Sunday, December 23, 2007

Oh Dad, you ask such funny questions

So today my computer decided to not start, and I have a paper that I did not back up (I know I'm an idiot, I realize this, no need for lectures) on the computer, and I was halfway done with said paper. I'm now typing on one of the computers at home while Dad watches Sunday Night Football. Anyway, he asked, with utmost sincerity, five minutes ago:

"So, did you enjoy this whole law school thing?"

HA HA HA! Oh Dad, your naivete is so cute.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Guilty Pleasures No More!

During law school finals, I always get super stressed out and procrastinate by eating comfort food, rereading some sweet, gentle books, and fantasizing about jobs I should have gone into, instead of going to law school right after college. I've eaten at U-Burger (and I've had the cowboy burger with cheese, bacon, and sauteed mushrooms each time, with fries, and one time I even had a milkshake - though I did also have lettuce and tomato on the burger) 4 times in the past two weeks, and I am currently rereading E.B. White's collection of children's books (and unsuprisingly cried at the end of Charlotte's Web) all conveniently bound in one volume (thanks Barnes and Noble). Why stress about all those papers when I can eat loads of saturated fat and read tales of friendship and true love with anthropomorphic animals? Also, I've whined to myself about why I did not decide to be a librarian (I love books and reading), or an accountant (I was always good at arithmetic), or an actress (everyone tells me I'm loud and expressive, and I have lots of experience doing Roger's and Hammerstein in high school, I was an excellent Wife #4 in the King and I), or work for a public interest agency in Washington D.C. (I'm very passionate about issues, and unlike my sixth grade self, I don't mind busy work - bring on the xeroxing!), or stayed and worked the fall outdoor education season at Camp K the fall after I graduated from college and then possibly worked my way up to Camp Director and never use any skills I learned from my undergraduate degree (I had no shame singing silly songs about Mr. Moon or a Moose named Fred when I worked there, and I definitely could build a one match fire). My latest fantasy career is a recapper at Television Without Pity so now dear readers, you have to deal with me trying to be all whiny and witty about the TV shows that left me so bitter and disappointed that I finally let them go.

America's Next Top Model: I watched this show from the beginning. I still know that annoying Giselle was the first model who Tyra lectured for posing too much like a dancer. Bitchy Elyse and Stoner Adrienne were hilarious as they gallivanted around Paris. And the later seasons brought even more drama and antics from Janice Dickenson. Of course many people whined that the usual winner was not the best model, but for eight seasons I could understand why the winner was chosen (yes even Eva from season 3, Naima from season 4 and Jaslene from season 8). Then came season 9. At first I was optimistic, it looked like most of the girls had model potential. Then the panel started making some odd decisions. First they cut Lisa ("bikini dancer" hoping for a better life through modeling and she took great photos), and then they cut Heather (fierce though she had Aspergers). After that I stopped watching because I really did not care about the rest, but I figured I'd be back next season. But then they announced the winner - Saleisha, who was the biggest suck up ever and a wannabe YaYa, and she interned with Tyra Banks before, and the other two girls in the finale had much more potential. And now I am done with the show. For good. I mean it!

Degrassi: The Next Generation: I was addicted to this show for the past year, and then I had to let it go. I realize that Degrassi was never a great show, and all the problems that finally had me turn off the TV in disgust were there from the beginning. But I am just so bitter about season 7. At the end of season 6, I thought season 7 had great potential. Degrassi Community School was merging with Lakehurt (the big rival school). I thought this merger set up some interesting storylines for previously neglected characters. Throughout season 6, Degrassi had a rivalry with Lakehurst which began with a big fight at the junior varsity girls basketball game (seriously!), and culminated when one of the Lakehurst hoods stabbed J.T. Yorke, the class clown outside of Liberty Van-Zandt's, his ex-girlfriend's who he still loved, birthday party. You would think with the schools merging poor Liberty would have some problems coping since in season 5 she had J.T.'s baby and put it up for adoption, and in season 6 J.T. was about to tell her he loved her before he died in her arms and bled all over her super cute dress. Also, in a season 5 episode, Liberty gets drunk on Jack Daniels as a result of all the drama of the past year.

Now I have a soft spot for Liberty because except for the pregnancy and dead boyfriend stuff, she really was like a me in high school (i.e. a slightly sanctimonious, super overachiever), so I really want her to have a main storyline. But no-o, instead in the premiere they focus on loser couple Darcy and Peter and rehash a rape storyline, and all Liberty says is that now we must forgive Lakehurst (to be fair she does slap someone who said something mean about J.T. later in the season. But she should have at least thrown a punch). Seriously? That's it? She does not have any issues at all over this? No raging, no falling into alcoholism, no punching someone, no crying over what might have been? And then the only threatening thing that happened to Lakehurst over J.T. was Toby, J.T's best friend, posting an angry podcast which upset the bully Johnny DiMarco (who is about as threatening as Adrien Zmed as Johnny Nogerelli in Grease 2). The gauntlet was thrown! Then if that wasn't enough, the previews indicate that poor Liberty and Toby will not have plotlines for this season either.

But I could deal so far, since the plots seemed slightly better than earlier seasons, and Emma Nelson did not have 50 kajillion storylines. But then the writers decided to massacre Paige and Alex, who had the sweet reunion in the finale in season 6, where both characters made huge leaps forward to be together. Then they broke them up in the third episode of the season in the most out of character way possible. Paige told Alex she was better off as a stripper, and then threw her out of the apartment when she knew Alex did not have any other place to go. Awful, awful, awful! Also, in season 6 finale Sean was going into the army, which would be great episode material, and the executive producer for the show posted that there would be no episode about that this season. Ridiculous! And then I was done.

