30 April 2008

Top Ten Movies for a Sunday Afternoon

(These are all movies I love, but don't own, because their proliferation on basic cable is enough to ensure that I see them at least a few times a year.)

10) Mermaids

Did you know that I operated under the assumption that Bob Hoskins and Danny DeVito were the same person for TWENTY YEARS before I discovered the truth? Okay, so they don't look anything alike NOW, but seriously:

I mean, come on, they're practically twins. Okay, so, maybe they don't look EXACTLY alike, and maybe one of them is English and an accomplished actor of stage and screen and the other is Danny DeVito, but to my preteen eyes (and, uh, embarassingly, high school eyes, and early years of college eyes, which is the point when I finally realized that Bob Hoskins was not just Danny DeVito really acting the shit out of something and being vaguely sexy while doing so), they looked exactly the same. So for years I thought this movie was a Danny DeVito movie, and yet I still loved it.

FFS, it has CHER! And teenaged Winona Rider, which is the Very Best Winona possible! And tiny little Christina Ricci, who looks remarkably less bobble-headed at this young age. And Winona thinks you can get pregnant from KISSING. Isn't that quaint? Also, it features perhaps the Greatest Playroom Ever Created, with the under-the-sea mural and the little revolving lamp. (fun fact: while unsuccessfully googling to find a photo of that room, I came across Mermaids fanfiction. Which just proves my point that you really can find fanfiction for any damn thing.)

9) Pretty Woman

I first saw Pretty Woman during my 11th birthday slumber party. Now, some might question the decision of showing a bunch of young, pre-sexualized girls a movie about a hooker, but I feel that Pretty Woman has tons of important life lessons to impart, life lessons which help young girls navigate the often cruel and treacherous terrain of boy-girl interactions. For example: Life Lesson Number One: always carry condoms in your thigh-high boots. I cannot tell you how many times this has saved me from STD- or baby-contraction. Life Lesson Number Two: always hold out for more money from people you're negotiating with. "I would have stayed for two thousand." "I'd have paid four." Oh! Vivian! Your impestuous nature has led you astray! Life Lesson Number Three: if you are low on cash, the garnishes at a bar make for acceptable snacks. Life Lesson Number Four: Always work in a job you enjoy doing, no matter how much it pays. If you don't, you end up a blowhard who lays down way too much money on a hooker and has some weird obsession with people not answering phones. Life Lesson Number Five: It's only love if you kiss on the lips!

Plus, it has one of the all-time great female characters: Kit DeLuca. My adoration of Kit DeLuca (plus my weird crush on Enrico Colantoni) is basically what made me watch every episode of Just Shoot Me that ever aired. All I wanted was for Maya to say "Cinder-fuckin-rella," just once, but she never did. SEVEN YEARS of David Spade, Laura San Giacomo. I hope you can live with yourself.

8) Mother May I Sleep With Danger?

Best.Lifetime.Movie.EVER. I'm not sure if you can even own this movie - and I'm not sure who would want to - but anytime I see it in the tv guide on Sunday afternoon, I have to watch it. It has everything a good Lifetime movie needs: transparent characters, low-budge-scenery, a Mother Who Knows Best, and an actress best known for her role on a teen drama, now desperately trying to make a name for herself beyond learning-disabled-characters-who-aren't-allowed-to-graduate-because-they-accidentally-got-drunk-at-Prom.

7) Clueless

Clueless is sort of a shameful addition to this list, because of course I SHOULD own it. However, much in the way I don't own any of my absolute all-time favorite songs due to the risk of oversaturating myself, I can't own this movie. I would watch it ALL THE TIME, if I did. Like, I am not even kidding, every day. I'd become That Girl Who Watches Clueless Every Morning Before Work, and then my entire day's dialogue would be peppered with "Barneys" and "Baldwins" and "I had two mochaccinos and I feel like ralphing" and I would be even more obnoxious than I already am, which is, let's face it, pretty obnoxious. And, of course, I'd feel like none of my after-school activities wardrobe choices would be good enough.

Also, if I owned Clueless, like, IN MY HOUSE, I'd really never go out and meet people, because who could be more awesome than Paul Rudd as Josh? Absolutely no one, that's who. He cares about the environment! Loves Shakespeare! Participates in dance parties! He even sees the wisdom in shaving off his douchey facial hair far sooner than most boys his age (with Cher's help and guidance, of course).

So, instead, I wait to see it on TBS or TNT on Sunday afternoons, clap and jump up and down when I find it on the tv guide and settle down to spend some time with The Very Finest Literary Adaptation Ever.

And, while in that vein,

6) Emma

My love affair with this movie is well-known on this blog, and I shan't get into it again, except to say that when I first saw Jeremy Northam as Mr. Knightley tell Emma "badly done," I knew what it was to swoon.


I actually DID own this movie for most of my life (first in VHS format, then the DVD), but someone borrowed the dvd in college and forgot to return it, and I've never repurchased it. Heathers is sort of a strange addition to this blog at well as it's always heavily edited for tv, and you are better off just seeing the theatrical version. However, I credit Heathers' long-standing spot at 4pm on Sundays on TBS with its popularity among the zeitgeist of this nation. When even the lamest of lame people, like my brother, can bust out an "I love my dead, gay son" reference, you know a movie's reached the heart and soul of this country. Also it is, bar none, the most true-to-life movie about high school ever written.

