Jason says "read this blog!"
Just when I'm about to sign the DNR papers for this blog something comes along and inspires me to write another post. One of these days Jason Segel will come to his senses and beg me to befriend him. I just hope he isn't waiting to see the 365th reason. It may take years.

365 Reasons Why...An Explanation

Well, hello there (said in a very sexy voice). You're looking quite lovely today. Welcome to my blog. Feel free to take off your shoes and get comfortable, maybe leave a comment or two. This started out as kind of a funny thing to do after I blew a phone conversation with Jason, but I've found I really enjoy writing every day and researching new and interesting things about my future BFF. In January I met Jason at a comedy club and the few words we shared only reinforced my belief that he and I would get along famously. As a dear friend of mine recently said, "why wouldn't he want to be friends with you - you're awesome!" Perhaps the 365 reasons in this blog may just convince Jason of what I already know to be true: separately, our awesomeness is great; combined, it may be enough to take over the world. If you want to be one of my esteemed followers, simply click on the 'follow' button toward the bottom of the page. Come on, you know you want to.

Friday, July 30, 2010

It's Vacation Time!

Just a heads up, dear readers, that I will be roughing it in a quaint resort town outside Bend, Oregon for the next two weeks. I'm taking my trusty laptop with me, but I have no idea if I'll be able to access the Interwebs, so my posts may be a tad sporadic. I'm confident you'll be able to manage without me.

Reason 242

Trip planning. The past week I have found myself ankle deep in guidebooks, maps spread out on the table and a browser history jam-packed with tourism sites. This can only mean one thing - I'm about to head out onto the open road, my mama strapped into the passenger seat, for a two-week vacation in lovely central Oregon. I'm not much for boasting, but when it comes to designing the perfect itinerary, I kick some serious arse. I love to research future destinations, discovering quirky shops off the beaten path, not-to-be-missed tours, and restaurants only the locals know about. Before you start thinking I'm Clark Griswald in a drill sergeant's clothing, let me assure you, Jason, that despite planning out various adventures to embark on each day, I am perfectly content to toss the schedule out the window if something unexpected pops up or my travel companions and I desperately need to recharge poolside with a stack of trashy novels and a couple of mixed drinks. My meltdown in NYC after college graduation is prrof of that. Since I'm sure, Jason, the two of us will travel together once or twice over the course of our friendship, feel free to place trip planning responsibilities on my capable shoulders. If we're really lucky, maybe I'll stumble upon a brochure for a hootenanny in the country being thrown by seven siblings who'll serenade us with cowboy campfire songs while we chow down on barbeque ribs and homemade cornbread. Now, that was a memorable vacation moment.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Reason 241

Weddings. I was not one of those little girls who attached pillow cases to her head while walking slowly down the hall, humming Pachabel's Canon and dreaming of a future commitment ceremony in a flower-filled church. The first wedding I remember attending was a simple affair at the city courthouse between my father and stepmom, and every subsequent celebration I've attended of brides and grooms professing their undying love for one another hasn't convinced me that weddings are a worthwhile use of my time. It's not that I don't love the friends and family members who are getting married; I certainly want them to be happy and enjoy this once in a lifetime event (snicker, snicker). I'm just not a fan of getting all gussied up to eat some subpar meal while making small talk with strangers and then listening to a DJ with questionable musical tastes encourage everyone to get out of their seats for a rousing rendition of YMCA. I try to graciously turn down most of the wedding invites I receive so others don't have to put up with my negative Nelly alter ego, but I couldn't bring myself to skip out on my friend Emily's big day, which happens to be August 14. She has excellent taste, a wacky sense of humor, and never takes anything too seriously, so I'm desperately hoping the whole affair will be light on ceremony and heavy on fun. The one thing that would cement my commitment to her huge commitment is a handsome date on my arm who can make me laugh and dance circles around my coworkers. Would you happen to be free on the 14th, Jason? I'm sure you could find a cheap, last-minute ticket to Seattle. I won't be able to pick you up from the airport as previously promised because I'll be driving back from central Oregon that day, but I can offer you free food and booze, a beautiful Seattle skyline, and some memorable conversations with the loveable whackjobs I call my colleagues. You'll also walk in with a lady on your arm who cleans up pretty nicely when she puts forth a little effort (I'll even shave my legs). I bought a new dress the other day and look pretty dang hot in it if I do say so myself. So, let me know if you feel like escaping the Hollywood machine for awhile to hobnob with the moderately paid as we raise a glass to the future of Emily and Chris. If you wear a suit I'll even attach your name to the gift. I bet your last wedding date wasn't so generous.

Reason 240

Lifelong learning. This morning after I read a few sections of the newspaper, watched Obama make his very first presidential morning talk show appearance, and then did some stimulating professional development around adolescent literacy (party at my house!), I realized that no matter how old I get (and I'm getting up there), I will always be a student. Whether in school or not, my brain is constantly trying to soak up new information, enouraging me to reflect on the crazy world around me and my place in it. Sure, I stay abreast of current events by skimming articles in the Seattle Times, but, despite being a reading teacher, I'll be the first to admit that I find informational text extremely boring and would much rather get my news from Jon Stewart and his gang of pundits. Unlike you, Jason, who seems to be able to teach himself new skills like piano-playing and puppeteering through a hybrid of monk-like concentration and osmosis, I go where the action is.When it comes to learning I am all about taking classes and, boy, have I taken some doozies over the years. Arts and crafts (with emphasis on the craft portion of that duo) has always been appealing to me and since middle school I have paid people good money to teach me how to sew an extremely hideous black and white polka dotted outfit, knit ridiculously long scarves, crochet an endless supply of potholders, stamp and emboss homemade stationary, bedazzle album pages with a money-sucking pasttime called scrapbooking, and, my personal favorite, dye my own reeds to weave baskets (not underwater, sadly). I have also learned (and then promptly forgotten) basic American Sign Language, the nuts and bolts of independent filmmaking, and how to get up enough courage to sing in front of complete strangers, not to mention all of the workshops I have taken to stay current in my profession. Next month I am taking a rustic bread baking and ice cream making class (not at the same time), and a few days ago I was schooled by Inga Ingenue, a local burlesque dancer, in the art of teasing an audience with fluffy boas and silky, elbow length gloves. Huh, when it comes to expanding my intellectual horizons, I guess I'm a bit of a whore. Anyway, I am almost always up for new learning experiences, Jason, so if you have a yen for yo-yo tricks or a desire for divination, you can count on me to dig up a class that caters to your needs and then sign the both of us up for it. Life is short and we might as well learn all we can while we're here, especially if it involves a little bumping and grinding in heels and glittery accessories.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Reason 239

