Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Funniest SNL Skit EVER!

I don't know if it's the accent, the ya'lls, or the fact that I can just picture this ACTUALLY happening, but Amy Poehler is a comic genius. Although SNL has experienced some diminished quality over the years, they are still producing some really funny gems. Enjoy, ya'll!!!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Spices & Diamonds

Compliments. Kind words. Encouragement. Whatever you decide to call them, these horses are quite monochromatic. All in all, these things are positive, helpful, and delivered with good intentions. However, at the same time, they can be somewhat overused.

Compliments are like spices. If overused, one may be over accustomed to their flavor and thus require more and more in the future. Or, even worse, the liberal use of spices/compliments can leave a bad taste in one’s mouth. But, one should always be cognizant of the fact that not seasoning whatsoever can make things become mundane or perceived as overlooked afterthoughts. For example, if one is constantly patting another on the back for the most mundane comings and goings, that person will not only expect them all the time, they will never truly appreciate an accolade for an exceptional performance. Also, unless you are actually talking to a child, abundant adulations can infantilize or patronize the beneficiary.

So, to avoid these negative perceptions of good-willed words, one must always be mindful of the timing, abundance, and sincerity of his or her compliments they choose to pay. Compliments should be like diamonds. Why are diamonds so valuable? Well, the primary reason is their rarity followed by their inherent beauty. (I think being genuine goes without saying.) Therefore, you pay a lot for any bling you sport. This analogy serves as easy a ham and cheese Hot Pocket! In terms of ‘payment’ the recipient of any gem or compliment must really earn it. More often than not, this translates into hard work or something about that person that makes them as rare as that diamond that old broad threw off the side of the boat at the end of Titanic.

Now, I’m all for positive reinforcement and enjoy nothing more than a kind word pointed in my direction. But, nothing is more annoying than a compliment that is empty. By empty, I mean lip-service rubbish that is the equivalent of serving a Medium-rare Porterhouse steak on the lid of a trashcan. So, the next time someone does a great job, first make sure it really was great! In terms of work, someone just performing their defined job responsibilities is just them doing the job (which they should be doing anyway). This applies almost universally, why compliment someone for something they should already do?! Exactly!

Anyway… Once someone truly has performed exceptionally, let them know via a card, email, smile, high five, simple ‘Thank you,’ a Two Thumbs Up, or sports-butt-slap. Some say, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” I’m here to say that, “even if it IS nice, you don’t necessarily have to say it.”

Friday, May 16, 2008

1 step forward, 3 steps back

California takes one step forward. Americans take 3 steps back. I recently read an article on MSNBC that California Supreme Court has legalized gay marriage. Personally, I don’t know exactly where I stand. The me that ‘was’ and the me that ‘might be’ possibly may have to come to blows on this issue at some point. The former understands exactly what marriage is (or was) and all of the civil, familial, and religious responsibilities therein. However, the latter might actually find someone that he would like to spend the rest of his life with and not just in ‘friends’ or ‘roommates’ capacity. But, at this point in my life, that seems like a story better told by some sort of Science Fiction writer... As of now, I am focused on the me that is (and more importantly, what 'me' thinks)…

There is an inherent mystery that some of the wisest words I’ve ever heard were immediately followed by a downpour of unforgivably unintelligent comments. One of the assenting stated, “Our state now recognizes that an individual's capacity to establish a loving and long-term committed relationship with another person and responsibly to care for and raise children does not depend upon the individual's sexual orientation.” Wise words. Unfortunately, these words opened the flood gates of stupid.

Plans have already been put in motion to revoke the Court’s decision via a ballot in November. I just am wondering what the driving force behind this fervor is. Why have groups banned together and invested their time, energy, and hatred to oppose something that doesn’t necessarily affect them whatsoever?! The simple (and stupid) answer is to protect the sanctity of marriage. Well, unfortunately, that ship is sailed so far away that it’s probably being explored by Ariel and Flounder on the bottom of the Atlantic. I read a comment on a related article stating that male and female residents of California will have to travel out of state to get a sanctified marriage. What the potatoes?! Sure, pack up and road trip it 5 hours to Nevada and get married by an overweight Elvis impersonator at 3 am on the Las Vegas strip. That would be damn sanctified. Also, be sure to RSVP to that wedding invitation that was conveniently packaged with the Baby Shower the following week. Or, stop by a Law Office that specializes in Family Law and witness two sanctified divorcees fighting over vacation houses, cars, and who gets Billy at Christmas.

