The Moms, The Merrier

I bought my mom a Mother’s Day card yesterday and I cannot share it with you because she reads this blog. (Hi Mom!) However, I did find this other card that I did not purchase, but rather hoped that my future spawn would one day purchase for me. If this card seems like something your mom would like, you can purchase it here.

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And while I cannot tell you what PRESENTS (get excited, Mom!) I have purchased for my  mother, I thought I’d go ahead and compile a list of suggested gift items for the Pop Culture inclined Moms of the world. Each image header is hyperlinked to the item page for your shopping convenience.

Mother’s Day is May 14th. (Look Ma, I shopped early!) So you should have plenty of time to get one of these lovely items shipped to you.

For the Gilmore Mom:il_570xn-1135740263_dckq
Available from kimgilbert3 on Etsy for $40

For the Heathers Mom:
il_570xn-1068432483_5jys
Available from BlueVelvetHeart on Etsy for $22

For the Gamer Mom:
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Available on Amazon for $17

For the Crafty Mom:
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Available on Amazon for $11

For the Political Mom:

Available on Amazon for $10

For the Jedi Mom:

Available from StitchBoomBang on Etsy for $17

Grab That Dough!

fltsHello hello, Very Special Readers! So much has happened since we last spoke. For example, your internet service provider can now sell your search history without your permission! I’d like to apologize in advance for all of the weird ads you will probably encounter by virtue of having visited this blog. But as far as I’m concerned, the joke’s on them.

Most of my browsing history consists of food related searches. And no, I don’t mean “hot new restaurant for 20-somethings in Greenpoint,” I mean “what is a serving of fiber?” Before you laugh at me, I’d like to point out just how far my cooking skills have come in the past few years. I probably didn’t even know fiber was a word when I wrote this post.

I’m also a hypochondriac (not to be confused with a germophobe. That is something different. Show my irrational fears some respect!) who watches a lot of television from 30 years ago. Ergo, I fully expect internet advertisers to show me Metamucil ads meant for a 79-year old woman with a fungal infection. I’m happy to announce that I meet absolutely none of the aforementioned criteria, so this makes me giggle. I’m giggling only because it’s terrifying and creepy and GEORGE ORWELL WAS RIGHT and I want to throw this computer-monster-machine across the room before it eats me!

But here’s the thing, most of my in-real-life friends don’t really want to discuss very special episodes ad nauseam. And while I can usually get them to follow me down the Baby-Sitters Club rabbit hole, some of them haven’t even seen The Golden Girls. (I know, I know what are my priorities? Why am I even writing this? I need to get busy and become a Golden Girls Evangelist.) So I have to keep the internet connection because how will I update The Very Special Blog if I go off the grid?? I’d have to get a glue stick and mail you all zines like it was really 1990.

Alas, this was originally supposed to be a fun post about how I exercised the great-restraint of a money-conscious person now in my LATE twenties. (It’s okay. I can tell you. The advertisers already know I’m not really 79.) However, the plan for this post took a sharp left turn after I got an alert on my phone and started reading a lot of articles about internet privacy. And what could I do but post on the internet about it???

51xkhswcn9l-_sx312_bo1204203200_Back to The Golden Girls, I did not purchase this really, super awesome book of Mad Libs. I didn’t even open it in the store because I didn’t want to give myself the option of becoming emotionally attached. I couldn’t even buy it for someone else as a gift because the only gift I need to buy right now is a law school graduation gift (ahem, please leave suggestions in the comments.)

(See what I really need is advertisements on good law school graduation gifts, but all I’m going to get is Metamucil or maybe the complete series DVD box set of Kate & Allie).

Anyway, I do have one last essay from my writing class last year to post. (Only, I didn’t actually read this one in class, which means it’s choppy and needs work. And I may or may not devote the time to cleaning it up, which means you may or may not ever see it.) But after that I have a very exciting new series planned! I will give you a hint (aside from the one that is already in the title): “entertainment showcase.” Stay tuned!

This Breakup Is Brought to You by Milli Vanilli

This piece was also from my writing class last year. Other appropriate titles were “This Breakup Is Brought to You by Tonya Harding’s Triple Axels Played on Loop,” “This Breakup Is Brought to You by Annie Lennox’s No More I Love You’s, TLC’s Creep, and Sara Mclachlan’s Fumbling Towards Ecstasy with a Heavy Dosage of Milli Vanilli,” and 1st runner up: “How Do You Mend a Broken Heart? Milli Vanilli.” Also, I actually did blog about this at the time it was happening, but I mentioned only the data entry I was doing at work because my deadly sin is pride.  

Listening to music is always hard after a breakup, especially if the foundations of that relationship were largely facilitated by music. There was the classic rock we traded on burned CDs back when computers had disc drives. And the late 90’s pop that provided the soundtrack to our late night drives.

It became clear to me just how far we had fallen since he played Smokey Robinson on vinyl for me in his dorm room when post-breakup I started binge-listening to Milli Vanilli. And if you have ever binge-listened to Milli Vanilli—though I’m fairly confident that I am the first person to complete this task since 1990—you know that this truly consists of listening to the same eight songs on repeat for about a week.

