Saturday, October 31, 2009

Male Fashion, 1995-2005

On this day of costumes and creepers, let's take a look at some guy style that used to separate the men from the boys:

Adidas Sandals
What could be more comfortable and stylish than Adidas sandals worn with socks? NOTHING! That's why boys pimped this style well into the 00's.

Compound Cargo Pants

No more suffering through the sweltering day, boys. These cargo pants not only have all the pockets you could ever want, they also have hidden zippers that convert them to shorts! Unzip partially or completely, depending on your desired body temperature! Envious bystanders will stand in awe while you casually roll the detached portions and stuff them in one of your pockets! This style was so hip, it followed me through high school.

Hemp Necklaces

Calling all manly men who are too young to get their parents' permission to get their ears pierced--hemp necklaces are the answer to your problem! Want to feel rebellious without any pain? Want to appear tribal without leaving your backyard? Want to make girls wonder whether you're a surfer or a preppy meathead? Here's your chance! (I still see this style on occassion)

The Bowl Cut

Raise your hand if you idolize Moe from the Three Stooges! This style went strong through the 90's. Its fashion-forward appeal was so tempting, that eventually we saw it on grown women.

Frosted Hair

Even the stars jumped on this one. Getting your hair frosted meant compliments and congratulations from guys and girls alike. For the first time young guys looked forward to their hair appointments, and instead of settling for Great Clips, they visited salons and specialists. Curly, straight, long, short, nothing escaped the frosting. And can we ever forget the proud and the few who would frost their bangs and then stick them straight up?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Living Within Means

According to the government, I made about $15,000 a year. I had my own apartment. Student loans. Other miscellaneous bills. And what did I decide to do? Purchase a fancy schmancy European car.

Smart move, there.

Now, two broken windows, a broken lock, a busted AC hose, $1100 in wheel work, $500 in a purge valve, $300 in a serpentine belt, $500 in tires, and $2200 in transmission work later, she's up on Craigslist. I finally realized that she's outside my means. She's always been outside my means.

It happened right after we had the transmission work done. We took her to Dayton, thinking the worst was behind us. Assuming we could now focus on some of her cosmetic problem (like the windows). Until she wouldn't start the next day. Two or three trips to the mechanic later, and we find out she needs $600 of work. Nice. Real nice.

Will anyone want her? Probably not. She needs some work, and I really don't want to take less for her than I'd get in a trade in. But I'm hoping. Hoping that she's within SOMEONE'S means. . . . Or at least that someone will be just as stupid as I was those three years ago and get caught up in her cuteness and German accent.

Auf wiedersehen, Mary Jane.

At least her butt is cute.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Biggest Loser - Frowny Face Plus Sign

Daniel's voter card read as such:

Abby :( +

Let's take a look at that again:

Abby :( +

I'm sorry?

Abby :( +

Can we get some clarity on this? Anyone? I'm just having a difficult time deciphering whether "frowny-face plus sign" was that an attempt to make her feel better or a Freudian slip.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Desperate Writers Call for Desperate Emails

". . . I can send you a few chapters, if you'd be willing to take a look. Then you'll see. Then you'll know. I can't communicate well through email, but I promise I'm better once in Microsoft Word. Just take a look. It'll be worth your wild--I promise you."


No thanks, lady. I happen to cherish my wild very much.

Friday, October 23, 2009

How I Prayed Shawn Michaels into Heaven

The year was around 1995 or 1996. Somewhere in there. We were living in Des Plaines, Illinois--a suburb of Chicago and neighbor to O'Hare. Mary Poppins-esqe scenes seemed a daily occurrence, only in our case the sky darkened, the earth shook, and the windows of our house rattled as giant planes flew dangerously close overhead. At least it seemed that way.

During this time, I had but two prayers that I faithfully and dutifully whispered to God every night:

1) That our dog, Traff, would go to heaven, and
2) That WWF wrestler, Shawn Michaels would become a Christian and go to heaven.

