Friday, December 10, 2010

[830] 'Tis that season

That's right, ladies & gents. It is Hallmark Christmas movie season. It is the season in which we realize that people's loved ones are always up and dying on Christmas eve, turning those they left behind into holiday hating Scrooges in need of serious Christmas rehab. Truly, it is the most wonderful time of the year.

Christmas movies are kind of like Disney movies. There's some sort of rule that forbids the existence of two parents in the same household. Of course, unlike Disney movies, in which they rarely acknowledge this strange and depressing fact, in a Christmas movie you are reminded repeatedly that one or both parents are missing. Usually about half the movie is spent referring to "That Christmas eve," until a heartfelt conversation takes place between two characters - generally love interests - in which we find out in great detail why this person has not been able to function in the month of December for the past five to twenty years. The other means for this reveal tends to have something to do with Santa - the real one, as the movie is dedicated to proving - revisiting the tragedy with the person in vague terms, and explaining that that fateful Christmas was when the poor sap lost his/her faith in Santa, and, as a result, mankind.

Another important factor in the Hallmark Christmas movie is the fight against greed. Not only do people die around Christmas, they also get super money-grubbing. Not the dead ones of course. Those who kick the bucket around Christmas are always selfless and altruistic. It's always the remnant, as I've just now elected to call the people left in the land of the living, who have a serious problem detaching from their cash. Considering the big selling point of Christmas is generally the presents, and Hallmark is in the business of holiday buying, it's rarely the presents themselves that are the problem. It's the wrong KIND of presents, for one. Kids shouldn't be asking for expensive video games and robots that do their homework for them. They should be playing with slinkies and puzzles, or dolls whose greatest technology is that their eyelids roll closed when you tilt them on their backs. They're looking out for the little guy in these movies. The rich people who can afford the homework robot are still going to buy it, but the po' folk who can't afford it can feel validated for buying one of those cheap, imitation Barbie dolls that dent if you hold them too tightly or look at them the wrong way.

The big problem, however, is the corporate Scrooge who withholds toys and Christmas bonuses from his employees and their families. This is the meany who's selling you the homework robot, or making you work late on Christmas eve, or committing any number of other evil and unfestive offenses. There's always a Bob Cratchett and a Tiny Tim, and the Christmas ghosts can take the form of a disadvantaged child, a new love interest, a mysterious old man with a white beard and a round belly, some institution that needs to be saved, or a combination of any or all of the above. In the end, there's a kiss under a Christmas tree, or a big holiday party, or some other dramatic moment in which faith in Christmas, and, therefore, humanity, is restored.

I sound critical, but I love these movies. I mean, some of 'em are real stinkers, but there's something about them that makes you feel like a kid again, and like everything really can be perfect for a moment in time - even if that moment is just the two hours you spend watching. There's life after death, and after money, and after parents who leave. It's all so very hopeful. Of all the distorted images of reality presented in movies, I find the idea of hope the least offensive.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good Hallmark movie.

Corrigan's Top 5 Hallmark Movies Airing This Year
These aren't all new ones, but they're the best I've watched that you can catch again before the season's over.

5. Christmas in Canaan - Um... Billy Ray Cyrus. That is all.
4. Mrs. Miracle - First time James Van Der Beek has ever actually seemed attractive to me.
3. Moonlight & Mistletoe - Tom Arnold is just so dopey in this, you hafta love him. Candace Cameron is perhaps excessively angry, but Chris Wiehl makes it all better.
2. Farewell Mr. Kringle - Stars Christine Taylor (a.k.a. Mrs. Ben Stiller) and Chris Wiehl (a.k.a. a total "That guy" actor). For once, the Santa character in this movie ISN'T the real Santa, and that makes all the difference.
1. Call Me Mrs. Miracle - It has Jewel Staite of Fast Forward and Firefly fame, as well as Eric Johnson, who played Whitney on Smallville. Those are reasons enough right there. But it's also got just the right elements of cute, sad, funny, and relatable to really suck you in. Special airpoints for the positive body image messages thrown into the mix.

Looking forward to: Battle of the Bulbs, starring Matt Frewer (Eureka, Max Headroom, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids) and Daniel Stern (HOME ALONE)
Do not watch: The Santa Suit (sorry Kevin Sorbo), The Santa Incident

Monday, November 1, 2010

[791] i hate everyone who doesn't agree with me

I was talking to someone recently about how adorable/silly it is that little kids think they have political views. I can remember having a very strong dislike of George H.W. Bush at the tender age of six, and I can even remember voicing that dislike to my friend Hana's mom, like we were having an adult conversation. Looking back, I can clearly see that I was simply regurgitating what I had heard my parents saying, but, at the time, those views felt like they were mine.

When I'm around kids now, and they start telling me that Obama wants to take their houses away, or that Obama is the savior of the universe, I have to laugh (and cringe a little). It's funny to see their conviction about things they know absolutely nothing about. A year or so ago, my friend James showed me this journal he'd found from when he was a kid. It was an election journal, and in it he had written his thoughts every four years about the candidates running for office. From a very early age, he was a staunch Republican. Why? 'Cause all of his outside influences told him to be. Just like I was a good little Democrat as a child

Good thing we grow out of that....

Oh wait. No we don't. Fast forward, say, ten years from those cute, childhood musings on the state of the nation. It's high school. For most of us, we live in an area that mostly reflects the views of our parents. After all, people tend to avoid living in places where everyone disagrees with them. So, all of our friends have been indoctrinated with the same political ideology that we have. We're surrounded by people who all "believe" the same things that we do. Did our friends come to these conclusions, at the age of sixteen, by any special means aside from what their parents told them? Probably not. Sure, there are some kids who really do spend a lot of time developing their political views through research, but that's not the majority. Basically, the forming of political views in high school is framed by either an acceptance of our parents' views, a rejection of our parents' views, or an apathy toward politics. It's rarely based on knowing anything about the issues, or drawing our own conclusions. I remember asking a friend who was on an anti-Bush rant in high school what she didn't like about him. Well, he was stupid, ignorant, dumb, and didn't speak well. Those are great reasons not to like that one kid who sits in the corner of your Spanish class shooting spitballs at the back of your head, but it's not a super well thought out reason to dislike a President.

