Monday, December 21, 2009

Holiday Blues

"I just don't understand Christmas, I guess. I like getting presents and sending Christmas cards and decorating trees and all that, but I'm still not happy. I always end up feeling depressed."
-Charlie Brown

Every year a gloomy feeling descends on what everyone thinks should be the most wonderful time of the year. I know it isn’t just me, and I know its not seasonal-affective disorder. It’s Christmas. I know! I said it! I’m the Grinch, I’m scrooge! But, seriously, can’t we take a little lesson from the Grinch and Scrooge? Isn’t there a little of those two in all of us? Before you write me off as a psycho murderer of Christmas, just hear me out. Christmas is supposed to be a season of magic, giving, etc, etc. So why all the sadness? Common thread between sadness and Christmas? It reminds those who are a little lonely just how alone they actually are. Scrooge is alone in the world; no wife, no family, not even a girlfriend to keep the bed warm. The Grinch was ridiculed as a child and is also, alone. If you want to feel lonely, just live eternally in Christmastime. Maybe it’s something about the lights or the songs, or simply wanting to share something with someone that just isn’t there. I’m not only talking about significant others either, but even family members are missed (like how I know my mother wishes her parents were still around, and every Christmas she misses them a little more than she does the rest of the year). We all need someone that either doesn’t exist, or cannot be present. The only open and true happiness at Christmas might exist when you’re a little kid, and Santa is a fat, kind man who gives present to all children equally. Perhaps, as adults, we are all simply reaching for what we thought Christmas was in light of what we have found Christmas to be.

Alas, I cannot end on such a debbie-downer note. Linus said it the best:
"Sure, Charlie Brown, I can tell you what Christmas is all about: And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, 'Fear not: for behold, I bring unto you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.' And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.' That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown."

To keep my Grinchy-ness out, I usually try to think about the real purpose of this holiday, to focus on the wonderful gifts God has given me, including His son.

But seriously though guys, a little depressed, right?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Blog award!

Yay for my roomie, CMG from The Sweet Sea for my very first blog award. CMG and I started blogs together in November as creative outlets. Her blog is one of my favorites!

Here are my responses:
where is your cell phone: ha i don't know
your hair: I just cut it! (see post November 24)
your mother: the best
your father: also the best
your favorite food: hot dogs
your dream from last night: I know I had one, but I cant remember..
your favorite drink: wine and beer
your dream/goal: to become some kind of writer (dumb, i know)
what room are you in: my common room
where do you want to be in 6 years: somewhere, happy, living my life
where were you last night: in my room, drinking with friends
something you are not: boring!
muffins: blueberry
wish list items: happiness, family, friends.
where did you grow up: south of Boston
last thing you did: i've actually done nothing all day, and its been great
what are you wearing: haha, pjs.
your TV: on! were watching the O.C.
your pets: Tucker, my doggy!
your friends: the best
your life: so fun
your mood: pretty good, going home tomorrow for Christmas break!
missing someone: my family, friends from home (soon ill be missing friends from school)
vehicle: 2000 maxima, on its last leg
something your not wearing: socks
your favorite store: J.Crew, anthropologie
your favorite color: blue! all hues.
last time you laughed: probably like 5 minutes ago
last time you cried: yesterday after i FAILED a terrible final
your best friend: i have too many! they're all amazing
one place you go over and over: not sure, class? the dining hall?
one person who emails me regularly: um, J.Crew?
favorite place to eat: all restaurants!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A bogus ending to a great movie

Well, today I rejoin the blog community after a hiatus—finals week swallowed my life whole. Seriously, there aren’t enough hours in a day to accomplish everything. ALAS--here is my first blog in two weeks (the blog from yesterday was written about a year ago and featured in my school newspaper). ANYWAY: today, I will talk about one movie that I love, but the ending is just not ok.

I love Titanic. I think it’s an awesome movie; a little love, a little sex, a little disaster, a lot of death. Perfect recipe for a blockbuster. The only problem is the end. Rose, young and beautiful during the time she embarked from England on the Titanic, is elderly and wrinkled in the present of the movie. After throwing the Heart of the Ocean diamond into the curiously blue waters of the North Atlantic (obviously, the heart of the ocean is supposed to symbolize her heart, and the act of throwing it overboard shows the audience that her heart always belonged in the ocean), Rose dies in her sleep. She subsequently goes to her version of heaven: the Titanic in all the splendor and glory it once was, with the long dead Jack, among many others, there waiting for her return.

