Friday, November 12, 2010

Nerdfest 2K10

It's almost unbelievable.

If I didn't take pictures and document them in writing, I swear to god no one would ever believe that things like the following exist.

I mentioned in a blog post last week that one of the reasons I blog is because going home to my parents' house is like entering some weird alternate universe where the 1980s are still cool, made-up "designer" breed dogs run loose and wild, and in any given closet or alcove you might find an enormous hidden stash of bird seeds or a life-size Darth Vader head staring out at you from the back corner.

This weekend was no different.

Friday night rolled around, and my parents, brother, sister-in-law, niece, and nephew were all here for a nice Friday-night-in with Pizza Hut for dinner.

The pizza got eaten, and conversations were had about the usual things: everyone's work week, my school week, what funny things the kids had done lately, etc.

After dinner, my brother, nephew, and I went to the upstairs den. We put on Men in Black, busted out the K'Nex, and started making kick-ass pieces of K'Nex construction equipment, with my nephew serving as construction manager and pointing out every tiny thing I was doing wrong in my K'Nex handiwork.

And then, right there amidst the Christmas decoration explosion that covered every inch of my parents' house, my sister-in-law came sprinting into the den, shrieking with excitement and teasing us with taunts of "Guess what I found?! Guess what I found?!" as she came scurrying down the hallway that led to the den.

My brother and I exchanged glances. We didn't know what the hell Mandy had found, but we knew it had to be good. We. were. excited.

We were not disappointed.

Mandy had apparently accidentally stumbled upon a treasure-trove of a bookshelf in one of my mom's upstairs guest rooms. This bookshelf might as well have never left 1982. Every book on it was 30 years old. And most of them were Star Wars themed.

Honest to god, sometimes I wonder how I ended up being such a dork, but then I remember....Oh yeah! My mother has entire bookshelves and rooms and storage closets and Christmas wreaths completely devoted to Star Wars or any of the franchise's various spin-off stories.

The thing Mandy had found was this:

This is a children's book entitled "The Ewoks and the Lost Children." Awesome.

After this, it was game over. We were all on missions to explore what other hidden caverns of nerd-dom the Suz had hidden away in closets in her house.

Something like this happens every time I come home to my parents' house in Greenville.

It's like....

Oh hey Mom! The North Pole called, they want all their Christmas shit back. Or....

Oh heyyy Mom, George Lucas called, he wants his massive collection of weird-ass Star Wars memorabilia back. Or...

Oh heyy Suz! The 1980's called, they want all of their creepy-ass shit you only ever see on "I Love the 80s," that you have stored in all the closets of your house like it's totally normal to still own an Atari or a Care-Bear, back......

So, like I said at the start of this post, if I didn't have photographic evidence, people might never believe that some freaks in the year 2010 (my mom) still actually own this stuff and keep it in their house like it's completely acceptable.

Exhibit A:

You see that name scrawled in the upper left of this device? Yes. It says "Michael" in small-child-chicken scratch. This first belonged to my 30-year-old brother when he was about 5. And my mom still. has. it. Why? The world of normal people may never know.

It's the "Fisher Price Big Bird Record Player", by the way, and the record we put in it tonight was this also-30-year-old record of Empire Strikes Back.

I find this especially comical because my mother never really let us watch Sesame Street. She thought that the characters looked decrepit and homeless and didn't think they were good examples to show her young children.

....But by god she bought the Big Bird record player.....and kept it for thirty years......

I just stuck this in here because after the childhood toy artifacts started coming out, I figured I might need it, and I got really excited that Rolling Rock is making "Rock Light" now! Awesome!

Exhibit B:

This poor child doesn't know it yet, but she's doomed for a life of LucasFilm-fueled dorkhood just like the rest of us.

The bookshelf where Mandy had found the initial Ewok book that sparked this foray into the Outer Rim of course had to be revisited, where books like the rest of these seen above were found: "Shiny as a Droid," "Return of the Jedi: The Ewoks Join the Fight," and "Star Wars: The Wookiee Storybook." Classics!

Exhibit C:

I just felt like "Shiny as a Droid" was too epic not to give it its own close-up. I'm thinking about bringing this in to my 9th graders for a read-aloud to help them think about imagery and vivid details. Just kidding.......or am I?

Exhibit D:

I wasn't kidding about the giant life-size Vader head. I found it in a closet, accompanied by this....

A giant shiny life size C-3PO head!

