A quest to make sense of it all. Or a sense to make a quest of it all.

Friday, April 29, 2011

This post is decidedly tangy.

So the big company picnic is coming up in a couple weeks. We're all looking forward to having a rollicking good time. There will be games, which I'm told are fun. I've never been big on organized physical fun, though. Seriously, look at me. Do I come off as sporty? I'm pale to the point of translucency. I own one pair of running shoes, and they are strictly for running (by myself). I think a person is only dealt so much hand-eye coordination, and roughly 78% of mine is all about page-turning, fork-to-mouth, and nimbly navigating multiple browser windows. I can also chew gum while engaging in two of those activities. Your pick.

Horseshoes? Volleyball? It would seriously behoove all those involved to NOT LET ME PLAY.

Oh, well. At least there's going to be food (outstanding fork-to-mouth aptitude: check!). And I, stepping up in an unprecedented show of generosity and responsibility, have accepted the task of supplying the mustard.

Just mustard? you scoff. Where's the responsibility in that? you sneer. Clearly, you haven't given enough thought to the importance of this noble and irreplacable condiment. Let me enlighten you.

A longass time ago, the Romans mixed up a batch of unfermented grape juice (known as "must") with ground mustard seeds. This mixture was called "burning must", or mustum ardens. Hence, the word mustard. This sassy concotion has been tweaked, added to, deconstructed and reconstituted with so many variable ingredients, there are now thousands of mustards out there, from the ubiquitous yellow table mustard we associate with hot dogs, to the fancypants black olive mustard and Maui onion mustard. I mean, I have a lot of decision-making to do. And then I have to consider pairings, so I have to schedule a consult with the chef and the sommelier soda person... What a horrible faux pas to show up with a savory honey mustard only to find out that the main course is beef (hamburgers) served with tepid Dr. Pepper, and clearly I should have chosen a spicy brown, or perhaps a coarse stone ground.

Someone has to think about these things. That someone is me.

This just in: Kroger has announced a sale on its Private Selection yellow mustard. 4 for $5.

We have a winner.

P.S. I like to offer a lyric or imagined soundtrack to my posts. If only I knew a band who had a Mustardy album.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I'm only happy when it rains.*

All I want to do is relax and read this book, a gift from the manfriend (whose awesomeness increases about every eight seconds or so). The weather has had different ideas. Late Monday night, I was startled out of a pleasant shucks-he-likes-me glow by a text from Brandon, alerting me that Corinth was under a tornado warning. Sure enough, the sirens immediately started shrieking, and kept shrieking. I spent a good chunk of the evening hunkered down in the basement, hoping the ghosts weren't judging me for freaking out (or for my bunny-emblazoned pajama shorts). Last night another wave of severe weather hit. I had decided to stay the night with the folks, and we basically went back and forth between the house and the cellar all night. In total, I've had about 4 hours of sleep between the two nights. I'm fussy. My feeding schedule is off. I'm about as sagacious as a hubcap. And I swear to Gaia I will effing SLAY the next person who mispronounces "sirens".

The storms are supposed to continue until around 3 or 4 this afternoon, but now the bigger concern is what the ground is going to do with all this rain. I'm hoping we don't have a repeat of last May, with its horrible flood damage. We'll see.

*This is not true. But how often does one get such a great opportunity to quote old-school Garbage, from back when Shirley Manson was still pretty cool?

***UPDATE 4/29***
Parts of the South are completely devasted. 300 people are dead, as of last count. Close to a million people are still without electricity, and now the survivors face months of cleanup and rebuilding.

Thankfully, every source of news media is doing a bang-up job on covering the real headline: the royal wedding. Because while so many Americans are hanging out in shelters and relying on the kindness of strangers, it's pretty imperative that we hear all about the wedding menu.

Equally cute are some of the comments on the CNN articles about the destruction in the Southern states, ranging from total apathy to unabashed glee that all us Neocon, sister-screwin' rednecks got what were comin' to us. My personal faves are the ones suggesting that Mother Earth is sticking it to us because we're all Birthers and Climate Change Deniers, and our Jesus is mad at us.

Sometimes my fellow Americans make me a little queasy.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Lady. Ladylike. Ladymusings.

