Category Archives: functions I shouldn’t be allowed to attend

This is what’s happening in my mind anyway.

This weekend I’ll be at WordCamp in San Francisco to talk about blogging.

I’m not afraid to admit that my 10-year-old daughter knows far more about coding than I do, and that I suspect anyone who can create a website using strings of seemingly random words and numbers must be involved in some sort of witchcraft.  If anyone asks me any difficult questions about programming or java or algorithms I will probably react in almost exactly this way:

You’ve been warned, San Francisco.

UPDATED: As soon as ASU gets back to me I’ll be available for consultations and endorsements. And it will be awesome.

I’m not sure how it happened (I suspect voodoo) but I was somehow magnamed the Distinguished Alumna of 2014 by Angelo State University, my hometown college.  (ASU Magazine clipping at right to prove I’m not just drunk right now.)

It was very flattering but equally baffling, and I spent the weekend pretending to be “distinguished” and hoping that people wouldn’t realize that I am entirely overrated.

I was given my award at a banquet where everyone else being recognized had a legitimate reason for being honored and they were all insanely awesome, professional, and unintentionally intimidating, and I suspected that none of them had ever dug up a corpse or been attacked by their pet turkeys.

It was fancier than my wedding, and there was a live marching band to play us to our seats.

I can't play an instrument but I think I'd be a good band leader because I look good in capes.

Do all marching bands have capes, or is this one especially bad-ass?

I requested “Tusk“, but I don’t think they heard me, or possibly they’re just too young to know who Fleetwood Mac is.

My extended family all turned out, so I had to come up with a suitable speech that I could give in front of my daughter and my granny, so I wrote my speech on my phone while Victor drove us to San Angelo.  Here it is:

“I am so glad to be here tonight to accept my honorary doctorate degree. I never thought this would happen. Until I was driving here, that is, and thought, “I bet if I accept an honorary doctorate at this event they kind of have to give me one. That’s just polite.”

It doesn’t haven’t have to be crazy official. You don’t even have to spell “doctor” correctly, and I will vow to never perform surgery on people without first telling them that I’m an honorary Doctor of Journalism, but that I’m really excited about seeing if I can find their appendix.

This might seem ridiculous but I heard some other college gave Ellen Degeneres an honorary doctorate and my husband was like, “Well, is ASU up to those kinds of standards?” And I said, “Oh, ASU is way better than that crappy college” and I think you could prove me right tonight by making me whatever it is that’s one step above doctor.  I don’t know what that is.  Super-Doctor, maybe?   Major Doctor?  I don’t know.  I’ll leave it up to the board.  You guys are the experts.

I’d like to thank my parents and grandparents for bribing me to go to college with the promise that I’d get whatever money was left in my college fund after I graduated.

If I’d had college math at the time I probably would have realized that there wouldn’t be any money left and that I’d have to rely on grants and scholarships and work to carry me through, but in the end it was worth it. Because 17 years later I stand here before you:  A proud ASU graduate…

A Super-Doctor, at last.”

You can't tell, but that's me at the podium.  Trust me.  I'm a doctor.

You can’t tell, but that’s me at the podium. Trust me. I’m a doctor.

I was supposed to be in the Homecoming Parade but I said I’d only do it if I could ride on the float with Dominic (our live Ram mascot).  I was told that was impossible, probably because they assumed I’d steal him, and they were right because LOOK AT HIS FACE:

He looks like he'd be fun to drink with.

He’s like if Matthew McConaughey was a sheep.

I refused to ride in the parade unless I was given an equal or better sheep but they weren’t going for it, so I was like, “What if I bring my own sheep?” and they didn’t say no, so I just dressed my kid up as a ram and smuggled her into the bed of the pick-up.  Hailey had never been in a parade before either but you never would have known it and honestly she sort of out-Dominiced Dominic because she had the sweeping, majestic horns and furry coat, and she could throw plastic footballs to kids watching the parade because she has thumbs.  Additionally, she didn’t shit everywhere and that is a big plus as far as I’m concerned.

(Hailey is the one on the right.)

(Hailey’s the one on the right.)

Then I went to the ASU homecoming game because I was told I needed to walk onto the field at half-time to be “recognized” and that sounded a bit awkward, but then when I got there I realized I was supposed to follow the royal homecoming court onto the field.  And let me tell you, if you ever find yourself walking slowly, here-comes-the-bride-style, onto a football field toward a packed stadium of people (and one live sheep) while a marching band plays “You Can Tell Everybody This Is Your Song” and an honor guard makes a bridge of swords for you to walk under, just remember that it could be more awkward.  You could be doing all of that while wearing a sweatshirt and pajama jeans as you follow the thinnest and prettiest girls on campus, who are all wearing strapless ball gowns and glittery jewelry, and one of them just got a tiara and that’s when thought to myself, I suspect a team of unicorns will be by to whisk them away, while a pack of dirty dogs carries me off because that’s the only thing that could make this any more glaringly unbalanced.

