Monday, November 28, 2011

'Tis the Season... to hide from crazed holiday shoppers!

Ah, the Christmas season.

Aka the time of year when I go into hiding from the end of Thanksgiving dinner until Christmas Day, when I re-emerge to go to the movies with the other Jews.


Because at this time of year, I hate all of you.

No, it has nothing to do with being a grinchy Jew. I mean, okay, I’m already sick of Christmas music and they JUST started playing it. When I rule the world, the only acceptable Christmas songs will be the Springsteen versions of them. All existing copies of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” along with ANYTHING that Justin Bieber sings will be mandatorily destroyed en masse as part of a new holiday that I plan to create celebrating the destruction of all inferior holiday music.

And it has nothing to do with the decorations. When tastefully done, I like Christmas lights.

It’s not even because the holiday makes no sense. I mean, If Jesus was born on Christmas, why does the calendar, which is clearly labeled BC and AD referring to Jesus, begin a week later? I’d ALMOST buy it if the new year started eight days later, because that would have been Jesus’ bris. But seven days? No.

And don’t even get me started on the Santa Claus thing. In my mind, a fat man who sees you when you’re sleeping and breaks into your house once a year is a creepy pervert who belongs behind bars. Seriously, he knows EVERYTHING all children do all year and you give him open access to your house? What’s next? Gonna let those same kids in a shower with Jerry Sandusky? (Sorry. Had to do it.)

But none of those things are why I spend a full month of the year barricaded in my apartment with the door nailed shut and a shotgun like I’m afraid the zombies (or that Santa freak) will break in any second.

It’s because Christmas ruins my main form of entertainment for a month out of every year: shopping.

I admit it: I shop too much. I inherited the Shopaholic gene from my mother, who doesn’t believe in eating when you’re bored or upset or at any other time for that matter.   Instead, at all times when other people eat, she shops. Seriously. She’s so skinny that you can’t see her most of the time. She could be standing right behind you, right now. And you’d never know. But unless you’re reading this from a smartphone while you’re in line at a store, she probably isn’t. Because that’s where she is. At all times.

If you’ve seen my closet, you know that I’m pretty much the same way. I had to build a cubby system into it for all of my shoes. And even though it’s fairly organized, the EPA still lists it as one of the biggest threats to the environment because it is so full that it could, at any moment, explode, spewing dresses and high-heeled shoes so ferociously into the atmosphere that they would block out the sun, causing the kind of catastrophic environmental crisis that killed the dinosaurs.
My actual closet.  You can't see the shoes that are along the top left or the bottoms of both sides.  But trust me.  They're there.

Or, because it’s so densely packed, it could just implode, creating a black hole that would destroy the entire universe.

Actually, maybe the Christmas season every year is a good thing because it prevents me from adding anything to the Closet of Doom (which, incidentally, is the title of the fifth Indiana Jones movie, if they ever make it).

Nah, just kidding, I still shop. I just do it online for a month.

Because the problem is that the stores are completely uninhabitable from midnight on Black Friday until after New Year’s. I honestly don’t understand the psychotic nature of holiday shopping. But it scares me. A lot. How have we reached a point in our society when family bonding entails rushing through Thanksgiving dinner so you can wait in line for a mall to open at midnight to save a few dollars on crap you didn’t need in the first place? I mean, after everyone left my parents’ house Thursday night, my immediate family and I sat around playing Words With Friends with each other on our iPhones. Like a normal, rational family. (Of course, my brother pointed out that if we pulled out the Scrabble set, we could ALL actually play TOGETHER. But no one wanted to do that. Technology reigns supreme in my family.)

Venturing into a store during the month before Christmas reminds me of the victory riots at the University of Maryland after we would beat Duke in basketball, but without the celebratory feel. People are running around, screaming, climbing on things, tearing stuff down, looting, and starting uncontrollable fires. But unlike at UMD, the riot squad is nowhere to be found. That unholy, Lord-of-the-Flies style behavior is CONDONED at Christmas time.

