Saturday, January 31, 2009

I Think That My Excuse is Valid

I got my adorable car on February 7, 2008. He's a little shy:

Um, hello.

I got its oil changed for the first time... today. Go ahead and yell at me - Mike did. Okay, well he didn't yell, but he couldn't look at me for a while.

I have a really good excuse though! Really I do!

There was no sticker to tell me to get the oil changed. So I am not to blame. I realize that I am lucky that it didn't blow the fuck up on I-94, But I have a sticker now, so it won't happen again.

...It probably won't.

Friday, January 30, 2009

On Pioneers, Family, and Idiotic Coworkers

So I wasn't going to write about this little occurrence, but I can't stop thinking about it, so I figured that it would be of interest to all y'all.

My coworker recently announced - unprovoked, as is her style - that she wasn't going to let her four-year-old daughter read the Little House on the Prairie series because they perpetuate negative stereotypes of women.

Just... sit on that for a few minutes.

Before I start on my rampage, I'd also like to add that this woman considers herself an extreme liberal and is also strongly against censorship.

So there's that...

Right. I read these books in elementary school. Though... I shouldn't say that I merely read them, because that is misleading - I devoured them. They were like crack, and had the same "oh-my-god-i-must-read-the-next-one-immediately" quality that the Harry Potter series and the (asinine) Twilight series have had on me in recent years.

My mom had a gorgeous, hardcover, complete set of the series from her childhood, in pristine condition, and I was eventually allowed to read them. I was so very careful: I removed the slipcover and left it atop the other books sitting on the bookshelf. I opened them painstakingly slowly. In fact, I feel like I can trace my lifetime treatment of books to this series. To this day, even my well-read books look fresh and new, the spine pristine.

I just loved the smell of them. I loved the artwork on the covers. I loved everything about the books themselves as objects - even before I read the words within.

The stories themselves were just... beautiful. I imagined myself in The Big Woods of Wisconsin. I wanted to take a trip in a covered wagon. I didn't know that I wanted to live in a sod house, but I thought that it would be pretty cool to go inside.

I marveled at Laura's courage and her infinite curiosity. I wanted to be her. I wanted to go to Walden, as it were.

I thought that she was so strong - how could she do the things that she did? She twisted handfuls of hay into little "logs" to make things to burn so that her family wouldn't FREEZE TO DEATH. I mean, how do you compare your own life to hers?

But you can. These books were, in my opinion, about family, and while I wasn't living in a log cabin, I had the same loving family as Laura. I understood how cool it was to have your dad read a book to you and your siblings.

I also loved that the writing style changed as Laura aged. In Little House in the Big Woods, when she was young, Laura's thoughts and worries were those of a little girl. Before you knew it, though, she was an adult, teaching in a town far away, and being courted by Almanzo.

(Oh my gosh, how much did you love Almanzo?)

Laura was a strong, independent woman who loved her family and pushed herself to a career in the classroom, even in a time when men formed the majority in the teaching profession. She openly pursued love. She supported her family financially when her sister went blind from scarlet fever. She was such a badass!

And yet, my coworker thinks that she is a negative example in the representation of women.

I'm not going to argue about this. The role of women has changed dramatically in the last hundred years. Things haven't always been easy. Things still aren't easy. We're still not equally paid. We have to make different decisions about our professional lives due to biological reasons completely innate to who we are.

So yes, if you read books about a woman living in America in the late 1800s, you will encounter a lifestyle vastly different from that to which you are accustomed. Women had different roles then, yes. But that doesn't change the fact that a rugged frontier woman could kick the ever-loving crap out of a prissy MBA jackass today.

If she were to let her daughter read these books (which, at age four? I don't think so...) and offer no context or explanation, then maybe her daughter might get confused. Maybe she would start to think that she should be wearing a corset and churning butter.

So whatever, coworker. I feel for your daughter. I hope she rebels soon.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


I consider myself an avid reader. I try to read classics as well as the critically-acclaimed best-sellers of the day. I like good historical fiction once in a while, as well as graphic novels (Maus, anyone?). I also love revisiting my favorites, like To Kill a Mockingbird and Wuthering Heights. There are some weeks where I'll breeze through ten books, back-to-back, with barely a break in between. And then there are periods like now, where I am one hundred percent addicted to playing Dr. Mario on Super Nintendo (Mike calls it "Super Mario Pill," which amuses me to no end).

