Monday, August 27, 2012

"He's not the Messiah! He's a very naughty boy!"*

    I’ve been in Omaha for a few days and having a largely splendid/relaxing time.  Potentially too relaxing. There’s something about being at my parents’ house that allows me to fall asleep on just about any surface—a couch, my bed, the floor—and get better, more productive, harder sleep than I get anywhere else. I used to think it was some sort of random carbon monoxide leak in their house. But now I think it’s just because I’m not working when I’m here, I have no deadlines and there’s air conditioning. Whatever. It’s been great. Last night I went to bed at 7:30 p.m. and didn’t wake up until 8:30 the following morning. That’s kind of pathetic and sick; but it’s also kind of incredible. I’m like a teenager again! (Actually, sleeping in my room is much like being a teenager again, since my Pink Floyd, Janis Joplin and Tori Amos posters are still on the walls/ceilings. It’s a very strange yet comforting atmosphere. Even more so if I can manage to ignore the doll I have with the eyes that flip open. But I just turn her on her stomach most nights or put a pillow over her head. No big whoop.)
My writing spot: parents' backyard. Imagine cicadas chirping and warm wind. And usually I'm sitting in the chair. Perfect.
    Anywho, today I went to donate blood. I’m a really amazing, saint-like human being, so every 5 years or so I give blood. On the years in between I try not to litter and occasionally donate clothes to Out of the Closet. But every now and then, when and only when I’m in Omaha, I’ll hook the Red Cross up with some of my precious, precious whole blood.
    Today I showed up for my appointment and got right in. It turns out that I was the only person that had shown up for her appointment, so I felt pretty special (read: self-righteous). They put me through the whole rigmarole of asking about whether or not I’d slept with the entire US and Filipino armies or if I was a hooker or had spent five or more years in Eastern Europe (I wish) or in jail and then got me set up for the big donation.
    Enid, the woman taking my blood, asked me if I was related to a Rouse that was a school teacher. I told her she was probably thinking of my Uncle Jim. Somehow this led into a conversation about Catholicism. See, it turns out Enid was all set to be a nun, but then she opted out of taking her orders or whatever after she wrapped up her convent schooling, and she went to nursing school instead.
    I asked if she was raised Catholic. She said yes. She asked if I was raised Catholic. I said yes. But then it became clear that only one of us was still going to Mass. Guess which one?
    So as she’s giving me a very gentle hearted but determined lecture on going back to The Church and spending more time at Mass, she starts poking around for my pathetic, slippery vein.  (Disclaimer: my blood is really awesome, but my veins are weak and spindly, and almost impossible to get at. So usually when people tell me I’m going to feel a “slight stick” I brace myself for something MUCH worse. It’s okay. I can handle it. Once, after a lactose intolerance test, I showed up to my table-waiting job looking like I had a serious heroin problem.) So after she told me to get ready for the stick, she said, “Uh oh.” And then she kept saying it as I proceeded to feel about 14 separate jabs in my arm.
[Here’s a brief side note for all phlebotomists and LPNs and RNs, etc. of the world: don’t say “Uh oh,” while you’re sticking a needle into someone. It’s not soothing. It’s panic-inducing, torturous, and gut wrenching. If that person has a fear of needles, it’s absolute hell, I would imagine. Luckily, I don’t care too much.]
Ooh...look how arty this photo is!

