I loved this guy. Still do:
Monthly Archives: April 2010
Thank You AV Club!
Filed under Pop Goes The Culture
Go Ask Alice
“I think that this is very dumb idea the world today is getting dumber by the minute. First why in the hell do people keep thinking that were from outer space and that this stuff that we have today came from outer space we were born on earth we live on earth and we been on earth for how long and any ways we can’t even breath out there in space so how are we from there or anything that we have….now stop and think about that … it makes you think ….and another thing stop going outer space trying to find stuff because just like the movies nosey people always be the first ones to get hurt so leave the outer space stuff alone before it all goes bad on you all and us because you’re not alone on earth so whatever you mess with up there then bring it back down here is going to make all of us suffer.”
– NPR.org reader Alice Stevenson reacting to the recently-discovered astroid frost.
I think Alice should team up with the Sprinkler Water Conspiracy Lady that I once wrote about on Sludgie.
Filed under Uncategorized
A Thousand Things You Don’t Know, And One You Damn Well Should
I’m going to be on Esquire.com! A buddy of mine was looking for 1,000 Things You Don’t Know About Women, so I sent him a list of 10.
Here’s a tip I left off, that my landlord should have known: if you are going to re-tile the entire kitchen floor leaving no access to the pantry, sink, stove, refrigerator, etc., you might want to give your tenant more than A 30-SECOND WARNING to grab her food and prepare for the next two days. They may be okay with eating over-priced fatty Italian takeout every night, I am not. I guess I will only be able to eat when they are asleep.
Filed under Almost Famous, Botheration
Ate my Fiber One out of a “Grandpa” bowl this morning. So clearly I’m living the last year of my twenties to the fullest:
No one knows what my Grandpa was like when he was my age – he’s technically my stepgrandpa because he married my Grandma right after my brother was born. But in a lot of ways, Justin sort of reminds me of him. Like Justin, he was super tall and always hunched over with Friendly Giant Syndrome. He was really quiet and borderline bashful, but had a sense of humor so cheesy that it circled back around to being hilarious. They both like wearing short-sleeved button-downs and dressing dapper. And like Justin, my Grandpa could build anything with a hammer and nails, but he was also incredibly artistic and creative- he used to paint and make ceramics with my Grandma.
I’m sure if I found a picture of him when he was younger and he looked like my boyfriend, it would creep me out. But since it’s just their mannerisms and their hobbies and their sense of humor, there’s something wonderful about it.
When my brother was home over Christmas, I pointed this out to him. My brother looked over at Justin and grinned, and then he said, “That’s why I liked him the second I met him.”
Filed under Uncategorized
God Bless You, Mr. Harris
Whitney Harris, the last surviving prosecutor from the first Nuremberg Trial, died on Wednesday at age 97. St. Louis Public Radio has a great story about his life . Here’s my favorite part:
Leila Sadat heads the Whitney Harris World Law Institute at Washington University in St. Louis. She said Harris always emphasized the good that came out of Nuremberg.
“I never saw him become cynical,” Sadat said. “I think he had a truly undying faith in the ability of humankind to do better. And that’s not true of all his compatriots. I think that was something about Whitney.”
I rarely link back to the first 6 months of my blog because, although it served its purpose, it was terrible. But I had a brief encounter with Mr. Harris when I worked at The Scholarshop in 2004. He was so nice that I wrote about it , and I’ll remember it forever.
Our conversation only lasted 5 or 10 minutes but he was so genuine and sincere, like he truly cared about this kid who was hanging up his old clothes for charity. Since the news broke of his passing, stories like mine have been popping up everywhere. Sure, people have talked about his accomplishments, but they also marvel at the way he treated people up until the day he died. I think that’s pretty inspiring – Mr. Harris did something incredibly significant and noble in our world’s history, but he used every opportunity – even an encounter with an usher, store clerk or thrift store kid – to be a gracious person and bring more good into this world.
Rest in peace, Mr. Harris. You earned it.
Filed under Favorite Stories
How To Quit Smoking!
ONE YEAR SMOKE FREE!*
Look what my boyfriend asked someone on Etsy to make for me:
Here is how I quit, and managed to stay… quitted during super stressful times like a car accident and my dad’s surgeries:
1. Read The Easy Way to Stop Smoking by Allen Carr. It’s short. Read each chapter twice. You get to smoke the whole time, hooray!
