Jennifer Ammoscato

Aspiring author. Successful chocoholic. Debut novel "Dear Internet: It's Me, Avery." May 2014

If this post sucks, it’s Google’s fault


I meant to write this blog post yesterday. Really, I did.

But I got sidetracked.

Writing, you see, is an intensive, sometimes soul-sucking process that requires focus, determination and, often, gallons of coffee.

(Or wine. Depending on the kind of writing you’re doing. And if you have a devil-may-care approach to things like typos. And consciousness)

Some days, the words flow like a fine merlot, rich and aromatic. And, yes, words can too be aromatic. “Wine” is a word and “word” is a word. It’s like in math where, if two things are equal, they’re the same. Go look it up.*

Which brings me to my point. Google has devised an evil plan to suck all of society’s energy into a black hole that’s linked to its search bar.

It starts harmlessly enough. You start by looking up how to bake a cheesecake and end up searching for “twerking”.

Seriously! It was the most Googled term of 2013. Really, people. What’s to become of us? I fully believe that, when some alien race finds the smoking ruins of our planet in a few million years, they’ll be able to trace its demise to YouTube videos of “What the Fox Said” and a total lack of attention to the meteor that was headed our way.

So, it’s not surprising that, when I’m casting about for writing inspiration, the siren call of the search bar instead lures me down the following road:

Lazy, Distracted Mind: “Writing’s hard. Wouldn’t you rather watch ‘House of Cards’?”

Responsible, Focused Mind: “We’ll watch it after writing our blog.”

Lazy, Distracted Mind: “But Netflix just released all the episodes. We’ve waited soooo long. We could binge on it and M&Ms. And maybe some salt and vinegar chips.”

Responsible, Focused Mind: “Salt and vinegar chips sound good. But, no! We need to buckle down and get it done.”

Lazy, Distracted Mind: “Hey, what movie did Kevin Spacey win the Oscar for?”

Responsible, Focused Mind: “I don’t remember.”

Lazy, Distracted Mind: “Let’s look it up.”

Responsible, Focused Mind: “Fine! It was ‘American Beauty’. Happy now?”

Lazy, Distracted Mind: “Look, it says he named his dog ‘Boston’? Doesn’t Matt Damon come from there?”

Responsible, Focused Mind: “Um, I think so.”

Lazy, Distracted Mind: “Wouldn’t it be nice to visit Boston. Let’s check out flights.”

Responsible, Focused Mind: “We have to write and then start dinner.”

Lazy, Distracted Mind: “Boston cream pie sounds good right now.”

Responsible, Focused Mind: “I’ll look up the recipe and go to the store.”

Lazy, Distracted Mind: “Don’t forget the M&Ms.”

And that, people, is why I’ll never win the Nobel prize for literature.

Thanks for nothing, Google.

*Did you look it up? If you did, you know that I was referring to Euclid’s Elements, Book 1, Common Notions #1 “Things which equal the same thing also equal one another.” Of course, I believe Euclid was talking about numbers, not adjectives, but whatever. Don’t you feel smarter now?

What was the last thing you looked up on Google? (And, for God’s sake, use some decorum people. Some of us may be eating dinner (or salt and vinegar chips) while reading and don’t want our appetites ruined.)

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A Valentine’s Conversation in Bizarro World

Let me start by saying that I love my husband with all my heart. And, in the event of his demise, I will have an alibi.

A few days ago, we were enjoying a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner when, apropos of nothing (okay, it may have been the wine), I told him that when the end is near for me, I could helpfully arrange for him to join me in the afterworld.

“Because I know you wouldn’t want to go on without me,” I pointed out.

“What are you saying?”

“Maybe I could bake you a nice cake with a little something in it.”

“I don’t think so.”

“But why would you want to live without me?”

“I did before. I’m sure I’ll be fine,” he replied, and resumed eating his appetizer.

I can’t say that it didn’t hurt.

Yes, I did propose what some might call an involuntary arrangement for departing the earth (okay, murder, if you want to get technical), but if he really loved me, he’d be right on board.

Isn’t that the way it goes in all the great romances? Look at Romeo and Juliet. Would it still be considered a classic if those crazy kids had just run off to Palermo instead of making the supreme sacrifice for love? Of course not.

Maybe he just needed a little convincing, I reasoned.

“I’m sure you’ve told me at least once that you want to go first.”

“So you’re prepared to murder me?”

“I don’t think you’re looking at it from the right perspective.”

“I’m not going anywhere until the Brown’s win the Super Bowl.”

“Like that’s going to happen any decade soon.”

“I think they have a chance this year.”

I think he deserves to suffer without me.

I’ve heard of sweet, wonderful women who, when they know that they aren’t long for this earth, thoughtfully leave their husband little notes around the house as to how things work. Some even bestow their blessing on the soon-to-be-widower’s choice of a new mate. “You know, Morty, that Isabelle from up the street, I’ve seen her look at you. I think you’ve got a chance.”

I don’t think so.

If my husband won’t at least jump off the edge for me so I won’t be alone in the afterlife, then he can figure out where I hid the can opener. And the password for the checking account.

“You know you’re going to go first anyway,” I point out. “I’m way healthier than you.”

But if by any chance I’m out the door before him, there will be haunting.


Knives have no legs

My husband and I have the same favourite expression —“You knew who I was when you married me.”