It’s BS. Did James Cameron really think that Rose, after living another 80 some-odd years (shes 17 when the ship goes down in 1912, the movie was made in 1996, you do the math), would really return to a weekend affair she had when she was 17? I know, I know its romantic, catharsis for the audience, blah blah blah. I don’t buy it. What about the life Rose had after Jack died? It was LONG! 80 years long! She was an actress, made a name for herself, married and had children. I know a woman’s heart is full of secrets and shit, but she only knew they guy for three days, and they only got along for one, and only had sex once! Do I think Rose should have married the rich guy, not really. But that would have been more realistic and true to real life, wouldn’t it?

Christmas cards: all about the photo

The family Christmas photo. It’s inevitable. Each year, my parents gather the four of us around to take a picture for Christmas cards. It seems simple enough; everyone sits for five minutes while Dad snaps a couple of pictures and then everyone goes on their merry way. For people who send Christmas cards, the point of the picture is, on the surface, to send greetings and holiday wishes to old friends and family with a picture of happy snappy kids. It also might be shameless bragging—“Merry Christmas! By the way, look at how gorgeous my children are! And yes, that mansion behind us is our summer cottage on Nantucket!” I, for one, always laugh at the people who send the card with not only a picture, but an attached novel of a letter detailing the goings-on of the family since the last Christmas: “Joe Jr. scored 27 home runs for his little league team this spring! Sarah won first place at the biggest horse show in the state! And little Billy, we have been told, has and I.Q. of 160! As for Joe Sr. and me, we have been jet-setting around the world, volunteering in India and Cambodia! What an adventure!” Oh boy. Cards that also never fail to make me chuckle are the ones of the token tourist family: Mom and Dad with their fanny packs and the 1-3 children they might have, sunburned and standing in front of the Grand Canyon wearing matching Grand Canyon souvenir t-shirts. Don’t deny it, you know you’ve seen those cards before. But the hands-down best Christmas cards to laugh at are the ones where all the kids are hastily lined up in front of the decorated tree or fireplace lined with stockings, one or more of them might have been crying (their eyes and faces are a bit blotchy), maybe they put a Santa hat on the dog, and you just know it was an all-out battle trying to get this picture. Sometimes this card doesn’t even arrive until after Christmas—it is often postmarked on or after December 23.

My family, for the most part, is of the latter type. My parents insist upon taking a Christmas picture of the four of us every year, no matter what the emotional cost. Yes, picture time at my family residence usually ends up with at least one kid (usually the youngest, HJT, who isn’t even that young anymore) crying, one or both parents and at least two older siblings pretty ticked off. It starts off with a simple, yet condescending nonetheless, request: “JST, do you have to wear that Patriots jersey? Can’t you put on something nice?” Then its: “SJT, sit up straight.” Followed by “Harrison, would you just make a normal face?” and then, “JST, will you smile please? I paid 5,000 for those teeth.” This doesn’t only come from the parents, but the whole peanut gallery, including JST’s repeated requests for HJT to make him laugh, because if he’s not laughing he feels stupid smiling, and BMT constantly shooing the dog away, because it would be unfair to have the dog in the Christmas picture and not the cat, and all of us telling Dad to just hurry up and take the picture already. Sometimes one of the brothers is in a silly mood and won’t stop making farting noises or hitting the other until it gets so annoying that he is yelled at, after which the offending brother sulks for the remainder of the photo shoot. And always, without fail, there is the quintessential statement from mom: “look happy, dammit! It’s Christmastime!” When picture-taking is all over and we’re all sufficiently at each other’s throats, then comes the critiquing period, in which we all gather around the computer to choose which picture will be sent to 150 of my parents’ closest friends and relatives. Each picture is met with a chorus of “HJT is making a stupid face,” “I look fat,” “My eyes are closed,” “JST isn’t smiling,” and the like. Mom usually responds with, “Oh, I like that one!” while Dad silently clicks through the pictures wondering, no doubt, why he subjects himself to this each year.

