Monday, September 21, 2009

Songs that I SHOULD be embarrassed to admit that I love, but I'm not

1. Usher, "Dot Com"

I think the lyrics are 100% genius while being 110% cheesy. "Get on my laptop so I can download". REALLY, Usher? "Oh, I need your backspace in my life. Thank God you don't have a flat screen"

HAHA-LOVE IT. Seriously though, I absolutely LOVE this song. I just ignore the lyrics....

2. Britney Spears, "Don't let me be the last to know"

first-Britney is SMOKIN' HOT in this video. I actually bought that SAME white bikini in hopes I would wake up with rock hard abs-didn't work. Again-completely horrible song that I completely love.

3. Jessica Simpson, "I wanna love you forever"

This is STILL part of my "time to clean the house" playlist on my Ipod. Not only does it encourage sweeping, dusting, folding clothes, and softscrubbin' anything I can get my hands encourages me to be in love. Maybe I should listen to it more. Great song....but I probably should have stopped listening to it back in 2000 when it stop being cool.

4. 112-"Cupid"

I still remember when I called up WJLB when I was like a freshman in high school to request this song on The Quiet Storm. The DJ goes, "Whats yo name", I said, "RACHEL", "Where you calling from girl?" and I said, "Troy"

"Detroit? What side, girl?"

"No, Troy"

He hung up on me, but still played my song.

5. 98 Degrees, "Invisible Man"

They were a boy band-enough said. Actually, allow me to elaborate. Next time I get invited to a cherades party, I will be sure to invite Nick Lachey-look at his arm movements. Over acting, Nick...calm down.

6. LFO,"Summer Girls"

Another boy band...another great song. In a REALLY REALLY lame way. "Chinese food makes me sick". Woooooooooooooooooooooooord.

7. Ace of Base, "The Sign"
I lip-synced this song at a summer camp AND convinced my whole 5th grade class that THIS was the BEST song to sign at our graduation ( I remember fighting with Terry Boyle about this one. He wanted Nirvana "come as you are".

8. Color Me Badd, "All 4 Love"

I LOVED this song when I was like 8. Upbeat-happy-makes ya wanna dance...even like 20 years later.

9. All Saints, "Never Ever"

I remember making my friends in high school listen to this....on my Sony Walkman. If you can get through the forced-awkward talking at the start of the song, it gets better. Kind of like high school.

10. Charles and Eddie, "Would I lie to you"

This one is dedicated to my best friend, Stephanie. This has been "our song" for as long as I can remember. I love you, Steph! NO CLUE why we love this song so much, but we do!


11. London Beat, "I've been thinking about you"

I will forever love this song. "we must have been stone crazy, when we thought we were just friends". No kidding, guys...NO KIDDING. Love it.

12. *N Sync, "I want you back"

This song takes me back to 10th grade....right back. Right back to driving to Bagel Factory or Buddys Pizza for lunch. Writing notes in Flex with Jenny Wu. My purple sparkly eye shadow. Mudd Jeans. WOW. I STILL love this song....I want it back.

13. Hot Boys, "I need a hot girl"

All I gotta say about this one is "PHG". Right, Wu Thang?

14. Anita Ward, "Ring My Bell"

I actually requested this song at a club in South Beach....guess what, THEY PLAYED IT!

RING RING, Bitches.

15. Blackstreet, "No Diggity"

No doubt.

16. Geto Boys, "G Code"

This is the song that finds it's way to most of my mix cds...and when stopped at a red light, I turn this ish down. WAY DOWN!, scene from Office Space-down.

In the privacy of my own home...well...."we don't trust in the judicial system, we shoot guns" Awesome.

17. Limp Bizkit, "Nookie"

This song reminds me of my sister's old bedroom. We were obsessed with this song...

I mean, "are" obsessed.

18. Mandy Moore, "I wanna be with you"

I'm not going to apologize-I still think this song is great. I love Mandy Moore.

19. Kelis, "Milkshake"

la-la-la-la-la, the boys are waiting.

My goodness, girl...pure grime. I LOVE it.

20. Enrique, "Bailamos"

This song is STILL hot in my book. Honestly, one of the sexiest songs ever. Reminds me of summer of 2001...GOOD times :)

Songs that take me back

Most of the events, places, and people that I hold near to my heart, I recall by smell and song. Many don't believe me when I say I can recall scents-but I can. I remember scents of London, my college dorm hallway, his car, my Opa, my old house, etc. Literally, when I hear certain songs, they take me right back to that moment in time. Regardless of what I'm doing, where I am, or how long it has been...I go back.

Here are some of those songs:

1. Toca's Miracle-Fragma

Winter of 2001-heard this song in Rome. EVERYTHING comes back when I hear this song: the lady at the Diesel store that refused to let me try on a white shirt because she was afraid my make up would rub off. I was wearing nothing but mascara. The hot special forces guy I met from Texas, on his way to Croatia. The pub crawl we took with my Aunt Gayle. The pistachio gelato I ordered at this small shop near the Spanish Steps. The black cats around the Coliseum. Everything. I go back.

2. Yellow Ledbetter-Pearl Jam

This song wraps up 6th-8th grade. While I do my best to block those wonderful years out of my memory, this song always remains. I would put this song on repeat on my Sony CD player, which took up half of my dresser, and would put this song on repeat as I read, "Lord of the Flies", "Hatchet", and did last minute reports on John Lennon, Spotted Owls, and Voyage of the Mimi. I love this song almost as much as the man who sings it.

3. Shawty-Plies

I know, don't hate, don't judge, and don't repeat this. I flippin' LOVE this jam. This song represents one of the best summers of my life-sushi with Simona everyday, Vince (it was fun at the time), and laying out by the pool every single day. I went through some major mental AND physical changes that summer...gooooooood times. This song immediately takes me back to SPF15, jean cut offs, and ZERO responsibilities.

4. What's Love-Fat Joe w/ Ashanti

The first time I heard this song, I was at a Pimps and Ho's Party at Stanford visiting Steph. All I recall is a lot of black lights, tin foil, and me, it was a theme party so I went with it. The best memory of this song is Steph and I thinking it was called, "LAST NIIIIIGHT". I still throw this song on my, "Time to get ready to go out" playlist.

5. Stay or Leave-Dave Matthews


I have no comment. Still heart broken. (sigh)

6. 1, 2, 3...Gloria Estefan

Just let me complete the sentence. I was setting green beans on the kitchen table at my grandparents house. This song. I don't know. No other explanation. I was 3 at the time.

7. The Chokin' Kind-Joss Stone

April of 2005. Townsend Hotel. Mitchell's Fish Market. Lenny's Kravitz. Lenny's personal (very personal) trainer. Miami. (sigh). That is all.

8. Across the Universe-The Beatles

Family road trip to visit family in Ontario. We listened to the Black or ...was it the White Album? Regardless, this is the song I remember most. Driving in my Dad's Silver 850 Turbo..the smell of the car, Julie and I in the backseat, windows down..........this song. I was 11

9. Tearin' Up My Heart-* N Sync

Flex. Jenny Wu. Troy High parties. Me dancing in front of my bedroom, bathroom, and the MASSIVE-dance studio-like mirrors in the living room. I thought Justin was the best thing since Lip Smackers and colored contacts. So happy that phase only lasted 2 weeks.....the colored contacts, I still rep the Smackers.

....okay, you know what-my boys deserve some more face time. Please note Justin's "Ryan Phillipe moment"

Oh yes, there is more.

I can't promise you that they are actually singing, but who the hell was love.

Um, do you have to ask me twice? NO. I mean, YES. YES I WILL BE YOUR GIRLFRIEND. "I ain't shooting game, boo. I'm just tellin' ya how I feel".


10. The Scientist-Coldplay

Nobody ever said it was easy.....and it's not. But, I still love this song.

Monday, July 27, 2009

"THE HOT ISSUE" is not the issue

How he tilts his head hints at what's going on inside it. The hair moves guys can't resist. 10 things guys wish you knew. The stalking danger you don't expect.

