Friday, May 31, 2013

Another Response to the Dove Ad Campaign

Too much happened this week to detail here. Instead, please enjoy yet another response to the Dove ad campaign that I don't like. I like this parody better--it's all women who describe themselves as beautiful.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Bachelorette, Season VIXC

The newest Bachelorette started last night, and, you guessed it, the bachelorette is America's sweetheart, Desiree Holmes. I don't really know what her last name is, but she reminds me of Katie Holmes, post-Dawson's Creek, and pre-Tom Cruise brainwashing. When I say that she's America's sweetheart, I mean that she's the product chosen by NBC to be America's sweetheart; we don't really know her that well; she could be a total diva for all we know, but who cares, she lights up a room (when in candlelight) and she already has the script down ("here for the right reasons...Yes, I believe my husband is in this room...Will you accept this rose? Bounce is the quicker picker upper"). 

As usual, I only caught the last 45 minutes of the show, and so missed the hour of dudes getting out of the limos in evening gowns, trying to dazzle her, but that's okay. All of the guys look exactly alike and there are only 5 different names among them: Nick, Derrick, Zack, Mike,, and Brody. Mostly, they vie for her attention by talking about their drunk mom's, or their experiences in Iraq, or by attempting to wrestle her into the fantasy suite (that guy got sent home, you know why? Because that's not how Desiree likes to be treated, as Chris Harrison explains to everyone. She totally puts her foot down at date rape, you guys. Make a note of it).  The most interesting thing about the show when it's a bunch of guys and one woman is that they guys don't know how to act and they all end up reverting to Cro-Magnon behavior to get her attention--they rip of their shirts, they jump into the pool, they punch each other in the gut, they show off how great they are at bouncing a soccer ball off their noses like seals. It's so weird. Maybe this time at the end, they will have changed how it goes--brought it up to date, because usually, even though she chooses who she wants to be with, the guy is the one who must propose. Just let the woman propose now, okay? No one will care.

Anyway, the main point is that she sent the ER doctor home and I liked his glasses. She also sent the magician packing, and a couple of other guys with short dark hair--all of whom were periodontists. I don't know if I will be able to recap each week but I'll try.

Friday, May 24, 2013

5 Things that Happened This Week

Ginger came in for a visit to work. She's Denise's shelter dog and she's a cross between something and a Pomeranian.  I usually prefer medium to large dogs, having developed a certain disdain for yappy little dogs, but Ginger proved not to be a barker and behaved well. She also has a foxy little face and is fluffy, so it's like Denise brought a stuffed animal to work and made it come to life. She let's you carry her around as an accessory as well.

My cat has been dead for over six years now and I still miss her sometimes, like this mrning. I mean, I don't feel sad about it every day; I don't have a shrine to her. I don't keep her ashes next to my bed (though I do have them in this wooden box that's like a recipe box. The vet mailed it to me and I'm certain it contains many different lost cats, mixed together).  With cats, there are really only a handful of stories you can recall about things they did or things that happened to them---it's not like they're constantly interesting or like they can rescue you from wells. but she was my first pet. First pet at age twenty, unless you count aquarium fish, which I do not.  And she meowed constantly and was just always around in a good way.

I started reading Tana French's newest book, Broken Harbor and would like to take the next three days to finish it. It's literary detective fiction and so smart and interesting (more interesting than The Interestings, which I think I'm giving up on. I know the book will probably gain momentum, but I don't have the patience or the interest to read a book that starts slow with a bunch of awkward teens at summer camp).  I am trying very very hard not to skip ahead in this book to see what happens.
We get out of work early today because of Monday's holiday, so I'll leave for NJ on a 3-ish train. We have no plans; just the regular weekend in Princeton, where all the magical people live and where you can buy great only slightly used books at the library for $2 and where sometimes, you can pet a rare breed of dog on the street, and where there's also a store that has a fake sheep out front and I always fall for it, thinking it's a Great Pyrenees. Maybe we'll take a ride out to the Orchards, where you can buy apple cider donuts and feed the goats and where the cats run free and don't mind if you pet them.

You can see there is a theme in my life and that theme is animals.

A bunch of gals from work and I went to a free yoga class on Tuesday in a small little conference room and my self-worth was tested yet again by prolonged plank poses.  Since then, I've decided to work on my upper arm strength by doing mini-push-ups in the morning, and I mean mini--like, using about as much force as I employ to bring a glass to my lips. I also realized that, hey, my boyfriend teachers yoga. Why don't I ask him to do a class with me every time we're sitting around watching another episode of Dateline? Instead of eating marshmellow oaties, I could be working on my downward Ginger. We might not even fight about it.

You are caught up. This is all that's going on in my world, my brain, today.

Monday, May 20, 2013

3 Minute Fiction--Round 11

NPR sponsors this writing contest every few weeks, Three-Minute Fiction, where they give you a themed writing prompt and you have a week to write 600 words on it. A famous author then picks the winner and the winner gets published in The Paris Review. I've tried this contest about three times now and have never had a story picked or even featured on their website where they post some of their favorite entries. But it's still a good daily exercise. What I've done the last few times around is to write a different one each day, and then pick the one I like best to work on to submit. I did four this time, and one was a definite dud; the other three were workable. 

The prompt this time was this: Write a story in which a character finds an object that he or she has no intention of returning.

