28 January 2009

I'm a Pepper, You're a Pepper ...

I think my mother's the only one who wanted to read about this, but too bad. I needed an excuse to use this title. So here goes.

A few weeks ago I was listening to Michael Medved’s radio program.

In my defense, my mother had turned the radio on and chosen the station. Had it been up to me, I would have been listening to KSLX – or better yet, nothing at all on account of I’d just woken up and was sort of crabby.


Not being a regular listener, I can’t say for sure whether Michael Medved is an obsessive lunatic . However, based on the hour or so of programming I heard, the man needs psychotropic meds, and quickly. Because he thinks that one of the worst problems in America today is soda consumption. To listen to Medved tell the story, one would think that sugared beverages killed Kennedy, knocked over the World Trade Center, ruined the economy, and ended more lives than cancer, heart disease and AIDS combined. I’ve never heard anyone discuss soda with such vitriol.

Soda, apparently, is the single biggest reason that Americans, and more specifically children, are obese. He thinks that it’s worse than drugs and that it should be outlawed.

I wish I was making this up, I really do.

Seriously, Michael Medved? With all the problems society is facing, you’re going to zero in on soda? Forget violent crime, unemployment, abject poverty, a lack of health insurance, drunk driving, and about fifty other things. Oh, no. It’s soda that’s the real evil. The road to hell is paved with Coke bottles.

I’ll admit, soda isn’t the healthiest thing in the world. If you drink a lot of it, you’re not going to be in great shape. But a few cans a week never killed anyone. A Dr Pepper with lunch isn’t going to inflate your arse. Mountain Dew doesn’t cause diabetes. And if children are overweight, soda is likely merely a factor, not the sole cause. If you’re eating rubbish, it doesn’t make a difference what you’re washing it all down with.

If Michael Medved wants to vent his spleen on the beverage industry, why not turn his rage to the makers of these so-called energy drinks? Teenagers and young adults are using them as meal substitutes and downing them in alarming quantities. Or what about the perpetuators of lattes and frappucinos and iced coffees? The calories in those suckers is nothing short of alarming. And again, young peple are sucking them down instead of eating.

And, Michael Medved, what about the alcohol manufacturers? Why not get angry at them for their sly marketing to teenagers? Why not rage about DUIs and alcohol poisoning and cirrhosis of the liver and how more and more starlets are going to rehab because they’re alcoholics before they can even legally buy alcohol? Where’s your vitriol there, Michael Medved?

I’m not advocating soda instead of milk instead of school cafeterias. I don’t think people should have Coke with every meal, or spend more on Diet Pepsi than they do on groceries. And I’m certainly not going to say that soda is good for you. But plenty of things aren’t good for you, but are fine in moderation. It’s not the Coca-Cola company’s responsibility to teach moderation. That’s the job of parents, and if they’re not doing it properly, they’re to blame. Not the hardworking people who make and bottle and ship and deliver soda across the country. Should they lose their jobs just because people are stupid? No, Michael Medved, they should not. And you should shut your bloody piehole about soda and focus on the real problems we’ve got going on.

Like loudmouthed, obnoxious radio show hosts.

Just a thought.

25 January 2009

Tag – I’m It!

Most people prefer to make a long story short, but I’m much better at making a short story long …

I don’t remember exactly how – I think a celebrity gossip website was involved – but a few months ago I came across a blog called That’s Hideous. As you might guess from the name, That’s Hideous is a blog about ugly things – frequently designer clothing or shoes or on occasion some kind of artwork made with what looked like the skull of a rodent-like dog.

I’ve always felt that quite a bit of, if not most, designer items were absolute crap. I’ve seen celebrities wearing what looked like Jerry Seinfeld’s puffy shirt, and they were considered fashion-forward, just because some greasy, leathery-skinned Italian’s name is stitched on the label of the offending garment. (And I can’t be the only one who’s noticed that fashion designers never appear in public wearing anything as ridiculous as the things they stuff models into for runway shows.)

