Thursday, December 31, 2009

Goodbye 2009, Hello Something (hopefully) Better!

So I preyed to the 6lb 8oz baby Jesus and he responded by giving me a half day at work. Yea! Thank you Jebus! I don't really have anything planned for today's post- no open letter to 2009, no more best/worst of lists, nothing. However, as the last day of the year and the end of the decade, I feel compelled to write something, even if it's dribble.

* So, thanks to twitter for successfully helping me waste small amounts of time at work. Today was a gold mine of information:

DitaVonTeese Violet syrup for my Cointreauteese~ I use this syrup for violet whipped creme & violet champagne too! Chic! [I have always wanted a collection of flavored syrups. I'm not sure what I would do with them, I don't make coffee at home. However, perhaps I could start making fun "Dita" cocktails or Italian sodas. Sampler kits are available, and they have a really neat holiday one on sale- 12 flavors for $9.99.]

hijinksensue the music is trying to tell me that what Im watching is playfully sinister, when in fact it is shittastically craptacular. [he went on a rant about "American Psycho 2" which was hilarious. Check him and his hilariously geeky comic out. If anyone wants to by me a Team Edward (Adama) tee, it would be much appreciated. I wear a men's small. thank you]

Okay, so maybe I do have a bit of a list in me. I joined Twitter this year because I could get on it at work. Since I do not have a fancy phone with things like "web browsing", or camera with flash, or the ability to stay on mid-texting; I figured it wouldn't consume too much of my time and could be fun. Also, I was tired of /film retweeting celeb and director tweets at me. I can find them on my own now thank you!

* I also got turned on to this via twitter: The Daily Contributor . Some of the articles are pretty funny, especially under the "How To" and "Dating Advice" headings. You're welcome in advance when, come next year, you're bored in your cubicle and need something new to look at. Look at this.

* In my final au revoir to 2009, some of my fav comics of the year. Hope you and yours have a safe, fun, possibly naughty New Years Eve. Remember, beer before liquor never sicker, liquor before beer in the clear.

Finally, 2009 was the year I finally discovered what the elusive baby squirrel looked like:

Thanks 2009!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

My Nouvelle Vague

So, I've discovered the problem- I've become a romantic. I don't know how it happened. It's so unlike me. I'm kinda depressed about it.

It all started around 1 AM last night. I was flipping through my DVR looking to delete movies I was no longer interested in, and also something to watch (Bye, Bye "Puppet Master" and "Hellraiser III"). The available space on my DVR is laughable, though for those of you who know how many movies are on my Netflix queue, you would hardly be surprised.
[side note: did you know there is a maximum number of movies you can have in your queue at any one time? I do. Twice]

So I decided to watch "Toi & Moi" because it had been collecting dust in my DVR since I got cable 7 or 8 months ago and it was only 90 mins. It's the typical romantic comedy as told en francais: Guy and Girl bumble back and forth until on day, just as one is about to leave, the other grabs and kisses them full on the mouth. Depending on what film you're watching, they are either long lost loves ("A Christmas Tale", "Love Me If You Dare"), have never met before ("Amelie", "Happenstance", "Y tu Mama Tambien", "la Dolce Vita"), or one, or both, are married or in relationships ("Indochine", "Love Songs"). The last being the case here (and I think very French indeed). I squealed in delight at this very act! Like, a girl.

My life is the sad, poorly written indie film you turn off 15 minutes in; when it longs to be un film français. Passion. Heartache. Betrayal. Redemption.

We live in a bubble. Never socializing outside our group, we wouldn't even know how to begin, driving everywhere, afraid to eat alone. We, I, am closed to new opportunities. Instead, I sit in near dark, drinking Whiskey, and writing in my notebook. I get hung up on things that never were and completely blasé about those that have happened. A French film would be great for me- I can be self-indulgent, depressed, smoke. At a crucial point, not too far into the narrative, a lovely, handsome, loner type guy will show up and we'll walk awkwardly down the street or drink coffee in a cafe. He could even turn out to be someone I already know, now we're in the right place to admit our feelings to one another...

How can one person be capable of holding grudges and complete apathy at the same time? I can, although it is always safer to assume I'm over whatever "disagreement" we may have had, rather than believe I still harbour some ill will. Most likely, I didn't care either way in the first place.

For that's the truth of the matter. I am selfish and vain. I don't care for the misfortune of strangers. I care only about what effects my directly, and even then only in the moment. I always wondered if you could be borderline sociopathic, but the DSM-IV doesn't recognize that condition so I guess not.

And that, is why I must live in a movie, a foreign film, where relations are much different. People aren't weighed down with empty talk simply to fill the air. Everything that's said has weight. More is often said in the space between words then in the words themselves. In this fantasy, I'll have a casual job that affords me to work from home, and live over a grocer, and spend the evenings sitting at home or in a cafe drinking and smoking and arguing with friends. It seems like something I should be able to have here, in reality. Yet, I spend my evenings as described above, or if I do go out, the conversation usually stays "safe" and "simple". The last time I tried to get in a metaphysical argument, the other person left (and not just the room).

C'est ma seul rêve, ma rêve isolé.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Can It Still Be A Guilty Pleasure If I Share It With All Of You??

This post was supposed to be another depressive ramble about regret and decisions and the like, but while writing it I just couldn't take it anymore so I'm bumping up Sundays list because this is my blog and I can break the "rules" if I want to. Not to worry, sad musings on the state of my life will certainly rear their ugly heads in future.

While I understand "guilty pleasures" are by definition secret, who would I be if I didn't put your mind at ease that there is someone equally disturbed, if not more so, than yourself? As #6 will attest, I love lists. This being the end of the year, we are inundated with them and for that I am thankful.

2009's Guiltiest Pleasures (as told by me to you)

1. Young Adult Literature: This year I found myself reading more and more books designed with the "tween" population in mind. Part of the reason was I was sick of some of my favorite adult books becoming too "adult" and losing track of the story that was supposed to accompany the romance (I'm looking at you Laurell K Hamilton). Also, these books are a quick and easy read and sometimes that's exactly what you're looking for. I've always been a quick reader- I was always proud to display the results of my reading levels to my folks as they were well above my educational level- and as such, I missed out on a lot of the books young people are supposed to read. Sure, I had my fair share of R.L. Stine and Christopher Pike books, but no where near the volume of more mature fare I was consuming. This year, I seemed to be destined to correct this error. My favorite new series are "The House of Night" book's written by mother/daughter team P.C. and Kristen Cast. It takes place in a world where vampirism is a genetic curse that raises it's ugly head around puberty (symbolism anyone?). The main character, Zoey, is "marked" one day at school with the half-moon tattoo that denotes fledgling vampires and carted off to a boarding school to learn the ways of her new life. Chaos ensues and fun is to be had by all. There are about 6 or 7 books so far, and I'm really enjoying the afternoon of easy fun they afford me.

2. Bravo TV- Damn you Bravo for your marathon's of crap television that I am compelled to watch when I'm home from work. Sure, you give us gems like "Top Chef" (which is not embarrassing at all), but what about "Million Dollar Listing", "The Millionaire Matchmaker", and "Tabitha's Salon Takeover"? This is not to mention "My Life on the D-List" (which shouldn't count because I actually record these and heart Kathy Griffin), "Flippin' Out", "The Rachel Zoe Project", and "NYC Prep". I hate you and I hate that I MUST watch these marathon's when they come on. I can't help myself. I feel dirty afterward, and I lie about what I'm watching when friend's call. You are the black hole of TV and I love/hate you for it. If I can just keep myself from being sucked into your numerous "Real Housewives" marathon's I may just keep my sanity and a bit of my dignity.

3. Lady Gaga- I don't care, I'm a bit obsessed right now. I think she is so fascinating. What helped was reading an article with her in Interview that helped shed some light on what's going on in her bizarrely coiffed head. She is in on the joke people- though I think the Kermit outfit was still a bit weird. She has a great voice, it translates well to live tv, and great stage show. I can't help bopping along to her songs when they come on the radio and now, through my sister, I have "The Fame Monster Deluxe" and can coo anytime all day long. Is it only me who tears up a bit to "Paparazzi"?
"I'm your biggest fan, I'll follow you until you love me...Promise I'll be kind, But I won't stop until that boy is mine...Chase you down until you love me, Papa-Paparazzi"

4. Okay, so maybe this isn't so guilty as I've told anyone with a love for crazy photo blogs, but it is certainly my internet find of the year. Disastrous realtor listings featuring everything from porcelain dolls galore, gross bathrooms, and the funniest thing I've seen all year: Modesty Chair . It will eat up an afternoon and you won't even notice. Enjoy!

5. Farkle- I don't know where you came from Farkle for Facebook! You used to be an innocent dice game I played with my friend Head Mess Mistress at Spider House in Austin; now you've taken over my Facebook time as well. Damn you for being so addictive and so much more difficult to cheat at!