It's like turning up for a wedding wearing overalls and then you remember that you're a bridesmaid."

It’s like turning up for a wedding, but you’re wearing overalls for some reason and then you remember that you’re a bridesmaid.

I’m reading all of this and it sounds like it was ridiculously ludicrous, and it was.

But it was also…really lovely.

I kept waiting for someone to realize that they’d made a terrible mistake, but they never did, and I remembered that one of the reasons I’d chosen ASU in the first place was the fact that people there are accepting of anyone…even the girl who never joined a sorority or club, or went to frat parties or football games, or ended up in a single photograph during her time there.  I wish I could have told the terrified college me who hid in libraries and tiptoed through halls that one day I’d go to my first homecoming.  And that that very same weekend I’d aggressively accept a doctorate degree, and ride in a parade with a small, beaming child dressed as a sheep, and walk in the footsteps of (small-town college) royalty while a marching band played Elton John as I limboed under pointy sabers.  Then again, I probably wouldn’t even have believed me.  Honestly, who the hell would?

PS.  Dear ASU Alumni Board/President/King/Vicar:  I went ahead and made this myself because I know you’re very busy.  I’m not sure if it’s totally accurate but it felt right.  Could you forward it to whoever needs to sign it?

my degree

Please rush if possible. My first patient is ready for surgery but his family is giving me static and I think the certificate will help reassure them.  Also, can I get a discount on bulk ether now?   It’s important.  These cat’s tonsils aren’t going to remove themselves.

PPS.  Seriously, thank you ASU, for being a wonderful college for even the dangerously social awkward.  I just saw the video you sent out this morning and it reminded me again that there’s a place for everyone.  Thanks for being my place:

100% of all Super-Doctors approve of this message.  (See?!  Think of the endorsement opportunities alone, ASU.)

Now please hurry up with that certificate so I can start stabbing people legally for a change.

UPDATED (10/15/14):

This morning when I was getting Hailey ready for school I vaguely remembered that I might have sent an email to the President of ASU at 1 o’clock in the morning when my insomnia makes me even more unstable than normal. And apparently I did:

“To: Dr. Brian May

Just a quick thank you for the fabulous and unexpected honor of being named the Distinguished Alumna of the year. This weekend was really amazing and I can’t tell you what it meant to be recognized in the town where I always thought I was invisible at best.

I wrote a quick post about it I thought you might like. Or might hate. Hard to tell.

Ps. I’m just kidding about being given a “super-doctor” degree. But only if by “just kidding” you mean “ridiculously serious and dedicated to making this happen.” The last time I was this focused I was made an official Czar of Texas (true story) and ended up using this power to increase awareness of the awesomeness of Texas and also to overthrow the Government. (But just for one night and the Government was very nice about it because they recognized my valuable political contributions, and also because they didn’t entirely take me seriously since {according to my proclamation} I report to the stray cat that lives at city hall.)

It’s very late so this email might not make much sense but I thought I should mail it off before Tulane reads my post and offers me a Super-Doctorate and things get all awkward.

Hugs,
Jenny”

My husband, Victor, read my email and suggested that thing had already gotten awkward, but my faith in the weird was redeemed moments letter when a response came back from Dr. May, which read simply:

“Super Doctorate is in the mail!!!!”

It’s possibly he’s humoring me, in a “the-check-is-in-the-mail” sort of way, but if I really am getting my Super Doctorate I’m stoked because as a Super-Doctor I would always outrank everyone in the room and so no one would question me when I mispronounced words, or let myself into the lemur house at the zoo. Victor argued that I would actually rank below “Subway Sandwich Artist” because “Super-Doctor” doesn’t really exist. And he might be right, but I countered that”Super-Doctor” doesn’t really exist YET, and that with my Super-Doctorate I will be setting a record for having both the highest and lowest ranking degree to ever come out of ASU, and that’s pretty darn impressive.

Also, if I become a Super-Doctor I can diagnosis everyone as needed. Like if you’re having a terrible day you’d be able to say, “Oh, this? My doctor prescribed this portable margarita machine to help me get through these horrific business meetings. It’s medicinal, I assure you. Please carry on.” Or “I need to take a nap because apparently I’m suffering from ‘An Overabundance of Bad-Assness’ and my doctor says naps are the only thing to keep it from growing to dangerous proportions that might overload my body and make everyone feel terribly inferior to me. Basically I’m taking this medically necessary nap for you, so please keep it down.”

