Spring break: the cheez-it and guinness edition

This week was officially Spring Break. The boys were off from school. I took time off work. While the March grey weather blew dead leaves and dirt clods from the tops of a few shivering crocuses, we stayed in our house and relaxed. No Florida, no skiing, no “stay-cation” exploring the undiscovered neighborhoods of our own city. Just sleeping late and hanging out.

I imagined that I would write my best post ever this week. I would linger at the keys and devise luxurious sentences such as: relieved from the daily rigors of rallying the ranks to sell more dishes, fresh ideas might dash around my brain like children at recess, bursting through Red Rover barriers of time-bound obligations, emerging breathless and brilliant. Big words, alliteration, commas! I would wake each day with a gleam of poetry in my bright eyes, no trace of the usual groggy lurch toward coffee. Forget sorting through knotted tights to match the one clean skirt. Ignore the ringing phone, not once accidently flinging my keys behind the rose bushes and spilling my files across the driveway. No siphoned energy, all focus. This would be the Pulitzer week, the week I generated a hundred comments, the week I wasn’t editing until three in the morning.

But my aspirations stalled. My life seems defined by laws of physics more than leaps of imagination. If moving, I continue to move. Once I stop, I sit with slack-jawed inertness and do nothing unless pushed by a force greater than a Make Me a Super Model marathon. Instead of realizing the creative potential of six blank canvas days, I found myself on the sofa in a perpetual seventh day, at rest, occasionally unconscious. Thursday morning I roused myself from this stupor and started writing a few notes about getting a haircut. One of my sons, reading over my shoulder, said, “Hey Mom, is this going to be one of those posts where you have an experience that triggers a childhood memory that leads to a story about your kids and then you tie it all up with a profound conclusion about the meaning of ordinary life?” Um, yes. We have been spending way too much time together.  

Resigned, I have given in to the science of anti-momentum and returned to the sofa. In honor of my Spring Break, I will break from my apparent rut and list for you some mere musings and amusements that I have enjoyed from my sedentary perspective.

In the endless loop of repeats that is Bravo TV, this commercial keeps showing up. I am not sure how Quizno keeps getting away with this stuff but good for them. Not quite the Sponge Monkeys, but equally disturbing.

I did not buy the Twilight DVD at the midnight release on March 21st. I bought it the next day like a respectable grown-up. Watching it immediately, I am convinced that they have digitally re-colored the skin tone of the Edward character. In the theaters he had laughably bad white make-up and in the DVD his skin is less pale and more “human” looking. I thought I was crazy until we watched the DVD version of “Return of the Jedi” this week and saw that they had digitally inserted Hayden Christensen as the resurrected/ghost Darth Vader at the concluding celebration party. Revisionist history or catch up editing? You decide.      

 A good friend emailed me about a book he thought I should read. He said it reminded him of me and that I would love it. The weird thing is, I had spent hours in the library stacks a few days before and had checked out the same book. Twenty five aisles, hundreds of books and I randomly chose the one book he recommended. It is The Raw Shark Texts by Steven Hall and though I am only a few chapters into it, I am intrigued. I have a suspicion that the odd coincidence in which I came to read it may have greater significance . . . 

We watched the DVD of Company, one of the latest revivals of Sondheim’s musical. This production transcends the early Seventies context and seems uncannily modern. And that last song, wow.

My son and I read aloud alternate chapters of The Thirteen Clocks by James Thurber. Speaking the words is like getting drunk on a cocktail of Shakespeare mixed with Doctor Seuss splashed with ee cummings. It is dancing with your voice, trying to keep up with the deceptively simple phrase combinations and rhythms. Anyone who reads it silently should be “slit with a sword” from their “guggle” to their “zatch.”      

I have been listening to a strange little genre of pop music call “Wizard Rock.” All the songs have lyrics that pertain to Harry Potter books. The audience is probably the same group who in my day wore capes and played dungeons and dragons in the basement. Yet I must admit, some of the tunes are catchy and if one must listen to techno-faux-alt-pop, why not have it be about Harry Potter? 

Back to the Bravo channel, I know a whole bunch of New Yorkers, some are even housewives, and no one I know is this petty, mean, self-absorbed or shallow. I think The Real Housewives of New York City is trashy and untrue. Now The Millionaire Matchmaker– that has messages that are relevant and timeless. Do not choose women according to your penis and call back the next day if you enjoyed the date. The Quizno commercial reinforces this: do not choose food that looks like your penis either, even if for only $4.  

Wikipedia Races: each person picks any two words that come to mind. Plug the first word into Wikipedia and then time how long it takes, clicking on links, to get the second word. For example, trying to get from “toboggan” to “Harriet Tubman” took two minutes and 36 seconds.  The person who can get from the first word to the second word in the least amount of time wins. The strategy is in choosing the right blue word as quickly as possible . . . hours of fun. 

HBO’s Carnivale is still convoluted and the narrative practically still life. I still can’t make it through both seasons. I always get lost around Babylon.

Perhaps life from the sofa can be just as profound as life outside. Except that I have been eating Cheez-its and drinking Guinness all day, which makes life this week actually better than most, in spite of those harpy housewives.

