Monday, January 30, 2012

oh the weather outside is weather

Do you ever think about what a miracle it is that you're you? I don't mean to get all college freshman on you. There will be no, "what does it all mean?" nonsense or anything like that. But do you ever just sit and breathe and think about all of the little things that have to happen in order for you to be sitting there breathing? And that, quicker than anything, The Universe can just be like POOF YOU'RE DEAD, just because one of those little things maybe stopped happening?

I found a picture of my Grandma in my purse the other day. I forgot it was in there, slipped into a tiny pocket, but when I found it, I remembered putting it there. Joe and I were almost done packing, getting ready to move out of the condo Grandma had lived in before she went to the nursing home, when I found a tiny picture of her, hidden away in the basket we kept extra keys in. I didn't know where to put it, everything we owned was in boxes, and I didn't want to lose it or for it to get damaged, so I slipped it into the safest pocket in my purse, tucked away to be found later.

My parents and aunts and uncles are selling Grandma's condo now, of course. There's no one else to live in it. Joe and I were only staying there until we found a permanent place to live. The condo's been painted and they've installed new carpet and cleaned everything from top to bottom. I've avoided going to see it. I'm sure it looks very nice, but I'd rather remember it as Grandma's. Joe and I didn't really change much more than the artwork when we moved in (it being only a temporary arrangement), aside from adding a few pieces of our own furniture, and even though we lived there for over a year, it never felt like anything other than Grandma's. Like we were squatters and at any moment, Grandma was going to come home and ask what the hell we were doing in her house. Only she would have never done that. She'd have been glad to have the company, would have sat on the sofa next to me, maybe stolen the TV remote to turn on the Hallmark channel.

My mom sent me the condo listing today, which makes the fact that it's going to be gone all the more real. I'm surprised at how much it's bothering me. I was so ready to move out when we bought our house but liked knowing that the condo was still there, still looking just like it did when Grandma left, except for, you know, empty. And now it's for sale and it WILL sell, probably quite quickly, and it feels like the last tangible connection to Grandma will soon be gone. I didn't know it would make me this sad. Grief is so weird.

Dude, I am so depressing. I'm sorry. Let's talk about something else. Like the weather. It was freezing just last week, but it's supposed to be 60 tomorrow. This winter has been crazy confusing. I can't keep track of what month it is. I go outside and it feels like April, but the calendar tells me it's only January. Not that I'm complaining, it's just that my brain can only handle so much confusion. This weather might be the thing that sends me over the edge. Who knew that's all it would take?

Monday, January 16, 2012

I don’t need to know which Dracula I am to be a Dracula. Nerd.

On a fairly regular basis, I get Colin Meloy's song, Dracula's Daughter, stuck in my head on constant loop.

Which is kind of weird but not really THAT weird, especially compared to a lot of other things that get stuck in my brain. But, to Joe's chagrin, when I get a song stuck in my head, I must sing it constantly until it's no longer stuck in my head, which can take a long, long time. Worse still, I usually only get one or two lines of a particular song stuck in my head, which means I sing that one line over and over and over until someone's brain explodes (SPOILER ALERT: usually it's Joe's). One of the first fights we ever had was when I wouldn't stop singing, like, half a line from No You Girls by Franz Ferdinand. I mean, I sang this line every two minutes FOR HOURS, until he finally snapped and screamed, "OH MY GOD STOP SINGING STOP SINGING STOP SINGING FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY," and I got mad at him because WHATEVER, I was just EXPRESSING MYSELF LIKE MADONNA TOLD ME TO.

Anyway. So I was thinking about Dracula's Daughter the other day but instead of singing the song, I asked Joe if he knew that Dracula actually had five daughters. He didn't know that, can you believe it? And I don't think he believed me when I told him, so he asked their names, which are, as everyone knows: Corey (short for Cordelia), Annie, Felicia, Victoria, and Nicole. Duh. And, you guys, I still don't think he believed me because he kept asking me their names, like he was trying to trick me and see if I still remembered them. As if I could ever forget!

And then! He was asking me for a bunch of personal information, like how old they are and where they live and their last names, which is really none of his business, you know? I told him that Victoria, at 837 years, is the oldest but I wasn't sure how old the others were because I'm only friends with Victoria. He still didn't believe me. Like I couldn't be friends with a vampire, PUH-LEASE.

I finally had to tell him that Victoria and I met a long time ago on an X-Files AOL forum and he was all, "Oh, Victoria THE VAMPIRE likes The X-Files?" and I was like, "No, she LOVES The X-Files," and he was like, "What's her favorite episode?" and I said, "Pusher," and he was like, "Oh, what, is that YOUR favorite episode?" and I said, "NO, JERK," and he was all, "Well, then what's your favorite episode," and I was like, "Bad Blood, OBVIOUSLY," and he was like, "Oh, of course, it's about VAMPIRES," and I was like, "Also, Sheriff 'Hotpants' Luke Wilson."

