Archive | September, 2012

Sticking to Jerry’s Code

30 Sep

It’s the code.

Guys and chicks. They both have it. Everyone everywhere has it. Whether you’re some college chick at a coffeehouse or a forty-three year old dude at a party. You have it.

What’s the code?

JerryJerry Seinfeld does a great job of explaining it in the episode “The Stranded,” where Jerry, George, and Elaine go out to a party, away from the city all the way in Long Island. George begins talking to this lady from work. And this is what happens.

Jerry and George and The Code

 

Jerry:  You ready?
George:  Listen, I have a tremendous favor to ask.
Jerry:  I do favors.
George:  I think something’s happening here.
Jerry:  What?
George:  I think she wants me to take her home.
Jerry:  Wow.
George:  What should I do?
Jerry:  Go!  What could you do?
George:  What about you and Elaine?
Jerry:  We’ll get a ride.
George:  Are you sure?  …

Elaine finds out about The Code

Jerry:  Listen, George is going home with this Ava from his office.
Elaine:  Really?  Huh.  What a world.  So we can go now?
Jerry:  Uh, no, he’s taking the car.
Elaine:  Well, what are we gonna do for a ride?
Jerry:  I don’t know.
Elaine:  You don’t know!
Jerry:  Maybe Kramer can come pick us up.
Elaine:  Oh great, oh, this is great.  How could you let him take the car?
Jerry:  There’s nothing I could do, it’s part of the code.

The code. It often involves first base, second base, third base or just an all-around home run in the relations department, and of course shafting your friends and letting them fend for themselves if you’re the one with the car. This is probably why you should always have a bus pass, an extra 2o in your pocket, and an emergency back-up ride. You know, when hormones get in the way.

This is the code. However sometimes girls think a little differently. They’re more of the protective-we’re-going-to-stick-together-I-don’t-want-you-to-make-a-drunken-mistake type of code. This is something I followed pretty much most of my life. When your friend is a little inebriated and someone is making the moves on her, you have to gauge the situation. If you look at your friend and think she can get a DUI, you may step in and assess the situation. Perhaps her hanging-out with-guys judgement is severely impaired. I mean if she can’t drive how can she assess Mr. Miller Light over there, right? So you think you’re doing her a favor. If you don’t,  she may wake up the next day and say … what the hell? How come you didn’t pull me out of there?

However sometimes it backfires, which it did with me in college. I never meant to impede anybody from getting their groove on, but apparently things were fine and I just misread the signals.

Ever since this little episode, I have stuck with the Jerry version of The Code. I got an extra 20 in my wallet and an emergency back up ride. Bus passes? Dude. Public transportation at night sucks. Daylight hours seem to work well. So I stick to Jerry’s code, unless my friend is giving me the obvious “help-me-this-guy-is-creepy” signal, I stay away.

Jerry’s code proved to help me out when I recently went out with a couple of high school buddies that I hadn’t seen in a while.

As we were eating, one of my old buddies decided to go to the bar for refills. She was still pretty good-looking, so she had admirers. As she was developing a full-on conversation about who knows what, my other friend commented that she might go over to the bar, just in case our friend needed help.

I asked her if our bar friend had given her the “help-me’ signal. And she said no. I tried to convince her to stay, but she insisted. So off she went to help our friend, but apparently that didn’t work out.

The dude ended up being really interested in my savior friend. He became the restaurant stalker. The dude that stares at you and doesn’t really let you enjoy your meal. The kind that sends over drinks, but you’re not really sure you want to drink them, because you didn’t see the The Mixologist behind the bar make the drinks. The kind that “accidentally” bumps into you as you’re leaving the bathroom. The kind that gives you his card with his cell phone, work phone, and home phone numbers, even though you told him you were married. But he gives it to you just in case. The kind that doesn’t finish his meal, but pays his check just so he can walk out at the same time you guys do.

Yeah … the restaurant stalker. I think he changed her mind about the code. I think she’s a Jerry Code believer now.

 

 

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Weekly Image of Life: Inspiration

29 Sep

Uluru, Australia

 

I have never been a morning person in my life.

Ever.

But waking up knowing that I’d be spending the entire day here … that was definitely an inspiration.

It was almost five in the morning. It was about thirty degrees. And all I had on a long sleeve hooded cotton shirt. The thin kind.  I was freezing so much that my nose was running and I couldn’t stop shivering.

