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Jen and Carolyn in LA (long-lost envelope edition)

January 6, 2008

I am going through some old paperwork, and found an envelope from the Ford Great Escape, an experience I blogged about during which comedian Carolyn Castiglia and I were flown out to LA by the Ford Motor Company to drive Ford Escapes and get wined and dined, following which we came back home and blogged about it a lot (photo by Carolyn, via timer).

Carolyn and I were in the car and she was driving, and I said something she thought was funny, and she demanded I write it down, so it ended up on this envelope. The conversation reads:

Jen: It’s a system of checks and balances. While you represent unfettered creativity, I represent German efficiency.

Carolyn: Are you German?

Jen: No, i just felt like I needed an adjective.

Ford blogger event: things you can do in a Ford Escape

August 16, 2007

I’m still wrapping up my blog coverage of my last trip, when Ford sent me and 16 other bloggers to LA and let us drive Ford Escapes around.

When I entered my “cabana room” at the Hotel Roosevelt, I laughed… because I wouldn’t be having sex in this room — and just look at it! It’s clearly for having sex in. The lights didn’t even turn all the way up — the dimmers went from “pitch black” to “sexy.” Mandatory mood lighting!

Okay, I totally didn’t photograph the space-age lamps and exposed concrete. I think I already said this on the blog, but I finally pegged the look as “sex cabana … in SPACE!”

I didn’t mean to give my entire blog audience a come-hither look. That’s just wrong.

I perused the Ford Escape product literature on the way home. It was in my goodie bag along with the snacks (and an unfortunate butter knife — scroll down for that one).

It’s weird trying to sell SUVs to young hipsters who care about the environment. You can give them iPod hookups:

But also assure them that’s it’s okay to drive over as much of nature as possible, as long as you are not leaving greenhouse gases behind:

Of course, most SUVs are, in practice, driven by soccer moms, who do precious little offroading.

Is it even legal to drive a car off the road? How would you know who has the right of way?

The other New York bloggers and I had a brief discourse about the merits of driving versus the subway. In my book, driving’s primary advantage is that you can leave things — for instance, a gym bag — in your car, and then you can go to the gym anytime you want without having to lug the bag around all damn day. Or, for instance, if you purchased a new trash can and then wanted to go to the gym, or a restaurant, you could just leave the trash can in the car, rather than trying to stuff your new possession in a gym locker or discreetly stack your purse and packages near your restaurant chair.

The discussion quickly devolved into whether the subway would be improved by the addition of cupholders. Ford Escapes most certainly have cupholders, whereas the train has homeless people (often holding cups).

Ford blogger event: the butterknife incident

August 11, 2007

Carolyn, here looking confused on a Delta flight, has begun posting about our trip to LA, in which the Ford company put us up in the Hotel Roosevelt, carted us around Hollywood, and sent us off in Ford Escapes to sightsee in unusual ways.

Here is an unflattering picture of me in a Ford Escape. All photos from here on will be snatched off Carolyn’s blog, because I didn’t bring a camera.

You can’t tell here, but the upholstery is made of recycled post-industrial waste. Specifically, the bits of plastic made in the plastic factory that get cut off and fall on the floor while plastic water bottles are being made.

Carolyn’s airline jeremiad reminded me of the thing that happened to me on the way back from LA:

I’m at LAX, going through security, congratulating myself on being such a seasoned traveler. My shoes (flats, easy to get on and off) are in a bin along with a plastic bag containing sub-three-ounce containers of lotion, lip gloss, and mascara, my laptop is in another bin, and none of the snack items packed in my purse could remotely qualify as a forbidden “gel.”

(Last time I flew, I became very angry at the large woman from TSA who confiscated my 20-grams-of-protein, ultra-low-carb, 100 calories of Sylvester Stallone-endorsed can of chocolate protein pudding. But I digress).

The guy operating the conveyor belt stops the belt with my bag — the goody bag I had received from Ford, containing a Ford travel mug, t-shirts, and all manner of snacks — inside the x-ray chamber. He calls over another guy to look at the monitor. The second guy is a sort of policeman-looking dude with a mustache. He pulls me and the bag aside, reaches in, and pulls out a knife.

I stammer. And — as you ought know by now — I rarely stammer.

“That’s not mine!” I say. “I mean, this is a goody bag from Ford. Ford gave it to me.”

“You mean you don’t know who packed your bag?!


He runs his finger up and down the serrated edge. It’s a butter knife. He shrugs. “I don’t have a problem with this,” he said.

I joke weakly, trying to establish rapport: “Unless I’m going to butter someone to death.” (Dying last words: “I can’t believe it WAS butter!”)

Finally I remember having taken my bags into the hotel diner that morning, sat on a tall stool at the counter with my bags on the floor below me, and opened a bundle of silverware wrapped in a cloth napkin — flinging the silverware everywhere. It was a little embarrassing, so I pretended it never happened and grabbed the next roll of silverware, which I unwrapped more carefully. Why did I have to fling a knife into my bag rather than, say, a spoon? No one questions a spoon.

Once I realize this, I explain to the TSA officer why I had the Hotel Roosevelt diner’s knife (even though he has already given me permission to proceed, knife in hand).

