I was stationed at the bottom of the ramp that led into the receiving room when I first laid eyes on her. It was the great Book Fair of 2010, my first with the Library, and I was currently holding up the line of customers with a smile and a warm greeting until I could direct them to an open cashier.
It was quiet when she arrived, allowing my attention to be focused solely on her. She appeared at the top of the ramp and quiet literally took my breath away. She was dressed in a daring denim miniskirt, which she had paired with an eye-catching neon pink tank that was cut just above her exposed navel. Her fiery red hair was pulled back with a scrunchy that was as equal vibrant as her top. The face that rested beneath that wild mop of hair was painted from chin to forehead, ear to ear. Her lips were a wet red and her eyes could be seen peering out from under lids that were shellacked a thick powdery blue.
She was a vision. And at the age of roughly 87, she was an unmistakable showstopper.
She shuffled down the ramp toward me, relying heavily on her cane. All the while I tried not to stare at her wrinkled and veiny legs or her garish clown face or, heaven help me, the exposed strip of her torso. I simply smiled and looked just past her unnaturally colored nest of hair.
When she reached the point where I was waiting for her, she sidled up close and hooked her arm in mine. She leaned her makeup-caked face up toward my own, which I was hoping wore an unwavering smile. “Do you know what they put in ChapStick these days?”
I did not, as a matter of fact, know what they put in ChapStick these days and I kindly told her as much.
“Viagra,” she said without cracking a smile. “They want you to have a stiff upper lip.”
With that she shuffled off, leaving me in a state of complete disbelief. I watched as she approached the only male cashier in the room and overheard her ask him if he knew why traffic was so bad today. He told her he did not, but she had an answer prepared.
“A truck overturned downtown,” she told him. “It spilled its load of Viagra and now all the bridges are up.”
The cashier cracked a tiny frightened smile and then went about ringing up her purchases.
Traffic soon picked up and I became rather busy. The memory of this strange older woman began to fade. But I had underestimated her reach. Nearly an hour after she had left, her legacy returned.
A middle-aged couple was waiting for an open cashier when the man turned to the woman. “Did you see that old lady who came up to me out there?” he asked. The woman had not noticed. “She came out of nowhere and told me a Viagra joke,” he said.
I let out an audible chuckle. “Was she wearing a denim miniskirt?” I asked him.
He looked over in surprise. “Yes,” he said.
“She came through here earlier,” I explained, and wondered how many others had heard the Viagra jokes of the old lady dressed as a teenager from the 1980’s.
I guess you can’t keep a raunchy old broad down.
On Ranch Dressing, Cellular Devices and The Privilege of Choice Rendering Me Incapable of Making a Decision
Have you ever run into the grocery store just to buy one simple item that you just desperately need? Let’s say that item is salad dressing. In fact, let’s say that item is ranch salad dressing. You just really need that ranch salad dressing or tonight’s dinner will be ruined. So you run into the grocery store, bypass grabbing a cart or basket, and skid to a halt in front of the aisle housing that ranch salad dressing you so desperately need. You enter the aisle and find yourself face-to-bottle with roughly 2,000 varieties of salad dressing. Of those 2,000 varieties of salad dressing, roughly 570 belong to the ranch family. You have peppercorn ranch and fat free ranch and low fat ranch and light ranch and lite ranch and buttermilk ranch. You have ranch salad dressings made by Kraft and Wish-Bone and Briannas and Paul Newman. Suddenly your task of grabbing some salad dressing is not so simple
Which dressing do you choose?
I wish I could help you with that problem, but I simply cannot. I cannot even help myself. As it turns out, I am standing in a proverbial salad dressing aisle staring slack-jawed at the 2,000 varieties of dressing, and I have no idea which to choose. The privilege of choice is proving to be just too daunting. If only I were merely trying to decide what to pour over my salad for dinner. Instead, I am facing a much more difficult choice.
I am trying to buy a new phone.
I’ve had my little blue flip phone from U.S. Cellular for what seems like ages. So much has changed on the cellular landscape since I picked up the little guy for free all those long years ago. And while he’s been mostly good to me, it’s high time I get a cellular device (as opposed to a simple phone) that can keep up with the big dogs. I just need to decide what that cellular device is.
