Thursday, December 16, 2010

#Reverb10: 16.0

December 16 – Friendship

How has a friend changed you or your perspective on the world this year? Was this change gradual, or a sudden burst?

(Author: Martha Mihalick)


So I've either been too busy or not interested enough in the prompts to write for the past few days. However, today's prompt needs to be discussed, because one of my friends profoundly influenced the way I live my life.

My friend Amy Jesse convinced me to go vegetarian.

Amy's one of the most unapologetic and least hypocritical animal rights proponent that I know. Although I don't always agree with her views (example: her allegiance with PETA), she has a way of articulating her arguments that makes them difficult to refute. Listening to her views, coupled with a viewing of the documentary "Food, Inc.," convinced me it was time to cut meat from my diet. I started in January, immediately cutting out pork, chicken and beef. Once the BP spill occurred in the Gulf, I cut out fish. I have made an effort not buy any new leather accessories (although I am having a really tough time with finding cute, non-leather shoes in my size). I feel I'm doing my part in my own way and I'm happy with the decision I made.

I want to go off-topic for a moment, however. I have never found myself as questioned in my beliefs as I am over MY PERSONAL CHOICE to not eat meat. Seriously, what the fuck is that about? I could care less what you do when it comes to eating. Do I feel a certain way about eating meat? Yeah, I do. But that doesn't mean that I go around harassing people at steakhouses. So what right do you have to question the leather seats in my car (a '98 that I paid for in cash in '07, so suck it)? Or how I haven't cut out dairy? Why are people so threatened by the personal actions of another person when it absolutely doesn't involve them? I think it's because those who question are trying to justify their own actions by poking holes in my lifestyle. If you feel guilt about eating meat, then that's your baggage - I already made peace with mine.

#Reverb10 is a project that encourages people to reflect on the current year and manifest what's to come in the next by responding to a daily prompt. To get involved with #Reverb10, click on over to their website and join in the fun.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

#Reverb10: 11.0

Prompt: 11 Things. What are 11 things your life doesn't need in 2011? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life?

Author: Sam Davidson
50 Things Your Life Doesn't Need
@samdavidson

11 Things I Don't Need in My Life:

[First off, let's break down the word "need," shall we? It's both a noun and a verb. It's intransitive and transitive; you can do it and it can be done unto you. Mrs. Merriam and Webster describes the noun version as "a necessary duty: obligation;... a physiological or psychological requirement for the well-being of an organism." It's also an acronym for the National Energy Education Development project. But let's assume that I am to take eleventeen facets of my life that are not obligatory nor necessary to be functional. That means I can't include things like taxes and rent (obligatory) or going to the dentist (necessary for healthy functioning). But do I go so far as to include things like my ridiculous cable package? Granted, I don't "need" it, but I want it and like having it. I also don't "need" my closet full of shoes, but I don't foresee giving away my collection anytime soon. So how do I go about making this list? I think I'm going to ruminate on this one and read some other posts to see how people interpreted the parameters of the word in question.]


#Reverb10 is a project that encourages people to reflect on the current year and manifest what's to come in the next by responding to a daily prompt. To get involved with #Reverb10, click on over to their website and join in the fun.

Friday, December 10, 2010

#Reverb10: 10.0

December 10 – Wisdom

Wisdom. What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out?

(Author: Susannah Conway)

The Top 10 Wisest Decisions I made this year:

1) Chugging through Spring Break to bang out my thesis.

2) Going home with Erica Goodman (aka my lifesaver) on my birthday.

3) Standing firm with my work on going back east for Christmas.

4) Going to talks featuring Jim Sheeler and Kelly Kennedy, reading their work and working with Jim on my thesis and writing.

5) Staying in Colorado for at least another year.

6) Not killing the dog after she tried to eat my Fryes.

7) Signing up to volunteer at the Great American Beer Festival (and taking the bus and leaving by 7pm on the second night).

8) Leaving the bar at midnight (this occurred on several occasions).

9) Although it pains me to say this, not buying Stanley Cup playoff tickets. I had two of them in my hands for the final game against the Habs and I turned them down. I would have spent double on the plane ticket. In the end, it was a wise financial decision and the Flyers just really need to be good forever.

10) Taking on this project and sticking to it.

#Reverb10: 9.0

December 9 – Party

Prompt: Party. What social gathering rocked your socks off in 2010? Describe the people, music, food, drink, clothes, shenanigans.

(Author: Shauna Reid)

Oy... another toughy. I'm really bad at selecting one thing when it comes to the "best" moments or favorite things. For one this year's not over, and there are 21 potentially epic nights to be had. I think though, this year, I had a pretty rocking time on the day I defended my thesis and on my 27th birthday. Both involved copious libation and big groups of friends. But I also count Boulder Humane's "Puttin' on the Leash" event in April as one of the most fun nights, and I was volunteering, not partying. I also had a blast playing in the King of Mountain volleyball tournament in Vail with Amy (that only involved a little beer and lots of ibuprofen).

It's weird how my social life has changed in the last two years. I used to be a superheavy partier in Philly, going out several nights a week and drinking my weight in Jack Daniels. I would often only be getting in an hour or two before I had to be at work and would suffer through the day only to stifle my hangover by going out again. I'm not glorifying my life, but I'm glad I lived through it (literally and figuratively). While I still like the occasional crazy night (last night, for example, which I am paying for today), they are few and far between these days. But my most fun social gatherings involve the same elements: my friends, music, and face-splitting laughter.


#Reverb10 is a project that encourages people to reflect on the current year and manifest what's to come in the next by responding to a daily prompt. To get involved with #Reverb10, click on over to their website and join in the fun.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

#Reverb10: 8.0

December 8 – Beautifully Different.

Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different – you’ll find they’re what make you beautiful.

(Author: Karen Walrond)

What makes me different? Than what? To whom? To be considered "different," you have to believe that there is a "normal," or at least a standard by which all people are evaluated. And I'm not entirely sure that exists. There are standards for athletes and models/the fashion industry (the existence of sample sizes in clothing and shoes prove this). But what's the standard for 20-something underemployed people with graduate degrees from the east coast who moved to Colorado and love their dog more than most people?

I think there are a lot of things that make me beautiful, but I'm not entirely sure they make me different. I like my smile, but that was created by $3000+ worth of orthodontics when I was 12. My hair is amazing, but I have my genetics to thank for this, and a lot of people have curly hair that's thick and dark (like my entire family). I'm also tall, but not freakishly so, unless I'm wearing one of my many pairs of 4-inch heels. I'm also scathing, funny, and blunt; but so are most of my friends, and that's why we like each other. I have tattoos and piercings, but so do a lot of people. Body mod isn't exactly unique anymore. My only discernible differences are my weird medical ailments, and they certainly don't make me beautiful. They hurt my body and cost a lot of money, and they're a nuisance in my life. My experiences are also different, and they do make me beautiful to some extent, but only if I choose to use them to not repeat mistakes and to learn and grow, as opposed to using them to wallow in self-pity or loathing. I don't want to use my life as a crutch or reason that I'm different from others (in the way that "no one understands me"); I use my experiences as fodder for the creation of the person I want to be.

I've also found that people who try to be "different," to rail against ANY standard that they believe to be the norm, are desperately attempting to fit in somewhere. Anywhere. Look at any high school. Or watch any indie movie where the chick is so weird and "look at me, I'm DIFFERENT!" that it becomes a ploy for attention so sickeningly desperate and reeking of insecurity. If you love yourself, you don't try to be different: you just ARE.

With the increasing number of people in the world and a perpetual desire to become "individuals," are our differences really all that discernible?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Technical difficulties

I was all set to post a #Reverb10 rant about how "communities" can turn into "cliques" but how the animal rescue community on Twitter rocks but I feel like crap on a cracker so I will be doing nothing of the sort this evening. Hopefully I'll be able to catch up on the reverbbing tomorrow. Regardless of what I think of the prompts, I'm striving to write on the daily. I guess this technically counts... eh, probably not but whatever, I need to go to bed.

Monday, December 6, 2010

And the inevitable mash-up

I can always count on Brownie to help me realize my dreams:


Lady Hewes. Or Patty Gaga. Whatever you want to call it, I love it.

