Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Halloween kind of snuck up on me this year. In fact, the whole month of October snuck up on me. How is it already November?

At any rate: Halloween 2010. It was fun, perhaps not as memorable as past years, but maybe I'm just finally reaching an age where Halloween is less fun for me. That's a depressing thought. Not going to unpack that at the moment.

This year, I had a little impromptu gathering at my house, featuring pumpkin-flavored beer and homemade "spooky snacks": Sriracha-spiced deviled eggs and curry/cayenne roasted pumpkin seeds.

We watched a few scary movies (Little Shop of Horrors, Alien), then went to the obligatory costume party. My costume was I think funnier in concept than in execution. But really, it's all been downhill since my costume zenith from Halloween 2001: The Taco Belle.

I spent the whole night speaking Spanish with a Southern accent. Damn, I'm clever.

Last year, I went as Baby from Dirty Dancing. I carried a watermelon around all night. And told people not to put me in a corner.

Tonight, I did little to celebrate -- no trick-or-treating, no parties. Ate take-out Thai food and orange and black M&Ms. Maude looks way more festive than I do, but she's sort of perpetually in the Halloween spirit due to her coloring. And her worship of Satan.

Too much candy for Maude?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

So You Think You Don't Like Poetry

For this week's selection, I decided to go with two short poems I admire that happen to be very far from what I understand to be my own poetic style. One is by current Poet Laureate Kay Ryan, a woman known for her concise, almost Dickinsonian lyrics; she writes very small, condensed poems that are deceptively simple. The other is by Wendy Cope, whom many liken to Ryan as well as Gertrude Stein. Her poem has a lot of repetition and a risky rhetorical strategy, one that I think pays off.

by Kay Ryan

If we could love
the blunt
and not
the point

we would
almost constantly
have what we want.

What is the
blunt of this
I would ask you

our conversation
weeding up
like the Sargasso.

Some More Light Verse
by Wendy Cope

You have to try. You see a shrink.
You learn a lot. You read. You think.
You struggle to improve your looks.
You meet some men. You write some books.
You eat good food. You give up junk.
You do not smoke. You don't get drunk.
You take up yoga, walk, and swim.
You don't know what to do. You cry.
You're running out of things to try.

You blow your nose. You see the shrink.
You walk. You give up food and drink.
You fall in love. You make a plan.
You struggle to improve your man.
And nothing works. The outlook's grim.
You go to yoga, cry, and swim.
You eat and drink. You give up looks.
You struggle to improve your books.
You cannot see the point. You sigh.
You do not smoke. You have to try.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Why I Don't Watch Jersey Shore

I went shopping for my Halloween costume today and was, as always, blown away by how costumes are marketed to women. I always intend to have a funny, conceptual costume (freshman year of college, I dressed up as Static Cling) and yet, when I gaze on the multitudes of slutty outfits, I feel the pull.
Maybe, a small voice in me says, I should just try to look hot. But then I come to my senses and stick to my original plan. This year, my costume will actually comment upon the slutty-girl costume phenomenon, as I am wearing a hybrid of all the cliched costumes that otherwise intelligent women decide to debase themselves in every October. I'm dressing up as a naughty nurse/French maid/cowgirl/she-devil/cat. Judith Butler would be proud.

It shouldn't have surprised me to see a large portion of the store devoted to Jersey Shore costumes -- this year, the streets will be overflowing with Pauly Ds, the Situations and Snookis.

And I, for one, am not pleased.

Have I seen the show? Of course. I haven't been living under a rock. And many people whom I respect watch it regularly. I tried to get on board, I really did. But at the end of the day, I just find it utterly sad that we as a culture are celebrating idiocy, no matter how entertaining it may be. There's also an undeniable self-congratulatory, Schadenfreudic appeal: while we laugh at Snooki falling over drunk at the club, we pat ourselves on the back for being more self-aware than she is, or at the very least, more competent at holding our liquor.

But what disturbs me the most is the fact that the Jersey Shore "cast members" make, according to The Hollywood Reporter, $30,000 an episode. That's more than some public school teachers make in a year. And Vinnie and Sammi earn it by living rent-free in a beach house and picking fights with their roommates. And if you want Snooki to make an appearance at your birthday party? That'll cost you $50,000. Just for her to show up.

I used to take issue with celebrities like Paris Hilton, who were famous just for being famous. But Paris seems downright hard-working in comparison -- at least she pretends to design handbags or something. All the Jersey Shore cast members have contributed are some handy acronyms, such as "DTF" (Down to Fuck), and the inspiration for unnecessary iPhone apps that locate gyms, tanning salons, and laundromats. As if the Situation is still doing his own laundry these days.

