Jen from “People I Want to Punch In the Throat” Has Issues & a Giveaway

It’s Friday! Another blogger is sharing their issues! Exclamation points!

Today it’s Jen from “People I Want to Punch In the Throat,” and given the name of her blog, it’s natural to assume she has issues.

If you’ve ever heard of the Elf on the Shelf, you’ve heard of Jen. If you’ve ever heard of “I Just Want to Be Alone—and if you read this blog, I’ve shoved it down your throat because I was ridiculously honored to be included—you’ve heard of Jen.

I could sit here and ramble about all her other books—including two new ones that are dropping this September and then in fall of 2015—but I’ll let you figure that out on your own because this post is already long and there’s a giveaway at the end.

Free stuff! Exclamation point!

So without further ado, here’s Jen.

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Name: Jen Mann

Blog: People I Want to Punch in the Throat

Where, what, and why do you write?

I write everywhere. I’ve been known to write in my car on the pickup line at school, I write in my bed, I write in my office. You name it, I’ve probably written there. I like to write on a laptop, so I’m always hauling a laptop around with me. A notebook and pen would be too simple for me. I much prefer to sit poolside with a hot piece of machinery on my lap. Plus, then people will stop and say, “Are you a writer?”

Why do I write? That one’s easy. I write so that I don’t kill. I write to vent my spleen. If I don’t write it down then I might literally explode. A wise blogger (whose name I can’t remember) once said, “If I don’t write it on my blog, then did it really happen?” When you have that kind of ego, then you have to be a writer. Plus, I’m not cut out for manual labor, so this writing thing needs to work for me.

(Editor’s note: Since she can’t remember the name of the blogger but appreciated the advice, let’s just pretend it was me. Moving on…)

First thing you think of when you wake up in the morning?

I need a nap.

What’s the one “issue” or frustration annoying you the most right now?

Anything and everything back to school. We’re starting our second week of school and it’s been a nightmare. Everyone is exhausted, and my kids are crying every morning because they don’t want to get up. They whine that school is hard this year. Ha. You should see fourth grade spelling words: Art. Give me a break, Gomer.

We’re having a tough time getting back into the routine of checking homework, packing ah-may-zing fun and healthy lunches, finding clean clothes to wear each day and shelling out hundreds of dollars for new clothes, markers and glue sticks (NOT the purple ones!!), PTO membership and renting violins. Yes, I rented a violin this year. I am looking forward to the practices because I like to hear the sound of dying cats.

Three websites you visit every day?

Huffington Post, Jezebel and The Onion.

(Editor’s note: By “Huffington Post” of “The Onion” I’m sure she meant Abby Has Issues. Carry on.)

What’s an unusual talent and/or accomplishment you could never put on a resume?

I can change a diaper using one hand while holding onto a squirmy toddler with the other.

Favorite place to be?

In my bed. Don’t get excited, Hubs. I like to be there alone. Sleeping.

If you could rule the land for one day, what laws would you create and enforce?

Citizens may key any car that isn’t parked properly between the lines.

What TV show would you want to appear on?

Daily Show with Jon Stewart. I’ve been watching this show since the beginning and I dream of one day sitting across the table from Jon. I’ll be so star-struck though so the interview will go terribly because I’ll just keep giggling uncontrollably and saying stuff like, “Oh my God, it’s you.”

Best and worst things I could find in your refrigerator right now?

Best would be leftover burrito from lunch. Worst would be leftover burrito from six months ago.

What question do you wish I had asked you and what would be your reply?

Where can I buy your new book, Jen? Amazon, of course!


And because she’s a giver, we’re also giving away one copy of “I Just Want to Be Alone” today to a random person who comments on this post answering the question below. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents with a sense of humor and a random winner will be drawn on Tuesday morning and notified via email.

Even if you have a copy of the book, play along. You don’t want to get on her bad side.

Who do you want to punch in the throat?

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Practical Classes for Writers

It’s back to school time for most people, and while I value my college education, I can’t help but feel that the writing curriculum they provided didn’t necessary prepare me for the real world.

