Curiouser & Curiouser

Life’s short. Get curious.

Halloween Escapades (Cont’d) October 30, 2008

But first –

I had to share this with you, as it’s got me mercilessly nailed-down:

I feel ya, Turn-of-the-Century Guy. Hang in there...

I feel ya, Turn-of-the-Century Guy. Hang in there...

Okay. Now, down to business.

Having resolved to go all out for All Hallow’s, despite the late start, we headed out into the streets of downtown last night for that all-important Trick-or-Treat necessity: the perfect costume. a mediocre costume. any costume at all!

As it was just two days before the Big Night, we knew we were in for a challenge. It was far too late for the make-something-witty-from-coffee-filters-and-a-glue-gun type of disguise. Sadly, we knew we had to go at least partially store-bought.

Our first stop: a popular trinket emporium known for its seasonal treasures. This smelled like trouble, however, from around the corner. The large store was both packed and picked-over. It’s stock was on the cheap side (which is fair – they’re not much about quality goods), and while I wouldn’t have minded seeing J in a mash-up of random costume accessories (“I’m a mustachioed Grecian pilot bullfighter…. duh”), the crowd was a little overwhelming, and we knew of a slew of costume retailers not far down the street.

So off we went.

Now, if this isn’t a commentary on the State of the Halloween Costume I don’t know what is: The area in which we went hunting next is, any other month of the year, a string of (for lack of a better word) sex shops. Each has it’s niche (the gay men’s boutique, the ladies (read: exotic dancers ((read:strippers)) shop, and the hippies-love-sex-too store (which combines the best of kink and smoking paraphernalia). This particular time of year, however, our shady little strip becomes a bustling mecca of Halloween retail. So enamored are we with dressing naughtily (although, I suppose this is not such a bad thing if we considered looking like tartlets to be a departure from our day-to-day dress) that we now buy our costumes where we buy our porn. (I mean, you know… if, hypothetically speaking, we bought such things).

It is a little fascinating, however, to bare witness to the obliteration of taboo. There I was scouring racks of tiny dresses alongside cleanly dressed college kids, other couples… even one mom and dad searching with their teenage twenty-something daughter. And we’re all shopping gleefully, paying little mind to the assless chaps and ballgags on the wall behind the counter.

And unlike picking through cramped, disorganized costume houses surrounded by screaming children and unable to find anything in my size, here I had a multitude of options and, I can’t lie, a damn good time trying out different ideas.

The one downfall – scary dude at Shop #2, which was still a little quiet when we walked in. He must’ve been bored, or really wanting to sell us something, because he followed us around the store hand-selecting ridiculous costumes for me. (We’re talking lame, two-piece Wonder Woman, skanky vinyl gold digger…) After a good hour looking over my options, I found myself imagining the impending frigidity of midnight in November and gravitating toward anything fuzzy and/or fur-lined (Frosty the Snowvixen? Hell yeah! And nothing says Halloween like Rudy the Rednosed Rein Dear!).

In the end, I left pleased with my choice. J already has something that will match it nicely, and I feel confident that we will make a fearsome duo Friday night. We’ll be heading to a street carnival that evening, and I promise thorough documentation (at which point our costumes will be revealed in all their glory).

My one regret? That we didn’t have time to make our own. But we already have our idea for next year, so I can safely swear off store-bought from here on out. We will, however, have to hold several costume theme parties to make the most of our purchases in the meantime. Check your mailboxes for invites in the upcoming months:)

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!

~a

 

Adendum to “Plight….” October 29, 2008

Filed under: bands,humor,love,music,thoughts — curiouserx2 @ 1:31 pm
Tags: , , ,

Yes, regarding the below lamentation about the difficulties of bringing the rock whilst being smitten: I believe the following t-shirt found at TopatoCo.com gives a tactful, but firm “Suck on this!” to those who might imply that the two cannot coexist. Problem solved:)

Cheers,

~a

Bring in the noise, bring in the love...

Bring in the noise, bring in the love...

 

Fairies Don’t Do Fleece October 28, 2008

Filed under: humor,life,parties,Special Occasions — curiouserx2 @ 4:26 pm
Tags: , , , ,

How could I possibly believe that we’d NOT partake in the festivities surrounding what is my second favorite special occasion of the year? (Christmas, yes, is first, but only because it’s a good three weeks of the world as it should be – it’s nothing to do with gifts; I sometimes find the day itself to be a bit anticlimactic). Halloween has enchanted me as far back as I can recall (dressed as a fairy with shiny, mesh wings and tulle tutu, my mother’s lipstick in little circles on my cheeks, protesting loudly because she was making me put a sweater over my costume that had a big, furry dog face on it, and there was NO EFFING WAY a fairy would ever wear such things, damnit!)

