Okay. We all know I have a great family, yadda yadda, and things couldn’t have been that bad growing up if I was on a swim team and had the language skills to say “Oh! Bless you!” after I heard someone cut the cheese when I was 2, blah blah blah…
…but there’s a dark side to my childhood.
I’m revealing the horror thanks to an exceptional blog called Childhood Relived. At Childhood Relived, Angie Z. focuses on growing up in the 80s, which I think we can all agree is inherently funny. But her quick-wit and memory to match make this blog a non-stop Giggle Fest. I can tell you from corresponding with Angie via email that she is an extremely talented writer, both in and outside of the blogosphere.
Angie has an ongoing Dynomite! contest in which readers submit their most embarrassing childhood pictures.
I don’t know what possessed me to enter.
Because what began as this:
Somehow turned into, well, click here to find out.
No no. This isn’t an Italian recipe post. It’s a post about a humiliating team-building exercise involving pasta. Obviously.
As some of you know, I spend my days working as a certified Project Management Professional in the pharmaceutical industry. Because what else would a gal with a Creative Writing degree and an aversion to doctors do? Don’t get me wrong – it’s a good job for many reasons, and I’m grateful to have it. The people I work with aren’t even nincompoops.
But there’s one thing I hate.
And that’s Team-Building Exercises.
No matter how well we know each other, or how team-y we’ve become, they won’t give it a rest. On Thursday, we had yet another staff meeting, featuring yet another mysterious team-building exercise. After seeing the draft agenda, I immediately tried to devise ways to get out early, before the game show questions or trust falls could begin. I still had 20 of those heroin cough suppressants; maybe I would O.D.
In the end, because I have a tendency to think one false move will get me canned, I went along with it. Again. This time the team-building exercise was a spin on the show Minute to Win It. They divided us into 4 teams, and we played 10 rounds. In each round, a single team member from the 4 teams had to complete a task in 60 seconds or less. Every time you did, you earned a point for your team. The winning team members all got $10 iTunes gift cards.
Not bad. And you know what? It was -I can’t believe I’m about to say this- fun.
Watching coworkers try to unravel rolls of streamers by flapping their arms like deranged flamingos (or in one man’s case, a flag squad champion), and others try to get a cookie from their forehead to their mouth without touching it, was breathtaking. In the good way.
Oh yes. I yucked it up.
Until my turn.
But my task didn’t look too hard.
I had to put an uncooked piece of spaghetti in my mouth, and try to ‘string’ 5 small pieces of penne on it – without using my hands. I put the spaghetti strand in my mouth and knelt on the ground in front of the table holding the penne, trying to ignore the fact that multiple people had their cameras out.
The timer started and the pasta wobbled between my teeth like Lindsay Lohan on the set of Glee. The circumference of the penne now looked like a pinhole. I somehow managed to get the first piece of penne on the spaghetti, then almost dropped it. “Aw, she’s shaking,” one team member called out, while another added, “You can do it! Don’t worry! Don’t look at the clock!” With 10 seconds left, and nearly a dozen people hovering over me, I had only gotten two of the five pieces of penne on the spaghetti. I was a pasta-stringing failure. How had I made it this far in life?
My teammates graciously applauded me, and I, red-faced and sweaty, tried to shrink into the background. I was 30 years old, for the love of all that’s vodka, and this was just a silly game. So why did it take a half an hour before I stopped wanting to cry?
Does this happen to you? Do you get freaked out in ‘public’ situations like this? How do you feel about team-building exercises?
P.S. – In case you were wondering, we came in second place.
P.P.S. – Screw you, team-building exercises. I never liked you.
Girls is HBO’s latest 30-minute dramedy, airing Sundays at 10:30pm EST. Starring 4 young women trying to navigate the post-college waters in New York City, at first glance it sounds like the prequel to Sex and the City. Not even close. This show is awkward, edgy, and even a little perverted. And it doesn’t give a scratch about shoes.
The most gripping tidbit about this new show is its creator, Lena Dunham. She’s only 26 and oh yeah, did I mention she’s also the star and [typically] the director? Judd Apatow, the show’s executive producer, discovered Dunham after watching her independent film, Tiny Furniture (2010), and was so impressed he emailed her. (Dunham claims she thought it was a prank, because the email was titled, “From Judd Apatow,” and, seriously, who does that?)
