Saturday 9: It’s a Jungle Out There

Saturday 9: It’s a Jungle Out There (Theme from Monk) (2003)

Unfamiliar with this week’s tune? Hear it here.

1) This week’s song is the theme from the detective show that ran from 2002-2009. Were you a fan? I never watched it regularly when it was first on, but I’ve enjoyed a few reruns.

2) The song warns us about the air we breathe and the water we drink. Does your home have an air or water filter? Neither, although since we get city water, a filter might be a good idea. I’ve considered an air filter in the past, but I’m on the fence about whether or not we actually need it.

3) The lyrics say, “People say I’m crazy to worry all the time.” Are you a worrier? Or do you just take things as they come? I don’t worry much, but when I do, it’s usually unnecessary. It’s a product of overthinking, I’m sure. My therapist and I have the kind of rapport where once when I told him one of these dumb worries, he rolled his eyes at me, because he knows I know I’m being ridiculous.

4) TV’s Adrian Monk is known for his outstanding deductive powers, an homage to Sherlock Holmes. Have you read any of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s books featuring Sherlock Holmes? I have not, but maybe I’ll check them out at the library.

5) Monk was also known for fastidiousness and precision, an homage to Hercule Poirot. Have you read any of Agatha Christie’s books featuring Poirot? No, but I wouldn’t mind checking those out, either.

6) This song was written and performed by Grammy and Emmy winner Randy Newman. Do you have any trophies or plaques? I mean, does my Book-It medal count? It should. I did win a writing award in college, but that’s more of a certificate.

7) Before winning an Oscar in 2001, Mr. Newman had the distinction of having the most nominations (15) without a win. Do you consider yourself a graceful loser? I’m competitive and in a board game or other kind of friendly thing, I’m a little more vocal and animated. But for, like, legit things? Very graceful.

8) In 2003, when this song was introduced, Lance Armstrong won his fifth Tour de France. Later, he was disgraced in a doping scandal. Can you think of a time when a hero disappointed you? I can’t think of anything crushing. I’ve been disappointed in certain opinions and lapses in judgment, but fortunately, I’ve never had someone I’ve really loved and admired be terrible.

9) Random question — We’re catering lunch. Should we put you down for a burger or a taco? Taco! Vegetarian, of course.


Friday 5: Regionalism

  1. What regional colloquialism in your area would baffle people from elsewhere? I live in the Pittsburgh area, and Pittsburghese is a whole thing. I think the word “yinz” is the most famous example that a lot of people have probably heard mentioned when Pittsburgh is discussed, but other good ones are “n’at,” which is basically “and so forth,” and “jagoff,” which is basically a jerk. It is not, as some would have you believe, a cuss.
  2. What’s something you call by a name that differs from what most people in your region call it? I’m not sure. I don’t use a lot of Pittsburghese, but that’s mostly because I grew up far enough outside of the city that I didn’t hear it as much. Maybe some places? As sponsorships of arenas and things like that change, so do the names, and you can kind of tell someone’s age by how they know a place. There’s a concert pavilion that hasn’t been called Star Lake in decades, but that’s what people my parents’ age still call it.
  3.  What’s a normal food in your region that people in other regions might be weirded out by? Primanti’s sandwiches are the famous one, which depending on your taste either sounds amazing or terrible. Coleslaw and fries are put on the sandwich itself. There’s also a lot of Polish heritage around here and therefore Polish food, and I always joke that Polish food looks like someone was down to their last two ingredients in a pantry and mixed them together–haluski is cabbage and noodles, and then there’s also cottage cheese and noodles.
  4. What’s something in your area with an official name almost nobody refers to it by? See the above about place names. I also live near the college Washington & Jefferson, which everyone here shortens to “W&J.”
  5. What are the names of some convenience stores in your area? Sheetz, which started by distant relatives. GetGo, which is part of local grocery chain Giant Eagle.

As always, from Friday 5.

Saturday 9: The Nanny

Saturday 9: The Nanny (1993)

Unfamiliar with this week’s tune? Hear it here.

1) This week’s song is the theme from a sitcom that originally aired from 1993 to 1999. Were you a fan? I watched it on occasion more as a casual fan, but I never really got into it or followed it closely.

2) The song tells us that Fran once worked in a bridal shop. Have you ever worked in a retail setting? Nope. I managed to dodge that bullet.

3) The kids in the Sheffield household appreciate their nanny’s “joie de vivre,” which is defined as “exuberant enjoyment of life.” Are you feeling joie de vivre this morning? I had to work this morning, but it’s been a good evening. So sure.

4) “The Nanny” is the colorful one, the one who wears red when everyone else wears tan. What color do you think you look best in? Red is my favorite color, but I actually think the most flattering colors are a little more subdued–darker shades of things, generally.

