Tuesday, April 22, 2008

This blog is dedicated to the high school kids in Madison, NJ who live in the internet*

So, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what I have, and what I lack. What I am and what I’m not. What I have done and what I have failed to do (shout out to JC). And I’ve come to a couple of conclusions. Now, I wouldn’t ordinarily do this here, but the Myspace generation does everything online. Including self-reflective rationalizations.

My wit may be lacking at times. I might not have the highest IQ, SAT score, GPA, or whichever totally bullshit numerical method you’d like to use to measure my worth. I may not work my hardest (or do I? It’s hard to tell when everyone around you sacrifices sleep, food, fun, and life in general To Be the Best They Can Be. I try to work hard, but I also try to stay alive, which is frowned upon around here.)

But I figured out why I’m going to make it—why I have to make it. And that’s because I’m fearless. If your GPA is so super-high that tons of societies send you letters to come join them, but you’re afraid of your own (purple?) shadow, then that 3.9 is no more than a number on a piece of paper. It’s a pretty number, don’t get me wrong. But as far as aesthetics go, 0.8 doesn’t look so bad, either. You know how they always say, “It’d be cool if I went to this thing, but I’d never be able to because [insert tragic shortcoming here]”? I don’t speak these sentences. Instead, I say, “It’d be cool if I went to this thing, so I guess I’ll go.” So while you’re at home making sure your numbers stay pretty on a piece of paper, I’m out conquering the world.

I’m not trying to be cocky, really. That was an apophasis.

A final thought (that came to me while completing an assignment for my favorite Media Studies TA): Brilliance without the ability to articulate these thoughts is like a thing that really needs something else in order to function—without that thing.

*especially the one who deviously told her webcam that her parents weren’t home so she was gonna GO CRAZY, and then proceeded to dance to jimmy eat world’s sweetness. Netsister, you are me, but on a five year delay. And boy, do you have a lot to look forward to. Now when I’m home alone…I dance to AFI.

For every 1,000 people who read this blog, I will contribute $1 to the Homeless Cobbler Association of America

As a young child watching Cinderella’s hideously big-footed stepsisters attempting to squeeze their monster feet into her pretty glass slipper, I thought two things: 1. I sure hope I grow up to have elegant, petite, size six feet, and 2. too bad that glass slipper isn’t from Old Navy.

Old Navy shoes will never cease to amaze me. They are affordable, they are colorful—hey, they are even magical. It doesn’t matter what size Old Navy shoe I purchase; it will end up fitting me like a fitted suit-coat regardless. Sparkly sequin flats? Size six but never felt roomier. Canvas platforms? Seven and stayin’ on my feet. But of late, I made a crucial error, or so I thought, under the fluorescent lighting of the cash register. I bought size eight moccasins.

After I tried twice (unsuccessfully. I have not lost my charm, Old Navy’s return policy is seriously just that stringent) to return these monsters, I finally slipped them on my feet and had an epiphany.

Old Navy shoes are like the pants from the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, and I was like that fat whiny Latina girl (except the magic of fitting worked the other way around). Haven’t you ever wondered why they don’t have half sizes? It’s because they don’t need them! These shoes can read minds! If every store were like Old Navy, cobblers would be out of business. I think they probably already are anyway, but it certainly wouldn’t help matters for those of them choosing to reside outside of Amish Country.

Old Navy shoes are more than just form-fitting and stylish; they are extremely egalitarian, broaching on borderline communism. They accept that all one really needs in a shoe is a cheap piece of foam and a plastic strap. They don’t disguise this fact and pretend to be all orthopedic and made of leather, like Rainbow (P.S. Rainbow, how is this for a little marketing advice: put your fucking tag on BOTH sandals, for Christ’s sake. Someone might only see my right sandal and think I have ghetto fake rainbows.) I also have my suspicions that at least the straps, if not the whole shoe, can also be boiled down to corn-starch components and consumed when foodless in the dessert, just like Crocs. Where you’re going to get a stove, pot, and water from is beyond my range of knowledge.