4) Who Framed Roger Rabbit

A) See above, in re: Bob Hoskins/Danny DeVito.
B) You have to admit that, given all animation and effects are done by hand, it's a really fucking amazing technical achievement.
C) Has the best line ever uttered by a femme fatale: "I'm not bad. I'm just drawn that way."

3) Howard the Duck

Don't judge me. I was six, and I loved Lea Thompson and I thought ducks were cute and I was obsessed with aliens. And, apparently, bestiality.

Don't judge me, I said!

2) Joe Versus the Volcano

Okay, yes. I could have picked from any number of Meg Ryan/Tom Hanks films. Sleepless in Seattle? Love that film! You've Got Mail? Um . . . legitimately like that film! Well, love the scenery in the film, anyway! And Parker Posey! Love her. (Whoa, I just realized I managed to get through a whole Top Ten list about films and not have one with my Life Coach and fellow Mississippian, Parker Posey. I think that's because I own almost all of her movies.) But if I'm being completely honest, Joe Versus the Volcano wipes the floor with any of the other films, and a hell of a lot of films in general. Last week at lunch, I said to someone, "Tom Hanks has done one good film, and that's 'Big'." I totally forgot about JVtV because, in truth, I forget it's a Tom Hanks film! That's how much I love it! (I have . . . issues with Tom Hanks. His face is the face of a gummy bear. A melting gummy bear. I find him uncomfortable to watch. Have he and Renee Zelwegger done a film together? They have, haven't they? Those two . . . should avoid mating.)

Joe Versus the Volcano is an amazing film to watch on Sunday afternoons, because it allows for a little pre-Monday wish fulfillment. Don't we all dread going into our boring corporate offices on Monday, even if we otherwise enjoy our jobs? (I'm just saying, color, Unnamed Company That Employs Me. It's a crazy concept, I know, to decorate with items not in greyscale, but it just might work! Look into it.) Don't we dream of being mis-diagnosed with a brain cloud and just deciding to say, "eff it, I'm going to throw myself in a volcano?" Of being adrift on the endless sea at the ends of the earth with a giant moon filling up our vision and finally realizing the beauty of being present in this world? "Dear God, whose name I do not know - thank you for my life."

And even without all the inspirational nonsense, it's just so funny! The luggage guy! Shopping montages! (I love shopping montages, trust.) Meg Ryan, all charming and incorrigible. Tom Hanks, not making that face he usually makes. I just love, love, love this movie and anytime it comes on, I know it's going to be a good day.

1) The Cutting Edge

True Story! This past weekend, I was lazing about my parents' house Sunday afternoon and watching The Cutting Edge on TNT. This is the REAL LIFE STORY of the conversation between myself and the woman who gave birth to me, although how you could even tell that we're related is beyond my comprehension:

Her: "What is this, what you're watching?"
Me (in my best "duh, mom" voice I perfected in grade school.): "Um, The Cutting Edge, hello."
Her: "What's it about?"
Me: "WHAT? Have you never seen The Cutting Edge after TWENTY EIGHT years of being my mother?"
Her: "No, I must have missed it."
Me: "Well, you see, Kate, that's Moira Kelly. You know her from The West Wing."
Her: "Oh, yeah. okay."
Me: "Yeah, I hated her in that. ANYWAY. So Kate is this spoiled ice princess who has figure-skated all her life in the hopes of winning the Olympic Gold Medal and thus gaining her father's affection and respect. But she's sort of a spoiled twatbox -"
Her: "Erin, please."
Me: "Sorry. So she cycles through partners a lot. But then her coach found Doug, who was ACTUALLY a hockey player before an injury to his eye forced him to retire and lose his college scholarship, and he's learning how hard it is to be a figure skater and she's learning that she doesn't have to be a spoiled tightass all -"
Her: "ERIN."
Me: "SORRY. A spoiled princess and of course secretly they're in love and want to do it like bunnies, but she's engaged to Hale who is such a douchenozzle, like you wouldn't believe -"
Her: "Where do you hear these words?"
Me: "The tv. Anyway, but they fall in love and get together and skate their way to the gold medal, the end!"
Her: "Huh. It looks stupid."

It looks stupid. IT LOOKS STUPID? How can this person share my DNA, SRSLY? The Cutting Edge is NOT stupid. It is perhaps the finest Sports- or Sports-Adjacent RomCom ever made. It contains the immortal words of both ice skating, in particular, and life advice in general: "TOOOEEEEE PIIIIICK."

Stupid. STUPID. She is disowned.

Although, the movie does have one flaw. Following the logical age progression with regard to the plot, Doug and Kate are probably about 23, 24 at the oldest (Doug says that the last thing he read was the letter cancelling his college scholarship - let's assume he was a junior at the time, at the latest - and that was one year before Pamchenko came to recruit him, making him 23ish. And Kate's of course nearing retirement age, so she's got to be about 23 or 24 as well.). So why did Kate dress like Blanche Devereaux all the time? Kate! You're a figure skater with an AMAZING body. Whyfor the shoulder pads and giant caftans, baby?

