29 June 2006

Jack in the Box

Since when did Jack in the Box become such a perv? I have seen an evolution of sorts, but this latest commercial confirms it.

It is for his latest product, I think it is a meal of sorts with a patty melt (maybe?), chocolate shake, and special fries. Jack and a cohort are watching a group of test subjects from behind a two way mirror. The group of men is around the product, while on the other side of the room, various distractions are being presented. Distractions include a hot motorcycle, a big screen TV playing baseball, an ice cold keg, and the finale, two women jumping on the bed in a pillow fight. The men never take their eyes off the product. Jack's cohort says they can take over the world, but Jack is too busy perving out over the two women on the bed.

This is how Jack wants to sell burgers? Ewwww.

28 June 2006

Sweet 16? More like Spoiled Brat 16.

In continuing my penchant for horrible TV, I am watching My Sweet 16. This MTV "reality" show follows privileged fifteen year olds as they plan their sweet 16 party.

It is gross.

First of all, I understand that teenagers don't always speak nicely to their parents. I know I didn't. But the way these kids treat their parents...AND THEIR PARENTS LET THEM!! They are also to blame. They take their kids to Paris, London, NYC to buy a new dress. Or two. For a sweet sixteen party.

I don't remember any of my friends really having a sweet 16 party. Maybe we went to dinner or something, but I can't think of much more elaborate than that. Has it become that big a deal? Am I that out of touch?

I feel partially to blame...I watch this crap and give MTV the audience it needs to perpetuate the notion that this is the norm. And I can't figure out why I watch it...I don't even understand half of what they are saying (an excerpt was something like, "Did Bjorn have the dopest threads to hold on to his title as divo and beat everyone for the sweetest 'fit?"). And I can't figure out where they find these people. Some of these parents spend over 100K$ to throw their kid a bday party. None of them seem to have food, and there shouldn't be any alcohol, so where are they spending their money?
  • Entertainment (Ciara, some rapper I don't know, L.A. Reid's son had a bunch of folks, including Jermaine Dupree, but those may have been free)
  • Designer Duds for the kids
  • Trips to some big fashion mecca to find said Designer Duds
  • Name-brand cars; nothing less than a BMW, Lexus, Range Rover, Mercedes will do
  • Fancy-schmazy invitations (one passed out little MP3 players...I think that was L.A. Reid's son and I don't think those were free)
  • Huge cakes that get smashed into

I don't know why I watch this crap. It really scares me.

26 June 2006


Some people like eating raw cookie dough...me? Raw Funfetti mix.


I ate too much, and may be ill. But it was still delicious.

Soap Operas

Every day I head home after work, and am greeted with the latest recordings on my Tivo. Always there, like a faithful companion, is that day's episode of General Hospital. For an hour a day (usually less because I have to fast forward through so much of the crap and characters I can't stand), I fall into the world of Port Charles, into the world of these friends I have known for as long as I can remember.

Like many people, I grew up with soap operas. My mom watched (and sometimes still watches) the ABC soaps-- All My Children, One Life to Live and General. My Grammie always watched the CBS shows-- As the World Turns and Guiding Light (and the other one, but I can't remember the name). I, of course, watched them all with them. The story lines weren't that complicated, the characters remained relatively the same, and my mom, Grammie, and aunts all talked about the soaps so it was easy to keep up.

As I got older, I gravitated mostly to General Hospital. For a while I tried Days of our Lives, because it seemed to be "the thing" to watch, but I found myself back at GH. They are addicting, these soap operas, and sometimes they are even compelling.

In 1994/1995, there was what I consider one of the best storylines ever on GH. There had been a lot going on that year...I believe that was the year BJ died and Maxie took her little heart, Jagger and Karen and Jason had a wicked love triangle, and Stone Cates arrived on the scene, enamouring Robin Scorpio. Robin was my age, and Stone was hot, and dangerous, and all was well in PC. Until Stone was diagnosed with AIDS. I remember crying on the day Stone died on the show...many of us were crowded into the University Union at Cal Poly watching him take his last breath and crying with Robin. This story hit home, I guess, with many of us.

I think I cried one more time when Lucky "died" in the fire, and a distraught Elizabeth tried to make sense of it all. Lucky and Liz's love story-- Lucky was originally in love with Sarah Webber, Liz's sister, who was in love with Nikolas Cassadine, Lucky's half-brother-- was so sweet. I feel like I know these people.

