Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Birthday Round-up

I meant to do this earlier, but time has not allowed. A little indulgence and a few creative gifties "beeeecausssse it [was] myyyy birrrrrrthday" (please imagine that in Smeagol/Gollum-speak).

For those who will get this, a snarky gift from Jack (and the Henricksons--of the Sandy, Utah Henricksons, of course, whose intent I assume was sincere until Jack got a hold of the project)...

A wicked awesome gift from my friend Amanda...

She took a head shot of Emma Watson from the summer 2011 Vogue shoot and in some way affixed it to a sheet of watercolor paper. She poked holes around The Almighty's face, hands and bejewelment, removed the photo and stitched around the holes. Voila! A super cool and unique portait of a lady. Amanda put this in a beautious frame, and it looks awesome hanging in my flat.

Last, a few pictures of my cake...ahem...cakes. I took a leaf from the book of Robe Lowe's character from Parks and Recreation, and for my cake made vegetable loaves sweetened with a fruit reduction. Just kidding. I ordered these toxic, sugar bomb monstrosities. The lady taking my order asked if I wanted an age written on the Quidditch one. "Yes," quothe I. "Thirty-seven."

I had my parents and sibs over to my place for cake and ice cream and a few different friend celebrations. One more b-day weekend to come--Pride Night at King's Island and Katy Perry with Chris. When you get old, you can drag this shit on forever.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Formspring Questions of the Day

How many languages do you speak?
One and a fraction...English, and a little Russian. I actually used it in a practical way once, whilst lost at night in the streets of Simferopol, Ukraine. That sounds made up, but I swear it's true. I'm that dumb.

Do you have any hidden talents?
I can juggle, and I can conduct in 4/4 time with my left hand while conducting 3/4 with my right.

If you were a pirate, what would your name be?
Bloody Piper Smythe

If you were to have a theme song, what would it be?
Defying Gravity from Wicked

What's the most embarrassing thing that's happened to you?
I puked after getting off of a roller coaster. Like...not that many years ago. :P

Who was your first celebrity crush?
Michael Jackson (Thriller era), Ralph Maccio, all of Menudo. No white bread, please.

If you could date any celebrity, who would it be?
I have on-going crushes on Hugh Jackman, Viggo Mortensen, Patrick Fabian, Nate Berkus and the like. However, I'm woman enough to admit to an intense, inappropriately all-consuming girl crush. The one crush to rule them all, and the celebrity whom I'd most like to date is...Lena Headey. *sigh* Say it soft, and it's almost like praying.

If you could, would you travel to space?
Absolutely! Who wouldn't? When I was a kid, I had a mini inflatable space shuttle in my room.

Would you rather use a Mac or a PC?
Either is fine. Many more intelligent than I have great reasons to prefer one over the other. However, the fact that ad campaigns actually result in people feeling superior for using one or the other points to how douche-tastic we've all become.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Silent Movies

My latest Netflix kick is silent movies, so I was thrilled to find this awesome film created by children for a film-making camp. It's under four minutes, and is a silent movie version of Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book. I'm amazed at the subtleties of how they captured the look and feel of classic silent horror films, and not just by using computer tricks in post production. It's seriously eerie, but done with a wink and a smile.

This is a great achievement. Neil Gaiman even tweeted the video and posted it on his blog. Great job, kids! Keep making awesome films! Hooray for children using their summer to create art!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Super Jazzed

I was just thinking about my friend from college, Heidi, and how her birthday was coming up, and how I haven't seen her in at least ten years. After four years of college together, she lived in a neighboring city to mine at the time for a year or two. Almost thirteen years ago, I was her maid of honor in Maine, when she married her super cool husband. She has lived there all of this time, and we haven't managed a visit in about a decade. (Sorry--that's a lot of math).

