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.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Reason 182

Sneeze etiquette. My parents must have instilled the importance of good manners in me from an early age because whenever I hear someone sneeze I feel compelled to bless them (despite my atheistic leanings). The other day my dog emitted a small "achoo," or whatever onomatopoeic device our furry friends identify with, and I actually said "bless you" in reply. Over the years I have tested out different responses to people expelling foreign particles from their nasal cavities - salud, gesundheit, an empathetic look, even the word "snickerdoodle" for a time in high school - but none of them had the simplicity and comfort of "bless you." I completely identify with Bridget Fonda's character in Singles who only requires one thing from her boyfriend - a polite response when she sneezes. In my book, impeccable manners never go out of style. Jason, you can count on me to bless you five ways to Sunday when you experience an involuntary reflexive reaction to something weird being in your nose. I may even take a cue from Seinfeld and exclaim "you are sooo good lookin'" instead of boring you with a traditional reply. Afterall, it doesn't hurt to build up someone's self-esteem after they've publicly contorted their face and sprayed bodily fluids over every surface within five feet of them.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Reason 181

Crying. On more than one occasion, Jason, you have admitted to members of the press that you cry on a regular basis, especially during heart-wrenching movies, like Whale Rider. My tear ducts didn't get too much of a workout growing up, but as an adult I exercise them on a fairly regular basis, either while watching films that yank at my heartstrings (I was a wreck the last thirty minutes of Marley & Me) or guffawing so hysterically that I need a box of Kleenex on standby. I am comfortable crying in front of other people and definitely appreciate men who can openly cry and who don't see it as a weakness. The one time I wouldn't recommend sobbing uncontrollably in front of a lady is when you are in the bedroom attempting to coax her into taking off her clothes. Apparently, you and a woman friend were snuggled up in bed one night and decided to watch Terms of Endearment before sealing the deal. Um, are you insane, Jason?! There is nothing sexy about cancer (or Jack Nicholson, for that matter) and no woman worth her vulva will want to offer up her sacred flower after being drained of all her emotional energy by the mother-daughter scenes in that movie. The next time you feel like bawling your eyes out, please give me a call instead. I promise I won't take advantage of you in your vulnerable state, unless by 'taking advantage' I mean forcing you to entertain me with your motley puppet collection since you will be too weak to resist my demands. I don't care if your face is covered in snot - entertain me, Mr. Segel! Grind that organ like the weepy little monkey you are!

Reason 180

Les Mis. That would be the musical, not the book. I don't know how a Broadway show that ran for sixteen years managed to sneak by me, but I know nothing about the plot or music. This is especially shocking since I can ramble off a list of famous musical theater composers in my sleep and name (and probably sing) at least one song from all the popular shows of the past forty years at the drop of Cabaret-style bowler hat. Since Les Mis is one of your favorite musicals, Jason, I am hoping you can school me a bit on what makes it so fantastic. My only reference point is Katie Holmes murdering "Castle on a Cloud" in an episode of "Dawson's Creek," and I imagine that song isn't supposed to make one's ears bleed as it's being sung in a warbling, off-key soprano by crazy Tom Cruise's future wife. Based on the poster for the show I'm thinking Les Mis is about a girl with atrocious hair who lives in France and desperately needs to eat something, which is why she's so miserable, but that doesn't quite sound like a storyline worthy of the Broadway treatment. Enlighten me, Jason, so we can belt out "The Confrontation" together, as you've done in interviews with Paul Rudd and Neil Patrick Harris. I don't know if I can hit the low notes that Doogie does, but I'll give certainly give it my best shot.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Reason 179

Childhood fashion statements. I was definitely not a fashion plate as a child, but I didn't rock hideous outfits on a regular basis either. Sure, white Keds were my shoe of choice for at least five years running and I did succumb to the stirrup pants craze of the late 80's (the thought of which makes me want to, like, totally gag myself with a spoon), but overall I was a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl (still am, in fact). You on the other hand, Jason, took a great sartorial risk each and every day by wearing a Superman under your clothes until you were ten years old. When you disclosed this tidbit during a talkshow interview my immediate reaction was "Um, I must know that man!" Even as a youngster you flew your freak flag high and I appreciate that. I dream of a world where it's perfectly normal to roam around town in a cape, whether one is fighting crime or simply expressing her inner superhero. I don't necessarily think we should all start dressing like those weirdos who frequent ComiCon and anime festivals in full character regalia, but some days the comfort of a cape over my clothes would be quite pleasant. Kind of like a Snuggie, but cooler. I actually own a pretty sweet purple and black cape adorned with colorful letters so I can transform myself into Word Girl once a year during my school's Spirit Week, and I admit to feeling a wee bit more powerful than normal with that swatch of fabric billowing behind me as I glide down the halls. Maybe if you and I were friends, Jason, we could create a support group for cape lovers everywhere and start a fashion movement that sweeps the country. I definitely think Stan Lee would approve.

