Thursday, January 6, 2011
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Already, my to-do list is growing. I need to eat as much disgusting American food as is humanely possible between now and then. I need to decide whether I will still be becoming part of the Apple computer generation with this new news. I need to find a clever saying involving the name SENEGAL to use for my going away karaoke party (all I have right now is "Sin and Gall!" We can do better). So I guess, in those ways, many choices remain. But I am super excited and borderline terrified about the sudden reality of leaving for two years. Especially after I googled 'Peace Corps Senegal' and found blogs about volunteers slaughtering scorpions in their rooms and sleeping on beds made of sticks. I mean, isolation, culture shock, the pressure to make a difference, blah blah blah -- but seriously, BED OF STICKS? Suddenly, I wonder... will that be the line I just. can't. cross. ?
We'll see. I'm sure there are leaves or something I can use to soften my bed of sticks.
Plus, I already passed the first pivotal choice by choosing BOTH options. That happened when the UPS man rang my doorbell at 2:15 last Thursday. I knew that my Peace Corps assignment was coming and I'd have to sign for it, but I had seriously just put some popcorn in the microwave. I didn't know what to do. You can't just stop microwaving popcorn. But the doorbell was ringing (IT WAS MY FUTURE, I HAD TO ANSWER). So after a moment where I literally started running to the door, then stopped and looked at the microwave, then started running again, then moved back to the microwave, I sprinted down the stairs, whipped open our numerous doors, yelled 'I'M SORRY I'M COOKING POPCORN I DON'T HAVE MUCH TIME', signed my "name," grabbed my package, and then ran back upstairs. It hadn't even been 30 seconds. The popcorn was far from done. Win. Win. Moments like this give me Peace Corps confidence.
Around these parts, I've kept busy with what has become my natural schedule... guard babies, dance badly yet proudly in the back row of classes with semi-professional dancers, write skits about clown murder and singularity robots that no one 'gets' for my writing classes, celebrate holidays. I had a dandy Halloween that involved two uses of the increasingly infamous gold-sequined dress (TIME OUT, DILEMMA: DO I BRING IT TO AFRICA???). The first night, I wore it with a few padlocks and bike locks around my neck and called myself GOLDILOCKS. Get it? The second night I wore it with a nasty wig, 80s blazer, cowgirl boots, and a giant stuffed bra and called myself DOLLY PARTON. On that night, I truly toed the line between being Dolly Parton and just looking like a transvestite. Again, CHOICES. I also gained newfound empathy for ladies with generous bosoms. I'm not going to lie, my back was aching by the end of the night. Also, my rack was so incredibly large that I honestly couldn't see when my skirt was riding a little higher than usual. Also, people felt free to feel me up all night, like my chest was some blarney stone or something. Girls with the big girls got it rough, I see that now.
This is really just all I have to say. Wait, that's never true. But this chair is really uncomfortable and I just want to stop. Also, I do want to say that Bristol's success on Dancing with the Stars has me very frightened about the future of America. People brush it off as "just a TV show" but no. This is the most-watched TV show in America. If this many people are taking Bristol Palin's success on it seriously... then you know, YOU KNOW that Sarah Palin is watching and taking notes and realizing that she can become president if these same people vote, just once, on a cold Tuesday in November. Call me paranoid and conspiratorial, but RIP America. Also, I just love that kid from Cory in the House.
Clearly, it is time for this post to end.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
I would make my sister watch it so that I could watch it. But in hindsight, I mean, HELLO. I was like 7. There were like 13 year old girls on that show (Lucy). Clearly it was not only aimed at toddlers. Clearly they were baiting second grade girls with their use of cool tweens for us to look up to (Lucy).