Anyway, I just heard from her, and they'll be here next week! I will see her on her birthday, which is just ace. Sadly, I can't take time off of work at the moment, so this will mean a 5 hour round trip for a 3 or 4 hour visit. Do. Not. Care. We are soul sisters in lots of ways. Ri-dic that its been so long. Maybe we'll even get to stroll around the old campus.

Couldn't be happier!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Thanks, Heartsong and NPR

After whining about lack of cooperation between religions last week, I found this great story on NPR.  How refreshing to see a church sign that brings a tear for the right reasons.  I'm particularly pleased that the two groups are thinking about doing service projects together. 

Good job, Heartsong.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Quote of the Week

"Humanists believe that God is the most important, influential literary character human beings have ever created. And it's important to know precisely what we mean by the word 'God,' because the more a word can mean anything we want, the more it means absolutely nothing."

--Greg M. Epstein, Good Without God

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Leo Rising

I share a b-day week with a few people who have added some fun to my days, even if from afar.  Cheers, dearies, however you may be celebrating.  Thanks for the smiles.

Most preferably, I share a birthday week with my best friend Chris.  For one day a year, we share the same age, and that is today.  Happy Birthday, dearest!  I know we will raise a glass in one way or another every year 'til we bite the glitter.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Quote of the Week

"AWWWwwwwwWWW! Why can't you be exactly like your stage persona?"

--Homer Simpson

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Unlikely Double Feature

Your Love Interest Might Be a Cat Burglar

Last night I went with my film buff crew to the IMA for an outdoor film in their Summer Nights series.  Up this Friday was Alfred Hitchcock's To Catch a Thief.  After weeks of crazy heat, the evening was cool and perfect.  The stars were blinking and the tree frogs and insects singing.  This made for a great setting for all of the French Riviera convertible driving and rooftop cat burglary. A candlelit picnic with friends is great, but the same with Grace Kelly and Cary Grant flickering in the background--even better. 

You Might Have a Demon in Your Vagina

When I got home (uber late, as the outdoor movie didn't start until dusk), I watched the next morsel in my Netflix queue, One Nation Under God, which is a 1993 documentary centering around such organizations as Exodus International, and their movement to "cure" homosexuals.  The techniques shown ranged from the cruel (electroshock and nausea inducement as aversion therapy) to the laughable (makeovers for lesbians and sports for gay men) to the inconceivable (casting demons out of genitals).*

The whole spectrum of intent is shown: from the extreme crazies with the "God Hates" signs to the sweet and well-meaning who think they're helping (somewhere toward the crazy side dwell the twat devils).

Seriously, this is worth watching. Apart from the dated clothes and less than slick production indicative of 1993 (my freshman year in college--yikes), the topic is fresh today.

*The idea here is that there are demons in a lesbian's lady bits that cause her to wish to, in Glee-speak, make lady babies. For a gay man, the demons hang out in his rectal cavity. I mean, why wouldn't they?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Dueling Gods

An acquaintance of mine from years ago is involved in a project of sorts that just makes my head spin. I hesitate to write about this out of respect for his good intentions, but will do so without specifics.

A group of Protestant theology students from the south traveled to Salt Lake City to experience Mormon culture. They visited Temple Square, heard the Mormon Tabernacle Choir perform, and saw some of the historical sites related to the church. This is great--I want to do all of the above. Their purpose, though, was to strengthen their abilities in apologetics by talking to LDS missionaries. In short, they were engaging in a sort of reverse proselytizing.

I'm not gonna lie. There was a time when this would have made perfect sense to me. Now, this is my perception of how a conversation might have gone between one of the theology students and one of the missionaries, if boiled down to its simplest form.
Theo: The man in the sky who you talk to isn't the right one.

Mish: No, yours isn't the right one. Your story about the good place where we go when we die is the wrong story.

Theo: No, ours is right. Yours is made up. Also, you're wrong about the burning place where the man in the sky sends bad people.

Mish: Sorry. We have the right ideas about the burning place.

