my joy can only be expressed with gifs

I called my da on Sunday.  There’s an unspoken rule between us that we have to spend Palm Sunday together (because of puns), but since I was in Chicago and he was back home, a phone call was an acceptable substitute.  He was hanging out at home reading with a cat on his lap, like ya do.  The world continues to be a balanced place because of this.

He started telling me about how he just got a copy of his favourite version of The Scarlet Pimpernel in the mail (starring Jane Seymour, Anthony Andrews, and Ian McKellen, some of his biggest actor crushes).  He was beyond stoked about it and explaining all of the reasons why this was the greatest film in the history of until-he-watches-something-else-brilliant.

For the record, this is the version of Scarlet Pimpernel that features this guy:

Wearing the Green Coat of Sex

Wearing the Green Coat of Sex

Who you may recognise as this guy:

The Sane One

The Sane One

Who along with this awesome lady:

Now 78 and still being called 'unbelievably hot' on television

Now 78 and still being called ‘unbelievably hot’ on television

Happened to give birth to this hunk of ridiculous:

A Consummate Professional

A Consummate Professional

As I began to realise this, my father started to go off on a tangent about how he was really irritated that no one bothered to mention in aforementioned film adaptation of The Scarlet Pimpernel that the reason why Marie Antoinette had contacts in Austria was that her mother was head of the Hapsburg Dynasty.  And then we gushed about Schönbrunn for about twenty minutes.

And, suddenly, so many things about me made sense.

My da is a fangirl.  I am a second generation fangirl.  A second generation Cumberbatch fangirl.

<3

Life is beautiful, friends.

***

Super sorry for the accidental blog hiatus.  It was due to some really awesome stuff happening and encouraged by some less-than-awesome stuff happening, but I hope to be back in action soon.  Hopefully in a less interweb-picture-heavy format.  I promise nothing.

sweet future sabotage

Ode to Tom Hiddleston’s Hip Bones
for Liz

Dear, sweet Hiddlebones.
Like, seriously?  Wow.  I–
I can’t even.  Nom.

 ***

This poem was originally inspired by this picture which I discovered last weekend while on Pinterest. Of course, this only led me to other Pinterest pages, which only made the need for poetic expression so much worse.  This is what I refer to as ‘Pinception’.

…I’m really looking forward to someday having a respectable writing career where my plays are performed and my books are published and the hilarity that will ensue when the critics find all of the creepy haikus I’ve posted on the internet.

’til chapter three

I grew up on Disney.  I think most people did.  My most formative years took place over what I’ve heard called the ‘Disney Renaissance’ – the decade covering Little Mermaid through Mulan.  Well, technically Tarzan.  But did Tarzan save China?  I THINK NOT.  These were the days of Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, of heroines who first branched out from ‘just pretty’ into ‘pretty badass’, paving the way for the likes of Tiana, Merida, and Anna.  I know I learned a lot from these films, and the work coming out of Disney probably had more influence over me than anything else I watched.  …Except Star Trek.  Which explains my socialist tendencies.

I developed this theory while at university; it may be familiar to some of you.  Being a girl who grew up on Disney, I naturally had a favourite Disney princess.  I’m pretty sure every girl does.  Ladies in the audience, think about it a minute:  who was your favourite princess when you were a kid?  Look at that for a minute.  Now look at your adult life and relationship choices.  Look at the choices you made in relationships that were less than stellar.

Now back to me.

Now back to me.

Now here’s my theory:  the poor relationship choices we make as adults mirror the disturbing subtext in the choices of our favourite princesses.  The issues we have with ourselves can be reflected in the more disturbing corners of our preferred princess’s psyche.

I’m going to use myself as an example.  It’s only fair.

Growing up, my favourite princess was Belle.  This is for obvious reasons.

Get it, grrrl.

Get it, grrrl.

Belle was the first princess with whom I ever actually related.  I wasn’t easily scared, cursed, or prone to narcolepsy, and while I wished for a home life that was better than my own, I was only too aware that the powers of my magical godmother were limited to puppetry and clowning.  Yes, that entire sentence was true.

But Belle was different.  She was like me.  People thought she was weird.  People thought she was too smart.  She was kind and courageous, but it was always in her own quiet way.  Like Belle, I was (am) a voracious reader, making friends in my head far more often than in the schoolyard.  She understood that the world was better in books, and we were safer when we stayed with our imaginary people than we were with the ones in our respective hometowns.

