Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Mel Gibson is not Judas Iscariot.

Mel Gibson was on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" last night, and even though I knew I was about to witness a scary trainwreck, I couldn't help but watch.

It was tense even as Mel walked across the stage, and when he sat down he couldn't stop crossing and uncrossing his legs. First sign of nervousness. He immediately picked up his water mug and took a big drink. Second sign.

Of course Jay wasted no time in getting straight to the jugular - "What's going on with your marriage? You're getting divorced, right?" Mel admitted that the rumors are true - yes, he and his wife are divorcing - they've been separated for three years - yes, he has a girlfriend (and I realize that the fact that he and his wife were separated does NOT excuse this behavior, so don't think I'm condoning it), yes, the girlfriend is pregnant. Then Jay went so far as to ask what caused the dissolution of his marriage. Mel answered "I pretty much took a hatchet to my marriage." I breathed a (slight) sigh of relief. At least he wasn't playing the blame name game.

Then he said something that made me ache a little for him - "I thought you wanted me to come on here to have some fun." And he looked at Jay Leno, someone whom I'm pretty sure he considered to be a friend, and for a moment, there was a flash of betrayal on his face. You sold me out, Jay.

Now I'm the first to admit that Mel Gibson has screwed some stuff up. I was one of his champions a few years ago, during the whole "Passion of the Christ" controversy. I thought (and still think) it was an extremely brave movie to make, especially in the social climate that it was made in. But I remember being nervous for him then, too - my dad and I even had a conversation about it after I came home from the movie, spent from crying. My dad said "You know, the moment that someone in a position of power or fame shares with the world that he or she is a Christian, the devil starts standing at attention. And he will tempt him in any way he can."

And then came the drunken anti-Jewish tirade. Hollywood started sharpening their claws. Mel "Mr. Passion of the Christ" Gibson is a racist idiot. Mel Gibson is evil. Mel Gibson is right up there with Judas Iscariot.

I was horrified at his behavior - I really liked him. I really wanted to like him. Once again, he admitted his guilt and took the heat. No more movies. No more talk-show appearances. Old friends denied their connections with him.

Mel was laying low.

And now this.

And of course I've gotten caught up in the whole "Jon and Kate Plus 8" debacle going on right now. My friend Amy and I were talking tonight, and we almost feel like we know these people. We hurt for them. We want to take them aside and say "Can't you see what you're doing? Stop it! Stop it right now!" Which, of course, we can't. Because we don't know them at all.

And I guess that's my point. None of us actually know these people, but we all seem to feel very just in summing them up in one sentence - "Mel Gibson is a bigot." "Kate is just mean and money obsessed." "Jon is an idiot." My friend Hannah even saw a "reputable" news-station asking viewers the question "What would Kate Gosselin's hair look like on...Halle Barry...or Angelina Jolie?" What? How did we jump there?

I read an interview with the contemporary Christian singer Bebo Norman a few months ago, after he wrote a somewhat controversial song called "Britney," which was blatantly about Britney Spears. The lyrics spoke of an apology from all of "us," and how we had acted like we knew her, we loved her, and then boom! we rejected her just as fast. Bebo said that he had been sitting on his couch flipping through TV stations and came across another TMZ-type show making fun of Britney Spears. Disgusted, he began to turn it off just as the screen froze on a picture of her. Crying. Hard. Bebo said he suddenly realized that she was a person. A woman who was hurting. A child of God.

That's what has been bothering me since last night. Mel Gibson has made some pretty horrendous mistakes - he gave into some hideous temptations that were sent to him for just this reason, and he will pay for these mistakes for the rest of his life. Jon and Kate - same story. The repercussions of an alleged affair will echo for a long time in their family.

But they're still people. Just people. Who fail. Just like me.

We've already written the ending to their story - failures. Disappointments. I'm so thankful that God doesn't share our viewpoint. Our stories are never over. They go on and on. There is re-creation every morning. He makes all things new. We can rise again, victorious after a long defeat.

We're all so fast to cast the first stone. I think I'm going to hold onto mine for a while longer, thanks. Lord knows it's just one of many that I've caught coming my way. I'm not too eager to pass it on.

