Category Archives: Champs and Chumps

Champs and … Well, Champs

I’ve been moving some of my past entries over* and it made me a little nostalgic for my Champs and Chumps lists.

I don’t have any Chumps right now that I can think of (or any that I should write about, at least), so let’s keep this positive and go ALL CHAMPS. Ready?

CHAMPS

Cabin in the Woods: Joss Whedon has a movie coming out? Co-written and directed by Drew Goddard? With tons of Buffyverse actors, including my favorite, Tom Lenk?** How did I miss this news? Needless to say, I’m pumped, especially since I just finished the latest (smut-filled)(hilarious) Buffy comic book.



Insanity Workouts: I’m on Month 2, Day 9, which is the longest I’ve gone without life interrupting. I feel great and I love that I’m on a good roll. I still need to take a lot of 5-second rests, but it amazes me that I’m able to do this.



This Bag: I sent my Style Guru Ginger on a mission for a cute computer bag, and while the adorable one she found was too expensive, it inspired me to “go yellow” and I found this:

TV Time: Justin has relaunched his rooftop TV club, this time at The Moolah! (Well, the Mini-Moolah in the lobby to be exact.) It’s always fun and the themes are hilarious. Please come – Tuesday nights at 8!

$$$: Justin and I are now planning on making the move official after Christmas. This way I don’t have to leave my mom alone during the Christmas season. This ALSO means 2 more months of extra $$, which is great because HUGE expenses seem to be hitting all at once (like this morning, when my car didn’t start – CHUMP CARD)

Halloween: TONS of HUGE parties to look forward to. I’m recycling last year’s costume because I love it, and y’all will freak over Justin’s. It’s going to be a good weekend.

Freedom: The Internet has talked enough about this book, but I wanted to throw it out there that I’m enjoying it a lot. And since the only time I can read is before bed and I fall asleep after 20 pages, I’m dragging out this pleasure for as long as possible. Thanks, Franzen.

Road Trip: I’m going to Indiana with Justin for Thanksgiving. I’m so excited to see where he grew up and meet his extended family! We’re visiting both parents, which means I get to see the whole state (and maybe drop by Michigan to hug an old friend or two). Because of my dad’s surgeries and my work’s VERY limited vacation policy, I haven’t had time to leave town since 2007. That’s right, aside from Illinois, I have not left the state in 3 years. Isn’t that horrifying? Never again.

This Guy: Wait about 30 seconds, and then this guy launches into my exact philosophy for life. I cannot emphasize enough how much my life changed when this outlook suddenly clicked in me:

*Yes, I know there will be a WordPress export file someday. However:

a. I don’t trust Blog-City.
b. I’m impatient and anxious; I just feel better doing it now.
c. I have plenty of spelling errors and inappropriate content that needs to be fixed or deleted.
d. Some (many) entries are stupid and don’t need to be moved.
e. I like having control over these things. Much like I’m doing with my childhood basement right now, if this place is going down then I’m gutting it myself.
f. I’m sure I would have to go back through all the entries to fix some sort of error anyway. (See point a.)

Maybe by the time I’m sick of this, a tested and awesome export file will be available and I can move the rest with one click. But until then, I’m having fun reliving 05 – 06!

**I am pretty sure, via Facebook, that my friend Conor knows Tom Lenk. However, he always has people asking, “You know so-and-so? I LOVE so-and-so!!” I’m trying to avoid being that person. We’ll see how long that lasts.

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Champs and Chumps VIII – Let’s Get Lost Tonight

I haven’t done a Champs and Chumps in a while (I think I am still traumatized by the whole Fox News thing). Lately my life has been full of Things You Shouldn’t Blog About, so this is probably a good time for one.

Ready Freddies?

CHAMPS

The Moth: This is one of my favorite podcasts. The format is simple – storytelling in front of a live audience – but I can’t begin to tell you how much this has charmed me. Most stories are hilarious (the Wendy Spero one was especially hysterical) but they can be poignant and moving, too. (Don’t listen to Mike DeStefano’s story unless you’re prepared to weep in your cubicle.)

Frank & Erik Internet Famous: It just gets more and more appalling with each episode, and I mean that in the best way. I’m afraid to listen to this while I’m running or at work because I can’t help but snicker like a lunatic.

My Pepper Plant: I thought it was dying, but there are new blooms and new peppers! This plant is my pride and joy.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs: “Zero” is so danceable and I just have a ball with every listen. I cannot wait for their new album. “Fever to Tell” and “Show Your Bones” never get old to me. I’m totally confident that the new album will be just as fresh but 100 times lighter and more upbeat.

Twitter: Now that Ashton and Demi have been banished from my feed, I am loving the whole Twitter culture. I like getting clever Tweets from my friends and I love how celebrities have totally embraced it. The Michael Ian Black/Levar Burton Twitter War is especially silly.

Portable Breathalyzer: Charles brought one of these to Janet’s party. It’s a brilliant strategy – drunk people love toys and a challenge, so people blow into it and inadvertently become aware of their drunkenness. I’d like to think that I don’t drive buzzed, but in this city it’s almost inevitable. I plan on buying one this week. Most of my new friends live in the city and I am in the county, so this way I can go to bars with them and get home safely.

AllGoogly.com: Speaking of Charles, he started this site where he puts googly eyes on everything. I love how the personality of each innanimate object immediately becomes apparent. It’s cute and I’m pissed I missed out on the Googly photoshoot at the last TPC.

Old Friends: Ty, Warren, Sarah and the gang showed up on my doorstep at like 1 in the morning last weekend. They used to drop by my parents’ basement all the time, or bang on the bedroom window of my first apartment. That night made me realize how much I miss the harassment. I love those guys.

Allison: Fellow blogger/Film Pig Pal/Twitter Buddy/Facebook Friend Allison surived this absolutely horrific car crash and I am in awe. Obvious chumps to the crash, but champs for quick thinking, walking away from that and taking it like, well, an actual champ. Also high fives for the fun blog!

The Real World – Brooklyn: It would take an entire entry to explain why I adore this season and this cast. Rich said it best. I haven’t liked The Real World since Season 10 and I rolled my eyes out of my head when I initially heard they were going to Brooklyn. But this cast is so relatable and sympathetic and interesting – even the unlikable ones are lovable. The binge drinking, ditzy girls and lame jobs are gone. All the things I love are back. I didn’t realize it at the time, but wow, I’ve missed you Real World. Welcome back to my TV and my heart.

