Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Dear UPS, I don't have a housewife

I've come to the conclusion that UPS has not updated its business model or customer service strategy since the 1950s. Despite my extensive experience with online shopping, I still cannot figure out when and how some items are simply dropped off inside the security door of my apartment building (by USPS?), while others require someone to be home to buzz in a UPS driver.

As a result, sometimes I'm pleasantly surprised to find an Amazon box full of books, for example, conveniently placed below my mailbox. But after other online splurges, I'm plagued by UPS slips stuck to my door, infuriating conversations with customer service and sadistic delivery windows.

Although the missed delivery slip from a UPS driver gives you a reasonable idea of when they will be back the next day, between 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., for example, if the driver forgets to leave a slip, which has happened twice this month, the customer service representative gives you a window of 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. What kind of a window is that?? And why does the driver know but customer service does not? I would think a simple computer system could solve this mystery.

And if you know you won't be home for the delivery and call UPS to let them know, you have to pay $6 to have them deliver to a different address or at a later date. I know it's only $6, but this also pisses me off. Especially when the package is a gift to you from someone else. I don't think my mom meant to have me pay a fee to get my birthday present.

What really irritates me though is that I have the benefit of quite a bit of flexibility for an office worker. I can usually work from home when I need to, so it should be easy for me to get packages. If the UPS driver could manage to remember to stick the missed delivery slip to my door, I should be able to arrange to be home by the third delivery. Yet 80 percent of deliveries turn into utter nightmares.

During one heated phone call to the terminally unhelpful customer service number, I was told in an exasperated tone that "all I needed to do" was make sure "someone" was home between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. Who do they expect to be home all day? Unfortunately I'm not a housewife, and I'm not married to a housewife. Perhaps UPS is not aware of the fact that most households of this century are made up of two people (or one) who are working or commuting during those hours.

Market research... computer systems... customer service that actually provides a service - these are things most businesses today have gotten the hang of. Might do UPS - and its customers - some good to get on board.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Bridalplasty... too distrurbed to think of a clever title

E! (and I) have sunk to a new low: Bridalplasty. The new show, which I watched two (partial!) episodes of last weekend, hits the reality TV trifecta: extreme makeover, dream wedding and elimination voting.

Brides-to-be with lengthy plastic surgery wish lists (and body dysmorphic disorder) compete for the "perfect wedding," which apparently requires a new face and body. According to Eonline bios, contestants are hoping to win up to 15 surgical procedures, including some I never knew existed.

"Liposuction of flanks" is a popular one - according to this website, flanks are "located just under the bra line on the sides and back." I thought it was a kind of steak. Another body part that apparently needs the fat sucked out of it is the knee. Cheyanne here even specifies she would like "inner knee" lipo - I'm sure it was very painful for her, getting teased about her inner knees in grade school.

That's a picture of her before any surgery, by the way...

Has our cultural sanity plummeted that much in less than a year? Weren't we all horrified when Heidi Montag revealed she had 10 plastic surgery procedures in one day? I guess E! was more inspired than disturbed... to define "perfection" as this:

Photo sources:


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Holiday Indulgence

My Pandora station was just interrupted by an audio ad for Cold Stone ice cream cakes. It said something like, "While you're enjoying holiday music, you might like to know Cold Stone is also celebrating the season."

Mmmm ice cream cake... yes, I would like to learn more! I clicked on the display ad on Pandora, which took me to a generic landing page describing all of Cold Stone's signature cakes.
The campaign could have been better if it had pointed to a more festive page describing holiday cakes, but I'm still impressed. And anyway customized landing pages .... sound like a lot of work.

Holiday station listeners are an excellent target. Those of us who can't wait for after Thanksgiving to start listening to Christmas music probably also lack self control when it comes to ice cream and chocolate. And no shame in admitting they've created not one, but two holiday stations, one of which is based on Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas is You" - even better.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

My Slutty Feminist Halloween Costume

Last year I poked fun at "sexy" Halloween costumes as if I didn't partake in the ridiculousness.... but this year I have to be honest. I am actually quite vain, and I like looking relatively attractive on Halloween - and most other days. But don't let that fool you. I am indeed a feminist - and adept at the art of rationalization.

Now I'm sure you've seen flapper costumes before, and you probably brushed them off as somewhat risque on the Halloween slut spectrum. But that was before you knew the meaning behind them!

Yes, the word "flapper" once meant "prostitute," but let's not dwell on that. The flapper costume is a nod to the "new breed" of young women who rebelled against traditional Victorian gender norms in the 1920s.

Ironically, many old-school sufragettes "viewed flappers as vapid and in some ways unworthy of the enfranchisement they had worked so hard to win." But others argued that "flappers' laissez-faire attitude was simply a natural progression of feminine liberation."

Oh how history repeats itself! I think instead of giving dirty looks to their flapper-costumed sisters, females who take the high road with banana suits or Amelia Earhart outfits should join us in ridiculing sexy schoolgirls (or any other pedophilia-encouraging ensemble) - or better yet, helping NARAL and Planned Parenthood get pro-choice candidates elected next week - once we've recovered from Halloween hangovers.

