Archive for the ‘Communication’ Category

all the news that’s fit to print

In Communication, Home, Sports, Work on March 28, 2011 at 12:33 am

It’s been quiet here at The Snarkler and I apologize. I would have fired the person responsible, but a) I am the person responsible, b) I don’t get paid anyway, and c) I’m a pretty understanding boss.

Part of what has kept me away is some good news- I will be writing a sports blog for Sports writing is pretty much my dream job, so I’m understandably excited and scared shitless. It’s a freelance gig, so I am still available for all of your furniture and mattress sales needs.

For the four readers who pay attention to this thing: I’ll still be writing on here, but the majority of my sports stuff will be on that blog. If you come here strictly for swear words, dick jokes, and poop philosophy, you’re in luck. I’ll will continue my sporadic and at-will writing on here.

The sports blog is yet to be named but will debut on April 25.  You don’t have to read it, but I would appreciate if you clicked on it a couple hundred times a day.

Despite its lack of valuable content, this totally counts as a post. Suck it, analytics!

parents just understand

In Communication, Home, Relationships on March 21, 2011 at 11:02 pm

If family-friendly comedies and cell phone commercials are any indication, teenagers suffer from near-fatal humiliation at the hands of their dim-witted parents on a daily basis. I’ve been lucky enough to be spared by this dreaded disease, as my parents are the two most awesome people I know.

This is not a recent epiphany. My parents. Are. Awesome. And always have been.

Some of my favorite childhood memories revolve around coming home on Saturday nights after my dad’s bowling league, having spent the past 3 hours sitting on the floor and eating grilled cheese, and my parents letting me stay up and watch stand-up comedy. That’s right. 8 years old and watching Evening at the Improv and Caroline’s Comedy Hour at 1:00 am on a Saturday night, and I think it made me a much better person. Or at least one with a more discerning taste in stand-up.

My parents didn’t just bring me to bowling alleys and bars (where I learned how to play pool from my godfather). They also brought me to volunteer on political campaigns. I still have t-shirts from the HOPE team (Hayden, Olmstead, and Patrick for board of Education). I went door to door passing out literature for Michael Dukakis, with my elderly French-Canadian neighbor/best friend standing behind me, as protection but in complete befuddlement. I remember at one point asking my mom the difference between Democrats and Republicans (I was maybe 6 at the time), and she paused for a moment and said, “Democrats care about people, and Republicans care about buildings.” First- please do not take that definition as a catalyst for a political argument in a series of TLDR comments. Second, my mom is awesome.

Both of my parents had been through some real crazy shit before I came along. I’m talking Lifetime movie shit, and one of the big budget ones with Tara Reid or Jennifer Love Hewitt. And yet, they have managed to be the most awesome parents ever.

They are still my favorite people to hang out with. I talk to my mom every day, and no decision is made without her advice (whether I take it or not). I visit them often and have more fun hanging out with them than pretty much any of my friends (sorry!). We share the same sense of humor and a lot of the same interests.

I never went through a stage of rebellion, really. Even in the brief pre-teen phase where parents shouldn’t exist, they stayed in the background, dropping me off at the mall and allowing private upstairs slumber parties.

I feel almost guilty at how awesome my parents are- kind of like that twinge of guilt a trust fund baby gets when he spends money he didn’t earn. But just like the trust fund kid, I get over it quick and revel in the fact that, let’s face it: I lucked out.

god and other unacceptable topics

In Communication, Health and Wellness, Home, News and Politics, Relationships, Science on March 10, 2011 at 11:46 pm

For the people who thought they knew what tonight’s post was about: Sorry. That’s for another day.

Religion is one of those things, along with sex, politics, and poop, that you aren’t supposed to talk about in mixed company. As you may guess, I enjoy talking about things that should not be discussed in mixed company.

My personal take on religion is that, like relationships, it’s a personal thing that is no one else’s business. In other words, I don’t give a shit what you think, and what I think is not your concern.

Still. Sometimes I feel like there is a dichotomy that religion boils down to, and it’s whether there is an omnimpotent being. God-ish, you may say.

I’m willing to admit that I’m in the fold of belief in God-ish. And I hesitate to narrow it further, as my beliefs are varied and broad and as far as I’m concerned, not mutually exclusive nor any of your business. What events result in that faith are pretty simple.

When I’m at the end of my rope, there’s a knot. I know that is totally 5th grade book fair poster involving a kitten philosophy. But it’s true. Yesterday was mad shitty. I mean, mad shitty. Think about the shittiest day, dial back someone dying, and that was my Wednesday. It really fucked up the whole week. I figured that life as Wednesday was barely worth it.

