Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Jams Of The Week (Teen Dream Edition):

~sarah p.

p.s. NehruvianDOOM drops in a week, and is really something to be excited about.


Sometimes there are situations in life, much like this Ariana Grande and The Weeknd song, that you can comb and comb for flaws, and keep coming up empty.
It only took me 32 years, guys, but I have finally started to believe whole-heartedly in the concept of perfection.

~sarah p.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Dear Reggie:

You are lucky I have this "just take the first animal the pound hands you" philosophy, because you were probably not exactly what I was looking for. When I took you into the cement yard to see if we bonded well, you ignored me, then got your fur all over my pants. You were seven years old, had bad teeth, and I was warned that you had a severe anxiety disorder. Nonetheless, home you came. My boss said I saved your life that day.

It took me about a minute to fall in love with you. There is something soulful and sincere about your eyes. You slept upside down, with all four paws in the air. I stopped watching America's Funniest Home Videos, because you became a live version all of the animal bloopers in the world. Still, despite your constant ability to make me laugh, it was clear, and is still clear, you are a little tormented inside. Your constant worrying has been challenging to say the least. Every meal, in your little dog brain, is your very last. Each time I leave the house, you are unsure if I will ever return. You have panic attacks over walks and snacks. Although thanks to a pricey DNA test, I know your breed (a first-generation cross between a Yorkie and a Chihuahua!), the rest of your past is a complete mystery to me. I wonder if your old home was troubled. You remind me of the kids I work with, and I often use similar calming techniques between home and work, flesh and fur.

Last year, you lost so much weight... Seven pounds! I was so proud of you! It was over a third of your entire body weight. You worked really hard, and probably added years onto your life. The vet said it was one of the most impressive weight-losses she'd ever seen on an animal. You are like the dog version of Subway's Jared, minus the sandwiches. If you wore pants, you could probably fit three of you inside of your old pair, just like the commercial. Also, if you wore pants, that would be hilarious. You would wear them belted over your belly, like a mature Italian man.

You form astonishing bonds with people. I can't walk anywhere downtown without someone yelling down the street "Is that Reggie?". I walk you past the bottle depot twice a week. I have to allot myself extra time on these days, because everyone picks themselves up off the ground and scratches you with dirty hands. One of the guys always says he can tell that you were homeless once, too, because you "get" him.

Even my boyfriend adores you. It's a bit strange to walk out of the shower and see a well-dressed, not to mention very allergic, black man carrying you around like a baby, but I guess you just have that affect on people. The cat loves you to bits, and she loves no one. I know you growl at her sometimes for trying to bathe you, but to be honest, man, she's doing you a favor. Your smell is not one of your strong points.

Your favorite, and probably best, friend is an 80-year-old man that wears a backwards hat every single day. This would be unusual for any other being in the world except for you. We get to see him most mornings on our first stroll of the day. One time, we hadn't seen him for a few days. He rushed to us, as rushed as he gets, the next time he saw us. He looked at me with concern in his wrinkled eyes. "I didn't know where you were", he said, "and us old guys go fast, you know". We talked for a while longer, and right before waving goodbye for the day, he said that he was so glad I had rescued you all those years ago.

People say that I saved your life. They say that they are glad I rescued you. What they don't know is that you've saved my life many times over, and that I could never, ever re-pay you for the amount of times you've rescued me. 

With all the love in the world,

~sarah p.

Jams Of The Week (Money, Money, Money Edition):

~sarah p.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Jams Of The Week (Dynamic Duo Edtion):

~sarah p.


The year was 1997. I was in the early years of my chronic insomnia, and a fresh-faced Conan O'Brien kept me sane during the long nights. Conan ran his show different in the early days. It was raunchy and had very little structure, and typical guests included an even fresher-faced Dave Chapelle, who would spend his entire set bouncing racist jokes off of Conan in his best effort to offend the audience, and the pot-smoking granny from "Half Baked", who loudly proclaimed "I loooove the reefer" while sitting beside straight-laced Andy Richter.

One evening, Conan had invited Norm Macdonald to stay past his interview. Andy moved one chair to the right, and Norm was placed immediately beside Courtney Thorne Smith, of Melrose Place fame. Courtney was at the show promoting a movie she had just made with Carrot Top. When asked what the name of the movie was, she stated it was called "Chairmen Of The Board", to which Norm, with his typical deadpan delivery, followed by mentioning to the audience that "board" was spelled B-O-R-E-D. Laughter erupted, and for once, 3AM didn't seem like such a miserable time.

