Thursday, November 8, 2012

Black Metal Christmas

It's already November 9th and I'm just putting up my Christmas decorations. My husband hates it, but in order to fully enjoy Christmas decorations, they have to be up at least two months. I didn't make the rule it just is what it is. As I say this, we are watching a documentary called, "This is Black Metal," and Celtic Frost is currently covered in blood and dirt and singing about metal-y things like flesh and guts. This marriage is about give and take. Black Metal and Christmas. Or Black Metal Christmas. If you've never heard King Diamond's, "No Presents for Christmas," you must run to the interwebs and download it this very instant.
For anyone that doesn't know me, I love to collect post-modern Christmas decorations. Basically the ugly, ugly plastic decorations that are most likely full of lead and pain that causes seizures and erectile dysfunction (although that second one hasn't really plagued me). Pairing these ugly items with the basic ugly items that litter my apartment throughout the rest of the year is probably one of my favorite activities. If you can believe it, the Infant of Prague stays and the creepy head looms all the live-long day.

Sharing my collection with six people on the internet is fun for sure, but  much like my currently watching this back metal documentary, interspersing Dustin's interests with mine makes for a fun life together. Bottle brush trees and tiny robots go together swimmingly, anyway. 

No holiday is complete with embarrassing your family whilst showcasing your super sweet plastic Christmas shovel  .My parents really enjoyed when I forced them to wear someone else's clothes and pose for a picture in Gettysburg. ESPECIALLY my father. He wouldn't even wear rental bowling shoes when we were going bowling one time for my birthday. Admittedly, this is more about my perverse pleasure it distressing my father than it is about my Christmas shovel. Moving on...

This year I bought a champagne (it's pronounced cham-pag-in) glittery tree and covered it with totally twee bows. Personally, I blame Etsy for this. If it wasn't for that site, aqua wouldn't be such a big part of my life. Neither would birds or little doodads that make me squeal.

Garett's grandma had some of the coolest Christmas loot--including these awesome Santa candlesticks.

Don't miss the creepin' Santa head in the background.

Why do so many Santas look like Rummys?

I caught this grumpy cat under my Kitchen tree, or perhaps it should be called a Kitschen tree.

I've covered it in Norman Rockwell ornaments, teapot lights and sugarcube garland with the most adorablest button and corduroy tree skirt that ever lived.

That is, until the cats destroy it.

Christmastime is here. So that means its time for me to make a concerted effort to be a little nicer and be a little bit more human. Bill Murray will tell you all about it.

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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Gray Skies Ahead

Mr. Obama has been re-elected as the President of the United States of America, and it's too late to talk about all of the superbly wonderful ways that Mittens would've waved a wand over this country and transformed it to the land of ever-flowing cash and rich, white people as your boss as far as the eye can see.

If social media is an indicator of the level of fucked that we are as a "United Nation," then I'd set that dial to, "totally." Concern for one has given way to lots of selfish bickering, finger-pointing,  bible-thumping and conspiracy theories (like, FEMA's putting stickers on your mailboxes and we're all getting put in work camps conspiracies. Oh the humanity!).

It reminds me of a little ditty written by David Gray:

Wishing that something would happen
A change in this place
'cos I'm tearing off the fancy wrapping
Find an empty package

Take for a while
Your trumpet from your lip
Loosen your hold loosen your grip
On your old ways
That have fallen out of step
In a changing time
Hoist a new flag
Hoist a new flag

Angry sun burn down
Judging us all
Guilty of neglect and disrespect
And thinking small

And death by boredom
And death by greed
If we can't stop taking
More than we need

But across the fractured landscape
I see the same things
Tired ideas
Birds without wings
[ Lyrics from: 
And these are just thoughts
Of lack lustre times
I've no interest
In excuses you can find

Like you've had a hard day
Now you're too tired to care
Now you're too tired to care
You've had a hard day

Well across the fractured landscape
I see the same things
Tired ideas broken values
Many with the notion
That to share is to lose
A hollow people bound by a lack
Of imagination and too much looking back
Without the courage to give a new thing a chance
Grounded by this ignorance

(and the cat comes)
We're just,
Birds without wings

We are a nation that has been transformed based upon the notion that, "to share is to lose," even though we grew strong as a nation with government programs like, "The New Deal's" three Rs (Relief, Recovery and Reform) and fiscal conservatism. Nationally, we're paying the middle class less, buy bigger things and putting up with a budget that would tank any household. We want to let the rich pay less taxes, and then we wonder why the deficit is so large.

