Saturday, December 18, 2010

Skool Boy Jim, Yeltsin, and Unicron

Skool Boy Jim, Yeltsin, and Unicron at Sam Bond’s Garage; December 17th, 2010

Unfortunately, like many acts at Sam Bond’s Garage, Skool Boy Jim’s sound check took about an hour.  Fortunately, when he was done, he rocked his socks off!  Literally; the man played with no shoes.  He also played guitar, drums, harmonica, and sang.  Also fortunate was my discovery of Oakshire’s Hibernator, which I had a couple of…and which I am completely devastated to discover is only a single batch brew and am now committed to consuming my body weight in Hibernator as frequently as possible until it runs out.  This one man band was accompanied by a percussionist who wore a washboard that could only be described as medieval war armor.  And as he played upon his chest and swayed his body back and forth in a rhythmical trance, I realized that more instruments should be played upon one’s own body.  Jim strategically and magically placed multi-colored Christmas lights in his kick drum which mirrored the feel good sounds this guy was producing, which also may have led to a complete shit show of a few drunk dancers for most of his set but I’m going to hand over that win to Meth.  Skool Boy Jim exudes the warmth of southern soul music and the pop of northeast bluegrass and jazz, and featured some oldies but goodies that most audiences can appreciate.  Listening to Jim’s cover of “Death Don’ have no Mercy” by Reverend Gary Davis, I pictured myself in a speakeasy somewhere drinking illegal alcohol and doing the Charleston.  This cover would also be well suited for the credits reel at the end of a Trueblood episode.

Up next was Yeltsin who had a two minute sound check which knocked my socks off and they were up and running in no time.  Tonight proved to be one of Yeltsin’s successful performances, showcasing their rock/ska energy and years of playing together with a seamless set.  The trio was completely in sync, though I was disappointed that the sound guy was not paying attention to the lack of vocals coming from both Dana and Chuck, which, when heard, carries a playful and harmonic vibe throughout each song.  Jake’s vocals were loud and clear and slightly Julian Casablancas, and his custom Guild spoke heavenly words during “Oceanic Nights.”  He lets his guitar strings hang out and his ever increasing talent gives him the right to do so.  On a different note, seeing Yeltsin always makes me feel that if a Yeltsin were a creature instead of a Russian President, it would be Jake and it would be directly related to the teddy bear creatures featured on Grateful Dead memorabilia and leaves me with a warm, fuzzy feeling that I want to give Jake a gigantic bear hug.  Also in the same species: Ewoks, Leprechauns, and the members of ZZ Top.

And then there was Unicron.  Seeing the band members wander around the venue I was actually very excited to see what they had to offer.  Their name is original and two members featured animal headdresses; one of a white unicorn and one of a bear with a unicorn horn.  Topping the image off, the lead singer/Jonah Hill wore Blues Brothers regalia and if it were up to just looks I’d be a fan, even though he also left his front tooth at home, and apparently so did his brother?  (Who was in the audience.)  But it’s not.  They started off the show with some Merry (Fucking) Christmas sentiments and the lead guitarist with the bear head broke into an electric version of Pachelbel’s “Cannon in D” Trans-Siberian Orchestra style.  I was impressed and elated (I walked down the aisle to this song) until the bassist and frontman started yelling something with the word Fuck in it over and over, and we all know my sentiments for bands that are only familiar with the F-bomb.  Mixing Christmas and my wedding day with “let’s fuck” and “fuck you” makes even my heathen soul uneasy.  I had finally decided that the unicorned bassist might actually be decent at screamo when the lead singer shouted “if they don’t like it they can suck my balls” and I politely declined the offer and went home.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Single Bucket List

I recently finished Chelsea Handler’s “My Horizontal Life” and am trying to read her other books but Amazon is really taking their time.  Her one night stand short stories really got me thinking how funny it would be for me and my college girlfriends to compile our own stories together.  Actually who am I kidding?  Just mine and my bff Rachael’s stories; our other friends had the audacity to be a little more conservative with their bad decisions.  Now that we’re old and married it would be nice to reminisce on a few bad nights and plenty of bad relationships to appreciate where we came from.  But I just couldn’t get to jotting down any tales…writer’s block, I guess?

Then I recently got an eye exam at the mall and was introduced to the world’s sexiest optometrist.  The entire appointment would have gone much different if I was the single version of me, but we just stuck to pleasantries, which got me as far as he is from Arkansas, married to a chick he met in optometry school, is 31, and now lives with her folks in Sweet Home.  Ok so that doesn’t sound super sexy; you’re just going to have to take my word on this one.  After all was said and done (he went out of his way to give me a Lasik vs. PRK demonstration which I secretly tried to convince myself was flirtation and not just his job duties) I started questioning what I would have done if I was single.  Confessed Arkansas accents have always been my fave?  Recited my telephone number when he asked me to read the third line on an eye chart?  Told him I had an extra room at my house if he was looking to rent closer to work?

Hot doctors have always been a dream of mine, but I never had the opportunity to proposition one when I was younger and meeting Dr. Beefcake (what his female coworkers nicknamed him) really put into perspective some of the things you miss out on when you get married at 24.  Now don’t take me wrong, I wouldn’t give up being married to my amazing husband for anything.  All I have to do is remind myself of all the douche bags I dated pre-Mitch, dated being a generous term, and I immediately reconsider any such regrets.  We might call this my “If I ever end up single again Bucket List.”

1.      Have a fling with a doctor
And no, not just an “I got my Ph. D. after five Bachelors and two Masters because I’m petrified of finding a real grown up job” doctor, but a legitimate “I showed up for my pap smear and today’s my lucky day” doctor.  And notice my utilization of the word “fling.”  I am not the marry a doctor type of girl because I have always been adamant about making my own money and not marrying into it, and by adamant I mean that’s how all my relationships have turned out so I have convinced myself it is my goal rather than my luck.  And this fling would have to be based on my own or close friend’s discovery, not a blind date set up with your coworker’s husband’s boss’s doctor-friend.  A quick wham-bam- office rendezvous followed up by a date or two at an extremely expensive restaurant, and then off to find another gynecologist, preferably a female, and that should do the trick.

2.      Sleep with your teacher
Again, notice my choice of word for “your.”  It doesn’t count if you sleep with any ‘ole teacher.  (Hell, my husband’s one and it does not have the same effect that my Single Bucket List is looking for.)  The fact that this person has control over the outcome of your grade or passing of a class is the real motivation here.  And I should really change this rule to “Sleep with your college professor” because let’s be honest, it really wouldn’t be cool to sleep with your tenth grade History teacher because he’d then be that guy that would bang a 15 year old and now we’ve crossed a serious line.  I know of one person from college and one person from high school (again, ew, Mary Kay Letourneau/my art teacher at RHS) who have accomplished this feat.  Both of them were male students, so I feel as if the women in my life, including myself, have really dropped the ball on this one.  I did once have a GTF that had an obvious vendetta against me which, by the end of the term, slightly unveiled itself as a crush, maybe.  But I’m not so sure that counts…

