Friday, March 5, 2010

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'Padlock' Podolske needs your thoughts, prayers-equivalent

My dear friend and comedy colleague Ann Podolske requires your good thoughts, healing energies, and whatever else you can muster. If you can spare a moment to think kindly thoughts of her, she'd sure appreciate it.

I started calling Ann "Padlock" a year or so ago on account of Word spell check offering it as an alternative to her last name. Firefox's spell check just asked me if I wanted to change it to "Poolside." It doesn't quite have the same ring.

Cancer took her beloved wife just this past September and it seems cosmically unjust that she should be fighting it now herself, hardly six months later.

Padlock, we love you and are rooting for you!

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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Bang the gongs! Ring the bells!

Our laundry room is officially done.

With the help of a handyman, the folding-folding tables are now mounted on the wall, and this concludes the laundry room project that began in August. Yes, they're folding-folding tables. Because our new laundry room is also the pass-through to the attic and kind of narrow, I bought a couple tables that fold down that we will use for folding our clothes instead of letting them pile up on the guest room bed. And the handyman also built a little shelf in the guest room closet that is adjacent to the laundry room to hide the pipes that go through it to the laundry machines.

Do you smell that smell? It's the smell of victory.

Verily, verily, it took a long time. It is so hard to get anything done when everything you need to do has something that needs to be done before it. Home ownering is like that, it turns out. Holy.

Next stop: kitchen. But while we're prepping for that, I need to ask the Universe to help me find the strength to persevere. Also, I need the Universe to know that I want some shelves for the living room.

With the completion of this laundry room project, I'm starting to regain strength. Scott and I spent several hours today trying to organize the basement, and that helps a person feel like they're moving in the right direction. I just want to continue this forward movement. I want to feel excited about our house. Universe, will you help me?

While I was napping the weekend before last, Scott rearranged the furniture in the living room in such a way that there is room for a couple proper bookshelves. If I can acquire the bookshelves that will fit, I will be able to unpack my books, which have been in the basement since we moved in. And I will feel more at home. Here's what we need:

Two bookshelves made of solid wood. Maybe even three. We prefer mission style, if possible. We have dark red furniture, so I think darker wood would be nicest. I'd like them to be about five feet tall and two to two-and-a-half feet wide and deep enough to hold your average book - no more than a foot, I'd say.

I have such a specific vision because I saw what I wanted on Craigslist about a month ago, but didn't realize we had the room for them until Scott worked his magic. He is extremely magical.

Anyway, that's it.

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Monday, January 25, 2010

Making reparations: An update

So I was a total chicken shit and couldn't bring myself to apologize to the Dunkin' Donuts crew at first, but because I said publicly that I would apologize, before I left for the radio station on Saturday morning, I penned an apology note in a blank-inside card. When I got to the drive-through window, I gave it to the lady and asked her to pass it to the manager who I could see clearly behind her. She looked at me like I was a madman. I said to her, "I was in here a couple weeks ago and I acted like an asshole and I'm sorry. This is an apology note." And then she looked at me like I was crazier, and I drove away.

As I drove away, I cried a little bit, but then pulled myself together just fine.

I had a lot of mixed emotions about the whole thing. I was worried about embarrassing myself further by making a too-showy apology or accidentally crying in front of the crew. Passing a hand-written note with my name attached I think made a statement. I'm not quite sure how it went over, of course, because I didn't stick around to find out. But I feel better about the whole thing knowing I made it right.

The end.

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

For the record

In this whole Leno v. Conan bullshit, I'm rooting for Conan. I think he and his staff are a bunch of comic geniuses. I'm not really anti-Leno because I think he's getting screwed in all this too. I guess I'm mostly anti-NBC because they're the ones doing the screwing. It's sad, really.

I read an interview with Conan about 10 years ago. In it, he talked about how he watched the Tonight Show and other shows like it and knew he wanted to be an entertainer. The one thing he noticed about entertainers was that they could all tap dance, so he asked his parents for tap dancing lessons. I wish I could remember where I read that. I love that guy.

