Sunday, July 31, 2011

How I hate Captcha because it makes me feel like less of a person

I've never really worried that much about my physical abilities. There are, of course, some things I can or can't do, or do differently. For example, I require step stools and ladders for high places. However, I can shimmy up things that people at five-foot-seven may fear. My gymnastics training was not so much for athletic performance as it was for every day life navigation skills.

 I am aware of my shortcomings, but there is something on-line that actually makes me feel physically disabled. It's called Captcha, and the name alone is enough to make you feel captured. A more appropriate name would be Gotcha. I hate Captcha. I understand that it is trying to prevent against spammers and all that, but it usually takes me three or four tries to correctly guess what secret letters I'm supposed to be viewing as a real-life person with a brain and not an internet auto-bot.
If you can read these, leave the answers in the comment box. Winners will be notified via string and tin-can.
 Next to those impossibly formed letters is a little wheelchair button, like people without legs can't view Captcha either, because the movement of your left calf is what controls your ability to see squished together words or not.
Notice the insulting blue wheelchair.
I think to myself "it would just be easier if I pushed the disabled button, instead of sitting here trying to guess what this says." But I don't click on it, because it would give my self-confidence a jolt to do so. I am not disabled. I am fully abled. But that is a lie. There are many things I am not able to do, and while I have perfect vision as confirmed by the eye doctor last May, I cannot see Captcha characters. It's something I just have to accept.

In case you were wondering what CAPTCHA stands for, it's "Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart." According to Wikipedia, which is now being used in public schools more often than text book references, A CAPTCHA is a means of automatically generating challenges which intends to:
  • Provide a problem easy enough for all humans to solve. Way to make me feel stupid.
  • Prevent standard automated software from filling out a form, unless it is specially designed to circumvent specific CAPTCHA systems. 
That part about being easy enough for all humans to solve is really offending. If six-year olds can read Captcha, and 86 year olds can read Captcha, I feel like I am lacking in intelligence. But I am not all humans. I am Joelle, uniquely designed with a Captcha disablity. Like baseball caps or plastic gloves, one-size-fits-all has never really been my style.

Monday, July 25, 2011

I have come up with the most brilliant business plan. I'm going to start a company called, and the tag line is going to be "where we do the filtering before you do the dating." Or maybe it will be "where we do the filtering before you take out the joe."

As you know, I no longer have a job, and this leaves me with a lot of time on my hands. I've been doing all sorts of world altering things like researching cancer and cleaning up beaches and reading Plato. But then, you know, there are times when I need to relax, and somehow I get sucked into cruising on-line dating sites.

I know what you're thinking. I'm desperate. I'm lonely. I'm trying to find a sugar daddy to pay all my upcoming bills. So not the case. I blame it all on Heidi, who forced me to create that profile which I promptly deleted the very next day. Searching dating profiles allows for the same sort of entertainment one might enjoy from reading the missed connection ads on Craigslist.

So let's just say I have been viewing profiles of various other on-line sites. And let's also say that it would be a complete waste of time for me to create a profile for a site that has this as one of their top candidates: Hey what's up! Haven't met anyone threw here yet but im not against it. Lets get to know eachother and see what comes of it! Message me if you want to learn more! Im outgoing, so feel free to hit up me.
Do you know this guy? If you are a single lady, he could soon be yours.
 This is what you must know about me: I am judgmental. Incredibly judgmental. If you do not use spell check, then I judge you. If you do not capitalize the letter i when writing, I judge you. Pushing the shift button is not that hard, people. If you can't use a period or if you over use them and just have ellipses...throughout...your entire profile...I judge you. I will let commas slide. Missed apostrophes on contractions is just plain lazy.

I judge the man who takes a photo of himself wearing a muscle tee in his bathroom mirror using his phone. I mean, at least be at the beach or something and make it look like you're not trying to show off your biceps. I judge the man who has Mickey Mouse wallpaper in the background. So what if it's not your room, why the hell are you in there?
This is the sort of photo I'm talking about. My lovely facial expression combined with my humble physique is what is really going to attract men. Profile picture, baby!

