Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Say Whaaat? Wednesday

I was going to write a Jack Attack's Jammin' Tuesday post, but I realized I missed Tuesday. So I guess I'll write something for Say Whaaat? Wednesday. This is a short one, though.

Oddly enough, this little anecdote is also customer service related. I was buying something a couple days ago at the grocery store, and as I was leaving, this is what the cashier told me: "Thanks! Have a great life!" I was just like, "Thanks, man. You, too!"

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Say Whaaat? Wednesday

Keeping with what I wrote the other day, I'm going to try to write more regular blog posts. Today, I am trying out "Say Whaaat? Wednesday" (you hold out the a when you read it...and you will then know how I say it.) On Say Whaaat? Wednesdays, I will mention something a little strange/somewhat amusing/mildly interesting that I overheard, read, saw, etc.

This week, I would like to share something I heard at work. I was helping a gentleman check out, and I asked him my standard, "How are you today?" After asking people this day in and day out, I would say I get the standard "I'm good," or "I'm fine," 95% of the time. Every once in a while I get a "fantastic," "wonderful," or "peachy," (peachy is one of my favorites). Sometimes, (usually from men) I get a sarcastic "I'm great," or a "Fair to middlin'" (I've never really understood that one.) This particular gentleman responded as such:

"I feel adorable."

I stopped ringing for a second, looked at him to see if he was kidding or not, and then continued checking him out when I realized he was completely serious.

I feel adorable.

That was a first.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Jack Attack vs The Arachnids Part II

VIDEO0003 a video by This is Jack Attack on Flickr.
I was having some technical difficulties before, but HERE is the video.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Jack Attack vs The Arachnids

Life has been dreary as of late, hence me on a Friday night completely alone doing pointless things on my computer. But at least now I can write a blog post. I already decided what I wanted to write about. Spiders.

I am very much a stereotypical girl when it comes to three things: spiders, snakes, and mice/rats. When there was a mouse in my house last winter, I literally climbed onto the kitchen table and screamed as it ran circles around my kitchen floor while my rat terrier (yes, a breed that is bred specifically to KILL rodents) was more interested as to why I was on top of the table freaking out than the scurrying, disease-riddled, unbelievably fast mouse that was doing laps in my kitchen. (Okay, it probably wasn't disease-riddled but those things freak me out!)

And snakes? Don't even get me started on those. I have a story about the time my lovely friend Miss Roro and I saw one at the river (slithering up onto the rock where we were sitting, I might add) where I literally fell down about four times trying to run away from it.

Oh! I forgot to add, I'm also absolutely terrified of bats. That includes a story where I came across one in the woods one summer when my brother and dad and I were out chopping wood. (We're mountain folk.) There had been a bat in the tree my dad had fallen and I poked my foot around in the wood chips and it popped out hissing at me. I turned and booked it into the middle of the woods screaming my head off. I had no idea where I was going, I just decided that running into the woods was my best option. My dad, (who is becoming hard of hearing, anyway) had his ear muffs on and the chain saw going and he could still hear me screaming like a banshee.

But the thing about mice and snakes and bats is that I don't come across them very often. There are only a handful of times I've encountered those particular shriek-inducing creatures, but spiders, on the other hand, are always around. They're everywhere. I think that's probably why they terrify me the most.

It's been unbelievably hot here in Colorado the past couple weeks, and I have been leaving my windows open. As a result, the spiders have been coming in. I probably have been killing, I would say, about three spiders a day. That means, on average, I've killed 21 spiders in a week. 84 spiders in one month?! This is just not right, I say. Not right at all. This is one of the times that makes me wish I had a man around because I've never been good at killing spiders.

While I never particulary like killing spiders, I feel like I am much more capable when they are of a certain size. Nickel sized or smaller, I can handle it. It's the big ones where I really freak out. All my life, I have always had someone else to call to come and kill the behemoth, hairy ones. Until now. Now I have to do it on my own. And let me tell you, it hasn't been pretty.

I've found two very large ones in my bath tub, and instead of squishing them (I will get to that in just a second) I run the shower and aim the shower head at it so it will go down the drain. One of these spiders and I had an epic battle. I aimed the water at it, and it did its creepy fast-crawl thing as it desperately tried to get away. (You know what I'm talking about? Whenever you first see a spider, it's always stock still and completely unmoving. But the second you make any movement to kill it, it suddenly goes into some sort of turbo mode where it is all over the place and you don't know where the hell it's going to go and its eight legs are flying like crazy!)  Anyway, this particular spider abandoned the creepy fast-crawl strategy and instead decided to cling to the side of the tub for dear life. I tried desperately to break its death grip with the shower water, but I had to resort to collecting water in my hands and splashing the spider with it for it to finally let go. Then it curled up into a gross little ball, and I thought he was dead so I turned the water off only to see him unfurl himself and start doing his creepy fast-crawl again. The battle waged on. I finally watched it get swept down into the drain. I sat for a moment, reveling my victory, when I saw the bastard crawl its way right back out. I finally had to buck up and squish him.

