Category Archives: Life

All My Pets Are Dying

Party Animal
May 5, 1998 – July 23, 2013

Recently, my two favorite pets died. Our 15-year-old Golden Retriever, Skye, was put down last month and last week I came home to find that one of my two pet guinea pigs, Symphony, had died during the day. I think it must be one of those getting older things – just like the fact that all my (at least Facebook) friends are getting married or having babies, all my pets that have been with me for so long are dying. It’s awkward to harp on about your pets, but I want to tell you guys a little about them both.

I’ll be the first to admit that my obsession with animals is borderline weird. As a child, the only thing that mattered (other than my My Little Pony collection) was getting more pets. Over the course of my life, I’ve had turtles, every type of fish you could find at a suburban pet store in the 90s, sea monkeys, hermit crabs, two bunny rabbits, over 15 guinea pigs (that is another story for another time), 4 kittens, at least five birds and two dogs.

I hit the highlight of my scamming-my-parents-into-getting-me-pets career in 6th grade. My dad’s job relocated us to São Paulo, Brazil. Air Bud had just come out, and my little brother and I were obsessed with Golden Retrievers. At some point we came up with the idea that if we were to move to a foreign country, we required a puppy.  And sure enough, we got us a puppy.

Not quite Air Bud, but look at that flexibility.

The litter was born on Cinco de Mayo, which seemed fitting, because it would make sense that we’d get a dog with a little pseudo-Mexican flair. The owner allowed us to come over and choose our puppy before the litter was even able to open their eyes. Claude and I were taken with the tiny little puppy who had a white diamond on her forehead.

We waited the five painstaking weeks until we could take her home, and in my memory of that time, the idea that the puppy was coming lessened the pain of packing up our home, saying bye to our friends and planning to move somewhere far, far away.

Aeropostale sweater tee, WWJD bracelet, chipped blue nailpolish. Yup… it was 1998.

Some other important facts about Skye: 

  • She was a fast learner: She brought new life to Amadeus, who was arthritic and near death, but never missed an opportunity to hump her. I guess she thought it was a game, because once she was large enough she would jump on him and start humping him.
  • We thought adding the ‘e’ to Sky was super hip: If you remember, the momma dog in Babe is named Fly, and then there was this girl on my bus named Skyler who I thought was really cool.
  • She had a hot boyfriend: We were about to get Skye spayed when our minds were changed after watching an episode of “Full House” where the family golden had puppies. Somehow, we convinced our parents that this would be a good idea for us, and set up a date with a neighbors dog. Buddy was a pure bred Golden Retriever, so I can only assume that in dog standards that means he was HOT. Their baby-making attempt was unsuccessful, but I did learn a lot more about dog sex than I ever needed to know.
  • She was not the brightest/ loved cars: We were pretty sure that Skye was eventually going to get run over because she LOVED cars. Not chasing cars, or barking at cars… just, cars. She’d run right up to them as if expecting them to be humans who would pet her. It was terrifying.
  • She provided the entire family with endless entertainment: For example, this video of my brother carrying old, limping Skye around the kitchen so she could chase after this piece of meat my dad was holding.

  • She was a party dog: She really liked licking beer off the patio whenever it was spilled during parties.
  • While she didn’t age gracefully, she didn’t seem too upset about it: Here’s a video I took of Skye the last time I saw her. She had a cone and weird booties, as well as a limp and was completely deaf… But she was as happy as ever.

Seriously… endless entertainment.

_____________________________________________

After a few years in college, I started to really miss having pets.Not having a furry something to cuddle felt wrong. During my senior year of college, my little brother lived with me and we started to plot the purchase of pets again. As a child, I’d had at least 15 guinea pigs so they seemed like the natural go to when we started talking pets. Before I knew it, we’d purchased two baby guineas and named them Symphony and Professor Commonwealth, after nearby streets in Boston.

AKA Pat and Vanna, if you’re calling from Wheel of Fortune

While guinea pigs are nowhere as exciting as dogs, they have provided me with a lot of entertainment in the past 4.5 years, and holding Symph’s poofy little body comforted me during a lot of my quarter life crises.

Some facts about Symphony:

  • She was definitely the leader of the pack: I don’t think Professor ever walked anywhere that wasn’t directly behind Symphony’s butt.
  • She got around: The guineas have lived with me in Boston, Atlanta and New York. That means they’ve been on a plane and in a Uhaul for a cross country trip.
  • She might have been a bit of a stoner: Back in my college days, as the scent of pot smoke waft through the floors of my music school apartment building, Professor would sneeze and hide in the corner, while Symphony would walk up to the front of her cage, place her paws on the metal bars and sniff as vigorously as she could. I think sometimes it made her paranoid though, because she started some pretty nasty fights with Professor.
  • She was my favorite, but we had our differences: During our New York move, a few bars on the guinea’s cage came off, creating a tiny little window out of which they could stick their heads. I thought this was adorable, until I realized Symphony would sneak out the cage during the night and poop on everything under my bed.
  • There must have been something in her hair: Because Professor ate so much of it that I took her to the vet TWICE thinking she had mites-induced hair loss.
  • I buried her at sea, like the fucking sailor she was: Is it sailors they bury at sea? Anyway, whoever it is. The awkward part of losing a pet in the city is that you don’t really know what to do with it. All my previous guineas were buried in my backyard, with proper little guinea gravestones. This time, I wasn’t sure what to do so I decided the most romantic thing would be a burial at sea – er, river. I brought her down to the tip of Manhattan so I could put her shoebox coffin in the Hudson, near the Statue of Liberty. As it turns out, finding a break in the fence and throwing something into the river isn’t so romantic, because I was pretty terrified someone was going to See Something and Say Something. Either way, her tiny body will forever lie at the bottom of the Hudson, close to Lady Liberty.
  • Yes, the means I brought a dead rodent on the subway. She was in a box, and a bag, and concealed and it was a grief thing, ok guys?!