When Belle met the Beast and their relationship moved forward in the way relationships always seem to move forward in Disney films, I was completely sucked in.  Belle’s goodness changed the Beast.  Through Belle, he could see that people weren’t all bad, that someone cared for him enough to stick around.  His anger ebbed.  His hope grew.  And because Disney has never been subtle with metaphors, his inner beauty literally erupted into his outer form.  That was true love to me.  And that was the foundation on which I built my concept of romance.

Looking back now, I can see this wasn’t exactly an accurate representation of the love I would find in my teenage and young adult life.  I can see how the story was subverted to fit the objects of my desire.  I would date people who were troubled or angry or lost.  I would look at all of their flaws and think, I can make them better.  I knew there was a wonderful person in there somewhere, and since I was a person who was kind and clever, they would naturally become the same way with enough exposure to me.

And, naturally, this never actually worked.

Because life is not a Disney movie.

I saw something online recently that the criticism surrounding how Beauty and the Beast advocates Stockholm Syndrome is rather unfair.  Belle and the Beast are both outsiders:  Belle for her intellect and dislike of traditional roles and the Beast for his appearance.  Their othering is what brings them together.  They triumph in the end because of their differences and their compatibility.  It’s the first instance of The Guy not getting The Girl in a Disney film and that’s something I find very appealing.  Reading about this got me back to thinking about my hypothesis.  While I’ve done some reconsideration, I still stand by my original idea.  However, I’d like to add something to it.

I didn’t learn my bad relationship habits because of Disney.  Instead, I learned the wrong lesson when watching this film.  What I learned was that I can change him.  What I should have learned is this:  He may change for you.  But that is his choice.  It’s not your problem.

We are so quick to blame media for our problems, to say that video games or comic books are responsible for corrupting our children or increasing the divorce rate or furthering the gay agenda*.  It’s all nonsense, of course, as studies have shown time and again.  I think we continue to search for the blame in entertainment because it’s an easy out.  It allows ourselves to play innocent victims to corrupt organizations and faceless corporations, which is always more pleasant than acknowledging responsibility for our own actions.  However, the fact remains that not all fault can lie with the teacher.  Every student comes in for a lesson with their own personal biases.  While it’s completely possible that someone who’s already troubled could see Natural Born Killers and decide to go on a killing spree, not everyone who watches that film has this reaction.  Wouldn’t that suggest that the fault lies not in the presented material but in the interpretation by this one person?

Sure, I may have picked up this particular flawed gem of advice from too many re-watches of a Disney classic.  But if I’m completely honest with myself, I created the fantasy on my own.  I romanticize the dark, brooding type and always have.  It’s nice to think that everyone is sweet-tempered and considerate underneath all of their crusty layers.  But nice is different than good.  And nice is not the same as realistic.

But at least this provides a solid explanation for my fangirl crushes on Loki and Sherlock.

*The media in no way works to further the gay agenda.  By this point in time, it’s so well-organized that we just keep our secret communicator wristwatches tuned to the same frequency and wait for Uncle George to send the coordinates to our next meeting.  Much more efficient that way.

such grow many adult wow

I’ve spent the last couple of weeks running about frantic and trying to remember that it is physically possible to keep my head screwed on properly if I just stand still for a few minutes.

There’s no real reason for this, just an odd manic episode.  I don’t question them when they happen anymore because I’m just happy that they no longer happen all the damn time.  My recent weekends have required quite a lot of socializing, which may contribute to my general chicken-sans-head attitude about life.  What with auditions and out-of-town company and readings and squealing with delight at the new season of Sherlock, I’ve kept my mind pretty well occupied.  Now that things are starting to slow down a little (and there’s only one episode left of this series holycrapholycrapholycrap), I’m hoping to get back into my normal routine and optimistic that this might involve, at some point, sleeping.

At the very least, I’m pleased to announce that I have discovered that liquor is now available for purchase at Trader Joe’s, and that TJ’s Brand rum features a drunk bear on the label.

That bear is terrifying when sober.

That bear is terrifying when sober.

This was the crowning achievement of my life over the past two weeks.  And now to the actual blog post.