Nothing beats the quality of a blurred camera picture. As Tyra would say "look fierce."
I don't think I am the only woman in the world who forms opinions off of misspelled words and dumb pictures. I mean, men. Seriously. You are trying to attract a woman here. You should be trying to make your best impression. So maybe you've caught me spelling a word incorrectly here or there. Fine. Maybe you have seen some of the really stupid pictures I have on Facebook. Fair enough. I would just like to point out that that wasn't the first time you met me. If I were trying to score a coffee date with an utter stranger, I'd remove all those photos of me trying to drive/fly/row a cardboard box.
This is not how you attract a date. Unless of course, you are hoping that they also drive a box car.
My new dating site,, will put all prospective users through a test, similar to the one I had to pass in fifth grade. Single men and women will have to use spell check to correct words, identify where punctuation goes, and capitalize letters that need it. Additionally, a 100 word essay will be required. I will personally read all essays, and anyone who doesn't pass this 5th grade level test will be denied a profile on my dating site. Any men with exceptional skills will also be denied a profile, as I will be contacting them directly with a marriage proposal. I get first dibs. If they reject me kindly, then maybe I'll let them join the site.

I really think this is a needed service. Some people actually want to date others who care enough to differentiate between there, their, and they're. Am I wrong? I don't think my detective skills are so advanced that only I can see through people's profiles like a freshly Windexed sheet of glass. Surely you can also clearly see that the man with five "casual" muscle poses is desperately hoping that you will focus more on his abs than on his lack of wit or abuse of the apostrophe.

What are your thoughts? Would you like to develop my website? Are you offended because I just described your on-line dating profile? Do you think I'm going to die a lonely old cat lady? Do you want to buy stock in my company?

Friday, July 22, 2011

Grandma e-mail 101

My grandma is pretty hip. She's quite athletic and fashionable compared to both her peer group and my peer group. I kind of want her to get together with my friend Casey's Nana, because I hear that Nana wears glitter and spray on tanner. Her and my Gram would probably become best friends. Anyway, my Gram has a Wii and knows how to play it. I'm pretty sure she has an iPod. This is much advancement for someone who grew up without indoor plumbing. Despite her progress, sometimes my Gram still needs some technological assistance.

Two weeks ago I sent her some addresses to websites with printable coupons, because people in retirement need to watch their money so as to leave an inheritance for their favorite grand-kids. I sent her all the addresses and told her to copy and paste them into her search bar. I got this message in response:

Hey Joelle, Thanks for the coupon Info but where is my search bar?? is that like your contact address book???
This is teach Grandma e-mail 101 help!! lol.

Oh Gram, how I love you. I wrote her back and explained where to find the search bar, because I'm pretty sure there is not a search bar that lets you search for your search bar. It's kind of vital to web navigation. I also linked up all the addresses so all she had to do was click on the blue words.

Grammy, if you are reading this then I applaud you on your skills to find my blog site again, without an e-mail link. Can't wait to see you in August. : ) Love you!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Ritual Sacrifice

So this one time Heidi and I had Friday Night Dinner together without my sister, brother-in-law, or cousin (Heidi's boyfriend). Every one else was busy but we were still hungry and up for an adventure.

What we did was go to Figaro's and order a 12 topping pizza using the coupon I had so conscientiously clipped from the mail inserts earlier that month. Only I am a vegetarian and don't eat sausage, pepperoni, salami, or whatever else was on there, so when Heidi ordered the pizza over the phone, she was all "I would like to order one large 12 topping pizza. Only on half of it I don't want any meat. Actually, will you please use all the regular amount of meat, and just put it on one side?" Heidi is extremely carnivorous. When I overheard the Figaro's employee ask when we wanted to pick it up, Heidi says, "What's the absolute fastest it can be ready?" She basically made it sound like we were desperate.

After picking up the pizza, we drove to the Riverfront Park. Finding a parking spot proved a bit challenging, but I finally spotted one. "Right there! Next to the dumpsters." And okay, so it might smell a little. It's not like we were going to eat our dinner right there on the curb.

Heidi did not like our parking spot for other reasons. "You know we could come back and teenagers could be having sex right behind those dumpsters in the bushes?" I thought this was very unlikely. "Wouldn't they do it inside the recycling dumpster? Because after all, paper and cardboard is clean. And it's padded." But Heidi insisted that teenagers are like wild rabbits and will do it anywhere, any time, even if it is in a public place on the pavement. She speaks from traumatic witnessing.

We parked next to the dumpsters regardless, got out our picnic blanket, and found a nice sunny spot on the grass overlooking the Greek style amphitheater (if you could call it that). Before long we discovered an ancient culture about to embark on a tribal ritual sacrifice.