Here I am, 27 years old, my heart still melting over houses decked out in glowing orange pumpkins, faux cobwebs, garden tombstones and light-up skeleton hands emerging from front yards. (Sniff!)

I feel pretty good about our observance so far – my roommate and I held a pumpkin-carving party last weekend. You’ll recall from below (see “A Life Less Ordinary”) that we bought entirely too many pumpkins, so we had everyone over to help. Myself, I’m the master gutter. I’m fairly horrible at getting creative with the carving itself, but I am SO GOOD at getting my hands dirty. Something cathartic about scraping slimy, stringy seed goo from a gourd.

Anyway, so the evening resulted in 8 or 9 jack o’ lanterns on our front porch and all of us feeling a little sick from eating all things pumpkin (pumpkin bread, pumpkin seeds, squash soup, pumpkin buckeyes, pumpkin donuts, pumpkin butter – all washed down with pumpkin beer. And some random mini-candy bar things for good measure).

But last week flew by, and here we are on Tuesday and I still don’t have a Halloween costume. We’ve had some ideas, but nothing has stuck, and certainly nothing has materialized. (Although, I trust my roommate fully on this. Last year, no one had costumes. So we went to her house – the one I now live in – and using only items in her basement, we created an elf, a hockey player, a goth chick, a magician and Thomas Jefferson. Night saved.) I feel some basement diving is in order once again.

In the meantime, I was searching for ideas for the Gabe-man. He’s a fierce, little guy, mind you, but he does love a little clothing as he is almost completely bald. Besides, he was a very BAD little guy last week and gave me a scratch on the face (and after a massive hickey episode, J’s already known as my abusive boyfriend in certain circles and doesn’t need my dog to help cement this reputation.) So I’m flipping through possibilities on the internet and THERE HE IS! A dead ringer for Gabe decked out in all his Star Wars glory. Tell me this was not meant to be (revenge is sweet):

 

2-4-6-0-1!!!!! October 24, 2008

Filed under: music — curiouserx2 @ 2:42 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

THINGS I LEARNED AT LAST NIGHT’S SHOW:

1) I am HIGHLY distractable.

Not only was I unable to ignore the bizarre presence of not one, but several flash photographers (as much as I’d love to lead you to believe the paparazzi make a point of showing up where we do, this is not, in fact, remotely true), but I think I was actively sabotaging any great shots they may have had. I reflexively look away, down, close my eyes, make pained expressions. Anything to avoid the possibility of a good photo.

And, in the meantime, I am botching piano parts left and right, forgetting what phrase, verse, song we are playing. I see J’s roommate and am singing the “Berg slept in a hot dog” song in my head. I am contemplating possibilities that have arisen in my life just that morning. I am watching people walking in the door, balking at the cover charge. And I am f$%#ing up royally! (Fortunately, no one appears to notice, or at least they are too kind to acknowledge that they do).

This will not do. How can I give a genuine performance if I’m not even hearing (I mean REALLY hearing) the songs? This must be what it’s like to perform on Broadway, singing the same damn songs (even good ones, no matter) night after night, trying to remember that you ARE Jean Valjean or whatever and not thinking about whether or not you left the iron plugged in as you beg God via falsetto to bring your son-in-law back alive from the battlefield. Such is the struggle.

2) People in this town do NOT go out to see live music. And definitely not on a work night.

So maybe no more non-weekend shows. It’s disheartening to have three really great acts together in a swell, little club and to not be able to fill the room (or at least make it cozy). The crowd that did gather was generous and focused and generally having a great time (and thankyouthankyouthankyou A, H and P – our biggest fans – for coming out again and again. It means the world). But with all the hard work the bands put in to prepare for these shows, and all that undiscovered talent waiting to be unveiled to the masses, it just kills me that the citizens of this town seem generally uninterested in such things. In the future, we’ll be attempting some nontraditional gigs in hopes of reaching new audience.

