Glitter and Whores

The Britney Spears concert last night was oh-so wonderful.

I think it’s no mystery that I have an unashamed love for life’s guilty pleasures. Fatty food, teeny-bop music and Lifetime movies I will admit to consuming without embarrassment. It occurred to me last night I have now seen Pussycat Dolls’ lead singer Nicole Scherzinger twice in concert- the time before opening for N*Sync as a part of Eden’s Crush, a musical group seldom remembered for their inception in the original Making the Band series, and subsequent album that Allison and I purchased and listened to back when I was in middle school. These are not truths I should readily admit, but yes, I have seen her before.

I guess for me there really is no distinction between what is cool and what is socially seedy. I’ve been to a variety of genres of concert- emo-staple DCFC, hemp-wearing Dave Matthews, screamo The Used. Pat Green. Billy Idol. Amy Grant.

They’re all the same. People act the same at all of them. To me, the truly deplorable thing is not admitting to liking something social undesirable or washed up, but refusing to admit you do to conform to a social standard that will change quicker than your tastes.

My lack of sleep is making me lose focus here, but I guess my point is that Britney was awesome. Regardless of what you think or how you feel or what direction you believe music is turning, that was one hell of a show.

And I pity the fool who refuses to give such guilty pleasures a chance.

Okay, sleep needed, note to self- never, ever, ever reference Mr. T again….

Knowing

WHAT did I tell you about people resisting the transition to eco-friendly toilet paper in my post Chop ‘Em Down?

According to this article by the AP, people in Spokane County, Washington have been victim to the nation’s strictest ban on dishwashing liquid. They are smuggling the stuff because the eco-friendly substitute doesn’t work as well.

And they are only trying to get their dishes clean.

Consider yourself warned and brace for the apocalypse. If you want any more of my doomsday predictions, I’ll be in my fallout shelter stocking Twinkies.

Wallowing in Humanity

Don’t really have much to say right now, but I need to get that damn House of a Thousand Corpses image scrolled off the front page, so onward-ho!

Onward, hoe. That’s what I am telling my brain right now. It’s resisting. 
One thing I keep coming back to in my mind is this Amy Krouse Rosenthal event in Houston next week. It started in Chicago? I believe. That iconic shiny thing in the video is in Chicago, right? Anyhow, she wanted to do something meaningful and inspirational. The video has that Apple Computers type music playing in the background, where you know words like “INSPIRE” and “IMAGINE” are bound to scroll across the screen after some art student argued for hours over typeface. I’m not even sure what they ended up doing because I lost interest sometime after the crowd cheered when they saw the yellow umbrella.
I don’t know, maybe it’s the fact that I am already resentful of poor Amy for stealing my life plan to self-actualization, but this video, this concept, annoyed me. Amy has become one of my favorite authors and for this reason I feel like I shouldn’t miss it, but I don’t want to go. I don’t want to feel something larger than myself or meditate on the beauty of life in a way that reminds me of church summer camp. For some reason idealistic people like myself bring out my cynicism. I suppose it’s similar to the identical twin complex. Identical twins always force themselves to develop opposite personas because they want to differentiate themselves.
I don’t like to see people like me in action because it makes me feel common.
See Amy, I am willing to revel in my humanity too. Or at least wallow in it.

Just Like a Circus

I’ve always relied on my brain to make weird connections, but I’m starting to think the atrophy is paying off. Last weekend Aaron “forced” me to watch House of A Thousand Corpses (one of his all-time favorite movies because the man is inexplicably disturbed) and instead of going to sleep to the usual atrocities and nightmares that something like that would produce, my brain instead decided to pick up on the clownish undertones of the sick movie and I had a rather pleasant dream about the Britney Spears Circus Tour.

Does this mean I am becoming desensitized to violence? Or entirely too keyed in to symbolism and rhetorical analysis?

I think Rob Zombie for one would like to know his movie had all the artistry of a commercialized pop princess. I bet that would give him nightmares.

The Ones That Got Away

A lot of people I know are getting married this summer. A lot of you are feeling the pressure, feeling some crunch time. Cranking your style-picking, shoe-shopping, magazine-flipping brains to eleven and I’m guessing you think you will be too sick of weddings to ever think of them again once all the hoopla is over.
Wrong. 
You will miss it. You will have relapses. You will scan your Etsy favorites for the things you wish you should have boughten. Purchased.
Here are mine:
1. Cupcake stands by Whitney Smith Pottery:
    
2. Amsale wedding dress that a Louise Bloom consultant convinced me everyone looked terrible in and it wasn’t worth trying on (that bitch):

3. I wanted to wear blue shoes under my wedding dress, but was advised against it. These are from SATC just because I never really did locate “the ones” but I imagine these are close:
4. Shabby Chic bird wedding topper by Rain’s End:
 
 
5. And for those lucky few who already have a new home for their new marriage, the PERFECT housewarming gift, custom hand-written address stamps by Lettergirl:

Opiate of the Masses

I have spent tens of minutes fantasizing over the donuts my old church used to have in the morning.