Song that I'm digging today: "This Year's Love" by David Gray

It's been raining so much here lately that my playlist has been reflective of the weather. I'm a real sucker for any piano-driven song, and when I got this CD in college, this was the song that stayed on repeat. The gloomy piano part, the melancholy voice, the bittersweet lyrics - ah...music to my soul.

I realize that I tend to gravitate towards depressing music. But as Elton John says - "Sad songs say so much."

Best line: "Won't you kiss me on that midnight street?/Sweep me off my feet,/singin' 'ain't this life so sweet?'"

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Old GB - yeah, you know me.

The gallbladder came out Friday morning. People try to downplay it to you when they talk about it, saying stuff like "Oh, it's not that bad." "You'll be up fixing dinner by the evening." "You'll be sleepy, but by Saturday you'll feel great!"

And let me say - all those people are liars. Because it hurt. It really hurt.

I was more freaked out about the IV than I was the actual surgery, and surprisingly, the nurse I had in the pre-op room was really good and got me on the first stick (which almost never happens with me).

Then the nurse asked me if I wanted something to "take the edge off," and I told them yes, actually, that would be fantastic. And then I got loopy. Everything became hilarious - everything. My dad and sister said I just laid there giggling for no reason. The funniest thing to me became the fact that I was too tall for the hospital bed and my feet were sticking out from under the covers. I don't think they anticipate 6 ft. tall female patients. In fact, we thought it was so funny that my sister took a picture of it. I'll post it as soon as she emails it to me.

Unfortunately, the saline they started pumping into me made me have to go to the bathroom like every ten minutes. My sister told me she thought that maybe it was all in my head, but I'm sorry - my bladder begged to differ. There really isn't a worse feeling than the male nurse wheeling you into the surgical room and knowing deep down that you really, really have to go to the bathroom. So I said "Um...is it normal for me to have to go this bad after I went just like...ten minutes ago?" To which he informed me that I evidently have a nervous bladder. So I just went ahead and apologized if something "unexpected" occurred while I was in LaLa Land. He just laughed and told me to count backwards from ten. Luckily for him and all the medical staff, there were no surprises on my end. Literally.

Then I had this awful Stephen King-ish moment - they were putting me under, but I could still hear them talking. I couldn't talk or move, but I could hear every word. They were saying "Yep, she's out" and "Hello, Dr. M., she's all ready." Inwardly I was panicking, screaming inside - "NOOOOOOO....I'm still awake!" I just knew I was going to be one of those horror stories where you can't move or talk but you can feel and are aware of everything. Shudder. Luckily, just as I was really beginning to freak out, I went all the way under.

After everything was over, Ashleigh helped me to get into the car and drove me to her house with my dad and sister following behind her. I don't remember much of this, but I know that she and my sister helped me up the stairs and into bed, and I slept for pretty much the rest of the day and into the next morning, waking up for about 30 minutes when Kam brought me a yogurt smoothie and then again at around 8:30 PM when Ashleigh made me eat a sweet potato so I could take my painkillers.

I have to say - I've got such great friends and family. There are lots of good things about being single, honestly. I can spend my money on things that I want. Go to movies I want to go to. Go on vacation whenever. Have as girly an apartment as I want.

But there are some parts of being single that really stink - namely, when you're sick and you have no one to take care of you and hold your hair when you need to throw up. I'm so lucky that I have friends here in town who are willing to do that for me, and have literally done exactly that without complaining or making me feel like a burden. Friends that are willing to give up Memorial Day weekend fun so they can look after me.

Ok, I better stop. I'm getting verklempt.

So all in all, the surgery hurts more than they lead you to believe, but it's day two now, and I'm actually beginning to feel a good deal better. Once the soreness wears away, I think I'll be back to normal.

Bye bye, gallbladder. You were not good to me. I do not miss you.

Song that I'm digging today: "More Time" by Needtobreathe
I really love the percussion in this song - it just drives the song on and on. Plus, the bluesy/country/rock sound is pretty infectious. And I completely identify with the idea that everyone feels like if they'd just had or have more time, you can figure out exactly what's going wrong in your life and relationships. Problem is, most people aren't really willing to give you enough time.

Best line: "So say what's on your mind/'Cause I can't figure out just what's inside."

Thursday, May 21, 2009

It's only a matter of time until I hate my neck.

