Thursday, April 25, 2013

"All you need is a light jacket..."

Today is like the Energizer Bunny. Seriously. You know that first Christmas Eve where you're old enough to realize that Christmas is, in fact, TOMORROW, but still young enough to be really, honestly excited about Santa? Do you remember how long that day felt like it lasted? Well, that's how today was for me. I've been messing around, organizing a closet and whatnot and I honestly thought it was going to be one of those nights where I turn around and look at the clock and it's one-thirty in the morning and I have been oblivious to the passage of time. Nope. I turned around and it was eight o'clock. And the thing is, it's not because of something awesome or exciting that's happening tomorrow. It's just that today has lasted forever. What's more? I'm exhausted, but not sleepy (if that even makes sense.) That is the one part for which I may actually have an explanation. You see, Charlie the Wonder Puppy has, since his arrival, slept in his little black carry crate which I put next to my bed. The larger crates which we had gotten for him were just ridiculously large at first--he only weighed a hair under four pounds. That said, he's grown immensely in the span of just under two months that we've had him. And as such we are attempting to wean him to his permanent abode, which will be a comfy crate in the kitchen. Our first step was putting his carry crate into a bigger crate in my room. Which, on Monday night, morphed into putting the big crate with his smaller one inside it right outside my door. The first problem being that it got much lighter, much more quickly and he woke up at the absolute crack. Now, that, I mitigated by covering the crate(s) with a blanket. But that doesn't change the fact that I'm now like a mom with a small baby that's just moved from his bassinet to a crib of his own and I'm pretty sure that I've spent the last three nights sleeping with one ear open.

Charlie, on the other hand, has been sleeping BEAUTIFULLY. To the point that he's been an absolute wild man in the mornings. Hence the beginning of my day which was get up and do Charlie's business of potty and food. Then in the space of time that it took me to brush my teeth and retrieve the papers, he shredded his puppy pad, pooped on it, turned over his food bowl and scattered it everywhere AND dumped out his water bowl, which he mixed with the food and tramped all over his sleep mat. Which all had to be washed. Then I got myself ready, folded two loads of laundry,went to Starbucks for coffee for everyone and picked up B on campus so he could leave for an overnight trip. All of that was by 10 a.m. I dropped the travelers off at the Trenton train station, went to the cell phone place and got a new phone, went to the bank for money for the Crazy Polish-speaking Cleaning Ladies, fed Charlie his lunch and took him out to, as we say, "run out his heebie-jeebies", went to my voice lesson, ran to the mall to get a white shirt, fed and let Charlie heeby his jeeby again, made dinner and then worked out making some sense of the labyrinth that is my closet.

That said today is April the 25th, y'all. It's the perfect date! Miss Rhode Island says so...

And she wasn't kidding! I was outside. In normal clothes. WITHOUT BEING WRAPPED IN A BLANKET!!!

I even have proof:

That's my feet! In summer shoes. And Wonder Puppy in the background.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

And then a nice lady in a sleigh drawn by wolves offered me some Turkish Delight...

It is cold, y'all. I mean, seriously. It's the 23rd of April. It's William Shakespeare's birthday. That is SPRING. Or at least, it should be. Because as of now, we've had only the tiniest handful of really nice spring days. And only a couple of times have any of them been consecutive. I am beginning to think that I am a) trapped in Narnia when the White Witch has made it perpetually winter and we're all waiting for Aslan; b)living in a world where winter lasts for decades a la Game of Thrones or c)Lilly Pulitzer was actually some sort of spring fairy who waved a wand every April and her death has left a vacancy in the Spring Fairy position.

First of all, I feel bad for our poor, confused flowers. It's like they don't know what to do with themselves. We had this one freaky warm day back in February and the daffodils along the driveway started to push up and then it's freezing, even SNOWING a few times, with a smattering of warm days thrown in (for flavor and excitement?). That's not anything, though, on my personal confusion...when the weather SHOULD have been about to turn warm, I pulled out all of my spring and summer clothes. I didn't unpack them, but they were there waiting. Now, I'll admit that part of that was because I needed to pull some things out of storage for use in Legally Blonde, but there my lovely pastels and seersuckers and white pants sat. Sadly bereft. Finally, I had to make the call and pack up the cold-weather stuff. Of course, that meant that I spent an hour outside with the puppy this afternoon wearing my flannel pajama pants, my parka (okay, so it's not really THAT cold. It was in the 40s. But it IS that cold when you're sitting still in a chair while the puppy races around the enclosed garden.) and a scowl. I've also spent time out there wrapped in a blanket, which may or may not, make me look like Crazy Lady.