Back in 2004, I took on "Saint" as a last name. Somewhat prematurely, as the wedding was not until 2005...but seriously, if your name would soon be as cool as "Sarah Saint", wouldn't you want to put a rush on it, too? I did. This necessitated a new email address. I had long been ashamed of my old one, ophelia_dear@hotmail. I chose it when I was 13 and I had sort of a thing for Hamlet. (Ok, I still do, but I no longer have Waterhouse prints shouting that love from my walls.) I was terribly dramatic at that age. I made sure everyone knew I was reading Victor Hugo (the unabridged Les Miz). I may or may not have had a cat named Danae. Basically, I was begging for a beatdown I never receieved.

I digress.

There wasn't enough thought put into the new email address. Brandon had started referring to me as "Lady Saint", so I just tacked that together to form ladysarahsaint@hotmail. *sigh* I regretted it almost immediately. One, it sounds like I hang out at the Renaissance Faire. A lot. (And I probably would, if I had that option more than once a year, but to sound like you hang out there a lot and you really don't, is so very much worse than actually hanging out there.) Secondly, there's this: Nocturnal Admissions.

Which is a now-defunct blog (c'mon, Lindsey!).
And I know nobody goes there anymore. But that picture pops up if anyone runs a Google search on me, with the caption "Lady Sarah Saint", and I look like a *$%#*@# dominatrix.

I'm not.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

In which I geek out. Even more so than usual.

When you're young (as in, high school-to-college young), horror movies are where it's at. Everyone likes them. It seems perhaps particularly among my generation, wherein irony is everything, we love horror. Especially if it's "so bad, it's good". The gorier, the more outlandish, the more ridiculous, the better. (See Evil Dead 2 for an example of an oft-referenced and beloved movie that is actually a very funny movie. See the 2010 Night Of the Demons remake for an example of trying too hard to nail that sweet spot that is the apex where grotesque and funny meet. There are hundreds of other examples of this. That's just the first one that came to mind.) Anyway, at some point, the charm seems to wear off for most people. Being a horror fan becomes less "heck yes!" and more "um, sometimes" and you have to scramble to explain that you're not down with torture porn (Wolf Creek, Hostel, the Saw franchise). You still have a fondness for the old favorites. ED2, The Exorcist, The Changeling, The Omen, Nightmare on Elm Street, Poltergeist, maybe the original Last House on the Left. Maybe the The Uninvited (1942) and The Haunting (1963), if you're someone I would probably like.

For some of us, the charm doesn't wear off. And we probably liked the first Saw or two.

My own love affair with horror films began with The Haunting, Robert Wise's brilliant treatment of The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. My mother and I watched it when I was probably about 9 or so. I had seen horror movies before (mainly 80's gorecoms like Troll and Ghoulies, which have their own place and are totally enjoyable) but never before had one actually frightened me. This movie was effective on so many levels. The eerie, dreamlike score. The quiet build of tension until you can almost feel the characters' panic. The use of lighting, camera angles, and disconcerting sounds to parallel Eleanor's back-and-forth flirtation with madness. 48 years after its release, it's still effective. I got lucky in viewing it so young. One movie, and I was hooked on the scary. I've been on a search for that cinematic high ever since. I've found it a few times.

Along the way, I've been exposed to a lot of terrible movies, a great deal of mediocre movies, and a handful of great movies. I've explored gore (anything D'Argento), the aforementioned torture porn (the first and second Saw aren't bad, ya'll, and seriously, Funny Games is pretty good), ghosts (see: Japan), aliens (Alien, The Fourth Kind), demons (see: America), mutant animals (Night of the Lepus!), mutant bugs (Mothra!) mutant humans (The Hills Have Eyes, Freaks, ...ok, and Deliverance), psychological thrillers (Seven, M, Silence of the Lambs), slasher favorites (Halloween, Friday the 13th), and the newer in-betweens (Jeepers Creepers, The Haunting of Molly Hartley...this non-genre usually produces very forgettable movies. No offense to Justin Long...rawr. Of course, I have a soft spot for him because he co-starred in Drag Me To Hell, which is one of the best movies to come out in years and is helmed by a remembering-his-roots Sam Raimi.)