We're still impressionable in high school, so we get our political views from our friends instead of our parents. But where did our friends get their political views? Yup, you guessed it. From their parents. We're all very sure of ourselves now, 'cause our parents and our friends, and the good people of Morally Upstanding County all agree with us. And we choose a college that validates that further. I can't count the number of times, as I was preparing to go off to a little Christian school in Orange County, that my mother referred to me as her "little, Republican daughter." This irked me to no end, and I think I may have eventually yelled. My dear mother (whom I do not mean to rag on at all, for I love her dearly) would also lecture me while I was at college about the importance of registering as a Democrat, so I could vote in the primaries. A) I wasn't going to vote in primaries. I was eighteen. B) I just wanted to decline to state. I had no party. I disagreed with both (and, in some cases, agreed with both). I wanted to vote on issues, not on party lines. Was that so much to ask? Resoundingly, yes. Everyone around me insisted I choose. You're for us, or against us. Which is it gonna be? At a Christian school in Orange County, questioning meant I was a liberal. At a public school in Marin County, questioning meant I was a conservative. For me, questioning was my way of differentiating myself from the people around me who had political views stronger than their reasoning abilities.

Good thing we grow out of that....

Ohhhhhhhh, wait. No we don't. Fast forward to age 25, age 45, age 65, and so on. We've formed our opinions around our parents, and then our friends, and now around commentators on cable TV who tell us everything we want to hear, and nothing we don't. If something runs counter to our firmly-held beliefs, it can't be because we were thinking about it wrong, or there are exceptions. Just shift the rhetoric, and we can make it work. Take two sort of related issues that get people hot under the collar: Abortion and capital punishment. I see campaign ads that say things like, "So-and-so will make abortion A CRIME," and "What's-her-face will NEVER seek the death penalty!" These things are supposed to make me think that these candidates are absolutely vile creatures with no sense of goodness. But let's think about this here.

The pro-abortion movement has found some absolutely brilliant rhetoric in the use of the term, "pro-choice." 'Cause what's the opposite of that? It's not pro-life. It's anti-choice. If you are anti-abortion, you are against freedom. I mean, how perfect is that? If Glenn Beck were pro-choice, this is EXACTLY the term he would've come up with. Instead of focusing on the legitimate concern for human life - which I think most of us would say is a good thing - this focuses on power. It's not about wanting to save children; it's about taking power away from women. It's about forcing religious views on people who have no interest in religion. It's control. ROOOOOAAARRRRRR!!! If people really stopped for a second to think about it, they would see that the whole anti-choice thing is bull. Sure, you can disagree about when life starts, and that's fine. You can have a civilized debate about that. But the second that you shift the rhetoric to pro-choice, you villainize the opposition. It's about those conservative meanies trying to control your body, and that's just not nice.

Capital punishment is the other side of this. Ads that run promoting capital punishment talk about cop killers and child murderers. They demand "justice" for these innocents, and insinuate that anyone who disagrees is a murder-sympathizer; that somehow, by refusing to kill a killer, one is condoning the behavior. Clearly, liberals wants to kill your innocent babies AND reward evil murderers! Again, this disregards the legitimate concern for human life. If someone who is pro-capital punishment were willing to actually consider the argument of the opposition, they would realize that, like one who fights for the rights of unborn children, one who fights the death penalty is trying to protect human life. It's not about sympathizing with killers and letting them get away with murder. It's about a hesitance to consider killing a justifiable response to killing. It's also a hesitance to execute a person who may later be proven innocent, as has been the case more times than most would like to acknowledge. It's absolutely ridiculous to refuse to see that point. Again, you can have a civilized debate about whether ending the life of a killer is justified or not, but the second you make those who are anti-death penalty out to be pro-murder or anti-justice, the conversation ends. That's it.

So, I hate you. I mean, I'm supposed to right? That's what I've learned from all of this. If you disagree with me, you are against me.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

[765] i don't want to wear your moccasins.

I'm sitting in my living room watching Hoarders (and unconsciously tidying as I do), when the show ends and switches to the new show Sister Wives. Considering I'm barely willing to share my husband with his job - and I only do that because it's necessary for survival - there are few things I can relate to less than women who voluntarily enter into polygamous relationships. And that IS the case with these women. This isn't some FLDS compound where creepy old men are marrying twelve-year-olds. This is suburban Utah. This is a group of people who could very well live next door to me. If I lived in Utah.

As I do when I watch anything that piques my curiosity, I took to Twitter to see what people were saying about it. I found indignation, disgust, condemnation. In a word, intolerance. Oh, snap! I just dropped the I-bomb! Look out!

But really. As I read through these comments, I saw a lot of references and connections to the Duggars and their apparently abhorrent lifestyle. People were downright angry that TLC would have the audacity to portray these people as complex and even (gasp) GOOD people. Heaven forbid we should look at them as anything other than some monolithic group full of people with no personalities outside of the evil Mormon or fundamentalist Christian programming they've received. If we're gonna portray them as normal, they'd better at least have some secret dark side like on Big Love. They can't be like us.

This has always bothered me. Let's look at this kind of judgment on a scale that's more at the forefront of our society right now: Some people have been complaining about the fact that homosexuals are portrayed as human beings on TV lately. If we see them as people who go to school, eat food, listen to music, and engage in extracurricular activities like the rest of us, it's a heck of a lot harder to hate them, or to see them as some malicious "other" hellbent on changing our beliefs and ways of life. Most of us can agree that this is pretty ridiculous. It's good for us to see how people live who live differently than we do, whether we agree with it or not. As it turns out, the overarching American culture, or at least regional culture, tends to be a lot bigger than lifestyle choices or sexual orientation. We're all a lot more alike than we give each other credit for.

But we refuse to walk two moons in another man's moccasins in order to understand him. In fact, we're more interested in the Jack Handey take on it: We want to walk a mile in another man's shoes so that, when we criticize him, we're a mile away AND we have his shoes. It's kind of hard to do that if that man looks like someone I might actually want to hang out with.

So, we're in agreement. Portraying gay people as gay PEOPLE on TV isn't a bad thing. But what about those icky polygamists? Or those irresponsible whackos with 19 kids? Surely they're too far outside the mainstream to be included in the acceptable category for positive portrayals. But why? They support themselves financially, they pay taxes, they're not abusive, the adults involved in these relationships consent to them, and the children in the families are happy to the extent than any child is happy. I have yet to meet any teenager who agrees entirely with their parents' views and choices. Both of these families give their children the freedom to choose whether they want to continue in these lifestyles once they leave the house.

Now, maybe we have a problem with the exploitative nature of reality television in general, and that's a whole other animal, but why is it that we seem to think it's some form of indoctrination to see that people whose lifestyles we disagree with are still thinking, feeling human beings? After watching two episodes of Sister Wives, I'd totally let my (future) kids hang out with their kids. Do I "approve" of polygamy? Nope. Not a lifestyle I can get behind. But I've never made agreeing with someone a qualification for being friends. I'd probably have a lot fewer if that were the case.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

[761] remember high school? me neither.

