Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Pictures in Lieu of Words

Dudes. Dudes! I have the writer's block. I have no less than five unfinished blogs in my bloggy blogosphere. I'm also restless as of late and my attention span has shortened even more in the last few weeks, so a complete, well-written blog seems far out of reach. Instead, I will give you a little tour of my awesome living room and what has been happening in it over the last few days...

Here's the messy corner. Some day I'm going to put all those cds where they're supposed to go and put all those music books back in the file cabinet, and maybe even dustbust. But for now, I think it's a really good looking corner. An attractive mess.

Some of the cds are in order. Since the big digital television change, I've been listening to a ton of music, and often the entire album - this doesn't happen very often in these ipod days in which we're living. Included: Nothing's Shocking by Jane's Addiction, Mexican Moon by Concrete Blonde (thanks Angie!), Doolittle by the Pixies, Emergency and I by the Dismenberment Plan, and a little bit of Pizzicato Five for dishwashing time!

I'm not sure why this picture made it in, but it did. Here is my delicious lunch from earlier today! That's zucchini with herbes de provence (thanks Sara), tortilla encrusted tilapia (sorry Breena!) which I definitely did not make - it was frozen, and some couscous. Fancy!

Okay, and since 2009 is the year of learning new things (and thusly has, so far, totally ruled), I have learned that I actually can keep flowers alive! I was pretty convinced I couldn't before, but I've been very dedicated about watering and opening the blinds before I go to bed so the flowers can wake up to sunlight way before my 10:30 am wake up call. And it's working! Here are some tulips, in my favorite tulip colors:

Here's an amaryllis my mom gave me. It came in a box. I planted it on Inauguration Day.

And a close up. I came home from work last night, and the flower had bloomed. I actually gasped and said out loud "oh!" when I saw it. Since I took this picture, there is another flower blossoming on the opposite side of this one, along with a separate stem and flower in the same pot.

I can't believe how happy these flowers have made me this week. Seriously, I smile every time I look at them. Daffodils are my first favorite.

Here's a painting I bought at my work's art auction this past weekend. It's a tree, painted by my coworker Julia Ziah. It's the first real piece of art I've bought. I don't know how to hang it. Will you please come over and tell me if it's crooked?

And there's my lovely piano which I've been playing every day and night for a few weeks now.

My heart is extremely full right now, and things are beautiful and good. I like that it can be reflected in my living room. Also, I look like a Lord of the Rings character.

It's my new look! What do you think?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Love Day!

Valentine's Day! Woooo! Love! Love rules. Here are some of the awesome ways I've already gotten to celebrate this year. I hope you all are having a day full of love! xxoo

J. (age 13) came into his lesson Thursday, thrust this into my hands, and said "My mom said I should give this to you."

Here's a valentine I got from one of my student's little sister. I think she is 5 or 6...

Here is a Video Valentine from my sister and the one and only Sharky! Watch him on his adventures through the kitchen! Listen to his brilliant voice! Well done, sister.

And here is a picture my father just sent me from his phone: a deer eating from the bird feeder in my parents' backyard! Beautiful!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Sexy Results

It's a good thing, my friends, that I'm so full of love all the time lately. Because let me tell you, I could easily, easily be a hater right now. But I'm not. And what better timing with tomorrow being the big VD and all! Despite the sort of gross stuff that's going on, I'm still full of love. Awww!

I think I might have strep throat. This would be the self-diagnosed variety - you see, I didn't go to the doctor because really, who has time or money for that right now? My throat felt all warmly clammy yesterday, and I was headachy and out of it and delirious. And I think there's something in the back of my throat that's not usually there. Oh, and also, one of my students had strep this week. So even though I didn't know whether or not I had it, I got some antibiotics and started taking them yesterday. Yay for my father!

I don't know if it's the sickness or the pills or the mind frame right now, but things are a teensy bit funny...For example, my lips and fingertips taste funny. They taste really bitter, like one of those ointments you put on kids thumbs to stop them from sucking them. Or earwax. Either way, they tasted bad and bitter. And also, I kept smelling something like ham that had been sitting out for too long! It's like somebody unpacked the groceries and left the packet of ham out on the counter for a few days and it's still there! Rest assured, there is no ham in my apartment. I hate ham. Especially unexpected ham. But that's another story for another time. Anyhow, my senses are all out of whack. Oh, and also I keep laughing at everything today. Mostly when I've been at home, alone. Everything is hilarious.

