Friday, October 21, 2011

I've Got No Time I Wanna Lose To People With Something To Prove

But good golly sweet Moses in the name of
all carbonation that just shouldn't be allowed.
I have the sneaking suspicion that my entire personality has been slowly eroding from the obsessive waters of
Symposium
GradSchool
Symposium
GradSchool
HeyLookShiny
boringness. I'm attempting to counter this very real trend with a blog post, but I understand if my efforts are less than perfect. Please allow some room for error.

A note: I've noticed that my recent blog habit has been to mostly post about small things that annoy me. I'm not actually that big of a sourpuss, I just find that fixating on small irritants helps me shrug off the potentially debilitating stuff. Well, that and obsessing about how unlawfully attractive Richard Dean Anderson is during my nightly Stargate episodes, but my Richard time is just for me, and you'll probably thank me for not sharing too much about that one.

So, who doesn't love Weezer? I maintain that their Blue Album shies away from the Platonic ideal form of a debut album only because they failed to write "Perfect Situation" for another eleven years. Well, that and the fact that Weezer arbitrarily decides to take a pretty offensive attitude towards women in their song "No One Else." Now, the song is obviously about a girl who has issues with fidelity, but I still take umbrage with the extremely catchy chorus:

"I want a girl who will laugh for no one else.



When I'm away, she puts her makeup on the shelf.


When I'm away, she never leaves the house.


I want a girl who laughs for no one else."

Seriously, guys? Have you been holed up in your garage planning for the day when your music makes you attractive for so long that you've completely warped your idea about what you want? I talked to Wes about my frustration with the sentiment in this song and he said (without endorsing the behavior) that it was catering to a very fundamental need/want/desire/insistence that men feel desired by their partner. All I gotta say is, this instinctive need of men is rather vomit-inducing. I would never want to be with someone who keeps their personality carefully pressed and in the bureau, only to be pulled out for special occasions when their main squeeze is around. I would want to be with someone who has wide-ranging interests, acquaintances, and things to laugh at. Regardless of who is present. The whole possessive quality of the chorus, wanting someone who doesn't even have enough self worth to look good just for herself when no one else is around, makes me want to smash birdhouses. Maybe even with the birds inside.

Yes, I realize I just flipped out about a Weezer song that was written when I was seven years old and was probably intended to be rather tongue-in-cheek. But, dude. It bugs.

Speaking of bugs, let's tackle something completely different. I just realized that that sentence was a perfect setup for me to start a discourse on insects. I am now scrabbling, trying to work up some righteous indignation about any many-legged creepster. I'm coming up empty. Ah, the torture of imperfect moments! Anyways, back to the subject on hand, which you are no doubt on tenterhooks to discover:

Art. I know, big surprise, Mary wants to talk about art. As if co-hosting a podcast wasn't enough time for me to nerd out. But this topic doesn't really lend itself to a podcast discussion. Scenario: I either a) mention I'm going to pursue graduate work in art history, b) reference any work of art,  regardless of time period, in a common conversation, or c) look at interest at any piece of modern sculpture that is in front of my face. The reaction to any of those behaviors has been almost singularly unchanging as of late. Whenever any of these apparently 'trigger actions' occur, I feel like I'm constantly on the receiving end of a lecture masking as a benign comment from near strangers and pass acquaintances alike. The formula continues, with my unwanted conversational partner passionately rambling about how they saw X exhibit in Y respected gallery/museum/public area where all it was was just a jumble of mutilated Peeps at the foot of a grandfather clock whose face has been colored in or whatever. They then pause, look at me significantly, with a challenging gleam in their eye, and say "Can you believe anybody would show that? I don't care who you are, that's not art." It's at this point when I smile politely, nod, and consider all the different ways I could jerryrig the Tootsie Roll Pops and assorted bobby pins in my backpack into a weapon that can put me and/or them out of my misery.

Here's the nutshell: it's doesn't matter if you think it's art. No, that's not me being snotty and saying that my opinion is higher than yours, because the truth is it doesn't matter if I think it's art, either. What matter is that somebody, some curator, some group, some social sub-group, assigned it the label of art. That's what I study. I study what people see as art, and I study the why behind it's creation, the reaction it receives. What everybody is responding to when they see an exhibit that they don't enjoy is personal taste, which is something I will always respect. Personal taste is by handy coincidence with it's moniker, not very applicable on a wide scale. But while I will always be interested in your personal taste, and in fact part of what I study is the taste of individuals and how that influences the cycle of art being put out there, I will never feel pressured by your personal taste to excuse or dismiss or ever yield to your definitions of what art is.

Because it doesn't matter, not one bit, if we differ on what is art. So stop thinking you're scoring some deep insight when you get hung up on it. Also, putting down pieces you don't consider valuable is a deeply negative and straight-up boring subject. It sorta just pushes itself into a corner and festers on it's own outraged sensibilities. There's way too much good art out there to get your panties in such a twist over the ones that don't speak to you. Now, if you want to talk about how an artist who has gained some recognition and reverence is in your opinion lacking in some areas, be it skill or thematic material, that could also be interesting. But it always needs to be based on the understanding that while you don't like it. you respect the personal taste of others that dictates them to disagree with you. So, can it. You bug me.

Now, back to the recurring theme of Little Boys Who Spend Their Time Writing Music Instead of Talking To Girls Have Creepy Misconceptions. Who here loves Death Cab for Cutie? I would do quite a bit to have Ben Gibbard's babies, personally. Going to their concert with Becca was an ace in the hole for me having a good time. And before I tear apart Death Cab, it should be admitted that the first song I'll be criticizing was the band's opening number, and it has one of the top three sexiest bass riffs in it, and I cheered and danced and got excited along with everyone else. That said, based on these songs, Ben Gibbard's courting style leaves something to be desired.* Allow me to demonstrate with a selection from "I Will Possess Your Heart:

"You reject my advances and desperate pleas.


I won't let you let me down so easily.


You gotta spend some time, Love.


You gotta spend some time with me.


And I know that you'll find, love


I will possess your heart."

So. Not. Ok. First off, the persistent tone of the chorus makes you wonder if Ben Gibbard is completely married to the metaphorical meaning of the phrase "possess your heart." If you resist his affections long enough, is he just gonna settle for an "I told you so" when he rips the vital organ out of your chest? I listen to these lyrics and just start vehemently shaking my head in the negatory.

And if you think this guy would at least be sensitive to the imbalance of affection, and how it feels to be the one who cares more, think again. Allow me to introduce you to the tender message behind "Someday You Will Be Loved:"

"I once knew a girl in the years of my youth with eyes like the summer, all beauty and truth. In the morning I fled, left a note and it read: "someday you will be loved." I cannot pretend that I felt any regret, cause each broken heart will eventually mend. As the blood runs red down the needle and thread, someday you will be loved. You may feel alone when you're falling asleep, and everytime tears roll down your cheeks. But I know your heart belongs to someone you've yet to meet, someday you will be loved. You'll be loved, like you never have known. The memories of me will seem more like bad dreams, just a series of blurs like I never occurred. Someday you will be loved."

