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Drive Me Crazy

Warning: Contains foul language and sweeping generalizations.

Ever wondered how your zodiacal sign relates to the way you drive? If so, you’re in luck (and you’re weird).

Driving Style, By Astrological Sign:

Aries – You still haven’t figured out the whole left versus right thing. If a sign tells you to merge left, you invariably head right. Right lane ends? No problem — Aries drivers will quickly change lanes to make sure they’re in whichever lane disappears in ten feet. All of which begs the question, “How hard it is, you stupid piece of shit?”

Hmm … decisions, decisions. It’s all so confusing when you're an idiot.

Visual aids are no help, as you suffer from acute hyperdumbassism, a cognitive defect that reverses all images before they reach your miniscule brain. This also explains why you brake at green lights. And why everyone hates you.


Taurus – You refuse to leave the fast lane, even though you’ve been pacing an 18-wheeler for the past ten miles and have fifty pissed-off drivers behind you. You’re a stubborn asshole who treats the road like it’s the best seat at Golden Corral. You don’t leave an all-you-can-eat buffet — or your lane — for anyone. If the person behind you gets too close, you just drive slower. Fun fact: more Taureans die in drive-by shootings than all other signs combined.


Gemini – You’re a menace on the road, thanks to your Multiple Personality Disorder and your inability to shut the fuck up. When you’re not gabbing on your cell and sending texts, you’re arguing with talk radio or possibly the voices inside your head. You switch lanes as often as you change sexual partners — fast lane, slow lane, male, female — you’ll try anything and anyone, so long as you can blame your parents when it all goes to hell. All Geminis are liars and sluts, so they rarely get tickets. It’s just one more reason to despise them.


Cancer – Moody and misunderstood, Cancer drivers are easy to spot by their “I ♥ My Chihuahua” and “Gun Control Means Hitting Your Target” bumper stickers. They say Cancers are homebodies, probably because they all live in their parents’ basements mumbling about sneaky little Hobbitses. It’s best to steer clear of Cancer drivers on the road. They’re never more than a body or two away from completing their magnificent human flesh-suit.


Leo – Your car cost more than a house, making you the most awesomest human of ever and also the undisputed winner of life.

Everyone had better get the hell out of your way before you have to go all German engineering on their asses. You’re late for your tee-time, dammit, and there’s a country club with your name on it (or Granddaddy’s name, anyway). Don’t these people know who you are? You own this road, baby. Which is good, since you’ll eventually wreck your Mercedes and end up permanently embedded in the asphalt.


Virgo – Road construction and detours freak you the fuck out, as do spontaneity and joy. Before leaving the house, you research your destination, plot turn-by-turn directions, calculate your fuel usage, and update your amortized vehicle depreciation spreadsheet. Good thing you’re just running down to the corner 7-Eleven, Rain Man. Your OCD pretty much guarantees that anyone taking a road trip with you will eventually gnaw your air freshener into a makeshift shiv and try to murder you with it. But that’s okay — you’ve already mapped the location of every hospital along your route.


Libra - Either you’re too stupid to use your phone’s GPS, or else you think you’re being quirky and ironic when you tell everyone you have a “dumb” phone. If it’s the latter, it’s most likely because a) you don’t know what ironic means, and b) you’re an asshole. You never know where the fuck you’re going, so you brake at Every Damned Sign in case you’re supposed to turn there. Get a map, moron. Being indecisive is not ironic, it’s not hip, and it’s not cute. No one likes you.


Scorpio – You’re a selfish, conniving bastard who can’t follow rules. You know your lane is going to end, but you stay in it anyway, zipping over at the last possible moment so you can cut off the hundred or so suckers who’ve been waiting to inch forward. Depending on your mood, which is impossible to predict, you may respond to the irritated driver behind you by a) laughing maniacally, b) intentionally mistaking their hand gestures for a friendly wave and returning it maniacally, or c) spontaneously combusting … in a maniacally Scorpio manner.


Sagittarius – That 49cc four-stroke between your legs barely qualifies as a real vehicle, but that’s okay because you’re probably not a real boy. You think your scooter is a time-saver, and you’re right — now everyone will know you’re a loser without having to waste their time talking to you. If only you were that considerate on the road. News flash: street legal doesn’t mean street worthy. There’s a reason people don’t ride their lawnmowers to work, Genius. That reason is dignity. Unless you’re a chick, of course. Mopeds are fine for chicks. But if you’re a dude, you must trade in the Vespa for a real motorcycle the instant your testicles finally drop.


