Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Can I be Frank? A Memoir.

Remember that time that I said my autobiography would be my face turning into Frank Oz's face and the title would be "Can I be Frank?"


No regrets. 

Sunday, September 29, 2013

This will cheer you up.

Been feeling that end-of-summer slump lately? Or did you just click here so that you could take a break from reading tweets about how the pumpkin spice latte is back at Starbucks?

Either way, welcome.

Actually, no. If you're one of those pumpkin spice latte types, I must ask you to leave. This is a salted caramel latte blog. Always has been, always will be.

Now that we're alone, my caramel-loving compadres, I'd like a share with you a little list of things that make me happy. In the hopes that they'll keep you going through the cold, dark months ahead.

1. Remembering that Kermit the Frog rides a bike, sometimes.

2. The face that Jim Broadbent made as Professor Slughorn.

3. Amy Poehler's impression of Tim Gunn

4. Amy Poehler's Cockney accent

5. Amy Poehler.

6. Baby overalls

Babies in overalls are cute as crap. Lately I've been on the prowl for overalls because my sister is about to have a baby and this is my moment, dammit. But it appears that baby overalls, like baby bonnets, have fallen out of fashion.

Frankly, I find this lack of overalls disturbing. (So does Darth Vader, amiright?) I'm of the opinion that a baby should have overalls for all occasions.

Side note: "Overalls for All Occasions" would be a good way to describe my wardrobe choices from ages 5-8. Osh Kosh B'Gosh made good money on my childhood.

7. Chummy from "Call The Midwife"

Run, don't walk to your nearest Netflix and start watching "Call The Midwife." Especially if you like Downton Abbey. It's Downton Abbey with babies. I don't think I need to go on.

8. Velvety blankets that are always the second layer of bedding at a hotel

You know which blanket I'm talking about. It's not the disgusting lumpy upper comforter. It's not the ratty bed runner that runs along the foot of the bed. It's not the thin, white, almost-blanket that covers the actual sheet. It's the sweet, sweet, blanket in the middle.

And it's always forest green. Regardless of hotel color schemes.

9. Ralph Wiggum

10. Garfield Minus Garfield

Garfield Minus Garfield is essentially a blog that erases Garfield from every comic and leaves you with a bleak look into what Jon Arbuckle's life would look like without Garfield.

When I was about 12 I saved up my summer reading points and got a three-pack of Garfield comic books all squished into one mega-book. After dropping said book in the bathtub, I lovingly dried it out on a towel rack. Then I continued reading that soggy, wrinkly mess for about 6 years.

So, yeah. I had a weird Garfield obsession for a while there. Trust me when I say that Jon Arbuckle is one of the saddest cartoon characters in existence. And it's hilarious.

11. Behind-The Scenes Harry Potter gifs

See? I'm feeling better already. I might even be ready to forgive the pumpkin spice latte drinkers.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Who's going to buy the gold iPhone 5S?

You may have heard a few things about the new iPhone 5S. Like that it's fingerprint sensor is cat paw sensitive. That the Parallax effect of the background might make you feel like you’ve stepped into a Baz Luhrmann film. 

Is it tacky? Is it awesome? No one knows. But it's crazy popular. If you try to order a gold iPhone online, it won't even ship until October. Of course, the black and white models will ship in 7-10 business days. But really, who’s going to buy black and white models? Peasants? Please. Gold means exclusivity and wealth. 

And nothing says exclusive like buying the color that everyone else wants, too. 

So who's going to be buying these new golden iPhones once they're available? My predictions:

1. Your male friend who wears a down coat with a furry hood.

If he wears a thumb ring, it's almost guaranteed.

2. Macklemore

 A man not afraid of a coat with a furry hood

1. Every cast member of the now-defunct "Jersey Shore"

Because a gold iPhone is classy. Like ordering a tequila sunrise.

4. Ironic hipsters

"It's only cool because I know that it's not cool and I acknowledge it."

5. A parent – on accident

You go back and visit your parents and discover one of them has somehow accidentally bought  a gold iPhone.

“This was the only one available online!” They’ll insist, “I don’t even care what color I have!”

Anyone remember these bad boys?

Oh yes. The ol’ iPhone mini. The most coveted Christmas Present of 2002. And I was lucky enough to be given one by my parents. But this was no ordinary iPod mini (As if there was ever such a thing. Am I right, 7th grade Hannah?) IT WAS GOLD.

