Tuesday, December 28, 2010
So. The diet thing has been working for me for resolutions of short or long duration. Dammit. I think there’s one I need to work on. The generally accepted recommendation of 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Dude. That is not easy. Especially given that I don’t like vegetables.
So here’s the plan. I’m going to have as a goal that by the end of March I will be hitting the 5 a day. But if it’s 5 pieces of fruit that’s okay. Then by the end of the year, I will be eating at least 3 vegetables and 2 fruits a day. And I’m not going to p**** out like some people do by counting dried beans. That’s just weak. Real actual vegetables like zucchini. Shudder. And I’m actually going to keep track of things, and chart my progress. Accountability!!
And, gawd as my witness, I will figure out a way to like vegetables. And vegetables for their own sake. Not just as a convenient method for ingesting cheese, sour cream and bacon (though one friend made brussel sprouts with bacon for Thanksgiving – you could hardly taste the sprouts). My Mom used to threaten my brother and I that if we didn’t stop fighting she was going to find a rope and tie us together kissing until we loved each other. Maybe if I tie myself to an eggplant I’ll have some sort of vegetable epiphany. I hope it doesn’t come to that.
Monday, December 27, 2010
Anyway. I hate it when I have to revise my opinions on people. I don’t make snap judgments. Well, rarely. But when I’ve formed my opinion, I just want things to stay that way. I especially hate it when I’ve decided not to like someone, and then have to about face and like them. A little.
Basically, someone unexpected did me a solid. And now I’m kind of forced to like them. Huff. Not that it was actual dislike in the first place, mind you. I’d just decided to not form any sort of temperature for toward them. Neither warm nor cold. Sort of like the San Diego of opinions. Then came the solid. Well, poop. Now I’m going to have to like you. A little. Not more than a little. And I’m just not budging on that.
Because that whole like/dislike axis colors everything about how you take in information about a person. When you like someone, you give them a Mulligan on anything they do. You just assume that it came from a good place and they had good intentions. But if someone you dislike does the same thing, you assume that there is some dastardly ulterior motive. Honestly, when Dick Cheney is supportive of the lesbian daughter, don’t you kind of suspect that there’s some kind of nasty endgame there? Like maybe he’s going to bring down P-Flag from the inside.
So, somebody did something nice, for which I can find no possible ulterior motive. So now, the like. A little. Now I’m going to have to give the benefit of the doubt all the time. Huff, huff, huff. This is why I don’t automatically like many people. It’s nothing but work, work, work after that.
But forget it, Dick. I’m just not going to give in on you. You could donate your kidney to an Iraqi orphan and be a guest judge on Rupaul’s Drag Race. I’m just not budging.
Friday, December 17, 2010
Then I slowly realized it’s not so much outsider as . . . they’re kind of just haters. The reason they always have a different perspective is that they disagree with EVERYTHING. I haven’t actually figured out what anyone there stands for other than against anything anyone else may have thought up. They even recently had an article with a polemic against the caps lock key. Seriously. This is what ruins their days at Slate. Oh. And they have Christopher Hitchens. ‘Nough said. Usually they only have positive columns of the “best of” variety. Everything else is “What Just Happened and Why It’s Bad – and You’re an Idiot If You Think Otherwise.”
I’m not against the contrarian viewpoint. I like a little versus. It ain't all gumdrops and daffodils. But honestly, just statistically speaking, not everything can be wrong. All the time. Here’s an editorial assignment for the people at Slate: go out and do a human interest story about, I don’t know, puppies or rainbows or baby smiles.
And don’t turn it into a column about how puppies are so over-rated.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Alright, alright. I know I'm being a bitch about this. But sometimes, if you're going to wear something, yes, I'm going to talk about you. Yes, she looks gorgeous. Yes, she can get away with it. Yes, the dress is hot as hell. Hot. And whorey. Or strippery. Because, frankly, I've seen way too many dresses like this on actual strippers (don't ask me how) to not recognize the inspiration. Of course if this were an actual stripper, she wouldn't have the nun neckline.
And I'm from Texas. I have a genetic predisposition to point out when somebody showed up at the party showing off the good china. But, here's a little secret, if you are the girl who shows up in the little cha-cha dress, we just love you. Don't ever stop. You're the bit of sauce that makes the dish. Every party needs a little something to talk about.
Cheers, Gwynnie. You look . . . amazing. Yes, that's the word. I truly am amazed.
Monday, December 13, 2010
Okay, this is about the ballet dancer that the ballet critic said was a few sugar plums over fairy weight. I’ve seen the footage. Let’s just start with, she’s not fat. And the fact that she considers herself “womanly” is a measure of how wonky the ballet perception of body types is. Womanly? Not by a long shot, Slim. From the description I was expecting, if not a Fantasia-style dancing hippo, then at least something that approached voluptuous. Instead, she has the kind of build most women won’t see after their 18th birthday. And, at least to my eyes, she appears light and floaty, like any other dancer.
And actually, I think it’s one of those things where when you’re inside the group you just don’t see the group think. Yes, there’s a certain ideal in ballet. There’s an ideal in the fashion industry. There’s an ideal in professional football. But that doesn’t mean that someone who doesn’t fit the ideal can’t achieve. Could a ballerina who is truly overweight achieve something graceful and visually appealing? Possibly, but you might never get to see it if she could. Because she isn’t what a choreographer sees in their mind’s eye, she might never get a chance.
Sure, every industry has the right to set their own standards. But ballet would do well to remember what happened to the American car industry. They fell into group think about what an ideal American car should be. And slowly but surely, that ideal became less and less what actual Americans wanted to buy. They idealed themselves right out of the market. Fashion is seeing this with their waif-like ideal. Major fashion houses are going under for sticking to that ideal, and Jessica Simpson is approaching the $1 billion dollar mark in sales designing for people who aren’t stick figures (gawd I love that – go, Jess). And people like my Mom, who appreciate a fast-paced version of football that the titans of the NFL aren’t able to achieve, are now watching college ball, where the players still look like someone you could actually meet on the street, without worrying about being squashed.
But apparently, the fact that so few people have any interest in the ballet as an art form hasn’t penetrated yet. Maybe if more parents hesitate to send their daughters to ballet class out of fear of their child developing a warped body image, maybe then they might get the message. Or maybe they’ll stick to their ideal right into oblivion along with the Humvee. A shame, considering how much grace and discipline the ballet can teach.
Friday, December 10, 2010
I’m guilty too. I’ve always said I can’t grow plants. But thanks to our buddy Washington Gardener, I have a frilled violet named Fred who keeps me company at work, and a sago palm that is one plucky little trooper. Okay. The cilantro died. But I’ll try again! It could work! I can make plants grow! If I want to. But I’m not sure I want to. But I could!
Maybe that’s what hobbies teach us more than anything else. You can. Nothing breeds confidence like success. Or even just knowing you tried. And there are so many things that we “I can’t” to. I can’t cook – so we grab a frozen dinner. I can’t manage money – so we just write checks until the bank takes them away. I can’t handle this situation – so we grab a pill or a bottle of booze to stifle the pain and avoid the problem. Can’t can get you into a lot of trouble.
When I was a kid and I’d try something hard, and try to give up, my Mom would give me that eyeball and say “I Can’t never could.” I had no idea what she meant. I’m starting to. I can. I may not choose to. But, dammit, I can.
