Holiday Gift Guide: No 4 - Condescending Book Club Guy

1. James Joyce for Dummies He knows he hasn't really read Ulysses. You know he hasn't really read Ulysses. He knows you know he hasn't really read Ulysses. Nothing says "stop talking" like giving the failed novelist this handy reference book.  2. Nicholas Sparks Box Set Wrap this up with some sunscreen and a card that says "Beach reading!" 3. So Long, Insecurity Self-explanatory.

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Holiday Gift Guide: No. 3 Sports Boss

1. BalletBoys Tickets - What a champ your boss is, huh? A guy who is always talking to you about "The Game" and who seems to really get a kick out of sweaty groups of men bumping up against each other in the name of sport. Well now you can give him the gift of his dreams - BalletBoy tickets! After all, who displays more outright athleticism than this all-male ballet troupe? 2. Ladies in Lavender Criterion Collection Fantasy Football is obviously just a front for your boss to spend so many work hours glued to his monitor watching his two favorite actors Dames Judi Dench and Maggie Smith in the lovely and moving tale of spinsters in a small Cornish village in the early 20th century. 3. Peyton Manning's half-eaten Taco Bell Beefy Crunch Burrito Now available on ebay. GET IN THE GAME!
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Holiday Gift Guide: No. 1 Smug Designer Friend

It's that time of year. When you begrudgingly give gifts to people who you don't really like.

Maybe it's a co-worker. Or maybe a boss. Or an in-law. Or maybe for Secret Santas you drew the one guy in your book club that never emotionally left his MFA program and turns the discussion toward literary theory when you just want to talk themes and eat snacks. In any event, now there's a lot of quarter-hearted gift-giving going to be happening, and you need to deliver something that will send the right passive-aggressive message.

If you've found yourself in a similar pinch, please take solace that you're not alone in your miserliness. Rather, find inspiration from these gift guides detailing ideas for the all types of people you unfortunately have to buy stuff for this year.

And now. Part I.

1. Edible Foraged Wood From Free-Range Pinyon Pine. Nothing says "I really care about responsible eating and want everyone to know it," like foraged wood. Pinyon pine has the nuttiness of Idiazabal, the scent of your neighborhood park and the texture of a wet gym towel. Delicious artisanal goodness. 2. Eames Rocker Earrings The most stereotypically coveted chair of all your design friends can now swing from their earlobes. Of course, they'd never be able to afford the real thing working freelance and part-time at their local bar, so now they can have a much smaller version. 3. Finfolk 1-Year Subscription Ever wish you could find a magazine that covered your dual loves of dolphins and typography? This magazine is just for you, I mean, your friend! Don't miss the holiday issue covering the latest in dolphin folk music, the saddening epidemic of dolphin ennui, and the how-tos of preparing small-batch seaweed. 4. Ombre Umbro The nineties are back in vogue, and so is ombre everything! OMG ombre! 5. Literal Infinity Scarf Heh heh. Heh. 6. Gold-dipped toilette tissue Since we're gilding everything in sight, why not toilette paper? (Toilette - it's French.) This will look so cute in their chevron-themed bathroom, dontcha think? 7. Dog that sets type What could be hipper than a typesetting dog? This dog knows his lowercase like the back of his paw. Order now, and your friend would even have time to have him typeset their letterpress Christmas card! Yip-yip, yip-yip, yippee!
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Soft Rock the Vote

I've been a little underwhelmed by both candidates this election cycle.

What happened to all the showmen? The rock and roll candidates? Rick Perry was a total nutter, but at least he kept it interesting. Herman Cain, you were marvelously entertaining.

At best the entertainment factor of this election has been in line with the jobs report. Dismal. If you're looking to be entertained, the Parties are where the parties are at. They're keeping it nice and spicy on both sides. You know, like in terms of crazy talk. FOX NEWS. LOOKING AT YOU.

But the candidates.
Beh. Reasonable, viable options. Almost zero crazy-talk soundbites floating around there this time. Boring.

Obama. Where's the pull-myself-up-by-my-boot straps bravado? Where's the spunk? The Children's choir singing original praises? Boring. Boring. Boring.
Et tu, Romney.

Since the entertainment value of this election season was pretty much annihilated after Mitt's nomination, it has to become about something else.

Now we are presented with a choice between two articulate, wealthy, fairly measured men, who at the end of the day are more moderate than their party wants them to be, who at the end of the day attest that they mostly both want the same thing - strong families, strong healthcare system, strong middle class, strong economy.

"I'll create jobs and improve the economy."
"Me, too."

"I'll help the middle class."
"Me, too."

"I'll provide affordable healthcare.
"Me, too."

Ad infinitum.

Two candidates who certainly don't agree on everything, but who do have a lot of eerily similar goals yet employ very different strategies.  They have very different, complex plans to get to there, but clearly, all roads lead to Rome. Not all roads will actually get you there, but that's where they're heading at the very least. So it really comes down to a few things:

1) Who you believe
2) Whose road to Rome you like better

So there it is. Whose plan, whose hypothesis, do you like better? Because that's all they are, hypotheses. Theories. I smirk when I hear both men make promises that they have no business making. Safety is not guaranteed. Nothing is. And past performance, though important and worth looking into, is not indicative.

Obama and Romney have both been closer on issues that their parties are comfortable with. They've both weaved in and out on policy in fiscal and social issues. They both have marvelous successes and failures under their belts. As I expect. They are POLITICIANS. I think people forget that. That's all they are. Not saviors, not Gods, and not ravenous demons either.

