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Sunday, August 28, 2016

Get Real

We should probably discuss the Real Housewives of New York. That's a sentence that, for many people, can induce vomiting, and those people should probably get out of here now, before it's too late. Go polish off your Utne Reader or something.

Okay, now for the rest of us. This season has been insane. We had John the Sweaty Dry Cleaner's sudden and utterly unprovoked attack at the bra party. We had the Berkshires Christmas Throwdown, which was so intense Bravo felt we constantly needed reminders as to how long it had been going on. We had Mohegan Sun, a girls trip so pathetic that we didn't even get actual confirmation that they truly stayed overnight there. And then we had Lu's engagement party and its aftermath, because any event worth its salt on Housewives will naturally have aftermath. God, I'm exhausted just writing about it.

And of course the vaginal bleeding. We can't forget all of the vaginal bleeding.

It seemed to me like this was the season where they finally admitted that our ladies have aged a bit now, even though their many procedures have ensured that the opposite appears true on their faces. There were lots of trips to medical appointments and home decorating stores. There were lots of ample noshes. And there was settling. Lots of lots of people settling for what was, I guess, good enough for now.

It was fairly thrilling, as television goes. I wish there'd been a new song, but we can't have everything. And I'm still coming down from the high of the Southern Charm theme song, anyway.


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Family Feud

Embarrassingly, I have recently become somewhat enamored of the Hallmark Channel morning show, meaningfully titled Home & Family. It's kind of like the Today Show, but if Matt Lauer weren't so punchable. Also without any news of any kind. And the addition of games. So yeah, it's not really that much like the Today Show. But it is amazing.

They usually have two or three celebrities on, except their celebrities are usually people who appear in Hallmark movies or in YouTube videos or something. (Sarah Michelle Gellar was supposed to be on once to plug a line of organic muffins or something, but she ended up sending her non-celebrity business partner instead.) And then they force the celebrities to stay around for the whole show, awkwardly participating in games and cooking demonstrations and stuff. Today some broad from Dancing With the Stars was required to participate in a superhero-themed game of Heads Up, which she was genuinely terrible at. Also there are crafts, many of which look like your aunt's Pinterest page threw up on itself.

Anyway, recently there has been some drama in that the wonderfully daffy (drunk?) menopausal lady who co-hosted the show was unceremoniously fired and replaced with Debbie Matenopoulos. She was absent for several weeks right after their week broadcasting from Dollywood and they just kept saying she was "taking some time." And then she announced on Twitter that she had been fired, and there Debbie was. As far as I know, no one who is still on the show has ever actually spoken of it. But man do I miss her often incoherent interjections.

At least we still have the correspondent who was suffering from separation anxiety after sending her son to college and decided to make pants for herself with pictures of him on them. Clearly this is a lady with a  future in the business.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Hoarders, Jr.

I'm having a bit of a problem with compulsively buying things for our new place.

At first, it was all stuff we legitimately needed. A living room set for our new family room. Office organizers for our new built-in desk. A hamper, since our new closet doesn't have built-in hamper like our old closet did. I spent more money on these things than any human reasonably should, but at least they were necessary.

Then we got into kind of a gray area, where there were needs, but they were needs we just kind of made up. A bigger TV, because we wanted a bigger TV. A closet organizer for the closet we decided to devote entirely to shoes. Custom frames because we decided we didn't like the old ones. We convinced ourselves, but even we knew we were kind of faking it, like when Madonna convinced herself she was an actress. (But without any help from the Golden Globes.)

Now it's progressed to the point where I am straight up just buying shit for no reason. A new serving tray for the formal living room we never, ever sit in. A paper towel holder, because apparently all those years that our paper towels just sat on the counter were an evil lie. Another ottoman, to sit next to the ottoman we already have. Things have gotten out of control.

On the plus side, I am going to get an AMAZING amount of credit card rewards this month.



