Last autumn, my cousin and bestie-since-birth Chris had a terrible health scare. And by terrible, I mean TERRIBLE. He dropped thirty pounds in about two months because food became his body’s enemy. There were a lot of tests, and plenty of talk about all the types of cancer it could be. It was terrifying for me. And probably him, too.
It turned out to be celiac disease. While we were still enjoying the warm, glowing relief of finding out that his condition was easily treated, my own health took a strange turn. I was soon on the receiving end of a biopsy.
I, too, turned out to be cancer-free. But anyone who has gone through a cancer scare knows that this process is not quick. You have weeks and sometimes months to wonder if your ending is just around the corner. Or maybe not your ending, but a severely reduced quality of life for the next year or so. Either way, it’s really freaking scary to not know if your own body is turning against you. And when you’re not sure if you have cancer or not, you realize how many TV commercials are for cancer treatment centers or cancer drugs.
Weeks of pondering Chris’s mortality and then my own changed my perspective on a lot of things. I wondered what I would wish I had done differently if I was about to find out that I was really sick. I realized that either way, mortality was real and applied to me just as much as everyone else.
I knew I would wish I had spent more time with people I enjoy, instead of making plans we eventually cancel.
I knew I would wish I had made a habit of meditating and spent more time practicing yoga, neither because I “should”, but because they enhance my daily life.
I would wish I had spent more time writing, and writing with love for my craft instead of resenting it like something I have to do.
I would wish I had watched more movies. Good movies, bad movies, doesn’t matter as long as they tell me a story.
Of course there are more wishes, but you get the idea. Chris and I hopped on one of the wishes right away and got the besties tattoos that we had been considering for ages. And they’re fabulous.
As Chuck Palanhniuk put it, “On a long enough time line, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero.”
It is human nature to die, my friends. And I have decided to remove regret from my future. It’s liberating to face the realization that we are all dying. Let’s all go out with as few “I wish I hads” as possible.
I don’t really even know what you look like. You have long, dark hair. But I’ve never noticed anything else about your appearance. Here’s why: I can’t get past your Big Gulp.
Okay, it’s not an actual Big Gulp, because it’s from a different gas station. But big gas station cokes are all Big Gulps, right?
Anyway, It’s yoga class. We all have bottles of water, most of them are BPA-free. But not you. You shamelessly walk in to every yoga class with a giant coke.
The first time I saw you with it, I thought maybe you were just having a bad day. Hangovers require giant sodas, and good for you for still making it to class. Or maybe it was water and you just like the aesthetic of big gas station cups with ice.
But you weren’t just having a bad day, you bring one to every class. And it’s not water, because the darkness of the fluid shows through the lid.
I want it to be clear that I’m not judging you. I just feel like I need more information.
Are you one of those people who hates water? Does the taste of nothing offend you to the point that you can’t enjoy water strictly because it’s refreshing? Or are you a conspiracy theorist who believes the government is putting chemicals in our water to give us cancer so the pharmaceutical companies can continue to get rich?
If not water, why not sports drinks? Sport drinks are pretty much the same thing as sodas, but they’re socially acceptable at gyms because of the electrolytes and shit.
Do you drink cokes all day? If so, how do you avoid UTI’s? Or do you constantly have a UTI? How do you do some much yoga with a constant UTI?
To be honest, I hope I never know the answers to these questions. Speculation entertains me. So thank you for that. And thank you for not giving a flying butt-rat about what people think about you. You could conceal the soda in a stainless steel, BPA-free water bottle. But you don’t. Because you don’t give a shit. Here’s to you, nonconformist-soda-yoga-lady!
Warning: This review is lousy with spoilers, but it’s fine. You’re not going to watch this movie anyway.
First of all, let me say that I sometimes like Bret Easton Ellis’ work. Not always, but I get that he’s satirical and “post-empire” and when he’s not being a self-righteous d-bag, he actually has interesting commentary on society. So I hoped that his screenwriting would be a plus for this film.
Second, Paul Schrader directed The Canyons. Though his directing career hasn’t been epic, he wrote Taxi Driver and Raging Bull. So you’d think he had a handle on this film-making thing.
Third, if I don’t like something, I usually stay quiet out of respect for the artist’s vision and all that. And I know sometimes the story in your head doesn’t end up on paper so I try not to be overly critical. But I just can’t freaking help this one. The Canyons left me with a lot to get off my chest. Maybe because I went into it with the attitude that it couldn’t be that bad. Movies are rarely as awful as the critics claim. But it is that bad, you guys. It really is.