Excerpt from a romance novel? No. Try the table of contents of this month's Cosmo issue.

I feel like I read Cosmo far more when I was 17 and should have been reading, well, Seventeen. I recently picked up a copy, NO idea why. I also bought a bag of sour Skittles. Again, very unlike me. So maybe there was something that inspired me between the citronella candles and the candy to pick up an issue of Cosmopolitan, "The Hot Issue". Really? Like, other issues of the magazine compare to Martha Stewart Living and Newsweek? What I want to know is, how do they NOT run out of "10 ways to drive him crazy". After years of "ways", doesn't that add up to THOUSANDS of ways to "drive him crazy". Guys are not that complicated, physically...I can think of one way that usually works. I won't charge you $4.79 for the tip, either.

As I skimmed through the pages, all I really saw were advertisements for lotion, hair products, and birth control. But after digging through all of the glossy pages of beautiful hair and unattainable legs without cellulite, I finally made it to the horoscope section.

Aquarius: Don't commit to any long-range plans (like a winter vacation); your priorities will shift under the changeable Moon on the 14th. Nasty rumors about your ex are not true (great, NOW you tell me?), so be the bigger person and don't spread the dirt.
Dating Tip: Impetuous Mars sparks a red-hot attraction with a friend of a friend. Your heart will literally pound when you lock eyes. Get your flirt on because he feels it too.
Love Advice: Expansive Jupiter makes you crave erotic encores. Giving him o**l will help get him up to speed for round two.

I mean, REALLY people? How about you do whatever the heck you want to or do not want to do in round one and if he still likes you then GREAT! But kudos for putting the WHORE in Horoscope. Well done.

The Cosmo quiz this month is "Are you good-girl hot or bad-girl hot". Look I don't care if you think I'm good OR bad...just as long as you think I'm hot. Please. This magazine, essentially, after all the tips for hair, make up, how to walk, talk, think, wear a padded bra, and flirt DOES offer ways to fend off stalkers (page 133). After you make yourself hot you will have THOUSANDS of suitors and, they even have us covered there, ladies. Good to know, good to know.

EVEN THE DRINKS are "sexy" in Cosmo. Oh yes, check out page 206. "Summer's Sexiest Drinks". WHAT? At least have sexy names like Sex on the Beach, Red-headed Slut, or the like. WHAT is sexy about Lemon Ice or an Orange Creamsicle. Anyone? Nothing. There is nothing "sexy" about them.

In the "Love & Lust" section, on page 117, Cosmo gives us tips on "How to Get Hit on ALL the Time". This was great. Absolutely amazing. Considering that they assume you will be at a bar when you get "hit on", shouldn't we ALSO assume that alcohol is involved? Want to get hit on ladies? Just go to Black Finn. Really doesn't matter what you look like, what you are wearing, how you flip your hair, or play with the rim of your glass with your finger...some guy will find you hot. I promise. But, just in case you need more guidance on how to handle a guy that hits on you...check this out...

Cosmo is recommending you say...."Thanks. I'd love a drink. I was having pinot grigio", not this, "I don't know what to get-ask the bartender for me! But nothing with too many calories".

My name is Rachel Reed, and this is what I think when a guy offers to buy me a drink (assuming I just met him). I first think...what's in it for him. If I'm already buzzed, is he hoping this next drink puts me over the edge, thus in turn increasing the odds of him getting "lucky". Whatever "lucky" means. I think you're lucky if I give you more than 15 seconds of my time when I'm out with my friends...but....maybe others have a different opinion. But next time I'm at happy hour, I'll be sure to take Cosmo's advice and play with my shoe with my toes...sounds like a balancing act to me. But what if someone offers to buy me a glass of wine? AH! I won't be able to balance my shoe after a few of those...oh no...NOW what? While you can say the not-so-witty two liners that Cosmo recommends, I suggest politely declining. If you don't take candy from strangers, why would you accept a drink from one? I was munching on carrots and ranch dressing at a local bar one night...why didn't someone offer me another round of baby carrots? Why? Because you can't get drunk off baby carrots. Jury is still out regarding ranch dressing. Therefore, call me a man-hater, jaded, or cynical...when a stranger (man) offers to buy me a drink I assume he wants to get in my pants. Otherwise, he would have offered to buy me baby carrots or cover my parking fee from the structure.

My all-time favorite section from this month's Cosmo is on page 106, "He's Perfect, But..."
For example, "He's perfect, but he wears fugly man jewelry". The Fix? "Next time he wears his flair, enlist a girlfriend to poke fun at him gently by saying, 'I could have sworn I saw that at a women's store at the mall. Is that where you got it?"

WOW! Great idea, guys (or should I say, girls). Let's hurt his feelings. Perfect. Not only will he get upset from the comment, he will most likely think your enlisted girlfriend is a bitch.

"He quotes movies 24/7" The fix? "Say in a joking manner, let me take you to the movies so you can get some new lines". Look, if you REALLY like the guy enough to date him...odds are, you will also know the movies he adores because hopefully you enjoy them too. Finish his lines. But what do I know, right?

To dedicate 4 pages on how to "change" your boyfriend completely baffles me. Why would you want to change him when you just spent hours reading 195 pages about how 10-sure ways to attract him , 101 ways to please him, and 4 words that will keep him. I mean, right?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

no title, sorry.

While cleaning out my basement last week, I literally walked into a box of "old" movies. What movie was on the top? "Before Sunset". I forgot how much I absolutely love that movie. When people ask what my favorite movies are, I usually respond with the obvious: Best in Show, Home Alone, Just Friends, Drop Dead Gorgeous, Swingers, etc. Before Sunset and Before Sunrise (really feels like one whole movie), are both excellent flicks. I watched both, back to back, a few nights ago. Could relate a little more to the storyline now than ever before. Can't really explain's just weird.

I'm REALLY hoping for a third to come out. I need closure and Ethan Hawke is still a babe.

That is all.

Favorite part of Before Sunrise

Favorite part of Before Sunset

Monday, June 8, 2009

Lights, Camera....act sad.

I'm trying to think of the most traumatic thing that has ever happened to me. I think it is a tie between trying on a cute dress I couldn't manage to zip up and button, and breaking up with my first love. Regardless, try to recall the most depressing or unexpected bad thing that has happened to you. If you are like me, it was probably hard to talk without crying...

I had countless conversations with my parents, on their family room couch, petting the dog, SO distraught I could not even manage to mumble "I don't want to talk about it". Like when I found out my Opa passed away, unexpectedly. You completely break down. I broke down for months (even now), when I saw an accordion, Stroh's beer, or see my Oma (completely heartbroken).

Here is my point. I'm a very open person, and rarely am I speechless. However, I know for a FACT that if my child (I don't have one yet, but I can only imagine) was kidnapped and murdered I would NOT be going on local OR national television to talk about it.

While not all families have the luxury of hiring a PR person to handle crisis situations and to "speak on behalf of the family", I don't think it's ever appropriate for grieving people to go on TV and state the obvious.

"We are very sad. I want my daughter back", says a mourning Father...minutes after the ambulance takes his daughter's body away.

"He was SUCH a good student. Star athlete" , claims an Uncle of a 14 year old, killed by a hit and run driver.

"Who would have done this to my son?" , asks a sobbing her front yard, as police wrap yellow tape connecting trees to the porch.

Rarely will you see a resident of an affluent community speak to the media regarding tragic situations, especially involving family members. It seems, to me anyway, that most people that talk to the media after TRAGIC situations are from very poor areas. If the previous statement is true, why is this?

You could argue that most people embrace public recognition regardless of the circumstances. Or that we are all just looking for our "15 minutes". Maybe people feel obligated to speak to the media, since they are pounding on their front door just minutes after the family learns of their Daughter's tragic death.

