Goodbye Friendster

I join the Internet in mourning Friendster this week as the news propagates that Friendster will be taking down user’s photos, blogs and more as of May 31.

Friendster was the first social networking site I joined, and my profile remains a perfect glimpse into 2006 Jennifer.

Lucky for me–and for you–Friendster is allowing us to export our profiles via the Friendster Exporter app.

Also lucky for me–and for you–I have a website where I can store this little bit of nostalgia for the rest of time. So check out my 2006 Friendster profile. Laugh at my brilliant About Me: Continue Reading

Duffel Bags of Cash

I have a life coach and she’s wonderful. Lots of people ask me what life coaching is and that’s probably a question best left to her. I would describe it as “therapy with action items” except that therapy is a lot more touchy feely, and this is waaay more action oriented. I leave our sessions armed with confidence and direction–whereas I enter them most of the time feeling pulled in infinite directions and listless.

Today we had a harder session. As my life coach, she is privy to all my current plans and happenings. She knows the extent of my desires to be an internet celebrity and a talk show host, and she has watched me falter time and time again over the past 18 months as I have been slowly building a foundation for success. When I’m in my more darker moments I can be very hard on myself for how long the process has taken, but ultimately, that’s where I am. I could beat myself up forever, but that is a debilitating mindset and one I try to escape whenever possible. Continue Reading

why oh why,… do I have to go…and take these gigs??

Today I found myself at the Peninsula Home and Garden show.

Where else, but in a sponge booth.

Now, last time I sold sponges I employed the Thin Air Approach to try and convince people to watch my demo. Today, I used a call I’d only hesitantly employed before: Feel the Super Sponge! Three minutes of free entertainment.

I especially targeted the baby boomers with beers. I have to say, it was pretty successful. I realized, though, that my default, Feel the Super Sponge! It sucks and I’ll show you how! is inappropriate with the elder generation. I need to work on that.

After all these years, I’m good at selling sponges. I enjoy it, even. When I have a good crowd of young and old, and I can wave the sponge above the little one’s head and show it doesn’t drip. The grins on those little ones faces!! And I’m better at tailoring the demo to the audience. I am, however, still working on instilling that sense of urgency that if you neglect to use the Super Sponge to suck spills out of the carpet, the mold and the mildew that will build up in the floor boards will endanger the lives of you and your family.

But it doesn’t matter how convincing I am, or how essential sponges actually are to our good health, because you can’t sell sponges when there’s nobody there.

Damn rain. And economy.

the "thin air approach"

sales were okay.

but only okay.

I’d had grand dreams for the weekend. Last year this show was rained out, and I was so sure that everyone would use their beautiful Saturday at the Concord Home and Garden Show at the Sleeptrain* Pavilion. Even though it’s in the middle of fucking nowhere.

Everyone was at Home Depot buying plants for their garden, said the Touch of Orange lady. According to the natural material outlet plates guy they all had soccer games and Little League or whatever. Everyone’s so full of excuses.

My energy level was low, and the crowds were just not there. Both Friday and Saturday I did about as well as last year. Okay. But not great.

When you make $6 a set, you gotta sell a lot of sponges to rake it in. We have a trip to Paris to pay for. I was anxious as I left the show Saturday and I cursed the poor marketing–if you could even call it that!–of stupid Sleeptrain Pavilion.

Then the Universe delivered what I became sure was the secret to a successful Home Show:

The “Thin Air Approach”(TAA)
as recommended by Sharon, Silk Blanket Sales Rep, former pitchwoman

When the crowd is sparse–or whenever you don’t have an audience–do your demo anyway. Pretend like someone you know is right in front of you and you’re talking to them. Keep doing it. People will see what you’re doing, and they’ll come over to check it out. You won’t believe the wads you can pull in!!

“But.. I have dignity!” I proclaimed. But then I remembered… I sell sponges.

“So…10:01 tomorrow, I just start demoing?!!” Yes. “No matter if no one’s around at all?!” Yes.

I let it sink in. I asked Claire and Alex. Claire said that she’d come over to see what the crazy woman was talking about. That was pretty convincing. I consider Claire to be an excellent representative of America.