My brother. Like you, I have an older brother, so when it comes to understanding what it's like to be the second born, I can empathize. I bet your mother didn't finish your baby book, either. My brother is four years older than me and happens to be celebrating a birthday today, making him practically ancient. Despite the age difference, I think you and my bro would get along quite well (you know, in case I ever ditch you at some family function and you have to fend for yourself). Both of you are giants among men, with him standing two inches taller than you at 6'6" and, incidentally, you both played basketball growing up because of your freakishly long limbs. As far as I know he was never crowned Slam Dunk Champion of the World (or whatever honor you received in high school), so at least you can lord that over him. I'm fairly certain you both wear the same size shoe, so if you happen to lose your favorite Puma while traipsing through a northwest fire swamp or something, he could fork over a pair of his kicks so you wouldn't be limping about like a deranged lunatic with one naked foot. Other similarities include wicked senses of humor, your taste in music, and work ethic; my brother is one of the hardest working guys I know and will do anything to support his family. Ok, that's enough gushing. I'm getting a little sick to my stomach from all that praise. Just to balance things out, I'll also fill you in on some acts of stupidity he's performed over the years. When I was in elementary school he locked me out of the house while my parents were gone, causing me to go into hysterics and causing him to get into big trouble (a definite perk of being the little sister was ratting him out). In high school he drove his car through the wall that separated our garage from the family room, claiming the sun had been in his eyes or some such nonsense. After college he was MIA for a year, which drove my mother crazy with worry (and convinced her to change the locks on our house). Turns out he was living on the beach in Hawaii. Um, a postcard would have been appreciated. Alright, I guess that's enough airing of dirty laundry. At least now you two will have some interesting stories to discuss if you ever meet. Please tell your brother I say hello, Jason. I'm going to go wish mine a very happy birthday.

Reason 238

Protection. No, I'm not referring to the kind of protection that can save your naughty bits from developing funky-colored pustules (although I'm happy to give you STI information, if needed, Jason). Rather, I am talking about defeating the sun's cancerous rays from baking our bodies until we resemble Sebastian, that adorable crab from The Little Mermaid. I have been extremely fair-skinned since I shot forth from my mother's loins and practically turn tomato red if I dare set foot outside in sunny weather without coating myself in a layer of SPF 30. I guess I can thank my pasty English ancestors for that (at least my teeth turned out all right). Almost every vacation I've taken to a tropical location is connected to the memory of a heinous sunburn that incapacitated me for days on end and drove my friends and family insane because they had to listen to my cries of agony as I moved even the slightest inch. In Acapulco it was my adorable little feet; Hawaii thought my back could use some extra vitamin D; and in central Oregon (yeah, I know that isn't exactly topical - but it's still hot as Hades) I burned the backs of my legs so badly that for at least three years afterward I had a line on my thighs where my shorts ended. This summer I have already endangered my face, which is now peeling in a lovely manner, my scalp, and the tops of my knees. You'd think that after all of my sun-related calamities I would be smart enough to bathe in sunscreen each morning during those ten hot days Seattle experiences each year. Well, apparently my stubborness beats out my intelligence since I haven't seemed to learn my lesson yet. I'm hoping, Jason, that whenever we're hanging out in the sun you will gently remind me to put on some protection, especially on the tops of my ears and over my tattoos (gotta' preserve that investment!). I may roll my eyes at you in annoyance, but inside I will be doing a happy dance knowing that you care about my skin's well-being. I'm not sure what your heritage is, but if you happen to avoid that blazing ball of gas in the sky the way Lindsay Lohan avoids responsibility, I will be more than happy to slather your back with lotion. I will not, however, put the lotion in the basket. Sicko.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Reason 237

Old-fashioned family fun. Sure, Pasadena has its swanky Rose Parade and Hollywood hosts a funky Christmas pcavalcade each year, but is there a city near you, Jason, that hosts a soiree where you can bear witness to preschoolers on trikes tearing up the asphalt? Well, look no further, my friend. Yesterday I literally stepped out my front door to find myself on the sidelines of my city's 25th annual River Days parade, a celebration of every small business, Boy Scout troop, and church in the area, with almost all participants decked out in either red, white and blue or rubber duck accoutrements (we have a thing for ducks, apparently), tossing cheap candy out to the crowd. One of the city council members even shouted out my name when she passed by, causing several sidewalk-sitters to turn and wave hello, making me feel like a bit of a celebrity. Once my family soaked up our fill of the small town procession, we headed off to the hokey arts and crafts market, watched partially clothed tots dance gleefully in the spray from the firefighters' hose, and passed judgement on the quilts artfully displayed in the library. The whole affair was so charming I almost expected to see Opie waltzing through the sun-kissed masses with a fishing pull cocked jauntily on his shoulder. If you ever want a taste of small town life, Jason, just say the word. I'm sure my brother would make room on the sidewalk for your bum so you could get your fill of grown men dressed like pirates and the rockin' sounds of the Sounders marching band (imported from Seattle). Any candy you catch automatically gets handed over to the nieces, though. It would be such a shame to ruin a Rockwell-esque moment with a tantrum from a sugar-deprived toddler. Besides, you'll want to make sure there's room in your belly for the funnel cake being dished out at the nearby park. Nothing says old-timey fun like a deep fried, powder-covered heart attack on a plate, I always say.

Reason 236

Safeco Field. Notice how I didn't list the Mariners as a reason, even though they play in Safeco when they're in town. Could be that they are currently the losingest team in the American League (no surprise there), which often makes attending one of their games a step below getting one's teeth cleaned on the fun scale. The team's one saving grace is the magnificant stadium they play in (and I use the term 'play' fairly loosely), located a mere hop, skip and a jump away from Seattlle's gorgeous waterfront. When the roof is retracted you may get a view of Mt. Rainier in all her snow-covered glory, and the occasional train horn blasting through the popcorn-scented air is always a nice distraction from the woefully pathetic antics on the field. Today I am attending the Red Sox-Mariners game, thanks to the generosity of my friend Christina, who has been a member of the Red Sox Nation since she was in her mama's belly. Obviously, Chris won't be rooting for the home team, but that doesn't irk me since my biggest concerns during game time are whether the drunk guy behind us will either puke on me or get in a fight, how I can get the coveted job of choosing music that's played when certain players are at bat, and which new food booths I'm going to scope out. When it comes to noshing, Safeco was actually nominated by the Food Network as having the best ballpark eats in America and an ESPN poll ranked the stadium as having the best signature ballpark food, so it makes sense that I'd ignore Ichiro when there are almost one hundred different stands to sniff out. This year several healthier options were added to menus around the park, but I am going to shun the carrot and celery creations for the french fries covered in gravy and cheese curds. I hear the dish is all the rage in Canada and, since the folks up north seem to know a whole lot more than us Americans, I'm going to act like a Canuck today. Safeco is also one of the greenest ballparks in the country, so once I'm done with my little dish of carbohydrate heaven I can probably compost it, adding a touch of righteousness to the whole baseball experience. I'm not sure if you're a fan of America's favorite pasttime, Jason, but I know you're a fan of food, so next time you're doing the tourist thing in Seattle let's plan on snagging some cheap tickets to a Mariner's game and then blowing our wads on the feast that awaits us on the concourse. Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jacks and I'll buy you a slow-cooked BBQ pulled pork sandwich. Play ball!