A couple years ago, this guy added me on Facebook. We have lots of mutual friends, so I figure I must know him, but I've looked over all his pictures and info and still can't place him. I'm not a Facebook, snob, though, and I accepted the request. After all, having "too many" people on my friends list really doesn't adversely affect me. The newsfeed only shows me the ones whose pages I visit frequently anyway. If I don't care what Danny Douchebag from third grade is doing, I just won't visit his page. No rejection necessary. I do, of course, avoid adding people with whom I have absolutely no connection, but mostly that's because I don't want people I KNOW calling or IMing me, let alone people I don't.

I'm off on a tangent. Let's go back to that guy I don't remember.

The other day I found a journal from high school. I started reading through it, with all of the appropriate cringes and giggles one might expect as one browses through the unfiltered ramblings of one's former self, and who did I find mentioned repeatedly? That's right. Forgettable Facebook Friend. Now, it's not like I'm looking back on something I wrote twenty years ago. I was seventeen when I wrote this particular journal. That's... um... hold on, calculating... that's only eight years ago! Eight years and I have COMPLETELY forgotten a guy with whom I was so closely acquainted that he made it into my journal multiple times!!! How is that possible?

This isn't the first time this has happened, mind you. In college, a friend informed me we had a mutual acquaintance. When the name didn't sound familiar at all, I found this person on facebook, did a rather in-depth stalking job, and found that I had no memory of ever having met her. But here's the kicker: There were pictures of us together! "I'm sorry, what? I must have misheard you," you say. Nope. You heard me right. There is photo evidence of our friendship, and if I saw her on the street, I would not recognize her.

This probably makes me sound like some sort of egotistical witch-with-a-B (as I might have said in high school), but that's really not the case. Or at least I don't think it is. If anything, judging by my journals, I was entirely too focused on everyone BUT myself. Man oh man, did I ever whine about how many friends screwed me over once they'd gotten all they wanted out of me. Parts of my journal are like a Dashboard Confessional album on a loop. And yet, after all those traumas, I barely remember any of it. It all seemed so important at the time. It all seemed like it would last forever. Teenagers are like Tinkerbell. They can only really feel one thing at a time. And for most, that one thing is usually negative. It's just part of the deal, I guess.

But the funny part is that it seriously doesn't matter. We aren't ready to hear that at the time, when parents and counselors and old people in department stores try to tell us, but it's true. It's only been eight years since I wrote in that journal, and I've forgotten things I would've sworn were either the best or worst things that would ever happen to me in my entire life. I was wrong. The worst thing so far happened my freshman year of college, and the best came a year after I got my first degree. I expect the superlative rankings of these things will change. I'll remember them a little better than the events of high school, but the details will get fuzzy and the feelings less tangible. That's life, thank God.

I keep reading about all these kids killing themselves over taunting and bullying from peers. Can you imagine if being a teenager was going to last forever? If that were the case, I doubt many of us would get out alive. But it doesn't last forever. When you look back, it's a strange, awkward blip on the radar. It just feels inescapable at the time. I wish someone would tell these kids, "No, seriously, I had the biggest thing for this one guy for four years, and I can't even remember his name." The pain is real, the kids are mean, and yeah, some of them live their whole lives and never get what they deserve for making someone else's life a living hell, but it's well worth waiting it out.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

[744] tell me a ghost story

It is no secret that I'm obsessed with ghost stories and folklore. This can probably be traced back to the fact that I grew up in front of a graveyard. I'm also from New England, and the daughter of New Jerseyans - one of which happens to be Irish. That's a pretty powerful trifecta of folklore-centric traits and circumstances.

One of the bummer things about living in Orange County is that there is a severe shortage of shared folklore. There are a few supposed haunted places here and there, and there's the legendary staple of the Southwestern U.S., La Llorona, but there aren't a lot of stories that seem to transcend the larger folklore of individual cultures. There aren't many stories specific to Orange County, or that everyone in the area seems to know. There's no Jersey Devil or Mothman. There are no banshees or haunted battlegrounds, no Indian burial sites or Pine Barrens. Or are there? I don't know. Nobody from around here seems to know about them.

I tried my hand at blogging about the few local legends I could dig up, but it was difficult considering the lack of resources from which to draw. I bought books. I scoured Google. I watched forums. It was all quite disappointing. A post that I wrote about the mysterious existence of wild parrots in Orange County continues to get fairly frequent comments. Why? 'Cause no one else seems to write about the weird stuff that goes on around here.

So, help me out. I'm in a draught. I need some good stories to share during lulls in conversation. Tell me a ghost story. Tell me about a local legend. I don't just mean in Orange County. Whether you live in Temecula or Tazmania, I want to hear about what goes on in your 'hood. What are the stories you and your friends told at slumber parties? They don't even have to be supernatural. My dad once told me a story about a group of people living in the hills of some town in New Jersey. They were supposedly descended of Hessian soldiers, and were incredibly hostile to interference from the city folk. Legend has it, they did some pretty gruesome things to police officers who tried to intervene. Not a ghost story. Most likely not true. Awesome story to tell over dinner. Give me some of those. Even better if it's a story of something that actually happened to you. Ready, set, GO!

Friday, August 20, 2010

[718] Orient(ate) me

In honor of my embarking upon the adventure of my grad school orientation this afternoon, I present you with my neurotic ramblings from the day of my CSUF interview. I wrote this while sitting outside the office of the head of the American Studies department, and feeling entirely inadequate. I'm pretty sure that there are two possible personality types for those of us who are more creatively inclined. There are those who are utterly convinced of their own greatness and entitlement - I know a few of those - and then there are those who are just as convinced of their unworthiness for even the most basic recognition or acceptance. Nine times out of ten, I fall into the latter category. While there has never been any solid evidence in my life to back up that ridiculous assumption, the insecurity is there, and it is pervasive. Exhibit A:

I'm doing my darndest to be confident, to appear as though I am certain I am qualified, and to convince whomever I come into contact with that s/he would be a fool not to take me under his/her wing. My heart is racing and my iced tea isn't sitting right in my stomach, but I'm doing the best I can.
It's 3:14pm. I am one minute early, and the professor with whom I am supposed to meet has not yet arrived. Perhaps he has forgotten. Maybe I came all the way here only to be completely and totally stood up. Well, at least then maybe he'd feel bad and let me into the program out of pity. I know. They don't do that. But I'll take any bit of encouragement I can at this point - anything to make me feel like less of a presumptuous idiot for even hoping in my wildest dreams that I'm worthy of graduate study.
Sometimes I wonder what I'd even do with an M.A. Yeah, sure, I know what I want to do. How likely am I to actually do it, though? What if I put an M.A. after my name and stagnate? What if I'm a waste of a degree? Oh jeez. Maybe they shouldn't want me after all.
Who am I but just a lowly B.A. from an unknown undergraduate university with no reputation? I shouldn't even be here, tapping my foot anxiously in the hallway outside this office. Should I knock again?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

[710] radio free age-gap

I rarely listen to music. I love music. I just don't listen to it.

