Wednesday, December 29, 2010

My Observations on America & Getting Motorboated by a Stripper

I hope you guys are enjoying your holidays!! 

It's been a tradition in our family that after all the presents are opened, that the "kids" roll around in the wrapping paper and giggle profusely. Well, all of the kids in our family are grown up and moved away, so it's just myself and my older cousin who are left. It was very painful because the giant pile of wrapping paper also includes huge boxes, bags, staples, etc. 

How perfect is this picture, considering I'm paranoid about showing
my face until my teaching gig is done? Thank you tissue paper for
positioning yourself there. And thank you, uncle's questionable hand,
for looking like you're copping a feel.
The day after Christmas, Yentl, Yentl's boyfriend, Yentl's boyfriend's brother and I went on a mini-road trip to the closest American city, which is about 4 hours away -- 3 with Yentl's boyfriend's brother driving. We usually visit this city about 3 times a year because: a) They have a Victoria's Secret; b) The Canadian dollar has been almost at par with the American dollar since the recession, which means it's really cheap to shop there; and c) They have strange yet awesome American things like biscuits & gravy. They gave us a hard time going across the border, probably because we're four extremely good-looking and intimidating young people. They kept asking us trick questions like, "Are you visiting anyone?" and we'd reply with "no." Then a minute later, they'd ask, "Who are you visiting again?" Very sneaky.

I love traveling to the States for many reasons. Before I tell you why, you should know that I'm half-American. My Dad's side of the family is from Missouri. They (the only 3 that I've ever met, including my Dad) don't know how to ice-skate. They say things like "melk" instead of "milk." Fantastic. So, please know that I'm making fun of half of myself when I tell you why I love traveling to the States.

1) The Food
Last time we went, we spent $200 of groceries. This is because you can find everything flavoured everything that you can't get where we live. Like chocolate Cheerios. Whatever-you-want flavoured potato chips. Chex mix. Spray-on cheese in a bottle...yuck. My aunt always asks me to bring her back these ABSOLUTELY DISGUSTING cracker sandwiches that you can't get at home. They consist of 2 fluorescent orange cheese crackers with fake peanut butter in the middle. I want to gag just looking at them. Also, the food items on the menu are quite interesting. You can get fried chicken sandwiches covered in white gravy for breakfast. Plus, the portions are HUGE. I know one can argue that it depends where you go, and that there are plenty of healthy restaurants across the USA, and that where we go is not representative of the whole country. But, the portion sizes really are HUGE. I always forget that most meals come with 3 or 4 sides, which are large, and that you usually get biscuits/breadsticks/whatever before meals. I love it!

2) The Drugstores, Politics, and Speech
You wouldn't think that there'd be many differences between the city where I live, and one that's only a couple hours away in a different country. But there are! There are Walgreen's (a drugstore that's open 24 hours I believe?) on every corner. Also, politics are a much bigger deal. When I visited this city 2 years ago, right before the Presidential election, there were signs on every front lawn. On street corners, I saw groups of Obama supporters with signs and megaphones, while cars were honking. Even now, 2 years later, when I flip on the news in the hotel room, it's always about politics. Additionally, I've been to lots of different States in my life, and the one thing that I always notice is that people very seldom say "you're welcome" if you say "thank you." Instead, people will often say "mmm hmmm" or "uh huh" or "yup." And don't get mad at me for saying that, because it's true. 

3) The General Cultural Differences
Thanksgiving is apparently a huge deal in the States, according to my Dad. Almost as important as Christmas, if not more so. And it happens in November, with a giant parade in some big city, with Santa at the end. My Dad said that his family would always eat apple pie with a slice of cheddar cheese on top for Thanksgiving. I'm not sure if that's an American thing, or just a gross family thing. The one important holiday for me, which seems to not be a big deal in the States, is Boxing Day (December 26th). Apparently it doesn't exist in the States. Instead they have "After Christmas Sales." Where I live, people line up as early as 4 AM on Boxing Day at certain stores to get ridiculous deals and free stuff. So, although there were some great "After Christmas Sales" where we went, there was nothing amazing. I kind of wish I would have stayed home for the shopping, actually. But I'm sure in awesome, bigger cities in the States, things are much different.

Speaking of shopping, one sales assistant asked me, "Do you even have a mall where you live?" (keep in mind the fact that my city is double the size of the city we were visiting). Oh, man.

And speaking of epic, ridiculous questions, I shall conclude this blog post with a short tale of our Boxing Day evening adventure. 

On Boxing Day evening, the four of us went out for a fancy dinner. Yentl and I wore our new dresses that we had just bought that day. Our food was amazing, and we were back at our hotel at 9:30. The boys were content to watch TV and eat chips (after just having eaten steak dinners...geesh!) but Yentl and I wanted to go out. The boys informed us that there would be nowhere to go on a Sunday night after Christmas, but Yentl and I were determined. The boys made us go into a gas station and awkwardly ask  2 older-aged women behind the counter where the closest strip club was (strip clubs are open all the time, right?!?) One of them told us that we'd have to drive to a small town about 15 mins away, in a different state, which is nuts. That's because the "good" strip club in the city where we were staying was closed. Also, it's nuts that you can go to a different State in 15 mins! She warned us though: "Only go to ______, because let me tell ya, the other strip club is filled with skanks!"

So, we drove. This small town turned out to be definitely sketchy. The strip club we went to was ten times more sketchy. Because it was a Sunday, there were only 3 other "gentlemen" in the club besides the 4 of us. The DJ, who was wearing the most epic flood pants I have ever seen, had a giant bucket perched on his podium with the words "DJ Tips" creepily scrawled across it. Who tips a DJ? I've never heard of that. Especially when said DJ plays Backstreet Boys with long periods of silence between song changes.

Okay, so I'm guessing you want to hear about the strippers. Well, there were two of them. The first one seemed quite nasty, and the second one seemed quite young and "new," shall I say? I got the impression that she hadn't been stripping for that long. I felt bad for both of them, because the 4 of us were sitting off to the side, which meant that they were forced to entertain the 3 gross old men that were left. They didn't take their bottoms off (which they do were I live) which I appreciated, because it just makes me uncomfortable. Plus, there's often a lot of glow-in-the-dark things usually happening down there on the strippers, that makes it hard to look away, trying to figure out the logistics of getting pierced in places one wouldn't expect to get pierced.

Anyways, after Yentl and I had a few drinks, we decided that we should at least say hello to the strippers because we had been there for so long and hadn't acknowledged their presence. Yentl's boyfriend & boyfriend's brother pretended to seem uninterested in the strippers the entire night, but encouraged us to go up to the front of the stage. At this point, the young-looking "new" stripper was dancing. Here is the conversation that ensued...

The stripper starts dancing. I hold up $5 because I feel like I should give her something (she must have had a difficult time making $$ that night), and because I didn't want to pay enough for any "services." She's dancing on the pole in front of us and then approaches us. Her face is definitely less pretty closer up.

Me: First of all, I love your shoes. (Stripper laughs). Second of all, what do you do to keep in shape? Besides the pole I mean. Your body is fantastic.

Stripper: (Makes her belly pudgy and slaps it). This? Ha, I'm not in shape. I do nothing!

Yentl: You're quite good on the pole.

Stripper: Oh, I can't actually do anything. I've only been doing it for 3 months.

Suddenly, one of the other men in the club comes over and looks at me, throwing a 20-dollar bill down right in front of her. 

Old Man: She won't do anything unless you give her 20 bucks.

Me: Oh, um, no thanks. I --

Suddenly, the stripper removes my glasses. Why is she doing that? I wonder. And before I know it, she shoves her boobs in my face, with the "motorboat" motion. 

Me: Oh, umm, that was enjoyable. Ummm...not really necessary, though.

