Monthly Archives: August 2012

Ghost Ride the Whip

I’m not 100% sure what that phrase means, but I think it involves getting out of your car while it’s moving and jumping back in before something terrible happens. Sounds fun. I was searching for a car-related title to jump-start this entry (see what I did there?) and that was the first thing that popped into my mind. I think it was Kendra from “Girls Next Door” who first introduced the term into my mind. Thanks, Kendra. You’re a wealth of knowledge.

My car is notoriously unreliable and I pretty much only drive it to work and school (and occasionally down the street to the bar). If I want to go out of town at all, I have to rent a car, take a train or hitch a ride. It’s pretty inconvenient for a sassy adventure-seeker like myself. Despite its problems with long road trips, it has been pretty good about not breaking down when I need it day-to-day. Especially when you consider that I’m the worst car owner on the planet. My backseat has been full of boxes and random things since I moved from my previous house and I can’t remember when (if) I’ve had regular maintenance done. I’d like it to just run forever and not cause problems. Isn’t that what a 1998 Malibu is supposed to do?

About two years ago, my ABS and brake lights went on and brought with them a delightfully loud beeping noise that occurs whenever I put the car in motion after a brief period of being stationary. It scared me for a minute, but then I turned the radio up and decided if there were problems with the brakes, I’d notice. Two years later and I’m still doing fine, loud beeps aside. 

A couple of months ago, my stepdad noticed something hanging from the bottom of my car, near the front driver’s side wheel. He told me what it was and that he thinks there was a problem with the wheel bearing. He instructed me to get it fixed promptly if I didn’t want my tire to fall off. I nodded my understanding and informed him that it wasn’t going to get fixed unless the car fairy decided to leave some cash under my pillow. Having nearly forgotten about that issue, I was driving along happily last Friday when I noticed a disturbing grinding noise/feeling when I put pressure on the brakes. Great. My brake problem had finally caught up to me! Bastards. However, the grinding did not subside when I let up on the brakes, rather it continued until I reached a decent speed and also when I made any turns. The wheel bearing! No!

I’ve been driving around, taking care to stop only when absolutely necessary (watch out, yellow lights!) and hoping upon hope that nothing important, like a tire, falls off of my car while I’m in motion.  I can budget getting it fixed late next week but not a minute before. In the meantime, I’m continually embarrassed every time I have to stop near pedestrians, cyclists or other drivers with their windows down. It is an obnoxious noise that seems to scream, “I’m too poor for good things!” Oddly enough, nobody seems to notice or care.

I am seriously considering getting some giant rims to offset the general falling apart-ness of the rest of the car. That works. Right? Nobody will notice that my A/C doesn’t work, I have only a stock radio with cassette player, manual windows and locks, scratches & scrapes and that tiny little (terrifying) grinding noise. I’ll be rolling on dubs, ghost-riding the whip. Like a dorky white girl is meant to drive. Holla.

 

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Ba-Ba-Ba-Boyz II Men

Friday night I got to check another act off of my 90s Obsessions bucket-list. My sister and I were lucky enough to be front row at the Boyz II Men and Bel Biv Devoe concert at Rock the Rapids. It was amazing. I have loved B2M since I was single-digits and never thought I’d be able to see them live. Admittedly, I only know “Poison” by BBD, but I was excited to see them as well.

I rushed from work Friday afternoon and crossed my fingers that my makeup hadn’t melted off my face since applying it earlier in the morning. Nobody wants their eyebrows to slide down their temples. Not cute. I parked and headed down to the entrance to wait in line with the rest of the eager concert-goers. My sister met me shortly after I arrived and we shared our excitement until we were allowed entry into the gate. We refused to be anywhere but the front row but also refuse to run for anything that isn’t life threatening. Thankfully, we had met a young, strapping guy in line who was just as serious about concert-real estate as we were. He ran up ahead and we ended up as close to “front and center” as we could have hoped for.

