Archive | October, 2010

I Have a Fever and the Only Prescription is More Snuggie!

26 Oct

Yeah, I'm cool!

Yes. It’s true! I have joined the cult of the Snuggie.

Thanks to my new sister-in-law, I am now the proud owner of “The Blanket That Has Sleeves!” If it sounds epic, it should, because it is.

According to the box it came in, the Snuggie

“does not slip and slide like a regular blanket so it keeps you warm from head to toe while allowing complete freedom of movement. Read, eat, sew, use the remote, talk on the phone or work on your laptop in complete comfort. You can also use it outside to keep you warm at sporting events!”

(You bet your buns I just indented that block quote as though it was from an academic source and not the back of a box!)

I can vouch for that second to last item; as I type this, I am bedecked in my Snuggie’s cotton candy pink folds and am able to type on my laptop with ease. It is glorious.

I realize I’m a little late jumping on the Snuggie bandwagon. It was introduced in 2008 and by the end of 2009, approximately 20 million people had Snuggies, if you can believe it. The height of Snuggie fever was apparently during the holiday season of last year. (source)

A year ago, a Snuggie runway event during New York Fashion Week, which in case you live in a cave is a really big deal. It proved the Snuggie could in fact be elegant; debuting the leopard print Snuggie and other “designer” Snuggies as well.

This past April, over 40,000 people at a Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim game wore a promotional sleeved blanket for five minutes, setting the Guinness World Record for sleeved blanket wearing. I have to admit, I’m a little depressed I didn’t own a Snuggie at the time (nor did I live in LA, but that’s beside the point) because that sounds awesome.

Snuggie fever is still affecting many Americans. Recently, “The Snuggie Sutra” was published, which, to quote the MSNBC news article, is “turning couch potatoes into hot potatoes.” I’ll let you imagine the rest.

This past Thursday, the 1st Snuggie Choice Film Awards were held. Thousands of people submitted videos detailing their love of the blanket-with-sleeves. The winning family won $5,000 for a rap video, so be warned: next year you may see me competing in some ridiculous manner. :/

I used to watch the video below and make fun of Snuggie-wearers, but now I just appreciate how appealing a Snuggernaut really is.

Currently, I’m debating whether I want to quickly turn into “the weird girl” at my new work. The way the office is designed has many employees upstairs, while myself and two others reside downstairs. Heat rises, so the offices upstairs are always warm; thus, the air conditioning is on almost constantly. The way my desk is situated it feels as though the air is blown directly on me, sometimes causing my fingernails to turn purple I’m so cold. I joked this past weekend to my mom about wearing a Snuggie to work, but that was before I owned one.

Do I dare wear it to work? We shall see. As a new Snuggie-wearer, I don’t quite have my confidence in wearing the blanket-with-sleeves in public, but hopefully that will change, and soon.

My Name Is…

19 Oct
L-A-R-I-S-S-A.

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Recently, I had the pleasant surprise of coming across my name in not one, but two books I happened to be reading. I don’t believe this has ever occurred in my life.

My name is Larissa, and I’ve only met three people with my name. Ever. One of those was when I was a little girl and have no memory of it, though I did get a really sweet purple shirt with my/her/our name on it out of our encounter. The second occurrence was at a multi-high school retreat (a Bible conference for you Adventists out there); the third, a co-worker during my years at the local grocery store in my hometown. That was a bizarre experience for the both of us – we weren’t used to having to clarify which Larissa someone was referring to.

According to the Social Security Administration, the year I was born (1984), the top 10 most popular girls names were, in order: Jennifer, Jessica, Ashley, Amanda, Sarah, Stephanie, Nicole, Melissa, Heather, and Elizabeth. That same year, my name was the 457th most popular name, which I find absolutely shocking. Larissa was the 363th most popular name in 1994, the highest it has been in 30 years. In 2009, it was 759th. (And yes, the most popular name in 2009 was Isabella – we have the Twilight books/movies to thank for that one.)

What this means is that when I was a little girl, anytime I came across one of those displays with crappy keychains or pencils or whatever that had various names on them, I never found my name. As a kid, this made me really sad, but now I’m glad I’m not one of 425,298 Megans (apparently that’s how many Megans have been born since 1880 [source]). No offense to you Megans, of course.

