Monday, December 29, 2008

Rant

I'm not really sure where to start with this one. Have you seen Fight Club? Or better - have you read the book? If you answered "yes" to either of those questions, then you are fairly aware of the nature of Palahniuk's imagination and originality. Or insanity. I'm not sure. If not, then I highly recommend opening your mind to his prose. Start with this book!

Rant: An Oral History of Buster Casey tells the title character's biography using oral history interviews. Palahniuk introduces characters by their own narratives, one by one, and as the reader learns more and more about them, from their own interviews and those of others, he becomes fully entrenched.

The only character we never hear from directly is Rant himself, as he is dead. Or presumed dead.

As usual, I am wary of giving away too much plot for fear of ruining your own reading experience. I would feel awful if I deprived you of any sharp intakes of breath or any exclamations of incredulity.

But really, the main reason that I am having such a difficult time with this review is because Rant is a colossal, amazing, ridiculous mind fuck. And I mean that in the best possible way.

By blending science fiction and what we consider to be the "normal" human experience, Palahniuk created a world that seems completely plausible. And terrifying. The reader simply accepts that some of the citizens in this United States are "Daytimers," while others - the more undesirable lot - are "Nighttimers." Throw in a rabies outbreak, ports, "party crashing," and a healthy dose of fear, this mandated class-based society begins to unravel with even the threat of infection.

The real star of this novel is Palahniuk's writing. I even stopped to write down some of the best lines. When describing one of the characters as pretty, he wrote, "...the pretty you only look when you love the person taking the picture." I think that I mulled over that one sentence fragment for five minutes. Think about it - what a great thought.

This form of storytelling, the oral history, might be slightly unusual when reading fiction, but is not new. Palahniuk's writing is fluid and powerful, and its strength comes from the fact that the characters are "interviewed" after the true story has already happened. There are mini cliffhangers peppered throughout the text that found me flipping through the pages as quickly as possible, and never once did the story falter. Palahniuk cleverly included a "disclaimer" that easily explained away any inconsistencies in the text by explaining that oral histories may have contradictions because people remember their pasts differently than others.

But I never really noticed contradictions.

All of the "interviews" are mostly with people who knew Rant best: his family in Middleton and his "big city" compatriots - fellow Party Crashers. Additionally, we hear from anthropologists, epidemiologists, historians, and government officials. Because of Rant's actions, he's become both an urban legend and a hero. A boogeyman and a role model. He dared to question the status quo and for that he is both feared and revered.

Other reviewers have read Palahniuk's work before. I have not. They were not nearly as enthused as I was after finishing Rant, but still praised his work. I saw a lot of Fight Club in this novel, with an alternate reality and a secret otherworld, and they were similar enough that it helped me to understand the story. I'm sure that some readers might be annoyed by the similarities, but I found them refreshing. I do wonder, however, if this is the format followed by the majority of Palahniuk's novels.

The complexity of Rant is only palatable if one opens his mind to the possibility of a very different world. Allow yourself to be completely absorbed by this world and let go.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

I Need to Get Some Balls, Stat

I really think that my inherent pussiness is increasing exponentially.

I have been BAWLING while watching The Sound of Music. I mean, we're talking heaving sobs and huge elephant tears rolling down my cheeks. It is absolutely ridiculous and I have no idea why I am becoming so lame in my old age.

I mean, my New Year's Eve plans include meeting Mike for dinner at 5 pm and then watching all three Final Destination movies. We're hoping to be asleep by 10:30.

Oh. Wait.

Friday, December 26, 2008

'Tis the Season and Whatnot

For me, Christmas just seems to get better and better with each passing year. Even as old traditions fizzle out and we grow to realize that the holidays can be stressful and sometimes painful, we build new traditions in their wakes and we treasure the moments that make us thankful for who we are and lucky for having such amazing people in our lives.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Patio-Friendly

I have two bird feeders on my back deck. One is filled with thistle and attracts finches. The other is filled with a smorgasbord of amazing food and is "patio-friendly." Meaning: no shells on any of the nuts and seeds contained within, thereby removing me from any responsibility when it comes to debris raining down through my deck onto my neighbor's.

She really hates that.

The problem? I use suction-cupped hooks to hang these feeders from my windows, and while the finch feeder clears the bottom of the window, the smorgasbord feeder is too long and I can't see a single perch and therefore, I can see no birdies. Additionally, I rigged up a little system to try and get the feeder in view, but it's kind of resting against the house and doesn't really swing. Birdies like to swing.

So the other birds (cardinals, jays, chickadees, etc.) haven't been stopping by Chez Heather. This saddens me.

But damn it all if the squirrels haven't been trying to get at that feeder.

This is Crazy Frank. He is a squirrel. He is trying to get to the smorgasbord bird feeder, currently to his left. Because of the way that the feeder is hung, there is practically no way for him to get to it, which annoys him greatly.

I was in the kitchen, thinking about food or wine or something, when I heard a bizarre noise from the porch. At first, I couldn't find the source, and as I have sheer curtains covering the back door to the deck, I didn't see him at first. But there he is, upside down on the screen, trying to get at the food.

One glance at me sent him scurrying, and I haven't seen (or heard) him since. I honestly don't care if he comes back - at least one creature is visiting.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Crazy

For days, I've had Britney Spears' "Crazy" in my head. (I know! "Stronger" is clearly the superior song.) It took me a while, but once I discovered the source of such mental anguish, I could only laugh.

Mike's boss got him a karaoke machine. And this isn't just some lame thing from Walmart, okay? It is top o' the line and super sweet. Like Rock Band and the like, it scores your performance. There are an assload of songs, which Mike has since added to, because apparently we like to sit at home and belt out Pat Benatar and Frank Sinatra. I'll let you try and guess which one of us likes which one of those performers.

Also, Journey.

I'm competitive. I don't like to lose, and I tend to make excuses for bad... um, ness. Mike's scared to play mini golf with me for fear that my temper will get us thrown out of the mini golf fun land. I can't say that I blame him - I have to watch my mouth constantly when I'm around my nieces, and it's HARD not to swear. Additionally, I had to promise Sarah that I'd tone it down around the docents at the museum because their young, impressionable minds probably can't handle the dark sewer that is my vocabulary.

(I'm trying really hard, Sarah, I swear, but sometimes there really is no other way to describe those bitchface callers than "fucktards.")

But really, my mouth would probably get me thrown off of a mini golf course if there were children around. It doesn't help that he's a really, really good golfer, either. I beat him once at Wii golf. That was awesome. But every. other. time? I lost. And I pouted about it. And swore. The game is messed up, I didn't have a good grip on the controller, my eye spasmed. Which it did.

I try to be a good sport, really I do, but that damn karaoke machine just pisses me off. I sang my HEART OUT on "Part of Your World" from The Little Mermaid (yes, it's on there. And it is glorious), and the jerkass machine gave me a 95 even though I was beyond perfect. And yes, I did get a 95, Mike, not an 82. YES I DID.

But you know how you know a song perfectly? You know exactly how Bon Jovi, Madonna, or say, Ariel sings the song and you know you sang it exactly the same? The stupid made-overseas karaoke machine expects you to hold out the last word of each stanza, and let me tell you, that is not easy. Nor does it abide to the original song. Not holding out a note will cause your score to drop. And that is not fair! Jerks!

Also, because of the fact that it's made overseas, some of the song titles... don't make sense. It took me five minutes to figure out that "That Don't I'm Press" was actually "That Don't Impress Me Much" by Shania Twain.

