123Valerie Strikes Again

Unprecedented Self-Indulgence.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Right, Then

The Scene: About 1:30 p.m., the April sun shines on a lush green lawn during the most perfect day imaginable.

123Valerie (a 12-oz. beer in her hands, SPF 45 on her face): So, how are things going with the 2007 International Boob Contest?

Matt: Well enough. I've got some real contenders.

123V: That's great. Do you have enough time to get to your hair appointment?

Matt: Yeah. So, hey, you know how you've made yourself really, really vulnerable by doing simple home recordings of some of your songs and sending them out to friends? You know--how you put your entire emotional well being on the line because you grew up believing that it was wrong to want to share your talents and be in the spotlight?

123V: Yeah, the songs where I said, "Hey, friends, I know the quality's not that good, so I need your help. I'm kind of raw, so please be gentle because I'm feeling a little shaky about this anyway?" Those songs?

Matt: Yeah, those. So, I mean you've got a great voice and all, but you've never had any training, right? It's kind of obvious because they're not really studio quality. They need some work. Um just saying.

123Valerie: ... (for once in her life, 123Valerie has nothing to say. Then it comes to her.) You're lucky you're so handsome or else it'd be, "Pow! Right in the kisser."

Alright my pretties, take a listen for yourself. As I said, I need some feedback, and, yes: I RECOGNIZE THESE ARE A WORK IN PROGRESS.


Friday, April 27, 2007

Jerry's Subs and Pizza: 1; 123Valerie: 0

It's a hard lesson to learn, but sometimes 12 inches is just too much.

Burf. The Beast and I just tangled. That bitch fights dirty--all teeth and nails.

So, hey. My intestines not-with-standing, I'm having an internal battle. I have a friend. He got fired from a job in less than flattering circumstances of his own doing. He's a bit of a mess and unlikely to get it together any time soon. He wants to borrow money.

For once in my life, I'm in a position to give some. And I'm fully aware it's a gift. Despite his assurances to the contrary, I know I'm not getting it back. My issue is not that he asked or in the giving or even the non-repayment. Money's only good for the good it can do.

But, I know it's not going to be used to buy a new interview suit or to keep the electric going or even for cable TV. His Mom will take care of that. But his family has learned not to give him cash because it will be spent on cigarettes and beer, two things that will decidedly NOT help him get back on his feet.

Now, the beer I can concede, but the cigarettes--well that's a whole 'nother messy story.

In the Comments section, tell me what you think I should do.


Wednesday, April 25, 2007

It's Gonna Take A Lot More Than Some Feng Shui to Straighten This Out

I'm having a hard time concentrating today. The state of my office may or may not have something to do with it.

I am sad to say that this is a pretty typical state of affairs. I have this notion that the messier my desk is, the more busy and important I look. Or, ya know, sloppy and disorganized. Whatevs. (By the way, I did not receive any monetary compensation from the fine folks who make Cheez-Its. But, I'm willing to pimp my blog out if they're interested.)

This is what I look at every day. The reflexology foot chart came from my Mom's office. She was a massage therapist for about 25 years, and it reminds me of her. Especially how she touched naked men's buttocks and such. It's nice to feel connected to her.

That sideways painting was done by my superiorly talented friend, Bonita. It is sideways because there was already one nail there, and I keep forgetting to have our building guys make another one. The girls down the hall say this lady looks like Donna in accounting. I've never met her, though, so I can't verify.

And yes, nerds, that's a Star Wars painting. I'm not a fan, but I like kitsch, as noted by the bowling plaque on the file cabinet ...

which is totally just for show. Shout out to #1Laura for the pack of Vernor's Ginger Ale. It's a Northern Ohio thing. You wouldn't understand.

This is my door. And these are the many notes I place on the outside of my door to explain why I am not in my office, including the "doctor's appointment," walking Wonder Dog Bean and picking up lunch from Moby Dick's.

Speak of the devil. Well, if loving kubideh and falafel is wrong, I don't want to be right. This is kind of command central. Even my to-do lists are chaotic. The Girl Scout cookies help, though.

