Friday, July 30, 2010

The standards have been raised, people

My relationship history is splotchy at best, resembling more of a "what not to do" guide in the search for love than anything else.  I don't have a type, really, and I'm quite weird eclectic. Suffice it to say, whoever comes along and ends up being The Guy will be just as big of a surprise to me as it probably will be to you.

So let's talk about standards. I recall a conversation once, a very long time ago, between me and an ex-boyfriend about traits we desired in a husband or wife. I remember we laughed because I started listing more tangible things like "He can't be a Bama fan or have facial hair," and that I absolutely would not tolerate any fondness for taxidermy in an form displayed or hung in a house. All the while, the ex was listing important character traits and the like. How mature of him. (Wonder why that didn't work out.)

Now that "ironic taxidermy" seems to be hip (see to the left) and not necessarily indicative of one's hunting activities, this is something I could likely overlook. Plus, we all know I have a thing for bearded men. But what puzzles me is that at the time, I didn't seem to worry too much about values or characteristics important for the longevity of a relationship with me (ie, patience, humor, and unabashed dorkiness). I was young, in college... the world was my oyster or something, and the ideas of heartbreak, unemployment, and disappointment were meaningless words... things that other people endured. But surely not me. Hindsight is 20/20, right?

So now, 10 years later or so, I've reassessed. I know myself. I've been inspired by many of my friends' marriages, but not disillusioned, as I've seen a few go through divorces as well. But all in all, I now have a new standard. Any guy who wants to marry me must be willing to do something like this:

Lauren + JP from Matt Odom on Vimeo. Also that's "Sleepyhead" by Passion Pit on the video. I"m digging the sound. The couple in the video are from GA (it's an Atlanta-based design/photography/video company), and the wedding took place in LaGrange! (That will be more significant to any Auburn or Dothan folks.)

Not that I'm sold on creating a music video from my wedding day.... But a guy who is WILLING to do this is likely funny, laid back, open-minded, and spontaneous. Kinda silly. Able to laugh at himself. Willing to try new things and explore. These are all good things. And he probably loves music, which is certainly something I look for. [As my friend Jane recently said, "Why would anyone not be obsessed with music? Music lovers and book lovers are the only people who are worthwhile."]

Other non-related bits of importance... Sharing my faith, but not my stature. (I'm only 5 feet tall myself, and it would just be mean to procreate with another short stack.) And he should be nice. Nice guys never finish last in my book.

So what did I miss?

Monday, July 26, 2010

Damn, just damn

These lyrics get me. (And no, not because of the Ryan Adams reference, though that's how I came across her.) She was 17 when she released this, which blows my mind. But she's from England... perhaps they mature emotionally at a much younger age across the pond. My friend Sara Beth expressed my opinion much better than I with her response upon my sending her the lyrics: "Holy shit, that's heavy. And really good. And really spot on. Damn, just damn." Indeed.

Laura Marlin - "New Romantic"

I know I said I love you but I'm thinking I was wrong,
I'm the first to admit that I'm still pretty young,
And I never meant to hurt you when I wrote you ten love songs.

That guy that I could never get, 'cause his girlfriend was pretty fit,
And everyone who knew her loved her so.
And I made you leave her for me and now I'm feeling pretty mean,
But my mind has fucked me over more times than any man could ever know.

Maybe I should give up, give in,
Give up trying to be thin,
Give up and turn into my mother,
God knows I love her.

And I'm sorry to whichever man should meet my sorry state,
Watch my sturdy, lonesome gait and beware,
I will never love a man 'cause love and pain go hand in hand,
And I can't do it,

So we stayed up late one night to try and get our problems right,
But I couldn't get into his head just what was going through my mind.
And I think he knew where I was going 'cause he put Ryan Adams on,
'cause I think he thinks it makes me weak, but it only ever makes me strong.

I've got this friend who sounds just like him,
Now he's the man I leave you for, the man that I just adore,
Like you.
The same man, he turns to me, he said "I've got to tell you how I feel,
If God could make the perfect girl, for me it would be you,
And my God told me not to tell about how much do you love your fella?"
I don't know more everyday,
Not in this new romantic way.

I'll always be your first love,
You'll always be my first love.

And I'm sorry to whichever man should meet my sorry state,
Watch my sturdy, lonesome gait and beware,
That I will never love a man 'cause I could never hurt a man in this way.
I will never love a man 'cause I could never hurt a man,
Not in this new romantic way.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Apparently I'm a hippie

I won't bore you with the evolution of my wardrobe, but it suffices to say that my mother doesn't get me and my current style. She longs for the looks of 16-year-old Lauren, who dressed like a miniature First Lady in cardigans and pearls, had long hair, and thought piercings and tattoos were trashy. I think I truly wanted to grow up and be Donna Reed.

These days, I don't really adhere to any fashion process. I follow trends at times, but I am in no way trendy. I dress more casually than not, but still feminine, choosing a flannel and sneakers over silk and heels most days, but I definitely kept the cardigan as a staple in my wardrobe. (Holler fellow librarians.) I wear my hair shortish and have a stud in my nose.I dress up when I want; I dress down when I want. I don't really think about clothes all that much during my day.