And therein lies the problem with soaps...they draw you in, and because people are, by nature, nosy, we stay glued to the set to see who the father of the baby is, or when she will get over anmesia, or if he is really dead. These things wouldn't really happen in real life, or, if they did, not to the same people over and over again....I mean, really, don't people ever learn a lesson? Soaps are formulaic (one night stand with someone's husband/boyfriend= instant pregnancy; new baby=unsure paternity; someone falls off a boat and dies, but there is no body= return of character in 5 years), but it works.

These people have been more consistent in my life than most I have known in real life. Although I don't watch it, I can turn on ATWT and still see my Grammie's favorite Lily and Holden, although their trial of the month will be different. Now I turn on GH and Robin is back, Robin that I grew up watching, played by the same actress. She has been on since she was about 8... I don't know how many people I am still in touch with after 22 years.

In a world of change, soaps are a constant.

19 June 2006

On Dying...

First off, I hate the phrase, "S/he is dead." To me it is so cold, so impersonal. And to me, death isn't impersonal. It affects people. Maybe I am naive, but I rather like, "S/he passed away." There is a softness to it that makes it, to me, more palatable. It makes it seem like they have headed on to their next journey, whatever that may be (and even if it is just a long, dreamless sleep. I don't know, I haven't made my mind up on that).

I have been thinking alot about death the last few days. Makes sense, as my Papa just passed away last Wednesday. The last time I saw him, we were told he didn't have much more time. I don't know if they told him that, but when I went in to see him, he had a ethereal look that told me he knew what was going on. There was a peace about him that I hadn't seen in some time, and he looked at all of us (me, my brother, mom, aunt, cousin, uncle...there were lots of us there) as though it could be his last time. While we were told it would be a few weeks, if not a few months, he took fate into his own hands and set on his trek later that evening.

When I was in college, I wrote a paper about El Dia de la Muerte, a Mexican holiday that celebrates those who have gone before us. In it, I wondered if we know, somehow, when the current day will be our last. Is there something that tells us, this day may be a little different? Even people who die suddenly or horribly, is there somehow that day starts a little different, with a peaceful feeling? I sometimes think this when I swerve around an accident, and don't feel like this is my last day, so it probably won't be.

I like to think that our mind somehow prepares us. Not warn us, because if it is how it is to be, so be it. But kind of makes us see the colors a little brighter, look at people in a different light, feel something different. And this thing I think, it is not like a premonition, or an omen. It is not something we can detect and then stay home all day to try to avoid doing anything. But maybe it is a sense of forgiveness that finally comes in the last seconds, and I hope a sense of peace. And the whole day was preparing you to accept that. I don't know, I don't have it fully fleshed out, but I feel like there should be something there.

This is all morbid, I realize that. But I don't mean it to me. Thinking back to the last time I saw my Papa, I know he knew something. He knew he could stop fighting. But did he know he would pass away that day? I think so. I think he waited until everyone had visited him (in the two or so days he was in the hospital, all of my immediate had been there) and seen that he was ok with what lied ahead. He waited until he was alone in his hospital room, closed his eyes, and went on his merry way. And I think that was just the way he wanted it.

A mi Papa, te amo demasiado para siempre. Y te echo de menos siempre.

07 June 2006

Peanut, Peanut Butter

...and jam.

In an episode of Sex and the City, Carrie talks about secret single habits that all singles have. Habits that we don't want anyone else to see, or possibly even know about, but that are a part of our lives and daily routines. I think these habits are even more developed when you live solo, as there is really no one around to ever check your behavior, and no one to share anything with.

Ladles and Germs, I am here to reveal my secret single habit. I love peanut butter, and I love jelly, and I love nothing more to get a scoop of PB and then dipping that peanut butter into the jelly. That is followed by the bringing of that bite size scoop of PB&J (sans bread) into my mouth, and then into my belly. YUM.

It is a quick snack when I am a little hungry. One spoon, that's it for the mess. It is a quick comfort when I am sad...some people eat a pint of ice cream, I have a tablespoon or two of reduced fat peanut butter and low sugar jelly (usually apricot or strawberry). At least there's some protein!

I am not sure when this habit began developing. College maybe? I do know, for a very long time, I have told people not to eat my peanut butter. Not because I don't want to share, but because they may be kind of grossed out. I know I would be.

As far as secret single habits go, this one isn't too bad. It isn't like I pick my toes and then eat what I have picked out, or other nasty things people do (hey, no judging...to each their own, as long as hands get washed before they get near me).