Whatever. I'm sure that my temper will improve someday.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Tell Me How This Happened

In an indoor, underground parking structure.

Because I have no idea.

(I mean, clearly it was on someone's car and fell off, but off of what? This is what keeps me up at night, people.)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Bad Monkeys

I bought Bad Monkeys because of the cover.

Okay, I had it on my wish list already, even before I saw it at the store, but really, the cover made my decision for me. I mean, look at it - it's pretty cool.

(For some reason, my exact paperback is not coming up in any image search, which is strange, but it looks like this is the one you can find now.)

Also, google gave me this gem...

...which is absolutely beyond awesome.
(Click to enlarge for hilarity.)

Anyway, the Bad Monkeys cover is kick ass, and just like studies have found that women buy more wine bottles with animals on the label (of which I am also guilty), I buy books with sweet covers.

But seriously, what a fun book!

Jane Charlotte is in jail. She was arrested for a murder that she committed and admitted as much. So why is she in the psych ward?

A very patient psychiatrist sits with her, day after day, to get to the bottom of her story. She claims to be a member of a secret crime-fighting organization - I'm sorry, an evil-fighting organization - called the Bad Monkeys. Meaning, she and other chosen few rid the world of exceptionally evil people. People that, alive, have been determined to be more of a harm to society than if they were dead.

The story is clever while never letting the ridiculousness of the plot waver. It is strong and proud in its ridiculousness! For example, Bad Monkey operatives kill using special guns that don't fire bullets. The MI-gun gives the victim a myocardial infarction, while the NC-gun kills the victim with natural causes. In fact, while the plot is completely out there, the novel takes a bit of a 1984 turn and causes the reader to wonder if organizations like this could exist.

I love Ruff's writing style. It's dry and funny, but also (and after the rambling and adjective-laden prose of Stephenie Meyer, this was more than welcome. And no, I still cannot explain my obsession with those stupid books. Of which I still pick up and read. Often. Kill me.) intelligent and insightful. Jane is a snarky, troubled, complete bitch of a character, and yet you just can't help but like her.

As the therapist tries to pull information from her, bit by painful bit, we learn more about Jane's past: her childhood, her drug-filled existence, and the organization that has given her life meaning.

The reader cares about Jane and wants her to succeed - every twist of the plot is juicy and entertaining, and the finale is worth the short read (227 pages). The revealing conclusion actually got a ecstatic "HA!" out of me. Bad Monkeys is a quick, enjoyable, unpredictable read.

Friday, December 19, 2008

So Much Snow

The weather has been less than delightful as of late, and while I love a nice snow-filled Christmas, this is going a bit too far for my tastes.

First, happier times:

Bunny tracks!

Last night from my porch.
Just a little snow...

But now? Oh holy Jesus, did it snow last night. It started around midnight (so the newscasters say - I was passed out, drugged to the max with Tylenol Cold PM - or as drugged out as one can be on Tylenol) and is to continue until 4 p.m. today. It is straight up insanity over here, and after hemming and hawing for a good twenty minutes, I reluctantly trudged into work.

I walked the two miles. Digging out my car would have taken an hour.

It didn't help the situation that there were already a good few inches of snow on the ground (we got that treat on Tuesday night). Add four more inches, coupled with the fact that only one person on my block ever shovels the goddamn sidewalk, and it equals a painfully long commute for me.

I live near an elementary school, so you'd think that access to cleared sidewalks would improve, but there was no relief there - school was cancelled for them. As for the plows, my side of the city is generally ignored and saved for last, so walking in the street was not an option, either.

I decided that waiting for the bus was a retarded choice, and continued on past my usual bus stop. Once I got near the business district of Main Street, the sidewalks got a little better and my walking wasn't as forced. I still wanted to turn around and go home. Luckily, the snow was gorgeous and fluffy, and I didn't care that I looked like a complete weirdo walking with my umbrella. I stayed dry and the snow stayed out of my eyes!

Once I got near campus, it was clear that I was going to be one of the few people at work today. It was deserted.





That's my museum above. I'm stuck there until five. And it's STILL SNOWING.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Gee, THANKS, Netflix

Thank you, Netflix, for delivering just one of the three discs that were supposed to arrive today. Sports Night season 1, disc TWO. Forget for a moment that I expected discs one, two, and three, and that I only watched the show sporadically when it was on ten years ago, thereby ensuring the necessity of watching them in order.

I'm sure you loved the fact that the last three discs I rented sat on top of my DVD player for over two months, saving you money while wasting mine. So what better time to extract a little more cash, right? Right?

Bastards.

(I wouldn't care so much if it weren't for a predicted snow and freezing ice BLIZZARD that is supposed to hit around midnight tonight, kicking the city's ass and leaving me with nothing to watch but my own DVD collection. Life is HARD.)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

At Least I Have Running Water

Running water ALL OVER MY BATHROOM.

My fucking shower broke this morning. Fuck. Awakening to four new inches of snow on the ground had already put a nice damper on the morning, so taking a forced bath just pissed me off even more.

I love baths. I love them. But I love them when I decide to take one, not when I am forced to take them.

It doesn't help that this house has horrible insulation and lots of windows. With the temperatures in the low teens most mornings lately, I've taken to running the space heater for several minutes before getting in the shower. It certainly makes getting undressed easier to stomach.

As I started to fill the tub, mentally calculating the time before the hot water runs out, I realized that my plan for a hot bath was not going to work out. This angered me.

I love my morning shower. A hot shower takes my mind away from the fact that I will soon be trudging the two miles to work in the snow. A hot shower helps me forget that the wind chill generally places the temperature at six degrees. Six! A cold shower tricks me into thinking that I am warm and cozy in bed. Well, not really, but at least I'm warm.

With the tub semi-full and the space heater toasting up the room, I took the plunge and climbed into the tub. First in my morning shower routine? Washing my face. But my shower shelfy-thing was hanging from the shower head and I was sitting way down on the floor of the tub. Dilemma. I stood up, shrieked as the cold air hit me, grabbed the cleanser and plopped back down.

I splashed my face with the tub water to rinse off the cleanser (gross), and slowly stared back up at the shelf. Soap. Way up there. Away from the warm water. I had to go through the painful motions again. And then again with the shampoo. Washing my hair posed another question: how do I do this? I couldn't rinse my hair under the faucet - the hot water was gone. In desperation, I dunked my hair backwards into the tub several times.

Gross!

I managed to extricate myself from the tub, which didn't turn out to be that difficult, considering the now tepid, semi-murky water (okay, I wasn't that dirty, but still. It felt... gross), toweled off and grabbed my robe. My teeth were already chattering.

I don't usually take super-long showers (except at Mike's because his hot water supply is never-ending). Ten minutes in the morning is usually all it takes. My stupid bath was borderline painful and did absolutely nothing to warm me up.

I combed leave-in conditioner through my hair and pouted about the situation for a while before leaving for work.

The bus was fourteen minutes late.

Jerks!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Deal of the Fucking Day

Shane just alerted me to what is probably one of the best deals ever to be dealt.

Amazon has a "Deal of the Day" promotion where they pick something from their warehouse of inventory and massively mark it down to unbelievably asinine levels.

Case in point, today's deal is all three seasons of Arrested Development for $28.99. If I didn't already own them all, I'd be buying them now. In fact, I'm almost considering it. Just in case.

And I will now leave you with this:



Buy the DVDs! Buy them now!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Newsprint

With classes done for the semester, the campus (and city) is slowly shrinking. I simply can't hate winters in Ann Arbor, because even though the temperatures are evil and full of snow and freezing rain and douche-tastic drivers who refuse to go above fifty on the expressway, there is a long, blissful period when the students leave for semester break.

