December 26, 2008

Happy Boxing Day!

So sorry I didn't wish you all a Merry Christmas! yesterday since I was unable to keep my hands on a computer long enough to post. I was going to share terrible cell phone pictures of my Christmas cactus that is appropriately blooming right now. I only have two blooms at the moment but since it took a lot of effort to get these two blooms I am terribly excited about them. One bloom just fell off and another is about to bloom so I will have a total four blooms this Christmas! How exciting! So, in honor of the Day of World Peace (I decided that's how I'm going to celebrate Christmas since I think Jesus was really just a brilliant anthropologist and humanist- not God incarnate), here are the promised cactus blooms:

This is the almost bloom. There's a bud coming on a stem next to it but it hasn't progressed in a while so I don't know if it will turn into a bloom or not.

I don't know if you can make out the great color of these blooms-it's a nice reddish pink, a very rich pink. I have another cactus that has pink blooms (at least I think so because it hasn't bloomed since I moved here THREE YEARS AGO!)

I didn't realize how phallic these things look! How inappropriate! It looks like a flower penis coming to poke me in the eye.

Hopefully I can share with you the other cactus one day. I called it the Jesus cactus since it bloomed on Easter and Christmas. It was very strange. Now I just call it Lucinda.

Happy Boxing Day everyone! I hope you all had a safe and lovely holiday filled with good food, good booze and great love.

December 22, 2008

Films for the Season

Since Mike is taking me to see my favorite holiday movie Scrooged at an old theatre downtown this evening I thought I would share with you some of my holiday favorites.

Scrooged, 1988

This movie is so great because it's Bill Murray at his comedy best but at the same time allows him to touch the warm spot in your chest cavity. In my opinion it's the best retelling of A Christmas Carol.

The Year Without a Santa Claus, 1974

This video says it all.

Jingle All the Way, 1996

This movie with Ahnold is ridiculous but it makes me laugh every time. I had no idea it was going on 13 years old because to me, this comedy is timeless. Well, Sinbad may not be timeless but kids needing the gift of the year and parents being unattentive will always be timeless.

Home for the Holidays, 1995

This may not be a Christmas movie but it encapsulates everything about the holidays I love and hate. Robert Downey, Jr. and Dylan McDermott are super dreamy.

Elf, 2003

"I love you. I love you. I looooooove you." I find this movie underlying-ly depressing (I can't tell you why exactly) but at the same time Will Ferrell is actually very funny and charming in this holiday flick.

Are there any favorites I missed? I'm not a huge fan of the old Christmas movies because they are too sappy. So that rules out A Wonderful Life. As great as that movie is, I'll pass if it's on. So, what's out there?

December 20, 2008

I Can't Find the Justification

During ticket pick-up last Saturday afternoon I saw at least 8 different women wearing fur coats of various lengths. It wasn't particularly cold out that day and there was no snow on the ground. I couldn't figure out why all these women were wearing animal carcasses on them for a matinee to a theatre in Albany. The only conclusion I had was that they must be going to one of the swanky restaurants downtown after the show. But that still didn't justify the coats. Every time a new coat would come to the window I grew increasingly nauseated. I didn't realize how much fur disgusted me. I'm just not around it enough I guess.

In this day and age I can't find any reason to justify wearing fur. It is no longer an item of necessity. I know why people wore fur back in the dark ages and I can even understand it up until the fifties. But now? Go out and get a jacket made of material that was obtained without stripping the animal of its largest organ. How long are people who own fur outside anyway? How long does it take to get out of a luxury vehicle, give the keys to the valet, and then duck into the restaurant? Fifteen minutes. Please. There are better clothes to make a statement. Besides, it just makes all the women look bulky and manly.

Yes, I eat animals. But, I will never wear an animal. I'm not going to throw red paint on people wearing coats but someone out there has to realize it's a luxury that isn't luxurious. It's disgusting. To quote Mohandas Ghandi:
The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.

December 19, 2008

He Liked It

(Sorry about the cell phone pic. It's all I got right now.)

So he put a ring on it. Santa approves.

December 15, 2008

Not Home If I Can Help It

Whenever I meet someone new inevitably I'm asked where I'm from. For simplicity's sake I say I'm from Northern Virginia outside of Washington, DC since that's where I graduated high school. When I get pressed about not having a Southern accent I say that I moved around a lot as a kid. "Oh! Where did you live?" I rattle off the various states and countries and talk about how moving has really shaped who I am.

Being a military brat is a mixed bag. Moving has made it fairly easy for me to be in a group of people I don't know and strike up a conversation. It helped me learn my social limits. And moving helped me appreciate different kinds of people and places in this world. But it also took some things from me. I don't know my relatives very well. I don't have a lot of long term friendships. And I don't have a place I can call home.