#Reverb10: 6.0

December 6 – Make.

What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it?

(Author: Gretchen Rubin)

Lady Gaga sunglasses.


Damn right I made them! There's no $3 piece of plastic that can't be jazzed up with some rhinestones and glue. For real - I love bedazzling shit. If it were socially acceptable, I would bedazzle everything. That's why I take out my love of embellishment on my dog, for whom I also made a collar with shiny things glued to it. These same jewels adorn my Fat City tote (and have remained glued after two years of tough wear, go me!). Underneath this classic, sporty exterior there is a drag queen who just wants to bathe in glitter. Who knew?

#Reverb10 is a project that encourages people to reflect on the current year and manifest what's to come in the next by responding to a daily prompt. To get involved with #Reverb10, click on over to their website and join in the fun.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

#Reverb10: 5.0

December 5 – Let Go.

What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why?

(Author: Alice Bradley)

I wanted to say "cigarettes," but I allow myself the occasional puff of a clove now and then (and half a pack of P-funks on my birthday, in between taking shots and forcibly making out with my friend). I believe that to truly quit something, you can't kill yourself over satisfying a craving now and then.

I would say "meat," but I did buy a pair of leather shoes last month. PRADA leather shoes. But at least I'm not eating animals anymore. I cannot say the same for processed, non-animal soy patties that taste like chicken. Those are awesome.

I could absolutely say "sex," since it's been well over a year since I've gotten any, but a long-winded post on celibacy would probably make my mom uncomfortable, mostly because odds are she's getting laid more than I am at half her age and that's weird. But good for her, if that's indeed the case (by the way, I really don't need/want to know either way, so let's pretend those last few sentences never happened. I'm still a virgin).

I'd like to believe I let go of Army John, but after talking to his mom last month, I was reminded of that failed relationship. I'm still angry with him and the way things ended. I don't think I need calm, adult, logical closure, but I need him bound to a chair with duct tape in a sound-proof room and 30 minutes to scream and beat the shit out of him until I feel better.

I thought maybe I could write about [redacted], but I'm still angry (upset? I don't know) that she chose to end her life. It still doesn't seem fair: to us, to her, to anyone. I think that in my desire to let go, I ignore how little I've actually been able to do so and how last November still haunts me with all the things left unsaid.

I really want to write about giving up part of my family, because I think I've finally come to terms with that. I've stopped blaming myself for the short-comings of others and know that your *real* family are the people you choose to be closest to you. Love isn't conferred by birthright (um, obviously). But, honestly, the entire situation is complicated and makes me very sad and I don't really feel the need to publicly write about it. I also don't need to be Googled by said family then listen to angry voicemails about my writing (note: I didn't get voicemails when I graduated with my master's, but I'll get them about something I write online. Sorry to be crass, but fuck that noise, right?).

I guess what I'm thinking is that I'm bad at letting go.

#Reverb10 is a project that encourages people to reflect on the current year and manifest what's to come in the next by responding to a daily prompt. To get involved with #Reverb10, click on over to their website and join in the fun.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

#Reverb10: 4.0

December 4 – Wonder.

How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year?

(Author: Jeffrey Davis)

It's too early for me to lie: I Googled.

According to the almighty Google, "sense of wonder" either refers to the book by environmentalist Rachel Carson or relates to science fiction. In Brave New Words: The Oxford Dictionary of Science Fiction Jeff Prucher writes that a "sense of wonder" refers to "a feeling of awakening or awe triggered by an expansion of one’s awareness of what is possible or by confrontation with the vastness of space and time, as brought on by reading science fiction."

I'm not sure that's what the prompt's author had in mind. But, my mind doesn't work in those terms.

I don't think in terms of "wonder." I'm not casting a judgment on it, either way, but that's not how my brain works. That's not to say that I'm not invigorated by or interested in the world around me, but I've never found myself in what I would consider a "sense of wonder." When I read about the possibilities of the world, I'm not awed so much as aware and accepting of the general state of things. Reading Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything might have been the closest I came, when I really, seriously and logically considered how freaking rare the cultivation of life on this rock was some billions of years ago. That's how my sense of wonder works: pragmatically, realistically.

Most of the concepts that demand my attention are tangible and timely. I prefer to get passionate about causes and concepts rather than sit back and revel in them. That's what "wonder" has always seemed like to me: inaction, sitting back and being dumbstruck by something, and that's just not my style. I do take time to enjoy the world around me (see previous post about "moment"), but rarely do so passively. For me, wonder isn't something I consciously experience, but maybe it works for others. But that's the beauty of words that signify emotions: they're open to interpretation as is the entire world around us.

#Reverb10 is a project that encourages people to reflect on the current year and manifest what's to come in the next by responding to a daily prompt. To get involved with #Reverb10, click on over to their website and join in the fun.

Friday, December 3, 2010

#Reverb10: 3.0

December 3 – Moment.

Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors).

(Author: Ali Edwards)


Wow, this is a tough one. I've had some pretty intense experiences this year, all of which happened while I was outside. I feel most alive immersed in nature. I think one of my most prominent "alive" moments happened when I summitted my first 14'er, but that doesn't count since it happened in 2009. Another one from this year was my first concert at Red Rocks. I went to see Gogol Bordello and Primus in August and it was a perfect night. I cannot confirm or deny the existence of substances which may have heightened said experience, so this one doesn't count either.

This year, one of my most "alive" days was when I turned in my thesis and took off to Breckenridge for a bluebird day of late-season skiing. It was the last week that Breck was open and it had just snowed two inches the night before. I woke up, emailed my thesis to my committee, and peaced out. It was one of the most perfect days: sunny, warm and I had a great day on my fatties (which had thrown me a learning curve last season). There was almost no one there (seeing as it was a Wednesday in April) and I had so many moment and trails to myself. I tried skiing backwards without fear of falling (or, more importantly, of being made fun of). The air was fresh and crisp, and it still smelled like winter. The picture I took from the top of Peak 10 was my background on my laptop for a long time.

I also had to make a difficult phone call that day. Back in the parking lot, I dialed my friend back in PA (who I had known since I was 12) to offer my condolences. Her mother had passed away after a long battle with breast cancer. I hadn't spoken to this friend in years, and it was nerve-racking to dial her number. It's funny how friendship maintains itself though; and it was odd how she ended up offering words of comfort to me. She was sad, but at peace with the situation, and just glad that she was able to spend her mom's final moments by her side. That moment was a life-affirming one - that the powers of friendship and love are stronger than death, stronger than stress and more powerful than fear.

#Reverb10 is a project that encourages people to reflect on the current year and manifest what's to come in the next by responding to a daily prompt. To get involved with #Reverb10, click on over to their website and join in the fun.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

#Reverb10: 2.0

December 2 Writing.
What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it?
(Author: Leo Babauta)

Is this a trick question?

Everything I do contributes to my writing. My writing is fueled by my life and my experiences. I write about what I like, what I hate, but most importantly, what I know. Hell, even television contributes to my writing (thanks, Pajiba!)

If I really have to answer this, my job doesn't contribute to my writing right now. Don't get me wrong - being in retail gives me TONS of fodder for anecdotes, rants and advice columns. However, I can't write about any of it because I don't feel like getting ratted out/fired. (And, yes, people DO get fired for shit like this... ask me or Chez Pazienza).

So, I guess I could eliminate my job, which would also eliminate my apartment, food and comfortable bed from which I write this morning. But that seems counter-intuitive.

#Reverb10 is a project that encourages people to reflect on the current year and manifest what's to come in the next by responding to a daily prompt. To get involved with #Reverb10, click on over to their website and join in the fun.

#Reverb10: 1.0

December 1 One Word.
Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you?
(Author: Gwen Bell)

One word for 2010:
Persevere.

This has been an interesting year. I came into it having lost very close friends (some to death, some to their own lives) and knowing I would end my graduate career in May. I spent four months dreadfully unemployed and three without health insurance. I had 15 days to find a place for me and my bully breed dog to live and no idea where the first month's rent was going to come from. I was screwed over by family members and finally finished separating myself from their drama back east. I watched friends get married while I myself was coming up on a year of celibacy (and nearly three of not being on a legitimate date). Don't get me wrong - I had some good times, but I had a lot of roadblocks that just kept popping up, one after another. And I made it. I have a job, a beautiful apartment, a job (not a great job, but a job) and I like my solo life. I still don't know where the rent is coming from or how the bills are going to be paid, but I do know it's going to be alright.