There were about six or seven people--mostly men--who had wrapped brightly colored fabric strips around their heads and arms and waists. They also had these really sweet acorn leg-warmers that made noise when they danced. The tribal people set up a drum and in the center of the stage they put some bananas and a shell and then lit something on fire because there was smoke billowing in the air. They started chanting and blowing a conch shell. We were too far away to hear what they were saying. I wanted to get closer to see if they were speaking Spanish or not, because to be honest, their ethnicity was a bit elusive for both Heidi and I. They may have been from some Pacific Island community. It was difficult to tell, and I say this with experience, as I have had many multi-cultural students and I just laugh when someone thinks my Marshallese student is actually Hispanic, or when someone thinks my Laotian student is from China. I've become really good at telling the difference.

Heidi and I sit there, eating like our third slice of pizza or whatever, watching this tribal ritual take place. One guy blows the conch shell North, East, South, and West, and another one of the dudes waves the smoke stick around. Plus there's that whole beating of the drum thing to add suspense. After all directions of the compass were covered, the people started dancing around in their acorn leg-warmers. Smoke was emitting from the center of their dancing circle, and Heidi and I both thought they were about to perform a human sacrifice. BECAUSE THERE WAS A TODDLER RESTRAINED IN A STROLLER RIGHT NEXT TO THE SMOKE. The gray puffs of smoke were headed straight for his face. I'm pretty sure they did that to blind him so that when it came time to throw him down the pyramid or whatever, he wouldn't see it coming.

Heidi asked just about every person walking by us if they knew what was going on. Nobody did. So of course we had to make up stories in our heads. The tribal dancers attracted quite an audience, as everyone else heard the drum and wanted to know what was going on. I'm pretty sure this is how cults get started.

It was at this point that I told Heidi that maybe I should get a drum and a costume and just come to the Riverfront whenever I felt like it and trick people into thinking I was actually a scheduled performer. Then I could take up a collection at the end. Or maybe they'd just pay me to stop hurting their ears.

We finished eating, took the blanket back to the car, then decided to walk around. Mostly we wanted to get closer to the stage and the people so we could discover what culture it was and see exactly what they were burning. Because maybe they were burning Bibles or the American flag or copies of Twilight.

After a quick walk-by, we were still unsure of anything. By the second and a half walk-by, Heidi finally found the audacity to say to one of the young guys "Hey. Hey you. Were you just doing that? Dancing?" He says yeah and walks over, like maybe this is Heidi's standard pick-up line. We ask them what culture this is. He says Aztec. We ask what the smoke and the shell blowing represent. He says he doesn't know.

I'm sorry, but if you are about to dance around in a circle at the beat of a drum with a fiery smoke pit and ritualistic blowing of the conch shell in every direction, I think you should know what it means. But then again, my dad's side of the family is Swiss and I have no idea what the blowing of the alpenhorn represents. I just eat cheese and listen to the accordion and my yodeling aunt.

After talking to the guy and his wing man for about two minutes, we are still left with many questions, such as, where do I purchase a pair of acorn leg-warmers? Plus, I'm still concerned about that toddler who is suffering from smoke inhalation.

Unsatisfied, Heidi and I continue to walk down the path of the riverfront. We spot a picnic table, pink birthday cake, party hats, and a group of smiling people. Heidi is overly friendly towards strangers and yells "Happy Birthday!" One of the people says "The birthday girl isn't here," at which point I think twice about going back and stealing some cake before running.

We continue our walk and come across about ten people reading scripts on the sidewalk. Heidi doesn't want to interrupt, so we go out of our way to walk around the rehearsal. I spot a box of donuts and a copy of A Midsummer Night's Dream. I have never actually watched a live performance of this play, but I pretty much guarantee that it will be acted out every single summer by some theater troupe in town, so if I ever want to see it I probably won't have any trouble. We continue walking.

I will sum up the end of our adventure by saying that we walked a mile across the bridge to get to the other park on the other side of the river, only it's not so much a park as a place where homeless people dig through the garbage cans. I felt really bad at that point and wished that we would have carried our pizza box with us the whole way, because we still had at least three slices left.

Heidi really had to pee so she went in the public restroom that is made of cinder blocks and has no doors on the stalls. It's not even like there were doors and they fell off. They were made without doors intentionally. Heidi said this was to keep teenagers from having sex in the bathrooms. I guarded the door then we scrammed. On our way back we saw a police officer questioning/frisking a guy. I wanted to go up to him and tell him that maybe he should check on toddlers who suffer from smoke damage to their lungs, or who are potentially at risk of being sacrificed in a ritualistic tribal dance, but I didn't think it was the right time for that sort of thing. So we walked back to the car.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

roommate interviews

Now that you know I'm unemployed, you may realize the importance of me finding two roommates to fill up my house so that I can pay my mortgage. I posted an ad on Craigslist about three weeks ago, and I received several e-mails from interested persons.