However, what these candidates have done is not as important as what they will do should either win the election. Just because Obama and Romney employed certain tactics and yielded economic "failures" and "successes" in years past, does not mean they will in the future.

Nothing is perfectly replicable. Even if the strategy and tactics are the same, external conditions (socially, economically, politically) have changed. The experiment will yield different results.

So we rely on who we believe and what hypothesis we believe. They have their hypotheses, their educated guesses, and that's what we have, too.

The choice of a guess.

Yes, I'm a bit I'm aggravated by my lack of choices (we have 200 cereals to pick from in the supermarket, but fundamentally 2 presidential candidates?) That's a discussion for later.

Back to:

a) who you believe
b) Whose road to Rome you like better

I believe both of them. Both of them are telling the truth (and lying, and spinning with the fervor of a doped-up Armstrong). Truth is, in spite of their utter boringness, and specific brand of un-truthtelling, both of these men are men I can respect. I could believe in either. Neither of them are the terrible, uncaring human beings their parties or any media might have us believe they are.

Obama is not the out-of-control-Neo-Keynesian, irresponsible socialist I've heard people swear he is. And Romney is not the feeble, uncaring, out-of-touch plutocrat. This is insultingly reductive. And you should be insulted, too, that you, as a political consumer as expected to believe such reductions. We are smarter than these stereotypes we're being fed, America.

And I will try to support and respect either candidate should they win.

But since I have the choice, I have gathered as much info as I can get ahold of (and attempted to verify, which is increasingly difficult in a world that scarily parallels the movie Network), and I will use my educated guess as to how I think we might get to Rome.

And I guess Mitt Romney.

I guess.

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Emmys 2012: Best Dressed?

STELLA!  Stella McCartney, Beatle-kund, can you be any cooler. 
Patricia Wettig, I mean Edie Falco,  you look wundabar in this.

Juliane Moore. You've sort of turned into a parody of yourself, but you do know how to clean up. Modesty suits you. Yellow for gingers!

Hey brunette girl! I have no idea who you are because the only TV shows I watch are Breaking Bad and thirtysomething, but your dress is a perfect amount of couture and I like it mucho mucho.

And let's not forget about the behind-the-scenes people here! The little people, who yes, are bigger than the big people, but you get the idea.

And here we have the uber-talented re-recording mixer Stan Freckets. You can't go wrong with a classic, my friend. A slimming black. A bold declarative statement.  Yes, you are a Jedi Master in this lovely ensemble. And then he went one step further towards fashion town with his pink hospital bracelet. Stan - your kidney stones didn't get the better of you. And fashion didn't either. Congrats.

Dave Smoot is killing it in this 1998 Old Navy striped polo. The heather-gray. The blue WWJD bracelet. And what a wonderful accessory in that  Eastpack backpack. He really nails the junior-high band teacher look. Definitely the best-dressed production-sound mixer the Emmys have ever seen. And he is really giving Louie CK a run for his money.

Foley artist Frank Hotdog stuns (STUNS!) in this black beanie and hockey-jersey combo. He gives new definition to casual cool. Frank - this is your night. This might may even surpass the night Queen Latifah mistook you for Dave Coulier and posed with you in front of the Kodak Theatre.

So, which of these fashionistas dazzled you the most?

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Ramada Rebrand - Jingle Ideas

Since my baby left me
I've found a new place to dwell
It's down at the end of lonely street
at Ramada Inn and Suites!

Welcome to the Hotel Ramada
Such a lovely place
(such a lovely place)
Such a lovely continental breakfast
(such a lovely continental breakfast)
Living it up at the Hotel Ramada!

If you like Hotel Ramadas
And gettin' in from the rain
If you like little bars of handsoap
And pastel landscapes of Spain
If you like makin' love at midnight
On 150-thread count sheets
Than Hotel Ramada is the one for you
Our senior discount can't be beat!
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High School Revisited: THE REUNION

You know what, it's been fun recapping DUH, CLEARLY, THE BEST YEARS OF  MY LIFE.

And I guess I have Dawson's Creek to thank for that in a roundabout sort of way.

But it turns out, the show is just not very good in light of other teen dramas (My So-Called Life, for instance). In fact, Dawson's Creek is pretty bad. I made it into episode 3 of Season 5 and I decided I wasn't even interested in seeing it into its final two seasons. Mostly because Joey Potter became completely intolerable. I sort of saw that coming.

Pacey gets more likeable.
Dawson is redeemed from a pre-collegiate life of whininess.
But that Joey. Still sullen and baby-voiced and just not so fun as a character. (This is still really fun to watch, though.)
Also, Mitch dies in an ice cream accident!!!

So, about that 10-year high school reunion.

I seriously debated flying back for the festivities. Like, looked up plane tickets and such. One of my BFFs is arranging the reunion, and would give me updates on people who had committed to attend. (Blair? I'd love to see her!)

Because I'm not on Facebook, I don't see updates from people in my Kansas past. Mostly I'm okay with that. But in light of the approaching events,  I looked a few people up.

Like the girl who I always played second violin to. Don't worry, she's a professional violinist now. I will literally always be second fiddle. I'm very okay with that though.

And the artsy girl who always made awesome comments in class and was cool without really trying. Cool concept jewelry!

What can I say, I guess I've always been interested in ambitious workaholic types.

But who knows who all these other awkward, Abercrombie-clad teenagers turned out to be!  That's really what's most appealing to me about a reunion. To see the ways people have changed and grown into themselves and are more comfortable in their skin. To see the ways in which they'd surprise me, and maybe had surprised themselves. (The homecoming queen is pursuing a doctorate in Homiletics and Liturgics? Surprising. Surprising and awesome.)