Of course I took the basics for academic, creative and professional writing, but technical skills aside, they failed to address the more “realistic” aspects of being a writer.

writing

So with that said, I have proposed a few more practical classes that all aspiring writers should be required to take.

Textual Dysfunction

This introductory prerequisite will tackle the perennial problem of writer’s block and the five stages every writer will go through. Along with preparing the student for the emotional trauma of textual dysfunction, several creative writing exercises will be performed in an effort to facilitate creative expression — including how to explain to friends and family that your blog/novel is not based on them, even though it probably is.

Emotional Exfoliation

Learn to brush off those who don’t realize your obvious genius and hope your skin grows back thicker, because whether you’re a creative writer, a technical writer or a blogger (extra credit if you’re a blogger), you will get rejected many more times than not. Participants will learn to go from query and submission to dealing with the “nice no,” the “hell no” and the “what the hell do they know?” of rejection.

However, everyone is also asked to gather up their rejection letters to use for decoupaging a complimentary flask as part of art therapy offered as a follow-up course.

Narcissism in the Age of the Internet

Attendees will be given the tools needed to make their tweets fake trophy-worthy, their Facebook updates ring with confidence/insecurity and their selfies flattering in the light of the bathroom. They will also be given tips on how to buy fans/followers and Photoshop their profile pictures to an almost unrecognizable image.

Workspace Feng Shui

It’s important that writers create a comfortable environment when waiting for inspiration to hit. Learn to prioritize these tasks, such as what size Post-Its to write your to-do list on, where that plant looks best, color organization of pens, snack drawer replenishment and paperclip sculpture and art.

Professional Courtesy

Often writers are tasked with working in an office setting. In this course, students will learn the basics to avoid creating a hostile work environment, such as: never “replying all” to an email, both changing and replacing the paper towel roll and trash bag in the office kitchen and washing dirty dishes instead of placing them NEXT to the sink in hopes the imaginary maid will do it.

In addition, flashcards will be created with phrases like, “Weekend was great!” “Weather is wonderful!” “Can’t believe it’s Monday!” in an effort to cut down on generic coworker chit-chat.

Typo Trauma 101*

Play it off as funny? Run away and start a new life? Learn how to deal with the angst of finding a typo more than .5 seconds after something has been posted or published somewhere you can’t go back and edit.

*The support group will meet immediately after this session. Carbs will be provided.


Seeing as most writers are introverted attention hounds who just want to be left alone, graduation ceremonies would be held online where participants could submit their best work for a round of social media “likes” from the comfort of their couch.

Now that’s a class I could go for.

Here’s your homework: What class would you add to the list for your job?

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Deva from “My Life Suckers” Has Issues

First of all, thanks to everyone who had nice and encouraging things to say about my last post and the Zazzle store on Facebook (and in the imagined conversations I had with you in my head.)

I’ll remind you every once in awhile when I add new things, but I won’t be annoying because a) that’s annoying and b) I’ll probably forget. But I didn’t forget today is Friday, which means another blogger is sharing their issues.

Today we have none other than Internet video star Deva Dalporto from MyLifeSuckers, and by “Internet video star” I don’t mean in the Kardashian way.

No, while she’s too humble to brag about it, I will tell you she is the force behind the viral videos parodying songs like, “Let It Go” from “Frozen” and “Fancy” from Iggy Izalea, among others.

She’s pretty much a rock star.

I tried to get her to make a video of her replies to a polka medley or two, but no luck, so we’ll just have to settle for text. With that said, let’s roll out the barrel with Deva!

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Name: Deva Dalporto

Blog: MyLifeSuckers

Where, what and why do you write?

I write and make videos about my crazy life-sucking life as a mom. If I didn’t write about it, I would curl up in a ball and cry. And that would be pathetic.

When my kids aren’t home, I write at my kitchen counter because it’s close to the teapot. And I love tea. Like love, love tea. I probably should have been British. When my kids are home, I try to hide in my bedroom and work, but they always find me.

First thing you think of when you wake up in the morning.

