Insomnia in the Pacific Northwest (or, I wrote a thing for The Hairpin and I’m super duper stoked about it)

image: Tri-Star Entertainment

Can we agree that romcoms in all their traditional, predictable glory are sort of becoming a thing of the past? And that maybe it’s actually a good thing?

I’d say the old cookie-cutter boy-meets-girl storyline has undergone a few makeovers in the past decade or so and tried on some different looks — say, indie-esque (Garden State, 500 Days of Summer), irreverent (Knocked Up, Easy A) and genuinely almost great (Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Forgetting Sarah Marshall), but the formula’s mostly stayed the same, and it seems fewer and fewer are being made. At least, the tropes that acted as a common thread among them for so many decades feel like they’re (maybe?) fading and making way (I hope, anyway) for better, more real variations on the theme. I mean, I know zilch about movie making and have zero credibility when it comes to predicting film trends, but as a plain old movie-watching, critically-thinking citizen, I can admit to my former love of the genre as I look some of its greater offenders square in the face today with clarity of vision and ask them loudly, “WHAT THE HELL??”

So I wrote a piece for The Hairpin, a brilliant website beloved by literary-leaning folks primarily of the female variety, about my reaction to Sleepless in Seattle when I watched it again last month, more than 20 years after I fell in love with it at first sight. (And I mean LOVE love. Bridget-Jones-and-Mark-Darcy-after-the-blue-string-soup, Harry-and-Sally-on-New-Year’s, Mila-and-JT-during-the-Closing-Time-Flash-Mob-at-Grand-Central-Station-in-Friends-with-Benefits level love.) With all due respect to the very talented Ephron sisters, let’s just say my affections for the film have dimmed in the time it’s taken me to grow from a myopic 17-year-old into an (only slightly less myopic) adult. Ohhh, hindsight. Why you gotta be so smug?

Honestly, I’ll always love bits and pieces of that old Tom-and-Meg situation… but I confess those sorts of movies might have messed me up a bit in the lurve department, at least when I was younger. I’m more than a little mortified that I lapped up all those messages and internalized them for as long as I did. Give the essay a read, if you’d like, and feel free to tell me how crazy you think I am on a scale of one to Annie Reed.

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Sliding doors

"You can never have enough FLEUR DE SOL... or OLEEEEEV OIL."

image: saveur du jour

Do you have weird little penchants for things you love to hate? I realize I’ve been crowing a lot lately about being nice and thinking nice and writing nice things about nice people, but let’s just put that on pause for a second.  Let me pull you in close for a seething discussion of my deep-seated loathing of one hell of an archnemesis. Maybe you’ve heard of her. She’s done a lot of things in her life, but perhaps her most telling achievement — in my nasty little slam book, anyway — is the fact that she’s the lady who made “GOOP.”

I haaaaaate Gwyneth Paltrow.  I’m irrational and mean about it.  My reasons are flimsy, but I stand by them like a Walton.

I don’t think I’ve always had a problem with the woman.  I’m pretty sure my nose didn’t wrinkle at her until she launched a website based on… well, mostly, the perks of being Gwyneth Paltrow… at the onset of a tremendous economic recession.  I’m sure she meant no harm, but somehow it made her wan, privileged existence that much more difficult to take.  For me, anyway.  She probably cries about this a lot.  Because in case you didn’t know, I’m kind of a big deal.*

We’ll let this little thing of hers explain itself: “From creating a delicious recipe to finding a perfect dress for spring, Gwyneth began curating the best of lifestyle to help her readers save time, simplify and feel inspired. Determined to publish a genuine and resourceful issue each week, for many, goop has become their most trusted girlfriend on the web.”  Sounds innocuous enough, aside from the weird grammar, right?  Well, I suppose it is, until you consider the fact it launched in 2008 when people were losing their jobs all over the place, and its sole purpose in the beginning was to share things like $250 pairs of shorts, essentially classify them as “total steals,” and do so with a vague yet palpable sense of someone bending over backward in $500 yoga pants to whisper in French that she’s better than you, darling.

The devil was in the details, really.  I’m not one to begrudge anyone’s success, and there’s nothing wrong with doing well in life — I love a little decadence too, and I struggle with all sorts of weird middle-class guilt whether I’m doing just fine or scraping away paycheck to paycheck.  I’m a fan of fancy.  I try not to judge people who simply work their asses off and reap the rewards — as well they should, since they earned them — but there’s just something irritating about blithely slapping people in the face with your flippant ignorance of their problems, riding roughshod over the folks whose meager monthly entertainment budgets actually kind of comprise your paycheck.

I also might be jealous of her apparently scot-free life before the klieg lights hit her.  I remember watching an hour-long profile on her once, and the worst thing that had happened to her in her first quarter of a century was the loss of a grandparent — understandably painful — make no mistake — but for serious, could the girl not have had some bullies or buck teeth or strife or something to round her out a little?

Then there was that whole “n****s in Paris for real” tweet that gives me some odd, sick (and self-aggrandizing) sense of pleasure that I’m somehow intellectually superior to her.  It’s like See? Pretty, lithe little lady married a rock star, named her kids Moses and Apple and travels her face off on probably a weekly basis, but we everyday minions still know more than she does about the world in general.  About culture.  About being a human being.  It’s really not fair of me.  I’m likely just envious of her perky little life, even though there’s nothing wrong with mine.  But DAMN does she annoy the living daylights out of me.

Oh hi, I really didn’t set out to write a post about how much I can’t stand dear Gwynnie.  I actually meant to sit down and tap out something thoughtful about the brilliant lack of awareness we have about what’s waiting for each of us around the corner in life, and how the tiniest moments can have the grandest of impacts, and I was going to use one of her old movie titles as a jumping off point.  Buuuuuuut apparently I have some issues I need to work out in the schadenfreude department.

Bitter, party of one?  Your lonely little stool is ready.  Down there at the end.  Facing the wall with a mirror on it.  Enjoy!

So — Sliding Doors.  In case you haven’t seen the movie, it’s got something to do with the alternate series of events that would have taken place if GP’s character had (or hadn’t — I forget which) missed her subway train home from work one day and had to (or didn’t have to… crap, now I have to watch it again) take another one, thus making her late (on time?) and somehow stumble in on a cheating boyfriend, catching him red-handed.  (At least, I think that’s how it went.)  Anyway, the movie sets into motion two parallel lives: one in which the course of her life is altered by her philandering himbo, and the other in which she keeps going on about her daily life, blissfully unaware that she’s dating a total a-hole. (Sidenote: in one of the parallel arcs, she dyes her hair brown so the poor audience can keep up with just what the hell is going on and which life we’re watching at any given moment… a cheesy move on the director’s part, maybe, but whoa if it doesn’t do the trick and keep it all on track.)

{Puritanical public service announcement: Prepare for a curse word in 3… 2…}

Back to reality: isn’t it a mindf*ck to consider how our lives could have turned out drastically different based on one single moment?  Sure, there are the big, obvious ones that signify a pivotal shift — saying yes or no to a proposal, a job offer, a hit of some weird drug — but the tiny things are the ones I can’t help obsessing over sometimes, probably much to my detriment, yet also much to the pleasure of my weird little imagination, and they apply to all of us in some way or another:

If you hadn’t run that red light, you wouldn’t have made it to your interview on time and ultimately gotten the dream internship that charted the course for your illustrious neuroscience/aerospace engineering/rodeo clown career.  

If you’d just said no to that fourth cocktail that night, you wouldn’t have said that thing to that person, and then been too embarrassed to bring it up again, and then been too embarrassed to even get together for another first cocktail, much less a few.  Oops — there went that friendship, and for what? A vodka tonic?

If you’d stayed home from the co-worker’s birthday party, you never would have met his gorgeous friend and tumbled head over heels into a love affair for the history books… aaaaaand subsequently received a soul concussion from said tumble, thus causing you to run off in a huff to Hollywood, live on the streets for three years and then write that Grammy-winning pop song about rolling in the deep of your teenage dream or whatever.  

“What if”s are a trip.  I used to think a lot about what my life would have been like in the present if I’d stayed with someone — let’s call him “this dude” — I’d spent years living with.  I genuinely thought I was going to make a life with this dude, even though somewhere deep down, I knew we weren’t even remotely right for one another.  I can say with certainty that breaking up was the best thing either of us could have done for ourselves and each other; ultimately, I think it sent us both in the directions we should have been heading in the whole time.  But if you’d told me way before that — say, ten years in advance —  that in 2012 I’d be pursuing a writing career (finally), joining a hippie commune/coworking space, and walking a red four-legged monster around Austin, Texas three or four times a day, I probably would have cocked my head to the side in confusion and looked at you like you were crazy.  I might also have gotten a little excited, though… because wow, that sentence actually sounds pretty great.  So much for that white picket fence I was trying to build… and thank god.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what’s next… about what comes after the big writing conference in New York next year, after the first year of freelancing, after the second year of the best relationship I’ve ever been in.  That’s a lot of afters, and a lot of open space.  Such things used to terrify me.  Somewhere in my 20s, I got used to living life like it was set to the tick-tock of a metronome, and I let it turn into paralysis.  Once life flung me outside of what was comfortable, though… that’s when I started to lose my fear of flight.  I figured out I could touch down every once in a while, gather my bearings, and pick back up for the next adventure, each one a little bit bigger than the last.  I still feel shaky sometimes.  I still get scared.  But I’ve started realizing how great fear can be… at least, when you work up the nerve to go toe to toe with it.

Since those metronome years, I’ve come to love the fact that in some ways, I have no idea where life is taking me.  There’s terror and relief in that knowledge (or lack thereof).  There’s anxiety mixed with comfort.  I guess the word’s “exhilaration.”

Knowing we can bounce is a beautiful thing… because if we’ve done it once, we can do it again, and higher.  In the end, it probably doesn’t matter which trains pass us by… it just matters that we get on a few — jump a turnstile if we have to — and take a big huge bite out of wherever they end up taking us.

*to my dog, at least

(And as for Gwyneth, hell… maybe she’s a nice person.  Maybe she does crazy awesome things we don’t know about and maybe I’m a jerk for loathing her.  Either way, I feel bad for loving that autopsy scene in Contagion so much… but I’ll never stop saying ‘fleur de sel’ and cracking myself up over it.  And if I ever run into her in real life and she doesn’t have devil horns sticking out of her head, I’ll come back and amend my words.  Like I said… you never know.)

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Hey mister deejay

Please don't stop the music

image: Cassia {Flickr}

It’s occurred to me with some sense of wonder that although last week’s post was supposedly about music, it didn’t talk about music at all.  I guess I sort of used a genre — industrial metal, in this particular case — as a jumping off point to talk about trying new things in the name of learning and love.  So today, I kind of feel like geeking out about some of the music I’ve been listening to lately.  DJ Onesmartpoptart in the house!!!  Oh god, I can’t believe I just said that.  Sorry.

I’m a simpler creature than I like to admit, but since I’ve just come out and admitted it anyway, I’ll go a step further: I honestly think my playlists lately have had little to do with any actual appreciation for the songs themselves and everything to do with the fact that it’s sundress season.  A few weeks back, my Spotify queue devolved from an it’s-okay-if-someone-walks-in-on-me Black Keys/Mat Kearney/Simon & Garfunkel hodgepodge into something much less so… specifically, a late-90s pop princess buffet. This probably happened because I’d just finished a post about wanting to clean up my media diet and eschew all details of reality stars’ so-called lives, which of course made me need to listen to Jessica Simpson’s Nick Lachey-era catalogue over and over and over again for like two weeks straight.  It’s possible a few Mandy Moore ditties made it in there too.  WHY AM I TYPING THIS OUT LOUD?  Oh well.  As much as I know you’re probably judging me, as well you should, it just feels good to get it off my chest.  And admit it: those “ditties” are delicious.  They’re lovable little cake pops full of nonsense* — sinfully sweet and vapidly perfect — and sometimes in life, that’s just what you need to take the edge off.**

To cleanse the palate, I guess, this week I added some new, slightly more respectable stuff from the likes of Regina Spektor, Sara Bareilles and Kimbra, the last of whom I’ve been trying to get into for months but nothing of hers has been sticking… until now.  You know how you like the idea of a particular artist, and you have a certain expectation of them, but nothing you hear from them quite matches what you want from them?  It’s unfair and small-minded and shallow and rude, but it’s the truth sometimes, and Kimbra wasn’t doing it for me until I had a good long listen to everything on Vows in one sitting.  Then it finally clicked, and I can only think of one way to articulate why.  Here goes:

Doesn’t this song sound exactly like the part in Pretty in Pink when Molly Ringwald decides Andrew McCarthy “didn’t break her” and proves it by making her own prom dress?  Or any 80s movie scene in which the heroine grits her teeth and SHOWS THEM ALL… by sauntering into the office/club/football game/school dance wearing something super hot and trendy?  Seriously…. don’t bother looking at the video itself — it’s just a bunch of Fight-Club-meets-Christina-Aguilera’s-Dirrrty-phase silliness.  Just close your eyes and picture the inevitable slow-mo close-up of any given protagonist putting on her lipstick, doing that pucker/kiss thing that no one actually does in real life, sliding a bra strap over her shoulder and deciding once and for all to GIVE ‘EM HELL. Through FASHION.

I can make fun all day long, but :::holy cow::: that song is catchy… and so are all these other girlie confections that have me resisting the urge to just go outside in the middle of the day in a sweet summer dress and walk the dog for an hour and a half whilst drinking lemonade.  It’s June, for godsakes.  Work’s been so nonstop that I have a midday alarm on my phone that simply says “EAT.”  Were it not for my metalhead and the handful of friends who occasionally grab me by the hair and make me go have brunch, I’d gladly be glued to work all the time.  I preach balance to everyone around me but kind of suck at finding it myself.  So perhaps my treble-clef leanings of late are my subconscious self’s way of saying, “Hey, let’s get a little sunshine up in here.”

Ugh, ew, champagne problems.  Moving on: more songs worth sharing.

If there’s someone who’s drawn your ire — some boy or girl who did you wrong, some person who betrayed you in some way or has been generally making you feel like crap — this gem’s for you.  In fact, I think I’ll make it my new theme song for those little moments when someone pisses me off.  It’s like “Piano Man” meets Cee-Lo in the most brilliant way possible, and anyone who thinks that description means it’s a horrible song is not to be trusted and probably hates dogs.

Dear Sara Bareilles: let’s please hang out and be mad at people together.

And last but not least, there’s the lovely Regina Spektor.  She just released a new album and I’m kind of stoked about it.  Regardless of the fact that I live in Austin, Land of Hip Kids Who Have Seen the Future, I have no idea what’s going on.  I love Young MC’s “Bust a Move,” for example, but not because I’m being ironic or something — I just haven’t stopped loving it since middle school.  I’m clearly not cool enough to know all the underground up-and-coming geniuses of sound and whatnot, and I always default back to music that’s more than twice as old as I am anyway, so it’s safe to say Regina Spektor is about as cool as I get.  Frankly, that’s plenty cool enough for me.  I fell in love with her back when she had all those videos on VH-1 (YES, VH-1… I SAID IT) with stark black and white sets, which at the time were exactly what I wanted my “grown-up house” to look like someday… like the Mad Hatter had developed a touch of OCD and gone on a decorating rampage.  Anyway, her new album is as idiosyncratic and wonderful as ever, and it makes me want to sit around eating borscht and talking about Tolstoy all day.  Even though I’ve never eaten borscht and couldn’t name you a Tolstoy work I’ve actually read if you held a gun to my head (hear that? It’s the sound of all my old literature teachers slamming their laptops shut and throwing their hands up in the air), Ms. Spektor and her bright red lipstick still have that effect on a person.  And that’s a good thing.

OK, your turn.  Throw me one of your earbuds.  What have you been listening to lately?  I confessed my Mandy Moore to you, so don’t you dare lie to me…

a.

*like the one in which it kind of sounds like a 16-year-old Mandy Moore is trying to solicit a male prostitute in the wilds of a vaguely Indian locale, partially because when she says “pennies,” it kind of sounds like “panties,” but mostly because over a bed of Bollywood instrumentation, she actually purrs, “How much for your love?”

**which is my defense for singing along to Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” when it comes on in the car.  Let me be clear: I haven’t plunked down $1.29 for this song. I refuse. But I’ll belt it out in public like it’s my job, because that’s… better.  Or something.***

***JUST LEAVE ME ALONE OKAY?!?!?!???!!

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Pickles for breakfast

"At least you're not a vegetable -- even artichokes have hearts."

image: Guardian UK

I was years late to the game when it came to seeing the movie Amélie… but thirty seconds in, I was mesmerized, and then elated, and then addicted, and here’s why. The opening subtitles read something like this:

“Amélie is six.  Like all little girls, she’d like to be hugged by her daddy (a doctor), but he never touches her, except for a monthly check-up.  The thrill of this rare contact makes her heart beat like a drum.  As a result, he thinks she has a heart defect.  Declared unfit for school, Amélie is taught by her mother.  Deprived of playmates and slung between a neurotic and an iceberg, Amélie retreats into her imagination. In this world, LPs are made like pancakes.  The neighbor’s comatose wife has chosen to get all her life’s sleep in one go.  Amélie has one friend, Blubber (a pet fish).  Alas, the home environment has made Blubber suicidal.  Blubber’s suicide attempts destroy Mother’s nerves, and a decision is made (the fish is set free in a stream as Amélie looks on, heartbroken).  To comfort Amélie, her mother gives her a used Instamatic.  But (when a car crash happens nearby as she’s taking pictures of the sky) a neighbor fools her into thinking her camera causes accidents.  Having taken pictures all afternoon, Amélie is petrified.  She stares at the TV, racked by the guilt of causing a huge fire… two derailments… a jumbo jet crash.”

Okay, so upon reading that back, it actually sounds horribly depressing.  But if you’ve seen the movie, you know the words’ juxtaposition with brilliant camera work, an accordion-heavy score and an air of jaunty, childlike imagination make it about the most charming thing ever to appear on a movie screen.  Incidentally, Amélie grows up to live a beautiful and textured life.  And yes, while the gamine and gorgeous Audrey Tatou’s last name may as well rhyme with “Mepburn,” her Audrey-ness isn’t the only thing that makes the Amélie character compelling.  What makes her compelling is the fact that she is weird as hell.  You find yourself championing her, sitting on the edge of your seat hoping she’s about to do something even weirder and somehow more open-hearted than she just did a minute ago, and she never disappoints.  If she were an actual person in the real world, sans French narration, English subtitles and whimsical musical score soaring overhead and swooping in at just the right moments for dramatic effect, most people would pay no attention to her whatsoever, or perhaps just smile politely at her in the supermarket and quicken their pace a smidge.  Because homegirl is sweet but insane, and that is why I love her. 

Maybe I’m just looking for validation.  In fact, I’m sure I am.  Living a 9-to-5 professional existence, we have our quirks — because we’re human — but we exert serious control over the select audience that gets to witness them.  We stick to the dress code, keep personal conversations short, and mostly just dig in and get the job done.  We hide our weirdest weirdnesses, or at least do our best to water them down and make them office-friendly.  We’re alternate versions of ourselves… doppelgängers in suits.  Nowadays, I sit here mostly barefoot, staring at my Judy Blume wall, cranking out a hundred or more pieces of writing per month, and I’m coming to terms with the fact that I am batshit crazy.  We all are, really… some of us just get to be a bit more free about it.  And let me tell you something: it is awesome.

There are liabilities, sure.  We have to anchor ourselves to something to keep from spiraling into total insanity — we have bills to pay, families to take care of, friends to catch up with, obligations to fulfill — and living whimsically is a luxury we have to enjoy in small doses.  But aren’t those doses amazing?  Particularly when they’re super strange and we realize someone we know and adore shares or at least appreciates those things about us?

Yes, I live in a city that incorporates the very word “weird” into its somewhat-official motto.  I consciously moved to an environment that’s more accepting of bohemian culture and left-of-center living than most places are.  I admit it’s a bit of a sugar bowl, and I’m sure that’s part of the reason I’ve been able to let my hair down so much since I got here.  I remember writing a journal entry back when I was in college about how I felt like I had a stronger sense of gravity within myself than anyone I knew; I felt too centered, too anchored, too fearful and rational and orderly and square.  I actually felt weighed down by my overwhelming empathy for everyone around me and my worrisome nature in general.  I’m sure it stemmed from saying goodbye to way too many people in my family way too soon and dealing with things that no child ever should (the thing about Amélie’s dad, by the way, blessedly isn’t something I can relate to; my dad in particular is a phenomenally warm and amazing person, and I’ve never not been aware of his love for me.  Truly — I couldn’t be more thankful for it.)  Somehow, over time I managed to shake it all out to some degree, and just start living life almost in reverse, having fewer cares as an adult than I did as a kid.

I hope, though, that no matter what age, everyone out there has the opportunity to make a choice about where to land on that continuum and spend most of their time.  I like routine, but it freaks me out sometimes.  Yes, there’s work to be done and responsibilities to manage, but every once in a while — well, more than every once in a while — it’s grand to eat pickles for breakfast.  It’s good to take detours and sing to ourselves (okay, I do that every day) and live in our heads and be weird as hell.  Because in the end, as per Amélie, that’s what makes life rich.  That’s what makes us real.  And when we find other souls who get our oddities and want to enjoy them alongside us — when we stop feeling the need to apologize for things that require no such thing — well, that’s life at its very best.

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You are what you eat

It's probably healthier to be a tea...

image: Tiddle E. Winks Vintage Five & Dime

(Oh god, I’m a doughnut.)

I started working with a nutritionist this week.  Well, let me clarify: I started doing a bit of editing for a nutritionist this week.  (Truth?  I need to work with a nutritionist to help me hang up all my caffeine and carb nonsense and get myself in gear, but we’ll save that mess for later.)  In particular, this nutritionist is a mom of three named Margaret who, upon receiving a bachelor’s degree from Princeton and earning her master’s from UT, wound up having to use her nutritional science training on herself when she was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease a week before she completed her postgrad degree.

As she spent the following years building a career in public health, she made it her mission to separate fact from fiction and educate people about the difference between the two when it comes to what we bring home from the grocery store. We’re under a constant barrage of mixed messages from the world around us about what’s healthy and what’s not — what’s been approved and what hasn’t — what’s a legit quick fix and what’s just a bunch of hooey — but the only thing that tells us what’s real is science, and even that’s an ever-evolving discipline.

Ah, advertising.

image: Tiddle E. Winks Vintage Five & Dime

Taking in Margaret’s background and weaving it through her website got me thinking: we really are what we eat.  She focuses primarily on helping moms adopt healthier habits and translate them into family routines (i.e., you try taking that ice cream and mac & cheese away from your kid indefinitely, sans aftermath, without talking to someone like Margaret first and see where it gets you), and she’s armed with information about how processed foods affect behavior, concentration and, of course, overall health and well-being.  Apply it to adults and it still rings true: when I’m hopped up on my beloved and beautiful joe, I’m jumpy, anxious and slightly unhinged, even though I love love love my vanilla lattes and don’t want to give them up.  There’s an odd satisfaction in finishing off a package of Sour Patch Kids or diving through a fresh, hot vat of chips and queso, but when we make these things the norm instead of the exceptional treat, weird stuff starts to happen to our personalities, our energy levels… and let’s not even talk about our waistlines.  I’m enemy number one of my own wellness and I know it.  And the same thing applies to my brain.

Aw Jess, you weren't supposed to take that John Mayer "personal ad" seriously.

image: Rolling Stone

I have this oddly endless depth of knowledge about random pop culture.  I attribute it to being a child of the original MTV generation (back when it played music) combined with an insatiable need for knowledge of any sort — any sort — when I was a little kid.  I was a reading machine.  I fell asleep with the light on every night and couldn’t be woken up in the morning without an epic battle (sorry, Dad).  In high school, I went through a celebrity biography phase that was weirdly specific to stars of the 1950s and 60s.  I glued my face to the screen every time Pop-Up Video came on and devoured those digital bubbles like chocolate.  And when E! came to power in the 90s, holy cow… off I Macarena’d into a ten-year absorption phase of the most vapid crap you can think of, and now I’ve got a solid career option pursuing bar trivia championships if I ever need a backup plan.  I can draw you infographics about B-list celebrities’ dating histories.  I can tell you what happened to Winnie Cooper as a grown-up (she’s a published mathematician who empowers little girls).  I know FAR too many details of the life of one Jessica Simpson.  I can tell you with great accuracy what the inside of Hugh Jackman’s New York apartment looks like, and not because I’ve been there… which, come to think of it, is seriously creepy of me.

I mean, I get it — celebrity obsession is the ultimate decompression.  It’s thrown at us all the time anyway, so we lose ourselves in glossy, beautiful strangers’ lives and project all our fantasies and weirdnesses onto them without repercussion.  We judge, we pick, we snort, we sigh… oh, Britney shaved her head.  Poor thing.  Her life must be worse than mine.  Wow, Kate and Wills are grand together — let’s want that for ourselves.

hello my pretties...

image: Sadie Olive

At some point, I kind of hung up my hat, and now my entertainment industry knowledge sort of stops around 2005.  I wonder if that makes me even more tragic, since now I’m not only full of useless trivia — I’m full of outdated useless trivia. The older I get, the more wholeheartedly I throw myself into work — each job has thankfully been more challenging than the last, so each one takes up more space in my head.  But still, I haven’t paid nearly as much attention to real current events as I should.  And by “real,” I mean the ones The Atlantic covers… not the ones involving any given Kardashian — whom, by the way, I hate that I used to love.

Only in the last few months have I started listening to NPR like I’ve always intended, and only now am I finally getting around to reading actual books again.  Oh, they’ve been stacking up all over the place, but me looking at their insides with my eyeballs has been another story altogether.  And I hate that, so I’m changing it.  It’s now become my job to write about whatever I please, and I suppose I’d better have something awesome to say.  So farewell, candy; hello, fruit. I might keep a stash of nonsense in the pantry just for fun, but I’m keeping the smart stuff on the counter from now on.

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Does a haiku count?

so sleepy

image: cutearoo.com

So sleepy.

So very, very, very sleepy.

OK, so here’s what.  I’m not a gal who goes back on promises, so here I am, at 8 pm on a Friday with four hours to spare before I miss this week’s self-imposed deadline of posting something every week.

Problem is, I’m out of words and in dire need of a nap.  Like a 93-hour one.  So, will a haiku suffice?  Just this once?  C’mon.  It’ll be great.  You’ll love it.  Here goes.  Ready?  Get ready because this is gonna be amazing, or not.

Probably not, but just but be a friend, okay?

 

amy is sleepy

there is not enough coffee

ever in the world

 

Ohhhhh, sad day.  See?  Told you I was out of words.

Tell you what… go hang out with Erin and Bret, two of the cuddliest yet most mercilessly incisive minds in pop culture today, over at Rock Movie Project.  Erin used to kind of be my boss, which probably explains some things about me.  Anyway, go check out their movie review blog instead of reading something from me.  You’ll be glad you did, and I’ll be glad I made you be glad you did.  Or something.  Words.  Puppy waffle mountain-climbing.  Don’t be a muggle.  Goodnight.

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There will be blood

...where do you think you're going???

image: Cannon Home, vintage

I’ve noticed something in the time that’s elapsed since I started this blog in January.  I’m a million times more likely to do something if I announce to someone — anyone, even if it’s just into the ether — that I’m going to do it.  It’s one thing to make a promise to myself, but quite another to leave a proclamation somewhere… a tangible marker someone could conceivably come back to in the future, point to and say, “Uh, Aim? Remember this?  How’s it coming?”

Time management has become a wild and wooly issue for me lately.  If you saw the post I spilled out a few weeks back about being a night owl and the admissions I made even earlier about wanting very badly to pull off the whole freelance writing thing for good, you’ve probably figured out I have a tendency to shoot myself in the foot.  I promise too much, underestimate cost, overestimate how much time is left in any given day or week, overcaffeinate, undersleep, rely too much on carbs and don’t work out like I should.  I’m also pretty sure I now officially have high blood pressure.  At some point, I’ll have to get myself in gear and strike a balance.  But again, no complaints from this girl.  I wouldn’t trade this life for anything — I love the work I’m doing and the ideas I’ve got up my sleeve.  Still, one thing I will absolutely do more of in the very near future — no excuses — is volunteer.  I used to work in the nonprofit realm, and it was my job to encourage other people to give their time and energy to worthy causes, yet here I sit on my tush, not doing that at all myself even though I’m my own boss.  So, enough.  A few years ago, I adopted a “go big or go home” philosophy, and there’s still plenty of frontier I haven’t ventured into.  I think I’ll start by doing something that scares me half to death.

For the first time in my life, I’m giving blood.  Now, while that may be no big whoop to the average person, let me be clear: I’m not the average person.  I’m a baby.  A big, fat, spoiled, pampered, whiny little baby.  I am deathly afraid of needles, doctors’ offices, doctors’ lobbies, doctors’ parking lots, driving to the doctor, getting ready to drive to the doctor, thinking about going to the doctor… you get it.  That stuff freaks me out to the point where I’m basically a dude.  Antibiotics be damned — I’d rather sit out a cold for weeks than cave in and let someone look in my ears and take my temperature.  Know why I never got braces?  Because in middle school, as I was leaving the orthodontist’s office after getting spacers to prep me for the procedure, I straight-up passed out cold on the lobby floor.  I cried so hysterically all the way home that my parents finally threw their hands up and relented.  So listen – this may not be a big deal to most people, but it’s a crazy big deal for me.  And since I’m writing it here, I can’t back out.

Deadline: my next birthday.  April 16.  And you can best believe I won’t be showing my face here again if I don’t live up to it.

So, yes — this week’s post is less a writing exercise and more an opportunity for you to help hold my feet to the fire.  I’m a lucky girl with an amazing little life.  There’s no reason I can’t give something I’ve got in abundance to someone who really, really needs it.

Someone please remind me of that when I’m white-knuckling the armrest inside the bloodmobile, trying my best not to hit the deck, ‘k?  Because god help us, I’m already getting dizzy.

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