I’m no longer sure anymore if the experiences of people in my age group are the same as have always been expected for young adults or if we’ve just been overly influenced by the information age and that’s why my grandfather and I have nothing to talk about at Thanksgiving.  Is the quarter-life crisis an invention of the internet, much like Doge and Ernest Hemingway tattoos?  I’ve often wondered if my generation is stilted because we’re spoiled or if it’s because we’ve never not had access to computers.  Or maybe we aren’t stilted at all; it’s my understanding that the old guard never cares for those whippersnappers with their inappropriate music and progressively rising hemlines.  So says Downton Abbey.

Further proof that you can find anything on the internet.  Also a pretty accurate synopsis of the entire show.

Further proof that you can find anything on the internet. Also a pretty accurate synopsis of the entire show.

The fact that my weekend thrills consist of PBS probably explains why I’m always such a hit at nursing homes.

I feel like every time I meet with a twentysomething friend for coffee, I’m hearing about concerns that they aren’t Where They’re Supposed To Be.  They haven’t gotten married or they haven’t had any kids or their career isn’t progressing fast enough or they have yet to climb Kilimanjaro…  Any number of concerns weighs them down, all ending with the same, unnerving thought:  am I doing something wrong?

As a kid, I remember hearing my parents tell me to stop comparing myself to other people because it would only make me unhappy.  Maybe Lauren from gym class had made fun of me for having off-brand Adidas sneakers, but why was that important to me?  Did Lauren from gym class know the origins of the sneakers she prized so much?  Could Lauren from gym class cite that the success of the Adidas company was the direct result of West Germany winning the 1954 world cup, as would be dramatized in the 2003 film Das Wunder von Bern?  Everyone has different strengths.  Everyone has different values.  If I could learn that, I would have a much easier time getting through both life and Chiddix Junior High.

Naturally, it would be several years before I took this advice to heart and didn’t assume it was just an excuse for my parents to keep buying me cheap shoes.

When I talk to my friends who have already surpassed their twenties, I hear a similar message.  If I ask them about being concerned I haven’t met some fantasized level of maturity, they roll their eyes and echo what my grandparents tell me on a regular basis:  you’re so young.  You have so much time.  No one knows what they want to be when they grow up.  A good friend of mine once said to me, ‘I used to be so scared about becoming an adult.  And then I realized I am an adult.  I’m already doing it.  And then I was scared all over again.’  For the record, I believe this conversation was followed by an all-night session of empanadas and Batman:  Arkham City, so take our maturity as you will.

I don’t think I’ve had a quarter-life crisis, and I don’t think I will.  Maybe it’s because I’ve never known what I want to be when I grow up.  Maybe it’s because whenever I hear someone discussing any biological clocks, I roll my eyes and go back to Hetty Wainthropp Investigates.  Maybe it’s because I still don’t have wifi in my apartment.  I’ve read about studies that show that too much time on Facebook and similar networking sites can result in ‘declines in moment-to-moment happiness and overall life satisfaction’.  Is leaving my computer screen behind and re-watching The Addams Family contributing to my laissez-faire approach to aging?

…My therapist told me I can self-medicate with television.

I don’t know what it is.  I don’t know if any of us are doing this whole Life thing right.  But I don’t think we’re supposed to know.  Where would be the fun in that?  And as much as we should all be very zen about things and live one day at a time, I don’t see the harm in drinking with friends and commiserating about completely ruining your life at the age of 27.

I’ll have Carson set out the claret for the occasion.

daniel powter wrote a song about this

Everybody has rough weeks.  In my experience, most of my friends seem to have bad weeks during the same weeks as my other friends who are having bad weeks.  And occasionally, I’m having bad weeks as well.  It’s kind of like how women who live together get on the same menstruation schedule, only somehow much worse.

This has been one of those weeks.

In an attempt to keep my head above water, I’ve spent almost all of my free time making hats while watching serial killer shows or re-reading The Hunger Games.  No, this really should not be at all relaxing, but the system works so I’m not questioning it.

In unrelated news, I have had some really screwed-up dreams as of late.  No idea what that’s about.

So the hats in my apartment are multiplying faster than Tribbles and Shemar Moore continues to be a stone-cold fox.  And even though it’s been a rough week, I’m optimistic that next week will be better.  And if next week isn’t better, there’s a week after that to look forward to instead.  And one of these days, things will be brighter again.  I know they will be.  That’s just how it works.

