Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Important Dates in February

As with all winter Holidays, Valentines Day, although a slightly backwards construct of a consumer society, is really just a widespread coping mechanism for Seasonal Affective Disorder, or the general winter blues. It's what tides us over between New Years and the beginning of Spring. It's a pretty stupid thing to even HAVE an opinion about, but because I need something to blog about I am going to take a crack at it.

First of all, Valentines Day is 14 Days before my birthday so it's never really been that important to me. I already have my coping mechanism built into my psyche. Also any Holiday that doesn't get you a day off of school or time and a half pay at work isn't worth getting too worked up over. That being said, I am a girl who likes candy and festive cocktails so even when I was single I have never been anti-Valentines Day. If you are single on Valentines Day you can buy yourself presents and if you are in a relationship its a nice reminder to pull yourself out of the daily grind and remember how lucky you are. Presents can either be bought or not and if you are in a healthy relationship it really shouldn't be that difficult to figure out. The only people that have to have a crappy time on Valentine's Day are people in BAD relationships and people who have warped ideas about the nature of romantic love.

As my relationship has been temporarily filed as "long distance" I am spending Valentine's Day with my family this year. My parents bought each other some chocolates and alcohol and because I am pretty much all up in their space there is really nothing they can do to keep me from eating and drinking as much as I please. Also I bought tuna, scallops, and chocolate that has chipotle and poprocks in it.

Time to eat.  Also I'm bored. And a little drunk.

Friday, February 10, 2012

A Socially Awkward Person's Guide to Social Graces

A Socially Awkward Person's Guide to Social Graces

Note: This is not a Guide to Social Graces FOR socially awkward people. This is a Guide To Social Graces BY a socially awkward person. I think you will find that there is a difference.

 Take a look at this photo. See that girl standing all the way to the right just far enough away from everyone else to look really conspicuous? Yes, that's me. I distinctly remember thinking. "OK, this is close enough to not look weird." I was wrong. This, as you may have gleaned from the text on the page, is my u-11 soccer team. This was the state premier team that I would play with for the next 7 years. I got along fine with everyone. I even once went to a pool party at someones house. I could just never quite get the hang of transitioning from teammate to friend. 

I would like to think that I got more comfortable with my teammates over the years but the truth is that on this team, and in life in general, I spent and still spend a little too much time standing a little too far away from the crowd not knowing exactly how to precede. The real problem is that I don't mind this as much as I should. I find that distance gives me clarity. When I become overwhelmed by the social dynamic of a group I often find that I end up doing strange things that I can't quite account for later on like dating a phish fan or waltzing around the dorm yelling through an empty paper towel roll.

I am a special kind of awkward that can either go the silent, hiding in a corner trying to decided whether or not to talk to anyone route or the other direction to straight up in your face obnoxious nonsense. Why am I sharing this information? Because I want to give you advice on how to handle your shit in public, of course! As a wise man in a strange headdress once said "Your steak ain't no hipper than my porkchop" and likewise my thoughts on social behavior are just as valid as anyone elses. Here are some key categories of basic human interaction and z(my thoughts on them) that I think you might find useful.