And before you go thinking that these little guys are just for display, and don't actually serve very legitimate purposes.....I opened them up and found this inside....

Star Wars character figurines inside a giant Star Wars character travel case inside a closet filled with nothing but blast-from-the-past Star Wars memorabilia. You're welcome, George Lucas.

AND, just so you don't think this household was COMPLETELY biased towards and obsessed with Lucas-lore, I give you....

Exhibit E:

Donatello, in all his green, teenage, mutant, turtley, bandana-ed glory. You can't tell from the picture, but this thing is about 2 feet tall.

*For those of you in my grad cohort, you now have a visual representation of what I wanted to be for Halloween the year after my mom made me go as Alice in Wonderland. And I had to settle for being the trampy, harlot, green M&M instead.*

Sometimes I fear I talk about Star Wars a little too much. But, this is my blog after all, right?

Let's go GAMECOCKS, and may the force be with you.

And just for good measure, some Admiral Ackbar parodies:


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Sh*t My Professors (and Classmates) Say

Oftentimes when I am sitting in class, I get bored. I look for avenues to rectify this situation in a variety of ways. But most often, I entertain myself either by drawing ridiculous things in my margins, or by quoting ridiculous things I hear come out of the mouths of either my professors or my classmates.

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you may be familiar with a post I did called Notes from the Margins. This post will be similar to that, only I decided to also add in all of the random quotes I copy down during class.

This is partly because I take a lot of my notes on my computer now, so drawing in the margins isn't really an option during those classes. And partly because my professors and classmates are hilarious, in my opinion, and I want to share their deep thoughts with the world. Enjoy.

The other day, one of my Education professors was having us engage in an activity on imagery. She walked to a classmate wearing a flannel shirt and posed the question:

"What does Rachel's flannel shirt feel like?"

My classmate's response?

"Flannel." Well said, Jen.

And from that same professor comes these profound ideas:

"You'll just want to stab yourself in the face with a fork. You'll just stab yourself."
(regarding the idea of us trying to fully grade every piece of student work that comes in)

"Your grades are dropping like prices at Wal-Mart."

This next group of quotations comes from a Professor on whom I loosely based my Endearing and Hilarious Quirky Professor. I have him for a graduate English/Film course, and the guy is an absolute trip.

"Capitalism castrates men. They must win their balls back with Fight Club!"
(we were discussing Fight Club that day)

"Are you opening it?....Is that you?.....Oh! I thought it was Tyler Durden!"
(on the classroom door creaking open from a draft)

"I didn't mean to humiliate her. Oh wait, actually I did."
(on calling a student out for being late)

"They're freshmen! They're scared of me. They don't yet know I'm a pussy cat. Meow!"
(talking about the other, undergraduate level course he teaches)

"Piss ant! I love that word!"
(I can't remember the context, but does it matter?)

"You guys want to look at the vomiting scene? I love vomiting."
(during a discussion on Brokeback Mountain)

"If you guys know anything about S&M communities, this is exactly what happens in S&M communities."
(he then retracted this statement after he realized it might not be 'school appropriate')

"If I spit on you, I'm sorry. This is my blanket apology in advance."
(apparently he is a spit-talker. I never sit close enough to experience this.)

"You're freaking me out over there, baby cat!"
(he calls several of the girls in the class 'baby cat', for reasons unbeknownst to me)

"I love Hearts. I play Hearts all the time. Cause I'm a girly man!"
(on his affinity for the card game Hearts)

And now, some actual notes from the margins:

this was during a lecture on Genesis. obviously my Professor had just addressed this particular phrase...

homegirl LOVES her some pride and prejudice. this was her reaction when someone questioned Mr. Darcy's suitability for marriage. "Oh my god, he comes with a wonderful package!"

just a nice little rendering of a potential book cover for Kafka's Metamorphoses. I think my roach is especially nice, given my opinions towards roaches.

some classmate who never says a "peep" during class wouldn't shut up during this particular lecture. which led me to draw Peeps?

"All the other royalties/crowns of Europe were pooping in their pants." I think she may have been talking about British imperialism or something. Regardless, i thought it was worth writing down.

This is a margin note between Heather and myself. I can't recall the exact context, but I know we were talking about tyranny in ancient Greece ("tyranna"-saurus rex). the rest is up to your imagination to decipher.

