Archive | October, 2011

Pretty Scary

31 Oct

In honor of Halloween, enjoy this behind-the-scenes clip of Stanley Kubrick being a total dick to Shelley Duvall on the set of one of my favorite movies, The Shining.

When Jack Nicholson said, “I want to be out of control as an actor,” I died a little. Such. A. Crush.

Happy Halloween

31 Oct

It should come as no surprise to you that I’m opposed to sexy Halloween costumes. For myself, that is. Of course, me saying that is kind of like saying, “I would never go on a date with Ryan Gosling!” Like, he’s not asking, and “sexy” isn’t a look I can pull off. Looks I can pull off include: different, weird, eccentric, quirky, and occasionally cute. Seeing as “Eccentric Nurse” isn’t going to be sold at the costume shops any time soon, I typically try to just do me and go as something weird.
I tried to think of a powerful, glamorous woman I could dress up as, but my problem is that I don’t look like anyone. I’d make a thoroughly unconvincing Liza, Cher, or Dolly. My attempt to dress up as Tootsie met with nothing but failure and my family telling me that I looked like Little Orphan Annie. Then H brought up a suggestion I’d made months ago: Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy. Of course. Who is more glamorous, powerful, assertive and beautiful than Miss Piggy? No one! Or at least no pig. I figured all I’d need was a pig nose and a blonde wig and I was set.
Except for one thing. Do you guys know how hard it is to find a pig nose at the costume shop? It’s hard. It all goes back to the sexy costume thing: women don’t want to be pigs. Pigs aren’t sexy and they aren’t really cute. Women want to be cats, leopards, bunnies, or even giraffes, but they don’t want to be pigs. When I finally did find a pig nose/ears/tail combo, the checkout guy said, “You’re gonna be a piiiig,” in a voice that sounded simultaneously disappointed, surprised, and confused. Listen, if I had time to make Britta Perry’s squirrel costume, that’s what I would’ve worn, okay?

In the past ten or so years, I’ve had some weird Halloween costumes. The last two times I’ve dressed up I’ve been a dinosaur.

In high school, I was Enid Coleslaw from Ghost World. Only one person recognized me. It was a tough crowd. I don’t have a picture of my costume, but I wore this exact shirt that I found in a stroke of Goodwill fate.

And when I was 16 I dressed up like…this.

None of those costumes prepared me for the intense rush I got from dressing up as someone inherently known for her femininity. I mean, her first name is Miss.
I got to wear fake eyelashes, the most eyeliner I’ve ever worn (and I already wear a lot of eyeliner), tons of makeup, hot pink, and a blonde wig. Oh yeah, and a pig snout that made it a little difficult to breathe.

I already miss those long, blonde, flowing, plastic locks. Halloween is the best holiday. If I could wear a wig and false eyelashes everyday of my life, believe me, I would.

So maybe it’s not a sexy costume, but it’s halfway there. I mean, except for the pig nose. And the fact that it’s physically impossible for me to have cleavage. And also I wore a coat the whole night because it was cold. Well, okay, so maybe it’s not sexy, but at least it was pretty glamorous, and that’s a real step up for me.

This Weekend I Ate…

30 Oct

…pizza (multiple times in one night).
…donuts.
…cookies.
…a double cheeseburger and fries.
…pizza (again, on another night).
…a lot of candy corn.
…potato chips (I don’t even like potato chips).
…God knows what else.

This weekend was fantastic. I got to see people I don’t see very often. Two Drink Kerry came out. I sat on someone’s lap because we attempted to cram 6 people into my teeny-tiny clown car (Hey, Chad). There may or may not be a video of Jayne and I on Facebook doing our patented bell dance where she gets cutoff yelling, “I’M WORKIN’ OUT MY ABS!” at the end. I regret nothing.

Except that double cheeseburger, and maybe that third helping of pizza.

So this morning, after I got coffee from the Friendly Corporate Coffee Shop, I made myself a green smoothie. Then later I had some broccoli salad and made this Butternut Apple Soup. I’m fond of saying, “I’m gettin’ my five a day!” whenever I eat vegetables, and let’s just say that yesterday it was more like my One-A-Day. Let’s make up for that today.

Lady Jam: Freda Payne, Band of Gold

28 Oct

This is one of those songs that I can’t help but listen to whenever it’s on the radio. It’s unnatural how much I love this song about an unhappy marriage. I just can’t resist upbeat sad songs! Freda Payne is so beautiful in this performance, but she is a strange lip syncer. She alternates between looking bored and pouting. But that hair! Also worth noting: the clothing worn by EVERYONE. Suspenders!