Quote source - Wikipedia; Photo courtesy of costumebox.com.au

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A cocktail a day keeps the writer's block away

The benefits of alcohol just keep flowing. In addition to helping you live a longer life, a cocktail or five can also help you be a better writer, according to coppyblogger. The first tip in "Five Ways to Write Magnificent Copy" is "Write drunk; Edit sober." Although the blog claims you don't need to take this advice literally, I think many, including Faulkner and Draper, would disagree.

And you thought liquid lunches were counterproductive.

Photo courtesy of amctv.com.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Offices are for pretending to work, not pretending to wash dishes

As if it's not depressing enough to come into the office in the morning, for the last week I've had to stare at this oatmeal encrusted bowl of dishwater while I'm making coffee. I'm becoming increasingly irritated.

I'm not asking myself, what's wrong with people? I'm asking myself, what's wrong with my office?? Everyone knows people are disgusting and lazy, but cubicle culture is supposed to be designed to hide these attributes. An office is no place for dish soap, sponges or scrub brushes. These things are meant to accumulate germs and scum and crust in your home, where the smallest number of innocent bystanders are affected. Your roommate has the option to look for tidier accommodations when your lease is up; your significant other has the option to withhold affections until you empty the dishwasher; but in this economy, your co-workers don't have many options when it comes to avoiding your filth.

But I don't want to place the blame on the filthy employee. It's the office's fault for providing filthy employees with "cleaning" tools, which quickly morph into germ spreading tools when left to the masses. Who is responsible for switching out the grody sponges? Who is responsible for putting a time limit on "soaking" dishes in the sink? These things are impossible to determine in an office setting. I may resolve the whole issue by tossing all dishwashing-related items into the garbage, along with the stale oatmeal bowl.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Over Don Draper

What is it about Don Draper that turns intelligent, professional women into pathetic idiots? I for one have had enough of him and his furrowed brows.

I had high hopes for Faye, which were injured when she started dating him, and destroyed by last Sunday's episode when she compromised her career and integrity in a desperate attempt to hook a man who couldn't even be bothered to shower between diddling his toothy secretary and snuggling with her.

I understand the bad boy appeal - to silly girls who don't know any better - but Faye... I thought better of her. Especially after she went off on Don for basically asking her to snoop on her clients. But then she went crawling back, which makes it even more pitiful.

Mad Men has literally started making me sick - I get a queasy feeling every time a new female character is introduced. But like one of Don's doe-eyed admirers, I just keep coming back for more... hoping for an episode in which Don is more worried about venereal disease than losing accounts, or a season in which Peggy becomes the main character.

Photo courtesy of amctv.com.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

High School Pad

It's official: The Bachelor Pad is high school for "adults." Amidst the cliques, gossip and backstabbing, last night contestants had to vote on labels for each other, senior yearbook style.

Poor Gwen was voted dumbest, although it's possible the woman doesn't even know how old she is. Elizabeth got most shallow, to which she responded that she doesn't "even know what shallow really means," and worst boob job, which is hilarious... unless you happen to be Elizabeth. And Natalie was predicted to always be a bridesmaid, never the bride - even by her secret boyfriend... ouch. (He also called her dumb, but she seemed to think that was funny.)

I still remember what I "won" senior year - Biggest Ego - complete with a cartoon of me admiring myself in the mirror. Although I had pranced around school in a crown and sash that said "Dancing Queen" on my 17th birthday, I was shocked and hurt that my classmates thought I was self centered... Good thing my high school days were numbered and then I never had to see them in the rear view of my compact again.

Unlike high schoolers, however, the Bachelor Pad residents at least pretended to feel bad about having to insult each other. And some of the boys really impressed me with their awareness of how insecurities can eat away at the female gender - especially the kind of females that go on the Bachelor... So shame on you, ABC, for stooping to a new low; but good for you, Kiptyn and Kovacs, for pleasantly surprising viewers, despite your questionable taste in women.

Photo courtesy of ABC website.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Goldilocks and the Three Celebs

I should have known better, but I forgot my book and had a 40-minute train ride ahead of me... I bought an issue of In Touch last week. I expected to look at some pictures of pretty people and read some gossip, some of which of course would be about so-and-so's diet or bikini body or whatever, but what I got was a new level of obnoxious I didn't know existed.

Sections entitled "Weight Update," "Body News," "Body Report" (more in-depth journalism than "Body News"?) and "Fit and Fab" are a Goldilocks story of who's too fat, who's too skinny and who's just right - this week at least.

An article entitled "Gaga gains some LOVE POUNDS" features then and now photos of the pop star and declares her "workout obsessed" in the former and "fleshier" in the latter. Although the article speculates that the extra pounds might signify "happiness weight," the conclusion is that Gaga will thankfully be back in shape soon: "... surely, it's just a matter of time before the lovebirds hit the treadmills together and Gaga gets her washboard abs back - all in the name of love!"