For a lovely three weeks or so, they're gone. Gone! All of sudden, finding a parking space is no longer an exercise in futility. I don't have to listen to asinine conversations, the bus is practically my own personal purple limo, and going to lunch doesn't have to be planned out in advance, allowing time for something as annoying as waiting in line behind backpack-clad undergraduates on their cellphones.

Of course, there are a good number of people left. We're smack dab in the middle of exams, and the climate on campus is... tense. I remember that feeling. And I don't miss it at all.

I do miss the student paper though. It's published daily, but only when classes are in session. So not only do I not get my daily dose of "feeling like an old, wizened lady" by giggling at their emo-angst in the op-ed column, I miss out on the crossword puzzle.

I was never once for crossword puzzles. They were difficult! But on my first day of class as a freshman, I remember timidly climbing the steps to Angell Hall and watching as person after person paused to pick up a copy of the paper. Then in my first lecture (philosophy at nine in the morning? Yeah, great idea, jackass), as the professor leaped and jumped across the stage screaming about brains in vats, I noticed that every other person was either reading the paper or sleeping.

(I never fell asleep in lecture in all my years of higher education, but I did fight nodding off more than once. The only way I ever got around that was watching other people try to stay awake. It was infinitely entertaining.)

When I left class that morning, I picked up my own copy of the paper. I attempted the crossword. I did not do well. But I kept at it, and I eventually got better. I started to copy the guys in my hall and began taping my completed puzzles to my dorm room door. Then in my apartment, I would put them on the fridge, probably annoying the piss out of my roommate. Yeah, I was full of myself.

When I relocated to Washington, DC, I didn't know what I was going to do without a free paper. I would only be at GWU twice a week for classes, and I didn't want to pay for a copy of the WaPo every day. I know that I could print out as many crosswords as I wanted, but there was something about the smell of the newsprint and the way I folded the paper to have the crossword conveniently located that kept me from wasting my ink cartridges. For weeks, I ignored the people in the yellow vests at the entrance to the metro, because I thought that they were just handing out flyers. I gave in one day and realized that I had been a moron - it was a condensed version of the WaPo. For free!

It then became my goal to try and complete at least half of the crossword before I arrived at school or at my internship. It helped that the WaPo's crossword was significantly easier than whichever one The Michigan Daily carried. With frequent delays and getting stuck under the Potomac between stations, the paper was usually the only way to keep my mind from wandering to thoughts of murder when that one woman just wouldn't. stop. talking. and that one couple would just make out until one of them departed at Rosslyn.

(Oh, did I loathe that couple.)

Now, I use the crossword to wind down at night. I like my little routine, and it helps me to fall asleep. So until classes resume in January, I'll be stuck to my book of Sudoku puzzles. They're almost as good as crosswords.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Oh, Hi There! Where Have You Been?

Okay, maybe it wasn't your fault. Oh my gosh, but where have I been?

I know, it's ridiculous. I don't think that I've ever gone this long without writing. I'm going to blame the weather (obviously, as it's snowed every day for the last six days), the job (there is always something to do! Never a second for myself! Well, except to read TV Guide and TWOP. Because what am I going to do? Read those at home?), and my period.

God.

I never really know when the hormones are going to hit, but I got my answer last night while watching The Girls Next Door. Yes.

They were auditioning girls to be the 55th Anniversary centerfold. It. Was. Riveting. (Also, "Oh, she'll be alright. Silicone is buoyant." Anyone?)

Anyway, Hef, in all his wrinkled glory, narrowed down the field to three, and when he finally made his decision, he summoned the girl to his library to tell her the good news. She was so happy that she cried. And SO DID I.

I mean, I cry at West Side Story and The Princess Bride. I cry at scenes in movies that I've seen twenty times. But The Girls Next Door?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Name That Movie!

"When I was your age, television was called books."

Friday, November 28, 2008

Saying, "No Thank You" to Mayo

For my first Thanksgiving at home in six years, I had one dish to make. One. And wouldn't you know, I managed to screw it up.

Well, I didn't screw up the dish, but I definitely slept in TWO hours too late, thereby ruining the super special timeline I had created in my head:

8:00 - Wake up, shower, dress
9:00 - Make recipe
11:00 - Leave for Mike's

The most annoying thing? I didn't even stay up that late. On the biggest bar night of the year, I was... cuddled in blankets on the couch. I had made a nice little dinner for myself, and I wasn't budging. Also, I easily fell into the "I am a complete retard" routine by watching an episode of House (which I have never watched before) that had me bawling great, big elephant tears and then rounded out the night with West Side Story on TCM. What the hell is wrong with me?

So I woke up at 10, barely leaving time to shower, let alone make the damn dish. I sheepishly called Mike and explained my (completely expected on his part) lateness, and that I would be there by noon, instead of 11:30...

...knowing full well that I probably wouldn't get there until after noon, because I had all manner of things to chop up, but I was hopeful.

But right, the one dish I agreed to make for Thanksgiving dinner. My dad requested broccoli salad. Fine. I had never tried it, but I had a vague idea of the recipe. I started my search for recipe inspiration on the Food Network's site, and the first dish on the list (and the highest-rated, sweet God) was this one by Paula Deen.

Now. If you watch the Food Network, you know that Paula Deen is not one for counting calories. The woman has simply never met a stick of butter she didn't like. Her broccoli salad recipe called for tubs of mayonnaise and God knows what else (the preliminary ingredients listing read, "vegetables, sugar, broccoli." So... huh?), and there was just no way I was cooking up that bowl of heart disease. My dad was already going to be eating thousands of calories that evening, so I figured I would try to make something a little more healthy and less artery-clogging.

I don't know why I didn't check 101 Cookbooks first, as the recipes I've made from that site have all been amazing. Sure enough, there was a broccoli salad recipe, and it looked fantastic.

Plus, I was taking half of the dish to Mike's parents' house, and while I didn't want to mess with tradition, the recipe looked too good to skip.

I went shopping for food on Tuesday night, anxious to avoid the insanity of Wednesday. I am really glad that I did, and Kroger almost pulled out the win. If it hadn't been for the lack of shallots and almond butter and the three Jonas Brothers wannabe boys following me around the store (seriously, skinny jeans? STOP IT), it would have been a perfect shopping experience.

(I think they wanted to ask me to buy them beer. Look nerds, if I wouldn't buy for my underage brother, what are your chances? Yeah, I was not a cool sister.)

Thursday morning, in a panic, I scrambled to finish each part of the recipe. I'm not a huge broccoli eater in my dad-to-day world, so preparing it is just something I guessed at. I'm sure that I ended up wasting a ton of it, but I got over it pretty quickly at the time.

Check out the recipe at 101 Cookbooks.

Finally, to my friends in DC, I hope that you all had wonderful Thanksgivings! I know that we had an amazing tradition going, and I hope that you all took as much from it as I did. I loved cooking for you guys each year, and I really missed you yesterday. I love my family and Mike's, and while I was over the moon happy that I got to spend the holiday with them, I missed my DC family. From the upside-down turkey to the shots of fat, I will never forget how much fun we had together. Love Actually forever!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

I'm Sparkly, You Smell of Freesia, Let's DO This Thing

God bless my boyfriend, I swear.

I know that I am going to be one in a large group of people writing about this ridiculous movie, but I feel that I must. I must because I have been held captive by these STUPID books since September. I must because I have to somehow defend the hold they've had on me. And I must because I made Mike go see this film on Saturday at 11:00 EST, meaning that he missed the only part of the Michigan-Ohio State game in which Michigan actually looked like they knew what a football actually was.

