Thursday, October 28, 2010

Halloween

I love Halloween. I used to love Halloween infinitely more than Christmas, but now that I'm getting "old" I feel that maybe I'm losing my enthusiasm. Or maybe it's just because Halloween is on a Sunday this year, and it also kind of sneaked up on me. So this year I'm going as...a fairy princess...only without the princess part. Actually I'm just wearing a dress I already own and adding butterfly wings I bought at a costume shop in Cambridge. Did I mention I'm losing my enthusiasm? I wanted to be Jean Grey from the X-Men (the comic book, not the movie), but it was pretty last minute and all the good green spandex was gone.

I have had some pretty epic Halloween costumes over the years. Now I'm going to try to see if I can remember them.

1) Ghost: This was the first Halloween I can remember. It was pretty standard--sheet with holes in it.
2) Witch: This one actually came with pictures (not digital ones), and it was pretty darn cute. I was wearing a purple polka-dot outfit with a little cape, witch hat, and drawn-on freckles with brown eyeliner. Every time I smell that brand of eyeliner it brings back memories. Pretty cool.
3) Yellow Crayon: My sister was a red crayon. We wore hats of posterboard.
4) Princess: Dress, tiara, is there any little girl who doesn't dress as a princess at any point?
5) Ed Grimley: It was in fourth grade when I first realized that sometimes, people weren't going to get me. There's no power on earth that will put a picture of me in fourth grade on the Internet,
but this is what I was going for:

People thought I was a member of the Lollipop Guild.

6) Xena: Warrior Princess: This was a homemade epic adventure, all except for the wig, because at that point in the fifth grade I had super-short hair. I took my wig off during the party and one of the PTA moms thought I was a boy. I could have kept the prize that I won in the boys vs. girls contest, but I thought I'd make the lady feel guilty by saying "um...I'm a girl." I knew how to work the system, even as a ten-year-old.
7) The Phantom of the Opera: The sixth grade, my second adventure in All Hallows Eve crossdressing.
8) Ensemble member from the musical "Cats": Also pretty epic. Gotta love the smell of the greasepaint and the snugness of the spandex.
9) Witch (again): Eighth grade...so less adorable, more social-outcasty.
10) High School English Teacher: Completely unintentional. Nobody told me that my first youth church dance was a costume dance, so I put on a cute little blouse and a cute little skirt (which my mom made and it still fits me over ten years later--booyah!) and one of the boys told me I looked like his English teacher, so I went with it.
11) Goth: In high school one needs to stop being cute scary and more disaffected youthy. Not quite the time to slut it up yet (not that I ever did--shh!), but I was pretty good at the black eyeliner and scary look that made one of the moms cross herself when we came trick-or-treating.
12) Ambiguously-dead Prom Queen: Senior year; the first time I ever went to a high school Halloween Dance. I borrowed a cute little fifties-esque dress from the theatre's costume closet, put on some antique-looking jewelry, and accentuated my dark circles. Pretty fun.
13) "Slutty" Men's Chorus Member: When one enters the college years, one must embrace the mantra that it's every woman's prerogative to get a little bit skanky on All Hallows Eve. This was also a completely last-minute moment of brilliance on my part, fueled by the fact that I was invited to a party with a bunch of BYU choir nerds. I borrowed the tie from a former Men's Chorus member, and printed off the insignia from the "The Men's Chorus Crest is a Chick Magnet" Facebook page. And being BYU, I wasn't actually slutty, but I was told that if the Women's Chorus dressed like that, they'd probably sell more tickets to their concerts.

14) Goth (again): I was at a loss. It was really last minute and there was absolutely no good inspiration. I did succeed in getting my skin tone to match the wall, and I got a fun picture with Oaksie.


This blog might reveal the fact that I secretly call him "Oaksie."

15) Greek Goddess: This was not only handmade, but handsewn. And they gave the "Best Handmade Costume" prize to stupid cardboard robots. Lame.

15) Abby Sciuto (from "NCIS"): Forensic science meets Goth, well, I'm sure they've already met, but I decided to embody her for my first Halloween in Boston, for which I almost attended a party and passed out candy to kids, one of whom knew who I was.

To conclude, Halloween will always have a special place in my heart, even when I'm not doing anything spectacularly creative. Perhaps my next post will have pictures of me as a fairy.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Visit from Adrien Brody

My roommate Lindsay recently informed me that I hadn't written a new blog post in quite a while, and therefore I must try to appease her. I'm not super inspired right now, but here goes.

