Monday, August 31, 2009

I Will Accept the Charges

Thanks to kindergarten kids who do things like lick the tables for no reason, I spent the majority of last week feeling quite crappy. So I was laying on my couch, doing nothing, when my phone rang. It was my friend Trisha with an interesting question. In a hushed tone she said, "Erin, I need to get your opinion on something. I'm standing here with 2 copies of The Bell Jar and I can't decide which to buy. One is more original looking and has her original artwork on the cover, but there's some profane writing in the back, just someone being stupid. Which should I get?"

After I advised her to buy the more original-looking book and simply cover up the profanity in the back, she thanked me and quickly hung up. And while this may sound like a strange phone call to you, it isn't strange to me. A few years ago, my friend Kristin called me fairly late in the evening and the conversation went as such:
Kristin: Air [one of her many nicknames for me], I know you'll have the answer to this. You know in Saved by the Bell, when they work at the beach club...
Me: Yea, the Malibu Sands Beach Club.
Kristin: What is the name of the boss at the club?
Me: Leon Carosi.
If you know me but at all, you are well aware that I absolutely hate talking on the phone. If I haven't talked to you in a long time or you have something interesting to say, I will most likely enjoy the conversation, but the hours of inane chatter that my gender is known for is not my thing (obviously, this is only on the phone...in person, I talk more than most people). That being said, I have realized that there are some phone calls I actually enjoy getting. I love that I'm the person you call when you want to know the most random, pointless information imaginable.

If you have my phone number and have not made use of the fountain of interesting trivia that is my brain, feel free to do so. If you don't have my phone number, well...maybe you should think about why that is.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Bittersweet Airwaves of SiriusXM

My new car (a college graduation present from my Daddy) came with a number of luxury items...one of them being XM radio. To this day, I have no idea how many XM stations there are...but I have a few presets I enjoy listening to. Most of my time is spent on "20 on 20" which is whatever songs are popular at the moment; there are countdowns at 12, 3, 6, and 9 every day in which listeners vote their favorite songs into the playlist. Sometimes it gets a little old because you do run the risk of hearing the same songs over and over. My other favorite station is "Pop2K" which is the music from 2000-today. If I had a nickel for every time I'd tuned into that station and heard BBMak's "Back Here," I'd be rich (which would be an amazing addition to the feeling of joy I receive everytime I hear that song). Also, if you're unfamiliar with BBMak, what the hell is wrong with you? However, I've had a slight problem with XM radio lately.

On a slightly related note, not all XM stations are completely unedited...which, as a huge enemy of censorship, bugs me. The way I see it, I'm not just paying for no commercials--I'm paying for more swears, too. But if we want to be completely honest, I'm not paying anything because the bill gets sent to my Dad (I'm willing to pay it, but who am I to deny him these joys of supporting me?). He closed on his house in Kentucky this morning, so he's a full-fledged Indiana resident now so I figure my bills keep him connected to me. That is the official party line.

I think it was back in July 2008 when Sirius and XM officially joined forces, to fight the evils of commercial radio that this first started happening. I was listening to the 20 one morning when I did not hear the usual rotation of music; instead, I heard some incessant chatter. A morning chat show...and not a good one, like Bob and Sheri. It's called The Morning Mashup, and it is climbing my list of irritating things at an unprecedented speed. Every time I think I have begun to tolerate some of their conversations, my ears are accosted by one of their promo commercials.

They have these little soundbites that play throughout the day (because apparently, it's not a commercial if it's for something that is available on XM), the soundbites are not only the epitome of staged (which always irritates me) but they could not be more stupid. These promos are scripted as though the Mashup DJs live together and face "typical" rommate issues, such as:
  • Nicole doesn't squeeze the toothpaste tube properly because she didn't grow up in the ghetto and can't comprehend using every last drop
  • Stanley is colorblind and thus accidentally mistakes Nicole's pink leg razor for the red razor he uses to shave his head
  • Something about skid marks in the laundry pile
So you get the idea, they're moronic. Do they think they're tricking us? Like I'm riding along in my car thinking, "Well I'd love to be the host of a morning show, but I'm not sure if I could live with the people I work with." I hate things that insult my intelligence.

