30 June 2009

Wuv, Twooo Wuv .....

Apparently, 2009 is the year of the weddings. I went to one this past weekend, have another two weddings coming up in the next three months, and I know of at least 30 other weddings of people that I marginally know. And then my sister has gotten on the bandwagon, already looking at dresses, asking me to be her maid of honor (which I'll happily be) and to plan her wedding (I agreed to this only after ensuring that she would not be flighty and have other people make the final decision on things), and letting me know that it would probably be happening in September or October of 2011, you know, the year before the world ends. Allegedly.

Still, all of the matrimonial talk kind of sent me into a tizzy. Marriage just freaks me out for some reason, and I don't dream of the day I finally put that ring on my finger. I used to, and I probably will again at some point, but right now, it's about as far up on my list as getting a colonoscopy.

Plus, the whole idea of planning a wedding seems exhausting with a capital E, especially since you and your fiance are the main event. And, of course, since it's your special day or whatever, you'll want everything to be perfect, blah blah blah. But seriously, I will like the people I invite to my wedding; why would I want them to sit in uncomfortable chairs for 30 minutes while I say my nuptials? Nope. I'm coming down the aisle to something a la AC/DC, and we're gonna do the "Spaceballs" version of the wedding vows. Quick, painless, there's a ceremony for those who oppose the court house (and the lack of maid of honordom) - and I say then we party. Barbecue style. With plenty of alcohol, although dancing will definitely be monitored based on consumption.

Even with the simplicity of that plan, the idea of actually spending the rest of my life with someone seems daunting. I mean, wicked scary. Most of my friends know that I need my personal space after a few days of hanging out with them, but this is seeing this person from that day on, every single one.

Considering my aversion to getting married, it's only natural that I avoid going to them. Not because I don't like the people and that I am not happy for their soon-to-be wedded bliss, but because I, the single girl in her mid-twenties, is surrounded by matchmakers. At this last wedding, a woman whose name escapes me asked me, "Why aren't you married yet?" My response was rather caustic but appropriate given the question: "Because I'm actually toying with lesbianism." She blinked a lot and sort of wandered away, pretending to see someone she knew. I have politely explained to people in the past that I just haven't met someone with whom I want to be for the rest of my days. Maybe a few weeks or months, but certainly not until I die.

God, I just hope this doesn't continue to happen when I get into my thirties, which it undoubtedly is, especially because "Sex and the City" says it's so. And it will probably be worse because my biological clock is ticking once I get to 35, and everyone knows that women lose all worth once they hit 40. Unless they're cougars, then you can just make fun of them.

And I'm in even more trouble when I explain what I want my wedding to be like. "Oh, you'll change your mind when you get there." Oh, really? So you can predict what my future self will want? Please, tell me your secret. It's kind of like the idea of telling someone that they'll eventually want kids, despite their statements to the contrary. Yes, they might want children someday, and yes, I might want a different kind of wedding when and if I actually make it to that point. I wanted a big wedding a couple of years ago, even joining The Knot (GAH!!!), but that I believe was naivete.

Plus, with the economy and all ... (my personal go-to phrase)

Alright, off to discuss color combinations with my sister. Fun for me.

27 June 2009

Entry # 4

Sometimes I wish I hadn't stopped smoking. Apart from the health problems and the all-too-familiar smoker smell, I actually enjoyed the process. It passed the time on long commutes and traffic, and it provided a community in which I could take part. Some of the most interesting conversations I've had have been during the seven or so minutes it takes to inhale my daily dose of cancer. It gifted me with thinking time, either when I needed inspiration for an article or story or when I just needed a break from studying. Plus, can I say stress reliever? And for the past couple of months, I have been in need of such a thing.

On July 3, I will have been unemployed for exactly seven months. Granted, it was my choice to leave at that inopportune time, but to this day, I know it was the best thing for me. I was nearly choking there, forgetting myself and just kind of floating by. It totally screwed up my sleeping schedule (something I'm still struggling with now), and I was introduced to some of the worst sides of humanity. I had lost my ability to write, and for me, that is a signal that something is wrong. Writing is my means of creative expression, a part of me that is almost as necessary as breathing. Even if I don't draw or paint for a while, I'm fine, but as soon as words fail me, I know that I have to step back and look at my life.

Now, this is not to say that I don't miss the people. The other cocktails were wonderful girls, and I frequently go visit Lindsay and Kelly to get my fill of interoffice gossip and hear about their lives; Kevin was an awesome boss, and I still consider him a friend (congrats on the new baby girl, Kev!!). But I wasn't really doing anything with my life, so I quit.

