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"This is the most exciting day of my life...and I was pulled on stage once to dance at a Bruce Springsteen concert."
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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough

Let's pretend, just for a minute, that the seven deadly sins had a dinner party.

They talked amongst themselves and decided to have the shindig at Pride's house, you know, so he'd have a sense of a accomplishment. But, before long, Envy was jealous that she didn't get to show off her house, too. All of the squabbling made Wrath angry and so subsequently, he left early. It's a good thing he did too, because he would have only gotten angrier after hearing about Lust's latest infidelity. Meanwhile, Sloth of course, showed up late so he missed everything, period. Greed meanwhile, was happy Sloth and Wrath weren't around for long and that Pride and Envy were fighting in the kitchen. This left more food for him and Gluttony to chow down on.

No matter your vice, chances are you have fallen victim to one of the deadly sins at some point in your life. If you haven't, you're either a monk or a liar and if you're the latter you're still sinning, so there. I have a theory though that as time marches on, more and more of us are living lives that accommodate a cardinal sin or two.

For instance, in America, more and more people are subscribing to the notion of having more. People are super sizing everything from their fries to their lives with bigger houses, bigger vehicles and bigger boobs. While I've managed "in large part" to avoid the growing epidemic, even I have fallen victim to one aspect- the beauty of bulk shopping.

I can't tell you when and where it started exactly, but stores like Sam's Club, Costco and BJ's are now commonplace on highways everywhere. Initially stores like these were started with the small business in mind. They had to go somewhere to buy their vending machines and scotch tape, so they'd order from a huge warehouse, big enough to stock the goods that they needed. Of course years ago we never thought about where small businesses got these items from. We were perfectly content just shopping with a regular sized cart that could fit everything we need plus a whiny child, often with room to spare.

But somewhere along the line, the overstock option trickled down to the everyday consumer. Suddenly buying 10 sodas on double coupon day at ShopRite was just not adequate. You needed to get 20 sodas for the party that you weren't having-- all in the name of being prepared. I suppose if you're looking to point a finger, you can blame this need to plan ahead on the likes of the seeds planted by the Boys and Girl Scout troops of America.

So you go and you stock up on things you "need" as if you truly believed Prince when he said we could all die any day. But Y2K came and went and people continued to shop as if everyday was a rainy day. Go into a local bulk warehouse on any given Sunday and you'll see what REM was talking about. People are shopping like it's the end of the world as they know it, but no doubt, they feel fine, all while waiting in a massive line.

But warehouse marketers aren't stupid. You might stop in places like these for logical necessities like toilet paper, water and deodorant, but while you're there you also end up picking up 24 precooked chicken sandwiches, a 10 pound bag of Hershey's miniatures and a snow shovel or two, just cause it seemed like the thing to do at the time.

And there's yet another reason to subscribe to the less more is more way of living. This is the pampered treatment you receive when you go there. To shop in places like Sam's a membership fee is required and thus, a sense of entitlement suddenly becomes attached to you and everyone else who goes there. While you're there, you can feast off the handful of products they have on display. These things range from breakfast sausages to sorbet. Double or nothing, they know exactly what they are doing with these sort of displays, too.

For starters, no pun intended, they often have featured products to try at awkward times of the day. Remember, you usually go shopping somewhere after breakfast or before lunch, but when it's not quite dinner yet. So basically, you've been fed for the day, but your next feeding is still long enough way so that the general waft of those toquitos or whatever else is cooking, will kick your stomach into high gear. Before you know it, your "linner" (lunch+dinner) becomes the things you munch, things which, incidentally always taste far tastier when trying them in the store than when you cook them up at home, of course.

It seems the American public seems to have the chills for products that are multiplying, but all of this reminds me of a wise saying I once saw on a No Fear t-shirt, of all places. "He who dies with the most toys, still dies." Yes, just like anything else, trends, food and even people all have one thing in common--expiration dates.

For better or worse, I don't see any of this changing anytime soon. In the meantime our solution to our cups continuing to runneth is to just go and grab another glass. We live in the moment and stock up for tomorrow.

After all, there will always be more where that came from.
Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Tell It To Me Tuesday "Seeing Stars"

A few months ago my mom was reading in the newspaper how they are making a New Jersey Hall of Fame. At first I thought this seemed silly, but then I thought about it a little more. New Jersey, more so than some other states, has had its fair share of famous folk.

So my question to you today is...

If they were making a Hall of Fame for your state, who would you think should make the list and why?

If you are participating on your blog, the rules are simple:

1. Answer this question ON YOUR BLOG and THEN link back to it via the box below.
2. Leave a comment letting me know you played along.
3. If you are interested in adding the box to your site, please visit Mister Linky.
4. If you have any questions or you're confused just ASK!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Write Back Weekend "Control, Alt, Delete You!"

Last week's TITMT asked you whether you preferred Mac's or PC's. Some of you might have thought this was a rather strange question to ask that offered very little chance for elaboration. After all, a computer is a computer, right? You also might think this is the sort of thing you never had to take an official stance on before.

Meanwhile others of you might have scoffed that I asked this question in the first place. Chances are, if you are a die-hard about one operating system or another the choice seems so obvious, you are bored with the idea of even having to answer.

Au contraire. Right at this very moment, while you read this very blog, you have already made a decision on what sort of computer person you are. Are you on a Mac or a PC? Chances are whatever one you use for most of your activities also says a lot about you as a person.

Since Apple and Windows are each other's biggest competitors, I guess it only makes sense that many of their users have adapted this mentality, too. So somewhere along the line, stereotypes were born.

The following is a broad-based view of typical PC/Mac stereotypes. Please do not get passionate about anything on these lists. I just blog here.

If you are a PC user you typically are a down to earth person who prefers more of a simplistic machine. You prefer function over style, but since you don't "style" for a living, you have enough function. The same can be extended to your style of dress and choice of foods. Name brands are not too important to you. You wear or eat, whatever looks good, not just because it was prepared by hand by an organic chef.

Mac users, meanwhile, are known for preferring style over function. Their computers are sleek and streamlined, as are typically, their underwear and sock drawers. They are often Starbucks drinking, J Crew wearing type of folk. They prefer a Mac over a PC for a Mac's ability in the elements of professions dealing with things like design and editing.

While I've never owned a MAC, I have had the privilege of working with both types of machines. All my life I've been a PC person and yes, that's what I'm still typing on now. A few years back I worked as a Print Production Assistant at a Marketing and Communications firm. Everyone had MAC's, but the company was split into half designers, half account managers and then of course, me. The MAC's were the better choice for the designers as they are, no doubt, the superior machine in this department.

But if you don't design, Mac's, in my opinion, really are a waste of your time. Oh sure the machine looked cool, but in my experience, there were many impractical ways to go about doing practical things. It would take me double, sometimes triple the time to figure out a function on a Mac that I could have figured out lickety-split on a PC. I didn't hate on the Mac though. Instead I imagined this would be what I would feel like if I went to say, Italy. Mac users, like Italians, aren't bad people. They just spoke a language I couldn't understand.

One advantage of having a Mac though is that Mac's are universal. Certain things come standard with a Mac. With PC's on the other hand, you can have different versions of the operating system and a number of different companies make the machines that use them. This makes fixing them more of a challenge unless you know what version of Windows the user is working with or what manufacturer quirks to factor into said operating system. So if you have mastered the Mac mumbo jumbo, congratulations. In terms of frustration you're probably way ahead of the game.

There's also a misconception that comes along with Windows. A lot of times they take for granted the type of customer they are dealing with. No one makes those sort of assumptions about Mac users. Meanwhile PC users, after purchasing a new laptop, often have to fight to remove unwanted, bundled software like a trial version of AOL. It's a no win situation. Those who aren't computer "nerds" will undoubtedly pick a PC over a Mac, but that doesn't mean that all PC users are that ignorant about the company they keep.

But if you've ever encountered a hardcore Mac enthusiast or PC aficionado, you'd understand just how heated the debate over PC's and Mac's can get. I know this first hand as my boyfriend is a computer programmer who has a true love/hate relationship with Macs. He understands a Mac's assets, but hates the air of superiority he feels comes with being a hardcore Mac user. He owns an ipod which constantly serves to be both amusing and nauseating at the same time.

