The Snack That Does Not Smile Back

“Oh, I don’t snack.”

One of the greatest lies ever told.

I’m guilty of telling it, but at least I’m honest about the fact that I’m lying about it.

Snack foods are one of those things that everyone likes, but no one admits to. Kind of like soda, which I wrote about a while back. I’ve grown to like snack foods a little less ever since I’ve lost interest in potato chips, and learned about things like hydrogenated oils and corn syrup and its connection to the crude oil industry, or something like that. Still, I might have some snacks at a party, or if someone else is offering them to me, but I tend to not buy them. Or if I do, I justify. I’m a major, major justifier. Here are some of the statements I’ve used to justify my purchases.

“Popcorn! What a fun and healthy snack!”

“Oh, these Cheez-Its will be great to keep in my office, my students polished off the last box.”

“Oh, Kedem tea biscuits. They’re gross, but I should buy some because Erin likes them. Even though Erin lives in Oregon. But it’s her birthday, so Erin, these are in your honor.”

“Here’s some Twizzlers. I’ve been really good today, I held the elevator door for someone and I deserve it, and by the time I walk back to my car, I’ll have burned a deficit of calories so I’ll need it.”

“Bridge mix? Where have you been? Hiding in the 1970s, huh? Let’s reunite…”

“Goldfish! The snack that smiles back! Wonderful, I could use a smile. Plus, don’t they count as seafood? And seafood is great for you, so in the cart you go, little fishies!”

I also buy some essentials, like bread and bananas and spinach leaves, just so I can feel healthy, and those things usually so straight into the fridge, because they need to cool off a little before I eat them. But I’m hungry now.

And that’s how I ended up pounding Cheez-Its on my couch at 11:30 on a Saturday night.


An Alphabet of Awesomeness Tag

I know everyone’s seen this type of thing before, with awards and challenges, but I just thought I’d start one that’s all my own, challenge a few people, and see what happens…

Sometimes, in life, it’s incredibly hard to find things to be grateful for or things that make you happy when you feel just so so so sad, not like sad panda sad, but Picasso’s-Blue-Period sad, or Wilting-Flowers-of-Virginia-Woolf sad, or even Everything-But-The-Girl-desert-misses-the-rain-except-the-desert-is-glass-and-Morton-Salt-without-the-yellow-umbrella-since-there’s-no-rain-here sad.

But now that I’ve saddled you with metaphors and addled your brain, let me bring you back to the positive feelings that I hope you are having right now (If you are, good for you! If not, that’s okay, I’m here if you need a hug).

Some days, life is just sweet, normal, average, even – dare I say – happy. It could be a tapping-your-toes-to-Pharrell-Williams’s-“Happy” happy, or even raindrops-on-roses-and-whiskers-on-kittens-Julie-Andrews-frolicking-in-the-sunny-countryside happy, or even the happiest feeling that I can imagine, like, right-this-minute-I-can-see-myself-as-the-cool-person-I-dreamed-of-being-when-I-was-young-and-shy-and-awkward-and-to-top-it-off-I-have-sunglasses-and-a-car-and-good-hair happy.

It’s the days that you’re feeling like a Picasso that you wish you could magically channel a day when you were Pharrell Williams. When you wish you had an arsenal of things that make you feel awesome and confident and sophisticated and proud but you just can’t seem to picture any.

My friends, here is the solution for you.


That’s So Jacob’s All-New Alphabet of Awesomeness Tag

The point of this game is to come up with 26 things that just make you feel effervescent, one for each letter of the alphabet, and maybe write a brief sentence or two about each thing, and then tag 26 friends to do the same. Hopefully this will ignite a giant arsenal of awesome and happy things that will break the Internet because everyone’s sharing too many happy thoughts.

Here goes nothing, I guess.

is for Anne Taintor. Classic pinup girls with delightfully irreverent sayings. I buy her calendar every year and have a sticker pack and fun coffee-table coasters. Just plain fun.

is for ballroom dance. What started as a sign on a lamppost has turned into four semesters of fun, friendship, and fancy footwork. I always say that I like Latin better, but then I feel like that’s unfair to Standard, so I constantly switch back and forth because just being on the dance floor is a gift unto itself.

C is for Call the Midwife. One random Sunday, I turned on PBS, and stared at my television screen open-mouthed for two whole hours watching a marathon of this fantastic BBC masterpiece. It is incredibly well-acted, thought-provoking, inspirational, and hasn’t hit the Downton Abbey/Game of Thrones glass ceiling here in the USA yet, so I feel ahead of the curve. And even if it doesn’t make it in America, this show is so awesome and now I kinda want to see if I could deliver a baby using what I’ve learned from the show.

is for iced coffeeWhen I had my first real downward spiral into depression and bad bad thoughts, my dad always told me “if you’re dead, there’s no iced coffee anymore.” So trivial, but for some reason it perked me up a little bit.

is for Jenna Marbles. I eagerly count the days until Wednesday/Thursday so I can fold laundry while watching her new video (now, on my Chromecast). There has rarely been one that I haven’t found something I liked in, except maybe the dog porn one and the “Dropping Beets” one.