Potential words for 2011?
Now, we all know I'm no good at choosing one thing for any thing. What words do I hope for 2011 to embody? Manifest. Succeed. Love. I want to manifest my dreams into reality. I want to finally achieve the level of success I feel I should been achieving at this point in my life (in whatever way I feel that should occur). I want to love what I do, who I am and the people in my life. I already love my dog so I got that going for me. I'm envisioning big things and this time, I know they're going to happen. Bring it, 2011. I'm ready.

#Reverb10 is a project that encourages people to reflect on the current year and manifest what's to come in the next by responding to a daily prompt. To get involved with #Reverb10, click on over to their website and join in the fun.

Monday, November 29, 2010

We'll be right back after this message...

I've been MIA for all of November. To the 3.5 people reading this blog, I apologize. I could give a million reasons for being distracted, but none of them really matter when you're a writer and what you're supposed to do is write. I've been trying to stay positive and stay away from ranting (especially since potential employers read this stuff and I'd like to get hired soon... HI POTENTIAL EMPLOYERS!!!! HIIIIIIIIII!!!!!).

So here I give you Annie Lennox's cover of "Don't Let It Bring You Down." It's a beautiful little tune off 1995's Medusa, and was featured in American Beauty. I rediscovered this song while flipping through a bunch of mix CDs I made in high school and college. It seems fitting for this time in my life.

The video's not spectacular, but it doesn't need to be. The song speaks for itself.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Infiltration.

Your mission, if you choose to accept it:

Infiltrate the enemy.


Your human companion's mission: To laugh at your squirrel likeness for the duration of Halloween, only to be curtailed when she decides to put on your pirate costume instead.


Sorry.

Happy Halloween! :D

Friday, October 29, 2010

Make your community pit bull friendly!

For those of you living under a rock, I'm a "pit bull" owner (she's actually an American Staffordshire Terrier because pit bull isn't really a breed, but a description of traits). I'm also a member and supporter of Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah, a rescue group committed to achieving the goal of "No More Homeless Pets." They rescue all species of animal – even pigs and horses – and work to adopt them out to forever homes. If the animal can't be adopted (for health or other reasons), BFAS keeps them for the duration of their lives. This is the case with a handful of the Vicktory Dogs, and that's how I got into supporting their rescue work.

I get their email newsletter and I don't know why I read these harrowing (yet hopeful) stories before I even get out of bed, but I do. I suppose it motivates me in my goal to create a more fair world for my lil bully breed and other abused animals. I wanted to draw attention to an article about Pitbull Awareness Day (which I guess was last Saturday, but I've never been big on "awareness" initiatives, but that's a blog post for another day). It gives some really great information about pitbull stereotyping and how to end it. You can read that article here.

I know that people fear this breed for various reasons, but I know that Juno has assuaged those fears for many people. I think it's important to remember that not all dogs are created equal, as is the same with people. Some are raised to be aggressive but it's not due to their breed, it's due to their training. Yes, pit bulls do bite, but so do other breeds, while pit bulls bites are often mis- or over-reported; they also score highly in temperament testing.

Of course, there are going to be people who disagree with all of this, and that's fine. I just don't care to know you. So make sure you cross the street when you see me and my dog, because you have a better chance of getting hit by a car doing so than walking next to us and having my dog attack you. Keep your ignorance to yourself; I'm not interested in anyone spewing hate here. But, if you're interested in promoting fair dangerous dog legislation in your community (unlike the breed ban in Denver, one that specifically targets pits and not dangerous dogs in general), you can find info here.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Stuck in my head: The Black Angels, "Young Men Dead"

Alright, advertising agency: you got me on this one.

So a few days ago I was just chillin', chillin', mindin' my business when a dreaded commercial came on during what was undoubtedly some mind-numbingly trashy television show. Before my nimble fingers could reach the remote to flip the script, I was captivated by what I heard.

It was an ad for a video game – Fable III – and the captivating song in question is "Young Men Dead" by The Black Angels. I immediately found it online and downloaded it (yes, I paid, because I'm a slave to the man, obviously). I've been listening to it non-stop on these past few rare rainy Colorado days and am hooked. It's psychedelic, moody and cinematic; it actually reminds me of Moby's version of Joy Division's "New Dawn Fades," but with a more interesting vocal sound. The lyrics are also pretty haunting, especially with today's conflicts abroad and the young men coming back home, some in a box and far too young.

I don't know about the rest of the band's catalog, but this song has piqued my interest enough to find out more. If there's more head-sticking fun to be had, rest assured it'll pop up here.

Here's the video game trailer so you can the effect of the snippet that hooked me. See where it takes you...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

On those who cheat.

Some of you might have, at one point, sat at home crying over a significant other who cheated on you. You wonder how they could hurt you, betray you like that. How the HELL they could step out on you with someone else?? And, even worse, who in god's name is the horrific, tarty slut who made, no... FORCED (obviously)... your angel of a boyfriend cheat on you?

Well – that would be me.

Guys love to cheat on their girlfriends with me. It's happened several times. I'm not happy about it, nor am I proud. In fact, I'm pissed about it. Most of the time I had no idea the guy was dating someone else; once I did, I put a stop to the chicanery. Recently, a good friend decided to try to cheat with me and, honestly, I was shocked. I was also about to puke my face off from an over-indulgence of whiskey, and I can't imagine how I was attractive to anyone at all by that point. When I unhooked his face from mine, I reminded him of his girlfriend and that he would feel like shit in the morning for doing this. When I yanked his face off mine a second time (ugh), I told him that he was making me feel like shit. That I would wake up the next morning not only knowing that I hurt some other chick that I didn't even know, let alone have a vendetta against. And, on top of it, I would wake up just as alone as the night before. The moment, however passionate one thought it to be, would be (and was) entirely empty. And I was angry that I found myself in this bullshit position yet again.

Is it because I'm a hot-blooded sex vixen who dresses to kill and sleeps with anything that moves? Well, I do dress to kill (several credit card companies can vouch for that), but I'm not so sure about the rest. I love sports and am a bit of a tomboy (who wears high heels and tight jeans). But I've also been celibate for over a year (hi mom!) and have no intention of breaking that streak any time soon. I haven't been in a legit relationship since 2007 when I had my heart ripped out of my chest and stomped into a million shattered pieces. I'm not really looking for anything, serious or otherwise, either. Shit, I even only made out ONCE in the past year and it was because 1) it was my birthday and 2) my friend's last night in town, so it was more of a celebratory raping of his face. So what is it about me that screams "Pick HER!"? Is it because I'm the guy's gal, the "safe" bet, who won't go nuts and Google your chick, call her and tell her? Is it because I seem emotionally unattached to everything? Is it because you think that just because I can take a joke and all of your bullshit and still be your friend that I have no feelings? I'm fucking tough but no ice queen and hate feeling like I've been taken advantage of. And basically, that's what you're doing when you cheat with someone. You disregard not only your significant other's feelings, but those of the other person, to the guilt you place upon them and the hurt you assign to the one you supposedly "love." It's bullshit.

How do I know this? Because I've also cheated. Hey – I never claimed to be an angel, but I learn from my mistakes. I remember clearly the moment it happened... well, I was wasted, so not entirely clearly. Afterward, I cried my eyes out for hours. The transgression was merely a drunken kiss (in the middle of Red Square with snow falling softly... fuck, it was romantic for a Russia nerd!) but I was sick about it for weeks. I never told my boyfriend about it because it fundamentally changed the way I felt about our relationship; I knew that I loved him and only him and that I would never, EVER act that way again (and I didn't, so there). I also knew that if he stepped out on me, I would be absolutely devastated (tangentially, he might have just found out now, which is weird because wow, he reads my blog and, well, sorry, but he got the last laugh in our relationship and he knows what I mean by that, so don't feel too bad for him because karma worked things out). It was a moment of incredibly poor judgment (being drunk does not negate that fact), but I also learned something: I didn't want to be one of "those people" who cheated. Ever.