Where was I? Hideous things, right. Anyway, I can’t begin to tell you how pleased I was to see someone else pointing these things out. A Coach handbag isn’t pretty just because it’s a Coach handbag. In any case, That’s Hideous became one of those websites I checked every day for updates (hence its inclusion in my Daily Grind blogroll). And when I checked it yesterday, under an item about Pete Wentz’s atrocious boots, I found what is, in the vernacular, a “tag”.

Considering the thirteen-odd years I’ve been on the internet, you’d think I’d be more familiar with this sort of thing, but you would be wrong. Tags are rather new to me, probably because I’ve mostly used the internet for baby animal pictures and socially inept rambling. But near as I can tell, when you’ve been tagged, you have to answer a number of questions or make a number of statements, depending on your tagger. You then tag others to make them do the same, and so on, creating a sort of chain-letter of how-well-do-you-know-a-person. There now, I think I’ve explained this all to death.

In any case, after reading Deka’s (who knew she could squeal like a pig? Not I.) I found that my little blog had been tagged (and also blogrolled – thanks, Deka!). I’ve never been tagged before, so I was excited in a pathetic sort of way. And so, to finish my unnecessarily long story, here’s what I came up with.

Ten things I love
1. Disneyland. I’d live there were it allowed.
2. Swedish Fish, despite my irrational fish phobia. Maybe it’s the Swede in me – although they’re manufactured in Canada.
3. My family. Most of them, anyway.
4. Animal Crossing: City Folk. I’m unemployed; It’s all I’ve got.
5. “The Soup” on E!. No one does snarky quite like Joel McHale.
6. Dr. Greg House. Although I’m not sure what that says about me.
7. Celebrity gossip.
8. Cold cereal. Works for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and is healthy as part of a complete breakfast (not that I ever eat a “complete breakfast”).
9. Domo-Kun, that fuzzy brown harbinger of Japanese television
10. Bookstores. I’m a nerd like that.

Ten things I loathe
1. Made up mishmashed words like “webinar” and “guesstimate” and “edutainment.”
2. “The Sound of Music.”
3. Brain cancer.
4. People who run red lights.
5. Katy Perry. She tries so hard to be edgy and hip and it just ain’t working.
6. The rapidly diminishing resale value of my Chevy Cavalier (down to $1300 already).
7. Migraine headaches.
8. Anything with more than four legs.
9. Fish.
10. Bad grammar.

Ten random facts
1. I faint at the sight of my own blood.
2. All of my electronics are pink (phone, camera, computer, Nintendo DS, etc)
3. My picture was in a (now-defunct) teen magazine when I was in high school.
4. What started off as a joke has now led me to the point where I automatically say “Canadia” instead of “Canada” (my sincerest apologies to the residents of America’s hat).
5. I have a good internal clock – I can tell within 5 minutes how much time has passed since I checked a clock and I can wake myself up at a certain time without an alarm clock.
6. I can type 95 words per minute.
7. I’ve had my gallbladder and my tonsils removed (on separate occasions, of course).
8. I used to work in a library.
9. I can’t swim.
10. People in general make me very nervous.

I reckon I'm supposed to tag a few people now as well. I doubt the webmasters and -mistresses of the celebrity gossip sites that I frequent would consider it. So I'm going to pick on family, if they're willing (America being a republic, I can't force them). So I'm going to pick on Holly, Becky, Patsy, Dana and ... hmm ... I know embarrassingly few real people. I'll leave it at four, particularly as I'm not expecting any response.

So there's random fact number eleven: I believe that having low expectations keeps a person from being disappointed.

24 January 2009

The ugly office, or: My therapist is messing with my head

My therapist – I’ll call him John, since that’s his name – my therapist has a beautiful office. It’s been feng shui-ed and color coordinated, the plants are lovely and green, and the sofa is a miracle of modern engineering – terribly comfortable, but easy to get up and off of.

It wasn’t always so, although it’s rarely been uncomfortable. When I first started going three years ago, John and his colleagues were in a small-ish office on Baseline. Then they planned to move. But their new building wasn’t complete yet. So once the lease on the old place ran out, they relocated to temporary offices down the street – the furnishings of which were spartan to say the least, particularly the folding chair collection that made up the waiting room.