End of Conversation with Mom, post "Stupid" comment:
Me: "I can't BELIEVE you would say that. This movie is amazing. This movie is my number one, all time movie to watch on Sunday afternoons. I mean, if I were doing a Top Ten list, like, about movies I like to catch on cable tv, this would top it. {Pause} Hey, is it winter or summer Olympics this year?"
Her: "Summer. 8.8.08."
Me: "Cool. Where are they?"
Her: "ERIN. CHINA. Are you living under a rock?"
Me: "Oh, yeah! With the protests, and the relay and everything. Cool, I get it."
Her: "Sometimes I don't know how you're my daughter."

Okay, you know the drill: list me your top ten. Think carefully about them!! Please know I will be silently judging you and forming ideas about the future of our relationship based on your answers.

Oh, by the way, while getting the link for The Cutting Edge, guess what I found? That's right, The Cutting Edge fanfiction. I'm totally going to read it right now.

28 April 2008

"i'll make you a tape."

This weekend in between weddings and dinners out with friends, I read Love Is a Mix Tape, the memoir by Rolling Stone's Rob Sheffield. (I also finally got around to reading A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, which was much better than I expected it to be, being surely the second most overrated book in the world, behind Anna Karenina.) The book had been in my To Read pile since it was published last year, but I'd sort of shuffled it to the bottom week after week, because I wasn't yet ready to face a book about people dying both suddenly and young and/or the rise of Hanson. Do you remember when VH1 put out I ♥ the 90s, like in 2001, and it was a miserable failure? It was just too soon, and that's how I felt about this book.

But I'm glad I've read it now, as it was lovingly crafted and deftly written. Sheffield writes of the relationship between he and his wife, Renée, about her early death and how he goes about trying to pick up the pieces, and does so under the banner of fifteen different mix tapes from different periods of his life. It's really warm and moving and you totally fall in love with Renée, so if you, like me, kept shuffling it to the bottom of the pile, I urge you to pick it up and read it.

But that's not really what I want to discuss today, because that would be depressing. Rather, reading about Rob Sheffield's old mixes led me to think about some of mine. I was the queen of the mix tape in my younger days. I think I had a mix tape or cd for everything I did. I had one for the morning ride to my high school - it was a lot of angry grrl music that validated my sense of isolation and self-importance. There was Aly's SuperAwesomeMix mix, which had everything from Garth Brooks to Cowboy Mouth to Aretha Franklin, which was what we played when we needed a self-esteem boost. (All the songs were designed to tell us how SuperAwesome we were, natch.) I had one for showers when I was a freshman in college which was mostly classical - I remember that Tchaikovsky's Pathetique was on there, as well as the Moonlight Sonata. Two bonin' pieces, really, so I don't know why I relegated them to the showers. There was the Sunday Afternoon mix when I was a junior in college - all Etta James and Billie Holiday that produced the desired effect of me lounging around in my pjs and drinking whiskey while finishing up human ev coursework. I remember one from when I was eight that was just 15 different Michael Jackson songs, taped off the radio, called "The Boogie Mix." My parents had one from a party they had - Dance Mix 2 (I never could figure out where Dance Mix 1 had absconded to) - which I stole from the tape deck after the party and played on my Walkman for three months straight. I am not even kidding when I say that it had a track from Alabama on it. I remember one tape Mandy made for one of our many rambles somewhere that had Dr Demento, KMFDM and Paul Westerberg on it, which is so Mandy that if there was a course called Mandy 101, that tape would be in the list of required materials. And then, of course, Matt's Spring Break '99 (2002) mixes 1 and 2, which provided the perfect soundtrack for our group's drunken tour of Austin's scenic highways. (Don't worry, we had a DD, obviously.) That featured both Tiny Tim *and* Journey, which is how you know it's a good mix.

Over the years, I've made tons of mixes (tape, cd, and iPod playlist form) for friends, boyfriends, strangers on the street. I consider them to be the perfect 90-minute introduction to Your New Friend Erin. I mean, what about me can't be summed up by the simple fact that I love, without shame, Paula Abdul, Kanye and french music? Nothing; there is nothing more to add to the wonder and glory that is me - I adore the pop culture of my childhood, I harbor affection for self-involved whiners only if they can make me dance and I like immersing myself in languages which I cannot speak. et voila, you have Erin.

So my question for you guys today is two-fold: One) what's your most memorable mix? Did you make it or was it given to you? Did it have a purpose beyond being, was it for a specific event, etc? and Two) Make me a mix about your day! I don't mean that you have to ACTUALLY make one (although I will of course accept one), but tell me what would be on it, and why. If I had to make a mix today, it'd be full of music to bop along to, like Mika and the Jackson 5 and Chuck Berry , because I've had a busy day and I don't drink caffeine, so something has to keep me on my toes. What would be in yours?

In other news, today is gingerbiscuit's birthday!! Happy birthday, Anne! I wish I were there to sit on your couch and watch Buffy and talk about how I want to marry your brother.

25 April 2008

sxsw day three, or, "things tend to get a bit . . . wet."