Enid put the hurt on me. But don't fret, the top two are freckles, not track marks.
    So while she stabbed me in the arm and told me I’d probably end up getting a bruise (she was right!), she asked me why I’m no longer going to church. I explained that I didn’t really like the fact that the Catholic Church was/is extremely homophobic and doesn’t treat women that well and isn’t too keen on people that can’t keep up with their tithing rates and disallows the “right to choose.” She acted all appalled and asked me where I went to church, as though MY church were the problem, and not the Catholic Church at large. Fine. It was definitely just my church and not the Vatican, the Bible or the numerous Catholic textbooks I read throughout 13 YEARS of Catholic schooling that espoused these things. I just signed up at the wrong church. My bad.
    At that point, I was intentionally looking away from my arm and focusing on the latte in my left hand. So Enid starting telling me about her roommate, Barbara, that had just died from what sounded like a combination of the flu, cirrhosis and the Ebola virus. Things were getting kind of awkward. Luckily, I enjoy things that are awkward, so I delved into the fate of Barbara like it was the last thing standing between Enid and I getting to know each other a little bit and me giving Enid a taste of why, exactly, I am no longer a Catholic (a story which would’ve probably made me into a hateful, vicious little bitch à la Regan in The Exorcist and made her intentionally spill my blood out all over the floor until I died à la Annie in Misery).
    After she FINALLY took the needle out of my arm, a very brusque, scary nurse approached me and told me to raise my arm over my head while she went for an ice bag. I didn’t feel sick, like I have in the past, because my dad told me that feeling sick during a blood donation is psychological and not physical. I AM A MASTER OF OVERCOMING PSYCHOSOMATIC ILLNESS. But then nurse number two wrapped my arm in red tape while talking on her cell phone and got mad that I wasn’t holding my arm in the right place.
    Meanwhile, Enid helped her strap an ice bag on my arm and recommended that I start going to Church again. I don’t think she meant that was going to make my bruising go away.
    I felt like if this were a movie Enid had to watch she would think it was about Mormons. She’d say things to Barbara (before Barbara died) like, “We Catholics would never push our religion on people like that.”
    Then I thought, well, Barbara’s been Enid’s “roommate” for 13 years. Maybe they were more than roommates and maybe that’s why Enid left the nunnery.
    And then I felt kind of sad for Enid. Maybe she’s been a closeted lesbian for all her life, and she couldn’t hack it in the convent because she knew she was homosexual. But then why didn’t she leave the church? In either event, the woman she’d spent the last 13 years with had died. And I felt bad for her.
    Then I pictured Enid telling Barbara that the Catholics would never have acted that way while snuggling up to her little, frail body with a big bowl of popcorn and some Twizzlers. (Enid did say she had to get back to Weight Watchers, though.) And that made me feel like maybe Enid had been really happy with Barbara. Or not.
    Chances are, Enid’s just an uptight Catholic with a needle and a message. And, not to sound like a bitch, but I’m already vaccinated.
*Monty Python's Life of Brian (Terry Jones, 1979). Of all the "greatest stories ever told," this ranks among my favorites.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

"To know how to dance is to know how to control oneself."*

    I make a lot of lists. It’s a longtime habit which started in high school, when I would channel my classroom boredom into either a. filling out and decorating my assignment book; b. making an alphabetical list of the United States and then putting a check next to the ones I’d been to; or c. making lists of anything from plays I’d seen to books I’d read. I’ve always made lists, and, based on what I’ve just written, it would appear that I’ve always been boring. Okay!
    This evening I read over my most recent “to do” list and decided to share it with you, because apparently I need attention or perhaps I just thought you’d find it amusing, as I did. 
My most recent to do list.
Here is the breakdown:
1. I think this is pretty self-explanatory. Note that I spelled “ants” like “aunts” because I suck at spelling words—even words I already know.
2. My car is squeaky clean, thank you for caring.
3. I haven’t dropped off my rent check yet, but I have to do it before I leave for Omaha.
4. Linked In: I did that thing where I accidentally invited everyone I’ve ever emailed to join me on Linked In. I did the same thing when I joined Facebook. It’s kind of great, because now I have a ton of people viewing my sad little resume on Linked In. But it’s also kind of awful because I invited people I don’t really know at all, and people that were cc’ed on emails I received back in 2005, and people I’d rather never see or speak to again for as long as I live. But alas, so far none of the psychos I’m avoiding have responded. Fingers crossed.
5. I got into Pasadena City College! But all the classes I wanted were already taken. Boo.
Numbers 6 through 9 are kind of self-explanatory.
  10. I have begun taking an Arnica supplement because my tendency to run into things is much too obvious: I am covered in bruises. I hope this works.
  13. I bought a turkey leg at Disneyland today and only ate half. But it cost $9 so I thought I’d bring it home and finish it here. But then I left it in the trunk. And I don’t feel like going down to the garage to get it.
      14. AT&T is the devil and I hate that company more than words can express. I don’t owe them $16 because I shut my service off 2/3rd of the way through the month. So I only paid $32 of my bill out of principle. But they’re the world’s worst pieces of shit, so they might send that bill to collections and destroy my credit just because they have time for crap like that, even if they don’t have time to answer a goddamned phone call. So I fucking paid it.             AT&T: 14. Lacey: 0
     16. I wanted to buy diatomaceous earth, which I obviously misspelled in a serious way. But it isn’t at Target and I really don’t think it’ll be at Trader Joe’s, so I guess I won’t buy it because those are the only places I shop. Also, I was feeling way too guilty about giving those ants a long, torturous death. Even though they might still eat my face off in my sleep. I am a perfect, Mother Teresa-type person.
     17. I want to figure out what people do with their free time on TV shows as a basis of comparison. Maybe through diligent study, I can find better things to do with my free time besides watch people on television. Circular logic, I know. But this is how my mind works. Unfortunately, from watching TV I've learned that people with spare time usually read legal briefs, drink one never-ending glass of red wine, bust criminals on the Interweb, or engage in sexual intercourse. Hmmm...this isn't helpful. No one is ever seen flossing, doing "girl" push-ups, or figuring out the best place to put the fan. Weird.
    Yeah, so the rest of that list is pretty basic stuff.  Just thought I’d give you a voyeuristic treat by showing you that I’m just like the rest of you sickos, except I have lists. I'm so great.

