Thursday, November 23, 2006

Karaoke Superstar

This was quite an interesting day. Mom, Sis, and I went to see Borat (Mom's choice - she surprised us all at our early Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday by asking me to go see it with her), which was very funny, and not a little uncomfortable. Mom loved it - I think she laughed harder than anyone else in the theater. I was surprised at what people were actually willing to say, knowing they were being taped. And it was also interesting to see how they reacted to Borat. In one scene, he went to a rodeo and commended the crowd for America's "war of terror," which got a round of applause. He then hoped that we would kill everyone in Iraq (more applause), and that George Bush would be allowed to drink the blood of every man, woman, and child in Iraq (less applause). And then he sang "the Kazakhstan national anthem" to the tune of the Star-Spangled Banner, which was hilarious because it was basically, "Kazakhstan is a great country with great potassium and every other country is run by little girls." Awesome.

Tonight I went out to karaoke with my friend from work, Tiff, her (hot) brother Justin, her boyfriend Joel, and Joel's roommates. So much fun! Tiff and I sang 5 or 6 songs, getting progressively better. We peaked somewhere between "Love Shack" (I'm especially proud of my "tiiiiiiiin roof, rusted") and "I Love Rock & Roll;" our final song, "Fast Car," was just a big ol' mess. We did meet a really interesting woman, April, who flirted with Justin all night long. Justin's 18, but has a fake ID. April's 33. During the last song, "Let's Get It On," they started grinding and making out on the dance floor. Somewhat disturbing, yet Tiff and I were laughing hysterically the whole time.

In between songs and beers, we discussed the Southern colloquialism "Bless your heart." Everyone down here knows that you can get away with saying ANYTHING derogatory about a fellow Southerner, as long as you end with a "Bless your heart." April had just finished making this point when Justin got up to sing. Her reaction? "Well, bless his heart, at least he's cute."

Another April gem of wisdom: "What do you call a woman without an asshole? Single."

I meet such interesting people around here...

Sunday, November 19, 2006

TV Obsession 1

Here's the newest Smallville recaplet, courtesy of TWoP:

On his quest to track down and capture escaped Phantom "Zoners," Clark travels to Seattle (er, Seattle, British Colombia?) to investigate a case of sailors and dock workers who literally had the bones sucked out of them. Anyhoo, Clark poses as a medical student (ha!) then a coroner (ha ha!) to find clues. The culprit is a giant dude with sweet fronts who is pulling the bones out and drinking the delicious marrow. Mmm, bone marrow (drool).... Clark tries his crest on the thug, but it turns out it doesn't work because the guy's not a phantom. Before Clark can get his ass kicked further, someone else attacks the Zoner, killing him. It's a giant green dude in a cape who eats Oreos. I don't want to ruin it, but...Martian Manhunter! In the other storyline, Lex is transformed into an electronic frequency by a former resident of Floor 33.1, a KryptoVillain who is trying to expose the secret lab. As Lex is stuck in his frequency, he can see and hear Lana, but she can't see or hear him. Much lovey-dovey "I miss you! I love you!" sentiments are exchanged as Lana tries to get him back. She spills the beans about being pregnant. Lex is thrilled because he wuvs Lana. And she wuvs him, too. Jimmy busts out his dad's old radio equipment to pick up the frequency (Kenneth) and the KryptoVillain is killed by Lex and a knife in a decidedly old school way. Lana tells Lex she's cool with the evil things that may or may not have happened in Floor 33.1. Papa Luthor moves the lab while Lex is all static and afterward demands to be made a partner in the experiments as a condition of sharing the new location. Lex, moved beyond all reason by Lana's deep and sudden love for him, decides to get his woo on. He brings Lana into his office, which is full of candles and flowers, and proposes to her with a very expensive ring. Pregnancy. A wedding proposal. I think the last ingredient for jumping the shark is The Great Gazoo.

Call me crazy, but I'm pretty sure this series jumped the shark way back in season four. Which I recently bought on dvd. I used to LOVE Smallville, and I had the first three seasons already. When I found the fourth season at GameStop for only $30, I didn't question why I hadn't bothered to purchase it before. That was the season that introduced Lois Lane, after all, and isn't she awesome? Having watched (most of) the season again, I'm now starting to remember why I stopped watching in the first place. Lois got really annoying, really fast. And Lana, who in my opinion had ALWAYS been annoying, because super-annoying with her stupid tattoo and MuLana kung-fu fighting.