1. Compassion

At job interviews if the interviewer asks me what my greatest weakness is, I usually say that I  am sometimes lacking in compassion in the workplace. One time when I was working in reservations someone called looking into lodging options and somehow she got on the topic of how she had recently beat cancer. Intellectually I understand that cancer survival stories are something that I should have an emotional reaction to; and when it's someone I know I certainly do. When it's a stranger on the phone, however, I'm not really sure how I'm supposed to respond. I could have said "Oh congratulations, that's wonderful!". But some people would respond to something like that by saying "Well, I'm not out of the woods yet and I did lose my breast." THEN what do I say? Sorry? I could say "Oh what a relief that must be." But that seems like a really obvious, stupid thing to say. The truth is that if I don't know you I have no idea how you're expecting me to respond and I have a hard time bringing myself to say what I think a normal person should say just because its the appropriate thing to do. I just know that whatever it is is going to sound weirdly ingenuine. In most cases the person is just a chatty Cathy who has to share every detail, good or bad, with everyone he or she encounters (yes men can be chatty Cathy's too). My feeling is that dealing with things like cancer, death, being divorced or dumped, a particularly unpleasant waxing incident, or general post-modern malaise are what friends and family are for. Why do you want to run around bumming out every  person that you come into contact with? If I want to be upset about things that have nothing to do with me then I will take a moment to think about Africa or go look at missing dog posters (these always leave me with a dull sense of things not being right in the world for at least 24 hours). I'm not saying that I have no capacity to empathize with strangers' hardships. I just think unless a person really needs my help with their problems then they are kind of being a dick for unloading their woes onto an unsuspecting stranger. I guess the problem isn't that I have no compassion. It's that I have just the wrong amount where I find other people's problems upsetting in a way that I don't really know how to handle. I know that I have some unique dysfunctions but to assume that the unseen person on the other end of the phone, or even the the person you just met on the street, is well-adjusted enough to process your shit is a dysfunction of it's own.

2.Maintaining Healthy Friendships

I am terrible at keeping in touch. I don't drive, which doesn't help, but I am also a social ninja who prefers to exit a situation swiftly without paying heed to the expected or appropriate levels of emotional gravity. These situations can range from 20 minutes at a party to a day at work to a 4 year run at an institution of higher learning.  When you don't say goodbye to someone formally and then don't see them for over 3 years chances are you won't be as close as you once were. I don't think I offend people with the way I handle myself because I do eventually see these people and it's always very congenial, but it is something I am going to try not to do next time I get a new job or go back to school or go to a 20s themed dinner party. No matter how many fibers in my body are screaming at me to get the hell out as quickly as possible, I will stay and make sure whatever friends I might have there know that I appreciate them. That's the goal. Don't be a weirdo and be polite to my friends. This is really advice for myself but you're welcome to take it as well if you happen to be burdened with whatever kind of crazy I have.

3. Sweet, Sweet, Hatred.

I don't think that there is anything wrong with an openly hateful relationship. I am not talking about a love/hate thing with the occasional mean spirited teasing or flirting. I am talking the "I do not respect anything that you are about and you don't respect anything that I am about and It gives me pleasure to see you in trouble so please just fuck off and die already" kind of hateful relationship. Everyone needs a good nemesis and the fact that I haven't had one for a while is something that I sorely regret. I have hated people and people have hated me (I assume) but it is considered childish for two adults to acknowledge their mutual loathing and agree to either stay out of each other's way or have a little fun destroying each other whenever they get the chance. Elementary school was based almost entirely on these kinds of relationships. Boys vs. girls. Best friends vs. Ex-best friends. Me vs. Everyone who thought they might be better at soccer than I was. In middle school I was really busy and if I had any enemies I wasn't aware of them, but in High School there was this one kid who felt the need to tell everyone that I was a "freak". I didn't have a problem with the title  but why did this kid feel the need to try to get everyone else to see me in a negative light? It pissed me off to no end and I loved every second of it. There is really nothing better than having a really good reason to hate someone. I still don't quite understand what his really good reason for hating me was but I have decided not to ask too many questions. Seeing his side would have ruined everything.

The flip side of this is that if you are a kid who is being bullied and you adopt this style of conduct then you would never be bullied again! You would just have a lot of nemesi. Unless it's physical bullying that you can't respond to because you're tiny and/or a pacifist. Then you should probably find an adult.

4. Romantic Relationships

Just don't be  a dumbass, don't mistake sex or attention for personal validation and you should be OK (eventually...probably).

