Monday, November 05, 2007
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
I arrived to find that my worst fears had been realized. Even my mother shuddered as she entered the party with me. Instantly, time had reversed, I was 16 again, and the room might as well have been lined with pews; pews full of hateful old bitches.
Every church, especially the smaller congregations, has one old lady that serves as the leader among her curmudgeonly peers. She's the one they secretly live in fear of; her judgement as severe as the line on her neck separating a thick makeup foundation and her natural skin tone. For me growing up, this woman was Edith. It's been at least 10 years since I last saw Edith - for all I knew, Edith was dead.
But Saturday I found out Edith is very much alive, and incredibly preserved in the same condition and style she was 10 years ago: tightly curled short perm of dyed black hair, thick glasses, saggy jaw line, orthopedic shoes and what appeared to be hospital scrub pants paired with a Halloween themed t-shirt. The unfriendly grump on her face that I remembered so well was also in place, and it grumped up more when her eyes landed on me.
Edith made a quick move in my direction. "Well, hello there, Snake. It has been so long. Where is it that you live now?" "Hi Edith. I live in Atlanta." "And what is it that you do for a living in Atlanta?" "I'm a fund raiser. I work for a mus...."
She grabs my left hand, gives it a once-over and interrupts with:
"You are not married, is that right?"
"No, I'm not. But I do have a boyf...."
And before I could finish my sentence, Edith was done with me. She smiled, patted me on the shoulder with one withered old lady hand and shuffled in the direction of the quickly forming food line. Things did get better after my initial Edith encounter. I saw a number of women who were very sweet, even one old woman who told me she was proud of me for "not marrying the first one to come along", whatever that means. Considering this was also a woman I hadn't seen in 10 years and whose name I couldn't remember, it was as equally awkward and intrusive as my exchange with Edith, but at least she thought she was being positive. In the end, it was nice to be home and to take a walk down memory lane with childhood friends. And to be reminded that like it or not, whether at home or afar, I will never escape the wrath of the old lady.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Thursday, September 06, 2007
Even if you know absolutely nothing about classical music or opera, I'd bet you know who Luciano Pavarotti is. Even if you don't know his name, you probably recognize his face. Like so many people of my generation who have sung or have an appreciation for classical singing and opera, Pavarotti was one of the first singers I recognized as being very special. I didn't come from a musical family, and I wasn't surrounded by music growing up. What exposure I had to the art of opera and singing came early on from hearing Pavarotti sing. He died last night, and I have to admit that I teared up when I heard it on the news.
I vividly remember watching him on PBS as a kid. Whether he was singing on stage during a Met telecast or appearing with Big Bird on Sesame Street, he mesmorized me. I absolutely loved watching him sing. His face, his voice, the genuine and simple joy behind all of it. He had the ability to communicate something meaningful to everybody, from the well-seasoned opera enthusiast in the front row to the 6 year-old version of myself watching him on TV. I was in high school when I met him briefly on a school trip to New York. There is no one else I could have or will ever be as starstruck by.
I've never really thought about it before, but if I were to say I was a "lifelong" fan of anyone, honestly Pavarotti is the only one that fits that description. I imagine there will be lots of tribute-type shows on in the coming days (ok, lots on PBS anyway), and I know I'll be watching them - and probably singing along.
And with that we'll officially end today's music dork moment. Arrivederci.
Monday, August 06, 2007
What can I say. This was emailed to me this morning. There is a second installment of it, but I'm just posting the first. (the second installment goes a little farther than I think the Nation really should...) If you live in Atlanta, perhaps you've had your own sighting of this gentleman. I certainly have. And if you don't live in Atlanta, well - it just might make you wish you did. Enjoy.
Monday, July 30, 2007
Let's get right to the focus of today's post: I have become a (very) satisfied viewer of Rock of Love.
Oh, you're not familiar with the show? Really? Well, it follows a reality show formula I'm sure you love as much as I do. It all started with The Bachelor years ago, and it has produced an impressive group of mutant offspring ever since.