(In my honest defense, I swear - I SWEAR - that I thought the game was at 3:30. The UM-OSU game is almost always at 3:30, but since we've fallen so very far from grace, the network was probably like, "Well, I suppose we have to televise this, given the history of the rivalry, even though it's going to be a clusterfuck of horrible. And also because we kinda have a contract with them. Whatever, where's my scotch? Scotchy scotch scotch.")

On Saturday morning, I woke up excited - like a little girl on Christmas morning (well, Mike likens me to a terrier in the mornings, but I hold that I am extremely pleasant, shut UP), except instead of Mall Madness and Play Doh to look forward to, I had a glittery, fwoopy-haired vampire to see.


I really lowered my expectations for this one. The source material was far from stellar, so why on earth should I expect fireworks from the movie? And Mike was marginally excited, mostly because I was excited, but also because once I started reading the damn series, he did his own search of the internets for information about why I was so obsessed and found this:



So, yeah, he was excited.

I realize that besides this gem, I've never written an actual review of the book, and as the movie is one of the most faithful book-to-screen adaptations I've experienced, I will do that now, lumping them together. So for the uninitiated - and therefore still sane - ready.... GO.

Bella Swan (I KNOW), lives in Phoenix with her hair-brained mother, Renee, and Renee's new husband, Phil. He plays minor league ball, and as Renee wants to travel with him, Bella decides to send herself to teensy eensy, rainy, boring Forks, Washington to live with her dad, Charlie, for a while.

Get it? Bella is SELFLESS. She's also super-clumsy and it gets really tiresome in the book, but those mannerisms are downplayed in the film - THANK GOD.

So Bella arrives in the rainiest, overcast-iest place in the continental United States and immediately begins attracting attention by being bitchy, bad at sports, and falling down a lot. The boys like her and the girls tolerate her. Some are genuinely friendly, while some are... well, teenage girls. (Read: bitchy and fake). Bella soon notices a group of teens that hang out on their own. They don't seem to interact with other people and they are all drop dead gorgeous. Especially the one she discovers to be called... EDWARD. Her classmates/frenemies explain that the Cullen family is packed to the brim with adoptees and they are all super weird.

When Bella arrives in her biology class, the only available seat is next to EDWARD. And he immediately gets this ridiculous look of rage/constipation on his face. Bella can't figure out why he seems to be so disgusted. Every other boy in the damn school has fallen over themselves to flirt with her - why not EDWARD?

Oh EDWARD, thee of the perfect fwoopy hair, why do you hate Bella so?

Turns out, Edward and the Cullens are vampires. But they drink animal blood instead of that of humans. Yes. But they still crave it, don't get me wrong. And Bella's scent? Is the best, most fragrant, most freesia-smelling lovely blood that EDWARD has smelled in his hundred-odd years. Well isn't that an inconvenience?

Oh, right. Also, he's like 107 years old or something.

So who does Bella fall for? Mr. EDWARD Cullen, of course. She's upset when he's not in school and mad when he never gives her straight answers. Thing is? He falls for her, too. It's pretty awesome.

The book, it rambles on and on (and on and on and on) about their love! It is so pure! And so true! Bella wants action, but EDWARD cannot give her the business, as even though they are both delicate virgins and want each other so very much, he is walking a very fine line between wanting her body in the carnal sense and wanting her body in the dinnertime sense. So, no relations as yet.

Right, so about three-quarters of the way through the book/movie, a plot emerges. Welcome, plot! Do you like the smell of freesia? Because Bella apparently reeks of it.

(Really, though, there is a plot for the first part of the book/movie - a plot of forbidden love and the discovery of many secrets. But nothing that really gets the ball rolling. Or the blood flowing, YOU MIGHT SAY.)

The novels are written, um... Well, they're not fine literature, that's for sure. They're written exactly the way a tween would want to read them. Easy, not too many long sentences, and there's absolutely nothing to read into. Everything is spelled out in black and white. You don't have to use your imagination too much, except to picture EDWARD'S perfection. And there are over one hundred allusions to EDWARD'S beauty and perfection and loveliness. It gets to be a bit much, yes, but didn't we all feel that way when we were teenagers and we were in LOVE after two weeks of "dating" which really meant maybe seeing your boyfriend at the mall and maybe holding his hand and maybe kissing, but not frenching because in your mind that would mean that the next step was sex and you were only thirteen and just starting shaving your legs a year ago. I mean, I don't know.

The thing is...

Reading this book and seeing the film were both somehow powerful experiences. Take away the drivel, the high school antics, and the whole vampire thing, and it's a simple love story. And as you read the book or view the film, it takes you back. Remembering the beginnings of that one relationship. The only one that matters. Finally, the person you've been waiting for. This was made all the more powerful for me, now that I have found that person.

(I'll give you all a moment to vomit, of course.)

The film, though? It was good. It really was. Even Mike liked it. He'll never read the books, but as soon as we left the theater, he wanted to know the plots of the remaining novels. I had to pause before getting into the "plot" of the fourth book, because... well, you know. If you've read it, you'll recognize the reason for my hesitation. Explaining the plot of Breaking Dawn probably made me look like an escaped mental patient. I half expected him to counter with, "And you liked this book?" Well, no, not liked, per se. Couldn't put it down because of the utter ridiculousness of the story, but also because I cared about these characters. Not reading them reminded me of each and every time I gave up pop for Lent. Withdrawal.

So now that I've seen this film twice in less than thirty-six hours, all I can say is that I want to see it again. And I can't really explain why. I loved the changes that the director and screenwriter made, especially the amazing long shots of the Pacific Northwest as Edward and Bella hung out in trees, just chatting. I think that the film made good use of the material and upped the ante, so to say. Of course, there were many things that the film was unable to fully stress - their love for one another, mainly. The film was too rushed and didn't take the time to show how they got to know each other.

Of course, none of this matters. Work on the second film has been greenlit, and while I think that it has the potential to be even more depressing than Atonement, it will definitely be exciting with all of the angst, rampant fursploding, and daring suicide attempts!

(Mike just sent me the following text, "Hi love... Edward is Cedric Diggory... I didn't realize that right away." I responded something like, "Yeah, that's why I was so excited to see the movie!" His response? "Too bad he wasn't impossibly fast when faced with Voldemort."

And that, my friends, is just one of the many reasons that I love my boyfriend.)

Friday, November 21, 2008

"I Can't Put My Arms Down!"

It is cold. COLD.

Upon dragging my unwilling ass out of bed this morning, I checked the weather. It is a testament to my will-power that I didn't crawl back into bed immediately. 16 degrees, but "feels like" 6. Six. SIX. Boo-urns!

As it is, I ran the space heater in the bathroom while I showered. I didn't care if it was hazardous. If I died somehow, at least I'd be warm.

Getting dressed also presented a problem. My heat is programmed to seventy degrees at 6:00, but an hour was not long enough to warm anything. The floors were icy and I got dressed in the bathroom after my shower. With the space heater.

Friday is slightly casual, in my head at least, and I found heavier jeans that I deemed appropriate. (Hell, the exhibits department guys wear twenty year-old jeans and ripped tee shirts every day - I'm sure my jeans aren't all that scandalous.) Two pair of socks, a tank top, a long sleeved tee, and a thick sweater were only the beginning. I pulled on my Thinsulate-lined knee high boots, my wool hat, and a scarf before topping it all with my wool coat.

