Monthly Archives: December 2009

The Quintessential Song of the 2000s

I’m going to just say this: “Cry Me A River” by Justin Timberlake was the best song of the 2000’s, in terms of summing up the decade’s shift in pop music. Here’s why:

1. It straddled the shift in pop artists. Indie stuff aside, this was right when music shifted from boy bands and manufactured stars to emerging solo careers and independent artists. If you missed N’Sync (and you did, don’t lie), this is when you got over it.

2. It straddled the shift in music videos. This is one of the only videos that I actively looked for on TRL and still worth referencing on YouTube.

3. It straddled our opinion of Justin Timberlake. Sure, we all enjoyed “Like I Love You” more than we were expecting to, but this is the song where he earned our respect and we realized he had staying power.

4. It straddled the rise and fall of Britney. As Joe R. on the great Low Resolution pointed out, this was the moment Britney’s image and eventual sanity shattered. We had proof that she had faults. Slutty, cheaty faults.

5. It straddled Timberland’s career. Prior to 2002, he focused mainly on hip hop artists like Aaliyah and Ginuwine. Post JT, trainwrecks like Lindsay Lohan stalk him at parties because they know he can turn any pop artist into gold. This is the album that kicked it off.

6. It straddled the shift between our mild curiosity and crazy obsession with celebrities. Not going to lie, I sort of believed Britney when she said she was a virgin? Not because I cared, but because I didn’t have her vajay shoved in my face every time I turned on my TV or computer. I didn’t care and I didn’t have a cultural obligation to care. Before this video, we weren’t sure why Britney and Justin had broken up… there were rumors that she cheated on Justin with Wade Robson, a choreographer and Michael Jackson protege, but no one knew for certain. And then this video hit – with a Britney lookalike, a Wade-ish dude, subtle clues like a fairy figurine, and the entire story for our entertainment. While TMZ has given us full access to celebrities today, back then it was pretty rare to be a fly on the wall. In short: sofa king awesome. I wish all gossip and dirt resulted in this kind of art.

7. It straddled the moments I did not and absolutely did want to straddle Justin Timberlake.

8. It’s the ultimate SNAAAAAAAP. I spent at least half of this decade as a spurned lover, so I can fully appreciate the vengeful, “Oh yes he did” factor.

When Timberlake sings, “You don’t have to say/What you did/ I already know/ I found out from hiiiim,” he’s gleefully tiptoeing around Britney the same way Bugs Bunny dances around Elmer Fudd.

Plus, you know, it’s simply great. Damn JT. I still adore everything about this song and video… aside from when you make a tear with your finger when you sing the word “cry.” Which you still do. Stop it.

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Youth, It Was A Gas

The Gasometers on Hwy 44 are down! NOOOOO!!!

For non-St. Louisans – two giant gasometers used to sit along 44 right at the border between St. Louis City and St. Louis County. Toby from the awesome B.E.L.T. blog explains why these gasometers were so rare and loved here. He also shot this great video of a sight that’s so familiar to St. Louisans:

When I was a teenage Shortcake, my friends and I would sneak into the city to party with our more badass friends. Before I drove and understood how the city was put together, these structures told me I had arrived.

Every time I saw these gasometers to my left, my brain said, “IT’S PARTY TIME.” And every time I saw them to my right, I thought, “Man, that was a great time.”

(Actually, since I commute to the county from the city now, my brain said the exact same thing.*)

Like that giant dove at West County Mall (which signaled to a young me that I was almost home), this is a landmark that wasn’t just a familiar sight. It sparked familiar feelings. Great ones.

R.I.P. Gasometers. You will be missed.

*Mostly unrelated, but is there anything more depressing than listening to “School’s Out” while heading back to work on your lunch break? Cuz that happened to me today.


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“And My Buns: They Don’t Feel Nuthin Like Steel”

I was honestly too sad about Brittany Murphy to write about Brittany Murphy when she died – and at this point, does anyone have the energy to write about another dead celebrity? – but she was my favorite actress for a long time, so I want to write about her.

Like everyone else, this girl won my heart and cracked me up in Clueless. And when she started playing creepy roles to perfection, like in Girl, Interrupted, I was excited to see how far she could go.

I’m not going to lie, I felt a little betrayed when she appeared out of nowhere on the 2002 MTV Awards red carpet, skinny as hell with a mane of blond hair. She wasn’t fat before by any means – she was refreshingly healthy, if anything – but as a fat teen, it was reassuring to see someone realistically round on the screen, and a pleasant surprise to realize that you didn’t have to be stick-thin to be adorable, charming and nothing short of lovable.