He also is extremely angered by the "corporate agenda" of Macintosh and it's their gimmicks that irritate me. iPod. iBook. iTunes. iPhone. iwant to gagit'salljustsodamncute. Then there's the fact that every time we watch a movie or TV show and there is someone on the computer, he points out that the person is more often than not, using a MAC. Amazingly, I lived the first twenty-two or so years of my life never noticing (or caring) about this little detail. But now I do find myself intrigued by the very same thing. I understand that for the people who make movies and television how Mac's are the superior choice, but does that mean everyone in the movie has to use one, too? This he feels is constant, semi-subliminal free advertising and I have to say, I see his point. I just don't feel the need to shout obscenities at the screen because of this.

Further perpetrating the myth is the company of Apple itself. With their recent ad campaigns people represent Mac's and PC's. You need not know much about a Mac or a PC to tell they are mocking the very same stereotypes on which both operating systems exist. Mac users, therefore, are often self aware. They know their product costs more but they make no apologies for this. This in itself falls in line with a Mac user's behavior. PC users meanwhile are lumped into two groups, those who are offended and those who don't know enough to be offended, much like the PC users themselves.

Some might say that while the battle lines have been drawn and the competition has heated up, that an end is in sight. After all, both operating systems continually improve if only because they feed off of the need to beat each other at their own game. And as time marches on they are beginning to meet in the middle and work together for the sake of the users.

But if all else fails and the Montague and Capulet's of the technological world remain star crossed, just remember, there's always the lovable Linux to turn to.
Friday, January 26, 2007

So, That's Why The Lady Is A Tramp!

They say everything you need to know you learned in kindergarten. Well I'm here to tell you that I also learned quite a few valuable lessons courtesy from The Golden Girls, too.

For instance, The Golden Girls taught me that wit can carry you far into the twilight years of your life. Despite what you may have heard, silliness and senility can go hand in hand. I also learned in the decade of the eighties that you can lead quite an active social life into your eighties, preferably in a tropic community with lots of wicker furniture.

But perhaps the most valuable lesson I learned from The Golden Girls was that even sans viagra, the elderly often lead quite active sex lives.

Given this information, I suppose I shouldn't have been so surprised when I heard what's been happening in the senior set lately. After all, I was schooled in the sexual activity of seniors courtesy from the likes of Blanche Deveraux. But apparently for all the sexual activity of the elderly, what is still lacking is sexual responsibility. Forget hearing aids or Medicaid, more and more seniors these days are developing AIDS.

The problem, I believe lies in the misconception, or should I say, lack of contraception. See, while being a senior sometimes means a compromise of lifestyle, previewing retirement communities and endless grandchildren spoiling, there is a whole list of perks to getting older, too. For instance, not having to work anymore leaves you with more time to visit friends, family or foreign places. You also get into tons of places for half the price. And while menopause no doubt can be (or make) a bitch, seniors, by and large no longer have to worry about pregnancy scares.

But as we all know the older we get the more and more we act like children. After all, they don't call it the circle of life for nothing. So seniors have no "seniority" when it comes to safety. Times are different than when they were at their sexual peak. So many times a seventy-five year old is actually just as ignorant about sexual activity as a seventeen year old. Only thing is we are constantly trying to educate our teens but, meanwhile, no one is having a one on one, the true meaning of a "senior moment" with our seniors.

So seniors get the message that they can no longer have babies, but they have no reason to stop having sex. Unfortunately, as I see it, there are two major downfalls to this. One, monogamous seniors often lose their life partner later in life. As a result, they might end up "hooking up" with another senior, or two, or three because they are lonely and looking for companionship. It's not any different for people in different phases of their lives. Seniors might be old, but they ain't dead.

The other problem is that seniors, while getting a second chance to sow their wild oats, don't always have all their wits about them. Sure, they still have urges, but they don't necessarily have any common sense. Yes, my friends, Alzheimer's, like everything else, works in mysterious ways.

So now you have seniors with no sense having lots and lots of sex. Plus, long-term relationships are a joke considering nothing to seniors is "long-term" anymore. So seniors with AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases are instead treated quietly, with no big media hoopla surrounding the epidemic.

The way I see it, the only way to reverse the situation is to let your local senior know about the birds and the bees. Sure, speaking to grandma about things like abstinence and condoms might be at the very least, awkward, but think about how your parents felt talking to you about the exact same thing. If all else fails, find a friend who who has a sexually active senior in their midst to swap with. This way you can take a total stranger and school them on the ways of safe sex, if that's what floats your boat.

If this concept still seems a little far fetched to you, and you see most old people's courtships as cute and cuddly, consider famous seniors like Jack Nicholson walking around assisted living facilities, hitting on your grandma. Maybe then you'll see seniors for the horny bastards they can really be.
Wednesday, January 24, 2007

We Go Together Like Ramma Lamma Lamma...Ahh, Screw It

Just when you thought reality television had no new, undiscovered faces left to discover, along comes new seasons of shows like American Idol and a new cesspool talent pool full hopefuls courtesy of NBC's Grease: You're The One That I Want.

Although their goals are ultimately different, it doesn't take the Pink Lady codebook to figure out this Grease casting session was inspired by the success of shows like AI. In fact, I actually think it's now a reality casting call rule that you have a stuffy British judge on the panel. They call it the Simon "Just Being Honest" Cowell component. Only with Grease they're all, tell me about it, stud.

"'s nowhere to hide" as contestants from far and wide come out in droves, ready to butcher Grease songs, the only saving grace being their giving a rest to Stevie Wonder's Isn't She Lovely for awhile. The guys want to be the next Danny Zuko while the girls meanwhile are literally screaming, LOOK AT ME, I'M SANDRA DEE!

The winners of this contest, unlike the winners of AI, get cast in a new Broadway production of Grease, slated to open this summer. Old-fashioned casting calls are a thing of the past. Forget Grease. Overexposure is now, apparently, the word.

The tricky part of auditions thus far are the variety of types that have come walking through the doors. To some of them you want to say, Have you SEEN Grease before? (A Chandleresque inflection should be applied here, by the way) There are young and old, short and tall and yes, even black and white.

In theory, someone like me should be thrilled with a show like this. After all, Grease was one of the very first movies I grew to love. I can still recall purchasing the soundtrack and buying my very own "Pink Ladies" jacket back in the eighties. I even relished in the rumor, the impossible dream, that swirled around for day they might finally make a Grease 3. Remakes and sequels are all the rages these days. If you ask me, there are worse things they could do.

But here's where I get nit picky. Correct me if I'm wrong. I mean I know it's supposed to be a "new" Grease. But I subscribe to the "if it ain't broke, no need to fix it" school of thought. Therefore, recasting Grease is far different from reinventing Grease. Miami Vice, no matter how big of a bomb, went for a certain type when it cast Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx in the roles of Crockett and Tubbs, respectively. Take the Sandy and Danny prototypes out of the Grease and suddenly it is no more Grease than say, Grease 2.

My guess is the reason they let different types through to the finals is to show that they are open to any sort of Sandy or Danny. Deep inside however, I think they know that a 1950's African American Sandy paired with a 42 year old Danny are a far cry from "going together".

But perhaps my favorite part of Grease: You're The One That I Want is the way they choose the finalists. The chosen ones are selected to participate in a schooling of sorts, attending Grease Academy, a T-Bird boot camp, if you will. If you are one of the lucky ones to make it to the Academy they tell you so in one of the corniest one-liners since, Will You Accept This Rose?

They say...You're the one (insert dramatic pause here)...that we want to go to Grease Academy.

Of course, only time will tell which contestants are cool enough to rule the school. In the meantime, oh those summer Sunday nights.
Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Tell It To Me Tuesday "Torn Between Two Loves"

Good news! (for all ten of you who care, that is) It seems I fixed my internet woes. Once I tell you how I fixed them, however, you're going to laugh at the lack of technical expertise that went into the "solution". I got so fed up with sites coming and going this weekend that, after two dead end calls to the cable company I started pulling wires out and even hit the reset button on my router. Then the internet, all of it, was gone completely. It wasn't until about 30 minutes after that it all returned. Will it leave again? Which part of my half-assed solution worked? Only time will tell!