Capricorn – You’re too cheap to buy a new car, much less roadside assistance, so you create a traffic jam each time your aging Yugo coughs and splutters and begs for a mercy killing. You spend half your time in a loaner car, which you drive like a fucking asshole since this is all temporary and any day now someone will recognize your greatness and reward your talents and you WILL CONTROL EVERYTHING, BWAHAHA. Settle down, Beavis. You gotta pay off the Yugo first.


That’s a sweet ride, bro. You got AM radio in that thing? Sick!


Aquarius – You’re a judgmental prick, so of course you drive a stupid Prius. You love asking everyone how many miles per gallon their cars get, just so you can gasp at gas prices and make dumbfuck comments like, “Gee, I can’t even remember the last time I had to fill up, hahaha.” On the road, you’re so busy making snide assessments of other vehicles that you miss your exit and have to drive twice as far, subsequently reducing your own mpg. Asshole.


Pisces – You keep a prism dangling from your rear-view mirror because you truly believe rainbows make the world a better place. Just like the real Pollyanna, all Pisces will eventually die from syphilis.

I will hug him and squeeze him and call him Siffy.

Never let a Pisces drive when leaving a concert or sporting event — while they unselfishly allow Every Other Car in the parking lot to exit first, you will die of starvation and dehydration, your cries for help drowned out by the Donny Osmond CD blasting from their car stereo.

Check it out — George Michael and Danny Zuko (Grease) had a baby! And he wears mom-jeans.



The Search for Humor

My sister, whom I love dearly, said to me the other day, “Your book was hilarious, Dani, but I have a question about your writing. In all seriousness—”

Let me stop right there to cue the alarm bells:

Baroooomba! Baroooomba! DANGER, WILL ROBINSON! DANGER!!  

Okay, let’s continue.

“—In all seriousness, why aren’t you ever that funny in person?”

The simple answer is I don’t have a week to script clever responses to everyday conversations. The longer answer is I just happened to have a witty character wander into my head and whisper her story against my subconscious — Kate’s the funny one, not me.

Of course, I gave my sister neither of those answers, preferring the simpler, time-honored reply of “Screw you, bee-yotch.” Then we laughed and laughed and laughed.

Still, the conversation made me realize how long it’s been since I’ve posted to this blog. The reason for my absence (read: excuse) is I just haven’t felt very entertaining lately. I was distracted by the election and other nonsense, and I didn’t want to turn this blog into an attack on anyone’s political or religious views. That’s what my Facebook is for.  This blog was supposed to be light-hearted and fun, a place to come for a quick chuckle.

But we haven’t had much to chuckle about lately, have we? Between a devastating hurricane and the horrific tragedy in Connecticut, it feels wrong to laugh — disrespectful, somehow, to smile when so many have lost so much. And yet for some people, laughter may be the only refuge from grief.

Even without this most recent act of senseless violence (which is a stupid phrase, btw — is there violence that actually makes sense?), the holidays can be hard. The Ghosts of Loved Ones Past call often and, as often as not, unexpectedly — there’s no telling what random sight or song or smell will trigger the sort of memory that makes you break down in the middle of the grocery store aisle.

So if you’re anything like me, and you just need a little break from ALL THE FEELINGS, I’m here to tell you it’s okay. You’re not dishonoring anyone’s memory by allowing yourself to be happy for a little while. You’re not a bad person. You’re just human.

When you feel you’re ready, check out these sites:

The Hater’s Guide to the Williams-Sonoma Catalog

From $72 biscuits to an acorn-shaped twine holder, Drew Magary peruses the Williams-Sonoma catalog with hilariously snarky results. The fruitcake was my absolute favorite.

Your LL Bean Boyfriend

You have to love a tumblr with the tag line “He will build you a table and then have sex with you on it. Doesn’t get much hotter than that.” This very funny page features flannel-clad cuties with handy translations of what they’re really thinking. Stand aside, Harlequin Romance cover model — my LL Bean Boyfriend has a planer, and he’s not afraid to use it!

