Posts Filed Under nothing to do with parenting.

The End of all things cool

by Janelle Hanchett


A few months ago I was in Marshall’s. And while standing at the check-out line, I saw one of the strangest things my eyes have ever beheld.

It wasn’t the near-toothless twitchy check-out lady who appeared REALLY INTO her job.

It wasn’t the baby in the car seat with a bottle of brown liquid (looking oddly like soda), propped up in her mouth, as if her parent’s only mission in life was to encourage her early tooth decay.

It wasn’t even the mother towing three half-naked screaming toddlers while she yelled at her (obviously unfaithful) significant other.

It was… just sitting there…quietly…lurking on the counter…

…wait for it…

Ed Hardy hand sanitizer.

I stared in disbelief.

“Is it SO?”

I looked away. Then back again. (You know, kinda like the way you stare at a car wreck or bar fight –  the weird sick fascination with the terrifying and gruesome?)

“Is it real?”

I looked again. Looked closely.  Squinted a little. Yep. ED HARDY HAND SANITIZER. For sale. At a store, where people go.

AND THERE WERE SOME MISSING, which means, lest my keen deductive reasoning skills deceive me…that people in fact purchase this item. Real humans pay real money for this real item.

Somebody actually says to herself “Well look at this! Ed Hardy hand sanitizer! Cool! I’m going to spend my money on THAT! Now I can sanitize my hands and look like a fucking moron all at once!”

Okay maybe I added that last part.

But let me just say this directly: I think Ed Hardy is hands-down the most idiotic, disturbing, offensive (in its stupidity) brand EVER TO EXIST ON THIS PLANET. Now I know there’s a fatal flaw in that argument, namely because I don’t know every brand that’s ever existed on this planet. But I’m stickin’ with it, because I’m willing to put money on the validity of the assertion that there is nothing more lame than Ed Hardy.


You either feel me on this one or you don’t.

But let’s talk about it for a moment. Let’s talk about why Ed Hardy is horrifying and may actually symbolize the end of all things cool in America – because it’s really not about aesthetics here. While I would never choose Ed Hardy for myself , that’s not my beef with it. I can forgive people for thinking Japanese tattoo images mixed with fake diamonds is cool. I guess. And it’s from L.A.; L.A. is weird. Plus, I walk around looking like a wannabe granola-eater lazy ass, choosing my clothes based on comfort and which items make me look less fat than others, so I’d rather not talk fashion.

And I could be wrong, but I don’t think Ed Hardy was quite as lame when it first came out. For example, they didn’t make hand sanitizer.

My beef with Ed Hardy is that it represents the obscene over-commercialization and sickening materialism in our culture. It is trying so hard to BE COOL that it absolutely misses the boat on coolness. Coolness is authenticity. Uniqueness. Doing your own damn thing.

Ed Hardy represents jumping on the bandwagon (or inkwagon, in this case) because tattooing is now cool.

It’s about the unending ego-driven pursuit of crap because it has a certain label or I think it’s going to say something about me – “I’m cool” or “I’m hip” or “I have money” or “I’m a fucking jackass.”

[I always blow it in the end.]

But my run-in with that hand sanitizer drilled something spectacular and appalling into my brain: apparently with some people, the yearning for labels extends into the realm of hygiene products. Notice they are “travel size”– so they can be put in a purse and pulled out strategically so everybody knows that this girl has COOL HAND SANTIZER. (Okay I actually just laughed out loud writing that. That shit is funny.)

It just seems ridiculous to me.

Have we become such slaves to marketing propaganda that we actually believe it matters what our hand sanitizer looks like?

Oddly, Ed Hardy himself used to be cool, at least on paper. Back in the day, he apprenticed under Sailor Jerry – THE Sailor Jerry – who was this traveling whisky-drinking outcast sailor who made his living tattooing people and singing songs about liberals and how they’re ruining America. Ed Hardy turned down a Yale scholarship to study tattooing. What happened to you, dude? Sell out much?

Whatever. I’d probably do the same damn thing, had I the opportunity.

I mean how the hell else am I going to get my ass to Borneo, where I can sit around criticizing people for their taste in clothing and $3.00 hand-cleansing products?

Anyway, here’s a photo so you know I’m not making this shit up.

And then, we moved to Borneo.

by Janelle Hanchett


Houston, we have a problem.

Janelle is out of shit to say.

NOOOOOOO!!!!! (voice fades off into the distance…)

There’s no way.

OR, she has so much to say she doesn’t know where to begin.

Enough with the third person.

Ever feel like your life is one giant holding pattern? Only you don’t know what it is exactly you’re waiting for?

For things to settle down, maybe. Get stable. Easier.

