Sunday, March 6, 2011

ink my whole body

One of the reasons I love my job (besides poop) is my unique opportunity to see people in a state of undress that others do not. I don't love this because I get to check people out - I do enjoy the occasional fox, but most Y-goers actually aren't that sexy. I love it because I get to see everyone's tattoos that they usually try to hide.

Sometimes they're really embarrassing. A lot of older people have tiny cartoon characters in very faded ink, and there's the occasional former jock/frat boy who has an OU symbol or the words "boomer" and "sooner" on opposite biceps. Yeah, seriously.
Look at this douchebag.

But sometimes the tats are really cool. There's one woman who has a sweet tree that takes up her entire back. Another time, a guy came in with one of the most beautiful tattoos I've ever seen. I had to ask him how old it was; the colors were so vivid that I knew it had to have been recent. He said it was TEN YEARS OLD and he'd gotten it in Japan, where they traditionally use the "hand poke" method of inserting the ink below the skin without using electrical devices, like the modern tattoo gun-type machine most of us are probably more familiar with.
Look at all that color and detail!

Anyway, I love tattoos. I love looking at other people's tattoos, talking about and planning tattoos, and having tattoos.

At the moment, I have but two tats.

One is a small outline of Wisconsin on my ankle. I got it a couple weeks before I moved to Oklahoma. I guess it represents my roots, and it's like a little reminder of home and where I came from, part of how I became who I am today.

The other one I got last summer. It's actually a matching tattoo with my boyfriend, Damien. We both got the Roman numerals "IV VI IV" on our backs. They stand for 4/6/04, which is the first day we started dating way back in 8th grade. It's just kind of a love tattoo, without the awkward burden of potentially having someone else's name on our bodies if we ever break up. For the record, I don't think we will anytime soon. I also like the symmetry of the Roman numerals, how the I and V sort of alternate. It just looks cool.
So bloody, hahahaha.

Anyway, I plan to get several more tattoos. I want to decorate my body with tributes to different things that have made an impact on me. Wisconsin and Damien are two of those things. Gradually, I want to get tats for my parents, my best friends, the Beatles, feminism, and probably other musical artists like Bright Eyes. I also want to get one at some point that's purely art, like a bird or flower. Just something beautiful for its own sake.

One of the coolest and most unique tattoo styles I've ever seen comes from this guy Peter Aurisch, who works in Berlin at a shop called Signs and Wonders. Unfortunately I'll probably never be able to get any work done by him, but I can google his name and look at other people's awesome ink!
That overlap effect is SO COOL.

I love the exaggerated and distorted sizes of the animals' heads, and all the layering of different elements. How does he get that brushstroke effect?!

Okay, I was going to post some more pictures of tattoos that I've loved and saved, but it'll have to wait for another day. Peter Aurisch is just too damn talented, I had to focus on him!

Do you guys have/love/want tattoos? What should my next one be?

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Sunday, February 27, 2011

rules for rallying

Yesterday I took a short trip to Oklahoma City for the "Rally to Save the American Dream" which was being held in solidarity with the protests going on in Wisconsin right now. I got there a little late, so the crowd had already begun to thin out a bit, which might explain the lukewarm tone of the thing. It got me thinking about rallies and what they should and should not be.
(Disclaimer: this is just my silly lil opinion, so it's not like I speak for a group or anything here. I don't mean to offend, and I support activism of all kinds, even if I don't think it's as effective as it could be. I will continue to attend rallies and other activist events no matter how flaccid they may be.)

1. Publicize.
Make a Facebook event, tweet about it, blog about it, text your friends, call the media. A good protest needs attendees, and if there are enough attendees, there should be media coverage. That way, people who did not attend can learn about the cause, know there are people out there who care about it one way or another, and can take action if they want. At the rally, organizations that are relevant can pass around literature and sign-ups for email lists.

2. Unify.
A critical mass is even more powerful when they are unified in a certain way. This can mean wearing a certain color; red seems to be the official color of the current protests. When the Women's and Gender Studies Student Association had our protest of Justice For All last fall, we had a station with spraypaint and a stencil so people could make shirts with the "Trust OK Women" logo. This looks better than just a bunch of people standing around. Another way is to have a few chants that are simple, like "Kill the bill!" or "My body, my choice!"