But I've grudgingly started watching again, because it did pick up (slightly) last season. There were two episodes when Lana died, which, awesome! Even though one was a future-dream-sequence and the other was reversed by Jor-El, they still made my nights. But this whole pregnancy thing is just retarded. I'm sick of seeing Lana with Lex. I wish they really would kill her off already. I thought comic-Lana was annoying, but tv-Lana is even worse. I am excited, however, that Jimmy has been brought in as a recurring character, and also that Martian Manhunter was sorta-introduced. Bring on the Justice League, baby!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

My Favorite Book This Year

I've finished two books so far this week, which was pretty productive.
I had been reading The Memory Keeper's Daughter for a few weeks. I can't really afford to buy new books right now, so when I get my weekly email from Borders about new books that I might enjoy I just add them to my Amazon wishlist and/or try to hunt them down at my local library, usually without results. (Side note: I was on a three-month-long waiting list for The Devil Wears Prada. After a few weeks, I got tired of waiting and dropped the 6 bucks for a paperback copy. I'm still trying to decide if it was worth it.) Anyway, I saw a blurb about TMKD a month or so ago and was intrigued by the premise, but because it wasn't readily available I eventually forgot about it and read something else. See previous side note. It was actually quite serendipitous when I went to my sister's house and discovered, nestled among the James Pattersons and Nicholas Sparkses (yarg), the very book I had been looking for! I was extremely impressed with my sister, and I have to admit that my respect for her literary habits increased a bit. She agreed to loan me TMKD with the brief but telling review: "It's good, but sad." Truer words have never been spoken. This book was beautiful. It has an interesting plot: a young doctor delivers his wife's twins, but when he realizes that the daughter has Downs Syndrome, he gives her to the nurse helping him with the delivery and tells her to take the baby to an institution. He tells his wife that their daughter was stillborn, which leads to a sense of grief permeating their marriage and affecting them (and their son) for the rest of their lives. In the meantime, the nurse has decided not to leave the baby girl at the institution, and instead runs away with her and raises her as her own daughter. The story was just incredible, but the characters are what really made the novel for me. Edwards really got into their heads and allowed me to sympathize with each of them, no matter how badly they dealt with the sadness and loss they felt.

My second book, As Simple As Snow, I finished in only two days. My best friend, Fran, read it and loved it, and she told her boyfriend to give me a copy for my birthday. This first sentence on the back cover had me sold: "Anna Cayne had moved here in August, just before our sophomore year in high school, but by February she had, one by one, killed everyone in town." Awesome, right? Anna, as it turns out, writes obituaries for fun. She's one of the quirkiest characters I've ever read, and I absolutely adored her. The book is part coming-of-age, part mystery, part romance, and part I'm-not-sure-what. It's definitely different, though. One of the reviews I read compared it to The Virgin Suicides, which is pretty spot-on. I wasn't even aware ASAS was classified as YA until I went online and started researching it. There's actually a website devoted to the book, which includes an excerpt (entitled "Anna's Room") in which the narrator describes the esoteric music, books, and art found guessed it, Anna's room. The great thing about the internet is, all the allusions have links, so you can see which David Wilson poster Anna has on the back of her door, or find out who the heck Isadora Duncan was. It makes the story that much better, because you gain a better sense of Anna's personality and interests. The mystery of the novel is never resolved, but there are clues and hints, and I'm thinking a second read-through will give me even more to think about. Unfortunately, I raved about this book so much, I now have three friends in line to borrow my copy, so it may be awhile before I get a chance to pick it up again.

Ready for the Good Times

Today was the 8th day of my 10-day stretch of work. I really hate when my manager schedules me like that, but every time I try to talk to her about it, she blows me off. So I go to the assistant deli manager instead, and she usually changes it for me. She couldn't change my days off, but she did arrange for me to not close 5 days in a row (!), so that's something.

