Wait For It… a blog by Andy Ross

Valentine’s Day Ideas

Posted on February 9, 2011


Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and I need to come up with a romantic plan for me and my wife.

Listen, I know that Valentine’s Day is an artificial construct engineered by faceless corporations to guilt us into spending money. But, isn’t everything? I mean, stop and think about it---doesn’t that describe every single aspect of modern life?

I just blew your mind, didn’t I?

Alright, so we acknowledge that Valentine’s Day is as equally valid/invalid as everything else in our culture. That still means I need to figure out plans for a date. Something surprising. [Colleen, if you are reading this, stop right now. I’m serious, Colleen. SPOILER ALERT!]

I had a couple of preliminary ideas:

First I came up with a hot air balloon ride. But, then I remembered that I’m deathly afraid of ballooning ever since my sister and I survived a hot air balloon crash when I was little. [True story. I’ll tell you about it later.] I thought maybe I could overcome my fear by facing it head on. Then I threw up all over the ballooning brochures.

I decided maybe we could go on a romantic horseback ride instead. Colleen loves horses, don’t you, Colleen? [Ha! I knew you were still reading this! Colleen, stop trying to ruin Valentine’s Day!]

But, then I remembered the last time we went horseback riding and how saddle sore I got. I felt like a goddamn wishbone afterward. And, if there’s one day my pelvis needs to be in proper working order, it’s Valentine’s Day. Am I right? I’m winking right now, FYI.

What else could we do? A sunset cruise? Kiss atop of the Empire State Building? This isn’t amateur hour, people. I needed to come up with the perfect Valentine’s plan. That’s when I thought of it…


Everybody loves a romantic evening at home with fondue. The tiny burners requiring vigilant attention; fishing fallen bits of bread out of the hot cheese; the scalding oil dripping down your chin---it’s all so romantic. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Gooey equals sexy.

I did a test run while Colleen was at a work conference, and it went pretty well. Three tablecloth fires and one chocolate carpet stain later, and I’m feeling super confident as a fondue chef.

I even bought an apron that says “Fonduers Have Fon-Doing It!” Clever, right? You know, the brain is the most sensual organ after the genitals.

So, we’re all set. Colleen gets back from her work conference Monday night, which is Valentine’s Day night. She’ll be carrying three bags and a briefcase and a portable video projector. Plus, it’ll be the end of a 14-hour flight once you account for her layovers in Denver and O’Hare.

But, when that airport shuttle drops her off, I’ll be sitting in our apartment, nude except for a novelty apron, surrounded by a labor-intensive eating experience. And, once she cleans the fondue dishes, which is only fair since I will have cooked dinner, we’ll retire to the boudoir for a little post-cheese-fondue romance.

I do believe it’s gonna be the sexiest Valentine’s Day ever.


Levels of My Attention

Posted on February 8, 2011

Sometimes (read: often) I get distracted by my own thoughts or outside stimuli. I don’t mean to; I just do. That means that if I’m talking to you, you might not have my full attention. I apologize in advance.

It would probably be helpful to the both of us if you could gauge how much of my concentration you’ve got beforehand. So, here are the levels of my attention from greatest to least:

(Most Attentive)

1. We are in a room together / The TV is off.

2. We are in a room together / The TV is on.

3. We are in a room together / I have said something embarrassing to a stranger earlier / I am obsessing over it.

4. We are in a room together / I’m searching Facebook to see if that person has posted something about me embarrassing myself.

5. We are in a bar / I’ve had two drinks to calm down.

6. We are in a bar / I’ve had three drinks and am now drunk.

7. We are in a bar / I have said something embarrassing to the bartender (three drinks, remember).

8. We are on the phone after the bar / I am staring at a wall.

9. We are on the phone / I am microwaving nachos.

10. We are on the phone / I am eating nachos / A wolverine is attacking me.

11. A wolverine is attacking me and the TV is on.

12. I am exhausted from a wolverine attack.

13. I realize my nachos are gone / I am hungry.

14. I am obsessing over having said something embarrassing to the wolverine / Do you think it heard me call it a badger? / Was it offended?

15. The wolverine has not yet accepted my Facebook friend request where I apologized for calling it a badger / The TV is on / I am hungry.

(Least Attentive)


Witness Protection

Posted on February 7, 2011

When I entered the Witness Protection Program, I only had a couple---two or three---demands. Nothing big. The first was that my new name be Tad "Ace" McCool, and that I be a professional surfer.

I thought it was a reasonable new identity. My agent guy was a real hardass about it, though. He said I couldn't surf. What, like surfing's not allowed in witness protection?

No, he meant I had never surfed before. I offered up that maybe I could be a semi-retired famous surfer. I could hang around the beach looking regal and tan, and all the surfer girls would whisper and stare at me, longingly.

Agent Bill told me the whole point of witness protection is to be a guy people don't stare at, even surfer girls. So, I started to tear up again and talk about seeing all them murders. That usually works. I just have to be careful not to crack up laughing.

