Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A New Opportunity, A New Cable-Clip-Comedy Show

So - excuse the nebulous and Disneylicious sunflower metaphor below, I'll explain the personal motivation behind it. And the reason I haven't been blogging in ages.

My life recently got turned upside-down when I was offered a writing job on "The Dish" - a spinoff of The Soup (see: Spaghetti Cat), where I used to work, that will air on the Style Network. It premieres this Saturday, Aug. 23 at 10pm ET! Please tivo, my four loyal readers. The show is truly great - I am not embarrassed to plug it at all. And I think I'd actually watch it if I didn't work here. It's a more girly take on the Soup, but it really celebrates the fact that women too appreciate comedy. It's genuinely funny and very quirky - in that it grabs more from the home- and self-improvement genre which involves a lot of insane hosts and public access and fashion victims that you don't see on the mainstream/reality conveyer belt. And it's hosted by Danielle Fishel, who is a nostalgic dream and completely delightful.

Anyway, the job has been very fun, but I've been completely wrapped up in trying to get this new show off the ground and being so invested in its success. Where I used to have some time during the day to write for side projects, I am now completely creatively spent by the time I get home from a long day. (Which is unfortunate when we have a 2nd season of the critically-acclaimed Dorm Life web series in the pipeline! But regardless I can say with certainty that this will be the best season ever.)

Please do check out the show, and I promise to come back when I get my life under control. I am basically working two fulltime creative jobs (although one only pays in hugs and semi-offensive internet comments) but this is the time to do it and I am doing it and I am surviving. I think good things will come of this!

But, I'll leave you with this cautionary note. To remind me of my mortality and/or impending demise, I received in the mail this card...

...To remind me of dreams unfulfilled. Go for it! Tomorrow you could be old!

Cheer up, sunshine!

This sunflower popped up by our front walkway. Out of nowhere! A sunflower! That area doesn't even get watered and a sunflower grew to full flower (with lots of flower buds that keep flowering one after another).

I think it may have come from the birdfeeder; there are sunflower seeds in the birdfeed mix. But he had to plant himself and endure a hostile soil environment, just to make me happy.

I think it's a good reminder that opportunities can arise anywhere. And we need to be present enough to take advantage of them!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Cute Overload, Small Human Edition

It would be selfish to keep this picture to myself.

Context: A friend's nephew who I don't know at all, driving his grandpa's Hummer

Caption: When he finds out he's only getting 6 MPG, he'll shit his pants again

Thursday, July 24, 2008

A Historic Moment in Sports History!

There's something with me getting caught up in sports history when I'm at the gym. Not making it - but watching it. A few weeks ago it was the incredible men's Wimbledon final where Rafael Nadal historically unseated world reigning champ Roger Federer. The match lasted 4 hours and 48 minutes, during which I was on the treadmill until my legs literally fell off.* THEN recently I was gymming again when I started absent-mindedly watching the high school track and field California state championships. I know, how could you not! But in an effort to distract myself from the physical exertion I actually started getting into the story that was playing out. And I ended up watching one of the most inspiring races of my life!

German Fernandez, a senior from Riverbank High, had just won the state title for the mile run - in less than 4:01 - when he lined up to run the 3200 (a 2 mile run). He had just run a grueling mile, and the conditions that day were less than ideal: hot, with a strong cross-wind. But immediately he pulled ahead of the pack and by the 4th lap, he was literally 100 meters ahead of the other runners. For him to set the record, he would have to pace himself, completely alone, for more than a mile. Which he did! He ran perfectly, and all the announcers kept saying was that this was one of the most impressive performances by an athlete at this level in any sport, in history! I was completely spellbound. The last two laps, he was lapping people (get out of his f-ing way!) and still ran negative splits - meaning he was running faster by the end than he had at the beginning.

I'm a sucker for all hero/sports stories. But this was a good one. He broke the record with a time of 8:34:23, beating the 1979 record of 8:36. This is fast, people. And by the end, the crowd of 10,000 were all on their feet. I was trying not to fall off the treadmill. He finished the race in perfect form, and honestly didn't look that tired afterward.

German later went on to break the record for the 2-mile at the Nike Nationals with a time of 8:34:40. He may be slow, but at least he's consistent! I look forward to seeing this kid at the Olympics in 4 years. I'm already looking forward to it.

*Another misuse of the word "literally."

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Subconscious Profundity

I came home last night and found this post-it note - my roommate's To-Do List for the day.  I pointed out to her that everything on the list was crossed off except the first, most pressing priority: "Apply 4 Job."  I found this very very funny.  Who hasn't been there?  We're always at our most productive when we have a big elephant waiting to be hauled out of the room.  It's why I clean the kitchen and rearrange furniture when I have lots of writing to do.

I love little things like this that inadvertently illuminate life's quirks.

P.S. As of this writing, said job has still not been "applied 4."

Friday, July 18, 2008

Ladies Love Cake!

What a lovely, lovely cake!! I was surprised by this cake at our staff meeting today, after I joked all week about my coworkers getting me one, assuming they wouldn't, because I didn't get one for my birthday this year. Unforgiveable. But I didn't actually expect one and this one far exceeded my wildest cake dreams!

It's from Lark Silverlake Cake Shop, evidently the most delightful bakery imaginable. The exterior of the cake is lovely, clearly, but the inside is such a delicious red velvet cake (my favorite!) and cream cheese frosting (my favorite!) There is about 1/4 left and I am taking it home to eat out of the box on my couch this weekend.

Oh! You're probably wondering what the occasion for the cake was. It's my last day at my current job (producing wildly funny tv series The Soup) - which is really sad! Except that next week I'll start as a writer on a spin-off show for the Style network called "The Dish" - which is really exciting. Many more updates on that situation to come, I'm sure.

Either way, I couldn't have asked for a better send-off cake! I mean, considering they forgot my birthday.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

"Light Metal"

Another delicious treat from Sensible Snack:

Ever wondered what would happen if Heavy Metal got lighter? I'll wonder no longer, thanks to the latest Time Life infomercial.