3.      Hook up with your friend’s dad
This is one I always awkwardly joked about growing up, sometime around the MILF era.  I coined the term DILF, and have since had some very bizarre encounters with Dad’s, though have never slept with one, thus the reason it’s now on my Single Bucket List.  In high school I joked about the attractiveness of my friend Jared’s dad on numerous occasions which unfortunately led to the torture of my friend Jared’s soul that girls would rather get with his dad than him which then led to his confession of being a 16 year old porn addict.  I realized I’d got myself in too deep and dropped the DILF comments for awhile.  During my next resurgence of DILF mania my previous college roommate also thought it would be a neat idea to hook up with her friend’s dad, but even more unfortunate was that her sights were set on my dad and I, again, had to lay DILF low for awhile.  I will also mention that this previous friend is a hooker and I will not let go of the fact that she is an awful Mormon hooker until the day that I die even though I am, in fact, over the whole thing.  The third installment of DILF took place around age 22 when my close friend Lindsay’s dad came into town for some sort of function and we all went out for drinks after.  And by we all let me illustrate a more accurate picture: my friend’s dad, about 10 college alcoholics, and multiple rounds of tequila shots.  Apparently I was either in a brown-out or too embarrassed to log the memory in my upstairs database, but I creepily and/or inappropriately asked my friend’s dad what kind of drink he liked and proceeded to buy him his drink of choice.  I was merely trying to make him feel more comfortable as he was in every father’s most petrifying situation: realizing how regularly drunk and crazy your daughter really is and how much money you actually are spending on her to go to college/purchase five Tic-Tacs 4 out of 7 nights a week.  My father reached this milestone my first week at U of O when I met him at a football tailgater.  He, unlike most fathers, relished in the realization that he wasn’t actually losing a daughter but instead gaining a drinking buddy.  We still pretty much have that same relationship.  When Lindsay told me of my strange actions we all had a good laugh and dreamed of DILFs again and what it would really be like to hook up with a dad.  The laughing stopped when Lindsay also told the story to her mother who did not so much enjoy it.  I think at that point my DILF days were over when I had to apologize to wonderful Linda Day for being a Slutty McSlut and propositioning her husband with Tanqueray martinis.

I know I should probably have a more respectable Bucket List, like see Mount Rushmore and go scuba diving, but that kind of Bucket List doesn’t really fit my personality.  I honestly hope that I will never have a chance to take a crack at my Single Bucket List and considering mine and my husband’s family’s track records, his Indonesian genes are going to carry him at least 20 years longer than my diabetic, anxious, hot-headed, Swedish-American mutt ancestry.  I have long lived a mantra of “No Regrets” and I don’t regret any circumstances that I may not have partook in.  I predictably landed myself in enough outrageous situations that my more respectable friends lived vicariously through.  My Single Bucket List will just have to sit up on the shelf with everyone else’s Bucket Lists as I am perfectly content with my myriad of embarrassing stories and joyous/boring married life.

And those of you that really know me know that “settling down” has not even brought me close to maturity.  Can we talk about flashing Portland on New Years or my last mushroom trip?  So do not fret; there is more Brenda yet to come.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Tom Heinl, Hot Drama, and The Underlings

Tom Heinl, Hot Drama, and The Underlings at Sam Bond’s Garage; December 3, 2010

Tom Heinl really is funnier the second time around.  If I wasn’t laughing the first time I saw him perform it’s because I didn’t want to miss a single word.  The best part of Heinl’s gig is that the audience giggles like schoolchildren in anticipation of their next favorite line, and then roars with laughter because his eye expressions and slight bodily descriptions pull the entire thing off seamlessly, again.  He has The Bob and Tom Show written all over him, and with ditties like “Glenwood Folk Can Survive” he will always be a hit with both Eugene and Springfield fan bases.  Best suited for audiences who don’t take their musical tastes too seriously and who know clever comedy when they hear it.

Hot Drama was next, and so was my first martini.  I opened my mind to appreciate the gender role reversals being played out – primarily trying to appreciate “Sassy’s” embracement of talking about sex onstage (usually more accepted public practices of men.)  But when she screamoed FUCK throughout most songs and in between all of them, the sexual enlightenment appeal began to wear off.  I finished my martini with a giant gulp when the Hot Drama groupies started shouting the only word the band seems to be familiar with into an extra mic.  This open invitation for sex with Hot Drama would have been liberating when I was 15 and it still wasn’t ok to talk about sex in front of large groups of people, only because not everyone was having sex yet.  When groupie “Joe” started banging on a cowbell, I got a fever.  The only prescription was more martinis.  Between shouts of “Con-dams” and “Who wants to fuck?” I noticed that the intros to most of Hot Drama’s songs I had heard before.  That’s because they were the intros to Blur’s “Song 2,” The Killer’s “Believe Me Natalie,” and Eugene band Black Delaney’s “Ordinary Men.”  I felt like I was on a bad trip and had boarded the wrong train – a train headed towards an S&M orgy at the Hot Drama after party.  In the end this was the wrong scene for Hot Drama, which was made clear when the only round of applause they received was after they desperately handcuffed Heinl onstage.  I may have been more “in the mood” at a roller derby venue or Castle Megastore.

The Underlings lucked out playing third on the bill.  The best marketing tactic for a band like this is to follow a horny girl band that inevitably made most men soft when raspily screaming/asking the crowd if they wanted to have sex tonight.  The Underling’s harmonized “whoa ohs” and predictable lyrics were a breath of fresh air, and reminded me that raunchy tongue-in-cheek band humor is best suited for groups like this with a Sam Bond’s audience.  Hot Drama is like Lisa Lampanelli: wonderfully hilarious in small doses; terrifying at night.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Debbie Downer’s Guide to Comedy, v. 1.0

There have only been a handful of times in my life in which I have been funny.  My best friend Rachael can specifically identify three of those times.  The third was about nine months ago when I somehow laughed her to tears in a taxicab on the way to a Portland nightclub.  I was going on about Izzy’s Buffet Restaurant or something as equally unfunny; it’s slightly unfortunate to think that of the 4 ½ years I’ve known her I’m only up to three laugh out loud moments.  My current average is Funny < once per year.  A ratio like that might launch me into some kind of depressing Hall of Fame.  (If you’re interested in knowing what the other two occasions were, she might dig out her secret public journal she keeps on me for them.  A person’s got to have some unfunny proof to reach my level of achievement.)

So last night as I lay awake in bed pondering how many employees/patients would call out over the ¼” of snow that lay on the ground, I thought that I might share my gift with others who are less fortunate than I in the funny department.  Though I can kill a mood in 2.3 seconds flat and my comedic timing is as accurate as the jury that didn’t convict O.J., I know funny when I see/hear it!  So this is my “Debbie Downer’s Guide to Comedy, v. 1.0” to share with the world a few things that I undoubtedly know to be funny – no matter who you are.  (Except Bristol Palin; she doesn’t know funny.  I don’t know why I said that; I just really wanted to use a Bristol drop.)

Joke Formula #1:  “Are you there blank?  It’s me, blank.”
This has landed me a successful ratio of laughs, typically 3/5 people.  60% of the time it works every time, by which I mean that after the first thirty seconds it turns into 4 out of 5 people laughing, maybe from peer pressure and maybe because my humor is so complex it takes extra brain cells to compute.
Examples:  Are you there Vodka?  It’s me, Chelsea. Are you there Heisman?  It’s me, Reggie.  Are you there God?  It’s me, Derek Zoolander.
This joke is especially funny for women who were tricked into reading “Are You There God?  It’s Me, Margaret” because naturally when you bleed from your cooter for the first time God is the best place to seek advice.  He definitely knows what you’re going through.  To turn this into a usable equation this joke consists of a prayer into the universe to an inanimate object or unobtainable figure to whom a human figure or recognizable character seeks advice or guidance from.  The essential reasons that this joke is funny is because it uses religion (always laughable) and it utilizes the listener’s background knowledge of the characters and their situations thus decreasing the joke’s telling time, thus decreasing my chance to ruin it.

4:00 A.M. delirium side note:  I identify with what Jack Black said in “Orange County:”  “I got so many ideas burnin’ through my skull.”  I want to get that tattooed on my wrist like Lindsay Lohan has “Breathe” on her right wrist and “Ayo for Yayo” on her left.  They’re our mantras and, like Lindsay, I want to be reminded of mine every day, though my good intentions may be inhibited when it takes a magnifying glass to read mine.  (Sorry for this tangent; I wanted to do a Lindsay drop too.)