Apatow interviewed Dunham for a short feature on HBO, and mentioned one of the resounding lessons I’ve learned from starting this blog – humiliation makes the best comedy. (Apatow also offers another brilliant nugget: if you’re writing a script you’re going to star in, write yourself eating the food you want to eat. They have to bring it to you.)
It took me a few episodes to decide how I felt about Girls because, as I hinted, it’s a little twisted. Dunham is unabashed and -literally- bares it all. It’s not a show about geek-chic girls or career ladder-climbers, but it’s raw and funny. As Dunham has said, it’s a show about smart girls making stupid choices. It’s one of those rare gems that’s hyper-real; sadly, the kind that usually gets canceled after a single season (think My So-Called Life or Freaks and Geeks). I believe today’s viewers are much better equipped to handle a show like this, though, and am confident it will thrive.
Have you seen Girls? Do you think there’s such a thing as a fictional show that’s too real? Where do you stand on fiction vs. memoir/soaps vs. reality TV?
Sometimes, when I’m not busy fantasizing about getting paid to blog about guilty pleasures or chipmunk tea parties, or asking myself why on EARTH anyone would put a scorpion in a paperweight, I like to think about money.
money? More specifically, 1 million dollars? Would I allow myself to indulge in any guilty pleasures (like, I don’t know, say, a state-of-the-art karaoke machine)?
My answer might surprise you. But you can blame the cost of living in New Jersey. Here’s what I’d do:
1. Pay off the mortgage. Quit my job.
2. Pay off the mortgage.
3. Hoard Invest the remaining $100. …Kidding. But I would invest the rest.
4. That’s it. (Unless my investments pay off, then I would travel, travel, travel!)
I know. My answer is so boring. Which is why I really want hear YOUR answer.
So, if you were given 1 million U.S. dollars (after taxes – it’s all yours), what would you do? How would you spend it? Any guilty pleasures? Would you loan/give any to family or friends (…you would, wouldn’t you? Don’t you ever watch those specials about lottery winners? You are so one step away from wiring money to a “bank” in Nigeria)?
Yesterday at 8am I found myself driving to the closest drug store. Giggling.
Peppermeister had a bout of…well, he had an upset stomach, and it was all my fault.
The previous night, I’d convinced us both that getting food from Sonic, a fast-food chain where you park and order old-school style, was a really good idea. Never mind that we’d recently eaten at a post-baptism party*, and that normally trans fat is about as appealing to me as watching 30-year-old men play video games in their parents’ basement.
On Saturday, Sonic cheese tots seemed absolutely necessary. It might have been the after effects of the heroin cough suppressants talking. (If you’re doubting my commitment to the guilty pleasure-ful life, know that I indulge in bacon and butter in a way that would make the Two Fat Ladies proud. It’s all-natural fat… Okay. *sigh* Sometimes White Castle just RULES.)
We perused the unfamiliar menu on our lap tops. Peppermeister fixated on the Sonic Blast shake, which was vanilla ice cream mixed with candy bar bits. He wanted Snickers.
When he returned home with the “food,” I couldn’t see him behind the cup in his hand. Picture the Duggar family lined up side by side, and all their cousins stacked on top.
“It’s got to be a whole gallon of ice cream,” I marveled in the way people marvel at puppeteers and Charlie Sheen.
“I know!” Peppermeister replied gleefully as he dug in. Between his only two options, medium and large, he was confident he’d made the right shake-size decision.
My own super-sized cheese tots were less than satisfying, despite the promising heat-saving foil sleeve they came wrapped in. Melted American cheese slices covered the tots, as opposed to the globs of glow-in-the-dark Cheez product I was looking forward to.
We passed out watching the only unseen episode of Modern Family we had left (you chipmunks were right. That show is the shiz!).
I woke up several times during the night to down large glasses of water. The amount of salt in my meal rivaled the Dead Sea. My lips are still wrinkled.
Peppermeister faced a far worse fate. I witnessed a true guilty pleasure overdose.
“C’mon, Uncle Jesse!” I called to the dog in the morning, loudly enough for Peppermeister to hear. “We’ve got to go get daddy some moreice cream!”