Courtney’s Twin Peaks Nikes: Courtney is so incredibly fly. Check out these kicks. TPC represent!

Cheez-Its for Lunch: I didn’t bring enough change to work today and I didn’t feel like leaving for a long break, so I made a meal out of it. It’s carbs AND protein, right? I found 6 burnt ones and they are the best. You know you are jealous.

CHUMPS

Tea: I think I am allergic to chamomile tea! Oh no!! Everyone told me that my puffy eye was from dust or dander, but when I drink chamomile tea, I feel tingles and puffiness and everything. I blame Pat for converting me to tea in the first place. I still drink it but I top it off with a bunch of antihistamines. So this way I’m extra sleepy, which was the point of drinking tea in the first place.

Magazines, Absence of: I don’t have any “guilty” pleasures. I allow myself to have stupid fun sometimes and I am proud if it.* That being said, I LOVE MAGAZINES and I always pick one up when I am grocery shopping. Right now there is some sort of distribution dispute, and I get so depressed when I look at the magazine racks and see nothing new.

UPDATE: Magazines are at 7-11! I read an entire People in about 20 minutes.

Being a Free Agent: It’s been a while since I looked at a couple and got sad about being single. But I was outside with Sarah and Jaime at the video shoot and wow, I miss having a BFF. 99% of my chick friends are married, so it’s impossible to have that friend you can always hang out with. Dudes have gotten to that age where if I try to be their BFF, they want to marry me or whatever. I am everybody’s friend but nobody’s best friend. Sometimes the freedom is cool, but watching Sarah and Jaime interact made me miss my old BFFs and that feeling in general.

Rich’s “Break”: Rich was recapping The Real World over at Four Four, but he’s decided to take a break to work on some other stuff. I’m happy for him, but his recaps reminded me of Television Without Pity’s glory days. They were so funny and I’m sad that I won’t see any more amazing animated GIFs.

Schnucks Portabello Artichoke Cakes: Best damn thing I’ve ever eaten. So why are they here? Well, Schnucks stopped making them. How could they do this to me? This is all I ate for a week and a half, and now I am lost. I’m thinking about writing a letter. Yes, a letter. Because I am 90.

Disneyland/Portland: They are stealing my friends! Boooo! Josh is moving to (work at) Disneyland; Janet and her husband are moving to Portland. I am excited for them but totally bummed out for me. I know Janternet and I will communicate often but you guys, I am going to cry so hard when I say goodbye to Josh. There was a time when I wouldn’t leave my apartment unless it was with him. He basically saved my life. Ugh. Goodbyes are the worst.

This Shirt I Am Wearing: There’s wire in the lining. I had an incredible silhouette when I put it on this morning, but when I sit down the wires bend out in either direction. I keep forgetting to fix it when I get up and everybody at work looked at me like I was a crazy person. I found it in the back of my closet. Can I even wash this contraption?

Insomnia: It’s gotten so much worse than usual. I’ve had to miss work and skip parties because I am too tired. I hate it. I’ve finally signed up for auricular therapy. My first treatment is on Tuesday; I’ll let you know how it goes.

* Seriously - and I should include this as a CHUMP and even possibly a full bonus entry – why do people feel the need to prove their intelligence/coolness when you’re just trying to have a good time? Being a pompous buzzkill makes you look neither smart nor cool.

I listen to NPR and I get my indie fix from Pig Radio, but I am not a dick about it. I fully embrace Celebreality on VHI and goofily dancing to Top 40 music. I will still pour over an In Touch Magazine if I feel like it. I am secure enough in my education and my coolitude, thank you.

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Champs and Chumps VII: NOT Fox News

While my dad was in the hospital, my mom and I were forced to watch a lot of Fox News. The Bill O’Reilly/Hilary Clinton debate was especially awesome (for my dad, and no one else).

And you guys… did you know that Fox News has a “Champs and Chumps” segment??? How gross is that? Why didn’t anyone tell me about this? Is it because none of you watch Fox News??? Well, okay then. Just so we’re clear, I got this idea from working at Pizza Hut, which is 100 times cooler than watching Fox News. Moving on…

Champs

New Computer Monitor: It’s like an ice cold beer for my eyeballs. Aaahhhhhh….

Mates of State: Their new album is SUPER CUTE! And they are coming to town THIS SUNDAY!!!! I have an extra ticket! Anybody?

Lynda Barry: Because her new book, “What It Is,” is as amazing as I expected it to be, and she gave a kick-ass interview on Talk of the Nation today.

Pat: Pat managed to do something my mom and best friend have been trying to do for decades – turn me into a tea drinker. Chamomile tea completely chills me out and helps me fall asleep (which is why he made it for me in the first place). Green Tea is all right, though I have yet to see any miracles of modern science that you tea drinkers have been promising me. Oh, and he told me that Lynda Barry would be on Talk of the Nation.

Del Monte Cored Pineapple: Yum yum. People often ask how I lost 35 pounds last year. There were a lot of factors, but I would say that considering pineapple (and fruit in general) as a dessert revolutionized my life. Eating pineapple is like the best part of my day (unless of course I am eating ice cream for dinner).

The Kid Who Found the Plastic-Eating Microorganism: First of all, how smart is this kid? I am voting him for President. I don’t care if he’s Canadian! Now i don’t have to feel guilty about buying plastic tubs of pineapple twice a week (I’m sorry! I try to slice up real pineapple and I always hurt myself – it’s not worth the one cubic inch of fruit I manage to get out of it).

Pink Shorts: It’s Pink Shorts Season! Yaaaaaaay!

Drunk Voicemails: The older and more grown up you get, the less often this happens. However, this was always the best part about waking up in the morning – they are always hilarious, and it’s always so nice to know that people are thinking of you while you’re home being lame. Well, Courtney and the rest of the TPC gals made my day when I checked my voicemail on Sunday morning! I love the TPC! Heart!

Rob Durham: Fun guy Rob is one of the comedians I had the pleasure of hanging out with at open mic nights last year. And he just got engaged! Congratulations Rob!

