Friday, July 29, 2005
Thursday, July 28, 2005
Where The Streets Have
No New Names
New Jersey is infamous for a few things, most of them heckleworthy. For instance, New Jerseyans apparently have definitive proof that Bruce Springsteen is indeed, God. The only heir to Springsteen's throne is, of course Bon Jovi. Despite belief to the contrary, not everyone from NJ watches The Sopranos. Then there's big hair and acid wash, which are like urban legends. They are rarely seen anymore, but they are worth it when you do.
Another classic is the whole "Oh you're from Jersey, what exit?"
That's why I'm here to set the record straight once and for all. Not everyone in NJ talks in exit speak.
In fact, truth be told, I don't even know what exit I'm off the turnpike or the parkway or whatever. Hell, I even still confuse the two roads. All I know is they are both congested as hell with aggressive drivers who are in a hurry to get nowhere. The only exit I DO know is Great Adventure, which is 7A, and that's only because it has been drummed into my head by tv and radio since I was *this* high.
Although NJ is a tiny little state, we are definitely one of the most overpopulated. Why so many people want to live here is beyond me. Everything is more in NJ and it's only getting worse. So why am I here, you ask? Well it's all I've ever known. Perhaps one day when I grow up, I'll move to greener pastures. A state like North Carolina sounds nice. You know, where I can get three houses for the price of one here.
One of the funniest things about NJ, and probably any state, is the overlapping of names. For instance, there are at least three Washington Townships scattered across NJ. Why, I don't know. I mean there are plenty of words in the English language to choose from. Then there are what I like to call the north, south, east, west towns. They are a hoot because very few of them have all four. Oh sure, we have an East Brunswick, a North Brunswick, and a South Brunswick. But there's no West Brunswick to speak of. None.
Recently a local town decided to change it's name. You would think it was one of these towns like the Brunswicks that woke up one day and realized the error of their ways, but no, this is just not the case. Instead the town that changed is a segment of Belmar.
Now I would understand if the change was because Belmar was sick of being confused with Bellmawr, another Jersey town, but it's not, at least not according to this article
. No, South Belmarians woke up one day and decided they'd like to be known as Lake Como. The reason? Well, according to the article, "Mayor Chiaravallo said the town did not have anything against its neighbor to the north, Belmar, or the name of South Belmar, but he said the name Lake Como gives the town its own identity."Riight
Here's the thing about random town changes such as these. It's all well and good that you changed your name. It's also well and good that you say you have your "reasons" that are really no reasons at all. But let's be honest here. You were, are and will always be Belmar, buddy. No two ways about it. This is the same sort of thinking that had Prince change his name to that funky symbol or when Puff Daddy decided he wanted to be P. Diddy. What? Those changes didn't stick for you? Yeah, me either.
Case in point, an email I got from a friend the other day, and thus the inspiration for this post. It was an invite out to a bar in Belmar, excuse me Lake Como
. When you go to the website to check the exact address, they actually say, it's in Lake Como and in parentheses it says, formerly South Belmar.
Then I went to Map Quest it. I was a good little Jersey girl and put in the exact address, with Lake Como as the town. This is what I got back:"MapQuest found a similar location... Please select "Get Directions" or revise your search."
The change Map Quest made?
Switching the town name to B-E-L-M-A-R
Apparently you can lead New Jerseyans to the Jersey shore, but you simply cannot make them swim.This post also appears in this week's NJ Carnival #11.
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
The Art of Getting By
This past week's Tell It To Me Tuesday asked all of you how your blog got its name. I realized though that it is only fair to share with all of you how this blog got its name as well, so here goes...
First things first. Some of you might have noticed the discrepency between my actual URL and the site's name. This was not a well thought out decision on my part and I have regretted it ever since. It's also one of the first things I hope to remedy when and if I EVER get this domain switchover under control (a big shout out to all the folks who are trying to help with this, btw)
About four years ago or so I decided to start my own website. This was before I knew the wonders of blogging, but as it turns out what I had envisioned really was going to be a lot like the blog I have now. Perhaps I was just before my time, or really ass backwards since some bloggers have been at this for years. Either way, my boyfriend, who is a programmer, offered to help me build the site of my dreams. We came up with a snazzy flash logo and it was all so "cute alternative rock chick" esque, if that means anything to most of you. I had dreams of merchandising too. At the time I named the site Planet Janet. In fact, I even had a domain name registered.
But as it always does, life got in the way and the Planet Janet I envisioned never came to fruition.
Fast forward a few years. I had just gotten my Master's in Education and I was searching desperately for a job. This is when my boyfriend turned me on to the idea of blogging. He said it would perfect for someone like me who has always wanted to write, but gets frustrated with not getting paid and being too constricted in terms of what I write about. It would also help me pass the time and get out some of my frustrations.
So I started it. It was damn depressing at first because no one was reading it and so all I did was talk to myself about how it was hard to find a job. Then I found a job, for a few months anyway as a long term sub. Blogging inevitably went on hold, until summer...when I found myself looking for a job, again
. When I was starting this blog, I instinctively wrote in the Planet Janet url with my old site in mind. Only when it came time to actually name it, I thought Planet Janet was somehow too cutesy. The natural choice at this time was The Art of Getting By
I don't remember when it started, but for as long as I can remember, The Art of Getting By
was more or less how I would describe my life in 10 words or less. It's the sitcom I never wrote, but always wanted to. The book deal I haven't gotten, but secretly pine for. The comedy act I wish I had the courage to perform. Right now it's all of those things and none of those things. For the time being though my vision was somewhat true because as far as I can tell so far, I got a great blog out of the deal.
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
Things That Go Bump In The Night
Ever since I can remember I've had a good relationship with my dentist. Well as good a relationship as most people have with a man with a drill I guess. I visit him once every year or so, get my teeth cleaned, pick up my customary toothbrush and mouthwash and I'm done, as I'm sure most of you do, too.
When I was a kid, going to the dentist was still a treacherous experience. I can still remember going to the dentist for the first time when we moved here. My childhood dentist used to take Polaroid pictures of his patients and put them up on the wall. He had some sort of star system where everytime you got a star, you got to pick a prize. Me and the Cabbage Patch kid I brought with me to the dentist were on the wall, stars sometimes given. Apparently he always thought I brushed well, but could do better. I suppose you could say I was an average brusher.
As I got older though, I quickly realized the importance of taking care of one's teeth. Upon entering my pre teen years my dentist started pushing braces on my parents. Well not literally on my parents. The braces would be on me, the cost would be on them. I was smart enough to know though that everyone was getting braces at the time, just because it was the thing to do. I had one
tooth that was slightly off and a slight overbite and in my world, this didn't equate to years of cosmetic inconvenience and ultimate ridicule. So I never got the braces and I haven't regretted it since.
Overall, my teeth and I have had a good relationship. In the last few years or so I have discovered electric toothbrushes which seriously, if you don't have one, you don't know what you're missing. I have great oral hygenie and my teeth are straight. But there is one
problem....My name is Janet, and I'm a grinder.
If you are a grinder, or if you know someone who is, you know there is really nothing you can do for them or the problem. The only real solution reminds me of a skit I saw once where Bob Newhart played the therapist. You told Bob Newhart your problems and he said, "Well, just stop it!"
This, unfortunately, is easier said than done.
