Getting So Serious Right Now

Hate to burden you with my writing goals but, like I said, I need you to keep me accountable, dear lovers and friends (don’t worry, you don’t actually have to do anything).

My professional goals are pretty ambitious but… when you’re trying to break into a super competitive field, the least you can be is ambitious, right? Right.

1. Write six spec scripts
Breaks down to two months per script. Insanely slow rate for a real TV writer but with my day job and all the other stuff I’m doing, this will definitely be a challenge. Still, I need to speed it up if I’m going to make it in a writers’ room.

2. Write at least two pilots
I’ve got a couple ideas, including one with my high school BFF Philly. The time has come to actually write the scripts and all the other stuff that goes along with them.

2a. Film a pilot?
I saw so many awesome independent pilots at the New York Television Festival this year. I’d like to enter for 2013, but I know little about film production and it might not be feasible. But I’m trying.

3. Enter all fellowships and three festivals
There are 4 or 5 major TV writing fellowships, with the first deadline being Nickelodeon, starting this month. The good thing about the fellowships is that they all want spec scripts and I can use the same one or two for all of them.

The first festival entry is just a 90-second pitch for the Austin TV Festival, due on youtube in two weeks.

4. Create website
I need a website that has more than this blog on it. Not sure what, but something.

5. Increase blog following
If I knew how to do this one, I would’ve done it already. I think part of it involves migrating to wordpress, which is giving me problems. This is especially important because I’ve heard that studios are looking to blogs for TV content, so if I could actually make this blog happen, it could concretely help me out.

Take, for example, Myra at www.myparentsarecrazierthanyours.com, who is getting her mini-series financed based on her blog (also about living at home) and pretty much living the dream.

Bottom Line
Last year, I made it my resolution to pursue being a TV writer. I’ve kept it up for a whole year (a long time for me) but I’ve only just dipped my toe in the water. I guess my professional resolutions can be summed up as Get Serious in 2013.

Feel free to leave me some words of encouragement. Or, you know, tell me to shut up and talk about Daddy‘s latest shenanigans.

I’m Resolving to Magically Become Better

Sorry to make this all about me for a second, but if I publish my New Year’s resolutions for the world* to see, maybe I’ll feel more obligated to follow them.

*almost literally according to Google Analytics but, you know, 
mostly the US and with some noticeable exceptions 
(what’s your problem, Greenland?)

 

I’ve broken my resolutions into two parts, since I have so freaking many. My personal resolutions are pretty short and sweet, I think.

1. Be less selfish
I like to think of my self as an unselfish person. I have a sponsor child, I contribute monthly to Greenpeace and Amnesty International, as well as a couple activist organizations. But, if I’m being honest, all that proves is that I work in New York City and have poor resistance to people with clipboards.

It pains me to admit this but, after Hurricane Sandy, when many of my friends were volunteering their time in Staten Island, The Rockaways, and New Jersey, I was just enjoying some peace and quiet. I can’t explain why I didn’t feel motivated to help. Actually, it might be related to some bad volunteer experiences I had in the past, or it could be that I’m too happy.

Anyway, I think for my personal growth I need to volunteer or maybe just do nice things for my grandparents. Goals should be quantifiable and obtainable, so let’s say… volunteer / do something nice (that requires effort) for someone else (Tom doesn’t count) 10 times this year.

2. Be nicer to Daddy
Poor old man. You, lovers and friends, know more than anyone how much I complain about him. Not that he doesn’t deserve it sometimes.

I’m nice to him most of the time but sometimes I feel the need to snub him when he’s babying me too much. Why do I do that? I can’t really quantify this one but let’s make it my goal to be rude to him as close to zero times as I can.

3. Stick to monthly budget
Ugh, money. I’ve been kind of bad since moving home, because I think “I’m sacrificing my freedom, so I should be allowed to spend whatever, right?” Not like I’m obsessed with shopping, but I take liberties with buying egg sandwiches, tea, lunch… which adds up in New York, or probably anywhere.

I just need to remind myself that the more money I spend, the longer I have to live at home.

Feedback? What are your resolutions?

