Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween pixels

I took a few pictures of the holiday and then gussied them up on my phone.  I am pretty obsessed with the pixlromatic app.  It takes my lame photos and makes them interesting looking.

I should be out being in my 20's but instead I am in, wearing jammies, watching  Mad Men, drinking spiked apple cider and waiting for Boyfriend to get up again so he can get me a mini Mounds bar. 

Next year I shall be social, this year I just took pictures.

I spotted this sweet headband on my extra-long Halloween-edition bus ride home.  It was pretty much the only thing that kept me from getting up and screaming that everyone just needed to shut up and ride the bus like grown ups.

 My unused Halloween costume.  I brought it to work just in case I was expected to be wearing one (this is the first year that Halloween has been on a program day since I've been working there and since I'm the boss, I didn't have anyone to ask about the rules, so I figured I would call and audible).  I was going to be a Chicago Bear.  Geddit??

One of the sweet tutors at our program brought goodie bags for everyone!  I love treats! The best part was when one of the kids asked what was in it, she says, "Sugar.  You'll love it."

I am kind of in love with this.  Before our party on Saturday, Boyfriend covered our entire house in fake cobwebs including the top of our bed frame.  It's been fun to wake up to Halloween, and since we're grown-ups we don't have to take it down until Christmas.

Happy Halloween everyone!

Sunday, October 30, 2011


Halloween ranks, for me, up with New Year's Eve and Valentine's Day - as holidays that never live up to the hype. 

This year, instead barhopping or going to a whole bunch of parties full of strangers, and then spending all the dollars on cab rides - I made the party come to me. 

I threw a party, billing it as the lamest, mellow-est party in the city - and told people that only half-hearted costume attempts were acceptable.  Taking the pressure off the holiday made it so much better.  Despite some minor hostess meltdowns, the party was a major success - thanks some tarot cards and delicious food.

As I grow older, I have developed quite a sense of pride in my ability to feed people successfully.  I will never live up to my Mother's reputation, but like Peyton trying to impress Archie - I am going to keep trying.

Luckily, I live with someone who is also up to the challenge, and doesn't work on Saturday mornings.  So we were able to serve quite the menu.

His contributions -
Zombie Eyes - green olives, stuffed with pimento and grated cheddar cheese, wrapped in puff pastry (not phyllo dough, as he so sadly learned the hard way).

Hot dog mummies - pigs in blankets - but the dough is sliced thinly and each piece is added individually (to make bandages rather than blankets) and sprinkled with cheddar cheese

Meatloaf rats - meatloaf in roundish shapes with cheddar cheese in the middle (notice a trend?) - with eyes made of peas, ears made of carrot slices and a tail made out of uncooked pasta.  It was adorable, and delicious.

My contributions -

I received a pizza stone for my birthday (thanks Hazel!) and really wanted to take it for a spin.  My Mom has been making pizza for my entire existence and she has always made it look so.easy.  Its not quite as simple as I thought it was, but this was definitely a good learning experience. 

My crust was nice and soft, but needs to be spread out a little more (after spending my whole life making and eating rectangular homemade pizzas, I now am living a circular life and it is going to be a hard adjustment).  Also, it took a pizza and a half to learn that you actually need to make dents in the dough so that you don't have pizza sauce dripping every where.

I am not sharing my sauce recipe, because its too embarrassingly easy. But the recipes other wise were-

Red sauce with green peppers and onions.  - Well, the onions need less time because they got burnt on the ends.  Whoops. Also, I think a few minutes being sauteed in a pan before being put on the pizza (rather than being put on raw) probably wouldn't hurt anything.  Easy-mozzarella-cheesey.

Red sauce with prosciutto, goat cheese and arugula - this was most certainly received the best.  I put on the red sauce and some moz and cooked it for about 6 minutes, and then put on the prosciutto and goat cheese and cooked it for three more.  Once I took it out of the oven I threw some arugula on it and then it was gone. I cannot wait to make this again.