So does my main man, Elvis.

Um, there's really no way to explain these. Your guess is as good as mine.

In the Comments section, tell me about your work space. The winner gets a can of Vernor's.


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

So, What You're Saying Is That You're Mad?

I'm generally pretty good about realizing when I piss people off.

One time, I ate JennyJenny8675209's leftover cheeseburger that she intended to give to Wonder Dog Bean. And, once when I was six I called my sister "thunder thighs" without realizing exactly what that meant. Then there was that time I fucked my ex-boyfriend's best friend.

Yeah. That was no good.

But, I understood that they were upset, which unwound me, and I did my best to make amends.

So, I was a little surprised today when I sent out a mass text message requesting some of my friends' e-mail addresses and recieved a hearty, "Fuck Off!" from an acquaintance.

Now, to be fair, this guy has a history of mental imbalance, as do most of my friends. But I honestly could not recall any trespass against him. Even Janee (accent above the final e) drew a blank.

Our connecting factor, though, was that he and I were regulars at my all-time favorite watering hole, Joseph's Bar and Grill on 6th Street in Canton, Ohio. It's affectionately known as Joe's to anyone who cares about it.

Point is, chances are good that the last time we saw each other, I was in the cups. But, I'm a very happy drunk, not one to start any rabble rousing, so it seems unlikely that I would have committed any offense deserving of a simple, solid, "Fuck Off!"


In the Comments section, tell me what you think I did. The winner gets a punch in the face from me. Just kidding--that's exactly what I DON'T do when I'm drinking. You're more likely to get a pat on the bottom.


Sunday, April 22, 2007

Folky Cold Medina

Would you look at that rack! Wow! I kinda look like I might kick your ass, no? The best part--that wasn't even my drink. I said, "Hey, Sam, give me your drink for this picture so I can look more badd ass."

And he did.

Yup. Two Ds. Kind of like me. Okay, I'm maybe a C+.

In any case, it was a great weekend kids, it surely was. JennyJenny8675309 had a horse show today, so I got to watch her do her stuff, jumping around. I went through about a gallon of sunscreen, but it was worth it to see her decked out in her riding gear. That is such a good look, ya'll. And I love any sport where a riding crop is required, know what I'm sayin'?

Also, our good friends, The Pendelstews, had a BBQ and there was some good, clean Cornholing happening. I flirted mercilessly with an Irishman who told me I was a "fine lass, a very fine lass indeed."

"Ya nearly made me forget me girlfriend," he said to me.

Thanks ... Hey wait a minute. "You have a girlfriend? Why did we just spend the past hour-and-a-half snuggling in the kitchen?"

"Aw, right. Sure. Ya, of course ya might be wantin' ta know 'bout thaht no-ow doooon't ya? Well, you're just soooo bloody captivating, I couldn't help meself."

Oh, very well then. One can't help being captivating. I bid him goodnight with a hug and an offer to look me up if he ever drops the bitch. Actually, I'm quite certain she's a loverly girl. I try not to roll that way.

Meself, I've have been captivated by my recording gear. After a false start, I am well on my way to creating a full libary of my whiskey-infused songs and covers that don't make a whole lot of sense. (Pop me an e-mail on the V-line if you're interested: 123Valerie at gmail.com. I'll send you some.)

Speaking of whiskey and nonsense, it's time for bed.

In the Comments section, tell what you did this weekend.


Wednesday, April 18, 2007


Because I have dived (deeved? diven? doven?) head first into online dating, I frequently chat with folks in whom I have no real interest.

Thus, my chatbox--is that a real word? Sounds gross--is filled with one-time chatters' and would-be lovers' screen names, along with my favorite folks.

Every time I look at my screen, it reminds me of the countless times I have struck out in matters of the heart. Yet, I can't bring myself to erase their weird, misguided names.

Click on the image to enlarge (If only it were that easy in real life!) and see if you can figure out with whom I tried to sleep and who is just a friend. In many cases, there's no wrong answer! It'll be fun.

