Wednesday, March 29, 2006

V for Very Kick-Ass

The Boyfriend and I saw "V For Vendetta" on Sunday. I loved it! I loved it despite the fact I burst into tears once we got in the car.

There is NO WAY to ignore the parallels between the current political situation and the interpretation of what the future holds if we continue on this path. It was pretty bold the way they kept bringing up "when America started the war". Note: I wouldn't be hugely surprised if the movie writers mysteriously disappear...never to be heard from again.

The world in this movie is a world of censorship, government control, and media messages shaped by political leaders. Men in power (and I say men because there were few women with power) obtained their positions based on "who they knew", not "who they were". A diabolical and violent military leader delivering government propaganda on TV, a priest with a penchant for teenaged girls...and the list goes on.

The citizens of this world were blind to the manipulation they were under until a victim of the system (V) launched a plan to motivate the people to overthrow (peacefully) the corrupt regime.

The Boyfriend said he had a hard time connecting to the movie through the main character. I disagreed, I was completely connected...and then we realized the difference. I became attached to the lead female (Natalie Portman), while the lead male character wore a mask, making it difficult for the Boyfriend to REALLY form a bond and get into the movie.

There was some action in the beginning and end, but the main bulk of the movie involved story-telling...letting us know the connections between people and why they were who they were.

I guess it tapped into the key frustrations I'm feeling right now about our government and the global role we're playing. I was upset because it was beautiful how so many people protested and made a difference. As the Boyfriend mentioned (while trying to figure out why I was crying and how to comfort me), there was a peaceful protest of 500,000 in California last week. Things could change for the better.

Warning: This movie is probably much more palpable for people of a more liberal persuasion. While I found the peaceful protest inspiring, I also understood V's violence used to facilitate reform. Some reviewers have called him a terrorist, and I expect some viewers would feel that way also.

Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Smart

I couldn't name this post Dweedle-Dee and Dweedle-Dum because it sounds like one of this pair in question is "dumb"...and they're both freakishly smart (ok, one of them is above average, the other is FREAKISHLY intelligent..."A", you know what I'm sayin').

Yesterday, two EFA employees (I'll call them "A" and C to keep them anonymous) had an appointment to meet at a doctor's office to work out some details before starting a new program there. "A" looked around her cube wall to confirm what time C wanted to leave...and she gasped.

"No, please, you didn't!"

C stood slowly, revealing the awful truth. They were wearing EXACTLY the same outfit. Black socks, black loafers, black pants, silver chains, olive green collared and button-down shirts (same color...SAME color). Some further probing revealed they were also wearing the same colored underwear.

They established a little skit of sorts. "A" described the above scenario, then C would stroll in casually. They became a bit of a circus side show. What made it funnier is that they have similar builds...if C's hair were a little shorter they could have been twins for sure.

And so, they did the only thing a couple fashion-conscience gals could do...they left early to stop by Target so C could get a new shirt.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Tom Cruise Still Sucks Really Bad

Anyone who reads my blog is no stranger to my opinion that Tom Cruise is crazy. I hate to admit it, but I've fully lumped Katie Holmes into his catagory. Spawning the offspring of Cruise is not a favor to the world. Hark, the arrival of the savior of Scientology!

Ok, that, my friends, was a longer than necessary tangent.

I'm here to write about the South Park rerun of "Trapped In the Closet" that was canceled. Industry peeps say it was canceled because Cruise threatened to withhold promoting Mission Impossible III. There's some love triange in which Viacom owns both Comedy Central and Paramount (MI: III production company).

While I wouldn't be in favor of a TV episode that mocks, speculates, belittles, and questions my sexuality...I would accept that outcome as a public personality, as well as someone that's recently shoved my spiritual beliefs down people's faces. Cruise has used his celebrity to constantly push his agenda of Scientology, and while there are MANY MANY actors that participate in the religion (though most not as publicly), the general population hasn't been all that supportive of his promotions. I would think mostly because of Tom's condescending manner, not the actual religion itself (although I'm not sure it's a very popular sect).

I remember not too long ago when Cruise was loved by all...America's darling. Wow, that really turned around quickly Probably when he yelled at America's other darling, Katie Couric, in what was suposed to be a friendly, casual interview. Or maybe he fell out of favor when Matt Lauer went for blood to avenge Ms. Couric and Cruise treated Lauer like he was a COMPLETE moron (which he is not, although I don't like him without hair...but that doesn't diminish my opinion of him as a TV journalist).