I am having gallbladder surgery tomorrow.

I'll be 29 next month.

Coincidence? I'm beginning to think it's not.

I was talking to some college-age friends this week, and they were talking about finals, summer vacations, and just general student-life topics, and it struck me that it has been almost eleven years since I was a college freshman. It really doesn't seem like it was even five years ago - I still remember the outfit I wore my first day of class (red jean material shirt, black jeans - hiiiiiiideous. This would be before my friend Ashleigh took me aside and told me that I was - in her words - homely, and that she could help me. Which she did. However, I've never let her live that statement down), and the first guy I had a crush on at school (Andy something).

What struck me more than the swift passage of time is that while I remember these events clearly, my memory of myself is totally different. I was just a completely different person then - shy, awkward, with very rigid opinions on everything. Well. I might still be awkward, but I feel like I have a much greater sense of my own personality now. I'm not saying I am 100% sure of who I am or who God is turning me into, even after 28+ years, but I do like myself a whole lot more than I did eleven years ago.

It is a little bit depressing to realize that this is my very last year of being in my twenties, though. I will be 30 years old next year. I know I'm going to wake up one morning, look in the mirror, and see a middle-aged woman looking back at me. Wrinkly neck (is that called a waddle or something?), crows' feet, smile lines, grey streaks, arms that will jiggle until I'm dead...

The gallbladder is just the beginning.

Song I'm digging today: "How You Survived the War" by The Weepies
I know my last song was by The Weepies too, but I'm on a kick with them at the moment. I love the mellow feel to this song and the guitar work is phenomenal, as usual. And sometimes my life does feel like a war zone - we all do what we can to get by, and it's different for everybody, I think.

Best line: "You never multiply all these divisions/You give yourself the least of parts."

Monday, May 18, 2009

That's real nice, Clark.

Tonight was Piano Man night - I always get a little psyched about it, because it's always nice to just stare at him and shamelessly flirt. Well. I like to imagine that I'm flirting, but I'm probably just awkward, a la Paul Rudd in almost every movie he's in.

The truth is, I really don't want a relationship with Piano Man. My plan is just to win him over so we can at least have one good make-out session. Or twelve.

So when he moon-walks into my office (so cute) for his piano lesson, I'm totally unprepared for his suggestion: "Ok, Miss - we're going to take a field trip." What? We're going somewhere? Together? My heart skipped a beat. Then he says "...to buy me a piano." Ok. So it's not a date. But we're still going somewhere. As a pair. There is make-out potential here.

We walked outside and towards our cars. Then he suggests we drive separately, so I can "get home more easily after he finds a piano." This is not a good sign. He says he'll follow me, because he's not 100% sure where he's going. Fine.

I walk to my car, praying that I'm not walking funny or that there's not something on my butt since he's watching me, and I click the unlock button on my key.

And here's where it gets good: I hear the door unlock...behind me.

Yes, folks. I'm standing in front of the wrong car. Granted, it's the same make and color as mine, but come on.

I said "Wow, this would be great if it were my car." Silence. Crickets. Then I hear him laugh a little (courtesy) and say "What are the odds?" Ha ha.

Long story short - we didn't even find a piano. We walked around the music store and he stopped every few minutes to play on a guitar, and then we walked out. He said "See you in two weeks!" I said "Ok."

Oh, yeah. He wants me.

Song I'm digging today: "World Spins Madly On" by The Weepies

I'm a little obsessed with this husband and wife band. This is the first song I ever heard by them, and it always makes me think of sitting on the front porch of my parents' house with my headphones on, watching it rain.

Since then, I've bought every CD they've released, and they've all been fantastic. I even got my sister hooked.

Best line: "I watch the stars from my windowsill/The whole world is moving, but I'm standing still..."

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Curled Up or Sprawled?

I was reading a book on my couch last night and came across the phrase "she sat curled up contentedly in a chair, reading Proust" or something to that effect.

And I started thinking - when does anyone actually curl up in a chair, unless there's some extreme stomach pain involved? With me, it's more like "she sprawls contentedly on her couch, reading US Weekly." Curling up causes your legs and/or arms to fall asleep or cramp up and then you have to shift and shake the life back into the appendage that had been folded in half.

