Christmas, Don’t Be Late!

9 Dec

The Workplace has satellite radio, which regrettably is currently set to a Christmas station. Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas music. But I obviously like my own selection of Christmas music, most of which is NEVER PLAYED on this station.

Also regrettable are the most played songs: Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer, Where are You Christmas? by Faith Hill, Blue Christmas by Elvis (which I maintain is AWFUL, despite nearly everyone’s opinions to the contrary). And then the absolute worst: Jingle Bells to the tune of dog barks. I kid you not.

Most of this station is torture, but there is the occasional bright spot. Hanson (Yes. DEAL.), Bing Crosby, anything from the Peanuts soundtrack (including the mostly out of tune children in Christmastime Is Here), and of course the seminal classic Christmas Don’t be Late by the Chipmunks.

 

Ok, mea culpa time. I realize at the beginning of this post I was bemoaning cheese and now I’m glorifying in the small furry creature variety. I am sorry.

I like cheesy Christmas music, but it has to be the right kind of cheese (though we can all agree the dog barking can die a horrible death, right?). The Chipmunks have the nostalgia factor, as well as a catchy and unique song. There’s nothing interesting about the dogs barking jingle bells, and really no point to Grandma getting run over by reindeer. (To say nothing of the fact that that shit would never happen on Rudolph’s watch. He is nothing if not Pro-Grandma.)

Christmas Don’t Be Late is an old song, written in 1958, that we’ve all heard a million times. But that’s part of the reason we love it. It still seems so impromtu despite the fact we all know the ALVIIIIIIIIN freak-out is coming. And the song doesn’t make sense, of course, because there’s no way Christmas can actually BE late. It’s really more about the fact that anticipation and excitement are as big a part of holidays as the big event itself which, incidentally, is the theme of most Christmas songs.

All of this is to say, Happy beginning of the holiday season! I’m excited for snow and hot chocolate and getting sick of Christmas songs and falling in love with new ones. What’s your favorite (or least favorite, as the case may be) Christmas song?

As an aside: when I was looking at the video above on YouTube, the most liked comment was, “WHY IS DAVE ALWAYS SO PISSED.”

Indeed, random commenter. Indeed.

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I wrote this last week before this fantastic thing happened:

 

Two Heroes right there.

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Brought to You by the Letter U

17 Nov

In my quest to write more on this here blog, I’ve been re-acquainting myself with WordPress. Yesterday I noticed that under the Categories….uh…category, there was one listing. I clicked, not remembering what category I used for an old post and found the only category any of my blogs were listed under was “Uncategorized.”

The brilliance of this for personal blogs is astounding. It encapsulates the idea that your writing, thoughts, your very being is at once nothing and everything. Posted here is nothing while at the same time infinite somethings.

Insert Kristin’s mind Asploding.

This is one of those ideas that completely excites and fills me with terror. On one hand it says, “Hey you, yeah you there! You are rather insignificant. Maybe don’t worry about proofreading so much.” But it (or It, as the case may be. Who can know?) completely contradicts its own premise, because it recognizes the nobody. How can you be a nobody, if somebody points at you, seeing you for the sham you are.

Sit with that for a while, would you? Oh, and you’re an unimportant, significant, beautiful twat, by the way.

I’m gonna go mop up some gray matter now.

Past/Present/Future Imperfect

11 Nov

Does anyone else find this picture terrifying?

Not in the sense of “OMG, ALIEN CHILDREN CONVERGING UPON US, RUUUUUUN!!!!” But in a generally creepy kind of way? Maybe it’s just my public school upbringing, but for whatever reason, lots of people dressed EXACTLY the same always kind of wigs me out.

Or maybe I have a phobia of track suits.

*****

Earlier tonight I got distracted by Steinbeck. I read East of Eden last summer over the course of about a month. I would walk to a park near my apartment almost daily, drinking in the prose of a long dead, much celebrated author. I lounged on the cool grass or in the shade of the few trees, reflecting upon an earlier time in my life. I had to read Of Mice and Men and The Grapes of Wrath during High School, and quite honestly, didn’t care for either. I think it was an effect of High School; some sort of disorder begotten upon all high school students that entails that you must hate, or at the very least, mildly despise whatever you’re required to read for a grade.

All of this is to say I adored and continue to adore East of Eden. I revisit sections randomly when sitting bored in my apartment. It’s affecting like few other books (for me, at least) are. It’s an epic in the true sense of the word, that takes true persistence to get through, but is completely worth the time.