In the Comments section, tell me your screen name. Even better: Be brave like Es Locura and send an e-mail to 123Valerie (at) gmail. com.

I do bite, but only on your inner thighs, where no one will see the bruises.


Monday, April 16, 2007

Boldly Going Where Most of Ya'll Went Several Years Ago

This is going to get ugly, my pretties.

I finally broke down and got a digital camera. It's 2004, for crying out loud. Time to get with it.

Wait? It's 2007 already? When did that happen? Oh, man. So, are you telling me that Sugar Ray isn't cool anymore? Damn.

Well, nothing helps me get over disappointment better than a bubble bath. And a beer.

See my second toe on my right foot? It's a little bit crookedy because, when I was 12, I kicked Jonathan Davis in the shin for calling me a bitch. Not the singer from Korn. That would be a good story. No, just a neighbor kid.

See, without this new fangled technology, I would never think to tell ya'll about that. You kids are in for a treat if I ever start popping out chil'rens.

In the Comments section, tell me about something that you just bought. I also bought a brand new microphone and some recording gear, but one thing at a time. I'm going to make some meatballs.


Thursday, April 12, 2007

It's Not Me; It's You

I'm a good breaker-upper. I really am.

I have a fool-proof method, provided you're attracted to men with penises.

I'm so sorry this isn't going to work out. Your penis is just too big. It's painful for me, literally, but I have to walk away.

That's how it's done. Feel free to use that. None of this, "I just don't think we're a good fit. I don't have a lot of time right now. I'm freaked out because you're missing a pinky toe."

Nope. Just let them down while building them up. Dude thinks he has a huge wang, and I get away scott free.

I recently had a situation at work that was similar to a break up. I've accepted another position within the company for all of the right reasons: more moola, better title, less hours. But, having to tell my boss was a little like saying, "Yeah ... it's not me; it's you."

Awkward! Weird! It made my tummy all fizzy. I had palm sweat. But, it had to be done. My new co-workers are going to put "123Valerie, Superstar" on the name plate for my office.

My first choice was, "123Valerie: She has a great rack." But, we all decided that it might work better on my new business cards.

In the Comments section, tell me about a bold move you've made lately. OR what you want on the name plate for your office. The winner gets to help me with my yard work (Megan Jane's gonna appreciate that one.)

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Shirl Thing

There are periods in my life that even my family knows nothing about.

I once lived with a woman named Shirl, who was my cosmetology instructor's weed dealer.

As I was wrapping a perm on my mannequin, I told my teacher, Tanda, that I needed a new place to live. She brought up Shirl as a possible solution: "Uh, they's a friend 'a mine needs a roommate. She's kewl. She gets me my green. Don't tell nobody. You need to be wrapping them rods tighter."

Shirl was 32, and I was 18ish. "Hey, girl!!!!!!" Shirl blared when I walked in to inspect the place [a trailer in Statesville, NC. There was a lot of brown and burnt umber in the decor. Go ahead, judge.]

"You wanna get high?" Shirl asked me. Then, the 5' 1" brunette with a shaggy haircut licked my neck and nuzzled her face in my boobs; she was feeling mighty fine from the hit of X she took prior to my arrival.

"Oh no, thank you. That's nice of you, though," I answered.

It was a match made in heaven because I didn't want to smoke any of Shirl's stash, and she was desperate for a roommate to fund her pain pill addiction with the $125 monthly rent. Yup. $125.

"Girl, you kewl. You can stay if ya want to," Shirl declared. "But, just so you know, I got me a boyfriend. Girl, he's 22, and he can fuck all night loooooooooooooooong."

"Oh, that's good," I said. "I'm just gonna look around. Which one would be my room?"

Shirl offered me the one with the refrigerator.

"The kitchen? You want me to sleep in the kitchen? Maybe, um, do you have a room with a bed?"

"Aw, fuck yeah. My bad, girl. There's that one up there," she pointed to the front of the trailer and rubbed my face. "You want a back rub, girl?"

