Friday, 27 May 2011

Hogwarts, Hogwarts, Hoggy Warty Hogwarts

Jennie  I suppose if I really wanted to live anywhere other than Dayton, Ohio, well, I'd be living there. I complain about living here a lot, but it's not so bad. It's pretty damn good, even, most of the time. Plus, most of my family is here and if you've met my family, you know that's a good thing and not a TERRIBLE TERRIBLE LET'S RUN AWAY thing.

However, sometimes the weather can leave a lot to be desired. The winters are frigid, frequently snowy and almost always icy. The summers are hot and humid and full of mosquitoes. And the other night, there was a tornado warning and I really truly believed we were going to be carried away to Oz. WHICH WOULD BE AWESOME. Right? As long as you didn't crush anyone with your house?

Obviously, if I were to live anywhere but where I do now, which would probably require a lot of effort on my part, I'd want to make sure it was worth my while and THEREFORE I would have to move somewhere fictional. So, you know, probably somewhere from this list:

1. Oz. I would get drunk with the Scarecrow and then we'd punch the Cowardly Lion straight in his stupid, cowardly face.
2. Hogwarts. No explanation necessary.
3. The Tardis. No explanation necessary.
4. The North Pole (which is totally fictional according to Robin Scherbatsky) but wait, never mind, it's too damn cold there
5. Speaking of Robin Scherbatsky, I'd like to live upstairs from MacLaren's
6. Or Central Perk (but mostly MacLaren's because I think I'd rather hang out with the HIMYM friends than the Friends friends I KNOW, WHAT AM I SAYING, but whatever, I stand by it, also Ted = Ross. Yes?)
7. New New York, New York. First order of business? Grab a beer with Bender Bending Rodriguez.
8. Craphole Island. It wasn't so bad, really, if you ignore the smoke monster and The Others and The Dharma Initiative and everyone fighting all the time and trying to kill one look at this pretty picture of Sawyer.
9. The Pie Hole. Solving mysteries! FREE PIE.
10. Sunnydale or Neptune, California. Solving mysteries! Free, um,, actually, these places would probably kind of suck. LITERALLY, in one case.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

I'm hiding out in the big city blinking.

It's visibly humid today, the air hanging thick and wet over the District like a heavy blanket. The magnolias by my office have bloomed, which always makes me think wistfully of the years I spent in New Orleans, and the girl I was then.

If I could go back I would in an instant, but now is not then and things are so very changed, and changeable. I've learned in the interim to keep my wants small, and where I want to live now seems small enough. Would that I could I'd live in the house I bought over a month ago.

That would be nice.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

If you could live anywhere...

AbsIf I wanted to live somewhere else I would and there's a short list and a long list and a check-these-out list and there's Wenatchee and Portland and the District and the Bay Area and a little plot of land in southern Oregon, and some places in the middle of this great country too. But I'm a little saddled right now with a lease and a semi-important job and though I can picture myself in all those places, I'm doing the same things there I'm doing here (drinking coffee, reading the internet, telling people what to do).

Where would things really be different?

I think you all know the answer.

FarmVille. I can't help it.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Re-elect Jan Cooper, Mayor of Whoreville


Not too terribly long ago, someone handed me a piece of paper and on that piece of paper was an amount of money that would have made my checking account do a spit-take of gleeful proportions, and all I had to do to get my hands on said sum was promise to write such-and-such-many words over the next three years — and move to Metropolis. It's a funny thing, looking in the Mirror of Erised, 'cause you think it's gonna be one thing, but then when you're standing there, it's something so familiar it might as well be the mirror in your very own bedroom. So, I handed back the paper and said, "Thank you for thinking I'm worth this risk. But I'm sorry, I can't." And I flew back home, where I belong, to snuggle up to the people who make my life my life.

If I could live anywhere in the world, it would be right here. One day, maybe I'll get that sheep farm in Wales I've been dreaming about. Or that flat in London. But for now, it's Chestnut Mountain for me.

The only other place that comes close is Pawnee.
Pawnee: The Paris of America. Pawnee: The Akron of Southwest Indiana. Pawnee: Welcome, German soldiers. (After the Nazis took France, our Mayor kind of panicked.) Pawnee: the factory fire capital of America. Pawnee: Welcome, Vietnamese soldiers. Pawnee: engage with Zorp. (For a brief time in the 70s, our town was taken over by a cult.) Pawnee: Zorp is dead; long live Zorp. Pawnee: It’s safe to be here now. Pawnee: Birthplace of Julia Roberts. (That was a lie. She sued, and so we had to change it.) Pawnee: Home of the world-famous Julia Roberts lawsuit. Pawnee: Welcome, Taliban soldiers. And finally, our current slogan: Pawnee, first in friendship, fourth in obesity.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

The facts were these:

Jennie The other day, Joe and I were talking about Party Down. You know, like you do. Or like we do, ever since I mainlined the entire first season on Netflix on one of my days off so many moons ago (on Kat's guys, do what Kat says). When I started watching the first episode, I emailed Joe and was all, "Hey, I'm watching this's pretty funny...Jane Lynch is in is Vinnie Van Lowe...and Janis Ian...and Dick Casablancas...AND BILL HAVERCHUCK" but by the time he got home from work, I was like, "OMG JOE SIT DOWN RIGHT NOW AND WATCH THIS SHOW RIGHT NOW RIGHT NOW WHY ARE YOU TAKING YOUR COAT OFF THIS IS JUST! TOO! GOOD!"