Then today happened. And it wasn’t perfect. There was still no sun. But I got a surprise gift from someone who thinks about me when I’m not around, which, let’s face it, is a pretty awesome compliment. Then a bit of good company sandwiched between the next slice of awesome: a childhood career dream come true. To settle the day, good conversation with good friends and a cuddle with my dog.

I suppose it could be a coincidence that a horrible day was followed by a day full of steady pick-me-ups. But it’s happened far too often to make me think that it’s not statistically significant. There’s too many times where I get to learn my lesson, but then get my scrapes bandaged and my lollipop received to think that someone isn’t looking out for me. Whether it’s the soul of my grandmother, a God, or magnetic energy from the sun in the form of Tom Cruise, I can’t help but feel like I’m not alone. Which is nice.

don’t want your stacks, just crack my back

In Communication, Health and Wellness, Science, Work on February 20, 2011 at 3:28 pm

I was brought up to distrust chiropractors. I grew up in Detroit, where they had a reputation for offering to cure back pain, acne, cancer, and social awkardness. Needless to say, my parents were skeptical, and therefore, so was I. As another indication of how much my parents influence my choices, I still have never tasted a Brussel sprout, because both of my parents hate them.

My doubt about chiropractic was only enforced when I was in a car accident in 2006. As I was turning left onto a side street, a driver on the side street didn’t see me and pulled out and hit my car, t-bone style, directly into my driver’s side door. He had insurance, so my car (eventually) got fixed. Plus, I got to drive a Pontiac Grand Prix for a couple weeks, which feels like a race car compared to my Saturn.

One of my co-workers bugged me to go see a chiropractor, because after the accident, I had a problem with my back in that it hurt so much I couldn’t walk. I didn’t want to go, but finally, he bugged me so much that I went ahead and made an appointment to see his chiropractor. Without touching me once and only asking a couple of questions, the he told me I would have to come in 3 times a week for at least 6 months. So I left.

Fast forward 5 years, and my back is still messed up. Sometimes I throw it out in an attempt to carry things or bend over or walk. I’d get massages at the massage school where they would try to rub out the knot in my back, and I’d end up with bruises.

Then my mom’s best friend recommended that she go see a chiropractor in their town. My mom went, because she trusts her best friend even more than I trust my co-workers. And she liked him. She trusted him. And she felt better. I decided to give it another try.

I feel better. I’m a convert. But only for my chiropractor- I still won’t go to any other one. And not just because he’s hot (even though that obviously helps). But because he’s honest with me about what he can and can’t do, and he doesn’t try to get me to come see him more often that I want to (again, the hotness helps here). As much as I enjoy having hot guys on top of me, I wouldn’t pay $25 a pop for it if it didn’t cure back pain.

Now if there was only something he could do about my social awkwardness…

putting the period in periodical

In Communication, Health and Wellness, News and Politics, Relationships, Technology on February 9, 2011 at 7:30 pm

I have subscriptions to a lot of magazines. Like, 8. And that doesn’t include the 2 subscriptions I share with my mom, or the free subscription I have to Martha Stewart Living. Granted, I’m pretty good at getting deals on them- I pay about $5/year for 26 issues of ESPN Magazine. But still. For an environmentally-sensitive person like myself, it’s a bit extreme, but I can’t help it. I love magazines.

My periodical collection runs the gamut from girly (Cosmopolitan and Lucky) to issues that appeal to my more masculine sensibilities (Esquire). To illustrate what a frat boy I can be, I used to also subscribe to FHM and Maxim. I even had a letter to the editor published in FHM (PS – I got paid $50 for it!). Granted, they thought I was a dude (if they knew I was a chick, I would have only gotten $38.50).

There has always seemed to be something a bit off about women’s magazines- something that bugged me, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was. Finally, when I was trying to come up with details about what I would do differently (besides just create a female’s version of Esquire), I realized that every magazine whose target demographic was female was comprised only of advice on how to overcome our innate deficiencies- of character, ability, worth, and beauty. As far as Glamour, Cosmo, and Marie Claire are concerned, there isn’t anything wrong with you that a 6-week exercise regimen, new beauty product, and personality transplant can’t fix. Cosmo gives explicit directions on how to shake hands with people (make eye contact, grasp firmly, slight smile- those explicit directions are generally repeated in another type of Cosmo feature).