I have this thing about any form of entertainment, whether it be movies, music, TV, books, historical reenactments, or what have you. I have to be in exactly the right mood at a given time in order to enjoy any particular type or genre of one of these things. Since I rarely seem to know myself well enough to pinpoint exactly what musical mood I'm in, I generally opt to save myself the frustration of poking the iTunes skip button on my keyboard for 45 minutes before I hit my stride.

That said, today I knew EXACTLY what I wanted to listen to.

If you live in Southern California, you've probably seen the KTLA commercial in which Sugarcult's song Los Angeles is used over some seriously epic night time footage. I love that song, and I love Sugarcult. They bring me back to my high school days, when Ben and I used to blast their song Pretty Girl on road trips to visit Jason at Master's, or when Jess and I would sit in front of the TV watching Much Music for hours waiting to see the ever-adorable Rivers Cuomo interact with Kermit the Frog in Weezer's Keep Fishin' video. I'm not one to claim that high school was the best time of my life, or to ever want to go back and re-live it, but, a few years out, I can now appreciate that strange era of my life. And it was strange. I don't care how cool you think you were in high school. You were embarrassing. If your current self met you, you would smack you.

Right. So. Today, on my walk through Back Bay, I created the ultimate high school playlist. It was precisely what I was in the mood for, and it got me thinking about how our musical memories date us -- how they can make us feel really old or really young, depending on who we're talking to.

On Twitter last week, someone posted something along the lines of, "Hey Ya just came on! Awesome elementary school memories!" I was about ready to crack out the Geritol right there. Elementary school?? I was a senior in high school when that was released (on my 18th birthday, as it turns out), and, being just shy of 25, I don't feel that kids who were probably still eating paste at the time could possibly be old enough to be tweeting.

On the other hand, I recently heard Chumbawumba on the radio, and excitedly proclaimed to Kyo that this was my jam in middle school. At that time, Kyo was about 26. Aaaand, the pendulum swings back.

I really do love the perspective music gives us on our age, though. I'm pretty sure we spend about 75% of our lives thinking we're old. Then someone comes along and talks about buying a Dylan record or hearing Dion & the Belmonts at a sockhop, and we realize we're freaking babies. We've been here for like, ten seconds. At my age, I've only been capable of any form of rational thought for like, three years. If I play my cards right, I've still got about 2.5 more of the life I've already lived ahead of me.

There are very few things in life that give me such perspective on the slow passage of time as music. Well, music and Bonanza. But I'm saving that for a post on how I want to be Ben Cartwright when I grow up.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

[708] my side of the mountain

I recently read this blog, which discusses solitude, this essay by William Deresiewicz, and, in particular, the profound impact the book My Side of the Mountain had on the the blogger's appreciation of spending time alone. Honestly, this blog feels like I could've written it, aside from the fact that, shamefully, I have never read Siddhartha. I've also never read Diana Michener's Catching the Sun, but I don't feel like anyone is gasping in shock at that revelation. (She hasn't read Catching the Sun? Was she raised in a barn?)

I have always been a bit of an introvert, and therefore a solitude enthusiast to some degree. My Side of the Mountain absolutely validated that desire within me to spend time alone with nature and my own thoughts. When I was in fifth grade, my teacher encouraged (see also: gave extra credit to) my classmates and I to spend 24 hours alone in our backyards after reading the book. For me, 24 hours was not nearly enough. I spent the better part of a month in a tent, reading, writing in my journal, and fancying myself a regular Thoreau.

Site of Thoreau's Cabin, 2007
Admittedly, I am a social networking addict, and often think that I cannot live without my cell phone and my Macbook. I find, though, that I am never more at peace and less stressed out than when I've spent several days somewhere without any connection to the thousands of acquaintances whose approval and constant feedback I so frequently think I require. A camping trip to Central California last weekend was one of many reminders of this, and, upon returning, I spent two consecutive afternoons sitting in Huntington Beach Central Park working on a short story with only my ugly dog for company. It was, in a word, liberating.

All that to say, it was a nice surprise to stumble upon a blog post that reflects upon My Side of the Mountain with similar sentiments to my own, and which serves as a little bit of a kick in the pants as I sit here with a zillion tabs open in Google Chrome, and realize that 3am feels lonely* to my generation because we don't know how to be alone.

*Apologies to Rob Thomas and the boys of Matchbox 20

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

[687] @craigyferg

Yesterday was our one-year anniversary. I know. We're big time. Hold your applause.

We spent our day in Hollywood, seeing a taping of the Late, Late Show w/ Craig Ferguson. I'm pretty sure God smiled upon our anniversary, because it was one of the best episodes I've seen, let alone been in attendance for. On the way into the studio, we crossed paths with Grant Imahara from, well, I shouldn't even have to tell you who that is. But I will. He's from Mythbusters. In my eloquence, upon spotting one of my TV heroes, I managed to say - okay, mumble - "Graaant Imahrrrrra." He responded with a much more intelligible greeting, for which I was grateful. It later turned out that Grant was a surprise guest on the show for the tweets & emails segment. It was awesome (which was the word of the evening), but stuff happened before this, too.

Pretty much immediately upon entering the studio, the warm-up comedian, Chunky B, caught sight of me and decided that I would be his target for the rest of the evening. I suppose, when you have a fro like mine, you really can't be surprised when people pick you out of a crowd. I've had drunken strangers ask to touch it, I've had random men comment on it on the street, and, as I mentioned a couple entries back, even Jeremy Davies from Lost told me he loved it. In short, a solid afro is a people magnet. If you're one of the three other black people I know and you're reading this, take note. What you do with that information is entirely dependent on whether or not you're a fan of people getting all up in your business without invitation.

Anyway, it all started as I was trying not to get hit by any of the candy he was tossing from his pockets rapid-fire into the audience. He spotted me, squirming to keep my face out of the danger zone, and mouthed that he liked my hair. I responded with a polite thanks. Two minutes later, he's got one end of a Twix in his mouth, and is leaning toward my face. Feeling like I would be a disappointment to the crowd if I turned away, and figuring, hey, when in Rome, I reluctantly grabbed the other end of the Twix in my teeth. This earned me the unfortunate nickname of "The Horny Girl" for the rest of the evening. I guess that might be better than the homely guy sitting with his considerably more attractive girlfriend, who was dubbed "Tony the Gay Guy." It's a toss up, really.

Taking my acquiescence in participating with his gag as a sign of my being down for anything, over the course of the pre-show and commercial breaks, I was given an awkward lap dance, offered an air joint, referenced repeatedly using the aforementioned unfortunate nickname, and told that the candy everyone received was melted because I was so hot.

As a side note, my husband did nothing but laugh as I was sexually harassed by the warm-up comedian on our anniversary. Didn't even feign jealousy or anger. This is somewhat troubling.

