Saturday, February 28, 2009

Insomnia, BlogCritics and the Addy's

3 AM is an excellent time for blogging, no?

Urrg, I’m doing that thing where your mind is so busy you can’t sleep; I did this at the start of last semester too, and it was just as disturbing then as it is now. I am a sleeper; if there’s one thing you can count on me to do it’s sleep (and not much else, as I’ll probably accidentally sleep through whatever it is). Therefore, this new-found desire to check my email at 4 AM (and send responses, which results in “why were you emailing at 4 AM?” phone calls the next day) is severely mussing my whole system. Asleep before 12, awake as late as possible. This has been my tried-and-tested pattern since high school, and I’m more than a little freaked out by my adult-esque new habit of staying awake to worry about unimportant things.

Damn you, 25. Damn you, sense of personal responsibility. Damn you, crows feet (do not tell me they’re not there because I CAN SEE THEM.)

But if I’m up, I might as well use this opportunity to splatter some words on the ol’ weblog. I have broken my self-imposed post a week promise, and for that I am truly sorry. I’ve actually had people ask me to update; this makes me feel both special and like I need cooler friends, all at the same time (I don’t mean that…please keep reading…I crave your validation).

First order of business: I am now also publishing on, which is a slightly more credible/less narcissist writing outlet as my pieces must first be approved by an editor before venturing into CyperSpace. I’m excited for the opportunity of portfolio padding, but it also means God Willing must be good and patient for its updates. I have to give Blogcritics first publishing rights, so if I seem to be slacking (like this week, for instance) that’s probably why. Just don’t panic; I will keep posting as I’m too OCD not to, so take a deep breath and peruse my archives. Or better yet, go to (but please don’t leave me for her. I need you more than she does).

Second order of business: Addy’s. This topic was actually requested by an aforementioned uncool friend, so don’t blame me for crossing the TMI line by posting about my dating life. Take it up with Lola, aka Team Park…I’d provide more info on her identity, but she’s remarkably scrappy and frankly I’m afraid.

Ahem. So the Addy’s are an advertising competition. Prior to January I knew nothing of them; to me, “Addy” was a girl in my high school show choir and nothing more. Then I met my dating partner, and as he’s an Ad guy I was quickly caught up to speed. (“Dating partner” is a funny little quip said Ad guy and I originated, but as I realize it’s not actually that funny I’ll drop it. For the purpose of this post, DP now = Edward.)

Edward asked me to be his date for the Addy’s about a month out, and I proceeded to react with far too much enthusiasm…we’d only been dating for a few weeks, so it was imperative that I still act cool and nonchalant. However, he said “cocktail dress” and it was a lost cause; I immediately began making prom-like-shopping-plans and wondering if my tanning contract had expired. Luckily for me Eddie powered through and didn’t spazz out at my gusto, and one week out from the Big Night I embarked upon my journey for the perfect dress.

For this outing I required more estrogen than I alone could produce, so I asked for the assistance of the one woman genetically obligated to accompany me on such a trip: my mother. She kindly agreed to tag along, and by 11 on a Saturday morn we were chin-deep in corset-tops, empire-wastes and chiffon-overlays. Ahh, what sweet perfection!

Now, I misspoke earlier when I said I could be counted on to do one thing (sleep). I can actually be counted on to do two things: sleep…and shop. You don’t become Best Dressed 2002 without first memorizing the layouts of both local malls (and I should know, as I was Best Dressed 2002…or have I mentioned that?). So I was absolutely certain that this particular excursion would end like most of my trips to Penn Square; with a few too many dollars spent and a bag of glorious Fashion Fabulousity in hand.

When store #1 didn’t rock my world, I lost very little heart. There were still several stops to make, and I didn’t really want to find it that easy anyway (because half the joy is in the hunt). Store #2 was a disappointment as well, as it was riddled with prom-dress-shoppers who tainted both the ambiance and the dresses themselves. But not to worry, it was still barely past noon.

So we continued on to store #3, and 4, and 5…my mother vigilantly maintained her “I’m so excited to be trudging through the crowded mall with you” façade, but as the hours passed a bit of the life behind her eyes began to die. Even I became disheartened as the failed attempts piled up, and when the stores finally started to close I was left with a throbbing head…and no dress to call my own.

The pains-in-the-ass didn’t end there, but I’ll spare you some of the details (especially the part where my mom went shopping on my behalf and sent pictures of dresses to me via cell phone…yeah, I’ll leave that out as it’s kind of horribly embarrassing and makes me seem like a wretched child). I’ll pick up a few days later; I’d almost come to terms with the fact that I had failed at shopping, and I’d decided to just wear a dress I already had (siiiiigh, how great the trials of my life). Then just as I was coming out of my no-dress-deep-blue-funk, I remembered a sassy little number at shop #2.