*This is a quote from Swing Time (George Stevens, 1936), one of my favorite Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers movies and one that I watched while making this list the other night (I may have also cried a little bit while I was watching it, even though it is in no way sad). I know it has no bearing on this post, but since I can neither dance nor control myself, it seems like it'd fit anywhere in here. I'm such a narcissist. You don't have to read this blog.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

"While the crickets clicked their cricky melodies, all the ants were fancy dancing with the fleas. Then up from under the ground, the worms came squirming around. Oh they danced until their legs were nearly lame. Every little crawling creature you could name. Everyone was glad. What a time they had. They were so happy they came."*

    So…my ants are back and they’re better than ever. They have multiplied in a way I wouldn’t have thought possible. My only consolation is that they aren’t as big as the ones in Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. Or aliens like the ones in Them! They were aliens in Them!, right? I remember that it took place in the desert and maybe they had an ant spaceship. I could be making that up, I suppose. But I doubt it.
Ants Fancy Dancing. (Lacey, 2012) My goodness but I'm bad at art.
    Actually this whole Them! vs. Honey, I Shrunk the Kids debacle is presenting it’s own kind of conundrum. See, in Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, if you’ll recall, the enormous ant in their backyard (actually not enormous because really they were small and the ant was regular size) was really sweet. So sweet, in fact, that they named him/she/it “Aunty” (clever name, that), and took rides on his/her/its back. 
Ron with Aunty in Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (Joe Johnston, 1989). (Photo)

    But in Them!, the ants were heinous and mean and made a weird sound to call each other and liked to kill people. So, since I learn everything from the movies, I’m not sure if ants are good or evil. On the one hand, if they’re good, I feel really bad about murdering hundreds of them (too late). But on the other hand, if they’re evil, they could be making plans to gnaw off my face while I’m sleeping. Well, the joke’s on them because there’s so much ant spray floating around this apartment, we’ll all be dead before they reach my face.
Them! (Gordon Douglas, 1954)
Creepy, catatonic kid from Them!
"I eat you!" A quote that is not in Them! and an image that is.**
    (I’d like to briefly mention A Bug’s Life, as well. Despite how dumb and boring I found that movie, the main ant character, Filk, as portrayed by David Foley, was kind of awesome in a way. I would be friends with that ant. But only if he were a cartoon.)
    I also have those ant traps that are supposed to be so clever: the ones that you set against the baseboards and then the ants go in and get the poison and carry it back to the nest and kill everyone inadvertently. But I don’t think that if those worked my ant population would have grown to 80 times its original size. Fuck you, Combat!
    Here’s another question: what the hell has them so interested in my apartment? I looked around pretty well, and I can’t find any food or poop or dead bodies lying around, so why are they still here? Aren’t ants supposed to have one function in life? Getting food and carrying it home, right? You know how people are always saying how amazing it is that ants can carry ten batrillion times their weight? I don’t think that’s so amazing. I think it’s disgusting and greedy and sick. But even if it were true, they aren’t finding any food here so what are they taking back to the anthill? My TV? Nope. It's STILL HERE!
    I have just received a tip from my friend Danny on a mysterious thing called diatomaceous earth. One moment while I check the interwebs for clarification.(Pause). Okay, I'm back. Oh god, this stuff sounds disgusting. A quote from Wikipedia: “Diatomite is used as an insecticide, due to its physico-sorptive properties. The fine powder absorbs lipids from the waxy outer layer of insects' exoskeletons, causing them to dehydrate. Arthropods die as a result of the water pressure deficiency, based on Fick's law of diffusion. This also works against gastropods and is commonly employed in gardening to defeat slugs.” This is intense. It sucks their life right out of them. Like a vampire or a Suck-Cut ("It sucks, as it cuts!").***
    I don’t know if I have it in me to do this. Maybe I’ll go get some more of those Combat things tomorrow. Sigh out loud.