Giggling during the ride to Rite Aid, I immediately realized I was a terrible wife. But I couldn’t stop picturing that giant cup and his utter delight as he devoured the shake, and maybe you just never get too old for potty humor.
If you’re expecting that I learned some kind of lesson as a result of this ‘terrible wife’ revelation, you should probably know that while Peppermeister moaned beneath the heating pad, I suppressed laughter and wrote this post.
Have you ever laughed when you shouldn’t have?
*filed under: Things I’m Not Allowed to Blog About.
Some people might be reading this and scratching their heads. I say ‘some people’ like a lot of people will read this. But my blog, much like your career, is grossly underappreciated.
Anyway, Tom. I just wanted to tell you that I think you’re pretty special. You’re the unsung hero of The Food Network’s Restaurant: Impossible. That strange-looking, beefy guy seems to get the lion’s share of the attention. But all he has to do is yell
at people. He even yells at you, Tom! You’re the man who makes it all happen! You turn that failing restaurant into a shining masterpiece, with only two minutes and six dollars.
You are sexy grace under pressure, Tom, but I worry you will soon crack if someone doesn’t give you the credit you so deserve.
I was so proud of you, Tom, when you decided to branch out from your carpentry responsibilities, and take on the design, too. Who needs that petite brunette, right? I’m sure you were sick of someone telling you lime green is a good idea. And look at those lamp shades you made from scrap wood! You can do anything, Tom.
Please tell that man with the muscles that you want a raise or you’re walking your wares right over to HGTV.
Love and chipmunks remote controlling the universe,
What’s your favorite food/restaurant-themed show right now?
I really hope those of you with blogs aren’t writing anything good right now. Just try to hold off for a few more days, okay?
Because I’m sick.
And did you know bronchitis / sinusitis warrants opiates in the form of cough suppressant pills?
In my head last night, I wrote a whole post that ended in, “Is this real life?” In my head last night, I responded to all of your comments with funny, meaningful insights, like, “I can’t feel my legs.” In my head last night, I still had a voice, and that voice could SING!
Let’s just be glad all of that stayed in my head. Unlike this list:
Things That Made Me Cough Laugh About Being High Sick
What do you get for the woman who has everything? It’s an age-old question.
But really. What do you get for the woman who has everything?
She already has me, for chipmunk’s sake.
I asked myself this question time and time again over the past few weeks. My mom, Babs, is a very special, thoughtful lady, so not just any present would do for Mother’s Day. I could design a custom wine label, draw a picture of Bella and Edward, get tickets to see Daniel Radcliffe naked on Broadway, but, been there, done that.
Then, suddenly, a promising train of thought began…
Babs likes this blog…
…and Babs likes guilty pleasures (as you know, she taught this grasshopper everything)…
…and who doesn’t love haikus?! This entire blog has been a build-up to the grand poobah of all haikus, really.
So, Babs, grab a Long Island Iced Tea (or seven) and enjoy:
Shop ‘Til You Drop
You sure love shopping;
You say you can smell the mall
When we’re getting close.
This has worked out well,
For two daughters who like clothes.
“Hey, it was on sale.”
But sometimes I fear,
Retail therapy will cost
Us much more than dough.
Do you remember?
It wasn’t that long ago.
…You don’t remember?
Though we laughed later,
-Once we’d changed our underwear-
I was scarred for life.
You veered to the right,
Then we almost got side-swiped;
A g.d. close call.
Horns were a-honking,
My life flashed before my eyes,
But you didn’t care!
We almost died and
All we got was this picture
For my sillyawesome blog:
Was it worth it, Babs?
Almost killing us to get
to Pier 1 Imports?
Happy Mother’s Day, Babs!
I’d also like to wish a very Happy Mother’s Day to my wonderful mother-in-law and my sisters (both in blood and in law)!
And to YOU, ‘o course! This includes moms of pets. Don’t let anyone tell you us it’s not EXACTLY like having real kids.
In Babs’s honor: Is there a store you’d die to get to?
Girl4dabible has won over my guilty pleasure heart in many ways. Like by showing her solidarity in her slushie-to-the-face video. She also granted me free reign over captions for her pictures. So, come with me on a very special completely fictional journey…
The sun is shining, but it does nothing to distract Girl4dabible from the awful truth. It’s Monday morning.