"Actual child being butchered in front of you? Not cathartic...traumatizing." ....during a lecture on catharsis.

possibly my nerdiest margin note drawing yet. it's an owl, complete with a Hogwarts acceptance letter, addressed to the "cupboard under the stairs."

i. was. tired. i guess i thought drawing sheep and Zzzz's on my paper was a good alternative to actually counting them in my head and falling asleep.

my professor is Italian, and sometimes her English doesn't translate exactly right, resulting in words like this: "sexuated" reference to Marilyn Monroe.

I believe we were talking about paganism of some sort, and I was particularly proud of my illustration of Pan. mythological goat demons FTW.

And finally, although these last two quotes don't fit exactly into the parameters of this blog post topic, I found them worthy of posting:

From my lovely roommate:

"Well, do we have any mugs? or any particularly big, spacious cups instead?!!"
(on whether or not we had any clean bowls to eat ice cream out of, and her desperation for finding a suitable replacement without having to do any dishes)

And from my oldest brother, who has a 5-year-old kid....we were getting into the white van my mother had procured for transportation to another brother's wedding in NYC:

Brother: "Well, it has windows, so at least it's not a child molester van."

5-year-old nephew: "Daddy, what's a child molester van? WHAT IF IT IS A CHILD MOLESTER VAN?!"

Brother: "Oh, uhhh....Daddy's just being silly."

Father of the year award goes to......?

Cheers! And go Gamecocks!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Why I Blog

Sometimes people ask me why I like to keep a blog, or how I come up with things to write about. I can think of a whole slew of reasons and answers to those questions, but I thought I'd provide you with a few general examples. Here are some reasons why I blog.

Reason #1: I am a nerd.

And nerds do nerdy things like write regularly and keep blogs about nerdy things they find interesting or entertaining.

Reason #2: I am in grad school.

It's like a bottomless pit of blog topics between my classmates, professors, high school students, rants about classes/term papers, etc. Also, my head would most definitely explode if I didn't engage in some writing (read: venting) outside of academic papers. Barf.

For instance, the picture below depicts what my classmates and I did in a graduate course of ours this past Wednesday night. We constructed "masks" out of tissue paper/masking tape/plastic serial killer-looking-face mask combinations as a way to teach high schoolers "characterization." Right...

Coneheads, anyone?

Reason #3: I come from a family full of nutjobs.

Now before all of you crazy family members get offended....don't. I mean this in the best possible of ways. If you guys weren't all complete weirdos, you'd be super boring. So, thanks for being freaks!

This might be the biggest reason of all. I could spend two whole weeks at my apartment in Columbia and not come up with a single thing to blog about, but after an hour home at my parents' house in Greenville, I'm suddenly inundated with topics. Let me explain...

A couple of weeks ago, I came up to Greenville on a particularly slow weekend in Columbia, hauled my laundry basket into the utility room, and made my way to the kitchen to raid my Mom's cabinets. I also did a quick survey of the kitchen counter to see if there was anything left over from dinner.

However, instead of congealing fettucine alfredo or pot roast remains, I found this......on the KITCHEN COUNTER......:

Why yes, that IS a dead snake placed inside a ziploc bag labeled "Warning! Monster Snake!", just in case you were unsure of the bag's contents.

The author of this bag's label, my Dad, spied me snapping a picture of it from the next room and came bounding in. Apparently, if I was going document this, I was going to document it properly. (Can someone plz fill me on on standard snake-corpse-photography procedures? Kthx.)

He proceeded to pick up the snake-bag, maneuver the python corpse inside until it suited his demented preferences, put it back down on the counter, and demand that I do a re-take.

Much.....better? Thanks, Dad. It appears that Steve committed this reptile execution on one of his many obsessive sweeps down our driveway with Weed-B-Gone.

So, that weekend in a nutshell? Snake carcasses on the kitchen counter. Totally normal.

I came home again this weekend to watch the Doodles because Suz would be out of town. One of the first things I did when I got home this time was go to the refrigerator for a Diet Coke fix. I found a Diet Coke alright, but I also found this.....INSIDE the fridge....:

Why yes, that IS the spare set of keys to the house, stashed inside the box of Michelob Ultra...inside the fridge...

It appears that Suz thought this hiding spot would be most conducive to my actually finding the keys. This tells me that my mother is either very hilarious and sneaky, or she thinks I'm such an alcoholic that the FIRST place I'd think to look (or anyone for that matter) for a hide-a-key is INSIDE a case of beer, INSIDE the garage refrigerator.

Sorry for telling the world about your hiding spot, Suz.

And while we are on the subject of my mother, that brings me to my third reason-du-jour why my family is usually a pretty supple source of blog topics.