I don't like the squish for two reasons. Number one: I don't like the way it feels when you squish them. I have to use about 50 paper towels just so I won't feel that moment where it pops. Ehh. I'm getting the chills right now just thinking about it. Number two: I mentioned before how they do their creepy fast-crawl thing. I'm always worried that as I go to kill it, it will jump on me or get on me somehow. I don't know about you guys, but whenever there is a spider on me, all hell breaks loose. So, lately, my squishing weapon of choice has been the shoe. I don't like that it is more messy than the paper towel method (Because then you have to wipe the guts off your shoe! And that's just gross.) but it creates more of a barrier between the spider and myself.

Today, I came across the biggest spider yet. This one, my friends, was a Goliath. He might not look that big in this video you are about to watch, but trust me, he was huge. (I have no idea why I make the noises that I do. It just comes out.)


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The things I ponder...

Are there certain words you guys can never remember how to spell - no matter how many times you look them up? I have some words like that. The ones that I can think of are: vacuum, feud, and rhythm. I can never remember how many cs and us are in vacuum, and for some reason I cannot explain, I always want to write fued instead of feud, and whenever I try to spell rhythm it's always a complete mess...I don't even get close. But there are some words I notice get misspelled a lot. One thing I noticed a lot in my writing class was that people would write "breathe" for "breath" or vice versa A LOT. And I've noticed a lot of people don't know how to spell "definitely." I just think it's strange how our brains have these repeated trip ups.

I need to do my laundry. Do you know what I hate about getting near the end of my clean clothes? All that's left of my underwear is either my old lady underwear or the really uncomfortable underwear. It sucks. I don't know about you guys, but I definitely have an underwear cycle. The most comfortable (and my favorite) underwear get worn first. Those are the hipster underwear. I like those the best. Do you guys know which ones I'm talking about? Maybe it's just me, but I hate wearing my really cute underwear when I know they won't be seen. (You know, the ones where they actually match? As in the bra and panty actually have the same design and are supposed to be worn together - not just a mish-mash of colors...which I usually have.) It feels like a waste. On the days I wear my really cute underwear, I walk around all day thinking if there was some sort of spontaneous contest, where someone judged who was wearing the cutest underwear that day, I would totally win. (These are the kinds of things I think about it. I know, I'm so cerebral.) Maybe, on those days, I just need to start dropping trou and flashing people so my underwear has a chance to be seen and admired. This is completely ridiculous to be blogging about, isn't it? It's okay if you think it is. I think it is, too.

Do you know what I love? I cleaned my house yesterday (it sorely needed it, I might add) and it hadn't been cleaned for a while, and it had gotten to that point where I would come home and be disgusted the second I walked through the door. But now that it's clean, it was like a little surprise when I came home today. Like, "Oh, yeah. I forgot I cleaned. Look at how good my place looks." And I reveled in my clean house for a little bit... the fact that there are no smudges on my table or dog hair on the carpet or dirty dishes in the sink. I love coming home to a clean house. (Is it just me, or do I talk about cleaning my house A LOT in this blog? I think I have issues.)

I have a confession to make. This is going to seem random, but again, this particular post is about the things I find myself thinking about. I have an odd mind, I suppose. But let me continue with my confession. Whenever I go grocery shopping, I do not know how to pick out fruits or vegetables. Do you know what I'm talking about? I never know what I'm supposed to be "looking" for. I always glance at the other people near me, picking up and inspecting their fruit and eyeing it thoughtfullly. (Or maybe suspicously? Because people always seem to pick up a few before they settle on the "right" one.) I fake it. I pick up and "inspect" a few just for appearance's sake and then just settle on one. The only two pieces of produce where I actually know what I'm doing are avocados and watermelons. I know how to pick a good avocado...and I'm sure I look pretty ridiculous when I'm checking those out, because I inspect and squeeze those things like none other. And the trick for picking watermelons, by the way, is to look for the ones that have the little hard brown spots...that means they're sweet. Anyone have any tricks or tips for other produce? I have to look like I know what I'm doing out there instead of just faking it.

