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Monday, November 16, 2009

Lost in Translation

From the warped viewpoint of Jennifer Neff


This term, when I chose to take a physical education class, I chose one called NIA because the description sounded interesting. Basically, NIA is an aerobic exercise that combines martial arts movements with dance and yoga. The first day of class I knew I would have a fun time with it because I left the dance room feeling great and because my teacher is an artful mix of insanity and social awkwardness (in a good way). For blogging purposes I'll call her Annie.

Being a native German speaker, Annie has demonstrated a knack for English speech blunders and also for misunderstanding what students say to her. Sometimes this merely results in a moment of confusion, while other times it turns into hilarity. For example, a few weeks ago Annie was demonstrating how hip thrusts can help to strengthen our core muscles. She began giving examples in every day life of how we use our core muscles. When she asked the class for input, she got answers ranging from sneezing to sit-ups. One girl in our class also said we use our core muscles when we get up out of bed in the morning. To this Annie replied, "yes, you can work your core in bed." Before she could stop herself she had said it and was fairly embarrassed.

Today, class started out like any other day. We went over our topic of focus, started the music and began our aerobics. Annie was motivating us to find more depth in our movements and really get sweating in the workout. After three or four songs passed a majority of the class was tired, sweating and ready for a water break. It was at this moment that hilarity struck. As students began to head for their water bottles, Annie was so excited at how hard we were working that she side-stepped up to a Bulgarian girl in our class, and with a swishy hip movement she raised her arm right next to the girl and half shouted, "aaaah, smell the roses!"

In response to what must have seemed like a sudden attack, the Bulgarian girl leapt back about three feet to distance herself from our teacher. Immediately, the entire class began laughing uproariously. Annie tried to smooth things over by telling us she was talking about the smell of perfume and deodorant being activated by our sweat (proof that we were really working), but the damage was already done. For our class, this day will go down in infamy as the day our teacher attacked a student with her armpit.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Bittersweet Facebook

a song by Jennifer Neff and friends

Warning: this is downright creepy.

I don't listen to country all the time, but I think everyone can relate to how country songs sound and how they are worded. As I was fooling around on facebook today I realized that if I take bits and pieces (and sometimes whole sentences) of everyone's status updates in the order in which they were posted it makes a pretty kick ass country song. If you're not a friend of mine on facebook you probably won't be able to tell much of a difference, but if you are a friend feel free to see if you can spot your handy work in this song. I basically started from the top of all the status reports and worked down the page. The only quotes that aren't in order of appearance appear in the chorus line. Also, I did have to add single words and conjunctions here and there so it flowed better. For the life if me I could not make it rhyme, but it's still pretty amusing.

I call this little ditty Bittersweet Facebook.

Load to Texas fell apart,
start over again tomorrow.
He's gone on a jet plane,
but I know he will be back again.

Bittersweet afternoon.
I miss him.
Bittersweet afternoon.
I miss him.

Had juice with morning cereal,
then found a present I wanted to buy.
It reminds me of the holidays
when I was in over my head with rocks.

I'm not sure where to go next.
If anyone sees Jon today,
tell him to check his email.
Off tomorrow...

Bittersweet afternoon.
I miss him.
Bittersweet afternoon.
I miss him.
Bittersweet afternoon.
I miss hiiiiiiiiimmmmm.

This song was written from eight status updates that I hijacked from Marc Neff, Amber Robbins, Captain Anonymous, Rachel Shettles Nye, Katie Haglund, Andrew Huang and Melodie Sensenig. Thank you all for your good humor and hopefully for not suing me to the copy rights for this lovely, lovely song.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Let the Games Begin

a creative musing by Jennifer Neff (written pre-wedding)

Ever heard of the Bridal Olympics? Well, I have now!


When friends and family referred to wedding planning as competitive I didn't believe them. I was wrong. It's very competitive. I just went through the first event in the games and it's already a brawl. I booked our wedding and reception site just yesterday. Before I went on the tour, I had called to see if they had our date open. They did. A few days later (after the tour was over) I told the wedding sales associate what date and time I wanted to sign up for. "Oh, I'm sorry, it looks like someone already booked that date," was her response.

I was instantly sad, pissed off, and jealous all at once (not a common mixture for me). I had already fallen in love with the place, and Tim and I had discussed the date and time before I went on the tour. Tim couldn't come with us to the tour because of his work schedule, so if I didn't get the specific date, time, and place that we discussed I wouldn't be able to make the reservation. If that happened I would have to hold off on all other plans for the wedding. As you can see, there was a lot riding on this single piece of the puzzle fitting just right.

I asked her if the hold was set in stone because I had just called a few days before to ensure the date was still open. She called the woman who set the hold to make sure. Apparently this woman was on tons of morphine and had made a premature hold for someone who hadn't toured yet. This was excellent news for me because the reservations are made on a first-come-first-served basis. As overjoyed as I was I couldn't escape the thought of moral dilemma. Could I really steal the wedding date right out from under another bride to be? Would it be right to shatter the dreams and break the will of another opponent? This thought lasted only a fraction of a second. There were two correct answers; yes I can, and yes it is! After all, I am a bridezilla who follows the Olympic rules (see below for rules). I may admit to being wrong about the level of competition in wedding preparation, but I will never admit defeat in the games! NEVER!

