Monthly Archives: December 2009

Stuff Heather Thinks is Super Great: 2000s Edition!

Guys, the decade is over. I’d argue this is the end of an era. An era which has been overarchingly dark and full of bad things, but in which there have been many smaller, good things too. And to recognize this I was going to write a “thanks to the decade that brought us ___” entry, but then realized the term “us” is problematic in its very inclusion, as it presumes you value the same things I do (which in turn presumes we have had comparable experiences and lived comparable lives). So then I started writing this entry as a “thanks to the decade that brought me ___” and then, and then, I realized it sounded basically like a very long list of Stuff I Think is Super Great, minus the commentary (otherwise this entry will take you all day to read). So there you have it.

A big thank-you to the decade that brought me (in no specific order or ranking)…

this blog; its readers; as a matter-of-fact, almost all my current friends (including my lovely coblogger); Transatlanticism and the subsequent discovery of Death Cab, followed quickly by the even subsequent discovery of this wildly varying genre we call “indie,” inciting a period of years in which I would balance the line between credible indie kid and teenybopper poseur and finally figure, what the hell, I like what I like; the best acoustic I’ve ever seen live; Almost Famous; Wikipedia; the final four Harry Potter books; Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy; Lady Gaga and her be-your-freak-self message; trying foods such as hummus and chicken tikka masala; The OC; the popularization of Chrismukkah and subsequent invention of yarmaclauses; Arrested Development (by now, a shout-out obligation); Mad Men; high school, which I did not find nearly as bad as it’s made out to be; college, which admittedly was loads better than high school; study abroad; seeing the Venus de Milo and Westminster Abbey; Romanticism II and the subsequent discovery of George Gordon Noel Byron; reading Good Omens for the first time and thus discovering Neil Gaiman; the discovery and subsequent meeting of David Sedaris, nicest man alive; The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay; reading Oscar Wilde, which led to renting Wilde and discovering Stephen Fry in turn; the quick retirement of my Target-brand skateboard; the Queen reunion tour; the Spice Girls reunion tour, not that I could nab tickets; November snow in Paris; October snow in London; fish and chips in a paper cone; voting; gay marriage in 10% of the States; the first black president; the first black Disney Princess; getting to participate in an equality march in Scotland and finding the Scots feel as I do; a full appreciation of “Don’t Stop Believin'”; So You Think You Can Dance; the realization that I both can and can’t dance and more important, the realization I don’t care; the discovery of George Saunders; How This Night is Different; writing workshops; VH1’s I Love The...; self-esteem; the luck that “media scholarship” is a real thing; the decision to pursue writing rather than acting onstage (because what a disaster that would have been); sitting at a marina in Sicily in the midday sun; whatever “Web 2.0” means (Facebook, yeah?); Skype; the Mitch; miniature, nameless, aquatic frogs; public transportation (personal favorite: the Underground Central Line); matchbox twenty’s More Than You Think You Are and subsequent tour; getting into the college I wanted; growing out of my *NSYNC phase; that being said, “Bye Bye Bye”; iPods; The Sims franchise; an appreciation of tea; excellent writing teachers; many opportunities to see I was wrong and grow up from it; and there’s likely many more things that were Super Great this decade, but those are all the ones I can think of at the moment.

Happy New Year!

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Stuff Heather Thinks is Super Great

(Belated due to a certain commercialized Christian holiday that happened on Friday.)

Eating latkes. I signed up to make an appetizer for Christmas this year, seeing as I am a Real Live Adult now, and decided to make these (even though they are traditionally for Hanukkah) because they are so tasty.  Cooking them was not so much fun –– what with browning potatoes, the horrible process of grating onions and an unbelievable amount of hype, considering only two relatives had ever heard of/tried latkes before –– but eating them afterward?  I think they were a pretty good effort.  My aunt’s boyfriend, who is Jewish and has been attending our Christmases for about 12 years, almost cried.  (And some other relatives gave me out of the kindness of their hearts a food chopper they happened to have an extra of!  So next year, no more grating onions!)

Miniature aquatic frogs. I received a tank, a few small bags of aquarium gravel and a phone number to call and order a pair of tiny frogs, which will then be delivered by mail to my dorm.  Now I just need names.  Suggestions?

The Kid Wonder is eleven, up to my chin, and apparently, already into Abercrombie. I’m not exactly thrilled about this (it’s so early!), but I am proud of the kid he is becoming.  He’s getting so old!  Guys, it is hard to believe.