Merry Christmas! I’m Getting Fat

Ok, so I’m not getting fat by American standards. I’m probably not even near average for good ol’ USA. But I’m slowly and steadily gaining weight, even if I’m the only one that notices.

September
 
December

 

Of course, eventually someone is bound to notice. And that someone is Daddy.

Yesterday morning, during Christmas breakfast…

Daddy: Wow, you’re really eating a lot, Jilly. You finished your omelette and now you’re eating two pieces of French toast? Daddy’s never seen you eat like this.

I pause, thinking maybe I shouldn’t eat all this.
Jilly: It’s not… that much.

Mommy: You’d be surprised. She can eat more than you’d think and stay that small.

Daddy: What do you think? Now that you’re married, you can eat as much as you want?

This was met by an “Ohhhhhhh” from the rest of the family, the type usually reserved for “yo mama” jokes on the playground. Daddy quickly laughed it off, assured me he was kidding, and kissed me one too many times on the cheek.

Daddy, we’re not friends. When I can curse in front of you, you can make jokes.

Am I The Only One That Still Loves Friendly’s?

This ode* to Friendly’s has to do with another story (I swear I’ll get to it), but it turns out I have a lot to say about Friendly’s on its own.

In case you don’t live in the suburbs of the Northeast U.S., Friendly’s is a sit-down diner-esque restaurant chain, that is slightly fancier than Denny’s but less fancy than Ruby Tuesday’s.

…And if you don’t live in the U.S. at all, I’ve made nothing clearer for you - although, side note, we went to a Ruby Tuesday’s in India so that’s apparently universal.

Friendly’s is famous for their ice cream, especially:

The Wattamelon Roll

sherbet with chocolate chips – you’d think they’d clash but they don’t

And, most of all, the Cone Head sundae.

order it with Black Raspberry (purple!) ice cream

 
When I was a kid, the Cone Head was the thing. And, it needs to be said, Friendly’s leadership! If you ever stumble on this:

DON’T THINK NOBODY NOTICED THAT YOU TOOK THE EXTRA REESE’S PIECES OUT OF THE BOTTOM OF THE CONE HEAD.

There used to be bonus Reese’s Pieces in the bottom of the sundae and the menu description even said “with a surprise at the bottom” but they stealthily removed that about 15 years ago and I will NEVER forget. Hope you’re enjoying all those Reese’s Pieces savings, corporate fat cats. Actually, the company has been struggling in recent years despite improvements made over the last decade, but I digress…

Friendly’s has been a weirdly big part of my life, starting with my childhood. Here’s a preview of my to-be-self-published memoir, titled…

Ice Cream Cone Dreams: My Life in Terms of Friendly’s

When I was a kid, there was a Friendly’s right by our house,which Amy and I used to walk to with our parents. Now that I’m living there again, I’m sad it’s no longer around, and sometimes fantasize about buying the building from Aboff’s and convincing Friendly’s to reopen because the building is still vaguely Friendly’s-shaped.

aboffs-map

view larger map

My friends and I also used to spend a lot of time at Friendly’s in high school. You know, just eating fatty foods, annoying waiters, writing songs and plays, typical trouble-making teenage stuff. The cool kids hanging out at Mill Dam probably had nothing on us.

Many years later, Tom and I bonded over how we both still love Friendly’s and ended up going there on our third date. (Hot!)

I’m guessing the future includes our taking our kids to Friendly’s, and my begging the server to hide some Reese’s Pieces at the bottom of my hypothetical daughter’s sundae until she gets old enough to demand one of their new-fangled sundaes like the Monster Mash or Vol-Cone-O or whatever.

And after that? A Black Raspberry ice cream IV drip in my nursing home? All I know is that my love affair with Friendly’s won’t die until one of us (the restaurant or I) does.

*Disclaimer: I’m fully aware that I should be ashamed of my love for Friendly’s.

Why Are We Still Sending Christmas Cards?

You know what sucks about being a grown up in December? Christmas cards.

In 2012, there are countless reasons not to send Christmas cards. For example, the internet exists. The phone exists. Well, those are pretty much the only two reasons, but do we really need more?