Reason 178

Good grammar. My mother is completely to blame for my grammar Nazi tendencies. She taught the ins and outs of spelling, punctuation and sentence structure to apathetic high schoolers for years, making it fairly impossible for me to not become passionate about apostrophes and dangling participles. Every Saturday morning while growing up I also fervently watched "Schoolhouse Rocks!" clips, which only solidified my love for conjunctions, interjections and deliciously descriptive adverbs. Jason, as a writer you are probably hyper-aware of every comma you delicately place on the page, but if you ever question your subject-verb tense agreement or wonder if the i-before-e rule applies to a particular tricky word, I will be more than happy to answer your grammar call. I won't pass judgement if you accidentally turn a plural into a possessive (well, not to your face anyway) and I will gently remind you that periods should be placed inside the second set of quotation marks, no matter how odd it may look. And if, for some disturbing reason, I can't answer your grammatical conundrum, my mother is always available to mark things up with a red pen. If you play your cards right I may even pass along some motherly wisdom, like there is "a rat" in "separate" but not in the word "desperate" and the kind of stationery you write on is spelled with an e because you put it inside envelopes (which start with an e). I bet I just blew your mind. Next time I'll school you on the wonderful world of homophones (which are not gay phones, as some of my students sadly believe).

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Reason 177

Barbeque. Specifically, pulled pork barbeque sandwiches, which both of us love, Jason. Thousands of years ago some advanced member of our species discovered dead animals taste pretty delicious when cooked slowly over an open flame. Fast forward to today when three out of every four Americans own a grill, taking great delight in throwing pieces of pigs, cows, chickens and even those strange things that grow in the dirt onto their chrome cooking wonders every season of the year (at least in the great Northwest). Whether the meat has marinated for days, been rubbed down with spices, or slathered in sauce, I'm a fan, and I am always interested in finding great BBQ places in my hometown. Unfortunately, that can be a tricky task since Seattle isn't exactly the epicenter of southern-style grilled cuisine. Since both of us drool like Pavlov's dogs at the mere mention of pulled pork sandwiches, I propose, Jason, that you and I do a comprehensive survey of all of the barbeque joints in the greater Seattle and Los Angeles areas until we stumble upon a gut-busting, three-napkin-needing, pleasurable-groan-inducing sandwich and cornbread combo plate that is worthy of five stars on Yelp. Such a quest may take years of dedication (not to mention yards and yards of dental floss), but I am willing to sacrifice my valuable time and energy for such an endeavor if you are. So, what do you say? Let's strap on some bibs and dig in! The first plate's on me (no, I'm not paying - I mean the food will quite possibly be all over me. I'm a bit of a klutz).

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Reason 176

DWTS. Liiiiive, it's Dancing with the (pseudo) Stars! Jason, if you ever find your career in the toilet, perhaps working on a musical marionette version of Frankenstein, and ABC comes courting, asking you to cha cha your ass off, I will fully support you joining the show. I would recommend asking which other has-been stars have signed on, though, because if an Olympic athlete is in the mix you don't have a snowball's chance in hell of taking home that coveted mirror ball trophy. Over the years I have spent many an hour being dazzled by sequined C-list celebrities swiveling their hips, but I have never felt compelled to pick up the phone and cast a vote. If you were gliding around the floor in heels and spandex, however, I would throw all of my votes your way without even watching Cheryl and her bumbling partner. Well, if a former New Kid on the Block is competing against you I may have to throw him a bone as a thank you for all the joy he brought me in my tween years, but otherwise my fingers will punch out your number until they're bloody stumps (or I use up all ten of my votes - whichever comes first). Thankfully, you won't have to endure Samantha Harris's painful attempts at cracking unscripted jokes since she was booted for Brooke Burke, arm candy that is mildly less annoying, but you will have to exhibit great restraint to keep from ripping those bizarre head pieces from that one singer's forehead. Actually, that would make for really great television and I bet viewers would vote you all the way to the final round in appreciation. Hmm, maybe you should go call Tom Bergeron right now and let him know you'll show up on the set come 2015.

Reason 175

Personalized license plates. Today I pulled up behind a car with a plate that said "JENIFER" and thought the driver must be one of the most vain and uninspired people ever to get behind the wheel of a sporty compact car. Shelling out good money for a license plate with your own name on it seems to me like showing off a Girl Scout badge earned for stupidity. Is your own moniker either so fabulous or so forgetful that it must be plastered across your rear bumper for the whole world to see? The only thing worse than a vanity plate of your own name is one that proudly displays the make or model of the actual car it is attached to. Yeah, Mr. Over Compensating, we can see you're driving a Hummer. It isn't necessary to have "HUMMER" on your license plate. Jason, if you ever fall victim to extreme idiocy and decide to order a personalized plate with either your name or "VESPA" written on it, I will rip that DMV order form out of your hands and slap some sense into you. Then I will help you brainstorm actual clever possibilties for the convicts to stamp into your California plate. I think BIGMPPT has a nice ring to it, don't you?

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Reason 174

Computer expertise. No, mother boards and lines of code do not get me all hot and bothered, so don't come crying to me, Jason, when your hard drive crashes and the script you've been slaving over for the past three months suddenly disappears into the technological ether. What I can offer you, though, is the service of my extremely knowledgeable best friend who has a PhD in computer science and can seemingly fix just about any affliction that befalls your Mac. He spends most of his time doing cutting edge research around super cool stuff that will change the way the world uses technology (or so he tells me), but he can also locate lost files, set up stubborn wireless accessories, and wipe all traces of scandalous emails from your computer's memory. I'd be happy to pimp Steve out in exchange for some quality time with you, perhaps frollicking at the dog park, people watching in Venice Beach, or whomping you in several rounds of Boggle while the lilting sounds of Van Morrison float forth from the stereo. My BFF may resist at first, but I'm sure I can coax him over to your place with a plate of barbeque ribs and a couple of drinks. The only thing that may stump Steve is the threat of globalthermonuclear war, but all other computer maladies should be gravy.