Why I’m So Cool

27 Oct

Today I was driving to work at 6:30 a.m., drinking a green smoothie out of a mason jar, exhausted because I stayed up too late reading, having a one-woman car dance party to Will Smith’s Miami, when I thought to myself: Damn, girl, you are just too cool for anyone else in this city.

Then I thought of one of my favorite Variety SHAC sketches, which prominently features Miami and dancing.

Lady Author: Sarah Dessen

27 Oct

You guys know I love a good young adult book. The thing is, if you tell someone now that you like YA fiction, they tend to assume you’re talking about vampires, or post-apocalyptic worlds, or some other sort of fantasy sci-fi stuff. There’s certainly nothing wrong with any of that (I myself have read all of the Twilight books and all of the Hunger Games books, which is probably something we should talk about at some point), but that’s not the kind of young adult fiction I’m usually into. I grew up on Judy Blume and Phyllis Reynolds Naylor and Lois Lowry, and that’s still the kind of stuff I gravitate towards: books that deal with family, friends, and romance. Basically, books for teenage girls.

Last week I downloaded Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen onto my Kindle. I’d heard her name a lot, and now I know why. She’s amazing! Last night I stayed up very much past my bedtime finishing Lock and Key, after which I immediately started on What Happened to Goodbye. In my limited experience with Sarah Dessen, I’ve noticed that she’s interested in the following themes:

1. Broken families
2. Dudes

Guess what? Those are my very favorite themes in a book! Here’s the basic plot summary of Lock and Key: Ruby lives with her alcoholic mother, until her mother abandons her. Children’s Services intervenes and sends Ruby to live with her 10-years-older sister, who, despite growing up in their abusive household, is now super-normal and married to the founder of Facebook (she doesn’t call it Facebook, but it’s Facebook). So Ruby has to adjust to being in a rich neighborhood, AND she has to try to get to know this older sister who she thinks abandoned her, AND she has to deal with the super-hot guy next door, because of course there is a super-hot guy next door. That’s how you know this is my favorite book! I’m not giving anything away by telling you that at one point Ruby gets drunk and passes out in the woods. That’s how awesome this book is.

Sarah Dessen has a great website. I’d recommend her to you if you like teenage girls, semi-heartwarming but still realistic tales, and stories where someone has a hard time loving someone but then eventually they learn to love someone.

Lady Horror Film: House of the Devil

26 Oct

I love, love, love horror films, but probably not the kind you’re thinking of. Well, okay, exactly the kind you’re thinking of if you know me. Unfortunately, when most people think of horror, they think of, like, the Saw movies, which is fine if that is your thing! But you guys, this whole genre that’s been dubbed “torture porn” does not cover all horror films! I like horror films that are suspenseful, kind of goofy, and not even all that violent (unless it’s a B-movie from the 80s and I’m watching it with Alex, then violence is fine).

Embarrassingly enough, I had to stop watching scary movies about a year ago. I already deal with a fair amount of anxiety/worry and in general I manage it pretty well on my own. But, at the time, Alex and I were watching a lot of scary movies and I was spending so much time thinking about cults and serial killers that it was negatively influencing my quality of life. I made myself stop watching anything that scared me, including documentaries about the Manson family, which are like my favorite thing to watch! It was a sacrifice in my best interest.

The movie that set me over the edge was one of the scariest movies I’ve ever seen, The House of the Devil. I cannot recommend this film enough, even though it has all of the things that scare me the most, including cults, very long quiet scenes where you think something scary is going to happen at the end (I seriously CANNOT EVEN HANDLE mild suspense), weird old people, and isolated houses. This is a near-perfect film, and a GREAT lady film. Here’s why:

1. Strong female lead who does not spend any amount of time conveniently forgetting to wear pants.

2. GRETA GERWIG. EATING PIZZA.

3. A great dance scene to The Fixx’s One Thing Leads to Another

4. Tom Noonan. Amirite, ladies?!

5. The director, Ti West, is a total babe. Also, a good director.

After I watched House of the Devil with Alex, I drove back to my apartment in the dark. When I tried to climb the steps up to my place, I actually felt panicked. I scared myself so much thinking about this movie that I didn’t think I could make it up the stairs. It was then that I realized that, however much I might love horror films, maybe they just didn’t love me back. I haven’t really watched anything scary since, but if you are not so easily frightened, I would highly recommend House of the Devil. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Lady Jam: The Most Popular Girl, Teen Witch soundtrack

25 Oct

All of the songs from the classic film Teen Witch are great; the entire movie is great. From the rap battle to the disgusting silhouette make-out scene, it’s a cinematic masterpiece. The Most Popular Girl is one of my favorite songs, and I have to say that I would totally wear all of the outfits she’s rocking in this clip. Waist-cinching belts will never go out of style! And, honestly, I only wish I could make my hair that big. The sound is slightly off in this video, but, um, does it matter? No. It does not.