I know it's more complicated than this. I know these people are intelligent and kind. But this is just so stupid. The religions are dueling on behalf of their gods, and the world is suffering for it. Hungry people don't need a Bible or a Book of Mormon, they need a sandwich. Ten year old prostitutes don't need saved, they need rescued. Not when they die--now.

I saw a picture of the theology students talking to missionaries outside the Salt Lake Temple. I cried.

I thought, what a magnificent building. What a bunch of bright people, full of potential. What a complete waste of time, energy and privilege.

Dueling gods.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Down Time

I was/am ill last week and this weekend. I missed three days of work, which is not normal. I tried to be productive yesterday and tidy a bit. Sadly, I've mostly pissed away a lot of time online. In case you're wondering...survey says:
--Which Ugly Betty Character am I? Betty
--Which Big Love wife am I? Barb
--My Hobbit name is Wisteria Sackville-Bracegirdle of DeepHollow.
--The name of my rock band is The Hermione Manifesto (which is funny, because I've wanted to start a band called Hermione's Beaded Bag).

You get it. The down time hasn't been spent well. I did watch a few movies. St. Trinian's, for one, which was filled with lots of really great British actors that Harry Potter forgot. Great cast, bad movie, but it was worth every minute. They had me at Lena-Headey-as-the-geeky-English-teacher. I had a veritable nerdgasm at this shot, which is now my phone wallpaper.  Rupert Everett is hysterical in drag, and I loved the line from one of the girls, when viewing Vermeer's painting Girl With a Pearl Earring, "Wow.  No wonder Colin Firth wanted to shag her."  Colin Firth was very funny in this film, as well.

Here's hoping for a more productive week with no sickies.

Friday, August 5, 2011

When My Dad Was Fourteen

Last time, I wrote about my sordid history with corn (I know...riveting). Part of the reason I brought it up was a story my dad told me recently. It was about his own battle with the yellow stuff, and like mine it occurred in his fourteenth year.

When my dad was fourteen, it was 1950 and he lived in rural Indiana. Like, WAY rural. His personal corn hell started when he was given charge of some gargantuan farm vehicle whose purpose was to transport corn from hither to thither. It wasn't just a truck, but it wasn't a combine...some sort of satanic hybrid. Whatever it was, no doubt the current version is air conditioned, has a dock for iphones and -pods, and is probably driven only by people who have lost all of their baby teeth.

Anyway, Dad had to drive this monster a goodly distance, and in the process made a turn and lost a ton of the ears of corn in a ditch. He was hoping to unload the stuff at its destination and be done with it, but alas, some conscientious passerby had seen the ditch incident and bothered to drive on to the farmer and report what had happened. Hater!

The result was that Dad had to drive back to the offending ditch and literally shovel ears of corn several feet into the air and into the satan-mobile.

Regardless of the differences between our beliefs and worldviews, this is how my father is also my soul brother...we have fought the fight...we are the children of the corn.

And I solemnly swear to whatever god you believe in...I will never mention corn in this blog again. Cultivation managed.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Corny Stories

The harsh reality of having grown up in Indiana in the eighties and early nineties, is that whether you liked it or not, corn was a daily part of life. 

I didn't grow up on a farm, but we were in the country (Mom and Dad have lived in the same house for 45 or so years), and to the east of us was a ginormous corn field.  If you looked far enough to the north and south, you could see two other massive ones. 

Surrounded, we were, on three sides by thousands of six to seven feet tall plants, which consisted of leaves (floppy green razor blades of death) and pollen (to those with allergies this is the unseen monster who rapes your senses and fills your lungs with poison).  The pollen thing was an issue for some of my siblings.  To most, like me, corn was just the stuff you watched flying by the bus windows on the way to school.  The only pain it caused was the mild twinge of embarrassment while reading about kids your age or watching them on television when the realization dawned, "Oh, right.  Not everyone grows up surrounded by corn."  That was, until at the age of fourteen, when I did what was sort of a right of passage for those my age at the time, and had been for many years previously.  I took a job detassling corn. 

