Friday Five: At the Movies

1. Where in the theater do you like to sit when you’re at the movies? Generally, I don’t have a real preference, but I guess if I had to pick it would be somewhere in the middle so I’m not ridiculously close but my chances of my view being ruined by someone taller than me are lessened. Unless it’s one of the fancy theaters with rows of ascending seats rather than all one level–then I kind of like the back. Makes me feel tucked away and a little more free.

2. What characteristics does the ideal movie companion have? Still–which I am not–and attentive. Quiet, too, commenting only when appropriate. Really, Paul is my ideal movie companion. Aww. But really, he doesn’t talk too much and doesn’t fidget like I do, and he and I are so alike when it comes to movie viewing that our comments to each other work really well. Either we sit and shut up and point out little things that we notice to each other or, such as with Prometheus, we’re disappointed and annoyed at the predictability and complain. I should’ve counted how many times one of us leaned over and said, “Saw that coming.”

3. What memory do you have of things not going quite as usual at the movies? I remember seeing The Fast and the Furious one summer, I think as part of one of Meri’s birthday parties. We were preteens in the theater by ourselves, so we talked loud, switched seats, and one friend, Sarah, but not the Sarah I’m currently friends with, threw candy everywhere, which was a dick move. Come to think of it, I’ve had a fair number of friends who did a fair number of dick moves. I also went to see Corpse Bride and some asses were playing with a laser pointer on the screen and throwing ice behind them to hit people. Someone once complained about our group being too loud when we were laughing during a Scary Movie. Then there’s the couple times I went with Meri to little employees-only screenings when she worked at the local theater–The Dark Night and the third Mummy. The Dark Night was obviously amazing, but at some point The Mummy went awry and got made fun of the whole time. I think it went awry with Rachel Wysz leaving the cast. And then there’s the time someone dropped a bag of weed at the drive-in and we took it. So basically I have more unusual movie experiences than I do normal ones.

4. What are your feelings about commercials and movie previews playing before the film you’re there to see? I like them. I like to see what new movies are coming out and get excited. And occasionally nervous, annoyed, and critical, but mostly excited.

5. Who is an actor or director whose involvement in a film is enough to make you want to see it? I actually have kind of a long list of people I like, but I’ll go with some of the recent ones. Guillermo del Toro is one just because of how good Pan’s Labyrinth was, so that helped Paul’s cause when he wanted to go see Pacific Rim, which I did enjoy but didn’t love. However, I’m told if you’re really into robots and monsters, it’s a perfect film. I also recently got more interested in the upcoming Elysium after I heard the District 9 dudes are behind it, including star Sharlto Copley, and I loved that movie. I will also always watch anything with Gillian Anderson or Ewan McGregor and anything either Joss Whedon or JJ Abrams touch. Which means basically nerd involvement gets me more interested. And if I don’t see Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing soon, bad things will happen.

As always, from The Friday Five.

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Here’s a List of Random Fun Stuff I’ve Done in Like the Past Two Months

  • Saw Foreigner with the family, had dinner at PF Chang’s. It was a good show in the Carnegie Library’s music hall. We had balcony seats. Balconies are always good for short people like me.
  • Scott came home on leave and Terra was having a hard time finding someone to go with her to pick him up since I think her doctors have once again declared her health isn’t suitable for driving, so I volunteered. Airport military reunions are cute, and of course we ruined it by teasing Scott and telling him I was spending the night at the house with them and we had a day full of shopping and the zoo planned. He believed it and was surprised when I was like, “Nah, we’re just fucking with you, bestest,” and went home.
  • Went to Sarah’s for a fun little Memorial Day shebang, involving a long game of Kings, but Kings always seems to run long. And then Paul annoys the shit out of me when he’s drunk, and he almost never annoys me. He gets what I call “pulley,” where he keeps pulling me towards him. I don’t like it. Plus he’s just generally much louder and more ridiculous, and he’s normally so tame that I can’t stand it otherwise.
  • We spent a day in the mountains, since he’s been wanting to do that for ages. He loves them mountains. Tessa’s boyfriend’s band happened to be playing at the same time, so we went over to watch them and hang out for a little bit before I let Paul drag me all over the woods. His version of going to Ohiopyle involves legitimate hikes, climbing, and outdoorsy things, whereas from childhood, my parents were more like, “Oh, look, cool waterfalls,” and maybe we took the dog, too. I actually still owe Paul a trip to Cooper’s Rocks in West Virginia as a graduation present.
  • At the end of our mountain excursion, Julie called needing picked up from work because their dog had maggots coming out of him. I was convinced that it couldn’t be anything less than horrible, but turns out it’s actually a pretty easy thing to have happen with dogs that spend a lot of time outdoors. He’s fine now.