In light of all this, I still have one pet left. Professor Commonwealth and I are bonding over our mutual feelings of loss (that I assume she also has) and now at night she sits on my chest and eats my hair while I watch TV. It’s pretty creepy/adorable.

Peace, love and hug your pets, 

BWCE

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All Energy Everything

Checkout this total product development fail I found the other day –

Cracker Jack, why you gotta give us coffee too? You already give us prizes!

Whenever I see stuff like this, I like to imagine all of the steps it took for this to go from an idea to an actual product in Duane Reade, during which no one was like, “um. Hey, guys? This is a terrible idea.”

There were at least this many steps, in some sort of order like this:

  1. Person had idea, decided it was good.
  2. Person edited presentation, decided to keep caffeinated Crack Jack idea on list of ideas.
  3. Person gave presentation, likely involving graphs and charts about how much people like ‘energy’ food.
  4. Other people decided this was a good idea, passed on to team of food engineers/ robots/ factory in china.
  5. Food is manufactured, taste-tested, moved on to packaging.
  6. Packaging (including the name “Cracker Jack’d”) was created and no one said anything about this being an AWFUL idea.
  7. Product presented to supermarkets/ stores everywhere. Product is purchased by these stores.

Either that, or there was a massive chocolate/coffee incident at the Cracker Jack factory and they decided to cover their losses by creating this. If that’s the case, I have tons of respect for them. Otherwise, WTF dudes?

I get that suddenly everything is supposed to magically energize us, even though it’s crap that’s giving us toe cancer, hair arthritis or, at the very least, lots of belly fat, but a line has been crossed. Coffee in my candied popcorn product? Or, whatever the hell those weird brownie things on the bag are? Java nougats?

I know that there have been some really important things happening in the news with civil rights, and coups and whatever, but THESE ARE THE REAL ISSUES, PEOPLE.  It’s like that old saying –

First they wanted to add a shot of espresso to my coffee,

and I didn’t speak out, because that seemed kinda nice.

Then they came for my diet soda,

and I didn’t speak out, because ‘ginseng’ and ‘guarana’ are fun to say.

What’s next? Is any junk food sacred anymore?

Will make it even more marketable to college students, although I assume the price may go up… Gives new meaning to ‘speed reading’?

What about the great American breakfast staples?

This may prove that I don’t know what color meth is… unless it’s green. I promise I have never seen nor done meth, guys.

And can you imagine how much Pizza Hut is going to go to town with all of this? They LOVE stuffing things into crusts. Don’t think they’ll stop at things that raise your cholesterol…

That blue and white thing is supposed to be a pill #powerpointfail

Little Ceasars is probably going to have to change their slogan to make it seem more energized –

THERE IS NO END TO THE MADNESS AND I HAVE TO MONITOR MY CAFFEINE INTAKE OTHERWISE I SLEEP POORLY.

Also, what will energy drinks do? Start adding food to their drinks? Our hearts are going to explode, guys.

Stop the madness. Quit buying ‘energized’ food. 

Peace, love and crack-infused ketchup, 

BWCE

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Summer in the Cubicle

Summer is glorious. It’s pure bliss filled with swimming pools, beach trips, long days and summer thunderstorms that make the perfect soundtrack for a midday nap and – oh yeah – still having to go to work. Damnit.

I absolutely love the summer, but ever since I started working I realized how it’s a double-edged sword. During the winter, I’m excited to get inside, sip some free coffee and order food delivery to my desk for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I also have the perfect excuse to never go out during the week, and hop into bed by 9 PM on the weekends. Summer lures me out of my TV cave and demands that I spend almost every night going to dinners, events, drinks or social events. By the time summer is over I’m TOTALLY exhausted because I’ve completely overextended myself in order to soak up all of the summery goodness that is for the most part cannibalized by the annoying need to pay my rent and have food to eat or whatever. Everyone should get free rent/ free food for the summer. Am I right? Me for President, guys! I’ll make it happen.

Anyway, this summer I’ve been trying to make the most of it a little more so that I don’t spend all my time sitting angrily at my desk, cursing the fact that I’m located directly underneath an air vent. I will never understand why people find it necessary to make the inside temperature hotter than summer in the winter and colder than winter in the summer.

This is why we never have office margaritas

Here are some tips for keeping yourself feeling summery while you’re inside. I take no responsibility if you get fired.

#1 – Wear your bathing suit under your work clothes at all times. Double points if you use this to avoid doing laundry for another day.

#2 – If you’re hungover, go outside and throw up in the park instead of the office bathroom. There’s nothing like vomiting in the bushes and looking up to see an audience of bewildered squirrels. Oh, the magic of nature.

#3 – Instagram a picture of being outside, every. single. time. you’re outside. When you look back on your feed it will make you feel like you spent a lot more time outside than you actually did.

“Look guys, I’m outside!” “Here I am… outside again!” “This time I’m outside AND I HAVE FOOD” “Outside in black and white LOL”

PS, those are all my Instagram photos. So I am VERY GOOD at taking my own advice.

#4 – Use summer occurrences as an excuse to be late to everything work related.