K-10 sent me a link from a 2005 issue of Time, listing their All-time 100 Novels. And... I am infinitely ashamed to admit that I have only read nine. Nine! Of the one hundred, I've read:

Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret
The Catcher in the Rye
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

Lord of the Flies
The Lord of the Rings
Never Let Me Go
To Kill a Mockingbird

I also think that I've read To the Lighthouse, but I can't remember. And so I don't think that it counts.

In my defense, I do mean well. These titles are on my bookshelf, waiting to be read:

The Big Sleep
The Blind Assassin

The Corrections
The Grapes of Wrath
The Great Gatsby
Invisible Man
On the Road
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

I also know that TIME's list is not the be-all, end-all of lists. I know that, above all, my preferences are what remain important.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Tagalongs and Samoas

The main reason I wanted to join the Girl Scouts was because it seemed like my friends were always leaving school early to go to camp.

But also, the cookies.

I didn't mind selling cookies - I mean, how many Girl Scouts actually sold cookies anyway? Our successes rested mainly on how many boxes sold at our parents' respective businesses. (My dad's firm always did better than The Lady's colleagues... teachers).

I was a little confused, though, after reading a punny article about cookie downsizing. What happened to the real names of the cookies? Apparently, many have since fallen to the wayside in an explosion of political correctness: tagalongs (now "Peanut Butter Patties), samoas (now Caramel deLites). and thin mints (oh wait, that's not offensive. I don't... think) will always live in my memory.

But mainly, this:

Over ten years later, and I still know every word. And not just the song lyrics.

("This is a very, very deep ravine.)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Sports Night No More. Sob!

I finished the final disc of Sports Night the other night, and though its finale bowed on a more positive note than say, Veronica Mars, it still pains me that I won't receive the next disc in two days. Granted, unlike VM, the creators of Sports Night knew that there was a chance of cancellation early enough so that the season finale could also be written (and interpreted) as a series finale, but still. I know that, for the networks, money rules all, but WHY do shows like fucking Wife Swap, The Hills, and The Bachelor get renewed time and again, while quality, award-winning shows like My So Called Life, Arrested Development, VM, and Sports Night enjoy life spans far too short?

(I have a feeling that this says something about America and our collective intelligence, but I am going to ignore that feeling because it's painful...)

Over ten years ago, a little show premiered on ABC - a show within a show called Sports Night. It could air tomorrow and still be relevant. Similiar to 30 Rock, "Sports Night" is a Sportscenter-type show on a newish fictional network, CSC.

The cast is solid, the writing is crisp and witty, and the plot lines are both heavy and hilarious. The scripts are magic, and as the show was created by Aaron Sorkin, it kind of makes me want to watch The West Wing for the first time just to get more of his signature bantering.

The viewer quickly falls in love with the characters - they talk as fast as the title characters from Gilmore Girls, they're completely endearing, and even the semi-annoying ones don't seem to have enough screen time. You want to learn more about them, you want them to be happy, and most of all, you want them to succeed.

Anyway, give it a try. Two seasons are spread over six discs and they just fly by!

Friday, January 23, 2009


I think that it's perfectly acceptable to leave a
Christmas tree in one's living space well into February.

No, I don't actually think that. I'm just supremely lazy.

(I put it away on Wednesday night, I swear.)

Crossword Shenanigans

I love crosswords. I love them.

During semester break, the student paper isn't published, leaving me without a crossword puzzle. (Or the inane ramblings of over-privileged kids, most of whom haven't had any real world experience and who therefore make me giggle with their optimism and enthusiasm about, well, everything. It's both refreshing and sad, really.)

One day at Target, I was rummaging through the fun $1 bins just inside the main entrance and I discovered some crossword puzzle books AND some sudoku puzzle books. Priced at one dollar each, I thought that I had found the bargain of the century.

(Actually, I'm wrong. This was the bargain of the century.)

Anyway, I shouldn't have gotten so damn excited. The sudokus were fine, but the crossword? Holy lameness, Batman.

Now, I am a loyal crossworder. Since my freshman year of college, I've attempted the crossword almost daily, and those who do this know - it gets easier. You get better. That first week or so, you're convinced that you are the dumbest person alive. How the hell are you supposed to know Portugal's main export? But then your vocabulary improves. You get used to the way the editor writes the clues. You start to realize what s/he means with each clue, even when it could have several interpretations. You still have no fucking idea what the capital of Zimbabwe is, but if you saw it in a puzzle enough, you just might remember it.