If you were curious, the name Larissa means, “cheerful one” derived from the Latin word “hilaris” (source). It’s apparently popular in Russia.

I did get tired (and still do) of spelling my name EVERY time I met someone. L-A-R-I-S-S-A. Pronounced la-RISS-ah. It’s not rocket science; it’s spelled pretty much how it sounds. It’s not Carissa, Marissa, Clarissa, Melissa; it’s Larissa, you idiot. Nevertheless, when I’m at a coffee shop and they ask me my name, I wearily answer “Melissa.” And no questions asked.

The two books I read where my name appeared was “Star Island” by Carl Hiaasen and “Sharp Shooter” by Nadia Gordon. I highly unrecommend the first but very much recommend the second.

In “Star Island,” Larissa is a fictional American Idol contestant wandering Los Angeles throughout the story, generally partying her brains out. In “Sharp Shooter,” Larissa is the British girlfriend of a murdered man and a suspect in the mystery for a bit. I wouldn’t mind being a pop superstar or British, but what can you do.

Surprisingly, my name does pop up in various other places. For instance, Larissa is a city and capital in Greece (source), and is apparently a figure in Greek mythology (source). Larissa is also the 5th closest moon to Neptune (source). Larissa is also a saint who was martyred; she is commemorated on March 26 (source). I think I’m about to start a new holiday!

My name recently made headlines this past June when Larissa Riquelme, a lingerie model, said she would run naked through the streets of Paraguay if they won the World Cup (source).

Perhaps the greatest use of my name that I’ve come across was in the movie “Troy” and when I was watching the movie when the scene below occurred, you bet your buns I started screaming. It’s nice to know if I ever run into Brad Pitt, he’ll know how to pronounce my name correctly.

S.E.OoooOoOOoOOOOooOoooooO.

12 Oct

that's the idea!

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So many of my friends keep asking me what exactly I do at my new job I thought I would blog about it and spare my thumbs the agony of texting people the details.

I am the in-house editor at a small legal internet marketing company. The company exclusively deals with either lawyers or law offices. It’s a nice little niche. For those of you that read my previous post (“Working for the Weekend”) you’ll know I’ve delved into the legal realm head-first. Oh, and the term “moral turpitude” has replaced toxic tort as my favorite law phrase. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has become my new best friend in learning alarming statistics, like the fact that a pedestrian is killed every two hours. And yes, learning such statistics has made me much more paranoid when crossing the street!

The company manages websites and blogs for a plethora of clients. Any web content gets run through my supervisor or myself. Sadly I’m strictly on-screen editing, which means I don’t get to make those nifty copyediting or proofreading marks I spent forever learning in college (Sorry, Lynne!). I’ve become reacquainted with the Track Changes feature in Microsoft Word and I’m about to begin comprising a style guide to follow since my wonderful mother and good friend Laura gifted me with the new edition of the Chicago Manual of Style and the Redbook Manual on Legal Style. For a punctuation perfectionist such as myself, it’s practically Christmas!

My main job is to edit all web pages and blogs before they go live. Besides checking for the usual punctuation and grammar errors, I also do a bit of search engine optimization, which is commonly referred to as SEO. According to my favorite source, Wikipedia, SEO is “the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in search engines via the “natural” or un-paid (“organic” or “algorithmic”) search results.” Now, how does one get around to achieving that? Well, by doing a little optimizing, or which may “involve editing its content and HTML and associated coding to both increase its relevance to specific keywords and to remove barriers to the indexing activities of search engines. Promoting a site to increase the number of backlinks, or inbound links, is another SEO tactic.”

In plain English, that means I’m working with Google Analytics to see what keywords and terms are being searched for regarding a certain topic. Based on that, I incorporate those keywords within webpages and blog posts to help the page get higher visibility on Google (let’s be honest, the only search engine that matters). I’m also doing a significant amount of linking to different news articles and websites to help index and promote the blog or website I’m optimizing. I also tag the posts with relevant keywords and/or phrases. It’s pretty fun, ’cause I’m a big nerd.