And then? I was Randy.

I mean, I could put my arms down, but when it came time to cross the street, I had to turn my entire body to make sure there were no cars hurtling at me.

I don't know why it's so cold now, though I suppose it's always been this cold in Michigan in mid-November and maybe it's because I haven't been here for Thanksgiving in six years, but I am a massive loser wuss. Why is it sunny and snowing at the same time? Why is there snow on my deck that just. won't. melt? Why do I have to scrape my windshield every time I want to go somewhere?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

And He Had a Cute Little Lisp, Too!

As one of the docents was emptying the change from the wishing well:

"Why are you stealing people's wishes?"
-a four-year-old museum visitor

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A Visitor From a Distant Land

My lovely Merrick came to visit the other weekend, and even though it had been close to a year since I hugged her goodbye in front of my Constitution Avenue apartment, it took less than thirty seconds for us to fall back into our well-oiled routine.

For example, while waiting for her at the airport, the traffic was abysmal and I couldn't find her, even once I drove to the very end of the terminal. We couldn't figure out why we couldn't find each other. That was because she was waiting up at the departures level, not the arrivals. Which, honestly, I should have guessed when I didn't see her immediately. Because that is SO Merrick.

Once we got onto I-94 and headed toward Ann Arbor, it didn't take long for her to say, "Wow, I missed driving with you," which was a cue for me to slow down and to stop yelling at other drivers for being absolutely ridiculous. Because they were. The speed limit is SEVENTY, and that applies to all times of the day, not just when the sun is up. And that is SO me. Rage.

We got back to my house and I realized that I was completely out of both paper towels and toilet paper. Which, gross. So we headed to Kroger. And as grocery shopping is something that we used to do together every week, it was sort of fitting that we went. Kroger continues to astound me, however, by placing toilet paper in aisle 3 and paper towels in aisle 11. Explain to me how that makes sense?

Saturday, we headed to Kerrytown and the Farmer's Market. Coffee at Sweetwater's. Then we went to my museum. Because, obviously we would go to my museum. Because there are always dinosaurs (for the record, I did not drag her here - she wanted to go. No, really).

Merrick meets the disembodied Allosaurus head.

I like him.

We were looking for dry land.
(Every one of my coworkers thinks I am clinically insane, btw.)

We tried a new place for lunch, far from campus, and I am so glad we took a chance! Bagger Dave's defied all expectations. I mean, it's a chain, technically (with two locations), but it is as close to Five Guys as I have found since being back in Michigan.

Then she experienced Meijer. For five years in DC, I talked about Meijer like it was some kind of heaven on earth. (Of course, it is not. We all know that Target holds that distinction.) But she needed to see it and she needed to try Vernors. And I needed to buy another bird feeder. Because one is not enough, that's why!

Mike met us for dinner at Red Hawk that night and it was very special for me to have two of my favoritest people meet. Finally.

Aw!

After a nice leisurely dinner, Mike quietly escaped the craziness that was about to ensue, and we... well, we went to the mall. I know, but what do you want from me?

And then? It gets LAMER. With freezing rain drizzling down, we went home and watched Sense and Sensibility. Yes. Because we are THAT AWESOME.

Anyway, we stayed up PAST MIDNIGHT (again, what? She's an old married woman and I hate the bar) watching superbly acted dramas. And then we talked and talked.

One of the many things I love about Merrick is that while we feel the same way about lots of things, there are even more issues and topics on which we don't agree. On which we couldn't be further from each other on the spectrum. And these differences have never, ever been a problem for us. I think that it's because we actually choose to talk about those things rather than dismiss the other for being uninformed or incorrect. We listen to each other's ideas, we make comments, but we never get angry. It's very interesting, really.

On Sunday, we went to my new obsession: Biggby.

(Merrick is excited because I just told her that the Borders book store across the street is actually Borders #1. And she just bought a book there. I won't tell you which book except that it is about angsty teenage vampires. And twue wuv! And angst!)

I am excited that I got a cafe mocha. With cinnamon.
Because that's all it really takes for me.

I regret not taking more pictures, but we were too busy being awesome. And also lame. And also hopped up on caffeine. (If I had to choose a moment that should have been captured, it would be Merrick finally finding my car outside of the airport.)

It's been close to a year since I left, and seeing Merrick again reminded me of the wonderful friendships I cultivated in DC. Seeing her also reminded me that some friendships can and will last the test of time. I love her and I miss her and I can't wait to hang out again!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Sacrifice

I know that I've mentioned it before, briefly, but I was interning at the National Museum of American History when the World War II Memorial was dedicated on the National Mall, and I volunteered that day to hand out pamphlets. I remembering standing on the Mall, surrounded by veterans, and trying to understand - though I knew I never really would - exactly what they experienced and what they sacrificed in order to defend freedom. Their actions were less for themselves than for future generations, for their children and their children's children.

My grandfathers both served - one in Europe and one in the Pacific. My dad's father has been gone for a year now, but The Lady's father is alive and well. He's in great shape and we are so very lucky.

And on November 1, my Papa flew to Washington, DC with his brother-in-law, Harry. They're both eighty-five year old WWII veterans.

They flew for free.

In fact, the entire trip was free. Honor Flight Michigan flies Michigan veterans to Washington, DC for a whirlwind day. They visit the World War II Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery, and other landmarks. Everything is paid for in full: the flight, ground transportation, meals, wheelchairs, and even oxygen. To be included in a trip, one only has to show his or her discharge papers.

When they arrived at Reagan National Airport, the airport staff and passengers applauded them as they disembarked from the plane.

Looking through the photos, I started crying when I saw my Papa walking into the waiting room at Reagan. I have sat in that room more times than I can remember. I've flown out of gate #5 at least ten times. And there's the gate attendant, on the loudspeaker, announcing to the entire waiting area that there are national heroes arriving at Gate 5.

(That's my Papa, in the tan jacket.)

(And my Uncle Harry, towering above everyone else.)

Some of the group at Arlington National Cemetery.
There's Papa! In front of my giant Uncle Harry!

Without getting into an honors thesis, war is bad. War is dirty. War should be avoided at all costs. But in 1941, it was the only choice for our country. Today, we are lucky that these men and women made the difficult decision to fight for the country they loved. Because of this selfless choice, we have freedom.

We have choices.

If I can, I will be donating to Honor Flight Michigan this year. What an amazing, wonderful organization. I am so happy that my Papa was finally able to visit the memorial dedicated to him and his comrades.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Friday, November 07, 2008

But I Think They're Unique. Like Snowflakes!

"If you've seen one, you've seen 'em all."

-A male chaperone's response to children yelling about "boobies" in the Native American dioramas.

The Weather Sucks so Here are Some Pictures of Pretty!

After a week of amazingly warm, completely unseasonable, 70-degree weather, we're back to autumn in Michigan. And it's raining. So here are some pictures to brighten the mood.


Merrick gets in around ten this evening, and it's a shame that the weather won't be lovely and sexy like it's been all week, but that will not stop us from having the most bitchingly awesome weekend ever!

The next few days are mostly centered around food, because... obviously. I just can't believe that it's been a year since I've seen her! BRING IT ON, WEEKEND.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

"Peace in the Struggle to Find Peace"

My friend Sarah has a Live Journal blog in addition to her blogger blog (heh. bloggeddy blog blog!), but I do not, and therefore I do not have access. She sent me something she posted yesterday, and I really want to share it. It's extremely intelligent and insightful and it made me cry.

Of course, not being able to find my bra this morning made me cry, so do with that what you will.