Conversely, men’s magazines treat every man like he is perfectly fine the way he is, but just in case he was wondering how to find good scotch, fine suits, and loose women, they have some suggestions. Esquire does not have quizzes for their readers to determine if they are too much of an attention-seeker. GQ may recommend their readers use moisturizer, but they certainly won’t condemn you if you don’t. It has never occurred to an editor at Details to give step-by-step instructions on how to meet women (then again, I’m not sure Details‘ readers are all that keen on meeting women). Men’s magazines treat each reader as a whole person, who doesn’t need a mate, perfectly groomed eyebrows, or a home that is welcoming to the opposite sex in order to be happy.

Men’s magazines also tend to respect the intelligence of their reader more than their counterparts. There are stories that involved research and investigative journalism and aren’t just about women who are being repressed. Hey, I’m all for stories about repressed women, don’t get me wrong. But women need to read about men who are oppressed. They need to know what their government is doing, and to assume we only care about that affects our uterus is insulting. For the record, my uterus will remain under my jurisdiction no matter what the Republican Party says.

Hearst, Conde Nast, Meredith, ACP, and all you other publishers: Women are smart and capable and just fine the way they are. Give them more credit.  For pete’s sake, even Playboy treats women like they are beautiful creatures instead of works-in-progress.

But if you do find any fat-melting foods, will you let me know?

damn girl

In Communication, Entertainment and Nightlife, Health and Wellness, Relationships on January 25, 2011 at 9:25 pm

Many moons ago, my cell phone ring tone was “Damn Girl” by Justin Timberlake (featuring Will.I.Am, but who cares). Every time someone called me, Justin would croon, “Dammmmmn, girl, you’re so fine!” Corny? For sure. But I loved it- a consistent reminder that I am hot shit.

Related to the last post, part of the whole knowing my body thing has another positive side effect: I think I’m hot shit. I’m cute and all. I’m not skinny; I’m not fat. I’m not ugly; I wouldn’t say I’m classically beautiful either. I’ve been told I have a great smile and a nice ass (both true) and I like my eyes and wrists (weird but still true). And I have tits to die for, but don’t we all?

But I respect my body. It’s doing a pretty decent job for me (especially given how I treat it). I respect it when I have PMS, and my body is punishing me for not using it for its intended purpose. I really respect it when I’m ovulating and am beyond convinced that I’m the sexiest woman in the world (and my body is giving me a second chance at fulfilling its goal).

That’s not all, though. I surround myself with people who reinforce a positive impression of me. My first encounter with this was in 1997. In high school, I was a nerdy girl with huge eyebrows. But senior year, my mom had plucked them, and I turned 18 and met boys at dance clubs who didn’t know that I was a nerdy girl with huge eyebrows. In college, I joined a sorority, and all of a sudden, I had all sorts of guys who wanted to know this cute girl with the big boobs and the well-shaped brows.

I have female friends who are sources of constant support. Who, on my occasional down day, will remind me that George Clooney would throw his vow of celibacy (the marriage kind) out of the window for the likes of me. Sometimes, when they have a bit too much to drink, they will dry-hump me on the dance floor, and I’ll feel irresistible.

It’s been more than a decade since my first fraternity party, and medicine and age have taken their toll on my metabolism. Gravity does not love boobs as much as everyone else does. I still have pretty awesome eyebrows, but I realized something important along the way. Chris Rock put it best: show me the most beautiful woman in the world, and I’ll show you a dude who is sick of fucking her. In the same way, every woman in the world has got someone who wants to fuck her. I have beautiful, smart, smoking-hot friends who find imaginary flaws in their body that they think will turn a man off once they get into bed. And I tell them: the only thing that will get a man to kick you out of bed is having a penis. And that won’t even stop all of them.

Confidence really is the #1 ingredient in sex appeal. There are men who don’t want to get this, and that’s fine. I’m not trying to get a man who doesn’t want this. There are plenty of smart, funny, grade-A hotness men who would love nothing more than to get all conjugal with me. I don’t concern myself with the men who don’t. Just as I don’t find all men attractive, I don’t expect all of them to find me attractive.

But maybe they should get their eyes checked just in case.

let’s talk about sports, baby

In Beer, Communication, News and Politics, Sports on January 12, 2011 at 9:55 pm

As I’ve mentioned, I’m a huge sports fan.  I will watch any sport, except the Olympics, because that shit is boring.  It’s like 30 seconds of action and an hour of heartwarming stories about athletes overcoming adversity.  Blah blah blah.  I did watch hockey in the last Winter Games, because that was fun, and the only storyline was how kick-ass the United States finally was.