It’s also the kind of book that makes me want to simultaneously quit writing and also to continue to try and unseat Steinbeck as the great American author.

*****

Today on the radio I heard my favorite poet on Talk of the Nation. I ate lunch in a parking lot in my car with my windows rolled down, for the first time since the early fall. Billy Collins is my favorite poet. This paragraph perhaps suggests that I am a rabid consumer of poetry.

I’m not.

To me, Collins just is the best. Both because his actual poetry is affecting and actually good, and due to the fact that his attitude about poetry is about what it should be; one of admiration, but not of obsession or complete devotion.

In other words: poetry is great, but there are other pretty great things too. Get. Over. Your. Self.

Collins’ writing is the other (from Steinbeck) that I can get utterly lost within. I may be just a weird fangirl, but it’s true, and that’s just fine.

*****

I started this post a long time ago, as in May. This last section is the only part I’ve added. The picture is a bit random, but whatever. It still creeps me out.

I think it’s fitting to post this, as apparently I was caught up in the writing of others at the time, but not too focused on my own. I’m trying hard to change that, starting right now. This space will see a lot more attention, and collect way less dust. I promise.

Stick around. Let’s laugh together for a while and talk about our favorite books and drink too much coffee. There are worse ways to live, right?

Tom Brokaw’s Lawn: Get Off

10 Nov

Yesterday I was listening to the radio (MPR, natch) and on came Tom Brokaw, taped the night before at a townhall-ish type thing. Mostly he was doing publicity for his new book, but he did something that I’ve noticed more and more lately among politicians and professionals of Brokaw’s generation: The slam.

Specifically, they slam social media, modern technology and young people for engaging in the horrors of social media and technology.

I was a little surprised by Brokaw’s position, as it seemed a little out of the blue, and also because he’s not a politician trolling for old people votes. In fact, he’s a journalist who has greatly benefited from changing modern technology. He worked during the transition from typewriter to early word processor to computer, and thus presumably experienced how much easier and more efficient it is to do your job using advanced technology.

As for the social media bashing…maybe he just doesn’t understand it, or thinks it’s frivolous. A lot of people in journalism feel this way (though less now than a few years ago). I can’t tell you how many times during my time in school as a journalism major my professors and TA’s and guest lecturers badmouthed Twitter and Facebook as a waste of their time. Many of my classmates even agreed, though to be fair, it may have been a bit of brown nosing. I’m not sure.

I have a problem with journalists in particular (but also politicians, come to think of it) openly hating Twitter/Facebook/Tumblr etc. These channels, if not the exact sites themselves, are how we communicate today, and they will continue to serve that function in the near future. For example, I rarely talk on the phone to my friends, not because I don’t want to, but because we’re constantly having conversations and debates and sharing things we find interesting and thought-provoking on various social media. There’s skype and youtube and so many applications that make it easy to connect, that it’s foolish to insist they don’t serve a purpose, or that not using them makes you superior.

And yet, constantly we are bombarded with the whine that traditional newspapers are shrinking and dying. Guess what! They are everything our world of connectivity and interactivity isn’t. It’s folly to think they’ll survive.

Ok, back to Tom Brokaw. I kind of ranted on Twitter about this, but I wanted to expand a bit here. First though, here are my tweets:

Just listened to Tom Brokaw on @MPRnews. Interesting, but not sure why he constantly bashes social media, and most modern technology…

…my favorite instance being him saying MLK didn’t need text messaging and the internet. You’re right, Tom Brokaw, he didn’t need it…

…But you can’t make the argument that something is a waste of time bc someone with no chance of access didn’t need it in their era. #ranty

Also this: “You will not eliminate global poverty by hitting delete, and no text message will ever replace the first kiss.”-Tom Brokaw

It’s a slick line, but no one disagrees, IMO. Also, he’s ignoring multitudes of aid organizations that would never existed w/o Internet/SM.
One of his main points about social media was that other movements didn’t need it, so we really shouldn’t be too enamored. What was his example? Martin Luther King, Jr. during the civil rights movement. Ummmmm…what?
This is like saying, Shakespeare didn’t have a newfangled compooter machine, but he wrote Hamlet and did alright for himself!

Abraham Lincoln didn’t have radar but he won the civil war!

Nellie Bly didn’t have helicopters or smart carz or even Nepalese sherpas, but she circled the globe in 72 days!

