Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I’m an adult again!

Today marked Day 2 of my internship at Imagination, and even though I am most likely going to have no social life for the next three months, it is already worth it. It’s amazing how much more of a sense of self-worth and purpose I get from having my own desk (equipped with a Mac and phone!) as opposed to, you know, carrying my tray of beers across the bar. But really, any job that doesn’t require refilling ketchup bottles and asking “chips, fries, or veggies?” is pretty appealing at this point. I am, of course, quite grateful that I still have said job, because although I get my own Mac, phone, and new found sense of purpose at my internship, I don’t get a paycheck. Hence, the lack of social life for the next few months: my schedule will be intern, wait tables, intern, wait tables.

But the experience will make it worth it. More importantly, thanks to my unpaid internship, I am now officially the best white person EVER:

“White people view the internship as their foot into the door to such high-profile low-paying career fields as journalism, film, politics, art, non-profits, and anything associated with a museum. Any white person who takes an internship outside of these industries is either the wrong type of white person or a law student. There are no exceptions.”

Next time you talk to me, please make sure to tell me “I earned it.” I won’t get the joke. I’ll be too busy listening to Bob Marley, being offended, correcting your grammar (you bet your ass I use an Oxford comma!), and thinking about, but not actually watching, soccer. (I’ll be the white girl wishing I had bangs, wearing a scarf, eating hummus, and drinking a microbrew.)

I could keep going. Did I mention I started listening to Bob Marley in sixth grade?

You might now be thinking, “Who gives a fuck about an Oxford comma?”:

Monday, April 27, 2009

Special Edition: Monday Swayze Fest

First off, let me apologize for ruining your Sunday yesterday. I know you were all anxiously waiting for Swayze Fest, and then it never happened. How could I?

Here's what happened. I was ready to post a very special Swayze tribute, and then I decided I'd first watch the Barbara Walters interview with Patrick and his wife discussing his pancreatic cancer. Everything went downhill from there. I've mostly been in denial that the love of my life has Stage 4 pancreatic cancer, but now I can't deny it anymore. I got so upset I almost threw my Macbook out the window. And we all know that would have been a disaster.

To cheer us all up, I have a special Swayze treat for you on this Monday evening. Enjoy.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Why Netflix is Ruining my Life

It's simple: the "Watch Instantly" tab. It is the cause of my downfall. Well, that, and my rapidly decreasing amount of shifts at work. But let's focus on Netflix for now.

About a week and a half ago, I got off work and thought, I don't really feel like committing to an entire movie--how about I just watch a couple of old episodes of "The Office"? Brilliant idea, right? WRONG.

So I find Season 3. I hit "Play."

Fast forward to today, a week and a half later. I am now on Season 4. Do you know how many episodes there are in Season 3? DO YOU? I have now watched approximately 28 episodes of "The Office" in less than two weeks. I'm not proud of myself.

Damn you, Netflix! Damn you! They make it so easy. One episode ends, and guess what? Just jump right into the next one!

I have to get out of the house. Immediately.

Before I go:

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

“The Long Goodbye,” continued

I just finished reading the most recent two posts in Meghan O’Rourke’s “The Long Goodbye” series—“Watching Someone You Love Accept Death” and “What Is It Like To Recover From Grief?”—and though I’ve obviously been a fan of the whole series, these affected me the most. Seriously, are we the same person, Meghan? When I read this part, I actually laughed, because it was so much like something I’ve thought:
“I started feeling … better. Not 'recovered,' the way one feels after a flu. But … better. I suppose this isn't a surprise. I simply conform to the clinical norm: Studies show many mourners begin to feel less depressed around four months after the death. Knowing this makes me feel annoyed and truculent. I don't want to conform to a grief scale. I want to be an extremity. A master of grief.”
But in all seriousness, these last entries were both difficult and comforting for me to read because of how much I relate to her words.