Somehow that feeling doesn't translate to some people. Some say it takes two to cheat, but it really only takes one insanely selfish person who brings another person into their crime. It's like making someone pick you up from the bank robbery without telling them they're driving the getaway car. Of course, everyone feels better if there's a third party to blame – then there's a torrid shrew who led the otherwise devoted man astray from monogamy (evil wench!). That's just not true. It takes one person to make the decision to break from monogamy, period. And I don't want to be a part of other people's bad decisions.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Coyotes and other things

Most nights I feel like I've had the life sucked out of me.

My feet hurt. I don't feel like writing. I don't feel like anything.

At night I can hear the coyotes. I can't tell how far away they are and I've never seen one. But I know they are there. The noise they make is nothing like I've ever heard. It's not the deep howling romanticized in Westerns but a pained yelping that sounds like harmonious torture. They're high-pitched and I can't help but think they all sound female. Tonight one of the horses in the field next door whinnied loudly. I've never heard them make noise before. Then I heard the coyotes in the distance. A frightening juxtaposition.

My feet hurt too much to get up and look.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Welcome to Doctober

Game one of the NLDS between my Phillies and the Reds popped off at CBP tonight. Thankfully, I had the day off and was able to watch Roy "Doc" Halladay kick off his first playoff run by pitching a no hitter. He walked one in the sixth but otherwise pitched an impeccable game (and had defensive support, especially from Carlos Ruiz on that final play).

My friend Nicole was lucky enough to attend tonight and send me this video of the last out and ensuing mayhem. It was a beautiful thing.


video

Good morning, beautiful: No seal? No problem.

Today's a big day for me... interview, first game of the NLDS (Go Phils, baby)... and no matter how much I want to sweat bullets (and probably will because I've been blessed with the gift of excessive perspiration), this video reminds me that all situations can be handled with grace and humor.

Thanks, Mr. President!

"All of you know who I am" (via Washington Post)

Friday, October 1, 2010

Awesome, awesome, awesome

I love Justin Timberlake, I'm psyched for The Social Network and the Roots might be one of the sickest bands of all time (Philly sons, holla!).

Thanks to Justin promoting his new movie, we got this gem of a rap medley from his appearance on Jimmy Fallon. It's already gone way viral but it's just too killer to not post here.

Timberlake & Fallon - "The History of Rap"

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Persistence of Love

Today at work, an older woman (mid-to-late-60s) asked me for my opinion. Me, being full of opinions, obliged. She emerged from the fitting room in a pair of bootcut jeans with embellishment on the back pockets. They weren't overly blingy or whiskered; they were dark, simple, age-appropriate. I liked them. I told her I did.

She wanted to be sure she looked nice in them, especially from the back. She went on to tell me that her husband told her that he was going to burn her old jeans because he couldn't see her figure in them. He also wanted her to get ones that hugged and lifted her butt.

"I mean, these are tighter than normal," she said. "He just loves to see my body." She shook her head with incredulity at the notion.

"I guess if these don't work, they'll just go in the fire too."

I laughed and told her I thought it was cool that he still wanted to see the shape of her body. She smiled and nodded her head in agreement.

It was then I was reminded of the persistence of love.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Stuck in my head: Tool, "Stinkfist"

Thanks to my friend Ryan Vox (lead singer of Avoiding the Angel and a few other projects and a good pal from back in the Illadelph), I now have this song stuck in my head. He posted a lyric from it on Facebook and it just started the desire to hear it going strong.

"Stinkfist" is a great Tool song - not one I count among my favorites, mostly because I forget how awesome it is. It's definitely one of the best live tracks at their shows, superintense and raw. A line that sticks with me is "I'll keep digging until I feel something." The grit in Maynard's voice when he sings that reminds me of how I used to feel when I'd get angry and self-destructive. It doesn't matter if you find hurt or pain, you just want to feel anything but the way you do in that moment. This song has been with me during long runs, nighttime drives, crying hysterically punching walls and also being the happiest I've ever felt. Tool's one of the few bands whose music allows me to experience a full range of emotions, rather than just one or two. To me, their songs are angry, beautiful, raging and cathartic all at once.

So, thanks Vox, for bringing this track back to the forefront of my brain and onto this page. Without further ado, "Stinkfist":

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Stuck in my head: Lady Gaga, "Poker Face"


So this crazy biatch won like 100 MTV Video Music Awards the other night and has been all over the TV and whatnot after asking the legendary Cher to hold her meat purse. And I have to admit, I love every minute of this attention.

I confess... I love Lady Gaga.

I just watched Fuse's "Loaded: Lady Gaga," a 30-minute block of her music videos (ironically, Fuse actually plays music videos unlike MTV and I am loving the network in a big way right about now). If I actually get any of the Halloween nights off this year, I'm totally dressing as her (which also means I had better restart my gym regimen like tomorrow).

Be a hater if you must, but Lady Gaga is awesome, catchy, an art form, a constant supporter of gay rights and just a Tisch kid with an awesome voice and a vision who fell into pop music.

Love her, and love "Poker Face." Blue swimsuit, FTW

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Struggling to lack judgment

One of the things I learned after moving to Colorado was that I couldn't change many of the people or circumstances around me, so I had to learn to change myself. I don't mean to fundamentally change who I am, or who I want to be, but to change the way I react to and perceive the world around me. I'm a firm believer that you either change things or learn to deal with them as they are (in the meantime, at least... I do not believe in complacency). It's high time I started living my life, fully, by that conviction.

Here's where I'm falling short: my judgment of others. I don't do so outright much of the time, mostly because it's not my place. If my friend tells me about a problem or a dalliance or something I don't agree with, I'm mostly there to listen and not make assumptions or tell them my opinion of their action or situation (unless they ask, of course). I try to accept people and give the benefit of the doubt (however, I cannot say I give strangers and acquaintances the same consideration in these terms as my close friends). The problem is that, in my head, I am judging. I am formulating an opinion about you based on your actions. And I need to stop.

My biggest challenge with this right now is my judgment of people who *aren't* helping with the fire situation in Boulder (more on this later, I can't even muster the emotional energy to write about it). I've spent my last three days off volunteering for the relief effort through the Humane Society of Boulder Valley. We've been helping both people and their pets by running a donation drive; the response has been amazing. I truly live in one of the most generous and willing communities ever, and that's what makes the inaction of those who don't help out even more egregious. I'm not saying I deserve a medal for this - I'm a flawed person and volunteering doesn't right any of my wrongs. But, goddamn, does it feel good to give back after spending so many years in self-indulgent ignorance of the outside world. I think what bothers me most are the excuses: "I'm too busy," "I work," "I have a family." Every day I volunteer with people who have all of those responsibilities, yet never complain of not having enough time. I stand at work all day, often in uncomfortable high heels, and my feet fucking hurt and I'm exhausted by being nice to strangers who could give a fuck all day. But spending five hours outside sorting through people's donated clothing didn't feel like a chore; it felt incredible. But that's me, my experience. I have no right to judge others, especially if the action doesn't translate into their ethos.

I have to separate my own personal fulfillment from that of others. I need to stop being frustrated with others and deal with my feelings of resentment in a constructive way. Does that mean I stop being friends with people I judge? I don't know. I think that decision is not one to take lightly but is definitely situational. In this case, I think my resentments are founded on prior experiences, ones I need to let go of or will eat away at me forever (and at my positive perception of an individual, which is unfair to them). People need the chance to change and act in their own way, without my judgment (silent or not).

I should take heed of the quote from Buddha that I myself put in my Facebook profile: "Those who are free of resentful thoughts surely find peace."

Time to take my own advice and leave my opinions of others at the door. My opinion of myself is what matters and it will only get better as I work toward a lack of judgment.

“Those who are free of resentful thoughts surely find peace.”

Friday, September 10, 2010

Friday Night Lame

Friday night television is filled with wedding shows. Okay, TLC's Friday night lineup is filled with wedding shows. When I get home from work, I'm usually too brain dead to flip through the stupid amount of channels on the TV, so I stop around TLC and let myself get sucked in.