Five freakin’ fifty???? The kids couldn’t have let me sleep until six? It’s inhuman to wake someone up before six.

What’s the one “issue” or frustration annoying you the most right now?

My adult acne. I mean REALLY! God must hate me. He couldn’t have given me a break between acne and wrinkles? Just a few Neutrogena-fresh years?

Three websites you visit every day.

Facebook. Er, Facebook. And, um, Facebook.

What’s an unusual talent and/or accomplishment you could never put on a resume?

I load a mean dishwasher. I’m very proud of my dishwasher loading skills. I can fit in an amazing amount of stuff without anything touching. It really is a marvel.

And I’m very critical of other people’s dishwasher loading skills. Like when someone takes up the whole bottom row with a big bowl, I just shake my head and wonder WHY??? WTF is wrong with people? You can’t take up valuable real estate that should be reserved for plates with ONE bowl. I mean, do you KNOW how many plates you can get into the space that one big bowl takes up? Sheesh.

Favorite place to be?

In bed. Except I’m an insomniac so it’s kind of a torturous relationship. I hate being in bed when I can’t sleep and my mind is running a million miles an hour reminding me that I’M GOING TO DIE some day. Good times. But besides the insomnia part, I love being in bed.

If you could rule the land for one day, what laws would you create and enforce?

I would get rid of Standard Time and keep us on Daylight Savings Time. Standard Time is the devil. Who wants it to get dark at 4 pm? And adjusting to time changes with kids is hell on earth. Really, time changes need to go.

What TV show would you want to appear on?

Project Runway, except I can’t sew. I really just want to hang out with Tim Gunn and have him tell me to, “Make it work.”

Best and worst things I could find in your refrigerator right now?

Best is my Humbolt Fog Goat Cheese. I have been dairy-free for six years and the doctor just gave me the all-clear for goat cheese, so I’ve been indulging in a hunk per night. That’s OK, right?

Worst thing in my fridge would have to be that disgustingly moldy container of yogurt that I keep forgetting to throw out. But I just tell myself I’m educating the kids about fungi. They don’t get enough science in school these days so I’m just doing my part.

What question do you wish I had asked you and what would be your reply?

When is the last time you showered, Deva? Why, do I smell? I smell, don’t I? UGH. Oh, to answer your (my) question—I have no idea. Showering is a luxury I rarely afford myself these days.


Stink aside, go check her out after you share one of your issues: What’s the worst thing I could find in your fridge right now?

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Dazzle with Stuff from Zazzle

Are you already exhausted tomorrow? If so, there’s a mug–and a T-shirt and tote bag–for that.

Since a few of you have taken a liking to my social media updates and signs, I decided to create some fun and (dys)functional products that you could buy and take home for yourself via Zazzle, such as:

hungrymugtshirt

coffee

baking

And there are a bunch of other things there as well, including more mugs, tote bags, aprons and T-shirts.

mirrortshirt

While they’re all created in a basic format, they can be customized to whatever size, style and color your little heart desires.

And if there’s something you want that you don’t see, feel free to email me with your suggestions and I’ll see what I can do without a mental breakdown and throwing my computer out the window.

(Not because it’s hard to make things, but because that’s just how I usually feel when I’m online. And also, it takes 24 hours for new items to appear in the store.)

I’ve added a tab at the top of my blog so can share with everyone you know and enter the pantheon of awesomeness, but clicking this link will take you directly to my store.

The best part? You can shop without having to deal with other people who don’t know how to shop. Win-win!

Anyway, I promise not to be spammy about this, but I spent too much damn time trying to figure Zazzle out not to write up a post and occasionally let you know about new items. At the suggestion of social media queen Kim, I’ve also started a “Gifts” Pinterest board where I’ll slowly pin new designs.

So check it out, and as always, thanks for encouraging my behavior!

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What To Know About Owning a House

I’ve owned my own house for around six years now, and I have to say that I love it. Having a haven where I can try and escape the rest of the world is a tiny piece of heaven for me and I have never regretted buying a house for a minute.

