Archive for October, 2010

Things and stuff.

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

1. Chart!

2. Spam!

The first bit is your standard “I don’t speak English, so I’m going to cobble a statement together using words I picked up out of a basket at the Salvation Army, and this shall cause much mirth among the native English tongue-folk” spam. The second one is the one that made me laugh.

So…you were moved to tears by…my flair collection? Was it the “Peanut Butter Jelly Time” one? That always makes me misty as well.

3. Covers and Mash-ups!

There’s this hipster jazzy version of “Single Ladies” that has grown on me. It’s sassy.

There’s this version of “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, sung by an Estonian acapella group. I can’t stop listening to it.

There’s this mashup of the theme song of Mad Men and a song by Nat King Cole, sung by Brian Williams’ (the news anchor) daughter. Read the description. It’s all one shot and not lip-synced or anything.

And then there’s these two guys who did a mashup of three pop songs, and damn if I don’t like their version better than all the other original songs. They used “Love the Way You Lie”, “Dynamite”, and “Teenage Dream”. I truly HATE HATE HATE the way he does his “L” (Does your tongue really have to come all the way out of your mouth? Really? Does it?), but his enthusiasm is great.

My father explains the name Mazda.

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

As we all know, I bought a Mazda 2 Sport. I assumed it was a Japanese term because it is a Japanese car company. Turns out, I was wrong. This is what my father told me when I told him I was buying a Mazda.

“A long time ago, there was a sort of Golden Age of religion, when a whole lot of religions popped up – Judaism, Zoroastrianism, Confucianism, Buddhism, Hinduism – and these were all in different parts of the world, but they all happened within 500 years, no one knows why. Now, in Zoroastrianism, it is believed that there are two gods: Ahura Mazda, the God of Light and Goodness, and Ahura Daeva, the God of Darkness and Evil (where we get the word “Devil” from). The man who started the Mazda company, a man named Matsuda, wanted a name for his company that captured a positive quality but also referred back to his name. So he chose Mazda, the Zoroastrian word for lightness and goodness.”

Huh. Didn’t see that coming. So, of course, my car is named Ahura. The Ahura Mazda.

Pink eye and my new car (unrelated).

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

I gotz the pink eye. I, luckily, haven’t had pink eye in about five years, so I had forgotten how profoundly icky it is. I, again luckily, don’t have the gritty or itchy sensation, just redness and tears and a feeling of my eyelid being swollen. It’s still gross, though. I’ve been walking around for the last three days with sunglasses on, even indoors, like some obnoxious movie star. I had to listen to the nice eye doctor describe my “yellow discharge” without yakking all over her wax-paper-covered examining chair. (BTW, am I the only person who feels like a half-pound of freshly sliced roast beef at a deli sitting on that paper? Anyone?) But it’s going away, thanks to prescription eye drops. The only problem with the eye drops is that, and you may already know this, right behind your face is a plethora of tunnels and cavities. Really. It looks like a meerkat burrow in there. So when I put the eye drop in, as sure as God made raindclouds, five minutes later there is a horrifying taste in the back of my mouth because the FREAKIN’ EYE MEDICINE went down my throat. Which reminds me of a funny story (“Gather ’round, kids! Auntie Jessica is going to tell you a story about her sinuses!” “Oh goody!”). Cricket suffers from excruciating sinus pain, so he is always on the lookout for remedies. About three years ago, he discovered the neti pot. If you do not know what it is, please acquaint yourself here. Cricket brought it home, filled it up, and he asked me if I wanted to try it. I was game, so I said yes. I leaned over the kitchen sink like the diagram showed, inserted the neti pot into my left nostril, and started pouring. Immediately, the very warm, salty water bypassed my sinuses entirely, my right eye socket filled up with the solution and it started pouring out of my eye. I don’t know if you’ve ever washed your eyeball from the inside of your head, but it is off-putting, to say the least. I did not enjoy myself. Cricket, however, enjoyed the hell out of the whole experience, watching me clutch my eye and moan like I just found out I had killed my father and was sleeping with my mother. (Ooooh, Greek mythology reference, how you like me now, awww yeah.) Long story short: Jessica does not like being reminded of the ant farm behind her face.