The only real treatment they have for grinders like me are the oh-so complimentary mouth guards. Mouth guards I assume are like wearing retainers, although I never had one of those either. All I know is I feel like Hilary Swank in Million Dollar Baby when I have mine in. True, I don't have to wear it during the day. It's only supposed to offset the grinding I do in the middle of the night, but even at that, it's been a very hard thing to commit to. Does anyone else see the irony in managing to avoid braces, but dealing with the mouth guard battle for the rest of my life?
When I first got my mouth guard, about a year and a half ago, I wore it for a few nights. I thought it would grow on me. But it never got past the "I can't wanna wear this" point. I told my dentist at the time. He said he'd adjust it. He did. It didn't matter. So I buried in my drawer somewhere, hoping they were just exaggerating the problem.
Then a few weeks ago, in an unrelated teething event, I drank two Amaretto Sours and an hour later I had a toothache like you wouldn't believe. That toothache lasted a good week and a half before going away. I thought this was just because as an unfortunate side effect of grinding, your teeth become more sensitive. So whenever someone like me drinks a few sweet alcoholic drinks, it hurts to chew big people food the next day.
Then a few weeks later I had two wine coolers and relived the whole event all over again. So begrudingly I made an appointment with the dentist who confirmed my worst fears, I have a cavity. I haven't had a cavity in years. I can't even recall having a cavity with my adult teeth, but I guess cavities are just part of life. I go under te drill next week because my dentist never does the diagnosis and the procedure in the same office visit. Cause that would be too simple and too cost effective. Lucky for me, I'm not doubled over in pain otherwise I'd be in real trouble.
Now one cavity is fine and I can deal with it. However, the reason I probably have the cavity is because, you guessed it, of the grinding. The assistant told me to really try to get used to wearing the mouth guard because she is concerned at the wearing down of a enamel I have for someone my age. So once again I left my mouth guard there, to be adjusted, in the hopes I can somehow avoid sleepless nights and future painful experiences courtesy of drinks such as Mike's Hard Lemonade.
Still, the whole experience has left me with a bad taste in my mouth, no pun intended. I take good care of my teeth. I don't eat a lot of sweets. I try to always brush after meals. I drink lots of water. If you don't do these things and your teeth go rotten, I feel you've only got yourself to blame. But I do these things and my problem is out of my control. I grind. I grind because I worry. I worry because it's how I was born. If I could just not worry, I wouldn't grind. But asking a girl like me to not grind is like asking a dog not to sniff around for a good place to shit. It's just not going to happen.
In an interesting side note, I've had dreams that involve teeth falling out or becoming loose for years now. I haven't had one of them in awhile, but I wonder now if this was just a foreshadowing of things to come. Years ago, I looked up what dreaming about teeth is supposed to symbolize. Here's what I found out:"In general, dreams about losing one's teeth are common and suggest the dreamer feels powerless or out of control in a real life situation..."
Now if only I could get to the bottom of why I grind in the first place, that really would be something to sink my teeth into.
Monday, July 25, 2005
Tell It To Me Tuesday: "Hi! My Name Is..."
Many times people have asked me how this blog got its name. I'm also well aware that it has nothing to do with the url. The answer to this is forthcoming. But enough about me. For now, let's talk about you.
How did your blog get its name?
Friday, July 22, 2005
It Takes Two
I forgot to mention yesterday, the most recent Carnival of the NJ Bloggers (which I contributed my Jersey rant to) is up at the Bad Hair Blog
Last week I saw the American Idols Live in Reading, PA.
For all of you smart asses out there, there aren't any jokes about watching, let alone attending and paying
for an American Idol concert I haven't heard before, so save it. And for others
of you who are wondering why I went all the way out to Pennsylvania to see the show well, that's all together an entirely different story.
My friend whose husband had the stroke was one of the girls I was going with. Originally when the show was in NJ, she was going to be in Las Vegas on vacation. Then the stroke happened and she also recently discovered she was pregnant, too. Needless to say, she ended up not going to the concert. See? Alanis isn't the only one whose life is riddled with ironies.
But all of this is neither here nor there.
Although I attend cheesy ass shows like American Idols Live, I am the first one to join in on the mockery of such events. And events like these are often full of things to mock. My favorite moment had to be when we got on the elevator with two "effeminate" forty something men who were gushing about AI. As if attending an American Idol concert when you're over 25 without kids wasn't lame enough, they went and upped the anty.
In case you weren't sold on the whole "I am a total dork"
thing I've got going on, let me tell you that this is not my first American Idol concert. This is actually my third, although not consecutive, concert. I mean seriously. Who cares about Fantasia, anyhow? Some say the third time's the charm. But for me, the third time was more like a rude awakening that I really didn't need to spend sixty something dollars.
Don't get me wrong. The concert was good. I mean everyone could sing, some better than others, but all sang well. For instance, Constantine did a kickass version of "Bohemian Rhapsody", while Carrie Underwood made me smile by singing Heart's, "Alone". But no matter how great it was to hear these songs live, it wasn't surprising considering it was exactly. what. they. sang. during. the. season.
With very few exceptions, there were no surprises. Every contestant from the top 10 had an average three songs to strut their stuff, most of them choosing 75% if not all of their material to rehash. You would think you might want to do do one song from the season, 'cause if you only get three, one would be enough. But apparently not. Who knows? This might not even be their fault. After all, they are just pawns in the American Idol game.
But one thing that did strike me was the whole approach to certain songs. For this, let me reintroduce you to the duet. A tried and true formula, yet often underrated, the duet has all but bit the dust in the land of today's pop music. So it was a pleasant suprise to see AIer's "spice" it up by throwing in a few duets.
Contestant Jessica Sierra sang "Total Eclipse of the Heart" during the season. It was, as Randy Jackson would say, aight
. But on tour, Jessica sang "Total Eclipse of the Heart" with Scott "The Body" Savol. And I'll be damned, it actually worked! Later on in the show, Bo Bice and Carrie Underwood worked the same magic on "God Bless The Broken Road". And suddenly, everything old was new again.
For most people, getting the chance to see two of their favorite idols harmonize on stage would be enough. But my mind starts to wander. Whatever happened to the duet anyway? Remember great songs like Vonda Shepard and Dan Hill's "Can't We Try"? Bill Medley and Jennifer Warren's classic, "I Had The Time Of My Life"? or Kenny Rogers and well, just about anybody from the years 1972-1983?
Duets were great man. Think about it. You got two songs for the price of one, especially if you loved both artists. And even if you didn't, that unknown person singing with the famous person still must have made out on the deal. There must have been some phat residuals as a result of their being half of a one hit wonder. Half is still better than nothing at all. Just ask that dude who sang with Whitney Houston on "If You Say My Eyes Are Beautiful". He knows what I'm talking about.
There was another great aspect to the art of the duet and that was the inevitable "sing off". Sure, duets were all about how well the singers "complimented each other" but more often than not it became a game of "anything you can do, I can do better" type vocals. Once again, I direct you to Whitney Houston only this time substitute that dude for Mariah Carey when they teamed up on the little known hit, "When You Believe". Some people thought it was great because it was two reigning divas on one track. I thought it was great because you knew there was a serious chance somebody might actually injure themselves in that vocal Olympics of a song.
So to review, duets are gone, but not forgotten, at least not in the eyes of shows like American Idol. With shows like these, the duet torch will be carried on for at least a little while longer.
Note to Kenny Rogers: All hope is not yet lost.