Translation: We hooked up, I wasn't feeling it, instead of breaking up with you I left you a note with vague promises of future of happiness that of course I have no control over. I then proceeded to feel really deep and justified about the fact that my actions really have no impact on you, because . . . well, I didn't love you. That's like home base in tag, right? Freebie?

Yeah, Ben Gibbard, you sorta suck. Stop being so good at making your general cadness so catchy.

Ok, I feel rather cleansed after this exercise. Tune in next time, when I plan to air my feelings about sundry issues like Ron Paul fanatics.

In the meantime, I'm going to listen to Billy Joel's "Vienna Waits For You," cause it tends to calm me down a bit when all I want to do is sprint for the nearest puke receptacle. Which is occuring on multiple occasions per diem, with the symposium looming closer by the second. But don't you worry, Billy makes it all better.

*It should be noted that I consider "Summer Skin," "We Will Become Silhouettes," "Transatlanticism," and "Twin-Sized Bed" to be great examples of Ben Gibbard using his rhetorical powers for good rather than evil.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Instead of Actually Completing My Grad School Applications . . .

List of Things That Are Going To Be a Tough Sell To Strangers When I Move to A Strange City for Grad School (which I currently obsess over):


-Yes, that's my real sneeze. No, really.

-Yes, I love Star Trek. And Stargate. And Battlestar Galactica. And The X-Files. And Buffy. You like video games? Dude, you're such a dweeb.

-Yes, I'm wearing this American flag kerchief. Unironically.

-No, I don't see a problem with having "Tearing Up My Heart" by *NSync and "Institutionalized" by Suicidal Tendencies on the same mixed CD.

-Yeah, I said mixed CD. As in still not on board with the mp3 shindig.

-And by not on board I mean deeply terrified of electronics and other storage/computing systems whose brains I can't see.

-Yes, I went on a thorough grocery shopping trip and returned with 3 tubs of Greek yogurt and 64 cans of Diet Coke. No, I don't see the problem with that.

-I swear I'm going to stop talking about my past achievements once I get more comfortable and no longer think I need to persuade you to like me. Should happen any month now.

-Yes, that's my real cough. Yes, I've heard the Zoolander "black lung" joke before. No, sadly, while that's enough incentive for me to want to change my cough, I'm afraid I'm not the one in charge here.

-Yes, I'm politically conservative. It's because I hate poor people. And bunnies. And myself, cause I'm a woman. Gross.

-No, you can't have any of my barbeque chips. Step off.

-I am currently working on a plot to destroy Oprah.

-Yes, I'm always going to think I'm smarter than you. I'm well aware of how unattractive this is. Nothing has helped so far.

-No, you may not  talk to me while the Olympics is on.

-I find talk about settling down and buying the dream house to be alienating from women and a turnoff from men.

-If you get all 'sharey' and dump your completely legitimate and complicated emotions on me I'm going to smile sympathetically, pat you gingerly on the elbow, and run for the hills.

-Yes, I really do like Bill Pullman that much.

-I totally use the fact that I can make my eyes imitate Bambi in immediate danger of being decapitated by evil smoke monsters to my advantage.

-Yes, I'm that nostalgic about entire sections of the past that I didn't live through and don't necessarily agree with.

-Yes, I'm typically this hostile and dismissive of all women in my program until you prove yourself. And by prove yourself I mean cold-fusion level prove yourself. As in, you better be an art history genius who has also literally discovered cold fusion, because otherwise I'll remain unimpressed.

-Yes, again, that's my real sneeze. Yes, I have noticed that I sneeze after every meal. No, you are not living with or associating with a cartoon character. Don't believe all the hype.

-Yes, I really do watch Reality Bites this often.

-Yes, I'm secretly a prude. You just have to dig real deep to get to it. No, that in of itself was not a dirty invitation.

-I bawled through the entire last ten minutes of Voyage of the Dawn Treader. I will hit you very, very hard if you make fun of me about this.

-Oh yeah, but the way, I hit people. Pretty frequently. And keep on thinking it's a term of endearment, despite the vehement protest of peers.

-If you ask me to go fishing I'll wonder what plot is afoot to destroy me.

-Yes, that's a bottle of spf 105 sunscreen. Apply liberally.

-All those jokes about how paranoid I am--yeah, they're not actually jokes. That humor there is what we call a Coping Mechanism.

-Yes, I understand that my punkish influenced clothing and my abject fear/respect/obeisance to authority figures is a wee bit of a contradiction.

-Yes, I'm a complete fraud. Anything funny I say was stolen from a movie, TV show, or a funnier friends' facebook status.

-Yes, that's my idea of fashion. I'm so sorry.

-I've had an ongoing sneaking suspicion since I was eleven that I am actually not smart/liked at all, and that I'm living in an elaborate Truman Show-esque world where my parents bribe actors to carry on the delusion. No, your jokes about how you're still waiting for their check in the mail are not funny.

-Yes, that was my attempt to flirt. No, there's nothing I can do about the toe-twisty-head-tilty thing. Any efforts to control it can only be sustained for about a five minute conversation, in which I won't say anything coherent, because my attention will be so fixed on the toes and the head angles.

-No, our budding friendship will not recover if you  negatively go off about Peter Pan, Mary Poppins, or Disneyland.

-I'm only .05% joking about my animosity towards whales.

-Yes, I love Katy Perry. Why would that surprise you?

-I genuinely have the hots for David Bowie. In Labyrinth specifically, but also in general. I listen to "As the World Falls Down" alone and pretend he's trying to seduce me by hiding from me in a magical bubble.

-Yes, I'm that avid of a supporter of Turkey, our oft-maligned friend.

-No, I never actually recover from missteps in common repartee. If I once misidentified a piece of art and was corrected in the conversation, I will carry that shame to the grave.

-Yes, I really do take myself this seriously. Don't let the self-deprecating laughter fool you. The fact that I can explain most of my likes and dislikes with a four-point analysis reveals the lie of the laugh.

-I understand that my chances of being a rock star, buddies with Velvet Underground, present at a Toy Dolls concert, an agent of an intelligence agency, or a protege of Joey Ramone are dwindling by the millisecond, if they aren't already impossible. That is a handful of many, many reasons why I will truly be less than satisfied with my life.