No sauce (I just brushed the crust with olive oil) with mozzarella, feta, marinate artichoke hearts and sun-dried tomatoes. Well, sun dried tomatoes can only cook for about a minute before they burn (these were dried, out of a bag, rather than marinated), so that was frustrating to discover, but otherwise this was quite good.  It was not actually as salty as I was anticipating.  It could have used more cheese (can't everything?) - especially on top, as without the sauce holding down the fort, the toppings were pretty out of control.  This was the least well received, but it also came out last, and I think by that point, people were out of room in the pizza compartment of their stomachs. 

On top of this - our friends brought some amazing dips, a game-changing cobbler situation, some caramel apples, and wonderful company.  While there is a part of me that will always want to do an elaborate costume and have a wild and crazy Halloween adventure - I am finding as I grow older, that the quiet, delicious celebration is just as good.

It's messy and crazy, but I would not have it any other way.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Birthday thoughts

In my old age, I have decided that getting presents makes me really anxious because I hate pretty much everything and I am really not good at hiding the fact that I hate everything.

But! There are some things I really like about birthdays:

-taking advantage of free things (both coldstone and chik-fil-a give you free dessert!)
-getting mail.  Sometimes this is presents, but just getting cards is quite enough for me.
-sleeping late because I want to.
-dressing up for no real reason at all
-having an excuse to talk to people I don't normally get to talk to
-buying nice things for myself (yes. I would rather spend my own money than have people buy them for me).

**I am still working on other birthday memories (I got sick last week and started making excuses) I can't decide if I am going to post them this year or next year.

Also, the amount of birthday love one gets on the facebook is overwhelming.  What a lovely tool for making people feel good about themselves one day of the year.  Thanks Marky Z!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Little bit about love.

So.  A few months ago, I had one of the hardest decisions of my life (based on past experiences you can figure out how much hyperbole has been sprinkled on that statement).  Luckily, it was kind of made for me.

Two of the most amazing, smartest, prettiest, sassiest ladies I know (Cindy-loo and KChu) are getting married to two of the luckiest guys in the known universe (AndyP and Howie Howardson, respectively).  And it just so happens they picked the exact same day to celebrate.  But of course, they couldn't get married in the same room.  Noooo, that would be "weird." So I had to make the epic choice of which one do I love more.  Well, not actually.  Cindy-loo very sweetly (and for reasons that still I don't quite understand because I am terrible at this particular job) asked me to rep for her in front of Greek Jesus. 

I so rarely get a chance to hang out with Greek Jesus, that I said yes.  And a bridesmaid was made.

So Cindy-loo and AndyP. get my presence at their wedding. 

KChu, and Howie Howardson get this, a blog about them. (and honestly, I don't know which is the fuzzier end of that lollipop).

KChu & Howie Howardson,

There is some thing crazy special, and the most fun of your 20's life, about getting a front row ticket to watching real, true, forever love happen. 

Its pretty rare to know, and be friends, with two single people, and then watch overtime as they evolve to be a couple. Still two awesome people, but two people who have high-fived and decided that they're going to take on this big, bad world together. 

I feel like so many of my friends started dating strangers (we like to call the interlopers) who only through their dating of one of the finest people in the world, have I gotten to be friends with.  But KChu and Howie were both great people with solid stamps of approval before the first awkward attempt at hand holding ever went down.

This was Howie Howardson getting real, real sauced at 9:30 AM watching Badger Football.  Maybe flirting with a waitress, maybe yelling at the televisions, but always there, surrounded by at least 6 female friends and occasionally a dude or two.  And we all waited for the girl who would walk through the doors of that stupid, stupid bar and be good enough for Howie - and his pile of lady friends.

Well, what do you know?  She was already there.  Maybe it took a few more months for her to become part of the circle but she was a brilliant, occasionally overserved but always responsible, fast friend.  She went to college on the East Coast (unlike everyoneelseintheuniverse who had gone to school out in these parts) but she was still from Wisconsin in all the best ways.  East coast brains with a midwest heart?  Ain't no shame in KChu's game.

There they each were. Through the yelling and the confetti and the gallons of Miller Lite being spilled every where.  They managed to spot all the right things about each other.  And while the rest of us were contemplating what the secret ingredient in the tater tots was, and where Naulty had lost her credit card, they were in those very baby stages of becoming a team.