After the show, Chunky gave me a sweet Late, Late Show mug - which has been added to our shelf of TV/movie memorabilia - and a hug for being a good sport. I am nothing if not a willing participant in my own humiliation. I'd do it again (who wants go see Sara Watkins with me on the show next week? Eh? Eh? After this nice anecdote, who could say no?).

Aside from this hoopla, there actually was a show being taped, and it was awesome. It started out with a performance by She & Him. I think I'm mostly past my Zooey Deschanel obsession, but it was still pretty cool to see her up close. And I mean close, 'cause Craig's set is the smallest set I have ever seen. I mean, the set of the PBS show I interned for was bigger than this set. You really can't tell on TV that it's so small, and you would think that there are two or three hundred people in the audience, but it is, and there aren't. There are about one hundred people watching the show, and Craig's desk, the guest chairs, and Geoff Peterson are all situated within about ten or fifteen feet of each other. That's the magic of television, ladies & gents.

Jeffery Dean Morgan was HILARIOUS, and convinced Craig to let him stay for Mary Lynn Rajskub's segment. The three person interview thing was fantastic, and there is nothing like a three-way awkward pause to really make an episode of Craig Ferguson. If you can find it online, watch it, 'cause it was phenomenal.

One thing that really struck me about this show is how incredibly off-the-cuff it is. Y'know how it looks like he's making stuff up off the top of his head? He really is. There are no cue cards or outlines. His opening monologue came to him about five seconds before the camera started rolling, when Chunky B asked him what he did over the weekend. That's insane! I mean, when I have to think of something to say off the top of my head, we get, "Grant Imahrrrrra." We don't get Peabody Award winning monologues. If ever I were convinced that someone completely deserves his spot on late night, that person is Craig Ferguson.

I won't bore you with the details of our awesome dinner at some place in The Grove whose name I can't remember, or with commentary about the sweet vintage store in the Farmer's Market. I shall simply say that it was a fulfilling anniversary, and it'll be hard to beat next year. I'm a firm believer, though, that I can somehow find a way to top all of my great experiences. I aim high, and I rarely disappoint.

[Update] Read about the prank Craig pulled on the TV Critics of America. He recorded this while we were in the audience, too.

Also, I just want to add a recommendation for Late, Late Show attendees. When they give you the $20 per person meal coupons for the Grove, take that coupon to the Wood Ranch Grill. They give you a ton of food, and charge you $20 for two people, instead of $20 per person... unless, of course, it was a mistake when they did it for us. I don't think so, though, since they had a special Craig Ferguson menu there. Don't do cheesecake factory. Their deal blows.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

[674] when dark comedy isn't comedy

Yesterday I watched a movie called Serious Moonlight. It stars Meg Ryan and Timothy Hutton, with Justin Long and Kristen Bell in supporting roles, and it's marketed as a comedy. Admittedly, the fact that this was airing on Lifetime probably should have been my first hint that the movie might not fit into my definition of "funny." I'll cop to that. Still, I was expecting something along the lines of You've Got Mail or When Harry Met Sally. Not. So. Much.

The synopsis of the movie given on my DVR said something about a woman duct taping her adulterous husband to a toilet just as home invaders break in. Sounds like some sorts of zany antics should ensue, like an updated and more grown-up version of House Arrest. In some ways, these films actually are kind of similar. Once the house is being robbed, the husband and wife are left to try to work out their problems in captivity. Okay, did I say some ways? 'Cause that's really the only way.

What seems like a pretty entertaining plot for a comedy quickly spirals into being just plain disturbing. I know this may be blasphemy, but I'm gonna go ahead and say that Meg Ryan is not all that funny to begin with. I will grant her, though, that she does a good job of playing the exact same character in everything. Since she's departed from that character, I think we can all agree that her success has been pretty limited - and by limited, I mean, pretty much nonexistent. She does not play our old friends Sally Albright or Kathleen Kelly in this film. She plays an over-the-top, unhinged woman who thinks that she can convince her husband to fall back in love with her by taping him to the John, baking him cookies, and talking about the good ol' days. It isn't long before her husband, who's planning on proposing to his mistress, invokes the infertility card. 'Cause nothing's funnier than a woman's inability to make a baby. Heh heh. Heh. Heh?

The home invader, Justin Long, is cold and aggressive. He gropes an unconscious Meg Ryan and talks about the ways he wants to violate her, while Tim Hutton looks on helplessly and pleads for him to stop. To quote Adam Scott's character on Party Down, are we having fun yet? Later, we throw Kristen Bell into the mix, who alternately screams about how they're going to die and then nags Timothy Hutton about which one of the women he's going to pick. Somehow, we're supposed to believe that it's imperative he chooses before they all die a horrible death at the hands of Justin Long and his stoner friends, who are, inexplicably, downstairs partying for two days. Either that, or we're supposed to think it's funny that she's insisting he choose, in light of the circumstances. Whatever the scene is trying to do or be, it's failing. The whole movie is failing.

This might have made an interesting drama with a few plot tweaks. Or maybe with someone believable like Kathy Bates playing the snapped wife. There are even ways they could have made this a good comedy. The thing is, though, that there is a fine line between dark comedy and just plain dark. There needs to be a level of absurdity, not just insanity. Women being molested, cheated on, and looked down upon for an inability to reproduce really aren't funny things. Neither is the idea of a man tormenting a couple for fun while robbing their house particularly amusing. The woman who wrote the screenplay, Adrienne Shelley, was later murdered by a home invader, and it wasn't funny at all. I don't necessarily blame her for this mess of a movie, as she wasn't there to direct it or approve any of the final details. I'm gonna give her the benefit of the doubt and hope that this wasn't what she had in mind. The film is brutal and unfeeling, and the only thing that keeps it from being tragic is the fact that there isn't a single character you root for. They're all terrible people.

There is actually a pretty clever twist at the end of the film, but it doesn't redeem the hour and a half or so it took to get to that point. I won't ruin it, even though I also would not recommend that you watch it. If you're curious, there are plenty of spoilers on the IMDb discussion board for the film.

I guess this just highlights something that has always bothered me about a lot of movies. I think that a lot of times filmmakers just leap over that line that divides a comedy from tragedy. I can think of a lot of films that people told me were hilarious, but that ended up leaving me with a weird feeling in the pit of my stomach. I rarely find entertaining murder, rape, suicide, or abuse. In the interest of full disclosure, I'll admit that I laughed in Burn After Reading when a certain character got shot in the face quite suddenly and unexpectedly. One of my favorite shows is America's Funniest Home Videos, so I'm certainly not above a little schadenfreude. I'm sure there are plenty of times when I've laughed at horrible things. For me, though, there are so few times when heinous, violent acts are warranted in a comedy. Serious Moonlight is a perfect example of how dark comedy can go very, very wrong.

