quintessential american holidays

It’s that quintessential American tradition, Thanksgiving, in less than two days.  I’ve never actually been a fan of Thanksgiving, I have to admit.  It’s not because I’m all counter-culture or anything.  I mean, I do have serious issues with the whole reason behind it, but that came later in life, as I learned my history.
No, it’s just that I’ve never liked the day, even as a small child.  The house getting all crowded up with people, everyone expecting me to be all social and nice, having to deal with all that annoying noise.  The food that was all gross that I had to eat – like turkey and stuffing and cranberry sauce (although I loved the black olives, but dad always limited us to three a plate).
It’s just not fun.
My parents would always invite the new family in the ward over, or the missionaries or somebody like that.  Our relatives all lived in Utah, Idaho and California, so they would do their thing over there.  The two families on the block that we were really tight with did their own Thanksgiving thing with each other – we were always invited, I think, but for some reason never participated.
So we did this family thing with a bunch of new strangers, every year.  Super boring.
When John and I got married, I pulled out all the stops in year one and tried to bring both families together.  It was stressful and annoying and I forgot to thaw the turkey in time, so it didn’t finish cooking until around 5 or 6 pm – and for some reason, Thanksgiving dinner is the only dinner in the entire country that is absolutely expected to be served around 1 or 2 pm.
Anyway, over the years, I’ve just sort of let it slide.  John’s family usually does their thing (his parents are truckers and rarely in town; his sister generally spends it with her husband’s side and maybe comes over for dessert), and my family does their thing (my brother spends it with his wife’s family, my sister in E. Washington does something that has never involved inviting us and I’ve never asked).
John gets the day off, so it’s usually a nice, relaxing day that the three of us spend playing video games or watching a film, eating easy-to fix food or take-out, and just generally relaxing.
This year, we were invited to a friend’s place in Seattle.  A traditional Thanksgiving dinner sounded like an interesting change of pace, and we wouldn’t be doing any cooking – plus, they’re a childless couple, so it would just be the 5 of us.  But their fridge broke, so it looks like we’re back to basics.
It’s going to be cool.  I feel bad about not being able to hang with our friends that day, but on the flip side, it’s been a pretty stressful month thus far.  At least now I have a week to catch my breath before diving into December.
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mood stuff and music

You know how mood rings were all popular in the ’80s?  And mood shirts, those stupid shirts that changed color according to your body heat and stuff?  I think they had mood pants and stuff, too.

I read this book once, a kids sci-fi type book, where all the clothing of the futuristic characters consisted of sleek mood jumpsuits and stuff, except they actually did tell your mood — not just pink or blue for hot or cold, but had actual sensors that told whether you were angry or happy or jealous or lying.  And the jumpsuits were government mandated, and there was a pretty heavy black-market trade of fake jumpsuits or something.  I forget the whole storyline.

Anyway.

I was just thinking today that it would be awesome if you could have an ipod or a Zune or something that could arrange your playlists or stream music to you automatically depending on your mood.  Because sometimes I’m in a mood, and I don’t know exactly what I want to listen to until I hear it.

I know I want to listen to something . . . something that’s a little bit angry, but not bitchy-blamey-whiny angry.  More like strong, assertive.  And I know that I want to listen to something a little romantic, but not like, “Oh, I will climb mountains and do anything and give up my soul,” hopeless romantic.  More like humorous, solid, confident.  And I want something with a strong beat.  And I want something catchy.

But then again, maybe I just want some Soul Asylum.  They always make me happy.

intelligence is bad, mmmmkay?

So as I was driving Little A to school this morning, I was listening to 106.1, which is KISS fm here in the Sound.  It usually has okay music, a mix of pop and alternative and stuff.  The morning talk show was on, a woman and a couple guys speaking.  The woman had one of those slightly annoying voices — not nasal or anything, just speaking a little too forcefully and a little too loud and a little too fast, speaking over everyone else and constantly interrupting.

Anyway, they were discussing the new People magazine cover.  Apparently an image was released online that a bunch of people thought was the real thing, with Robert Pattinson as People‘s Sexiest Man of the Year.  Okay, so no big deal, what the eff ever, right?

But no, apparently, that online image was *gasp* false!  And People had actually named Johnny Depp the Sexiest Man of the Year.  Now up to this point, I’m kind of just listening with half an ear, not really paying attention.  It’s all just chatter-chatter-chatter, useless white noise in the background.

Then this conversation happens, and a couple sentences in, I start really paying attention because I’m a little shocked and a little appalled and a little offended.

“You’re not pleased about this?  You don’t like Johnny Depp?”

“No, Johnny Depp doesn’t really do it for me.  He’s so odd, so different.  Like, he lives in France and he thinks he’s from France but he’s not from France.”

“And he plays chess with old men in the street.”

“Yeah, what’s that all about?  What about those poor old men, being mobbed by screaming Johnny Depp fans?”

“Have you ever read Dante’s Inferno?  No?  I bet Johnny Depp’s read it, like, 6 times.” *laughter*

“And he probably sits at these outdoor, like cafes or things and drinks these drinks that we’ve never even heard of.”

The image they were conjuring, with the tone of their voice and their mocking laughter was this pretentious guy who thinks he’s better than everyone else.  I try and make it a point not to judge celebrities (or really, anyone) myself; I don’t know them, I can’t even begin to understand their lives or walk in their shoes.

But celebrities like Johnny Depp or Daniel Day Lewis, who do their best to keep their private lives private and stay out of the public eye — I think there is something to be admired there.  And I could never see how intelligence or the pursuit of knowledge is pretentious.

I would rather talk to someone who has read Dante’s Inferno 100 times than someone who spent their college years listening to KISS fm and chugging beers.

I really do not like this ever growing trend of diarrhea-of-the mouth talk radio.  Whatever happened to, “And for the rest of the story . . . “?

obligatory (yet late) Hallow’s Eve post

Halloween was pretty fun.  We did the whole trick or treating thing.  It was cool.  Little A dressed up as Optimus Prime — I did not make his costume, but bought it.  I no longer feel (very) guilty about that.  I feel vaguely as though I ought to, but really, it’s just too much effort for something that’s not that memorable in the end.
I don’t recall any of my Halloween costumes, and my mom made them all.  I think I was a witch several years in a row.  Maybe a clown once or twice?  I can’t really recall.  It was the personalized, home-made birthday cakes that did it for me, so that’s the tradition I’m concentrating on for my son.  Screw the freakin’ home-made costumes, he’s getting home-made birthday cakes.
Anyway, my sil Melissa came down with my niece, Mea.  John had requested the day off, with the result being that the 5 of us were able to go trick-or-treating together.  Or, more accurately, Melissa, John, Mea and I were able to escort Little A on his trick-or-treating journey.
Little A’s cousin Jay had slept over the night before, and they’d stayed up until midnight, so Optimus Prime was pretty exhausted fairly early in the evening.  I’m a little surprised to say that Mea (adorably dressed as Snow White), at 6 months of age, outlasted him by several hours.  He was draggin’ by 8 p.m., begging to go home and go to bed.  His candy bag wasn’t even entirely full.
There was one absolutely adorable moment near the end, though.  He walked up to a house and this older lady answered the door.  He says, “Trick or treat!”
She asked, “Don’t you have enough?”
Little A said, “Yeah, but just one more.”
It was so cute.  John and I were dying with laughter.
Pics to upload later.