Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Lessons learned from 80's TV.

I've got a cold or a flu or something, and have been at home for a full weekend, plus two work days. After years of working in positions where there was no humanly possible way to take a sick day, it's pretty strange for me to be in a position where, at the first sight of a sneeze or sound of a cough, the boss is out at my desk sending me home. Remember getting sick when you were a kid? You would have a blast the first day or two. You'd eat popsicles and watch Sally Jesse Raphael all day long. However, soon enough, the charm wore off. Well, the same thing happens when you're an adult..... Fact of the matter is, shit is getting monotonous.

For example, did you know that channel two, the one that has all of the scrolling TV listings, only plays a total of three songs (in musak-form):
1) Bill Withers- Lovely Day
2) Junior Walker - What Does It Take (To Win Your Love For Me)
3) Dido - White Flag
Don't believe me? Flip to channel two right now. See?
Although some of these tracks, minus the Dido, are pretty decent when not in elevator-form, would it kill them to convert some Bobby Brown or Dre into musak? The Chronic has a total of sixteen tracks (yes, including intros, outros, and rap-skits), but there is some downright usable material on that album.

One of the things I've been doing to pass the time is watching 80's sitcoms. People faced different sets of problems on shows in the 80's, which is surely due to the lack of terrorist-paranoia and Friends-based spinoffs. I've been taking notes, and I feel like I've learned an awful lots over the past couple of days.
Somewhere over the past twenty years, we've complicated everything. Life's not so hard, so long as you're taking your cues from the right sources. Here are a couple of solutions to common day-to-day issues:

Conundrum #1: Getting busted by a significant other.
On an episode of The Hogan Family, the twins met up with Jesse Spano and Kelly Kapowski from Saved By The Bell (side note- sitcom crossovers? An endangered species) on a Californian family vacation. Anyway, the nerd-twin, Mark, gets busted by his way-too-hot girlfriend, Kara, while slathering the ladies with tanning oil. Kara gets mad at Mark, as she had gotten on a plane to surprise him on his vacation. After stating to Kara that his grandpa has severe mental issues, a blatant lie, Kara feels bad and takes Mark back, and everything is great.
Lesson learned: Problems with significant others can always be fixed with wacky lies.

Conundrum #2: Parents are getting divorced.
Despite the national statistics done on the subject, according to 80's TV, 96% of all parents will try to get a divorce at some point. 'Try' being the key word here. So long as the couple has at least two children, there's pretty much no way in hell they're getting a divorce. Turns out, 80's TV kids are all a combination of marriage counselors and scheming geniuses. A few heart-to-hearts, combined with a wild plan, almost always ensures that a family will be back to whole within a thirty-minute span.
Lesson learned: Not to worry, parents will reconcile 98% of the time.

Conundrum #3: Curiosity about drugs.
At some point on an 80's sitcom, usually during exams, the eldest child will be offered some pills or a joint by some kid with a leather jacket. The character will reluctantly accept, and carry it around for a while. If the drug offered was a joint, then the parents will catch on prior to the kid smoking it, as toking on 80's American TV was pretty much taboo. However, if the kid has pills in their pocket (almost always 'uppers', aka caffeine pills), they will eventually decide to give into peer pressure, and the end result is usually one moody, irritable teenager. The parents intervene only after a family member gets snapped at, ending in a "we both know you're better than this" speech. The kid stays off the trucker-speed, and all is well.
Lesson learned: Parents will always find joints, and caffeine kills.

After all of these well-learned lessons, plus the plethora of fashion-tips I've picked up from The Cosby Kids and Kimmy Gibler, I'm pretty sure my life is on the right track from here on out.

~sarah p.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Some Valentine's cards for the rest of us:

Look, friends, you could go to the store and buy a card for someone that you barely like because Hallmark told you to, or you could go against the grain for once.
Ladies, the gentlemen of the world don't like Valentine's Day. Never have, never will. Whether you're in a for-real relationship, or you just kinda like someone, the best gift you can give is to leave him the fuck alone for once.
Sure you can spend tomorrow looking like a total sucker, but for those of us that have already figured out that Valentine's Day is a sad excuse for a holiday, here are some fresh new cards:

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Rules.

It'd be an understatement to say that I hate dating. No matter how you break it down, dating is a job interview for sex. You bring out your top game and awkwardly ramble through a couple of hours with a complete stranger (or sometimes even a well-known friend), hoping that in the end they won't hate you. Mostly, I just end up hating them. After weird dinner conversations and awkward grope-fests in movie theaters, I'm usually stuck thinking that I could have done a million other things with my night that would have been a million times more fun. Fun is very important to me, you know.

However, for someone who really doesn't enjoy much of what dating has to offer, I'm waist-deep in experience, meaning that I have a ton of advice for those would-be cupids out there this Valentine's Day.
Surprisingly, the rules are actually very simple:

1)Having Standards.
People say that there plenty of fish in the sea. These people don't have any standards. The perfect date should be fucking hard to find.
When I say 'standards', I don't mean things like a sense of humor, a kind and respectful disposition, confidence, or a positive attitude. These are things that everyone and anyone wants in a partner. No, my dear friends, I'm talking about nitpicking a little. This shows that you have honest respect for yourself, and are not just settling for the next thing that comes along.
Having standards makes other people respect you as well. For example, my good friend Pickle says that he would never date a girl that snowboards. His reason? It's important to keep some things, for example, a very well-liked hobby, to yourself. Now, would it be easier to drop standards and settle for someone he met on the hill? Probably. That being said, part of having standards is being patient. If you want to hook yourself up with someone decent, you have to be a respectable person, which means patience out the ass.
Every other week, someone in my office is trying to hook me up with someone. The problem is, the people they're trying to set me up with really don't meet my standards. Case in point, I don't want someone that works in another non-profit organization, nor do I want someone that went to photo-school. I like to keep some things to myself, including my career and schooling.
I also want someone that is going to challenge me, fashion-wise. This means that I'm really not into dating someone if they enjoy rocking baggy pants or dress sneakers, no matter how nice of a person they are. Every person I've dated for the last few years has been able to remind me when something is out of style, meaning that even my wardrobe benefits from having them around. It's a tough thing to find in a person, but it's 900% worth the wait.
Of course, these aren't my only standards. I also frown upon expensive hair-cuts, clingy guys, and recent small-town transplants to the city.
Sure, you may lose out on a few dates, but in the scheme of things, if you stick to your guns and the date works well and turns into something long-term, having standards you're going to save a ton of time and effort trying to turn someone into something you can live with for the rest of your life.

2) Dating 'Up'.

If there's one thing I believe in very firmly, it's dating 'up', meaning that each person you date should be as cool as, if not cooler, than the person you dated before. For example, if you just finished a relationship with someone with facial piercings, then the next person you date should be without. If you've dated someone without, there's no going back, partner. Since day one, I've been dating 'up'. My first few relationships were nothing short of awful, but each person gradually got a little better. Unfortunately, dating 'down' makes you look desperate to the world. Trust me, people notice when you've stepped down, and although nobody will say anything, they'll all be wondering why the hell you've dropped your standards (which, eeeeeverytime, will lead to public ponderance on how long it's been since you've been laid).
No question: it's tough to keep dating up and up and up, as it gets a little harder each time to find someone that isn't as stupid or whiny or fat (or skinny, depending on your preference) as your last partner, but, once again, this makes you a respectable person, as it shows constant improvement in your choices.

3) Listening To Signals.

If there's one thing I've figured out, it's that most people will lie to themselves while dating.
I've been on dates before where things seemed to be going well. For example, a while ago, I went out with a guy who was a Miami Bass rapper, lived in Calgary part-time, as he was taking care of his sick mom (a family-man that allowed me to be selfish with my time? Hellllll yeah). He wore slim jeans, had gold everywhere, and had a rare collection of kicks. He owned his own house, and made witty conversation the entire night. Seems perfect, right? I thought so too, but at the end of the date, after everything was said and done, I pulled out the deal-breaker: "I have to work tomorrow".
If you've ever been on an amazing date, you'll know for a fact that it really doesn't matter if you have to work in the morning. You'll stay late and continue the fucking date. The words are particularly poignant if any sorts of physical activity has occurred. Leaving after sex (whether you work in the morning or not) means that the date was purely physical, and probably isn't going to move past that stage.
It's time for the dating world to face the facts: even if you like someone, trying to cop out on the end of a date is a sign that you're just really not into the person after all. On the flip side, having someone tell you that they need to leave, as they 'have to work in the morning' is a really great signal that they're just not that into you. Take the hint and move on, sport.

So, what am I, your new favorite love-guru, doing this Valentine's Day? Well, I'll be working hard at hustling some major dinero from Calgary's finest bigwigs for a charity gala for work. Yeah, it's not romantic, but it's the first time in years and years that I haven't been out, sitting across the table from someone who would probably rather be elsewhere. To those of you that are putting on your best fake-smiles and giving in to the holiday, best of luck, suckers (and keep the rules in mind, or you're just wasting your time).

~sarah p.

p.s. After last year's precious Valentine's post, I've really had to work hard at coming up with something that would raise the bar (it's all about self-improvement, guys). Good news is, I've gained access to a computer with my favorite program ever, MS Paint (a rare luxury, now that I'm working on a Mac), and have something pretty outrageous in the works. Stay tuned.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Back to school, back to school.

Oh, my god, you guys.
Today it was made official: I'm going back to school. By the end, I'll legally be able to poke hobos and junkies with needles, which is sweet, because if I am having a hard time, the junkies will be able to show me how to get 'er done.

I graduated from school for the first time in 2003, at the responsible age of 21, when normal people usually finish and get on with their lives. As many of you know, I took the photography program at a very small school in Victoria, where I learned some very key things about post-secondary education:

1)I can stay up for three days straight if I need to.....With a couple of slurpees and an entire box of those trucker pills with the cartoon rooster on the box.

2)BC homegrown is fantastic. So fantastic that you can wreck entire assignments when you get fixated and take one too many blurry shots of funny-looking pigs on Saltspring Island, when the assignment has nothing to do with funny pigs.

3)If you don't let out your stress by getting out once in while, things will really come to a head at the end of the year when you end up drunkenly running down the beach naked in front of the entire school, before it's even dinner-time.

Lessons learned, right?

I don't even know if I'll be able to assimilate back into the student lifestyle. I guess if things don't work out, I can always drop out and live off of the government. After almost a year of working with the needy, I've learned how to swindle the social services of this city pretty well. In fact, I could probably make more money that way. Anyway, I am going to give school the old college try. It could be interesting.

I'm pretty positive that I'm going to be the oldest student ever, and they're probably going to make me sit in a grandma-style rocking chair to write exams, but I'll show all of those young'ns when I'm running down the beach naked at the end of the year.

Wish me luck!

~sarah p.