is for Keurig. I bought mine in December and haven’t looked back. Sometimes I sit in class, just counting down the minutes until I can go home and use my Keurig to make something delicious.

is for Mental Floss on YouTube. Along with Jenna Marbles, John Green’s List Show makes up my mid-week hump days playlist. I’ve been a fan of MF since high school, and now instead of sitting at Barnes & Noble and reading the new one each month, I get a little mini video-magazine of quirky facts that I can watch while I fold my laundry. If Jenna Marbles did a Mental Floss List Show one Wednesday, I think my brain might actually explode with happiness.

is for New York Times Crossword Puzzles. Part of my daily routine. My favorites are the Sunday ones; when I solve it in under 15 minutes I just feel like the smartest person in the world. Plus, it’s a great way to learn new facts.

is for Pandora. This app and I had our issues, once I found out it was killing my cell phone bill, but now that I use it more sparingly, it’s going back to the top of my list of favorite apps. Where else can you rock out to an entire station devoted to A Tribe Called Red or the Barry Sisters?

is for Twizzlers.

is for Words with Friends. It doesn’t matter if I win or lose, but it’s just a helpful distraction that’s just temporary enough to calm my mind.



Masterpiece YouTube: Hozier, “Take Me To Church”

September’s come and just about gone, and I realized I haven’t introduced you readers to a video clip in a while, so here’s one that’s been mesmerizing me recently.

That’s So Jacob Presents:

Masterpiece YouTube

Episode 21: “Take Me To Church,” Hozier, 2015.

I have to admit, I first heard this song when Sharon Irving sang it on America’s Got Talent, but that doesn’t make this experience any less special. She sounded amazing, in a different type of amazing than the original, but this is a pretty darn perfect song, and the music video has been seared into my brain, along with the lyrics.

I’m going to forgo the usual recap, because this is something that you have to see to believe. Suffice it to say, this black-and-white picture of power contains anger, love, despair, confusion, destruction, and heartbreak. It was filmed in Ireland, which is pretty obvious from the scenery.

Hearing this song and watching this video makes me think that life is precious, and true love is not yet dead.

This episode of Masterpiece YouTube has been brought to you by having 1100 subscribers, my 1100th being Thursday’s Child. Visit her site, it’s fun and quirky. And greetings to all the continents, save for South America: Canada, USA, Mexico, UK, Norway, Sweden, Hungary, Netherlands, Russia, Sudan, South Africa, Hong Kong, UAE, and Australia.


Jacob What?

No, this is not a post about my crazy brain that’s going to make your head spin.

Nor is this a post that’s about an undiscovered temple in the Cambodian rainforest.

Nope, it’s just your everyday, average rant about something I don’t like.

You know when you start a conversation with someone new, or you get introduced to someone new? The conversation normally goes something like this.

YOU PERSON: Hi there.

ME: Hi, nice to meet you!

YOU PERSON: Nice to meet you too. I’m [You], what’s your name?

ME: I’m Jacob.

YOU PERSON: Jacob…what?

Bitch, WHAT? Michelle Tanner style

::explosion of rage in my head::

I know this is super weird and really, really petty, but why in the world do you need to know my last name, before we continue with the niceties like “how are you?” or “where are you from?”

First of all, let’s start with You. Nine times out of ten, you introduce yourself as You. Not as You Person, not Mr./Mrs. You Q. Person, but You. And then you expect me to tell you my last name?

If I want you to know my last name right off the bat, I’ll tell you, no big deal. But when you hold that expectant pause, it’s like you can’t go on in life without knowing my last name, despite me not knowing yours. It puts me in a super-awkward spot then, because, what if I don’t want you to know my last name right now? What if I don’t feel like introducing myself beyond the “Hi-I’m-Jacob-nice-to-meet-you-bye” today? What if it just plain doesn’t matter because we’re never going to see each other again, and by the time we do, we’ll have forgotten each other’s first names?

I’ve caught myself saying it to people a few times, especially when I know I’ve met them before but can’t quite place them, but unless I’m flirting (and actually, this is probably a very unsexy way to start a conversation; maybe this is why I don’t date), there’s no need to demand information from anyone when you first meet them.

Most people I’ve met in life do not do this. The demographic of people who ask this question is usually 40s-70s, male, and Jewish. Quite possibly a rabbi, who then wants to know your hometown, your parents’ names, your Hebrew name, what shul you go to, and if you’ve put on tefillin this morning (if you’re a male). But in general, it’s just nosy people who want to add another possible notch to their Jewish geography standings. Now, don’t get me wrong, Jewish Geography is the Game of Champions – seriously, if it were an Olympic sport, I would try out for the team – but I generally don’t break out into full-on JG until the second or third time we meet, or if it’s a situation neither of us can get out of, like waiting for a bus, stuck in a really long line, or in the trenches of the wintry French countryside in World War I. Unfortunately, to the above demographic, if you choose not to engage with their question, you kinda look like an asshole, and even more so if you lie.