The Snark Squad: Ruined For Life

Having written a few books, I have an inkling of the tremendous amount of hard work and effort required to take a story from concept to novel (or at least the amount that SHOULD go into it). It’s mean and unprofessional and totally uncool for me to mock the subpar writing of EL James and the train wreck that is the Fifty Shades “series.” Luckily, the Snark Squad is there to do it for me! Lorraine and company will have you rolling with laughter and seriously questioning the sanctity of the New York Times Bestseller list.



Happy holidays to all. May peace and love surround you.






Failed iPhone Designs

So, the big news in the tech world yesterday was the announcement of Apple’s new iPhone 5. After months of speculation, we finally bore witness to the best Cupertino has to offer. You’re probably wondering what amazing new technological marvels Apple has jammed into the Little Smartphone That Could, right? Does it have a translator for Siri? A live feed from the Mars Curiosity rover? How about something to benefit mankind in general, like a filter that stops politicians from tweeting career-ending pictures of their willies?

Sadly, no.

Okay, you say. Then how about a slightly bigger screen and a tiny new connector that will render all my peripherals obsolete? Can I at least get THAT much for my slavish devotion (and my several hundreds of dollars)?

Why, yes. Yes, you can.

Grab your tent and mortgage your house, friends, because the iPhone 5 will be available on September 21st. Maybe. (Scuttlebutt around the supply chain says manufacturing problems at Sharp could cause a display delay.) And as we all know, "display delay" is great fun to say. Also scuttlebutt. The next time I adopt a cat, I’m totally naming him Scuttlebutt. I will chase him around the house yelling, “Out of my way, Scuttlebutt!” Which has nothing to do with iPhones. So. Moving on.

Whether you love or hate Apple — and believe me, there’s no middle ground here — you just have to admire their marketing might. The blogosphere was littered with stories about the release, and there was no shortage of leaked photos or Golum-like hand wringing over possible features. Let’s face it: people just don’t get this excited about products from other companies. “I’m gonna camp out in front of Best Buy so I can get my hands on one of those sweet new Dell laptops,” said no one, ever.

In all the silicon-scented euphoria, it’s easy to overlook the fact that countless hours of R&D went into the new iPhone. So as a special treat for my loyal readers, I called up one of my old procurement buddies who now works at Apple. I asked him to share whatever he could about all the iPhone designs that didn’t quite make the cut, and this is what he sent me. You’re welcome.

Scrapped iPhone Designs:

The biPhone, version 5.wev

Same features as the iPhone 4S, but with one notable exception: the biPhone will happily pair with any provider. In fact, the biPhone frequently switches carriers based on signal strength, barometric pressure, or random whim.



The hiPhone, version 4.20

Designed for the cannabis crowd, the hiPhone featured a working butane lighter, a roach clip that fit into the headphone jack, and every episode of Scooby Doo ever made. To accommodate impaired vision function, all the icons on the home screen were oversized. Siri was upgraded with the Stoner 2.0 language interface, although designers were unable to create the “Insti-Nachos” feature requested by beta testers.



The piPhone, version 3.141592653589793238462643383ohforfuckssake

The piPhone* was every nerd’s dream, with a satellite uplink to CERN, a fully operational Geiger counter, and a super-charged processor for calculating Laurent expansion coefficients when determining hyperfunction solutions of invariant linear differential equations. Preloaded with their favorite MMORPGs and a ComicCon countdown clock, the piPhone also contained step-by-step instructions for building a freakishly accurate Lego death-star.

*Note: The piPhone did not include call capability. In beta testing, users exhibited an acute resistance to voice-to-voice interaction, so this feature was removed.



The broPhone, version 80085(.)(.)

Every guy needs a wingman, right? The broPhone’s got your back, and then some. Unlike your old roommate, the broPhone won’t put the moves on your date or convince you to prank-call your boss at 2 a.m. Siri was replaced with Biri, a bro’s best friend. Biri can tell you which ale goes best with your ranch-seasoned chicken wings, then amuse your friends with endless rounds of the “Biri, how do I hide a body?” game. Bonus for Seinfeld fans: Biri was voiced by Patrick (Puddy) Warburton.




The yoPhone, version 5.0 (but tells everyone it’s version 7.0)

Money can’t buy class—but it can buy hair plugs and a douchey convertible. Ready to party? Don’t waste your night at Club Butterface! Tap the screen, and the yoPhone scans the dance floor, alerting you to any unusually high levels of Spanx. Using the all new, low-light camera, the yoPhone provides a Relative Hottie Score (RHS) for any setting, based on median bust measurement, average BMI, and percentage of body waxed. With the yoPhone in your pocket, you’ll always know when to stay and when to blow.