Finally the new offices were completed –again, on Baseline, but this time a good seven or so miles to the west. But it was worth the drive, because the new waiting room has overstuffed leather couches and lots of dark wood and all sorts of English-Lord’s-study sort of touches. And John’s office was a good size, with a little niche for his desk and a big window for the plants. I spent many a happy (sort of) hour staring at the ugly tasseled rug and gazing out the window into a lovely green area, hoping for a glimpse of the fluffy black cat that likes to nap there.

A number of other therapists are in the same set of offices, and some of them do group sessions. They need more room for more people, obviously, so some months ago instead of meeting in John’s chi-friendly workspace, we went down the hall to what I can only describe as an architectural afterthought. One last room tacked on the end, a perfect small square with two windows.

I call it the ugly office. Nothing matches. The furniture looks like remnants from other decorating styles, the throw pillows clash with the throw blanket (and by extension the sofa), a large black floor fan/heater takes up a good deal of room, and the filing cabinet looks like it was on special at Costco. The walls are painted ecru but the switch plate and the outlet covers are bright white. The decorating touches are random and sporadic – a little iron scrollwork here, a wood-framed clock there, dark mini blinds killing the natural light from the windows. Everything is in a different color palette, which means that nothing matches – further adding to the feel that the room was a last-minute addition.

The first time we met in the room, I didn’t think much of it beyond, “hey, I didn’t know there was a room here.” But it’s been nearly four months and we’re still in the ugly room. I don’t know who’s using John’s office that couldn’t find ANY other place to meet. But the ugly room has taken its toll on me. I can’t focus in there. The schizophrenic decorating is too much of a distraction. I actually spent 20 minutes of therapy time a few weeks back detailing all the ways the room irritates me.

I felt much better when I’d gotten it all out. And John agreed that it was an ugly room.

But we still meet there, week after week, leaving me to wonder: now that he knows I hate the room, is he having us meet there to annoy me? He practically admitted once to pushing my buttons if he’s had a boring day. Part of me suspects that his office is free and we’re meeting in the ugly room because I hate it in there.

Last Thursday we went into the ugly room as usual, and much to my surprise, there were a few additions. A large rug covered the snag in the carpet by the couch, and a number of silk plants had been stuffed haphazardly into corners. One particularly large fake palm tree was stuck behind the chair John sits in, giving him the impression of being the ruler of a small tropical nation. And there were new throw pillows - ones that matched absolutely nothing, including the rug. Which, by the way, is hideous. It's squares - six squares long and eight squares wide - with smaller squares in the middle. There is no pattern to the colors of the squares. I spent a good fifteen minutes trying to find one.

After I'd discussed my week and grief and a few other things, John asked me about the rug. I think he could tell it bothered me. So I told him I hated the randomness of the square colors. You know what the man did? He asked me about it for the remainder of the session, seeming fascinated that the disorder bothered me. I told him that my brain feeds on logic and order and reason, and the ill logic of pink square, brown square, blue square, green square just irritated the enamel off my teeth. And it wasn't enough just to say that. He said that maybe the point was that there was no point. So I had to argue semantics and how no point can't be a point - no avocado can't be an avocado, after all, and points in this instance were just as good as avocados.

And that wasn't enough. I had to try to explain the inner workings of my brain to him. At 5:30 we quit, me with my migraine and John looking like he'd just watched a favorite TV show.

"I think this helped me understand a little better how your mind works," he said. I was sorely tempted to ask how, after more than three years, he didn't have a comprehensive understanding of the Jill Brain, but I kept my trap shut because I suspected that would only lead to more questions.

And because I was still mad about the rug.

19 January 2009

These boots were made for walking - if they fit

For reasons I can’t properly explain, I have always liked boots. I’m not talking about stiletto-heeled pointy-toed ankle booties. Those make me throw up a little in my mouth. But I like regular boots – cowboy boots, riding boots, Frye boots, combat boots, Wellington boots.

Boots make an outfit. A shirt and jeans is just a shirt and jeans. But a shirt and jeans and boots? That’s a look. Boots are sturdy. Boots are warm. I even like the word “boots.” But I never wear them.

I can’t.