*Update: The Mariners actually beat Boston, which unfortunately meant I had to listen to Christina gripe about her team's inept management for at least an hour. I also skipped the poutine, thinking it would be wiser to try the fries when they hadn't been sitting out for 30 minutes covered in congealed gravy.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Reason 235

Bacon. Or, as my friend Christina (who is convinced she could eat a pound of the stuff in one sitting) calls it, pig candy. Both of us, Jason, are huge fans of the delectable meat strips, which is a good thing because I don't trust folks who turn up their nose at the buffet table staple. I mean, bacon has been known to send even hardcore vegeterians to the meat-eating dark side, morphing them into finger-licking, jaw-smacking Wilbur eaters who can't stop at just one or two pieces, so there must be something magical about this breakfast treat. Your love of bacon is so strong that you vehemently blamed a Wendy's limited edition bacon burger for the pudge around your middle that was occasionally on display in I Love You, Man. I'm not a fast food fan, but I bet feasting on pieces of slightly crispy, savory pork goodness almost every day of filming was worth the extra ten pounds. Weight gain or not, it's my belief that bacon is an appropriate treat any time of day (or night, for that matter) and tastes best on its own, as opposed to as a garnish on burgers, pancakes, cupcakes, or doughnuts, which seems to be the current trend. I do admit to being intrigued by a certain bacon brownie concoction my foodie friend Claire whipped up a few weeks ago, but other than that I'll take my pig candy straight out of the frying pan, greasy fingers be damned. Despite my purist preferences, I do approve of all the bacon swag that can be found around town, like band-aids, stickers, and action figures, and would be happy to hook you up with a bacon belt, Jason, if you really want to impress your Hollywood friends. Darn it, now I desperately want some bacon. I think I'll wrap this up and head to Safeway.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Reason 234

Crows. Apparently, the black scavengers are all the rage in today's art scene. How would I know this, you ask? Well, today my mother and I spent hours strolling the aisles of the 64th annual Bellevue Arts Fair and spied at least six different booths showcasing crows in various mediums performing all sorts of non-avian activities. Luckily for this non-crow-loving appreciator of art, there were hundreds of other subjects on display, some of which were awe-inspiring and some of which my three year-old niece would have recognized as banal. This three-day arts festival has been on my summer calendar since I was old enough to walk for more than an hour without whining, and I look forward to checking out over 300 vendors and styles of art each year. The only drawback to attending this shindig are the throngs of people, most of whom are complete morons (crowds are definitely not my bag). Couple this extreme stupidity with high temperatures and I tend to revert back to a petulent child who repeatedly asks when the torture will end so we can duck into the nearby mall for an ice cream cone. This is where you come in, Jason. As my friend, it would be much appreciated if you accompanied me to the fair next year (with my mom in tow, of course) so you could act as my buffer against the hordes of people walking this way and that like confused ants. When I start to grumble about folks stopping smack dab in the middle of a row to chat up a long lost friend you will gently prod me to keep moving and ignore the fool's poor manners. Your mouth shall be quicker than mine in order to hold me back from screaming "Stop taking pictures of the art, you idea thief!" when I see someone whip out their camera for the fourth time. Since you're at least a head taller than me you can also navigate the endless rows, steering us around buffoons walking three abreast and mothers pushing double strollers. In exchange for your patient help you'll get an eyeful of ceramics, textiles and paintings created by folks from all over the country and a scone slathered in raspberry jam from Fischer's, the preeminate producer of scones in the Pacific Northwest. If you sweet talk my mom you might even get two scones! So, don't make any plans for the last full weekend in July next year because you'll be living it up in Bellevue with me and the mama. I bet you haven't had a sweet offer like that in months. Top that, Los Angeles!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Reason 233

The anti-diva. Some celebrities milk their status for all it's worth, confident no one will call them out when they demand hard-to-find foods in their dressing rooms, saunter on to set a few hours late, or terrorize assistants who accidentally paint their dog's toenails the wrong shade of red. No other profession would tolerate such shenanigans, but because of our culture's sick obsession with fame, these folks get the green light to behave like spoiled brats, and unfortunately there isn't a stern British nanny in sight. In the vast amount of research I've conducted on you, though, Jason, I haven't found a single mention of public hissy fits or obscene demands about reporters not making eye contact with you during press tours. In fact, during a recent radio interview you chatted with the DJ about how incredulous you are when you hear about celebrities who use the so-called intense stress of their jobs  as an excuse for screaming at lowly production assistants or publicly disrespecting their fans. What really chaps my hide is the fact that a majority of the folks being splashed across magazine covers for such outlandish behavior aren't even deserving of the public's attention. At least you legitimately earned your fame and may have reason for the occassional insane antic, unlike certain socialites and reality show stars who possess no perceivable talent (no, I don't consider public intoxication or eating fried scorpion a talent). I trust, Jason, that you aren't going to rent a beach house on the Jersey shore or launch a small child into the air via balloon any time soon, so the content of this post should be relevant for years to come. Luckily, you understand that you have a pretty sweet gig where you get paid to play make-believe each day; taking that for granted is definitely not on your to-do list, which is good because if it were I would give you a swift kick in the rear to bring you back to reality. If you ever start dishing out the diva attitude, as your friend it's my duty to knock some sense into you. If I happen to take great pleasure it that particular job, so be it.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Reason 232

Fresh and cheap. No, those aren't words people use to describe me (well, usually). Rather, they're two adjectives I'd use for the farmers' market in my town. As mentioned in my earlier post, my condo purchase has left me drowning in debt and cranky more days than I'd prefer, but one perk of living in my building is the weekly farmers' market that is literally across the street and open every Tuesday afternoon during the summer months. Since June I have taken great pleasure in strolling through the maze of produce stands, watching little kids and older folks dancing to outdated music in the small performance area, and flirting a bit with the attractive gentleman who works at the pizza booth. If you are ever in town on a Tuesday, Jason, we'll have to skip over to the booth on the corner that sells giant bags of sweet-smelling kettle corn, snag some tacos from the folks a few feet away (their meat is cooked on a giant vertical spit - awesome!), and polish off our meal with a scoop or two of homemade ice cream from the gracious gentleman by the fountain. If you want a souvenir of your visit I would recommend a $5 bouquet of fresh picked flowers or a cute kitten from the Humane Society van that occassionally docks at the curb to guilt parents into adopting a family pet - those ASPCA folks are so devious. Maybe you can even use your suave people skills to chat up the pizza guy. Is there such a thing as a farmers' market wingman? If not, I definitely think you should be the first.

Reason 231

Tough decisions. And now for the after-school special portion of my blog (cue Kirk Cameron and some cheesy music that pulls at one's heartstrings). Three years ago I purchased a studio condo in the heart of downtown that seemed to be exactly what I needed at that point in my life. I had been living with my mother for two years while working as a teacher for the first time and, while I adore my mother and the stability she offered, it was time for me to high-tail it out of the suburbs and set up shop in my own place. I was thrilled when the bank qualified me for a mortgage and gleefully signed the tome-like paperwork they plopped down in front of my glazed-over eyeballs without much question. The building had been completely renovated from old-fashioned apartments into sleek condos full of granite counters and shiny mahogany cabinets, and it offered a small gym (no more Bally's dues!), a secure parking garage, a hot tub (sans time travel capabilities), and a community barbeque area. To top it all off, I wouldn't have to pay Home Owner's Association dues for two years. I was a naive girl seduced by a five-minute commute to work, the idea of freedom, and a cupcake cafe within walking distance. Well, kids, there's a reason people say things are too good to be true. As of this moment the value of my property has decreased by around $50,000, my HOA dues have kicked in and will be increased (for the 2nd time) in the next month to pay for an assessment the developer ignored, and most of the building's units are being rented as apartments by inconsiderate folks who litter, leave TV's on full blast into the wee hours, and fill the hallway with clouds of smoke from incense. I am trapped in the investment from hell and half of my monthly paycheck is going directly to the devil. Jason, I don't know how much experience you have with real estate, but you seem like a very level-headed guy who could give me some unbiased advice about my situation. I am fortunate to have a father who has worked in the mortgage industry, so he can shed light on that area, and my amazing mother empathizes with me and, of course, simply wants me to be happy, but the voice of someone who can weigh the pros and cons of condo life without being swayed by those damn tasty cupcakes would be really appreciated right about now. Do I continue to pour income into property that may never recoup its original value or do I simply walk away, purposely defaulting on my mortgage, taking a hit to my credit score, and returning to my childhood home until I find a cheaper place to live? Having to be an adult and make tough decisions really sucks sometimes, but it might be a little bit easier with a friend like you in my corner. At the very least you'd be tall enough for me to rest my head on when life seems unbearable, and that's a service that should never be underrated.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Reason 230