2. On the day you finish the book (and plan this day in advance, so you can schedule an appointment) get auricular therapy. It’s about the price of a month of smoking; think of it that way. You get to lay on a massage table and listen to Enya while someone holds a weird magnet thing to your earlobe.
3. Try to work out more than you drink.
I don’t have much else to say; I’m actually sort of stressed and cranky and all this smoke talk makes me want to smoke? (Not really, but I don’t want to push it. I want to eat some bullcrap, that’s for sure.)
So read my Top 20 Things I Don’t Miss About Smoking, which I wrote 3 or 4 attempts ago. (I’d like to add “Spending all my money”, “Smelling like asshole and not Sweet Pea”, “Dating losers I meet on the smoking patio” and “Headaches” to the list.)
*Except for one on my tragic Fourth of July. Andmaybeacoupleatmyhighschoolreunion.
And Now She’s Looking For Her Downtown Man
Whoa, we had an awesome weekend! Friday night we kicked back with some red wine, candlelight, and, um, Rosemary’s Baby. All the fixins for romance.
I never realized Rosemary’s husband covers for Satan by claiming that he date-raped her all, “You were so unconscious LOL”. That was the craziest part of the movie for me. That, and the fact that pre-pregnancy Rosemary is the spitting image of my friend Katie.
Saturday we were going to go to the Twin Peaks Slumber Party but changed our minds at the last second. We decided to walk down Washington Ave. to watch the crazy prom kids and discover new places to explore, and it was such a pretty night that we ended up about a half-hour-walk away at Busch Stadium.
The Cardinals and Mets were in the midst of a 7 hour, 20 inning game. We got there at inning 18 and Justin sweet-talked the gate guy into letting us in. We sat in the bleachers in the back. All the fans (well, the ones who were left) were slap happy and hilarious. It was a pretty amazing sight to wander into.
Note the scoreboard – innings 11-19, all 0s. We got up for hot chocolate and the Mets scored, so we assumed the game was ending soon and went to go grab a rickshaw. YUP. Highly recommended if you’re hoofing it for miles downtown.
After the guy dropped us off, we ran over to the Washington Ave. Post (LOVE that place) for some beer and popcorn. I found some MalloCups and was all excited because I thought I had found my dream candy:
… but the candy looked and tasted about as old as the packaging implies. I think the Post just bought a box of them on eBay. So gross. We caught the end of the game through the window at Ozzie’s, and then we went back to the loft and watched Annie Hall.
I realized this weekend I saw my first Mia Farrow AND Woody Allen movie. Crazy. (Justin was like, “Do you know what happened between them?” which cracked me up because a couple weeks ago his mom almost told us the whole Tiger Woods story, like we hadn’t heard. She’s adorable. So is he.)
I only had 3 beers and passed out before the movie was over. He helped me climb into the treehouse and I fell asleep mumbling, “Please don’t date rape me like Rosemary’s husband.”
This morning we were going to go to Rooster for a Croque Monsieur (I had one in Paris and I’ve been dreaming of them ever since) but they only serve crêpes on Sundays so we went to their sister restaurant Bridge. It was awesome!
We had a cheese board with summer sausage, nuts and cranberries and I had an awesome grilled cheese sandwich. We ate five hours ago and I’m still full.
They have these super cool chandeliers made entirely of wood, and lots of things dangling from the ceiling by guitar strings.
Dave Bailey has the best restaurants in St. Louis. (If you ever stop by The Chocolate Bar, look for the mural on the wall – my Rosemary doppelganger pal Katie painted that with chocolate.)
Filed under Adventures
Jus’ Bein Braggy
Found these on the hood of my car this morning:
I live right down the road from a catholic school, and there was a group of little girls walking by when I found it.
“Is that from your boyfwiend?” asked one of the girls. I nodded, and as they gazed in awe I felt like I was finally winning at adulthood.
I’ve been going to Friends Meetings. In other words, Quaker Church.
The topic of religion came up a few weeks ago and I discovered a friend of mine had been going to Friends Meetings. She hasn’t gone lately, but I decided to go anyway.
Quakers aren’t bonnet-wearing, oatmeal-eating, Amish-ish people. Quakers are super liberal and into social justice. A lot of people I saw this morning were sort of middle-age hippies who wear lots of flowing clothes and crystal jewelry. They do things like refer to God as, “He or She or Whoever”, which – much like Liz Lemon – makes me roll my eyes … but other than that, they’re pretty cool.