So I did. I swallowed my hangover. And my headache. But not till 11:01. After another pep talk from Sharon.

I started. “Feel the Super Sponge, I’ll show you how it works.”

No one budged. They kinda looked at me, but that was it.

“Do you ever notice that nasty odors these things get?” pause. “They’re a haven for germs and bacteria. The Super Sponge never gets a nasty odor and it’s because it dries rock hard….” and on and on and on… I’d get to the end of the carpet part, and I’d begin again.

For awhile I imagined Alex there. But not too realistically, or it would have made me laugh. After a minute I realized that I was staring right into the eyes of a brushed metal bust of a horse. It was kinda pretty I guess.

So I demoed to the horse. I pictured the horse’s look of disgust when visualizing all the germs and bacteria in his sponge at home. I asked him if accidents like that ever happened at his house. They do. But he lives in a barn. He doesn’t really mind.

I wondered if I was dreaming. The horse said no.

People were confused. They stared. I looked them in the eye, then back to the horse.

As one couple purchased their sponges, the husband remarked, “I thought you were a robot.”

A dude walking by asked his companion, “Is she for real?”

Some didn’t know how to react. They’d turn around nervously, wondering if I was trying to sucker them in. I’d glance in their eyes, and then around, both letting them know I was watching and letting them off the hook.

I was detached. It was nice. Most of the time I’m demoing, I do feel like a robot. Get up all the enthusiasm you can muster, Susie. Smile big. Laugh loudly about how it’s soooooo gross to pour that soda back in the glass and give it to the kids. …just get their money.

It worked for awhile. I sold some sponges. A couple of mops. Then it got busy, and I didn’t have to employ my new found secret for awhile.

After the two o’clock rush died down, though, my energy was down. Kombucha hadn’t worked. Neither had Emergen-C. Two of em, even.

I broke out the coffee. But never managed to feel energetic enough to break out the TAA. So much talking!! And my shoulder aches so bad. You have no idea.

A long story shorter: I got some of their money. I had one great turn where I couldn’t get the sets packed or take their credit cards fast enough. I must have turned over eight sets of sponges and four mops right then. What a feeling!! These are the glory days.

The horse sold for 300 big ones to a nice lady in a sun hat and a big bag that I knew contained a set of Super Sponges.

You know, there’s no way know how effective the TAA was. But I tell you. Way to give my weekend a twist. And me something to do. For this, the hopefully last day of 2007 that I will ever sell Super Sponges. Direct. At a fair or home show. I hope.

*JR: “honk, honk!”

sponge selling checklist

  • breakfast, lunch, dinner
    • include grapefruit in the morning (makes caffeine last twice as long due to a biochemical interaction in the liver)
    • include chopped apples for late morning and another for late afternoon (wakes you up just like coffee)
  • rental car
  • 1 hard large Super Sponge*
    • take out of package at least three days in advance
    • use brand new Super Sponge
  • fanny pack
  • microphone
  • extra batteries
  • Microfiber Cloth*
  • carpet
  • electric water heater
  • that shit that’s made almost entirely of alcohol and is supposed to kill 99.99% of germs
  • notepad for mileage
  • $100 in change (4 twenties, three fives, five ones)
  • canteen of coffee
  • one Kombucha/day in cooler with Techni-Ice(R) ice packs*
  • one Aveda PVA face cloth, in packaging, retail price $14.00
  • pens (3)
  • cough drops
  • some sort of nicotine
  • CDs & tapes for car
  • sweater
  • lipstick, makeup
  • fork, napkins, electrolyte mix, BOTTLED WATER!!!!

that was what I forgot. The bottled water.

*for sale Friday, Saturday, and Sunday only at the Concord Home and Garden Show!

I think I'm deep

And I think I’m attractive, and I think I’m smart.

Today was my second Tupperware Party.

John gave it a C and I agree.

I missed my cat the entire time.

He just reached his paws around me and gave me a claw filled hug. And then he bit my leg.

When you asked what I was doing this weekend, I should have said, “Frantically preparing for my next Tupperware Party.”