If I had a car full of dudes rapping at me, I would lose it. And then date all of them. And then toss my hair some more.

Driver’s Ed

24 Oct

I’m so thankful for the perspective I’ve gained with age. At 25, it’s now clear to me that most of the things I spent my youth agonizing over weren’t that bad. Do I even remember all the tests I studied for or the boys I liked? No. One experience, however, will always stick in my mind as something that deserved all the misery and anguish; an experience so singularly awful that I’m constantly awash in gratitude that I never have to suffer through it again. That experience is, of course, Driver’s Ed.

Much like everything else in my life, when it came to driving, I was a late bloomer. Like most kids who grow up in rural environments, I dreamed of the day I could get in a car and speed away from the cows, cornfields, and truck nuts. After all, driving symolizes everything you can’t do as a kid, the total loss of automation you feel when you can’t rely on public transportation or walking. When you live in the country, driving is the only way to get anywhere.

When I was 14, my family was involved in a serious car accident, and any driving ambition I had flew out the same window I had to crawl out of when I couldn’t open the crumpled Buick door. It was an experience that upsets me even today, but at the time it was all I could think about. I put off learning to drive; I got my permit, but let it expire and had to retake the test. Eventually, when my best friends signed up for Driver’s Ed, I knew I had to get it over with. Or my parents forced me. I don’t remember.

What I needed at the time was the vehicular equivalent of one of my childhood swim teachers; someone who understood how scared I was, someone who encouraged me but didn’t push too hard, someone who realized I wasn’t ever going to learn to dive so there wasn’t any point in making me stand on the diving board for ten minutes. That’s what I needed. What I got was Mr. Vaughn.

I imagined driving school would be in a classroom. We’d sit at desks and I could pass notes to my friends. Instead, when we showed up for a 2-hour class, we were greeted by a cramped room packed with folding chairs. We had assigned seats and I sat next to a boy our teacher referred to only as “Mr. Browning.” He had little interest in talking to me, instead preferring to lean over my lap to talk to a girl my friends and I nicknamed “Tan Belly” because of her tendency to wear half-shirts that exposed her tanning-booth bronze.

Mr. Vaughn himself was a vision in grey. You’d be forgiven for thinking I’m exaggerating for the point of clarity, and maybe my memory’s just betraying me, but I really can’t remember him ever wearing anything except for a grey t-shirt (like the ubiquitous flag t-shirts Old Navy sold for pennies every July 4th), a grey baseball cap, and grey knit shorts. It was the kind of outfit you’d wear to work out, only he wasn’t working out; he was teaching a class of 15-16 year olds the basics of operating expensive and dangerous machines.

Mr. Vaughn was going through a divorce, which we knew becuase he told us. Often. It wasn’t an amicable parting. I ruminated on this question: Did his bad attitude cause the breakup of his marriage, or did the breakup of his marriage cause his bad attitude? He couldn’t get through a lesson on parallel parking without casually berating a girl in the front row for playing with her bracelets, saying something cynical, or telling us a far-too-personal story. My favorite involved Mr. Vaughn, whose wife had taken their dog, putting his now-useless doghouse on the curb with a sign advertising its cost. I don’t know if this happens where you live, but in rural Ohio this sort of honor-system sidewalk sale is a pretty common way for someone to get rid of an old rototiller or 4-wheeler. That day before class, Mr. Vaughn told us, he’d watched from the window of his house as two men loaded his doghouse into their truck. Too scared to go out and confront them, he’d watched them drive away without paying. He told this story with the affect-less narration of a psychopath detailing a horrific murder.

I was understandably dreading my driving time with Mr. Vaughn. Not only was I terrified of cars, but I didn’t want to be alone with him in a confined space for two hours at a time. Mr. Vaughn would often pick us up to drive right after he worked out. If you’ve never been in the front seat of a Driver’s Ed car with a bitter divorcee who just sweated out his demons, well then, you just haven’t lived. Oh, and did I mention our car was a Geo Metro? Yes, the Geo Metro.