And now my final thought I will share with you guys. A little background info: I am not a morning person. (Huge understatement.) That means on work/school mornings I hit the snooze button about 10 times before I finally roll out of bed, and as a result, my mornings are always a mad dash to get ready. But I have a system...what kind you may ask? Well, let me tell you. I have a priorities list. The things I deem most important I do first, that way, if I run out of time to get ready, the less important things fall by the wayside. First and foremost on the list is brushing my teeth. Then getting dressed (you would think that would be first on the list, because it's not like I'm going to leave the house in my underwear, but still, the brushing of the teeth is always first) then the contact lens, then brushing the hair, then the make up, then styling my hair if their is enough time. Which there usually isn't. So I wear a pony tail a lot. And it is a very rare thing indeed if there is time for breakfast. I think it has happened maybe twice in the past six months. (I know, I know. It's the most important meal of the day. But I will just eat the breakfast of champions later aka a burrito with a Dr. Pepper and sometimes a Snickers bar. Jesus...I just realized how awful that sounds.) But I found myself wondering, do other people do this? Do they have a priority list in the morning? I would really like to know.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

something clever

Things have been weird lately. I think I'm in a strange time of my life. (That kind of just reminded me of the very end of Fight Club, when Tyler Durden tells Marla Singer: "You met me at a very strange time in my life." Granted, I have not gone so far off the deep end that I have created an alter ego. Not yet, anyway.) I have no idea what I want, and I can't help but think I'm sort of lost in my direction - like I'm bobbing out at sea, just waiting. Waiting for a ship to come save me, or the shoreline to show up, or a shark to come and eat me. That last little line was supposed to be a joke, to assure you that although I may feel lost, I do not feel helpless. Or hopeless. I think I just have to make decisions in my life right now that I do not know how to make.

Do you know what would be great? If money wasn't such a big deal. I hate how important money is. I know it doesn't make you happy, but damn, doesn't it make things easier?

Do you know what else would be great? If we could spend our days doing all the things our heart desired. Really. Think about it. How often do we do exactly what we feel like doing? I think my days would include an endless supply of my favorite snacks (because I like snacks better than meals): avocados, cheese and apples, pistachios, grapes, cookie dough, chips and salsa, slices of raw potatoes, yeah, that's right, raw potatoes, and plenty of Dr. Pepper, of course....and there would be hours spent reading and swinging on the hammock in my front lawn (without me becoming sunburned, that is) and I would do something new and exciting every day...a new adventure to be had. Because how boring is life without experiences?

And I would write all the time, (Because as of late I have been a bit blocked...that sounds like I'm constipated...just mentally/creatively so.) and everything I wrote would be fabulous and everyone would want to publish it. And after my first big success I'd become like J.D. Salinger and hardly ever publish anything again, and people would wonder: "Whatever happened to that Jackie Harris*? Why does she deprive us of her writing like this? Remember how great her first piece of work was?" Except I wouldn't be as reclusive as he was. But I think he stopped publishing because he didn't like the media attention. I would stop because I'd be worried anything I wrote after wouldn't come anywhere close to being as good as the first.

*This is a total aside, but if I ever did get something published, I'm not even sure what name I would use. Jackie Harris? Jaclyn Harris? Jack Harris? J. Harris? J. N. Harris? The initials seem kind of pretentious to me. Maybe I should come up with a pen name. I'm open to suggestions. The funnier, the better. 

And since I'm going into a fantasy you ever think about the things you would buy or spend your money on if you were rich? I think about that a lot. I really don't think I'd go too overboard. Not too many possessions, really, probably just a jet and a boat and ten cars. (Kidding.) Nah, more like a bunch of clothes and shoes and purses and the like. Because I'm typical like that. And a really awesome TV (because mine is so crappy, it makes me sad) and I would actually get cable. I consider that a luxury, folks - haven't had it for about six years. And I would travel all the time. Everywhere. You know what else I would do? I would hire people to work for me. Seriously. And hey, what's wrong with giving people jobs, eh? Stimulate the economy. You want to know who I would hire? Obviously, I would hire a cook. Because 1. I hate cooking and 2. I am really awful at cooking. I would hire someone to do my hair and make up every day. No joke. Can you imagine how awesome that would be? That would be awesome. I guess that's about it, actually. I can't think of anyone else I would want. But you know what I wouldn't hire people to do? I wouldn't hire a chauffeur, because I like to drive way too much. And I wouldn't hire a maid because (this might sound strange) I would feel bad having somebody else cleaning up after me. Plus, in a weird way, cleaning is kind of my therapy. And, although I don't have any kids, I would never hire a nanny. Why do people pay someone else to raise their children? I don't get it.

I had no idea what I was going to write about it when I sat down. I just wanted to write something. I think I feel a little better now.

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Jack Attack Gets Mean

Alright, blog post time. Do you know what I want to talk about? I want to talk about the different things that make me not like people. I usually really like people, I do, but sometimes I find them absolutely ridiculous and retarded.