In the end, however shameless and perhaps even pointless Christmas pictures might be, they’re still a tradition that my family seems unwilling to break. A year without a Christmas card complete with a picture is like a year without Santa Claus, we don’t know why we keep spinning the fable, but we do. Fat, happy Santa coming down the chimney; smiling, effervescent kids not pinching each other behind their backs; it’s all part of the façade. Next year my parents will vow to take the picture earlier, in the summertime, on the beach, or something. Secretly, I’ll want to send a picture of the four kids around a keg. Merry Christmas, love us.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Gifts that will bring on the apocalypse

Im not kidding guys, if you want to see the world end, just buy one of these gifts for your loved ones.

The iphone. I just don’t trust it. Who needs a phone that can basically do everything and more than your tricked out laptop? I know its pretty, but let’s be real. It can only go down from here, much like the stock market on October 27, 1929. I don’t trust it because there’s no way gadget technology can get any better. What’s next? A phone that’s implanted in our ears with a holographic screen on the palms of our hands?

Amazon Kindle, or any other electronic book reader. Ladies and gents, welcome to the death of books as we know them. because I was too young and dumb to understand what the big deal was about digital music, I did not lament the ending of albums, record stores, or listening to a CD all the way through. Now its all about the hits. Digital music changed the recording industry in an irreversible way, and I fear the same for the book publishing industry. If this thing latches on (and it probably will, since Oprah endorsed it, and we all know our moms do everything she says), we will be sitting with our grandkids on our laps, telling tales about the days of yore, when you could hold a book in your hand, smell the glue in the binding and the fresh, white paper, turn the pages with your hands. Books will be a thing of the past, little bookshops and even big chains like Barnes and Noble will go out of business. Curse you, Kindle.

Anything from Jared Jewelers. Their b-list commercials are even worse than Every Kiss begins with Kay. Never will I ever say HE WENT TO JARED!!!! My husband to be better go to Tiffany. Or the diamond district.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

SJT’s favorite things

Okay, so since this blog is mostly about stuff that irritates me, I figured, in light of the incoming holiday season, I would write about a few things I really enjoy.

1. Being with my family. I know it sounds kind of dumb, but your family really is the people who understand you the best. You can be in a bad mood around them, get in fights, even be kind of mean to each other, and at the end of the day, everyone still loves each other. I know that sounds kind of fatalist, but seriously. Having siblings is like having built in friends: you already understand each other without having to try. You can still be childlike and silly with your siblings, even into young adulthood (though this might be because my youngest brother is still 14). Nothing is better than being around your family at Christmastime.

2. My dog. I was always a cat person, but when my parents brought home a fluffy white and brown puppy the summer after my freshman year of college, I feel completely and utterly in love. With a dog. But whenever I come home from school he’s there to greet me, his feather duster tail swishing back and forth, a toy in his mouth to give me as a token of his affection. He’ll cuddle up with you on the couch, his head in your lap. He loves to snuggle and be petted (I’m unsure about the tense usage there), loves to go on walks, loves to play fetch and tug of war. He’s the best dog in the world, unconditionally loving and sweet as can be.

3. Being with my friends. Again, a freaking cliché, but there’s nothing like a great night out with some friends, be it your high school buddies, your summer friends or your college pals, spending time with people that make you laugh is the very best medicine for anything that might be wrong. Much like being with your siblings, if you can be honest and silly with your friends, you can’t do any better than that.

UGH enough being nice. Up next: 10 worst things about the holidays. Mwahaha!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

What Men Want: Starring Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt

When I was in the second grade, all I wanted for Christmas was a Drew Bledsoe official New England Patriots jersey. I was (and still am) a huge Pats fan, and I just thought there was nothing cooler, more cunning or stylish than that bright blue jersey, double ones on the back, Bledsoe across the shoulder blades. Christmas morning came, and to the delight of my eight year old heart, Santa had wrapped up my Bledsoe jersey in green paper and tucked it under the tree.

I was So. Excited. to wear my jersey to school, I seriously thought I was the cats pajamas. UNTIL. In the cafeteria that day, a boy in my class (who will remain nameless, though I can assure everyone that he, despite being incredibly popular in high school, is going nowhere fast) shouted for everyone to hear: I didn’t know Drew Bledsoe was a GIRL!!!!

Laughter ensued.

I had NEVER been that embarrassed before, and I never wore the jersey to school again.