After much research, I have at least decided it’s time to drop U.S. Cellular as my provider. I have had nothing but excellent service from them, but they just do not have the kind of phones I’m looking for. Sorry, U.S. Cellular, but it’s time I end this call.
Having made that decision, the whole cellular world is now my oyster. And yet, that just makes my decision that much more difficult.
My gut instinct is (was?) to get an iPhone. I have an iPod Touch and I love everything about it. If it could be my phone as well as my best friend, I’d be thrilled. And what is the iPhone if not an iPod Touch that makes calls? The choice seems simple really. I should just get an iPhone.
The major issue with that is AT&T. I have many friends who own iPhones and they all grumble about the horrible service they receive on AT&T. If I am going to pay for cellular service, I want to make sure I’m able to actually use it. I’m not convinced that will be the case with AT&T. Pair that with the negative press the latest version of the iPhone has been getting, and my gut instinct really starts to sour.
All the while, I have been hearing amazing things about the HTC Evo, the new 4G phone offered through Sprint. Many say that it is the true leader in the race for cellular dominance, and that its design and performance far outreach those of the iPhone. I’ve held it in my hand, and it’s a nifty little gadget. From where I stand, it looks like it could be the phone for me. And to top it off, it won’t leave me tethered to AT&T the way that the iPhone would.
Another enticing option is the Droid Incredible by HTC. This phone is offered through Verizon, and I have hard mostly great things about both the phone and the service. I have also held this guy in my hand, and it seems on par with the HTC Evo. The big difference is that the Evo is a 4G phone and the Incredible is a 3G phone. Luckily, I have no real idea what that even means.
So what should I do? Should I go with my gut and get an iPhone? Or should I go with an HTC? And if I do get an HTC, should I go with the Evo on Sprint or the Incredible on Verizon? You tell me.
I can’t say I’ll go with the majority on this one, but it can’t help to hear from the peanut gallery. Otherwise, I’m liable to stay undecided until the next wave of cellular devices flood the market and my decision becomes even more torturous.
And I’m hoping to order a phone by next week so please make it snappy.
A little over a week ago I went to see my doctor. I was having some pain in my left arm and my thumb was often tingling, as if it were in the process of falling asleep. This went on for about a week before I decided to seek medical attention. By that time my stomach was constantly in knots as I dreamt up numerous ailments for myself.
It turns out the pain in my arm was nothing with which to concern myself. Apparently I pulled a muscle at some point and my sleeping habits were not allowing it to heal as quickly as it should. It was causing the pain in my arm and, because of the placement of the muscle, it was causing my thumb to tingle.
I’d dodge that bullet, but while I was at the doctor I decided to put the proverbial gun to my temple and pull the trigger again. I had my doctor draw blood and test me for conditions that run in my family – diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease. It’s been longer than I can remember since I’ve had blood work done. It was time.
Two days after my visit I got a call with the results. I do not have diabetes. My cholesterol is fine. All looks well.
And yet, there was one issue I was not able to escape. While seeing my doctor, I got the news I knew I could never ignore.
I need to lose weight.
Numerically speaking, my doctor would like to me drop ten pounds by August. She would then like to see me drop 60 pounds in the next year. If I succeed, I will weigh just under 200 pounds. At my height, that weight would suit me quite nicely. It will also lower my risk of finding myself with diabetes, high cholesterol or heart disease.
My doctor and I came up with a plan. I’d already had weight loss in mind and had completely cut soda from my diet in May. I know only drink water. It was a good start. During the month of June, I’ve tackled sweets. Next month I have to face down fried foods. Instead of making drastic changes right away, the plan is to cut out one unhealthy thing a month and replace it with something far more healthy – water, fruit, vegetables.
That was a little over ago. Since then I’ve mustered all the will power I have to completely stay away from sweets. I’ve also been very aware of how much I eat, cutting back on my portions sizes. I’ve taken to going on long walks every day. I even went out and bought a couple of cookbooks, determined to cook at home more often so that I can control the amount of calories I take in.
In those nine days, I’ve lost 3 pounds. That may not seem like a lot, but it feels absolutely enormous to me. I’ve made so many positive changes in so little time, and to be able to get on a scale and see some progress shows me that I can do this. I can beat this. I can lose more than ten pounds by August. And I’ll shed those 60 pounds well before next June.