I am so completely over the Sanctity argument, I have no words. Well, actually I do (hence the blog). I will, however, give my typing fingers and Blog readers a rest if these same groups go picket their values so conveniently wrapped in hatred at every shot-gun wedding that was the result of a busted condom, at every divorce hearing, and every chapel in Las Vegas catering to drunken fools 'in love'. Maybe, just maybe, then their argument would hold some weight. Ok, can someone give me a hand? (I don’t wanna fall as I step off my soap box.)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Where the $#%^ am I?!?!

Parents are like Yahoo! Huh? Yeah, that’s what I thought before I really thought about it… Don’t worry. This isn’t a crazy, reaching analogy. (Keep reading!)

As a child, your parents seem like these all knowing beings who can answer just about any question you may have. Mothers especially can seem to answer just about anything you can ask with 4 simple words: “Because I said so!” Now, that annoying finale to a line of questioning aside, it’s true. Until your dreams were crushed and life as you knew it was completely altered, your parents would manipulate you with the idea that an all-knowing/seeing fat man was judge and jury in regards to your behavior. For the weeks before Christmas, we were under Santa’s proverbial thumb via proxy. Conversely, we type words and phrases in one small text box and hopefully find all the answers to our questions. Whether it’s stocks, health, or celebrity gossip, Yahoo! knows EVERYHTHING! Most people put a lot of stock into what they read too, because Yahoo! said so.

Moreover, parents are A LOT like Yahoo! Maps. If you’re new to an area, on vacation, or going somewhere you’ve never been, simple directions, step-by-step instructions, and a colorful map are just a click away. Similarly, a huge chunk of life is exploring the unknown, experiencing new things, and, more often than not, being lost. Where will I be in 5 years? 1 year? Tomorrow!? The rooms behind the doors we haven’t yet opened are filled with… well, who knows?! Therefore, we lean to those who are older and wiser to offer us a little insight into what lies ahead. Most of the time, this happens to be our parents. Their advantage in years has, hopefully, garnished them wisdom on what one should and should not do.

Now, I love my parents and I love Yahoo! However, they both have their flaws. I don’t know how many times I’ve looked up directions with the intent to find the quickest, easiest route to a destination. Cut to me stuck in traffic, construction, and/or cursing at a printout that’s telling me to turn in 3.45 miles on a road that doesn’t exist! Blarg!

Although they may have seemed like it, parents don’t know everything anymore. They can’t anticipate all the bumps along the road. They can give you the best advice they possibly can and nothing more but pray for your safe journey. In turn, you can take or leave their advice. I don’t know how many times I thought I knew a shortcut and threw my directions in the back seat. Sometimes it works, and sometimes I’m scrambling to find the printout that I so heedlessly disregarded to the floorboards. I guess the one advantage of Yahoo! is that no one can say ‘I told you so!’ Point, Yahoo!

So, the next time you’re out on the open road (whether literally or along the lines of this cleverly constructed analogy), consult your resources, judge the validity of the disseminated information, and go for it.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Soundtrack 2.0

Ok, this is the LAST and probably MOST IMPORTANT addendum/additon to ‘Soundtrack.’ While some of the songs on the list are fun, plain depressing, or uplifting in their own right, this song is an unstoppably uplifting song that never dares be preachy or over-the-top. It’s simple accompaniment and poignant lyrics weave an ironclad message. The song is inspired by, but not exclusively encompasses, Martin Luther King, Jr.’s 1968 ‘I’ve Been to the Mountaintop’ speech. This was his last speech before his assassination. The songwriter, Patti Griffin (also Top of the World) artistically makes it universally applicable. When I listen to the song, I feel like the music itself is crying, and at times, I have cried along with it… Although, I don’t mean to sound morbid, but for the record, this is the song I want played at my funeral. So, if you have 5 minutes, I hope you will listen to this song and really understand the almost bittersweet message. (I’ve included the lyrics for your continued reading pleasure as well as to make this blog look like i spent more time on it than I did.)

I went up to the mountain
Because you asked me to
Up over the clouds
To where the sky was blue
I could see all around me
I could see all around me

Sometimes I feel like
I've never been nothing but tired
And I'll be walking
Till the day I expire
Sometimes I lay down
No more can I do
But then I go on again
Because you ask me to

Some days I look down
Afraid I will fall
And though the sun shines
I see nothing at all
Then I hear your sweet voice
Come and then go, come and then go
Lord, telling me softly
You love me so

The peaceful valley
Just over the mountain
The peaceful valley
Few come to know
I may never get there
Ever in this lifetime
But sooner or later
It's there I will go
Sooner or later
It's there I will go

Monday, May 12, 2008

A Random Rant...

