‘Sup?

My name is Liz. I need direction. I overuse commas. My house is a mess, my hair needs a trim and I have no marketable skills: It’s fun here, you’ll see!

Got a question, comment, proposal of marriage? Great! Email me at liz@theproductivecough.com

Contact Me, Folks!

Got a question, comment, proposal of marriage? Great! Email me at liz@theproductivecough.com

Show Your Love

June 2nd, 2012

What Do They Know That I Don’t?

The world is convinced I have, or am about to have, babies. Maybe hundreds of them.

I assure you. I have NO BABIES, fully formed or otherwise.

But the world is sending me a creepy message in the form of junk mail and savings. The friendly people (computers?) who run the personalized “Just For U” coupon service at Vons have been kind enough to pre-load about $75 worth of diaper and formula discounts onto my club card. Every time I open the App on my phone to check on how many “Buy One Get One” cheese deals I have going for me, I’m bombarded with photos of Huggies-clad infants, declaring “No More Leaks!” There is no “IRRELEVANT” button on the program, so there is no way to tell Vons that these are not the coupons for me.

The other people who seem to think I am a mommy are the people who hawk Gerber Life Insurance. I am certain that there would be no more horrifying way to find out you were pregnant than via a form letter on purple letterhead with a cartoon giraffe on it. (Although they do offer a free gift, so if you’re into growth charts, score for you, I suppose.) In the past six months, I have received about 14 letters from them, all of which contain greetings like, “Dear Liz Cole, Caring mothers like you know how important it is to prepare for your child’s future.” WRONG. I do not know that. How did you get my address? Perhaps it was my subscription to Cosmopolitan Magazine. They’re always trying to get you to “please your man.” Maybe Gerber just mines that mailing list, figuring a pregnancy is the obvious result of reading Cosmo. (That’s actually pretty sound logic, GerberFolk.)

Why, Universe, do you want me to mate so badly? Is it because I am 28 and female? That’s a poorly written algorithm. Lemme break it down. I currently have very little money, no job and an apartment with two bedrooms, the second of which is still stuffed to the gills with things I pulled out of the trunk of the LAST car I owned. Also, a few months ago, there was a rat in my home and I found its “evidence” on the floor and I couldn’t walk around in the apartment without surgical booties for like three days. (Side note: Most of its poop, oddly, was on the stairs, as though the effort of hauling its giant rat body up each step caused a little pellet to shoot out.) So, tell me, how am I supposed to change the diaper of a human being?

All I’m asking is that you think things through a little better, Universe.

Thanks.

May 2nd, 2012

Travel Joys

I recently had the privilege of air travel. Which is really more of a task than a privilege these days.

That was a very “First World Problems” kind of thing to say, but I feel like you all get it. It’s a hassle to fly now. It used to be part of the journey. Now it’s just another thing you need to be shithoused to get through. Crowded airports, shuttles, planes. Shoes off and on, laptops in a bin, being patted down by a guy with Little Debbie remnants in his mustache and two different-colored eyes. A crying baby, an old man who lives 2,000 miles away from you and wants to take you out if you’re ever in town, which you will never be, because he lives in Duluth. NINE DOLLAR SANDWICHES. I mean, what HAPPENED?

Remember when you could walk into an airport, breeze through security (with your effing nail clippers), and get right on the plane? Remember when your knees didn’t touch your esophagus when you sat in a non-exit row? And remember how you used to get a real knife and fork with your unfairly criticized airplane meal?

I barely do.

And neither, I’d wager, does the round, sweaty, man I witnessed in the airport the other night. He walked up to his gate only to find that the plane had already taken off. He pounded the window with his fist and a dead-eyed gate agent approached to ask if she could help him. He explained to her that the plane took off early and that he didn’t even hear his named being called. The woman began to type into her computer terminal, and explained that there were no more flights today. The man screamed at the gate agent, “Stop laughing at us!”

Let me be clear: The guy was alone. There was no “us.” It was just the guy and his sweat beads and the garment bag he was carrying. Perhaps the garment bag contained a suit made of the skin of the person he wanted to be. But that’s really the only reason I can think of that he’d be including himself in a group. The gate agent seemed to have the same thought, as she began to back away. While the man continued to yell, I looked up and noticed the plane had been bound for Fresno.

This seems like an inappropriately strong response for a trip to Fresno. Although a guy who wants to be in Fresno that badly is probably the kind of person who would carry around a skin suit in a garment bag and refer to it as an additional person. So at least that explains part of it.