(As I was writing this, I lost myself down a Bill Haverchuck wormhole on the YouTube and briefly considered changing my answer to Freaks & Geeks...but it's TOO LATE, people, I already wrote a whole paragraph.)

I find myself getting far too attached to fictional people, like, way more often than is probably healthy. Especially TV people. I don't know why and I'd rather not get into what the psychological reasons might be because YIKES but you guys, sometimes I act like the fate of the world hinges upon whether two TV characters are going to ever MAKE OUT ALREADY. Lois and Clark, Mulder and Scully, Jim and Pam, April and Andy, Ned and Chuck, Peter and Olivia, me and The Doctor...I can ship with the best of them.

So I think my unhealthy attachment to Party Down MIGHT have something to do with my desire to see Henry and Casey just make out already, except I don't know, they made out all the time, so maybe I wanted to see them hold hands and go on a picnic? What am I saying right now? I don't know. Anyway.

Right, so, Joe and I were talking about Party Down and I said that I wish I could jump into the show and live there because all the characters are so funny. He said that was way depressing because they all hated their jobs and most of them had absolutely debbie downer lives, at which point, I said, FINE, I'll go live inside Pushing Daisies where it is all whimsical, all the time, and be like, "Ned, I know you and Chuck can't make out so if you need a stand in, I'M HERE. No feelings, just make-outs," and Joe was all, "...ooook?" and I said, "what, it makes sense because he loves Chuck but I'm sure he has NEEDS," and Joe was like, "can we change the subject, please?"

So the answer to this week's question (which is (in case you forgot): what TV show reunion would you most like to see?) is either Party Down or Pushing Daisies because both were canceled far, far too early.



Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Could I BE wearing any more clothes? Maybe if I wasn't going COMMANDO.

AbsThere are lots of shows I discovered too late, long after they'd gone off air. There are lots of shows that may have stayed on air long after they should have. There are shows that were canceled too early or killed off the wrong characters or devolved after salary disputes. It's almost hard to pick. Almost.

I mean, seriously, it ended before there was Twitter. I need Marta Kauffman watching with me.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

if you like it, then you shoulda put your butt on it*

Jennie The first time I remember making someone laugh so hard that they lost control of their bodily functions was years and years ago, when I was on vacation with my family. We were all gathered at my great aunt's house, sitting around a large table in her backyard. Midway through dinner, I burped, long and loud like Buddy the Elf had inhabited my body. My uncle had to sprint from the table, beer shooting out of his mouth. I was eight.

Thus began my long career of trying to out-Chandler Bing everyone in the room. I was that little girl perfecting her Babs Bunny imitation on the playground at recess. I was that person sitting in the back of the classroom, cracking jokes that only those sitting next to me could hear. I'm that woman who talks about poop and dog barf on her blog, immature, yes, but it's FOR THE LAUGHS, PEOPLE.

Honestly, I haven't felt very compliment-worthy lately but I've had enough people tell me I'm funny to believe that, sure, sometimes I'm good for a laugh. I once made my mom laugh so hard that she peed a little and another time Joe LITERALLY almost passed out because he was laughing so hard at something I did/said that he couldn't catch his breath. I don't remember what I said either of those times. If I did, knowing me, I'd run it into the ground until it wasn't funny anymore. For an example of this, I submit Exhibit A: my blog.

I also talk about farting a lot, so kids think I'm hilarious.

ANYWAY. Here are some actual funny people. I know they're For Real Funny** because they get paid for it:

*I also change certain words in pop songs to "butt" or "poop" WOULD YOU LIKE TO HIRE ME TO SING AT YOUR WEDDING?
**except for Horatio Sanz

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Laich it Arnott, that call was Fehr. (Don't ask.)

I'm not a girl very often complimented; the last came, oh, I can't even remember when. Because they are few and far between in consequence they are remembered, and what I remember is this: the one thing on which I am very most--exclusively, even--complemented is my shoes.

I wish I had a better answer for you kind people but I do not know how to make sensible lawyer shoes very interesting.

Oh wait, maybe I do:

working hard

Multimedia message

Monday, 2 May 2011

I see you driving around town with the girl I love and I'm like "forget you!"

I'm rather good at complimenting myself: an obsession with mirrors, a list of ways I can do my very best every day, a self-congratulatory points system. It is rather unbelievable really and makes it hard to distinguish what is actually said to me. Fact: not a lot (which is for the best really).