For more money to come around. For the real career to begin. For the kids to get bigger.

(Even though you nearly cried when your boy showed you his first loose tooth yesterday.)

For life to start fulfilling you all the time, for the vision to become reality. For the image you held of adulthood to become what IS.

Yes, please.

I’ll take some of that.

And I know what y’all enlightened people will say… “Live in the moment, Janelle. Wake up! Be present! Be conscious! Don’t waste your life!”

But none of that self-talk changes the fact that this shit is really hard. And sometimes it appears REALLY QUITE MEANINGLESS.

I mean check it out. We get up. We go to work. We drive around. We do shit. We eat. We sleep. We have fun occasionally. We work and work and work again. My husband works and works and works, pretty much 7 days a week.


So we have a house and a car and food and some “savings” and retirement money and an occasional vacation somewhere, so my kids have an opportunity to misbehave in a new environment.

And my kids go to school so they can become good working Americans.

And we go to work so my kids can go to school to become good working Americans.

But what about living?

When do we do THAT? When do we get to just BE? When do we get to stop struggling for the bigger house and bigger car and better clothes…For the time and date when we look around at our lives and say “Sweet. We have ARRIVED.”

I lived in Barcelona for a year (studied abroad in college), and my Spanish friend told me an expression they use over there: “Spaniards work to live. Americans live to work.”


That’s true.

I’ve never forgotten that. And I saw it when I was there. I thought those Spaniards just didn’t have any drive – I thought they lacked ambition, the way they just kinda hung out and worked as little as they could, spending much more time in cafes and bars with friends…not really concerned with getting ahead or getting rich…leaving work at 3pm in the summer cause it’s just too damn hot, taking 2 months of vacation a year…closing their businesses for the afternoon siesta…every day.

But even then, I had to admit: those people seemed HAPPY.

I’m not trying to stereotype an entire nation. Those were just my general observations, of a culture I was living in for the first time.

But I think they have a few things figured out. I think their priorities make sense: do what you have to do to enjoy your damn life. Then, enjoy your damn life.

Because this is it, folks. This is the only chance we get.


Am I going to give a shit how big my house is when I’m 80 and dying? How nice my cars were? How much money my kids make?

Probably not.

I will, however, probably feel it deeply if I wasted my life in the ego-driven pursuit of STUFF, buying into the well-established fallacy of the American Dream, at the cost of my contentment, my time, my joy.

My life.

Part of me wants to fuck this whole deal, move elsewhere (Borneo, perhaps?), run some goofy dive shop or café and just live. Let my kids run around. Let my mind run around. Stop seeking earning running.

Sit in cafes with friends. Make enough money to get by.

Work to live.

Clearly it’s too hot. I’m losing my damn mind.

Or, I’m ready for a change. I think I’m on the brink of change.

I just don’t quite know what it is yet…

what it is exactly I’m waiting for.


Idiot surfing!

by Janelle Hanchett


I have a new favorite past-time. It’s called “idiot surfing.” It involves reading parenting chat-boards and Facebook comments in response to questions involving mothering. It’s not really a past-time, but I do in fact engage in the activity with relative frequency. I don’t really know why. I mean, I know where it’s going to lead and it’s all bad. I see the question, I know I’m going to hate some of the answers…I know I’m going to have moments filled with rage, moments filled with desperation at the plight of humanity, moments filled with “good God I don’t even know you, yet somehow, I fucking hate you” – and yet, I read any way. So I decided I might as well generate some good (or something productive, at least) out of this particular sadism.

Therefore, this blog post. I have a feeling this won’t be the only one.

Recently I saw the following question on Facebook: “Do you allow your kids to have toy guns? Why or why not?”

And here were some of the responses that generated one or all of the aforementioned visceral reactions:

  1. “No. My husband and I both agree that guns represent violence against people and animals and those are equally abhorrent to us.” – Obviously violence against people and animals is abhorrent. But really? Do you have to say shit like that? It just sounds so pretentious and holier-than-thou. I bet the person that wrote this is one of those really loud vegans (oh come on, you know the type), with a “Do no harm” bumper sticker on her car, which is ironic, considering driving a car in the first place is, well, doing harm. Carbon footprint, bitch. Plus, do guns really represent violence? Or is it the person behind the gun, pulling the trigger? Is a gun, alone in the wilderness, still a gun? Hmmmmm. Deep thoughts.
  2. 2. “We have a squirt gun. but we dont call it a gun – its a “squirter”. No guns!”– Um, hey genius. You can call it whatever the fuck you want, but it’s still a gun. Does calling it “squirter” diminish any of its gun-ness? I could call war a “drum circle” but I don’t think that would help any, now would it? And, you might want to consider the occasional, strategic use of apostrophes.
  3. 3. “Uh, no.” – Translation: “How could you even ask me such a question? What kind of idiot do you think I am? Everybody with even the slightest sense of perspective, of depth, of good parenting, would never even think of such a thing as allowing a kid to play with a TOY GUN. Pssshht. I’m so above that I can’t even respond.”
  4. “I don’t stop my kids from playing with them. But often I give them ideas of how to use them as energy healing guns! Where they shoot loving healing energy at their target, or shoot beams of zero point energy to stop and move things :)” – I forgot the other reaction: vomiting a little in my mouth. Fucking healing energy. Oh shit. There it is again. *hacking noise*