Middle aged + women who shop in the juniors section. Really? I mean, really? Don't try to dress like you're a teenager, it's embarrassing. For everyone. It's called the "juniors" section for a reason. Trying to pass yourself off as a 20 year old is not attractive. It makes you look desperate and silly. If you qualify for a senior discount, you should not be wearing ripped jeans and a tank top. You think these women don't exist? Oh. Trust me. They do.

People who say "volumptuous." There is no "m" in that word. Also, people who say "supposibly." It's "supposedly." With a D. (Chandler Bing and I agree on this one, by the way. I know. I am a "Friends" dork.) Maybe I am being a snob, but I feel like if you can't pronounce a word correctly, you shouldn't be using it. Say something else. You look and sound stupid.

Women who have anything to do with married/taken men. (Vice versa, is true as well, but I feel like women have more of a comraderie than men when it comes to these things, so it somehow seems more upsetting when they step out with another woman's husband. They're breaking the lady code.) I think any woman who knowingly tangles with a married man is either a complete idiot or a heartless bitch. Either way, I don't want anything to do with them and karma is coming their way. (These ladies are usually the aforementioned women who try to dress decades younger than their age, or they will later become those women. You know what I'm sayin'?)

Most men. (I have been thinking about something my uncle told me more than once growing up: "Men are either dogs or pigs." So true. Little Jack Attack had no idea.)

Women who get plastic surgery. And it's rough because I actually know someone who I love very dearly who has gotten plastic surgery, but all the same, I have lost some respect for her after she did so. Women have it hard enough in this society to try to be "perfect." Why not have more respect for yourself and your body? Don't conform to someone else's idea of beauty. (Which, in the society we live in, is: blonde, tan, and a body that less than 10% of women naturally have aka the Barbie body.) Realize that it is so much more attractive to be a woman who has enough sense to realize she is too good for that shit. It makes you look cheap.

People who talk during movies. I swear nothing will make me dislike you faster. I take my movie-going experiences seriously. I just went to a movie last week where the girl in front of me literally talked through the ENTIRE thing. Then she literally screamed at one part. (I must add there was no reason for screaming. Whatsoever. This was not a scary movie.) I was not amused.

People who do not get off their cell phones. In class. In the movies. (Again, I am a strict bitch in the theater.) While they're driving. The worst is when you are trying to talk to someone and their face is looking down at their screen and their fingers are typing some stupid text message or facebook update that just cannot wait until after you are done talking. I mean, I use my cell phone, don't get me wrong. But I'm not crazy with it. We all know those crazy phone people, and if you don't know, then you're one of them.

And now, I would like to share something. Whenever I know someone I really can't stand I have a list where I write something about them. I have compiled this over the past four years. Keeping with the tone of this piece, I'd like to share it. Here we go:

The Fake: You put on the biggest act and you are always the martyr. It makes me really not like you. 
The Dragon lady: You are, without a doubt, the biggest see you next Tuesday I have ever met in my life. All I can say to you is: karma is a bitch. You got what was coming, and I don't feel bad for you.

The Hipster: You are a hypocrite. You know it, I know it, we all know it. But you're too proud to admit when you're wrong. Keep up with your self-righteous bull shit, you'll figure it out sooner or later. Do you really want to know? Try listening to a real poet: Positively 4th Street.

FAT VEGAN: You pretty much suck. And that’s all I have to say about you.

The whore: You are by far the most pathetic person I have ever met. You think that controlling men is getting them to love you. Your self-esteem is so low that you need other peoples’ affections to validate your own sense of self. I’d feel sorry for you if you weren’t such a conniving, manipulative bitch.

That One White Trash Witch: I don't understand why you have to be so nasty all the time. Stop dating men who just got out of jail, take care of your kids, and clean yourself up. You look like a troll.

The Giant A-hole: You didn't used to be one. The thing that keeps coming to mind when I think about you is: what goes around comes around. It's a cliche for a reason. 
Is this really how we say goodbye?

Seven people that I don't like over four years? Not too bad, right?

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Do you guys remember that Nook commercial where it shows the girl growing up and how books have been involved throughout her life? I love that commercial. I kind of consider it modeled after me.
And I wanted to write a post about the different books that have been in my life. The VERY first book I can remember is "The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and The Big Hungry Bear." Anybody remember it? That is the very first book I can remember being read to me.
I also remember my mom reading "Love You Forever" and crying every time she read it. But I didn't really get why it made her cry. If I read it now I would probably bawl.
Oh! Do you know what else I remember? "Corduroy" about the bear, Corduroy, that lived in the mall! Oh, that was a good one. The little girl wants him but her mom says he's missing a button from his overalls and they probably shouldn't get him. But then she comes back and buys him with her allowance and sews a button on for him! I loved that story when I was little. It made me so happy for Corduroy. It kind of made me believe that my toys had feelings. I just didn't want to admit it to anyone because I thought it would sound crazy.