EVERYONE WINS.

I’ll keep you posted.

I assure you, that was not my nipple.

So this week I did a keynote address at the Texas Conference for Women.  The other keynote speakers were all uber-professional and awesome, and one was a nobel peace laureate, and they all said very important, inspirational things.  And then I got on the stage and panicked and decided to do a reading from my book about the time I got my arm stuck up a cow’s vagina.  In my defense though, I’m me, so it wasn’t like they didn’t know they were getting into, and surprisingly few people actually walked out.  I suspect the few who did walk out probably just had cow vagina phobia (I feel ya, sisters) but then later I realized it might have been for another reason altogether.  Very sweet friends sent me photos of myself on stage and some of them made me look almost professional:

Pretend I was saying something profound here and not just explaining how easy it is to get your arm broken in a cow vagina.

Then my friend Laura sent me pictures from the back.  After the fifth one I had noticed they all had one similarity:

Do you see it?

You might not notice from the picture, but after looking at a series of them all I can see is what appears to be my right nipple escaping from my shirt.

No shit. It's in EVERY shot.

And I know it’s not my nipple because I’m about to turn 40 and my nipples weren’t that perky even when I was 20.  In fact, I’d almost be proud if that was an accidental nip-slip, because who wouldn’t be impressed with nipples that are so perky they seem to be reading the book along with me?  Answer: Professional conference attendees staring at a possible wonky nipple during a 20-minute diatribe about cow vaginas.

Let me assure you, it was not my nipple.  I suspect it was shadow of the circular microphone on the podium, but now I’m worried that thousands of women think I was intentionally showing off my one good nipple.  I would never do that, y’all.  Because I’m a lady.

And now that I’ve straightened that out (or possibly made it much, much worse) I’m going to change the subject to tell you that I just opened a box from my editor and it was filled with my book in Portuguese.  I think.  I’m not good with languages.  But as an early Christmas/Hanukkah present I’m going to give away signed Portuguese copies to a few random commenters.  Why would you even want this?  I have no idea.  But I guarantee that you’ll be the only one with one.

I shoved the cover in my cat's face and screamed, "HEY, CAT! YOU'RE TOTALLY FAMOUS IN BRAZIL," and then she ran and hid under the couch. Some people just can't handle fame.

 

I don’t think it’s even humanly possible to fart in front of Katie Couric.

This week I’ve still been in the last stages of recovery from one of the strongest bouts of depression I’ve ever faced.  Next week I’ll be on the Katie Couric Show.  Life is weird.

I taped it before I fell into the black hole I’ve been crawling out of, which is good because I would’ve looked exhausted and teary, but bad because I’ve actually lost some weight on my too-sick-to-eat-solid-food diet and might actually have fit into my clothes.  Regardless, it was awesome and you should totally watch it, in spite of the fact that my cat (Hunter S. Thomcat) totally steals the show.

I think I’m probably not supposed to give away the details of the show but I can tell you that Katie Couric is adorable and so tiny that I could eat her in one sitting and still want dessert.  Also, they put me in a (very fancy but quite tight) dress and a pair of heels I could barely stand in and when I wobbled out onto the stage I almost fell on Katie and crushed her.  Plus, when I sat down I heard a ripping sound and I knew it was my dress but I had this terrible feeling that Katie thought I’d farted.  Let me assure you, I would never fart in front of Katie Couric.  I have standards, people.

Will you watch?  The tv listing:

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 13 – Katie’s 4th episode
As Katie embarks on a new adventure in her own life, she introduces viewers to two women whose personal stories inspired her. First, Katie’s conversation with Brené Brown, a research professor and motivational speaker whose new book, Daring Greatly, poses the question: can daring to make yourself vulnerable change your life, and be the ultimate key to happiness? And then, Jenny Lawson, author of the widely read blog, “The Bloggess,” whose decision to open up about her personal struggles on her widely read blog inspired the “Red Dress” phenomenon.

PS.  I looked like Snooki for the first hour of makeup…

…But in the end it worked out okay…

True story: They had another dress for me in a size 20. I couldn't get it over my left leg. It was an Italian 20. Because people in Italy like insulting fat people. Apparently.

PPS.  You should really buy Daring Greatly, and not just because Brene is one of my best friends.  It’s fabulous.