“It’s a good thing you didn’t have the steak and eggs,” he says.

Ford blogger event: wrap-up still coming

August 8, 2007

Other bloggers from the event have posted photosets, but Carolyn and I like to take our time. (Insert joke about available diversions in Amsterdam).

Somewhere in Carolyn’s camera is a photo of me doing the “crane pose” on top of a Ford Escape.


Ford blogger event: taste the glamour!

August 5, 2007

To recap, I was selected as one of 17 bloggers to be flown to LA for a promotional event having to do with the Ford Escape, as part of a campaign regarding the deleterious effects of boredom.

This is me chilling with some bloggers in the penthouse of the Hotel Roosevelt.

And on the roof. The two guys to my left are from UCB sketch group Elephant Larry.

“Hey Carolyn, now that we are observing the filming of a Ford commercial on a ‘dude ranch’ themed film set, would you like to dance like lesbians?”

“Why yes, Jen, yes I would.”
I am available for further blogger promotions at any time. Just call my agent.

Ford blogger event: brief update

August 2, 2007

Carolyn and I saw David Arquette and drove a Ford Escape a lot. There was a nude photo shoot in the hotel pool this morning. Later we drove to an Old West movie set to watch a Ford commercial being filmed. Being on a film set reminded me that even big stars have to pee in trailers. And live in trailers. Brad and Angelina? Got together in a trailer. That sounds kind of seedy now, doesn’t it?

The vegan hotdog at Pink’s contains no hot dog whatsoever (only toppings), which is very vegan-circa-1991. Carolyn donated her small stuffed Kermit the Frog* to a small child at Pink’s. I kept mine because I’m selfish that way. Selfish for the plushies.

Tomorrow I fly back to New York and Carolyn flies to Amsterdam. In two weeks, I leave for Iraq. When Carolyn and I parted half an hour ago in the Hotel Roosevelt hall, she said “Have fun in Iraq,” and I said “No one has ever said that before.”

I shall post pictures as soon as Carolyn uploads them.

* Kermit sold out to Ford. Hybrid SUV = green, get it? Also, Kermit likes the green, if you know what I mean. You should see the commercials that dude does in Japan.

Ford blogger event: parties are better with palm trees

August 1, 2007

I am in Los Angeles for the Ford blogger event (see previous post), staying in the legendary Roosevelt Hotel, in a cabana room right off the pool, and by “pool,” I mean “expanse of water with a DJ stationed at one corner and around which people are sitting on swanky pool furniture and sort of dancing with their upper bodies to INXS’ greatest hits.”

It is fabulous.

However, the Ford Motor Company has flown a bunch of bloggers into LA … and gotten them mostly too drunk to blog.

Carolyn Castiglia is with me (along with a couple of sketch comedians from Elephant Larry). If you give Carolyn enough free drinks, she says things like “Dude, that palm tree is fuckin’ awesome.

Ford has hooked me up with booze and a porn cabana.
Thanks, blog readers, for making this dream possible!
LA is sweet. How does anyone get any work done here?
How is everyone not pulling a Lindsay Lohan?
New to-do list: buy hybrid SUV, LA apartment,
fake tits, home tanning bed, coke habit.
I’ve been informed that the minibar is fair game. Ooh, now the DJ is playing Justin Timberlake! I’m going to sleep with my balcony door open … it will be as though I have passed out at the party, except on a cushy hotel bed, next to a porno-style faux bearskin rug.

My hotel room looks like what a porn set would look like if pornos had bigger budgets and more taste, and were also set simultaneously in the seventies and in the future, and next to beaches … in space.

Off to wash down a $9 Dean and Delucca Rice Krispie Treat with Veuve Cliquot,

How to Get Free PR from (note: I am persuaded by automobiles, compliments, and the likelihood of fruit plates)

July 27, 2007

Aww … after I wrote a post for Jewcy about Flocabulary, one of the authors sent me a nice email.

Go here to read the original post.

It’s nice when you post something and two seconds later someone forwards it to the subject of the post and then that person writes to you. By you, I mean me. Because having people I like contact me is really the entire point of the Jenisfamous Maelstrom of Words Put Together in a Particular Order to Have a Particular Effect.

I should start writing posts like “Jackie Chan can jump really high” and see if, the next day, I get an email from Jackie Chan.

On a related note, Ford’s PR firm is flying me out to LA for a behind-the-scenes tour of the show On the Lot, which is a reality show (sponsored by Ford) about filmmakers. (Hmmn, I wonder if that means I get to hang with Spielberg?)

As part of the deal, I also get “complimentary use of Ford Escape during stay, with all the fun LA locations programmed in GPS.” There was also something about a “road rally.” I don’t even know what that is.

Apparently a Ford Escape is a hybrid SUV. So I get to drive something enormous without feeling bad about it!

Obviously, I’ll keep you updated via the blog. Because that, of course, is the entire point of large corporations putting me up in nice hotels and giving me backstage passes.

Update: I’ve been informed in the comments that not all Escapes are hybrids. Well … the GPS device in the car should cause me to get lost less, which certainly saves gas and reduces greenhouse emissions. Also cuts down on global swearing.