....but i'm not

Friday, July 30, 2010

Parental Facebook Coping Mechanisms

Those of you who have met Mama Hoff, you know she's a pretty hip lady, she's a talented, down-to-earth makeup artist who doesn't look a day past 40. She's also one of my biggest smorgasjord fans, so I know she'll see this. Like all mothers, she loves me unconditionally (remember that madre, you love me unconditionally). Like all mothers on facebook, and this number is growing at a terrfyingly exponential rate, Mama Hoff has found new ways of communicating with her long distance daughters. That was the nice way of putting it. We've set up some boundaries and everything seems to be working out swimmingly as I've since developed some coping mechanisms that enable me to coexist with my mom's facebook page.

She is not allowed to post on my wall, she is allowed limited comment access on photos posted of me, and any contact with friends should be done without my knowledge (don't ask don't tell policy). The most often utilized technique is what I call the "First Line Review" which basically involves a quick review of the first line of her messages to determine their readability.

Take notes my friends:

Subject: Rachel Pally - Printed Deep V Dress at chickdowntown.com
First Line: "Jord, when you get married on the beach (that's what I'm expecting anyway...)"
The Readability Verdict? Don't open, I already told you I like the mother of the bride dress you sent me yesterday.

Subject: Five Steps, Five Minutes to a Flawless Face
First Line: If you've got 5 minutes you can still get a "flawless face"!!!
The Readability Verdict? Debatable. Could be helpful, but where is she going with this??

Subject: time to update the profile pic
First Line: "I wasn't creeping or whatever but..."
The Readability Verdict? You'd have to pay me to open this one.

Subject: Stewart + Brown: twist dress
First Line: "How do you think this dress would look in an aubergine color?"
The Readability Verdict? She's speaking a foreign language. Don't open.

Subject: pics of certain friends
First Line: Hi Sug, when you think of it, no make that when you get a chance, would you.."
The Readability Verdict? Based on the subject matter and tone of the request, this one is headed down a dark dark path...

Subject: Sweatshirt in profile pic.
First Line: THAT is what you wore on your birthday??? OK. You're an adult. You can decide..."
The Readability Verdict? Enough said.

Subject: Chicago - Get a Load of this Gorgeous Gelato
First Line: GELATOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! xoxoMomster Hoffmanski
The Readability Verdict? Now we're talking.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

See What Happens When You Read? Heartbreak.

I have been told that the best way to improve one's writing is to read the works of others...and to read everything from newspaper articles to essays to novels to prescription drug labels to the Bible.

I believe this to be true but there is one tiny issue - I'm incapable of staying awake for anything longer than two pages of written word. Which is why when I found an author who kept me engaged through an entire commute home plus an extra 5 minutes after I climbed in to bed, I knew it was the beginning of something special.

Meet Sloane Crosley, age 20-something who writes hilarious essays about the experience of 20-somethings (her backdrop is NYC but I think it could really be any urban area). This is obviously not a new subject but she writes with enough detail and perception that a fellow weirdo like me can really relate to her. The craziest thing is that I can relate and she doesn't even write about vampires.

When her new book titled How Did You Get This Number was released, I assumed she'd be making a signing stop in Chicago because, despite my struggle with reading, turns out others in the city are perfectly capable of reading 300 page novels. But when I checked her site I couldn't find anything about a stop in Chi-town (she's even stopping in Philly where I KNOW people don't read, they couldn't possibly).

So I emailed her publicist and again, my curiosity resulted in more questions than answers:

Dear Ms. Grinch,

I was so excited to see that the tour dates for How Did You Get This Number? were posted to the website but was oh so disappointed to learn that there were no Chicago dates scheduled! I have to believe that my friend Angela and I, two 23-year-old recent college grads doing some serious shattering of the glass ceiling (or at least working on it), are not the only followers of Sloane.

I know it seems like the 2nd city is in the middle of nowhere, but I swear it’s a hidden gem and we’re actually pretty funny here and would LOVE a Sloane appearance at the local Borders or Barnes and Noble (probably Barnes and Noble, it’s cleaner).

Thanks very much for your consideration!



Her response a few days later:

Hi, Jordan –

Sorry for no Chicago! We really tried to make it work for the hardcover – as we love Chicago – but it might be someplace that might be an option for any paperback appearances…

We obviously appreciate your support and please stay tuned to her website for any future appearances.


Now I know very little about book publishing and how these tours work, but I do know what my eyes have seen and I'm 100% positive that even here in Chicago we read both hardcover and paperbacks. If it's Barnes and Noble that's being a stick in the mud, she can come sign books on my stoop...I'll even provide the Corona Light and pens.

I'm not mad, I'm just disappointed.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I Hope This Doesn't Creep You Out Too Much...

Over the years I have learned that no conversation that begins with "I hope this doesn't creep you out too much" ends with me being anything but thoroughly creeped out.

"I hope this doesn't creep you out too much but I used several global databases and surveillance footage to find out where you work, live, run, grocery shop, and staycation."

"I hope this doesn't creep you out too much but I'd like to take pictures of you while you sleep."

"I hope this doesn't creep you out too much but I have this nasty rash on my stomach."

So this morning while I'm fumbling for cream and sugar in the work cafeteria and a woman approaches me with a "I hope you aren't going to be too creeped out by this question," I had a really strong urge to just tell her "You know what, it's 8am and I'm already creeped out so come on, just sock-it-to-me, what have ya got?"