And just in case you need something today to make your life a little brighter (or at least pleasantly ridiculous), here’s a stupid poem I wrote a couple years ago about Bill Murray.  I am proud to say it is one of the only things I’ve had published.  I hope that if you’re having a bad week or helping someone else through their bad week, you can take a moment in the conversation to say, ‘You know, I met this weirdo once who managed to get a bunch of haikus about Bill Murray published.’  And if that non sequitur doesn’t put a new spin on the conversation, I am out of ideas for how to help you.

Central Illinois
Is what we both call our home.
Glad it’s not just me.

So sad when you died
Onscreen in Zombieland. I
Wanted to boycott.

Take me under seas;
Let’s stop the jaguar shark
For poor Esteban!

Battle ghosts and sprites.
Save the girl from possession.
Then get sandwiches.

Perfect Saturdays
Spent watching, absorbing it.
Your face on the screen.

Take care of yourselves out there, friends.

so you think you can

Well, hey there, internet.  You’re looking good.  Apologies for my recent hiatus from blog writing — November knocked me completely out.  I spent every weekend in one Bloomington or another, witnessing weddings, funerals, and grad school interviews, battling tornadoes, complimenting my father on his lady’s lingerie.  All of this is true.  It was a topsy-turvy time.  Chicago is quiet and commonplace by comparison, even considering the homicide outside my neighbourhood custard shop on Monday.

That sentence seems quite normal to me.  I don’t know how I should feel about that.

Since funerals are depressing and my father swore me to secrecy regarding his stint in lacey pants (which, incidentally, is incredibly hard to resist talking about), I will instead regale you with anecdotes from the wedding I attended.  It has led me to one conclusion:  straight boys should learn how to dance.

This isn’t some sort of social commentary or a statement on gender differences and our culture’s obsession with body shaming.  I could go on about that for days, particularly after a bottle of wine and a couple hours of yelling at the Twilight movies.  This, however, is a simple observation on how heterosexual men kind of shoot themselves in the foot when it comes to this particular courtship ritual.

Let me drop a truth bomb on y’all:  ladies love to dance.  We just do.  I have met many a woman who has claimed that she can’t/doesn’t/won’t dance.  People can be self-conscious.  A girl doesn’t want to start busting out her best dice-throwing moves only to discover an entire room of party-goers staring at her lack of talent.  But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t start boogying when her favourite MOVITS! song pops up on her iTunes playlist while she’s at home cleaning floors in her Batman jimmy-jams.

…Not that I would know.

(…It’s this one.)

I think the thing I most enjoy about life post-college is the fact that so much of the embarrassment I felt about my body and the way I move has fallen away, drowned in a delicious layer of who-gives-a-crap.  I remember tagging along to my first Chicago wedding, hopping on the dance floor, and realising that nobody cared what I looked like.  It was a theatre wedding, friends of a very good friend of mine from back home, and no one gave two vodka tonics about my one-woman recreation of that scene from The Breakfast Club.  Everyone just wanted to have a good time.

I love to dance.  I do.  Not in the let’s-just-go-out-and-dance sense.  I’ve never been one for loud noises and clubs make my palms sweat.  But if I’m at a wedding with my girlfriends and Shout starts blaring, I’m the first one on the dance floor.  If I’m having Fancy Lady Fun Night at The Green Mill and an older gentleman asks me to take a turn, I’m swinging with the best of them.

Grooving with my awesome friend Liz at a wedding last month, I found myself looking around the dance floor at the opposite-sex dance partners.  From what I could tell, all of the men dancing were either happily coupled or gay (or both).  This resulted in an unfounded observation, which will now be labelled as completely true because I’m putting it on the internet:  straight men who dance get the girls.

Think about it.

It’s not so much a matter of talent, although a man who is an actually good dancer is more than swoon-worthy.  It’s a question of willingness.  It’s the ability to let go of insecurities and have a good time.  It’s about touching and moving and flirting.  There’s a reason why your mum was sighing while watching The Mask of Zorro.  Antonio Banderas has got some moves.

Red-Blooded American Heroes

Red-Blooded American Heroes

And here’s the even better thing:  we don’t really care if you’re a good dancer.  We just want to have fun.  It might even be better if you make an absolute tit of yourself!  That shows you’re willing to be goofy and you’re having fun, too.

And you’ll definitely get bonus points if you do all of that in Batman pyjamas.