(I found it.)

Anyway, Sarah has the floor:

“Peace in the struggle to find peace”

(With apologies to Sarah McLachlan for stealing her lyrics for the title of this note.)

Back in November of 2004, I was too busy finishing grad school and being angsty about the sale of my childhood home to write much about the politics of the day. But I do remember one thing about that time very clearly. I remember being angry, not at the election results, but at myself and at my fellow citizens who felt unrepresented by President Bush, and who worried for the future of the country.

I was angry at myself because I cast my vote for a man I did not feel strongly about, instead of standing by my principles.

I was angry at many of my peers for wallowing in disappointment and expressing their desire to flee our country due to the results of the election, to just "move to Canada." (Newsflash - Canada doesn't want us!)

Even in the darkest days of the Bush presidency, even on the day of that disappointing election - I have never NOT been proud to be an American, and I have never considered LEAVING this place. I disagree with my fellow citizens all the time. And I disagree with my government all the time too - the highest form of patriotism. It does not change the pride I feel for my nation, even with its many, many imperfections and shortcomings.

Tuesday's election leaves me relieved and inspired, and hopeful - but I was always hopeful. It also leaves me apprehensive. 46% of this country did not vote for President-elect Obama. That's still a LOT of people. And the bitter disappointment many of us felt in 2004, the rage and sadness at feeling unrepresented - those feelings are now theirs. I have even seen some of them talking about fleeing to Canada (who still doesn't want us!) I wish with all my heart that we can be kinder and more understanding of their views and beliefs than they ever were of ours.

This culture war rages on, and there is so much work to be done. I do not want to see my country torn asunder by people who cannot learn to live peaceably, to live and let live. I implore you, all of you who are celebrating this historic moment in our nation's history, to speak kindly, to check your pride at the door and to be humble, so that we can come back together as Americans and heal this divide in our nation. We may never agree on many things, but we should all strive to agree to live without hate. It is not enough for our representatives to reach across the aisle - we as citizens need to reach across the street, move beyond red and blue, accept each other as we are, and learn to live without judgment. We who are uplifted by the hope President-elect Obama brings to us, we must help to ease the fears of those who see things differently. We cannot do that through divisiveness or prideful words. Above all, we must speak kindly. All other things will follow eventually, if we can remember to be kind.

We can disagree with our leaders and still honor them as representatives of our country. We can take Tuesday night's words of both Senator McCain and President-elect Obama to heart, and move forward together as one nation.

These are not easy things. But this is the United States of America, and anything is possible here.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Performing My Civic Duty Would Be a Lot More Fun if Other People Weren't So Annoying

That's what my dad said about voting. "It's your civic duty, Heather."

When I left my house this morning, I was excited to vote. "Yay voting! Yay democracy!" The only time I had voted at an actual polling place was sometime in college. I was still registered in my hometown and I drove the forty minutes home to vote for City Council or something. They still had the old voting machines in use, with the little levers and the big lever and it made an awesome, satisfying sound when you committed all of your choices to memory.

My polling place here in Ann Arbor is at an elementary school about a block from my house. It's on my way to work and it's very convenient. I got up in a timely matter, got ready, and left at 7:40.

I took notes. It wasn't exactly liveblogging, but it was something. It also kept me occupied.

7:46 - Okay, I'm in line. I'm only around the corner from the entrance to the school. This won't take that long. The air is crisp and nice and what a lovely day!

7:58 - It's been twelve minutes. I'm already regretting my apparel choices today - short sleeve shirt, trousers, and a light trench? I know that the high is supposed to be close to 70 degrees today, but it's only in the low fifties right now. Where is the GD sun?

8:02 - Yay! The line just moved! Of course, we all had to wait patiently for the woman two spots ahead of me to collect her various bags, stand up, fold up her chair, and move along. The guy between us almost got his head chewed off when he put a single step ahead of her. I sort of wish that she had killed him. He's been on his phone since I queued behind him and I don't care about his new website, I just don't. I'm about to lose it.

8:03 - I am freezing and I think my toes have gone numb.

8:04 - Holy shit! We just moved ten whole sidewalk squares!

8:05 - I just noticed that the annoying guy in front of me never removed the price tag from his messenger bag. I don't know why, but this angers me greatly.

8:16 - A man just directed the latter half of the alphabet to a different, shorter line. Someone shouted, "By last name?" No, genius, by your first name.

8:20 - WE ARE INSIDE THE SCHOOL. Oh man, we're close! We have to be close! And it's warm. Ahhhhh...

8:22 - People are critiquing the elementary children's artwork. Seriously. Shut up.

8:27 - There are chairs lining the walls in here, and yet crazy chair lady is one hundred percent committed to her chair. We move - just a little - every few minutes or so, and every. single. time, we have to watch her collect her things, pick herself up, fold up the fucking chair, and move three steps. And then she unfolds the chair, plops down, and deposits her belongings around her.

8:29 - The L-Z line rules! We are practically lapping A-K, and we have more of the alphabet. Get WORKED, A-K!

8:39 - You know, I am excited about this election and all, it's historic and blah blahderdy blah, but I am sort of looking forward to the day when we can just send our thoughts to a polling place and vote that way. Not having to smell our fellow citizens would be a very positive step for democracy.

9:00 - HOW AM I STILL HERE?

9:03 - I officially hate democracy. And I really, really hate the bag tag guy in front of me. He has not stopped talking, oh my God.

9:05 - Crazy Chair Lady has just picked a fight with Annoying Bag Tag Guy. She just said that she doesn't trust these voting machines and doesn't think that they will accurately count her vote. ABTG just mentioned that voting online will soon become the norm.

"I can't believe you just said that! I will NEVER vote online! I know what would happen - someone would pretend to be me! My vote won't matter!"

ABGT just asked her if she buys things online.

"Of course I do."

ABGT: "And you trust that system?"

CCL: "THAT'S DIFFERENT."

The girl in front of CCL just butted in to say, "Hey! Did you guys know that Starbucks is giving away free coffee to voters today?" ABTG responded that he'll head there from the polling site.

WRONG ANSWER.

CCL: "You would go to that horrible chain and not go to the local coffeehouse right across the street?"

ABTG: "Well, are they giving away free coffee?"

CCL: "No, but it's a local business!"

ABTG: "I like free stuff. I'm a starving grad student."

CCL: "WELL YOU DON'T LOOK LIKE YOU'RE STARVING! I CAN'T BELIEVE THAT YOU REFUSE TO SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL BUSINESSES! THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT'S WRONG WITH THIS COUNTRY, AND YOU'RE MAKING IT WORSE."

Everyone in earshot: "Sigh."

9:09 - We have entered the gym and I am this close to getting my ballot. The end is near!

9:15 - Waiting, waiting, waiting...

9:27 - I've voted (!) and am waiting to put the giant scantron ballot into the giant scantron ballot recording machine. There's... a delay. One woman had two ballots stuck together and thus voted on the front of one ballot and the back of another. For some reason, everyone thinks that arguing about it in front of the fucking scantron machine is the solution. My God, MOVE.

9:35 - I have escaped! I have voted and I am free!

I am free, though, and I suppose that's the point here. There are many people in this world who are not this lucky. They aren't able to vote because of an autocracy or because they are women or because they are of the wrong class.

I have a vote. I have a voice.