6. Best of Lists- Surprising, I'm sure, but I can't turn away a good list. /Flim seems to post all of them, from John Waters to Tarrantino to AFI, and I eat them up. I'm sure this has something to do with how much I like to create lists.... Which segue perfectly into...

7. Award Season- I haven't missed an Academy Awards telecast since I was born, and I'm not going to start now! All year the anticipation builds- Who will be nominated? Who will be drunk at the Golden Globes? What stupid and only slightly hilarious premise will they unveil at the Spirit Awards? One of the best presents I got was a coffee table book featuring all the nominees and winners of the Oscar since it's inception in 1929 through 2002. Since then, I have carefully torn the ballot in Entertainment Weekly, marked the winners, and stowed it away for safe keeping inside the book jacket. I should really take bets... I'm usually about 85-95% accurate with the winners. Oscar night is always spent with the folks, but recently I've started a tradition of a Golden Globes party. Nibbley-bits, champagne, hilarity, is always a great recipe for a good time with friends.
[side note: Dallasites- if you too love watching the drunken antics of the Globes while getting a bit drunken yourself, let me know. I've gotta lock down a location for this years fete as people have moved-boo!]

8. Daydreaming- Specifically, intricate daydreams involving attractive famous men and the relationship we have in my head. It's kinda sad. We go to dinner, visit each others family, hang out with friends. Pathetic. This years recipients of the "It's-Only-Creepy-If-We-Ever-Meet-Or-You-Somehow-See-This" award go to:
and my current favorite:

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Happy Random Christmas

* Had a very traditional Christmas yesterday- opened presents, went to movies, drank too much, ate too little, passed out around 1:30 AM. I hope you all got what you wanted. I was surprised to find a food processor under the tree for me, it's lovely when your family (or anyone for that matter) remember something you said in passing. I haven't really looked at it, but am super excited about all the things I can make more easily now. I also received "Inglourious Basterd's"- there would have been hell to pay if I hadn't. My fav gift, however, came once again from my sister. She gave me this: It may seem weird, demented, freaky to you; but it fits right in at my house. I always wanted a skull, a real skull, and figured with a sister that's a vet, I should be able to get one! Yea! Now, I just have to figure out where to put it that it will be safe but visible. Next step, one with horns of some kind.

* Our Christmas movie this year was "Sherlock Holmes". We loved it- funny, smart, good action. I'm so glad Robert Downey Jr got his shit together because we is one of the most talented actors period. Jude Law was a great Watson, and Mark Strong as the baddie is always good. Let's get him in more movies please! Rachel McAdams as the love interest was the only weak link, but really, who cares? It's the Holmes & Watson show anyway.

* Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins officially announced they have broken up over the summer. I'm kinda bummed. I don't really care for Robbins, but they were one of my poster children against marriage. Now what? Certainly, they still qualify- breaking up is always better than divorce I say, but who will take their place? Don't let me down Kurt & Goldie, Brad & Angelina! Don't break up!!

* My gal Jennie's word of the day is: discombobulated (pretty good choice for today too!)

* I recently wrote about our annual Elf watching party and the wonderful food we had there. My friend Lauren (lover of baby goats and amazing baker) brought her now famous cake balls. Deliciously moist red velvet cake coated in dark and white chocolate. They were so lovely, I thought they were truffles. For Christmas, I decided to make some myself as she said they were messy but easy. I should state now that I am not now nor have I ever been a baker. Anything past tearing off pieces of cookie dough from a tube (most of it going straight into my mouth and bypassing the baking sheet), is lost to me. I see Nigella making beautifully simple cookies and cakes and meringue's, and I want to make them too. However, I simply don't have the baking gene. Give me a good steak or potato and I'll whip up Steak Dianne, but baking flour and baking soda? Oh dear. Needless to say, they didn't look like truffles at all:

I hope they tasted nice, I didn't even get to try them...

* "What do you call an illegally parked frog?"


Thursday, December 24, 2009

An Open Love Letter to Australia, or What I Thought About "Avatar" 3D

Dear Australia,

I would like to thank you for what ever genetic operation you have going on down there. I understand that many attractive actors I consider Australian were in fact born elsewhere, usually England (hola Sam Worthington), I assume the air or the water in Perth or Brisbane or Melbourne is the cause of their good fortune. So, keep up the good work and keep sending them stateside.

Last night, a bunch of buddies and I went to see "Avatar" in 3D (not IMAX, I just can't spend $15 on a movie just yet. Sorry). I wasn't expecting much. Depending on who you read/trust, it was either cheesy/juvenile dialog/boring waste of 3 hours (reviewers) or the greatest thing since sliced bread (entertainers). I've gotta lean more towards "awesome", let me explain.

Was the dialog sometimes a bit over the top, cheesy even? Sure. Was the movie, and the creators of the movie, totally aware that was what they were doing? Absolutely. Show me a war movie that doesn't cash in on one cliche and I'll give you a nickle. On the same note, what SciFi movie isn't rife with absurd one-liners and winking glances? Not a one.

"Avatar" is a message film you don't mind, even if you don't agree with it's message (which would make you a war-mongering, anti-environment, racist). So... If you have been living in a cave, or simply hate movies (and therefore are probably not reading this entry), "Avatar" is about a joint military-science mission to Pandora, a plant rich with a fuel source we desperately need on Earth as we've used all of ours up. The problem is, Pandora is home to the Na'vi, a tribal culture who is not keen on the "skywalkers" making a muck of their planet. The whole thing is underlined with thoughts on god, life, religion, race. Humans can't breath the air on Pandora, so they've designed these Avatar's that look, move, are, just like the indigenous people. Through a bio-link, humans upload themselves into these creature shells and try to interact with the Na'vi.

Pretty standard story, you can imagine what happens, but you get sucked into the beauty of the world, the decent to great acting, and the overall joyful spirit of the movie.

Cameron has spent years trying to develop the technology needed to bring this story to life. He finally succeeded in what is the most brilliant 3D images I've ever seen. this new tech brings the whole picture to multi-dimensional life with out the bells and whistles usually reserved for 3D. rarely does anything leap out at you or go running right for you. It happens, but very organically, not for wow factor. It takes about 15-20 minutes for your eyes to totally adjust to the glasses (which is fine as the movie is 3 hours- side note: even I couldn't find where to make cuts. 3 hrs probably IS the edited time). The tech isn't perfect yet, objects moving faster than a walk tend to blur unnaturally and other objects that move too close to the camera get lost and actually take you out of the 3D experience, but that's not much of a criticism.

The way the trailer looked online/TV/2D lead to the bummed feeling I had going in. However, and there's a lovely quote from Worthington about this somewhere, the movie was meant to be seen in 3D, in IMAX, it doesn't translate well to your computer. I thought, like my friend Phillip, that the animated portions would look like an extended video game trailer. They don't. Period. However, this 3D only thing will become a big problem when DVD sales roll around, though we are supposed to have 3D HD televisions come spring (but I'm sure I won't be able to afford one). They'll have to sell the movie with multiple glasses and make spares available for purchase as well.
A big congrats to Stephen Lang for his Golden Globe nomination. I guess this proves you can be in an FX latent movie and get recognized. He did a great job, and it's only a shame some of the other actors weren't as well. It must be hard if your performance is entirely motion capture (Zoe Saldana) or at least majority (everyone else). Oh well... baby steps.

With that, I'm off. I hope you all enjoy your free day/holiday tomorrow. May I suggest you see Avatar 3D during the boredom that is Christmas afternoon? I will be at Sherlock Holmes. Here's hoping it isn't as rubbish as the reviews are making it out to be.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Eye of the Beholder

We judge people constantly- I'm thinner than her, taller than him, better looking than their last girlfriend/boyfriend. First impressions count as much as we try to deny it. We are biased people.

As children, we're told judging people is wrong. However, sometimes you should judge a book by it's cover: I don't care how nice looking he is, never take candy or drinks from strangers. As I always say, Ted Bundy was a nice looking guy, so you never know! Instead, we should teach children that this is a natural biological response. The key is not to act negatively or impulsively toward these imperfections (except in the case of what I call the "crazy vibe". Then you should just run away).

I asked some of my male friends what kind of guys they were: tits or ass. Personally, I keep going out with ass men which is funny as I don't have one to speak of. Every one of them answered, "face". Is that wrong? Should they be admonished for it? I found it refreshing. Honesty, it's amazing how often we deny ourselves that.

I had to agree with them. If asked what my favorite male feature was, I would respond "shoulders". I love broad shoulders and a strong back. See: Burt Lancaster. However, if you asked me what I noticed first, it would be face and skin. Men look at the same thing. Clothes can hide a multitude of sins. Modern fashion can give you bigger breasts, thinner waist, longer legs. Make-up can only cover so much. Every women's magazine talks about the importance of "radiance" as a turn on. When shown a set of pictures- one plain, one with a bit of highlighting cream/power on- of the same woman, they picked the highlighted one. Radiance equals health, which equals fertility, which equals babies, and not an early death. This is biology.