The other day, I played my same old tricks on the baby. Yeah that's right HEY BABY INSTEAD OF THOMAS THE TANK ENGINE TODAY YOU SHOULD WATCH BARNEY and I will be right here next to you also watching it. So that I can reminsce about my childhood and wonder what happened to that little black boy with the glasses or Hispanic Tina or Kathy with the annoying teddy bear or Alex or wait is that me mixing up Ghostwriter characters those were completely different shows WHATEVER we watched Barney. And the baby HATED it. It is not a show for babies. He was so freaked out. Everyone was talking too fast. And singing. Oh, and the whole "watch the stuffed dinosaur blow up into a scary, lifesize monster" thing didn't sit well with him either.
But anyway, GUESS WHAT HAPPENED TO ME TODAY!! I got a groupon for discounted dance classes, so obvi I was all over that. And when I go to research the dance studio... I FIND THIS:
Pia has been dancing since the age of 3. As a kid, Pia played the character "Min" on the popular children's television show, "Barney and Friends". Pia continued to dance throughout high school and college, receiving numerous awards and trophies, including scholarships to study in New York and Los Angeles. She has studied with the renowned Paula Morgan, with whom she assisted internationally in Italy, Canada, as well as in the U.S.
ARE YOU KIDDING ME? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
THEY WENT ON TO BECOME SUCCESSFUL ADULTS! I am going to finally get to dance and, if I decide to ignore that it is a dance class and be super creepy, sing with one of Barney's friends of Barney and Friends. Completely without any sarcasm, can I just say I am totally STOKED? THIS IS FRUIT AND NUTZ!
In other 90s flashbacks, last weekend was PUMPKINFEST! What is Pumpkinfest? Oh just a holiday I made up, no big deal. I went home to Valpo to do pumpkin things with Laura and Maggie, but luckily those things did not include watching the Christina Ricci film Pumpkin. But they did involve pumpkin lattes, pumpkin patches, pumpkin slingshots, pregnant goats, pumpkin seeds, and pumpkin Heidi Montags. Also, Pumpkinfest included me wearing my 1997 Popcorn Princess sash and tiara all around the Lake County pumpkin patch. This was done because Laura and Maggie told me to. But let's face it, we all know that I wanted to relive the glory days, right? Again, let me reiterate that I am no longer ashamed of my guilty pleasures of the 90s and/or today. But the weird part was that NO ONE SAID A DAMN WORD TO ME about my outfit. How can anyone let some washed up county princess parading around a public farm in an aged tiara and sash pass by without a word? No, "Oh you were the Popcorn Princess?" No "What is that?" No "Why are you wearing that, psycho?" No requests for autographs? What is wrong with my state? What is happening to country folk when THEY CAN'T EVEN EMBRACE OR MAKE FUN OF ANYONE ANYMORE? ???????????
But seriously, another good part of Pumpkinfest was pumpkin donuts. I drove for miles to get those. They were worth it. Then again, it seems like donuts are the only thing worth anything to me these days. Today I had two. But it's no big deal, one of the moms I work for is a dietician, and she told me that you can't get diabetes just by eating a ton of sugar.
On that note, I was medically cleared by the Peace Corps! Yay! Good job, body! You did it! But now, more waiting, as expected, so in all actuality, no change really at all. HAPPY BELATED COLUMBUS DAY!
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
I'm still here.
Before Brandy left, we actually had a brush with the law. DA-DA-DAAAAAAAAA!!! Too bad my first sentence told you where I am, or else maybe you would think I AM IN JAIL! I'm not. I'm still here. But Brandy and I decided to do some September cleaning, clear out our closets, and sell our things along with all of the other free-wheeling hobos at the Logan Square Farmer's Market. You know, the ones who just sprawl out their stuff in the grass and hope people on their way to buy vegetables decide they want an old dress or an AV converter plug. In our first five minutes, we were wildly successful. Our main demographic seemed to be middle aged Hispanic women, they just really loved our clothes. But there was one middle aged Hispanic woman who didn't like our stuff: A LADY COP! Yeah, a lady cop came and busted our flea market. She threatened to fine us and made us pack up and leave. I felt like a gypsy. But then we just "sold" stuff from our porch, and when I say "sold," I mean we read magazines and drank lemonade and watched our leashed cat interact with passing dogs while no one bought our stuff. Capitalism!