(Note: The capital of Peru is LIMA. You'll see that one often.)

So I really thought that I had hit the jackpot. "Yay! Crosswords for me! And not just one per day - I can do AS MANY AS I WANT." The problem? After about ten seconds, I realized my mistake.

These were SHITTY crosswords, possibly constructed by someone who did not speak English as a first language. The clues? Oh. Shall I give you a few examples?

"Damp with sweat." The answer?


Maybe to those of you who run away from crosswords think I am a massive nerd. That's okay if you do - I am a total nerd. But even the cool kids should appreciate the ridiculousness of these clues:

"Engage in prayer" is PRAY

"Having walls" is WALLED

"Beadlike" is BEADY

"Gymnasium" is GYM

"With bare legs" is BARELEGGED

Oh, and one of the most popular clues: "The act of revealing" is REVEALMENT. What?

I guess it's back to the student paper for me! ("What are we, back in college, freshman year? Let's go to the common room and talk about Apartheid.")

Thursday, January 22, 2009


I completely forgot this one when I posted about the upcoming movies I'm anticipating in 2009:

We used to check that book out of the library every other week until my parents bought us a hardcover copy. I'm pretty sure that it was lost in the Great Basement Flood of 2008.

Moment of silence.

Anyway, I know that there are probably a good number of people upset about this adaptation, but I am really excited to see it on screen. And the cast looks amazing. Yay for live action childhood memories!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

It's... I Don't Even Know How to Describe It

I don't know how Mike finds this stuff, but we can't stop watching this:

I know. H-Piddy.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Some Days I Seem to Have More Patience Than I Deserve

I swear, some days, experiences I have at the museum provide the best birth control known to man.

Most schools in the state were closed on Friday due to extreme wind chill. See, that's what closes schools around here - the temperature dipping into the negatives. (Not like in DC when schools would be closed the night before with even the threat of snow.)

Translation: there were tons of little fuckers running around the museum like chocolate-fueled psychos, and I was rolling on maybe four hours of sleep.

So when I went to empty the donation box at the end of the day, I had had about enough of crying, tantrums, "Ew! Boobies!" and screaming. Oh, the screaming. (Hey, parents? If your kid is having a tantrum and screaming like a bear is ripping off his arms, "ignoring" him like you do at home is simply not an option. Leaving him outside my office to wail might possibly result in me "accidentally" opening my door at an unsafe velocity directly into your precious little snowflake's head. Just so you know.)

The rotunda was still was crowded at 4:55, and I waited a few minutes for it to clear before opening the box of money, but I wanted to go home. I hid in the docent room for a few, and when I came out, four kids were sidled up against the door, waiting for me.

Little Fucker #1: "Open the store, we want to buy stuff."
Me: "I'm sorry, but the store closes at 4 on the weekdays."
Little Fucker #2: "But we want to buy stuff."
Me: "I'm sorry, but see? The sign says that it closes at 4."
Little Fucker #1: "Open it!
Little Fucker #2: "I'll be your best friend!"
Me: "I already have a best friend. Sorry."
Little Fucker #3: "Open the store for one minute!"
Me: "Nope!"
Little Fucker #4: "OPEN IT NOWWWWWW!"
Me: ...

Then they followed me to the donation box and tried to grab at the money while I removed the bills.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, their parents were standing about five feet away the whole time.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Listening to the oldies station in my car, I was a little surprised to hear Jack and Diane. It was released in 1982 - how is Mellencamp considered fodder for the elderly?

Hey, Oldies 104.3 - jumping the gun a bit?

Thing is, I rarely listen to the oldies station. I don't listen to mainstream radio all that much anymore, really. I have a good stash of CDs in the car, and they seem to do well in the rotation. Every so often, I attempt a listen of a few stations, but in the past few days, every single time I turn on 89X, that annoying Offspring song is playing. Every. Time. I am not kidding.

Of course, now that I think about it, my parents were roughly my age in the early eighties, and while I see them as eternal thirty-two year olds, I suppose that there's a chance they might be getting older.

Growing up with my parents' music was interesting to say the least. My mom liked folksy stuff like John Denver, James Taylor, and the Moody Blues, while my dad ran the gamut between The Beatles, Cream, Beethoven, and Brahms. We listened to the music from Annie and Camelot, The Phantom of the Opera, and Romeo and Juliet.

