Thursday, June 26, 2008

Jenn Interview on Tampa's ESPN Radio 1470

Admin Update:

Jenn sat down with with the Killer B's on ESPN radio (1470 AM in Tampa) on June 24th. The show was video webcast as well, but unfortunately they didn't archive the video, just the audio. So here is her entire segment, split into 2 MP3 files for easy listening.


Part I
Part II

Saturday, June 21, 2008


Walking around in New York City, it would be easy for one to forget they were on an island. But not this particular trip. Despite the fact there are over 5 million people living, working, and visiting the island of Manhattan on any given day, I still managed to feel as if I was all alone. Maybe that is because for the first time in a long while, this trip was all business… no pleasure. None of the usual suspects were in town, my relationship was non-existent, and everyone else had nine to fives. I’ve never been one to depend on the company of others to have myself a good time, but it’s always fun to explore a new city with a special someone.

Seeing the city from the eyes of a singleton was definitely an enlightening experience. Sure, I took my meetings and met all my professional obligations, but no amount of success seemed to make this sense of emptiness go away. I kept thinking that when my work schedule kicked into full throttle that things would not hurt as much, and there would be this reawakening of my old self. But the reality of the matter was colder than the concrete the city was built on. There in the multicultural Mecca that is Manhattan, I felt lost. I felt forgotten.

There’s nothing like having your world turned upside down in a city you don’t really know. One day you’re in absolute bliss, and the next… well, it’s you, your cat, and your suitcases sitting on the steps wondering where it all went wrong. Talking to friends from a thousand miles away serves as much purpose as talking to Wilson volleyball. You certainly can’t go running to mommy and daddy’s house, because they are a two hour plane ride away. And all shoe shopping and retail therapy in the world not only leaves you with an empty soul, it leaves you with an empty wallet. At the end of the day… you really are the little old lady that lived in a shoe.

Finding a good apartment in NYC is about as easy as finding the perfect boyfriend. All the good ones are taken, and the rest have some serious underlying issues. Sure, one may have a beautiful view overlooking the park… but it’s also a six story walk up. The other may have only had one owner-- a cute little 87 year old lady, but did they also mention the little old lady happened to own about 30 not so little cats?? Finally, the last one may be walking distance to your work or a mere subway stop or two from the city… but you’ve owned closets with more space than this baby. And despite what they say… Size does matter.

Men are seemingly no different. Some have serious vanity issues that make life more of a hassle than it’s really worth. They may be pretty from the outside looking in, but they require a ridiculous amount of work and aside from “the view” there isn’t much pay off. Then there are the previously owned guys. And I do mean “owned.” These are usually the guys that got crapped on by their ex gf’s so much, so that they themselves become the one doing the crapping in their next relationship. It’s a natural defense mechanism. And while their new girlfriends may not necessarily deserve it, they usually end up paying for the damage the last tenant left behind, not to mention cleaning up the stains that just won’t go away. And then there’s the kind that just never really tries to measure up to the standards. Maybe they’re tired of the way girls didn’t appreciate them in the past, or maybe they are just tired of trying. Regardless, these never really reach their true potential, and while they may be convenient… the new girl never gets back the investment she puts into it.

Sometimes we rely so much on others to define who we are, that we forget who we are on our own. Maybe we spend so much time trying to please everyone else that we forget the things we like, that we enjoy. Simple things like wearing our sweatpants to the diner on Sunday mornings, after a late night out drinking with friends. Or pulling our hair back in a pony tail, not because we want to look like school girls, but because sometimes having long stripper hair is soooo overrated. Or maybe spending a Saturday afternoon doing nothing but hanging out in the park watching the little leaguers play “Kill the Man with the Ball.” I like eating buffalo chicken wraps at 11 am, if they served beer that early… I’d probably have one of those too. I like watching CSI marathons, even when I already know who-dun-it. And as much as I love the company of a significant other, sometimes I enjoy an afternoon to myself, or a night out with friends.

This trip to NYC reminded me about my wants, my needs, my hopes, and my dreams. It was about finding myself again, and not the doormat I had allowed myself to become to so many people. It made me sad to see the pet cemetery version of myself I had become, just to make others happy. Not to say that there hadn’t been fun times, and great memories… but maybe that was all they would ever be. And I would just have to accept that, and continue on with my own life. And that life starts with a new apartment.

