Sunday, December 18, 2005

the bitch who stole christmas

i went to see the nutcracker today with my friend sunny, as her husband was unavailable to accompany her. yes, i hate christmas, but i'm comfortable in the theater. i spent most of my life on stage, so i try not to turn down the opportunity to be near one again, though i'd prefer to be on one instead of facing it.

i'm not a big fan of ballet, and i understand ballet even less than i understand opera, which is to say that i'm pretty much clueless about them both. i don't understand men either, but i still give them a chance. and i love sunny. so i went.

i was on dayquil, since i can't seem to get well nowadays, and i noticed that i discovered a different dimension of the ballet while medicated. i also noticed not only that the guy who played the role of the nutcracker had a perfectly textbook ass, there was a rather adorable man playing the trumpet in the orchestra. sunny pointed out to me at this point that the members of the orchestra were high school aged, which made me feel like a leacherous old woman. which i guess i am. but i digress...

when i was in high school, i went to watch alice in chains play at a pretty big venue in downtown denver. if memory serves, sepultura and gruntruck opened up for them. my girlfriend and i parked the car, and walked in the direction we felt like we should be headed. it was november in denver, but, like most kids of that age, fashion superceeded warmth, and we opted for jeans and t-shirt, sans jackets. as we got closer to the show, we noticed large groups of well dressed families, women in floor length gowns, men in coats with tails, and little girls wearing christmas dresses and patent leather shoes. we started to check our tickets, thinking the theater we drove to was in error, and saw a man dressed up as a nutcracker hollering directions. his face was painted up, gold buttons on his jacket, and he gently swung his arms and pointed as he called out in a festive but fake british-esque accent: "Nutcracker, this way! Art Gallery, to your left. Christmas Display, straight ahead!" we approached him and the smile left his face as he noticed our dress and realized where we were headed. his head dropped a bit, and in little more than a whisper, he said, "alice in chains is over there, girls.." we didn't even get the fake accent.

it just so happened that two of denver's bigger downtown venues were situated next door to one another, and while one hosted "the nutcracker", the other featured layne staley and the boys, and several hundred black-clad, cursing generation Xers, ready to rock. the show was amazing, as one might expect from alice in chains live. but my favorite part of the show came after. both events ended at the same time, and all exit doors emptied out into the same courtyard. the grunged-out rockers on their smoke breaks, the rock fans in their ripped jeans and big black boots were co-mingling (albeit not purposely) with well-dressed familes exiting in hurried droves, mothers clutching their sweet children in safety while dads kept watch with wary eyes at the counter-culture kids.

at that moment, i've never wanted to stay and people watch more in my life. i'm fairly certain the event planner in denver that year was reassigned to janitorial duty somewhere in commerce city. no such spectacle today, however. just 60 degree weather and the sounds of the spice girls filling horton plaza. i still didn't come away with any brilliant revelations about ballet, however. or the spice girls, for that matter.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

the magic of the holidays

so, i hate christmas. it's no secret. those of you who know me well know that i have hated it for a long time. not the actual day, of course. i like spending time with people i care about, i like sitting around the table drinking wine and not caring about anything but being in the moment. but i hate the songs, i hate the ornaments, i hate the decorations, the stress, the evil in people's hearts.. i hate the commercialism of christmas.

i watched the polar express yesterday because that's what my household was watching, and i wanted to try to be part of them. it was nice. not as great as emmet otter and his jugband christmas (see last year's xmas blog) or the all time coolest christmas cartoon, small one, which evidently isn't on television anymore. my roommates put up their tree, so the living room smelled like pine, and i felt a little twinkle of christmas spirit, though it faded quickly..

i started to think about christmas traditions at my house, and they're a little hard to understand because of the sheer insanity of my family. but i will try my best.

i grew up in a college town in colorado. each year, the local paper highlighted the biggest and best private homes that had lights displayed. most were tasteful, some were not. in fact, two of my favorites were known citywide and visited by everybody i knew.

the first was a photographer that had a set of life size (okay, not QUITE lifesize) dinosaurs in his lawn strung up with lights. the other was a house in the downtown area which boasted the single most insane light display this side of vegas. huge lighted slogans like "jesus loves you" covered the house, complete with a rotating model of santa, and about a thousand extensions cords. this house made clark griswold's display of christmas seem the equivalent of changing your porch light from white to green. it was nauseating, and spectacular.

my father decided when i was about 16 that we would drive around on christmas eve after our dinner and look at the lights on houses. each year, a few people were added to the mix (including my dad's fantastic and equally insane coworker, Dick) that one carload wouldn't fit everybody. of course, staying home wasn't tolerated, even though i offered to give up my seat in the car each year. by the third year, dick and my father typed up score sheets for all of us to fill out to rate each home using a variety of criteria like symmetry, color scheme, and wattage. we weren't allowed to forego the score sheets either. they were all counted and tallied at the end of the night to declare the overall winner.

one year, my father announced that christmas eve was going to be different than usual, but he wouldn't provide any details. my mom spent weeks brainstorming what she thought he had planned, and for some reason she became fixated that my father had hired pearl jam to perform in our backyard, despite my coaxing that it probably wasn't the case.

when our doorbell rang during dinner that christmas eve, my father wouldn't let me get the door. from my vantage point at the table, i could see that the man at the door was wearing a tux, and he and my dad spoke in hushed whispers. i relayed this information to the rest of the table, and my mom abandoned the pearl jam idea and became sure that my dad hired chippendales to perform for the women of the family. i tried to tell her that he was more likely a limo driver, and that having us driven around to see the lights, free to drink wine and fill out our scorecards in a more spacious setting and without the hassle of a designated driver, was a more plausible holiday idea than pearl jam or strippers, but she was resolute. as we were climbing in his limo a half an hour later, he introduced himself as "greg". my mom called him "chips" for the rest of the night anyway.

several years passed and we carried on that tradition. drinking wine in a limo, doing chinese fire drills at stoplights, careful not to spill our cocktails, dilligently filling out our scorecards to avoid being chastized by the men, even though they never came up with a true winner no matter how long it took them to look over the scores.