In the late 80s, a jazz musician and a heavy metal frontman joined together in the U.K. to form "Hard Breeze," the first ever Light Metal band. Today, you can order their Best Of collection from Time Life Records!

Watch this video to experience the magic and mystery, the bumping and humping of "Hard Breeze." Includes 4 (four) original songs and music videos!! Unrivaled in the world of Youtube!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Modern Art for the Modern Office

"Rubber Spaghetti"
Materials: plastic, found objects. Price: $50,000.00

This is a modern art piece(s) my coworker Dan created. Not only are they aesthetically pleasing, but I think the commentary they make is staggering and wholly terrifying. If you are what you eat, what happens when you consume rubber band spaghetti? Is this what industrialization and rampant consumerism have wrought? A life relegated to work, spending lunch breaks at desks eating rubber off of plastic utensils? What sorry calamity is the American diet, and is this the legacy we want to leave for our children? And - wait for it - if everything man eats is man-made, is he, in fact, eating himself?

Art is life is art. C'est l'arte. C'est la vie.*

*(Took a guess on how to say/spell that)

Jazzed about the Jacaranda Tree

I thought I had found my own blue jacaranda heaven on Palm Dr. in Beverly Hills.  I stumbled down this street on a run one day and was rejuvenated by the abundant blossoming trees; then returned to shoot upwards of 50 snapshots with my camera.  Then I found that I wasn't the only one enjoying the "jacs" here (see: this LA Times article on the best places to find jacardandas in LA)

Update: I took these pics a few weeks ago, and unfortunately the trees are already losing their blooms.  Be sure to check them out in May of 2009, though.  You can still find the beauties in bloom on the Pacific coast of Mexico, however!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

OMG Yay! Teen Pregnancy!

Ever since Juno launched forth a fascination with the glamorous, sexy world of teen pregnancy, we've seen a number of knock-offs (knock-ups?) in both pop culture and, sadly, real life (see: Massachusetts pregnancy pact involving 17 teen girls).

The latest is ABC Family's "The Secret Life of the American Teenager" - an hour-long dramedy starring quick-tongued high school teens navigating their way through real-life adolescent situations. While this one, unlike Juno, doesn't trivialize the issue of teen pregnancy, I realized that it does have its own agenda.  The show is so overt with its values judgments that I first thought it must be tongue-in-cheek. Ooh, is this a TV version of the movie "Saved?" I thought. Nope.  I wish it was a parody.  But I'm afraid it's another abstinence-only policy disguised as a realistic teen experience.   

In the first episode, I encountered a hot Christian girl who convinces her jock boyfriend they have to save "what's meant for marriage for marriage," the same girl explaining the virtues of a Promise Ring with her perfect blonde parents, and intentionally misreported sexual activity statistics (the show cites that 20% of teens have had sex - while the CDC reports 47.8% of teens were sexually active in 2007). And possibly the worst of all, when the pregnant girl shares the bad news with her friends, one of them suggests seeing a doctor about "options" but is shut down at even the hint that the tragic heroine might consider an abortion. I'm not saying this is the right choice for her, but can we at least explore that scenario, considering it is a realistic choice for many teens?

Now, you might be thinking, geez Jessie, you just want TV to reflect your liberal blogger agenda. People can make do TV about different opinions n' stuff! Well, you're right. But if a program is purposely informing children's experiences with a very rigid and specifically religious dogma, with dangerous health consequences, doesn't this become a bipartisan public concern?

I think we can all agree that the goal is to not let teens get pregnant in the first place. If they don't get pregnant, we don't even have to talk about abortions. But it's how we do this that's important.

Abstinence-only education has been the primary sex education strategy pursued in the U.S. since 2001. Since then, rates of sexual activity have gone up, condom use has gone down, and teen pregnancy rates are up (check out the stats). So, you tell me if this approach is working.

I know I've discoursed on the ills of abstinence-only education before. But it really does scare me when it's veiled this way in entertainment, because the most dangerous forms of propaganda are the ones we don't consider propaganda. These are offering the most significant imprints onto our consciousness.

We need more programming that educates girls without judgment so they have all the tools they need to make important decisions, and then empowers them to feel confident about their decision-making abilities. And though I too admit I have enjoyed teen pregnancy as a plot device (cough - Gilmore Girls), and though I'm sure many unplanned pregnancies do yield happy families, we of the media have a responsibility to equip girls with the tools they need if they don't want to get pregnant. And if they do think they want a baby, as with the girls of the pregnancy pact (many of whom said they just wanted someone to love them unconditionally), maybe we need to be focusing on the difficulties of raising a child as a young mother contrasted with the "excitement" of the idea of being pregnant.

If you want a real teen experience, check out this awesome blog entry about a pregnancy scare. This girl is going to be a great blogger someday - she already writes with such an interesting adult voice.

On a happier note, Molly Ringwald is in this new show - and she's by far the best thing about it. Welcome back, girlfriend!

This Makes it All Better

Seriouslyjazzed? More like seriously overcome by sweetness.

I don't care who you are. You will cry when you watch this video.

Read the whole story, but it's basically about a lion cub that was raised by 2 men, then released in Africa - where they later went to find him. Impeccably edited to the Grammy award-winning "I will always love you" by Whitney Houston. This is like chicken soup for the Youtube soul. I can't think of anything greater.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Good Idea # 415: Play on this Website

A Good Idea shoutout is in order!

This is very girly - and as we all know, that's the worst thing a person can be - but I also found this very fun. If you're a girl, you'll like this site a lot.

The company is Studio 28 Couture, and the site lets you design your own party dress in 4 easy steps. It's genius for instant gratifiers like myself, because you can visualize the choices you make on your dress instantly. You choose from different styles and fabrics, mix and match until your boss walks by.

