Creep It Real

rockFor Halloween, I decided to dress up as a short, neurotic Jewish girl. A brilliant disguise! No one will ever guess it’s me!

In reality, I love Halloween because it reminds me of simpler times and candy and fall and friends and childhood, but I’m too old and tired to participate in most of its supporting activities. Which is depressing, like almost everything.

But I did sport my amazeballs CREEP IT REAL tee, because when else can I legitimately wear such a thing in public? And I had the Munsters’ theme song stuck in my head all day. And I composed this brief and silly blog post after seeing Mama Kat’s Halloween-themed “This or That” questionnaire.

Candy: chocolate or fruit-flavored?
I take candy very seriously, so I need some additional information in order to properly answer this. Like, is said chocolate a Zagnut or Zero Bar? If so, gag me with a spoon and fork over the cherry-flavored shit. Also, is it basic American chocolate (good) or fancy ass 200% cacao dark chocolate flavored with saffron, sea salt, or anything else you’d buy at a Moroccan spice market (totally inappropriate)? Assuming it’s not one of these aforementioned confectionery abominations, I’d obviously go with chocolate. But I certainly wouldn’t kick a few Skittles or those cute little packs of two Starbursts out of bed.

Witches or vampires?
Given my Eastern European roots and love of a deep red / goth-adjacent lip, I generally feel more comfortable with vampires. Sure, a vampire will probably go in for the kill before the night is over, but some of them are pretty hot, and who doesn’t keep garlic and stakes lying around? Besides, broom flying would definitely give me motion sickness and I’d never be able to fit a cauldron in the apartment. Note: I stand with the Salem witches. #thecrucible

Trick or treat?
My friend told me about an office prank in which an employee sneaks into his boss’s office, hides a few raw shrimp in the base of the desk chair, then waits with bated breath for the untraceable stench of rotting shellfish to start driving the boss crazy. I find this hilarious, but I’d still go with treat.

Halloween party or scary movie?
This is a tough one. It really depends on the party’s location, host, and guest list, and on the movie. Please say “Human Centipede,” please say “Human Centipede …”

Skeletons or zombies?
Skeletons, because it’s always wise for someone who frequently dispenses medical advice to brush up on human anatomy.

Trick-or-treating or handing out candy?
Why would I give away candy when I could be given candy?

Hay ride or corn maze?
Hay ride, because I’m lazy and it’s less claustrophobic.

Bats or black cats?
Black cats, because they’re awesome, I have one as an aunt, and also, everyone knows that bats=rabies.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN, ALL! CHOOSE YOUR CANDY WISELY!

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Creep It Real

The Tekcub List

If you know me – if we have spoken for even five minutes – you know that worrying is one of my greatest skills. In fact, there are few things I do not worry about. So when my guru Mama Kat posed the idea of creating a reverse bucket list – a list of things you hope you NEVER do before you die – I could barely contain the creative juices (which could be laced, I’m just sayin’). In order to avoid jinxing myself and boring you, I decided to set aside my chronic day-to-day worries (car accidents, aneurysms, cancer, public pukage, genetic diseases, dying alone, poverty, Rick Santorum, etc.) and focus instead on some of the more obscure (but real!) concerns I have. As such, below are some highlights of my “Tekcub List.” I never want to …

Be without the fabulous prompts provided by Mama Kat and her Pretty Much World Famous Writer’s Workshop

Suffer the kind of brain damage that leads to “Locked In Syndrome
I officially appoint my sister and my friends Kiki and Loren to ensure that if this does happen, and if for some odd reason the plug is not pulled IMMEDIATELY upon diagnosis, a private waxer is brought in at least once a month to maintain my dignity.

Live in Michigan again
Despite my new-found appreciation for Detroit thanks to Jeffrey Eugenides, and despite my love of Pizza House chapatis, I very much hope I am never again forced to live in bad-accented Midwestern hell (no disrespect to any indigenous peoples, some of whom I consider close friends).

Find myself in a desolate Utah canyon with no cell service, trapped between two boulders and forced to choose between dying a horrible death or cutting off my own arm with a pocket knife
I think we know how that would turn out.

Appear as a contestant on “Fear Factor”
Worms send me into convulsions, in general and as an entrée.

Be photographed by paparazzi/run into John Taylor, Simon Le Bon, Scott Porter, Kyle Chandler, Jon Hamm or Jean Dujardin while not wearing make-up
Believe me, it would hurt the public as much as it would hurt me.

Be framed for a heinous crime, wrongly convicted and sent to maximum security prison

Observe a heinous crime and have to enter Witness Protection

Attempt, fail, and die trying to climb Mt. Everest
Just seems unnecessary and not a particularly enjoyable way to expire.