Reason 173

Musical Catch Phrase. Now, I don't know what goes on at those wild Hollywood parties you attend, Jason, although based on reality TV I imagine a lot of drug snorting, partner swapping, hot tub time, and loud music. Well, the social gatherings I attend are a lot more tame, with people grazing from a table of treats, gabbing about their jobs and kids, and waiting with bated breath for the games to begin. For the past three years I have attended a ChristmaHannaKwanzaa party (I'm always bitter Solstice gets slighted) thrown by my incredible friend Tamara, who won't allow me to partake in the holiday festivities unless I have Musical Catch Phrase stashed in my purse, along with some hideous white elephant gift. A few hours into the party everyone splits into two teams, anxious to show off their musical knowledge and demolish their opponents in a game of guessing random song titles based on clues, humming or actual singing (which is my preference). Usually half of the attendees are music teachers, so there's a lot of pride riding on which team earns bragging rights and disgraces the other partygoers so that they return home to spend the rest of the night crying on their giant pillows. Yes, we're a wee bit cuthroat, but it's all in good fun (although the foot stomping, screaming and finger pointing may indicate otherwise). So, Jason, the next time you throw a wild party I'd be tickled to set up a game of Musical Catch Phrase once people come down from their highs and put on some clothes. I'd  highly recommend you weasel your way onto my team because in all of the years I've played at Tamara's I have never lost, and I am not about to lose to a bunch of namby pamby celebrities who think "Party in the U.S.A." is the pinnacle of pop music. Game on, Seth Rogen. Prepare to be metaphorically slaughtered.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Reason 172

Ponytails. This morning I went for a run in the neighborhood and saw at least three dudes of varying ages sporting ponytails. I felt like I was playing one of those carnival games where objects plastered in bullseyes jump out from behind scenery, but I didn't have an air rifle to shoot off those bushy bunches of hair springing forth from the napes of these guys' necks. I don't know which outdated magazine or romance novel cover convinced American men that they look sexy with long hair, but fashion savvy women everywhere need to put the kibosh on that notion immediately. There's a reason George Clooney has been named People's sexiest person in the universe a billlion times and it's not because he secures his luscious locks back with a rubberband. Sure, he possessed a fairly shaggy mane when he was on "The Facts of Life," but the magazine never devoted a cover to him back in the 80's. Coincidence? I think not. Jason, if you ever toy with the idea of growing out your lovely brown 'do I will fulfill my friend duties and drag you to the nearest salon to pay a hot stylist to convince you otherwise. No one with a penis should have hair longer than mine. It's gotta' be one or the other and I would hope you'd choose wisely.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Reason 171

Naps. Like you, Jason, I can nap just about anywhere. Sure, I prefer my cozy, cocoon-like bed for catching a few minutes of afternoon shut eye, but couches, cars and planes seem to be just as conducive to sleeping on the fly. In fact, I am so good at napping that if it was an Olympic sport I would definitely medal. I've never been so exhausted that I've pulled a George Costanza and snuck a nap under my desk, but I have been awfully tempted, and I'm sure I could fashion a fairly comfortable bed out of the random craft supplies and costume pieces stored in my classroom. I definitely believe regular naps make me a more pleasant person to be around. If I couldn't crawl under my covers almost every afternoon and escape the world for thirty minutes I would probably start acting like a cranky toddler, and nobody wants to deal with a 5'10" thirty-two year old woman who has fallen to the floor and is flailing her limbs about. Since I value and respect nap time so much I would never dream of rousting you from dreamland in a frightening way, a la Paul Rudd while the two of you were filming I Love You, Man. Cracking open one eye to see a coworker standing before you in nothing but a button down shirt sounds like the stuff of nightmares. I mean, you could have lost an eye if you hadn't been fully aware of your surroundings (although, sporting an eye patch does hold a certain appeal).

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Reason 170

SIFF. No, that's not some new sexually transmitted infection running rampant in community colleges across the country. It's an acronym for the Seattle International Film Festival, an incredible celebration of cinema from around the world that kicked off its 36th year tonight with a showing of The Extra Man, a comedy starring Kevin Kline. It may come as a shock since I am such a cinephile, but last year was the very first time I attended a SIFF screening. I saw the very funny Spring Breakdown, which was attended by one of the stars, the writer and the director. All three were gracious enough to stick around after the movie to answer questions from the audience and entertain us with on-set stories of debauchery, which made me geek out like nobody's business. Unfortunately, I flew solo that day because most of my local friends aren't down with the independent film scene. Now, I'm going to go out on a limb here, Jason, and presume you whole-heartedly support movies that aren't cranked out by the Hollywood machine. Afterall, you had a cameo in LolliLove, a very low-budget flick written and directed by Jenna Fischer, who happens to be in a SIFF movie called A Little Help. One of your other acting pals, Jay Baruchel, stars in a Canadian offering called The Trotsky. So, if you have a free day or two or ten in the next three weeks you should definitely fly up to support your colleagues and enjoy some funny and thought-provoking films with someone who promises not to talk once the projector starts rolling and may even share her snacks with you. As if that isn't tantalizing enough, a documentary about yodeling lesbian twins is part of SIFF's lineup. Hmm, perhaps I should go ahead and buy a couple tickets now since that's an offer no sane person could refuse.

