Monday, November 22, 2010

Oh, sweet, sweet justice

I read this article in the New York Times over the weekend: Unlearning to Tawk Like a New Yorker. To begin:

"Andrew Ramos always believed it made him more charming, an endearing characteristic integral to his identity. But, finally, after too many people mocked him, he began seeing a therapist. ...'I was diagnosed with a New York accent,' Mr. Ramos said."

That's right. A segment of the Yankee population are undergoing therapy to cleanse themselves of their dialect.

Had I not been in public when I read this article, a happy dance would have shot out from my toes and fingers in an entirely un-coordinated and frenetic way. (Note: My happy dance is actually no different from any other "dance" I do. There is not an ounce of rhythm in these bones.)

"Those who seek professional help to conquer their accents make similar complaints, like,  ‘People don’t understand what I’m saying,’  said Sam Chwat, who is considered the dean of speech therapists. ‘I’m stigmatized by the way I speak.’ ‘I’m tired of people imitating or ridiculing the way I speak, or saying I sound cute.’ ‘My accent seems to imply negative characteristics.’ ”

Years and years of the Southern accent being ridiculed, mocked, and judged. Years and years of that sing-songy twang called ignorant or un-educated.

"A New York accent makes you sound ignorant,” said Lynn Singer, a speech therapist who works with Miss LoGiudice. “People listen to the accent, but not to what you’re saying.”

I read an article years ago in the Raleigh paper on Southerners being urged to take classes to erase their accents for similar reasons. Oh, sweet justice, thou art seriously sweet.

Though I rarely hear my supposed accent, I still feel a kinship with my Southern-kind and recoil at the derision they receive for their "ya'lls", "aint's," and "fixin's." I've always found a New York or Boston accent to be far more harsh and significantly more worthy of mocking. So I'm kind of happy they are learning how to "tawk" correctly.

However, we are a huge country full of a plethora of ethnicities, personalities, and yes, accents. Can't we all just get along? Or at the very least just to agree to adopt the Southern accent? I'll take a drawl dripping in biscuit butter over an ear-piercing squawk any day of the week.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Another one bites the dust

This is old news at this point but I have about 10 posts I started and never finished last week, starting with this one.

From the time that the magazine below first hit newstands, was bought and read by my mother, and then ended up in my hands, I've been in love. Since July 1, 1996. 

(And I still have this magazine, as well as every other issue of People he's been on the cover of since. It's in a box in my closet at home with all my teen magazines featuring NSYNC or Leo.)

All that to say, I was a bit melancholic when this happened:

Like any good American girl, I love royalty. I'm intersted in the details of any royal family, but my heart lies with the Brits, of course. And though not very fond of her at this point, I don't think I would have liked anyone he ended up with. It's stupid and childish. 

But I'll forget it and become obsessed with her too at some point. Because she's beautiful and stylish and probably a very nice person. And even though he's grown a bit squishy, he's still Wills and still a prince.

And now, to begin plotting how to celebrate their union. My west-coast friend says she will throw a viewing party and serve crumpets and wear a tiara. Seeing as how she is my west coast friend, I have about a year to find enough people on my coast to gather and watch with. And who won't mock me for wearing a tiara. Perhaps for the entire month. 

Because it's not just about the history. Not just about the tradition. Not just about their love. It's about the tiara, people.

Photos: People

Sunday, November 14, 2010

On the edge

Confession: I write in my books.

I can't help it. I just love words and sentences and the well-written occurrences of each that demand recognition.

But I'm not the only one. I recently came across this New Yorker article from the summer on the margin notes of various famous authors, called marginalia.

"Anne Garner's specialty is marginalia, and she had place-marked some of her favorites... In the soft lamplight, the open pages of the books she had chosen glowed like a physical and visible representation of the sublime."

Twain, Nabokov, Plath, Hughes, Kerouac. All utilized their. margins.

As a marginalia scribbler, Mark Twain was perhaps the most entertaining and voluminous of all, with comments that bloomed from space breaks and chapter headings and end pages, sometimes turning corners and continuing upside down.

Though, now thinking about it, I'm actually more of an underliner, starrer, and exclamation-point-marker than note writer. At least since leaving college. (With the exception of some political books where I have written "grrr" or "NO!" beside stances or incidents that anger me.)