Bel Biv Devoe (2/3 anyway)

It was sweltering outside but luckily my eighteen layers of makeup had held up pretty well. My lips were still neon pink (the color of getting 90s crooners’ attention) and I was only a little gross. We grabbed a couple of beers and posted up for the main event. When Bel Biv Devoe took the stage, a tiny giggle escaped my lips. They were small. Very small. And they looked as if they hadn’t aged since New Edition. One of them looked like a miniature Jamie Foxx, one was decently attractive and marginally tall and the third was a bit on the portly side and sweating to prove it. I have no idea what their names are and don’t care enough to google it. I thought they put on a great performance and especially loved the matching white leather vests and high-kicking 80s dance moves. At one point, I was trying to check out their three wives who stood on the sidelines and I was nudged by the girl next to me. It seems the sweaty one was trying to talk to me through the microphone. “Hey, girl in the stripes. With that hair. Yeah girl!” I was a bit embarrassed but more confused. Was there a reaction I was supposed to have? Should I have squealed? I didn’t. Instead I covered my face in mock bashfulness and gave him the “who, me?” eyes. As soon as the first notes to “Poison” blasted through the speakers I grabbed my homemade sign to display, “Never trust this big butt and smile!” The sweaty one instructed me to hold it up and all three expressed their delight in the sign (and I’m assuming my big butt, as well).

Tiny Jamie Foxx

My sweaty suitor

Between sets we made friends with the security guards who had managed to snag the coveted stage posts. One was a short, stocky wrestling coach and the other a gigantically attractive black man. He learned our names and invited us to quiz him once the show was over. We did and he passed. He then told a story about his 18-year old daughter and I dismissed him as an option.

Boyz II Men making love to the crowd

At last, Boyz II Men and another fulfilled childhood dream hit the stage. They were wearing their requisite dorky matching outfits and also didn’t appear to have aged since “Motown Philly”. Shawn looked a bit smaller than I hoped but they were all adorable. My sister and I immersed ourselves in the swarm of 90s goodness and ended getting quite a bit of eye-contact and smiling/waving attention from the Boyz. Once they opened their beautiful mouths to sing “I’ll Make Love to You” (my favorite) I noticed they each had a few long-stem red roses in hand. I lost my shit. Nathan wandered over and tossed a rose to my sister and then wandered away. No. There was no way I was going home without an “I’ll Make Love to You” rose. No way. Thankfully, Nathan felt my teenybopper-creeper vibes and came back. He looked into my eyes, winked and gently tossed a rose into my hands. I’m pretty sure in that moment I was impregnated by all three of them at once. And I’m ok with that. I didn’t think they’d do much dancing and anticipated a low-energy show full of ballads and delightful vocal runs. What we got was that and so much more. They also had hilarious 90s choreography that could only be described as “funky fresh”,  including variations on “the running man” and “roger rabbit”. None took to the dancing more than Wanya Morris. He was hysterical. The other guys would often playfully shove him out of the way to continue their singing. I loved every second of it.

Shawn sharing his beautiful voice

When the show closed we wiped away our disappointment that it couldn’t last forever and got our hands on a couple of copies of the setlist once they were ripped from the stage. Armed with those and our prized roses we headed out of the festival lot and onto the rest of our lives. Much like I converted from Joe Mac to Donnie Wahlberg, I do believe I’m now a Nathan fan instead of Shawn. Nathan’s pelvic thrusts were just exponentially better than Shawn’s. Hence the pregnancy.

Yummy!

I’ll update in 9 months or so on that whole Boyz II Baby status.

Damn the Man. Save the Empire!

Anyone who’s anyone can tell you that local businesses or “mom & pops” are SO in right now. Corporations are the devil and small shops owned by friends and neighbors are amazing. If you didn’t think that before, I’m urging you to trust my words on this in particular.

I won’t name drop in this blog because I don’t want to get anyone in (more) trouble but I am pretty irritated. A certain “corporate” salon has been bullying friends of mine who are trying to make it as entrepreneurs and more independent stylists.

I already raved about my new hair studio and this is a continuation of that rave. Having just gotten fabulized there last evening, my ire is fresh and I felt I needed to share. Most salons require their stylists to sign a non-compete contract upon hire. Obviously they’d like to retain clients and discourage stylists from building up a following and peacing out. I get it. However, is that realistic? No, I’m telling you, it isn’t.