My love of television recently hit a high (or low?) point when I found myself watching the finale of Bachelor Pad with our landlord, Joe. You may remember him as Robin Tunney's (Empire Records, The Craft) uncle or cousin or something. Yeah. But that happened. He was over, snaking the drain. Somehow ended up commenting on Tenley and Jake Pavelka with me in our living room. Somehow I ended up being able to carry on a very lively conversation with him on these subjects. And now it's Gossip Girl season, and I might even get into Dancing with the Stars. Jennifer Grey was reduced to tears over the memory of Patrick Swayze, so someone please explain to me how I can turn away from this show.
It is also football season. Yay! Watching the first game at an ND bar here in Chicago, I asked aloud who our quarterback was and was immediately smited by everyone around me. I don't know how everyone else knew who our quarterback was, it was the first game of the season! This is ridiculous! Why am I being punished for this?! I forgave my friends after they helped me do pushups in the middle of the bar. Last weekend, I went to South Bend for the game experience but not the game. To me, the game experience is going to Perkins dressed like a ghetto cowgirl with my uncle, then disrupting a few radio shows and getting a Pumpkin Spice Latte, then eating a traditional pasta dinner with Brookens and Tmoney before we head to the Backer where I inevitably get borderline violent after one Long Island Iced Tea. On game day, I found another fun use for my gold sequined Miami dress, and a lot of old people took paparazzi photos of me as I aimlessly wandered through the Joyce Lot looking for anyone I recognized, forgetting that I know no one in the city of South Bend anymore.
I also randomly got to see Moby for free, but it was kind of sad because I didn't recognize him when he took the stage. And how many 40 year old bald men can prompt such a strong crowd reaction? Apparently, for me, the answer is MORE THAN ONE.
So yeah, I finally sent my Peace Work medical paperwork in, but yeah, I'm pretty sure some stuff is going to be sent back because I made a lot of mistakes and tried to correct them. So it is just a packet of contradictions. Until my future comes through, I will continue to nurture these young children, dance, write, and wait for Mallory to come back to Chicago. Word!
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Cooper has a few quirks. Among them, inhaling food like a snuffluffagus, hitting me, and saying "DINGDINGDINGDING" over and over. But he also does a weird thing where, instead of welcoming a visitor, immediately upon his or her entrance, he frantically finds something. Like, I enter the house every morning and the baby freaks out looking for his toys. His ball. His spoon. Anything. It's like how he announces your presence or something, and he never really looks at you, but he does it when his parents come home and when I show up. Whatever. But I mentioned it to the mom yesterday, and she was like, "Ha, just like the dog."
JUST LIKE THE DOG.
She had no idea how right she was! And now, NOW, the baby has started welcoming visitors by bringing them toys from the dog's toy basket. And trying to drink out of the dog bowl. OH MY GOD THE BABY THINKS HE IS A DOG.
I don't know how this happened. Then again, I do know how. I am only with the baby for three days a week. His father works during the week, and his mother works three days. THEREFORE, his most constant companion is the dog. So should I really feel like a failure because the baby is choosing to mimic his most steadfast teacher instead of me? Actually yes. Yes, I should. Because I am part of the human race, the one that invented fire and wheels and blenders. And acting. But oh well. At least for the moment, the baby could stand to learn some things from the dog, mostly in the going to the bathroom on command and not wandering off towards oncoming traffic departments.
So yeah, I'm just babysitting. Waiting for the doctor's office to finish my Peace Corps paperwork. I finally finished all my tests, at least for the time being, but I worry that my application is going to be flagged since I accidentally marked that my entire family suffers from extreme mental illness, and I did it in pen. So I anticipate the Peace Corps wanting to run some psychological tests on me before they really let me in. Personally, I think that my success in surviving the numerous blood tests -- BY MYSELF, in the hot hot heat, with a resting heart rate of 49 therefore I was basically a zombie -- proves my mental capabilities. But we shall see.