I want a place with a view, a place filled with color, and character. I want a place that is drenched with light, so that even as the New York weather turns from hot and sultry, to downright frigid, I can still see the sun when I greet the day. But most importantly, I want a place to call my own, because when you have worked for it all by yourself... it makes coming home after a long day that much sweeter.

Finding a new life is more than picking out rugs, finding new doctors, and befriending a new hairstylist. It’s about writing the next chapter in your life. Sure the last one may not have ended the way I imagined, but life in itself is unpredictable. People will come, people will go.. leaving a lot of guesswork in uncovering people’s true motives to be a part of our lives. In a city of people trying to all get ahead and make a name for themselves, all you can do is stay true to yourself, and not become one of the masses that doesn’t open doors for others, or help someone struggling to pick up their belongings they dropped in the street..or doesn’t take a chance on someone just “because” they like the familiarity of something that didn’t work the first ten times around.

So maybe I was all alone on a cement island, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have good people back home that care about me and want me to succeed. My family will always be there for me, and leave a light on in case I catch the late flight home. My friends will always be there to throw me a life preserver when life’s waters get too rough, and I need rescuing. And maybe one day, someone special will send me a message in a bottle.. just to tell me that everything will be ok and I haven’t been forgotten. After all, in a city as big as Manhattan, I think we’re all just trying not to be lonely.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Ex Factor

As I drove across the Courtney Campbell Causeway this morning, I couldn’t help but smile. In fact, it’s the first time I had woken up smiling in quite some time, and that is why I remember it so well. With the sun beginning to crawl across the Tampa skyline, even my mild hangover really couldn’t put a damper on my mood. I simply rolled down the windows, turned up the jams, and embraced the Movin EZ sound that is “Journey.”

There was a slight haze around the details of the previous night’s events, but I did know that there were revelations upon my awakening. I had spent the previous night with a good buddy of mine* (*who we will call Mark for all intensive purposes) that had fallen on some tough times as of late. He had just broken up with the girl he had intended to marry for reasons I will not discuss here, but believe me when I say he was well founded in his decision. As I sat across the table from him, I couldn’t help but notice how well he seemed to be handling the whole ordeal. I mean, if I had been in his shoes, I would have been one giant blubbering mess. But not Mark.

Mark had never been the type of guy to see the glass half empty, and believe me there had been times his glass was bone dry. Usually a victim to his own curiosity, adventurous spirit, and one too many shots of Jose Cuervo, Mark had endured stories so crazy you really only see them in sitcoms or Judd Apatow films. If a Friday night didn’t end in the drunk tank, or standing on the side of the road drenched in the rain in a “I HEART SOCCER MOMS” t-shirt… well, how legendary could it have REALLLLLLY been?

As we took toasted our first round for the evening, I made Mark promise me that the night wouldn’t end with me getting to make “one call” to my parents while wearing an orange outfit. He simply smiled, and said I “was on his time now, bitch… and here’s to a night that goes down in infamy. Cheers!”

Oh, I forgot to mention one “small” detail. Did I tell you Mark and I used to go out??

In the days where I still wore cowboy boots as a band costume, Mark had been a freshman at the University of Florida. I would go up and see him on weekends, or he would make the trek down to Tampa. Anyone who has ever attempted this fete knows the way this story ends, and my story was no different. The relationship lasted… maybe 4 months. Long distance relationships were never meant to be practical or permanent, and usually ended in one person’s sacrifice to be with the other. Having just pledged a fraternity, and loving the college life, Mark found less and less time to come see me. And I wanted less and less to do with his drunken fraternity brothers ways. Neither of us wanted to compromise. I think the final straw came when I drove up to surprise him at one of his fraternity’s events, only to find Mark standing at a ping pong table lined with cups of beer… wearing women’s lingerie from Wal-Mart. As I helped carry Mark home in his drunken stuper at the end of the night… I knew it wasn’t meant to be.