In the meantime, I challenge you all to get out of the house one, two (by GOD maybe even 3 times!!) this month and catch a local band or two. Get some recommendations, browse through Myspace music (you can search your area by genre and listen to samples to pick out a band you might like), and explore your local music scene. Be prepared to listen like you would at a larger concert for a national act; these kids aren’t cover bands playing background music. They’re artists who really want you to hear not just what they’re playing, but what they’re saying as well. (That said, organizing a cornhole tournament in front of the stage, cheering overzealously for the football game on the bar t.v., and shamelessly making out at a front-row table are all strictly prohibited.)

Merry concert-going,

~a

(And now… Two HIGHLY RELEVANT 😉 episodes of Dinosaur Comics just for you….)

 

The Thing You Thought You Knew October 22, 2008

Filed under: dating,guys,humor,life,thoughts — curiouserx2 @ 8:19 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Now, about this much-hyped homecoming episode….

Thanks to a relatively tame Friday evening, J and I were up early and off to his college town (a quick 35-minute drive out of the city) by noon. When we arrived, his friends had gathered on the main thoroughfare in town for lunch. And, by god, they were sitting just outside of an ice cream parlour and despite the pleadings of the tiny angel on my right shoulder (homemade soup and salad joint),  I had frozen custard for lunch (Score 1 for the Devil on the Left).

So – powered by icy dairy product goodness – we set out to tour the campus.

Now for some context:

As an high school senior, pouring over the stacks of collegiate brochures that littered my mailbox (and let’s face it, the only real mail we get as teenagers), I had the distinct and deep-seated sense that University was my destiny, that I was cut from the cloth of leaf-strewn campuses with Tudor-style buildings (tweed! plaid! herringbone!!). That I would finally find my element in the dusty light filtering through leaded glass panels and dormitories warmed by flannel curtains and fireplaces.

Such sugar-glass idealism, you can imagine, was shattered quickly and deftly in the first few months of my freshman year. I found the campus, all right. Indiana University was picture-perfect, from its rolling, wooded campus down to the little stone chapel and cemetery abutting the ancient, hulking student union. But I quickly discovered that the student body did not share my (possibly absurd) vision of the college experience. An immediate falling-out with the few friends I’d made at orientation (due to problems with a male friend I don’t feel like going into) sent me spiraling into solitude. I was not making friends. I was not having fun. I felt betrayed by the school, by my own idiotic romanticism.

As a last resort, I found myself seeking acceptance via Indiana’s Greek System – the coalition of fraternities and sororities that monopolized social life on campus. I became increasingly indoctrinated with the idea that these people were superior, and I needed to be one of them if I wanted to improve my lot in the college life.

I attended frat parties (“You’re lucky to even be here”), subjected myself to heavy drinking as I sought the acceptance of these boys (“Your lucky I’m even talking to you”), and weathered shame on more than one occasion (“There’s no room in the house, girls, sorry” ((as three others passed us to enter)). “What happened between us last week, that was a big mistake. Sorry. Won’t happen again.” )

Somehow – and thank god – I snapped out of it sometime just after the New Year. I resolved to do my own thing for the rest of the year, and transferred to an urban university slightly closer to home. It was not what I’d dreamed of, and in fact, after my first year there, I developed quite the life off campus and was little involved with the school at all aside from attending the necessary classes and working at the student paper. I graduated unceremoniously, skipping out on walking the stage in favor of moving to Austin, Texas as soon as possible.

So there you have it: my nontraditional college experience (the variety of which I’d bet money many of you have also had).

Consider yourself briefed:)

Okay, where was I? Ah yes, so we strolled the campus that sunny afternoon, touring locales associated with  much harmless (er, relatively harmless) debauchery. And then we came to our final stop….. fraternity row.

Yes. J was a member (and a very active one at that) of the Greek System I’d so abhorred. Yes, I am sleeping with the enemy (but in this case, the enemy is so damn soft and cuddly ((F#$% I can be such a sucker for soft, cuddly things!)) I’d known this, in fact, and had actually written him off when we initially met. I thought I knew just what kind of man comes out of this system, and I wanted nothing to do with him.

As you can see, I gave him another chance (and have been continually kicking myself for almost letting him get away…) So, I decided, perhaps I needed to give this system that he honors so dearly, another look as well. (Let the record show, your author can sometimes take her desire to be open-minded to seemingly ludicrous lengths).

The tour of his old fraternity stomping grounds began safely enough. At his school, the frat houses had been dispersed back in the 80’s due to excessive trouble-making (vandalism, alcohol abuse… near deaths. You know.) By the time J was rushing, fraternities were only given large basement clubhouses in which to meet and cavort. They lived separately among the campus dorms.