Friday, August 19, 2011

I Stumble and I Sway

An hour into my shift I was asked to stay late at work. I don't mind staying late--I love helping out overworked peers and I don't object to money--but I unfortunately have a streak of non adaptive throwback genes that wants to sit down and cry every time I'm not giving my preferred twelve hour notice that helps me wrap my head around the extension. Turns out I'm not remotely evolved or sophisticated, I hate breaks from patterns just as much as the most backwoods Ozark yokel.

In the spirit of making as many distractions for myself in this time of cushy paid hardships, I have crafted a list of:

The Top 15 Best TV Dads

I figure musing over father figures that would respond to my whining over extra work by telling me to rub some dirt in it will be the best possible coping mechanism.

Methodology

The types of fathers being highlighted here are very specific in nature. First off, let's establish that I myself have an awesome dad. He sang me Irish lullabies and songs about girls named Mary every night when I was little, switched that out for nightly readings from books like Huckleberry Finn, The Chosen, and Last of the Mohicans after I got too old for songs, and patiently waited out my tendency from age twelve to twenty to hate his guts while in his house and avoid any visits from him in college. Nowadays he just reads my term papers and tells me I'm brilliant, politely declines to read my blog or be friends with me on facebook so that I don't have to censor myself, and doesn't give me any grief for being single other than occasionally abusing the general male gender on my behalf. He's not my friend, he's my dad, and I appreciate the attention to the distinction.

Like I said, great dad. So in the spirit of respect for fatherhood, there will be no representations of clueless dads who are roundly abused by spouse, neighbors, and children alike, such as Tim Taylor in Home Improvement. Also, any TV show where I have the "oh, yeah, he's a dad" moment is sort of an automatic disqualifier, like Ricky Ricardo in I Love Lucy. TV characters who are beloved and eccentric and truly terrible fathers also did not make this list--I'm looking at you, Red from That 70s Show and George Sr. from Arrested Development. Also, I will not even dignify Homer Simpson with the title of father. The number of online lists that cartoon gets onto makes me shudder. Also, and this is completely unfair, but when I find out too much about an actor's off-screen behavior while filming, perfectly likeable father characters like Danny Tanner from Full House are no longer palatable or listable.

An addendum to the methodology: We didn't have TV after I turned ten years old, and even when we did it was basic channels and closely monitored. If any glaringly obvious classic father figures are missing from the list, it's because I never got to watch the show. But I'm sure they're very nice. Put them on your own list, this one's mine.

And now, with plenty previous ado, we begin the countdown with

#15: John Schneider, Smallville's Jonathan Kent

Mmm. Floppy haired goodness. I'm allowed to check him out--he's not my dad.
Let's not kid ourselves. Being the dad of an alien would be hard work, even if he wasn't an indestructible god-like force. And being the dad to an indestructible god-like force would be a cake-walk if that same 'roid pumped snot face wasn't a broody little misfit who has a thing for the wrong girl almost as consistently as he's seduced by the dark, bald side of the force. Jonathan Kent pulls off moralisms with minimal fuss, is believable as a hay bale-throwing Midwesterner, and is . . . just so, so pretty. Wish he still had the The General Lee around, I wouldn't object to being taken for a spin.

#14: Jason Bateman, Arrested Development's Michael Bluth

I'll never be able to listen to "Afternoon Delight" with any kind of reverence. Not that I really could before

Michael has a lot on his plate. He has the most grasping, needy, neurotic extended family in the universe, and having his jailbird father squirrelled away in their faux home doesn't make things easier for him. And while his son, George Michael, is a peach, he's the type of pale, pudgy, hairless, cousin-lusting peach that repulses most normal people. But Michael Bluth loves him anyway, and even frequently has old-fashioned Opie-Andy moments that warm the heart.

#13: Nathan Fillion, Castle's title character

 O Captain, my Captain. Mine.
Let's face it, Rick Castle--mega rich novelist with the emotional maturity and instinct for play of a fifteen-year-old boy--as your legal guardian and moral compass would be a dream. He is the epitome of self-indulgence and good humor, like a soft serve ice cream double dipped in chocolate and sprinkled with money. In fairness to the other dads, it must be acknowledged that he sorta caught an epic break by having a daughter so grounded and self-disciplined that I suspect government brainwashing. However, his handling of boyfriends and body image demonstrates an instinct for unconditional love that earns him his spot on the list.

#12: John Spencer, The West Wing's Leo McGarry

O.G.
Leo is a fantastic example of a much more realistic school of Dad. While he excels at his job, he's crazy awkward in his home life. The way he deals with this is by frequently growing petulant and dismissive with his daughter Mallory while simultaneously trying to keep her close. He barks at Mallory much more often than he opens up to her, but he still finds ways to express his affection and protectiveness, even if she'd probably prefer to flirt with his staff in peace. Gruff around the edges and incapable of make a straight statement of love, Leo ranks high in the category of adored yet off-putting patriarchs.

#11: Michael Landon, Little House on the Prairie's Charles Ingalls

If you're starting to notice the trend of Magnificent Locks, this is not happenstance. And you ain't seen nothin' yet.
He's Pa. The infinitely kinder, wiser, more practical version of his wife, one who understands Laura's high spirits and doesn't discourage his daughters from thinking they can do absolutely anything they set their minds to. Always struggling to make ends meet, he infuses their desperately poor existence with magic, protecting his children from wild beasts and Nellie Blye (synonymous?) with a tireless concern for their welfare. And then there's the hair, which I could probably dedicate a whole section of this list to. Pa is not to be beat.

#10: Andy Griffith,  The Andy Griffith Show's Sheriff Taylor

Even his ears seem kind. And law-abiding.
I couldn't claim the title of red-blooded American if I didn't acknowledge that Sheriff Taylor is the essence of Manliness. He's an officer of the law, he's a hulking figure of a man, he enjoys fishing, shootin' breeze at the local barber shop, and keeping Barney Fife in line. And above all else, he's the kindest, gentlest father to itty-bitty-Opie that anyone could ever hope for. Really, I think he could have accidentally squished him into oblivion if he wasn't so conscientious. He's the type that I'm sure cries every time he accidentally steps on a caterpillar. Except that Andy Taylor's are simultaneously so manly and so sweet that they produce harty maple syrup for his flapjacks.

#9: Peter Gallagher, The O.C.'s Sandy Cohen

Those eyebrows could kindly conquer continents. And my heart.
If pressed to reveal how I know about this character, I will claim that I am gathering only from hearsay. That is all I have to say about the matter. But seriously, Sandy is, like, the best dad ever. Coming from a wild background, he pulled himself into a position of respectability and wealth, but never lost touch with his roots. He devotes himself to his family and helping the unfortunate, never losing his idea of right and wrong while simultaneously having boundless faith in the potential of people society has written off. Also, he surfs and loathes yogaletes. Which just seals the deal.