There are always exceptions to egalitarianism, and in this case, Old Navy only makes the cheap flip flops okay for women to wear. Men shouldn’t wear under any circumstances. Even if they are living in extreme poverty because they recently lost their job as a cobbler. They especially should not wear the white ones, guy in my Films Under Fascism class whose British accent comes and goes. No one is impressed by the fact that your feet are dainty enough to fit into woman sandals. ON, read the gray letters on the inside of his ugly shoes. But they sure aren’t turning me ON.

But I digress. Old Navy shoes are the best. They are cheaper than payless, last half as long, and fit even the fattest feet. They are the All-American shoe, and you should go buy them now.*

*Old Navy has no comment on this blog. The CEO guy said, hey, I guess it can’t hurt. Oh. But they have no comment.

(Originally posted on Tuesday, April 01, 2008)

second best has never been this embarrassing

In every shitty coffee-serving establishment I’ve ever worked, we have proudly served Seattle’s Best Coffee. I find this name to be not only pathetically quaint, but also inherently incorrect. Seattle’s Best? Really? The most embarrassing part is that they could have chosen to be “The Best” coffee from a different city—in fact, ANY other city in the fucking world—and no one could argue with them. But 9 billion dollars a year say that actually, there’s another little cafĂ© straight outta sleepless Seattle that might be better.

My suggestions for this company?

  1. Change their name to Seattle’s Other Coffee
  2. Drive half an hour south and become Tacoma’s Best Coffee

(Originally posted on Thursday, March 13, 2008)

not sure if i'll fail or pass, can't stand the girl in class...

When I’m watching a film or television show, I often have trouble focusing. It isn’t that I can’t focus…it’s more like I can’t focus without motivation. This motivation can easily be inserted into any program with the addition of an overwhelmingly attractive individual. Hell, I’d watch Wolf Blitzer Reports if Brandon Flowers were on it.

Similarly, I need some kind of motivation to go to class each day. Now, the attractiveness of a UVA student can only go so far. Without several layers of make-up and an ultra-airbrushing lens, none of these kids are much to look at. So I stay focused through a motivation that has always seemed more empowering than attraction anyway—pure hatred.

Sometimes it’s obvious who you are supposed to hate in a class (see the white girl in my Fictions of Black Identity seminar who on one occasion broke down crying because she felt there was too much racism in the world and on another told us about how when she wuz a lil gurl in Atlanta, all the black kids who went to her scoowul would corn row her hayurr and call her their white Barbie doll. There were black kids in our class, too, and they called her things too, none of which were “white Barbie doll.”)

Other times, you have to get creative. Here’s a helpful clue—pick someone sort of ugly. Obnoxiousness without ugliness is like lemonade without lemons. For me, it’s usually someone who could have looked normal had they been a normal person, but for whatever reason, the more they talk in class, the more warped their face becomes. I’m thinking of two people in particular right now…The Reason I Go To Spanish and The Reason Aside From Matthew Hughy’s Wrath That I Go To My Media Studies Discussion.

The Reason I Go To Spanish could be cute. Really, if she had been my suitemate first year, I’m sure we would have gotten crunk juntas. Pero, eso no was the caso. I met her, short and jean-jacket clad, while doing a group exercise. See, what I usually do when the teacher assigns a group exercise, is avoid all eye-contact. Everyone is throwing around subjunctivos and pluscuamperfectos like they’re frisbees and beach balls. The chaos is such that in my non-eye-contacted-bubble-of-safety, no one notices that I use group exercise time to take four minute power naps. With my eyes open. But not this particular day. This day, the girl takes me under her with into a three-person group, where I try to sit in silence, but she keeps going “Y tu, Marissa, que piensas?” She sees me as the weakest link and is trying to power-tutor me in four-minute intervals. This is not all. She starts every sentence with, “Cuando estaba en Peru…” and every time the teacher walks by, she makes some little comment about how her time abroad relates to what we are studying now. The more she rolls her R’s and fakes an accent, the more she resembles a cartoon dog. To be more precise, she looks like Gromit with a swollen eye. Like Wallace just took a frying pan and comically banged her in the eye, and now she is barking for attention with really advanced palabras.

