Monday, April 7


Listen up, Teens. Here is a lesson in pop culture history. There was once a time when a blockbuster movie (or any potential blockbuster movie) simply had to have a catchy accompanying pop song. Titanic's "My Heart Will Go On" by Celine Dion wasn't just a weird, random thing that happened because the 90's were a weird time when strange and random things happened. That penny whistle was about marketing. It was serious.
Movies and music have obviously always been a thing because that's how movies got started: just pictures that moved and an accompanying soundtrack. The era of musicals created their own soundtracks, but the idea of a catchy song written specifically for a movie carried into movies without whole song and dance numbers. However it wasn't until the 1980's when it became A Thing and A Big Deal to have a song released in conjunction with a movie. The accompanying song became an obvious and important part of any big movie because it became an easy way to market the film. Radios would play the song, listeners would be reminded of the movie, they would go to the movie, buy the soundtrack so they could listen to the song, maybe they buy other things, maybe they see the movie again. Anything can happen! It's all about money!
This was a thing until about the early 2000's when it petered out, probably because of the Internet. Thanks Millennials. The radio isn't really a thing anymore, and we're all dirty, filthy thieves who pirate our music so it doesn't make sense for a studio to spend a bunch of money on a song and all that it would entail. Sure, Pit Bull had that song for Men in Black 3 a couple years ago, but that song wasn't that popular and that movie was not good. You can't compare a shitty Pit Bull single to a time when a song from a movie could be so popular it was like the studio was paying for its air time. And as shady as that sounds, I think it sucks, absolutely sucks that today most movies just use music that's already popular instead of having something made up to accompany it.
As an Old, I miss being overwhelmed by a pop song that no one in America hasn't heard, and I miss being forced to like said pop song against my will. What fun our Hollywood overlords could produce for us today! Imagine a Katy Perry ballad to go along with a Katherine Heigl romantic comedy. Imagine a Mumford and Sons song that's actually about the Civil War or an old Irish thing or something, I don't know. Imagine Drake composing a song about fighting bad guys for Captain America and maybe Chris Evans and Anthony Mackie provide backup vocals and it's adorable but also terrible and kind of embarrassing. Because that's the other thing about the accompanying hit song: it was often really, really bad. But that was part of the fun! Not everything has to be cool all the time, Teens.

Armageddon was a big deal and if you live in this house it still is. Ben Affleck was still a hot twink and Liv Tyler wasn't an elf and we all forgot for a minute that Aerosmith is a shitty band full of 1,000 year old coke heads. Harry Stamper is An American Hero!!!!!!!!!!!

Puff Daddy (Today: Diddy; bring back Puff Daddy Classic though!) teamed up with The Actual Jimmy Page from Led Zeppelin to sample an Actual Led Zeppelin Song ("Kashmir") to make this abomination for an equally awful Godzilla remake starring Matthew Broderick. I actually really liked this song and it did pump me up to see the movie. I was 12.

Will Smith was really the guy to go to if you wanted a hit movie + a hit song. He did this one and one for Wild Wild West and Miami some other things, and we were all into it! We loved it! We all bought those sunglasses and we all saw the movie and How We Laughed. It was a simpler time and it was a fine one, indeed. So sorry to say that Will Smith is no longer with us. RIP MIB.

Deepest Bluest is a movie starring Tom Jane as a homeless dad who is trying to get his sharks back. LL Cool J, now a relic rapper who I think stars in a detective TV show?, was also in the movie as a chef with a bird. ***SPOILERS*** He kills one of the sharks. Working on the film must have inspired him deeply as he wrote this companion song. He doesn't really have a hat like a shark fin in the video, but he does wear black contacts and a corset???

You know how I know The Addams Family had a big budget? Because all of the actors that played an Addams, including Anjelica God Damn Huston who has an Academy Award, have a cameo in this music video. Bored, broke, or just under contract? All three?

I was 7 in 1993 and I loved Free Willy more than my God and my country. Every day I came home from school and listened to this song on my tape player over and over and it enraged my brother so much that he would scream and scream and I simply did not give a single fuck because I was so enveloped in the magic of whale/boy love. Nobody was mad at Michael Jackson, we just wanted more whales in more tanks all across America so that children could break the law and risk their lives to free them. We didn't have Pokemon back then, we had real animals, and we were ready and willing to enslave them. Michael Jackson was our Whale Master and we sacrificed the whales to him. The harvest in 1993 year was more than plentiful.