Jeff/Cheeseburger Cake: My 2nd favorite co-worker Jeff got married this weekend (wooo!), and to celebrate his boss brought in the greatest cake I have ever seen. I plan on making one myself this summer, but check out this slice of Cheeseburger Cake. It changed my life I think. So awesome:

Lost: You guys, Lost is so super sweet. Aside from a disappointing (possible spoiler alert!) possible death of my favorite character, they answered a lot of questions about this season and MORE IMPORTANTLY we FINALLY know why there were freaking POLAR BEARS on the Island. That only took FOUR YEARS. THANK YOU.

The MTV Movie Awards: Surprisingly almost awesome! Here are my Top 5 favorite moments:

1. Dance off between Mike Myers and Chris Brown.
2. WAYNE’S WORLD! TOP TEN! PARTY ON! EXCELLENT!
3. Jason Bateman and Ellen Page almost kissing.
4. Robert Downey, Jr. snubbing the Pineapple Express boys.
5. The cast of Get Smart presenting an award:

The Rock: Do you need me to open that envelope for you, Steve?
Steve Carrell: Hold on, Dwayne, I can handle this!
Audience Member: That’s what she said!

See? It never gets old.

Chumps

Fox News: Why, Fox News? Why-yeeeeee?

Being Dead Inside: Creatively, professionally and socially. Dead. I have writer’s block, my job is kind of discouraging, and I really have no desire to leave my apartment right now. I would like to say that this is because of the hot weather, but more than likely it’s because I have a boy that I like. But booooo! I hate girls like that, right? Invite me out. Harass me until I agree. Call me drunk at 1am (THANK YOU FOR SERIOUS TPC). Also, tell me to write things that are not this stupid blog.

Crestwood Mall: Oh I’m sorry. Crestwood COURT. Because first they honestly tried to use the Chanel logo as their logo after Westfield sold the property. Jen described the new sign perfectly by saying, “You know how people take a trash bag with like, Santa Claus on it and put it over a bush in their yard? It looks like that.” They changed the logo about a week later, but now I’m mad because they are closing The Disney Store, which means my fun neighbors Sara and Dave are moving. I am sad about this! You guys can make me feel better by buying something from Pretty Fun Sara at the OLTA Art & Craft Fair this weekend.

Realizing How Grown-Up I Am: About 15 minutes into the MTV Movie Awards, Jason and I realized that all of the winners were voted by 15 year-old girls, so we threw out any reasonable predictions and called every winner correctly. “Johnny Depp!” “Step Up 2 The Streets!” “Johnny Depp again!” However, after realizing that 15 year old girls were probably the only ones WATCHING, I found every joke, drug reference and the mere presence of the Pussycat Dolls terribly inappropriate. I cringed at everything, with the full realization that when I was fifteen, I would have either gotten the joke or just not cared. Old old old. I am old.

Viral Pink Eye: Because people think it is bacterial pink eye WHICH IT IS NOT AND I HAVE THE DOCUMENTS TO PROVE IT and then you have to listen to people quote that entire scene from Knocked Up 200 times, puctuated by everyone’s gross theory as to how you actually contracted pink eye. Chris did give me one funny quip:

Chris: So what else are you doing to get rid of it?
Me: Well, right now I’m putting a teabag on my eye.
Chris: … But isn’t that how you got it in the first place?

And don’t worry guys, it is basically gone – right now I look like those people in 28 Weeks Later who carried the zombie virus but didn’t actually catch it – you know, with like that little dot on their eye? That’s all. VIRAL VIRAL YOU GUYS IT WAS VIRAL.

Raspberry Beret by Prince: After Will Smith’s “Miami”, this is my least favorite song of all time. And yet, several radio stations I listen to insist on putting this into regular rotation when I am not in the position to change the dial. The worst part is the intro kicks ass, so I get tricked into getting excited. EVERY TIME.

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Champs and Chumps VI – Freddy’s Dead

I was going to call this “Champs and Chumps 666”, but my years in Sunday School still won’t let me joke about stuff like that. So you get a Nightmare on Elm Street reference instead. You’re welcome. Sidenote: the sixth installment of Friday the 13th is called Jason Lives, which makes me wonder if they did that on purpose.

Champs

Jen: Jen said something to me after Thriller class that was so nice and encouraging, and it was at a time when I really needed to hear it the most. I wish I knew how to be as good of a friend as she is. I’m only good at that stuff on paper. If I tried to tell Jen how awesome she is in person, I’d probably end up crying or something. Champs to Jen for being awesome, and chumps to me for being wussy.

Gorilla Munch Cereal: Yum yum yum. This has always been a favorite. Gorilla Munch tastes just like Kix, except it’s organic and has 3 ingredients. Plus: proceeds go towards endangered gorillas. Double plus: I get to look at cartoon gorillas every morning.

Spud: This book is pretty good so far*. It’s about a boy named Spud and his friends and their hijinks at boarding school, but it’s set in South Africa in 1990 when apartheid ended and Nelson Mandela was released from prison. Heavy and interesting, but still manages to be cute and funny.

Jason: Because he’s playing that roller coaster video game “Thrillville”, and there’s a part in the game where you have to be a dancing cheerleader with pigtails. He just got this game today and as I was typing this Ashlee Simpson started blaring through our speakers, and Jason is all, “Hey, I’m a good dancer!” He scored a 94 in Poise and an “Awesome!” overall. We can’t stop giggling:

Boys: Sometimes I forget that you guys are not my best girlfriends and therefore, there is some stuff that I shouldn’t write about. But MAN, those are the things I want to tell you the MOST. Daaaaammit. I have many stories to dish, plus dates that I am really excited about. It’s a great time to be an old maid.

I will divulge this: I think I am close to picking a boyfriend. I’ve narrowed it down. Get ready for the Mangent, it’s going to be hot.

Dresses with Pockets: I’m a fidgety person. If I don’t have a sleeve or a hem or a hoodstring to play with, I get pretty self-conscious. So I’ve avoided little dresses until recently. Dresses with pockets solve that problem, and somehow I turn into a little dancing machine when I wear one. Also they get me lots of phone numbers and dates. I can’t stop buying them. Hooray for fashion!

Nike Air Pegasus: Dood, these shoes are hot! Not hot like sexy (decent running shoes have butt ugly reflectors and mesh) but hot like high tech. Check out the specs on these puppies.** Last year I wore my soles all the way through and gave myself a serious stress fracture, so now I always make sure to splurge on sneakers. I’m excited to start running seriously again – it makes me sleep better and I’m just happier in general.