I've been at a statistics conference the last few days, and I have recycled this joke exactly one million times to delighted audiences. Let me re-phrase this: I am re-telling a stolen joke from 17 years ago, and it's killing. I am the class clown of the entire conference.

At first this revelation startled me. I live a life wherein I should never, ever be considered the funniest person in the room. However, I soon realized that I was not from their world. At my office, there is no such thing as water-cooler chat. Nobody cares about what the weather looks like outside, because children are hungry and homeless and over-dosing. There is no censorship at my office. My jokes seemed to shock and amaze my fellow conference attendees. They also seemed to genuinely enjoy the jokes being told by the lecturers as well, all while I picked at stale danishes and stared blankly at the ceiling.

On the second day, after a three-hour long lecture, there was a bright spot ahead. I saw them cueing up a Youtube video, and I said I silent prayer that it might be one of those compilation videos of animals being jerks to one another. At the very least, I hoped it would be that I Love Lucy chocolate factory clip, the very one that they play at basically every conference I've ever been to. As they stopped drawing on the whiteboard, and pressed play on the video, my hopes sunk. I watched as a person in the video drew out another efficiency concept onto a whiteboard. I lost it, and laughed so hard I had to leave the room. Bad turned into worse, in a way I didn't even think was possible.

I was in a cab on the way to the conference at 6:30 this morning, listening to my Kazakstani driver fight with his wife loudly on the phone. I could taste his cologne in my mouth. We were on our way to the Glemore Inn. I knew I was going to spend another day eating shitty hotel sandwiches and going to the bathroom to pass the time. I was feeling pretty sorry for myself until I realized that there was an end in sight for me. This conference, like every other conference, would come to a close, and I would not ever have to think about it again. Instead of feeling sorry for myself, I should really feel sorry for the people that put on the conference. The ones that wake up in a different hotel bed every few days, and have to switch on videos of dudes drawing on whiteboards and then pretend to be excited about bookkeeping and statistics. Today, I tried to be nicer. I made significantly less jokes about meetings in the "bored room". I did, however, make fun of the lecturer wearing silver and gold wingtips and flared jeans, because I'm not made of stone. At the end of the day, I skipped down the long hallway I had called home for the last few days, and made it my official mandate to volunteer to attend significantly less of these things.

~sarah p.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

The Perfect Outfit: It's Complicated.

I have two very creative, very anti-social hobbies in this world. The first is obvious; I am a total word-nerd. I love to write. Whether it's pen-to-paper, or typing furiously on my seven-year-old laptop, there is scarcely a time where I am not, somewhere in the back of my mind, piecing words together. The second may not be so obvious, but if you have read this blog for any length of time you may be aware: I looooove makin' outfits.

This love of outfits may stem from a weird place. I have quite a bit of social anxiety that seems to fade, almost completely, if I know that my ensemble-game is tight. I also get tired of my jeans, crew-necks, and sneakers wardrobe that I wear day-in-day-out at work. I have three closets and two sets of drawers just brimming with garments begging to be thrown together in wonderful ways. 'Thrown' is maybe not the right word, however, because it actually takes a lot of time, effort, and money. Here are my top tips for getting dressed for a night out on the town:

*Know your eras. Understand that a good outfit often "borrows" ideas from decades past. Here's a quick guide- there are fun looks to copy from the 60's (mod dresses are a go-to for every dressy event), the 70's are too crunchy to ever look fresh, the 80's is gaudy but fantastic (particularly the scarves and jewelry), the 90's had a ton of great looks, and the 2000's is probably the darkest era for fashion. Leave the 2000's alone.
Here's the thing, though, guys. There is a fine line between having a 90's flair to your outfit, and showing up to a non-costume party in straight costume. Recently, I have been enjoying donning a Chola/90's Aaliyah uniform(minus the brows and heavy lip-liner, they're actually the exact same look), but it's a balancing act. Add modern pieces, like slim plants instead of baggy, so that you don't end up looking like you're an extra in the No Scrubs video.
On the flip-side, if you are going to a theme-party, do it up. A couple of years ago, my significant other at the time and I were invited to a 90's theme birthday bash. I went out and bought the perfect 90's outfit, from a splatter-paint mini skirt straight out of Saved By The Bell, to a pair of flawless Betsy Johnson heels I found on consignment. After I got ready, my boyfriend (again, at the time), rolled his eyes at me and told me that I was going to look like a total idiot for dressing up. Hipsters are weird about not only clothes, but also parties. Sure enough, we get to the party, and nobody else had donned a 90's uniform. I think I realized, that night, that the relationship was not sustainable. A few weeks ago, my fabulous new boyfriend mentioned that we were invited to a 90's-themed party. He then produced, from his dresser, a carefully crafted costume. When I mentioned that others may not dress up for the same event, he rolled his eyes and told me that we would look like total idiots if we didn't dress up. So, out came the perfect Blossom-style floral heels, the big hoop earrings, and a heavy coating of iridescent lip gloss. It was perfect, and one of the best evenings I've ever had out in this city.
Abbreviated lesson: be mindful of going overboard on period-pieces on regular nights out, and don't date anyone that thinks that 90's party is a 90's party without costumes, because it's not.