I've also been sick for the past few days, and not having a day off to lay around in bed didn't help much. But I've been taking OTC meds and sleeping as late as I can, so I've been feeling better. So when my friend Laura called and asked to meet up for a drink tonight, I was torn. She recently moved to Atlanta, so when we get together we meet in Conyers, which is about halfway between the two of us and roughly an hour and a half from my house. In the end I decided to go, because she's one of my closest friends and she was feeling pretty down and needed someone to talk to.

Laura is awesome, because she's actually 20 years older than I am, but we still have a ton in common and can talk about anything. It's almost like having a cool older sister who gives me advice and introduces me to cool music. Right now, we're in pretty similar places in our lives. She recently lost her job and moved in with her daughter to save money while she decides what to do next, whether to go back into food service full time or try something different. Having recently quit my crappy retail job and moved in with my parents to save money while I decided what to do next, I can relate. We also talk about politics (she took me to a Democratic rally last year, where I got to meet the nominees for Secretary of State), religion (we're both open-minded and well-read on this topic), and books. She lent me The Time Traveler's Wife last year, which was amazing, and I just finished As Simple As Snow and will be lending it to her next. Basically, whenever we get together we talk, laugh, and have a ton of fun. I'm glad I went out to see her tonight, even though I'm dead tired now (and would be asleep already, if not for massive stack of CD's I'm uploading to iTunes as I type). It's nice having someone to talk to about all the stuff that's been going on lately, and about all my frustrations re: what to do with my life, my crappy job, my insecurities about the future, etc.

Plus, Laura regaled me with anecdotes about the most recent man in her life. This guy is a recovering peeping tom (there's seriously a 12 step program for it!) and a complete religious fanatic. She calls him "a study in contrasts." I call him a trainwreck, but entertaining second-hand.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Stupid Customer-isms

My job, for the most part, is pretty unbareable. My manager sucks - she rarely works on the floor with us, she's late almost every day, she never has the schedule done on time, and she's constantly taking credit for all the good work done by our assistant deli manager - and the customers are hella annoying. My coworkers are fun, though, and to help each other get through the days we've started compiling a list of the funny, stupid, or just plain ridiculous things our customers say to us everyday. I'm sure I'll be adding to this, as the never-ending weeks go by:

"Can I get a vegetarian sub with turkey?"

"This ham says that it costs $8.99 a pound, but I don't need that much. Can I just get half a pound?"

Coworker: "How would you like your meat sliced?"
Customer: "On a slicer."

Customer: "Do you have any ketchup?"
Coworker: "Ma'am, there's some on the shelf there."
Customer: "That's all Heinz ketchup. Don't you have another brand?"
Coworker: "No."
Customer: "Well, I can't use that one. I don't support him."
Coworker: "Who?"
Customer: "John Kerry."

Customer: "My husband wants a turkey for dinner tonight, but I don't feel like cooking. Can I just buy one of your turkeys?"
Me: "You might be better off buying a turkey in our meat department. The turkeys we have here are for slicing, and we would have to sell it to you by the pound, which would be pretty expensive. But the meat department has pre-cooked turkeys that you can just heat up in the oven."
Customer: "Ok, I'll go check over there."
*a few minutes later, as I'm walking through the store, I see the same customer*
Me: "Did you find what you were looking for?"
Customer: [holds up a jar of peanut butter] "Yes, thank you."

More to come...

Sunday, October 29, 2006

My Freebie Five

Chandler: Well, we have a deal where we each get to pick five different celebrities that we can sleep with, and the other one can't get mad.
Ross: Ah, the heart of every healthy relationship: Honesty, respect, and sex with celebrities.
~ Friends, episode 3.05

This is the kind of thing I think about when I should be concentrating on work. I'm sure everyone, no matter how much they love their significant others, has at some point come up with a list of get-out-of-jail free celebrities. Just for kicks (and as an excuse to test out this blogger image upload), here are mine:

1. Michael Turner - This man is amazing! He studied marine biology before becoming one of the greatest comic book artists today. Even more impressive: he's battled cancer. He's also the only celebrity on my freebie list that I've actually met in person, but I was such a squealing little fangirl the whole time that I embarrassed myself and ruined my (relatively slim, I'm sure) chances.