Anyway, everytime the Mashup pisses me off too much, I quickly flip through the channels until I find something suitable. What station has saved me time and time again on my way to school this past week? Nineties on 9. You can rarely go wrong with 90s music. I think people give 80s pop way more credit than it deserves. A lot of it can be quite annoying. I'll take 90s over 80s any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

One morning I heard both the Backstreet Boys' "Everybody" and N*Sync's "Tearin' Up My Heart" virtually back to back! And yes, I have been taking pictures of these moments of salvation, in case I want to tweet about them later.

Don't you hate it when you flip over to another radio station only to discover that you've missed hearing the majority of a song you really love? I have no proof, but that might be a level of hell. All you do is sit in a car, stuck in traffic, and everytime you push a preset button you hear the last few bars of your favorite song. For the longest time, I believed I would never hear Destiny's Child (you know, back in the 90s, when there were 4 of them) sing "Jumpin' Jumpin'" all the way through on Nineties on 9. But the other day, it happened. I clicked on preset #3 to hear the end of some song and then, miracle of miracles, I saw "Jumpin' Jumpin'" appear on the screen. That's how I knew it was going to be a great night. If I had a man, I would've left him at home for no other reason than that song told me to.

So, I guess what I'm saying is that whenever SiriusXM pisses me off and I think, "that's it, we're through," it does something like this, and totally redeems itself!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Sound of My Own Voice

It should not come as any shock that I enjoy listening to myself talk. I mean, I have a blog for God's sake! I'm the first to tell you that 9 out of 10 bloggers are super self-involved (we are a proud people). I'm pretty sure I've mentioned that I get a kick out of reading what I write; I crack myself up. On a related note, I like it when people remind me of things I've said because I have the hardest time remembering all my witty remarks.

I came home from school (and Target, where I smacked the bejesus out of my head on a clothes rack...I mean, I just ran right into the thing) to discover my brother watching movies on the encore! movie channels. After I Heart Huckabees was over, he searched for more entertainment. Unfortunately, it was about 4 in the afternoon and there was nothing on. We debated several of the God-awful movie titles available to us and Will opted for the remainder of American Ninja 4.

Now I was nervous for a number of reasons: As a rule, I don't like to start watching movies mid-way through not to mention the fact that I had never seen the first three installments of the American Ninja series. Believe it or not, we caught up and now we're dying to see the first half of the film. I don't want to ruin it for you; you'll just have to check it out for yourself. While Will and I were explaining the film to Amy Jo, Will mentioned that he chose it because it appeared to be a Mystery Science Theatre quality movie with no commentary (other than our own). That's when Amy Jo mentioned that she never cared for Mystery Science Theatre because it was always a crappy movie with equally crappy commentary. I agreed and mentioned that I would rather listen to my own commentary. Amy Jo would also rather hear my commentary. I'm going to go out on a limb and say you would, too.

So if all my other dreams fall through, I plan on starting my own Mystery Science Theatre type program. But I'll comment on all movies. And TV. And books. And everything else. Basically it would be my blog...only with me talking instead of writing.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Quick Update

I've been really busy these past two weeks! I started student teaching today (it went great, BTW)...it's a lot of fun, but it's a full-time job. Elementary school starts so early (7:30 A.M.) so I've been trying to get to bed at a decent-ish hour, which cuts into my blogging time.

I do have a topic ready to blog about, but it probably won't happen until this weekend. I just wanted to let you know that I was still alive (that giant bug didn't get me, yet).

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Live Every Week Like It's Shark Week

I don't know about anyone else, but I've been enjoying the hell out of some Shark Week. I'll be honest, one of the biggest inspirations for me watching this year's installment of Shark Week was 30 Rock's Tracy Jordan who tells Kenneth to "live every week like it's Shark Week." As you can imagine, when I was listening to the radio last Saturday and heard them announce that Shark Week was beginning the following day, I got pretty excited. Combine my love of 30 Rock with the fact that my classes are over and I have very little to work on right now, and you have a recipe for a sincere dedication to Shark Week 2009.

So I've been watching things like Blood in the Water, a two hour special on the shark attacks off the coast of New Jersey in 1916 which inspired the film Jaws; and Day of the Shark which explains what causes sharks to attack and details a variety of shark attacks around the world. I've learned a variety of things this week...and I still have a lot of unseen footage on the DVR, so I guess there's lots left to learn. Anyway, while watching Day of the Shark last night, I thought I should share what I've been learning with my dear blog readers.