I sniffled and asked if I could at least wear the eye patch. (I came up with this terrific back story where I fought a killer whale, and that's why I retired from surfing.) Agent Bill said no way. That guy's a twerp.

Reasonable idea after reasonable idea---all shot down. Could I be a Navy Seal? No. What about the announcer at a water skiing stunt show? One where they jump off ramps through flaming hoops? No. How about a Cuban drug runner with a huge cigarette boat?

Eventually, I got him to let me be a home aquarium repair specialist in Phoenix. It was the closest I could get. But, I still get to wear board shorts and flip flops to work, which was a big part of it for me. My new name is Arnold Nump.

(Maybe I shouldn't be broadcasting all this. I'll have to ask Agent Bill.)

I did have one last request. I asked that my superpower be flight.

He said we don’t get superpowers in witness protection. What the fuck? What’s the point of having a secret identity then? Jesus … these guys.


Low Key – February 6, 2011

Posted on February 6, 2011

Cheerleader Trouts


Writer’s Block Tips

Posted on February 4, 2011

Writer's Block

Having trouble writing something? Don’t know where to start? Or, maybe you’ve started, but you don’t know where to go from there. Writer's block came feel impossible to overcome. Whatever your problem is, these helpful tips are here to help.

A few suggestions for getting over writer’s block:

1) Um…

2) Huh… I guess…

3) [Something about making something.]

4) I, uh, I don’t…

5) Oh, thank god! Short Circuit is available on Netflix Streaming.


Modernist Furniture

Posted on February 3, 2011

Modernist Furniture

I can remember at six-years-old crafting my first piece of modernist furniture. It was a rocking horse made out of Plexiglass and discarded aluminum tubing. The conceit was that it didn't necessarily "rock."

It was as though a firecracker had gone off in the world of modern design. The MoMA called my work "disturbingly present."

Soon, I discovered molded plywood. It felt like finding a magic world all of my own. Within days, I had built a minimalist living room set inspired by soap bubbles. Mies van der Rohe wrote me a fan letter after having seen it in one of Charles and Ray Eames' filmstrips. I was eight at the time.

However, as with many modernist design child stars, fame took hold too quickly and too hard. Julius Shulman's pictures of my work in Observe & Ponder Magazine made me a household name. My fiberglass and resin piece, Slide Redacted, was the original impetus for Herman Miller’s move into playground equipment manufacturing.

I even had my own catchphrase: "Function demands empathy, form demands sacrifice."

Soon, I found myself partying at Philip Johnson's Glass House. Buckminster Fuller was constantly around, tossing Utopia-through-design hippy girls my way. Drugs, fights, shoplifting drafting materials … For my twelfth birthday I rented out Taliesin and burned it to the ground. (I know---again, right?) My tween life was out of control.

I won't lie---that period marked some of my greatest achievements in object design. Probably a subconscious nod to my own life's downward spiral, my Treehouse with Double Helix Fireman’s Pole drew rave reviews, even from the normally staid Austrians. I was a madman, up until well past dawn on amphetamines, sketching end tables and racecar beds.

But, it's always the same story. I burnt out.

At fifteen, I was asked to redesign the lobby of Lincoln Center. I turned in a scribbled crayon sketch of a Labrador Retriever in a riding helmet and jodhpurs. My parents checked me into rehab.

Some new child designer quickly took my place. I wasn’t jealous; I was tired.

Today, I lead a normal life. I have a beautiful wife whom I met in rehab. (She had been a famous abstract expressionist ceremacist at age seven, so we understand each other.) We have a nice little house and two lovely daughters. I teach Sunday school at the Unitarian church.

Every now and then, I’ll design a storage ottoman for Target. Nothing big or flashy. Just something to keep my hand in the game. I danced with the Design Devil and made it out alive. That’s enough for me.


Blog FAQ

Posted on February 2, 2011

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: How long have you been writing this blog?
A: How long is the wind? How high is hope? This is a stupid question. Next.

(Whoops, I misread that last question. I started this blog in February of 2010.)

Q: Are you a real person with real human feelings?
A: A mitigated yes.

Q: Is the blog all you do?
A: No. During the day, I design book covers for books that need covering. Also, I spend a good part of my day doubting myself. That takes up time.

Q: Where do you come up with your ideas?
A: Your mom. BURN!!!

Q: What's your favorite brand of beard conditioner?
A: Dr. McKittrick's Lamb Placenta Beard Conditioner. (Imported from New Zealand.)

Q: Do you ever have guest bloggers?
A: Someone offered, but I didn't trust him to do a mediocre job, which would have made me look better by comparison. He would have been too funny.

Q: Have you called your grandmother?
A: Yes, mom, I called her on Sunday.

Q: Who are your inspirations?
A: Jack Handey, Steve Martin, P.G. Wodehouse, Stephen Colbert, Tina Fey, Paul Feig, an obese cat on YouTube that guards socks.

Q: Which is your favorite blog post?
A: I couldn't choose. That'd be like asking me who my second-favorite child is after Jessica.

Q: What's the point of all this?
A: If you're asking about the blog, it's to keep my writing sharp so as to eventually get hired to write professionally. If you're asking about life in general and maybe you're crying while you ask it, stay on the line. I'm here to help.