As much as we may try to deny it, that we are "better than that", we aren't. We want to find the best possible mate, and that isn't found in the cerebellum. Personality (it goes a long way you know), is secondary to attraction. Of course, what we find attractive differs slightly from person to person. I don't care how charming he is, if you don't like the look of him, you wouldn't stick around long enough to find out. Fact.

So, what's my point? No idea actually. It just got me thinking. Why do the guys I like never seem to like me? How do I avoid the "friend zone"? Why can't I get asked on a date? It's easier to think they just don't find me attractive than to think there's something actually wrong with me. I'm not attracted to everyone I meet. Hell, it's been a while since I was attracted to anyone (thank you Bolsa for ending that dry spell).

I guess in the end, I'm thankful this holiday season for my friends and their brutal honesty. I'm even more thankful that they keep that honesty to themselves unless provoked.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Best Of 09

It's that time of year again when every magazine, website, and Stephen King post their Best of 2009 lists. Why should I be any different?

First, here is AFI (that's American Film Institute, not the band) official selections for 2009. What do you think?
Here are my choices for Top Movies of 2009:
[side note: Have you seen the Golden Globe nominees? Should be a very exciting, and drunk, evening. I'm already thinking about the watching party I'm going to have]

My Top Films of '09:
- (500) Days of Summer
- Away We Go
- Inglourious Basterds
- Star Trek
- Zombieland
- Watchmen
- Trick 'r Treat
- District 9
- The Hangover
- Julie & Julia
- Easy Virtue
- The Edge of Love
- An Education

In all fairness, there is still some time left this year so the list could change. I haven't seen "Up in the Air" yet (calm down, I'm going Monday), but from what I'm told it will make the list. There's still "Sherlock Holmes" and "Nine" and a plethora of other films I haven't gotten to yet.

Why do "best of's" always come out before the year is out?

And now, the worst:
- Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
- Friday the 13th (please stop remaking these movies!)
- Angels & Demons
- Saw VI
- My Bloody Valentine 3D (3D is not a magic fix all, in fact, it only makes things worse)
- Drag Me to Hell
- Push
- Donkey Punch
- New In Town

(I see a bit of a pattern here... Why is it so hard to make a good scary movie? I don't even mind if it's a bit dumb, really, that's kind of a turn on. However, these are just so ridiculous I could have cried).

To make the list, movies had to have been released in the US in 2009 and I had to have seen them. I could make a whole other list of movies that just looked awful, therefore I didn't see/rent them.

What was the best and worst you saw this year??

Hola Saturday

* I'm really tired of movies with beautiful actresses and actors who can't seem to find love. I'm sure it is hard to be Cameron Diaz, her love life isn't the best example I've seen, but she'd probably do fine if she weren't famous. Hell, I don't even go that way but if an unknown Cameron Diaz chatted me up I'd be tempted to go. She gorgious! So, Hollywood, lay off. We feel bad enough about ourselves as it is that we don't need to be reminded the beautiful people find love hard too. See: The Holiday, Bridget Jones (if that's fat, I'm a porpise), The Object of My Affection (Jen Aniston can't get a straight man so she tries to change her gay friend? Come on), I think I Love My Wife (poor Chris Rock and his hot wife), Love Potion #9 (Sandy Bullock has glasses and is therefore unattractive. I actually like this movie, but still!), and on and on and on.

You know why Twilight is such a hit? Because Kristen Stewart is average- average looking, average acting, average. We, the audience, can transpose ourselves onto her performance and become the object of desire. We, the lonely outcast Garbo-esque waif, who's caught the eye of the most beautiful boy in school. Which leads me to my next problem- that doesn't happen either. A 10 doesn't date a 6 and vice versa. Unless your rich. Or famous. Or rich and famous. Either way, I prefer this model to identify with and would like more of the same in the future. Perhaps Kate Winslet could star.
* Best thing said to me by a firefighter this week: "I love egg shaped balls"
* As promised, my Welsh rarebit recipe:

* Last Friday, my friend had baby goats. Well, she didn't have them, one of her goats did. It is amazing how close the wilderness and outdoors are from the city. In less than half an hour, my buddy Lauren and I were running and jumping with the little kids. I even made up a song just for them: "Baby goats! You're just a bunch of cute little baby goats! You like to run and jump and, baby goats! Baby goats! Your momma's not so good, oh baby goats. That's why we're here to play with baby goats!" Clearly, I should be a song writer. Never the less, I know want a goat.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Read My Lips

(I aploogize to any male readers in advance. You might want to skip this one and go here instead)

Like many girls, I loved to play dress up when I was little. Any excuse to clop around in heels and wear lip gloss was a happy occasion. Friends had whole trunks of costumes to play in and make-up, but my sister and I had neither. We had to make due with a couple of our grandmother's heels from the 40's, my Mom's hippie clogs, and Tinker Bell perfume. Maybe this is another reason I love Halloween so much. It certainly plays into how I spend my nights alone.

I wait until the last possible second to wash my face and remove my make-up at night. Almost as if I'm still amazed I get to wear it that I want those moments to last as long as possible. It's funny to me- When we were younger, my sister had all the make-up. She and her friend's saved up allowances for Bonus Time at the cosmetics counter. She had an abundance of eyeshadow quads, lipsticks, sample mascaras and perfume, you name it. I, on the other hand, spent my money on god knows what, so I had very little. Flash forward a few years and I'm managing a cosmetics counter and my sister hardly wears any make-up (not like she needs it that bitch).
Sometimes, when I'm alone at home at night, a glass of wine in a tumbler, my Netflix's queued up; I put on lipstick- bright, vibrant shades of red lipstick. I may be in my PJ's, but my mouth is ready to party (that sounded better in my head). I've even been known to throw on some Velvet Kiss and jump in the shower. I have an unhealthy love for lipstick.

On special occassions some girls buy new shoes, some get their "hair did", some buy lingerie, I buy lipstick. I've been meaning to count them but it seems too donting, there must be well over 50 tubes in various spots around the house and car.

There's something about lipstick, like even if everything else is plain and depressing, you're still a bit glamourous. That feeling of dress up never vanishes.
Somewhere in the back log of Twitter, the lovely Dita Von Teese said something about never being without her lipstick (MAC Russian Red- so delightful). It is a true sign of femininity that can be so empowering. The more bold the colour, the more bold the woman. I feel unstoppable and confident when I where lipstick. I never feel ugly, it doesn't make you look fat, and regardless of how often you wear it, if you try something new people notice.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

That Yoda Dude Was Smart

The subjects of fate and choice have been coming up in conversation a lot this week. I guess the holidays are as good a time as any to reflect on your life and where it may be going.
A couple days ago, I was at my parent's house for dinner when the topic of fate came up for the first time. I can't even remember how (which is how the best conversations start), and barely remember how it ended (which is how the best conversations conclude). What sticks out to me was my father seemingly befuddled by fate entirely.

"Fate is unpredictable and unchangeable. Try as you might, what is meant to be will be. The more you fight it, the longer this process will take, and the more exasperated you will become."

The Webster's definition of fate is quite long:
1 : the will or principle or determining cause by which things in general are believed to come to be as they are or events to happen as they do : destiny
2 a : an inevitable and often adverse outcome, condition, or end b : disaster; especially : death
3 a : final outcome b : the expected result of normal development c : the circumstances that befall someone or something
4 plural capitalized : the three goddesses who determine the course of human life in classical mythology

Those who believe in fate know that nothing is important- your choices are meaningless because they have already been decided for you. Therefore, why worry or complain or get upset? This is the way it was meant to be. Others believe that we make our own destiny and dismiss "fate-ologists" as loony and misguided. The true believer in fate simply smiles back at them.

Last night, at a friend's birthday party, I walked into a conversation about fate verses choice. The main speaker kept saying that fate is a series of choices of need verses want and that all wants are needs and vice versa. Uh... Don't think so. Need and want are not synonymous with each other. Need is something that you must have/do to survive. Want is the little things that make life that much better. The example given: You don't need to climb up on the roof, you want to. Unless of course there is a baby up there at which point you need to climb up and rescue the baby. (I really liked this analogy).

My own beliefs on the subject wax and wane depending on my mood and how I feel about life at the moment. It's nice to relinquish control of ones own life to a higher power be it God, Buddah, or the 3 Fates themselves. However, as a meticulous planner and worrywart, this doesn't really fit into my scheme of thinking. I would prefer a balance between the two- Your fate is mapped out for you in advance, but the choices you make along the way can add consequence or celebration to your destiny.