My mom has the creepiest, most obsessive relationship with Hallmark ornaments and Christmas decorations I've ever seen. And I've been to a national Hallmark convention.

Almost every single surface in our house already looks like Santa rolled in here and exploded all over everything. So I took a little tour of our house, snapping pictures in any given room of the creepiest decorations I observed on my walk-through....

THIS is the first thing you see when you come through our front door. I left the ladder in the picture for scale. Did I mention that this welcoming fellow is on display BEFORE we even made it to Halloween? Meaning our poor little child neighbors will be subjected to his pedophilic gaze come Saturday night.

Santa really IS always watching you, kids. And Santa is a 7-foot-tall creepy-ass Freud-lookalike.

These next three pictures are in various parts of our house, but all come from the same Christmas decoration "designer." These hideous abominations are called Anna Lee "dolls," but feel free to switch the term "dolls," used very loosely here, for "maniacal demons" or "satanic imps" or something along those lines. What kind of sick person thought that making dolls' faces look like acid trips would create feelings of Christmas joy or holiday nostalgia in any sane person?

(by the way, these 2 are in a random, rarely used upstairs bathroom. Suz leaves no surface un-Christmased.)

And just a few more examples of Suz's decoration-infatuation-blog-topic-inspirations...

Suz has so many ornaments that she can devote entire Christmas trees and entire Christmas wreaths to certain, very specific themes. This one is obviously the Star Wars wreath. In the words of Yoda....Think it's awesome, I do.

Anywhere, literally anywhere you go in our house, you can look around and find some version of the creepy pedophile Santa staring you down. I don't know how any of my siblings or I got through childhood thinking that old Saint Nick was a jolly, good-intentioned soul with these mutant Santas lurking around every other corner.

We certainly wouldn't want anyone to feel devoid of Christmas joy whilst sitting on the porcelain throne!

As if the 7-foot-tall-front-entryhall Santa wasn't disturbing enough on his own, this little sidekick gremlin stands guard at his side. He is apparently "checking Santa's list" for him, a.k.a marking down the names of trick-or-treaters they'd like to molest later.

And finally, a nativity scene. So we can pretend like we are good Catholics when guests come over, and that we don't just go to church on Christmas Eve...... drunk....... (just kidding...)

So thank you, innate dorkiness, grad school shenanigans, and the weirdest (and best) family I could ask for, for providing me ample material to keep this little guy going.

I am, however, always open to suggestions. Happy Halloween!


Friday, September 24, 2010

The People You Meet in Grad School: Part 6

This is my first TPYMIGS post since May, but now that another Fall semester is in full swing, another installment of this series is definitely necessary. Up to this point, I've limited my TPYMIGS posts strictly to fellow students. I decided it was finally time to give some of my professors my acknowledgments, which spawned TPYMIGS number six:

6. The Entirely Too Quirky Professor

We have absolutely all had them. The professor that most certainly can NOT be from this planet, because nobody from this planet could possibly find it in their mental capacity to get that enthusiastic about Elizabethan love poetry or the life and times of George Eliot.

let's be honest. no one cares.

But just as soon as you resign yourself to that assumption, the Quirky Professor waltzes into English 750 or Philosophy 600 or whatever it is you're taking, decked out in a wrong-decade-looking or otherwise awkward outfit, looking around at the room in a bewildered way, as if they haven't a clue as to what the hell these 20-somethings are all doing in their classroom.

Once they get over this initial unexplained academic shellshock, they are FIRED UP about you being in their class and about their subject matter. However, there is a divide at work here. Things can go in one of two directions with the Quirky Professor. They are either Endearing and Hilarious Quirky, or Caustic and Demeaning Quirky.

The professor that is on the positive side of this stereotype is more or less friends with his or her students. This is the professor that everyone wishes they had as their adviser and that you run into at a random pint night on a Tuesday. While it is obvious they have been buried in the world of Academia for a very long time, they are still at least trying to make efforts to be real people.

They are usually sarcastic (in the best of ways), and attempt to make jokes about John Milton or Judith Butler or some other uber-nerdy-intellectual subject that isn't actually funny at all, but you want to carry them around in your purse like a toy poodle just for even trying.

The positive Quirky Professor actually utters phrases like "Holy Toledo!" and has an awesomely blended combination of modesty and doesn't-take-themselves-too-seriously.