I don’t mean that I can’t in a fashion-phobic sense. I don’t mean that they make me look short or anything like that. What I mean is that I literally can’t. Apparently in the world of shoes, calf size does not grow with foot size, with the result that I can’t fit my (what must be) freakishly large calves into any pair of boots I’ve tried on.

I got a pair of boots (my father called them Nazi boots) when I was about fourteen years old. They zipped up the sides. They looked perfectly normal in the catalog but when they came in the mail, I found that they didn’t zip higher than four inches above my ankle.

I tried to wear them anyway, unzipped. I looked like a bloody fool. But I wanted to wear boots so badly! I was even skinny then. And still they wouldn’t zip.

I’ve tried since then to find boots that fit over my calves. I’ve never thought I had abnormally large calves; on the contrary I think they’re fairly proportionate to the rest of my body, including my feet. So why is this so hard? I can’t even get Wellies to fit. I got a pair from Old Navy that I thought must certainly fit me, as the opening at the top was oversized. No such luck. I could get them on, but the top of the boots was scrunched under my calf.

So you can imagine how pleased I was to discover these boots. They wrap! Meaning they will fit my legs. The problem of course is that they’ll run me a hundred bucks give or take, and I’m unemployed.

I’m going to save up. I have to. They may not be comfortable, I haven’t a clue. But I don’t care. This is my one chance in life to wear boots and I’m not going to miss it.

15 January 2009

“O,” it’s a Mexican food restaurant!

I was headed north on Val Vista one weekend in December, headed for the freeway on-ramp. At Baseline I passed Nando’s, a Mexican restaurant my mother is fond of. Just down the street is a Filiberto’s. And about 200 yards from that? Julio’s.

I’m not a big fan of Mexican food so I’d never thought about it before, but passing those three caused a little “click” in my brain. All three restaurants’ names end in an O sound. Well, more particularly an “o’s” sound.

Merely a coincidence, I thought. Until later that evening I saw a TV commercial for Macayo’s, and my mom mentioned eating at Serrano’s. And the more I thought about it the more names came to me. Some Burros. Popo’s. Abuelo’s. Los Dos Molinos. Rito’s. Los Olivos. Mi Amigo’s. Federico’s. Armando’s. Rubio’s. Bertos. Dos Gringos. Raliberto’s.

I can understand some of them. I have a rudimentary understanding of the Spanish language. They’re men’s names – Federico, Filiberto, Julio, and the restaurants “belong” to the men, hence the possessive form. But does every restaurant have to be Some Guy’s restaurant? Can’t we get a little more original than that?

I know that there are non “-o’s” Mexican restaurants in the Phoenix area. Hey, there are plenty of “-a’s” out there too. I know, I know, there are others. Arriba, Z Tejas, Baja Fresh and Chipotle come to mind. But so many Mexican restaurants go with the “-o’s” suffix. It’s so *boring*. Why not go with “Raul’s House of Tacos” or something like that? And even that has a man’s name in it … Let the women play too, guys, okay? How about Rosa’s? Maria’s? Juanita’s? Or we could keep names out of it all together. I’m still waiting for a “Comida Bonita” or a “Burrito Bueno” or a “Casa de Arroz y Frijoles.”

I think I’m going to be waiting a while. Just as well, really, because I may have spotted a trend in the names of Italian restaurants and I have to investigate.

11 January 2009

I can still play a mean “Clair de Lune”

A few weeks ago I read an absolutely amazing book. “Outliers” is the latest from the incomparable Malcolm Gladwell – the man responsible for “Blink” and “The Tipping Point.” In “Outliers,” Gladwell looks at what makes people successful in their respective fields.

What makes a man (or woman) successful, Gladwell says, is not so much where he was born, if he got good grades, what school he went to, or even his God-given talent in his area of expertise. Gladwell relates story after story to prove that what matters is as arbitrary as the month a person was born – or quite frequently the year – and how much time he or she puts into his work.