5) The TV show The Nanny was the brainchild of actress Fran Drescher. She got the idea while visiting her an old friend in London. Her friend’s pre-teen daughter enjoyed having Fran as a confidante and shopping buddy. Do you enjoy shopping as a leisure activity? Or would you prefer to just dash into a store, grab what you need, and get out and go home? Somewhere in between–I like certain stores and don’t mind wandering around in them, but I’m not much of a browser. I learned this the hard way shopping with a friend in high school, who looked at like every single pair of jeans on a rack to decide on a pair, and I can be in and out. I’m also the kind of picky where I can rule out a whole rack of clothes with a glance.

6) The friend Fran was visiting in London was Twiggy, who was the world’s most famous model in the 1960s. Name another famous model. Iman, wife of David Bowie.

7) The Nanny: The Complete Series is available on DVD on Amazon. It consists of 19 discs and takes 55 hours to watch, start to finish. What TV show have you recently binge watched? I hate binge-watching. I’m just not designed for it. I always feel like I should be doing something productive–I’m the kind of person who tries to cram a lot into a day–plus I kind of just don’t like sitting there for that long. That said, it occasionally happens, usually if something is leaving Netflix. I did it a few years ago for the amazing anime Blood+.

8) The Nanny theme was sung by Liz Callaway. Her father, the late John Callway, was a long-time Chicago newscaster. Have you, or has a loved one, ever been on TV? I was on the local news as a kid. My dad and I were in a local theater to see A Christmas Carol and I looked super cute, and someone from the news picked me out of the crowd to stand behind a table during a Tickle-Me-Elmo raffle. Oh, the ’90s. And I have a friend who’s acting out in LA, and my mom’s board meetings are televised locally. Exciting stuff. My grandma used to watch every one, which was silly but adorable.

9) Random question — Which of these adjectives comes closest to describing you: sexy, sophisticated or down-to-earth? Down-to-earth.

Friday 5: Great and Small

  1. What’s your favorite large, furry animal? Uh, all of them? I am partial to the big cats, though, tigers in particular. They just look so awesome.
  2. What’s your favorite large sea creature? Again, all of them? Dolphins and whales in particular. I’m also a big fan of sea lions, but I don’t think those really count as large.
  3. What’s your favorite insect? NONE. Okay, fine, butterflies.
  4. What are your favorite names for pets you’ve known? I named our dog Mandy, as well as my fish, Blinky, but I think Duke had one of the better dog names, if kind of stereotypical. My parents’ new dog, Seger, has a pretty great name. He’s named after Bob Seger, of course, by the man who bred him and when my mom asked my brother and I if they should change it, we said keep it. He was six months old and knew his name, and I think it’s a good one. You thin of the musician at first, yeah, but when you think about it as a pet name, it’s good. Not super common or silly and it’s kind of different.
  5. Besides unicorns, what are some mythical beasts you wish were real? Damn, unicorns is a good one. I guess my second choice, then, would be a phoenix because they’re gnarly.

As always, from Friday 5.

Saturday 9: Along Comes a Friend

Saturday 9: Along Comes a Friend (Theme from Kate and Allie) (1984)

Unfamiliar with this week’s tune? Hear it here.

1) This week’s song is the theme from Kate and Allie, a sitcom that ran from 1984 to 1989. Were you a fan? Nope.

2) The show was about two divorced women who live and raise their children together. Were you ever a single parent? Were you raised by a single parent? No to both, although when my dad was deployed, my mom was effectively a single parent.

3) Allie is proud that she can make a perfect cup of coffee: “Just the essence of the bean. No acidity.” Kate is proud that she can belch the alphabet. What are you proud of? My work ethic.

4) Kate and Allie share half of a duplex in Greenwich Village. Many episodes had them doing laundry in the basement. Where are your washer and dryer? In a tiny little room off of the kitchen. Eventually, one of the things I want to do in this house is make that space more efficient. They’re old appliances, so when they crap out on us and are ready to be replaced, I’d like to put in a stacking set to free up some space and do something to make the drainage and venting a little better. Everything’s kind of crammed in there and set up a little weird, but look, it’s a major upgrade from shared apartment laundry that was $2 a load, $4 if you dried.

5) Kate was played by Susan St. James. She was familiar to viewers as the “wife” in McMillan and Wife. Without looking it up, do you know who played McMillan? Nope.

6) Allie was played by Jane Curtin. She was one of three women in the original Saturday Night Live cast. Without looking it up, can you name the other two? Gilda Radner and Laraine Newman, but I did Google to double-check the spelling of Laraine’s name.

7) On the set, Jane Curtin ran a poker game for the cast and crew. Do you think winning at poker takes more luck or skill? A little bit of both.

8) The Kate & Allie theme was cowritten and sung by John Lefler. Years later, Mr. Lefler wrote the theme for the Pokemon show. Is anyone in your life into Pokemon? The only reason I’m not playing Pokemon Go right now is because the app needs updated, as do most of my apps. My brother plays, too. My mother makes fun of us both.

9) Random question: What’s the last thing you whispered? I don’t know what the exact word/phrase was, but it was something to my mom at the movies last weekend when we went to see Mamma Mia.