From birth and baptism to the age of sixteen, I attended a rather large Lutheran church in the Sharpstown area. There are many, many, many things that made that experience and that church close to my heart, but for the purpose of this will be left unaddressed, because despite the life-changing experiences that really shaped my faith, there is an undertone of gluttony that cannot be ignored, and only begins to stand out to me as I grow up and attend other churches.

St. Philip Lutheran Church knew their food. Every Sunday morning when we arrived there would be a kitchen full of boxes of donuts and coffee to greet us. To elaborate, this was not any kitchen. We are talking approximately 500 donuts here. Every Sunday, without fail. Five hundred donuts. Because the Lord Jesus is faithful and he never lets you down.

At least once a month there were celebrations of some kind after church as well. Punch and cake would be provided to everyone. Donuts would still be leftover from the morning and put out next to the cake.

I would always eat both.

And then there were the holidays. Octoberfest was filled with brisket, barbeque, and the best new potatoes you have ever eaten in your life. A children’s carnvial always followed, with candy-laden events and the infamous cake walk, that Nicole and I would operate with ferver and greed in later years. October turned into December and Christmastime would arrive for the Grand Ceremony of eating occasions. As a fundraiser the church ladies would be asked to bake cookies. Cookie tins would be purchased for $10 a piece and then paritioners would be led into a room where every wall was lined with tables, and every table was filled with homemade, I repeat homemade, from scratch Christmas cookies. There were literally thousands of cookies in the room.

That church taught me what heaven was like. You haven’t really known true Christmas joy until you have stepped into a room like that with an empty coffee tin and free reign to sample.

Maybe this is why no other church has ever felt completely right to me. I am like one of those men whose mother has babyed and spoiled far beyond the point another woman could ever satisfy them. But I must grow up. God is still good even when he doesn’t come with all the freebies. Because really, he comes will ALL the freebies. Eternal life at no cost, I guess I’ll take that.

I would still kill to know exactly where they got those donuts from.

Reader Poll

Question- What would you consider to be an unreasonable or unhealthy amount of pistachios to consume on any given day?

I think it has something to do with my obsessive-compulsive nature, but whenever I find something I like I binge. I eat as much of it, and exclusively it, until I am utterly disgusted or incapacitated (by the latter I am referring to a certain over-indulgence on dried apricots. Who knew 14 dried apricots would be such an inhumanly large amount of fiber to process? okay, so I was the last to know on that one) ANYHOW, the point is I go with a good thing until it’s all gone. Today’s good thing is pistachios and at the rate I’m going now, I need some concrete answers on exactly when I need to stop. Before we enter some sort of pistachio tolerance red-zone and I become like that man whose skin turned orange from eating too many carrots.

Dark Ages

My coworkers are discussing working in PR at a time when the internet was nothing but AOL dial-up and transfer speeds of under 56k.

I remember being 13 and using CompuServe (Compaq’s version of AOL) to access two things- email to Angelkb2@CompuServe.com and The Official Beanie Baby Website. Quite frankly, I’m not sure there were many other options. Google didn’t exist.

I remember my sister Allison and I would come home from school, sit down and the computer and log in, then leave the room to let the homepage load for the next twenty minutes.

When I am eighty, people aren’t going to believe me.

Chop ‘Em Down

Found this article linked through Chron.com about how the use of soft luxury toilet papers are worse on the environment than driving Hummers, that Americans “consume” more toilet paper per capita than any other country, and that the green toilet paper “movement” (gross pun intended) was starting to catch on, citing this year’s Oscars as an example in which Mickey Rourke wiped his ass with 100% recycled.

That was a lot for me to process at 9:30 am. But there are some points I would like to make VERY CLEAR to the raw-skinned tree huggers out there:

1. This is going to be a hard sell. I’m quite convinced an entire generation of tender-skinned Americans is going to have to literally die off before we see any real change. Any premature forced transitions are going to be unpleasant at best. Imagine if the entire country were simultaneously quitting smoking.

2. Eco-Friendly brands are going to have to try really hard to convince us that recycled is just as good as the real thing. Not only will they be paying more to make an environmentally conscious product, they better pull out all the stops in their advertising/marketing budget. If they decide not to jump on the green bandwagon, they better get ready to call the media and plant a whole lot of trees. Either way, it’s going to be expensive.

3. If there is any threat that soft, virgin-tree-killing toilet paper is going to go away for good, I (and I’m willing to bet others) will be stock-piling that stuff like back in 1985 when they started marketing “New” Coke.

4. I studied abroad. I remember Spanish toilet paper. Vividly.

5. Hygeine. Americans like it. Other countries are stereotyped as lacking it. You make the inference.

6. (And I will try and state this as tastefully as possible) America has a fundamental problem with diet. Too much of the wrong things and not enough of the right ones isn’t just affecting our waistlines but the number of “smooth transactions” that occur throughout our body. It ain’t pretty. Just do a little research on the prevalence of IBS. The point being, there will ALWAYS be a demand for softer options, unless Americans fundamentally change the way they eat.

