Manatees in T-Shirts and Other Notes

I used to carry a notebook to jot down the random thoughts I’m prone to in case one turned out to be the inspiration for a best-selling book. Or any kind of book, really. This method didn’t work well because the notebook, no matter how small, would always get in the way of the keys, the wallet, the phone or whatever I was looking for in my bag. If I did have a random thought, followed by the thought that I should write it down, there was a good possibility that I didn’t have a pen. If I had a pen the thought of digging around in my cavernous bag trying to locate it was usually too much work. Once in awhile, the stars aligned and I wrote something in my notebook. Six months later I would throw the notebook out because it had gotten ratty looking, which works okay for blue jeans and rock concert t-shirts but not notebooks. I’d rip out the 2 or 3 pages of notes, put them somewhere, and never think about them again. Eventually, I’d spot a cute notebook in CVS or Borders and begin the cycle all over again.

In 2014, I discovered the “Notes” app on my cell phone. It changed my life. Every random thought, passwords, business ideas, dreams…you name it, it gets recorded in the notes app. Every once in awhile, I scroll through to see what’s there. Once in awhile, there’s a coherent thought. More often than not, there’s a few words strung together that don’t make much sense. I’ve pulled out some gems from the past for discussion today.

5/27/15: I’m like a faded tiki hut. Sad and festive all at the same time. 

In my opinion,faded tiki huts become quite festive when you add twinkle lights and tropical drinks in pineapples. The same is true of me.

1/21/16: Dream: Living with very poor family in tight quarters and there is a pet tarantula.

I’m not sure what this is about because I would never live with a pet tarantula, even in my dreams. In fact, I would never live with people who think having a pet tarantula is okay. It’s not okay.

2/7/16: Running with the wolves and other parenting mistakes

Now see? This is what the “Notes” app was meant for. This is an intriguing idea for a blog post. Maybe this will be my next blog post. Or yours. Maybe we should all write about feminism and parenting.

2/7/16: Gender neutral dressing is just male-oriented dressing. If you dress a girl as a boy or a boy as a boy, you call it gender neutral. If you dress a boy in a pink skirt, he’s trans. 

I was obviously having a gender crisis of some kind on 2/7/16.

6/27/2016: Commercials where families dance together

I like dissecting commercials for marketing effectiveness. So what do we think about commercials where families dance together? Do we like them? Do we not like them? I tend to like them. However, I tend to not ever remember what is being marketed in these commercials. I’m all about the dancing. I give them an A for entertainment and a C for effectiveness. It would be an F, but I suspect these commercials have some kind of subliminal marketing effectiveness. If you play these commercials backwards, they probably say, “Buy Life Insurance” or “Eat cereal”.

4/26/17:  I’m calling bullshit  on that commercial for cotton where a girl, hanging out with friends, dressed in a cute white cotton outfit, impulsively jumps into a mud pit at some kind of festival. I don’t know. Maybe there are mud pits at festivals these days. I kind of doubt it, but I haven’t been to a festival in years. What I don’t doubt at all is that any  girl dressed to the nines all in white cotton, is not gong to jump into a pit of mud unless she’s psychotic, in which case she’s going to look disheveled and crazy and nobody is going to make a commercial about her unless it’s for a pharmaceutical solution.

This one scored an F on Chicken’s Marketing Effectiveness Scale. There’s nothing effective about it. Even if you are, say, intrigued by the girl in white cotton throwing caution to the wind, you are still left wondering what she’s going to do for clothes the rest of the day. You find yourself looking for a back pack that might hold a change of clothes. No, there’s no back pack. It occurs to me that this girl might just have changed the whole trajectory of her life in one dumb move. She jumps in the mud. Her clothes are a wet, brown mess, there’s mud on her face and in her hair. She has no extra clothes. It’s 90 degrees out. She starts to smell bad. Her friends are embarrassed to be seen with her so they wander off. Everyone else gives a wide berth because they assume she’s crazy. She begins to feel isolated and paranoid. She passes a mud pit. She’s so hot, she decides to jump in. It’s like Groundhog Day, the movie. You know, that commercial is far more complex than I gave it credit for. There’s a whole short film in there. It still get’s an F, though.