Reason 169

Packing. In the past month and a half or so I haven't slept in my own bed for more than three nights in a row. No, I haven't shacked up with a new paramour (unfortunately), I've been taking care of other people's domestic spaces and animals. All of this house sitting means I've become a bit of an expert when it comes to packing quickly. My clothes, food, toiletries, laptop (and all of its accoutrements), school stuff and entertainment necessities can all be bagged in under fifteen minutes, and I'm out the door. Today I even managed to squeeze in a ten-minute nap before vacating the condo because I was so on my organizational game. So, Jason, if you ever book a vacation at the last minute and decide you want some stellar companionship, I can be packed and ready for some fun in the sun (or snow) before you hang up the phone. Wait, we don't really hang phones up any more. Um, what should we call it now? Anyway, I also know exactly where my passport and a stash of cash is in case you're on the lam from the law and need an accomplice. We could be the next Bonnie and Clyde...except funnier and without killing anyone.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Reason 168

Bandaids. I have long been a believer in the healing powers of bandaids, both of actual physical pain and your garden variety emotional slumps. Since I was a small child in pigtails I have slapped adhesive bandages onto my abnormally pale skin when I needed a little pick me up, something to put a smile on my face when things weren't quite going my way. This fascination with bandaids may be genetic because I have a lovely memory of my brother covering his face and neck in sticky beige strips and reciting Shel Silverstein's ode to the rectangular healers for an elementary school event. Back then the only options in the bandaid aisle were flesh colored strips (which were really the color of tanned white folks - obviosuly, people of color do not bleed) or, maybe if you were shopping at a high pharmacy, ones that were see-through. It was a momentous day, indeed, when mom came home with a box of brightly colored bandaids! Nowadays fashion conscious bleeders have a plethora of designs to choose from (not to be confused with a plethora of pinatas) and can stock their medicine cabinets with bandaids covered in just about anything, from bacon to cartoon characters to unicorns. Why, as I write this entry Scooby Doo, colorful crayon and frosted cupcake bandages are all nestled together in my bathroom drawer waiting for me to cut myself, which happens rather frequently since I'm a bit of a klutz. Jason, you are more than welcome to rifle through my stash of hip adhesive strips when you're hanging out at my place and affix one or two or twelve to your body. I am happy to share the bandaid love. Just try not to bleed on my beige carpet. The crime scene look is definitely not as cool as rockin' a pirate on your pinkie.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Reason 167

Evolution. Up until a few years ago I naively went about my business under the assumption that all rational people believe in evolution. In middle school my science teacher did an excellent job of explaining natural selection and gushing about the awesomeness of Charles Darwin, and I thought everyone had a similar experience. In fact, I still use my 6th grade understanding of taller giraffes surviving and passing their freaky genes on to their adorable offspring all because they were able to reach more leaves as a way to wrap my brain around the idea that change is constant and everything on our planet is evolving. Take that, short giraffes! Well, as I found out in a small, dark bar in Seattle many moons ago, there are adults out there who believe Darwin's theories are bunk and are masquerading as intelligent, logical people. One of my good friends at the time (who shall remain nameless for fear of further embarrassment) revealed to me, after I mentioned something about idiots who are in denial about the monkey-human connection, that he was in fact one of those idiots. He had been raised by southern Baptist parents who drilled into him the so-called truth found in the Bible and he didn't bother to question their preaching even though he was in his mid-20's. Well, as you can imagine this news caused my eyes to bug out of my head for a good minute or so, and then I asked him if he believed in gravity. In my mind it doesn't seem reasonable to choose one scientifically proven theory over another. My question ended our conversation pretty quickly and we never spoke of evolution again. Imagine my surprise and delight then, Jason, when you recounted in an interview a date you had gone on with a perfectly lovely woman who shocked you halfway through dinner when she casually mentioned she didn't believe in evolution. You politely excused yourself from the table, ran to the bathroom and splashed cold water in your face, stunned that you had been duped into believing your dining companion was a sane human being. Seems you and I have more in common than I realized - like the two of us really need to keep a better eye out for Jesus fish on people's cars.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Reason 166

Priorities. I have already admitted to a lifelong love affair with procrastination, but one could theorize that putting things off until the last minute is really just prioritizing. Earlier today my best friend flew in from San Diego and I decided to make spending time with him a priority instead of stressing out about certain responsibilities like laundry and, say, writing a blog post or two. As your friend, Jason, I will certainly make you a priority, too, and will happily avoid creating new seating charts, correcting piles of homework and cleaning my condo in order to enjoy a movie, ogle a plethora of handmade goods at a street fair, chow down on tasty barbeque and wander around one of Seattle's hip neighborhoods with you (as I did with Steve today). In fact, I am going to wrap up this entry right now so I can enjoy "Chopped" with my BFF. Love you, Steve!

We miss you, Jim!

Jim Henson passed away from pneumonia on this day twenty years ago. I am so thankful for all of the positive energy and love he poured into the world. Honor this genius by catching an episode of The Muppet Show or Sesame Street or popping a classic Muppet movie into your DVD player. Heck, go completely nuts and make your very own puppet! Wherever you are and whatever you are doing today, I hope you are happy and doing your own little part to leave the world a better place than you found it. In the brilliant words of Kermit the Frog: "Life's like a movie, write your own ending, keep believing, keep pretending..."