The Reason Aside From Matthew Hughy’s Wrath That I Go To My Media Studies Discussion is not cute and never would have been my friend even if a tsunami blown way off course killed everyone in Charlottesville but the two of us. She looks like a turtle and wears those glasses that are actually so convex that they make her eyes look tiny and beady. Matthew has a question, and she has an answer. Every time. But of course with Matthew, no one ever has the answer (except him) so really all we get from turtle girl are sonic booms of overconfidence stifled by Matthew’s unapologetic rejection. It’s actually quite entertaining.

Once in a while, you can have lemonade without lemons…like that Country Time Powdered stuff. And what you get with this is the case of the Hateable Hottie. There was def a hateable hottie in one of my discussions. I saw him and the vacant seat next to him from afar, and walked over with a suggestive “Is this seat taken?” No, he told me, hair falling perfectly and eyes twinkling. I took my seat. I had found my new boyfriend. And then I saw his shoes. His shoes looked like someone broke apart several different colors of highlighters, gave them to Jackson Pollack along with a pair of white Reeboks, and let him go to town. Then they fed a bunch of kids various flavors of that Pop Quiz colored popcorn from the early nineties, forced them to chug Surge for several minutes, and then let them puke all over the Pollack canvas. Seriously. That doesn’t even begin to describe the atrocities that are his shoes. That isn’t the end of the story, either. It’s most of it…but also, he really sucks and thinks he’s the shit, and he’s in the military and like wears his uniform to class on days he doesn’t wear the terrible shoes.

That’s all I have for now. I need to go sit with turtle girl pretty soon and watch her shell get cracked.

(Originally posted on Thursday, February 28, 2008)

What is sexy arrogance, you ask?

Asking the definition of sexy arrogance is akin to asking the definition of liberty. Or ideology (wassup, Althusser, wassup.) There is no single definition for the abstract concept that is sexy arrogance, but I can provide you with several examples of what it is not. Sexy arrogance is not arriving to class early. Sexy arrogance is not having a “value system” (herego, sexy arrogance can not be found in the stall seat journal). Sexy arrogance can not be found in U.Va sweatshirts, but it sometimes can be found in U.Va hats when tattered, dirty, and worn haphazardly on a perfectly disheveled head.

Distinciones (throwing in Spanish terms out of the blue complies with S.A. standards, but never for more than four words at a time, and never anything too advanced. You don’t ever want to say chicharrones instead of pork rinds, for example.)

Getting expelled for school for misbehaving is not sexy arrogance. Well it is, but not if you’re going to say it like a friggin fifth grade teacher. Under these circumstances, you got the boot for missa behavin. Ya dig? Aight, moving on. Going to office hours to improve your grade is not, I repeat NOT sexy arrogance. Neither is laughing at your professor’s jokes. However, seeing the teacher for a little help outside of the classroom, well, we all know what that means, man. You’re a fuckin god (take notice, not capitalized).

Now, for things inherently sexually arrogant. As for names, they should rhyme with things that mean complete moral disarray or an Asian sense of inner peace, like wayward or Zen. This limits options, but it is really for the best. Destructive habits (when performed with an air of indifference) like smoking or drinking hard liquor before noon are sexy arrogance. Walking in to the first day of your foreign language class twenty minutes late, hungover and wearing sunglasses, is sexy arrogance. It may cause your teacher (of whatever gender) to fall slightly in love with you, which can potentially be used to your advantage, even though you could care less about how you do at anything.

Emo is never, ever, under any circumstances, sexy arrogance. Emo and sexy arrogance are each others’ antithesis. What is sexy arrogance is not ever emo and what is emo is not ever sexy arrogance. Never. Except maybe for Taking Back Sunday. Which leads me to pointing out the next pillar of S.A.: mind-changing. Flip-flopping, if you will. No. I know what you are thinking, and no. Politics is not sexy arrogance and never will be.

Someone kinda important once said that the medium is the message. Was it McLuhan? I’m not really sure because I am not afraid of Matthew Hughy. But as far as sexy arrogance media goes, I believe the only true sexy arrogance form of self-expression is writing hopelessly indifferent messages to ex-loves con llaves on leather interiors. Blogging is not sexy arrogance, but due to limited resources, I suppose it will do for now.

(Originally posted on Friday, February 22, 2008)