I was very happy that everyone who messaged me had good spelling and punctuation. You know how I judge that sort of thing. 

One of them was all "I'm male, but other than that, I think I fulfill all of your requirements." I'm sorry, but if you are male, then you fail 99% of my requirements. I want to be able to walk around in my underwear on Saturday mornings if I feel like it (not that I ever do this, but still). And okay, the guy was a third year medical student, and he had an Asian sounding last name, which gave me a 36% chance of being able to learn martial arts from him, which would be cool. But I didn't want a man (especially a stranger--if it were actually someone I already knew, I might have considered it) living in my house. 

I'm going to give you the run-down of how a roommate interview may have gone. I've met two people in person, and have been chatting with five others via e-mail. You don't want to hear about each individual, nor do I want to write about each one, so here is the generalized picture:

Scene: Starbucks, six o'clock, Thursday night.

Me: You must be (insert candidate's name here). I'm Joelle.

Candidate: Hi, nice to meet you. Let me tell you about myself. I am 23 years old, I graduated from XYZ University, and now I work at LMNOP. I really like rock climbing and scrap booking.

Me: Oh, wow. How diverse. I've always wanted to go rock climbing. Let me tell you about myself. I really like people but don't hang out with them a lot on account of how I am sort of shy, plus, after I mention that I really like spy/agent/detective/undercover stuff, people get really wary of me and try to hide all their dirty secrets. I like writing and I subscribe to more blogs than I can read. I like baking cupcakes. My right knee cap has dislocated more than 256 times (NOT LYING), so I never run or play sports that involve balls that are larger than ping pong sized, but I like to do kickboxing...So what sort of questions do you have for me?

Candidate: How much is rent again?

Me: As much as you can stand to pay. I just quit my job and am looking for others to pay my bills.

Candidate: Oh.

Me: But utilities are included!
Candidate: What is your policy on pets?

Me: Well, I have a pet rabbit named Roo, but he lives outside, except for when I bring him in to play. Are you hoping to get a pet soon?

Candidate: Well, maybe a fish. I find aquariums very relaxing.

Me: Oh, that's fine. I just don't want anything that will make my house smell.

Candidate: I have asthma, so I totally understand.

Me: Okay, so I have determined that thus far, you are not a creeper. I checked as much as I could on Facebook, then I Googled you and nothing dirty came up, so you're golden. Would you like to go look at the house?

Candidate: Excellent.

Scene: My House, six-thirty, Thursday night.

Me: So this is the living room.

Candidate: Wow! It's really spacious!

Me: I know, right? I throw a lot of crazy parties here every weekend...Over here is the kitchen.

Candidate: Cute. So what's your policy on food?

Me: Ah, well with all the other girls who lived here, we kept our food separate and each had our own cupboard for food. I'm a vegetarian so I really don't share food/cook for others.

Candidate: Oh. So it okay to keep meat in the house?

Me: (laughing) Definitely. You can cook meat and eat it and store it in the freezer, I'm not a freak like that. I just don't want to find blood in the sink or fur in the garbage.

Candidate: Okay, I think that will work. I've been trying to eat healthier, so maybe living with a vegetarian will help with that.

Me: I doubt it. I mostly microwave frozen vegetables and eat yogurt. Plus, you know, chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream for calcium...So down the hallway is the bathroom, which you will share with whoever else I pick. These are the two bedrooms I have available. They are basically exactly the same, except this one has a view of a fence and a tree, and that one has a view of a fence and the side of the neighbor's house (but no windows, so you can totally be in the nude!)

Candidate: The rooms are a little smaller than I'd like.

Me: Don't even worry about it. When my best friend Natalie lived here, she had a queen sized bed, a bookshelf, a nightstand, a dresser, a desk, a parrot cage, a large shoe collection, a mini treadmill, and a fold up slip-and-slide in here. The space is actually much bigger than it seems.

Candidate: Cool.

Me: Do you want to meet my rabbit, Roo?

Candidate: Sure.

Me: He's outside near the patio.

Candidate: Oh, he is so cute! Can I hold him?

Me: Sure. But he does have claws; I don't want you to get scratched.