All week I've been struggling with a general sense of ennui; I know there are things I should be doing, even want to be doing, but I can't seem to be arsed to do any of them. And that's doubly true for coming up with a blog topic, as everytime I sit down to my computer (in my fixed apartment, hooray!), I sort of give a half-hearted sigh and then give up, flop on the couch and watch episodes of Top Model.

Maybe sometime this weekend I'll find it within myself to talk about this week's Top Model, and the tragedy contained therein.

As I was driving home from my department's team building exercise of go-karting (which, I might add, I unilaterally sucked at. Also the go-kart people misread my nickname of E2 as EZ, which is so not the impression one should make amongst coworkers. Unless your company is on a street corner in the Third Ward somewhere or you are a cast member of The Hills. However, I did take home a lovely head covering which can be used as part of an executioner's outfit, should I ever feel the need to axe someone to death.), I was pondering prospective blog topics. Then The Wombats came on shuffle and as I was singing along to a story about strippers, it hit me: I still haven't finished my sxsw coverage. So, I should probably do that.

You thought you'd get away with not having to hear anything more about sxsw, just because it was almost two months ago. Sorry.

Okay, so where we left off, I'd spent the day waiting in one form of line or another and was haunted by giant pandas and tranny vampires. Day three of sxsw dawned bright and early, as I had to get my roommate/partner in crime Courtney off to the CLE by 10:30. Sometimes it pays to know a lawyer, but I don't think this is one of those times. While Courtney went to continue her legal education, I chilled out in the convention center next to Johnny Flynn:

He was writing a new song, and it seemed entirely in the spirit of south by to relax and listen to a musician tinkering with his lyrics for a while. I passed an enjoyable hour reading the Chronicle, drinking my mimosa-to-go and watching the world go by.

Eventually though, I knew I had to buckle down and get to work. My primary target for the day was Filter's day party at Cedar St. Courtyard. It was one of those magic line-ups, where I wanted to see everyone on the bill. I love parties like that because I am lazy and hate darting from place to place.

First up were Sweden's Shout Out Louds, who are a great, fun little pop group. Their song Please Please Please has been in heavy rotation at casa de erin all year. It's just so much fun! Even if it is about the dangers of being an aging hipster. Amusingly, this song is right next to Please Please Please, Let Me Get What I Want in my itunes/ipod, which makes for an interesting contrast. Fucking Morrissey is always bringing me down.

Besides being a fun pop group, the Shout Out Louds are also really attractive.

Well, at least that guy is, and as I was standing right in front of him, that worked out well for me.

I should mention that by this point (about noon), it was already 88 degrees, with no breeze to speak of and the sun a giant ball of fire bearing down on us. Y'all, it was m-effin' hot that day. And all I'd had to eat or drink was that one mimosa, so I was feeling a little bit like dying. This feeling would only progress as the day went on.

You know how, sometimes, you'll find out that you were in the same place as someone else that you know of, but don't actually know? Somewhere in this crowd near me is Becs, my friend Kaisa's bestie, of whom I have heard many a delightful tale. We apparently stood right next to each other and never recognized one another, despite both of us having seen photos of the other. Ah, well. Maybe next year, Becs.

We'd already seen how the Swedes fared in the hot Texas sun, next up were even less likely subjects - Wales' Los Campesinos! (ed note: The exclamation mark is part of the name. I do not feel quite so strongly about Los Campesinos! to express that adoration with grammatical markers, although their excitement about themselves does tend to infect those around them.) It had become even hotter by this point, and the sun was so blinding that no one could see their equipment readouts:

Despite the unbearable heat, though, Los Campesinos! still brought their infectuous Welsh excitement to the stage. They also brought an asthma inhaler, sunscreen and awesome fashions for the girls:

(I fell a little in love with her. I don't think it was the heatstroke talking, either.)

At one point, the lead singer decided he was too hot to be wearing a shirt and took his off. This was such a bad idea. He got very, very sunburned.

This little girl was watching from a window upstairs. I envied her both her view and her a/c:

The lack of water or food led me to create a fanciful story about this girl, and how she was trapped in a tower like the Lady of Shallot. This girl didn't die, though, in my story; instead she started a punk rock band and did a lot of performance art.

This is Matt Bowman, of Leeds' The Pigeon Detectives:

Matt Bowman enjoys pints of lager, Michael Jackson, and spitting on people. I got spit on (and sweated on, and gyrated upon) a lot. It was the closest to catching the syph from a musician as I'd come in quite a while.

He's also very, very energetic:

Good on you, Mr. Bowman. At this point in the day (3 pm), I could not even summon the energy to clap for people. You, meanwhile, are doing cheerleading moves off the drum kit. Of course, you, unlike me, had probably consumed food that day. And maybe some cocaine.

Of course, I perked up when I saw Cherub taking his rightful place on the stage:

This is Cherub. He's The Wombats' stuffed, well, wombat, which as I recall they got after finishing two cases of some sort of Australian wine. He is their faithful companion and goes to every show (except for the one they did on Saturday; apparently he was back at the hotel pool being blown by prozzies). I love him. It is because of Cherub that Courtney and I even know about the Wombats: we caught the tail end of their set at last year's sxsw and quickly decided that any band that played on stage with a stuffed wombat was a band worth listening to.

