Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Give Me Chocolate Or Give Me Death!

About a month ago, I decided I was going to eat better and exercise more and read labels and love my body. I'm trying to avoid high fructose corn syrup and anything with trans fat (FYI: "0 grams of trans fat per serving" does not equal "zero trans fat"). I've been trying to lay off sugar. Especially chocolate. But it's so hard! I've found that I'm addicted to the stuff. Out of desperation, I've turned to semi-sweet chocolate chips as a little snack when I feel the need.

But then I ran out.

A few days ago, I dramatically announced to James that there was no chocolate to be found in our house and I was now going to give up and die (well, no chocolate except for the reject Whoppers that came in the variety bag of candy I purchased for myself the trick-or-treaters. I'll never eat them; that'd be like someone lost at sea desperate for water and settling for sea water). He just rolled his eyes. How could he possibly understand the personal anguish I was experiencing?

After debating in my mind whether or not to bake some brownies from a mix (we had that too), I ultimately decided I was stronger than that. I could beat this thing!... (Could I just eat the mix without baking it..? NO!)

I went about my un-chocolate-filled business the next few days. Just today after work I went to the grocery store to get some pies for Thanksgiving, and I didn't buy any treats for myself. I told myself I could live until the next day, when I would allow myself to eat whatever I darn-well pleased - hydroginated oils? Ok!

I arrived home, triumphant and proud. My hubby greeted me and marveled at how I hadn't bought any candy while I was there. I beamed. "That's right," I said, "I'm being good!" He then told me he couldn't believe it, but he'd found a lost Kit Kat hidden among the hoards of terrible, terrible Whoppers. "What...?" I asked, "Really?" I went to inspect the contents of the rejected bag and found, to my shameful delight, two Kit Kats, Two Reeses Peanut Butter Cups, a Snickers, and a Crunch Bar, all of them King Size. He had picked them up for me while out and about because he loves me and can't stand to see his woman without chocolate. Or he just wanted me to shut up about having no chocolate to eat. No, I think it's because he loves me.

You better believe I pounced on that candy like there was no tomorrow. As I type, half a Kit Kat lies beside my keyboard. At least I waited until after dinner. I don't care if I'm going to stuff my face tomorrow. Today is for chocolate. I've been good!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Nuh nuh nuh-nuh-nuh nananananananuh nuh-nuh-nuh!

After spending countless hours researching online, and making numerous trips to various music stores, my Jamesie got an electric guitar as an early Christmas gift. Apparently, he had wanted one last year, but I must not have thought he was serious about it because he (obviously) didn't receive one. About a month ago, he revealed to me that he was getting one for Christmas this year. (Are we that "married"? He can just tell me, not what he "wants" but, what he's "getting"? Ugh. Whatever.)

So, the search began. We made a trip to Music World or something [insert generic guitar store name here]. There was a van parked nearby that was black with flames painted on it. We were greeted by a sales clerk with a thick surfer dude accent. He knew his stuff and was very helpful. He knew countless facts and trivia about Metallica. I came to the conclusion that the van belonged to him.

Next, we visited a Guitar Center. We met an employee who was very helpful, knowledgeable, and eager to help us out. I quickly warmed up to him because he was nice and he was the least-creepy person working there. While making sure my 10-year-old nephew wasn't destroying anything and avoiding the leering stares from several employees, I learned, along with my hubby, a little more about guitars, guitar accessories, playing guitars, and, of course, Metallica.

We looked around, thanked the helpful employee, and left. After doing a lot of research and soul-searching, James wanted to return to this same location to make his purchase. He tried out a few models and did a lot of looking and figuring. And more looking. As he wandered through the store I followed loosely behind, acting interested in this or that. Half the time I actually was interested in 'this' or 'that', but as time wore on I was ready to leave with a guitar and all accessories needed to be awesome at it, and never, ever look back. Plus, I was hungry.

After an hour and a half, he had it narrowed down to two - what was all the hours researching online for? - but struggled to make a decision. I tried to assure him that whether he got this or that model, it would be great. I gave my two cents on the one I liked better than the other (it did help that this particular one was cheaper than the other, but it also suited him). But he couldn't make up his mind. So, I did the only helpful thing there was to do, and casually pointed out a third party that I'd had my eye on since we arrived at the store.

It really was a beautiful instrument. The body was a glossy, deep red wood with an interesting pattern to it that faded to black. The neck was embedded with mother of pearl detail. Here he was, basing his decisions on the quality of the pick-ups and the reliability of the brand and such. I liked this one because it was pretty.

He'll never, ever admit this, but he values my opinion and seeks my approval. All of a sudden, this guitar seemed like a good choice to him. It was made by a reliable brand, and it even had excellent pick-ups. Our helpful employee had good things to say about it, and so the decision was made. After acquiring all the necessary accessories to rock out, we made our way to the counter to pay. As we were concluding the purchase, he turned to me and said, "Well, since I got something today, we can go to a store and get you something, too." I can't believe I turned him down, but we had been in that Guitar Center for two hours and I was weary.

Now our home is filled with the sounds of electrified strings being strummed carefully, and slightly more profanity than usual. He really is getting quite good at it though. As I type, various riffs are flowing out of our spare bedroom. Black Sabbath, Nine Inch Nails, Deftones, Metallica (of course). He even played around with Journey's 'Don't Stop Believin'', just for me. He's learning fast, and loving it. I grabbed it at one point and played around with a few songs I knew back when I was motivated to play guitar. Some Coldplay and Dave Matthews Band songs are all I could remember off the top of my head. I started practicing a Deftones song he had gotten the tabs for, and he told me I was not allowed to learn it before he did.