#8: Fred MacMurray, My Three Sons' Steven Douglas

Coiffed curls and cleft chins=trust
I have a mildly shameful loyalty to the show My Three Sons. It's unabashed agenda somehow circumvents any shakily constructed cynicism I may have put up and gets me absolutely pumped about how perseverance, optimism, hard work, virtue and a good hair gel can really keep the universe on an even keel. Mr. Douglas' backseat approach to parenting is comforting in that he is always interested in his boys welfare, but equally committed to allowing them to find their own path and passions. Corny it may be, but that doesn't make it less enviable.

#7: Avery Brooks, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's Commander Benjamin Sisko

This kind of dapper demeanor must be passed from father to son.
Here's a man who devoted his life to the job without sacrificing his son's upbringing. Instead, he used his position as the commander of a far-flung space station to enrich his son's thinking, exposing him to new cultures and ways of life that helped boy Jake become a phenomenal writer. Even  the initial struggle Sisko had with his son choosing a career so completely different from Starfleet was handled admirably, as Sisko relinquished the idea that his child should operate as a miniature perfection of himself. And, above all else, Sisko achieves this high rank of Fatherhood through his devotion to the greatest of sports--baseball. Jake was given every advantage, including superior taste in leisure activities.

#6: Enrico Colantoni, Veronica Mars' intrepid Keith Mars


Look at them twinkling brown eyes. Songs could and will be written.
Keith plays on multiple themes touched on by fathers lower down in the rankings. A father whose job is the absorbing task of pursuing truth and justice, Keith also recognizes and focuses on his child's potential. Ex-Sheriff Mars never tries to dissuade daughter Veronica from demonstrating her brilliance and resourcefulness, and strikes up a partnership that allows her to flouish. He may occasionally set traps of spraying ink when she starts to snoop into areas best left alone, but that's really more in the attitude of a rival colleague than an overbearing parent. His affection and faith that his daughter will develop into a truly remarkable person is never shaken, and his personal struggles never color his treatment of people in trouble or pain.

#5: Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Supernatural's John Winchester

 . . . there are no words. Well, yes there are, but they'd probably creep y'all out.
 Ok, yeah, so maybe he slightly abandoned his sons for periods of their childhood in his one-man quest to capture the demon who killed their mother. And maybe he's a textbook case of the non-communicative, ever demanding, praise and affection witholding type of father. And maybe when I gaze into those eyes and contemplate his scruffy jawline I find I don't care in the slightest. No, but really. John Winchester had his flaws. But he had an iron grip on the difference between good and evil, and more than that, he sold his soul to the devil in exchange for his son's life. Eternal burning, the whole nine yards. I find I can forgive quite a bit in the face of that level of devotion. Basically I just need to be in the face of his face and I am completely persuaded of all his virtues.

#4: Edward James Olmos, Battlestar Galactica's Commander William Adama

I'd be perfectly fine with this being prominently placed on currency.
Now, if I were this estimable hunk of honor, grit, and smarts, I would have considered my duty to humanity complete when I realized that I had contributed my DNA to the creation of the Sun God:
Feel free to linger over this image as long as you wish.
But was our inestimable leader of the remnants of civilization satisfied with that? Not in the slightest. He proceeded to be a truly remarkable father. While reticent and closed off at times, he sees the end of the world as a second chance, an opportunity to reach out and give all of his worldly wisdom about the value of human life. He clings to the best parts of mankind, never letting despair and bitterness overcome him or those in his command. The best part? He didn't just do this with the above godly hunk of flesh who had a genetic claim on his concern. He became the father of the entire fleet, never tiring in his duties to each of them in turn. Now, go back and stare at Apollo again if you need to. I know I do.

#3: Victor Garber, Alias' Jack Bristow

Such terrifying loyalty.
Jack brings to the table at levels of Certainty no one ever could (or should) rival. There is no force in heaven or earth that could sway Jack from his core purpose in life, which is keeping his daughter Sydney safe. Jack is unhampered with any feeling of individual significance, nor is he distracted by any semblance of a personal life outside of his daughter. Jack truly considers that his only point of worth, the sole contribution he can make to the world, is in using his particular set of skills to ensure that Sydney lives. Did we mention that this skill set involves warehouses of currency, munitions, and instruments of torture? Jack doesn't care how much he has to compromise himself. Sydney is all that matters.

#2:  William Henry Cosby, Jr., The Cosby Show's Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable

Dad is great! Gives us chocolate cake!
Dr. Huxtable brought you into this world, and he can take you out of it again! Not only is he wisecracking and silly-faced, Dr. Huxtable demonstrates an inspiring level of love and tenderness toward his brilliant wife. As a team the Parents Huxtable encourage their children to pursue their strengths wholeheartedly, kindly expecting them to see obstacles only as challenges that they will soon conquer. The level of common sense he teaches and tender affection he shows to all his children is a marker that few will ever reach, let alone surpass.

#1: Kiefer Sutherland, 24's Jack Bauer

Mr. The Bauer, Sir. My Liege.
Here it is. The epitome of what it is to be a dad. Also, the final proof that it really doesn't matter how much you suck, everyone deserves a great dad. Kim can go ahead and spit everything her  father gives up for her back in his face, but Jack still walks through fire, bombs, terrorists, torture, more bombs, incompetent world leaders, and sleep deprivation to make sure you're ok and able to continue living your sucky life. But Jack is untouched by Kim's untreatable level of lameness. He rises above it all, the perfection of filial duty, love, and bad-ass gauntlet-throwing defiance. I love my dad, Jack, but if I could trade him for you . . . I'd have to think about it. If your hair was floppy I'd already be sold.

Monday, August 15, 2011

My Emotions Wrapped in Vines


Ok. I just finished up my 16 credits that I in a fit of ambitious vanitas thought would be a great idea for my summer vacation. I have precisely two weeks until my 20 credit fall begins, I'm still in the note-taking-research-gathering stage of my symposium paper, my friends are fleeing the area like krill evading humpbacked whales, they still haven't re-released chocolate cherry Diet Dr Pepper (it's like drinking a Tootsie Roll pop! The nation is being robbed of that tantalizing taste bud treasure!), and my haircut refuses to be as punked-out-Zooey-Deschanel as I would like. In essence, today I am a crank. And in the spirit of sloughing off personal improvement for my brief two weeks of academic freedom, I am going to sink into my crankiness. It's going to be like when Mowgli is falling asleep and Kaa makes him the bed of tree leaves that perfectly fold over and snugly ensconce Mowgli into a bed of green bliss, except this time the leaves are discontent and glowering resentment. So, as an outward expression of my momentarily ill-tempered soul-klavier, I present:

THREE WILDLY OVERRATED THINGS*

1. Raisins
Hey, here's a grape. A grape that we deliberately sucked all juice and flavor and delicious grapeness out of. Essentially, the raisin is the bottled water of California. They're just baffled, bemused, and boozing it up over the fact that we keep on paying them for this product.Wanna put it in hot cereal, so that it's withered, dusty, dry skin can get sorta wet and become a mushy insult to grapeness instead of a leathery one? Or hey, you could put it in bagels. Delicious, dense, shmear-covered bagels, which you would typically take luxurious bites of at will, but now you're held up every few minutes by the fact that you're not positive if you just ate an ill-fated potato bug that inexplicably made it into the bagel dough, or a dehydrated fruit whose presence is equally mysterious.