I want to get a look at all these people's presents, and futures. I want to see the cool things they're doing with their lives. That's a pretty persuasive argument for going.

That, and I got a smokin-hot post-partum bod to show off. Heh. Heh.

But just as I was nearing ticket-purchase, my present and future caught up with me. I was invited to speak at a conference in New York on faith and creativity. I guess I'm doing cool things also.

And although I am so excited to take my 5-month old son to see his mother's post-collegiate home, I will admit, I'm a little sad I won't be able to make it to my first home to see the people who are way cooler than Dawson and crew.

C'est la vie. I guess it's time to relive another time in my life via Netflix.

I hear She-Ra is on Instant Play.

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High School Revisited: A Letter From the Future

Dear 18-year old Adrienne,

First of all, congratulations are in order. You are still alive.You didn't succumb to leprosy or horrid death. The apocalypse has not yet come, though technically 4 months of the year 2012 remain so now is not the time to count your eggs. Possible Mayan Doomsday approacheth.

Additionally, you are not incarcerated.

For these reasons and more I applaud your transition in becoming A Successful Adult.

18-year-old Adrienne, I know you're on the path towards becoming a journalist. Might want to steer clear of that one. It's a long and winding road.

Turns out you still don't need to use math very much, so good job on taking the easy way out and stopping after Algebra 1. Don't be ashamed when you go to dinner parties and people make offhand references to theorems and other junk. You don't need to know that! And yes, you will go to parties where people will be talking about sine and cosine and other weird computerspeak.

On that note, you may have put 2 and 2 together (because that's math you CAN do) and figured out that you'll have friends who are much smarter than you. Learn to deal with this. You still do a mean mingle.

You will not be the valedictorian in high school. Or in college.

You are still blogging after 10 years. I hate to be the one to tell you, but you are no longer on Xanga. You are also no longer on MySpace. Of course, at 18 you don't know what MySpace is, but you're none the worse for this.

I know right now you think being grounded is the worst possible punishment in the modern world, but listen, get over it. Turns out you're going to be a bigtime homebody anyway. Embrace your introvert now.

Think really hard about this question - do you really want to spend $55 to see the Beastie Boys in concert? Wouldn't you rather save that money so in 4 years you could see Elton John, or even Paul McCartney?

Also, the time will come when you have the chance to attend a Elliott Smith show at the University of Utah.  You'll probably talk yourself out of it and do homework that's due the next day. Maybe rethink this - I hope I'm not giving anything away, but it could be his last show.

On that note, why not slow down buying compact discs. You never know.

Some financial advice now. You and a friend create a website your freshman year of college called ChipmanChicks.com (named after your dorm). You create profiles of girls in your hall, complete with posed pictures of each girl, detailing their interests, dating status, etc. You might seriously want to consider expanding this venture. Like, now.

You may not believe this, but you like Utah. A lot. You even bought a home there.

You may not believe this, but you married a Mormon boy.

You may not believe this, but turns out Dawson's Creek is sort of awful. Really, don't kid yourself.

Of the 101 Things to Do By Age 30 list, you have completed the following:

3. Be a creative director.
11. Become a mother.
19. Learn how to cook Thai.
42. Become well versed in cheese.
44. Go on a cheese tour.
48. Learn how to confront people.
74. Get a video game system that I can play Mario Kart on.
89. Hand make at least half of my Christmas presents.

Yet, you still have some nipping at your heels:

8. Go to Tokyo.
40. Take a puppetry class.
49. Do my genealogy.
66. Ride in a hot air balloon.
83. Meet Werner Herzog and give him a high-five.
90. Wear a jumpsuit well.
100. Play Balderdash with Paula Poundstone.

But you are well on your way to achieving perhaps the most important:

101. Be someone my 5 year-old self and 90-year old self would be proud of

Rock on, 18 year-old Adrienne. You do okay, kid.

Your Future Self

Also, turtlenecks. Probably not the best look for you. 

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High School Revisited: The Ugly Club

Waaay before there were Pacey, Joey, Jack, Andy, Jen and Dawson, there were the Uglies.

My friend Corinne and I invented The Ugly Club during some boring class in 7th grade. We made membership cards emblazoned with "UGLY." Members 000000000001 and 000000000002. For some reason, our young self-deprecation stuck. Though we weren't after exclusivity, we gradually added 3 more members, and that seemed to round things out. The Ugly Club was born.

These girls made high school life not only tolerable, but remarkable. And now, even after high school has long ended, and we moved to NYC, Nashville, Chicago, Kansas City and Provo, I still need them. They were smart and weird girls then and now they're the ambitious, talented, and hilarious women who still love dance parties, karaoke, snob food, book clubs, and very very inappropriate jokes. The TV dramedy I will someday write will be about them.

We did it, you guys. We lasted longer than the Spice Girls.

Here's to being Ugly.





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High School Revisited: In [My] Life, [I'll] Do Things Greater Than Dating The Boy on the Football Team

Back to Dawson's Creek for a moment now.

Remember that tortured "will-they-or-won't-they?" relationship between Joey and Dawson? Ladies - didn't you want that kind of thing more than anything? I certainly did. (Mostly because instead of drinking and partying, they stayed in and ate pizza and watched campy movies and danced around their feelings with the grace of Elaine Benes. Dreamy, huh.)