The dresses cost about $200 if you actually want to get one made, and they are all handmade from 100% cotton fabric. I probably won't be getting one soon (I have an allover-print phobia), but I will definitely keep playing on their site! I also see vast potential for bridesmaid dresses - give the wedding party a few colors and fabrics to choose from, bride doesn't look crazy, bridesmaids get a dress they might actually like. Done.

Unicorn Dreamscape

A- ha! What's that you say, teachers, parents, scientists? Unicorns don't exist? Or perhaps you've just been brainwashed into becoming pawns for a military-industrial conspiracy to squash the hopes and dreams of children so they can't change the world?

Unicorns do exist, and this is proof. My entire childhood, vindicated! I was the original unicorn queen. I had unicorn everything. I owned every piece of tacky fluorescent unicorn art in existence, plus figurines, flatware, bedding, 365-day calendars. I wasn't one of these uni-come-latelys getting all ironically interested in unicorns because they're on a shirt at Urban Outfitters that says "I'm uni-horny" or some crap like that. I truly loved and admired the unicorn, from its powerful, supple hindquarters, to its ruthlessly sharp golden horn. The unicorn stood for everything that was beautiful in the world and everything I myself wanted to grow up to be.

Admittedly, this real-life unicorn is somewhat less glamorous than the one that danced through my dreamscape. It was born in a nature preserve in Italy to what we call "norm parents" (regular old Roe deer) but with a special spectacular horn and magical healing powers. It is aptly named "Unicorn" (just further proof that adults have lost their capacity for wonder).

But what the existence of this unicorn tells me is a) where there is one, there have to be clouds full of others, living in castles and traveling via rainbow - that's just logical. And b) when you dare to dream, anything in the world is possible. What a delightful, inspiring message! And that shit is free, yo.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Is it Time for a Baby?

Is there an emptiness in your life that can't be filled with chocolate? Are you so emotionally unstable you worry that no one will love you? This new PSA offers a wonderful solution to your problems...and the best part is, almost anyone can do it.

The first delicious treat from my new sketch group, Sensible Snack!

Friday, May 30, 2008

"Good" - A Sweet-Ass Magazine

I'm almost as jazzed about this magazine's apt title as I am about its content. In the tradition of "Car and Driver," "Horse Illustrated," and "Jugz," my new obsession is equally literal. Everything in Good Magazine is good, enticing, and interesting. It's kind of what I had in mind when I started this blog - although I have the benefit of inferior writing and fewer pictures. I wanted my theme to be, "I don't know - just stuff that's, like, good." So I completely identify with this desire to share things of general importance. You've spoken to me, Good, and I'm listening!

The mag really is everything from travel diaries, to charitable efforts, to political commentary, to filmmaking. This most recent July/Aug 08 issue got me hooked - thanks to my roommate Alie for working long hours lately and leaving her subscription out for me to play with! My personal faves include the travel guide to man-made disasters (a tour through sensational landfills and toxic pits of the U.S. - truly inspired) and the survey of history's most compelling secret society groups (you had me at conspiracy!)

I love this magazine and can't wait to spend the $20 for a year (just 6 issues for now). But get this - the best part is, 100% of the payment goes to the charity of your choice! (How is this even possible?! Won't they go out of business? Please take the money you need, Good Magazine, and stay in circulation!)

**Sidenote: the Good website (sounds like a good website) is also wonderfully informative and available to everyone! I just watched a video about "Vampire Energy" - household appliances that suck energy and cost $ and leave CO2 when they're plugged in - even if they're not on or in use! The worst offender is the microwave. Each day you leave it plugged in is the equivalent of using the microwave on high for 4 minutes. Yikes. Good, you make me want to be a better person.

One Day in Iraq - A Numbers Blog

Did you know that...

For the cost of one day in Iraq, we could rebuild 2215 homes destroyed by Hurricane Katrina or pay the annual salaries for 72% of the LAPD?

I haven't been very attentive to you lately, dear Blog and Blog readers - but, I'm happy to share, I have another new project that is now polluting the webspace with great fury!

It's a new blog, "One Day in Iraq," in a completely different direction from SeriouslyJazzed - but likely more interesting and certainly more important. One of my life's goals is finding a way to make social and political issues interesting and digestible to regular people. Like You n' Me! Because the only way a democracy can work is if the people are fully informed.

I recently learned that the U.S. spends $332.3 million each day in Iraq. This number is staggering! But it is also hard to grasp exactly what a number this big really represents. So I got together with some other number-crunchers and we started brainstorming all the other ways that incredible amount of money could be spent. This is not a partisan issue, it is pure empirical data that does not have any political affiliation.

The first products of our brainstorm are up, and I think they will amaze you. And we have a huge vault of ideas waiting to be released. We'll be putting up at least four new figures a week, so be sure to check back often and subscribe to the RSS feed.

So without further ado that I present to you a blog that offers some alternatives for ways we could spend the daily Iraq budget: One Day in Iraq

Also, please send us tips ( if you have thoughts on ways you'd like to spend that $332.3 million (Blood diamonds? Apple products? Tacos?), along with the sources for your numbers.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Jokes, Man

Since we're on the subject of humor, I want everyone to check out The Soup's new blog on E! Online. It is completely buried within E!'s not-very-user-friendly webpage and is almost impossible to navigate to. But I'll give you the link here. And here.

Our blogmaster, Matt Olsen, is a very funny writer and offers takes on celebrity news as well as a Clip of the Day, "What Your Mother's Watching," and insider Soup info segments.

If you have no idea what I'm talking about, The Soup is the show I work/write for, it's on television, a useful diversion - you should try it. It's a joke show, with jokes in it. Fridays at 10pm on E! Or if you're too old-fashioned to watch TV, read the blog.

Hot Pockets - New Video!

Hungry for a sensible snack that won't fill you up and might let you down?

Try "Hot Pockets," a new video I worked on with some of my friends at The Soup! It follows the trials of two young ad men producing the next big commercial for "Hot Pockets."