Then, she does it to Yentl.

Yentl: Wow, they're so soft!

Me: Best part of the road trip.

Yentl: We're from ______. (The Stripper looks at us cluelessly). Ontario. (The stripper looks at us cluelessly again.) Canada?

Stripper: Oh, you're from Canada!

The old man is still standing next to me, staring at us.

Me: (To old man) This is a girls only zone.

Old Man: But you're in a gentleman's club. (Everyone laughs.)

Stripper: What cities are there in Canada?

Yentl: Montreal? Toronto? Edmonton?

Me: Vancouver? 

Stripper: Oh yeah, I've heard of Vancouver. Aren't you guys like really strict in Canada?

Me: Ummm, no? There's no Prop 8 (she looks at me cluelessly again). We can drink at a younger age...

Stripper: Right, you can drink at 18!

Yentl: Yeah, in some provinces. In most, it's 19.

Stripper: Yessssss! Wait -- I have to go dance again. I'll come back later!

We talked for a bit longer than what I wrote -- shopping, The Mall of America, shoes, etc. And when we came back to the table, the boys were so impressed. You should know that the boys are probably the two most polite, well-mannered men I've ever met. I've probably been to the strip club in town more than them, and they absolutely do not sit by the stage or even look at the strippers in an obvious way. But they were so impressed when we came back. "What did she say?" "Wow, k-money, you looked so relaxed, with your elbows resting on the stage and everything!" "What did she look like up close?" Yentl told them that "her boobs relaxed and weren't pointy anymore." Geesh. I looked at the stripper's face the entire time she was talking. Yentl, you're such a perv.

So, that was probably the highlight of my holiday: getting boobs smashed into my face. God bless America. 

Monday, December 20, 2010

I Survived! And tales of Orlando Bloom.

I finished teaching gig #1! Although I had several things thrown at me -- computer keyboards, snowballs, insults, etc. -- I came out with minimal scars. As much as I wanted to blog & Christmas shop & make cookies, I spent this past week doing far more interesting things.

For the past 5 days, I have:

1) Sat on the couch
2) Knitted 5 scarves
3) Watched all of the Lord of the Rings extended editions + bonus material
4) Showered once

Have you ever listened to a song from your childhood/teenhood that you had forgotten about and suddenly remembered all the words? I felt the same way with LOTR. I was in love with them in the early 00s, and caught myself blurting out the lines along with the characters. Even the hobbit drinking songs. 

The one thing I think that I should mention, that played a huge part of my embarrassing life as a teenager, is Orlando Bloom. Legolas from Lord of the Rings. My obsession with him used to be almost as great as my obsession with David Bowie. You don't understand. My locker/binders/bathroom/Christmas cards were covered with his face. I had a birthday party for him when I was in grade 11. I made heart-shaped cookies with our initials in the center. I even made a giant Orlando man cookie, in the hope that people would fight over eating his crotch (nobody did, except me.) I even wrote Orlando love poems for the occasion and recited them to my hippie friends in the yearbook room. People came for the free cookies, but thought I was totally nuts. 

When I saw Orlando on the screen, things came flooding back to me. Facts about him. For example, I suddenly remembered that he lost his virginity at 14; that his favourite ice-cream flavour is mint chocolate chip; and that he broke his back while climbing a drain-pipe and falling. Just like the lyrics to a forgotten song, I found myself remembering facts and thinking, How do you remember these insignificant details? Even if you don't particularly like Orlando, you can't deny that Legolas is one of the best characters of LOTR. He utters ridiculous and intuitive lines like, "This forest is old. Very old. Full of memory" and "I feel a shadow and a threat growing on my mind." Ohhhhhhhh. Very deep. 

"I don't think I heard you properly. You made a cookie of me just so you could eat my cookie crotch?"
Here's to you, Orlando. I still have your autographed pictures in a box somewhere. Although I used to practice my signature with a "Bloom" at the end, I think it's great that you married someone, even if I think you could have done better than a Victoria's Secret model. Although you haven't done anything substantial since Pirates of the Caribbean, it's great that you've taken some time off the do theatre, or whatever. 

Now that this past week is over, I have lots to do. I have to catch up on all your blogs! I have to buy and wrap presents. I also have to make Christmas cookies. Maybe I'll make an Orlando one for old times sake...

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

What I've Learned This (Half) Week # 3

I can't wait until this whole teacher gig is done....then I can actually post pictures and NOT cut them off at eye level (or cover my face with a picture/facemask/someone's ass), as you've probably noticed is what I do. I've always been a paranoid person -- not in a schizophrenic sense, where I think the government is out to get me -- but in a sense that I will be busted for something I say. I'm TERRIFIED that someone will somehow, miraculously, find this blog by chance (although the odds are obviously 1 in a million) and this person will end up being a colleague. And BAAAM, I don't graduate and BAAAM I'm accused of "professional misconduct" for having a blog that contains swears and/or transvestites and/or details of how I provided evil students with poo-infested pencil crayons. And because I'm paranoid, I'm the worst gossiper. Sure, I can gossip anyone's ear off, but it has to be done:

a) in an enclosed space, like a car or jail cell
b) via text message (after I triple check that I've sent it to the right person, of course)
c) secretly -- i.e. I refer to the person I am gossiping about in code, and refuse to make eye contact with him/her if he/she is nearby

What I really mean to say is: gossiping is bad. Don't do it, kiddies.

Now that that's out of the way, here's some things I have learned this (half) week:

1) Twisted Sister's Christmas Album is THE BEST Holiday Music
Remember Twisted Sister, the terrifying & wonderful 2-hit wonder of the 80s? I got hooked on their Christmas album, A Twisted Christmas, last year. I have now given it the title of "Best Christmas Album Ever Besides A Few Other Good Ones." This is why:

Doesn't this song sound uncannily like their smash hit, "We're Not Gonna Take It"? They also have an amazing version of "The Twelve Days of Christmas," so aptly re-titled "Heavy Metal Christmas." Instead of "a partridge in a pear tree," it's "a tattoo of Ozzy." Instead of "five golden rings," it's "five skull earrings." And most importantly, instead of "nine ladies dancing," it's "nine tattered t-shirts." By eliminating the spectacle of ladies dancing, this song is clearly feminist. Revolutionary. Ground-breaking. Pure genius.

2) Bringing Jack Daniels-Filled Chocolates to Class Will Not Make You Cool
The grade nines think they can get drunk on these. It reminds me of the time I had some friends over and I made alcohol-free punch. We were 16, I think, and they begged me to put alcohol in it. I told them I did (I didn't!) The fake drunken shenanigans were great. Placebo effect, anyone? They emptied the punch bowl, and when I refilled it, I actually added booze. But nobody touched it because "it tastes gross." These things don't really have anything to do with one another besides the fact that young teenagers are dumb when it comes to drunkenness. But that's old news.

3) I Have Horrible/Cool Pants That Could Rival The Hammer Pants
That's right, I said. I found this baby tucked away at the back of my dresser. In Grade 12, I paid to have a seamstress sew all these ridiculous patches on my pants (in a careless, splattered way to look like I didn't care, of course). I wore them for a day -- and got so many confused glances -- that I shoved them away and never looked at them again. Until recently. Not only am I shocked at the things I once found cool (Blink 182, Care Bears, and patches for swimming achievement) but I am shocked at how tiny these jeans are. It would be a freakin' miracle if I could fit one leg into these pants now.