Being "homeless" is exacerbated by the fact that my father got orders to England my senior year and we moved the day after I graduated high school, my parents got divorced a year later, and my father and mother lived in considerably different time zones the years after that. My father has since retired to Myrtle Beach and my mother lives in Atlanta. Ugh. I can appreciate a lot in this world but humidity and toothlessness are not on that list. Needless to say, I don't see my family very much and holidays are some of the few times a year I am required to see them.

I haven't spent a holiday with my father since the Thanksgiving my stepmother wouldn't let my dad bring me to his house for reasons I don't believe. He and I were forced to spend the holiday in my mother's house (in which neither of us ever resided and while my mother and siblings were away in Florida) digesting a turkey loaf. That was in 2001. I've spent a Christmas with my mother crying incessantly about how my brother and sister were in Hawaii and it was all her fault that the family is split up like this. I've spent a Christmas when my siblings wouldn't let my mother's boyfriend come over until after 2pm. And I had lost many friends from high school that I could run to. That was fun. I can go on and on but you get the point. I don't like the holidays.

So as a person who dreads the holidays I was really looking forward to Four Christmases, a movie with characters who vacation instead of spend painful holidays with family. I thought maybe someone could take a crappy situation and make it dark and deeply funny. I love to laugh at things that depress me. And nothing makes me laugh harder than divorce. But I only really laughed at one part in this movie- a screaming congregation of white Christians going shit crazy for baby Jesus. Like I said, depressing means funny.

The movie had a tremendous amount of comedy gold to be mined and it failed to deliver. It should have been about more than just people who don't like their families- families who seemed to be nothing more than innocuously annoying. It should have been about parents playing against each other, parents feeling guilt, the dynamic of how awkward it is to be around people who are sleeping with your parents, parents thinking you failed to live up to expectations and having to hear about it twice, or coming to terms with the mistakes people made and not making them yourself. I know this isn't a tall order for a comedy- it's been done, see Home for the Holidays.

Maybe it could have been a great comedy. Or maybe I can just learn to find humor in my own situation and not look to Vince Vaughn for dark and insightful humor. I don't think he can find anything insightful if it crawled out of his poorly improvised ass.

December 12, 2008

I Knew I'd Forget Something!

How could I forget these songs?

Ron Sexsmith, "Maybe This Christmas"

Ignore the cheesy video. It was this, or one with just the lyrics, or one with The O.C. kids all over it. I feel so warm and fuzzy now.

The Waitresses, "Christmas Wrapping"

I didn't watch this all the way through but I know without watching it that it's better than the Spice Girls' cover that I didn't know existed until today. (You guessed it, it's crap.) This was one of the first non-traditional Christmas songs I heard and it wasn't until high school that I heard it.

Vince Guaraldi, "Christmas Time is Here"

Who doesn't associate this song with a great Christmas memory?

What are your favorites?

December 11, 2008

Christmas Time is Here

Since Christmas is two weeks away, I've been listening to hours of Christmas music. I force myself to forgo normal music during the entire month of December. Not because I don't like my Christmas music, since I LOVE IT, but because it's just habit to reach for Radiohead and not Dean Martin singing lecherously about how it's cold outside (is it me, or is his rendition of "Baby, It's Cold Outside" just a little too creepy?). For the past five years or so I've been searching for not-your-run-of-the-mill Christmas music and creating mixes of them. I love a rousing rendition of Peter, Paul and Mary's "Children Go Where I Send Thee" but since my mother is allergic to any good holiday music I've listened to that album enough for a lifetime. In my quest I've found some songs that are super and others that are so bad I'd rather risk molestation by a drunk-o Dino instead of listen to them. Today, I'm going to share with you some of those super songs if I can find them on the YouTube. If not, I'll just tell you about them and leave it to your imagination.

Sufjan Stevens, "Put The Lights on the Tree"

Just so perky and awesome.

Sammy Davis Jr., "Christmas Time All Over the World"

This is one that I'd rather get roofied but Mike loves it and does a killer Sammy D impression.

Sufjan Stevens, "That Was the Worst Christmas Ever"

I know it's the second song by this guy but I love the forlorn-ness of it. Very quiet which is unusual for a Christmas song.

Sarah McLachlan, "Happy Xmas (War is Over)"

OMG this song makes me cry so much but I love it.

David Bowie and Bing Crosby, "Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth"

David Bowie give me a boner and this song did too until I found out Bing beat his kids. Now I just enjoy it immensely.

The Pogues, "Fairytale of New York"

Who doesn't love a Christmas song featuring abusive lovers?

I think that's enough for today. I'm sure I'm forgetting some. But songs that I can't find to embed are pretty awesome and I suggest you find them- Sheryl Crow "Blue Christmas" love the xylophone and MOST IMPORTANTLY Holly Golightly's "The Christmas Tree's On Fire." It's an important song about Christmas safety as well as a great song to jam to!