That was the first time I let what a guy said have and effect on what I thought, but it certainly wasn’t the last. Why is what men say so important? We are taught to be independent, intelligent women who have thoughts of their own, and yet I find myself actually caring about and taking to heart what men think. For example: I have long hair, 14 or 15 inches root to tip, and this summer I thought seriously about cutting it off. I thought there would be nothing better that a cute, professional bob to take with me into senior year. Then, in late August, I met a guy in a bar who told me that my hair was gorgeous and that I should never cut it. So I didn’t. Hello, paging Jim Bob Duggar? We have a candidate for your family.

It doesn’t end there. Every Thursday, the seniors and juniors of my school frequent a certain bar in downtown Worcester. Large amounts of dollar drafts and vodka cran with soda and lime are consumed. I love the place, but one of the best parts is they actually let you get up on the bar and dance if you want, which is awesome when you’re just drunk enough. Except, I don’t dance on the bar. Ever. Even when I’m plastered. The reason is that an older guy who was on the ski team my sophomore year told a story once where a girl was dancing on the bar, and while the friend she was next to was totally hot, this other chick had thunder thighs. AND IT WAS DISGUSTING. Girls, he told us, never, ever have thunder thighs. Welp, I lost, because I have big thighs. Did I mention that no one where I go to school is fat? Our campus is carved into a mountain; it’s practically impossible to be obese. So this thunder thigh girl was probably not overweight, was just blessed (or cursed), like me, with large, albeit muscular, thighs. Give me a break! I play rugby! But no one wants to see those dancing on a bar. In fact, if you don’t look like you belong in Coyote Ugly, don’t even entertain the idea. I’m scarred. Can’t do it for fear some guy will look up on that bar and go UGH! THUNDER THIGHS! GET HER OFF THE BAR!

But in the end, I still want to know why, why, why women do (or don’t do) things just because of what men might think. How did I, or any woman of my generation become a victim to this?

I recently cut my hair--eight whole inches! ALSO, and perhaps more importantly, a friend of mine convinced me to get on the bar. And I did. And it was amazing. Go me!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Hollywood’s double standard

A few weeks ago one of my roommates and I decided to watch a movie with a couple of guy friends that live downstairs from us. Their movie of choice was Superbad. Now, I appreciate Superbad. I think it’s funny and, at times, clever, albeit completely unrealistic. But then, most movies are unrealistic, and ill tell you one of the reasons why:

The misogyny of Hollywood is rampant.

That’s right, I said it. Hollywood hates women.

Take, for example, Judd Apatow movies. The guy is great, and I find all of his movies to be completely hilarious. HOWEVER, the male leads in films like Superbad and Knocked Up are, while funny, not as good looking as the female leads. Seriously, Seth Rogen ending up with Katherine Heigl? Get Real. In real life, kids that look like Evan (Michael Cera) and Seth (Jonah Hill) don’t end up with girls that look like tween supermodels (insert Jules and Becca). Evan and Seth are weirdoes, or at leas they are made out to be, while Jules and her friends are made out to be the most popular girls in school. I mean, lets be honest, Seth had a problem with drawing penises, which is funny, but that’s not something people in high school would forget about. I don’t know about you, but where I went to high school, the ’popular ’ girls would never have looked twice at the boys who were considered freaks. Yet here in Hollywood we have the overweight, poorly dressed, foul mouthed, penis drawing and fairly not good looking character of Seth who, in the end, gets the popular, pretty, righteous (she ’doesn’t like to drink’) character of Jules. Its complete crap!

Now, let’s turn the tables. What does Hollywood do when the girls are made out to be the weirdos who dress unfashionably and have bad hair? They give them a makeover and BOOM: popularity ensues. Let’s take two examples for this: the Princess Diaries starring Anne Hathaway, and the Breakfast Club, our character of example being played by actress Ally Sheedy. Anne Hathaway is a frizzy haired, retainer wearing eccentric in the Princess Diaries. She dreams of finding love, but the popular kids look at her as a pariah. But, with a stroke of hereditary luck, she finds out she is royalty. Her queen grandmother and the royal assistants pluck her eyebrows, blow out her hair, put a little makeup on her, give her a designer backpack. Voila! Boys notice her! Her longtime crush kisses her! She gets everything she ever wanted! Ally Sheedy in the Breakfast Club is an introvert, also with bad hair and clothing without friends. But just a little makeover action from Molly Ringwald and Emilio Estevezs popular jock character falls for her. Did we forget that these girls still have the same personalities? Whatever made them freaks before is still there! The guys they like would never have fallen for them before, but now that they look pretty, the guys seem to change their minds. Michael Cera and Jonah Hill didn’t have makeovers that impressed Becca and Jules. I say again: absolute crap. In order for a girl to be appreciated by the object of her affection, she must change the way she looks because, according to Hollywood, THAT IS ALL MEN CARE ABOUT. Guys just have to prove that they are funny, and the girl is putty in their hands.

