Wednesday, March 30, 2011

tomboy gets her boy

I am in between papers right now and have found myself with a night in the room by myself.  It's rainy outside, it's cozy inside, and I am sitting on my couch doing my homework and watching TV. I never just watch TV. This is great.
Except that the program I most want to watch is on the TV Guide Channel. This is strange to me. TV Guide is not supposed to have real shows and movies. Most days I am annoyed by the slow scrolling of programing information and the ridiculous show playing above it. I curse the small size of the listings and wish for a time when there was only room for weather or small advertisements.

Tonight I am watching Some Kind of Wonderful, which I quite enjoy. Not as much as the other John Hughes movies, but enough that when I saw the movie starting I sat down and made myself a nest to settle into for the next hour and a half.

It's been a while since I've seen it, but I am noticing several new things along the way:
  • Watts has the coolest car ever. I want it.
  • Why were so many girls in the 80s dating preppy assholes and refusing to stand up for themselves when they were referred to as "property?"
  • Eric Stoltz looks exactly like Mark Hamil.
  • I must really like this movie for other reasons because Keith (Eric Stoltz) is about as hot as Luke Skywalker, but with a higher voice. So...not hot. Just to clarify.
  • class differences are tearing us apart!!! they live on the wrong side of the tracks and he has dirty hands!
  • his littlest sister went on to be the oldest sister (DJ) on Full House. huh.
so, if you're not doing anything right now, go watch this movie. stand by for possible additions to this list

EDIT: Watts Wisdom:
On whether to face the bullies: "It's better to swallow pride than blood."
On high-maintenance Amanda Jones: Keith- You can't judge a book by its cover.
                                                        Watts- Yeah, but you can see how much it costs.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

when Irish eyes are smiling

OK, something happened this weekend and I haven't even written about it yet. Tragic. Typical.

On Saturday night I went to a St. Patrick's day party. Not as a guest, mind you, but as entertainment. Yep.
This does not mean I was a magician, comedian, dancer, clown, mime or one of those people at Disney that dress up like the cartoons and talk in a high-pitched voice to sound more like the character.

I got paid (PAID!) to play Irish fiddle. For a crowded house party full of AARP members.  ...that's just speculation. They're probably not all members. People under 50 at this party:
  • Me
  • friends I brought: Shane, Jenna, Katelyn
  • that 25 year old from down the street who lives with his parents
  • two Irish dancers, high-schoolers, one of which looked like she might be hiding a shiv in their hairpiece.
To get to this house we had to drive 30 minutes out of downtown and into the 'burbs, through the marshland, past the gatekeeper (who incorrectly told us we were late, jerk), past the boat parking lot (that's right. a parking lot. for boats. in a gated community. these people were sitting on some money) to the house with the green lights in the bushes.

I played for a while, then paired with a 65-year old on the accordion. A man I found out (through the mysterious connecting the dots I somehow learned from my mother) that he has danced at some feis (fesh) recently in New Jersey with my Aunt Dia who lives in New Orleans. It's a small world after all.

Katelyn left with the 25 year old's number, I gave mine to the accordion player and left with a nice chunk of change in my pocket. Not because I gave my number to an old guy. Because of the fiddling.

I played some singing songs for drunken red-faced Irishmen and at one point during the night an older gentleman came over to me and leaned in close to my face. I hate it when people do that. I smile widely, uncomfortably. Throughout the party, all I have been doing is grinning like an idiot. Partly because I am happy this gig isn't turning into the disaster I'd feared, and also because I don't know what else to do with my face. I'm expecting him to say something deeply heartfelt and appreciative about my playing, and then he opens his mouth. "You," he says, angling his eyes at me, "have nice teeth."
Why thank you, please feel free to contact my dentist Dr. Leach and Dr. Awbrey, my orthodontist, for comments and/or questions.
Mind you, this is a different fellow than the man who said, "they've got great legs!"  after the Irish dancer's mother explained the intensity and dedication required by the sport.

It turned out to be a nice night, and way less embarrassing or difficult than I had anticipated. Shane took a video of me playing one of my tunes, the High Reel. Feel free to watch. At one point I stumbled a bit because I looked up and saw a man staring at me from the kitchen.

Monday, March 21, 2011

meta: birds are loud

I don't usually reference the title of my blog, because, well, for a while I forgot why I named it as such. Then I remembered that when I started this thing, it was mid-summer and I was annoyed at the birds outside my window waking me up. My first idea for a post was to complain about these stupid birds, and then I thought, well that's dumb, everyone knows birds are loud. But then that's how most of my writing here is anyway. Less-than keen observations.
So there you go.