The Filmmaker is back! HURRAH!  (The Professor and the Doctor are home too, which is also exciting, but I have seen them more often over the last few years than the Filmmaker, who decided to spend the past year and a half living on the opposite coast, seeing Robert Downey Jr holding up traffic and Kristin Chenowith in line at Anthropologie and suchlike.)

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MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL Y’ALL

I got a giant squishy thing that sits between your laptop and your lap, and my mom says that this is the Christmas I finally get to drink the spiked eggnog! I’ve never eaten turkey drunk before, and I am excited. I hope that everyone else has experienced similar good fortune.

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Stuff Rachel Fucking Hates

Guys it is so fucking cold out We seriously set a record today – we were out of the car, had a Christmas tree picked out, got it paid for and bagged, and back in the trunk of our car in probably six minutes. Do you know why? Because it is very cold out.

When you want to make someone a mix CD, but are not sure you can pull it off. Does this ever happen to you? It happens to me. Like, when you like someone a lot, and care about them, and want to let them know this by burning a CD for them with carefully selected songs from your iTunes. But then you realize that you don’t really listen to that much music? Or not as much as you like to think you do? Like, maybe at this point in your life you really only listen to The Fame Monster, and, like, The Weepies? No? Is this just me?

I am not Miranda July, I will never be Miranda July. Some days, I just get really angry at myself for not being other people. Some days, it’s Gwendolyn Brooks; others, it’s Ina Garten or Marie Curie or Joey Comeau. (I hear his girlfriend is hot.) Today, though, (and really many other days) it is quirky queer hipster princess Miranda July, author of No One Belongs Here More Than You and writer and star of Me, You, and Everyone We Know. (Also, potentially the best titleist in the biz.) (Also someone I predict that I love and Emma does not.)

My rampant, shameless consumerism. This is probably why I will never be Miranda July. Basically, here is the deal: if you know me, then you know that People Like Me live for American Apparel deep V-neck tshirts, which are ludicrously overpriced. BUT right now you can get them on Amazon for $8.99 each. I am really tempted to buy two of them (“athletic gray” and “cranberry,” in case you were wondering.) But I also recognize that this is kind of ridiculous? Like, I am really broke, and have been kind of whiny about not having enough to get other people gifts, and in like six months I will probably have to choose between paying rent and buying kale at Whole Foods. OH MY GOD, could I GET any more American Apparel’s target demographic. (Also, I totally sound like I’m making commission on this, don’t I.)

Sometimes, I am a shitty friend. You know how there are those people whose birthdays are irritatingly close to other gift-giving holidays, like Christmas, and you’re like well shit, I guess I have to find them two presents? I was thinking about one of those friends today, and realized that not only have I not gotten her presents for either occasion, but I haven’t called her in literally three months. Jesus Christ. I would not be friends with me. I should probably stop taking the Lord’s name in vain, it’s almost Christmas and we already have the nativity up and everything, sorry Jesus

Lady Gaga/MAC Have you guys seen this? You probably have.

Lady Gaga and Cyndi Lauper are doing a promotion for MAC, which I guess is cool and all because they have fake polar bear dresses to buy or whatever. And this is a pretty great photo – does anyone else suppress the urge to laugh out loud when they see Gaga’s face here? Like, it is really hilarious to me. BUT the point here is that some part of me, the same part that only shaves my legs like twice a year and really wanted a pair of Converse when I was fourteen (also, let’s be real, still wanted them when I was like 20 but didn’t buy them cause they’re not sweatfree) is sad whenever I see celebrities I like with big ad campaigns. I mean, ok, I get it – Lady Gaga is not a philanthropist. She is a brand. And this actually makes a lot of sense with her “concept” – she’s all about commercialism, all about the idea of selling yourself and fame and brand power vs. actual content. She is a fame monster. But still! Still I am a little bit sad. Can’t you just make your million billion off of selling locks of your hair in your deluxe album packages?  Also I am %110 sure that this was way photoshopped, like her thigh is smaller than my arm here. Girl, no! You have the best legs! Seriously, I’ve checked! Don’t hide your light under a bushel!

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Stuff Heather Thinks is Super Great

Blogging. Obviously.  There’s been a veritable bombardment of postings this week!  Boy howdy, do I need to get my feelings under control.

Wade and Amanda Robson, a choreographing team to rival Nappytabs. Watch this and then try telling me they are not awesome.

