Saturday, March 26, 2011

Garter Snake

So yesterday I was washing the dishes with a dish rag/cloth that I made myself. Nothing fancy, a simple garter stitch (which is comprised of knitting every row). Any knitting master would guffaw in my face at the notion of being pleased with what is essentially a square of the easiest stitch in knitting, but I am incredibly proud of this triumph.

The ladies in my immediate genetic family have never been incredibly crafty. My mother and grandmother have both admitted to consistently effing up sewing machines (although my mother stole mine a year ago and is still working on learning how to use it), and neither of them were much for yarn crafts. With this genetic makeup in mind, I find it a particularly wonderful that in adulthood I could do anything at all with yarn and knitting needles.

So there.

It was actually my mother-in-law that taught me to knit. Zenda has the patience of the Buddha (although she's Catholic so that wouldn't necessarily be a compliment in her mind) and showed me casting-on, knitting and purling about a zillion times one Saturday afternoon. After some really insane-looking practice, I've really realized the importance of yarn tension in knitting.

Something in knitting, though, that really seems to escape me is reading a knitting pattern. This amalgamation of hieroglyphics would be no clearer to me if I possessed the Rosetta Stone. This wacky and mystifying piece of the crafting world may remain a mystery to me for the rest of my life.

I mean, WTF?

This morning, I was wiping up the counter with my newest creation and I was insanely pleased with myself, as I felt, in my mind, that this was one step closer to self-sufficiency. Before you know it, I'll know how to build my own composting-toilet and grow my own toilet paper...or whatever.Best Blogger Tips

Friday, March 25, 2011

Lordy, Lordy, There's a Pretty Ridiculous Forty

A recent email swap I participated in was entitled, "40 Movies You Can't Live Without." Now, we all know (well, you might know, but if you don' you do) that my two favorite genres of film are documentaries and animation. With that being said, I wanted go outside of my tiny, little microcosm and really take a look at films that I couldn't live without that weren't necessarily just in those two categories.

I thought, at first, about making a list that was full of really arty movies that I thought were "good," but truthfully, I could probably live without them. But then I realized that I was being a douche: What difference does it make what movies I can't live without? The point is is that they're mine and however embarrassing they are, it's hardly something to lie about.

So without further ado:

1. Lost In Translation
2. Hot to Trot
(I might actually own the only VHS copy of this movie still in existence. I really wish I would've had it on-hand when Bobcat Goldthwait came into Starbucks that one time. no really, he did.)

3. The Nightmare Before Christmas
4. A Mighty Wind
5. Cold Comfort Farm
6. Pee Wee's Big Adventure
7. Fantastic Mr. Fox
8. The Life Aquatic
9. Hot Rod
10. Hot Fuzz
11. The Empire Strikes Back
12. White Christmas
13. Pretty in Pink
14. Office Space
15. Amelie
16. Pride and Prejudice (BBC Version)
17. UHF
18. The Tin Drum
19. Dirty Dancing
20. Peggy Sue Got Married
21. Trading Places
22. One Crazy Summer

23. Big Top Pee Wee
24. Trekkies (a documentary. in fact, my favorite documentary)
25. Monster Camp

26. Once Bitten
27. Back to the Future
28. Crumb
29. Best in Show
30. Home Alone
31. Stripes
32. Spies Like Us
33. Ghostbusters
34. Little Shop of Horrors
35. Elf

36. The Rocky Horror Picture Show
37. Priscilla, Queen of the Desert
38. Hedwig and the Angry Inch
39. Vernon, Florida (this may rival Trekkies for favorite documentary)
40. Grey Gardens (the original documentary, not the remake with Drew Barrymore)

I have to wonder, though, if my swap partners didn't lie about their movie choices, too. Then again, I don't that someone would like and switch their favorite TO Princess Mononoke, just saying.Best Blogger Tips

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Crocus Pocus

I'm watching "Harold and Maude" today for the first time. It's lovely film.

Maude says, "I love to watch things grow. They grow and die and then they change into something else...what kind of flower would you want to be?"

At my grandmother's funeral, one of her oldest friends said that she asked her once what flower she would want to be and my grandmother said that she wanted to be a snapdragon, because they last the longest in the garden.

I've never really decided what flower I wanted to be, but I always thought that my grandmother's answer was really astute.

The flowers are coming again.

This time of year is one of my favorites. While it's still cool enough to wear sweaters, sweatshirts, socks, heavy shoes and coats, it's still sunny a part of the time and you can open the windows during the day. You can walk outside without fear of catching the flu, and the earliest spring flowers are just starting to pop up with their tall and waxy leaves. Among them is the Crocus. Everyone always likes Daffodils, but the Crocus is probably my favorite early spring flower.