Tuesday, April 1

Stuff I Like Right Now

The worst thing about graduate school is that it makes you hate reading, which sucks because loving reading is one of the reasons I went to graduate school in the first place. 75% of my work is just reading stuff, so equating "pleasure" or "leisure" or "fun" with reading has really been destroyed. Still, I'm teaching Some We Love this semester and it has been pretty fun. My students don't really get it, but constantly grappling with ethical, moral and philosophical animal-related conundrums has been a really fun scholarly exercise for me. I'm sort of a vegetarian again (I make exceptions for ethically sourced meats, Great Meals and bacon) and sometimes I look my dog in the eyes and say "Do you really love me?" My current favorite ethical conundrum: Would it be considered ethical/moral to use the skins from the invasive nonnative pythons currently destroying the Everglades to make luxury goods such as shoes and purses? Also, when I can work it in, I've been slowly enjoying The Secret Life of the Lonely Doll. It's the biography of Dare Wright, the woman who wrote The Lonely Doll, and it is creepy as all get out.

A months ago I was grocery shopping and there was the cutest little bunch of teeny little asparagus (asparagi?) so I bought it even though I never cook with asparagus. It went into a lot of breakfasts, including the open face sandwich above (Neufchâtel cheese on toast with bacon, red bell pepper and asparagus) and this ridiculously rich eggs Benedict concoction with a goat cheese and bell pepper based "Hollandaise." I've also made a lot of asparagus pastas and lentil and asparagus tacos. I like eating it and it's been fun to experiment with my cooking, but asparagus is notorious for its lingering effects and it feels like I'm just eating fancy celery sometimes. Like, is it even good for me? What vitamins are in asparagus? What does asparagus even do?

Last November when my Sephora points and birthday gift and the Friends and Family sale all coincided, I bought a cheap handheld face brush (above) to pad my cart so I could get a free mascara or something dumb. After I started using it I saw an improvement in my skin and I especially enjoyed using the pink side which is made of that funky wiggly stuff that came on tongue rings girls liked to buy from Hot Topic in the early 2000's. For Christmas I got a Clarisonic Mia and my face brush game got serious. When I am using my Mia 2x a day (morning and evening) my skin is clear, smooth, glowy and my fine lines are finer. I was really hesitant to get one of these because so many health + beauty recommendations are super subjective or blown out of proportion, but this thing did not disappoint. I do think that a nicer handheld brush with natural fibers and a little more diligence on my part would have provided similar results, but I am lazy and I do like a timer.

I'd been wanting to try integrating coconut oil into my skincare routine for a while, but coconut oil can be heck of expensive. While on vacation I found a huge jar of organic cold pressed coconut oil in a Costco for $16 and snatched that thing up. It's been 4 months of regular use and I've barely used 25% of the jar. Also, my skin, which is often irritated from dryness and cat allergies, has definitely improved with regular use. It's not enough alone for winter, but it's a good base and will be plenty of moisture come summer. I also have been giving a little to my dog for his dry skin and nails and he loves it. I wipe a quarter-sized amount on a bone or directly onto his nails and he's happy to lick it off. I guess I could also eat it, but I don't cook with a lot of oil and I don't bake so it just hasn't come up. My favorite thing to do is do a facial massage with it after a shower or before bed. It removes any leftover eye makeup and is just a nice way to relax. I'll leave it on for a while, maybe 5 or 10 minutes, and then remove the excess with some witch hazel on a cotton pad. My face is so smooth and soft and glowy afterward, I can't even handle it.

I've been watching Cheers on Netflix and I don't have a ton to say about it except that it has been okay. It's fine. It has been fine. It's very 80's and I'm almost on season 9 and the theme song still isn't old. I don't know. I have to finish it, and I love Kirstie Alley (and I always have, in everything she's ever done), but it's just fine. The only reason I'm even telling you about this is because it has just been a part of my life for the last month and I can't not tell you about it. I think about Cheers all the time, but nothing about that thinking is interesting. It's just there.