My point is this: I will be taking the train everywhere from now on.

March 12th, 2012

What’s Hopi For “Comedic Gold Mine?”

Mom, Dad, while you were out I redecorated your living room!

Don’t you love it? Dad, I’m sorry about your Steinway, but the decorator said that an upright with a mural on the front would really “draw forth the positive energies offered by the space.” And I mean, he’s the professional.

AHAHAHAHA– PUNK’D.

That photo was ACTUALLY taken at the Autry Western Heritage Museum, which I recently had the pleasure of visiting.

The Autry is home to many dusty, leather horse things as well as lots of props from old Westerns. It is also where this horrifying mini-cowboy is stationed:

He knows your every thought. And he’s very skilled with a bone saw.

So, anyway.

Once I exited the room that contained the evil toys and things, and stopped crying, I looked around and realized that aside from replicas of the cast of Bonanza and a whole crapload of baskets made by Washoe Indians, there were also a TON of kids around. Since they were wandering freely, and not behind glass, I surmised that they were visiting the museum, probably to check out one of many hands-on, kid-friendly areas.

My suspicion was confirmed when I found the “Imagination Gallery,” a glorified guest book where children were encouraged to write (or draw) their thoughts on their day at the Autry.

 

picnikfile_wyUIr5

Yes, semi-literate child. This IS asome.

What a great idea for kids! Plus, it gives everyone else a kind of overview as to what the museum is all about.

For example, the Autry really seems to be interested in teaching the kids about all the classic cowboy “legends.” And, you’d be surprised at what the children retain.

This kid was obviously quite taken with Davy Crockett and his trusty rifle, “Gun.”

And way to go on the googly eyes, to represent Fess Parker’s later career as a vintner. If this child doesn’t grow up to be a 1700’s political cartoonist, I’ll eat my hat.

Another story represented at the museum, apparently, is Mathilda The Cowgirl & Her Polar Bear, Clompy.

And who could forget the famous gunfight scene from The Legend of Cowboy Smiley Vs. Sheriff Frowny?

Or when “Cow giru” and “Cowd boy” finally reunite in that lukewarm tale of romance, “Star Boots?”

Just thinking about how he says, “Oh.” when she announces her return gives me a single goose bump.

Let’s pause for a moment to reflect on the Autry’s more charitable side:

This kid obviously doesn’t have a lot going for her. From the desperate, poorly-spelled scrawl, it appears this girl sleeps outside on her parents’ porch every night, even when it’s raining. I’m sure she’s a sight in the mornings, clawing at the back door, her hair full of sticks and leaves, dirt smeared across her face. So, yeah, it was nice of the people at the Autry Western Heritage Museum to let her in there when she showed up begging for water at 7:45.

Thanks, Museum!

Moving on:

Some of the kids, mostly younger, who visit the museum, aren’t as skilled at depicting exactly what they saw. They more just want the world to know they’re super jazzed about cowboys. Like this fellow:

picnikfile_HCQnzb

You can tell by the insane expression of joy on the cowboy’s face that the artist is going to start begging his parents for a gun and some of those “spike things that you put on your shoes” as soon as they get to the car.

And then this kid became enamored with the exhibit on…

MJackson

Ugh. No. Michael Jackson’s sequined outfit really isn’t what this museum is all about.

Let’s try this again.

Sorry, friend. I know it’s hard to discern cowboys (horses, pistols, dusty prairies) from pirates (ships, swords, the freaking ocean). So maybe do another lap around the museum, and really pay attention this time? You may even run into this girl’s favorite exhibit:

The Grove of Circumcised Penises!

Wait, WHAT?

I was there for like three hours and didn’t notice any upright wieners. And trust me, I was looking. (I mean…?)

How about– what?

The Autry Booger Ghost exhibit, I guess? I suppose that would make quite an impression on me, too.

The point I’m trying to make is, for all the folksy wonder that the Autry has to offer, you should probably just high-tail it past the mini-cowboy and go straight to the Imagination Gallery.

Because kids are weird.

February 11th, 2012

Things About You – Louis & Genevieve

Check out the latest video by my brother and his girlfriend, Louis & Genevieve! It’s called Things About You and it makes you want to dance.

COMMENCE DANCIN’—>

 

BLAM! Good right? Now, go purchase this on iTunes.

January 26th, 2012

Rah Rah

Koala

Oh, hi!

I didn’t see you there.