In any case, Tom has denied any threat on his part concerning the Comedy Central rerun. That's a good thing, because it could be perceived as him forcing censorship. The fact remains...the show didn't run. Interesting.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Greetings From Seattle (Still)

Yes, we are still in Seattle. We missed our flight and due to spring break, coupled with storms in Dallas, there were no flights for a couple days.

A couple things. This is the first flight I've ever missed in my life. We were late by 4 minutes to check-in, and I felt like I'd been really irresponsible (even though much of it was out of our control). As the situation sank in, I began to realize I could turn this into a new type of experience. When I travel (and in life in general), I usually have everything figured out. For real...I mean really figured out. So figured out that plans rarely fall apart. This felt like a new adventure. The unknown.

So the Boyfriend and I trudged to an open area with big windows. There are FAR worse airports we could have been stuck in (O'Hare for example). We had a view of the mountains, long padded benches to take naps or sleep on for the evening, food, rocking chairs, etc. We ate, watched the sunset, and kept checking every flight to try and get out of here on stand-by.

Nothing. Everything was overbooked. Storms continued to delay flights at DFW, people were being paid to wait for later flights. I assure you, passengers who missed a flight do not have priority.

We camped out, the boyfriend reading while I played Sudoku and read gossip magazines. We chatted, often commenting on how we wouldn't choose anyone else to be with. We did not fight once. If we were to have a big blowout, a relationship tester...this would be the time. When I got stressed, he gave me a hug...neither of us snapped at each other or complained.

At 12:00 am we bellied up to the counter once again. Our last hope until 3:35 on Monday afternoon...and we were denied. The woman who was working had been rude to us earlier ("I'm not even talking to you right now. There's nothing for you"). Now, she was compassionate and chipper after 13 hours working. Maybe she'd seen enough worn out people to feel fortunate that she got to go home that evening.

She said there was nothing, but she would check us in for the 3:35 flight. She told us she had secured excellent seats next to each other. That helped. I was a little deflated at the thought of sleeping in the airport. All of our checked bags were en route to St. Louis, so we had nothing to change into. I asked if there were any inexpensive hotels nearby.

She replied, "Maybe I can get you a distressed rate. Or, if you don't tell anyone, I'll give you a voucher."

No way.

Our beady red eyes opened a bit more...mine were close to tearing up.

She handed us the golden ticket (it was actually green and white...but it was shiny and glowing with golden rays to me). She told us where to call the shuttle, which would pick us up and bring us back the next day. We got to our room at the Doubletree and everything seemed a whole lot better. Our room is beautiful. Check-out isn't until noon, and we don't need to be to the airport until 1:30.

One thing was continuing to bother me. I got a hold of E and she went to the house to check on the kitties (I needed SOMETHING to obsess about. My job is super understanding, so the kids were on my mind). I washed my underwear and socks in the sink to get a fresh start to the day, and we slept in the pillow covered King-sized bed of heaven.

Last night, on the way over in the shuttle, the boyfriend remarked at how his priorities had changed. Thirty minutes earlier, if he'd been told we weren't getting a flight, he would have been very upset. Riding to our hotel, knowing we weren't getting out until the next afternoon...everything felt wonderful.

I agreed, but what also made everything wonderful was that the Boyfriend had remembered at the last minute that we should take out our bags with all our contact stuff, meds, soap, lotion, etc. Showered and refreshed...I'm ready to take on the airport again.

Thursday, March 16, 2006


The Boyfriend and I are in Seattle and it's glorious. Ok, it's rainy...but rainy in Seattle seems somewhat better than sunny in St. Louis.

I walked four blocks in the rain and I became overheated. You see, it may be rainy, but I'm not freezing my ass off. The air smells clean, the people are friendly (and walking/riding bikes)...and there are beautiful oceans of recycling bins on every corner, of every building, in every store.

Plus, my partner in crime and her husband, Liz and David, have been generous enough to have us as guests and do all the touristy things that I secretly delight in. Pike Market, Space Needle...and if the weather were better, Mt. Rainier. This is the Boyfriend's first time and I suppose I'll do all those things again so he can experience them (yipee!).

Alright, so a little sun couldn't hurt.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

LSAT Practice Test Score

A couple weeks ago I took an LSAT practice test. It was administered by in the test prep people. I presumed they made the test extra hard because they want us all to fail miserably and freak out so we'd sign up for their classes at $1400 a pop.