I believed in these prayers with the utmost of sincerety, knowing and believing that my sureness and faithful repetition would result in nothing short of a win. I wholeheartedly believed I could back God into a corner with my consistent prayer life and unparalleled faith.

And then I grew up. A year or more of this sort of prayer life, and it got old. Or, I got old. I stopped such prayers, turning my requests to greater things and more pressing matters. But the innocense wasn't there. The sincerety wasn't the same. I had become adult-ish. I had grown up. And eventually, I looked upon my old prayers with humor, thinking upon my foolishness and scoffing at my subject matter--my childlike trials. Oh, if life were as simple as worrying over whether a professional entertainer's name was in the Book of Life.

Until a few years ago, when I found out that Shawn Michaels had become a born again Christian.

For me, nothing better exemplifies the faith of a child.

I'll see you in heaven, Traff.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Modeling Tips and Tricks with Tyra

Tyra says that you can't simply strike a pose and be a supermodel. You have to work at it. You have to spend hours in the mirror, exercising the various muscles in your face until you find the angle and look that reflects light in the best way possible off your face*. Making you more stunning, more beautiful, more supermodel material than ever before.

Models who do not find their perfect angles and who do not play with and use the muscles in their face are doomed to a portfolio of the ho and the hum.

While I've yet to spend hours in the mirror, analyzing the way the light bounces off my face, I did decide to see what a difference exercing face muscles can make. And boy have my eyes been opened!

Here I am doing my best look-to-the-right-but-keep-it-scandallous-with-a-slightly-parted-mouth:

And here I am doing the same pose with a few tightened face muscles (!):

Here I am doing the look-at-the-camera-but-act-disinterested pose:

And here it is with a bit of a facelift--what magic! Note how I go from disinterested to secretive:

And, finally, the over-the-shoulder-look-of-rebellion:

A few muscle tweaks here and there, and now we're talking (!). Look at how it brightens:

Well, I certainly learned a lot and I highly recommend this activity to anyone who wishes to one day be photogenic.

*Tyra also says that this process can be easily achieved if you already know how to wiggle your ears. I kid you not; she said that.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Sweat Shop Stories

Odd things that were said at Tad's interview today:

"Just so you can be aware, here's what you do if you sew your finger: just leave it there and call for me. We've had this happen to three people. Two were able to just leave it there until I came and got the needle out. The other one got scared and jerked his hand away. It took 6 weeks for it to heal because it wasn't a clean cut."

Please keep in mind the needles are the size of the tips of ball point pens.

"And now I'm going to show you something that happens to everyone. You see, to sew, you have to keep your foot on the pedal. Well (and this WILL happen to you), it's easy to forget about that and accidentally tap it when you've got your fingers underneath. And here, look..."

Wham! Wham! She demonstrated what happens when the pedal makes a certain part of the sewing machine slam down.

"See? It's so fast, there's nothing you can do. This will happen. Your fingers will be crushed."

"Well, look forward to seeing you on Monday!"

Friday, October 16, 2009

On Disney and Those Who Live Forever

Also still alive:

Kathryn Beaumont, the voice of Alice
Mary Costa, the voice of Princess Aurora
Ilene Woods, the voice of Cinderella

See post.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

On Literature and Those Who Live Forever

Black and white movies. Books with now yellowed pages. Music that crackles and voices that sound altered, tin-like and strange. These are the things of long ago. Things that I associate with a time and place that was before my existence and therefore not a part of my reality.

And then, every now and then, someone from that other world will step in and remind me that what and who is now considered classic and timeless was only a few short decades ago considered new and current.

Elizabeth Taylor. The Dalai Lama.

And yet others will remind me that the evil and unfathomable of the past still lives. Still breathes.

Charles Manson. Fidel Castro.