My mother had immediately loved the dress; it was royal blue, which she’s been saying is “my color” since I emerged from her womb. I opted to try it on for that reason alone, and once I’d wiggled my way into it I swiftly used my veto power. It was strapless - as a rule, I don’t do strapless. Ever. They’re dreadfully uncomfortable, they make breathing nigh impossible, and they squish up one’s side-boob in a most unappealing way. So, once I realized what I was dealing with I turned to Mother to say “uhh, NO.” But to my surprise, she had a peculiar look on her face.

“You look like a movie star!”

Wellllll crap. Somewhere deep inside every woman is an intense desire to please her mother, and when mine said those words I knew I was about to experience a great internal struggle: to appease, or not to appease? I gaped at her, then turned back to the mirror…I had to admit I liked the color, but no. This girl does not wear strapless dresses; I am nothing without my principles, and no innate need for my mother’s approval was going to change that. I am strong. Damn straight I’m strong.

Much to your surprise I’m sure, that all changed when I realized the serious anorexia of my options. I ended up in the blue, utterly strapless dress, and by the weekend of the Addy’s I’d gone from hating it to tolerating it to liking it to loving it. Never doubt the power of a mother’s opinion. So I set out on my first advertising-awards-ceremony-evening, and I daresay I did a fine job. I don’t remember saying too many stupid things, and even if I did I was in a fabulous dress that with any luck distracted everyone from my babbling.

The night was a lovely blur of fine wines, good food and new faces, and I’m pretty sure Edward still liked me afterward. So, mission accomplished. And the real star of the evening-The Dress-survived without spill, slippage or tear (and received several compliments to boot). One gentleman seemed notably taken by my attire…he asked me in apparent awe what color I was wearing, and when “blue” didn’t satisfy him he asked me again…and again...and again. I eventually bowed out of the conversation mumbling something about needing to find my seat, and clung just a bit more tightly to Eddie’s arm from that point forward.

So there you have it, Lola-my-uncool-friend: this is my account of the Addy’s. Don’t act surprised that it revolves almost entirely around the dress, as you know me well enough to realize what a prisoner of fashion I truly am. It was several weeks of preparation for a few hours of display, and I’d do it again in a heartbeat. Dressing up is a high for me; keep your cocaine, I’ll take the couture. So say what you will – I think it was worth it…

Afterall, my mom said I looked like a movie star.

Much love.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Don't mess with the Fashion Master

As we age, there comes a time when it is necessary to pass the torch of Things We Once Were to younger generations (I'm 25 now...I'm old...I can talk like this). Previous pageant queens relinquish their crowns to newer, shinier Plastics; former record holders surrender their titles to stronger, springier athletes. It's a short distance between Late-Breaking Story and Yesterday's News, and the older we get the harder it is to be a headline.

Fortunately for me and my naiveté, it wasn't until my Sooner Land arrival that I realized this truism would soon apply to me. Perhaps I've made mention of this before, but I was Best Dressed in high school. Hold your applause. I took my position quite seriously; throughout college I vigilantly maintained my unique albeit impractical personal style (and I ruffled more than a few feathers with said style, which is always a good indication that one's Look is working). Despite my less than desirable fashion-locale (Shawnee, America = shopping-barren-wasteland) I kept up on the trends, and I graduated still feeling like a fashionista, regardless of my age.

That all changed when I came to OU.

Beyond the fact that I'm a haggard grad student now and thus am too jaded and exhausted to care, I simply cannot keep up with the apparel of my Debutant Sorority Princess counterparts. These girls must shop 23 hours a day (the other hour being reserved for parties at the Fiji house)...and they most certainly have more cash to burn than I, what with their Daddy-provided expendable incomes. Ahh, to be the offspring of a Texas oil baron. Louis Vuittons, Dior sunglasses, and UGGs (ugggggh) are a dime-a-dozen here; if you don't have these basic accessories, you do not register on the Fashion Radar. And I, a former fashionista and Best Dressed title winner, have none of the above.

Therefore, when I waltz into my undergraduate Journalism History class (a course I now have to take as it was not required for my BA, which further supports my suspicions that I went to a pretend school...but I digress) I drop my bags, silence my phone, and settle in for an hour and 45 minutes of Couture Research ala Undergrads. No, I do not pay attention in class; it's a 4000 level course, so it is my right as a Master's student to feel I am above listening to the lectures. Trust me, it's science.