Sunday, December 4, 2005


I get a raft of shit during the holidays, because that's when my method of eating gets put under the microscope by my family and friends. I really never knew that how I ate was so different, because it's just what I grew up doing. Evidently, I'm a monster.

My food can't touch. I'm not talking about burgers and fries resting against one another, I'm talking about foods that when put on a plate, don't stay within their boundaries. Thanksgiving dinner is a perfect example. I can't have my stuffing, mashed potates, rice, and green bean casserole mixed all together. That is chaos. Lucky for me, at Thanksgiving there are usually a littany of rolls with which to set up "bread barriers" so that my food doesn't comingle with one another.

I cannot eat a forkful of more than one item at a time, nor can I have a bite of one thing followed by a bite of another. I eat all my stuffing, and then move on to something else. It's been pointed out to me that I eat items in order on my plate in a clockwise fashion, starting at 5 o'clock.

I don't think of myself as an insane person. But I've been lead to believe that I'm an insane eater by those I know and love. Yet these people have idiosyncrasies of their own, I just don't pick them apart to make them cry like they do.

You have them as well, I don't care who you are. How you load a dishwasher, how your tools are put away, the organization of your closet, or drawers, your cd collection, anything. Everybody has something they do a certain way. And how I eat is mine. I'm pretty laid back, actually. I can eat out of the pan, I share food with people, I can eat off your fork or you can eat off of mine. I don't even mind if you grab something off my plate without asking, as long as it isn't my favorite thing and the only one left. I just like a little organization, is all.

Let's take Perkins, for example. Not everybody has a Perkins in their city. So if it isn't Perkins for you, it's Denny's, or IHOP, or Coco's, or Tim Horton's. But breakfast at one of those places is especially stressful for me, because of the nature of most of their meals. All meals come with pancakes. I love pancakes, let's get that straight right now. But I cannot abide my pancakes on the same plate as my eggs, and bacon, and sausage. If, by some chance, they come on a plate altogether, I will eat everything else first, and the pancakes will wait until last, most specifically the application of the syrup.

There are people out there who live a fully reckless and haphazard life, and pour syrup all over everything on their plate, and an even more psycho bunch who stir it all together. This, to me, is ludicrous. I love to live on the edge as must as the next guy, but breakfast is not the plate to make those type of life-changing decisions.

So mock me if you will. Question me as to why I eat all my fries first before my burger, or how is it possible that I don't mind eating burritos or salad, when they are foods that are all mixed together (more importantly MEANT to be mixed together.) Nitpick me all you like. And when you are stirring all your shit together, putting ketchup on everything, chewing with your mouth open, and scraping your fork across your plate, or your teeth, I will smile silently and feel sorry for you. Because you, my friend, have some real issues.

Saturday, December 3, 2005

what's your sign?

Virgo--You are the logical type and hate disorder. The nitpicking is sickening to your friends. You are cold, unemotional and often fall asleep while screwing. Virgos make good bus drivers or pimps.

Libra--You are the artistic type and have a difficult time with reality. If you are a male, you are probably queer. Chances for employment and monetary gain are excellent. Most Libra women are whores. All Libras eventually get venereal disease.

Scorpio--You are shrewd in business and cannot be trusted. You shall achieve the pinnacle of success because of your total lack of ethics. You are a perfect son-of-a-bitch. Most Scorpios are murdered.

Sagittarius--You are optimistic and enthusiastic. You have a reckless tendency to rely on your looks since you have no talent. The majority of Sagittarians are drunks or pot heads. People laugh at you a lot because you are always getting fucked over.

Capricorn--You are conservative and afraid of taking risks. You are basically a chicken shit. There has never been a Capricorn of any importance. You should just give up and end it all.

Aquarius--You have an inventive mind and are inclined to be progressive. You lie a great deal. On the other hand, you are inclined to be careless and impractical causing you to make the same mistake twice. People think you are a fucking jerk.

Pisces--You have a vivid imagination and often think that you are being followed by the FBI or CIA. You have a minor influence over your friends and people resent you for flaunting your power. You lack confidence and are generally a coward. Most Pisceans are homosexual. Pisces people screw small animals and pick their noses a lot.

Aries--You are the pioneer type and hold most people in contempt. Your feeling of superiority masks your total mediocrity. You are quick tempered, impatient and scornful of advice. You are a prick.

Taurus--You are practical and persistent. You have a dogged determination and work like hell. Most people think you are stubborn and a spoiled asshole. You are nothing but a pinko communist.

Gemini--You are a quick and intelligent thinker. People like you because you are bisexual. However, you are inclined to expect too much for too little. This means you are a cheap bastard. Geminis are notorious for thriving in incest.

Cancer--You are sympathetic and understanding to other people’s problems. They think you are a sucker. You are always putting things off. That is why you will always be on welfare and never be worth shit.

Leo--You consider yourself a born leader. Other people think you are pushy. Most Leos are bullies. You are vain and cannot tolerate honest criticism. Your arrogance is disgusting. Leo people are thieving bastards and often kiss mirrors a lot.