Candidate: I'll pull my sleeves down....Oh, he seems really scared. Maybe you should take him back from me.

Me: Don't worry about it. He always breathes like he's about to have a heart attack. Rabbits just have a fast heart beat--like hummingbirds.

Candidate: Here you go, I think he fainted.

Me: So do you have any other questions about me or the house?

Candidate: No, I don't think so. I really like it. I won't be able to move in until mid-August though, is that okay?

Me: Since I like you so much, that could work for me.

Candidate: Awesome. Well, I am supposed to look at another place this weekend, so can I let you know by next Tuesday?

Me: Yep, sure. But before you leave, could you take this cup into the bathroom so I could get a urine sample from you? I don't want any druggies living in my house.


The interactions I have had with the candidates haven't gone exactly like this, but some of it really has. Like, this one girl was really afraid I wouldn't allow her to have any meat in the kitchen at all. You get the general picture. I probably won't know until the end of August who will be for surely living with me, but when they move in I'll let you know who I picked.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Roo's Crib

My sister, brother, and I built this stellar rabbit crib for Roo a few weeks ago. Jess plotted the architectural design after I sketched out what I envisioned, Travis did all the sawing and nailing, and I did trivial yet important tasks that a non-construction type person might do. For example, I added charisma and motivation to the two and a half hour project. All the materials were purchased at Home Depot.
 It was a very sturdy, quality built cage to start with, but I wanted to make the hutch look more like home, so I added a few designer touches.
In case you didn't notice, Roo's house is basically a mini version of mine, as both are painted the same exact shade of brown-gray and have white trim. I nailed on protective roof shingles to shield against the incessant rain Oregon has, added on a flower box, a tiny turquoise bird house, and a mailbox on the right. Let's take an up-close look at that mailbox.
His mailbox is white just like mine.
You can mail Roo a carrot or an apple, or seeds for his garden.
Roo is really into gardening. He likes to watch his strawberry plants get ripe.
The roof of Roo's house lifts up so that I can get him out. The enclosed box on the right is his bedroom and has a mattress of hay for him to nest in. The mesh wire part is his kitchen and living room. That gray thing in the corner is his bathroom. Roo is a very clean rabbit and only drops raisins in his litter box.

Just about every day I bring Roo in for cuddle time. We sit on the couch and I pet his fluffy rabbit head. After cuddle time is play time. He loves to race around the living room, shimmy under the couch, and leap into the air like Michael Jordon. After a while he is plumb wore out. For some reason Roo enjoys lounging on the air vents in my house. There are three in the area that he hops around in, and he will plop down on any of them. When he rests, he never just snoozes on the carpet. It's gotta be a vent.
Roo's fur is the exact same shade as my carpet. This either makes him nervous, or it is comforting to him since he has good camouflage.
He may like it because the metal is cooler than the carpet.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The biggest trust fall ever taken

It's been nearly four weeks since the school year ended, and I figured I might as well let everyone know what I've been privately telling friends and family members.

I've resigned from my teaching job and I have no definite plan. For me, this is the ultimate trust fall into God's hand. I've always had a plan. It was my plan, and I made it happen. I realize now how incredibly moronic that was. The only plan I can follow now is God's plan. Whatever it is, wherever it takes me, whatever I have to do.

 Maybe you are snubbing your nose at me. You quit your job during this economic crisis? Why can't you be thankful for your job, even if it is hard work? I am thankful, readers. I am thankful indeed. I am thankful that I survived 256 days of the most trying and shadowed time of my life, only by the mercy of God. I wanted to quit on Day 20. On Day 48, I wanted a Mexican gang to kidnap me and hold me for ransom in Tijuana so that way I wouldn't have to go to work. On day 62 I contemplated faking a pregnancy so that I could go on faux maternity leave. I say these things and you laugh because it's funny now, but it was not funny then. I was serious. I was insanely and desperately seriously wanting to be either kidnapped or in the hospital. That is not okay. Your life is not okay when your job makes you feel like that. Your soul is not okay when you wish you could spend some time in a Mexican slammer.

So thank you Lord. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this very tough and trying experience. I realize I cannot make it on my own. I realize I cannot count on other people to make it better. You alone are enough. I thought I knew that before all this happened, but I only knew it conceptually. I didn't feel it in my heart.

Friends, this is not me quitting my job. I have finished. I have reached the finish line, even if I had to crawl on my hands and knees with mud in my eyes to get there. God only knows what sorts of trials are up next. Maybe they are worse. In that case, it's a good thing I've been so practiced and prepared.