Conan O’Brien (and Andy Richter!) on The Tonight Show. The first few nights I was home for break I couldn’t fall asleep before 5am, so I spent the wee morning hours watching late night TV hosts do their thing and Mr. O’Brien, as expected, is the best of them all.  Did you see him interview those idiots from Jersey Shore?  I did, and despite my tired, sleep-deprived eyeballs, thoroughly appreciated it.  (Although… watching Jimmy Fallon, 25 hours later, try not to freak when a zoologist brought wild animals onto the set?  That was genuine entertainment as well.)

“11 Things That Debuted in the 2000s But Feel Like They’ve Been Around Forever.” This decade feels, to me, as if it’s been going on for my entire life; I regularly confuse things that happened in the early years of the millennium as stuff from the ’90s –– case in point, the advent of Coldplay, who didn’t appear on the scene with “Yellow” until 2000 –– and so this 11Points list makes me feel that I am not alone.  I mean, guys: think about it.  Ten years ago we were all listening to Walkman Psycs, humiliating ourselves at makeshift karaoke, and (for lucky, totally misled kids like myself) using a Tyco VideoCam plugged into the TV to film our family members within the thirty feet of cable Tyco allowed.  No Flip mini camcorders!  No iPods!  No American Idol!  Not even EUROS, you guys!  Europe didn’t switch over to continentally standardized currency until almost eight years ago!

“Christmas Canon,” Trans-Siberian Orchestra. I’ve loved this song since I first saw Home Alone as a kid –– it’s what the choir’s singing in the background as Macaulay Culkin talks to the “crazy” elderly neighbor.  Both the instrumental and the vocal elements are absolutely beautiful, but I’ve never known the name or performers of the song until a few days ago, when it came on the car radio and Dad just happened to fall silent as the DJ announced the title and artist.  Hurrah!

“Apple Pie,” Thisbe Nissen. Not to name-drop professors again but oh man is this story good; the ending makes me feel all warm/fuzzy and bubbly-nervous for the characters’ fates at the same time.  I recommend it.

Jakob Jakob Jakob. I’m really happy Russell won SYTYCD, because he deserved it.  But that being said, Jakob could have won and deserved it just as much.  Exhibit A:

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re: the war on Christmas

Anyone who thinks there is a war on Christmas should turn on their TV sometime during the month of December.  I’m just saying.

Sure, most retail stores prefer their employees to say “Happy holidays!” instead of “Merry Christmas!”, but the intent and message of goodwill behind both phrases are the same –– and if the store I worked at is any indication, the majority of people (employees and customers) don’t seem to mind either way.  Is that because I worked in a state that is 92% Christian, so the implication behind “Happy holidays” was “Merry Christmas” already?  I can’t say whether that factored into it, but most customers just responded with a fellow “Happy holidays” in return.  Occasionally a customer would say something like, “Let’s be honest about it: Merry Christmas to you too,” but that was rare.

My point is, regardless how one is greeted at retail stores, I can’t see there being any such “war” on the Christmas spirit when anyone can see that Christmas is culturally constructed as the most-celebrated American holiday.  So that cashier told you to have a nice holiday, and the Obamas (those socialists!) put “Season’s Greetings” on their “holiday” card rather than a traditional Christmas greeting?!  Big whoop.  Why don’t you go home and watch some How the Grinch Stole Christmas or Frosty or A Charlie Brown Christmas or any of the Rankin-Bass specials from the 1960s?  They’re aired every year, and if you missed them, well, you can onDemand it.  Or why not check out some year-round shows, like 30 Rock or The Office?  They have Christmas specials too.  (Even It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia has a special, although if you’re that concerned about the state of the holiday, I suggest skipping that one.)  Or maybe you feel like a Christmas movie.  If so, try ABC Family’s the 26 Days of Christmas, TBS, USA, AMC, or (the old standby) onDemand again.  They’ve got a whole slew of Christmas movies, from Four Christmases to A Christmas Story to National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.  But if TV’s not what will salve your fears, why not hop in the SUV and drive around looking at the lights?  I doubt you’ll find a lit-up menorah among the bunch.

And before some conservative pundit comes across this website and freaks at the liberal elitism being bred in young adults, let me say: I am young and liberal and Christian.  Yes, it is possible to be all three!  I love Christmas.  I start listening to Christmas music, on average, by August.  Does that mean it bothers me when someone tells me to have a nice holiday?  Do I grab that person by the lapels and yell “Christmas, dammit, tell me to have a nice Christmas”?  No.  It doesn’t bother me, because the sentiment is the same.  The sentiment, that is, of goodwill. But if you don’t have enough goodwill to include others in holiday celebration, well…

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