Then there was the time line of drama.  Drawn on text messages and serious bathroom talks, on book club conversations and the bottom of the shot glass.  The good and the bad and the "what happened last night?" We were spectators and occasional coaches, whether they liked it or not.

While they were weathering each other, they were also forced to weather us - Statler and Waldorf times six, but much higher pitched. Us girls with too much time on our hands were there for the commentary, but also to occasionally steal focus with all our own silly, silly hearts. 

And then you survived!  You survived those years with an Apple Holler and a Mars Cheese Castle between you.  Even though it had to have been tough, we all secretly knew that this was the test, this was your journey through the Hidden Temple, and if you made it through you would be together for life (and also possibly win a trip to Space Camp).

KChu & Howie Howardson, I don't know if you can really comprehend how much we all love you.  You are both incredibly smart, and perhaps with your powers combined you can understand how much we (me, and all your other loud, drunk friends) have loved watching you guys find each other and start this life together.

Thanks for letting us come on the journey with you.  Thanks for being awesome while single and while dating.  Thanks for both being able to (individually) hold your own at a late-night Baby Atlas dance party. Thanks for being two of the best listeners in the history of people-having-ears.

I have been told that every bar in the world can only produce one couple.  While people will meet in bars and inevitably make bad choices with each other, each bar can only produce one real, amazing, forever couple.  I am so happy that Redmond's got you guys.  And as a celebration of that, let's never go back.

I love you both so much. I'm sorry I can't be there to be embarrassing on the dance floor.


Monday, October 17, 2011

Best Birthday Stories - The one with the dress

When I moved to New York, I thought I was very, very grown-up.  I didn't cry when my Mom left, and even though I had no idea what to do with myself, I pretended like I did.  I faked it - and inevitable, I made it.  I moved in late August, at the tender age of 17.  Its not every day you turn 18 in a brand new adventure, so I decided to make the most of it.

On my Actual Birthday - at 1 AM, I was in a diner on the Upper East Side, with D-$, my roommate.  She had been at a failed attempt at an American Idol audition (back when that was something you did) and had just come back.  I had been writing my first ever college midterm papers (I wasted no time perfecting my procrastination) and we decided to get food (oh college).

ANYWAY - We get to the diner and look up on the tv, and what do I see?  The name of my hometown, flashing on the TV.  I convince the surly, Eastern European woman to turn up the volume and find out that the police had caught the two snipers who had been shooting in the DC area (remember that?) - so Happy Birthday to me.

We go home, sleep for three hours and then do whatever 18 year old spends her whole life dreaming of - stood outside of the Today show like a couple of tourist idiots and made a sign using notebook paper, a crayola marker and some chewed gum.

It totally worked, y'all.  I spent the 6:05 AM minute of my 18th birthday getting a hug from the weather-guy-who-isn't-Al-Roker.

As if that wasn't the most amazing thing - a few hours later (after turning in aforementioned paper) my Mom, Big Cuz, and Aunt Bluh- Bluh rolled up/down from Maryland/Nantucket respectively. 

Since I didn't have any friends yet, my family was sweet enough to come celebrate with me.  My mom drove 4 hours to bring me my favorite food and quality time with my favorite older cousin.  And my aunt came down from her island sanctuary to spend a crazy weekend in noisy, smell, dirty New York. 

Not only did they come to visit, they also brought presents (as if their presence wasn't enough).  For my birthday my Cousin Peter had invited me to come with him to see Aida at Lincoln Center.  And I was desperately in need of the appropriate attire.  My grandmother (in one of the best Birthday maneuvers of my grown up life) sent up five dresses and I got to pick two (Oh! The luxury!)

I ended up picking a funky black and brown patterned one with bell sleeves and a wide skirt (which is what I actually wore the night of the opera) and my very. first. Little Black Dress.  It was simple, and flattering and didn't need to be dry cleaned.  When I wore it, I felt like such.a.grown.up.

After my family left, I cried for the first and only time from true homesickness (rather than homesickness mixed with heartbreak, or school/job woes).  To have a family that loved me enough to drive all this way and celebrate with me.  How could I spend my life so far away from all that? 