Schmutz. A few weeks ago when school was still in session I found myself shoveling a lunch of beef and vegetable stir-fry into my mouth in a very un-ladylike fashion. Why such the hurry? After the walk to and from my classroom, a stop at the staff restroom, and the time it takes to reheat whatever leftovers I've brought, I get maybe a scant seventeen minutes to enjoy my midday meal. On this particular day I was also meeting with fifteen or so unruly 6th graders to rehearse for the impending flash mob, so time was definitely at a premium. I was able to nourish myself thoroughly and practice some smooth dance moves before the bell rang for 4th period, though, so all was well in my little world - or so I thought. Most teachers at my school have a period called C&P where they are free from the shackles of actually teaching youth and can roam about the building harassing colleagues, napping at their desks, and sorting through all of the worthless fliers and catalogues that accumulate in their box. This free period is also the perfect time for teachers like me who work in portable classrooms in the hinterlands to take advantage of the school's luxurious powder rooms. It was during this bathroom break that I noticed a rather large piece of cooked beef wedged between my front teeth. Apparently, I had spent the past hour speaking to small children within a few inches of their eyeballs and none of them had the gumption to tell me a small cow was protruding from my mouth. I guess twelve year-olds aren't known for their tact (or their keen observational skills). I, on the other hand, have practically elevated the practice of telling people they have food in their teeth, foreign objects hanging from their nose, and schmutz on their face to an art. Jason, when we dine together you can confidently nosh on all kinds of stringy and seed-bearing foods, assured I will nudge you toward the nearest mirror if a particle or two happens to get stuck in your choppers. If a smudge of choclate or dirt (or, god forbid, other brown matter) has found safe haven on your lovely face, I will, as unsanitary as it may be, invoke the spirit of every deceased Jewish grandmother, lick my finger, and rub that smudge right off. I take my role as friend very seriously, even if it means I have to appear slightly deranged when I beg a restaurant's hostess for a handful of toothpicks and some wet-naps. As long as I'm around, paparazzi will never snap a picture of you with a giant booger hanging from your schnoz. Rest assured, Jason, you are in good, albeit somewhat saliva-covered, hands when I'm on the scene.

Reason 229 - Happy National Ice Cream Day!

Ice cream. As the brilliant composer Jeff Moss wrote for a "Sesame Street" skit, "Everyone likes ice cream, yes indeed they do." In fact, Americans love the creamy frozen treat so much that they consume, on average, 48 pints of the stuff each year. For my family, though, that's a fairly conservative estimate. Both of my parents have ice cream running through their veins, so it's no surprise that my brother and I need to indulge in at least a spoonful or two on a daily basis in order to act civilized around others. His one year-old daughter is such an ice cream fiend that the other day I lured her away from playing with clay and through a crowd of shoppers by holding a small spoon of Almond Fudge a few inches in front of her face. Behold the power of milk, sugar and air - it can soothe a screaming toddler into submission! My love of frozen creaminess is so intense that it seems perfectly reasonable to me to drop everything and drive over 100 miles north to Vancouver to partake in the best gelato I have ever eaten. You are more than welcome to ride shotgun, Jason. I promise not to judge you for devouring three or four scoops. I find a dislike of ice cream to be extremely suspicious and, when it comes to dating, could quite possibly be a deal breaker. In my book, those who claim frozen yogurt is just as delectable as ice cream or who prefer vanilla to all of the magnificent flavors available in the frozen foods aisle deserve to be openly mocked. Yeah, I am serious about my ice cream. Growing up I dreamed of slinging scoops of chocolate mousse and orange sherbet at the Baskin & Robbins at the bottom of the hill. I thought providing customers with a product that was so satisfying and intrinsically connected to happiness would be quite rewarding. Well, I stuck to babysitting in high school, but when I decided to return to school for my teaching certificate and needed a part-time job that required minimal effort, I was hired for the morning shift at a brand new Cold Stone Creamery. For six months I mixed up all sorts of concoctions, made thousands of waffle cones, churned out pan after pan of ice cream, and sang my heart out when dollar bills were dropped into the tip jar. It was, for the most part, just as rewarding as I thought it would be, and even led me to toy with the idea of opening up my own ice cream parlor one of these days. I already have the perfect name picked out: Lickety Split. Now all I need is a generous investor who loves ice cream as much as I do. Would you happen to know anyone who fits the bill, Jason? While you mull that over, I say we drive around in search of an ice cream truck. It is National Ice Cream Day afterall (perhaps the only worthwhile thing Reagan created during his presidency), and it would be a shame not to celebrate. First round's on me (because I'm a good friend like that).

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Reason 228

Pedestrian politeness. Since Seattleites only see the sun two months out of the year, most of us try to get outside and soak up all that vitamin D as often as possible. People who live around here are nuts for any sport that gets them out of the house; luckily the city planners were aware of this and created miles and miles of walking trails around the area. One such trail is just a few blocks from my house and is particularly lovely because it follows the meandering path of a river on one side and, um, a Boeing plant on the other. Since I had consumed two bites too many of my chicken tikka masala and garlic naan at dinner tonight, I decided a casual walk along the Cedar River was precisely what I needed to aid digestion (and maybe even make room in my tummy for dessert - this girl has priorities). Earbuds in place, I practically skipped down the stairs and out the door into the early evening sun, eager to move to the smooth sounds of Christopher Cross. After a mere two blocks, however, my mood soured as I was reminded why the treadmill in my building's tiny gym is more appealing than a walk that requires me to maneuver around clueless couples with their dogs who take up the entire width of the trail, inhale fumes from overflowing garbage cans, and dodge kids on bikes who are more interested in reading their new text message than the safety of some old lady coming toward them from the opposite direction. Perhaps I should just be grateful those kids can even read text messages since their intelligence level is clearly questionable. Of course, I was the model pedestrian, staying to the right to avoid oncoming traffic and kamakazi bicyclists; making brief eye contact with other walkers as they passed; and keeping my mouth shut when I desperately wanted to scream "Get out of the way, you idiot!" My mother did, afterall, raise me to be a lady. As my friend, Jason, you will never have to fret about my trail etiquette. You can count on me to maintain a reasonable pace (which really translates into a modified jog since I have such long legs, but I'm confident you can handle the speed), smile politely at the inbred morons walking by who blatantly ignore posted signs about trail expectations, and even put together a rockin' playlist on your iPod if you decide you need to give your brain some alone time. I know for me it's pretty hard to pay attention to my companion's ramblings when the soulful sounds of John Denver are so much more inspiring. Why yes, sunshine on my shoulders does make me happy. Rude walkers, however, make me want to cry.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Reason 227