What an alarming way to start the morning.

Or, if you're feeling particularly vicious, you can use these ravaged once-refreshing morsels to trick your friends into thinking that they're about to enjoy a bite of carrot cake or cookie. How sad, how foolish of them to think that you actually liked them and wanted to give them chocolate. That'll show them to try and look after you when you're sick. They've received the message--you return favors by feeding people grapes that have been tortured and violated until they're a mockery of their own form.

Speaking of soulless pretenders to much greater things, let's move on to the second subject on our list:

2. Iron & Wine

First things first: only the best of the best can pull off having a band name for a one-man-show. Take a wild guess on whether I'd put you in that best of the best category. Also, if you notice that most other bands can only pull off having one or two tracks per album that reach your level of mellow non-music tinkering on the banjo, it's because they've discovered that if they pursue that level of non-dynamicism for all their songs people will mistake them for hack jobs who want you to fall asleep quickly before anybody notices that their music really isn't that good. And Samuel Beam, I really can't stress this enough: You must stop whispering. If you don't stop whispering each and every one of your mediocre melodies in a tone that implies that your sub par, vague lyrics carry the secrets of the world, I may have to attack your larynx with the ragged edge of my Diet Coke can. I think it would improve the sound. And maybe provide you with a brief glimpse into an actual range of emotion for your music.

An addendum: Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel should be permitted to take turns flossing your teeth with their mandolin strings for having to suffer the indignity of their immortal "Hello darkness, my old friend, I've come to talk with you again because a vision softly creeping left its seeds while I was sleeping" being compared favorably with your vastly inferior "Have I found you? Flightless bird, jealous, weeping. Or lost you? American mouth. Big pill looming." Sheesh. No wonder Kristen Stewart picked you for the Twilight soundtrack. Ohhh, burn.

3. Harry Potter movies

The number of times I read "My Harry Potter journey is coming to an end! *sob*" and various other forms of the same sentiment when the final movie came out made me want to rip my hair out. Well, most things make me want to rip my hair out these days. My hair sucks. But this one made me also want to rip out other people's unsuspecting hairs. And eye teeth. Apparently if I were a serial killer I'd be the type to collect trophies. Not unlike Voldemort. Which brings me back round to my point. You wanna know when yours, mine, and everybody's Harry Potter journey ended? July 21, 2007 when the last book was published. I remember getting off my shift at the greasy spoon diner I was carhopping for that summer, driving directly to Barnes & Noble, and buying two copies so that Alan and I wouldn't sabotage each other to read it first. That was the end of the journey. Cause Harry's scar hadn't hurt for nineteen years, and everything was all right. Finito.

If we were talking about film adaptations that reached the caliber of book adaptation of The Lord of the Rings and The Godfather, I'd be more willing to negotiate. But no director with a sweeping vision or love of the deeper themes of the story came in and crafted an interpretation that stayed true to the characters and narrative while taking liberties that brought out the sweetest notes of the underlying message. The Harry Potter movies are crass commercialization, a capitalization on a truly delightful world of possibility and imagination that got shoved unceremoniously through a thirty-year-old carbon copy machine, emerging smeared with ink and stretched until the paper itself was almost translucent from wear.

Instead of picking apart the entire series, I will highlight one character to make my point: Hermione Jean Granger. Brilliant. Passionate. Idealistic. Loyal friend. Bitingly sarcastic. Feisty. Impatient. Know-it-all. Socially awkward . . . . Hot? Pouty, whimpering, girly? Ew! Stop it. I feel betrayed by the movie franchise. Hermione was the example that people could still like you, that you could be valued on a totally different bar graph, that smarts really did stand alone as a value, that all of these elements were so much better than not having buck teeth and frizzy hair.

Am I over identifying here? Of course I am. Which only makes my criticism carry more weight, because I'm the key part of the demographic who had the most to lose in the movie's desecration of Hermione. If there is so much as one single "but she's hot" comment on this post, I will annihilate you with rubber bands. I don't care how long it takes. I will find a way.


I'mma gonna go watch Some Kind of Wonderful now. And listen to a lot of Heartless Bastards. But not at the same time. That would make no sense.






* I am perfectly aware that I am mortally offending some of my dear friends right to the quick with this list. Know that I still love you, see the above paragraph about how cranky I am, and . . . get over it? Too harsh? Kisses!



Wednesday, July 13, 2011

If We Weren't So Alike You'd Like Me A Whole Lot More

Sometimes I just really wish that my world had more properties of a claymation film. I'm not wild about the gross teeth and the creepy blinking that are inevitable byproducts of the claymation process, but I do think it would be hugely useful in the aspects of the consequence-free self mutilation and dramatic punishment of others.

For instance: the next time I get a migraine as bad as the ones I've had the last few weeks and some brutal soul decides that that's funny, I think the world would be a better place if I were free to wrestle that person to the ground, spear them through the ears with twin apple corer peeler slicers, and just start turning both instruments in opposite directions, letting their skin peel off in delicate spirals and their flesh be sliced into precise, concentric circles. If I could do this to someone without the actual gore, I'm pretty sure my head would feel much, much better.

And if the next time I'm subjected to being within earshot of a conversation with my boss's boss--the one whose voice has a throaty, dull, moist quality that feels like two rotting, mushy pieces of wood smacking against a rubber buoy--I was able to pull my skin away from the corners of my mouth and use my entire face-flesh as an appropriate cushion between my ear drums and the voice, I'd be better able to get through the day. See? Being mutable clay would have its advantages sometimes.

I can say with some certainty that the hands down best way to start off a day is to enthusiastically freak out to "Twist and Shout" in the middle of a gas station with one's big brother. Although it didn't hurt that we got to pass all the hot air balloons rising off the field with graceful majesty right before the fortuitous tunage. Yes, there is such a thing as a majestic thirty-foot-tall inflated Smoky the Bear head. The only one who surpassed our benevolent guardian of the forest was the sensuous yet dignified Coke bottle.

When you take a moment to look at it objectively, hot air balloons as an enterprise are just uncommon strange, even before you branch off into shapes.