But as a child, I had this thing, that after repetition I adopted as my proudest trait. A party trick, a legacy, a sign of maturity. "Like a steel trap!" my mom would exclaim at least once a week and I would curate it, display it, and exercise it. My steel trap. It knows yesterday's news and the day before that and the day before that, and my class schedules in college, and the most important things promised to me when I was 18.

I remember you too. I remember what you were afraid of yesterday, and what you said you'd change, and what you hoped you'd become. I remember your lies too even if I didn't know them to be so, and all these things I remember are my own bible, chapters and verses that can be underlined, analyzed, and memorized again.

I don't forget things. This makes me a very valuable employee, and a sometimes harmful friend. Over the years, it's weaned and waned and I've learned somewhere in the back of pensieve to bottle up certain things. Grace has let me move past a few moments, but otherwise I carry the past around with me.

It's not easy being sure. It's not easy being the only holder of so many memories. The only estate trustee, the only living relative. But it's a rare enough trait that at least it's admired, even if if makes me feel so, so alone.

I sometimes find, and I am sure you know the feeling, that I simply have too many thoughts and memories crammed into my mind... At these times... I use the Pensieve. One simply siphons the excess thoughts from one's mind, pours them into the basin, and examines them at one's leisure.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Unbraiding in the Sun

Have passed, I thought, a Whip lash
Unbraiding in the Sun
When stooping to secure it
It wrinkled, and was gone--

The thing I get complimented about most is my niceness, and it’s the easiest compliment to accept because it’s a really true thing to say. I’m nice. Super nice. Purposefully, proactively, perpetually nice. It’s not an act. It’s just the truth of who I am: one part Southern belle, one part theological black sheep, one part redemption-seeking twat.

In my early 20s I realized I was a prophet Isaiah girl. Not dour, really. More like: hyper-aware of needing my heart cleaned, and hyper-aware of all the broken hearts around me. I made what you might call a covenant, if you’re into Old Testament lingo, that I would do the thing Jesus said he was meant to do (the thing Isaiah said Jesus would say he was meant to do): Bind up broken-hearted people, proclaim freedom from darkness for captives, comfort folks who mourn, provide for folks who grieve.

I’d be lying if I said my faith is the same today as it was a decade ago when I made that promise, but when I was 23 I said to God, “I want to want to mend the broken-hearted, and I want to be equipped to do it.”

And on that day, on that very day, I started transforming from One Of The Biggest Pricks You’ve Ever Seen to One Of The Nicest People You’ll Ever Know.

I can’t help it.

I can’t help knowing exactly what’s happening to strangers who brush up against me, and I can’t help knowing exactly what to do comfort them, and I can’t help doing the thing that needs to be done. I’ve ignored it sometimes. I can think of six time I’ve ignored it, in fact, and I know the memories of those broken-hearted will haunt my living and waking nightmares for the rest of my life. I see them in my mind’s eye as clearly as if they were sitting beside me now: the lines on their faces, the callouses on their hands, the grumble of their empty bellies. One man’s dog starving beside him, both sharing a blanket under an overpass in a rainstorm in Munch. He needed ten Euros. Twenty maybe. I bought a beer stein I lost before I even flew home.

Not too terribly long ago I met with a digital executor, a lady who asked me a lot of tedious questions about what will happen to the online Heather Anne Hogan when the flesh and blood Heather Anne Hogan doesn’t exist anymore. There’s my Twitter, my Tumblr, my Facebook. There's my Flickr, my LiveJournal, my domain. There's my email. There's a hundred other things. What do I preserve and what should die along with me?

The digital executor said, “What do you want your legacy to be?”

I’m not unfamiliar with the snake, that narrow fellow in the grass. So I said the thing I’ve known for a while, that I want people to remember me for being nice.

“‘Nice’ isn’t much of a legacy,” she said.

I wrestled with it. I turned it over in my brain. I grappled it, strong-armed it, kicked it around it. I assaulted it. No one remembers nice guys. Nice guys finish last. I met her again a week later, this woman in charge of laying to rest the online Heather Anne, and I said, “I’m OK with nice. I’m OK without a legacy.”

I don’t remember the name of the guy who saved me from a ten-mile ride on my Strawberry Shortcake bike the first time I ran away from home at five years old. I don’t remember the name of the lady who said, “Don’t lip sync; your voice is angelic” at my first choral competition. I don’t remember the name of the coach at the basketball camp in Tennessee who spent seven hours teaching me the footwork for the crossover that got me into college. I don’t remember the name of the lady who bought me a full tank of gas when I was trying to get to Florida to bring my sister home to me. Or the Sunday School teacher who held my hand as I cried at the altar the day my parents announced their divorce. Or the guy who carried me out of the mountain bike trail the first time I crashed alone.

Oaks of righteousness, Isaiah said of broken-heart menders. A planting of the Lord for the display of his splendour.

Niceness is the truth of me. And here is another one: My Facebook won’t survive — but I think my acorns will.