Years later, while I was attending FSU I visited Gainesville for the annual FSU UF Football game. The results of the game were not pretty, and neither was the night of partying after it. This was the first time I had gotten a chance to meet Mark’s then girlfriend (now ex fiancĂ©) Chrissy. At first, Chrissy had seemed open to the idea of Mark and I hanging out, but an hour of pre-drinking later I guess she changed her mind. Mark was sworn to never talk to me again.

And that brings me to last night. Since ending his engagement with Chrissy, Mark was on the Apology World Tour, mending all the bridges he had been made to burn during their several-year relationship. While he expected many to tell him to F@$% off because of the way he had just cut all ties, what he was met with was actually quite the opposite. Most were standing there, holding a cold beer for him, saying.. “Welcome back dude.. we’ve been waiting for you.” It’s hard to stay mad at someone like Mark, as he is genuinely just a good ole’ boy. Mark and I could never date again, mainly because we were just so different.. but that didn’t stop us from remembering why we were such great friends. He was always a good relationship counselor; self esteem booster, and all around good time. He makes sure the people around him are loving life just as much as he is, even when the situation dictates a far different mood. After all, life is too short to spend worry about the next time someone will come along and break your heart.

After two hours of dinner, drinks, and discussion, I decided to crash at Mark’s place.. only because the 40 minute drive back to Lutz seemed like a bad idea at that time of night. Mark graciously enough gave me his bed, and he slept on the couch.. because well, that is what friends are for. When I woke up a few hours later to a mild hangover, I walked out into the kitchen to get some water. Mark was standing at the coffee machine, making himself a cup before he got going to work. As I started to recount the previous night’s events with him, he put his hand to his mouth to tell me to keep the noise down. That’s when I noticed the extra body on Mark’s second couch. Walking into the next room and with a look of sheer amazement on my face… I was like..

“Dude, you hooked up with a chick on your couch… while an ex gf of yours got to keep the bed?? That’s awesome.”

Me, being the guys-girl I am, was already going for the “high-five” before Mark spit out the words….

“… it’s Chrissy.”

I pulled back in sheer disgust like someone next to me had barfed, retracting my offer for the high five.

“How.. What… When… HUH???”

“She showed up in the middle of the night, hammered.. wanting to talk to me. I couldn’t kick her out.”

“Does she know I’m here?” I asked.

He nodded, and began to explain the series of events that took place while I got my 5 hours of sleep. He told me how he had rationally explained to her, that it was just two friends that were both going through crappy times, and had more fun feeling crappy together.. than apart. During their two year relationship, she had never really understood that he and I really were just friends, and that I never really was ever a threat. Mark told her that despite our history, there was no real chemistry there anymore.. just a great friendship. And that absolutely nothing would have happened between the two of us (well, three if you count Jose ). The hour long conversation between the two ended with her getting the second couch, and Mark getting 2 hours of sleep before having to head to his seminar.

The night’s events really got me thinking. Mark and I really did have a great friendship. Sometimes, it’s just better to see things for what they really are. Maybe ex’s can still be in the picture, so long as they remain in the background and don’t pull the future out of focus. Even I have found myself tortured by this concept from time to time. Maybe if two people already know how their chapter together ends, they can still be a part of one another’s lives? Clearly there is a reason their storyline didn’t develop into something else, so why would an ex infringe on the other person beginning a new one? It’s perfectly normal to be curious about how the other person’s doing and what’s going on in their life, but to keep rehashing up an old tale that doesn’t end happily ever after… well, that’s not healthy for anyone.

I can honestly say I don’t wish bad things on any of my ex’s. I don’t keep in touch with most of them the way I do Mark, but… that’s because I realized some of them I really had little in common with, and that sometimes the past is just better left in there. We didn’t have the same goals, the same desires, the same “likes” and dislikes. And the rest of your life is a long time to spend with someone you may not even like all that much. For the select few like Mark, well.. they get a free pass from banishment. Not only will he never stop me from moving forward in my life, and finding someone that is perfect for me.. but he’ll be the first to congratulate me when I get there. Or my go-to shoulder until I do.