Anyway, here's what my lame ass has observed over the past few weeks (okay, maybe it's been over the past few months...) about weddings. Getting married has never really appealed to me, but I've still formed opinions about what I like and dislike when it comes to the hullabaloo surrounding one's wedding:

1) Traditional, big, crazy weddings can be fun, but man, they are just not something I want to plan. Or pay for. I'll be shooting for laid back.

2) If you are nervous, is that a bad sign? I wouldn't know because I've never walked down the aisle, but I feel like if I were nervous I would take it as a sign and run for the hills.

3) If I'm gonna dive into lifetime monogamy, I damn well am going to have a blast doing it and it's damn well gonna happen on the beach or in the mountains. There will not be a church, or $10,000 worth of flowers, or relatives I don't know. It's going to be destination, with awesome food and drinks and close friends and fam.

4) My wedding is the one day where I can buy shoes that cost more than my rent and no one can pass judgment (I've already done this once in my life and even I judged me).

5) No gifts, please. I got a rice cooker once three years ago and I still haven't plugged it in.

6) How do people decide that buying a $23,000 wedding dress is a good idea?

7) 85% of my budget will be spent on food, because food is awesome and I will want to eat after spending the six previous months fasting to look bangin' for one day.

On a programming note, wedding competition shows are a fascinatingly awkward phenomenon. There is this show called "Four Weddings" on TLC where four brides compete to see who has the best wedding. It's entertaining because these chicks are so subtly (and, sometimes, not too subtly) judge-y. Women are hilarious when they compete over shit like this.

And there is some crazy shit pulled at these weddings. For example, this episode of "Four Weddings" is featuring a 7:30am breakfast wedding for a bride in a blue dress, one of the most heinous brides ever (in personality) and a couple who is four years younger than me and has $20k to spend on a wedding.

I would feel lame about how much I've thought about all of this if I weren't so unwilling to leave the house when these shows are on.

Good morning, beautiful: Hipster D-heads

Just when I thought my day was all about work and then being too tired for the early morning I have tomorrow, I saw this on Boing Boing. It is awesome. And completely profane, so don't listen to it at work (without headphones).


Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The fortuitous schedule

Wow, it's been a while. I'm working now, in retail, and the hours are kind of nuts as retail hours usually are. However, the last two weeks have brought about a number of fortuitous scheduling coincidences that have facilitated a damn good time.

1) I had off last Thursday, my 27th birthday. Yes, I'm 27. It's weird. I kind of feel old, but I think that's because I live near a college town and work with youngin's too. Well, I took that day off to act like I was turning 21 and it was kind of awesome to get wild with it. Friday at work? Not so fun. But Saturday off, some cheesecake courtesy of Miss Jordan WB, was also perfect.

2) I have off this Thursday as well. THE PHILLIES ARE IN TOWN THIS THURSDAY!!! They're here to play a make up game fom the May series during which it a) kinda snowed and b) I had food poisoning or the stomach flu. I went to the opening game but felt like hell the next day and couldn't go. Thankfully, the game was sleeted out (hooray for Colorado weather). So now, they're back and I'm going. The Phils are 3-0 when I attend their Colorado road games, so I hope I can keep my streak going. Either that or I'm gonna pull a Dee from Always Sunny and run on the field and kiss Jayson Werth.

I'm loving this week.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

On the upside, I feel better about myself

Alright... let's be honest, this bitch is just looking (searching, hoping, grasping at straws) for a record deal. I mean, no woman whose headshot has her posing in a CBGB's tank with a cat can really think she'd score a guy, right? Gah. Whatever, she sat in Dallas and figured out her publicity stunt and now me and 23,000+ other suckers are watching her act it out.

At least I'm feeling better about myself today. I never wrote a song about marriage and uploaded it to YouTube. So, thanks for the boost of self-esteem, Lisa.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Peek-a-boo

I'm a pretty stressed out over some petty things and some pretty big things and wasn't sure where to start in terms of sorting them out in my head. I thought about writing but am still toeing that line between what's mine to tell and what's not. I'm terrified that one of my friends might not make it through the year. I've started a job (yay) but there's no sign of health insurance benefits coming with it. I can't sleep. I need to start running again. I miss my friends.

These are all self-involved "I" sentences. I hate that.

At the end of the day (i.e. NOW) – I have a roof over my head that's paid for until at least Sept. 1, I have people who love me unconditionally, I'm healthy as I've ever been and I wake up to sunshine every day in one of the most beautiful places in the country.

These are "I" statements that I'm okay with.

And sometimes, if I pay attention, I capture moments like this:

Monday, August 2, 2010

Shameless self-promotion: Rubicon, ep 2

Back in June I was contacted by Dustin from Pajiba asking if I'd like to take a recapping gig with them. Being a huge fan of the site and an attention whore, I said yes. I'm covering the AMC show Rubicon; it premiered (technically) last night and you can find my ranty-ass recap of episode 2 here. I was really excited about the show when I caught the sneak preview back in June, but now I'm not so sure I'm going to survive the season. It's throwing out poignant, yet meaningless sentences and is loaded with coding montages and ominous music. I need more.

What I need less of is commenters. Actually, not fewer commenters, because at least they're reading my stuff, but I need less curiosity and need to stop reading the comments. My frustration with the site's commenters was what piqued Dustin's interest in the first place. Some are interesting and conversational, but a good chunk are downright mean. I've already been called a loser this week, which I think inducts me into the club of Pajibans (there might be more hazing if I ever actually make it back to Philly and meet Stacey, however).

Anyway, I make it a rule (which is occasionally broken) to not read the comments on any of my pieces outside of here (because here I have total moderation control and can delete your ass because I can). I had some great conversations with people on Randomn3ss but had some libelous stuff posted about me that was entirely unfounded. That's where my idealistic love affair with open discourse ended. I decided when I started interning to not respond to comments. The responses on Backpacker.com were generally informative or supportive, as the outdoor community seems to be. When I interned at the Tribune in Greeley... not so much. The comments were generally xenophobic, racist and - this does NOT reflect all Weld County residents, obviously - often just ignorant as fuck. It was sad, really, that discourse on the news boiled down to that level. But that's what happens in an open forum: the trolls who aren't given the soapbox in real life come out of the wood work and all hell breaks loose.

So since this is my site, I can allow or not allow commenters as I please, which is kinda awesome. At least it keeps me sane and self-confident. And in the future, I should stick to checking the comment numbers but not read the comments themselves. Of course I then run the risk of missing a comment about a grammatical issue or factual inaccuracy (which would bother me - I generally like my stuff to be accurate). But it might be worth it. I'm guessing that the writers of Rubicon might stay away from the internet commenters, because I definitely ripped them on this episode. Ignorance is bliss for the creators of media.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Technical difficulties

Lest my limited postings lead you think I've lost interest in this blog, I wanted to explain my temporary absence. I'm in the process of moving and that means that I'm also waiting for Comcast to set up my new place with TV, internet, and about 900 new channels... including the NHL and NFL Networks!!!! So, that means I'm bouncing between apartments, moving and cleaning and that doesn't leave much time for posting. I'm enjoying my lil interwebs hiatus. It's nice to check out for a while.

Monday, July 19, 2010

My biggest regret

I've been debating whether or not to reveal this for a while now. I generally live my life without regret; even when I screw up, I usually learn something so I don't regret my mistakes or actions. Sure, there are some I wish I could take back, but ultimately everything is a learning experience and worth the joy or pain or whatever emotion comes with it.

This one... this one, though, eats away at me almost daily:

I defriended someone on Facebook about a month before she died.

We had been friends on and off since we were 14. I say "on and off" not because we fought or had an irreparable falling out, but because we rarely lived in the same place after high school and remained close mostly by our association with other people in our social circle. She was there for a lot of formative moments in my life. I think we were a lot more alike than either of us ever wanted to admit, having similar family situations and stuff going on in our lives. We were also both headstrong and loud, which made us collaborate and clash equally. We were kids. We were friends.

