Thursday, December 16, 2010

Your Sushi's So Easy...

This sign is posted in front of my favorite Chinese restaurant:

I love this sign.

I assume that what they meant to say was, "Our sushi chef can even prepare sushi in your home," - a sort of "imagine the possibilities" enticement. Instead, a simple misplacement of words makes this advertisement come across as a condescending comment on how remarkably easy sushi preparation is.

"Even our sushi chef can prepare sushi in your home... and he's 
a drunken howler monkey. So what's your excuse?"

Alas, the oh-so-elementary skill of making sushi is beyond my ability, so I'm forced to rely on the disdainful proprietors of this Chinese restaurant for my maki fix.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Lame Candy

Here's a photo I snapped on my camera phone today:

Marshmallow Christmas Lights. I could perhaps see the festive, fun qualities of, say, a candy necklace that is made to look like a string of Christmas lights. However, a single, dry, puffy light seems kind of pathetic.

I made some quick sketches of further candy ideas that this company might like.

Marshmallow Reindeer Antler

Marshmallow Christmas Tree Needle

Marshmallow Hanukkah Candle Dripping

If you have any more ideas, please post them and I'll make sure to pass them along.

Friday, December 3, 2010


One of my coworkers showed up at work at 5 AM today when he wasn't actually scheduled to be in until 5 PM. In describing his folly, he compared himself to a "dumb-o-saurus."

This reference of a dumb-o-saurus, used in a negative light, puzzled me. The dumb-o-saurus is actually one of my favorite dinosaurs. I mean, they obviously have their faults, but there's no denying that they're totally awesome.

For those of you who aren't as educated about prehistoric animals as I am, here are a couple of illustrations that show why dumb-o-saurus was such an amazing member of the dinosaur family:

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Misused Phrase of the Day: I'm Not Gonna Lie...

I love the English language. I love all the ways it can be used, and I find it hilarious when it’s abused. I have a number of favorite language and grammar abuses, such as inappropriate quotation marks and misuse of the word “literally”. Here’s a new one: The phrase, “I’m not gonna lie.”

I hear people use this phrase often. It is usually abused.

Here is an example of the phrase properly used:

“I’m not gonna lie, this punch I’m about to aim at your head is going to hurt.”
Okay, you’re going to punch someone in the head and you don’t want to sugar coat the situation. The punch is going to hurt and you’re not going to lie about it. Good for you.

Here is an example of the phrase being abused (I really heard someone say this recently):

“I’m not gonna lie, this brownie sundae is delicious.”
What? Why on earth would you lie about that? Unless said brownie sundae has been garnished with amputated puppy ears, you have absolutely no reason to conceal your pleasure in eating it.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Spell Gone Wrong

When I was little, my parents engaged in a practice only utilized with children and dogs: they spelled out phrases they didn't want me to recognize. Before I learned to spell, I was frequently frustrated by my mom and dad stringing together mystical arrangements of letters that I had no hope of decoding. For all I knew, they were saying things like, "Honey, I could really use a quiet morning today. Let's crush up S-L-E-E-P-I-N-G P-I-L-L-S in our daughter's C-H-E-E-R-I-O-S."

Things got even more annoying when my older sister, who was four years ahead of me in school, joined my parents fancy spelling club. I was surrounded by spellers. I wasn't yet able to extract meaning from letter combinations, but I was smart enough to know that if my parents and sister were speaking in code, they were undoubtedly discussing something really juicy. It was maddening.

One day I got it into my head that I should give my family a taste of their own medicine: I would spell something, something really interesting, and they would be left hanging their heads in shame, confusion and sadness. Tragically, I failed to take into account two basic problems - the very two problems that landed me in my vengeful situation to begin with:

1) I couldn't spell.
2) They could.

Thus, when I marched up to my sister, in full view of my parents, and said, "Hey Julie, let's S-N-O-P," I did not get the reaction I hoped for.

I am twenty-eight years old now, and my parents still ask me occasionally if I would like to snop.

Monday, November 22, 2010


I promised myself that I wouldn't go to bed until I'd posted a blog entry.

I'll spare you the long, boring details of the frustration and procrastination that has led up to this moment. Here's a taste, though:

At one point I found myself lying on my back, on the floor, craning my neck back and tapping my skull against the carpet, hoping to shake ideas loose. It didn't work. But I did take a picture.

Well, if i couldn't shake any inspiration loose, at least I was able to capture an image of myself looking startlingly like Leonard Nimoy as Spock.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Codeine Dreams

For the second year in a row, I came down with the flu about a month after getting a flu shot. Good job, flu shot.