This isn't a post about the history of horror....because that can't be done in a post. That's an entire book, and one I may even write someday, just to add to the many that are already out there. This is a post about unabashedly loving horror, well past the age that most of my peers have pretty much lost interest. Automatically scanning the new-release shelves (or screen, since we're usually renting from Netflix or Redbox these days) for the new scary movies. That nudge your subconscious gives you when the previews are over and the screen goes black for a second, and This Is It. It's starting. This could be the scariest one you've ever seen.

Usually, it's a far cry from the scariest you've ever seen. But sometimes, you get surprised. That's what happened to me when I went to see Insidious, the latest haunted house movie. Some of its tricks were expected, some were not. A few of the effects were hokey. A couple completely unhinged me. It's probably the best new haunted house movie to come out in a long time. (The haunted house subgenre is my personal favorite, and as it's a frequent theme of the stories I write, I feel it's my duty to read/view all I can within the field.)

I'm going to be straight here: it's a very narrow field to play on. There are only so many ways to work things-that-go-bump, and most of them are pretty tired. It's entirely in the delivery. You can't just make something super weird and expect it to scare. You have to present a comfortable reality, a believable normality, to contrast the weirdness with, and if you do that well enough, something as slight as a whisper can be terrifying because it offends. It's not supposed to happen. That's not supposed to be there. There's a great sense of wrongness in well-executed horror, and I think that's why it's such a favorite form of escapism. There are plenty of people who say, "Oh, I hate scary movies, why would anyone want to scare themselves?". They just like a different kind of escapism. (They usually like romcoms with insipid dialogue and semi-hysteric, materialistic women who trip over things a lot and the dashing, rich men who inexplicably fall for these dingbats, but to each their own. You like your dingbats wooed, I like mine skewered. To-may-to, to-mah-to.)To that, I answer: because it makes our own lives that much simpler when we walk out into the sunlight, when we flip on the light, when we switch over to the Weather channel. We may be struggling to make ends meet. We may be going through a divorce, or desperately wanting but unable to switch jobs, wanting to finish school. We may be cripplingly lonely, or slowly wading through the viscous bog of this-isn't-what-I-wanted boredom. Ok. At least there's not a maniac hiding behind the couch with a machete. There isn't a demon suspended from the ceiling, waiting for the right moment to jump into our bodies and make us beat ourselves up or kill people or Riverdance or whatever's most horrifying to us. We aren't going to open the fridge and have a swarm of mutant bats fly, shrieking, out into the kitchen to devour us with their (serrated?) teeth.

Well, probably not.

We can be reasonably sure that those things probably aren't going to happen. But if a movie can make you believe a reality close enough to your own: the smarter than the flock high school girl, the single mom barely hanging on, the overwhelmed young dad, the pretty happy family, the unhappy family...if you can feel the characters, it's got you. If you can put yourself in their shoes, you'll find yourself scared when that first bump-in-the-night starts to bump. When you feel the goosebumps, the knot in your stomach. That's the illusion at its best.

And if you're still thinking about it later, if it's really disturbed and permeated your evening, well, that's the magic.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

I don't want to go in the cart.

103.6 degree fever.

Fight with the roommate.

Sporadic cell service.

Sporadic communication.

Wishy-washy weather.

Spent the morning in the ER because there are no clinics open on Sundays in Corinth. What was a little sore throat and low grade fever (and seriously, my natural body temp hovers around 100 or 101 anyway because I am a freak of nature) has escalated into a full scale attack on my respiratory system and ears. Attempts at taking a full breath end in violent coughing and swearing and fist-shaking at the sky.

I am not in bed. I have to wait on the pharmacy to open, so I can drive myself out there, sit, and then come home and not be able to sleep because I cannot sleep during the day.

On the bright side, I will get to stay in my pajamas all day and watch something like Gettysburg or Beetlejuice. Maybe both.

P.S. It's not all bad. I had a great time with the gang last night. We stuffed ourselves with sushi and went to see Insidious (which I had already seen and couldn't wait to see again, and now I still wanna see it again) and Hanna. Hanna...I'm still not sure how much I actually liked it. It was pretty well made, though. And hats off to the Chemical Brothers for that score! Fantastic.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Last Day Of Magic

I haven't yet mentioned going to see The Kills in Nashville next weekend. I'd like to do that now.


I'm so unbelievably excited about this show, I can't stand it. And the cherry atop this magnificent music sundae: I get in for free, thanks to a good buddy.