All my glasses are dirty in the sink, stained with the residue of Emergen-C packets and Airborne tablets because that's all I drink. Leftover tomato soup is sitting on the stove, growing a skin. My hair is way beyond unwashed. There are pills spilled on the floor (I'm serious - I'm so lazy I haven't picked them up yet). My hoodie/pajamas uniform is obviously very sexy...all the kleenex on the floor, however, is not.

Cloudy liquids and pills and effed up senses, right in time for Valentine's Day. Who doesn't want to get with this?!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Baby Ghosts

Does anybody remember when I was hearing Baby Ghosts in the attic? I can't find the actual blog because maybe I never wrote it on here, but here's the text from the two myspace blogs I wrote:

1. i think it was sometime right before labor day when my mom came and stayed with me for a night and she kept saying she was hearing things running around in my attic. i didn't really hear it at first, but then after awhile, i started to hear things as well...like maybe something one might describe as (and i hate that i'm writing this word, but...) "scampering" about. or like, running playfully. scampering, really. i assumed they were raccoons or possums or something. i heard them a few more times and thought that i should probably tell my landlord. i think i may have at some point. whatever, nothing ever happened. they're totally still up there. i heard them today, in fact. scampering about.

but here's the thing. one afternoon, about a month ago, i heard the same noises, only it was more like running. and then...i heard a squeaky toy. like a dog toy that squeaks. for real now, even if there was a squeaky toy up there, what raccoon knows how to make it actually squeak? a genius raccoon, sure. but the one in my attic is no genius. its ordinary. and probably the toy wouldn't even be able to fit in its mouth.

so here's my thought: either it was some sort of super-powered genius raccoon with a giant mouth (obviously VERY far-fetched), or it was baby ghosts. ghost children. they've been up there for however long, and they get bored, and their only toy to play with is some random squeaky dog toy somebody left up there by accident. i mean, that's the obvious explanation, right? not far-fetched at all.

at this point, i'm just trying not to think about them too often.

And the follow-up, a couple of months later:

2. i’m telling you, they’re right next to me

the baby ghosts. they are now in the wall of my bedroom, in the wall less than a foot away from where i'm sitting in my bed. they are rolling toys and acorns around and around, up and down, side to side. i swear to god, i can hear them.

i know i sound like a crazy lady, but i've talked about this before, and to be 100% honest, i know they're most likely squirrels, not baby ghosts, but nevertheless, i am absolutely terrified right now.

i don't know why. but i'm fucking terrified of these squirrels.

About three minutes ago, I heard a squeak. Squirrels don't squeak, man! So either it's the baby ghosts and they've found their squeaky toy, or it's some kind of goose right outside my window. Either way, what the hell?

I mean, it was an audible squeak. Loud, even.

When I called in sick to work this morning, I didn't even feel all that bad. But now that I'm writing this and thinking back on my day, I think it's quite possible that I had some near hallucinations or something. And now baby ghosts. Perfect.

Friday, February 6, 2009

So Stupid...and So Worth It

My father loves the classics. He loves Casablanca, he loves old Clint Eastwood westerns, and he loves The Godfather, quoting the Corleones at family dinners. His appreciation for these movies is apparent on his face as he watches. It's like clockwork - they'll say "that one line" that everybody knows, or the mob scene around the table will happen, and he'll get this slow, pleased smile on his face. He'll turn to whoever is watching with him and say "You know, this is great." It's like he's been waiting for this moment, and now that it has happened, it was all he could have ever expected it to be.

My father also loves some of the stupidest movies ever made. I really mean it. Spaceballs, Dumb and Dumber, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle, The Naked Gun Trilogy...all totally stupid movies. And he loves them all. He'll admit it though; one of his catch phrases is (while chuckling) "this is so stupid." But he still watches them. I remember talking to him one Sunday evening - he was frustrated because he'd had so much work to do during the day, but he didn't do any of it because he got sucked into watching "this stupid movie with these two idiots" with Emil. "Are you talking about Dumb and Dumber?" I asked. "This is the one! So stupid. I can't believe I watched the whole thing...but it's really funny, you know?" It's as if he can't not watch it. And as stupid as all of these movies are, he loves watching them. He may not admit it, but I know.