Gladwell cites what he calls the 10,000-hour rule. The idea here is that regardless of natural ability, what is really necessary for mastery in a given area is 10,000 hours of practice. Here’s an example: Music students were divided into two groups – one group of children with a natural musical ability, and another group of children who simply enjoyed playing. Over time, it became clear that the students with the natural ability had *nothing* on the other children if they didn’t put in the practice. Less-talented children who practiced did just as well if not better than the children with natural ability who practiced sporadically.

The Beatles, in their early years, had a gig in Germany that required them to play for 8-hour stretches. Bill Gates had access to computers at a time when such a thing was unheard of, especially for a 13-year-old boy. “Outliers” gives example after example of successful people who had the right opportunities in front of them to make them great. I know I’m not doing this book justice; I couldn’t possibly do it justice. This is one of those instances where I’m afraid I must insist that you read it for yourself. It will blow your mind to bits. But there is a point to my story lurking on the horizon, and I’m getting there.

I took my first piano lesson at the age of three. I loved playing and I had a knack for it and in particular for sight reading. I took lessons every week from age three to age … fourteen, probably. And even after I quit I continued to play at home for my own enjoyment – and still do. I had good instructors – great instructors, themselves gifted musicians. And I practiced at home, I really did. But I find that, at the age of twenty-five, I’m simply not that good. There are a number of twelve-year-olds out there playing as well as I do. I don’t mean to put myself down; I can tackle Rachmaninoff and Debussy with the best of them. But twenty-two years after my first lesson, I am not a concert pianist. It used to bother me, and I used to get depressed when I heard a piano played well. But no longer, for I now know why.

I’ve calculated that over the years, I’ve practiced 6,000, maybe 6,500 hours. Quite a lot, but not enough. It isn’t that I lack the talent or the skill set. I simply never spent enough time at the piano. My gift for sight-reading meant that more often than not, if I didn’t like a song I was assigned, I’d glance at it on my way to my lesson, and play it for the first time for my teacher (and I got away with it about 75% of the time). Had I really applied myself, practiced the piano instead of reading or turning cartwheels, I could easily have gotten to 10,000 hours, and I’d be at a concert hall somewhere, dazzling a well-dressed crowd.

I knew I didn’t practice enough. But I didn’t just want to play the piano. I wanted to be a kid. I wanted to play softball and read and dress up my Barbie dolls and color and swim and laugh and play. So many times I’d set a timer for the hour of piano practice I’d been prescribed, only to succumb to soul-sucking tedium after thirty-five minutes.

So I’m not a concert pianist. You know what? I’m okay with that. My vanity is such that what matters is not what I have achieved but what I could achieve if only I’d apply myself. I’m okay with that.

Particularly since I was born in the wrong month for ice hockey.

06 January 2009

I need your money!

Two posts in one day, aren't y'all lucky! But I have a good reason. I need your money.

Well, not me specifically, although I'd not say no to a cash gift.

The BC (British Columbia) Cancer Foundation needs your money. I'm not a resident of America's Hat, myself, but any organization that's working against cancer is good in my book.

My brother - no, not that brother, the other one - is participating in the Ride to Conquer Cancer. Apparently he's taken up cycling, don't ask me why. But he's decided to do something with it, so more power to him, I say.

Anyway, here's the link to his donation page. If you've got an extra fiver, give a fiver. Ten, twenty, even better. Every penny helps, seriously. If you don't have any to give, pass the link along to someone who does.

Cancer killed my paternal grandfather at 62, my favorite aunt at 58, and my daddy one month after his 52nd birthday. Cancer sucks. Let's do something about it, okay?


I miss Steve Irwin.

I was channel-surfing a few days ago in the late afternoon and the only show on television that didn’t involve murder, police brutality, or illegal activities was “The Crocodile Hunter.” Not just any episode, either, but a special on baby animals.

I hadn’t watched the show in ages – probably not since the death of its star. I’d forgotten how insane Steve was. And how insightful, and knowledgeable - about every creature on God’s green earth.

He had no natural fear. He reached into a den of baby rattlesnakes and pointed to the mother snake’s monstrous teeth. “Never, ever try this. I’m a professional … no one should ever touch a rattlesnake.” He wrestled with crocodiles. He stuck fingers into mouths full of sharp teeth. He rubbed the bellies of big cats. “Lion cubs have got a great bite!” He picked up and carried hungry young black bears.