They have a comprehensive handle of their content knowledge, peppered with all the right amounts of failed-but-precious jokes, nonsensical offhand comments, and colorful anecdotes from their weird-ass personal lives to make their classes truly enjoyable.

And then there is the other side of the spectrum: the Caustic and Demeaning Quirky Professor.

If this is a male professor, he is usually older and it is clear that he was tormented in high school or suffered some other kind of trauma at the hands of his peers somewhere down the line. Sympathy is not required, however, as this torment was obviously due to a very abrasive combination of massive arrogance and excessive nerd-dom, and he is now taking out 20 years of repressed angst on you and your classmates.

He is so engrossed in his subject area that he has completely forgotten what real human interaction is, and has instead replaced it with sarcasm that is either only understood by him or that is incredibly insulting to students in some way.

This is the type of professor that is so impossibly nerdy, and at the same time so impossibly cocky, that you are genuinely astonished if you find out he is married or lives any life other than that of a crotchety, solitary hermit, surrounded by his academic journals and inflated self-love.

You experience a fleeting excitement on the first day of his class, because he has mentioned Lord of the Rings so many times that you are already able to start a running tally of his LotR allusions. This is very short lived though, as it becomes clear almost immediately that despite his seemingly awesome obsession with Middle Earth and Tolkien-lore, this guy is a giant bag of douche.

If the Caustic and Demeaning Quirky Professor is a female, she usually tends to wear so much bangle-y jewelry that she creates her own little soundtrack as she walks around the room, offering up her "comments" on your work, which are really just thinly veiled insults that she issues to establish how much smarter than you she is.

She is almost always, without fail, a raging feminist, hellbent on showing the patriarchal Academic world that she and her vagina are just as capable and knowledgeable as Dr. Phallus down the hall there.

If you are a female student of hers who happens to NOT share in this radical, we-must-castrate view of men, you might as well drop her class. You are chicken shit. You might as well have sprouted a penis and time traveled back to the days of pre-suffrage for your crime against the feminine race.

right. because THAT's attractive...

Possibly stemming from her uber-feminism, this negative version of the Quirky Professor also has a massive superiority complex. If she is an Education professor, this means starting every. single. goddamn. sentence with "In MY classroom..." and then proceeding to bore you for the next 10 minutes with how something she did when she was in a non-college classroom 50 years ago was the greatest, most messianic teaching method that a group of high schoolers had ever seen.

In a non-Education class, this superiority complex bares its fangs in other forms, such as the Quirky Professor loving the sound of her disdain-filled voice too much to ever dare let students speak or participate, or through asking near-impossible questions that she knows her students won't know the answer to, and letting the crickets chirp their symphonies as she smugly glares around the room waiting for one of them to produce a (wrong) answer that she can then pompously correct.

anyone...anyone....? ..bueller?

If you've been lucky enough to have some Hilarious and Endearing Quirky Professors, you've probably signed up for subsequent courses of theirs, even if it was called "You Will Hate Your Life 700" or some otherwise ominous course title. You'll take your chances.

If you've had the Caustic and Demeaning QP, rest assured, my friend, we all have. At the very least, you and your classmates can bond over your mutual hatred and vent about him/her at pint night.

In the classes I'm in with particularly Quirky Professors, I like to keep running logs of entertaining shit that comes out of their mouths during class, and I'm hoping to compile them into a blog in the near future. So, stay tuned.


Saturday, August 21, 2010

Nutshell Summer

*Shoutout to my baller friend Gary for helping me think of a post idea. I'm like a sad little dry well in the middle of the Kalahari when it comes to blog topics these days.*

This post is relatively straightforward. Unless I have a bunch of noobs reading my blog, which I don't think i do.

Since summer is now officially over, here is my summer in a nutshell. Be forewarned, my summer was not. very. exciting.

Phase 1:
The Not-Really-Summer-At-All Part of Summer

The spring school semester ends.
Everyone else starts raging and gallivanting and otherwise enjoying their summers.
I start a Maymester class 2 days later.
I realize Maymesters f***ing suck.
My townhouse floods. (there's a post for that....)
I realize my townhouse f***ing sucks.
I immediately start a Craigslist-fueled scavenger hunt for a new living situation.
I hit the Craigslist jackpot and find a lovely new pad with a sweetass new roommate.
I move in to said pad (which I lovingly call The Herm).
I pray that my hopefully-not-a-murderer new Craigslist bunkmate doesn't chop me up and store me in the walls.
Maymester ends. I ball out with my grades as usual and get an A.
My next summer class starts.
I almost fail said class due to complete and utter lack of interest and motivation.
That summer class ends.
My "failing" final grade ends up being a B+ because I'm awesome.
I get my first break from grad school in 13 months.
My actual summer begins.

my summer school did not involve Hawaiian leis, cool dogs wearing sunglasses, or Mark Harmons.