They do go longer, but there's a patch that reveals where I live. And then, for sure for sure, potential colleagues could read this and KNOW where I live and then bust me for professional misconduct. So, sorry!
That's right, these pants will be vintage someday. Although I am planning on having cats, not kids, I'm sure teenagers of the future will be dying to get their hands on these. I scold my mom for getting rid of her bellbottoms & platforms of the 70s, so I've learned that clothing from the past can become cool again someday (platforms + Spicegirls anyone? Very cool.) But the only way that I see myself having children in the future is if these men mix their sperm in a turkey baster for me...
The Canadian Tenors -- the Canadian version of Il Divo. Go ahead, laugh. But I saw them in concert and they made my soul melt. In a good way.

If I could travel back in time and Tim Curry could let me "see what's on the slab."

Never mind, I don't have a shot.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

I Apologize For Quoting Beyonce

Let me start this post with a snippet of a Beyonce song: "If I were a boooooyyyy..."

Julie Andrews, pretending to be a male drag queen in
Victor/Victoria. When I was younger, I used to pray that she'd adopt me
and whisk me away to Austria and sing me goatherd lullabies.
Don't roll your eyes at me, thinking, "Geez, she's gonna talk about how she wishes she were a boy because menstrual cramps suck." Yes, that's obvious, and I'm not going to talk about it. I'm also not going to talk about how men are called "studs" and women are called "sluts." Everyone knows that. I will tell you that sometimes, just sometimes, I wish I were a boy because I'm not as amazing as Julie Andrews. She can pull off pretending to be a guy pretending to be a girl, but I'm not quite as talented.

As you've undoubtedly noticed throughout my posts, I have a thing for drag queens. Let me rephrase: I have a thing for good drag queens. I only like drag queens that actually look like women. And before you go all "whoa, I don't want to hear about your sexual fantasies!" let me clarify. I am fascinated with drag queens. I don't necessarily want to rip their thongs off with my teeth (unless it's Tim Curry's circa 1975). I just want to go backstage with them, allow them to do my makeup, and join them onstage for a Whitney number. Oh, and I want biceps and a bulge in my crotch, just for fun.

I have quite the dilemma you see: I am a girl. I guess I could dress as a drag king -- but where's the fun in that? Sure, wearing a suit and slapping on a fake stache is liberating, but not nearly as fun as super-huge eyelashes, 5-inch heels, and fake boobs (I'm sure many guys would argue that the penis tuck is not fun, however). And lord knows that I could use some eyelashes, a pair of heels, and some boobs, because I am definitely lacking in all three.

No, I wouldn't call this a gender identity crisis. I don't actually want to be a boy. Boys are gross. All of the ones I've encountered in real life are douchebags/sleep in pizza boxes/cannot spell. (FYI: I know this is very stereotypical/false/unreasonable but very truthful/accurate/real for all the men I've dated. So, don't get your patriarchal panties in a knot, people). Plus, boy parts are gross. 

"If I were a booooyyy...I would have boy parts that I'd have to look at every time I take a pee and I would be grossed out..... whoa oooohh whoa."
Okay, maybe that was a bit offensive. If a guy said, "eewww, girl parts are gross!" I'd be offended. 

Anyways, I guess I'll never be able to have my wish of becoming a drag queen fulfilled. Also, the drag shows in my small city SUCK. I guess I'll just live vicariously through my favourite ones. Sigh. A girl can dream, right? Or rather, a girl who wants to be a guy so he/she can dress up like a girl can dream, right?

I will now leave you with RuPaul, who in my opinion, is the best of the best. And yes, the juxtaposition of the image to the above right & the one of Beyonce was completely intentional.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

My Top 10 Bowie Tracks

Okay, you knew this was coming. You knew that considering my blog is named after Bowie lyrics, that this was coming. You knew that I dressed up as Bowie for Halloween last year, so this definitely was coming. And if you don't like Bowie & you're reading this -- I suggest you go lock yourself away in a cellar and never show your face again. Harsh, I know.

It was VERY, VERY hard for me to pinpoint my top 10 Bowie songs. I had to think about which songs gave me goosebumps the first time I heard them. I didn't necessarily pick the most popular or crazy songs, but rather, the ones that will always stick with me (awwww!)

1) Life on Mars?
This one is obvious, considering "to my mother, my dog, and clowns" is taken directly from it. I love EVERYTHING about this song: the piano part (which I've memorized), Bowie's soaring vocals, the fact that he looks similar to Ronald McDonald in this video, etc. Nothing about this song makes sense and I don't think anyone will ever know the true meanings of the lyrics. He sings about "sailors fighting in the dance hall" and being "hooked to the silver screen." I particularly love the line where he says, "Now the workers have struck for fame/ Cause Lennon's on sale again." How ironic is it that in 2 years time, Bowie would record a song called "Fame" with John Lennon? The answer is, "Yes, k-money, that is sooooo ironic!"

His makeup for the video was done by Pierre Laroche, who also did the makeup for The Rocky Horror Picture Show, which only gives "Life on Mars?" brownie points. Also, apparently Bowie went to the store to buy shoes & came back with "Life on Mars?" in his head. Craziness.

Bowie has continued to perform this song throughout the years -- it's a fan favourite, obviously -- but he doesn't always aim for the high notes. But I still get chills every time I hear it.

2) Aladdin Sane (1913-1938-197?)
This song, although not a smash hit like many of his others, tops my list because of the ridiculous piano solo performed by Mike Garson. He supposedly did the solo in one take, which absolutely BLOWS MY MIND. The song also represents Bowie's Aladdin Sane character, which in itself is great because of the pun of "A Lad Insane." The song itself is haunting, especially because of the dates in the title, which are the years preceding the world wars. It looks like Bowie was predicting that another world war would happen in the 70s. The lyrics are also extremely poetic -- I would love to paint lyrics like "swinging an old bouquet of dead roses," "sadden glissando strings," and "battle cries and champagne just in time for sunrise" in the blank border spaces on my wall.

3) Starman
Okay, this song does sound kind of cheesy/nursery-rhyme-ish, but I love it. It represents the moment when the character of Ziggy Stardust was revealed to the world. You can tell that Ziggy is still in his early stages, however, because his makeup is not super crazy...yet. The chorus is also modeled after "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" -- Bowie admits this -- and was the first single released off The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. Plus, I LOVE watching the awkward 70s dancing audience members in the video. Also, when Mick Ronson (Bowie's super-awesome amazing guitarist) creeps up beside Bowie to share his microphone, and Bowie doesn't notice for a split second, you literally go, "ohh, poor guy!" Then Bowie acknowledges his presence, puts his arm around Mick, and they share glorious harmonies together. It makes my heart melt every time.

4) The Width of a Circle
This epic 8-minute track is my favourite from The Man Who Sold The World. Not only is this Bowie's most metal-sounding album, but he is donning his hippie hair & a dress (which was apparently quite controversial at the time) on the album cover. This song is practically 3 songs in 1. It's as though Bowie is telling a very nonsensical story, with random guitar parts & vocals all over the place, but it somehow works. When Bowie performs this song in Ziggy Stardust: The Motion Picture, he is wearing a skanky body-suit covered in woodland creatures and does a miming bit towards the end of the song. He pretends that he is stuck between some kind of walls/cavern, musters enough miming strength to free himself, and does this eagle-soaring bird-type mime move. Love it.

5) Boys Keep Swinging
"Boys Keep Swinging" is ridiculous, to say the least. It's a bunch of stereotypical and also random things that boys apparently are/like, such as "Life is a pop of a cherry when you're a boy," and "You can buy a home of your own/Learn to drive and everything." I particularly love, "When you're a boy, you can buy a uniform/Other boys check you out." The video is so interesting to analyze because he performs some quite hilarious dance moves/facial expressions as a "man"/"boy" which hearkens back to the 50s. The rest of the video is Bowie in 3 different drag outfits -- one young-ish, one middle-aged, and one old. By the end, he yanks off his wig in a very dramatic way and smears his makeup across his face, except as the old lady (he blows a kiss instead!). The guitar at the end sounds like it's being murdered, and sometimes I can't stand it when I listen to this song, but it's still wonderful.