Steve found beauty in even the most hideous of animals. He pointed out the delicate nose of an orangutan, the tiny venomous teeth of a baby diamondback, the clumsy elegance of an elephant’s stride. He could find the hiding place of the stealthiest of animals, lure the shiest of marsupials from their home, identify specifically the most hideous and generic looking insect. He let iguanas sit on his arm and head or bats hang from his shirt while he explained to the camera the creature’s preferred diet (which seemed at time to include Steve’s hair and khaki shirt).

He used words like gorgeous, glorious, magnificent, beautiful, lovely.

Steve loved animals and he respected them. He didn’t fault an animal for behaving like an animal as so many idiots seem to do these days. If an animal bit him, he knew it was his fault for not being more careful. And he didn’t let bodily harm stop whatever he was doing.

“The Crocodile Hunter” was one of those shows that always seemed to be on. Anytime I needed something to watch, I could turn to animal planet and there it was. I watched a lot of television many years ago – much of it educational, believe it or not. I watched the Discovery Channel, the Learning Channel, the History Channel. I didn’t learn much. But somehow when I watched “The Crocodile Hunter” I remembered. I learned about the wombat, the iguana, the sloth, the possum, the sun bear, the armadillo and about twenty other animals. What Steve said stuck with me – perhaps because he said it with such enthusiasm.

It seemed particularly ironic that he died from the sting of a normally docile creature. I always thought he’d be eaten by a crocodile or torn apart by Tasmanian devils. But a stingray? It didn’t seem right.

I still watch Animal Planet sometimes, but it’s not the same without Steve. I miss his child-like delight and wonder and unwavering enthusiasm. No one on TV has been able to match it, and I don’t think anyone ever will.

04 January 2009

Take a Page from my book … and you can keep it

In my first ever Pathetic Blog Survey, one person cast a vote to have me write about why I never discuss life in the town in which I was born. I’ve put off doing so because … well, obviously I don’t like to discuss it, or that wouldn’t have been an option on the survey. But I’ve run out of things to blog about (television’s been dull lately) so here goes.

Imagine that you had an embarrassing, invasive, slightly painful medical procedure performed – a colonoscopy for instance. Maybe a lot of people know you went in for a colonoscopy. Maybe they’ve had colonoscopies as well. Maybe they’re wondering how yours went – after all, theirs weren’t bad at all, and some of these people liked them so much they decided to get one every day.

Would you actually consider discussing your colonoscopy with any of these people? Would you want to get into the details of it – removing your trousers, putting on a paper gown, having something inserted into an orifice that is for all intents and purposes a one-way street? Would you discuss individual polyps? How about the lingering arse pain that resulted?

I sure as hell wouldn’t. If I’ve experienced something humiliating and painful, I shut my gob about it and repress it until my therapist makes me talk about it. I don’t voluntarily bring it up and I sure as sod don’t bring it up every chance I get.

Living in Page was like an 18-year-long colonoscopy. It sucked. It was miserable. I hated it. It left its own kind of scarring. I’m happiest pretending that I didn’t completely exist until I moved to the Valley of the Sun six years ago. As far as I’m concerned, I never lived in Page.

And neither did anyone else. Being in Page can hardly be considered living. The place didn’t even get a Wal-Mart until I was seven or 8 (1990 or 91) and it wasn’t even Super. Just a regular Wal-Mart, and not a particularly good one. It had three aisles of pet beds and shelf after shelf of Black hair care products and relaxers despite there being at last count maybe ten black people (mostly men) in a town of 6,000.

There is one middle school and one high school. Two elementary schools, but for more than half of my schooling I was with the same group of jerks and idiots, almost none of whom cared if I lived or died. So the girls that were b****es to me in sixth grade got to be b****es to me in seventh and eighth grade, too, and throughout all four years of high school. I’m just saying, a change in bullies would have done me good.