It's this want for clarification that first drew me to quantum mechanics, string theory, Schrodinger, et all. The thought that each choice we makes splinters reality and creates a new one is unbelievable. Imagine: That time you crashed the car, gone. When you broke up with the love of your life, your still together. When you turned left, you also turned right. I want that to be the case. I want to live forever, even if it's in an alternate plane.
[side note: who watches "Fringe"? Seriously, it's never too late to DVR it]

Eddie Izzard's 12 Days Of Christmas

Sunday, December 13, 2009

I Blame Gordon Ramsey For This!

Last night I went to a birthday dinner for the lovely shine at Bolsa. The best things about the restaurant were the bartenders and our waiter Ben, a younger, more handsome, slightly ethnic Henry Thomas. The restaurant was packed when we got there at 7 PM, so we sidled up to the bar to peruse the cocktail menu. They have an extensive list of wine and spirits available. As soon as I saw the Applejack Sazerac I knew I was set. I asked the bartender if I could have a traditional Sazerac (my favorite cocktail!) and off he went. A few seconds later, the bar manager came over and said, "Who wanted the Sazerac?" I raised my hand, "Where have you been all my life?"

He was charming and peppered us with trivia knowledge about the drink and it's origins. "People say I make the best Sazerac this side of New Orleans."

"We'll see, sir," I replied "We'll see."

I was not disappointed- It was delicious!

Once we were all assembled, we took out seats on the patio and set about ordering. Not a small feat I assure you- 16 guests, 2 picnic tables= slightly awkward.

One of the things that impressed me about Bolsa, and a reason I always wanted to go there, is their commitment to local and organic produce. The menu changes daily based on what is available at market that morning. However, when our food finally arrived, I wondered if their idea of organic meant "sans salt". The problem with the dishes is that they are conceived and created as a whole, not as individual components that compliment one another.

I had the good fortune to sit next to my friend Natalie, vegetarian. As I had already consumed enough red meat to last a month, I decided to go in on a veggie plate with her. Our delicious waiter assured us this was "not [his] first time at the rodeo" (love!), and the kitchen would be happy to assemble something for us. What we got was the Twigs & Branch flatbread (arugula, goat cheese, grapes), marscapone polenta, ratatouille, and haricot verts in a salsa verde.

The polenta was bland, which is too often the case, and adding marscapone to it doesn't help. How about a little salt? Maybe some pepper? The green beans were delicious (yum, garlic!), and thank god for the grilled onions in the ratatouille which really helped liven up the flatbread.

I just don't understand a chef who's afraid of salt or seasoning. Our friends who ordered protein fared a bit better, as there was sauce to flavor the polenta and sides. The Braised short rib was delicious, but the risotto that came with it was a bit sad. I've never seen such a uncreamy mess in my life. This is why I don't try to cook it at home, I don't have the chops. Perhaps they should hold off as well. The Coq au Vin looked fantastic. The bruscetta appetizer was hit or miss. The toppings delicious (smoked salmon, apples and honey, prosciutto and figs), but some of the bread was soft, and some crispy. A bit of an execution error there.

I would love to go back to Bolsa for drinks, and I would try the food again but only after looking at the menu ahead of time to see if it was worth it. Regardless of the food, I had a lovely time with my friends and hope to do it again soon. I was totally serious about the girly slumber party!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Ode to a Saturday Afternoon

* Last night was the 2nd annual "Elf" watching party at my friend P's house. We never anticipated it being an annual event, but with the success of last night I think it should be. The formula is simple: booze (preferably wassle), nibbily bits, and "Elf"= laugh riot. I decided to make something new and settled on Welsh Rarebit (or Rabbit depending on who you ask). I originally wanted to make chipped beef (aka SOS, aka Shit on a Shingle), but had difficulty finding the salted meat product and then felt bad subjecting it on others. It is an aquired taste afterall. The Rarebit came out wonderfully, though a bit runny. The problem, I deduced, was in my attempt to double the recipe. This is always dangerous if you've never made it before. I thought I would be safe! The recipe said it served 4, I needed to serve at least twice that. Oh well, it was still delicious and everyone liked it. I will post the recipe later- it's great for parties or a snack while the weather is cold.

* The word of the day is: Biscuit. (An aquantince was trying to describe this danish-like creation and Jen decided it was "smaller than a bundt but bigger than a biscuit")

* Dear Half Price Books: If there is one negative thing I could say about your store, and I know this is unsolicited, is the price stickers you use are crap. You can't remove them easily, and if you do manage to free your book's cover from one you're left with a square of goo that attracts every particle of dust and filth in the world. Now, you have only two options: Either everyone knows how much you paid for the book (and that you didn't pay full price), or a permanant square of black sticky fuzz attached to the corner. It's a lose-lose situation. Please switch to a less gooey sticker or get a whole new kind of sticker. Quit it!

* While browsing the Criterion store, I came across this poster:

I want now!!!! PS- If you haven't seen this beauty by Goddard, put it on your Netflix NOW! You'll have to search for it under the translated name, "My Life to Live".

* In my love of John Cusack, I will watch anything he's been in even if I don't want to. I'll watch it a second or third time, even if I didn't like it the first time. I can't help myself! (No, I haven't seen "2012" yet, it's a video movie. Though, people with opinions I respect have said it's not that bad). This lead me to sit in a vegetative state on Wednesday watching "Max" on IFC. I like this movie, in fact, I think it's a really good movie. I'm just not sure how many repeat viewings it requires. The movie is about a Jewish art dealer Rothman (Cusack) who befriends a young Adolf Hitler (Noah Taylor in a remarkable turn), and encourages him to focus on his art, not politics. It is a wonderful portrait of two men- one crippled both physically and emotionally, the other torn between the easy route to money, power, and politics, and the less sure path that leads to artistic and personal recognition. My only problem with the film is Leelee Sobieski who I really wish would stop making movies. There is a line in the movie that I had to write down immediately so I could share it with you. Rothman is tucking his son in for bed, telling stories. He says, "Words are magic. Sometimes, I think the whole world is strung together by words." I think this is just beautiful.

* My lovely friend Natalie recently wrote on her blog about her reevaluation of the qualities she looks for in a guy. Her conclusion, she needed a "throwback kind of guy".
"...a clean-shaven crooner who has style, grace, and knows how to make a mean dirty martini. (Extra olives, please.) In short, I'd love me some Michael Buble. "
I couldn't agree more (except on the Buble part). It recently dawned on me that I need to meet a young Christopher Plummer:
Now that you've digested that morsel and taken a cold shower....

* Now that I'm not weighed down by reality TV, I can refocus my energies on the shows I love but have missed all year. Namely, "30 Rock". I heart you Tina Fey! I want to go to there! This week, I almost rolled off the couch three times. The best line of the night: "Why don't Catholics eat meat on Friday? I'll tell you- Because the Pope owns Long John Silvers." Thanks Tracy Jordan! See also "sharkfarts" as my new favorite non-cuss cussword.

* Thank you Russell Howard for introducing me to "yawn rape".

* I'm calling this a photoshop disaster:

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Play Some Skynard!

I gotta keep this quick, as I just got the good word that I could take a half day and start my mini break (re: extra two days off this week) a bit early. I am super proud of my friend Gofahne and her blog. (I went looking for a pic of the two of us and I couldn't find any without other people in them. Let's rectify that next time I see you!) I love the new layout and her quirky mind. Check her out!
[side note: I am super proud of all my friends who blog and follow me- you can see their lovely faces to the right]

On my way to work this morning, I was rocking out to some Rilo Kiley and a thought hit me, two thoughts actually. "Who the hell have I become" and, "Man, do I love B-sides".

If someone told me 10 years ago that I would listen to and love indie-rock, contemporary folk music, I would have punched them in the face. I was a punk rock/grunge chick who used profanity a lot and was weary of showers. As you get older though, I guess it is more than your taste palette that expands and changes. I still don't like most "indie" music (What does that mean anymore? How can you be indie if you latest album came out on Maverick? Which reminds me, I read a wonderful article in MovieMaker about Truffaut being the last independent filmmaker. More on that at another time). Anywho, I don't watch music TV (if there is still such a thing) and I rarely listen to the radio. All my current music comes from friendly suggestions and magazines.

It started innocently enough- I was reading an issue of Bust when a review caught my eye and I thought, "My sister would like this". So, for Christmas, I bought it for her. It was Neko Case "The Tigers Have Spoken" and it was the beginning of the end for me. I heart her. I quickly copied the CD into my computer and have bought every one of her albums. I went on a date with the music editor of the Dallas Observer that year to one of her shows. Poor thing, I dumped him with my sister and moved as closely to the stage as I could get. goosebumps ran up and down my arm. I can't remember when that has ever happened before. Her music, lyrics, stage presence, overwhelmed me. This year, she's up for a Grammy ("Middle Cyclone" Best Contemporary Folk Album, and Album packaging), and I got so excited.

From there, I finally gave in and shelved the latest from Rilo Kiley, Jenny Lewis, Neko Case, Amy MacDonald, The Kaiser Chiefs, Thao & The Get Down Shake Down, etc. right next to my Horrorpops, Tiger Army, and Avenged Sevenfold. I can now stand tall and proud and declare, "If you make music with a steel guitar, accordion, banjo, or ukulele, I want your album".