Plus, they're just the most fun people ever, what with their barbershop quartets about marsupials and their slice-of-life ditties about strippers, caravans and attending your ex-girlfriend's wedding.

Also their adorably pudgy lead singer plays a flowered guitar:

The last act of the day party was Lightspeed Champion, which was great for me, because I love and worship Dev. Like, if there was a Church of Dev, I'd be the alter girl.

And he had the charming/adorable/poignant/lovely Emmy the Great with him as well:

And also this fella:

Oh, Lightspeed Champion. Sing songs about how everyone is listening to crunk all the time, okay?

By this point, Courtney had stopped learning things about the law, and we went to get some grub:

First meal of the day - 6:30 pm. It was gone in less than 2 minutes.

We were meant to go to see Santogold/MGMT/The Cribs at Stubb's, but I just couldn't take all the people after the long and hot day I'd had. So we decided to go over to the NME showcase, where we saw this guy:

Amazing, no?

This is Aimi, of Make.Model. We talked to her a lot before the show and she was super-lovely. Also her hair is amazing.

After Make.Model's set, I went to the bathroom, and who should I run into but Ed Larrikin (see Day Two)! We chatted a bit and he scolded me for going to see The Pigeon Detectives. He told me he was there to support ox.eagle.lion.man, and at the time, I wondered what interested him about them.

Within about five seconds of ox.eagle.lion.man's set, I figured it out:

It's like if Cousin It and an extra from Witness got together, read a lot of Becket and decided to sing about pain. It was . . . tedious. To put it mildly.

And then I ran into Sarah 3! I met Sarah 3 (so noted to distinguish her from Sarah 1, a contributor to this blog, and Sarah 2, aka poshdeluxe) last year at a Locksley show, so it was nice seeing her again. We made fun of people we don't like, which was also nice.

After that, it was time for Fanfarlo:

In the crowd? The mysterious and notorious Becs who, along with my friend Kaisa, is a friend of Fanfarlo's. Did we notice each other? No, we did not. Maybe next year, Becs.

Fanfarlo were having tons of problems with their equipment, and at one point actually had Courtney and Sarah 3 playing their rhythm section for them. This led Courtney to tell me that she was now a sxsw showcasing artist, and that I should treat her with the according amount of respect and awe. So I punched her. (However, Courtney, I'm meant to tell you thanks from Fanfarlo for playing the egg, according to Kaisa.)

Around 1 am or so, we called our friend Jeni and told her to come meet us for breakfast:

ILU Magnolia! And I miss you always!

Jeni and Courtney talked about their upcoming (now: currently on) trip to England while I constructed a metaphor for the meaning of life with my avocado omelette.

After breakfast, Courtney and I went to Wal-Mart, because . . . I'm not really sure. Because it was four in the morning and we weren't quite ready to go to bed yet. We bought heel gel things for our shoes. It was v. exciting and glamorous.

And then we went back to our hotel and crashed, because we had to be up even earlier for Day Four. So long, sxsw day three! You were hot and sweaty, but you sure were fun.

22 April 2008

the chance to be a kid again

So it seems like every six months, something majorly weird happens in my shitty apartment (from which I keep meaning to move out, but I have not yet found a nice place in Houston that I can afford which will not have me fearing being shot after sundown. If anyone knows of anything, I'm all ears.). One year the water-heater broke and I had to take cold showers for a week, which makes it sound like maybe I was trying to subdue my powerful sexual attraction to someone. It really wasn't all that sexy. Then one August my a/c broke, which was a nightmare, because I am notorious for my complete intolerance of the heat and like to keep my apartment at a cool 66 degrees. (Global warming isn't all assholes in Hummers, guys. Mostly it's spoiled princesses like yours truly. I make up for it by never turning the heat on.) And then there was the five-month span when my garbage disposal didn't work, and my repeated entreaties to the maintenance people went unanswered. That really hindered my primary method of relaxation: baking.

But now, it's like all of that has teamed up into one super problem. The power to my apartment is . . . half-assed? The lights flicker and fade; the computer reboots itself every five minutes, and none of my major appliances - or anything that takes more than 40 watts of power, it seems - will work. Air conditioning, washer/dryer, water heater, stove . . . nada. Which is inconvenient, at best, and really effing miserable, at worst.

I'm lucky enough that my parents live close to where I work, so I can stay in my old bedroom instead of couch-surfing at my friends' places. (In actuality, the surfing would be minimal. I'd show up on Matt and Mere's doorstep with my cherry pie pjs and the X-Files dvds and demand to sleep on their couch. I would perhaps make them cupcakes as compensation. Being my friend is a constant trial, I assure you.) And while the idea of spending what has now become the fifth night in a row at my parents' house might seem lame, I'm actually really enjoying the break from responsibility. Every morning, I wake up and wander out to the kitchen that I didn't have to clean, flip through the paper I didn't have to subscribe to, shuffle off to shower in the bathroom with the fancy, fluffy towels that I can't afford . . . are you sensing a pattern? And then, when I get home from checking on my kitties and spending as much time as I can stand petting them (it's okay; at about 78 degrees, the apartment's not too hot for the kitties. It's just too hot for me.), I get dinner that I didn't have to cook or buy. Why did I ever move out? Being a kid again is great!