Spoiler Alert - I didn't find that kind of love. I doubt most high schoolers do. Instead I settled for relationships that at best just hinted at the kind of friendlove exhibited in the soapy teen series.

Friendlove - n. The overwhelming desire to have a tension and drama-filled relationship with your best friend of the opposite sex, secretly hoping that someday the unspoken chemistry between the two of you will reach some critical mass! and that you'll finally divulge your true feelings! and enjoy the best kiss of your young adult life. Romantic comedies are rife with this kind of lie.

My first boyfriend, of course, did not fit this category.


He was a fellow lifeguard at the pool I worked at during the summers. He was blond and tan and looked like he dived out of a Sweet Valley High novel - broad shouldered, blue-eyed, strong-jawed, cholorine-scented. He looked like the kind of guy who would've been named Brad, and could've easily pulled off hot pink swim trunks.

We met in the summer of my sophomore year and spent the long days frolicking in the water like tan, blond, glistening dolphins, subsisting only on young love and concession-stand soft pretzels. Of course, we were terribly unsuited for each other.

We spent nearly a year dating, though I'm not sure now looking back how that worked. He was sweet. In the way that vanilla ice cream is sweet. He played football, but the wrong kind (ie. American). He didn't think Waiting For Guffman was funny, so . . .  that should've tipped me off.  He was someone I was attracted to but didn't like all that much. His company was fine, and there wasn't much better at the time.  He ended up cheating on me with a senior cheerleader, an act totally typical! of a Brad who could pull off hot pink swim trunks. Very D. Creek, eh?

Next came the older guy.


If you're going to have a rebound guy, you want a dashing, charming, bad-boy type who will sweep you off your Doc Martins and make you forget all your troubles. Instead, I somehow stumbled into Mike. 

He was another "nice" fellow. Sensitive, mellow, go-with-the-flow. I could make him laugh and I liked that. Sort of passionless in his pursuits, except when it came to his jet-black Camaro.* In that area he was very, well, driven. Much of our relationship was spent cruising around at night in his car listening to Dave Matthews Band, his favorite artist. In hindsight, I wonder if he dated me to have a passenger-side accessory to his beloved car. Once again, slim pickings at my high school.

*I realize the Camaro +  driving for recreation +  Kansas upbringing makes me sound like I walked straight out of a John Cougar Mellencamp song. Oh gosh, did I?

Enter the guy I tried to fabricate friendlove with for over 2 years to disastrous results.


Troy. Not enough and somehow too much to say about this one.

He was kind of a Dawson type, even dressed the same, though it was no longer fashionable. With Troy I wanted friendlove, I wanted to (semi-consciouslyrecreate some kind of relationship modeled after the ones I saw in the movies. Of course, this was a unbelievably stupid thing to do, because I was not Joey Potter (thank heaven) and he was not Dawson. 

The thing was he was the one guy I liked a lot as a friend, unlike the guys I actually dated. This friendship couldn't be manipulated into more than friendship, to my dismay, and it ended badly. I am entirely to blame for this lack of romantic or platonic relationship.

Instead, I ended up kissing one of his best friends outside of his house. Oops?


= one of his best friends outside his house.

I hesitate to mention him, because it wasn't much of anything. However, it sort of was a game changer for me in terms of my taste in men. 

Nigel was the object of every smart girl's affection and the ultimate triple-hyphenate - sexy, cool, mysterious. He sort of(?) looked like Seth from The O.C.  and played in a band and carried a briefcase instead of a backpack. COUNTER CULTURE ALERT! He was a hipster before I even knew what that meant. He also wrote and performed his own poetry. Swoon. He was the antitheses to the football player, and a VERY welcome alternative. Of course, he was trying just as hard as they were, only he ran on a different platform.

It started with a month of hands-off flirting. Followed by an extremely brief and desctructive affair.

As the story goes, high school graduation came and went with no friendlove in sight.

I felt severely cheated out of a high school sweetheart and felt like I hadn't learned very much about relationships, except that I didn't like who I was as a part of them. I always acted false somehow. Probably because I was screwed up from too much television. 

Upon now watching Dawson's Creek with wizened eyes, it occurred to me that I was off the mark in even wanting a Joey/Dawson kind of love. Those two were probably the most static and irritating characters on the show and their friendlove soon began to cloy. Pacey Witter was much more the interesting character. I digress.

But thank goodness for college, right? It's where you get to repent for all your high school crushes and relationships and actually go after guys who you like for the right reasons and who ignite something in you that makes the both of you better.

And in the end you do much, much better than a Dawson, or a Pacey.

Or I did, anyway.

Did you hear that, high-school Adrienne? You'll get an improved, true version of friendlove. You'll get the real-life filmmaker - articulate and hilarious and passionate. He'll love Waiting for Guffman, prefer math rock to anything resembling Dave Matthews, hate to go swimming, hate football even more, share your love for antipasto, and very organically use words in conversations that would have even stumped Dawson.

And you'll never believe this one. He'll be blond.

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High School Revisited: Your Hairbrush Is Mine

But first. 

You know that 98 Degrees song - I Do (Cherish You)? In this song, Nick Lachey recounts a moment with his lady - "your hand brushes mine, and a thousand sensations seduce me." Well, I always heard "your hairbrush is mine." Common mistake. 

Now that that's out of the way, enjoy these photos of friends and associates from the years of 1997-2002. Thanks for sharing your finest moments. 

Hair from the turn of the millenium, (excuse me, Willenium)!

and the winner is. . . . .

