Location: Some form of public transportation. Your eyes wander to the person sitting next to you. And by the person sitting next to you, I mean the iPod screen of the person sitting next to you.
I'm quite sure this is somehow poor public transportation etiquette, but I just can't help myself. And the fact that everyone and their half-sister is walking around with one of those jumbo-tron iPod touch or iPhone screens these days isn't helping matters any. My guilt over this invasion of privacy is only compounded by the fact that I personally always try and shield my screen from anyone's view, seeing as how I'd rather not have the world-at-large knowing just how often I'm listening to Legally Blonde: The Musical**.
So I'm on the bus yesterday, and as I sit down I happen to notice that the guy sitting next to me is listening to "You Oughta Know," by Alanis Morissette (obviously). "Hmm," I think to myself. "This guy seems like a winner." BUT THEN, I glance over a few minutes later, and the guy has switched to the soundtrack for The Drowsy Chaperone.Now, The Drowsy Chaperone is one of those Broadway musicals that is one huge tongue-in-cheek reference to other Broadway musicals, written, I'm assuming, solely as a love letter to Broadway musicals and those who love them. Which means, seeing as how I am now sitting next to someone who apparently enjoys both angsty-era Alanis AND showtunes, my "This guy seems like a winner" has immediately morphed into "I need to make this guy my new best friend."
I kept scrolling through my screen, hoping he'd notice I was listening to The Last Five Years soundtrack and immediately request my hand in best friend-dom. He didn't. He perhaps thought I had muscle spasms in my scrolling thumb; perhaps I'll never know. OR PERHAPS I WILL. Because I've decided to turn this post into my own personal version of the Reader's "Missed Connections" page.
Alanis and Hammerstein guy, if you're out there, please put one hand in your pocket and type a comment with the other. We should probably be BFF's. I have the Lincoln Center version of The Light in the Piazza on VHS (taped off of WTTW holla), and I once had a chat with Meg Cabot in a Border's about Under Rug Swept.
*January is National Stalking Awareness Month; stalking is not a joke.
**Upon further thought, I rescind this statement. I love this soundtrack, and I don't care who knows it. It's smart, clever, female-empowering and will go down in history as the best musical adaptation of a Reese Witherspoon questionable career choice. On a similar note, I will be first in line for tickets to see Red, White and Blonde: On Ice.
Disclaimer: If you or a loved one is in a coma, I hope you are not offended by this post. That is not my intention.
I don't know if you know this, but I took a film class last semester and am therefore an expert on all things cinematic. As it turns out, a mandate was issued in 1980 that stated that in addition to characters and plot, each movie and television show that is produced must have at least one person in a coma. The more comatose people you have, the better (see Awakenings, Days of Our Lives). Filmmakers also get bonus points for the following: person coming out of coma has amnesia, special powers, or heightened aggression, person coming out of coma is pregnant (I say "person" and not "woman" because I'm still holding out for Junior 2: I'll Be Back), and finally, person comes out of coma and realizes he is still Jamie Kennedy, but now has a weird fascination with the 1980's.
Now I know that real-life long-term comas are absolute tragedies that involve heartbreaking moral issues. But if people slipped in and out of comas as often as they do in movies and on tv, there would be chaos. First, the hospitals would be overflowing with comatose patients, aka anyone who has hit their head, been in a car accident, or been shot by assassins in the past 20 years. That's a lot of people. On the upside, people would be falling in love in hospitals all over the world. You know, visiting their loved ones in comas, being comforted by the person who also has a loved one in a coma down the hall, and so on and so on. (Now these friends and relatives of the comatose would obviously be rife with guilt because they're messing around, at least emotionally, with someone else, but they really shouldn't be...cause the comatose probably have doppelgangers that are currently hanging out with Mark Ruffalo).
Back to the point. So there's the hospital overflow. Then there's a general expansion of the universe, because most of these people, while in their vegetative states, are also in parallel realities, working out their subconscious issues, getting the courage to follow their dreams, and realizing what they really care about. It's actually a good plan in theory. In practice, the world explodes, and I know this because I once took a physics class. Although the fact that it just took me five minute to spell physics correctly doesn't say much about my knowledge on the subject.