But really, I should not have been surprised about these things. Degrassi never gives the right focus and plotlines to the right characters and always drops plotlines (for example: the episode where Manny returned to live with her parents was all about Emma's issues, there was never any follow up to Alex's involvement in the big prank that caused Rick to go on a shooting spree, there was never an episode about Ashley going goth and becoming friends with Ellie after she was rejected by the cool clique). Further the show always breaks up their couples in horrible ways for drama (i.e. Paige and Spinner, Sean and Ellie, Craig and Ashley part two), pairs up people that don't make any sense (any relationship that Peter is in - he posted videos of drunk girls stripping on the internet and sent another girls photos to an internet pervert - he is not a romantic hero) and then never follows up (this was especially egregious in season 6 where both Craig and Sean returned but neither person dealt with their past relationships with Ashley and Ellie respectively). So really, Degrassi is pulling the same crap it always has, but now that they are doing this to characters I really like, and the writers continue to regress, and I am just bitter.

Gossip Girl: One thing, and one thing only. Blair losing her virginity to Chuck, who had attempted to rape two girls in the pilot, and she knew about it. And fans thought it was sweet and romantic. Ugh! Josh Schwartz, if you wanted to write a bad boy with potential for redemption character, attempted rape is no longer really a redeemable act (besides being abhorrent, you're also stealing 1970s soap opera plotlines - i.e. Luke and Laura - General Hospital).

Grey's Anatomy: Like Degrassi, I should have known there was no way that my viewing relationship with this show was going to end well. I never liked McDreamy. In the first season I thought he was manipulative and definitely favortised Meredith, and I though Meredith and McDreamy's relationship was utterly inappropriate and Meredith was right to be concerned. And then in season 2 it turns out he was married, and he wanted to try again with adulterous, yet awesome, Addison, but he was still telling Meredith he loved her and sniffing her hair in the elevator, while poor Addison was trying to make it work. But because everyone else for the most part was interesting and awesome, I kept watching. Then came season 3 with the ferry boat disaster, Meredith's multiple tragedies, George/Izzy, and Bailey not getting Chief Resident.

I gave season 4 a few episodes to shape up. It did not. Though Bailey finally got CR and Gizzie ended, the writers still fail to call McDreamy on his bullshit. Not all of the problems with McDreamy and Meredith are her fault. He was the one that strung along two women during season 2, tried to sabotage Meredith's other romantic relationships, and implied that Meredith was a whore. He is a passive-aggressive asshole of the highest order who really should be called on his crap already. (Ooh maybe Doctors Hahn, Bailey, and Yang can team up and do it - that would be awesome!) However, Shonda Rhimes seems to think that McDreamy is the bestest guy ever and anyone would be lucky to have him, and you know that eventually McDreamy and Meredith are going to be together forever. She is continuing to prop up McDreamy and keeping the Meredith and McDreamy apart with another stupid triangle, and it is just tedious. Also now the other characters are awful and miserable too! Done!

Now is time to get back to studying, or maybe I'll finish Trumpet of the Swan instead.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Gauche and Unsophisticated List Part 7: Cover Your Ears - Music Guilty Pleasures

If you haven't noticed, I don't feel that guilty about many of my guilty pleasures. Everyone in my law school classes knows that I watch lots of cheesy TV and movies. For example, everyone in one of my classes knew how proud I was that I finally was able to give up watching Degrassi: The Next Generation (a girl can only take so much melodrama, character assasination, and inconsistant plot development), and how excited I was that Project Runway was back on the air. But one of the areas where I feel most guilty about my lack of sophistication is music. My music taste is something that is quite embarassing. I still try to apologize for/distract from my lack of music taste in various ways such as: "I went to Summersault 2000 (an alternative Canadian music festival) and saw the Smashing Pumpkins' (where the new bass player made even my Darcy-hating sister, Sis RoyalTurkey, miss Darcy) last concert on the west coast and lots of other independant acts such as The Catherine Wheel (not that I remember what they played really, but I saw them live)," or "I can tell Nirvana and Pearl Jam apart," or "I only like Shakira's songs that are in Spanish, the lyrics are so much better" or "At least I buy my cheesy music at independant, used music stores most of the time."

Now how can this be, you wonder? How can Miss RoyalTurkey, who grew up in Washington state, home of grunge, have such crummy taste and think its a point of pride that she can tell certain grunge acts apart? Or maybe you're wondering, "Miss RoyalTurkey is so shameless about aspects of her unsophistication, bad-liberalness, and general bad taste, why is music any different?" Well, here are the sources of my lack of taste and for my guilt.

I can blame other people for this, really!
First of all, when I was younger, before the advent of portable CD players and Ipods, one of the main sources of radio came from my family's Dodge Caravan, Old Besty, that only got AM radio. Also my mother controlled the radio all the time, so we only listened to country. So I could probably still sing most of the lyrics to any Judds song, or some of Wynnona Judd's solo efforts, and I know the chorus to "God Bless Texas." So my early years were marred by twangs and songs about lost love and alcohol. So when I finally got a clock radio, I thought it was a joyous day to be able to listen to Soft Rock Cafe, the adult contemporary station. And since I was in a small hick town, the Seattle radio stations did not come in very well on my clock radio. So while Nirvana was taking the music scene by storm with "Smells Like Teen Spirit," I was stuck listening to such gems as "I Got Friends in Low Places" or maybe some fine music by Michael Bolton.

Also, if that wasn't enough, one of my friends KR gave me Amy Grant's "Heart in Motion" cassette tape for my eighth birthday, and I thought "Every Heartbeat" and "Baby Baby" were so catchy. (But at least my first CD was the Reality Bites soundtrack, and that is slightly decent, right, right?)

So I lived in happy ignorance for awhile, prancing around to the Spice Girls, so excited that I mastered the Macarena and the Electric Slide, and listening to Casey Kasem's adult contemporary countdown. Then Sis Royalturkey met one of her really good friends Amythest, and when they were in the seventh grade Amythest introduced Sis Royalturkey to this "alternative" music, and then Sis was addicted. She listened to Smashing Pumpkins day in and day out. We finally had a new car, Big Blue - the Chevy Astrovan, that got better radio reception so we listened to alternative stations from those big cities of Vancouver or Seattle. Well she listened, and I whined about how "negative" it was and how I did not like getting yelled at by Billy Corgan. Both Sis and Amythest claimed I just did not understand the depth of Billy's pain and longing. And though I scoffed, in my head I was thinking "Are they right? Do I not understand good music? What is the matter with me?" And the guilt began.