So, c'mon Weather...I need you to get your shit together and get with the program. I would like to clean out the garage and straighten up the attic without having to dress like I'm about to participate in the Iditarod.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Legally Bugging the Hell Outta Me

I was in law school when the Reese Witherspoon film Legally Blonde was originally released. I saw it in the movie theater twice and owned it from the moment it was released on DVD. I LOVED it. I mean, really, really loved it. I GOT it. I thought that all campy silliness aside, it did a fairly good job of portraying a sorority--especially one that seemed to be pretty closely based on mine, what with the pink and green and the letters being but a quarter turn from actually BEING mine. Several years later, I went to see the Broadway show with my best friend/sorority sister who turned to me during the opening number and said, "We have found it. You have to be in this show." And now, I am. Last weekend and this coming weekend, I am singing and dancing my way through Delta Nu and law school.

And here's the thing...Repeated (and I DO mean repeated) exposure to the show has made me...irritated. Beyond the fact that "I've got a chip on my shoulder, and it's big as a boulder" is one of the most dreadful lyrics ever written, there are truly some things about the show that just grate on my last nerve.

Here's my 10:

1. Omigod, you guys! Stereotype much?--I adore, simply adore the opening number. It nails so many things about a sorority. The excitement. The silliness. The can delighting song. It is spot on. However, from there, the sorority girls degenerate quickly into the most awful stereotypes of sorority girls imaginable. Not that they're flighty and silly--because if I'm being honest, that's a whole lot true. No...what bugs me is that they come across as dumb as a box of hair. Margot, Serena and Pilar are written as not just silly and flighty, but as completely vapid. And really, really stupid. And believe's not like I didn't know girls in my own sorority who were not exactly breaking the bank with their GPA. But as a whole it's just a really lame stereotype. In almost every incidence, Greek women have a higher average GPA than both the all-campus and all-women GPA. I'm just saying.

2. Slut-Shaming 101--This is really a personal pet peeve, but Serena calls Margot a slut. The Greek chorus calls Vivienne a whore. Vivienne refers to Elle's Bunny outfit as her "skank" costume. Ew. I really dislike it. When anyone does it. But especially in a musical that lots of young girls go to see.

3. Elle is an IDIOT--I get that in order to make the point of the show, Elle has to come in and not get the point of law school and all it entails. Which I kind of understand. To some extent, I wasn't completely up on what law school was really going to be like when I started. But I was together enough, having read the packet the law school sent me (which I'm assuming Elle did. She showed up on time to the right class.) which told me what to have prepared for the first day. Then, we know from dialogue that not only does Elle get booted on the first day, but per Warner, EVERY day. I'll allow the first day in Callahan's class...but after that? Then she's just a full-out fool.

4. Speaking of Real Law School--When Warner dumps Elle and she makes the decision to go to Harvard, it's spring semester of her senior year. In the movie, it's much more ambiguous as to exactly when he dumps her. But in the musical, Elle is getting ready to take her LSATs in the spring. It is in the lyrics in as many words. In real life? Not so much. You take the LSATs in your JUNIOR spring, senior fall at the latest. If you're taking it in the spring of your senior year? You've missed the application deadline for law school.

5. What is it that Callahan teaches?--The answer, in short, is CRIMINAL law. Only the case where Elle finally "gets it" just sounds like Family Law. It's about a sperm donor's rights as a father. They throw in the stuff about it not being stalking because he's the father. Which would be a really dumb case because sperm donors don't have rights as a parent, so it's not an affirmative defense to stalking. But really the whole case is a set up to allow her to say "Masturbatory Emissions."

