Thursday, September 27, 2012

the impression that i get

I remember the first time I was introduced to ska as if it were the first time I was introduced to my soulmate.

I was sitting on the bus, coming home from middle school. Like most days on the bus ride home, I was contemplating my plight in life as a girl with no friends and a crush who wouldn’t notice me, even when I was wearing silver pleather pants and carrying a Teletubbies lunchbox.

And then that song came on. That feel-good toe-tapper full of positive vibes--”The Impression That I Get” by The Mighty Mighty Bosstones.

I ran home from my bus stop, not caring that my violin case was clanking hard against my side. As soon as I got home, I Altavista-ed the band and learned that this kind of music was called “Ska.” I found out that the people who listened to it were usually unpopular rejects, like me. Maybe this was my chance to find people who would accept me! Loserish Teletubby lunchbox? No, fun and quirky Teletubbies lunchbox! Visions of fedoras and skanking danced in my head. Soon I was tying our phone line up quite nicely with a 7 hour WinMX queue.

And 7 hours later, I was left with this: a lecture from my mom about the dangers of prolonged unsupervised internet usage, and a feeling that beneath the surface, this ska music wasn’t really for me.

That wasn’t the impression that I got from “The Impression That I Get.”

It was a very meta way to learn a very valuable lesson: I am bad at first impressions, in general.

Time after time, I have judged the surface “coolness” of a person and allowed that judgement to carry me into too deep of a friendship with them. And then by the time I realize that this person is someone I should avoid entirely to ensure that my picture doesn’t end up on the 11 o’clock news, it is too late. I am on their hit list. Or, I am one of their 13 Reasons Why.

My first example is not the boy who stole my Death Cab tickets in 2006 for once. I figure the Dec article I wrote about him that his dad ended up reading was enough redemption for a lifetime.

No, rather, my first example is my former roommate. Despite her mullet and the gruff conversations she’d have on the phone wherein she usually called her mother “fuckin’ retarded,” I was originally convinced that my roommate was soooo cooooool. She had the awesomest dog I’d ever met, a party attitude, and good taste in music (that’s the one that always gets me.) In the first month of living together, another roommate who was moving out got into many tiffs with her, one of which resulted in them screaming obscenities at each other while disposing of one anothers’ food, and another of which resulted in our gas and water being shut off for an entire week. The whole time I was thinking, can’t wait til the crazy one moves out. 

Clearly, drama attracts drama, and long story short, both girls were crazy. And apparently used to hook up? Okay. Fast forward seven months and I’m putting a lock on my door because I just don’t know how far this girl’s periodic fits of rage will take her one day. (One place it had already taken her was a townhome common area in Fair Lakes, chasing a 17-year-old girl around with a shotgun.)

Then there was the time when I made a “friend” at the Ocean City. My other two friends were chilling in the hotel room when I decided I should scope out the pool. I scoped out the pool, alright, and waltzed back proudly with big news.

“Hey guys,” I said triumphantly. “I made a friend at the pool. His name is Chris.” They looked on skeptically. “I invited him to come to our room to party!”

They began burying their faces in their hands. Apparently, I was the only person in America who took Chingy’s “Holidae In” to heart.

So, as promised, Chris came to our room “to party.” And as soon as he showed up, it became evident to everyone in the room that this fellow was basically Jesse Pinkman minus all redeeming qualities. I quickly became embarrassed and started backpedaling.

“So actually, we’re going out tonight...” I stammered, ”our friends invited us to a party over in Rehoboth Beach.” Because in my head, that sounded like it could be a thing. But of course, it wasn’t a thing. Of course, the party remained in our hotel room. And of course, we were going to need ice to cool down all of those room-made girly drinks we were consuming. And of course, Chris’ room was right next to the ice machine. And of course, we made one of our friends a makeshift burka out of things found around the suite to ensure her safety during her trip to the ice machine.

I still shudder to think of what unspeakable things would happen to the Ocean City version of Natalee Holloway.