I've been known to use that phrase, though (my first blog, even), along with countless other authors trying to describe the perfect "homey" scene. I think it's because "she was curled up" immediately brings to mind a dainty, feminine girl all folded up on herself, sipping tea while pushing up her cute Lisa Loeb glasses. What girl doesn't want to identify with that? And more importantly, who wants to identify with the alternative, and more true statement: extremely tall girl, sprawled out, one leg on the coffee table, in an old Jacksonville State University t-shirt, ratty grey Old Navy sweatpants from five years ago, and quite possibly a box of Krispy Kreme donuts (if it's a Saturday, Ashleigh - I'm not cheating, I promise ;-) ) close at hand?

Maybe this is why I'm single.

Song I'm digging today: "Dogs" by Damien Rice

This is quite possibly one of the prettiest melodies Damien Rice has written. I know it's still just May, but this just sounds like summer to me.

Favorite line: "And she gets splashed in rain/and turns away/and leaves me standing."

I'm ready for Damien Rice to come out with another CD. It's about time.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

"That's just the way they are..."

If I hear this phrase used to describe someone when they do something rude one more time, I will pull my hair out.

So what if it's just the way you are? The way you are is annoying. The way you are is rude. The way you are is unacceptable.

That excuse holds no water for me.


Song I'm digging today: "One Day Like This" by Elbow

In contrast to the violent way I feel today, this song is just the perfect combination of airy strings and whimsical (yes - whimsical) lyrics. It makes me want to go sit in a bright yellow kitchen and drink coffee all day long.
Best line - "Holy cow, I love your eyes/and only now I see the light..."

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Spring fever, Alice in Wonderland, Robert Goulet, and a Piano Man

I don't know what's into me, but I am in the mood to redecorate everything - my apartment, my office, even my wardrobe.

Starting at the beginning of this year, I became obsessed with anything of the Victorian/Edwardian/30's & 40's vintage vein. I know I'm way behind, but I discovered Etsy (http://www.etsy.com/) in January, and felt like there was finally a place for me to find really cool house-type decorations, along with jewelry and clothing.

People who know me know that I'm a headband maniac - I just love them. Anthropologie has some great ones right now with the huge flowers on the side, although I haven't quite gotten up the courage to wear one outside of my apartment. I'm afraid people will look at me and say "hello, Alice in Wonderland."

I'm also really into old cameo jewelry right now, too. My mom found me an entire lot of antique cameos on eBay a few months ago (it even had a set of cuff links - maybe someday I'll marry a guy with an affinity for this stuff, too - although that might be a little girly for a guy), and my favorite is this locket with the cameo of a goat. Yes, a goat. Every time I see it I see Will Ferrell in my head doing his Robert Goulet impression: "Hello, Mr. Mountain Goat. Staring contest. Go. You win. You do every time." Goulet!

I'm moving into my new apartment in about two weeks, and I've started packing up my current apartment. I've determined that this new apartment will finally live up to my actual style preference - not just the decorations I've had since college. So I'm being ruthless with my packing - Goodwill gets the stuff that just doesn't go. I'm also going to paint the new place - I've never done that in an apartment, but my philosophy is that your house (or apartment) should be your haven and if you can't have everything you want the way you want it in life (and you just can't), your apartment should at least reflect what you want out of life. So.

Through the looking glass we go.

Song I'm digging today: "Goodnight and Go" by Imogen Heap

I've been teaching piano lessons to a guy my age who the ladies in my office have lovingly dubbed "The Piano Man." Yes. He is my new crush. Mainly (and yes, I know it's shallow) because he is completely, totally cute. Disarmingly cute, actually. And funny. In fact, it's been sort of tough to teach him piano lessons because I am frequently distracted by his cuteness. Now every time I hear this song, I think about him ("Why'd you have to be so cute?/It's impossible to ignore you./Oh, must you make me laugh so much?/It's bad enough we get along so well./Say goodnight and go."). Sigh.

Imogen Heap is probably my very favorite singer/songwriter - her lyrics and use of unexpected melodies inspire me with every single CD. Her new CD comes out this year, and I just. Cannot. Wait.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Joggin' in a jug

This morning I drove to my parents' church to be with my mom for Mother's Day. It's about a two hour drive, so I left around 7:45.