Saturday 9: Love Is All Around

Saturday 9: Love Is All Around (1970)

Unfamiliar with this week’s tune? Hear it here.

1) This week’s song is the theme from The Mary Tyler Moore Show, a sitcom that originally aired from 1970 to 1977. Were you a fan? Not really.

2) The song tells us that Mary Richards can turn the world on with her smile. Yet the real-life Mary Tyler Moore said she was uncomfortable with her “wide mouth.” If you could improve on one of your facial features, which would you choose? I’d make my face/neck thinner.

3) We also hear that Mary can “take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile.” What do you think makes a day “a nothing day?” Boredom.

4) Mary works in the newsroom at WJM. Her desk is neat as a pin. Are you neat? Or do you lean to the sloppy side? I’m messy, but my work desk is quite neat.

5) Mary’s best friend, Rhoda, worked as a window dresser at Hempel’s department store. What department store did you most recently shop at? What did you buy? I’m not sure. Does Target count? It was a Target in a mall. I bought closet organizers.

6) Mary Richards lived in Minneapolis. What city is nearest to where you are right now? The closest proper city is Pittsburgh.

7) Originally the part of Mary Richards was written as a divorcee, but in 1970, there were no TV shows that centered around a divorced woman. Think about the women in your life. Are most of them married, divorced, single or widowed? Most of them are either married or in committed relationships–my best friend is divorced but in a new-ish relationship with a great guy, and most of my other friends are either married or in long-term relationships.

8) The MTM production company logo featured a mewing kitten. The cat was found in a Minneapolis shelter, and, after her sequence was shot, she was adopted by a crew member who named her Mimsie. What’s the name of the last cat — or dog or hamster or rabbit — that you petted? My brother and sister-in-law’s two cats last weekend, Persia and Timothy.

9) Random question — Would you rather have a job that kept you seated on your fanny or standing on your feet? Seated, I think, although I have one of those now and it is kind of overrated. I think being on my feet all day would be more tiring, but sitting at a desk isn’t always comfortable.

Friday 5: Performance Evaluation

  1. In what way do you maintain a tidy and efficient workstation? Now, you might be saying to yourself, “Janelle, everyone knows you’re a mess, there’s no way you keep ‘a tidy and efficient workstation,'” but I’m here to tell you that would be wrong! Somehow, that’s the one area I can keep neat. Probably mostly because there’s not a lot I need at my computer. My cubicle before, when I was working in an office, had more stuff from the person I shared it with, and now that I’m working from home, I haven’t put anything on there. I do often snack at my desk here at home, but I often get up and move away from the desk while I’m downloading a video or after I’ve finished a task and am ready to move on to a new one, so when I do that, I take any dishes or garbage with me. And I’m actually pretty good at keeping shared spaces clean–I have more consideration for the other person, so that’s incentive.
  2. In what way do you maintain positive relationships with others? So I’ve gotten kind of selective with who I spend my time with, for starters, and I don’t mean that in a crotchety, antisocial way. A couple times in my life, I’ve had to distance myself from people for my own good, and I just feel like there’s no reason for me to spend time with people who are difficult or negative or draining, or if have no choice, limit that time the best I can. And in some cases–my mother-in-law is a good example–tread carefully. Not like walking on eggshells or, like, being super fake, but being aware that I’m with someone who has a reputation for being difficult and using that to inform things like how much I say and what I say. I do think I need to be more up front with people who are problematic for me, though, but that said, I’m  easy to get along with, so from my end, I’m not being the kind of person I try to avoid, you know? Not everyone gets along, nobody’s perfect, there are always personality clashes, and there will always be people who don’t like me, but I’m not rude or disrespectful towards people and I don’t dominate conversations.
  3. What effort do you take to be punctual? One might argue zero, and that might be valid. I have trouble leaving on time, and the reason depends on the situation. Normally, it’s either I hit snooze too much on my alarm or it takes longer to get ready than I thought or a combination of both. However! Working from home, at least so far, has me in a good routine. I get up 20-30 minutes before my shift starts, boot up my computer, let it install updates while I eat breakfast, and I’ve been clocking in exactly on time for the last two weeks. That hasn’t happened probably since my first few weeks on the job.
  4. What are your strengths and challenges in communicating effectively? When I feel comfortable, I’m excellent at it. Like, communicating within my marriage? Nailed it. When I’m afraid of someone’s reaction–because more often than not, I don’t want a negative reaction, so I don’t speak up when I really, really should, which is bad–I tend to not communicate at all, or at least not initiate something. If I’m confronted, or really pissed off, I do okay. I can typically say what I feel I need to say but it comes out probably a little harsher than it would have otherwise.
  5. What will be your focus for growth in the coming year? Clearly, communicating better is one! Punctuality is another ongoing one, but at least when it comes to clocking in for work, I’m good. And I’ll throw in being cleaner and more organized–more space in the new house will help with that a lot, but I write this surrounded by unpacked boxes, so…

As always, from Friday 5.