To make up for my very dull conscious life, my subconscious does some very entertaining things sometimes. I'm not the type to keep a "dream journal" because, you know, I'm not twelve, but thankfully I do remember things quite clearly in the morning and often amuse my roommates and friends. For instance, there was this one time with Laura and a cornfield...but that one's still a work in progress.

Sometimes I have celebrity guest stars in my dreams, and I get really excited until I realize that it's not real life and I can't have Matt Damon pick up my dry cleaning (mostly because I've never taken anything to the cleaners in my life). Maybe it's genetic--my mother has recurring dreams about Steven Tyler. A few nights ago, Adrien Brody (who won an Oscar for "The Pianist," made out with Halle Berry for a little bit, and then decided to make a bunch of really crappy movies thereafter) made an appearance in my dream, as a friend of a friend who was coming to visit Boston. I really don't remember what else was going on, but I do remember being ready to call people and tell them that I was hanging out with Adrien Brody. Nothing ever happens romantically with these unbelievably attractive famous men, though...even subconscious Alex can't get any action. I don't know if that's genetic; I don't allow my mother to divulge details about her Steven Tyler dreams.

I do like to play little games in the morning, to try to figure out which parts of my dreams came from which parts of my day (dreams are, as you know, the brains way of defragmenting itself). Last night, for example, was drawn from a "Harry Potter" trailer on TV and ideas for Laura's birthday party: I was hanging out with Harry and Hermione, but all of a sudden, we were on the island from "Lost," immediately after the plane crash. Boone was still alive, and Locke was being creepy. Hermione was quite troubled about the whole thing. Laura was troubled, too, but for different reasons. I tried to give her relationship advice. Harry agreed with me; Dave Alba didn't. However, nine out of ten times, Laura trusts wizards over whatever Dave does in matters of the heart. Then there were a bunch of vicious white puppies and a baby that lived in a shoebox. I really don't know where those came from. Well, the baby probably came from the fact that I'm twenty-five and the clocks they are a tickin', but that's also a work in progress...

Sunday, October 17, 2010

My Quarter Century Mark

I turned twenty-five today. I can't think of anything about this birthday that was mind-blowing or symbolic of a quarter-century's existence, but overall, it weighed in on the positive side of the scale.

For the festivities (which occurred the night before my actual birthday, as partying can only be low-key on the Sabbath), a few of us went to a corn maze in Ipswich. Ipswich is a quaint little town, with a farmers' market, and obviously, lots of corn. Apart from the massive amounts of mud, it was very much fun. Laura, thankfully, had the brilliant idea of gleaning ears of corn from the ground and leaving kernels behind Hansel-and-Gretel-style to save us a lot of back-tracking. One of the most interesting parts of the trip was the trip itself. Route 1 in Massachusetts takes one through a part of the Commonwealth reminiscent of the Vegas strip (not that I've ever seen the Vegas strip, but there are lots of fluorescent lights and buildings of questionable activity).

Upon our return to Charlestown from Ipswich, we were joined by some more friends and acquaintances of the friendly sort for a more official birthday party (you know, the kind with cake!). My lovely roommates decked out the house in a pirate theme with hints of osteology. It's interesting that the proximal foot phalanx has become the model for cartoon drawings of bones, but I digress. Unfortunately, I missed the part of the birthday that involves blowing out candles. Nobody checked to make sure I wasn't in the bathroom before bringing out the cake, and other people had to blow out the candles before the pirate ship atop the whole thing caught fire--alas, no wishes and candles for me. After the "Happy Birthday" singing and shotgun mingling (an arduous task for the guest of honor), it was eventually midnight (my actual birthday) and about time to kick everyone out. Overall, not a bad party.

Of course, what is a birthday without presents? My dear friend Laura (the one with the corn trail) gave me The Jane Austen Cookbook. I'm really excited about that--some of the recipes involve pigeons (that'll teach the little buggers that swoop down on me in the middle of the Common). And my roommate Sheena brought me an ornamental pepper plant. The peppers are not for eating, but it's very pretty and now lives atop the kitchen radiator next to Lindsay's plant. And my mom sent me some lovely-smelling body wash that I'll use as soon as my other body wash runs out. So that was my birthday in a nutshell; the last exciting one for a while, at least until 30 happens.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Cotillion

"To be fond of dancing was a certain step towards falling in love."
-Jane Austen (Pride and Prejudice, Volume 1, Chapter 3)


Last night I was fully prepared to stay home in grubby clothes and veg out on the couch, however, my roommate Chris would have none of it and we attended the ward cotillion instead. These are a regular event in the Boston Singles Scene, organized by a "Random Activities Coordinator." At the cotillion we were taught 19th-century American, English, Irish, and Scottish country dances (not to be confused with the modern version of country dancing--that stuff is horrible). It was unbelievably fun (and I don't have fun normally) and I'm very glad I attended.