But you don't have to take my word for it...

Monday, May 24, 2010

[630] how to win at life: aloha to lost edition

As pretty much everyone in America who does not live in complete isolation knows, last nite was the series finale of Lost. Along with that came a full evening of festivities related to said finale. Kyo and I got to take part in some of those festivities - specifically, those that took place on the Jimmy Kimmel show. We drove to L.A. at 8am, stood in line for several hours, knowing that they had overbooked the show, and were treated to the opportunity to see the finale around 6 hours early, among other perks.

We also got to see the taping of the Kimmel Aloha to Lost special. I shook Locke's (Terry O'Quinn) and Farraday's (Jeremy Davies) hands, and the latter told me he loved my hair. Win! That guy's been one of my (and my mom's) faves since Twister - which is one of the best movies ever, and you're wrong if you don't think so, mmkay? I then got to ask a question in the post-show Q&A (see video below), which was fun but also scary. When Jimmy called my name, my entire body immediately started sweating. I was not expecting my question to get picked, after there already having been a Lost/Survivor tie-in in the alternate endings, and was therefore COMPLETELY unprepared mentally. Luckily, I did not hurl. Those who know me know that hurling is always a potential outcome in a given situation.

I saw that the Q&A got a lot of crap for being totally irrelevant, which was unfortunate because we were specifically told not to ask anything related to the plot of Lost, partly because we hadn't watched the finale yet and they didn't want us to ask questions that would be answered once we watched it. Furthermore, the questions that were asked on the air were specifically picked out by the JKL powers-that-be, so it was kinda lame that Kimmel sorta threw us under the bus for asking "bulls***t" questions. To paraphrase Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, no, no, Jimmy: You chose poorly. But it's really not that important what people thought of it. It was fun. And people are looking for reasons to trash the finale and everything that had to do with it anyway. Can we at least all agree that the real embarrassment of the nite was Marilyn Manson's rambling rant about dead babies and who-knows-what-else during the Kimmel show? People in the audience were seriously whispering, "Someone take the mic away from him!"

Aaaaaaanyway, after the JKL taping ended and the actors had left, Kimmel's people fed us pizza and held a raffle. We won a sweet piece of art called "Rousseau's Transmission," which was signed by Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse. As a parting gift, we also got boxes of Dharma Macaroni & Cheese autographed by Damon Lindelof and Josh Holloway. It was super awesome, and the best use of absolutely zero dollars that I've spent in a while.

I'm not gonna go into too much depth on what I thought of the finale, but I was satisfied with it. Of course it wasn't perfect, and everything didn't get wrapped up all neat and tidy, but I think it's better that way. There's no good way to end a show like this. There's no way to please everyone. I think they ended it well and with a big focus on redemption, which I would say has always been one of the main points of the show.

Monday, April 19, 2010

[595] universal truth from buster bluth.

As many of you probably saw on my Facebook, last week Kyo and I had the honor of seeing Tony Hale speak at Vanguard. If you're unfamiliar with the name, that's Buster Bluth from the EPIC TV show, Arrested Development. If you're unfamiliar with that name, please open Netflix in a new tab - after all, I wouldn't want you to abandon my blog completely - and add it to your queue immediately, if not sooner. If you don't have Netflix, I'll send you a postcard from the 21st century sometime.

Tony Hale is a bit wary of bloggers, as they've gotten him into trouble before. I'm pretty sure that I'm not breaking any confidence, however, in relating to you all a particularly profound insight he shared. I don't mean profound in the sense that you've never heard anything like it before. You probably have. But I think it takes on a new life coming from someone who is, by all accounts, a successful person who is living his dream.

The insight was simply this: Be content with where you are in your life.

Seems pretty straightforward, right? And maybe you think, well, gee, that's easy for him to say. He's married, successful, well-connected, etc., etc., etc. That's what makes it all the more interesting to me, though. Like most of us youngsters, just getting our starts in the world, he had this idea that once he attained his dream, everything would be perfect. He thought that landing that sitcom would fulfill him, and he'd be content. When he got there, he found that success did not equal contentment. Not only was there an emptiness within himself, but he told us how he talked to other celebrities who really seemed to have everything, and all they could do was talk about something that they had not yet achieved - being cast in a serious role, being cast in a comedic role, getting to do Broadway, and on and on. There's always something more that you can achieve, sure. But what Tony Hale realized was that, if he couldn't be content with what he had, he was never going to be content with all the other things he thought he wanted or needed.

That's not to say that you should become complacent, of course. Kickin' around and doing the same ol' thing isn't going to get you anywhere anymore than making a lot of money is going to make you truly happy. The point is that if you try really hard and fail, but you're content with what you've got, failure is not a soul-crushing event. More than that, not achieving some goal doesn't have to be a failure. Failure is an attitude, and you could be the richest, most successful, and most famous person on the planet and still be a total failure.

I've been reading Dianna Agron's Tumblr lately. She's on the show Glee, and damned if she isn't about as content as they come. I love reading her blog. Here is a girl who has looks, talent, and success, and is taking it all as an unbelievable blessing. Her incredulity at her own good fortune is apparent in everything she writes. Maybe it's because she's young and new to the business. Maybe she hasn't had time to realize that she's supposed to crave more. I hope, though, that she has what it took Tony Hale - and most of the rest of us - years to find. Contentment.

Monday, April 12, 2010

[588] the only thing better than hairspray

That's actually a trick title. There isn't, in fact, anything better than Hairspray. Kyo took me to see it onstage at OCPAC on Thursday, and I am now even more convinced of that truth.

Topping the list of things that are not better than Hairspray is the new KFC Double Down. I have now tasted death, and it is soggy and unappealing. Let me be clear: I did not expect the Double Down to be good, by any stretch of the imagination. I did expect it to be less foul than it was. In the advertisements that have been circulated for this final leap into mainstreaming obesity, the chicken buns more or less look like perfectly formed hash browns - which might actually taste pretty good encasing cheese and bacon. For those of you that just grimaced, keep in mind that I just ate a scalding hot block of cholesterol. I'm not saying either of these concepts are great ideas. I'm just saying that in the battle of hash brown bun vs. chicken bun, the hash brown might at least be less offensive to the touch and to the taste buds.

Once you get past the slimy texture - which makes you feel like you are actually absorbing calories through your hands - things don't improve. You take a big bite, doing your best to get a little cheese and a little bacon for good measure, and all you taste is cafeteria mystery meat. I'm pretty sure they served this very same thing at my elementary school and tried to pass it off as chicken cordon bleu. Never have I spent $5 more unwisely. And by that I mean, never has Kyo spent $5 more unwisely. Sorry, bud. I hope your wallet and your arteries will forgive me.