  • “Dear work, the rain is making all of the subway trains flood. I am afraid I have to work from the park – er, I mean home. You know, because it’s raining so much.”
  • “Dear work, there is some sort of Dominican Republic/ Gay Pride/ Mermaid Parade going on and they’re not allowing me to cross 14th Street.”
  • “Dear work, Occupy Wall Street is back. I’ve decided to join them this year. #Occupy!”
  • “Dear work, ain’t nobody got time for this heat.”

#5 – Everyone loves the “It’s 5 O’Clock somewhere” approach. Except for maybe authority figures. So just to make sure you’re covered, keep one of those cocktail flavored gums on your desk next to your beverage in a smoothie cup.

“Oh, no. This is just a smoothie. It’s the gum that smells like booze.”

And, if all else fails and you are totally stuck in the office all summer long, you can just beachify your cubicle. After all, there’s nothing like the feeling of packing peanuts between your toes amIrightamIright!?

Ikea should sell this as a box set.

Peace, love and is it 4th of July weekend yet? 

BWCE

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Where’s the Sign Up Sheet to Become a Celebrity?

So a few weeks ago I moved to the bedroom across the hall. The thing about moving rooms within your own apartment it’s almost harder than a normal move because I didn’t get movers. Also, I decided two years ago that I wanted to realize my childhood dream of having a canopy bed, so I bought one from Ikea. I regret this decision most days for the following reasons: #1 – The bed bugs loved the canopy when I used to have all this black tulle wrapped around the frame. #2 – Ikea.

Can we all agree that the creators of Ikea were malicious sadists? Seriously, when I think of the conversation that lead to the founding of Ikea, I imagine that in between rounds of torturing fawns one of the dudes was like, “Hey, you know what would be fun? What if we made a furniture store that was absurdly cheap.” and the other guy was like “Why would we do that? Hey, hand me those hot coals.” and the first guy was like, “Because if we make a furniture store that’s absurdly cheap, we can get everyone on the planet to think it’s awesome but actually create the world’s worst maze for people to walk through.” So the second guy was like, “That seems like an ok use of my time, but not murder-y enough.” And so the first guy went, “WELL HERE’S THE THING. Not only will the maze they have to walk through to get to the checkout be terrible, we will also name all of the furniture names in an unrecognizable language, and we will pump the smell of cinnamon buns through the store, despite the fact that it’s incredibly difficult to find the area in which the cinnamon buns are sold because it’s a furniture store, not a restaurant and we will make ALL OF THE DIRECTIONS FOR ASSEMBLING INCREDIBLY HEAVY FURNITURE IN HIEROGLYPHICS. AND THE CINNAMON BUNS WILL SUCK.”

And then the second dude was like, “Oh. Sweet. I’m in.”

“If you have a problem, just call us!” Have you guys every tried *calling* Ikea for help? THE WORST.

I spent most of a Sunday afternoon dodging giant pieces of canopy bed as they fell apart on top of me, cracking pieces of my canopy bed, looking up new beds online while I considered selling my bed and inexplicably ripping the paint off of my wall with a piece of the bed. Eventually I prevailed. Well, sort of… there were a couple of pieces of the bed that no longer seemed like they mattered so now they live under the bed, and I”m probably going to have to duct tape one side of the canopy because it’s broken in half and sagging over my bed. At the end of it all, I sent Chris a very long text describing all the ways I planned to dismantle and burn the hell bed, video tape it and send it to Ikea whenever I am finally able to afford a different, non-Ikea bed.

It looked a lot like this.

Anyway. The reason I’m telling you about all of this, is to tell you why it’s terrible that I started following Rihanna on Instagram. Really, I shouldn’t follow any celebrities on Instagram, but Mindy Kaling at least keeps it down to earth and makes it seem like she’s working hard for the money.

The whole time I was at risk of severing a limb with particle board made by Satan’s minions, Rihanna was in Barcelona. BEING BLONDE. Every time I’d check my phone, hoping that someone on Facebook would post about wanting to buy a canopy bed from Ikea, I’d see Rihanna… shopping at Chanel; sitting on stairs smoking a cigarette; wearing things with cutouts in them. Rihanna’s Instagram feed basically says, “Look at how much better my life is than yours.”

I think that was literally one of the comments on her photos. It was at least a hashtag.

When I was younger I wanted to be a celebrity because I wanted people to ask me weird questions about myself that no one asks you in real life like, “What do you was think the key to getting were you are today?”  Then I realized I can just write a blog and make the questions up for myself (new post idea: Getting interviewed by an imaginary Diane Sawyer). For a couple years I was like, “wow. Now I don’t need to be a celebrity. Look at me… having it all.”

And then Rihanna’s Instagram had to go and ruin it for me. I want to be a celebrity again. Celebrities have so much downtime. When Amanda Bynes threw that bong out the window and everyone was reporting on it, I was sitting at my desk like, “That lucky bitch doesn’t have to be in an office right now?! I’d kill to live on 47th street. Who has time to go wig shopping? ”

The rest of us have the raw end of the deal… don’t we? Celebrities are always complaining about how busy they are and justify it by saying, “I suffered from exhaustion last year. You know? I had to go to A SPA.”

I suffer from exhaustion every WEEK. It’s called Monday, celebrities. Seriously though, based on her Instagram feed, here’s what I think Rihanna’s typical day is like versus mine. These are the busy ones when she has a concert or something.

Given this new info (that yes, was entirely made up by me), I have been strategizing again. Trying to figure out how I can become a celebrity. Seeing as that I don’t really act, dance, sing or start fights with everyone around me, I’ve ruled out pretty much everything in terms of the performing arts and reality TV.

Do you guys have any thoughts? How else do people get famous?