I choose a stylist, not a salon. On the rare occasion I can trust my scalp to more than one girl at a place, I may keep a stylist on “hair-mergency retainer”. (For the record, the owner of this new studio is the only other girl I trusted with my head besides my current stylist at the old salon). If I show up for my regular 6-week appointment and they escort me to the chair of someone I’ve never seen (or approved) before, I’m walking out. I refuse to let some crispy blonde touch my head and I’m sure most women feel the same (about feeling comfortable with your stylist, not the crispy part). I would feel worse cheating on my stylist than a boyfriend. It’s a bond that can only be broken by accidental bangs or a sliced ear. And even those are forgivable for the right stylist.

Your stylist knows about that weird cowlick and that you think your ears are creepy. She knows you hate anything “cookie cutter” and that you’re just not a “poofy” girl. Clearly, when she leaves her place of business you will follow her to her new destination. It’s nothing personal, mega-salon. It’s just hair-business! So stop being a jerk and leave those poor girls alone. It’s hard out there for a pimp. I’m sure you can just air another pink commercial and you’ll get all the salon-clients you can wish for to come running for your pink doors. They’ll revel in the Katy Perry blasting from the speakers and take any pink chair you offer. They probably won’t tip well because there isn’t a relationship there, but hey…at least you didn’t let the little guys have them! Congrats!

So, in closing, damn the man! Save the Empire! Stick with your stylists if they know their way around your head. It’s a valuable relationship that can’t be threatened by legalese and paperwork.

Book an appointment at Roxanne’s Hair Studio! 🙂

How to Make Friends in Factories

When you work with mostly middle-aged, married men it can be hard to find common ground or conversation topics. My boss and I get along great and could chat all day about music, movies or just whatever. The men, however, are foreign beings. They like smoking, drinking and tinkering with things outdoors. They crack jokes that would make Larry the Cable Guy roll his eyes and call female parts things like “taters” (eww). I have no “in” and generally don’t desire to strike up a conversation with them.

Today, I realized that if I want every single person in this factory to stop and talk to me, all I have to do is put on a pair of sky-high heels. It confuses and intrigues them and they simply can’t resist stopping to ask me about them or make claims like, “Hey! You’re taller than me in those!” Yes. Yes I am. These are 5” heels but you’re only 5’9” to begin with. So…I’m not sure where the shock factor is coming from. I just smile, nod and say, “Yep. These are tall” from my 6’1” vantage point. “They’re also yellow, in case you wanted to continue saying things that are true.” I’m smug. What can I say?

Tall shoes make you tall

A few of the more interesting (and most socially awkward) men asked me strange questions like, “do those work out your calves?” and I honestly don’t know how to respond. I mean, yes? It works muscles differently when you walk on the balls of your feet like a Barbie doll. It also makes my bum more perky and forces me to walk with a hip switch rather than my usual shuffle. But I didn’t get into that. No need to introduce ideas about my perky (or non-perky) body parts to the strange dudes lurking around the dark corners of this factory.

You may be asking why I would wear divalicious shoes to a dark and dirty factory. That’s a valid question. This is me re-training myself to be fabulous. I have spent the majority of the summer in flip-flops and I’ve gone soft. (So tempted to make a penis joke here). I need stiletto boot camp if I’m going to continue stomping around the city in ridiculous heels. After all, flat shoes are for quitters.

 

The Fastest Girl in Town

As tends to be my habit when one is available, I went to a concert last night. I’m an eclectic gal with wide musical tastes spanning from boybands to manbands to fierce country divas. Last night’s performer was everyone’s favorite spitfire, Miranda Lambert. She brought along the girls in her side project band, Pistol Annies for good measure and thank ‘Gos’ she did. I love those girls.

I have an issue with going to concerts and ending up far away from the stage. If I’m going to make the effort to get dressed, put on my face and stand for hours, I better be able to see up some skirts. With that in mind, my boss and I left work a little early (don’t tell) and headed downtown to wait in line. We had purchased early entry passes which granted us an extra half hour before the general public. That extra $5 paid off since we were able to hoof it into the concert grounds and stake claim to a patch of land immediately in front of the stage. If there were “rows”, we’d be in the front row. I’m pretty lazy and standing for hours doesn’t usually sound like a good time, so the fact that there was a rail to lean on was priceless. And the proximity to someone famous, of course.