Monday, March 29, 2010

[575] pants? what are these 'pants' you speak of?

Has it really been a week since last Monday? Where on earth have I been?

As you may have deduced from the title of this entry, I'm not wearing pants. I'm sick, and when I'm sick, I do not wear pants. I also don't exercise any form of discretion in my movie viewing when I'm sick.

Calm down. That doesn't mean I watch a bunch of filth and blame it on the illness. On the contrary. I watch A LOT of Disney and kids' entertainment. Today I've watched Space Chimps (really, really terrible), Harriet the Spy: Blog Wars (surprisingly true to the book), and several episodes of Hannah Montana (yeah, it wasn't just the one time when I couldn't sleep). Before you completely stop respecting me, I also watched the three episodes of Southland I've had waiting on my DVR for me. I'm totally hip, guys. F'real.

I've spent a good portion of the day downing cold medicine, sucking on lozenges, and inhaling some sort of chemical called levmetamfetamine - which sounds like a hardcore drug but smells suspiciously like Icy Hot. Kyo calls it "leave-me-alone-amphetamine." I have high hopes that I'll be on the up-and-up by tomorrow, but that could be my cold med cocktail talking.

In other news, I found out the other day that I got into Cal State Fullerton for grad school. That's right. I am going to master the arts - the arts of American Studies, more specifically. I'm excited that they like me. I like being liked. I also like learning, so I think this is the beginning of a beautiful relationship.

For now, it's time to watch a few episodes of Pawn Stars and take some Nyquil Nite Time (Rite Aid FTW!)

Monday, March 22, 2010

[567] the frustration of the impoverished procrastinator

I'm sitting at the OCC library right now, where I should be studying for my Ethnic Studies exam. However, in the short five minutes in which I was NOT pestering the circulation desk to see if the textbook had come back in, the book was, in fact, checked in and checked back out again. That's what I get for trying not to be a nuisance. Next time I'm just going to sit there and stare at them until the book comes in. It will be uncomfortable, but I'm gonna get that book.

This all stems from two basic problems. Problem number 1 is my pathological inability to do things ahead of time. Could I have taken this book out and studied last week? Sure. That would have been a fantastic idea. Is there any chance in the whole entire universe that I would ever do that? No. Why? Because even if I physically had the book in my hands, I would have Facebooked instead. If there is no sense of urgency, I do not get things done. I need pressure. I'm useless without it.

In college, I took an English course in which there were no due dates. You heard me. No due dates. As long as everything got in before the end of the course, it was all good. By the end of the course, I'd turned in one really good paper and one atrocious paper, and I didn't turn in the last paper at all. Somehow I managed a B+ in the class, about which I still feel kinda guilty. There was no way I earned it, and I sometimes think that maybe the professor confused me with someone else.

This is why I'm not great with blogging either. There's no urgency in blogging. Nobody is hovering over my website at midnight, waiting for me to post my next ramble. I finished NaNoWriMo ahead of time, against the odds, because I had a deadline (and a healthy sense of competition, if I'm being honest).

The other issue here is the exorbitant cost of textbooks. For this particular class, we're required to have the newest edition of the book. It was just published, and therefore nobody is selling it for cheap. I believe $89 was the cheapest price at the beginning of the semester. I've paid more than that for texts before, but after four years of college, I'm over it. If I can't get it for $20 or less on, I'm not buying it. I don't have the money or the interest in doing so. "But you have a husband who'd gladly pay for it," you say. True. But it's the principle of the thing. I don't want him paying for it either. It's robbery. I pay a bajillion dollars for my education, and THEN you want to gouge me on the cost of the textbook? I will say good day to you, sir! It ain't happenin'.

I realize that when grad school time rolls around, I will not be able to get by without the books. It will be a necessary evil and I will take part in it grudgingly. Let me have my rebellion now, while I still can. I'll be better in the morning.

Monday, March 15, 2010

[560] home alone

I'd be lying if I said I don't become a little bit paranoid when left to my own devices for too long. I blame my mom (sorry mom) for instilling in me fear of just about every situation as a child. Going into the ocean above my knees, playing outside after a thunderstorm, handling any form of small, round object in a moving vehicle (y'know, 'cause it could roll under the brake peddle, hindering the drivers' ability to stop the automobile); these are just a few of the activities that, even now, give me pause due to years of warnings.

It's no surprise, then, that an irrational fear of home invaders (both human and animal) plagues me in my adult life. After all, my mother used to claim that if I did not do some chore that she had asked me to do, gypsies were going to come steal me in my sleep. This one wasn't so much an actual warning as a really good threat, but it all sounds the same when you're five. I've grown out of thinking that gypsies are out to get me, but I'm not sold on the idea that some guy doesn't want to steal my crap. This one's partially based on multiple experiences with my friend Ben, who has had his stuff stolen from his car on numerous occasions upon which I was present. Maybe God just doesn't like Ben - or thieves really do - but it freaks me out nonetheless.

I check that everything's locked at least five times before going to bed. My memory's not the greatest in the world, and I'm perpetually terrified that my memory of locking the door is actually a memory of doing it the night before, leaving me completely vulnerable to attack. I don't even want to go into the anxiety that bubbles up in me as I approach the front door to lock it. Irrational fear #572: Looking out a window and seeing someone else looking back. If it weren't for the pane of glass right next to the door, I could go about my evening business with relatively low stress (not to mention the fact that I could look through the peephole to check for door-to-door salesmen and JWs when the doorbell rings, while simultaneously keeping up the guise of not being home). I wonder if anyone sells long, thin curtains... or wants to make me one.

Anyway, the past several nights have been tricky. Falling asleep when you're in a constant state of fight-or-flight mode isn't all that easy. As it turns out, brainstorming your various escape routes and locating all household items that could be used as weapons actually makes you MORE on-edge than resigning yourself to an uncertain fate. File that one away under "good to know."

The dog has been helpful. He has foregone his usual favorite sleeping spot on the other side of the room for the blanket under my bedside table. I'm pretty sure he's protecting me, and I love him for it.

The TV has also done its part. I am not ashamed to admit that I watched the final three episodes of Hannah Montana last night as I drifted to sleep. Or at least I thought I watched the final three. Turns out they lied to me. There's another season coming in the summer. Why must you toy with my emotions, Disney Channel? Okay, but secretly, I'm kind of glad. I was really going to miss Miley and the gang.

But despite Gaucho's and Hannah's best efforts, I'm counting down the minutes until that knight in shining armor of mine comes home and gives me that warm sense of security we know as "safety in numbers."

And Buzz, I'm going through all your private stuff. You'd better come out and pound me.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

[557] racism's last stand

I'm a somewhat black person living in America. And when I say "somewhat," I don't mean 'cause I like, totally act like a white girl and stuff. I mean because I'm half white. But we all know that if you have even a little bit of black in you, the white is canceled out in the eyes of most. See Harry Reid's comments regarding Obama and the negro dialect as exhibit A.

