Saturday, January 14, 2012

Even MORE Five Things

Five more things? 'kay. Sure.

1. My musical firsts are kind of embarrassing. First concert? Swollen Members. First CD purchase? The Clueless soundtrack. The Clueless soundtrack actually had a bunch of decent bands on it - Beastie Boys, Radiohead, and Supergrass, what? - but the main reason I bought it was so that I could listen to Jill Sobule's "Supermodel" on repeat. I'm not proud of that.

I bought it at Victoria's A&B Sound, a slightly seedy three-story CD store that was totally amazing to a pre-teen. It was stuffed to the rafters with bands I had never heard of, and just flipping through the racks while my parents made serious faces at the Springsteen section gave me a thrilled, liberated feeling: there were so many different people I could be! I was young enough to buy whole-heartedly into the notion that I could define myself by the music I listened to, and pop-culturally savvy enough to start understanding that there were definitely bands that liking - or even being aware of - had cachet. And so, that knowledge in hand, I plunked down $17.99 and made my first formal venture into music fandom. Thanks, Jill Sobule. You were there.

2. I once quit a job after 20 minutes because my boss told me I couldn't drink water on the job. Because, as she explained, "if you're thinking about your thirst, you're not thinking about my business." Shocked, I left.

3. Even though I have an English degree, I struggle mightily with novels. Magazine articles, essays, and short stories are totally my bag, though. It's shameful to admit that I've stopped keeping up with new books, and that even if I know that something noteworthy's been published lately, I likely won't read it. But I feel bad about that! To make up for it, I tell anyone who will listen about that article I read this morning, which endears me to my friends and alienates receptionists.

4. I put The Commodores' "Brick House" on every single mix tape I made in high school. I'm not even sure why I loved that song, but I'm pretty sure it stems from That '70s Show, starring my boy Topher Grace, who, as Eric, told a date-ready Donna (Laura Prepon) that she was "really...brick house" when he meant she was really hot. I liked that show so much, and was definitely charmed by Eric and his skinny portrayer. I've always wanted someone to tell me I was really brick house.

5. My fears include deep water, deep space, fainting in public (especially on the subway), that my eye is twitching when I talk to strangers, that I'll die alone, that I'll die in a fire, drowning, electron-microscope photographs, being too hot, spiders, tarantulas, spiders in my hair, spiders in the bathroom, giant spiders as surprise plot points in movies (what? It happens - have you seen Lord of the Rings?), and gaining weight. Feel free to use any of those to make fun of me, except for the spider thing - I will cut you for real if you tease me with a rubber spider.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Five More Things

Last week, I started getting a little more intimate. Not in that "let me slip into something more comfortable, like a marabou stiletto and a satin shortie bathrobe" kind of way. More like, "let me make self-conscious eye contact in my therapist's office while I systematically shred several Kleenex over the course of a fifty-minute hour" sort of way. Or even more like, "let's get drunk together and talk slurrily about all the boys we've kissed before throwing our arms up in the air and screaming 'Wooo!' when our right-now favourite song comes on the jukebox" sort of way.

1. I like to bake, but I rarely branch out past the standard chocolate-chip banana muffins or oatmeal-chocolate chip cookies. (I seem to used baking as a vector for chocolate.) Like most of my culinary adventures, baking is less an adventure and more a meditation. Some of those recipes, I've made so often that I've got 'em memorized, and making up a batch of muffins is a forty-minute exercise in sifting and mixing and measuring that allows me to reach, stretch, twirl, and turn my brain off. It's nice.

2. When I argue, I argue less about being right - I'm rarely right, and I'm not a jerk when I realize I'm not - but more about being heard. For someone to say, "I acknowledge your viewpoint" is what allows for my peaceable resolution.

When I was younger, my sister and I fought like animals, and she is the queen deluxe of pushing my buttons. But the moment I learned how to say, "I'll talk about this with you when we're both less angry," was the moment our relationship became more open. It meant that she could admit, hey, she has been jonesing for a fight. It meant she could say that she thought I was wrong without me turning all red and glassy-eyed. And it meant we talked about the stuff that was actually happening (I'm tired, I had a fight with my boyfriend, I spent all day at work, I'm lonely, I'm afraid) rather than all the stuff that was masquerading as The Issue (I'm going to straight-up MURDERIZE YOU if you don't unload the dishwasher and I MEAN IT, etc.).

Most of the time, these days, I start a fight/allow a fight to continue because I'm feeling like my feelings are being pooped on. I give the cold shoulder, I use pathetic straw man arguments, I start yelling - all desperate ploys to trick the other person into saying, "Hey man, I see where you're coming from. That must really suck." There doesn't even need to be an apology - hell, if you're not sorry, don't give that "Pfft, I'm sorry" that really means "I'm sorry you're so stupid," because I can see through that and it activates my all rage nodes. Just a little bit of empathy works wonders with me. Barring that, time. Barring that, gift baskets - the kind with the fancy jams and pretzel sticks. Nothing says, "I'm sorry you're so stupid and wrong, but that's okay because we're still generally on the same page about everything except the ethics of small businesses vs. big box stores" like pretzel sticks.

3. The only mega-series I've read has been The Dark Tower by Stephen King. I was about two years too old to get into Harry Potter - my sister was enthralled, but I stopped reading after the third book - and while I've attempted the Lord of the Rings cycle at least twice, I just can't get into it. I have no beef with long books, having read Infinite Jest, The Stand and a few other 1000+ page books (books that long can only really be described as "tomes," right?), but if someone said to me, "Oh, you like epics? Have you read Twilight?" I would laugh so hard my nose would bleed. It's not about quality, because King and Stephanie Meyers are probably on about the same page, writing-wise, and Rowling and Tolkien are miles above them both. It's about reading a yarn that's mine - some of us like magic with walking trees, some like sparkly-ass vampires, and others like broomstick rugby. Those just aren't my jam.

4. I get obsessed with places. Last year, after reading a foodie profile of Copenhagen, I wanted to go to Denmark so bad. That grew to mean Scandinavia in general, because of Robyn and ski sweaters and a general feeling that the countries were a lot like Canada, except nicer. Canada-plus. Right now, it's Utah. I've been reading all these ridiculous Mormom mommyblogs and their family vacations always have them spending their quarters in the Beehive State. Utah seems demographically crazy (I'm not a Mormon by any means), but there's something to be said about a state that looks like this. And this. And this. I think the general wanderlust can be attributed to getting bored in same-old-same-old Toronto - I love this place, but my shoes aren't nailed to my front steps, you know? There's only so many days in a row I can orient myself to the CN tower.

5. For the first time in my life, I've managed to keep plants alive for longer than 6 months. Hell, the cacti under my care (sorry, "care") have been thriving! I don't know if this is some sort of metaphor for finally being well enough to care for something else, or a metaphor for accepting the things you're good at, but in either case, it's awesome.