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,