But I didn’t care.

Most definitely an inspiring adventure.

 

 

 

 

 

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Host of Weekly Image of Life Challenge: This Man’s Journey

 

 

 

What Did I Get at the CVS? Advil, Chocolate, and Wisdom.

28 Sep

Photographed by Bradley Wentzel

“YOU CAN’T MOVE VERY FAST
IF YOU’RE CARRYING A LOT OF BAGGAGE.”


April Holmes, Paralympic Gold Medalist, 100 meter dash

I found this quote the other day as I was flipping through a magazine at the CVS. Now I don’t do a lot of soul-searching while I’m waiting in a long line to pay for Advil and chocolate. Most of the time I’m wondering why the self-check out aisle is not working properly, or why I just didn’t buy the stuff when I was at the supermarket the day before. But sometimes a lesson just comes out of the blue.

I imagine that after losing her leg in a train accident this chick was pretty much not wanting to hear the silver lining to losing a major appendage, but I guess she did.

The advice appears to be basic common sense that people at airports or train stations follow. I mean if you’re running to make your plane or your train, you know that your carry-on baggage is going to slow you down and you might even miss that plane or train. I mean it would be easier if you had one of those carts. In truth it would be easier if you had no baggage. But nevertheless there you are running all crooked, hair flying everywhere, shoulders killing you, luggage straps not really doing their job, and your knees not really cooperating during this sprint to the gate.  It appears that sometimes in real life we’re doing the exact same thing and this airport/train station wisdom escapes us.

It’s easy to get weighed down by all the crap in your life that isn’t going right — an accident, a job, a relationship, family drama, bills, or whatever crisis is making you eat tubs of rocky road ice cream at midnight. I know. I’m guilty of this. I admit it, it is easy.

But this Holmes makes a good point. She smacked me with some common sense. If you’re tied to your past (AKA your baggage) you’re not going to get very far in the future. Common sense, yes. But sometimes we have brain farts and this wisdom escapes us. Or maybe we just don’t go to the airport on vacations as much as we’d like, so the whole baggage weighing you down isn’t a recurring metaphor. But it’s all good. I get reminders … reminders at places like the CVS. So drop your bags, man! Drop ’em and go.

I Like Stephen King, But Not at Preschool

27 Sep

 

Usually people shake hands with the teacher, assess her behavior, her interaction with the kids, her welcome speech, her bulletin board, and her room layout.  Usually.

And yes. This is something that I did carefully when I went to the little “Open House” for my son’s preschool. The inquisitive journalist in me asked multiple questions. Multiple. She probably thought I was Barbara Walters, but hey … this was my kid. I wanted to get the whole vibe on the room, the kids and the teachers. I used to substitute teach for a couple of years. I know teachers, well at least the middle-school kind. So I just wanted to be sure my kid would be all right.

Sure enough he was … both teachers seemed to pass The Guat’s test.

But as we finished the formal talking bit we moved over to the ice cream social part of the evening and this … this is where it happened.

I noticed it.

As I was checking out all the kids, making sure the crazies, if any, were nowhere near my son, I began looking at the parents. Something wasn’t quite right. The kids seemed to be fine, normal four-year olds, some in desperate need of a time-out, but nevertheless pretty normal.

Image via likecinema.net

But the parents … the parents seemed a little too Children of the Corn for me. All of them with that same creepy blank stare. Standing there by the slides and sandbox with their suits and flowery dresses. One couple tried to talk to me about something and I just made my way toward the monkey bars. I have no room for new friends, especially the Children of the Corn type.

Can I tell you how much that movie creeped me out? Middle-school, dragged out to the Million Dollar theater by my sister.

Dude. I don’t think I’ve seen a scary movie ever since. I haven’t even seen The Exorcist. I’m not a big fan of that, but I do watch stuff like Law & Order, and CSI stuff. I guess I’m more into crime solving, suspense type of dramas and less into the creepy horror thing.

However this whole Stephen King vibe that the parents were giving out sort of gave me second thoughts about letting my kid hang out with these people’s kids twice a week.

And then as I kept scanning the crowd I noticed a couple looking at everyone the same way I was looking at everyone. Then another. And another. Apparently there was an entire group of us having second thoughts until we realized that the Children of the Corn group was smaller than we thought.