All of this information has led me to believe that this mandate was created by the Surgeon General to delay the coming of the Rapture and to provide the sole cure for writer's block. So thank you, Surgeon General, for keeping my lungs healthy and my imagination subdued.
For more information on doppelgangers, watch the episode of So Weird entitled "Eddie's Desk," but don't expect much because it's one of the episodes with Annie and not Fi, and the show went downhill after Fi left, when it became a vehicle for the musical career of the girl who played Annie and that panther that always followed her around.
I've created a list of television shows and films that include comas as a reference:
Essentially every soap opera and every medical show, Everwood, Veronica Mars, The Dead Zone (Anthony Michael Hall), 30 Rock, Samantha Who, Smallville, LOST, Friends, Arrested Development, One Tree Hill, The OC
Forever Love (This movie has Reba. This means you should watch it. Now.), Kill Bill: Vol. 1, 28 Days Later, Uptown Girls, Swimfan, Dave, The Dead Zone (Christopher Walken), Kickin' It Old Skool, Just Like Heaven, While You Were Sleeping, X-Men: The Last Stand, and duh, Coma
I didn't count Sleeper or Vanilla Sky because that was more cryogenic freezing than comas. I also didn't count some classics (Sleeping Beauty, Rip Van Winkle) because I'm not it counts as a coma if it was caused by magic spells or, if my memory of that Wishbone episode serves me correctly, magic root beer and forest bowling. I think that's really more of a deep slumber.
Jack: I'm Jacqueline Barrett, friends call me Jack.
Jill: Hey, David Jillefsky, my friends call me Jill. I guess we know what our friends are gonna call us together.
And with that CLEVER SET-UP TO END ALL CLEVER SET-UPS, Jack & Jill begins. Jack & Jill, the far-too-short-lived comedy drama from the glory days of the WB. Jack & Jill, the show that I reference at least once a week, references that no one ever understands, leaving me to question whether perhaps I am the only person on earth who remembers that this televised masterpiece ever existed. Which is wrong, so very wrong, for so very many reasons.
First of all, the cast is insane. Pre-A Lot Like Love Amanda Peet. Pre-What I Like About You Simon Rex. Pre-My Name is Earl Jaime Pressly. And post-Mother May I Sleep With Danger? Ivan Sergei, in which I think he tries to kill his girlfriend, played by Tori Spelling, but even my love for J&J cast members and all things Lifetime couldn't take me past the first ten minutes. Also, I may have been one of very few people to appreciate how AWESOME it was that Jack and Elisa, aka Sarah Paulson, ended up friends again on Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.
There are huge gaps in my memory of plot details, partly due to the fact that I was a very sheltered junior high-er at the time and a lot of it went straight over my head, and partly due to the fact that however many video streaming Web sites I try, no full episodes of the show seem to exist online. And no DVD has been released. Although once it is, I'll most likely be the first to know, as I've registered for an e-mail alert from about eight different Web sites.
Anyway, after sifting through quotes from the show to find the one referenced above, I realized just how huge an impact this show had on 13-year-old me. Everything I know about love, the real world and extremely healthy relationships I learned from Jack & Jill, with help from Dawson's Creek and every movie Freddie Prinze Jr. ever made. Coincidentally, I also realized why I exist in a generation rife with over-analyzers. But I digress.
Jack & Jill taught me that life as a professional dancer is tough, male bartenders are slutty, parting your hair down the middle is cool, cheating is bad and leads to scenes where people get chased down in airports, scenes where people get chased down in airports are cool, everything even vaguely romantic that ever happens to you in life will take place either in an apartment building hallway or a laundry room which you're accidentally locked inside (a belief that I held only until my roommate explained to me all the dangers that young women face in laundry rooms) and that it will always be hip to tie your cardigan around your waist.
The real tragedy here is that the show was canceled with little warning, so none of the storylines ever got tied up. Jack and Jill were going to get married, probably on a hill, I really can't remember, Jill freaked out and called it off, not knowing that OMG JACK'S PREGNANT BUT SHE HASN'T TOLD YOU YET, NOW WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN. Come to think of it, this show may have also contributed to my intense and debilitating fear of pregnancy.