There are many dilemmas that have plagued our society for generations.

Boxers or briefs? Mayonnaise or Miracle Whip? David Lee Roth or Sammy Hagar?

Well today's TITMT is dedicated to one of those very same types of debates.

I want to know...

Are you a Mac lover or a PC person? Are Mac's the "apple of your eye" or are PC's your piece of the pie and of course...WHY?

If you are participating on your blog, the rules are simple:

1. Answer this question ON YOUR BLOG and THEN link back to it via the box below.
2. Leave a comment letting me know you played along.
3. If you are interested in adding the box to your site, please visit Mister Linky.
4. If you have any questions or you're confused just ASK!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Write Back Weekend "So Fresh And So Clean"

I had a hell of a time getting to update this morning. Because of my ongoing random connection issues, Blogger is sometimes affected. So to work around this, I've been keeping Blogger open and putting my computer on standby at night. But even then sometimes the connection is super slow. Now we think it might be a router issue, (yes, one that only plagues certain sites, lucky me) but it's going to require potentially a lot of trial and error in order to fix it, whenever and if ever, that actually happens. However, your continued patience, TITMT ideas and comments are appreciated!

Last week's TITMT was...

What one toiletry item could you never live without and why?

To be honest, in retrospect I view this as one of my lamer TITMT questions. In an effort to branch out from the typical (and time consuming) music, movie and television questions generated here, I went in a different direction. I mentioned the updating issue because it connects directly to this TITMT. Since I know I have had connection issues, I tried not to pick a meaty TITMT, just in case I couldn't get on to respond.

The downside of this is that there isn't much room for expansion on this particular topic. I do agree with most of you. It is hard to pick just one toiletry item to live without. After all, so many of them have become so important to the overall quality of life most of us have grown accustomed to.

For instance, I couldn't imagine living without my deodorant, especially on high pressure or scorching hot days. Without it, I couldn't raise my hand to show I was sure. Plus it is a well known fact amongst my circle of friends that my boyfriend's deodorant is actually one of my favorite scents, ever.

But even with how important all of us (except perhaps the au natural, Matthew McConaughey types) have decided deodorant is, deodorant was actually not the top answer on my board. So, for awhile I contemplated choosing soap because using deodorant without using soap is like trying to add icing to a cake that has yet to be baked. Soap keeps us Zestfully clean, too, though I'm a Dove girl through and through myself.

The deodorant and the soap, however, were just gateway toiletries into more hardcore unmentionables that I'm about to go and mention. Things like a good razor and good feminine products are also essential. Without a razor, I wouldn't be the evolved female that I am today. I even have the battle scars (nicks) to prove it. Alas there are feminine products like pads and tampons (sorry, guys) that are crucial. Without them I'd be one big mess, period (pun intended).

Interestingly enough though, none of these are the toiletries that I settled upon when I finally decided to choose one. The one I came up with and stuck to was toothbrush. Not just any toothbrush mind you, an electric toothbrush. As anyone who has used an electric toothbrush knows, once you go electric you never go back. But if we're getting technical, a toothbrush is of no use to me without it's partner in crime, the ying to it's yang, toothpaste. And I can't go for just any toothpaste either. I need to have something that addresses the needs of my sensitive teeth otherwise I feel the difference. So I guess you could say that toothbrush and toothpaste are like the bread and butter or Captain and Tennille of the toiletry world, you simply cannot have one without the other.

So as usual, I cheated a bit on this TITMT but if nothing else, at least I kept it clean.
Friday, January 19, 2007

Show Me That Smile Again

While repeats from shows of the past season make me groan with discontent, there's something to be said about watching those very same repeats five, ten or fifteen years later.

This, my friends, is the beauty of syndication.

My latest resurrected obsession has been in the form of Growing Pains repeats.

In case you are too (gasp) young to remember, Growing Pains was a hit TV series from the eighties. Yes, if you want to get technical it was still on in the nineties, but that's where the "hit" part sorta fell out of the equation as by then Kirk Cameron had found religion and the show, as a result, had jumped the shark.

Currently, Growing Pains is being played in back to back repeats on the i Network. All I had to do was watching the opening to be transported back to a simpler time:

Growing Pains was a 30 minute, sitcom that revolved around a family called The Seavers. It starred Alan Thicke and Joanna Kerns as parental units, Jason and Maggie Seaver. Their offspring were Tracey Gold (Carol Seaver), Jeremy Miller (Ben Seaver) and the reason the show was a success, Kirk Cameron (Mike Seaver). In later seasons The Seavers went on to have another child named Chrissy Seaver. But she couldn't hold a candle to Josh Andrew Koenig's portrayal of the lovable, Richard "Boner" Stabone.

Growing Pains also had a number of key episodes that featured one day stars before they hit the big time. People like Matthew Perry, Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio for instance.

When I started watching Growing Pains again after all of these years, I thought for sure it would have managed to lose some of its appeal; just like when my world was brought to a crashing halt when I realized Punky Brewster's Soleil Moon Frye really couldn't act or how Silver Spoons as a whole really wasn't all that funny. As it turns out, some memories from the past are better off being preserved by staying put.

But amazingly I don't that feeling when I watch Growing Pains now. If anything, I think I appreciate it now more than I did then. I think this is because I couldn't know then that the world of sitcom comedy was going to be expected to be held up by aptly titled shows like Til' Death. The jokes still get me chuckling and I don't find it to be nearly as corny as I thought I would, with the possible exception of the episode where Mike moves out and dad charges him 50 WHOLE dollars to rent the apartment over the garage.

But Growing Pains, while still entertaining, manages to make me feel sad, too. For one thing, I get sad when I think of Kirk Cameron. Say what you want about the man now, but in his day, he MADE Mike Seaver seem like magic. In fact, I have a theory. Kirk portrayed Mike so well that I think the world started believing Kirk and Mike were one in the same. That's why when Kirk, best known as practical joker, skirt chasing Mike, traded in his boyish charm for bible thumping it was so disheartening. Kirk Cameron might have found religion, but that doesn't stop this girl from asking the occasional, What Would Mike Seaver Do?

Then we have the sad story of Tracey Gold who portrayed Carol Seaver. Not unlike the way the public had a hard time seperating Kirk from Mike, Tracey had a hard time seperating Carol from Tracey. On the show, Carol took lots of ribbing for being super smart and sorta nerdy. This was only partially true. In real life, Tracey suffered from dyslexia and was not nearly as smart as her on-screen persona. The jabs at her appearance, however, ran much deeper. Being only a teen at the time, jokes about her weight and appearance eventually took their toll, leading to a widely publicized bout with anorexia nervosa which she ultimately conquered.

Like most classic sitcoms of their time, Growing Pains probably went on one or two seasons past its prime, but when you're in the eye of the hurricane, the best thing you can do is hold on. The show even returned a few times in prime time movie format which, by the way, never work. This is because sitcoms are one genre and made for tv movies are another. Take the laugh track out of a show like Growing Pains and it's like eating a sandwich without the meat.

Unfortunately, kids of today do not know the wonderment of a show like a Growing Pains. If they do, it's merely second-hand knowledge, that of which people of age group might have discovered The Brady Bunch or Gilligan's Island. They don't have sitcom heroes, or soon to be washed up child stars to look up to. This might not seem like such a bad thing, but its impact is actually much more profound. Ten years from now there will be no Where Are They Now? or reality type programs for these people to be rehabilitated on for there will be no one to rehabilitate.

I don't know about you, but in the eighties, I learned many a life lesson in thirty minute intervals. Sure sitcom schematics is no substitute for the real thing, but that doesn't mean it didn't have just as important of an impact. If they want to know why emo rockers are so angst-ridden, I say they need not look much further than the fall of the great sitcom.

In essence, I suppose you could say life itself is one big growing pain. If only I still had Alan Thicke's lyrical expertise to guide me through it.
Wednesday, January 17, 2007

A Wrinkle In Time

The random problems with my Internet connection persist. Right now, I am publishing this from school since Gogle is one of the sites that works intermittently. I have no idea how to fix this, but I also know I'm not really supposed to be using Blogger from here. If I can't remedy this, I'm afraid updates to the blog might end up being inconsistent as well. Help, please!