You might think I'm being dramatic, over-reacting, weak, or being too emotional. What was it like, you ask? It's like this: I am a fine bone china teacup. I get filled with instant coffee and get zapped in the microwave. I am offended, hurt, a bit cracked on the inside. That is me in every day life. Here is me for the past year of my job: I am a fine bone china teacup. I've been taken out to the pavement and a sledge hammer has smashed me into very tiny pieces. I've been run through the grinder so many times that I have become sand.There is nothing left for the old purpose of holding tea. I am now a powdery white sand, and I am ready for God to breathe new purpose into me. 

I would very much like a rest. I would like to find some comfort and peace, but I know I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Alone, I am sand, but with the Lord I am a warrior. So, to God I say "bring me comfort and peace," but to the world I say, "bring it." Because I know God's got me covered. Even when I am lacking in faith and think that he doesn't care about me.

Now I wake up early every day because I am so excited to get out of bed. I love life. This feeling of joy may be fleeting, and when September rolls around and I feel the hit of a missed paycheck, my feelings could very well change. But this is a trust fall. I'm falling, Lord, I'm falling. I know you'll catch me.

Readers, I am excited. I am thrilled to show you what my God can do. I have a feeling it will surprise the both of us.

Monday, July 11, 2011

stuff christians like

There is a blog I cannot get enough of and it is called Stuff Christians Like. I wish I would have discovered this like a thousand posts ago, because Jon Acuff is so funny and dead on that I want to read every post he ever wrote. Stuff Christians Like is a satire. When Jon published his book, it didn't go over so well with everybody who wears a cross necklace. I am not one of those people. I love reading Stuff Christians Like. Here is a very short excerpt from Rebelling against pew pencils

"A few weeks ago, I lost my favorite pen on my way to sitting down in the sanctuary at church. My first reaction was to put the church on lockdown and bring in the pen-sniffing dogs. The greeters at the Info Hub didn’t go for that idea. As a result, I was stuck taking notes with one of those stubby pew pencils with no erasers. By the end of the sermon, I had a wicked sweaty cramp in my hand.Why do churches use these?"

Once a week Jon has Serious Wednesday, where he does not poke fun at anything, but instead prods your heart. Seriously, read his blog.

Another blog that I can't get enough of is Calling All Cool Moms. I am not a mother, nor do I want to become one in the immediate future, but Julie is hilarious and writes a blog that would crack up anybody, not just moms. Here is a rather long excerpt, because Julie's writing is so engaging I just didn't know where to stop.
"This week, I came as close to a heart attack as my young(ish) body will hopefully ever get.  I was peacefully sleeping (thanks to my Pinot nightcap) and dreaming of Johnny Depp (more Captain Jack Sparrow, less Edward Scissorhands), when my son slammed open the bedroom door and screamed: “MOMMY!!!”

I was so stunned I couldn’t speak, didn’t know where I was, and was pretty sure I could feel my heart beating in my eyeballs.  Also?  I was beyond confused at my child’s perfectly clean face, considering that he was screaming, “I HAVE A BLOODY NOSE!”  I was (fairly) certain I hadn’t chased my Pinot with an Ambien, or I would have chalked it all up to hallucinations.  (Sidenote: Did you hear about all the sleepwalking/eating/driving that is possible when you take Ambien?  It’s a good thing my local Target isn’t open 24 hours, because I’m pretty sure that’s where my subconscious would want to hang out.  And something tells me it would give in and buy the sparkly jelly shoes I covet every time I’m there, even though they are for toddlers.)"
 Read more of Julie here, on Calling All Cool Moms.

Have you discovered any blogs you just love love love and adore? And you wish you had discovered them in their infancy, because now you have twenty hours of back reading to do?

Also, my friend Natalie makes fun of me for having a Twitter account, but that is how I discovered both of these awesome writers. So by association, Twitter is awesome.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

murder she wrote

I totally attribute my detective skills and intrigue in all things suspicious to my mother, for she is the one who allowed me to watch Murder She Wrote at the tender age of seven. Not only did she allow it, she downright encouraged it. Murder She Wrote was my mom's favorite TV show, with Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman running a close second.                   