The reason I feel so confident in that analysis is because I'm the same way. I mean, I don't love Dumb and Dumber, but give me any of the Naked Gun movies any day. The use of dummies, especially in the first one, is brilliant. I can't get enough of the dummies. Oh god, dummies!! I found myself thinking about stupid movies a lot yesterday morning. I had the morning off, as I do many mornings, and I actually didn't have work to do, didn't feel like playing music, was not motivated to clean or do laundry, and was too lazy to go to the gym. What else is there to do on a Thursday morning? The answer: make a lot of food and watch a movie.

Those of you who have known me for awhile probably know how seldom I watch movies, especially new movies I've never seen before. It's not that I don't like them; I just think sometimes I don't have the attention span for an hour and a half of something new. It sounds ridiculous, I know, but waa waa, it's true. My BFF Sarah sent me three movies starring my future husband, Jack Black, for Christmas this year: School of Rock, Nacho Libre, and Orange County. I almost put on School of Rock, which I've seen numerous times, but then a flash of adventure shot through me. "Why not make it a new movie?" I thought to myself. "It is a Thursday morning! ADVENTURE!" That's right. So it was between Nacho Libre and Orange County. What to watch, what to watch. Oh wait! Does anybody think I should watch a movie about WRESTLING?? I mean, it's not like I've been obsessing about it or anything, right? I promptly put in Nacho Libre.

Man, I loved this movie. Yes, I am extremely biased, what with my husband starring, but really, it was pretty fantastic. It's Jack Black, and it's wrestling. Mexican Wrestling. And also, there's a chubby kid who has an accent. And Jack Black sings a couple of songs. And no, there are no dummies, but still. It was damn good. To be honest, I didn't pay attention at all the parts, but really, this was a hilarious movie. It was really stupid, and I found myself saying that out loud, which was what prompted me to think about my father. Although our definition of "stupid movies" may be different, we're similar in our needs, desires, excitement about watching stupid movies. Who needs Al Pacino in a suit when you can have Jack Black in wrestling tights? Or Jeff Daniels on a toilet, in my father's case.

Fantastic Thursday morning. I may make this a regular thing. Stay classy, Dad.

Three asides:

1. The food I made (not to be eaten all at once - just to have around the house): hummus, butternut squash, egg salad with not a lot of yolk. Delicious.

2. Everytime I read an article in a magazine or online about Jack Black and his wife is mentioned, I get really mad and often can't finish the article. Sometimes because I've thrown the magazine across the room. I'm so pissed that he's married to her. I mean, how obvious is it that I'm supposed to end up with Jack Black?? Come on! I get so mad...

3. My last blog, the one about Ring of Honor, got linked to by this lovely guy Bryan Alvarez who runs a big online wrestling newsletter, and the number of hits has gone up insanely. Check it out! Thank you Bryan!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Ring of Honor: How Could I Not Write An Entire Novel?

Alright. Okay. Deep breath...okay. Wait...okay, I think I'm ready to tell you about what I did last night. One more deep breath. Are you ready? Seriously. I hope you're ready to read this blog for the next 4 hours because I just didn't know when to stop on this one. Get ready.

Finally. Finally. I finally got it together and went and saw some live wrestling. After about three years of faithful Friday Night Smackdown watching, and being a huge fan of Larry Sweeney for the last four years, it feels unbelievable and very lazy to me that I've never been to a live show. I thrive on live shit. I feel that I don't fully know a band until I see them live. And as much as I don't give an eff about sports, there's absolutely nothing like being at a live baseball game - specifically at Wrigley Field. So why hadn't I seen live wrestling until now? Maybe I just wasn't ready. Maybe I was unprepared for the greatness. Maybe I was waiting for just the right moment...

Well, that moment came last night, Saturday, January 31st, 2009, in Chicago Ridge, Illinois. Ring of Honor brought it. It, of course, being a lot of muscle, a lot of tight pants/tights, blood, sweat, tans, bad haircuts, ridiculousness, hilarity, and a strange kind of beauty that I never thought I'd find in, of all things, wrestling. I won't get in to the details of what happened in each individual match - somebody has already taken care of that here. Instead, I'll tell you about what I found lovely and hilarious. Also, I forgot my camera again, so I'm just going to places pictures of Larry sporadically throughout this blog. Dudes, it's my blog. I do what I want. Eat it.