One of my favorites was Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf. I know. But I loved it!

I know that the oldies station plays mostly hits - with the occasional one-hit-wonder. I doubt that it could be completely representative. I mean, it's just the most popular stuff, right?

So what will I hear in 2030 when I'm fifty? Will the oldies station be filled with music from my teenage years like Nirvana, Bonnie Tyler, and Boys II Men? Or will it maybe have stuff like Radiohead, Ryan Adams, and Joshua Radin?

Oh God.

What if the oldies station is filled with Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys, and Mariah Carey?

My kids will certainly question my taste in music. And my sanity.

"Once they think you listened to us,
your kids will never take you seriously again!"

Monday, January 12, 2009

30 Rock, How I Love Thee

30 Rock just won best comedy at the Golden Globes, and I finally got around to watching the latest episode, "Senor Macho Solo."

Liz Lemon accidentally dating a little person (the amazing "angry elf" himself, Peter Dinklage), Jack falling in love with his mother's nurse, and Jenna wanting to portray Janis Joplin? All GOLD. But what really got me - I mean, really got me, was Kenneth performing the rap from Teen Witch. At first, I thought that I was hallucinating the whole thing:

God, I love this show.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

99 Things

I stole this from Deals. And I'm not ashamed of it. This weekend was insane, and maybe I'll tell you about it someday, but for now I'm tired and not feeling all that creative.

Here are 99 things, that I've done, want to do, or want no part of. And here are how they're coded:

Things you've already done: bold
Things you'd like to do: italicized
Things you haven't done nor wish to: regular text

So here are mine - less than half. I need to get working...

1. Started your own blog.
2. Slept under the stars.
3. Played in a band.
4. Visited Hawaii.
5. Watched a meteor shower.
6. Given more than you can afford to charity.
7. Been to Disneyland/world.
8. Climbed a mountain.
9. Held a praying mantis.
10. Sang a solo.
11. Bungee jumped.
12. Visited Paris.
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea.
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch.
15. Adopted a child.
16. Had food poisoning.
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty.
18. Grown your own vegetables.
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France.
20. Slept on an overnight train.
21. Had a pillow fight.
22. Hitch hiked.
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not (physically) ill.
24. Built a snow fort.
25. Held a lamb.
26. Gone skinny dipping.
27. Run a marathon.
28. Ridden a gondola in Venice.
29. Seen a total eclipse.
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset.
31. Hit a home run.
32. Been on a cruise.
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person.
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors.
35. Seen an Amish community.
36. Taught yourself a new language.
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied.
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person.
39. Gone rock climbing.
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David in person.
41. Sung Karaoke.
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt.
43. Bought a stranger a meal in a restaurant.
44. Visited Africa.
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight.
46. Been transported in an ambulance.
47. Had your portrait painted.
48. Gone deep sea fishing.
49. Seen the Sistine chapel in person.
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling.
52. Kissed in the rain.
53. Played in the mud.
54. Gone to a drive-in theatre.
55. Been in a movie.
56. Visited the Great Wall of China.
57. Started a business.
58. Taken a martial arts class.
59. Visited Russia.
60. Served at a soup kitchen.
61. Sold Girl Scout cookies.
62. Gone whale watching.
63. Gotten flowers for no reason.
64. Donated blood.
65. Gone sky diving.
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp.
67. Bounced a check.
68. Flown in a helicopter.
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy.
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial.
71. Eaten caviar.
72. Pieced a quilt.
73. Stood in Times Square.
74. Toured the Everglades.
75. Been fired from a job.
76. Seen the Changing of the Guard in London.
77. Broken a bone.
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle.
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person.
80. Published a book.
81. Visited the Vatican.
82. Bought a brand new car.
83. Walked in Jerusalem.
84. Had your picture in the newspaper.
85. Read the entire Bible.
86. Visited the White House.
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating.
88. Had chickenpox.
89. Saved someone’s life.
90. Sat on a jury.
91. Met someone famous.
92. Joined a book club.
93. Lost a loved one.
94. Had a baby.
95. Seen the Alamo in person.
96. Swum in the Great Salt Lake.
97. Been involved in a law suit.
98. Owned a cell phone.
99. Been stung by a bee.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Upcoming Movies I Want to See, Most of Which I Might Have to View Alone Because Each Time I Mentioned Them to Mike, He Groaned

In order by month of release:

Defiance (January)
Daniel Craig fighting against the Nazis? Check. Daniel Craig looking hot? Check.