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
But as a holiday show, The Grinch musical starts out a few leagues behind for me. The stage show was written years later than the book or the tv special, and without Theodore Geisel’s assistance. The songs are fine. But just fine. When you compare them to the absolute genius of Dr. Seuss, what wouldn’t come up lacking? They throw in some of those great grinchy neologisms (hoo-honkas, fer instance). But otherwise the lyrics are pretty forgettable. And the performances have to be cartoony. It’s based on, you know, a cartoon. Squeaky voices and broad as a barn. Which is usually a recipe to irritate me. If you’re going to do this kind of thing, you can’t just do it fake. You have to really believe in the over-the-top performance with your whole heart.
And this Grinch goes green, furry balls to the wall. He was just terrific. Hammy as hell, but without the tinge of being ashamed of being a ham that always mars Jim Carey’s Grinch performance for me. I mean, there is absolutely nothing wrong with just going full monty and hamming it up. But any tinge of irony or over-thinking just ruins it. Make 'em laugh. And the Grinch is backed up with a Cindy Lou Who that is just as cute as she can be. Not stage kid cute. Actually cute. And they had the kids in the audience in the palms of their hands. The snow in the theater didn’t hurt. But those kids were just riveted to the stage doings. Me too.
Monday, December 6, 2010
But why is the main onus being put on the victim to bear up? Tough it out. Hang in there, kid, and eventually you’ll have the self-confidence to go out and find the people who love you just as you are. Great. I’ll do that. But if you could get this person to quit making my life miserable, that would be a big help. I didn’t need everybody in the world to love me. And I actually did have enough friends who accepted me, in spite of the opinion of the bullying class. But the taunting, physical intimidation and verbal assaults did make my life a misery. They didn’t have to like me. But it would have been great if they had to leave me alone.
And, compared to some other kids, I didn’t have it that bad. I never came close to wanting to die. But man can I understand that, if you did have it worse than I did and no one seemed inclined to help, suicide would probably have sounded a lot better to a teen than any adult would have liked to contemplate.
So, yes. It does get better. But for those kids out there who are bullying, stop making it worse. Whatever it is that’s making you a bully – low self-esteem, mood disorder, crap rolling down hill – go fix your own life. I’d love to be part of a world where we all like each other, and every person is treated with, not just respect, but appreciation. But that’s not happening any time soon. Here’s the truth though. You don’t have to like the kid who is different. You don’t have to be friends. You don’t have to even talk to them. But as a member of society, I’m telling you - It’s not okay. Bullying is not just part of being a kid. And there’s nothing that gives you the right to make another person miserable, and they shouldn’t have to put up with your damage. Not cool.
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
I think this is why, as an agnostic, I really hate being lumped in with the atheists. On the one hand, agnostics and atheists are pretty much in the same foxhole, being so completely outside the mainstream. But on the other hand, I would never, never stomp on someone else’s belief system. [And by the way, my atheist brothers and sisters, since logically one cannot prove a negative (fact – look it up), you are actually relying on faith in your beliefs; which would make you . . . wait for it . . . a faith-based organization; yeah, get over it. Here endeth the lesson.] Whether it’s God, Allah, Buddah, the Flying Spaghetti Monster or the complete lack of divinity, I’m cool with it. Go and do no harm.
And just from the perspective on an agnostic who is culturally Christian if not spiritually, could we maybe make the season about tolerance? Look at how many religions have their holidays at the same time. Isn't it wonderful? And wouldn't it be wonderful if this could be something that unites, rather than turning into some sort of holiday territory war. As we each go about celebrating in our own ways, we can share a season of peace, abundance and joy, and goodwill to all?
Happy holidays, everybody.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Whether, if he’d ever gotten out from under the Colonel, Elvis could have ever been an actual actor is debatable. What isn’t debatable is that people went to a raft of his movies to see ELVIS. Whatever hokey plot there was was just there to show Elvis off in a fun location, and offer opportunities for him to belt out 4 or 5 numbers. That’s it. You went to have fun. And see Elvis.
In this case, you’re going to see Christina Aguilera and her fabulous pipes strut across the stage in glam costumes and big hair. And these costumes are incredibly glam and the hair is incredibly big. And it doesn’t matter what you’re into, this show has something to look at: beautiful girls, beautiful boys (in eyeliner, be still, my beating heart), beautiful shoes. It’s the show with everything, and Stanley Tucci. Oh, by the way, did I mention, CHER? Who looks AMAZING! Okay, yes, she’s had plastic surgery. But you don’t get mile long legs from Dr. Hollywood. And she’s so big now that she actually let Christina have the better light in their shots. That’s a star.
My two quibbles with the film were the criminal under utilization of Alan Cumming (he gets about 30 seconds of a naughty number, and 3 good lines – Not. Enough), and that it kind of let the burlesque aspects flag. My niece and I both thought things went pop/burlesque rather than burlesque/pop about halfway through. I’d have been happier with heavier bump and grind.
But really, it was 2 hours of cotton candy for the eyes and the ears. Can Christina act? Couldn’t tell you. She wasn’t really asked to in this movie, all that much. But she did just fine with what she had. Maybe even enough to give her a shot at a real part. Maybe. She could end up a Cher or a Bette Midler (a remake of The Rose? I’m just saying). But if she just puts out a movie every few years where she is in a fabulous location to belt out some tunes, I’d be just fine with that. Return to Blue Hawaii, anyone?
Monday, November 22, 2010
Friday, November 19, 2010
I’ve been to the airport. I can’t imagine that there are too many jollies to be had ogling most of the passengers in the friendly skies. And I’ve seen a few that I’d actually feel bad for the screener that has to look. And how hard up would you have to be to get a job with TSA just so you could check out people’s silhouettes in gray scale? Um. There’s the internet. Anything you want, you can see. Though, as many and varied as the freak community is, I’ve never heard of an x-ray fetish. TSA should probably look into that though. Talk about an employee who’d be riveted to that screen. Nobody’s getting by them. Employee of the month.
Frankly, I’d far rather have some freak in a booth somewhere checking me out than that same weirdo giving me a pat down. Check me over. Especially if I could get through the damned lines at security faster.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
The Brinker Series is consistently one of the best content providers at the PAC. Fascinating people talking about fascinating topics. They had the T. Bone Burnett talk and the Frost/Langella discussion earlier this year, and they have kept a really consistent high quality. And one of the least engaged audiences in town. These shows are really focused on bringing a smart focus on culture, society and nature to Dallas. And you see late arrivals, early departures and people staring at their watches. Pacino was working his ass off for most of the show and the audience was just not responding. He was telling stories that no one else could tell, with cameos from last-name types like Ginsberg, Scorsese, De Palma, and only about half of the audience was paying attention. I felt bad for him. I mean, yes, he’s a big name. But the most obvious thing is that he’s still a performer. And getting that little love from a live audience has gotta be rough. They sell a lot of tickets for those Brinker series. But it’s a lot like going to see a professional sports team that has a lot of their seats sold to corporate clients. I'm not sure what is causing the disconnect, but some step between audience and material really seems to be missing.
The Jazz series is the complete opposite. It’s a music lover crowd. They have a smaller attendance, but, man, they are passionate. And this bunch could have eaten Michael Feinstein on toast points. He was caviar, baby. From his just-jazzy-enough ensemble (the suit was exquiz) to the broad range of music, he did the American Song Book up. The opening act was Nicole Henry, who was the total package – gorgeous voice, gorgeous body, gorgeous dress. And she sang one of the most compelling versions of Fly Me to the Moon I’ve ever heard. Then Feinstein comes out and just lays it all out there on the stage. Porter, Gershwin, Broadway, even Van Morrison. And peppered it with anecdotes about the music that only a real custodian of this kind of music could. Plus, a bang on impression of Paul Lynde. And like I said, the audience couldn’t get enough. He could have sung all night.