Get stuck in the Sierra Nevadas during a blizzard and have to resort to cannibalism to survive

A Donner Party is no party at all.

Sky dive
More like sky die.

Contract cholera, Ebola, Fatal Familial Insomnia, dysentery, typhus, kuru or the plague, among many, many others
These are just a few of my greatest hits.

Wear Mom Jeans

Choke to death on a cheese doodle

Have someone sneak into my bedroom whilst I slumber and cut my hair into a 70s-era bi-level

Become allergic to Cadbury Crème Eggs

Seek treatment at a fertility clinic where, unbeknownst to us, the evil doctors replace their patients’ manly “samples” with their own, resulting in 8,000 artificial insemination babies who all have the same genetic lazy eye
Please see the terrifying 1994 made-for-TV movie “The Babymaker: The Dr. Cecil B. Jacobson Story” starring Melissa Gilbert for details.

The Tekcub List

Welcome to Tech Support: Your FAQ

Welcome to the unofficial Support Section of the not-so award-winning, acclaimed, widely-read blog “The Letter T.”  We value your business, and to better serve you, we’ve compiled a list of the questions our clients most commonly ask our CEO. If you don’t see the answer you’re looking for, try someone else’s blog.

Why on god’s green earth did you write an FAQ for yourself?
You probably won’t be surprised to learn that this post, like so many of my others, is the brainchild of Mama Kat’s Pretty Much World Famous Writer’s Workshop.

What services do you provide?
Nothing of import, including:

  • Copywriting/copyediting
  • Social media updating
  • Search engine optimization
  • General corporate communications
  • Medical consults
  • Shoe consults
  • Cosmetic consults
  • Comedic relief
  • Hillbilly cooking
  • Stuffed animal foster parenting
  • Intermittent emotional comfort
  • Instant recall of trivial and random information
  • Defense of the Great State of New Jersey
  • Candy trafficking and dealing, sometimes within 200 feet of a school
  • Holiday party hosting

Where are your headquarters?
New York City, with regional offices in Scotch Plains, NJ and Dallas, TX.

Do you take credit cards?
With pleasure!

Do you have time to write and send an urgent email blast for me within the next hour?
No, but I will.

What happened to your chin?
The small scar on the lower right corner of my face is from my cameo appearance on Nip/Tuck ’86. That year, I had a dime-sized birth mark removed. Plastic surgery has come a long way, and if I’d had it removed today, I’d probably be scar-free.  But, as Karl Lagerfeld said, “There is no beauty without strangeness.”

What were you doing in Michigan and Philadelphia?
Very little.

How did you meet your husband?
My husband and I went to high school together. I knew him, because he was the class president and homecoming king, as well as an athlete
and a twin, which was still rare back then. He claims to have known me, but that is simply not possible. Obviously, we spoke nary a word between June 1990 and the summer of 2008, when we reconnected on Facebook. Yes, Facebook actually can do good.

How’d you sleep last night?
Not great.

Why do you look like a chipmunk when you eat?
I suffer from what my inner circle knows as “the swallowing thing.” Depending on who you ask, it may be a social phobia, and/or a severe form of globus
hystericus
, and/or a conversion disorder, and/or the result of control issues that cause me to involuntarily clench my jaw so hard it will barely move. In any case, it is often difficult for me to swallow with grace and aplomb. It is embarrassing and unpleasant, but somehow, I am always able to get ice cream down with no problem.

On that note, you eat an absurd amount of cheese and junk food, yet are not yet obese. How is that possible?
With irritable bowel syndrome, everything is possible.  Any day now, I will wake up and suddenly weigh 400 pounds.

Where do you get your fashion ideas?
I stare creepily at well-dressed women on the subway; I copy my fashion-forward friends; and I cut out pictures of Rachel Bilson, Reese Witherspoon, Kourtney Kardashian, and Jessica Alba from US magazine.

Why are you so afraid of barfing?
Studies show it has to do with the trauma of a reversal of fortune in front of my entire second-grade class in 1980. Plus, barfing is horrible.

I find you and your blog to be more than a smidge irritating. What can I do about this?
Please try rebooting.

Have you ever thought about writing a book?
Yes, but I am lazy and uninspired, as evidenced by the irregularity of my blog posts.

I think you should try. Are you afraid of failing?
What part of “lazy and uninspired” do you not understand? I am not afraid of failing. I fail at least once a day and I am used to it. What I am afraid of is losing hope.  As long as I talk about writing a book but never actually do it, there’s still the possibility that it might one day happen.