Zero trans fat, -30 calories per serving (from laughing). Pop one in your compu-wave and make your eyes water!

Written by: Jessie Gaskell, Andrew Genser, Dan Riesser.
Starring: Jessie Gaskell, Andrew Genser, Dan Riesser.
Shot by: Mike Kershner.
Edited by: Dan Riesser

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Tapping Resentment: Post-Revolutionary Sexism and the Modern Beer Commercial, Pt. 1

I just saw another beer commercial where the male "protagonist" lies to his girlfriend so he can go drink beers with his bros. Sooo rad dude. But seriously. What the H? Not to get all feministy on you - because heaven knows, that is the worst thing a woman can be - but yes, actually, to get feministy on you. I hate this pervasive image of a woman as the “warden” to your prison, the “gatekeeper” to your personal hell. We are so unreasonable that you actually have to lie to us to hang out with your friends and drink beer? That is insane.

First of all, women like beer. Why are you alienating a significant subsect of your consumership, Coors Light? Maybe because we only drink you at frat parties - and we’re definitely not paying for that.

Secondly, why do guys think they have to lie to go be somewhere else for a night? Will I really be upset about finally getting a night to myself without my sheets smelling like balls? No. By all means, no!

So of course all these ads are doing is perpetuating a stereotype about women as uptight shrews who are out to ruin your homosexual fun. Which makes it so that you don’t give us credit when we actually have a reason to get uptight and pissed about something, like now, because you’ve already decided we’re just being rigid and menstrual, so we never get our point across. And it’s not right! It’s not just! Stop telling me to calm down!

Or maybe it’s just a stupid, uninspired beer commercial.

Positive Feedback

I want to share with you some (thankfully) positive feedback about my Dorm Life character, "Steph," that I found today on You all don't know this, but many months ago I found some extremely dissatisfying commentary about me on a web forum that launched me into a questioning of my entire virtual existence. It hurt a lot that these strangers, probably 40-something men covered in chicken grease and their own semen, could dare criticize my (admittedly hateable) webisode character. But I recovered, I bounced back, I exacted my revenge through a blog about horrible internet commentary (I haven't publicized it yet - but you can take a peak at the beta model - notes appreciated). And see what has happened today! People on the internet have validated me and I feel whole.

Incidentally, this guy "DeadFox" is not an ex-boyfriend of mine, as he would lead you to believe. A future boyfriend, possibly?

+2 diggs by iThenticJoce on 04/09/2008
Steph is the best!

+2 diggs by DeadFox1 on 04/09/2008
Steph? OMG it's my ex-gf!

+2 diggs by iThenticJoce on 04/09/2008
oh lord, no wonders she's an ex! but really she's cute and hilarious! great character!

+2 diggs by hadak on 04/09/2008
The exuberant girl in the pink shirt is really hot.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Dinosaur Poop on Sale

I just found out that this 130 million-year-old dinosaur dung was sold for $960 at a Bonhams New York auction. First of all, I'm disappointed that none of my friends told. Not only am I deeply committed to paleontology, but I'm also a huge patron of DEALS! I love getting a deal. And this $960 of chump change sounds like an absolute steal.

Let's consider the facts. This fossilized poo is from the Jurassic Era - can we say vintage?? None of your friends own anything that old. The big turd looks like a colorful mineral, or geode on the inside. It's beautiful! And it's odorless, unlike your lunchtime floater. And it's a one-of-a-kind piece; no one else at the club will have one just like it. How could this not be more expensive?

Less than $1,000 for a 130 million-year-old relic; that's just a penny for every 1300 years! Seems like a small price to say for a thrilling, unique piece of our Earth's national history - a history that is soon sure to be cut short by global warming and/or nuclear winter. Don't you want to get your hands on one of these dino bran muffins before we all go extinct?

Especially when you consider that a statue of Suri Cruise's alleged dooky sold for $10,000 last year.

And it wasn't even a real BM!

Your Momma's Blog

How the newest generation will insult each other:
  • Your momma’s blog is so old, it’s hosted on Blogger.

  • Your momma’s blog is so big, she had to buy unlimited bandwidth to support it.

  • Your momma’s blog is so white, it was on Stuff White People Like.


Monday, May 5, 2008

Check out my post today on 23/6!

Read my most recent post: Eight Belles' Death Not a Blow for Feminism.

And read other posts on!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

TrendMaster: "Rollricking"


This is a new segment where I make and institute awesome new social trends. I am a person of great stature and influence in the trend community so I anticipate there will be much fanfare.

"Rollricking" -

Based on the now-defunct digital trend of "Rickrolling,"
whereby a blogger would misdirect readers via hyperlink
to an old music video of pop artist Rick Astley.

Get it? Rollricking!

Rollricking is very useful, as the name and artistic portfolio of Rick Astley come up often in conversation. Rick Astley.


What a cliche I've become.

I have been going to the pet store in the Beverly Center mall almost compulsively over the last few weeks. It's a terrible pet store because the puppies are all behind glass in tiny enclosed spaces and they climb all over each other and stare longingly at you. But I keep going because the puppies climb all over each other and stare longingly at you.

Today I did some searches, just to see how much this one particular breed of puppy - the Shiba Inu - cost when purchased from a breeder. These dogs are amazing; they look like little foxes as puppies and then they grow up to be miniature Huskies. Some of the baby puppies look like furry bears, they are too cute to be real. I honestly almost started crying just looking at pictures of cute puppies. Then I made a hasty decision to rename this blog "Puppies," and henceforth I will only post pictures of cute puppies. And it will make me a million dollars.

This one is from a website called "". Ridic.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Things That Make Life Easier

Useful things are only useful when I use them. I signed up a long time ago but I just recently really started using Jott, which is a brilliant service for transferring ideas from head to paper, via phone (those of you with iPhones, you don't need this, stay smug and complacent).