That said, I don't know how anyone got married in the nineteenth century as a result of these dances. The purpose of the cotillion is to get young unmarried men and young unmarried women acquainted with as many other young unmarried women and young unmarried men as possible. This may be very well for the first few new partners, but let us hope that the love of one's life is not the seventh partner down, who only becomes acquainted with a hyperventilating, sweaty mess. I was very grateful for my Degree Ultraclear for Women last night, though ladies in the days of old were not blessed with such luxuries as anti-perspirant (or daily showers!).

One benefit of the rapid partner changing is that a lady has every opportunity to survey which men have the best dancing skills. As sexist as it sounds, any lady can dance as long as she has a strong male lead, and therefore, I'm also happy that at least a few of the men out there actually know how to lead in a dance. My partner for the Virginia Reel was quite competent, especially during one set of steps I can only describe as the "flying basket toss." It involves spinning into a propeller made out of girls. There's probably a video out there somewhere. Leading went less well during the "round dances" (aka waltz and polka), but as good Mormon folks we're not supposed to do those anyway...

At any rate, the cotillion was amazing, and I'm quite looking forward to the winter one, in which dressing up will play a major part. Now I must spend the day nursing my tonsils (as Jane Austen also wrote, "My sore throats are always worse than anyone's").

Friday, October 1, 2010

Walk Like a Man (And Other Daily Topics)

Today is the first of the month, which means that it's rent check time! Our landlord's apartment is a five-minute walk from ours, so I took the rent checks to his place this evening. Lately, there've been lots of BU alerts (aka annoying text messages about every minor crime/potential hazard possibly related to campus) about "armed robberies." I use the quotation marks because "no weapon was shown" but somehow, there was one. This has made me a little extra cautious/paranoid about wandering around at night, and has therefore prompted this theory: muggers/rapists are like bears. How so, you ask? Well, they're not going to pick on you if they think that you can take them. Nature experts tell you that when faced with an angry bear, you're supposed to make yourself look bigger. I decided to make myself look like a man. I put on a gender-neutral jacket and covered my already-boy-short hair with a baseball cap. Knowing what I know about male skeletal anatomy and its implications on gait, I abandoned my quick and careful girly walk for the strut of one with an elongated sacrum and narrow pelvic brim. I tell you, being a man must be exhausting! A few blocks of that and my hips are sore. Frankly I don't know how these macho men do it. But I dropped off the rent checks without getting mugged, raped, or hollered at by any Friday night rowdies, so ultimately, success.

Other events of the day included a trip to the gym. I tried the elliptical in lieu of the treadmill; it's more difficult. I witnessed a lot of driver/pedestrian/bicyclist stupidity on Commonwealth Avenue. I slightly threw my back out doing some ridiculous tasks for Fran (stay tuned for a post about Fran one day). I got caught in the rain at Downtown Crossing and tried to wait it out by going shopping for boots--I can't pull off boots. We had a forensic anthropology pizza party, and I'm sorry, but I still don't know why so many people get all excited about Upper Crust. I've had better. Also, dear professors, I don't care how comfortable you are with your physiology or with your students, but nobody needs to hear about details of your digestive systems--especially when there's food being consumed! I went home and made apple turnovers with leftover puff pastry dough (delicious!) and watched "Bones" on Hulu. Not a single bit of legitimate science in the whole episode, but Clark Edison still stands as one of my favorite assistants.

My other big thing of the day was discovering new.familysearch.org. And by "discovering," I mean finally visiting the site after my visiting teaching companion told me about it a few months ago. It makes doing family history work so easy! After putting it off for too long, I'm finally going to take both of my grandmothers' names to the temple to start their work. Another cool thing I found out was that my great-grandparents on my mother's side had their sealing work done in the Provo Temple! I wasn't in Provo when it happened, but it was still very interesting, considering their baptisms and such happened in Washington DC. There's still so much to be done and figured out and so many dates and places to add, but it'll be nice to pick it up as an every-once-in-awhile hobby. There'll be a minor snafu on the maternal side with figuring out the whole biological father vs. step father thing and how to make that work on the family group record (any insight?), but maybe that's one of those things I'll set aside and let that come together in the eternities.

Happy October 1st, everyone! As this has been an overall very positive post, I must end with something snarky: Dear world, the left side of the escalator is for walking! So don't just stand there, unless you want people to mutter things about you behind your backs. The end.