That was the last birthday I spent with my family until I turned 23 - when my Dad was in Chicago and took me out to delicious tapas.  And since then, I haven't been lucky enough to have any family close by to help me celebrate.  Luckily I have this amazing pile of friends to make me feel embarrassingly loved, but I miss my family sometimes too.

And - that little black dress?  The one I kept, but didn't wear to the Opera?  It still hangs in my closet. I wore it last Thursday to an event.  And about a month before that to an important meeting. And maybe two weeks before that, out to dinner.  It's gotten a little smaller - but it still reminds me of my family,  goes through the wash like a champ and comes out making me feel just as grown up as it did 8 years ago. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Thursday's Best Internet Finds! Traveling Edition.

Guys.  It's almost Friday.  Woot.

Here are some things from the internet to keep you going until 2 or 3 PM tomorrow when you check out on the week and spend the rest of your work day on Facebook and devising plans to sneak out early.

I am beyond excited to know both of these amazing woman personally.  They are both smart, funny and look really good in a LBD.  Not only that - they are both on incredible journeys that reading about leaves me seething with jealousy.

Meegan and I worked together as Smart Homies at MSI. And she let me buy her copy of Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim for super cheap after my Mom took mine.  Right now she is at a Sloth Sanctuary in Costa Rica helping injured sloths and having a Grade-A adventure.  She is also taking videos. Read (and watch, for all of you with lazy eyes) about all of the amazing things she is doing Here

Holly was one of my favorite students while I taught dance (since it was over 10 years ago, I am allowed to have retrospective favorites).  She just graduated from college (those years went by fast!) and is now on a trip to Cambodia! She is working with children (perhaps in an orphanage?) and posts some insanely adorable pictures. I get so excited to see kids I have worked with grow up to be amazing young adults. Holly's super cute photos and descriptions of her adventures can be found Here!

Sadly, both of their adventures are much too short - but bookmark them and read while you can.  

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Giving you space

Listen everyone - we've talked about spelling and if you were around back when I was in high school/early college years, we perhaps talked about my struggles with "paragraphs that aren't so long you want to stab yourself in the eye," but here is something that I am having some real problems with - 

I cannot remember that there is only one space after a sentence-ending period now. I am finding it nearly impossible to finish a sentence and then only hit the space bar once before starting the next one.  My brain can only compute hitting it twice.

We've had a computer since I was in elementary school. I recently passed the point where I have been using a computer (and so, by association, putting two spaces at the end of a sentence) for more than 50% of my life, and when you consider that I didn't actual have fine motor skills for the first couple years, its an even bigger divide.

I understand that there are also people out there who have a much more impressive percentage of how much of their lives they've had a computer, but for the most part they are 16 and cannot be trusted. And I understand that there are people who are my age who have acclimated just fine.  But really, its a challenge to change a subconscious action.  Can you imagine if they just moved the "J" key over to where the quotation mark key is? There would be an outrage.  They would take to the streets!  QWERY 4 LYFE!

So, this blog is an apology for the fact that when you read this blog, you may notice that sometimes there are two spaces and some times there is just one after a sentence is over. I ask that you try not to hate me too much for my complete disregard of what is the Correct thing to do.

I will have you know that in any sort of professional writing, I am willing to go that extra mile and remove all the extraneous space betwixt my sentences. Also, I spell check like its my job (which, sometimes, it is) which is how I know I spelled sentence wrong, and differently ever single time I wrote it in the first draft of this blog.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Book 16 - Feed

So.  I just realized I am supposed to read 26 books in 11 weeks. Survey says?  Not possible.  As far as resolutions go this year - I did not do so well.  Typical.

Anyway - I am still reading books and New Yorkers, but mostly watching television.  And now?  Having nightmares.

Books very rarely affect me outside of when I am reading them.  Exceptions?  The Historian and The Kiss - which made me so fully depressed in every moment of my life that I literally had to stop everything and finish reading it so I could be put out of my misery. 