The other day Jason, Rosemary, and I were discussing the environment when I used the phrase "don't shit where you eat." Jason was in Jason-like hysterics (meaning he laughed) for the next five minutes, saying that hearing that folksy-type phrase coming out of my mouth was just jarring and ridiculous. So let's clear something up, here and now:
My grandparents were farmers or the children of farmers. Half of them come from Canada, half from the exotic County Weber. Sugar beet factories, bee farms, truck driving, alcoholism, and spinning wheels figure heavily into my very near and dear history, as do the early loss of teeth and the tendency to view with deep suspicion people who pay for a hair cut. We don't be fancy folk. Which I enjoy immensely, it makes family reunions much more entertaining. Also, despite the fact that I've been talking everybody's ear off about my symposium in Savannah and how I'm going to be the most sophisticated world-travelling art historian since Brad Pitt (re: Mr and Mrs Smith), this does not mean that I don't get/want to pepper my talk with more savory phrases. There's only so many times you can use the word "aesthetic" in a paragraph without needing to go have a vigorous game of horseshoes with the second cousins to help regain a personality.
 
I've spent the last two months living on a raw, raggedy edge; my nerves have been laid open like an exposed wire, reacting with violent sparks and sputters to every fluctuation in mood or routine, bound to blow at the very next encounter with any hint of friction. I'm twitching around haphazardly, trying to keep my glazed focus on something--anything--all while I swear even the ends of my hair are shredding at a faster rate in order to keep up with my mind.

That said, I think the very nature of this chaos has helped me suck out the marrow of what summer should be whenever I've gotten the chance. Even while most days I've been so wrapped up in my own head that I've been about as useful as a screen door on a submarine, there have still been the nighttime croquet games. Hour-long games of catch, moments stolen sitting with friends on the curb in a summer thunderstorm, treks at midnight to the cheap taco stand, all have been made that much sweeter and Epic in contrast. I have the bug bites to prove it: my half-gnawed carcass is evidence that despite the fact that my brain has been like a turtle on Prozac, I'm still living life.

A symptom of my constant frenzied state of brain has been my abuse of Bush's "Glycerine" on my playlists. I don't know if that is due to the song being almost chewable in it's melancholy angst, or if I just feel better every time I compare myself to Gavin Rossdale. My life may lack a certain panache, and I very likely will flunk the GRE, but at least I'm not a washed-up one-album-wonder who married Gwen Stefani in a mutual sell-out that has lead them down the path of paired lameness ever since. I'm no Gavin Rossdale. It's become a mantra.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I Ain’t Been Home To See My Baby In 99 And One Half Days

Due to a complex and uncontrollable course of events, I don’t have shoes to wear at work today. And I’m trying to see if I can make it to one thirty without anyone in the office noticing that I’m wearing mismatched striped socks and nothing else. This to my brain seems to have been translated into a creeping, pointed-toes-first sort of saunter that is certainly the polar opposite of stealth.

Luckily my path to and from the printer is largely unobserved. I’m already psyching myself up for my trek to the break room when this can of Diet Coke runs out. That route is a veritable minefield of bored workers who might take it into their head to closely observe all trans-offices pilgrimages for any deviations from routine. I believe the neurotic fool who overcompensates for a lack of rubber-soled footwear by prancing like she could launch into a pirouette at any moment would provide too much fodder for them to handle without a shovel.

I’ve decided that 60s rock-blues is the perfect accompaniment to this drizzly, dank, droopy weather. Joplin, Velvet Underground, and Jimi have been very heavy in my rotation of albums at work the last few weeks. And since Janis has been such a sweetly melancholic balm while the sun refuses to shine, I was more than a little appalled that they named the weather pattern that has killed over one hundred people Tornado Joplin. Too soon, guys, too soon.

Yes, I do understand that I’m fairly screwed up for devoting more attention to a critique of tornado naming than I do to worrying about real people being hurt. I’ll work on getting worked up about that.

I’ve been having my typical spring-induced burst of eloquence/need for attention, but I haven’t been able to channel this into blog form. Every time I log in and get ready to type I get overcome with a guilt complex about not doing my math homework. Due to this overreaction of mine, I am now three sections ahead of where I need to be, and I think I’m going to keep up that pace until I just obliterate the whole course, because nothing brings on the crazy like math.

I’m not going to elaborate how much of my mental powers I daily devote to the argument that my ability to divide polynomials is going to have literally no impact on my career/life/endeavor to become an interesting person, but trust me, it’s a subject I dwell on with some passion.

But much more troubling than my futile sophist arguments against systems of equations is how quickly math slickens my grasp on reality until is slips out of my minute yet tenacious grip. I don’t know why my mind wanders from the task at hand so quickly—probably the lack of adjectives—but usually about forty seven seconds into my first math problem I get bogged down in the philosophical inquiries that the presence of math naturally hazards. For instance: is the assertion that the rules of math have been proven in nature just another example of man imposing a law of order onto an uncompromisingly anarchistic universe? Do we find the proofs for geometric laws because they’re there, or because we crave to see them? In other words, is 4 really divisible by 2 independent of man’s consciousness or influence, or is 4 divisible by 2 because we need it to be?

See, there’s a reason why I stopped taking math after Pre-Calc sophomore year of high school. I argue that my judgment to stop the madness there should have been respected.

I was totally gearing up to dive into the various difficulties that come with making new acquaintances and friends. I’m fascinated with how much I can completely misrepresent myself while making only truthful statements. But every attempted sentence related to this topic kept on coming off either self-congratulatory, self-loathing, or creepily detached. Which I suppose means we best shelve that discussion for another time.

It should be noted that tonight I am finally gaining some closure on a nine-year-stale grievance. Tonight, I shall see u2. Bono shall serenade me. More importantly, The Edge will rock my soul. My parents better cross their fingers that those irascible Irishmen still have their groove, because if this concert doesn’t blow my concept of what is legendary, they’re never getting off the hook for denying me the chance to see their Elevation tour back in 2002.

I know, how leftover teenage angst of me. I should just bust out the Slim Fast and Daria and call it a Nostalgia Tuesday. Maybe if I feel super rebellious I can watch the copy of Moulin Rouge I used to hide in the shoebox under my bed, cleverly concealed beneath my ballroom shoes between the layers of tissue paper.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Some Things Need To Be Said

I’m about to blow every shred of my carefully accumulated, ferociously guarded street cred. In this blog, I’m going to dispel for all of my liberal friends and associates the meticulously nurtured conception that I, I am their conservative friend who cannot be dismissed out of hand, for (even though I profess unashamedly to being conservative) I have never stated anything particularly outrageous. Through my careful nonspeaking about political matters, I have been identified as reasonable by those who I disagree with. This is of course typically achieved by not voicing much of anything at all, but I’m going to break this tradition and destroy all these years of hard work. I feel like I’ve earned a good ol’ freakout.


It all comes down to this quote:

"I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy."

