In my dreams, I’m Bret Michaels’ would-be girlfriend

Posted on October 14, 2008

I’ve been fighting off the flu for almost a week now, and I find that I’m spending most of my free time in a NyQuil and Benadryl-induced stupor as a result. As I’ve mentioned before, NyQuil does strange things to me. Specifically, the stuff gives me bizarre, disturbingly realistic dreams. Last night was no exception.

When I finally stopped coughing long enough to dose off last night, I dreamed that I was a contestant on VH1’s Rock of Love. Yeah, for reals. Mind you, I wasn’t myself competing on Rock of Love. Instead, I was this chick:

Yep, I spent all night in a drug-induced coma dreaming that I was the airheaded Brandi C. from the first season of Rock of Love, competing for the heart of washed-up Poison front man Bret Michaels. Needless to say, I think it’s time for a new Nighttime Sniffling, Sneezing, Coughing, Aching, Stuffy Head, Fever, So I Can Rest Medicine. And therapy.

Posted by Jess | Filed Under Life in a Nutshell, Pop Culture | 7 Comments

Antichrist Superstar: Conversations with the Elderly

Posted on September 29, 2008

I was having lunch yesterday afternoon with my evangelical step-grandmother-in-law (you know, my wife’s grandfather’s second wife) when the discussion turned to politics.

Her: So, Jess…you study politics for a living. What do you think of our current candidates?
Me: Well, I’m a pretty liberal guy, so I’m inclined to vote for Barack Obama.
Her: Aren’t you worried that he might be the Antichrist?
Me: Pardon?
Her: The Antichrist. Aren’t you concerned that by voting for Obama, you might be voting for the Antichrist?
Me: Not really. I figure if he’s the Antichrist, he’s going to win no matter who I support. So, why not? Right?
Her: But, I mean, wouldn’t that worry you if –
Me: Besides, if Barack Obama really is the Antichrist, why would evangelical Christians want to stand in the way of his rise to power? After all, it’s just a necessary step in bringing about Armageddon and, thus, Christ’s eventual reign on Earth. I mean, aren’t the End Times a good thing if you’re right with God?
Her: Are you telling me that you’d stand up to be counted with the enemies of everything the –
Me: I’m just saying that until Obama admits that he’s the Antichrist, I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt. Could you pass the rolls, please?

I grow more popular with the in-laws by the day.

Posted by Jess | Filed Under In the News, Life in a Nutshell | 13 Comments

Revenge of the Screen Name: A Play in One Act

Posted on September 15, 2008

THE SCENE: A Borders bookstore at the local mall. JESS, a 31-year-old college professor and self-professed pop culture geek, stands in line to purchase a recently-released book on global warming. When he reaches the front of the line, he encounters CHECKOUT GIRL, a twentysomething woman running the register.

CHECKOUT GIRL: Are you a Rewards Club member, sir?
JESS: Yes, but I don’t have my membership card on me.
CHECKOUT GIRL: That’s not a problem; we can look it up. Can I have your phone number, please?
JESS: Sure. It’s 555-2368.
CHECKOUT GIRL: <clicking on her keyboard> Alright, there you are. Okay, just let me confirm the e-mail address. Are you…Mr. Decaf Jedi?
JESS: <looking over his shoulder at the crowd waiting in line behind him, many of whom are now snickering to themselves> Um, yeah. That’s me.
CHECKOUT GIRL: Is that short for something?
JESS: Decaffeinated Jedi. It’s just a silly Internet nickname from ten years ago.
CHECKOUT GIRL: I see. Well, your receipt is in the bag. Have a great day, Mr. Jedi!
JESS: Thanks.


Posted by Jess | Filed Under Life in a Nutshell | 8 Comments

“Help! My house smells too delightful!” (Intervention)

Posted on August 4, 2008

I’m afraid my obsession with scented candles has finally spiraled out of control. The tipping point may very well have been this phone call I received yesterday.