The opening act took the stage and was met with general confusion and disinterest. He was an older gentleman who oozed “easy listening” from his corduroy jacket, black jeans and receding hairline. His accompanying singer was a youngish woman who was wearing a terrible dress/half-sweater combination that added years (and assumed homeschooling) to her appearance. They sounded fine, I guess. It was just a weird choice before the “Kerosene” and “Gunpowder & Lead” diva took the stage. At one point, the aging singer introduced another member of his “band” (all of whom were absent from the stage) as a guitar player named…uh…I don’t care. This guitar player never picked up a guitar, instead he joined in on the chorus of a SUPER slowed down version of “Boys of Summer”. It was awkward. His performance was followed by an unnecessary announcement that the homeschooled accompanist was his wife. I didn’t care. I’m sure you don’t either.

Bootylicious!

Almost out of nowhere, Miss Miranda took the stage. She stomped her surprisingly bootylicious self to center stage and belted out “Fastest Girl in Town” to a roaring crowd, despite the slow start. I was taken aback at the eye contact and serious possibility of seeing her downstairs but that girl can blow. Tunes. She can sing. Is what I mean. The couple next to us was in their 50s and there all the way from Muskegon. The man was a prison guard nearing the end of his term and the wife was a hopeful gambler. They were very nice and courteous when saving spaces for beer runs or bathroom breaks but got extremely excited when Miranda appeared. They maintained their excitement throughout the show and I was treated to a shower of tobacco spittle every time he shouted the lyrics out of tune. It was pleasant.

Pistol Annies: Hippie, Holler and Lone Star

Just when I could take no more brown chunks of nasty landing on my white t-shirt I was distracted by the Pistol Annies. Hippie, Holler and Lone Star lined up and busted out “Hell on Heels” which I’ve taken to be my personal mantra. It only bothered me a little that they were all wearing flat shoes. Ok, so it bothered me a lot. At least put on some fierce stilettos for that one song. I mean…really. I could see that “Holler Annie” was wearing thigh-length spanx under her leather skirt and that really endeared her to me. I feel as if we’re kindred spirits. She also nearly knocked down a mic stand and sang into a dead microphone for several awkward seconds. She was a hot mess and I love her for it.

As the show wound down I realized just how well Miranda can sing. I tend to forget that with all of her sass and “I’ll shoot you if you mess with me” attitude. She can sing. Well. They did the requisite tossing of guitar picks and then the drummer threw out his stick, which I caught. Several other people caught it as well, but apparently I caught it with the most gusto because I have it and they don’t. I’m not sure what I’ll do with it, but I have it. It’s in my purse and will most likely remain there until I forget about it and toss it in my closet.

Vaginas!

“Chew” spit-showers aside, the evening was a blast. Miranda has cemented my status as both a fan of hers and the other Annies. Especially my little disaster, Holler Annie. Big ups, girl. Big ups.

Me and Honey Boo Boo Child

Honey Boo Boo Child and I are basically the same person. Kindred spirits. Ok, so that’s not true at all, but I did experience a little of what she must feel like after drinking her “Go Go Juice”. I’ve discovered that red wine is my own version of “Go Go Juice”. When I drink it, I feel as if I could and should say yes to everything that’s suggested. Even when I have to work in the morning and have no business staying out and/or bar hopping. If someone says, “I want to sing karaoke”, I’m in. I’ll trek my chunky butt all over town in my 5-inch stilettos because hey, I’ve got my “Go Go Juice”. And you know what they say, “My ‘Go Go Juice’ gon’ make me wiiin”.

Uh uh, Honey Boo Boo Child!

In another giant stretch of the word “same”, we are just that. She’s shooting to fame and success faster than her little hands can form her belly into a fleshy donut for the judges. She’s getting paid to act like a complete psycho and sure, we’ll call that success. Today, I got two pieces of great news and I’m floating pretty high on them. I’m counting that as “shooting to fame and success” because it’s probably the closest I’ll ever get. Me and Honey Boo Boo Child. You better “red-neck-ognize”.