Now, there are other books I remember reading in school. In the first grade, I remember "The Owl and the Pussycat" but I didn't like it very much because I felt an owl and a pussycat should not get married. But I liked the illustrations to that book and they were by Jan Brett so then I got into Jan Brett's books. There was "The Mitten," "Town Mouse Country Mouse," "The First Dog," "Christmas Trolls" and a bunch of others. I fell in love with all of her books. My mom ended up buying all of them. I loved her illustrations; there was always hidden things along the borders that I liked finding.
Also, in the first grade, I remember finding a book in the library titled "Molly's Pilgrim" that I would check out over and over again. My mom would always ask me why I kept checking it out when I had already read it, but I really liked it. It was about a little girl named Molly whose family immigrated from Russia, and Molly wanted to go back home because she was different from everyone in America. When Thanksgiving came around, the teacher gave them an assignment to make a pilgrim doll out of a clothes pin. Molly took her clothes pin home and her mom made an outfit that looked like their Russian clothes instead of "Pilgrim" clothes. Molly didn't want to tell her mom that it was wrong because she had worked on it so hard, but she was embarrassed to go to school with it because she knew it would be different from the other Pilgrim dolls. But then her mom explains how they are immigrants to America like the Pilgrims were, and they are just modern Pilgrims. And Molly tells her class this and everyone is stoked on her doll. Isn't that a good story?

But then I began reading chapter books in the second grade; I especially loved series. Do you guys remember "The Boxcar Children?" I freakin' LOVED that series. I wanted to BE one of the Boxcar Children. (I totally would have been Violet. She was the shy one who liked animals.) And I had a crush on the eldest brother, Henry.

Then I got into "The Indian in the Cupboard" series, which lead me to read Lynne Reid Banks' other books, and she wrote one called "The Fairy Rebel" that I absolutely adored which inspired me to write to Lynne Reid Banks and tell her how much I loved it. And she actually wrote me a handwritten letter back. (Mind you, this was in the midst of the HUGE success of "The Indian in the Cupboard" and she even said in her letter that she usually didn't write fans back, but she really liked my letter.) I was so stoked. I still have that letter.
Then I started reading "The Little House on the Prairie" series, which is A LOT of books. I liked Laura Ingalls Wilder and I fell in love with her husband, Almanzo. (Remember Almanzo? She wrote a book in the series that was centered around his childhood, and then in later books, when she was older, she wrote about their courtship. I decided I loved him.) But I didn't really like Laura's daughter's (Rose) books because it made Laura Ingalls Wilder sound like a mean mom. And that kind of shattered my whole fantasy around her.
But do you know what series I REALLY loved? The young sleuth Nancy Drew, man! Nancy Drew was so awesome! I wanted to be just like her. I got a bunch of Nancy Drew books in the third grade, and then I was always on the hunt for more (very Nancy Drew of me, right?) wherever I went. I ended up finding a whole bunch at a yard sale with my grandma and I was stoked!
So all of these series kept my occupied for a while. I tried reading the Goosebumps series but I think I read one and I didn't really care for it too much. My family actually used to read books together. It's some of my favorite memories. We would gather together around the kitchen table and my dad would read a book aloud to the rest of us as my mom did the dishes and Teddy and I would sit and listen. If it was a book we all really liked, we would go into the living room after my mom was done doing the dishes and we would sit on the couch and listen. Some of the books we read then were "The Bronze Bow," "A Voice in the Wind" (and the rest of the Mark of the Lion series), "Big Red," "Across Five Aprils," and some classics like "Swiss Family Robinson," and "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea." Some of them were more difficult for my brother and I to pay attention to (the classics) but I really enjoyed our book time.

I still remember the very first book I bought with my own money. I was in the third grade, and I had saved up some money to buy something at the annual book fair we had at my school. I was really into dogs back then (What can I say? I'm a dog person!) and I saw a cover that had a boy with two dogs and I picked it up and read the back and I decided I wanted to get it. It was "Where the Red Fern Grows." Seriously still one of my favorite books to this day. Makes me bawl every time I read it. (And I've read it a lot. I still have that copy and it's all worn out.) I decided I would ask my dad if he would read it as one of our family books, and we all ended up loving that book more than anything! Seriously, it's so good.

I know I read a ton between 4th grade and 6th grade, but for some reason, I can't remember very many specific books. The only ones I can remember clearly are James Harriet's books. He's a famous veternarian in England and he writes books about the animals he treats. I enjoyed those, but I found some of the language difficult when I was 12.