Did you know that Quaker was actually a derogatory term? Because see, during a Friends Meeting, Friends sit in pews arranged in a square in complete silence and meditation, where you have your own conversation with God. And sometimes, people are so overcome with emotion that they “quake”. Hence, Quakers. Quakers decided to just take the name and “own it”, which is awesome.
I like the Meetings a lot and the people I’ve met. I’m seriously thinking of joining the Religious Society of Friends. There are several different branches of Quakers. I suppose I would technically be an Evangelical Friend or part of the Friends United Meeting (these are the branches that are more into the Jesus aspects of Christianity), but I can dig being a Liberal Friend, which is what I think the St. Louis Friends are.
I haven’t been to church in about a decade and I rarely think about it anymore. For some reason lately I’ve missed my old church so, so much and had an itch to revisit that part of my life, but technically it doesn’t exist anymore and I’m pretty sure the new Pastor and doctrine would brainwash me into hating gay people or something. So I’ve been feeling sad about not having a place to go.
Here’s a sign: I not only spent my early childhood in the church nursery, but spent time working in the nursery when I got older, too. And my favorite toy in that nursery was this mid-70’s Fisher Price hourglass with blue, yellow and white plastic “sand”.
It’s one of those constant, comforting objects that I really connected with my life in that church. It triggers a lot of memories and great feelings for me. And when I walked into the Friends lobby for the first time, there were no toys anywhere… except on the bookshelf under the bulletin board.
The hourglass was sitting right there, in plain view, and I got the distinct feeling that it was there to tell me, “This is where you belong.”
Filed under Adventures
He died of cancer and he died rather quickly. They had airplane tickets to see Paris for the first time. It was going to be their thirtieth anniversary present to each other. You know how people say, “We’ll always have Paris”? Well, my parents won’t. As far as I’m concerned, Paris is every missed dream, every broken promise. You only have Paris when you didn’t get what you actually wanted. That’s when people say, “We’ll always have Paris.” When it’s over. When everything is ruined.
– Benny, Why Moms Are Weird by Pamela Ribon
I have this vivid memory of the last time Brian and I broke up, when he told me over the phone that he wasn’t going to move to St. Louis. Much of that moment is a blur, but the part that I clearly remember is just saying over and over, in between sobs, “We were so close.”
I remember him scoffing, “What does that even mean?” and it hurt so much that I couldn’t even explain. But I meant that through our whole long-distance relationship, there was always a day looming where we had to say goodbye and return to our own parts of the country, hundreds of miles away from each other. There was rarely, if ever, a time where we could relax and look towards the future, completely content. I wanted that.*
He was planning (or so he says) to move here. So we could have that. And then at the last second, he changed his mind. That’s why. We were so close. And somehow, that’s what made it hurt the most.
That day was also my parents’ anniversary.
I don’t know if I’ve ever explained this part of my parents’ story to you, but they were planning to move to Arizona. They would’ve moved in a few weeks, in fact, after my mom’s scheduled day to retire. They were actually in Sedona looking at houses when my dad had those initial pangs in his leg.
Which leg? It doesn’t matter. They’re both gone now. And so is Arizona.
On one hand, I should be grateful that they didn’t move. I can’t imagine what would’ve happened if they were stranded out there when all of this went down. Without their friends there to make him laugh. Without me to run to the store and the pharmacy every day. Without my dad’s team of doctors and specialists who have been with him since the beginning, or at least since the first toe had to go. Did you know that my dad’s surgeon came to their house the day before AND after Thanksgiving to clean out his bedsore? Or that the neighbors secretly mow their lawn and shovel the driveway while my mom catches a few hours of sleep? They wouldn’t have that in Arizona. They would probably have to move back and live in a strange, unfamiliar house, which is 100 times more heartbreaking, I think. So usually instead of being sad about what almost happened, I’m happy about what didn’t.
Still, sometimes when my dad is having a discouraging day (or a day where he’s hallucinating and like, asking me if I’m enjoying high school), my mom and his friends talk to him about Arizona. Because even if it’s not there anymore, we have to give him something to look forward to after this. Because I don’t think anyone could get through what he’s going through with the knowledge that this is it.
But I can’t listen or talk about Arizona without getting angry. Without hurting to the point that words choke in my throat and my eyes sting and I have to leave the room. All I can hear is myself a million years ago, crying over and over, “we were so close.” Because Arizona is all they wanted and they had certainly earned it, and they were almost there. Somehow, sometimes, that’s what makes it hurt the most.