But in the interest of research for this blog (and beauty, because if I don’t go buy something at Ulta every three days, I’m pretty sure they’ll go out of business. My makeup obsession is single-handedly keeping them afloat in these troubled financial times), I ventured out to a couple of stores this weekend. I waited until late Saturday afternoon, when I figured most of the madness would be over. And I was right, the crowds weren’t too bad.

The carnage, however, that the crowds had left in their wake, was horrific. The ground was littered with the bodies of the fallen, and there was even a tattered Confederate flag flying over the scene to complete the Gone With the Wind analogy. And every store that I went to looked the same: just like a DC area grocery store when snow is in the forecast. There was nothing left.

So I retreated to the safety of my house, happy to have avoided being massacred in an attempt at holiday shopping.

I’ll see you all in a month or so when I emerge from hiding.

Happy Cyber Monday!

Monday, November 21, 2011

My secret shame: I saw the new Twilight movie opening weekend. By choice.

On Friday night, I did something so ridiculously embarrassing that I spent the rest of the weekend hiding in humiliation.

I could blame my behavior on any number of factors. I could say I did it because I had a rough week, or because I was pressured into it, or because I was kidnapped and forced into it.

But none of those reasons are the truth. The truth is that I made my own decision, shameful as that is to admit. And now it’s time to face the consequences of what I’ve done. And if you judge me for it, well, I suppose I deserve what I get.

So I’m just going to admit to it.

I saw the new Twilight movie.

I did, however, have the sense to be embarrassed about it. There was no way that I wanted anyone to know that I was seeing it, especially less than 24 hours after its release.  And at least I didn’t go to the midnight showing Thursday night. I did do that for most of the Harry Potter movies, half because I was excited about the movies and half because I wanted to see all the dressed up freaks.

Granted, for Breaking Dawn, I WAS one of the dressed up freaks.

No, don’t worry, I didn’t wear a Team Edward of Team Jacob shirt. I despise the girls who have those shirts. I mean, you might as well wear a shirt that says Team Necrophilia or Team Bestiality.

Neither is particularly attractive in my book. Plus, Edward is supposed to be over a hundred years old and Jacob is like a teenager. Team Geriatrics or Team Pedophilia? We know which shirt Jerry Sandusky wears (too soon?), but I’m not into either.

I dressed up to make sure no one at the theater could possibly recognize me.

Doing that took some serious planning on my part. My first idea was to go movie-star incognito, with a big hat, scarf, and sunglasses, but I worried that might draw more attention to me. So that was out.

Then I debated wearing a full burka, but I also worried that would make people stare because what would someone in a burka be doing at the Twilight movie? Yes, the books were written by a Mormon chick and are therefore pretty conservative (Bella finally marries Edward to get him to sleep with her, then immediately gets pregnant with a demon baby and almost dies. I guess the sex ed teacher from Mean Girls was right. If you have sex, you WILL get pregnant and you WILL die), but I don’t think it’s quite conservative enough for orthodox Muslims. Plus, knowing my luck, someone would assume I was there enacting some fiendish terrorist plot because clearly all Muslims are terrorists, and I would wind up spending the entire two hours being detained by a movie theater rent-a-cop instead of watching Mormon-penned geriatric necrophiliac sex. No thanks.

My next plan was to get a Harry Potter invisibility cloak, but did you know those aren’t real? I’m very disillusioned right now. J. K. Rowling, you’re a horrible person for making things like that up.

I mean, I went online, ordered my official Harry Potter invisibility cloak, waited by the mailbox around the clock like I do when Springsteen tickets are on their way, got my cloak, put it on, and… was still completely visible. I want my $79.95 back. Biggest ripoff ever. Next you’re going to tell me that wizards aren’t even real. My official wand from Ollivander's better work when it arrives or I’m going to stop loving all things Harry Potter for forever.

But with no invisibility cloak, I needed a new game plan to watch Twilight. And then it hit me, it’s DARK in a movie theater. I just needed to be darker than the dark. So I broke out full ninja gear and painted my face black, Zoolander-in-the-coal-mine style, and was ready to watch the movie.