What a classy little lady

Admittedly, the first two paragraphs are a shameless bid for google searches and new readers. Hey, it works. My two pieces of good news are pretty cool though, so I’ll share. My sister and I entered a “sweepstakes” to win a trip to Nashville to the Southern Ground Music and Food Festival to see Zac Brown Band perform and to meet the band. It was one of those radio show contests that you enter and then forget about, never expecting anything to come of it. Well, my sister won. She actually won the trip. We’re flying to Nashville next month for three nights to hang out with the festival-goers and Zac Brown Band. I am ecstatic. I love that band and I love free things.

LOVE them.

I also found out that my hoop-jumping for GVSU has paid off and my appeal for financial aid was approved. I’ll be back in school in the fall (at the end of the month) but I’m only going two nights a week this time. Hopefully it’ll allow me to retain some of my sanity and keep my wits about me. I need my wits and if you’re reading this I’m sure you appreciate them as well. Hopefully.

So, yay for me and yay for Honey Boo Boo Child. May her success earn her enough money to pay for any trips to rehab and/or bail her out of jail. Her presence in both is an absolute certainty.

No Humps in Slumps

I am in a funk.

There’s no better way to say it. A funk. You’d think that with a word so akin to “funky” or “fun” that it would be a good time, but no. It’s pretty boring. For the last few weeks I’ve been holing up in my bedroom and watching various ridiculousness on Netflix. More specifically, I’ve been watching “Malcolm in the Middle” and eating leftover soup. I’m glamorous, what can I say?

I have piles and piles of clothes but nothing “cool”. I haven’t even worn heels in a month. A month!  I hate being uncool. Mostly because if I’m uncool it makes me simply a jackass when I pass judgment on others. If I can’t provide commentary on the lives of others, what do I have left? “Malcolm in the Middle”, that’s what. I’ve said no to several invitations over the past few weeks. Just this weekend I was invited to dance in foam (with an enticing assurance that I’d contract an STD*) and I just scoffed at the voicemail and shoved the rest of the cookie into my mouth, washing it down with the last of my boxed wine. Funks are black holes. I’ll need to be forcefully dragged out of mine.

So yes, I’m in a slump. I’m sure you’ve noticed by my lack of blogs that I’ve been doing nothing even remotely blog-worthy.

The end of this week will bring two separate “nights out” with different groups of people I haven’t seen in forever. Fingers crossed that I’ll successfully get dressed and show up to those events. And I might need to shave my legs. If I do, you can be sure I’ll observe something that can be spun into an un-funky blog.

Until then, I apologize for my lack of creativity and/or entertaining elements. I’ll try harder. Perhaps I’ll brainstorm some hilarity while snuggling with my cats and re-watching season 1 of “The L Word”. At least those ladies are living their very intermingled lives.

Faux Pas Funnies: A Semi-Serious Post

Oops.

That’s all I have to say. Oops. Just…oops.

Those of you who know me personally know that I’m pretty cavalier when it comes to serious matters. I will joke about anything and everything in lieu of actually processing emotions and/or dealing with feelings. It’s just what I do. After years of honing this skill I’ve come to be able to read a room and gauge what the response to an off-color joke might be. One would assume that a man making jokes about the Holocaust and Jesus Christ as a sexual partner would be open to anything. One would be wrong. Very wrong.

I was out at the usual spot for a public debut of the fearsome twosome that is my new roomie and me.  We joined some of our mutual friends and a few people we hadn’t yet met. We looked fabulous (even though we both got ready in less than 10 minutes) and we were all having a good time, joking and singing along to the 90s mix that was so fortuitously playing. The gay man I had just met (the one with the Jew jokes) had said something about the word “contracted” (I think it was in reference to an actual contract…?) and I turned to him and said, “Contracted what? AIDS?” It got a huge laugh and even a high-five. He wasn’t amused. He looked me dead in the eyes and said, “No you f*cking b*tch, I’m positive.” I begged him to be joking but he wasn’t. He has AIDS.