9/27/17: Helping Hand. I’ll hold my own hand. It’s the least I can do after what I’ve put myself through. I’ll hold your hand, too. I couldn’t have done it without you.

This is intriguing. I have no idea whether I wrote it or heard it somewhere and made a note of it. I googled it but nothing came up except warnings about the perils of being too self-aware. That’s never been my problem. I suspect this is a song lyric that some other way too self-aware person wrote.

11/30/17:  My coat practices selective zipping

This one actually did become a Fashion is a Two-Faced Bitch post. See? See how it works?

3/7/28:  Are the manatees in that commercial really wearing novelty tees? If so, how did they get them on? I picture a marketing intern somewhere being told to “dress the manatees” and the intern thinking to himself, “This is so not what I signed up for”. 

This one gets an A because who doesn’t love a manatee in a t-shirt? I don’t even care what that commercial is about (it’s about Geico). I think one of the novelty t-shirts on the manatees should say, “Time to Dress the Manatees”

Chicken out



  16 comments for “Manatees in T-Shirts and Other Notes

  1. March 10, 2018 at 8:54 pm

    I give an A to the Notes app. I wish I could other apps as effectively. I have my drug list. The doctor’s assistant asks “have your meds changed?”, and I hand over my phone. They’re so good at it, the phone never turns off while they check. I put great blog ideas in notes. Here are a couple more: Smarter then than I am now. Want vs. need: the rich need, poor want. “I absolutely need that dress!” “I want to be able to get a new coat for Susie.” Fast and furious. Not a clue what that tidbit means.


    • March 10, 2018 at 8:54 pm

      I wish I could use…


      • March 11, 2018 at 12:23 am

        Oh I knew what you meant, Joanne:-) So here is your challenge, should you choose to accept it: One blog post on the obscure note of your choice ,although I have a preference for, “I absolutely need that dress!”


      • March 11, 2018 at 12:25 am

        In Fact, Internet, this is a challenge to all of you. Writing Prompt: “I absolutely need that dress!”


  2. March 10, 2018 at 8:55 pm

    Loved this post. This is a lot like the “Notes” on my phone too. I’ve never liked that manatee commercial though. Other Geico commercials in the same vein worked for me, but manatees in novelty tees? If you don’t agree with my comment, come at me bro!


    • March 11, 2018 at 12:16 am

      Hell-ooo Philll. That’s like my blog version of “Helloooo Newmann” from Seinfeld (in case you are the one person in the world who also doesn’t like Seinfeld).


    • March 11, 2018 at 12:18 am

      Helll-ooo Phillll….I would like to see a post about your notes sometime soon. K?


      • March 11, 2018 at 11:35 am

        Nah. I’ll never do a post about my notes because it’s been done already.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. jenny_o
    March 11, 2018 at 4:17 pm

    Your manual process of writing notes is very familiar to me. The only luck I’ve had using a list is to put it in a Word document on the computer, which means I miss 90% of the inspirations I get (because I don’t have a smartphone). I love – LOVE – your Fashion is a Two-Faced B—– posts. They are so on the mark and so funny. But then again so many of your posts of your posts could be described like that. I’ll add “I absolutely need that dress” to my list of prompts!!!


    • March 11, 2018 at 5:03 pm

      Hi Jenny,
      My number one excuse for not writing something down is, “this is so good there is no way I’ll forget it!”. Do you do that also? Thanks for your comments-you are too kind!