Look Hard

Does anything pop out at you in this picture?

December 10, 2008

This Is Becoming Unacceptable

This morning Fluffy pissed on the bed again. Yeah yeah yeah. She does it all the time. But this time was different. I WAS IN THE BED WHEN SHE DID IT. I didn't notice until I stretched out and felt a cold, wet spot. Mike was gone, doesn't bring drinks in the bedroom in the morning and knows where the toilet is. My only other option was Fluffy. And I was correct. And she must've been holding it in all night. That thing can pee.

With a knee perfumed with cat pheromones, I opened the bedroom door to find the offender. She was waiting patiently for me at the other end of the hall. Sitting upright, silent and perfectly still. She didn't move when I said her name. We stood there long enough for the theme to The Good, the Bad and the Ugly to pop into my head. Finally the pisser started to make her way down the hall. I didn't know what to do so I grabbed her and put her face in it. I know that's what you do for dogs and not cats but sheesh! What else is there to do?

I cleaned the litter box and fed her. Then I stripped the bed. I heard her pawing around in the litter until she starts meowing. I go into the bathroom and she's sitting there waiting for me. She leads me towards her (clean) litter box and while I watch, she proceeds to use it. (I notice she had a spot of diarrhea again so maybe she doesn't like to use the litter when she's had terrible BMs.) She uses the box just fine but when she makes it out to the hallway she rubs her ass along the rug. I look for poo smears but luckily there were none. It appears she's not sick like the last time when she almost diarrhea-ed on the bed. She moves into the bedroom to sniff around and looks like she's going to shit on the floor. I tell her to move on out and she starts to clean herself instead. I swear if she had any poo left she would've dropped one right on the floor.

She's fine the rest of the morning but I made sure to close the doors to both bedrooms before I left for work. I called the vet during lunch for some kind of advice. They don't know what to tell me (who would!?) and if I wanted to bring her in for a pee test I could to make sure it's not medical. I ask how much that would cost- a cool $125. I'm not terribly concerned about it being a health concern so much as a behavioural problem so I pass. The person on the phone told me her cat pissed on her roommate's bed all summer until one day the cat just stopped. She thinks it was the detergent- that the cat didn't like it and let her roommate know by peeing everywhere. According to the very helpful lady sometimes the behavior goes away. I guess I'll have to keep the litter immaculate and see how it plays out.

Blerg. At least she didn't pee on my pillow. That would've been pretty terrible since my face would've been there at the time.

December 9, 2008

I'm All Alone Out Here!

Alright. I didn't start this blog for other people, I started for myself, but I write this blog thinking someone would read it. I was shocked at how many comments I had so soon. But those comments have completely dried up! So here I am, shamelessly, asking someone, anyone, to let me know that this craptastic blog is being read by friendly eyes. Please? I don't care if you write something like "donkey balls" and "bananahammock!" Just something!

December 8, 2008

A Whole New Kind

I moved my alarm clock across the room for two reasons. The first reason was because I read somewhere that if you don't sleep well that it is a good idea to remove electronic devices to a few feet away from you. The electric field interrupts healthy sleeping. Since I've moved my clocks I've already noticed a difference in my sleep. It is certainly better. Not only are there no electric currents affecting my brain but I don't wake up and try to find out what time it is only to freak out. This has been very helpful.

The second reason was because I can't get my ass out of bed. I figured that if I moved the clock away from the bed I would be up to turn off the alarm and consequently stay up. Well, the first day I remembered in my sleepy stupor that I had a remote for that alarm clock. So I hit snooze by remote control. When I decided I couldn't be trusted with such technology I put my remote in elsewhere in the room. Well, I just got up to get the remote and hit snooze that way. I've since removed the remote. Now I just get out of bed and hit snooze only to climb back into bed. It doesn't matter that I do that for two hours. I'll do it only to get back into bed for another nine minutes.

I've reached a new low. I was close today because I actually stayed up to pee. But I only got back into bed like a good lazy shithead. The only way to stop the cycle is to just get out of bed. I just have to do it.

December 5, 2008

All The Things We Can Do

Winter is a truly lovely season. It's horribly underrated. People hate it so much because of the snow and cold and the early sunsets. Those are the very reasons I like it. Besides, could you enjoy summer as much if you didn't have winter? I admit I don't particularly enjoy the darkness before I've even left the office but ultimately it makes the world slow down. I can come home and take time to take care of stuff that I otherwise wouldn't or actually hang out with my cat. But I think my favorite thing about winter is the sunsets.