The Jott service is easy to sign up for, free, and endlessly useful. It works just like the picture above: you call the number, talk, and it sends you an email with the words you've said. You can use it to send yourself emails with to-do lists, screenplay dialogue, blog post text. You can even Jott directly to Amazon, or to your blog (I did not Jott this blog post - I haven't gotten that good at it yet). For someone like me who doesn't always speak - or think - in complete sentences, you might want to stick to having Jott send you personal emails of your thoughts. But when you're feeling articulate, Jott to other people, but as with email and water sports, don't drink and Jott.

This might sound like a plug from ad sales, but luckily for you - SeriouslyJazzed is still sponsorship free. It makes enough money from donations and dreams to run smoothly. This is just another gift from me to you.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Vote for Bethany Grundle, the Perfect Compromise!

We all know Bethany Grundle - social commentator, activist, friend to animals - has dreamed of becoming a political correspondent since she was 2 years old. Well she's 13 now and it's time to start making that dream a reality. And she needs your help to make it happen!

Bethany has entered herself in the Breakout Broadcasting Political Pundit competition - and if she wins, she'll have the privilege of reporting her profound insights directly from the Democratic Convention! The entrants with the most votes make it to the second round. To vote, go HERE - then create a login name, and you can vote 15 TIMES A DAY until Sunday, April 20th! If everyone reading this votes 15 times every day, Bethany can win this thing.

Watch and enjoy Bethany's straight talk on Obama's "bitter" comments, Hillary's ticket to Convention, and the mile-high club. All before (and a little during) bedtime! If you like it, please vote. It's the only way democracy can work, people. Bethany is the most straightforward, honest pundit out there - and because she's a child, she can't lie. Nor does she understand irony. Couldn't we all be a little more like Bethany?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Vote for Youtube Sketchies Finalist "THE ATTACK!"

My dear friends and collaborators, The Attack Comedy - comprised of Josh Covitt and Whit Hertford - have been tapped for their consistently stellar work and are in the finals of the Youtube Sketchies contest. The prizes are considerable; $40,000 in equipment and cash and the opportunity to meet with UTA new media reps, which they deserve anyway. Their final video "An End of an Era" is undoubtedly superior; watch the others if you don't want to take my word for it, but you'll reach the same conclusion and curse the time you wasted.

Go here to watch "An End of An Era" (click "next video" a few times to get to it, or search for it in the search box) and click the GREEN thumbs up icon to vote. Then do it again, as many times as you can, until your own thumbs get tired. The Attack also made this great instructional video on voting which should be in its own contest.

Please vote often and pass it along so that these very extraordinary comic talents get their due, and on a philosophical level, to ensure meritocratic outcomes for internet video contests! And watch the rest of The Attack's stuff, it's all incredibly good.

Note: I am humbled by the great and only Kim Weisberg who posted about this first, which is unacceptable, since I am so deeply embedded in The Attack's creative machinery. (Embedded like links? Embedded like Iraq? Think about it.)

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Dorm Life Sweeps NCAA Champs

OK, I'm sorry to keep bragging about all the cool developments that are tangentially shooting off from projects I'm involved in. But I can't help it, I'm Seriously Jazzed! (Oh snap! You thought that was going to be a link back to the blog you're already reading!)

Back to business. Let's be honest, this really knocked my socks off. It's the UCLA marching band playing the Dorm Life theme at the Final Four tourney this year. How f-ing rad is that. (and also f-ing nerdy). Either way, we are now rivaling Beyonce's "Crazy in Love" for coolest marching band arrangement song.

UCLA Band Plays Dorm Life Theme at Final Four! - Celebrity bloopers here

A Million Little Pieces of News

(Cool timely reference, right?)

I have a bunch of really great news about my wonderful web series, Dorm Life. First of all, if you haven't seen it in a while, it's gotten good. I'll embed a few latest episodes later in the post. But recently these things happened:

1) Dorm Life is being featured on Metacafe - and is getting big-time views! All together we are at about 750,000 total views.

2) Dorm Life received “Official Selection” honors for both Best Comedy Short and Best Writing from the Webby Awards. The Webbies are basically, like, the Oscars of the internet. So, I basically almost just got an Oscar nomination. Kind of. I’m especially proud of the “Best Writing” distinction. (Oops! Cat's out of the bag - Dorm Life is not real reality? Although - I guess most reality shows have writers). The cool thing is that Dorm Life - shot on almost no budget - was among other financed projects from HBO, ABC, The Onion...what distinguished company!

3) Now that you know what you've been missing, watch some Dorm Life!
Episode 112: Alarmed

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And after you watch that, listen to the full-length cut of "Hamster Heaven" that I busted in the recording studio. It's also my American Idol audition.

Episode 113

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Hope you like!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Political Correctness in Your Neighborhood

Seen at my bank:

Please delicately suggest to your dog, cat, or guinea pig that he or she wait outside while you finish your bank errand. Don't imply that they wouldn't be more than welcome to help you deposit a paycheck, but rather, ask politely if they might be willing to better "help" you outside by keeping an eye on things. Depending on what they say, you may proceed inside the bank or you may be obligated to continue your pet's walk.

Never force your pet to do anything without his or her permission. Unilaterally imposing external guidelines on your pet may impair his or her development and dismantle self-esteem.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

You Can't Save Them All

Oh no! I saw this the other day in my neighborhood and had to share. Clearly the same big-hearted person found two stray cats (or was found by them) and is now waiting for the owners come claim them. So if you lost your cats recently, accidentally, or on purpose, please call and take them off this poor person's hands.

On another note, there is a cat on my street with a mangy butt and a taste for danger that I'm sure its owner wouldn't mind someone else "finding."

Monday, March 24, 2008

That Wasn't for Free, You Know

Nobody at E! got their paychecks on Friday except for the senior staff members. I seriously think the company might have ran out of money. Maybe it's from development pitches like the "Stripper Minute."

Isn't it completely unethical to not pay your employees, knowingly? I mean, what are we going to do about it - quit? No, because we need money. They have the money (ostensibly). The worst part is, nobody in charge has even sent an email about it letting us know what went wrong. Not even something like:

Dear E! Employees:

Ok…don’t get mad. You have to promise not to get mad. We have some bad news.