Peace, love and death to Ikea, 

BWCE

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The REAL Home Grocer

I loved 1998 – 2001. I’m sure living in Brazil and those being my first real years of consciousness contributed to the love, but I also think those years were amazing in general. They were the first years where the internet was really changing things for normal people – Napster existed, Amazon was out there. There was a certain electricity in the air, a collective feeling that everything was about to change or at least that Y2K would destroy us all.

The summer after 8th grade was my favorite summer during adolescence. We’d always come back from Brazil during school breaks, but instead of staying in the Camden Suites that was located in the scenic parking lot behind the Target (with “penthouse” views of the hospital from across the highway!) we weren’t renting our house out that year and we were able to spend the summer there. It was The Summer of Rap, the summer I wasn’t fat and the summer that Rachel got to stay over basically every night. Rachel was my best friend all through middle school, and the glue that held our friendship together despite my living in another country was that we both loved to make stupid shit. It started with our development of a village for tooth beavers. Tooth beavers were Rachel’s creation from I dunno when, but I learned about them when she used them to defend me from this boy who was making fun of me in 6th grade. I was wearing two WWJD bracelets that happened to be purple (“God’s Royalty”) and rainbow (“God’s Promise”) without understanding that those colors were fairly popular symbols of gay pride. Poor pre-adolescence Tiffany, realizing stuff was gay would not be my strong suit for the next 10 years…

They were SYMBOLIC, people.

So anyway, earlier that day I was wearing the bracelets when this scary goth chick named Cassidy stopped me to ask me something. By default, anyone with any sort of identity was cooler than me because all I had going for me was that I was The Girl Who Had Green Highlights On St. Patrick’s Day, which was kind of cool until I nervously explained to everyone that “oh no, this wasn’t intentional. I didn’t wash my hair after swimming and the pool dyed my hair green” so that’s not saying much. So Cassidy goes,

“Are you hetero?”

And I have NO FUCKING CLUE what that means. So I’m like,

“… Am I… head-ro?”

“No. I said are you HET-ER-RO?”

“What’s a head-row?”

“HET.      Er.          ROOOOOO.”

“I’m really sorry. I don’t know what a head ter row is. Can you explain it?”

“Just forget it.”

Later on in Journalism class, this boy Matt started making fun of me for the bracelets and I figured out what Cassidy was asking me.

“Haha. Your bracelets are gay.”

“No they’re not! They’re What Would Jesshsus Do bracelets. They’re like the opposite of gay.” At that point I still had the lisp.

“Why are you wearing purple and rainbow together then? Are you gay?”

“Purple issssh royalty and rainbow is God’sh promish!”

“Purple is gay and rainbow is also gay. Are you gay?”

This is when Rachel swooped in with her wonderful, weirdo tooth beavers.

“Matt the tooth beavers are gonna eat your teeth and paint a giant rainbow tooth beaver on your garage if you don’t shut up.”

“What are tooth beavers?”

“They’re the things that cause cavities. Duh.”

Then Rachel spent the rest of class drawing pictures of Matt’s garage door with rainbow tooth beavers on it. I thought they were hilarious, and they become our joke for the rest of the year. We made cardboard cartoon tooth beavers and tried building a village for them. We made them costumes… the whole shebang. When I moved to Brazil the tooth beaver project was tabled indefinitely, but my trips to the US gave way to new jokes, dances, songs and entire imaginary universes around the characters we’d create.

Ice Jam 2000 was the birth of “No Stubs,” our incredibly offensive amputee-themed parody of “No Scrubs”. I wonder what my mom was thinking as she drove around two girls gleefully singing, “If you have no legs and you’re hoppin’/ Oh yes son/ I’m talking to you”. But that summer we blew “No Stubs” out of the water. HomeGrocer had just come out, along with WebVan and bunch of other services that would deliver directly to you. My father had been telling us for years that this was going to happen. “One day you’re not going to need to leave the house to rent a movie! That’s the future!”

For some reason, Rachel and I decided that Home Grocer was gangsta as F and that he was just one dude driving around in a peach van, bringing the whole city of Atlanta their groceries from his peach truck.

I stole this photo. I don’t know where it’s from, just google ‘homegrocer’ if you care.

So, because it was The Summer of Rap, I made up a few rap parodies about Home Grocer. They were basically all Eminem songs, but “The Real HomeGrocer” was my absolute favorite. And I want to share the lyrics with you guys, because I still remember them. I can’t tell you any important dates in US history, but I can remember the lyrics to a rap song about groceries I wrote in middle school. As a disclaimer, in middle school things like cheese and the name “Bob” were hilarious to Rachel and me. Was that everyone or just us? I’ve never been able to tell, but this song references cheese a lot for that reason. Other than that I need to remind you guys that I WAS ONLY 13 WHEN I WROTE THIS. Yes, I know. I’m brilliant. People tell me far too often.

If you want to try to rap along, here’s the link to The Real Slim Shady. I’m giving you the edited on because that’s how I learned it in 8th grade.

The Real Home Grocer

May I have your attention, please?

May I have your attention, please?

Will the real Home Grocer please stand up?

I repeat. Will the real Home Grocer please stand up?

We’re gonna have a problem here.

Y’all act you never seen a Home Grocer before

Cheese all on the floor

Like pans and muffins just burst in the door

He started deliverin’, first to your door

First was ignored

Fruit stains on the furniture – ah!

It’s the return of the ah, wait, no – wait?

You’re kidding

He didn’t just eat what I think he did, did he?

And Web Van said –

Nothing you idiot! Web Van’s dead he’s locked in peach truck

All of the women love the HG man

cheezy cheezy cheezy

Home Grocer, I’m sick of him. Look at him?