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High School Revisited: Wash Your Hair Once, Every Two Weeks

I am so excited to share the abundance of high-school hair photos I have received from you all in the last few weeks! There are so many embarrassing/good ones, it will be hard to narrow them down. I am now just waiting on a few gems before I post.

In the meantime, I have a word or two to say about Dawson's Creek hair.

1. Mini butterfly clips
2. Mini ponies
3. Mini bangs
4. Straight cut hair
5. Bowl Cut v. 2
6. "Frosted tips"
7. Gail's fried-out coif
8. Large barrel curling-iron-bangs
9. Dawson's haircut, Season 1
10. Dawson's haircut, Season 2
11. Dawson's haircut, Season 3
12. Dawson's haircut, Season 4

Man, there was some BAD hair in the early 2000s, especially in Seasons 1-2 of D. Creek and in any scene with Chad Michael Murray.

Who am I to judge, except that I have eyes?

Or rather, ahem, who am I NOT to judge?

I may not have gotten voted Most Humorous or Most Likely to Be a Crazy Cat Lady, but my hair will live in infamy in the pages of the 2002 SM West yearbook.

And that Josh Lutz guy? He's looking like he could walk onto the set of Season 5, no problem.

(If you googled yourself and found your name on here, hi Josh Lutz! Remember me! Your fellow hair hottie! Remember how we used to sneak into pools late at night? Remember when you were dating my best friend? Remember the Alamo?)
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High School Revisited: Musica, pt. V

MEMORY: I am the only person I know who likes Kate Bush. I got really into her about junior year. Yes, she writes songs about classic literature and is complete dork, but what can I say, I found her dorkiness inspiring at that age. And nowadays it's fabulous for karaoke.

MUSIC: (I have dreams of dancing to a shot by shot remake of this video. . . so fun)

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High School Revisited: Musica, pt. IV

MEMORY: I owe a lot to my dad's record collection. In addition to The Who and The Beatles, he loved Elton John. He'd often sing along to songs from Madman Across the Water and Goodbye Yellow Brick Road  and I sat there watching him in awe, seeing this part of him come unlocked. It was a rare and wonderful sight to see a play-by-the-rules attorney dance around to this flamboyant singer-songwriter. Before long, I fell in love with Elton too.

Only later, as an adult, did I realize how prolific and influential he really was as I rarely found a song of his I didn't find totally original and memorable.

Honky Cat is the one I loved to dance around to in my room the most. And I still do.


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High School Revisited: Musica, pt. III

I remember being 12 and on a schoolbus headed to the Dallas Temple for my first temple trip and having this CD in my Discman and playing it over and over and over again rather than socializing. This was around the age I started to actually get lost in music. I know that's a figure of speech, but I don't mean it figuratively. I think I listened to August and Everything after more than any other album in middle school probably, except for all The Beatles stuff. Man I loved that record.

But every man I have ever dated has HATED Counting Crows. Guys seem to dislike them as much as they hate the movie Shopgirl.

Sometimes when I'm driving alone, I still like to jam this in the CD player and sing along at the top of my lungs to every 8-minute long song.

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High School Revisited: Musica, pt. II

MEMORY: Pretty much every weekend in 7th grade was spent watching one of the three following movies - Empire Records, Welcome to the Dollhouse, or Baz's Romeo & Juliet. I immediately fell in love with R&J, and also the music that accompanied it. (Including the Radiohead b-side Talk Show Host.) I remember watching this movie over and over again and crying my eyes out. And really, really digging the soundtrack, especially this pop-treat from The Cardigans.


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High School Revisited: Musica

let's talk about [music] baybee
let's talk about you and me
let's talk about all the good [songs] and the bad [songs] [in Dawson's Creek]
let's talk abboouut [music]
let's talk about [music]

So, there's actually no Salt N Pepa anywhere in Capeside, at least that I remember. But there are a lot of other goodies. Or there were at one point. I think?

Quick note to producers of all future television series - buy DIGITAL AND STREAMING music rights!

As if it's not offensive enough that they changed the iconic Dawson's Creek theme song from Paula Cole to some forgettable Jann Arden ditty, they failed to secure 90% percent of the music rights for Netflix streaming. This is nearly as heinous as the soundtrack switcheroo in The Wonder Years. Joe Cocker soundalike? HISS.

Yes, Dawson's Creek music was saccharine and waaaay too literal, but it was deliciously zeitgeisty. And I kinda liked it. (Not as much as some people, cough, who made like 20 Dawson's Creek soundtrack albums during high school, and probably still listen to them. No offense.)

Now let's play a game.

Dig up musical relics from years past - playlists and mix CDs (and tapes, if, like me, you still have them) and see if you still like the music.

Is it listenable or embarrassing?

I'd like to give my 16-year old self a high-five. 99% of all my high school tunes are still solid. I sort of bombed in the high school fashion department, and dating department (more on that later), but I am proud to announce I accumulated a CD collection that would make Kurt Loder proud.

Pre-internet, pre-napster, I spent a lot of my time in Borders (R.I.P.) with Casey, combing through Q and NME, soaking up everything I could get my hands on and buying anything with a sampler CD.  I seriously absorbed all kinds and genres of music during the years of 8-22.  Which is why I am seriously unfrigginbeatable at Music Scene-it. 

Because I was so indiscriminate, I had lots of stuff - the entire Beatles catalog and gangster rap and 60's boy bands and 90's boy bands. (Yes, I went to an N'SYNC concert. And I'm not sorry.) I owned Three Dog Night and Snoop Dog.  I crowd-surfed at a Lawrence music festival to Everclear and immediately after walked over to hear Wilco finishing a set. I sung along to Howard KeelTo me, Arrested Development is a band.