Moving on: I’m buying a new car! It is a bittersweet purchase, because I was so fond of my previous car. But my poor Cavalier was getting old, the air conditioning didn’t work, and bits were starting to break on a regular basis. The final straw was when I put $350.00 of repairs into the old girl, and then went to visit Neenernator in New Jersey. All was fine. Driving home, however, I noticed that every five seconds, the radio would turn off, then turn back on. “Weird,” I thought. I turned the radio off. Then the all gauges on the dash lit up. A few went off, a few stayed on, then other would light up, then off, blink blink blink, exactly like a pinball machine. I assumed the only reasonable thing one would think in this circumstance: my car was possessed by evil spirits. I regretted being brought up Jewish because they don’t really prepare you to perform exorcisms on things, so I was quietly saying nice Hebrew prayers; I think at one point I wished the car a happy and healthy Rosh Hashanah. Then – poof! – all the gauges went dead. I now didn’t know how fast I was going because my speedometer was just sitting there. “Okay, don’t panic,” I said to myself. “Just go the same speed as everyone else. All you need to do is make it over the bridge.” Which I did. And right after the EasyPass station, the car decided it didn’t want to go forward anymore, soon followed by a horrible burning smell. I coasted over to the non-existent shoulder of the road and seethed with rage. I had just had an inspection! I had just repaired a bunch of stuff! I ended up being towed to my parents’ house (another $100.00) and I called Cricket and told him he could take the car to the Fire Department and cut it up to practice on it. So last weekend, that precisely what he did.

This is a picture of them doing bad things to my car. Cricket is the one near the passenger side door looking down holding a tool of some sort.

And this is what it looked like when they were done.

Then Cricket began the process of helping me hunt for a new vehicle. My family’s car shopping technique is to go into a dealer’s facility, ask him what car he wants to get rid of that has four doors, and then buy it. Cricket was thoroughly horrified by this technique and made me test-drive almost every car in the category I was looking in (subcompact). I drove six, and finally, this weekend, I was allowed to make a choice. That choice is the Mazda2 Sport. Here’s a picture I found of my exact model and color.

It’s my very first new car. I get to pick it up on Saturday. So exciting! I will take pictures.

The work thing that occupied all my time for the last month or so.

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

Remember last year, when I made all those drawings for those boards? Well, that meeting came around again this year, and Publicis wanted it BIGGER! and BETTER! this year, which is fine. The only problem is that last year I just made the drawings and other graphic designers assembled the imagery, and this year it was just me, working alone. For the meeting, the boss-folk wanted a giant wall, 32 feet long and 8 feet tall, covered with stats and facts about Publicis in 2009. I originally designed it with chunks of information scattered all over it with tasteful white space between each fact, but I was told by the big-whigs that they pretty much wanted no white space at all. None. “Okay,” I said. “If that’s what you want, that’s what I’m gonna give you. I’ll cram so much stuff in there, you won’t be able to walk straight.” And the final product looked like this:

I was true to my word. And not to toot my own horn, but it was a big hit. All the execs loved it, the attendees loved it, it’s being printed and hung in other offices around the country, etc. This is what it looked like in the meeting room.

That wasn’t the only thing I worked on for this meeting, oh no. That was just the biggest thing. There was the presentation itself, for which I made the slides. There were the gift bags, for which my mother and I sat all Saturday making labels and cutting ribbons like Victorian factory workers. And then there was the nametags.

Each person got one, and it was shaped like a conversation bubble. I cut out about sixty of them. For your own personal information, I would like you to know that when you cut out cardstock with an X-acto knife for seven hours in a row, your index finger looks like this:

But the meeting is over, it went smashingly, everyone was well pleased, and I don’t have to think about it until next year. Hoo-ray.

Beer and St. Francis of Assisi Day.

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

Finally, the project that consumes me every year during the beginning of October has ended and I am free once again to do something other than work every bleeping second of every day. I will post the super-cool stuff I made for the meeting shortly, but in the meantime, let’s cover what I did this past weekend. It was jolly delightful. I met up with Jem who was in town working the Comic Con. She is really into beer, so we headed off to the East Village to traipse through a variety of bars. The first one I can’t remember the name of, but it was full, and I mean completely full, of fratboy douchebags. I actually didn’t hate it there. I watched some of the Georgia-Colorado football game (Colorado had a male bison run across the field!) and sang along with Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer”. The only problem was that it was really really loud and there was nowhere to sit, so we moved on. The next stop was McSorley’s, the oldest continuously operated saloon in New York. Loads of famous people have passed through there. It was, how shall I put this, rustic. There was sawdust on the floor and communal tables and please allow me to run through the entire menu:

Two kinds of beer: light and dark
Liverwurst sandwiches
A sleeve of Saltines, a pile of sliced cheddar and a pile of sliced raw white onions

AND PEOPLE WERE EATING THIS. New York has, what, eleventy-billion restaurants, and people were eating stuff that I wouldn’t eat if it was 3:00 in the morning and I was starving and it was the only food in my fridge. By then I was pretty peckish, so as soon as Jem finished her beers (one light and one dark), we headed off to St. Marks Place for real-person food. We went to a stellar restaurant called Je’Bon which served pan-asian food. I had curry that came in a white bowl the size of a toilet. It was huge and delicious. After that glorious experience, we tottered off to my favorite place of the evening, unfortunately named Burp Castle. I deduced from the name that it would be like a Chuck. E. Cheese with beer, but thankfully I was wrong. It’s a bar built to look like a room in a monastery, with 15th-century-style frescoes on the wall. The bartenders are in the brown tunic and rope belt of a monk, the lighting is very dim and very flattering, and if you talk too loudly, the bartenders gently shush you, so it’s sort of quiet. Jem had a creme brulee beer, which I had a tiny taste of, and you know it wasn’t bad. I found a picture of Burp Castle online, so you can get an idea.

The next morning, it was off to St. Francis of Assisi Day at St. John the Divine! You should read my previous post on it before you continue because I make references to the post. This is what standing in line looks like.

There’s a great deal of chaos and butt-sniffing and barking. There was a cat there who wanted nothing more then to kill everyone in attendance. One kid brought his dragon-lizard-creature.

The service was pretty much the same thing as always. This is the 26th year that they have had the Earth Mass, as they call it. I got a better shot of the lady with the punchbowl this time.

Inside, I saw a sphinx cat wearing a blue sweater and an expression of disdain for the proceedings.

I also saw the ugliest dog I have ever seen. I swear to God, It looked like it was rotting. I couldn’t stop looking at it and thinking, “Is that…mold?”

Speaking of God, I had excellent seats this year to see the eucharist. Everyone has a different way of accepting the wafer and wine, but one guy took the wafer in his hand, then walked over to the fancy wine goblet and dipped it in and popped the now soggy wafer in his mouth, and while I was thrilled because it seems so much more hygenic then everyone drinking from the same vessel, I was also like, “Hey, I don’t want to tell you how to do your thing, but I don’t think you’re supposed to dunk the body of Christ into the blood of Christ like chip dip. Seems a litte disrespectful. This is not a Superbowl party. Just sayin’.”

And now, the annual Presentation of the Irritatingly Blurry Photos. The procession was a bit of a let-down this year. There were no birds of prey at all, there were no bees in a glass case, and most of the creatures were farm animals, which is fine, but I kinda liked the baby kangaroo and the baby gibbon from last year. There was a hysterical teenage emu. We’ll get to him later.

First, a cute chubby pig.

A festive little cow.

A mini-horse.

One of several llamas.

A dromedary.

In the middle of this procession, a young emu came down the aisle, and he must really hate church because the second he got in there he started skidding backwards on the floor and attempting to jump away and making weird beeping noises, so his handler gently brought him over to the side to chill.

Emu freaking.

Emu chilling.

Emu being carried down the aisle and flailing.

There was a fennec there, but you could barely see it because the lady carrying it was clutching it to her bosom so tight. I am aware that fennecs are wild animals and if they get loose they don’t come back, but this woman was holding that fennec with an expression on her face like, “No fennec for you! No fennec for anyone but me! Fennec all mine!” This is the uber-crappy shot I got of her. Selfish fennec-clutcher that she was.

Afterward there was the usual fair outside (minus the birds of prey, boo) and I donated money to all the charities and got to meet a whole bunch of very nice dogs. There was a 235-pound English mastiff there.

And who immediately wanted to get into a fight with him? Of course, the Pomeranian puppy. This is the puppy meeting the mastiff.

This is the Pomeranian putting his dukes up.

And this is the mastiff gently sniffing the Pomeranian’s junk, then exhaling heavily and laying down on the ground while the pomeranian hops around him, pummeling ineffectively at the mastiff’s snout.

Watching all this go down in the background was an extremely attentive dachshund. I thought he was adorable.

That’s pretty much it. One day I’ll get a hold of a good camera that can take good pictures of moving objects in dim light, and then I will have good pictures. It will happen someday, I swear.