My view was obstructed by this enormous koala mascot costume. He represents a local lacrosse team, the Raging Marsupials, and boy if he isn’t affective at getting people up on their feet and shouting.

Because if you saw this thing barreling toward you, flapping its arms, I bet you fifteen American dollars that you’d get up and scream, too.

So, let’s talk about mascots!

Big Head Tiger

It is critical that you realize that I have stumbled onto a website that sells mascot costumes, and I am NOT just posting photos of my friends from Supper Club. And now that you know that, I’ll tell you this:

They have a whole section dedicated exclusively to Wolves and Coyotes. Here is an offering called “New Wolf.”

New Wolf

In the world of mascotry, the word “new” is synonymous with “super drunk.” Plus, to be convinced to wear something like that, you’d have to be about six scotches in. This is the sporting event equivalent of putting a lampshade on your head. “Hey! Ted’s wildly housed! See if he’ll put on the New Wolf suit and do that dance again!”

Drinking games aside, mascots were invented as a way to get people excited, amped up, ready to support their team. The mascot’s job is to make the crowd feel like their side is the invincible side and that the other team will be cowering in fear at the mere sight of them.

Which is why, when you click on “Mean Wolf,” you expect to find something fearsome and awe-inspiring. But, you know, you get this:

 Mean Wolf

A) This looks more like a bear. B) A really friendly bear. C) What is happening with his tail? It looks like a piece of drift wood.

In fact, “Pro Wolf” looks meaner than “Mean Wolf.”

Pro Wolf

“Pro Wolf” also looks like Paul Sorvino with Beau Bridges’ eyebrows, if you ask me. And I would like to draw your attention, please, to Pro Wolf’s alarmingly tiny hand. But still, more ominous than Mean Wolf.

Horrifying Native American

A thing that I do not understand about this tastefully rendered Native American costume is why there must be a false head. According to my history teachers, Native Americans are human beings. And, with the exception of a couple of dogs, most of the life forms who don mascot costumes are also human. So it would stand to reason that the wearer of this costume would have at least a reasonably human-looking head. And yet, here we are, staring at this… thing.

But somehow FRUIT doesn’t require any additional facial covering.

Apple Guy
Nope, it’s fine if Mr. Apple (bodysuit not included) shows his Brawny Paper Towel Guy face at every event. He gets to go squinting around dressed as something humans EAT. But the HUMAN mascots have to cover their faces.

Oh, wait. I get it. It’s to protect the identity of the poor jerk who has to wear something like this at his senior homecoming game:

Awful Pilgrim

Did anyone else have to stifle a scream and/or fountain of vomit when they saw this astonishing pilgrim suit?

Okay, okay. I’m sorry. Look, facial covering controversy aside, you just COULD NOT have a sporting event (amateur OR professional) without a team mascot. They are essential to the overall mood of the arena.

And I get the sense that trained professional mascots understand the power they wield. And that power transfers to them, and soon, they cannot be without the suit for very many hours at a time or they spiral into a deep depression.

What evidence do I have of this? See below:

 

Scorpion

The man behind this “scorpion” suit was so desperate to get back into it, that it was the FIRST THING he unpacked on moving day. Behind him are dozens of boxes containing things that a normal person would consider more important than this. You know, bath towels, clean underwear, Nutella. But no, Phil “The Stinger” Jameson needed to put his suit back on the second his wife went to return the U-Haul.

Similarly, this guy put the tiger suit on before he moved any furniture into his apartment.

Economy Tiger

He doesn’t have a couch or a TV or a dining room table, but that’s okay, because he can’t see out of those eyes, and he doesn’t want to sit down, because last week he “messed” himself in the suit, and, what with the move and everything, hasn’t had a chance to take it to the dry cleaners.

Okay. I’m sorry. I’ve insulted mascots, which is unfair. It is important to remember that deep down, in their furry little hearts, they are people too. They serve an important purpose: To pump up sports fans everywhere, to get them excited about their team, to make everyone in the stands feel like the game they are watching is the most riveting sporting event in the world!

Even if that sport is Skee-Ball.

 

Tiger Group Shot Skeeball

January 4th, 2012

A Farewell to Gluten

I don’t really do New Year’s Resolutions. They always make me feel like a failure, mainly because I’m always failing at them. Lose weight? Nope. Learn a language? I did not. Make the bed every day? HAHAHAHA!

So I assure you it is a simple coincidence that my attempt to go gluten-free for a month happened to begin on January 1st.