Drivin’ around, bringing us who knows what

Bringing it to you know who

Yeah but he’s so cheap though!

I probably got a couple of screws up in my truck loose

But no worse than what’s going on in your parent’s fruit juice

Sometimes I wanna get on the highway and just let loose

But I can’t, but it’s cool for Web Van to sell a dead moose

“His cheese is good on chips, his cheese is good on chips,

And if you’re lucky it might not burn your little lips.”

And that’s the produce that we deliver to little kids

And expect them no to know what blue cheese really is

Of course they gonna know what mold spores is

But the time they hit fourth grade

They got the science lab don’t they?

But if he can sell dead animals and cheese that’s old

Then there’s no reason I can’t sell rotten cantilope

But if you feel like I feel, I’ve got the antidote

Women I sell panty hose, and the chorus – here it goes

Cuz I’m home grocer, yes I’m the real grocer

All the other web vans are just imitating

So won’t the real Home Grocer drive his truck?

Drive his truck?

Drive his truck?

“Forgot about Cheese” was also a favorite of mine. For what it’s worth, I always imagined the HG man to look something like this –

After Googling HomeGrocer, I learned more than I ever wanted to know about the company and it’s totally shattered my childhood dreams of the mystical one man HomeGrocer. And that’s why Wikipedia shouldn’t exist.

Peace, love and mold spores, 

BWCE

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Title Fails

Sometimes stress and being super busy leads me to have great ideas for blog posts. This month, that hasn’t been the case. I STILL can’t think of any longer posts to write, but I promise it’s not for lack of trying. When I was in college, one of our songwriting exercises was to come up with titles in order to inspire lyrics when we were facing a block. We’d look at the newspaper and come up with a title and I remember that basically all of mine sucked. I’ve been trying to do that for blog posts and the outcome is similar.

Here are some titles for tentative blog posts I’ve come up with in the past week or so. I’m not sure if any of these would be entertaining, but at the very least they’re an indication of the combination of stressy, boring and food-obsessed (cure for stress) they are.

  • All of the Ways You Can Take the Wrong Train Uptown on a Holiday Weekend
  • The Effectiveness of TGIFriday’s ads when projected on large screens
  • Being Broke Seems Like a Perfect Excuse to Try The Master Cleanse (But How Expensive is Cayenne Pepper?)
  • The Pluses and Minuses of Leaving Facebook Chat Active
  • The Bed Bugs are Gone, But I’m Still Itchy
  • Things I Would Do to a Chocolate Lasagna (That May or May Not be Illegal in Several States)
  • Things the Internet Doesn’t Tell You About Knee Injuries (alternate title: Things the Internet Does Tell You About Knee Injuries That Will Keep You Up All Night)
  • A Run Down of My Recent Nightmares: From Broken Roller Coaster Tracks as Roads to Something Involving Git Hub That Made Git Hub Seem More Like Facebook and That Doesn’t Seem Right
  • Does Halal Meat Contain Gelatin? (And Other Food Truck Related Questions)

What do you guys do for “writer’s block”? Asking for a friend…

Peace, love and phantom itches, 

BWCE

High School Journal Part 1

There’s something about summer that makes it impossible for me to write blog posts (drinking on patios), so, because I didn’t manage to do anything this past weekend in terms of writing posts (because I was drinking on patios), I’ve pulled a post I wrote over a year ago, back before anyone read my blog like ever. I will be back with new posts soon, I promise. In the meantime, I suggest you go get yourself a drink on a patio. Patios are the best. 

Adolescence was not a fun time for me. I kept a journal from ages 18-22 and this morning I pulled it out to reference some over-emotional writing that came from my long period of infatuation with Austin in college. I ended up reading most of it. I realize that my words paint a very accurate picture of my teenage self; awkward, sort of fat, a cripplingly devout baptist and desperately trying to find my dark side. I spent years consoling myself by ranting about how my dad was wrong, I was definitely going to be a famous musician, and oscillating between being “SO over” and “SO going to end up with” my first boyfriend who’d long since forgotten we ever shared a romantic history.

I’m going to start sharing some of my formative high school experiences, as evidenced by my journal. These are the reasons I will never take myself seriously.

#1 – Teen Tiffany was convinced she’d become a famous musician. She didn’t realize the most money she’d ever make off her music was at her very first performance at the talent show.

When you’re 18 and so tragically uncool that it actually hurts you to think about as a (still not cool) adult, the only way to cope with your unbearable level of loserdom is by telling yourself that one day you’ll become as hot/famous as Britney Spears and everyone will feel foolish that they didn’t worship you.

My father saw this burning desire and tried to save me before I derailed the promising career-oriented future I had as a nerd. Unfortunately, this was the one subject on which I allowed myself to react like a defiant teen. My attitude was all “Whatever, Dad. It’s not like you know anything anyway, you just put yourself through school and became the CEO of a company, you don’t understand what it’s like for girls like me and Britney,” and I sadly made the hormone-fueled choice to go to music school. Sigh.

My journal is filled with pages like this – rants about my dad just “not understanding and after all it’s my life.” These pages reminded me of one particular story from high school.

This happened at my 10th grade school talent show.

I’d started writing songs at the beginning of sophomore year, and I found a friend to play guitar for me so I could perform them. I was so excited for our school talent show to finally debut one of my songs, but was too embarrassed to admit that I wrote it and demanded that the song be listed ‘by: anonymous’ in the program. I don’t know why I needed to include the songwriter, I don’t remember any strict high school talent show program submission guidelines, but I felt it necessary. “Crashing Down” was my finest work. It started with an incredibly drawn out metaphor about my heart being a curvy road inspired by my driver’s ed classes and had vaguely to do with the huge crush I had on a questionably gay guy I met participating in the school play.