Although it's is still five months away the simple fact remains; I will be turning thirty this year.

Expediting the process is the fact that I have friends who have already turned thirty, are just about to turn thirty, or are in the midst of planning big parties for the big 3-0.

When I was a kid I laughed off all that "age is a state of mind hogwash". My parents were much older and they didn't seem old to me, still don't actually. Just this weekend, however, I cringed at a line uttered in Something's Gotta Give. Amanda Peet was talking to Jack Nicholson about how he never dated a woman over the age of 30.

Do people (not counting Jack Nicholson) still really think that way? Do I think that way? Is 30 really the beginning of the black plague years?

After all, I don't feel any differently now then I did when I was 25, or even 15. The proof is in the company I keep. My Space reminds us that former middle school connections are just one click away, while Soap Net lets me relive my youth every weekday afternoon at noon to the tune of 1991's Another World. One look at a former classmate's face or an old school soap storyline and I'm instantly transported to another place and time.

The fact of the matter is that time does indeed march on, despite our best efforts to stop it. At twenty-nine, I feel I am still enjoying the prime of my youth. Still, that doesn't change the look on a twenty-five year old's face when they hear you are almost thirty. It's just a few measly years, but to them, it feels like a lifetime.

Working with children everyday reminds me that when we are younger, we have no idea of what is old and what's not. Every year the children ask me my age and I love to make a game out of avoiding giving them an answer, just because. Last year I started giving them the year I was born and letting them figure out just how old I was. Without any help, you'd be surprised just how hard a task this was for them. Regardless I've heard everything from 18 to 52. This is because to a kid there are no degrees of old. Everyone is old in their eyes. It isn't until you are "old" that you see that your former ideas of old are really not old at all.

It's not so much that thirty is old, it's what the age itself symbolizes. Even if you don't feel different or look different, you know that different is waiting for you, just around the corner. And sometimes just knowing something is going to happen somehow, someday, is all the ammunition you need to plant the seeds of worry. But as we all know worrying too much eventually takes its toll on your body, mainly in the form of W-R-I-N-K-L-E-S.

Recently I started noticing my very first wrinkle. Contrary to popular belief, it's not nearly as exciting as other "firsts" like the first time I got a Cabbage Patch Kid, drove a car or went off to college. Yet somehow, this first has managed to leave more than just a physical impression on me.

Now I know if you saw me you'd laugh because the change is subtle. The line is between my two eyes and it's not always prominent. Everyone gets lines between their eyes when they are creating certain expressions, young, old and in between. The difference is that decidedly younger people get those lines just when they are expressing themselves. The rest of us know that eventually the lines decide to grace your face permanently, like a tattoo of thought for all the world to see.

The fact of the matter is, I've never considered myself a vain person. I always knew I was going to age "someday". But I'll be honest. I quite enjoy looking a number of years younger than I actually am. I like the fact that I'm short and on dress down days have been mistaken for one of my third grade students. I relish the fact that I still get carded from time to time when ordering a drink. I savor that the act of taking off my makeup is not as major as deconstructing the Sistine Chapel.

In isolation, all that held true for me at nineteen still holds true for me at twenty-nine. It isn't until you place me next to a true, present day nineteen year old that I feel that any time has passed. That's when reality hits me and I realize I have lived a lot in the last ten years. I recognize the fact that sometimes you gotta take me and shake me like that stubborn passenger in the Airplane movies to make me realize, Janet, no matter how hard you click your heels, it's no longer 1987.

I now realize the next few years of my life are going to be a humbling crossroads. I can try to fight it off with anti-wrinkle creams and Botox treatments, or I can just accept the simple fact that we all get older sooner or later. I can take comfort in the fact that I've treated my body well for the first thirty years and hopefully fate (and good genes) will see me through the next. After all, we just celebrated my grandmother's 90th birthday a month ago. The woman still lives on her own, has a mind of her own and is completely independent.

If that doesn't make me look forward to being an honorary "Golden Girl" one day, nothing will.
Monday, January 15, 2007

Tell It To Me Tuesday "Potty Mouth"

Just a quick update. I still can't seem to access my site. That's the bad news. I have gotten your comments though so I know it's not a universal problem. That's the good news. I don't know how to fix it though. Once again, more bad news. So if anyone knows why I would be able to access certain websites and not others AND, more importantly, how to remedy this weird epidemic, I'd be very, very grateful.

I could easily do a music, movie or television trivia question every week. But for variety's sake, I'm attempting to branch out a bit. Any suggestions for future TITMT's are always welcome, too. Feel free to leave ideas in the comments or email me at

Now on to this week's question...

What one toiletry item could you never live without and why?

If you are participating on your blog, the rules are simple:

1. Answer this question ON YOUR BLOG and THEN link back to it via the box below.
2. Leave a comment letting me know you played along.
3. If you are interested in adding the box to your site, please visit Mister Linky.
4. If you have any questions or you're confused just ASK!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Write Back Weekend "Make 'Em Laugh"

While prolific songs are perfect to pull at one's heart strings, sometimes sad songs satire says so much. So last week's TITMT asked you for your favorite funny/satire songs. I wanted to simply say "Show Me The Funny" but to me, things that are funny are often not obvious. If you don't believe me, just think of Don Johnson's video for his song, Heartbeat and you might know what I'm aiming at.

Just to be different, I decided not to include anything Weird Al. I know, I know, I was shocked by this decision, too. But when we think satire, most of us think Weird Al. So really, those of you who participated covered that for me. Plus it's like Dick Van Dyke once said in a filmstrip I saw in elementary school about smoke alarms, "Choosing one is just not enough".

After skimming my musical files I came up with the rather lengthy list you're about to read. I'm also trying, for the first time, to upload some of the songs using Send Space for the first time.

1. Cause I'm a Blonde and Homecoming Queen's Got a Gun- Julie Brown As some of you have already surpisingly stated, Homecoming Queen's Got A Gun is just about one of the funniest original songs ever written. Equally amusing is another song by Julie Brown entitled, Cause I'm A Blonde, featured in the eighties movie, Earth Girls Are Easy.

I couldn't possibly pick one and not the other so instead I lumped them in together. With the cult success of both of these tunes and the soon to follow cable tv success of the show Just Say Julie, it looked like comedic actress Julie Brown was well on her way to being the female answer to Weird Al. But soon after her turn as a lesbian gym teacher in Clueless, Julie Brown seemingly fell off the face of the Earth, "easy" to forget her though, it's not.

2. She Ain't Pretty- Northern Pikes She Ain't Pretty is a song that perfectly captures all the beautiful people out there that are really ugly on the inside. You knew them. I knew them. Everyone knew them. My favorite line of this tune was always, "She said, 'take me home and I won't make a fuss. I said sure you got some change for the bus?'"

3. 1985 and High School Never Ends- Bowling For Soup In the past few years, Bowling For Soup has done a pretty decent job at bringing tongue in cheek lyrics to the mainstream. First they did it with the eightiesriffic, 1985. Then lightning struck twice when they released, High School Never Ends. Both of these songs are funny, simply because they carry nuggests of truth in them. High School...talks about how Hollywood mirrors all the superlatives you hated back then. "Reese Witherspoon, she's the prom queen, Bill Gates, the captain of the chess team. Jack Black, the clown, Brad Pitt, the quarterback. Seen it all before. I want my money back!"

4. A Song For The Dumped- Ben Folds Five Ben Folds, both with the "Five" and solo (whatever that means) made a lot of great satire songs. This was always my favorite in the funny department though. I linked to the video, though for some strange reason they change to another language mid lyric. If nothing else, it's educational. This is a great, fun break-up song, which is hard to do since break-ups are rarely fun.

5. Hook- Blues Traveler In their day, Blues Traveler had a good run. Hook is one of my favorites by them because it makes fun of the industry by creating a song that does exactly the same thing it's making fun of. Pure genius. The beauty in Hook is its lyrics. It totally pokes fun at 90% of the hit songs out there and their theory still holds true. "It doesn't matter what I say. As long as I sing with inflection....the hook brings you back. I ain't telling you no lie. The hook brings you back. On that you can rely."