To be honest, I'm already chomping at the bit to be back in my own place (going on day four of urgent phone calls to apt mgmt - nothing has yet been accomplished), as I'm at heart a bit of a loner and I don't like sharing my personal space. But still, a sense of peace has slipped over me the last few days, a calmness which comes from not having to take care of everything in my life, of knowing that, when I need to lean, I've got people to lean on. That's pretty special.

It could be the increased melatonin from the blistering sunburn talking, though.

So while I hope and pray (and plan to go to my apt on my lunch hour tomorrow and kick ass personally if I have to) that they'll have the wiring sorted by tomorrow, I've enjoyed these few stolen days of carefree living. It turned out to be just what I needed to recharge after the hectic month I've had.

Which leads me to today's question: what's the one adult responsibility that you have that you hate? What one thing would you love to give over to someone else and wipe your hands of completely? If I had to pick just one, I'd say vacuuming. I have to do it every day because I'm allergic to my cats, and if I could just have someone take over that one chore, I'd be so much happier. You?

18 April 2008

what are your winning numbers?

You know, I'm always reading about lottery winners who say that they're going to keep their job at the plant or Wal-Mart, even though they're now a gazillionaire, simply because they like working. I would totally not ever say that. I hate working. I mean, don't get me wrong, I believe in being productive or whatever, but I am first and foremost a lazy person, and there's no way I'd work if I didn't have to. I'd much rather spend my time lounging in bed, reading Jane Austen and dreaming of Messers Darcy and Knightly than getting up at six am and fighting traffic to get to work. Also, if I won Mega-Millions, I'd probably be rich enough to afford to pay Colin Firth and Jeremy Northam to come act out their roles in my living room. That would be the best Masterpiece Theatre ever.

But, actually, if I had all the money in the world (or a good chunk of it), I know exactly what I'd do. First I'd quit my job, because as much as I enjoy my new job, it still requires me to get up really early in the morning and make a passable attempt at dressing like someone who didn't find today's clothes shoved under her bed. Also, I don't think flourescent lights are particularly flattering to my complexion. After I quit my job (making sure not to burn my bridges, of course, because despite my deep and abiding affection for math, I have dyscalculia, and it's caused me these sorts of trouble before), I'd donate twenty percent of my winnings to various local charities in and around Texas and the Gulf Coast. I'd do a few standard charities, like the Red Cross, or whatever, but most of them would be really strange, out-there charities, like United Effort To Tip Sonic Workers (cause I always feel guilty that Sonic workers don't make more money. I mean, shouldn't we be rewarding those wonderful people who walk our Route 44 Strawberry Limeades out to the car with cold hard cash? I think so.). Or something.

Oh, also, I'd donate however much money as is necessary to the University of Texas at Austin so that there would be the Erin Curtis School of Anthropology. Take THAT, Red McCombs!

After I'd taken care of my community in the financial sense, I'd start on my family. I'd buy my parents one of those ugly McMansions that my mother seems so fond of, with a shed out back for my dad's ammo-making equipment, and plenty of spare rooms and extra wings so that they can avoid each other when they're having one of their fights about what brand of cat food to purchase. I'd set my brother up with a V. SMALL trust fund so as to pay for the rest of his education, and maybe I'd buy him a car or something, but that would be it, because my brother would totally become a trust fund kid, doing lines of blow off LiLo's back. And of course I'd set up a trust fund for m'elle, but with the rules that it couldn't be accessible for anything other than education costs until she turns 35. Cause obvs I want her to have a good head on her shoulders and this would also ensure that she had several post-graduate degrees. I might also buy her a pony.

Then I'd buy several houses in several locations throughout the world, both for the good investments and because they'd be good places to crash when I get the urge to travel. I would buy a private jet so that I don't have to be crammed into coach class on long flights, but then I run the risk of being That Person With The Jet In Her Backyard, like John Travolta. No, thanks. Plus, I'll be a gazillionaire, so I can afford to fly first-class. And I'd fill up all my houses with things I see in catalogs, because I am a White Person, and white people love catalogs.

After I've done all that (and had a shopping spree at H&M. Can you imagine how much clothes you could buy with three thousand dollars at H&M? You could buy out the store!), I'd get to work on actually doing some work. Most notably, I'd implement my dream of owning a bookstore that's actually just a converted house in the Village (um, Rice. Not New York.), where every room was decorated just like a home and held a different genre of books. This would soothe both my love of reading and my obsessive-compulsive need to have everything in my life assigned to a certain place. And I'd serve wine and whiskey in the evenings, so that people could curl up in a cozy armchair by the fire (let's pretend I'd have donated enough money to the global warming-reversal effort as to make it actually cold in Texas) and spend a few hours living in someone else's world. Plus, I'd have tons of book clubs, because I love the idea of book clubs, but have never had the courage to actually join one.

And then, with the five bucks I'd have left over, I'd buy myself a sandwich.