Good fortune. Lucky in love I am certainly not, but when it comes to winning tangible, material goods, I practically poop four-leaf clovers. Some contests are based solely on incredible skill, like the class spelling bee I won in elementary school or the art contest I received an honorable mention for in 2nd grade, despite the fact that the panel of judges actually thought I was a 5th grader (sadly, my drawing skills peaked at seven years old). Perhaps if I'd competed against classmates I would've walked away with both the glory and Baskin & Robbins gift certifcate bestowed upon the grand winner. In 8th grade I entered a raffle at my school's dance (oh, the horror of middle school dances!) and ended up toting home a gigantic gift basket stuffed to the brim with Electric Youth perfume and tons of gift certificates to shops at a mall down south, including Mrs. Fields', an ear piercing kiosk, and Glamour Shots. Let me tell you, having my hair's volume increased tenfold and posing for semi-sexy pictures, consuming twenty-four chocolate cookies with the help of my best friend, Claire, and then lying to the jewelry store about my mother being Claire's parental unit so she could get her ears double-pierced made for an incredibly memorable and exciting day. Slow dancing with prepubescent boys who were a foot shorter than me to cheesy Boys II Men songs was totally worth all the goodies in that gift basket. As an adult I have hit some decent jackpots in Vegas (as decent as you can get from The Price is Right nickel slot machines), won a pair of peach panties from a Burlesque performer in a fundraising raffle (don't worry - they were clean), and, best of all, seen a variety of musical performances for free by being the winning caller for radio contests. My sister-in-law got to groove to one of her favorite bands, Michael Franti and Spearhead, thanks to my good fortune; my friend Ryan, who is up for just about anything, gladly took a pair of 98 Degree tickets off my hands (my apologies to the Lachey brothers, but the thought of enduring two hours of screaming teenage girls made me sick to my stomach); and Jason Mraz thoroughly entertained me and my pal Christina at the Experience Music Project before he hit mass-fame with "I'm Yours." Perhaps my greatest musical prize, which I won for writing a brief essay about my middle school love for New Kids on the Block, was entrance to a small concert given by Jordan Knight (he was always my favorite - swoon) when he released his last solo album. Even in my late 20's, sitting five feet away from someone I adored as a tween made my pulse race and my stomach do gymnastics worthy of a short program during the Olympics. The one music-related prize I had my heart set on and didn't win was a trip to the Get Him to the Greek premiere in L.A.. I recorded my own version of "Bangers, Beans & Mash" and filmed a disturbing video to accompany the song and still the film's producers didn't deem me worthy of hobnobbing with Jonah Hill and Russell Brand on the red carpet. Clearly, they don't know genius when they see it. Anyhoo, what all of this good luck boils down to is an opportunity for you, Jason, to partake of my winnings. Free crap is so much more valuable when it is foisted upon loved ones. Besides, no one should eat 24 cookies alone, and I have a feeling you'd graciously consume thousands of calories in order to make a friend like me happy.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Reasons 225 & 226

Inspiration. When it comes to our writing, Jason, we are constantly pulling material from our own lives to make the tales we spin feel authentic (and may I add, hilarious). This blog is an obvious example of that. Your foray into art imitating life is a tad more famous (or should I say infamous?) than mine, though. In your 20's your girlfriend returned early from a trip and called from the airport to let you know she was on her way over to your house. As a man with a certain appendage that occasionally overrides the rational thoughts produced by your brain, you immediately assumed your lady friend had desperately missed the warmth of your body and was at that very moment urging her taxi driver to speed through the streets of Los Angeles like she was on "Amazing Race" in order to pleasure you. When she arrived at your humble abode you were waiting for her, completely naked, with a Joker-esque grin on your gorgeous mug. You enthusiastically greeted her in all your naked glory, only to be told she'd stopped by to break up with you. At the time you realized that, despite the pain of being rejected (and sans clothes at that), the situation was actually quite hilarious and ripe for cinematic treatment; you couldn't wait for the now ex-girlfriend to leave so you could furiously scribble down every detail and incorporate it into a screenplay. Years later you did exactly that, sharing your mortifying moment with the world in Forgetting Sarah Marshall and forever labeling yourself as "that naked guy from that one movie." As mentioned previously, I have dabbled in the art of screenwriting and had no qualms about slapping a number of my neuroses onto characters and allowing them to exorcise demons of embarrassment that have haunted me through the years. Why, just the other day I was sharing a mildly awkward childhood anectdote with my friend Christina who, once she'd recovered from her laughing fit, demanded I use the scene as the opener for my next screenplay. The proverbial lightbulb went off right above my head and I realized the 25 year-old interaction between me and my brother was the perfect way to kick off a story I'd be struggling to begin for years. Neither of us were naked at the time, but if my black comedy ever makes it to the big screen I think my opening scene will garner just as many laughs as yours, Jason, and it won't make my mother cry, which doesn't hold true in your situation. Your poor, poor mother.

Guidance. Speaking of screenwriting, I could really use some advice from someone like you, Jason, a person who managed to sell the very first script he wrote (even if it was never turned into an actual film and you had to recently buy it back from the production company), and continues to get hired to bang out material like the next Muppet movie. When Freaks and Geeks (R.I.P.) was cancelled and it looked like you would never get paid to act again, Judd Apatow was kind enough to impart a little career advice, telling you that since you are such a weird dude the best way to ensure you'd succeed in L.A. was to simply write roles for yourself. He then gave you a weekend-long crash course in screenwriting at his compound and sent you out into the world, confident that you'd succeed at cashing in on your oddities. You did just that with Forgetting Sarah Marshall and, as we all know, your film career shot off like a rocket, creating legions of crazy fans who stalk you at your local bar and write ridiculous daily pleas of friendship. Now, unless they're ashamed to come out of the closet and admit they are a cog in the Hollywood machine, I am fairly certain there aren't any knowledgeable, successful screenwriters in my life. There are no voices of experience telling me which software program to purchase (Movie Magic or Final Draft? The stress of choosing is giving me an ulcer!). No wise sage whispering in my ear, reminding me about correct formatting and query cards. My best resource is the internet and we all know how reliable that is; any whackjob can post something on-line and call it the truth. Nope, I am a lonely sailor navigating the screenwriting sea, a stack of index cards full of deranged scribbling and a brick of stale graham crackers keeping me company on this strange journey. If you want to take pity on me, Jason, and guide me through the script writitng process I will gladly let you steer my ship. I'll even let you wear my super cool captain's hat, although there is a high liklihood it will only distract me from the job at hand and make me want to act out my Captain and Tenille fantasies. Muskrat Suzie, muskrat Sam...