But in general, I’m all up for some sports-watching.  I have some sort of inherent coaching gene that enables me to have suggestions regardless of my knowledge of the sport.  I was at an indoor soccer match- not my strongest forte as far as sports go- but I still had plenty of advice for the goalie.  I can’t help but have ideas for athletes on how to be better at their job.  It’s kind of like childless people who know how to raise your personal children.  Those who can’t do, teach?  I cannot perform any sports-related activity without severely injuring and/or embarrassing myself.

There is only one thing that can take away from my complete enjoyment of a game.  Actually, two things, maybe three.  The announcers.  Whether they are repeating the same cliches (This player is clutch!), or slobbering over a particular player (I’m pretty sure that Tim Tebow should have a restraining order on Thom Brennaman), they never have enhanced my sports-watching experience.  You can’t fill air time with airheads, but that doesn’t stop networks from hiring former players or coaches who have nothing to say and have to make it up as they go along.

For an example of how truly bad sports announcers can be, I’d like to share with you an actual conversation that was featured in an NBA game I was watching.  Jeff Van Gundy (granted, the Van Gundys are not known for their tact) said he thought his family came over on the Pinta.  Then he asked Mark Jackson (who is black) what boat his ancestors took to America.  Mark Jackson, being a professional, overcame the temptation to make a statement, and just replied, “The Santa Maria.”

I wish that was the end of the story.  Van Gundy then proceeded to go on for about 5 minutes (which is an eternity in TV time) about how surprised he was that Mark Jackson caught the reference and how he must have paid attention in history class.  To recap, he first asked a black man how his ancestors got to America, and then proceeded to condescendingly compliment the same man on his knowledge of basic American history.  And he got paid handsomely to do so.

Often, when I’m watching major sporting events, I keep my Tweetdeck up.  There are a couple of gentlemen on the Twitter that make up for the nonsense being spewed on air.  DJ Gallo, the man behind sports satire site Sports Pickle, is The Onion’s answer to sports news.  He loves sports, but has perspective.  In that, it’s still just boys playing a game.  Mike Freeman, who writes for CBS Sports, is another favorite.  I would much rather listen to these two talk than any professional sportscaster.  I’d also prefer watching them (hellooooo nurse!).

ESPN and sports radio and game broadcasts are facing the same problem as cable news: how do we fill all this space?  It becomes a matter of quantity over quality (I cannot keep track of how many ESPN channels there are).  Since there is less reporting in sports (usually, they either won the game or they didn’t), there’s more analysis.  Sportscenter is shown 12 times per day, and then they intersperse it with Around the Horn, Pardon the Interruption, and (excuse me while I hold back vomit) The Jim Rome Show, where people talk about the things they talked about on Sportscenter.

I love you, sports.  But mostly with the mute on.

take two

In Communication, Health and Wellness, Home, Relationships on January 6, 2011 at 8:18 am

If you read this, you might also read my Twitter.  If you read my twitter, you know that one of my favorite topics is poop.  Not just in the realm of humor but in a philosophical sense as well.  I have favorite poops (floaty ones) and least favorite poops (sticky ones).  As Dr. Oz enjoys pointing out, poop is an excellent indicator of your health.  I think poop is hilarious and will bring it up as a topic of conversation in all sorts of mixed company.

There’s a good reason I feel comfortable discussing poop in mixed company.  Because those are exactly the folks who poop.  That is where the philosophy comes in.

One million years ago, I taught teaching public speaking at a few of the local universities.  All three required every student to take public speaking, regardless of major.  Public speaking is often reported as the number one fear, even over death.  Basically, if I was teaching death class, I’d have more comfortable students.  I understood- when I took public speaking as an undergrad, I had an asthma attack during a speech and they found me lying on the bathroom floor.

As a result, I could relate to their fear.  There were a couple of strategies I employed for making students more comfortable, and one of them involves poop.  People often recommend to picture your audience naked when giving a speech.  While I guess that makes sense, I would be distracted, interested, and repulsed if that was the case.  I recommended my students picture their audience pooping.

Everyone poops, and it could be the most vulnerable position.  Your pants are around your ankles.  You can’t really go anywhere.  And you are stinking the joint up.  It’s the great equalizer, because no matter your job, your income, your looks, your popularity… all y’all poop.  Whenever I have the chance of being intimidated, I picture the person taking a big ol’ dump.  And it humanizes them.  No one is scary when they are pooping.

The reason poop jokes are funny is because humor relies on shared experience.  You have to be able to relate to find it funny.  And everyone knows poop.  You might not be black.  You might not be gay.  You might not be a blonde.  You might not have a penis.  But you poop.  So you get it.