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Reason 165

Allergies. As far as I know I am one of those rare creatures who doesn't suffer from a single allergy. You could stuff my mouth with peanuts and throw me in a pit of dog hair during a spring day that boasts the highest pollen count ever recorded and I would be just fine. Unfortunately, I am surrounded by kids on a daily basis who could die if they accidentally ingest a legume, strawberry, or even catfish (not that I'd ever serve that in my classroom). Every year I receive Epi-pen training just in case a student goes into anaphylactic shock and needs a vial of epinephrine jabbed into their upper thigh. Thankfully, I have never had to administer the pen, but some of my colleagues have and it sounds like a horrible experience. As my friend, Jason, you will never have to worry about offering me potentially deadly snacks or having to race me to the hospital on the back of your Vespa if I get stung by a bee. And if you happen to be one of the fifty million  Americans who suffers from allergies you can sleep soundly knowing that I carry Kleenex in my purse, am comfortable dabbing your inflamed hives with soothing lotion, and could save your life with a swift injection of adrenaline at the first sign of your throat closing up. Game on, allergies. Bring on my Pulp Fiction moment!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Reason 164

My read aloud voice. One of the absolute best parts of my teaching gig is the fact that I get to read to my students on a weekly basis. Each semester I choose a novel to read out loud to my students (right now we are knee-deep in The Lightning Thief, which is awesome) and then attempt to make the words jump off the page for them by using distinct voices for each character, throwing in hand gestures when appropriate, and modulating my voice to match the emotions behind each phrase. I usually read the same chapter five different times in a day, so I am always changing up my pacing and inflection to milk each class for every possible laugh. I even become a wee bit paranoid when I don't get some kind of reaction; I mean, it shouldn't be that hard to impress 12 year olds. My passion for the spoken word hearkens all the way back to my elementary school days when I used to force my friends to sit under our ping pong table and listen raptly as I read Freckle Juice or Blubber to them for the umpteenth time. When I was ten my mom bought a new car and had to wait a few weeks for the fancy stereo to arrive, so whenever we drove around town I entertained us by reading Roald Dahl's The Witches out loud. To this day that book is one of my favorites to read to people because of the Grand High Witch's unique accent and the marvellous descriptive language Dahl employs to make the tale come alive. Last year I even found a volunteer gig where I could tap into my vocal skills by recording newspaper articles for a radio station that caters to sight-impaired folks in Washington state. I like to think that my renditions of livestock updates and restaurant openings were the highlights of those blind people's week. As an actor, Jason, you turn a phrase quite well yourself, and I imagine you jump at every opportunity to read for an audience. If you ever get tired of hearing your own voice, though, I would love nothing more than to grab a well-loved copy of Fantastic Mr. Fox off my bookshelf and read to you for an hour or two. As extraordinary as the movie is it may be even more magnificent to hear the original story out loud because, afterall, books allow you to create your own version right inside your head (you old cuss).

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Reason 163

Muppet movie standards. From the moment I saw Kermit plucking a banjo and singing "Rainbow Connection" in the middle of a swamp in The Muppet Movie I have been a stalwart supporter of everything Henson. Just thinking about the plethora of felt-covered characters that have populated "Sesame Street," "The Muppet Show," and every other project created over the years that celebrates Jim's vision for puppet domination makes my heart go all atwitter. What I cannot abide, however, is tarnishing the Muppet's reputation for heartfelt stories, clever jokes and catchy songs by churning out dreck like Muppet Treasure Island in an attempt to make a quick buck. Apparently, some production companies believe members of Generation X will flock to the theaters, tots in tow, to see Fozzie, Gonzo and the rest of the gang up on the big screen, no matter how random the storyline may be. Um, I'm not sure the folks at Disney got the memo - the Muppets are not a vehicle for recycling tired plots that have received cinematic treatment a bazillion times before. What's next, the Muppets explore Atlantis? How about the Muppets go to camp? Thankfully, Jason, you and I are riding the same train of thought when it comes to the future of our furry friends. It's time Kermit and the gang returned to their roots, hobnobbing with B-list celebrities, cracking wise and praising the power of friendship in toe-tapping song and dance numbers. So, no pressure or anything, but your screenplay for The Greatest Muppet Movie Ever Made better knock my Scooter-trimmed socks off. Otherwise I may have to rethink this whole friendship thing.

Reason 162

Your catch phrase. We all have a phrase or two that we keep in our back pockets for those times when people need a little pick me up or chuckle (or need to be called out on their stupidity - "epic fail" anyone?) When I first started teaching I was prone to let "not too shabby" trip from my lips whenever I was genuinely impressed by a student's ideas or behavior, and before I knew it thirty adorable kids were mimicking me, exhalting their peers for a job well done with my three little words. In many an interview and commentary session, Jason, you have gleefully encouraged people to 'show 'em your stuff," a phrase you picked up from your dad, who often pushed you and your siblings to chase after your dreams and not be afraid to shine. Apparently hiding one's light under a bushel was not an option in the Segel family. Those words may be few, but I think they perfectly encapsulate the sentiment we often try to bestow on those we believe in, even if they may not quite believe in themselves. I admire your confidence, Jason, and appreciate your desire to motivate schlubs who are sitting at home in their underwear with a giant bowl of popcorn in their laps while watching episodes of HIMYM with the commentary turned on. I have a feeling the average person doesn't hear too many positive axioms on a regular basis (unless their psychiatrist has foisted a daily self-help calendar on them), so it's nice to know a semi-famous guy like yourself is willing to encourage all the deadbeat dads, soccer moms, and emo kids out there to be all that they can be. Who knows? Maybe if you tell enough fans to "show 'em your stuff" you'll start a nation-wide catch phrase frenzy that's on par with "Whatchu' talkin' 'bout, Willis?" and "I pity the fool!" Stranger things have happened.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Reason 161