I felt it best to wait until after the holidays to attempt to alter my eating habits so drastically. And boy, did I have a last hurrah. I went to my favorite bakery and purchased a chocolate tart AND a miniature apple pie. THAT was my New Years Eve.

Anyway, here I am. Gluten free for over EIGHTY SEVEN HOURS. Suck it, naysayers.

I promise not to turn this site into My Tortured Life Without Flour: The Blog. But for the next 31 days, it’s going to be a big part of who I am, so you can bet it will be mentioned. I vow to make it fun. Or at least really, really pathetic and woeful.

Some things that have happened in the last couple of days are:

I have eaten SO MUCH popcorn that you would probably gasp in horror.

I have been much clumsier, prompting me to believe that wheat holds the key to my physical stability.

I have begun to listen to a lot more Notorious B.I.G. (probably unrelated).

AND, today, with the help of my pal David, I went to an all gluten-free store near work. It’s called “Pam MacD’s Gluten Free Market” and it’s excellent. I bought these cookies that are better than regular cookies. They also have these discs of crispy cheese, which I would have made purchase of if not for the fact that my boss had spilled 38 metric tons of very fragrant Parmesan cheese on his office carpet not 20 minutes beforehand.

That was not fun, let me tell you.

All we had in the office was a vacuum that looked like it was from 1965. It also smelled like it still contained dust from 1965. When it was turned on, it blew cheese all over the place. Eventually, it got up most of the cheese, but by that point the inside of it had become very hot and had begun burning the dust AND cheese, creating a thick, horrible stench that lingered for hours. In order to fix the problem, ammonia-based cleaner was sprayed, a vanilla-scented candle was lit, a bag of fresh-ground coffee was purchased and opened, and actual toast was made in the office. It was a Smell Circus.

So I didn’t buy the crispy cheese rounds at the gluten-free store.

But I did buy cookies, sweet potato crackers, some protein bars and chocolate covered dried fruit.

They say gluten-free is good for your health, but by god if I’m not going to try to contradict that.

December 13th, 2011

Christmas Joys

There is nothing I love more than giving gifts on Christmas. Apparently this holiday has a few religious aspects to it (something about an infant and a super nova?) but for me it’s all about watching your parents open up lavish gifts you spent your rent money on. This year, the holidays have snuck up on me and, since I don’t have time to park at the mall, let alone shop in it, I have been trolling the internet for Yuletide Bounty. This has led to even greater discoveries.

Discoveries such as the name of this shoe:

Lady Warmth

I know a couple of dudes who have “Lady Warmth” on their Christmas lists every single year. I didn’t know Converse sold it for 77 bucks!

I mean, really. WHO would NAME a product LADY WARMTH? If your mind doesn’t go directly to the gutter, it certainly goes to the scene in The Empire Strikes Back where Han Solo guts a Tauntaun to keep Luke warm on the frozen planet of Hoth. No? It doesn’t do that? Okay, fine.

Then I guess we’ll move on to this little gem:

Creepy Lions Guy

“Hello. I am Greg-5, the Detroit Lions Intergalactic Ambassador. Please, won’t you sit down and have a deviled egg?”

It’s important to note that, in order to get this picture, there was a photo shoot, during which dozens and dozen of photos were taken.

AND THIS WAS THE BEST ONE.

This was the photograph that they all saw and went, “Yep. That’s the one. That’s the one that’s going to move product.”

Look. I don’t know much about sports, so maybe I’m way out of line, but how is this photograph going to get you to buy… whatever the hell they are selling here? It’s either a Detroit Lions snuggie, or a pillow. Or that man. Personally, I feel inspired to purchase a security system, but then I’ve never been much of a football fan.

Finally, and this is my personal favorite, there was this:

Michigan for $9

Yes! You heard right! December is 19th Century US Land Deal History Month and to celebrate, this website is selling the entire state of Michigan for NINE DOLLARS. This is a bargain if ever I’ve seen one.

But act now! Because I’ve heard supplies of Michigans are very low this year.

Happy Shopping friends. May your days be filled with low prices and hilarious typos.

Santa Clause I Coming

December 5th, 2011

You Know Roofing Shingles?

Yeah. I don’t really have those anymore.

Roofing Shingles

As you can see, they have been relocated to my front door by the Santa Ana winds.