New house, reunions, a man I can't get enough of, and a concert I'm stupid-excited about.

April, you've outdone yourself. Best. Month. Ever.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

For love or money. Or, in which I let pop culture infiltrate.

A couple years too late, but I've had other stuff to think about. Like a divorce. A presidential election. Major flood events. Libya. And my thighs.

Last night, I purchased a gym membership and put it to immediate use. While I slogged along on the elliptical (and remembered how much I love/loathe the elliptical), I got to watch cable on the fancy schmancy screen built into my machine. Options were limited, but I found an old rerun of Sex and the City to settle on. I was initially pleased with this; I remember being completely in love with the show while it was still on the air. The first movie was well-executed. The second left me nauseous, offended, and disappointed. But the show...I could come back to the show and still love it, right?

No, not really. Apparently, I've changed somewhat since 1998. Which is good, since that's the year I started high school. After I got home from the gym, I dug out my old SATC boxed set and perused for awhile.

Ok. There are a few things I never even noticed when viewing these episodes the first time. For one, I'm not sure how Carrie's incredible whinyness didn't force me to take a baseball bat to my tv set. I'm not sure why I didn't have a problem with Miranda's hair, or her depressing bitterness toward men, and am fairly certain that the two are related. (Seriously, if you insist on keeping a scary haircut and automatically angrily dismiss every guy you meet because they guy before him pissed you off... it's unlikely you'll ever have a great guy blowing up your phone. You can only expect so much.) Samantha, to me, was always a very unrealistic character and I never paid her much mind. I still like Charlotte. She can stay.

One particular episode got me thinking about the role of money in relationships. Carrrie's on-again/off-again love, Big, is getting ready to leave for a business trip to Paris. She shows up at his ridiculously swanky apartment wearing a beret and holding a bag of french fries. Cute. While they discuss the trip, Big causally drops it on her that he may just stay in Paris and live there. Carrie, being the emotionally mature grown-ass woman she is, heaves the food at the wall and screeches, oh, a lot of stuff. Two things stood out to me here:
1) While her delivery of how she was feeling would have made any sensible man (or woman) run for the hills, there was a huge truth in her message: the disappointment of investing oneself in a relationship and knowing your partner remains detached.
2) Big's jaw-droppingly douchey behavior, and her acceptance of it until that point. He's just standing there, wide-eyed, while she demands to know "why you wont make me a part of your life in any real way." She's right. He never has time for her. He's wishy-washy at best, and slow to tell her how he feels about her. For years, he has strung her along, putting off commitment, patronizing her, and treating her as girlfriend-on-demand rather than a human being he's agreed to be in a relationship with. She's absolutely being disrespected.

And I wonder how long she would have put up with that disrespect and chilly treatment if he didn't have that swanky apartment, a chauffer, and regular comparisons to Donald Trump. Yeah, I went there. I find it very difficult to believe that she would have stuck around long if he were renting a one-bedroom while withholding his affection. It's not like their attraction was based on much to begin with. From what I see, they don't really have any mutual interests or shared ideals. They disagree more than they agree. They don't play much. I'm thinking that for a lot of women, money still covers a multitude of sins. Me, I'd rather live paycheck-to-paycheck with a guy who makes time for me and doesn't hesitate to let me know I'm important to him. The age old love vs. security question isn't a question for me. I can make my own security. What I can't make is a good time out of a one-sided conversation.

I dunno, readers. I'm just trying to figure it out like everyone else. I do know that a relationship takes communication to grow and thrive. And I know, as someone more notable than me said, money can't buy me love.

She should have dumped his neglectful ass a long time ago.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

That was unexpected.

And I'm digging it.

I'm about to become very well acquainted with Orbitz, I think. I'm also about to have my world rocked by a new city. My only impressions of Chicago are based on John Hughes movies. I'll be up there for a visit at the end of May, and I absolutely cannot wait. Oh, I love going to new cities. New faces, new food, new everything. Then I get to come back to Corinth and feel impossibly cool and metro.

According to Google, it's a 9-10 hour drive. OR, I can shell out $200-$250 and take an hour and a half flight out of Memphis. Clearly, that's a much more attractive option. More time to explore and, you know, see the guy I'm crazy about.

I'm trying to contain these butterflies...but I'm pretty damn happy.