Me: Hello.
Mark: Hi! This is Mark from Yankee Candle. May I speak with Jess, please?
Me: This is Jess.
Mark: Oh. <slight pause> Hi, Jess! I just wanted to call and let you know that Yankee Candle will be debuting its new autumn fragrances in a few weeks. We’re throwing an in-store party to celebrate, and since you’re a frequent customer here at Yankee Candle, I wanted to invite you to join us.
Me: Uh…okay. Thanks.
Mark: Great! Hope to see you there!

I think it’s safe to assume that Mark’s conversational pause was due to his surprise that, of all the “frequent customers” he’d been asked to call, I was the first one who turned out to be a dude. And with such a misleading name, too!

Nevertheless, the call speaks to a deeper problem — my aforementioned obsession with scented candles. In response to the escalating nature of the situation, I’m officially declaring a personal six-month moratorium on all candle purchases. For the next six months, I won’t buy any new candles and will only burn existing candles from my (admittedly substantial) stockpile. That’s unless somebody gives me a Yankee Candle gift card for Christmas — you know, because then it would be rude not to spend it.

Hmm…so, what does one wear to a candle-sniffing party?

Posted by Jess | Filed Under Life in a Nutshell | 8 Comments

The dumbest thing I’ve done this year

Posted on June 10, 2008

My mother-in-law has a rather unique notion of what constitutes casual dinner conversation.

“So, what’s the dumbest thing you’ve done this year?” she asks, as if we’re suddenly playing a familiar party game.

It doesn’t take me long to come up with an answer. A few weeks ago, I was strolling across campus, happily listening to my iPod. Happily, that is, until I noticed an odd crackly distortion in my earbuds. Then, the sound briefly dropped from the right audio channel. A few seconds later, the right audio channel had returned, but the left was gone. My assumption? The earbuds are dying. Seems reasonable, right?

A few hours later, I was back home. I swapped out the presumably dying earbuds for a backup set. Much to my dismay, the distortion and dropouts were still there. My new hypothesis: the headphone jack is loose/corroded/busted/generally jacked up. In other words, it’s the iPod — not the earbuds. Of course, my iPod warranty had expired a few weeks earlier, and I’d need a plane ticket to get to the nearest Apple Store.

Knowing that I couldn’t live a day without my precious music-giving device, I bit the bullet, rushed out to Best Buy, and purchased a new iPod nano. I then returned home, charged it up, popped in my favorite earbuds, and heard…the same crackly distortion and stereo dropouts.

This couldn’t be right, could it? I tried the earbuds that were packaged with the new iPod and, lo and behold, the distortion was gone. Then, out of morbid curiosity, I tested out the new earbuds with the old, supposedly busted iPod. No distortion. Everything was crystal clear.

So, to recap, two sets of earbuds inexplicably failed on the same day, leading me to assume that it was my iPod — not the earbuds — that had a problem. So, I immediately ran out and dropped some cash on a new iPod, only to discover that there was nothing wrong with the old one in the first place. Of course, Best Buy wouldn’t accept a return on the new iPod since it had been opened.

Oh, well…I guess I have a backup iPod now for the next time mine dies. Or appears to have died.

Posted by Jess | Filed Under Life in a Nutshell | 3 Comments

A tale of scoundrels, consumer electronics, and writer’s block — full of sound and fury, signifying nothing

Posted on August 17, 2007

Sigh…it’s been one of those days. First, I was alerted that some jerkhole is selling t-shirts on eBay featuring my “Snape’s on a Plane” design without bothering to ask my permission. I’m reminded of a quote from B-movie idol Bruce Campbell: “Imitation is indeed a form of flattery, but paying a guy is an even better form.”

Then, just a few hours later, the unthinkable happened: my cherished iPod shuffled off the mortal coil. It’s dead, Jim. Kaput. Pining for the fjords and all that. I immediately swore that I’d wait at least a few months to replace it and maybe even comparison shop some non-Apple MP3 players. Six hours later, I was in the process of charging up a brand new silver iPod nano. Damn you, Steve Jobs! (he says, shaking his fist in vain)

To top it all off, I’m in a blog funk. It’s one of those deals where I come up with an idea for an entry, decide it’s not actually clever and/or funny enough to post, and end up deleting it. Then, the next day, I come up with another idea. Unfortunately, it’s not as good as the idea I deleted the day before, so obviously I can’t go posting the new idea either. Anyway, it usually goes on like that for several days until I decide I need to post something — clever or not — just to break the cycle.