So, I think what Brinker is trying to do is convert some of those corporate ticket types into the kind of real culture vultures at the Jazz Series. A noble goal. But you have to get them to pay attention first.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Luckily for me, I can load up on the holiday fare at my volunteer gig at the Performing Arts Center. Nice, right? I jumped on The Nutcracker and The Grinch. And I’m eyeballing a couple of Christmas music shows, if I can work them into my greedy little schedule. I was somewhat less eager to sign up for A Christmas Carol. Let’s just say, it’s not my favorite.
Honestly, I kind of side with Scrooge in the beginning. Is there anything more annoying than cheery relatives trying to force joy down your throat when you’re just not in the mood? The bastards. And so he’s frugal? What of it? Did we learn nothing from the last spend-happy decade? Bet Scrooge doesn’t have a balloon mortgage or credit card debt. And really, Cratchit? You’re a clerk. You make jack for a salary. What’s with the 20 kids? Are you gunning for a TLC show? I realize you like the missus. But give it a rest, freakshow. Or . . . I’ve seen Victorian porn. Marital relations that would not produce offspring were not a mystery, even in the time of Dickens. In a variety of ways. Surely one of those would have offered some appeal, without creating more mouths to feed. Scrooge is a jerkwad. But not an incorrect jerkwad.
But nope. After an extended torture campaign of harassment and hallucinations that I’m pretty sure would be a human rights violation under the Geneva Convention, Ol’ Neezy caves. He drinks the egg nog flavored Kool-Aid and surrenders to the tyranny of the seasonal oligarchy. Disappointing really.
But then they posted a show on the day after Thanksgiving, and I decided why not? This girl don’t shop on Black Friday. And maybe my incipient holiday mood will be bright enough that even I will enjoy it. Or maybe in this production Scrooge will call the TAPS Team to scare off those pushy ghosts, kick the crutch out from under Tiny Tim and buy a time share in Boca for the holidays. A girl can dream.
Friday, November 12, 2010
So maybe I hate her a smidge. Nope. Hate’s a strong word. I . . . oh, let’s just go with hate. A smidge.
Why? Is it the marshmallow head on the toothpick body? Is it the Breck girl hair? The oh, that’s my husband, the rockstar, marriage? Is it that she burps and gets an Oscar for it? It’s kind of all that. Combined with the fact that she seems to have little to no awareness of her fortunate one status. It’s like she just accepts it all as her due.
It’s just statistical. Luck runs on a wide bell curve. There are going to be sad-sack motherf***ers out there who never seem to get a break. And there are going to be people who fall in horse crap and come out smelling like Chanel No. 5. The 99.8% rest of us just muddle around in the middle. But if you are one of the Fortunate Ones, the truly, truly lucky, it really does behoove you to at least have the grace to act like you’re deeply grateful, abashed, or even just a little surprised that you have it easier than 99.9% of the population (BTW – Taylor Swift? Master of the art.).
And that’s why every time Gwyneth Paltrow shows up at a red carpet wearing yet another dress that makes her look distinctly saggy-boobed, I smile just a little bit.
But I kind of like a gross name for yummy stuff. With a name like “Smucker’s” . . . There’s just something about the ugly name that just makes me happy. Like Van’s Pig Stand. It’s a place to get BBQ in Oklahoma. My Dad took my Mom to Van’s when they were dating. We went to Van’s when we visited the old hometown. Yes, it sounds like a place where they serve pigs. But damn the food is good. And once you’ve had their chocolate pie, you’ll regret ever having to waste stomach space on any other type of food.
Maybe it’s my English roots. Nobody names things disgusting like a Brit. Toad in the hole. Bubble and squeak. Spotted dick. Drowned baby. Mmmm. That’s gotta be some good eatin’.
But, as the world get’s more and more tame (weep, my friends), marketing people (the bastards) look at something with a name like “Schepps” and say, “That sounds like an old dog! Who wants to drink milk when they’re thinking about an old dog? Let’s name it something with a nice ring to it!” And another good, old-fashioned, raunchy name sails into the sunset. And our world becomes just that much more boring.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
The menu was kind of impressive, in an unexpected way (okay, my small city snobbery is showing). They had the usual diner fare(pot roast, BLT, country breakfast). But it was dotted with things like a homemade veggie burger, tortilla soup with New Mexico chiles and something very intriguing called Chunky Monkey Pancakes. I was feeling self-righteous and adventurous, so I took a flier at the veggie burger.
While we were waiting, I kind of people watched. The clientele was mainly your average Okies. Think of any “report from the Heartland” segment you’ve seen on the evening news and you’ll pretty much have it. Men in plaid shirts, women in the decorated sweatshirt. The kind of place where nobody blinks if a man is wearing overalls. Mixed in were a few bikers and truckers.
And this one fellow (in overalls and a completely un-ironic trucker hat), is having the breakfast bar with a friend. Two old guys talking over eggs and sausage and coffee. Overalls says in a loud voice “That’s a real man! That’s a real man right there!” My friend looks uncomfortable. Redneck could be going down not 10 feet away. What sort of he-man, hillbilly chest beating are we about to be witness to? Of course, she hadn’t been eavesdropping the way I had, and only heard the loud part of that statement. I love listening to the music of everyday conversation, and this place was a symphony. What I heard was “He ain’t afraid to just say it. He’ll say “I love you” right out. That’s a real man! That’s a real man right there! If you can’t be honest and open and just say what you feel, what the hell are you doing?” How ‘bout that?
And, for the record, the veggie burger was outstanding. And we stopped on the way back for those Chunky Monkey Pancakes – fluffy pancakes with sliced banana, pecan and chocolate chips, whipped cream on the side. Like heaven on a plate with a side of bacon. If you’re ever in Salisaw, Emma B’s is quite obviously the place to be.
Friday, November 5, 2010
And from his half-assed apology, you can really tell he doesn’t get what the vitriol is about. Myself, I think it comes from two things. Not that what he said was wrong. It’s debatable. I think in two respects the heat came from the way he put things.
First, his statement came off as women think differently from men, and therefore they are wrong. And this comes after about 50,000 years of women being told that “You’re just a stupid girl, so what do you know.” It’s a man’s man’s world, baby. Still. And if a gal has spent her entire life, everyday, being told by the nearest arm of the patriarchy (not to go all 70s era gyno-positive on you) that her viewpoint is essentially feminine (and therefore wrong), then when one dude sticks his head out in public to shoot his mouth off in this way, yeah, somebody is going to fire back. Stephen, you were just the latest in a long line of men who has called us wrong (and essentially you said we f*** wrong - really? REALLY? You thought that wouldn't piss women off?). And you did it in public. We already had itchy trigger fingers. We killed the messenger. Sorry, dude.
Second, Fry made the cardinal logical error of making a blanket statement about “women”. Honey, any time that you base and argument on an assumption that a group that makes up half of the world population is monolithic and concurrent about ANY opinion, you were on thin ice to start with. And if you thought that you could speak for all men, I’d hazard a guess that you were speaking out of turn there as well. If he thought he’d win that argument because no woman would ever say “Hey! I like sex with a stranger standing up in a service station bathroom stall too!” . . . guess he found out times have changed.
That’s the way it is. Sometimes a casual remark can hit a nerve. You thought you were making a joke, and it turned dead serious. But I certainly wouldn’t ever want a provocative thinker to back off. Say the outrageous. But next time, before you make a joke, you might want to make sure you’re wearing a cup.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
But the new brand image for Yellow Pages is apparently YP. Easy, breezy. Acronyms. We love ‘em. But I’m not sure why they would have picked an acronym that, when pronounced would come out “wipey”. Have these people never changed diapers? Wipey. And they had to have a meeting where it was said out loud. Let’s move on to the re-branding issue. Somebody came up with wipey. I like wipey. It’s very succinct. Friendly even. Do you like wipey? Yes, I like wipey too. Wipey wipey wipey. Let’s go with that. Come on guys. As far as brand image goes, let's just say the synergy isn't there. A wipey is a necessary thing. You can’t do a good job of cleaning a messy butt without one. Can’t be done. A wipey is good. Until it’s used. Then it’s not good. And you can’t throw it away fast enough. Much like the yellow pages.
