferry to Alcatraz.

For breaking the code, I fully expected the ferry to sink or for Clint Eastwood to pull me into a cell and take me from behind (oh, wait, that one isn't necessarily a bad thing), but it was uneventful and moderately entertaining.

So strapping Clint Eastwood to my body under a large coat and impersonating a pregnant woman would be frowned upon?

You can't just "take the tour".  You have to "live the tour", right?  I wore a stripped scarf for costume authenticity.

Yah, yah...there's pretty scenery too.  I tried to blend in by asking my fellow tourists what large beautiful city this was in a non-specific European accent.

I inevitably had to pay the karmic price for breaking the resident code.  I came back from Alcatraz to a big fat ticket on my car for parking in a private lot illegally.  Evidently, the dude that I paid $20 to in order to park my car wasn't actually technically "employed" by the lot and walked away with a nice crisp $20 bill.  

(For the record, I argued with the company that owned the lot and made the - I think - valid point that they should really do a better job of monitoring their lots in order to prevent this type of fraud.  No response.  I paid the fine.  CENTRAL PARKING CAN SUCK MY ASS!  I may start off every posting from now on with CENTRAL PARKING CAN SUCK MY ASS!)

I feel better now.

Anyway.  I had already tempted fate and lost so I figured that I had nothing else to lose and volunteered to take my guests to the mother of all Northern California tourist spots....Monterey.  Home of wildlife, beaches, golf courses, and shameless John Steinbeck souvenirs. 

If you follow the random goings-on in Northern California, you would know that the famous sea lions of San Francisco's Pier 39 up and left for the most part a few months ago.  They were predominantly male and I suspect that they were just kinda pissed off that their marriages had been revoked by Prop 8 so they deserted in protest.  Just a theory.  

Nobody really knew where these proud gay sea lions went.

Well, I found them!  In Monterey, baby!

Proud gay sea lion.

Proud gay sea lion pack (or herd or flock or gaggle or swarm or something) in Monterey.  But, seriously, no proud gay anything should smell this bad.  Can nobody quietly slip them some Axe Body Spray and a breath mint?

So, forgive me, San Francisco.  I have sinned and broken the code...but I paid $20 to the universe and found your damn sea lions.

We're even.

"Fuck you, Jane.  I smell fabulous!"

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

I have a note from my mom...

Actually I don't have anything that good as an excuse for my absence.  It has more to do with surgery / bad head cold / single-parenting an 11-year old / travel / and back-to-school.

Yah.  That's about it.

More posts coming very soon.  Thanks for not leaving me.

And thanks to Candice for poking the body to make sure it wasn't cold.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Things they don't tell you on ESPN (Part 2) and how to order All-Star room service

Yes, yes.  I realize it's been a couple of weeks.  I have very valid excuses, but listing them would take effort.

In my last post, I had started yapping about my experience with the Boy at the All-Star Game and how I almost sacrificed myself to the elevator gods to save a couple of All-Stars.  I decided to break it into two posts because I ran out of wine while writing the first.

I have more wine now.

So let me dazzle you with the remainder of my All-Star discoveries - things that you won't necessarily learn on ESPN.  No. 1 involved elevators and how if you get your hand caught in one, All-Star baseball players will look at your blankly.

No. 2...Obscene amounts of money do not necessarily guarantee refined good taste.

My first day in Anaheim, I passed by a woman in the hotel who I assumed was one of the ever-present "cleat-chasers".  Cleat-chasers are the women who inevitably show up wherever there are baseball players.  They're in the bar.  They're in the lobby.  They're not hookers.  They're just eternally optimistic that they will sleep with and/or marry a player.

This woman fit the usual stereotype...bottle blonde with an orange-y tan, cheap-looking vaguely slutty clothes, clumpy mascara.  Like a former pageant wanna-be who was never quite pretty enough to get the crown and always had to settle for shit like "Prettiest Smile".

I didn't think twice about it....until I saw her at the brunch the next day on the arm of All-Star player followed closely by their two cute, but inappropriately dressed, children.