And when we return, I’ll tell the tale of a family Memorial Day gathering because my dad’s family is so dysfunctional that my brother and I have turned them into a drinking game.

Laura Came to Town!

I like all of my mom’s friends because they’re all fun, nice people, plus now that I’m getting older, they’re not really censoring themselves much. And I imagine I’m better company now that I can drink than I was when I was a little kid. Anyway, Laura’s probably the one I like the most. She works in design in New York City, and we stayed with her when I was 17 and went for a visit. She wears cool clothes, blue mascara, has neat hair, and is really nice and fun with good taste in just about everything. I always say that Laura is everything I want to be as an adult.

Now that she has Facebook, she’s easier to communicate with, and she tracked me down and told me she’d be in town for a little bit, so my mom got us together with her and Mother’s best friend, Lisa, for dinner one night.

My post-work business-casual attire was probably thrilling, but she did enjoy my dinosaur and record rings and hairpins. And we bonded over Etsy and my ventures in music writing.

Dinner itself was good. We went to the Stone House in the mountains, had a nice dinner, and got to talk and hang out. I realized that I seem to mesh better with people twice my age than I do my peers–while I have fun with them, too, I honestly think a calm dinner out like that was more enjoyable for me than anything else I’d done recently.

The other thing is Laura is a self-esteem booster. I’ve been very open and outspoken in the past about how I felt I had/have very little support in my career and creative endeavors with my friends, and here’s Laura saying she’s read my other blog and thinks I’m smart and funny. She thinks my IYS projects are cool and a good way to build a resume and start a real writing career. If Paul is my personal full-time cheerleader and Terra is my part-time cheerleader when we’re not both bitching about something else, Laura is another stand-in that enters at the right time.

I really hope she comes back to town again, although when you live in New York City, I’m not sure why you would.

Top 5 on Friday: Choruses

Top 5 catchy choruses

 1. “Annie Waits” by Ben Folds The piano melody only makes it better.
2. “The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonight” by REM The whole song is catchy and fun, but the chorus wins it. The speed and rhythm probably help.
3. “Elle Me Dit”/”Emily” by Mika Mika is basically the king of catchy. Musically, these songs are the same, but “Elle Me Dit” is entirely in French and I’m up not up on my French enough to be able to tell if they’re actually the same/similar lyrically, but I think they could be. But that’s not really important–it’s how catchy the songs both are.
4. “Lighting Myself on Fire” by Jukebox the Ghost Jukebox the Ghost also does catchy choruses really, really well, and I think it’s because they expertly combine the vocals, piano, drums, and guitars to all work together. Yeah, I know, that should be the obvious case for any song, but somehow, Jukebox crafts them together so well that if one were missing, the song would be drastically different to the point of not working at all. Lots of choruses have one element that’s catchy–usually a riff or the vocals–but everything blends beautiful here.
5. “The Great Song of Indifference” by Bob Geldoff Okay, so there’s not really much of a chorus in this song at all, but all the rest of it catchy.