For as long as I can remember, I've been a fan of B-sides. I love when artists release "Best of" CD's composed entirely of B-sides (big thanks to The Pixies for one of the best ones). The B-side of a tape (or the back half of a CD) is where the actually artist lies. It is comprised of the songs you know they had to fight to be included. They were not singles, they may have detoured from the expected sound, they were personal. I find myself listening to tracks 7-12 most often. When in doubt of what to listen to, I pick Track 9- It's almost always spectacular!

So, point two: My love of B-sides. This came into my head while listening to Rilo Kiley's "More Adventurous". I already knew I loved the "forgotten tracks", but this album was a bit different. I like the A-side so much better. Songs like the "Portions for Foxes", "Does He Love You", and "I Never" are the reason I love this album in the first place. Towards the end, it gets a bit murky and laconic.

In the spirit of Sunday (and again stealing from Stephen King's EW lists), here is a small list of what I've been listening to most this month:
* Neko Case
* Rilo Kiley
* AMP presents: Psychobilly
* The Cardigans
* The Kaiser Chiefs
* Francoise Hardy
* Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazelwood
* Johnny Cash
* Marianne Faithful

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going home to enjoy my 2 1/2 days off! See you Saturday.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Saturday Took a Holiday, Hello Tuesday

I took the weekend off but missed my Saturday ramblings so much, I'm making amends and doing it on Tuesday.

* Be careful when quoting a movie on your facebook, as it will inevitably be misunderstood. We all know that sarcasm does not translate, but neither does ignorance of the movie you're quoting. Case in point: I said, "I have a bit of a drinking problem", to which I was met with support for admitting it (it is the first step after all), fellow "drinkers" offering me a cheers, and a sincere attempt at rehab. Problem: I love "Airplane" but apparently, none of my friends have seen it. I didn't mean I had a "drinking problem", just that it was 9:30 AM and I'd already spilt coffee down the front of my sweater. Hence, drinking problem. In closing, when quoting a movie line that may be misinterpreted, always site the movie.
[side note: My favorite line from "Airplane" is: "So?" "Sew buttons!"]

* Sometimes you find the most interesting writing in a bathroom stall at a bar. The other day I picked up this gem: "Sometimes I get so bored with the people I'm with, I guess thats how the [say goey, hih]. I have no idea what they thought they were writing at the end, probably "saying goes, huh", but that is not what was written. Delicious!

* I keep a notebook with me at all times to record the hilarious things I hear or witness. At the present moment, I have 3 of them in my purse. The biggest problem is I don't always write a date or I forget to cross off the ones I've already used. Also, they are sometimes not accompanied by an explanation. How am I supposed to remember what "ow, my urethra" was in reference to? It's hilarious, but could certainly be more funny. The last entry in my favorite notebook is: "'I'm just being me" is no excuse to be an asshole. Maybe he's too nice. maybe you're a bitch". I think this was about some girls I overheard (eavesdropped on) talking. Whatever it was, it sounds like solid advice.

* In preparation for the new year, I am starting my resolution off with a bang- I want to do something that is out of context for me at least once a month. This seems pretty open to interpretation, and therefore may actually happen. Hopefully, it will lead to hilarious stories and not jail time.

* This weekend, I saw "An Education" with my folks. It was a lovely movie, truly one of my favorites of the year. The story is as old as time: young, naive girl falls for charming older man and chaos ensues. What is wonderful and different about this film, is the thoughtful direction, clever writing, and genius acting. Oscar buzz is already generating for Carey Mulligan and Peter Sarsgaard- it is well deserved. My favorite character though is played by Rosamind Pike- the ditsy blonde girlfriend who means well but is thick as a board. The look on her face when taken to a classical music concert is priceless! I laughed, giggled, and was embarassed for the characters several times. Fun for all ages!

* Related note: When is "The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus" opening? I saw a great trailer in front of the movie and could not be more excited. Then, no release date. Can this come out before I retire? Hopefully, this will be a success for the genius (and birthday buddy) that is Terry Gilliam.
[side note: If I say "Monty Python" and you say "huh?", keep walking]

* My Yahoo! home page wants me to know about a couple in New York who live with their two cats in 175 sqft. I don't know why this is news, except to say that apartment probably really smells like scat.

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Secret of Opera Length Gloves

Kind of a slow news day here. I'm counting down the minutes (134) until I can leave for Happy Hour and a weekend off. I can't remember what those were like. I know I just had one for my birthday, but it doesn't count- I was very busy cleaning and drinking Bloody Mary's. This one has no direction, except the movie theatre. Couple of good titles opening this weekend. I'm deciding between "Brothers" and "Up in the Air". I'm leaning towards the latter now that the National Review has named it the "Best Picture of 2009". Those are pretty bold words, and I'm pretty sure I already saw the best movie of the year, but I can't seem to remember...

It's finally getting cold here (38 degrees), so I will now produce my annual rant on the wonder of winter clothing:

I can’t help it. I’m a little bit trashy, a little bit rock n’ roll, I’m a little bit classy, I’m a little bit of a girl. It’s getting cold outside, which means two things: gloves and scarves.
I only own opera length gloves. I heart them. They instantly class up the place and add warmth to a notoriously uninsulated area. Unfortunately, as a very tactile person (and a smoker), gloves are the bane of my existence. It’s a true love hate relationship. That’s why I still mourn the loss of my fingerless gloves (a little bit trashy, but with a demure Fair Isle skull and cross bones motif), all the joy of knitwear, with only half the chance of frostbite. Dear Santa: please bring me a new pair for Xmas.

The biggest problem with opera length gloves is they were designed to be worn with a formal gown- they’re fake sleeves! Now, as a modern woman (or whatever that really means), I don’t have much call for formal wear. However, my love of long gloves is stronger than any current fashion trends. Observe:

Opera length gloves are best when worn with short sleeves (i.e. to make the outfit winter appropriate). If wearing with long sleeves, grasp the end of your sleeve in your palm. Push hand through glove, releasing sleeve only when the hand must be extended to fit into palm of glove. Enjoy!

It may be sad that I’ve spent time perfecting this technique.

From a not too distant “Oprah”, she revived her boutique segment to talk about the best shoes for the season. I taped the episode because they were supposed to talk about fun new ways to wear a scarf. Uh… I’m still waiting. You mean I can tie it in a knot at my neck? Or double it up, pulling the end through the loop? I thought we were going to get a lesson is chic, European style! I was truly bummed out at the end of the episode, then even more bummed when I realized I was bummed because of Oprah. That bitch!

Okay, I'm going to stop this nonsense before it gets any worse. Happy Weekend!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Misconceiving Texas

In my growing effort to dispel the myths of being Texan, I’ve decided finally to “take it to the blog”. It has amazed me for years, the common misconceptions people have about my great state. From New York to California to Tennessee, the number of amazing, and sometimes ridiculously ignorant, questions I have received have overwhelmed my brain; nudging out important Jeopardy trivia facts, names of acquaintances, and my entire 3rd grade year.

What other state requires two years of state history? Texas. I know more about the Alamo than I do about recent American history. I never made it past the industrial revolution in school, but I have two years of Alamo, American Indian War, Mexican-American War, and annexation, but no years of Roosevelt or Kennedy. Kinda sad, right? Not if you want to indoctrinate your citizens with an overwhelming pride that could only possibly be matched by New Yorkers.

Welcome to "Misconceiving Texas".

Misconception about Texas #3: It's always hot.

First off, not true. Sure, we might not have the snowed in trials and tribulations of the Midwest and Northeast, but that doesn't mean we don't experience winter. This isn't California! Texas has four agreed upon regions that comprise it's almost 262,000 square miles: Coastal Plains, Interior Lowlands, Great Plains, and Mountains and Basin Range. Each has a unique topography that mimics the rest of the country. How can a state so large be lumped into only one category? It's impossible.

In the Coastal Plains, winters are pretty mild. Encompassing, Houston, Corpus Christi, to San Antonio. Tropical winds moving in from the Gulf of Mexico keep the coast line humid.
From Abilene to Dallas and down towards Waco, the Interior Lowlands are what I call home. Very hot summers lead to crisp winters. No one who lives here should have any argument against the existence of global warming. When I was in grade school, we had snow days and ice days. I can remember crunching through the ice towards home from school. Now, the winters are cold but mostly dry. We haven't had a real winter since the Ice Storm of 2000. That being said, 30⁰F is cold anywhere in the world.
(Yep, that was my car earlier this week. Like the beginnings of Lake Murderville in the background?)

In the Great Plains region, they wouldn't know snow if it knocked on their door. When I lived in Austin, I was surprised at how warm it was in January. I asked them if they ever got snow or ice. My friends who grew up there looked at me like I'd sprouted a second head! This is not to say the freak snow storm doesn't pop up from time to time. My sister said there was one a few years ago that disrupted finals at A&M, however it is uncommon.