The, uh, printer broke. Yeah, that’s it! The printer broke and we couldn’t print your paychecks. And then the internet broke and we couldn’t do direct deposit either! Sorry. We’ll get you your paychecks today, or at least by the end of this week. Can you not cash them until next Monday though? Thanks man - it’s just, we gotta pay rent this week and stuff.



If they'd just written a note, maybe I wouldn't be so mad.

Friday, March 21, 2008

I'm Blogging for 23/6 Now!

Hey gals and goofs,

I wanted to let you knowt that I'm also blogging for another great website (not instead of SeriouslyJazzed, don't worry - in addition to!) It's called 23/6 and it is a humorous offshoot of the widely celebrated Huffington Post. You can go there to get your daily news fix and learn something while having fun too! Really, it's very funny. And you can read my staggeringly funny commentary among blog posts from comedy legends Larry David, Adam McKay, and many others. 23/6 also features original political comedy videos and other great newsy stuff. Perfect for someone who, like me, gets off on comedy + politics mixed together in a delicious swirl cone. Mmm. Ice cream.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Human Tetris Renewed My Faith in Youtube

Today I discovered Human Tetris. Today among the rotted piles of internet excrement, I found 3 gleaming minutes of hope. I have not in recent memory been so whole-heartedly entertained by a youtube video series or phenomenon. A few of my friends have gotten casting notices to be on a team, so I checked out this Japanese game show and watched 3 episodes back to back. I fell in love. I am completely in support of this.

Postmodernism and G-Chat

I'm not usually the kind of gal to post chat conversations, but I have to share this one I just had with my friend and cohort Julie. We were trying to decide on a name for our "sketch comedy troupe" (in quotes) and then both started laughing uncontrollably in our respective work cubicles. The laughter escalated both because of the awkwardness of laughing at work and because of the irony of reading someone else's insane laughter typewritten in a chat window. I almost couldn't type responses because I was laughing so hard and I think that becomes evident as the conversation wears on. It's like a written embodiment of the act of laughter.

Julie: multi-tasking
we maybe need a name for us
feeling crazy!

me: are those suggestions?
Julie: can't wait for fri!
me: because i like "feeling crazy"
Julie: no, i mean, i literally am feeling crazy
but now that you mention it, it's kind of an interesting name

me: no, i mean, i actually like it for a name
Julie: hahahaha
i am laughing
Julie: hahahaha
i can'
t stop
Julie: hahahahhahahaha
me: andrew is looking at me
i feel crazy too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11
Julie: hahahahahhahaha
stop it
Julie: i can't!!!!!
i'm crying laughing
Julie: now, i'm laughing like crazg
ahhh, that was nice

Friday, March 7, 2008

The Truth about Daylight Savings "Time"

In celebration of the Daylight Savings Holiday and because there are a lot of misnomers out there about its origins, I thought I'd offer a brief true history about the birth of Daylight Savings.

Daylight Savings was born in the heart of a financial manager during the subprime mortgage crisis of 2007. Americans were losing money in Apple stock (AAPL) and this, combined with failed social security reform efforts, created an atmosphere of economic desperation. Many were advised by their parents to "open up a savings account" but even at 4.95% APY Americans just couldn't put the money away. They loved money and hated not being able to spend it. So ING created a "Daylight Savings" account, designed for people who wanted to save money but who didn't have money, specifically, and thus could not save any. Daylight being free, people found it much easier to set aside in small quantities for an unknown point in the future than money, which costs money.

So once a year in the Spring people would save an hour of Daylight, which they would be allowed to withdraw on a designated day in the Fall. It was hard at first, but they got used to it. And they felt good about saving something, which made everybody happy and peaceful. The only people who didn't participate were Arizona and Hawaii because they hate freedom.

The end! It's nice to learn something, isn't it?

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Jessie Asks: Hillary Clinton!

Support for Hillary Clinton has been waning in recent weeks and it seems the media has almost completely jumped her ship. But I was willing to sit down with Senator Clinton in an effort to balance out the terrible press she's been getting from the mainstream media. I mean - did you see that 60 Minutes interview with Katie Couric? Prime example of why they shouldn't let women anchor.

But Hill is still in the race, and lucky for me she had time for lattes and girltalk about what it's like being the nation's most influential (female) politician. Be warned: this is serious news. You might hear some shocking confessions and - gasp - even an anatomical slip or two!

And please look forward to upcoming installments of my new news series, "Jessie Asks!" I'm booking guests now if you're interested in an interview.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Scary things you should never do in a theater

Okay, this news story is actually scary.  But also too crazy and ironic to not post about.  Which somehow makes it less scary.  Or maybe more scary.  I can't decide!

A man is still at large in Fullerton, CA (not far from my safe little borough, Los Angeles!) after he stabbed two people in a theater during the movie "The Signal."  The suspect stabbed one moviegoer, then moved toward the exit of the theater where he stabbed another person before fleeing.  Both of the victims are in stable condition, which is good, but - check this out:

"The Signal" is a slasher/horror movie about a mysterious electronic signal that urges people to kill when they hear it.  The stabbings occurred during a scene in the movie where someone who heard the signal was compelled to stab people.  Watch the trailer here.

What??  So, either the stabber was pulling a sick, psychotic performance art piece, POPfilms is testing out a new ad campaign (on the people already watching the movie), or, or...


No way.  That's not even funny.  But seriously - just in case - I'm not seeing that movie.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Dorm Life - Episodes 4 and 5

These are two of my very favorite episodes. (But you say that about all your children!) No, but seriously - these are great. You should watch them. And then you should go back and watch episodes 1-3 on, or on VEOH (Our site has been doing very well, by the way! I can't tell you how well, because it might be an issue of national security. But let's just say the Ruskys are itching to get their hands on it for its uranium enrichment capabilities).

