How to Be A Crossword Fraud (Or, I’m Sorry)

Wow, a daytime post for once!

Yeah, yeah, but enough about that.

If you’re like me, you always wonder how people can manage to solve New York Times crossword puzzles on Friday and Saturday in insanely short times, like one minute (it takes longer than that to read the clues, for crying out loud).

Today, however, I inadvertently figured out by doing it myself.

So, like most days, I did the daily crossword online. Saturday is usually the toughest one, for me at least, because there are no theme answers like Sunday crosswords and there are usually tough and obscure clues. I was actually proud of myself after today’s attempt; I managed to finish in a respectable 8 minutes and 26 seconds, without a single mistake. Wondering how I stacked up against the other competitors – seventy-five hundred, as of now – and for some reason, my time failed to register. It actually told me that I hadn’t done the puzzle at all yet, which was obviously false. Sometimes glitches happen, and I just go back to the puzzle and refresh the page, and it submits my time, but this time, everything was completely gone and the timer was down to zero. Having just finished it, I remembered it all, and typed it in pretty quickly. I was going to wait until 8:26 so I could get an accurate time, but I accidentally put in the last letter, clocking me in at 1 minute, 37 seconds, which is probably among a world record. I went back to the main puzzle page, and sure enough, it logged my 1:37 attempt rather than my 8:26 attempt, so according to the official stats, I’m now #1 for the day, ahead of AlbyAtLarge, who solved in a piddling 1:39, unless he or she encountered the same issue I did.

So…yeah, technically, I guess that makes me a fraud for today.

“I’m a fraud, Elle! It’s not like normal women can have this ass!”

Anyway, I’m guessing that while some people might just be that good (and others just cheat for bragging rights), those five-minutes-or-less solving times are results of having done the puzzle, the site failing to register the correct time, and then redoing it quickly just so it registers. So no, I am not a super genius, I just accidentally beat the system. Whoops.

In other news, though, I scrolled down, and my original solving time puts me in a very respectable 193rd place, tied with Jimmy.Leroux, just behind the 8:19 solving time of TBowker and just ahead of the 8:27 solving times of CousinAki and TonyR.

And for someone who usually struggles to place in the top 500 – or even the top 1,000 – of a Saturday puzzle, that’s pretty darn good.


On Packing it In

Me, this morning:

Man, I’m going to get so much done today.

Me, this afternoon:

Okay, so I did laundry and ate gross plain yogurt, it’s a good day. Oh wait, I had a lunch thing. Oh good, I’m only a few minutes late. ::goes to lunch, has a great time::

Me, slightly later:

Shoot, production meeting. Cool, I’m like totally just about on time. ::goes to production meeting, it goes fine::

Me, slightly later:

I should eat something. ::eats sushi and half a challah::

Me, slightly later:

I should get dressed for services. ::gets dressed, goes to services, woefully late, yawns the whole time, pretends to be exhausted but plans to go back home and go to the gym::

Me, slightly later:

I should get ready for the gym, but first, watch some funny TV to pump myself up. ::takes off clothes::

Oh, hey bed, let’s catch up.

Me, slightly later:

::opens eyes:: Wait, was I sleeping? For how long? It’s 9 PM and the gym closes at 10. Fuck. At least I still have some of that challah left, and my pajamas are right here. ::eats food, puts on pajamas, forgets about going to the gym, watches YouTube for like two hours::

Me, now:

I should have done something productive today, like read from my pile of books or vacuum or cook or clean out the fridge. Welp, at least I’m in bed with my laptop on my chest at a decent hour.

Me, a few hours in the future:

I’m still awake and I regret everything. Another wasted Friday. Fuck.


The Terrible Hallmark Valentine’s Day Movie Generator

I actually had a lot of fun making the Overly Dramatic Memoir Generator, and since my chill-out activity of choice these days is late-night Golden Girls marathons on Hallmark, I’ve encountered a whole lot of…commercials for really terrible sounding movies for Valentine’s Day. Seriously, why make another romantic blah-dee-blah when we have enough to watch one every day for fifty years in case we get trapped in an underground bunker while we wait for the nuclear waste to settle and the Earth to become habitable again?

