Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Christmas came with more exhaustion than anything else and our not so little Christmas tree passed the entire holiday undecorated. It's over though, and we made it through the madness of making our families happy. Time to be selfish again.

And the new year? Let's just say that we had a great time leaning over the bed watching the fireworks out our window. Resolutions I have decided are for the weak - if you need to resolve to do it you must not want it bad enough, and this year will be about indulgence and enjoying whats left of my mid-twenties.

Enough of that. I need some more coffee to de-fuzzify.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Baby, I could never resent your ass

I finished my Economics and Urban Affairs term paper!
It's over. Done. Finished. The likeliness that I will ever do anything related to obesity and food insecurity again: 0. Ok, maybe not 0, but hovering pretty darn close. The best part of this paper was that I got to quote Sir Mix-a-Lot:

I'm tired of magazines
Sayin' flat butts are the thing
Take the average black man and ask him that
She gotta pack much back
So, fellas! (Yeah!) Fellas! (Yeah!)
Has your girlfriend got the butt? (Hell yeah!)
Tell 'em to shake it! (Shake it!) Shake it! (Shake it!)
Shake that healthy butt!
Baby got back!

Now I can focus on: 1) paying the bills I have ignored because I have been too stressed about my paper to get stressed about money, 2) what I am going to produce as Christmas gifts for my and R's family, and 3) enjoying the two weeks of having nothing not do after work before the semester starts again.

A little bit on item #2. This is the one and only reason that I dislike Christmas - actually not so much dislike as resent. It feels horrible and chintzy to be sitting around the tree Christmas morning opening gifts, only to realize that your family has gone all out on you and given you really thoughtful presents – like coupons good for a pair of shoes, or a month of car insurance or something - while all you have done on the other had is wrapped up a tin of cookies and stuck it under the tree. Last year we were able to actually buy gifts, like grownups do, but this year we are superbly strapped. Looks like my ovens gonna be busy this week.

And while everyone talks about how it's about family and spending time together, when it comes down to getting a bad gift, or no gift, it’s not actually deemed acceptable. The person you’ve gifted (or not-gifted) gives you that face: ‘I am going to try and look gracious, but really I feel kind of bad for you that you can’t afford something better’ and ‘why did I blow $50 on Macy’s gift card for you if all you were gonna get me was a box of fugly, homemade macaroons?’

It’s not like we are kids anymore – we don’t have the ‘we’re struggling college kids’ anymore (although I can spring the struggling grad student )defense. We should be able to buy Christmas gifts for at least our immediate family.

But why should we have to? Why can’t I write a letter to everyone involved simply stating that I drop out of the gift giving this year and that all I want for Christmas is the pleasure of everyone’s company? (and then I get promptly kicked out in the cold for being such a cornball).

Christmas has started though – our tree is sitting in a bucket in the hallway waiting to get dolled up. Jingle fucking bells.

Friday, December 15, 2006

funnies in the water

I think there are drugs in the water.

I would blame other liquids, but considering that I am such a die- hard tap water drinker, it seems like the obvious suspect. The last few nights I have gotten extremely tired. This in itself is not new - I am always tired by 8 o'clock or so. But these the last couple of nights I have been hit with a wave of exhaustion - my body feels like it is going to give out completely unless I lie down, but then I can't lay down becuase my leg muscles get all knotty and need to stretch. The thing that makes me suspicious is that I get a solid 15 min bout of the bedtime giggles*, before I finally just fall into a static sounding sleep. Usually the bedtime giggles don't happen until I am actually in bed, and never last that long.

The first night it happened, I thought 'wow I must have had a really long day today.' But yesterday I was off. And I took a nap (ok two). At 8:30 I had to lie down, but not before I got really genuinely angry becuase he asked me to wake him in time to take a shower. I was really pissed, but he realized that I was just cranky. i figured it out too - the fact that I was being totally ridiculous that is. Then I blathered some nonsense about...I don't remmeber now, but I heard say 'what are you saying' and I was out.

Of course, I really don't think that the water is drugged. That would be silly. If it were there R would be acting like a maniac at night (and not just in the morning). Maybe it's something in the vents? The coffee? Could the bananas be spiked?