I spent a recent weekend working at Lollapalooza, and this year, I was "promoted" (?) to PROGRAM DISTRIBUTION. This meant I got to work inside the festival and stand near the Perry's stage and dance to techno in the rain, all factors that made people scared to actually ask me anything. I also was given boxes of programs to distribute. Obviously. So I threw a lot of them into crowds like confetti, yelling the most ridiculous things I could think of like "THESE ARE LIKE DRUGS WITHOUT DRUGS" and "IF I DON'T GET RID OF ALL OF THESE LADY GAGA WILL NOT PERFORM." Most people indulged me, but probably only due to the fact that I was wearing sequins.
I've really been trying to embrace the arts lately, which has been fun. At a recent improv class, we all had to go around and tell each other our strengths. Apparently my strength is playing slightly demented characters and trusting my acting friends to hurl me around the stage with their strong arms. Go me!
I went to a lovely dance performance the other night, but as I was crossing the street, an Escalade tried to hit me. I had the walk sign. So I made eye contact with the driver, which cuts down your chance of death by like 90%, because it's about the mammalian connection, but this guy looked me in the eye AND STEPPED ON THE GAS. So for the first time in my life, I flipped off a driver. Later I felt guilty because he looked like he might have been of Indian or Middle Eastern descent -- and what if he thought I was trying to say something about the mosque at the 9/11 site? Because I am totally for the mosque. And maybe he wanted to hit me because other people are against the mosque and he was having a super shitty day. I don't know. I still enjoyed the dance performance. I went to more dance performances over the weekend, but they turned out to be more like children's recitals than soul-quaking movement pieces. Dance is going to be my hobby.
So this is getting long, but I am going to be frank about a reality of my current life: I am super into TV. I mean, look at all of these other things I do, the things written about above. I have a life, right? I do. But then again, so much of my life currently revolves around my obsession with TV. Really bad TV too. I watch Bachelor Pad. I am obsessed with it. Like I join facebook groups encouraging contestants to date in real life. I watch Jersey Shore. I just finished this absolutely awful show called Plain Jane, which basically tells girls that if they get makeovers, guys won't be able to refuse them, and it is so horrible but I always watch it. Sometimes I think that TV is the new film, which was the new literature. But I do like to associate myself with literary culture. Except times have changed for this young woman, and I am super into TV.
I would talk more about TV but I am no John Siegel. Maybe I will discuss all of my favorite shows in my next post though.
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Don't change anyone's birthday plans for them. This can only end in the world slapping you with an open faced karma sandwich across the face.
Don't brush off the fact that your phone is dead.
Even if you check for your keys in your purse, and you hear them, and you feel them, THEY MIGHT NOT BE THERE, IT MIGHT JUST BE BOBBY PINS AND DIMES.
Always memorize a few other phone numbers than simply the one belonging to your half-deaf roommate.
Fix your spastic, non-working doorbell in case a crisis arises, such as in the event of having no phone and no keys and no contacts at 3:30am.
Always check the backyard for the possibility that a roommate is spooning with a boy in the dewy grass at 3:30am.
Don't tell a cabbie, "Yeah, you can leave, it's under control! Someone is here at this other house to help me!" if you do not know if that's true.
Avoid loitering in short dresses near parks populated with shady characters at 3:30am.
Avoid crying in the above situation.
Avoid pounding on your neighbor's door in an emotional frenzy in the above situation.
Avoid attracting unnecessary attention to yourself in the above situation.
Try to befriend people in your neighborhood who have doorbells that work.
Try to at least befriend a few people in a few surrounding neighborhoods.