This catch-all comes in particularly handy at those moments when we know that we’ve (he’s) slid back into the selves that we were (he was) before we got married.

You know, the self that leaves shoes next to the shoe closet but not inside the shoe closet.

The self that abandons a peanut butter-covered knife on the counter after the sandwich is made. (The knife does not have legs. If it had wits, it would be at the end of them trying to figure out how on earth it was going to cross the great divide between the counter and the dishwasher. With no legs!)

The reality is, I know that I married someone who could not care less if the clean laundry sits in the basket in the laundry room all week rather than in drawers and on hangers. (He is surprisingly adept at folding, though. Okay, he crushes it.)

And the love of my life is married to someone who can no more stand a drawer not shut all the way than she could… well just imagine the very worst thing you can think of and multiply it by a billion.

(Note: Seriously, I mean, why not just shut it all the way? It’s just a horrible accident waiting to happen. Someone could hit it with a hip and be maimed for life. Does he want to be responsible for that? And, more importantly, it doesn’t line up with all the nice, obedient closed drawers, and that drives me crazy.)

My husband knows perfectly well that, while I sometimes bitch about cleaning up after him, there’s a part of me that wants to. A sick part that takes joy in making glass table tops shiny, putting things back in their rightful place, and jumping up off the couch—apropos of nothing—to straighten a picture on the wall.

So, he can say things like, “I’d vacuum but I know you’d rather do it,” and he’s telling the truth.

Once in a while though…

This was an actual conversation on lovely Saturday evening after I returned from an afternoon out with a friend. (Well, it was kind of like this).

My husband: “Look, I cooked a wonderful dinner for you because I love you.”

Me: “Why didn’t you do the load of laundry that I left for you after I did the first three?”

My husband: “I didn’t know you wanted me too. But look, I slaved over a hot stove and created a life-changing meal for you because I love you.”

Me: “I thought it’d be obvious. The laundry room door was open. The clothes were left on the floor. In front of the washing machine.”

My husband: “Darling, I don’t always know what you expect. But look, people would pay big money for this meal that I cooked for you. Because I love you.” (Through gritted teeth).

Me: “What did I have to do? Put a sign on it? I mean, Jeez, what else could it have possibly meant?”

You can only push OCD girl so far.


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Don’t hate me, Siri!

I slept alone last night for the first time in ages.

I left my iPhone downstairs, you see.

When I stumbled up to bed, I had felt something wasn’t quite right. Exhausted, though, I ignored the utterly forlorn cry of my very soul and went to sleep.

I awoke in the wee hours and reached under my pillow to find…NOTHING!

I shook off my slumber and felt for it again, this time more frantically. My fingers hit the headboard without touching that familiar smooth, hard outline of my cell phone.

For a brief moment, I think I had the tiniest inkling of the sensation that people say that amputees can sometimes experience. Years after losing a limb, they insist that it aches and even itches. If I closed my eyes, I could almost feel my iPhone in my welcoming hand, ready to serve up my morning dose of CNN, the weather, Facebook and Gmail. Happy to even just tell me the time.

It must have been lonely there, downstairs on the coffee table, without my pillow keeping it warm. (I wonder if Siri hates me.)

There was no question of me staying asleep. I bounded down the stairs a scant few moments after realizing my tragic error. It was already 4:30 a.m. I felt so behind on the day’s current events. People Magazine’s website might have had breaking news about Justin Bieber spitting/egging/brawling. I berated myself with each step: My God! How could I have been so stupid!

In the still, dark living room, I found my iPhone right where I’d so thoughtlessly left it after falling asleep looking for deals on Groupon. It looked smudgier—and a little sadder—than I remembered. I lovingly wiped it with a special cloth I keep expressly for that purpose. I think Siri appreciated that.

I hope so.

I need directions later. I don’t want to end up in a bad neighbourhood because she’s feeling spiteful.

Do we have unhealthy relationships with our cell phones? Tell me what you think below.


Admit it. You watch the Super Bowl for the Ads

Is there a football game being played February 2?

I believe that some guy named Peyton Manning might be playing. It might be a championship. Who knows?

If the guys aren’t sharing facetime with the Audi “Doberhuahua” or the Matrix’ Morpheus driving a new Kia in one of the $8-million-a-minute TV ads, I won’t notice them.

First downs be damned. I’m one of the 46% of Canadians who will tune in to the Super Bowl to check out the advertisements, according to a Canadian Press poll. In fact, I’m worried the game might get in the way of that. Maybe I’ll head to the kitchen for a snack after each snap. Or check my Twitter feed for updates on the Puppy Bowl.

(Speaking of adorable canines, have you seen the Budweiser lab frolic with the Clydesdale? Come on, people. That’s freaking moving! Tears in my eyes, I tell you. Tears!)

What will Doritos do this year? Will mini Darth Vader be back? I love mini Darth Vader. I bookmarked that commercial. (Yes, I bookmark my favourite commercials. I am not a freak! I am literate. I know when to use “their”, “there’ and “they’re”.)

We want our entertainment in bits and bytes. Quick snap shots. 140 characters, baby! It’s no wonder we’re captivated by a 30-second ad that can make us laugh or cry. Or buy a luxury automobile.

Now excuse me while I go watch Doberhuahua on YouTube. It’s bookmarked 🙂

Okay. Tell me honestly, what are you looking forward to: the ads or the game? Do you have a favourite? Comment below.

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