But another article, "Has Lea lost TOO MUCH WEIGHT?" (their capitalization... gripping), expresses concern that the Glee star's "extreme diet and workouts" are unhealthy. The article discusses the detrimental idea of perfection in "Hollywood," but conveniently leaves out the role tabloids play... A sidebar on co-star Jenna Ushkowitz mentions that she has dropped 10 pounds and now weighs 108. Good to know so readers can obsessively compare themselves - thanks In Touch!

Carrie Underwood, however, is applauded for her workouts in "The secret to her amazing legs." Not sure why amazing isn't in all caps, but the subhead makes up for it: "It's not just that post-wedding glow that has Carrie Underwood looking hotter than ever!" Her trainer tells the magazine Carrie "trains like a pro athlete." Apparently the singer has managed to balance on the fine between obsessed and fabulous.

And finally, "What's their bikini age?" scrutinizes six side-by-side celeb photos, calling those whose routines entail just the right mix of exercise, plastic surgery and splash of anorexia "hot mama" and "electrifying," and the losers "bloated and saggy" and "boyish."

What a clever editorial calendar: Publish some unflattering cellulite photos, then document the transformation in a feel-good feature, then write up a news alert when the diet and exercise go too far. This utter ridiculousness will either encourage us to give up the chase for "perfection"... or there's really no hope left.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Don’t judge a book by its title

I have a couple issues with the “wife” book trend, although I keep reading them… (Obviously this is a marketing tactic that works.) First, as others have pointed out, it’s rather sexist. Defining who the reader assumes to be the main character in relation to her husband and/or marital status implies that she has no independent identity. Although in some cases — American Wife, for example — I think that’s the point. The main character, inspired by Laura Bush, brings an overshadowed Stepford Wife to life.

But at least those titles make some sense. What I find more irritating is when the main character isn’t even the wife. The Doctor’s Wife, a thriller that deals with the abortion debate (interesting combo) could just as easily be called The Painter’s Wife, or Adulterers and Crazy Pro-Lifers… The book focuses on four main characters and two f-ed up marriages. So why just one wife in the title? Because that’s what sells I suppose.

So with those issues in mind, here are my reviews of five wives:

American Wife
Gist: It turns out Laura Bush, er, I mean Alice Lindgren, has a mind of her own and a semi-scandalous history.
Title: A
Book: A

A Reliable Wife
Gist: A wealthy widower in the frozen misery of 1907 Wisconsin puts an ad in the paper for a “reliable wife.” Whether he got what he asked for is up for debate.
Title: A+
Book: A-

The Doctor’s Wife
Gist: A small-town doctor starts moonlighting at an abortion clinic, while his wife gets some much-needed attention from a co-worker, who happens to be married to a wackadoo pro-lifer.
Title: D
Book: B+

The Senator’s Wife
Gist: A young couple moves in next door to an older woman who is somewhat estranged from her husband, a former senator and current perv.
Title: D
Book: C+

The Spare Wife
Gist: An ex trophy wife charms both female and male friends in her elite Manhattan circle (yawn) by claiming to have less interest in romance than sports and politics, which is of course BS.
Title: B
Book: D

Friday, July 30, 2010

Bad Samaritan

Yesterday I almost crossed the street to avoid a small child who was selling lemonade. I didn’t actually cross the street, but I did quickly say no when he started to ask me if I would like to purchase a beverage. And then as I continued walking I started to wonder what my problem was. I probably should have given this young entrepreneur 50 cents and a boost of confidence, even though I wasn’t thirsty. Now he’s probably going to end up living in his mother’s basement for the rest of his life.

But I’d argue it’s not my fault. I blame the guy who sells StreetWise outside my neighborhood CVS, the three to four veterans asking for donations at the train station, the Greenpeace people asking me if I want to save the environment outside my office, the panhandlers asking for spare change on every corner… Everywhere I go strangers are asking me for money. I know this makes me a terrible person, but I’ve resolved to ignore them all. I know I could pick one to help out, but I’m overwhelmed by the sheer volume of requests. And I don’t like talking to strangers.

So I walk briskly and keep my head down. And if I accidentally make eye contact I immediately start shaking my head if it looks like the person is going to speak. Even if that person is a lost tourist, or a small child… So this is my defense for when I end up on one of those hidden camera shows about bad Samaritans – or in hell.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Keep your laws off my eyeballs

It has come to my attention that the suburb of my birth is trying to outlaw the eye-roll, and although I wasn't the eye-rolling resident who was "ejected" from a city council meeting, I still consider this a personal insult.

I was delivered by a doctor in that very town 27 and a half years ago -- he announced "It's a girl!" and I rolled my eyes and thought to myself, "Yeah that's something to celebrate. Seventy-five cents on the dollar. Cigars all around!" With that kind of a beginning it's no wonder I grew up to become "the eye-rolling queen" (according to my friend who sent me the article).