Today's Friday, and we could all use a little escape before the weekend officially begins, so tell me: what would you do if an enormous pile of money fell in your lap? And, subquestion: would you buy me a sandwich?

17 April 2008

"cat stevens was a total asshole to me. I mean, before he found Allah."

Hey there, blogosphere. Did everyone turn in their taxes by the deadline? Are you getting money back? If so, come sit by me, because I could use it.

Today I'd like to write about two people who seem to give me quite a lot of money, as well as my short stature and smartass nature. That's right, my parents, or Mr. and Mrs. Moneybags, as they are more formally known. Today's my parents 31st wedding anniversary! (Note to self: send email to father reminding him that today is his anniversary.) Isn't that crazy? It's even more astounding if you actually know my parents or have witnessed one of their many days-long arguments over such important matters as the volume of the television set or which way to park the cars in the driveway.

Like many married couples today, my parents met in college, and even though my parents are obviously old and decrepit now, it turns out that when they were in school, they were kind of awesome. They both attended the University of Mississippi, or Ole Miss, and first met when my mom was enrolled in a martial arts class that my dad was teaching. That's right, my mom was totally hot for teacher. And, apparently, roundhouse kicks. Hey, sensei! They didn't get together or anything at that time, because obviously that would be super unprofessional of my dad as a sensei, and Splinter, aka, the Greatest Sensei To Ever Live, would not have let him be a Ninja Turtle. But several months later, my mom was given a job as an assistant to the Dean of Students for her work study program. Her assignment? Keep my dad out of trouble.

You may not know it to look at him - and his gun safe - now, but my dad was totally a teenage rebel. He listened to a lot of bootlegs and wore his hair long and made use of Ole Miss's marijuana research project in his spare time. (Well, he denies that, but I totally know what's up.) And he had an awesome job as Entertainment Coordinator for Ole Miss, which means that he got to book all the concerts and stand-up shows for the school. Fortunately for me, and the five people who are glad I was born, my dad's sort of not the most tactful person ever, and he was pissing off a lot of the artists by laughing at their unreasonable demands, so my mom was roped in to be the soothing voice of reason. Also, someone had to keep my dad from implementing his idea of turning the entire campus into a giant hash farm.

So they worked together for a few months, booking such Time Life's "Sounds of the Seventies" acts as Cat Stevens, Joan Baez, Chevy Chase and John Belushi, and I guess a lot of late nights - and my dad's totally fly early 70s feathered hairstyle - led to them holding hands and kissing on the cheek (cause I refuse to believe my parents have ever seen each other without clothes on or touched each other in a carnal fashion. Ew. Obviously, my dad accidentally tripped and fell on my mom and made a baby. Twice.). And they were a pretty happy couple until they had to ruin it all by running off to get married in a Holy Roller church. Begin as you mean to go on, Parents. I mean, did you think that a marriage ceremony spoken in tongues would really be a good idea?

But, however much they fight or have oral sex in the living room (i.e. "Fuck you!" "No, fuck you!"), I think we can all agree that, by being married for so long, my mommy and daddy have brought something pretty darn special into this world: a 28-year-old fully-grown daughter with an overwhelming fear of commitment due to witnessing all of their marital discord. So thanks, Mr and Mrs Moneybags, and may you manage to just barely avoid divorce for another thirty-one years!

15 April 2008

my cats are named Schrodinger and Heisenberg

(or, as m'elle calls them, "Schroder" and "Hamburger.")

So can you really blame me for passing this youtube video on? Much thanks to the marvelous Courtney, who knows how much I love cats and jokes about engineers.

a sea chanty of sorts

Hey, guys! I'm back! Have you missed me? Don't all say yes at once.

I'm so sorry for the radio silence; I've just been too busy to blog lately. See, normally I write my blog posts on my work computer on my lunch break after sending Meredith a whinging email which basically reads: "Meeeeredith. Tell me what to write about today!" And then I either save them or email them to myself, spruce them up later, and post them quickly at the end of the day. But I've been in training (to be a superhero) for the last two weeks, and while I did manage to check my email and compose several odes to my class instructor's wonderful hair during the training session, I thought blog writing might be frowned upon. And I was too busy at night with 1200 birthday celebrations (some of which were even my own) to do much of anything at my apartment other than feeding the cats and shuffling off to bed.

But now training is over, so you can look forward to reading more of my ridiculous diatribes against avians, if that's your sort of thing. (I might add, however, that none of my blog contributors cowboyed up during my absence. I am breaking up with them.)

So what did you guys do over the weekend? I was a pirate! That's right, an actual skull-and-crossbones wearing, rum drinking, yo-ho singing pirate. My fierce crewmates and I took to the high seas (of Lake Travis) and totally swashbuckled our way into pirate legend! But perhaps I should explain exactly how my pirate's life came to be.

Henri decided to have a Pirate Party, if for no other reason than to get Sarah in a very tiny outfit.

He roped the Drafthouse into sponsoring it, which opened the party up for tons of pirates I'd never met before (a few of whom I perhaps got to know too well by the end of the evening. Ah, rum. You do it to me every time.). And what pirates they were! Henri had specified that no one was allowed on board if they weren't dressed as pirates, and everyone took him at his word. There were some amazing looking pirates up on that boat, y'all. Look at this crowd shot from Sarah:

Doesn't everyone look arrrrsome? Have you started stashing your bounty in a safe place yet?