I was out of work for three days and spent most of my time off sleeping, lost in bizarre fever- and codeine-fueled dreams. At some point I fell asleep in front of the TV and my brain picked up on some weird word that it wouldn't let go... I kept dreaming about the word, "fistula."


I didn't know what a fistula was, but my first instinct was that it was a medical problem. My second instinct was that it must be a fist that bursts, Alien style, out of the unsuspecting victim's chest.

When I looked it up on Wikipedia, I read that a fistula is, "an abnormal connection or passageway between two epithelium-lined organs or vessels that normally do not connect."

Based on this definition, I think we can all agree that my first instinct was correct: a fistula is a medical problem. And based on my inability to make any further sense of this definition, I suggest we also agree that my second instinct was correct as well.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Twisted Adages

Some months ago I developed a brief addiction to, an online quiz site. I would spend long hours delighting myself by proving that I could identify movie posters for popular films and a not-entirely-pathetic number of quotes from classic literature. After a while, though, I found that it wasn't enough to merely impress myself; I needed to impress someone else by challenging them to beat my scores. So, I sat Jason down at the computer and directed him to a number a quizzes.

He did better than me on some quizzes, not as well on others. Then came the Adages Quiz.

The Adages Quiz provided the first few words of popular adages and then prompted the quiz-taker to complete the sentence. For example, if the prompt was, "A penny saved..." you would complete the adage by typing in "is a penny earned."

Here are a few of my favorite selections from Jason's quiz:

(Please note: the responses you are about to witness were not attempts at humor. They were my husband's actual understandings of popular sayings.)

1. Those who live in glass houses... shouldn't throw bricks.

2. Don't throw the baby... out the window. 

To be fair, those first two stick pretty close to the meaning of the original adages. That didn't stop me from laughing, though. This next one takes on a rather biblical twist in Jason's hands:

3. Spare the rod... and thy staff.

And, finally, we have my personal favorite:

4. A rolling stone... has no home.

Feel free to chime in with the actual endings to the adages above. Better yet, come up with your own versions.

Friday, October 29, 2010

I May Be a Victim of Evil Mind Attacks

I recently downloaded a half hour-long guided meditation onto my iPod. I listen to it in bed at night to help me relax. For six nights in a row, I have made it about ten minutes into the meditation before falling asleep. Thus, I have no idea what the last twenty minutes sound like.

This troubles me.

I am prone to bad dreams, and a string of disturbing nightmares has lead me to feel very concerned about those elusive final twenty minutes of the meditation. Last night I was determined to make it through the whole thing but, approximately ten minutes in, I passed out. Once again twenty minutes of talking went into my ears, in stereo, while I was unconscious.

What is happening in my ears while I'm sleeping?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Party Games Not Improved by Adding Yogurt

The other day I was contemplating a recurring dream of mine: the hilarity that would ensue if I brought a piñata to a party.

Not impressed?

Well, did I mention that the piñata is SECRETLY FILLED WITH YOGURT?

Yes, this is the kind of thing I actually dream about.

On this particular day, though, my dreams got even bigger. I began to wonder - what other party games would yogurt be a terrible addition to? Here are a couple of things I came up with:

Pin the Yogurt on the Donkey

Bobbing for Yogurt

If you have any more ideas, please share them in the comments section. Everyone who leaves a comment will be invited to my yogurt party.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Quiz Time!

View the following photo and then choose the correct answer to the question below.

This warning label, photographed near my place of work, is attempting to convey what message?

A) Keep off of dumpster.
B) No dancing chimney sweeps permitted on rooftop.
C) Fairies prohibited from practicing karate near shoeboxes.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

It Takes a Village

At my coffee shop job today, as I was busy brewing coffee and ringing in orders, a woman wandered back behind the employee-only area. She was pushing our wheeled kids chair in front of her. Her five year old daughter, it seems, had been amusing herself by climbing all over the chair.

"I need you to put this away somewhere," the woman informed me. "I'm afraid my baby is going to hurt herself on it." Apparently, simply telling her daughter to stop climbing the chair wasn't a viable option.

I apologized and wheeled the chair into our storage room.

Ten minutes later, I saw another customer chastising the little girl for rearranging a display of biscotti. The customer asked me where the girl's mother was and I answered that I honestly wasn't sure where the woman had gone.

"Keep an eye on this one," the customer said. "She's taking everything."

Taking everything? I stepped out from behind the counter to see exactly what was going on. The little girl, it turns out, had been doing some redecorating: A few dozen gift cards had been taken from their display and arranged in random piles all over the shop.