Benjamin Franklin didn’t have Weather.com but he got electrocuted in a lightning storm! (Ok, maybe that one doesn’t work…)

We study history so we can apply the lessons we learned from those that came before us to our own situations, not so we can replicate their movements and ideas exactly. A civil rights era movement would look totally different in our country today rather than 50 years ago for the simple fact that we have completely changed many things about how we interact with one another during that time. They utilized the resources available to them during the 60’s, and we would use the same process now but our resources have changed. Further, Brokaw completely ignores the key role social media and technology has played during more recent movements like the Arab Spring or the uprising in Iran. These movements could have still been significant without social media, but because of the platform social media and the internet provided, they became huge international stories.

Brokaw is an Old Media Type who was in Berlin when the wall came down. He’s interviewed multitudes of important and interesting people and I really do respect his credentials. But there’s a reason he’s called an Old Media Type. This is someone who longs for the old days, freely admits that he prefers America ‘back in the day’ compared to now.

I, on the other hand, would not want to live in any other era than right now. I don’t think I’d enjoy not having indoor plumbing, for example. Nor would I like wearing garters, bustles, stockings or, heaven forbid, corsets. *shudder*

Reducing my generation and people like me to mindless texters that walk into traffic and sit in basements playing video games or *gasp* BLOGGING, is not only expected and passe, it’s insulting to both my intelligence and complexity. I believe you can appreciate the inescapable goosebumps of an amazing sunset in the same evening as laughing your ass off over a perfect web comic. I think you can find an amazing community of friends both online and in your neighborhood, and those experiences both expand your world.

Tom Brokaw won’t see this. Nor will he see my ranty tweets. And that’s fine. I don’t write or participate in online communities of awesome in order to become part of The Greatest Generation. I do it because I love it. Because it makes me furiously happy.

And really, what other reason is there?

Doing the Dishes

13 Oct

The dishes steadily piled up, some even collected dust. Something had to be done.

She turned away from the music and pushed up her sleeves. Sometime between the frying pan and the paring knife the crying started.

The concept of a good cry never really meant anything to her. She cried when she was frustrated, unable to say the words that were in her head. She winced, but didn’t cry when hurt. And she didn’t cry from happiness. Well, not often, anyway.

This time, it was partly the frustration, and partly restlessness. Mostly it was being lost.

She was at the sink. In her house. In her city. Four blocks from the park, ten from Starbucks, 12 to the courthouse. But this wasn’t the point.

A coffee cup from that morning, then last night’s fork. The teardrops mixed in with the crumbs and the soap and the water and she kept washing and kept thinking.

Why am I here?

Where am I going?

What do I do next?

Questions people asked of her lately were of the ideal. Where would you go if? and What would you do if?

She got annoyed with the questions. These questions ignore the rent, to say nothing of the dishes.

She walked away for a moment, wiping her eyes, avoiding the mirror. This wasn’t sadness or happiness, so much as it was treading water. Floating along. But a few rungs above surviving, to be sure.

What is happy? Is happy possible? Is happy enough?

Is it a place or a room to be unlocked? She’d never really understood what that word in particular meant. Was it, or is it, as simple as existing? Waking in the morning, doing what needs to be done and coming home to a book or a phone call or a cat?

People seemed to think, and say out loud to her, that she could do whatever it was she wanted. But their suggestions didn’t seem to fit her correctly, like Halloween costumes, meant for only a day use, not repeatedly. Not constantly.

Those people went home to their books and phone calls and cats while she stood back at the sink.

When did she use that wooden spoon? She scrubbed it twice.

You really could do anything you want, they said to her. What they didn’t say was, what you’re doing now is fine, but not really. Do something else. You can do something else. They talked as if it was easy. As if it was easy, just needing a bit of concentration, like crossing the street.

It didn’t feel that way to her.

How do you know what you want?

So You have to Go the Impound Lot: A Helpful Guide

5 Oct

My car got towed yesterday. Fuuuuuuuuu…

…dge.

Anyway. As a public service, I have compiled points from my recent experience with the impound lot. (Full disclosure: this was my THIRD TIME in a year. WHAT THE HELL, SELF.) For me, the reasons had to do with me not seeing signs, or just being an idiot. So my first and best piece of advice? Don’t be an idiot. Applies to just about everything, but it’s nice to be reminded, yes?