When I defriended her I was going through a period where I defriended lots of people who I felt I had little connection with or whose updates bothered me or who I decided I wasn't close enough to in real life to merit an online connection. I've always had this odd relationship with Facebook where I simultaneously love and loathe the constant updates of friends, family and people who I shared a hallway with at one point. I also am prone to these valleys where I think everyone is out to get me, and I irrationally single someone (or several people) out and react virtually, "deleting" their imaginary poison from my life. More often than not, that poison is self-created and administered, a figment of my insane mind and no more than that. So I clicked a link and let her go into the vast virtual word of fiber optic code.

And now she's gone. For real, this time. And every time I log on to Facebook and see the truncated friends list of 60 people in my social circle, I see her name without a profile picture, all information kept private except for the list of 60 who stayed with her online through their and her down periods, and without any way for me to make amends and have some last lingering reminder of her with me here on earth.

It'll be a year this coming November since she passed away. I believe she's the sixth or seventh in our graduating class to die far too young, but she was by far the closest to me of any of them. Maybe she hated me, maybe she didn't; we didn't talk enough for me to know either way. I don't want sympathy, nor do I want to be criticized for my absolute sadness over my hasty and illogical decision (both are part of the reason I've kept this to myself for so long). I had to get it out. I had to confess to what I did; a confession of the slight committed against someone who did nothing to me but be there, be a friend, and love those who I loved. I have pictures of her sharing in freshman year... my 16th birthday... making the "noise machine"... South Parkland soccer... the five-year reunion... and memories of her and our best friend, who I lived with for a year after college and who had to deliver the news of her best friend's death to the rest of us scattered throughout the country. I have those photos, tangible pieces of intangible memories, but that is all I have. That's all any of us have.

I see that blue portrait outline - the reminder of her inaccessibility - and am devastated by my action. Although the action of defriending may seem harmless in its virtual nature, to me it was horrible, me at my worst, inexcusable and eternally haunting. If I could do it all over, if I could take it back, I would let go of 20 other current "friends" before I let go of her. Fifty "friends." Maybe more. She knew me at my worst and saw me through to the person I am now. I wish she were here. I wish I hadn't clicked that button when I had. I wish we were 14 again.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The hardest break up of my life

I smoked my first cigarette in Adam Hennessey's front yard when I was 13. I don't think I inhaled, because when I smoked again at 14 with my cousin, I wanted to die. I bought my last pack of smokes in October of 2009 and ended a decade-long love affair with a dangerous lover. I know they're bad for me, but I can't stop thinking about it. Even after all this time - when they're out of my body for good - I can't stop.

I want a cigarette so fucking badly right now.

I smoked on and off for years, quitting during sports seasons, hiding from my parents and smoking socially depending on the situation. After my college sports days were numbered, and when cigarette breaks became legitimate breaks from work, I smoked more regularly. A few here and there became a pack a day, especially when I was studying in Europe. I even remember dragging my buddy Jaxon back into smoking the first weekend we met. He was taking a medical aid to stop; I had given up on the patch. My friend Ashley and I walked a mile in the snow to buy four packs from the local dive bar of the ski town in which we were staying to provide sustenance for ourselves, Jax and the rest of the drunken, smoking fools in our hotel. I spent a long time - and a lot of money - on something that was killing me.

But, damn... it felt good. And I miss it.

Yeah, I do. I'm no longer physically addicted... in all honesty, I never felt the physical addiction that intensely. I was able to quit when necessitated by sports or my living arrangements. But I love the act of smoking. I totally love the act. I love the inhale and the slow, elongated exhale. I think the feeling I get when I smoke. Call it an oral fixation, or what you will, but I love it. And the last few days, I've really been struggling with not smoking. I quit after my friend Mark's wedding on November 1, 2009. That was my last trip to Philly - a place where all my friends smoke and it's hard to escape the temptation when it's in your face every day. And while it's not a defining element of our lives, it's something our friends and I always did together: we listened to music, went outside to smoke and gossip, went back into the bar for more music (and Jager) and back out to get fresh air... or horrifically stale, smokey air... whatever.

It's hard to break those types of habits, irrespective of the physical addiction aspect. It makes me think that maybe I should invest in those "smokeless" electronic cigarettes I see in the mall kiosks. I destroyed my year-old emergency pack two weeks ago when I started interviewing for jobs, my stress getting the best of me. Every morning after, I felt like complete shit, with the back of my throat feeling like a burnt and peeling marshmallow. But still - I want one. Bad.

So far, so good. I haven't made a mad dash to the gas station across the street for a pack of Parliament Lights. I guess I have the government to thank; I don't really have the extra $8 to spend on something I'm just going to feel bad about in the morning. Hell, even a one-night stand is cheaper than that for the same end result (and probably even less pleasure).

I'm keeping my head up and trying not to watch TV shows that glorify smoking (i.e. "Sex and the City," "Mad Men"). I'm remembering how much Juno hates the smell and how far I've come since last October. I had my slip ups, but they never involved running out to buy a pack. Plus, I know that once I start again, it's going to be 20 times more difficult to stop. My relationship with nicotine was my longest, most reliable... and most destructive. But still, I found it hard to leave and still find it hard to forget. The key is to love myself more than the drug.

I hope someday that will be natural and not a battle.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Good morning, beautiful: Real Fast Plane

I've been physically and emotionally invested in a flurry of moving boxes, packing tape and job interviews this week. It's also a balls-hot 90-something degrees all up in here, which makes my partially-packed, not-clean-enough apartment even more miserable. I've been wetting towels, sticking 'em in the freezer and putting them on various spots on my bed for me and the pup. Anyway, my brain's in "stop sweating in your interview suit... seriously, stop sweating" mode lately, which leaves little time for blogging.

Good thing my friends are creative when I can't be. Grab your morning coffee, load up this video and let The Shakers get stuck in your head today. CLee and Jodie perform the perfect acoustic summer song in this one. I know, I'm totally gay for this band lately and not just because they're my friends. They've really come into their own over the past year and a half and they're really, really damn good.

Here's 1/2 of The Shakers, in the stand-out L.A. venue known as... CLee's living room... performing "Real Fast Plane."

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Define a "successful" relationship.

After a mead tasting and one beer later, the conversation turned to relationships and how some of ours started. A friend of mine began by saying that she knew instantly that the guy was right for her; it wasn't a relationship that took time to blossom, like a friend into a boyfriend. They met and it was done. She said that all of her successful relationships started that way... then she took that back. She recanted:

"Well, I'm not with them now, so I guess they weren't 'successful'."

I thought about it for a split second and then replied that I didn't think that they weren't successful. What makes a relationship successful? Because it ends in marriage? Or something else?

I told her that I thought my most successful relationships ended with me and the formerly-significant other being friends, being able to talk and hang out and leaving the relationship having learned something. That, for me, was what defines "successful."

As I've thought about it more tonight, I realized that most people consider relationships to be "successful" when there's some sort of finality attached: they end in marriage. I'm guessing this is because marriage is the logical point of reference for most people's "successful" relationships.

But that's never been a point of reference for me.

My parents' relationship didn't end in marriage; it ended in divorce. Most of my married friends are either newly or re-married. And, honestly, most of the people I know in long-term relationships *never* got that piece of paper that proclaimed them "married." I'm not saying their relationships have been without cheating or break ups or problems... but they're still together after many, many years. Their relationships never underwent legal changes and the inevitable (aka court-ordered) financial ramifications. They handled their problems without a judge, and sometimes, the problems worked themselves out without a "divorce."

I'm guessing it's all perspective. For me, "successful" relationships don't end in marriage. However, for most people, they do. I'm not going to understand the other perspective, although I can appreciate it. I don't think that's a logical way of looking at relationships... that is, to assume that being successful means lasting forever. I think that people grow and change, and through life, people outgrow and out-change each other. If you don't grow and change, then what's the point of living? I mean, I hope that I can find someone to grow and change with me and I with them. However, I have experienced firsthand how unrealistic that hope can be. Hey - I also know that it works for A LOT of people... I've just never seen it in my own life. So it's not a reality for me. This is nothing to be sad or self-loathing about... it's just the truth. For me. And maybe some others. And maybe no one else. But it's all I know.

Happy birthday, Captain.

Wow, two big celebrity birthdays in a row.



