31 October 2008

Halloween History & Philosophy, Make-Ready Style

It is Halloween y'all. And if you live in the Pacific NW, you know what that means. After a week of lovely, lovely fall weather and unseasonably warm (low 70s) temperatures, it turned suddenly cold and rainy last night--just in time to secure the tradition of big bulky coats obscuring cool costumes, turtlenecks under princess dresses, and dads carrying big golf umbrellas and travel mugs. I know that I am sometimes given to hyperbolic statements, but believe me when I tell you that I can't remember a Halloween when my hopes for decent trick or treating weather were not dashed at the last minute. I remember one year it was so windy that I kept considering the possibility that I might actually blow away. (You know, like Piglet in the Blustery Day story.)

Luckily I was blessed with a mother who downplayed the whole dressing up thing, and played up the getting candy thing, so I was often dressed fairly last minute in a costume that I didn't care very much about. My mom dressed us for comfort and warmth: sensible shoes for maxium distance, layers for optimal heat. Even our trick or treating routes through the neighborhood were carefully planned so that we could do half the neighborhood, come back home and drop the candy we'd received (and maybe have a hot chocolate) and then head back out with a lighter load, but without having lost valuable time or energy due to backtracking.

The costume was never the thing. And so costumes could be functional. And since my parents' planning resulted in fairly large candy stashes every year, my brothers and I were not likely to complain. It was clear that they had a plan for success. This explains why I allowed my mother to dress me, for instance, as a lumberjack (complete with a full black makeup beard) when I was 7, and also why I was never a princess, a bride, a fairy OR a female superhero. It may also explain why I absolutely refuse to costume myself now. The only reason to do it in the first place was to fleece my neighbors of their sweets. Once the opportunity to do that passed, there was never a good reason to do it again. (Well, once. I DID wear a costume for the Spirit Week pep assembly lip synch contest my junior year in high school--devoted readers might remember this story--but that is the only time I have put on a costume since the last time I went trick or treating. When I was 12.)

But don't misunderstand me. I'm not all, "Bah, Humbat" about Halloween. I celebrated by baking cookies for my classes and showing them episodes of Making Fiends. And tonight the family will gather, and Blake will probably carve some pumpkins, and my mom will make some fondue, and the kids will run around and scream and eat too much sugar and stay up too late. And I am going to try my hand at doughnut making--since homemade doughnuts seem like a seasonal kind of foodstuff.

But I'm not passing out candy, whipping up maple frosting, playing with baby Hank (in a giraffe costume, no less!), or eating liquid cheese in a costume. And I'm certainly staying indoors.

16 October 2008

Speaking of

Qwanty and social networking sites. I told her a long time ago that I would write on the following subject. Maybe now is the time.

So, there were these two guys that I knew growing up--Stace and Lance. They were older guys (probably 5 years older) who lived in the neighborhood. They were enough older than me that I never really had much to do with them, although I think that they stole money from me the one time that I had a lemonade stand with my 1st brother (the one who Qwanty likes to call "Rimmy"). Anyway, L & S were the kind of neighborhood guys who remained friends all the way through high school. And they were seniors when I was a freshman. This was the first time since elementary school that I was anywhere where I'd see them on a regular basis.

Coincidentally, freshman year is when I met Qwanty, who ended up having a crush on Stace.* Now, don't hold this against her. I think that we had a silent pact in high school to split all the guys we knew down the middle so that between the two of us we had crushes on most of the male population of CHS.** I did think that this particular crush was ridiculous though. And you will soon see why.

You may be thinking that this is just a nostalgic post, but I'm giving you background so that you can understand why this is particularly silly.

Here's the deal. A few months ago, while hoping that a very old crush of mine could be found on Facebook (no such luck!), I came across Stace's Facebook page. And curiosity dictated that I check out a website dedicated to this guy and his apparent wife. I find this website shocking. I mean, G-- knows that I've got enough internet presence to not throw stones, but, really? They have their own swag? I can order a tank top with a picture of Stace as a child with the word "player" written across it? I can contact Heidi about her semi-precious stone jewelry? Or I can book Stace to DJ at my next blowout? I can check out their latest theme party and/or vaca pictures?

I don't even know what to say about this kind of bizarre self-promotion. I mean, we probably could have predicted something like this. This website seems completely in keeping with his personality. Here' s the problem. Thirty years ago, a guy like Stace would have been the type to invite people over to his house to have dinner, look at 400 slides of his last cruise to Greece, and then maybe listen to a pitch for the latest multi-level marketing scheme in which he was involved. Now this personality can bring his special kind of self-absorption to the whole world via the internets.

Listen, I'll continue to write pointless, self-indulgent, and sometimes snarky posts--but I promise you--dear readers--no coffee mugs with pictures of a young KRD with the word "princess" underneath.