Also, the theme song, "The Truth About Romeo," by Pancho's Lament, purchased by me on iTunes in a particular fit of nostalgia for the year 2000ish, rocks in a way that only turn-of-the-most-recent-century music can and deserves a little love. And in other news, I am now craving canned mandarin oranges, as that is all 13-year-old me ever ate.
Facebook ads and I have an on-again, off-again relationship. One second, it's like they can hear every whisper of my soul, and the next, it's like they're not even listening. Please Facebook ads, I want to make it work. I've been reviewing our relationship so that we can both learn from our mistakes.
Textbook Savings Stop by Half.com and save on new and used textbooks, DVDs, and more. Then take the money you saved and get what you want, like noodles. Perfect. I love noodles. I had some today. This is the soul whispering I was referring to earlier.
Weight Loss Tips (with a picture of Taylor Swift's face) Want to look like her by Spring Break? You can do it! Learn how Shauna slimmed down, and work toward your perfect body today! (A later one I saw had a picture of Jessica Alba, this time with the name Sandra). First of all, I'm a little offended, but come on, who wouldn't want their abs to look like Taylor Swift's face? And then, I'm also offended for Taylor Swift because apparently this is the John Tucker of Facebook ads.
Renting Off Campus While there may be snow on the ground it is time to start thinking about where you will live next fall. Visit SLS and get informed! This ad is accompanied by a picture of the crappiest house I have ever seen. Think Taylor Devereau's beach house post-Beethoven ripping the front off. And no, I have no idea what SLS stands for.
Top Stretch Mark Therapy Suffering from stretch marks that came about during a pregnancy are now easy to get rid of without surgery. Click here to find out how. I also get a lot of ads about putting my baby up for adoption. New plan: have baby, sell on a Facebook ad, get rid of my stretch mark-induced suffering sans surgery. Totally perf.
Create a Taste In this survey you can share your ideas for creating a flavor for a new contraceptive. Take part and help to develop a new product! First of all, what is this NEW contraceptive? Something fruity, I assume. Secondly, I don't really think you want my help- I could never even decide which flavor I wanted for the fluoride treatment at the dentist's office. But let me tell you, if grape-flavored hysterectomy had been an option, there would've been no contest.
And now...for more contraception flavors! Apple Abstinence - 100% delicious! Strawberry-Banana Spermicide The Pineapple Pill Cotton Candy Condom and just in case... Plan Berrylicious!
Note: If you didn't get the Beethoven's 2nd reference, don't worry about it. I'm fairly certain only my siblings and I watched that film enough times to think that Rice is a normal name.
Or, "Reasons I Constantly Worry About the Future of Our Country Being in the Hands of Those Who Upload Facebook Bumper Stickers."
This particular gem was uploaded mere seconds after "that boy" asked "this girl" if it hurt... when she fell from heaven.
Every time a grammatically-incorrect bumper sticker is uploaded to Facebook, a copy editor loses its wings. However, I applaud this uploader's creativity in bypassing the usual your/you're conundrum for a mistake that gets a lot less air time.
Because nothing says "I less than three you" like a Facebook bumper sticker.
I love ankle socks just as much as the next person. No really, I do. What concerns me here is that someone sat down at a computer, pulled up the Facebook homepage and thought, "Hey, you know what? I could go read a book, I could go read a newspaper, I could go catch up with those crazy ladies on The View, but instead I'm going to create a bumper sticker that will praise the glory and wonder of day-glo socks."
But seriously. For the love of all that is holy, will someone please explain to me what this means?
Dear Duggar Family, I do NOT understand why a DVD is an appropriate birds and the bees talk. I do NOT know what translation of the Bible stated that Jesus turned water into grape juice. I do NOT know what is wrong with dancing, and I DO have a few problems with marriage skits involving siblings. I do NOT understand what kind of "authority" a husband has over his wife in marriage, and I'm still unclear as to anything the oldest boy said during the birds-bees talk with his dad. I also don't know how it took you 16 kids with names that start with "j" to get to Jennifer.