Phase 2:
The Southeast-Traveler-and-Superbum Part of Summer

I go to Atlanta to see my old college roommate at Emory.
I discover the asskick-in-a-can known as Four Loko. I drink it often.
I go to Charleston and Edisto with the Sister and the Suz.
I attempt to be in Columbia as little as humanly possible.
I basically live at my parents' house again and spend their money and eat all their Cheetoh puffs.
I chill with the doodles all day long.
I stay in bed till 1 in the afternoon approximately every other day.
I drink some more Four Loko.
I go to Atlanta to see aforementioned college roommate again.
I go days at a time where I only leave the house to get food or sometimes not at all.
I play 5+ hours straight of Wii Super Mario Brothers with my nephew on the REG.
My sister and I spend all of our time with each other because we apparently have no use for "friends" and get even weirder.
I discover Criminal Minds and do nothing but have Crim Minds episode DVD marathons for almost a month.
I develop a stalker-like obsession with Mathew Gray Gubler and get legitimately borderline depressed when I exhaust all of the episodes.
I drink some more Four Loko and eat some more Cheetoh puffs to console myself.

this is what superbum probably looks like.

Phase 3: The Edisto-Family-Vacation Part of Summer

The Townes clan heads down to Edisto for the annual shitshow that is our beach vacation.
We bring along some other extended family members and family friends.
We drink beers on the beach.
We drink beers on the balcony.
We discover that Edisto now has a "pub crawl," with all FOUR of the island's bars participating.
We participate in the pub crawl 2 different times.
Our parents kick our asses in beer pong even though they've "never played before."
Everyone gets sunburned.
I buy a cowboy hat.
I don't take off my cowboy hat for a week.
We take a daytrip to Savannah. (Fun fact! Savannah has no existing open container laws).
We watch Shark Week all week long.
Everyone is subsequently scared of the ocean.
Assholes near us on the beach fish and attract potential sharks to our swimming spot.
We talk a lot of shit on these assholes as we drink our beers.
We play a lot of Scattergories.
I get entirely too competitive for a board game and win most games of Scattergories.
Suz makes a crapload of margaritas.
The adults get drunker than the "kids", try to deny it, and it's hilarious.
Everyone is sad as another successful Edisto trip ends.

this is approximately what I envisioned every time I got in the water

Phase 4:
The Kinda-But-Also-Kinda-Not-Crappy-End Part of Summer

I get sad to leave Suz, Steve, the doodles, and my summer crash-pad in Greenville.
I go back to Columbia full time because school is starting.
My newly-confirmed-not-ax-murderer Craigslist roommate comes back from her summer job and I no longer have to live by myself in The Herm.
Ugly-as-sin pigeons nest all over our balcony in piles of their own shit.
We contemplate their murders.
We decide we can't kill the pigeons.
We buy fake owls from Wal-mart to scare the pigeons off.
We name the fake owls instead and put them in our living room.
Roommate and I discover awesome things we have in common like Mathew Gray Gubler and Crim Minds fetishes.
Fall Classes start.
I rediscover my hatred for having classes with undergrads.
After 2 days of class, many new TPYMIGS blog posts are inspired.
I get my high school assignments for this semester's student teaching and I am happy about them.
I start student teaching 2 days from now.
Many more blog posts will hopefully ensue.
Summer officially ends.

Eff school. Look out for some posts about the beginning of my high school student teaching experiences and some more "People You Meet in Grad School."


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Fitting Room Epiphanies: Part 2

Because I don't know exactly who is reading my blog at any given post, my disclaimer is this: I will be talking about bras and very bold bra fitting room attendants in this post. Just in case any males or family members or those who are prone to awkwardness wish not to proceed.

Her name was Martha.

I know this not because I asked her, or asked for her help in any way. She basically screamed this to me across the lingerie department as soon as my foot crossed the Dillard's threshold.

She seemed innocent enough. After all, Martha was pushing 80 and by all accounts looked like a frail little old person that you think will snap in half if you shake their hand too hard.

I didn't even go into the bra department on a mission or anything like that. I just thought, Hey, I could probably use another good bra. She didn't even give me time to get to a rack of Maidenforms before Martha was on me like flies on shit.