So, I guess this takes care of that. Thank you, and goodnight.

Posted by Jess | Filed Under Blickity-Blog, Life in a Nutshell | 7 Comments

Maui? Wowee!

Posted on August 1, 2007

Cursed TikiSome of you might remember last year when Kourtney, the lovely Dr. Mrs. Apropos, submitted a veterinary case study that won us a free trip to Hawaii. Well, believe it or not, she’s done it again!

We just received word earlier today that she placed first in this year’s competition, and the grand prize is a week-long trip to Maui! The trip is this November, and I’m already bouncing off the walls with excitement.

As always, however, I remain deeply aware of the ever-present danger of cursed tiki idols. I’ve watched my share of The Brady Bunch; I know how these things go down. It all starts with someone finding the discarded idol, then there’s the “diddle-iddle-oo” musical sting, and pretty soon, people are finding venomous spiders in their purses and I’m wiping out on my surfboard and banging my head on a coral reef.

Not that I’m going to turn down the trip or anything…

OMG!!! MAUI!!!

Posted by Jess | Filed Under Life in a Nutshell | 6 Comments

Is there a doctor in the house?

Posted on July 19, 2007

ProfessorWhy, yes. Yes, there is.

Okay, so even after successfully defending my dissertation, I’m still not the kind of doctor that can technically write prescriptions. But, since I earned my doctorate in political science, I’m pretty sure I can officially tell people who they should vote for now.

One thing’s for sure: I’m finished with learning. I’ve been in school for twenty-five years straight, and I’m pooped. I hereby vow not to learn anything else whatsoever for the rest of my life. Nuts to you, mankind’s eternal quest for knowledge!

In conclusion…woo-hoo!

Posted by Jess | Filed Under Life in a Nutshell | 21 Comments

Crazy helmet lady

Posted on July 3, 2007

So, I was lying in bed asleep at eleven o’clock last night when I heard someone knocking on the front door. Well, not knocking so much as banging against the glass inlays. So, I scrambled downstairs to see what was up, bringing along my trusty cocker spaniel for protection. I flipped on the porch light and saw a lady, maybe in her early sixties, standing on the porch. Wearing a helmet. Actually, I guess it was more of a hardhat than a helmet. Perhaps an illustration would help.

Crazy Helmet Lady

I cracked open the door and asked, “Can I help you?”

Read more… or Read more right here… »

Posted by Jess | Filed Under Life in a Nutshell | 5 Comments

Irreconcilable differences

Posted on June 26, 2007

No matter how compelling an argument I advance, my wife simply refuses to concede that an air hockey table is not only more affordable than an expensive dining room table, but also superior in just about every way possible. “Imagine when you ask me to pass the salt,” I suggest, “and it comes gliding gently across the table on a cushion of air. How is that not better than your fancy walnut-stained, polyurethane finish?” No dice.

Why do I get the feeling that my plan to substitute a Galaga arcade machine in place of the proposed china cabinet isn’t going to fare any better?

Posted by Jess | Filed Under Life in a Nutshell | 4 Comments

Prelude to domestic violence

Posted on June 20, 2007

E.T.The scene: My wife and I are watching television when a commercial for alphabet soup airs.

Me: Hey, do you know how many letters are in the alphabet?

Her: This is a joke, right?

Me: No, I’m totally serious! How many letters are in the alphabet?

Her: Sigh…26?

Me: Wrong! It’s 24 — because E.T. went home!

Her: What’s wrong with you?

Me: I guess I’d be angry too if I just got totally owned by some classic third-grade humor courtesy of 1983.

Her: Yes, you’re right. I was totally owned. Can we talk about something else now?


Posted by Jess | Filed Under Life in a Nutshell | 6 Comments

Welcome to the neighborhood…prepare to die!