6. Math is Hard--At the beginning of the song "Ireland", Paulette states that her mother was 3/4 Italian and she never knew her father. But then she says her grandfather was from Ireland. Which, I GUESS could be possible if her grandfather's parents were Italian and Irish but both living in Ireland. But she has an Italian last name? So if she didn't have a father then she'd have her mother's last name. Which, again, is Italian. And would have come from her grandfather. Who, according to lyrics? WAS FROM IRELAND. I mean, I can make it work, but I have to go through hoops. As another cast member pointed out, there are a lot of lyrics in this show that make you think that while writing them, they just went, "Ah, screw one will EVER NOTICE. Plus, this RHYMES!"

7. Shit, Elle...GET IT TOGETHER!--Okay, so in the movie, when Vivienne tricks Elle into showing up in costume to the party, Elle leaves and makes tracks to the bookstore where she buys study guides and a laptop and proceeds to become a law school superstar. On her own. In the musical, it takes Emmett dragging her kicking and screaming to do it. Which sets up another pet peeve I have about it which is directly related. When Emmett's making her study, he insists that she stay at Harvard over Christmas Break. school is like regular school. She would have finished her first semester. What the hell is he making her study?

8. What the blue hell did VIVIENNE do to her?--So, obviously Vivienne is kind of nasty to Elle from the beginning. But Elle's making it her business to, from the moment she arrives on campus, to try to get all over Warner. Warner dumped Elle AT LEAST six months before law school starts. It's not like Vivienne busted up the relationship. It's entirely possible that Vivienne didn't know Elle even existed. And yet Elle blames VIVIENNE not Warner. One more reason Elle is much more irritating in the musical.

9. And since we're speaking of Warner--How in the name of all that exists does WARNER get the internship with Callahan? I get Vivienne and Enid--they are hardcore. And I get Elle. If nothing else, it's to facilitate hitting on her. But Warner? He's bland, doesn't come across as exceptionally clever, and is the opposite of a leader (Viv is totally the boss of him). Of the characters we know something about, Aaron Schultz (Fulbright and Rhodes scholar) or Whitney (her dad's Speaker of the House) seem more apt choices from either an intellectual or connections standpoint.

10. Actually, Callahan's FULL of Stupid Decisions--So he teaches Family Law in his Criminal Law classes and he hires dregs like Warner, but one would think that a man who's running a BILLION dollar law firm, would be able to put together a better team for a defense in a headline-makng murder trial than four 1Ls, a first year attorney who he hasn't even made an associate, and himself.

Oh, in case you were wondering? You have a lot of time to think about things in the ensemble.

In defense of "Deranged Sorority Email" Writer

Part of my daily activity these days, is to take Charlie, our new(ish) puppy out into the fenced off garden in the backyard and let him run like a wild man for a while. I usually take him out there, weather permitting, for about 20 or 30 minutes in the morning and about an hour in the afternoon. Since there's wireless access back there, I usually take my computer or iPad and read or write or just mess around for a while. Which brings me to Saturday. I was trying to kill some time until the televised Alabama spring football game started. And then, I got an email from my friend, Taylor that read, "Have you seen this yet?" with a link.

This link.

I started out in open-mouthed disbelief, but I have to admit that by the end, I was laughing so hard that Charlie was trying to climb into my lap to see what all the brouhaha was about.

Because that was the funniest thing I've seen in FOREVER.

I want to start out by saying that the language she uses is COMPLETELY inappropriate. Not to mention that she uses both "retarded" and a gay slur as perjoratives. And that's not okay at all. And in fact, her now deleted Twitter posts (screen-capped here before someone, I'm assuming her, took them down) make her seem like a snotty, hateful piece of work. But then, I had to ask myself, if you took all of my Facebook statuses and Twitter posts out of context and you didn't know me, you might think that I was a snotty, hateful piece of work, too. I've made fun of peoples' tragic fashion choices and Senior day at the grocery store and my complete inability to convey ANY information to our Polish-speaking housecleaning ladies. Plus, I talk about General Hospital an awful lot, so that makes me look even MORE clever. And it could be that she IS a snotty, hateful piece of work.

That said, the original email is EXTREMELY well-written. I mean, it is some SERIOUSLY well-constructed prose. And, if I'm being honest about my opinion...she, well...she kind of has a point. When I, through tears of HYSTERICAL laughter posted the original Gawker link on Facebook, my friend, Donya, almost IMMEDIATELY replied, "Oh, the times that I thought this." In fact, I've had several friends who agreed, not with the way the point was made, but the point this woman was trying to make.