I’ve also started writing content for different webpages and blogs, a few of which have gone live. I’m not sure if I should post links to them on my personal blog, so I won’t for now. It’s really exciting though, particularly since I didn’t think I would begin writing anything until I worked at least a month or so.

And now, a bit of self-promotion, or rather, the promotion of my husband. We’ve recently been plowing through season one of “Arrested Development” and to celebrate, he drew Tobias. Enjoy!

Happy Birthday to Me!

10 Oct

Terrifying but true.

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Today is my 26th birthday. It is weird.

When I turned 23, I was obsessed with listening to “What’s My Age Again?” by Blink-182. I also played Yellowcard’s “Twenty-Three” a few times as well. I’m not sure what else I did.

Last year for my birthday my husband and I celebrated epically. We went out on the towns of Sonoma and Napa and spent money like Chris Brown. I also discovered eating significant amounts of cheese was deadly, as I spent the night throwing up the delicious morsels I had spent the day consuming. Let’s hope tonight doesn’t hold the same thing in store for me. (Don’t worry Mom, I’m not planning on having cheese today!) I was also very excited because turning 25 meant I didn’t have to pay extra insurance when renting a car – not that I  had ever rented a car, but still. It was exciting!

A lot has changed in the past year. I finished my Technical and Professional Writing certificate from San Francisco State University. I got engaged to the love of my life. I left my job of two years and found myself unemployed for the first time in 10 years. I got married to the love of my life. We moved to LA. LA is weird.

26 seems old. When I turned 21, I had a mini-crisis because it meant I was less than a decade away from 30. Now, 30 looms just four little years away from me. That is weird. Life is weird.

I found a fabulous blog post about turning 26 and a few of the items the blogger mentioned really hit home for me:

“There’s nothing left to look forward to concerning laws that pertain to age. When you turn 25, you can legally rent a car, but that’s pretty much the end of it. All I have left now is the option to run for President of the United States when I turn 35, and my odds are looking a bit sketchy at the moment, to be honest.”

“It’s difficult to enjoy professional sports when the athletes become younger than you are. When you’re a child or teenager, you look up to these superheroes; you tape posters to the wall and pretend that you’re them on the playground. Now, I find it increasingly harder and harder to care if some 8-foot tall, 17-year-old will enter the NBA Draft a year early. How can you honestly say “You’re the man!” to someone that’s almost a decade younger than you?”

Your life is at least 33% over. If you’re lucky, you’ll make it to your 80’s, but when’s the last time you’ve been lucky about anything? Nope, your pie graph is engulfing upon itself, and no amount of hair gel or The Hills is going to change that.”

Yeah.

I’m old.

The Legend of the Pasadena Parrots

2 Oct

He's a wild one!

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I expected many things to be different when I moved from northern to southern California. I expected to have to adjust to the smog, and somehow endure the hideously pointless traffic. I’ve appreciated the vast abundance of palm trees, and I’m sure I’ll love the warmer weather in the winter.

One thing I did not expect was the parrots.

The building I work in has very loud and clanky fans that make me jump every time they turn on. But the noise of the fans doesn’t even begin to compare to a mysterious loud squawking that, when I heard it for the first time, almost rendered me deaf.

When I asked my co-worker what on earth the noise was, she introduced me to the legend of the Pasadena parrots.

Apparently, Pasadena is home to hundreds, if not thousands, of parrots. There are varying accounts about how their freedom from captivity occurred, but according to Wikipedia (our society’s most reliant source of information), the parrots “were part of the stock from the large pet emporium at Simpson’s Garden Town on East Colorado Blvd. The nursery burned down in 1969, and the parrots were thereby released to forage in the lush Pasadena area.”

Evidently the parrots love cedar trees’ berry kernels, and these trees “grow in great abundance around Pasadena.” Now, I’m not an arborist, but I’m going to go out on a limb (pun intended) and assume the foliage surrounding my office is mainly cedar trees, providing a home for these noisy guys.

Thankfully, the parrots didn’t make much use of their vocal cords this past week, but when they did, the effect was jarring. I’m sure I’ll eventually get used to it. However, according to Wikipedia, the parrots are “especially noticeable in the winter,” so I can look forward to losing my hearing in the near future.