06 June 2006

The Break Up

Disclaimer: I love Vince Vaughn. I will, however, remain objective.

Despite the bad press it keeps getting, I saw The Break Up last Friday, opening day. And... I liked it.

Perhaps the critics and I weren't watching the same movie. The movie I saw was at times funny, at times really tough to watch, at times a little sad and maybe, once in a while, a little immature. What relationship, and more specifically, what break up, doesn't contain these elements?

It definitely strayed from the "chick flick" formula. There weren't really wacky hijinks, or slap knee funny pranks or a perfect ending. I know I cringed during many scenes. This movie made me uncomfortable. But what is so wrong with that?

If you haven't seen it, there may be some spoilers below. But who am I kidding...from the looks of the comments no one but me really reads this. Which is ok. Hello to those of you who are reading!

The one main flaw I can find is that I didn't feel too invested in these characters. They showed me how they met, and then a montage of pictures showed me how happy their relationship is at the start of the movie. But anyone can smile and look happy in pictures. No one is that blissful all the time, right? It is important to pay attention during the montage; it gives somewhat of a backstory. But, with only how they met and then these pictures to tell me about their relationship, I am unsure of why Brooke is with Gary, and what possessed her to by a house with him. He couldn't have changed THAT much once they moved in, could he? Was he doing dishes before?

The movie starts with a pivotal point in their relationship. She wants him to want to help, without him having to ask. Even outside of romantic relationships, this argument happens. From the mom who wants the kids to pick up their room without being asked time and time again, to the boss that wants her workers to think a step ahead and not always rely on her for the answers, to the friend who needs someone to know when they are needed, without being told. This is an ages old argument, and this scene rings so true. You can see Brooke putting together all the times she has wanted to say something, which has stayed bottled up for a long time but suddenly is at the surface. You can see Gary's defeat, his feeling that nothing he does is ever good enough, his wondering why he should even try. This scene, although peppered with VV's quick banter, is uncomfortable to watch. It is not what we usually see in the movies. And, for me, that is what makes it work.

The rest of the movie deals with the two of them, still loving each other, trying not to be the one who breaks. Eventually, they hurt each other enough that the damage seems permanent. The acting here is well done; you can see their pain, and the love they have still, but how they can't figure out what to do with those feelings. As they say goodbye, you can feel that this has defeated them.

Too often American movies are such a pretty package. The romantic comedy genre is afraid of the unhappy ending, afraid of not providing closure (unless there will be a sequel, which have been WAY overdone). The makers of this movie hastily slapped on a new ending, which you could tell. But, thankfully, they didn't sew things up. Gary didn't hunt Brooke down, pick her up and plant a big kiss on her; they don't go on their merry way. And that is ok. Much like a good book, I like that something is left to my imagination.

I don't know what the critics were expecting when they saw this movie. Were they looking for a critical masterpiece? Aren't romantic comedies, by their nature, a bit of fluff? Maybe that's it, there was a little too much reality. Maybe the critics didn't like it, but I did!

05 June 2006

Search is Over...

Full of hot air tonight, I am.

After finding out I did not, in fact, get the job I had my heart set on, I was very disappointed. At that point, I wasn't sure if I still wanted to look for another job. Perhaps I could just stay where I was. It was hard to sneak out of work so much...how many "appointments" can a girl have?! It was really stressing me out. Add to that the nonstop rain (1.5 months!!), and this Annie was pretty down in the dumps.

After allowing myself to wallow a bit, and taking a break from The Search, I resumed. Started sending my resume in to lots of employers, and more recruiters. Met with a few more recruiters, none of whom were particularly helpful, but I am a good hire, right? They would find something for me me soon.

One appointment was very strange. I was going in to speak to the recruiter about a specific position, one that required at least 5 years experience. Imagine my surprise when I arrived at the agency, and was asked to take a Word test, Excel test, a PowerPoint test, a spelling test, a filing test and a math test. The recruiter was SHOCKED by how quickly I finished and how high my scores were (really, she went on and on); I was shocked that they would ask for someone with that much experience and then make them do basic testing. My attitude was poor after that, and the interview got worse. This was an entry-level recruiting/staffing agency, and was definitely not used to dealing with higher levels. She asked me some crazy questions, I got increasingly impatient, and finally it was over. I have a feeling they never even submitted my resume to the company they were recruiting for, and that was probably for the better. I was mad that I had wasted a valuable amount of time.