And now I have a sticker.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Blergh

Some thoughts:

"30 Rock" is the best comedy on television right now, and if you're still not watching it, even after my repeated pleas, I'd like to club you with a champagne bottle or something. You really need to watch this show! My favorite line from last Thursday's episode:

Liz (Tina Fey) is telling Jack (Alec Baldwin) about her preparations for an audit from the adoption agency, as her biological clock is about to explode:

Liz: "I got rid of all my Colin Firth movies in case they could be considered erotica."
Jack: "That man can wear a sweater."

Baldwin's delivery is priceless. WATCH THIS SHOW.

Hmmm... what else?

Well, now that my Wolverines are a horrible, horrible bed-wetting joke, I think that it's important to rally behind a Big Ten team actually worth its salt: Penn State. They're undefeated, they have one of the best coaches in history at the helm: Joe Paterno, and they have heart. I'm excited for them. I really hope that they don't get screwed in the BCS because the Big Ten is a total joke. (A joke in that they are mediocre at best, not that they play good, clean football, which I think we all do - with the exception of a team to the south. I like that our conference is at least respected for that, as it's no longer seen as a powerhouse, conference-to-beat kind of group.

But that would sure be nice.)

We play Minnesota next week, old roommate Jenny's alma mater, and while I'd love to watch the Wolverines lose the Little Brown Jug, Merrick will be in town and we will be having lots of non-football related fun very far, far away from evil televisions.

Also, I heard that there's an election coming up. Have you heard anything about this? Apparently it's a big deal. Not that I would know as both candidates have pulled out of Michigan like a senior guy on prom night.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

The Ring? Meh!

I thought that it was scary, but I slept like a baby last night. And even though Mike has texted me, "Seven Days," followed by "Six Days," ever since, I'm fine. Quit it, Mike. You're not scaring me. Jumping out from behind the door when I was brushing my teeth? Now that was scary.

The Ring was awesome, though, that much I'd admit. I do wish that I hadn't been spoiled by bad movie spoofs so far ahead of my viewing, but it's hard to avoid commercials.

Here is where I'd write a review, but I don't want to spoil the plot for anyone who actually hasn't seen it (Shane learned this the hard way when he blurted out the ending of Fight Club to me. I still kind of hate him for that. Then again, in his defense, it had been out on video for like, seven years when I finally got around to watching it, so I suppose there is some sort of statute of limitations for not talking about a movie. Heh. The first rule of... shut up, Heather.)

Well, okay, the plot was fairly intricate and I really liked that most of the clues weren't thrown in the viewer's face from the beginning. As Rachel (Naomi Watts), a reporter, slowly uncovered more and more about her fate, the plot seemed to suck the viewer in closer and closer. I liked that the viewer wasn't treated like a moron. I mean, that's always nice, right?

The plot revolves around a cursed videotape - if you watch it, you'll die in seven days. You'll die horrifically, but it's not clear how. When Rachel's niece dies unexpectedly, Rachel promises the girl's mother that she'll look into it. What she finds is horrifying and as it starts to take its toll on her and her family, she's determined to end the curse.

The acting was fantastic - Watts was perfect, as was her ex-boyfriend (Martin Henderson), and those she encounters during her investigation (Brian Cox as Richard Morgan was especially noteworthy). The child actor playing her son, Aidan, was okay. I mean, not everyone can be Haley Joel Osment, can they (side note - did you ever hear that when Steven Spielberg was originally on board to direct Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, he wanted that little turd for the role of Harry? Ugh!)? Anyway, the kid was fine, but I thought that his acting was a little flat - until the end. His delivery was spot-on making the ending just fantastic.

And I'm sure that most people don't care much, but I thought that the cinematography was brilliant and absolutely breath-taking. Everything was muted, and very little color actually made it to the screen - except for, of course, the tree. And while it was almost always raining, the dull, dreary colors were still very sharp and defined. It only added to the overall creepy feel. I loved the sets, especially the Morgan farm, as well as any scene involving the lighthouse. Lastly, the musical score was as much background information as it was a scene-stealer. Wonderful.

If you haven't seen it already, I recommend it.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Regarding Scary Things That Crawl Out of Televisions

I just like to be prepared, that's all.

If I'm planning a trip to a restaurant, I'll check the menu online. If I'm planning a trip to a park, I'll look for the hiking trail maps. And if I'm driving somewhere, whether I've been there or not, as I have absolutely no sense of direction, I'll check a map. If I'm looking for a new book to read, I'll read reviews.

Mike thinks that researching a menu is cheating, but I think that it's smart because I want to know what to expect. Left to my own devices at the restaurant, it would take me seventeen hours to decide on an entree, and then five hours to eat it. But really, I think that it's just good sense = have you seen the menu at the freaking Cheesecake Factory? It's a NOVELLA.

For restaurants, I think that looking ahead is fine. Sometimes I'm bad, though. And this has everything to do with the screen. I don't stop at reading reviews - I want to see clips, I read the spoilers, I read the extended plot versions, and I read the comments on message boards. I discover the twists before I even see the damn movies.

I know that I shouldn't.

But I never once searched for my Christmas presents early. I wanted to be surprised. There are just some things that I won't do.

Mike and I are watching The Ring tomorrow night (in response to learning about our Halloween plans, my brother said, "You're watching a scary movie on Halloween? How cliche!"). I've been wanting to see it for years, but I've been too much of a chicken-shit to give in. But I knew that I would watch it eventually, so I never read about it. Really. I know the plot, roughly, mostly from the trailers (and from the trailers of spoofs like Scary Movie 3). I also know that more than one person has told me to avoid it as I will never sleep again, supposedly.

Mike has promised to keep me safe, but if I can no longer look at a future televsion without freaking out, that will make me very sad indeed. Because I like tv. I like tv a lot. TV is awesome.

And while I do love a good slasher flick once in a while, I enjoy psychological thrillers more. The Sixth Sense, Rosemary's Baby, The Omen, and The Others sent chills down my spine and had my heart racing like few others. I love scary movies, and I love to be scared.

Then there are movies based on video and computer games. These tend to scare me more than anything - at least so far. Silent Hill? Holy shit on toast, that movie scared the bejesus out of me. And then I imagined playing it as a game and decided that would be even more scary because I would be in control - or not. The only video/computer games that I remember being scary were Tombs and Treasure for Nintendo 1.0 and The 7th Guest, a game my cousins had for their first computer. Read the wiki for 7th Guest - it's fucked up. I can't believe my aunt let us play it to begin with.

Anyway, I'll let you know how it goes with The Ring. I'm really hoping that I don't pee all over Mike's loveseat.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Perturbed

See, here's the thing, Alcon:



I understand that you need to make sure that the saline solution is at the correct salinity levels and parts per million or whatever the hell your scientists decree.

But do the packaging needs differ THAT MUCH that you need to charge almost the same exact price for a 1/3 ounce bottle of saline drops as you do for a ten ounce bottle? Of the same exact solution? And don't say, "Hey, the store sets the prices! Don't blame us!" LIARS. Target actually has the best prices around, so don't feed me that crap. (Though I suppose I should be happy that my saline has never given me eye fungus.)

I wouldn't care that much except that apparently, all of a sudden!, I have dry eyes. And I'm back in my glasses. Which... don't seem to be working for me any longer.

Let me start at the beginning!

My contacts have scratched and scarred my corneas (awesome!) and my ophthalmologist and cornea specialist are pretty sure that my eyes have developed an allergy to the plastic in the contact lenses themselves (which, ALSO AWESOME!), and I am to wear them on a verrrry limited basis. Except when I do, dry eye syndrome says, "Hey! Give me drops! Ex! pen! sive! rewetting drrrrrrrrrops! NOW! NOW! NOW!" And this happens every thirteen minutes or so.