And okay, Jessica Fletcher was kind of a grandma solving cases, and not some sultry thirty-year old who slept with all the witnesses, so I guess maybe that aspect made the whole murder thing more family friendly. But still. I can hear it now.
          "Hey kids, want to go to Grandma Fletcher's house to get babysat?"
          "Oh, goody Mom! Maybe we will get to make play dough, eat grandma's chocolate chip cookies, and solve a murder case!" 
Personally, I would have loved my Gram to do that. Instead we made crafts and played the invented game of Wicked Witch.
Jessica Fletcher, played by Angela Lansburry, was a former high school English teacher and mystery writer. Everybody knows mystery writers are great at solving real life cases. This is why the recent TV show Castle came into existence.
About the murder thing: I am so not into blood and gore. I don't want to see that stuff. I can't handle watching CSI because that goth biopsy coroner chick explains way too much grossness while she's investigating the cause of death. I do, however, love a good case.

When I was a kid age nine to fourteen, my favorite book series of all time was the Accidental Detectives, written by one clever Canadian author, Sigmund Brouwer. The series was sold in Christian book stores, which makes snooping around seem more Biblical. The series was meant for boys, evident by the fact that Ricky Kidd was the main character. I was, of course, totally in love with him, though that's not why I read.
This Accidental Detective book was a really good one. It had pirates in it. And they got tied up on the side of a cliff.
When I was like nine or something, I wrote to Santa and asked him to bring me a Sherlock Holmes hat for Christmas. Unfortunately, it didn't happen. They were probably all sold out that year. I did, however, own a pair of toy binoculars, and would use them to do surveillance work.

My brother Travis says that I am a stalker. I've tried to explain to him the difference between a stalker and a detective. I like Urban Dictionary's definition:
Stalker--a person obsessed with another to the point of insanity. I.E. following one everywhere, calling constantly, not following restraining orders, collecting their hair in shower drains.
I never do any of that. 
Urban Dictionary has this to say about a detective:
A devilishly handsome individual who investigates and ruthlessly abolishes mysteries of all kinds. Only since I am a girl detective, I am not devilishly handsome. I'm angelically beautiful. 
I'm thinking that I should write another good detective short story soon, similar to this one that had Mr. Storm and my assistant, Ginger, in it. Anybody have a mystery idea that I could crack? You tell me what needs to be solved and I will figure out how it is done. I'm having writer's block. I've already tried to solve a drug operation mystery and go on a date at the same time.  Oohh, maybe a kidnapping would be good. Who do you guys want to get nabbed? Mayor, pageant princess, your mother in law? 

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The dentist who won't date me

It was Friday night dinner the other week, and my cousin's girlfriend Heidi was determined to make me a Yahoo personals ad, because that's how you find love. She kept snapping unflattering photos of me during dinner. I am really not into searching for relationships on the internet. I have a hard enough time trying to act not awkward in real life; I don't think I could handle trying to act outgoing to complete strangers on-line. Plus, I totally judge people on their spelling and punctuation. It's one of my many faults.

Anyway, so when our dinner crew got back to my sister's house, Heidi pulled out Jess' laptop and started typing away. She asked me for my stats. I tried to humor her. "Well, how about...250 pound woman seeks rich bazillionaire to dote on her hand and foot." Heidi laughed but continued to pester me for real information. After about ten minutes I discovered she was actually on making me a profile. This made me really mad, because like I want my face plastered on a site where forty-five year old bearded and divorced men try to win over twenty-somethings with the promise of a stable life. As Mercedes from Glee would say, "hell to the no." Heidi asked me what I wanted my username to be.

Choosing a username for an internet dating website is a lot like selecting a name for your first born child. You have to think of the vibe that name is going to give off. She suggested I use my nickname of Jojo, but then I told her I would prefer my username to be Heidi. Since you know, she was the one making the profile, not me. Again, she asked what I wanted to be called. "Jessamy," I said. My sister opened her mouth to protest.

Then Heidi made me go through all these really lame questions, like what type of animals do you want your date to have? Like I care. You can like any animal you want, just don't expect me to clean its cage. When Heidi asked me what "my sign" was, I replied that it was hexagonal, red, and said STOP. I mean, do the stars really have to align in order for things to work out?

"Can't we just stop?" I whined. "Can't we just search for hot guys without making a profile?" Heidi was pushing for profile completion, but she finally entered some search criteria so we could pull up some faces. Search results showed zero findings. "What?" I said. "There are no guys ages 21 to 30 who do not smoke, aren't divorced, and don't have kids?" Because I mean really, welcome to my life. Then I noticed Heidi had the search radius on ten miles. Like you are going to find anybody within ten miles of my zip code who I haven't already seen at Winco buying Doritos and beer on a Friday night.