Instead I smiled and gave her the go ahead, knowing that the question was going to be some variation of "So I have to ask, how tall are you?" After 15 years of answering these types of questions, listing the various sports that I play/don't play, and standing back-to-back with strange men in bars to compare heights, I'm used to it.

Not letting me down she asks, "Mind if I ask how tall you are? I used to work with a girl who was as tall as you. Do you model? She modeled. You could you know, you could probably make a lot of money."

In one instant I feel the obligation to explain how tall my parents are, my uncles, my ancestors. I feel the compulsion to explain that I tried modeling once but they told me I needed to shave the bone off my hips so I thought I should just finish high school instead. I feel the need to tell her that I enjoy my life and don't want to become a coke addict.

And lastly, I feel the desire to explain to her that of course I'd like to look like Giselle B√ľndchen and spend my time in foreign lands rolling around on sandy beaches with no clothes on and still feel like 1 million bucks, but instead I say "Nope, I'm just tall" and head back upstairs to my double monitors and framed photo of Joe Biden in my cozy cubicle.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

My Magical Powers

There is a good chance that I may be blessed with magical powers.

Big shout out to Andy for helping me realize this potential. Ladies and gentlemen, drum roll please...turns out that my magical powers are manifested in none other than the gift of speech, particularly speech that makes people feel vomitous (usually of the male variety).

People with the gift of speech can go one of two ways - the Barack Obama route paved with powerful rhetoric and eloquence or the George W. Bush route paved with powerful rhetoric and the symptoms that Mylanta cures. The latter just happens to be my route.

This is how the epiphany went down-

Me: "Want to hear a good story Andy?"

Andy: [silence]

Me: Okay good. Well it probably won't be that good, but I'm going to tell it anyway because we have like a 30 minute train ride home and there isn't really anyone else you're going to listen to. So last week I was in the coffee room at work, and you know that guy...[ blah blah blah something something something, yammering on for five minutes]??

Andy: [silence]

Me: ...So he says to me, "I know how to catch Osama bin Laden." And I'm like, okay big guy, tell me how? I mean who says that? I think he works in your department, do you know a lot of people in your department? [ blah blah blah something about Osama's views on global warming compared to my views on global warming, asking Andy about his views on global warming]

Andy: Yup. [head nod and a little bit squirmy in his seat]

Me: [oodles of gibberish and anecdotes to make this the best story EVER]...and then he just grabbed his coffee and walked away! Just like that! So you know which guy I'm talking about right?

And then Andy looks me directly in the eye and says very nonchalantly:
"So a little while ago when you were talking, I thought that I was going to throw up if you kept talking."

And just like that, I have a new weapon to combat horrible first dates.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Office is No Place for Aloe.

My office is overrun with aloe plants.

This really perplexes me because not once have I seen a sunburned coworker approach the healing plant, take out a pair of scissors, cut off a chunk of aloe leaf and rub it all over his/her bod. No doubt it's a sexual harassment law suit waiting to happen.

I'm challenged in the horticulture arena, so there is probably some very practical reason for keeping aloe in the office, in addition to it's magical healing powers. Either way, I don't care, these octopus plants creep me out.

Its giant pervy feelers are always reaching for my boob as I walk by and every day it moves closer and closer to my cubicle. While all the other plants grow toward the sun, this evil creature moves toward me. Not only that, but it has a buddy that sits atop the filing cabinets in the cubicle next to mine and it's so obvious that the two are in cahoots, plotting the takeover of workspace 09-632.

When I'm not analyzing statistical data in Excel spreadsheets and organizing meetings, I spend the rest of my time devising fantastical office escapes in which the aloe plant comes to life, spurring mass chaos and spewing goo as my innocent office-mates and I take shelter in the copy room, the filing cabinets, or under the fax machine (because it's 2010 and no aloe monster would think to look under the fax machine).

No joke, I just looked over at it and saw its tentacle morph into a smirk.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Stroke of Genius

Remember Rap Snacks? And Booty Pop? Both genius ideas I should have thought of first. I have another sublime find to share with you art snobs....

That's an oil painting. Of a wolf. Chillin' out maxin' relaxin' all cool in a dirty martini. Stroking an olive.

Selling at $85 a piece at the South Haven, MI 4th of July weekend craft fair, this gem of a painting begs two questions, both of which were dissected and debated for an embarrassingly long time...

1) Why?
2) What is the deeper meaning of a canine in a martini glass?

Well I came to a couple of conclusions on both issues. 1) To answer the why - One day the artists' Finnish Spitz was running around chasing after a tennis ball while he sipped his dirty martini in a rainforest (which would explain the palm tree background). All of a sudden, instead of leaping for the tennis ball, the Spitz leaped into the air and landed on top of the martini glass with the toothpick strategically placed in its paw and the artist was like "Thanks Sparky! The artistic muse I've been waiting for! I'm going to start painting man's best friend in alochol baths, man's other best friend."

2) The deeper meaning is pretty obvious to me - What kind of parent would deprive their newborn infant of waking up to a a picture of these cute little guys hanging in the nursery?

AND what better way to introduce your children to the idea of alcoholism then through the arts? "See kids, do those pugs look happy to be bathing in a pool of alcohol? You won't either."

This entire experience just served as reaffirmation for me: craft fairs=America.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

I Suffer From Nocturnal OCD

I woke up this morning to find my dresser drawers empty and clothes folded neatly in a line across the edge of my bed. This is actually perfect because I've been meaning to fold them for a while and never feel like doing it while I'm awake.