So I go home a few weekends ago, and I'm meeting up with some friends to go to a party at a warehouse. My friends are photographers and artists, and they have a space where they work. No A/C. In southern Alabama. I wore a pair of jorts with a tank top, and apparently my bra strap was showing a bit when I left. On Saturday, I wore a royal blue skirt with black and white shirt, black shoes. And apparently my skirt was wrinkled from spending the day laying on the couch watching Lifetime movies with Grandma.  I thought nothing of this. So here's an abbreviated version of the conversation from Sunday:

Mom: Lauren, I think we should have a talk. Do you need money to buy new clothes?
Me: Huh?
Mom: Well your grandmother and father and I are worried about the clothes you've left the house in. We know you're on a tight budget. Are you sure you don't need some help?
Me: Ummm no, I'm fine. What in the world is wrong with my clothes?
Mom: Well, honey, you were wearing cutoff jean shorts. And your bra strap was showing. And then on Saturday you didn't match at all. Why in God's Name would you think black and blue matched? And your skirt was wrinkled. I was just embarrassed for you! You look like a throwaway with no sense. What is Nashville doing to you? Your friends are all hippies. Are you turning into a hippie? I didn't raise you to be a hippie!
Me: That is ridiculous.***
Mom: Well if you leave the house like that, no wonder you are single. 
Me: (fuming) ........ 

Dun dun dunnnnnn. Yeah, she went there. (*slaps palm to face*) Moms, even if you are making the most ridiculously insane statement to prove your point, it is never nice to remind your 27-year-old single daughter of this.

***I actually spent a good 15 minutes trying to defend why my outfit DID match, and how jorts are perfectly acceptable during the hot summertime, and how I thought she was misconstruing the word "hippie," but if I WERE one, why that wouldn't be the worst thing to ever happen to her... but to no avail. At least it's pretty funny in retrospect.

Here are the faces of true hippies, folks (taken one of the nights in question):
That's one of my oldest friends, Tony. Presumably a hippie. We look pretty crazy and miserable in our hippie singledom, yes?

Peter Bjorn and John say it best:
and we don't care about the young folks
talkin' 'bout the young style
and we don't care about the old folks
talkin' 'bout the old style too
and we don't care about their own faults
talkin' 'bout our own style
all we care 'bout is talking
talking only me and you

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I miss the 90's

I'm feeling extremely reminiscent of high school these days. Not that I EVER wish to go back and relive it, but the idea of being so free and careless, with all of today's responsibility far far ahead of me is something I will for forever long.

I spent my teen years in the 90s, and I miss that music. My friend Colin's recent post about an ill-fated drive to see Third Eye Blind brought me back, and I immediately think about Dave Matthews Band, Matchbox 20, Train, Live, and Our Lady Peace. Sure, I realize most of these bands still exist and some even thrive, but the 90s were surely their hey-day. I'm brought back to summers at the beach in Panama City, dancing like fools at Teddy Tucker's out on the bay. I remember listening to "Meet Virginia" and riding around in my friend Mandy's Jeep Wrangler with the top down. It's funny how at times your memories seem to be viewed through some cheesy "make everything happy and gleeful and problem-free" glass. It definitely wasn't like that for any of us, but the music still brings me back to the good times.

This was one of my favorites:

And on that same note, I rewatched Clueless the other day. It had been a while since I'd seen it, but I could still quote it. I miss Brittany Murphy. Hope she's rollin' with the homies up there somewhere. I digress.

 Why should I listen to you anyway? You're a virgin... who can't drive.

What I DIDN'T remember or, rather, didn't recall was all the more "adult" references I never picked up on. And modern culture stuff. I came across a good list here of jokes missed. I hadn't a clue that when Cher was making fun of Josh's "crybaby college music" that Radiohead's "Creep" was playing in the background. The irony, right? And when Super Stoner Skateboarder Travis goes to make a donation to Cher's charity drive, he brings a bong. What did I think that WAS back in the day? Who knows. Anyway, I got a good laugh out of it and am newly inspired to rewatch some good 90s teen films. Can't Hardly Wait... 10 Things I Hate About You.... What else?

And on another somewhat related note, remember this?

That video is classic. And apparently controversial. I love that the "lyrics" of the song, aside from the chorus, come straight from an actual "Teenage Guide to Charm and Popularity." I'd like to see someone do a project on that. Jamie from Pennsylvania, eat your heart out. (See my post on the Seventeen Magazine Project for the reasoning behind my snarkiness.) And for those of you who aren't familiar, they've released some other great songs in the past decade.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


I recently came across The Seventeen Magazine Project, in which a Pennsylvania teen decided to take on the challenge (in her mind) torture of reading the entire June/July 2010 issue of the mag and applying all tips, tricks, and advice directly to her daily life for a month, in hopes of "shed[ding] some light on the modern teenage experience." Would she actually become cuter/hotter/thinner/fitter/healthier/more popular? Will her life be more fulfilling if she cuts out pictures of Taylor Lautner and tapes them to her walls?