Multiple personalities. Last week I started watching the first season of "The United States of Tara," an enthralling show about a woman trying to live as normal a life as possible while dealing with three very distinct personalities who occasionally make an appearance and completely disrupt her life. Now, as brilliant as Toni Colette is as Tara and as fascinating as each of her alters is, I think I can guarantee, Jason, that I will never have a psychotic episode that irrevocably splinters my ego into different pieces (although with the day I am having today I am getting pretty close). Dialing my phone number with trepidation and wondering if Bunny, a born-again Christian, will answer and attempt to recruit you as the celebrity spokesman for her church's Scared Straight program will never be a factor in our friendship. In fact, I think most people would describe me as fairly even-tempered, perhaps even predictable, so you will always know what to expect from me. Sure, being able to blame outlandish behavior on the reckless teenager living in my head or skip out on work because Walter needed to spend the day downtown chasing tail sounds promising, perhaps even exciting, but in the end I am happy to be exactly who I am - a thirty-something teacher who loves to make people laugh, bake scrumptious cookies, sing really loud when no one is listening, and plead her case each day for why Jason Segel should be her friend. Besides, I barely have the energy to keep track of my own life, let alone someone else's, imagined or not.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Reason 160

Mothers. As certifiable as my mom may be at times (she recently purchased 10 pounds of hot dogs to take to Mexico), I love her and am grateful for everything she does for me. Sure we've had some rough patches, like the time she mortified me by trapping me in the car and asking me if hair had started growing 'down there' (I think I was ten), or when she recently called me a stalker for driving down to San Francisco to see a certain someone perform in a couple comedy shows, but she has never beat with wire hangers so I'd say all in all I lucked out in the mom department. I wouldn't trade good ol' Bernie for any other mamasita in the entire world - not even Mrs. Brady, despite her shagged out hair of gold. Besides, no one else could have managed to raise such an intelligent, funny, compassionate woman such as myself. Rest assured, Jason, that I constantly show my appreciation for everything my mother has done for me the past thirty-two years. Almost every Friday I let her pick up the tab at dinner because I know it makes her so happy; I refrain from picking on her if I can tell she is having a low self-esteem day; and I have offered to let her live in my attic rent-free when she is an old lady. For Mother's Day this year I spent a whopping thirty minutes weeding her garden, a chore I detest, and treated her to ice cream at Cold Stone (with a coupon, of course). I truly am a model daughter. Now, if the love and generosity I show my mom isn't enough to convince you, Jason, that we should be friends, you should know that once you and I are BFF's she will always welcome you into her home with open arms as if you had sprung forth from her very own loins. Actually, now that I think about it she may like you more than she does my own brother. I am confident that your mother will like me, too, since moms usually think I am a positive influence on their children (I hide my perverse side well). So, here's a not-so-gentle reminder to call your loving mother as soon as you're done reading this and thank her profusely for suffering through hours of labor and putting up with all the crap you have dished out through the years. And if you happen to wake her up with that call don't place any blame on me. Your mama should have raised you to have more sense than ringing people up in the middle of the night.

A very happy Mother's Day to all of the moms I know!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Reason 159

Massages. I just returned from what may be the most luxurious experience of my entire life - a two hour massage. About three years ago I bought a membership at a nearby Massage Envy so that I could indulge in a monthly rubdown, but I have never enjoyed a massage that lasted so impossibly long before. Can you imagine, Jason, having your entire body kneaded and carressed (by a professional, mind you - not some chick you met at the neighborhood bar) for the equivalent of the entire running time of Trading Places? Beef jerkey time, indeed! My therapist soothed muscles I didn't know I had and made me so relaxed that I had a hard time putting on my underwear when the whole thing was over. There aren't enough adjectives in the English language to describe the incredible time I spent on that cozy, heated table. If you are ever feeling a little tense and need a massage when you're in my neck of the woods, Jason, I will happily send you Lisa's way. If you are looking, however, for a relaxing adventure of a different kind I would love for you to check out a couple of local massage parlors that I am convinced only cater to men. There has been more than one time when I have driven past a shady looking building off the freeway that advertises foot massages, its 'open' sign still lit up at ten or eleven o'clock at night, making me wonder just what kind of clientele they cater to at such a late hour. Right across the street from this business is the Red Dragon Spa, another sketchy looking place wedged between a 7-11 and a paint store, which must be a front for some kind of tawdry activity. I never see anyone going in or coming out, yet it has managed to stay open for years. Jason, we have established that if you are bolstered by enough liquid courage you become a man who knows no shame, so I would really appreciate it if you explored the services offered by these nearby establishments and then reported back to me with every salacious detail. Just think of it as a sacrifice you are willing to make for a friend.

