With Food Sex or Cars now in the rearview for 2010, we turn toward closing out the year which means going to some our stock articles until the end of the year. We plan to look back at the year that was, writing one big old obituary for all the celebrities we lost, and tackling once again the red and green menace that insists upon your attention like the demanding mistress it is.

But before we get there – it is only the second week of December after all – here are five random things deserving comment that I can’t figure out how to weave into a cohesive narrative.

1. Pinkberry

You may remember last March in Happy Friday #84 when we linked to an article announcing that Denver was getting its own Pinkberry. Then again, considering it was one entry out of 13 from about 9 months ago, I’m not surprised if you don’t.

Anyway, since I’ve had this entire week off (more on that later), I’ve spent my time catching up on sleep, getting a few things done around the house, and making impromptu trips to Fort Collins and Dave & Buster’s in the middle of the day. It’s been spectacular. If you haven’t played Pop-a-shot at 2:30 on a Wednesday recently or sat in the tasting room of New Belgium Brewery in the middle of the day with the hipster employees and a bunch of college kids who dress like shit recently, I highly recommend doing so.

One of the trips I made was to Pinkberry as I hadn’t gotten around to trying it yet. Naturally, I got the “Dana White” which is original flavor with Fruity Pebbles on top since I’d likely let him put a baby in me if he so desired (and that shit were possible). Your first bite of Pinkberry is… disorienting. It’s really fucking tart and you expect it have the same texture as soft serve ice cream, but it’s more like regular yogurt. You think you sort of hate it about five bites in.

But you persevere because the Fruity Pebbles taste awesome, which isn’t surprising because I’d bet Fruity Pebbles would taste awesome on anything, including mashed potatoes. And then the tartness grows on you. And then your whole mouth is cold. And then you’re shoveling spoonfuls of this shit after each other like a craven meth head. And then you’re done and you want some more. But you don’t because you’re not a totally freaky fruitcake.

The lesson: Eating Pinkberry for the first time starts out sort of awkward, gradually grows on you, then turns totally righteous and all-consuming, and finally ends with an odd feeling of shame mixed with the desire to do it again. It’s sort of like getting all coked up and blowing a dude in a bathroom. Ergo, highest recommendation!

2. Iron Man

We finally got Netflix on demand hooked up to our Wii which means we have movies at the ready at all times, which is good because between our extensive DVD and VHS collections, more than 500 cable channels, Comcast OnDemand and a whole life full of friends, I was worried Lady E and I were going to get bored.

I finally got around to seeing Iron Man. Yes, I’m two years late on this. And yes, I’m fighting a cold and fell asleep with about 35 minutes left to go in the movie. But still, holy shit. This movie is awesome. I have no idea what took me so fucking long to see it. You all already know this, but Iron Man kicks fucking ass.

3. Kay Jewelers

Since I haven’t heard anyone bellow “He went to Jared!” in a very long time, I can only assume that someone tied Jared to a chair and stuck his head in the oven until he couldn’t sell jewelry anymore. Which, by the way, we’re all thankful for. But like every awful advertising paradigm, you lose one awful set of commercials, and there’s another one right there ready to take its place as the token “How many times a day can your television annoy the shit out of you?” ad campaign that drives you up a fucking wall.

In the one that’s currently serving as Lady E’s and my favorite object of ridicule, some greasy-haired chach takes his old lady up to his cabin where there’s a storm a-brewin’. He notes that he’s “never seen a storm like this,” and just then the thunder crashes, his girl, apparently possessing the same emotional maturity and reactions as your cat, turns to his arms where he coos “I’m right here…” and then wait for it, because here comes the cheese, “and I always will be” as he unsheathes a strategically placed box filled with some piece of crap diamond on a rope that she swoons for. The announcer that exposits the design and the cost, and we return to her looking all humid in her pants as she throws her arms around him and says, “Don’t let go… ever.” Every kiss begins with Kay, motherfucker! Then, presumably off-screen, they have lightning sex and he makes a map of Hawaii all over her back.