On many maps, the Great Plains reaches up into the Texas panhandle. Here, snow is a completely different story. Lubbock and Amarillo lie in the same plain as New Mexico and parts of Colorado, so they get a good dose of snow in the winters and have temperate summers.
In the Mountains and Basins region, snow is a foreign word. Sweeping up the Western portion of the state along the Rio Grande to El Paso, like other desert regions, it gets cold in the winter but nothing more.

Where ever you're from in the U.S., there is a part of Texas that will make you feel like home. Enjoy hiking and being outdoors? Check out the central part of the state. Are you a snow bunny who wants winter or bust? Move to the panhandle. Fishing, snorkeling, and bad surfing can be found along the coast. For those of you who want the Texas you see in television advertisements, check out the Rio Grande.
And yes, Virginia, it gets cold here too.

Monday, November 30, 2009

When I Fall Apart

I got up from the couch last night to refill my wine and my knees crackled. My left leg ached all day. Sunday's "American Dad" episode was especially funny when Stan recommended a stripper get a banana inside her. She had a leg cramp, to be fair. I fell like I'm falling apart.

Momma, don't let your babies grow up to be dancers.

Last summer, I was discussing my body aches and pains when my Aunt delivered a tough shot of reality. Apparently, we have bad joints. What was helpful when I was a dancer and useful as I got older, is becoming my curse. I'm double jointed. This means when I stand with my legs straight, they actually curve backwards like a bird. This allowed for my uncanny flexibility, but is also the likely culprit for my current break down. Compounded with the realization I'm getting older and less docile, it's enough to get a girl really depressed.

My anxiety manifests itself in a clenching of the jaw. I asked a dental hygienist about this once, and she told me simply to stop. As if it were as easy as breathing. So, I just need to stop a subconscious action? Great advice. Let me get right on that.

It wouldn't be much of an issue except when I'm trying to eat or kiss someone. There is nothing worse than lockjaw while you're eating a Chicken Caesar Wrap from Chick-fil-a, or the embarrassment of a constant clicking sound whilst making out in the front seat of your car. It's very attractive.

I think I need to go get a banana in me.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

It's beginning to look a lot like... Spring?

Ah lonely day at work again. It's 66 degrees and raining. Come on Late November! You're supposed to bring the cool weather! I did appreciate the warmth last night, however, when I went to my first hockey game of the season. I thought I was spoiled before with Platinum level seats, but I never could have prepared myself for the joy of sitting in the "lower bowl". I could make out jersey numbers and names without squinting! Check it out:

And yes, I am the dork who demanded this next picture be taken:

Who would believe me! It was the most exciting day, made more exciting by our win in OT. I am also proud that I kept my profanity at a whisper as there were children present. Oh hell, who am I kidding? I kept it down because I was told I could be asked to leave if I yelled "Fucking come on!" too loudly. Not sure if that's true or not, but it certainly kept me on my p's and q's.

Sunday is all about lists, but I can't think of anything. You want my Christmas list? It's pretty short and simple:

* Salad Spinner

* Learn French in Your Car CD's (mine broke)

* "Inglourious Basterds" (2-disc special edition only please)

* Barnes & Noble GC (I want the new Stephen King and "Wings of Desire" is now out on Criterion. A must see for all)

* Calendar

Pretty boring... This whole list making gets really tough as you get older. I'd really like cash, but that's not really fun to open. Also, that means I have to brave the mean streets of post holiday shopping, and that's not fun either!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Another Random Saturday

*I feel lost today at work. I haven't worked by myself in a long time. It's kind of okay here since there's TV, and a fridge, and I brought my book. Still, it's always nice to know there's someone at the next desk, even if you aren't talking to them. Here's how I spent my day: Watched Rick Steves on his tour of European Christmas traditions (really want to go to Scandinavia now), watched "What Not To wear", showed a client, ate a taco, smoked a cigarette, watched "Pieces of April" (kinda late but I really like that movie), played around on Facebook, smoked a cigarette, said we were out of coffee for the 6th time, watching "Silence of the Lambs".
[side note: I know I'm at work, but if you don't have a question or need something, please don't interrupt my movie watching or emailing. I don't go to your job and sit on the corner of your desk ho-humming while you try to work.]

*Tonight I'm going to my first hockey game of the season with my lovely friend Jen. I love watching hockey. It's the only professional sport I enjoy watching on TV. I love how Texas has a shit football team but a great hockey one. It's irony is not lost on me! It's important to know people. I say this a lot. You can never have too many contacts and friends in too many places. This is relevant as our tickets come to us by way of my other lovely friend who works for the stars. Tonight, we will have the best seats I've had. now, if only I knew someone at the Cowboys organization who could get me tickets, I might make it to my first football game. Sad, how I've lived here most of my life but never went to a game. It's too expensive. I don't have $200 to drop for just myself to go, and park, and eat. Ridiculous.

*Number of Hot Browns made and eaten: 3

* It was released recently that they are looking to make "The Amityville Horror" again. Should be good if Ryan Reynolds runs around topless again. What? He's not in it? It's another remake? What the french!? Dear Hollywood: I'm instituting a new law. You cannot remake a movie more than once. Period. Every time you want to remake a remake, you must give me $1000 and drop the idea. This is a win-win situation. I'll get rich and you'll quit wasting so much money. Why don't you take the amazing technology we have now and remake something that could have used a jolt of CG? How about all those movies with good ideas but poor execution? Undo all the bad acting and even poorer writing. Roger Corman has made over 300 movies for next to nothing. Surely there's something there. However, I warn you, no remakes of cult classics or relatively known films. Whenever you want to do that, give me $100 and tattoo the words: Death Race 2000 on a visible body part. Not even the white hot Jason Stathum could save that poorly planned remake. In short: Quit it!
* Today's word of the day is maunder, meaning to talk incoherently or in a rambling manner. Also, to wander aimlessly.
* On a related note, Dear TV show creators: Don't hold back your money shots till mid to late season. I know you think your show will be the one, the next "Friends" and run forever, but more likely than not, you'll get cancelled before you even get off the ground. I'm looking at you "Eastwick". We all know the story, they're witches. You're not doing any favors to the viewer by dragging out their realization and acknowledgement of their abilities. Now you're cancelled and the show is finally getting interesting. Way to go. See also: "Dollhouse"

* Which leads me to my biggest complaint in television and film. I am sick and tired of people not talking to one another. It never works out for them and frankly, it's unrealistic. You just realized your partner was an alien and your son wants to join the alien peace party, better keep your mouth shut. The worlds coming to an end? Just keep it to yourself, no reason to rock the boat. You saw your best friend's boyfriend/girlfriend kissing another? Keep it to yourself. They'll never find out you know. I'm sick of these unrealistic relationships designed because the writers cannot develop natural conflict. Pathetic. While I'm at at, seriously "Medium"? How long has she been married? How long has she worked at the states attorney's office? Her husband and her boss still don't believe she's talking to spirits? How many cases does she have to solve? 1000? Come on!

* My new favorite website comes courtesy of Blogger's "Blogger's of Note" section. Ugly Overload showcases unattractive critters like this guy:

Personally, I think he looks like a great conversationalist. Everything I say is shocking and amazing. He cannot believe his tiny ears! "You said what?!?"

Friday, November 27, 2009

Another Year Older

Well, I am officially one year older. My birthday week has concluded. No more “Happy Birthday” greetings, no more free drinks. Just me. My Dad asked me if I felt older. The truth is, not really. What would that even entail? How do other people feel inside? What makes you feel older?

At my birthday party, a friend asked how old I was turning. “28,” I said. “Ah yes,” he replied “I could tell you weren’t a day over 30. Look here”. He grabbed my face and pointed to my eyes.

“No crow’s feet. No lines. You look 25”.

I laughed. Can there be that big a difference between 25 and 28? As far as I can tell, I look exactly the same now as I did at 18. A bit more meat around the middle (what have you got to do to get rid of your busted can of biscuits?), a little less elasticity below the chin, skin a bit clearer. I’ve had the same haircut since 1997. I’m not any taller. If I mention my “biscuits”, I’m told to shut up. When do you begin to look older? Would you even want to?

“I should hope so,” I said while gently smiling “I moisturize”.

I read a piece in my new book club book, “The Brief History of the Dead”, about a woman who tried never to show emotion on her face. I understood the passage to mean she wanted to save her face. The act of smiling caused her pain; her face was a mask in jeopardy from breaking. Now that she was dead, she smiled all the time though it was still uncomfortable for her. I understand this principle implicitly. Wrinkles are caused from facial movement (among other things, but this seems to be the main offender). You first see lines form around your eyes from smiling and squinting and laughing. Paper-thin cuts stretch across your forehead from looking quizzically at something, from squinting, from acting surprised. Slowly the collagen in your lips begins to decompose and cracks stretch out from the center towards your nose, your chin, your ears, from smoking, or using a drinking straw, or making a disapproving face.