Then finally my two big crushes throughout high school also liked alternative music. 4-HMike was so edgy and witty, and painted his fingernails black and went to concerts in Canada, and had black curly hair that he styled in many interesting ways, and was in a band. Jon Santiago was so quiet and mysterious, his name in Spanish class was Valentin (que romantico, no?), and he reviewed the Black Eyed Peas CD for the Eagle Eye (our high school newspaper) before Fergie joined the band. So there were these interesting, quasi avant guarde guys who listened to groups that I had never heard of. I felt unworthy.

Of course I can now thank Sis Royalturkey's music snobbery for giving me the ability to tell The Smashing Pumpkins and Our Lady Peace apart. Because of Jon Santiago, I knew who The Black Eyed Peas were before Fergie joined to group. Finally, thanks to 4-HMike, I can name some ever-so-slightly-obscure Canadian bands from the 1990s. However, the part of me that bopped along to Amy Grant and the Spice Girls still dominates my psyche and hear are the key songs that I dance around to, possibly download, but feel guilty about later.

Oh the shame!
First of all, let me start off by saying that though I might have bad music taste, I so-o was not a fan of Britney, Christina, or boy bands. However, I justified my love for the group BB-Mack with the excuse, that they are British and they play their own instruments! Also though Christina Aguilera may have grown musically in the past ten years, the only two songs I really like of hers are "Come on Over" and "Dirrty." Finally though I loathe Britney Spears and wish she would just go away, I love "Toxic."

Then there's Rihanna. I was not a fan of "Umbrella" (even Sis Royalturkey claims that it's a good song when someone else sings it). But I love both "SOS" and "Shut Up and Drive."

Paris Hilton better thank whoever pro-tooled "Stars are Blind" because I loved it. Out of all of the actress/famewhores that want to become singers, she did the best job. Linday Lohan and Hilary Duff should feel great shame in knowing that Paris Hilton is a better singer than they are, or has a better sound mixer than they do.

Then there's "Life is a Highway" by Rascal Flatts. Sadly I loved this song more than the original. And my mother's country indoctrination still persists.

Though I was never a big fan of Fergie and always thought to myself, "what a poser I remember when she was on 'Kid's Incorporated,'" a few of her solo efforts make me quite happy whenever I hear them on the radio: "London Bridge" - which makes very little sense and "Big Girls Don't Cry" sponsored by Candies.

Though most of my musical guilty pleasures are just a few songs, I love Avril Lavigne, and I even bought her first CD. When my car was broken into at camp by the most inept, unskilled thief ever (he shattered my driver's side window, when all he needed to do to break into the car was use a coat hanger, he cut my turn signals when cutting the cords to steal my radio/CD player, I had to use hand signals for two weeks before I could get that fixed - argh, the ineptitude still makes me angry!), I was upset that he had stolen all my music including my Avril Lavigne CD, and I was also worried that the jackass would mock me for having the CD. Also, though I was able to guess all the lyrics to "When You're Gone" when I first heard it (because Avril's rhyme scheme is not that sophisticated), the music video still makes me cry.

Well, that's all I can think of for now. I'm sure there's more. But I feel such absolution now, that should last until Sis RoyalTurkey mocks me about one of the latest songs I like.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Good bye Smirnoff Ice - it's not you, it's me

After drinking Smirnoff Ice for the first time my freshman year of college (my first alcoholic beverage no less), it was love. I proudly brought bottles of the lovely elixir to PPE social gatherings my senior year. I was always excited for CMC super fun days (I don't remember what they were called - but they happened in the afternoon, and there was usually a bouncy castle, Flood/Blue Judy played, and there was BBQ) because along with the keg ASCMC also kindly provided Smirnoff Ice and other malt beverages (and those "girly"drinks always ran out first). I rolled my eyes when people claimed that it was too sweet and that they preferred the bitter bite of PBR. I thought the whole "Smirnoff Ice is too sweet for me" was just a myth.

That is...until yesterday. At the journal bowling social I ordered a Smirnoff Ice for old time sake, and when I took a long pull of the beverage, it WAS TOO SWEET. All those college students had not been lying to me after all. So good-bye Smirnoff Ice, we had a lovely six year run, but I think I finally out grew you.

However, I still enjoy Mike's Hard Lemonade, and I still hate beer (but I'll chug it if its free). Some things will never change.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Inspirational Speeches from Dear Old Dad

Normally my parents are go to people for inspirational speeches, since they oddly seem to think I may be the smartest, brightest person in the world (well, except for my sister and my brother). Which is nice, considering I think they may be the only people who think so.

However, when I talked to my dad during my parents' monthly "make sure that Miss Royal Turkey is still alive and lecture her for not calling more often" phone call, I told my dad what I could expect to make as a public interest attorney in New York, since I had interviewed with a NYC public interest organization. He stated, "You'll starve!" Thanks, Dad.

Monday, October 22, 2007

My former soccer coach is running for mayor

Now this is not a particularly political blog, unless you count my list of superficial ideological shortcomings, but I believe that I need to enter the fray for one very crucial election.

One of the great things about growing up in a small town was the fact that I am usually only one or two degrees seperated from those who run for elected office. This election season my former soccer coach is running for mayor, and this is the first time that I wish I was registered to vote in Whatcom County so I could vote for him. So if you are a reader of this blog, and registered to vote in Whatcom County, and eligible to vote in my small city's mayoral election, then vote for Gary Jensen.