The little girl that I hang out with a few days a week has this really feminine coat/pant set that features spring flowers. Of course there's a Daisy and a Pansy, but it also has the Crocus. Adorable

(She wasn't incredibly keen on my taking the photo)

Crocus, in this part of the world, are often popping up through the snow, through the dirt or the old and dingy leaves that have fallen from the autumn before. I usually see the purple or yellow, but there's white, orange, pink and a sort of bluish color, too...that produce lovely and delicate blooms that really seem to be, for me, the harbinger of spring. Even more so than the Harbinger of Spring.

Erigenia  Bulbosa

With the Crocus and the Daffodil, it's only a matter of time before I can start to plant Pansies and Snapdragons (they'll always be a part of my garden from now, on), then herbs and the rest of the plants that will carry me through the summer months and into the beginnings of one of my other favorite times of year: Late Autumn.

I guess if I had to pick what flower I would be, I might pick the Crocus. It's versatile, hardy, lovely, delicate, and a welcome sight by almost everyone that welcomes spring into their homes. That's not such a bad thing to be.

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

It's In My Jeans

Because I've been a retail slave for most of my working-life, I've been forced to adhere to strict dress-codes for most of that time. Not that I consider myself the most anarchic person I know, but I do have a serious problem with dress codes that enrage me to the point of screaming and yelling sometimes. Unreasonable? Probably.

Forcing someone to wear something that they don't want to, to me, is a way to completely stifle a person's individuality. Now, I know that this sounds like the argument that you'd get from a preteen about why they shouldn't wear school uniforms, but is. There are a million excuses as to why people should wear uniforms to their retail jobs including, for the ease of customers to be able to identify store employees, for employees to look professional and well-groomed, or for employees to remain completely down-trodden and shat upon by their respective employers. These reasons, though, are all thrown out the window when a company feels like they're going to reward employees with a "Jeans Day."

Now, the "Jeans Day" has got to be one of the most condescending mother-fucking things I've ever encountered in my working life. Whether under the guise of "Casual Friday," or used as a reward for sales, credit card applications, charity-drives or whatever...this is a way that a shitty company rewards employees without having to really DO anything. I mean, they could buy you lunch, give you a bonus or a day-off, but why bother when they're nice enough to let you wear your own clothes!


I could go on and on about how all of the aging Baby-Boomers are keeping these archaic notions of professional work-wear or how foolish it is to judge someone by how "dressed-up," they are, but it's an annoying argument that I haven't been able to win since I wanted to wear my ripped-up Jimmy Buffett t-shirt to Christmas Eve dinner at my Grandfather's house fifteen years ago. The truth of the matter is, is that if a company can allow their employees to wear casual clothes EVEN ONCE, then clearly, they're running the kind of business where their employees could wear casual clothing all of the time.

For instance, when I worked at Starbucks, we were allowed to wear jeans on Steeler's game days (the rage that courses through my body *groan*) when they were in the playoffs or when we'd hit a certain goal in VIA sales. So, it is completely reasonable to wear jeans and make coffee drinks when the NFL and the Accounting Department is involved, but it's insanely unprofessional to make coffee drinks and wear jeans any other time? Whatever.

You can take your "Jeans Day" and shove it straight up your ass. Best Blogger Tips

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Guilty Pleasure Tuesday: Orange Crush

I've decided to make every Tuesday a day when I reveal a sordid guilty pleasure to my adoring audience of seven followers (only seven, but seven I appreciate!). I got this idea today, actually, after I found myself at the candle shoppe singing along to this song and not being ashamed about it, at all.

David Archuleta's "Crush"

This song makes me want to completely gush with a mixture of embarrassment and gooey love. This thirteen year old boy has managed to reach deep within the recesses of my guilty pleasure center and pull out a really awful song (that I adore).

C'mon, how you can resist this pre-teen madness!?

Do you ever think when you're all alone
All that we can be, where this thing can go?
Am I crazy or falling in love?
Is it really just another crush?

Do you catch a breath when I look at you?
Are you holding back like the way I do?
Cause I've tried and tried to walk away
But I know this crush ain?t going away-ay-ay
Going away-ay-ay

Has it ever crossed your mind
When we're hanging, spending time girl?
Are we just friends? Is there more? Is there more?

See it's a chance we've gotta take
Cause I believe that we can make this into
Something that will last, last forever, forever!

Guilty pleasures are an amazing part of people's psychological makeup, aren't they? A mixture of cultural mores, the need to save face and people's overarching need to feel "cool," can make guilty pleasures dangerous and addictive. While some people like to eat cake or pull off their scabs (these are the gross people), I horde a serious amount of media in my secret pleasure vault.

Pleasure Vault...that's a great name for a gay bar.