I see them now. I seek them out. Starring in the mirror, running my fingers over my skin, feeling for imperfections. It’s become obsessive, trying to control what takes the least amount of effort to do so. I could fix my jellyroll, but I’m lazy. I can be good and dedicated for a couple weeks, but once I see an ounce improvement I stop. I’d rather spend that time cooking or watching TV or reading. Where the moneymaker is concerned, it’s effortless: Wash face, exfoliate several times a week, moisturize, sunscreen, serums and potions. It all takes 5 minutes. I have no idea if it’s helping.

This week I fully realized what the number of getting older means. More questions about boyfriends or lack of boyfriends, more depression over lost opportunity, the realization that fewer opportunities would come my way. I could die bitter and alone. My cat could eat me and no one would find me for days. I could disappear “down the funnel” and out of the memories of others. Little by little we fade away, the point is to have someone else there to document it, to acknowledge it happening. I don’t want to become desperate for connection.

“The Hours” is on TV and Julianne Moore is talking about living with what we can bear. It’s a poignant statement. The series of events in life that stack up before tumbling to the ground and we are crushed beneath their weight. Every year we get older, the piles get higher and we beg the Heaven’s for someone to help us shoulder the weight.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

You're Pre- Post- Thanksgiving Post!

Since our family is relatively small (4) for the holidays, my parents have been skimping back on the basics like a full sized bird for Thanksgiving. Most of the fun of this holiday is eating turkey for a week straight until you can't stand the sight or taste of it anymore. As only 3 of our 4 eat meat, they started buying turkey breasts. Unacceptable. This year I told them, "Get a bird, even if it's a small one! How am I supposed to make Hot Brown's with out a lot of turkey"? Thankfully, they are sensible people and gave in to my demands.

Now, I know you're asking, "What they hells a Hot Brown"? I'm glad you asked:

Hot Brown's were invented in Louisville, Kentucky and are genius. According to Wikipedia, this happened in 1926 at the Brown Hotel. The site also says that it consists of "an open-faced sandwich of turkey and bacon, covered in Mornay sauce and baked or broiled until the bread is crisp and the sauce begins to brown. " Now, that's not exactly how I know them, but that's the genius of Wikipedia: anyone can post anything as fact.

In my house, Hot Brown's have been elevated to a Thanksgiving art form: toasted bread, mashed potatoes, stuffing, turkey, gravy, shredded cheddar cheese, all broiled until brown. You can add tomatoes as well (if you like that sort of thing).

Every year, I count down to Thanksgiving for the sole purpose of Hot Browns. They're a smorgasbord of leftovers. The kitchen sink of turkey day! The... grand poo-bah of... of... Damn.

Happy Thanksgiving!

It's A Holiday, So You're Getting 12 Year Old Material

While cleaning my living room in preparation for tonight’s birthday after party, I came across my high school comp notebooks; each lovingly decoupaged with pictures of bands and actors I liked, buzz words (luscious, scorpio, indecent, spy, monster, tingle, etc), and personal illustrations. Inside were barely legible scrawls of depression and bad poetry, spoken word, quotes, and illustrations. Some of them are pretty good for 15 and 16, some need some work, and others are truly embarrassing. In keeping with the oath I gave my sister, I am publishing some of the least horrid for you here today. (Gotta love teen angst!)

[side note: transcribing these was really fun as I wrote all the dates in the European style.]

Here was the girl they “loved”. The girl they had all figured out. Loud and mean, but as soon as they came close to figuring her mind she would change. Metamorphose in into a whole new person. One unlike the other. To confuse and manipulate the minds of the public. And she was hated for it. And she loved that hate as if it were pure love. Because to be hated, to be horribly despised, is to be truly popular. For no one wastes their time hating no one.
It’s cold breathes past my lips.
I flutter my eyes.
Lost in its embraced kiss.
All alone.
The moist grey seeps in
And I am hypnotized by the crisp dawn of death.
The stone is cold.
I stutter my breath.
Our denied future is foretold.
This is alone.
Autumn fingers caress my skin
And I cry through the pain that it brings.
This ground is damp.
I clutter the sky
Dreaming of that one enchanted whore.
We are alone.
The dirt begins to cover my bones
And I’m glad for the peach that it brings.
In me, you see, little pieces of yourself. You break one off and let it grow. I am a clone from one mass god, and you are all his drones.
Here. I am. A lonely shell.
In caverns deep and dark like hell.
It’s cold always and slippery too,
My footings lost
I plunge toward you.
I’m caught in webs of filth and smut.
They’re razor sharp and like to cut.
Small wounds of pain for me to bare,
I’d have hurt them too, it’s only fair.
I fall and fall in silent bliss,
I waited for that unfelt kiss.
I’ve landed on the rocky ground
My ears haven’t heard a single sound.
This is where my falling ends,
My limbs are broken,
But I’ll mend.
My heart was shattered by the fall,
This was no love at all.
So I lie still and wait
And wait,
I’m waiting for a little fate
To guide me from this death marked course,
I cry a little from remorse.
I wait and wait yet no one comes,
I wait and wait until I’m done.
“Blood Petals”
The flowers open and all the blood rushes out.
The buds around it open and blush crimson in response.
The blood pours out.
The first flower turns purple.
Its petals turn back and touch its stem.
The flowers open and bleed red.
The first flower turns black and the blood rushes out.
The engorged petals push against the stem and fall off.
The blood pours out and the petals fall down.
The petals fall down and the flower is no more.
The blood stops rushing.
The petals have all fallen.
The flower is no more.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Follow The Watch...

This month's issue of "Writer's Magazine" focuses on the memoir as literary device and stumbling block. I thought a lot of the tips and tricks offered apply equally to blogging as this is memoir in it's most instant form. The articles suggest to write everything down. Don't worry about story just get memories on the page. How much should you leave in, what should you leave out? How important are the feelings of your subject?

I worry a bit about how the sometimes subjects of my blog will react to what I've written, but never enough to not write what I want to say, simply how I'll say it. I was torn this weekend with an amazingly idiotic story I heard, but decided against retelling it as it did not happen to me or around me. Hersey is not admissible in court and therefore not in my blog. We'll see how long that rule lasts...

The best thing I took away from reading these articles were tips from successful, published memoirists. Most agreed that the best thing you can do is document. Whether it be in a notebook, on 3x5 cards, loose leaf paper; start recording your memories of events both big and small. This is where the blog is, I feel, the perfect medium. A quick note here, and longer story there. You're free to readdress a previous post, to expand on or correct any points or errors. For this, the blog is perfect.

I lay in bed last night struggling to fall asleep. Just moments before I was visibly yawning, now I'm tossing and turning (It always seems to work out this way for me). I keep thinking about the little things, the memories that float in and out of our minds at rapid speed. The ones that don't belong to any significant event but are burned into our cortex all the same.

In my earliest memory, I'm one. The vision is fragmented. I feel like I'm in "The Matrix"- a tv with two club chairs facing it in a never ending white room. I'm in the living room of our apartment in Whitehurst. There's foil on the half moon window to keep the light out. My mother, pregnant, lies on the couch with a wash cloth over her eyes. That's it. I don't know what she was wearing, what the couch looked like, what or who else was in the room. Only that she was pregnant and not feeling well, that there seemed to be a yellow light pushing past the foil and into the room. Perhaps it was afternoon...

When I was three, or at most, four; my sister and I played hide and seek in the living room of a duplex we shared with faceless neighbors. I remember nothing about them except that I was jealous of their kid. He had a motorized car that he would ride around and around the front lawn in. I wanted one so badly. I got a Big Wheel instead.
[side note:Now, when I think of duplex's my mind immediately wanders to the story of "Pyramus and Thisbe".]

My sister and I would take turns hiding behind the couch, the bookcase, the table, then jump out at each other. It seems the concept of hide and seek was known to us, but the execution was still a ways off. Around and around we'd go. Finally, we jumped out and discovered two figures standing at the large picture window in our living room smiling and waving. We screamed bloody murder. It was the first time I had ever been scared. My father ran in to see what had happened, who was hurt. We must have scared my poor grandparents even more. They had driven down from Louisville to surprise us. When they saw us playing, they stopped to watch for a while before knocking. How horrid then and how funny now!

Monday, November 16, 2009

I Always Wanted a White Horse Named Tir na nOg

A quick one today as I left this to the last minute and only have 10 to spare before I leave work. Certain thoughts keep popping into my head randomly. No, not just the "burn them, burn them all" evil leprechaun, or "did I turn on the living room light? Am I DVR-ing "Lie to Me"? It's the kind of things one fantasizes about or thinks about regularly. Is there a god? If so, does he hate me? Do you ever really know a person? Or my favorite in which I reenact a fictional interview with some magazine like Interview.