Q: Has anyone ever asked a real question about this blog?
A: Ever? I think so. Sure, probably. Probably? Maybe. Ever? Can you be more specific?

Q: How many people read your blog every day?
A: Well, according to Google Analytics, it varies between hundreds and one random person in Pittsburgh. Hi, reader in Pittsburgh! I know you're there. Hope that's not creepy.

Q: What's the best pizza in New York?
A: A little place without a sign just south of Kim's Video on 1st Avenue.

Q: Have you ever thought about marketing your blog so that more than just your Facebook friends read it?
A: Stop yelling at me! [takes nap]

Q: Any final thoughts?
A: [groggy from nap] I need to figure out how to get a writing job.


Damn You, Body!

Posted on February 1, 2011

Listen, body, I don’t like you, and you don’t like me. But, let me make one thing clear: We are gonna stop being so fat. Starting now.

Hey! Body! I’m talking to you! Don’t pretend you can’t hear me; you’re the one with the ears. I know you can understand me, body. I’m your brain, for cripe’s sake. It’s time to get our ass in shape. Literally.

Don’t you want to be in shape? I would love for us to be in shape. It would make it so much easier on the both of us. For one, you wouldn’t be so winded climbing the stairs. And, I wouldn’t have to feel this constant self-doubt and embarrassment every time our spring wardrobe comes out of storage.

Alright, here’s the plan: 1) You’re going to stop eating so much. 2) You’re gonna exercise. 3) I’ll provide the fantasies about looking good in a European-cut suit.

That’s it. It’s a three-point plan. You execute the first two points, and I’ll try my damndest on the third. I think that sounds like a equitable deal. (Fair warning: I may lapse every now and then by encouraging some late-night, depressive binge eating.)

Hey! Where’d you’d get that Mallomar? Do not eat that Mallomar! I said, do not mmphhh mmmphtt … Oh god, it tastes delicious.

Alright, fine, one Mallomar is fine. That’s fine. But we are going to exercise. Stand up and put on your headband. I know we left that Pilates mat somewhere … No, don’t sit down and turn on E! It’s terrible. We are not watching that horrible, vapid … Ooh, did Kendra get a new house? NOOO! No, we’re exercising.

Wow, she sure did lose that pregnancy weight fast. Good for her.

Alright, maybe just one more Mallomar. It’s so tasty. [crying] Damn you, body. I hate you so much.


The Lost Page

Posted on January 31, 2011

This is very exciting news! I don’t normally break big stories on this blog, but someone has to. The world needs to know.

A week ago Saturday, a friend of mine---let’s call him Johnny Z to keep his anonymity---discovered a book in the attic of his promiscuous mom’s house. [That she’s promiscuous doesn’t really pertain to this find, but I believe it’s important to paint as rich a picture as possible.] He knew this particular book had a reputation amongst rare book enthusiasts [me], not just because of its scarcity but also the folklore surrounding it.

According to urban legend, the book has a “lost page.”  That is to say, there is a page in this book that consistently goes unread, even by the most careful reader.

Some say it’s in plain view, but one’s eye avoids it because of a mystical “glamour.” Others say the page appears blank unless viewed under the exact right conditions---through the periphery of sight with one eye in sunlight and the other in shade. Still others say the page skitters throughout the book, never in one place, always avoiding the gaze of the reader.

But, it’s been found! J. Zeigler [first name withheld to protect his identity] mailed off the book to me, and I, in turn, finally discovered the missing page. [Turns out it was the one-eye-in-the-sunlight thing. Obvs.] And, I’ve transcribed it for you here. For the first time ever!

The following is the famed “lost page” from the 1988 Choose-Your-Own-Adventure novel The Yeti Versus The Brotherhood of the Ninja:


You step across the threshold of the small castle at the top of the mountain in Nepal. The Yeti, otherwise known as the Abominable Snowman, supposedly lives in these mountains. Jeremy, your friend and climbing partner, has also heard that ninjas guard the walls of this castle. Has he heard correct? You don’t see any ninjas.

“Are you sure there are ninjas guarding this castle?” you ask Jeremy.

“That’s what I heard,” says Jeremy.

Footprints, the size of giant feet like the kind of feet a Yeti might have, lead away from the castle. They lead toward a dangerous cliff that looks hazardous. But, the castle also looks risky or dangerous, because ninjas might be inside, or even outside but around the corner and out of sight, like ninjas tend to do.


If you follow the (probably Yeti) footprints, turn to page 56. If you go into the castle where the ninjas might be guarding dangerous stuff, turn to page 37.

So, yeah, that’s the secret lost page that I’ve been searching for for the last twenty years. It kinda sucks.

It’s not the best writing. It's repetitive, and it doesn’t really advance the story. I can see why everyone else skipped it without noticing. It’s sort of a letdown to be honest. Maybe I shouldn’t build it up so much when I talk about it.

Anyway, live and learn.


Low Key – January 30, 2011

Posted on January 30, 2011


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