I know, I know.  I passed judgement, applied stereotypes.  I'm going to hell.  Whatever.

But I wanted to sit her down.  Explain to her that she had more money than she could possibly spend in one lifetime.  She could get subtle highlights and a hairbrush to actually brush out the curls created by the velcro rollers.  She could buy clothes that fit and shoes from Barneys, instead of from the Spearmint Rhino.  She could find alternatives to dressing her children like pimped-out ballerinas.

But at the end of the day, she still has the last laugh.  I can work my ass off from now until I'm 80 and I still won't have the kind of money that her husband makes in a year...or a month, for that matter.

Maybe I need a cleat-chaser makeover.

(Note to Boy...just kidding, sweetie.)

No. 3...All-Stars order room service like rock stars.

I have photographic evidence of this.  The Boy and I stumbled across this discarded room service cart outside of an All-Star room the night before the All-Star Game.

With George (my tranny Lego bodyguard) - he gets around

That's pretty much it for the All-Star Game.  Oh yes, and for those of you who were wondering what one does wear to an All-Star Game Gala in Southern California...

THIS is what you wear!  Jeans...go figure.  The Boy was right.  Shhhhhh.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Things they don't tell you on ESPN and how All-Star baseball players generally don't give a shit if your hand is stuck in an elevator - Part 1

I realize I'm a little delinquent in my posting lately.  It's summer.  I'm lazy.  Whatever.

That...and my hand was practically mauled in an near-death hotel elevator incident in Anaheim last week which makes typing painful and very, very difficult.

Actually my hand is fine.  My psyche, on the other hand, is traumatized.

And I will be suing the horrible negligent hotel chain responsible for this near-tragedy.

Actually, no I won't.  But only because it was a Marriott and not a Ritz-Carlton.  Suing the Ritz Carlton would be fun.  There's no joy in suing a Marriott.

Let me back up a bit.

So last week I went to the All-Star Game/Home Run Derby festivities in Anaheim.  The Boy was "working" so, as guests of Major League Baseball, we stayed in the official Marriott with the All-Stars, press, agents, entourages and a few hundred smart autograph hounds.  And while the Boy "worked", I generally did nothing and took stupid pictures.

 Case in point

Of course, George, my tranny lego, came with me.

Case in point #2

George with the Boy's Chilean Three-Legged Good Luck Pig - I really have no explanation

It was a surreal experience.  Walking through the hotel lobby was a bit like trying to walk past the Ivy on Robertson Avenue...head down, shoulders squared, hold out hotel key for three layers of security, brace for line of autograph seekers and the disappointment that radiates from them when they realize we're nobodies, slide past last layer of security before elevators, and then SCORE...collapse in your room.

I learned a few things at the All-Star game...things I never learned on ESPN.

No. 1... If you get your hand caught in an elevator, All-Star baseball players will look at you blankly and absolutely not help you.  

So since all the autographers tended to hang out in the lobby, the All-Stars tended to congregate and socialize in front of the elevator banks - two levels of security past the lobby.  It wasn't sexy, but it seemed to work for them.

On Sunday night as we were headed back to our room, the Boy and I ran into All-Star Pitcher and All-Star Outfielder in front of the elevators.  The Boy knows them both and struck up a boy-style conversation with lots of grunts and hand slaps while I stood nearby feigning interest in the conversation while really mentally piecing together the next day's outfit.  At some point I hear the Boy start to say things that would indicate the conversation is ending so I push the "Up" elevator button because it's midnight and I'm assuming that since we're all standing in front of the elevators, that everybody wants to...I don't know...GO UP TO THEIR ROOMS.

The elevator door opens and nobody but me moves towards the door.  So I hesitate and the elevator door closes.  I hit the "Up" button again.  I look at the Boy to make sure we are indeed still going up.  He's oblivious and still yapping but takes a step towards me.

The elevator door opens.  I make a move towards the door and as the door starts to close - yet again - I throw my arm in between the doors so that they will stay open.  Except they don't.  The door closes on my arm.  

