Monday, June 24, 2013

The Starbucks Reaper and; Kimye Logic

Yesterday morning I was reminded just how much I loathe Starbucks bathrooms. Nay: the toilet paper holder in Starbucks bathrooms. I don't know if it's a corporation-wide conspiracy or what. But the shear volume at which toilet paper is dispensed in a Starbucks bathroom is so LOUD, so RATTLY, so PERVASIVE, it simply must be a ploy to dissuade customers from using more than their fair share. Certainly, I would rather the entire store not know that I am currently dropping the kids off in their midst. Let's save that information for the select few necessitating a bladder tap after me. And hope that I am far, far away by then.

This is how the Reaper sounds when he's breathing on your neck.


In other news on Things I'd Rather Not Share, I recently spent an entire evening obsessing on the personal life of one fellow blogger; albeit a far more influential -- and thus, equally as abhorred -- one. If only I had the techno-savvy to screen shot my history for that day. It would read, in varying search terms, somewhat like this:

  • "dooce divorce"
  • "dooce reasons for divorce"
  • "dooce cheating?"
  • "dooce monetize the hate"
  • "dooce Today show interview"
  • etc.


Yes, I am aware that Kimye recently named their child North. I'd like to ask Sir Kanye if he considered his hometown in this decision. You guys, we have a tiny baby with a future giant ass and probable droopy eyes named after our relative geography. SUCCESS.

Maybe not. No fair, Portland gets all the cool shit.

But while the rest of the world sinks its claws in either baby Middleton or baby West, I am still trying to remove the couch-wedgie sustained by vested research into Heather B. Hamilton's sordid affairs. No, I do not care that someone renowned for parental guidance via her "mommyblog" is getting divorced. Of course I'd like to know who is getting lazy in bed. Or maybe who spent the night in another. Because I'm a nosy motherfucker.


What really cracked the door to Crazytown was search column #4. Props to doocey for banking on the horrid things people say -- of which they are many and variously crazy. Basically she's created a separate blog chronolicling the most awful of the awful comments that people have made on her blog, in her email, and various forums. It is plastered with ads. Thus, big bucks for every nasty word. A personal favorite:


um….the hair. really? you look like a white lesbian version of rhianna-but she is actually attractive and you look like a banana head with a chin. some people can pull it off (michelle williams) but honey you are not one of them. yikes. you were cute for a while, but what the hell are you thinking? that heather can look good no matter what?

why would you do that to yourself. why don’t you just shave it next?


And it goes on. For pages and pages and pages. Some of it I can get behind -- the comments on narcissistic tendencies and a predisposition to whininess. But most of it is just concentrated cruelty. And grammatically poor, I might add.


But when, WHEN did we decide that by the simple guise of a computer screen, we're allowed to let hate reign? When did having an anonymous IP address give us the juevos to criticize some far-away person's lady locks? Why does anyone care that Kim Kardashian has an ordinal direction for an offspring? Why did I tell you that I sometimes poop where I get my coffee (sorry again, barista friends)?


Because look, here's the thing:


We can't deny that we live in a culture saturated in information -- most of it with as intellectually stimulating as squashing celebrities names together. We must be getting bored, if criticizing the entertainment has become the entertainment.

There are several variables to the whole TMI or Overshare way of life or; How We Live. For starters, those that choose to share do so at their own discretion. And you read/watch/listen at your own. This is a mutually participatory act. You may remove yourself from the share/care cycle at any time. And for those whose argument might follow a "they put themselves out there and they know the consequences" trajectory, I would direct you to my rather large collection of SVU episodes in which NO MEANS NO.


Regarding the matter of necessary criticism: we have people for that. They're called critics.


It's simple, really. We share to connect, to find our similar beating hearts. And if you don't like it? Stop reading. Stop watching. Stop listening. Yelling at the dragon is never going to make him go away. So just shut up, already. I am.