6. Parents Just Don't Understand- DJ Jazzy Jeff and Fresh Prince Before Will Smith was a super-powerful movie star, he was just little ol' Fresh Prince, hanging out with DJ Jazzy Jeff. He also proved that "clean" rap could still be cool. The timeless message of Parents Just Don't Understand is foolproof evidence of just that.

7. It's A Hit- Rilo Kiley Nothing Rilo Kiley does is funny in an obvious way. They are funny in a, "think about it for awhile, laugh instead of crying" sorta way. The lyrics to this song talk about the imperfections that exist in this world, with a healthy dollop of sarcasm thrown into the mix. It's not for those who don't have a bit of a jaded heart, and a tolerance for a different kind of humor.

8. The Sweater- Meryn Cadell- I don't remember exactly how I discovered this song and to be honest, I didn't even know the name of the woman who "spoke" it until I was writing this post. It's a song because it's set to music, but really it's a spoken word montage to getting the perfect boy to notice you. Picture My So-Called Life set to music. My favorite lyric is, "Now if the sweater has, like, reindeer on it or is a funny color like yellow... I'm sorry, you can't get away with a sweater like that. Look for brown, or grey, or blue. Anything other than that, and you know you're dealing with someone who's different, and different is NOT what you're looking for. You're looking for those Alpine ski-chiseled features and that sort of blank look which passes for deep thought or at least the notion that someone's home. You're looking for the boy of your dreams who is the same boy in the dreams of all your friends."

9. Teenage Dirtbag- Wheatus This song was featured in the Loser starring former American Pie bigwigs, Jason Biggs and Mena Suvari. But that was then, this is now. The careers of the American Pie stars, sans possibly Sean William Scott and Alyson Hannigan have not seemingly stood the test of time. However, this song about teenage loserdom, somehow has.

10. If I Had A Million Dollars- Barenaked Ladies- BNL had a lot of classic songs that matched satire and sentiment nicely. If I Had A Million Dollars just might be their most popular though. It lists all the things you could do if you were rich, only to realize that you really don't need all of that to be truly happy.

11. Jim Henson's Dead- Stephen Lynch- Growing up, I loved The Muppets. this song perfectly captures all that is wonderful about them. Yet it has to be said, any song that attempts to be serious about something so silly falls into a funny category for me. My favorite lyric is, "Jim Henson's dead and gone but his Muppets will live on. And Kermit's still hot, cause it's still not, easy being green."

12. Fight For Your Right To Party- Beastie Boys To even think about creating a funny song list without including old school Beastie Boys is sacrilege. Not only is this song a classic in an anthemic "damn the man" sorta way, it's video is just as classic, if not more. "Your pops caught you smoking and he said, 'No way!' That hypocrite smokes two packs a day."

13. Stacy's Mom -Fountains of Wayne FOW just might be one of the most underrated bands from the last 10 years. They have a lot of songs that have classic cult potential. Stacy's Mom was one of their biggest hits, it's lyrics paying homage to one of the hottest mom's ever, Stacy's mom.

14. No Scrubs- TLC At first, anything by TLC might not seem like an obvious, comedic choice. But if you think about the lyrics to No Scrubs, you would get why I chose this song. No Scrubs is a song dedicated to all the dead beat, no good "homies" out there. It's surprising, given this day and age, how so little lyrical content has been devoted to this subject. I didn't know what a scrub was before this song either. So I also expanded my vocabulary in the process, too.

15. No Sex In The Champagne Room- Chris Rock Up until a few years ago I didn't see the appeal of Chris Rock's humor. I thought he was only mediocre on SNL. But since then I haven't changed my tune, as did he when he released a semi-hit with his spoof of the graduation hit, Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen). This song is really silly spoken word, but it's still very funny. "Cornbread. Ain't nothing wrong with that!"

16. Rollin' with Saget- Jamie Kennedy with Bob Saget A few weeks ago I discovered a new comedic favorite of mine, Rollin' With Saget as performed by Jamie Kennedy featuring Bob Saget. Anyone who grew up with Full House has to appreciate the sudden depature of Bob "just call me Howard Stern part two" Saget. Only God knows what plans he had for Mr. Saget prior to Full House. Let's just say I haven't been as shocked at a transformation since the days of Robert Reed. Night Michelle!

17. Girlfriend In A Coma- The Smiths- Girlfriend In A Coma is a great song in great Smiths bipolar tradition that keeps you saying, "Damn, did he really just say that?" Most of the songs are really about nothing, except seemingly pure hatred for the world around you. In Girlfriend In A Coma it's very serious as Morrissey exclaims, "There were times when I could have murdered her. But you know, I would hate anything to happen to her. No I don't want to see her. Do you really think she'll pull through?"

18. Joining A Fan Club- Jellyfish - Anyone who knows me know that Jellyfish, although they only had two measly albums, still remain one of my favorite bands of all time. Most of their music actually had some satirical element to that. Choosing Joining A Fan Club was a no-brainer though. It's all about being in love with an idol from afar. It even has a religious undertone that works on so many levels,while still managing to be snappy... like only Jellyfish could do.

19. Woman's Got A Mind To Change- Bacon Brothers It's a little known factor that the Bacon Brothers are rather good musicians and an even lesser known fact that they have a pretty good sense of life and silliness. Woman's Got A Mind To Change is an example of this, making a loving mockery to all the wonderment of women.

20. Rock N' Roll Lifestyle- Cake One of the best close to the vest, satire bands out there is Cake, hands down. The first song I fell in love with was Rock N' Roll Lifestyle. It speaks volumes to the people out there who try so hard to be on the "cutting edge" of the music scene. "Is it you or your parents in this income tax bracket...How much did you pay for your rock n' roll t-shirt, to prove you were there, that you heard of them first?!"

21. Tangerine Speedo- Caviar Think of lounge music that is so fantastically bad that it's good and you've got Caviar's Tangerine Speedo. As if the song itself wasn't hysterical enough, it takes on a horrifying concept, those God awful men who walk around scantily clad at beaches and pools everywhere. It's a subject that someone had to speak to. Thank God Caviar had the "balls" to do it.

22. Boyz In Da Hood- Dynamite Hack I could be wrong, but I think this is the only "true" cover to grace this list. I love how one hit wonder, Dynamite Hack, took a serious, street rap song and turned it into a white boy satire. It's funny but oh so true. There are far too many white boys out there playing themselves like fools. Believe it.

23. Popular- Nada Surf I realized after the fact that many of the songs on my list are really good at making fun of the awkwardness of the high school experience. Popular is just another song to explore an aspect of that time period. Nada Surf has gone on to make rather serious tunes given this satirical, one hit wonder type debut. Popular lists all the things you need to do to in the teenage guide to popularity. They're still under the radar though, of course. "Make sure to keep your hair spotless and clean. Wash at least every two weeks. Once, every TWO WEEKS!"

24. I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker (With Flowers In My Hair)- Sandi Thom-
- I just discovered this song thanks to Scooter's best of 2006 list he posted a few weeks ago. I debated about posting it here because while it's a bit tongue in cheek lyrically, I actually think it's lyrics are quite serious. I also relate to them completely. But it manages to take the serious and make it fun and light and that alone is the reason I included it here. To me, it's like the Imagine of a new generation.

Oh I wish I was a punk rocker with flowers in my hair. In 77 and 69 revolution was in the air I was born too late and to a world that doesn't care, Oh I wish I was a punk rocker with flowers in my hair.

When the head of state didn't play guitar, not everybody drove a car, When music really mattered and when radio was king. When accountants didn't have control, and the media couldn't buy your soul, and computers were still scary and we didn't know everything.

Oh I wish I was a punk rocker with flowers in my hair. In 77 and 69 revolution was in the air I was born too late and to a world that doesn't care, Oh I wish I was a punk rocker with flowers in my hair.

When popstars still remained a myth, And ignorance could still be bliss, and when God Saved the Queen she turned a whiter shade of pale. When my mom and dad were in their teens and anarchy was still a dream and the only way to stay in touch was a letter in the mail.

Oh I wish I was a punk rocker with flowers in my hair. In 77 and 69 revolution was in the air I was born too late and to a world that doesn't care, Oh I wish I was a punk rocker with flowers in my hair.