You see, I went to a big state school with arguably, the most powerful on-campus Greek system in the country. A Greek system of which I was a part. So, admittedly, I'm coming at this from a different, and possibly skewed perspective. But later on the same day that I read the email, I overheard people talking about it and realized that without the filter of knowing how sororities and fraternities and big universities and Greek Weeks work, it's impossible to grasp what's actually going down here.

I've seen a lot of comments about this incident on the internet and heard some in real life, so first, I should explain what Greek Week is and how it works. Yes, there are lots of parties. But no, that's not what it's necessarily about. What generally happens in Greek Week is that a sorority is paired with a fraternity (in my personal experience, sororities often had more than one fraternity partner because fraternities are smaller and there are more of them). Sometimes it was a fraternity where you knew a lot of the guys and a lot of the sorority members dated someone from that house. And sometimes it wasn't. Which is kind of the point. Throughout the week there are organized events involving all Greek houses on campus AND smaller events and parties organized by a particular sorority or fraternity for their Greek Week partner. It's about interacting with the entire community of Greek houses. It's about meeting new people. And it's about fun and friendly competition. When she's talking about cheering for the sports events, she means that there are intramural sports--soccer, flag football, softball--and the winning team gets points. At the end of Greek Week they add up all of the points you've won--for the sports, for spirit events like parties where you get points for how many members attend, for money raised in philanthropy events-- and the winning "team" gets money to donate to their particular philanthropy. Plus, you meet people, so that when your sorority does a charity basketball tournament, or a 5K race or hosts a BBQ dinner to raise money for your particular philanthropy, the people you've met during Greek Week will show up and buy tickets or enter the race or whatever.

My point is, that all of the people who think that this woman is telling the members of her chapter to hook up with Sigma Nus...that's not it. What she's ranting (in an admittedly hysterical manner) about is showing a basic degree of social skills, or really less than that...she's asking them to refrain from being out and out RUDE to their hosts. College-aged women should not need to be told that if you are at John's party, you shouldn't be talking about how you're going to leave and go to Bob's party later. It's rude as hell. And she isn't telling them to hook up with the guys when they're at the party. She's asking that they be sociable and conversational to their hosts. I mean, SERIOUSLY...when I was 11 I had a birthday party and all of the popular girls from my class showed up and clumped together and talked only to each other which was completely awkward for me and all of the other girls who were there who were NOT in my class. In other words, these adult women are going to a party and acting like the snotty, popular girls from my ELEMENTARY SCHOOL CLASS. And she's not asking them to get drunk and party...she's calling them out for claiming that they are ONLY comfortable when they're drunk. She's asking them to cheer for their team in the Greek Week sporting events. She's asking them exhibit behavior that will probably be useful and necessary later in life and careers--making nice at parties, being enthusiastic about things you might not care that much about, doing something you don't necessarily love to do. I may be completely in the wrong, but I consider these things to be LIFE skills. Not sorority skills or college skills.

The thing is, unless you were one of those girls who was doing the weird or dumb stuff in college, then I think that my friend, Donya, is correct: You HAVE felt like this at some point. Especially if you were an officer or in charge of something that was going to shit. Now, granted, I never sent a profanity-laced email (mainly because this was, for the most part, pre email) but I can think of two specific times when I was part of a "Seriously, ladies, get your shit together" movement. The first involved most of the Little Sisters of my close circle of friends (although, I'm happy to say, neither of MY Littles). We were sophomores, they were freshmen and we walked into the first big party of the year to find the whole group of them sloppy drunk from pre-gaming with Jaegermeister. I'm talking falling down, throwing up in trash cans DRUNK. This necessitated us dragging them out of the party, driving them back to the dorm and making sure that they got to their rooms/beds safely, which means that we missed a huge chunk of an awesome party because they didn't know how to act--and I had to to take charge of one of the fools whose actual Big wasn't there that night. Which meant that the next day, we pulled them all into one of our rooms at the sorority house and read them the riot act about their behavior. In a completely different kind of situation, my best friend and roommate was the scholarship chair for two years, one of which I was the assistant chair, so we would have this big printout of all of the GPAs at the end of the semester and I would watch Liz--who is the sweetest, most reasonable lady in the world--FREAK OUT as we went over the GPAs. She totally understood that you could have a bad semester and end up with a 2.5. But neither of us could ever figure out how people managed to come up with a 0.2, or worse an actual buckshot (the infamous 0.0). Which usually meant at the next chapter meeting she was going to stand up and read everyone the riot act for attempting to flunk out of college on her watch. I mean, I remember any number of late-night TV room conversations that revolved around, "How Hard Is It for People to Brush Their Hair and Put on Decent Clothes When We Have a Swap/Mixer." (Or put on shoes to answer the door, or not give the door code to your psycho ex-boyfriend, act like you've actually been to a publicly-held event of any kind--there were many of these conversations).