Is it the invention of the internet, or did this chore always suck? I remember my mom dutifully writing cards (usually containing a photo of Amy and me in red dresses) and she seemed fine with it. But how did she have time with two kids and work and going to school? Hmm, given that, I should just stop complaining right now… but I won’t.

What about my grandparents’ generation? Was sending Christmas cards no biggie because people were just sending letters all the time anyway? (Or was that my great grandparents’ generation?)

Given my relative disdain for the process, you might wonder why I’m bothering. Well…

  • I already bought Christmas cards on sale after Christmas last year;
  • They are pretty and sparkly;
  • I sometimes fantasize about being one of those together people that remembers birthdays and sends Christmas cards (oh well).

I gave it a try, anyway. Tonight is my last night writing cards and tomorrow I’m sending out whatever we have done. So if you get a card from Tom and me, you’re either very special (grandparents), very lucky (random), or alphabetically superior (sorry, L-thru-Z).

Given that you’re probably not one of those people, here’s my Christmas Card to you, lovers and friends:

 
…and don’t bother asking about our wedding thank yous. You’ll get yours probably on day 364.

Ms. PC’s Baggage

By now, you know I’m a sitcom fan, but when it comes to the game show genre, nothing can compete with Baggage.

First introduced to my eyes and ears on The Soup, Baggage (hosted by Jerry Springer so you know it’s good) seems like your typical dating show on the surface: sleezy, prematurely balding men get to be picky about which way-too-hot-for-them plastic Barbie they feel like going out with.
(I don’t mean to oversimplify. The picking goes both ways and I’m sure the guys are too hot for the girls sometimes, but you get the gist.)

Regardless, relative looks don’t matter much on the show because it all comes down to their weird, creepy baggage.

(email readers, click on the link to the blog to see the video)

My sister and I have often tried to think of what our baggage would be. These people are so crazy that it’s tough to think of anything that would remotely be considered for the show.
But in light of my last post, I thought I would do all my worst cleanliness-related baggage.

Ms. PC’s Baggage
(In order of embarrassment-level)

Round 1 (the personal item): I sometimes stare at dust for days or weeks before I get around to actually cleaning it. I only vacuumed up the dust bunnies at our old apartment after I saw little tiny bugs (don’t worry, I checked, not bedbugs).



Round 2 (the carry on): I am afraid to clean a lot of my dad’s house, including the drawers and cabinet under the bathroom sink. I opened one of the drawers, saw a dead moth in there, and just closed it back up again.


Round 3 (the checked luggage): I don’t like to shower. This will come as a shock to none of my close friends. I shower, of course, because society demands it, but I don’t like it. I could explain this further but, for now, I’ll just say… I have my reasons.


So there you have it. Don’t leave me hanging, lovers and friends. Feel free to confess your best (worst) baggage in the comments.

Excuses For Not Cleaning

It just occurred to me that anyone reading this blog, who doesn’t know me personally, might be under the misconception that I am a clean person, just because I criticize Daddy’s cleanliness. Well, I’m not. I try, but I encounter problems, such as:

  • It doesn’t come naturally to me.
  • I didn’t learn proper habits until college, and then I only did it begrudgingly under the guidance of the cleaning chart my roommate Peggy made out of a paper plate.
  • I’m busy.
  • When I’m not busy, I’m lazy.
  • I spend a lot of time writing bullet point lists.
  • I’m a type B person so I don’t really beat myself up for enjoying my weekends.
  • I don’t hate myself. In fact, I like myself so much that I find my own faults endearing, as if I’m Liz Lemon or Old Christine.
 
my anti-heroes
 

Of course, on TV, even slobs have clean houses. I mean, we slovenly viewers don’t want to be forced to look at a house that looks just like ours….

Liz Lemon’s Ikea furniture

Feel free to lend me your best cleaning excuses.

Blog Sitcom, Ep. 1: "With Mediocre Blogging Comes Mediocre Responsibility"

INT. ART MUSEUM – NIGHT

Jill is at the NYU Stern Alumni holiday party. She approaches her friend TATIANA, who is standing at the bar.