Although I didn’t have a direct conversation with my mother about accepting her death—I was clinging to the belief that she was going to get her new lungs and heart, and somehow, everything would go back to normal—I always felt a sense of calm emanating from my mom, even toward the end. Or if not calm, normalcy: the last time I spoke with her in person was in her hospital room in Chicago, a couple of weeks before she died. I was upset over getting a “C” on a writing assignment graded by my history TA. (A “C” was not a grade I was cool with— yeah, I know I’m a big geek.) Now, if you never met my mom, it might be hard to imagine a woman on oxygen, wearing a hospital gown, getting all fired up and ranting how she’d like to have a word with him, but she did. And she did it with style. If I remember accurately, she said, “You’re a better writer than he’ll ever be!” Not that she’d even read my assignment, or read anything he’d ever written. It didn’t matter. I wasn’t kidding when I called her my cheerleader.

Anyway, everything seemed relatively normal that afternoon until later, when I realized that my dad had insisted that I talk to my mom in private, dragging my boyfriend away—we’d used a concert as an excuse to drive up to Chicago from school—and they stayed away, for almost an hour. I’ll probably never know what the hell they talked about while I sat beside my mom’s hospital bed, talking and laughing with her, but I’ll always be grateful I had that time, even if we spent the majority of time talking about school, and my new short haircut, which she loved. (I hated it.)

I managed to make it through the concert that night—ok, fine, it was a Good Charlotte and No Doubt show, and I loved it at the time—but once we started driving, I lost it. I most likely scared the shit out of my boyfriend, as I’d seemed fine until that point, but I couldn’t stop sobbing. In retrospect, I’d like to believe that deep down, I knew that I’d just hugged my mom for the last time and that’s why I freaked out, but who knows. I do know that I’ll never forget that hospital room in Chicago, or that conversation with her. That’s what matters.

The entry on recovering from grief was the most on point for me, though. Particularly when I got to this part:
Just the other day, nearly a week after Easter, I had to make an apple pie for a video shoot about mothers and daughters. The recipe I used was my mother's recipe, and for a day or two before I made the pie I was in a gloomy mood. I felt anxious, irritable, resentful that I had to make the pie—a pie I'd been wanting to make but was frightened of making ever since my mother died. It was absurd how much mental space this pie was taking up.

The day came. I made the pie. I pulled out the old recipe book my mother and father had given me and my brothers—the 4A Cookbook, they called it, after the apartment we lived in. And, step by step, almost as if it wasn't happening, I made the pie. I didn't let the dough chill for long enough and it came apart as I tried to roll it out. The result looked messier than usual as it went into the oven. But I felt OK; it had been strangely comforting to read my mother's words and revisit her way of making things. I loved that at the end of the recipe for pastry (butter, Crisco, flour, sugar, water) she wrote, philosophically: 'This will constitute the dough.'

But as the pie was cooking, I had a little meltdown. I was supposed to turn the heat down from 425 degrees, I remembered. But … to what temperature? Time to call Mom. I reached for the phone. And realized—I couldn't ask her anymore. From now on, I would have to answer my pie questions myself, through trial and error. The pie made my mother more absent. And yet—it also made my mother more present: When it came out of the oven, it reminded me of her.”
Seriously, Meghan? Seriously? I’m almost irritated with you for, well, being me.

My mom’s birthday fell on July 8, and every year, she’d make a flag cake that did double duty as a 4th of July cake and a birthday cake for her. She loved it. One of my favorite pictures of Mom, she’s holding up her flag cake and wearing her annual Old Navy flag t-shirt. The best part of the photo is her smile: genuine happiness. No oxygen cord.

So, on the second July 8 without her to make her flag cake, I decided I had to do it. Like Meghan wrote, “I'd been wanting to make but was frightened of making ever since my mother died. It was absurd how much mental space this pie was taking up.” It was true. All I could think about was this damn flag cake.