Honorable Mentions:

Blizzard Gigi just wrecked my town and gave me and my husband a 4-day weekend. Everyone's pretty pissed because it's April and we just got a foot of snow dumped on us, but I will take a 4 day weekend any way I can get it.

I've been pretty into writing poems lately. I'm doing them for a class, but I forgot how fun it is. I've been writing them about interesting ladies like Marjorie Cameron, Dare Wright and Simone Melchior. I've also been enjoying writing in a "journal" which is mostly just me writing down things I remembered and taking notes from the Wikipedia pages for eels (which are fish! Did you know eels were fish?! I thought they were their own thing!), snails and ants and whatever other random stuff I feel like learning about. It's kind of just a really chill, no pressure way to blow off steam and be creative/"scholarly" outside of school. You can check out some of the pages on my Instagram, which is private, but Internet strangers are welcome!

This rug, which looks amazing next to my terracotta dresser and cost me $12. I'm just really into rugs. So are my pets.

Wednesday, March 26


In January I was inspired to comb through my closet and attempt a capsule closet a la Project 333. This went okay for a few weeks until I started needing things (or thinking I needed things) that I had packed away. Additionally I was feeling really stale clothing-wise. The attempt at minimalism did require me to try different combinations and wear things I wouldn't normally, but in the end everything became this grey and black bleh (although that could have just been the weather) and while I felt relatively put together, I didn't feel like me.
By last week I had pulled out about 15% of what had been put away and my dressing room was a mess. In addition, after two and a half months of mostly abstinence (I only bought one blouse the entire time) I finally decided to buy some Spring basics this week. What I had was already a mess and I was bringing more into it. I didn't feel good about my clothing situation. A Twitter friend was sharing her own attempt at downsizing inspired by this blog and I thought, okay. Maybe let's try this again.
I know that downsizing and appreciating what I have and investing in what I need is much smarter than continuing down the road I have been on. At one point I unpacked everything, put all of my clothes into the room and forced myself to take stock in it all. It made me feel bad to see all of those clothes, some I had never even worn, some I didn't even really like, just limp and piled up. I spent money on this stuff and I would rather have the money now than the clothes.
That's the other thing - money. Kiah and I are in a really weird place financially where we're planning a trip to Europe and talking about buying a house but also I'm about to be unemployed in June and maybe so is he but we have no idea yet. We shouldn't be making any big purchases right now, and honestly we shouldn't be making any frivolous ones, either.
So here is what I did and what I'm doing. First of all, I am getting rid of about 1/3 of my clothes. My friends and I are planning a massive garage sale if Spring ever arrives and I'm going to try to sell it off there. What doesn't sell gets donated. I'm channeling my Niecy Nash here. It's time to stop with the foolishness. Another 1/3 of my clothes is winter stuff and wintery maybes, so I am packing all of it up in boxes this time which will be taped shut until Fall, when I will sort through everything again and decide what to keep and what to toss. I live in a crazy climate (we just had a blizzard on the first day of Spring) and some things like 20 pairs of tights and leggings and 6 pairs of boots are just necessary. I do plan on culling some of it next Fall, but that's later. As for the final 1/3, it's hanging up, and all of it fits in its respective place. Nothing is bulging out or spilling or anything, and that feels good.

This time around I did try to really think about what I wanted to look like and what I looked best in. The things hanging are tried and true, there is very little risk thrown in. Stripes, spots, solids, a few simple patterns. I got serious about this. I made a ~Mood Board~ on Pinterest. I thought about what inspires me, what I feel good in, and what's versatile. I made a color palette. I wrote, at 1 a.m., this: 
Taylor Swift, Diet Jessica Day, Ann Perkins and later season April Ludgate-Dwyer. Put away winter dark things; bring out colors. Black, white, grey and navy for neutrals. I want to be coordinated (a pipe dream). Incorporate my mint bag. Quirky-lite, sweet, colorful, bright, but simple. Classic but not boring and not kitsch. I can't be Solange and I'm not in an all-girl punk band. I study literature and I need a job that isn't waitressing or retail. I am a teacher for God's sake.