Joke Formula #2:  Talking with your front-butt is the new talking with your butt.  Saying front-butt is the new black.
I was just recently introduced to this concept, fell in love with it, and can’t wait to use it though I’m really having some trouble deciding when and where most appropriate to unveil it.  I guess this is as good a platform as any.  Remember when Jim Carrey turns around and bends over in “Ace Ventura:  Pet Detective” and spreads and compresses his nether-cheeks as he speaks?  “I’d like to ass you a few questions” I believe is the quote.  Recently my coworker Christie graciously shared with me a story her husband brought home from work.  Luckily his work is the Eugene jail and luckily he witnessed a new female inmate respond to an officer by mimicking Carrey’s ‘90’s genius and putting her own 2010 female twist on it.  Unluckily I can’t remember what she said as she attempted to spread and compress her beaver-lips through her acid wash jeans – though I doubt any of you are very disappointed.  (It might be best that I don’t remember, mostly since this inmate was not clinically ill, which leads me to believe I may get to interact with said individual if my personal “issues” don’t go so well in the near future.  ‘Nuff said.)
Examples:  “Twat did you say?  I cunt hear you.”  “I’m such a loyal Duck fan I even have my beaver yelling “O.” 
This joke is especially funny for women because it reminds us of our women’s movement predecessors and what it took for them to open the doors we have now.  One of those doors is grabbing your Mini Me and telling The Man your famous last words, hopefully in exchange for your Miranda Rights.

Joke Formula #3:  Wardrobe Malfunctions
The first time I ever made my mother laugh due to one of my inappropriate underage drinking and getting naked in public stories was during the summer after my sophomore year of college.  Anytime you falsely portray yourself as a 21 year old when you are not is an open invitation for Karma to deal you her best.  I was at a local bar called The Downtown Lounge, a classy cover name, but better known by its real name: Diablo’s.  Diablo and I, I mean my ex and I were off to another fun-filled night of “make each other jealous” when I decided it would be a fabulous idea to exercise my ID-free and open bar capabilities.  Douche Bag was busy playing “Wingman” (a.k.a. steal your girlfriend) in front of me and I was tired of hearing his best friend Greg sing to cool jams on the Karaoke machine and pretending not to notice the massive swoops on his chick.
(This isn’t actually a joke rather you must be funny enough to have Wardrobe Malfunction happen to you.  And by funny I mean unfortunate.)
Here’s the play-by-play breakdown:  flash back to 2005 when gauchos were the shit.  I thought I was a hotty totty with electric pink Bebe stilettos that I found at the Nordstrom Rack and was flirting just slightly enough with the elderly bartender that he wouldn’t ask for my driver’s license.  When I felt secure enough that he would continue serving me Vodka Crans I attempted to saunter back over to Douche Bag and estimate the damage that had taken place while I was away.  Apparently I am not an ambi-turner and my dismount to the left resulted in my heel hooking my parachute-width pant leg and proceeded to pull them to the floor.  There was no chance that Douche Bag was paying any attention to me, and as I felt fresh cool air on my g-stringed ass, I immediately realized that 1. No one would be rushing to my aid, and 2. The 40-something bartender I just tried to hypnotize would need no more convincing.  As several male patrons felt no shame in not adverting their eyes, I sheepishly (and I don’t believe I’ve ever been described as sheepish) reached down to the floor to pull up my elastic free excuse for pants.
Examples:  losing a bikini pad in the “Jersey Shore” hot tub.
This “joke” is especially funny for women because Wardrobe Malfunction exists frequently in our nightmares and at least once in real life.  The cruel truth is that I have never witnessed Wardrobe Malfunction happen to anyone else, though I may rot in an even deeper region of hell if I were to laugh out loud upon seeing this – Diablo himself would probably take away my oft-fantasized hand basket ride down.

We all can’t be funny.  For every Kim and Kourtney Kardashian, there’s got to be the ugly comic relief sister Khloe.  Fortunately for me I’m not specifically either, and fall into some sort of limbo category that requires Microsoft Word and an overuse of the backspace button to make my clever and witty self come to life.  So for all you Debbie Downers like me out there, have no fear.  You, too, could be the next Lucille Ball, Lisa Lampanelli, or Tina Fey.  Remember, this is v. 1.0 which means that there is more comedic gold to come.  I may be as funny as “Burlesque’s” chances at an Oscar but like Cher and Christina, you can’t blame me for trying.  (I just HAD to end this with a drag queen drop!)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

What’s My Name, Say My Name, My Name is…What?

Mitch:  “Can a chorus really consist of ‘Oh na na, what’s my name?’”
Me:  “Definitely, if it’s Rihanna.”

Guess who’s singing “Oh na na” right now?  And that’s how they do it to you!  At first listen one can rationally decipher a Top-40 hit as a 90 second computer formula disguising itself as creative popular music production.  But before you know it you’re in the kitchen putting a chicken pot pie in the oven and wiggling your bum to “Hey boy, I really wanna see if you…”  Best of all, I wasn’t the one who had pot pie for dinner tonight.

Looking over the lyrics to “What’s My Name” “by” “Rihanna” I realized how simplistic we consumers really must be.  And I do apologize for all my quotation marks, but I’m trying to be as accurate as possible.  At least her stage name stems from her given name, so I could take away one of the q-marks to be a little more fair.  I wonder if I’ll live to see the day when “Rihanna writes her own song; she currently has writer’s block after the first line of her lead-in, it goes like this:  “Oh na na, what’s my name?”
Rihanna:  “Damn…what is my name?”

OK so that was a bit of a tangent; hope I didn’t lose you all.  Back to my original thought of how easy it is to make a #1 chart topper, I reviewed the rest of Rihanna’s “What’s My Name” lyrics.  Clearly Drake’s portion of the song is the most complicated, and coming in a close second (to “say my name, say my name, wear it out”) is “’Cause you just my type, oh na na na na” which is A. grammatically correct, and B. did they really write this song in 30 minutes, and couldn’t take an extra minute to come up with real words instead of “oh na na na na”?  Here, I’ll do it for them right now and I’ll even give them three examples to choose from:
1.      And I might like ya
2.      And I wont bite ya
3.      And I break up with wife-beaters but make music videos with more famous ones ‘bout a year down the road, yeah

For all you hata’s out there thinking “But B loves this music!” well you’re right, I do.  But I’m growing up folks, and I just can’t turn a blind ear anymore when I hear a really pathetic excuse for a jam.  There’s lots of hip-hop out there worth my booty shakin’ time.  And if I have to be the sole defender of this genre of music in my household I’m going to need some better material than “What’s My Name.”  Yes, Rihanna has that cool Barbadian accent, but it’s almost as tiring as Charlize Theron correcting every American’s pronunciation of her name.  

Or maybe I’m on the wrong track here.  Why waste my time trying to argue the literary emptiness of Rihanna songs when I could be heading over to Def Jam Records right now with 8 trillion hit singles?!  Look out LA Reid; I’ll have Pink’s new album ready by the time I hop off my 3 hour flight to NYC.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Return of the Token Black Guy

Believe it or not, but here is a term that, until recently, I had never heard of: Token Black Guy.  I’ll give you a moment to catch your breath.  You good?  Ok, moving on.  I first was introduced to this idea a couple years ago when my roommates and I were playing South Park DJ.  (And yes, SP-DJ is where an entire night is consumed playing your favorite episodes from Seasons 1-10; think TRL.)  Anyway, I finally asked my roommates the question I’d been avoiding for years: “Why is Token named Token?”  Remember kids, if you ever ask a question that you feel you should probably know the answer to, don’t ever follow that question with your hypothesis; just receive an answer.  But before my peers could speak I also stated: “Is it because Black people stereotypically like to smoke pot?”  Unfortunately, the answer was No; his name is not Tokin’.