Even typing those words makes me feel like I just fell into bizarro world.  I'm acutely aware that anyone outside of the midwest, or even midwesterners who were born after 1990 will think I'm telling tales of slavery or that I'm talking about the orphaned life that I lived in Ukraine.  I swear, I'm not kidding!  This was a thing!  (Other Indiana natives know about this, and even bond over it.  I remember five or six years ago when the most common method of bothering people on a computer was to send around chain emails about random crap.  I would periodically get one entitled, "You know you're from Indiana if..." and one of the entries was invariably, "Your first job was detassling"). 

So, what these soul brothers and sisters and I were doing was going out with a busload of other saps, and we would be taken to fields way out in the sticks, hither and yon.  It was a million degrees outside, and you would start down rows of corn and reach up (way up, as I'm 5'2" and the corn was much taller) and pull this seedy little thing out of the top; that is to say "de-tassle-ing" the plant.  It's something to do with male and female corn, pollination, fertilization, etc.  Basically, I was interfering with corn sex, though who notices that when the corn leaves were evil razors of death? (see above).  The fact that corn leaves cut your arms and legs is not something you think about unless you have to walk around in it, so I'm glad to report that to anyone who may be contemplating corn walking.

Another thing that you would have to do occasionally was called "rogue-ing" or getting rid of rogues.  There would be these monstrously tall and disfigured corn stalks, which were also too dark of a green, and you would go up to that freaky bastard, and cut him down at the base with the business end of a shovel.  (I am not making this up).  You do not want him sending around his weird seed to the lady corn.  (Not made up). 

The inner battle in my fourteen year old mind was, wear shorts and a t-shirt and be cut to ribbons, or wear long sleeves and jeans and melt.  Sometimes, instead of wicked rays of sun (the burning death) there would be a storm, and the valid fear of very possible lightning strikes entered your mind.  Also, when it was pouring down rain, your foot would sink down into the ground with each step, and you would go down almost to the knee.  All the while, you continued working. 

Did I mention that the day started at about 5:30 a.m. and sometimes lasted until 5:30 p.m.?  (I am not making this up).  We signed up for it, too!  It was a way to make some money without waiting until the age of 16 (how this was legal, I don't know).  Usually, this lasted several weeks in the summer, but the one and only summer I did it was short.  There was a drought that year, so crews weren't sent out until mid July, and after only three weeks of it (seemed a lot longer...see all of the above), I had marching band camp, which was its own hot nightmare at times, but seemed a breeze after the corn, my god, the corn!  Lugging around my saxophone on an un-razor-blade-filled practice field was a veritable delight.

So, I bring this up for two reasons:
  • What was your first job? was a question on Formspring, which I joined just so I could get the question asking widget somewhere to the right.  This will allow anyone to ask me something to blog about, an idea I ripped off of the fabulous Kiley.
  • Also, my dad was in the hospital this week (nothing too serious, and he's ok now).  Whenever something happens that lands him there, I think of stories that he's told me, and he told me one recently that I'd never heard before.  It's about corn, it's much shorter than mine, and I'll post it next time. 
The end of all of this is that I'm eternally grateful for my time as a child of the corn. 
  • I have worked really hard in my life, but never that hard. 
  • Any time I want to complain about my job (I have done so over the years, and continue to do so), it doesn't take me too long to remember, "But I've done worse." 
  • I've always valued every dollar I've made, since I know I could be doing some really gritty shit to get it.  A lot of people do. 
Dad's story next time.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Bookcase Sarcasm

Next time, I'll write something. There will be words coming out the wazoo. No photos or videos will be attached. You will not have to watch some hilarious thing I found, even though I want to post the YouTube It Gets Better video by that guy impersonating Severus Snape. I want to really, really bad. My restraint is love.