Reason 158

Healthier eating. Last week I made the mistake of watching Food, Inc., a documentary about processed food and the disturbing evolution of farming in our country. The film outraged me so much that I, an historically complacent eater, have actually started to change my eating habits, reading nutritional labels before tossing items into the grocery cart, loading up the fridge with fresh fruits and vegetables, and counting the days until the farmer's market opens across the street so I can buy tasty organic treats that didn't travel a thousand miles to get onto my plate. A few days after watching Food, Inc. I went to a showing of Fresh, another documentary about America's desperate need for a food revolution, which only cemented my determination to use my almighty dollar to fight the ginormous food corporations. Don't worry, Jason, I haven't become a health food zealot, looking down my nose at anyone who indulges in the creamy goodness of Kraft macaroni & cheese or chiding coworkers for shoveling some cardboard Lean Cuisine meal down their throats in the limited amount of time we have for lunch. I still indulge in a triple chocolate muffin from Costco almost every morning for breakfast and will happily knock back a martini or two when the mood strikes - it's not like I have become a poster child for Whole Foods. When we do hang out, however, I promise to drive right past McDonald's when your belly starts to rumble, no matter how much you beg and plead for some golden, deep-fried taters, and then kindly remind you that happy, grass-fed cows taste a whole lot better than corn-fed ones who have been standing in their own shit for days on end. Before you know it you will be cultivating your own vegetable garden and planting sweet-smelling orange trees in your yard so you can enjoy fresh squeezed juice every morning before call time. You'll troll the internet for fresh recipes on preparing healthy and delicious meals, become a regular at the L.A. farmer's market (assuming there is one), and walk around with a smug smile on your face knowing that your colon is one of the healthiest in town. After just a week of avoiding processed foods I have noticed a change in my energy level, so I'm hoping the positive changes I'm making stick with me for the long-haul. If I happen to fall of the fresh food wagon, though, and start gorging myself on frozen pizzas and canned bean dip (not together - don't worry), you have my permission, Jason, to knock me over the head with an artisan baguette until I come to my senses. Then we can skip off to a nearby Trader Joe's knowing all is once again right with the world.

Reason 157

Data. There is no denying that data is sexy. No, I'm not referring to Data from The Goonies (although all of his gadgets were pretty hot), but rather groups of numbers that can be poured over and manipulated in order to paint a clearer picture of something. In college I majored in Sociology, mostly because it was the only subject that I thought I could stomach for four years, and one of the unexpected joys of studying how groups of people around the world interact was the program's emphasis on research and data as a way of understanding human craziness. Sophomore year I signed up, kicking and screaming, for a required statistics class and was shocked to discover the work was interesting and I actually had a knack for calculating probabilities and creating oddly shaped graphs. Fast forward seven years later to me being hired as a teacher who, as it turns out, needs to constantly evaluate data about students in order to understand which concepts they are struggling with and which information thay have a solid grasp on so we can, as a class, move on into new territory. Every year students across the state take a standardized assessment of their reading skills and when the results arrive a few months later I practically bathe in all those scores, cackling with delight as I create spreadsheet after spreadsheet of information that will be critical in shaping the next year's classroom experience. Jason, I have no idea if you geek out about data, too, but if you do I will always be ready and willing to discuss the latest box office draws or most recent research around employing acting techniques peddled by Strasberg versus Stanislavsky. And, if you aren't too keen on numerical measurements, I will happily preach the gospel of data in an attempt to bring you over to the dark side. Really, anyway you slice it I come out a mathematical winner.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Reason 156

Procrastination. I have been putting things off since before I was born, arriving three weeks later than my expected due date and cementing my future as one defined by avoidance. All through middle and high school I ignored homework assignments and projects until the night before they were due, driving my very organized and responsible mother crazy. In college I wrote my entire senior thesis a mere 12 hours before I was required to hand it over to my professor, although I did conduct all of my research beforehand (I'm not a complete masochist). Now that I am a teacher one would think I'd have my act together, spitting out batches of corrected homework and quizzzes almost as soon as they graced my desk, but alas, I am constantly scrambling up until that first bell to assess my students' brilliant work and enter all the scores in my grade book. Unfortunately, the enticing arms of procrastination stretch beyond the educational setting, swaddling me tenderly with false ideas about how often laundry should be done, the garbage needs to be taken to the dumpster, and groceries should appear in the refrigerator. I blame my superior reasoning skills for my dilly-dally attitude - I can spout off a litany of legitimate excuses for putting off what can always be done tomorrow. If I am out of food I can always go to mom's; if I run out of clean underwear there's a Target just around the corner; if I'm not in the mood to write my blog I can simply write about not wanting to write my blog. Well, you get the idea. Jason, as a person who has his fingers in many pies, I imagine you are fairly regimented and can multi-task almost as well as Martha Stewart (without the condescending smile). Perhaps your dedication to getting things done will inspire me to respond to email within twenty-four hours, scrub my bathroom more than once every three months, and open the Beatles RockBand box that has been sitting in my hallway since September. And if you are actually a procrastinator in sheep's clothing, at least we can commiserate together (but not right now).

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Reason 155

Dates. When it comes to dating, my track record is not too hot. It's not that I am some socially awkward recluse, holed up in my condo building dioramas of favorite scenes from 80's movies (although that does sound like a pretty kick-ass time), or an overly aggressive she-devil who lures men into my web and then devours them (metaphorically, of course). Honestly, I just haven't been motivated to spend hours seeking out funny, intelligent, kind men in their early 30's who live within a 30-mile radius and know the difference between there, their and they're. Teaching seems to take up a considerable amount of time and energy, and when you mix in commitments to my friends and family, writing this fabulous blog, playing games on FaceBook, and watching Glee, just the thought of dating makes me want to crawl into bed and sleep for days. Even though I seem to go on a lot of first dates with unimpressive men (yep, jobless, carless and living with roommates when you're 37 is pretty hot), I do think I am a fairly good judge of character when it comes to people my friends date. Last year when I met the woman my best friend had been dating for three months I immediately knew she was not the peanut butter to his jelly and he broke up with her three days later (not at my urging mind you, although if he asked for my opinion I would've told him to cut and run the minute they arrived back in San Diego). In high school, I was notorious for setting classmates up with the decent guys in my neighborhood, and after college I accurately predicted how many years a certain marriage would last. What this all means for you, Jason, is that I will be more than happy to screen all of your dates, providing you with ample feedback about each lady's pros and cons, before you find yourself in a monogomous relationship that rivals Jon and Kate's. My tolerance for bullshit is pretty low, so I think I'll have an easy time spotting the women who want to hang on your arm simply because you're a celebrity and those who are genuinely interested in all of your amazing qualities. I won't even charge you for my services, unlike some other matchmakers out there. All that I ask is, when I do introduce you to the woman of your dreams, you name your first born child after me. A small price to pay for true love, I think.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Reason 154