For the record, I think Bowie makes a horrible-looking middle-aged woman. But an AMAZING grandma with a cane.

6) Letter To Hermione
This song is from Space Oddity. I love it because it's one of the few love songs the Bowie has ever written (and one of the few songs that actually makes sense). It's about his girlfriend in the late 60s, Hermione Farthingale, who lived with Bowie & was in his miming troupe, but left him for another man. It's such a sad, honest, and heart-breaking song with lyrics like, "I care for no one else but you/ I tear my soul cease the pain" and "But when he's strong he's strong for you/And when you kiss it's something new/But did you ever call my name just by mistake?" Oh man! It's my belief that Hermione shattered his heart so fiercely that Bowie completely lost his mind and chose to marry the most annoying woman on the planet, Angie Bowie. It's all your fault, Hermione.

7) My Death
"My Death" is Bowie's cover of the Jacques Brel song (he also covered Brel's "Amsterdam"). Bowie's version, performed at Ziggy Stardust: The Motion Picture is by far my most favourite song performed on the film. He is dressed in full Ziggy attire, and yet performs it so real & full of emotion. This song has many chord changes & key changes that it keeps escalating until the end, where it slowly "dies" down. Clever, I know. Especially since this is the last concert that Bowie puts on as Ziggy, before he "kills" him off. Aha. Watching Bowie's facial expressions & pronunciations is amazing & you can tell that this song is really important to him.

8) Station to Station
This is another super-long epic song, totaling just over 10 minutes. Like "Aladdin Sane" and "Starman" which introduce 2 new Bowie characters, "Station to Station" introduces us to The Thin White Duke. Although the first 2 minutes of the song is comprised of simply helicopter noises, the rest of the song makes up for it, especially with the repetition of "It's not the side-effects of the cocaine/I'm thinking that it must be love." And on cocaine, he was. Station to Station is the album that Bowie has practically no recollection of recording. It was the year where Bowie was his skinniest, craziest, and most creative. He apparently survived on nothing more than milk and red peppers, and according to a bio I read, kept his own semen in the fridge because he was scared that witches were going to steal & and do horrible things to him...or something. If you watch the documentary called Cracked Actor on YouTube which was released around this time (and is very appropriately named), you'll see that Bowie is NUTS. He is being interviewed in the back of a car and in the background you can hear police sirens. He all of a sudden starts snorting like mad & wiping his nose (clearly paranoid that cops might see the cocaine residue). At a different point in the documentary, he is being interviewed in the back of a car whilst crossing a desert & drinking a giant carton of milk. He is jittery, distracted, avoids answering questions and starts talking about a fly in his milk, and relates it back to him feeling like a foreigner in a America..."just like the fly" in his milk...
Although Bowie is absolutely crazy during his coke-fueled years, I still think he's super sexy as The Thin White Duke. Yum.

9) The Drowned Girl
This song is from the EP of Brecht's Baal, that Bowie performed on a BBC television version. "The Drowned Girl" is so haunting & mysterious. The black & white video only accentuates this. When Bowie aims for the high notes and reveals his creepy/wonderful teeth, he seriously looks like a HOT EVIL GHOST. Plus, the background instruments -- especially the clarinet -- remind me of something from the BBC's The Chronicles of Narnia (another guilty pleasure which I will post about...someday...). Plus, this song perfectly showcases Bowie's various voices -- the low deep one, the powerful vibrato one, the soft sad one, the crazy/drunk one, etc.

10) Rebel Rebel
"Rebel Rebel" is a classic Bowie song that everyone immediately recognizes from the opening guitar riff. This is the very first song that I learned on the guitar (probably THE song that made me want to learn the guitar in the first place), so of course it has a special place in my heart!! This song is a true "rock" sounding song which signifies Bowie's departure from the Ziggy Stardust/Glam Rock era & his progression towards the Diamond Dogs era. Ziggy's bright red hair still remains, but Bowie's pirate-like style in the video is definitely different. Apparently, he is only wearing the eye-patch because he had pink eye, but he totally rocked the look. The lyrics certainly echo gender ambiguity ("Got your mother in a whirl/She's not sure if you're a boy or a girl"), which always makes me happy.
Things to notice in the video:
a) Bowie's tight tight red pants (it echoes his Labyrinth look that would come 10 years later, no?)
b) The fact that he sometimes plays the guitar (without a strap) and gets tired, so instead uses it as a prop
c) The many many Bowie faces in the kaleidescope-looking mirrors (who doesn't like many many Bowie faces?)

My close runner-up songs were:
  • "Quicksand" and "Changes" from Hunky Dory
  • "Time" and "Lady Grinning Soul" from Aladdin Sane
  • "Soul Love" and "Five Years"  from The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
  • "Cygnet Committee" from Space Oddity
  • "The Man Who Sold The World" and "All The Madmen" from The Man Who Sold the World
  • "Sweet Thing" from Diamond Dogs
  • "Fame" from Young Americans
  • "Word on a Wing" from Station to Station
  • "Heroes" from Heroes
  • "Teenage Wildlife" from Scary Monsters
  • "Can't Help Thinking About Me" from David Bowie and the Lower Third
So, there you have it. It was so hard to choose! If you read through this entire thing, congrats. I secretly hope that you now have at least 1 Bowie song stuck in your head.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Why I'm Not Having Kids

I've never really felt like I understand teenagers. But who does, really? Even when I was a teenager, I never understood them.

I did -- and still do -- use slang and colloquialisms that I don't really understand. It's not like I do it intentionally...It just happens. For example, I wrote "I love spunk" in huge letters with marker across my binder in grade 10, thinking that "spunk" meant "smooth punk." I used to think that S&M meant "stupid & mean." I would say to people, "Stop being so S&M!"

So it's no surprise that teenagers still puzzle me. And since working in a high school, I've noticed a lot of things...

#1 - Kids Start Dating Only Days After Getting Their Molars
I was shocked when I first heard about kids discussing their previous ex-boyfriends. I'm sure each of these kids' relationships can totally beat each of mine in terms of length, frequency, and fulfillment (get your head out of the gutter, people!) What's worse is that while I was photocopying shit today, I overheard a bunch of kids talking about their sex lives.

I didn't even have my first kiss until I was 18. It was ridiculous, I was getting birthday cards that said, "Happy Birthday! Sweet 16 18 and Never Been Kissed!"

#2 - Kids Don't Like Justin Bieber
I thought that it was a universal thing that all kids like Justin Bieber?!? I was trying to be a cool teacher, and mention Justin Bieber in my lessons. Big mistake.

#3 - Bringing a Pencil & Piece of Paper to Class is Too Much Work
Seriously. Only 1/3 will bring a writing utensil, and maybe one will bring paper.
Here's a typical day:

"So class, today we will be--"

A student walks in late.

[To student]: "Have a seat. Here's what we're working on. Do you have a pencil?" Student shakes head, "no." I waste a minute, looking for a pencil. The other students start throwing junk food, spitballs, and insults at each other while I'm digging through drawers for a pencil.

"--As I was saying, today we will be looking at the various ways that --"

Another kid walks in and the cycle continues at least 5 more times.

I eventually walk around and observe the students' work. If I notice that the student hasn't done anything, I'll ask, "Why haven't you done anything yet?"

"My pencil isn't sharpened. I guess I can't do any work."

"That's not an excuse."

The student hands me the pencil.

"Fine, sharpen it for me, then."

"No, you have two fully functional legs. You can do it yourself."

"I don't want to. I guess I can't do any work, then."


"Why haven't you done any work then?"

The student shrugs.

"Do you need a pencil?"


"Why didn't you raise your hand when I asked at the beginning of class if anyone needed a pencil?"