3. Energize.
A rally works best when it has a lot of momentum. Chants work really well for this, because everyone can participate, and lots of noise makes it more exciting. Singing is also good; yesterday we were led in a few verses of "This Land Is Your Land." Move around, dance, clap, chant, sing, yell. If you are able, stand the entire time. Something that bothered me about yesterday's rally was the endless parade of slow-talkers who got up to the megaphone and rambled on about something that happened 20 years ago. I'm sure that story is interesting, but it can be difficult to hear when the person is speaking through a megaphone. If there is a speaker, they should keep it short and sweet, with lots of passion. Less story time, more firing up the crowd. That way, when people leave, they will feel inspired to do more, instead of bored and burnt out.

4. Bring signs.
This is pretty self-explanatory. If you don't have time or supplies, it's okay. But sign materials are both inexpensive and easy to come by. If you have a cardboard box and a Sharpie, you can make a protest sign. If you happen to be a crafty person with many pieces of poster-board and colorful markers, make extra signs to pass out. This gives people something to do with their hands if they feel awkward, and it also looks good if there are photographers or videographers (professional or amateur) there. A good sign is colorful, clever, and enlightening. DO NOT make a sign that is offensive to marginalized groups, even if you think it's funny. And don't compare people to Hitler. That is problematic, SO tired, and it is usually never actually applicable.

These are some cool signs from the WI protests. I got them here.

Humor + pop culture references = a good sign.
Creepy, funny, and true.
Simple, profound statements like this make for great signs.
Another little nugget of truth!

So pithy! Okay, I'll stop with all the signs now.

5. Stay focused.
This really bugged me yesterday. I know this is Oklahoma, and there's a lot of shit we need to change. But several people got up to plug their own pet causes, which I think takes away from the overall theme of the event. At a rally for unions and workers' rights, a guy got up to talk about marijuana legalization, and a woman spoke about reproductive justice. I support both of those, but it really tears away from the main focus when it just turns into a free-for-all for activists. If you really need to plug your cause or organization, get up and try to speak about the topic of the rally, and say a quick piece about your thing at the end. I beg you.

6. Don't give up!
I am so inspired by the people in Madison, WI. They have been protesting for nearly two weeks now, and the crowds just keep growing larger every day. People are sleeping on the floor of the capitol. They are outside in freezing temperatures and snowstorms. That shit is NOT fun, I can tell you that right now as a WI native. Protestors in the Middle East are dying in the streets for what they believe in. I'm not saying that every rally should go quite that far, but it's important to keep the fight going. This is possible through going to the extreme like Wisconsinites, Libyans, Egyptians, and all the other people fighting for their rights. This is also possible through organizing online, signing petitions, creating more events, calling your legislators, and keeping in contact with the people who attend the events. One rally is not enough to solve a problem! Keep up the good fight.

7. Don't name your event "Rally to Save the American Dream."
That is some lame-ass, PR booooshit. Sorry.

That's all I can think of right now. I've had a very long day of driving - had to bring Damien to the Dallas airport, and I ended up lost in Garland, TX for about an hour. Good times!

Friday, February 25, 2011

oral fixation

Since I can remember, I've had an oral fixation. Freud said that “if a nursing child's appetite were thwarted during any libidinal development stage, the anxiety would persist into adulthood as a neurosis.” (That's a quote from Wikipedia, a source which, despite its poor academic reputation, I always consult if I have no idea what something is or how to explain it.)

I'm not sure if my mother actually did thwart my appetite while I was nursing, but something must have happened that made me want to put EVERYTHING in my mouth. I know that sounds dirty and sexual, and in the literal sense of the word, it IS dirty (how many coins have found their way into my mouth, and how many people have handled those coins? I shudder to even consider it).

Although I am not conscious of my earliest days, I've seen pictures of myself as a baby, chewing on wooden chairs, eating the cats' food, and shoving the whole family's toothbrushes in my mouth. As I progressed into elementary school age, I was an avid reader as well as an avid chewer. I would check out dozens of library books, and then tear out the corners of every page and eat them. My parents had to pay the library for all the books I destroyed.

I was able to cool it on the public property, but over the years I've eaten straw wrappers at restaurants, bits of napkins, the fringe from a torn out piece of notebook paper, the stick that a sucker comes on, and pen caps. I've sucked on coins, chewed gum, and smoked cigarette after cigarette. For a while I had a Camelbak water bottle, and I can't even describe to you how dependent I was on that thing. Something about that nipple top … well, I won't go into it.