I’m the youngest of four, which meant that every teacher I had thought of me instantly and prejudicially in terms of my sister or one of my brothers – unfortunate for me since the younger of my brothers (who is closest to my age) was a real arrogant jackass in high school and he failed to make a favorable impression on 90% of the teaching staff at the high school (Hi, Chris). Many a teacher looked at me on the first day of class and said, “Oh, you’re Chris’s sister,” in the same tone that one would use to say, “Oh, you’re a convicted felon.”

The one teacher who remembered Holly best was, sadly, my sewing teacher. My sister is a much better seamstress than I am on account of I have very little patience and I get lazy and cut corners. So with Mrs. Buck it was always, “Well when your sister was in my class she made the most beautiful (insert garment name here) …” and then she’d hold up whatever atrocity I’d serged together in a rush and suggest I not work with silks or satins for a while as she marked a “C” in her grade book. Well, I haven’t worked with satins since then, Mrs. Buck. I hope you’re happy.

I was the Rodney Dangerfield of Page, AZ. I got no respect. I had maybe three or four teachers in my entire academic career who actually endeavored to work with me as an individual (albeit one with exacting standards of morality and grammar for a fifteen- or sixteen-year-old). And even one of them often said, “When your brother was in my class …” although I have to admit I never asked which brother and silently hoped it had been Scott.

I’ve glossed over the bullying and verbal abuse I was subject to because those were like a combination colonoscopy and gynecological exam – best left unvisited except by trained professionals like my intrepid therapist, John. Suffice it to say that there was many a morning I woke up angry that I hadn’t managed to die in my sleep the night before, and that I faked sick dozens of times to get out of going to school and facing such nastiness.

I concede, as a small child I was happy in Page. I didn’t know what a pathetic little hellhole I was in. I had my friends Carrie and Rachel and my blankie and my toys and my family and that was all I needed. But that was such a small fraction of my life that it hardly bears mentioning in this little rant.

I hope this satisfies the question as to why I never mention Page. And even if it doesn’t, tough. I’m not going to bring it up ever again if I can help it. And if I can’t help it … well, there are a number of psychotropic drugs out there that will help quell the urge.

It is human nature to avoid discussing unpleasant things. Living in Page (in my experience) is the most unpleasant thing I can imagine. So I avoid discussing it. And I may never discuss it again.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go and, in the words of the starfish on “Finding Nemo,” find my happy place - which I can guarantee you isn’t in Coconino County.

01 January 2009

New Year’s resolution: edit my vocabulary

I should have expected it, really. 2008 was both an Olympic year and a presidential election year. It was bound to happen. It does every year. But this year was worse.

I am of course talking about overused words and phrases. Each year has its list – things that everyone is tired of hearing about but will talk about anyway. I’d imagine that my list is a little different than others’. I’m much more easily annoyed. But short fuse or not, there are a lot of things I’m sick of hearing, and I’m hoping that by listing them here, I can help raise awareness and expunge them from our social consciousness. And so here they are, in no particular order.

1. The Economy
2. Michael Phelps
3. Obama (I’m sick of hearing his name and he’s not even sworn in yet)
4. Joe the Plumber
5. Bailout
6. Miley Cyrus and/or Hannah Montana
7. Brangelina
8. Uncool (I’m looking at you, Aniston)
9. Britney Spears (she’s crazy, she’s not crazy, she’s crazy, she’s not crazy … how about we leave her alone and let her decide which it is?)
10. Jonas Brothers (that number on the tag of your jeans? That’s supposed to be waist size, not age)
11. Baby bump (if an actress has a decent meal, she's pregnant. If an actress had a baby two months ago and hasn't lost every pregnancy pound, she's pregnant. If an actress has a steady boyfriend, she's pregnant. How about we shut up and let them decide if they are or not?)
12. Lohan (any of them)
13. Pregnant man
14. Gas prices
15. Heath Ledger (can’t we let the man rest in peace already?)
16. SNL and/or Tina Fey
17. The Hills
18. Madonna (why is she still news?)
19. Paris Hilton (why is she EVER news?)
20. Twilight/Breaking Dawn/Robert Pattinson/etc etc etc

I’m sure I’ve missed one or two but those are the first ones that came to mind. Here’s hoping 2009 will be a Phelps-free, Miley-free, economic-crisis-free year.