This is not the first time I have tried to drop some weight, but this time it feels different. I have realistic goals set by a doctor. I’ve been able to meet those goals with very little difficulty. I’ve been very open with my friends and family about my plan, and they have been very supportive in return. I’ve also decided to track my progress here at Welcome to My Truth. I will weigh myself each Sunday and post the results in the sidebar for all the world to see.
This time it feels different. This time I’m going to do it. I’m going to reach my goal weight, and in the process I am going to make some healthy changes in my life. You just watch me.
There are a lot of things for me to worry about right now. How are we going to clean up the oil spill in the Gulf? What the hell is a vuvuzela? Is the economy ever really going to get better? Why do I have so few followers on Facebook and Twitter?
And yet, despite the enormous amounts of stress those issues should cause in my life, there is only one question that is truly plaguing me. How I am possibly going to pace myself so that I finish watching the fifth season of Lost just as the sixth season is released on August 24.
Let me explain.
On May 23, millions of people gathered around their televisions to watch the series finale of Lost. Would their questions be answered? Would they feel satisfied with the outcome? Or would the last six and a half years have been a complete and utter waste?
On May 24, I watched the pilot episode of Lost, thus starting a journey that had ended for so many people the night before.
Let me explain further.
From the moment the survivors of Oceanic flight 815 crashed on that mysterious island back on September 22, 2004, I knew that Lost was a show with which I could easily fall in love. I love a good mystery. I love dark, serial storytelling. I love plots that are character driven. Lost was certainly a recipe for obsession.
And yet, I chose not to watch Lost. As I’ve mention before, I didn’t “want to invest so much time in something that could eventually be massively disappointing.” And a show such as Lost that sets itself up for that one last final moment of clarity easily sets up its audience for disappointment.
And so I bided my time. I watched as fans of the show were whipped into frenzy after frenzy, culminating in a flurry of excitement, speculation and fanatical Facebook posts on May 22 of this year.
And then the finale aired.
And then all was eerily quiet on the Lost front.
A silent blanket of subtle disappointment fell over the world, and I could tell (despite limp protests to the contrary) that Lost had not ended the way most people wished it would have. I decided then and there that I would not bother watching Lost.
And yet, the trap had been set and I had walked right into it.
Unlike the disappointment I could feel all around me, my curiosity was screaming. The intrigue I’d felt back in 2004 could no longer be fought. All of the excitement created by fans before the finale was just too powerful to ignore. As much as I knew I was setting myself up to be doomed, I watched the pilot episode of Lost.
And, as expected, I was irrevocably hooked. I’m completely late to the Lost party and loving every second of it.
Within a week, I devoured the entire first season. Since then, I’ve wrapped up the second season and have dived right in to the third. There’s really no stopping me now. I, like so many before me, am obsessed.
And strangely, since starting the series, I’m quite unconcerned with whether or not I’ll be disappointed in the end. It’s simply enough to be lost in the storytelling and characters of Lost. I mean, it’s just a damn good show.
So I will continue to watch the episodes at light speed, reveling in the fact that I do not have to wait through hiatuses and writers’ strikes. I’ll gasp when it’s appropriate. I’ll curse the screen on occasion. I’ll wonder what exactly it is about Sun that has me so strangely attracted to her.
I just have that one major concern. At the rate I am going through this series, I’ll have finished the fifth season by Monday. That’s fine and well, except for the fact that the sixth and final season will not be released until the end of August. I’m not sure I can handle having to wait even a week for those final episodes. I have not one clue as to how all you Lost fans out there did it all those years.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to try and figure out what’s up with that Juliet chick.
Well, we reached a cultural apex last night, my friends. We’ve scaled the mountain that is Glee and reached our peak – the end of season one. Everyone’s favorite gleeks made it to Regionals and (spoiler alert) lost. But more importantly they learned a valuable lesson and (spoiler alert) won. Tears were shed. Songs were sung. Everything changed for a split second before everything was returned to the way it has always been.