I will NEVER forget driving down Auburn Road, between Crooks and Adams, and seeing one of the most disturbing sights EVER: mangled metal, that was once a boy's Huffy. A small tennis shoe, resting alone, feet away from the wreckage. You could still hear faint sirens in the distance. There was a Channel 4 van, parked in the driveway...reporter with notepad in hand, making her way to the front porch. Brownie points for being FIRST ON THE SCENE, Ruth...but at what cost? I mean, right?

How can "they", the "media", do such things? Is everything a story? Are some tales better left untold?

Neveah, the beautiful little girl from Monroe, has been plastered on billboards, the news, local publications, and on anything with a canvas. It clearly "made national news". The Mother of the slain little girl was on Nancy Grace (who is quite possibly one of the most annoying people...ever).

Here is some footage:

My first question: Why. WHHHHHHHHHHHHHHY did this woman think it was a wise decision to go on NATIONAL television to "clear up rumors". Let me remind you...YOUR YOUNG DAUGHTER WAS ABDUCTED UNDER YOUR CARE AND WAS MURDERED. Do the rumors really matter? Wait a year, write a it climb on the NY Best Sellers list and reap all the benefits of going "global" with your sorrow.

I am not going to slam her for being void of emotion. We all handle tragedy differently. I'm completely inconsolable when tragedy strikes me or my family. Not all people are, and that's fine. She, her friend, and the child's Uncle all seem like they are, in a sick way, enjoying speaking to the media. I mean, right?

Watch it again...........

RIGHT? Lit Marlboro in hand, he should have been holding a Tim Horton's coffee in the other. Do they just not know any better? I could understand going on national television to beg the American public to assist in searching for her daughter. Or, after a criminal sentence, holding a press conference to "close the case".

"While we are sad we lost our daughter, we are pleased the killer was found and will spend the rest of his life behind bars". Boom. Done. Official statement. The end.

I cannot tolerate people/families that build relationships with local media to exploit tragic situations by turning them into an pseudo episode of Maury Povich or Montell. I do not think there is a direct relation between class and economic status. We all know wealthy people that are jerks and some of the nicest people I know are completely broke. Class is a mindset, but it seems that most people that elect to go on TV to discuss personal, tragic matters...are simply misguided and ignorant. Shame on the media for taking advantage of the ignorance of others. Shame on the families for subjecting their loved ones to more scrutiny. Shame on "us" for watching this garbage.

Speaking of which....anyone see the last episode of Jon and Kate Plus 8? I should have TIVO'd it.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Can you please save MY seat?

Things were a bit crazy today at my local grocery store. People buying last minute condiments and ice for family parties, backyard BBQ's, and bonfires for the holiday. I slowly drove up and down each aisle (is that what you call rows in parking lots?). Let me try that one again....

I drove up and down each row in the parking lot. We all know the signs to look for and the odds that each one of the following offers for a valued spot.

1. Mother walking with her kid(s) and a shopping basket. If the kids are old enough to walk on their own, this is the most ideal situation that involves kids. If the mom is smart, she will have her kids help load the groceries into the car. If the kid(s) are in a stroller or seated in the front of the shopping cart....continue driving. You are better off parking in the back of the lot and walking. That was sexist of me. This scenario can also be "Father walking with kids".

2. A single person with a single bag. Hands down best scenario. UNLESS the person has an arm extended, gripping their keys and looking dumbfounded. How can you forget where you parked? Actually, I'm usually that idiot walking around aimlessly. Be courteous and make it known you are lost. * Not the best decision if you are in a bad neighborhood. Always walk with a purpose, even if you don't know where you parked. Others don't need to know that*

3. The weave-and-walk shopper. You all know who you are and we hate you. If you forgot where you parked, that is completely okay. However, please see above....please extend your arm and at least pretend to hit the "panic" button on your key fab. This immediately lets everyone else know that you do NOT know where your car is. It could take a while. Continue driving, move on...

The people that CHOOSE to walk in between cars and through rows are annoying and pretty inconsiderate. You KNOW where your car is parked, but rather than walking in strategic, reasonable, and obvious routes, YOU think it's more fun to deliberately walk like you are in a corn maze. You get more "what the hell" points, if you continue this behavior when a car is clearly "stalking" you in the lot. At least have the decency to acknowledge them and point toward the direction of your car. You get brownie points if you mouth, "I'm the red Explorer". Or, "I'm not leaving". You know, REALLY shake your head side to side...exaggerate the "NOT" in leaving.

4. Plants and other Awkward Cargo. This one is obvious. Don't bother following people pushing 2 by 4's or pine WILL take a while. However, if you are really bored, it's often entertaining to watch how the common consumer tries to tie down a king mattress to the hood of a small car. Delivery is usually only $50.00, and it's typically worth it, people. Most of us get a kick out of passing you on the road. We really appreciate your arm sticking out the window and gripping whatever is on top. Like your hand is really going to hold down drywall, buddy.

I follow the "3-row rule" (actually, I made that up). You drive down only 3 rows. If you do not find a spot or a person that falls into one of the "good scenarios" within that to the back of the lot and walk. Unless you have a sprained ankle or need to return a washing machine, walking is usually the best bet. You will be in the store and trying on that cute wedge in a size 8 before most idiots out in the lot put their car in "P".

Now that we have gone over the basics, here is where the real problem lies. The feeling of entitlement and ownership of "public space" in this country baffles me. How many times have you said (sometimes in nicer words than others), "HEY LADY, you took MY spot!". Not to sound like a 5-year old, but I have to ask...was your name on it? Nooooooo. What qualified that spot to be "yours"?

As I was inching down one of the rows in the parking lot at Kroger this afternoon, I followed the best scenario. A young guy was walking out with a case of beer (I guess that is a good scenario in more ways than one, but anyway). He was parked in the first spot next to a handicapped spot. I was driving toward the store, following him from the "front" if you will. I immediately put my turn signal on, and as he pulled out, a dark blue minivan turned the corner like a crazy mom out of a PTSA meeting, and slid into "my spot". No turn signal. No regard for the safety of shoppers. And certainly did not acknowledge me waiting and my intent to drive into the spot. I intentionally waited there until the driver got out of the van. "PSh. I thought to myself. You can have "my" spot. You AND your "I love my Pug" t-shirt. Loser. I felt better in knowing I was better than her in little ways, my car being one of them. Isn't it funny how we do that? If she was in a REALLY nice car, I would have said.."Who do you think you are? Just because you drive a Range Rover you think you own the lot?", opposed to, "Wow. You can take your old beat up Kia and HAVE my spot". I'm amazed with how angry I get when someone takes "my spot". But, what can you do? Chase her into the store like a crazy person, yelling foul words? Flick her off? Scowl at her? Honk your horn? I mean, right?

Kroger owns that space. While maybe 1/10th of a cent that you are spending on that half gallon of 2% may go to maintaining that "space" is far from "yours". Yes, I know you shop there every single Sunday, but again...NOT your space.

This phenomenon extends deeper into society then shopping malls and grocery stores. Private ownership of public space occurs at sporting events, movie theaters, planes, waiting rooms, casinos, and restaurants.

How many of us have asked a COMPLETE stranger next to us in Gate C15, "Hey, would you mind watching my stuff while I go to the restroom?". "Sure, no problem", they always say back. Why don't more people respond with, "I'm not so sure I feel comfortable to be responsible for your belongings while you pee". People leave the well-being of their laptops, carry on's, food, guitars, etc. in the hands of complete strangers! The ONLY thing you have in common with this person is your 5:44 flight from DTW to LGA. I mean, right?

What these people are "watching" is not necessarily just your copy of Cosmo or your Northface fleece.What they are doing, in essence, is holding "your" seat. Same with movie theaters. "You go get the popcorn and Sour Patch Kids and I will save you a seat". Seinfeld had a great episode on this...saving seats in theaters. What gives YOU the right to "hold" a seat for someone else and, furthermore, who decided that a jacket or sweater was the universally recognized garment for "occupied". Seats taken, can't sit here.