Thursday, July 21, 2005
Looking To Live In All The Wrong Places
The time had to come eventually.
For the first time ever, I'm ever so tentatively trying to find an affordable place to buy in the overpriced, overpopulated wasteland known as New Jersey.
If you couldn't tell already, I'm quite conflicted about this move. This is because when I finally moved out of my parents home I hoped it would be under one of two conditions:
1. I'd be getting married and/or moving in with the love of my life.
2. I'd be moving in with a good friend or two and we'd live the glorious (or even not glorious) single life together, a la WB dramedy style.
But then reality hit.
1. If I wait till I get married, I could be waiting well....
2. I don't have a local, single friend much less friends, plural. Or even many glorious friends come to think of it.
So while part of me knows at 28 it is time, part of me is admittedly reluctant, too. This time last year, after finally securing a decent paying job, I thought I'd rent. Then I saw what you could get for under $1000 in my area of NJ. Nothing.
You could get nothing. Without a roommate that is. Or living near a crack den. Or perhaps selling your limbs on ebay. So buying, I decided, was the way to go.
This is also when I went to Plan B. I'll wait a year, save up more money (which incidentally, I'm very good at doing)
and reevaluate the situation. One more year and I'd have more job security and I'd be clearer about where my life was headed. And another year isn't going to kill me, right?
So here it is a year later, and I realize for the most part things are the same as they ever were. Job seems secure, for now, but I didn't meet any other friends to room with and I do the one step forward, two steps back dance with my ex again and again.
Despite the sick feeling I get in the pit of my stomach when I think about handling a mortgage for the first time on my own, and when I consider just going blind at getting a roommate, I still know all of it is a very distinct possiblity. Of course all the older folks I meet, including my parents, think I'm crazy for looking, period. They see I want my space, but they don't understand why I'd want to move out when I could live at my parents house indefinitely, rent free.
The answer to this is quite simple. It's my parents house.
But moving out is easier said than done. Anyone who has ever purchased a home before knows what I'm talking about. For one thing, there's the ever important factor of location, location, location. While I honestly do enjoy my job, I truly wish it was about 50 miles more south. I'd even settle for 25. I say this because the farther south you go in NJ, the cheaper the prices are. Also if you go about 50 miles south, there are far more options living wise. This is why when I got this job it was very bittersweet. I'm lucky to have a job in education at all where some of my friends still do not, but having a job where I do means I'm locked into living in the area.
Then there's the not so little matter of cost. I don't know what it's like by you, but let me try to give you a taste of good ol' central Jersey. To purchase a two story, two bedroom, two bath condo/townhome in a safe neighborhood runs you at least $250,000, if not in most cases even more. If I did live about 50 miles south I could get the same for about $150,000, if not even less. Oh, and did I mention I could get a full fledged house for that money in other states? Feeling my pain yet?
Now on two
twenty-something incomes, $275,000 is tight, but doable. But again let me reintroduce you to "go it alone girl", accessories not included. If I had gone the route of education right after graduating with my undergrad degree I'd have a few years in and I would not be in this predicament now as prices as have skyrocketed in the last few years or so. Once again, I revisit the roommate thing, which I'm open to. But even if I do factor in a roommate, I'm still probably looking at $230,000 MAXIMUM
The other day I went to look at my first property. It was a 2 bedroom "townhouse" about 15 minutes north of here. It was listed at $98,000. I had to go, even though I knew it was going to be a shit hole, just to satisfy my curiosity, and to realize there was no place to go but up. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. An apartment trying to be pawned off as a townhouse in an extremely seedy locale, but not as bad nonetheless.
Meanwhile all the other properties I pull up are beautiful in a "you will never have us in a million years, jock in a teen comedy"
type of way. Or worse yet, they seem
perfect and then you read the fine print and realize it's a 55 and over community. Damn seniors are taking over everything! So it's not like I can't find properties to move to, I just can't find a way to make them movable.
I knew that if I wanted to know what someone like me could conceivably afford, I had to stop pouting, or at least temporarily put aside the pouting, and enlist the help of a realtor. A realtor will tell me what is possible for a girl like me. Or she'll laugh hysterically in my face as she quickly escorts me out the door. Either way, I'll be one step closer to the life I never dreamed of, but always secretly supsected I'd have.
So I attended a few open houses this past weekend. Some of them were my choosing, some were those chosen by my parents. It's easy to know the difference. Me and my choices? We're living in reality. Perhaps one day my parents would like to join us there.
I chose properties that were within my range with some of the things I want being open for discussion. They chose two properties to just "check out". One right here in town listed at $255, the other a town over listed at $350,000. Think they're smoking crack yet? I thought so.
Anyone who has ever been in the presence of a real estate agent for more than 10 minutes knows these folks do not mess around. So I gave my contact information, and within 24 hours three different ages were chomping at the bit to work with me. I really had no preference, this one girl just happened to get there first. Before I could say the words "eat in kitchen" she had us booked to go looking at houses.
Before I went looking I was recommended to do the all imporant, pre approval loan process. Of course I passed with flying colors. I say this sarcastically because if I couldn't get approved, it would make the unattainable even more unattainable. But because I am this close
to being able to do this and because I've been a saver forever, I'm actually the ideal
I decided to go look at the properties, figuring I had nothing to lose. Besides, she had one development on her list that I had seen a for owner open house this weekend that I really liked. I ended really liking a different property, slightly lower in price and after working the numbers, definitely doable.
Then I made the mistake of bringing the rents to see it.
You have to know my parents (or have parents like mine) to understand. They are great parents. And they mean well, really they do. But they have no qualms about me staying at home forever and/or until I'm married, which ever comes first. Right now, forever is winning by a hair. And they also are damn
good at laying down a guilt trip, so good in fact that I don't even think they realize they're doing it sometimes.
I am trying to realistically explain to them that as a first time house buyer that I am going to have to make some compromises. Also unfortunately there are not a whole lot of options in my neck of the woods. Not to mention the fact that I don't have to stay there forever. And the all important, undeniable truth: The longer I wait, the more I save. But, the longer I wait, the more prices will go up.
Before I knew it, indecisiveness and that discouraged feeling had moved in again. Hey, I guess that means I got my roommate after all.
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself, Or What I'm Doing With My Summer Vacation, Part 2
It occurred to me the other day that my summer vacation is a little more than half of the first half over. Where has all the time gone? I have said it before and I'll say it again. I can kill a day like nobody's business.
Seriously, I don't know how I do it. I've been this way for years. Maybe it's the one positive side effect of being an only child.
Back when I was in high school and had (gasp) no internet access to speak of, I would read a lot in the summer or watch a lot of TV. And yes, some would say I still watch a lot of TV, but those people didn't know me then, because if they did, well they'd realize the error of their ways.
So I still read (although most of the books I've been reading lately are lame) and I still watch tivo (just when I think I'm all caught up, it sucks me back in). I also spend a lot of time blogging, emailing and visiting blogs. I also whine about how I want this blog to go dotcom and I have appreciated all the input on the matter. I still remain as confused as ever though. Did I ever mention I'm easily overwhelmed?
I also have been faithful to my exercise routine, something that had to be put on the backburner when school was in session. I have been wanting to tone for sometime, but to no avail. I am one of few people who really doesn't want to lose more weight, just gain more definition.