The single habit that has been the mainstay of my lifelong oral fixation is biting my nails. One of my best friends once told me, “You are the most intense nail-biter I've ever seen. You twist and contort your hands in all kinds of ways just to get that nail.” And it's true! I catch myself, even in public, even at WORK, holding one of my hands with the other in some unnatural position so I can bite successfully. But it's not enough sometimes just to bite the nail. I rip out hangnails, cuticles, and I really get into that nail bed. Drawing blood is not uncommon.

I bite when I'm nervous or bored, usually. If I'm just hanging out, relaxing by myself, my nails are safe. But if you insert a little anxiety into the situation, I start a-chewin'. Put me in a room of people I don't know, and I'll kill my fingernails before I say a word to any of them. Set me on my lifeguard chair with no one to talk to for thirty minutes, and bam! Any and all white tips (oh how I covet those white tips, the ones you probably have on your nails and don't even think about, the ones I have scarcely seen on my own nails in years) are eaten away.

For as often and as obsessively as I do it, my nail-biting is one of the things I'm most self-conscious and embarrassed about. I remember one day in high school when I looked over at a girl who was biting her nails, looking at them, biting again, looking again. I thought she looked so gross and awkward, and I'm sure I look even more gross and awkward when I'm gnawing away at the sensitive skin underneath my fingernails.

I'm telling you all this because I am attempting to kick the habit. So far it's been about a week and I've only bitten a couple times. It's so tempting! I even had to put a band-aid on my finger the other night at work to make sure I wouldn't destroy it. And I find myself just kind of playing with my hands now, looking for something to occupy them. I guess a few setbacks and growing pains are inevitable.

But I am determined. It might seem trivial to non-biters, but I am really looking forward to my life without the compulsion to bite, chew, and tear at my fingernails. I honestly believe that when I can stop forever, I will feel more free than ever before.

As for right now, I have a phone call to make. I need to talk to my mom and find out what the hell she did to thwart my appetite in my libidinal development stage.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

on wisconsin!

I would give so much to have been in Wisconsin for the last month or so. First, the Packers won the Super Bowl. Now Gov. Scott Walker, who got elected just a few months ago, has the entire state enraged due to his new plan that will take away public sector employees' collective bargaining rights. This affects a lot of people and their families, and I think the main focus has been on teachers this week.

Here are some cool pictures!

(A State Assembly Democrat pumps his fist as supporters voice their opinion against the proposed bill by Republican Governor Scott Walker in Madison, Wisconsin, February 18, 2011. [REUTERS/ Darren Hauck])

Can't go wrong with a banana suit.

Here's a doctor on a street corner in Madison. He's writing doctor's notes for people who called in sick to work.

He's so right.

That very angry screaming boy with the words on his shirt is none other than my badass little brother! He and his friends have been really active all week with a walk-in and sit-in at their high school. I'm really proud of him!

I've heard estimates of 80,000 people just out in Madison protesting. The state assembly Democrats have reportedly fled the state in order to delay the vote on Walker's proposal. I am absolutely obsessed right now with watching this unfold. I really wish I could be back in Wisconsin right now. Until I am, SOLIDARITY!

Monday, February 14, 2011

obligatory valentine's day post

In the spirit of this most special Hallmark-manufactured holiday, here is a picture of me and my darling boyfriend, Damien. His hair is much shorter now, and his beard much longer, so he looks like a sexy studly man. I would have chosen a better picture, but when I tried to drag photos from Facebook into the pictures folder on my desktop, it wouldn't let me. So is that the purpose of that hideous new photo viewer on FB? Either way, I HATE it!

Anyway, I guess today is the day we're all supposed to celebrate love and romance. I don't think I've ever really gone out of my way to do anything special for Valentine's Day ... I have vague memories from high school of an Applebee's dinner, and I think Damien got me roses once.

I guess I just don't see the point of making a big fuss over Valentine's Day. I'm of that popular opinion that if you can only be sweet and romantic one day of the year, then you're kind of a loser and no one should be dating you anyway. I love my boyfriend like crazy, and I try to tell and show him that every day. Sometimes I fail, but hey, it's better than only on February 14th. (Or Feb. 14th and Sweetest Day, which is an even more bullshit holiday, and I think it falls sometime in October? Whatever.)

So what have I done to celebrate Valentine's Day this year? Well, so far, I've gone to all of my classes. Gold star for me!