BUT THEN, in the 7th grade, I started reading Harry Potter. Don't hate, people. Harry Potter is wonderful! It's one of those things that I'm excited to share with my own kids some day. (If I have kids, that is.) I pretty much loved Harry Potter. (I still do!)
Then, when the 8th grade rolled around, I got into the teen scene books. I started reading a series called "Fearless" about a girl, named Gaia, who was born without the fear gene and she'd prowl New York City at night and kick ass. There was also a love square (is that even a term?) with her best friend, Ed, who was in love with her, (but she doesn't know, of course) and Gaia is in love with Sam, who is dating Heather, who is Ed's ex. Got it? Anyway, I thought Gaia was a badass and I really liked the series. It was crazy long, though. I never ended up finishing it. I think I stopped after book 24 or something because it was just too much.  
I remember I also read a book called "Violet Eyes" in the 8th grade that I was pretty jazzed about. It was set in the future with these genetically enhanced teenagers, but here's the kicker, they lived in a "live" museum which was supposed to be set in the 1980s where people could watch these teenagers without them knowing. But the teenagers didn't know that it wasn't really the 1980s. Weird, right? Then they find out and they end up busting out. (They were only kept there because people were scared of what they were capable of and it was society's way of controlling them.) There was a sequel called "Silver Eyes" but I didn't really like that one too much.
Alright, so then high school came around. I remember reading some books in high school, but I think there were a couple years when I didn't read very much. I remember reading "The Lovely Bones" and liking it only because I liked the author's portrayal of heaven, "The Perks of Being a Wallflower," and "Snakes and Earrings." All of them I liked okay, but I didn't LOVE them. I remember reading "The Old Man and the Sea" and "Huck Finn" for school, but I wasn't impressed with them at the time. Strangely enough, I think the book that had the biggest impact on me in high school was a short little book with photographs entitled "The Blue Day Book." I was depressed a lot in high school, and this book would honestly make me feel better. Actually, I still read it every now and then. Check it out.

Once I graduated and moved out on my own, I began reading a TON again. As I've mentioned before in this blog, I like Joshilyn Jackson's books, "White Oleander" is one of my favorites, also: "I Am Charlotte Simmons," "The Bell Jar," "Sight Hound," "She's Come Undone," and a whole bunch of others. One of my favorite books ever is "The Dogs of Babel." It has it's strange parts, but I still love it.

Recently I have been reading a lot of classic literature for school, which I enjoy, but some of it is kind of rough, you know what it mean? But I love reading and I love books. I love being transported somewhere else and being able to forget all the troubles going on in my own life. I guess what I'm saying is: I totally should have been in that Nook commercial.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Doggie Tales: Penny

Full Name: Penelope Layne Harris

Breed: Yellow Labrador (but she is a copper color)

Birth date: April 12th, 2002

Likes: her momma (Maggie), reflections, swimming, fetching, walks, car rides

Dislikes: being left alone

All about Penny: Penny was one of Maggie's puppies that we kept. We didn't know what to name her, and our neighbor suggested Penny because she was copper like a penny. To be a little more sophisticated, her first name was Penelope, but keeping with the Beatles theme, her middle name was Layne, like Penny Lane.

Penny is the copper colored one in the middle. These are the rest of her siblings. Aren't they cute?
Penny was inseperable from Maggie. She loved her momma more than anything. Anywhere Maggie went, Penny was there, too. Since Maggie has passed away, Penny has been very depressed, and my parents have told me that she seems to have gotten very old very fast.

Penny and her mom Maggie. Penny is on the left, Maggie on the right.
I always feel a little bit guilty, because I didn't spend as much time with Penny as I did with Maggie. Penny was born when I was in high school, and I was more interested in teenager things that spending time with her.

One thing that Penny absolutely loves is chasing reflections or lights. If there is a reflection from your watch, she will chase after it for hours. No joke. If you get a flash light and shine it on the ground near her, she goes bonkers. She will completely fixate on it and even after it's gone, she will look for it for at least 10 more minutes.

Before she aged, Penny loved to play, just like Maggie. She was always wanting you to throw a toy and when we took her to to the lake she would go crazy. She is actually a very crazy, hyper-active dog. She gets so excited about things sometimes, that she starts yelping and crying at ear-piercing pitch. Whenever she sees that she is about to go for a car ride or a walk, she completely loses it and begins yelping, and she won't stop until she gets to wherever she's going. At times, it can be a little embarrassing, because everyone looks at the commotion she's causing and there is absolutely no stopping her.

Penny is a very sweet dog. She doesn't want to harm anyone or anything. Once, when my parents were walking her, a neighbor's dog attacked her while Penny stood and did nothing to fight back. The dog ended up biting Penny right on her nose, and Penny had two puncture wounds on her snout. She has a scar from it.