And believe it or not, I am even trying to remain true to my goal of learning more Spanish. I signed up for a four week, non-credit course at the local community college called Spanish for Educators. Now assuming I'm not the only educator who signs up for this thing, we should be good to go.
But even with all of that going on, I still feel a bit empty. In the past few years I've also realized the cold, hard reality; I thrive on being busy. When I'm not busy, my mind wanders, which is not usually a good thing.
There's just something about summer. The few weeks before are always filled with promise of all the "fun" things yet to do, mixed in with a few things you feel obligated to do. I realize I've been pretty good on the obligation part, where most usually are lax, but I'm having a hard time fulfilling the fun part. This is mainly because I don't really have anybody to have fun with
and as hard as I try, I can't create fun situations (or people) that quite simply, aren't there.
But like I said, I still do know that I can still kill a day like nobody's business. That and the fact that in about 2 months I'll so be eating my words for whining about these so-called lazy days of summer.
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
I'm Too Old For This Shit
It's the classic line uttered in just about every mismatched buddy cop film ever made. The same adage applies to my morbid fascination with all things Real World
. Another season is upon us and I find myself tuning in again
, just like the battered girlfriend, knowing better, but who comes back for more.Please sir, can I have another helping of choreographed chaos and pseudo problem children?
I don't know why I do it, but I have attempted to try to figure out why and I think I've come up with a pretty good theory. The reason I tune in year after year, if only for an episode or two, is the same reason you might go to your Aunt Flo's house every Thanksgiving, or go fishing with your dad in August. In other words, it's tradition, plain and simple.
Like I've remarked in the past, The Real World
is now something like 14 years old which is crazy because that means I was like 14 when it started. So when you break it down, Real World
has been on almost half of my life. Scary, but true.
The kids on it are no exception. If I've grown up around Real World
the majority of my life, some of these kids have known of the show for their entire
I guess this is also why now there is such a canned feeling to the whole thing. The cast even knows what they are in store for. There will be a token quiet, sane guy or girl, but everything else is free game. In fact, the more "unusual" the better. A girl I knew of in high school had a yearbook quote that describes the Real World
experience perfectly: "You all try so hard to be different, which makes you all the same."
So guys hook up with girls, girls hook up with girls, guys hook up with guys. No one's hooked up with a horse or anything of that nature, apparent even Bunim-Murray Productions have their limitations. And the end result is always the same. There's drama, there's conflict, there are people who just don't gel. Oh and there's always the token minority thrown in for good measure, although more often than not, given next to no screen time.
Then once their five months of not being polite and only being real come to an end, they enter the All Star bandwagon, touring the country and making college campus appearances and, if they're really lucky, mugging for the cameras yet again in one All Star Challenge or another. It's all very been there done that. But just like Uncle Harry getting drunk, making a pass at Cousin Meg and passing out every year at Aunt Flo's house, in some sort of weird way, you look forward to it all because it's safe and it's all you've ever known.
So I tune in to it all, but in the past few years I've noticed I'm bored by the time the shrimp cocktail rolls around and so I rarely stay for dessert. This doesn't mean I'll stop coming by all together though. Come on now. Even I am not one to muck up tradition.
Monday, July 18, 2005
Tell It To Me Tuesday: "Unanswered Prayers"
We've all heard it before, "Be careful what you wish for."
What's one thing you remember wishing for, that, in retrospect, you're glad
you didn't get?
Thursday, July 14, 2005
Holding Out For A Hero
So I'm about to double dip with this post as it also appeared on Monty's blog as a guest post. I figure I can do that, because it can't be considered stealing if it was your own words to begin with, right?
Sometimes I wish I had super powers. Reading people's minds would be nice. The ability to become invisible has its advantages. Unfortunately, I do not posess these, nor any other super powers. However this does not prevent me from feeling a bit like a dysfunctional comic book character. This is why, as of late, I dub myself transformed into RANDOM SINGLE FRIEND!
You know your RANDOM SINGLE FRIEND!
He or she is the one who narrowly escapes commitment at every turn. Perhaps this is because they've had one too many brushes with MR. NON-COMMITTAL
or even a MISS CHEATS-A-LOT
or two. And just like in the comics, there has to be an arch nemesis to the RANDOM SINGLE FRIEND'S
well intentioned ways. Something or more specifically, someone
, to foil the best of laid plans.
It is also possible that you've even been the RANDOM SINGLE FRIEND!
, or RSF
, at some point in your life. Who knows? Maybe you are even currently one right now. Notice there are never more than two of these folks maximum per gathering and if there were, they'd no longer be random, thus taking the "specialness" out of the whole damn experience. Of course it's also completely possible that you're a ULETP, Unattached Long Enough To Pee
girl or guy. If that's the case well then, you suck.
The older you get the more cumbersome it becomes to be the RSF
. I can't decide if this is worse for a previously attached, new RSF or for someone who has been the longstanding RSF
of the group or any group. All I do know is as the years pass by, more and more people pair off; some of whom are never to be seen or heard from again. These folks are known as WOHWOCC's
or We Only Hang With Other Couples, Couples
. If you're a part of a set, they're a part of your life. But if you're not, they're nowhere to be found.
Finally, we have our well intentioned, half of a couple friends, otherwise known as the WIHCF's
to round out the group. These are the people that will invite you to every gathering they have, even if it's an otherwise quiet dinner with their significant other. Why? Because they are trying to prove a point. "You don't NEED a significant other! You have US! You are so money and you don't even know it!"
Unfortunately, for the RSF
, these outings are never as fun as you'd hope they be, especially when little things start to remind you of the relationship you use to have, or never had, as the case may be.
Whatever the case, all of these people have one thing in common: they want to see you settled, too. So much so that they all go to great lengths to get their point across. Some include you to make a statement, while others exclude you to make a very similar statement. All of them are doing so with a certain degree of pity.
Sure they tell
you that you don't need someone special, but it's not long until they're talking over you about your potential love life. "Isn't ____ single?"
or "You know what you should do?! You should________."
Suddenly it's as if you're being auctioned off to the highest bidder. The only problem is...nobody's buying
'Cause let's be real here. We live in a society that proves beyond the shadow of a doubt what we all knew already, Virginia isn't the only place made for lovers. Unattached a little while is cool and classy. Unattached for a long time screams pathetic and desperate. Everybody, no matter how badly they will deny it, need love in their lives. They need companionship. Even if your love and companionship ends up coming from 3 cats and a dog, you're still seeking solace in someone or something. It's human nature, how we are programmed. Can't shoot the messenger on this one.
So what is the lesson to be learned in all of this? Well quite simply, if you have a RANDOM SINGLE FRIEND
, be sensitive to their needs. Understand that inviting them to all couples outings full of public displays of affection, depsite rumors to the contrary, actually does not
help boost one's self esteem. On the flip side, take some time out to hang with your RSF, and I don't mean from 1 to 3pm on an equally random Thursday afternoon. Cause you know what? That's lame. And
we see right through that, k?
Finally, try to put yourself in said RSF's shoes. Don't tell them they are great and they are going to meet someone equally as great... blah, blah, blah...because:
1. We know what you're really
2. You don't know that they will meet someone and guess what? THEY KNOW YOU DON'T.
How do they know? It's really quite simple.
Because most of US
used to be YOU
Now if you'll excuse me...I gotta get cracking on a kickass girlie cape/costume to complete the look.