In Women and the Law, we discussed family law and all the various ways women get fucked over by divorce, the courts, welfare, etc. Quelle romance! In Writing the Short Story, we did what we do every day in that class: chat about various topics that are completely irrelevant to actually Writing A Short Story. We did learn about self-publishing Kindle properties, though, which was surprisingly pertinent! (No offense to my professor! I love the class! Don't fail me!)

In History of Journalism, we had a really interesting group of investigative journalists tell us all about their work on The Pearl Project. They've just released their findings about the kidnapping and murder of Daniel Pearl. I really enjoyed their presentation. Investigative journalism seems really exciting to me for some reason. I imagine 1940's style detective outfits, lots of typewriters and endless cigarettes smoking in endless ashtrays. Que romantico!

Tonight, Damien and I plan to cook and maybe drink some wine. Then I have to go to a meeting.

Yeah, Valentine's Day 2k11 is not exactly the most romantic day. But I don't need it to be. I'm getting ready for the real holiday: Half-Price Chocolate Day, February 15th!

Here's one of my favorite love songs, if you insist on feeling some amorous vibes right now:

Friday, February 11, 2011

an ode to poop

Something happened last night at work that made me realize that lifeguards think about poop in a unique way.

I was working with another guard, Lydia. A woman in the deep end pointed out something at the bottom of the pool. "It looks like a PowerBar!" she said. I was up on my guard stand across the pool, so I couldn't see the object in question, but the whole PowerBar thing sounded promising. As Lydia stood on the side of the pool with a net on a comically long pole, I thought about poops past...

See, for a lifeguard, poop in the pool is a godsend. It means that we get to kick everyone out of the pool area, lock all the doors, and close down for at least a half hour. If the poop is of a weak composition and falls apart, we could close for hours at a time. Bonus! Puke is really the best, though, because it's gloppy by nature.

Before my official Blogger dayz, I was a snotnose high-schooler with a Xanga. Yeahh, remember Xanga? Don't pretend you didn't have one. Anyway, I would chronicle episodes of fecal contamination on my Xanga for the enjoyment of my readers (by readers I mean 5 friends whom I could have just told the story anyway).

Here's what I said about what I called POOP IN DA POOL '07:
I had to craft a long scrubby-brush out of a brush, a pole, and duct tape. Soooo much poop, it was hilarious

Here's what I said about POOP IN DA POOL '06:

Explosive diarrhea ALLLLLL over the stairs to the slide, and yuck I had to walk in it barefoot! It was absolutely fabulous, I just love when I witness a volcanic eruption of shit come from a grown man's swim trunks YEAHH


Yes, I love a good poop incident. The fun, the spontaneity, the mystery - who left the poop? was it a child or an old person? - it's all so exciting. And I know that pretty much no one else gets so excited when someone just takes a shit at their workplace. But lifeguarding isn't like other jobs, I suppose.

Oh, and that PowerBar-looking thing in the deep end last night?

It was just 10 Band-Aids all clumped together. What a disappointment.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

snowpocalypse and other bullshit

There aren't very many things I love about Oklahoma, but this is one of them.

Once a year or so, there's a snowstorm. This year, it appears we got about ten inches in that storm. In the past, it's been less. So I joined the masses in the Snowklahoma ritual:
First, I faced the crowds at Walmart. When Damien and I entered the store, there were no carts waiting in that cart area. So we had to wait for the guy to bring in a train of them from outside. Not that I'm complaining, but that never happens! Wow! Walmart was also out of, or almost out of, onions, tomato sauce, eggs, and various other necessities. Frozen food section? Don't even try. I saw several friends and the CEO of Norman's YMCA (aka my Big Boss) shopping as well. Some people's carts were hilarious - yeah, the snowstorm will probably shut you in your house for a few days, but do you need 10 cartons of grape juice?

After that, we stopped at the liquor store so I could stock up on PBR and Burnett's Sweet Tea Vodka. Hey, if school and work are both cancelled, there is nothing stopping me from taking shots for breakfast.

After that, we went to Family Video to get Season 4 of "The Girls Next Door," some shitty horror movies, and "The Social Network." Great movie; even better the second time around.

So, with all our supplies, we hunkered down for the rest of the ritual: BECOMING A COMPLETE HERMIT FOR DAYS.

