Jenfest 2011: The Souvenirs

Every year I have a Jenfest souvenir.  Some years they don’t look much like something you would want to keep (like the personalized JENGO cards from last year) or the autographed photo of my silly headshot from 2003. But some of them are pretty awesome like the Jentrification bottle caps from 2008 or the match books from 2007.

This year I had thrown in the towel on the Jenfest souvenir tradition.  I just didn’t have any inspiration.  Thankfully, my friend Corrie did.  She said that bar hops are really fun when people all have matching mardi gras beads.

Fun!!  A google search found me extra plastic discs that I could personalize and attach.  Under budget and a fun souvenir!

As usual when Jenfest is concerned I got a little crazy-eyed and probably made too many. Oooh well.

My sister Alexandra helped me create the souvenirs until late last night. She also learned how to spell the word souvenir along the way.

Join us tonight at Jenfest 2011 The Bad Hair North Oakland Romp and take one home!!  Or just see me sometime in the next ten years and get an extra.  You can pick up one of the 2009 beer cap magnets while you’re at it. Continue Reading

Office Depot Greener Office Delivery Service

I needed labels for the totally awesome Jenfest souvenirs and Office Depot was the cheapest retailer that had these labels. Normally I would just go pick them up, but they were only available online. AND if I ordered $50 or more I would receive FREE overnight delivery. Score! I needed staples anyway!

So I worked my way to $50 buying extra toner and pens. I should have gotten some note pads.

The next day the office supplies show up packed in a nice white paper bag proclaiming their delivery service to be the “Greener Office Delivery Service.” Office Depot seems to really be trying to be green; rumor has it they deliver by bicycle in the UK. Everything was placed inside the bag as if I had gone shopping myself (though I would have brought my own bag). I was gratified by the lack of extra packing paper and boxes, and, I have to say, it was convenient.

Then came the harsh reality. The gel pens I had gotten — Gelio is the brand — sport a “comfort grip” that is more like blades of rubber. OW!!

And then I started thinking about it. These labels I needed they only carried online. But here they were in a paper bag as if someone had just wandered around the store picking things out. Something didn’t add up. Continue Reading

Jenfest 2011

I love throwing parties.  It’s pretty much the highlight of my life.

I’ve been throwing a Jenfest every year since 2003.  This year will be the ninth.  Every year I go over budget, and lose about a month of my life to ridiculous details, planning and souvenir-making.

Daydreaming about Jenfest starts somewhere in February.  I’ve long had a dream of renting the Roxie and having a movie night complete with appropriate games, songs and refreshments.  The long-coveted fantasy Jenfest is a giant concert starring my favorite band, Pulp*. I still have hope that that dream may come true…

This year I was planning a Guerrilla Outdoor Movie Night on Broadway.  The plan was to project a movie on an unrented building and take over the adjoining parking lot with camping chairs, blankets, and a popcorn machine.  Sounds fun, right?  The idea of a Winona Ryder (my favorite!) film festival was bounced around. Continue Reading

the birthday party (and it’s invite) that will never be

While we were wandering through the Mission last month, my friend Sarah spotted a Super Mario pinata in a shop’s window.

It was just the seed I needed to declare that we would have a Super Mario themed party for Will’s upcoming birthday. Will, after all, loves nothing if not Super Mario, and how much fun we would have with our two televisions and two Super Nintendos–we could play in two rooms!!

I started hunting for Mario t-shirts to dress our two mannequins in.

I planned the menu: stuffed mushrooms and sugar cookies in the shape of feathers and flowers–the magical items that Mario eats to survive, spit fire balls and fly.  We would have a lot of pasta because Mario and Luigi are Italian.  And salad too, because that would make it a balanced meal. Continue Reading

Tina Tamale – a woman after my own heart

I love (loooove) parties, and once in awhile I meet a party that makes me envious. I met one last November and another one this past Saturday.

Tina Tamale throws herself a big ass birthday party every year. Now, if that wasn’t enough to make us automatically bff (Jenfest anyone?), the name Tina Tamale is actually her alter ego/brand.  I’ve always wanted an alter ego, but never had the inspiration to enact one.  (Though perhaps my nom de plume Susiejster worked for awhile…)

This year, Tina’s birthday party was held at the gorgeous Disco Volante, and–the part that makes me the most envious–the party was planned by someone who wasn’t her! She just said, I want to dress up and dance to good music. Continue Reading

FAQ: Why are you doing the Diary Project?

Well, you know, I don’t really know. Or maybe I do.

Each year I have an annual festival of my birth (Jenfest) and last year (2009), the theme was an Anti-Roast (because my boyfriend was NOT cool with having people roast me 🙂 ). I didn’t know what an Anti-Roast was or what it was going to look like. I thought that maybe people could make fun of me, but it was in a large venue and I knew most people wouldn’t participate.

One day I thought, let’s read from my journals. I don’t remember how the thought came about, but it perfectly fit the theme.  Instead of people roasting me, I was going to roast myself by allowing people to read from them and completely humiliate me! And, I knew, it would be hilarious!

I had some friends go through my journals with me to find the good parts, which we marked (I wound up photocopying them to ensure that my journals wouldn’t get stolen…it’s sad, but sometimes you just don’t trust people. They’re assholes sometimes). While we were going through them, they were reading lines aloud and laughing uproariously. It was REALLY hard to stomach. Friends laughing over my lack of boobs over the years! Over my obsession with my handwriting!  I couldn’t believe I’d thought of this, and it was too late to turn back.  But after awhile of listening to them talk about it, I really just was like, this is so real, it’s so raw. And funny. Very funny. I think ultimately the web version isn’t as funny; it’s more monotonous and slow-moving — like a soap opera.  But that’s what brings the reality, I think.  You gotta earn the good parts–ha!

But back to why; one of my missions is to bring more joy and hilarity (and beauty!) to the internet, so it was kind of a natural decision to release them. My boyfriend wasn’t too cool with it, but I convinced him that the person I was 18 years ago isn’t the me now. Rather, it’s this hilarious version of me that was boy crazy and ridiculous. I love it. He came around, though now that I write out the argument I realize that I must have been more convincing in person.

We’re only three and a half months in, and I have 13 journals total that believe they span 5th through 12th grade!  This project is kinda like a pet–a LOT of commitment. I do get some vacations; for instance, right now, I have a four month window where 6th grade Jen didn’t write at all–despite starting Middle School on Monday!

So what about you?  Will you share a diary or journal entry with the followers of the Diary Project during this four month window?  We’d love it if you would!

Compost, Recycling, Trash Signage

I made these signs a couple years ago when I put on the unfortunately named First Annual Holiday Gift Bizarre in San Francisco.  It was unfortunate because we wound up only having the one.  Hindsight is always 20/20.

Please feel free to print them for use at your events.  If you laminate them, they will last forever :).  I reuse mine every event, and keep them in a folder marked “Signage”.  I know just where to find them when I go to pack for Jenfest this Saturday morning.  I’ve learned a lot about design since making these, so my apologies for the rough edges.