Monday, June 30, 2014

The Beast Within

A short play by yours truly.

We open on an office, in which I am working.  It's 11:00 in the morning.

STOMACH:  Psst!  Hey, Alex!
ME:  What?
STOMACH:  Remember that sandwich that you have in the fridge?
ME:  Yeah.
STOMACH:  Can I have it now?
ME:  No.  Lunch is at noon.
STOMACH:  But I'm hungry!
ME:  Deal with it.
STOMACH:  But you haven't fed me since breakfast, and that was five hours ago!
ME:  I gave you a Nutri-Grain bar at nine.
STOMACH:  That is nothing.  A Nutri-Grain bar crumbles and withers against my amazing digestive powers.
ME:  You're just going to have to wait.
STOMACH:  I'll scream.
ME:  Don't you dare.

In conclusion, we ate lunch at 11:00 today.

I realize this is the second post I've ever written about my growling stomach.  At least I switched writing styles, and at least it's twice as many posts as I've written about phlegm.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Kind of a Funny Story...

So remember a few months ago when I went "Speed Mingling?"  Take a moment to read about it here.  It's okay; I'll wait.


Remember the part about the cute, bespectacled redhead?  I saw him last night at a big YSA activity on the beach.  I didn't even recognize him at first, but then when I recalled who he was, I was like, "oh yeah, we actually met at speed mingling."

And then he was like, "Yeah, you wrote about me on your blog!"

Apparently a mutual friend who reads my blog saw my post and showed it to him.  Now, if this had happened ten years ago, I would have been like this:

Right before crawling in a hole to die.
But now, I'm basically like,

People know me...or at least they know my blog
It was hilarious.  So much so that it doesn't even matter that bespectacled redhead and I are not soul mates.  I wouldn't trade this ending to the story for all the happily-ever-afters and nearsighted ginger babies in the world.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Importance of a Good Eight Hours

I like to go to bed early, because the early sunrises and chirping birds make sleeping in a non-option.  It's not so much that I really need all that much sleep, but I enjoy getting it nonetheless.  Here is last night's dream, as proof that my sleep life is far more exciting than my awake life.

My neighborhood in Pennsylvania was being slowly invaded by a gang of vampires, led by Lestat, who was portrayed by Arsenio Hall.  They made their mark by digging little holes in the ground in the borders of the neighborhood.  It was so serious that I insisted that nobody leave the house anytime when it was remotely dark outside.  Now is probably a good time to mention that I was a vampire slayer in this dream.*  Even though I wasn't Buffy, I was acquainted with the Scooby Gang, and I decided that I needed Spike as backup.**  So from the couch in my family room, Mrs. Weston (née Poor Miss Taylor) sent Spike a lengthy text message asking him to come and help, and also possibly to marry me--I didn't read the message that thoroughly, but you know how Mrs. Weston can be.

The next part was pretty cool.  I was in this school or possibly abandoned shopping center building fighting the gang of vampires, who were dressed in some very crude armor.  I made my way through by sliding on the floors for great distances, presumably as a result of my own innate slayer strength.  I found Lestat's "right hand man" vampire and was trying to beat some information out of him to no avail.  I was nearly about to chop his head off when he pleaded "you can't kill me--I'm the Elders Quorum President!"  Apparently the reason nobody was killing the vampires (the male ones, at least) was because they were attending the local singles' ward and really bumping up the male population.

We all made our way into a grocery store after that, and one other male vampire was mulling over the pre-decorated cakes.  His dilemma was that he had forgotten to get a cake for Elders Quorum, but it was Sunday and he wasn't sure if he should break the Sabbath to buy a cake.  I was like, "you drink the blood of the innocent...I'm pretty sure buying a cake on Sunday isn't going to tip any scales."  Over in fresh produce, Spike and Lestat (aka Arsenio Hall) were getting into it because Spike thought he told Lestat never to show his face in these parts again and also how can you tell whether a mango is ripe?

That dream left me with so many unanswered questions, but unfortunately, my kidneys hadn't left me with any more unfiltered blood, so I had to wake up.