It was difficult not to go back, especially after business picked up after the holidays, but I just couldn't. I remember how tired I was and how uninspired I felt on a constant basis and knew that I had to stay away, at least in a professional way. I'd still drop by for a complimentary Hoegaarden, but I would only stay for thirty minutes at the most (and usually only drank about half of the ale, but meh, it was free). I'd catch up, dodging offers of cigarettes, and then go home to Zola. This seemed to be the best way of handling the inevitable question of, "When are you coming back?"

I didn't have the heart to tell them that I had outgrown that life. Most of them are older than me and still manage to behave in ways that no longer interest me. I've never smoked pot and don't plan to do so; I don't like getting drunk on a regular basis; if I'm going to stay up until 5 a.m., I at least want to be in my bed with a good book, video game or empty spiral notepad, not in a bar, wondering how I'm going to get home. Perhaps the word "outgrown" is misused. None of the above-mentioned activities ever really had my rapt attention; I have always wanted to attend Bonnaroo, but I don't because of the drugs. I didn't go to parties in college because I didn't want to be surrounded by drunk people, which is funny considering I worked in a bar for nearly a year before realizing that, yep, I still can't stand drunk people, even when they are paying me. I'm not judging my former co-workers at all, because most of them are incredible, hard working people that are making ends meet the best they can. But that atmosphere is not conducive to me being productive. So, I dropped the job and the smoking; they both kind of went hand in hand.

And now, I'm poised for the rest of my life. Yesterday, amidst the cacophony of Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett, I received a call from the Wilson County Human Services department and was offered a job. I was in the elevator at my dad's office and did a little "squee" dance and yelled, "Yes!" I frightened my fellow passengers, but after explaining the situation, they joined in on my happy booty-shaking, and I think I made some old lady's day.

I don't think there's a moral to this story. I haven't reached the end, and I'm not even sure if a moral can be applied. And I probably should have said that last week, I wished I hadn't quit smoking. Because today, being nicotene-free feels kind of good.

It's WAR!!! Well, kind of.

Oh, I love it when magazines fight with each other. It sometimes makes us forget that they are crappy, especially when it's Cosmo and AskMen.

So apparently, AskMen.com posted a story about the stalker-esque behaviors of women on Facebook (I'll sum it up for you: we set up fake profiles so we can watch the menz that have wronged us; we're passive-aggressive with private photos and our statuses; AND we lie about our relationship status - get that?? All women are the absolute same, us crazy, manipulative bitches.) and Cosmo responded in turn with, "Well, men do annoying stuff, too!!" (Again, summation: they don't tell us if they're in a relationship; they block their photos; they ask us out via our profiles; they detag themselves from photos; they act like frat boys, all of them!! Because they are all cut from the same cookie mold ... or whatever.)

I've said it before and I'll say it again: not all women are the same, and not all men are the same. Well, I guess the women who read Cosmo (and take it seriously) are the ones that the AskMen article is referring to in their little whine-fest, and vice versa. Because that's the only explanation I can come up with. I cannot recall a time when I have ever made a fake Facebook account; I rarely post photos of myself, let alone of friends and possible dating partners; if I'm mad at someone, I tell them with a phone call or a quick jab to the groin, not a status update; and I've been single both in life and on Facebook for the past couple of months because *shock* I am single. On the flip side, most guys I know don't do any of the shit in the Cosmo article, except maybe the frat boy quotage. But even that is usually tongue-in-cheek.

But still, one can only hope, for entertainment purposes at least, that this little article war will continue. What will the topic be next time?

19 June 2009

Huh. I'm still kind of stunned.

You know, I love being surprised. Not in a horror movie, piss-in-you-pants way, but in that pleasant manner in which you cock your head and think, "Huh."

I've been receiving "Elle" for about four months now, and I'm not sure why. I've racked my brain, trying to figure out who can hate me so much as to subject me to the monthly doses of body loathing and expendable-income envy. Being a journalist, though, I do the courteous thing and give the lady mag an obligatory read-through, but inevitably, I'm irritated by the frivolous content, violated by the eye-raping layout design (it reminds me of photo collages I created in middle school), and am thus moved to throw the entire thing into a giant bonfire of vanities.

When I saw the new issue on my counter, I had half a mind just to toss it into the recycling bin, but I convinced myself to at least give it a fighting chance. I nearly stopped at the beginning, as I was accosted by horrendous fashion spreads, sporting the fugliest outfits inspired by bikers and metal bands, and stupid-huge bills attached to pieces (I mean, seriously, nearly $5000 for what is essentially a sparkly tube dress?!) Amazingly, I trudged through the drivel and found myself blinking in astonishment at what lay beyond. Huh.