Combine the following with alcohol and scripted emotional drama:
1 part washed up male celebrity from the past "looking for love" (aka - looking for a desperate, pride-punishing career rebirth)
1 part former and/or current strippers, bartenders, and Hooters waitresses "looking for love" in a fight to win the heart of the washed up celebrity (aka - looking for a more direct career path into porn)
It's totally fake, it's a little disgusting and it's humiliating for everyone involved. In other words, it's great TV.
The show is on VH1 and the washed up male celebrity is a well-aged Bret Michaels, lead singer of an early 90's hair metal band we should all be grateful is actually still together, Poison. It's a real throw back to my teen years. When other junior high school girls were pining for the New Kids on the Block, I was taping a poster of Poison on my bedroom wall. The daydreams of other 15 year-olds were filled with Dylan and the boys from 90210; visions of mediocre musicians with long blond locks, lip gloss and tight vinyl pants danced around in elaborate displays of pyrotechnics in my head.
And while I did outgrow that teen obsession, the fond memories of a bygone era and an affection for a so-bad-it's-good guitar ballad certainly do remain. Toss in the appeal of really trashy reality television with those hair metal fantasies of my youth - and what you end up with is a show I'm tuning in to on a fairly regular basis; and no, I'm not proud of it.
They say admitting you have a problem is the first step on the path to recovery. I feel better already.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Monday, July 16, 2007
But, they are "mine" - in the sense that they are my nephews, part of my family. In the same way I imagine I would feel about the children (or child...) I would like to have one day - my nephews have my unconditional affection.
Other children, not as much. Show me some kid I don't know making a scene in the grocery store, and my patience is paper thin. I will, without thinking, inevitably give the child a dirty look. It's not fair of me, but it's the truth. And occassionally, I have an encounter with bad kids that disgusts me so deeply, I'm tempted to take two birth control pills in one day.
Throughout the summer there are day camps for elementary-aged children at the museum where I work. I never cross paths with these groups on most days, but on Friday I decided to take a walk - leave the office and stroll across the campus, get a little sunshine, see what those cute kids are up to.
As I approached the area where I knew the campers were, I heard a steady stream of shrieking, screaming without pause. The kids were getting a lesson in how soldiers during the civil war might have used a musket (it's a history museum - which I guess makes teaching 9 year-olds how to handle a firearm somehow make sense....) It was a group of about ten kids, all seemingly under age 12 and by the time I got close enough to really see what was going on, the kids had total control. Their camp teacher - a chubby college guy wearing a Confederate soldier costume about 3 sizes too small - had dropped his musket and was just yelling at the kids to sit down, pleading with them to pay attention to him. The kids had tuned him out completely, kids running in every direction out of their minds. One bigger boy had a toy musket in his hand, chasing the others. He kept calling one of the other kids a "dumbass". I turned around, and hauled it in the other direction as if I was abandoning a crime scene - the echo of children's laughter and profanity fading softly into the distance.
I visited my nephews this weekend, and my love of kids was renewed. We had a good time and I enjoyed how well-behaved they were. But then again, they didn't have muskets.
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
I'm always happy when I see Bill Clinton on TV. I am also happy when I hear Journey. You can imagine how I felt when I saw Hillary Clinton's new TV spot. Bill walks into a diner (they were spoofing on The Sopranos, but that was lost on me), and Hillary is waiting for him in a booth. "Don't Stop Believing" is playing in the background.
I'll touch briefly on this, but I should share that I believe Steve Perry is the ultimate light-rock frontman. (I won't say he's the ultimate rock frontman, because we all know that's a three-way tie between Mick Jagger, Freddie Mercury, and David Lee Roth.) Having established this point, it goes without saying that I also hold Journey up as the ultimate light-rock band. Chicago, Air Supply, REO Speedwagon? No thanks. There's only room for one winner here.
I was especially excited because the Hillary presidential campaign has been pushing a "let's get the young people into it" stunt in recent weeks by asking folks to vote online for the new Clinton campaign theme song. Among the totally unappealing choices were two overused U2 songs and something awful by Shania Twain. But when I heard "Don't Stop Believing" at the start of the commercial, I thought - for one brief moment - that maybe, just maybe Hillary could be my next President afterall.