I dragged my roommate Diana to the grocery store with me to buy the strawberries, blueberries, Cool Whip, cake mix. We got back to our apartment and started baking the cake. Everything was fine until I had to start cutting the strawberries. Then I realized I didn’t remember how I was supposed to cut them: Do I cut them in half? What do I do? I burst into tears. Diana grabbed the knife out of my hand and cut the strawberries for me.

The next year, I made the cake with no problems. It annoyed the shit out of me. Where were the tears? Where was the stabbing feeling in my gut? Of course I know that’s ridiculous, but it’s true.

I think I’ll make the cake this year. And this time, I’ll just enjoy it. I think that’s what would make my mom happy.

It's Earth Day!

To celebrate, my friend Rachel and I are going to go sit in a movie theater. But, since we'll be watching this awesomeness, I think it's okay that we won't be planting trees or something:

YES! (Side note: Is it weird that I get a little teary-eyed when the baby bird jumps out of the tree?)

The only thing that could ruin this Earth Day is if something of this nature happens in the film:

Seriously, I can't bear it. I just got myself all worked up just finding the clip. Nonetheless, hooray for Earth Day! Today would also be my Grandma Hamm's birthday, and I always thought it was a perfect fit (she'd be more likely to be planting a tree today).

Go out and celebrate the Earth. Or at the very least, recycle.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sunday Swayze Fest!

I know you've been waiting for this one. I think we're finally ready for it:

Saturday, April 18, 2009

"Look at this fucking hipster"

I don't know how my brother stumbled across this, but I am so happy he did. So, my other two readers, "Look at this fucking hipster." (My personal favorite so far is from April 2.)


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

In case I just bummed you out...

Some solace: PB and J. White people dancing! Hoorah!

Whew. I feel better already. Don't you?

Lies vs. Truth

I was recently smacked in the face with the discovery that someone I know is a big, fat liar. I took this rather personally until I also acknowledged that said person is a big, fat alcoholic as well. Nonetheless, without turning this post into a “Dear Diary” type of bullshit, I’ll just say, the discovery that someone you trusted has lied to you feels like the ultimate betrayal. I felt sick to my stomach. I felt like a fool. Especially when it’s from a friend you believed you had a good relationship with—one where you know you can be honest, because your friend won’t judge you, no matter what.

So last night when I was finishing Intimacy, a novel by Hanif Kureishi, one passage stuck with me. His story is about the end of a relationship: Throughout the story, the protagonist plans to leave his lover and their two kids the following day. Now, clearly the personal betrayal I mentioned is not on the level he describes, as it was from a friend, but it still made me think again about my situation:

“Lying I don’t recommend. Except in certain circumstances.

Susan, if you knew me you would spit in my face. I have lied to you and betrayed you every day. But if I hadn’t enjoyed those women I wouldn’t have stayed so long. Lying protects all of us; it keeps the important going. It is a kindness to lie. If I’d been good all those years, who’d have been impressed? God? A world without lying would be impossible; a world in which lying wasn’t deprecated is also impossible. Unfortunately, lying makes us feel omnipotent. It creates a terrible loneliness. Here, tonight, I feel cut off from you and from everyone. Truth telling, therefore, has to be an ultimate value, until it clashes with another ultimate value, pleasure, at which point, to state the obvious, there is conflict.”

Initially, I took some solace thinking about the isolation—and hopefully, regret—the liar in my life might be feeling. Unfortunately, then I realized that’s probably not happening, due to the alcoholism, since you don’t often recognize the repercussions of your actions when you’re constantly in a blackout.

But on a bigger level, when, if ever, is it truly ‘a kindness to lie’? Or is that just something we convince ourselves when we’re telling the lie?

I’m not claiming that I’ve never told a lie. But I’ve certainly never based an entire friendship around lying. How sad, to discover that so much about your friendship or relationship with a person is based on his or her lies. What do you take away from that? Would you rather never find out the truth?