And then there are times when those who I thought long dead, are proven to be alive. Unexpected in my little world of the present. In my world where the actors and actresses of the black and white movies died with the invention of color. Where the authors and writers of literature now shelved in the "classics" section, ceased to exist with the invention of computer cataloging and success of Stephen King. Where the musicians of verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus, chorus songs disappeared with the start of MTV.

In these moments I see the connectedness of things and begin to realize what it is to grow old.

Today, I found that Harper Lee and JD Salinger are still alive. Such a thought does not seem fathomable.

For an interesting view, see the death list.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Snack, Cracker, Pop!

What is a delicious snack that is neither too healthy nor too fattening?

Applesauce on Ritz crackers.

I kid you not. It reminds me of apple butter, tastes sweet but substantive, and who doesn't like the buttery freshness of Ritz crackers?!

Ah, buttery fresh. I am reminded of a few weeks ago when I picked up a box of Ritz Toppers to have with my tuna salad at work. After a few days, when I had run out of the topping, I brought the crackers home at Tad's request. I'd surmise the box was about half full. Probably more.

They were polished of within a day.

"Tad! Those were my snacks!"

"I couldn't stop! They were so buttery fresh!!"

If he only were brave enough to try them with applesauce...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

My Trip to the Salon: Part 2

What if I told you Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, Minnie Driver, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Amy Ryan, and Gwyneth Paltrow had a love child. What if I told you that love child was me?

I have a love-hate relationship with celebrity comparisons. The comparisons are one-time deals and highly unreliable. I mean seriously. Nicole Kidman? Minnie Driver?

I'm beginning to think that people recognize me by my round face, blond hair, and upturned nose.


There is a certain part of the salon experience that I find completely awkward and uncomfortable: the wash.

I can only assume the general public enjoys having their head massaged and cleansed at the hands of a professional, and under normal circumstances I would as well. But I simply cannot get over how its done. It's no different than placing your neck in a sort of porcelain brace only to dangle your head into an over-sized urinal.

Yes. I said “over-sized urinal”. And not just any over-sized urinal—the type that hang out in the middle of the room. Not off to the side or behind a privacy screen. Smack dab in the middle of the room like you're in some military barracks or prison.

And then they try to talk to you, expecting answers. Except you can't hear a thing apart from the roar of water gushing over your ears and the magnified sound of your own heartbeat.

It's at this point in the process that I try to put on my most serene, de-stress face, hoping my stylist will get the hint and abstain from chatter. But this time, the water wasn't deafening, and I could hear every word.

And they knew it.

"Have you ever seen Ever After?" the stylist next to us asked my hair dresser.

I quietly panicked as my ears perked up. I knew exactly where this was headed. Call it intuition, call it super powers, call it past experience, but I was about to be either gigantically insulted or complimented right there with my head in a urinal. There was no derailing this train.

"Yeah, I think," my stylist replied.

"It's with Drew Barrymore," the stylist hinted.

I tried to focus on my breathing. And the water.

"Yeah, yeah."

I braced myself. Here it came.

In her most isn't-that-the-darndest voice, the other stylist said, "Your client looks just like one of the stepsisters."

And there it was.

"Oh," my stylist said. "Yeah. She kind of does." I couldn't tell if she bought into it. She's very good at feigning interest. Very good.

"Yeah, it's probably just this angle. But her face,” she said in amazement. “Have you ever seen the movie?" She now turned to me.

"A long time ago. I don't really remember," I shrugged it off.

"Well you look just like her."

“Yeah, I wouldn't know,” I said.

"She's a real pretty girl," my stylist jumped in, obviously realizing that I could easily take offense.

And the conversation continued....


The saddest part of this whole fiasco is that I'll never be a good candidate for America's Next Top Model.

“This face,” Tyra will say, “I've seen this face before. Lots of times. On many people. It's not fresh. It's not new.”

And I'll be sent home.


So what are some of your celebrity comparisons? I want to hear them all!