5. "Sluts!"
(Note: Sluts is a term that I use for both men and women. It's just too complicated to do otherwise.) Unless something really horrible and unexpected is going on in a lady's pants, sex is probably going to be a more or less positive experience for any guy. Women on the other hand have a whole world of potential violation, discomfort, and general dissatisfaction to consider in every potential mate. Therefor, statements such as "god that guy has no standards. He will sleep with anything." or "why do women pretend that they don't like sex?" are really, really stupid. A guy who sleeps with anyone is no different than a guy who only sleeps with pretty girls. It is all the same amount slutty. Girls do not pretend not to like sex. They just don't like bad sex and their chances of getting that if they're ho-ing around are much, much higher than for a guy. Men don't need a particularly compelling reason to be slutty and you can assume that most slutty women HAVE a pretty good reason or else they probably wouldn't be doing it... because that shit must be just terrible like 80% of the time, right? Now, I do have an issue with philandering because companionship is important and it just doesn't work without trust and its not fair to your partner to put them in danger with your icky habits and blah blah blah but if if a person is unattached and they want to sleep around then that is their business. Wrap it up and don't get into any hot tubs with me, but by all means, carry on. In other words, leave the sluts alone and don't feel bad if you are one.

6. Balancing the Public and Private

The Internet makes it easy to dump all of your emotions into the public sphere. Don't do it all the time! You need to sometimes sit quietly and think about things and not tell anyone about it! Try it!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Business Pants

If anyone I know thinks these characters look like them it is only because this is what 3/4 of the male population at UVM looks like

Also I wanted the last panel to be him standing completely bottomess and have a really meticulously drawn penis and scrotum but I don't want this blog to get flagged as being obscene.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Things I Know Nothing About Episode 6: Musical Theater

I was in a few Musicals in Highschool. I sometimes watch Glee. I have been to one show on Broadway. When I was little I had a CD of Frank Sinatra and his buddies doing the music from Guy and Dolls. I wore that shit out. That is the extent of what I know about Musical Theater. I do however know a thing or two about music in general so not quite as much of what I usually say in these posts will be 100% nonsense this time.

I like Musicals. They are entertaining and often well written. Some are pretty hilarious. That being said, a lot of them, even the very good ones, are just...lame as shit. Wicked? Laaaaaame. Rent? Hell of lame. It's hard to pinpoint why, but both Defying Gravity and Season's of Love make me want to drink a gallon of lighter fluid and swallow a match. Not "bad" music just...lame. No balls at all. I will concede that AIDS in a Musical was originally an edgy move but the whole thing seems grossly ingenuine to the subject matter because the characters were so...lame. Wicked I haven't actually seen but I've heard a lot of songs and unless there is full frontal nudity that I am no aware of I can pretty much assume that it suffers from the same level of non-ballsyness.

I am positive that the Lion King is awesome and I wish I had more money so I could see it.

Any theater kids reading this are probably writing me off in their heads as a nay-saying ignoramus but theater kids don't typically seem to understand that the reason that not EVERYONE loves musical theater music isn't because they're closed-minded. It's because most of the music from these productions is not interesting out of context unless you are a very particular type of nerd or a huge narcissist** who needs to be able to picture yourself singing a song on a stage in full makeup in order to enjoy it.

In context most people only get to see amateur or highschool productions because the real thing is expensive and probably not worth the effort for someone who doesn't know if they're really into it or not. Anyone who has ever seen a highschool production of a musical (who didn't know anyone in the performance) knows that they're a little painful to sit through for one reason or the other. Not always terrible but rarely the kind of thing that makes you want to run out and become obsessed.

  I'm not saying that there's anything wrong with being that type of nerd but thanks to shows like Glee there seems to be a false notion floating around that theater nerds are special and artistic and anyone who isn't friends with them is a judgmental bully and possibly a closeted homosexual who needs to learn to overcome his or her self-loathing through song. The more likely truth is that if theater geeks don't have friends outside of their theater geek social groups it's probably because they're always talking about theater and NOBODY ELSE FINDS THEM INTERESTING. Even more likely is that no one is judging them because no one is really paying attention to them and that's the real problem.

**Narcissism is something I know a lot about firsthand (I'm a blogger. I know what that means from a psychoanalytic point of view. The term "hall of flattering mirrors" comes to mind) and the thing about theater music is that it's really only super compelling to people who like to imagine themselves singing the songs or performing in the cast and that is a special kind of a narcissism that can be easily hidden by saying things like "I have a hard time fitting in because I'm just so full of music that I have to let it out". People are uncomfortable around you because you're constantly singing in front of them? Mmmmhmmm...yeah...unfortunately you are the one with the social dysfunction in this situation; not them. In today's sensitive environment people might not be open about the fact that you are annoying the crap out of them because they are worried that you'll run to the guidance councilor and make a dramatic statement about how you don't fit in and need to go to special school where everyone wears leotards all the time.