What the musically schitzophrenic.

Yes, I had my share of youthful indiscretions. I finally cleaned out my stuff from my parent's house last Christmas, and I had a lot of strange albums from high school that I have no recollection of purchasing. Manic Street Preachers? Jellyfish? Save Ferris? Big Bad Voodoo Daddy? Hoku? How did you guys get in there?

Some people say scent offers the strongest recall for memory: but for me, it's music. Anyone?

The best part about looking back musically is you get to relive some key moments.

Throughout this week, I'd like to share some musical moments with you, starting with the very first cassette tape I purchased. This goes way before high school.

MEMORY: Dancing in a hot pink and black spandex outfit in my front yard in the early summer, making up what I'm sure were some killer dance moves for a 7-year old.


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High School Revisited: I'm Never Last Picked, I'm Popular

In high school, popularity is often defined by where you sit during lunch.

I sat at what was perhaps the third tier table in our cafeteria, but I wasn't anything remarkable in terms of notoriety. No one really spread rumors about me. Boys didn't really have crushes on me. I wasn't part of the Friday-night elite. I never worked at Sonic (which was cool again, why?). I followed rules and went to church and stayed away from the cheap beer the cool girls guzzled by the gallon.

However, in the microcosm of lunch-table land, sure, I was in the right zip code.

As social currency is concerned, I was fairly upper-middle class: 4-years of varsity soccer. Prom Court. A few boyfriends (more on this later). Bleach-blond lifeguard in the summer and in the fall a pretty mediocre cross-country runner. My oldest friend in the world was the Homecoming Queen. My other friends dated older guys and enjoyed adventurous escapades in Cancun and in (wow!) Westport. I suppose I was popular as much by association as by merit. An insider who felt like an outsider.

It would be fair to sum up my social experience in high school this way: I often felt like an ethnographer. I was the wallflower who wasn't exactly leaning against the wall, you could say.

And every day in the lunchroom I ate my brown-bag cheese sandwiches next to their pizza and Mr. Pibb and nearly every weekend I hung out alongside them at some anonymous upperclassman's party where I barely spoke to anyone besides my 4 best friends. These parties were disappointingly similar to ones in teen comedies, complete with keg stands and letterman's jackets and hot tubs and parents collecting car keys at the door and all the other Midwestern American tropes. How's that for depressing.

And I just - listened.

Observed. Silently psychoanalyzed.

According to those same teenage tropes found in every teen comedy, you always need a villain.
The problem is, I can't do skewer the popular kids for being exclusive or rude or holier-than-thou. They were always kind to me, the rare times I chose to engage with them. They weren't the smug, vapid, backstabbing type. It was far from Mean Girls.  They weren't A students, but they weren't D students either. They were cute and nice (if a little bit bland) and thin and well-manicured. They didn't ever exclude me, though I often excluded myself. (Why am I here? What am I doing at this party?)

So yes, I suppose I was popular in some people's minds. But what did it really get me? Really, where has high school popularity really gotten anyone? It's such a weird concept anyway if you really think about it. Especially now that popularity has taken on a slightly new meaning now that it's actually become quantifiable. (You have how many facebook friends? How many page views?)

I don't think popularity is anything to strive for. And honestly, it was a waste of time then, too.
No matter how cool you are or are not, you still eat your lunch at a folding vinyl-top table with macaroni noodles strewn across the floor and your Eastpack backpack at your side.

Everyone is kind of a dork. Or at least they see themselves that way. (Prompting them to write really bad "I wear a mask. . . " type poetry. More on this later, too. Lucky you.)

Yes, I had friends who were the all-eyes-on-me types of the lunchroom. But more importantly, I had  friends who got up on the cafeteria table and sang Hava Nagila at the top of their lungs. I'll take that weirdness and authenticity over popularity anyway.

In that sense, a high school reunion is tempting to me. Are the cool kids doing anything cooler than the non-cool kids? Likely not. Have they also come to the conclusion that their high school popularity really didn't matter in the end? Likely so.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a lot of terrible formal dance pictures to comb through with my super-popular husband.

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High School Revisited: I Was a Graphic Tee(totaler)

Have you looked through your high school yearbook lately? If you haven't, don't. Trust me, it's not pretty.

I recently made this mistake when we moved into a new home and I decided that packing really meant stopping to try on every outfit, read every note, and look through every photo album. This also meant revisiting my high school yearbooks. GOLDMINE.

After wasting spending a few choice hours with my nose in a Jostens, all I can say about the fashion is this - Abercrombarf.

The late nineties introduced us to such wearable oddities as the overall dress, visors, platform sandals, spaghetti-strap tank tops, cargo shorts, cargo pants, cargo everything, the renaissance of the bucket hat and jean jacket, and the phenomenon simply known as the "graphic tee." I'm sure I'm forgetting others.

I wasn't totally immune to these styles. There are plenty of photos of me in my overalls, my long-sleeve Abercrombie & Fitch tees, my American Eagle tank tops. 

(However, there are more photos of me in tie-dye. So. . . I may not be the poster girl of Y2K teen trend.)

Aren't we lucky to now live in a time of lookbook.nu and Asos and J.Crew! 

Wait a second. Wait just a second.

What's that in the D. Creek credits, Seasons 1 and 2?

"Wardrobe by. . . J.Crew!"J.CREW?

Sacre bleu!

Is it possible that the same company that created arguably the best pair of jeans ever, dabbles in couture, and teams up with the likes of THE Sartorialist also outfitted the likes of Dawson and gang?