The hoPhone, version 6.9

Available in the US only, the hoPhone was designed for the millions of women having non-stop orgies now that their slutty birth control is free. Everyone knows only prostitutes use contraception, so the hoPhone automatically records and uploads these trollops’ sexytimes videos for the rest of the world to watch and judge. Whores Women aren’t worthy of civil rights. Or dignity. That’s why the hoPhone comes standard with the Akinator, an app that easily determines whether her rape was legitimate or not (quick guess — it wasn’t).



Note to self: Blog entries written whilst concurrently reading Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” and Caitlin Moran’s “How To Be a Woman” (not to mention listening to clips of Rush Limbaugh) may take on a decidedly edgy tone.

Must. Not. Frighten. Readers.


(Special thanks to Deb Rebisz for the IM conversation (and typos, ha!) that inspired this blog post, and to Gizmodo for the frontal image of the phone.)


Desk, Meet Head

Hoping to prevent the inevitable brain drain of summer, I spent a small fortune on activity books and flash cards for my seven-year old daughter last June. And since school starts in just twelve days, I figured this might be a good time to start thinking about cracking those puppies open. Sure, it means I’ll lose a very efficient doorstop (that kid can prop open a door like nobody’s business!), but I’m willing to make the sacrifice. Also, I’m kidding. I’d never use my daughter as a doorstop. Not when she’s awake, at least.

Anyhoodles, I spent the morning reminding myself why I’d make a lousy teacher. We started out great, my child practically drooling from her all-consuming hunger for knowledge. Or maybe I forgot to feed her breakfast. Either way, the novelty of playing school with Mommy wore off faster than you can say, “I’m calling CPS.”

The hemming began halfway through the first worksheet, followed quickly by the inevitable hawing. And as everyone knows, hawing is the gateway drug of dithering about.

Thus we entered the five stages of W.O.R.K. (WTF, OMG, RAWR, KMN). For you web neophytes, that’s what-the-fudge, oh-my-gosh, rawr (it means “I love you” in dinosaur), and kill-me-now.

Stage One: Whining

For readers without children, try to imagine the sound of a thousand fingernails scraping across a chalkboard. Now imagine your last nerve as said chalkboard, and the scraping sounds as every word emitted from your child’s mouth, mixed with all the tears that no one hears you cry.

It usually goes something like this:

“But whyyyyyyyyyy do I have to write the alphabet?”

“You said this would be fuuuuuuuuun.”

“How much mooooooooooore?”

“I want to go play MySims Agents on the Wii. This is haaaaaaard.”

Okay, so that last one was actually me. Whining begets whining, apparently. Also, that game is super fun.



Stage Two: Denial

This stage is categorized by toddler-onset dementia with elements of willful ignorance. Common symptoms include the inability to hold a pencil correctly, not remembering how to write one’s name, and claiming you didn’t learn how to do that in first grade, despite the HUNDREDS OF TIMES I’VE SEEN YOU DO THIS VERY GODDAMNED THING SO STOP STALLING AND DO IT ALREADY.

Ahem. I mean, “Just keep trying, Sweetie. That’s all Mommy asks.”


Stage Three: Arguing

The Arguing Stage can occur independently, or concurrently with the Denial Stage. Note that logic is not a requirement for Stage Three. Neither is the use of critical thinking, reasoning, or concentration. For further discussion, refer to the following transcript from today’s session.

Me: “What’s eight plus seven?”
Child: “House.”
Me: (blinking) “Um …”
Child: “That’s a picture of a house.”
Me: “Yes. And above it is a box labeled “Instructions.” What do the instructions say?”
Child: (reads) “Add the numbers inside the house. Oh.” (writes answer)
Me: “Honey, that five is backward.”
Child: “No, it isn’t”
Me: “If you don’t believe me, just look at the gazillion examples on the same page as the backward five you just wrote.”
Child: “Well, that’s not how we write it in French.”
Me: (takes a deep breath) “Numbers are indeed pronounced differently in French, but they’re written the same as in English. The language doesn’t affect it.”
Child: “Not if they’re in Chinese.”
Me: (twitching) “Grrrbbllk.”
Child: “Mommy, why are stabbing yourself with that pencil?”
Me: “Just write the $%#& number already!”