Blue Toilet Water: It dresses up your toilet and makes flushing pee-pee feel fancy.

2gether: Lately Iain and I have been having those phone conversations that go on forever about basically everything, and the subject of 2gether came up. 2gether was a late 90’s TV movie (and short-lived series) about a fictional boy band. Chris Farley’s brother played “the fat one”, which should give you an idea about how awesome it was. It premiered on a night when I was home with the flu, and I could not believe how much it made me laugh. Anyway, the conversation inspired me to look them up on YouTube, and it made me happy. So here you go:

Me: Because I wrote something the other day about the iPhone and I used the phrase, “oSnap, iPhone!” I believe this is the funniest thing I have ever written. Yes, it’s probably been done before and it’s not that funny. Don’t write to me.

Perez Hilton: Girl, what would I do without you? It’s like you just know.

Chumps

Me: Because I still haven’t written about Warren’s wedding and I promised you I would. Also I haven’t run since Sunday. Also I’m slamming a cup of coffee right now. Bad.

Vegan Cheese: I’ve been buying soy cheese because I love cheese but I don’t want to eat a lot of it. Soy cheese is the perfect balance of “cheesy, yet too gross to eat by itself”. Pure vegan cheese, however, is horrendous no matter what I put it on. I have a big imagination but I can’t fake this. I miss cheese.

Norway: I’ve been reading a lot about Roma (gypsies). The diaspora and persecution of Roma is shocking and rarely recognized, particularly their experiences during The Holocost. I wasn’t expecting to find as many horror stories as I did, covering virtually every time period and every part of the world. Norway was especially deplorable and I don’t want to go into detail about it. But that’s what’s in my doghouse. Chumps to Norway.

Not Smoking: Aside from Warren’s wedding, I haven’t smoked in over a month. My friends are camping this weekend and I really want to go, but I know I’ll be chain-smoking by the end of it so I’m probably just going to stay here and go on a date.

I do not smoke anything, which means the only vice I have is the one where I’d have to pull my pants down repeatedly to pee behind a tree in 40-degree weather. Not appealing, that.

Also: this camping trip is special because the band Dub Kitchen is playing a set in the stockade (which is a gigantic super-fun fort in the woods). This will probably be an awesome show and a big party, so if you know Ron or anyone in his universe, you should ask him how to get there. However: I dated a hippy for two years and refuse to listen to reggae in the woods ever again. Sorry, folks.

*It’s been called “the Catcher in the Rye of South Africa”. However, that’s what they said about Norwegian Wood and Japan, and I hated Norwegian Wood (although to be fair, it’s probably better in its original Japanese). And I wasn’t a big fan of Catcher in the Rye to begin with. But either way, Spud is great.

**Is it right to call them puppies if I’ll be wearing them on my dogs?

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Champs and Chumps V: Stayin’ Alive

“It doesn’t get any better than this.”

“Aw. That’s nice of you to say.”

“No, I mean I think my car just ran out of Freon.”

- Me and Pandy, 10 minutes into a 40 minute drive

Time for another Champs and Chumps! You ready?

Champs

Francis: Because first of all, he’s getting married tomorrow – congratulations, you two! Second: he made this super cool movie a few years ago, Harold Buttleman. Some of the stars include John Hawkes (Deadwood), Dan Castellaneta (Homer Simpson) and Stee (God, Inc.). You can find the whole movie youtubed here, but if you sign up at spout.com, he’ll get $1 towards the budget of the movie. Click the widget on the side of my blog; it’s fast and easy. Think of it as a wedding present. And watch his movie!

Clark and Michael: Holy crap, have you guys seen this? Michael Cera (Superbad, Arrested Development) and his buddy Clark (Greek) are making webisodes about working in “the biz”. They are hysterical. I am officially in love with Michael, bringing my Summer of High School Boys crush tally to an even 3. Yikes.

Tofu: I worked in a health food store for over a year and I never touched the stuff. It just ooked me out the way it floated in water, you know? But like all other food I’ve been afraid to try, someone snuck it into a dish a few months ago, and I accidentally ate it and it was delicious, and now I crave all tofu all of the time. If anybody (Coire) knows of a website with good recipes, let me know.

YAZ!: I have to type this with all caps because it’s fun to say. I like to make jazz hands when I say it. But gals, those YAZ! commercials really are legit. I have not cried in like three months – about anything – and I believe it is mainly because of YAZ! I watched EXTREME HOME MAKEOVER without crying, that’s how much it works.

Josh: He took me to the new stadium last night. I’ve never been there – I think it’s great. Even greater was the fact that we partied in the bestbuy.com room, so there were about 8 giant TVs in there, along with hella free food and beer. People kept stopping by our window to gaze longingly into the room, like we were puppies at a pet store. Josh and I decided that we should be rolling around in newspaper, chewing on squeaky toys, and one of us should be perpetually sleeping. Josh kept talking to the little kids like they were old college buddies, and the kids were eating it up. Watching Josh with kids makes me want to make a baby with him. It was a good night and the Cards won – I even saw a home run!

Pink Shorts: The downside to having an apartment full of windows is the heat in the summer. It’s basically excruciating, which is why I refuse to wear pants in my apartment. I have a pair of pink terry cloth shorts that I love so much and I immediately put them on when I get home from work. Jason gleefully yells, “Pink shorts time!” at least once a day. So comfy.

Cupcakes: I am having so much fun with cupcakes, even though I don’t really eat them anymore. I can’t stop making them for people, which is such a stupid trendy thing to type, but it’s true. When we watch The Sandlot in a few weeks, I am making – wait for it – S’mores Cupcakes. Just you wait.

My Grandma: She’s giving me her American Airlines miles, which means I can fly to JERSEY next month, and possibly even Ann Arbor and L.A, too. Do you know how long it’s been since I took a trip? Do you know how many friends I’ve been dying to see? I’m so psyched.

Glarkware: I’ve been buying Glarkware for a while (“Go Pirates!” hoodie, anyone?), but the latest two shirts really make me laugh. I got an Office-themed shirt:

And this one, which is hands-down my favorite shirt of all time:

This site is packed full of hysterical shirts, but they also do limited editions based on TV shows, like the “Always Bring Backup” hoodie I bought, too. Go check it out.