I declined. The room, only mildly inhabited by spiders and mildew, was sadly up to my standards. I moved in a three days later.

When not selling weed to cosmetology teachers and high school students, Shirl worked at a local factory for 12-hour shifts. To comply with the regular drug tests, she frequently snuck condoms full of urine in her underpants--to keep them close to body temperature, of course. She bought them from her preacher's wife, who did what she could to help the fold.

Now, Shirl was dangerous and dumb and drugged up, but she did invite me to spend Thanksgiving with her family. They were more hospitable than you might expect and got 123V snockered--SNOCKERED!--in complete defiance of the law.

"You're only 18? Well hell, if you'll cut my hair for free, we got two bottles of Mad Dog with your name on 'em!" her Dad boomed.

Still, six weeks down the road, as I bumbled out of bed at 7 a.m. to make my morning cosmotolegy classes, I walked into the bathroom to find Shirl's 22-year-old boyfriend and his friend, DeeKay, smoking crack seated on the floor next to the toilet.

"Hey, 123Val. Go on and get you a shower. We don't mind," DeeKay politely said.

"Oh, no, that's okay, maybe if you can just hand me my toothbrush, that'd be kewl," I asked.

Then I promptly packed up my mannequin, my perm rods and my porn and left Shirl's place.

God, I miss her.

Hey! We haven't had a picture of my boobs in a while (Thanks Kristin!):

In the Comments section, tell me about your own personal Shirl. The winner gets two bottles of Mad Dog.


Monday, April 09, 2007

Okay, Universe, You Win

Kids, there have been more than a few shake-ups this weekend. I'm feeling kind of lost at the moment.

Let's do this:

In the Comments section, give me the best piece of advice you ever got. About anything. Maybe something will apply to my situations. Yes. Plural. Situations.


Thursday, April 05, 2007

For Winter

This is recycled writing from my real (i.e., non-Interweb) life. I apologize but, I am swamped. Still, I hate to let down my fan(s):

Stage Dive Bomb: A Terrifying Tale of Stage Fright

For the record, I am a talented songstress. I feel it in my core. Not only do I know it with every fiber of my being, I know it with every fiber of everyone else's being. That's how self-assured I am of my ability to sing and write and reasonably lump along with my guitar accompaniment.

I don't say this out of ego or blind self-aggrandizement, either. I can back up the claim. My manly, rough-and-tumble friend Jason cries when I sing. My brother-in-law John regularly calls to holler above the din of some mega-talented female singer/songwriter's concert, "It should be you up there."

In the midst of a particularly ugly scene during which an ex-boyfriend dropped off a collection of my things that had accumulated at his place, I noticed that my poorly-recorded demo tapes and CDs were missing from the box. His explanation: "I hate you, but goddamn, I love your voice."

I've heard enough similar sentiments over the years to finally build up my reserve of confidence when it comes to my musical endowment. So why, oh why, do I find it nearly impossible to perform in front of a live audience? Whether it's three people or three million, I become powerless with fear. I shake. My stomach gurgles uncontrollably. My throat feels like I swallowed a cup of sand.

When I'm about to take the stage (or the campfire or the living room—venue makes no difference), I have to plea bargain with my bladder to remain under control. "Okay, I swear if you let me get through this without peeing my pants, I will never, EVER drink coffee again. I promise."

In the past, I used to try and plow through the panic with copious amounts of bourbon. I found, however, it impeded my efforts to remember little things like chords, lyrics and my name.

I tried more holistic approaches with gentle kava kava tea and lavender oil. I even tried to use healing gemstones; the citrine and amethyst were my favorite to meditate with, but I quickly clogged the stones with my negative energy, and they're still awaiting a cleansing bath, along with my laundry.

When I'm alone, I kick and strut and belt out songs with a rabid fierceness reserved for ancient mating rituals. But, in the presence of even the most supportive crowd, I can barely croak, and I have a hard time hitting the simple one-fingered E7 chord.