I panic and look at the Boy.  And he just looks at me.  I look at All-Star Pitcher and All-Star Outfielder.  And they just look at me too.

In my head I'm screaming "What the fuck?!" and "Ouch, goddamn motherf***er" but, as I glare daggers at the Boy, I calmly throw all of my weight into prying the door open with my other hand and extricate my dented arm from the offending elevator.

"Now are you ready to go up?" I say, holding my dented arm and shattered ego.

The Boy looks sheepish and nods.  We all get on the elevator.  All-Star Pitcher looks up as the floor numbers light up one at a time and says "Did that just happen?".


More things I learned at the All-Star Game (Nos. 2 & 3) and more stupid pictures are coming soon.  Frankly, I started writing this and it got long and I ran out of wine, so I think a sequel is warranted.

And I'm lazy.  Whatever.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

How to find cute pants, practically run over an Olsen, and mow down the paparazzi in LA and only surrender part of your soul in the process...

I don't get LA.

I finished up my work type stuff early today, so I decided to drive up to Beverly Hills and see what all the fuss was about.

TMZ tells me on a daily basis that the best (non Rodeo Drive) shopping in the LA area is on Robertson Avenue, and I figured that if it was good enough for Lindsey, it was good enough for me, so I fired up the GPS and headed out for alien territory.

And alien indeed.

I parked in a garage on Roberston and headed out into the daylight...and almost crashed headfirst into an Olsen twin.  I don't know which one, but I saw her and she saw me and gave me a look as if to say "how dare you venture into this territory without permission or a Black American Express Card and why aren't you wearing anything from my clothing line, you bitch", but whatever.

I headed down the street in pursuit of good shopping.

Some places were great.  Some places treated me like I should forfeit my financial and any potential trust fund records before they would hand over a $58 dollar belt.

And then I got to the Ivy.

For those of you who aren't familiar, the Ivy is the famed LA hotspot....THE place to see and be seen.  And any celebrity who shows up there and claims that they don't want publicity is LYING through their shiny white veneers.

I approached the Ivy with curiosity.  It was, after all, the Ivy.  It was then that I deduced the challenge of being a mere pedestrian on this most famous of blocks.  In front of me, blocking my path, were at least 5 valet parking guys, 4 paparazzi, 3 people who were waiting for their car, and 4-5 random people milling about.

I had a choice.  Turn around and go back, or venture forward to the crosswalk and promises of Intermix and Vince.

I glanced up at the patio in front of the Ivy and happened to notice that the people in these privileged spots were mostly interested in what was happening on the sidewalk.  Who was arriving...who was leaving...who was getting their picture taken.

It was through all of this that I needed to pass.

So I squared my shoulders, angled my head down, positioned my shopping bags in front of me...and charged.

In the process, I'm pretty sure that I sliced up a paparazzi with my shopping bag.  I also have a very clear recollection of an SUV pulling up to the valet, containing people who were clearly "somebody", and saw the self-imposed look of distaste on their faces at being forced to expose themselves to the waiting cameras.  Even though NOBODY goes to the Ivy unless THEY WANT TO BE SEEN and PHOTOGRAPHED.  The food can't be that fucking magical, people.

Regardless, I made it through the gauntlet and survived.

(Note:  turns out nobody took a picture of the people in the SUV...they looked disappointed.)

Interesting place, Robertson Avenue, but I won't be going back.

I made some friends at Splendid, LF and Surly Girl.  The attitudes that I encountered at the rest of the boutiques on that street (with the exception of Lisa Kline) left me with a bad taste in my mouth.

This is definitely not a confidence issue.  I can walk into Prada or Sears with the same level of attitude.  I can only guess that business is off the charts for these places, right?  If they can afford to drive away paying customers with disinterest and attitude.

And the famed Kitson?  Ugh.  Like Claire's Boutique on steroids.

I went to Beverly Hills out of curiosity and a need for cute pants.

I found cute pants, but I feel like I kind of surrendered a piece of my soul in exchange.