But maybe this was the most appropriate bookend to our relationship for me–a naive young adult who signed up for the deal of a lifetime only to find out that it was all a sham.

Underneath all of the charm and empty promises, he was the guy who went with me to hear my favorite band from high school play in Nashville and knew all the words perfectly. But it wasn’t his music. He had learned it like he had learned me.

I have deleted his number from my phone, given away of the gifts his family gave to me, and thrown out our old pictures. But I will keep Jenny Lewis’s guitar pick. The one he caught at the concert and casually slipped into my coat pocket.

Me & Billy Dee

“He was in Lady Sings the Blues.”

“What’s that?” I said as my mother listed yet another piece of television or film that I had never heard of.

“He did a lot of commercials…but I guess you wouldn’t have seen those either,” she said.

It was an unusually cold February day in Florida, and I was glad that I had worn my purple corduroy jacket as my mom and I waited in line at Disney World. But this line was not for something cool like a Princess meet-and-greet or a chance to ride the teacups. This was one of the longest lines I had ever been in and it was all for a signed photograph of Billy Dee Williams—a name that meant absolutely nothing to me.

Like most things Disney, the process was incredibly efficient. Billy Dee Williams would sign a photo of himself, smile for a picture with his fans, and then a handler would politely and firmly tell everyone to move along. At seven years old, I was too short to see past the people ahead of me in line, so without recognizing his name or any of his movies, I was totally and completely bored.

Finally, we were the penultimate pair in line:

“He was in Star Wars,” she said.

“Oh. Who was he in Star Wars?”

“Lando Calrissian.”

“Who’s that?”

“Han Solo’s friend.”

“Luke Skywalker is Han Solo’s friend,” I said, trying to think of any other possible friends. This wasn’t the guy who wore the Wookie suit, was it?

“Lando Calrissian is Han’s friend from Cloud City.”

“I remember Cloud City but I don’t remember Lando,” I said. Who the heck was this guy? I’d seen all of the Star Wars movies but I could not remember “Lando” at all.

“He’s the one who had Han frozen in carbonite.”

Much like Han Solo, I was suddenly suspended in motion. Any ounce of boredom suddenly drained from my body and I was left with only one feeling: self-righteous indignation. As I realized that we were in line to see the Star Wars equivalent of Benedict Arnold, the handler swiftly whisked away the couple in front of us.

Wearing a grey sports coat with a brown striped scarf and round, wire-rimmed glasses, Billy Dee Williams smiled down at me, looking like a nice man who might work at the library. If I had not known who he was, I might have quite enjoyed chatting with him. But I knew his backstory and I was suspicious.

Halfway through the second-grade, I was no dummy. I knew intellectually that actors played characters and that they were not actually those people in real life. But how could anyone possibly play such a horrible role and not share at least some of the characteristics as the fictional person he played?

Had seven year old me been offered the part, I may have said something along the lines of, “Listen, Mr. Lucas, it is an honor to be considered for this role, but I could NEVER do that to Han Solo.” Billy Dee Williams, on the other hand, had no problem portraying an intergalactic swindler. No, I thought, it is definitely not safe to trust this guy. And I was not going to be nice to him.

He tried to strike up a conversation with me. I responded with an icy stare. Mortified, my mother admitted that I had not know who he was until she reminded me that he had frozen Han Solo—a revelation that she was beginning to feel may have been a mistake.

In what seemed like an act of genuine kindness, he laughed lightly and tried once again to talk with me. He told me that it was okay that I did not like him because that meant he had done a good job in the movie. I refused to speak to him, choosing instead to respond with a skeptical look.

Incidentally, my little rebellion had begun to put the efficiency of the meet-and-greet line into jeopardy. We had spent several seconds with Billy Dee while his Disney-issued Sharpie languished on the podium. As it turns out, I was also making it very awkward for my mother to ask him for a favor.

The rules of the Disney line were very strict. Billy Dee Williams was supposed to give out one-signed photograph per visiting group. But our dear friend Eloise was a life-long fan of his and was at home recovering from Hepatitis B, which she had contracted during a blood transfusion for an enzyme deficiency. According to his handler, Billy Dee most certainly did not have any time for an additional autograph. I offered to give Eloise mine (which was not personalized and which I clearly did not want). But he insisted on signing an autograph for Eloise.

Actually, Billy Dee didn’t want to just give her an autograph; he wanted to know how she was doing. He recognized her enzyme deficiency, which is more prevalent in the Black community and with which he was more familiar with than my mother and I. Then, in another clear violation of Disney rules, we took a photo of the two of us for Eloise. This was purely a labor of love on my part, as I would never deny Eloise something that was clearly, and so unfathomably important to her.

But you can tell I would rather be anywhere else than in that picture. I am very purposefully not smiling, but the corners of my mouth are slightly upturned in a smirk as my eyes pierce the camera’s lens—a historical documentation that I did this under protest. Billy Dee Williams is smiling, but it is not the charming smile that made him famous. It’s an “I know this kid hates me, but I think this might be funny one day” kind of smile.

