Currently viewing the tag: "Funny"

My dear friend had her annual holiday tea at the Peninsula Hotel yesterday. It was our usual time to “catch up” with a two-hour year-in-review before we all ran off to our respective family winter breaks. Of course there was the required group picture in front of the Christmas tree, and, of course, the shot was posted on Facebook.

This is how crazy I am. Instead of seeing the tagged photo and remembering what fun I had hanging out with my long-time sisters, I became pre-occupied with the fact that the shirt I wore made me look pregnant. As an aside, one of the girl’s brought a handful of of pix taken at a bachelorette party from 10 years before where we all looked like super-models on a tear. (Those weren’t posted, btw.) Talk about body issues. Please, my next book could be exclusively made up of years of journal entries beginning with what I ate, if I worked out or Do I feel fat today? Certainly, at my age, one should rightfully cease to care about the silliness of this stuff except that with Facebook, etc. anyone from your high school guidance counselor to a camp mate to an old flame to your chiropractor is privy to your bad-hair-chubby-chinned memories.

Remember that Seinfeld episode where George thinks of a great retort to a conversation he had and then the next day he goes to deliver it but it’s lost its power. I feel that way plenty, like I wish I had said this or that, then what-the-hell, it’s too late.

That’s the reason I’ve taken to my blog instead of putting a simple one-line protest under the posted Facebook pix claiming that, “Hey, I’m a size 6, I just have big boobs!” (because that would be psycho, right?) What better place to clean out the rattling halls of my brain from the I should have said blah blah blahs… than my public soapbox? Since everything we do is so broadcasted, why not just rant here? Explain myself. I didn’t eat healthy, exercise, quit smoking a million years ago and keep up my hair color to have a bad-angled picture of myself floating around cyberspace for eternity. But, then again, now that I’ve said that, it’s like a do-over. Here’s the picture, I admit, I’m a kook. Everyone’s gorgeous as ever and I’m obsessively vain.

There’s no end to this madness. Damn the beauty industry, curse L.A. and its homecoming queen-based culture. Why couldn’t I have been French?

While I’m clearing the air, so to speak, I may as well share a story that has driven me nuts forever. At a Beverly Hills Oscar event a couple years ago with this same group of girls, I visited the fabulous home’s washroom. It was occupied by a now ex-husband of one of my friends. After he leaves and I go in, I almost pass out from how much he compromised the place. I suffered through my two minutes in there and when I came out, a very well-known TV Star (who is the husband of another guest) goes in after me. In that split second, I needed to say, “Wasn’t me.” But I didn’t. I laughed oddly and ducked back into the festivities. Guilt by association. Only a forensic scientist could have pardoned me after that. Ever since that night, I run into this guy time after time and I know he thinks I’m the culprit who destroyed the powder room. I’ve told people in our common circle the story in hopes that maybe they’ll tell him and he’ll finally know that I wasn’t the pig at the party. I doubt he reads my blog, but hey, if you know the story and who I’m talking about, pass this on. Wasn’t me.

So, let’s review. I’m a nut-job, I’m not the size of a Metrobus, and I didn’t inconsiderately take that dump at the fancy awards party. And ultimately, I’m grateful for my health, my family, my life and I’m proud to be an American and none of this matters. Was the disclaimer Miss USA enough?

I feel so much better. Thanks for listening and Happy Holidays.

Pam Alster, former TV writer & suburban mom brings a decade of living on the dark side to light in her novel debut Robin’s Blue available now in Kindle and Paperback. www.pamalster.com Find her on Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter @plexigirl.

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One of my favorite shows on TV is Comedy Central’s Key & Peele. The stars Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele, both Fox’s MADtv alum, are indisputably talented writers and performers –from Obama’s Anger Translator Luther to their LMFAO parody of two party guys that just want to go home, they consistently nail the essence of the ridiculousness of modern American life.

Why I love the show, however, is not for the obvious reason of their almost perfect pitch, well-ended sketches (which SNL rarely achieves), but that they explain the genesis of the bit. It’s awe-inspiring to be taken on the journey of their creative process and then get a peek at their method through their expert facilitation.

Another thing that seems to work for Key & Peele is that technology allows them, with the modest budget of Comedy Central compared to major networks, to digitally film stuff with special effects that would have less impact is limited to the stage.

Though they are not returning with new episodes until Fall of 2013, Tivo this past season of Key & Peele on Comedy Central or catch some clips on YouTube. You’ll be hooked like me.

Pam Alster, former TV writer & suburban mom brings a decade of living on the dark side to light in her novel debut Robin’s Blue available now in Kindle and Paperback. www.pamalster.com Find her on Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter @plexigirl.