She is also the most cowardly dog you will probably ever meet. Once, my mom was walking her in the woods near their house, when she came across a bear. Penny was off her leash, and my mom and Penny both froze when they saw it, and then Penny turned around and booked it out of there, totally abandoning my mom. My mom backed away from the bear and then caught up with Penny down the road. My mom kept on telling her, "I can't believe you just left me up there!" It's one of her favorite stories.

Penny loves people and she loves any attention she receives from people. I think her ideal day would involve someone petting her all day long. Unlike her mother, Penny loves to be pet. Penny has really big, floppy ears, and she loves it when you pet them. She is one of those dogs where if you stop petting her, she inches in closer and keeps nudging you until you pick up where you left off.
This is my brother's puppy, Bonnie, and Penny together.
Since Maggie passed away, Penny has become more depressed, and my parents have made her an indoor dog because they think she is too lonely all by herself outside. (My parents have slowly but surely become indoor dog people.) My mom says Penny has grown an unusual attachment to my dad (I think it's replacing the attachment she had with Maggie) and whenever he leaves the house she will cry. It makes me sad to think of Penny being so sad. Even though she is one crazy dog, I miss seeing her since I've moved out here to Colorado.

Bonnie and Penny again.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Come to Class With Me

A new semester began only about a week ago and I'm already swamped with homework. Most of it isn't really papers or stuff like that, I just have A LOT of reading to do. A LOT. I've already read TWO novels since classes started. Crazy, huh? And I found out that I am going to be reading Moby Dick in my History of the American Novel class. I felt like groaning when I saw that. Moby Dick, is like, 800 pages long! When the time comes to read that, I think it will be a very depressing period for me. But I have already come across some really interesting reads. And ever since I have read these two pieces, I have wanted to make a post about them and share them with you guys.

The first thing I'd like to share with you guys is a poem by E.E. Cummings. (I know, poetry, but don't zone out on me yet, it is actually pretty interesting.) My teacher was talking about how she wants the class to do close readings, and passed out this poem to help serve as an example. As she was passing it out, she was telling us to read it, take a minute to think about it, and then we would discuss it. Now, I wouldn't say that poetry is my strong suit, but I would say I'm adequate enough. However, when I glanced at the words on the page that was handed to me, I thought there was some kind of mistake. I thought I must have gotten a copy that the printer had messed up on. I glanced at the person's copy next to me. Nope. Same thing. I felt a little panic. "Oh crap," I thought. "I can't even READ the poem, how am I supposed to analyze it?" But I pulled myself together. "Jackie," I thought/told myself, "You're a smart cookie. Figure it out." So I looked at the letters on the page, and I began to figure it out. Now I want YOU to look at it:

l(a by e.e. cummings






It's weird at first, isn't it? I attacked the parentheses first, knowing they meant something: "a leaf falls." And then I pieced together the remaining letters: "loneliness." I had figured out what it said, now I had to analyze it. Obviously, the image of a single leaf falling is a lonely one. I had also noticed that the only complete word on the page was "one," emphasizing the loneliness. I had initially thought that the l at the beginning was a one, and I don't think that was an accident on the part of the author, either. He knew the l's looked like ones, and this further supported the loneliness. This was about as far as I got when the class started discussing it. We talked about the inability to read the poem aloud (when poetry is known for the ability to share it verbally), and the fact that it could not be verbally expressed to another supported the isolation theme. One could only understand it by reading it themselves. We also talked about the fact that the loneliness begins before the leaf falls (the letter l is at the very beginning) indicating that the falling leaf isn't the cause for loneliness. The leaf falling is a tangible object expressing an intangible concept. Isn't this cool?

I hope you guys aren't bored with me. Because I have another piece of writing I wanted to share with you guys. But this is a very short story that I read for a literary analysis class:

Butterflies by Patricia Grace

The grandmother plaited her granddaughter's hair and then she said, "Get your lunch. Put it in your bag. Get your apple. You come straight back after school, straight home here. Listen to the teacher," she said. "Do what she say."

Her grandfather was out on the step. He walked down the path with her and out onto the footpath. He said to a neighbor, "Our granddaughter goes to school. She lives with us now."

"She's fine," the neighbor said. "She's terrific with her two plaits in her hair."

"And clever," the grandfather said. "Writes every day in her book."

"She's fine," the neighbor said.

The grandfather waited with his granddaughter by the crossing and then he said, "Go to school. Listen to the teacher. Do what she say."

When the granddaughter came home from school her grandfather was hoeing around the cabbages. Her grandmother was picking beans. They stopped their work.

"You bring your book home?" the grandmother asked.


"You write your story?"


"What's your story?"

"About the butterflies."

"Get your book then. Read your story."

The granddaughter took her book from her schoolbag and opened it.