Saturday, August 20, 2016

Lochte for the Gold

Like most people, I am truly loving the Ryan Lochte scandal (or is it just a kerfuffle?), and not just because he is a well known Sex Idiot. To me, the best part is that he is a swimmer who apparently had no idea that chlorine would cause his bad platinum dye job to turn blueish green. OK, no, the best part may be that he decided not just to lie about his frankly moronic acts of vandalism, but to lie quite elaborately and in a way that could pretty easily be verified to be false. Pretending that you reacted coolly like in a Liam Neeson movie when a gun was pointed at your head by someone whose language you don't understand is not believable. Pretending that you shit your pants and had to be carried back to the Olympic village would be believable.

Oh wait, another best part. It appears that this whole thing erupted because he decided to tell his mother this elaborate cover story, and she spilled the beans to the media. If a 32-year old hadn't been scared of his mommy, and his mother hadn't had CNN on speed dial, maybe none of this would have come to light. So give that woman a medal, basically.

OK, so maybe it's all the best part. God love this country for producing such a beautiful, stupid man.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Sport Report

I think I have Olympic Fever. Although it's hard to tell; it may just be Zika. I love to see the obscure sports that you never see otherwise. The road races over the weekend were amazing, primarily because so many people crashed, and this morning I took in some women's field hockey before work without understanding a single moment of it. And I'm a sucker for the jingoism, perhaps because I grew up in the days when the Soviet Union was still a big scary entity that merited a subplot on The Golden Girls. I certainly thrilled to the women's gymnastics team's victory, and not just because our ladies were the only ones who seemed to have been allowed to go through puberty in some form. Although their chosen team nickname could not be lamer. They should have brought in Michael Phelps's publicist; anyone who can have that many DUIs and remain America's hero has some really good mojo.

I do have my share of complaints about the broadcasts, of course. I'm not one of these people who needs to see everything live (suspense is not my favorite), but I do hate that they split up the gymnastics events and make me stay up late to see the end. I'm also a little tired of all the swimming; do we really need to see all the preliminary rounds live? And the way they edit down the other sports so you really only see the US go is kind of irritating. I need to be able to see more of our competitors so I can properly villainize them in my mind!


Sunday, August 07, 2016

Paint By Numbers

I saw War Paint last night. There was deception involved. Ian, knowing my feelings about Patti LuPone, told me that his mother had bought a ticket for me to join them without asking him. Funny thing, though: when I actually saw the ticket, it was in Ian's name. And his mother said "Oh, Jay's coming with us?" So yeah, my social politeness was used against me yet again.

Anyway, it was okay. Patti pretty much did her Patti thing. There was very little plot to speak of, and what plot there was constantly got interrupted by songs that stopped the action cold. Almost everything was a dramatic solo or duet for a diva or divas, so there wasn't a ton of variety. The score seemed pretty good, but I don't really remember any of it today. Mainly I remember the elderly gay men hooting and hollering for Patti. They like her. They really like her.

We had dinner beforehand, which was nice. Except they replaced the nice romaine lettuce that used to come with my salad with some purplish, tree-like kind of lettuce that I find unacceptable. Obviously, someone somewhere is out to get me.

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Throwback Tuesday

Scream 3 is on right now. Although it's a terrible movie, it's fun to think back to a time when people knew who Neve Campbell was and Courtney Cox had horrible bangs. I remember that I was really excited to see it when it came out and tried very hard to convince myself that it was good, but ultimately failed. There's a whole lot of random backstory they tried to just throw in there, and about a dozen new characters that it is impossible to care about. Also, Sidney keeps having visions of her dead mother for some reason and it turns out she's always been a bit of an ugly cry. I do kind of dig Parker Posey, but that could be residual goodwill for "Waiting for Guffman." Anyway, I'm turning it off right now, I swear. No really, I swear.