Stage Four: Bargaining

Expect a drastic shift in tactics, should the subject fail to reach its goal through the use of whining, denial, and arguing. Ranging from subtle cajoling to outlandish suggestions, the Bargaining Phase can include such gems as:

“Can I get you another cup of coffee? Including distractions, I’ll only be in the kitchen for an hour.”

“Instead of math, how about I make your bed every morning for the next 82,000 mornings?”

“If you tell me the answers, I’ll write them down and pretend I did it myself.”

“I’ll give you a dollar if you just finish this @#*% worksheet!”

(Again, that last one was me.)


Stage Five: Acceptance

If we ever make it to this stage, I’ll let you know what it looks like.

And so ends Day One.

I’m exhausted, my head is screaming, and I owe that sly little child four dollars.

Honestly, I don’t know how teachers do this week in and week out. Even our recess breaks wore me out, although that might have had more to do with playing badminton in August, in Texas, when it’s over 100-degrees outside. But, still.

I have always respected teachers, and today was an excellent reminder of the love, patience, and effort they bring to the profession. I had ONE CHILD to manage over the course of ONE DAY — and I’m already Googling the rates for Kumon Learning Center. How the heck do real teachers haul themselves to school each year, knowing they’ll be imprisoned with a roomful of noisy, misbehaving miscreants? I wouldn’t trade places for the world. I’m just glad we show appreciation for our nation’s teachers with super high salaries and the collective bargaining rights of organized labor unions. Oh, wait …

Seriously, folks. Now more than ever, it’s important to rally around teachers. Our children are our future, our best hope for fixing the continual clusterfuck in which mankind always seems to find itself. Without our teachers, the lives of our children — indeed, our very future — is beyond bleak.

At back-to-school time especially, I offer the teachers of the world an enormous THANK YOU. Thank you for coming back, thank you for signing up for another year of torture, and thank you for the mountain of work under which you'll soon be crushed. This country holds legions of parents, from helicopter to absentee, who will do everything possible this year to make your job harder, blame you for their parental failings, and issue blood-pressure-popping statements like, “Teachers get off at three each day and don’t work over the summer … what an easy life!”

Forgive us, please, for we know not what we say.

Also, how much looooooonger until school starts? This is haaaaaaaarrrrd.





Getting My Laugh On

Is it just me, or does anyone else feel like the 2012 election season has been going on F-O-R-E-V-E-R? Hard to believe there are still three months before we can rock the vote. I hope my bullshit-meter can hold out that long.

I know this sounds whiney, but it’s just not fun anymore. The loss of candidates like Herman “Uzbeki-beki-beki-stan-stan” Cain and Rick “What’s-the-Third-Thing” Perry has made the entire presidential election seem less like a circus stop in Crazytown and more, well … dire.

Whenever the rhetoric and mudslinging make me search for something stabby upon which to impale myself, I turn to my favorite web sites and find solace in humor.

For today’s Wild & Woolly Web Wednesday post, I present some gems from the best make-the-world-go-away sites out there.

1. The End-of-Sexual-Harassment celebration cake from Cake Wrecks, the site that brings the best (or worse, depending on your perspective) in professional cake disasters.

I’m guessing the cake is flavored with vanilla and unemployment. Be sure to check out ‘The Classics’ section for further chuckles from this awesome site. Naked mohawk-baby carrot jockeys for the win!

2. The Lost-in-Translation signs at Engrish.com are sure to find you "happy for abundant to make."


As long as you do it carefully, I guess …

Browse the ‘Most Popular’ section for the top-rated failed translations. For a real treat, check out Adult Engrish (If you’re over 18. And you have a strong stomach.).

3. The spell-checkingest failures around can be found at Damn You, Autocorrect.

In writing circles, this is what's known as metaphor FAIL. It’s further evidence that poets and texts don’t mix (as if we needed proof).

It was really difficult to pick my favorites from this site. So many are made of win.


I totally want to go drinking (and dwarfing) with these girls. I’ll Be Dopey. Who’s with me?


4. Finally, you don’t have to be in publishing to appreciate the beauty of SlushPile Hell, where an anonymous literary agent takes snippets from some truly awful query letters and responds with snarkalicious quips.


I urge you to visit any and all of these sites whenever you need a laugh. They're all enormous time sucks, but I like to consider it “research” into human nature. Or something.

What web sites tickle YOUR funny bone?