Frantically preparing for life is more like it.

I have a new boss. But my fear of commitment remains. I may be on time today…tomorrow…all next week.

But that doesn’t mean anything.

My sister and I knew each other in a past life. My sister and I are opposite sides of a ribbon stretching through space and time. My cat is a fifteen year (?) stain on that ribbon.

I never claimed to know anything. I still don’t. I know about Tupperware; I know about super sponges. I hella know about co-ops.

But I still don’t know about me.

And I sure as hell still don’t know about you.

v day

last year I had a miraculously romantic Valentine’s Day. I was working long hours at a Home Show in Colorado. The weather was below thirty; the show was slow. I wasn’t really slinging those sponges.

The two gentleman (using the term loosely) to my left kept me pretty well entertained. I talked on the phone a lot, too–as I always do during slow shoes. My Nokia had a radio and that was pretty sweet.

And then there was the Quick n’ Bright Guy. (Quick n’ Bright is an amazing biodegradable natural cleanser. It’s totally powerful. Just apply it, walk away, come back and it’s eaten through your shower scum and/or other residue. Amazing.)

I met Quick n’ Bright Guy (QNBG) six or so months earlier working the Ventura County Fair. I spent most of that fair sleeping on sponge boxes in the back of my booth. I was perpetually hungover.

We’d gone on one date. We ate pizza at a local joint, shared a fifth of Jim Beam (is that the small one–I never know?), and took a walk down the beach. His dog came. I don’t remember the dog’s name. The dog wasn’t with him this trip. He ran away a couple months later while they were on the road. QNBG had to get to a job and didn’t have time to wait to see if the dog would return. Somewhere in Utah, I think. Such a sad story.

He was full of stories. But I was interested in another vendor at the Ventura County Fair, so we didn’t go out again.

Here he was in Colorado. And I was bored. We made a date for Monday. Then I couldn’t do Monday. (I was avoiding the date.) So I postponed for Tuesday. Valentine’s Day. (I hadn’t realized.)

I hate Valentine’s Day. I’ve broken up more times than I’ve been kissed on this stupid day. I avoid it at all costs (though today I had a lovely time singing love songs to myself). Anyway, it was Valentine’s Day. And I had a date. And then I had a call from Zach informing me that mystery flowers had shown up on our doorstep back home*!! Romance was uncharacteristically in the air.

As it was when I found myself sharing a smoke with him while snowflakes fell about a park on our post-work stroll through random park from the car to Applebee’s. His nose was so cold! It was cute. I had some prawn thing with broccoli. It wasn’t so bad. I imagine he ate beef. Days later we knew the bartenders by name. I would pound a whiskey and nurse a 14 ouncer of Bud Light, and then drop him off and drive the hour back to my aunt’s house.

Anyway, I’m happily not selling sponges today. And I happily received two extremely large boxes of Tupperware today. And Tupperware is totally better than flowers. It lasts longer, for one thing. Lifetime guarantee, even.**

*Card read “Just in case nobody else sends you flowers.”
**Contact me to learn how to get FREE Tupperware just by hosting a party!

Susie J’s Life Lessons

1. In order to do a cursory toilet cleaning, one must clean not only the inside of the bowl and the toilet seat, but also the top that only boys see.

2. Both baking soda and salt are essential for the baking process. Next time I have some time to kill, I’ll figure out exactly why. Then I’ll make little chemical models of the baking soda, baking powder and salt molecules and act out the different scenarios. It’ll be fun.

3. I like to get drunk and practice my sponge demo on unwitting party guests. Poor Gabe’s seen it fifteen times. Julia and I used to go to co-op parties and call everyone by their first and last names. It was our party trick. Now I give the sponge demo, and Julia rolls her eyes. Oooh, how times have changed.

4. People are amazing. So unfailingly surprising and brilliant and funny. I always assume everything will just keep trucking along, but it doesn’t. Sometimes you don’t get to see someone anymore, hear their voice, their laughter. For whatever reason. And I just hear “I know it’s over – still I cling, I don’t know where else I can go” over and over and over again.

5. My TV doesn’t work.