These commercials are all schmaltz of the highest order that don’t promote romance any more than competitive eating promotes fine dining. It’s manufactured sentiment designed to placate a reprehensible industry and encourages you to buy sentiment rather than make any real connection. And the acting always aspires to community theater level.

However, as a way to get a nice hate lather going, these commercials are really without peer. And for that reason, I hope they never let go… ever. Every kiss begins with Kay!

4. This American Life

I used to think I wanted to be an event planner for a living. Then I planned a bunch of events and realized what a thankless, stressful, ulcer-inducing job it really is. I guarantee that at every event you’ve ever attended, some poor sap is having a heart attack over some trivial aspect of the event that some other asshole is probably yelling at him about. Event planning and execution takes a very specific type of person, and I’ve come to realize that person is not me.

However, hi, I’m in public relations, I’d be happy to plan this event for your company! Just let me grab my cyanide capsules that are placed under the tongue like so, and I’ll be right with you.

So  I spent the last several months planning a large event for one of my clients that recently ended. I didn’t sleep for shit during those months as I couldn’t turn my brain off and continuously dreamt about dealing with the caterer, our various team members, and agonizing over all the minutia that goes into pulling one of these things off. I had a hard time making the noise go away and felt like I was on the verge of a panic attack at least a few times per week.

It was a welcome relief when I found “This American Life” on podcast as it was one of the only things that got my brain to shut down for an hour and I could just sit and enjoy something quietly.

Many have extolled the virtues of “This American Life” before as host Ira Glass and his band of reporters take a theme for the week, and find five different kinds of stories on that theme bringing a thoughtful, engaging, and wholly engrossing hour of programming to you free every week. I listened to episodes about summer camp, million dollar ideas, fear of going to sleep, toxic assets, and some asshole union guy in New York who patterned his life after Goodfellas.

Whether on an airplane or just sitting at my computer on a quiet Saturday morning, I came to love hearing Ira Glass’s voice because it meant that for the next hour I wasn’t thinking about client calls, creating new visual materials for our various teams, or worrying about going to yet another new job. I could just… be. Which now that I’ve brought it up, let’s discuss.

5. Dagger Changes Jobs (Again)

I won’t bore you with recounting the first time I did this back in March, so let’s skip ahead to what I wrote in our return article in September: “I’m looking to get hired by one of my current clients full time in an industry I know really well doing basically what I excel at now. More money? Shit yeah. Better opportunity? Absolutely. Hey, it’s work, and after seeing what other jobs and industries are like, I’m definitely more comfortable playing the safe hand this time.”

Well, that’s all happened. It only took seven months. But again, I don’t know what this means for CJS. Likely nothing as Hart and I dig posting only a couple of times per week. It’s all we can handle, and I think we can continue to handle it even though I don’t cope with change well and write this while fighting a cold and a bundle of nerves before my first day tomorrow (today, for those of you reading this Monday in internetland).

I’ve gotten a substantial pay increase after spinning my wheels for the last three years. I’m focusing my energy in one direction for the first time since graduate school. I’m well-qualified for this job, like the company I’m going to work for, and really have no reason to worry. Yet I can’t fucking stand the unknown and sit here nervous like a whore in church.

I don’t fret about anything except for my career. I don’t really know why either (I think I have some deeply buried guilt about getting paid in exchange for work, which both confounds and annoys the piss out of me), but it sure is persistent. I could be gun shy considering what happened last time. I was in a nice little rut at the last place, and maybe seeing the sun for the first time is just unnerving. Maybe I don’t like the idea of working in a place with an internet filter for the first time. Who knows?

The point is: With a week filled with Pinkberry and Iron Man and relaxation now coming to a close, so too does another of those damned “In-Between Times.”  Thankfully this one was better than the last.

So, I’m off to (what I hope is) prosperity. We’ll still be here. And hopefully without the drama of leaving for a whole summer this time. Hart will be by later this week to take care of you. And hey, I sort of tied things together in this article. Things must be looking up!

Until then…

edagger@crujonessociety.com