After a bit of revising, we found some faces. Heidi kept clicking on all these guys that I was not attracted to whatsoever. "Look, this one's so cute," she'd say. But the guy in the photo would more or less look like Jason, who is Heidi's boyfriend and my cousin. The only difference was the nose and a different colored flannel shirt. And I mean, that's fine. I'm glad Heidi thinks her boyfriend is hot stuff. But I don't want to go on a date with anyone who looks like my cousin. Then Heidi would pull up these really skinny guys who wore glasses. And glasses can be hot, they really can be. But they can also be really nerdy. "This guy looks like someone you would like," she'd say. "WHAT?" I'd reply. And she'd say "Yeah, he's kind of nerdy. You like the nerdy type." I got even more riled up and said, "I do not. Just because I got straight As in high school does not mean I want to date a geek." I'm sorry if you are offended. Nerds can be cute, and they usually end up making big bucks, if you care about that sort of thing. And they can be really, really useful. Everyone should have a couple of nerd friends. I just don't want to go on a date with a guy who weighs less than me and has no athletic ability. I mean, think of our poor kids. I'm already not coordinated. We don't need to create a whole nother generation of children who can't dribble a basketball and get picked last in gym class.

After much pleading, Heidi finally clicked on the photo of a guy that I actually thought was hot. She had much disdain for him. "Him? Are you serious?" And it was because he was a pretty boy with a tan, white v-neck tee, and trendy hair. I wasn't drawn to him because of his beautifulness, I just really liked his teeth. They were all paper white and straight like a picket fence, and he had dimples when he smiled. Heidi clicked on him and was like "he's totally gay," which is not the first time this has happened to me. I have had crushes on at least four guys who I later became unsure of their sexual preference. One of them turned out to actually be gay. Oh man, this reminds me of another good story I wrote called "He's Not Gay After All."

And okay, I guess I have terrible luck. So what if I like guys who wear something other than plaid shirts and Levi's and own more than two pairs of shoes? Maybe I like it when a man doesn't just have army cut hair. I still want a guy who can open jars and fix things. I want him to like sports and know more about cars than me, and not shave his legs. But if he writes poetry or plays the violin or reads classical literature, I'm fully going to embrace it.

Anyway, Heidi and I click on this hot man's profile, I skim quickly, then yell "SEE HEIDI, SEE!!! He's a complete winner." And he was. He had just graduated from dental school, did not smoke, had no kids, had not ever been married, played the guitar, and wrote about how he loved Jesus and his relationship with God was very important to him. He was a total ten. Heidi started to get all giddy and excited for me, like maybe this guy was actually planning on asking me out tomorrow, right after he got done pulling some teeth or putting on a crown.

And I mean, I have never even had a cavity in my life, I floss everyday, plus I have a very good relationship with my current dentist. No fear here. I just knew my zest for healthy gums would win over this man.

Only, wait a minute. I am so not paying thirty bucks or whatever so that I can message people on Why buy the account when you can poke on Facebook for free? Mwhaha. I kid you though. This is not going anywhere. Heidi, I didn't tell you this because I was fearful of your wrath, but Saturday morning I deleted that account you made of me. I don't want my face plastered on Maybe I'm too idealistic, but I don't want my love story to be "We met on a dating website." I think that I have waited long enough that I deserve to meet someone in person.

Or you know, if he wanted to fall in love with me through my writing and contact me to say something along the lines of "I check your blog everyday. I don't want you to think I am a stalker, but I've actually printed out some of your stories. I think you are amazing, can I take you on a date?" I wouldn't say no. I'd do some preliminary detective work first, of course, to make sure he's not a creeper. But hey, if you want to fall in love with me because you can see who I am through my words, go ahead. I'll try not to break your heart.

So Heidi? You want my stats? You want my info for an on-line dating profile? Here ya go. Twenty-five year old woman writer seeks man who does not smoke, is not divorced, loves God, and has no children (unless you have a really pathetically sad story like your wife died of cancer and left you with a one year old baby, in which case Nicholas Sparks has probably already written a book about you). I don't want you to propose tomorrow. I might not even want to talk to you every day. I want you to keep it in your pants. Sorry if that's a problem, but your problem is not going to become my problem. I don't want you to try to impress me with the things that you can buy. Instead, impress me with how much of your life you give up. Contact me whenever. I'm good at waiting--but someone else may beat you to me. I like orchids, milk chocolate, and coded notes.
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