I'm sending well-wishes all the way into the 24th century to Captain Jean-Luc Picard... okay, Patrick Stewart, the awesome member of Star Fleet to ever be knighted. Today he celebrates a big ol' 70th birthday. SEVENTY. He looks awesome and has about five projects in production. Although it's now a bit outdated, the picture below says it all:

Damn right. Engage.


Photos via and via.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Happy birthday.

Wishing a happy 62nd birthday to Richard Simmons, American fitness (and gay?) icon.

I've always thought he was pretty great. He doesn't seem to take his persona too seriously. However, he does seem to take fitness seriously. Simmons was one of the few people in L.A. in the '70s to offer the gym/weight-loss experience to people who didn't live up to the L.A. standard of beauty. Of course, L.A. would have gyms solely intended for good-looking and fit people. But I digress...


Here's one of the funniest and most popular videos of him performing as, among other things, a jet ski on "Whose Line is it Anyway?"

Hilarious. Enjoy.


Thursday, July 8, 2010

Stuck in my head: Soraia, "Shed the Skin"

Soraia's one of my favorite Philly bands and they've been steadily gaining steam since I left in 2008. They were one of five bands who played my going away party free of charge, for me and our friends; they've also toured the U.S. several times and opened for Bon Jovi more than once. They've never been too big for their fans and friends, but they are definitely breaking out big time on the national scene. Soraia will open for Bon Jovi (again) on July 11 at their Saratoga Springs show.

Today I read a story about them, centered on Sue, their front woman and one of the primary songwriters. It wasn't about her because she's simply a hot rocker chick (although, she certainly fucking is), but because she's got a compelling story, one I never knew until today. The way she and the boys came together to create was simultaneously tragic and beautiful. I commented on her Facebook that I was sad that I read about it in an article - it's one of those things I wish we could have talked about outside of Grape Street over an illicit cigarette at 2 in the morning. But I have to say I'm absolutely honored (and have always been) to count this strong, talented and beautiful woman as a friend (why she ever chose to be benevolent to a crazy alcoholic like I was at the time, I'll never know). You can read that article here.

But on to the music. Here's a video of Soraia live, playing "Shed the Skin," the title track from their first album:

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Awkward things I didn't know existed

Here's a list of awkward things I've found while packing my apartment:

1) Framed "Be Mine" lithograph that my first-ex-boyfriend-named-John made me in 2003.
2) Pictures of me and Seth, my "boyfriend" in 2005, who broke up with me a month before graduation because he was too stressed out by lacrosse (during the same week that I injured my back and couldn't walk) and then resumed dating his crazy pants homicidal ex-girlfriend the next day. Great memories from that one.
3) Janice Peck's final exam, fall 2008 (B-).
4) Photos from my 21st birthday at Hamilton aka the night the volleyball team invaded the freshman dorm and stole alcohol from 18-year-old boys.
5) Irish dancing T-shirt with "Seana's Sister" on the back.
6) Copy of Ramparts magazine with Che Guevara's diary from 1968 that Nick gave me. It had a lot of meaning at one time, but it's just old pieces of paper now.
7) Springhouse Junior High yearbook, 1997-98.

I should bite the bullet and burn half of this shit. S'mores, anyone?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The stresses of summer

It's been an interesting few days.

I was about to label the past couple days "rough," but I did have a fantastic 4th of July weekend on the whole. I'm doing my best to hold onto those recent memories and stay positive, but, man, is shit crazy right about now. Save for the deaths of friends and family, and a cancer scare a few years back, this is probably the most difficult time in my life. And I take the cancer scare back because 1) if I had it, fuck it, it was there and I'd have to deal with it and 2) I had some surgery, got all the scary shit out and have been fine since. Death of loved ones is definitely the worst, especially since so many I've known have died far too young. But right now, man... shit...

I've started packing my apartment. Everyone asks where I'm moving and the answer is: I don't know. I still don't have a job, despite applying for at *least* one per day since graduation. I set my emergency apartment finding date at July 15 - basically, I'm signing a lease that day somewhere, anywhere, that seems decent and will accept Juno (the breed restrictions around here are hellacious and stupid). I have to decide if that place will be in Boulder or Philly. Thankfully, I've stashed money in two separate savings accounts, but I'm pretending like it doesn't exist because I'm going to need it for movers and to fix the umpteen million things that are wrong with my beater Acura. It's there, but it's already spent.

So that's where I stand: no job, no place to live, no certainty.

Not gonna lie: I'm fucking scared right about now. I've never not had a plan B... hell, even after Gypsies stole all my shit in Prague back in '04 I had a plan (I also had a passport still, so that made things easier, but I digress...). There's no backup plan. I can't move home – that's not an option. Can't say I'm not happy about that; I'm one of few people my age without that crutch and it forced me to grow up and get my shit together. I own all of my furniture and I've got a living thing who depends on me, so I don't plan on couch surfing either. I wouldn't impose on my friends like that. This is all on me.

If this is the most difficult thing that I go through in my life, then I'll be lucky as hell. I've dealt with worse things, for sure, but the bad things have always had an element of certainty. People die, the end. You're healthy or not, the end. You're in love and he's not – done. But in this situation, there's no certainty, there's no binary, it's not a zero-sum game.

I can live with the black and white, but haven't quite learned to deal with the gray.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Fourth

Happy 4th of July to everyone reading!!

Also, a happy fourth to *everyone* who ran the Avery Brewing 4K on the 4th race this morning! Any race that ends in free beer and breakfast burritos works for me :). You can check the results here, but I have to give props to Jordan and Robbie for totally kicking ass today! Much thanks to Terry, Kia, Mister DJ Bodhi the Real Deal, Ted, Andrea, Dana, Paul, Mike, Katie and Heather for rocking out at today's race!!

Much fun was had by all. I think the first guy came in around 10 minutes. Props to him to be in it to win it... I was just in it for the beer!!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Cruel Intentions

A few weeks ago, I had a conversation with a friend about another person with whom I was having issues. My friend arrived at the conclusion that this other person didn't have bad intentions, but was just being himself.

Well, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

When you get to a certain age, you know you're being an asshole. The excuse that one "didn't mean to be a jerk" or "didn't mean to hurt your feelings" no longer works. Not with me. Of course, there are the occasional off-color remarks, maybe a joke or two that doesn't sit well with another. But when a friend tells you "it bothers me when you say x" and you still say "x," you goddamn well know what you're doing. When you persist to act in a certain way that disregards the feelings of your so-called "friend," then your intentions don't matter. In fact, it's your *lack* of intention that matters.

You don't intend to change. You don't intend to care about my feelings. You don't intend to ever look outside of yourself as to the way you treat someone else.

In that case, I totally intend to tell you to "fuck off."

Friday, July 2, 2010

Stuck in my head: Boston, "More Than a Feeling"

Alright, you hooligans – there seem to be some very strong opinions about last night's running playlist, especially regarding the inclusion of Boston.

Some of you didn't player hate, but appreciated and to that I say, you are fine individuals with stellar taste in music and I am honored to be your pal. To the haters... well, I've got some news for you. Boston kicks ass. How do I know this? Because I'm awesome, that's how. And if you disagree, you are stupid and wrong. So there!

(With reasoning skills like that, it's amazing that boyfriends actually put up with me for extended periods of time, isn't it? ;) )

Anyway, I was debating whether to stick this under "Stuck in My Head" or "Good Morning, Beautiful." I'm still tinkering with the would-be regular features on this site and decided that SIMH is probably going to produce far more blogging fodder, since my music taste is not only eclectic and extensive, but obsessive. I saw a snippet of this video today on VH1's "Greatest Hard Rock Songs" and it's been, appropriately, stuck in my head. It was also the only song on the first Guitar Hero that I didn't suck at on medium.

In memory of Brad Delp, I present to you Boston's "More Than a Feeling."

Thursday, July 1, 2010

First run of July

First off, happy July.

Tonight I had one of the best runs I've had in a long ass time... probably since when I was training for the half-marathon, before being sidelined by a nasty stomach bug. I haven't run too much since, focusing more on volleyball, my bike and long walks with my dog. Sometimes I lose the will to run, forget the passion I normally have. The heat doesn't help either. Tonight was different though, and it felt really, really *good*.