For those of you who aren't familiar with the time-honored tradition of the Bridal Olympics, here is a detailed description:

The Bridal Olympics is an ancient competition in which childhood dreams and months or years of serious dating collide. It consists of a series of fierce and grueling events that begin with a joyous pre-games engagement and end with an emotional, all-out sprint to a honeymoon destination. This may sound like a simple, spur-of-the-moment fling but nothing could be further from the truth. This competition has strict rules to follow, a well established code of conduct, and a definite order of events.

Disclaimer: This is a winner-takes-all event. All participants play at their own risk, so grab your MAC supply and put on your game face.

Order of Events:

Engagement - A pre-games celebration that signals the beginning of the Bridal Olympics.

Site Joust - This is a game that demands the keen use of strategy, agility, speed, and balance. Once you know what site you want to be married in you'll have to joust for your dreams with another rabid, snarling, vicious bride. To win you must deliver quick and effective blows with a large stick (adorned with taffeta and lace) to knock her off her pedestal. You must also know when to launch yourself off of your pedestal and tackle your opponent to the ground in order to defend your territory.

Officiant Filibuster - This is an extremely touchy event in which a bride's diplomacy and oratory skills are called upon. The stage is set when you interrupt your pastor making wedding ceremony plans with another bride...on your wedding date...at your ceremony time...cripes! Because you're in the house of God you have to be careful not to start a fist fight or you'll lose your pastor for good. To win you'll have to talk it out...for as long as it takes. Remember to choose your words wisely!

Tag Team Gown Smack Down - This is the ultimate show of brute strength, endurance, and shrieking capability. As with the jousting event, your bridely foes will be rabid and foaming at the mouth over the dresses at the wedding charity event you've attended. When a mean-spirited bride snatches the dream gown right out of your hands she doesn't just declare war with you. She's also declared war with your mother who is with you. This spawns a wrestling match between brides and mothers of brides. If you thought those black metal folding chairs along the walls were for sitting, then you obviously didn't smell what The Rock was cookin'.

Bridesmaids' Tug of War - For this event you need to be in peak pulling condition. Strength and endurance play a vital role in this game. You and your best girls are in the dress shop collecting bridesmaids dresses when a bridesmaid from another party tries to take on of your girls' dresses. How uncalled-for! Now you get to join your bridesmaids in a game of tug of war. In this game the brides are always in the front of each line with their maidens backing them up. A dress rack serves as the half way point. Once you have the other bride past that rack the dress is yours for the taking...unless it's ripped. In this case you still win because the losing team must abide by the, "you break it, you buy it," rule.

Honeymoon Victory Lap - I believe this is self explanatory. We don't need to go into why it's victorious, or who's lap it's in.


Rules:
1. Always look out for number one.
2. Never admit defeat. You can't lose out on your big day.
3. There is no such thing as cheating. In the Bridal Olympics we call it a, "connection," or, "planning ahead," or a, "competitive edge."
4. If you are on the losing team in a dress event then your team must pay for anything broken in the heat of battle.
5. Hitting another bride across the back with a metal folding chair is completely acceptable in all events except the filibuster.
6. No shouting, swearing, farting, or fighting inside the house of God. However, the front lawn of God's house is an entirely different matter.
7. In the event that the dress rips before the tug of war is won there will be a tie breaking game of Slug Bug. This is to be played outside, and the slugs will be delivered directly to the face. The last woman standing wins the game for her team.
8. In regular joust, leaping from the podium results in disqualification, but in Site Joust it does not. If a bride chooses to launch herself at a competitor, then the bride who lands on her back loses that round.
9. Pulling of hair is permitted.


Code of Conduct: Brides and bridesmaids are to be fierce, vicious, and ready for battle at all times. Meekness, squeamishness, or whining is an automatic disqualification. In addition to above requirements, brides also must keep up a blushing and magnanimous facade. This does not apply to bridesmaids or mothers of brides. Although the games are competitive, there shall be no name calling. This is deemed unsportsmanlike. This also does not apply to bridesmaids or mothers of brides. Laughing at the comments of bridesmaids or mothers of brides is not a disqualification for the bride. No loafing will be permitted by anyone.

It's All About Turmekistan

a rant by Jennifer Neff

I'm riding in the car with my husband (Tim) on our way home and he begins discussing Middle Eastern countries and their laws. He starts talking about this country called "Turmekistan" and how they only have partial freedom of the press and I couldn't help laughing at him. Then he followed up by mentioning a country called "Azbukistan". I had to laugh at him again. I know it's kind of childish, but I just can't help myself. I'm sensitive to how words are spoken.