This reminds me of another, by David Gray:

I beg to differ
To break the chain
To draw a line right through
And cancel every claim
I've seen reflections
Beneath my skin
And drums beating for battle
In the eyes of children

And turning it over
Right down
Where the eye don't see no colour
Where the war don't make a sound
Ice on the shoulder
Praise the lord above
And sell sell sell

Oh violent flowers
You fill the screen
Betray your mother
And change your name
So tall and fickle
And blind as snow
Running headfirst for oblivion
Cause you've nowhere else to go
And turning it over
Right down
Where the eye don't see no colour
Where the war don't make a sound
Ice on the shoulder
Praise the lord above
And sell sell sell

In chill of winter
In dead of night
Each so familiar with the hunger
That they got no appetite
They talk of loving
I hear her say
That as fast as I can give it
He's taking it away

And turning it over
Right down
Where the eye don't see no colour
Where the war don't make a sound
Ice on the shoulder
Praise the lord above
And sell sell sell

And turning it over
Right down
Where the eye don't see no colour
Where the war don't make a sound
Ice on the shoulder
Praise the lord above
And sell sell sell

A weeping willow
The desert wind
So many learn to swallow
So few to understand
The deepest longing
This cup of faith
Where to put them in a world
Where no innocence is safe

If we don't, "beg to differ and break the chain," of hatred, greed and intolerance to usher in a new way to comprise, then we're all as doomed as the red-dotted mailbox dweller. 
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Monday, November 5, 2012

Tomorrow: Will it Really Come, and If It Does, Will I Still be American?

This is my last political post. I mean it. This is it. I've bordered on the edge of a liberal-leaning moderate making snide jokes about how Mrs. Mitt Romney (she doesn't need a name. I mean, hell, she doesn't even need the right to decide what she wants to do with her body) hasn't worked a day in her life and Mitt Romney wouldn't know a middle-class person if they came up and smacked him in the face (which I would be willing to do, repeatedly). I've openly admitted that I’m disappointed in the President that filled the country with hyperbole about change and patriotism and fairness but really failed to incite the change in the governing body of the people that elected him. I’m tired of living in a country that can’t get over the fact that our President is black, and I’m ashamed to admit that it took a very real and very blatant act of racism for me to believe it. I’m tired of middle-class white people thinking that their only hope is the tea party, when they don’t even come close to realizing what their platform means for someone that lives exactly like they do. I’m tired of a bi-partisan system being the status-quo because everyone is too stupid, too afraid or too apathetic to really care about the people that are being paid to represent us while we slave away at meaningless jobs and pay taxes that manage their pension funds and tax breaks for the one-percent of the population that can afford it. I’m ashamed that I fall into that apathetic category.  

I’m terrified that tomorrow could be the beginning of four years of what is already an insurmountable national debt being that much harder to pay off. That forty-seven percent of the population will be treated like scum:  Granddads that need Medicare or single mothers that need daycare assistance to work and go to school to better their lives. I’m terrified that the next four years will be exactly like the last that were full of snide bickering, racism and personal attacks. I’m afraid that American Conservatives are blaming American Liberals when the real blame is on the hundreds of men and women that refuse to comprise to make this country whole. Unity has no room for partisan politics, so I’m confused as why we are all so willing to put up with it?