Friday Five: Bureaucracy

  1. The last time your answer was “No,” what was the question? Last night on my weekly IYS editing call with our editor-in-chief, Derek, who asked me if I had any questions.
  2. What’s a rule in your life that just doesn’t make any sense? I used to think a lot of childhood rules didn’t make sense, and lots of Catholic-school rules. I was a kid who didn’t think “Because I said so” was a valid reason for anything and uniforms were stupid and accomplished approximately none of what Catholic schools want them to.
  3. What were the professional or personal circumstances surrounding your last passing of the buck? Professionally, I really can’t think of any. I mean, my day job duties are pretty simple and only I can really do them, and I’m a managing editor for a music site, so doing it over there wouldn’t make sense. Personally, I can’t think of anything, either. Except maybe when I go to my parents’ now and don’t always take Duke out or ask Brandon and my dad to cook for me by saying, “I’m your guest now!”
  4. What’s an annoying bit of paperwork you have to do with some regularity? It’s not quite paperwork, but I have production sheets to fill out at work that list details of shows I worked on–most importantly how long it takes me. They need turned in monthly, so sometimes I don’t keep up with it as well as I should. For IYS, I do all the requests for festival press credentials, which means answering the same questions about the site over and over. I also do the requests for concert press passes, which is easier because I have a generic e-mail template I can use for those, and after that’s sent, I’m corresponding with a human and can wing it.
  5. In some places, employees are entitled to regular smoking breaks. Whether you smoke or not, what would be another thing you’d love to take a fifteen-minute break for, every few hours? Just a general anything-goes break. I should probably use one to walk, actually, because the consensus between Paul and my mother–and I agree–is that getting up and moving around more often at work would help with my back pain. Plus my mother is paranoid after getting a blood clot in her leg that I’m next and doesn’t like me sitting for eight hours in general. Or when I complain of pain anywhere in my body.

When I was little, I was pretty good at getting sick at bad times–specifically, my birthday (including some years my birthday fell on Father’s Day), Christmas, and the one time I had the flu when I was supposed to go see The Wizard of Oz on ice, which is a pretty entertaining story because I was slowly getting better and my mom told me I could still go if I was able to eat without throwing up, and I totally was…until I was sitting in my seat watching the show and threw up all over my winter coat and my mom.

I only got sick on vacation once, right as we were leaving a trip to Cape May with Uncle Clark, but I blame his smoking on that judging by how congested and miserable I was.

So the last night of this vacation, we were finally looking forward to sleeping in and having nowhere to go in the morning–just taking our time going home. Paul’s parents went out for a little bit, the two couples on the trip tried to sneak in some, uh, alone time, and everything was pretty much okay…until Julie had a panic attack.

She called her best friend, who calmed her down, but she didn’t know why she had a panic attack and ask me not mention it to her mom, who doesn’t know Julie gets them, so as not to worry her (or, in my opinion, cause a meltdown). I totally understood. I didn’t see much of Julie for the rest of the night, but everyone else ate dinner when Paul’s parents came back. Paul’s mom mentioned Julie wasn’t feeling well, and I assumed Julie fed her some lie about the panic attack.

A little later, their other sister, Emily, threw up. I started to feel a little queasy while I ate dinner, but I figured I was just exhausted and went up to bed.

I woke up a couple hours later, threw up, felt fine, got some water, and went back to bed.

At some point, Paul did the same thing. I could hear him in the bathroom downstairs from the bedroom upstairs.

Apparently, I wasn’t nearly as fine as I thought because I got up again maybe only an hour or so later to throw up again, wit the added bonus of diarrhea. Don’t worry, I’m not gonna go into TMI territory–not that there’s much farther to go because it’s pretty self-explanatory–but it was the most miserable thing I have ever experienced. I’ve had the flu plenty of times, but I don’t think I’ve ever been that sick. I barely slept, and even when I did doze off, I was waking up just about every hour from midnight to 3 or 4 a.m. to use the potty or throw up.

As this round was getting close to ending, I heard Jacob get up from the other bedroom and steal my bathroom, which I’d had to myself the whole night–Julie and Emily were downstairs, too, and Katie managed to sneak in Jacob’s room.