2. Gael Garcia Bernal - He's beautiful, incredibly talented, and would be a great reason to practice my spanish. And I'll admit, I love watching him get naked in, like, EVERY movie he makes. It shows confidence in his body, or something. *drool*

3. Jason Schwartzman - I've had the biggest crush on this guy since high school. His role in Rushmore, believe it or not, was what totally did it for me. I have this thing for socially inept geeks, I suppose. I saw Phantom Planet in concert a few years ago, but it was after he had already left the band. So sad. I did get to hang out with the other guys, though, and took them bar hopping around Athens. That was also the night that MC Chris (of Adult Swim fame) offered to, uh, perform certain "services" on me. He was completely high at the time. You'll notice he's not on this list...

4. Peter Sarsgaard - Another quirky actor. I have no idea why I'm so attracted to him, because it's not like he always makes the best career choices (although Garden State more than made up for Skeleton Key, and Kinsey pretty much absolves him of any future wrongdoing). Again, *drool*

5. Justin Long - The newest edition to my list. Between Galaxy Quest and all those Mac commercials, he's pretty much the ultimate geek. How could I not wanna screw him?

Friday, October 27, 2006

The "Automatic" Car

It's a rainy day in Georgia, and I'm sitting in my trusty neighborhood coffee shop. Well, I live in the middle of nowhere, so technically it's more of a countyhood coffee shop, but whatev. I saw a commercial last night for a new car (Mercedes? I don't pay attention to brands) that parallel parks itself! This is pretty exciting, no? Think of the possibilities...

Code Monkey recently had an opportunity to enable the GPS chip on his phone and use it for a free trial period. This actually came in handy, because we live roughly 3 hours from each other and usually end up meeting halfway, in a city that neither of us knows very well. The three places we can get to with absolutely no problem: the mall, one of the four movie theaters in the area, and a kick-ass Indian restaurant (YUM!) During our last rendezvous, we decided to see a movie but didn't like the choices at the first movie theater. So he pulled out his phone, got show times for other theaters, picked which one we wanted to see (Man of the Year, which: eh), got directions using the GPS navigation, and then his phone TALKED US TO THE LOCATION. It was beyond cool. Every time we came to an intersection, the phone (which is apparently female) would tell us which way to turn, and even how far we were from our destination. Pretty sweet.

So, if cars can park themselves for us, and we have GPS that navigates us to where ever we need to go, I'm thinking pretty soon we won't even need to drive cars anymore. Pop some sensors in those babies (so they know when they're getting too close to another vehicle, thus avoiding accidents) and I'll be more than content to let them cart me around.

Of course, we could also invest that money and research into more alternative fuel sources and public transportation, and that would be even better, but I'm doubting that'll happen before the self-driving car.

Next stop: getting those suckers to fly!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

First Things First

Welcome to Casual Dread, my newest blog. I used to have a livejournal, but I met too many people and discovered friends who also had one. Once the anonymity was lost, I felt like I couldn't write what I really wanted for fear of being judged or offending someone. The title comes from my favorite Jennifer Nettles song:

Casual Dread

So I'm moving out of nothing town,
this spirit's restless inside of me.
I'm tired of working in my family's grocery.
They say there's much I've yet to see.
See my mother had the soul of a story teller.
And she passed those demons down to her daughter's head.

And it's sir I will and sir I would --
put me down for some of that casual dread.

Driving at the back of this truck for what seems like hours.
Feel I know the driver like the back of my hand.
'Cause I been making up stories of his life,
like right now what he's saying to his wife.
And his stickers say he supports the navy
and thinks love is grand.
Well I do too.
So, thoughts of you break his story to remind me of the last time you were in my bed.

And it was sir I will and sir I would --
put me down for some of that casual dread.

And oh, you're invited to the table.
Yes, your choice tonight is famine or feast.
Well step on up to the table.
You see the wine it might be bitter,
but the sacrament's still sweet.
I've been thinking about my lives and where they've brought me.
So I asked a teacher for some living bread,
and he said, "Child the best lesson you could ever swallow,
is that this life is the one that's living,
all the other ones are dead."

Well, I've never seen a gravestone of mine,
but I hope each life was defined by an epitaph that read,
"She was sir I will and sir I would -- put her down for more of that casual dread."
I'd like a little more of that.
Some glad morning when this life is o'er.