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Reason 224

Villainy. Like millions of other Americans, I escaped last weekend's heat wave by easing myself into an over-sized chair with armrests and basking in air-conditioned gloriousness while viewing your latest film, Despicable Me. I must say, I rather enjoyed the animated flick, despite the thoughtless people in my row who lumbered past me in the middle of it and the occasional screams from a toddler one aisle over who clearly wasn't ready for the movie theater experience. I even guffawed out loud numerous times, which is fairly rare for me in the cineplex setting. The characters voiced by Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, and Russell Brand were fabulous, but in my mind the true star of the show was Vector, who was brought to life so convincingly by you, my dear friend Jason Segel. You looked smashing in your orange track suit (I'd rethink the fanny pack, though) and the weapons you thought up were sheer maniacal genius. I also appreciated your love of cookies, since I am a connoisseur of the little round baked goodies as well, especially if they contain coconut. Now, I understand, Jason, that you are not the people you play on screen, but I also know (since you mentioned in just about every interview you did for Despicable Me) that you identify with Vector on a certain level, at times feeling like a 5'3" slightly insane loner with daddy issues (ok, maybe that's a stretch). Anyway, as your friend, whenever the mildly deranged villlainous side of you wants to come out to play, I will always support your insane plans to take over the world and provide you with honest critiques of your sketches for new ray guns and rockets and such. I will gladly help you perfect your evil laugh; and if you ever find yourself surrounded by lifeless victims after a science experiment goes horribly wrong, I will even sacrifice my safety and freedom to assist you in the clean up. As a wise person once said, friends help you move, but real friends help you move bodies. Just make sure the corpses aren't bloody. I'd hate to ruin a perfectly good pair of sneakers.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Reason 223

Responsible pet ownership. For the third time in a month my lovely mother is out of town, which means I am once again slumming it in her neighborhood, subsisting on whatever three-year old meat products she's squirreled away in the garage freezer and catering to the dog and cat's every need. Since I love our dog, Molly, so much I strap on my tennis shoes each night and let her drag me on a walk, risking wrist sprains from her non-stop tugging and temporary hearing loss from the incessant barking of the Beagles down the street who freak out whenever Molly passes by their ginormous front windows. No wonder my mom just shoos Molly into the fenced backyard when she needs some fresh air and exercise. Of course, another reason to avoid walking Molly is the inevitable cleanup duty that comes with it. What is even worse than scooping up steaming piles of doody, however, is having to sidestep the mess left in yards and on sidewalks around town by rude, germ-phobic dog owners. I am constantly appalled by the amount of crap I see during our daily jaunts and left wondering if the people leaving these bombs behind are stupid enough to think a poor dog poo fairy flies around canine-heavy areas picking up Fido's special presents or perhaps they believe they are supporting the organic farm movement by offering up fresh fertilizer. Whatever the reason for their unsanitary habits, you can sleep soundly at night, Jason, knowing I always bag Molly's shit and dispose of it in the proper receptacle. There have even been times when I have run out of bags mid-walk and, instead of shirking my duty as a pet owner, have jumped in my car when we got back from our stroll, fresh bag in hand, and returned to the scene of the crime so as not offend the homeowner. I'm pretty sure there isn't a Spot or FiFi in your life, Jason, but if there ever comes a day when you decide to adopt a four-legged furball, I will happily walk him with you and whip out a dookie bag when nature calls. In the meantime I will continue to give dirty looks to the man one cul-de-sac over who is in denial about his dog's bathroom behavior. Shame on you, sir!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Reasons 220, 221 and 222

My expedition yesterday to Washington's port city of Tacoma proved to be quite inspiring. I present to you, dear readers, not just one reason, but a trio of them. Cue the fanfare.

Misheard lyrics. As I was cruising along the waterfront in my ultra hip Subaru Outback station wagon (aaah, yeah), Stevie Nicks's classic ode to teenage angst, "Edge of Seventeen," was shuffled up by my trusty iPod and I was reminded of a soul-crushing conversation I had with a coworker three years ago. I'm not sure how the subject came up, but Nicole (the aforementioned coworker who unfortunatley moved to Minnesota) had recently been camping with friends and discovered that one of her outdoorsy pals thought the chorus of "Edge of Seventeen" was about a one-winged dove. I stared at Nicole blankly, not seeing the audacity of her statement. "Well," I blurted, "those are the lyrics." Nicole shrieked gleefully and started flapping one arm maniacally. I became concerned for my safety and her mental health. After she calmed down, Nicole explained that Stevie was actually singing about a white-winged dove, not a poor avian invalid who couldn't get off the ground. I was devastated. For as long as I had known the song I'd been belting out lyrics that, when I thought about, were complete nonsense. Jason, I promise not to mock you (to your face, anyway) if I ever realize you are singing lyrics that are way off-base and don't even make sense in the context of the English language. Heck, I won't even correct you if you are completely wrapped up in the moment, serenading me with a little ditty about Jack and Diane and the changes that come around real soon, then make us swimmin' again. What? Those aren't the right words? Well, they sounded right to me until my best friend, Claire, set me straight in high school. Perhaps I should get my ears checked. In the meantime, you keep singing whatever sounds right to you, Jason, and I will continue to think singers should enunciate better, as well as feel sorry for that poor dove with only one wing.

Old friends. The reason I drove thirty-five miles south to the pungent town of Tacoma, enduring the stupidity of other drivers and endless stretches of asphalt, was to spend a little quality time with Carolyn, an incredible person whom I've been friends with since 6th grade. It's kind of shocking to realize someone outside of my family has tolerated me for twenty years. Actually, I am still close to a woman (hi, Mary!) I attended kindergarten through senior year with, which I imagine is quite rare these days. Hmm, maybe the idea of spending thirty years married to the same person shouldn't terrify me afterall. Not that I could marry either of these long-time friends if I wanted to, thanks to antiquated Washington state law. Well, that and the whole issue of polygamy, since Carolyn is married, and distance, since Mary lives in Pennsylvania, and the fact that, despite how beautiful both of them are, the thought of shacking up with either of them doesn't get me all hot and bothered. Wait, what am I supposed to be talking about? Oh yes, old friends. I know, Jason, that you have a small circle of friends you've known since middle school and, just like me, you cherish the time you spend with them. It's comforting to know there are people out there who've seen us at our worst, who may have been hurt by us (sorry about dragging you across Subrina's deck and shredding your back, Carolyn), but who will still pick up the phone at 3am and rescue us if necessary. Hopefully, Jason, you and I will be friends like that one day.. Maybe we'll look back thirty years from now from the comfort of our wheelchairs and chat about the bizarre set of circumstances that brought us together and wonder what the hell was wrong with me to have spent an entire year championing our friendship. I, for one, am looking forward to it.