Ok, so I would say more than ½ of the jobs in the market are customer service related. Unless you are an IT genius, mortician, work in a lab with rats, or print your own money, a bullet point underneath your job description says the words: customer, service, or customer service. Whether you’re a cater waiter or a high powered lawyer, your bread and butter is directly derived from your ability to help your clientele and, in essence, hold their hand and pat them on the head throughout whatever trial or tribulation they may have encountered. So, my question is, if this is true (which it is), why are so many people so bad at it?

One of my biggest pet peeves in this world is bad customer service. Nothing will spin me into a worse mood than that. I’m not expecting every retailer, waiter, or phone rep to make my day or shine like a million diamonds in the sky. But I am just reaching insofar as I expect decent service? I don’t think so…

When one goes to a restaurant, you are being served by people whose income is directly correlated to the quality of their service. Remember, waiters only make about $2.15 per hour. However, the amazing waiters or bartenders can theoretically take home an unlimited amount of $1s at the end of their shift. So, why be a bad waiter? Like I said, I’m not expecting these people to sit with me and feed me, but there are basic duties that should be performed: drinks should be full, food should be hot, needs should be anticipated. Sure the kitchen staff isn’t a room full of rocket scientists and maybe you just got triple sat, but should this ever be communicated to your table to justify your lack of service? NO! Making excuses is like pouring salt in a wound!

Also, look presentable. Unfortunately, this is a shallow world, so a very wise man once said, ‘you cannot help how you are perceived, but you can help how are you are presented.’ Every person on the planet should write this down and put it on their bathroom mirrors. It’s simple and true. No matter what you look like, someone somewhere will be judging you and making snide comments, but why give them the ammunition? Clothes should be pressed, hair should be well groomed, and is bathing just praying for a miracle? Don’t dress for the job you have, dress for the job you want. Walk into work everyday like you will be interviewed (cause, in essence, you are). I would NEVER expect a person who looks like they care very little about their personal presentation to care anything about the level of service they provide.

This is a really random blog. But, I guess it’s just me venting after a handful of bad experiences… a Wal-Mart checkout clerk who couldn’t be dumber if they were headless, a waiter’s idea of small talk is to B!t©H about his other ‘needy’ tables, and a gas station attendant who still wouldn’t smile even if she were on Space Mountain with Santa Claus!

That’s all folks. Drive safe, and tip your waiters (but only if they really deserve it).

Addendum to Soundtrack...

Ok, I am devastated that I forgot to add this one…

‘My Sharona’ by The Knack – This is one of my all-time favorite feel good songs. The beat and distinctive riff are as stimulating as an audible espresso shot. This is the kind of song that you totally pull a ‘Risky Business’ replay and strut around your bedroom shaking your money maker. This is also a great song to play when you wake up to get ready for the day. My Sharona is the kind of song that gets the police called on you for a serious noise violation…

Friday, May 9, 2008

The Soundtrack To My Life.

I was browsing through iTunes and came across a section of ‘Celebrity Playlists.’ Now, except for the fact that I’ve yet to make a blockbuster film, release a platinum album, or be a household name (operative word being YET), what makes these celebrities’ taste in music more important than mine? Nothing. Everyone loves music. So, I love music. The music I love might not all be winning any Grammy Awards or be on any Top 10 lists of any kind, but I love it nonetheless. When I listen to these songs, it’s like peeing your pants (no one gets that warm feeling but you!!!) That being said, whether I’m depressed, excited, about to go out on the town, in the shower, feeling nostalgic, or just driving, there are quite a few songs that elicit emotions.

So, here are a handful of songs that I think are the ‘Soundtrack to My Life’ (and how). Some are classics, some are not. Many of them are ‘guilty pleasures.’ (These are in no specific order…)

1. ‘Top of the World’ by The Dixie Chicks – Love them or hate them, this is one of their best songs ever, and probably my favorite song of all time. It was written by Patti Griffin, who is an amazing singer/songwriter. It’s about a dying man who’s looking back on his life with unbearable regret. Not very uplifting, but extremely poignant. It’s a devastating reminder to truly understand your role in this world and how just being you affects the lives of those around you. Plus, the instrumental music (especially the strings) almost brings me to my knees.

2. ‘Boogie Shoes’ by KC & The Sunshine Band – Whether it’s the background music’s swing or the downright fun theme of the song, I can’t help but smile when I play this. It’s one of those songs you sing to and dance around in your underwear when you’re (hopefully) all by yourself.

3. ‘Anyway’ by Martina McBride – During a VERY difficult time in the Boergers’ lives, this song came to me almost as a how-to manual of how to get through it (and any curve ball life may throw my way). I immediately had this song on repeat and encouraged anyone and everyone to embrace it as I did. When the chips are down and I feel like giving up or feel sorry for myself, this song is the epitome of uplifting. Its message is universally understood. I cry almost every time I hear this song.