But still … I don’t think I’m going to be doing any bonding with these parents. I know the kids are all right, but you never know, parents seem to have some sort of influence.

Yeah … we might even change schools.

 

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Solitary

26 Sep

Spending time alone

 

 

Solitary.

Without people. Being alone. Secluded.

This is not a bad thing, unless you’re in prison.

But for everyone else out there … every parent  or overworked person solitude is a good thing.

No yelling.

No Nickelodeon.

No diapers.

No laundry.

No cell phones.

No bosses.

No, what’s for dinner?

No chaos.

No hysteria.

No meltdowns.

No need for Advil.

But yes …

Yes for peaceful.

Yes for quiet.

Yes for alone time.

Yes for serenity.

Yes for “me” time.

Yes for margaritas.

Yes, for solitary.

Yes.

At least once a month … yes.

Having Second Thoughts …

25 Sep

Everyone was talking about it. Everyone.

I saw it and I just couldn’t believe it. Did this just happen right before my eyes? Yeah … yeah it did.  A mugging. A theft. A crime of robbery in front of hundreds of people and no one could do anything but watch.

Victim: M.D. Jennings of the Green Bay Packers.

Perp:  Golden Tate of the Seattle Seahawks

Accomplice: The Ref.

Crime: They stole the game.

Now even if you don’t follow the NFL and you don’t know football rules, most of you know that when someone catches the ball and lands on the floor, no one else can grab the ball away from you underneath the pile of football players and then claim that he had the ball all along. This is not basketball. Steals are not allowed here. But apparently that is what happened in last night’s Monday Night Football game where the Green Bay Packers lost to the Seattle Seahawks in the final seconds, 14-12.

And when I mean final seconds that’s exactly what it was … final seconds. This is when disaster happened.

 

 

The Seahawks quarterback launched the ball up in the air, down into the end zone, A Hail Mary to win the game, and it was caught … by a Green Bay Packer.

So what happened? Why wasn’t the game over and Packers celebrating?

The refs. The refs. The refs.

You know when you see someone make a bad decision, I mean a horrible, terrible, gut-wrenching, bad decision and you can’t do anything to change their minds? Yeah … that’s how the Green Bay Packers coach felt. That’s pretty much how all the Green Bay Packers felt.

But nothing could be done. The whistles were blown.

I imagine referees get it wrong every once in a while. There’s a margin of error when calling a game. But when you see in instant replay and have time to think about it and reflect … c’mon now. C’mon.

But these were not ordinary veteran referees with massive amounts of NFL experience … these were replacement refs. Replacements! Apparently the NFL referees have some sort of labor dispute and went on strike. The NFL makes like a gazillion dollars and they can’t spare three million to pay the referees. Now don’t get me wrong three million dollars is a lot of money for people like you and me, but for the NFL? That’s change. Change.

I think after this game and the Patriots game, where another bad call robbed a team from a win, the NFL may be having second thoughts. I imagine the teams are having many thoughts. These last-second major-decisions are the reason why you would need a regular NFL ref.

I don’t know … I’m just saying …

But in retrospect, I guess M.D. Jennings could have just knocked the ball down when going up for the Hail Mary pass, you know like a defensive man should, and this whole theft could have been avoided.

Maybe …

Sometimes Addiction is a Good Thing

24 Sep

Nicotine. Alcohol. Crack. Cocaine. Meth. Gambling. Sex. Food. Shopping. And The Wish Factor.  Apparently all of these things can cause addictive behaviors. Stuff that requires you to lie to yourself and others until you hit rock bottom and eventually find Jesus, and then you stand in a room full of other anonymous people reciting the Serenity Prayer. All of these addictions create this downward spiral except  … me … The Guat and my blog. I’m more of a roller coaster ride. Although, some people may not like roller coasters.

But some people do … apparently about 200 of you, more or less. But who really enjoys me? Who would consider me DVR worthy if I was a show on cable? Who considers reading my blog a habit-forming, dire-need, compulsion in a non-stalker kind of way?

🙂

Andrea … Andrea Kelly from The Hand-Written Life. She’s a writer, reader, and life blogger who muses over books, television, music, and life’s moments. She thought I was so DVR worthy that she nominated me for The Addictive Blog Award. I had no idea that the blogging world had honors such as these. But I gladly accept and thank Andrea for this badass badge of honor.