*I have a complex, probably.
**This part was probably prompted by the fact that I'm thinking about going to Comic Con this year and James Marsters will be there.

Monday, June 23, 2014

With Those Who Mourn

This is probably the least obliquely I will ever write about a current and controversial event.

The news of Kate Kelly's excommunication made me realize something:  I need to stop reading the "Comments" sections of news articles.  Some people are just mean.  But throughout the meanness I saw a common theme:  that because of Sister* Kelly's behavior, she "had it coming."  (Cue "Cell Block Tango.")

People are so quick to defend church leaders' shortcomings sometimes by saying "they're only human."  Well guess what?  Kate Kelly is human, too.  She's not some Big Bad Apocalyptic Forerunner.  She's a woman with a brain that understands things just as imperfectly as the rest of us and a heart that is now broken.

I don't follow Ordain Women or the Church Public Affairs Department closely enough to know everything that's going on, but I'd bet the box of Trader Joe's Yogurt Covered Raisins on my desk right now that a lot of things could have been handled differently and better.  There were definitely some Church actions that were the target of some of my shade throwing** and probably OW could have taken a different approach to some things as well.  People all make mistakes and errors in judgement and decisions that aren't super rational because of sadness and anger and confusion and frustration, and let's just face it, a lot of us are just kind of making our way through the darkness and doing the best we can.

But this isn't really my point.

The point is, we--all of us--lost one of our own today.  That's sad.  She is sad.  And hundreds of other people just like her are sad and hurt and probably terrified that the same thing might happen to them or to a family member.  So even if you're not sad that it happened, be sad that they are sad.  Mourn with those who mourn, comfort those who stand in need of comfort.

*Because she is still my sister.
**A garbage truck, really?

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Linger Longer is the Worst

Wearing a cute outfit to munch and mingle...



This is one of those times when I miss having LT around because we would just stand in the corner and eat food and not have to worry about anyone talking to us.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Relationship Post #2: Bound and Rebound

(Listen to this song while you read.)

I was talking about old boyfriends with a friend once, and she asked me if one man I dated was a "rebound" relationship.  It was then that I decided that I disliked the word "rebound."  It sounded cheap, like this was just some rando that I was using to get over the previous boyfriend.  The purpose of this post is to make us stop feeling guilty about rebounding (unless you're treating your rebound person like dirt, then by all means, wallow in shame).

Sometimes after a breakup, we're left with big, ex-shaped holes in our hearts.  They're not the kind of holes that you dig in the dirt, though; they're through-and-through projectile wounds.

Just like this.*
And then the next people come along and try to fill the hole, but like most bottomless holes, everything they put in just falls right out the other end.  They can't fill the hole.

And this is frustrating and we feel guilty because, so often, those "next people" are wonderful and kind and far too patient with us.  But they can't fill the hole.

But then something remarkable happens:  somehow, they mend the hole.  They put the bottom back in, so that it can be filled.  I know that kind of sounds lame.  I mean, we can't be sending these people greeting cards that say "Thanks for being the guy that helped me be ready for the next guy," but that's what they did, and it was necessary.

Sometimes we need people to make us feel something other than despair.  To help ourselves feel that the last person wasn't the "be all, end all" of love and romance.  To help us end a chapter or close a book.  To mend us and put our bottoms back (there is no way to make this not sound weird).  So we can again bound and rebound.

*The perfect .gif for this would have been from the Buffy episode "Primeval" where First-Slayer-infused-Willow/Xander/Giles-hybrid-Buffy punches Adam through the chest and rips out his uranium power source,** but alas, that .gif could not be found, so I had to make do with Spiderman.
**Laura, this isn't a typical scene on Buffy, should this description happen to turn you off from trying out the series.  Season 4 was just weird.

Friday, June 13, 2014

The Body of Christ

Maybe it's because I'm an anatomist, but I really love the scriptures about the Body of Christ.  The fact that I'm writing this post about this topic this week is not a coincidence.

Members of the LDS church--all members--are parts of the Body of Christ.  In this body, sometimes we look at the hand, the beautiful, perfectly-manicured hand, and think that all is fine and healthy.  Meanwhile, there's a big gaping wound in our thigh, but instead of wondering "what's going on here, and what can we do to fix this?" we just focus on how good the hand looks as we lose all of our blood.