*"The Ugly Bug Ball", a song by Richard M. and Robert B. Sherman from the movie Summer Magic (James Neilson, 1963). These two dudes were responsible for some really great songs (like Mary Poppins, The Jungle Book and The Parent Trap type songs) but they remain on my enemies list for having composed "It's a Small, Small World." On a side note, the description of the Ugly Bug Ball, as explained in the lyrics above, is coincidentally the description of my worst nightmare.
**You have no idea how annoying it was to go back and add the exclamation point after every reference to Them!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

"Don't ignore it, then. Talk back to it! Say, 'You can't do that number on me, Shit-for-Brains' or something like that. Otherwise it kind of weasels its way into your head whether you like it or not. What I'm saying is, you can't just sit there, you got to get pissed off."*

    Yet again I feel the need to give you an abbreviated rundown of my life, as I have no real points to make about anything and not enough (or maybe too much?) excitement in my life to siphon down into one solid point. So here are several “snapshots” of where my brain has been over the last few weeks.
1.     So I was in the waiting room of the dentist’s office yesterday when the World’s Most Annoying Human came in. She had long dark hair (dyed, clearly, since she looked upwards of 60) and she really wanted some new tooth-whitening gel. The receptionist said she would go in the back and look for the brand the woman was requesting. While 60-going-on-12 lady was waiting, she went over and knelt in front of the fish tank. She said things like, “Oh, you sweet wittle fishes! You so pretty! Oh, why you on you back, wittle fish? That’s not good!” I had to think it was for my benefit, because I was the only person in the waiting room and who the fuck talks like that when she’s by herself? It made me hate her. And it made me wish there was a T-Rex in the fish tank that could scare the shit out of her and her stupid I Heart Barcelona t-shirt.
This is what it would look like if a T-Rex lived in the fish tank. Lacey 2012. (8 million dollars)

2.     I realized recently that my shampoo and conditioner boast “lupine botanicals.” What?!? My shampoo is made from wolf extracts? I thought that was really sick and really awesome at the same time. But then I looked up the word “lupine” and it turns out it can also refer to a type of flowering plant. Bummer.
My shampoo.

But what's this? Wolf parts?

3.     My buddy Sam made me a pillow for my birthday that looks like this:
How great is this? Nebraska with a heart on Omaha!
It's very similar to my tattoo!
4.     I’ve decided I don’t care for Miley Cyrus. She said this in the recent issue of Marie Claire: “You always see the 70-year-old man driving the Bentley. He’s saved up his whole life and now he’s going to do something crazy. Liam and I are really lucky because usually people can’t afford to do the things we do. You should be driving the Bentley when you’re young and hot. That’s when you look dope!” Sorry, Miley. Not everyone is a quatrillionaire because they grew up as a talentless Disney tween. Sorry. Some of us earned our Bentleys (not me, obviously) through hard work. I think you’re an un-nice girl. I don’t like you. At all. And I think your teeth are freakishly small.
5.     Mike burned me a CD with a bunch of Prince songs! I love Prince! Prince, Prince, Prince!
6.     Em and Gabe got me paddle boarding lessons for my 30th birthday! Bucket list!
7.     My awesome BFF Michelle came in town over last weekend with her BF Danny. Michelle added a new word to my lexicon: maybe we can call transvestite ladies of the night in Hollywood Mandy’s? Get it? Are you an Amanda or a Mandy?
8.     The ants are back...but they've congregated in different areas of the apartment. One or two in the kitchen, one or four in the bathroom, one solitary soldier on the coffee table. What the fuck is happening? I'm washing dishes before I use them! What's going on??
*The quote, irrelevant as it may be, is from one of my favorite books: The Bean Trees by excellent novelist Barbara Kingsolver (who is also Gabe's auntie!). It sort of speaks to my current/ongoing need to express my frustration when people act like douche canoes.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