Mr. Vaughn often made us drive him around on his errands, which meant he was using work time to do personal shit. I’m pretty sure that was illegal or at least frowned upon, but no one said anything about it. Once I had to take him to the health department so that he could get a vaccination. I waited in the Geo Metro for 15 minutes, relived that this counted towards my driving time. He came out clutching his arm and as he slid into the low Metro seat he said, “Don’t punch me in the arm for awhile.”

I also took him to the bookstore, the Wendy’s drive-thru (“Don’t get so close you leave a blue streak on the wall,” he was fond of saying) where he always ordered multiple sandwiches, and the bank’s drive thru. Once, while making a deposit, the tube vaccuumed up his deposit slip and he leaned over me to yell into the intercom, “Could I get two suckers?”

I was touched by his thoughtfulness and kind of weirded out that he’d ask for a child’s favor from the bank. Perhaps I’d misjudged him; maybe he wasn’t so bad.

The tube whirred into life and sent his receipt back. He stuck the suckers in his glove compartment. “For my kids,” he said. Of course we were not going to enjoy Blue Raspberry Dum Dums together. Of course they were for his kids.

If anything, Mr. Vaughn’s class served to solidify my already significant fear of driving. The only thing I actually gained from the class happened the day Mr. Vaughn bought in all of his old cassette tapes to sell (presumably, the idea of selling things on the curb no longer appealed to him). It was 2002 and no one wanted cassette tapes; we all had Disc Mans and, in a few short years, we’d have iPods. But if you know anything about me, you’ll know that of course I wanted a grey, middle-aged divorcees unwanted tapes. As part of my birthday present, Cat bought me 3 tapes I picked out: Prince’s Purple Rain, George Michael’s Faith, and Wham!’s Make it Big. All three choices I stand by today.

Aside from the jams, I guess I also received some advice from Mr. Vaughn. “If there’s ever a point when you don’t know what to do,” he said once, “just imagine I’m sitting next to you.” Reading the words, it sounds comforting, but it sure didn’t seem that way when he said it. Even though he was clearly talking about driving, my friends and I laughed to think about bringing Mr. Vaughn along everytime we had to make a decision.

“Mr. Vaughn? What dress should I wear to homecoming?” The grey one.

“Mr. Vaughn? What should I have for lunch?” Two Wendy’s burgers and a baked potato.

I never got comfortable driving that car with the bastion of negativity seated beside me. “You’re too cautious,” he told me once when I hesitated at an intersection. I narrowed my eyes and my lips formed an angry, straight line. I didn’t say anything, because I knew that there weren’t any words I could use to describe the slideshow of twisted metal, broken glass, and blood that played in my head whenever I got in a car. Too cautious? Please.

One of the best things about getting older is being able to say, “Well, at least I’ll never have to do that again.” High school. A shitty summer job. Sadie Hawkins dances. Group projects. Driver’s Ed. I drove by the old Driver’s Ed building a few weeks ago and saw that it was no long there; now the building holds some sort of motorcycle shop. I wonder what Mr. Vaughn is doing now, if he remarried, if he’s alone, if he’s still bitter and unhappy. As much as I want to believe he’s happy, I know it’s more likely he’s as grey as ever.

I don’t know where Mr. Vaughn is or what he’s doing, but sometimes when I don’t know what to do I think about him. “You’re being too cautious,” he says in my head. What did he know about taking chances? This man who’d completely shut down emotionally, who existed in a colorless void where he spent most of his time trying to disillusion 16 year olds who were, for the most part, excited to gain the most freedom they’d ever had? Maybe that’s ultimately what I learned from him, more so than maneuverability or how to change lanes. Maybe he’s a reminder not to be so cynical. Maybe he’s a reminder to not ever let life bring me down that low. Maybe he’s always there, sitting beside me, saying, “You’re being too cautious.”

Or maybe he’s a reminder that Geo Metros are the worst cars in the world. Because they are.

In Case You Wondered What My Life Has Been Like Lately…

23 Oct

…this week I defriended a dude on facebook for making the comment that he watched Bridesmaids recently and came to the conclusion that “women just aren’t funny.” Sorry, no time for assholes in my life! Especially not assholes who are high school ex-boyfriends of girls I don’t even talk to anymore. Seriously, why am I facebook friends with these people?

Here is one of my favorite scenes from Bridesmaids, a movie that I identify with very much. I really hope this scene never happens to me.

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