Did you know that Apple made gold iPod MINIs? Neither did anyone else who saw my iPod. Ever. When I brought it to the Apple store, the genius bar people would flock to my side. They insisted that they hadn't sold them in store and wondered where I got it. 

And yet when questioned, my parents they just shrugged and said it was just one of the color choices.

I DON’T KNOW WHERE MY PARENTS GOT THAT IPOD. I have not yet eliminated the idea they they found a black market dealer on the mean streets of the Chicago suburbs.

I would not be surprised if I came home to my dad holding a gold iphone, insisting that this was the only color left in this mysterious apple store that is evidently bankrolled exclusively by my mother and father.

6. Your friend who is too embarrassed to admit that they bought it 

You know. The one who insists that they ordered the black one but dude, Apple sent them this one. And what do you want them to do? Do you want them to send it back? And go through the hassle? With all their non-existent spare time? Nah, bro. They’ll just keep it and deal with it even though it’s so lame right? 

7. Any mom who emulates Amy Poehler in Mean Girls.

8. Girls who watch Pretty Little Liars 

And aren’t ashamed of it. 

9. Guys whose favorite TV show is Entourage and favorite movie is Boondocks Saints  

It’s a very specific subset. 

10. Maybe me. And probably a lot of people

It's shiny! It's new! And people are tired of getting a new iPhone that looks exactly like their old one. Can’t really fault them for that.

Am I going to buy it? Am I going to buy it?!? Yeah, maybe. I mean I know it’s just going to be covered by a case, but… it’s gold. It’s gold and it’s shiny. 

I make no guarantees.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Somebody figure out the math on this.

I have spent years honing my answer to one stupid argument that seems to pop up all the freaking time:

Should the toilet seat be left up or down?

Don't be fooled. That's no doctor. It's Doctor Toilet.

Now, I am a fan of finding the simple solution to every question. Like the "dog mouths are cleaner than human mouths" argument. Here's my solution: I will lick one spoon, and your dog can lick another. Then you can decide which spoon you'd like to use to eat your cereal.

I have watched my dog eat a bottle of Aspirin, then puke up everything she's ever eaten, then eat that puke. Do you REALLY want to take the chance that your dog hasn't licked its own butt today? Because I'm going to spoil that little surprise... it has.

 So when the question of toilet seat etiquette comes up, I try to go for the simplest answer. And it is this: 
Close your eyes.
Imagine yourself on a deserted island full of nothing but coconut milk and wild bonobos. 
But suddenly, something rustles at your feet.
You look down... it's paper. A trail of paper? Perhaps... toilet paper?
No. It's a magazine. And what is the magazine called?
"Toilet Magazine"
"Well. That's fortuitous." You think to yourself, "I was hoping that I'd get some reading done while I'm on this island."
Then you sit down on a mossy rock and open up the magazine. 
There, on the inside cover, is the most beautiful toilet you've ever seen. 
It glistens. 
It glows. 
And the seat. It's....
Now. What did the toilet look like in your mind? Was it perhaps... down?

Because, yes. A toilet's point of stasis is with the seat down. And when you leave an appliance, you return it to its point of stasis. You don't open the oven door and then leave the door open just because you're going to come back to it later and ughh it's such a hassle to lower the oven door againnnnnn.

Is the simplest answer not good enough for you?

Well I'm glad we're going on this journey together. Because I'm about to drop some math knowledge. But not real math knowledge because, you know. I'm lazy.

I can tell you this, though. I took an introductory Statistics course when I was 19. And in that course, my professor typed out all of his lecture notes. And then he bound those lecture notes. And dedicated the lecture notes to his wife. And then made us buy them for $50.

So... YEAH. I think I know a thing or two about statistics.

And this is my argument: If the average person uses the bathroom four times per day, it breaks down like this,
Women need the toilet seat down 4/4 times. 
Men need the toilet seat down 1/4 times.

Women need to toilet seat up 0/4 times.
Men need the toilet seat up 3/4 times. 
So ignoring the preferences of the sexes, human beings - on average - need the toilet seat down more frequently than they need the toilet seat up.

Exactly how much more frequently? I'm going to let you figure that one out for yourself. Mostly because I just spent 20 minutes trying to remember the difference between nCr & nPr and it sent me into a shame spiral.

Plus, I'm a very busy woman, and I haven't got all day. It won't cost much. Just your voice.

Anyone? Little Mermaid? Moving on.