Isn’t there ANYTHING that motivates you?
There are a few things, including:

  • Fresh Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
  • Knowing John Taylor and Simon Le Bon are out there, somewhere
  • The mean girls in high school
  • Thoughts of appearing on the late night talk show circuit – and what I will wear
  • The idea of making my husband/family proud

What nail polish color is that?
Most likely, it’s Lincoln Park After Dark; Midnight in Moscow; Romeo & Joliet; or Chinchilly. If you enjoy diarrhea-colored nails (which I don’t), I recommend  Uh-Oh Roll Down the Window.

I have tried all the contact numbers I have for you and still can’t reach you. What the deuce?
“Deuce” is the keyword here. I am almost never without access to a landline or mobile device. If you are unable to reach me, it means one of two things. Either my shitty iPhone battery has died a moment after it claimed to be 100% charged, and/or I am doing the kind of business that shan’t be mentioned here.

Welcome to Tech Support: Your FAQ

There are No Words

I’m telling ya right now, this post may not be for you. Indeed, it targets a very specific audience with a very specific palate.  My dear friend, the talented proprietress at No Shoe Left Behind, is one person in particular who, I trust, will appreciate its contents.  How can you tell whether or not you are part of the required demographic? Take the handy quiz I’ve provided below, and then scroll down for my assessment. You are welcome to read on whether or not you fail the quiz, but you do so at your own risk.

Question 1
In a blind taste test, could I differentiate between Nestle and Hershey chocolate?

  • DUH! That’s like asking a wine connoisseur if he could distinguish between two-buck chuck  and a $259 bottle of Chateau Frenchy McFrencherstein
  • Um … there’s a difference?
  • Chocolate is the devil.

Question 2
Rainbow cookies are:

  • Vile
  • Toxic
  • A multi-color bite of heaven
  • What the fuck are rainbow cookies?

Question 3
I avoid all:

  • Gluten
  • Dairy
  • Sugar
  • Carbs
  • Food

 Scoring:  You’re among the target audience for this blog post if you answered Question 1 with Duh; Question 2 with A multi-color bite of heaven (also acceptable: A multi-color bite of heaven AND Toxic); and then ignored Question 3.

Ready?

This morning, a close, warm, personal Facebook friend alerted me to what may be the most breathtaking piece of junk food ever created. EVER. We’re talking Seven Wonders of the Processed World.  We’re talking Grand Canyon of baked goods. It is truly, in the words of Dave, a foodgasm. Ladies and gentlemen of the blogosphere, I present to you this masterpiece by Zoey Cakes (image from Craftzine.com): the Cadbury Creme Egg-filled chocolate cupcake.  There are simply no words to describe a masterpiece of this scale.  

The Sistine Chapel of Cupcakes
There are No Words

From the Happy Ending Sundae Story Files …

Shortly after finishing my last post about the sad characters who torture me from time to time, I encountered yet another one who deserves to be included as an addendum. Or sad-dendum, as the case may be. 

Welch'sI was on my way to work the other day, listening to some retro music on my iPod, when a disheveled and malodorous gentleman appeared in front of me, out of nowhere.  He was carrying a giant box of candy that appeared to be a generic version of the Welch’s chewy fruit thingies pictured here. I am familiar with said thingies because my dear friend Kelly has been known to eat them for breakfast, on account of their being fruit and all.

“Buy some candy! Support [insert name of charity I’d never heard of]!”

I kept walking without responding, but am not sure whether it was because he startled me, because I didn’t fully hear him, or because I found his alleged charity – whose name included the words children, shelter, hospital, clinic, cancer, homeless, Katrina, asbestos, September 11th, AIDS, Basque separatists, Darfur, puppy mills, dolphins, fur, veterans, diamond mining, gay rights, reproductive rights, seatbelt laws, child labor laws, bottle-fed children, migrant workers, little people, exploited reality TV stars, Paris Jackson, and of course, recombinant bovine somatatrophin – highly suspicious.

I thought and hoped the man would see that I wasn’t interested in his wares and move on to the next passerby. But no.

He shouted the following after me: “Miss! MISS! COME ON! They just fruit treats. They not gonna hurt you!”

Frick on a tax-deductible stick.  Why did he have to say “fruit TREATS?” Of all possible words – why THAT one?

The question I really should have been asking myself was why the word “treats” made struck me as so sad, but I was too caught up in the epic drama of the moment to be introspective. I was also too caught up in the epic drama of the moment to actually purchase a bag of the harmless fruit treats. Instead, I continued on my way and sent 10 emails describing this interaction. I was comforted to know that many of my friends found the word “treats” touching as well. But still … it is I who must bear the burden of this man alone.

From the Happy Ending Sundae Story Files …

Sweet and Sour

 

Pretty Photo, Ugly Flavors

Please note: The photo above appears here courtesy of Cybele (candyblog.net). Thanks, Cybele!