Glee will be back in the fall for another shot at Sectionals and, if last night’s finale is any indication, season two will be a tidy little repeat of season one. That, I’m afraid, just will not do. The people behind Glee have a good thing going, but if they want the show to thrive beyond its teen audience, they need to seriously consider an overhaul.
Might I, in my infinite wisdom, make some suggestions?
Come up with a new story arc.
Every episode of Glee is essentially the same. The club comes close to being disbanded due to the meddling of someone on the outside. That someone is usually Sue. Mr. Schuester asks his little army of singing sensations to work on songs that will teach them a lesson and help them overcome that episode’s hurdle. Rachel sings. Finn sings. Sometimes someone else sings. On rare and painful occasions, Mr. Schuester tackles a hip-hop song. Problems are resolved and everyone learns a lesson. The episode ends with a touching group number.
It’s time to give the audience a little more. Playing the same conflict over and over and over is both lazy and tedious. We know that the glee club will survive because, well, the show is about the glee club. Therefore, throwing the club on the chopping block each week just does not give the show any kind of dramatic impact. It’s time to come up with a new formula, folks.
Explore your key characters.
There are a lot of characters on Glee, and at times there is some confusion as to who the key characters are. It’s easy to argue that Rachel, Finn and Mr. Schuester are the core of the show. And yet, entire episodes would go by with hardly a mention of Rachel or Finn. It’s clear that there was a desire to highlight other characters, but that should not happen to the detriment of the core. It’s time to give some depth to Rachel and Finn. Until now, they’ve been fairly flat characters, but there are countless opportunities to grow these two. What if Rachel decided to fight fire with fire? Seeing a darker side to her could drive the show in a new and interesting direction while giving the highly talented Lea Michele more to do than just play uptight and shrill.
Allow the story to dictate the music.
For a while, Glee the television show was merely a commercial for Glee the album. When you find yourself creating dialogue and story around a set of songs, it should indicate that you are doing something wrong. Yes, the Madonna episode was a lot of fun, but it didn’t serve much purpose when it came to furthering the plot. The best episodes of Glee are the ones that keep the storyline on the front burner. Let the music flow from that.
Let your couples simmer.
In last night’s finale we had three professions of love. Finn loves Rachel. Puck loves Quinn. Mr. Schuester loves Emma. Each of those professions should have been emotional high points in the season, but all three of them fell flat. The reason they fell flat is simple – it’s hard to care about a couple you’ve never been given the chance to know. Finn and Rachel were together for a hot minute before Jesse St. James showed up for a story arc that ultimately made no sense. Puck impregnated Quinn roughly nine months ago and their relationship was only ever hinted at. Sure, Schuester came close to deflowering Emma, but she is so seldom on the show it’s easy to forget she even exists.
If you want your audience to care about these couples, allow these couples to be. Let one of two of these couples find some happiness in season two before they are ripped apart. There’s a reason so many shows use the on-again-off-again plot for their core couples. It ups the stakes and keeps things interesting. But in order for it to work, there needs to be a point when the couple is actually on. We have yet to really see that on Glee.
Cut back on the use of guest stars.
Glee had no shortage of big name guest stars in its first season. Josh Groban, Olivia Newton-John, Kristin Chenoweth, Eve, Idina Menzel, Molly Shannon, and Neil Patrick Harris have all appeared on Glee. In the case of Kristin Chenoweth and Neil Patrick Harris, the guest stars outshone the regular cast. In the case of Idina Menzel, it was clear that she’d never stick around as Rachel’s mom because she’s a guest star. And guest stars, by their very nature, do not stick around for long. Glee has more than enough characters in its regular cast for the focus to remain on them. And the show is easily popular enough not to have to rely on stunt casting.
Give Mark Salling (Puck) and Heather Morris (Brittany) more screen time.
She’s hysterical and he’s just hot.
It may not seem like it, but I like Glee. The show, like its group of high school crooners, has a lot of heart. It also has a lot of potential to be a truly amazing television show that does not exist solely to push album after album of cover music. The cast is talented. The concept is just campy enough to be both enjoyable and accessible. And, heck, they sing Madonna music from time to time.
So use your summer wisely, Glee. Figure out how to push the show to the next level. I know you can do it.
And more importantly, Mr. Schuester knows you can do it.