How about at bars. I was at Memphis Smoke last night, up on the roof. Place was PACKED. My group eyed the crowds and the picnic tables that were scattered around the patio. Most of these tables could comfortably sit 8, but many only had 3 or 4 people present. My sister looked at me and said..."Why don't we try to sit next to those guys. There are only two of them and they have that big table". It worked. They were cool about it, until our guy friends sat down. My sister's words? "Hey, do you guys mind sharing your table?". It's not THEIR table, though. I mean, right? They didn't pay for it. Did they make it? No.

Sporting events and concerts are no exception. You don't OWN that seat, you are simply "renting" it for an agreed amount of time and/or conditions. Usually, if it's reserved seating you are okay. General admission? Gooooood luck. There is essentially nothing stopping anyone from "taking" your seat. I don't care how many times your friend says, "she will be right back". Is this an American thing or a universal practice? I'm confused.

If it's an American thing, then I think we can guess where it originated from. By default I think "we" feel a sense of entitlement and/or ownership. The American "seat" was essentially already taken when the pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock. * I know the pilgrims were NOT the first people to "discover" America. For the sake of fluidity and argument, just go with it*. The Native Americans were just that...native (at least MORE native than those that followed). They had their jacket on the seat. The WHOLE lot was filled with their cars. I mean, right? Apparently, they were in a tow-away zone. Doesn't really seem fair, eh?

Or, maybe it's human nature to have the "mine" mentality. "That's MY seat. That's MY parking spot. That's MY table." What makes it yours? What are the terms of this temporary ownership?
Were we always like this? Will we change? Is this even a bad thing?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

20 songs that make me this weird?

I could be in the best mood, EVER...but when I hear certain songs. I'm a wreck. Maybe not a "wreck", but I fear my contacts will fall out from the additional moisture.

Here are some: (actually, I just figured out how to incorporate video into Blogs, so...I needed an excuse)

#1. Gavin Degraw's Version of "Tracks of My Tears":

#2. Johhny Lang, "Breakin' Me". Considering he was only 17 when he recorded it simply amazes me.

#3. Kelly Clarkson, "Beautiful Disaster". I think we all know why this song makes me sad...please don't make me explain it again.

#4. Jet, "Look what you've Done". It gone done make me cry each and every time

#5. John Mayer, "Slow Dancing in a Burning Room". How poetic...aaaaand it makes me cry.

#6. Candlebox, "Far Behind". I was never left by anyone, but I typically leave people. Forget, no explanation, just love the song

#7. Snow Patrol, "Run". (However, I really think Leona Lewis sings it

Actually, Leona is WAY better....

#8. Sinead O'Conner (Prince), "Nothing Compares to You"
.....................please. This song has eat ice cream and read Jane Austen ALL over it. Sure, she had her breakdown with the Catholic Church, but haven't we all.

#9. Andrea Bocelli, "Con te Partiro" "Time to Say Goodbye". No clue what he is singing, but the title is enough to make me cry.

#10. Elvis, " I can't help falling in love with you". It was my parents wedding song. Borderline cheesey, yes...BUT, when you see them slow dance to it (even in the kitchen), you cry. I love my parents therefore I love this song.

#11. Bryan Adams, "Please forgive me". For some odd reason, I LOVE the pseudo apologetic ballads. I always thought this song was about him asking for forgiveness because he messed up(until like 5 months ago). Oh, no...he wants you to forgive him because he loves you SOOOO much. Ah, beautiful.

#11.5 Michael Bolton, "Said I loved you but I lied". I LITERALLY thought he lied about loving someone, until I listened to the lyrics around Christmas time when the song came on Pandora. HE FEELS MORE than love. Therefore, he "lied" when he said he "loved" you. It's so so so much more than that. YOU ALL KNOW I AM OBSESSED WITH THIS SONG!

Please take the time to appreciate the big hair, stone-washed jeans, and random girl riding bareback on the beach. OH! And the line of fire....AND the same mountain top Britney sang "I'm not yet a woman" on. Actually, Bolton takes us on a unique and sensual tour of what appears to be the Southwest. Yee haw, Michael. I can't believe it's not butter...wait..wrong guy.

#12. Mariah Carey, "My All". ***Warning. If you have a dog, be nice and put headphones on. Some of these notes, like at the start of the song, may be offensive to them***

#13. Schubert,"Ave Maria". So many versions of this song. Absolutely one of my favorite songs...reminds me of funerals, though. So do fresh flowers.

#14. Sarah Brightman and Winchester Boys Choir, "Pie Jesu". Love it love it love it. Loved it since I was 6 years old...

#15. Coldplay, "The Scientist". I appreciate Natasha Bedingfield's version. Right right right.

#16. Heart, "Alone". Because we can ALL relate to this song. Period. The End. Roll the credits.

#17. Gavin Degraw, "Lover be Strong". This song is brilliant. Gavin is underrated. And that's all I'm going to say about all that.

#18. Chris Isaak, "Life will go on". This was in the movie, "Chasing Liberty". Um...I heard it and cried. I couldn't find a version with only Chris singing. No clue why Cyndi is in it. Go have fun, Cyndi.

#19. Phil Collins, "Against all odds". Again, anyone have a Kleenex or a gun? Just kidding about the gun, but I'll take the tissue.

#20. Dave Matthews, "Stay or Leave". Obviously, he did not stay. And that's why it makes me sad.

#21. ***BONUS TRACK*** Jack Johnson, "Sitting, waiting, wishing". I sit. I wait. I wish. And it's not without tears. Oh, Jack....

My heart will go on, Jack. I mean, right?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

"Just Friends". Psh, like that's a BAD thing?

We have all heard and said the phrase, "we are just friends". What does that mean to you? I can only hope that others share my opinion of what it really means to be a "friend". If so, there is no need for a just. A true friendship is one of the most beautiful, heartbreaking, and fulfilling relationships you can be part of. Maybe I'm too sensitive, but I often take offense when people say, "we are just friends". What the heck. People say "just" when they are blowing something off. I mean, right? If you are hanging out with someone that prompts you to say "just" before saying "friend", maybe you ought to refer to them as an acquaintance. Someone you are friendly with but would be okay if you never saw them again.

Think about it. "What are you watching". If it's important to you, you will call it by name. "Oh, I'm watching Kings". If it's a lame Lifetime movie (you should not be watching them, by the way), you may say, "Oh, just some movie".

What separates a friend from "just" a friend? Even a boyfriend or girlfriend is a "friend" by default. It's tacky to refer to them as your "lover". "Significant other" is just weird. I have MANY significant others. Come on. A friendship goes through many life cycles. I think that is the hardest part for me to accept. Not all "friends" that enter your life are meant to be there forever. I treat friendships (with both men and women), like a marriage. I'm in it for the long hull, people. I have intentionally cut "friends" out of my life. I treated these situations like true break ups. I listened to sad songs, ate Ben and Jerry's, you know-the usual. I always know and hope, that one day our paths will cross again. Yes, even with those people that I once swore I "hated". Because, at one was right. They were right. Everything worked. Then one day it just stopped working.

The dust will settle. It may take 5 minutes or 5 years, but one day you will wake up and say..."I miss this person". You forget why you cut them out. You only recall the good memories. Something reminds you of them. You are left with the decision...put them back into the game or leave them on the bench.

I think in our early 20's we often hang out with people that share similar interests with us. Our grade school friends may be far away. You drift apart. You meet these "new" friends at parties, in class, through other friends, etc. You share no history, just a promising future. Interests can change like the weather, as can circle of friends. People that were always in your life, you no longer have a desire to be around. I'm not talking about one major "blow out" fight over a guy, or an argument that seemed REALLY intense at the time. It's pretty hard to describe...I know the feeling, just not the words.