First, let me say that the test made me want to poke myself in the eyes with pencils (I had two really sharp mechanical ones with me). Second, I COMPLETELY lost all steam and focus in the last section. It was pretty rough...but not as rough as I had anticipated.

So, I got the letter in the mail today. My scores.

The boyfriend has been going through a lot lately. He's beyond reasonable human stress levels finishing up his super-sexy-geeky-genetics PhD. As I started opening the envelope, I briefly considered whether he had the mental stability to deal with my reaction if/when I had horrific scores.

Turns out he didn't have to brace himself, I did better than I'd expected. I got a 156, which I don't think is too bad for my first practice test. It rated on their scale ("they" being Kaplan, the purveyors of overpriced prep classes) as slightly above average. I can accept that.

According to where my strengths and weaknesses were, I need to either hit it really hard and get all the Logic Reasoning and Reading Comp correct and accept the fact that Logic Games make me want to die. Or, I need to focus almost exclusively on Logic Games and be more balanced on the test.

I really hate those damnable Logic Games.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Blog O the Week

I wasn't sure if I was going to say anything about this or not, but my blog was the "Blog O the Week" in the Riverfront Times a couple issues ago (click title for link).

At first I was kind of embarassed because that's my normal reaction to any sort of attention. Then I felt good because it meant that someone (besides my mom and list of usual suspects) is reading it.

I have to say that I'm pretty sure that one of the writers, Malcolm Gay (trust me, if I knew your address I'd put it on here and encourage eggings after you wrote about my milk phobia in your article), tipped him off. We had discussed my blog and he has the address. Just kidding about the egging...kind of.

It was also kind of fun that it came out on my birthday.

I didn't really mention it to anyone, except a couple devoted RFT readers that I ran into. I thought my out-of-towners might be interested.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Observing Lives

I got home from work last Wednesday and really needed to unwind. Not that I'd had a bad day, but I just needed to shake it off.

I took a walk around our neighborhood, armed with my mp3 player, and just walked. I didn't have a destination, only the desire to feel the cool air on my face...and before I knew it, the drizzle on my face as well.

I do this sometimes. I like to look at changes made to houses and yards, and see people going about their business. Often, it's like a ghost town and nobody's around. Tonight was fairly active.

We live in a typical St. Louis City neighborhood. Houses are generally bungalos, close together, and made of brick. I could shake our neighbor's hand if we were both at the window washing dishes.

Early evening is my favorite time for these walks, I observe people finishing their days, recharging for the next.

A man and woman standing in the kitchen, a dozen roses sitting on the counter and the woman looking delighted. Anniversary?

A woman is in her living room, tossing her baby in the air, talking baby talk and smiling with joy as she gazes at her child.

Three people clustered on the corner, each with a big dog. They cheerfully say hello and we exchange greetings (they must not be from around here).

And last, but CERTAINLY not least: A family gathered in the kitchen, all talking at once with animated hand gestures...and one of them has a MONKEY ON HIS SHOULDER. That one threw me a little.

I walked along, AFI playing in my ears, smiling a little to myself. I fondly think of all the scenes a walker could have seen when I was a child...

Me and my sister huddled on our parents laps at the kitchen table wathing "Sha-Na-Na" on our 9" TV.

Dad coming home to seek out where we were hiding (probably in the same places we had the night before).

Mom cooking, with two little girls on the floor with mixing bowls (and if we were lucky, there had previously been cake or brownie batter in them).

My grandparents or Godfather over for clockwork...always the same occasions each year.

And now, I have my own house, with some of the same things going on...kind of.

The boyfriend and me wrestling, desperately trying to be the first one to plant a tongue on the other's cheek (gross).

Me chasing the cats.

The boyfriend doing yoga or hunched over the computer.

(Hopefully NOT me sitting on the couch in a towel putting on lotion after a shower...although it wouldn't be outside the realm of possibility...note to self: always remember to close blinds after showering).

Anyway, I just like seeing other people and their rituals, their lives.


I have now gotten this email from my sister, who rarely forwards them, and M, who entertains me with them often. I’m writing my answers on my blog, and anyone who’d like to put theirs in a comment…that would be fantastic!