  4. Doug in Oakland
    March 11, 2018 at 8:46 pm

    Long before I made it online, I used to keep a journal. I still have all of the journals I wrote post 2001 (when the pile of older ones was stolen) and sometimes I actually read parts of them. There’s some amusing stuff in there, and I find that my handwriting sort of carries it’s own channel of information that reinforces the words and what they say.
    I also used to carry a small (3X5 maybe?) spiral notebook in which I had the information I might need while I was out and about: Phone numbers mostly, and addresses. Remember having to know someone’s phone number in order to talk to them?
    Those poor notebooks were forever falling apart from the trauma of riding around in my pockets, so every so often I would buy a new one and a new extra fine point Pilot pen and copy the still relevant information out of the old one into the new one as legibly as I could manage.
    When we moved here, I went through my postal tub of papers and pretty much threw them all away (all of the utility bills from three different places I’d lived? Really?) and in there I found a plastic bag full of those old spiral notebooks. I threw them away, but before I did, I read one for a minute. The last five pages were phone numbers and addresses from the late nineties, some of which I actually recognized. Most of the rest of it was weekly budgets and the like, but there was also a couple of journal-entry like notes I had written while riding public transport. Then I looked at the dozen or so other notebooks in the bag and realized that, should I let them, they could easily gobble up an entire day of my current life. I tossed them all in the trash and trusted myself to have ideas and thoughts right now that are every bit as good as whatever I jotted down while riding BART or AC Transit.
    Your “Helping Hand” note reminded me of a Rilo Kiley lyric from a song called “Go Ahead”:

    If you want to hold your own hand going up that cliff
    Or if you want to just hold back cause you ain’t up to it
    Go ahead
    Go ahead
    Go ahead
    Be my guest
    Go ahead

    My poor little non-smart phone does have a “memo” function, and I have various passwords and access codes and our mailing address logged in there, but no ideas or notes.


    • March 12, 2018 at 1:55 am

      Hi Doug,
      “and I find that my handwriting sort of carries it’s own channel of information that reinforces the words and what they say.”
      I intimated in a recent post that I was in the process of trying out some new routines that were using the time I would normally spend reading blogs or writing posts. My new routine involves writing in a journal each morning. What you said is true for me, also. It’s something about the physical writing, as well as the “dumping’ of whatever I’m thinking knowing it’s an audience of one. There are no filters. It feels good. It’s been a couple of months now and I think I’m hooked. So you’ve been doing this for over 20 years? Wow. I have an address book that I’ve used for at least that long. It is falling apart. I use a hair band to hold it together. I don’t actually write in it anymore but it still has some addresses in it that I haven’t added to my contacts and I don’t want to lose them. “Go Ahead” is not the song but the more I think about it, the more I have a half memory of sitting on the couch and hearing something that intrigued me and writing it down. I might be making it up. I thought a google search would reveal the source but so far no luck.


      • Doug in Oakland
        March 12, 2018 at 5:32 am

        My journal writing sort of got pushed out of my routines by the internet back in 2003 when I first got online. In fact some of the entries in my post internet journals are about the fact that I wasn’t spending time journaling any more because of the internet, except when the internet wasn’t working for one reason or another. I think one is titled “Chronicles of Interrupted Connectivity” if I remember correctly.
        I did keep a daily (and even more frequently than that) journal when I was in rehab from my stroke that came in handy when I got home and wanted to remember what my therapists had been up to with my recovery.
        In some ways I miss the focus that writing in a journal gave me. I tried a couple of times to start one on my computer, and even transcribed some of the amusing writing from my paper journals, but it never seemed to catch on and get habitual like the pen and paper variety did.
        Also, I learned how to comment on blogs…


      • March 15, 2018 at 12:51 am

        Hi Doug-It’s the same for me-typing doesn’t give me the same satisfaction. Maybe the physical activity of writing carves deeper grooves in your brain or something? I don’t know. You do seem to write an awful lot. I don’t suppose you keep a log of your blog comments anywhere, do you?


      • Doug in Oakland
        March 15, 2018 at 8:52 pm

        Nope. There’s way too many of them for that. Every once in a while I’ll remember something I wrote and want to look at it again (and maybe use part of it for something else) and about half of the time I can find it using Google.
        I’ve sent links to the “he said she said writing challenge” comments I wrote here to a few folks, and it’s always easy to find, but some blogs are easier than others for those kinds of things.


  5. March 15, 2018 at 7:17 pm

    This is great. I have a weird selection of notes on my phone, too, many of which I don’t remember typing in at all. And yet, I’m often reluctant to delete them.


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