Of course, the other possible pronunciation is “why pee”. Why pee? Cause otherwise I’ll explode.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
I’m not sure where I was. Or what I was talking about. I’ll get back to whatever it was. But for now I just need to get swinging again.
So. Speaking of swinging. The election. The US voting public swings like a pendulum do. Run this direction! No! No! Back the other way! We’ve worn ourselves into such a rut we can’t even see out the sides any more. I really hope that if somebody ever actually builds a ladder that will get us out of the wagon tread, we’ll all have the sense to climb up it. [I’ve mentioned that I believe that the two-party system will be the death of our country, haven’t I? Yes? Good. Just checking.]
Anyhoodle. The thing this election really did demonstrate is the fundamental temperamental difference between democrats and republicans. Oh, issues. They come and go. But the temperament always stays the same. Democrats will throw each other under the bus. They can’t hang together. They want to represent all groups equally. But my group more than others. Look at feminism. Given that women represent 50% of the population (and feminists skew democrat), you’d think that they’d want to all clump together on as many issues that effect women as possible. But nope. Most of the core feminists believe that if you don’t support abortion, you can’t be a feminist. Period. Regardless of the dozens of other issues that predominantly effect women (violence against women, pay and employment equity, mothering issues, women’s health), and tangentially effect women (social security – remember, we live longer than men, so SSI actually does effect us more) . . . regardless of all that. You get booted out of feminism if you don’t hold to this one tenant. Under the bus. And you’ll see that very tendency in every special interest group that is brawling under the democrat tent. They may win an election. But there’s no way they can hold it together long enough to finish out a term. Let alone get anything done.
On the other hand, republicans won’t throw anyone under the bus. If you call yourself a good republican and talk the party line – you’re in for life. No matter what. You can show up at a Tea Party rally dressed like Himmler. You can be a former practicing witch. You can be a two-timing, closeted coke addict. But as long as you believe in “small government”, “God”, and “family values”, you’re in. And you don’t even have to actually define what any of those things actually means to you. Hey, polygamy is a family value. NOBODY goes under the bus. But of course, that means that eventually they have so many wingnuts in their tent, that every one gets painted with the crazy train brush. They just seem to be able to hold it together long enough to get their legislation passed. Of course, much like in 2008, everyone wakes up with a hangover, looks around and says “Who are all these crazy people? Why am I losing my house? Run back to the democrats!”
Back and forth. Back and forth. Aren’t you guys tired yet?
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Had the most stupendously awesome weekend. A friend and I went to the Texas Book Festival in Austin. If you’re not familiar with Austin, it’s kind of an anomaly in Texas – the weirdos outnumber the normals, they’re super green, party hearty (okay, that’s not unusual in Texas, but Austin just seems to do it better than the rest of the state) and music mad. Plus, being the state capital, it has a political slant that you don’t get elsewhere. Good town. If you happen to be there, the brisket hash is a-frickin-mazing at the South Congress Café.
And the Book Fest is pretty much awesomeness. If you ever wondered what the difference is between a nerd and a geek, a book fest and a sci-fi convention pretty much delineate things. Which makes me a neek? A gerd? A neerk? Anywhoodle. I got to see two of the top tier authors (Jeff Lindsay of the Dexter books, and Justin Cronin of The Passage who put the literature back in vampire lit. Total book world “It” boy of the moment.), and one of my personal all-time favorites, Holly Black. But I also got to listen to a lot of authors I didn’t really know. It was really fascinating to listen to different writers talk about getting words on paper. Some things I gleaned:
- Most writers appear to prefer the morning for writing (with Lindsay getting up at an obscene 3:00 am to write. Ugh.)
- The experienced writers were all about the outlining. Though the more character driven writers were looser about sticking to their outlines.
- While being a published author is undeniably cool, the YA authors are undeniably cooler and funner than the others. And by all appearances, you don't have to grow up to be one.
And lastly, towards the end of Sunday, I ran out of people I specifically wanted to see and bumbled into watching Tony DiTerlizzi. Who was just way interesting. He co-wrote and illustrated the Spiderwick Chronicles. It was fascinating to see the way he looks at story and illustration. And his new book The Search for WondLa looks like a must read for middle readers (and slightly older, ahem, readers – my copy is on the way).
Monday, October 11, 2010
And offer a brief epigram on the show I saw at Theatre 3 last night. I had volunteered at the PAC in the afternoon, and it was a nice moment to go to T3 and not have to give 12-year-olds the bug eye because they are doing that thing that 12-year-olds do where they act 22 one minute and 2 the next (and really boys, your testicles have to drop before you can call me a bitch, so quit yer whispering). Anyhoodle. I got to sit and be entertained. Which the show was. Very entertaining. Okay, some moments were painfully hokey. But on the whole, their 33 Variations was funny, moving, thoughtful. Entertaining.
But let me say this. About 6 times (mainly when the male nurse character was facing away from me), I wondered if those were his jeans or if they were from the costume shop. Because if they were, he should burn them. Immediately. Awful. Just awful. And it would be impolite to burn borrowed jeans. But if they were his, he needed to dispose of them like the up his butt, poorly fitting, no, really, egregiously fitting, monstrosities they were. Stake them. Rip them to shreds. Burn them. Eyesores. I kept thinking, “Did they not have a 3-way mirror? Does he not have a friend who will tell him these things? This guy must be straight, because there is no way a gay man would have bought those pants. And if his significant other allowed him to buy those jeans, he needs to get into relationship counseling. Stat. Because anyone who’d let you buy those pants is not planning to have sex with you any time in the near future. Those jeans are orgasm killers.” Honestly, I can say this is one time in which theater in the round was a real detriment to my enjoyment. And he was a tallish guy with long legs. How can you screw that up? I mean logistically how, as in I would have thought it was impossible; and morally, how, how could you do that to me? Just foul. And to do that when there are people like me in the audience who will invariably check out a guy's ass (just for, you know, statistical purposes), and to perpetrate that crime against nature. Ugh.
Well, that’s the news from here. Or a snippet of the news. I’ll be back to my series, hopefully, soon.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
I really have come to believe that most of the time when you aren’t feeling good, it’s because you’ve been doing bad. And for me, at least, I’ve broken bad (ha!) down into 3 types: doing bad to your body, doing bad to your life, and doing bad to your karma. Today, bad for your body.
The easiest thing to fix, I think is doing bad to your body. Okay, maybe not easiest, but at least less soul searching intensive. But if you feel bad, you start taking a look around and wondering, what am I eating? Am I getting enough sleep? Do I need to get out and move my body more? It’s hard in the sense that most bad for your body is a lousy cycle to break. If you’re feeling bad, you want comfort food . . . which can lead to more feeling bad. If you’re tired, you gulp more coffee . . . which can make it harder to get to sleep at night. If you feel a little sluggish, you sit down and watch the tv . . . which is the farthest away from exercise you can get. And I’m not saying we should all be clean eating, fitness freaks. But I think everybody has a minimum amount of care and concern that they need to show their body. And when you drop below that level, it can be hard to pull yourself out of the ditch.