That said, I've also had the good fortune to grow up in areas that were pretty unconcerned with the whole race thing. I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that I grew up in northern towns that were made up almost completely of white people, and therefore having a black person or two around wasn't really a threat. People tend to get a lot more racist when they feel that their power is threatened. See where I live now as exhibit B.

Southern California is racist. One of my professors recently claimed that SoCal did not have ethnic enclaves like that silly ol' racially divided east coast. I didn't know how to respond to that, because it is categorically untrue. I mean, not just kind of a stretch, but blatantly false to anyone who has ever been to Irvine, Santa Ana, L.A., or anywhere else in this part of the state. Up until my freshman year of college, I couldn't have told you a single stereotype about Mexicans. I didn't know that Asians were supposed to be bad drivers. I had never seen someone get pulled over for being the wrong color in a white neighborhood. Needless to say, my eyes have been opened to all of these things.

I'm not trying to say that Greenfield, MA or Mill Valley, CA are completely without racists. I remember being in the cafeteria when I was in third grade when a girl who I was barely acquainted with said to me, "No offense, but my dad says you're a n*****r." Um... none taken? But really, I don't even think I knew to be offended. I'd never heard the word before. I remember thinking something along the lines of, "Gosh, her dad's stupid. He can't even pronounce the word 'negro.'"

So, sure. Racism's all over the place. But it's the places that think they've got something to lose by accepting the minority that really know how to dish it out. I think we're seeing that more than ever right now, with the whole black president thing we've got goin' on these days. With the tea partiers making all kinds of fun, racially charged statements, and political figures - both Republican and Democrat - saying some pretty ignorant stuff, it is incredibly apparent that there are those in the white population who are beginning to feel a bit threatened. We see a lot of it happening amongst the poorer and less educated whites because, well, being white is about all they've got going for them. They may not be high up on the totem pole, but at least they're not [insert undesirable racial background here].

Most Americans have some skewed views of other races buried somewhere in them. These things come out in jokes or in their surprise when someone doesn't live up to their preconceived stereotypes. It's more a product of our socialization than an active desire to discriminate against people who are different from us. As such, most Americans also have come to a point where they don't harbor ill-feelings toward people based on their race. They may think that you should stay off the road or that you enjoy Kool-Aid more than you do, but they don't think you're going to mug them or that you should sit at the back of the bus.

Thus, a part of me wonders if we're seeing racism's last stand; the desperate attempts of those who are seeing power slip away from them to say, "Hey, wait guys! Remember how we're inherently better, and other races are stupid and invasive and stuff! C'mon!" It looks dire. We're hearing nasty things being said and seeing ridiculously bigoted acts carried out by individuals all over the country, but the mere fact that these incidents are a big deal says something about how far we've come. Where once we wouldn't have batted an eyelid over Reid's statement, we're now tearing apart Dan Rather's completely innocuous comment about selling watermelon to find some sort of racist undertone.

As I've said before, I'm not so naive as to grab hold of this "post-racial America" thing that people like to dream is happening. I don't know if that's ever going to happen. I do think, though, that the recent burst in racism is a reaction to the fact that racist people are seeing their power slip away. Americans aren't standing for it anymore. The social order is being challenged, and, despite our silly prejudices, as a collective group, we don't accept that anyone is inferior based on their race anymore. Yeah, there will always be racists. But the time in which we let them get away with spouting it in public without consequences is coming to an end.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

[555] well, color me embarrassed.

Forgive me, bloggers, for I have sinned. It has been 190 days since my last confession. That's what these things are, right? Confessions?

I have tweeted, I have facebooked, and I have even begun paying attention to the long neglected paper and pens that have been so faithful to me over the years. I had almost forgotten how good it feels to write - hand cramps and all.

On this 555th day of the rest of my life, I'm pondering authenticity, among other things. I'm thinking about what it means to live without cynicism, to love without stipulations, and to have my thoughts and actions line up with what I know and believe. I'm 24, and, while by no means am I old, I'm old enough to put childish things aside. And by childish things, I do not mean watching kids' shows or rolling down grassy hills. Those things I will never give up.

By childish things, I mean prejudice, procrastination, pride, and many other things that do not start with "p" ... and perhaps a few more that do. I've recently enrolled in a couple classes at Orange Coast College, a community college here in Costa Mesa. If you want a reality check on your own judgmental nature, try hanging around 18-year-olds for a few seconds. To even talk about it is to put on display my own intolerance of others, but I feel like I need to illustrate my point.

For one, everyone smokes. I didn't know people under the age of 40 still did that, given the knowledge we now have on its ill effects, but they do. And they cuss, too. Boy howdy, do they cuss in creative ways. I did not know that I was such a prude until I found myself nearly gaping at groups of students punctuating every pause with profanity (What is with me and the letter "p" today?). Little known fact: An f-bomb can be used in place of a comma or the word "um" in any sentence. The more you know.

On several occasions, I have passed by students discussing their fake IDs or how hard they partied the night before, and I've rolled my eyes in disgust. Teenage rebellion, I'd say to myself, because I have no friends other than myself at OCC.

And then it started bugging me that I did that. Like I wasn't a teenager once. Not that I was a rebellious teenager, but I'm sure once I got to college, I felt like a big bad grown-up and wanted to show off that I was no longer under the rule of my parents'. I'm sure the need to prove that would've have been exacerbated had I still been living in my parents' house after graduating from high school. I get it. Why am I so annoyed by it? What right have I to be annoyed? If anything, I should feel sympathetic. Those in-between years can kinda blow. You look for meaning in your life in the stupidest places, and make all of the most important mistakes in that time; the mistakes that will actually count toward the rest of your life. 'Cause Lord knows for all the drama we make in high school, it rarely counts for much after graduation. It's not until we're legally considered adults that most of us really start to screw ourselves.

It's been grating on me ever since I first caught myself silently judging my classmates. I don't want to do that. It's no good to them, and it doesn't really benefit me either. I mean, if Conan O'Brien, who makes a living off of the appearance of being cynical, is telling me that cynicism isn't going to get me anywhere, maybe I should listen. It's not like I've always been this way. Heck, prior to my senior year of college, I was about as happy-go-lucky and nonjudgmental as you could get. But, like a lot of people, I let circumstances get the best of me, and I shut myself off to the love and trust I usually freely gave in order to build a wall between me and the hurt that certain others dole out equally liberally. That's stupid. It's stupid to decide my own attitude based on something someone else does.

I'm done, I'm done, I'm done. I hope. I want to be, anyway. Down with cynicism and all the childish things I've wasted my time on to this point. Day #556 shall be different!