I just hope that I've put the argument to rest. Because I have better things to do than get myself wrapped up in this toilet seat argument ever again.

Like putting together a list of the greatest Disney Villains of all time. Or re-watching old episodes of Homestar Runner. Or coming up with a really cool roller-derby name.

Ruth Skater Ginsburg

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Knowledge Gaps

Well, everyone. I'm not perfect.

"But Hannah," you cry, "I thought you knew all the lyrics to Aaron's Party by Aaron Carter!"

Is he wearing cargo pants that zip off at the knee? Don't worry about it. 

Why, yes. Yes I do.

"And Hannah! I'm CERTAIN that I remember you mentioning that you wore the same Cheetos Chester Cheetah t-shirt for the entirety of the eighth grade."


"What I'm saying is... you're perfect. Just the way you are."

Thank you. Now lets go kill some zombies.


That's an excerpt from my upcoming one-woman show titled, "Pretending Like I Didn't Wave Back When You Were Waving at the Person Behind Me: The Hannah Shepard Story."

But it is true. I'm not perfect. I have many knowledge gaps. Aspects of life that I didn't fully grasp until long after it was acceptable.

Let's take a look, shall we? At some of the things that I believed through most of my childhood:

1. Vanilla extract contains salmonella

I blame my mother for this one. I think she said it so an even wider selection of raw batter was off-limits to me. She denies it, but I know the truth. I KNOW.

Are there even recipes in existence that have vanilla extract but no eggs? I really hope the answer to this question isn't super basic, like brownies. Careful, Hannah. You're about to reveal the depth of your cooking/baking incompetence.

2. "Company" is a car brand

As in, "I just got a Company car from the office!" This became particularly embarrassing after we read Harry Potter in the fourth grade and Mr. Dursley shows off his company car.

A friend asked me what a company car was and I looked contemptuously over at her.

Idiot girl, I thought to myself, she doesn't even know what a Company car is. I sneered, "It's like owning a Jaguar. It's that expensive."

I like to think that the girl remembers that I told her this. Maybe she still thinks - correctly - that I am a fool who will lie through my teeth to seem smarter. 

3. Home insulation is a portal device that can cause my arm to pop up somewhere else in the house

Have I told this story? I don't remember. But it's real good so it's worth telling again.

When I was just a bowl-cutted 4-year-old, I was asked to go get Halloween decorations from the attic. Now, our attic had exposed insulation in some places. My mom, knowing that touching the insulation would make me itch, told my older sister and brother to make sure I didn't touch it. Unfortunately, she forgot that my brother and sister are heartless brutes who took great pleasure in my childhood struggles.

So they told me that if I put my hand into the insulation then it would disappear and reappear in the living room. Sticking out of the wall.

I believed this lie for much longer than I care to admit.

4. Outdoor Christmas trees are a thing

I found this one out about three years ago. You people don't have outdoor Christmas trees?!

Apparently it's a Chicagoland thing. Here's the extent of the tradition: You know how you have a tree on the inside of your house? Well we also have one on the outside. You go into a forest, cut down a tree, bring it home, attach it to a pole, and stick the pole in the middle of your front yard. Add lights, probably.

Actually, outdoor trees are usually the scrappy leftovers that nobody wanted for their indoor tree. Waste energy going out and cutting down a tree just to use it for an outdoor Christmas tree? PLEASE. That kind of time is reserved for indoor Christmas trees, only. 

I have a lot of survivor's guilt toward outdoor Christmas trees right now. 

5. These are the lyrics to Grease's "Look at me, I'm Sandra Dee."

Imagine an 8-year-old walking up to you and saying, "a hickey from Kenickie is like a Hallmark Card." Because I used to say that to other students in my class. Of course, I also used to tell my teachers that I was "funnier on paper." I assume I heard that on Simpsons and repeated it immediately.

But that was my devotion to the movie Grease. However, it's difficult to memorize lyrics about sex and drinking when you're a kid. Add in 50s references and a pregnancy scare? Please. So here are the lyrics my brain invented when I was a kid.

                         Actual lyrics                                                                                   Invented Lyrics

Some people are so touchy.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Your first year, post-grad. As told by the movie 1776

The year is 1972. You're listening to Harry Nilsson's Without You because you've just gone through a tough breakup. Suddenly - a preview for a movie comes across your television. You get up to adjust your rabbit ears, narrowly avoiding the fondue pot that you've left out on the floor.