Tuesday: Damien acted like he was going to go to work, but then he got outside and realized there was no fucking way. See, we're all above everything because we're all cool and from Wisconsin, but Norman has probably 2 snowplows. This town is not prepared for winter weather. So there was no leaving. So we got high and slept for another five hours! Damien made chili and we ate it. We cleaned the apartment. Then spent the rest of the day watching "Girls Next Door" (Damien's new favorite show) and other movies.

Wednesday: Damien resigned himself to the fact that he would be taking another day off work. We ate more chili, watched more movies, and made cookies with our next door neighbor. The YMCA was closed too, so no work for me!

Today (Thursday): Damien made it to work, and I woke up pretty early (11 a.m.) to shower and make my way to the union so I could get INTERNET!

There are no classes tomorrow, either. I may mock Southerners for their lack of preparation and fear of winter weather, but they sure do know how to throw a snow day. This week has been really fun.

But for the record, I gotta say it: It is not "Snowpocalypse," "Icepocalypse," "Snowmageddon" or any of the other creative doomsday names people can slap on it.

Bitch, where I'm from, it's called winter.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

"though the faces may have changed, the hassles are just the same!"

That's a quote from one of my many spirit animals, Jerri Blank.

So, yeah, I'm back in school after a deliciously lazy month off. I love the beginning of a new semester, because it presents an opportunity for a fresh start. Brand new courses, professors, newspaper editors, and chances for growth and change.

Since I'm one of those lucky National Merit Scholarship kids, the beginning of the semester also means I get a big fat check. I'm not so good with money, so I'm trying to use my new riches for good. I put quite a bit into savings, and today I went to Target to buy various organizational items for my apartment (I'm super excited about my brand new magnetic dry-erase calendar, and the dish drying rack my apartment has been sorely lacking since June). I plan to get to work on a budget this week, so hopefully in the future I won't end up broke as a joke and not sure how to pay for a $92 repair for my truck.

I'm only two days in, but the semester looks good so far. Here's a little breakdown of my classes, which I know everyone is sooooo interested in:

Women and the Law
I think I'm going to learn a lot in this class. Also, the professor is one of my favorite WGS faculty as well as a personal inspiration. She's intelligent, witty, opinionated, a mother of two, and manages to maintain the spirit of a college student. Looking forward to drinks at the Library after class.

Writing the Short Story
I think all but three people from my Intro to Professional Writing class are in this one. We all got to know each other far too well last semester, so I'm sure the next 16 weeks will be equally enlightening. I am pumped to write six short stories though.

History of Journalism
Seriously, this shit's gon' be boooooring. At least I have a friend to roll eyes and creepily grin at when our professor (good ol' Cha-Cha-Chavez) says something weird.

Intro to African-American Studies
Well, I needed an elective this semester and I figured, hey, why not depress myself even more with weekly discussions of oppressed peoples? Seriously though, I don't know why this course isn't required just like history is. My professor seems really cool, and I appreciate that he doesn't say things in a "diplomatic" way, to use his word. I'm PC, but that doesn't mean I don't appreciate when people get real. It helps when I agree with those people, which I'm sure I usually will with this guy.

Spanish-American Literature
Well ... I needed one more class to finish my Spanish minor. Here I am. I hate hate HATE Spanish Lit. classes, but at least the professor seems animated and interesting. 13 women in the class; no men. Should be fun.

And that's the story of this semester. On top of my classes, writing for the Daily, and 15 hours at the Y every week, I should keep myself out of trouble (unlike Jerri Blank).

Monday, January 17, 2011

i never thought i'd say this

But I'm really happy to be back in Oklahoma! I've made a list of reasons why:

  1. Every time I go outside does not feel like I'm entering a hellish tundra.
  2. I get to hang out with my kitten again, even though he is kind of a douche.
  3. I get my private life back (no offense Mom & Dad, but I really prefer NOT living with you).
  4. It's time to start workin', learnin', and writin' again. Vacations are nice, but I need to be productive. And, last but not least...

Yes, it's good to be back.

Now that I'm here, though, I need to get my life in order. This semester has to be great for me. I want to do well in school, get organized, write a lot for the paper and in this blog, and save money. I hope it's not too much to handle, but I'm going to work on improving my life. That sounds soooo Dr. Phil, but srsly guize.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Tucson Memorial Day

Props to Pres. Barack Obama for his wonderful speech tonight. His heartfelt words and refusal to politicize the Tucson memorial service were admirable (and will surely boost his approval, methinks). Response to a tragedy is important.