I want to stress this: The girl who sent this email. She was wrong. She freaked out. She said things in a completely inappropriate manner and she pretty much epitomizes why you should wait 12 hours after writing an angry email before you hit send. She comes across as completely crazy and out of control. Her Twitter postings seem to back that up. In spite of all that, I agree with the spirit, if not the application thereof. I also want to point out that whichever member of her chapter made the email public was also wrong. Yes, this girl went around the bend and made a huge, hateful mistake. There are, however, any number of ways to handle it. I'm talking ways within the bylaws of the chapter itself and the national sorority as a whole. Instead, some member of her sorority chose to make it public in a way that could potentially be damaging to the email writer for the rest of her career and life. And that's not cool. Sororities have internal judicial mechanisms for handling poor behavior of members. The consequences can range from social probation to expulsion from the organization. Outside of that, all collegiate chapters have an alumni advisor or an entire panel of almnae who oversee the chapter's operation. And even beyond that there's each sororities national office to whom a collegiate member could go. The point being, there was more than one wrong here.

And on a lighter note, there are now a couple of performance art pieces is what I would call them, I guess, of actors reading the email. I admit to being easily amused. I laughed 'til I hurt at these.

and here's a link to a possibly even more hilarious reading by Michael Shannon.

I feel like my life is swallowing me whole.

So, you know how sometimes you're having a casual conversation with someone. Maybe someone you see all the time, but that you don't really know. I'm going to use this example (although it wasn't the person with whom I had the conversation): Let's say that you're in Starbucks and you're in there a lot and they know you and they're like, "Oh, hey, Sally, how's it going?" and you're like, "Oh, you know. Super busy right now." and then they're like, "But that's good. Busy is good." And I get it. I totally do. No one WANTS to be bored, right? But sometimes there are periods where you're thinking to yourself, "Just an hour. I want just an hour where even if I'm not doing anything, I'm not thinking about the approximately 5 thrillion things that I need to be doing or appointments I have or meetings or whatever." And that's me right now. Now let me be's my own doing. I'm really involved with local theater. To the point where I have gone almost back-to-back working on shows in some capacity since last September. Tech, crew,'s been a whirlwind, culminating in the period from January to the second week in March where I was in preparation for THREE shows at once. I'm down to one. And only one more weekend of that, to boot. But between the shows, and a spring that just can't seem to get here and stay, and a new puppy (I haven't slept past 7 a.m. in almost two months), AND attempting to do a massive household clean out/reorganization (and thanks to the Lupus Foundation of America for coming to pick up two black garbage bags FULL of clothes), I really, really, really feel fried right now.

Plus, I'm going through this whole thing where I'm trying to, well, to put it simply...figure shit out and get my shit together. I think, and this could just be the wonky weather and the general chaos of my life, that I'm at a crossroads. Maybe. I don't know what kind. Right now it feels like all kinds of things are in flux--on the verge of changing, in the process of changing, stagnant but NEED to change. I don't know why, but I feel like I'm in West Side Story and about to bust out into a chorus of "Something's Coming." Although I'm pretty sure my something isn't a dance-fueled gang war. I just have to figure out WHAT it is.

So that's the reason, or at least part of it, for my extended absence. It's not an excuse. Because there have been plenty of times when I've actually written something (in Word, not on the blog) and then not had the wherewithal to post it. And also of plenty of times when I thought, "I want to do a blog post about that." and then didn't. As well as times when I just sat doing absolutely NADA--not writing, not thinking about writing, not thinking about ANYTHING.

But like, I a crossroads, I think. We'll see.