Monday, October 29, 2012

13 Songs For Your Halloween Playlist

Despite my inability to see past the ridiculous lack of creativity in slutting yourself out of a real costume (talking to you, girl I thought was dressed as a prostitute who wandered into a costume store and stole a pair of cat ears) and my terrified-at-anything-slightly-scary, low tolerance for horror, I love Halloween.

I think “Hocus Pocus” is mainly responsible for this. There’s nothing more festive than Bette Midler dressed as a witch singing “I Put A Spell On You.” It’s creepy and fun and cheesy and 90s and awesome. Every year I look forward to watching it (and tricking myself into thinking I can make it through a real horror movie—this time I made it 30 minutes into “Pumpkinhead” before the soundtrack turned menacing and I chickened out), creating DIY costumes that no one in my family will understand, and of course, posting a mixtape for you guys.

Halloween Mixtape

1. Psycho Therapy--The Ramones
2. Paranoid--Black Sabbath
3. Halloween--Siouxsie & The Banshees
4. Bad Things--Cults
5. Dead Sound--The Raveonettes
6. Help, I'm Alive--Metric
7. Is There A Ghost--Band of Horses
8. Date With The Night--Yeah Yeah Yeahs
9. Howlin' For You--The Black Keys
10. Full Moon--The Black Ghosts
12. Vicious--Lou Reed
13. Season Of The Witch--Donovan

Whatever your Halloween plans are, I hope you have fun. And remember: if you're a virgin, don't light the candle.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Halloween Parties & Search Parties

Last night my family had their annual Halloween party. Things started pretty well then took a turn for the dramatic and emotional worse.

Then ended well. Okay, well-ish.

Let’s get the story started.

It was some time after the holiday-themed bingo game and about 5ish glasses of sangria for myself that a few people started gathering their things and leaving. Some at the party were non-family members, first time attendees, so I don’t blame them for not realizing our dogs, in their excitement for adventure, will try to go out the front door when you open it.

So as Ricky and I were walking in the front room, a guest warned us that she thought she just saw one of our dogs in the front yard.

At first I was like, the dog is probably just across the street near the neighbor’s fence. So, we walk out there (and at this point it’s about 10 at night, so I’m using my sangria night vision to find the dog), trespass into the neighbor’s yard and start peeking around. No Sirius (my dog’s name.)

I ask my cousin and his group of friends, who were standing out by his truck in the driveway, if they saw Sirius, but no luck. Mostly I was met with awkward silence and expressions of incomprehension, so I’m not entirely sure they knew what a dog was.

At this point, I’m pissed. Because there were people standing out here. The sangria blocks the logical part of my brain that argues it’s dark and Sirius is a smaller dog, with dark fur and it’s pretty possible no one did see him walking around. The wine saturated part of my brain says, “Fuck that! They should have seen him with their night goggles!”

And I start working myself up in the only way I know how—insulting people’s intelligence under my breath as I use the f-word. Unfortunately when you’ve been drinking and playing holiday-themed bingo games, you’re so revved up it’s difficult to control the octave of your voice.

So, I dropped the f-bomb in front of relatives and my friend’s religious mother.

(Happy Halloween!)

My cousin starts down the street with a flashlight while Ricky and I search the yard and my dad’s barn. Then, my mother comes running out in her witch’s costume crying hysterically. My dad and her take off on the golf cart to cover the surroundings since our dog has decided to embark on some grand, “Homeward Bound" adventure.

The Halloween party is now a search party. Everyone’s calling the dog’s name, he’s not coming, so now I assume he’s dead and this is the worst night ever. My cousin is diligently searching, but his friends are laughing about The Search. (In hindsight, it was funny. But you don’t laugh when the person who invited you into her home is crying and clearly upset. This is why I used the f-word.)

Now, there’s weirdos in costumes showing up in back yards yelling, “Sirius!” and neighbors coming out of their houses like, “Uh, what the hell?” A neighbor even took to his golf cart to search this field across the street and down by the lake. In my haste to find the dog, I forgot part of my costume involved binoculars (I was Suzy Bishop, but to family members I was Nancy Drew or a 60s schoolgirl since absolutely no one got it) and I didn't even think to use them once. What a waste.

Eventually, my brazen, sassy attitude leaves and I’m left with a pouting little girl who just lost her dog. And I start tearing up. It’s been 30 minutes and it’s nighttime and we’ve searched EVERYWHERE and we can’t find him. People even started removing parts of their costumes because shit was getting real.

Then, my aunt gets a phone call. Sirius is back at the house. Apparently, he just came running up the front porch and was all like, “What’s up?!”

And at this point, everyone’s tired and emotionally drained and left with mixed feelings and confusion over how much fun they had at the party.

It was a great way to kick off the holiday season.