14 responses to “Spring break: the cheez-it and guinness edition”

  1. Wizard Rock

    Have you checked out the Whomping Willows? My nephew emailed me about them last year or so — they have some nice stuff including a Ramones cover — it’s slipped my mind now, something like “Sheena is a punk rocker” but instead of a punk rocker she’s something Harry Potter-related.

  2. Oh no, sorry — what it is is, “Ginny [who I guess is a HP character?] is a punk rocker”. Also, those in the know apparently call The Whomping Willows “The Big Whompy”. Here’s their myspace page: http://www.myspace.com/thewhompingwillows

  3. lane says:

    pandora, i want you to know, that i love your posts. i don’t always get through them because they’re usually quite long.

    but “cheez-it and guinness” . . .

    very nice!

  4. PB says:

    Lane – thank you and ironically this one, supposedly my slacker post, is longer than most. Maybe I should enlist you as my editor – with an artistic red pen (or Exacto?).

  5. PB says:

    Modesto – love the link – nice to know that the Wizards went for Obama – a fine companion to my “Republicans for Voldermort” bumper sticker.

  6. Marleyfan says:

    How do you get from Harriet Tubman to toboggan? Sounds like a fun game, but I don’t understand how you could even start leading that direction? My kids and I play a gam where we google a word, and see who can come up with the most/least hits…

  7. Tim says:

    “Hey Mom, is this going to be one of those posts where you have an experience that triggers a childhood memory that leads to a story about your kids and then you tie it all up with a profound conclusion about the meaning of ordinary life?”

    This part made me laugh out loud.

    Loved this. Just last week I was talking to Parrish about this phenomenon. You’re much more productive when you have too many things to do. If you have 16 things on your list, you get 12 of them crossed off. If you have 2 things, it’s likely you’ll get half of one finished.

    Pandora, you deserved a nice Guinness and cheez-it holiday anyway, right? Sounds like it was a really good week.

  8. PB says:

    Marleyfan – here is how it works: You punch in your first word, in this case “toboggan.” When you get to that page, scan all the blue highlighted words and then choose (this is the strategy piece) “bobsleigh.” On the “bobsleigh” page choose “Winter Olympics” – then on the “Winter Olympics” page choose “United States.” On that page choose “African American.” On that page find “Harriet Tubman.” When you are on the “Harriet” page call TIME. Time is better than just adding up clicks because some people take too long to choose their highlighted word. The fast ones may have more links but choose with more gut. It really is fun – especially if the initial words chosen are super random and off the top of the head.

  9. Jane says:

    Harry and the Potters have been around for a while, and they’re pretty awesome. Are they included in your “Wizard Rock?”


  10. Natasha says:

    PB, I agree with Lane, I love every single one of your posts. I do read them to the end though :) I hate that there are always so few comments; I don’t get it.

    “I would linger at the keys and devise luxurious sentences…” Ha-ha, I don’t think you can do it in any other way. Might I mention that your from-the-sofa, no-big-deal, just-saying post was full of those sentences? It’s hard for most people, but comes pretty naturally for you – a talent of yours :)

    I am inspired to live in the moment this weekend and excited! Cheez-its, gosh, I love them with tuna. It was the hardest thing to deny while entering the all protein existence. I might just have a few! Cheers to your beautiful conclusion of this week!

  11. Rogan says:

    Thursdays and Fridays are my heaviest teaching days, and I hardly have a chance to eat, let alone comment on GTW. But this was an awesome Saturday morning read (better than watching Bill Maher on the Tivo).

    I especially like the setup, so full of luxurious sentences and lazy day vignettes. I have a knotted tights fetish, so your tossing that bit in (for me!) had me pondering the cosmic connection, like your The Raw Shark Texts bit of serendipity.

    I hope the rest of my Saturday can live up to this start. I’ll go drink some coffee, watch Bill Maher, and knot some of Susan’s tights (she is out of town, or I wouldn’t dare), and see where things go from there.

    Thank you!



  12. Stella says:

    Please keep going on Carnivale and get through Babylon…it’s so worth it. I know it’s one of the most disturbing moments and the image of the dead daughter looking through the window is horrifying, but you’ll feel better for getting through the complete story arc. i just wish it had made it to a third season.

    Babylon also exacerbated my visceral hatred of mining towns…

    And, it’s so validating to know everyone is paralysed by free time.

  13. ks says:

    I almost always read your Fri. posts (and thoroughly enjoy them!!!!), but I almost never comment to indicate that. Here’s my apology to you, Pandora. I’ll try to be more validating in the future. I still find it awkward to post comments to the blogo-strango-sphere.

    I was pleasantly amused by your discussion of your own expectations for your increased writing prowess and perfection in what was to be a week free of the usual obligations and constrictions on your time. I found THAT so validating!

    And to agree with Stella, I urger you to push past Babylon and get through the entirety of Carnivale (best show next to maybe Deadwood since the Sopranos, imho), if for no other reason than so we can read your analysis of its strange permutations…when you (and the show) reach New Canaan!

  14. Rachel says:

    “My visceral hatred of mining towns” is a great line.

    I think Carnivale had the potential to be even greater than the Sopranos, if it had been able to tell its whole story. But yeah…really intense. Amy Madigan scared the bejeezus out of me.

    What else are you grooving on these days, PB?