Sunday, May 22, 2011

Did Katie Survive The Rapture?

Tonight was a typical one at Fusspot Farm.
2:30 AM, and the house was still bustling: Daddy was in his bedroom, while Mother and I were out in the office. I love our office space. What was once used as the dining area, the office was transformed by replacing the dining table with a partners desk, and making the cabinets into bookshelves; it's a better use of space for our lifestyle (and, I'm proud to say, an idea I personally initiated). The windows in the space are phenomenal, spanning floor to ceiling, and overlooking a spacious courtyard (where I grow my geraniums), which opens onto our wooded back yard. I had just finished helping Mother locate an article about an upcoming Michael Vick appearance some of the animal rights activists she follows on Facebook plan to protest at, and decided now was a good time to look up proper care for my new bleeding heart plant (I finally found an established one! The only other time I had seen one, we were at Monticello, and couldn't bring it home with us; I snatched one up in Colorado as soon as I saw it!). Just as I arrived at the "can I plant my bleeding heart in a pot?" question, I saw movement out of our floor-to-ceiling windows. To see movement out of the corner of my eye is nothing new for me, so it took my fuzzy brain what felt like five minutes (when, I suppose, it was probably less than a second) to process that there was, indeed, something there.
I focused as well as I could without my glasses, particularly after spending an entire afternoon reading, to find a man standing at our back door.
Though I don't remember this, my mother tells me that, cool as a cucumber, I said to her "there's a man at our door". It felt like it took her ages to look at the giant black windows behind her, and that, apparently, the only thing that alerted her to the severity of this situation was that my eyes were "huge".
Screams of "THERE'S A MAN AT OUR DOOR" rang throughout the house as my mother scrambled to wake my father, who had fallen asleep in front of the television.
Apparently, when my mother asked the stranger what he wanted, he asked for someone by the name of Katie. Well, he certainly isn't going to find a Katie here. Perhaps she fell victim to the Rapture?
As the stranger ambled out of our courtyard, we dialed 911. The police came and went, and so did the stranger.
Everything is just fine now, except there are three people in this house that are incredibly paranoid. Even more so than before.
Cut us some slack, this happened an hour ago.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Hipster Versus Anachronism, Wordplay, And How They Apply To My Life

This post is going to sound absolutely psychotic; but one of my best features is not being afraid to make a total ass of myself. That, and I've got pretty decent legs for a skinny girl, but that's neither here nor there.
I have been toying with this idea since March, yet have kept finding subtle ways of putting off clicking that pretty orange "Publish Post" button. Let me tell you, this post barely resembles what it did at the start. This particular entry has been through a few stages of transition, but we've finally hit it with this one, I think.
I don't have any idea why I haven't wanted to let this post go yet, and I'll probably think of something I should have changed by the time your little peepers read these words. I can't help it. That's my style.
So, with the radio on, and hot tea at my side, we're going to proceed to further publicly prove my insanity.

I'm not going to lie to you, dear reader, this topic was triggered by music.
Don't look so surprised.
Reginald Kitty is not surprised.

I have been awaiting the release of the new Panic(!... do we add this now? I don't have any idea) At The Disco album. After the longer-than-anticipated post in which we talked about their first single, I didn't feel like it would be a good idea to talk about them again; but, as I always say, this is my blog, and I can.

With my own opinion of the album on the back burner for the moment (oh, don't worry, we'll get there), I'd like to talk about a term I was recently introduced to.
While sifting through fan reactions to this latest release, spanning from "ZAPPFTLKSTIWNFD I luv dis CD liek moar than lyfe itself lolololol i'd liek to by a punctooation markkkk" to "Hmmmmmm...", I noticed a word cropping up quite often: hipster.
Now, call me sheltered, but I had no idea what the hell that meant. All I knew was that they were using it in the context of the band's split, usually next to "Ryan Ross is such a...".
Now, from what little I know, I would have used anachronism (after replacing "a" with "an", naturally; vowels, people!) to finish that little phrase, but that's just me. After all, I know the word "hipster" to define someone who is "hip". You know, the hip cats, the swingin', fab gear (yes, I'm mixing decades, sue me) in that Warhol "fringes of cool" kind of way. If I'm being totally honest, the word "hipster" conjures up images of beatniks and hip chicks dressed completely in black (with an occasional beret perched atop sleek haired individuals), stuck in a smokey coffee house in the more run down part of town, while a bearded man in thick black sunshades reads macabre beat poetry to the sporadic rhythm of an old bongo, played by a man calling himself Orbitus.

I loved this episode as a kid. Did I just inadvertently further the point that I'm a bit weird?