I get it; it's his new toy. But I still picked it out!

The dogs aren't quite sure what to make of it, although they're handling it better than I anticipated.

I'm proud to say I'm his #1 fan.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Christmas In November

I'm upset.

I love Halloween and I love Christmas. I also love that forgotten holiday in between the two. Remember? It's called 'Thanksgiving'. Every commercial, ad, and store display you see will tell you to get out the tree, hang the stockings, and wrap those presents - THERE'S NO TIME, DAMN YOU!

I understand the way retail works; we've been receiving Spring 2011 items for the past month. You always need to keep ahead of the seasons. But what I absolutely loathe is the fact that some people get so excited about Christmas that they want to start celebrating it earlier and earlier and they think it's perfectly ok! I believe that if the world does end in December 2012, as was predicted by an intelligent, ancient people and a guy who wrote a bunch of vague ramblings back in the day, it will be due to our culture's increasingly insatiable appetite for more more MORE CHRISTMAS until we cause our world to collapse in on itself or spontaneously combust (I haven't decided which yet).

Before you declare me a 'Scrooge' or 'Grinch', let me explain something. Since November 3rd, thanks to my 'favorite' radio station FM100, I have been subjected to Christmas music eight hours a day, five days a week while I work. I catch myself singing or whistling along and I hate myself for it. I get the songs stuck in my head and bring them home with me. Don't get me wrong - most of these songs are getting me in a jolly good mood. I'm excited to put up my tree and go shopping. Some of that delight and excitement from being a kid waiting for Santa to arrive is still in me. But... it's too early! It's November! We haven't eaten any turkey yet, people! Plus, I'm pretty certain being forced to listen to 30 different renditions of 'Jingle Bell Rock' in one day is some form of torture.

There's the man singing 'Jingle Bells' who sounds like he's at a seedy lounge, wearing a plaid jacket with matching bow tie, holding a mic in one hand, cigarette and mixed drink in the other. There's an old-time rendition of 'The Twelve Days Of Christmas', which on bad days reminds me of the '99 Bottles Of Beer' song. There's 'It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year', which mentions "scary ghost stories" - I thought that was Halloween...

So many celebrities have capitalized on Christmas music. A few of these choices to croon out various holiday tunes are puzzling to me. Case in point: Neil Diamond. He's Jewish, mind you, but he churns out those holiday classics like nobody's business and I can't stand it. I can't stand the sound of that man's voice, and here's why: While my husband and I were living with his mother, the soundtrack to our lives for about three straight months - maybe more - was from the 1970's remake of The Jazz Singer starring Neil Diamond. It was on full blast, all day and through a lot of the night. You could hear the man belt out "they're coming to America!" no matter where you were in the house. Why, you ask? Why would people do this to themselves? His sweet grandmother was to blame. She's 82 years old and loves Mr. Diamond. She played that dvd over and over, never tyring of it. It is now a running joke between all of us, but the memories of hearing that soundtrack day after day after day haunt me. Months of therapy will be ruined due to this post.

Speaking of running jokes, there is a song that many of us at work absolutely love to hate. I don't know the actual title of it, but we lovingly refer to it as 'The Shoe Song'. It's about a guy who's out Christmas shopping and is standing in line behind a boy who's buying shoes for his mom. His dying mom. He fails to come up with enough money to pay for them. The man singing us this sad tale offers up the rest of the money, so that the boy's mother can have some pretty new shoes in case she "meets Jesus tonight". Some regard this as a 'feel-good' song, but it's just so depressing and out of place with all the 'Holly, Jolly Christmas' music that I can't help but scoff at it. It's almost as depressing as the song about child abuse in which the little girl sings: "Please don't let them hurt your children" or something like that. She's apparently praying to Jesus, asking Him to make it all ok for all the kids who get slaps on Christmas instead of gifts. Merry Christmas, Everyone!

How do I transition from that?

I have no idea.

Always trying to find the good in everything, I do have a handful of favorites.

My parents' love for Air Supply has given me an appreciation for what can only fall under the category of 'Wuss Rock'. So, when Air Supply comes on, playfully performing 'Sleigh Ride', I can't help but smile. Funny story - I actually met one of the members a few years back. I told him my parents loved Air Supply, failing to follow up with anything to say about my love for them. He was not amused. Oops. Almost as regretful as the time I met Jared Leto and all I managed to tell him was how much I liked him in Fight Club (I hadn't seen Requiem For A Dream yet). I'll never live that down! Never!

'I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas' is one of the few highlights of my listening experience, as is 'The 12 Days Of Christmas' as sung by The Muppets and friends.

I have to say, in all seriousness (of course, how can you get more serious than The Muppets?) that 'The Little Drummer Boy' is possibly my favorite of all. It's a beautiful, well-written song that often gets me teary-eyed. "Little baby (pah rum-pa-pa-pum) I am a poor boy too... I have no gift to bring... that's fit to give a king... I played my drum for Him... I played my best for Him!... Then He smiled at me... me and my drum." To me, it means that God and Jesus will take whatever we can give them - they aren't picky.

See? Look at me! I'm making posts about Christmas before it's even December! Curses! The premonitions are coming true! I'm being sucked into the holiday spirit against my will!

Happy Thankschristmas, everyone! I'm not too early, am I?