Monday, October 12, 2009

My Trip to the Salon: Part 1

I polled the masses and the verdict was unanimous. Simple, Layered Cut (style #2) was the favorite over Messy Punk Rocker (style #3) both here and on facebook. But like any good politician, I disregarded the voice of the people and in the end did what I thought best. I do, after all, have a better grasp on what this country needs.

So, without further ado, I present my BEFORE picture:

And now my AFTER pictures:

I apologize. It was late. I had no make up. I couldn't take a good self portrait to save my life. (But it turns out these photos have nominated me for the Nobel Price in Photography...sorry, that was bad. I shouldn't have).

Anyway, eventually I'll post good photos of the hair and you can see that it is okay...I'm not sure it's totally there yet, but I like it enough to be happy! And shout out to Kirsti and Ashley for recommending A Day Away Salon and Spa.

Tune in tomorrow to hear about my experience and a quasi-celebrity comparison that is about to throw me in to a writing tantrum. Consider yourself warned.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Celebrating Winter and Slipper Boots

These are my blips. They are one of my most favored possessions. Imagine my joy when the thermometer hit the 40's this past week and our apartment heater still had not been turned on.

Pure joy.

The Psalm of Winter
The cold is my friend. I shall not want.
It makes me lie under layers of blankets. It leads me to the kitchen for coffee and hot coco. It restores my damaged hair.
Yea, though I struggle through the hottest parts of the year, I shall fear no sunburn. For the cold will soon be with me.
Its layered sweaters and slipper boots (blips), they comfort me. It covers my neck with scarves, my lungs overflow.
Surely cute outfits and un-sweaty palms will follow me all the days of winter.
And I will dwell in the flurries of its snowfall forever.

(These are my other pair of blips . . . Tad is making it a tradition to get me a new pair every winter. These are my Christmas 07 blips. The other aforeshown pair is from Christmas 08)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Worker

One of the saddest things I see on a near-daily basis is an older man, probably in his 50's or 60's, who stands on the corner of Clinton and Rudisill with a cardboard Little Caesar's Hot N Ready sign in his hands. He paces the corner, sign held out but not up. A hat shields his eyes.

Tad said he saw this man on a bicycle, once. Riding toward the restaurant, his visible work attire giving away his intended destination. He didn't try to hide it. He didn't cover it up.

I don't know who this guy is, what he's been through or why he's now operating as a minimum wage employee. I can only imagine he's a recent layoff victim--a factory worker through and through who's been forced to try his hand at what may seem beneath him. Yet he doesn't give up. He doesn't give in. He keeps on, shift after shift. And every time I see him, I wonder at his determination to make it. To get through whatever it is that has put him on that corner. To come out victorious.

For us, it's a constant reminder that others have it much worse than we do. And we can complain about Tad's unemployment and my hopelessly broken down Volkswagen and how we can't spend money on this and that, but at the end of the day neither of us is holding a sign on a street corner at 55 years of age.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Confessions of an Automobile Elitist

You know you're a European car owner when . . .

. . . $750 in repairs sounds reasonable, if not relieving.

*I promise to give the run down once this whole mess is over (or on its way to being over), but Tad and I are about to do what should have been done ages ago... and I'll say this: I'm not a quitter. I'm a fighter. But there are times when its best for both parties to just call it quits.

Friday, October 2, 2009

A Nightly Hallucination

I awaken, startled, in the night. There is a stenciled portrait of carousel horses on the ceiling above our bed. I bolt upright, staring at it.

"What, what is it?" Tad asks, equally startled.

"There's a pattern on the ceiling that needs to be colored in," I reply, my eyes focused on what now appear to be partially colored ponies.

"Oh, it's okay, I already colored it in," Tad assures me.

"You did?!" The portrait looked far from colored in, but I could have been mistaken.

"No," Tad says. I sense the amusement in his voice. "There's nothing up there."

"Oh," I say, watching the ponies disappear into thin air.

And I iey back down and go to sleep.