Happy Halloween :)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

I remembered I had a blog and decided to update it

Things have been pretty busy but simultaneously uneventful lately, which may explain the big lapse in blogging. I had to take both my new laptop and old laptop into Apple about two weeks ago for that complicated data transfer, so I was without access to some type of at-home word program for at least a week. (Which, by the way, Apple promised it would only be 48 hours. So of course once 48 hours came and went, I just assumed they had destroyed both computers and were afraid to tell me.)

But once I was in possession of a keyboard again, I kept drawing blanks on what to write. There were a few things at work that would have been cause for some humorous stories, but I can’t really be that specific when blogging about my job. This is seriously frustrating, but it’s a necessary evil, I guess. I’m glad I’ve been able to maintain some type of anonymity around my place of employment because it allows me the liberty to interject a few comments about it here and there. I admit I’ve thought about expanding these comments into some type of short story or novella about office life, but I’m always afraid of repercussions from people who will recognize themselves in a fictional piece.

I wish I could be more like David Sedaris and just say screw it and write what I want. But, ultimately I’m just a girl who cowers at confrontation and hides behind a Microsoft Word document that I copy and paste into a blog (of course accompanied by iPhone pics that have been filtered through some type of artsy app.)  So since it’s been established that utilizing the one bit of inspiration I had was out, I decided to enter into a blogging lull.

Until right now, 10:27 p.m., Tuesday night. This past weekend I spent in Decatur/Atlanta, Georgia visiting my friend, Christina and her husband, Matt. It was a really great trip filled with cool evenings and quirky eateries and good conversation that probably included too much of me asking, “Hey, so do you watch (insert name of show here)?” (Which I never understand why I want to initiate conversations about television shows. All it ends up being is just a back-and-forth of “Do you remember when so and so did this?” and “Yeah, that was crazy. Do you remember when they did this?” then “No…just kidding, of course, that was insane!”) But they were troopers and participated when they could and hopefully didn’t judge me for my obvious, unhealthy indulgence in TV.

Our time was spent seeing Atlanta at night, going to museums and poetry readings and underwater tea parties, and on Monday, lying in the grass at Piedmont Park—all wonderful treats that made me want to get out of my own personal lull of work, TV, music listening, infrequent writing. I was inspired to start exploring more and recreating moments like this trip to Georgia. It’s been apparent that the only emotion I seem to be writing with lately is disdain for my job or where I am in life. And that’s no good, so I’m going to make a conscious effort to be happier and more ambitious about finding happiness.

But, um, don’t judge me if the next post is a profanity-laced, cynical commentary on corporate America and how I’d die before I work in that environment long-term.

I mean, change is hard, guys. 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Experience I Had Purchasing My First MacBook

This is the first thing I learned how to do. And it isn't even cool anymore, is it?
If you take random letters and numbers, push them together, and post them under a photo of a laptop, you’ve basically just written a product description for Apple’s website. I mean, seriously. Where’s my decoder because no one is actually expected to understand that, right?

Keeping in mind this is where my level of comprehension is at when it comes to trendy technology, I bravely went into the Apple store.

This was a big deal for me since I am moderately afraid of interaction with techy people. They’re always tapping on their phone and you always assume they’re just too bored with you to even feign interest in what you have to say. (It’s like, yeah, I get it. You get news updates sent to your phone and you’re in the middle of a serious Words with Friends game, but I’m trying to compare and contrast Saved by the Bell and Saved by the Bell: The College Years. I need an audience for this.)

And just because these people are now in some type of retail, service position doesn’t change my fear of them or how self-conscious I get when I’m in their proximity.

I went in just knowing they would ask me what they could help me with (the dreaded interaction) and I could see myself stumbling over a nonsensical, embarrassing response like, “I need a laptop, I guess. Can I write on these? How’s the internet on your laptops?” And then I’d panic and look away and move my finger around on the mouse like I’m testing the integrity of the product. “Yep, looks like the mouse is pretty efficient. I like that.”

So I quickly referenced a text conversation that included specific product suggestions (thanks, DeSean!) but after pushing smugly past all the fools just messing around (because I was there to actually purchase something) I eventually found myself overwhelmed and also at one of those computer bars with all the fools just messing around. Then I realized this was the first time I approached some type of bar alone and wondered if a guy would offer to buy me an iPod.

But he didn’t. Instead, a frantic-looking Apple employee typed my name into some gadget and said someone would be with me soon. So I stayed motionless in front of the exact product I wanted and tried not to look like all the other confused consumers with furrowed brows and heightened impulses to check their Facebook on Apple’s computers.

Sooner than expected,  Mr. Mac Helper finds me and here’s where my story takes the inevitable awkward turn. As anticipated, his first question is what I would use the computer for. Sensing my weird hesitation to venture into an extended conversation with him, he probes by asking if I needed it for school. Completely forgetting that I wanted the student discount I say, “Oh no, I’m done with that.”