Granted it is a totally different world out there, one that's introduced a new species of narcissist called the Fashion Blogger, and one where I show up to church wearing the same outfit as the 14-year old girl I teach in Sunday School (and swallowing the hard truth that it looks better on her. Forever 28, more like it). 

Still. This is kind of shocking, J.Crew. I trusted you.

But people grow up, including my favorite East-Coasty wardober. And it's okay. I guess. Maybe these faux pas are necessary steps to greater clothing choices. And after all, who knew that Michelle Williams would graduate from Jen Lindley mohair sweaters and become probably the cutest-dressed female celeb out there. 

So, after spending waaay too long looking through my yearbooks, I had to be honest with myself in the end. One of the best things about these yearbooks, and D. Creek, is they are a reflection of that time.  I laughed and cringed at the gross jeans Joey wears and Dawson's uniform of short-sleeve shirt over t-shirt. But who am I to judge? I still wear tie-dye, and blouses that Jared says make me look like a cast member of Designing Women.

So learn your lesson, fashionistas -  don't be so smug about your current choices. Stop the photo-gloating of you in your newest and brightest. That J.Crew outfit you love so much may seem just as silly in ten years.

That Urban Outfitters outfit will certainly seem so.

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High School Revisited: The Sacred & Profane Memories of Adrienne Aggen Cardon

They say you can't really ever go home again. But can you ever go back to high school? Or I guess the question now reads, would anyone in their right mind ever want to go back to high school?

My 10-year high school reunion is later this summer, and I'm sitting squarely on the fence. I'd like to really want to give it it's due diligence before I decide. In my next few installments, I'll reexamine some of the finer moments and minicultures of high school.  At the conclusion of all this, I'll make the decision whether or not to attend my reunion. Seems logical, no?

I blame Dawson's Creek entirely for this experiment.

(Plus, guys, I've been so patient in waiting to use the James Van Der Beek gifs.)

It's recently debuted on Netflix Instant Play and it's thrown me right back into the golden halls of SM West. Notwithstanding the show's exasperating dialogue (wherein everyone speaks like an MFA student -"apoplectic?" you're 15!) there are some surprisingly nostalgic moments, replete with 90's alternative soft-rock ballads that I have come to know and love.

A second-viewing of D. Creek has made me wonder - do I have any unfinished business? Just lurking in my closet, like a pair of baggy bootcut jeans?

Would I benefit from attending such a reunion?

I don't want to wait, for this blog post to be over, I want to know right now, what will it be?

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I quit my job this week

I'm back to freelance work. But not after I have my first summer vacation in 6 years! Booyah, 9-5 jobs!

We had some good times, Creative Services, didn't we? Map-making! See you at dinner! Kranky-Franks! KMC! Creamery Outlet! Formal Fridays! CS Video! Appleshop!

May 2011 Class Photo:
Tyler (honorary CS member), Dallas, Danielle, Ayumi, Amanda, Julie, Natalie, yours truly, Austin, Sam. Not pictured: Alison, Amber, Patty, Christian, James, John, Salvael.

Now, about that summer vacation. . .
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Mother's Day No.1: Dreams

The things they don't tell you about are the dreams.

 #1. Milo is accidentally dropped at the top of an escalator. In horror, I watch him tumble down the sharp metal stair structure. Wake up in a panic and go check on him.

#2. Milo falls into a bucket of lead-based paint. (How did I know it was lead-based, which has not even been manufactured since 1978? I just did.) Wake up in a panic and go check on him.

#3. Milo is flying a tiny, Milo-sized biplane. He is wearing old-timely flight-gear. He crashes into a sand dune a la The English Patient. I run to the crash site. His tiny plane is in flames and he is covered in grease and smoke and debris. He tries to crawl out, but sadly for both of us, babies don't learn to crawl until 6 months. Developmental disaster! Wake up in a panic. Relate the story to Jared, and can't decide if I'm terrified of the dream or if I think the idea of Milo in a biplane is cute.
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Sleep Studies

There's always the same tired joke.

During downtime with co-workers, and at dinner parties with would-be friends it's always the same old song - couple sleep habits.

She takes all the covers. He snores. She kicks in her sleep. He thrashes about violently. She wants her space. He always wants to cuddle. And so on.

Who knows why we end up revealing such intimacies around practical strangers, but for some reason it's just barely within the limits of appropriate table-talk and people feel compelled to tell it how it is.

I'm well aware of this trope, but time and time again I've found myself confessing that I totally do weird things in my sleep, like manage to consistently turn the bedsheets 180 degrees. Or wake up wearing one sock. That if I had my way (and often I do), I'd sleep like the extended version of the Vitruvian Man. That I frequently talk in my sleep, saying weirdo things to Jared in plain, daylight English like, "Our love transcends space and time."

(Now that there's a baby involved it's gotten a bit crazier. Turns out, when you're a new parent/zombie, your sleep schedule undergoes major surgery. Now it's augmented to a 3-1 x 3. That's a 3-hour stretch of semi-satisfying slumber followed by 1 hour of awake. Repeat 3 times.)

So we all sleep. And we all have interesting stories that accompany. If I tell you X funny story about my sleeping arrangements, then somehow we've shared some moment of utter humanness. If I can make the table cough with laughter, all the better. If I put you to sleep with my sleep story, bad on me.

Maybe it's that we're trying to find something both unique and universal to discuss. We want to relate using this most basic human experience, and at the same time disclose this intimate memorabilia for those acquaintances we're trying to woo into our social circles.