"I didn't need one then."


#4 - Kids Throw Around Offensive Terms Like It's Casual Conversation
I don't know how many times I've heard, "Jimmy, stop being so gay!" or "You're such a fag" among other things that I don't need to repeat. I'm not sure what exactly is the proper way to deal with this -- I've tried explaining to them what the implications of using those words are, but considering these kids can't even write a paragraph unless I tell them exactly what to write, it's no use. I've tried getting really upset/angry when I hear them use these terms (because they truly do make me angry/upset) -- but then again, I've been told that, "The more angry you get with kids, the more likely the kids will repeat the action to see you get all riled up again."
Today, a kid handed me an assignment that had nothing completed. This student said, "I don't want to do it!" and I said, "Well, you can hand it in but I'll give you a zero." The student then proceeded with a "Fuck you!!" and stormed off.

Ah, how I love the young, innocent, delightful minds of the future.

#5 - Kids Don't Care if They go to the Principal's Office
Teachers don't give detentions these days, because they don't want to sacrifice their time. So, if a kid is bad, we send him/her to the principal's office. I'm sure the principal can get quite scary and threaten to call the student's parents, but a lot of parents don't really care about their kids, or are too busy to deal with it. Woohoo.

I'm definitely not having children. Not because I think they'd turn out like this (with a person as cool as me for a mom, I mean, c'mon!), but because I don't want them to be surrounded by this...

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Glee and Gay Bullying

I've already "respectfully criticized" Glee a few times on this blog, although I really do love the show. I finally managed to watch Tuesday's episode tonight (I got a break from lesson planning for one night, oddly enough, because the class is apparently playing games for being "good" this week. They weren't "good.") I pretty much raised my hands to the sky and cried, "Thank you, Jesus!" after watching this episode, though.

This episode centers on Kurt -- the only out of the closet gay kid in his small Ohio school -- and the struggles he faces. We watch Kurt get pushed into the lockers, teased, and not taken seriously by his fellow Glee clubbers. This has happened occasionally throughout the series, but this episode in particular zooms in on Kurt's tears and the torment that he faces daily. I don't think I've ever seen a popular TV show portray homophobic bullying from the perspective of the victim so realistically.

Kurt, being pushed around in the hallways
Maybe it's because Ryan Murphy is gay, and being bullied in high school was one of the things he had to endure? Maybe it's because of all the media coverage of the suicides by gay teens lately? Maybe it's because it's an issue that affects everyone in some way? Whatever the reason, I'm so ecstatic that a hugely popular television show has chosen to address it. 

Furthermore, this episode showed a kiss between two males. Two males. Kissing on TV. Kids watch this show. Um, remember what happened to Adam Lambert when he kissed his band mate on television? Okay, in fairness, it was more of a makeout kiss (Kurt endured a peck). And in Glee, Kurt "gets" kissed, whereas Adam Lambert actively initiates the kiss. Anyways, many parents who watched Adam Lambert were outraged -- they complained because their children were watching the show -- the opposing argument was "you shouldn't be letting your kids stay up past 10PM to watch a live music awards show." Therefore, I can only guess at the astronomical number of parents who probably complained about their kids watching Glee --a show whose audience is comprised mostly of young people-- and is pre-scripted and pre-taped. So, really, Glee deserves a thousand thumbs up for portraying a same-sex kiss, knowing full well that many parents would most likely be outraged. I'm surprised that Fox allowed it, when saying "transsexual" (like I mentioned in an earlier post) is not allowed, and must be censored.

This episode also features a new character named Blaine, played by Darren Criss. I mentioned my love for Harry Potter in the beginning when I started this blog, in particular my love for A Very Potter Musical. It's an awesome & hilarious play performed by University of Michigan students, and is hugely popular with Harry Potter fans. Darren Criss wrote music for the play & its sequel, and also released an EP on iTunes. I love his music, and I thought he was fantastic playing Harry in the Harry Potter musicals. When I heard he was going to be on Glee, I was so excited. It was great watching an everyday guy in YouTube videos (who does covers of Disney songs on his guitar in his bedroom!) make it big & land a role in one of the most popular television shows today. The only problem I have is that I have to restrain myself from saying to every person I pass on the sidewalk, "I was a fan of Darren Criss before he was famous!!!"

Blaine is older than Kurt & attends an all-boys school with a rival glee club to Kurt's. He becomes a mentor to Kurt -- telling him that he too was bullied for being gay, and never stood up for himself, and now regrets it. He sends Kurt texts that say "courage" and even shows up to Kurt's school to talk to a kid who's been bullying Kurt. The best part about the Blaine character is that he is not stereotypically "gay." The show is actually demonstrating that being a gay male doesn't necessarily mean that you're like Kurt: flamboyant,  diva-esque, snobby, "feminine," and fashion obsessed. Blaine wears his generic black school uniform, and is not overly "girlish". Thanks Glee, for actually breaking one of your stereotypes.

Mr. Schue swooping in to restore heteronormativity!
At the same time, coach Beist -- the super-huge, butch-like football coach who I thought was a man in the first episode-- establishes to Will, the glee club teacher, that she's "not gay." This confession seemed irrelevant to me and made me go, "okay..." Really, is it important that we determine that? Is it important that the audience knows that she's never been kissed, and that she's not gay? I found that adding that little piece of info at the end was sending the message that Coach Beist isn't gay AND has never been kissed. This situation is dire. At least if she were gay, she might have a good reason, like Kurt. Also, I found it slightly disturbing that Will had to kiss her in the locker room to prove that she is "lovable." It's like one of the only strong, confident women in the show has to be validated by the attractive male to be shown that she is a "real" woman. Sound familiar? Oh wait! Yes, the other strong, confident, authority figure -- Sue Sylvester, the cheerleading coach -- was discovered last season to deep down, really want a man to love her and break her tough exterior. And again, Mr. Schuester saves the day. He pretends to seduce Sue, she falls for him and proves to the audience that she is really a soft woman underneath, who just wants to be loved. Thanks Mr. Schu, for coming in to save the day when these two characters cross the line just a bit too far, and get mistaken for being too "masculine." 

The last thing that made me tilt my head --like one of my former pygmy goats when hearing the sound of their food being dropped into a pail-- was the fact that the main bully who pushes around Kurt for the entire episode, is also suggested to be gay. Kurt, filled with the courage that Blaine gives him to stand up to his bullies, confronts the bully in the locker room and demand that he cease from tormenting him. An argument ensues, where Kurt says, "Hit me!" and the bully ends up kissing him instead. I said to my self, "Really?!?" It's a kind of twisted way of portraying gay bullying, by suggesting that Kurt was only being teased because the bully himself is having problems coming to terms with his own sexuality. In reality, most bullies who target gay teens probably are not gay themselves, but rather just homophobic, fearful, and ignorant. It would have been nice if Glee would have shown Kurt confronting a straight bully on his homophobia -- not a bully who is somewhat excused because, "oh, well he's gay himself, so that's why he's a bully. It's understandable."

A final note on this longwinded post is what I've noticed since I've been teaching in a high school for my placement. I've noticed that every week, the "boys club" and the "girls club" have their own meetings and activities. The boys club is a place where boys can "hang out," eat pizza and drink pop, play video games, and "be boys." In the girls club, they learn how to apply makeup, they make jewelry, and they gossip and read magazines. Although having clubs where kids feel like they belong and can make friendships is great, it made me wonder: What happens if you identify as neither boy or girl? What happens if the sex that's been assigned to you does not match the interests that you're supposed to inherently possess? What happens if I'm a girl who would rather play video games and eat pizza, or a boy who'd rather make jewelry and read magazines? The school I'm at does have Pride Central logos all over the place, and they constantly mention the gay-straight alliance events on the morning announcements, which is great. So, it's not all bad.