ANYWAY, I was googling around and I found this story:

Quentin Tarantino sues neighbors over loud macaw birds

"Quentin Tarantino sued his neighbors whose outdoor aviary contains loud macaws that emit blood curdling screams at intermittent intervals for 7 to 8 hours a day."

"Courthouse News says the birds' squawks are a loud, grating call, and are particularly noisy at dawn and sunset. Bird publications claim that a macaw's call can, and does, reach the decibel level of a rock concert or a jumbo jet engine."

"Tarantino's complaint states that Macdissi and Ball are aware that their birds make "blood-curdling, prehistoric sounding screams, they do not maintain the macaws in their residence, but place them in an outdoor aviary.
Tarantino also stated in his complaint that "one would assume, that as a fellow writer,  Mr. Ball would understand and respect a writer's need for peace and quiet." Tarantino said that assumption would be wrong."

 So now you know. Birds are loud.

And whodathought Quentin and I would have similar problems. Go figure.

Dizzy Teddy and Brah-ms

I think it's safe to say that the worst word pair you can hear in a classroom is "group project."

...followed closely by "gas leak" or "cumulative final."

My Happiness class (which is slowly becoming an ironic title) has a group project component. We have to make up our own research question about happiness and design a research study and...

I already don't want to do this. I hope this isn't a reflection on my interest level in the subject! It's probably just a representation of my horrible work ethic. For example, I have a research paper due next Wednesday and I was all gung-ho to start writing/accumulating research and instead I sat down to my computer and started blogging. Blerg.

Anyway, group projects. Every group project is the same.  No matter how many members, it could be two, it could be ten, there will be ONE person whose schedule is days ahead of everyone else. This person makes the others feel lazy, but to appease this member, the others pump out whatever they were supposed to contribute according to the Proactive Person's schedule. How is that fair? It's not. But life isn't fair, as I was reminded constantly as a child.

There is also always AT LEAST one  incompetent slacker who has decided to ride on the coattails of the other group members, who are all really just towed behind the Proactive Person. Incompetent Slacker will finish his/her assignment at the last possible second and rarely be on time/show up to group meetings in the library.

During my last group project, I discovered that I was the slacker for the first time in the history of my education. I felt terrible to be bringing down my group, but then I discovered how liberating it was not having to carry the rest of the group as Ms. Proactive. And now I am spoiled and I don't want to be that person ever again. It's a vicious cycle. Actually, it's more like when you realize that the backpack you have been lugging around all day is 470 pounds and if you carry your books to class one at a time instead of being prepared for everything all the time, you are much more comfortable.
I mean I guess. I haven't taken my books to class since freshman year.

So in Happiness class, we are charged to make groups of four. I look at the three people in my immediate area.
  1. Thom (see RLS: MetalSlayer
  2. Thom's metal friend, who looks like a teddy bear that has been through the dryer one-too-many times. His hair sticks up, fluffy, and there is a slight dizzy look to him as he talks about the freaktacular MetalSlayer album out next month.
  3. Brah-guy, named for his propensity to refer to people as "brah," which is slightly acceptable given our proximity to the beach. He has short red hair and clothes that look like he's been wearing them for years, not in a dirty way but in a loose and comfortable way. He's the kind of person who insists on wearing flip flops year-round.
 I really need to stop judging people.

Upon seeing my prospects for my group, I decided to talk to my professor after class and request a random assignment. But then, I thought, what if she assigns me to these dudes anyway? Decisions, decisions. I thought, for sure I will be Proactive Patty for this group. Damn.

As I sat lost in my own worry and ignoring the last few minutes of class, I write my contact info on the sheet of paper Brah-guy has handed me, and I hear Dazed Teddy addressing me from his seat directly behind me.

"Cookies. You want cookies? Cookies?"
Oh, man. This guy is high.
"I mean," he clarifies, "would you like some cookies? I work at a bakery and I took a bunch home today."

It turns out he works at Baked, one of my favorite bakeries in Charleston and just as I am about to say "sure! do you have any Monster cookies? They're my favorite," he says
"Do you want a Monster cookie? And I have chocolate chip. Take a few!"

Maybe this group thing will work out after all.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

RLS: MetalSlayer

To the girl in my psych classes:
Why do you insist on taking your shoes off for every class? Are your shoes really that restrictive? Also, do you buy new socks every week? Because yours look immaculate considering the amount of time they spend unshielded from the annually-cleaned floors of the Education Center.