 I can't decided if it would be supremely flattering to be so famous of an author that someone is interested in my loopy margin thoughts. Or supremely terrifying that fifty years from now someone could be trying to interpret "YES! or !!!! or :-)" in my margins. Maybe I need to be a bit more purposeful with my notes in the future.

New Yorker article: Marginalia
Photos: mine

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Stalking Tina Fey, Finding Harry Reid: A D.C. Story

Tuesday night I went to the Kennedy Center with the roommate to see the musical "Hair." It was fun, vibrant, and very enjoyable. She has seen it a number of times and warned me about the actors coming into the audience and touching people. (Not a fan of audience participation but they stayed away from us.) And the nudity and other stuff was to be expected seeing as how it's about 1960s hippies. But thank goodness for it all since it led to some of the best overheard conversations ever that included the words stoned, lover, crazy stalking, and genitals.

Tuesday was also the night that Tina Fey received the Mark Twain Prize at the KC. I knew she was receiving the prize but didn't know when until Karey reminded me. I actually started a post last month on how much I love Tina, but have been too intimidated to finish it. Basically, she is very high on my Women I Admire But Am Not Related To List. As in, Audrey's first, Hillary's probably second, and Tina might just be third. Love. Her.

After the play we exited and immediately saw a dozen black suburbans and a red carpet. While most of the carpets are red at the KC but this was clearly a Hollywood-style red carpet. And those black suburbans that are seen all over the city, suddenly took on a new meaning.

Now, the roommate is an expert at meeting famous people. And keeping her cool. I, on the other hand, would rather avoid them at all cost. I just get too panicky at the thought of meeting someone I admire and no doubt would throw up on. But we decided to hang out for a bit in the roped off area -- yes, they made us wait in a roped off area -- to see who we could see. I rehearsed in my head potential talking points were we to get in shouting distance of anyone but could come up with nothing more eloquent than "I AM YOU. I LOVE YOU." (Plus a variety of inappropriate comments to adorable Seth Meyers and just plain fainting if Jon Hamm were to walk by.)

Sadly, or thankfully, after waiting about 10 minutes we decided to leave as it was late and we were tired. Yes, lamest story ever. But, as this is D.C., we do have our own famous people, which is how Senate Majority Leader and recently re-elected Nevada Senator Harry Reid came to walk down that carpet. Harry Reid! A Senator! Who is very tiny in person! And who definitely made me screech, giggle, and hit my friend in excitement. Because I am just that big of a dork.

Probably for the best that we left before Tina and the others came out because I only love Harry half as much as I love them and still lost my cool. Never mind, you're right, I have no cool.

Monday, November 08, 2010

I almost forgot

Since I was all mushy in the last post, time to get superficial. This is one of the favorite things in my room:

The painting is from Home Goods and I added the U2 lyrics using scrapbook letter stickers painted black. I wanted some sort of artwork using a U2 lyric but could find nothing. After narrowing down my favorite lyrics from 20ish to 5ish, I knew it had to be this line from "Mysterious Ways." Then I found the painting and it worked perfectly. Now my days are lifted and my nights lighted up every time I walk in my room. 

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Three best friends that anyone could have

This is a rather long post that definitely falls into the scrapbook/no one probably cares about this but me category of this blog. But times with my friends are few and far between and I want to remember it all.

While I covered our rallying fun, I haven't yet covered the rest of the Jan weekend. As mentioned many, many times over the course of this blog, these girls/women are very dear to me and we only get to be together as a group once a year. Every other year this has been a Christmas reunion, but with adulthood what it is, this year it's not going to work out.

Christmas 2009

Luckily it did work out that Jan was looking for a quick getaway from L.A. and wanted to come to the home of 3/4 of the group: D.C. It was going to be a short trip, and it was, and I can't say it was enough time, but it was perfect. Or, well, not exactly as we had to contend with serious metro delays, a suspicious package, rally crowds, and a middle of the night fire alarm. You know, just your typical D.C. weekend.

I met Jan at the airport Friday evening and we metroed into the city. But when it came time to switch trains, there were serious delays on the red line, i.e., the only line that goes to my apartment. Hiccup Number One. With the two of us cold and hungry and our two friends back at the apartment just hungry, we decided to catch a cab. On a Friday night. In Chinatown. By two people who have never actually hailed a cab before. (Don't ask me how this is possible.) We ended up getting lucky and grabbed one rather quickly, which got us back to my place faster than we thought it would. Hiccup Number One Averted.