But then the opening song of the MTV Awards started, and at 2:38, she did something awesome:

… and instantly won my heart back. And inspired me to do some tricep kickbacks.

(Also, I remember they kept cutting to her during Eminem’s performance of “Without Me”. This was right before 8 Mile came out and I didn’t realize she was in it. They cut to her so much and she was singing and dancing with so much enthusiasm that I thought, “Omigod, are they doing it? They’re totally doing it!” And then all these rumors floated around that they were doing it.)

I forgot until yesterday that she did that somewhat badass song with Paul Oakenfold. And I remembered that for a long time, there were rumors that she was going to play Janis Joplin in a biopic. And I was really looking forward to that.

Not going to lie, her husband ooks me out just a tad. And while a heart attack at 32 is not unheard of, it’s still suspicious, as someone on the Internet may have already mentioned. The whole thing grosses me out and I hope it wasn’t an eating disorder or drugs, but… would that make it any more or less tragic? Honestly, out of all the possible causes of death, “natural causes” is probably the scariest.

When I broke the news to Clueless fanatic Janternet via text, she replied awesomely with, “She died like sporadically.”

So yeah, even though she got dangerously skinny and probably got her lips injected (seriously the dumbest thing that Hollywood women do) and she married a greasy con man, and starred in a bunch of terrible comedies and was slowly stirring up trainwreck-y rumors… I was rooting for her. I was really, really rooting for her. And out of all the celebrities that died this year, this was the one that hit me the most.

And I don’t know, like, stuff.

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Filed under Botheration, Pop Goes The Culture

“We Know It’s Hell Living With Two Dudes, So…”

I’ve wanted a papasan chair (or as Rachael, Rachel and I used to call it, a “cereal bowl”) for 15 years. Rachael and I used to get in drunken slappy fights over Rachel’s chair all the time.

I mentioned this to my roommate Jason like 6 months ago and promptly forgot about it. And when it came time to exchange presents with Dan and Jason (the F.U. Penguin book and the Slap Chop, respectably), they rolled out this:

Agh! You guys! My family isn’t doing Christmas til next week, so I wasn’t expecting any presents on Christmas day. I figured they’d just get me something from the “As Seen on TV” aisle at Walgreens, if anything.

But man… I spent the whole Christmas Day in the ICU, and my dad was like hallucinating the whole time and it was so exhausting and sad, and I wasn’t expecting a single good thing, and then BAM. My (other) dream present. My version of a pony. An Easy Bake Oven. A Red Ryder carbine-action, two hundred shot Range Model air rifle with a compass in the stock and a thing which tells time. What on earth.

Obviously I teared up. I am very lucky to live with such sweet dudes.

I’m almost as excited about my chair as Justin is about his animatronic dinosaur:

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“Is That A Turkey Sandwich?”

I was going to do a “Best of 2009” thingy, but all I wanted to talk about was Ari Graynor in Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. And then I realized N&N came out in 2008.

But you know what? It’s Christmas and I do what I want. So let’s talk about Ari Graynor in Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist.

People didn’t give Nick & Norah a chance because it came out during all the Juno backlash, but I thought it was incredibly sweet. (And it’s based on a book by a writer I like, yay!) Sure, it was a predictable story, but when I was a teenager I spent a lot of time running around the city with my friends, and this film captured that feeling perfectly. Nick & Norah (and this probably the saddest thing I will ever type) makes me feel young.

But while the whole movie is adorable, it’s Ari Graynor as drunk Caroline that makes the repeat viewings worth it. She plays Hilarious Sloppy Drunk to perfection, and I heard the majority of her scenes were improv. From slurring, “Waitareyoumadatme?” to locking herself in the car, everything she does reminds me of my old best friend when she partied with me, and this movie is the closest thing I have to time travel.

Today for Christmas, my grandma made turkey sandwiches for us to eat at the hospital. So as a Christmas present to you, I present the (terribly uploaded) Turkey Sandwich Scene:

Merry Christmas. Omigod… hiiiiiii…


Filed under Pop Goes The Culture

Not A Creature Was Stirring

Not even this asshole:

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There’s No Crying on Christmas

Have you guys ever heard the “Testosterone” episode (#220) of This American Life? In one segment, they interviewed Griffin, a man who was born as a woman. He said that one major change after he started living as a man was that he had a hard time crying.

“Before testosterone, it was great to, you know, if I was frustrated or angry or sad – have a good cry; you feel better afterwards,” he said. But that as a man, the quality of a cry and the amount of tears was never the same.