Anyway, secretly singing at the top of my lungs to certain songs, or crying desperately when I watch certain movies is a really fun secret to have with myself. It's also a really funny secret to share with people, too. A way to allow them to get to know me without any too gross or personal (besides, the personal Jessica isn't really all that interesting. Just a lot of swearing).

Why does David Archuleta get to me? He's a sweet little brother with his first girlfriend. Well, maybe. I don't have any siblings.
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Monday, March 21, 2011

Rock (Star) You Like a Hurricane

Gina and I were driving to Target yesterday, and somehow the conversation came up about Rock Stars. I said, that just because someone is famous for being in a doesn't make them a "Rock Star." We named several high-profile celebrities, including Mick Jagger, Robert Plant, David Bowie, and Perry Farrell (it's probably wishful thinking on my part that Perry Farrell is high-profile, but whatever) and talked about their potential status as a Rock Star.

I've been thinking about that conversation since then and I wondered if there wasn't some kind of criteria that's already been established for this kind of thing.

With some really crappy research, I came up with a few pieces of shoddy criteria that have been thought up by individuals on the interwebs:

1. Hubris (maybe, but take a look at a lot of really famous musicians and rock stars, and you'll find that they're actually incredibly reserved and in some instances, are full of self-doubt).
2. "Someone who was willing to journey to a place in their mind not often explored by others." (what the hell does this even mean? this could easily be the same kind of criteria that would decide if you were a heroin addict)
3. "Ability to metamorphose easily and quickly, with industry changes." (actually, this isn't necessarily a rock star, but rather a corporate whore. If we looked at this criterion alone, then Fergie would be the greatest Rock Star that ever lived).
4. "Capable and able to elicit financial resources" (whoever decided upon this one must be an accountant).

Upon searching for more Rock Star criteria, I found that people like to use the term to describe someone that is really great at their craft. For example, "Wow, that hipster is the Rock Star of the bicycle-messenger world." I would rather push myself through a screen than ever be referenced as the "Rock Star" of anything, unless it's the Rock Star of winning the lottery.

Obviously, the only appropriate thing to do is create my own list. The first thing to do is identify the greatest Rock Star ever in the history of Rock Stars. That is so frickin' easy.

Bruce Dickinson

Care to challenge me? Don't. Here's a list of things he's done (this, of course, isn't a complete list of greatness, but it's a start):

1. A world-class fencer that has his own fencing equipment company called Duellist.
2. A commercial pilot for  Astraeus (as well as their Marketing Director).
3. A mother-fucking aeroplane HERO! (After the collapse of XL Airways UK in September 2008, he piloted an Iceland Express aeroplane and flew home 180 stranded holiday makers from Egypt, as well as a Boeing 757 with a group of British RAF pilots from Afghanistan).
4. An author (The Adventures of Lord Iffy Boatrace (ISBN 0-283-06043-3), was released in 1990 and sold more than 30,000 copies almost immediately. Due to the high demand, the publisher, Sidgwick & Jackson, asked Dickinson to produce a sequel, which became 1992's The Missionary Position (ISBN 0-283-06092-1).[39]
5. A Disc-Jockey (Dickinson presented Bruce Dickinson's Friday Rock Show on BBC radio station 6 Music from 2002-2010)
6. Spontaneous Human Combustion Theorist ( Inside Spontaneous Human Combustion with Bruce Dickinson, in which he investigates the phenomenon of this occurrence by enlisting the help of several experts and performing various experiments to determine its possible cause.)

oh yeah, and he was the vocalist for flippin' IRON MAIDEN.

What was I talking about? Oh yeah, Rock Stars. If we take a page from the book of Bruce, Rock Stars need to be,

1. Multi-faceted. Being a musician is great, but it takes so much more on your resume than that to be a Rock Star (which is why Bruce Springsteen isn't one, sorry).
2. Kooky. You don't see Bob Dylan hosting a show about spontaneous human combustion, do you? Eccentric is one thing. I think Anne Murray is eccentric, but Ronnie James Dio...there's a kook. May he rest in Peace.
3. Have the potential to be a cult figure long after the insane commercial success is over/before it ever started. This is why Scott Stapp is not a rock star, but Iggy Pop and Henry Rollins are. Scott Stapp was the kind of guy that could sell some Creed records (admittedly, I bought one in high school), but now...who (outside of Pittsburgh) still listens to that shit?

4. At no point, can you have had any problems with incontinence. That's why Ozzy and Ian Astbury are out...even if they were cool at one point.
5. Street-Cred. This is why no member of the Strokes will ever be a Rock Star.

Rock Stars are born and bred...and with the way that the music industry has been churning out utter crap lately, I fear that the idea of the Rock Star will fade along with the idea of original songs or decent Rhianna albums.Best Blogger Tips