Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Humor’

Several years ago, I was rather appalled to learn that my girlfriend, Nicole, hated to read. Granted, she’s a civil engineer by trade. A linear thinker. A planner. A fact-loving, solution-needing, draw-a-rectangle-around-the-answer, math-excelling kind of woman. She’s the girl who hated me in high school for interrupting Advanced Algebra class to ask, “When will we use this in real life?” I need to analyze. She needs to know.

So while she was nursing her second baby and spending those self-imposed long pauses in her day with nothing to occupy her mind (daytime tv does NOT count as mind-occupying), I handed her the Harry Potter series. After Harry Potter, she asked for more, so I sent her off to meet Mr. DaVinci and his special code. After that, it was the Twilight books, which she proudly admitted to being so enthralled with that she read paragraphs at stop lights on the way to her kids’ soccer practice, just waiting, waiting, waiting for those two fictional lovebirds to finally just do it already.

This year, it was the Hunger Games series, and most recently, I introduced her to my pal, Miss Sookie Stackhouse. Until we meet her in the first book of her as-yet-unfinished series (which HBO has turned into the equally delicious “True Blood” series), Sookie has lived a rather sheltered life. She lives, as Nicole often says of herself, “in the box.” She’s naïve and unworldly. But we like her, because unlike Bella Swan, the heroine of the Twilight novels, Sookie not only has a sex life but, if you ask me, she’s actually a bit of a slut. Which, come on, makes for better reading, let’s just say it. Sookie lives in the box, true, but she’s also kind of a badass. I like her. Come to think of it, that pretty much sums up how I feel about Nicole. Yeah, she likes living in the box, but she’s one ass-kicking chick when push comes to shove, and I dig that about her.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

As a little girl, I kept a diary. I entrusted my deepest secrets to this silent confidante, my safe haven. My diary was a mute therapist, a free space where I could speak my mind without shame or fear or reprisal. My diary was a little hidden piece of me, tucked away in the dark recess beneath my headboard.

My childhood passed into adolescence, and the stack of flowery little diaries gave way to a neat pile of black-and-white Composition Books straight out of a 1950s high school movie. My diaries had become journals. My journals had become a project. And along the way, I had become a writer.

Today my old diaries and journals are stored away, rarely opened but always held onto, tied in bundles with red satin ribbons, living in perpetual safekeeping like so many baby photos and pressed flowers. I doubt I’ll ever let them go. They are little, written portraits of me. And, when, on rare occasions, I look back at them, I notice one overwhelming trend that holds true from my 4th-grade, Holly Hobby, lock-and-key, 40-page mini-diary to my leather-bound traveler’s journal from my senior year of college: They’re all incomplete. Every single volume has at least one big, huge time gap.
(more…)

Read Full Post »

by Tara Cohen

My friend told me she does not like Facebook, and I started hyperventilating. Ok, maybe not truly hyperventilating, more like moderately over-ventilating, but still, I was worked up. I mean, how can anyone not like Facebook? Admittedly, I spend far too much time on Facebook. I realize I’m a Facebook junkie. A Facebook addict. A Facebook fiend. It’s seriously become a problem. The quietest guy I knew in all of my grade-school days Instant Messaged me asking if I worked for Facebook because I was on so much. So now I use the “offline” setting so people can’t see how often I’m there. Like I said: it’s a problem.

I’m on Facebook so much that I made it my browser’s home page. I cannot sit down at my computer without spending at least five minutes responding to wall posts and status updates, application suggestions and group invitations, game nudges and friend requests. I live on Planet Facebook.

So when my friend “Miranda” (who all but made me swear on my iMac not to use her real name) said she just isn’t crazy about Facebook, I had this flash of deja vu and found myself thinking of my mother-in-law.

I’ve been on my mother-in-law for ages to learn to use a computer. A few years ago, she went so far as to accept a hand-me-down from my niece, but all it did was sit in the corner and make her nervous. My husband Marty thought she was afraid if she hit the wrong key she might accidentally bomb China, and honestly, I don’t think he was far off. She called me for advice, and the conversation went something like this:

MiL: Tara, I just don’t know about this thing.
Me: Mom, we’re coming down in a week, and I’ll teach you how to use it.
MiL: Well, bring a new whatchamacallit for the AOL with you because the one I have is the wrong size.
Me: What?
MiL: It’s the wrong size. It’s not going to fit the computer.
Me: What??
MiL: The thing. The whoosie. The…the disc. It’s the AOL ninety nine, and the computer is an oh-two. It’s the wrong size.
Me: Wait…what???

We visited, and, what do you know, the disc was just the right size for the drive. I set up an AOL account, shut down the computer, and started from square one: Turn on the machine. As the desktop flickered into life, my mother-in-law looked skeptically at the various icons and said, “Ok. Now, which one is for the airplane reservations?” And so we started again:

Me: Mom, plane reservations are on websites, not actually on your computer.
MiL: What?
Me: Well, we start by accessing the internet using something called a browser.
MiL: What??
Me: If the computer is your house, then the browser is your car, and you drive the browser to the internet, which is the mall. That has websites, which are like stores.
MiL: Wait…what???