I can't pretend to have my ear close enough to the ground (or to Heaven) to know exactly why this is happening, but here is one hypothesis:  members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints are forgetting where the emphasis lies.  Are we caring too much about "The Church" and taking our focus away from "Jesus Christ"?

Those words are bigger than all the other words for a reason, guys.

Despite my scientific, feminist, rainbow-flag-waving, Diet-Coke-swilling ways, I consider myself a pretty "non-controversial" Mormon, but there have been some things about "The Church" that have kind of freaked me out.  I've had less-than-pleasant experiences in the Temple, some of the more political stuff doesn't quite jive with my personal convictions, and there has been many a General Conference address that has sent me into a big depression spiral.  Come to think of it, I've had many experiences that could be anecdotes in my "why I'm leaving the LDS Church" story.

But I'm not leaving the LDS Church.

Why not?  Sometimes I think it would make perfect sense, and I know that few people, even in the church, would blame me for it.  The reason is this:  I believe in Jesus Christ.  Those two words that are bigger than all the other words in the church's logo are the reason I'm still here.  He is my Savior and he died so that he could understand all of my doubts and struggles and crises of faith and that he could help me fix all of my weaknesses and shortcomings so that I can become a little more like Him.  I know that no matter how weird or confusing or frustrating the LDS church can be, Jesus Christ is at the heart of it, and when we let all of the nitpicky, not-really-doctrine-but-its-been-a-cultural-tradition-for-so-long-that-we-assume-that-it-is stuff fall away and just focus on Jesus, we will find Him there.    

Furthermore, I might like to add that the Body of Christ is not on a diet.  We don't have to cut back or cut out to fit into some theological bathing suit.  There's room for everyone.*  Seriously.  Everyone.  That's kind of how the whole Jesus thing works:  He died to heal me and you and my gay friends and my feminist friends and my atheist friends and even the people who aren't my friends whom I don't even like all that much.  So let us be a little bit more like Jesus Christ, the Savior, the Healer.  Let us heal the gaping wound in our body so that we can get back to sitting on the couch, eating Fritos, and becoming a morbidly obese Body of Christ.  

*I really wanted to link to the song from Pete's Dragon, but I decided to keep it churchy.  

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Jeremy Messersmith: The Sequel

Last time I went to the Jeremy Messersmith concert, I blogged about it and Peter Sieve, the guitarist in Jeremy's band retweeted it and it made my whole life that day.

Seriously, my whole life.
So, now that I'm reviewing my second Jeremy Messersmith Concert barely four months later, I feel like the pressure is on to write something equally amazing, if not more so.  This reflects how I felt before tonight's show at The Red Room at Cafe 939:  my first Jeremy Messersmith experience was so amazing and wonderful and schoolgirl-esque-giddiness-inducing; what if this one didn't measure up?

Thankfully, that was not the case.

First of all, the venue was amazing.  It was small and intimate, and most importantly, it had couches.  For old souls such as mine, the option of sitting down makes listening to rock music on a school night much less stressful.  The coolest part was that something about the ambiance made me feel just like I was hangin' out at The Bronze.

What accentuated this feeling in my brain (besides my being just a huge Buffy nerd to begin with) was the opening act, Big Scary.  A duo from Australia, they were so great!  They had this amazing ethereal quality to their music, partially because the male and female voices blended so well together.  The woman, by the way, was the drummer, which was just so fantastic.  I watched her through a lot of the pieces and I could tell how much she loved what she was obviously born to do.  I got to chat with her a bit after the show, and she was super nice.

On to Jeremy (I've just decided we're on the first name basis).  Sadly, my phone updated itself and part of the updates include the camera being kind of sucky, so I have no good pictures, but we all know what he looks like.  There were some differences since the last time I saw them.  I believe the drummer got a haircut, for one, and oh yes!  There was a girl on stage!  The keyboardist/backup vocalist had been ill at the last concert but she was there this time.  It was odd at first; I was like "who are you and why are you here?" but I quickly adjusted when keyboard parts would show up and I would think, "now that's what it's supposed to sound like (see below, re: "Knots")."*  All in all, it was great.  Everyone was having fun and the band really connected with the audience and with each other.  Of course, the intimacy of the venue helped, but one still cannot fake being that comfortable and amiable before a crowd of strangers.