*Scarves and jewelry and hats can seem like they take too much effort to chunk into an already-existent outfit. Here's a good rule: if the outfit can stand on it's own, it's cool to drop all accessories, but it's also a great plan to build outfits around accessories. This rings particularly true when it comes to shoes. Sometimes I think that I could wear the filthiest rags in the world, so long as my shoe-game is on-point. Take for example, one of my favorite looks of the entire summer was a basic baseball jacket (satin, usually about five sizes too big), a ratty white tank-top, cut-offs, and often a backwards cap of some sort. This sounds basic. Super fucking basic. However, add on a pair of sky-high cage heels to the look, and you're really onto something. Accessories can be a real bitch, and also a total outfit-saver.

*It can look super high-fashion and chic, and believe me, I adore a fresh pair of kicks, but do not wear sneakers to the club unless you are over 5'10 and a legit model, or risk delving into stump-territory.

*Gold hoops go with everything. Gold chains go with most. Hot tip: if you are wearing something super low-cut, a heavy opera or rope-length chain can help conceal some of the cleave. Spend a little cash on your gold, or you will get weird green marks on your skin. If you have a boyfriend, make sure he lets you wear his chains. It's one of the few accessories you can share (also, ball caps). I have a complicated relationship with silver, but mixing metals can look super fresh on anyone.

*When it comes to painting your face, always, but you have to choose between lips or eyes. Never both. If you are dead-tired, wear a bright lip and nobody will be able to focus on the luggage under your eyes. Also, trust me from experience: don't get stoned when wearing navy eye-makeup, because no amount of Visine is going to be able to conceal your baked gaze. It's something to do with the color wheel. I think I once did some research on this while under the influence, but I'll spare you the details.

*The most under-rated, and most conversation-inducing, accessories are: watches, scarves (I found a book from the 80's on scarf-tying, and it has been a real game-changer), and minor injuries.

*Summer is the best time for fashion, because you don't ever have to worry about bundling up. However, I love a challenge, and when fall comes, I line up all of my jackets and try to figure out how to look fresh whilst not freezing to death. A recent purchase of a gaudy-ass vintage Cam'Ron-style faux-fur coat is really helping me in this matter.

*Make sure the shoes you wear aren't going to have you hobbling around at the end of the night. Nobody can see your outfit if you're sitting down the whole time because your feet are too sore, and being one of those bitches that removes their shoes and walks around barefoot is not an option. Here's another great tip: buy any heels over 3" in a half-size too big, and supplement them with gel insoles.

*Don't be a total hoarder of clothing, but also be careful what you get rid of. "Donator's regret" is one of the worst feelings on the planet.

*Be yourself, man. Don't always look around at others for inspiration. Have fun with your clothes. Pave your own path, and don't forget the best outfit game-changer of all: a cocky-ass attitude.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have many, many outfits to procure for the upcoming fall season. Wish me luck.


~sarah p.

p.s. On a serious note, thanks to Joan Rivers for all of the comedy, and fashion, inspo over the years. I wouldn't be half as bitchy, or as bold, without it.

Jams Of The Week (Sample Progression Edition):

~sarah p.

p.s. For the non-basic explanation of Jermaine Dupri's brilliant 'Jump' sample, please enjoy this super-clever breakdown.

p.p.s. Sometimes I think that I'm never going to love modern music, then a monster track like the final in this post comes along, and I feel like a total fucking idiot for ever being so close-minded. Dating a DJ has been a real eye-opener for me, y'all.