(Sidebar: Remember when Luke Wilson used to be super mega hot? I MEAN, SWEET LORD. I always forget how much I love him until I'm watching something he's in. For serious, you guys. I owned Home Fries on VHS (WRITTEN BY X-FILES WRITER VINCE GILLIGAN) which...that doesn't even count as embarrassing, I love that movie. Anyway.)

And yet Joe wouldn't let it drop. "Oh, what are their names again?" he'd ask, and I'd sigh heavily and repeat them: Corey (short for Cordelia), Annie, Felicia, Victoria, and Nicole. UGH. He wouldn't let up about their last names, I guess since Dracula doesn't have a last name, or if he does, it's like...The Vampire, or something. I finally gave in and patiently explained that they don't have just one last name. They have to change it every twenty years or so. Then he wanted to know if I'd ever met Victoria (or her sisters) in real life and when I said no, he scoffed (!), as if I need to meet people in real life to be friends with them. I mean, EARTH TO JOE, like, have you ever heard of the INTERNET? And anyway, Victoria lives too far away to go visit all wily-nily. I couldn't be wily OR nily if I were ever to visit Dracula's daughters, they eat wily-nily FOR BREAKFAST. Joe's final question was where the sisters live, like it's not totally obvious that they have to move all the time once they've eaten too many people. Honestly. It's like he's never met a vampire before.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Love is a Mix Tape review: CBR4

I'm having a really hard time reviewing Love is a Mix Tape and I can't figure out why. Maybe it's because this book was as near to perfect as I could ever hope. Or maybe it's because, as anyone who is familiar with the late 90s tour de force Playing by Heart (all 10 of you) knows, talking about love is like dancing about architecture. I don't know if that's true or not, because Rob Sheffield talks about love just fine. Maybe he has a dance about The Sears Tower, too, and that's what his next book is about. Fingers crossed.

When I "met" my husband on, we spent a week emailing each other before meeting in person. We spent most of our first date talking about Buffy the Vampire Slayer, David Sedaris, and Rushmore. It's how we bonded, how we got to know each other and I think that's true of so many of our generation, especially now that the Internet, home to All Pop Culture Knowledge Ever, exists in such a way that we can access any aspect of pop culture at ANY TIME. Did you forget how Alex Mack got her superpowers? Wikipedia has the answer. Want to know how many companions The Doctor has had? Easy. Well, sort of. My point is (if I have to have one), it's all pop culture all the time in our house. My husband and I are still finding random bits of pop culture (POP POP) to bond over. It's why we recently purchased Hey, Dude and honestly, it's akin to a secret language at this point, our ability to converse in movie and TV quotes, quotes that have mated with other quotes and given birth to brand-new-baby quotes at this point, leading to inside jokes that even we don't really understand anymore and yet still never fail to make us laugh.

This was true of Rob and Renee in Love is a Mix Tape, only replace movies with music. I had no idea what Love is a Mix Tape was about when I picked it up, which is weird because someone bought it for me BECAUSE IT WAS ON MY WISHLIST. Most likely I'd heard good things about it (for good reason) and put it on my wishlist, or I was drunk online-window shopping again. The world may never know. Anyway, I didn't even know this was a memoir until I started reading it and thought, "Hey, the main character's name is Rob, just like the author's! Oh, and the cover says memoir on it." Duh-DOY.

Rob Sheffield is a writer for Rolling Stone and knows more about music than anyone in the world (I'm assuming). Love is a Mix Tape was published in 2007, which means, as usual, that I am super late to the party, a party that probably had the most epic mix tape imaginable. The story begins with Rob, freshly widowed, sitting in his apartment, listening to a mix tape, and missing the hell out of his wife, Renee. Objects that remind him of her litter the apartment. He doesn't actually say outright that she's died, not right away. In fact, at first, I thought he was reminiscing about an ex-girlfriend. And while it's true that I'm not very observant, I think the reveal is spectacularly done.

Each chapter of Rob's memoir begins with a mix tape that leads the way into the narrative. Stories throughout the book flash back to before Renee died, how the two met and came to be married, to her death and the days and years afterward. It's heartbreaking and funny and I was not only in awe that a person could make it through something so terrible with such wit and humor intact, but it made me wish I'd known Renee. One of her favorite movies, after all, was The Cutting Edge and I think I've already made it obvious that I have a soft spot for wonderawful 90s movies.

Having read this, I'm adding Talking to Girls About Duran Duran: One Man's Quest for True Love and a Cooler Haircut to my Wishlist immediately. Five stars all around!

Thursday, January 05, 2012

I hope I never win the lottery, THANKS A LOT ALANIS

I recently said these words out loud and I was not exaggerating or being ironic or anything but especially I wasn't being ironic because I grew up listening to Alanis Morissette and so I'll never know what ironic means. ANYWAY here is what I said: "My routine is broken...I'll have to start over." Joe was immediately all, "OK, Abed," which...whatever, TRUE.