So I'm not exactly able to save that little 1/3 ounce bottle for more than a few days, really.

AND! The longer that I wear my contacts, my vision drastically reduces. So there's that.

But let me tell you about my glasses, since you asked.

So when you have contact lenses, you generally also have glasses on hand for those lazy Sundays, days of pinkeye, or days when you just don't care and maybe you won't brush your hair either! Because the lenses in your glasses are farther away from your eyes, they are usually a slightly higher prescription. (In my case, my contacts are -7.00 in my right eye and -6.50 in my left eye, while the lenses in my glasses are -7.25 and -6.75, respectively.)

SO TELL ME SOMETHING, PLEASE.

Why is it that wearing my glasses right now does absolutely nothing for me? I can't see near. I can't see far. I would not like them in a car. I do not like green eggs and ham. I do not like them Sam I Am.

Seriously though, when wearing my glasses, I cannot drive. I cannot read. I cannot see the computer screen at all. I'm wearing them right now, squinting and half of an inch away from the screen, but I am pretty much relying on spellcheck for this one and hoping that I haven't forgotten to type the "L" in public or something, as spellcheck thinks, "Oooh, legitimate word! Hilarious, embarrassing typo, but completely legitimate!"

It's like I am both nearsighted and farsighted all of a sudden and perhaps I need bifocals?

They told me to hang in there and see if the STEROID DROPS and antibiotic pills work. Until then, I can't really do much. Unless you want to pick me up first.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I'm Tired so Here Are Some Pictures of Autumn

I didn't line them up like that!

rainy day

with flash

without flash

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

My Little Brother's Wedding

On October 11th, I watched my little brother exchange vows with the love of his life. It was sweet and beautiful and a bit like a dream. They've been together for so long and while we all knew that it was only a matter of time, I guess you're never really prepared for your only sibling's wedding.

So, please don't let what I am about to tell you change your mind about the goodness of the day, because it really was good. But the drama was DELICIOUS.

Enjoy.

DRAMA #1

Date: Wedding Day
Place: Hair Salon
Time: 11:00 a.m.
Scene:

I walked into the salon, ready for my hair appointment. I had dropped off the Lady an hour earlier and left to collect my niece. We didn't think that it was a good idea for a three-year-old to endure four hours in a hair salon and so spared her from the boredom as long as we could. When I returned with a perturbed Alexis in tow, my mother's hair was... oh Mylanta, it was bad. Like, horror movie bad. Like, maybe the stylist was trying to make her look ninety? Either way, I was NOT having it.

"No. That needs to be redone."

And lo, it was redone. It didn't look great, but it looked better. And it pained me, because I knew that my mom wouldn't have said anything if I hadn't gotten there in time. And it was her son's wedding. No woman wants to look borderline retarded at her son's wedding.

(Sidenote: We got our hair did at this particular salon because Kari's long-time stylist had just taken a job there. And to be honest, it really didn't matter what the rest of us looked like. Kari's hair looked amazing in the end and that's all I cared about. Really. I know, because this is about to get ridiculous with my bitching, but it was fine in the end and my bitching ceased.)

And then, it was my turn.

I started by telling the stylist that I wanted my hair parted on the side with it angled over my forehead and with some volume in the crown. Like I had for Kelly's wedding. Basically, something "classy and elegant with no curls." I should have known from her attire that our ideas of what that meant were going to differ. Drastically.

What you can't see is her leopard-print bra!

The first attempt resulted in her flat-ironing my hair, teasing the top, slicking back the sides, and letting it fall back like a waterfall. For a wedding. It looked just like Portia's here, but worse (if you can imagine):

"Oh my God! We're having a fire... sale. Oh, the burning!"

"No, I don't like it." Her: "No?" Me: "No, not at all. I really don't like that style." Her: "Oh, well, a female bartender comes in every Friday and I do her hair like that and she says that she gets all kinds of tips and dates!" Me: "That's nice. I don't like it."

Just my hair and about a can of "freeze" spray.

For the second attempt, she put my hair half up and half down. When she reached for the curling iron, I had to stop her again. Me: "I really don't want curls." Her: "No? Well you should have said something!"

Fuming, I reiterated, "I just want something pulled back, off of my neck, and elegant. Please." At this point, Kari's hair was finally done and we needed to get going. The third attempt got me this, which I hated, but accepted:

Hi! I'm so five years ago!
Also, I have no volume at all!

I later learned that this woman was the co-owner of the salon. I don't know why this blew my mind, but it did.

Alexis was also NOT AMUSED BY THE SALON AT ALL.

From there, we headed to the makeup place where some people got their faces all did up. I had already done mine, so what did I do? I ate Burger King. And it was goooooood.

The limo whisked us away to the church, Kari and Steven got married, things were lovely and nice, and I only cried a teensy bit, and then we exited the church.

There were people... EVERYWHERE.

DRAMA #2

Date: Wedding Day
Place: Park in which the chapel resided
Time: 5:30 p.m.
Scene:

Not just people. High schoolers. In HOMECOMING DRESSES.

Oh sweet God, they were surrounding us.

And here's where it gets bad.

When Steven and Kari rented the chapel, it included use of the grounds - i.e., the gazebo and covered bridge, for photographs. Additionally, we only had about 40 minutes before we had to get to the reception hall.

It was a gorgeous day. Absolutely amazing. And it was a gorgeous park. I can see why people flocked there to take pictures before the big dance. You know, the dance that happens every year in high school? At which most people spend four years and therefore have the opportunity to attend the fucking Homecoming dance FOUR TIMES?

And you know what else I remember? I remember being in high school. I remember thinking that I was the SHIT. I remember being on Homecoming Court and thinking that the world had STOPPED and therefore I can say that I completely understand that Homecoming is a huge fucking deal to a teenager.

But a wedding day? I knew what that meant from the time I was trying on my mom's shoes. A wedding is a big deal. A huge deal. And it doesn't happen four times.

These little bitches refused to move from the gazebo. "It's MY Homecoming! Go take pictures somewhere else!" It took the 6'5" photographer to get people to move. And even then, the maid of honor and I had to BLOCK the entrance to the gazebo because these little whores were trying to get in.

I am not kidding!

Their mothers? Were even worse. I can't even get into it, because I don't want to make assumptions about their lives or their views on marriage, but I was appalled. Some were nice and accommodating, and many congratulated them, but when their dates started to threaten us, Kari started to get stressed.

We got the shots we wanted, in the gazebo and the covered bridge, and we were out of there in fifteen minutes, tops. I hope those little bitches enjoyed their dance, and I also hope that they totally didn't contract STDs from their skeevy dates wearing white tuxes with tails, top hats and canes. I totally hope this didn't happen.

END DRAMA

The thing is? Kari and Steven didn't deal with this. Other people did. And in their minds, it was a perfect day. And that's how it should be. Other people should handle the crappiness and the stupid things that happen, and the bride and groom should get lost in bliss and remember the day for what it was: a day of unity.

The reception was a blast - my cousins were in from Wisconsin and Arizona, both my great aunt and my papa were happy and partying, I got to wear a pretty red dress and dance with my honey, and there was cake.

Kari and Steven's wedding day confirmed what we've all known for years: They're a family. The marriage license made it legal, but it was the fluffy white dress that made it a memory.

Here are some of the pictures from the night, and all can be seen here.

My Mike and me

BECAUSE THERE ARE ALWAYS DINOSAURS.

Me and my Dad

The New Family

Congratulations, Kari and Steven!
And Alexis and Savannah!