The other Most Important thing is attitude. As tough as this will be to accomplish, be nice. Most likely you will see the dude/dudet behind the counter deal with some ridiculous shenanigans and unbelievable asshattery before your turn. But remember: They didn’t tow your car. Save your indignation (if appropriate) for someone else. They really don’t give a shit, nor should they. Aside from that, they may appreciate the reprieve from teh crazies. This may not make much difference to you, but speaking as someone who works in the customer service industry, some days it’s nice to have people who are simply not jerks talking to you. Not flirts or the Nicest People On Earth (OMG I LOVE your SWEATER), just non-jerks. Plus, think of your karma!

Ok, now a quick run down before this gets too long:

1. Make sure your car is actually at the impound lot you think. In Minneapolis, you can check online, provided you know your VIN or licence plate. You can always call, if it’s a private lot. But do this before leaving the house or calling a cab. What’s that? You don’t know your license plate number? HaaaaaaahaaReally? Ok, well NOW IS THE TIME. But if you really can’t memorize 6 CHARACTERS, put it in your phone or something.

2. Don’t cry/make a fool of yourself. Save that for natural disasters. You’ll only attract unwanted attention in one of the grossest places you’ll ever visit.

3. Speaking of which, here are some things to know about the physical environment of the impound lot/building (and every impound is the same in a few key areas):

– It will most likely be in a slightly remote area. Try not to think about all of the mafia killing scenes in abandoned industrial parks you’ve seen in movies throughout your very short life. You’re about to walk into one (though hopefully without Tony Soprano).

– It will smell weird. Try not to think about it.

– If you’re lucky there will be multiple lines open. If not, well… you didn’t have plans tonight did you, fool? Regardless of staffing, plan on over an hour wait. Much like the DMV and Vikings football, I find it’s helpful to have low expectations.

4. Unless the police have impounded your car for a reason aside from parking violations, you shouldn’t need to proof of insurance (which should be in the car anyway). The impound dude either won’t care, or will see in his computer program that you’re set and not breaking any laws. Still, never hurts to be prepared just in case. Also: showing the impound guy you have your shit together never hurts. (If a parking violation isn’t the case, the police/DMV should provide you with the right information. If not? CALL THE IMPOUND LOT AND ASK. The LAST thing you want is to have to leave and return. It’s simply embarrassing, aggravating and unnecessary.)

5. If the impound does need more paperwork, they should make it Very Clear what additional paperwork/documentation that is. If not, ask exactly what you need to bring back to get your car out, and if faxes/photocopies/email attachments will work. Again, attitude is important. In my most recent case, my new plates hadn’t completely processed yet, but the receipt was in the car (as the DMV instructed – I’ll take my merit badge now, thankyouverymuch) so Impound Guy held on to my ID and gave me a piece of paper that allowed security to take me to and from my car for the one piece of paper. I grabbed my insurance just in case while I was out there.

Finally, it’s going to hurt, financially. But that’s the point. The city/private lot doesn’t want to tow your car, they want you to pay attention to the posted (or not…) laws. At least it’s not missing or stolen or totaled. Get over it.

Brain Crack: Health Insurance Edition

28 Aug

Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a health insurance plan that included some sort of button (like an easy button mounted in your bathroom! Ooh, or a life alert necklace!) that you could push and an insurance agent would show up at your door with chicken noodle soup?

Funny story: in the middle of typing that sentence I sneezed, but had just enough time before the actual sneeze to grab a tissue. I dare anyone to say there isn’t a more triumphant feeling than catching a sneeze in a kleenex. Run a marathon? Get a PhD? PSHAW. I AM A NINJA THAT CAN CATCH SNEEZES.

Anyway. Though that particular service would make your premiums absolutely skyrocket, I would TOTALLY DO IT. Though, my building doesn’t have a buzzer for my apartment, so I’d still have to put shoes on and let my insurance soup deliverer inside. Ugh. Shoes.

It may seem completely random that I’m talking about this, but I’m sick. The pollen count is apparently high right now, and while I don’t get *that* sick in the spring, I almost always succumb to ridiculous allergies in the fall. The end of August is a little earlier than usual, but whatever. Long story short, I HATE YOU SINUSES.

Related: Should I get a neti pot? Will it do anything other than disgust me? I remember seeing an episode of Oprah where she was talking about how much she looooooved neti pots, then to show how they worked, she picked a random member of the audience and poured crap through her nose!!

Even on Oprah I would never expose the world to the contents of the inside of my nose, and quite frankly, neither should you. Nothing good comes of exposing one’s nasal cavity to strangers.

—–

OH and just in case you don’t know what Brain Crack is, it’s not an illegal substance of any kind. It’s an idea. Oh just go to the link already, I’m not good at explaining it.