The four of us were together at last and ready for some Tex-Mex and margaritas at a great place a few blocks from our place. About a block away from our building we came to a police car blocking off the street and yellow caution tape. Hiccup Number Two.

Now, while this may sound alarming to most, it honestly happens quite a bit. Maybe not the yellow tape, but police cars blocking off streets, officers running around with guns, it happens. It's a busy city with lots of important people in it, and lots of crazy people too, unfortunately. As we debated whether we should just walk a few blocks around it, an officer came up to tell us that they were investigating a suspicious package and that we should move because we were in the blast zone. While suspicious packages are nothing new to us either, being in the blast zone is, so we turned around and decided we should probably save the margaritas for another night.

We ended up at a cute Italian place that was only alright, but it wasn't in any blast zone that we knew of so bonus points for that. Hiccup Number Two Averted.

The next day was getting to the rally, the rally, and then getting back from the rally, which took up the daylight hours. That night all four of us stayed at the BK and finally got our Tex-Mex and Margaritas.

Then it was back to the apartment where we did our traditional group shot, watched "The Hangover," and laughed until we couldn't stand and our sides hurt.

We were in bed shortly after one and ready for a peaceful night's sleep. And by "night" I mean "two hours" as the fire alarm in our building started going off sometime after 3 a.m. I say "sometime" because I'm not entirely sure how long it was going off. Hiccup Number Three.

Between my earplugs and the busy day, I was knocked out cold, which rarely happens. Karey tried to wake me from the doorway, and when that didn't work, Jan bravely ventured closer to shake me awake. Only I sensed a presence in the room and woke up, and instead of assuming it was one of the three people currently asleep in my apartment, took it to be an intruder and started shouting "no, no, no!" at my dear friend Oops.

Eventually we all got it relatively together and made our way outside, past the alarmingly loud alarm. We were greeted by two firetrucks and many firemen, then joined briefly by another truck and the fire marshal. They ran around for a bit and even unrolled the hose, but we never saw or smelled smoke and they never used the hose, so we're still not entirely sure what happened. Other than that whatever it was happened in the apartment above us, as we heard the firemen say the number. And how do we know this for sure? We were privy, for at least an hour, to a very heated and very loud argument from the occupants of that apartment after we were lucky enough to return to our home. Never realized just how thin our ceilings are. Hiccup Number Three Averted?

As a way to wind down from that insane weekend, on Sunday we had brunch and met up with one of our friends from college before saying goodbye.

It was a busy and a quick weekend and as usual there wasn't enough time, but we could have all the time in the world and it probably still wouldn't be enough. But it was amazing and that's all that matters.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

What's in a name?

All photos mine, from Vienna, Vienna, Macy's in Arlington, and London.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Welcome to my home

Last week, two months after moving in, the roommate in I finally hung up photos/art and I finished decorating my room, just in time for our friends reunion. Thus I introduce you to the BK.


The best part of the foyer: 2005 National Championship DTH


Bookcases in living room (mine on right, roomie's on left)

Dining area (taken when I was working from home)

Living area

My room

Favorite part of my room: bookcases!

Second favorite part: my diploma and my Mamaw's rolltop desk

My own bathroom (and me). This is only the second time in my life I've had a bathroom all to myself. I can't put into words what this means.

And that's that. It's smaller than my last place, but as the old roomie pointed out, I don't have to walk as much. (Except of course when going anywhere else since it's not as centrally located.) But it's cozy and was like hell to find, so I think it will do. And I just realized that practically none of the pictures we hung are shown, oops.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Being Holly

Being such an introvert, dressing up on Halloween is not a favorite day of mine. Before taking my current job, there were only a handful of costumed years since officially stopping in the sixth grade. (Including the requisite Franklin Street experience in college.)

Flash forward to said job, where the one staff meeting we have a year is a Halloween party where costumes, and highly-creative costumes at that, are strongly encouraged. I've grinned and bared it the previous two years, with my ladybug in a tutu and my devil in a blue dress. But this year I decided to exert a bit more effort and try and do justice, for a second time, to my favorite actress, character, and movie: Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's.

My first Holly G. attempt was sophomore year of college, a fairly last minute and weak effort. I wanted to do it better but still keep it simple and thought I could manage the little black dress/big black hat ensemble she wears to visit Sally Tomato at Sing Sing.