If I possessed any motivation and a vehicle I'd maybe consider starting a petition and marching it out to Elmhurst to fight for the right to eye-roll. I'm just glad U.S. Cellular hasn't succeeded in outlawing the shrug.

Monday, July 19, 2010

What came first: the reality show or the psychosis?

I have an embarrassing obsession with the Real Housewives shows. I have watched every episode of every season of every city. I. Love. This. Show. But I’m afraid something is starting to spoil it for me: bizarre paranoia (and two extremely annoying and crazy women named Danielle and Kelly).

Both crazy ladies have convinced themselves that their castmates are trying to kill them. Not that castmates hate them or have it out for them: They actually claim their lives are in danger. Danielle travels with bodyguards and ex-cons for “protection,” and Kelly talks gibberish about death threats, vampires and satchels of gold.

Obviously reality shows cast a certain type — a special type of crazy that will shock, awe and entertain the masses. But there’s a difference between fun-crazy or even irritating-crazy and should-be-institutionalized crazy. That kind of crazy — the straight-jacket kind — probably shouldn’t be exploited on television.

But when did it start? Were Kelly and Danielle always insane? Or did the stress of being on a reality television show crack the nuts?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Down with conference calls

Not sure if I've mentioned before, but I hate conference calls. Ninety-five percent of the time they are a complete waste of time, and even when useful information is shared, I'd still prefer an e-mail exchange because then you have a record of it. I specify useful information because I don't really care what the weather is like in New York today or what someone I've never met in person is doing this weekend.

The worst thing about conference calls is the beginning. I don't know if it's just my company, but every call I'm on starts with roll. I have to admit even when there are four people on a call I detest saying, "Hi it's Amy" after a moment of pause in hopes that noone will talk over me. But on calls with more than 10 people I think roll should be outlawed. It takes forever and is absolute insanity. An experience I had last week:

Me: Hi this is Amy

Call leader: Great, hi Dave.

Me: Amy from Internet Marketing is here.

Leader: Hi Jennifer, and did someone else join?

Me: Amy? From Internet Marketing?

Leader: Hello Angela, how are you?

Amy: Click.

Well, I didn't really hang up, but I wanted to... "Leaders" who habitually squawk, "Hi who else joined?" should be barred from organizing calls - or fired. Ten minutes into the call we haven't gotten anywhere and I want to crawl under my cubicle and cry.

I'd really rather not talk on the phone ever because I sound like a 12-year-old, both in terms of voice and ability to put coherent thoughts together. I'd much rather take the time to write an e-mail and then proofread several times to decrease the chance of sounding like an idiot. Now why can't the business world adapt to my special needs? Is that too much to ask??

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Last PC comic standing

Just when I thought there were not enough hours in the day to squeeze another reality show into my life, I found Last Comic Standing, which I've never really gotten into, although it's apparently in its seventh season. I'm not going to complain here about the comedians, because I do think most of them (in the semi-finals) are funny. And really, I pretty much laugh at anything. But the main reason I watch reality shows is to be annoyed - so I'm going to complain about the judges.

This week a comic got criticized for an inappropriate joke about the homeless, but then another comic who made a joke about abused women was applauded for his "original" and "dark" set. I understand the importance of being politically correct, and I understand the humor in being politically incorrect - what bothers me is inconsistency. If one joke was actually funnier than the other I could be more understanding, but in my opinion they were both mediocre. Then again, maybe it's my fault for turning into a humorless feminist when a comic talks about his standup "bombing" at a women's shelter because "they wouldn't listen." (About 1:20 into clip below)

The other comic made fun of her "hip" office for including in an e-mail promoting a clothing drive that jeans shouldn't be torn or "outdated," picturing a homeless person turning up his nose at acid wash. If the homeless person had been a woman with a black eye, would that have made the joke more "cutting edge"?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Mental health break

I just discovered a "Wellness Room" in my office. Like a port-a-potty, it said "vacant" on the door, so I opened it up and poked my head inside. It's a small room with a comfy armchair and small table, on top of which is a box of tissues... The lactation/mother's room is next door, so I'm pretty sure the Wellness Room is supposed to be used for less biological issues. What I'm not sure of is if this is an amazing - or extremely depressing revelation...

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Guard and protect my gag reflex

When Ali was named this season's Bachelorette, I thought she would be the most annoying part of the show. But boy, was I wrong. Last night Kasey took the show's vomit factor to a whole new level.

Did you know Kasey wants to "guard and protect" Ali's heart? I wasn't sure, until he said it about a HUNDRED TIMES last night. Oh, and he also wants someone, preferably Ali, to "guard and protect" his heart some day. Don't think he's sincere? Well, what if I told you he went and got a tattoo of a shielded heart on his wrist? Yes, that happened too... His heart is literally on his sleeve! And my regurgitated dinner is literally on my pajama pants.

This is the same guy who thinks he lives inside a musical, spontaneously bursting into a capella songs of his own creation, about which he comments after, "Yeah, that was pretty intense stuff." Ewwww... A boy in high school once played his guitar for me and then asked if I thought he was "too deep" for me. My television viewing choices aside, Kasey brings back unpleasant memories...