Right now, I’m not sure how I feel. But I think it’s an interesting discussion, one that I hope mentioning didn’t come across too “Are you there God? It’s me, Alison.”

Thursday, April 9, 2009

This makes me want to puke

Particularly the ridiculous claims that gay marriage would take away someone's freedom, and the mom whining that her child is learning in school that gay marriage is "okay." BOO HOO. Hmm, taking away your freedom? Kind of like how our heterosexist, ridiculous society is taking away gay people's freedoms by not letting them get married? I can't believe this horseshit is on TV. Well, actually I can believe it, which makes me want to puke a little bit more.

Fuck you, National Organization for Marriage:

Here's a little relief for when you're done vomiting:

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Gender Across Borders

I just posted for the first time on Gender Across Borders (GAB), a new global feminist blog (I'm an editor and founder, BOO YAH).

Check it out. Comment on my post. Comment on other people's posts. It's still in the newborn stages, so obviously there are some kinks that need to be worked out with the design and all that good stuff. The content specialist still in me is freaking out and wanting everything fixed right away, but all in good time.

Monday, April 6, 2009

What exactly is the misinterpretation, Karzai?

I was absolutely infuriated and sickened when I first heard on CNN last week that the Afghan parliament had passed a law that, essentially, says it’s okay for a man to rape his wife. Now—when I can find anything about it on a news site, that is—I’m not sure how I feel. Supposedly, the Western media has lost something in translation, according to President Hamid Karzai:

(from CNN) “‘We understand the concerns of our allies and the international community. Those concerns may be due to an inappropriate, not-so-good translation of the law, or misinterpretation,’ Karzai told reporters in Kabul.

He added that the Minister of Justice will study the ‘Shiite state law,’ line by line, to make sure it follows the nation's constitution, which requires equal rights to both sexes.”

But, I can’t help but wonder, what exactly is this misinterpretation? And when the 249 members of the lower house, including 68 women, debated and voted for the bill, why was there confusion about what they were voting for? According to CNN, “Even some lawmakers are baffled at the manner in which it passed.”

Uhh, WHAT? So now that this is getting international attention—although not enough, in my opinion—and backlash from the West and human rights organizations, they’ll be studying this “line by line” to make sure it follows the nation’s constitution? What if the Western media hadn't supposedly misinterpreted this? No big deal?

Well, they better be studying it line by fucking line, is all I can say. I hope to hear very soon that nothing about this law actually legalizes a man having sex with his wife against her will. Rape is rape. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Christian or a Muslim, living in Chicago or living in the Middle East: RAPE IS RAPE.

That, I hope, translates.

Related story: “Afghan Law on Women Brings Societal Conflict Onto World Stage,” from The Washington Post

Sunday, April 5, 2009

It's Sunday! You know what that means!


Swayze was actually in my dream last night--completely PG kind of dream, though I probably shouldn't tell random people I work with about my dreams about Patrick, cause I think I'm freaking them out. I'm pretty sure having a Dirty Dancing wall calendar in my room is the main cause of this, because the Swayze dreams have been happening on a monthly basis this year. Why I'm telling coworkers about my dreams, I don't know, but...yeeeah. Basically in these dreams I keep randomly running into him (or waiting on him at my bar) and professing my love to him. He usually just pats me on the shoulder and looks nervous.

He's certainly never doing anything this badass:

"You're too stupid to have a good time!" HA!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

I'm the worst blogger ever...

because all I do is wait tables, then come home and watch It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Today I actually went into work, was told they didn't need me, so I promptly drove to Best Buy and bought the following purchases:

1). It's Always Sunny... Season 3
2). Twilight (yeah, that's right. I'm not ashamed.)
3). Peter Bjorn and John, "Living Thing"

So basically what I'm saying is, until I get through Season 3 and get worn out of dancing around to PB and J, I don't know how much blogging I can do. I'm pretty busy.

Can you blame me?