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
One Wedding And A Funeral
They often say things happen in threes. Well I'm only going to tell you about two things, unless of course something crops up today or tomorrow, after I write this post. Hey, you never know.
This week I unforutnately have to attend the wake and subsequent funeral of my aunt. This aunt is my father's sister. She suffered from cancer for awhile now. A few years ago she had a rare form of cancer that was found in her eye that caused the eye to be removed. They thought they had it all until a few years later it showed up...in her liver. This is also not the only family member who lost a battle with liver cancer. An uncle on the other side of the family is in a very similar state, so much so that when the phone rang, we knew it really was a toss up.
But back to my aunt. In general she had a difficult life. She hasn't worked for some years now, partly due to problems stemming from epilepsy, partly due to excuses and laziness. I'm not trying to talk badly about someone after they have gone, I'm just telling it like it is. My aunt was not a happy woman. An intelligent woman with potential unfulfilled, she often believed the world was out to get her...sometimes literally. Oh and she was stubborn as all hell, too.
Which is why it was quite surprising that when she became quite sick she actually took it all in stride. No one knows how they will react to their own sickness or the sickness of a loved one until you face it first hand. Oh sure you might think
you know, but I'm hear to tell you, that fight or flight syndrome can be a real bitch sometimes.
On the flip side, I was invited to a wedding. I realized as I was about to write this post that these things often go hand in hand. At least for me
. But this isn't the type of wedding you groan at when they play Kool and The Gang's "Celebration" for the 99th time. Oh no. This is my first ever invite to an Orthodox Jewish wedding.
Awhile ago I wrote
about a friend who had found religion. This is the same friend. I knew she was very religious, but I wasn't quite sure if she was Orthodox or Hasidic because I'm admittedly not schooled on the differences, if there even is one. And the fact that I don't know if there is just further reinforces my point.
I'm not sure how they met exactly, but the lyrics from Fiddler on the Roof's "Matchmaker, Matchmaker Make Me A Match"
keep floating around in my head. All I know is she was single with no prospects in sight and then engaged a few short months later. I also know that the few emails I have gotten from her in the past had hinted that marriage was on the horizon, although there was no man currently in her life. It was almost as if I was having a conversation with someone who was going grocery shopping. She was going to pick up some orange juice, cereal and apparently, a suitor.
Regardless, the engagement announcement came in May, followed shortly thereafter by an invite to the engagement party. Myself and two other college friends were all uncertain if some of us were being invited or none of us were. We all were in the same boat as far as keeping in touch was concerned. None of us have seen her since college ended. I knew I wasn't about to go to the engagement party of a girl who has a completely different customs than mine who I haven't seen in years without someone going with me. So I asked a mutual friend if she was going, and she said she wanted to hold out for the wedding invite instead.
Which brings me back to the wedding invite. The invite itself includes the typical things you'd expect to see: the general announcement, date, time and place, directions and a RSVP card. This is where the typical wedding announcement stuff ends. For starters, the event is broken into three different parts: A Kabbalas Panim Reception at 4, followed by a Chuppah at four forty-five and finally, a Simchas Chasson V'Kallah at seven. And yes, I have the invite on my lap as I type this considering there's no way in hell I'm memorizing all of that.
Then there's the back of the invite. On the back we have Things To Know about A Jewish Wedding
. For the non Jew invites like myself, I think this is a nice touch. It offers more detailed explanations of the terms mentioned above, which only cause a little more confusement, but really the word amazement comes to mind more than anything. And just bc paraphrasing would not do the invite justice, I do intend to share it here:What to wear:
Jewish law places great importance on modesty, both in dress and behavior. It is our request, therefore, that our guests please dress modestly- knee length dresses with sleeves that cover the elbow and have a modest neckline are appropriate for women. Suits are appropriate for men.Kabbalas Panim:
When you arrive, you will find the bride in one room and the groom in another. The groom's room is called the Chasson's Tish, which means the groom's table. At the Tish, the Kesubah (marriage contract) is signed. In a separate room, the bride, seated like a queen, greets the guests.Bedekin:
After the Kesubah is signed, the groom is escorted by his friends to the bride, and then he places a veil over her face. This is the first time they have seen each other in a week. (It is often the most poignant part of the wedding.) The groom is then escorted back out of the room and guests are invited to take their seats for the ceremony.The Chuppah:
This is the ceremony, during which male and female guests are requested to sit seperately. The Chuppah (literally the wedding canopy) begins with the entrance of the groom, followed shortly thereafter by the entrance of the bride. The bride circles the groom 7 times nder the chuppah after which a series of blessings is recited, the groom sanctifies the bride by giving her a ring, the Kesubah is read aloud in Aramaic, further blessings are recited and the ceremony is concluded with the breaking of a glass to remind us that even in our joy we are saddened at the knowledge that the Holy Temple in Jerusalem remains in ruins. The newlywed couple then proceeds to the Yichud Room for a little time alone before heading out for pictures and the reception.How We CelebrateDancing:
First and foremost, there is separate dancing. The men dance for the groom; the women dance for the bride. Much of the dancing is done in large circles. For those unfamiliar with Simcha dancing, it is very easy and people will show you the few steps there are. We look forward to you joining in the fun.Shtick:
You may notice people acting a little odd, wearing costumes, shaking tambourines, doing acrobatics (maybe even setting their hats on fire). Jewish weddings often take on a carnival atmosphere in the guests' zeal to entertain the bride and groom. Don't hesitate to be a little silly, it makes the wedding a lot of fun!
There is just so, so much potential for an interesting blog post that attending seems simply too enticing to pass up. However once again I'm not about to go it alone. So, should my one friend get an invite and want to go, I'll go and by extension, you can all vicariously live the experience out through me. If not, well then, consider yourself schooled anyhow on what to expect should you get invited to one anytime soon.
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
Are You Ready For A New Sensation?
I've contributed to a lovely Carnival of the NJ Bloggers just this past Sunday. This morning I come to find out the carnival was featured in The NY Times! If you're having trouble accessing the article, go to BugMeNot.com, type in http://www.nytimes.com and voila!
Now back to our regularly scheduled post, already in progress.
Once the shock and the horror that I'd have to go seven months again
without American Idol
wore off, it hit me. This year was going to be different. Because American Idol was such a huge hit, there were bound to be numerous copycat versions, some good, some bad, coming out of the woodwork.
That's when I heard about Rock Star: Inxs
At first I was a bit creeped out by the premise. Everyone knows the infamous story of former lead singer Michael Hutchence's untimely death. So when I heard that the rest of Inxs still wanted to give it a go with a new lead singer, I thought a few things. First, and foremost I thought I'd be pretty pissed if I were Michael Hutchence. Secondly, I thought I'd be a genius if I was a remaining member of Inxs. Cause let's face facts; Inxs, prior to Michael Hutchence's death was doing ok, but no one was near "needing them tonight" anytime soon.Rock Star: Inxs
, also airs on the less than rocking network of CBS. But two episodes in and I gotta say, I'm already impressed, albeit still a bit confused how any of the singers, no matter how amazing, are going to fit into the existing Inxs lineup. I'm also not sure who is really
helping who here, but I digress.