It was thus explained to me that Token stood for ‘Token Black Guy.’  Meaning, in circles of friends, television sitcoms, work environments, etc., there’s always ‘one African American person’ just to make things more…equal/P.C./diverse.  I was faintly aware of this concept but wasn’t aware that there was slang terminology.  After my embarrassment subsided I thought to myself, “Self, it’s not so bad that you didn’t know.”  Cute little naïve me wasn’t thinking about race, and that’s not something to be embarrassed of.  But recently I was watching a commercial and noticed: a Token Black Guy!  And then again, a couple weeks later, the same thing in another commercial.  What is going on here?  It’s 2010 and the Token Black Guy is making a comeback?!

My education has been sprinkled with studies of race representation in social mediums.  When I was much younger I thought “why do we have to make a point of representing different races?  All people are different sizes, shapes, and colors.”  Again, cute little naïve me doesn’t yet realize the world isn’t like Sesame Street and race cannot be compared to different alien species on PBS shows.  I watched as the 90’s and early 2000’s were littered with even numbered people.  A commercial for JCPenney’s showcased a white male, a white female, a Hispanic male, an Asian female, and an African American male.  That’s how it was; every magazine ad, every circle of friends in a teen flick, and all the ridiculously staged photos in your school text books.  As long as there was one person of a minority race there were no problems, and especially no law suits…right?

As I mulled over my recent observations, I decided to take a closer look at commercials of 2010.  How were races represented?  Noticeably different!  Many commercials feature an African American family with no Caucasians to be found.  Other commercials featured many different races, but again, no Caucasians.  Many people have hypothesized, from Right-wing bastards like Rush Limbaugh to my extremely liberal lesbian Journalism professor, that the white male is the new minority.  And by minority I don’t mean smallest population size but least represented.  I would be interested in debating more about this argument but I just remembered what triggered the Token Black Guy idea in the first place.

I was watching a Taco Bell commercial that I’d seen 100 times when it happened.  You’ve probably seen it: a Caucasian dude steps into a Taco Bell and the Caucasian cashier tells him about their new $2 meal deal combo.  The guy says “I buy a burrito and a drink, and you throw in the chips for free?”  The cashier says to him “Buy the drink and chips and I’ll throw in the burrito for free.”  Another Caucasian cashier walks up and gives another version of the first two options.  Finally the commercial is completed by an African American Taco Bell kitchen worker who walks up to the group, looks around the room as if he’s up to no good, and says “Give me two dollars and it’s all for free.”  Why is the one Black person the one who sounds like he’s trying to swindle a deal?  I’m not sure if this was intended to be the humorous portion of the commercial, but I found it offensive. 

And unfortunately I found it offensive because, though I am no racist, I’m definitely a stereotypist.  And not in the way that I personally expect outcomes from people due to their stereotypes, but that I am aware of most stereotypes, and when certain people fit them I notice.  It’s as stereotypical for an African American to be trying to make a quick, illegal buck as it is for an African American to be named after marijuana jargon.  But on the other hand, let’s flashback to 2005: all my male friends were white and the sketchiest guys you could ever encounter.  They were the ultimate swindlers, more than any African American I have ever met.  But it’s still not a Caucasian stereotype.  It will be a lifelong effort of mine to undo the knowledge of stereotypes that have been ingrained in me from my parents and grandparents, peers, and social media.  Had I not been aware of these stereotypes, the Taco Bell commercial may have never got me thinking.

So what’s the biggest problem here?  The fact that it’s ok for television to digress back to old, acceptable standards of African American representation or the fact that I still haven’t forgotten about stereotypes?  The creators of South Park were disgustingly en pointe when they created Token as the only non-Caucasian student at South Park Elementary.  In rural Colorado there really isn’t any race diversity.  Hell, the only race diversity we have in “über liberal and aware” Eugene is because of University of Oregon athletics.  And even Eugene attempted to make a statement to local business owners during the Olympic Trials on how to deal with a large increase of African American customers.  Events like that disgust me.

So I guess for the time being all I can do is continue to better myself by making an effort to eliminate stereotypes in my own mind, set an example for those I encounter that stereotyping and racism is obviously and grossly unacceptable, and to educate my future children to be open minded to all types of people and personality traits.  I’ll also continue to lose sleep at night over Arizona State cops and their “right” to racially profile citizens in attempt to keep our country safe…

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Do Not’s Amongst the I Do’s

I recently read (2 seconds ago) a half-assed “article” about 5 things you should never wear to a wedding. As a frequent wedding attendee and married lass myself, I couldn’t believe this lack-luster “article” was even listed as’s top 5 reads for today. Let alone its brief commentary included “words” like Enuf, Cmon, and Chillin; dead giveaways that I was reading something well thought-out and researched. So what does I do, yo? I think to myself, “Self, U can do better!”

So here is my Top 10 list of things you should not Do at an I Do occasion:

Rule #10: Do not write inappropriate shit in the guest book

Unless, of course, it’s that kind of wedding. If the groom is wearing denim on any part of his body, feel free to jot down sentiments like “Never thought you’d take him back, Love Sally.” On our guestbook/picture frame mats we have classy crap like “Oh poop. What to say.” And “Bad ass pic. Congrats.” No joke; the grown adults we call friends felt this to be appropriate and from the heart. Sure, one of our pictures for the guest book was my husband and I posing with a giant margarita and another was Halloween ’08 as Deputy Johnson and Lieutenant Dangle (aka Mitch and I competing for “Most Slutty Costume”) but that is no reason for our one sacred day together to be tainted by this verbal vomit. Guestbooks are permanent and some people would like to share them with their children one day.

Rule #9: Do not not bring a gift, you Chince

There is nothing worse than inviting someone to your wedding, opening up all your cards and presents, and realizing that the Jones’ did not give you anything. Most people do spend a good chunk of change on the Happiest Day of their Life, and a lot of that change is spent on you! If you’re really unable to afford anything (dishtowels are less than $5) then make an extravagant card with pages and crayons and tell the story of your favorite memory of the couple. Do anything! But to show up, eat the grub, tap the keg, sleep with the maid of honor, then bounce without as much as a $10 Target gift card is a little selfish. Most average caterer’s charge around $12-$20 a plate, minimum. So thank the Bride and Groom for inviting you to their special day, no matter how much you think they should be grateful you even decided to come. (Exception to the rule: guests who already spent money on the wedding/shower/bachelor and bachelorette parties. They have already put in more than their fair share!)

Rule #8: Do not overstay your welcome

Weddings are a time of celebration, where all of your loved ones come to celebrate the joining of two wonderful people. But those two wonderful people just planned the biggest party they’ll ever host for the last 10 months and would like to have a little alone and unwind time to themselves. That’s when their loved ones turn into obligated wedding deconstructionists and janitors at 10pm, and would appreciate it if you would make your way to the nearest bar and continue your celebrating there. Like any event, when the music dies and the lights come on, it’s your cue to leave. Trying to pump the last 2oz of beer out of a keg while Aunt Flo sweeps the dance floor is a little rude. That being said, helping yourself to 3 servings of beef brisket and summer sausage and leaving without a goodbye before toasts and cake cutting isn’t any better. (Yes, my previous jack-ass of a boss did just that…) If you RSVP “Delighted to attend” make sure it’s because time and the right reasons permit.