In our mid 20's-early 30's, before a lot of us "start a family", we are a bit more picky about who we associate with. When we befriend people of the opposite sex we see them as potential mates, not just prom dates (eh....or office party dates). We want our core group to truly enrich our lives, not just pick up a round of drinks on a Saturday night. After I cut out some girls from my life (you know you who are and you know who I'm talking about), I was sad. I missed all of our good times downtown, uptown, and all around. We really caused a scene everywhere we went. They are beautiful, outgoing, and smart girls...but, it just stopped working for me one day. Like falling out of love, I fell out of friendship. You can care about someone without having them in your life (as weird as that sounds). I take comfort in knowing that.

I asked myself this question: If I were to meet _____________ for the first time tonight, would I want to be friends with them? I think many of us keep people in our lives because of shared history...when that is all you have. When you are more fond of the memories of people than you are of may be time to reevaluate the relationship. I mean, right? Or is that what true friendship is-sticking with each other through thick and thin? Like a needs work. When both parties are not in it make the choice. Whether you act on this choice is a different story. Enter stage left the "awkward friend conversation". You know, the standard questions "what have you been up to", "where are you working" and white answers dangle where colorful dialog once stood. Is this making sense to anyone?

I think about all the people, men and women, that I have deeply and whole heartily cared about in my life. Each and every single one of them never left the "friend" realm. I have friends in my life that I could see myself being with forever more than guys I have casually "dated". Some people jump right into a romantic relationship and skip the foundations of friendship. What exactly are they basing the relationship on? (actually, don't answer that. We all know...)

I don't know where I was going with this. Maybe I sang "just a friend" a few too many times with my "friend", Biz. "Just Friends" is one of my favorite movies. Not only is it hilarious, it really hits home with me. Can't forget Gavin Degraw's song, "Just Friends". Another favorite. I guess my point is this. Think before you speak. Is this person "just" a friend? Are they like a Lifetime movie that you can start watching at any given point and mindlessly stare at? Or, are they your favorite show? Surround yourself with the favorite shows...even if you DVR them...don't miss an episode and enjoy the reruns.

You all know how obsessed I am with this song:

And this man:

Stupid, Dad...commercials are for smart people

I stopped by my parents house to scrounge around for appliances I still needed, but can't yet bring myself to buy. For example, a coffee maker, power washer, and a leaf-blower (is that the proper name?). I sat down for a bit with my dad to watch 24, a shared favorite, and felt the comforts of "home" once again.

We channel surfed during commercials, only to catch commercials on other networks. Some of these commercials upset my dad. "Oh great", he said, "another commercial that makes Dad look dumb. Stupid Dad, can't you cook? Oh, there goes DAD again, taking the last piece of Little Caesar's Pizza. How greedy is HE!"

I almost always agree with my dad, but RARELY will I let him know this. I argue for the sake of arguing, especially with him. He has a tendency to "preach", like most of us Reeds. This quickly gets annoying. However, I immediately agreed with him on this one-WHY do commercials, regardless of the brand, always tend to make men looks like complete idiots? Even commercials that are directed towards men seem to put'em down. Does that actually sell products?

One of my favorite ones is for Yoplait Light Yogurt. You know, the "Boston Creme Pie, Apple Turnover diet". The woman is on the phone with a girlfriend talking about how she lost ALL this weight eating Strawberry Cheesecake and Key lime Pie. Meanwhile, you can see her boyfriend/husband frantically scanning the open fridge, pushing food aside and looking dumbfounded. Where is the Boston Creme Pie!!!!! Psh, STUPID man...your wife lost all her weight by eating Yoplait Light Yogurt-H-E-L-L-O!

I have a few issues with this. Forgive me if my philosophy of gender classes come out a bit. It bothers me that the man does not know what is/is not in the fridge. We can assume he is clueless because he never helps his wife/girlfriend shop. Shouldn't be know that there isn't any Apple Turnovers or Key lime Pie in the fridge? He probably spends all his time playing video games. Stupid man, I mean right? He didn't even realize his girlfriend lost weight..check out the end of the commercial. "Babe-what are you doing", she asks. Annoyed.


Another great one.

Yup. Of COURSE ALL women think they are fat. Of COURSE all men are sensitive to this issue. Please. 110 calories seems like the standard for 3/4 cup-1 cup of dry cereal. What upsets me is that the man is portrayed as being "stupid" about all of it. The woman sits there, chomping on her Multi-Grain Cheerios, as the man digs himself in a bigger and bigger hole. Until FINALLY, he says, "Shut up Steve". Ick, he even spoke in third person. I did not think this commercial was funny or cute. It's annoying.

Still waiting for Sonic to come to the Detroit area, but until then:

Thinking a shake is hot....stupid man.

It's great when adults play "clueless" with their kids. I did it all the time when I babysat this one family. The kids would hide when I came over and I would always say.."Hmmmm, where could Andrea be?". Is she under the table? Noooooooooo. Is she in the broom closet? Noooooooooo. Andrea?! Where are you?" I knew damn well she was always in the laundry room, hiding behind baskets of clothes. But you humor them. In the commercial below, stupid Dad is not "playing clueless". He IS clueless. Stupid Dad.

The next video I think I take the most offense to. Not only was my Dad a "Mr. Mom" (he cooked, cleaned, ironed my clothes, and even did my hair when I was really young). He was also the BEST night-before-the-project-was-due-come-to-your-rescue-kind-of-guy. I cannot tell you HOW many projects he helped me start and complete the night before. FAR from clueless.

Do I need to say more? I mean, right?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Hello? Is this thing on....of course. It always is.

Somewhere between my Mother calling me 10 times today and a dear friend asking if I was alive because I missed her call...I asked myself, "How DID we all communicate before cell phones". How was business done? Imagine dating back in the day without cell phones. "Sorry I never showed up for dinner. I called your house, but you already left".

I remember 10th grade...the first time I had my own cell phone. The Motorola Startac-it was my mom's old phone. I thought I was da coolest. I remember going to downtown Birmingham, Caribou Coffee...the theater...Max and Erma's, and allowing my peers to use my phone. How powerful I felt. I had a way to communicate without having to pay 30 cents. There was no text messaging, caller ID, and definitely no GPS. Whoa, do you remember when color screens came out? I felt like Dorothy when I flipped it open....far from Kansas.
I would always do lunch with my girlfriends in high school, Steph and Kaytie being my regulars. Ladies-did we just meet at the gym doors? How did it work, I forget. What if someone was did we know? Or, if something came up? I don't recall ever being stood up.
"making out in the green grass...behind the stadium with you"
Van, what if the Brown Eyed Girl never picked up the phone? Or, if she wasn't home when you arrived to pick her up?
"kiss me through the phone", okay Soulja Boy. No problemo. I have a phone. You have a phone. He has a phone. She has a phone. Hell, my old school German Oma has a phone. She doesn't know how to use it, but she has one. (she also doesn't know how to operate her badass flat screen, power washer, or power locks in her car). That's okay though.
I will keep this one short and all know I have a tendency to go on and on and on and on....I just wanted to know how DID they do it? I feel naked, incomplete, and totally lost without my Blackberry. I freak out when my phone dies. What if I get the most important call of my life? I mean, right?
If it's that important...they will call back. They always do.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

$1.00, 99% Accurate.

I went to the Dollar Tree today to pick up some cheap St. Patrick's Day hats, streamers, buttons, etc.

It was in Rochester Hills, not the ghetto.

As the nice lady scanned my purchases, I noticed the following displayed at the POS: Juicy fruit gum, batteries, disposable plastic fork-floss things, and a pregnancy test.

I looked at the box, glanced up at the lady and said, "Really", and then I glanced over at the pregnancy test again.

"Since when does the Dollar Store sell pregnancy tests?", I asked (pretty upset about the whole situation)

"Since we have been selling condoms", she laughed out.

I took my receipt and my 2 cents (literally) in change.

She WAS kidding. I mean, right?

Friday, March 13, 2009

"LIFE". Take 4. Action.