For a while I fancied that I would marry Conan on account of a giant crush I had on him. Then he married someone else. I read the news on the Internet and was really quite sad about it. I didn't think I was actually going to marry him or anything, but it was nice to think about sometimes. I didn't cry or anything. In any case, as soon as I read it, my phone rang. It was my mother. She asked me if I was sitting down because she had some bad news for me. Then she said, "Conan got married."

**Updated on Jan. 15, 2010 to add**
We stayed up late last night to watch Leno and Conan. I'm hella tired today, I'll tell you what. But what I saw was Leno acting desperate. His jokes were not funny; they were angry and painful to watch. Conan, on the other hand, was a class act. He addressed the issue, but then said that he was just an entertainer, and while all this bullshit was going on, there were real issues in the world. Then he talked about Haiti and what people could do to help. And then he went on and had a great show. He was totally hilarious.

I can't help thinking of old King Solomon at a time like this. Who does this Tonight Show baby belong to? I can't help thinking it's the mother who does NOT want to cut the baby in half is all I'm saying.

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

One American dollar

Last night and tonight we watched a film called Wristcutters: A Love Story. We watched it in two nights because we couldn't finish watching it last night on account of being old people who like to go to bed sometimes. I'll cut right to the chase (ha ha): we didn't love it. I don't think we hated it either, but if it didn't come so highly recommended by colleagues, we would not have finished it, I don't think.

I said something in an off-hand way to Scott about the guy in Wristcutters being the same guy from Almost Famous.

At this juncture it's important to note that I am not a betting lady. I do not bet for money. I will very occasionally bet for friendly bets where we just shake on something and nobody wins anything. I am powerfully anti-gambling. It's leftover from Jesus and reinforced by my belief that a state-run lottery is the work of Beelzebub himself (he's got a devil set aside for me) and it causes me to refuse even the simplest and most pleasurable forms of betting, including scratch tickets. Although I must admit that on the rare occasion I'm at the Big Y, I will play their fake-o slot machine game. I never win a coin. Never. I think they know that I am disgusted by their jingoistic bullshit.

Anyway, coming back.

So Scott says, "That's not the same guy." I said, "It certainly is. Don't you recognize him?"

I mean, that kid's mouth shape is uniquely his. How can a person not remember it after that goofy grin he has in Almost Famous?

Scott said, "If it's him, I will give you a dollar." See? He knows better than to try to engage me in a bet. In fact, in all the times he's tried to engage me in a bet, I think he's only succeeded once.

I advised him that the Internet was available to help him on his quest. He went upstairs, returned a short time later, and handed me a dime - this to try to convince me that I was wrong and he was right. But I knew that I was right. I have eyes, for christsakes! I said, "Where's my dollar?"

"Oh, you still think you're right?"

"I know I'm right!" Incidentally, the guy's name is Patrick Fugit. The Internet just told me he was also in White Oleander and - attention, please, mother - a few episodes of Touched by an Angel (he was not an angel, sint frum Gud).

I'm the proud owner of a dollar coin which once belonged to Count Scottula himself!

Victory is mine.

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Saturday, January 9, 2010

Public apology

This morning, I went through the Dunkin' Donuts drive thru right down the street from our house. On Saturday mornings, I have to leave the house at the latest by 7:20 to make it to the station by 7:50-ish to be on the air by 8 a.m. It's a hard life being a popular radio personality. I cannot get it together to eat breakfast at that hour, so on Saturday mornings I choose to have my breakfast passed to me through a window. Don't judge me for this.

Here's where you can judge me:

This morning I acted like a total fucking asshole to the Dunkin' Donuts crew. I was running late (my own fault) and I ordered my bagel sandwich and decaffeinated coffee. When the lady asked for the money, it was 44 cents more than usual. "Did the prices go up?" I asked. She replied, "You ordered a large combo." Like I didn't know what I ordered. "Whatever," I said and handed her a a five-dollar bill. "It just seems like a lot to go up in one week." In my vast Dunkin' Donuts experience, they usually raise the price by like 15 cents at a time. It just seemed like a lot. She handed me back my change, my foodstuffs and I was on my way.

I was at the light at Dwight and Northampton and opened my sandwich to discover that it was a ham, egg and cheese. I ordered an egg and cheese. No wonder!