Rule #7: Do not skip the Ceremony

We all know this is the most boring part of the entire wedding (besides the ‘let’s see who’s the longest married couple dance’) but the Ceremony almost serves as your entrance fee to the Reception. It’s not fair that everyone else had to sit through cricket chirping awkward walks down the aisle and Bishop Bob trying his best to convert at least one sinner in the crowd. Skipping the Ceremony is like jumping to the next entrée in the buffet line; there aren’t any laws against it, you’re just going to piss off the people who notice you do it. (Like my ex-boss who’s gunnin’ for helping #3 and the traditional/take-it-personal Mother of the Bride who paid for the entire shindig.)

Rule #6: Do not hit on the Bride and/or Groom

This seems like a no-brainer, but true story: my husband once attended a wedding where the Officiant wanted to make sure that all the wedding guests knew that the relationship between the Bride and himself went back further than hers with the Groom. Many a college story from the past later, everyone sat motionless in their chairs when they were asked if anyone objected to the joining of these two people in holy matrimony. No, the Officiant didn’t say anything, but it was noticeable to every person attending that something uncomfortable was taking place. Unlike Hollywood would have you believe, it’s probably the least appropriate time to confess your undying love to your best friend at his wedding. Likewise, hitting on someone else if you’re the Bride and/or Groom would also be a no-no.

Rule #5: Do not take this opportunity to practice your oral presentation skills

Whether you’re marrying the happy couple or you’re the best man, please keep your speech to an appropriate minimum. The guests are not here for you, whatsoever, and have no interest in what you are saying, whatsoever. This is not your 15 minutes of fame, so make your point and be done. If you see or hear someone yawn, gracefully put the microphone down and just walk away. If you’ve never been told “you’re a great public speaker,” do not take this opportunity to hone that skill. If you are given the tremendous responsibility of speaking at a wedding, do not under any circumstance fake tears, tell inappropriate stories, or completely forget to mention that this is your best friend’s wedding day and not just the day that you’re most disappointed in him for taking the plunge.

Rule #4: Do not not catch the garter or bouquet

As “this is going to be hilarious and original” as it might seem, please refrain from conspiring to drop dead as the garter is thrown. If you had any hope of taking home some female who’d been eyeing you throughout the festivities, that hope is now gone. Single women go to weddings to meet single men in hopes of being the next gal in a gown. 40 grown men falling all over each other in an attempt to dodge the garter toss is as unattractive and non-committal as grown men in real life (outside of a wedding.) Even more pathetic is catching the Bride’s bouquet then immediately trying to pawn it off on the girls around you. This makes you 1. look like a complete bitch and 2. look like a complete slut. There is no good reason in the world why any single 28 year old woman wouldn’t want to catch the bouquet unless she is a bitch and wants to hit it with some dude that just made the statement “I have zero interest in catching the garter therefore I have zero interest in anything but getting in your pants.” These actions are extremely rude, and you all look like douche bags for getting in the garter/bouquet huddle in the first place. Stay single and lonely.

Rule #3: Do not show up dressed like Lady Gaga, a cowboy, or a funeral attendee

Unless you are Lady Gaga, own a dude ranch, or just ran over from Grandma Jo’s Celebration of Life, a wedding is not the time to try on a new look; just be yourself. (Or for some of you, be the best/least trashy version of yourself.) Other attire rules: do not wear white, do not wear 4” stilettos, do not wear what you wore last night, and do not wear what you wore 10 years ago. Do not try to 1-up the Bride and do not try and make the Groom look like an asshole for wearing a tuxedo. You can usually interpret how formal the occasion is by the invitation and if in doubt just ask! Also, do not wear just your corset bra and underwear because you just took off your wedding dress to jump in a river…just saying.

Rule #2: Do not almost get yourself killed

At first glance this may seem like an extremely unnecessary rule, so I will also add ‘or ruin the wedding.’ My wedding broke all the rules, and yes this one was VERY broken. Like I’ve mentioned in previous rules, this wedding isn’t about you and you should be seen and not heard. You should not let your best man and future/tomorrow brother-in-law take a “Lewis and Clark expedition” at 3-o-clock the morning of your wedding. You also shouldn’t drive up to an outdoor wedding halfway through the ceremony with the woofer in your Subaru pumping out beats from Mötley Crüe. And another seemingly obvious rule: do not break up with your girlfriend during the occasion. That’s almost as bad as leaving her at the altar. (I would like to thank my brother Greg and our best friend Ryan for being my muse.)

Rule #1: Do not get married if you don’t mean it

Yes, this is rule number one, and I’m sorry it’s not for the attendees. Have you ever gone to a wedding where you got the nagging feeling deep down that the Bride or Groom really wasn’t saying “I Do” for the right reasons? It’s a horrible feeling, and I don’t typically attend weddings when I feel this way. I once saw a Bride who, after the Ceremony, won an Oscar for her performance. She made bizarre poses for the camera and recited her vows like an acceptance speech. I’ve also seen marriages fall apart before their one year anniversary. People like these may not realize the err of their ways until they, too, must pay for their daughter’s SECOND $30,000 wedding. So please, before you send me that invitation, be honest with yourself: are you saying “I Do” for all the right reasons? If not, keep your postage. I don’t want another one of my KitchenAid 4-slot toasters to be collateral in your divorce hearing.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

I'll Toss my Bra Onstage for That

Musicians are a dream of the past, and thank God!  When I was just a young lass, I drooled over lead-singers and electric guitarists, gallivanting across state lines to make sure I didn't miss a single tour.  Heck, I think I may have had a dirty fantasy or two over a drummer and maybe one bassist.  But after my heart was ripped out, stomped on, and served to homeless men on street corners as an appetizer by a Chad Kroeger wannabe and a disc jockey that made DJ AM look like hot shit, I was sooo over "musicians!"  And then I married one.

In my defense my husband was hardly participating in what he referred to as his “band” when I met him.  In my husband’s defense, if being in two bands simultaneously is the worst thing about him, I guess I’ll keep him around.  Especially if he continues to sing karaoke to me in public and maybe one day writes a song about me that brings hormonal 14 year old tears to my eyes.

What brings these thoughts to my mind when I have more important things to think about like ugly sales women and offending Christians?  A blog I read by my old roommate Evan Trapp, and a response blog from Kenny Weigandt.  In compensating for his current instrument of play, Evan has created a Coolness Scale of which to categorize people by that got my female brain ticking.

The Evan Trapp Coolness Scale:
1 - Authentically cool, replicated and copied by 2's, 3's, and 4's.
2 - Not a follower, not followed.  Loner cool.
3 - Doesn’t even try to be cool, but admires cool people.
4 - Tries to be cool but is a total tool.

On the Evan Trapp Coolness Scale, I would say that my husband is a 1/3. He doesn’t scream suave macho rebel hearthrob, like a 1, but he does have an All-American intrigue that I think draws most people to him.  Heck, I think Chad Kroeger poser and DJ Douche Bag even like him!  But he’s kind of a 3 because he knows he’ll never be suave macho rebel hearthrob, and doesn’t make an attempt to be anything other than who he really is.  This almost makes him a 2, but he’s too likeable and social, which keeps him at a 1/3.  Or maybe a 1-2-3?

I’m starting to sound like Monica Gellar in that F.R.I.E.N.D.S. episode where she tries to teach Chandler about the different “spots” on a woman.  Seven, SEVEN, SEVEN!!!

I wish I could have a time machine at this point, to see what my 1-4 coolness rankings would be for different people when I was 16 or so.  And 20; that would be interesting too.  At this current point in time, I would have to rate Adam Lazzara, the lead singer of my favorite band of all time, Taking Back Sunday, as a 4.  He wasn’t even an original member of the band, but he’s managed to piss off all the other members enough that TBS is on their 3rd or 4th bandmate for each instrument.  And let’s face it, TBS never fully made it. Eight years ago I would have fought to the death that Lazzara was an absolute 1 and the next biggest rockstar of our generation.  Even four years ago as me and my gal-pal Megan Sweeney drove our naive little hearts to Seattle and I watched Lazzara perform a solo with an acoustic and harmonica I thought to myself, Bob Dylan look out!  But clearly this man is a 4, and as much as he tries to admit it on their fourth album, he’s still as 4 as Flava Flav on their “You’re so Last Summer” video.