*The Bedtime Giggles: when I am very sleepy and I crawl into bed, I start laughing at everything. And nothing. R will just be minding his own business trying to get his crap together for the next day and there I am in a million layers of poofy blankets laughing my head off, gasping for breath. Then, as suddenly as it starts, it stops and I am asleep. I'm like a switch.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Poor Dave Letterman

With each new random vein of inquiry that I pursue in my never ending attempts to procrastinate, I lose just a little more interest in my paper topic. How can I possibly think about, let alone write, about obesity when Billy Idol is out there in the cruel world making Christmas videos? So maybe I've listened to Rebel Yell a few too many times today, but the little girl crush I had for him was certainly well founded and showed that even I had some wisdom beyond my years. Cheesy eighties be damned, he rocked. Going around looking like a bad ass Elvis, only a little snarkier and not as polite. I watched a little segment (you can guess where) of Billy on David Letterman back in 1984. The really great thing about the interview was that even though he was probably coked, or whatever, out of his mind, he still sounded moderately intelligent. He answered questions about his family seriously, and talked a bit about music in America and its influence on him. Not genius no, but way better than Madonna's display of total idiocy on the show in 1994. She sounded like a whiny jackass, as if she was the one had invented the public discourse on sex. Oh yeah, and she invented the fuck too. Instead Billy Idol with his amazing smirk drops atleast 2 sharp references to his sexual activity without batting an eyelash, effectively giving you more respect for this guy. He doesn't come off smutty, just good.

And ultimately, this is why we get obese - because we sit in front of our computers wasting time watching horrible tape recordings of late night TV from the eighties, and then spend even more time (out of guilt perhaps) trying to think about what we just saw in terms of cultural relevancy. Then we go to work and bore our foreign co-workers with pop trivia that they couldn't give two shits about because they don't know who Billy Idol is and True Blue was not their first album.
God I am so glad I am not like those people. My co-workers have atleast heard White Wedding because, well, what do you think they're from Mars?

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Under-developed logical node

Every year all through elementary and until the end of middle school we had to take state wide standardized tests. You know, the tests that made the #2 pencil famous? The tests that drilled into your head the importance of pressing firmly and coloring the oval completely within the line? It never occurred to me throughout my schooling that these tests were something to take seriously. I consistently came up in the 20th percentile or below in math and it never bothered me one bit. What did I care if the state thought I was dumb? The whole state of Michigan wasn't going to ground me because every answer I gave was option c. (And I guess with 'no child left behind' they better watch out for kids like me who sabotage the system, intentionally or not. Yeah those tests are really working out aren't they?)
The main thing about the tests for me was that they just never made any sense. No, I wasn't a smart ass fuck the system kind of kid, I just hated multiple choice. More often than not I would look at the question, and in my mind, a and b were the answer, or the real answer wasn't listed. I over thought the questions so much that I probably could have written several pages n each of them, but still not come up with the simple answer. My simple logic skills were seriously lacking. I never learned how to come to the obvious conclusion either - maybe because I never tried on the tests, or I managed to get by just fine without the simple answer. In this sense, I am the same little girl who favored the letter c.

I was reminded of all this in the car this morning. R was talking about something having to do with a karioki contest, and how we should enter and try to win a free Macbook or something. Now, I know that he wasn't really serious, but rather blathering on about it like he tends to do about things in the morning. (R is incredibly random in the morning, and it's one of the best things about waking up at 5 - getting to hear him sing ridiculous rhyming songs about whatever they are talking about on the BBC.) So he asks me something to the effect of (I admit I was only partially listening) 'do you think we can alter our voices when we sing?' What did he mean by alter? Alter how? On a computer? By putting things in our mouths? By pretending to sound like other people? And alter when - while we were singing, or after we had sung? These were all not only relevant, but vital questions to understanding what the fuck he was talking about. Even if it was a fake proposition in the first place.
Well, R got annoyed that I didn't understand, and got frustrated that he had to explain it to me five times. I suppose I should have just assumed he wanted to know whether we could change our voices on the computer, but I didn't assume that because there were just too many variables. Even though I know it was a stupid, pointless conversation, I got pissed off. Language is very specific. And very vague. But that's why people have conversation; why people write; why they argue. We do not interact on the level multiple choice. Baby, you are not an oval. I am not a #2 pencil.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


First things first: I said last time that all I remembered of Billy Idol's White Wedding video was the blinds and some bed jumping on Billy's part. Some thourough procrastinating revealed that I was actually remembering the video for Cradle of Love, and that it was the chick doing all kinds of crazy dancing on the bed, the geek peering through the blinds and Billy singing in the paintings on the wall. Seeing it again, I remembered how much I loved that video. Perhaps that's why I couldn't wait to grow up: girls would just come over and start dancing in my huge apartment, or to switch roles, I would see myself walking into strangers houses and changing their life by flinging my clothes off in their living room and grinding against their leather sofas. Did I mention that I was 7 or 8?

