less than 100

Last year I wanted to get to one hundred thank yous but stopped at seventy.

This year I’m stopping at twenty-five and sharing most of my thank yous in real life.

Thank you to everyone who reads/scrolls/scans/casually checks in–I love you, I’m thankful for you.  Because if a tree falls in a forest and no one is around, does it make a sound?

Other thank yous, in no particular order:

  1. My mom and family members at home who are willing to make what’s theirs mine and mine theirs
  2. Two hour drives home
  3. Home
  4. Got dogs and office hours
  5. Good ideas and helpful committee members
  6. The entire 2010 Fall Semester, in all its almost-done glory
  7. Sunday night television dates
  8. Bethenny Frankel and SkinnyGirl margaritas
  9. Bravo
  10. The favorite button on Twitter (Jokes on Twitter)
  11. People who laugh at my jokes
  12. People who tell fantastic jokes
  13. Possibilities
  14. Time
  15. Jean-Luc Godard
  16. Bangs
  17. New music
  18. People and dogs who will dance with me
  19. Wonderful journeys
  20. Storytelling
  21. Screenplays and books available online
  22. People that inspire earthquakes, hearth fires, honesty and good intentions
  23. Basements
  24. The Simpsons
  25. Breaking the silence by reading something that makes me laugh out loud.

stellar.

As I mentioned in my last, totally calm, reasonable post, astronomy has been kicking my ass lately.

I chose this course to fulfill some BS science requirement because I thought there was something whimsical about the stars.

SPOILER ALERT: There isn’t.

BUT, I scored 6% higher than the median on the last exam, so ASTRONOMY CAN SUCK IT.

Incubus’s “Stellar” followed me through much of my adolescence and I totally blame them for my whimsical view of the stars/universe in general.

Meet me in outer space / We can spend the night / Watch the Earth come up

what’s your function?

A couple of weeks or months ago I read this article from 2008 wherein the writer worried that we (the American public) would be bombarded by cutesy Away We Go films in a post-Dubya America.

The writer said that movies decrying capitalism, the hopelessness of it all (see also: There Will Be Blood, No Country For Old Men) and were general pensive reflections on our society couldn’t possibly exist with our new “Yes We Can” hope.  We were supposed to be perfect, complete and dealing with less egregious first world problems.

We were supposed to have progressive characters like Maya Rudolph and John Krasinski (and I’m basing my entire character assumptions off the Away We Go trailer), with unkempt hair and surrounded by people who were so laid back they were horizontal (rimshot! Totally nailed it, right?).

Also shitty cars (see also: Nick and Norah’s…), cartoon block lettering (see also: Juno), so many quirks, hopehopehopehopehope, bright, sunshiney hope, people who were nice to each other and had the means to live exactly the way they wanted to live.  Happily.

And if we’re using movies as a reflection of our society, or even as an escape or ideal, those are good things to see.  We deserve happy endings, love and hope.  Also, we deserve cute!  For a while the world was pretty ugly from an American perspective (see also: 2001)

But our lives aren’t all sunshine, lollipops and Kimya Dawson.

We can do whatever we want.  We can succeed and work our hardest.  And then we can be George Clooney in Up in the Air: superb packers, stopping in to empty houses and take-out menus.  There, but just barely there.

I’m reading through the Up in the Air screenplay now and I can’t help but think that the writer of that article in 2008 was both right and wrong.

Yes, we’ve moved away from those hopeless tales but we’re still searching and that search can still lead us to dark places.

We’re certainly not hopeless, but the complexity of our lives doesn’t take on a new clarity with the change of a president or a shift in the House.  We’re all still coming of age and our metamorphosis will be just as painful/ugly/beautiful as it should.

Calm down, ‘Merica.  WE’RE NOT THERE YET!  Meaning: we don’t have this shit figured out.  I mean, were people honestly expecting cartoon block letters to start popping up in their life?

It’s like we’re on an episode of House but our symptoms are so ambiguous and Hugh Laurie never shows up to save the day and:

(although, honestly, it’s probably lupus, right?), and we’re just hoping so hard that it’s lupus so someone can give us the right drugs and make it perfect.

So we’re sitting, waiting, wishing and we’re afraid to reflect or really evaluate because –been there, done that, we want the world and we want it RIGHT NOW– so we find new symptoms, or problems, that we think can rush the diagnosis.

I mean, are we just going to be constantly stuck in this cycle of existential angst?  Or can we put in the Immaculate Collection and just dance?