Posted on June 18, 2007

So, I was out for a stroll in my new neighborhood this evening when I happened upon a rather curious gentleman. He appeared to be in his late fifties and was dressed in black from head to toe — black suit, black dress shirt, black tie, shiny black shoes. Curiouser still, this unusual chap was carefully adjusting a pair of black leather gloves while surveying with furrowed brow a nearby house. Mind you, it’s nearly 90 degrees outside. Yet, Mr. All-in-Black is wearing gloves. Like he’s concerned about — oh, I don’t know — fingerprints?

Call me paranoid, but as far as I’m concerned, that whole scenario basically screams, “Hey, look at me! I’m a hitman!”

Oh, I almost forgot the best part. His dark ensemble was topped off with a black fedora. Longtime readers may recall my bitter, months-long struggle against a certain Fedora-and-Pipe Guy. It seems only reasonable to assume that the two are somehow connected. Perhaps members of an secret underground fedora society? Maybe bent on world conquest? Or eliminating a certain blogger who knows too much?

The plot thickens.

Posted by Jess | Filed Under Life in a Nutshell | 13 Comments

Holy crap — I’m 30?!

Posted on June 15, 2007

If I were to die today — and the day is still young — I imagine my epitaph would likely read, “Here lies the author of ‘Eight Women Who Look Better Bald Than Britney.’ He really spent a lot of time on the Internet.” Touching, no?

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to get cracking if I hope to achieve my childhood dream of becoming a globetrotting archaeologist/adventurer before the end of the day. Cake and ice cream for all!

(Except my enemies. You know who you are.)

Posted by Jess | Filed Under Life in a Nutshell | 18 Comments

Flummoxing the flimflam man

Posted on May 23, 2007

So, I was shopping for groceries earlier when a guy — maybe 25 years old, dressed like a frat kid — approached me in the pet supplies aisle. “Dude,” he implored, “I totally locked my keys in my car outside. I have a job interview in Atlanta in an hour, and I’m short on cash to hire a locksmith. Can you spot me ten bucks?” Smelling a rat, I replied (truthfully) that I didn’t have any cash on me and wished him the best of luck getting into his car.

Flash forward five minutes later. I’m wheeling my groceries out to parking lot, and I see the same guy getting into a car with an unidentified woman (presumably his girlfriend) and desperately trying not to make eye contact with me. Of course, I couldn’t resist calling out across the lot, “Dude, did you get your car unlocked?”

Embarrassed, he stammered, “Um…well, I guess it turns out that…er, it wasn’t locked after all?”

“Awesome!” I cheerfully replied. “Good luck with the interview!”

Here’s a hint, matchstick man: next time you plan to run the locksmith con, at least have the decency and common sense to park your getaway vehicle out of sight. Show your marks a little respect.

Posted by Jess | Filed Under Life in a Nutshell | 5 Comments

My worst nightmare

Posted on May 15, 2007

TickNo, I’m not talking about the nightmare where I’m starring as Willy Wonka in a stage production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and can’t for the life of me remember any of my lines. I’m talking about my real worst nightmare. The one thing I’ve dreaded since I was a small child. The thing that gives me a severe case of the jibblies just thinking about. Well, that nightmare came true last night.

I found a tick on myself.

I absolutely abhor the thought of a tick embedding itself in my supple flesh, yet there it was — taking up residence on my hip. Drinking in my deliciously nutritious blood. Spreading God knows what diseases. Oh, and most of all, creeping me the hell out.

My immediate reaction was to run around the house, sobbing, waving my arms, and screaming, “Get it off! Get it off! Get it off! Get it off!” Eventually, my wife got me to stand still long enough for her to yank it out with a pair of tweezers. Afterwards, she calmly declared, “Oh, look — it’s a Dermacentor variabilis. Female, if I’m not mistaken.”

It’s times like this when being married to a vet is less comforting than it sounds.

Anyway, I’m parasite-free now (to the best of my knowledge). Of course, I can still feel “phantom sucking” from the spot where the tick had attached itself. And I’m developing psychosomatic Lyme disease symptoms including fatigue, achy joints, headache, and malaise (of course, in all fairness, I’ve suffered from a general malaise for years now). Just to be on the safe side, I think I’ll just stay in bed for the next week and bathe in rubbing alcohol every few hours.


So, what really skeeves you out?

Posted by Jess | Filed Under Life in a Nutshell | 20 Comments

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