First of all, I have to admit, I was kind of nervous. This was a totally new experience for me. Here I am, a big Bando Music Nerd, going to see live wrestling for the first time ever. I had so many questions. How early should we get there? What does one wear to this sort of event? What does one even call this? I had a lengthy discussion with BFF Sarah about how I should not call it a "performance" or "concert," and how the breaks were probably not called "orchestral intermissions," and that maybe I should not sit and applaud politely after the "performers concluded the night's entertainment." And I probably shouldn't watch through one of those monocle things. This was no orchestra concert. I had a lot to learn.

Just as an aside, here is Larry Sweeney's trading card. Just so you know what we're dealing with here.

Back to last night. I went with my brother Emil and his girlfriend Mladenka. As it turns out, Mladenka is a huge wrestling fan. She told me about how she and her cousin, when they first came to the U.S., would sit and watch wrestling and eat chips and bananas (10 a day for some reason) and not do anything else, ever. Now that's dedication. Despite her vast experience, none of us really knew what to expect; we figured we'd sit back and absorb it all and just let the crowd carry us along.

The first match started and my mouth was immediately on the ground. This shit was crazy. Grown ass men, dressed up in little outfits and greasy hair, throwing each other around like rag dolls...the intensity was enormous. As Emil said later in the night, it was as if there was nothing in the entire world that made these guys as angry as this individual match. This match meant the world to them. There was no greater anger that existed anywhere in the world than the anger between these two men. And next week, when they're fighting somebody different, that match will mean the world, and that anger will grow, and everything will just be greater and more magnificent. Fantastic.

We spent the first two lineups laughing hysterically and cheering and "OH!-ing" along with everybody. A couple of matches in though, the initial hilarity faded away and we grew quieter and watched, in awe, what I can honestly call the amazing talent and artfulness of these wrestlers. No, I'm serious. I sat back in my chair, shaking my head, as blood dripped down these men's faces and marveled in the wonder that is professional wrestling. I leaned over to Emil and Mladenka and referred to it all as an art. How could I have missed out on this for as long as I have? I now know that there is no sound in the world like the sound of a man getting hit with a metal chair. Not one.

The dedication in this sport is insane. Dedication to the physicality, the character, the dirty hair...it's all or nothing with these guys. There was this one wrestler called Grizzly Redwood. I feel like I don't even have to say anything else about him; the name says it all. But I'll go on anyhow. This guy's beard was easily 5 inches long, or wide, or deep. I don't know what you'd call it. It was giant. The best part about it though was that he was sort of tiny, which may have made his beard look larger. He was put up against this guy who looked like a giant next to him, and he won! I love it when the little guy wins. Awesome. Then there was the match between the foreigners. There was an English guy named Nigel McGuiness who had the Eurotrash look down pretty well, and there was El Generico, whose theme song was "Olé!" and whose persona was a stereotypical Mexican wrestler - mask and all. This guy was definitely one of my favorites, especially since I love love love this other wrestler, Rey Mysterio, who I watch on Friday Night Smackdown, and the mask slightly reminded me of him. Why is it so weirdly hot when a guy is so close to my own height? Anyhow, the Foreigner Battle was pretty fantastic. I think that, deep down, some people in the crowd didn't want either of these guys to win. They wanted America to win, man! USA! USA! USA!

The audience was hilarious. There had to be over 800 people in that field house. That's right, it was in a field house. These people knew all the wrestlers and loved to chant, antagonize, provoke, and throw streamers. Think The Simpsons crowd scenes. You know how they sort of turn into an angry mob in a split second and join in on whatever chant is happening at that moment, no matter what it is? Yeah, that was the field house last night. The guys behind us (at least one of whom went to high school with Emil and I, interestingly enough) were screaming for basically the entire night, taunting and cheering and making fun of the wrestlers who appeared in the movie The Wrestler (i.e. "Where's your Golden Globe?" "Can you introduce me to Marisa Tomei?" and such and such). There was this one wrestler, Claudio Castagnoli, who kept trying to talk into a microphone, and every time he opened his mouth, the whole audience would yell "Hey!" so he couldn't talk. This happened no less than 15 times. During the match, when the ref would do the usual counting, instead of yelling "One! Two!" they all yelled "Hey! Hey!" Claudio was very mad. Oh audience, you slay me. Bullies, you are. Hilarious bullies.

The main even of the night was, as we loyal wrestling fans like to call it, the CAGED COLLISION!!! Whooo!! Spring Break 2000!!! Yeah! Party. During an intermission (that's right, it was called an intermission, Sarah!), they set up the steel cage, which was basically chain link fencing all the way around the ring. Here's a visual of what Larry Sweeney might have looked like, inside this cage:
Photo courtesy of Larry Sweeney

This was where Sweet n' Sour Inc. would be pitted against some other guys who I don't care about. Let's get that straight. In my mind, it was Larry and like 85 other sort of scary-looking muscle-y men. I don't care who any of the others were. Maybe I will in time, when I attend a billion more of these events, but for now, I don't.