Friday the 13th (February)
Oh, how I love delicious slasher flicks. Camp Crystal Lake is back, and so are the idiot counselors. It's going to be so awesomely bad!

Youth in Revolt (February)
Is it bad that the only good reasons I have for wanting to see this film are because it was partly filmed in Ann Arbor and because Fred Willard is in the cast?

I'm curious to see if the chick from Twilight can actually act when the script isn't overshadowed by a book. Plus, even though I always secretly wanted to, I never went to summer camp, and while Adventureland is set in an amusement park (filmed at Kennywood), it just seems like a neat summer job for a teenager. Plus, set in 1987? It will be awesome for the wardrobe alone. Additionally, Ryan Reynolds is slated to not chew the scenery, and that's always a good thing.

I Love You, Man (March)
Paul Rudd, trying to find a best man for his wedding. I'm there. I love him.

Super cool. I so don't remember the original, so my childhood memories will not be pillaged. I hope. The updated Violet Beauregarde plays the female lead, and she's absolutely adorable. But The Rock? ... Really?

Earth (April)
After watching Planet Earth for like, five seconds, I was hooked. Now a feature-length film? Sweet.

Maybe I should see the first one before this, but I worked at the Smith, so I should probably see this anyway, right?

Star Trek (May)
I grew up watching The Next Generation (ah, Wesley), and caught episodes of the original series on Nick at Nite. I also remember watching The Wrath of Kahn in my seventh grade Earth Science class, and being completely wigged out about wormy things for years. And maybe I'll eventually see the one with the whales that my mom keeps harping about.

Land of the Lost (June)
Mike started singing the theme song to the tv show when I mentioned this film, and I was convinced that he just made up words on the spot. I never saw the show, but there are dinosaurs. So I'll be there. But by myself, I'm assuming, as Mike has no love for Will Ferrell.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (July)
The day after I met Mike, during our "get-to-know-you" hours-long conversation, I mentioned that I loved the books. He paused, and after an excruciating moment in which I thought I had lost him forever, he declared that he had read all of the books and owned all of the released movies. And then we fell in love.

I don't care that the Ice Age occurred well after the extinction of the dinosaurs. I loved the first two installments, so mess with the chronology all you want, movie!

Public Enemies (July)
Ohmigod, Johnny Depp as Dillinger and Christian Bale as the cop? Wow.

New Moon (November?)
I know, it's poop. But I'll still see it.

Sherlock Holmes (November)
Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law as Sherlock and Watson. As imagined by Guy Ritchie. I just might be there on opening night.

Heath Ledger's final role, with other actors filling in the blank spots. Regardless of the film's connection to Ledger, the plot sounds cool and I probably would have seen it anyway. Because filming halted two-thirds of the way through the shoot, Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell, and Jude Law took over the different "roles."

It's Tarantino. It's WWII. It's a no-brainer.

Friday, January 02, 2009

You Wish You Could Be This Cool

Well, Happy New Year!

Mike and I, completely content in collective our lameness, caught an early dinner, watched tv, and as he drifted off to sleep at 10:30, I watched Primal Fear.

I know. Watch out for us!

We both worked on the 31st and were in no mood for a crowded bar. We stayed in, avoided the weather and the drunks, and it was awesome.

So I hope that you all were happy and safe and did things significantly cooler than us!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

How Did This Happen?

It's 2009.

I am going to turn 29 this year. I am going to be twenty-nine glorious years old, so why am I still getting pimples? I'm not talking about the occasional day-ruiner pimple. I'm talking about an attack of little red fuckers that will not rest until I cry each night and try to remember when my complexion was ever this bad and arrive at the decision that it has never, ever been this bad, and maybe I'm being punished for some reason. And the best part? They only tend to show up on Friday, just before I am to spend the weekend with my honey.

No, he doesn't care. Well, maybe he does, but he's good enough to tell me that he doesn't care. He also tells me that he likes me in my glasses, which is good because even though I semi-like my glasses, I absolutely loathe the fact that I am now a slave to them with my red eyes rebelling against my contacts.

(Which, my doctors have decided, has nothing to do with the contacts but with a combination of factors of which even they are unsure. Awe. Some.)

Anyway, if someone could explain this phenomenon to me, that would be nice.