My life right now is pretty random. I filed for bankruptcy last year, quit my crappy retail job, and moved back in with my parents. I was hoping to get a job as a teacher, but it's more difficult than I thought. My current "temporary" job is slicing meat in the Deli department of a regional grocery chain, and I hate it. Mostly because I'm a vegetarian, but also because my manager kida sucks and the uppity rich customers are pretty annoying.

More about me: I love to read (Jane Austen, Chuck Palahniuk, Neil Gaiman, Nick Hornby, Douglas Adams), play video games (my boyfriend just bought me FFVII, so there goes my free time), and sew and crochet. I'm a Girl Scout leader and I spend WAY too much time online. My new tv boyfriend is Hiro Nakamura, and I'm sorta obsessed with Veronica Mars.
Feel free to comment about anything I post on here. I love discussing/arguing with complete strangers - it reminds me of being drunk and chatty at college keggers.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Fortinbras was a Mary Sue

3 things I learned (mostly about Hamlet) from reading A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare: 1899:
1. Hendiadys are one of my new favorite literary conventions. Literally meaning "one by means of two," it's a way of expressing a single idea by pairing two nouns linked by "and." For example: "sound and fury" or "law and order." Shakespeare used 66 hendiadys in Hamlet, over twice the 28 used in Othello, the play with the next-highest amount.
2. Shakespeare was a voracious reader, and most of the ideas for his plays were taken from other, earlier writers. Hamlet is his least original work: the only new aspect was the character of Fortinbras. Fanfic, y'all.
3. Shakespeare did invent other things: namely, new words. Or ways to use existing words in new ways. Over 2,000 words are thought to have been invented by him, and he's also attributed with creating my given name, Jessica, for The Merchant of Venice.

I've been really into reading historical stuff recently. In addition to the Shapiro novel, I read The City of Fallen Angels, by John Berendt (which really, really made me want to visit Venice), Abraham, by Bruce Feiler (which really, really made me want to visit the Middle East), and now I'm reading Trail of Tears: The Rise and Fall of the Cherokee Nation, by John Ehle (which really, really makes me wish my grandmother were still alive, because apparently she was full-blood Cherokee and I'd really like to ask her about it).

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Books Read in 2006

100 People Who Are Screwing Up America (and Al Franken is #37), Bernard Goldberg
Abraham, Bruce Feiler
Anansi Boys, Neil Gaiman
A Series of Unfortunate Events: Book the 10th - The Slippery Slope, Lemony Snicket
A Series of Unfortunate Events: Book the 11th - The Grim Grotto, Lemony Snicket
A Series of Unfortunate Events: Book the 12th - The Penultimate Peril, Lemony Snicket
As Simple As Snow, Gregory Galloway
A Dirty Job, Christopher Moore
A Long Way Down, Nick Hornby
A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare: 1599, James Shapiro
Bertie Wooster Sees it Through, P.G. Wodehouse
The Big Over Easy, Jasper Fforde
The City of Fallen Angels, John Berendt
The Debutante Divorcee, Plum Sykes
The Devil Wears Prada, Lauren Weisberger
The Fair Tax Book, Neal Boortz and John Linder
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, J.K. Rowling
The Final Solution, Michael Chabon
The Gospel of Judas
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter y la piedra filosofal, J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter y la camara secreta, J.K. Rowling
Haunted, Chuck Palahniuk
Invisible Monsters, Chuck Palahniuk
Letters From Pemberley, Jane Dawkins
Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
The Memory Keeper's Daughter, Kim Edwards
Prep, Curtis Sittenfeld
Quidditch Through the Ages, J.K. Rowling
Remember Me, Christopher Pike
The Return of Jeeves, P.G. Wodehouse
McSweeny's Mammoth Treasury of Thrilling Tales, edited by Michael Chabon
The Second Wives Club, Jane Moore
The Secret Supper, Javier Sierra
Shopaholic Ties the Knot, Sophie Kinsella
Shopaholic and Sister, Sophie Kinsella
Something Rotten, Jasper Fforde
The Time Traveler's Wife, Audrey Niffenegger
Trail of Tears, John Ehle

Audio Books:
Lady Chatterly's Lover, D.H. Lawrence
Naked, David Sedaris