And if you see a cameraman on TMZ with a gigantic paper cut?  All me!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Boys are basically useless

Real boys, that is.  Tranny lego boys are totally useful.

George and I are in Southern California doing business type things before the fun All-Star Game type things commence.

George taking in the view from our balcony

This is George's entire role take in the scenery.  And to be my bodyguard.  But bodyguards don't seem to be in high demand here so he's resting.

Packing for this trip was a nightmare.  I have 3 days of business type things and then 2 days of All-Star festivities.  What the hell am I supposed to bring and how much shit can I stuff into one suitcase?

I can handle packing for the business stuff.  This generally includes things that are not ripped, stained or navel-baring.  Although, truth be told, this is California and stripper shoes might be the only real deal-breaker in business out here.  Most of the time.

But the All-Star Game is a whole different, um, game.  

This is easy, you's a baseball game.  Dress for a baseball game.

OK...I GOT that part.

So I just decided to ask the Boy what I should bring for the full 2 days of activities.  Bad idea.

Me:  Any thoughts on how I should pack for the All-Star stuff?
Boy:  Well, there will be a gala and a brunch.
Me:  Are we going to the gala or the brunch?
Boy:  Maybe.
Me:  So I should bring a dress for the gala?
Boy:  Nah.
Me: ???????
Boy:  I don't does one dress for a gala?
Me:  ??????
Boy:  It's in California.  I'm sure jeans are ok.
Me:  ??????

Useless.  I should have known.

So I packed everything.  I'll let you know if I was right.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Why I now have a tranny Lego but still, surprisingly, need a life

I've been lazy...I admit it.

There's something about summer that makes me want to, well, NOT sit in front of a computer during the 4 hours of the day that I'm not working.

I've been lulled into non-blogging complacency.  I work, I come home, I eat/read/watch Real Housewives of (insert city/state/region here), I make phone calls, I sleep.  The Princess is in Portland with her father for the summer, and the lack of "Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, Mommy" in the apartment has contributed to my sense of comatose.

But all of this has changed.

I have a new pet.

Busted Kate (who should officially consider me a fan) held a give-away to raise money for the JD fund a few weeks ago, and that's when I saw him.  And I knew I had to have him.

Meet George, my new tranny Lego.

George is what I call him because when I opened the package from Kate, I could hear in my head the lines from the Bugs Bunny Abominable Snow Monster episode and/or John Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men" (same thing, really) - "I will name him George and I will hug him and pet him and squeeze him and pat him and pet him and rub him..."

George was donated to the JD cause by The Bloggess, who, of course, is the only one in the world who would have shit like this to begin with.

The Bloggess is actually the one who brought the logic of tranny lego fabulousness to light.  You see, I am a huge Eddie Izzard fan - who is, in his own words, an Executive Transvestite.  The Bloggess pointed out on her site that another Eddie Izzard fan had transferred Eddie Izzard bits into Lego stop-action shorts on YouTube.

Behold the genius!

"Why the Spanish Inquisition would never have worked with the Church of England" or "Cake or Death?"...

And "Building empires through the cunning use of flags"...

In short, the logic behind this acquisition goes as follows...

I love Eddie Izzard.
Eddie Izzard is a transvestite.
There are Lego stop-action shorts of Eddie Izzard bits on YouTube.
There are - by accident of God and nature and the Bloggess - transvestite Legos.

Therefore...I must have a transvestite Lego.

Many thanks to both Kate and the Bloggess for helping me realize that the emptiness in my summer could be filled through the creative use of tranny Legos...and, more importantly, for contributing to an excellent cause.

George shall be accompanying me on some of my travels this summer.  Next stop - the All Star Game.

There will be pictures.

I seriously need a life...or a hobby...or sex...or something.

My tranny Lego will have to do for now.

Monday, June 21, 2010

This break in the action is totally the fault of the East Coast and Kim Kardashian

Ok...well it wasn't completely Kim's fault, but she does factor into the story.

I'll get to that in a bit.