More recently, I started a new job and was instantly super-friended by a manic pixie of sorts. She went above and beyond to make friendly gestures to me in a way that no one ever has before. She’d bring me coffee, she bought me a book, she wrote me cute little notes about how she liked my knee-high socks. Ultimately, I learned this: manic pixie in real life=manic depressed. She’d be super short and nasty with me one day, then offer to do my job for me the next. Just as I was starting to feel a little bit like Rihanna, our friendship ended as quickly as it began: one day, she literally freaked out on me for not knowing the tense difference between lay and lie, and then I decided enough was enough. I suppose she is not a Snow Patrol fan.

Maybe I’m completely jaded now, but these days I force myself to be really unimpressed by every new person I meet. And if we’re talking music from the early 2000’s, the only thing that’s worse than being jaded is being in too deep.

Friday, September 21, 2012

that terrible girl from train's drops of jupiter

    I don’t like people who do a lot of things. Especially if I have to hear about it.

    You can ask anyone who lives with me about my reaction to this one Expedia commercial. “My friend just asked me to be in a wedding in San Francisco,” the bright-eyed, poor man’s Katherine Heigl begins, “But I was already training for the big race in Boston!”

    That’s usually the part where I start throwing whatever I can find nearby--usually the Trader Joe’s appetizers that I am stuffing in my sedentary face--at my roommate’s television. “Oh poor me,” I say in a voice you can barely understand because my mouth is so full of Lemongrass Chicken Bites. “I do so many important things!”

    You can do things. That’s fine. But don’t expect me to give you a round of applause for your action-packed life of sucking up awesomeness. You’re biking from coast to coast, stopping at little no-name towns along the way? Yeah, I don’t want to hear about it. You’re moving to Honduras for a few months to--you’d better just stop there.

So maybe that’s why I think the girl from Train’s “Drops of Jupiter” is a smug, self-righteous bitch. In addition to doing things, she makes a really big deal about knowing herself. Even Juno once said, “I don’t know what kind of girl I am,” and she seemed to be the quippy-est, wittiest, most self-assured pregnant high-schooler that never existed.

    Train creates character pieces. That’s what they do. (Listen to me talk about Train like I know more than four of their songs.) I was almost as surprised when I found out that “Meet Virginia” wasn’t on the Miss Congeniality soundtrack as I was when I found out that Hot Chelle Rae’s “Tonight, Tonight” wasn’t on the The Hangover 2 soundtrack. So as I listen to the words, the sensory detail is there--creating the perfect puke consistency in my mouth as I imagine what this girl is all about.

    The line that stands out the most to me as the perfect example of why I hate everything about this girl is: “She checks out Mozart while she does Tae-bo/ Reminds me that there’s room to grow, eh-ehhhh.”

    First of all--hey, have you checked out this new band yet? They’re pretty underground, so you probably haven’t, but Pitchfork gave them like 8.3 stars, and Pitchfork doesn’t give those stars out like knockoff Livestrong bracelets, so, you know, they’re actually pretty good. They’re called...Mozart?!?! Check ‘em out?!?!

    Second of all, she’s also doing Tae Bo? Is Billy Blanks her sensei?

    Third of all, her musings in classical music and non-traditional exercise are making you want to be a better person? Wow, you don’t have a lot going on, do you? case you didn’t know, this is a song about Pat Monahan’s girlfriend finding herself. In fact, she is just now back from a soul vacation.

    Soul vacation-- noun. Spending a semester of senior year abroad in Amsterdam where you commit acts so heinous that you literally take a vacation from having a soul.

    His crooning begs the question, “And did you miss me while you were looking for yourself out there?”

    The answer is no. No, she did not. Breaking up with someone because you need to “find yourself” is just about as original as “It’s not me, it’s you.” And George Costanza invented that line. So by the transitive property of pop culture of the 90’s-00’s, Pat Monahan’s girlfriend is George Costanza. Make of that what you will.

    So, your girlfriend’s back. With “drops of Jupiter in her hair,” apparently. I suppose he means dark orange streaks? With light bluish streaks? In her hair? Personally, this sounds like a hot mess to me. The first thing I think of is the only time I felt empathy towards Rashida Jones (usually I am just holding my unceasing grudge against her for keeping Jim and Pam apart on The Office.) It was on Parks and Recreation when she was upset with Rob Lowe’s character for breaking up with her. She emerged with an ugly maroon streak in her hair, and among the list of pathetic things she had done in the past few days, she pointed at it and said helplessly, “And I my hair.” I, too, have been through particularly rough break-ups, and I, too, have been tempted to make bad hair decisions. My thinking is usually along the lines of, “Okay, now that I’m single, I can finally cut my hair like Tegan. Or Sara.” But then that idea is usually overridden by the temptation to listen to Dashboard Confessional’s So Impossible EP on repeat while I cry into my Ramen noodles.