When record shops were on top, and vinyl was all that they stocked, and the super info highway was still drifting out in space. Kids were wearing hand me downs, and playing games meant kick arounds and footballers still had long hair and dirt across their face.

Oh I wish I was a punk rocker with flowers in my hair. In 77 and 69 revolution was in the air I was born too late and to a world that doesn't care, Oh I wish I was a punk rocker with flowers in my hair.

I was born too late to a world that doesn't care. Oh I wish I was a punk rocker with flowers in my hair.

25. Banana Man- Tally Hall The video for this song actually scares me quite a bit, but damn if this song isn't one of the catchiest ditties to come along in a long while. What are they talking about beside bananas? Beats me. Weird? You betcha! But it gets me going every time I hear it, just like a good silly song should.

Honorable Mentions for your Googling pleasure: Barbie Girl-Aqua, Be My Yoko Ono-Barenaked Ladies, What's My Age Again?- Blink 182, Undone (The Sweater Song)-Weezer, I Love You Period- Dan Baird, Somebody Kill Me-Adam Sandler, Keep Your Hands To Yourself-Georgia Satellites, Punk Rock Girl-Dead Milkmen, Birdhouse In Your Soul-They Might Be Giants, Rockin' The Suburbs- Ben Folds, Snakes On A Plane (Bring It)-Cobra Starship, Detachable Penis- King Missle, Gold digger-Kanye West featuring Jamie Foxx, Little Boxes- Malvina Reynolds, Glendora- Rilo Kiley, Emo Kid- Adam and Andrew, Fuel- Ani Difranco, My Hit Song- Melissa Lefton, Like The Movies- The Avett Brothers
Friday, January 12, 2007

Post-It Notes, Files, Scissors, Shoot

I'm having random internet issues again so if there are typos in this post or I can't visit your blog have a heart, since I can't see it or quite possibly... you.:(

Before I earned my wages by believing the children are our future, I had another career.

Actually, I don't know if you can even technically call it that. To me, there's an important distinction to be made between the word "career" and the word "job". The word "career" implies time invested, sometimes school attended, and a life being built around said "career" choice. Just think about Career Days at schools across the country. Doctors, lawyers and nurses are in attendance, but you don't see a high demand for public speakers of the Taco Bell lettuce shredding or Target shelf stacking variety.

Yet sometimes our jobs ends up becoming our careers while passing time waiting for something else to come along. These are the times when our careers choose us instead of us choosing them. You might take a job as a waitress at Denny's never intending for it to be long term. Before you know it, you get comfortable and one student loan and two kids later, Denny's seems more and more like a way of life than a way on to a better life.

When I entered college, the first time, I had wide-eyed intentions my four years would lead me to the career I was meant to have. It didn't matter that going in I didn't know what career I wanted. I just figured that was what college was for, that suddenly my destiny would hit me, like it did Felicity, minus the hair chopping that is.

So I declared my original major as English, only to switch to Communications. I was too young to have heard all the "Do You Want Fries With That?" type joking. Silly me listened to professors and administrators who told me that having a degree in Communications would leave the door wide open to a number of career choices.

However what they failed to mention was that sometimes having too many choices can actually have the opposite effect. After graduating I quickly realized there was something to be said for the importance of specializing. It's better to be someone who does one or two things really well, then someone who, in essence, can do anything without any real expertise.

Yet hindsight, as they say, was 20/20. So pound the pavement I did for my first, real job. I did some temp work for a bit before landing my first real office job in an insurance company. I cringe now when I look back on the salary "negotiations". Let's just say I was offered a lot less than I was worth and since I didn't know my worth and I had hard time finding anyone who considered me worthy, period, I accepted. I was super excited to have found landed my first job and be on my way to being a full-fledged grown-up.

Believe it or not my time working in an office was really a lot like the show, The Office. Sure The Office is a caricature, but in my experience, it's really not all that different from the way it really is. There almost always is an inane idiot(s) in charge and you spend a whole lot of time doing absolutely nothing.

When I first started working in an office I was taught the ropes by a "seasoned supervisor" which in lame office terms just meant, "any girl who was about 3-5 years older than you who had been there at least six months". At first I was eager to learn all the important office stuff, but once you learn that very little of what you do is actually all that important, you become jaded at a surprisingly quick rate.

For me, office work was simply not challenging. If anything, it was an insult to my intelligence. To think I had gone to school for four years only to not use everything I didn't learn aggravated me. To be honest the sham starts long before the office experience. It is bestowed upon many of us as soon as we buy into the myth that our chosen university has our best interests at heart.

So I did what any girl who was bored with office work would do. I invented ways to amuse myself. I still completed all of my work, but I tried my hardest to a long day as much fun as possible. Sometimes this involved being very creative. One time I took my friend's marker hostage and wrote ransom notes on behalf of it, scattered all across the office.

Also, since I worked in the "insurance underwriting" aka "customer service" area of the company, I spent a lot of time talking to irate insured taxi drives who wanted to know why their insurance was canceled just because they had 42 points on their license. The fact that I'm still alive to tell the tales after some of the phone calls I had is really quite amazing.

But even the insured themselves, no matter how clueless, managed to provide hours of endless entertainment when I created the "Insured of the Day" game. The premise was simple: I'd pick an insured with a particularly funny name or photo ID, photocopy it, and hang it up in the cubicle I called home. You might think this was downright silly and cruel but I have to tell you, it was also highly educational. I bet you didn't know every third cab driver in NYC is named Mamadoh Bah, but I'm pretty sure it's documented fact.

The office environment, in my experience, is also riddled a lot of pettiness. This is because this is a situation that breeds competition. The competition occurs because nearly everyone in the office hates their job and just hopes and prays they can one day have the corner office so they can continue to do nothing, only on a much higher pay scale, all the while counting the minutes in silent and isolated contentment.

It didn't matter which office I worked in either. In the twenty-nine and a half years I have been on this planet I have had five office jobs, each one of them carrying varying degrees of quiet desperation. Every day to me was like Groundhog's day. You clock watched till lunch came along only to continue to clock watch until it was time to leave. Call me a candidate for ADD, but I couldn't imagine living like that my entire life.

I know not all office experiences are like mine, but that doesn't change the simple fact that at times I wish I could just white-out those years of my life. Then again, without the winter of my discontent, I would not be the person I am today. Changing careers was the best thing this girl could have ever done. Sure my job isn't easy, but then again if life were easy it would be boring, not to mention a unfulfilling, French fry-filled experience.
Wednesday, January 10, 2007

You're Never Fully Dressed Without A Smile Uniform

They say there's something about a man in uniform. He exudes power, gives off an air of confidence, and he does all of this while also managing to come across as very sexy. Almost the same can be said of a girl in uniform. Take a Catholic schoolgirl uniform for instance. In fact, it would probably be said by the men wearing the uniforms, but I digress.

Uniforms make the opposite sex go crazy because they are break from the norm. There's also something about being all dressed up that many people equate with being all bottled up like a genie, waiting to be released. If Poison videos taught us nothing else, we learned that deep inside that Catholic schoolgirl is always a wild child, dying to break out into a pole dance.

But school administrators everywhere don't see it this way. They see uniforms for all the good things they symbolize like sameness, structure and stability. If everyone wears the same thing to school, gone is the underlying competition to wear the latest name brands to keep up with your friends. This puts less pressure on parents to keep up, and less pressure on administrators to police potentially bare mid riffs. (thanks for the catch, Charlie!)

So schools across the country that are not of the Catholic variety are beginning to adopt a school uniform policy. At first this started at the high school and middle school level, but now it's beginning to trickle down to elementary schools, too. This is being done at such a young age to to eliminate status and keep them typical "kids" instead of mini runway models, for as long as possible. This year a survey was sent home to parents about this very issue. The parents were asked how they would feel if our school implemented school uniforms. Positive feedback of over 90% was necessary in order to seriously explore implementation.

The results, given what you're thinking up to now, may or may not surprise you. The majority of the parents whole heartedly agreed with the idea of purchasing school uniforms.

Since I work in a high poverty area, I believe this was a major factor. No longer would things like a cool new pair of Heelies be a rite of passage. In its place would be a uniform given to the child to wear on a regular basis. But one of the problems becomes the way the question was posed. Nowhere does it make it clear whether or not the uniforms are being provided to the kids versus the uniforms being purchased by the families and that, my friends, is a very important distinction.