There are probably some people reading this blog who don't know why that's so funny. Part of the reason it's funny to me is because the real name of the first country in question is Turkmenistan. I'm not sure what the second country really is. I thought it might either be Azerbaijan or Uzbekistan, but Tim insisted that it began with and "A" and ended with a "stan". I'm still looking on maps for that country. Another reason this is funny is because Tim consistently speaks an English-based language that I can partially understand.

After Tim called me a jerk for making fun of him I realized that he's not the only one who's bad at Middle Eastern geography. I once got a call from my sister and her boyfriend so I could settle a bet they made. My sister's boyfriend said that Egypt and Baghdad (capital city of Iraq) were both in Saudi Arabia (large country bordering Iraq), while my sister bet that they were both right next to Russia. Needless to say it was a tie.

Because some of the more important people in my life are having trouble with their geography, I have decided that everyone needs a short lesson. The topic will be the geography of Middle Eastern Countries. We'll start at the southern most tip of the Middle East and work our way north and east.

In the south we have the country of Yemen, which is bordered to the east by Oman. Northwest of Oman is the United Arab Emirates. Bordering to the northwest is Qatar, which extends into the Persian Gulf, and to the north of which is the island of Bahrain. West of Bahrain is Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is bordered to the northeast by Kuwait, to the north by Iran and Jordan, and to the northwest by Israel. Bordering north of Israel is Lebanon, which is bordered to the east by Syria. North of Syria is Turkey. Bordering both Turkey and Iraq to the east is Iran. To the southeast of Iran is Pakistan (one of many stans). North of Pakistan and east of Iran is Afghanistan. Afghanistan is bordered to the northwest by Turkmenistan (also bordering Iran to the east), to the north by Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, and to the northeast by Kyrgyzstan.

What about Azerbaijan you ask? Well, Azerbaijan borders Iran to the north and is on the west bank of the Caspian Sea. It's actually too far north to be considered part of the Middle East. It lies in the southern most part of an area considered to be "European Russia". Sorry Tim.

Like a Fart in Church

a rant by Jennifer Neff

So there I was at a church service with my husband. We were sitting close to the back of the building in a service with a few hundred people in it. This was a very large church and that day it was packed. People who had come in later than us were forced to stand in the back along the walls. I like to go to services in the late morning because they're not too early in the morning and not too late in the day that we forget to go. That time of day is the most popular time for church goers.

Music was playing and we were all standing up, singing along, and finding meaning to the words. The doors in the front were opened up to let in a warm breeze. It was a relief to the large, stuffy room packed with faithful followers. The sunshine flooding into the front of the room added to the joy of the moment.

The music stopped and we all sat down, eager to hear the words of the pastor. As he spoke I followed along in the bible I had rested on my lap. Every once in a while I would look up and see other people listening; taking in the word of the lord. Every once in a while I would meet eyes with another person and then look away quickly, pretending to look at something else. I squeezed my huband's hand to let him know I was happy to be there with him.
Our pastor ended his subject by giving us a moment to pray on our own. This was followed by the sound of closing books and rustling pages. Then there was silence. I had my head bowed in prayer with my eyes closed. I was focus on my thoughts. That pristinely silent moment was interrupted by one of the loudest farts I had ever heard (or so it seemed) coming from my husband.

With open mouth I looked up at him in awe of what happened. I couldn't believe he actually just did that. He was looking at me with a crease in his brow and one eyebrow raised in a position of judgment and disgust. One thought flashed through my mind: he's blaming me for that! At once I gave him a look suitable to be endorsed by Medusa herself. I was outraged that he would try to pawn off such a heinous crime on me. I wanted to stand up in the middle of everyone and point at him and shout, "he did it! He's the one who tainted the air we breathe! He's the foul one!"

It was then that I noticed the hundreds of eyes that were staring straight at me. The entire back section of the church had turned around to see who had the gall to fart during prayer. Each gaze was like a bag of sand, dragging me down to the floor with shame. If only I could hide under them! Oh, how I was regretting not waking up a few hours earlier for the not-so-popular service. The thought of standing up for myself quickly vanished in my head and all I could muster was a slight giggle, a sheepish grin, and a tiny wave. Blood was pounding in my cheeks and my skin was on fire. I immediately opened my bible and became intensely interested in its pages as the crowd turned back around.

As the service continued all I could think about was sweet revenge. I plotted to myself with an evil smile on my face, imagining the possibilities. I could put itching powder in his boxers. I could put Visine in his soda. I could put Bengay on the toilet seat, or brush the dog's teeth with his tooth brush. Then again I could give him a taste of his own medicine and eat a whole can of refried beans 30 minutes before bedtime. Oh the slaughter to ensue!

The church service ended. We all closed our books and shuffled out the door, and I smiled all the way home.

The Vag has Spoken

Warning: this page is not for the faint of heart.

Congratulations! After fumbling around online for hours, you've finally found the G spot. You don't get a cookie, but you do get to browse through my rantings about life in general, which I hope are suitably amusing. I will strive to approach all subjects with incredible cheekiness and a generous helping of gall. No part of life will go untouched. I hope everyone will leave The G Spot with a big smile. Happy exploring!