The most poignant part was definitely when he spoke about Christina-Taylor Green, the 9-year-old girl who was killed on Saturday.

"If there are rain puddles in heaven, Christina is jumping in them today," Obama said. "And here on Earth, we place our hands over our hearts, and commit ourselves as Americans to forging a country that is forever worthy of her gentle, happy spirit."

The speech reminded me of way back in 2008, when his rhetoric and messages were so lauded. Back before he was elected and started having to make real, polarizing decisions.

Hearing Obama speak tonight was a breath of fresh air after Sarah Palin's whiny video from earlier today. First, she was all, heyyyyy guys, don't blame me and my party, blame the INDIVIDUAL! Jared Loughner was totes not influenced by anything anybody said, ever. So I guess she's down with the "Ground Zero Mosque"! Good!
And then she was like, BUT BLAME THE MEDIA! They suck. In fact, "journalists and pundits ... manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn."

Buhhhhhhhhhh WAIT A MINUTE SARAH. Blood libel? That's super offensive. I can't believe not one person told her not to say that. I have to assume that some of her staffers read the speech ahead of time; why did they let her get away with that? Ridiculous.

Then she went all First Amendment on us. I was just using my right to dissent, she says. "When we 'take up our arms,' we're talking about our vote." Ohh, right.
Arms = vote.
Crosshairs = places to vote.
Reload = vote again.
"2nd Amendment remedies" = OH WAIT.

Ugh. She just continues to suck more and more and more. Here are some quotes I liked from this WaPo op-ed:

"Had Palin scoured a thesaurus, she could not have come up with a more inflammatory phrase [than blood libel]."
- Howard Kurtz, The Daily Beast

"She is an attractive person, she is articulate, but I think intellectually she seems not to understand what is going on here."
- Assistant House Minority Leader James Clyburn (D-S.C.)


So, to summarize:

Props to Obama for being classy.
Sarah Palin, once again, you suck.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

currently watching...

I'm about 5 minutes in and so far it's HILAAAAARIOUS!

Also, Sarah from Six Feet Under plays Olive's mom. Bonus.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

weekend roundup.

What a weekend!

First I want to talk about what happened in Arizona, the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords which resulted in 6 deaths (including a federal judge and a 9-year-old girl) and I think twice as many injuries.

Giffords was a Democrat who voted for Obama's health care bill. From the little research I've done on her, I can gather that her views are pretty close to mine. After the shooting, all the political blogs I follow on Tumblr were blowin' up, and pretty much everyone was talking about this image:

The picture depicts a map of the United States with crosshairs over different parts of the country. Each target is positioned over a representative who voted in favor of the health care bill. Giffords was one of those representatives. This image was put up by Sarah Palin's PAC. Palin also had tweets in the past that used the word "Reload" in reference to removing Dems from office. Oh, and then there was that anti-Giffords event (not sponsored by Palin) that was centered around firing M16s. Um, what?

Palin isn't directly responsible for the shooting. That's obvious. But violent imagery and rhetoric like in that picture above do perpetuate violence in our society. Anyone who thinks that picture is meaningless needs to think a lot harder about implications of the things we say and do. Words have meanings, guys!

Of course, people took to Palin's Facebook page to complain and tell her what they thought about her stupid fucking map. Comments were repeatedly scrubbed from the site. Palin also removed tweets from her Twitter account that had violent words in them. Because in the face of a tragedy, the best thing to do is go online and make yourself look better.

I just hope this is a wakeup call of sorts. We can't keep using violent rhetoric and then act surprised when someone takes it too far. I know people are going to call Loughner (the shooter) a fringe lunatic, say he's mentally ill, or blame the shooting on Obama (because some people think EVERYTHING can be blamed on Obama), but it's time to step up and accept some responsibility. People are a product of their environments. There are implications to everything,
and it's time to be responsible for those implications! Come on.

But enough about that. Let's talk about me.

I actually had a great weekend. On Thursday night, I went to Sturgeon Bay with Kyle, an old friend of mine. His boyfriend Jeremy lives up there, and Kyle invited me to come up and spend the night. First of all, Jeremy's apartment is GORGEOUS. Two bedrooms, hardwood floors, high ceilings, great built-ins and molding. It was decorated really nicely, and there were plants everywhere because Jeremy is a florist. He had fishtanks and a really adorable cat, too. I was in heaven from the minute I walked in the door

So we sat down and had a few drinks. The conversation actually turned pretty serious, and before I knew it I was privy to a really intense relashe talk. Luckily, we all decided to calm our asses down and watch The Office.