Anyway, Feed is yet another book that messed with me outside of book-reading time.

image (via)

First things, first. I got this book from one of the parents at my program. The glee this brings me is nearly indescribable. I love book recommendations and I really love when they come from places and people you wouldn't expect. This particular parent is lovely, but I don't know how much she knows about what I read.  Truth be told - I will probably read a book recommended by an acquaintance before a friend.  If only because they are so much more rare, that I am more curious about what their recommendation says about me/them/our relationship.  Double bonus points for when you actually let me borrow your copy of the book (how do you know I am going to give it back?  That's trust).

Anyway. In theory - Feed is kind of brilliant. It combines two incredibly trendy topics (blogs and zombies) and explores them in a really thought-provoking-about-the-future kind of way.

The flaws?  Well, the language is colloquial at best.  And here's the thing - I love informal writing. In case you have just been clicking on this page and not actually reading anything, colloquialisms are my bread and butter.  However, in book form, it doesn't really work for me.  Its hard to read sarcasm without kind of rolling my eyes.  I think it, more than subject matter, is what makes a book for teenagers rather than spanning all age groups.  And Feed drops the F-bomb like its trying to impress its older brothers.  I found it somewhat tedious.

And, I love my brother like, a fair amount.  We are pretty cool. However, there was something really creepy about the relationship between the siblings in this book.  Maybe it was the chasing zombies bit.  There is no way my brother and I would chase zombies together.  We would be on the couch crossing our fingers that those zombies might be in the kitchen making us a sandwich.

The other thing is I really, really Hated the way the book ended.  Without dropping a major spoiler fart on this blog - I really feel like she made the wrong choice - especially in terms of making it a trilogy.  I am not going to say this guarantees that I am not going to read the next one, because that kind of hyperbole always kicks me in the ass (see - leggings) but I feel like I lost a fair amount of interest.  Feel free to get a spoiler-iffic discussion going in the comments regarding this if you'd like.

All that being said, this was an entertaining read. As I discovered while reading this book, I am way more interested in medically-created zombies over religious/extraterrestrial/unexplained zombies.  Also, as a card-carrying, check-cashing (back in the day) member of the print press and a hopeless romantic about the future of blogging I really love how these things got tied together.  Also, I loved the character of Buffy - and the idea of a "fictional."  How nice to give people who fill the internet with fan fiction, deviantart, Emo-y Live Journal poetry a place to call home and a sense of ownership and ranking-system value (and I am not saying what they do now isn't valuable, it is just hard sometimes to wade through the painful stuff and find the things that are good). 

But its truly the isolationist themes that got to me.  As I went to a football game, and traveled on public transit and spent hours and hours at a company retreat trying to figure out how I can get more kids into classes that are already at 20 or 30 people.  I tried to imagine a world where you didn't do all these things - where, in fact, you avoided them.

I am not going to lie - it freaked me out.  As a person who craves big city anonymity over the suburbs (which, according to this book, is what the universal norm will be after the zombies come) this is more terrifying than the actual zombies.  In every minute where I was surrounded by complete strangers, I felt my breath catching - what happens when there is a panic?  What will I do?  Fun fact - the only thing I could ever think to do was, "find an exit strategy." I would be the worst real-person-turned-hero Ever.

The whole, "Whoops, how did we get zombies?" plot actually made sense, and felt so stomach-wrenching plausible.   And as we wrangle with the media leaving out pieces of the story, and flat-out not covering things (the #occupywallstreet movement comes to mind).  I got all panicky.  It reminded me of the story my Mom told me about the first time she read, The Handmaid's Tale, and then she went to the bank and her ATM card didn't work.  An awful sense of foreboding terror.

Is there anything but an awful sense of foreboding terror?  Like is there a whimsical sense of your impending doom?  Perhaps to one of those emo poets?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Best Birthday Stories - The one with the glass

So in honor of my impending 27th birthday (which is the official beginning of being Old) I am counting down some of my favorite birthday stories.  Best does not necessarily mean happiest or most special, but really that they are the stories that have stuck with me throughout the years.

I had exactly three Redmond's birthdays - at the middle one when I turned 24, I wore a flower print dress and my hair looked amazing. 