Anyway, I'm not trying to be a sourpuss -- I'll admit that the few episodes I've seen have had their amusing moments. But I'm simultaneously appalled. I'm not against reality TV in general and I certainly have my guilty pleasures (I subscribe to People Magazine!). But something about Jersey Shore just rubs me the wrong way. The Real World is boring, but somehow less offensive to me. When it comes to reality television, I guess I'd rather watch people with actual skills compete for something, whether it's a record deal, a chance to show a collection at New York fashion week, or even just a shit-ton of money. Call me old-fashioned, but that's how I feel.

Now, if someone wants to pay me to get drunk on national television, maybe I'll change my tune....
America's Next Top Grad Student, anyone?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Meet my new hero, Katherine Chloe Cahoon

Stealing these videos from Dlisted, but I can't help myself. This woman has a book. And I'm pretty sure she's functionally retarded. She also clearly adopted the presentational speaking approach of fellow animatronic bimbo Brenda Dickson.

Mind. Blown.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Big Girls Do Cry

I am a crybaby. There's no point in lying about it -- I cry pretty often. And here's what's weird: I like it and actually think it's healthy, the amount that I cry. Yes, you read that correctly-- I
enjoy crying.

I don't necessarily like what leads up to the crying, the situations and/or people that trigger the crying. So don't go out of your way to try to upset me, please. But the act of crying itself? It shouldn't have such a bad rap.

It was first pointed out to me that I cry a lot by my ex-boyfriend, Noah, who remains a close friend. I immediately denied it -- what is he talking about, I thought. Yeah, ok, I cry sometimes, but doesn't everybody? The answer A lot of people rarely cry, as far as I can tell. And I'm going to argue that THAT is strange -- not that I have a good cry pretty much on a weekly basis, but that others do not.

The problem is, people don't like to see other people cry; it makes them uncomfortable, even if they are not the source of the tears (and especially if they are). I understand that raw emotion on display can be unnerving. For me, though, tears are a release mechanism that I've grown increasingly reliant upon -- if I can cry, I know I'm not, well, dead inside. I've gone through dark periods where I felt apathetic, unable to be moved by anything. And believe me, that is way worse than feeling sad or overwhelmed. Newsflash: life is really overwhelming! And sometimes, you just need to cry about it. Eventually, you stop crying and that feels even better. But to get to the "I'm not crying anymore, things are looking up" part, you have to first let it out.

So I'm coming out of the crying closet. I'm a crier and I'm proud!

If you see it happen, don't tell me to stop. Just hand me a tissue, maybe rub my back, and let the crying take its (natural) course. I'll be fine momentarily, I swear.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Inner monologue: Sleeping with someone for the first time

No, not the sexy time part, the actual sleeping part. Or rather, the "sleeping part," since let's be real, the first time you share a bed with someone new, ain't nobody doing much sleeping. My inner monologue usually goes something like this:

1:04 a.m.: Wow, that was fun. Being naked is good times. And apparently, he likes to spoon -- score!

1:09 a.m.: I bet his arm is falling asleep but he's too polite to say anything. I should probably move or something. But then he might think I'm moving away because I don't like spooning. Dilemma!

1:27 a.m.: Now my arm is numb. Where the hell am I supposed to put this arm, anyway? Above my head? That will look weird and awkward. Is he asleep? How the hell did he manage to fall asleep?

2:02 a.m.: Well, there are entirely too many covers on this bed. I am hot. I wish I could kick the comforter off or at least free up a leg for air.

3:19 a.m.: Hey, I actually managed to drift off there for a while. But wait, I am sleeping in a really unflattering position. My hips must look huge from this angle, my breasts are sagging....need to adjust to look sexy and thin in case he wakes up and looks at me. It is crucial to be attractive, even in the repose of sleep.

3:20 a.m.: I must really be awake to have come up with the word "repose."

3:55 a.m.: A ha! I caught myself dozing off with my mouth open, which might have resulted in DROOLING or SNORING. Crisis averted.

4:02 a.m.: I wonder if his sheets are clean. I mean, they seem clean. But I wonder.

4:45 a.m.: Patrick Swayze really died before his time. I bet his widow is so sad.

4:58 a.m.: Ok, now I'm a little cold and all of the blankets have migrated to his side. I will burrow into his side for warmth.

4:59 a.m.: Oops, woke him up. My bad. Turning away again. Only foot contact for now.

5:11 a.m.: I really should attend one of those neighborhood parties.

6:30 a.m.: Wish I had had the foresight to bring a glass of water to the bedroom. I'm mad thirsty.

7:00 a.m. Seriously? This is his alarm ringtone?

7:05 a.m.: Ah, the male morning erection -- should I acknowledge or ignore? That is the question.

7:25 a.m.: Acknowledged it. And now I'm late for work. Shit.

Of course, I've taken some creative license here....I think it's great when you can finally settle down enough to really sleep next to someone. I tend to think the sleeping part is in some ways more intimate than the connecting-genitals part. Anyone else agree?