Even Dino, a former Fruity Pebbles addict, stares ahead dejectedly. I feel like I’ve been doing this shiz for an ice age, he sighs. And don’t you dare put that thing around my tail again.
Once at jail work, Girl4dabible plops down in her chair and pulls out her workday essentials. The banana mocks her with its cheeriness.
Her keyboard does not care for the slap bracelet. You shan’t sneak off to read any fun blogs using me, it says. And yes I’m allowed to say shan’t. I’m a keyboard for crying out loud.
Finally, lunch time arrives. The slap bracelet snaps away from the carrot sticks as quickly as possible, grabbing hold of the nearest alternative.
The meager lunch of rabbit food does not help Girl4dabible cope with the onslaught of afternoon phone calls. People in the offices next door want to know where the bright pink glow is coming from.
The slap bracelet overhears these conversations and sneaks off to hide in a basket of Smurf back-straighteners. They’ll never find me here, the slap bracelet thinks. (Editor’s note: I never said slap bracelets were smart.)
With the work day over, Girl4dabible heads out to get her fitness on. The slap bracelet reminds her that it doesn’t feel good when she sweats, so maybe she should just forget the whole thing. For some reason, she persists. And perspires.
Finally. Finally! It’s time to head home. Dino invites Sir George Monkeypants of Backseatville up front to enjoy the ride home. It’s the only time he shares the dashboard. Ah, almost time for Smash, they say, as though segregation weren’t a part of their daily lives. Do you think Julia will be able to resist Michael Swift tonight? Girl4dabible chimes in, Ooh and how are they going to make sure Katharine McPhee gets a solo, while she’s still supposed to be just a choir country mouse? They chatter like chipmunks the whole ride home, and live happily ever after until Tuesday.
I always love seeing MJ out and about in the blogosphere. He leaves comments that are as thoughtful as they are funny. In fact, when I see his gravatar on another blog, I’ll often pause to read his comment there.
I was very excited totally stoked, my rad bros, to see what California Dreamin’ adventures the slap bracelet got into with MJ on the West Coast! (Psst. MJ, what would it take to get you to send a fellow lefty some of those In-N-Out burgers?)
Chipmunkianly awesome is a pretty good way to start off describing Linda. If you’re wondering about her blog name, the bus is not just a metaphor. Linda bought a kick-tail bus a while back, and together they’re bringing fun and adventure back to the blogosphere.
Linda sent me one of the kindest notes along with her pictures, once again proving the infectious nature of positivity (what we’re all about here at GoGuiltyPleasures).
Please do yourself a favor and check out Linda’s slap bracelet post, which contains a series of pictures so top-notch, this li’l guilty pleasure blogger might explode into sunshine and rainbows and Hanson songs.
Let’s try not to be too jealous of Renee’s recent Gift Basket Giveaway winnings. Besides, how can you hate someone so adorable? And nice. And funny. And talented. And popular. Who’s well into writing her novel and looks ridiculously babe-alicious in a bikini.
Well. Okay. I know it’s hard.
Thank you so much, you wonderful, neon-clad Chipmunks, you, and please keep ’em coming!
One last note: I would like Renee and Linda to know that their slap bracelet pictures have given me the greatest idea pretty much of all time. Let’s just say this year’s ‘win a custom jack-o-lantern by gojulesgo’ contest is going to be the most fun we’ve ever had here on GoGuiltyPleasures. (Any guesses?)
If you could take your slap bracelet anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Hot air ballooning was so much more than I could have ever hoped for.
And not just because of the balloon. Or the hot air.
But because it involved so, so many guilty pleasures. I hope you’re ready for an eareyeful.
It started around 6pm on Sunday, when Peppermeister, the man trying to kill me via his 30th birthday “present”, herded me into the car. I knew what was up. Luckily, I’d already prepared my last will and testament.
We headed to a main road not too far from our house; this was the only sign of what was to come:
A long driveway led to an open field, where two other couples were milling about. Peppermeister is ruthless, I thought. With all this extra weight, we would plummet to the ground with even more force than I had originally feared.