And most lead singers these days are 4's.  They so badly want to think they’re the next Kurt Cobain, but in all reality, Kurt Cobain shot his face off leaving his baby girl in the care of trainwreck Courtney Love, let alone he was as clueless about a guitar as a 13 year old 3 is with a girl, which makes him a 4.  And most lead guitarists are 4's.  They can’t pull their shaggy, guy-liner’ed heads out of their asses and realize that absolutely nothing they are doing is original whatsoever.  They’re the ultimate dime-a-dozen, and they all have dreams of being bigger and better than Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, and David Gilmour.  As if Jack White could ever be more innovative than Dark Side of the Moon or The Star-Spangled Banner at Woodstock ‘69.  I guess the whole “is she his sister/his wife/his ex-wife?” mystery is pretty original...

Drummers are the 3's.  They are the most underrated bandmate with guys like Travis Barker finally receiving his credit when he left Tom and Mark to post a video on YouTube of his skillz over a Linkin Park track.  Drummers are also the weirdest looking.  They’re either gangly mo’fo’s with 10 foot arms and legs and a 6 inch wide torso, or they’re über fat and sweaty and defy all anaerobic logic because I am befuddled by the way they keep on the weight despite the vigorous instrument they play.  If a girl says “I’m dating the drummer,” you think: “oh, the one hidden behind all those barrels and symbols that no one ever sees or hears from?”  Yes, evil, but it’s how we women rate men.  Sorry, dudes, but you know this.  Drummers don’t aspire to be anything more than the carrier of the band, sinking back in their corner while they slave away only to be underrated and outshined.

And Bassists are 2's.  Yes, this is a very bold statement, considering most bass players are amateurs.  There’s not much you can do on a bass, and those that find a way to do so are truly amazing.  No one wants to be the bassist, but the fact is we require them.  And whenever I have a say in sound management at one of my husband’s shows, I always say “Turn up the bass!”  Though it’s a simple sound, it gets my heart pounding.  The bass is a sultry instrument, though the ugly step-child next to the guitar, it’s as elementary and necessary as the 1st Grade.  

And who’s number one?  On the Evan Trapp Coolness Scale, the Electric Keyboarders are the 1's.  True, most bands don’t have keyboarders, but lately I have been noticing their emergence and the dynamic they bring to local music.  They’re the new kid on the block and actually require some skill in operating.  Electric Keyboardists personify everything that you would expect in a 3 but have jumped on the authentic cool train along with thick rimmed glasses and gaunt men in skinny jeans and plaid.  They’re not trying to be cool because they’re still pussy dweebs playing plastic pianos.  But they know this, and in embracing it, have become the band’s last 1.

Musicians are going out of style as fast as thick rimmed glasses and gaunt men in skinny jeans.  Tween heartthrobs like Zac Efron and Taylor Lautner are taking over and leaving us 20-something girls behind.  What does Shia LaBeouf have that Brian Aubert doesn’t?  His soft, effeminate voice makes me question his sexuality and read too deep into his lyrics.  And I miss that feeling!  Gone are the days when I went gaga over faggy band dudes, but is this a result of their dying popularity or my aging hormones?  The Jonas Brothers have got something that I clearly don’t understand but seem to have a prepubescent following like that of Elvis. Maybe I’m just getting old and cynical and wishing my husband were home mowing the lawn rather than jamming with the guys.  At least when I see him on stage my knees get weak and butterflies twitterpate in my stomach.  I’ll toss my bra onstage for that.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

That’s a Tough Pill to Swallow

Let’s go over a quick time line of my last four minutes of life:
Minute 1: read article in Time about the history of “The Pill.”  Get inspired.  Think “Ooh, blog!”
Minute 2: open Word document, write title.  (And a clever title at that!)
Minute 3: scroll through TV channels to find a background show to keep me in the groove, come across 19 And Counting.
Minute 4: Just shoot me. 

Are you kidding me; that show started at 12!  (I just looked it up, season one was 17.)  Regardless, the fact that we still have families today that are having almost 20 children is beyond mind-boggling.  Maybe it’s because I come from a family tree of two’s, or maybe it’s because of a myriad of things that I’m going to rant and rave about in point-two seconds, but 19 and counting in 2010 seems a bit prehistoric, and in some ways, criminal.  And what are we counting?  Counting down to when her vagina becomes Stephen Hawking’s greatest discovery as the universe’s largest black hole?  (I needed to throw that in there.  Neeeeded to.)

Now that I’ve calmed down a bit, how perfect for me to see that?  The Time article, written by Nancy Gibbs-find the full version at, celebrates and educates the pill and it’s 50th anniversary, the day after my birthday, since the FDA approved it on May 9th, 1960, and Mitch, get me a Kindle for my birthday.  Love you.  The article pointed out so many wonderful things about the history of birth control pills, how far family planning has come, and filled my mind with so many questions I was itching to finish reading and start writing like the frantic mad-woman I am.  *Disclaimers: 1.  If you are anti-birth control or family planning, stop reading here.  2.  If you are pro-abstinence education, stop reading my blog, ever.  3.  If you are my parents, you were/are amazing parents, and just remember that I’m married now and everything is OK.

I am currently on the ring, we’re trying it out, seeing how it goes.  I had been on the pill, a pill, all the pills since I was about 17.  The Brenda-B.C. relationship started when I came back from Europe my senior year of high school and all of a sudden none of my female cycles were functioning as they should and had been.  I will keep this brief for my male readers.  I have been on some kind of pill ever since then in attempt to live a functional life with female cycles, and to not get pregnant.  I remember my mother saying after I got the elixir-of-life-pills, “Now I don’t want you to go off and.......trail, murmur, trail.”  Yes, Mom, I remember that.

And I didn’t.  My possession of the pill did not suddenly make me want to ravage every male creature out there; I still had my morals, thank you very much.  As if STDs, my dignity, and qualified candidates went right out the window with the pill!  Many women I talk to these days take the pill as a combination of birth control and cycle control.  Let’s face it, for some reason we’re just not as regular as women used to be and PMS has become a welcomed thing of the past.  Studies have even shown that women who take birth control pills are less likely to have cancer and heart conditions.  In Mum’s defense that information wasn’t fully explored when she made that trail, murmur, trail comment.  And now thanks to the pill, we’re able to safely skip cycles that we don’t need in these multiple years before twentieth century childbearing age.  The pill has gone above and beyond just a method of birth control.  The pill is the new black.  The Superpill is the new pill.

Back to the Duggar family of Tontitown, Arkansas.  (Actually, why am I trying to figure out why they have too many kids and don’t believe in birth control?  The three proper nouns in the previous sentence explain it all!)  With the world population climbing to almost 7 billion humans, a majority of experts are predicting that the Earth’s sustainable capacity is around 10 billion, and some are even concluding that we have already surpassed capacity.  In my lifetime the world has grown by 2 billion people; I may very well see this 10 billion max. capacity mark!  And I really don’t want to.  My husband and I are believers in the Zero Population Growth movement, and don’t foresee ourselves living comfortably/vacationing/sending our kids to college with more than two extra Purvs in the household.  I also value the relationship I have with both of my parents more than I value most things; something I may not have if they had decided to extend the family further.  The institution of family is just as important to me as it is to those Duggars, but doing my minuscule part to ensure that my great-great-grandchildren may have food and oxygen is more important to me than naming each of my children Brad, Betty, Bertha, Billy, Barnaby, Beatrice, etc.  By the way, Mr. Duggar’s name is Jim Bob.

