Tag Archives: Jenna Trunzo

70 is the New 30?

I’m pretty sure that I’m turning 70, not 30, this year. If it pleases the court, I give to you as evidence:

1. I really, really crave boxed chocolates. And I don’t mean Godiva… I’m talking Russell Stovers. I like to buy my own private box so that I can bite into each and if I don’t like one, I can put it back half eaten into its crinkly littler wrapper.

2. I don’t dance on bars anymore. I go to book club once a month as a social activity. And believe me, it’s a social experiment in its own little sector of nightlife. I have a glass of wine and some hummus on pita and discuss books.

3. I don’t stay up late. I go to bed at 11, even on weekends and I feel guilty if I sleep in late. The early bird gets the worm, and apparently, a less crowded dining experience.

4. I say things like, “Oh, dear…” and “Well then…”

5. I marvel at the fact that I will be able to tell my kids: I lived before the Internet. I paid a separate long-distance phone bill. I saved my allowance to have my film processed.

6. I’m already able to look back at my high school and college years and think of them as my “glory days”.

7. I wear solids. Neutral solids. Mostly black. All the time. It’s all I buy. To date, I have not purchased a moo-moo, but I am starting to see the appeal of such comfort. Although, I think they sell those in mostly florals and I don’t do florals. Maybe a poncho is what I need.

8. Oh, dear… I’m thinking about moo-moo’s and ponchos again.

9. I put on my pajamas immediately after dinner. That’s like 6 pm most nights. And I’m happy about it. My husband does the same, so I don’t have to feel guilty about being a schlup. But, let’s be honest… I wouldn’t feel guilty anyway.

10. At times, I’m just plain crotchety. No reason, no excuse – just crotchety.

So jury, I ask you: Am I turning 30 or 70?

Dane Cook… Su-Fi… Oh, yes…

On November 8, Dane Cook performed his Isolated Incident tour at the RBC Center in Raleigh, North Carolina. The smell of candied nuts permeated the air as underdressed college girls filed into the arena arm in arm, giggling to each other and giving the “superfinger”, Dane Cook’s signature gesture, to everyone. Soon, Dane would take the stage, entertaining his crowd of devotees with his wit and charm, comically accentuated by his uncanny sound effects and exaggerated movements. His performance never falls short of dynamic.

Smaller cities like Raleigh are not guaranteed stops for headlining tours, and when they are included in the lineup, the locals normally thank the talent by way of a packed venue. On this occasion, clusters of people were connected only by empty chairs, making it hard not to notice the impact of the economic recession. With a half full venue, the seat designation on your ticket meant little. There were plenty of other empty seats much closer to the stage, and many availed themselves to “seat jumping”.

The lights dimmed in the typical “shows about to start; sit your ass down” fashion and an odd, if not unfitting, choice of intro songs, Danzig’s heavy metal anthem, “Mother”, started playing. The opener, comedian Robert Kelly, came out to lackluster applause, but after a few short minutes, his self-deprecating humor won over the eager-to-laugh crowd. The majority of his act was new material, but it rapidly progressed to a repertoire of a highly sexual nature. Not prudish in the least, I didn’t expect to feel so utterly violated and uncomfortable, but Kelly went past the nuances and innuendo that color most comedians sexual skits, and went full on groping crotch shot to the camera. After succeeding in making me feel like I needed a shower and a couch session with a highly-qualified therapist, Robert Kelly dismounted the stage.

What happened next was a type of security maneuver that must have come straight from the Secret Service’s playbook. A fully choreographed routine ensued where security men came out two by two in a sort of drum core parade march. They took their places along each side of the entrance aisle, standing arms outstretched, hands locked, in an “arms around the world” pose. The idea was to create a barricade to prevent anyone from reaching out and touching and/ or groping Dane Cook. (Or maybe he was just worried about contracting H1N1?) With security in place, out came Dane like a prized fighter punching the air, waving, and running in his adorably pigeon-toed way to the stage.

After watching any of his previous comedic performances, his HBO special Vicious Circle or his Comedy Central Presents for example, you come to expect a certain level of energy from Dane Cook. And he lives up to it each time. He reached the stage and began prowling it as he does, very animal-on-the-hunt-esque, targeting each section of the arena one joke at a time. His humor is very relatable, perhaps what gives him such a devoted following. His jokes poke fun at the kinds of things everyone thinks or does and turns the common into highly exaggerated examples of utter ridiculousness.

In his deep voice meddled with falsetto he begins, “So here’s my theory slash hypothesis on…” and continues for a good hour with the ease of a seasoned comic.

“Hysterical!”
“Good one!”
“That is so funny!”
“Ha… Wait, I heard that before…”
“…and that.”

It seemed for every bit of fresh material, there were at least one or two skits that he pulled verbatim from his other shows. Audiences rely on new jokes when they come to see a live performance or else they could stay at home and watch Comedy Central. Dane… we expect more! Maybe it was more obvious that the material was recycled because the group of girls next to me kept repeating his jokes in loud, chortling echoes.

Ok, so the sparse crowd cast a depressing damper, the opener made me squirm in an altogether unpleasant manner, and Dane tried to pull one over on us with his old bits… Not the recipe for a can’t miss event, but for $40, I got a lesson in sociology, a few hearty laughs, and an evening out with friends.

Yeah… I’m a Writer.

So as noted in one of my previous posts, I had been kicking around the notion of taking a writing class for some time. Finally, after saving my pennies, I enrolled in Nonfiction 101 through Gotham Writers’ Workshop. I am now in week 3 of 6 and I gotta say, I dig it. Am I making leaps and bounds with my writing? Not really, but I’m definitely getting good insight, critiques, and meeting some diverse people.