Among the many emergency supplies I carry around with me in my pocketbook is a pack of LifeSavers.  I keep it in a ziplock bag along with no fewer than three flavors of sugarless gum (two mint varieties and one fruit flavor) and a Triple Threat Power Bar.  Yes, it’s a little sad and spinster old lady-ish, but halitosis is a very real issue, and you never know when the next bout of hypoglycemia will kick in. I like to be prepared, and LifeSavers are a portable way to avoid passing out on the subway. You may scoff, but I’ll never forget the episode of “Happy Days” in which Joanie and Howard Cunningham were locked inside the hardware store and Joanie saved Howard from resorting to cannibalism by feeding him the melted candy bar she had in her pocket.  

As it happens, this afternoon I was returning to the Upper West Side after a jaunt to Bloomingdale’s when a particularly virulent bout of low blood sugar overcame me.  I reached in to my Mary Poppins-sized faux patent bag — procured in Dallas with Dave — and dug out my trusty (unopened) roll of “5 Flavors.”  Traditionally, I opt for the all-cherry pack, but I’d been unable to find it and gone with this one in its stead.  It had thus been some time since I’d had any flavor other than cherry, and was happy to see that the first ring in this pack was of the green variety. Mmm … lime … dee-licious! [INSERT COOKIE MONSTER VOICE]

A more fitting thought would have been, “FRICK ON A PLASTIC-TASTING, LIME-IMPERSONATING STICK!” 

Green, it seemed, was no longer the color of lime but rather, of WATERMELON. And I like watermelon as much as the next guy, but not in LifeSaver form and certainly not in place of LIME.  I winced and bit down on the offending piece, eager to be rid of it and move on to the next.

But there would be no comfort in the next, yellow LifeSaver. That one, which I’d always known to be lemon, was now PINEAPPLE.  And after that, it was a bruise-colored RASPBERRY.  In the immortal words of my friend Loren’s husband, “Da fuck, man?!” How could any confection company take away a classic flavor like LEMON and replace it with PINEAPPLE?!

I reviewed the fine print on the striped wrapper, thinking perhaps someone at the LifeSaver factory had put a “5 Flavors” wrapper on an “Exotic Fruits” roll by accident. But the mistake was mine. I read the list of enclosed flavors: Watermelon [tiny LifeSaver-shaped bullet] Pineapple [tiny LifeSaver-shaped bullet] Cherry [tiny LifeSaver-shaped bullet] Raspberry [tiny LifeSaver-shaped bullet] Orange.  The simple, elegant candy I had known and loved since the very early 70s — the candy I often chose (over Fruit Stripes gum) at the Parsonage Diner in Edison — was gone forever.  

I fully understand why new products come along, but I do not understand why they have to piggyback off the good name of long-standing favorites. Go ahead and sell pineapple and raspberry LifeSavers. But for the love of god, put ’em in a TROPICAL or MIXED BERRY pack. Leave lemon alone! What did lemon every do to you?!

Another example of this is the Three Musketeers bar, now available in MINT. Ew! A Three Musketeers bar is, by definition, taupe nougat surrounded by chocolate. It is not supposed to contain pale GREEN nougat. Invent a new candy bar — call it the Three Stooges or the Three Minty Wisemen! But why add a whole new connotation — and a rather unappealing one, at that — to a staple of Halloween buckets everywhere?

Hershey’s? CHEAP, GOOD MILK CHOCOLATE FROM THE MIDDLE OF PENNSYLVANIA. Don’t put it in a fancy label, don’t use the word “caςao” to describe it and don’t try to sell it as a fine Brazilian import.  It was PERFECT the way it was.

Snickers Almond? It’s called a Mars bar. Junior Caramels? They’re called ROLOS. What’s next? PEANUT JOY? REESE’S JELLY CUPS?

Recall, if you will, the M&M jingle of yore — “…the milk chocolate melts in your mouth, not in your hands.” MILK chocolate, people. MILK. Not dark. MILK.

Dr. Pepper is a flavor unto itself. Don’t add vanilla. Don’t add cherry. If you want cherry-vanilla soda, INVENT A NEW ONE.

Dunkin’ Donuts, as the name implies, should sell DONUTS, not PIZZA. PIZZA Hut, similarly, should sell PIZZA, not pasta. It’s not Dunkin’ Pizza and it’s not Pasta Hut. I shudder to think about the consequences of a mix-up at either venue. Boston Kreme Pizza? Deep-dish rigatoni?

And THEN, I come to Word Press, seeking refuge, and the entire dashboard is different. I see burnt siena bars where none were before. The buttons are in different places. This is just mean! Is nothing sacred? It’s a sad, sad world. What would Willy Wonka say?

Sweet and Sour