And, no offense to Mr. Ross, but I would not classify him as hip in a traditional sense. Of course, in my book, that's probably one of the best compliments you could be handed; though, in the wrong hands, is just a nice way of saying "you're a personable freak" (and we all know that just leads to trouble). It's also worth pointing out that, even on this very blog, I have hypothesized that people such as he are "just the same brand of crazy I am".
Photographic evidence?
Well, doesn't this look like oodles of fun? Beatles Monopoly, popcorn, Apple products, turntable; who's up for comparing a 70's pressing of McCartney to the remastered on vinyl? I'll supply the former!

Being the logophile (NOTE: Google does not recognize "logophile" as a word. Tisk tisk, Google.) I am, I went to the Urban Dictionary to help me out.
Let me tell you, dear reader, I was surprised by what I read there. The definitions turned out to be more like descriptive articles (and there were a few of varying helpfulness); this particular one - the whole of which can be read here - was what stuck in my mind, festering away, nagging and nitpicking the back of my brain:

Hipsters are a subculture of men and women typically in their 20's and 30's that value independent thinking, counter-culture, progressive politics, an appreciation of art and indie-rock, creativity, intelligence, and witty banter. The greatest concentrations of hipsters can be found living in the Williamsburg, Wicker Park, and Mission District neighborhoods of major cosmopolitan centers such as New York, Chicago, and San Francisco respectively. Although "hipsterism" is really a state of mind,it is also often intertwined with distinct fashion sensibilities. Hipsters reject the culturally-ignorant attitudes of mainstream consumers, and are often be seen wearing vintage and thrift store inspired fashions, tight-fitting jeans, old-school sneakers, and sometimes thick rimmed glasses.

It was at the end of this paragraph that I sat back and thought to myself, "dear God, some of this sounds incredibly familiar".
In all truthfulness, much of what was described made a lot of sense.
And it got me to thinking, and reassessing my life (as you do when you're awake at four o'clock in the ruddy morning).
How special can the term hipster be? If, with any culture/counterculture, there is the niche for subcultures, aren't they just mocking themselves? (Answer: Yes.)
If, as was described in some of the articles I have read, hipsters try so ruddy hard to not give a skippity damn, is the entire purpose for their counter culture undermined, thereby making itself counter productive? (Answer: Yeah-huh.) And, how "cool" can they be if they don't stick with any one thing long enough to figure out their arse from their elbow?
Don't get me wrong, I'm big on that whole independent thinking/progressive (though, technically, the word is subjective, depending on where you stand on an issue) politics/creativity/intelligence/witty banter (oh, wordplay, you elusive little bastard), and, let's admit, the vintage styles of dress. I mean, I'm not complaining or anything, but I'm constantly berated with ModCloth advertisements (hey, don't knock it... I recently acquired a gear little Bernie Dexter number in their 70% off sale).
This was saved on my computer as "NothingModAboutACosbySweater".

Hell, I'm even studying for a ruddy liberal arts degree, for the love of all that's good and cheezy (bet ya didn't know that).
I have, however, noticed certain differences in the hipster label in comparison to my personal favorite, anachronism (which, to my knowledge, is not associated with any slang term; when I looked it up in the Urban Dictionary, the definition mirrored that of the actual dictionary definition. Yeah, I check that kind of stuff, sue me).
I decided to stretch my Google muscle and found some interesting things.
Would you like to see a very small, slightly relevant (OH MY GOD) slice of what I saw?
Pete is intrigued.

Perhaps the most helpful site was this odd little blog-type-thingy.
Descriptions are one thing, but photographs are another.
I encourage you to take a look, 'cause we'll be using some similar images in our own comparisons.
When I Google Image'd (as we call it at Fusspot Farm) "hipster", I was met with this...

I wondered what Italian immigrants had to do with hipsters...

I came to find out that hoodies are a "thing" for such folk.
Well, that's me for ya.

Hmmmm. Still slightly intrigued, I further perused the LATFH blog, where I stumbled upon this photograph.

What I thought: IT'S A PENNY FARTHING!
What the caption said: “Check out my old school fixie!”
What I thought next: TO THE URBAN DICTIONARY! (Remember, sheltered life.)

fixie. a hipsters best friend, probably the only thing he loves. usually a bright yellow mid 70's peougeot with the rear cog locked. also known as a fix-gear. there are two types of fixie, 700c and 27". according to hipsters, 27" bikes are not true fixies. a fixie is usualy comprised of said peougeot frame and extremely rare/hard to find OEM parts (campy stem, maxy crank, etc). usualy the fixie riding hipster tries to play it off like he just "found" the parts/frame at a goodwill. when in fact he searched for quite some time and spent a good sum of his parents money on them. the life span of a fixie is quite short, hipsters dont beleive in a chain, or any kind of locking mechanism, so they frequently get stolen by bums/hobos.
hipster: nice fixie... oh, 27"?
non hipster: yeah.
hipster: i got the hookup on some nice 700's if youre interested.
non hipster: fuck off.