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Snowflakes : Cartoon Santa Claus , vector

 

Some mom’s and I were on an email tear over gift ideas for our kids. I have an eight year old daughter – not that hard. Justice, American Girl, blingy things, art-n-crafts, Judy Moody books. But it can be an intense time with what you have to do to get ready for the holidays.

I think we can safely agree that we are over Oprah’s Favorite Things. It was fun when the show was on and we were all-in on the unsuspecting audience getting a cart-full of overpriced loot. But now that it’s pretty pictures in a magazine, seriously, am I going to spend $285 on an Italian Vegetable Soap assortment? Reality, people.

But don’t stress. First off, MAKE a list. Then schedule two hours for Marshall’s and some quality Amazon time. That’s right. Marshall’s. Amazon.

I found legit must-have’s in every department – men’s, kids, home, shoes, DVD’s, books, Xbox. Hip, high-end. I even scored American Girl crafts. New. Shiny, happy. Stocking stuffers of beautiful glass magnets, Swarovski Crystal key chains (for your little diva’s backpack), Sketcher sneakers, a gangsta hoodie, and, of course, everyone’s fav, underwear. Get to it.

Don’t forget your nieces and nephews. For pre-teen and teens, they don’t need your weird translation of what you think is happening in their world, they want their freedom. Say “I get you” with Abercrombie, Hollister or Gap gift cards so they can pick out what they will actually wear. Need more? iTunes or GameStop. Joy.

Nix those tired scented candles and $10 wine for your hostess gifts. Buy a set of Riedel stemless goblets or a box of groovy glass-i.d. bling for parties. Everyone craves them but finds it too indulgent to buy for themselves. Not over-priced, just WANTED.

What of the hard-to-buy person who has everything? How about a monogrammed beach tote from Lands End in various sizes and colors for under $40? And why give your husband a $400 gadget that you can’t afford or another tie with Calvin Klein boxers? All he wants is sex. Put a ribbon in your hair and give it up, girl. Merry X-mas.

I didn’t forget about you. With all these deals I’m throwing your way, pick up some swag for yourself. I got an August Silk cardigan for $19.99, a couple of $20 glam tops and velvet Hue leggings at Nordstrom’s Rack.

Rock it.

 Pam Alster, former TV writer & suburban mom brings a decade of living on the dark side to light in her novel debut Robin’s Blue available now in Kindle and Paperback. www.pamalster.com Find her on Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter @plexigirl.

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Inspired by the recent Hurricane Sandy news about the uncovered shipwreck on Fire Island, I began to ruminate. What if there’s treasure in the splintered remains? Surely there’s got to be some interesting artifacts.

This led me to fleshing out an idea. Maybe there’s a homeless-from-the-flood couple, sleeping on floors of friends or family. They’re badgered by their hosts, it’s evident their welcome has worn out and the tensions are high – for buried reasons — ha! Theme. They read the article about the ship on their smartphone. Disenfranchised by the unbearable situation and state of the clean-up effort, they scheme to venture toward the ruined, cordoned-off island to find the gold they’ve convinced themselves is out there.

I tell my husband how this is going to be a deeply personal relationship story, with the destruction and recuperation from the storm as the backdrop. The drama of the journey is the forward action juxtaposed against the constraints of the disaster clean-up effort.

“Good right?” I said to my husband.

“Yeah. And when they get there, the wreck is overtaken by zombies,” he said.

Not exactly the moving story I was pitching. But hey, what adventure isn’t improved by sprinkling in a few spooks?

Pam Alster, former TV writer & suburban mom brings a decade of living on the dark side to light in her novel debut Robin’s Blue available now in Kindle and Paperback. www.pamalster.com Find her on Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter @plexigirl.

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On my way into a Starbucks a guy on his cell, blabs away the boring details of his life for all the parking lot to enjoy. He cuts me off as I reach for the door, not to hold it open for me, but to let it recklessly close with a whoosh of air in my face before I catch it with my foot. He continues his diatribe into his phone, chortling between mono-syllabic grunts, oblivious to his surroundings. He gesticulates in front of me with the grace of a gorilla at a tea party as the line inches along. When he hangs up, he checks out the climate, finally notices me behind him, gives me an cartoon onceover, then winks.*

I’m not the first, and won’t be the last person, who is appalled by big mouths chatting away everywhere you go. The cellphone thing is here to stay and we’ll have to deal with it. I’ve been as guilty as the next person of conversations at the drug store but I think we’ve reached a boiling point.

I tell this story, not to be all used to be, blah blah blah, but to illustrate the point that basic manners are grossly missing in our daily interactions. I suggest that a  guide needs to be issued. I don’t care where — Miss Manners, classroom curriculum, YouTube.

What about a reality show where people have to live with each other and endure other’s reprehensible behavior. What? Oh yeah –Survivor, Jersey Shore, American Idol. Not much learned there.