Blood in the Water was great for a multitude of reasons; not only were there reenactments, but there were interviews and testimonials with the reenactment characters...plus there were people in those old-timey bathing suits. Basically, this one Great White Shark attacked five people in a 12 day period off the coast of New Jersey. Three of the attacks took place in the same day, in a creek. It was messed up to say the least. What was crazy about this was that in 1916, no one in the US believed that man-eating sharks lived near the US. So, these attacks are happening and people refuse to believe it...and they keep getting in the damn water! And this one "shark expert" (Dr. Lucas) kept refusing to believe that sharks were attacking people...I really wanted to throw him in the water.

People had all these ideas of what was actually attacking people that were cracking me up! The second guy who got attacked had his legs completely bitten off! Here are some of the suggestions people had to explain what really happened:
  • He was attacked by vicious turtles. Turtles. You know, those slow guys with the shells that they curl up inside whenever they're scared. Clearly, those guys are responsible for biting off the legs of a grown man.
  • His legs were chewed off by mackerel.
  • The Germans were training and herding man-eating sharks off the coast of the US.
While all of those are awesome, my favorite is the turtles. I can't tell you how many things I've blamed on "vicious turtles" this week. It makes me think of Groundskeeper Willie yelling, "If I don't save the wee turtles, who will?" And then he comes out covered in turtles yelling, "Save me from the wee turtles!" The more I watched, the more I determined that sharks are unstoppable, killing machines. Seriously--they have no weaknesses. Not even kryptonite. After the first two attacks, there was a break for about a week or so and one of the guys said, "we thought maybe it was a once in a thousand year occurrence," and except for the fact that it had already happened twice within about two days, he was right.

So then I'm watching Day of the Shark and they're telling these shark attack stories. I keep hearing the phrase, "typically, sharks don't do this or that, but..." That's when I decided, maybe we should just stop using words like "typically" or "normally" when it comes to sharks. It seemed to me like they are mistaken about what sharks "typically" do. "Well, sharks don't typically attack people out of the blue, except for the thirteen times we're going to tell you about in this hour special." It kinda sounds like maybe, what sharks don't typically do is leave people the hell alone.

The entire time I've been watching these shows, I'm yelling at the TV, "Why do people keep getting in the ocean?!" Seriously, I want nothing to do with the ocean. Or the beach. I hate them. I plan on saving this Shark Week footage in case I ever have children. When my kids want to know why our family doesn't go to the beach, I'll switch on Blood in the Water. That's why. See, I can't just not tell them about the ocean, because then they'll be like those super sheltered kids who go buck wild once they get to college. I want my kids to grow up in a perpetual state of fear of nature and all its inhabitants. And that's why I'm going to be a kick ass mom.

Here's the other thing about all these shark attack survivors from Day of the Shark: they're all hell-bent on returning to the ocean. They get attacked by sharks, miraculously survive and then there's some clip of them right back in the ocean. And they all keep talking about how they can't be mad at the shark for just "doing what sharks do" and that they don't want the shark to make them afraid of going in the ocean for the rest of their lives. Seriously? Do they think anyone's going to give them shit about staying the hell away from the ocean?! "Dude, I know you got bitten by a shark while surfing, but quit being a pussy and just grab your board." If that is happening somewhere, allow me to go ahead and use some of that aforementioned kick ass mom wisdom and tell you that those people aren't your real friends.

One guy said he's convinced that the shark attacked him because he was wearing camo swimming trunks and therefore looked like a turtle; so he's just not going to wear those shorts anymore. The closest I got to anyone refusing to go near the ocean was this girl who said she doesn't go in the ocean at night anymore (because she got attacked at night). While there are lots of tips on what to do when attacked by a shark, the most effective tip is stay the hell out of the water.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Update: The Reflection Reaction

We have some breaking news on the Course Reflection front. I received an A in the class and on the individual assignment. And I also received a comment on the reflection.
I guess you'll have to click on it. But if you're too lazy, allow me to fill you in: Interesting.
That's it, one word. My reflection was interesting.

Maggie's reflection, on the other hand, received a few more comments...
I was really hoping that the comments on her reflection would involve her mentioning the Eighth Amendment violations. This one is much harder to read because it's so lengthy...
"There were readings in this class...the fact that you didn't realize this tells me a lot about what you actually read in the online classroom. If you don't actually read what is posted, then there is no wonder you were confused. You do not have to complete module 6 to complete module 5. If you don't have Office 2007 you could have bought it in the bookstore for $15 as I pointed out in the intro video."

So, that's that.