Cameraphones: Because now you can all laugh with me:

Chumps

Lack of Chumps: I don’t really have much to complain about. Even the heat isn’t getting to me as much as it was last year. Usually the Chumps section is better than the Champs section, but yeah… I don’t have much to bitch about right now. And now that I think about it, this whole paragraph should probably be in the Champs section, too.

Smoking: So gross and so stinky, yet so cool and so delicious. I got away with smoking at work for a month, but now I’m back to smoking in my car and at the bar. It’s not nearly as bad as it used to be, which is nice, but still unhealthy and sad. I’ve decided to quit again after I’ve lost that extra 10% of myself.

Free Nachos: Because how the hell am I supposed to lose 10% of myself when there’s free nachos all up in my face?

Cramps: I know, ew. But I’m short on chumps, and they’re bad enough today that I need to reproach them publicly. Girls are probably with me on this. Guys, this is what a cramp feels like: take the worst charleyhorse you’ve ever had, and stick it somewhere in between your belly button and your ass. That’s called “becoming a woman”. Be glad you are not one.

Lost: Because I listened to their podcast yesterday, and it made me remember how much it rocks, and it made me realize how long we have to wait for new ones. Boooo! Bring it back now!!!

Broken Toilet Tanks: Last weekend our toilet broke. It flushed, but we had to fill up the tank ourselves. Do you know how much water it takes to flush a toilet? It took us eight salad bowls – that’s the big salad bowl that fits over my head times 8 – to flush our toilet all weekend. The worst part? I wouldn’t have to pee until I heard my roommate pour water for like an hour, and then we’d have to start the process all over again. I plan on researching and writing a Sludgie about how to save water in the toilet. It was quite the unpleasant revelation.

Me: Because somewhere in this entry, I used YouTube as a verb. That’s almost as shameful as “he myspaced me”.

Jason: Because he keeps stocking our refrigerator with exotic cheeses, and even worse, he makes me taste test all of them. Really, he forces me to. He drags me into the kitchen and waves it in my face, all sweet and generous and shit. It’s torture. Cheese is my kryptonite, especially that $15-per-pound block of cheddar that’s literally 20 feet away from me now, that I can’t eat. I take back what I said about YAZ! This cheese might really make me cry.

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Champs and Chumps IV: The One Where Carl Weathers Dies

Okay, so that was Rocky IV. Whatever. I haven’t written in a while and there’s a lot of stuff to sum up, so I figured the only way to do it was another installment of Champs and Chumps. Ready Freddie?

Champs Cards

Voltron: Wow. You guys. Seriously. Voltron was so awesome. The weather was perfect, we had a great view of the screen, and it was sponsored by the Circus or something so there were circus performers all over the place. We watched the first three episodes where they explain the Legend of Voltron, find all the lions, and defeat Evil What’s-His-Face. It was as cheesy as you’d expect, but it’s always fun watching those things with a big group of people. When they formed Voltron for the first time, everybody cheered and I got a little teary-eyed.

Winning Stuff: They had a trivia contest during Voltron and I won a Limited Edition Season 1 DVD! It comes in a sweet Blue Lion Tin and it includes the “Voltron Gets Served” sketch from Robot Chicken. That alone makes it worth it. Plus, Joe knows the guy who ran the event and he was videotaping it, so you might see us on the Voltron Season 2 DVD!

Ginger’s iTunes: If you’re wondering what question I answered correctly, it was “Which St. Louis musician gave a shout-out to Voltron in one of his hit songs?” The answer is, of course, Murphy Lee in “Shake Your Tailfeather”. I know this because of Ginger’s iTunes, so I figure I should make up for the Chumps Card that I gave out last year. Now we are even.

Koala Bears: This is mainly for Kevin, because of this story. Hey Kevin! Guess what Koala bears and I have in common??

My Grandma: Her birthday was a couple of weeks ago and I gave her Fiona Apple’s Extraordinary Machine. She digs it. God, I love that lady.

Tony: So the good news is my roommate found an awesome new job. The bad news is that it’s in Chicago. She’s leaving in about a month, which could have really screwed me over if I didn’t find a roommate in time. However, by some weird twist of fate, Tony’s coming home the exact same day that she’s leaving, and within five minutes of my roommate search, he replied and he’s super-psyched to live with me. I’m psyched, too. This shit is going to be b-a-n-a-n-a-s.

TV: Between Heroes, Veronica Mars, Lost, and The Office, I officially have a show for every weeknight and I don’t even need my free cable. TV has been kicking ass lately.

Josh: Josh bought me X-Men 3 for no reason, which is so much cooler than flowers for no reason.

Chuck Klosterman: I’m almost done with Chuck Klosterman IV – A Decade of Curious People and Dangerous Ideas. Damn, Chuck. I mean, daaaaaaaamn. I just love your brain.

Chumps Cards

The Grumpies: I haven’t been sleeping well (again) and when I don’t sleep I get angry at everything. Here are just a few of the objects I yelled at yesterday: my coffee maker, a pair of pants, my cell phone charger, my work computer, my roommate’s computer, a pair of high heels, my boobs, two kitchen cabinets, the roof of my car, my keys, a carton of milk, and every car I encountered at a 4-Way stop sign.

Plans: I’ve decided that I don’t like plans. I officially hate plans. I’m constantly canceling things at the last minute, hemming and hawing about what I want to do, and desperately trying to get by with a “Maybe I’ll see you there.” I think this is because October is going to be insanely busy, and there’s so much shit I’m obligated to attend. I’ve lost a lot of free time this month, and it’s making me increasingly bitter.

Myspace Mike: Mike recently revived his blog. I’m not giving him Chumps because he stole my video countdown idea. I’m giving him Chumps because he picked videos that are more awesome, and it’s become apparent that he’s funnier than me. It’s called “Hetero-erotica” and there’s a link to it in my Friends section.

Heartache: My doctor wants to put me on heart medication. I know that I should take it, but here’s the thing: it’s more of a preventive measure than a necessity. But I know people who have died from mixing meds, and heart medication is always involved. And aside from that one week I thought I was dying last year, I’ve never been sick and this makes me feel like I am. So the pills freak me out more than the potential problems. I pick up the bottle every morning, but I can’t force myself to take them. I’m convinced I’ll die in my sleep or collapse on the treadmill or something. However, they are called “Beta Blockers”, which remind me of “Blue Blockers”, and that’s funny.