I’ve had about 8 years of small steps. Trying to get over the bad for my body hurdle. I’d say I’m about 75% there. I don’t eat as many vegetables as I should. I don’t floss my teeth. I eat too much fast food, and don’t cook often enough. And they will pry the last can of Dr. Pepper from my cold dead hands. But, I can say that with the changes that I’ve made, I feel better at 41 than I did at 31. That’s not half bad.
Tomorrow, we’ll dig in the bad for your life stuff.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
I’ve made it through my mid-30s existential angst (thank the powers that be), but I’m expecting my mid-40s existential angst any minute now. I’m hoping I handle it better the second time around. I was a hot mess of moody the last time. Oh, I’ve still got the same problems, for the most part. But I’ve come to a Stuart Smalley level of coping about the whole thing.
I think the big thing I’ve come to realize is that the whole angst thing makes you feel powerless. Like you’re a little speck of dust in the grips of the mighty winds of time. And the only way to not feel powerless is to, and this sounds simplistic because it is, just do what you can. Abraham Lincoln said, “When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. And that's my religion.” Pretty much sums it up.
Tomorrow, I’m going to talk about how that works for me. A two-part blog! It’s like my own little series. Very organized. And quite unlike me. But, let’s try something new and see what happens.
Monday, September 13, 2010
But there’s another side of the story. Many companies have dumped their professional HR staff. People who had actually worked in human resources, knew how to write a job req, and knew how to interview to find out if somebody really knows how to do the job or not. A lot of people who are just managers in their own departments, but have no experience screening candidates, are now responsible for hiring. So, what’s the easiest verifiable stat? A college degree.
We all know that a degree can get you a leg up in a field. You learn theory quickly, and have proven that you can complete a program. But we all have also met people who have a lot of book learning fresh out of school that gets in the way of understanding how things work in the real world. Plenty of people have learned a business from the ground up, and could teach a college professor a thing or two.
Not that I’m saying a college degree is a waste of time. I love what I learned in school. Intellectually, it was a phenomenally stimulating experience. But 50% of it has been of little or no use in my career. Okay, granted, I studied a lot of Shakespeare, and do not actually wear a doublet to work. But still, because of that piece of paper with my name on it, there are a lot of jobs where I get looked at over people who are just as qualified, if not a certified.
What I’m really saying is, as an applicant, what I really want to see is the phrase “four-year degree or commensurate experience”. To me, that says that the employer is looking for good people, and they’ll go to the extra step to find people who know what they are doing, regardless of how they learned how to do it.
Friday, September 10, 2010
One time I went to the beach with a friend, who I knew was pretty – tall, platinum blond, jaw line that will never age. But when she came out of the bathroom in a hot pink bikini, my very first thought was “I’m a really, really good person for being friends with you.” I wouldn’t say I was jealous. I’d just say that, even without her making an effort, I look like a sack of potatoes next to her. It’s kind of demoralizing. I don’t discriminate against friends who are better looking than me. It’s just harder to like a person who is way, way better looking. Not a nice thing to say, but I think true. My friend throws a lot of shade. And she’s totally, totally worth getting to know in spite of that blindingly obvious fact. I'm so very glad I got beyond it. Unfortunately, lots of people miss out. Maybe she’s not hated because she’s beautiful. But she’s also not befriended much either.
It’s kind of like the matching theory. Where psychologists say that we tend to fall in love with people who are pretty much the same level of attractiveness that we ourselves are. We also tend to flock with birds of similar feathers. And not many people have as good looking feathers as Angelina Jolie. I almost feel sorry for her. But I’m not quite that good of a person.
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Boobies. Yeah. It’s childish. But frankly, of aaaaalllll the words that are out there for breasts (and let’s face it when it comes to synonyms for one simple concept, this one has to be up there), this is one that I find relatively inoffensive. Almost affectionate. Boobs, maybe not so much. But boobies is okay. Way better than fun bags or tits. And for the record, tits should only be used in the context of the phrase “like tits on a bull”. Because, guaranteed, if you sat that to me, I will laugh.
And the bracelets kind of make me laugh. And it’s getting to the point where women have lost their senses of humors about their ta-tas. I mean, let’s face it, big or little, they are kind of ridiculous. Functional. But a really weird design. And, gawd knows why men are so fascinated. But they are.
And that leads me to the second point. Anything that makes men realize that they have a vested interest here is a plus. Women’s medical research has lagged behind men’s for years. So, if guys are thinking that “Hey, I do like boobies. Maybe I should pitch in”, it’s all good.
In fact, it’s kind of a clever marketing scheme. We could start putting in subliminal nipples on images of the earth, and men might start thinking of the planet as one giant breast. Guys would be recycling and bicycling to work in no time. “Dude, you can’t buy an Escalade. Do you know what those emissions do to the breast, I mean, breath, I mean, breathing, I mean, air?” Kyoto Protocol? Done.
Thursday, September 2, 2010
The Performing Arts Center has a really nice little website where you can sign up for shifts. It shows you everything that’s available, and tracks what you’ve done. And you can set yourself a goal of hours to volunteer and it keeps track of your progress. Or not. It’s not mandatory.
But let’s face it. I’m very goal oriented. I set myself a goal of 100 hours this year. Given that I started in February, it seemed reasonable. And it’s a nice number. 100. I like it. And I was racking up my hours. I was at 76, people. I was going to make it with time to spare. Not that anyone else would have noticed. But I would notice. I would hit 100 and give myself a mental gold star. I love the mental gold star. Nobody else was paying attention. But I was paying attention. I had a gold star in my hand. I was that close.
Then they switched the system. Today. And suddenly, I have a goal of 100. And ZERO HOURS accumulated. God. Damn. IT. Zero. Goose egg. Nada. 76 to ZERO. Aaaaaaggghhhh! Feel my pain! Feel my PAIN!! I’m resorting to capital letters. It’s that bad. BAD.
Not that they’ve completely disappeared. They are on some spreadsheet somewhere. I can still use them to get a ticket. But that’s really not the point. I was sooo close. Obviously, they do not understand the value of intangibles as incentives. Especially to goal oriented people who really, really, really like to see that 100% complete. I’m now at 0%. Big, fat zero. I’m so crushed. Gutted. Gutted, I tell you.
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Worse, now they have to treat every one of these people seriously. Because you can practice your attack your first-person shooter video game. And you can buy guns by the truck load. And you can go on the internet and learn how to make a pipe bomb. Seriously, 20 years ago if some guy had shown up with something strapped to his chest, you assumed it was traffic flares, pipe cleaners and an alarm clock. Now it’s so easy to come up with a workable assault plan, you can be pretty crazy and still do damage before a sniper picks you off.
And there seem to be so many people who are willing to strap on a gun and try to make a point because of their beliefs. The more I see, the more I think Kevin Smith was actually prophetic in Dogma, when the angel Rufus said, “I think it's better to have ideas. You can change an idea. Changing a belief is trickier. Life should malleable and progressive; working from idea to idea permits that. Beliefs anchor you to certain points and limit growth; new ideas can't generate. Life becomes stagnant.” Or worse, when hardcore beliefs are threatened and a person becomes volatile.
So, as we all know will happen with a shocking incident perpetrated by a diehard member of a faction who goes rogue (because it happened with Islam, it happened with survivalists, it happened with Tea Partiers, it happened with abortion protesters), somebody is going to try to paint all environmentalists with this nasty, nasty brush. I suppose it would be too much to ask of America that instead of pointing fingers, we all looked within. Looked within our own groups, whatever they may be, and look to see if we have our own extremists. Anyone who feels so passionately that they might take up arms for the cause. Talk them down, bring them into the fold. Don’t let them isolate themselves. Because in isolation, madness grows. Tell them that you understand their frustration, but violence is never the answer. Ideas bend. But beliefs shatter. And shattered beliefs can cause shrapnel.