I was ten when Dubya was first elected to office.  TEN!  I was still getting excited about having an age that required two numbers.  I literally knew shit about shit when it came to politics.  Madonna was singing for the Austin Powers soundtrack.

I realized the other day that a vast majority of my thinking or thoughtful life has been spent in a post-9/11 era.

I say thinking/thoughtful life, because sometime within those eight years I had a coming-of-age (of sorts) where I had to realize what it meant to be an American, to live where I live and what my future could hold.

I had flown on a plane once before 9/11.  I’m not sure I can tell you what an “orange alert” is, because that’s just normal to me.  We are fish and this is water.  Don’t ask me to describe it, it just is what it is and we’re existing in it.

And that’s weird because if you were born ten or even five years before me, you have that much more experience with, basically, everything.  You’ve seen decadence, the birth of grunge, the rebirth of the plain white tee as a statement, you’ve seen the Clueless generation, you’ve witnessed the growing dominance of technology and grown with it and so on and so forth, forever and ever, Amen.

And, you know, I guess I lost my point somewhere between “What’s your function?” and the generation gap that exists within ten years of living but Willow Smith has never existed at the same time as the Twin Towers and doesn’t even have Rugrats as a reference point to what the hell they are and isn’t that insane?

We’ve come a long way, but we’ve got a ways to go.  Forever.

I feel stupid & contagious

In the middle of a thirty minute presentation on managing stress yesterday I realized I was tensing my shoulders and back as I checked the passing time on my phone.

I live ten minutes in the future.

What are you going to ask me?  Here’s the answer.

I’m not done yet, am I?  Let me anticipate exactly what you want (or what I think you should want), then do it.

I feel like I’m constantly ready to pounce and I feel it.

I feel it in my arms, in my back, in the tip of my tongue as it stumbles into my teeth when I try to scoot all my words out as quickly as possible.

Because we don’t have enough time and if I’m ten minutes in the future, then everything is due ten minutes sooner.  Pretty soon it will be due yesterday and don’t we want it to be the best that it can be?

On Thursday I spent twelve hours on campus.

Thirty minutes getting there.

One hour and fifteen minutes feeling confused in Astronomy.

One hour and fifteen minutes in an office.

Four hours in another office, filing scholarship papers, bills and sorting mail.

A few minutes every hour answering questions.

One hour printing papers, buying thank-yous.

One hour showing and telling.

Another hour just telling.

Two hours discussing.

I have skipped sleep and lunch and I am not one of those people who can do without the sustaining power of sleep or food.  I am the Hulk.  I am the evil stepmother.  I am not myself. And I am exhausted.

I spent an hour and a half talking before going back to the Hulk’s life.  I saw me for the first time in days, maybe even weeks.  I saw this me that I really enjoy.  I see this me when I write and read and tweet silly things and I want her always.

I write more when I’m feeling like this.

Maybe I just want the world–the whole world, Veruca Salt-style.

I’m in this place now where I cry when I read quotes from Lord of the Rings and it takes me two and half weeks to respond to my best friend’s emails (from New Zealand) and I send out messages like “Give me ten minutes” then take half an hour and I come home to more work and the monkey on my back is a deadline or two or four or seven and I can’t finish this sentence because if I stop talking I have to move on and I don’t feel like it yet.

“Remember what Bilbo used to say: It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to”

I want to hang the adventure plaque by the door and I want to explore.

But my bones are heavy with the weight of the future and I’m not sure they can take the extra steps.

This is probably the beginning of my mental collapse.  I need a  massage.  Or a margarita.  Or both.  Probably both.  But I’ll start with sleep.

Welcome to my nervous breakdown!

exercise!

Today I exercised my right as a citizen in a first-world country and bought my breakfast.

Also, I voted.

And have you seen this video? I like chandeliers and there’s a chandelier IN THIS VIDEO. I’ll take that as a sign that Rivers Cuomo should probably just marry me.

Hey Rivers, I’ll do better than bring home the turkey: I’ll raise the turkey! Then forbid you to eat it or any other meat in the house. Then I’d make really unfortunate comments about processed meat while you were in the process of eating it. Then I’d tell you that it’s fine if you eat meat as long as you know how it was raised, what it ate and who owned the farm.

What? It would be cute.

Fall in love all over again (with democracy and celebrate election day):

Periodically checking this.

The First World is fun!