Hey, and what’s happened to a respectable RSVP? Evite has turned the organized party into a cesspool of ill-bred conduct. People reply “yes” to an event from their mobile, don’t appreciate there’s a headcount needed, and arrive to the barbeque with their Little League team in tow.

And really, not to generalize, but sometimes it’s fitting — men are the worst. Gone are the days of after you or excuse me. I can be almost anywhere, the grocery store, the gas station, an elevator, and the only people who dare to utter those words are women. Seriously. And, for the most part, preceded by an apology as you reach for a milk carton at the same time, i.e. I’m sorry (for my existence), excuse me. I don’t say this because I’m middle-aged and I think my hotness has hit the wall. Men seem to have a common lack of awareness of their bodies and personal space. Here comes one now, just strutting down the sidewalk in my direction without moving aside while I stuggle to restrain my barking dogs. Does it occur to him to cross the street to avoid the discourse? Uh, no. Just tromp tromp tromp and a “hey baby!” while I and the pooches get doused with lawn sprinklers.**

I could go on –having to endure the view of low-cut tank-tops and hairy armpits in a restaurant, the valet parker farting in my car before he gives me the keys  –but who has the time? Maybe that’s the issue. No one takes the time to teach anyone what’s appropriate. Call me old school, but I think we can all agree that, as a society, we’ve completely lost our way when it comes to tolerable public conduct.

*The “wink” and other outmoded, ineffective forms of salutation to be addressed in forthcoming blog.

**”Hey, baby.” See above.

Pam Alster, former stand-up comedienne, Lifetime TV writer & suburban mom brings a decade of living on the dark side to light in her forthcoming debut novel Robin’s Blue. www.pamalster.com

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Tough week. Mother-in-law visiting from New York, daughter’s 8th birthday. House party for 100 people. Emceeing a silent auction at the school fundraiser. One must be organized, prepared. Selfless. Delightful. When the tiniest of details are imperative, niceties suffer and there’s little compassion for the hostess.

Sure, people say, “Is there anything I can do?” But it’s not like you can send someone to the ATM or have them hot-roll your hair 15 minutes before the caterers arrive.

Having your huband’s mother as a house guest during it all isn’t the best choice either. And I say this, knowing full and well that I’m extra lucky in that department. My mother-in-law and I have similar tastes, she’s lovely to everyone, not to mention, beautiful. But your MIL is your MIL, no matter how fabulous.

Trying to be the perfect mommy in my usual manner, I’d baked 72 cupcakes in the a.m. the day of the event. My crucial error was to save the frosting of them as a planned participitory activity for after lunch with Grandma and a couple of my daughter’s little friends. I reserved 4 cupcakes for the kids to “decorate.” My sly way to control the quality. (As a side note, today is my 18th wedding anniversary. After this long, you’d think there’d be few surprises, right?) Imagine my shock, when my MIL sits across the table from me and proceeds to frost, and I say this with love and admiration, like a four year old on Red Bull. Globs of the chocolate canned fluff just dumped atop, the wrapper covered with the sticky stuff.

“We’ll have to smooth that out.” I said with strained annoyance.

She stammered. “Well, it’s harder than it looks.”

Frustrated, I demonstrated the correct swirling technique. I even gave her a different butter knife. It only got worse. My husband entered, tried to fix one up himself. He failed miserably.

I couldn’t help but blurt out, “Have you either of you ever frosted a cupcake before?”

“Well, no,” they both said sideways to each other.

“You’ve never done this before?” This is directed accusingly at my mother-in-law, for all the reasons you might think. My husband’s childhood parties? A family barbeque? A cake walk? A bake sale? Home Ec? Come on! I felt outraged and oddly superior at the same time. My MIL, Mrs. I-have-it-all-together-all-the-time, had no experiece with Betty Crocker and a can of whipped frosting. Wow.

“I’ve always just ordered them or picked them up from the bakery,” she said defenseless.

My background is theater, show business. There is a call time. You work back from that. Two hours until curtain. It was now T minus 30 before the photo-booth was to arrive and I was in sweats without a stitch of make-up. So, you see, it wasn’t only that my mother-in-law had never iced a cupcake before — but I mean, really? — it’s that she pretended at her ability at crunch time.

“Do you think you could have told me that before you ruined my cupcakes?” I said, without charity. After I ruthlessly expelled everyone with “Get out of my kitchen!” I didn’t feel the least bit of guilt.

Look, I’m not going to act all down-to-earth here. Any friend of mine will tell you, I have NO affinity for washing floors and I’ve made it a point to do it as little as possible in my life. But, if asked, I could perform the task with agility. And if I was not sure of the correct technique or the proper usage of cleansers, I would, with utter integrity, out myself as unqualified, and ask for direction. Just saying.