My own currency. No, I don't have a private printing press in my basement, cranking out paper money whenever I need a buck like the Fratellis in Goonies. What I do have, though, is access to an endless supply of Feudal Farthings, colorful fake money in four denominations used by the 6th grade teachers to bribe our students into submission the last few months of school. Teachers from each core subject pose for a group shot that is printed onto the money, a nice reminder to our kids that we are vigilantly keeping tabs on their behavior, even if it's just from their pockets or binders. Since I have been a part of the 6th grade team for five years (we are, hands down, the most awesome grade level), my gorgeous mug has, at one point or another, appeared on every bill put into circulation. I bet none of your fancy celebrity friends can brag about being pictured on highly valuable fins and sawbucks, Jason. If you play your cards right I may even be willing to create a limited-edition C-note that showcases your regal profile. I'll need a few weeks lead time, though - our print shop is notorious for 'misplacing' orders. It must be all the fumes from the copy ink.

Reason 153

Grocery carts. In 1937 a man named Sylvan Goldman invented the very first grocery cart, forever changing the shopping experience. No longer did weary housewives have to brave the flourescent aisles, one arm laden with Wonder Bread and Miracle Whip, the other with a squirmy toddler who desperately wanted to run around the store screaming like a banshee. Now consumers were free to stroll up and down the lanes, tossing whatever their hearts desired into the mobile metal basket and battling that one wonky wheel that had a mind of its own. What Goldman probably didn't anticipate was all the vehicular damage orphaned carts would cause in parking lots the world over or the proliferation of stolen carts in apartment complexes from Seattle to Shanghai. It really gets my goat when I pull into a parking spot and an abandoned cart is blocking my path, its back wheels propped up on the sidewalk or curb, as if the last owner really made an effort to be responsible. How difficult is it to walk an extra twenty or thirty feet and put the cart in its nest? All it wants is to be with its own kind, snuggled up, basket to basket, waiting patiently for the teenage wrangler to make his hourly sweep of the lot. What chaps my hide even more, though, are the people who see nothing wrong with walking a cart all the way to their building, even if they live half a mile away. Yes, I applaud you for getting off your ass and walking to the store instead of burning up valuable fossil fuel, but your attempt at saving the planet is a tad overshadowed by the fact that you just committed theft! Please suck it up and live with the humiliation of looking like a bag lady with your own little cart, so responsible shoppers like me don't get shafted by increasing prices that are a direct result of the thousands of dollars stores lose every year to replace their missing carts. Jason, rest assured that when we are done trolling the aisles of Safeway together I will always return our cart to its home, saving drivers everywhere the frustration of being dinged by runaway baskets. Besides, careening through the parking lot on an empty cart en route to the nest is the highlight of any shopping excursion. Why would I give that up?

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Reasons 151 & 152

May Day! May Day! The first of May is upon us and with it brings thoughts of either two things: bountiful bouquets of spring blooms (I heart alliteration) or sinking ships and safety drills. Well, Jason, stick with me because I have firsthand experience in both areas. As a teacher at a public school I am expected (with the rest of the building) to participate in one fire drill each month, as well as an earthquake and lockdown drill every three months. Lucky for me the school I work in was remodeled about ten years ago and the new smoke detection system is extremely sensitive, so we end up having fire drills upwards of four times a month. Any time someone leaves popcorn in the micorwave for two seconds too long, conducts a science experiment involving fire (the best kind), or moves dust around too aggressively, the dang lights start flashing, we immediately stop learning about ancient civilizations or cockroaches or whatever, and march out to the field, where we wait for twenty minutes for the fire department to show up and clear us to return to our classrooms. As you may know, middle school students are as patient as a gaggle of Buddhist monks and just love standing in straight lines until kingdom comes. So, not only can I get you out of a building quickly if the alarm goes off, Jason, I can also entertain you in the pouring rain with nothing more than my wits and a foil blanket until the drill is over. Now, if that fire alarm goes off on May 1st I may even pluck some flowers from a nearby neighbor's yard, whip up a basket out of strips of construction paper (a la my kindergarten days), and lovingly place them in your arms in celebration of May Day. Heck, we could even create a maypole from a nearby tree and our shoelaces, then prance around it, giving thanks to spring - clothing would be optional. As an atheist I fully support any holiday originated by those wacky Pagans, especially one that involves flowers. Ironically, the Druids used to start a giant fire to celebrate May Day, which was the halfway point in their calendar. Hmm, with all of my fire safety knowledge perhaps I should have been born pre-Christ. On second thought, I don't think I'd be down with the whole human sacrifice thing. As awesome as Wicker Man is (the original, not that Nicolas Cage schlock), it still scares the crap out of me. I guess I'll stick to showering you with flowers, Jason.