But I was wrong. It turns out some Celine Dion song won the vote, thereby losing my support entirely. I don't know if Barack Obama has considered a campaign song, but if he has, let me cast my vote right now for "Any Way You Want It."
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
What I am going to comment on is this: how many 30 year-olds didn't know who Jerry Falwell was until yesterday?
I have always been a little intrigued by televangelists. But weird interest in televangelists aside - Jerry Falwell has been a public figure of note for many years. A fascinating and polarizing character. Beyond his infamous comments on September 11 (there was a little more to it, but he basically said, "blame the homos") and various other outrageous one-liners, Falwell will be most noted in history for orchestrating a movement that turned a virtually voiceless group of conservative Christians into one of the most politically powerful groups in the United States, the "moral majority". I chose the picture above because it's a new picture - Falwell shown alongside John McCain, a current Presidential hopeful. My point: he's been in the news recently.
Yesterday, two women I work with - 29 and 30 years old - said they had never heard of Jerry Falwell. Never. There are plenty of news items out there right now that were I quizzed, I wouldn't know as much about as I should. But Jerry Falwell is a name kind of like Madonna - you might now know their life story or what their real importance has been in the world - but you certainly know who they are.
Am I being harsh? Are there lots of people out there in my age category who have never heard of him?
Friday, May 11, 2007
What brings this topic to mind for me today is a situation going on in my office. A woman, we'll call her Sarah, in an attempt to do something good has lost sight of the importance of moderation. And it's this absence of moderation that has sparked an office war of ridiculous, and pretty funny, proportions.
It started last week at a staff meeting. It's the one time in the month where our full museum staff gets together. People you never see come out of the woodwork and bring their various thoughts, opinions and issues to the table. Sarah always has something to share, and last week it was this:
"Our organization isn't really eco-friendly. Frankly, I'm pretty pissed about it."
I admire anyone with a passion and the willingness to stand up and do something about it, and Sarah was on fire. Listening to her I was immediately reminded of my time working at a Patagonia store while I was in grad school. The store and its staff created the most eco-friendly scene imaginable - toilet paper was a prized commodity and I felt shamed and guilty for sneaking my plastic yogurt tubs and packets of Equal in every day. Behind my corduroy pants, long hair and clogs, I was an eco-fraud.
Sarah continued on a fairly long diatribe about the "pure evil" that are styrophome coffee cups and the "disgusting display of wasted energy" that is an empty conference room with fluorescent lights left on. I heard what she was saying and took note - we should all be more mindful of our behavior. We should pack up a coffee mug from home and stop using the styrophome cups, and when we leave a room we should turn the lights off. Heck, I'll even rinse out my Diet Coke can and put it in the recycling bin like a respectable person. No complaints from me.
No complaints until now. For the past week, Sarah has been on an eco-crazy mission. The evil styrophome cups? They're no longer a problem because Sarah has done away with them - burrowed them away somewhere - and there is simply no other option but to use your own damn mug. Forgot to bring your mug from home? No coffee for you, you bum. And the problem of wasted energy? She has started going on "walk-throughs" of our building, several times a day, turning off the lights in any space that is without an occupant for more than a few minutes.
Including the bathroom. Our public bathrooms are now pitch black upon entry. And I don't know about you, but I like to see what's going on in the bathroom before I enter. And she sends out multiple emails to the entire staff reminding us to turn the bathroom lights off after we leave, to turn the hallway lights off, and my personal favorite: to limit our use of paper towels when drying our hands in the bathroom...one is enough. It's gone from a valid suggestion to be more mindful of these issues to a wacky obsession. I'm fully prepared for Sarah to snap one day soon and slash all of our tires, forcing us to ride our bikes to work, like her. Of course, there are people that have acted in an equally childish manner in reponse to Sarah's eco-crusade. People so pissed that they're now going behind her and turning the lights back on and it has quickly turned into a real battle. Yesterday there was a sign posted on the bathroom door that read, "Please be considerate to guests who visit our office - leave the lights ON." This morning there was a new stack of styrophome cups standing defiantly on the office kitchen counter, placed there by a mystery eco-hater. Sounds like war to me.
As for me, I'm doing my best to stay out of the battle. I mean, I love the planet - and I love a well-lit bathroom. But I think I love moderation more.