Before I went onstage, I stood nervously behind the curtain. I was wearing my favorite floor-length denim skirt and my platform heels. I’d straightened my hair, put on some glittery lipgloss and I was feeling not super fat so confidence was high. It was hard to concentrate, but the emcee made some joke about how we played for coins on the street, so feel free to toss a few my way. I walked out, and to fully picture this you have to know that it was in a black box theatre with stadium seating on three sides, so I was surrounded by my audience.

I started into my song and after a line or two someone threw a handful of change onto the stage. Everyone laughed, I blushed and tried to remain calm while singing about feeling so far away from the start of the road my heart was on, and the joke had run its course. Or so I thought. Another line or two passed and a couple more threw change on the stage. People thought this was hilarious.

By the time I was halfway through the first chorus, I was being full-on pelted by about 150 of my peers, their parents and a few members of the faculty. It wasn’t until I got backstage and burst into tears that I think everyone looked down at the coin-covered stage and thought about it from my perspective. There was a long pause before the emcee went back out to introduce the next act and after the show ended my mother, who witnessed the scene, took me to the CD store and let me buy anything I wanted. All I can think now is I really should have picked up all that change, I probably made like $20 that night.

Deficit

A couple weeks ago, I had a physical. I’m not proud to say it, but it had been YEARS since I’d gotten any sort of check up done prior to the start of this year. The physical was the last thing on my list, because it was the most terrifying to me. So when I went back to the doctor and he pulled out my chart, the conversation went like this:

“Ms. Peón, it seems that you have…” there was a long pause, and my paranoid hypochondriac brain snapped into action –

AIDS

Herpes

Premature shingles – it’s probably from going to bed early too often, your body thinks you’re 87

A rare form of cancer that affects only the hair follicles on your knees

Dysentery

Hillary Duff arms – no matter how thin you get, they’ll look fat like that forever

You’re actually a hermaphrodite, we just never noticed

Nicklebackenitis – this rare ear deformity where all music slowly starts to sound like Nickleback songs

Gangrene – you know this was bound to happen

Acute onset adult tourettes

A twin you absorbed as a fetus that’s now growing inside you as your own baby

Something science hasn’t discovered yet, but it looks baaaaaaaad

By the end of the ~2.5 second pause, I’d accepted the hair follicle cancer and already was feeling proud of myself for the way I was going to handle it. I’d become a women’s rights activist, fighting against the oppressive societal construct of shaving one’s legs. I’d change lives. XOJane would interview me – “Sure,” I’d say while browsing knee wigs in a specialty store in the East Village, “I never had hair on my knees before. But I didn’t UNDERSTAND the pressures I was caving to. Women need to celebrate the hair they have. It took being diagnosed with this terrible illness for me to realize it, but it’s my hope that for future generations it won’t have to come to that.” I’m so brave.

“Ms. Peón, it seems that you have… a SEVERE vitamin B12 and D deficiency.”

Oh… that makes sense.

His follow up question made me feel good about myself, although there’s no reason why it should have.

“Are you a vegetarian?”

“Um, no, not exactly. Sometimes my boyfriend and I try to be vegan during the week.” I’M SO VEGAN I GAVE MYSELF A VITAMIN DEFICIENCY.

“Oh, well that could be it. Other things like spicy food and alcohol can do it too.”

“…It’s definitely the vegan thing.”

The interesting thing about finding out there’s something “wrong” with me that I didn’t know about is that I immediately started using it to justify my shortcomings.

SO THAT’S WHY I ORDERED THE CALZONE IN MY SLEEP AND FORGOT ABOUT IT!

NO WONDER WHY I’VE BEEN HAVING WEIRD DREAMS EVERY NIGHT. The dream last night about the tattoo I got on my hip of a pelican riding a unicycle. Totally a vitamin deficiency dream.

So THAT’S why I haven’t looked just like Blake Lively this whole time…

I just want you guys to know that this is quite possibly the WORST photo ever taken of me. I was 20, and someone gave me a raptor-esque hair cut AND my hair at the time was kind of purple AND I had gained some weight during study abroad, probably from eating whatever it was I was eating in the photo. You’re welcome.

So anyway, now I have to use some weird prescription nasal spray to like, mainline vitamins or something. Sorry I didn’t have a regular post for today making fun or rap or something, IT’S BECAUSE I HAVE A VITAMIN DEFICIENCY.

Peace, love and knee wigs, 

BWCE

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Lies Britney and Xtina Told Me

The summer between 7th and 8th grade, my family went on a road trip that started on the West coast and eventually wound throughout Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico. There were moments of total excitement, like seeing the sun rise over the Grand Canyon with my mom, but I mostly remember being bored in the back of the rental van and begging my dad to turn on the radio to whatever pop station was within range. Because we lived out of the country at the time, summers back in the US were all about re-culturing myself. The second we were past customs, I’d convince my mom to buy me a copy of Teen People and I’d clutch it tightly like it was my tourist’s guide to pop culture.

The summer of 1999 was truly a magical time for 13 year old Tiffany. I discovered my first real role models: Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. For the next 5+ years, they were my guiding lights. I bought every CD, every DVD, every magazine and devoured anything I could find about the two of them. They were so young, so beautiful and so talented – I wanted to learn how to be exactly like them. Unfortunately, no one explained to me the art of photoshop, publicists or that the lessons Britney and Xtina were teaching me were lies. Real life is not a 1999 pop music video (thank god!), and the day someone bought me my first indie record, I was set free.