This has been attributed (falsely) to Dr Martin Luther King, and has spread like wildfire over the webbytubes via Twitter, blogs and facebook statuses less than 48 hours after it was announced that Osama bin Laden had been found and killed by US Special Forces.

Here’s where I’m going to offend a lot of people.

How nice it is, how very comfortable, how open-minded and accepting and sensitive of us to choose the highest of high ground regarding bin Laden’s death. How much is speaks for my generation that we have taken this of all moments as the time to claim our philosophical position, to use this moment in history to demonstrate that we are above the maddening crowd. It’s so enlightening to see my peers view the reaction to the death of a mass murderer with idealistic eyes, to watch them weep sophist tears of pity and condemnation for those whose more base instincts took over and compelled them to gather at Ground Zero to savagely toast the continuation of barbaric acts. I’m sure my peers are all very proud and satisfied with themselves.

I, on the other hand, I am enraged.

I have had reason to be embarrassed by my generation in the past. I have seen (and admittedly participated) in a movement of apathetic materialism. I am fully aware that our canon of behavior dictates that our reaction to any overt display of emotion, patriotism, or reverence for tradition must be consistently one of arch, jaded bemusement. As the information age has expanded and the social network revolution spiraled on, the people of my demographic have responded with the dichotomy of a self-absorbed urge to document everything while remaining aloof from any true commitment of passion, conviction, or action.

To you all, I have this to say: responding to bin Laden’s demise with a catchphrase concerning the sanctity of life does not demonstrate your depth. It showcases your debilitating naïveté. You have become so ensconced in your comfortable distance from reality that you now embarrass yourself in your complete lack of context or scope.

Osama bin Laden was by all accounts a quiet man of measured tone, intelligence, and reason. He was no mad man frothing at the mouth. This makes it all the more sickening that his lines of logic lead to the calculated conclusion that the violent destruction of life was to be his life’s work. He calmly determined that those who lead lives in a manner contrary to his own radical teachings had no value, and that it was not only his duty to murder them, but to do it in such a way that even survivors would feel the threat and fear hang over them in their daily life. He was not my neighbor who slighted me and who I should in the end find it within me to forgive and mourn. He was the mastermind behind a force who is seeking to eliminate me and mine.

I rejoice that his potential for evil has been cut down in the most final of ways. I mourn that he is not alone in this perverted world view, but I celebrate that his individual capacity for wicked works is at an end. I believe that the fact that he prevailed this long after his attack on New York City was psychologically damaging to us, the survivors. I consider it essential that we be able to see that in the end those who perpetrate mass acts of hate against us will be brought down and stamped out. And I resent the proliferation of people who hand down judgment on me for responding this way to his death, who aim to paint me as one with a Neanderthal-like grasp on ethics, or just too absorbed in my mundane existence to pull above such ‘savage’ responses.

I celebrate that the very pluralism of society that allows me to offend all my comrades as much as they deeply upset me is the same society that bin Laden felt to be so offensive that he wished to obliterate it. Better luck next time, Osama. I relish the very contradiction of terms, and am exultant that a threat against all I consider holy has been neutralized.

God bless the troops who performed this righteous deed, and our President for having the conviction to follow through on an unpleasant but necessary task.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Who Are All These Strange Ghosts Rooted To the Silly Little Adventure of Earth With Me?

Free Willy was a lie. Or rather, Free Willy was a partial and misleading truth. We shouldn’t let the whale back into the wild because it’s our friend and a sensitive, gentle creature. We should let the damn whale back into the wild (whether it was born in captivity and has the resources to survive or not) because if we don’t, they’re going to attack us by our ponytails, drag us to the bottom of their tank, and hold us there until we drown. Whales are not friends; they’re hostile prisoners of war.

Yes, I am talking about the Shamu franchise at Sea World. I get periodically worked up about this, it’s like how I sporadically and with no exterior stimulus go into rages about how Louisa May Alcott fails as a writer by selling us the Laurie-Jo relationship only to renege and trying to convince us that the Laurie-Amy marriage isn’t one of the more creepertastic developments in all literary history. But I digress. Back to how we’ve had the wool pulled over our eyes concerning the proper course of whale-human relations.

From a criminal justice perspective, the consequence for throwing the human being who feeds you back and forth until she loses consciousness and drowns should not be a spectacular light-and-water show and the adoration of thousands of children. That is, unless you put forward that forcing the whale to perform inane tricks in a tiny habitat is a fitting punishment, but then it would inevitably be pointed out to the judge that the risks to innocent civilians is only increased by this cruel and unusual imprisonment. So, we either gotta let Shamu out of his plea bargain or set him to cracking rocks, because this is just ridiculous.

I blame the marketing blitz that the whales, with the help of their well-paid cohorts, have implemented—I’m looking at you, MJ. Did your conscience burn with a pain akin to your erratic, struggling heart as the end neared? Did you contemplate how you had lent your compelling vocals to this campaign of misinformation? (Aww, too soon? Don’t look at me like that.)

We need to return to a Melville-heavy perspective, make Ahab a tragic hero who is doing his part for mankind to eliminate massive water-born killers. This blatant propaganda full of calm violins  accompanying those majestic underwater film shots that the human-hating National Geographic fascists keep shoving down our throats is confusing our children, distorting the justice system and our God-given sense of preservation. I’d enlist the Disney juggernaut in this media counteroffensive, but they showed their true colors with the Fantasia 2000 segment where they cannibalized Respighi’s Pines of Rome. Flying whales? What new devilry is this?!

It should be stated here that penguins and dolphins are still adorable and still deserve our friendship. Also Professor Bhaer is a perfectly nice man, yet is found infinitely wanting.

Ok, children, here is the maiden voyage of our hopefully semi-annual Magnificent Woman tribute. Today’s recipient is a Surrealist photographer and writer; she would have won me over solely for being an influence for my favorite photographer that ever breathed (Cindy Sherman), but she tips the scales into uncharted awesomeness by doing two of my favorite things: creating a space for women in the misogynist Surrealist movement, and fighting Nazis:

Claude Cahun, as she was known, intentionally selected a sexually ambiguous name to replace her birth name of Lucy Schwob. Cahun's life was marked by a sense of role reversal; her works pointedly challenged the public's notions of sexuality, gender, beauty, and logic. Surrealism is rooted in Freudian psychology, a branch of thought that displays women as incomplete versions of men, driven largely by their jealousy of what men are and an unconquerable sense of incompetence based on their essential womanhood. Cahun’s presence provided a counter to this predominantly male Surrealist art, with their primary images of women as isolated symbols of eroticism, and strove to epitomize the chameleonic and multiple possibilities of the female identity. In tandem to her photography, Claude worked on a series of monologues called "Heroines," which was based upon female fairy tale characters that intertwined traditional stories with witty comparisons to the contemporary image of women.