What is this movie? It's set in colonial times, but everyone is singing. The graphics... so crisp. So modern. You get a premonition that the lead actor will go on to star in a 90s teen sitcom.

You guessed it. It's 1776. The 1972 movie retelling of a musical that premiered on Broadway in 1969.

Is everyone still following? Yes? On we go. Because I'm about to write something that only ten people will find funny. But guys... the eleven of us are going laugh our asses off.

Here we go. A guide to your first year of post-grad, from someone who just survived it. As told by 1776.

So you graduated, huh? Feels pretty good.

You're finally done writing those endless papers.

Maybe you feel like telling off that terrible professor. You know. The one who made you study over SPRING BREAK?!?

But hey, man. Don't live in the past. That's not what graduation is about. Why don't you go out and have a drink with your friends?

Because pretty soon you're going to look  around and notice that everyone is leaving for fancy new jobs/opportunities.

And you'll start going off on interviews of your own. They will not always go well. Be sure to stay cheerful! When you psyche yourself up in the mirror, say this:

Not this:

Employers won't be interested once they see that you have no real-world experience. You'll try to run through your interview spiel that you've had memorized for months. But their eyes will glaze over after a few minutes.

Maybe your potential employer will ask you how you're planning on showing them that you want this job.

But eventually someone will recognize you for being awesome. 

When you're celebrating your new job at the bar, a more successful friend might corner you.

They will have incredible job offers that they can't wait to tell you about. "Have you heard I'm moving to San Francisco to open up a therapeutic bee colony that teaches at-risk youths about child development?!?"


They might throw in a backdoor brag when they hear that you just accepted a mainstream job. "Oh, you're thinking of entering the 9-5 work force? I couldn't possibly imagine myself there. I think it would crush my soul. But good for you! You're so grown up!"

And then you'll smile at them all,


But ask me, how do I feel about paid vacation?


To paraphrase Dr. Seuss's "Oh the Places You'll Go"
"You're well on your way, so just go out there and do whatever makes you happy. Stop asking me for advice. I'm a book. Perhaps you should have picked up 'Yertle the Turtle' instead. Oh the places you'll go, indeed!"
If you don't remember that part of the book, don't go back and check. Just trust that I am always correct.

Also trust the fact that I just quintupled the number of 1776 gifs on the internet.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Some abandoned post ideas

So I've been a bit lax in posting lately. I'm working on another project that is taking up almost all my free time, so these posts are probably going to get a bit shorter. Or I'll start having huge bursts of creativity and I'll simply have to post them here.

Probably not, though. Considering these were my most recent big ideas:

- Another attempt at a post about my love for Jeff Goldblum. It would be my third draft and it's still painfully unfunny. Just believe me when I say that he and I have a relationship. A relationship in my mind. A mindlationship.

-A shot-by-shot analysis of Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. 

-An entire post dedicated to Spock's funeral in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

At 1:06 they start playing the bagpipes. In space. So... yeah. It's worth a look.

- A post about why you shouldn't buy boxed wine. Reasons 1-100: You will finish it too quickly and then have to do some life-reflecting calculations about how many days it took you to get to this place.

But none of those were very funny, so I leave you with this final thought: The person who trademarked It's-a-girl lying-in-bed-but-then-it-turns-out-she's-standing-and-then-she-walks-through-an-elaborate-set must be a millionaire right now.

Monday, April 22, 2013

A butchered summary of that movie you used to love

Have you ever tried to remember the plot of a movie that you were obsessed with as a kid? What's sad is that no matter how much you loved it, you've probably forgotten 90% of the details. 

With that in mind, I've decided to summarize three of my favorite childhood movies without using the Internet to research them beforehand. This is straight from my childhood brain bits. I pushed aside the lyrics to every song in Annie and Gilda Radner's Right to Extreme Stupidity in order to get to this. So if you're in the mood to hear your favorite childhood movies boiled down to the most basic plot lines that an 8-year-old can understand, LOOK NO FURTHER.

#1 The Indian in the Cupboard

-A young boy is an outcast, probably. Then he finds his grandmother's key in a drawer. And his brother gave him a cupboard that no one can open. As brothers do. And the younger brother (Maybe it's a friend?) puts a plastic Native American doll into the cupboard and it becomes real. Then they try to make him a wife. But they can't. Or she dies, possibly. Somehow a cowboy gets involved and I believe someone gets shot. There is also a rat.