He reminded me not to socialize because “people like us too much.” It was a cover-up, because he didn’t want me to get close to anyone when we were all about to die. Except he was right. People totally like us too much when we talk. In fact, we try not to be ourselves in public at all. So here we are at a picnic table by ourselves. Being [secretly] awesome.
An old-school bus with a trailer pulled up, hauling a giant basket. A slew of folks immediately began assembling our death trap.
Babs, a.k.a. Mommarazzi, was, of course, on hand to capture everything:
I was glad it was a rainbow. Hot air balloons are supposed to be rainbows. And rainbows are good luck. …Right?
I put on a brave face.
And that’s when I saw it. The greatest handlebar mustache of all time. You can even see it from the back (far right). The perfect distraction from imminent death.
Our basket had 5 compartments, and each person had to climb in and out while the basket was on its side. I made it, and started worrying I would drop Annie Leibovitz (my iPhone), causing someone else’s death.
I glanced upward nervously; I prefer to be on fire only metaphorically speaking.
The force of the now-inflated balloon pulled our jam-packed basket upright. Oh holy chipmunks. We have lift off.
Goodbye, Babs! Remember what I said about selling Peppermeister’s instruments! …I love you. Psst. Handlebar Mustache is RIGHT. THERE.
OMG. Let’s zoom in:
Tragically, the winds blew us northwest, away from The Mustache Miracle and right over my place of employment. I’d post pictures, but I feel like they might shoot me (how many times can I cheat death in one week?).
Here, look at these instead:
Ah. You never knew Jersey was this beautiful, right? Yes. Quiet, serene, relaxing… oh, wait. Did I mention we were with two couples from Brooklyn (one young, one middle-aged)? Here’s an 8-second reenactment of our first few moments in the air:
I had to admit, it was relaxing, despite their piercing chatter. I was lost pondering gravity potential Glee covers when we started running into trees. We got closer and closer to the ground, and made a bumpy ‘touch down’ in a corn field. The driver fire cord-puller guy claimed it was “to slow us down.” Personally, I think he was just trying to shut Fran Drescher up.
The van that brought the hot air balloon followed us the whole time, because, in case I failed to mention it earlier – they have no control over where the balloon will go.
I was a little worried about crashing into power lines, or this highway. (Or that drivers viewing our balloon-y majesty would cause a pile-up on said highway.)
I probably shouldn’t have looked down at the inside of the basket, either.
Yeah, I really shouldn’t have read that…
Why are we going so low again? Why? Oh no.
Luckily, we had enough juice to get our basket out of harm’s way, and got to watch as families came out of their houses, dogs barked, and little kids begged us to land in their yard (who doesn’t love watching a hot air balloon? It’s like music. Or eating asparagus and then peeing). Note that even so close to The End, I had only one thing on my mind: Snacks.
About 40 minutes later, they decided there wouldn’t be a better opportunity to land but in this backyard. I braced myself, and…
…We made it. (Crawling Falling out of the basket was even more hilarious than climbing in. My shoe fell off in the process, and Handlebar Mustache complimented my toenail polish [which totally matches my GoGuiltyPleasures slap bracelet, natch]. I may have to consider a Third Husband.)
A copy-cat balloon landed right after us. They didn’t get the memo about the rainbow pattern requirement. I’m surprised they survived.
Loading the basket back on the trailer was fun for everyone who wasn’t loading the basket back on the trailer. …That redhead was cute from the front, too.
And that’s when we found out what had happened. Somehow, I completely missed it. Young Mr. Brooklyn [Gypsy?] had gotten down on one knee –in the basket– to propose to his infant girlfriend. There’s no way the basket should have stayed afloat with the weight of that rock in it.
And P.S. – she’s sixteen.
Here I am attempting to point at the ring during the ride in the van back to our cars (where are Misty’s ninja photo skills when I need them?):
Once we made it back to home base, we were treated to champagne, beer, cheese and crackers. Apparently, hot air ballooning began in France, and when ballooners would land in someone’s yard, the homeowners would freak out. ‘Cause, you know, it was clearly a spaceship. To ease the tension, the ballooner would offer a bottle of champagne to the traumatized family.
Now. Why couldn’t Peppermeister have told me that from the start*?
*He claims he totally did**.
**I never listen to him. Ever. It’s probably why he wants to kill me.
So, what did you think of that mustache/engagement?