Friday, June 21, 2013

The Great Gatspiration

I took myself on an artist date the other day. If you're not familiar with the term, it's what we call avoiding actual work to sit at the movies all night and eat skittles from a vending machine. Except that I sort of killed it by inviting Nichola because duh Leo crying; thereby voiding the concept of dating oneself via cultural immersion and subsequently gaining inspiration. But whatever, she was the one that bought me the skittles.

We saw The Great Gatsby. While visually gorgeous and all the rigamarole that comes with spending millions on a two+ hour extravaganza, I'm not sure how I felt about the experience. If I sound conflicted, it may be due to the jarring aftershock of unnecessarily loud music accompanied by unnecessarily crowded imagery. On the Rocks In A Dryer scale, it would rate just under Transformers. I mean I like glitter as much as your average stripper. Just please don't play Jay-Z out of nowhere, that loud in my face. I'm just getting over Beauty and the Beast.

I admit that the anticipation of this cinematic event has prompted me to actually read The Great Gatsby. I've gotten through half -- mostly because the annotations in Katie's copy remind me of being in High School, when I was an idiot, and nobody really wants to be reminded of that when ingesting one of the greatest literary excursions of our time (or so they say). On a more important note, Daisy is a dumb whore.

You don't let Leonardo DiCaprio go. You just don't. And you most certainly don't let him die of hypothermia in freezing ocean water so that you have to pry his cold, dead hand off your own since he's let you live when there is CLEARLY ENOUGH ROOM ON YOUR RAFT.

This photo is stolen. As if you hadn't seen it already.

Despite the questionable outcome of The Great Gatsby and all its floating text -- lest we forget while Lana Del Ray bemoans her sagging sweater monkeys that you actually read this in American Lit garblegarble years ago -- it reminded me of why I am never disappointed in spending upwards of ten bucks for a flick. And 50 cents for those ten skittles:

The previews. Obvi.

Previews are this magical sub genre of filmmaking that have the ability to make something like Grown Ups 2 look like cinematic mastery. I'm fairly certain I've cried at more previews that the actual films they accompany.

You've got to hand it to the folks over there slaving over a drafting table splicing bits of film together -- or using computers or whatever these newfangled techno nerds do nowadays -- to shove all the best, most enticing portions of a two-hour experience into a 60 second epic. I literally wanted to see Premium Rush so hard when I saw the preview in theaters that I almost forgot how stupid the premise sounded. I still haven't seen it. Therefore, Previews = Totally Fulfilling Singular Experiences.

Which leads me to wonder; are we archaic visual artists nothing if not composers of the highly concentrated movie trailer? Were the cavemen of Lascaux actually the first marketing houses for Premium Rush: Hunt of the Mastadon? Or am I getting it backwards again, seeing as those cave drawings are our first records ever of humans doing cool shit like stabbing the air with sticks and ruining their real estate values? Or is it forwards, seeing as so many of today's films explore past events -- like how dope Lincoln's beard was? Do I have to figure out if the chicken came before the egg before I can eat it with bacon?

I was looking through an old yearbook yesterday, in which my former art teacher quotes, "quit thinking!" Regardless of what the point is, being immersed in a few moments of concentrated theatricality reminds me that making art doesn't always mean thinking art. Or thinking life, for that matter. Sometimes all it takes is removing the extras enough to get at the meat of the thing. In the same way that watching movie trailers gives enough away to create a reaction, so does a good painting. Or portrait. Or suspiciously red bust-thing.

There's an audience for it all. The real point would be to remember that whatever you're doing, make it the most stimulating experience you've ever had. Because nobody cares if you don't care, either.