Here's what Larry, as the manager of Sweet n' Sour Inc., might look like, dressed all classy, at Ring of Honor:

Photos courtesy of Larry Sweeney

And here is a video of Larry Sweeney being classy, as usual:

Larry wasn't actually wrestling, but he definitely got involved, yelling douchebaggy comments at his own team, criticizing, mocking...it was beautiful. By the way, he was stylin' in a yellow dress shirt with a brown vest and pants and very fancy shoes. Nicely done, Larry. When his team lost, however, Larry couldn't take it. He got in the ring and started yelling at Bobby Dempsey, who had basically just stood there watching the whole giant sausage fest that was the steel cage match (seriously - ten guys jumping around an area that couldn't have been bigger than 20' by 20'. Total Sausage Fest). Larry slapped Bobby across the face, and that set off the rest of the team who, apparently, had had enough of Larry's abusive, asshole-y managerial skills. They then proceeded to help Bobby beat the shit out of Larry. Larry was thrown up against the side of the cage not once, not twice, but three or four times, all on different sides, so the entire audience could see. They were very thorough. The held him back while Bobby punched him repeatedly and threw his entire body at him. Larry got beat down, man, and we watched the whole thing, hands over mouths, wide-eyed, and honestly, pretty damn entertained. When it was all over and done, his own team left him laying in the ring, bleeding and miserable, and the match was over. Jesus christ.

Here's what he might have looked like on a different night:

Photo courtesy of Larry Sweeney

And here is a picture from the Ring of Honor website of a bloody Bobby Dempsey holding Larry Sweeney over his head at the end of the match.
Photo Courtesy of Ring of Honor

After this was all over, we kind of didn't know what to do with ourselves so we drove along Harlem Ave. for awhile until we got to one of those 24-hour Family Restaurants called The View. The sign used the same font/design as the show The View. Weird. We got some food and processed the night. Since I'd forgotten my camera, here's a phone picture of what we ordered:

Yeah, it's what it looks like. I got a club sandwich, Mladenka got a chicken kebab (there were two rings of pineapple on the rice for some reason), and Emil got a belgian waffle with whipped cream and bananas. We are awesome. Also, Emil got a giant mug of hot chocolate that was served with a giant scoop of whipped cream and a straw. His incredulous comment: I've never drank hot chocolate out of a straw...and I love it!

I'd say we did it up last night. Thanks, Ring of Honor.

On a more personal note, I do have to write about this because I woke up the next morning feeling really unsettled and not really sure what to do with myself. I have to say this: there is something very, very terrible about seeing somebody you love get the shit kicked out of them, even if it isn't real. Duh. But really, as we were leaving, Mladenka was all quiet and concerned about Larry and all the blood, and I made a little bit of fun, of course. "Um, it's fake, remember? You've been watching wrestling for years! Come on!" And I later tried to explain to she and Emil that I don't think I totally believed it was Alex in there...it was Larry Sweeney, the guy I've seen on youtube and laughed at and been amazed by for all these years. It's the guy on the playing card on my refrigerator. It's Sweet n' Sour Larry Sweeney! That's why it was entertaining. That's why it was hilarious. But later on, thinking about it all and reliving parts of it in my mind, I was terrified. Seeing him laying on the floor, with blood all over the back of his head, matted in his hair, literally being carried out of the ring by two or three guys...I think it was just too much for me.

I laid awake for hours last night, and after sleeping eventually, fitfully, I woke up with my head and heart aching. I don't think I'd be able to handle this very often...I'm probably too sensitive right now...

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Chicago Again

I'm working on an unbelievably stunning blog about a remarkable event I attended last night but I'm stuck and cannot finish it quite yet. I'll give you a clue: it's about wrestling. But since I can't finish that one, or anything else lately due to some severe writer's block and the good ole Crazy Lady Brain that's been hitting harder than usual, I'll just let out this one real quick...

Every time I leave, my heart aches. As I drive away from the city, I only allow tiny glances in my rearview mirror because maybe this time the sight of some ambiguous skyscraper might make me turn around and never leave again.

I cannot figure out what I want to do.