Episode 104 - floor government election. This is a big episode for a certain gregarious anachronistic social planner who covets the Presidential nomination (a character played by someone very close to me - can you guess who it is?!) This episode also contains the most historical references in the series. Dorks!!

Dorm Life Episode 104: Campaign - Watch a funny movie here

Episode 105 is the Pranks episode. Who didn't pull elaborate, costly pranks on their dorm floormates? Even the most skeptical of you out there are going to see one particular special effect and think, "Awesome."

Dorm Life Episode 105: Pranks - For more funny videos, click here

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


So you consider yourself a friend of the Earth. But maybe you and Earth have been drifting apart lately, after all, it's so hard to maintain correspondence when you both have such busy schedules. She canceled on your brunch two weeks ago, and then a meeting came up when you were supposed to meet for drinks. You're afraid your friendship is doomed. Not so - because now you can be friends with the Earth on Myspace!

I know what you're thinking - where has She been, right?! Living on another planet? Ha, ha. But maybe she didn't think she really needed a Myspace page, being the Earth and all, since all of us are already on her all the time. And then she realized, you know what, it is a good way to post events and keep people updated about her comedy shows and share cool internet videos, etc, so now she's entered the social networking community and ready to be your friend.
Wait...wait a second. It says here the Earth is male, 45 years old and lives in Ontario, Canada. How can this be? Is this an imposter Earth? Is this going to turn out like the time I thought I was communicating with the late Marlene Dietrich via Friendster? I don't like to be lied to, Myspace. I don't like it at all. Hopefully Earth is just undercover and trying to keep skeezy men from hitting on her. She is, after all, a MILF.

Incidentally, you can also be friends with Moon, Sun, and most of the planets in our solar system on Myspace. Yay for universal* connectivity!

*Literally, within the universe!

Monday, February 4, 2008

"Dorm Life" Premieres Today! The Return of Good TV.

Is that awesome enough for you? It better be. For those of you who have been living on a Distant Planet and somehow haven't heard that my webisode series, Dorm Life, is premiering today, you can still redeem yourselves. Most of you know this though, because you have been counting down using your Dorm Life advent calendars (how delicious are the chocolates?!)

The first four episodes of the series are now live on the website,, and will be featured on other sites this week as well. They are the first 4 of this 20-episode series that is a hilarious, absurdist, irresistibly charming look at the characters and experiences that take place on a college dorm floor. Seriously, check it out. It's shot beautifully on HD and is edited to perfection. And the episodes just get better and better as the season wears on. Be sure to leave your email under "Dorm Life Updates" in the top right corner so you get messaged when new episodes are put up - one a week after this. You know you won't remember, so just put your email down. It's not spam. It's me, your best friend, and the project that took 3 years off her life and gave her her first gray hair (not really). But it really is an awesome series. I hope you'll take a look.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

I Heart Huckabee Girl

My latest video project "Huckabee Girl" is finally online, exclusively on SuperDeluxe - although it is already starting to get attention some other places!

You've seen Obama girl, but we found a girl who's hot for the man of the cloth. She's got a special interest in his policy package, if you know what we're saying. Mike Huckabee had a big upset in the Iowa caucus and now he's rumored to be on McCain's VP shortlist. So if you don't think there's enough crazy out there to get him elected to office, let Huckabee girl tell you why you should be crazy about him too. This is an original slow jam!

Many thanks to all the people who helped make this video possible - I'll post credits here since they're hard to find on the video site!

Executive Producers: Tyler Malin and Eric Szmanda
Lyrics by: Josh Covitt & Jessie Gaskell
Directed by: Josh Covitt
Edited by: Josh Covitt, Jessie Gaskell, Oren Brimer
Music by: Greg Blum
Vocals: Rachel Avery
Starring: Vai Au-Harehoe as Huckabee Girl
Chad Brisky as Dino
Josh Covitt as Raptastic Rapper
Editing and Effects: Studio 8 and Oren Brimer
Logos & Graphics: Chad Brisky

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Prodigal Daughter Returns - A UCLA Premiere

My new webisode series, Dorm Life, premieres today! But before I do the big push for you to watch it, I want to share a great experience I had last week promoting it. The other 6 creators of the series are all fellow UCLA alumni, where we met directly and indirectly through a ridiculously fun sketch comedy experience, the "Company" of UCLA Spring Sing. We owe UCLA deeply not just for personal development, but for our relationships with each other and the skills needed to produce a mammoth project such as this one. Last week we had the opportunity to do a sneak peek screening of Dorm Life in the Ackerman Student Union, where I went during my time as a student to watch a number of wide-release features and Q&As with figures like Adam Sandler and the Syrian Ambassador. And now I have gotten to screen my very own project in this venue with a Q&A with the audience afterward!

The screening was sublime; we screened the first 7 episodes of this 20-episode series to an audience of a few hundred. I was overwhelmed by the positive reaction we got from the audience - this huge hall was filled with laughter, so much at some points that many of the jokes got lost under the residual laughing. I've never had an experience like that where such a large room of people were responding to my creative efforts. It was wonderful. I'm hooked. Me want more.

The Q&A afterward went really well too, although it felt a slightly absurd posturing as an authority on success in Hollywood when our success so far has included a) finishing a project that we will put on the internet and b) screening said project at UCLA with a Q&A afterward. I mean really, I consider this to be one of the biggest ventures I've ever been a part of and it is an incredible success even to have accomplished a 20-episode comedy series. I'm so sincerely proud of this project, of all the incredible talents that participated and made it a substantial and memorable source of entertainment, and I can't wait to share it with the world. And I am delighted to finally see how it is received among the very discerning internet palattes out there!