I wasn't gearing up for something long and crazy, but Juno had to go out and I was bored as hell. I also had just shoved the remnants of last night's veggie lo mein into my gullet, pounded two Upslope IPAs and was generally feeling repulsed by myself. So I decided to run. I brought Juno, four poop bags and a satchel of treats with me. After one ridiculously-large-for-a-45-pound-dog poop stop and some fiddling with the iPod, we were on our way.

The air out here is perfect summer night air – it's cool, but not too crisp and blissfully free of humidity. The mosquitoes seemed to have disappeared, and lawn sprinklers gently watered my ankles at the edges of the concrete. We ran up Baseline to Williams Village and then hopped on the bike path, generously devoid of bikes tonight, and had the place to ourselves. When we hit Mohawk I realized that I was breathing hard but not heavy and was pacing faster (for me, at least) than I had in weeks. Usually I give myself waypoints where I can stop: "Okay, just to that intersection, and you can walk... just to that tree..." Not tonight. We ran all the way home, kicking in a block away to sprint to our door.

I think we ran a little under three miles. Juno's in bed (mine) looking at me as I sit on the floor of my bedroom directly in front of my fan, cramping as my fingers struggle to interpret the feeling I have right now from that run. It was perfect – quick, rewarding, refreshing. It was everything running means to me when I'm into it and everything I need to remember to feel when I'm "too tired" or it's "too hot."

The nighttime runs with just my reflective vest, Juno and a killer playlist might help turn this summer around yet. And just might have burned off that lo mein guilt.

Playlist:
Don Henley - "Boys of Summer"
Pearl Jam - "Alive"
Dispatch - "The General"
Boston - "More than a Feeling"
Geto Boys - "Damn It Feels Good to Be a Gangsta"
The Specials - "Pressure Drop"

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Don't Believe the Hype

I've been watching a lot of World Cup matches (I know, I know... I'm a total hypocrite... but I'm also unemployed and love sports so if I want to spend my days watching a sport I don't really enjoy all that much while drinking at socially-inappropriate times of day, I will, mmmkay?). I'm particularly bothered by a Sports Authority commercial. The one with the football player that was good and once won a Super Bowl then inexplicably won his own prime time sitcom when his finest work was arguably in a Speed Stick commercial and some ugly child actor playing in goal who has a face I just want to punch.

Yeah, that Sports Authority commercial. Strahan kicks a goal and stupid fatty mc fat fat catches it an calls him some inaudible name that is the punchline which makes zero sense to me. That one. It's so goddamn terrible that YouTube doesn't have a copy of it. It's moments like this that make me think god exists and that he amuses himself with things that drive me insane.

Well, allow me to let you in on a little secret: supplies of World Cup gear aren't going fast. They also aren't limited. They never go fast and are never limited. I know because I worked in sporting goods retail (for a company smaller than but much more upscale than Sports Authority). And every year we were stuck with tons of World Cup soccer crap that we employees thought was cool but only because we got a substantial discount on it.

Every year, we carried World Cup soccer apparel and gear and every year was OUR YEAR. "This is the year that Americans will care about soccer! And they'll totally buy an $85 track jacket emblazoned with some other country's logo! These $25 tees will just fly off the shelves! See them flying? Oops, they're being stolen. We didn't mean 'fly' like that. Okay, let's reduce them to $15. SEE? THAT WORKED! They're moving! Except they're all being bought by tourists who are stoked that the Euro is [nee: was] kicking the dollar's ass and they're getting a t-shirt with the name of their stupid country on it for the price of half a liter of petrol. It's totally our year for soccer."

I'm not dissing my former company's buyers because they're awesome and I really did love the company I worked for. They picked awesome gear across the board that sold really well. Their optimism about America's growing appreciation for World Cup soccer was incredibly exciting and wonderful and worldly. But, alas, it didn't come to fruition. Maybe this year it did, but I doubt it. And I doubt that employing the stunt casting of Michael Strahan in one's commercials indicates that World Cup gear is flying off the shelves. Unless, of course, someone's stealing it.

Monday, June 28, 2010

It's a bad time to be a Russian Studies major

I read news for at least one hour per day. Since I'm unemployed, I read it pretty much all day (although today I ran to the Humane Society, volunteered there, and then ran/walked home... back off, it was 900 degrees here and I got tired).

Anyway, I read that 10 people back East were arrested under suspicion of being spies for Russia's S.V.R. (foreign intelligence service), or, the modern K.G.B.

What... the... hell? Really?

People from Russia are still spying on the U.S.? Did 1988 suddenly come back? I don't understand why. I don't mean to sound naive – I understand why some governments would want to spy on others. But what sort of intelligence info do Medvedev and Russia have to gain by spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on randoms who don't even work in government positions? Okay, at least at this point, the media's not telling us where they work, but I'm pretty sure that the government's not doing a whole lot of espionage work in Yonkers. Northern Virginia, possibly, yes. Montclair, N.J.? Not so much.

Being me, I naturally had to wonder how this would affect me. I'm applying for government jobs and, having majored in Russian Studies (along with History) at Hamilton College, I'm hoping it serves more of a help than a hindrance. To all you federal government people who might want to hire me: I promise to never spy for the Russians. I do not promise to renounce my weird, head of state crush on Vladimir Putin. But, let's be honest, what red-blooded American woman could resist this?:


But I digress.

I think it's weird that we're not dealing with spies from a Middle Eastern country or possibly China, but are still dealing with the fallout from the Cold War. I've been to Russia a few times and it doesn't seem to be a hotbed of anti-American sentiment. I was there when the Iraq War started and we did all pretend to be Canadian for a couple days, just in case. I think there's a lot of behind-the-scenes, government-only stuff going on here that the general American public isn't exposed to. In a way, I'm okay with that; I don't need more fear-mongering in my life than what the MSM's already giving me. But this story's not over. I'm hoping that the American MSM comes through and gives us more info, and that the government allows some access to relevant information. There's got to be a deeper reason behind this sudden discovery of Russian spies in the U.S. and to their purposes for still being employed by the S.V.R.

To be continued...

Thursday, June 24, 2010

My own hypocrisy

I've been following the BP oil spill in the Gulf about as much as I can bear doing so. However, the news that sea turtles are being burned alive kills me, and honestly, I can't read about it. I did link to it in the previous sentence, because if you can stomach reading about it, go right ahead.

I'm feeling like a bit of a hypocrite right now. An argument I employed in both my thesis and my media ethics paper was that people shouldn't be shielded from news simply because it upsets them. News outlets should publish information without fear of reprisal from government or private authorities over the content being "inappropriate" simply because it's unsettling. I dealt with controversial atrocity and war photography and argued that people should be exposed to the reality of events (in a non-exploitative or sensationalist way), even if the reality is objectionable. The arugment is a bit more complicated than I care to explain here, but that's the most basic premise.

And in this case, I just can't follow my own set of ethics.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Stuck in my head: Puscifer, "The Mission"

This song came out a while back, but I'm absolutely obsessed with it at the moment to the extent that it's got the top spot on my Summer 2010 playlist. I think it's because 1) I've been watching the Resident Evil movies and am pretty psyched about the fourth installment (stop judging), 2) I've been thinking about taking a roadie to Jerome, Ariz., to check out Caduceus Cellars and 3) I'm still kicking my own ass about not getting Tool tickets for the Red Rocks shows next week (this has been a source of serious disappointment since May).

Thankfully, I was lucky enough to score tickets to Puscifer's sold-out show at the Paramount in Denver last November and (despite the absence of Milla) it was one of the best live shows I've ever seen. The touring players are amazing and the show is... well... it's incredibly Maynard.

I've decided to post a live cut of the song instead of the "official" video (if you want to see that, go here). Why the live cut? Because Milla Jovovich can sing. For real. If her being a hot zombie-killing Ukrainian weren't enough, the chick can wail. I was originally going to post video from Puscifer's Club Nokia shows in L.A. last year, but I think this vid (despite the poor ass quality in the first 40 seconds - suffer through it, it's worth it) showcases Milla's voice better. It's a jazzy little version of the song; I kinda dig it.

But what do you know? Here's Puscifer's "The Mission":