"When a good time turns around you must whip it. You will never live it down unless you whip it."*

    Hello. I’m in my thirties.
    I haven’t written anything in a while because I’ve been traveling and what not, so it’s not that I haven't posted because I’m old now and I’m depressed and shit.
    My birthday was actually kind of amazing. I went to Hollywood and spent some quality time with some of my celebrity friends.
Hef and I. He wanted me to be a centerfold, but I said I wasn't feeling it.

MJ and me. I was giving him choreography in front of a crowd of millions.
Darth Vader and I keeping it really real.

This is what it looks like if you're a tourist in Hollywood.
Then I ate a boatload of cake, courtesy of my mom.

Then I got a makeover from an 11-year-old.
Hard core side pony-tail. I was born in the 80's, to the 80's I shall return.

*"Whip It" by Devo. My mom says this song was played ad nauseum during her pregnancy with me. Ha!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

"If you're ever feeling blue then write another song about your dream of horses."*

    I spent all this afternoon and evening working on a blog post that just isn’t panning out. So…I’m going to talk about my dream, despite the fact that I hate it when people talk about their dreams. I’m a sorry, sick hypocrite. I apologize in advance.
    But anyway, I dreamt that I bought a horse and then quickly realized that I couldn’t afford to own a horse and had nowhere to put it. The douche canoe who sold it to me wouldn’t take it back, so I was fucked.
    I walked the horse all over my neighborhood, which, in my dream, was my parents’ neighborhood in Omaha—the one I grew up in. I went from house to house trying to find one with a fenced-in yard for my horse. And then I would put the horse in various yards and try to run away, but would always be caught before I could escape.
    So then I took the horse and put it in the backseat of my Honda Civic. I made it crouch down behind the front seats and I covered it with a blanket, so no one would see it.
    I don’t remember after that—I guess we probably drove out of town and died by the side of the highway. Or maybe I died and the horse ran free and ate a boatload of hay or oats or grass since I certainly hadn't been feeding it.
    There are many obvious symbolic moments in this dream, but all of them seem to involve me making bad choices and then shirking responsibility, so I choose not to delve any deeper for the present. You're welcome.
    Instead, I drew a picture for you:
Me driving with a horse wrapped in a blanket. Lacey, 2012.
    I’m driving to San Francisco and other points north tomorrow and will pass many farms along the way. Hopefully I will not make any unwise and irrevocably irresponsible purchases. 
*From "Judy and the Dream of Horses" (Belle and Sebastian). 

"Poor cat! Poor slob! Poor slob without a name! The way I see it I haven't got the right to give him one. We don't belong to each other. We just took up one day by the river. I don't want to own anything until I find a place where me and things go together. I'm not sure where that is but I know what it is like. It's like Tiffany's."*