After a quick break for Bobtoberfest (see “Dirty Deeds. Not So Cheap” below) we arrived back on campus to meet up with his fellow alumni brothers at a senior dorm room. Strange the difference 5 years makes. Walking up the stairs and into this room, I. Felt. OLD.

Scratch that – mature. I felt a wisdom of the ages I didn’t even know I possessed. (Sweety, darling, honey it is 40 DEGREES OUT!!! If you must where a dress, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD PUT SOME OF THOSE CUTE LITTLE WOOL LEGGINGS ON!!! And you, in the corner, I promise you that no amount of Franzia will get you laid if you pass out first! And to the girl running around having your picture taken with every person in the room – male, female, you don’t care. Put the camera down. PUT IT DOWN AND WALK AWAY. No one (not even you) looks very cute when they’re this drunk, and you are not having fun if you spend the whole night posing.)

We walk into this room, and the first thing I notice (besides the general disarray and abundance of stolen signs decking the walls) is that there seems to be white powder tracked all over the carpet. My first thought is that we’ve just missed a coke bust. Mais non. Closer observation shows a hole in the wall the size of a dinosaur egg (not velociraptor, mind you, were talking brontosaurus) – we soon learn that it was put there by one of the more bitter alums. (The same alumnus later crashes the party again and stumbles off to the bathroom in the back hall where he puts yet another hole in the wall) Beer pong ensues. More kids arrive, and the room fills like a sinking ship taking on water.

Feeling a little overwhelmed, but trying to maintain a good nature, I take a couple swigs of Goldschlagger directly from the bottle (you know, for old time’s sake), and someone hands me a strawberry-kiwi jello shot that tastes suspiciously like straight Kamchatka.

My college experience is complete.

J, I think noticing my apprehension, keeps close watch and promises we won’t stay long. While not totally comfortable, I am mildly fascinated by his relationship with the current members of his fraternity. They revere him. He is legend. And it’s a damn good thing.

There are so many kinds of guys that are given leadership or mentor positions in the fraternity system. The whole thing is about creating “families” within the system. You have “bigs” and “littles” and “greatbigs” and so on and so on. And the younger brothers look to their older brothers for guidance and protocol. So you have 18 and 19-year-old guys learning behaviors from either A) douche bags like the drunk guy who punched holes in the walls, or B) guys with a conscious and sense of responsibility and pride, who know all too well they are being watched.

I was worried that, seeing J in this element, I would lose site of the man I know. That he would devolve into some kind of loud, obnoxious, quasi-neanderthal, sucked-into-the-mob-mentality kind of guy. Not so. With his “family” he was warm, openly affectionate, charismatic and dignified (whilst having a damn good time, mind you.)

The party was quickly getting a little out of hand, however, so we did leave, joining one of the current students and his girlfriend on the descent from the hill down into town to a local club. We cozied into a large, round booth up in the front window and had ordered a drink when J’s current roommate (and also an alumnus) appeared outside (more accurately, threw himself against the glass, “Graduate”-style) glasses askew, dark hair more mussed than usual, an unidentifiable liquid splashed all over his sweater. We attempted to coax him out from the cold and into the restaurant, but when it became clear that was unlikely, J went outside in an attempt to talk some sense into his inebriated roomie.

As I watched the scene unfold sans sound (you can hear nothing through the glass, just watch their mouths move and observe the body language – like watching a very special episode of Dawson’s Creek on mute), J became achingly attractive, reasoning with his close buddy, winning him over and getting him to come inside for a much-needed glass of water.

At 2am, as the bars set us free, we climbed through the night back up the hill,  J’s roommate singing at the top of his lungs (“Berg slept in a hot dog, baby!”).  I recalled the evening’s events, and J’s valor and humor and kindness through it all. If this is what can be bred from a frat house….. well so be it. Like any institution, these male playgrounds of ritualistic camaraderie produce all types of man.

Most assuredly, I’m in love with one of them (despite everything I thought I knew).

~a

 

Dirty Deeds. Not So Cheap. October 21, 2008

Filed under: humor,music,parties,work — curiouserx2 @ 3:23 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Bobtoberfest:

A festive, sylvan gathering of co-workers and clients involving live music, entirely too much food, pyromaniac children and the merry drinking of cordials, sipping of seasonal spirits, right, so, the swilling of much alcohol.