Step 1: She’s a… (first letter of your first name)

A: Single

B: Widowed

C: Divorced

D: Unhappy

E: Sensitive

F: Depressed

G: Over-the-hill

H: Newly single

I: Hopelessly Romantic

J: Unlucky

K: Innocent

L: Lovesick

M: Love-lorn

N: Warm-hearted

O: Cold-hearted

P: Aging

Q: Elderly

R: Nubile

S: Young

T: Prideful

U: Unusual

V: Vain

W: Frustrated

X: Psychotic

Y: Misunderstood

Z: Fabulous

Step 2: Who is she? (month of your birth)

January: Movie Star

February: Telephone Operator

March: Ice Skater

April: Grandmother

May: Chocolatier

June: Sanitation Worker

July: Hairdresser

August: Beekeeper

September: Schoolteacher

October: Secretary

November: Call Girl

December: Lounge Singer.

Step 3: He’s a… (first letter of your last name, Step 1 List)

Step 4: Who is he? (color of your shirt)

Red: Meth Addict

Orange: Actor

Yellow: Sideshow Performer

Green: Police Officer

Blue: Surgeon

Purple: Dentist

Pink: Home Economics Teacher

Brown: Traveling Salesman

Black: Rabbi

Any Other Color: Nobody

Step 5: What happens when they… (date of your birth)

1: Start a business together?

2: Fall in a manhole together?

3: Wake up in an abandoned castle together?

4: Casually exchange glances over sippy cups?

5: Become neighbors?

6: Fight over a parking spot in front of Radio Shack?

7: Accidentally witness a federal crime?

8: Accidentally commit a federal crime?

9: Meet in a unisex handicapped bathroom?

10: Have root canals in adjacent chairs?

11: Sit together at bingo?

12: Get shipwrecked on an uncharted island?

13: Run into each other crossing the street because they’re idiots with no conception of physical space?

14: Adopt the same cat?

15: End up handcuffed together by a magician at a six-year-old’s birthday party?

16: Coach competing cheerleading squads?

17: Have to pick up trash by the side of the road as community service?

18: Get drafted into the army?

19: Walk into a plate glass window?

20: Reach for the same library book?

21: Get seated next to each other at a lesbian wedding?

22: Bump into each other at a Nickelback concert?

23: Accidentally switch bodies?

24: Accidentally switch cell phones?

25: Accidentally switch dressing rooms at Kohl’s?

26: Get jobs at Target?

27: Work the same corner?

28: Shyly smile at one another while picking up their dog’s poop in the local park?

29: Rob the same liquor store at the same time?

30: Discover they kissed at summer camp?

31: Figure out that they might be related?

Find out this Feburary 14 in Terrible Valentine’s Day Movie, 8/7 central, only on Hallmark.

My movie?

“She’s an unlucky secretary. He’s a newly single nobody. What happens when they get seated next to each other at a lesbian wedding?”

Hallmark: Television for People Who Live in a Jodi Picoult Novel

Oh, and hooray hooray for a six continent day! North America (Canada and USA), South America (Brazil), Europe (UK, Greece, Netherlands, Ireland and Romania), Asia (India, Philippines and UAE), Africa (Zambia) and Oceania (Australia).


Just a quick update.

Greetings to my 32,000th flag hit from Lake Oswego, Oregon, USA, and though I only got visitors from 4 continents today, I got my first visit from Moldova, so hey there to whoever you are.

To everyone who’s reading this…it’s been a rough weekend for me. Hopefully February will bring back the fun times for all of us. But if you don’t see me post for a few days in a row here and there, it’s a sign that things aren’t getting better.

I’m hoping that doesn’t happen.


The Overly Dramatic Memoir Generator

One Small BoatThree Little WordsFive Smooth Stones.

Everyone’s read at least one in their life: an overly dramatic, too sappy memoir that is some person’s personal journey to emotional, mental, physical, or spiritual health/perfection/nirvana, and so can you. They show up in book clubs, on summer reading lists, and in psychiatrists’ waiting rooms. And they’re all equally annoying.

Well, guess what? Now, thanks to That’s So Jacob, you can have an instant best-seller with a personalized overly dramatic memoir about your life in a few simple steps!

Behold: That’s So Jacob’s Overly Dramatic Memoir Generator.

  1. Pick the first digit of your phone number. Mine is four.
  2. If you were born between January and June, pick a word that describes the first thing you touch with your left hand. If you were born between July and December, pick the first color you see when you look to the right. Mine is red.
  3. Pick the first item you see on the closest table to you. I just looked, and saw a pen.

Voila, I have a title. Four Red Pens.

Now the even more fun part: what’s your amazing, inspirational story? Now, think of your first and last names.

The first letter of your first name will correspond to your sorry-sounding adjective.