Here's the website, doesn't he sound reasonable and kind? He understands the city needs to grow, but wants to take into account the environment and small town atmosphere (which I think may be a tad bit overrated, but that's the reason I'm in Boston now). But those people that live in my small town certainly do think "small town atmosphere" is important and so our growth plan should reflect that, while also understanding that people also want some convenience of nearby chain stores and shopping centers. Also, when he was my soccer coach, he let my unathletic self play for a decent period of time each game, and occassionally let me start. What is more important than that?

Note (11/8/07): Yay! He won!
The Gary Jensen Era Begins

Monday, October 1, 2007

The Gauche and Unsophisticated List Part 6

I HATED Rushmore, I did not find it funny. I thought that kindergarten teacher should have run far, far, far away from Bill Murray, the asshole. She should have gone with the very nice, attractive surgeon played by Luke Wilson. But then Wes Anderson cannot have his fantasy life where, even if you are ugly and cruel and get into elaborate revenge warfare with 15 year olds, you'll still get the much younger, pretty woman, ugh! Also Max Fischer (played by Jason Schwartzman) was utterly annoying and obnoxious, though his final play at the end of the movie was kind of amusing

Since I hated Rushmore I refuse to watch any other Wes Anderson movies. I really don't need to watch assholes hurt people and exploit children, and yet still get a happy ending when really they should be bitchslapped and run over by a truck, just so I can claim I am deep and cultured.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Gauche and Unsophisticated List Part 5: The Shelves of Shame - "Literary" Guilty Pleasures

I have always loved to read. When my sister wanted to play outside, I wanted to read. In sixth grade I rebelled by reading lots of books instead of doing "pointless, tedious, annoying, busywork" (you know actual homework that was counted toward my final grade). I was lucky that my sixth grade teacher realized my potential and recommended me for all the advanced classes in middle school, even though I spent sixth grade being whiny and sanctimonious instead of actually doing productive work. I stayed up past my bedtime finishing engrossing stories. I still go on reading binges frequently, checking out ten library books at a time, and reading most of them in one weekend (instead of actually going out and being social like most normal law students). The people in the library and the T alway look at me oddly as I schlep my big bag of
books home. I still stay up late at night to finish these books.

Sadly, however, most of these books are not what you would consider fine literature. I still have not finished Prep (because Lee Fiora is a twit), The History of Love, or Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell (I only have 200 pages to go on this one, I need to suck it up and finish. It is actually interesting and the social commentary is witty. Why oh why can't I just finish the book?), yet I stayed up until 4 am finishing cheesy "cozy" mystery novels. This is a confession of the fickle fiction that I love, that teaches me nothing, and that I could never confess to liking during times where I have to look intelligent.

The Early Years:
My love for predictable, shallow fiction that was well below my reading level started when I was young. Here's are some of the books that had me engrossed throughout my youth and frustrated my parents and teachers because I was not reading at my potential.

The Baby Sitters' Club series: This was my first series that I was addicted to. I discovered this series about seven middle schoolers who babysit and learn about life and friendship when I was in second grade, and sadly I continued to read this series through sixth grade. For being middle schoolers from Connecticut, Kristy, Claudia, Dawn, Stacey, Mary Ann, Mallory and Jessi always had the most exciting adventures - they got stranded on islands from going on sailing trips, they took exciting vacations to the Jersey Shore, New York City, Disney World, and California (where everyone is super laid back and eats tofu); they went to super exciting dances and many of them found boyfriends and love interests (well at least for a book), they solved mysteries, they had fun meetings and slumber parties where they got to eat lots of junk food hidden in Vice President Claudia's room (except for Stacey because she was diabetic). They also were the most admired people in their town and also learned life lessons. Some of them wore really cool clothes (I wanted to have my hair spiral permed like Stacey and to be able to pull of Claudia's wacky outfits). They made being thirteen sound so exciting (I was so disappointed when I discovered that being thirteen really sucks). Because I read those books however, I was once paranoid that I had diabetes like Stacey because I was always thirsty, and I still am annoyed by most sanctimonious, environmentalist hippies because California tofu eater, environmentalist Dawn Schaefer may have been the bitchiest person ever (she was so whiny and so mean to Mary Ann after their parents got married).

Sweet Valley High series: I read a few of the Sweet Valley Twins books, and then I discovered Sweet Valley High. Oh the drama of going to high school. This series was about the adventures of Elizabeth (good twin) and Jessica (bad twin) Wakefield. Being a total suck up when I was younger, I wanted to be Elizabeth, even though looking back she was totally annoying and hypocritical. Through this series I learned that I never wanted to try cocaine because it would make my nose burn, my heart race, and then I would die, not to ride motorcycles because I could get into an accident that would fundamentally change my personality and would cause me to make out with bad boys (seriously I was a lame child), not to get drastic makeovers because it would hurt my family's feelings, and that most rich people were EVIL. This series also did a special edition about Elizabeth and Jessica's family history, The Sweet Valley Saga, and I thought it was so amazing and engrossing that their parents's ancestors kept finding love with each other and then losing each other for 200 years, and that many of Elizabeth and Jessica's ancestors were twins that looked just like them.

Lurlene McDaniel novels: No author made dying of a deadly disease look more glamorous than Lurlene McDaniel. Her protagonists would always suffer from some tragic illness or medical crisis (this ranged from Leukemia to Cystic Fibrosis to needing organ transplants). Of course the illness would leave her protagonists beautifully thin, pale, and waif like. Then these sick girls would find love with some tortured soul, and then they would share some meaningful relationship, and then the beautifully ill girl would die, but at least she taught the tortured soul how to love. I always bawled my eyes out at the end of these books. When I was younger I thought that meant these books were amazingly deep since they caused such an emotional reaction. At the time, I did not understand the concept of emotional manipulation, and I failed to realize that I am the biggest crybaby in the world (still am - I cry at the end of every episode of Cold Case, during certain Hallmark Commercials, and at the end of Babe).