It’s an online class, non-accredited, and I’m taking it because I love writing and I need a hobby. I’m becoming really top-of-the-line boring as my thirties approach. Most nights I have my pajamas on by 8 pm and I’m happy about this. I’m snoring by 11:30. Even on the weekends.

The first week of the class was memoirs – piece of cake. I can talk about me all day long – as evidenced in this blog. Me, me, me… It’s totally Jenna FYI. Not because I’m vain, but because I know no subject better than myself. I’m an easy target… errh… subject.

The second week was personal essay. That was a bit tougher – mixing personal opinion with a broader issue. I managed, though. My sister-in-law and an excellent teacher, Susie, jumped to the rescue with some guidelines she had on hand from her curriculum.

Current week, week three, is on feature articles. I really like this lesson because of my work with Examiner.com, where I write two columns – all feature articles. I think it’s excellent reinforcement and great tie-in. 

My writing road ahead is unpaved for the time being. The Department of Transportation hasn’t returned my calls yet, so I’ll take the sidewalks for now.  A few more classes, a couple more freelance jobs, who knows? I may be the next Dave Barry or Nora Ephron or some other person I don’t really follow, but a lot of others do.

The Story of the Ugly Gift

I have a story to share, kiddies, and it all starts in a small classroom in Wake Forest, North Carolina during a planning period. Two women sit at their respective desks working on various tasks for their 3rd grade class. As they twittle away, they are chatting as they always do, laughing at the various anecdotes being shared. The subject turns to the upcoming track out and the one woman, named Mary, tells the other woman, named Jenna, that she was very excited for her trip to Italy. Jenna wasn’t going anywhere special, so Mary offered to bring her back a souvenir. Jenna couldn’t think of anything she really needed, so suggested that Mary bring her back a t-shirt. Not just any t-shirt, but the ugliest, tackiest t-shirt Mary could find in all of Rome. So began the story of the ugly gift.

Mary did return from that trip bearing a tomato red t-shirt with what, at first glance, looked like the Coca-Cola logo. Upon closer inspection, it actually said “Ciao, Ciao” and in smaller print, “Roma, Italy”. It was truly tacky and the most wonderful gift Jenna had ever received.

From that trip forward, whenever Mary or Jenna would vacation, they would always remember to find an ugly gift for the other. A breakfast or dinner together would honor the presenting of an ugly gift to its new owner, passing the torch to the next vacationer.

speaknoevilmonkey

The "speak no evil" monkey is terrifying and wise. Spanish is its native tongue, as it is from Mexico, although a word has never been uttered.

Ugly gift giving is not a responsibility to be taken lightly. It requires a lot of searching, shopping, and exploring to really find a gift so ugly, so horrifically gaudy, that it can be considered a true ugly gift. Perhaps it’s a resin Rastafarian with silky hair and dangly fabric legs smoking a joint. Maybe it’s a huge beach towel mapping the Caribbean that folds itself into a pouch. It could be a taxidermied blowfish or a pair of miniature skull & crossbone toenail clippers. Each item must not only be ugly, but easily associated to it’s point of origin, if possible. Take the “speak no evil” monkey in the picture. It is hideous, but offers an applicable and appropriate reminder to the giftee, Jenna. It is truly an eyesore in one’s home, but must be displayed nonetheless.

It takes a special friendship to weather the stress, and also the supreme honor, of ugly gift giving. It requires two people skilled in the art of ugly gift giving (and don’t fool yourself; it is an art). Two people that are willing to sacrifice the enjoyment of their vacations in order to find the perfect artifact to present. The friendship that Mary and Jenna share is one of maybe two reported in the whole world comprised of women rare enough, strong enough, and vigilant enough to have earned their title of Ugly Gift Givers.

Here’s to whatever currency you have used to purchase these ugly gifts over the years, Mary and Jenna! Congrats on being successful friends and Ugly Gift Givers. You’re an inspiration to friends and travelers everywhere!

Googleologist

If there is anyone out there reading this that is looking to employ a professional Googleologist, I am for hire. I must Google (and yes I love that you can use it as a verb: Just Google it.) at least 20 times a day. I Google everything! I Google so much that it has become a sarcastic stab from my husband; “What? Google didn’t know the answer either?” or “Whatever, just go Google it, crazy lady.”

Kudos to Google. It’s amazing the amount of info available out there at a few keystrokes. I mean you expect to be able to find the best time of year to travel to St. Lucia, for example. What you might not expect to find, but surely will, is the small infestation of nefarious half ant, half ferret hybrids that can be found in certain regions of St. Lucia. That, of course, is not factual.

The way Google fills in words for you… The way Google suggests what you “really meant”… The way Google organizes the quality of sites as related to your search… It’s sheer magic.

Yes, Google plays a significant role in making your searches easier. And no, I’m not taking anything away from all the search engine optimization companies, webmasters, programmers, etc. But… You, as searcher, must be adept at keywords, sorting through evidence, and mastering specific word orders to get what you want quickly and with as little extraneous and/ or distracting information as possible. (We all know how one search for the Wine-of-the-Month club has you scrolling through 6 other sites, reading for hours about everything from how to crush supermarket grapes into a fine wine to local vineyards that you now must find time to tour. Before you know it, this seemingly innocent, yet insidious search has turned you into a sommelier.)

Mastering Google before it masters you is a skill. And I possess it. I can find you anything you want on the WWW. Anything. If it’s been published on the Internet, I can find it. And that makes me a professional Googleologist. I have references. Please consider this my official cover letter. My hourly wage requirements are negotiable, but after news of my talent hits Google, I will be highly sought after so get in while the getting’s good. Leave it to professionals like me; you don’t have time to do it yourself. You’re busy golfing.