However, the fact that you had something about two becoming one on a huge banner as well as the carat-carrot joke won me over.
P.S. Have Amy over more often, but know that she's giving your children Dr. Pepper and awkward advice about kissing. Thanks.
The way I see it, you can only rock it if you a) were at Woodstock and practice free love or b) are Mischa Barton.
Which presents a problem: Yes, Mischa Barton is the reason that I feel a need to wear a white men's Hanes tank top underneath everything I wear, including formal and/or cotillion dresses. But at the same time, Mischa Barton tried to convince me to wear Keds. My mom wears Keds. Or at least she did, in the early 1990's. They came from a craft show and had puffy-painted Christmas lights on them.
Usually, the hippie headband is some sort of braided leathery affair. Think Blair Waldorf meets Pocahontas. But if you're Mischa Barton, you whip out your Bedazzler, start a celebrity headband line and sell the version at left for $90.
Or you go to Forever 21, spend less than $6, and Bedazzle it yourself. Preferably with the Marisa-Cooper-makes-her-final-exit-while-"Hallelujah"-plays-YET-AGAIN episode of the OC on in the background.
And in other news, I sort of love Mary-Kate Olsen's headband here. And not just because she's Mary-Kate Olsen. Well, mostly because she's Mary-Kate Olsen. But also because it's made out of peacock feathers, which most people say are unlucky, which is somewhat tragic, because I find them pretty, and I appreciate MK's attempt to prove luck wrong, although I tried to do the same thing, and then the strap of my peacock-y tank top broke at the Funk Groove Lounge. So there's that.
To paraphrase the great and mighty Julie Andrews, when you get bitten by a dog, stung by a bee, or caught singing to yourself in the elevator, it's always nice to cheer yourself up with something you really like. When I'm depressed, I like to listen to singer-songwriter, poet, actress (yes, actress), and activist, Jewel. Actually, listening to Jewel's music doesn't really cheer me up now that I think about it; it just makes me miss Pop-Up Video.
Anyway, for those of you who were too young to enjoy Jewel during her heyday, she's best known as a yodeling, lives-out-of-a-van, Alaskan Taylor Swift. And by calling her Taylor Swift, I mean that they are both blond and have connections to country music. If this sounds totally unappealing to you, here are some reasons why you should listen to Jewel:
1. Jewel is her real name. Her parents are Atz and Lenedra, and she married a guy named Ty Murray (two characters from Clueless and therefore a viable reason for marriage). If that's not enough inspiration for eight albums, I don't know what is. 2. She's a poet. A Night Without Armor, a clever play on words that I didn't get until just now, sold over a million copies. Take that, Robert Frost. 3. If it weren't for Jewel, I would still be leaving wet towels on the floor. 4. Hey, do you remember that time Jewel was a pop artist? I do, because that was when she got me to shave my legs again wearing my prom dress. 5. She acts. Apparently, after playing Dorothy in a production of The Wizard of Oz, Jewel played herself in Walk Hard. While reading this, I misunderstood and thought she played herself in Walk the Line. Although Jewel is really freakin' cool, she was not friends with Johnny Cash. I do firmly believe, however, that shooting people just to watch them die was part of her van-Alaska life years ago. 6. Jewel cares. She wants to save your soul and your breasts. She's done a lot of work for breast cancer organizations (anti-, not pro-), and she started her own organization to bring clean drinking water to people in developing countries. In this org's latest attempt to raise money, several well-known musical artists are auctioning off their lyrics. As in, write down your song on a sheet of paper, John Ondrasik, sign it, and we'll sell it for clean water. Unless you're Katy Perry, who is clearly too cool for paper and wrote her lyrics to I Kissed A Girl on a box of Obama O's. For your information, the bidding is up to $175 for that puppy.
So, if you love Walt Whitman, Dewey Cox, unnecessary scatting, or water, you're going to love Jewel. But chances are, you probably already do.
All of my information was gathered from Wikipedia and a superb video on the History Channel website where Jewel talks about Alaska.