Even though it was 7:33 (I monitor the time closely on Saturday mornings), I U-turned in the middle of the road, parked my car and went in to resolve this sandwich debacle. I tried to tell the man at the counter that I didn't order ham, egg and cheese - I wouldn't even order that on account of being a vegetarian - and that I wanted a new sandwich. He left me and came back with the manager. "What's the problem?" she asked. It seemed ridiculous that I would have to explain it all over again, but I did and I added (and this is the part that I sore ashamed about), "I really don't have time to fuck around here. I'm going to be late for work!"

It was at that point that the people started to look a little frightened of me. Certainly, except for my sailor mouth, I am gentle like a lamb, but they didn't know it. They handed me a bag with a new sandwich and the manager handed me a dollar. I said, "I don't want a dollar." She said, "It's the difference in price." I said, "The difference in price is less than 50 cents." She said, "Just take it." And I couldn't, so I just left it there.

And then I left. And all I could think about is the olden days when I worked in the bakery and how bad it would feel when someone was completely unreasonable - and I realized that I was that unreasonable this morning.

Quite a few years ago now, I was in a comedy show with some people I didn't know very well. I ended up going out with them and this one guy's family. They were from the south. The mom was telling a funny story about the brother-in-law's bad behavior in traffic. She said, "Man, he was really showing his ass." I didn't get it. I made her repeat it. I still didn't get it. I said, "How could he drive and moon at the same time?" Turned out it was an expression I wasn't familiar with. Showing your ass means showing your worst side.

Scott has a friend who would say, "He wasn't representing himself very well."

This morning, I did not represent myself well. I showed my ass in a big way at Dunkin' Donuts.

I'd almost rather have shown them my actual ass than my behavior this morning. I'm writing the Dunkin' Donuts morning crew an apology note and hand delivering it tonight so they'll see it first thing in the morning.

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Saturday, January 2, 2010

To: Sworn enemies. Return address: Unknown

Scott (the Count of Counts - Hallelujah! Hallelujah!) gave me a copy of George Carlin's autobiography (or sortofbiography, as Carlin called it), Last Words.

It is dynamite. I love it. I'm on page 178. I like it so much better than Steve Martin's stab at the same, Born Standing Up.

Both talk a lot about their early lives and stand-up. Last Words, though, actually includes pieces of material written out, including how the pieces changed over time. I'm finding this way more enlightening as a comic. Both are good stories, though, and worth reading.

One part of Last Words has kept me laughing since I read it. George Carlin starts the book with all that David Copperfield kind of crap (sorry, Holden Caulfield). In the section about his maternal grandfather, he begins to talk about his mother, Mary Carlin:
Mary was the first of his six children, all born in either Greenwich Village or Chelsea. She was frail as a kid and among other things was given a glass of Guinness stout each night to build her up. It worked. The physical strength she ultimately developed was matched by mental toughness. When she was ten she sent a box of horseshit to a girl on her block who had neglected to invite her to a birthday party. She was small, vivacious, made friends easily, played piano, was a great, dancer, laughed loudly ... and you didn't want her for an enemy.
I read this aloud to Scott in bed. I said, "Can you even believe that? She was 10! Incredible!" and he replied, "I can't believe you've never thought of sending anyone a box of shit."

I really hadn't. And once he suggested it, I couldn't believe I hadn't thought of it either.

We proceeded to talk about how a person, in this modern age, might send shit through the United States Postal Service without being detected. A ziplock bag would not be enough. Tyvek? Maybe. But under no circumstance should a person include his or her return address or apply his or her handwriting to the box. Certainly, the box would be full of his or her DNA, but the federal government has bigger fish to fry than to run a DNA test on a box full of feces. And anyway, even if they did, they'd have to have another sample of his or her DNA to make a match, and they wouldn't, so he or she'd be home free!

My god! It almost seems too easy!

We got ourselves laughing so hard about this that I had to get out of bed and cough vigorously while Scott shook quietly in the bed making his laughing-really-hard face.

I guess there are a number of points here. The first is I wish I had the courage to shit into a box and mail it to someone. Incidentally, I can't think of a single person I want to mail my shit to. And what if I thought of someone, but then I changed my mind after it was mailed? It's just mortifying to think of - and at the same time hilariously funny.