What this all does is boost male egos. Guys that aren’t that good looking always think they can do better that a girl that might not be a 10. All guys think they deserve 10s. THEY DON’T. What will it take for people to stop being so superficial? I’m not saying that men take all of their hints about women from the movies; I don’t think that all men are complete idiots (lets face it, women are idiots too), but movies like the ones I have mention simply don’t do anything to help the cause. It seems, to me, that women in Hollywood are often treated as objects. It’s wrong.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Duggars

If there is one reality TV family that I simply cannot stand, it is the Duggar clan. Never mind the superficial Kardashians, the fame-obsessed, warring Jon and Kate Gosselins, or even the pathetic Lamas family (I mean, what are they even famous for? I watched approximately half of one episode and my IQ dropped significantly). The Duggars take the cake. People love to watch them for their conservative Christian values, their seemingly endless happiness, and their aaa-dorable kids who all have names that start with the letter J (patriarchic enough? You can’t tell me that the whole J thing didn’t happen because the dad’s name is Jim-Bob). But these are precisely the things that freak me out about the Duggars. First of all, what woman in her right mind would want to be pregnant for the better part of two decades and give birth to 18 children in 16 pregnancies? Michelle’s vajayjay (and uterus, if she has had c-sections) must be completely wrecked. Talk about stretch marks! How do Michelle and Jim-Bob even have sex? It must be the epitome of throwing a hot dog down a hallway. But forget about those logistics (because obviously they have it pretty figured out), how does a parent of 18 know any of their children intimately? It’s basically the older ones raising the younger ones. Michelle doesn’t have time, I’m sure, to care for them all herself, though she creepily makes it seem like it’s no big deal. That serene look on her face sends shivers down my spine. She doesn’t have an opinion that’s her own (just watch the show closely— everything between Michelle and Jim-Bob is ’we,’ but Jim-Bob does most of the talking). He comes off as handsome and kind, the kind of father everyone wants. But the girls are mandated to wear their hair long and wear high collared dresses, and I never see him playing ball with his boys, but rather they do ’activities ’ that seemingly only include chores. On the episode of Say Yes to the Dress that featured the Duggars, Michelle was not allowed to wear a strapless gown, she ’needed’ (granted, her words) to wear something that covered her chest up to her neck and covered her shoulders.

This is the sick display of Jim-Bob Duggar knocking up his wife as many times as possible and teaching his kids that it’s God’s will that they do the same. You know what’s going to happen? Middle America, evangelical and God-fearing, will simply keep reproducing without restraint until they choke out people who actually have a conscience about what they can afford (without the help of TLC) and their impact on this Earth. There was one episode I happened to watch where the Duggars were visited by another family who happen to also have an exurbanite amount of children. One of the teenage sons of the other large family told the camera (forgive me for paraphrasing) that he would love to have just as many children as his parents. Sounds to me like he just wants to prove his manhood. If this is America’s future, I’m frightened. Even Europeans are fascinated: in another episode, the family is followed by a French camera crew filming for a documentary. One of the Duggar girls mused that maybe people in France wanted to have extremely large families as well, and wanted to see how it was done. The filmmaker, however, commented that something like this could ’only happen in America’ and that Europeans would be fascinated. Basically he was saying that the Duggars were a spectacle to behold. I can only hope that the rest of the world knows that not all of America is as warped as the Duggars.

Oh and, btw, Michelle’s preggers again. Number nineteen.

I’ll end with my favorite Jim-Bob-ism (and again, forgive me for paraphrasing): ’Kids that are homeschooled actually have more of an opportunity to meet other kids their age, because we go to things like homeschool conferences a few times a year. ’ Of course! I forgot that kids that actually GO TO SCHOOL never have friends outside of their siblings. Keep taking your happy pills, Jim-Bob.