With the subject weighing heavily on my mind, I decided to Google Image penny farthings.

I cannot lie, I laugh heartily when I see this photo.

And, because YouTube is my generation's biggest Black Hole Of Time (true story)...

Why do I do these things?

With such examples before me (and not just of penny farthings!), I see one blatant, glaring difference. After careful analysis, I took the long way about finding a very obvious conclusion.
Hipsters will like something just to be different; as soon as something new comes along, they move on. Anachronisms, on the other hand, simply ARE different. We can't help it, our personalities just don't match up with our time. Instead of the latest and greatest in underground so loved by the hipster, the anachronism is out for the resurrection of the oldest and most gear (if it's slang to begin with, would "gearest" be proper?) in whatever the ruddy hell they like. (Please note that "anachronism", by definition, can also be used to describe objects. We're talking in the people sense. You know, in case you've been asleep this whole post and didn't quite notice what we were talking about.)
Example? I thought you'd never ask.
Reginald Kitty is not amused.

Just this afternoon, my mother was washing an apple for my dad when she turned to me and said "the skin is very rough on this apple. If I were going to eat it, I would take that part off".
Rather harmless statement, isn't it?
My first thought was "it must have been rubbing up against the crate in transit".
My second thought was "the crate? As in, like, a wooden crate?"
They haven't used wooden crates to ship apples in my lifetime.
It was then that I started to remember a slew of things that have just always made me weird. Like the time I told my mother I should have been born with the Baby Boomers, or that period of time when I refused to wear no other shoe but saddle oxfords; the list really could go on.
I think the biggest (or, at least, the funniest) is that, before I started kindergarten (the beginning of my incredibly short public school career), I thought The Wonder Years was set in modern times.
Hey, I never claimed to be a brilliant kid.

In our family, we dressed like the Arnolds, our family roles were similar, our house was decorated like theirs, we listened to that music (and still do!), and - my best indicator - everybody in my world hated the President.
Yep, sounds like the early 90's as I remember them.

And that is the difference. Right there. Displacement, not replacement.

While I'm at it, here's one final attempt to prove my point.
Which one is Ray Davies, and which one is Ryan Ross?

I think I just added a point to my column.

Secure in the knowledge of my individuality - or, I suppose, lack thereof - I thought of one more way that hipsters and anachronisms differ: rather than put up the facade of "I don't really care", we anachronisms really DON'T care. In the words of the immortal Cass Elliot, "different is heartache, different is pain, but I'd rather be different than be the same".
Now, let's all just hold hands, and go watch Pirate Radio.

One of the greatest films ever made. Ever. When I say ever, I mean EVER. I love this movie with a purple passion.

Oh, and with regard to the album that sparked this psychotic little trainwreck of thought (there's the wordplay!), I didn't realize I had so very much to say about it. So - and get ready for this, 'cause you're just going to LOVE it - I have decided to split that into a separate post.
Reginald Kitty is not amused.

In the meantime, have this, and don't say I never gave you anything.

I'm not going to lie to you, dear reader, I picked this video for the Beatle wordplay.
That, and the Pete Townshend reference.
By the way, happy sixty-sixth birthday, Pete!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Wake Up! It's Sunday!

We have been incredibly busy little monkeys this last week or so.
Would you like me to tell you about it?
Reginald Kitty does not want to hear this.

Daddy waltzes into the office last Wednesday after work and says "what are you doing on Monday? How would you like to go to Denver for a couple of days?"
Well, I had the last of my finals available for only one day, and it just so happened to be Monday. "Don't worry about it," I said, "the teacher sent out an email saying she could make arrangements if you couldn't take it on that specific day; I'm sure we can work something out."
So, I write to her, saying how Monday was not the best day to take the exam, something had suddenly come up, and it would be incredibly easy for me to take it before that day. This was on Wednesday, mind.
Thursday comes around, and, after a full twenty-four hours with no reply, I wrote to her again; you must give the benefit of the doubt, and room for technical error when dealing with email. I didn't worry too much about it.
When Friday noon came around without a word from her, I decide to take more action. I called the college, got two different email addresses for her, and wrote her there. I, however, was not satisfied with just two email addresses. I tracked an associated telephone number at the college, which took me to a psychology adviser's answering machine. This did not make sense, as this is not a psychology class, nor is it in any way related to that subject.
I then tracked down her supervisor's telephone number, and called him. He was not in the office; however, I left a message with his secretary, who just so happened to tell me that the teacher I was trying to contact just so happened to not live in town, and it just so happened that she may have conveniently given me the name of said town by accident. With this in mind, I looked the teacher up in the telephone book, and called her home line. No one answered, and there was no answering machine. I left it there for the day, knowing I was not going to be getting a response before Monday. Did that fact keep me from writing her on Saturday and Sunday? Of course not!
My only other alternative was to stay up past midnight to see if the exam would automatically be available. Ordinarily, staying up past midnight is not a problem (or, depending on how you look at the situation, that's the problem... cheer up, insomniacs, only three more sleeps 'til Christmas!), but when you are going to be spending the entire day in a car starting five hours after that, you aren't too keen to be up. Thank our lucky stars, the exam was available at 12:15, so I took it. If you're curious, I made full marks.
The cheek of it all is that, at 7:23 AM Monday, I get an email from this teacher, who had obviously not checked into the course that day. Her pathetic excuse appeared in my inbox as follows:

I am sorry for your despair. I usually check email daily but had some issues myself. I will be glad to leave it open through tomorrow if you think you can take at midnight. I will try calling you also to discuss this.

The irony falls in two places here: I told her in each email (all six of them) that I couldn't take it after Monday, and wouldn't be available until Thursday - how the hell can she call and discuss the issue if I have told her previously that I WILL NOT BE IN TOWN? Try getting in touch with me when I'm not here, and we'll see how well you fare; that, and, if she had checked her gradebook, she could have seen that I had already taken the exam, and made 100% on it.
Way to go, morons, way to go.
Pete does not like morons.

I've been dealing with total idiocy like this the entire semester. That, dear reader, is why I have been MIA. You know what, though? I'M BACK! And I bring tales from afar (well, Denver, anyway).

Highlights from the trip? I thought you'd never ask!
Reginald Kitty is not amused.

*The Tattered Cover bookshop, in an area they call LoDo. I could have gone totally broke in there (you know, if a man by the name of Paul hadn't already pretty much emptied our collective bank accounts). Follow the link. Trust.

*Stumbling upon Union Station while on a photo excursion downtown.

*The photo excursion downtown. I couldn't help it; with my drainpipes, boots, and adventure hat, I was feeling avant garde.

*Getting snowed on.

*The waiter at the "Irish" pub asking if I wanted a kid's menu. Yes, because anyone able to order from the kid's menu is going to be wearing a "Talk Nerdy To Me" t-shirt. We later joked that it was a good thing I had decided against packing my Mister Rogers' Neighborhood t-shirt.

*Rosemount (no photos, sorry. We were lucky to have gone at all - they had already locked the doors!) Also, they don't tell you about it on the website, but there's a mummy in that house. I. Kid. You. Not.

Overall, it was a really nice, unexpected break! I got a chance to take some pretty gear photographs, and I discovered my Denver album. Yeah, I have albums I like to play when I'm in certain settings or places. Sue me. I've done it for years.

If you'd like, start the song and watch the slideshow.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

I Am The Little Drummer Boy (Um, Girl)

The second Sunday of every May is dedicated to mothers. Just as with all other commercial holidays, we present the appointed human with offerings. Either that, or you feel like a total slime-ball because you haven't got a physical token to present.

You guessed it, kids, we're talking Mother's Day.
Reginald Kitty is not amused.

You may have noticed a lack of updates on this insane little slice of webbyverse, but, as I have mentioned before, this semester of college has been the worst I've ever experienced (for various reasons). Those bastards kept me so busy that I can't remember basic things, and this has really gotten in my way.
A month ago, I started planning Mother's Day. I knew what my mother wanted, I just had to do it. One month later, the plan has yet to go into effect.
This leaves me with a lot of talk, no action, and no offering for my Mommy.
Every day this week (since I have taken all but one final exam) I have apologized and promised that, though it won't be ready on the day, she will get her gift. Each time, she tells me 'don't worry about it'.
But I do.
Several times a day.
You see, Mother's Day has never exactly gone well in our family. My maternal grandmother died when my mother was just eight years old, so every Mother's Day after that has been somewhat tainted. I don't blame my mother for this in the slightest, and understand exactly where she's coming from. To compensate, I always try to make Mother's Day as good as I can. This year, though, I am wracked with guilt. I am the Little Drummer Boy - no gift, not worthy, just let a hole crop up in the middle of the floor and suck me into a giant black abyss.
This has been running through my brain for at least a week.
And then, tonight, as I was in the bath, it hit me: Mother's Day is just like Valentine's Day. I tell my mother every day how much I love her because that's what you do when you love someone. You don't need one day to do that, you need every day to do that. She and I discussed this, and I questioned if I was just rationalizing my own guilt. She just smiled at me, and said, 'Peola, don't get sucked into the commercialism'.

So, even if you're a schmuck like me, and you don't have an object to give your mother as a physical sign of your affection, tell her you love her; and don't just do it today, but every single day.

Happy Mother's Day, Buttwipe. You WILL get that gift, commercialism or not.

Is It A Subscription Box, Or Something More Sinister? (It's A Subscription Box. Maybe.)