    “Can you imagine no love, pride, deep-fried chicken” is also particularly offensive to me. Because I’m telling you now, I can say this with almost complete certainty. This girl who wants to find herself on Daddy’s dollar and has got one foot in every possible extra-curricular activity is the whitest. So now she’s like, I like soul food, I’m so quirky!

    Then there’s, “Now that she’s back in the atmosphere I’m afraid that she might think of me as/ Plain ol’ Jane told a story ‘bout a man who was too afraid to fly so he never did land.”
Are you going to take that kind of thinking, Pat Monohan? Too afraid to fly? You gave up all reasonable career paths so that you could be in a rock band. What did she do? Is she just mad that you didn’t go to Tae-bo at Gold’s with her last Wednesday night?

    I think the very last line of the last verse sums up Pat Monahan’s fate: “The best soy latte that you ever had...and me.” And him. That’s all he’ll ever be from now on. Riding backseat to this girl’s fantasies of being a totally fake granola hippie who so totally knows herself.

    Gag me with an eco-friendly corn-based spoon.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

me vs. god vs. the internet

    When I lay down to bed and start counting all of the horrible things I’ve done (sheep are just too scary!), it isn’t god that I’m afraid of.

    Trust me, I was raised as a god-fearing Catholic. While I’d eradicate my future chromosomally abnormal babies faster than you could say, “Cuba Gooding Jr. is…Radio,” I’d probably feel so guilty about it that I’d adopt a family of ten cleft-lipped children from some starving Third World country. You can fix that. You can’t fix Radio. You probably can’t even fix Cuba Gooding Jr. at this point.

    So yes, god is scary. And so is hell, probably. But the Internet is TERRIFYING. And the darkest depths of the Internet are probably worse than hell could ever even dream up.

   God only knows the terrible things I’ve done. And I say, “god only knows” not as a phrase, but literally. I literally do not even remember some of the things I’ve done.

    I’ve got a dark internet past. Don’t act like you don’t. Even youth groups take pictures of themselves stealing street signs and post it under an album called “WWJD? YOLO!!!”

    Mine mostly consists of, but is not limited to, exacting revenge on my exes in the most public way possible. So that no one will ever want to date them, or me, ever again. But for real—that’s what they get for dating girls clearly on this side of the Vicky Mendoza Diagonal. And for stealing my Death Cab tickets right after Plans came out, you ginger.

    Whatever specific Internet crimes I’ve committed aside, face it—it’s hard to see your future as an 8th grade English teacher in a suburban school while you’re writing terrible shit on the internet about your 8th grade English teacher in your suburban school. No, man. You were just a kid. Lookin’ for fame and 4chan. How could you have predicted your future?

    So naturally, when I first got to college, I had absolutely no interest in education or the Curry School, which sounded like it’d make a better 12-course meal than a 12-course program. I wanted to write for the paper.

    Unfortunately, both papers at UVA were cliché characters from nineties movies. One of the papers was a straight-A student bulimic girl. The other one was a guy with a beard and a burlap hoodie who liked to make experimental music about insects in his basement. Since I didn’t really know which one of those things I was more like, I wrote equally insufferable things for both. For one, I was making jokes about the Virgin Mary losing her virginity at frathouses. For the other one, I was bitching about the library not being open on weekend nights. Really. Don’t blame me! I can’t be held responsible. For the life of me, I cannot believe I’d ever die for these sins. I was merely a first year.

    Oh, you call them “freshmen”? Hahahaha. You must not have gone to Mr. Jefferson’s University.

    Anyway, the result of those misguided years is this: I dread a Google search of my name.  Not that I’ve done anything so SO bad, but if Culpeper County can ban The Diary of Anne Frank in school, what hyperbolized psychotic confession could the world dig up on me? I DON’T EVEN KNOW!!!

    I don’t think I’d have to be as afraid of the Internet if my name were Anne Smith or something. But it’s not. And there are even things on the Internet connected to my name that I didn’t even create. Like a Ratemyteachers review that says I’m too easy? Really?! F’s for everyone.