JILL
Hi Tatia– Ooh cheese!

Jill greedily loads up her cocktail napkin.

TATIANA
Your last post was on December first.

Jill looks up, surprised. Through a cheese cube wedged in her teeth, she squeaks out…

JILL
Huh?

TATIANA
Your last post was on December first.

Jill stares blankly for a second as she chews, then finally swallows.

JILL
You read my blog?

TATIANA
I checked it twice today. I’m bored at work.

JILL
That’s so exciting! I have another reader!

Tatiana sternly stares at Jill.

JILL
(smile fades)
Sorry. I’m aware that I haven’t posted
since December first. I’m trying,
believe me, but I’m having trouble.

Tatiana holds Jill’s gaze, not letting her off the hook.

JILL
(nervously)
See, what happened was…

Another friend, OUI, joins them as Jill continues.

JILL
…I wanted to write a post about my
top 5 Christmas sitcom episodes, but
I can’t find the clips online because
of copyright and stuff, you know?

OUI
Yeah, totally.

Tatiana turns her stern gaze on Oui.

TATIANA
You don’t have a blog.

OUI
(confused)
No, I don’t… sorry?

JILL
I swear, I spent 3 hours looking for clips.

TATIANA
Uh huh.

JILL
…and next I want to write about Daddy’s
living room but I need a picture and…

TATIANA
Oh, leave your poor father alone.

Beat. Jill is temporarily speechless.

JILL
But… that’s what the blog is about.

TATIANA
Why don’t you write about Tom?

JILL
He doesn’t do anything wrong!

Tatiana raises her eyebrows skeptically.

JILL
Ok, ok. I’ll think of something
to write about Tom.

The Medicine Cabinet

I was going to post my personal restaurant rules today but I could only think of two. I would have been at a loss, but luckily Daddy didn’t let me down on the absurdity front…

This morning, I had the urge to clean out the medicine cabinet. I was scared that I would find cobwebs and spiders but it wasn’t that bad… just some dust and about 13 years’ worth of old medicine. Some of the stuff I threw out includes:

  • 2 out of the 3 mostly empty bottles of baby powder;
  • Some prescriptions filled at Genovese (which hasn’t existed since around 2002);
  • An unopened box containing Bacitracin that expired in 2007;
  • Iron supplements prescribed to me in 1997 by a doctor that is now dead; and
  • Five bags of the rubber bands I had to wear in my braces.
five bags
 
By the time I was done, there was one bottle of baby powder and a bottle of mineral oil left in the cabinet. I don’t know what mineral oil is but it seemed harmless.

I went out to get some cleaning supplies and when I came back… well, I guess if you read The Shower Head Incident, you know what’s coming…

Daddy: Why did you throw out everything in Daddy’s medicine cabinet without asking?
Me: Are you serious? It was all expired.
Daddy: Well why did you throw out the band-aids?
Me: Did you look at them?
Daddy: Well, if you need a band-aid, it’s still better than not having any.
Me: Um… ok. When’s the last time you even used anything in there?
Daddy: Daddy uses the baby powder a lot in the summer, actually.
Me: Ok, I kept the biggest, fullest bottle of baby powder.

I went into the bathroom and found that he had recovered from the garbage:

  • The unopened, expired Bacitracin;
  • The two nearly empty bottles of baby powder;
  • The unused gauze wrap (What’s wrong with that, you ask? Nothing, except for the dead stinkbug inside the box); and
  • The band-aids.
I absolutely want these water-stained Eckerd band-aids on my cut

 

I re-disposed of the stinkbug gauze, but if he needs three bottles of baby powder to feel in control of his life, so be it. This is the point we’re at: I now need permission to throw out garbage.

 

Daddyism #3

Rabbit Rabbit.


“People are crazy with running red lights.”



Daddy and I are picking up Tex Mex.

Daddy: You know, these people are crazy with running red lights.

Me: Uh huh.

Daddy: It’s like, I think I’m cutting it close at a light, and then I look in my mirror and see two people go through after me.

Me: I know.


(Daddy has been known to stop at yellow lights.)