There is something so pure about a winter sunset. You can almost see the chill in the air when the sun goes down. There aren't many clouds in a winter sky or leaves blocking the view. The naked branches frame the remains of the day and creates a sort of tableau. The pinks of a sunset are softer, the blues powdery-er, and the remaining clouds whispery-er. I just wish they weren't so early in the day. I miss the sunsets from my desk. That bums me out more than walking home in the dark.

It's been really hard to not let the lack of daylight keep me from working out. The most I've worked out in the past three weeks were the Turkey Trot and a run the next day. I can't seem to get out of the warmth of the sheets when my nose is so cold. I prefer to stay in bed and watch the sun rise. The winter mornings tend to be more vibrant than the sunsets. At least the ones I've been awake enough to notice. I'm allowing my body the brief hibernation. I've been eating less which is usually not the case for the winter (and great!), but I've also been working out less. If I can work-out and keep eating the way I do, I'll be all set for the triathlon season starting in May.

Winter sports are the best. I haven't been sledding in years and it's probably my favorite sport. I want to acquire some snow shoes so Mike and I can go on nature walks. I don't want to cross-country ski just yet. I think I'll try that next year. It's an incredibly expensive winter sport with all the equipment to rent. I'd rather rent some snow shoes or even buy them. I think they'd be a great investment. I don't plan on leaving the Northeast any time soon. They'll get a good use. I'll make sure of it- they are a great workout.

Part of the reason I love fall so much is because it means winter is right there. Yes, winter is always more enjoyable before the holidays. There's a sparkly, magical quality to the snow. It's always fresh and crisp before Christmas. After the New Year, snow turns into a nuisance and gets grimy fast. That's when winter loses some of its appeal to me, but not by much. Spring is always welcome, but only if I feel like I got a decent winter. I haven't the last few years. I'm ready for a good one. I have my shoe grips to go running, or workout DVDs for storms and a jacket that is designed for running in the cold. And I'm looking forward to more reading and feeling warm and cozy with Mike. So, bring it.

December 2, 2008

Holiday Weight Loss

I managed to maintain my weight over Thanksgiving! I was worried only because of all the baked goods I was eating coupled with the little amount of working out I did. Maintenance is really all I can hope for during the holidays. So I am quite pleased. On weeks that I don't have parties I need to be vigilant about being on my poins. Wish me tenacity! Luck just ain't gonna do it.

December 1, 2008

Vigilance is Our Only Weapon

Today is World AIDS Day. You wouldn't know it because few news sources have covered much about it. On CNN you have to go to the health section, no links are provided on the home page, and even then it's not the top story- eating during the holidays is the top health story. I understand that eating right during the holidays is something more people can relate to than living with AIDS (I truly hope that's the case) but AIDS is still an incredibly important issue. It's still thriving in our world. If AIDS can suffer anything at all, it would be apathy. And AIDS has a raging case of apathy.

It is a misconception that HIV infection rates are on the decline. New cases of HIV infection are actually on the rise. That's because populations think AIDS is now curable or still only for gay men or rare. It's none of those things. AIDS is still here, it's still infecting people, and it's still a very real threat. Superstitions, fear, poor education, and hate are all enabling AIDS to thrive. Some tribes in Africa think if you are HIV positive that you can cure yourself by having unprotected sex with a virgin. Young people across the world think you can't get AIDS through oral sex. Certain religions think that if you are HIV positive that you have somehow earned God's wrath and deserve it. All of these beliefs are frightening but they exist. And the only way we can change these people's minds and dispel rumors like those is by education.

It is imperative that HIV education is included in our school's health classes and throughout our prisons. Prisoners and young people are the two groups that are the bulk of new HIV cases in America. At least half of new HIV infections in America are in people under 25. (AIDS is the leading cause of death for African American women aged 25 to 34. source) That students and inmates understand how it is contracted, how you can prevent infection, and where to go to get tested is necessary to stopping the growth of this terrible illness. Abstinence only education is a great disservice to our youth. They deserve better from us.

When I was thirteen I was watching the movie about the beginning of the HIV/AIDS pandemic And the Band Played On. My mother noticed I was watching it and asked me what I thought of it. I told her I found it very informative and a pretty good movie, that I like it a lot. Then she pulled me aside and told me my uncle had contracted HIV. I admit I was angry because I knew my uncle contracted it from irresponsible behavior. It broke my heart. But I never, ever, stopped loving my uncle or feared touching my uncle or thought he was evil incarnate. He's still my uncle.

My uncle has been living with HIV for close to fifteen years now. He's proven HIV isn't a death sentence but it's a challenge. A challenge that requires great bravery. He risks facing ignorance and intolerance on a daily basis. It doesn't have to be that way. So for World AIDS Day, I ask that you go out and try to find out something about AIDS that you didn't know. Or find a way to help the AIDS community. Or let someone know you're thinking of him today.