Anyway, this leads me to believe Kasey thinks his favorite line is pretty intense, incredibly deep stuff. And as a professional copyeditor, this makes me angry. Kasey, "guard" and "protect" are SYNONYMS. There is no need to use both words. Also, your silly catch phrase is not romantic. It's a cliche. And the more you say it the lamer it becomes.

Now, I'm all for keeping wackos on the show for entertainment value, but Kasey has crossed over to unbearable. I am curious to see Ali's reaction to his tattoo, which Frank (or a producer, or clever editing) prevented Kasey from revealing by butting in on their conversation. But once we all get to see her inevitable look of horror I strongly encourage Ali to cut Kasey quicker than a barber.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Class by the Countess

There is so much to learn from Countess-turned-Bravo housewife-turned-aspiring songstress LuAnn! First of all, it turns out money CAN'T buy you class. Now, I already knew that - anyone who watches her fair share of reality shows knows that it's not your bank account, but how often you call yourself classy and call other people unclassy that makes you, in fact, classy. But did you know there are other ways to exude classiness? According to the Countess' enlightening video, additional tactics include:
  • Sing-talking R. Kelly style
  • Man-candy
  • Group naps
  • Corsets
  • Creepy Classy laughing
  • Identity-disguising makeup

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Summer trends that are already annoying me


My favorite outfit in gradeschool was a blue and white striped romper -- until one recess when a helpful classmate informed me that I "looked like a baby." If I had to stop wearing these onesies in the fifth grade, why are they now being marketed in the same bucket as dresses to grown women??


Although I've barely been out of the Midwest, I hear Americans are mocked all over the world for wearing these unflattering atrocities. People, there are enough reasons to hate us without throwing our sausage legs into the mix. (OK for the model above, maybe. For normal people, not.)

Little White Dress

Rationalizing with the bajillion weddings I'm going to this summer, I decided I need a new dress. But these ADORABLE cocktail dresses are turning my favorite pastime into torture. Do retailers WANT me to look like a crazy lady competing with the bride? I guarantee my drinking and dancing will draw enough questionable attention. I don't need help looking ridiculous.

Photos: Jumpsuit and shorts - EXPRESS; little white dress - AKIRA Chicago

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Oversharers Anonymous

I had never heard of "social shopping" until I read this New York Times blog, but apparently it's popular enough to be a competitive space. The site Blippy launched last fall, and Swipely recently joined the scene. Both sites are linked to users' credit cards for the purpose of publishing their purchases and allowing others to comment on them.

While I do get annoyed when certain family members rant about the ridiculousness of Facebook, I think this is where I draw the line. Why would anyone think this is a good idea? I live in constant fear of running into someone I know at CVS. Publicly share the contents of my doubled plastic bags alongside a thumbnail picture of myself? No thanks.

Oh yeah and the security issues... those are troubling as well.

Monday, May 10, 2010

License to birth

I think a lot of people agree there should be some sort of licensing involved with having children. Like driving a car, it should probably involve a minimum age, some education and a test.

May I suggest, after finding out 2009's most popular baby names, that this be the first question on the written test: Do you plan to name your child after a Twilight character? If the answer is yes, you are automatically disqualified and not required to move on to the supervised diapering and burping portion of the examination. (You're supposed to become a fan of children's books after giving birth, not before.)

Then again, my doctor friend had a patient who wanted to name her newborn Chlamydia, because she thought it sounded pretty... when she was told she HAD IT. I suppose we have bigger things to worry about than the befuddling success of a poorly written YA series, in terms of the progression of humanity.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Dirty, dirty mouth

I feel bad enough paying a stranger to clean my apartment, so even though I can't help worrying about what she might be doing in there, I try to push it to the back of my middle class guilt-ridden mind. This strategy was working pretty well for me - until last night.

While I'm sure there are endless opportunities for contamination, for some reason I fixate on my toothbrush. I can barely manage to wash my face without knocking one to three items into the sink/floor/toilet, so I can't imagine how our cleaning woman could manage to de-filth our teeny tiny bathroom without ever bumping a toothbrush or two off the sink into something disturbing.

So I usually hide my toothbrush in its traveling case thingy or start using a new one after the apartment is cleaned... usually, but not always. Because I am that lazy. But before the cleaning woman came yesterday morning I noticed my boyfriend's toothbrush in the bathroom garbage and decided to toss mine too, after asking him if we had replacements.

Then something odd happened. When I went to brush my teeth last night, the brushes were back. Hm, I thought. Maybe the replacements were the same colors, and my boyfriend kindly put mine in the holder for me (so romantic!). So I texted him asking him which was mine, to which he replied "either one." I thought this was strange... I figured he replaced them because he brushed his teeth before he went out. (This is where I become irrationally germaphobic for someone who can't even be bothered to clean her own apartment.)