That segment really made me appreciate the power of a great cry. Not even the emotional part – just the physical act of crying.

Every now and then, people will sort of marvel at how positive I’ve managed to be during this whole ordeal. But the secret is: I would make sure to cry.

Over the past few months, I would find the dumbest moments – moments where I wouldn’t need to cry, moments where I was alone – like watching 90210 or Jersey Shore. I would just let myself physically cry and let it out, and it would somehow be enough to get me through the next day or two, especially those moments when I was faced with something scary or sad.

But now the situation with my dad has gotten worse, and I’m finally at the point where I cry when I’m actually sad, and it happens all the time. I don’t want anyone to see me cry because I don’t want to bum them out around Christmas.

But because it’s Christmas, there are people everywhere right now. Everything is a total bitch to accomplish. I’m at this point where sadness could hit me anywhere, like the grocery store, and there are just millions of people passing by me and freaking out, like, “OMG is she crying?” Usually I can camouflage it to resemble a bad cold, but there’s a second or two of glassy eyes and an escaping tear – at a random place like the bread aisle – and someone is bound to catch me.

Let’s be clear: I’m not sad that all this is happening around Christmas (I used to be, but I’m used to this by now)… I’m just sad that other people have to be sad for me around Christmas. Do you know what I mean? I don’t want to bum people out by telling them about my problems right now. But eventually people ask how he’s doing, or someone sees me crying, or… I have nothing else to write about on my stupid daily blog…. and it comes out. Only my 2 best friends and my boyfriend know all the details, and even though those are the people I should call, who want me to call them, I still feel like shit for bumming them out.

*That This American Life episode also includes a great segment where everyone on the staff tests their testosterone levels and they take their results so personally and get giggly about each other’s and it’s one of the most fun segments I’ve ever heard. TAL and Frank & Erik are getting me through the day.


Filed under Sam I Am

Shortcake Roll Call 4

I do this once a year and the results are always hit or miss, but it’s time for the annual Shortcake Roll Call.

If history and my stats are any indication, then officially 1% of my daily readers will answer my roll call, which is silly. But I’m having a super depressing day, so I’ll take what I can get.

SO – do you read Shortcake? Leave a comment! Don’t want to admit it? No problem – use a fake name! And to make this topical, tell me about the best Christmas present you ever got.

No picture because I’m super fat and sad and poofy-eyed today. You’re welcome.


Filed under Conversations

Hey Y’all, Prepare Yourself For The Rubber Band Man

Almost every day, I wear a rubber band on my wrist. I told Justin that after 5 years, I had officially worn every rubber band in my rubber band ball.

So when we exchanged Christmas gifts, one of his presents to me was a rubber band ball. And on every single rubber band in the rubber band ball?

He wrote a tiny little love note for me.

I mean it, every rubber band in the ball:

As I was taking that picture, I noticed a buried yellow one that says, “Tell those jerks to suck it!” I LOVE HIM!

The ones above – faded cuz I wore them last night – say “Merry Christmas! I love you!” and “I LIKE like you, like a whole lot”. He started this project so long ago that we hadn’t even started saying “I love you” yet.

He also made me a Christmas mix with Christmas love songs by awesome bands like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Magnetic Fields, and The Flaming Lips. The cover is super cute:

He also got me a Twilight thermos, and when I looked at him like, “What the hell?” he said it was the only thermos he could find, and we needed one for hot chocolate… and then he handed me two tickets for a carriage ride through Tilles Park’s legendary Winter Wonderland Christmas light display.

He also made sure to have a blanket in his car so the carriage was extra cozy. My boyfriend is the MacGyver of dates! Whee!

I don’t think my gift measures up, but he has been obsessing over making his own stereo viewer slides for months, so I got him a gorgeous vintage Realist stereo camera and case:

… to go with the Realist Stereo Viewer I got him for his birthday. It’s not as fancy as the Revere he’s been borrowing from his work, but he loved it! Hooray!


Filed under Favorite Stories, Picture Pages

Like My Loafers? Former Gophers

Last night my family celebrated Christmas. My mom was so set on a turkey dinner. But I had to work and my mom was called in to talk to my dad’s surgeons. She wanted to take my brother. My sister-in-law had a baby to watch. My grandma is old. So…

You guys, my freakin’ boyfriend came over at 1:00 and helped my mom make a turkey dinner while I was at work. Then he fixed her TV with my brother. Then he partied with my Grandma, niece and sister-in-law til I came home.

He already passed the boyfriend test months ago… somewhere between the nachos and the puppets… so what does he get now? A boyfriend gold medal?