Then this happens:

“Jacob Bergenpretzel. Bergenpretzel? Of the New York Bergenpretzels or the Miami Bergenpretzels? You’re from Germany, right…which part? Are you related to Milton Ber-no, wait-Melvin Bergenpretzel? No? How about Gertrude Bergenpretzel? I knew a Gertrude Bergenpretzel, she used to play mahj with my mother-in-law…was she your grandmother, or cousin, or maybe a great-aunt? Is Bergenpretzel short for something? What’s your mother’s maiden name?”

And then they get into health insurance form territory and it’s just a downward spiral from there. Especially because you know that all the answers will be no, because you just plucked Bergenpretzel out of the back of your brain.

So here’s a solution: get to know me a little better. Ask me where I’m from, or how my day was, or what’s on my mind. Then ask for the rest of the details. Or just don’t ask me that question at all because I don’t owe you a thing, it’s that simple.

Unless you’re from the IRS.

In which case, you probably already know my last name.


Holla for a six-continent day; what up, USA, Chile, UK, Netherlands, Belgium, France, India, Sudan, Australia?



Long Live the Log Lady

Today, I found out that Catherine E. Coulson died. I heard about it first via Facebook, from my friend Melinda who posted about the actress’s work at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Naturally, I assumed she was some dame, playing Emilia and Isolde and Lady Macbeth.

And then, I looked a little further, and realized that she was The Log Lady, also known as one of the best and funniest McGuffins in television history.

I was too young to watch the series in its original airing, but ever since the news of a possible reboot, I’ve been working my way through the too-short run of Twin Peaks on Hulu. I started watching it last semester and made it to the middle of the second season before I just stopped watching it and then couldn’t remember where I’d left off so I left it for a while and haven’t returned, but now, I just might have to do just that.

For those of you who are not American, or have just never heard of Twin Peaks, it’s basically this eerie drama about (first episode spoiler alert) a detective finding out who killed Laura Palmer, a small town prom queen in Twin Peaks, Washington. Though the episodes are full of twists and turns, the language and imagery is spellbinding. When I watch it, I can almost taste that Pacific Northwest rain. And the best part of is that no one is innocent. Everyone’s hiding something, even the detective himself. David Lynch is known for his unconventional and haunting work, but the silence of Twin Peaks just amps the creepy up to full.

And then, enter Coulson as The Log Lady.

Basically…that was her character. She was a lady who walked around town cradling a log which she claimed had magical powers. Occasionally, her predictions were correct, but in all those cases she and her log either gave vague, tangential information, or were just plain lucky. There were all sorts of theories about her and her purpose in the show, including some that she was actually the only sane person or the only truth teller in the whole town. To me, though, and I think to most, she was just a crazy lady with a log as a best friend. She doesn’t really go through any changes, she just kind of exists, toddling around the town, not really much different than in earlier or later episodes. And if that’s the most normal thing in the town of Twin Peaks, then you’ve got a lot to look forward to, so head over to Hulu and make yourself some coffee and pie.

But for now, let’s reflect on some gifs of the Questionable Wisdom of the Log Lady. Catherine E. Coulson, rest peacefully.








Preach, log lady, preach.


Can I Take A Poll?

Something I’ve been wondering recently, especially when I’m in a blogging slump such as this one where I just can’t seem to get any good ideas off and running, is, what kinds of things do YOU, readers, want to see more of?

So, here’s a poll:

What would you like to see more of here?

Leave other comments in the comments section.

And the waiting…begins.


A Surprisingly Telling Reading Quiz

Poking around the blogosphere recently, I came across this post by Marina Sofia, AKA Finding Time To Write (ain’t that the truth) and ever since, I’ve thought about taking the quiz like she did.

So here goes.

Do you have a certain place at home for reading?

Bed. Bed is always good. But when the weather’s right, outdoors is great, just about anywhere. The sixth floor patio works fine.

Bookmark or a random piece of paper?

I have three handmade laminated bookmarks made by my friend June from Australia, and several magnetic bookmarks sent to me from Greece. I think I’d be devastated if I lost any of them.

Can you stop reading any time, or do you have to stop in a certain place?

Anytime, really. I like to at least make it to the end of a chapter, but sometimes I don’t have the time.

Do you eat or drink while reading?

Sometimes. I’ve been known to bring books to restaurants when dining alone, and of course, chocolate-covered pretzels, bridge mix, or popcorn are always winners.

Can you read while listening to music/watching TV?

Okay, so here’s the weird answer. Yes and no. I like listening to music and reading, but I’m not the best at doing those things at the same time. I find myself sometimes waiting for commercials, or breaks between songs. To drown out noise, yes to music. But normally, I can focus better in silence.

One book at a time or several at once?

Never just one! Usually a fiction/non-fiction, or a theatre/non-theatre, or a theory/fun book.

Reading out loud or silently in your head?

Umm…out loud in my head? My dad tends to read aloud and it scares me when he just starts blurting stuff out.

Do you read ahead and skip pages?

Generally, no. I did hear of a friend once who always read the ends of mysteries, then the beginning, to see if she could pick up on the clues and figure out the crime like the detective.


Break the spine or keep it new?

Keep it new for as long as I can.


Do you write in books?