Then throughout middle school, I read a lot of bad romance novels (including those epic novels by Danielle Steele), and that is all I am going to say about that. I'm just amazed that I got through middle school without being sucked into incestuous drama of V.C. Andrews.

The Sad State of Affairs Now:
Like my 8 - 13 year old self, I still read cheesy series with pat endings and certain stock characters and I love them. Usually these are cozy murder mysteries that take place in small towns with wacky, nosy characters, but I also am a sucker for some chick lit and there is still one romance novel that I continue to reread. I'm afraid that all my readers will think much less of me and have great blackmail material after they finish reading this list. Or they will think I am at least a middle aged woman, seriously my grandma and I have gotten into discussions about some of the books that we both read. She also buys me Stephanie Plum hardcovers at Costco whenever I am home visiting.

Stephanie Plum series: This series is about a Jersey girl who decides to be a bounty hunter after she gets laid off, and she blackmails her sleezy cousin into giving her the job. Then she gets into wacky hijinks trying to apprehend these criminals. She has a zany grandmother, a former prostitute sidekick, two love intereststhat she has been torn between for thirteen books, a hovering mother, and every car she drives gets explodes except for her Uncle Sandor's 1963 Buick. To be fair, the first six books or so of this series actually got very good reviews and were rather entertaining in their own right and the characterization was actually fairly nuanced. However, since book 8 this series has mainly been going through the motions. Stephanie's car burns down, her Grandma Mazur says something wacky and frustrates Stephanie's mother, Stephanie's mother cooks a lot of food, Stephanie "banters" with her love interests, Stephanie still acts a complete buffoon trying to apprehend criminals even though she has been a bounty hunter for a very long time (13 books, seriously, no signs of improvement), and then she almost dies and usually gets shot when she finally solves the huge mystery. Yet I'm addicted, and I will read this series to the bitter end.

The Southern Sisters series: I try to justify my love for this series because heck it was written by Alabama Poet Laureate Anne George (but then I read her only novel and it was god awful and treacly, hopefully her poetry is better). This series involves grandmotherly sisters Patricia Ann and Mary Alice who get involved in murders in Birmingham, Alabama. Patricia Ann and Mary Alice are your typical opposites - Patricia Ann is tiny, Mary Alice is huge; Patricia Ann has been married for forty years, Mary Alice has been married three times to wealthy men; Patricia Ann is calm and reserved, Mary Alice is loud and boisterous; and so on and so forth. Also while they are solving these mysteries they usually interact with your typical wacky cast of characters - trashy inlaws, former students (Patricia Ann taught high school English) with issues, Mary Alice's many boyfriends, Elvis impersonators. They also kvetch about the lack of grandchildren, the trials of their children who are in their 30s and 40s, and argue a lot. But they are such sweet books and I love them. Sadly Anne George died in 2001, so the series ended with Murder Boogies With Elvis, but I have reread these books quite often, and then discussed them with my grandma.

Benni Harper mysteries: Benni Harper is the most irritating, practically perfect protagonist ever, but I can't stop reading each new Benni Harper book. Everyone is in love with Benni, she has a lesson to teach everyone, she is always right. Yet she never stands up to her meddlesome Grandma Dove even though she whines about her each book, she never tells annoying Texan detective Hud to go shove it and leave her alone and stop flirting with her because she is married even though she bitches about that in every book, and she never tells Gabe, her handsome, latino husband with perfect tan skin and thick head of salt and pepper hair and mustache (seriously she brings up these details every book), to quit acting like a patronizing, macho prick (it is not endearing, it is obnoxious). Yet I've read every damn book, and I know if a new one comes out I will read it too. There is no progression with this series - it always the same drama besides the new mystery, Gabe and her argue about her involvement in the case, Hud tries to be obnoxious and flirt, Grandma Dove meddles, dear lord!

These are just a few mystery series that I read on a frequent basis - there is also the series about a judge in North Carolina with eleven brothers and sisters, the PI in Miami who is overly dependent on her wealthy father and has way too many dysfunctional relationships, the Virginian ironworker who has a wacky family and is trying to navigate a new relationship while trying to solve crime, and I've even read a mystery series where a fairly legitimate author, Rita Mae Browne, claims the books were written by her cat - Sneaky Pie.

Now the final book...the one that I am almost too scared to admit to rereading because it is just so bad and embarrassing, and that book is....
The MacGregor Brides by Nora Roberts: I first read this when I was 15, and I loved it, but this does not explain why I keep rereading it and getting invested in the storylines even though I know it's absurd. This is a three story collection that Nora Roberts wrote for the Silhouette line of romance novels. I love it, and I reread it over the summer instead of actually finishing Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. I no longer read romance novels, I finally got over that habit in high school. But I love this one even though it is totally unrealistic and a bit sexist - there's a charmingly meddlesome, matchmaking grandfather, three girls who are twenty four (therefore they need to get married now - they are practically old maids!) yet unbelievably successful already a lawyer, a genius surgical resident, and a real estate mogul, a loving, wealthy multi generational family, and at the end weddings and babies. This books makes me roll my eyes about what being 24 years old is all about, but I still sigh romantically when Bran gives Gwen gifts that represent the 12 days of Christmas, when Laura and Royce get into a snowball fight, and when Cullum and Julia play games trying to get the other to say "I love you" first. Dear lord, what is wrong with me?

So there it is, anyone who reads this blog will never take me seriously again, and hopefully I'll eventually finish Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. Maybe I can call my grandma and she'll buy me a hardcover of book 13 of the Stephanie Plum series and send it to Boston.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Gauche and Unsophisticated List Part 4

I eat when walking down public streets, and not socially acceptable things like ice cream cones, oh no I eat cupcakes. So if you ever see someone snarfing down a Party Favors cupcake while walking down the street in Brookline, it's probably me. I mean the half mile walk home is just too long to wait for buttercream deliciousness.