The first scene is painfully boring. It’s a conversation between two couples, Christian (James Deen) and Tara (Lindsay Lohan), and Ryan (Nolan Funk) and Gina (Amanda Brooks). Christian is a producer or something and has recently cast Ryan in a film as a favor to his assistant Gina since Ryan is Gina’s boyfriend. And because Tara insisted that Ryan was just perfect for the role. Whatever the hell that role is, or what the movie is, or any of that shit, no one knows because none of that seems to have anything to do with the plot. And this is the scene that sets up the entire film.
This opening snooze-fest conversation centers on Christian announcing to the table that he brings people over to watch him have sex with Tara, and to sometimes to have mini-orgies. Because that’s dinner conversation in the canyons, my friends. There’s lots of time on smartphones, then there’s a close up of a lime being squeezed into a cocktail.
Okay, so Tara is living with Christian who is a spoiled trust-fund baby wanna-be filmmaker who only dabbles in filmmaking to keep his dad off his back so he doesn’t lose his trust fund which allows him to live in ridiculous luxury and debauchery. I guess his dad is some sort of Pablo Escobar type figure. Because art.
We soon learn that Tara is doinking Ryan behind Christian’s back because they used to be in love but she couldn’t take being poor anymore. Bartending and going to auditions was just too taxing for her, so she moved in with a spoiled douchebag who sometimes makes her do it with other dudes and sometimes chicks, but hey, she doesn’t have to hold down a job.
Christian knows something is going on so he constantly interrogates Tara, then tells her he trusts her. And her hair extensions are TERRIBLE.
Then Christian tells a gay producer to tell Ryan his part will be recast unless he sleeps with him. Why? Not sure. I guess to see if Ryan swings both ways, or to see how desperate he is to keep his part. But that question is never really answered, because who really gives a shit by then?
Also, Tara (Lohan) sun bathes a lot but she is as pale as talcum powder. Do they make SPF 1000?
There are lots of shots of abandoned movie theaters. I’m sure it’s supposed to be some metaphor about how films have changed, and to justify Schrader’s Kickstarter campaign to get this festering turd made. But really the abandoned theaters can also be a metaphor for what happens when Lindsay Lohan and James Deen get top billing in movies.
This girl named Cynthia who Christian still has sex with sometimes confronts Tara to tell her that one time Christian roofied her and had her gang-raped on camera. So that’s why they still hang out, I guess. Also, Cynthia knows that Ryan and Tara used to date, but Christian does not.
It turns out that Cynthia’s story was a lie, because that’s super helpful for rape victims, you dumb bitch. And she did it because she wants Christian back, who really is a waste of resources. I mean, seriously, there’s a water shortage in California. Nobody should be sharing water with Christian.
And then there’s a four-way where Tara turns the power tables on Christian which is supposed to be erotic and important to story development but really it’s just kind of gross. Then we learn that Christian’s dad also requires him to go to therapy in order to keep his trust fund. His therapist is Gus Van Sant, because WHY NOT? So he tells Gus Van Sant that he didn’t enjoy losing his power during group sex. Boo hoo, pervert.
Apparently, Christian’s a psychopath or some shit and really needs that therapy because he totally murders Cynthia for lying about him. He goes all stabby-style while she screams, “Christian, NO!” Then Ryan calls Cynthia right after it happens and Christian picks up and says, “I can’t believe what you did to her, dude.” So obviously Ryan drives straight to her house and leaves his mark on the crime scene, instead of doing something crazy like calling the police.
Tara wants to leave Christian. He says she can as long as she provides him with an alibi for the time he spent murdering the yoga mistress. He also says that if she ever sees Ryan (“if you’re ever even in the same room with him again”) he’ll kill Ryan and get away with it. Because, you know, white rich privilege and all.
This dungpile ends with another boring dinner scene. This one with some rando actress telling Tara that she heard about her from Christian, but then she asks Tara how Christian is doing. Because that makes sense.
By this time, Tara is with some other dude and they just got back from Dubai, where Tara “shopped and laid out” like the slutty sloth she is.
So the rando chick goes to the bathroom at the restaurant and calls someone who we assume is Christian to give the Tara update, but is actually Ryan because the next shot is him staring hauntingly at the camera. Maybe not so much hauntingly as blankly as in “wait, what was I supposed to do here?”