I wrote one on finding a letter on the ground, another about finding a dog, and then this one below about finding a body. The one I submitted was okay--not 100% worked out though. After the contest is over, maybe I'll post it here. 
I didn't submit the one copied below .It just seemed too far fetched, and a lot like the S. King short story, "The Body" (which later became the movie, Stand by Me), ans because I couldn't work out the ending, and finally, because it didn't quite fit the prompt. But I liked writing it in second person plural with the narrator intruding halfway through. Some of it is okay.

The abandoned house appeared just when we needed it most. We were thirteen and didn't like our parents. A cliché, of course, but each of us had good reason. Jodie’s dad was an abusive ex-Marine who made her eat soap when he thought she was exaggerating. After Karen’s's dad left, her mother ballooned up into a size too big for public viewing. Kendra's parents spent most of their time away from home with their respective lovers. The rest of us--well, who didn't have some reason to hate their parents? I can't remember who discovered that the house in the woods had a rusty back door, that we could easily slip. The rooms were empty except for odds and ends of furniture--a musty smelling paisley couch with broken springs, three straight backed kitchen chairs with missing rungs, a huge, empty traveling trunk full of quicksilver bugs. At first, we worried that someone might show up--a realtor or a care taker, but the more time we spent there, the more it started to feel like our place. Julie stole her mother's lavender scented candles to mask the smell of mold and Jeannine discovered by accident that the electricity was still turned on and so showed up one night with two table lamps that cast perfect rings on the splintery floor while we sat around, talking about boys and smoking Lisa's mom's Kool cigarettes.

I forget who found the body, but it was probably Jodi, because we didn't believe her at first (she was still prone to exaggeration despite the many lessons with Ivory soap). She said, No, you guys, I'm not kidding, come down to the basement with me, please, please. Some of us wanted to wait until daylight, and others of us thrilled at the idea of something happening, anything that would take us away from our own lives. We held each other’s shirt tails as we walked to the basement and she pointed to a corner, and we leaned in over the duffel bag she'd unzipped and saw it. His skin had dried up to the color of almonds, and stretched tight across his face, wrinkly, like an old man, but his body was small, maybe the size of a seven or eight year old. He wore an Atlanta Braves t-shirt and jeans.

Lisa, the smartest of us all, said that he’d been there for years and years, and that he’d become a mummy, like the boy king we’d read about in history.   

Julie panicked and heaved in the corner, and we glared at her. She was prone to dramatics.

We debated all that night and most of the next week what to do. Tears were shed, we got into fights, we hung up the phones on each other, but for some reason, we never told anyone about the body. We got into other things, some of us found other ways to distract ourselves. My brother got caught with LSD and our family was preoccupied by that, but it's not as if I ever forgot the boy.
Years and years later, my mother sent me a clipping from the local section of the paper, about how some other kids had found him, and immediately told. The authorities still weren't sure who he was, they just called him the Lost Boy in the Basement.
I don't talk to any of those girls now. They've vanished into their own lives. We promised we would never turn into our parents, but I suspect most of us have.

Friday, May 17, 2013

5 Things That Happened This Week

I am having a hard time getting to this blog regularly to update it, though it's nagging at me in the back of my mind. My idea for now is to keep the posts simple, so this will be about 5 things of note that happened this week. Okay? No pressure!

1. I got my hair cut all the way off on Wednesday by the amazing Leslie at DiCarlo's hair salon on Sansom and 12th Street. I liked her a lot too; and we quickly discovered that we had some geographical things in common. Both lived in Chicago, then moved to Florida, and ended up in Philadelphia. She chopped off about six inches of dead hair (I knew I was in trouble when I started obsessively biting off split ends during Commencement like a crazy person). She straightened it after the cut, but promised me it would be cute too if I didn't straighten it, and she's right--I noticed today that the ends are flipping up in such a way that makes me feel like Daisy Buchanan.

2. Dan made a kitty perch for Ernesto on Sunday and the cat has taken to it like a cat to a kitty perch.  I thought he might have some trouble leaping up onto it, but no. He just climbs over the oven (good boy!) to get to it. Emma  Carol is both too fat and too clumsy to jump on it, so this little hammock in the air is his refuge from her occasional outbursts of violence brought on by her drippy eye. Here he is now:

3. I finished two books this week, Him, Her, Him Again, and the End of Him by Patricia Marx and Saturday by Ian McEwan. The first book was funny, but I kept waiting for it to be about more than this woman's obsession with a pretentious philosopher and it never was and then (spoiler, I guess, though the title does reveal this) he is killed at the end when a bookshelf falls on him. Saturday was a more satisfying read though I confess that I skimmed in places because McEwan, well, he's one of them detail-oriented writers. Still, I did pick up Solar by him and also started reading Meg Worlitzer's The Interestings.  Is it shallow to complain that a book is sometimes just too heavy? I want to read carry it around in my purse, but damn. It makes me slump to one side. And, no, I don't want a Kindle.

4. I got "A's" in both of my Penn grad classes this week, and have also reached the class-taking portion of the degree. I'm still like fourteen years old about grades. Was biting at my cuticles when I got the emails about my final grades. It's not like anyone in the professional world ever says, Hey, can I see your report card? Still, I did a little dance.

5. Axl is visiting work today and his owner, Emilie, also made me oatmeal chocolate chip cookies fro my birthday. Update: This is me an Axl. I am forcing him to sit in my lap. You can't see it, but Emilie had him wear his special occasion bow tie. She's the  best. I am lucky to have so many thoughtful friends, human and otherwise.