Then Jeremy made us these amazing nachos, which Kyle dubbed HOLY SHIT NACHOS. This picture does not do justice to the glory that were these nachos. They took up an entire cookie sheet, and came up like three inches off the sheet. It was like an enormous loaf of nacho. And the three of us ate the whole thing. Holy shit, indeed.

The next morning, Kyle and I slept late and enjoyed the comfort of the apartment some more while Jeremy was at work. We walked a little around the main drag of Sturgeon Bay, but it was freezing so I bought some saltwater taffy and called it a day. We left in the early afternoon and drove back home to GB.

What a great trip! It was such a lovely escape from all the static of Green Bay and normal life.

I also got to see my best friend Kat this weekend! Twice! My parents and I went over to her parents' house for dinner on Saturday, and the six of us played Apples to Apples for a while. Then, Kat and I went to this intensely awkward party where we played awkward beer pong and basically just waited to leave. It was like a high school reunion with only the people I didn't want to see from high school. Not fun. After we left, we drank Bacardi Raz in her hot tub until I got tired and walked home.

Today, my relatives from my dad's side of the family came up for a little Larson family holiday gathering. It was actually really fun! I haven't seen those people in a while, so it was nice to catch up. My cousin brought her three kids, and it was really fun to have lively children in the house. After the crew left, my parents, brother and I had our Christmas gift exchange. Everyone liked their gifts. Success!

Oh, speaking of success, THE PACKERS TOTALLY WON!

After the glorious victory, Kat and I went to the hookah bar and ran into yet another awkward high school acquaintance. This time, it was this weirdie guy who used to follow us around desperately. When we went to Florida for a band trip junior year, this dude was seriously a ninja. Every time we thought we lost him, there he was again, comin' round the bend. Anyway, he was at the hookah bar, and he was speaking in an Irish accent for some reason, and he'd gained a bunch of weight. What? OH YEAH and he had the audacity to ask us what our names were. I was like, dude, we've gone to school together since 3rd grade, and you were obsessed with my group of friends in high school. Don't act like you don't know my fucking name. It was so weird; we had to leave.

Now I'm back at home watching Monsters of Folk on PBS! It's been a pretty good weekend, all in all. Except for that tricky shooting business. Eeeeugh.

Goodnight all!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

2010: my year in music

Taking a cue from a couple classmates' blogs, I'm going to make a little playlist of the songs that defined 2010 for me. This isn't a "Best of 2010" list; if you want one of those, I recommend Pitchfork or Rolling Stone.

My favorite local Green Bay Band, and a great group of guys at that. I was home last January and got the chance to see a couple Beach Patrol shows. They know how to rock a live show, whether outside the record store or in a dingy bar. Love Beach Patrol.

Another Wisconsin band. I bought their record while at home, and kept it on constant rotation for months. I really think Wisconsin has the best bands.

VW's album Contra was the first thing I ever reviewed for the OU Daily. I love this album and this song. It seems to me that it's about getting high and having a homosexual experience with a best friend, which gets a thumbs-up from me. Seriously though, this is a great song with a lot of really cool musical and lyrical elements.

Okay, this is kind of cheating, because this is my boyfriend's song. I chose it for February because after a year and a half of dating long-distance, Damien came to join me in Norman on Feb. 6! I'm also featured in this song, playing clarinet in the choruses. Damien is a great musician, and this song really shows what a fantastic songwriter he is.

"Salina" - The Avett Brothers

I saw the Avett Brothers for the 3rd time in March (and the 4th time in September!). Damien and I were afraid we couldn't get a ride, but our friend Aulbry was nice enough to let us use her car so we wouldn't be deprived of these wonderful tunes. "Salina" is one of my favorite Avett songs.

Right around this time was when I discovered The Tallest Man on Earth, a Swedish folkie who sounds like Bob Dylan and plays guitar beautifully. This is the first song of his I ever heard, and I fell in love.

The Beatles! I can't pick a single song. The Beatles have been my favorite band all my life. I was raised listening to them; my parents are fans too. Last spring I was taking a class on the Beatles, so listening to them was for pleasure and for academic reasons. If you don't already listen to the Beatles, you're missing out and should start immediately.