I just want to share with you all the "it could could only happen in this state" event that I witnessed on my way up the mountain.

As I was rounding the big curve, I looked to my right and saw a middle-aged man in full-out jogging attire (we're talking spandex shorts and everything) booking it on the path down the mountain. And as I was looking at him, he raised his hand to drink from what I thought was a water bottle, but no, I was wrong.

It was a bottle of Bud Lite.

Only here, folks. Only here.
Song I'm digging today: "Meet Me by the Water" by Rachael Yamagata

Just a good old-fashioned "I wanna make out with you" song. I love her voice, though - it almost sounds like she smoked a pack of cigarettes just before recording the song, but for some reason, it works for her.

I'm not advocating smoking - just the smoky voice. ;-)

Friday, May 8, 2009

Who needs therapy when there's Barnes & Noble?

So it's been a sort of gloomy week altogether for me.
Monday started out with a kick to my self-esteem - it sucks when you find out that someone you think a great deal of doesn't really think about you. At all.

Then Wednesday wasn't actually bad - but I didn't feel like I had time to pause and take a breath. Projects, plannings, meetings, execution of projects...by the end of the day my energy was zapped.

And then yesterday - more apartment drama. I swear, the staff here at my apartment complex doesn't know their residents from Ronald McDonald. I've been trying to relocate to a new apartment for a while now, and my lease for my current apartment is up on the 31st of this month. Every time I talk to the main office, not only do they never remember who I am, I get a new story and excuse as to why the new apartment isn't ready yet. And, I might add, it's always a crap excuse.

So by 6:00 yesterday afternoon all I wanted to do was drive to Chick-Fil-A and order about three chocolate milkshakes, drive back to my much-too-high-priced apartment and vegetate on the couch. Unfortunately, I've signed a blood contract with Ashleigh that we will eat healthily.

Thankfully, there's a haven for the weary - a respite for the depressed - a cocoon of safety for the oppressed.

No, I'm not talking about church. I'm talking about Barnes & Noble.

I walked in last night and immediately felt like...well. Home. The coffee aroma, the plaintive Ray LaMontagne drifting over the speakers, and books as far as the eye can see. Ah...

I just wandered around for about an hour, looking in all the book sections that interest me - fiction, Christian inspiration, biographies - and picked up and put down about sixteen books, telling myself that they will still be here two years from now when I've finished the jillion books I still haven't read on my bookshelf.

Then when I was in the music department, wonder of wonders, my apartment manager called my cell phone to tell me that (gasp!) a new apartment had just opened up, and I will be able to move in at the end of this month.

And the sun came out again.

Thank you, Barnes & Noble. I'm sure I'll see you again soon, even if you're not (quite) as good as a Chick-Fil-A chocolate milkshake.

Song I'm digging today: "Days Go On" by Greg Laswell

I discovered Greg Laswell in (surprise, surprise) the new music section at B&N. He's been played a bunch lately on "Grey's Anatomy." The whole CD is good, but I like that this song sounds completely upbeat, but has some pretty depressing lyrics: "I beg your pardon, love, but you've interrupted me/and the sad song that's played like a drum inside of me.."
Just fits the whole melancholy mood I've had going on lately.

Thursday, May 7, 2009


I have been seduced.

By blogs.

I've held off on this for a while now because I've been sort of nervous about it - maybe I'm presumptuous to think that people actually care what I think about...anything. But I've been reading some really great blogs for a few months now, and they've finally gotten to me.
Every time I read them, they make me want to go hole up in a coffee shop somewhere with my cute little green laptop and write about social injustice, meaningful books, and quirky music - anything really deep and intellectual.

The truth is I spend more time curled up on my couch watching the latest DVRd episode of "The Biggest Loser" (and if Ron doesn't get kicked off this week, I'll eat my remote).

But I do love to write - I really love it, and I haven't written anything besides church newsletters for a long time.

So here I go. We'll see how it goes.

Song I'm digging today: "Foundations" by Kate Nash
So this song has grown on me. Her cockney accent is a little distracting at first, but by the time it hits the chorus I always find myself head-bobbing along with the music. And I like the frenzied feeling to it - this relationship is building to this cataclysmic fight about...nothing. Like a lot of the relationships I've been in.