Yes, in the long run, many parents could save money by purchasing a few school shirts and maybe even slacks, but when you're living paycheck to paycheck, it doesn't always work out that way. There is also the factor that the less clothes you have, the more often you have to launder those clothes, another ongoing issue for many of the students in our school.

Then there's the factor of whether or not the uniform itself really changes the child. After all, if you ever went to Catholic school, or knew someone who did, it's not like they didn't have kids cutting school or smoking in the bathroom. A sheep is still a sheep people, even while wearing wolves clothing.

There are a few schools in our district that has already adopted a school uniform. However while it is now an option for many, it is not a necessity. So then you have a mixed bag of kids, some showing up in a complete uniform, some showing up in a half assed school uniform and others still showing up in Scarfaced t-shirts. Suddenly something that was supposed to promote sameness only manages to separate the "darks" from the "whites" in the big spin cycle we call life even more than before.

Growing up, I went to a school where what you wore was more important than who you were. It was all about the number of Champion sweatshirts, Umbro shorts and Z.Cavarricci pants you had hanging in your closet. The more knowledge you had about fashion, the better chances you had to have friends. The school system, in my opinion, fed into this by including full length mirrors in our hallways in high school. Nothing stated your reputation better than your own reflection.

But even if all of the status was removed, I think children would somehow manage to find another way to rank each other. Instead of Heelies, it might be hair length. In place of long sleeved t-shirts, it would be lip gloss. This comparing and contrasting is human nature and I'm afraid, an inevitable part of the awkward process of growing up. We all went through it, shirts, skins or otherwise. You can take the girl out of the low rise jeans, but you'll never stop the guy from lusting after that girl. It's just built into our real genes biologically.

No pair of blue jeans can change that.
Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Tell It To Me Tuesday "Do I Amuse You?"

Many moons ago, two of my blog friends, Nat and Lyndon, tackled a topic like this on their blogs. Finally I have gotten around to asking this question here.

Today's TITMT is...

What, in your opinion, are the best satire songs?

Just to clarify, the songs need not be spoofs or remakes and/or they can be tongue in cheek or sarcastic. Really anything that has made you chuckle over the years for whatever reason, will probably suffice.

If you are participating on your blog, the rules are simple:

1. Answer this question ON YOUR BLOG and THEN link back to it via the box below.
2. Leave a comment letting me know you played along.
3. If you are interested in adding the box to your site, please visit Mister Linky.
4. If you have any questions or you're confused just ASK!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Write Back Weekend "Promises, Promises"

As I said when I originally posted this week's TITMT question, I was doing so with hesitation. After all, rehashing resolutions unfulfilled can be downright depressing. This, I believe, is precisely why many of you didn't participate. Then again, knowing that there are personal goals you want to accomplish and talking about how you suck at accomplishing them all at once are two very different things.

On Write Jerry's New Year's blog post I mentioned that I don't really buy into the resolution thing all that much either. The whole "January 1st" thing is a bit heavy handed if you ask me. I say if you want to change something, you'll change it. No excuses, no expectations. No date on the calendar can "change" that.

Then again there's something to be said about the promise of new beginnings. Every so often it's good to set and reassess personal goals for yourself. If you look at it that way, having a long list of things to accomplish can suddenly turn into something reassuring. The more you have yet to do, the more jazzed you are about living long enough to do them. Once the list of things you've accomplished becomes longer than what you still want to do, you might feel a sense of fulfillment, but then again, you might feel overwhelmed at where to go next. It's in the spaces in between that slackers everywhere can rejoice in their periods of procrastination.

Tackling my six in '06 list was easy. All I did was swipe what I said from last year's post, only I added notes about how well (or not well as the case may be) I did at achieving my goals.

Six Things I Wanted to Accomplish in '06

1. Get paid for writing something, somehow, someway. Blogging is fun y'all but money is even funner.

This remains "the dream". The impossible dream. I have a confession to make. While I'm proud of all that AOGB has become, I still feel that I can't live up to my own expectations. I want to take my writing to the next level, but year after year I remain clueless as to how to achieve that. If I am being technical, I did achieve this this year as someone was kind enough to contact me about sponsoring my blog in '07. So thank you George. In some small way, you've helped move this dream towards a reality.

2. Be more positive. Oh who am I kidding? I'll never be able to do that.

Again, this is something I continue to work on everyday. But I'm positive I can do it if I put my mind to it. See, I'm doing it already.

3. Read more books that inspire movies than see movies that inspire books.

Ok, now this one is totally not my fault. I want to read more books, but I just don't have the time I need to find the books to read or to read the books I find. But this is definitely not one of those goals that I just put on there because it's something I think I should do. It's a goal I really do strive to achieve, I just have a better chance at achieving it during the summer when I have a lot more free time and much less of a change at falling asleep while trying to read.

4. Try not to be so sensitive about what others think about me. I think that's a good one. What do you think?

Jewel once wrote a song called I'm Sensitive and the lyric went, I'm Sensitive and I'd like to stay that way. Well I'm with Jewel, except for the like to stay that way part. I hate when things get to me and other people know it. It's a form of weakness that I work hard to protect. If I wouldn't want to eliminate my sensitivity all together though. For me, sensitivity shows you're passionate, too.

5. Travel to somewhere exotic...even if it's the international section of the supermarket.

Well I do eat lots of exotic foods, does this count? Other than that, the only place I traveled this year was to Florida but hey, at least I traveled. I'm definitely making progress!

6. Ride on a unicorn. What? I had to put something truly unattainable on there. It offsets the other five nicely, making them look much more feasible, no?

Ok, so I have a hard time being serious sometimes, ok? Sue me.

Seven Things I Want to Accomplish In '07

1. Get paid for writing something, somehow, someway.

I continue to keep this goal at the top of my priorities list. It's not something I'm giving up on, but it is also a great source of frustration. Then again anything worth getting wasn't easy, right?

2. Work out more with weights.

Lucky for me I don't have a problem with willpower or self-discipline. If I say I'm going to do something, the chances are great that I am going to do it. But I also like to do something that yields definite results. I exercise on a regular basis and I'm not overweight, but I'm not nearly as regular about incorporating weights into my routine. The reasons are simple and obvious. One, weights are HEAVY. The other is that while I do work out with weights, and I have done so pretty consistently in the past, I never can achieve the tone the weights are supposed to help me achieve. So something frustrating coupled with lukewarm results makes me very reluctant to practice till I make it perfect. I'm sure there's something I'm doing wrong, unless of course I've got some weird and rare genetic disorder that prevents me from toning indefinitely.

3. Travel to someplace new.

Notice I took out the exotic part. This way if I travel anywhere at all, I covered this one. I do want to travel more. There is just so much to see in this world that I hate the idea that I'm putting seeing things off unnecessarily. If not now, when?

4. Take more pictures.

See how I'm thinking ahead here? I figure if I could somehow manage to travel more,t the taking pictures thing would take care of itself. Part of the reason, after all, I don't take pictures a lot is because I don't do a lot of things that warrant taking pictures of. I figure traveling though, could change all of that.

5. Work on being more patient with my students.

While I do feel I've accomplished a lot teaching wise in a short period of time, there is always room for improvement. One area I would love to work on is becoming more patient with my students. It's so easy to lose it when you have twenty-one kids attacking you all at once. It's also easy to lose it when some children make the same mistakes over and over with seemingly no remorse or regret. Of course I try to keep into perspective they are just kids but it's hard sometimes. I have to admit that. Not to mention the fact that getting stressed out over them can't be good for my health, either.

6. Work on living in the moment.

Speaking of stress, I've always been a worrier. I worry so much I worry that I worry too much. I worry even when I'm not aware I'm worrying. I say this because I wear a mouth guard while I sleep, to keep me from clenching. Why am I clenching? Because I'm worrying, about something, anything. I know in theory that worrying about things that haven't happened yet serve no good purpose. Now if only I could send this message to the rest of my brain.