Are you looking for anything in particular?

Can I help you find a size?

By the way, sweetheart
(I hate when people call me sweetheart; strike one, Martha)......I'm a certified brassiere fitting specialist!

I had a couple of problems with Martha already after this first encounter.

1. She called me sweetheart. I get it, she's old, but it still kind of chaps my ass.

2. She used the word brassiere. Again, yes she's old, but come ON Martha. It's like I needed to coax her out of 1938 before we could move on.

3. What in the HELL requirements qualify an individual to be a "certified brassiere fitting specialist"? Having a tape measure in your hand at the time when you made your claim? Having seen a lot of boobs in your day because you're 200 years old? Having the name Martha and being the only employee currently working in the Dillard's "intimates" department?

I managed to shake her and meander around the racks for 15 minutes or so. I accumulated about 6 or 7 specimens and headed to the fitting rooms. (Which were very obviously located directly behind the register, but Martha still pointed them out to me and called them *her* fitting rooms.)

So there I am, in my horrendous fitting room. Flourescent lights, grimy moist-feeling department store carpet, not enough clothing hooks, check-check-check.

I heard a woman rustling around in the room next to me. Good, I thought. I hate being alone in public bathrooms and in fitting rooms. My irrational paranoia inevitably creeps in and taints my experiences in them.

I hadn't even tried on one bra when I heard Martha basically sprinting past my room to this poor woman next to me. Apparently she had not escaped into the fitting rooms Martha-free like I had. The following is an approximation of the conversation I heard going on between Martha and this doomed soul next to me.

Martha: Do you have it on? (she does not wait for a response) .....I'm coming in!

Martha: Oh now that is just beautiful! That is JUST... BEAUTIFUL! And those are perky! Oh and look at that nice tan you have! Did you just come back from the beach?

*various noises: the popping of bra straps, indistinguishable sounds coming from the woman, Martha's feet scuffling all about the dressing room, someone exclaiming "oops!", nervous laughter, etc.*

Woman: I don't know, this one doesn't really feel right.

Martha: Oh no! You just don't have your breasts in it correctly. You need to JIGGLE them!

You can use your imagination as to how the conversation continued after that. And it repeated itself over and over again. Martha would run scurrying from the fitting rooms, come back with new garments, and that poor woman would be back at square one.

Meanwhile, I've tried to stay as silent as I possibly can, contorting my body into bras so that the straps wouldn't snap and nothing would make noise and give me away.

But then my phone rang.

I could curse Steve Miller Band to hell for "The Joker" blasting out of my Blackberry at full volume at that particular moment. I would also curse the person who called me, but Suz is a saint and I would never do that. Plus, how could she possibly have known the crazytrain that was about to make its next stop in my dressing room?

The next 5 minutes went by in a blur.

Martha rapped on my fitting room door. Martha asked if I was doing okay. Martha did NOT wait for a reply. Martha is literally inside my fitting room with me. A tape measure appears out of nowhere. I am being felt up by an 80 year old woman. I am wrapped in her tape measure 4 different times. Martha gets to second base! Martha yells at me for wearing the wrong bra size "my whole life." Martha performs the "scooping" maneuver on me. I am scarred for life by Martha's scooping of my girls. Other "bra fitting" procedures occur.

Martha finally left my dressing room. I had been prodded, fondled, and measured by her. The last time I was so thoroughly investigated, I had just come out of the womb.

To my horror, Martha repeated this process with me, much like she had with my dressing room neighbor, for a solid 30 minutes.

I didn't sign up for this shit. I had innocently strolled into Dillard's for a casual perusal of the bra merchandise. I was beginning to wonder if I would ever escape this horrible woman.

But then I saw a shining, gleaming light at the end of the tunnel. My fitting room neighbor was ready to check out! And she was telling Martha that! And Martha was the only employee in this department! She would have to leave me unattended in the dressing room to go sell this woman her bra.

I heard them gather things up from the next room and make their way out of the fitting rooms. They were walking slowly enough, however, for Martha to shout a little "I'll be right back sweetheart!" in my direction as she passed.

From inside my fitting room, Martha's words repeated themselves in that slow motion, deep drawn out voice from the movies...... I'lllll....beeee.....riiiiiightttt....baaaacckk.....sweeeeetheaaaaartt..., followed by evil laughter and mental images of Martha with blood dripping from her tape measure and from the fangs she probably had flashing through my head.