A: Lost

B: Teenage

C: Secret

D: Pregnant

E: Hidden

F: Long-Lost

G: Found

H: Orphaned

I: Changed

J: Runaway

K: Homeless

L: Innocent

M: War

N: Child

O: Rescued

P: Forgotten

Q: Saved

R: Abandoned

S: Broken

T: Imprisoned

U: Anorexic

V: Uncommon

W: Gifted

X: Violated

Y: Depressed

Z: Battered

Now, who are you? Take the first letter of your last name to find out who you are:

A: Runaway

B: Gym Teacher

C: Bride

D: Whore

E: Nun

F: Teenager

G: Centenarian

H: Midwife

I: Orphan

J: Hooker

K: Wife

L: Addict

M: Daughter

N: Son

O: Angel

P: Mother

Q: Veteran

R: Prostitute

S: Zombie

T: Thief

U: Robber

V: Criminal

W: Slave

X: Grandmother

Y: Queen

Z: Princess

So, my memoir would be:

Four Red Pens: I Was a Runaway Midwife

So, what’s your memoir? Let me know in the comments!


Confessions of an Subconscious Mind

I don’t usually remember my dreams, but last night, I did.

And were they strange.

Dream #1:

I was logging onto my Wisc account to check my numbers for class sizes (for the record, I currently have 76 students total – 19, 19, 20, 21), and I was shocked to find out that my numbers were down. I looked at my classes, and saw a lot of names that looked familiar, and I realized that a bunch of my students from last semester re-enrolled.

Dream #2:

I was applying for jobs, and I asked myself, should I change my email address? I’ve had it since middle school (which is true), but it was jacobisasupersexualfreak@gmail.com, which is not my email address at all.

Dream #3 (the weirdest):

I was at a really fancy dinner with my parents, and a lot of family and friends. We were all eating, and we didn’t know why we were called there. Then, in walks my sister, and announces “I suppose you’re all wondering why you’re here.” Then, she starts to beat box, and this really sweaty redhead in an orange suit comes in and raps, and they dance around the room rapping and singing about how they met at a grocery store and eloped and how we’re all losers because we thought they’d never make it.

I wonder which of those dreams caused me to walk straight into the wall this morning on my way to the bathroom to brush my teeth. Or maybe I just needed my glasses. Or coffee. But probably coffee.

And it was almost a six-continent, so hello to North America (USA), Europe (UK, Germany, Croatia, Netherlands, and Belgium), Asia (India, Indonesia, Singapore, Republic of Korea, and Israel), Africa (Egypt), and Oceania (Australia and New Zealand)


Emily Pudding

That’s So Jacob Presents:

That’s So Nom: Treats and Eats from Jacob’s Completely Amateur Kitchen

Episode 6: Emily Pudding

You’re probably saying to yourself, “well that’s an unusual title for a post.” And I am here to say…that yes, it is. Lost night, a friend of mine on Facebook posted a meme game describing your burlesque name: the name of your first pet + the last thing you ate. I have never had any pets, other than a few fish whose names I’ve forgotten (I think at one point I had a Lars, an Abigail, and a Goldie, or something like that) but in seventh grade, I had a plant who I called Emily. I also had two cacti around the same time, called Lenny and Squiggy due to their resemblances to David Lander (Lenny was tall, spiky and skinny) and Michael McKean (Squiggy was a short, fuzzy, round one). I can’t remember what type of plant Emily was – she might have been a flower, or some ivy – but maybe this is a sign that I should go and buy another plant and name her Emily. And the pudding refers to an unusual pudding dessert/treat/thing I got from one of my favorite recipe sites, The Picky Eater Blog, run by Anjali.

The recipe is for Chocolate Mousse with Raspberries, but I couldn’t find any raspberries (not the season) and it ended up more like a pudding, so it shall hereby be known as Emily Pudding. Here’s how to make it.

  1. Toss a half cup of chia seeds, 1/4 cup of chocolate PROTEIN powder (fitness for the win), 1 cup of milk, and 1 squeeze of honey into your grandmother’s ancient blender.
  2. Blend a little, and when the machine starts to rattle because it forgot how to blender, turn it off, give it a stir, scrape the excess chia off the sides, and blend again.
  3. Chill for 15 minutes. In the fridge. The gloppy mixture, not you.
  4. Scrape it into a bowl, add in 1 cup of fat-free Greek yogurt, and mix it with a mixer.
  5. Notice that it’s a little more chewy than creamy, and tastes a bit off, so add some sprinkles of Hershey’s unsweetened cocoa powder.
  6. Finish most of it yourself while watching TV.

Serves 1 hungry Ph.D. and 2 girls across the hall who enjoy pudding.

This is Emily Blunt eating pudding.