Monday, August 30, 2010
The Emmy’s was last night. Which means my DVR is programmed for the first showing of the Fashion Police red carpet report. Emmy’s? Pah. Neither Buffy the Vampire Slayer nor Homicide: Life on the Streets, two of the most well written and influential shows of the 80s and 90s ever won Emmy’s, so screw them. They know less than nothing. But I do love a red carpet take down. And nobody delivers a shiv to the boned waist like Joan Rivers. I don’t always agree, but she has a point of view and the wicked tongue to deliver it.
On the other hand, I’m starting to wonder if they deliver a thick skin with your SAG card. How those people can stand there and not look like deer in the headlights knowing that by 7:00 am Eastern they have an 85% chance of being ripped from the rooter to the tooter in multiple medias by bitches who armchair quarterback the red carpet from their LaZBoy recliner wearing sweat pants and 2-day old socks, I’ll never know. And all but the worst of them are wearing clothes that if most of them saw someone wearing that exact same thing at a wedding, holiday party or charity function, we’d make a point of walking straight up to them and telling them flat out how amazing they look. I mean really. Ridiculous standards. I mean who would hold an actual living, breathing human being to the level of expectation that would annihilate most of us? And some have to do a major red carpet 4 or 5 times a year. Ye gods. Not me, man. Not me.
And yet. It’s their jobs. And some have teams of people who make sure they look their best. Though it’s a glimpse of how impossible those expectations are that some people have more stylists than a NASCAR pit team, and still get it wrong. But awards shows are the “big game” of the celebrity bowl. And it’s always fun to see who was off their game (January Jones – WTF? Was that left over from the Project Runway party store challenge?), which underdog pulled out a big play (Jane Lynch – she’s had past snafus, but looked amazing in aubergine), and who borrowed their wardrobe off the San Diego Chicken (Christina Hendricks – not a good night for the “Mad” girls). I’ll go out on a limb and say Toni Collette was my fave this year. The hair was amazing and the dress fit like a glove and was totally unique. But we’ll see what Joan has to say.
Friday, August 27, 2010
So this teenage boy breaks up with his girlfriend by text. Chaos ensues. And if you were the adult he told this to, the sarcasmic impulse would be really hard to fight down. Really? She was upset? Who would have guessed? There are a million ways to break up these days. And while you can break up by exercising your thumbs, it doesn’t mean you should.
Kids think that adults are being mean and withholding when they’re told they are too young to be in an exclusive relationship. They have all these emotions, why shouldn’t they be able to use them? The key is that relationships are only 50% about emotions. The other 50% is the social skills it takes to deal with somebody else’s 50% of emotions. You not only need the skills it takes to get a person to be interested in being with you, you have to have the skills to actually be in the relationship and get yourself out of it if you are not meant to be together forever and ever. That’s stuff like being open and honest in expressing yourself, being open and honest when listening to someone else, being able to imagine the thoughts and emotions of another human being without projecting your own thoughts and emotions, having the emotional strength to be able deal with someone when they aren’t at their best, having the emotional strength to be able to apologize when someone else has had to deal with you when you weren’t at your best.
I don’t know many 14-year olds who can come close to doing that. I do know a lot of 40-year olds who can’t come close to a stable relationship. And unfortunately, their mothers can’t tell them that they need to slow down, go on group dates and “not date anyone special for awhile” any more.
So how do they develop those skills if they can’t practice on their beloved? Funnily enough, all of those things are things that they should be doing to one extent or another with people that they don’t hope to be French kissing in the dark with. The things that make you a good son, daughter or friend will make you a good romantic partner. The only difference is that being in a romantic relationship is one of the most intense expressions of “relationship” that any person can have. If you haven’t built the basic social skills, you are sunk. And nobody is fully prepared for their first relationship. But if you want to keep that person in the mood the French kiss you, or make sure that she doesn’t make sure no girl at your school will ever even consider allowing your lips to touch hers, it pays to be as close as you can be.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
My sister-in-law is pregnant with her third boy, and coping with the fact that this means there will be no girls. She hasn’t had any easy pregnancies, and had decided ahead of time that if this wasn’t a girl, it wasn’t meant to be. She’s a terrific boys’ mom. Steady, tolerant, no-nonsense. But she definitely had wanted that daughter experience.
So, while her second is small enough (a year and a half) to not have any real ideas about what girls do or boys do, she took advantage of a trip to visit the boys’ little friend who has a princess dress-up box, and got him dolled up. And took pictures. Which the whole family has seen. My mother, of course, thinks he looks precious. My father did a very good job of not freaking out about his grandson in toddler drag. My sister and I giggled, but with reservations.
Not that I think this is going to be some precursor to a lifestyle choice. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But, the kid is all boy. I’m guessing they’ll have enough trouble in the future getting him into clean clothes, let alone worrying about him favoring chiffon trapeze dresses and kitten heels. What both my sister and I know, painfully, is that our family has a long, long memory for childhood indiscretions. And he will be catching a ration of crap regularly, at every family reunion, for having once been the belle of the ball. Especially given that there is photographic evidence.
But honestly, why? I’ve never been all that tense about gender identity. In my humble opinion, there would be far fewer guys messed up about their manly-manitude if they were allowed to play around without prejudice as kids. At the very least, I’m sure that dress up time was no harm, no foul. The kid is grinning from ear to ear and playing to the camera. And he’s destined to be the middle child. Something my brother should understand all too well. Let him have his moment in the sun where he’s showered with attention and all eyes are on him, and he’s got his mama all to himself.
And he really did look adorable.
Monday, August 23, 2010
5. Abandoned Mental Hospitals – If you are watching a “reality” ghost show, and they’re on a field trip to an old psych ward, grab the popcorn, cause it’s about to get good. Moving shadows, ominous feelings, foot steps. It will all go down in the Wildwood Hospital for the Mentally Whoopsy. Ghosts? Doubt it. The accumulation of bad energy that sits in that kind of place? Yeah, I’m just hippie enough to go with that. I’m more likely to believe that people will be more open to the weird if they are sitting in the dark in Hannibal Lecter’s old cell.
4. Kingman, Arizona – Cults + survivalists + UFO investigators + lots and lots of desert. You do the math.
3. In Large Vans – Statistically speaking, weird people like vans. Big vans, with small tinted windows. And whether that’s because they have a love of shag carpet and a airbrushed picture of a blue tiger on the side that says “Sex Machine” on the side, or because they snatch women and children off the street for nefarious purposes, ultimately doesn’t matter. The van gives them ample room for their weird to unfurl. Don’t park next to vans, kids. Don’t get in the van. Ever. There’s a reason they’re called Psycho Killer Vans.
2. The Ramada Inn – from murders, to FBI sex & drug ring stings, to Promise Keepers meetings, to alien abductions. If you see a reporter standing in front of this moderately priced hotel chain, call in a friend to watch the “strange news” report with you. People will not believe you unless you have a witness.
1. Florida – you know it’s true. Politics. Crime. Swamp critters. Hillbillies. Drugs. Planned communities designed by Disney. Whatever it is, it will be 296% weirder in Florida. Guaranteed. And I know what you’re thinking, “Hey, wait! You live in TEXAS. Like you have room to talk.” I’ll grant that. But this a Places Weird Sh** Happens list. Not a Places Where Stupid Sh** Happens list. There's a difference. One is where a guy shoots himself in the eye by ricocheting a bullet off of a frying pan that was swallowed by a 9 foot gator. The other is where someone shoots himself in the foot to see what it feels like. Florida. Texas. Weird. Stupid.