Growing up, I wasn't all that involved in music. My sister, Maryann, was the family diva and took the lead roles in every community play and choir show within a 50-mile radius. Each time we’d load up the family to go watch another of her performances, my dad would shake his head and sigh, “I just don’t understand why she needs so much attention.” I quickly learned that there was barely room for even one superstar in our family.

I did play the xylophone in grade school band, but only because my friend Megan Jane and I got to stand in the back next to the cute drummers. Every once in a while, we'd assert our presence with an elegant ding, but for the most part, no one counted on us to keep the rhythm or melody going. I easily slipped into musical laziness.

Later, when I realized that I had a true, if undeveloped, passion for music and songwriting, I sadly let the familiar musical languor take over. I hooked up with a couple of killer guitar players, sang their mediocre tunes and fooled myself into believing that I was content as the "sidechick" in a few of un-dynamic duos.

Much discontent and awkwardness later ("It's not you, it's me. I just don't like the songs you write. I don't want to sing them anymore."), I finally realized that my path to artistic happiness was independence. I worked on my songs, and in turn the thought of playing live (by myself!) worked on my nerves. I wrote songs about writing songs that I couldn't perform for people.

A chance to break from fear's cunning chains came in the form of a local singer/songwriter contest for original compositions.

I entered a similar competition before with one of the aforementioned partners, and we did well enough for complete amateurs, placing third out of 30 contestants. I was thrilled, he was not. That sparked the end of our collaboration and the beginning of my self reliance. It also had something to do with him falling frenetically in love with me and writing thinly-veiled ballads about it. It's an odd sensation to sing a love song, and not a particularly good song either, written about oneself. I don't know how Stevie Nicks did it.

I saw an advertisement for the contest and debated endlessly about entering. I lost sleep. I gained weight. I wasn't ready. Surely, I wasn't ready. Never mind that the neighbors would come out and listen on the lawn when I played with my windows open. (I didn't know this until I was moving out, when they stopped by to tell me how disappointed they were that the concerts were ending. Otherwise, I could never have practiced so openly. I'm much more careful now, I'm afraid.)

Finally, in a desperate fit, I filled out the entry form. I had a slot. The first slot. Oh boy.

I practiced manically. I rehearsed my stage shtick. I went to the coffee shop where the contest was to be held and tried to read the building's vibe. I asked the guy with a scraggly beard behind the counter if the contest was affiliated with any churches or other organizations I should be mindful of.

"No, man. Just do your thing," he assured.

The night came, and I was ready. Mostly ready for it to be over, but ready none-the-less. I didn't invite anyone to watch. I expected it would be easier in front of strangers, but I realized my mistake when I entered and felt colossal gratitude for recognizing the guy with the scraggly beard.

I meditated. I drank. I chewed gum. I shook. I prayed. I peed a lot. As first up, I knew I was in a precarious position, so I gave it everything I had. We each showcased two songs, and I picked two of my favorite bluesy, folksy, rocky, spirited pieces about boys, and drinking, and rolling around in the hay with boys while drinking. I was raucous, crass and classy all at once. Planted in the stool, I felt my musical soul soar.

I finished up the short set, walked off stage to a wave of hoots and hollers, and all I could focus on was the bile and saliva collecting in my mouth. I walked by the judges, and one of the women stopped me.

"Oh my Gosh! You have such a beautiful voice! You could bring so many people to the Lord if you just sang the right songs," she praised.

Huh? What? The Lord? Who?

It turns out Scraggly Beard was wrong. The contest was sponsored and judged by a Christian music store. I deflated. The clever songs about boys and drinking and hay most certainly were not what they had in mind.

I had about 40 opportunities to listen to the kind of material they were looking for--love songs about seeing Jesus in the beauty of your girlfriend's face and trying to stay true to the righteous path. Lovely sentiments, for sure, but the acts mentioned in my songs broke at least six commandments.

I still took fourth place, even with my devil music, but the lesson I learned that night is no matter how prepared you are, you will always end up looking foolish.

And a fear of looking foolish, I believe, is the root of stage fright. It's intensely personal to bare your songs and your soul on a stage. It's frightening to think that the people you're sharing with won't understand your message, or worse, won't like it.