Then I spent 6 hours (okay, I was also snacking, watching Cheers and wandering around the house a lot, too) cleaning and folding and hanging and trying stuff on. There was no limit on what I could keep like Project 333, and I didn't try to create a capsule collection or anything; I just stuck to my ideal look and my color palette. I think I have maybe 80-90 things to wear, which is a lot, but it's got to take me to September and it's 12 degrees out right now so there's a wide range of functionality that needs to exist.
Now that my closet is in order, goal for the rest of the year is to not buy anything. Of course I do have some small exceptions: I can buy makeup and I can buy shoes. I do need to cull my shoes a bit, but that's because I've been collecting them for the last decade, not because I buy too many. As for makeup, that is one indulgence where I am typically very in control. As for stuff I might need, come birthday and Christmas I am just going to ask for a couple of really nice sweaters, because acrylic sweaters are bullshit and I'm sick of owning crappy sweaters. And that's it.
I've been cleaning our house this week room by room and the amount of stuff we have is really bumming me out. It's frustrating. I would like for it to change. I want to be the kind of person who spends money on experiences and memories and not things. I'd rather have great, justifiable splurges than lots of tiny itsy bitsy splurges regularly that add up to a lot of money but also a lot of crap. I want to continue justifying $7 ground coffee even if both me and my husband lose our good jobs; we can make this purchase because we aren't making other purchases. The older I get the more I realize how much more comfortable I am with a simple life - exercise, walk the dog, read a little, cook something, watch something, make something; perfect day - and having a ton of stuff just doesn't fit in. Kiah and I are both readers so we're always going to have a pretty obscene library, but we don't also need a library of clothes and other crap we don't use.
I don't know how well this is going to turn out. I am not renowned for my self-discipline or control; in fact I think most of my closest friends know me for the exact opposite. I'm an indulgent person, but I want to find other ways to be self-spoiled and hedonistic that doesn't involve acquiring more stuff and spending tons of money, and I think it's worth a shot. Maybe I'll get really into champagne and jogging. Like, really into it.

Thursday, March 20

Don't Exercise

It's been about a year now since I made exercise a regular part of my life and it's fine, whatever, I probably won't die from heart disease and if I stopped eating so much cheese I might actually have a hot bod, but listen. There is a lot of stuff they don't tell you about working out. All you ever hear is that it's soooo good for you and you're going to feel great and it's an investment in your self and your body and your life. I mean, maybe, but you know what? That's not all there is to it. They're not telling you everything. There are downsides to exercising. I'm going to tell you the truth.

1.When everyone decides to start exercising they buy a bunch of cute gym clothes and new sneakers and they have like 3-5 outfits of pants, socks, shirts and maybe special underwear for the gym. If you're a lady this also includes fancy bras. So you work out for a while and then after a couple months you notice that all your cute clothes are also now your stinky clothes. As it turns out, gym funk doesn't just wash out. When I was in high school I thought my gym clothes stunk because I never brought them home to be washed (to be fair, in gym I also did as little physical activity as humanly possible, but standing still and dribbling a basketball for an hour 5 days a week every week for 3 years in the same gear, you acquire some odor points ok); I was wrong. Clothes you pump in get gnarly. I'm at a point where I don't even like throwing my gym clothes in with the rest of my dirty laundry because I'm afraid of the smell transferring. I would throw it all out, but that leads me to my next point.

2.Workout gear is expensive. I recently started running and need shorts that won't ride up but also won't rub together between my thighs and give me chub rub (I think normal people just call this chafing?). I did some research and people are telling me to buy Lululemon shorts like I have pope money or something. Additionally, exercise requires other accoutrements, specifically better bras and sneakers. I have this stuff already and everything I have does an okay job, but I'm approaching 30 and when you're middle aged you know you have special needs when it comes to exercise. Like, I simply cannot do a bench press because of an old shoulder injury. If I was 20 I could do it fine, but I'm brittle now. I probably shouldn't even be running in my old ass Reeboks, I should be wearing like, $300 swim socks with toes and taping my knees and wearing a compression shirt. I like shopping and I like to exercise, but I am reluctant to spend a lot on something I'm just going to make stinky.