I listened to this an awful lot after The Blueprint 3 came out. The lyrics really define my life for the past few years. "Let's just stay in the moment, smoke some weed, drink some wine, reminisce, talk some shit, forever young is in your mind."

"Whataya Want From Me" - Adam Lambert

No explanation here, I just love this song! Great pop tune. I watched American Idol during the last season, for some ungodly reason, and when this performance happened, Damien and I were all, "OHMYGODDDD THAT WAS SO AWESOME!!"

"You Can Call Me Al" - Paul Simon
At the end of May, Damien and I took a road trip from Green Bay, WI to Norman, OK. We stopped in Indiana on the way to visit his mom, who is a huge Paul Simon fan. We listened to Graceland the whole time we were with her, and when Damien and I stopped at a hotel the next night, I downloaded some Paul Simon and we listened to it from Missouri to OK, and for the rest of the summer. This song never fails to get me happy.

In June, Damien and I were incredibly broke. I finally got a job in the middle of the month, but for the couple weeks preceding that, we were donating plasma and not eating very much at all. It was pretty pathetic. But music is free, and we are lucky enough to have a pretty big record collection!

"Duncan" - Paul Simon
A beautiful song that seems to be a bit lesser-known. I listened to this over and over again. It has this depressing feeling to it, which is probably why I liked it so much this summer, when life kinda sucked. The pan pipes on this song are absolutely gorgeous.

I'm being honest when I say that the rest of the summer was spent in a drunken haze with my friends listening/dancing to Ke$ha and Robyn pretty much exclusively. Feel free to judge; I barely remember it. So I know I had fun.

I started listening to pop hits of the late 1950s and early 1960s. Some of my favorites include:
"Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow" - The Shirelles
"A Change is Gonna Come" - Sam Cooke
"This Magic Moment" - The Drifters
"God Only Knows" - The Beach Boys

Also, I turned 21, so clearly some more Ke$ha was in order.

In the middle of the month, I got the opportunity to interview Langhorne Slim, one of my favorite musicians. He performed at the Opolis, and afterwards, Damien and I got to meet him! He's a really cool, down-to-earth guy, not to mention super talented. "Restless" by Langhorne Slim remains one of my favorite songs, and was definitely a theme of October.

A devastating midterm election left me faithless in American society. Justice For All returned to campus with their enormous bloody-fetus pictures. Thanksgiving was lonely. November was an icky month.

But finding these a cappella Beach Boys tracks on YouTube really brightened the darkness!

Also, new Girl Talk came out with a free download. I love Girl Talk; there's no better party music. I actually wrote a pretty long post on my music blog about the new album and the general concept of Girl Talk.


Kanye, Kanye, Kanye. Do I need to say anything else? My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy was pretty much unanimously the best album of the year. If you haven't heard it yet, do yourself a big favor and listen IMMEDIATELY. Don't even finish reading this post. Go listen to 'Ye.

If you're still reading this, I'm guessing you've heard the genius that is West's new album. It's artful and gorgeous, but for me, the album is made by Nicki Minaj's verse on "Monster." HOLY SHIT.

And that's my year in music!

Monday, January 3, 2011

home, home again

Back at my parents' house in Green Bay!

I'm having a good time. My parents' house seems like a palace compared to my tiny studio apartment. They have a dishwasher, so much food, laundry machines, cable & internet, multiple bedrooms ... it's like heaven, seriously!

Yesterday I flew out of Norman in the morning, and got to Milwaukee about four hours later. My sister and brother picked me up and by the time the Packer game started, I was home! It was great to have a home-cooked meal with my parents and watch movies together. Today I slept late, hung out with my little brother, and had dinner. Wonderful.

My brother and I went to Blackstone, the diner that was basically my second home when I was in high school. My friends and I would go there almost every day, and we'd just sit for hours drinking coffee, smoking cigarettes, and talking about anything and everything. I could walk into Blackstone anytime, and I'd always see a friend. It was really eerie to go back. Since the last time I visited GB, they passed a smoking ban. No longer does Blackstone reek of stale smoke; nor are there ashtrays on every table. Perhaps because of this, there was hardly anyone there! Even the veteran whom I swear was there 24/7 was absent. Super weird. It was one of those nasty old all-night diners, with the regulars and all. So it was really odd to go there and experience a completely different restaurant. Totally didn't match all the great memories I have from there.

As nice as it is to be in my hometown and see my family, I really miss Damien. We've been together pretty much every day since February. It's hard to not see him.