(I should note that I’m actually having a really good day? A great day, in fact. So is my dad; he’s watching baseball. Maybe this was the only time I could spit this out. I’ll make a funny tomorrow, I promise.)
*And thank God, I finally have it, with the person I was supposed to have it with.
Filed under Sam I Am
Yesterday I did it again! I peeled an orange in one gigantic piece! This time around, it opened and shut like a puppet, so I added eyes and sent my flu-sick boyfriend this:
Afterwards I left it on Jeff’s desk to be braggy, and he told me he was naming it Mumbles. That made me realize I had unintentionally created an orange version of one of my favorite hard-to-explain things ever (FHTETE™), the rock from “Planet Unicorn” (2:09):
Filed under Uncategorized
I actually prefer this over a beer now, always:
I suppose that means March did its job. LEMON-LIME ICE WATER Y’ALL
Filed under The Year Without
Today I achieved a lifetime goal (not really) of peeling an orange in one gigantic piece:
Surprisingly, they don’t let you go home from work early for that stuff.
Speaking of work, check out the sweet iCakes Veronica and I made for Christina’s going away party!
When I suggested this idea to Veronica (Christina was our Mac Admin), she told me she had everything we would need, adding “You’re going to think I’m psycho when you see my baking supplies.”
I told this to Erin and she wrote back, “She really is.”
At Veronica’s house, she had everything set up and excitedly started suggesting other options: “We could put sprinkles over the apples, put sprinkles all over and carve out the apple, inject the middle with cream cheese icing…”
Me: (whispering) “I’m scared.”
Later we wandered over to her neighbor’s house, and I had my first beer in 31 days with a girl bulldog named Chopper.
The cupcakes were a big hit, which was great considering that the bar has been set high on parties for Christina.
Justin’s mom met my parents on Monday. It went really well. She told Justin, “Now I know where Stephanie gets her sweetness from.”
On Tuesday, Justin and his mom ended up meeting OZZIE SMITH at the opening of his new restaurant. (For out-of-towners, Ozzie was a Cardinals shortstop who used to do backflips on the field – a childhood highlight for every STL 80’s kid.) Agh! My grandparents used to take me to his old restaurant in Westport all the time. That’s what I deserve for ditching them for Lost, though, what an absolutely perfect episode, amiright?! (And I probably would’ve cried if I met Ozzie.)
Justin bought me a cute pink tennis racket for Easter and we went to the crowded park to play. People from at least 20 countries were wowed by how much we sucked at tennis. We were next to all the soccer players and a hot Latin guy called me “mami”. Happy Easter!
Being in love can be scary sometimes, like when your Main Buddy is sick with the flu and you don’t live with them so instead of fixing them soup and watching them nap on the couch, you sit at home and worry about the swine flu for 5 minutes or so before you catch yourself and get over it.
On St. Patty’s Day, I told him not to come over because I was worried about drunk drivers (I live very close to Dogtown, the Irish neighborhood where St. Louis gathers to binge drink every March 17). I was genuinely worried about this, but he thought it was so silly that it had to be an excuse, like I didn’t want to hang out for some reason and I made up something dumb.
I haven’t been a chronic worrier for a long time, but maybe it’s just been a long time since I had something this major to lose.
New Mates of State coming soon! And it’s ALL COVERS. Hooray!! Right now they are streaming the first track on their website. There’s really nothing better than when your favorite band puts out a new album.
This one-hour-or-less of Internet has been going okay. I have a lot of spare time. My room is spotless. I’ve been doing lots of light therapy and going for very long walks. @StopKatie inspired me to start The 30 Day Shred again, so I’m getting totally shredded. I have this new top secret game plan for getting my life together (with charts and graphs!) and so far it’s working. This probably all has something to do with the weather, but things have been overall great.
Team Adorbs: Chauncey and Justin
Filed under Videos
Team Adorbs: Charlie Vs. Bacon
Adventures in Christian Rock (and Rap), Part Two
Hopefully you all saw that terrible Christian rock video floating around the other day.
The song is titled “Shine”, which is also the name of my favorite Christian song of all time, by an Australian band called The Newsboys. I still love it to this day.