*She also, and for the life of me I can't remember why she did this, drew a picture of Lance at one point. It was amazing, because it looked exactly like him, but also exactly like Mozart at the same time. It was a picture of Mance, or Lozart. I still have it in my dusty, dusty archives.

**I think that we only overlapped once. On Chris Clark, of all people. But I've written about that before.

15 October 2008

Just for Qwanty

And to thank you for making me feel better, here's something just for you.

Behind the Curve

Am I the only person in America who didn't know that the Hall and Oates song "Maneater" was written about Kelly LeBrock?

I feel like a pop culture fraud.


13 October 2008

Thanks for the comments, guys.

I actually feel like the two comments on my last post deserve a post of their own. So, here are my thoughts.

Felisa: I can't remember ever really disagreeing with you, about anything, ever. But I have to disagree about the Pitt. Going the way of Redford does, indeed, mean aging badly. My theory on this is very simple, if you are a too-pretty man (and this seems to particularly afflict blondes for some reason) you may be a beautiful young man, but you are not likely to age well. I have never been a big Brad Pitt fan and I have said for years that I thought that his looks would not hold up over time. Here is where I must really disagree with you--although I have not seen the film yet (Burn Before Reading), I have seen the previews both on TV and on the big screen. And I don't think that the guy's skin looks good. He looks sort of haggard and he's starting to look weathered. And not in a good Steve-McQueen-Paul-Newman (rest his soul)-Clint-Eastwood kind of way. But in a sad, I-remember-how-good-looking-he-was-in-The-Natural Robert Redford kind of way. Except I never really thought all that highly of the Pitt.

OMD: Yes, I have heard the same rumor about Dr. Pepper promising every American (with the exception of Slash and Buckethead. Which is pretty funny.) a free can of soda if Chinese Democracy actually would come out in 2008. I didn't repeat the story because:

1. I don't know if it is true, or some kind of weird urban legend. And I don't like being responsible for the propagation of an urban legend.

2. I can't imagine how Dr. Pepper would go about distributing a free can of Dr. Pepper to every American.

3. I only care about the story if they will give me my choice of a diet Dr. Pepper. But I kind of doubt it, since diet soda pop is not very rock n roll.

I do think that the whole thing is pretty funny--even if (or especially if) it is all a big hoax. If it isn't, I do think that we should hold Dr. Pepper responsible for the offer.

Now that I think about it, I wouldn't put it past Axl Rose to have finally allowed the album out of the box just to call Dr. Pepper's bluff.

Ok, but really, Dr. Pepper?!!? It's just so freaking random.

11 October 2008

Chinese Democracy: Bad Music for All

Gosh. I just realized that I really haven't written much in the last month or so. I've felt a real lack of inspiration, I guess.

But then I heard that the long-awaited (15+ years?) Guns n' Roses album Chinese Democracy is finally and officially being released on November 23rd, 2008.

There are a few things that I have really looked forward to happening in my lifetime: the uncovering of the identity of Deep Throat (that ended up being a little bit of a let down), the election of a black Pope (not yet, but I still have my fingers crossed), a woman in the White House (no comment), the inevitable aging of Brad Pitt (he's totally going Redford right before our eyes), and the release of Chinese Democracy, which I believe will prove to be the biggest musical train wreck, maybe ever.


1. This is only a Guns n' Roses project if you believe that Axl Rose is Guns n' Roses. Rose has worked with, literally, scores of musicians on this project including several ex-members of GNR, Dave Navarro, Buckethead, Brian May, and everyone's favorite celebreality television whore, Sebastian Bach. There are various reports about who actually has ended up on the album, but with so many different musicians (and probably hundreds of mixes), I really question whether the album can attain any kind of coherence.

2. In every clip I have seen of any GNR or Axl Rose solo performance in the last 10 years, it has been incredibly clear that Rose has lost both vocal power and range. He's pushing 50, and just doesn't have the pipes he used to have.

3. This recording has been plagued with problems, not the least of which is that Rose is a "perfectionist" (see more on this in item 4), and has rerecorded and remixed every song on the album over and over and over again.

4. Axl Rose is mentally ill. I'm not sure what his DSM diagnosis is, but he is, by turns, reclusive, paranoid, megalomaniacal. And he is the "genius" behind Chinese Democracy. Good times.

5. Finally--and this is the most awesome thing about this "masterpiece"--CD is only going to be available at Best Buy. This is terrific. For all of Rose's blustering about what an artiste he is, and what an important work of art CD is, the fact that he has an exclusive deal with Best Buy shows him for the shameless self-promoting, money-grubbing hack that he is. No one can convince me that Best Buy is rock n roll.

Luckily, I won't have to buy myself a copy of the album, as I am sure that my little brother won't be able to hold himself back. After all, I just want to listen once. And then I want to read reviews. And then I want to laugh. And then. And then I'll be looking for something else to look forward to.