Some people find poop to be embarrassing.  Even I have been known to make a man I’m dating not just leave the apartment but the building if I need some freedom to let loose, so to speak.  I’m not saying you have to (or should) talk about it as much as I do.  But if you are looking to feel more comfortable, just remind yourself: everybody poops.

i’m just a girl

In Communication, Entertainment and Nightlife, Home, Relationships, Sports on January 1, 2011 at 1:18 pm

I am not a girly girl.  There are some aspects to my personality that are decidedly feminine.  I love makeup and fashion.  I watch HGTV all the time.  I still get giggly and play with my hair when I’m flirting with some dude.

But then, I’m a sports fanatic.  I know more about baseball than most men – not just trivia but strategy.  I was 4th overall in points in my fantasy football league this season.  One of the top 3 moments in my life is being on the 18th green when Tiger Woods came back to win the Memorial Tournament in Dublin, Ohio.  My dream job is General Manager of a baseball or football team.  (Mike Brown, did you hear that?). 

I hate chick flicks.  I would rather poke myself in the eye for 90 minutes than watch The Notebook.  If I can sit still long enough to watch a movie, it better have sophomoric humor, car chases, and/or guns.  Pineapple Express, thy name is Trifecta of Awesome. 

I have zero desire to get in touch with my feelings.  In fact, the further I can push them to the back of my brain, the better.  I’m a commitment-phobe to what is probably a disturbing degree.  I have had essentially one boyfriend, and it lasted about 4 months, tops.  My only long-term relationship has been with Verizon Wireless (12 years, going strong!).  While I expect to eventually get married, I imagine it will be more of a “hey, let’s get married.”  “Okay, is the courthouse open?”  And, we’re married.  And maybe I’ll tell people at some point.  But I don’t want a diamond and I don’t want a dress.  A honeymoon would be nice, though.  And I ain’t gonna tell you about that, either.

It’s not easy being such a dude of a girl.  For some reason, guys are not always excited about girls who win arguments about sports.  Girls don’t trust me – I guess they see me as enemy territory.  Like I will lure away their men with my arguments for changing NCAA football to a playoff system.  I don’t dislike girly girls.  I just don’t get them.  I don’t get being mad at a guy who doesn’t like me.  I don’t get caring what someone says about my body.  I don’t get wanting to watch a movie knowing it will make me cry for 6 hours.  I don’t get how a vampire and a brat makes for a fairy tale.  I don’t get giving a shit over Valentine’s Day.

But still.  I enjoy being a girl.

thank you for being a friend

In Communication, Relationships on December 29, 2010 at 7:28 pm

Some of you may recognize that as the opening line from the Golden Girls theme song.  The original Sex in the City, those gals were.  Candace Bushnell, you didn’t create shit.  You just turned back the clock.

This is not about the Golden Girls, however (sorry, maybe another time).  This is about friends.  I wrote a post about friendship on the old blog, but allow me to further elucidate.

My best friends have a nasty habit of moving away.  And I’m not talking move across town, I’m talking across the country or sometimes across the world.  I’m hoping it has more to do with their adventurous lives and less to do with my company, but who knows.  My best female friend currently lives in Japan, with her Navy husband.  We’ve been friends since we were 14, but for most of our adult best-friendship, she has lived in Alaska, Florida, and Japan.  It does give us someone perfect to drunk dial (she’s 14 hours ahead of my time), but I’d still rather her be here.

My best male friend recently moved back to his hometown of New York City (you may have heard of it).  I miss him even more than I expected, and what really sucks is there’s nothing you can do when your friend moves.  A significant other is considering moving to another city, and you can make a commitment.  Stay here, and I’ll will nuptial you up.  But a friend- what am I supposed to say?  Stay here, and I will get us best-friend necklaces!  I will sign a document stating I’ll be your Best Friend Forever, and even have it notarized!

Friendship is the rare relationship that is maintained and ensured via communication alone.  Your parents, spouse, children, and business associates all get paperwork to back their ass up.  But friendship is created and dissolved only by the willingness of its participants.

I make a huge deal about my birthday most years.  I guess because it’s halfway between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and if I don’t make a big deal, no one will.  I invite basically everyone I know, because I consider them all friends.  When the evite goes out, and people see 250+ on the list, I’m sure they are surprised.  But once a friend, always a friend as far as I’m concerned, and if someone showed up even though I hadn’t seen them in 3 years, I’m just as happy to see them as the people I see every week.

What this rambling boils down to is that friendship is unlike anything else out there.  It takes effort and is the standard for unconditional love.  I have the best friends in the world, and that, my dear, is Golden.