For how often I like to joke about the repetitiveness of these jokes, I always love to hear them, even from people I mostly just tolerate. There is something beautiful about sleep stories. There is something even more beautiful about sleep.

Sleep is total honesty. There is zero pretention in sleep. You are what you are. You are in loose-fitting, shapeless clothes of the "Team-Building Exercise '99" variety. You are without makeup. You are without shoes. You have limited control over your occasional snoring or flailing of limbs. You are arguably at your most vulnerable. Apt to blurt out things hiding deep within your subconscious when you are defenseless against your own mouth.

Sleeping next to someone is a scary proposition. To share it is the ultimate act of trust. To share limbs and sheets. To literally share dreams.

And since people only pick a few, or perhaps just one to ever share sleep with, it feels exciting to hear how others sleep.

She likes to eat English muffins during bouts of insomnia. He sleeps like a corpse. She has recurring nightmares about her teeth falling out. He sweats when he sleeps. She likes to cuddle. He likes to be the inside spoon. She once sleepwalked to the kitchen and fell asleep cradling a baguette.  And so forth.

I guess I'll take the same tired stories.


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Experiment: The Nightgown

Perhaps no article of clothing is more matronly than the nightgown.*

A trip to any catalog-era department store will confirm this. Row after row of high-collared, flannel or felt frocks evocative of curlers and rose-scented bath salts. The wearers comprising a strange dual-demographic of grandmothers and 7-year old girls - females nightgowned in the stages of femininity more concerned with softness and chocolate chip cookies than out-and-out hotness. The little-girl/old-lady set. Characterized best perhaps by the Olsen twins.

And yet. . . .

Something classically appealing about them, these gowns of the night.

Perhaps the name. Nightgown. Gown. It actually sounds so elegant. So glamorous, it makes you want to enter the room in grand sweeps of tulle and chiffon peignoir like a 50s screen queen. Standing with one arm draped over your own shoulder in sake of false modesty, while some handsome broad-jawed bachelor sips a martini. Shaken.

This is truly an article of clothing that always makes an entrance. At least if you are in a Hitchock or Howard Hawks movie.

So what happened to this relic of mid-century sleepwear? How did it fall so far, as to now only occupy the closets of the senior citizen crowd?

So anyway, I got one for Christmas. Yeah.

It was purely functional, I assure you. Turns out when you are carrying an extra 10-15 pounds on your front-side the mere thought of an elastic-waisted pj pant makes you nauseous. You need room to breathe. You need that belly space. You need a nightgown, or on second-thought, a toga. Or upon third thought, a sheet with a hole for the head.

I think the last time I wore a nightgown it was emblazoned with a very large New Kids on the Block logo. And I looked fabulous in it. And that cherub Joey McIntyre looked good on it.

But finding a nightgown in 2011 that felt comfortable without being matronly was a bit of a challenge. Turns out they are very, very out of style. LL Bean carries a few varieties. Lands End has some. The supply at JC Penny could only be described as plentiful. But none of these are what you'd call stylish.

My mother found one for me at Kohls that fit the bill. Functional, comfortable, v-neck, cranberry colored, knee-length. Not grandmotherly or childish.

And I will testify, gloriously comfortable. I don't know why people even bother with the restrictive waistband of the two-piece set. Why endure such discomfort!

I'm pretty sure that when Eliza Doolittle (Audrey Hepburn) exclaimed "I could have danced all night!" it was because dancing all night in a nightgown was so dang comfy! She really could have danced ALL night.

I say, bring back the nightie. And I really do think it won't be long. The depression-era lingerie found at Anthropologie and Asos (which Jared very rightly calls Miss Hannigan lingerie) has already made its comeback. I figure the flowy nightgowns of Bewitched can't be far behind.

So take your mannish old-navy flannel pj pants and throw them out the window!

Let's bring back the comfort! Let's bring back the glamour!

*Not counting the muumuu, which is undoubtedly part of the nightgown genus, so not that it matters anyway.

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Alt Design Summit

While I guess I'm announcing things, let me add another to the list in case any of you are interested/going:

I'm speaking at Alt. this year.

I get to hang with the other speakers like Design Sponge (aka Grace Bonney), the co-founder of Pinterest (pinteresting. . . ), Design Mom, and of course my dear old friend Hunter Sebresos! And I'll get to meet lots of other impressive creative types. Or, let's put it this way, they get to meet ME.

I'll be speaking on how design, craft, fashion, and deli meat bloggers can use basic ad principles to differentiate and strengthen their brand. "We're all Mad Men" is what I'm calling it (even though I very much dislike the show of the same name).

Are any of you going? Craft Queen Alison Faulkner will be going. . . . in case that persuades you.

I'll be there the morning of Friday, Jan 20th, if you want to see how a pregnant woman tries to channel Don Draper. Or Peggy whatsherface.

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Experiment: Growing a Human Being

This was tucked inside my fortune cookie last month: 
Soon = 3 months. Maybe too soon. Sort of surreal. Always feel weird announcing personal things, because what more can you expect than a "congratulations." And congratulations, though well intentioned and sincere, never feel like enough when I'm on the giving end.  Pregnancy announcements are like sympathy cards in that way - not a lot of options of things you can say.

So can I solicit some nontraditional congratulations? You know, like "Best wishes on your Asian son." 

Or a name recommendation (boy).  For instance, "Jean-Luc Pi Cardon." 
Because after all, he probably will come out bald. And if he's anything like his father, articulately nerdy.
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