Thanks for bearing with me! I don't really care if nobody reads this -- I wrote it for myself. And if you still have no idea what Glee is and can't stand any more posts related to it...well go watch it, for crying out loud!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


AARRRGGGHH! is my life right now. I probably won't be blogging as often as I'd like to for the next few weeks (until this stint is done), because my life right now is NUTS.

My day goes like this:

1) Wake up at the crack of dawn.
2) Eat breakfast (if I don't, I will DIE during the school day), shower, make lunch, blowdry hair, etc. Curling/straightening hair and/or taking the time to properly apply makeup is out of the question.
3) Walk to school. Help with breakfast programs. Sit in a room where I'm to look busy for 45 mins before class starts, even though the classroom isn't free until 5 mins before the bell rings. If I don't come early and pretend to do shit, apparently I will look bad.
4) Photocopy shit that's copyrighted, because that's what I've been told to do. Teach kids ALL DAY who can't read, write, or sit still for thirty seconds. Yell at them for throwing shit at each other and kicking desks around.
5) Buy/bring in candy to give to hyperactive kids because nothing else will make them shut up.
6) Scarf down some lunch, do hall supervision or go help out at some club of some sort.
7) Tell myself that I can get through the day, and that the world will not come to an end.
8) Walk home, sit down, drink some water, and try not to fall asleep.
9) Stay up all night making lesson plans, and hopefully, try to sleep for at least 3 hours.
10) Repeat.

I would write more, but I've allotted myself only fifteen minutes to cook and eat dinner, and this blog entry is cutting into that. Sorry, kids. Cross your fingers for me and hope that I try to convince myself that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.....

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Smart Girl

I have an arch nemesis.

She was in a bunch of my classes in my undergrad, and I never forgot her. Why? Well, she was one of those keeners that answered questions all the time. I'm sure we've all had our fair share of keeners, but she was much different. Most keeners (I find) are mature students, who think they know shit because they've "experienced" life. I'll never forget the guy who gave a ten-minute long statement about his time in the war, while my professor stood with his arms folded and with a livid look on his face.

My friend and I nicknamed this girl "Smart Girl" (original, I know). At first we thought she was brilliant and didn't mind her answering all the time, but after she started talking soooo much, we thought she was very show-offish. We started resenting her even more, because well, she was smart. To top it all off, she was pretty too. We started asking ourselves, "who IS this girl?"

Throughout the time I had classes with her, I tried desperately to find a flaw with her. She can't possibly know everything, I told myself. How wrong I was. I found out that she knows everything about academia, music, art, culture...ah! She even mentioned her boyfriend during one of her responses once, and I thought, "Damn, somebody loves her too!"

Last year, I believe she moved away to do her masters. I was excited for my classes to be smart-girl-free. It was sheer bliss, let me tell you. My classmates and I didn't feel like such stupid morons anymore. We could actually answer questions and feel slightly intelligent, without the presence of Smart Girl. I could sit in class and not have the urge to strangle someone.

This year...she returned.

Thankfully, I only have one class with her, but the urge to throw pencil shavings at her head was still there (and I use a laptop, so that's saying something). She's still up to her old Smart Girl tricks, but of course, she's now more educated than before. No I'm not jealous (well, maybe just a little).

We had an activity in class where we had to partner up and do a drama activity. I tried with all my might to avoid partnering up with her, but alas, fate clearly wants her to appear as much as possible. She reached out her hand and said, "Hi, I'm Smart Girl." I half-smiled back to myself, thinking, I know who you are. And of course, you think you're so smart by wanting to shake my hand. Bitch. 

What's propelled me to write this post, however, is the fact that she's EVERYWHERE. She's all over Facebook making friends with people I've newly made friends with. She's posing in pictures for Halloween with them, looking all pleased with herself. She's attended shows/plays that I've attended. She talks about transvestite musicals in class. You all know how much I love transvestite musicals. This. Is. Not. Cool.

My friend pointed out the fact that I probably hate her so much because we're so similar and we have the same interests. Urrghh.

Now that she's all over Facebook, and making friends with my friends, perhaps it's time that I lay down my grudge and "try" to be friends with her?

We'll see...

Sunday, October 31, 2010


Halloween last night was...okay. I guess it's a given that anywhere you go is going to be super packed, super smelly, and super slippery. By super slippery, I mean that the floor is usually COVERED in alcohol. And because I'm a) very klutzy, b) can't walk in heels for the life of me, and c) an idiot, I did a massive body dive onto the middle of the dance floor. Good times. But I did manage to save my beer, so I guess the story's not so bad.

We went to a shag -- people have different interpretations of that, though. By "shag" in my city, we mean "pre-wedding social" or "stag and doe" or whatever the hell else people call it. It was funny when my friend's British in-laws came to visit this past summer. I was casually talking about going to a shag and they looked at me with astonished looks on their faces and exclaimed, "You did what?!"

My costume was super awesome...not gonna lie. There was another Madonna there, but my costume totally killed hers. She didn't even put any effort into hers and wasn't wearing any cross jewelry. Lame. Here's me as "Lucky Star" Madonna:

I hope everyone's Halloween was awesome!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Happy Almost Halloween!!

Last night we went to Rocky & it was pretty good -- I only had about 5 mins to do my makeup, which sucked. I think a lot of the audience were RHPS virgins because:
a) people yelled "asshole" & "slut" sooooooo many times -- way more than was necessary, trust me, I would know
b) the girl sitting in front of me had an ENTIRE MOVIE SCRIPT with the callouts on it. She sat through the whole movie reading the script with her cellphone -- very distracting & very uncool
c) nobody threw toilet paper! I was also the only person who threw confetti....oh well!
d) people yelled ... but not as epically as last year

I'm on the far right -- oh and yes I'm wearing an afro because that's all I could find!
Those matters aside, I enjoyed my fave day of the year -- besides Christmas, of course.

Anyways, I'm super pumped for Halloween tonight! As I've mentioned before, I absolutely LOVE Halloween because my family never celebrated it all through my childhood, so I go a bit crazy every year. Tonight I'm going to be Madonna from the Lucky Star video. The outfit is pretty easy, and obviously cool, and not too slutty like 95% of other peoples' costumes, so I'm happy.

Happy almost Halloween everyone! If you have a cool outfit, post your pics on your blog -- because I will definitely be creeping them.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

And You Never Thought That Rocky Horror Could Get Cheesier...

I'm sure most of you are sick of hearing about RHPS, but considering it's Halloween in a couple of days, and the midnight showing of Rocky is tomorrow + I'm pumped, AND the Rocky Horror Glee Show was aired recently (AND I changed my profile pic for the occasion), I think it's necessary that I address it. So be warned.

Before I delve into "respectful criticism" of this episode, I think it's important that I determine how happy I am that Rocky Horror was payed homage to at all. ANY RHPS reference to me is great, and the fact that a hugely popular show like Glee decided to base an ENTIRE EPISODE on it was fantastic. I'm sure Ryan Murphy, the creator of Glee, is a huge fan which is evident in even the small details of this episode.

For example, when Emma (the school's guidance councillor) performs "Touch-a Touch-a Touch me," there's a part where different characters' faces are right in the camera, mimicking being on top of her. Each yells "creature of the night!" and I was happy/surprised that this was included in Glee because it seems a little risque for TV. Also, this song was apparently the song that Jayma Mays, who plays Emma, auditioned for the show with. Very cool.

I also enjoyed that the scene in the movie where the characters go "Janet! Dr. Scott! Janet! Brad! Rocky! Grr!" three times was repeated in the show, and Sue Sylvester remarks, "This play is terrible!"