Before you go to bed you experience the "movie reel" from your day. A string of images or scenarios from the day-you can stop, rewind, replay, pause, fast forward...everything but erase or record. For many of us, our movie reels focus on "should haves". We replay that 2:00pm job interview, what would we have said different? Or, we revisit dinner with the cute guy from the gym...except we add a different ending. We fantasize about hypotheticals, while we analyze what really happened. At least the way we remember it happened. But what happens when you struggle to separate what really happened from the way you wanted it to happen. Naturally we ought to be able to direct our own movie reel. I mean, right? Is this what it truly means to "be a dreamer"? Technically, you are not dreaming when you are viewing your "movie reel". But here lies the problem. For many of us, we drift into a dream before our movie reel rolls the credits. Then what?

Maybe my movie reel is the cause of most of my anxiety. If it were at Blockbuster, it would surely be in the "suspense" or "drama" section. I will rewind more than I fast forward, because I tend to live in the past. Or, I will change around a current situation with elements I know do not exist. For the most part, I think that movie reels are our therapy. You are essentially having a conversation with yourself- your doubts, goals, insecurities, and hopes. You may not always have control over what really happened, but you always have the ability to reinvent what could have been. The way you would want it, anyway.

The baby behind me was inconsolable. Whaling- this was no ordinary cry. As I fumbled to get out my Visa, the woman behind the counter looked at me, practically rolling her eyes. She asked "is it 4 o'clock yet?", without saying a word. While I make it a point to not stare at crying babies or their parents (including but not limited to: on planes and doctors offices). I will make a point to stare at restaurants. If you are able to excuse yourself, please do. Go outside, or to the lounge, SOMEPLACE where you can tell your baby to shut the hell up. Shopping is no exception. Half the mothers at Somerset Mall, I mean "The Collection", couldn't care less if their child disrupts shoppers at Bebe, or terrorizes the elevator at Nordstrom. I don't know what it is about Mothers and shopping. Like all responsibilities of parenting are called off. I mean, right? I will delve into that another time, though.

While the woman began to remove the security tags from my purchases, I turned around to see exactly what thing could produce such noise. The baby was around...I have no idea. I can guess the age of puppies, no problem. Humans are a different story. The mother felt HORRIBLE, I could tell. As soon as I turned around to just glance at the scene, she immediately said, "Ear infection. I'm so sorry."

"awwww, poor girl!", I said with sad eyes. I mean, I didn't see my eyes, but I imagined they looked "sad".
"Yeah, HE has been uncomfortable for a few days now. Thought taking HIM out of the house would help distract HIM".

The kid had a full head of golden locks. Curly, of course. Jeans and a salmon colored shirt (it had to have been Baby J Crew, or something). I'm telling you it was salmon, MAYBE terracotta. Rosy little cheeks, gorgeous eye lashes, which were emphasised by the tears, and a cute little stuffed frog graced HIS lap.

"Oh gosh, well I hope HE feels better soon!", I uttered under my blushing ears.

I swiped my credit card, signed, took my receipt and ran out. How embarrassing. During the short walk from Banana Republic to the mall entrance, I made a point to check out every single stroller that I crossed paths with. I played the, "Boy or girl" game. It was so easy to determine the sex of the baby. Most had clear indications like, ribbons or barrettes in hair, a train on the t-shirt, or little size -7 Puma's. I felt a little better, and blamed me not knowing the sex of the baby at B. Republic the fault of the mother.

I thought I was over it, until it popped up in my movie reel later that night. What would I have said differently? Oh, that was easy! I would have just said, "awwwww, poor thing". Even though a baby is not a "thing", at least...I don't know, no...I didn't feel right about calling him a "thing" either. I could have said, "awwww. Why are YOU crying, sweetie?" Yeah, I felt good about saying that. But, would I only have said that if the Mother spoke to me first? Are babies like dogs? Should you ask permission from the owner before you pet or interact with them? Some parents are weird about that. I mean, right? As I hit rewind, recalling the features of the baby, I most likely made his features more feminine than they actually were. Anything to justify my mistake. Yeah, HE did look more like a girl. It's not MY fault that I called him a her. Then I started to blame the mother, like, "what the heck lady, put your kid in a Pistons jersey or something". After I replayed that scene, all elements fully controlled by me, I was able to move on. At least for that night.

There are many frames in my movie reel that continuously come up. Literally, for years I have hit rewind to try to recreate how things could have been. What I would have said differently, what I wish he would have said. Then I hit "fast forward", and create these fantastical scenes with him and I. What would I say if I saw him again? What would he say. How would I say it? Details down to word selection and hand movements are addressed in my movie reel-I direct the whole thing. I am the key grip, stylist, producer, director, actor, stand in, extra, writer. Everything. It can be the most liberating experience, until you hit pause. Then you realize that this scene is holding you back from rolling the credits. Credits are closure. I mean, right?

We should find comfort in knowing that we have control over something that no one else can possibly begin to understand. It is one thing to share with a friend over coffee what your dreams and amibitions are. It is a completely different thing to control those dreams and amibitions. At least, the way you would want them to play out. Every detail. Every word. I just need to hit fast forward more than rewind. I mean, right?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T, does ANYONE know what that mean, man?

While I should have been cleaning out my closet (cliche' but, it really needs work), my basement, trunk of my car, and garage. I decided my ipod was more important. While I have some solid classics, there were definitely some songs that needed to go. You know, the mistakes of 2008 like, "Love Lock down", "I kissed a Girl", and that super annoying Pink song, "Rockstar".

I put my ipod into the docking station, like a semi-truck or something, and put it on random. As I did the dishes, "Miss Independent", by Ne-yo came on. Damnit!, I thought. I forgot to delete another one. I hate that song, I really do. Ne-yo has a way of sucking you in with his catchy and interesting first few beats. "Sexy Love", "Because of you" (personal favorite), and of course, "Closer". "Miss Independent" is no different...actually, it is.

The whole song bothers me, from start to finish. Even the title gets under my skin. "Miss Independent". Not only did Kelly Clarkson already go there, but the title suggests that being independent is a unique or song-worthy thing. Let's examine the lyrics.

....yes, I will give you time to go get the song, I know you have it.......

"Cuz she walk like a boss
Talk like a boss
Manicured nails
to set the pedicure off
She's fly effortlessly"

Okay Ne-yo, CLEARLY you don't have a clue. Setting an appointment, picking out a color, and setting up to (2) hours of out your "bossy day" to get a manicure AND pedicure takes effort. There is nothing effortless about it. I pity the poor girl that tackles my feet. They always bring out the heavy weaponry. But fine, ladies we will let Ne-yo think it's effortless. Moving forward...

"Cuz she work
Like the boss
Play like the boss
Car and a crib
She about to pay em both off
And her bills
Are paid on time"

WOW! She pays her bills on time?! DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANG, Homie. That's great. Does she have a credit score over 700? She must, she must. Ne-yo is suggesting, to me anyway, that paying bills on time is a unique thing. Like, a conversation in the men's locker room.

"Hey Ne-yo, how is your new girlfriend?"

"OH! She's great! She didn't get her phone shut off like my last one"

Come on. Is that what makes you "Miss Independent"? Bills paid on time?

I took pleasure in deleting that song. Then I realized I have several songs. The following is pretty embarrassing...yes, I have Webbie's "I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T" (do you know what that means, man?)

Yes, I understand. Are we in a spelling bee? Can you use that word in a sentence, please? Webbie? Lil' Boosie? Anyone?

"I N D E P E N D E N T
Do You Know What That Mean Man?
I N D E P E N D E N T Do You Know What That Mean?
She Got Her Own House
She Got Her Own Car
Two Jobs
Work Hard
YOU A Bad Broad"

WOW! She has her own house?! DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANG, Homie. That's CRAZY. A woman has her OWN house? Her boyfriend didn't help her? Her parents did not help her, either? The house wasn't on sale at Club Monaco? That IS impressive. Don't even get me started on how awesome it is that she "got her own car". I mean, right? But, are her bills paid on time, like Ne-yo's boss girl?