It was the misrepresentation of skill that outraged me, not the incompetency itself. I swear this bleeds into every aspect of life. If it’s something you can fake, fine, go for it. But if you can’t, confess. When lives are at stake, or in this case, a child’s birthday party is on the line, it’s better to plead ignorance. I promise, you’ll get the necessary instruction and clemency will follow. People, in general, will be much more tolerant.

You can be certain that after re-icing, smoothing & lettering each mini-cake, no one noticed a blemish. Frankly, with all the mania around Happy Birthday! and a pinata on the horizon, no one would have blinked if the sugar arrived straight into their vein in a pitchfork-shaped syringe.

In the end, my MIL was, as usual, gracious, loving and forgiving for my “meltdown.” Her word. Others might say I’m bossy, a control-freak, dramatic, snarky. Perhaps a total be-yotch. But I prefer Perfectionista.

Really, is it so wrong to want things done right?

Pam Alster, former stand-up comedienne, Lifetime TV writer & suburban mom brings a decade of living on the dark side to light in her forthcoming debut novel Robin’s Blue. www.pamalster.com

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I can’t tell you how many times a week I say did you go to the bathroom? before I leave the house with my child. Not because my daughter is incapable of monitoring her bodiliy functions, but because public restrooms are, in general, disgusting. So much, in fact, that I’m shocked when I come across one where there’s an unclogged seat, actual toilet tissue, and the sink doesn’t look like I’d just skirted a plumbing accident. I’m extra floored when paper towels are available instead of the miserable short-circuiting hand-dryer — of course, the updated version of that being the Dyson hurricane blower that’s enough to rip the rings off fingers — neither, in reality, able to perform the act of drying.

The thing that literally bugs the crap out of me, pun not intended, is the perpetual ladies room line. I could be almost anywhere — where I hear crickets from the silence — and end up waiting for a stall. Architects, contractors, our society have not quite figured out that more women go to the bathroom on average, more times than men. Come on. I want that study, please!! But it’s not rocket science people, is it?

While I’m at it, I’d like to instruct the general misinformed on the correct use of the “handicap” stall. To those who think the seat is only for someone in a wheelchair: it’s not a parking space. Personally, I refuse to leave that slot open when I need to pee on the off-chance someone with a scooter might arrive. As far as I’m concerned, “whoever” can schedule her potty visit like the rest of the adult world. Get in the queue like everyone else ladies! It’s maddening, when after waiting an eternity, you realize an idiot at the front of the long line has taken it upon herself not to do the due diligence to check if there’s a pair of feet under each door, holding up the works for the rest. Believe me, when the frustrated crowd figures it out with the “courtroom murmer” of is anyone even in there, the collective rage is palpable.

And, lastly, the hipsters who came up with the brilliant design idea of coed washrooms need to have their heads examined. Really, is this a glimpse into our dystopian future or merely a flimsy attempt to save space? Frankly, I don’t appreciate having to share the primp zone with some other girl’s date at the communial sink. Not to mention inevitable emergencies –it shouldn’t take much to stretch your imagination — menstrual cycles, IBS, men’s sloppy aim. Still think it’s a hot trend? Anyone? Seriously. Anyone? I didn’t think so.

Pam Alster, former stand-up comedienne, Lifetime TV writer & suburban mom brings a decade of living on the dark side to light in her forthcoming debut novel Robin’s Blue. www.pamalster.com

 

 

 

 

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Damn Oprah and her helpful magazine staring at me from my chaise, beckoning me with “De-Clutter Your Life” splashed across a hot pink ribbon below her masthead. Sure. Add the guilt of my junk drawer to the list of my crimes, like that extra 10 pounds weighing down my less-than-Sports Illustrated-model butt.

I don’t know which periodical helps to make me more neurotic. Vogue or Simple Living. If it’s not swarming thoughts of my outmoded wall color and my unframed daughter’s art, it’s the compulsion to click the “buy it now” button for the Groupon selling discounted fat-wrap spa treatments.

When I carve out the time to shop for the supply of special food I’ll need for my pre-birthday fat flush, get that Brazillian blow-out and return all those unanswered phone calls and emails, I’ll finally read that “O” glossy article and learn how, with all the leftover minutes, to reach the perfection of that dust-free, spatially aesthetic closet.

Pam Alster, former stand-up comedienne, Lifetime TV writer & suburban mom brings a decade of living on the dark side to light in her forthcoming debut novel Robin’s Blue. www.pamalster.com

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Loved every minute of seeing my homegirl Lisa Ann Walter read from her new book “The Best Thing About My Ass Is That It’s Behind Me” — available now from HarperCollins Publishers at www.Amazon.com. Lisa was pitch-perfect with her excerpt choices. Her delivery, as usual, was engaged, inspired, honest, but most importantly, funny. The girl’s got it going on and I’m one proud BF. Buy one for every woman in your life — the nominal cost of book will be covered by her genius beauty advice alone. You’re welcome.

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