So when I picked up one of the brushes I couldn't help sniffing it... and it smelled like stale toothpaste! Upon further inspection, I noticed some toothpaste residue as well as slight wear and tear. GASP! I dropped the toothbrush and texted my boyfriend again (he loves that), asking if he was SURE the toothbrushes were new because they didn't seem new... He texted back saying they were UNDER THE SINK. Ewwwwwwww.

I almost used a utensil to clean my mouth that had been SITTING IN BATHROOM WASTE. A vivid picture came to me of the cleaning woman finishing up the bathroom and suddenly noticing the empty holder, then the two toothbrushes in the garbage. Did she assume she knocked them into it and simply put them back where she thought they belonged? Or was it some kind of sick joke?? How many times has this happened before???

You'd think this would be enough reason for me to start cleaning the apartment myself, but that thought actually upsets me more than the dirty toothbrush.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

How did I miss boobquake??

It has come to my attention that yesterday was boobquake day. Ironically, it was the one day I was actually modestly dressed, in a button-down shirt and vest, of all things.

Apparently the boobquake rally stemmed from Blag Hag's reaction to a comment by Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi, a senior Iranian cleric:

"Many women who do not dress modestly ... lead young men astray, corrupt their chastity and spread adultery in society, which (consequently) increases earthquakes."
Huh? You're probably thinking something got lost in translation here... but the Associated Press corroborates the story.

So Jen McCreight of Blag Hag suggested immodest gals unite to test Sedighi's claim by sporting teeny tanks and plunging v-necks on April 26. What started as a joke went viral, attracting 14,000 attendees to the Facebook event and pushing "boobquake" to the top of Twitter's trending list.

Well, it's April 27... I think it's safe to say the earth survived. (You can find actual data here. Love it.)

Figures that I would miss the one occasion where I could proudly display my cleavage in the name of feminism and science. Guess I'll just have to continue to show it off in the old-fashioned name of vanity.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Double (D) Standard

According to Brandweek.com, ABC (and Fox) had a problem with a new Lane Bryant commercial that promotes their lingerie line. Apparently when attached to "plus-sized" women, rather than surgically enhanced broomsticks, ample cleavage is too racy for primetime.

What I find most ridiculous about the story is that ABC refused to air the spot during DANCING WITH THE STARS. If you're not familiar with the show, let me tell you, it is positively skanktastic. And this season Pamela Anderson is taking sex on the dancefloor to a whole new level. She looks like she wants to jump her partner AT ALL TIMES. And I think I saw her humping Kate Gosselin at the results show last night.

Although I did hear on some entertainment TV show yesterday that the show producers are making the effort to convince Pamela to wear underwear during live performances.


But if ABC's weak attempt to cool off Pamela is tempting you to forgive the double standard they inflicted on Lane Bryant, allow me to share some photos from their "Sexy Dance Moments" gallery:

Seriously ABC, after you manage to whore out sweet little rejected bachelorette Melissa, you can no longer play the morality card. And I don't think there's a protecting-viewers-from-what-women-actually-look-like card.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Engagement marketing?

It started when I came back from a trip with my boyfriend to the Virgin Islands. With suggestive eyebrows working overtime, my most nosy co-worker asked me how it was, and if I had any news to share. Um, no...

Apparently he and my manager had a bet going on me coming back engaged. Engaged to be married, apparently. The thought had not occurred to me - I was just enjoying a lovely vacation. But then when my boyfriend told me he got similar questions at his work, I started to get agitated. Why weren't we engaged?? Wheels started spinning... on a crazy train headed toward my unsuspecting relationship.

Coincidentally, I did get a call from one of my college roommates while on the O'Hare runway with that very same news - she had just gotten engaged! When I was G-chatting with another roommate (who had been engaged for a few months) about my trip a couple days later, she politely asked how it was and then plunged right in: So, are you engaged too?? Um, no... What is wrong with you people? Must EVERYONE be engaged? And P.S. I would tell you, and probably not over G-chat.

THEN today I get this e-mail from a romantical fondue restaurant we went to a month or so ago:

WTF?? Well, maybe the message had something to do with me checking the "engagement" box as my reason for celebrating (and getting a coupon) when signing up for Geja's e-mail list. I thought it would be funny to mess with my boyfriend...

Monday, April 5, 2010

Dying Peasant

Since I started working full time, I've been trying to make sense of the insanity I experience five days a week -- the rambling conference calls, Frankenstein collaborations, undermining BCCs, patronizing training requirements, and on and on, and on. What is the point of all the seemingly institutionalized spinning of wheels? Wouldn't we all be more productive if we were treated like self-sufficient adults? But then last week, with the help of some Netflixed Michael Moore, I think I figured it out.

It's not a joke. Corporations have a vested interest in driving us crazy; they are consciously trying to suck our souls dry of any and all will to live. Well, maybe not all corporations -- just the ones that have "Dead Peasants" insurance. According to Moore's Capitalism: A Love Story and several other sources, these corporate-owned life insurance policies were originally created to protect companies from the financial loss and disruption they might experience with the death of a top executive (of course then they were called "key man" or "key person" insurance). Then some evil suit figured out how to manipulate the practice to profit (tax free!) off of lower-level employees, you know -- "peasants." And apparently, young females are lower risk and therefore higher profit than other demographics -- when dead. Eep. I better watch my back.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Head-to-toe denim? Eep.