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
We haven't even met yet. And in fact, I'd almost forgotten about the whole embarrassing thing - until...
A girl came to my office this morning, wearing a sleeveless top. She said, "Snake, are we allowed to wear sleeveless?"
She's fairly new to our office. She then told me that the guy she shares a cube wall with told her when she asked him the same question : "Go ask Snake. She's in charge of the fashion squad or something."
I don't think I can handle this.
Friday, April 20, 2007
Our office has a truly top notch group of people who clean the facility. They are like no cleaning staff I have ever encountered. The place is immaculate, and they take their jobs very seriously. And it's a small group - only about 5 or 6 people who clean and maintain the museum (which is not small) and the executive offices, where I am. They are on a first-name basis with everyone, and you almost feel like they would gladly clean out your car for you, if you asked. I've never seen people so happy with what they do - they make me feel guilty for ever complaining about my own job.
This morning I walked down the hall to use the bathroom. As I approached I could see one of the cleaning staff, a woman, was in the doorway with her cart of supplies. I said hello to her and turned around to go back down the hall - as she was clearly in the middle of mopping the floor. She said, "No, no. You can come in." Usually it's sort of an understood thing around here that when you see the cleaning staff cart in the door of one of the bathrooms, you wait until they're done or you go to another bathroom. But she insisted that I come in and use the bathroom. It was clear, however, that she was going to continue with what she was doing.
I should also explain that I have some issues with public bathrooms, and it has nothing to do with the fear of them being unclean. It's more that I really dislike the idea of such a private moment being so public - I prefer a "one-seater" bathroom, if you know what I mean. Multiple stalls bother me. When you add in the possible awkwardness of a co-worker sitting in the next stall, etc. - can't handle it. I want to be alone.
So, I go on in the bathroom. She has the main door propped completely open with her giant cart of supplies, allowing for a clear view of the stalls for all who walk past, which 0f course, I didn't like. I felt confident throngs of people would walk past and recognize my feet under the stall door. Nonetheless, I go in one of the stalls. Within two seconds the cleaning lady is knocking on the door.
"Hey there SNAKE NATION, (she said my first name), you don't have any paper in there, do you?"
Please keep in mind that the office where I am is not that big, the bathrooms are centrally located, and with the main bathroom door propped open, the sound absolutely is projected out into the hall. I might as well have been sitting out in the hall.
"Uh - nope, you're right. Looks like I don't have any paper in here. "
"I'll get you some, baby. Hold on."
She comes back with two rolls of toilet paper that she hands me under the stall door.
"You can just put the other one on that shelf in there, OK?" Also, please note she's sort of yelling at the point.
When I came out of the bathroom and went back out into the hall - the hall that still had a clear view into the bathroom - my boss and two other people that are senior to me were standing RIGHT THERE talking. I'm sure it's only embarrassing to me, but I felt a little like they had all just basically watched me use the bathroom.
But hey, at least it was clean.
Friday, April 13, 2007
This group, comprised of myself and 5 other staff members at the museum where I work, will literally be in charge of writing a new policy on employee dress standards. From the top down to the reception desk, we will be deciding what will and won't be acceptable attire for work.
Now, while I have noticed that there are maybe a few people I work with who don't necessarily dress as well for work as one might hope (considering the public nature of their job), it truly never would have occurred to me that we might need to create a fashion police squad - and more importantly, that I would be a member of it.
Next week, me and the rest of the officers will be meeting to start work on our fashion bi-laws. Oh, and it has also been suggested that once we're done, I SHOULD BE THE PERSON to formally present these new rules to everyone in a "light and funny way" during our monthly all staff meeting. I can pretty much guarantee that the girls who sell tickets at the museum entrance will find nothing funny about me telling them they might need to invest in a sensible pants suit.
Is this crazy to anyone else? I mean, I actually do love where I work - so if this is my only complaint, things could certainly be worse. Maybe somebody here in the office is secretly reading my blog, and this post specifically - and they know that deep down, I sort of want to be Stacy London.
Friday, April 06, 2007
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Anyway, I've had to be at home a lot with him since he got out of the hospital. He has required a lot of intense hands-on care, and when I'm not at work, I've felt more than a little trapped in the ol' apartment. Fortunately, we'll be done with the heavy duty care next week. But during this time I've indulged in some guilty TV pleasures that I thought I'd share with you.
1. Are we all fully aware of the vast buffet of entertainment available these days on The Learning Channel? Maybe it's just me, but it's rare that I can't find something I like on TLC. At the top of the list - What Not to Wear. This show is television gold. Like a gift from above, there was a WNTW marathon this past weekend. I also find myself sucked in by Little People, Big World which documents the life of a family of dwarves. Go ahead, call me weird, but I can't get enough of a good documentary about the unusual - conjoined twins, the paranormal, etc. If you are like me - it's OK, no need to explain - just turn on TLC and you will be all set. (*also, as a personal disclaimer, it should be noted that the shows I just mentioned - about conjoined twins, etc. - are always presented in a very sensitive way. They're not as exploitive as they sound.)
2. The Agency. This is a reality show on VH1 that gives a behind-the-scenes look at the world of a New York modeling agency. The agents are crazy, and most (I said MOST, not all) of the models are either also crazy, or just kind of stupid. It's silly, high-stakes drama all the time - two thumbs up.
3. The Hills. You've surely heard of it. It's a pseudo reality show on MTV and it's even more mindless than its predecessor Laguna Beach. This show hypnotizes and soothes me like waves crashing softly on the shore. I suggest you check it out for yourself.
4. The Real Wives of Orange County. Again, a pseudo reality show, this time on Bravo. The characters are basically the 20 year-olds from The Hills when they're 35 to 40 years old. The stupid scenarios they find themselves in are pretty much exactly the same as when they were in their 20's, just with a few more wrinkles and a whole lot more bling.
And there you go - a short list of television guilty pleasures that have helped me get through some not-so-fun time at home. Enjoy!
Thursday, February 22, 2007
It did work long enough for me to put it on shuffle and give this game a try...
Opening Credits: American Girl, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
First Day of School: Back on the Chain Gang, The Pretenders
Falling In Love: Lips Like Sugar, Echo and the Bunnymen
Fight Song: Overdrive, Foo Fighters
Breaking Up: Crime Scene Part One, The Afghan Whigs
Prom: Welcome to the Jungle (Live), Guns & Roses
Life: A Nightingale Sang in Berkley Square, Ella Fitzgerald
Driving: Jump Around, House of Pain
Flashback: Under Pressure, David Bowie & Queen
Getting Back Together: Mayor of Simpleton, XTC
Wedding: Rocket Queen, Guns & Roses
Party: Candy Everybody Wants, 10,000 Maniacs
Birth of a Child: Here Comes My Girl, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
Death Scene: Almost Gold, The Jesus and Mary Chain
Funeral Song: Just Like a Woman, Jeff Buckley
Ending Credits: Any Way You Want It (Live), Journey
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
When I'm in a bad mood, I quickly lose patience for things I can generally deal with just fine. Example A: There is a woman in my office. We'll call her Joann. Joann is a well-meaning person who talks too much. She works part-time, in the afternoons, and her cubicle is directly outside my office door. Mornings are comfortably quiet and serene, until 1:30 - when Joann arrives. From this point on until the end of the day, Joann is talking. She's talking on the phone, she's talking to the employees who share cubicle walls with her, and if those folks aren't available, she's talking to me.
Joann is one of those people who knows no limits - the natural boundaries we learn in communicating with others - Joann doesn't know about those. If I'm on the phone, or clearly busy with something, Joann will still come in my office. She will stand, and stare at me, until I am available; available to listen to her talk. And she's not talking about anything work-related. Joann is talking about her neighbor with the house that won't sell because their yard looks so bad, or she's talking about her dog with a hernia, or she's talking about her growing frustration over the fact that her husband plays with his XBox too much. Joann drives me nuts.
However, when in a good mood, I have no problem being nice to Joann. I listen to her stories, I nod my head and make some sort of comment validating whatever point she's trying to make, and then I tell her that I need to get back to what I was doing. No problem. But yesterday, I was in this bad mood - and I was a little rude to Joann. She came in to tell me about the Southern Living party she'd gone to the night before and, well, I kind of lost it on her. "Joann, I'm really sorry but I have a lot to get done today. Could I maybe hear about this another time?" I couldn't believe I had said it - and I said it in such a snotty, nasty way. She just looked at me and said, "Ok. Sorry." I felt like I had kicked a puppy. Joann is a nice person, and she didn't deserve that. I apologized to her later in the afternoon, which worked - she immediately felt comfortable again and launched right into the story I had snubbed just a couple of hours earlier.
Example B is not something that happened at work. It happened at a rehearsal last night for a one of the two groups I sing in. As luck would have it, me and my terrible mood ended up seated next to a member of this group that I have to say I like the very least - an incredibly unfriendly woman we'll call Nan. My worst mood is nothing compared to this lady's general demeanor on a daily basis - she's just a mean old woman - and I always end up seated near her, but never directly next to her . The timing couldn't have been worse. During rehearsal I opened a bottle of water, seltzer water, and it made a light fizzing sound when I twisted the top. Nan said, "You're really not supposed to have any beverages in here. Has anyone told you that?" Usually, I would laugh this off and say some wimpy something like, "Guess I forgot - oops!" But last night, the bad mood stepped in and said, "Yes, I do know that - and I'm choosing to break that rule. Thanks." She looked at me like she hated me - but it did shut her up, and Nan had no more comments for the remainder of our rehearsal. So, in that case, I guess my bad mood actually served me pretty well.
Wishing you a good rest of the week - and a good mood to match!
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
(This really couldn't come at a better time. I've been in meetings all morning and would rather eat dirt than do work in these few minutes before lunch.)
6 weird things about me, in no particular order:
1. I have an oddly shaped head - there's this knot on the back of it, fortunately hidden by a lot of hair. When I was a kid I was convinced this was a tumor of some kind and got really upset about it. It took my mom an entire evening to convince me that it was, in fact, not a tumor - just a weird head.
2. I am often told I look like someone else, by both strangers and people who know me. They cover a very wide spectrum from Catherine Zeta-Jones (alright - my nephew was 6 when he said this after seeing her on the cover of a magazine - she has long dark hair, I have long dark hair - but whatever - I'll still claim it) to PJ Harvey. None of the people I'm told I resemble ever look like each other. All they have in common is dark hair, and they are women. Some are flattering, and some are quite unflattering. Among the latter would be Peg Bundy (from Married With Children - and not the actress who played her, I mean the character Peg Bundy - who actually had red hair, if memory serves), and Angelica Houston when she played Morticia in The Adams Family. (*you might also be interested in knowing that a former boss told me I looked like Morticia Adams.)
3. I know I've probably mentioned this previously, but lunch meats/cold cuts often repulse me. This doesn't mean I don't eat them - I love a good sandwich. But I cannot store cold cuts in my refrigerator at home. If I have them at home, I have to use them pretty much the day they're bought and then be done with it. I don't, however, get concerned about the age or condition of cold cuts in a place like Subway - which, obviously, would make more sense.
4. Until yesterday I thought Scientology and Church of Christ, Scientist were one in the same. This came up in a conversation at work, which is also weird.
5. I don't get into popular TV shows on my own, like 24 (NEVER seen an episode of that) or Grey's Anatomy (NEVER seen one of those either). And it's not that I don't like them - I just don't think about them. If I begin watching a show regularly with another person, and continue watching it with that person, I will stick with and get wrapped up in a TV show. But on my own, never. (Two exceptions to this are Sex and the City and Project Runway - I fell in love with those on my own.) Otherwise, if left to make television choices, I am always drawn, first and foremost, to anything related to real crimes (documentaries on A&E - if there's something on about a serial killer, I cannot change the channel) and anything related to oddities (ie: specials on The Learning Channel about people born with no legs, etc.)
6. I don't really like Chick-fil-a fries. Everything else on the menu - serve it up. But the fries, not a huge fan.
Thursday, January 11, 2007
This little drink is delicious. I usually am not a big fan of the chilled coffee drinks - but boy, oh boy - I sure do love Cafe Sepia!
Seriouly. Go get one.