In 1937 Claude and her partner Marcel settled in Jersey. Following the outbreak of World War II and the German invasion, they became active resistance fighters and propagandists. The two produced anti-German fliers, many of them snippets from English-to-German translations of BBC reports on the Nazi's crimes, which were pasted together to create rhythmic poems and harsh criticism. The couple then dressed up and attended many German military events in Jersey, strategically placing them in soldier's pockets, on their chairs, etc. Also, fliers were inconspicuously crumpled up and thrown into cars and windows. In 1944 they were arrested and sentenced to death, but luckily the war was ended before the sentences were ever carried out. However, Cahun's health never recovered from her treatment in jail, and she died in 1954.
She was totally nuts. Look at those crazy eyes staring at you out from the mirror. I absolutely love it.

To complement this tribute, and to satisfy the requests of some of those who attended my symposium lecture a couple of weeks ago, I’m including excerpts from the Riot Grrrl Manifesto that was published by the Bikini Kills:

BECAUSE we must take over the means of production in order to create our own moanings.

BECAUSE we don't wanna assimilate to someone else's (boy) standards of what is or isn't.

BECAUSE we are unwilling to falter under claims that we are reactionary "reverse sexists" AND NOT THE TRUEPUNKROCKSOULCRUSADERS THAT WE KNOW we really are.

BECAUSE we know that life is much more than physical survival and are patently aware that the punk rock "you can do anything" idea is crucial to the coming angry grrrl rock revolution which seeks to save the psychic and cultural lives of girls and women everywhere, according to their own terms, not ours.

BECAUSE we are interested in creating non-heirarchical ways of being AND making music, friends, and scenes based on communication + understanding, instead of competition + good/bad categorizations.

BECAUSE we are angry at a society that tells us Girl = Dumb, Girl = Bad, Girl = Weak.

BECAUSE we are unwilling to let our real and valid anger be diffused and/or turned against us via the internalization of sexism as witnessed in girl/girl jealousism and self defeating girltype behaviors.

BECAUSE I believe with my wholeheartmindbody that girls constitute a revolutionary soul force that can, and will change the world for real.

Don’t some of those sentences make you want to smack your lips with pleasure and satisfaction?

I hope I never end up being a Cameron Diaz. Pretty much all she can contribute to the film industry is the occasional movie where she Doesn’t Suck. I would hate to have my high points be defined as just Not Sucking.

And speaking of films and the relative level of suckage, let’s get something clear once and for all: I don’t care what film and television reviews say. And I certainly don’t consider viewership to be relevant to whether I’m going to be entertained. But most importantly, I’m never going to consult a review before seeing a film that has already sparked my interest, and when people forcibly parrot to me what they’ve heard of a movie—either before I’ve seen it or as a counter to my impressions when they still haven’t seen it—I become massively irritated. Twitchy, seized up muscles, creepy calm face and dead disingenuous eyes irritated.

Ye have been warned. Yonder there be treacherous waters.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A Desperate Attempt to De-Legitimize Myself

Ned is a fabulous whistler. Ned is the jolly very deaf old man who occupies the corner opposite from me in our basement, plodding along at his mysterious accounting responsibilities which after almost two years I still haven’t quite been able to identify. He also takes long and very contented-looking naps in the break room. I get jealous every time I go in there to get yet another Diet Coke. But above all, Ned whistles. He whistles in a fashion I would not have considered possible for someone so very deaf. His whistle trills, thrills, and sings. He also does that, by the way. Sings. Full-throated old-man sings. It’s great. More than a little bizarre, but great. All of this adds a little much-needed color to the homogenous crowd that is the accounting and payment services departments.

That is, it did. Until yesterday.

Beginning March 7th in the year of our Lord two thousand and eleven, Ned has persistently, consistently and quite accurately whistled “On My Own” from the seminal classic Les Miserables. Which is just dandy, except that once upon a time I was an overly delusional/emotional eleven year old who latched onto that song with a fervor and devotion unparalleled by anything except parasitic organisms. I really couldn’t tell you why I seemed so determined in fifth and sixth grade to identify with songs and sentimentalities that were so obviously out of my depth. But I was passionate about how much those types of songs “spoke” to me.

Me, the chunky eleven year old with glasses biting into her chubby cheeks and a sneaking suspicion that Santa maybe could still exist. Who was so far removed from the adult themes of those songs that a year later I bought a condom from a woman’s bathroom dispensary and still had no idea what it was. And I didn’t even have good taste. Sure, I though that “On My Own” spoke to me (because no one gets the pain and torture of lonely, beaten down women in the throes of unrequited love like prepubescent girls, right? Right?), but I also almost wore out Celine Dion’s “Falling Into You” album and I tuned into Delilah’s radio show every night on KOZY.

Yeah. You read that right. I’m pretty sure I’ve never owned up to that until this very moment. Ohh, the hours I spent listening on the most maladjusted, dysfunctional, selfish people pour their hearts out to the always sugary, always banal Delilah! I blame her for my hypoglycemic condition as much as I do the unfortunate seventh grade diet of Slim Fast and Diet Coke. But it’s been enough time, and I’ve so very assiduously made up for it in the decade since, it feels right to come clean about my thoroughly lame use of time.

This confession also explains why even to this day I shy away from overly demonstrative emotional displays. Because in my experience, eleven year olds who are fascinated by things they don’t understand are the only ones who behave that way. Which is incredibly unfair to many of my much more emotionally developed and comfortable friends, but it certainly is a clue to my reserved manner in matters of sentimentality.

Pretty much this entire line of thought is Ned’s fault, because he won’t stop whistling that beautiful but damned song, and I can’t stop cycling through my conflicting memories of appreciation and disdain.

This should also explain why I take such perverse delight in blasting “I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing” by Aerosmith. It’s one of the emotion-junkie songs I didn’t really listen to until recently, and glorying in the ridiculously overwrought vocals is sorta therapy, some positive connections with something similar but not identical to that magnificently mortifying part of my childhood.

It hurts my soul when Pandora lets music group profiles be written by people who really don't like the band. I’ve come to terms with people having different music tastes than me, and I don’t mind healthy criticism, but I do protest the time and place for such snarkiness. When you’re listening to your station on Pandora and click the group’s tab to learn more about them, it feels a little mean spirited and guerrilla warfare-esque to have every line full of little jabs at their authenticity or message. Take your aggression out on youtube comments like a normal person, for crying out loud.

As is typical, this blog post is happening because I’m fairly openly terrified that I won’t have my stuff together for my symposium presentation on Friday. I could easily just do a twenty minute rant about the disenfranchised, voiceless modern woman, but I don’t think that would win many points with my professor. Or my mother. Or any of my male friends that might show up.

Ghaa, growing up and doing what you’ve dreamt of doing for years is just the worst.