Also, here is another story about my powers of magnetism.

In my happiness class, our professor likes to take time from her lecture to ask us to "check with our neighbor" about things we just learned or were supposed to read.
Example: "So the Stoics were definitely eudaimonists. What in the reading from yesterday confirms this statement? Can you check with your neighbor?"..and then you have to awkwardly turn to the person closest to you and shrug and say "I have no idea. Did you read? Yeah, me neither."

One day, when class ended after checking with my neighbor about Kant or Schopenhauer, I exited my aisle and one of the guys that sits behind me (one of my neighbors) blocked my walking path and stuck out his hand. "I'm Tom by the way."  Actually I think it may be spelled with an "h" like some people do. Let me paint you a picture of this guy: he's what the boy's clothes department would call "husky," with dark greasy hair that comes to his shoulders, a curtain covering one eye like the lady-villain from Captain Planet. He is usually wearing the same shirt supporting some demonic-sounding death metal band.  Most days I hear him talking about the latest metal show he went to to a fellow metalhead behind us. ("Did you see MetalSlayer on Thursday??" "Yeah, they were freaktacular, man.")

"I'm Thom by the way."
"Oh, hi. My name's Claire."
"Claire," he confirms.
We shake hands.

 The next week, our professor walks down the aisles and passes out a handout (probably something undecipherable about Nietzsche with lots of examples about pastrami sandwiches). With only three of us in the row, I have to stand up and walk to the girl at the end to get the papers, and then I pass one to Thom, who sits in my row now, if he can manage it. And he says...
"Thanks babe."

I possibly misheard him. Maybe he said "thanks mate" or "thanks gave" or "you should shave." I hope it was one of these options.

Ever since this, I have been weary. But for a week or so, he wasn't in class to avoid giving our big presentation.  I thought he had withdrawn from the class to avoid writing the three page paper and talking for 60 seconds. So imagine my surprise when I see he is still in class after all!
 Today we tackled the questions "What IS happiness?" and "What does happiness REQUIRE?" Check with your neighbor. I did a half turn and saw he was the closest person to me, so I turned to face him and said

"Isn't this what the whole class is supposed to be about?"
He laughs.
"So, what IS happiness?" I ask, "Puppies? Peace of mind?"
"How was your break?"
"Uh." I recover quickly. "Good! Really good. My break was happiness. Great idea."

I just realized that there is no reason to be so freaked out about this. People call other people "babe," right? I just expected it from some slick jerk instead of one of my own (the geeks, nerds and dorks crowd.) I should give Thom a break. Because now everything I hear him say ends that way. "How was your break, babe?" "Maybe happiness can't be defined operationally, babe." It makes me uncomfortable. But that's not exactly fair to him. He probably just said "thanks a nave."

Anyway, here are (the imaginary metal band for the purposes of this study) MetalSlayer's greatest hits, courtesy of Jake:
(not a member of MetalSlayer)
MetalSlayer's Greatest Hits Collection:
1. Death-Face
2. Murder for Breakfast
3. Bloodsoaked Shoelace
4. A Knife Wound a Day (Kept My Parents Away)
5. Human Roadkill
6. Bitch Coffin
7. Recipe for Necrosis
8. A One-Horse Open Slay
9. Bureau Full of Corpses
10. Love is a Self-Amputation

(I would advise people not to google image these song titles. you're welcome.)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

when God closes a door, he opens a beach house

It is my final night of spring break, and I am sitting at my computer. But oh, what a great week it has been.

I spent Sunday to Saturday morning at my friend Hannah's beach house on the Isle of Palms. Several things:
  1. this was the first year I didn't just go home and veg out on the sofa. Which may have been a mistake because apparently we have a 3D TV now.
  2. I was worried that because I wasn't getting a break from the people I see everyday, I would grow to hate them after a day or two of sharing a house with them.
  3. The high all week was about 65 degrees. Every time I went out on the beach I had a sweater or a blanket.
don't you want to just dive right in?
BUT it turned out to be really fun.  There were always new people in the house bringing food and games and conversation. I accrued a whole library of new music and made some new friends. And although it sucked to be at the beach and be unable to apricate*, the chill doesn't change the look of the stars at night. 

and here is my latest favorite:

*Balderdash tells me this means "to sunbathe" but my spell check says it is not a word. confirms it is, indeed, an English word, although the most popular usage was in the 1690s. Go figure.