So I went to the East Coast last week to see the Boy.  I took the redeye last Friday to Boston for a day.  From there it was on to New York and then Philly.  I TOTALLY planned on blogging throughout the week, but, well, you know how it goes.  Stay out late, sleep until noon, baseball, rinse, repeat.

There are bits and pieces of the week that are deserving of their own posts, so I'll limit it here today to a few observations.

First, Susan Sarandon is a genius.

Sure, she's a great actress and all.  I mean, Bull Durham is like the greatest movie EVER.  But Susan is also the brains behind the greatest drinking concept EVER....martinis and ping pong!

I had heard about this in theory, but never appreciated the beauty of it until the Boy convinced me that we had to witness it firsthand.

Susan is the part-owner of a New York club called Spin.  It has Olympic-quality ping pong tables for rent, a full bar, table service and bangin' music (I've never heard Simon and Garfunkel next to techno, but, hey, it totally works).

So last Wednesday night, after the game, the Boy dragged me and my BFFFFF, K, and her husband, B, to Spin.  B was happy and still somewhat energetic because he got to watch baseball, but K and I were BEAT.  It had been a full day of shopping and drinking in the steakhouse at Yankee Stadium (an experience that is probably worth its own post) and occasionally wandering out to watch the ball game and doing jazz hands to "New York, New York" at the end of the game.  By the time we cabbed back from the stadium to the hotel, we were t-i-r-e-d.

But it was our last night in NYC and the Boy wanted to play ping pong.

And we had a blast.

How great is this?

The Boy and I - yes, I'm aware that I just hit the ball into the net, but, damn, I got moves!

K, trying to figure out how to make the the paddle hit the ball.  But she looks fabulous doing it.

There's just nothing better than booze, ping pong and a place to put your feet up.

And I learned a couple of new things about my friends K and B.  I learned that B fancies himself a professional-ish ping pong player...just like the Boy!  He and the Boy fired ping pong balls across the table at each other like blind-folded, slightly tipsy Chinese almost-pros.  B also is not afraid to fire balls at K, who, I learned, moves like Elaine Benes on the dance floor when this happens.

K and I played a more civilized "girl ping pong" - the kind where nobody gets pelted or mauled - and then let the boys have it out while we sipped on wine and vanilla milkshakes.

So much fun!  We will be going back.

So what, you ask, does Kim Kardashian have to do with my lack of blog posts last week?

Well, Kim and I were seated across the aisle from each other on the first leg of my flight home.  I could tell that she was dying to ask me all kinds of questions about my life and what I was wearing and my thoughts on achieving world peace, but she was polite and let me sleep.  She was busy anyway...looking through a massive stack of glossy gossip magazines...I assume, for pictures of herself.

One five hour flight later, she still has perfect makeup and not a curl out of place, while I have smeared make-up and flat hair.  And once she finished up her gossip magazine homework, she got to sleep.  I had to speculate to the guy next to me for about 1000 miles how he might theoretically be able to highlight Bible verses if he bought a Kindle and then downloaded the Bible.  The Bible?

So at the end of the flight...first class passengers were treated to this...


And this...


I was so traumatized that I couldn't write for days (or at least a day). was kind of Kim's fault.

At least that's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

To iPad or not to iPad, that is the question

I'm not afraid to admit it...I have a Robert Pattinson level crush on the iPad.

I haven't committed to purchasing one yet, however, because - like Robert Pattinson - I haven't quite figured out if it has substance or it's just a pretty face.

I thought I would be immune to the siren song of this newest offering by Apple.  But then I saw it live and my heart melted.

It's thin.  It's sexy.  You can use it to play GIANT solitaire.

I could even forgive the stupid name which makes me think of this...

I'm so confused.

I could read books on it (but I have a Kindle).

I could check my emails and play games on it (but I have an iPhone...two, actually).

I could watch movies on it (but I'd have to find something to prop it up on).

I could...

I can't justify it, I just want it.

I'm so confused.

So what do you know?  Give it to me...the good, the bad and the bloody.  Oh wait, I mean ugly.  See?  I'm confusing the pads again.