To each their own, according to our God-given reproductive human rights.  They have sucked more than their 15 minutes bone dry, and I’m not about to give them minute 19.  This topic of political banter may be too sensitive for the jive I’m trying to give my blog, but just roll this thought around in your mouth: 10 billion reached, Earth at max capacity, America learning a thing or two from China?  Did it taste bitter?  Yeah, to me too.  I don’t ever want anyone taking away my reproductive freedoms; the same freedoms that every woman has, even the ones who want children #1, #2, and #3 to raise children #7, #8, and #9.  And noxiously large families aren’t the only curse we face these days.  The number of children being raised on welfare is increasing, and I’m a fool to hope that it’s because the government is extending a hand to every child in need. 

Take an old friend of mine, we’ll call her Erin.  When I had finally lost track of her life around DUII 2, truck #3, rehab stint 4 or 5, I turn around and baby number one is on it’s way!  Here I am, mid-twenties, married, Bachelor’s holder and I am doing everything in the pill’s power to not get pregnant!  It would ruin all our plans, and I wouldn’t be able to provide this child the life it deserves.  But qualified mother Erin is cooking “unplanned”/I say planned/we’re-keeping-it in the oven.  I thought to myself, this person needs a license to have a child, let alone a license to drive a vehicle.  (Remember DUII 2?)  It will be up to her mother to care for this child, and I now realize why my mom said trail, murmur, trail.  Kids having kids is a scary reality.  And yes, 24 year old kids with that kind of track record are still kids.  How can we teach our children family planning sex education when we still have well educated adults giving birth without really becoming parents?  And the next time I hear a chick “on the pill” say “whoops,” I am racing to my OB/GYN to inform her that myself and 500 of my closest friends are infertile!  We are all also on the pill and not getting pregnant! 

And what about school districts and households who are teaching abstinence when forty years ago more than 50% of women were having pre-marital sex?  The pill revolutionized history, but some of us are still stuck in the past.  Yes, I know how Catholics and Christians have interpreted the sex references in the Bible.  Well my interpretation from inside my gold, bedazzled handbasket is that sex is intended to conceive children and provide pleasure.  The Higher Power I have internal monologue with is the creator of all things, including the orgasm and the g-spot.  It would be blasphemous for sinners and hypocrites, I mean Catholics and Christians, to think that God was almighty enough to create every molecule in this world and have zero knowledge of the orgasm.  As if God would say of the g-spot, “how the hell did that get there?  Well, since it’s Sunday, I’ll just rest and leave it.”  And even if sex is intended solely for the purpose of conceiving children, couldn’t sex at other times be a reminder of the occasions when you were conceiving those children?  Wouldn’t God prefer that we, as adults, have children that we can provide for as he has provided for us, and enjoy the fruits of our marriage when our family is complete?

I apologize for getting so religulous on you!  When people pretend that the Bible says “thou shalt not consumest the controler of birth” I can’t help but get carried away.  As I said earlier, the pill is doing so much more for women than giving them control of unwanted pregnancies.  And hell, let’s just do as the Catholics do and take birth control, then repent.  Over and over again.  And then on Fat Tuesday I’ll take a whole pack of B.C., five morning after pills, like twelve NuvaRings, and an entire tube of spermicide, and starting Ash Wednesday I’ll give it all up until Easter at which point I’ll go back to one pill a day.  (Piss off the Protestants, check.  Piss off the Catholics, check.  Now on to the Atheists and Agnostics!)  And honestly, did God really want me to get married at 13 like people did over 2000 years ago?  If so, I guess I let poor J.D. Lancaster slip through my fingers!  He had a beard back then, hot, and a bald spot now, not hot.  Is now an appropriate time to point out that B.C. has been around even before Christ?!

Anyway...hopefully most of my Atheist/Agnostic readers are fairly hip on the pill, so I will try not to convert them.  Obviously there are so many reasons why I get irritated at those who scoff at birth control.  But there are some other issues I must acknowledge, perhaps in favor of abstinence enthusiasts and anti-feminists.  Recently studies have been showing that women are having a harder time getting pregnant after being on some form of oral contraceptive for several years.  Whether it may take one year, three years, or there’s infertility, it is unknown how much of a role the pill is playing in later conception.  Many experts have agreed that it is now common for women who have been on birth control for multiple years to experience a lull in the time between stopping the pill and getting pregnant.  The amount of time, however, seems to still be a mystery.  A scary risk I’m willing to take.  Especially when so many chicks “on the pill” say “whoops” and make an educated decision to give the child up for adoption.  More infertility could be a blessing in disguise for those orphans.

I heart the pill, don’t know where I’d be without it.  Maybe in a van, down by the river.  The Superpill (that’s my nickname for it, like a crime-fighting, high-flying hero) helped to revolutionize the feminist movement.  (Speaking of the feminist movement I should point out that it would really be named Superpillwoman, since apparently hero names are gender specific.  Congrats comic nerds, for joining us in the 18th Century.)  With women having control over how many children they were having and when they were getting pregnant, they became more attractive in the eyes of employers, thus opening a whole new world for women in the workplace.  But if women now have almost complete control over the population of our planet, why are men still making higher salaries?  And if women are responsible for the birth, or unbirth, of our next world leaders, why are men still seen as the head of the household? 

Many feminists would say “of course the pill is only for women, men would never remember to take it.”  I remind my husband all the time, if I forget to take the pill, we forgot to take the pill.  Since women are the baby-making-ovens, it has also become our responsibility to go to the gyno to get a prescription, go to the pharmacy to pick up the pill, remember to take the pill every single day at the exact same if being the carrier of a child isn’t enough!  Now we have all these other errands to worry about!  Why not make a male birth control pill?  I think they’ve been in the works for that for years.  In my house, that would be phenomenal!  My husband is a responsible and respectful man, and would jump on the opportunity to take on more of the contraception responsibilities.  But most guys I wouldn’t feel the same about.  Imagine picking up a guy at a bar and trusting the he took his pill today, let alone yesterday.  No thank you.  It’s ironic to say that the pill has liberated women when in reality it has kept our title as sole responsible party for pregnancies, especially when they’re unwanted. 

Liberated or not, I for one am extremely thankful for the pill.  It may be criticized by some, misunderstood by others, and abused by dumb beeyotches, but I will always be an advocate and will continue to have faith in it until I’m ready to make the pompous declaration that I am fit to be a parent.  Years down the road I plan on educating my children the real facts about sex and methods of birth control they can utilize, and explain to them that their parent’s fears about teen sex isn’t just teen pregnancy, but teen heartbreak and learning too much while they’re still just our little boys and girls.  Maybe they’ll have sex too young, maybe they wont, but I can only hope that knowledge will keep them from becoming teen moms and dads, while simultaneously eradicating my dreams as becoming a 45 year old G.I.L.F.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Pretty Help is Hard to Find

Has anyone else noticed lately that the employees at Victoria’s Secret have gotten, well, hideous?  Before you say anything remember that I already own a handbasket, and we’re well on our journey.  And I just decided that my handbasket is spray-painted gold and bedazzled.  Because that’s just so me.

I remember a couple years ago when my roommate started working at the local VS.  She had to wear a black blazer and cute pink satin tanks every day, and there were regulations on how much make-up she was required to wear (which was a lot!)  They only hired tall women with breasts, big and/or long hair, with plenty of feminine appeal.  But when I made my last trip to redeem my free monthly panty*, my overtly pretentious opinions were confirmed.  It’s bad enough that there is only one place in middle class America where an attractive bra can be found for $40 more than its really worth, let alone now my sales women are less than qualified to sell mediocre lingerie.