I took this assessment at work a while ago called the Kolbe (you can take it, too, if you have $50 lying around that you'd rather spend on a test and not on booze or videogames or whatever it is you kids do nowadays) and it told me a lot of stuff I already know SUCH AS:
  • I like to make lists and spreadsheets
  • I'm super organized but also procrastinate like hell
  • I like to plan things
  • I like to come up with ideas and new projects but not follow through on them or do any of the work myself (uh-DUH, please see all of my deserted blog projects for evidence)
It wasn't all that enlightening but I do enjoy taking these kinds of tests. I've taken the Myers-Briggs like 25 times over the course of the years and I always get the same thing: INTJ. Here. I'll prove it. I'll take it right now. 

Nah, I didn't really take it. I thought about it, though. And then I watched Paul Rudd dancing gifs instead. It was way better. See?


In other news, last night I had a dream that Jeff Winger got mad at me because, while strolling around Greendale, I told him that I thought Timothy Olyphant was handsomer than him. Because my brain is a place where Jeff Winger The Fictional Character coexists with Timothy Olyphant The Actual Person and is jealous of him. Anyway, Jeff Winger spent the rest of the day alternating between making sad, puppy dog eyes at me and then glaring at me and shouting, "HE IS NOT HANDSOMER." I'm pretty proud of my brain for knowing that that's exactly how Jeff Winger would react. Also, apparently my brain is so sad about the Community hiatus that it's making up its own episodes of Community when I fall asleep and YOU GUYS I'M TOTALLY OK WITH THAT. My brain could be dreaming about anything. Killer pandas. Penguins who can talk. ROBERT DOWNEY JR. The other night I flew around Hogwarts. Not on a broom, but like Peter Pan, only I didn't need magic or fairy dust, which is a shame because if I was going to look for magic and fairy dust, I'd head straight to Hogwarts first. But no, my brain takes me to Greendale way more often than Hogwarts, which means that my brain thinks that Greendale is more magic than A SCHOOL FOR WITCHCRAFT AND WIZARDRY. Well played, brain. Well played.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

so far, I see no problem with shopping under the influence

You may have seen recently, like, all over the internet that a lot of people apparently shop online while intoxicated. I was at first flabbergasted (my gasted was flabbered, I dare say!) until I remembered the time in college I stumbled home from the bar and almost ordered the entire Time Life 60s Greatest Hits compilation. I had my credit card in hand, I did, before I realized I should probably hang up the phone.

This wasn't the first time I'd been tempted. I usually stumbled in from the bar around 4 in the morning and, if Charles in Charge wasn't on TV Land, I was forced to watch the only thing available...infomercials. Luckily, these were the dark days before the invention of the Snuggie or the PedEgg, so I was hardly ever tempted, but when I heard the tender crooning of The Temptations and those Beach Boys harmonizing all over the place, all I wanted was to own each and every CD in that Time Life collection.

It never occurred to me that I could jump on Napster or Kazaa or whatever we were using for piracy at the time, oh no, I needed that fancy box set. I'd already started clearing a space on one of my shelves so I knew I had room. I picked up the phone and, after several misdials (800 numbers are long, you guys!), I navigated my way through the robot-voiced menu and was finally speaking to a Time Life representative. She was so nice! And I was in luck, they had the compilation in stock! All I had to do was give her my credit card number! I dug through my purse, unearthing gum wrappers and receipts and a half-eaten granola bar. But I finally found it. It was at that point that I asked how much it all cost.

"Just four easy payments of $59.99!" my friend replied. I hung up immediately, narrowly avoiding overdrawing my bank account.

And, hell, dialing a phone and operating the automated menu required a lot more concentration than clicking a few buttons on Amazon, especially if your username, password, address, and credit card information are already saved in there. In fact, it's almost too easy to buy things nowadays, no matter where you are, whether it's from your computer, smartphone, iPad, or whatever other crazy spacetime device they come out with next, and so I'm glad my heavy drinking days seem to (mostly) be behind me. I say mostly because I'm an adult, dammit, and I'll make bad decisions if I want to.

For instance, this past New Year's Eve, I had a few too many cocktails and allowed, NO, ENCOURAGED Joe to buy both Hey, Dude and The Secret World of Alex Mack from Amazon. I don't know how this happened. One moment, Joe was asking, "Did you know Hey, Dude is on DVD?" and the next thing I knew, I was screaming at him to, "BUY IT BUY IT JUST BUY IT ALREADY."

This is unlike me. I'm always the Scrooge in these situations. I can talk myself out of buying almost anything, whether it's something shiny that I want, like a fancy, new camera, or something I actually need, like, I don't know, new bras. To be fair, though, replacing all of your bras is probably more expensive than a lot of fancy cameras. It's painful to spend that much money on something most people are never even going to see, which is why I'm always wincing as I sign the receipt.

But for one brief, shining moment, at the tail end of 2011, I was one of these people. Those lucky, beautiful people, who, the morning after a heavy night of partying, aren't haunted by the memory of drunk texts or one night stands, but piles and piles of brown boxes stacked high on their porches.

Monday, January 02, 2012