The lies – 

If you’re doing any less than 500 sit-ups a day, you should probably just kill yourself or accept your future as a worthless fatass. Remember how crazy Brit-brits workout routine was? I used to do hundreds of stomach crunches every night before bed in 8th grade, because I wanted her abs so badly. No one told me that in order to be able to see those abs, I’d need to lose the 20 pounds of fat on top of them first.

Red and black are legitimate colors to put in your hair.

I think most teenage girls live under the assumption that copying the haircut of their idol will somehow transform the into looking like their idol. I knew there was no way my father was going to stand for me dying any part of my hair red, or any non-natural hair color for that matter, since he defined it as “deviant behavior”. I did, however, try my hardest to get my stylist to dye the tips of my hair black. The conversation went something like this –

“I just want some black in it. You know, like Christina Aguilera’s hair.”

“Your hair is brown. You won’t be able to see it and it will mess up the texture.”

“Ok, well can you at least cut it so it makes a V in the back?”

“I am not going to cut your hair like a stripper. You’re 16.”

When someone breaks your heart repeatedly, the best revenge is learning how to dance on a chair.

Texting hateful things at 3 AM is always the solution, duh.

Adding “bitch” to the end of sentences is a good way to announce myself. As it turns out, my boss doesn’t appreciate when I enter meetings, strike a pose and say in my breathiest/attitudiest voice “It’s Tiffany, bitch.”

Being driven crazy to the point of being unable to sleep isn’t a good thing. Really all of the lyrics to “Crazy” were terrible. They sound like a desperate cry for help from some battered woman or maybe a drug addict. “I’m in too deep?” GURL, GET YOSELF AN ADDICTION COUNSELOR.

At a certain point, I was going to have an occasion to which I’d need to wear one of the following items: polyester midriff baring tops, leather assless chaps and a “shirt” that was really just a scarf woven around my tits. 

I imagine being a chaperon at a middle school dance in 1999 was a terrifying and revolting experience.

Justin Timberlake is the coolest. Ok, this one wasn’t a lie. JT has been and will always remain the coolest. If you’ve found this for some bizarre reason, I LOVE YOU JT.

AND THE WORST LIE OF ALL –

In my teens, my love life was going to be an overdramatic series of ups and downs. Boys would chase after me and make themselves “What a Girl Want[ed]”. At a certain point, I’d break some poor boy’s heart and have to justify the fact that “Oops, I[‘d done] it again!” by telling him I “was not that innocent.” After breaking up with my super-sexy boyband-esque first love, I’d find myself pushing my boundaries in a club with “Boys [feat. Pharrell Williams]” and at the end of it all I’d learn I was really just a “Genie in a Bottle”, waiting for someone to come, come, come on and let me out. 

“Every time I try to fly, I fall.”

Peace, love and indie kids have it so much easier than us, 

BWCE

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You Go Girl!

Disclaimer: I could just as well have named this post “A Lot of Drake Songs That Tiffany Likes.” I love people’s Get Pumped Up playlists. I think they say more about a person than any other playlist. It’s universally understood that you don’t fuck with someone else’s Get Pumped Up playlist because what contents lie inside it are private. Additionally, no one is going to grab your iPod at a party and be like “I choose to play your Workout Mix. That sounds like the best choice!” As a result, it’s the only playlist that gives its owner free reign to put whatever he or she wants. There’s no need to make sure it’s cool, or varied. It doesn’t have to ebb and flow like a playlist named after a season (**Fall** is always my best season-inspired playlist).

Well, friends, because we’re BFF, I’m sharing my Get Pumped Up playlist with you. I know you’re hoping to discover I secretly love Glee ballads or heavy metal. I’m sorry to tell you that my playlist is no more than a reflection of exactly who I am: A large, black, millionaire drug dealer.

Jay-Z – “Hate”

So the first thing that you need to know about my method of psyching myself up is that haters are a major part of it. Who are my haters? I’m not really sure. I don’t know if I have any. I mean, I’d assume that some people are like ‘God I hate that girl. What is up with her sandwich obsession and why does she apologize and turn bright red every time she very slightly bumps my foot or leg with hers?’ or some variation of that, but I doubt they care enough to be actual haters.

I think the reason that I want haters is because I know how much I kind of love the people I hate. For me, hatred equals  obsession. My hate-ees(?) range from celebrities to That Girl from That One Class in college who was constantly trying to prove that she should have tested into a higher level of music theory outright (dude, you took the test. You didn’t have enough Harmony skillz for Harmony 2. Quit asking about Ionian scales already, we’ll get to it next semester). I follow these people more than my best friends because of how hungry I am for more ammunition. I am giddy in my hatred and I can only hope that there’s at least one person out there in the world who hates me enough to stalk the shit out of me. You hear that, hater(s)? I LOVE YOU TOO. [Update – in between writing this post and Tuesday I have discovered someone who wrote a pretty bad review of my eBook and the website it’s on keeps tweeting about it. SO I guess I sort of have a hater, at least for right now. Win?]

Ok, so back to hyping myself up. Because I don’t know if they’re real of not, I have to focus on who I think my haters are and then I hype myself by thinking about all the ways I’m “showing them”.

Yeah, mean bag lady from the supermarket. Look at me now. Jogging.

Drake“The Motto”

There are some great, nay, perfect hype up lines in this. “Go uptown New York City big,” is a good one. It’s where I discovered YOLO, which was a wonderful thing for a few moments before the internet or hipsters or something ruined it. Whatever, I still love YOLO. But the reason this song is one of my ultimate hype of songs is because of the line “How ya feel/ How ya feel/ How ya feel/ 25 sitting on 25 mil.”