I am often amazed at how little people know about themselves and where they come from. Certainly there are exceptions to being naive, adoption being one, but what's the excuse for everyone else? How can you NOT be interested in who your family is, where they came from, were any of them famous? I grew up in a household where history and superstition ruled. I learned all about my father's people (Irish and Prussian) and gradually about my mother's (Welsh) as she became more interested and informed herself. I remember thinking how cool it was that I'm one quarter a place that doesn't really exist anymore. Prussia. Prussian. "How very Prussian of them." Other than that, the best stories came from Ireland- the mythology, the clans, the IRA. I always felt very Irish (my full name is incredibly Irish so that helps), as does the strong bond I feel with my father who identifies strongly as Irish as well though he speaks no Gaelic, but does speak German, Polish, and Russian. Funny.

My sister, if you were to ask her, would identify very Welsh (which makes sense as she is strongly linked with our mother). This explains why she has the Welsh dragon tattoo and I have a celtic knot. It took us forever to come up with a tattoo to get together (we settled on "sister" in hieroglyphics- another dedication to our Dad).

I am fascinated with learning more. I want to know everything. When I meet people and say something like, "Wow, that's an interesting last name. What is it?"; and they have no idea. I feel very sad for them. It must be horrible to have no understanding of where you come from or your culture. To see yourself purely as American, nothing else. The beauty of this country is in the mixed heritage of our citizens. If we don't know (or care to know) about ourselves, how can we expect to be tolerant and know others?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Remote Control (anyone else remember that show?)

There's a shame attached to watching certain TV shows, as if you were secretly dating your best friends ex or eating ice cream out of the carton at 2 AM. I don't understand it, but I follow it. Like keeping my collection of Mandy Moore movies hidden in a box in my closet, it's a secret. The cool kids don't watch that. You're too old to like that. I thought you had taste?

So, like your first foray into AA, I am standing up- tall and proud- and declaring: My name is Graygrrrl, and I love "The Vampire Diaries"!
In the spirit of the Sunday list, I am sharing with you my most intimate of intimate (and that's including my aforementioned love of Ms. Moore): My DVR queue.

Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives
Ace of Cakes
The Amazing Race (screw you football for making me miss most of this show because it ends up starting 30-40 minutes late. Don't look smug CBS! You should have anticipated this and arranged your schedule accordingly)
The Simpsons
Family Guy
The Next Iron Chef
Mad Men (I'm keeping your time slot open in honor)

Jeopardy (those damn Teen Tournament kids are smart!)
Chelsea Lately

How I Met Your Mother
Accidentally on Purpose
The Big Bang Theory
Lie to Me (Though I remember it being up against something else so I couldn't record it, but I can't find said show now...)
Chef Academy (premiere's this week, so it may not be on this list next week. We'll see)

So You Think You Can Dance
Tabitha's Salon Makeover (I watched my 1st episode of this show yesterday and what can I say? She looks like an extra in "Sleepwalkers" and people hate her. I heart!)
The Good Wife
So You Think You can Dance (results)
America's Next Top Model
Modern Family (now that Model is over)
Law & Order: SVU (Oh Stabler, how do you still have a job?)
Ghost Hunters
Top Chef: Las Vegas
Ghost Hunters: Academy (if this doesn't get more interesting, it's gone)
Eastwick (though I heard it just got cancelled)

Thursday (for the ladies):
Fringe (hand down one of the best shows on TV today)
Vampire Diaries
(I miss you 30 Rock, but I can watch you online or, more realistically, from Netflix)
Grey's Anatomy
Project Runway
Law & Order (oh! Who saw last weeks? Connie no!)
Stargate Universe
The Soup

Usually, I tape a couple movies here. This week, I'll be recording "Brokeback Mountain" on Bravo
Saturday Night Live (depending on host)

*Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations (depends on location)
*Any talk show with a good guest (Did you see Ian Sommerhalder get molested by Rosie O'Donnell last night on Jimmy Fallon?)
*House Hunters & House Hunter's International
*My First Place
*Arrested Development (replaying on IFC)
*The Graham Norton Show
*Good Eats
*Miscellaneous food shows
*Monty Python's Flying Circus
*Cash Cab

Stand proud. Shout loud. It's okay to like TV (even if it's bad).

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Blah, Blah, Blah

* So, I have an attitude problem, except I don't really find it a problem. I don't like liars or exageration for the purpose of making you look better, and I don't apprecitate being yelled at. Call me crazy! When has yelling at another person actually got you what you wanted? It didn't work when you were 5 and it's not going to work now. If I tell you I don't know the answer or that you would have to ask the person who told you said fact, why do you think repeating your question/comment at a higher decibal would somehow yield a different result? I still don't know, and now I'm annoyed at you. Don't ask a question you don't want the answer to. In closing, don't yell at me for something I didn't do. Get over it.

* My lovely and talented sister was in town for a few days working on a top secret project for her University. (Not entirely true, but I do like the very "Quantico" sound of it and she isn't supposed to mention any details so you could infer she is 007). It is always great when she's here, mostly because she knows all my friends and they like her as well. Also, we get along now that we don't live together. Growing up, we shared a room. Two girls trapped in a 12x12 space for 17 years is no picinic. Once, while playing war I hit her in the face with a 1940's shoe. Those suckers are heavy! In retalliation, she hit me in the face with a Lincoln Log bomb. When she was a baby, I hit her in the head with a hammer (I'm pretty sure this accounts for her uncanny ability to run into inanimate objects), but it wasn't my fault. What was a little girl doing with a hammer anyway? In junior high or high school, she got so mad at me (for a reason I can no longer remember) that she came after me with a knife. The last time we fought, we got in a fist fight in a moving car. I was driving. Besides the Barbie's and dress up, we acted a lot like boys. Fighting became physical but always in a comical way (at least it's comical now years later). Who makes bombs out of Lincoln Logs and the pieces of a make your own paper flowers kit? Little girls raised by their Dad is who.
Regardless of what happened, we always made up. Sometimes quickly, sometimes not for several months. The point was I always knew we would eventually. That's what family does. There is no one you can count on 100% outside of family. Blood is thicker than water and warrents. Now that we are both "grown" and have experienced the world and the finite relationships of others, we appreciate each other more. I don't always like her, but I always love her. (That was kinda mushy and I apologize. How embarassing!). Any who, she hung out for the night, clipped my cats toe nails (she is the vet in the family so that makes it her job), and made me feel better. I'm super excited that she's coming back for my birthday as she missed last year and that is not exceptable! Kisses.

* Remember when you could ask yourself, "Whatever happened to the Corey's"? Now you know and you wish you could erase that knowledge from your brain. Simpiler times...

* My love affair with movies began at a very young age. My first film was "Halloween" at the drive in (though I'm not sure it counts as I was a baby and don't remember any of it). Every year for our birthday, my sister and I would get to pick a movie. We go to the movies on Easter, and Thanksgiving, and Christmas. It's tradition. I can remember lining up at the local mall when I was 5 for the "Land Before Time" with my whole birthday party crew. I sat in the front row of "The Addam's Family" because that's where you sit when your young and cool. I watched most of "The English Patient" upside down in my seat- I was that bored. When my sister was still too little to sit through a movie, my Dad took me. We saw the re-release of "Pinnocio". Remember when Disney released movies from their vault to the theatres? I do. We saw "The Rescuers", and "The Aristocats", and "Fern Gully". "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids", and "Jurassic Park", and every Oscar Best Picture nominee. It was tradition.

This year I'm a bit stuck. Last year, we went to see "Rachel Getting Married". My Dad and I loved it, my Mom not so much. Both expressed a wish for something less depressing next year. I called my Mom to discuss the options as well as where to go for my birthday dinner (PS- she doesn't like anything I would have picked, i.e. BBQ, Indian, Mediterranian. But, that's a different story). She asked what we were going to see, and I said, "New Moon". I figured they would be cool with it, plus all my friends are going to see it opening weekend, so unless I want to run away from every conversation with my fingers in my ears humming loudly; I'll have to see it soon. Also, I don't really want to pay for it. Needless to say, she was not interested. I think her exact words were, "Ugh". I reminded her of last years film and threatened to pick something equally "exciting". I want to see "Mammoth" (big downer about betrayl and adultary). I still haven't seen "Paranormal Activity" (she hates horror) and I campaigned for it! Suddenly, the akward stylings of Kirsten Stewart and Robert Pattinson where looking a lot better.

* On a related note:
Dear Kristen Stewart:
Remember when you were 12 and could act? What happened to you? You're falling into the Wylie Wiggins school of "pinch your nose" acting. Quit it!

* So, there's water on the moon. Further proof that my dream of living in a space ecosphere will actually come true. Now all I have to do is figure out how to become indespensable or how to highjack the Orion capsule.

* Jennie's word of the day: frustration

* No words can express my feelings about this.