PPPS.  Need your own traveling red dress?  Check out the Facebook page for some beautiful donations or donate one yourself.  Also, I’m giving out three new traveling red dresses to the first three people who convince me you really need one.  (Just make sure you leave a good email address so I can contact you.)

PPPPS.  Thank you.  None of this would have been possible without thousands of amazing people who have donated, worn and passed on these red dresses.  I’m so incredibly lucky to be a part of this community.

It’s like a hoodie. But with fangs.

Last week my friend Suebob pointed me toward an enormous taxidermied wolf on Etsy THAT YOU CAN WEAR.

The girl who made it is actually INSIDE of it. And possibly about to get shot.

It was made of awesome, and I was able to verify that the wolf died of old age/kidney failure so I could buy it with a clear conscience and PETA couldn’t throw blood at me when I wore it at formal events.  I told Victor that I would name him “Wolf Blitzer” and that I would use him as a sleeping bag on cold airplanes (and also to menace anyone who took my arm-rest.)  Victor pointed out that airport security gets uptight about snow globes and nail-clippers so they probably wouldn’t let me bring a wolf on a plane as carry-on, but I was already formulating a plan to make Wolf Blitzer my service-animal-companion since I have chronic panic attacks, and airplanes have to recognize disabilities.  Like the disability of not being able to be relax on a cold plane without some xanax and a dead wolf snuggie named Wolf Blitzer.  Victor started to argue with me but then he gave up because Wolf Blitzer was very expensive and he knew I couldn’t justify paying that much for a blanket with claws.  And he was right.  Which is why I immediately went on Kickstarter to submit an application for a fundraiser to help me pay for a dead wolf to wear on plane rides.  I labeled it under “Performance Art” and promised to repay patrons by sharing photos of me wearing it to the Twilight opening.

**********

Kickstarter responded almost immediately:  “Thank you for taking the time to share your idea. Unfortunately, this isn’t the right fit for Kickstarter.”  Because apparently Kickstarter doesn’t appreciate helping people with disabilities.

**********

I was about to give up when I found out that the person I’d originally chosen to read my audiobook (James Earl Jones) was not responding to my emails and so instead I would have to read my own damn book, and I told my agent that I’d do it but only if I could be paid in dead wolf snuggies.  Then there was an awkward pause and I explained that I’d wear it while recording my book, and that way Wolf Blitzer would be a tax deduction, and she said she needed to go.  Probably because talking about tax law is super-boring.

**********

When I explained to Zhon (the girl who made Wolf Blitzer) that I needed him quickly (because I was Team Jacob and needed him for opening weekend) she didn’t even pause to question me.  Because she’s awesome.  And also because she once made a life-size Tauntaun to wear, so she’s really not in any position to judge me.

**********

me: I just bought Wolf Blitzer so that I can wear him to see Twilight-part-whatever, but you can’t yell at me because he didn’t cost anything.

Victor:  How the hell did that happen?

me:  I bartered for him in trade for narrating my own audiobook.

Victor:  AND THIS IS WHY YOU’RE NOT ALLOWED TO MAKE FINANCIAL DECISIONS WITHOUT ME.

me:  No way.  That was a great financial decision.  I feel all in touch with my 1/64th Native American heritage.  I just bartered a story for a dead wolf head-dress.  I’m like Pocahontas, but with an audiobook.

Victor:  My head hurts.

**********

Wolf Blitzer arrived.  And he was MAGNIFICENT.  But Victor refused to take me and my dead wolf to the movies because apparently he’s Team Edward.  Luckily, my friends Maile and Laura were willing to come along for the ride.  Laura dressed up as a member of the Volturi because we thought it would be funny to have some sort of West Side Story dance-fight at the theater.  Maile hadn’t actually read the Twilight books and so I tried to convince her to wear my Bigfoot costume, and I told her that Bigfoot totally played a huge part in this movie.  And then at the end I’d be like “I can’t believe they cut the Bigfoot part out!  He was so integral to the book!” but Maile has known me for far too long to trust me and so instead she dressed up as a very cynical friend who doesn’t understand how fun it is to wear a Bigfoot costume to the movies.

**********

We laughed.  We cried.  Maile saw some very conservative looking friends and casually  introduced Laura and I without explaining at all why we were dressed as werewolves and Draculas.  I took a picture with a very brave stranger who asked what my deal was.  I told her I was here to see the Muppet Movie.  She looked confused.

My work there was done.

**********

 You want pictures, don’t you?  Fine.  Here they are.  Because Wolf Blitzer and I love you.  Much more than Kickstarter does.  Apparently.