While I am 27 sitting on the 25 cents I have in my Bank of America savings account, and even that only exists because I have the Keep the Change program, sometimes I feel awesome and I think I can relate to how awesome Drake feels.

Drake & Rihanna –Take Care

This song makes me feel good about being young and making bad choices (parents, shield your children from Rihanna at all costs). Because being in a relationship is (wonderful) boring, listening to this song takes me back to the last time I was single, which was also boring, but I like to remember it as being dramatic. Lines like, “What’s a life with no fun / Please, don’t be so ashamed / I’ve had mine, you’ve had yours / We both know / We know,” and “Dealing with a heart that I didn’t break.”

So here’s the part in the blog post where you’ve started judging me. REMEMBER WHAT I SAID AT THE BEGINNING. Pumped up playlists are great because they’re terrible, shameful reminders of all the ways in which we take ourselves and our lives too seriously.

Young Jeezy – “Put On

I don’t know if anything pumps me up more than songs about Atlanta by rappers from Atlanta. I don’t actually know what constitutes the act of ‘putting on,’ but I assume it has a something to do with showing the haters that Atlanta is the best.

What now, person who grew up in Cincinatti who got the last sesame bagel this morning? I’m putting on for my city significantly harder than you are putting on for Cincinatti. Are you even putting on for Cincinatti at all?

JoJo – “Get out

There’s something so girl powery about this song. The closest thing I’ve ever had to being cheated on was when the compulsive liar I was “if I DID want to be in a relationship it would definitely be with you”-ing at the time had some sort of make out/hickey competition after I’d gone home to go to sleep because I had to get up for work at Waffle House in the morning. I don’t think it really count as being cheated on, but again in my love of dramatizing past situations in my mind I like to think about this experience as having actually been a music video in which I stood on some sort of stage in front of all of our friends and sang this, interspersed with B roll footage of my laying on my bed looking skinny and sad.

Drake – “Money to Blow

Best line – “I am what everybody in my past didn’t want me to be”

Guess what freshman year judge of my vocal proficiency exam who called me not a very musical student? I’m a project manager now.

2 Chainz – “I’m different

Because I am different, goddammit.

Rihanna –Good Girl Gone Bad

Seriously, why would anyone ever let their child listen to Rihanna? This is another dramatizing my past song. I’m pretty sure that I have not gone bad in any of the ways that Rihanna is warning men I may be forced to go bad if they become “The Reason” by always going out with their boys or something. I don’t think I really understand what this song is about, actually.

Ke$ha –Tik Tok

This is on everyone’s pumped up playlist… right?

T.I. – “Tell ’em I said that

Along with its menacing beat, the key line in this song for me is “These n(words)s ain’t G!” Back when I did floral sales, I used to play this on the way to meetings to get myself in the zone to sell. I’d stand there on the train, dressed in a pencil skirt and holding a giant binder full of flower pictures and imagine the meeting. I was going to give a presentation so good that at the end the restaurant owner would lean back in his chair and think, “Wow. I never thought about it before, but my callas lilies really aren’t G, are they? I’ve got to buy this chick’s flowers.”

T.I. – “I’m Back

THEY SET A CAR ON FIRE IN THE MUSIC VIDEO. T.I. IS FROM ATLANTA. I PUT ON FOR MY CITY.

Lil Wayne –Get High, Rule The World

I retired this song a while back, but I think it deserves to be noted. First because this list doesn’t adequately express my love of Weezy, but second because there was a year or two where this was my anthem. It was definitely during my stoned music school phase when I liked to delude myself into believe that if I were to get high, I might still be able to rule the world. If I did my own mixtape version of Lil Wayne’s version, it would be “Get High, Get a Mediocre Score on my LSAT Prep Test.”

Ne Yo -“Miss Independent” ( the alternate option is Webbie’s “I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T” depending on my mood) –

There was a big “She Work Hard for The Money” theme in 2009 pop songs. I think Keri Hilson had something to do with it, but I was way into it. The other thing that happened in 2009 was that I moved home from college and right back into my parent’s house. If there really were a song for me, it would be something like “C-O-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T / You know what dat means? / She got her parents house/ she got her parents car / they get a tax break / she got a bachelor of arts.”

Even now, I can’t listen to Ne Yo croon about this gorgeous, well established woman and think “that’s totally me.” I pay my own bills (sort of) and sometimes I put on a pencil skirt and tuck in my shirt, but I usually discover it has some stain from whenever the last time I was feeling like a Boss and treated myself to Starbucks, which I promptly spilled on my Boss-gear. When it comes down to it, the only “own thing” I have is $2,500 in credit card debit. That’s allllll mine.

Oh! One other reason why I get pumped up by Webbie’s take on self-sufficient ladies is because it’s a song with spelling in it. AREN’T SONGS WITH SPELLING THE BEST?? I swear the only reason I supported Fergie’s solo career was because I had so much fun spelling with her.

Honorable mention: Drake’s “Make Me Proud“. This song has SO MANY of my favorite pumped up lines, and I love the idea of being loved because I may one day make the decision to run on the treadmill and only eat salad, but then Nikki Minaj comes in and starts bragging about her vagina and it ruins all of it for me.

Song that should not be on anyone’s playlist and frankly should not exist: The Black Eyed Pea’s “I got a Feeling”. If you hear this song while you’re getting ready to go out, don’t go out. Your night is going to be a bad night.

Peace, love and peace and love to all my hatttttttersssssss, 

BWCE

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