Typically I marvel at the ever-evolving styles to be observed; I saw a girl in a magenta sequined-beret last week, I kid you not. The clothes kids are wearing these days are retro, throwback, vintage, not a bit sensible...and utterly fantastic. Most afternoons I lust over designer pieces that I will never own, and I almost always leave feeling like I need a "come to Jesus" talk from the God of Fashion (Dolce or Gabbana; either one will do). But last Thursday, as the lecture began and I thus prepared to zone out, I noticed something startling. As I scanned the room, a new trend was evident to me amid the sea of heavily peroxided heads of hair. And as this new style seeped into my fashion conscience, I became quite deeply disturbed.

Baby bows.
I saw baby bows.
Pinned to the perfect quafts and intentionally messy ponytails...were baby bows.

For anyone currently confused by this terminology, think of it literally; baby bows are exactly that - bows for babies. They're tiny, cheapy, cheesy bows that people glue to bald baby-heads presumably to alert the world that "hey, this slobbering bundle of rolls is a girl, and God help you if you call her a 'he.'" (New moms are weirdly protective of their children's gender integrity.) These bows are dumb and unnecessary for babies, as they don't make newborns look any less like pinkish old men, but for sorority sisters...they're creepy.

And I mean creepy.

What kind of message are you trying to send with an infant child's bow stuck to your head? Hmmm? What twisted daddy-complex does that address? I also noticed that some girls had branched out beyond the baby version, and were wearing those suuuuper tacky cloth headbands that have giants bows on one side. I wore one of those once...when I was 5. It was a fashion faux pas then, and now - if I were to wear one now, well it would be an atrocity for which I would invite you to lock me up at Griffin Memorial and throw away the key. Hold me to that, please; I'd rather be trapped in a padded room as a crazy patient than walking the streets as a fashion victim.

But back to the issue at hand; I was incredibly demoralized by this clear disregard for actual style. If Gianni Versace saw what I saw - Gucci bag and True Religion jeans, topped off with a pink satin hairbow from Gymboree - he'd roll over in his grave, twice. I swear to it. There is no excuse for this trend. I bought into the return of fluorescents and I'm almost on the plaid-shirt-dress bandwagon, but baby bows are an outrage...and I will not stand for it.

Therefore, as I teeter on the cusp of handing the Style Baton to these young sprites, I've decided to hold my Best Dressed Fashionista title for awhile longer. It is a vital role, being a trendsetter, and I just don't think these kids are ready. So in the spirit of being an inspiration to others, I've once again begun perusing the pages of Vogue magazine, and I've made return voyages to my old shopping stomping-grounds. This weekend I bought a dress I daresay I do not need; the rebirth has already begun. And until I see a complete extinction of the horrific baby bow trend, I will dutifully adorn myself in skinny jeans and Free People hippie shirts (and I'll carry my fake Louis Vuitton...but if you tell anyone it's fake I will cut you). I have to do what's best for society. I have to be me. And I am Best Dressed 2002, bitches.

Now leave your baby bows at the DOOR.

Much love.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

We pay no attention to the Man behind the curtain

Well kids, Tornado Season is upon us. Every year it seems to come earlier and earlier - when I was little I associated it with Spring Break and Sister's biffday (which is in April), and now I've come to register it with Valentine's Day and my biffday (which was 3 days ago...spitspit). I tell you, God's messing with us. I think he's sick and tired of the cockiness and the "I dare a tornado to suck me up" attitude most Oklahomans have adopted. He is a god to be feared and respected, and if massive tornado-storms with hail and sideways rain every spring won't do it, he'll keep us in a state of constant wariness by dropping his Twisters of Torment whene'er he pleases. It's a good plan in theory; people generally dislike unforeseen disasters, and having rainwrapped cyclones pop out of the clouds mid-February certainly qualifies as an unexpected act of Godly fury. However, this is Oklahoma. You drop a tornado on us unawares and (assuming we survive) we'll stand on our porches, watch that sucker evaporate back into the sky, and shake our fists at it in the most obnoxious "you can't get me that easy, Jesus" fashion we can muster. God underestimates our stubbornness.