Of course, I got some weird looks walking to the movie theater from the car, and some even weirder looks when my friends and I went out to dinner before the movie, but it was okay because no one knew it was me. They just thought I was some random crazy girl dressed in all black.

Or a crazy racist putting on a modern minstrel show. Oops. Didn’t think about that.

But I went through all that trouble to avoid being recognized, and didn’t even see a single person I knew. Because the people I know typically wouldn’t be caught dead (or undead) at the new Twilight movie opening day. I could have walked in looking totally normal and would have been completely fine and probably even less conspicuous than I was.

And in the end, the movie wasn’t even worth all the effort I went through to see it without being recognized.

I mean, the first three movies made such a big deal about vampires sparkling in sunlight (which is completely ridiculous. Everyone knows that sunlight kills vampires. Even freakishly prude Mormon vampires. Duh), then Bella and Edward get married in broad daylight with no sparkles in sight?

Come on. I can suspend my disbelief about the sun killing the Twilight vampires (because they don’t even have fangs. They’re clearly not vampires, just sparkly emo blood-drinkers), but don’t then expect me to FORGET that they’re supposed to sparkle. Fail #1.

Fail #2: Emo necrophilia virgin sex is not hot. I’ve never seen such an awkward sex scene in a movie. I literally had to look away.

I could handle the birth scene where Edward had to bite through the placenta (yeah, it was ALMOST as disgusting as the porn that's been showing up on Facebook.  Darya, I will NEVER forgive you for the picture you showed me from your newsfeed.  Never.), but the sex scenes were the ones I had to watch through my fingers horror-movie style.

And then there was Fail #3: When Jacob falls madly in love with Bella and Edward’s baby. I read the books. I knew it was coming. But it was still creepy beyond belief when they showed it. AND EVERYONE IN THE MOVIE IS COOL WITH IT! Dude. When a seventeen-year-old boy falls in romantic love with a newborn, you don’t accept it, you lock him up! Don’t say anything and you'll get fired as the Penn State football coach years later. Just saying…

And Fail #4: I have to wait another YEAR for part 2? So unfair! I want to see it NOW!

Go Twi-hard or go home.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Moving on: The blog is back in town!

So a lot of people have been whining about the lack of blogs lately.

To those people, I would like to say, WHERE ARE YOUR BLOGS? Oh, that’s right, most of you don’t have them! Do you think I’m just some monkey who’s supposed to dance for your amusement? Sheesh…

You all just collectively said yes to that, didn’t you?


Okay, well here’s my attempt to rationalize why there haven't been any blogs lately with some semi-valid excuses.

Excuse #1: I’ve been busy! I’m at a new school this year and in addition to meeting all new teachers and students, I’m responsible for starting the newspaper there. So while, in past years, I had all of my little newspaper lackeys (no offense guys, I love you!!!) in place ready to do my bidding, this year I’m on my own. Which means my desk looks like a scene from Hoarders, no one brings me yummy snack food (which does mean I’ve lost a little weight… who would have thought there was a correlation between cake and weight gain?), and I actually have to do horrible menial tasks like grading quizzes. Myself. Oh the humanity.

In other words, teaching sucks when I don’t have my newspaper slaves—I mean students! I said students, right? Besides, they’re not really like SLAVES. I don’t make them build pyramids or pick cotton. They’re more like unpaid interns or fraternity pledges. (Note to self: once I actually have newspaper kids next year, make them wear pledge pins.)

Excuse #2: I’ve been… well… happy. And it’s hard to make fun of stuff when I’m one of those annoyingly happy people who I normally mock in my blog.

But it’s true.  I've been happy.  Last year, I was miserable because life at my old school had gotten absolutely unbearable.  Literally.  I used to cry.  Every day.  Because I didn't want to go back there.  So blogging was a good escape.

When I found out that I was switching schools last spring, I drew this picture to show how much better I thought my new school would be.

Clearly, I should quit my day job and become an artist. I have an undeniable gift.