A production in which most of the songs were written to stand alone would be an awkward and unsatisfying experience. The flip side of this is that a really well written pop song is always going to be more compelling to more people than a really well written broadway song. That's why Glee feels the need to crap all over so many perfectly good pop songs.Note: As a general rule, a song that was originally sung by a shitty singer will be OK if covered by a bunch of Theatery and/or autotuned voices, but anything originally done by a good singer really should be left alone. Or at least I wish it would.

Broadway songs are meant to do something for the characters and pop songs really can't operate with too much unspoken subtext. Think of your favorite Beatles song NOT from one of the more acidy albums. Is there anything about this song that leaves you wondering "what else is going on here?". If so then you are either a hipster who always chooses to like things that make no sense or you haven't heard that many Beatles songs. If you don't like the Beatles then get the fuck out of here this discussion can't possibly mean anything to you because you are one of those weirdos who doesn't like music that sounds like music. Either way my point is that pop good music expresses emotions that don't need to be over articulated and theater music is up to something a little different and that something a little different can get boring really fast.  Not all pop songs have good lyrics. Some of them are really stupid and make no sense. The good ones still work. A good Broadway song has to know what it's saying or why the hell else would anyone be screaming about it in the middle of a conversation? All I'm saying is that people who prefer to only listen to the soundtracks of Broadway musicals are out of their freaking minds. Another note: Music originally written for Theater that has been absorbed into the realm of Jazz standards doesn't count. That was another era. There was no TV and neither the Beatles nor Stevie Wonder had happened yet in most cases.

 Ok. I've actually lost interest in this topic before I've really finished but incoherent ramblings really don't need to have a conclusion so I'll just end with my usual request that those of you who DO know things about Musical Theater not contact me and explain to me why I am wrong.

Thursday, February 2, 2012


My room needs cleaning. My room needs cleaning, my computer needs a new battery, and I need to find an apartment in New York ideally starting in June. My room needs cleaning, my computer needs a new battery, I need an apartment in New York, a job in New York, and I haven't been to the doctor's in over a year, the hairdressers in over 7 months, or the dentists in about 4 years. I also need to start collecting materials to apply to grad school. I'm not aiming to start til Spring of 2013 at the earliest but I need letters of recommendations and a portfolio and generally a lot of things that are much easier to compile while living in the state that I've been living in for almost 24 years. 

I am working an average of 45 hours a week and during Presidents week that's going to shoot up to a number that I don't even want to think about right now. My jobs themselves are easy enough and I never bring any part of them home with me (except for the smell of waffles) but I could really use about a week off the regroup. With season work that really isn't an option, especially when you have two seasonal jobs that are both understaffed. Furthermore, whenever I do get more than 2 days off in a row I like to go to New York to see my boyfriend and practice riding the subway by myself (so far I think I've got the hang of the C train between West 96th street and midtown but considering I'll probably be living in slightly less affluent territory I might need to expand my exposure.) Also I occasionally like to go skiing on my days off. And I have a new Jillian Michaels DVD that I've only done 1 level of. There is a pretty obvious hierarchy of which of things I really should be dealing with but the truth is that my #1 priority is actually my sanity which means that I occasionally have to do the things I want to do rather than the things I should be doing.

That was a long, whiny, and not particularly productive rant but whenever I sit down to blog my head starts filling with all of the better ways I could be using my time so I figured I might as well just let those things out because the last thing I want to be stressing about is the fact that I'm not keeping up on my blogging. I have enough first world problems as it is so I might as well just sack up and deal with what I can while I can. Today is a get shit done day. Yesterday I skied and bought some face wash. Tomorrow I will go to the gym in the morning before work. So I apologize for posting without anything particularly interesting to say but I really have to go deal with my bedroom. I'm hoping that once I do that all of the other "housekeeping" details will fall into place.