If you finally find a friend with a working doorbell, be sure to identify yourself with first and last name. Then be sure to say THIS IS AN EMERGENCY LET ME IN so that they know you aren't a crazy crackwhore.
When you leave in the morning, try to get ahold of one of your roommates. Don't just leave. Don't just think that daylight will fix everything. Use the resources of internet and telephone available to you. Don't just leave!
If you just leave, you are a dipshit.
In essence, YES. I locked myself out of my EFFING house at 3:30am and had no phone and had NOWHERE. TO. GO. I suffered from PTSD for a few days afterward, and I remain nervous about leaving the house for any reason at all, because now I just want to be here all the time, always. I encourage anyone who has had a similar experience to speak up and speak out and let people know that you survived and this experience happened to you but IT DOES NOT DEFINE YOU. I am working through it. But I survived being on the street of Chicago.
Monday, July 19, 2010
But anyway, I will now review Pitchfork! I am not in any way qualified for this endeavor. I didn't even go on Saturday, and also, I am clearly biased toward a few, simple things:
1. I like concerts where people are dancing all around me. Sometimes I just happen to be next to people on PCP. Sometimes everyone is dancing except the people around me who aren't on PCP or love and instead are on something like excessive alcohol, which is a depressant so maybe it inhibits dancing? Whatever, these things ruin or catapult a concert for me.
2. I like concerts where I can sing along with the words. Yeah, so sue me. I don't like new things. I like old things, comfortable things, like T-shirts I've had for years and popcorn. And I like being able to sing along, damnit.
3. I like when I can hear and understand poignant lyrics. If someone is trying to be poignant and I cannot understand them, boo. Boo. Boooooooo.
4. I like to be in one place at one time. I am not a genie! So sometimes, I may be unable to comment on what other "rock" "journalists" say were "the best shows ever." I may say that MY show was the best show ever. Maybe this is because my show WAS the best show ever. Maybe this is because I did not have a chance to see the ACTUAL best show ever. But WHATEVER these are my OPINIONS.
Okay, I think those are the important points. Onto the review/fun observations and events!
On Friday, I arrived, alone, as is typical for me at Pitchfork, 2 out 3 years. I immediately made a quiet friend wearing racing sunglasses who is in the Navy. We sat in the shade and listened, but did not look at, the Tallest Man on Earth, because, as every freaking music writer will remind you, he is not actually the tallest man on earth. I know. Spoiler alert! Whatever, height is about confidence. Or is it? But I thought his sounds were pretty great. I went and ate some free Clif Bar samples after that... BECAUSE A LIFE CHANGING EXPERIENCE WAS UPON ME.
My obsession with Robyn attacked me unpronounced. Our affair is only a few weeks old, but it is passionate, much like any new relationship. I tell everyone about her. I watch her videos constantly. I look to her for advice (hmm, I'm bored tonight, but no one wants to go out... what should I do, Swedish pop princess? GUESS I'LL JUST DANCE ON MY OWN! or hmm I think I was just sexually harassed, how do I feel about this, Robyn please help? YOU DON'T CALL ME SEXY UNLESS I SAY YOU CAN). I also try to dress like her. I didn't say it was a healthy relationship. But suffice to say, Robyn's set was the one I was most looking forward to.
And she did not disappoint! Backed by a band that looked strangely like ABBA with long hair, beards, and white suits, she danced the hell out of the heat and got most of the crowd dancing. I was especially impressed by her ability to inspire clearly straight teenage boys to dance. That, in my mind, is pop music success. Friday continued with a a set by Broken Social Scene that began as a tremor somewhere in the ocean and ended as a glorious tsunami, in a good magnificent way, and a set by Modest Mouse that reaffirmed my belief in their pretentiousness, which is a personal opinion that may have been exasperated by my escalating cold symptoms, but whatever, they pissed me off. And not just because they didn't play Float On, but partially. I just think at a festival you should play your big song for the half of the crowd who may not have been blessed with elite musical access during the 90s to familiarize themselves with your splendid other albums.