However, at least I don't brush my teeth while walking down the street. Yes, I saw a frat guy doing that yesterday afternoon.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Bad Liberal List Part 2: Where I'm Also Hypocritical

I hate super liberal diatribes, even when I agree with them. (I also hate super conservative diatribes, and they make me quite annoyed and angry, but that does not make me a bad liberal.) It drives me absolutely insane when people start ranting about political issues and preaching about how the United States is EVIL, GENOCIDAL, and the ROOT OF ALL BAD THINGS. Now I am not an "America, Fuck Yeah!" type person, and heck I usually agree with the soapboxer's main points. However, when someone starts going on and on about all the awful things in the world (not in a classroom setting, but when somebody decides to pontificate about world issues in ordinary social settings in a lectury tone), I automatically feel contrary even when I agree. I realize this is a bit hypocritical considering that I rant and have ranted about various topics. When I was thirteen, I was exceedingly insufferable. Seriously, how did I have friends? Yet during those times everyone at least tried to act amused or interested in what I was blathering about. So I try to be patient when people launch into the latest liberal diatribe of the day and try not to shout out "I know that already, bucko, thanks," or "You're really preaching to the choir here buddy," or "Stop pontificating like a thirteen year old who thinks they know everything." Because logically I know that they are right and that they have good points, but for goodness sakes the diatribes grate. Yes, I realize that I just went on a diatribe about how much I hate diatribes, deal.

On the same token I never finished A People's History of the United States. Granted I was trying to read it when I was working at summer camp many, many moons ago, and a book about all the United States's oppressions is not condusive to staying perky while exhausted and encouraging 10 year old girls to work together. But even after that summer was over I never went back to finish it. That book was incredibly draining.

I realize I need to work on these issues, since I plan on working in public interest law, where there are many wonderful people who do great work, who also rant incessantly. I would really like to get through my career and try to save the world without giving myself a headache from rolling my eyes constantly or raising my eyebrows to the top of my forehead (and I have quite the large forehead). I hope this is possible.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

The Gauche and Unsophisticated List Part 3: TV Guilty Pleasures

Now in my earlier Gauche and Unsophisticated lists I have alluded to the fact that I may not have the best taste in many things. In fact I think I may have more guilty pleasures than the average person. Some people probably normally watch interesting documentaries and deep interesting HBO dramas and read award winning novels, and only indulge in watching their one silly show and reading series fiction occasionally. However, I am just the opposite, I usually read shallow, fickle books, and watch silly TV shows and movies, and occasionally try to read a decent book or watch a decent show when I feel a bit guilty for not expanding my horizons. I figured it was time to come clean about all my guilty pleasures, which I over indulge in. This week it is TV - where I admit I have weaknesses for bad reality shows, silly game shows from the 1990s and cheesy Canadian teen dramas. Prepare to be horrified.

My most recent TV guilty pleasure is Degrassi: The Next Generation. One night, instead of going to a law school social (in reality: similar to a keg party - except at a bar), I got drawn into a marathon on The-N network (the network that is directed towards 12-17 years olds). This show follows a bunch of students through junior high and high school as they deal with every teen issue (except racism - so I guess there is no racism in Canada, yet oddly minority characters keep disappearing even when they are related to other main characters). Basically every episode is a Very Special Episode. I had no prior investment in the Degrassi series. I was way outside of the target demographic, considering the show premiered after I graduated from high school. Further I don't only watch this show to mock it, I have become invested in the storylines. I squeed when Sean, the rebel who was going through a stealing phase when he fell in with a bad crowd, told Ellie, the angst ridden goth girl with an alcoholic mother who once posed as Marco's girlfriend even though he was gay, that her cutting scars did not scare him and instead touched her scars and held her hand when they were on the roof in the episode that was an homage to the Breakfast Club. I nearly cried when J.T., the dorky class clown, was stabbed and later died when looking for Liberty, the bookish smart girl who had his baby and put it up for adoption the season before, to tell her he loved her. He died before he could tell her, and Liberty found him slumped against his car, and it was very sad. I felt so bad for Ashley when she was ostracized by her friends after taking acid and insulting everyone at then end of the school year party - I still can't watch that episode all the way through because I feel so bad for her. I yell "shut up Emma!" every time that the main character who we are supposed to love, Emma Nelson, does something annoying (which is all the time). And in the most recent season finale I was so happy when Paige and Alex finally reunited, Alex was finally able to leave her toxic mother and quit stripping, and Paige was beginning to deal with her fears of dating another girl. Aww!

Speaking of Canadian teen dramas I also loved Higher Ground and watched it when it aired on ABC Family and then later WAM! This show took place at the worst outdoor school for troubled teens ever. There were so many illicit relationships and use of illegal substances, along with students running away, falling down mine shafts, directors relapsing and recovering in a three week period, staff members hooking up, and many other problems during every episode. Though I recognized these issues, I was still invested in the drama and was incredibly happy when Scott (played by Hayden Christiansen), the athlete who turned to drugs to deal with the fact that he was molested by his step mother, and Shelby, the drug addict runaway who had to turn tricks on the street to escape her step father who abused and molested her as well, finally became a couple. I know, I know, these teenagers had way too many issues to be in a healthy relationship, but I wanted them to be together anyway.

Then there is everyone's favorite show, America's Next Top Model. The crying, the wacky photoshoots, the dramatic makeovers, the fighting, the mothers missing their babies, Tyra trying to become Oprah and trying to demonstrate different modeling poses, Janice Dickinson judging while drunk or high and crawling on tables (the show hasn't been the same since she was replaced with Twiggy)! I love it, and not only mock it but I have my favorite models, and I was so-o happy when Adrienne won in the first season. I also have watched many other try to gain fame shows - Dirty Dancing, Finding the Next Pussycat Doll, the Missy Elliott future rapper show.