Tacoma. As a graduate of the University of Puget Sound, dubbed by some as the Harvard of the west (yeah, right), I lived in the lovely city of Tacoma for three years. No, I didn't zip through my undergrad program in less time than most; I went to school in southern California my freshman year and transferred to UPS when I realized Los Angeles county is very brown and overly warm for my tastes. Since graduating over ten years ago I haven't spent much time in Tacoma, which is really unfortunate because after hanging out there for just a few hours yesterday I was reminded of how beautiful and interesting the place is. Not quite as large as Seattle, but just as artsy, food-centric, and close to the water, Tacoma would be a wonderful place for you and me to hang out for a day, Jason. We could check out the Hot Shop at the Glass Museum (Chihuly is big in these parts) to see what marvels glass blowers can create with two lips and a tube, grab some fresh fish and chips on the waterfront and then work it off by walking from one end of Schuster Parkway to the other, take in an old movie at the Blue Mouse (there's a piano at the front of the theater!), and wrap up the fun-filled day with some tasty ice cream treats at Frisco Freeze, a Tacoma institution. If you aren't completely exhausted after playing tourist we could even go a little nuts on the penny slots over at the Emerald Queen Casino. I bet you haven't gotten an offer that good in a long time. Watch out, Tacoma, two wild and crazy out of towners are headed your way!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Reason 219

We are both self-described weirdos. I am fairly certain that those who've known me for awhile (or those who have read this blog for at least a month) would readily describe me as weird or, at the very least quirky, if that other word leaves a sour taste in their mouth. Let's look at the evidence, shall we? Exhibit A: I write a semi-daily blog documenting all the reasons Jason Segel should befriend me. Exhibit B: Sometimes in bookstores I grab paperbacks off the shelves, open them at random and take a deep whiff. What else? Well, when I roll down the front windows of my car they need to be at the same height, preferably making a 45 degree angle where the glass meets the frame. If anyone ever proposes marriage to me I would much rather see a cherry Ring-Pop in the velvet box that a traditional diamond band. I full-on rock out when the Partridge Family's "I Think I Love You" comes on the radio. Um, you get the picture. As far back as my memory goes I have identified as a weirdo, someone who at first stood just outside the herd, terrified someone deemed normal would notice my quirks, but who now proudly maintains a safe distance from the herd so no one will mistake me for a member. Over the years I have been fortunate enough to locate other odd ducks (must be a special radar system or something) who appreciate my offbeat sense of humor and idiosyncracies (my alarm clock setting must end in a 5, gosh darn it!). Jason, in many an interview you have proudly discussed your membership in this same tribe of freaks, which only reinforces my belief that we'll be like two peas in a pod once we finally spend some quality time together (btw, what's taking so long?). Anyone who wore a Superman cape under his clothes until he was twelve, slaved away on a puppet musical about Dracula for five years, and became a minister so he could officiate at the wedding of complete strangers is pretty odd in most people's books. I, however, think you are all the more interesting because of your weirdness and I can't wait to find out what other bizarre traits you have up your sleeve.

Reason 218

Band names. If you've ever played Rock Band (and honestly, who hasn't? Even my mother has hit the color-coded skins a few times), you understand how much pressure falls on your shoulders when it's time to assign your motley group of musical neophytes a band name. The moniker should be clever and unexpected, perhaps a play on your occupation or favorite movie quote, and everyone has to agree on it. Yep, choosing a band name is about as easy as nailing Jell-O to a tree. Back when Rock Band was first released, two of my coworkers and I got together regularly to strum guitars and wale on the cow bell in "Don't Fear the Reaper," calling ourselves Hot 4 Teacher, which we found extremely clever. I have also been a member of Anybody Want a Peanut, Granny Panties, and Bicurious Shoes (Liz Lemon, I love you!). Now, those are some pretty awesome names, but I have two mind-blowing options in my back pocket that I've been saving for the just the right grouping and I think, Jason, you may be worthy of one of them. So, take your pick - Green Means Go or Damned If I Know. I'll give you a moment to bask in the gloriousness of my brilliance. Now for the bad news. Sadly, I discovered this morning that some Christian rock group has procured the first option (sometimes I hate the power of Google), but I think our gang is infinitely more deserving of the name, so we'll just ignore that little fact. Mull over your options, Jason, and let me know what you decide. I'll be eagerly awaiting your pick, guitar strap in hand, XBox turned on, and cow bell at the ready.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Reason 217

Mental health. In 5th grade I took many self-imposed 'sick' days as a way to avoid life for awhile and cope with my parents' impending divorce. Much to my mother's credit, she never forced me to suck it up and attend school, perhaps because she understood how fragile my mental and emotional states were at the time. Once I recovered from the drastic shift in my family's dynamic I no longer avoided going to school, but, thanks to my truancy record, I did appreciate the inherent value in taking a day off from life and all of its responsibilities now and then. Yesterday I did precisely that. I rolled out of bed at 10am determined not to perform any tasks that caused me stress. I chatted with an old friend for a good, long while, watched a fairly mindless TV show, turned up my nose at my daily workout, and ended up staying in my comfy pajamas until 2pm. After making myself somewhat presentable to the public, I ambled down to the library to enjoy the most recent issue of "Cooking Light," then ducked into my favorite coffee shop for a delectable white cupcake frosted with pink buttercream and coconut flakes. The most taxing thing I did all day was deciding which pair of kick-ass sneakers best matched my purple shirt. Most importantly, I gave myself permission to swap out my semi-scheduled blog topic, which was making me anxious, for the one you're reading right now (which I actually wrote last night but avoided publishing because work isn't allowed on mental health days). So, Jason, the next time you get a case of the Mondays and need to shirk your responisbilities for twenty-four hours in order to clear your head (perhaps while enjoying those insanely addictive "I Love the 80's" marathons), I will fully support your decision (I am pro-choice, afterall). I'll even let you off the hook for cancelling plans with me because I know someday I'll expect the same consideration. All I ask, though, is that if cupcakes make an appearance during your vacation from reality you save one or two for me. Getting screwed out of tasty baked goods does not sit well with me, no matter how insane you might be feeling.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Reason 216

Fourth of July. Forget grilled meat products and apple pie. Disregard the neighborhood parades full of smiling children on bedazzled bikes. Turn a blind eye to that outdated document called the Declaration of Independence. For my money, none of these accurately reflect the freedom our country gained from England over two hundred years ago. Nope, in my mind the only activity worthy of celebrating America's birthday is blowing stuff up. I have never been a patriotic person (it kills me that my students blindly recite the Pledge of Allegiance every morning) and growing up the only major event my family planned for the 4th was putting on a fireworks show in the middle of the street for our neighbors, so my only real connection to this holiday is lighting up long tubes stuffed with gun powder and watching the rainbow-colored lights dance across the sky. Some of my fondest memories are of visits to the local fireworks stand where I would command the lowly teenage cashier to load bag after bag with Roman candles, smoke bombs, whistling Pete's, pinwheels, Chinese flowers, and bumblebees (all paid for with my parents' money, of course). Once night fell on the fourth my brother and I would lug our goodies into the street and spend at least an hour reveling in homemade pyrotechnic glory. The only downfall was our dog Casey who howled non-stop if left in the house, but attempted to eat every explosive that came near her if tied to the fence that bordered the street. Most years we included her in the festivities and just hoped her face didn't catch on fire. Sadly, when I was a teenager my county banned the sale and use of all fireworks and I was left with nothing particularly interesting to do the first week of each July. Sure, I could head to my cousin's annual backyard barbeque or join thousands of other folks at the city's holiday gathering to gaze up at a fireworks display set to rousing classical music, but these events just didn't satisfy me the way blowing stuff up did. So, America's independence day has simply become a summer day like any other, marked by time spent at the gym, a few chapters of a good book, and perhaps a viewing of National Treasure if I have an inexplicable desire to honor our forefathers. Jason, if you live in a county that allows average citizens to risk burning off their fingers and litter the streets with defunct explosives, please invite me over next Fourth of July. I guarantee I'll be free and would love nothing more than to show up at your doorstep with a bundle of bottle rockets and some matches. I'll even bake some apple pie if you're one of those die-hard patriots who proudly sports a hokey Old Navy flag shirt every July 4th (with no irony intended). Happy birthday, America, indeed!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Reason 215