First I noticed GAP's attempt to promote the dreaded denim suit (AKA Canadian Tuxedo) in a multi-page advertisement in Vanity Fair. Its "Fit Together" campaign claims "America's best fitting premium jeans have now met their match." Yes, these outfits match - in the way a brother and sister might match - but should certainly never hook up.

Then I got an e-mail from EXPRESS displaying this image:

What's next - mullets?? Is this an epidemic or only embraced by retail chains that overuse capital letters? I'm thoroughly disturbed, but like most hideous trends, I will probably give in right before it goes out of style.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Pretty Wild Indeed

I'm embarrassed to admit I actually stayed up rather late last night watching the premier of E!'s latest head scratcher of a reality show about people they tell us are famous. Pretty Wild is pretty much a knockoff of Keeping Up With the Kardashians, featuring less family members and more skin (and you didn't think that was possible!). The most entertaining/disturbing (one in the same these days, aren't they?) part of the show, in my opinion, is the mother, who reminds me of someone...

Right down to the thong poking out of her velour jumpsuit, she's a "real-life" version of Amy Poehler's Mean Girls character! But even better... she's an ex Playboy model turned "Secret" minister who home schools her lingerie modeling, pole dancing daughters. Publishers take note! I foresee a parenting book in this woman's future.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Protesting Life

There's a story about my father floating around my family, which may or may not be true. When I tell it, it goes something like this: The year is 1969. The place is Los Angeles. The image is my father, briefcase in hand, annoyance on face, pushing through some sort of hippie protest on his way to work. This story is supposed to illustrate apathy and general lameness.

Flash forward a bit to year 2010, place: Chicago. There appears to be a protest going on outside my office. I hear some commotion and join a co-worker at the window. We can see people marching with signs in the reflection of the building next door. I Google "chicago protest," but nothing promising comes up. My co-worker searches Twitter and finds a post about a "support rally" in Chicago, but we're not sure what they're supporting... Another co-worker says quietly, "I kind of feel like going down there, but [trails off]." I shrug and go back to my cubicle, insert headphones in ears.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Who says feminists have no sense of humor?

At best, they're part of a backlash against the metrosexual male; at worst, they're part of the backlash against the empowered female. Either way, ad campaigns like Dockers' "Wear the Pants" and Burger King's "I Am Man" are undoubtedly irritating to those who have stepped out of the cave. But there is a silver lining - when they inspire hilarious backlashes of their own (forwardlash?). Check out the "Woman's Last Stand" response to Dodge's Superbowl commercial:

*Shout out to ad broad - where I discovered this video.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Restaurant Week, Shmestaurant Week

It's Restaurant Week in Chicago. Every year I'm bombarded by advertisements - Daily Candy, Time Out, Metromix - and every year I get excited. And then pissed. Lies! It's all a bunch of lies! Especially this year because it's not even a week anymore - they've extended it to 10 days. Even the name of the event is a lie.

Supposedly more than 165 eateries are offering "discounted" three-course dinners and lunches. Lunches are a set price of $22; dinners are $32. But here's the thing: If you look at restaurants' regular menus and add up individual items on their prix fixe menus, the discount is negligible, if anything. One meal I looked up was actually a nickel more for Restaurant Week. B.S.

Now, I admit I haven't done the math for each option (and I'm not so good at math), but does this not sound like a rip off? I wonder if the waitstaffs at these restaurants are having a nice laugh back in the kitchen. I know I would be if I were still a server. Actually I'd probably be annoyed - as I was pretty much annoyed with any customer who asked about deals, required extra napkins, or expected me to serve them.

Anywho it appears the only way to squeeze a deal out of Restaurant Week is to go to the priciest of fancy pants restaurants participating (hint: probably not Connie's Pizza...) and to book your reservation months in advance. Lame.

Disenchanted by the whole thing but still susceptible to the restaurant itch, we did end up going to Dunlays last night (dinner out on a Tuesday!). Not only does Dunlays not participate in the Restaurant Week sham, but it's always yummy (cookie skillet!) and reasonably priced. And we used a Groupon, which are actually good deals. Watch out for the expiration dates though. Sigh... must there always be a catch?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Recumbent Nemesis

I have a gym nemesis, and I believe her to be a resolver. She has voluminous blond hair, often wears sorority t-shirts (bid day!) and reads US Weekly. Worst of all, she thinks my beloved recumbent bike is her beloved recumbent bike. Last week she swiped it right from under my nose. I saw it in slow motion, her slipping into the seat a split second before my book touched the machine, my method of securing one of three coveted bikes while I wipe off my treadmill.