Yesterday marked the first day in 2009 of widespread OMIGAWD THE SKY IS FALLING weather reporting on Oklahoma's fantastically sensational local news stations. The only reason I know this is because I accidentally unplugged my DVD player (by tripping over it, which hurt), and my personal marathon of Arrested Development episodes was rudely interrupted by a weatherguy exclaiming "THE TORNADO'S GONNA HIT QUAIL SPRINGS MALL." At first I was merely perturbed, as I A) didn't believe him and B) couldn't figure out how to get my DVD to start up again. But then a snippet of a phone conversation came trickling back into my mother had called earlier, and was blustering about getting ready for something....what was it?? And then I remembered; she was going to the movies. At AMC. In Quail Springs Mall.

You might assume that this prompted a Freak Out on my part; frantic texting and dialing and skyping Sister in Virginia to tell her our mother was woefully following in the footsteps of her favorite movie character, Dorothy Gale. But on the contrary. I called my father to say "uhh, so about Mom...." and once he assured me that all weathermen lie I pushed my concerns aside and cozied back into my couch for more TV marathoning.

(Well that's not entirely true. I did call Sister and leave a message detailing the aforementioned Wizard of Oz scenario - but that was merely to pay her back for ignoring my phone call, and thus she deserved it. You kids are aware that people can tell when you've clicked "ignore" on an incoming call, yes? Okay, then...stop doing it.)

And so a few hours later, after peeking out the window every now and again to assure my house was still firmly attached to the ground, I talked to Mother once more on the phone. Yes, there had been tornados all around her and yes, the entire mall was shut down due to the impending doom, but she got to see the conclusion of Slumdog Millionaire so she was in a chipper mood. No harm, no foul.

Point is, Oklahomans cannot be swayed in their defiant disrespect for Mother Nature. We've heard the "you're going to die if you don't climb in the bathtub with a mattress over your head" song and dance too many times, only to resurface 30 minutes later with mussed hair and a sneaking suspicion that somewhere, Gary England is laughing at us. Those weatherpeople get off making us act like douchetards, I swear it.

So, now that I live in a stamp-of-a-house that doesn't seem all too securely fastened to Earth, I am embracing my midwestern instincts to Fear Not the Weather (even when it's logically the smart thing to do). I don't have a central room, and I certainly don't have a cellar (and even if I did, I bet you it'd be 20 times worse than The Spider Room...and I'd rather try my hand at involuntary windsurfing than submerge myself into such a Pit of Despair). No, this Tornado Season it's just me, my 89-year-old bungalow and my innate Oklahoma ignorance against the wrath of God. I really don't think it'll be that bad. If my teenage self was able to survive my mother's fury after slamming one too many doors in her face (she single-handedly removed my bedroom door from its hinges in a fit of rage and stole it away to A Place Unknown)....well then, I can survive most anything. I hope you kids are ready too; just put on your best "I ain't scurred" face and keep one eye on the sky. And if you hear the chaotic howl of a westerly wind or the ominous call of tornado sirens, remember; that's your cue to walk outside and look up. Afterall, you're not in Kansas anymore, my friends...

You're in Oklahoma now.

Much love.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Does Playboy qualify as an academic journal?

Grad school is a ruse, you know that? It's all smoke and mirrors. The next time you get an email from I'm-Kind-of-a-Big-Deal Joe Blow, MA, put two marks for "douchetard" next to his name in your mental catalog and move his message to the junk inbox.

Because MA doesn't mean "I'm smarter than you" or "I'm uber qualified for my job" or even "I worked semi-hard so I could put two letters at the end of my signature." MA just means a person has an unusual amount of tolerance and time for BS.

That's not to say I won't boast and brag and be completely obnoxious when (when, not if) I get my Master's; I was brought up in a household where we announced any and all titles we received as a sign of our awesomeness and superiority over others. Best Dressed in high school? Yes I was, thank you...put it on the list of ways to answer the phone:

"Frankie Avenger, Best Dressed at EMHS...may I help you?"

It's simply the way I was raised. My father has loads of ridiculous letters after his name, and he insists on articulating them all anytime he calls me (or Sister; his unspoken but none-the-less clearly second-favored daughter). It's funny I guess, if you haven't been living it for 20 some odd years...but the most clever thing about it is that he both admits the lameness of the letters while also gaining respect by letting their presence be known. Because it doesn't really matter if they mean diddly-rat's-tail-squat; if you've got letters after your name, somebody somewhere is gonna be impressed. People are stupider than we generally give them credit for.

So yeah, one day I'll send you emails that say


Frankie Avenger, MA

(I can't wait until I'm grown up enough to sign emails with "Regards.") But let it be known now that those letters will be earned through my personal mastery of utter prattle. I'm constantly bemused by the dumb junk I'm made to read; page after page of citations and et al.'s and quotations so spliced and deconstructed that they could only make sense in the mind of the author (and perhaps in the mind of a crackhead; I really can't be sure). Point being, it's nonsensical academic jargon that matters only in the stuffy world of research junkies and PhD's.