After meeting with yet another recruiting company-- who had only a few openings, none of which I was really qualified for-- I was once again feeling down. It had been 5 months, and I was still stuck at my old job. I didn't care anymore about my old job, and I didn't like that. And I felt like I would never get out. Ever.

That week, I sent in more resumes to companies I had found on Monster. To my great surprise, I got calls for two! Here I had been working with 4+ recruiters, and I got calls all on my own! I went into the first one, and really hit it off with the manager. Similar position to what I was currently doing, but totally different type of company and different industry. I was really excited when I left, and even more excited when, at the end of that day, I got a call asking me to come back in and meet with more people! After just a few hours!

In the meantime, an agency wanted me to go in and interview. So I did. I liked the agency, and while it didn't get me as excited as Company #1, it would have been a very good career opportunity. I went back in to Company #1, and finally #2 called me back in. Company #1 told me they had one more person I needed to meet with, but they started calling my references, so I felt pretty positive. I was going out of town for a week, so both companies needed to wait until I got back to do anything more. While I was away, all I could think was that it may be my last work trip with this company, the last time I will see many of these people. In that sense it was bittersweet, but exciting at the same time.

I had my interview with Company #2 when I returned home. As I was getting ready to go to that interview, I got an email and a call from the manager at Company #1 that she had some good news. I excitedly called her back, and she told me as long as all negotiations went well, she'd love it if I came on board! I got the job!

I still went through with the other interview. What if it didn't work out and once again, I was out of luck? The interview went well, and the recruiter told me not to accept until I heard from Company #2 the next day. The next day rolled around, I was able to negotiate a better salary from Company #1, and accepted the position. I never did hear again from Company #2, so I am glad I didn't wait (I don't know if they heard I accepted the job, or they just weren't interested... after going in a few times, I kind of expected them to let me know something!).

I resigned the next day. It was nervewracking, but I did it. And once I did, it was like a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders. Could I have been more excited?! My last two weeks were nuts, no time to slack, and then I had two weeks of R&R (part of the time in Maui). It was A-W-E-S-O-M-E!!

Job Search...

I know it has been a while, but my life had mainly been focused on finding a new job, and I couldn't really talk about it in a public forum. So, after a long and daunting job search, I have finally landed a new gig. After a two week notice, and a two week vacation, I started the job today!

The search was full of ups and downs. I committed to finding a new job in November 2005 (the week before Thanksgiving). Upon posting my resume, I received many calls, mostly from recruiters. I began working with one in particular, and went in to meet her about 2 weeks before Christmas; she had an opening that sounded pretty ideal for me, and I was very excited! Unfortunately, that time of year is a little tough for scheduling interviews, etc., so I had to sit and wait.

Turns out, that job went to an internal hire, BUT the hiring company liked my resume and had another, similar opening. I went for my first interview at the end of January. It went really well. But it wasn't for the job I thought; same group, different role. I figured it out midway through, but didn't care. I was qualified and would have been happy with either job. They wanted a few particular skills I didn't have, but they must have liked my personality, because they did bring me back to interview for other role.

A few weeks later, I went back, and aced the interview. Everyone loved me (I will say...I can turn it on during an interview. I'm never sure about where that comes from, but glad it is there!), and I was told that they wanted me to work there, they just had to figure out what position. Great, I thought, just a little while longer and I would be able to give my resignation! I just had to interview with one of the higher ups.

That happened a few days later. Didn't do as well as I would have liked in that round, but the guy intimidated me a little bit. I had also had a bad day at work, not that it's an excuse but it did lend to my poor interview. I guess it wasn't as bad as I thought, because they called me to come back about a week later (SOP, apparently, for this company). So again I went, and again, I aced it. Feeling very confident, I waited to hear from them...A week later, I did.

I got the job! YAY. I was so excited, but still had an uneasy feeling. I tried to ignore it as I waited for the real offer, with numbers. Tried not to get my hopes up, what if the offer wasn't good, but waited with eager anticipation. Soon, I found out why I was feeling uneasy. About two days after they made me a verbal, I got a message that at the 11th hour, a very senior person decided to go a different direction with the position.

WHA? After two months of interviewing (and almost 3 since I had first heard of the positions), several rounds of meetings, a verbal offer, and they reneg it? After everyone else had signed off on it? I was so disappointed...tried to tell myself that it wasn't meant to be, but that didn't help the disappointment.