I collected all the cards I could find and searched for the mother. When I found her, sitting at a table that faced the window, I showed her the stack of gift cards in my hand.

"Excuse me," I said. "Could you please keep an eye on your daughter? I just found these cards spread all over the store."

The woman looked up at me, annoyed, and snapped, "Well, you can tell her too."

I was baffled. This woman was actually angry at me for not watching her daughter for her while she was relaxing in the corner with her latte. Clearly, she had taken the phrase, "It takes a village to raise a child" to mean that the child's parents are thus relieved of all responsibility.

Then I began to wonder... the mother had said, "Well, you can tell her too." I had assumed that she meant that I could tell the little girl, "Excuse me, don't run around tossing gift cards like confetti," but maybe that wasn't it.

What, exactly, was the mother suggesting I could tell her daughter?

"Excuse me, little girl, don't get your heart set on trying to get your mom to notice you. Your chances are really not looking good."

"Excuse me, little girl, but I have to say that you've got the right idea collecting all those gift cards. Money isn't a substitute for a mother's love, but it's certainly a good start."

"Excuse me, little girl, but you don't have to feel invisible. Your mother may not be monitoring your every move, but the government probably is."
Sadly, the woman collected her daughter and left the shop before I had a chance to ask her to elaborate.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

#4,841 on the List of Things That Confuse Me

I don't get some of the attitudes and terminology that are directed toward cosmetic surgery.

For example, a person might  say, "I don't believe in cosmetic surgery." That same person might see a lady with excessively large breasts and say, "Those aren't real."  But I just can't agree with a person like that. Know why? Because a friend of mine got breast implants a few years ago and showed me the results.

I can say with confidence that I was definitely not imagining those things.

Additionally, I don't feel like I have any right to judge because I secretly want to get cosmetic surgery. There's one type of implant in particular that I dream about all the time...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Winner

Sunday's contest winner was Dan Pattee, who correctly guessed that I was referencing Tales from the Darkside in the photo caption.

Here is a picture of Mr. Pattee receiving his prize - his very own bunny-breathing dragon:


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Lazy Sunday Hasty Photo - Gargoyle Attack!

Identify the following scary movie reference. First person to correctly answer in the comments section wins an awesome prize - or at least a drawing of one.

After coming to life and brutally dismembering my agent, this gargoyle agreed to let me live only if I promised to never tell anyone that I'd seen him.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Day Ten of the Twitch

It's official: I have developed a nervous tic.

For nine days in a row, I endured the onset of a regular and involuntary twitch. The muscles around my left eye would spasm every few minutes, causing my eyelid to flutter weirdly. While the twitch itself was probably unnoticeable to the casual observer, my distressed behaviour was anything but. For days, my coworkers at both jobs had been assaulted by me, pointing at my left eye, shouting, "Did you see it? Did you?! WHAT IS HAPPENING TO MY FACE?!"

People have suggested a number of likely causes: vitamin B deficiency, dehydration, potassium deficiency, lack of sleep, etc. But today, day ten of the twitch, it was confirmed: the culprit is nerves.

I had a rare opportunity to sleep in today. I took the lunch shift off from my restaurant job. I got out of bed around noon, ate some cereal, drew a picture of a gallbladder. It was great. My eye didn't twitch once. Then, an hour later, as Jason and I were doing some much-needed cleaning of our bedroom, Jason found something among the clutter.

A little backstory: Jason and I have two cats, Spike and Mina, who are in temporary foster care. Our awesome friends Kolleen and Jeff agreed to care for the cats when we moved into Jason's parents house in an effort to save money for our upcoming move to Texas. I know Spike and Mina are in excellent, loving care, but I miss them all the same.

So, what did Jason find? I was putting some sweatpants in a drawer when I heard Jason say, "Aw..." I turned and saw it: a tiny cowboy hat. Spike's tiny cowboy hat.

Spike: Always Ready for a Showdown or a Hoedown
(by Jason Dubinsky)

Twitch. Twitch. Twitch-twitch-twitch-twitch. My eye went crazy.

Now I'm simply praying that the tic doesn't get worse or spread. I'm comfortable with my current level of quirkiness; I don't need the whole left side of my body erupting in crazy, electrified-marionette-style spasms every time I feel anxious.

Only one thing keeps me serene: the soothing knowledge that Spike's little head isn't going cold. Kolleen and Jeff have made sure of that, and I will be forever grateful.

Spike Gets Ready For the Big Interview
(by Kolleen Carney-O'Brien)
"Make sure you mention how he didn't get the big job because he fell asleep at the bus stop. He has narcolepsy." - Jeff O'Brien

Friday, October 15, 2010

A Loss in the Family

On Wednesday, my sister underwent emergency surgery to have her gallbladder removed. She seems to be recovering well, but I wanted to express my condolences for her sudden and unexpected loss.