The “aerie girls”: Okay. There are these commercial spots during Gilmore Girls and Veronica Mars called the aerie girls. It’s a bunch of lame chicks who sit around sipping hot cocoa, commenting on that night’s episodes. It’s kind of like the commentaries that the Sunsilk Hairapy Guys did for Flavor of Love, only suckier. The only awesome part was at the end of Veronica Mars, when they cut from a really disturbing scene involving a rape victim to the aerie girls. They just kind of sat there for a second, speechless, and started talking about Gilmore Girls again. You can’t handle Veronica Mars, bitches. Go back to the mall.

Scary Mimes: Like I mentioned before, there were circus performers at Voltron. As we were parking, we spotted a Mime. Not a black and white Mime, but a guy who was painted all white. He looked like somebody from the Blue Man Group, only dead. We freaked out and I waved to him from the car. He waved back and I shrieked.

Four blocks later, we arrived at our destination and found a nice spot in the grass. Then somebody whispered, “Hey Stephie, I think your friend followed you here.” We turned around and looked through the crowd, and the mime was STANDING IN THE BACK OF THE LOT, MAKING JAZZ HANDS AND STARING RIGHT AT US!!! This terrified Jen and I so much that we had to take a picture with him. I’ll post that someday soon, like everything else. I thought it was one of those things that I would laugh about later, but I’m still having nightmares about him.

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Champs and Chumps III: C + C Shout Out Factory

One more time – we’re gonna celebrate…

CHAMPS cards

Big Love: If you know me, then you know about my obsession with cults. I am utterly fascinated with cults and weird religions, so you know I love me some Big Love. My favorite episode of any TV show is the mandatory, gimmicky “cult episode” where somebody gets sucked into a group or religion that’s just a bit off (see: Boy Meets World, Veronica Mars, Family Guy, 21 Jump Street, etc.)… so this is like my favorite episode every week. I’m not necessarily talking about the Mormon belief in general, but about those compounds and communities hidden around Utah, which this show discusses at length. It’s so effed up, which makes for effing awesome TV. However, could we lighten up on the gratuitous Bill Paxton ass shots? It’s getting out of control, or as Jen put it, “I think that time I saw some junk!”

Mark: “Just a reminder that I still love you. I love you so much I would save you if you were in the middle of burning lava. I love you so much that if you were a cat I’d buy you fancy feast every day, none of the dry food. I love you so much if we were ever in a music group together, and I became the most popular, I wouldn’t sell you out for a solo career. Just thought I’d remind you how much I love you.”

Maxim: For sending me a message on MySpace asking me to be in their “Hometown Hotties” section. If you know me, you’re laughing hysterically. I keep picturing showing up to the shoot wearing PJ pants and a hoodie, and being like, “Okay, let’s do this.” But thanks anyway. Honestly, I’m more flattered that I get to be in The Takedown’s Top 8.

Liz: Because she’s using three colors in her wedding, and she told me that I get to pick the color I want to wear… and then she went on to say that I can pretty much pick out the dresses in general, because “I mean, you’re the one wearing it…” Fun! Despite how much I hate shopping, I think I’ll be okay with Liz around, and here’s why: every time I call her from the mall – and I mean every time without fail – I find an outfit that I absolutely love. This only happens when I’m talking to Liz and it happened again yesterday, so she gets an extra CHAMPS card for that. And I guess she can have another one for the whole “congratulations on getting married” thing.

Sunflower Seeds: How else can you eat for three hours straight and only consume two teaspoons of actual food?

Steven King: For writing a column called “Confessions of a TV Slut”, which makes me feel better about sometimes skipping the Shakespeare for Flavor of Love. There’s something reassuring about the fact that Steven King feels my pain. And he understands my obsession with Veronica Mars and Lost, which means we could totally hang. Maybe now I’ll be able to sleep at night after reading his shit.

Six Degrees of “Everything Stephanie Thinks Is Awesome”: Here’s one example – the theme song for Veronica Mars (my favorite show) is by The Dandy Warhols (one of my favorite bands) and can be found on the album “Welcome to the Monkey House”, which is also the name of the first book I read by Kurt Vonnegut (my favorite author), which I picked up when I was fourteen because it had the word “monkey” (which is my favorite animal) in the title. And last night’s episode included Maeby and George Michael from Arrested Development (another favorite show), a guy from X-Men (my secret favorite franchise) AND a shout out to TWoP (my favorite website). And it just kind of goes on from there…

Got all that? Lately all of my favorite books/movies/actors/whatever have been showing up in the same places or showing love for each other and it just adds an extra element of awesome to it. Also: Stephanie likes Veronica Mars? No shit?

Flying: Because it’s the perfect excuse to buy 3 or 4 books I’ve been meaning to read. I’m stopping by the bookstore before I go to the airport and I can’t wait!

Everything is Illuminated: Although I don’t really want to read the book, I’ve heard amazing things from my friends who have. Bill showed me the film adaptation the other day, and it was unbelievably witty and touching. The first half is one of the funniest movies I’ve seen in a long time, and the second half is one of the saddest… which is a pretty decent ratio, considering it’s about the Holocaust. You’ll understand when you see it. And you should see it. So go.

CHUMPS cards

Tony: For moving. Moving is for sucks. Now all five of my fiancés live out of town. Which… I guess means I have room for one more? Crazy Mike? Anybody?

Calendar Clusters: I’m going to Florida this weekend. While I’m really excited about it, I’m bummed out because I have to miss Mark’s stand-up gig, The Takedown show, and Tony’s goodbye parties. Hey guys, do you know what I did last weekend? I slept, I read Shakespeare, and I watched 21 Jump Street. All weekend. Can you distribute the fun stuff evenly throughout the month, s’il vous plait?

Life: You know how they say it’s good to be sad, because otherwise we wouldn’t know what it means to be happy? Well, I haven’t been sad in a really long time… and I was starting to take all the happies for granted. I’m really bummed out today and I almost forgot how much it sucks. But still, I’m dealing with it a million times better than I would have a year ago, and it’s nice to realize that… so there’s a silver lining, I suppose.

Packing Lots of Clothes in Tiny Suitcases: Because asking me to choose between my pink hoodie and my green hoodie is like asking me to choose between my children.