    Anyway, to get back to my thesis, which I have strayed from since I am a terrible English teacher: God, do your worst. Consider me that overweight guy wearing a trucker’s hat that says, “I hope they serve beer in hell.” Preferably PBR. But gods of the Internet ,please keep my good name sacred from scorn. 

    P.S. Microsoft Word is autocorrecting for me to capitalize the Internet, but not god. They know, man. They know. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

northern virginia wants a shout-out, goddamnit!

    Okay, so we’re not the 212. We are not deserving of countless anthems. In fact, almost everyone who lives here fucking hates it here and would give their right thumb to live anywhere else. But like, someone in the music industry, just acknowledge our existence, please? 

    Someone? Anyone? Are you there, Jason Derulo? It’s me, Marissa.

    In college, one of my roommates put a map up in our kitchen that he found on the Internet. It highlighted the area code locations of Ludacris’ hoes. The map was ripe with factual data and was an anthropological study of sorts.  From this map, I garnered three pieces of information:

1          1) There is a Ho Belt, nearly synonymous with the Bible Belt, in the southern part of the US.”
2          2) There are hoes in central Indiana (317), half of Nebraska (402), and Milwaukee (414), but NO HOES in Nova. I beg to differ. Ludacris, I will take you to Arlington on a Saturday night. You will see hoes. In fact, you will see nothing BUT hoes. You might even find that there are so many hoes that you need one of these.
3                   3) I should maybe consider switching my major to anthropology?

    Since I felt so blatantly excluded from Ludacris’ cell phone (he’s got his condoms in a big ass SACK! He can’t spare a few on the metro area?) I have been on a quest to find a shout-out ever since. And everywhere I look, I am misled or just offended.

    In his mesmerizing swan song “Miss New Booty,” Bubba Sparxxx begins his opus with “College Park Bubba Sparxxx!”

    That’s okay, We’ll take that. It’s technically in Maryland, but it’s still the metro area—NOPE! He is referring to the OTHER College Park, a part of Atlanta. Which really makes more sense if you take a look at the guy’s body.

    Maybe we need to cast our net wider. I’ll even count the Eastern Shore as an extension of the ‘burbs if I can get it. In MGMT’s groove-thang shaker “Electric Feel,” we get what seems like a shout-out to those parts. But according to, a very reliable source that I found on the Internet, “’All along the Western front’ and ‘All along the Eastern shore’ are lines used to visualize ‘worldwide,’ or coast to coast. So MGMT’s just talking about global sex.”

    But really, when aren’t they?

    One would hope that Dave Grohl, who grew up in Springfield and attended Thomas Jefferson and Bishop Ireton (the latter of which he transferred to because, “the marijuana usage was affecting his grades”) could throw us a bone at some point in the Foo Fighters discography.

    And then, in 2011, he did. He gave us “Arlandria,” which I at first thought was his own term for Arlington and Alexandria combined, but it’s actually the name of a neighborhood in Del Ray. Obscure. So far, I like it.

    But then I listened to him whine, “You are not me, Arlandria, Arlandria/ You and what army, Arlandria, Arlandria?”

    Oh come on, Dave Grohl. I got made fun of in high school, too (although I didn’t go to TJHSST, so I had more of an excuse not to fit in), but you don’t see me claiming, “Shame, shame go away/ Come again some other day/ Memories keep haunting me.”

   Ugh. Just shut your enormous D.S.L., Mr. Grohl. I would estimate like 99.995% of the US can’t even tell you what you mean by Arlandria. So I like how this is your little dig at us that only we will get.

    In a sad Post Local article, overzealous blogger Tom Jackman hears Arlandria once and speculates that, “It has the elements of an anthem." He even claims that the lyrics are “SO wrong on the Internet” because he wants it to be true. I’ll grasp at straws for an anthem, but this is basically The Foo Fighters’ northern VA version of The Decemberist’s “Los Angeles, I’m Yours.” But not as funny to me. Because I hate L.A.
    So now that my options have been exhausted, someone, anyone: please write us a northern VA anthem. I know you aren’t even from here, Jason Derulo, but at this point, even you would do. Be the hero that Nova deserves, Mr. Derulo.