I was treated to some insightful reviews and now have a list of movies that I simply need to see, including "Away We Go" and "The Apple," books that are must-reads, and TV shows that I will avoid like the leprosy. Ell also reminded me of my quest for the perfect red lipstick and gave me a little history lesson, as well. Did you know that the first wax-based tube lipstick came out in 1870? And that Elizabeth Arden gave out red lipstick for women participating in the suffrage marches of the 1910s?

But most of all, I was impressed with the quality of the interviews. Karen Schoener's coverage of Atlantic Records' Julie Greenwald perfectly summed up the attitude required to save the flailing music industry, and I love the imagery of a powerful, yet nurturing woman (who has pics of her kids on her walls, instead of celebs) who has guys like P. Diddy calling her the "coolest white Jewish chick in history." Oh, you stay classy, Diddy.

The article on street-lit author Miasha was eye-opening and shows that there is a weird segregation between business and African Americans. It's almost like the bigwigs forget that the black community exists until something sells well, like when the popular Zane came onto the scene. And then the cultural critics jump over themselves, blaming the literary outlet as a reason for an entire race's "situation." Now, the glamorization of drug and gang culture is another topic entirely - one that I'm not going to tackle right now because it would make this waaaay too long - but I will admit that reading Miasha's perspective on this makes me appreciate (not like, mind you) "ghetto fiction."

I'm not too ridiculously into Gwen Stefani, this issue's cover girl, but the story on her had me liking the down-to-earth vibe she was giving off. The fact that someone so beautiful couldn't believe a guy was into her is very reassuring, even if she did steal Gavin Rossdale from what could have been wedded bliss with me. I've moved on, of course, and I have forgiven.

Now, the women-in-music section got me a little annoyed, but that's only becase the editors included Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga*, but not Beth Ditto, who I've come to adore, or Chrissy Hynde. To their credit, though, they did have Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Joan Jett and Kid Sister. But my ultimate girl-crush, Jennifer Hudson, had me saying, "Squeeee!" I am just in awe of her faith and could literally stare at the featured photo shoot for hours. Gorgeous woman, inside and out, and her interview just made me love her all the more.

I skipped the last ten pages or so of oddly posed models and a Q&A with Bret Michaels (um, no, thanks), but the whole experience left me scratching my head. WTF just happened? Was I really just intellectually stimulated by "Elle?" Huh.

Now, is it too much to expect a similar follow-up? A sequel of quality, if you will? Yeah, I'm not banking on it.

* The part where she says that American Idol was "all about the art" when setting up for her recent appearance, I nearly screamed. I just don't get the fascination with this woman, and I really wish people would just stop giving her a platform. Ick.

The Fish That Won't Die

My dad has this 30 gallon fish tank in his office that sat idle and waterless for about a year before he finally threw down the gauntlet and filled it with all sorts of swimmy friends. He decked it all out with petrified wood and lots of green plants before tossing in the fishies, ranging from bottom feeding plecostomus to shiny, zippy tetras. Then there is Claude, or at least that's what I've named him (I name everything and I mean everything), the cockroach of the watery world my father created.

He has his purpose, of course. He's a whiskered algae eater, so the tank stays cleaner than it would without him, but Claude has not really been fulfilling his position as of late since he has been spending his time belly up. But he's not dead. Oh, no. He just floats and then flits away when you touch him or approach him with the Net of Toilet Flushing Death. According to my dad, he has a faulty bladder, which made me cringe at first, my layperson knowledge thinking that he had the non-tetrapod chordate version of kidney failure, but apparently, the fish bladder has a function similar to the inner ear or the occipital lobe. It keeps the fish upright and gives it a sense of where it is. The more you know, right?

Still, he's been like this for over two weeks. Two fucking weeks. Each day, it's the same ritual. "Looks like he isn't moving. Touch him and see." "Nope, little bastard's still chuggin' along." My dad and I are basically sitting there waiting for him to croak, and we just don't have the heart to send him to an early septic system grave.

I'm fairly sure he isn't giving himself a pep talk every morning, but I do wonder if there is something to his perseverance, whether it's intentional or simply his nature not to roll over and die. He does have his next feeding to look forward to, for goodness' sake. For the longest time, I had a sort of defeatist attitude regarding my current situation: unemployed, basically penniless, not really any direction. That was my fish bladder. It made me basically kind of ride the fabricated ripples/waves of my own little fish tank (aka sleeping waaaay too much, not trying to find a job, etc.), until I basically said, "Okay, time to get off this little pity party I'm hosting."

I'm still in the floating stage and I DO give myself a pep talk every morning. I watch movies like "Diary of a Mad Black Woman," apply to any and every job I can, and exercise every day. I'm still jobless, but I have a roof over my head, wonderful parents that let me stay with them (rent free, yay!!), supportive friends and most of all, my faith. I'm still kind of broken, but pretty soon, my bladder will be functional again. Those words just sound strange. Meh, oh, well.