We started with champagne at the Ashland apartment and then moved to the temple of doom.  Needless to say (because its Redmonds) we were overserved.  About a month before my birthday, I decided that Crown Royal and ginger ale was my signature drink...and I haven't had one since.

Once I started throwing maraschino cherries at the waitstaff it was time to go. But going home? Hell no - that's for 25 year-olds.  So we went to Baby Atlas which is the best and occasionally worst place to have a dance party.  Its one of the biggest crap shoots in the city.

On that particular night, it was about half an hour from being a crime scene. Within 10 minutes, 4 beer bottles had been shattered precariously close to my feet.

You would think that since it was the end of October, I would have had shoes on to cover my feet from the shards of glass flying everywhere. But if you knew me, you would know that I had flip flops on, because I am a child.

So rather than having a dance party with my friends, I sat upstairs in Matilda's and let Boyfriend (who was still trying to woo me at this point) pick glass of my (essentially) bare feet.  C'est tres romantic.

Once everyone realized what kind of clusterbomb Baby Atlas was on that particular night, we decided to go to Clark's for some "gee.dee hashbrowns." Once we got there, Maimees friend who was in town for the weekend stormed out, for reasons unknown to all of us, and decided he was going to walk the the three miles back to her apartment (despite not having any idea where he was or where her apartment was).

That was pretty lame, but then there were chicken fingers and a side of pancakes and I felt better, even though there was probably still some glass in my foot.

Then it was time to go home, because even at the tender, young age of 24, I could only handle so much physical pain, whiskey and buzz killing.

Once we got back to the apartment on Ashland, I was trying to take off my coat, which was clearly a task I was not up to, as in the process, I managed to knock a champagne glass off the coffee table and break it into a million pieces.

To this day, I cannot quite figure out the physics of this particular maneuver and had Boyfriend not been there, I probably would have just put a note on the door, telling people it was there and left it until morning.  But while I lay on the couch talking simultaneously about how I was far too old and how I wish you could always eat chicken nuggets with maple syrup, Boyfriend cleaned up my mess (the first of many, to be sure) before putting me to bed.

This birthday was clearly a disaster, but it makes a good story and it was pretty much the last birthday of complete debauchery. AND, I found out later, a friend of a friend, hooked up with another friend of a friend that night after meeting at my party.  It was probably because of my hair (it really did look amazing).

Saturday, October 08, 2011

The Post about "Dance Moms"

I very much considered not writing this blog - especially since I just wrote about dance a hot minute ago, but my brain is wickedly lacking in the "things to bother people with" department and I know y'all are just itching to get some new bidz'ness to waste your work day with.

Here's the thing people, Dance Moms is either the craziest, scammiest, most absurd piece of reality television on right now (which is saying a. Lot) or competitive dance has changed in the past 11 years.

Back in my day.  When you competitively danced, you were given a routine at the beginning of the "season," MONTHS ahead of your first competition.  Whether it was small group, solo or large group every thing was choreographed, costumed and practiced within an inch of its pointed-toes, big-arms life before you could even feasibly buy a plane ticket to the competition.  You did the same routine (or maybe, some at one competition and some at another) and you wore the same clothes and Nothing Changed.

I think once, mid-season, a triple piourette got made a double because someone couldn't land it and they were blowing the timing, but beyond small things - everything was always the same for a whole season. In fact I am willing to wager a guess that if you pumped the particular jams that I danced to, I could still whip out some moves.  This was Eleven Years ago.  That is how ingrained into my head these dances were.  There are some brain cells that could have probably been put to better use figuring out what calculus is exactly - but nope, those cells are full of shuffle-cross-step-ball-change.

SO NOW. I am watching Dance Moms because it is the kind of junky television that gets my motor going.  Oh man, little girls and their insane parents with sequins thrown in...its like taking bong hits of tackiness.  The only thing that makes me sad is it is on at the same time as Toddlers and Tiaras.  Its like Lifetime and TLC want you to make a choice.  And I say, cut the baby in half.  I want it all.

(a side note - there is a piece of me that knows it is wrong to watch both of these shows with as much regularity as I do - so I refuse to tivo either of them.  I will very often watch Dance Moms on demand, relax its free, but I will not make it "appointment viewing." There is a frilly ankle-socked line that I am just not willing to cross).