I’m sending all of you some healing energy. It’s called “go idiot surfing and immediately feel better about yourself.”

And, next on the list, we have a quick one. Here’s the question: “How do you teach your kids about Earth Day?”

And the only response we need to highlight…

“Homesteading- the same thing we do every day But I did make homemade bread this morning and three kinds of jelly: spicy tomato, dandelion, and mint (the last two made from foraged plants!)” – What the FUCK is ‘homesteading?’ And you baked homemade bread and crafted three kinds of jelly from “foraged plants?” You’re a damn liar. Stop lying. You know you went to Grocery Outlet.

Foraged plants.

Kids will probably end up weed dealers.

But it’s cool. Cause it’s ‘homesteading.’

Whatever the fuck that is.

So…what do ya think of my new past-time?

How to get unfriended on Facebook…

by Janelle Hanchett

I’m writing this post because I’m a bad person.

And this list is not comprehensive.

Now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s get to it…

How to get unfriended on Facebook…or at least annoy the living shit out of people.

  1. Post more than 5 times a day. If possible, give us a run-down of where you’re going, especially if it involves running errands. Because that is really interesting stuff that people want to read (dude WAH?): “Going to post office;” “Headed to the park!”; “getting my nails done!”; “leaving work. TGIF!”
  2. Write about your cat. Sorry, but nobody gives a shit. If your cat dies, that’s sad. You should post that. If your cat vomits on your face, that’s interesting and you should definitely post that. But if your cat is just cute and you feel like sharing, or it has feline behavioral problems (oh yeah, they exist) or the sniffles, you should not write about that because I’m pretty sure about 1% of the population gives a shit, and those are really poor odds.
  3. Call your pet your “baby.” Your pet is not your baby. Even if it’s a puppy, or a kitten, it’s not your baby. I know this for a fact because the last time I left my actual baby outside with a bowl of water, some food and a scratching post, I got in BIG trouble.
  4. Try to sound smart. Say profound stuff. Talk about your graduate degrees. Impress us with your stunning intellect and piercing creativity by dropping quotes of obscure philosophers and applying them to your daily life. Because we are impressed. Because everybody appreciates your insights. Fucktard.
  5. Post inspirational quotes and cute, happy little sayings about friendship, flowers, love, looking on the bright side, new doors opening and other such ridiculous meaningless feel-good crap. Use smiley faces and exclamation points. A lot! 🙂
  6. Play Farmville. Send requests to people who don’t play.
  7. Use your relationship status as a retaliatory tool against your partner. Perhaps you think we don’t notice that you go from “married” to “single” to “in a relationship” 5-7 times a year, sometimes within the same month. But we do notice. We do. And every time we see it, we think you’re an idiot and wish you’d figure your shit out once and for all so we can finally stop reading about it.
  8. Post a lot of pictures of yourself. Post a lot of pictures of yourself all dressed up, in cool, exotic, fancy places – and make sure you are the only person in each photo. In each picture, make the exact same “I’m hot” face and if you’re a female, show cleavage. Tilt your head down and slightly to the left. Have a small lock of hair fall strategically over one eye. Look coy. Repeat.
  9. Post politically charged, highly controversial statements that trigger raging arguments between 300 idiots on Facebook who don’t know each other or anything about the topic at hand. Say things like “keep your laws out of my uterus” or “the institution of marriage is sacred and it’s between man and woman” or “Go Dodgers!” or “I think breastfeeding in public should be a felony!”
  10. Whine. Tell us how much your life sucks. Go on and on about it. Lay it on thick. Use Facebook as a virtual, one-sided therapist. And one of these days, after we put away our violins and inspirational quotes, we’ll tell you to get the fuck off Facebook and go change things if you’re so damn unhappy. Or, if we’re more the passive aggressive type, we’ll just unfriend you, then claim we had no idea what happened.

I wonder if calling people out on the annoying shit they do is a way to get unfriended on Facebook? I hope not. Cause that would hurt my feelings. And then I’d have to whine. And we all know how that goes.

Happy Friday! TGIF! 🙂

yep. pretty much.