Mark hasn’t been the leading man in my book since high school, but it hasn’t stopped him from playing an intricate part in how I view relationships. You should always be best friends with the person you are with; the chemistry is just a bonus. Sure, Mark may have been a shitty boyfriend for me, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t perfect for someone else.. so why would I keep him from moving forward in his own pursuit of happiness? Besides, he makes a hell of a wingman and drinking partner. I wish him all the best, and know that if anyone breaks my heart he’ll be one of the first paramedics on the scene. If only other people knew our secrets, there’d be a hell of a lot less jealousy, and a lot more healthy relationships.

I’m not sure whether it was the wind in my hair, or the smell of the bay, but there was a permanent smile across my face. Whether it dawns on you like the sun, or hits you like a hangover… enlightenment is good however it comes to you. So when it does, embrace it, learn from it, and keep on keeping on. There’s nothing wrong with bringing ex’s along the journey, so long as they don’t detract you from getting to your destination. You wouldn’t drive across a bridge in reverse, so why live your life like that?.. After all… if you do.. you could miss the amazing sunrise right in front of you.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

New photo shoot video!

Hey guys...I've been working on getting some new pictures done before I embark on a whole new series of projects, and just wanted give you a sneak peak of what's to come.

This video was shot in Tampa during a photo shoot I had with George Salmon Photography back in May. It features only a small part of the shoot, but the photos will be up on my MySpace page in the near future.

Be sure to stick around, because you might be surprised where I pop up next!

I also want to take a sec to thank everyone for all of their support through some trying times. If you're a regular to my page, you've seen enough status updates to know it's been kinda rough for me lately. I'd have never gotten through this stuff if it wasn't for my friends. I may not get a chance to respond to every message I get because of my schedule, but I do certainly try. And I promise you...I do read every single one of them. I've just been completely swamped, but wanted to let everyone know that I appreciate all of their notes and prayers.

It really means the world to me to know that I have a friendbase in virtually every city I am in.
Love always,


Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Here Lies Chivalry…

Here Lies Chivalry…

Sometimes there are days I wake up and just know I was born in the wrong decade, wrong century, hell.. maybe even era. Sure, I would miss some of my modern day conveniences like TiVo and the Internet but all in all I can’t say I would miss some of the nuances that have developed among my generation’s ideals. Somewhere between women being drug around by their hair in caves and us burning our bras, the concept of chivalry disappeared. Women found as many doors slammed in their faces as they did opened. Flowers and other random acts of kindness became reserved for national holidays or when you were sleeping on the couch. And dates became more of a business transaction than anything else. Sure, the short-sighted people could blame one sex over the other, but really… both sides are to blame.

Much like the dinosaurs, no one really knows what happened to chivalry. It wasn’t like all of American society just woke up one day and said.. I think I will become an @$$hole. No, instead I think it was more just a victim of Darwin’s theory of natural selection. Nature selected the best adapted individual traits to survive in this cruel world we live in and chivalry as we knew it faded into obscurity. Men didn’t open doors anymore. Women treated men like they were somehow responsible for those five days a month they acted like a hormonal bitch. No one said please. No one said thank you. And in the end… we all forgot how to treat one another as human beings.

In a society where women have fought to be treated as equals, one would argue that we in fact are responsible for the death chivalry. We burned bras. We fought to vote. We fought to choose. There was a whole era in the mid nineties about it… I believe the Spice Girls called it “Girl Power.” There is absolutely nothing wrong with this notion that women don’t need a man to be a complete person. I mean, just ask the girls of Sex in the City. Sure I can go “Dutch,” play by the three day “no calling” rule, and walk on the side of the walkway closest to the street. I don’t need to be placed on a pedestal or treat the person I am with like they are indebted to me for my presence in their life. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t expect the people in my life to possess certain values, and above all respect me as an equal.

Being knighted in today’s society simply means you are either Hannibal Lecter or one of the greatest selling music artists who taught the world piercing only one ear meant more than just lack of follow through. The days of men walking around in suits of armor defending fair damsels and cities from fire breathing dragons, fuzzy vampire bunnies, and such… well, they only remain in Monty Python reruns. The only “armor” you can find on today’s market is made of mostly spandex, and I dunno about you… but I don’t picture my prince charming rolling up to save my ass in some tights. So while noble fashion may have fallen in recent years, I don’t see why chivalry should disappear with it.