Anyway. On Saturday I was sick and slept all day, but I did catch the online live feed of Free Energy (good!), Jon Spencer Blues Explosion (sexy man in leather pants!), and Wolf Parade (nostalgia and happiness!). I also made a giant batch of cookies, so I felt good about that day.
But Sunday Sunday Sunday! The impending, the arrival! I arrived excited to see Girls and quickly turned mopey, because I did not like their set. I understand the whole idea that they lack potential live, but I had heard good things. These things were wrong. Their set was really mellow, more mellow than their album, but then, to pick things up, they just started playing all of their instruments at once to form a weird alien combat noise for like 5 minutes. I was standing in front of a little 7 month old baby, and the baby just screamed. Screamed and screamed and screamed. I was with my friend MK, and we were like, WHY DON'T THE PARENTS GET THE BABY OUT OF THERE! But I was also thinking, this baby is perceptive and my heart is screaming in the same way for this madness to end.
Next I saw Beach House, which was so incredibly lovely that I decided it was on par with Robyn's set. Plus, they had sparkly confetti party decorations (ALSO SOMETHING I LIKE THAT GIVES BONUS POINTS). I went to see part of Local Natives as well, and they were pretty good, I enjoyed it, but what made the biggest impression on me was how glaringly and obviously Texan the band was. Then MK told me they are actually from LA. Could've fooled me with those mustaches and flannel.
I gorged myself with curry and layed on the grass, listening to Surfer Blood and St. Vincent in the distance. I jammed out a little to Major Lazer at a dance party with some friends, but I spent much time out of the crowd. I am at a point in my life where I no longer feel the need to be at the forefront of every show! I can enjoy music from a distance, among friends. I can relax! I can be an adult.
Except when it comes to Sleigh Bells.
My decision to see Sleigh Bells over Big Boi was not one I took lightly. I pondered it, but eventually decided I wanted the Sleigh Bells EXPERIENCE. I wanted to the pulse and throb of a crowd. I wanted to see the crazy lady.
And did I, did I. Thanks to half of the Benz family, we were set up pretty near the stage. Everyone, I repeat, everyone in that crowd knew what was coming. Everyone knew Sleigh Bells was gonna get CRAZY, so everyone was pushing to the front of the stage from the beginning of Neon Indian, the preceding set. I was there.
And when Sleigh Bells started, I got even closer to the sweaty high smelly people around me. There was one huge push and WHAM! Of course, the purse that I've had for over two years, the purse that has survived Italy, Spain, France, Uganda, Club Fever, numerous Backer nights, and months of abuse immediately broke and tumbled into the mosh pit. Such is the power of Sleigh Bells. I frantically started pushing people out of the way and searching the ground for it, keenly aware that if I bent down for more than half a second, I would be trampled and killed instantly. Somehow, after 3 minutes of hell, I spotted the purse, and then used my elbows to escape the crowd. God gave us elbows for a reason. So that girls can wear big earrings in crowds and so that people can escape crowds. I made it out. I thought my adventure was over.
But lo and behold, for the third time in a row during my Pitchfork experience, I run into a completely random person at the Stage B moshpit! And my crazy friend of a friend Anton somehow convinces me to return to the moshpit for the last few Sleigh Bells songs... so in we go. And of course, I lose my shoes. And of course, people are stepping on my feet, elbowing me in the thigh, dislocating my shoulders.
And of course, at the end of the show, Alexis Krauss, aka the girl singer, decides to jump into the crowd, right on top of me.
I cannot hold her up. I'M NOT EVEN WEARING SHOES. Luckily, drunk teenage boys come to my rescue. When it's all over, I talk with them, and I'm like, "I can't believe I held her up!" And they say, "I can't believe I touched her tit!"
So, it don't get any more rock n roll than that. I don't care what anyone else says, Sleigh Bells wins. Thank you Pitchfork, and good night.