Sadly, the man has since snapped. Not only did Billy Idol make a Christmas album, but he made a series of Christmas videos - all of them in the same session, with the same Christmassy backdrops, only differing amounts of fake snow and bad video effects. In his rendition of Jingle Bell Rock (yes, that Jingle Bell Rock) he has this crazy glint in his eye that fools you into thinking for a minute that he is in on his own joke and is going to lose it any minute. But he doesn't lose it; he doesn't break out of this strange heavily made-up lude Bing Crosby-does-Elvis character.
Jingle Bell Rock

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I am sure he had his reasons, some of which must involve paying the gas bill, but I feel for the man. I can't even imagine the most heavily clad flannel pajama wearer relishing in these songs - they just make you feel dirty, only not in the good way that Cradle of Love did. More like the way you feel looking at the winner of the Nathan's Hot Dog eating contest thinking, 'you actually won that just now? On purpose?'

Tragedy of the Idol

I (thankfully) will never be one of those people who can roam around a store for hours at a time and buy a whole bunch of the stuff I want just because I have a credit card. I probably would be that kind of person if I could tolerate being inside of a store for more than 10 minutes before getting dizzy, nauteous and sweaty. What, did you think I had really good self restraint? Oh no. It's just that I react badly to the concrete/vinyl flooring and the shoppers-MSG that they pump through the air ducts.

So it is probably more dangerous than you might think that at work I have a 23" monitor and computer that I have more affection for than I have ever had for any living pet. I am comfortable here, in my own personal Mac-land, and the moments inbetween incubations or what not are spent researching whatever random questions come into my head, and buying cheap things with my nearly maxed out credit card. Recently there has been a lot of used CD's - $2 or $3 items that are almost twice as expensive to ship. Last week I ordered 2 cases of Powerbars. Mostly it's books - either used books, or books that I can justify buying new because the shipping is free.

And who knows what train of thought got me thinking about Billy Idol this morning, but it led to me downloading Rebel Yell. That wasn't enough though: within the hour I went back for White Wedding (god do I love that song). iTunes is just so easy. And 99 cents seems like sooo little in the pile of debt already racked up. Well, between all the Patti Smith I've been injesting, the DJ Tracheotomy I got yesterday and the Billy Idol, I have a pretty rockin playlist to get me through the job that gives me the tools and the funds to fuel my habit.

It kind of ruined my buzz however when I read that this man (ok, I admit it - I had a crush on him when I was a kid. Do you remember the video for White Wedding? All I can see in my head is a dark bedroom with blinds and Billy jumping in the bed. Can you tell I was only like 6?) made an honest straight up Christmas album. And no, it's not kind of cool that he just said 'fuck it, I like Christmas and am going to sing about it.' It's like saying 'I like sex and it's free, so fuck, I'll just do it to you whether you want it or not.' It's irresponsible. There are so many versions of the same Christmas songs out there already. Some self control - it's all I ask.

(* maybe my analogy was a little severe. Sorry folks)

Monday, December 11, 2006

Patti Smith won't make you Fat

I don't think it's very much of stretch to argue that Patti Smith's musical legacy is directly related to economics and urban affairs. Right? Ok, perhaps Smith 's music has had no effect whatsoever on public policy, or on the obesity epidemic among the poor (which is what I really should be reading about more than I am reading old Rolling Stone reviews of Easter and Radio Ethiopia) - but she did have an effect on just about everything else in this world. I just can't get into Dream of Life though. Robert Palmer gave it a glorious review back in 1996, at one point saying that "with Patti Smith's confident singing and incandescent lyrics, Fred Smith's persuasive riff craft and expressive sonic palette and Jimmy Iovine's sense of definition and clarity going for it, Dream of Life couldn't really miss." Maybe I missed something the first twenty or so times I listened to the album before I decided hated it, so I just gave it another shot. Sorry Robbie, I tried, but I cannot love this album, let alone listen to it. Y'all know I idolize this woman, and to a level that is almost scary, wish I could be her. But still, it smacks of B101. It must have been a fluke, a stage, a stylistic experiment in the ordinary because she definitely recovers from this lapse with everything else she has recorded since then, especially Gone Again - my first and favorite Patti Smith album. I am obviously not a music critic, nor an expert, and in the end know very little about music in general. I don't have anything smart or deep to critique this album on, but I'll just say that I am glad this phase of her career is over.
See. This is what I'm doing instead of writing my term paper. Too bad there is no evidence to suggest that Dream of Life caused the obesity epidemic, because if there were, I would already be well on my way to an enthralling discussion on Patti Smith's profound effect on genetics, social consciousness and our profound, insatiable feeling of hunger.