OK. That’s not entirely true.

While owning a house is great, there are some things that I wish people had told me about before I signed the mortgage with the blood from my soul and a pen from the agent. I knew I would be spending a lot of money and that living alone, all the responsibility for things fell to me, but there are some things that I didn’t realize.

Everything is Expensive

The good news is that in the beginning after you cut the largest check of your life, everything else seems like pennies. A $300 countertop? What a deal! Only $2,000 for new shingles? Where can I send the check?

However, this excitement diminishes as the memory of that initial payment fades along with the $20/gallon paint that you put on your deck. You soon find yourself comparing the prices of weatherstripping because you’ll be damned if you’re overpaying for that stuff again.

Note: “Weatherstripping” is not as sexy as it sounds.

Also, owning a house makes you extra conscious of everything that happens in or around your house. Shoes are removed because you’re the one that has to clean up the floor, you become captain of the Light Patrol and make sure only the necessary ones are on and every creak and drip will freak you out because it will probably cost money to fix.

Note: Everything will eventually break or need to be replaced—usually all at the same time.

Let There Be Light

Speaking of electricity, every house has at least one switch that you have no idea what it does. You will find it, you will flip it on and off, and somewhere in Alaska an impromptu disco party will be initiated by your actions. But in your own house?

Not so much.

The people who previously owned my house were electrical freaks and had more lights installed than could be found on an airport runway. When I moved in I was gifted this code sheet and control box with eight switches for JUST the outdoor lights. Please note the warning on button 8:

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Just Another Day in Suburbia

You eventually perfect the “suburban nod” to neighbors that will be used every time you see them outside for around the next 20 years. Most discussions will revolve around the weather or what week the recycling containers need to be put on the curb.

Note: Remembering to put out both the trash and recycling on time — and before the neighbors — warrants ALL the suburban medals!

You also become a repository of boring knowledge and get excited over weird things. For example, I couldn’t tell you my bust-hip-waist ratio but I know my furnace filters are 16-20-1.

Driving around you notice things like outdoor light fixtures and decorative mulch, and bringing home a new vacuum is like bringing home a new member of the family.

And no matter where you live, the people who owned the house before you left at least one weird thing when they moved. I’m not necessarily talking about a body buried in the yard, but there will something that makes you wonder what the heck those people were thinking.

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Basements are Creepy

For as often as I go down there, a commune of hippies could be living in my basement and I wouldn’t know it. Aside from taking shelter in storms and changing the furnace filter (size 16-20-1), I avoid it at all costs.

Then again, maybe I should check. If somebody is living down there, maybe I could charge them their part of the rent.

After all, everything is expensive.

Your turn. What’s one weird thing about where you live?

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Paige Kellerman Has Issues

Today is Friday, which means another blogger will be sharing their issues, although I don’t know how she has time seeing as she has 4-year-old twins and a 2 year old.

(If you will recall, I can barely maintain my garden/horticultural hospice.)

She also has a best-selling book, “At Least My Belly Hides My Cankles,” and is working on the next one while still blogging, parenting and mixing the perfect Gin and tonic (presumably for her and not the children.)

Since she found a few minutes to class up this joint, I now present Paige Kellerman (who I can guarantee is much more attractive than the lame graphic I attempted to make.)

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Name: Paige Kellerman

Blog: There’s More Where That Came From

Where, what and why do you write?

I write humor that’s sometimes mistaken for writing that’s not funny. I work mostly in a notebook on my couch, but occasionally I’ll pretend to work on the computer and be on Pinterest instead. This is probably why most people refer to me as “The Next Great American Author No One Will Ever Hear Of.” My reasons for writing have always been pretty deep, mainly fame, fortune and being able to afford a personal chef so I don’t have to cook for my family one day.

First thing you think of when you wake up in the morning:

Who’s breathing on me?

What’s the one “issue” or frustration annoying you the most right now?

Right now, it’s probably the baby climbing in the tub and turning it on while I’m trying to leave your readers with something worthwhile.