The Inspiration

The Reality

"How do I look?" (Holly)

I'm really happy with the way it turned out and would gladly wear a dress and giant hat everyday if I could. And if door frames were widened. And there was no wind. Unfortunately, only about half of my co-workers recognized me and the other half just thought I was a posh lady in a big hat. But that's alright.

The Details

"As I understand it, we're getting you ready to visit someone at Sing Sing." (Paul/Fred)

To me, being Audrey is all in the details. And since I've seen the film, read the book, read the book about the film, saw the dress from the opening scene, own the Barbie doll, and see the posters in my room every day, I'm pretty familiar with the details.

The LBD: Macy's Junior's department, on sale for $30. I love it and will definitely wear it again.

Shoes: Already had. From Target.

"Be a darling and look under the bed for a pair of alligator shoes." (Holly)

Belt: Already had. From Forever 21 and technically a headband. And though her belt was a bow, I decided to use what I had and give it my own twist.

Earrings: Earring World at Potomac Mills. They were clip-ons which was nice because they are so heavy, but hurt after a few hours.

"You can always tell what kind of a person a man thinks you are by the earrings he gives you. I must say, the mind reels." (Holly)

Sunglasses: Already had. Old Navy. One of the details that is most often done incorrectly (looking at you, Jennifer Love Hewitt) are her sunglasses. Wayfarers, not Jackie O's. (Get a life, I know.)

Hat: I bought the below hat at a costume store to use as a base, and after removing the accents, constructed the brim using felt, poster board, and a healthy amount of hot glue.
Hat scarf: Made from some sheer fabric from Ikea. It was the last thing I made and it shows as the sewing is not at all straight and there are lots of stray bits of the fabric.

"Miss Golightly is on her way to Sing Sing. Just visiting, of course." (Paul/Fred)

I opted out of making the ruffle on the bottom or wearing black gloves, which I actually own. I was going for the essence of Holly, not an exact replica. (At least that's what I was telling myself with every new person that asked who I was. The ruffle and gloves surely wouldn't have made a difference, right?)

Until next year...

Monday, November 01, 2010

What do we want? Sanity! When do we want it? Yesterday! Or, you know, when you get a sec.

I had been looking forward to this past weekend for more than a month, ever since my friend, Jan, booked her plane ticket to D.C. for the 2010 NSATC reunion.

And then, a certain Mr. Stewart and another certain Mr. Colbert, announced their plans for a rally to restore sanity and a march to keep fear alive, which just so happened to be the same weekend as the Jan Plan.

The result? Four Carolina girls and a whole lot of sanity and/or fear.

It has been more than a year since my last mass event on the mall, and while I can't say I've missed being squashed together with thousands of strangers, standing up for far too long, completely exposed to the elements, it was definitely worth it. And at least this time, the temperature hovered well above freezing.

1. All the signs! It's inevitable that a rally sponsored by two of America's most brilliant comedians would have the most intelligent, witty, and sarcastic signs. DCist has a good collection. One of my favorites:

2. The Peace Crazy Love Train medley. Yousef (nee Cat Stevens) vs. Ozzy Osbourne vs. The O Jays. Unbelievable.

3. Stephen's Chilean miner entrance and the crowd chanting Chi-Chi-Le-Le.

4. Jon's keynote address on the end. His show is the sole reason I made it through the Bush years alive and he continues to inspire me with his insightful and hilarious commentary. He made some excellent points without  mocking those he disagrees or taking himself too seriously. Well done, Mr. Stewart.

5. Experiencing it all with these lovely ladies:

1. The tease that Stephen was going to give one of his fear medals to Anderson Cooper, only to end up giving it to his tight dark shirt instead. Not cool, Stephen, not cool. It took awhile for my heart to start beating again after I thought I was going to be within three blocks of Mr. Cooper.

In closing...
My political beliefs are no secret. And while this was not a traditional political rally, it was still nice to be around so many people who are thinking the same thing as me. And not necessarily about healthcare or gay marriage or abortion. But more along the lines that fear, bitter rhetoric, empty promises, and mindless posturing aren't the answer. That things aren't perfect but that our President isn't Hitler. That if we all just took a minute to chill the fuck out and try to act sane for like a millisecond, we can do great things.

I may not agree with what you say but I'll defend to the death your right to say it. But if you could not be completely crazy and irrational when you do it, it would make that whole death thing a lot more tolerable.

Hoping that this weekend was the first step in a lot of steps of sanity, on the left and right.


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