Here is the set list with some minor commentary (in probably not the real order because I wasn't a huge nerd who took notes this time):
  • "I Don't Trust That Boy to Break Your Heart" (not sure if this is the real title) - This needs to be available for me to download like, now.  So simultaneously cute and clever and sad and beautiful.
  • "Tourniquet" - This was their opener last time, so it was kind of strange to have it second, but it was still well done.
  • "Lazy Bones" - This song will never stop making me dance like a bobblehead doll.
  • "It's Only Dancing" - I can't believe that I forgot about this one!  It's in my top five!  But they played it and it was wonderful.
  • "Knots" - It was way cool having keyboards on this song.
  • "You'll Only Break His Heart" - I was so convinced that this was going to transition into "Bubbling," like it does on the album, and I got really excited, and then it didn't, and I was disappointed, but only because I love "Bubbling" so much.  
  • "I Want to Be Your One Night Stand" - This was probably one of the more fun performances to watch.  Jeremy played with Peter, the guitarist, this time, and they just have such fun chemistry together.  You can tell that they're totally besties in real life.
  • "Tatooine" - The first time I heard this live, I didn't remember it.  Now I shall.
  • "Scientists" - This song first came into my life after I left a boy I loved to go be a scientist, so needless to say there were some emotions that almost happened.  But hearing it live was wonderful, so it was worth it.
  • "A Girl, a Boy, and a Graveyard" - I am cured of this song's ability to make me cry (although it was touch and go coming right after "Scientists"), but I still love it.
  • "Call Your Girlfriend" (the Robyn Cover) - I actually had never heard the Robyn version of this song, but I will have to go listen to it now.  I have a feeling I will like the cover version better.
  • "Novocaine" - This was actually the first time I had heard this song all the way through.
  • "Dillinger's Eyes" - Again, I love how much fun everyone has during this song.  I kind of feel bad for the keyboardist, as she is kind of committed to her location and therefore cannot jam as freely as the guitar holders.
  • "Organ Donor" - I will never stop loving this song.  Not until I die and they drain my blood in the mortuary, but even then, my bones will rattle the percussion part.**  My only wish is that they would borrow some random music college string students to accompany them next time they come to Boston (which will be soon, yes?).
  • "Heidi" - This may be in my top five favorite Jeremy Messersmith songs.  I want it to change keys and sing it myself (hey, if a man can sing "Steve", I can sing "Heidi").
  • "Hitman" - Went nearly deaf again.  Still didn't mind.  
  • "Ghost" - I like this song, but it will forevermore be "that song from that Verizon commercial that they always play on Hulu now."
  • "Violet" - There was no audience participation this time, probably because nobody was drunk, but it was still great.  This is one of those songs that kind of sneaks up on you with how much you like it.
  • "Beautiful Children" - The nearest I came to crying was during this song.  Why do you do this to me, Jeremy?
  • "Someday, Someone" - I wish I were as okay about saying the F-word out loud as I am about saying it in my head, because I would proclaim the message of this song to all of my friends when they are sad.
  • There was one other song that I hadn't heard before, but I liked it just the same.
The after-the-concert part was fun as well.  I am not the brave sort of person that would ever approach famous people on my own, so I was thankful to have brought my good friend Wayne with me, who is quite good at talking to everyone.  I introduced him to the music (which he loved, bringing to pass giant sighs of relief--it's stressful sharing things you love with your friends!), and he introduced me to the people.  Quid-pro-quo.  Again, they're such nice people!  May they get more famous but never lose their niceness.  Also during the after-bit I grew even more tempted to buy "Reluctant Graveyard" on vinyl...maybe if they come to Boston a third time...?***

I have said it before, and I will say it again:  a year in which Jeremy Messersmith comes to my town twice in six months is a good year.  It was a fabulous concert and an excellent way to start the week. 