Straining to assess the bike situation behind me in the mirror in front of the only treadmill I could get today, a fuchsia tank caught my eye. Her. On an elliptical (of course). She would be on the one right in front of the recumbent bikes, I thought to myself. I faced a grave disadvantage, all the way across the gym with only half a bike visible in the corner of my mirror. Damn her! I couldn't stop staring as I contemplated my game plan, and I think I saw her staring back. Challenge accepted.

Toward the end of my run I started looking over my shoulder at the bikes. I still had five minutes left when I spied an open one, and a girl wiping down the one next to it! TWO open bikes on a weeknight?? Unheard of! I got so excited I jabbed at the stop button and almost biffed it as I jumped off the slowing conveyor belt.

It wasn't until I was pedaling that I looked over and noticed the bike next to me was still empty, and my nemesis was still working away on the elliptical... Well, now it appears she's just playing with my emotions.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Olympic Fever

I don't know anything about men's figure skating, but I am now totally rooting for Evan Lysacek. I also want him to be my new BFF.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Probably not my kind of town

Some breaking news from the little office elevator TV I stare at to avoid stranger small talk: The city of Aspen has rolled out a new program to shed its unfriendly image. "Adopt a Tourist" matches visitors with locals who are willing to show them the town, and possibly their underpants.

Wonder if this is an attempt to undo the damage of VH1's "Secrets of Aspen"...

Regardless, I think it's safe to assume cast members won't be volunteering for the program... although it appears they're willing to whore themselves out for charity, "Adopt a Tourist" probably isn't quite glamorous enough.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Jake cuts girls quicker than barbers

I honestly wasn't sure if I'd be able to watch this season of the Bachelor when I heard it was going to be Jake. I found his "nice guys finish last" persona on the Bachelorette somewhat fake and completely nauseating. But of course it just isn't Monday night if I don't puke a little in my mouth.

So I gave Jake a chance, and I have to say I kind of like him! First he cut crazy Michelle in mid conversation when she wouldn't shut up about going home (Earth to Michelle, playing hard to get does not work when you're competing with 40 other fake boobies.) Then he called out full-of-crap Elizabeth from Nebraska about playing games (I'm a virgin, no I'm a whore, no I'm a virgin! Elizabeth, what you are definitely NOT is Britney Spears, and even she couldn't keep that ridiculousness going.) And then this week Jake decided not to give either of his two-on-one dates roses! And then he didn't even give out all of his roses at the rose ceremony! (Ashleigh, you seem like a cool chick - you can't really be that into Jake... he's much better suited for someone like Tenley, no?) What's going to happen next week?? I can't wait!!

I was thinking about the Bachelor, as I often do, and it occurred to me: Even though Jake might seem brutal, isn't he doing everyone a favor by not leading girls on and spending more time with people he actually sees a future with, rather than filling his hot tub with as many skanks as possible? So being kind of mean actually makes him the ultimate nice guy. And people say reality TV is shallow...

Side note on title: If you're a phening Jersey Shore addict like myself and are wondering if Ronnie does indeed "cut girls quicker than barbers do," I did some digging for us. It appears he and Sammi are still on the outs, according to this blog and these TMZ pics of him creepin on another girl. I still think they'll make some adorably tan babies one day though.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Resolving to relinquish my treadmill

When I walked into my packed gym at the rather early hour of 5:15 this evening, I was greeted by the smell of farts and resolutions... mmm... it must be January! It seems the wily resolvers have already learned to avoid peak hours. And I don’t think that’s even the most impressive part of their strategy, which appears to be twofold.

By suddenly plugging up their neighborhood exercise facilities, they're also softening up the regulars. So while resolvers are shedding pounds, gym members such as myself are waiting in lines when they’re normally switching cardio machines, fretting as their iPod batteries run out because they can’t get on any of the shmancy equipment with chargers, making peace with the fact that the Christmas cookie effect on their asses may in fact become a permanent reality. Wouldn’t surprise me if these resolvers are also buttering up their personal trainers with gifts of baked goods.

I knew this January was going to be bad when I went to the gym the Sunday after New Years and it was hard to find an open machine. During the Bears game! The man hogging my beloved recumbent bike was actually just sitting on it, watching TV. Maybe his resolution is to simply go to the gym, not actually use the equipment. Perhaps next year he’ll take the next step. Good for him.

So then on Monday when I had to stay late at work, I didn’t even bother going to the gym, assuming it would be too packed and exacerbate the effects of being caged in my cubicle past 5:00 sharp. Foiled by the resolvers again!

Well at this point I think I’ve just got to hand it to them – this ruthless New Year resolution strategy is pretty clever. So I look forward to waiting while you finish running, stretching or standing on your treadmills for the next three weeks, resolvers! And then I’ll see you again in 2011!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Note to Hewlett-Packard

This fantastic message popped up on my laptop screen after I plugged in a loaner mouse this morning (forgot mine at home and apparently lack the grace required to effectively use the hyper-sensitive touch pad). As I've mentioned before, I find polysyllabic, convoluted communications very impressive, so I was pretty taken with this one. I do see one area that could be improved, however. See suggested edit below:
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