I was ecstatic when I discovered that ESPN classic was airing re-runs of American Gladiators. When I was ten I would stay up until 1:30 am to watch American Gladiators, and I even insisted that everyone at my 11th birthday slumber party watch it with me. Eventually I gave up American Gladiators to watch Saturday Night Live, but I still remember that I wanted to be 6'3" like Sky and always thought Nitro was mean and a poor sport (at least other gladiators shook the contender's hands). I am now watching it again at 7:00 pm every night. I am choosing to watch it over Jeopardy! I have chosen to watch bulky, roidy, mulleted people running around, smacking each other, and climbing things, instead of improving my trivia knowledge. My watching this show might be making me dumber.

Speaking of watching wacky, entitled people compete in silly competitions, I also love The Real World/Road Rules Extreme Challenge. I love the wacky competitions that they have to compete in. I fall for the editing every time. I hated entitled Princess Susie and thought her I Hate Tonya game was awful. I was so glad when Sarah proved herself to her team in five Gauntlets. Even though I don't watch either the Real World or Road Rules, I watch the challenge.

The things is I watch many other TV shows that are only moderately defensible. These shows are just the worst of the many shameful shows I watch or might get drawn into watching (I'm incredibly tempted to watch The Hills season three), and I'm sure I will find more. But really I can't be the only one that watches all these shameful shows, am I?

Friday, August 3, 2007

Hi! I'm the worst blogger in the world, but at least I try to spell things properly.

Okay, okay, so I haven't updated in a while, and I have probably alienated my few loyal readers. But I swear I am going to update soon! Really, I promise. And I'm going to rant about books, so it will even be a slightly intelligent blog entry.

Also, I will be returning to small town Washington state to visit for two weeks on August 10th, so I will be ready for fun, exciting happenings around the 11th.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Gauche and Unsophisticated List Part 2

I tend to think that most question and answer sessions at academic conferences or at guest speaker presentations are little more than academic pissing contests. Instead of asking one to two sentence questions, academics and annoyingly pretentious students have to describe their entire dissertation or all the foundations of their beliefs which takes ten minutes, usually to prove that they are smarter and more nuanced than the presenters. So I usually avoid them.

I actually said this out loud in class once. At least my professors laughed instead of rolling their eyes or getting horribly offended and kicking me out of class.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Welcome to the Blog!

Well, I have decided that it was time to become more adult and have a blog on Blogger instead of Myspace. Go me! I copied and consolidated the two postings below from my old blog because I thought they were amusing. So if you've read my old blog, they're still funny so you should read them again!

Also, I may never write about anything substantive, but people I know do. They even link to news articles and make salient, sophisticated arguments. So in the interest of making sure all your reading needs are satisfied, you should go read their blogs afterwards if you feel my posts are too shallow.

The Gauche and Unsophisticated List Part #1

Along with being a bad liberal, I'm also not the most classy person on the block. One would think that by going to college and law school, I would have gained a modicum of worldly taste and good breeding and sophistication. Nope...and here are a few reasons why...

I really don't like wine at all...except for rose and riesling. And not the few good roses that the food snobs actually appreciate, but the cheap, crappy, almost tastes like artificially flavored fruit juice rose, preferably from the box.

While we are on the topic of alcohol, the whole concept of good beer is totally lost on me. I don't think "hoppy" or "dark" or "stout" is a good thing, and it just makes it harder to chug.

I can't read books where I don't like the characters. If I think they are ass-holes within the first twenty pages and that they have no endearing or redeeming traits, I will stop reading. (Somehow though I still made it through The Time Traveler's Wife and if I wasn't required to read The Great Gatsby for junior honors English I would have stopped after Nick passively watched Tom Buchanan beat up his mistress with no opinion or reaction grr...) The Corrections...ugh! Seriously between the passive aggressive mother and the son who felt so unfairly punished by the university because he screwed around with one of his students, I was done. Witches of Eastwick...ew! Besides the fact that the three witches seemed like utterly awful people, Updike had a misogynistic tone and his metaphors were just crass and not edgy. However, I have still continued to read the Stephanie Plum series, even though the books really have not been that good since #7, and I have reread such classics as The MacGregor Brides and The Red Hat Club Strikes Again numerous times along with other fickle, shallow books with no redeeming literary value.

I LOVE TV! There I said it, and not just the fairly decent shows "Brothers and Sisters" or "Six Feet Under". Oh no, currently I'm obsessed with "Degrassi: The Next Generation" even though I have been out of high school for five years, this summer I watched both "So You Think You Can Dance" and "Last Comic Standing." I also LOVE America's Next Top Model, Project Runway, Shear Genius; and many bad competitive reality TV shows. Though I watch more TV than is probably healthy, I've never seen a full episode of Arrested Development and was not sad when it was cancelled. I also wasn't sad when Everwood was cancelled, it had a great first season, but after that I stopped caring.

I try listening to independent music, but these efforts fail frequently. So I'll just stick with the catch tunes of Avril Lavigne, Kelly Clarkson, and the many, many songs I hear on the radio that are just catchy. The only reason I know of some decent songs and can tell Nirvana and Pearl Jam or Our Lady Peace and The Smashing Pumpkins apart is because my sister actually has decent music taste.

I love chain family restaurants...Applebees, Chili's, Tony Roma's. Nothing makes me happier than fried appetizers and baby back ribs. But Billy McHale's beats them all. least Billy's is fairly local (and has $4.00 Three Mile Island Iced Teas).

Finally I cannot schmooze or make small talk to save my life. I still haven't figured out how I'm going to be a decent lawyer if I can't even schmooze. Because I really don't think, wandering around nervously while twirling my hair is going to make law firms or prominent public interest organizations think tough lawyer who will win us gazillions of cases and get us a bunch of good publicity.

The Bad Liberal List Part #1

So, now I claim to be a liberal, I vote for democrats during the election, and according to all internet tests I am quite liberal. However there's all these little things in life that make me think that I am a bad liberal. Here's quite a few. I'm sure I will think of more and add them to my ongoing list.