What most people fail to realize is that chivalry really wasn’t about playing the hero; so much as it was about upholding a moral code of honor and ethics. It really had little to do with patronizing women. In fact, true chivalry was never even gender specific. It was simply about abiding by the rules of the code.

While we could go on and on about the different aspects of chivalry, the gist of the whole thing goes as follows.

*Do whatever it is you do, to the best of your ability. No half-assing here buddy! Take pride in it.
*Be honest. Don’t lie or cheat, or assist others in doing so. They created the Moment of Truth for people like this!!!!.. While you can blame the dog for eating your homework, you certainly can’t blame it for your lapse in judgment.
*Uphold things that are right and just. Be ethical.
*Help those in need and protect individuals who can not protect themselves. Be charitable, be sympathetic, but most of all… defend their honor and rights from oppression. Do you get pissed off and defensive when people mock the fact your favorite team is below .500???.. Yeah??... Well, why protect 30 capable athletes and not someone who really could use your defense???..
*And finally, fulfill all obligations. If you give someone your word, follow through at all costs. I’d rather watch a film from the silent film era than date a guy who was all talk, no action.

No where in the list does it mention holding doors, or picking up tabs, or doing things out of necessity. It simply asks you to make the choice to do the right things in life. Do the right thing, because it’s the right thing to do. Not because there is some ulterior motive involved. I once read a short story by Neil Gaiman entitled "Chivalry,” in which a widow finds the Holy Grail at a second hand store and proceeds to guard it the way the code intended for it to be. The female grail-keeper puts a knight seeking the Grail through a series of tests of virtue which have nothing to do with the strength of his sword-arm or with impressing beddable women. It was simply a matter or whether he would do the right thing when called upon. Gaiman not only demonstrates how the concept of “value” has been lost in today’s society (with the Grail’s discovery at a junk sale), but he also shows that true chivalry knows no gender.

You can apply the concepts of chivalry to your career, your friendships, but more importantly… to your relationship. When I think of all the failed relationships I have witnessed in my twentysomeodd years on this planet, they all lacked a certain characteristic: respect. They simply did not value their partner for who they were as a person. They would control them, belittle them, question their opinions… make them feel like they were simply inadequate. There is no compassion for one another, no loyalty, and trust. Eventually, they find themselves fighting against each other instead of on the same team, at which point the relationship is dead in the water. Each side points fingers. He says she is a feminist bitch. She accuses him of not stepping up to the plate and using his masculine powers for evil. She is an egotistical princess. And I now dub thee.. Prince selfish.

I’ve always believed you treat the people in your life the way you want to be treated: with respect, dignity, and honor. Family aside, the rest of the characters in your circle are don’t have to be a part of your life. They choose to be. Particularly if they are crazy enough to actually want to date you. You don’t have to kiss their ass, or worship them… but do make them feel like they are a wanted presence in your life, especially if all they do is make your life easier. Don’t reserve “pleases” and “thank yous” for professional settings and your elders. Just because someone is your peer doesn’t make them any less deserving of your respect and acknowledgment. Disrespecting others only leaves you sitting at the round table by yourself there, Arthur.

I’d never expect the man I am with to become my bitch. In fact, I’d be insulted if he didn’t assert himself against people who put him down and belittle him. After all, if you can’t defend yourself.. how and the hell do I know you will ever stand up for me if called upon?..

It all comes down to a basic code. One of courtesy. One of respect. One of honor. I won’t start quoting lines from Karate Kid soundtracks or anything, but it’s comforting to know the person you are with will always have your back. You wouldn’t sit back and watch your buddy get his ass kicked in a bar fight would you???... (Well.. maybe if you thought he secretly was long overdue for an attitude adjustment.) Then why treat your significant other any different???...

Relationships aren’t all happily ever-afters and horseback rides into the sunset. Even the best ones can take some work. But as long as you learn to respect yourself and the person you are with… it’s never too late to rewrite your story. So why are you still sitting around in a glass box you moron??..

Besides, any girl that waits for a knight should always remember…

They’ll have to clean up after his horse.