In the spirit of sympathy, I made a drawing inspired by the following popular quote:
"If you love something, set it free; if it comes backs it's yours, if it doesn't, it never was."

Monday, October 11, 2010

Peach Has Got It!

Ooooh... Halloween is coming up!

This year I am going to be Princess Peach of Mario Bros. fame. The costume may not be very scary, but you know what is? The fact that I'm making it.

I've yet to sew a single stitch, but I do have the fabric all cut out. I have also made Peach's signature blue earrings and front-of-dress gemstone out of Fimo modeling clay.

Let's hope I don't get too into character and begin punching bricks in search of gold coins.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Lazy Sunday Hasty Photo: When Fruit Snacks Fight

A battle for the ages - between tyrannasaurus and brachiosaurus, between orange and lemon...

Mmmm... dinosaur fruit snacks: Vicious and delicious!

Friday, October 8, 2010

My Flawless Plan

Imagine that you are walking across a frozen lake. Suddenly, you feel a crackling beneath your feet. The lake is not as frozen as you had thought - the ice beneath you seems to shudder, threatening to give way and shatter into a million crumbling shards.

That's the sensation I get in my wrists when I lift heavy objects.

My wrists are tiny. I have trouble finding watches or bracelets that don't simply slide right off. I've fractured my left wrist twice. If my skeleton put out a yearbook, those fragile little wrist bones would definitely be honored with the title, "Most Likely to Get Horribly and Irreparably Broken." Recently, I suggested to a co-worker that an x-ray might show that I don't have bones in my wrists at all, but flimsy little crackers instead.

My arms are no real prize either. They're long and skinny, like noodles - much more suited to flopping uselessly at my sides than doing heavy lifting.

My hands? Ridiculous. I think they stopped growing when I was three. I have, on numerous occasions, referred to them as my "tiny little hamster hands."

So those are the cards I've been dealt: noodle arms, cracker wrists and hamster hands.

My main concern with my pathetic appendages is self-defense. If I'm attacked by a mutant ninja assassin, overpowering my assailant is clearly not an option. What's a weakling to do?

Here's the plan I've come up with: 

When MegaBadGuy gets close enough (did I mention he's also a fire-breathing robot?) I will let my arms go limp. I will then swiftly drop my shoulders and snap them back up. In this way, my arms should act as powerful Indiana Jones-style whips that will stun and temporarily disable even the most imposing of fire-breathing-mutant-robot-ninja-assassins.

I'm fairly certain that my plan is flawless. However, should you have any ideas for better improving my plan, I welcome your advice.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Quiz Time!

View the following snapshot from my mother-in-law's calendar and then choose the correct answer to the question below.


On the dates shown, Wendy has marked:

A) Days that she is scheduled to work as a substitute teacher.
B) The type of sandwich she plans to eat on those days.
C) Her preferred method of water travel on those days.

Ooh La La... La Bella Placenta Shampoo!

Good call, Kolleen. Good call.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Bloodstained Pillow Case

When I was a little kid, my family and I went on a trip to Washington, D.C. We toured a number of historically significant spots, including the house that President Lincoln was brought to after being shot in the head at Ford's Theatre: the Peterson House. Within the house, on display, was the bloodstained pillow case that Lincoln's head had rested on.

Years later, when I was in seventh grade, I went on an extended school field trip to D.C. When I found out that we would be touring the Peterson house, I excitedly told my classmates about the bloodstained pillow case that we would be viewing. My classmates were thrilled. History was boring, but blood was awesome.

When we entered the bedroom in the Peterson House where Lincoln had lain, everyone crowded toward the bed to get a glimpse of the infamous pillow I had told them about.

It wasn't there.

I had no explanation for the absence of the morbid artifact, and a nearby tour guide looked mystified when I asked about it. My classmates were understandably disappointed and took their anger out on me by accusing me of being a crazy liar with a sick imagination. I began to doubt the accuracy of my memory. For many years I had no choice but to accept my classmates prognosis; I was obviously crazy and ought to be ashamed for having such a creepy imagination.

Then, not long ago, I was sorting through some old photographs and I came across a stack of images from my family's original trip to the capital. Among them, I found this picture:

Blood. Stained. Pillow.

Ever since I found this photograph, I've fantasized about bringing it to the next class reunion. In my fantasy, I push the photo in the face of every person who went on that trip, jabbing my finger at the faint image of the bloodstain and screaming, "Blood! See? Blood on the pillow! There is BLOOD on the PILLOW!"