I loved Kurt as Riff-Raff (even though it wasn't my first choice of character for him)! He had the Riff-Raff voice & movements down-pat. I read in an interview that he gave that he is a huge Rocky fan and that he was dying to play the part of Riff-Raff, so that's all fine and dandy.

Finally, I thought it was awesome that Barry Bostwick and Meatloaf cameo-d in the episode. Yay for that. Oh, I also forgot to mention the highlight of the episode: Mr. Schuester with his shirt off. Thank you, Glee, for making me believe that there may in fact be hot teachers like him out there.

I thought the show missed the whole point of RHPS. It's about sex, it's about being provocative, and it's about "pushing the envelope" which Glee outright denies. The lyrics are altered because they aren't appropriate for a high school shit. But changing "I'm just a sweet transvestite from transsexual Transylvania" to "sensational Transylvania" ruined the whole song for me. Other examples are changing "heavy petting" to "heavy sweating"; "and if any grows" to "and if anything shows"; and "seat wetting" to "bad fretting." Okay, okay, I do get that it's airing on Fox T.V. and that these songs had to be censored for a specific reason. But that's like taking the Bible and changing Jesus dying on a cross to Jesus getting carbon-monoxide poisoning. Ha, I just compared Rocky Horror to the Bible. Maybe that's because Rocky Horror is just as important as the Bible to me.

Mercedes, the token black diva kid (have a ever talked about how everyone on Glee is a stereotype? Well, they are) plays Frank-n-furter. She sings "Sweet Transvestite" in such an Aretha Franklin diva-esque way that it tramples on the meaning and significance of what the Frank character actually represents. I guess picking a girl to dress up as a transvestite (and covering her up to look a little more conservative -- not that I'd want to see her in skimpy clothes!) is a little more "safe" for TV. But, really, the main reason why I enjoy Rocky is....wait for it....the transvestites. As stereotypical as it sounds, I would have wanted Kurt to play Frank (yes, let's of course pick the gay kid to play him, just like we'd pick Artie, the kid in the wheelchair to play Dr. Scott). I just think that Kurt is the best male singer, that he has a lot of sass, and that he'd have the confidence to play the part of Frank amazingly.

You would think after 37 years from when The Rocky Horror Show was first performed in London, that audiences would be a little more tolerant of the so-called "racy" themes? In a time where this generation is supposedly more open and accepting of displaying sexuality on television and saying words like "transsexual"? Apparently not. (Think: Adam Lambert).

I'm also concerned about the fact that Glee has officially cheesified Rocky, if Rocky could be even more cheesy than it already is. Just like Glee takes songs like "Gold Digger," "Don't Stop Believin'," and "Empire State of Mind" and drastically turns them into pop-ish, bubbly, Sharon Lois & Bram hits (please tell me you know who Sharon, Lois, and Bram are! Or I'll have to give you a quick synopsis!), I think that The Rocky Horror Glee Show Soundtrack has lost the rawness, intensity, and sexuality that the original oozes with. Kids are going to buy the album, thinking "oohh, this Rocky Horror thing sounds cool" or claim to know exactly what RHPS is after merely viewing this episode. On the other hand, if this episode of Glee gets kids watching the original movie, than that's fantastic too, I guess.

So, what you have learned from me, hopefully, is that as much as Glee is apparently "risque" in devoting an entire episode to the cult classic, they are also not very transgressive in their portrayal of it. Plus, you have successfully been introduced to Sharon, Lois & Bram.

They were definitely a huge hit in Canada, I think people were familiar with them in the States too? I'm not too sure. They received many awards in Canadian entertainment (probably because they are awesome, and because nobody has really heard of any Canadian artists other than Celine Dion, Shania Twain, and sigh, Nickelback & Justin Bieber). But they were pretty much MY ENTIRE CHILDHOOD. Their TV show called "The Elephant Show," was how I measured time. I would ask my parents, "How long until we go to the zoo?" and they would say, "Three elephant shows," meaning one hour and a half (each show = 30 mins, so 30 x 3 = 1 1/2 hours. Genius, I know). I would dance around the living room with my sister to their wonderfully cheesy songs (my favourites were "Skinamarinky Dinky Dink," and "Shake it Like a Milkshake") and I even saw them in concert -- the highlight of my life. I actually wanted Sharon to adopt me because, well, unlike my mom, she was always happy, she hugged everyone all the time, and she had cool flashy earrings.

Anyways, be excited for me! Tomorrow night is the midnight showing for Rocky Horror and myself and most of my girlfriends who are going are dressing up as Franks! I know that I am contradicting myself immensely, after bashing Mercedes for playing him on Glee, but the difference here is that we are aware of what we are doing. We are aware of what Frank represents and the implications of dressing up as him. And we love him.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Words I Will Go To Hell for Saying

I’ve always had a way with words.

If you could clinically diagnose me with something, you could say I suffer from “word aversion.” I’m sure everyone has words that they don’t like, but for me, there are words that actually make me shudder. The word at the top of that list is…moist. I’m not the only one, because apparently a lot of people (mostly women) can’t stand this word either. And please, now that I’ve shared my #1 least favourite word with you, don’t haunt me with it. My friends do this all the time – “Wanna go see a movie? We should get popcorn and a moist drink.” “I hate my boyfriend. But if he left, I would cry huge, moist tears.” “Let’s go to the gym…I want my shirt to get nice and sweaty and moist. Hahahaha!!”

Very funny. That’s like sending a person who has a phobia of spiders a giant box of them for Christmas. Way to be sensitive of mental illness…damn friends.

Why don’t I like this word? Well, it’s hard to explain. I suppose it’s a combination of the images I associate with this word as well as the way it rolls off the tongue. It’s just not pleasant all around. The word makes me think of…pure gross. Saunas. Moldy showers. Bread that’s been sitting on the counter for a week in the middle of a humid heat wave (think: bread that makes sweat droplets on the inside of the bag). Vaginas.

There are a few other words that disgust me too. They are: “lanyard,” “puberty,” “dubious,” and “cuticle.” Yuck.

Where does this word aversion come from? I suppose it’s genetic. A friend, who I will call Gretchen (who was my sister’s best friend growing up and witnessed my family’s strangeness first-hand) reminded me of how crazy my family is. She told me that I should write about my family’s “word censoring” as a blog topic…which got me thinking. Is that why words affect me so deeply? Just like someone has a predisposed genetic diathesis when it comes to drinking (i.e. if a person’s parents are alcoholics, the child has a higher chance of becoming an alcoholic too), is word aversion genetically predisposed? Well kids, I will tell you a merry little tale and let you decide.

Since as early as I can remember, there were always certain words that, according to my parents, were never to be uttered. I’m not talking about swear words – which, of course, you would be struck by lightning if you even thought about – but words that, according to my parents, “don’t sound nice.” The following chart illustrates the “proper names” for “unpleasant” words.

What normal humans say                                                                What my family says
Fart                                                                                                     “Bop”
Pee                                                                                                      Tinkle
Snot                                                                                                     Doobies
Puke                                                                                                    Throw up
Crap/Poop                                                                                           Bowel movement
(When phoning the house)  “Is K-money there?”                               “May I speak to K-money please?”

I will never forget the time during my 10th birthday party, where I was so wonderfully happy and hyped up on sugar, surrounded by friends and arcade games. My mother was bringing out my birthday cake (ice cream, my fave!), my birth was being celebrated in song, and I was grinning ear to ear. My birthday is in the summer, which means that I hardly ever had friends attend (most kids go out of town in the summer, if you didn’t know). This year was different. We’d had my birthday early, so most of my friends could come. I was ecstatic.