Dorm Life!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Notes from Sundance, and Why Documentaries Kick So Much Ass

I've been a little negligent lately, but it'll soon be worth it for you when my latest video project gets released and when I tell you about movies from Sundance that you will see and be forever changed by. I was there for the 3-day weekend and it was so great - all I did was watch movies and eat carbs for 72 straight hours and then complain about how exhausting it was. I didn't participate in too many of the "scene-y" elements of the festival, besides driving up and down Park City's main drag in the Escalade we accidentally rented and rolling down the windows to ask people where "the Dance" was. "I heard there's a dance going on tonight? A sun dance?" I am SO HILARIOUS. In another stroke of comedic genius, I wore sunglasses at night.

Overall I have to say that the documentaries overwhelmed the dramas - is life better art than art? Think about THAT my thinking friends. The first of my favorite films of the weekend was "Up the Yangtze" - a doc about the flooding of the Yangtze River in China resulting from the world's largest hydroelectric project, the Three Gorges Dam. 2 million Chinese people were displaced and tourist cruises cashed in on the tragedy by offering "Farewell Cruises" to Americans and others with money to see the Yangtze before the flooding took place. Most of the film takes place on board this cruise, following the family of a dishwasher on board who took the job after finishing middle school to send money home to her parents. Over the course of the flooding her family's homemade shanty is completely submerged and they have to move without the government compensation they were promised. The visual elements of the movie are stunning and the music is flawless. But the film is truly funny, capitalizing on the culture gaps between Chinese and Americans. A favorite line came from the cruise leader telling the employees, "Don't compare the U.S. to Canada, and don't bring up the issue of Northern Ireland." I believe this film has already been picked up for worldwide distribution so I hope you'll all have the opportunity to see it. The director has also started an education fund for the girl who is the movie's main subject:

The second doc I want to mention, my very favorite film of the ones I saw, is called "Kicking It" - and follows 8 soccer teams participating in the 2006 Homeless World Cup held in South Africa. This was an iconic sports hero movie and devastating commentary all in one incredible package. This was the only movie that moved me to tears and did so about 15 separate times, always unexpectedly and always sincerely. I was so impressed by how gracefully the movie communicated the need for attention to the issue of homelessness while inspiring with its themes of resiliency and hope. ESPN has picked up this movie - I'm not sure if it's for theatrical release or televised - but I can't recommend it enough. It really will change your life. Check out more info, or donate to the Homeless World Cup project at:

Honorable mention for the weekend goes out to "Ballast," the only drama in my bunch, from director Lance Hammer. It's an impressive and fluid narrative following a family, composed entirely of local non-actors, dealing with loss in the Mississippi Delta during a bleak winter.

Interesting that there was this pervasive theme of gritty reality, using non-actors to tell even the fictional stories. I was entirely impressed with 2 actors playing the parts of parents in one movie, "Momma's Man," then I learned that the 2 are the director's actual parents! That's incredible. They were superb, though! It'd be interesting if we do see a movement among filmmakers away from impeccably rehearsed performances and toward a grittier, more organic storytelling. Although it's not happening yet judging from the popularity of "Juno." Sorry, I can't help getting political. Ha.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Bethany Grundle on Hillary's Campaign and the Meaning of Womanhood

There's a lot of buzz this week about Hillary Clinton's alleged crying episode in a New Hampshire coffeeshop. While speaking with a group of women pre-caucus, Hillary's voice warbled and now everyone is speculating about whether this constituted a "cry." Bethany wanted to make a few comments about the challenges facing women in male-dominated professions, drawing on her own experience as a journalist. Anyway, I'll let her tell you the rest.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Rainy Day Resolutions for the Insane

I don't usually use SeriouslyJazzed as a forum for personal reflection, mostly because it seems unethical for me to be getting paid so much to talk about my personal life. But I just had a pretty uplifting experience involving two of the resolutions (or "goals" if you are cliche-phobic) I made for 2008. The first of these is "Be happier." That might sound too simple or sweeping to some of you but I really think I can make this work. If I just take the time to be more present and grateful for the moments and experiences in my life, and really focus on how they're making me happy, won't I just be happier? We'll find out.

The second resolution came about with a friend as I was in the midst of resolving to "eat more organic," "ride my bike more," "volunteer more," "make a website," "write a screenplay," etc, and she suggested "Feel Less Guilty." At first I felt bad about how guilty I'm always feeling, haha, but I resolved to feel less so.

ANYWAY. Today it is raining and I wanted to go for a run. I thought, "I'll run in the rain - how fun and eccentric of me!" So I put on running tights and a water-resistant jacket and went out to run. Then I remembered two things: 1) "water-resistant" is not the same thing as "water-proof." 2) "Eccentric" is a euphemism for "Mentally deranged."

Within minutes I was completely soaked. I don't know why in my head this wasn't obvious - I guess I was picturing the rain gently caressing my eyelids while I remained comfortable underneath my clothes. But imagine jumping into a pool wearing a full jacket and pants and shoes, then getting out and running. The water didn't drain or get "wicked" away, it seeped into my clothes and shoes and stayed there. I thought I would have to turn around immediately and even then I might not make it home alive. But then I started warming up and some wonderful things happened.

First, because my ipod was on under my jacket I couldn't reach it to switch the songs, which I usually do compulsively, listening to about 5 seconds of each song. So I had to sit through the entirety of every song, including the Jingle Cats version of "White Christmas" (which also features dogs). And without the ability to control my playlist, I found myself relaxing and focusing less on the music and more on my surroundings. And because I was soaking wet, I didn't think at all about the discomfort of physical exertion. I completely surrendered control of these things and just enjoyed the raindrops on my cheeks and the sensation of cold after stepping in a puddle and then my foot warming up again. And I really had fun.

I did cut the run short, but I didn't feel bad about it.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

It's Bedtime Fun with Bethany Grundle: Warren Buffett's Million-Dollar Challenge

This week: Bethany analyzes Warren Buffett's Million-dollar Challenge. What will it mean for struggling billionaires?

The Grundle Report is your only pre-adolescent independent news source for all the stories the mainstream media is overlooking. Even people with bedtimes should have access to this kind of hard news. Gritty! Sexy! Bethany!