So do not fret, my Bachelor's-only friends. For though I am climbing up and beyond you on the educational food-chain, I'm doing so by learning that which will certainly never benefit me in the Real World. And there you are, holding down a good job in this age of economic and professional uncertainty...something I may never again have the chance to do if Obama fibbed and actually has no idea how to Heal This Nation. Hey, I voted him into office - I can talk smack where smack-talk be needed.

Ahh well. The hours not spent pretending to care are open for suggestion and interpretation; a freedom for which I sacrificed my first Big Girl Job without as much as a second thought. Therefore, I should now be thankful that this Friday I have the option to

A) read about human rights/equality in the globalizing climate of modern mass media culture
B) go to Christie's Toybox with a married friend to help her pick out Unmentionables (and sneak peeks at various elements of Filth hitherto-unknown by my piteously naive little mind).

Hmm, wonder what I'll decide to do? I do need to learn how media conglomerates are taking over the universe....but I'm far more interested in seeing an actual pair of edible undies and/or furry handcuffs. Sue me. Plus, I'm pretty sure the Greatness of Christie's has more real-life applicability than any of this research crap I'm supposed to be reading. I'll probably never be the CEO of a multi-billion dollar corporation on the verge of achieving media monopoly, but there is a chance I'll someday have a husband who will want things spicy in the bedroom (fingers crossed I get to dress up like Princess Leia). So, I must prepare for the future that lies before me...and that evidently means spending an afternoon at the local sex toy shop.

I may not be a very good grad student, but I'll make a fine lova one day.

Much love.

Monday, February 2, 2009

I suggest you keep your distance, sir.

I am grouchy.
I am sick as a dog. After a full week of doing everything right (ie drinking fluids, sleeping 89 hours a day, and drenching myself in Zicam/Nyquil/Vitamin C), I've surrendered to that fiend known as the Common Cold. She is a backstabbing beast of an illness...and she has taken me down for the count. Thus: grouchy.

I was very tolerant and optimistic the first few days of misery (largely because they were snow days that I could spend snuggled in my duvet), but now I'm just pissed at the world: for being cold, for having germs, for not stopping time when I don't feel well enough to function. That might be the most frustrating thing about being sick; people all around still expect you to think/talk/act normal, when all you want to do is curl up in the fetal position and whimper and eat oreos. Just now I had a student ask if we (we=Hot Librarians) have an industrial-strength stapler. I looked at her, fighting the instinct to feel very put out that she was bothering me, and said, "no, we don't." I couldn't even muster the strength to say "no, we don't...I'm sorry." Because I'm
not sorry; go get your own damn stapler and leave me to wallow in my grouchiness.

(Come to find out we do have an industrial-strength stapler. I'm not only grouchy; I'm also a bad librarian.)

To top it off I find it nigh impossible to be funny when sick. Instead of coming off as a kidder I keep coming off as...well, as a psycho-bitch. Things that I say in jest keep falling flat, and I'm pretty sure I've hurt at least 3 people's feelings today. This morning I told a guy I blamed him for my sickness, because he was the last ill person I saw before my body began to sabotage me. And instead of laughing and saying something obnoxious back (which was the reaction I sought), he leaped into a drawn-out explanation as to why it couldn't be his fault. I just sat there, weighing the pros and cons of explaining my joke (pros: not look like a psycho-bitch, cons: expend precious energy and be lame (because explaining one's jokes is lame)). I eventually mumbled something about "no of course, it couldn't be your fault," and resigned myself to be being purposefully droll for the remainder of my illness so as to avoid awkward moments like that one. I then coughed unattractively and left his office with just a scoche less will to live than when I entered it...if there's one thing I hate more than being sick, it's being serious. And now I have to be both.

So for today, and for tomorrow, and for the near future in general (or until I break down and go to the doctor), I suggest you keep your distance from me. I go right, you go left, I go to Target, you go to Wal-Mart (spitspit)'s better this way. Oh, and avoid eye contact with me if you can, because I'm pretty sure I'm just glowering at everybody these days. If you cannot stand to tear yourself from my presence, you must agree to take everything I say or do with a grain of salt - I will not be held accountable for my behavior when sick. It's bad enough I've lost this week in the prime of my life; I refuse to lose my dignity as well. For without my dignity, I am look the other way, because I've got to spray Afrin up my nose.

Much love (and phlegm).