And even though I’m not a super fan, here’s what I do love about the show. It just shouldn’t work. The host is a gangly guy with semi-dry, yet playful sense of humor, and a fair-to-middling singing voice. He tells loopy stories about his hometown (that doesn’t actually exist). Sing jingles for sponsors like Powder Milk Biscuits (also, imaginary). He’ll take a minute to ruminate about lost loves, or sperm (seriously). They sing songs that are either corny sing-along classics, or obscure folky/tin pan alley chestnuts. They do radio plays. They make NPR jokes, for crissakes. Who does that? Nobody else on the planet. If you took this as a pitch to Hollywood, they would both laugh you out of the room and call security. But, for some reason, it flies.
There was one moment where Fred Newman, one of the PHC Foley guys, walks out with this thing on a piece of rope. He starts to spin it around his head (and if you’ve ever seen Exorcist 2, it looked like the thing that James Earl Jones uses to fight of the horde of locust – how’s that for an obscure reference? Pee Zou Zou!). It makes this sound like wind. Then he starts to do a languid, half-sung, half-spoken word piece about the summer, adding in vocal effects for crickets. It was a tiny tour de force, and completely stunning. Possibly the most absorbing 3 minutes on that stage this year. I’m not ashamed to admit, it was kind of a turn on, too. Can’t speak for anyone else, but I for one was feeling the summer heat by the end.
Anyway. Summer Love. Not an extravaganza. Not a visual stunner. Not a laugh, gasp or cry a minute. Just people performing what they enjoy with quiet, yet consummate, passion. There’s something to be said for it.
And that’s the news from Lake Woebegone.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Here’s why: I watched my grandmothers bake. They barely measured anything by cups, much less breaking out the food scales. Sometimes they’d just throw a handful of flower on the counter, throw milk, salt and butter at it, wiggle their fingers in the dough, splash on more milk or flour, whack it with a stick, cut it out using a juice glass, throw it in a pan with some Crisco, and bake them until they were golden brown. However long that was. They were biscuits. And they were good. Better than anything I’ve ever had created by the Anal Retentive Chef.
Here’s what I’m saying. Cooking is an “organic” thing. There are twenty things that may affect any one dish. Even just biscuits. How much protein is in your flour. How high the humidity is today. How fresh your milk is. How warm your butter is. How consistent your oven is. And on and on. You have to pay attention. If you dough looks too sticky, you throw in more flower. And I beg your pardon, but nobody weighs the amount of flour that gets thrown in because their dough is too sticky. Or milk if it’s too tough. And even cakes, where precision is king, I’ve cakes made by grandma-style bakers that are as good as ones made by a top pastry chef.
When it comes right down to it, experience is the secret ingredient. And you’re not going to get it if you’re scared to cook because you need exactly 29 grams of flour. Get flour in your hair. Fire up the grill. Find a recipe that sounds great and just do your best. You get to eat your mistakes! And most of the time, even if you don’t get exactly what you were aiming for, most people will say it tastes pretty darned good anyway. And the more challenging the recipe, the more you learn. The bold eat well.
Friday, August 13, 2010
The other thing is that I’m kind of over the whole wish fulfillment/aspirational thing right now. I’m just not buying the concept that lifestyle equals destiny. If I buy this handbag, act like I’ve got all the money and time in the world and dream big – it’s just going to happen. No thank you. And I'm really starting to suspect that the whole thing was really just to sell me that handbag. I don't need another handbag, or even the fabulous life that is sure to go with it. I’m having all I can deal with just being here, now, living my bag lunch and public transit kind of life. Anything that doesn’t fit with that reality is just noise.
And that’s just it. That kind of thing will never be my real life, and I just don’t have the brain capacity to add in something that’s not going to happen. Much as I wouldn’t be Angelina Jolie in a spy flick (I’d be the woman who gets shot by a stray bullet in the opening sequence, stupidly trying to cross a street while action heroes are trying to get their Matrix on), I would also not be Julia Roberts in a RomCom. Even if I magically came across a free, year-long world tour, I would not be pounced upon by gorgeous men every time I showed my passport at customs. I wouldn’t be hit on by Javier Bardem in v-neck cashmere. I’d be hit on by Javier Bardem in No Country for Old Men (not the sociopathic murderer part; the bad haircut and monotone voice part). If I’m lucky. Mostly, I’d just spend most of my time in exotic locales talking to middle aged couples from England or Germany who are looking for the best place to eat for cheap.
I’m not Julia Roberts. I’m never going to be. And I really wish they’d stop acting like I want to be Julia Roberts. I’m fine just like I am. And that’s not to say that I don’t want to watch escapist movies any more. I just don’t want to see a main character that some studio exec thinks is my dream self. After they’ve been constructed into perfect people with perfect lives, they end up being pretty damn smug for someone so damn boring. Just make an interesting movie about an interesting person, flaws, bumps, emotional bruises and all. I don’t have to want to be the heroine. I just want to have to spend a couple of hours seeing their life.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Honestly. I’m starting to really want to buy a ticket to somewhere in Asia and go investigate this Anderson Cooper style. I’d buy some awesome busted out, but still somehow expensive looking action/journalist shirts (how the hell does Cooper manage that one?), catch the red eye to Mumbai, or Singapore, or Hong Kong (some place sweaty; sweaty says "serious reporter" and people will take me seriously), get off the plane and walk up to people and ask, “What are you people doing? What’s with the super viruses? Is there some sort of Chinese Dr. Horrible working over time in a lab making up ugly bugs?” Guys, we do not need these things. And the raunchy ones all seem to come out of Asia. With the amount of hand sanitizer dependence in the US, you’d think we’d be birthing the killer bugs. But most of the time, it's sloping out of somewhere in Asia.
Whatever it is, cut it out. Wash your hands more. Or less. Or quit kissing chickens. Whatever. I don’t care. I’m just not in the mood for another flu scare. Not. In. The. Mood. Step away from the bunsen burner, Doc Horrible. I just have no panic left for whatever it is you're cooking up. And I'm just flat out over the hand sanitizer.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Has there been actual footage of this meltdown that’s come out yet? I think the passengers on that plane should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves for being asleep on the job. People want to seeeeee this kind of shiz.
A lot of the focus I’ve seen has been about this being a air travel related meltdown. My take is that it’s a straight up customer service related job meltdown. I worked public facing service jobs in one way or another for 15 years. And I can tell you, there were many a Christmas that I wanted to cuss out the 25th customer who handed me 8 pairs of inside out, balled up pants with a smirk on their face, slap a Christmas tree topper on my head and run through the store screaming “Viva la revolucion!” while high fiving my fellow employees on my way out the door. I been there, my friend.
Not that every customer out there is a nasty customer, so to speak. But there are those people out there who were schoolyard bullies once upon a time, and never quite grew out of the need push other people around. And they head straight towards customer service workers who not only won’t fight back, really for the most part can’t fight back. Really, customer service is cleaning up other people’s messes. 8 hours a day. If there weren’t messes, then you wouldn’t be needed. You get paid for it. But usually barely enough to cover the wear and tear on your nerves that just the normal amount of crap. When you get one of those bullies, it’s pretty much above and beyond the call of duty. And some days, they all turn up at once.
And for some reason, discount situations, like Jet Blue or the Ross store I worked at in college, just seem to ratchet up the freak factor. If you’re paying Neiman Marcus prices, you can expect people to put up with your lousy attitude. But when Rhonda Rotten shows up at the discount store on a busy Saturday with her five kids that she turns loose in the purse department, tries on everything in the store, asks if she (and 3 of the kids; where are the other 2?) can use the employee water fountain, and can you call every store in town to see if they have this blue pair of size 6 pants in a purple size 8, and then asks for a 20% discount on white blouse that has make up stains that just happen to match her foundation, because, and I quote, “Isn’t the customer always right?” . . . there’s this sense of roiling, smoldering, electrifying customer service flameout. You only wish there was a drinks cart to grab a beer can that will match that Christmas tree ornament you are getting ready to slap on your head, because you feel that flameout victory lap coming on.