Anyway - on Dance Moms the girls learn dances 3 - 5 days before the competition and there seems to be some sort of disastrous situation with the costumes that never, ever seems to land in any one's favor (except, of course, Maddie - she wins at everything) and they are always scrambling.  This is totally insane.  Of course they aren't placing.  Of course they are forgetting the steps.  They're eight years-old.  Unless you have some sort of Rain-man like abilities, almost no one is going to learn a dance in three hours, especially a girl who is verbally abused by her manipulative, terrifying freight train of a dance teacher.

So now my question is - what the blunt?  Is this some sort of thing cooked up by the producers so that the crewneck-kitten-applique-sweatshirt wearing brigade watching this over their Stoffers lean cuisines don't get too bored?  Is it Abby Lee drinking that hubris juice?  Or is this how competitions are done now?

My experience was limited to be sure (I never got to practice my dance in front of a drag queen named La'Queefa - much to my retrospective dismay) but I cannot image this is how they are running these particular shit shows.

Anyway, this has always struck me as so false and transparent.  Why would you be trying to get costumes less than a week in advance?  Doesn't that just sound like a bad idea? See also getting a kid to commit anything to memory.

And now that I've seen the finale where (spoilers!) they have to audition for the "music video" there was this huge "a-ha!" reveal of why Abby Lee tortured her dancers by not giving them enough time.  It was a training technique! Ooohhhhh. 

Nope.  Not at all.  That business is for your class time.  In classes you can learn a combination in 10 minutes and then perform it all to your hearts content - in competitions its just stupid. 

AND, while we are talking about things that are stupid, I cannot imagine something dumber than having parents observe classes and auditions and rehearsals.  I will give them a pass on the parents being there for the music video shoot since I think its required to have a guardian on location for anything like that - but otherwise, this is a total scam set up by Lifetime.  No dance teacher (or really any teacher/coach) wants parents within a 2 mile radius of a class or rehearsal happening.  It only makes everyone mad and the baby jesus cry pink glittery tears of sadness.

On a personal note, I was SO satisfied to see (spoilers!) Chloe get the lead in the video.  As a second banana in my own experience who once or twice had that moment - it is the most satisfying thing.  One can only hope that it will help her realize that the best thing she can do is get out of there right after high school and become a worldly, confident woman while Maddie tears her acl, gets knocked up by a casting director and moves back in with her lunatic mom for the rest of time.

Friday, October 07, 2011

and Beyond.

Apparently, NASA is looking for Astronauts.

I struggle with thinking that I am worthless a fair amount of the time and normally a little bit of convincing can get me to see that maybe I am worth just a touch more than my Kelly Blue Book value.

However, this is one area that makes me feel completely hopeless.

I have always wanted to go into space.  Its a completely intangible dream but one (like so many others) I can't seem to shake.

I can see how impractical it is, but beyond that, I am also quite aware that I will never be smart enough to go into space.

You can try to negotiate with me all you want on this one, but I will never back down.  This is the one thing I have ever wanted that is completely unobtainable, not because of luck or money or resources, but because I do not have the brain power to accomplish it.

Its frustrating, to say the least, but something I accept with only a little bit of sadness.

I know there are a lot of things that deserve money over the funding of the space program (many of them are causes that are nearest and dearest to my heart) but to go to space? To go beyond?  To experience something that no one who has gone there seems to be able to truly describe? 

I want it if only for that challenge.

Is this giving up?  Or is it acceptance? 

While I know I am not qualified, I challenge those who do go into space (and also read my blog, I have to assume that the two are not mutually exclusive) to be smart enough to get there, and then write about it.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

An apple.

My MacBook was a Christmas/Graduation present from my Mom the winter after I graduated from college.  When she gave it to me, I think she thought I didn't like it, because I lost the power of speech.

I could not believe that this thing I had wanted so very badly was actually now mine. 

Every time I open it, this small piece of me gets so excited because this Macbook is still mine.

Call it hype, call it a superior product, call it easy-to-use - I have never loved any piece of technology quite as much as I have loved my MacBook (and now my future phone).

