29 May 2008

Things I Wished Today


Laundry machines came with mechanical launderers.
Hiccups had a proven cure.
Blood circulated through my extremities.
I remember the name Walissa and never name my daughter that.
I didn’t try to sweeten my skinny vanilla latte with sugarless caramel syrup.
I had a hammock out back.
“Great Legs-pectations” wasn’t an actual caption in my Cosmogirl.
Flies could intelligently retrace how they entered a house or stop and ask for directions.
Humans could look intelligent when they try to show them out.
One healthy food cancelled out one unhealthy food.
I didn’t forget my one healthy food at work.
I had motivation to unload and sort my college belongings.
Grandpa cooked for grandma every once and awhile.
I took more pictures with them.
Florists won’t use floral color sprays on my wedding flowers.
I knew if pets learned like humans how to pretend to not see someone (like their owner) when they don’t want to say hi.
Abbrevin in convos was norm.
Making up a club with friends was still cool.
People actually carried and used those top-heavy Mickey pens from Walt Disney World.
Days slowed down.

28 May 2008

The PopScene and Me

AOL homepage just informed me “‘Sex’ girls weren’t always glamorous, even had big 80s hair.” Following this already gripping finding, a link labeled “Pics to Prove It” made it hard not to click. I got to AOL’s entertainment page where its “On the Radar” segment featured other compelling pieces including “PopScene Photos” and “Stars on the Beach: Some stars look awesome. Some don’t.”

I think I’ve come to expect my pop culture stars to be exemplars of precision when it comes to form and poise these days. They’re stars for a reason, radiant models of femininity and masculinity, the Noah Websters of glamour with whom I can’t argue.

I thought about writing some criticism about these conventions, about stardom, beauty laws, and the “PopScene” media force on me. But then I thought about audience culture and the conventional, lose-lose approach I usually take in confronting fame and the people in it.

I am a strong advocate for equal opportunity in media. I want to see people of all colors, shapes, and sizes in my sitcoms, in commercials promoting my favorite clothing stores, on magazine covers, movie posters, and billboards. But when I look towards Hollywood, the same kind of physical images flash across the screen: leanness and tone signal sexy, healthy, and supreme mainstream figures. These images set the example, and I can’t help but get mad at them for the idealism they perpetuate. It’s unfair these stars are so hot, toned, beautiful. It’s unfair these people comprise my popular culture; I wish I could see someone like me in there, someone with blemishes, love handles, and noticeably asymmetrical eyebrows.

At the same time though, when I see pictures of stars “letting themselves go,” I scoff. When I read sexy celebs weren’t always as attractive, I scorn them in my head. “You’re the famous ones! You’re the ones who shouldn’t have problems like these!” I end up criticizing them for being more like me, instead of accepting their more “humanizing” marks. I want them to be like me, but when they drop from their pedestals, it’s easy to condemn them for it.

I want to get rid of the standards stars set, yet I want to hold stars to them because they’re the ones who "set" them in the first place.

But, this process of mine can’t be useful because it only reinforces the system I want to change. If headlines read “Some people look awesome. Some don’t,” I’d have a fit. Change one word, stars to people, it would change my whole perspective. “Oh, the nerrrrrve!” But, isn’t that how I should read these lines? Shouldn’t I get just as angry about hypercritical remarks directed at people with acting or singing jobs as ones directed at other working and non-working people?

Shouldn’t I embrace dissimilar, changing shapes and sizes, changing people like me in my media, rather than fault them for straying from pop patterns I can hardly bear?

25 May 2008


"Have a good Memorial Day!" my boss said as I left the flower shop today. "You too!" I instinctively yelped back. "Enjoy!"

Walking out back, I thought about the sign we had on the door. The shop will be closed on Monday, May 26 in observance of Memorial Day. We were closing the store to observe a day that commemorates fallen US troops. Our exchange though made it sound like the last day of school, that we'd be feasting with friends tomorrow at Waldameer picnic grounds and making best use of our group-discounted ride-o-ramas because wahoo, summer's here!

I felt like I cheapened the day and all it stands for by eagerly wishing her smorgasbords of hotdogs and hamburgers, fireworks with friends and family, and one less work day in the week. I felt I devalued the commemorative tone of the day by only focusing on hot eats and company.

I mean, I think we should feast with others, watch fireworks, and have time off to celebrate the occasion. I remember my godmother's funeral: we were asked to only wear bright colors. Anne-Marie showed a vivid slideshow of pictures at the church and reception. There was music, home videos, and lots of laughter. With hot eats and the finest company, we celebrated Mildred's life. We feasted and met together to memorialize an extravagant person. The whole time, we were reminded of her love; we kept reminding each other of it, even if we didn't mention Mildred's name in conversation. Simply, our being together honored who she was that day; the memorial was incredibly visible. Yes causal at times, but always, always noticeably present.