In fairness, my desire to have my mother-in-law use a computer is a little selfish. I’m comfortable with computers. I grew up with them, starting with my dad’s first home IBM, a monster of a machine, complete with the ability to turn the “green screen” to “amber” with just the flip of one glowing switch! (Hey, when your folks won’t buy you an Atari, you make do.) The upshot is that, after a lifetime of computer use, my internet connection goes down for an hour and I’m having heart palpitations. My mother-in-law, on the other hand, was born during the Hoover administration, uses a corded phone, and does not, to my knowledge, own a single CD. I realize we speak two different languages, but I still just can’t get past wanting to get her online.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

By Tara Cohen
When I was in fourth grade, I already needed braces. Badly. My overbite was pushing beaver-esque proportions (man, I wish I were exaggerating), and the kids at day-camp referred to me not-so-affectionately as “Chipmunk.” The orthodontist was concerned that if I had any kind of accident involving my face, those two disproportionately large front choppers would be history. But, he told us, before he could even start shifting those pearly marbles around, some of them would have to be sacrificed to the tooth fairy in order for the rest to fit properly. “You,” he informed me, “have a very small mouth.” And thus began one of the longest-running jokes in my family’s history. “Tara?? A small mouth? I really don’t think so,” they joked. “The child who speaks at such lengths she seems to take breaths only once every five minutes? The one who, at age 4, told her great-grandmother and every other grey-haired person she met that they were old and surely going to die soon does not have a small mouth. No. This kid hands off wrapped birthday presents and says, ‘It’s a sweater! I hope you like it!’ Surely you’ve mixed her X-rays up with someone else’s. This child has the biggest mouth of all time. Call the folks at that Guinness Book place. They’ll back us up. Seriously. Add some teeth. There’s room. We swear.”

Turns out they were both right. The ortho-sadist knocked me out and pulled four adult and four baby teeth from my disproportionately small jaw, and then, when I woke up, I told anyone and everyone all about it. Considering it was 25 years ago and I’m still talking about it, I’d say my family had a fair point. Considering I’m talking about it with a very straight set of healthy teeth, I gotta give the doc a little credit too.

While surgical extractions and four years of braces did resolve my “small mouth” issue and alleviate my “chipmunk” status, it did nothing to improve my “big mouth” reputation, something I continue to perpetuate even now in my 30s. While I am finally capable of shutting up long enough to let people be pleasantly surprised while opening their gifts, I’ve never quite mastered the art of keeping a strong opinion to myself. As I have no current aspirations to politics or mafia life, I try to think of it as an asset. Being loquacious (sounds better than “more-talkative-than-a-teenage-cheerleader-on-speed”) often leads to interesting conversations with people in the most random settings. Just a few months back I had the most fascinating two-hour chat with this dead-ringer-for-Obama-atheistic-democrat-with-two-goddaughters-and-a-flat-in-Soho on a flight to New York. He was the most fascinating single-serving friend I’ve ever met (If you didn’t catch that little pop-culture reference, go rent “Fight Club,” seriously.), and being unwilling to talk politics or religion, or to talk to strangers in general, would certainly not have led to anywhere near as interesting a flight.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Microsoft OBS

by Tara Cohen

Microsoft announced today the release of their latest version of the Windows operating system, Windows OBS. OBS, which stands for Obsolete Before Sale, is widely considered to be the first operating system ever introduced that will be completely inoperable by the time it is installed on hard drives.

Consumers lined the streets in front of computer stores and other retailers this morning, many camping out overnight in hopes of being among the first to try OBS. “I just can’t wait to get mine! OBS is the newest thing! If you want to make it in this economy, you have to be up-to-date on all the cutting edge technology,” said Clarissa M. Goldsthwait, a technology student at the University of Michigan. According to Norman T. Jerbers, an Information Technology Specialist in the Detroit metro area, “Previous to the release of OBS, we computer techs had to wait months for an operating system to become obsolete. Now, the waiting is over! We can begin uploading pirated drivers and illegal software patches as soon as the hard drive comes out of the box! Now that’s efficiency!”

Microsoft founder Bill Gates held a press conference yesterday regarding the release of OBS. Said Gates, “For many years now, people have complained that their operating software was out of date within several months of release. Now, they can have completely obsolete software from the moment they purchase a computer. We at Microsoft are committed to finding the most expedient way of outdating software. After all, that’s what drives our business.”

OBS supplants Windows RE2M, or Replace Every Two Months, as the latest Windows operating system available for both home and office use. It is available only as a pre-installed operating system and backup disks are sold separately. For information on Windows OBS, you can log on to http://www.microsoft-obs.com, but Microsoft sources indicate that you must have OBS installed on your system in order for the site to load. Attempts to log on without OBS installed will result in a complete reformat of your system.

Read Full Post »