Four jobs you have had in your life:

1. HIV Prevention Manger (currently)
2. Corn Detassler (14 and 15 years old)
3. Ballpark Concession Stand Manager (college summers)
4. Resident Assistant (college)

Four movies you would watch over and over:

1. Sense & Sensibility

2. A Life Less Ordinary
3. Less Than Zero
4. Elizabeth

Five places you have lived:
1. Omaha, NE (0-2 years old)
2. Bettendorf, IA (2-18 years old)
3. Cedar Falls, IA (college)
4. St. Louis, MO (1998-present)

Four TV shows you love to watch:
1. America’s Next Top Model
2. Rescue Me
3. Nip/Tuck
4. Law & Order (any and all of them…5 at a time…whatever. Although I rarely catch any but Criminal Intent these days)

Four favorite places you have been on vacation:

1. Jamaica

2. Virgin Islands
3. Ireland
4. France (do I only get 4? I also loved Phoenix with my family, Mexico, Seattle, CA…there are too many more to keep listing…I love to travel!)

Four sites you visit daily on the computer:

2. Pink is the New Blog (

Four of my favorite foods:

1. Cheese
2. Yogurt (homemade…I think I’ve mentioned in previous posts that the Boyfriend and I are about 1 chicken coop away from being hippies…yes, we make our own yogurt)
3. Hard-boiled Eggs
4. Seafood Lasagna (my mom’s)

Four places I would rather be right now:
1. Back in bed with the Boyfriend (I couldn’t sleep anymore)

2. Iowa with my parents (hopefully also with the pesky little brother home from Iowa City)
3. Texas with my sister
4. Seattle with L (Oh, wait…I’ll be there soon! YEAHHH!!)

Four people I admire:
I’m sticking to people I know

1. My Mother – She’s an evil genius (not really evil…but intelligent enough that she could form a coup to take over the world if she chose to do so), yet she sacrificed a fulfilling career to be at home with her children. It doesn’t end there. When we got older, she launched her own company, dominated her field, and later sold it to someone else. That’s impressive to me…deciding to do something unfamiliar, doing it, and doing it the best.
2. My Father – He continues to surprise me with his courage. Like me, he’s got a touch of social anxiety, but he challenges himself to overcome uncomfortable situations. He’s done what he had to do to get the highest certification in his field (which is rather specialized), and is President of an organization of other people who do the same thing. I can’t imagine it’s easy to chair meetings and go to conferences (it’s usually difficult for me, anyway…and we’re very similar). Plus, he’s the one who worked hard so my mother could stay home with us.
3. My supervisor – A strange choice, perhaps. He was thrown into a leadership position he didn’t really want, has been challenged along the way, and still he made our agency grow and flourish. He’s so qualified that he could have found employment elsewhere, but he chose to make the agencies needs a priority…and I really appreciate him for that (and no, he does not even know I have a blog…he does not read it…I have much more straightforward ways of kissing his ass).
4. My friend J – Her life has been filled with more tragedy than anyone I know (including characters on Lifetime movies). She’s still upbeat, spiritual, a giver to other people, and a fabulous mother and wife…not to mention a rock star in her profession…which is incredibly competitive.

Four places I like to shop:

1. Rock Star Rags

2. Target
3. TJ Maxx
4. The Gap

Thursday, March 02, 2006

True Vintage

I guess the t-shirt I'm wearing isn't truly vintage...but it feels pretty special.

I didn't ever wear my Bettendorf Jazz Band t-shirt when I was actually in the jazz band (except at games when it was mandated). I hid it in my parents house in a place I'd hoped it would never crawl out of. How horrifying.

I went home to Bettendorf a couple weeks ago and my mother wanted me to review a pile of shirts that she wants to rid herself of. And there it was, a glorious black tee with gold lettering...and a ferocious silkscreened bulldog roaring for all the world (much like I roared on my trombone a decade ago).

I had to have it. I knew it would only compliment my other finds, such as "Asthma is Sexy", "I Love My Geek", and "I'd Rather Be Fighting the Man".

It occurred to me as I wore it proudly to work today that it was my experience. I have dozens of shirts from Rag-o-Rama and Rockstar Rags that are other people's adventures. This shirt was my own (although let's be real, jazz band is pretty lame...playing "25 or 6 to 4" was not my high school highlight). But instead of wearing an old ratty jersey that says "Jim", with his number on the back, this was mine. I belonged to this group...MY experience.

By the way, it fits perfectly.