4. ‘Candy Man’ by Christina Aguilera – This song makes me feel like I should have been born in the jazz age or that I could swing dance. The recreation of the Andrew Sisters’ ‘Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy’ is 3 parts Jazz, 1 part diabetic-sweet pop brilliance. I also appreciate how it sounds squeaky clean, but has razor-sharp (and almost scandalous) lyrics.

5. ‘Walk On’ by U2 – this uplifting anthem is a constant reminder that perseverance coupled with optimism can help you overcome so much. It also reminds me to not live in the past or hold grudges, and always keep my gaze forward (no matter what).

6. ‘The Way You Love Me’ by Faith Hill – Above all other country music stars, Faith hill is my favorite. Of all of her great songs, this remains one of my favorite. It’s musically fun and the lyrics encapsulate the act of falling and being in love and the indescribable bliss one feels when those feelings are reciprocated. ‘I only wish you could see the way you love me’ = priceless

7. ‘B.Y.O.B (Bring Your Own Bombs)’ by System of a Down – this is my angry anthem. It’s absolute hard rock jam with an unstoppable guitar that fuels this political outcry about politicians sitting in a big rotund room making decisions that they are so far removed from. The lead singer’s voice is the best of both worlds. He belts and screams, but at the same time can actually carry a tune with a voice that has an amazing timbre.

8. ‘I Don’t Feel Like Dancin’ by The Scissor Sisters – This is a pop-techno-rock group from Europe. Needless to say, they are less than renowned (unfortunately). All that aside, it blows my mind that a song with this title makes me want to do nothing but dance. This is like my 21st Century version of ‘Boogie Shoes.’ This song livens up everything from cleaning my apartment, to doing laundry, to washing dishes.

9. ‘Because of You’ by Kelly Clarkson – this is another depressing song. 1st of all, I think Kelly has an amazing voice. 2nd of all, this is very personal, painful autobiographical song about her parents’ divorce. Being that my parents are redefining the Hallmark Corp. outlook on true love, I have little empathy for this situation. Therefore, I try to sympathize with the pain that is transmitted in this ballad. This is probably my favorite song to belt in the shower. (PS – the remake of this song with Reba McEntire, as a duet, brought this song to a WHOLE new level I didn’t think possible!)

10. ‘Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas’ by ANYONE – all classic, Christian Christmas songs/hymns aside, this is my favorite Christmas song ever. The lyrics emanate classic movie romance, and (this sounds corny) just makes you feel warm. From the classic Judy Garland version to Sarah McLachlan’s rendition, every version of this song uncovers another facet of its greatness. When I listen, I usually picture the craziness that is fitting my entire family in my parents’ house, and realize that all of the sheer chaos is worth it. ‘Through the years we will all be together, if the fates allow.’ (I pray that is true). It could be the middle of July and I will still be listening to this song.

There are many, many more. But, these are the frontrunners and I will probably still love these songs 20 years from now. What would the soundtrack to your life sound like?!?!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Captain Quirk!

In response to my previous blog, my lovely S-I-L Abby informed me that I have quite a few other obsessions. She then, cited one that I feel was a bit of a misnomer. What she took as an ‘obsession’ of mine, turned out to be a quirk. Now, you may say “potato, potato.” I say, “Shhhh!” because you’re wrong and there is a distinct difference. Obsession lies in a small town on the Far East side of Weird. Weird is centrally located between Obsession and the very Western Quirk.

Things that fall in the realm of Weird/Obsession are almost turn-offs. These sorts of weird things make you make a face like you just vomited in your mouth and swallowed it really quickly (mini-throw up if you will), or the kind of face you would make if you were trying to figure out the square root of 68,743,895,543. For instance, (and I’m of course picking on you (you know who you are)) having an unnatural aversion to the feeling of certain fabrics… Personally, I have no idea where that technically falls, but probably some suburb in between Weird and Quirk (closer to the Weird border obviously).

On the other hand, quirks are cute. They are tiny distinctions or –isms that remind you of a person and a gem of their personality. They give you that little smile every time you think of that person or see/hear/smell (maybe/hopefully not smell) something that reminds you of them. Knowing someone’s quirks means you KNOW them. It’s much more defining than knowing his/her favorite restaurant (how generic), and closer to actually knowing what that person would order at said restaurant.