7. Make a conscious effort to write '07 on everything sooner rather than later.

Every list I decided needs at least one silly and easy to achieve resolution. Besides writing the new year down is a lot harder to remember to do than most of us really care to admit. It could easily be '06 until way into May if I let that happen. But that would mean I was technically living in the past, and I wouldn't want to do that. As one of my favorite quotes once said, "The past is like a foreign country. They do things differently there."
Friday, January 05, 2007

Could It Be It Was All So Simple Then

My whole life, I've always prided myself on being a bit of a pop culture aficionado. But just like anything else one is good at, I tend to specialize. You see, there are doctors and there are doctors. After all, you wouldn't want your foot doctor performing your open heart surgery, right?

So when I say I love pop culture I'm usually referring to specifics such as decades like the eighties or nineties. I also tend to sometimes go back a few years before my time to get my pop culture fix. Some years ago I was most definitely working on my PHD in all things Brat Pack and I was only a few credits short before I switched majors to Dawson's Creek like Dissertations and Felicity Philosophy. It's always been this way, trading one pop culture obsession for another with seemingly no end in sight.

But then a few years ago something strange happened. It started becoming harder and harder to get excited about new obsessions. The music of today doesn't do it for me like it once did and the movies, often remakes of plots that have come before them, are reheated rehashes at best. You could say it's cause I'm getting older and maybe that is partly true. But I still stick by the fact that maybe REM got it right. Maybe it almost really is the end of the world as we know it.

This is why lately I have started watching old movies I have never seen before. I look at it like this. They are old, but they are still new to me. But this system is not without its flaws. It used to be that I wouldn't touch any movie prior to 1975 or so. Remember now, I was only born in 1977. I know, I know, there are a lot of "classics" from that era, but somehow classics tend to lose their luster over the years, unless of course you aged right along with them.

I'll give you an example. Over the summer I watched quite a few older movies such as Five Easy Pieces starring Jack Nicholson. I had wanted to see it for awhile because I love all things Jack. But when I ultimately watched it, I still felt letdown. Then I figured out what the problem was. I am watching an old movie starring Jack Nicholson with future Jack Nicholson in mind. It's like I'm Marty McFly who got to travel back in the time machine. I know all the great roles Jack Nicholson will go on to play and that's why for me, in comparison, Five Easy Pieces was just alright.

Sometimes the anticipation kills the mood, too. When I watched Taxi Driver not too long ago I was expecting to see a real eye opening experience. But then I think of all the times DeNiro has gone psycho in cinema and what became of little time "hooker" Jodie Foster and I'm not as jazzed up about it as before. I also think the fact that I watched it on television, where a lot of the supposed gore was edited out, didn't help matters any either. Lucky for me though they couldn't edit out Harvey Keitel's young hoodlum look which in itself, was worth the viewing.

Recently I traveled back even further and gave the movie Philadelphia Story a try. I know it is a classic and it stars an actor everyone loved, Jimmy Stewart. Even I loved Jimmy Stewart, but not because I saw most of his work, I didn't. This didn't stop me from loving him though. I can't explain why. But watching a movie like that now for the first time is next to impossible. It's not the fact that it's in black and white either. To me it's an annoying issue of the way they talked in older movies. As time went on, they slowly moved away from this but it's an interesting phenomena. Virtually all movies prior to 1965, and even some after that, are just completely different beasts than the films of today.

You know what I'm talking about, right? They said and did things with such over the top grandeur back then that it's hard to watch it in a present day mindset and take it seriously. What I can't figure out is if everyone talked like that back then or if they just talked it up because they thought that was the thing to do in cinema? They also had catch phrases and nicknames that have long since been retired sprinkled throughout their films. Things like "swell", "peachy keen" and "dame". No one says these things anymore unless of course they are saying them in jest. Obviously it's not the film's fault, but suddenly every movie ends up turning into a comedy. In fact, my boyfriend and I have a plan to go shopping one time and talk loudly in old time movie voices, just for the hell of it.

And then there are the grand, sweeping epic love stories of yesteryear. Movies like The Way We Were epitomized romance at the time. In fact, you could pair virtually anyone up with Robert Redford and it was cinematic gold. You knew they were classic love stories from the second they started because back then, every grand, sweeping epic love story had an equally grand, sweeping epic of a theme song. Sometimes, if they were lucky, they got a two for one and had the starlet sing the theme, too like was often the case with actresses Barbra Streisand, Judy Garland and Bette Midler. Which brings me to another old time movie gripe, how come they did all the credits at the beginning back then, not the end? I can't tell you how many times I've caught an old movie while flipping through the channels and thought it was going off when it was only beginning. Whoever made the decision to reverse this backwards way of starting movies made a very wise choice.

Regardless of cinematic inconsistencies, I still enjoy taking in an old movie every now and again. It reminds me that there was a time when movies used to tell a story, an original story, without heavy reliance on special effects. I wonder sometimes if people like me felt the same way when there was a transition from old time movie making to the types of movies of the eighties I grew to love. Maybe they thought that was garbage compared to what they grew up with, too.

I can't be certain, but I have a hunch Jimmy Stewart would have agreed with me.
Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Dude, I've Gotten A Dell

Although everyone has the best of intentions during the gift giving season, the best gifts often seem to be the ones you give yourself. A day at a spa. Dinner and a movie with that special someone. A new, expensive sweater you've had your eye on.

Well, I decided to indulge myself this year and buy a rather expensive gift. The fact that it happened right around the holidays was just coincidence. I wasn't going to ask anyone else to get it for me either. Although I was a lot more nice than I was naughty, I still know Santa's credit max's out at some point. Besides, that's one of the great things about not having a ton of finances but making a steady paycheck. What good is it if you can't splurge once and awhile?

So this year I bought myself a new laptop computer. My old laptop still works, although it's been around a few years now and definitely has its quirks. For one thing, it doesn't like certain websites, as some of you well know first hand. So sometimes I'd go visit a link and before I knew it, Mozilla would just crash.

The other ghetto thing about my previous laptop is the keyboard. The letters of many of the keys have chipped away or disappeared completely. I had been toying with trying to paint them back on, but never got around to it. Unfortunately I type loudly and with deliberation. Someone even yelled at me at the campus computer lab for this exact reason years ago. So chances are it eventually will happen to this laptop, too. The good news is though that I luckily know how to type correctly, so there's not much frustrating second guessing of letters.

But as frustrating as these things might seem to you, I had grown quite accustomed to them. I had no immediate plans to purchase a new laptop. After all, mine was working and it served me well, at least I thought it did. Sooner rather than later though my boyfriend talked me into it. It was mainly because he made me an offer I couldn't refuse. See he has the same exact laptop, a Dell Inspiron 6400. He got his where he gets most of his technological toys, from his job. Apparently his boss gets great deals on computers because he orders them in mass and receives a huge discount as a result. So my order got tagged onto his tab and I ended up getting a brand new laptop with all the bells and whistles for less money than I would have had I not known any better.

Of course I'm not saying I know any better, I'm just saying it's all about who you know. I can tell you it has 1.00 GB of RAM. Unfortunately I can't tell you much more. I'm savvy, but not that savvy. All I can tell you, from a user's perspective is all you need to know: things run faster, my screen is bigger, certain sites no longer crash and my computer no longer sounds like a heavy breather, about to make an obscene phone call.

In conclusion, I'd like to acknowledge the moving of my old computer to computer purgatory. We had a good run old chap, minus many arguments that resulted in control/alt/deletes that is. Only time well tell if this computer will treat me just as good as the old one. Sometimes bigger and better does indeed mean just that, while other times it's not the size of the Intel chip that matters, if you catch my drift.
Monday, January 01, 2007

Tell It To Me Tuesday "Promise of a New Day"

At first I wasn't going to do a New Years related TITMT. After all, the New Years thing is bound to be played out on every blog. But then I changed my mind and decided what the hell, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

So today's TITMT is New Years inspired, only with a twist...

Name six things you wanted to accomplish in '06 and seven things you want to accomplish in '07.

If you are participating on your blog, the rules are simple:

1. Answer this question ON YOUR BLOG and THEN link back to it via the box below.
2. Leave a comment letting me know you played along.
3. If you are interested in adding the box to your site, please visit Mister Linky.
4. If you have any questions or you're confused just ASK!



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