In American Idol
fashion there are judges, the band members, and sometimes guest host/sometimes music guru Dave "impeccably groomed to the point he freaks me out"
Navarro adds his two cents. The real host, however, is Brooke "don't hate me because I look like the sweet version of Carmen Electra"
From the getgo we met 15 male and female singers. We also got to see prerecorded clips of all of them singing. I notices some were longer clips while some were shorter. In other words, in typical reality show fashion, the opener was edited to reflect early band, and potential fan, favorites.
Unlike American Idol
, however, all of these people can actually like, sing. I mean it. Even the ones who suck somehow manage to rock. This could be because many of them come from "gosh darn I came this close to making it" backgrounds in music. Still, there are always my favorites and early predictions. I'm not going to bore you and pick apart each and every contestant here, but I am going to give you general feelings whether you want them or not.
It needs to be said that already one chick was eliminated, Dana
. No matter who you are, it's gotta suck to be the first to go. But really it was no surprise. I couldn't really explain it, but I was a bit skeeved by Dana. Then I read her bio and saw she had acting credits including the adult cable films "Sinful Obsession," "Intimate Nights" and "Stripper Wives". Suddenly, it all made sense.
Then there's Daphna.
Daphna's vocals are decent, but it's her look that is going to take her places. She's the kind of rocker chick who tries to muss herself all up to look bitching, when all people realy want to do is put her in a mini skirt with attitude and Gwen Stefani the hell out of her. I also see eighties pop star Martika, when she performs but then again, I'm sure it's just me.Deanna
, no doubt, will be around for awhile. In fact, she has been around for awhile. The woman is 36 years old but she looks 22. I hope I continue to have those kind of genes by the time I reach 36 (knock on wood, so far, so good). Deanna is primarily known as the little chick with the big voice. The novelty of that wears off around the first two performances though. In other words, I'm gonna star getting really peeved with around week seven, members of Inxs are still pointing out the obvious.Heather
is the commune chick who went rocker. She reminds me of little known actress Marissa Ribisi
so I can't help but picture her or her brother, Giovanni when she sings. All that aside, she's good. Probably not going to win it, but good nonetheless.
first performed I felt like he was an Elvis impersonator at an exorcist. Then I read his bio and noticed the dude actually
worked as an Elvis impersonator for a few years. I don't know how rock and roll that is, all I know is that I called it. The next night, just escaping elimination he "toned it down". I didn't really see evidence of this but Inxs loved him so that means I probably have to remain confused for at least a few more weeks.
You know how amazing it is that some British rock stars sound amazingly American when they sing? Well equally amazing, but much more rare, are American singers who sound British when they sing. Meet Marty
. Picture David Spade rocking out and you've got Marty.
Then we have the rockers of another time, also known as Mig
. In Mig I see David Bowie, in Neal Mick Jagger. Mig I like. Neal I'm not so sure about. This is probably because with Mig it's just a resemblance, while with Neal it's an imitation.
Foregoing the others for now, this brings me to my three favorites: Jordis
Jordis is hands down, my favorite chick in the bunch. The youngest at 22, she can take a song and totally make it rock without making you feel like your suffering. I know this sounds silly, but in my opinion, a lot of rock chicks overdo it. Jordis doesn't. She's understated without being undercooked. Only thing that worries me is I'm not sure if rocker is who she is really meant to be. I also can totally see her being transformed either way into a much more commercializied singer. For some this is good news, for other this is bad.
Then there's Wil Seabrook. There's not much to say about Wil other than he's dreamy. I totally know he's not going to win. I also know he is not the best vocally in the competition. But damn if that boy isn't fine! He stares down the hell out the crowd too, making Constantine's smolder look like kid stuff. Only problem with Wil is that it's obvious he thinks he's fine, too. I'm sure if I met him, I'd hate him. I mean I'd still elope with him to Vegas if he asked me too, but I'd probably hate him just the same.
Finally there is Ty. Does anyone here remember Corey Glover of Living Colour? They had hits such as "Cult of Personality" and "Glamour Boys". I didn't think so. Living Colour were never huge, but I always thought Corey had a kickass voice and should have gone further in music then he did. Then I met Ty Taylor. Ty Taylor is like Corey Glover's bastard brother. In fact, I'm not sure but it just might be Corey in disguise. It seems Ty was in a little known pop band called Dakota Moon a few years back. Hearing this only makes me respect him more because he can clearly be mellow, or rock out.
No matter what happens, it is clear early on that there are no losers here. If you don't believe me, just ask Bo Bice.
Monday, July 11, 2005
Tell It To Me Tuesday: "If I Could Talk To The Animals"
I get the biggest kick out of animal shows that put animals in wacky situations. When I watch them though, I always wonder---
Do you think animals understand us? And, if animals could
communicate with us, what do you think they would say?
Friday, July 08, 2005
Stella Gots Its Groove With Black
Anyone who has read this blog for awhile knows I take my coffee like I take my men. Black
. Michael Ian Black
, that is.
In fact, I just noticed that the past few summers were sprinkled with MIB memories. Much of this was due in part to his classic VH1 Best of...contributions, most of which were painstakingly (and pathetically)
transcribed here. No need to thank me.
So I figured summer should be no exception and thanks to Comedy Central, it's not going to be. This is because they recently premiered the long awaited (ok, perhaps I was the only one who was longly awaiting, but still)
new comedy, Stella
is a three man (Michael Showalter, David Wain and Black, all formerly of the late great, The State)
comedy show that has actually been on tour for quite some time now before being developed into a television program. I'm guessing it was semi-successful to have a show developed after it, but then again this is Comedy "I'm With Busy"
Central, so I guess they'll give anything a shot if it's just offbeat enough to have that perfect blend of weirdness and brilliance.
And if weird is what you're looking for, then look no further than Stella
. One episode in and I found myself at times, doubled over with laughter and other times, scratching my head with confusion. Two episodes in and the humor started winning me over, by a hair. A few years from now I'll, no doubt, shriek with glee when I find it on reruns on...where else? Comedy Central.
See I know MIB is an acquired taste. You gotta like odd and offbeat to like him. Hell you gotta be
somewhat odd and offbeat to like him. So guess what that makes me? But have no fear, even if Stella
somehow manages to overcome the basic cable network odds to stay on past 6 episodes, or if it's not hailed for being truly genius until it has it's own 4 DVD box set, I will still stand by MIB and company all the way.
And eventually quote the hell out of it too, no doubt.
Wednesday, July 06, 2005
Ok, show of hands. Who here uses Haloscan for commenting? I don't know if it's just me or not, but I swear, Haloscan hates me. Or maybe it's you. I never really thought about it that way before. Wow, I feel much
But seriously, lately my "tip jar" has been all out of whack. Some days it will say I have no comments when I have 10, or it will say 5 when there's really 7. It's simple math, so you get the idea. But apparently, the folks at Haloscan do not. Perhaps the the people at Haloscan were also in charge of counting the votes in the last election. If so, it would certainly explain a lot.
As if the miscalculated comments weren't enough, I'll often notice that I don't get notification of each and every comment made to AOGB. I know this because I receive emails that say "You Have Comments"
, but then when I'm on my blog I'll notice it doesn't inform me of all of my comments. The email might as well be entitled, "You Have Comments, But We're Too Lazy to Send You ALL of Them"
. Then there are other comments that they like so much they send them to me two or even three times. It's funny. I don't recall checking off the box that said, "Notify Me Of Haloscan's Feelings Towards Comments Given".