Chick music. Thirteen years ago our rockin' foremothers created a concert event of epic proportions to honor all of the ladies out there who appreciate beautiful song lyrics, sublime melodies, bonding with their sisters in over-priced beer gardens, and rows and rows of Porta-Potties. That's right, I'm talking about Lilith Fair, which, to the delight of vulva-toters across our great nation, has been resurrected by Sarah McLachlan and officially kicked off its summer tour today in my home state's amazing Gorge at George venue. Alas, I am not basking in the X-chrosome love tonight, mostly because the thought of driving over three hours to sit uncomfortably on a grassy knoll with thousands of other peeps with hairy armpits just ain't my thing, but I did enjoy the Fair its first time around and wholly support what Ms. McLachlan is doing. I'm not sure, Jason, if you ever dip your musical toes into the tunes cranked out by the sea of folksy female singer-songwriters, but if you do I certainly won't rat you out to your macho male friends who think "Cum On Feel the Noize" is high art. I could even be your beard, as it were, if Indigo Girls or Ani DiFranco are ever in town and you yearn to groove to some heartbreaking ballads and angry songs about gender politics and menstruation, but are too ashamed to admit it to your bros. Just roll your eyes and emphatically blame me for dragging you to such touchy-feely concerts. Actually, if you're looking for some lady love, vagina-centric shows may be the ideal place to find it since the proportion of women to men, in my experience, is around nine to one. Concerts given by women are excellent places to meet intelligent, sassy chicks who are disillusioned by the dating scene and are desperate to chat up a Muppet-loving, literate goofball such as yourself. Sure these women may have dabbled in lesbianism (perhaps even five minutes ago during the opening act) in order to earn some cred with the hip ladyfest crowd, but I have a feeling that won't deter you at all, Jason. In fact, I bet you're a bit turned on by the thought. I won't even give you shit for abandoning me in the crowd so you can work your charms on some other female companion...as long as you pay for the tickets and use your celebrity to hook me up with a backstage pass. Hey, I may be magnanimous, but if I'm going to be your wingman, I better get compensated. 

Friday, July 2, 2010

Reason 214

Acrophobia. No matter how adrenaline-inducing they may be, sky diving and trapeze artistry will probably never be on our to-do lists, Jason, since both of us suffer from a fear of heights. My discomfort with being up high has never stopped me from experiencing certain activities (like my poor friend who trembles at the thought of being on the 2nd floor of the mall), but I definitely thought twice before stepping into the wicker basket attached to a hot air balloon a few years ago (great birthday present for someone who hates being five feet off the ground) and strapping myself into the parasailing harness when I was vacationing in Hawaii. I'm not sure why unrestrained elevation frightens me so, perhaps it's because as a freakishly tall person I have a lot further to fall. Luckily, being a teacher rarely requires me to tower more than a foot or so above my minions - I mean my students. Actually, any time I need to hang a poster about how awesome reading is or attach craft projects to the ceiling, there is always a handful of eager children who will risk life and limb while balancing precariously on a chair in order to add pizzazz to my classroom. As an actor, Jason, you also have access to underlings (known to most people as insane stunt doubles) who will happily support your phobia when one of your characters has to endure a gut-wrenching roller coaster ride or hang from a cliff at the edge of the Pacific ocean. Of course, sometimes a director's vision requires a close up of your adorable mug during these scenes, so the audience can bear witness to the authentic fear in your eyes. Bummer for you. Since I am such an excellent friend, Jason, I will steadfastly stand by your side during filming of such vertigo-worthy scenes, or maybe peek at you from a safe distance, and offer comfort and support while your heart rate reaches unusually high levels and you begin to question why you didn't become a CPA instead of an actor. As far as I know CPA's are never suspended from great heights. And if you ever want to stare your acrophobia in the face by trying your hand at tightrope walking or bungee jumping, I will happily tag along, extra pair of underwear at the ready in case you have a repeat performance of the unfortunate Disneyland magic store incident. Now, if boxer-brief duty isn't friendship, I don't know what is.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Reason 213

My inner child. Every year at Back to School Night I joke with the anxious parents that I became a middle school teacher because I'm emotionally stunted, that something happened in my formative years to arrest my development so that I now think and act like a preteen most of the time. The moms and dads laugh graciously, clearly disbelieving the psychological insight I just shared with them, but one good, long look around my classroom would definitely show them there is some truth to my statement. Normal thirty-two year olds don't have Velma dolls and Darth Tater action figures on top of their filing cabinets. Rainbow pinatas, jars of marbles, and orange soccer cones aren't the norm in most people's work environments. As a single adult sans children I admit to making late-night runs to Toys R Us to fulfill my Candyland and Chutes & Ladders cravings. In my 20's I thought it was perfectly normal to throw bouncy balls and sidewalk chalk into my basket while trolling the Target aisles. When my best friend (hi, Steve!) started his PhD program at the University of Washington I didn't congratulate him with a Hallmark card and dinner on the Ave; no, I lavished him with over fifteen different types of Silly Putty, which in my mind is much more fulfilling than some sappy words and a meal at Thai Tom. I have a feeling, Jason, that when it comes to this Peter Pan syndrome you and I are in the same boat. Heck, you're probably the captain of the ship and I am just a lowly sailor. Since both of us are clearly kids at heart I think the next time I'm in Los Angeles we need to organize a massive game of Kick the Can and play until the streetlights come on and our parents call us in for supper. I'll have to take a breather if my hip starts acting up, though. Unfortunately, my decrepit body just doesn't seem to understand this whole "young at heart" thing. I wonder how Sinatra managed?

Reason 212

Good old fashioned fun. I appreciate the simple things in life and am entertained fairly easily. Basking in the sun while savoring a new book, wandering down to the craft emporium to check out jewelry made by a favorite local artist, people watching in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle - these are all low-key, cheap activities I have enjoyed since my vacation started just a week ago. The shenanigans I partook of yesterday, though, take the summer break cake. A few miles from my humble abode is a mecca for stressed out parents and bored kiddies called the Family Fun Center. For about the price of an eight o'clock movie, I hucked wooden spheres up a Skee-Ball ramp, worked up a sweat (and my competitive spirit) at the air hockey tables, and giggled gleefullly as I zipped around the Go-Kart track, a welcome summer breeze ruffling my hair. As if all that wasn't enough to make me pee my pants with happiness, I also played eighteen holes of mini-golf with my dear friend Tamara. I guess it makes sense that I am so enamored with putt putt since it was originally created for women as an alternative to regular golf which was deemed too violent for the gentler sex. Tamara did beat me by a measly four strokes, but I cracked many a ribald joke about my blue ball and snapped some stellar pictures of me straddling various course obstacles, so losing wasn't as devastating as usual. The only thing that could have made our outing even more fantastic is your company, Jason. I know you would have dominated at the electronic basketball game, but I think I'd stand a fighting chance when it comes to goofy golf, seeing as I am shorter than you, have smaller hands that are perfect for gripping the teeny putter, and am willing to play dirty. There are still enough points on my game card for the two of us to go head to head on the artic-themed course, so just say the word and I will meet you at the Fun Center. I'll even soften the blow of losing by using some of my game tickets to buy you a plastic paratrooper or sticky hand. In my book, that's an offer that's impossible to refuse (clearly, my book is lacking in content).