The point it that two men are obsessed with Tara, a woman with bad extensions who chain smokes and shops all day. And really doesn’t seem to do anything else except lots of sexing.
The movie would have been better if instead of Christian murdering just Cynthia, he murdered everyone in the movie and then committed suicide. It would have been fine, because every single character was so underdeveloped that vapid seems to rich a word to describe them.
1. You were never a bellhop, so if you are mistaken for one it will only lead to shenanigans. You will take bags to the wrong room, ruining vacation for some family from Sheboygan. They haven’t left Sheboygan in over a decade! Don’t be that guy.
2. You borrowed the uniform from your cousin without asking him, and then you forgot to return it. He lost his job because he went to work without it. If he sees you in it, he’ll probably stab you repeatedly with a letter opener because he has that weird letter opener collection.
3. You were not in The Grand Budapest Hotel. Stop telling people that. It hasn’t gotten you laid yet, and it’s not going to.
4. It will put you in danger of losing your arm. Haven’t you seen Hot Tub Time Machine? We can all learn a lesson from Crispin Glover. And that lesson is bell hopping is a dangerous limb-losing path. That and you shouldn’t collect rats (Willard is the creepiest movie EVER).
5. You work at Hooters.
6. There’s nothing you can do to recreate your lost years. Fabricating a life as a bellhop will only drive you further into madness.
7. You’re already banned from every Hilton in the United States for impersonating a staff member. Do you really want to add the Holiday Inn to that last? Keep it up and you’ll be forced to stay at the Hampton Inn for the rest of your life.
8. It’s two sizes too small. You’re not fooling anyone. Stop trying to fool yourself.
9. No one has a bellhop fetish. It’s not a thing, stop trying to make it one.
10. Everyone who sees you will think about how cute bellhop uniforms look on monkeys, and then everyone will wish you were a monkey. Do you want to be a monkey? Because if everyone who sees you wishes you are monkey, you will probably start behaving like one just from all that pro-monkey energy being forced your way. You’ll definitely lose your job at Hooters if you throw feces.
My girl Linda tagged me on Facebook to do this days ago, but it got too long for an FB post. And I needed a blog post. I’m nothing if not a multi-tasker.
I still wonder if Anne Heche is okay. She had that big ecstasy-meltdown, then she married a man and he sued for custody of their son. She wrote that book Call Me Crazy about speaking in her made-up language. That stuff doesn’t go away overnight. Call me, Anne. Let’s have a check-in.
2. I don’t judge Courtney Love for her life choices. She’s made some really bad ones, sure, but I have not walked a mile in her Mary Janes. And no matter what drugs she does, her style is fabulous.
3. I’m pretty sure that with enough effort, I can look like Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2. I’ve just never tried hard enough. Who knows? Maybe by the end of 2015 I’ll look like this:
4. I think if we all stopped paying attention to Kanye West, he would disappear. We would hear a little sound like “blip”, then we would hear him call out a slow, long “Kannnnyyyyyeee”, and then he would be gone.
5. I believe we should try number 4.
6. Bill Murray is the oldest man I have a crush on.
7. Michigan winter eats my soul. Most of you guys probably already knew that.
I am on Day 19 of the Whole30 program. What this means is that for the past 18 days, I’ve had no sugar, dairy, grains, legumes, or alcohol. I’m not starving myself. I’m eating a high-fat, additive-free diet.
The first couple of weeks sucked hard. There’s no way to gloss over how crappy I felt. I was tired, cranky, headachey, and really angry. The only thing that kept me going was the two friends that I had enlisted to do the program with me. I couldn’t quit since I had roped them into this nightmare.
But now, you guys, it’s freaking tiger blood time. It wasn’t my choice to call it tiger blood. That’s what ‘they’ tell you you’ll feel like, and it’s a pretty accurate term. I have tons of energy, I’ve lost weight, I’m in a great mood, and my headaches have been reduced. I heal from workouts in a few hours rather than days. I’m a different person than I was a month ago.
The reason for this post is to inform my readers that I am, indeed, becoming one of THOSE people. I will special order, I will politely decline sugar-laden treats (which used to be my favorite thing in the entire world), and I will even turn my back on my beloved nachos to maintain this level of health. At least I hope so. If anyone sees me eating a cupcake after the 30 days is up, you have my permission to slap it from my hand and kick me in the shins. However, I’m not giving up wine and you can’t make me.
