Monday, January 25, 2010

Awkward Monday: A Story From My Early 20s

Last night, I was reminded of an awkward scene from my early 20s. It went something like this:

There was a hot guy in my undergrad technical writing class. He friended me on myspace (Yeah, remember when THAT used to be a viable website?) then invited me to one of his bands’ shows. I went against my instinct, which was RUN! HIDE! And instead assembled a small group of ladies and went.

It was somewhere TERRIBLE, somewhere like the Dirty Burnie (for you Maryland readers), at a biker-type bar. We walked in, apprehensively. We played pool, badly. We downed some beer, quickly. I remember drinking Heineken, for some inexplicable reason (or substitute some beer your Grandpa liked to drink out of a glass along with a few pretzels, something like Molsen).

Anyway, after the show, my friends were all “you should go say hi.” And at that moment, I wanted to pass out. There he was, packing up his guitar, and I walked up behind him, tapping him on the back (sweet moves, right?).

So he spins around, recognizes me, and shakes my hand. And what do I say? Why, I mumble the worst thing I could say:

“You guys were kind of good.”

WHAT? Who does that? Anyway, nothing else ever happened between me and said guy, not that I’m surprised. Until last night.

I was sitting in a booth with my BFFs at La Tolteca, Jane and Myrick, and I see a guy walking by in skinny jeans, a hoodie, a slouchy hat, and scraggly beard. “Hipster, hipster, HIPSTER,” I chanted in a semi-whisper, so Jane would look. As that last “hipster” was coming out of my mouth, it dawned on me who this guy was.

Yes, that guy. And I died a little inside with that realization. I cringed.

And, he looked awkward. Not me this time, him.

And I smiled.

I’m glad my awkward phase is almost over.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

First Impressions: J. Safran Foer's Eating Animals

I just started reading Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer last night.
Why? First of all, I'm a big fangirl and loved Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. On my nightstand is The Future Dictionary of America, which Foer contributed to. I also got the chance to hear Foer speak at the AWP Conference back in 2008, and I liked what I heard. Secondly, one of my New Years' Resolutions was to give up meat. I go through this battle with myself pretty much constantly - it really does weigh on my conscience, my environmental sense of responsibility, my notions of caloric intake, and even my wallet sometimes. I slip up, I regret it, I stop eating meat again... and repeat.

So when I started reading this last night, I immediately got all defensive. Why? He was on my side after all. Foer talks about his own struggle with not eating meat, addressing all of the things I can relate to: a fear of "public hypocrisy" when you slip up, wanting to create an individual identity (although a lesser motivator, it is still there), ignoring the questions in your head about the morality of eating meat while you're doing it, etc.

Perhaps it was one thing he said that stuck with me:


Almost always, when I told someone I was writing a book about "eating animals," they assumed, even without knowing anything about my views, that it was a case for vegetarianism. It's a telling assumption, one that implies not only that a thorough inquiry into animal agriculture would lead one away from eating meat, but that most people already know that to be the case.

To paraphrase: "am I right, or am I right?" Or, Foer seems to be saying that the only logical analysis of what's going on with industrial farming is that it's bad, and logically, any research on the topic must inherently be a case for vegetarianism.

I felt like I was being duped. I assumed this book to be a case for vegetarianism because of the title. I mean, Foer couldn't possibly have overlooked the logical explanation of diction, right? The book is called Eating ANIMALS. Last I checked, we don't eat animals; we eat meat. We don't eat cow, we eat beef; it's not pig, it's pork; it's not chicken, it's... well, ok, chicken = same.

At the outset, I thought his simple word choice of "animals" for "meat" in the title was brilliant, because it implied so much. We love animals; we love to eat meat. We love to keep the two seperate. So by choosing that title, it seemed he was aiming to break down the construct that animals and meat are not one in the same.

I'm going to try really hard to withhold judgment until I see exactly where Foer's going with this book. But for now, I'm kinda prickly about it.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Be Happy Wednesday

If this song doesn't make you happy, then you might consider antidepressants:

And this is for my friend, Jane, who doesn't like Talking Heads, but likes David Byrne:

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Handicapped Parking FAIL

Question. How did this person walk into the store?

Call me lazy, but if I had the option of driving my vehicle into the store or parking it out front, you know I'm going to choose whichever allows me to remain seated...

End of an Era: Poe "Toaster" Gone Missing

Every year in Baltimore since 1949, an unidentified person has come to Edgar Allan Poe's grave on the eve of his birthday, leaving behind cognac and roses. Until this year, that is.

Poe Toaster is 'Nevermore'
A longtime tribute to Edgar Allan Poe may have come to an end with the absence of the "Poe Toaster," who for more than half a century has marked the poet's birthday by laying roses and a bottle of cognac at his original grave site.

This is the first time since Jan. 19, 1949 that the person, whose identity is unknown, failed to arrive, said Jeff Jerome, curator of the Edgar Allan Poe House.

"I was very annoyed," he said.

"I've been doing this since 1977, and there was no indication he wasn't going to show up," Jerome said.

The curator said the toaster usually arrives between midnight and 5:30 a.m. He said he arrived at Westminster Hall at 10:30 p.m., because one year the toaster left his offerings at 11:30 p.m.

He sometimes kneels at the tombstone or puts his hands on it, Jerome said. "There's no elaborate ceremony — it's very short and touching," he said.

A crowd of 30 to 50 people waited on the sidewalks surrounding Westminster Hall and the adjacent cemetery, he said. "They were very happy people, very jovial," Jerome said, even singing "Happy Birthday" to the poet several times through the night.

However, by 5:30 a.m., there was no sign of the shadowy figure from his vantage point within the hall, Jerome said, so he went out to break the news to the spectators.

This is one of those things on "my list" I've been meaning to check out, and undoubtedly, it ends up slipping my mind, or taking a backseat to other responsibilities.

It comes as a reminder to actually DO those things, before they go away forever.

Also – drink more cognac. That's what Jay-Z would do (if only I could find the SNL Robert Goulet version):