The Mall: Nice try, MALL. As if you’re off the hook just because I found one cute outfit. CHUMPS to you for even thinking we’re square.

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Champs and Chumps II: The Fellowship of the Chumps

A few of my friends asked for more, so here we go:

CHAMPS cards

The man who recently sang “Foxy Lady” to me, Garth-style: Because you’re the cutest and I love you.

TSGoC: For a fantastic weekend, and for always being so honest and sincere. And you get an extra one for being the most fascinating person I’ve ever met.

My Family: Because they love to debate through e-mails (if they were younger I’d create a message board for them) and the most recent political debate pissed me off and I called them all crazy. I’ll tell you what I wrote verbatim in the CHUMPS section. I thought I would get about 50 loving “screw you” e-mails today, but instead I got a “right on” or a “solid” from all of them, including my dad. So yay family! Maybe I can rap about the government with you guys after all.

Fruit Salad: Sometimes when people are pissed off, they get violent. Sometimes when people are upset, they eat. I’ve discovered a way to stay healthy and merrily stabstabstab my problems away. Huzzah!

Veronica Mars: For being so totallyfreakingawesomeOMG. I heard that they’re killing off a character tonight and after the Harry Potter Incident, I’m scared. But as long as it isn’t Weevil or Logan, I’ll be okay.

My Roomate: For being the strongest, hardest working person that I know, for making the apartment Christmas-y, and for making it to level 5 in Super Mario Bros. 2 last night.

Identifying Fallacies: Because it’s fun pointing out when people are wrong and being able to logically prove it. Note to the frat boys: don’t let me argue with Peter when we’re drunk.

Christina: For finally getting a two-button mouse for my computer at work. Suck it, Control key!

Jeremy: Because when I got serenaded the other day, it reminded me of that time in 8th grade that you sang “Cryin’” to Erin during lunch and everybody knew that you were going to do it so when you walked over to her, the entire cafeteria bum-rushed the table. You sang it anyway and Erin shot you down, but it was okay because you held your head high and all the other girls loved you for it. 20th Century Aerosmith rocks, dude, and everybody knows it. And also, you get a CHAMPS card for having serious moxie and bigger balls pre-puberty than most men will have in a lifetime.

The Bee Season: Because I CANNOT PUT IT DOWN. Writers that I respect have told me that they cried when they finished this book, because they missed the characters and their world so much. Honestly, how can you ignore a recommendation like that?

CHUMPS cards

Erin: Because damn, girl. You couldn’t go to the roller rink with him ONE TIME?

Republicans: For voting for religious candidates because you feel like you “have to” or because pro-life is just 1 of 100 points on their agenda. Voting for the best overall candidate will not make you a bad Christian, I promise. And if we’re going to have a billion extra babies running around that you refuse to abort, can’t you let more people adopt, regardless of their sexual preference or marital status? And most of my friends are not looking to get married right now, but in case they do, I’d like for ALL of them to have the option, capisce?

Democrats: Because you’re like the mean girls in the junior high cafeteria. Say what you want about Fox News and I’ll probably agree, but they’re really just treading water in a sea of 500 liberally-biased channels that have no qualms ripping on anyone who remotely leans towards the right, regardless of what they’ve said, done, or believe in. And guess what? Not EVERYONE in the blue states voted for your guy and your states were just as close of a call as the rest, so can you stop using “Red State” as a euphemism for ignorance?

Both Sides: Because you’re all whiners that spend too much time pointing fingers as opposed to fighting for the greater good. Wouldn’t it be better to eliminate the source of problems rather than bitching about the possible solutions? I’d much rather work towards providing free accessible birth control and sex-ed classes with permission slips (so both sides can shut up about how to teach their kids) instead of just plastering pro-life/pro-choice bumper stickers all over my car.

The Mall: Because I drove by you today and I’m still pissed off. Eff you for existing.

Lost: For going on a 6 week hiatus, causing extreme pain and withdrawal for myself, my friends, and the 8 million other people that you have successfully hooked. Your show is like crack, and to take it away for that long is just plain cruel. Also (and this concerns every episode to date) WTF.

Static Electricity: I don’t know what the hell is up with my apartment. I have never been shocked this much in my life. When I’m curled up in a blanket on the couch, I can literally HEAR myself charging. I swear to god, I’m going to start a fire one day. I have honestly seen sparks shooting out of my fingers like I’m Jubilee from X-Men. Human hands were not created to scintillate. It hurts, yo, and I have a TOUCH LAMP so this is going to be a long, painful winter.

Motion-Activated Paper Towel Dispensers: They have these at my work and they’ve spoiled me to the point where sometimes, if I am in a public restroom (at a bar) and I am preoccupied (drunk), I’ll find myself tapping my toes expectantly in front of the paper towels with Jazz Hands until I get busted.

People Watchers: Don’t get me wrong, I love people watching, especially when I’m in another country or basically anywhere with an interesting tableau of people. And I know that people watching at the airport is a total cliché, so everyone assumes that it’s acceptable. But I don’t like it when people are shamelessly staring at me, especially everybody, especially at terminals like in Detroit and Charlotte where everybody basically sits in a massive semi-circle and the shops are miles away and there are no TVs and nothing to do but stare at me like that parking lot scene in “The Faculty”.

So what if I’m reading about Nick and Jessica in US Weekly? Maybe I finished my two books on my original flight, and maybe I bought three more in Michigan and I finished two of THOSE on the way here and I can’t really run around O’Hare with any more shit, because O’Hare looooves to make me sprint from Terminal A to Terminal Z at any given time. Yes, I am wearing a tank top in December. Yes, I probably need to brush my hair. Yes, I am reading about Gyllenheath’s cowboy movie and eating Combos. Why is that so interesting? Are you jealous? I know my Combos look hella good, that’s because they are so get your own. What the fucSTOP LOOKING AT ME.

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CHUMP Up CHUMP Up and Get Down

When I was a cook at Pizza Hut, the creative forces behind the Employee Incentives programs came up with a brilliant idea: C.H.A.M.P.S.

CHAMPS stood for Cleanliness, Hospitality, and… I don’t know what else, because it was about six years ago. Each store received a massive board with pockets where all of the employees could collect CHAMPS cards. CHAMPS cards were earned by demonstrating one of the six keywords of the program, and being recognized by a peer for your good efforts.