A couple of nights ago, we had a real doozy of a wind storm. My apartment was actually SHAKING with each gust of wind, and every so often, there would be a lovely crashing sound that would jolt me out of my almost-sleep. Plus: have you ever seen a transformer blow up? It’s really cool.

The next morning, after a night of listening to the police scanner and fretting about Uncle Jeff the lemon tree while I waited for the roof to come clean off the bedroom, I emerged from the apartment to this:

Wind Destruction

And check out the sidewalk outside!

Downed Treed

If I were to write out everything I saw as a result of this wind storm, we would be here all week. So how about you all just take a gander at the Santa Ana Winds Bingo Card I filled out:

 

 

Santa Ana Wind Bingo Filled Out

November 23rd, 2011

Thanksgiving Is Nigh…

… begin weeping.

As some of you maybe remember, last year’s Thanksgiving didn’t go so well. I locked my raw turkey in the oven and then launched a full scale, Lifetime Original Movie-style freakout at every appliance in my house.

But this year is going to be better! I’m going to follow all of my borderline psychotic lists to the SECOND, and everything is going to be on the table in a timely fashion. AND BY GOD EVERYONE WILL BE SMILING. Nothing can harm me this year.

Or so I thought.

Last night when I arrived home, there was an inch of… “waste matter” sitting in the bottom of the downstairs shower. Also, the toilet was full of water, which was BUBBLING. Like a swamp in one of those Neverending Story movies. To make things extra super, I had 90 minutes until Paul’s brother arrived for the week.

This story turns out fine. Jose from the 24-hour plumbers, who is my new hero, got all his tools out and rescued my apartment. The HOA is going to pay for everything. And I got it all cleaned up before Paul and his brother got home.

But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little shaken. I mean, last year’s Thanksgiving started out with a simple broken dishwasher and turned into a screaming match between me and GE’s entire catalog. This year’s has begun with a whole bunch of scat. Call me crazy, but I feel like poop is worse than a broken dishwasher. So, what is going to happen this year? For some reason, all I can think of is a horde of assorted snakes falling through the roof of my apartment right as I’m taking the pie out of the oven.

I guess the point I am trying to make is: Please send good vibes my way. If you’re into voodoo, get out the chicken blood and rat heads. I need all the good luck I can get this year.

November 4th, 2011

Don’t Do These Things

The only way I can get through a cardio workout at the gym is by reading while I do it. And by “reading” I mean “reading women’s magazines.” Because it’s a lot easier to process “5 Minutes To A Smoky Eye” than Billy Budd when you’re bobbing up and down on the elliptical.

So I read a LOT of women’s magazines. Often I come across something helpful (“What To Do If You Wake Up Looking Like You Drank A Liter Of Popov The Night Before”) or inspiring (“How I Conquered My Fear Of Pearl Onions!”). But then there are the times I turn to the page to discover utter nonsense, such as the article I read recently that was a list of things you did as a kid that you should still be doing. I’ve collected some of the more incorrect ones here:

Celebrating Hump Day: Did anyone actually do that? Because when I think of a celebration, there is cake. And if we’d had cake every time it was Wednesday, I’d have died at age 13.

Going to an all night diner and ordering a bunch of pancakes and stuff: Did anyone ever STOP doing that? Hell, you could wake me up at three in the morning and suggest we go do that and I’d be dressed in under 40 seconds.

Running around naked just because: I refuse to acknowledge this as an activity. There is no “just because” about being naked. Ever.

Sleepovers: I couldn’t do them then, and I certainly can’t do them now.

Going by the trendy name you wish your parents had given you: Do not do this ever. You will lose your job and all of your friends and you will have to pose for a sub-par gentleman’s magazine to make your rent money.

Keeping a list of every boy you’ve ever fooled around with: Yeah, you go right ahead, Lil’ Miss Trashy.

Watching TV while snuggling with your fluffy husband pillow: **SPIT TAKE** WHAT?? What in god’s name is a “fluffy husband pillow?” Why would you snuggle with it? And what are you watching on TV that is doing such a poor job of keeping you interested that you’d rather snuggle with an inanimate object? Look. If you EVER did this when you were a kid, you are probably doing something WAY worse now. Like snuggling with a pillow made out of your husband.

I don’t know what kind of youth you had, but if there was a thing I liked doing, I’m probably still doing it (playing Super Mario Bros. 3). And if I’m not still doing it, it’s because it was insane (eating ants). I don’t need a nationally-published magazine to tell me how to be nostalgic. But I do need someone to explain fluffy husband pillows to me.