-The magical key had a red ribbon tied to it and I think it could open many things. Like... you could use it to open up a diary and it would suddenly become a magical diary. But this kid was a dummy and only used it on a cupboard. Or were there sequels where they used the key on other things? If not, then this is a wasted opportunity.

- The rat in a ball gets more involved somehow. Like, the boy steals the rat in a ball. Or rolls the rat down the hall in a ball. NO! It gets stuck in the floorboards. No. I don't remember.

Side note, one time my brother let his 4 lizards escape from their cage and then five years later we found a mummified lizard corpse in his closet. True story.

-It's directed by Frank Oz?! That I didn't remember. I just went back and looked it up but OF COURSE IT WAS. Everything he touches turns to gold:

Need I go on? Because I'm going to. This is my idea for the cover of my autobiography: The title will be "Can I be Frank?" And the cover image will be my face slowly transforming into Frank Oz's face, Animorphs style.

#2 James and the Giant Peach

-James had terrifying, TERRIFYING Aunts. Evil old female villains are kind of a recurring theme in Roald Dahl books. By the way, if you ever want to hear a dead-on impression of the aunts from "James and the Giant Peach" or the wife from "Twits" or the witches from "Witches" then ask my dad. He also does a mean Cindy Lou Who.

-James's parents were killed by a giant rhino in the sky. Or something. Right? It was something super bizarre that worked in the book and not in the movie. Also, can I just say that when I was a kid I was pretty sure I was going to end up an orphan since half the books I read and movies I watched had orphans as the protagonist.

-James picks up garbage with some sort of ingenious garbage contraption that I wanted when I was a kid. But I wanted it so that I could use it to pick up the sticks in our backyard that fell from a cottonwood tree all year round.

TANGENT. Everyone. Before you buy your house this is the first question you should ask:

Is there a cottonwood tree on the property or within a 5 mile radius?

If so, run don't walk to the next property. Cottonwood trees are just the worst. When Memorial Day rolls around you better hold on to your butts because those trees are going to just dump some cotton-type substance all over your lawn and the lawns of every neighbor and any poor soul who drives past.

Then the neighbors will walk by with their Poodles and their Chow-chows and their Bichon Frises and they'll stare at you with a look that says, "you might as well kill yourself rather than allow a cottonwood tree in your backyard."

Anyway. Back to childhood movies.

-One of the bugs has the voice of Richard Dreyfuss. If you think that I'm cheating and I didn't know who Richard Dreyfuss was at the age of 10 or that I was not able to distinguish celebrity voices from a young age then YOU DON'T KNOW ME BUT AT ALL.

-Those terrifying little green worms scared me to the brink of death and into the realm of despair.


Looking back, this is so obviously a Tim Burton film.

#3 Angels is the Outfield

I couldn't think of Joseph Gordon Levitt's name, and I didn't want to cheat and use the Internet. So instead I wrote down every name that came to me before I settled on him (I knew it was a three-word name):

Jonathan Taylor Thomas
Chad Michael Murray
Evan Rachel Wood
Benjamin Moore
Joe Something Something

- So Joseph Gordon-Levitt's character (another orphan, what do ya know?) gets it into his head that if the Angels win the tournament, he will be adopted. I am assuming here that in real life, there is no such team as the California Angels. But would I bet money on it? No I would not.

-At some point this guy sits in some nachos and it was the funniest thing I'd ever seen in my life to that point. Because he had cheese all over his butt. Do you get it? You probably don't get it. It's really high-brow.

- Brenda Fricker  (aka the Irish mother in every movie you've ever seen) plays the loving foster mother.

Sadly, she has the worst imdb page I have ever encountered. The first sentence starts with the words: "This frumpy, maternal, Irish character actress..."

OKAY imdb. Calm down. It's not even like they said "she often plays a character who is frumpy and maternal." No, no. They directly say that the woman herself is frumpy and maternal. She is an Academy Award-winning actress who deserves more than the word "frumpy" to be her main descriptor.

You want to know who is becoming frumpy in their old age?

Jack Nicholson, ladies and gentlemen. Yes, I know he's also an Academy Award-winning actor who doesn't deserve to go on blast. I am, of course, joking. I love you, Jacky Nick. Never change. The day you wear Crocs to the Oscars is the day I can die a happy woman.

-And lest we forget

Nothing cuter than crying while you imitate an angel.

And that's it. That's all I can remember about these movies that I used to watch on loop. No wonder my mom let me watch Grease when I was 7 years old. Clearly it had no lasting effect.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have a sock hop to attend.