7. I don’t drive a hummer, let me have my goddam toilet paper. Give Americans a choice- soft toilet paper and energy efficient cars OR tankers and 100% recycled sandpaper. That’ll get the auto industry movin’.

Gritty Sheets

To me, hell is one big tile-floored beach condo that previous visitors have tracked sand into, and I am perpetually barefoot.
I’m also pretty sure it has glass block windows, like this:

All Things Falling Under the Category of “Old Enough to Know Better, Still too Young to Care”

1. Sunburns. This Saturday I was old enough to remember to put SPF 15 foundation on my face, but not enough to put it on the rest of my pale, exposed skin. After 3 hours working an event outside, I discovered a farmer tan beginning approximately 2 inches above my elbows and continuing like Indian rug-burn down to my knuckles.

2. Ninfaritas. Too good to care that they should not be consumed after dehydration and sunburn. Thanks to Ninfaritas Aaron and I are now BFF with Post Oak Ninfa’s waiter “Alejandro”. I use quotes as we are both convinced he is milking the Spanish thing and is really named Steve.
3. Eyebrow Waxing. Below is the #1 reason why I fear bikini waxes. Anything that makes my skin react like this can’t be good. All that pulling and ripping is probably going to leave me with saggy eyelids, but that is too far away and aside from the redness, don’t my eyebrows look damn good?

4. Screen Protectors. I have a bad habit of leaving my electronics naked and vulnerable to the rest of the world. My iPod screen is barely readable it has so many scratches, and my week-old cellphone has already been dropped and dented. As an act of desperation, I am currently keeping my cellphone inside an argyle sock in my purse to prevent the touch screen from getting screwed up. I might have to cave on this one and actually buy a case for once. Although the argyle really does class it up, I have to say.

Life Before EZ Tag

Only a handful of people know this, but I have a debilitating fear of toll roads.

When I was sixteen my mom made me drive the Bravenec girls to Memorial City Mall. All my life I’ve seen movies, TV shows, in-person episodes of angry drivers wishing death upon anyone taking more than 5 seconds to distribute their change into the money-counting recipticle. If it were unable to read one of your coins and consequently refuse to lift its gate, fire and brimstone were certain to follow.

So when my mom assigned me with this driving task, with the express goal of building my driving confidence, I was concerned. For fifteen agonizing minutes of highway 59 from Sugar Land to Beltway 8, I went over and over in my head exactly how it would go down. Keep change in cupholder. Move change to mom’s hand 5 minutes prior to toll. Transfer to right hand. Transfer to left. THROW! THROW! THROW! Drive like bat out of hell as soon as quarters all scan.

This is not what happened.

To begin with the first major flaw in this plan- I am not a good thrower. I have no arm muscle, whatsoever. Secondly, I am right-handed. Add adrenaline and pure idiocy to this and you have my rubbery fat left arm flinging through the window and approximately six quarters hitting the pavement, miles from the plastic lip of the coin machine. I felt like I was walking across the stage at graduation and had tripped. And was now flashing my entire graduating class and their families.

My mom is yelling “PICK THEM UP! PICK THEM UP!” while I am in shock and horror, about to cry and pleading with her for more coins to try again. I am yelling “what do I do!” she is yelling “we don’t HAVE any more change! Lauren what were you thinking!”

My sisters are in the back of the car laughing to the point of tears. After what seemed like a lifetime lived under the awning of the row of toll stations, my sister leaps out the back seat, collects them and places them in the bin. The chaos breaks and we continue in silence towards the mall as looks of “what is wrong with you” burn into the back of my head.

They have never let me live this down.

The reason I bring this up now is that around 2 pm today a Google Map was plopped on my desk, directing me to a client event on Saturday. It required Beltway 8 and had specific instructions on how much cash I would need for travel.

I could feel the butterflies- scratch that- bees, starting up in my stomach and in a Fight-or-Flight attempt I urged Google to reroute. “Avoid toll roads”? Yes please. The trip will now take you 42 minutes instead of 34. Wonderful.

It was about that time I had a moment of self-realization. Am I actually willing to drive an extra 8 minutes to avoid my irrational fear? How long will I allow myself to continue to be mentally sixteen?

Although apprehensive, I think it might be time. So tomorrow morning, when you are all cozy in your beds sleeping in on Saturday, know that I am facing my own personal demons and send me a prayer.

Maybe it will improve my aim.

Rodeo Conversations with My Dad

Lauren: “So are ZZ Top really old or have they just had beards a really long time?”

Dad: “Both.” Smiles.

Lauren: “I wonder when they are going to retire and become mall Santas”

Dad: “They would really scare some kids. Imagine the Santa laugh.”

Dad:
leans over closer with curled lip, “Haw, haw, haw, haw”

I love my family.

Abridged.

Rodeo last night, exhausted. Brain hurts, body hurts. No more turkey legs. New cellphone, Samsung’s iPhone. DVR cut off end of American Idol. Anger. Long bath, bubbles, Cookie Crisp. Will & Grace. Inner peace. Back of eyelids, more this weekend.