It was difficult to celebrate without my dad there… I got really sad when I saw his presents under the tree, and I could tell my mom was struggling at some points. But then my super fun aunt, uncle and cousin came over, along with her new family.

So what’s almost as fun as my dad? TWO NEW BABIES!!

My cousin’s baby is only 2 months and super adorable. I’m in love with Warner’s little button nose and the tough way he furrows his brow. Below: Great Grandma Charlotte in total awe:

My Grandma got me a… um… fake dalmatian fur vest? What’s white with black spots? Snow leapord? Am I wearing snow leapord? I will probably return this, but it was worth it to bust into my roommate’s room and serenade him with his favorite song:

Wasn’t “Snow Leopard” someone’s alter ego on some TV show? Maybe a reality show? Was it Anna Nicole? Should I shut the hell up?

Holy shit you guys, I have been sitting next to this window for like 30 minutes and I just realized it’s snowing super hard with like 3 inches of snow on the ground. I have to go clean off my car! In my sexy snow leopard vest!

EDITED TO ADD: Hahaha I remembered the identity of “Snow Leopard” – Sarah from The Real World Miami:

Snow Leopard was either featured on one of the blooper tapes or during a credit bed, back when MTV used those for funny clips instead of promos.

Guys can we, um, marvel at the power of the human brain and memory as opposed to my astonishing nerdiness? (Butseriouslyfolks, if anyone has a VCR and a love for The Real World seasons 1-10, I’ve got like 6 blooper tapes that are beyond awesome and you need to get drunk and watch them with me.)


Filed under Picture Pages

Attention Old Friends

Owls are the new monkeys. I repeat: owls are the new monkeys.

Via @edp

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Thrilling And/Or Appalling Confession #8

TA/OA Confession #8 – I’m really sad I don’t have time to go to Branson and see The Osmonds this Christmas.

I’ve been obsessed with The Osmonds this year – something I’ll go into more detail about someday – and I really want to see them all perform together while I still can. I’m going to act like these chicks:

They sound a little less than perfect in this clip, but you should know that Jay (the crazy dancing Osmond) usually plays the drums, and Merrill (the one playing drums) usually plays lead guitar. I didn’t know they switched it up until I saw this clip. Merrill may have just replaced Alan as my second-favorite Osmond. (Jay is my fave.)

And if you think this is nerdy, you can just SHUT YOUR G*DD*MN NON-MORMAN FACE OKAY.

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Filed under Pop Goes The Culture, TA/OA Confession

Minus The Baby. Minus.

The other day, a friend of mine told me, “You and Justin are EXACTLY like Juno and Bleeker, minus the baby.”

So I re-watched it last night and it’s freakishly true. He’s a tall, shy, snappy-dressing, sort of nervous dude who is cool without trying, and I am a short, wise-cracking, adorbs, sort of tomboyish chick who never shuts up.

I’m debating telling him this – likening yourself to a pregnant chick is not exactly something you want to do around your boyfriend.

This is my second favorite compliment; my favorite is when Janet said, “You guys are like my fantasy couple if couples were like fantasy baseball.”

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St. Louis and “The Office” Cast

Yesterday, STL Today had a great article about Ellie Kemper, who plays the new receptionist Erin on The Office. I had no idea that she was from St. Louis. Three of the main actresses from The Office are from my city. Awesome!

Everyone knows that Jenna “Pam Beesly-Halpert” Fischer is from St. Louis. But did you know that Phyllis “Phyllis” Smith is from St. Louis, too? Steve Carell once did a hilarious interview where he and Phyllis get serious church giggles over the topic of Gooey Butter Cake (at the 2:00 mark).

Ellie Kemper’s family founded Commerce Bank, which is a huge bank in Missouri. She was once Queen of the Veiled Prophet Ball – a debutante role reserved for girls with last names like “Anheuser” and “Busch”.

During an episode commentary, Jenna mentioned that an Office Assistant Director, PA, and Intern are also from St. Louis, and aside from Boston, St. Louis is the city most associated with The Office.

Where did they go to High School?

This is a question that everyone in St. Louis asks each other. It’s a great conversation starter; I don’t know why other cities think it’s so weird. Anyway. The following details are very important for St. Louisans:

Jenna (Pam) went to Nerix Hall in Webster Groves. This private all-girl high school is located next to the English building of my old university and these chicks were always stealing our parking spots.

Phyllis (Phyllis) went to Cleveland High School. At first I thought she went to Cleveland the military school, but it turns out there was a school in Carondolet (South City, REPRESENT) that closed in the 80’s.