    I spent the weekend in glorious, lesbian-friendly Minneapolis with my two best friends, Em and Gabe. It was really good and great and wonderful.
    Despite the fact that Gabe warned us repeatedly about the bike rack strapped to the back of her trunk, Emily and I each took a hit. Em took hers on Saturday. I didn’t get mine until I was tucking my suitcase into the trunk for the trip to the airport: always a weird event that puts me in a strange head space (at least, that’s what I’ll be blaming it on). So I smacked the bike rack down on my head, which then smashed my sunglasses onto my nose and cheeks.
    By the time we got to the airport, I had a sizeable, red circle/gash on my nose.  Yikes.
    Once I was in the airport, I’d forgotten all about it and couldn’t figure out why people kept staring at me. I thought maybe I was looking super beautiful. But my clumsiness escalated.
    Have you ever heard of that character, “The Manic Pixie Dream Girl?” It’s a stock character derived from the portrayal of Claire by Kirsten Dunst in Elizabethtown. Nathan Rabin, a film critic, came up with the term and describes it as this: “That bubbly, shallow cinematic creature that exists solely in the fevered imaginations of sensitive writer-directors to teach broodingly soulful young men to embrace life and its infinite mysteries and adventures.” You know, like Kate Hudson in Almost Famous and Zooey Deschanel in almost anything. It’s that girl who’s always spilling stuff and running into men with her clumsy yet pilates-toned butt and encouraging would-be boyfriends to roll down a hill with her and live in the now and smell the roses and never go to the doctor or to the bank or to work.
She's so UNIQUE! (500 Days of Summer (Marc Webb, 2009). Photo.
    I’m so not that girl. But I really don’t think anyone is.
    I smacked into four or five people trying to get my carry-on to my seat and then had to take up two carry-on spots in the overhead bin because I was “doing it wrong” and the flight attendant told me to just stop worrying about it. My poor arms were tired and no one had offered to help me, and I just wanted to sit the fuck down. The flight attendant asked if my bag had been cleared for “carry-on status.” She actually asked if I’d gone shopping in Minneapolis (I hadn’t). I did not hit any handsome men with my hind end, and even if I had, I don’t think they would’ve been so enamored of my expert clumsiness that they would've asked to fall in love with me.
She's wicked QUIRKY! (Almost Famous. Cameron Crowe, 2000). Photo.
    Once I sat down, I immediately fell asleep and ended up with my head on the shoulder of the woman sitting next to me. She was really nice about it. But she didn't ask me out.
    I jerked awake and got a bag of crackers during the food service and tried to bend down to get my book while holding the crackers and spilled half of them on the floor. The really nice flight attendant gave me a cup for the floor crackers. Then I repeatedly bumped my head and elbow into the nice lady next to me while I was picking them up. No dreamy looking men happened upon me during this time, entranced by my inability to connect food from my hand to my mouth. Weird!
She wants a PIGGY BACK RIDE! (Elizabethtown. Cameron Crowe--strike two--2005). Photo.
    After I got off the plane, I got stuck in several doorways with my bag and left a bathroom stall door unlocked enough for it to swing open mid-pee. No men there to be swept off their feet, unfortunately.
    I got caught in the elevator door in my building and then slammed my knee on my apartment door. Then I forgot that I had no towels in my bathroom and had to drip water all over the hallway after my shower.
    I’m not normally so clumsy. But I should’ve known things were going wrong earlier that morning when my shoe strap caught on Gabe’s porch table and yanked the whole table so hard that half of its contents fell on the floor.
    I’m pretty sure that if the Manic Pixie Dream Girl were a real person, she’d just be pissing people off all over the place. If I were on a first date with someone and they spilled coffee all over me, I’d think the date was going sort of poorly.  If someone showed up with a huge bruise over the bridge of her nose, I’d wonder if maybe she were a psychopath or the victim of domestic abuse, not assume that she was delightfully prone to running into doors and bike racks.
The original? Audrey Hepburn has Breakfast at Tiffany's,  (Blake Edwards, 1961). Photo.
    If these women were real, everyone would hate them, despite their "loveable" neuroses. We’d hate them for being late, for not having a real job, for not bothering to wear a bra or do laundry, for smelling bad and for generally being flaky and disrupting everyone else’s lives.
    I definitely got a sense of that when I repeatedly spilled on, knocked into, and upset other folks on the airplane. It’s not appealing, least of all to the person that’s right next to you. And I’m sure it would be slightly better if I looked like Kirsten Dunst or Audrey Hepburn or Kate Winslet. Because I’m sure that being exceedingly beautiful and charming or toothy and booby and having really clever, hippie-dippie things to say makes spilling hot coffee on someone’s crotch ALMOST tolerable. But I gotta tell you, it doesn’t feel plausible. It only makes sense if every word out of your mouth is scripted.
*From Breakfast at Tiffany's (Blake Edwards, 1961). Holly Golightly might be the original Manic Pixie Dream Girl, and I love Audrey Hepburn, but isn't it annoying how quirky and different she thinks she is? She's just an irresponsible bitch like the rest of them. Yeah, your freedom is super adorable and all, but you're really cramping everyone else's style, Holly. Just name the damn cat and shut up about it.