I know Haloscan does not cost a lot, but it costs something. I also pride myself on trying to visit each and every commenter to AOGB, but Mr. or Miss Haloscan makes this very, very hard at times. Especially when I have to play hide and seek to figure out which comments are new.
Maybe you're one of those bloggers who can comment to a person's comment and automatically it sends that person an email. I dig that. I have no idea how you do that, but I dig it all the same. If it's simple, hook a cracker up would ya?
Oh and while we're on the topic of "hooking up", if you are not on my side orders and would like to be, shoot me a quick email and I'll see if I can remedy that. On the other hand, if you're on there and don't want to be, you can also tell me to kindly remove your name from the list. See? All you gotta do is ask.
Speaking of, many of you read my summer to do list
and so I'd like to dedicate the rest of this post to trusty number 12. For those of you too lazy to click the hyperlink and skim, number 12 is all by desire to move AOGB over to dotcom territory.
I have toyed with the idea before but all it got me was some good ideas, but no real ways of executing them. Blogging friend Tommy
made the move, along with many others. He uses (and recommends) Hosting Matters
$11 a month package deal and using Movable Type or Wordpress to build it. Others of you, like Honesty Rain
use your own cable provider, another thing I'm clueless on. So, to review...
Me: Frustrated about comments. Wants AOGB to be its own dot.com
1. How to make it so hosting wise.
2. How to keep my template and/or have minor tweaking. (remember, I am NOT a programmer)
3. How to deter spam-a-lot commenters (a mysterious downside of dotcoming it).
4. Purchasing (domain?, hosting? anything else I missed...)
5. Knowing if I've even covered all the questions I need to ask.
6. Your experiences good/bad with dotcoming it.
How Tom Cruise got by this long without so many realizing just how crazy he really was.
Now, it's up to you. I figure I might as well ask you guys considering it's how I got help with this template to begin with. Care to comment on any of this?
I might get it, might not.
Tuesday, July 05, 2005
Wanted, Dead or Alive
So I don't know if you know, but apparently, Luther Vandross died a few days ago.
Being the quintessential out of touch news person I can be at times, I got my news from Swan Shadow
. I know many people are saddened by this and in a way, I am too, but sad was not the first emotion I felt. Instead I felt one reaction and one reaction only,
"Didn't Luther Vandross already die?"
Before you go and get angry at me for the horrible person I am, let's review all I know about Luther Vandross, k?
1. He's a popular R&B singer whose career took off in the eighties, due to his silky smooth make out music for the masses. Wait. Scratch that. He was
a a popular R&B singer whose career took off in the eighties, due to his silky smooth make out music for the masses.
2. He was good friends with Oprah, I think.
3. At times he was a super sized Luther, other times a mini Luther.
This concludes all that I know about Mr. Vandross.
Wait, there's one more thing. I remember him becoming very ill a few years ago after suffering from a stroke. Now that is the time I recall being sad. See, I did get sad, so there. Only problem is, I think I thought he never actually recovered. Something in my mind switched over and I believed he had already died. I know, it sounds horrible. Just ask poor Abe Vigoda
who has to deal with shit like that all the time, even before his ironic brush with death after a plane crash a few years ago.
I'd like to say this is the first time this has happened, but I'd be lying. For a few years I actually had to stop and take pause that Frank Sinatra did indeed die. Same with Marlon Brando, along with a few others. It's the ones that you don't expect to die that you really remember. Karen Carpenter. John Candy. Kurt Cobain. I can tell with certainty that all of these people are dead. This is because their deathes were unexpected and thus, untimely. But men like Brando and Sinatra, they lived full lives and are legendary, so in a way eventhough the men are dead, they're never actually dead
, if you catch my drift.
Which brings me back to Vandross. It would be shallow and hypocritical for me to end this post with words like "he will be missed"
for obvious reasons. I mean I didn't know much about the man, and considering all the Christmas cards that never started coming 28 years ago, I can't quite say this is because we lost touch. But I mean I feel bad for his family, and his friends. And his fans. And for Oprah, I think. Cause no matter what, a loss is a loss, plain and simple and he truly was a talented man who went too soon.
I do wish had something more profound to say. Come back to me when it's Vigoda's time, k?
Monday, July 04, 2005
Tell It To Me Tuesday: "Coincidence? I Think Not"
Have you ever been some place and got the feeling that you've been there before? Have you ever met someone and felt like you've known them in another life? Or perhaps you just watched too many Time Life
book commercials like I did growing up. Either way, if you either think reincarnation is real or possible, or even if you don't humor me and answer this question...
What do you think you were in another life?
For instance, I think I was a dog because I have tons of hair, I'm loyal like nobody's business and I have an uncanny sense of smell.
Now it's your turn.
Friday, July 01, 2005
Voices That Care
There are very few musical milestones in the history of the world that have had such a profound effect on mankind. There's Woodstock, of course. The first time The Beatles played on Ed Sullivan is another. Somehow I'm quite certain The Spice Girls last concert doesn't make the cut.
Now take those milestones and factor in those that have been done in the name of a good cause. Notice that list shrinks dramatically. Woodstock still makes the cut, but somehow I don't think the introduction of the four lads from Liverpool's trendy haircut to America falls in the do gooder category.
But now I can say that I was part of one of the minority of musical milestones that was created to do some good after attending Live8
Before I continue, I have to admit I still have no idea how big this event was actually considered on a global scale. I mean I know it took place in many cities simultaneously, much like a giant New Years Eve party. And I can say I was there admist a rumored 1 million plus size crowd. But even after saying all of that, I still don't feel like I thought I'd feel if I was part of something quite as big.
In fact, up until a few days before the concert, I didn't even know it was happening. And it wasn't until I was standing there, in the crowd, that I finally knew what Live8 stood for
. Here, I just thought Bob "Live Aid"
Geldof had finally gone greedy and taken the name, and all its incarnations, on as his own.
Although I gotta admit, I'm still baffled at the concert's purpose. Although it was an event created in the name of garnering help to rid the world of poverty, the concert was FREE, yes free, as in you paid nada to get in but instead still got yours after getting ripped off by local vendors who charged an arm and a leg for a cheeseburger, hold the cheese and the roll. No, the concert people didn't want to raise money, they wanted to raise
awareness, cause apparently awareness and a live rendition of "One" by U2 gets the children of Africa a high school education. Who knew?
It's not like there was no mention of donation, cause there was. In between acts, random people would come on to tell stories and ask for your help. Picture a giant telethon, sans the crappy accordion player nephew, booked as a favor of host, Jerry Lewis. But for the most part, these donations were asked for in the form of text messages. Once again I felt like a dork living in the nineties as I don't have text messaging. I can, however, give you half of my hamburger, sans cheese and bun. Would that suffice?
There were a slew of acts on the roster for the day. I didn't see most of them, although I was there. This was because I didn't see much of anything. Well except for the backs of peoples heads. And a few badly sunburned bodies that were no doubt, full of regrets the next day. And although there were so many acts, each act only sang on average, three songs or so. Except of course, for the never ending set of Linkin Park and Jay-Z. How they rate the half hour or so, I'll never know.
I enjoyed Maroon 5 and dug the Sarah McLachlan/Josh Groban due. I was also intrigued by Rob "I slowed down 3 AM so it's now an entirely different experience without the Matchbox 20 guys behind me"
Thomas. By the way, note to Rob, it's a bad sign you're one year into your solo career, and get to perform 4 songs and 75% of that is still not your actual solo material, but I digress.