Personally, I’m terrified that as hard as I work now, it will never be hard enough to reach a place where I can retire and to everything that I've ever wanted to do—like visit Ireland or The Cotswolds or anywhere else that I've ever wanted to go, but couldn't afford to do it. I’m terrified that at thirty, I've invested a lifetime worth of debt into an education that’s provided a lifetime worth of hassle, because I don’t know somebody that knows somebody that has, “an in.” I’m terrified that if one more person tells me that the reason that I don’t have what I want is because I don’t work hard enough, that I will stop trying completely.
Mostly, I’m afraid of voting Americans. I’m afraid that they vote without their heads. They vote for themselves and not for America as a nation. They vote thinking that they live in the greatest country in the world (in what category, I have no idea), but they vote for people that want to cut funding for Public Broadcasting and Education.  If you lived in the one-man country of “Peter Smith,” or” John Van Dyke,” or, “ Amy Schneider,”  voting for your agenda and your religion and your pocketbook would be a worthy vote, but we don’t. We are the United States of America and with that comes the great responsibility to vote for those people that are United under one flag. People that should be allowed to love and marry who they choose, should be able to make choices about their reproductive health and should be able to reach out for help when they need it, without fear of repercussion.

When you’re voting tomorrow, you’re casting a vote for yourself, but you’re also casting a vote that affects every single person that you've ever locked eyes with on the street, every person that you've ever stood next to in an elevator, every child that will be forced to live with the choices that we have made as adults in 2012. Many people talk about how this is a right as a legal American citizen (and thusly want to remove this right from those that may not have the appropriate paperwork, but contribute to this country with the same ferocity as any other citizen). Many people talk about how it is a privilege to vote. I feel tremendous burden of this vote. The importance weighs on me greatly and pushes the apathy to the breaking-point of Patriotism, of connectedness to my fellow Americans, to pride. That is probably the most terrifying feeling of all. The transformation to someone that cares. God, I hope you can feel it, too.
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Sunday, November 4, 2012

My Yearly Christmas Plea

Every year, I try my hardest to get my local radio station to play Christmas songs that are somewhat off the beaten-path. I'm not asking for "Merry Muthafuckin' Christmas," by Easy-E, but damnit, if I have to hear Bono wailing about his baby not coming home for one more season, I might go postal.

So, here's my open letter to the director of programming at one of my local stations that has an all Christmas/all the time format:

Seasons Greetings to You!

It's almost time to begin your Christmas programming and I have to say that this is, by far, my favorite time of year to listen to your radio station. Christmas is my favorite holiday and the songs that are associated are so heartwarming and wonderful...even if the general population says that they're annoying and repetitive. Nothing could be farther from the truth, if you're willing to spice up your playlist and consider some of the many Christmas songs that never make it to the airwaves in Pittsburgh. I feel like this Christmas is a real opportunity to become the station that really serves up Christmas correctly, free from the same twenty Christmas songs that you hear on that other station (we both know what I'm talking about).

Please consider some of the songs I'm going to list...for a few reasons. Firstly, I know a think or two about Christmas music and I know a thing or two about being in the 25-35 white, educated, middle-class demographic. It is no coincidence that bands like Mumford and Sons are popular: people are longing for skilled and talented musicians on the radio, and that includes Christmas music. Why is it that Bing Crosby's Christmas album has sold eleventy billion copies? The dude can sing! Please consider some talented artists that aren't necessarily Bruce Springsteen wailing about Santa Claus Coming to Town or, "Another Auld Lang Syne," by Kenny Loggins. In fact, if I never heard that song again it would be too soon. That is NOT a Christmas song.
1. "Driving Home for Christmas," by Chris Rea
2. "The Burning Babe," by Sting
3. "Who Took the Merry Out of Christmas?" by The Staples Singers (this song's awesome quotient makes it officially "outta sight.")
4. "Christmas Song," The Raveonettes
5. "A Christmas to Remember," Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton
6. "Christmas Wrapping," by The Waitresses
7. "The Christmas Waltz," by Doris Day
8. "Late in December," by Jackie Gleason
9. "If We Make it Through December," by Merle Haggard (technically not a Christmas song, but neither is, "Another Auld Lang Syne," and well...we've already discussed that one, haven't we?)
10. "Christmas in Las Vegas," Los Straitjackets
I want to listen to your radio station, but when you play the same five Christmas songs in a loop, you leave me with no choice but to make a playlist full of She & Him, The Pogues and the amazing tunes listed above.
Give yourself the gift of my listenership.
If this totally narcissistic and bratty plea does not get to them, then NOTHING will.
Let's not take the Merry out of Christmas.
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