Incidentally I also wanted to thank the hilarious Cayman Thorn from Drinks Well With Others who constantly cracks me up, and painter, designer, and writer True Design Living for nominating me for the Lovely Blog Award a while back. Also wanted to thank All Access Pass, a badass educator worthy of a Mr. Holland Opus-Stand and Deliver nod for sending the Liebster Blog Award my way.

I was originally given these honors months ago by other bloggers who were featured in a post. But just because you get something twice or even three times, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be grateful, right? Back-to-back champions don’t just wear one ring. So I thought I would give them a quick shout-out for appreciating my blog and spreading the back-to-back awards.

So aside from thanking Andrea Kelly from The Hand-Written Life, nominating 10 other blogs, and posting the badge on my site, the Addictive Blog Award rules suggest that I am to share a little bit about why I blog and how I started the journey.

I know it’s corny, but it’s the truth. My blogging journey started as a New Year’s Resolution for 2012.It wasn’t about losing weight, being a better person, or drinking less. My resolution centered on starting a blog and being able to write everyday … 365 days. Write something. Write with passion. Write with truth. And most importantly write with humor. It was a goal.

However, the idea was planted by two of my dearest friends Victor and Veronica. Let’s hear it for the Vs. No they’re not married. They don’t even live in the same state, and they probably just met once … at my wedding … probably waiting in line to dance with me during the Dollar Dance.

They read a couple of my short stories, and listened to plenty of my Guat life experiences throughout the years and couldn’t believe I wasn’t out there in the blogging community. They suggested that aside from my sports and Great Outdoors stories that were roaming around newspapers and journalistic websites I should put my regular stories out there.  Who knows, right?

Who knows what will come of people reading how I maced myself  in the middle of the street at midnight, how I embarrassed myself in front of hundreds at a U2 concert, how I danced like a champion to La Chona at a college bar, how I nearly died after The Pinkberry Experience but only ended up peeing on myself in public,  how I attempt to be a successful mother of two kids without completely losing it on a daily basis, or how I try to write most of my life’s moments, embarrassing or not, as if they were Saturday Night Live skits. Who knows, right?

It started off with a resolution and a who knows, but my blogging continues because it gives me purpose as a writer. It gives me a daily goal to be creative, to share my stories, to build up chapters in a  future book, to practice humor when all I want to do is crawl under a rock or drown in chocolate, and to feel less like loser when I get rejection letters from agents or publishers because at least I’m writing something. This is why The Wish Factor continues. So I hope you enjoy the ride.

Now it’s time for me to pay it forward … the nominees … they make me laugh, they crack me up, some of them take great pictures which makes me wish I had a better camera, and some of them share life stories. They’re all good and they always get a visit from me. I encourage you to stop by and check them out.

These are my addictions.

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Drinks Well With Others

Lame Adventures

Me 2.0

Blissful Adventurer

Domestic Diva M.D.

The Strugglers Handbook

This Man’s Journey

The Time is Write

Unabashedly Poetic

Patrick Latter Photography

Another Day in Paradise

 

 

Sorry No Meth Empire or Advertising Dudes With Statues Tonight

23 Sep

No hors d’oeuvres. No nachos. No special drinks. No Emmy pools. No Red Carpet-like feelings. Just me with some Rold Gold Pretzels, trying to calm the family storm that comes with two kids and only one Wonder Pets Car.

The family chaos prevented me from being fully engaged in the The Primetime Emmys — a SuperBowl to television addicts like myself and my dad. I usually go all out. But apparently my other half forgot it was Emmy Awards night and decided he was going to wash the car … at six in the evening. Who washes the car at six in the evening? Who?

Someone who hates the television. It’s my only explanation. I mean I know it was 100 degrees in the afternoon and it couldn’t happen then, but why not wait until morning? Or why not wait until the car is actually dirty. I mean it’s not like we went off-roading or camping. It just had regular weekly dirt and toys inside for the kids. A couple of books. The stroller. Our beach supplies and maybe even some sand. Was it completely overwhelmed with clutter? No. It was just a really prepared vehicle in case of an emergency kid breakdown.

But he felt the need, the urge to clean it immediately before dinner, in the middle of the show. So my only conclusion was that he hated television. And me … I was left to control the battle for the Wonder Pets car, feed the kids, and try to watch The Emmys.

NASA Television 2009 Philo T. Farnsworth Prime...