I am definitely not trying to get anyone to drink the Kool-Aid. Actually, you really can’t have Kool-Aid, that shit is terrible for you. I’m only saying that I had no idea I could feel so freaking great, and I think it’s worth sharing.
If any of you guys are still reading and don’t hate my high-functioning guts by now, here’s a link to the website for more information. This is a not a paid endorsement, and the program is free:
Both of my children are finally in school full-time. But before I could get used to my newfound freedom, I had to fulfill my civic duty on a jury. I was originally called to serve in June, but who would have watched the kids? So I had to postpone to the time I had been looking forward to for as many years as I’ve had children.
I reported on Monday morning. I felt like theme dressing that day, so I went with 90’s era, complete with Doc Martens, and a flannel over a baby doll dress. I just knew my outfit would highlight my irresponsibility and complete lack of competency for a jury. If I still don’t know how to dress like an adult, I shouldn’t be asked to do anything that requires sitting still and listening to people talk for hours.
I arrived early because I was afraid of being late. I’m late for almost everything, and I was certain that being late for jury duty would result in humiliation on a grand scale.
After we all reported to the giant jury waiting room, we were provided with coffee and pastries that arrived in individual plastic baggies. I’ve never had an easier time rejecting a pastry. The greasy puddles on the inside of the plastic made it look like the pastries were working out just before they were stuffed in those baggies and they hadn’t had time to dry off their sweat.
Forty of us (myself included) were called to report to a courtroom for the selection process. They only needed 14, so I was sure I would be home in time for The View. Long story short, I somehow got selected to serve on the jury for a child abuse trial. Couldn’t they tell by looking at me that I’m not even responsible enough to run the self-cleaning cycle on my oven with feeling self-congratulatory for two weeks? I shouldn’t be allowed to decide anyone’s fate. Plus, I have little kids. And that information came out during the questioning process. No one wants to hear details about child abuse, but especially a mama with two little ones.
But I begrudgingly accepted my role, mostly because I was interested in how this whole jury duty thing really works. And because hearing a lot of people say they couldn’t serve because they needed to work, etc. made me feel like a jerk for wanting to do the same.
We reported to a tiny room where there was enough room for about 8 people, even though there were 14 of us. There was sharing-size bag of Reese’s Pieces on the desk, along with a tub of Trader Joe’s ginger snaps. FYI: one way to know that your catering sucked is when such meager offerings aren’t gone after 3 days of 14 people sitting at a freaking table. There was also coffee (no milk in sight) and room-temperature water. I did eat quite a few Reese’s Pieces, and I’m pretty sure they will remind me of child abuse now instead igniting fond memories of E.T., so I wish I had left them alone.
The first day it was 28 degrees in the jury room. Days 2 and 3 were closer to 107. I think I preferred the teeth-chattering cold to sweating next to strangers in a room with no open windows. It felt like a psychological trick, like maybe someone was watching us to see how we interacted under extreme temperatures with no hope of escape.
If you are ever called to jury duty, be sure to eat constipating foods. You cannot poop during jury duty. We had to go to the bathroom in groups, lest any one of us accidentally spoke to someone involved in the case. The situation was slightly better during deliberations when we were allowed to use the toilet across the hall from the jury room. But if anyone left the room, the case couldn’t be discussed until that person returned so every absence and reentry was noticed by everyone. That’s not conducive to comfortable pooping.
The trial was extremely emotional and stressful for me, and deliberations were probably a little worse. When it was finally over, I sobbed uncontrollably in front of the other jurors. By then 2 had been cut as alternates, so only eleven strangers witnessed my meltdown. I didn’t want anyone to notice or offer me a hug. A few folks (all men) asked “Are you okay?” It was nice, but then I wondered why no one was trying to hug me even though I didn’t want them to. They didn’t know I didn’t want them to, after all. So I decided they were all assholes. But really they weren’t. Well, that’s not true of everyone in the room. There were a few assholes. But most of them were really nice.
Then my friend Sharon came over with ice cream that night and let me rant about the flawed judicial system, and everything was a little better.
I don’t know if I’ll ever shake it off completely, but it’s over and I did my stupid civic duty. Next time I want better snacks, milk for my coffee, and ice for my water. And maybe a case about a nice little liquor store robbery where no one was harmed.