There were also some ill-advised breast adventures happening, much to my delight and many of my friends' consternation. One lady in particular had corseted her lovely lady lumps in such a way as to have them creating a third and fourth breast, which was just no good. No one likes quadraboob, lady. Sadly, I don't have any photos of that to share with you, but just go to a rennaissance festival somewhere. You'll get the general idea.

My crew was, of course, the fiercest around:

Look at us! You don't want to mess with us, do you? Cause we will cut you with Mandy's plastic sword, and it will totally hurt for at least a few seconds.

Speaking of Mandy, doesn't she look AMAZING with facial hair?

You guys know my type: full beard or nothing at all. But I think I can find it within myself to love someone with facial hair as fierce as that.

We boarded the boat and set off for parts unknown, immediately trading in our drink tickets for a fantastic concoction of rum and sugar-water and seeing who could consume the most ceviche in the shortest amount of time. Mandy won, because she is the Rainman of pickled foods, but I gave her a fair run for her money. Then we all just sat and chatted as Henri spun classic boating songs such as "Rock the Boat" and the Love Boat theme song. The weather was gorgeous; the lake a rippled mirror for that big Texas sky. The air was cool but the sun was warm and it was just the perfect pirating weather. My crewmates and I danced and caught up on each other's lives and generally had a great time:

(the delightful Josh and Erica are studiously ignoring Mandy's slowjamz.)

Upon discovering an uncharted isle, however, we came across our first pirating obstacle! We encountered a party boat full of frat boys and their poor, soon-to-be-date-raped companions, and a fierce battle ensued. We waved our swords, they waved their genitalia . . . it was not pretty. John and I stood way back as we were unsure about the airborne capabilities of the clap and thought it better to be safe than sorry. I mean, just look at these people:

courtesy of sarah

Would you want their fleshy manparts anywhere near you?

Eventually, our pirate fortitude (or, as Henri put it, "the power of geeks in groups") won out and we claimed the isle in the name of . . . wait a tick, we're pirates. We don't need to claim anything for anyone but ourselves. That's the beauty of being a pirate!

Docked, we scrambled on the island in search of gold. Henri surveyed his crew:

I didn't get any gold, but I did get a tear in my stockings and a chat with a lovely woman called Amy for my troubles, so all in all, it wasn't a total waste.

Back on board, our thoughts turned, as they naturally do, to Dance Party! Luckily for us, we'd taken Car Stereo (Wars) hostage and he provided us with ample jams to which we swashbuckled and plundered all evening:

He also provided me with tummy flutterings, cause he is v. cute fer srs. Also, he played NKOTB for me (what? That is a totally topical musical choice.), and as we all know, the quickest way to my heart is through my eleven-year-old crush, Joey McIntyre. (Oh, Joey McIntyre, with your Smiley shirt and your gorgeous eyes. Let's hold hands at recess.) So thank you, Car Stereo (Wars). Also, your computer looks really complicated.

As ever with a dance party, I roped a bunch of strangers into dancing with me. This totally led to me making out with two of them, which was an unexpected gift-with-purchase of my pirate adventures. I must say, either my dancing's gotten better or everyone was a lot drunker (I think it was the latter) because that doesn't usually happen during dance parties. Which is probably good news for my reputation, if not my ego.

I think this photo accurately sums up both the craziness of our Pirate moves and my current state of inebriation.

After I just couldn't dance anymore, I went down to the lower level of the boat, where I ran into the delightful Tim League, who insisted I should drink more, not less. Tim: "I'm Tim League! I own this boat!" Me: "No, you don't." Him: "But I own the alcohol, and I'm giving it to you!" So even though I really, really did not need any more booze, Tim supplied me with several more drinks. Yo ho!

As the party wound down and we shuffled back to the marina, I exchanged cupcakes with Sarah and got Amber in return. Which was a pretty good trade-off, as we had a great time in the backseat of Matt's land-vessle. (Talking, obviously. Get your minds out of the gutter, mateys.) Matt took us to the douchetastic Treasure Island where we met up with some of our brave crew for even more dancing. And, in my case, pouting because I thought I'd broken my camera. (I didn't, it's fine. Yay!) But my emos over the possibly-broken camera were too great to suffer a bunch of frat boys, so Matt and I went over to Bull McCabe's to see Randy. Yay, Randy! I can't remember the last time I saw him, so it was really nice to catch up. Plus, more free beer:

After closing, a still-piratey Meredith and Henri joined us:

And then we all went safely to the various homes of various people, but didn't actually get to bed until after five. Arrr.

You know, earlier in the day, as we drifted down the lake, it occured to me that with the water, the waves, the houses wedged into the hillsides and the taste of spring on the air, I could pretend I was anywhere in the world. France or Italy or somewhere in the Pacific. And I realized I'd not want to be anywhere other than right where I was, seeing old friends, making new ones and feeling connected to a whole boat of strangers. I guess a pirate's life truly is for me.