You see, my last school was a bad place. I like to describe it as being kind of like The Shining. It takes normal, relatively sane people and turns them into axe-wielding, family-chopping up, entire-books-composed-of-only-“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”-writing lunatics. And I was little Danny Torrance, with everyone out to get me. But it wasn’t like the newer version of the movie when the guy from Wings runs around trying to be menacing with a croquet mallet. Oh no. It was the full-out Jack Nicholson, scary dead twins, and really ugly wife version. So it was easy to be miserable there.

But I got to my new school and realized that my drawing wasn’t exactly accurate. Because I hadn’t known to include the magic fairies and pixie dust and glitter that’s on everything. Seriously. It’s that much better.

And, up until a couple weeks ago, I even had a boyfriend.

But, as we all know, as soon as something in my life starts going well, something else goes spectacularly wrong.

So I spent a few months being irritatingly happy, before getting dumped.

In a text message.

Yeah, you read that right. A text message.

Which is probably the only thing worse than the Sex And The City post-it note breakup.

But I’m a survivor.  I'm not gonna give up. Ain’t nothing gonna break my stride. Nobody gonna slow me down. Oh no. I got to keep on moving.  (Sorry for switching songs there.)  So I spent a day crying, then, less than 48 hours later, went on a date with someone else.

That, my friends, is what my students refer to as “swagger.” And I have it. In abundance. (Which is a word they don’t know… sigh… the life of an English teacher…)

But it took that date with someone else to realize something that I probably should have realized several months ago: I’m an idiot.

Why am I an idiot? (I really, REALLY hope you just asked yourself that...)

Well, I’ll tell you. Because I actually STAYED with this guy long enough for him to dump me. Despite the fact that he was only 25 (which is definitely too young for me—but no, I’m still not telling you how old I am!), lived with his parents, hadn’t finished college, smoked, worked at a tire place, and WORST OF ALL, was a Republican who listened primarily to electronica.

Oh, and he gave me crap about watching True Blood because "vampires are so fake," yet was COMPLETELY convinced that a zombie apocalypse was imminent.  Seriously.  Like he had a legit survival plan prepared and everything.

And HE dumped ME.

Of course, to be fair, not EVERYTHING about him was bad.  He was a Redskins fan, so he did pass my dad's criteria for dating me.

I normally wouldn't blast someone for their personal shortcomings on the internet like this.  Or I'd at least feel bad about it if I did.  And if he'd had the balls to end the relationship in person, or even over the phone, I wouldn't be writing any of this.  But he didn't.  And as the old warning goes,  "Woe to ye who dicks over a writer."  I'm pretty sure Shakespeare said that. 

And I’m not a total snob. I didn’t judge him for having not finished school yet. I mean, my absolute favorite person on the planet, Bruce Springsteen, never finished college either.

Of course, when Bruce was 25, he put out Born to Run (which is indisputably the greatest album of all time) and was the first non-world leader to appear on the covers of both Time and Newsweek in the same week. I think he wins that round.

But let’s look at another example: Me.

When I was 25, I bought my condo, finished the first draft of Beyond the Palace, and won my first national award for the school newspaper that I sponsored. Hmm...

Granted, I’m an overachiever in every field. Except dating apparently.  Otherwise, I would have gotten the hell out long before he had the chance to peace out via text.

Come to think of it, my lack of blogging probably had less to do with me being happy and more to do with me not being able to mention the boyfriend without making ten billion excuses for everything that was wrong about him.

And I have to admit that even though I spent a few days wallowing in the misery of the end of the relationship, I think it was more about the damage that the text message did to my ego than anything else.  Because I'm DEFINITELY in a better place now than I was when we were together.

So now that I’m single and don’t need to justify any poor decisions, I promise to get back to the blogging.

And if it’s not frequent enough to satisfy your demands, I’d like to invite you, at your earliest possible convenience to…

BUY MY BOOKS AND READ THEM ALREADY! Jeez, couldn’t you have taken my hiatus as an opportunity to do that?

Come on, you knew that was coming.

Some things don’t change after all.