Year-in-review Thingy

2009 was, in a lot of ways, a redo. I did everything better from caring about others to taking care of myself. I redefined my living standards. Compared to this time last year, I’m happier, thinner, and richer. I feel more like myself.

The year was also full of new stuff. New furniture, tamagotchis, the frosty-cino, yoga, music to obsess over, the Britney concert, bingo, Sonic, jury duty – some things obviously more enjoyable than others. One night in particular stands out in my mind: My Guy taught me some card games, Poker among them, and we played outside at night, under our large umbrella, with flowers and candlelight.

I had not made New Year’s resolutions, but did pick some up halfway through the year. I intend to continue cracking at those goals.

I did not suffer any great illness or injury. No one close to me gave birth or died. I was a fan of a few celebrities who kicked the bucket. It’s an odd feeling, when a star dies – I don’t feel their death as I would if we had been close. Still, it’s crazy to think that even the stars, the legends, no matter how great or small, will eventually be gone forever.

My biggest achievement had to do with my finances. For one thing, I got a raise. Then I studied my budget and cut out the things I didn’t need. With the extra cash, I took a more aggressive approach to bill paying and I’m now at a place where I can send out a bill the same day it arrives without any worry as to whether or not I have the funds to cover it. I’m actually saving.

I got really excited about the holidays. Everyone around me bitches and complains about how the government creates these occasions when we should buy stuff or feel a certain way, but I think they miss the point that you can take a day – every day – and give it significance. So what if the theme is hearts, mistletoe or shamrocks? That’s just decoration.

The terrible pop (wannabe hip-hop) song “I Got A Feeling” by Black Eyed Peas will always remind me of 2009. I hate any song that is appropriate for a Shrek or Space Jam soundtrack.

I certainly didn’t read, very much. You could consider that a failure. I read the Chuck book about the porn industry; that was about it. I blame video games.

Tonight is New Year’s Eve! I don’t know whether to be stupid and party or be sensible and devise a plan for conquering 2010. My biggest battles are with myself – over how I can act in order to have the MOST FUN RIGHT NOW and how I’m going to feel the next day when I wake up wanting to be productive.

Good luck to everyone in 2010 – hope to see you here.

I Will Survivor

People have been tuning into the TV show Survivor for nineteen seasons, now.

For those who avoid it (I am not so lucky, because Guy is a fan) I will summarize the concept: a bunch of people, many with personality disorders and always at least one mullet, are put on location somewhere generalized as being “tribal”. The people are split into teams and compete in baton races and swimming challenges requiring ropes, oversized puzzle pieces – that sort of thing, always narrated by the same douchy host. The losing team has to vote off one of their members each week.

The other half of the show is about the goings-on back at camp, where everyone is fighting with each other. They’re hungry, cold, burned by the sun, bit by bugs and trying to form secret alliances with each other in order to gain power over who stays and who goes. The bastards act like bastards, some girls flirt mercilessly while more dominant females piss the bastards off, the meek and mild go unnoticed and the flat-out-crazies do and say things that reaffirm their craziness.

The eliminated players vote on live television for who, of the last few standing, will be the winner. This formula has always pretty much been the same: people start off as polite and easy-going as they can stand to be, which is roughly into episode two. Then they align with whomever they seem to get along with best and swear loyalty. If you make a target of yourself by not pulling your weight or being a huge ass, you usually go home. Eventually, all promises cannot be kept with every player and the backstabbing begins – blindside voting, criss-crossing teammates with swing votes – these are the reasons why people watch the show.

One of the main reasons why it has been hard for me to watch the show has been because everyone will constantly justify to the camera and to others about why their mode of game play is more honorable and therefore better and more deserving of the ultimate win. It’s always the final people looking at the eliminated jury, going, “I should get the million bucks because I pissed fewer people off and I did that by tapping into my humble, generous heart.”