Saturday, July 30, 2016

A Whole New World

There's a lot to get used to living in a new place. And I don't just mean trying to remember where I put the scissors. There's a whole new set of neighbors to figure out, for one thing. One of my neighbors actually rang my doorbell within five minutes of my first visit to the place after buying it, and she's barely left ever since. She keeps filling me in on all of our other neighbors, and the various reasons she hates them. Other neighbors are perhaps not as chatty, but still full of unsolicited advice, covering all manner of topics from where I really ought to be grocery shopping to that I really should buy a baby bjorn to put the dog in. And still other neighbors just watch. And watch and watch. On the plus side, I think that level of supervision makes it unlikely that anyone will successfully break in here.






Monday, July 25, 2016

Movers & Shakers

I recognize that it's been like a month since I last posted. I have such good reasons for that, let me tell you. First, I had my twentieth high school reunion, which I've already described. Nostalgia can be exhausting, let me tell you. And then that very same weekend a friend got married in Naperville, which meant that I went to Naperville. It was a lovely wedding and the food was beyond amazing. We're talking like eight courses here. They were sharing plates, but that never seems to work out very well for everyone else when I'm involved.

America's birthday also happened, so that's good. That old gal's got some life in her yet. I wish she'd stop making my dog insane with her sudden explosions and loud noises, but then she does what she wants, doesn't she?

And we moved. For weeks. In ninety degree temperatures. And the moving guys showed up an hour early with the wrong size truck. We were literally just chucking stuff randomly into boxes. I couldn't find my shampoo for two weeks afterwards. One of the moving guys was nearly killed trying to force a giant armoire up the stairs to our bedroom; we have decided we can never move again because we will never get it out of here. And they had to pull the boxspring up over the roof and bring it down the stairs because it wouldn't fit any other way. But we offered them some water afterwards, so it's all good.

Anyway, I'm settled. So I won't be utterly disappeared, probably. Just the normal amount. 

Monday, July 04, 2016

High Times

I had my twentieth high school reunion this weekend. It was not much like the Hallmark motion picture "Holiday High School Reunion" in that there were no song and dance numbers and I did not realize that I was in love with Jonathan Bennett, but it was still pretty good. It was a two night affair, with a family barbecue in the park the first night and hardcore "adults only" cocktails the second. Of course, disturbing realizations about the rapid passage of time were featured both nights.

I was allegedly on the planning committee for these events, but in truth I didn't do a lot more than respond to a bunch of emails in a less than timely fashion and help purchase flowers and desserts and such. I was also responsible for writing a press release about the reunion, but like any good manager I outsourced that function to my mom. Regardless, everything went well and had good turnout, so I'll go ahead and claim complete responsibility.

The weirdest part was probably the tour of the high school, which they are adding on to in what appears to be an attempt to transform it into a Country Inn & Suites. Our old lockers have been removed, rather than turned into national historic sites as seems appropriate. They kept the photo of me with bangs in the commons, though, honoring the fact that I was a National Merit Scholarship finalist, something I had wholly forgotten. They also installed a cargo net over the orchestra pit after an incident a few years back where my music teacher fell off the stage into the pit, broke a bunch of stuff, and had to ride around on a Rascal scooter. Suffice it to say that it was the best production of The Diary of Anne Frank ever.

Anyway, it was really nice seeing everyone. I think as a whole we've held up really well. Probably because we no longer eat corn chips and candy for lunch. They're more of a snack item now.


Saturday, June 25, 2016

Save Ferris

On Tuesday we went to see Ferris Bueller's Day Off in Millennium Park. Now, if you are at all familiar with my neuroses, this probably does not seem like something I would do. And in fact, it was not my idea -- our friend wanted to do it for her birthday. But it was not in fact an idea that panned out particularly well for me. It was an absolute mob scene. We went over there right after work and the entire lawn was already covered with people. We got a tiny space on the very edge of it and claimed a little bit of sidewalk as well. Then about ten feet worth of people claimed the rest of the sidewalk. I barely had room to enjoy my burrito bowl in peace. And as far as watching the movie goes, that was pretty much out of the question. They started it well before dark so it was barely visible, and people did not hesitate to talk over all of the dialogue. Then, shit really got real.