Nope, never mind. He was actually throwing the entire new bottle of body wash in the toilet. I’ll be heading to the grocery store after this.

Three websites you visit every day:

Sadly, and without fail, Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook.

What’s an unusual talent and/or accomplishment you could never put on a resume?

I went to an entrepreneurial camp when I was a senior in high school. I rode on a bus to Iowa where I learned how to make a business plan and open up a nightclub. I found that business plan in a box the other day. Every floor of the club was supposedly going to be made of glass and not result in some sort of tragedy. I think the point here is that I can make a really shoddy business plan.

Favorite place to be?

Home. I love to travel, but I’m happiest on my couch, reading and drinking.

If you could rule the land for one day, what laws would you create and enforce?

That’s a tough one. I think there should be something governing how long someone can wait for your parking spot. It takes me an hour to get three kids buckled in their car seats. I’m sorry, anonymous person idling in your Hummer.

What TV show would you want to appear on?

Hands down, Conan. I’ve wanted to meet him since I was a kid. If I ever make it on there, I’m giving you a shout out.

Best and worst things I could find in your refrigerator right now?

There’s wine and a bowl of strawberries I got all domesticated and cut up the other day. There’s also a Tupperware of baked ziti I wouldn’t open if I were you.

What question do you wish I had asked you and what would be your reply?

I wish you’d asked me how renovations on the house are going. Because I would’ve said, “They’re going really great, Abby. I just painted our crappy backsplash and now it looks a little less crappy. I’m really proud of that. Thanks for asking.”

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This Isn’t About Robin Williams

“Many who try to bring joy to the world are often the same people who fight a great war within themselves. Every fight lost is a tragedy.”

The death of comic genius Robin Williams spawned thousands and thousands of (well-deserved) tributes and blog posts about not only his career and his life, but also his mental health struggles.

I don’t want to read them.

I don’t want to watch them.

I don’t want to hear about depression and opinions from people who just have no clue.

That’s selfish, but I don’t want to deal with it because I live it every day of my life, a life that I’ve questioned the value of more often than I care to admit. While I would like to think that I would never go to that extreme, I’ve thought about what the world would be like if I were no longer in it, if I could never get “better.”

Because of that, Robin Williams’ death wasn’t surprising to me. Tragic? Yes. Surprising? No. Addiction and depression are equal-opportunity destroyers, regardless of age, sex or class. And the thing about addictions are that they’re all just a slow suicide, no matter your weapon of choice.

So why do some people make it while others lose the fight? I don’t think anyone knows.

What I do know is that for me, it’s not about lack of resources, because if I want to get help there are a million places to get it.

It’s not about people not doing enough to help, because I know you have to want and accept that  support in order to pull yourself out.

It’s also not about attention. My dark thoughts aren’t about death but rather the fantasy of finding some peace—any peace—to quiet the storms in my head.

That probably doesn’t make sense, but I wrote a piece for Huffington Post about my OCD that I never shared on this blog because I didn’t want to be misunderstood. Plus, sometimes I just don’t want to deal with that reality.

But it is reality, and so are suicide and depression and all those things I don’t want to read, hear or talk about a lot of the time—all those things I am forced to think about all the time anyway.

Yet that’s probably part of the problem.

After Williams’ death I posted that quote above on Facebook and linked back to a post I wrote on depression.

The response was huge, both on that older post and to the simple quote. People sent me emails sharing their stories, and someone commented, “Thank you for things that you write. You have a medium where you can reach out to other people and truly help them with your own experiences.”

Whether he liked it or not, Robin Williams had a platform to talk about mental health, and maybe in some tiny miniscule way, so do I–whether through humor or sharing my struggles. If nothing else, I need the support myself on most days.

Of course, there’s no magic cure or easy answers. But what there is is support if you accept it, people who care and a dialogue about mental health that has been reopened up with another loss of life.

This time it wasn’t you.

It wasn’t me.

And if it was, it’s safe to say the whole world wouldn’t be mourning our passing. But somebody would. Somebody cares. And every fight lost is a tragedy.

Keep up the fight.

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