Buying my ticket. And yes, it was a little embarrassing. A women in her 30's going to see Twilight, I mean. Not wearing Wolf Blitzer. Wolf Blitzer is awesome.

"Holy crap, is that a Volturi? Don'tcomeoverhereDon'tcomeoverhereDon't - Oh shit."

It's fine. She's tweeting. Just keep your head down and she probably won't even notice.

 

Fuck. She noticed. Awk-ward.

Eventually they let us into the theater and we drank copiously.  Laura and I rooted for our respective teams and Maile photographed the debacle.  It’s sort of amazing that we weren’t kicked out of the theater.

Twilight movies are like the girl version of watching the Superbowl. In that they can only be enjoyed when really drunk.

And it was awesome, except for the part when all the werewolves started talking to each other WITH THEIR MINDS and then it got really stupid and I leaned over to Laura and Maile and whispered, “Okay.  Right now, for the first time all night?  I’m kind of embarrassed to be wearing a giant wolf suit.”  And they nodded sympathetically, because that’s what good friends do.

The magic of the theater. And friends. And Wolf Blitzer.

I think I just became a professional scientist. A dangerously unqualified one.

Yesterday I got an email from Scientific American magazine asking if I would be interested in submitting some ideas for science experiments for children.  And I was all, OF COURSE I WOULD.  After all, this is the same prestigious magazine that Einstein once contributed to.

My actual response:

Have you considered experiments regarding the proper combination of liquids?  Specifically, teaching children how to mix mojitos properly.

Technically, it’s basic chemistry (with a touch of biology if you grow the mint yourself) which ends in awesomeness. Plus, the parents would have to test the final product, so you have automatic parental involvement.  Personally, I would be very interested in becoming involved in that experiment.  Or anything involving Zombie Apocalypse preparations.  Maybe something with battle-axes.

Also, have you heard about these nuclear wolves?  Because they sound scary as shit.  Personally, I think we need to be concerned.  We may have over-planned for zombies, and under-planned for nuclear wolves.

Hugs,

Jenny

PS.  My spellcheck says “mojito” isn’t even a real word. I think this points out exactly why this sort of education is critical in America.

 

To be honest, I wasn’t actually expecting a response, but I got one:

If you really want to create an experiment on the proper combination of liquids (mojitos or otherwise), can you provide some more details like the objective of the experiment, the controls and variables that you think should be present, etc.? If our edit team features it as part of the next round of BSH experiments, we’ll credit you and link to your Twitter/blog. Suggestions from your blog readers and social followers are also welcomed.

And I completely agree about making serious moves to prepare for the Zombie Apocalypse. I don’t want to scare you, but zombie fungus ants might be the real thing we need to be worried about… At least for now.

Thanks again for the response. We look forward to discussing this and other end of the world conspiracies with you further.

Which?  Kind of a bad-ass response from a magazine that’s been around since the the 1850′s. Unfortunately, all I know about science is that if you flush a lit M-80 down the toilet it will fuck. up. your plumbing.  Really, I can’t stress that enough.  Also, you should not use roman candles to “burn away” the evidence.  It totally does not work at all and just makes things worse.  Plus, did you know that shower curtains are highly flammable?  Because I didn’t.

PS.  I have no clue how to write a proper scientific proposal and most of you are way smarter than me, so if any of you have any suggestions please feel free to leave them in the comments and I’ll have the Scientific American team come and check them out.  And then we all get knighted as Professional Scientists and then we can wear white lab coats with impunity and pretend to be very important doctors who can’t be bothered to pay their bar tabs because I HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY TO ATTEND TO AND THIS COAT HAS NO POCKETS FOR MY WALLET.  I’m pretty sure that’s how science works.

I’m also getting a lot of spam insults from foreign robots. Which is sad, because this is probably going to put a lot of local trolls out of business.

Actual comment I just got:

“Your site looks very interesting to me. I found it doing a search for butt hairy woman.”

For the love of God, let that be spam.

****

And now, this week’s Shit-I-did-when-I-wasn’t-here:

(Illustration courtesy of the lovely @MissMortis)

What you missed on Ill-Advised:

What you missed on Good Mom/Bad Mom on the Houston Chronicle:

What you missed on my sex column (which is satirical and vaguely safe for work if your boss isn’t a complete douche-canoe):

What you missed in my shop (tentatively named “Eight pounds of uncut cocaine” so that your credit card bill will be more interesting.):

What you missed on the internets:

This week on Shit-I-didn’t-come-up-with-but-wish-I-did-because-it’s-kind-of-awesome: