Dec 24, 2007

Kind of Like "Twas the Night Before Christmas", Only, Y'Know, Not.

If you've seen the movie "A Christmas Story" (the venerable holiday cautionary tale about a kid, a BB Gun, and what happens when a tongue is stuck to a frozen pole), you know that every family has some hilarious holiday story that usually involves some crazy old person and/or a wild animal.

My family seems to have more than enough - there was the year when the organist at the stately presbyterian church was drunk off his ass, playing "Joy to the World" and "Go Tell it on the Mountain" in a minor key and refusing communion. We've gotten the giggles at inopportune times, had a specific Christmas party guest who showed up inebriated and in sweatpants and called told another guest she looked like a skunk, and most recently, the sweet Mormon carolers. But the best Christmas story to come out of our house involves a classic formula: One crazy old lady, an attic, and an animal.

Flashback to roughly 2001.
It's Christmas morning, and my mom, my brother and I were up relatively early, having our small family gift giving time. Our stockings were filled with the usual mix of obscure candy and toys from the Archie McPhee catalog. Things were going well. Finally, we started getting into the wrapped presents from our extended family.

The boxes from my grandmother were uncommonly large that year, and Kevin and I were excited. In retrospect, we should have known better, but we were young and optimistic. Had we taken a moment to think back to years prior , maybe we would have been a little more realistic, but Christmas morning has a way of sucking the realism out of most situations.

We tore into the wrapping paper gleefully, hoping that this year, our grandmother had actually visited a retail establishment for our gifts, rather than trolling her attic for yuletide booty.

Unfortunately, we were wrong. Very, very wrong.

What was contained in the packages was, well, interesting. Mom captured this look of surprise and delight:

Here was what was in the box:

Clockwise, we have: a random metal thing in a box, broken miniature telephone-shaped music box, a wax apple (wtf?), two Girl Scout glasses, an old bottle covered in wax, pig-shaped cream pitchers, "The Intelligent Woman's Guide to Art", a sketchy vinyl cosmetics bag, an unidentified purple thing, the riveting pamphlet "Interesting Origins of English Words", and a toy hammock.

Also in the package was a...well, we weren't sure exactly what it was, but judging from mom's shrieks of horror, it was nothing good. It was blue, lumpy and made of papier mache. Mom grabbed it and explained that it was a skunk, the questionable result of her eighth grade art class. She also explained that she hated the thing, and was glad to finally have it in her possession so that it could be thrown away after years of captivity in my grandmother's attic.

A trash bag was produced, and mom made a big show of throwing the thing away.

And no sooner did our poor misshapen friend land with a thud at the bottom of the empty hefty bag, when the phone rang.

I shit you not, this is an exact transcript of the dialog:

Mom: Merry Christmas, Mom

Frantic hand motions were made, the skunk was retrieved and given a name, and it's been a permanent fixture in our house ever since. My mom and my aunt take it on vacation with them every year. It's been present at major events, like my college graduation. It even gets decorated for special occasions and has a little paper car that it sits in when it moves from the fireplace.

Here it is today, looking extremely excited to have been rescued:

So, Merry Christmas, y'all. I hope your grandma has a better attic stash than mine does.


Like her mother, enjoys a festive hat,

Dec 23, 2007


At the counter at Otherlands, there's a bowl full of granola bars with a little sign sticking out of them that says that five percent of profits from the snacks goes to support "One Voice", a charity working to eliminate extremism in the Middle East. I find it a little strange that a group that is bent on ending totalitarian beliefs calls itself "One Voice".


I'm sitting here, about to begin the Sunday Ritual (tea, bagel, NYT), and it just hit me: holy crap, it's Christmas. Since just before Thanksgiving, I haven't really been feeling very festive. It just didn't seem right. There was no snow! No nine-hour drive! It was almost 70 degrees outside! (When I was in college, the lack of snow and the high temperatures were one of the bonuses of the holidays in Memphis.)

But somehow, sitting here in the coffee shop (which smells like ginger), knowing that I don't have to go to work for the next ten days, it suddenly feels like Christmas.

Mom's open house last night probably helped. I got there about an hour before it started, and mom was freaking out. There had been a plumbing disaster earlier in the day, and the dishwasher was full but not running, so when I showed up, mom was pitching dirty dishes into a rubbermade in the garage. At one point, she told me to ice down the beer. When I asked her for a container, she produced the crisper drawer from the second fridge.

The party was good - full, but not crowded. About mid-way through the evening, I was talking to my brother when mom came in and said that there was someone at the door for him. He went, and came back with two soggy Mormon missionary boys who were there to carol. So there we were, beers in hand, listening to two squeaky clean LDS dudes singing Joy to the World in glorious two-part harmony. It was kind of cool. We offered them food, but they said they couldn't stay. It was just as well - we had been drinking.

But really, who does that happen to, other than us?

Ok, I need to get to the paper if I ever want to get anything else done today. Expect another update tomorrow.


Dec 17, 2007

Hello Honesty, Goodbye Indie Rock Street Cred

Today, I was listening to the excellent All Songs Considered 2007 wrap up podcast. Bob Boilen, Carrie from Sleater-Kinney, and some other people were talking about the best (and most disappointing) records of the year. Somewhere between the innovations and the disappointments, parts of Radiohead's "In Rainbows" got played.

And I can't lie - I instinctively hit skip on my iPod, and then had to backtrack when I realized that it was a podcast, and the Radiohead would be over soon.

You can tell me over and over again how great Radiohead is, and how they're hugely influential and fantastic, but I'm not going to believe you. Everything I've heard from them is just kind of meh. I can't bring myself to care about it, which is a bad sign.

If I'm going to have music on (which is most of the time), I want it to be something that I care about. Entire albums aren't required to be great, but I do want them to make me feel something other than ambivalence.

Normally, this wouldn't be a big deal. However, my feelings about Radiohead are sort of putting me in a bit of an existential crisis. I like good music, and though I have very definitive tastes, I'll try anything twice. The message that keeps getting pounded into my head is that if one likes good music, they like Radiohead, because it is good. While I admire their unique take on record sales and the longevity of their career, I just can't really get behind it.

Until I hear a Radiohead song that makes me feel the way that Stereolab's "Peng!33" or Andrew Bird's "Masterfade" makes me feel, I'm going to have to say that they do nothing for me.


All better. I'm going to listen to Thee Headcoatees and do the dishes now.

hooked on a feeling,

Dec 10, 2007

Further Evidence of Their Great One-Sided Love

The following is from an email I sent to Matthew this afternoon, regarding my speculations in the last post about certain NPR reporters.

I just finished listening to On The Media, and omg, we're so right! Did you hear when Brooke interviewed Bob about Comcast Must Die? When Bob said "It's really nice being interviewed by Brooke" and Brooke giggled like "Bob. Seriously. Your schoolgirl crush has got to stop." And the piety in his voice when he said the program was edited by Brooke.

We're so right. They're doing it. Or, at least, Bob wants to. I don't think Brooke is that kind of girl. Though, if she's not, she should quit leading him on.

Seriously. Get this week's On the Media podcast, free on iTunes. Listen to it, and tell me if you don't seriously get the feeling that every time Brooke turns around, Bob is totally trying to reach out and pick the lint off her sweater. I think he wants on her media. Awwww yeah.

And while we wait for next week's installment of our story, let's take a moment to meet the cast!

First, there's Brooke Gladstone, the Peabody Award-winning smooth talker that's captured the hearts of millions (most notably, Bob's):

And our hero, a man (possibly) filled with longing desire:

She's so cute! He's so...Bob Vila-esque! True Love! *squee*

Stay tuned for more, next week.

keep on playing:

(Um...does anyone else find it weird that I'm essentially writing NPR Fan Fic?)

(Quick notice: Photos from Google Image Search. If you object, let me know, and I'll be happy to take them down.)

Dec 9, 2007

Complicated Theorems

I'm recovering from a nasty cold that started mid-afternoon on Friday, and is just now starting to clear up. With the exception of buying groceries and going to see the fantastic "No Country for Old Men", I haven't really left the house this weekend.

However, I have watched an embarrassing number of episodes of the Gilmore Girls.

I think the cold came from a combination of the crazy weather, not turning my heat on, and blues dancing with JohnnyMac. I've been loaded up on a dose of cold medicine that the Walgreen's pharmacist promised would take the cold out back behind the dumpster and beat the shit out of it. So far, it's working, I think. Two nights ago (and hell, last night) I tried to clear the sinuses the good old fashioned way - with everyone's favorite Big Scottish Bad Idea: Ginger Tams (let it be known that this was only a temporary fix).

Oooh! It's the first appearance of the Town Troubadour on Gilmore Girls. He kind of looks like Matthew.

Speaking of Matthew - he and I developed a complicated theory about the sordid affairs that are probably happening behind the scenes at NPR. I want to go to their Christmas party just to see who hooks up, and if it proves us right. For example, Bob Garfield totally has it bad for Brooke Gladstone. Just listen to On the Media. When she is there, and he's responding to her reporting, he sounds like he's been staring at her, dreaming of touching her hair. When he says that she edited the show for the week, he sounds so reverent. And, when she's out of town, the tiniest note of sadness can be heard in Bob's "...Brooke is on vacation."

Also, I think Terri Gross is engaging in a long-term flirtation with Ira Glass, but she won't come clean about it, and he'll never notice, because he's Ira Glass.

Clearly, I have too much time on my hands. Time to do the dishes, pop some more cold and sinus meds, and work on the liner notes booklets that I'm making.

secret public radio lovers,

Dec 5, 2007

This Begins The Next 30 Years

I just made my first student loan payment...and there go my savings. And all future income. And my record habit.

Since I graduated in May, I'd been feeling pretty good about things. I have a great apartment, a job, a fantastic boyfriend, and a trivia team I can count on. This is the first Big Adult Freak Out.

It's a little embarrassing. When I logged in to the student loan website to make my first payment, I made the mistake of looking at the total amount, which is just over 50 grand. I burst into tears.

Hell, I didn't know what else to do. That's a crushing amount of debt for someone with my salary. Suddenly, it hit me that I've had no formal training at this, and I feel like I'm making a terrible mess of it. I'm worried that people can tell that I'm faking it, and any day, I'm going to be exposed. Really, I hope I can just hold things together. Most days, I'm fine, and I can handle it, and I'm proud of how far I've come. Other days, how far I have to go is so strikingly apparent.

fakes it till she makes it,

P.S.I've heard rumors that there have been several attempted throwings away of the Ball Bearings Official Office Christmas Decoration. This decoration happens to be a plaster statue of Santa kneeling at the manger. Um, can you ethically throw away Jesus?

Dec 4, 2007

We Just Have A Couple Questions

Apparently, there is a better way.

My mom called today to tell me about this magical loophole in the jury selection system that allowed me to select my week of service today instead of reporting to the convention center on the 12th with thousands of my closest registered voter friends.

Visiting the jury commission office was incredibly painless. They asked all the usual questions (are you a felon? have you been arrested in Shelby Co. in the last year? do you have court cases pending?), handed me a sheet of paper, and sent me on my way.

The sheet of paper specified the jury duty dress code. Here's what you're not allowed to wear: shorts, skorts (who wears those anymore), capris, tank dresses, sleeveless tops, t-shirts and sweatshirts with vulgar logos. And, jeans and pants must go below the ankles (being 5'2, I don't think this will be an issue for me).

And, apparently, I can't bring crochet needles. I'm assuming knitting needles are alright.

The jury commission has also been so helpful as to list the locations of "discount" parking. That's very sweet of them.

disappointed that she can't wear her vulgar t-shirt,

Dec 2, 2007

A Letter from the Sheriff

A few days ago, my mom called to tell me that I had received some mail that I wasn't going to be really happy about. Naturally, I assumed it had something to do with my student loans. It didn't.

The offending piece of mail was a slip of paper from the Shelby County sheriff, requesting the honor of my presence at the convention center for jury selection. I have to go on the 12th, and I've been told that from there, I'll look at a calendar and pick the week that I actually want to serve.

I've never had jury duty before, and - call me a freak- I'm actually kind of excited about it. Then again, I'm the sort of girl who has the constitution (in it's entirety) in her iPod. Part of me is kind of hoping I get called. If I do, I hope it's for something minor - I don't think I'd do well with being sequestered.

Anyway - I think the jury room has wi-fi. If it does, I'll be live blogging the experience. Live blogging is kind of a lame concept. It's really meant for more exciting situations than jury duty, but I think it'll be alright. I'm working on setting up some "No Formal Training" style projects right now, but I don't want to share them just yet.

I'd better get off here and get to the Sunday Ritual. My mom got me a subscription to the New York Times for my birthday, and I'm way too excited about the fact that it comes to my house now. I may never go to the coffee shop again.


Nov 28, 2007

Now With 30% More Sequins

Yesterday, I mentioned a showdown at a McDonald's involving some local drag queens facing off against store management.

The Memphis Flyer has a snappy little write up here.

Part of me is surprised, and part of me isn't. This is Memphis after all, and these things sometimes happen. I just wonder if it was any of the same lovely ladies who frequent the gay bar behind my apartment.

also takes off her shoes before she fights,

Nov 27, 2007

Incredible Things Are Happening In This World

For the last year, on just about every Tuesday night I've spent in Memphis, I've come up to the P&H to play trivia.

P&H Trivia is pretty much the gold standard of Memphis pub quizzes. It happens in a barely-lit hole-in-the wall bar. For three dollars, teams of 2-6 people answer five rounds of 12 questions (which are read by real live people). There's a usual host team, but guest host teams are frequent.

Anyway - I used to play on a team with Colin and some of the friends I had made through him. Now I play with Benferno, and whoever else we can convince to join us. We rarely have the same people twice. We always have a good team name, though - once, we were "Frampton Comes Inside You". This week, we're "Ural: A bunch of Mongoloids."

Tonight, when I walked in at 6 p.m. to hold our table for the game that starts at eight, I was surprised to see Colin sitting at the host table. This is not a bad thing - the better one knows the host team, the more likely they are to be able to answer the questions (as they're made up by the host team and largely based on personal preference). It was just strange - that used to be my team. I was one of them.

Sometimes (tonight being one of those times), seeing all of the people that I used to play with brings back a lot of memories - good ones. But I've been thinking a lot about everything that's happened since I moved back to Memphis (the Big Memphis Freak Out, the job, the breakup, the new friends, the shows, the Matthew), and for the first time in a long time, I can honestly say that I'm happy.

Unlike New Coke, New Kerry is everything that was cool about the old one, but not, you know, too improved. It's just enough so that I notice, really. Things have settled, and it feels great.

Enough of the sappy. I've just been informed that there was some sort of Drag Queen Attack incident that's made CNN that I need to be informed about. And apparently, said Drag Queen Attack happened in Memphis. I must know more. Expect a full report later.

explodes into a cloud of sequins,

Nov 25, 2007

Pretty Is As Pretty Does

So, things are looking a little different (and dare I say, cleaner) around here. As much as I liked the cheerful green, I felt like it was a little overwhelming. If I'm going to start updating as much as I intend to, I want Formally Trained to look just right. And with the addition of my sexy new masthead (brought to you by my wonderful Matthew), things are looking very crisp and pretty around here.

Also tonight, I had a brave experiment in recipe-free cooking. Normally, I'm a little scared of meals of my own invention. Keep in mind, I am a woman who believes that most kitchen problems can be solved by putting the offending item into the toaster oven and turning the dial to "dark". I once tried this with an undercooked cupcake, with predictably bad results. Anyway, this meal was entirely better than I hoped it would be, so I have to brag on it.

Behold my dinner!

Make The Dinner:

Sunday Soup

(If you live alone, congrats - you've now got lunch for the next few days!)

Chop up a white onion. Throw it in a skillet with some spicy Italian ground sausage. When it's good and brown, add it to a can of chicken broth in a good sized soup pot. Drain a can of diced tomatoes, add those. Chop up a bell pepper and a handful of snap beans. Season with whatever's handy. I used a healthy dose of chili powder, some cumin and a little Trader Joe's 21 Seasoning. Heat the stuff on medium for 30 minutes or so. Then, open up a can of beans of your choice, drain and rinse them, and add them to the pot. Cook 15 more minutes, turn the heat off, add grated cheddar and a plop of sour cream and eat up!

bow to my domestic abilities,

Nov 24, 2007

Just Wait Until He Finds Out About Her Thing For Leather

Overheard at Starbucks:

Dude: "She really likes sourdough bread. I really like sourdough bread. I think we're perfect for each other!"


We Do What We Like and We Like What We Do

Or, an admission of some recent guilty pleasures:

1. Andrew W.K.

Maybe it was the recent Bust article, or perhaps, I'm just in a mood to party really hard, but against all logic, I've been pulling Mr. W.K.'s songs from the Hype Machine with a zeal usually reserved for semi-pretentious indie rock bands.

The guilt doesn't come from the fact that it's not "intelligent" music. What it lacks in complexity, it makes up for in pure infectiousness. It's just that he seems to have kind of a one-track mind (songs on his first record include tracks like "Party Hard", "Party Til You Puke", and "Party Party Party"). And sure, all of the songs kind of sound alike, but at least he's consistent, and you get the sense that he really believes every word he sings (even if there are only three of them).

2. Gossip Girl

I think I'm going to blame this one all on Ira Glass. On this year's This American Life tour, Ira opened the show by talking about his affinity for The O.C., admitting that he was a "grown-ass man" who loved a Fox show about teenagers (he also inadvertently admitted to liking the Gilmore Girls).

Anyway, Gossip Girl is made by the same nice people who brought you The O.C. Only, it's set on Manhattan's Upper East Side. All of the characters are rich, and gorgeous and able to get served in bars despite the fact that they're in high school. They're also entirely too scandalous for anyone's good (including mine), but I just can't stop watching the free episodes that are on The CW's website.

Seriously - I dare you to watch the pilot episode and not want to watch the next one. And the one after that. And the one after that. If Ira Glass can be ok with his O.C. love, I can be ok with Gossip Girl. Plus, it uses Peter, Bjorn and John's "Young Folks" as it's theme song. I double dog dare you not to sing along.

doesn't care about the young folks,

Nov 22, 2007

Do Not Try To Defeat This Feature

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody! Is everyone else in a turkey-induced coma right now? Rather than going dancing tonight, I'm sitting at home in my pyjamas with the space heater cranked to 11, listening to Belle and Sebastian. My belly is poking out. I may never eat again.

Normally, my holidays are a marathon event. I'm sure this is true for a lot of children whose divorced parents live in the same town. My younger brother and I usually kick off the day with my mom at a big potluck for wayward souls. There's a ton of food, styrofoam cups with our names written on them in sharpie, and football on the big screen. Only, Kevin and I never get to stay for the football. We drive to Midtown for round two, with our dad and stepmom. Last year, following the second meal, we took food to Granddad, which meant we ate again. The next morning, I went to Colin's family's day after brunch and ate again. For those of you playing along at home, that's four Thanksgivings in 24 hours.

This year, we veered from the usual format a bit.

Before I talk about that, though, I have to point out that Thanksgiving was a little weird for me this year, in that it didn't feel like a holiday at all. When I was in school, we had three days off. In college, every holiday was neatly punctuated by the nine-hour drive to or from Muncie. Yesterday, I worked a full day. Tomorrow, I will work. This adult thing kinda sucks sometimes, eh?

This morning, I met my family at the Wayward Souls Potluck, where Kevin and I sat at the kids' table. Again. (I swear - I will be married, and have my own children, and will still be sitting at the kids' table.)

Following that, I drove downtown to my friend Martin's apartment. Martin is from Indiana, and rather than going home, he had a handful of people over for food, football, booze and dancing. A few people were going to go to Beale Street for blues dancing, but I just couldn't do it. I know I'm missing the gym or whatever today, but dancing on all of that food just didn't seem like a good idea.

Because this is a holiday about being thankful, here's a short (probably kind of random) list of things I'm really glad to have in my life:

- A strangely-knit (but really fun) family made up of my actual parents, a few fake parents, my kick-ass brother, and assorted others. They let me do my laundry in their houses, have taken care of me for years, and give me the giggles at inappropriate times. I love them all.

- The greatest group of friends a girl could have, The Black Glasses Brigade. Even though you're all up there, and I'm all down here, you're still some of the most fantastic people I know. Thanks for being around, and being my best friends.

- The car I saw the other day advertising a local burger place. There were all of the usual car ad decals (albeit small ones). On the roof, however, was some of the most magnificent DIY work I've ever seen: a red rubbermade stuffed with yellow swimming pool noodles (aka french fries), bungy corded to the car. It was amazing, and I'm so glad that there are creative people in the world.

- My cozy little apartment. Sure, on the weekends, it sounds like a techno dance party (thanks, neighboring gay bar!), and it's a bit drafty, but it's mine, and I'm happy here.

- The New York Times. NPR. This American Life. Ira Glass. Reuters. The Associated Press. The BBC. News in general. I love news. I eat it for breakfast.

- Records, and the sound that needles make when they touch down on the vinyl. And my iPod. Pop music in general, really.

- My really, really kick-ass best-friend-turned-boyfriend, Matt. He's cute, and smart, and hasn't let the fact that he thinks I'm cute distract him from talking at length about records with me. And he calls me "dude." I'm thankful that we finally, finally figured out that we should date.

- Good books and bad TV.

- You. Thanks for reading, for commenting, for being you. Whether you've been around since the big idea that lead to No Formal Training (and Trent's drinking problem), or you're just joining the party, thanks for reading. If you weren't around, I'd just be journaling. It would kind of be like being a crazy cat lady. And really, where's the fun in that?

ready for anything,

Nov 20, 2007


I'm on technorati now. Awww yeah.

Technorati Profile

Joining the rest of the internets,

I'm Glad Someone Is Concerned About Our Sedintary Lives

Having finished a frozen "healthy" meal from Target that was better than it should have been, I went to the work vending machine for some lunch supplements. I put in some change, and got a pack of peanut butter M&Ms. I still had some money left, so I scanned my other options.

I'm not sure when this happened, but someone replaced all of the typical vending machine goodness with lots of 100 Calorie Packs and light popcorn and other healthyish snacks. Even the brownies are whole wheat!

I know Memphis has a weight problem or whatever, but geez, do you think the runners that stock the vending machine are trying to tell us something?

munching on some 100 calorie goodness,

Nov 15, 2007

The State of my Heart, He Was My Best Friend

I went to the grocery store last night, and bought a ton of tasty food that I can translate into real meals. Why is it, then, that tonight's dinner consists of chicken egg rolls and little pear and brie pastry puffs? Don't get me wrong - it's delicious, but there just seems to be something a little weird about it.

Anyway. You know what there's nothing weird about? Birthday proms.

Last Saturday was my 23rd birthday, which was celebrated by throwing a ridiculously themed semi-dance party in a church. With lots and lots of booze.

Unfortunately, I don't have all of the photos yet. Rest assured, though, that a good time was had by all. There were indeed cupcakes, and a giant stuffed fish suspended from the ceiling in net lights. My mom made two lobster hats (which, admittedly, looked more like crabs, and led to a lot of terrible jokes about having crabs).

To make the weekend even better, my best friend Matt came to Memphis. Only, he's not just my best friend anymore. He's my boyfriend, too.

He got to Memphis on Friday night, and we spent the evening destroying my kitchen. We made several dozen cupcakes (including some red velvet, which has to be the messiest kind of cupcake ever - there are still little red batter stains everywhere). We also watched Spinal Tap (as a result, I've had a delightful combination of "Big Bottom" and "Sex Farm" stuck in my head for the last week).

At one point, Matt was sitting in one of the pale green wooden chairs that (like everything else in the house) was inherited from my grandma. He grabbed me and pulled me towards him. And then the chair gave. We crashed backwards, and one of the chair legs flew awkwardly into the air.

So there we were, three hours into our relationship, tangled on my batter-stained kitchen floor, unable to get up because somehow, arms and legs were slipped awkwardly through the chair back. And we laughed. We laughed until we were red, until our faces hurt.

I'm still trying, but I can't think of a more perfect, and fitting, way to begin a relationship with one of the most awesome people I've ever met.

Unfortunately, I'm not sure if the chair feels the same way.

Team Clumsy,

Nov 12, 2007

The One Where the Two Meet

Last Monday afternoon, my grandfather passed away after not doing very well for quite a long time. He was 85, and it wasn't by any means sudden, but it was still pretty sad, as he and I were close.

The funeral was Thursday, and it was a pretty interesting experience. I hadn't seen much of that side of the family in a really long time. It was also the first time I got to meet the elusive Other Brother Jimmy, my dad's half brother.

The fact that I have a half-uncle that I've never met wouldn't be so weird if he didn't have the same name as my dad's older brother (my real uncle). I'm not sure what Granddad was thinking when he named his first two sons both James - it's a little weird. What was even weirder was the fact that my real uncle (for all intents and purposes referred to here as "James") had no idea that he even had a half brother, much less one with the same name. Throughout the funeral, strangers kept coming up to James and saying things like "Jimmy! It's so good to see you!" and then making very Jimmy-specific comments while James stood there, looking confused.

The funeral itself was moving, and complete and everything that I think Granddad would have wanted. That is, except for the open mic. Crawfords, as a rule, tend to be silent at times when big emoting is expected. We prefer stoicism and sarcasm in a lot of instances, and it works for us. Apparently, Other Brother Jimmy missed out on this part of his genetics, because he stealthily went to the funeral director before the funeral and insisted that there be a portion of the program where family could get up and express their feelings about my granddad. He also had his wife type up a speech.

As soon as we saw this in the program, my brother immediately freaked out and started asking my dad and my uncle if we have to talk. They assured us that they had nothing to do with the open mic, we were relieved, and all was well. That is, until we realized that Other Brother Jimmy looks just. like. Dwight Schrute from The Office.

My brother and I have a long history of getting the giggles at really inappropriate times (like in church, on Christmas eve, and at funerals). When Other Brother Jimmy got up to give his talk about Granddad, it sounded just like something Dwight would write about Michael Scott if he ever thought that Michael had passed away. And though we managed to hold it mostly together, there were some stifled giggles.

And though it still seems strange that I'll never see Granddad again, I'm alright. Thank you to everyone who expressed sympathy. It totally helped, and I appreciate you all.

I have other Big Things to talk about (like my Prom party, and the goings on of my birthday weekend), but I've got to get to U of M for dance. You'll just have to wait.

Definitely not naming her kid James,

Nov 6, 2007

Remember, Remember the Fifth of November

James Hester Crawford

(more to come later)


Nov 5, 2007

Nov 1, 2007

Halloween Via Office Depot

Yesterday was my work Halloween party. There's always a costume contest with cash prizes. My costume was pretty simple - it only took about 20 minutes and a single trip to Office Depot to complete. And I totally came in second, for dressing up as a project folder.

We have thousands of these in the office, one for each project that is created. Sometimes, more than one per project. Here's a picture of me taunting our traffic dude (he takes care of making sure the folders get to the right people), and his retaliation:

Slightly richer,

Oct 31, 2007

And She's Only Had Her License for 34 Years

Tonight is my weekly date with my mom and her washing machine. We decide to call in dinner from a local Mexican place, and I stay at home to hand out Halloween candy while she goes to get the food.

I'm sitting in the kitchen, and I hear her car start, and the garage open. A few seconds later, I hear a really loud noise. A loud, something-has-gone-very-wrong noise. I wait a few more seconds and go outside.

Mom's small, brand new blue SUV is stopped in the driveway, about a foot from my car. She's standing between her car and the Fightin' Focus, looking at both of them. And then I realize what's just happened: my mom backed into my parked car. In the driveway. The car which I had intentionally parked at a weird location so that she wouldn't hit it.

The bumper of her car is all messed up. The front end of the Fightin' Focus is a little jacked up, but it still runs fine. Mom is laughing, but I can tell she's upset with herself. And I understand that - once, when I was 18, I sideswiped my brother's parked car, also in the driveway.

But the difference in those two incidents? I was 16. Mom's 50.

I think it may be time to start thinking about taking her driving privileges away.

You got your SUV in my hatchback!,

Oct 28, 2007

I Turned My Camera On

Friday, after work, the Benferno and I went to Nashville to see Spoon. While I can't say much for the opening band (other than that all of the songs had what appeared to be the exact same bass line), Spoon kicked ass.

They played pretty much everything I had wanted to hear (with the exception of "The Way We Get By"). The venue was weirdly laid out, but very spacious. Here are some more pictures, before I start sounding like a dork.

In other news, I'm up at the coffee shop, and the choice of radio station is a little interesting today. It's a soul station, which is great. For every good song they play , there are at least three terrible ones. Like right now, there's a song that reads like a how-to guide for what to do once the girl has a agreed to go home with you. Seriously - "Let's take a shower. Shower together," followed by "Rub some hot oil all over me, baby!"

I really should get out of here. I've got other things that I should be doing, but this's like glue that's welded my jeans to this old dinette chair.

Rub some hot oil on me!,

Oct 24, 2007

The Girl Who Made the Prank Calls

Since we graduated, my good friend Kristin has been a "professional intern" at Jarden Home Brands. If you've ever wondered where things like plastic forks, toothpicks, lighters and coctail stirrers come from, it's Jarden. Kristin's desk is right next to the canning hotline, and she often overhears people calling in to ask a posse of older women their toughest canning questions.

But Kristin's got a better job now, and will be leaving Jarden at the end of the week. And there's only one way to make your friend's last week at a kind of crappy job a little more tolerable: prank calls.

Yesterday, I called in on my lunch break and asked how to can a kumquat. It was funny and all, but today...well, today was awesome.

Again, it was my lunch break, and I was the only person in the PR suite. Kristin suggested that I call in and ask about something silly for her amusement. At a loss, I asked my friend Benferno for something to can. He suggested possum, but it was later changed to Sturgeon (as he photoshopped one for me the other day for my bithday party fliers).

I thought up a clever backstory and called in. I said that I had been recently gifted a sturgeon by a very caring young man. It was no ordinary sturgeon, though - it was an engagement sturgeon, complete with a diamond ring in its fishy mouth. I wanted to preserve it forever - just like my love for my (non-existant) fiancee.

Some of the dialog, with Marge, the Call Center Lady.

Me: I want to preserve it forever, just like our love.
Marge: You shouldn't keep it for more than a year.
Me: Well...I mean, can I still eat it after that?

Marge: Is a sturgeon like a tuna or a stard (or something that sounded like that)
Me: It's kind of a shark-like tuna.
Marge: Let me look one up on the internet.

Meanwhile, Kristin was sending me things to ask. I was also telling Benferno what was going on - he absolutely could not believe that I had this lady on Google Image Search.

The best part of the call came when Kristin suggested that I ask how much pectin to use. Apparently, pectin is what you use when you want to make jelly. So this happens:
Me: So, how much pectin should I be using?
Marge: Honey, you're not trying to make fish jelly are you?
Me: Can you? I want to make something for my fiancee to show him that I really care. I was hoping that we could eat it at our wedding.
Marge: Well, if you do that, he may run for the woods.

Among other things, I asked if I should can the sturgeon whole, and how exactly should I go about canning something so large. Marge finally put me on hold to look up some answers, and I hung up. I couldn't keep it up - the traffic manager had walked in, and he knew exactly what I was doing. My eyes were welling up with tears from trying not to laugh at the call, at the comments from Benferno, and at Kristin im-ing back commentary from Jarden.

Apparently after I got off the phone, Marge turned around to everyone in the room and told them about my call. She then declared me "Call of the year," and told everyone that she talked to for the rest of the day about it.

Later in the day, Kristin's g-chat status message was "I don't think you're ready for fish jelly."

I don't think anyone is.

caller of the year,


The apple I'm eating right now (a honeycrisp from Wild Oats) is quite possibly the best apple I've ever eaten. It tastes like fall.

I just had to share.

Oct 17, 2007

When Things Go Wrong, Try Explosives

Girl, it's Wednesday, and you know what that means...

I'm at my mom's, doing my laundry. It also means that I'm watching Mythbusters (having missed America's Next Top Model). They're doing myths related to snow - sticking re-animated pig tongues to poles, trying to cause avalanches, that sort of thing. Anyway, they're having a hard time getting the avalanche to go - they've tried yodeling, firing machine guns at the snow, and cracking a bullwhip. It's commercial break, and the preview for the latter half of the episode has footage of snow, um, being blown up. Watching that, I can't help but think that those people have the best jobs in the world. They get to wake up every morning and make things, and when those things go wrong, they get to blow them up...for science!

And omg, they're trying to teach Carrie how to drive in the snow. It's totally making me think of my first times driving in the snow in Muncie. They're having to dislodge cones from the car's undercarriage.

Speaking of snow, I bought a winter coat suitable for Memphis tonight. It's nice - and thin.

In other news, I've been writing poetry again. A few days ago, I was talking with a friend about how I was a total slacker with regards to my poetry. He said the same thing about this songwriting. So, we placed a ridiculous, stake-less bet on our abilities. One song/poem, completed in the time between 7 p.m. and midnight, to be emailed / read upon completion. The first night, he won, finishing a dark and lovely piano song with lyrics by 9:30. I countered an hour later with a poem called "I thought I liked you, turns out I was just lonely."

Last night, we decided to go for round two of the Creative Gauntlet. By 8:30, I had cranked out two poems: one a cautionary tale about a boy, a girl, and a half-gallon of milk, and the other about Neil Diamond (because Diamonds are indeed, forever). he emailed me a song with hand claps that sounded a little like Bright Eyes' "I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning".

As strange as the arrangement is, I'm enjoying being forced to be creative. I think it works for me because at my job, and in college, I got used to functioning on tight deadlines. It works well for me. Eventually, I'm hoping to somehow compile all of the songs and poems written for the Creative Gauntlet, and maybe post them here. I'm not sure yet - what I do know is that deadlines or not, it feels good.

watch your speed in reverse,

Shoes: 1, Kerry: Nil

On Monday, I wore my shiny new pair of black heels to work. They're slightly taller than my other work shoes, and have a much thinner heel. So, I'm sitting in my desk chair, my right leg tucked under me, trying to get some estimates finished (for the fourth time - I'm still not sure why I get to do math). I finished the estimate, hit print, and then got up to go to the printer. Only, the heel of my right shoe had lodged itself comforably around the arm of my chair, and instead of getting up and walking out of the room like a normal person, I faceplanted. And since I have huge windows that look into the art department, and they were all gathered around one computer, my accident had an audience.

And it was awesome.

Only now, I have raging carpet burn, on my knees. Thanks, shoes!


Oct 14, 2007

Letter to Memphis

South Main, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2007:

Just photos today - there will be more real writing soon. Sadly, I haven't really got anything to say about this weekend, other than that Friday night, I went to bed at 9:30. Granted, maybe I shouldn't announce that new height in lameness. More soon. Promise. For reals.

let us be free,

Oct 8, 2007

Double Whammy Cardigan Love

So, if you've been around me lately, you know I'm more or less obsessed with Okkervil River's "The Stage Names", particularly the song "John Allyn Smith Sails". It's another fantastic song about John Berryman offing himself, only with a generous portion of the folk song "Sloop John B."

For those unfamiliar, "Sloop John B." is a classic tale of familial turmoil set on the high seas. Everything was going delightfully for the narrator, who was sailing to Nassau with his grandpa. Everything was lovely, that is, until they got drunk, and the narrator engaged in some fisticuffs with Grandpa. Then the captain of the ship steals the narrator's grits, and the trip immediately becomes the worst trip that the narrator has ever been on.

This leads me to believe that there is possibly an entire sub-genre of music about family vacations gone terribly awry.

Really, I wish I had discovered these songs sooner - I could have used them as a kid on some of the family vacations I went on.


Enough record geeking.

-In other news, I made my first post-Nasty Couch Incident trip to Graceland, Too this past weekend with a friend who had never gone before. I told him very little, and he thoroughly enjoyed himself despite the 20 or so loud, drunk Ole Miss douches that showed up in the middle of the tour.

- Tomorrow night, the greatest trivia team ever, "Frampton Comes Inside You" will rise again. And hopefully, this time there won't be around on airport codes. We must have been the only person in the room without a FedEx pilot or scheduler or something. However, the 80's One-Hit-Wonder round was incredible. Here's to more of the latter and less of the former.

It's late, and I think I'm going to be a good girl and try to go to bed before midnight. I think I'm finally starting to feel like staying in my house again, and reading books or watching movies, or knitting. I don't think I'll revert back to the homebody I was four months ago, but I think I've struck a nice, happy balance. Here's to that.

raises a glass to grandpa,

PS - Happy belated birthday to my brother, Kevin. He's 21 now! Woot!

Oct 4, 2007

Friendly Reminders

If you live in Memphis, and you haven't already, go vote in the city elections.

That's all.

doing her civic duty,

Oct 3, 2007

The Porches Were the Rooves of Other Buildings

On Saturday, after a long walk in Overton Park and some delicious homemade food, my friend Taco and I decided that we wanted to get dressed up and see Superbad. We split up for an hour, and I put on a bright red tea-length dress and cowboy boots. When we met up at the Deli an hour later, he had on a suit and purple shirt and a purple bow tie.

Following the movie, we both kind of wanted dessert. The Cheesecake Corner was closed, so we had to settle for the bakery aisle of the midtown Schnucks. The midtown Schnucks is a special place (aside from the fact that "Schnucks" is a terrible name for a business). It's situated on one of the busiest streets in Memphis, with no clear way into and out of it's nightmare labrynth parking lot. The store itself is tiny, dimly lit and cramped. Ceiling support columns are situated in the middle of the soup aisle. There's no way that this store can really handle the volume of people that shop there, and only minimal renovations have been made since...well, ever. I guess they can get away with this because midtown has such limited grocery options. Sure, there's the Piggly Wiggly, and the Kroger (more commonly referred to as the Kroghetto), but if you want to grocery shop without being panhandled or scared of some of the food offerings, the Schnucks is where it's at.

Anyway - so we're there after midnight, which is generally the best time to be at the most poorly designed grocery store ever, trying to find something adequate for dessert. And of course we can't agree on what we want. I'm attracted to the cake slices while Taco is craving cream puffs. He was also particularly attracted to these:

He decided that he wanted to steal the overly descriptive label. So he set about gently peeling it from the plastic, while I paced around, trying to look busy in a very "nope, nothing to see here" kind of way. The whole time, I was telling Taco that he was going to get busted, not that you really can get busted for trying to de-label some cream horns. I'm the kind of person who's never been in any sort of real trouble, though, so I tend to be a little too cautious sometimes.

Eventually, we had to rock-paper-scissors for it, and he won. Cream puffs, cannolis and Colt 45 in hand, we went back to the church. Taco decided that desserts like ours were best enjoyed at great heights, so we climbed out a window and up a round runged ladder onto the roof.

It was quite enjoyable - a little chilly, but with the fun 80's dance music from the bar across the street and the sounds of airplanes. I'd totally do it again.

In other news, I played P&H trivia last night for the first time since the break up. My team, Frampton Comes Inside You, didn't do very well, but we did have a great time. And a very dirty team name. It was nice to see my friends, too. I hate that sometimes, I get too caught up in my own mess to remember to take the time to see the people I care about.

Anyway, it's about time for me to go to bed. In the meantime, check this out. It'll change your life.

every now and then, I fall apart,

Sep 28, 2007

Thinking the Big Thoughts

I think I'm going to run for city council next term. Really.

Happy Friday!

Sep 27, 2007

In The Way I Had Planned

A few quick notes while I wait on my mom to meet me at the deli:

Right this second:

*** I'm convinced that HD is something that only men can see, like those high pitched sounds that only dogs can hear. Honestly, I can't tell the difference between HD and regular TV.

*** Last entry, I mentioned that fall makes me want new records. I bought the new Okkervil River, and holy crap. It's too early to call, but it's totally Top 5 of 2007 material. And I'm not sure what the trend is, but there seem to be an awful lot (ok, three) of really great songs by awesome bands about John Berryman's suicide. I've also been listening to a lot of the World/Inferno Friendship Society. I'll admit it - I'm a little embarrassed, because...well, I don't know, really. Maybe because it sounds exactly like something Trent would love. Anyway, the live record has been the soundtrack to my workweek, and it makes me want to dance.

*** I can't seem to make it through a book. I was on a roll with "Water for Elephants", but I set it down for a few days, and I'm worried I'm never going to get started again. About the only thing I've had the attention span for recently is the Sunday NYT, which I read in one voracious sitting. I haven't even managed to read the new GQ, which has been in my bag for days.

*** Sunday night, I watched a few hours of the new Ken Burns WWII documentary. I've heard people say that it's not nearly as good as the others, and I'm not sure if I agree or not. It lacks a lot of the trademarked Ken Burns Slow Pan Over A Still Photo. That seems to have been replaced by lots of grainy video. I'm already working out the rules to the drinking game, though, and they involve crying old people and explosions. No word on when the DVD release is.

*** Dude, my mom is late.

*** A revolution was born in my apartment the other night. My friend Taco came over with PBR, Scrabble, and the best of intentions. Somehow, after drinking all of the PBR and neglecting the Scrabble, we had pieced together the beginnings of a revolution. There will be more about this later, but here's the readers' digest version: Shows in Memphis start too late on weeknights. On weekends, I don't mind staying out most of the night to hear a really great band. But during the week? Dude, I have a day job. And we're not suggesting that shows start at 6:30 or anything ridiculous like that. Maybe 8. That way, people with kids and jobs and responsibilities don't have to sacrifice the music that they love. It's the 8 p!m! revolution. And...there are T-shirts. You'll see them soon.

Early to bed, early to RISE!!!!

- Kerry

Latey McLatersons, aka my mom:

Sep 23, 2007

The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald

Next weekend marks the annual GonerFest - a week-long rock'n'roll party put on by a local record store / label that features the best of local music, as well as some fantastic touring bands. My platonic soul mate Matt was supposed to come down next weekend so that we could go see Mr. Quintron and Miss Pussycat.

Friday morning, I had just gotten to work when I got an email from Matt asking for my address so that he could print directions to Memphis. I sent it, and got a reply that said "Great! I'm leaving now, see you in a few hours!"

This weekend wasn't Goner Fest. It wasn't anything special at all. I had no plans, so I didn't really mind.

When he got into town, we met some friends at the P&H for karaoke night. Normally, I try to avoid any singing in public, but something about Friday night took away most of the normal inhibition. It could have been the alcohol, it could have been that I was in a really good mood - I don't know. But what I lacked in talent, I made up for in enthusiasm.

During karaoke, I saw a flyer that said that Muncie favorites Everything, Now! would be playing at the P&H the next night. So Matt and I, bottle of champagne in hand, went to see them.

I've always had a weird fear of opening champagne corks. Maybe it was because once, I watched as one flew across the room and slammed into a picture frame, shattering it. Maybe I'm scared it'll shoot my eye out. So, I had Matt open the bottle, and somehow, half of the contents wound up all over his pants. The remaining was delicious, though, and we had a good time watching e,N!

The whole week was pretty uneventful - there was blues dancing, and Talk Like A Pirate Day. I celebrated the latter by going to the Buccaneer to hear a band called the Pirates. Before that, I went to the Deli. At the Deli, there was a boy who looked suspiciously like Craig Finn, who is almost the ultimate in dreamy. So, I passed him a note written on a napkin that read: "You look like Craig Finn. I think that's dreamy. We should hang out. Phone Number:" He never called. I mean, what sort of crazy person has the balls to hand a boy a note, but not really say hello. I suppose that person would be me, and maybe next time, I should say hello. Ah well - win some, lose some.

Today though, I'm exhausted. I wish I had more to say for myself, but there's not a whole lot going on. I'm sitting on my bed, watching Mad Hot Ballroom (thanks, Netflix!) and listening to a car horn that's gotten stuck in the on position. (oh wow - as I typed that, it magically stopped!) I'm also trying to find somewhere to watch the first part of the new Ken Burns WWII documentary. If you've got PBS, I've got homemade chili.

name and number,

Sep 18, 2007

Sometimes, an On/Off Switch Would Sure Come In Handy

Weirdly enough, it's still sort of feeling like fall in Memphis. Fall is always a problem for me. I love it - love watching the leaves change, love feeling the need to wear a hoodie, love sleeping with the windows open (except on Saturday nights, when my little apartment is filled with the sounds of airplanes, dairy, and the aural thrills that the local gay bar provides). Fall is also problematic because it makes me want two things (ok, three): to buy new records, to fall in love, and to drink whiskey ciders. Unfortunately, I'm broke and falling in love is the last thing I need right now. The whiskey ciders are fine, though.

Saturday, I went to the annual Cooper-Young Festival. It's not so much a festival as a big drunken street party with vendors, though. I arrived around noon, was handed a can of High Life, and started walking around, shopping for vintage clothing with Karen. It's impossible to park at this thing, so I had biked to a friend's house and then walked from there. CY Fest is such an insane thing - there are bands, and corndogs, and people you haven't seen in years. After, there are usually parties of some kind.

After all of that excitement, I felt the need to stay in bed for a good portion of Sunday, and then spend the rest of it reading the NYT and being a record dork.

In other news, nothing has really been happening. I go to work daily, go dancing twice a week, and fight the urge to be horribly boring in the meantime. I think that's what being an adult is like, unfortunately.

So, I'm looking for suggestions. What do you want me to do and subsequently, write about? What do you think I should try? Let me know - no suggestion is too ridiculous.

making a mess,

Ps - Partner Dancing is the new black (photos from Red Hot Lindy Hop:

Sep 13, 2007

So Many Bad Ideas, So Much Fun

I'm going to be honest here and say that no matter how delighted I am by the cool weather, I'm a little freaked out. I live in Memphis. It's mid-September. We should still be standing in front of our window units, naked, beers in hand. Instead, I'm sitting at my kitchen, wearing a hoodie and making tea.

This week has been a little busier than most, which is really no excuse for not having blogged about the Millington Goat Festival and Anvil Shoot yet.

To preface, anvil shooting is apparently a pretty big deal. There are teams of people that compete in shooting anvils (which must be solid steel and weigh 100 pounds). As you can imagine, there is great danger in doing this. Here's why:

The anvil is placed on one of these, which is packed with black powder:

A fuse is then lit, and the lighter of the fuse runs away as quickly as possible. Ideally, a few moments later, the anvil is launched skyward. And as is the nature of gravity, while the anvil goes up quite slowly, it falls much faster. And sometimes, this happens:


We got to Goat Fest just in time for the start of the anvil shoot, having driven aimlessly around Millington for about an hour trying to find the festival site. We weren't sure where exactly the anvil shoot was going to take place - one would think that something like that would scare the goats. (Just imagine the horror of a wayward goat wandering into the blast range.) As soon as the first anvil was shot, it wasn't hard to find the blast range.

As soon as we got there, however, there were some problems. We watched a dude light the fuse and run, which was according to plan. But when after about 10 minutes, no anvils were airborne, the contest organizers realised that there might be a problem. First, they had to wait for the fuse to quit smoking. After about 10 more minutes, they sent someone over to the anvil to investigate.

The process for disassembling a misfired anvil is apparently a lengthy one. From what I could understand of the crazily moustachioed emcee, it involves two people pulling the anvil from the base with ropes, then waiting for the fuse to sort of die on its own. Thankfully, this situation didn't require that kind of precision and care. Within 15 minutes, the anvil was fired, and it was pretty spectacular.

Originally, I had worried than anvil shooters were going for distance, not height. I'm still not entirely sure what the point is, you know? Like, are the anvils supposed to land somewhere specific? Is success measured by how deeply the anvil sinks into the ground upon landing?

I'd love to actually try it sometime. I'm not sure how anvil shooting is a team sport, but it would be awesome to find a team that would let me play along sometime.

The rest of the goat fest was a little bizarre. There were Civil War Reenactors, coverd wagons, and teepees. I'm sorry, but you can't have all three. The covered wagon can go with either, but teepees and reenactors shouldn't mix. Because this was a goat festival, enjoy some gratuitous pictures of goats. I'm going to eat some food.

- Kerry

Sep 7, 2007

By Far the Funniest Thing to Happen to Me Today

I have a sheet of paper taped to my cubicle that says "Shake the Haters Off". Today, my co-worker (a charming middle-age woman from the 'burbs) looked up the lyrics to the rap song "Shake the Haters Off." Then, she read them out loud to me.

And it was awesome.

Have a great weekend!

Sep 4, 2007

They Always Used To Read Us Our Rights

I'm back in Memphis after my Muncie Marathon Weekend. My apartment (which was sort of clean when I left) is now an explosion of dirty clothes, 45s and music magazines purchased from the News Cafe. And it was worth every mile on I-65, and every shot of espresso I took to stay awake for said drive, and every night spent throwing Kristin's tiny, hyper puppy off of the futon so I could get some sleep.

I left Friday as soon as work was over, and got into Muncie about 3:30 a.m. Kristin had notified the Black Glasses Brigade, and they were all at her house, watching the Muppet Movie and waiting for me. I had figured I would just get there and pass out, but the two espresso shots I had done at the all night Starbucks worked entirely too well, and after much talking, I finally fell asleep sideways on the futon between Matt and Andy.

The next morning, we all went to Eva's Pancake House for breakfast and sat at the same table that we sat at the morning I left Muncie for the last time. Matt and I made the mistake of starting a discussion about records that would last until the five minutes before I left town on Monday morning. If I were a dude, I would be Matt - he loves pop music like I love pop music. He understands the visceral pleasures of the Sunday New York Times. His favorite sound is that of a printing press (mine being the sound after the needle drops onto the record, but before the music starts).

But I digress.

Saturday night, I DJ-ed Village Green Records, which is the awesome record store owned by the lovely Josh Caldwell. He was nice enough to host the return of the dance party, which, despite some overzealous dancing knocking the needle around on the turntable and causing skips, was an awesome time. So many people came out, and it was great to see everyone. It was also great to have an entire room dancing to Fatboy Slim's "Rockefeller Skank" in a non-teen movie context. Saturday also marked the return of "Meat and Potatoes Cabaret Theatre", which is something that originally happened when my former editor and I should have been working, but were listening to Belle and Sebastian's "Meat and Potatoes" instead.

Sunday, after brunching at Puerto, I went to Indy to record shop and have dinner with Crotch Rocket Aaron. I bought Mirah's "C'mon Miracle" and the Silver Jews "Natural Bridge". Then I took some pictures:

When I got back to Muncie, I met the Brigade at the Heorot. They were all inexplicably dressed business causally, with the exception of Kyle, who thought he was wearing his only shirt with no holes (upon further inspection, this proved false). Since I had narrowly missed last call, we all went back to Kristin's to watch Big Lebowski. I use the word "watch" very loosely, because when Matt showed up, he showed up with some Anchor Steam and something called Ginger Tams.

A little back story - when I lived in Muncie, I had a small bottle of Rebel Yell at my house. Rebel Yell is made in Kentucky (which, I remind you, never officially entered into the Civil War), and it's about the nastiest excuse for whiskey ever. It makes Wild Turkey seem like something you'd actually want to drink. Anyway, I used to pass it around when I had people over, or it was a special occasion that required some bonding time (Valentine's Day, parties, etc.).

So Matt proudly produced the bottle of Ginger Tams, which his well-meaning sister had brought back from a trip to Scotland. The bottle described it as "Extra Strength Liquor", and damn, were they right. I could tell from the smell alone that it was going to be extra strength. I could not tell, however, that it would taste so bad. The bottle also described it as being ginger and honey flavored whisky, illustrated with a drawing of a cat that looked like it was being electrocuted so badly that it's tail had split in half.

So, I took a sip, and holy crap, it was the single nastiest thing I've ever put in my mouth. The liquor of my ancestors is disgusting, plain and simple. I don't reccomend it - the Ginger Tams is a Big Scottish Bad Idea. It will, however, make the rest of the evening just a little more fun.

That night, I slept on the futon again, crowded with Andy and at least two of Kristin's pets, surrounded by my favorite people in the world. I didn't realise until I left Memphis what an insane past few months I've had. Between graduating, and moving, and getting a job, and ending the relationship that was part of the reason I had moved, there have been a lot of changes. But you know, they're not bad changes, and I'm actually pretty happy.

Coming up later this week - the Millington Goat Festival. I'm going to be going to this fabulous event (which includes an anvil shoot - doesn't that sound like the worst idea ever?) and writing about it here. There's also blues dancing on Thursday, as well as a meal with someone I haven't seen in four years that should be pretty entertaining. Check back soon for more photos, stories, and bad ideas.

Little Scottish Bad Idea,

Aug 29, 2007

But You Won't Find Any of That Here

For the four years I lived in Muncie, I had roommates. It made sense - that's what you're supposed to do in college, right? I shared tiny dorm rooms for my first two years before moving into a ridiculous apartment with a rotating roster of roommates (oooh - alliteration!). We each had our own bedrooms and bathrooms, but that didn't ease the tensions that come from personalities that mix about as well as vinegar and baking soda.

Like most people, I don't like being told what to do. It's not that I have an authority problem - I'm fine with certain people (my boss, my mom) giving instructions, but I'm just way not cool taking orders from someone that I live with by choice. I got sick of a world where leaving the coffee maker off, but plugged in was a major offense and cooking dinner for friends was almost inexcusable.

When I moved to Memphis, living with people wasn't even an option. I just didn't have the patience for it any more. So now, I live alone in an apartment that sometimes feels too big for just the one of me, but would feel entirely too crowded if there were two.

And somehow, even though I didn't intend to, I feel like I'm constantly an anecdote in "Sex and the Single Girl" or some other book about the brave women who chose to live by themselves.

Tonight, for example, I got home and did the dishes. Then I sat at the kitchen table in my underwear, ate some left over chocolate peanut butter cake, and read Television Without Pity recaps of "Big Love".

Sure, sometimes it's kind of lonely. After days like today, I wish I had someone to come home to, someone who would let me properly vent. And there are nights like last night, when all I want to do is get the damn lid off of the tomato sauce so that I can eat some spaghetti, and it won't budge. Short of banging on it repeatedly with the butt end of a steak knife and then running hot water over it, I didn't know what to do. I was plotting what I could possibly add to the noodles that were almost finished in the event that the jar wouldn't open. Then I thought about smashing the jar, gently against the counter. I started to imagine what I would do in a desperate Survivor Man type situation, in which the only sustinance I had was a tightly sealed jar of Prego.

But despite all of that, I like living by my lonesome. Because living alone means never having to say you're sorry. It also means never having to unplug the coffee maker.

In matters unrelated, I'll be in Muncie from late Friday night through earlyish Monday morning. I'm DJing at Village Green Records on Saturday night, and you should come out. You have no idea how much fun we'll have.

meet me by the vending machine,

Aug 27, 2007

Everything I Know, I Learned From GQ

When I was in high school band, I used to get nominated for the best dressed award every year. I found it not only strange that I got nominated for such a thing, but also that a high school band had superlatives. Granted, I think my nomination for Best Dressed was largely a joke. I rarely look like total crap, but I think I could use a little help. I've often fantasied about going on What Not To Wear, not only for the chance to totally rebuild my wardrobe with fabulous things, but also to just get a little help.

So last week, when JohnnyMac asked me to come shopping with him and help him pick out some nice work clothes, I was a little surprised. First of all, he works in IT. He doesn't have to dress up for work every day. But, I'm all for lending any sort of hand to a guy that wants to dress nicely. It seems like so many men think that they don't even have to try, or that their clothes are just something that they wear so that they don't get arrested.

I picked JohnnyMac up on Sunday, and we drove out to the fancy open-air mall in Collierville. I had called my brother on the way to JohnnyMac's house to find out exactly where I should take a man shopping. JohnnyMac had agreed to try just about anything, with the exception of horizontally striped thick cotton polo shirts. Apparently, those shirts are the shirts of douchebags, and I was not about to allow JohnnyMac to look like a douche.

We went in Banana Republic, where by the end of half an hour, I had every sales person in the store fawning over JohnnyMac, bringing in sizes, making suggestions, and passing judgment on each new outfit. At one point, I passed a thin sweater and a button down shirt with a small pattern on it over the dressing room door and instructed JohnnyMac to try them on at the same time. When he opened the door, he had the button down on over the sweater and unbuttoned, which is absolutely contrary to the way layering is usually done. Hell, maybe he should have bought both items and worn them like that. Maybe it would be the Next Big Fashion Thing. Male models in New York and Milan would be strutting catwalks in reversed layers. Fashion spreads in men's mags would tout the inventiveness of it. It could be amazing.

But, I digress.

We went to Express, where I had a hard time picking out clothes that weren't overtly douchy. There were lots of cargo shorts and printed t-shirts and really fugly polos. But among all of the fugly, I managed to find this outfit:

Yes, that's a sweater vest, and yes, I think it looks damn good.

After trips to several more stores, (including a trip to the Gap that made me experience a moment of temporary insanity in which I decided that man cardigans were where it's at sartorially), JohnnyMac was starting to look less like a 16 year old computer dork and more like a highly trained adult. He bought some pants, a shirt, and the most awesome non-dryer-safe sweater ever. I'm glad I thought to explain that cashmere blends should be hand washed before there was a washing machine disaster.

The whole experience was a really good one, and I'd gladly do it again. JohnnyMac was easygoing, and tried on everything I brought him, no matter how questionable my taste was. I'm apparently way more qualified to dress other people than I thought I would be. It doesn't hurt that I tend to know what I like, or that I'm pretty strongly opinionated. It also probably helps that I have at least two years of GQ back issues in my apartment and a healthy addiction to Go Fug Yourself. All I know is that if JohnnyMac ever needs a suit, I want to go with him to pick it out.

Sartorially yours,

Aug 22, 2007

You Would Know, Wouldn't You....

Tonight, I went to buy a six pack of beer from the local grocery store. Excerpts from a real conversation with the clerk at said grocery store:

Her: I need to see some ID.

Me: Here you go. (hands over ID)

Her: Oooooh....Scorpio!

Me: Yeah. I guess. Not really sure what it means, though.

Her: It means you're secretive....and freaky. Like, sexually. But you're a thinker.

Me: Um, right. Ok, then.

Check back this weekend for a very special update. A work friend has enlisted my help in finding some new clothes. I guess he could tell by looking at me that I'm an avid reader of GQ and Esquire. Anyway, I'm taking him shopping, and am planning to take him from regular IT dude to grown up, employed, adult dude. I plan to take a bunch of pictures and write about it here. Think of it as an episode of What Not To Wear, only with a stylist who can barely dress herself. Check for that update early next week.

In the meantime, I'll be getting a little freaky. Or something. I'll probably just go to sleep.

ever the scorpio,

Aug 19, 2007

And The Good News Is

The other night, I met a dude while I was out with some friends. The dude works in a medical research lab in a hospital, so he deals with biohazards. He told me that recently, he had been trying to find a cure for ferrets infected with bird flu. Thus, we shall call him the Ferret Wrangler.

So the Ferret Wrangler and I start hanging out. Tuesday, I called him as I was leaving work to see if he wanted to have dinner with me. He had told me that he had a really bad day at work on Monday, but was feeling better and wanted to hang out. I went to his house to collect him, and things were going fine. That is, until he stopped me and said, "I have something kinda serious I need to talk to you about."

This being the third time we had hung out, I was a little concerned. He continued..."So, the reason I had such a bad day at work Monday was because there's the tiniest of tiny chances that I may have, uh, contracted the bird flu."

He went on to explain that one of the filters on his respirator had come off, and as soon as he noticed, he got out of the room and got some medical attentions. Then he goes on to say:

"So, um, I asked pretty much every doctor I could find if I was going to be alright, and they said I was. So, then I told them that I was supposed to hang out with a girl, and didn't want to give her bird flu. So, um, I just thought I should let you know. You do have health insurance, right?"

The good news is, it's Sunday, and I'm bird flu negative.

And I just typed "Sunday" as "Stunday". Right.

God, why am I so awkward?

number one stunna,

Aug 12, 2007

Nobody Stands Between Me and My Man

Does anyone else ever have those days when you're working, or reading, or watching lots of CNN video on the internet and it just doesn't occur to you to turn any lights on? I always wonder why my MLGW bill is so low, and I really think it's because half the time, I forget to turn my lights on. Maybe it's some sort of inner Al Gore quietly whispering that I don't need to be able to clearly see in the living room if I'm sitting at the kitchen table.

I went out last night with one of my friends, and we met up with some other people, and the night stretched into this morning, and next thing I knew, I was up at Barksdale's eating breakfast with one of the kids from Red Hot Lindy Hop.

Yesterday, I also went to the gym, and I did more crunches that should probably be legal. Who invented the crunch? Why is it so aptly named? My abs feel like an aluminum can that's been run crushed on the forehead of a rather large man with a beer gut. If I keep up the crunches, my own small beer gut will soon be replaced with actual muscles. I've never considered myself to be athletic, or to even really care what I looked like, as long as I was eating healthily and happy with myself. And it's not that I care about that now, but the act of going to the gym just feels really good.

Speaking of cans, my mom saw an armadillo in her back yard the other day. Alive. Like, running around. I was always under the impression that armadillos sprouted from the pavement at the shoulders of interstates on their backs, little legs sticking out of their tin can bodies, already dead. I'm also a little concerned that there are armadillos in Memphis. My mom's back yard isn't exactly the interstate, so I'm not sure what the little dude was doing so far from home.

While I was out at my mom's yesterday, we started watching the family videos that Andybond had put onto DVD for us. I watched myself, at age three, run around the house, constantly talking, often with no pants on. Even though I couldn't physically dress myself, my mom started letting me pick out my own outfits at a very young age, and I had some very interesting ideas about what matched. Between my incessant talking and running around and questioning everything, it's a wonder my mother survived. It's also a wonder my parents didn't realise that I had ADD until I was 14.

whenever you want your direction to switch,

Aug 8, 2007

Learn How to Smile and Divide Up Our Friends

I feel like I should offer everyone a little heads up about my current situation, just so the last post isn't so maudlin.

After three years together, Colin and I have split up. It ended as well as it could have, and I'm confident that one day, we will be able to reconstruct our friendship. In the meantime, I just want to say that I enjoyed our relationship, and if I had it to do over again, I would. He's a wonderful person, and I hope nothing but good things happen for him.

That said, I've been quite a mess today. I did go to work, but I was allowed to work from my apartment this afternoon.

Thank you to all of the people who have called, or emailed, or offered to help me through this. Your generosity is overwhelming, and every time I think about it, I cry.

Then again, today, I'm crying about almost everything.

I'll get through this, but it may take a while. Please be patient with me.

is this how it ends,

Aug 7, 2007

The Girl Who

Um...I could really use some friends right now.


Aug 6, 2007

And If It's Quite Alright, I Need You Baby

I've had the Frankie Valli song "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You" stuck in my head all day. Normally this wouldn't be a big deal - I always have some song stuck in my head. The problem with this particular song is that I feel compelled to sing it out loud, with hand motions. Jazz hands, in particular. Because of this, it's now stuck in Kristin's head, too.

This comes after last night when I couldn't sleep because I had that Lordi song from the last entry stuck in my head.

Last night was pretty awesome, though - Kristin (who's in town for a few days) and Andy (his last night in town) spent the night, and we had a little slumber party. We watched "Mean Girls" and "Little Miss Sunshine", and threatened to give Andy a make-over and play Truth or Dare.

After the movies, Kristin went to bed, and Andy and I stayed up chatting and giggling (that was mostly me) about really stupid things (like Lordi). I could not get to sleep - I tried almost everything. Kristin was asleep on my futon, so I couldn't do the Simon & Garfunkel Sleep Aid. Instead, I took a Tylenol PM, which didn't work either. As a result, getting up and being a functional employee this morning was a little difficult.

It was also difficult to say goodbye to Andy. He's one of my best friends, and though I know his last semester will be brilliant, it's still a shame that I can't call him for a beer or a drive, or when I need a Himmler for my cockroach holocaust.

After I got home from work today, Colin and I went to the gym for the second time. It's going pretty well - I ran on the treadmill, rode the bike, and did some weights. I've been feeling it the next day, so I know I'm doing something. Weirdly enough, I'm kind of enjoying it. I was in an absolutely wretched mood this afternoon, and after I worked out, I felt worlds better. I'm not sure when the results will be visible. I'm actually a little scared - I want to firm up a bit, sure, but I don't want to look like Lady Rambo (or Rambette). I've grown to like my foodbaby, and I'm not sure I'm ready to lose it. I've been told it's cute.

In other news, today's entry is the first one from my brand new MacBook! It's quite the sexy computing machine, and though I haven't had a lot of time to play with it yet, I'm sure it will be soon. In the meantime, though, I have to get to bed. Tonight, I'm going to sleep like a...sleeping thing.

all we need is lightning,

Jul 29, 2007

The Arockalypse is NOW!

I was under the impression that when one plays paintball, one wears some form of padding. But yesterday, when we got to Memphis Paintball Park and rented equipment, the college kid behind the counter just handed us guns, paintballs and face masks.

My friend Eric decided that the only proper way to celebrate his birthday was to get a bunch of people together and go play some paintball, an activity that most of us had never participated in.

I was a little apprehensive, but for some reason, I didn't think it would actually hurt when I got hit. So, when Colin shot me in the elbow in a course that reminded me of Children of Men, I wasn't prepared for the sting. Once I knew what to expect, it was a lot more fun. I was on a team made up of two girls, Colin's brother-in-law, and three very fit dudes that had all shown up (independently of each other) in matching outfits. We did fairly well - there was one game where we didn't lose a single person.

In another game, K.K. and I (the last representatives of our team) exhausted our rounds on each other until she finally hit me in the other elbow. She had a clear advantage - she was in a tower, I was in a ditch. The ditch was kinda nice, though - I did a lot of crawling around. It was one of the only times in recent memory that I've felt like a bad ass.

After six games, we went to lunch, exhausted, dirty and bruised. Colin and I went home and took a nap that lasted until 7:30. Eric and Linsey went to bed around 8. Would I do it again? Hell yes. It was awesome, even though I'm still sore today.

In other news, Andy came over late last night and we made spaghetti. After a long discussion of things you probably shouldn't do whilst naked, the conversation turned to one of the best French pop songs ever, "Ca Plane Pour Moi", sung by a fabulous man named Plastic Bertrand. Plastic Bertrand looks like he really, really wanted to be a member of Flock of Seagulls, but it just didn't quite work out. He also dances like a deranged Jazzersize instructor. Observe:

Plastic Bertrand led to Andy and I scouring YouTube for videos of the Eurovision Song Contest. The Eurovision contest is about the craziest thing ever. It's a multi-national "American Idol"-style program complete with voting, costumes, and back-up dancers. Only, it's really nothing like American Idol, though I'm sure it does inspire lots of national pride. Here are some of the 2006 Highlights: (Note - these are all very worth watching. Make sure you're not drinking anything while you watch them, because beverages shooting out of one's nose can be a little painful)

Israel's Entry, "Push the Button".

Firstly, I can't believe this band is called Teapack. Secondly, I think this song is about terrorism. Unfortunately, the lead singer can't quite decide what style of music he really wants to be playing.

Then, there's the 2006 second place winner, a drag queen from Ukraine:

Um, I don't know about you, but I feel like I'm being commanded to dance. Or listen to Danzig . I'm not sure which. What I do know is that I want that headdress. They can keep the shorts.

The winner of last year's contest was a Finnish band called Lordi. They won for their song "Hard Rock Hallelujah". You just have to watch it. If you've skipped over all of the other videos, watch this one. It will make your life. Even if you don't like the music, glam rock sung in broken English is about the greatest thing ever. As is the lead singer's Finnish Pride.

Why are we Americans so geographically unfortunate? Why doesn't BBC America broadcast this here? I think we need to start a letter writing campaign to the EU. Who's with me?

Today is the day of Rockening,