But really. You just swallow it. Try to calm down. Try not to take it personally. You only have to make it another 2 hours. You have this little light of customer service that you’re there to share with all those people needing help. You just have to hope that you’re able to make it through the day without that light burning into a complete flameout.
Sunday, August 8, 2010
- 3 cups coconut milk
- 3 avocados cubed
- Juice of 1/2 lime
- 1/4 cup sugar (can be doubled if you prefer sweeter)
Friday, August 6, 2010
First, it totally blows the true magic words of childhood – “Wanna play?” when there’s no one there your age to ask. And even if they imported some kids on the beach for her to play with (ack – the thought!), you’d have to follow up with “Who’s that? Oh, it’s my secret service agent, Mr. Dan. Say “Hi!”, Mr. Dan!”
Second, in a couple of years she’s going to be a tween. And if her Dad is still President, and they again clear some beach somewhere, that really drives home that “God, my family is a bunch of freaks!” feeling that every pubescent kid has. And she’d be more entitled than most to that feeling. Also, there’s no chance of a boy seeing her in her bathing suit. And the only way you can really enjoy the agony and the ecstasy of having a boy see you in your bathing suit is if you see him seeing you in your bathing suit. And really, what else is summer vacation for?
Of course, there are advantages. She’s 9, and she’s been to Spain and probably seen things there that most adults wouldn’t have a chance of seeing. And she’s probably one of the safest little girls in the world. And on top of that, she seems to have loving parents who are doing the best to raise level headed kids. But, along with the fact that it’s a pretty extraordinary job her dad has, there’s also a pretty extraordinary downside. It’s actually a wonder that Chelsea Clinton and Amy Carter are as normal as they appear to be.
Thursday, August 5, 2010
My eye is drawn like a magnet to the bottom shelf. The pastries. One row of Pop Tarts. One row of Cinnamon Rolls. One of some sort of bear claw type of affair. And something called a Butter Horn. A butter horn. A butter horn. My mind automatically whispers, “ooooo, I bet that’s good.” It’s got an icing that shade of yellowy orange that’s not found in nature. About the size of a saucer. Tempting me. Calling me.
But, I just know. It’s not going to be what I think it’s going to be. Yes, I still cheat occasionally on the processed foods. Some are cheats of principle. Smoked brisket is all kinds of bad for me. But it’s worth it. Some are cheats that have consequences. If I eat the box-mix, sprinkles cupcake, I will be pressing a finger between my eyebrows and saying “ow, ow, ow” in about 20 minutes. Sometimes worth it. Sometimes no. And there are some cheats that are just going to be grave disappointment once I actually have them in my mouth. Like a Silkwood chemical bath for the tongue. Not. Worth. It.
Those are the ones that live in my head as some fantastic taste. Star Crunch. Coca-Cola. Planters peanuts. Cheetos. Mmmmm. But now that I’ve kind of detoxed my tastebuds, 7 months down the line, they don’t live up to the memory any more. Some don’t live up to the memory at all anyway. The Twinkie of my childhood no longer exists. They’ve changed formula so many times that it doesn’t even resemble a 1976 Twinkie in taste or texture. Coke does exist in the same form I had as a kid, if I go find a Mexican Coke. But the one that comes out of your garden variety vending machine is just not as satisfying in that Proustian way.
But that Butter Horn. It looks delicious. Glistening under its plastic wrap. Calling me. But I just can't listen. Experience tells me, that now, like the once-beloved who has strayed, I will never be able to experience them quite the same way again. Fillers and preservatives and emulsifiers and artificial colors. You can’t go back.
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Okay, I’m kind of appalled by this story. Ice cream is obviously going the way of the cocktail – all overgrown foodie-faddie. So much hot air blown around that it’s a wonder the ice cream ever sets. $5 for a small cone? Really? Pirates. And that “artisanal” ice cream person who says that ice cream is really complicated? No. It’s not. Frankly, if anyone tells you that they make an artisanal product, check and make sure they haven’t stolen your wallet. Biggest con of the year. People make their own ice cream in the back yard, with stuff they buy at the super market, while simultaneously grilling hamburgers. And have you ever had a BAD scoop of homemade ice cream? Me neither.
I’ve been going through a bit of an ice cream phase this summer, since someone gave me a machine. And I’ve made some kick-booty sorbets and sherbets. I guess you can’t really call it ice cream, since one of the people I’ve been making dessert for is lactose intolerant, and I can’t find lactose-free cream. But the chocolate sherbet I made from David Lebovitz’s blog (http://www.davidlebovitz.com/archives/2009/06/chocolate_sherbet.html) was immense, even though I used Lactaid milk. And the recipe for vegan strawberry (http://www.davidlebovitz.com/archives/2010/07/vegan_strawberry_ice_cream_recipe.html) set a new benchmark for me of what a vegan recipe can taste like. Like summer in your mouth. And the 2 liters of ice cream ended up costing about $10 to make. That includes the bag of ice, since I don’t have an ice maker. Let me tell you, beat the hell out of Tofutti.
Yeah, it’s a little work. Not that much though. Let’s remember, I’m the laziest cook you know. I don’t do complicated. But I can guarantee that with only moderate effort, a cheap ice cream maker and fair-to-middling ingredients, you can make something spectacular on your own.
First, you got your big roles. Charlie Sheen, in a big update/twist, would be playing Bender (originally played by Judd Nelson). He’s much more the “Criminal” bad boy than the jock his brother Emilio played. I can actually picture him in the overcoat and combat boots, walking across the football field with his fist in the air. Then, of course, we’ve got Lindsay Lohan as our Princess Claire. But wait, you say, isn’t LiLo way too young for Charlie Sheen? Technically, yes. But if anyone has a raft of daddy issues, it’s that girl. And she is probably a little old for him. But he’s a pro. He’ll work around it.
Then, you have the other ensemble parts. Mel Gibson? I think he’s our jock with anger issues. And I can seriously seeing him being the kind of guy who would think it was funny to tape somebody’s butt cheeks together. Am I wrong? I’m also thinking Whitney Houston would be good for our kook, originally played by Ally Sheedy. One, there’s the snow dandruff scene. And Whitney knows a little something about snow. Two, didn’t you originally see that movie and wonder why there were no black people at that school? And, okay, Mel and Whitney aren’t actually in rehab right now. But let’s face it. They’re teetering. And for our Brain? Don’t know. But I’m sure you walk into any high priced rehab and you’re bound to find one or two actors to chose from.
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
But I never, NEVER get the two words right. Even if they use a bigger letter in the middle to show where the word break is, if there is any chance of breaking it down at the wrong place, I’ll go right for it.
I read this product as Runt One. Shoes for short people? Trainers that actually make you lose muscle mass? I’m tired of being big and tough. I’m looking for a shoe that will turn me into the runt of the litter. Didn’t matter that the font changes at the T. I’m thinking this is a product line that is going to be endorsed by David Spade.
And, by the way, I’m not buying these toner shoes. Not just not purchasing. I’m not buying the concept. No, I’m not going to believe that shoes will magically give me a butt you could bounce a quarter off of. In fact, I’m pretty sure that six months from now there will be a law firm commercial that says “Were you injured by toning shoes? You can still join the class action law suit. Just call 1-800-RICKETS.”