Thursday, June 20, 2013

Techniques In Bathing Avoidance or; Assessing Your NSPW (Necessary Showers Per Week):

1. Enlist a friend. If you have not bathed within the last 24 hours, evaluate your level of Stench (1 through 10).
2. If, by the enlisted party's summation you rank weak-iffy (1-3), throw on some deodorant. You are now set to enjoy your day!
3. If you rank iffy-stank (3-7), find your cleanest washcloth and best-smelling shampoo. Lather those pits with Essences of the Herbal sort (or whatever else you have that smells like flowers).
4. Repeat step #2.
5. If you rank stank-severe stank (7-9), enact steps 1-4. Finish with a 20 second continual spray (10 pumps) of your strongest eu de cologne.
6. If, at any point in steps 1-5 hair reaches Critical Washing Point (matted texture and/or "hair-like" smell), fear not. The illusion of clean hair is within reach for:
  • Those with bangs: simply shampoo the frontal (most visible) area in sink. Air or blow dry for stunning effect. Can be worn comfortably for up to 2 (two) days.
  • Bang-less: Sorry. You're screwed.
7. In addition to emergency bang washing, kitchen and/or bathroom sinks and/or dish soap may also be utilized for the following:
  • Emergency pit washes -- for shirts that necessitate multiple wears (slash laundry laziness).
  • Feet-stank touchups -- for those of the emmenating sort.
  • Spot cleaning (clothes) -- for those working with paint/ink/poop/other organic materials.
  • Spot cleaning (skin) -- for those working with paint/ink/poop/other organic materials.
8. If you rank 10, it is time to bathe. Total days between steps 1 and 8. Divide this number under 7. This is your Necessary Showers Per Week (NSPW).
9. If at any point during this assessment you are or have become a man, for the love of God get in the shower. I can smell you from here.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Chicken Shit

You know how, in the infancy of every new romance -- save maybe Ryan Gosling's -- you and your precarious partner spend your first date unwinding each other's lives via a series of questions meant to extract the vital moments of your respective lives into some sort of roadmap, so that at the end you might have a glimpse at the chance your paths could successfully cross? And, though you'd like to think your imagination strays towards the MPDG of those carefree, wistful Zoe Deschanel's and Natalie Portman's; you, or that mirage standing beside you, will inevitably become more solid under questions like "what's your worst memory," "what kind of superpower would you have," or, as is the case in question, "what is your greatest regret?"


As a standing practice I don't believe in regrets. I don't believe that life is so finite that every moment could not be turned on its head to uncover some greater, soul-dissecting truth within its supposed beauty or ugliness. But I've also been accused of thinking too much.


Sam and I recently spent three days driving an accumulated 24 hours to and from San Francisco. Bed bugs and shitty motel 6's -- and the subsequent night spent in her car notwithstanding -- I don't regret the trip. Not even when considering the fact that the Kerouacian Empire currently sits #2 on my two-city list of Dumbest Cities Ever:


I'm sure my brethren of the Hipster Culture will lay down their Wayfarers in contempt for this. But seriously, San Francisco: YOU'RE NOT EVEN WARM. 70 degrees at the peak of Haight's attraction is not enough for me to regret offending the masses with this statement. And WTF, claustrophobic hills? Get it together, California.


Despite Sam and I's relatively dismal perception of a city even Google and Apple have hard-ons for, the trip could have been worse. I don't regret the two hours I spent weeping on the ride home nor the unexpectedly comfortable, aforementioned night's sleep in Sam's compact.




Mere hours before we embarked upon our inevitably disappointing and hilly ride Northwest, Sam awoke me at the ungodly hour she rises every single day during the school year. While she embarked upon another day molding young minds, I sought out what I'd hoped would be a solitary journey up the backside of the mountain Formerly Known As Squaw Peak (google dictionary for origins on its former moniker and henceforth name change).

I did not take this picture. I am not that cool.