I decided to step out to tell my sister and her family not to come, since there would be nowhere for them to go unless they happened to be in possession of some Ant Man suits. When I got back, I found that they had closed the gate to the lawn and were refusing to let anyone through. And there were some very sizable and sassy ladies enforcing that decision, ladies who were apparently impervious to my faux folksy charms. Nor did they seem particularly interested in Ian's pleas from the other side of the fence. So we left less than halfway through the movie, which of course we hadn't particularly been watching in the first place. Mainly I was sad to miss out on the pie someone had brought.

Anyway, the lesson I've learned is that going places is difficult and seldom worth it. Better to stay home and rewatch Murder, She Wrotes for the tenth time.

Monday, June 20, 2016

The Longest Day

Apparently the longest day of the year is a day earlier this year because of leap year? I didn't realize that could happen, and yet this information comes from my mother, who is almost as reputable a source as Google. The longest day of the year is important to us, because darkness makes us cry unexpectedly and eat uncontrollably. And so each year we try to commemorate the occasion somehow, even if some years it's just taken the form of me heading up to my roof for five minutes after getting out of work at 10:30.

This year we went to a rooftop bar in Old Town, my past and future home. (The neighborhood, not the bar. I don't think they'll let me move in there.) It was insanely hot out, but we were in the shade, so we did not die. In fact, I didn't even sweat through my shirt. My mother had a single glass of prosecco and I had let's just say more than a single glass of rose. It was a bit of a scene, but I could tell I was not the only person there with a parent. The fact that the waitresses kept offering to take our picture suggested that this was not their first time experiencing this arrangement.

It was a nice night. And now the days start getting shorter again. Stupid passage of time. Personally, I am against it.


Thursday, June 16, 2016

Back to the Future

Did I mention that I have my 20th high school reunion coming up in a few weeks? I'm looking forward to it, even though it comes at pretty much the worst time for me, the day before a good friend's wedding, two days before the Fourth of July, and six days before we close on the new place. So I will be making a surgical strike on Quincy, basically reuniting and running within a matter of two days.

It's definitely going to be interesting, though. Since my dad passed away and my mom spends a good chunk of her time up here now, I don't get back to Quincy very often. And when I do, it's not like I'm trolling the bars for contact with my former classmates. (Although it does happen: Wal-Mart is basically the center of the universe.) So there are a lot of people I haven't seen in a long time. Hopefully they haven't gotten weird, and won't think that I've gotten weird. What counts as weird these days anyway?

As far as events go, it should be pretty casual. We're having a barbeque, a tour of the high school, and a night at a bar. And Quincy has basically no public transit, so I probably won't even be able to get wasted. Though there is the promise of a retro soundtrack to look forward to. I don't care what people say, to me Hootie IS America.


Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Adventures in Babysitting

My mom and I babysat my nephew pretty much all day on Saturday. It went pretty well, although it was completely exhausting. He legitimately never stops moving, at least when he's awake. And he only slept for ten minutes while we were there, and that was when he just passed out face down on the rug in the middle of a game we were playing. My sister said he slept like ten hours straight after we left; I'm genuinely not being sarcastic when I say I'm glad he saved it for them.

He's a very cheerful guy and a lot of fun. Right now his favorite pastimes are dumping blocks all over the place and trying to hurt himself by falling into the storage ottoman. He also likes it when I give him high speed turbulent thrill rides by picking him up and running him around the room. He laughs a lot and vomits only a little. He's actually probably a bit lower maintenance than the dog right now. Which to be fair isn't saying much, since she basically never wants us to leave the house for any reason.

The only real problem was that they've decided they don't want people swearing around him any more so he won't accidentally repeat something at daycare. This really cramps my babysitting style, obviously. But I'll make the best of it, because self sacrifice is really what I'm known for.


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