When I think about my Memorial Days, this kind of sweeping honor just isn't there. It's mostly about the food, someone to cuddle and watch fireworks with, and the free day off from work. So I guess I wonder about the point at which remembrance turns too inward, too much about my excitement to consume 3 hotdogs and a mound of potato salad just because the calendar says there's something to observe. "I don't have to feel guilty about overeating because that's what people do on holidays!...Uh, so what's this holiday for again?"

Via Facebook message, I got asked out on a date this weekend because "there's this awesome day called Memorial Day, and it gives me an extra day off." He wants to get Mexican food and sip sangria. I said no, my weekend's already full. Typical "Memorial" tasks—picnicking, fireworks with friends, and parades—had already clogged my schedule. With an exclamation point, I listed these in my response as to why this weekend wasn't good.

I think we both showed a loss of appreciation for or merely lack of acquaintance with the reason behind this awesome, extra day off. Why am I going to picnics, why am I going to watch fireworks with friends, why am I going to embarrass myself on the back of my dad's mid-life-crisis-soaked motor trike, and toss tootsie rolls out to Fairview kids? Why am I personally doing these things? To commemorate, or to drift indifferently, selfishly, through a holiday's acquired customs?

I'll be thinking more about my actions, interactions, and resultant in(di)gestion tomorrow. If you have any thoughts, related or entirely opposite qualms, let me know.

Oh yeah, that's why

Ok, perhaps I am more sure than unsure as to why it's time to chronicle my thoughts publicly. I had a night and day to realize

1. I am more introverted than extroverted. I enjoy whole days spent in a computer lab, farthest seat from the door, next to colossal window panes, notes, apple cores, and granola bar wrappers delineating my work space.

2. I communicate more eloquently (at least I fink so) with the written word. I enjoy writing rather than voicing me'thoughts in a tight corner (when aren’t corners tight?). Impromptu was never my strong suit; I always looked better in informative or persuasive speaking garb.

3. I need to write. I need to illustrate something with word art now that I’m home, finished with sophomore year. I haven't journaled since probably 5th grade. A decade later, I use keys to pen down my thoughts, and click "sign out" to lock my diary. No splotchy eraser stains, either! Genius.

4. I can. (not in the sense I can write, you can't; I'm a great writer, you're not. Rather, I have the opportunity right now, and I'm taking advantage of it) I have always looked forward to releasing my daily musings, but until now, never had the motivation at the end of the day to do it. Maybe it has to do with feeling a bit lost at home. I don't connect with my dad. In less than a week, my best friend here is interning a state away. I consider my mom my other best friend and highlight this in her birthday cards, but we rarely do anything together. The dearest people I know, grandma and grandpa, are getting older. I'm growing out of Erie. I'm afraid to leave it someday.

24 May 2008


I brewed a mug-full of green tea—I always boil the water, micro-waved water never seems as healthy—hoping it would ease my entrance into this stretch of cyber-gibberish. Until we get wireless, I am confined to my bulky COMPAQ, a calculator and mouse pad in one, and a white desk I have to sit sideways at because the comp tower and desk drawers create a barricade for my legs. Nevertheless, I am a determined bloggee...that is, a blogger in training, a daring, virtual neo-phyte/-fighter.

I'm unsure as to why, at this point in my student career, life as an only child, history of small-town living and summer nights spent at home because nothing’s happening apart from the allergen gala, it's time to chronicle my thoughts publicly. But here I am, making an archive of qualms, quirks, and queries, alliterating when I can, and kissing and telling all—but, most likely, just telling.

I'm a student of anthropology, media studies, journalism, floristing, cupcakery, innovation, and precision. I can spend hours in the computer lab composing papers, editing high schoolers' speeches for national oratory competitions, and crafting abominably clever Facebook posts for abominably less clever guys. It's one quirk of mine to be so fussy, borderline neurotic over the grammatical cadence of a piece, over beats per phrase and such. I don't sit and count them; I just listen, and change things when I must...over, over, over, and over.

Anyway, my last bit of tea is cold. I forgot to take the tea bag out, as always. A boyfriend warned me once of bleeding tea bags: waterlogged, wounded sachets just bobbing there, hemorrhaging in my mug. Even so, I still forget. They always look fine to me when I finish. No serious lesions yet, so why agonize.