But all and all, the musical highlight was probably Stevie Wonder. We ended up bailing a little early, but that was only because we wanted to beat the rush and we had been listening to music for 6 hours straight. It's kind've anti-climactic really. Here most people were waiting for Stevie, and that's why they kept him to last, but yet so many people were leaving during Stevie, in order to get the edge on the crowd. It's a no win situation, really.
Given the sarcastic tone, you might wonder why I went at all. Well despite how it sounds here, I did have a good time. I don't necessarily feel like the concert accomplished all that it set out too though, whatever that was, other than to stroke some egos. As for the regular folk of America, I hate to say it, but I think they were just psyched to get a free concert. I mean I can't be sure, but I think the message was lost on many of the people who threw their waterbottles and other garbage around aimlessly. It's just a hunch, but I don't think these folks are about to help other countries when they can't clean up Philly anytime soon.
And how about the celebrites whose hearts are in the right places? I'm sure most of them signed up to help the cause, no hidden agendas on the horizon, but one does have to wonder. Whatever did happen to us raging to help the poor in Ethiopia during USA for Africa, or how about the first Live Aid? My guess is they weren't too successful if here it is, twenty years later and we're still campaigning for the cause. Same as it ever was.
So there you have it. If I could have topped off my Live8 experience, I would have ordered a "one for all and all for one" type finale. You know, get everybody out on the stage a la "We Are The World"
or "Do They Know It's Christmas?"
Of course no concert would have been really
complete without a Dan Ackroyd cameo, but I'm sure Jimmy Smits could have been a suitable substitute.
I Wish We All Could Be California Girls
One of the hardest accessories to a perfect summer is achieving that perfect summer tan. Some people spend several, painstaking hours baking in the hot sun in the name of vanity. This is also part of the desperate need to shed their crackeresque images for at least a three month interval.
In some respects, I am no exception. I am a white girl who enjoys getting some color. Because even though sunbathing is not good for your skin, it still manages to make your skin look
good. This is right up there with drinking giving someone confidence and smoking making someone look cool as examples of life's frustrating inconsistencies.
While I enjoy getting some color, I've never had an easy time of it. For one thing, I am W-H-I-T-E
. I am a fair skinned, blonde haired, blue eyed gal who, no matter how I try, cannot gel with the Italian side of me when it comes to sun worshipping. This is in direct contrast to my mother who, when I was a little kid, I used to actually believe she was, as I so eloquently would put it, "chocolate".
But as a child I was outside more often and thus tanner, and so I know that somewhere in me, once you get past the painful sunburning experience, is an old school tanner, dying to come out. I proved this to myself about five summers ago when I was "down the shore" almost every weekend and faithfully dedicated to making myself at least a darker shade of white. I was still no match for my bronze statue of a friend who no doubt suffers from tanorexia, never quite realizing just how tan she really is, but still.
I have a few main problems with tanning. One is that it is very hard for me to tan, but more importantly, to tan evenly. I almost always will venture out for a few hours in the sun only to return with random body parts burned while others seemingly had no sun exposure whatsoever. I can't tell you why this is. I try to conciously lay or sit still, but for whatever the reason, my skin doesn't always cooperate. I almost always have a red nose, forehead and sometimes even scalp which makes for a lot of fun when blow drying the hair. At times I've even been convinced that my lower legs must have come equipped with some type of built in lotion that prevents me from getting color.
The other problem I have with tanning is that it is TOO. DAMN. HOT. Seriously. I am the kind of girl who almost always is cold, except for when I'm not. And when I'm not, I can be downright cranky about it. So if I'm tanning outside by a pool, all is good. I can jump in, or even stay in as the case may be, and remain cool, while still burning up. But if I'm nowhere near a pool or if I'm at the beach, this is not as easy to do. If I'm (gasp) not near a pool, I am forced to bring things like icecubes and water bottles to keep myself cooled off and more often than not, this simply doesn't do the trick. Mostly you just sit there and sweat. And at the beach it's even worse. I know so many people "dig" the beach, but give me a pool any day. You can't calmly cool off as easily at the beach. It's much harder to just go and swim a lap and come back and cool off. Plus you've got all that yucky sand to contend with once you're wet.
In the past I have considered tanning beds and even better, that spray stuff that people use, but I'll be the first to admit that I'm just a baby when it comes to paying for beauty. For instance, I don't see the point in paying for manicures when I can give one to myself for a fraction of the cost, thank you very much. Tanning is no exception. Plus are tanning beds really any safer? Not to mention the fact that I'm still a bit weary after watching that Friends episode where Ross manages to tan only one side of himself because surely, somehow, someway, that would be me.
This is why this year I decided to be different. I decided to try one of those tans in a bottle all the kids are so crazy about these days. I really picked one up on a whim. A friend of mine with similiar coloring at work had just used one and it looked surprisingly natural. But I couldn't find her kind, and so I opted for the $5.00 No-Ad brand that Walmart boasts so freely. I figured worst came to worst, I'd have a horrible tan for a week or so.
When it came time to apply the cream I first tried a small portion of my upper thigh as a test because come on now, mama didn't raise no fool! When that went ok, I decided to go ahead and do the rest of my legs. Now here's where the ironic part kicks in so keep up with me. I realized that there would be no easy way to apply this stuff evenly without running the risk of having it come off or smudge. So I put a beach towel down in my room as to not drip as I "tanned". Did you get that? I put a beach towel
down in my sunless room
to try to tan evenly
. This is when I realized that self serve tanning, once you remove the cancer risk, isn't really all that difficult from real life tanning after all.
I applied the lotion to my legs and was quickly pleased with the results, this was until I got up and started walking around. It was then that I realized that this "fast drying formula" was neither fast, nor drying. So before long I'd start to see areas which didn't look tan or tan enough and so I started to apply more lotion in an effort to smooth things out. But herein lies both the beauty and the danger of the fake tan. Unlike real tanning, when you see an imperfection, you can attempt to fix it right away. But once you start to see imperfections, you run the risk of being there all day, trying to get it all to match up just so. I drank some water, I got a line down my leg that had to be fixed. I had a scratch, another patch needed a touch up. Before I knew it, my shortcut was turning into something not so short after all.
Once I was convinced it look good enough I went to bed. I woke up the next morning happy to report there were no smudges on my sheets and that my tan was still intact. In fact, it even held it's own after a shower. Then I went outside with my three quarter pants and saw myself in natural light. It was then that I realized that my artificial tan didn't look so natural after all. Sure my legs looked great, but there was the little problem of my ankles and feet. I guess anytime I stood up, more lotion than I realized managed to deposit. So instead of the perfect even tan I was hoping to achieve, I achieved a perfectly uneven tan, sans the painful burn I usually get in the process.
Luckily for me it wasn't that bad that I had to be overwhelming embarrassed. Here it is a few weeks later and I still have the remnants of a brown patch on my inner ankle which now just manages to make me look unwashed, not tanner. Still it was enough for me to forego any tanning in a bottle experiences in the near future. I mean this was just my legs people. Imagine how hard it would be to do this over my entire body. I'd also always need someone around to do my back. And where do you go when all of this is drying anyhow? Just stand naked in the center of your room?
This is why I've just resigned myself to one of two things happening this summer: either I'll be happily be white, pasty and healthy or I'll be uneven and in pain. Either way, it will be the way nature intended it to be.