Yeah. Okay, so then we keep talking and I forget I just admitted I wasn’t a student until I remember, as these words leave my mouth, “Do I get a student discount?”

And immediately I see it. He knows I’m a liar, but he doesn’t say anything. Instead, he waits and responds, “Yeah…what school do you go to?”

In my inability to lie correctly, I get super formal, “The University of Central Florida,” I say because UCF would sound way too natural. Then, he asks for my student ID. At this point, we both know I’m lying and we both know that the other knows, but now I’m annoyed he’s trying to mess with me. So I whip out my ID (which yes, I keep for movie discounts and 30% off at J Crew) and lay it on the table. He examines it. For like, longer than he should.

There’s no dates printed on it, jerk.

Then he asks, “So, are you in grad school?”

I’m a terrible, horrible liar (as proven by the simple fact I answered the initial question honestly and forgot to lie) but I still refuse to come clean.

I smile in hopes that my unassuming, polite face will mask my unethical behavior, “Yep! Getting ready to start. Going for an MFA in Creative Writing.” (Because someone would be getting ready to start school in the middle of October. I also try to fully believe this lie, almost like an actor. I mean, maybe I will go back to school. And I do have a studious nature about me--that should warrant a student discount.)

He smiles, “Oh, cool.”

He gives me the student discount but not without purposely making me feel weird about life, which I could tell he was completely enjoying. So we both smile brightly at each other as I leave (and decline a printed receipt and additional assistance in my haste to get the hell out of there) and I walk out of the mall a proud owner of a MacBook Pro.

Which, I still have no idea how to use. And will eventually (like, soon) need to go back to the Apple store so that all my data can be transferred appropriately.

I just hope that guy’s not working, otherwise I’ll need to come up with some elaborate tale about how grad school’s been. Or actually enroll in grad school.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Birthdays, Fiona Apple & Welcoming October.

I remember in high school having a teacher who was 26. It’s funny, because you don’t realize how young that really is until you’re that age and you declare that it’s still really young because you don’t want to feel old.

Me, not crying on my birthday.
And as each calendar page falls to the floor, I hastily sweep away the reminders of the inevitable--that I am getting older. That I am now the age of my high school teacher. That I am four years away from 30.

Surprisingly, I’ve been taking 26 pretty well. Every year (and I mean it; every year) I cry on my birthday. Despite my excitement and joyful anticipation throughout September, once the 29th arrives, I get overwhelmed with well-intended gestures of celebration. And suddenly, it all just hits me like a sad attempt at masking the fact that I am a year closer to death. It’s like a happy laugh that weirdly morphs into a soft cry because there’s just too much emotion happening. And then people are like, “Why are you crying?” and you’re laughing/sobbing like, “I don’t know! Life is weird!”

This year though, I didn’t cry. I got teary-eyed, but no sobbing occurred so I think I may finally be growing up some.

Look at the mixing and mingling happening at our table.
For my actual birthday, I went out to dinner with friends. This caused a great deal of anxiety for me considering I am probably the worst candidate to plan an outing suitable for twenty-somethings. I worried about friend mixing and awkward lulls in conversation and how I would somehow need to connect everyone. Despite all that, and the fact I was an hour late and we had to opt for some oddly close seating arrangements (thanks universe!) I had a good time. Even with my tendency to overcompensate an awkward silence by talking a little too much about things people care a little too little about (which would explain the 20 minute conversation about each partygoer’s cell phone history) I think (or hope) that everyone else had a good time as well.

Sunday, I went out to dinner with my parents and had to keep reassuring my mother I was not depressed. She had to keep checking her watch because to her, being out after 8 p.m. is basically the same as being a prostitute or night demon.
So, imagine that sign says, "Fiona Apple Live."
Monday, I saw Fiona Apple live and she was amazing. As usual, the universe had to plague me with some annoyance and this time it was in the form of a sassy guy who sat directly in front of me and made wild hand gestures as he sang along to the songs. So I spent a lot of the evening weaving and bobbing around his flailing arms and head to see Fiona, but luckily her performance outshone his.

And so now, it’s October. The next few months will fly by like they usually do this time of year. I feel excited about what’s in store, but also insanely insecure. Insecure to the point I actually checked my October horoscope for no other reason than to go, “Well that’s bullshit.”

Fingers crossed, I’ll have some good news in a professional sense sooner than later. I’m hesitant to tell anyone the opportunities I’ve been approached with until I’ve actually started. Things don’t seem tangible or celebratory until it’s official, you know? And as far as my love life’s concerned, well, as always it’s a bunch of “what the fuck is going on?” and resembles nothing of the romantic comedies I’ve seen that promised me quirky, fun love with laughing montages to up-tempo pop songs.

But, maybe this month has that in store for me. You never know.

Good luck with October, everyone.