As soon as they cleared the door to the fitting room, I got dressed faster than I ever have in my life. I grabbed my purse and crept out of my fitting room. I peered around the doorway. Martha was at the register with the woman, asking for her address.

I literally fled the scene.

I wasn't running, because I thought that would attract too much attention. Instead, it was a kind of speedwalk/hop/skip combination that got me the HELL out of Dillard's while Martha was preoccupied.

I had escaped.

And so it was discovered. There IS a fitting room experience that trumps bathing suit shopping. Next time I want a good feeling-up, I think I'll opt for a doctor's appointment.


Monday, July 12, 2010

I Heart Electricity

It has come to my attention recently that I LOVE electricity.

I just love it. I need it. I take it for granted.

And when the power goes out because of a borderline-tornado going on outside, like it did last night, I lose all knowledge of what things in our house run on it.

" will the microwave work?"

"We'll still have air conditioning though right?"

"I'm just gonna go online real quick and check the weather to see when......oh.....wait...."

"Oh, well the cable's out but we can still go watch a DVD!"

No, no, no, and no.

NOTHING. WORKS. when there is a power outage. I'm intelligent-ish. I know this. Yet every time it happens, I walk around the house with the flashlight, flipping on switches every time I enter a room, continuously looking at the oven to see what time it is even though the time's not there, trying to turn on fans because it's starting to get balls-hot without the AC, etc.

So last night, once we all (me, Sister, Suz, Steve) got over our initial fury over not having power, we all found ourselves in the kitchen just staring around at each other like retarded zombies. We were so lost without our beloved electricity.

First, Sister and I tried to entertain ourselves by reading the books we're currently in the middle of. For me, Kafka's Metamorphosis. For her, Eat Pray Love. Of course, we were going to have to read by candlelight. So the kitchen scene looked a little something like this.

We tried our best to be entertained by this activity, but after about 30 seconds we were cursing our blackout situation and lamenting about how much it would suck and how quickly we would die if we had been pioneers or colonists or born anytime before 1980.

There needed to be a Plan B, and fast.

But then we had an epiphany...

You definitely didn't need electricity to drink beer, and that's MUCH more fun than reading by candlelight! And we had better get to doing it fast, because soon the refridgerators would all get hot, and subsequently the beer would get hot.

The situation got exponentially better from there. We went to the fridge and discovered the at-home mini keg of Coors Light we had bought a couple days earlier. Eureka!

hooray beer!

We brought it inside, figured out how to open it up, and poured away. Even Steve, a die-hard pinot grigio loyalist, wanted a pint of the good stuff.

Alas, though, we soon found ourselves going a little bit insane again. The situation had improved, and people may or may not have been getting tipsy, but we were jonesin' for some more action.

All this time, our 3 dogs (the doodles) had been trotting around the kitchen from one human to the next, probably wondering why we were all just sitting there and ninja-licking our legs and stuff.

My sister and I looked from our beer cups, to the bowl cabinet, to the bored dogs, and then furtively to each other. We crept down from our perches atop the kitchen counter and filled a little bowl up with some Coors.

We had long suspected our dogs were alcoholics, especially Dixie, so we thought, why not support their habit a little bit to selfishly satiate our own boredom?

They. lapped. it. up. And before any of you crazies run screaming away from your computers to call PETA, we didn't give them THAT much, and we're pretty sure only Dixie got a little buzzed, and we're also pretty sure she loved it anyway. No harm no foul, right?

just a couple of drunk doodles.

We also realized our iTunes would still work until our computers ran out of juice. So we had a few little dance parties and made a few little home music videos on iMovie, which will hopefully never surface in a highly incriminating way sometime in the future.

Circa about 10:30 PM, 3 hours after it started, the blackout ended. The power came back on, and 4 simultaneous personal celebrations could be heard from various parts of the house/kitchen. We were so excited, and although we had a good time drinking beer and getting our dogs drunk, we were also totally cognizant of our pathetic dependence on our computers and TVs for entertainment.

For all you people who grew up in decades that pre-date the 90s, I am impressed you're still with us. I don't know how you did it.

PS. Should you happen to hear a shrieking fit of hysterics later this evening emanating from the vicinity of upstate South Carolina, don't worry. That's just me, flying into a murderous rage over the fact that the Bachelorette is coming on at 8pm and our cable is still out, and I am a Bachelorette addict who hasn't had a fix since last Monday.

Who's fiending? This girl is.


Share This


Related Posts with Thumbnails