Now that we know how much the guys appreciate "independent women", I wonder how the ladies feel about all of this.
" Lucy Lu, with my girl Drew, Cam-ron' D and Destiny

I remember that song was on every single mix cd that I made. Charlie's Angels was not even released but I was already obsessed with the song. It was called the "women's anthem". How flattering, let's look at some of the key points this song explored,

"The shoes on my feet
I bought it
The clothes I'm wearing
I bought it
The rock I'm rockin'
I bought it
cuz I depend on me

If I want it
the watch I'm wearing
I bought it
the house I live in
I bought it
the car I'm driving
I bought it

I depend on me"

That was really inspiring, girls. Thank you for that. You bought your own car? Nice! AND your shoes? WOW! My turn, "QUESTION!" If you are so independent, then WHY are you following some guy named, Charlie? Is he like your pimp or something? (50 Cent will spell that out AND use it in a sentence if you don't know what "P-I-M-P" is) Come on, buy your way out of this situation, ladies! I mean, right? You are buying everything else in your song.

In college, I always felt the need to say, "I'm not a Feminist, but..." before saying anything in a lot of my philosophy classes. Well, maybe I am a "Feminist". I'm a "Manist", too. I'm all for people. I'm a "people-ist". But recently, all this talk of "independent women" has been getting on my nerves. I know a lot of guys that are pretty "independent", too. What does independence even mean, really? Does it mean that you bought your own car? Your own house? The shoes on your feet? Really, what?

I have my own house, my own car (2 of them actually, and I really regret the second one I bought), LOTS of shoes, a puppy, etc etc. My bills are paid on time. I have a great credit score. It's stressful, actually. I'm not running around MY house singing, "I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T". I'm usually yelling at my puppy, calling my parents asking about the different documents I receive in the mail, what kind of house insurance I need, how my bonds are doing, etc. When a boy makes me cry, I call my Dad. When I have NO clue why I'm writing yet another check to AAA of Michigan, I call my Mom. Sometimes, I realize that eating out 8 days a week, isn't the most cost-efficient thing. I can't cook. I'm dependent on Lean Cuisines and Progresso soup.

Despite my faults and interesting learning curve, I would consider myself to be fairly "independent". I don't think I could survive a nuclear fallout, but...I have survived heartbreak, unemployment, workplace harassment, elective surgery, and growing pains of all sorts. There may not be a song out there about people like me, but it's okay to march to the beat of your own drum. I mean, right?

I really think people in general, men AND women, are amazing creatures. It really bothers me when a woman says, "I'm a strong black woman". To me that suggests that most women (black or otherwise, but especially black since they took the time to say, "black"), are not strong by default. "My mother was a strong woman". I'm sure she was. What made her "strong?" Her willingness to schlep you around for 9 months? The fact that she sacrificed her size 4 body to bring you into this world? The fact that she kicked ass in her spinning class? What exactly made her "strong?". Why do some people feel the need to say that? If you tell yourself and others a certain thing, can you bring it to life? Can it be realized?

If "our" Independence Day is when we declared freedom from England. Then, is "independence" defined as separation from something else? Was your independence day when you moved into your Freshmen dorm in college? You know, into a room that was completely paid for and furnished by your parents? Is THAT independence? Or, maybe it was when you rented your own place in Midtown after you got your first, "real job". Is that independence? When you broke up with your clingy girlfriend? Free at last! I'm free at last!? I mean, right?

Is independence the ability to survive completely on your own? Or is that self-sufficient? If that's the case, I don't know anyone that is completely independent OR self-sufficient. Maybe a houseplant. Who else can turn sunlight into food? Then again, that plant needs YOUR house. I mean, right?

Monday, March 9, 2009

Pardon my French

I decided to make a salad for dinner, which is a rare occurrence. Not the salad, but the "me making it". Ran up to the local market, hit up aisle 7, and...then...I was really confused. Bottles and bottles of dressing stared at me, like I was in line at customs and forgot my passport. Italian, Greek, Russian, Caesar, Ranch, Bacon Ranch, Light Ranch, Fat-Free Ranch, Catalina, Balsamic, Balsamic with Garlic, Blue Cheese, Citrus Vinaigrette (which can also be used as a marinade), and of course, French. I threw a few bottles in my basket, and decided bread would be a great addition to this "me making a salad" thing I was trying out.

The bakery rack had loaves of bread, some sliced and some not. Italian, whole grain, wheat, white, Rye, 10-grain (don't know how that is different from whole grain), and of course, French. I picked up the long, hard (get your mind outta the gutter), French loaf and just as I was about to check out I remembered the cheese! I rushed to the dairy section, Supermarket Sweep style, and again I was confused, as my eyes scanned all the Kraft and Sargento. Mexican Blend, Cheddar, Sharp Cheddar, Mild Cheddar, crumbled blue cheese, Swiss, Provolone, American, and Italian Blend. I grabbed a can of Parmesan. Parmesan tastes good on everything.

Dinner was great, my salad was...great. I couldn't stop thinking about all the French food I had encountered that night, even though I ate Italian. And then it happened. I thought I was choking, but...I was hyperventilating, so I knew I was not choking. But, my heart was beating really fast. Really really fast. And...I was confused, and freaking out, and confused, and freaking out. I was thinking about all of the foods that are French. I mean, "French". French fries, French onion soup, French toast, French bread, French dressing, French silk pie, French vanilla ice cream, French crullers, OH MY!

I remembered Paris, summer of 2000. The hot sun, the smelly streets, and the cats. God, that city has cats. Cats in the Metro, cats in the alleys, cats on old statues, cats on park benches, cats in hats. If Paris had a Broadway, I'm sure it would have...yes, cats. Paris also offers "world class cuisine". But, I didn't get that part. The culture, the men, Notre Dame, even that tall metal thing, I got all that. Great. Mag-nee-feek! But the food, I did NOT get. I have t-shirts from Planet Hollywood and Hard Rock Cafe to remind of how much I enjoyed Parisian food. Chicken fingers and FRENCH fries, always a sure bet.

So I thought long and hard (like the French bread), about where the French get off on claiming all these VERY different kinds of food, are their own. Let's start with French Toast. This delicious American favorite, graces breakfasts tables and coney island drunk-grubbing every day.

Did I mention it is an American favorite? Not sure if you have to properly site resources in blogs, this if my first one, so for the sake of lawsuits, hate mail, and Dante's 3rd ring, let's see what Wikipedia has to say about all of this.

"French toast (often known as Eggy Bread in parts of the United Kingdom, pain perdu in French, pain doré in French-speaking parts of Canada) is a popular breakfast food in North America, Europe and Brazil. In the United Kingdom it is often savory and known as either "eggy bread" or "Gypsy toast" or just "bread dipped in egg" in South East Wales. In Italy a variation is served known as mozzarella in carrozza (literally "mozzarella in carriage"). In Portugal, it is called fatias douradas or rabanadas and is typically made during Christmas. In Spain, it is called torrijas and is typically made during Lent. In hong Kong French toast, called 西多士 (Cantonese IPA: [sɐ́i tɔ́ sǐ]; Jyutping: sai1 do1 si2; Mandarin Pinyin: xīduōshì; literally "western toast", but actually an abbreviation of "法蘭西多士", "French toast"), is available all day round but is particularly popular for breakfast. In Brazil it is called "rabanadas" and follows the Portuguese recipe. It is quite often used to celebrate a birth, as well as at Christmas and New Year celebrations. In Germany, the Arme Ritter (literally poor knights) are made from bread leftovers as a fast and simple meal."

So, correct me if I'm wrong, MANY different cultures and nations prepare and cherish French Toast, including but not limited to, France. Actually, it seems that most cultures enjoy it around Christmas or Lent. Therefore, would it NOT make more sense to call it Jesus Toast? Just a thought...I mean, right?