*Secret confession time:  as soon as I saw that the keyboardist had a wedding ring, I had this daydream that she would have a baby and have to stop touring and Jeremy would be like, "oh no! where are we going to find another girl who sings and plays piano and knows all my songs?" and then somehow I would be right around the corner and show up to solve all of their problems and also show them some cool harmonies I came up with for a few songs.  I would probably have to develop some stage presence, though, including coming up with some alternative to my bobblehead dance.
**Is that super creepy imagery?  I've been a spooky anatomist for so long that I don't even know what's acceptable anymore.
***I totally would, except it would just make me seem like a huge hipster, and a poser since I don't even have a record player in my possession.  I guess I could play it when I go to my parents' house?

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Reasons Why May Was Pretty Okay

For one thing, it rhymes!

5/1:  Checked off my May Date right out of the gate.*  I felt like one of those people who does their visiting teaching at the beginning of the month (except I totally didn't visit teach this month...), but anyway--my friend invited me to see the Alvin Ailey Dance Company perform in Boston.  The performance was amazing, and I was really good at pretending I was one of those people who can make snobby conversation about ballet.

5/2:  My roommate had a birthday party and I baked a Nutella Bundt cake and it was quite yummy.  I'm getting good at this Bundt cake thing.

5/5:  We had a memorial service for the cadavers from Gross Anatomy.  I played the ukulele in public for the first time ever and it was not terrible.  It was probably not terrible because I played with two great violinists and a cool guitarist and therefore wasn't alone.  We played "Somewhere over the Rainbow" and it was quite fun.

5/9:  We had a Mother's Day-themed church meeting and it wasn't the most depressing/cliched thing ever!  A man gave one of the best talks my feminist ears have ever heard.  It even made me emote.  Then there was a luncheon.  Goodness all around.

5/13:  My sister turned 32.  We are old now.  Also I finished my self-defense classes by getting into three different combat scenarios and kicking arse in all of them.  I got some pretty bad bruises over my anterior superior iliac spines, but you should have seen the other guys.

5/16:  I took my Histology final, officially completing my first year of classes in PhD school.  I also did awesomely on the Histology final.  Then I went to a birthday party for a guy in my ward and rejoiced in the fact that the semester was over and now I have no excuse to be non-social.

5/17:  I went to a going-away party with a pal who is moving away probably forever.  There was bowling and I came in third place.  This is not bad, considering I haven't bowled in years.

5/18:  I invented a new theme activity:  Broadway and Bundt!  This means that I bake a Bundt cake (this time it was peach) and watch a musical (this time it was The Music Man).  I invited some friends over to join me (because even though I can, I probably shouldn't eat a whole bundt cake alone) and it was quite fun.

5/20:  I decided to undertake a very ambitious project in a very short amount of time.  It's kind of a secret so I will not write more.  Don't's not getting myself married off or anything like that.

5/22:  I got crepes with my friend Jourdan.  They were yummy.

5/23:  I went on a friend-date with the aforementioned friend who is moving away forever.  We went to Quincy Market and rode in a water taxi, which is probably the coolest way of getting around the city.  Then we accidentally crashed a high school prom and got in trouble because we clearly look like people who sell drugs to teenagers.

5/24:  I went home to Pennsylvania as a surprise for my sister, who has been very bored since she has not been able to go back to work after her surgery.

5/26:  They had a Memorial Day ceremony at the local VFW where my dad is in charge of some stuff.  I sang the National Anthem and got paid to do so, which was pretty awesome.  The chaplain was this adorable 96-year-old man, and when I met him, I found out that he was a paratrooper in WWII who just happened to land at Normandy and liberate Auschwitz and a bunch of other big deal.  But really, it was pretty special.

I am still in Pennsylvania now, and we've been doing lots of errands and chores (spring cleaning and getting rid of old junk that we've hoarded such as owner's manuals for appliances we no longer have and copies of "Buns of Steel" on VHS).  I am going back to Boston tomorrow and I'm pretty excited for what June has to offer.

*I promise, rhyming isn't going to be a running least not deliberately.