And there’s often a female who remained agreeable, who stayed below the radar and followed the main contenders right on into the finals who goes “I think I should be the winner because I was unable to say or do a mean thing to any of you.”

“ARE THESE PEOPLE STUPID?” I’m shouting from the couch, waiting for The Office to come on, “That was never her code of conduct! Blending in and thinking all the mean and nasty shit to herself was how she got there!”

With a wider concept of a fair fight, the producers have titled their upcoming season Villains VS Heroes. Now we’re getting somewhere.

Bummer

Brittany Murphy,

I’m waiting to hear more about how you died. I’m also wishing that I would have sent you fan mail. Of all the different types of women out there, you stood out, to me – and I am not easily charmed. It didn’t matter what crap movie you were in – that wasn’t the point. The point was that you always had this crazy laugh, this wild look in your huge-ass eyeballs. No matter what color your hair was or how they dressed you, you always looked a little dirty and by God, I loved that about you. Your tone of voice was deep and feminine; I have the digital single Faster Kill Pussycat which you made a club hit.

On my last birthday I bought a gigantic party tray of sushi rolls and watched Ramen Girl with my best friend – and it wasn’t downloaded or anything, I actually paid five fucking dollars at the outrageous Blockbuster price. And you know what? It was a damn good day.

Brittany, you kicked some sexy ass. I wish you were still here.

Your fan forever,
Autumn May
the Great Dame

True Story, or, SJLS

So I'm sitting in the break room and our relations handler is munching away on a plain-looking salad. For the record, this girl is beautiful with the color palette of a Kardashian. Beauty oftentimes requires eating leaves and pretending they're food. Of course, she's trying to lose weight; everyone else is doing it and this is an extremely hip girl.

Thinking it may be a bit too bold, I say anyway, "I went the route of laxatives for a hot second but it grossed me out. Too much involvement on the toilet."

And she knocked me out, casually and informatively, "Oh, one of my girlfriends takes those but not cuz she's dieting, or anything. (crunch crunch on her lettuce) She just loves shitting."

"Really? That's different." In reality I'm surprised and a little scared, but Anne Marie is just grinding up those leaves with her teeth, multi-tasking on her Blackberry.

"Oh yah. I'll, like, be eating and she'll call me up and tell me all about it. Like, how it went and everything, she's crazy. Seriously, she takes laxatives every day."

"Well we all need our own thing."

She just loves shitting. I have officially heard that sentence, and it was spoken by a beautiful girl.

Jack Frost Nipping

The Christmas Season means devastation to Penny; her favored family members will not be around, her family vehicle is breaking down, her husband is being pushed out of work and recently had a diabetic episode. She nearly broke down trying to explain this and more as we sat in the break room.

“It’s just everything at once, you know? I don’t know what we’re going to do if Tom loses his position.” She kept pausing after each sentence, ready to start crying.

When she wasn’t looking I dropped a large box of chocolates onto her desk. I know that caramels, crèmes and truffles aren’t ideal in a diabetic household but with all the crap going on, I figured she should just take her drug and enjoy something.

***

I wasn’t expecting to find anything of importance when I flipped through the binder on our table. It wasn’t right to have opened someone else’s records but I have a very hard time minding my own business.

Bits and pieces come together after a while, the more I’m around Leina. She’s always putting her coat on because she needs to go grab antacids or aspirins from her car. Always a headache. There’s always a sweater or extra layer she’s buttoning around her waist or pulling up, higher over her shoulders. Always trying to feel warm, again.

“Yes, I know it’s difficult for you. Hey, you’re the one who… Oh, really? Well if it was up to me you’d never see him again. Look, I have to go.”

Half-phone conversations may be informative but there is always another half.

Nestled at the very back cover of her agenda, paper-clipped and tucked in such a way that it’s entirely possible to miss unless you’re flipping backwards is a slide from a photo booth. Laina is smiling, kissing the young man she is severing ties with, looking into his eyes, making funny faces with him.

An old tiding of comfort and joy, perhaps.