I’m happy to report that not a single attendee rolled into the bonfire, and the boss was spot-on in his fronting of an AC/DC cover (as spot-on as Bon Scott ever was anyway). Aside from the presence of the creepy electrician who spent the majority of the night alternately stoking the inferno and following people to the port-o-potties, it was a cozy evening. (I mean, chatting fireside with friends as the sound of music spills down from the hill and small children launch into the blaze anything they can get their pudgy, little hands on – plastic cups, salt packets, utensils… the boss’s cat – what more can you ask for?)

The kegerator truck was a hit, as was the case of fine gin supplied by one of our clients. (Note to self: it is best not to prepare mixed drinks in the dark of night. Such things lead to nursing a headache and tasting like a pine cone the morning after).

Next year: full-armored jousting.

Or at least a giant, inflatable moonwalk. I think everyone would’ve agreed it was the only thing missing.

But this was only a fraction of my Saturday, a few hours serving as a brief time-out from the larger event-at-hand:

J’s college homecoming.

(To be continued…)

Derrty deeds and dare dun dert cheeeep!

Derrty deeds and dare dun dert cheeeep!

Throw another stump on the barbie...

Throw another stump on the barbie...

 

With the Band October 20, 2008

Filed under: bands,life,music,polls — curiouserx2 @ 2:03 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Good. Morning.

One helluva a weekend, and I promise to fill everyone in shortly. I’m waiting on some images from the first annual Bobtoberfest (which went off without a hitch, and was, I even think, a more polished-looking event ((granted – as polished as something called Bobtoberfest would want to be)) than I’d expected), and then I’ll be sure to describe this bizarre pastoral phenomenon to you in full. Somewhere in these two days we also fit in J’s college homecoming (which deserves an entire entry unto itself) and a pumpkin carving party at my house to round it all out. So, you can take this as a preview of this week’s writings-to-come.

But, the first issue of business this morning – the results of last week’s poll (the nature of which I promise never to post here again because I felt stupid posting it, so I KNOW you felt stupid answering it. Forgive me?). It ended in a tie between Music (the band) and New Artwork (and I use that term loosely).  So – to satisfy everyone who was gracious enough to play along, I present you all with an illustrated bit on the band.

I never intended to divulge many of the details about the band here. It is a major part of my life, so its presence was inevitable. Talking in specifics about it was not. But, people keep asking, so here’s just a sentence or two (or 20) of context for you….

Marchioness was not always Marchioness. We had our first show just before New Year’s 2008, in a tiny little indie club. We played in a low-ceilinged room with no discernible stage, but with an oak tree most definitely growing its center. Since that night, we’ve lost a bassist, added a viola player and named ourselves.

Because of the infamously fine nature of the line between clever and stupid, the band-naming process tends to be an uncomfortable one. A member brings to the table names they deem to be the former, and the other two members try not to laugh too hard when these prove to be more the latter. (There is only one guy I know who can spit out profound and timeless band names on call. These names, sadly, are better suited to a different kind of rock band, but are genius nonetheless, and appear to require no great thought at all on his part. I mean, Leaky Donkey?? Think about it…. now just try to NOT say it. And then try to forget it. Good luck).

Eventually, it came to the point where it was clear we’d have to leap:  Pick one name. Stick with it. I mean, how many bands can we think of that took (let’s be honest) pretty questionable names and made them household names, creative word combinations we typically don’t think twice about. Smashing Pumpkins is an obvious one. Presidents of the United States? The Toadies?

Granted, I can think of a few bands undone by their names (Toad the Wet Sprocket? Butthole Surfers? They didn’t stand a chance). And others who’s names are far more innovative than the band itself (I won’t go there so’s not to offend, but you know who you are….)

Anyway, at the moment we came to this point-of-return, I happened to be reading The Annotated Alice. I came along a passage where they discuss that The Queen of Hearts holds another position of royalty: Marchioness of Mock Turtles. The word Marchioness rolled off the tongue and stayed with me long enough that I thought I’d throw in into the hat (I’m a fan of the simple, one-word moniker). The response was if-y at best, but we looked it up on Wikipedia, and it turns out The Marchioness was also a leisure boat that hosted a birthday party for a wealthy, young heir in the late 80’s. Brimful with privileged, artsy types, it was plowed over by a much larger vessel, killing a good third of the revelers. Tragedy ensued. The incident became known as The Marchioness Disaster, and while that seemed like a mouthful, it would’ve made a great name. We decided, with it’s newly found intrigue, to stick with the shortened Marchioness.

So, there you have it.

Much to divulge about my experiences this weekend, but that will have to wait.

Until then,

~a