Now, before any of you get offended, keep in mind that the fact that I didn’t assume he had AIDS was a good sign of our times. This is not the 90s, despite what the music may have suggested. I never thought that a young gay man would have the RENT disease. I mean…I just didn’t. I felt terrible but at the same time I was a little pissed off. I obviously didn’t know that he was HIV positive or AIDS positive, and if I did I wouldn’t have made an AIDS joke (in front of him). To prove a point, he asked me, “would you make a joke about cancer?” To which I replied, “YES!” I mean, if someone is sitting in front of me, bald from chemotherapy and radiation and literally dying of cancer, then no. I wouldn’t make a joke to them. That’s in poor taste. I understand that these things are serious and cause people to lose loved ones and I’m not belittling that. I’m just processing it in the only way I know. Jokes.

We made amends and I apologized for offending him. He admitted that he probably shouldn’t have reacted so strongly and we agreed to start over. We ended the spat by singing in unison to the Spice Girls. “Slam your body down and zig a zag ahh” can build bridges. It really can.

Moral of the story? If you have AIDS or cancer and would prefer I didn’t pun them out…let me know at the beginning of the night. Just hand me a list of off-limits topics and I’ll do what I can to adhere to it.

I still feel bad that he has AIDS, but I don’t necessarily feel bad for throwing it out in joke form. I’m chalking it up to terrible timing and a ridiculous coincidence.

Thoughts?

A Soft Spot for Street People

I wanted to watch some women’s Gymnastics and pretend like I know something about the Olympics, so I went to sit at my favorite bar to have a beer and bounce commentary off some friends. The night at the bar was short and unspecial until I left to walk to my car with a particular friend.

We were adhering to a strict self-imposed curfew and attempting to get home by the midnight hour. Our “best laid plans” were thwarted not by other mice and men (ooh…literary) but by an outdated street person. He stopped us politely on the sidewalk and explained that he was an artist and that he’d love to draw our portrait for a small donation. I knew I only had tens in my purse but he was wearing a beret and his fingernails were long in that “artsy” kind of way. I figured it was a good opportunity to get a piece of narcissistic original art for my apartment. He assured us that he was speedy and that he would only take up a few moments of our time.

We were ushered to a well-lit stairwell on the street and sat awkwardly while he laid out his supplies. I suppose it was only a second or two of waiting since his supplies consisted of a ball-point pen and a few loose sheets of paper. While he started sketching he engaged us in conversation that was tailored to lead to his life story. I don’t recall asking, but soon we were treated to the tale of two fated lovers. It seems his girlfriend was somewhere (at an unknown location) down the street having a bad acid trip and needing some nutrition. Fast. Thank goodness for all those tens in my purse and my never-failing hopefulness that I’ll meet the next great artist on the street. He enthralled us with a history of living in the woods in Washington state and used that as a reason for spending so many years on acid and other drugs. He told us it was fate that brought him and his bad-trip girlfriend back to Michigan and that at the age of 32 he thought he was too old for acid. I concurred, letting him know that I thought any age was too old for acid, considering the havoc it wreaks on your natural chemicals. He shrugged it off, retelling of his girlfriend’s current state, as if expecting some sort of awed reaction.

Throughout the back story (sob story) he weaved I stole glances at the “portrait”. He seemed to be ignoring most details that would distinguish one human woman from another and was just crudely outlining our faces and hair. I was duped by the beret and the slightness of this man. He wasn’t an artist! He was just some poor weirdo who did too much acid and made money by seizing onto a piece of paper with a pen and calling it art. When he had finished eking out what I assume is the portrait he promised, he asked us what sort of background we’d like. Toying with the idea of a giant hotdog, we settled on a “Vegas” backdrop. He agreed and said it’d be no problem. What we ended up with was a misspelled sign and what looks like both a fat and skinny hamster fetus-balloon. I’m confused, to say the least. I did give him ten dollars, however. He never promised a masterpiece and I suppose the word “artist” is subjective. At the very least, I got to read his book of poems that he intends to turn into a memoir. It was terrible and most words were either misspelled or misused. I told him I thought it was great. This is why those terrible American Idol auditions happen. I apologize. I didn’t know what else to say. He was still drawing my face and I didn’t want to end up with a unibrow.

The beautiful work of art.