The list could be quite long, but here is a concentrated version of my quirks…

1. I brush my teeth in the shower.
2. I sleep on-top of my duvet with an old comforter and sheet from a drawer.
3. I only like chocolate in Ice Cream form.
4. I eat Skittles in twos. (Not just 2 at-a-time… 2 reds w/ 2 purple)
5. I wear two pairs of socks when I wear dress socks.
6. I talk non-stop on a regular basis, but refuse to utter a SINGLE word during my favorite show/movie. (If you talk, I will be upset).

Wh at are YOUR quirks?!?!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Obsessions & Fears, Pt. 2

In response to my sister-in-law’s “Sick Obsessions/Fears” blog, I have decided to echo her sympathies and share a few examples on how my mind works…

When it comes to obsessions, I feel like I have borderline OCD. From the moment I hit college (for some odd reason, it never took before), I became an insane neat freak! It has died down a little bit, because Hello! I have a life now. However, it still rears its ugly head from time to time. For instance, I like all products in my fridge, pantry, etc. to be faced. What is ‘faced’ you ask as you make a face? Well, my laid back friend, ‘faced’ refers to the fact that every label on every bottle, box, can, or bag should be facing forwards so that when you open the cabinet/fridge door, you see a splash of branding that reminds you EXACTLY what you have on stock! Genius!

When it comes to other around the house quirks my motto is, 90 degrees PLEASE! I very rarely arrange anything (furniture, magazines, pictures, ANYTHING) not on a right angle and/or parallel/perpendicular. Clean lines!

Other weird things include: TV volumes must be set in increments of 5, while my alarm must be set in a number ending in 1 (so that when you snooze, 9 minutes later, you wake up at an even time). They don’t call it the ‘right’ side of something for nothing. Having all these ducks in a row makes it that much easier for my head to hit the pillow at night.

Speaking of sleeping at night, there are a number of fears that I have that make that quite impossible. I have no idea where most of these fears are rooted, but nonetheless, they are my own personal hell. The list includes (but is not limited to):

1. Evil children (in film). The more general Children of The Corn, or that well-girl in The Ring, or just about any role Dakota Fanning has even been in with the notable exception of Charlotte’s Web (it was more about the animals).

2. Non-animated figures that are given human traits. This obviously doesn’t include characters of the Muppet variety. These are your less common ventriloquist/marionette dolls that are made to look like and act like people, even though they are not! Quite simply put Wooden Spawns of Satan!)

3. Anything that has more than 4 legs or none whatsoever! (Spiders, scorpions, roaches, snakes, worms, etc.)

4.Dropping things. Whether it is a priceless antique (don’t have a lot of those) or a paper clip, I absolutely hate dropping things. From the moment they leave your hand to the split second they crash, crack, smash (or any other variety of Batman Sound) on the ground, I am overcome with a split second panic attack (gasp and all)! Why? Who knows?!

5. I would come up with a 5th fear, because I like good, ‘round’ odd numbers, but alas, my mind is drawing a blank. Nonetheless, here I type to make it more visually appealing. (I guess this would be filed underneath obsessions though…)

Thanks for the idea, Abby!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Learning something new (about me) everyday...

Here are some things that you may or may not know about me...

I love to sing. This doesn't mean I'm that great at it, but lucky for you, you're hardly ever in my shower, in the car with me, or helping me clean my apartment...

I love everything about the grocery store, except the check out lines. I mean some are clearly marked '20 Items Or Less.' Cut to me standing behind a woman who decided to buy 1 of everything in the store...

I love to cry in movies. Honestly, almost every film from Stepmom, to The Lord Of The Rings, to Finding Nemo, to X-Men, to The Devil Wears Prada has made me shed a tear...

I like getting new things, but I hate shopping...

I spent three years of my life at an amazing University just to walk across a stage and receive a piece of paper that is about as useful as a car without an engine...

I like ellipses...

I am a social dichotomy. I crave attention and love being the center of it. But at the same time, I would be perfectly content sitting at home for days at a time watching TV and old movies and never speak to another soul...

I think anything looks good in black and white. Honestly, put Nick Nolte's mug shot in B&W and you could hang it in the Louvre...

I am whatever the absolute opposite of apathetic is. I would say passionate or fanatic, but it seems a little too watered down. "I don't care" is never an acceptable phrase. I believe I was given a mind to make decisions, when you stop... well that's when Hitlers come to power...

I watch reality shows just to see the contestants break down and cry...

I love learning useless facts and finding times to reference them later in actual conversation. I can spend hours upon hours on Wikipedia. I have learned more on that website than I did in 15 years of public school and college...

I want to stay informed about the goings on of the world, but TV News has commercial interruptions, the Internet is too distraction (hello? MySpace!), and newspapers make my fingers inky...

If complaining or arguing were an Olympic Sport, I would have been on a Wheaties Box by the time I could talk...

I ramble...