The scene: waiting behind some sporty Jeep-or-another in the parking lot, chatting with my mother, hoping my phone won't inform me of its heat stroke again in the 95-degree-and-climbing early morning. After a few distracted moments, noticing that Jeep Or Other has finally shut his driver's-side door, which until this moment had seemed just inconsiderate due to its blocking of the path to sought-after parking spots, but now a minor inconvenience to be navigated around. Notice: the lone car passing to the left, on its journey away from the soul-engaging hike up Chick's Tit. Fail To Notice: signage informing all incoming vehicles of their obligation to wait in line for their turn at parking for soul-satisfaction. Notice: singular parking spot, ripe for the taking, upon which phone call is interrupted by Jeep Or Other's vulgarity over disregard for aforementioned sign.


Let's just say that this guy, fit to grace the wrappers of Clif bars everywhere, was certainly not pleased with my apparent disregard for The Rules. And, being the smug out-of-towner, I thought that my defensive vulgarity was well warranted considering his previously obnoxious door-blocking and local mean-mugging. Despite the brief raising of hackles, his persistence on the Importance Of The Sign won over my feeble argument, and I waited in my (appropriately earned) parking spot for Clif Bar to make enough of an advance to finally depart upon my own journey.


Solitude bequeaths answers to all of life's questions, right? Barely two minutes up that scorching heap of rocks my answer came -- to apologize for being a royal dick to this guy on his way down (even if he did start it first).


So the whole way up I'm stealing myself to see Clif Bar again. I'm thinking I really owe this to myself, to redeem the Hipster Culture and young people of the world by apologizing, for being the Bigger Person. I'm really going to show him, you know? The rest of his life, he's going to remember this self-righteous, tattooed Midwesterner that apologized for being rude in a parking lot in Phoenix, Arizona. He'll always remember being showed up by the mean-turned-courteous girl half his age. I saw him about three quarters of the way up. And you know what I did? I chickened the fuck out.


Maybe it was because he looked so intense in his Clif-iness, or because I was out of breath in my big-assedness, or because after 20 minutes of preparation the sun suddenly got in my eyes. But as his head looked down to avoid further confrontation (or possibly falling and dying), I simply puffed on.


Since this moment I've concluded that it is the only act I've committed that I regret: the act of not acting at all. Maybe it's for the best, considering my intentions were pretty much selfishness anyways. But mostly I regret being a coward. And I regret that he still thinks me one, too.




Monday, June 17, 2013

A Burning Sort Of Itch

I'm not that funny in real life. Most of my conversational humor is accidental, stemming from a shrillness of tone, a pension for self-deprecation and a general lack of coordination. I have also discovered of late -- due in no small part to Buddy Holly's insistence -- severe shortcomings in the Comeback department (reference: "no, you're a -----!" brand of humor). So you can understand my surprise when feedback from this little experiment that began many months ago included what some called "humor writing." Yeah, I try really hard. That's probably the least surprising part.


I have also been called "a Winston."


Some of you may remember a variety of posts that cropped up here and there, when the humor ran dry and the focus seemed to wane, relating to my confusion as to what the fuck I'm doing writing in the first place. And then a couple weeks ago, that random thing about stars and water and shit. Are you wondering where I've gone? Do you miss me? Am I delusional over how much people really care?


Whichever of the three it might be, I don't want to know. Let's just all keep it to ourselves (I'll still be watching my stats. That's just how self-absorbed I am).




I understand that when I began this project, those interspersed, pleading posts about my direction and my focus and my life and wah wah wah; now make complete sense. Yes I am slightly ashamed at the publicity of my drama. But we'll all get over it.


Taking a break from any creative endeavor is usually relieving but always devastating. The never-ending struggle: to allow for the influx of information in order to breathe it out in creating, without beating yourself senseless for it. It's a process I've never been able to remedy within myself, but one that, if ignored, inevitably leads to periods of silence like the last few you all have been experiencing. The one thing that the final breakdown does teach us is where the focus lies.


Which is why I am -- to quote the fashionionistas of our realm -- simply swooning over what is in store here. These last few months have served me well. What at the beginning of the radio silence had become a numbness is now swelling into a persistent itch. And it's burning.


So stay tuned, everyone. I'm excited. You're excited. Let's just not give each other chlamydia, K?