3. Probably the most frustrating thing that's happened to me since I started working out was how my body changed. This is supposed to be the good part, right, working out is going to make you thinner, and being thinner is good! This is a lie and a sham and propaganda. I don't know that I've gotten thinner (like I said, I eat a lot of cheese) but I do know that parts of my body have gotten bigger, particularly my legs, butt and arms. I think people are usually into this, but I have a hard time dealing with my favorite clothes no longer fitting properly. And all that motivational stuff out there is like ~Think how fun going shopping is going to be when you're fit!~ but I don't want to buy new stuff. I mean, I do, but not because nothing I already own no longer fits. I like my clothes and I want to continue wearing them.

4. Finally, the worst thing about exercise is that people who exercise are awful, and no matter how hard you try you will just end up being one of those people. You'll be chatting with your friends over a beer, totally normal, and out of nowhere you'll start talking about working out. Maybe you'll make some funny Tweets about the guy on the squat rack next to you. Maybe you'll take some innocent gym snaps on a particularly sweaty day. Maybe you'll try to recruit your friends into joining you on a run, you know, for fun. It starts out small like that, but it builds, and the next thing you know you're making lentil tacos for dinner, you can't get a workout in without Tweeting about it and your friends are like "You're insufferable!" because you're starting another story with "Today at the gym..." This fate is unavoidable, and if you want to not stink and wear your clothes and keep your friends, you're better off just not exercising at all.

Saturday, March 15

The Best Places I've Slept

1. My Parents' Bed - When I was really young my mom and dad slept in an old brass bed. It was squeaky, like brass on brass squeaky, but it was big and they had a little TV you could watch. I wasn't allowed to hang out in their bed a lot, just when I was sick or had a nightmare or had special permission to watch their TV because everyone was watching something else downstairs, but it was always a treat. I liked to do somersaults across it a lot which might be why I wasn't allowed in as often as I would have liked.

2. My Brother's Bed - Like I said, I wasn't allowed in my parent's bed all that often. I'd try to sneak in in the middle of the night under the guise of a bad dream and get sent away; my mother was a great detector of lies. So if I woke up in the night lonely or creeped out, I would slither into my brother's room with my Garfield comforter and sleep at the foot of his bed. He has always been a ridiculously heavy sleeper, so this was an easy enough feat. He slept in this weird dark wooden bed that looked like a sleigh. It felt a little bigger than a twin, but not much.

3. The Guest Bed - When I was in my early teens my dad bought a guest bed for our spare room. It was an inexpensive double with a floral comforter and new pillows. We had some house guests for a few weeks but when they left, that was it. I started sleeping on the bed for after school naps, but eventually moved into it permanently. Then I had two rooms.

4. The Lemos' House - The Lemos' were our family friends. I was closest with Cat, who had a huge bed with a sunk mattress covered with egg crate foam and this heavy mink blanket. Her bedroom faced a wall of forest so it was dark and it was always cold and quietly noisy with the fan going and the radio going. She rubbed her feet together as she fell asleep and it was so soothing. I loved sleep overs because the sleep was so good. Cat's room was just one place to sleep in the house, though. We also snuggled up in her sisters' rooms, there was a guest bed that I loved and also slept in for a few months one year (pushed into the corner of the loft; it was next to a window like a day bed and felt really romantic), their couches are the reason my living room today is just a giant nest, and when her mom and dad were gone we would get into their bed and watch their TV. I also have a fond memory of sleeping with Cat's brother when we were in elementary and mysteriously got the same sickness where we puked red Kool-Aid. He had Ninja Turtle or Transformers sheets and we watched cartoons all day while the girls brought us crackers.

5. My Marital Bed - My dad and stepmom bought Kiah and I a bed when we got married. Buying a bed is an insanely stressful process because it's like... you are going to be sleeping on this thing for the next decade, maybe longer. We just kind of flopped around on the showroom models and then quickly decided because we were uncomfortable with this guy staring at us. The whole thing took about 15 minutes which is insane because buying a bed should be like buying a car. Luckily we ended up picking a dream of a bed (though I refused the mattress cover because I thought it was like a dumb upsale item, like how people at shoe stores are always trying to get you to buy socks. Pro-Tip: BUY THE MATTRESS COVER). Our bed is huge and kind of spartan, I feel, in spite of the 6~ pillows and the down blanket. It's so comfortable that sleeping anywhere else is torture, but I really just want to push it beyond the limits of comfort. More pillows, more blankets. I'm on a constant search for the perfect duvet cover, and am now considering some egg crate foam.