Oh, there was also a cheer: two slaps on the counter, two claps, two snaps of the fingers, then point Buddy Christ fingers while yelling “CHAMPS!”

Needless to say, it was super lame, and it took about a day and a half before my manager Mark (who was the coolest boss ever) started turning all of the CHAMPS cards into CHUMPS cards.

CHUMPS cards were earned for everything from “Calling in sick when we all saw how drunk you were last night” to “Officially striking out with every girl at the Hut” to “Nice haircut, yo.”

And so, in the fine tradition of the Hut (and also because I currently have both pizza and writers block) I present to you my personal CHAMPS and CHUMPS cards in full effect:

CHAMPS cards

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: My biggest complaint with the Harry Potter movies is that they usually leave out my favorite parts of the book or major details of the story that make the books so enchanting. However, my biggest complaint about this movie was just a tiny little detail about the battle between Harry and Voldermort, and I can live with that. The Goblet of Fire was my favorite book of the six, so I’m really happy that it turned out so well.

We really lucked out getting tickets for the Moolah (thanks, Jen and Ron!!) and getting there early enough to snag a few couches, load up on booze and candy, and relax and watch Mr. Potter in full effect. This was definitely the best film of the bunch so far, and the first that I can recommend to the poor souls who haven’t read the books. The only downside, however, is that you will definitely cry at the end, and considering what happens at the end of books five and six, well… just get used to it.

Phil: For single-handedly ushering the interjection “Un!” into the New Millennium.

Madonna: For giving me the best CD to run to since the Scissor Sisters. And, as Track 3 proves, for stealing my diary and writing a song about it.

Rolling Stone: Elitists get off on making fun of it, and everyone else just kind of forgets that it exists, but it’s the only magazine that takes me more than 20 minutes to finish and doesn’t make me feel dumber after doing so. The articles are always in-depth and informative, the interviews are creative, and the magazine has always featured some of my favorite writers, from Cameron Crowe to Rob Sheffield.

And where else would I find out that Jarvis Cocker’s new album is tentatively titled “Cunts Are Still Running the World”? How else could I start getting excited about the Beastie Boys’ new movie, Awesome I Fuckin’ Shot This Movie, a year in advance? And most importantly, who else would refer to Leonardo DiCaprio as “The Nard”? C’mon! Rolling Stone is chock-full of shit that just makes my day, and a subscription costs 1/5 as much as People.

Ron: For the fantastic R. Kelly impersonation that he treats me with every time I call his house to talk to Jen: “I was just standin’ here… standin’ in the closet… Jen was on the phone with Steph-a-nie… and so I PULLED OUT MY GUUUUUUN!!!!…”

Junior Senior: For making me dance in my office, and because yes, you ARE the handclaps.

Smoke Breaks: Don’t get me wrong, I hate the fact that I smoke, but when you’re at work, smoke breaks are like recess. And it gives you a chance to talk one-on-one with people you’d never get to talk to. I met my last 4 boyfriends through smoke breaks. Most recently, they’ve given me lots of alone time with Conor, because we’re the only two P Funk All-Stars of the group. Smoke breaks have become a lot more fun since Conor’s been home, because I love Conor.

Kurt Vonnegut: My favorite author in the history of the world, for finally putting out a new book, A Man Without A Country:

Here is a lesson in creative writing.
First rule: Do not use semicolons. They are transvestite hermaphrodites representing absolutely nothing. All they do is show you’ve been to college.
And I realize some of you may be having trouble deciding whether I am kidding or not. So from now on I will tell you when I’m kidding.
For instance, join the National Guard or the Marines and teach democracy.
I’m kidding.

Where the HELL have you been, man? I missed you!!

CHUMPS cards

Donna: For asking me if I’d like to decorate the company Christmas Tree after describing how fun it is, and also for failing to inform me that said Christmas Tree is 15 feet tall.

My Ex:
Because if you’re going to break up with me to record your masterwork and move to France, then you should, you know, record your masterwork and fucking move to fucking France, or at least admit that you’re a lying douche. I thoroughly enjoy the time we spend living on separate continents. And once the Trapped in the Closet jokes start getting stale, I’m going to need a new CD to make fun of.

The mall: Because I’m a size six, so I should not be self conscious at all. But no, there’s always the effing mall in all it’s Body Dysmorphia glory, ready to remind me why I should hate myself and break out the Trim-Spa. I wasn’t sitting in on any positioning meetings for Urban Outfitters, but I’m pretty sure “Completely Boobless” wasn’t a bullet on the Power Point presentation of their target market. Sarah and I went the other day, and while she was trying to figure out how she could simultaneously wear size four pants and be too small for an XL T-Shirt, I was incredulous over the fact that, at 5’2, anything marked “large” could be too short for my torso. We spent a half hour doing our very best Incredible Hulk impersonations in the dressing room before calling it a bust and hitting up Auntie Annies.

Pickle Juice: Because it looks just like water and also vodka, and it would be very easy for someone with a stuffy nose to fall for the “Have some water/ take a shot” routine. If you do this to someone else in my presence: funny. If you do it to me, you’re a jerk.

Ginger’s iTunes: Because I was rocking out to “Shine” by The Newsboys, which I haven’t heard since eighth grade, and with no warning, out comes “Too Close” by Next. In case you’ve never had the pleasure of hearing this joyous ode to The Freak, here’s a sample of the lyrics:

Baby when we’re grinding
I get so excited

(You know what you’re doing, don’t you)
You’re making it hard for me

All the songs on you requested
You’re dancing like you’re naked
Oh, it’s almost like we’re sexin’ (oh yeah)

And my personal favorite:

The way that you shake it on me-ee
Makes me want you so bad sex-u-a-lly
Oh girl

I fucking hate this song. I would rather crash my car than hear this song. I would rather show love to the Fox network than hear this song. And iTunes just informed me that, in addition to these rousing and classy lyrics, the song officially begins with the lead singer asking the audience, “I wonder if she can tell I’m hard right now? Hmm.” Which was a part that, until now, I was blessed to have never heard.

And although I’ve already given Next enough CHUMPS cards to last a lifetime, I should dole out one more because it’s a stupid question to ask, considering that you’re about to actually compose an entire fucking song about your boner, including a bridge where your dance partner requests that you please “step back” and stop poking her with your junk because you’re nasty. As Phil would say. “Un!”

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