Another point is that when I met Scott, I couldn't possibly have foreseen that we'd both find shitting in a box and mailing it to another person so hilarious. We are so perfectly suited to one another that it probably makes people want to hurl a little bit. And I can't blame them. If it was four years ago and I saw a happy couple like Scott and me, I would barf a little bit myself - a jealous and angry barf, certainly, but barf nonetheless. (Would it help the barfing people to know that being happy with another person takes work and often involves the help of a qualified professional? Because it does.)

Finally, if you have delivered - or if you plan to deliver - a Mary-Carlin-style box of feces to another person, I kind of want to know how it went/goes - just so long as you're not sending it to me. I promise I won't tell (unless a subpeona is involved).

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Happy New Year!

Ah, 2010. Have you decided if you're calling it Two Thousand and Ten, Two Thousand Ten or Twenty Ten?

I'm calling it Twenty Ten, for the record. Join me if you want to be cool.

I'm not big on resolutions, but I'm making one. Here it is: I'm going to write on my blog at least once a week. Here's why: I miss writing here. It helps me sort out hilarious things that have happened and turn them into material, it helps me sort out terrible things that have happened and turn them funny, and it's a nice way to stay connected with people (including my identical-twin grandmother, who is not pleased by the dearth of posts here (sorry, Grandmother)).

In any case, I'm going to try.

Remember the olden days when I blogged multiple times a day? How did I have that kind of time?

Oh, right. I didn't have a Count.

I guess this is a good trade. Even so, I am striving for balance. Join me.

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Sunday, November 8, 2009

Yes, I have a job

I got a note from a friend who didn't realize I have a job. I announced what happened on Facebook, I think, and didn't update here. Many apologies.

So August I got the can. I was bereft, truly, because I really liked my job and my work people. Shortly, though, I started to think that my job loss was happening for a reason, that there was something better out there for me, and I was hoping that the something better was comedy-related.

I became disabused of the notion, however, in September when I was given my job back. I didn't exactly have a choice in taking it since not taking it would mean that I wouldn't get a severance or be able to collect. I was inconsolably upset about it for a couple reasons, the main one being the disappointment that the "something better" lined up for me was my same old job, which didn't seem "same" or "old" before I got the can, but my perception was changed. I was supposed to be so happy and relieved to get my job back and I wasn't, so I looked like a total fucking asshole at my job. For real. People would come up to me to congratulate me and tell me how happy they were that they got to keep me and I would burst into tears like an ingrate.

Honestly, I was furious for having been dicked around (or at least I felt like I had been; in truth, there were people pulling for me in a big way behind the scenes, which is how I ended up with my job back), disillusioned by the whole process (the internal workings of a giant company are a real sausage situation; the less you know the better) and really, really, really sad that I wasn't moving on to bigger and better things.

Distance and reality glasses allow me to know and appreciate the value of being employed in a down economy. I've been unemployed before and while it was great - splendid, really - at that time I did not have a mortgage or any other real responsibility outside of a very inexpensive rent. I am truly glad and feel blessed that I am not in any fear of losing my house and that I will be able to continue supporting the Count in the lifestyle to which he's grown accustomed (bon-bons and diamonds for everyone!).

I'd be lying, though, if I said that everything is back to normal. It's not. Some of my relationships have changed. I don't trust people the way I want to trust them. I feel alternately bitter and jaded and then lucky and grateful. I'm trying to focus on the lucky and grateful part. It doesn't always work, but I try.

One thing that the whole situation really brought to the forefront for me, though, is how important my radio life is to me. Especially since starting this job, I've thought about giving it up so many times. It brings me so much joy, yes, but it also means I only have one day truly off each week and I can almost never go away for a weekend. A person can understand why I'd consider giving it up. When I got the can though, one of the first things I thought of was, "Thank god I never gave up the radio!"

Another thing is that I really do want to make a go of the comedy. I don't exactly know how, but I'm going to do what I do know how to do and trust that the Universe is lining things up for me just right.

So I have a job. Christmas is saved!

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