My other favorite Christian song is a rap-infused New Jack Swing cover of “Jesus is Just Alright” by the bad-ass group D.C. Talk. IT IS THE MOTHER-FUCKING JAM. If you were in a youth group around this time, it was the soundtrack to your life. If you were a girl (or an extremely oppressed closeted boy), you wanted to wait until marriage for Toby Mac. This video is like time travel for me. It makes me want to throw on some jungle-green stirrup pants and a B.U.M. Equipment sweatshirt and do The Running Man. P.S. I know all the rap breakdowns by heart.
In high school I was really into Christian Ska? My favorite bands were The Supertones, Skillet and Value Pac. (I also saw MXPX before they decided to “go secular”.) I still listen my dubbed Supertones cassette sometimes in my car; they were really fun (you know, relatively speaking).
I had a Value Pac t-shirt that I wore religiously (pun not intended, sorry). Unfortunately I also had giant boobs and lots of male friends, so “Value Pac” became my nickname for at least a year. My friend Adam still calls me this when he’s very drunk. If you call me this, I will punch you straight into Heaven. The Value Pac t-shirt met a tragic end when my friend Shawn borrowed it, then barfed a bottle of tequila all over it.
For all my years of Christian music, I only have one truly negative experience. A rap group came to my Christian School when I was in third grade and gave us all cassettes. There were two versions of the cassette and you had to get permission from your parents for one version because it had the song “God Made Sex”. My brother had that version. That made me cooler than my friends.
The part that is negative is that “God Made Sex” actually includes the line “Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.” Which makes me so sad for many reasons, one being that otherwise the song should be in a time capsule about hip hip; it’s such a relic and worth a listen if you can stomach that one line. (Did you know that’s one of only two homophobic things I heard while going to church? That’s probably pretty rare.) I believe I still have this cassette somewhere; expect a Part Three if I find it.
Anyway, the rap group is called The Firefighters and someone made a Myspace page for them. (Insert some Beevis “YYYYEEESSSS”es right here.) According to the page, “your detached, ironic, cool sensibilities may be shaken by The Firefighters. You will first laugh at them, then listen to them, and then embrace them. Years before Run DMC became 1/3 preacher and Jesus walked with Kanye West, The Firefighters were keeping it real. Real Christian!”
Back to “Jesus is Just Alright”: This is the moment I fell in love with Freaks and Geeks:
Filed under Pop Goes The Culture
Adventures In Christian Rock, Part One
Lately I’ve seen a lot of articles and book reviews regarding Christianity and pop culture, which reminds me of something I wanted to write about…
Carmen is the Meatloaf of Contemporary Christian Music. He is huge. During my childhood, he was bigger than Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith. In fact, he holds the world record for the largest Christian concert ever.
When I was a kid, I loved Carmen because his songs were less music and more storytelling.* Say what you will about Sunday School, but Bible stories are crazy and I think that’s partly why I became a writer.
One song I dug was called “Satan Bite The Dust”. The video is nothing short of fucking insane:
His song “Lazarus” (about the guy Jesus brings back from the dead – the first zombie?) was my favorite (the part at 5:20 was awesome to act out as a kid – watch the crowd go apeshit):
When I lived in Guatemala, we spent most of the time working in orphanages and passing out medicine and stuff. However, we did go out into the city one day to preach.
Our strategy to save the Guatemalans? Do an interpretive dance to Carmen’s song, “The Champion”:
I realize you don’t have time to sit through 10 minutes of this, but the gist of “The Champion” is a battle between Jesus and the Devil, with the build up of a boxing match and “Casey at Bat”.
My friend Kennis played Jesus. Jessica was a demon. I was cast as part of Jesus’ tomb, which is the Christian equivalent of getting cast as a tree in the school play.
It was pretty silly and embarrassing, but I remember that day vividly for three reasons:
1. We had to use a dubbed Spanish version of the song, which was aaawwweeesome. Imagine some dude growling, “El Diablo… El Dios… COMBATE!” Gave me the church giggles every time.
2. We performed this right outside of a bar, and there was a prostitute in the bar who kept trying to get attention by shrieking like this: “AYE-YI-YI-YI-YI!”
3. While I have mixed feelings about actual ministry-based mission work, I’m glad I did it that day. I offered to pray with some lady after we performed and she just hugged me and cried and cried and cried. By then my translator had wandered away, so I have no idea what she was telling me. I was 14 years old.
I never saw Carmen in person, but I did see the super-rockin’ Christian band Petra at Six Flags. Um, more than once.
*Today, I love him because I learned his first album is titled “Some-O-Dat.”
Filed under Pop Goes The Culture