 (Photo credit: nasa hq photo)

Although I’m kind of glad I wasn’t at the edge of my seat to witness my main men from AMC fall short of holding the golden statue.

Bryan and Jon, I thought one of you had it locked in for lead actor in a drama this year. Locked! I mean Walter White the badass meth cook who gets a little crazy and begins successfully running a drug empire after surviving cancer … c’mon now. And then there’s my main man Don Draper, a partner in the Sterling Cooper, Draper, Pryce Ad Agency who says stuff like … “You don’t cover for me, you manage people’s expectations.”

Dude.

My men and women from AMC fell short.

No statue tonight. Although Aaron Paul scooped up the supporting actor win for his role on Breaking Bad, and that helped improve the mood a little bit.

But the funny thing is that even though I attempt to incorporate humor in my everyday existence, and I enjoy watching movies that make me laugh, the humor category at these awards was not on the top of my list. Well not since Seinfeld went off the air. What takes priority here?

Drama.

This is a house of drama. We like to laugh, love to laugh, but AMC, HBO, and FX seem to dominate the DVR. So I was really disappointed to see my men and women not make it to the stage, hold their statue, and say some words. Although I think they were probably more disappointed. But I’m sure after a few drinks and conversations, they’ll head back to their million dollar homes and get over it — hanging out in million dollar homes will probably do that. I don’t know, I’m just saying.

 

 

There’s a Time for Dancing and a Time for Sitting.

22 Sep

 

Image via quotablecards.com

 

Dude. Sometimes you totally just need to sit one out because your umbrella is broken, there’s thunder, and lightening and you just fell off the curb, face down, and are now sitting in a knee-deep puddle of muddy water. There’s a time for dancing. There’s a time for getting your groove on. I know. I’ve done it plenty of times. But sometimes, you just have to sit one out. Nothing wrong with sitting one out. Just don’t sit too long. Get perspective, and then busta move. I’m sure the storm will still be there.

 

The 99-Cent Store, Aura, and Toilet Bowl Cleaner

21 Sep

I didn’t expect that kind of encounter at The 99 Cent Store. I went in there for hand soap and left feeling a little Twilight Zoney.

Image via Wikipedia

99 Cent Stores. They are awesome for people on a budget, families with kids, teachers, struggling writers, and college students. They are all over the place down here in Southern California. They got everything from duct tape and pliers to statues of the Virgin de Guadalupe and produce. And when it’s a holiday that requires decoration they got an entire aisle dedicated to the festivities. This place makes it affordable to have spirit on holidays.

But the other day my encounter was with a spooky spirit.

Now I’ve been told that I tend to give off a friendly, approachable vibe from time to time, but usually complete strangers tend to keep their distance. But this chick … this chick decided to approach me while I was checking out the Comet and Ajax, doing a toilet bowl cleaner comparison.

She stopped, backed up, and stood in front of me. She was an older woman, with frizzy red hair and clothes that looked like she had purchased at Urban Outfitters.

I knew she was staring at me, but I didn’t say anything right away. I was kind of hoping she was looking for some  toilet bowl cleaner, and I was in her way. But no such luck. She put her hands up in the air, sort of around my personal space. I looked hostile and confused.

“What are you doing?”

“Your aura.”

“My what?”

“Your aura. Your halo.” She did the Mr. Miyagi wax-on, wax-off move around my personal space and I sort of backed away slowly. “I’ve never seen or felt an aura like this.”

She came closer.

“Uh … Your not gonna be feeling anything.”

“No wait. What a powerful aura you have. Such greatness there. Amazing.”

All I could think of was this chick has no idea what the hell she’s talking about. I’m 37, and I live at my parent’s house. I’m the female version of George Costanza.

But she kept going on at how amazed she was with my aura and how she wanted to hold my hand to give me a reading.

Dude. All I needed was hand soap. I just happen to check out the Ajax because I was thinking the toilet could use a good scrubbing. I should pick up a couple of cans, and then there she was … psychic extraordinaire trying to feel up my aura at the 99 Cent Store.

I explained that I really didn’t have time for his whole enlightening experience at the 99 Cent Store, and that I really didn’t let strangers hold my hand. She told me she lived just a couple of blocks down the street and that I could stop by at any time. Her offer to read my palm would still stand.

All I could think about was this is how people get chopped into little pieces and end up in people’s freezers.

Dude. Aura.