Rewind: many of you are probably thinking: “this coming from the girl who showed up to work at Abercrombie & Fitch everyday either 1. un-showered, 2. hung-over, 3. make-up-less, 4. in Uggs and sweats, or 5. most likely a combo of the others?”

Yes.  Queen of eating her words.  Karma is not my friend.

Now that we got all that out on the table, I’ll tell you why the Vicky’s employee thing unhealthily bothers me.  Like I said before, Victoria’s Secret is the only store of its kind.  Unless you find yourself in large metropolitan areas with loads of cash to shop at boulder-holder boutiques, there really aren’t any stores competing with VS.  And no matter what my mom says, I am aware that department stores do carry bras.  But they’re either just as expensive (hello Macy’s) or plain/boring/no brand/almost as expensive as VS at Target.

And VS has really put the hard work in.  They’ve made some huge names in modeling, continue to have one of the only televised runway shows on a major network, and their marketing team is managed by Satan himself, it's just that good!  As much as I am aware about the Vicky’s monopoly and continue to throw away bras when they break on me in public, I still want to shop there gosh-dangit! (I’m keeping this a family friendly blog, folks.)  I am in love with how their bras look on the hanger, and swear by their flavored lip gloss that costs more than a round of Botox per tube.  I just wish that their employees looked like their models, perhaps to give me the luxurious fantasy-experience I’m looking for.  I am aging fast and becoming quite frustrated when a barely legal bumpkin chooses to chat with another employee rather than help me find my size.  And a word to the bumpkin: always go with a pump when out on the town, even if your flat boots are just so much more comfy!  You’re a bumpkin, you need the flair.

If Victoria’s Secret is going to reel me in (and make me question my sexual orientation) with catalog pictures and seductive commercials with Adriana Lima then at least provide me a capable sales woman in the store.  One who’s out of her training bra and who utilizes the entire room of cosmetics/impulse isle I must trek through on my way to the cashier.

*For the record this is one of my least favorite words in the universe, but it's verbatim what the card says.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Price of Goodwill

On a quest to redecorate, my husband and I headed to the young and poor shopper’s Mecca: Goodwill.  Browsing the secondhand furniture and bedding we became aggravated over the price of the items.  Six dollars for a used 12 by 12 inch throw pillow and $164 for a corner stand dropped off in the parking lot?  Are you kidding me?!  So we grit our teeth and fork out our hard earned cash for someone else’s old junk.  These days we’re all trying to save a dollar, and my husband and I can’t help but reminisce a time when Goodwill was, well, affordable.

When I was just a young Californian lass my family took frequent outings to Goodwill.  Most enthused was my mother and grandmother.  Hour after hour went by and I was convinced that we wouldn’t leave until Mom looked over every single item in the store.  I was frustrated; my five year old patience level was similar to what it is now (nonexistent) and I just didn’t understand why everything wasn’t sorted out on pretty racks with one hanging in front so you could see what the rest looked like.  And everything smelled funny.  When I got older I depressingly realized why we shopped at the smelly store; the clothes were cheap and we didn’t have a ton of money.

Ask my grandmother about my “Goodwill phases” and she’ll gladly tell you the saga of my pubescent years and my abhorrence for showing my face in one.  Sure, there were times when Harriet the Spy bell bottoms could only be found second hand and I read through Babysitter’s Club novels faster than they were being written, but for no other reason would I be caught dead 13 and shopping at Salvation Army.  It was a seventh grade status thing and Airwalks didn’t hit Goodwill shelves until about 2001, and Grandma just couldn’t ever ever ever understand!

Fast forward to twenty ten and here I am watching John the ponytailed forty-something scan my soon to be new-to-me crap and double checking his work because yellow tags are half-off today.  Things have changed since junior high, that change being I’m on my own now (by choice, I swear).  But with these prices we may as well buy new!  My husband and I agree, a shirt used to cost one dollar at Goodwill when we were growing up, maybe two if it were long-sleeved.  A month ago we scavenged for hideous Christmas-wear and I beamed when I discovered an old dance costume gem that completed my elf garb.  But my glow quickly faded when I saw that this sequined and fishnet top was a whopping $5.99.  I bought it, of course, but I fumed thinking to myself, who decided to charge an arm and a leg for things that they never paid for in the first place?!

Who? is a gentleman by the name of Michael Miller, the President of the Columbia Willamette region of Goodwill locations, who in 2005 the Oregon attorney general’s office determined made too much money compared to other “non-profit” up and ups.  How much is too much? you ask: almost a million a year.  From our free, donated junk.  Goodwill still claims to be employing millions of Americans who would be without work if it weren’t for them, and they very well may be.  But it’s a tough pill to swallow when one of the many Goodwill regional presidents is making a salary tripled my own with a couple zeros tacked onto the end of that.  I think of how much less fortunate families and individuals struggle with paying these prices, and I stick my foot in my mouth (well maybe just a big toe).  What if you really weren’t able to afford thrift store prices? 

So I ask Mr. Miller to remember what Goodwill used to be about, and invite you to visit my garage sale I will be having this spring, sometime around say April?

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Celebrity Death Match

The latest casualty of Hollywood B-listers is Brittany Murphy.  Dare I go to hell in a handbasket?  Yes!  Ok, here I go: the only surprise that Brittany Murphy died of cardiac arrest came from the fact that the American public had long forgotten about her since 8 Mile resurrected her career for 2.5 seconds eight years ago and surprise! I forgot she was even alive...
Now that I may have offended some, let’s keep going.  2009 seemed to be a big year for celebrity deaths: Murphy, Natasha Richardson, DJ AM, David Carradine, and the more legendary losses of Michael Jackson, Patrick Swayze, and Farrah Fawcett.  For fans like myself, knowing that the King of Pop would never perform again was upsetting and unbelievable.  And knowing that DJ AM would only be spinning on turntables in the sky made me wonder if he was actually a DJ or if he thought the name was rad.  So why does the fact that these people are remotely famous make their deaths seem more tragic? 

In 2009 the American Cancer Society predicted that 1,500 Americans would die each day of cancer and according to 85,000 died from alcohol related causes and 17,000 from illicit drug use.  People are dying every day but we don’t hear their stories.  Most of the celebrities that died last year I was unfamiliar with or could care less about, but their mug shot was on every channel I surfed to.  And there are a lot of other celebrities I could really live without (coughkanyewestcough). 

True celebrity is reached when you can make people feel that they personally know you when they have never met you, which makes mourning the loss of them understandable.  But when esteemed news stations and reporters redirect all their focus on these celebrity deaths I get annoyed.  We get so caught up in Joe Jackson’s deranged actions post-Michael that we forget there’s a real world going on around us and prescription drug abuse and overdose are real issues in America.  I say enough about a gal whose claim to fame was a box office flop with Dakota Fanning!
And while my handbasket is riding a river of fiery rapids I ask you, do celebrities bring death upon themselves?  In a grim reaper way I think so.  Brittany Murphy was the charming and chubby guest star of my favorite movie of all time, Clueless.  And if it weren’t for the success of Scrubs and (giggle) Law and Order 2007 and beyond, she would be the most successful actor from the 1995 piece of Oscar-worthy gold.  But there just aren’t enough charming and chubby roles in Hollywood anymore so, by the looks of things, Murphy took an unhealthy route to achieve her barely-alive figure and voila! Just Married.  To say that I’m surprised that her body shut down would be a lie. 

The lifestyles that celebrities are pressured into are often destructive ones, and the fact that Perez Hilton and exist means that we will hear about their deaths more and more.  Our obsession with celebrity deaths will remain, but let’s try making an effort to run/walk in a Race for the Cure or donate our time to a local nursing home.  Because there are a lot of unknown celebrities that we lose every day.