I remember skipping away from the tent that day claiming a small victory for myself. I was just a kid and I had taken a stand against that guy from Star Wars!

I also remember Eloise keeping a framed copy of that autographed photo in her home until she passed away a couple of years later.

I’m not much on celebrity autographs and though I’ve gotten and lost a few over the years, I still have the one I got from Billy Dee Williams.

As I’ve gotten older, Lando Calrissian has become one of my favorite characters in the Star Wars franchise. But that is not why I kept the autograph. I keep it as a memory of someone who took extra time to send love and kindness to a stranger. I keep it as a reminder of someone who so gracefully and genuinely understood exactly where my seven year-old brain was coming from and who probably, hopefully, did not think I was a total jerk.

me-and-billy-dee

All I Wanna Do is Chat Pop Culture with You!

Listen team, I’m going to put something out there and ask you all to hold me accountable. I have a tendency to decide to make MAJOR life decisions right around the New Year. So come December when I get the urge to shake up my life again, I’m going to write a blog post and you’re going to tell me to cool my jets. I’ll explain more later, but basically I’m not free on Saturdays right now. 

Saturdays are frequently when I queue up my posts. (So you know all of those times where I say “Today, I decided to…” well that “today” was usually like a Saturday or basically any other time than when I actually scheduled the post. Yes, sorry, I have been LYING to you about time for years. But time is a flat circle anyway, right?

I promise more very special episodes are on the horizon, but for now I thought I’d offer you a few more options from deep within the files of my laptop. I know what you’re thinking, and no, I’m not talking about a slideshow depicting the history of Joey Lawrence’s hair. Let me explain. 

A year ago, I took a writing class from the lovely Lisa Jakub. It was a memoir writing class, and I somehow decided that taking the class would inspire me to write a memoir. (This was an incorrect assumption.)

Instead, I  learned a very expensive lesson and discovered once and for all that nothing makes my heart flutter like writing about Pop Culture. Suffice it to say that this does NOT create an adequate through-line for a book. As it turns out, the many incarnations of Prince’s public persona is not what one might refer to as an “organizing principle.” 

While Lisa was a lovely and encouraging coach, I would not recommend taking a memoir writing class unless you have already figured out some kind of legitimate idea for a memoir. But that brings me back to my current point. I’ve written a lot of personal essays about life and Pop Culture. SO if you’re pumped to hear about the time I snubbed Billy Dee Williams, a poignant recollection on nostalgia through the lens of Andy Gibb’s hair, and my breakup mixtape then stay tuned!

If you’re bummed that you will have to wait several weeks to get additional pro-tips on how to avoid drug dealers who look like backup singers for The Jacksons*, then here is a handy list of some of my favorites to tide you over until I can binge watch television again:

 

*this guy.

 

Today I am thankful for you!

Happy Thanksgiving, Very Special Readers! I slacked off this year and I didn’t post any Thanksgiving episodes. But it is still my very favorite holiday! 

It’s a holiday with troubling origins (to say the least) but I am thankful for the modern version of the day, which I think of as a moment to pause and reflect on the year with gratitude. 

This year has been difficult for many of us, personally and globally. But today I am thankful for the delicious home cooked meal that I didn’t have to prepare. (This is a win-win for people who also don’t want to eat anything I’ve cooked.) 

I am thankful that Thanksgiving is always on a work day and always makes us take a break in the middle of 24/7 digital chaos. 

I am thankful for the Murder, She Wrote marathon that I’m watching in my pjs with a mug full of hot tea that my mom prepared. (I have the best mom. Oh, you thought you had the best mom? Nope, sorry.) 

I am thankful for the rescue dog sitting next to me and thankful that he hasn’t bitten me. (I will continue to narrate all of my actions so I don’t scare him. This means that the dog has a lot of knowledge of my bathroom habits now that I tell him every time I have to get up to pee.) 

And I am thankful for YOU! I’m thankful that other people have watched as much crap tv as I have and like it enough to want to chat about it on the internet. I am thankful that you let me tell you about all of then silly pop culture things that I think are the best things ever OMG (stay tuned for some stuff on beer and puppets, by the way). And I am thankful that every time I feel swamped, bored, or bummed out, I get to read your comments. I hope I make you laugh and I hope you know you make me laugh too! 

I’m A Late Adopter: Please Follow Me on Twitter

So there’s this thing called Social Media. I got Facebook when all the cool kids were doing it and then after that I basically just found everything else super intimidating. But I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts lately and they’re all on Twitter and I want to follow all of them and finally the FOMO became too much.

Also, I haven’t actually tweeted anything yet…but I’m working on it!

So please help a girl out and follow me @veryspecialblog (there was no room for the “the.” I’m very upset about it) and I will tweet things at you or retweet your things. Basically, I’ll do whatever one does on this thing just as soon as I figure out what that is. (Please send help in the comment box below.)

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#help #amigoingtobekickedoutofthemillennialgeneration