Anyways, my mom was bringing out the birthday cake. Kids were singing. My friend Wilhelmina, rubs her stomach, and exclaims, “I’m so full, if I eat birthday cake I might puke!” My mom stops dead in her tracks. The singing stops. The candles stop burning (this didn’t actually happen, but it sounds more dramatic). My mom throws Wilhelmina a very stern look, and says, “Excuse me, but we say throw up.” I never lived this story down. Years after, my friends would always quote my mother with “we say throw up” at every opportunity. And I would apologize time and time again for my family’s strangeness.

Another family “word rule” that must be addressed is telephone etiquette. Before cellphones were invented, my friends would call my house to chat. Like normal teenage girls do. It’s part of healthy child development. They learned soon, however, that if they said, “Hi! Is k-money there?” my mom would respond with a “Yes, she’s here.” And then there’d be silence. My friends would say, “Okay, um…” and my mother would respond with, “Oh, would you like to speak with her? It sounded like you were merely asking if she was home.” No shit, mom. Why would someone call just to see if I was home? I think my mom was trying to instill a manners revolution upon my friends, one at a time. I would ask her time and time again to “be normal!” when people phoned me, but she would just respond with, “I’m confused when they call. If they don’t have proper phone etiquette, they shouldn’t call at all.” Which is precisely what happened. Imagine a poor, lonely, teenage girl without friends calling to chat every hour? No wonder I’m so messed up.

On one hand, this whole word censorship thing is quite genius. My family censored words because they sounded “too harsh,” which really translates to words sounding cacophonous. It appears to be a very intellectual reason. On the other hand, it just sounds plain stupid. To this day, I still feel like I’m doing something wrong when I say, “I have to pee.” I get a pang of guilt deep inside me that I’m sure will stay with me for the rest of my life. And as Gretchen so wisely pointed out, it’s quite hilarious that my mother insisted that we call snot “doobies.” Really mom, are you trying to introduce us to drugs? Even now, as full grown twenty-something, my mother still corrects my words in conversation. And she wonders why I don’t like talking to her…

Next post, I will talk about activities that my family forbade me to do. No I’m not talking about sex, drugs or drinking. I’m talking about far more dangerous things like going to the movies. Bowling. Dancing. Halloween. If you want to hear more about how I was deprived a childhood, stay tuned kiddies. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Stupid Little Secret

This week has been hectic!! As much as I wish I could post workload is getting ridiculous. I don't understand how teachers do it -- planning, writing up lesson plans (which are supposed to be pages and pages long), photocopying shit, making powerpoints, marking papers, attending staff meetings, doing lunch supervisions, reading textbooks, writing report cards, staying late/arriving early to coach teams/study groups/breakfast's NUTS. Worst choice of career ever.

Yesterday I taught a "practice" lesson to my peers which I will take to a high school next week (eeeek!) Part of the lesson involved a drawing/colouring activity. I had to provide the colouring materials which, I realized at the last minute, I did not have. I didn't want to buy pencil crayons for 40 people because I am poor & I ended spending tons of money on other materials for this lesson (grrr!) so I called up my dad, who tends to have a lot of craft stuff lying around, and asked if he had any pencil crayons that I could borrow. Remember, My Dad Colours On The Toilet. So he presented me with his giant special bag of pencil crayons that he uses while defecating.

As each person listened and critiqued my lesson (saying stupid things like, "You never explained why racism exists!" and "Your powerpoint is too pink!") I thought to myself, evilly: My Dad uses the very pencil crayons you are holding while taking a shit. Who knows how he wipes his ass while handling them. Who knows if splattering occurs. Who knows when/how/if he washes his hands. Suckers.

To my future students: I may not be able to call you names. I may not be able to use corporal punishment (unless I live in Texas, apparently -- no surprises there!) I may not be able to tell your parents that they should have aborted you. But I do have tricks up my sleeve. Be warned.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Why John Lennon's Gravestone Will Disintegrate and Nobody Will Care

I'm scared. I really am. The other day I was eavesdropping and I heard a dude say that his favourite guitarist is Mick Jagger. That's like saying that your favourite feminist is Paris Hilton (which, I'm sure Paris would adopt as her new 'career' and fail at miserably -- just like she did with singing).

I feel like I'm the only person in my social circle that listens to anything pre-80s. Sure, everyone's heard of Janis Joplin & the Doors, but can anyone name more than 2 of their songs? (This is a rhetorical question people -- I'm sure if you're reading this blog, you're cool enough already). How many kids that wear Pink Floyd t-shirts can actually name all the band members?

More importantly, why do people think that Lady Gaga is a revolutionary when we've clearly seen it before...

"Meat Dress" by Jana Sterbak, 1984

And purleeease, wearing a dress made of meat that symbolizes standing up for your rights or you'll become "a piece of meat" is the lamest connection ever. Yes Gaga, I watched you say that on Ellen, and she did not look impressed.

Yes, it's cool when you play the piano with your foot...

...but Liu Wei uses both feet & plays the piano with his TOES.

For the record, I do love Gaga. She plays with the concepts of gender & fashion in very interesting ways, not to mention that she's an amazing singer & pianist. But I don't think she's as "out there" as everyone believes her to be. And I love Bowie more.

Sorry about going off on a tangent...back to my despairing for the future. It just gets me down when young people only know who The Clash are because "oohhh, I played one of their songs on Rockband!" It's sad that my friend who was illustrating a children's book I was writing for one of my classes drew a "Jimmy Hendrix" poster -- not what I asked for! A lot of people still hear the bass line from "Under Pressure" and go "hey, it's Vanilla Ice."

Oh future, how you make me weep.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Remembered when I peed on your shoes, sis?

Today was my sister’s birthday. I remembered it because it’s also Kevin from the Backstreet Boys (the one who has a mustache and a trench coat and looks like a child molester) birthday. Just kidding, I remembered your birthday first, sis.

She’s five years older than me, so naturally, she would boss me around as a child and I would listen to her. I’m not gonna lie – she wasn’t the brightest between the two of us, but she was definitely the goofiest. And yes, I’m using the past tense when describing her only because she moved away three years ago…not because she’s dead.

Case and point: We used to play school when we were little. She’d always insist on being the teacher (and when it was my turn to be the teacher, she’d tell me that my five minutes of teaching was actually a half-hour and that my time was up – bitch!). She would give me difficult math problems to solve (which I did, correctly) but she would never mark them because she didn’t know how to do math.

She was the girly one between both of us. I would collect spiders and drown earthworms (watching the air bubbles at the top of the water was entertaining, okay?) and she would freak out. One time she pretend threatened me with a knife (don’t ask) and I spat on her. For the record, this spit ball was legendary. It was a horker (apparently “horker” isn’t a word according to spellcheck) – the kind of spit that Jack teaches Rose how to do over the balcony in Titanic. I will never forget how she squealed and flapped her arms around when that huge ball of phlegm landed square in the middle of her chest.

We had a tree house which we called “Greengables.” We would dress up as poor people, put black Halloween tar makeup on our teeth, and steal raspberries and green beans from our Mom’s garden. She would pull me around in a wagon, without complaining. She also always let me have shotgun in the car (I’m sorry for being such a whiner, sis). She was also super paranoid about me throwing up on her (I’m not quite sure why, because I never did) and every time I would cough/clear my throat/sneeze she would look at me, eyes full of panic, and say, “Are you feeling okay? Are you gonna puke?” Nuts, I tell you.

I’m sorry I wore your princess skirt and went for a bike ride with it on. I’m sorry it ripped immediately. I’m sorry I used a squirt of your vanilla body spray everyday for two years. I’m sorry I peed on your shoes (we were outside and I didn't feel like walking into the house to use the toilet...And my aim was off). I’m sorry that I drew mustaches on your pictures of Robbie Williams. I’m sorry I tattled, yelled, used your facial washcloth to wipe out the sink, and read your diary (actually, I’m not sorry about that).

I love you, stupid sister.