Then they'll all feel like fools for calling me crazy. Ha.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Oh, So That's What My Foot Tastes Like...

The coffee shop that I work at recently introduced a new extra-large sized cup for iced coffee.

A few days back I was restocking the pastry case when a customer came in and ordered one of our giant iced coffees. One of my coworkers, Ryan, discussed the merits and disadvantages of the new cup with the customer.

"It's pretty cool," Ryan said, "but I don't know if I would ever order one for myself. It's so big that it's almost awkward."

"No kidding," I called over, chuckling, "that thing's so big, you need two hands to carry it!"

Then I looked up at the customer.

Yup. Only one arm.

Great job Lola.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Sharing the Shower

I used to be terrified of spiders. If I saw a spider anywhere near me, I would immediately begin to sweat. My skin would feel two sizes too small and my heart would seemingly try to eat its way out of my chest. I once jumped out of a moving car because there was a tiny green spider on the seat next to me.

I've come a long way since then. One day, when I was nineteen, I saw a spider and decided that I was going to pick it up. For about ten seconds I committed every aspect of my concentration to telling myself that I wasn't afraid of spiders. It worked. I picked the spider up; I put the spider down. I didn't die.

A couple of weeks ago a spider showed up on the ceiling of our bathroom. He was a chunky little guy - fat, brown and, from toe to toe, about the size of a nickel. Since I had made a commitment to not be scared of these guys anymore, I decided that I wouldn't mind sharing the bathroom with spidey.

I told myself that he probably wouldn't stick around for very long anyway - a day or two at most.

As it turns out, though, however determined I was to not be afraid of spiders, this spider was even more determined to never leave the bathroom. I would be lying if I said I didn't begin to sweat a little every time I needed to pee.

One day I walked into the bathroom to brush my teeth and I noticed that there was a second spider on the ceiling, merely a foot away from the old spider. Old Spidey began walking toward New Spidey. Awesome, I thought, they're going to have an epic spiderfight to the death, kill each other and solve my problem.

That's not what happened, though.

Old Spidey just breezed right by New Spidey. They might as well have high-fived each other.

Then the inevitable happened. I hopped into the shower one night and found that it was already occupied. Spidey was there, on the far wall opposite the shower head, chilling out and possibly contemplating whether or not he should magically tranform and multiply into a swarming army of soul-devouring, poison-spitting demon spiders that would attack me and lay eggs behind my eyeballs and underneath my fingernails.

As I stood there, trembling and fighting off the urge to mimic Janet Leigh in Psycho, I realized that it was a good time to remind myself that I'm not afraid of spiders.

Ultimately, I was able to get through the ordeal. I found that as long as I kept my eyes on Spidey the entire time I could stay calm enough to quickly shower.

Here is the very valuable lesson I learned that day:

Don't try to wash your hair without closing your eyes. Shampoo stings.

Monday, September 27, 2010

I'm So Glad You're Undead

Today is my big sister's birthday. Here is one of my favorite photos of the two of us:

Yes, I know - we look awesome. The most intriguing detail of this picture, however, is not visible in the image above. I recently examined the back of the photograph for the first time and discovered that the date written there was not quite what I had expected...

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Lazy Sunday Hasty Photo

Me and my dad's mustache, having breakfast. I'm rocking my Urkel t-shirt and possibly eating directly from a large tub of butter.

My dad has his eyes lowered - in shame perhaps? I wonder why?

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Quoth the Tiger...

I spent some time tonight fooling around with a drawing app for the iPad. I drew a sabertooth tiger.

He has a simple but powerful message to share with you:

Thursday, September 23, 2010

My Human Face

Last night I watched all four parts of The Human Face, a BBC documentary that examines the science behind both the physical and sociological anatomy of human faces.

The key trait, it turns out, in the most attractive faces is symmetry. The more symmetrical a face is, the more pleasing it is to the viewer. This factoid made me curious. I decided to play around with the special effects in the Photo Booth program on Jason's computer...

This is my face:

Believe it or not, I am not raising my eyebrow in the above photo. My left eyebrow is higher and more expressive than my right.

Now here's what I would look like if my face was  perfectly symmetrical:

Pretty cool, huh?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Lazy Sunday Hasty Photo

I have heard it said that all babies are cute.


If you can find cuteness in a bloated, hairy, cross-eyed loaf of  baby flesh dressed in a yellow sack then, yes, I suppose even I was a cute infant.

Please feel free to take a second look before you make up your mind, though.

Thanks for keeping me, Mom and Dad.