I'm ambivalent about Democrat dominance in Congress. With so many "conservative" Democrats coming in (many of whom are pro-life and anti-gay marriage), and the loss of some more liberal, moderate Republicans, I'm not sure that I am going to get what I want. The Democratic leadership, though, is still very liberal so I still have a smidgen of hope.

Aaron Sorkin is highly overrated, and I definitely don't want him to be my Democratic, progressive representative since he is a pretentious, condescending ass who can't seem to admit his own failings. Also for being so supposedly progressive his female characters tend to be obnoxious and unable to do anything on their own. Seriously, they were Press Secretaries, Presidents of Networks, and Headliners on Comedy Shows and they knew very little about how the world worked and always needed their UNREQUIETED, yet wholly uninteresting love interest to come and save the day. (Okay CJ is not as bad as the rest.) Also I liked Ricky and Ron a hell of a lot more than Matt and Danny on Studio 60, which is absolute crap by the way. Also The West Wing was never amazing. Sorkin is a prime example of repeating plot points, characters, and even dialogue, even though his three shows took place in totally different environments.... Bite me Sorkin, and quit justifying your drug use, how you treated your exes and other unresolved issues on my TV. Seriously get a blog like every other person in America.

My ambivalence towards American Apparel has grown to HATE. Now it's not just that their clothes are expensive, they don't fit correctly and make me look fat and square, and I don't like looking fat and sqaure. So I am increasingly frustrated that they are the go to company for independant shirt printers. I want smart alecky shirts too! So now I just wish that another "sweat-shop free" shirt company comes into the fray, that actually makes shirts that fit, or that one of these companies will find a wholesaler that makes shirts that fit nicely and don't condemn someone who has boobs, at this point I don't even care if that wholesaler is from China!

Slate Magazine is so incredibly obnoxious. All the authors are so self-rightous. Also, I'm still pissed that the spent at least a paragraph in one of their Harriet Miers articles bitching about how she went to SMU for law school and not Stanford. Of all of Harriet Miers's problems, not going to an Ivy League law school was not one of them, so please zip it elitist ass-holes. Also, I preferred their original Dear Prudence to the latest one.

I do not listen to NPR, and the idea of listening to it makes me shudder. Of course I think this is because Mr. Sayles, our bus driver, would force the entire bus listen listen to All Things Considered after he forced us to listen to his bad pirate songs. So I think it is more psychological trauma from riding the hick bus in middle and high school than anything else.

I still haven't seen the documentary exposes on the latest evils, like Wal-Mart. I think I avoid it partially because I already know that Wal-Mart is bad, bad, bad, but it doesn't seem like anyone can come up with a solution to the problem. They just whine about how one-stop shopping is ruining America and making us fat and ending the world. (If the latest documentary doesn't just whine and actually provides a solution, then please let me know.) But then when Wal-Mart does anything decent, like cut back on its electricity use for example, then other liberal pundits whine about how it is all a PR move. Well, don't you want to save the environment, people? Don't bitch about companies who are already making efforts even if its just a PR move.

I love Disney! Except for the sequels, Hunchback of Notre Dame and Pocahantas. I loved vacationing at WALT DISNEY WORLD after last summer, even though I realize that I should vacation in areas where I can learn about the local culture and give some money to the local economy, and Disney is destroying the world according to some.

I thought George P. Bush (the nephew) was hot during the 2000 election. Also I now think Mitt Romney's five sons are quite attractive as well. Their answers on the Sixty Minutes interview were insufferable, and overly rehearsed, but they are quite attractive.

Teresa (pronounced Ter -AY-za) Heinz Kerry is quite annoying. I really did not give a damn how honest she was about her botox treatments.

I think most Food Co-Ops smells funny and therefore the shopping experience is not so pleasant.

I don't buy organic food because it is expensive and I cannot tell the difference.

I love Seven Brides For Seven Brothers, but I hated Rent. Maybe it was just a bad production - but I thought the two lead males had some major entitlement issues, why should they get the apartment for free just because their friend was the landlord? I know, I know, I'm missing the larger point about love and it was really cruel of the friend to renig on the offer. Yet I like a musical about hickish, macho men kidnapping the loves of their lives against their will...hmm... Also according to pretentious movie blog Pajiba, my hatred of Rent not only makes me a bad liberal, but a bad person (good to know that religious demagogues and pretentious movie bloggers both agree that I am an awful person condemned to hell - one less thing to wonder about).

I have enjoyed chai and hot chocolate at both Tully's and Starbucks - the evil, huge, coffee monoliths. However when I'm home I do go to the small espresso stands too.

I EAT MEAT - lots of it, including red meat, and I hate tofu.

Following from that I like hotdogs as well. And even worse my favorite hotdog at Spike's Junkyard Dogs is the Texas Ranger.

I HATE YOGA!! There are no such things as sit-bones! It's a tail-bone, there is only one. Or just call it a butt, or ass, or derriere! Yeesh! And no position has made me more aggravated, annoyed and pissy than downward dog, it is not fucking relaxing!

Hemp is itchy (but I guess I'm good at making hemp bracelets). On the same token I hate the smell of Marijuana.

I did not go precinct walking or do any phone banking for the 2004 election. Since people do not like being cold called by telemarketers or pestered by missionaries of various religions, I figured that acting like either group is not an effective strategy to get people to vote.

I did not protest the inauguration. (My Ferndale friends who remember me as quite radical are sure to be disappointed) But again I don't think pestering people with placards really makes them sympathetic to one's cause. In fact I've never participated in any protest. (Shocking, I know.)

I hate the smell of incense.

I have actually purchased some items from Wal-Mart. I did feel really, really, really bad afterwards though.

Bowling for Columbine was not that good of a documentary, and Michael Moore's exaggerations probably did not help his platform.

I shop at Barnes and Noble. I'm sorry, but the last time I went to Village Books all of the clerks were ass-holes, until they get friendly I will not patronize. But I do go to many used book stores because I'm cheap.