Ellie (Erin) went to John Burroughs high school, which is – I think – the most expensive school in St. Louis. The tuition is exactly the same as the university I attended. It has an exclusive enrollment of 600. Another John Burroughs graduate? John Hamm from Mad Men:


My favorite blogger and former MTV VJ Dave Holmes attended St. Louis Priory School. Other alumni include my friends Kevin, Ian and Ron, as well as actor Kevin Kline.

The high school George Clooney’s character visits in Up in the Air is Affton High School (renamed “Ashton”) … the actual alma mater of John Goodman. And most importantly, Scott Bakula from Quantum Leap went to Kirkwood – my high school. GO PIONEERS!


Filed under Almost Famous, Pop Goes The Culture

Thinking Of Them

I don’t know about you guys, but whenever someone I know has an illness or death in a family, I never think to send a card. It seems so small and trival compared to what they are going through. I always want to do something bigger but I usually can’t, so somehow I end up doing nothing at all.

Yesterday we were hanging out with my dad and discussing the possibility of him going back to the hospital temporarily today (which is what happened – this will be a good thing, I think). I glanced up at the mantle and saw all these cards. For a second I felt a little stronger and I finally got it.


Filed under Sam I Am

Christmas Came Early

I came home this afternoon and Jason was jumping up and down with glee.

“Uh oh. What’s up?”


And then. You guys. This walked into the room:

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Filed under Favorite Stories

Nick From 21 Up

For the past few weeks, I’ve been watching The Up Series – Michael Apted’s documentary that revisits a group of 14 British people every 7 years. So far they’ve covered ages 7, 14, 21, 28, 35, 42 and 49. The film 56 Up will be made around 2011. Justin and I just finished 42 Up.

I can’t write about how remarkable it is without giving away what happens to these children, and that’s half of the fun. It’s astonishing to watch these people grow up right before your eyes, especially when their 7-year-old predictions are eerily correct. By the time they reach adulthood, you feel as though you know them, and when they describe how it feels to fall in love, become a parent, get divorced, change careers, move to another country, get depressd, etc., it’s like getting advice from an old friend.

My favorite film in the series is 21 Up – that’s when the most changes happen and everyone’s story is surprising. You watch these people morph from cheeky kids to awkward teens to almost-adults and the spectrum is hilarious.

My favorite person in the Up Series is Nick – a farmer’s son turned brilliant physicist. He’s the guy on the far right in the picture above. His 21 Up story is the best because he’s the sweetest kid, the most angsty teen, and unexpectedly the hottest 21 year old you’ve ever seen (and he looks and acts far more mature, so I can say this without feeling like a creep).

I was watching 21 Up next to my boyfriend and didn’t care; I was drawing hearts and writing “I love Nick Hitchon” all over my notebook by the time it was over. I was swooning like a Twilight fan. Justin got a big kick out of it. Every time they show Nick at 21 in later films, I have to “WOOOO” at the TV.

I wanted to find a clip of him at age 21 but there weren’t any. However, you HAVE to hear his voice at 21. IT’S BEYOND DREAMY.

Just listen to the first minute of this interview – mainly :49 to :59.

Don’t you want to write about him in your diary now? His voice is gorgeous! And so’s his face! Go rent 21 Up!


Filed under Pop Goes The Culture, Totally Crushin

Christmas Treehouse

It’s so pretty on the inside, too!

Also, this is Justin’s version of hot chocolate:

He might actually make me enjoy Christmas this year. Might.

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Filed under Favorite Stories


I’m probably about to type something horrible, but until Justin started making mixes for me, I had never heard of the band Sparks. But wow, I love them!

They completely change their style every few years, but the songs he’s given me were released in 1982-1984. One is from an album called “Angst in my Pants”, which is perfect considering we bonded over terrible 80’s and 90’s teen television.

I wanted to show you a video of each song he’s included, but I couldn’t find a video for “Love Scenes” (Mix 1). There’s a clip from the movie Valley Girl that included “Eaten By The Monster of Love” (Mix 2), but like most movies from the 80’s, it also includes a naked girl in a shower.

This is nothing but the song, but “Popularity” (Mix 3) is pretty adorable and worth a listen. The night I first listened to this, we were in the midst of party hopping between his friends at Blackthorn and my friends at The Royale (with a few mutual friends/Squids in between). Perfect.

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Filed under Pop Goes The Culture

Chair For Three

Every time I sit down to write, this is what’s happening behind me:

Usually they’re fighting. I can’t believe how innocent Bacon looks, you know, considering.

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