And whether or not you own an apple product (and let's be real, you probably do) you have to admire a guy who was able to build this much hype.

"Because the man who was crazy enough to think he could change the world, was the one who did."

My job is silly, but in some ways this quote speaks to everything I do and every goal I set.  Most of the writing on this overpriced, dirty (white was a bad choice) and now frustratingly slow (more RAM for Christmas plz) is frivolous, but there is some, just sitting on the desk top, that speaks to this dream.

Thank you Steve Jobs for everything you created.  Even if its all just smoke and mirrors and funny ads.

At least it doesn't get viruses.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Get a job (an open letter to my baby sister)

Dear 'Bear,

So you are going on a job interview. Congratulations!  While I know that you have gone on a few of these in the past, you will discover that people hiring college students are looking for something a little different than people hiring high schoolers.  When you a hire a high schooler you really just want them not to show up to work stoned and maybe maaaaybe go 5 minutes with out answering their cellphones once in a while (the things we do for cheap labor).

When you a hire a college student (at least, in my experience of hiring college students, which I now do with some regularity) you are using this interviewing process as a learning experience for them, but I see it not as a, "I am not going to hire you just because you showed up 'almost' on time and are learning" rather a, "When you don't get a phone call from me, use it as a chance to learn something about not being terrible at this," learning experience.

And guess what, chances are most of the college students you are competing against for these jobs probably do not have meddling older sisters to tell them how its done.  So, anytime you would like to show your thanks in snowcaps and a diet Green Tea Ginger Ale, is fine with me.  You lucky devil.  You're welcome.

I will say that if you follow these steps exactly and you don't get the job, you have free reign to call your ex-potential-company-of-employment whatever sort of conjugation of "douchebag" you would like.

So - first things first - you better research the living daylights out of this company.  You have a google, use it.  "But this company out in po'dunk nowheresville doesn't have a website." Yeah, but chances are they have been written up in the local newspaper, or are listed as an external link as someone else's website.  Whatever it is - you can figure out a way to make it work.  Figure out a way to bring it up in conversation.

"I want to work here because I truly believe in your mission, [insert mission from website here], and think I would be a valued member of your organization."

"I read about your work with [insert thing you read in the paper/other website] and am excited to be involved in this kind of work."

Here's the thing, this stuff sounds real dumb, but people eat it up, especially from college kids.  Its one thing to want a job, its another thing to want a job with this particular hiring-college-kids-because-they-don't-need-health-insurance jamspot.

And then you get to the interview.  And you arrive 5-10 minutes early.  Not any more or any less.  If you roll up 30 minutes early, people are going to be annoyed.  They have way more important things to do, like play on facebook, and troll around the office looking for free cupcakes.

And good lord, keep your flip flops at home.  And your jeans.  And your bookbag.  You know what you do bring?  Your freakin.resume. Maybe I skipped a tweet somewhere, but I am pretty sure you should bring a copy of your resume with you to every single interview.  Not because they'll ask for it, but because on the off chance that they do, you haven't failed at the very first request they've ever made of you.

And during the interview, remember, the thing people like to talk about most?? Is themselves.  So talk about why you're qualified and answer all their questions (and for the love of god, spend 20 minutes before you walk into the interview thinking about a time you had a challenge/had to over come something/failed so you don't have to make something up on the spot).  But then!  Talk about them!  Ask them about their background and why they like working at whatever place is underpaying them to do way more work than they should be.  Ask them what they would ask if they were being interviewed (oh man!  Double bonus points!) and be genuinely interested in what they have to say.

And then? You leave. You can email the next day to say thank you for the opportunity to interview but that is IT. Do not call, or text or bother them.  Believe me, if they want to hire you, they probably will. 

Be friendly.  Smile a lot.  Ask questions. Be excited about whatever they are saying.  Remember fun facts that you've already learned and drop them like they are hot.  In real life you're going to need actually qualifications and proof that you deserve the job, so enjoy this brief moment where being more prepared counts for all the marbles.

Wear deodorant. Don't play with your hair.

Love always,
your big sister.

She's pint-sized and amazing.