I finally did sleep for a few hours and did stop throwing up, but I felt horrible. And we had a 10-12 hour drive to make. We would’ve stayed an extra day, but Paul’s dad was driving and his mom was afraid he’d get it, too. If you’re keeping score, 10 of us were on this trip and 5 of us were sick. Fortunately, it stayed to just us 5.

Somehow, I was able to muster the strength to pack my stuff to go. Oh yeah, this was all happening over Mother’s Day.

We figure we all got a stomach virus, since one had been going around–Terra had the exact same thing–and nothing could be traced to our food, since there really wasn’t a common denominator.

I started to get hungry, which I took as a good sign, but I didn’t trust my stomach enough to eat real food. I had saltines, water, Jell-O, and Gatorade, along with all the other sickies. I managed to sleep most of the drive home. We stopped to eat. Paul and I just got side dishes of rice and mashed potatoes and couldn’t finish either one. Jacob, likely glad to be eating food that didn’t come from the Marines, ate ice cream and a bacon cheeseburger.

I had us pull over at one point because I was pretty sure I was gonna throw up after that rice and potatoes, but I didn’t. I blame the bumpy roads for that one, and Paul says that while he was awake, he would try to kind of hold me down when we hit big bumps. I was so miserable, though, that I cried a little. I can’t help it. When I feel super shitty, can do nothing about it, and ain’t getting better, I get weepy. Also, this usually only happens when I’m drunk and throwing up and can’t stop throwing up, which is basically any time I throw up drunk. The last time I did that was on my 21st birthday.

My original plan was to have Brandon pick me up at Paul’s since no way in hell did I feel like driving, but I abandoned that pretty quick and trudged up to Paul’s bed. No, his parents do not let the girlfriends share rooms with them–Jacob and Paul got kicked out and Katie and I got their respective beds.

I was afraid I’d have trouble sleeping since I’d slept nearly all day, but Paul found that highly unlikely. He won–I passed right out and slept for a solid 10-11 hours with saltines and Gatorade next to me.

I think I must’ve had a bit of a harder time getting over it than everyone else, because even though the vomiting and diarrhea stopped, my stomach still felt like shit and my appetite was there but little. I lost weight. I don’t own a scale, but I certainly looked smaller. Oh, and by the time we got home, I basically hadn’t eaten anything more than crackers and a cup of Jell-O in 24 hours, and I threw up anything I’d eaten before that. Great job, tummy. I was even afraid to go back to my full-on careless eating habits and took the lightest foods I had in my apartment in my lunch at work for the rest of the week: peanut-butter sandwiches, plain Teddy Grahams, and I managed some yogurt.

You’ll be happy to know I got back to normal by the end of the week and went back to my diet of junk food and pasta.

Top 5 on Friday: Beach

Top 5 songs that make you want to hit the beach

I made a playlist for South Carolina, but apparently, I deleted it.

1. “Starships” by Nikki Minaj The first line is about going to the beach. Come on. Also, it’s catchy as hell, which makes it a perfect beach song.

2. “Just Like Heaven” by The Cure Sure, it’s a song that strangely reminds me more of winter because that’s when I did most of my heavy Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me listening after my mom found her cassette when I was like 13, but it actually talks about the ocean and the video is on a beach. Sure, it also mentions drowning and is probably not as happy a tale as it sounds, but who cares?

3. “Beach Baby” by The First Class How do I know about this obscure gem of a ’70s one-hit-wonder? My mom had some Sounds of the ’70s tape that featured all one-hit-wonders, and this, among many other beautiful songs I eventually learned all the words to, was on it. This song is basically just pure summer, most notably “Beach baby, beach baby / There on the sand / From July to the end of September.” IN MY DREAMS.

4. “The Tide Is High” by Blondie So it’s not literally about the tide, but whatever. I don’t care. It has that tropical sound to it. It is probably my least favorite of the hit Blondie songs, though. Wait, no, I lied. “Call Me” beats it.

5. “Carolina” by Girls It’s one of the few songs I can remember off that vacation playlist because we went to South Carolina. Ha ha. Actually, I know for sure “Beach Baby” and “Starships” were both on there, too.