So, while I can attest to the fact that I am talented, I will never, ever believe that I won't look foolish. No amount of praise can help me overcome that. It's going to take complete abandonment of caring about the opinions of others. Therein lies my problem, and the reason that dear friends who have known me for years, to whom I would willingly give both kidneys, have yet to hear me sing and play my own material.

When I sit and practice in seclusion, I often wonder who the bigger fools are: Those who chase their dreams and take the proverbial stage dive only to bomb, or those of us who sit at home and write songs about it.

In the Comments Section, tell what you're afraid of.


Tuesday, April 03, 2007


I eat a lot of peanuts at work, which is admittedly unremarkable, except that I am messy. Not the shells—I'm mindful of those because our cleaning staff works hard enough as it is.

No, not the shells, but those little reddish paper peanut jackets are what gets me in trouble. I guess they're called skins if we're being technical. Are we being technical? I don't really like that. But, okay, the skins get everywhere—on my keyboard, on my chair, on the floor and, of course, on me, which means I track them everywhere I go. Our nice cleaning staff probably has to clean up my peanut paper skins from the restroom. I feel bad about that.

In any case, Megan Jane and I determined a long time ago that our favorite peanuts were the shrively, burnt ones that taste just a little bit like dirt. There's something very appealing about the earthiness. It makes me feel connected to the universe.

Okay, this has gotten out of hand and kind of new age-y. I simply wanted to write that sometimes it's not the "thing" (i.e. the peanut) that causes all of the trouble; it's a small part of the "thing" (i.e. the peanut paper skins).

Same holds true for my life. It's not the overall "me" that brings me trouble. It's that small part of "me" that insists I open up my big, fat mouth until every last fleeting thought has come out ALL OF THE DAMN TIME. I think I may have said too much to the guy that I said I wasn't going to talk about.

I always do that. I can't ever leave it at, "We'll just take things as they come." I have to add on, "And by come, I mean it would be awesome if we slept together sometimes whilst you're working out stuff on your end because I am one horny devil, yessiree."

Le sigh.

"No couth, Valerie Joyce," my Mom used to say.

"Damnit, Val," is what I am saying.

The boy I am not talking about hasn't said anything yet.

In the Comments section, tell me your favorite snack. I need to get my mind off of my verbal faux pas.

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Monday, April 02, 2007

What's Cooking

My Step Mom was my age when she married my Dad, who at the time was 14 years her senior, twice divorced and had three daughters. It pretty much gave me free reign to bring home anyone I wanted henceforth.

In any case, because she was a fairly young career woman when they married, my Step Mom could run an entire office, but there were certain domestic chores at which she wasn't very adept, namely cooking.

One time, she made a pot of chicken and dumplings. I say "dumplings," but really, they were gigantic dough balls that swelled and rose above the pot, bubbling over so much they pushed the lid off. The dumplings actually gurgled and hissed as they grew, releasing gasses and fumes from the reaction.

We tried to gag down the floury pillows, but finally my Dad just threw the leftovers over the ravine behind our house, because, when you live in Ohio, you throw garbage into the woods to save paying for the trash service.

The next day, there was a raccoon lying on our front walk, bloated and squishy, with a tell-tale crust of dough framing its dirty, little mouth. It had eaten the "dumplings," and its insides exploded.

Do I have a point? No. Well, kind of.

I am the raccoon, and online dating is the dumpling that's going to kill me. But I hope to die satisfied and full, my pretties.

I did meet one I like. A lot. His heart is tender, though, and he's not "looking for anything." He also might be moving away--perfect for a nurturing, commitment phobe, gypsy like myself! I also think he's a vegetarian, though he's never said so. However, I'm taking a cue from Hey Pretty, and I'm going to keep this one to myself for now.

But, you can bet your bippy that if he makes my insides explode, you'll hear all about it.

How have your allergies been, my pretties? I hear that every seven years, your body changes its chemical makeup, so you may notice that your allergies weren't as bad as they were last year.

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