"I killed all the butterflies," she read. "This is me and this is all the butterflies."

"And your teacher like your story, did she?"

"I don't know."

"What your teacher say?"

"She said butterflies are beautiful creatures. They hatch out and fly in the sun. The butterflies visit all the pretty flowers, she said. They lay their eggs and then they die. You don't kill butterflies, that's what she said."

The grandmother and the grandfather were quiet for a long time, and their granddaughter, holding the book, stood quite still in the warm garden.

"Because you see," the grandfather said, "your teacher, she buy all her cabbages from the supermarket and that's why."

Now. Is that not a remarkably striking story? When I was done reading it, I wasn't even sure what it meant, but I knew there was something amazing about it. I found it very intriguing -with the line the grandfather told the neighbor "she lives with us now" and when I read about the little girl writing about killing butterflies, and then, apparently, drawing a picture displaying this, I was curious. What kind of little girl killed butterflies? And the suspense for the grandparent's reply...and the confusion I had over the grandfather's response. What did he mean? Did he mean that people who didn't have to grow their own crops didn't understand them? I obviously didn't understand them...and I definitely buy my food at the supermarket. This story interested me so much, I had to do a little research. And guess what? I found out that butterflies lay their eggs in cabbage, and when the caterpillars hatch, they eat and destroy the cabbage. That's why farmers, such as the little girl and her grandparents, would kill butterflies. And it all made sense. I don't know why I'm so fascinated with this story, but I am. I like the sparse and stark, though. What did you think of it?

I have some more stuff I really want to write, but I will leave it at this for now.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A Jack Attack Review: Blue Valentine

I have been looking forward to seeing Blue Valentine for MONTHS. MONTHS, I SAY! When I heard about the premise: dual story lines - the past and the present - of a couple's relationship (I find these kinds of things very interesting) and then I heard it had Ryan Gosling (who I absolutely adore) and Michelle Williams in it, I was completely sold. So I watched clips, read reviews from film festival screenings, and waited.

Then there was the whole NC-17 rating debacle, delaying its release even further, and then it was FINALLY screened in theaters on December 29th, but on a very limited release. So, I waited, checking the movie theaters here in Denver daily, until I saw that it would be playing at the Mayan Theatre (thank you, Mayan!) this past Friday, January 14th. I immediately made plans to see it after I got off work that day.

So after all of this waiting, I began to find myself getting worried as I drove downtown to the movie theater. Was this going to be one of my cases where I hyped something up so much, I was only bound to leave disappointed? I was upset, because I had to stay 20 minutes later at my work, and I ended up showing up one trailer before the movie started and the place was packed. I ended up with a crappy seat in the very back, but it was stadium seating, so I was pretty high up and I had a clear shot at the screen without (what seems to be almost always) someone's big head in the way.

So are you ready for me to actually tell you about this movie? Here we go: this movie does something that is very hard for me to explain. The director's name is Derek Cianfrance who I have never heard of, and as far as I know, has never directed any other major motion picture. But I thought he was amazing. I think my two favorite shots are the very first scene and the very last scene and, well, there was also a certain scene where the camera is set inside, looking through a window, watching the couple embrace outside on the sidewalk, that was so beautiful it made me want to cry. Cianfrance is able to capture a feeling so well and so clearly and so simply and so elegantly. I have trouble articulating my thoughts here, but with the simple clips that open the scenes, I am able to know exactly where I am and what I should feel. Does that make sense?

And the acting is amazing. I didn't know if I could love Ryan Gosling any more than I did, but guess what, I can. He was so authentic and real and heart-breaking. And Michelle Williams was fantastic, too. The film, in part, revolves around day-to-day living that is involved in a relationship, and doesn't have the typical Hollywood romance. This is okay with me, but there was one thing that kind of bothered me. I felt like, in order for this film to really resonate with an audience, it needed to be universal, and I felt there was a certain aspect to the story that created a distance between the audience and the characters. (I don't want to give anything away here, because I walked into the movie not knowing this so I don't want to spoil it for anyone else.) When this turn in the plot happened, it bothered me a lot, and it made me start viewing the story differently. I feel like the direction that it had been going within the film would've had a greater emotional intensity.

It was well-acted, visually well-executed, but I still left feeling like something was lacking. I haven't really put my finger on it. I guess I would attribute it to what I mentioned above, the distance I felt at a certain point within the film, but even so, the closing scene really stuck with me. It was as though I could feel the intensity of the moment in my chest, the weightlessness of the point where there are no thoughts, only feelings. So...with that kind of connection at the end, I can't say that this film wasn't good. I've thought about it since, I've even dreamt about certain scenes. But I thought it could have been better. Perhaps I am being too nit-picky.