So, French Toast isn't so "French" after all. Certainly, French Vanilla is, "French". It's a cooking element, and the French claim they are amazing at that. This is what Wikipedia has to say,

"The term French vanilla is not a type of vanilla, but is often used to designate preparations that have a strong vanilla aroma, and contain vanilla grains. The name originates from the French style of making ice cream custard base with vanilla pods, cream, and eff yolks. Inclusion of vanilla varietals from any of the former or current French dependencies noted for their exports may in fact be a part of the flavoring, though it may often be coincidental. Alternatively, French vanilla is taken to refer to a vanilla-custard flavor. Syrup labeled as French vanilla may include hazelnut, custard, caramel or butterscotch flavors in addition to vanilla."

That's great! But in all actuality, vanilla originated in Mexico. So TECHNICALLY, we ought to be saying, "Mexican Vanilla". I'm assuming people would think it was spicy or included guac on the side. Or, maybe it's because the French think they are awesome, and so does everyone else in the world, that FRENCH VANILLA is more marketable. I love you Mexico, and thank you for your vanilla and Corona...and hot body contests. Moving forward...

Do you understand what I'm trying to explain here? I will glady explain in further detail, how many "French" things are not French at all.

French Silk? French Silk is a novel written by Sandra Brown. It was published in 1993 and in 1994 it was made into a TV movie starring Susan Lucci and R.Lee Emrey. I know for a fact that this is not served at Baker's Square. WTF.

French Crullers? "Crullers are most commonly found in Canada, New England and the Mid-Atlantic and North Central States of the USA, but it is also common in California. According to Wikipedia, of course. Tim Horton's, and Krispy Kreme still sell the Cruller, while Dunkin' Donuts only carries the French Cruller. In place of the traditional cruller, Dunkin' Donuts now sells several variations of a substitute product it calls a "cake stick" which is a simplified, machine-made version of the more elaborately twisted hand-made variety." NOW are you seeing a trend? Or shall I continue about how the French are not-so-secretly trying to take over the world. I mean, right?

What is it with our obsession with French-ness. Clearly, if we are romantisizing things like fried stale bread but calling it French Toast, then there must be something about Frenchness that we respect. It's not just in the wide world of food, it's everywhere. French maids (thanks Alischer). In the United States, correct me if I'm wrong, most housekeepers are NOT French. South American, Mexican, Ukranaian, Romanian, maybe...French-no. The only time you will see French maids is: 1. Halloween 2. role play in the bedroom 3. strip club. Find me a TRUE French housekeeper and I will buy you a Coke. Because, I don't believe they exist, atleast, not in the United States. The whole idea of a "French Maid" more than likely did NOT originate in France.

I bite my fingernails compulsively, so I don't have any. But I do have toenails. I prefer to get a FRENCH PEDICURE. French being, a natural nail (high gloss) with white tips. I did some research, French manicures originated in Paris. Okay France, you actually created something uniquely French. The French manicure. That's great. India has eye brow threading, France has the manicure, Brazil has the waxing thing, and Harlem has hair braiding. Awesome.

Enter stage left, the "kiss". Prince sang about it, a band was named after it, and we all love to do it. But what separates the peck your grandma gives you at Christmas from the wet sloppy one you get after last call? France. France does. Why wouldn't they? They have their little French hands in everything else, it's only natural to claim one of the most sensual acts of showing affection. In sex ed we learned about everything from putting a condom on a banana to STD's, never once going over the history of French Kissing. I don't recall learning about it in world history, either. Again, I turn to Wikipedia for guidance:

"French kissing does not necessarily stem from France, it is more likely due to a stereotypical view of the French being deeply sensual".

That's it? There wasn't a French Queen that opened her mouth while kissing the King of Batavia? Or, during the French Revolution, people didn't resort to opening their mouths while kissing in hopes of capturing reminants of food particles? You mean to tell me, there is absolutely NO French origin in FRENCH kissing? So that means, all of us "commoners" around the world have decided that something as hot and sensual as sucking on someone else's tounge, lip, or whatever else you have in your mouth, should be related to FRANCE? Why? Have you been to France? Based on experience, I would rather refer to "French kissing" as Brooklyn kissing or Miami makeout. There was nothing sexy, to me anyway, when I paid $15 US dollars for a hotdog in Paris. No, I am NOT a stupid American, I was just royally ripped off. Or, the time I had a middle-aged woman YELL at me in the Metro claiming she was a police officer...that didn't exactly turn me on. The only kissing I would equate to Paris is, "kiss my ass".

Go to Neiman Marcus. I don't have money either, just do it. The fragrance department is filled with imported scents; Creed, John Varvatos(which I love. Men, if you read this..GO BUY IT. Prrrrrrr), Valentino, Gucci, etc, etc. Listen to sales associates when they say, "this one is my favorite. Imported from France". As if, it was manufactured outside of Boulder, Colorado, it would not be as desirable. Since when are the French known for smelling so amazing?...seriously. At Mcdonald's, which is as American as you can really get, there are (4) options: Small, Medium, Large, and SUPER SIZED. Perfume, which is ANCIENT in origin, the categorization is....drumroll please..................................FRENCH! Eau de Parfum, Parfum de Toilette (will SOMEONE please explain how adding "toilet" to a product helps it sell? Anyone?) These are both French terms, separating the more concentrated version (parfum) from the less (toilette).

So I ask you this-what is wrong with American? The last time I went to Western Europe, I didn't really experience anything I saw on television or read in books. The high fashion in Paris, I did not see. The whole advante garde' approach to beauty and fashion, to me, was non existant. If anything, I saw more of America in Germany when it came to clothing than anything else. I distinctly remember a teenage boy wearing a shirt that said, "Don't Mess with Texas". I took a picture with him...hold on, I'm going to go look for it. (20 minutes later). Couldn't find it, I will post when I do.

My point is this, I have never seen so many North Face, Tommy Hillfiger, POLO, Nautica, and Abercrombie knock-offs since Canal Street. How is that "high fashion". Oh, those French, such a GREAT sense of style! Really? I didn't see it. Oh, those French! SO cultured! Really? Again, didn't see it. The French are SO educated! REALLY? I've been to the ghetto of NYC and was treated with more respect than in the heart of Paris. Do I hate the French? No, not at all. I'm French Canadian. I figure whatever stuck up genes I have inherited from the French, my Canadian genes balance out, I mean, right?

Here is my point. What is wrong with calling an apple an apple. Why must we take chocolate cake, one of the staples of everyday life (if you are me), and change around it's name. German chocolate cake did NOT help me pass my A.P. exam in high school, just as French Silk did not eleviate my razor burn. Swissmiss, that powdered stuff, was onsale at Kroger for $1.00 a box. Clearly, it was not imported from Swizterland. Why can't chocolate cake just be what it is, chocolate cake. If it is made by some old lady in a small town in Indiana, what would be German about it? Nothing. It's Indiana chocolate cake, technically. And what makes monterey, mozzerlla, and cheddar, thinly shredded, a Mexi-blend? The ONLY cheese I consumed in Mexico was at American chains. Ironically, I have yet to see a Sargento bag labeled, "Wisconsin blend", which would make more sense since that is a cheese kind of place. I mean, right?

There is no such thing as "American Bread". I guess the closest thing to it would be Wonder Bread. Which is like, the shittiest bread ever, carrying absolutely no nutritional value and it's dyed super white. American cheese? Wasn't that the first kind that Kraft decided to wrap as individual singles? Is that all we are? Individual singles. Is that how the world views us? I think most fast food chains use American cheese PRODUCT for their hamburgers. That stuff doesn't even really melt. But, it's not really even cheese. It's cheese product. It tastes, looks, maybe even smells like cheese- but it struggles to do one of cheese's most glorifying functions, MELT. Is this upsetting to anyone else? That we, as Americans, cannot melt. That we are just individually wrapped singles that have a shelflife of like, forever, but struggle to melt.

I think I'm just going to make a sandwich, and forget about this rant...I have sliced turkey, whole wheat bread, lettuce, SWISS cheese....and fancy mustard. What kind? French's of course.