Here were her rules for the project:
  1. I will read the entire June/July issue of Seventeen magazine from cover to cover.
  2. Every day I will utilize at least one "beauty tip" (hair/makeup/skincare/whathaveyou) and one fashion tip.
  3. I will follow all diet and exercise tips provided in the issue to a T.
  4. I will participate in every activity recommended by the magazine (i.e. host a fright night, score your hottest summer hookup ever, be confident in a bikini, etc.)
  5. I will apply for every single "freebie" offered by the magazine, every day.
  6. I will consume all media recommended by the magazine at least once. (books/movies/music)
  7. I will hang all provided pictures/posters of "hot guys" in my living environment.
Check out the project to see her thoughts. She is what I definitely would call a modern teen. A Girl Of The Times. She's a smart cookie, well-informed, opinionated. Apparently not very girly (she says at one point she thinks her mom is happy to see her dolling up), but she's cute as a button and snarky as all get-out. She finds the magazine ridiculous and has since started a campaign against the mainstream media and its "inaccurate and unfair representations of teens, women, and humanity as a whole."

I don't disagree with her on any of these subjects, but I am just so taken aback by this girl. As my friend Morgan said, "I wish I was that cool, smart, original and mature at 18." I had no clue. I LOVED Seventeen, and I devoured Sassy and Teen as well. I was the wanna be poster girl for these mags at times. Pre-teen me made books with pictures of the boys (Johnny Depp and River Phoenix were pretty dominant in my odes) I thought were cute. And as a high schooler, I tried all the tips and tricks to tame my frizzy hair and get a better tan.

Now at 27, I'm an intelligent girl. I'm a professional librarian, for God's sake. I have (mostly) respectable tastes in literature and music... but if you put a copy of Cosmopolitan in front of me, you've lost my attention for a good 3 hours. I WILL read it cover to cover. Let's face it, Cosmo is just an "adult" version of Teen. Same cute boys, same beauty tricks, just add anti-aging/sagging and lots of sex tips instead of PMS advice and first-time eyebrow tweezing how-to's (well, yeah... that's there too). I'm not saying all the advice is good and the writers are gods of beauty and relationship advice -- it's mostly for entertainment, really -- but the point is... I genuinely enjoy reading it.

Above is the front of Seventeen from the month I actually turned 17 (October 1999). Hey Leelee. Nice velour. I remember those days being happy, fleeting days, full of the monotony of high school and a full social calendar. I was seemingly carefree. My biggest worries were leaving for college, not wrecking my car, and spending time with my boyfriend and friends. I loved going to the lake and high school football games, ogling the cute artsy boys who intimidated me then but I would befriend later in life, sneaking off to drink beer in cow pastures, hanging out with my family, and listening to Tim McGraw. In fact, I was 17 the year the song "Seventeen" (below) came out, and I remember thinking it was the perfect portrayal of that feeling at the time. (Make fun all you want, but you know it's true.) Never did feminism or the media's poor body image portrayals cross my mind, nor would the idea of conducting an experiment to prove my point in such a big way have come into my head. I just had "better" things to do with my time. Here's Jamie's bio from her site:
Jamie Keiles is an 18-year-old high school senior from Pennsylvania. Her interests include sociology, reading periodicals, and urban cycling. She will be studying economics and gender studies at the University of Chicago in the fall of 2010.
 Mine would have read:

Lauren is an 18-year-old high school senior from Alabama. Her interests include her boyfriend, reading Danielle Steele novels, country music, drinking Zima with jolly ranchers for fruity flavor, loving George W. Bush, and participating in far too many high school activities than she can truly contribute to as an effort to beef up her resume and get as many scholarships as possible.

Yeah, I was kind of lame. But that's not the point. So I wonder. Was I naive? Was I apathetic/unaware of these issues because I was in my own little world and didn't think about it? Or is this girl out of the norm? I know that 17-year-old me would have found her far too serious to hang out with. Life is too short to get your panties in a wad, ya know. It's just a magazine. And 27-year-old me probably would think the same, to tell you the truth. 

An ode to 17-year-old me:

Monday, July 12, 2010

You know, I always did have a crush on Kermit the Frog

Is that weird? While I am usually a bit of an open book and have no problems oversharing at times, I do value my abilities to go and come as I please without being stalked by paparazzi, talk to boys without potential relationships making headline news, and gain five pounds without being called a whale (publicly, at least).

But, by being a so-called "normal" person, without any notoriety or celebrity, I unfortunately miss out on opportunities to be in the same social circle as, say... The Muppets. Now THAT might make up for it. The tabloids can have at me.

I laughed pretty hard at this. It starts slow, but give them a second. 2 points for spotting Zach Galifianakis in the background. I'd also hang out with that dude any day of the week. And if the folks from OK Go would put me in a video, I'm sold.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Happy Birthday, Mockingbird!

Sunday marks 50 years since the publication of To Kill a Mockingbird. If you're reading this blog, then you likely know me, and you likely know (and love, if you're inclined to love books) the book, having read it time and time again as required reading. You've named your children after its characters (I personally know a Scout, two Harpers, and an Atticus). I hope to give it a re-read this year.

To celebrate, HarperCollins is issuing a 50th anniversary edition of the book (above), but the big party is taking place in Monroeville, home to recluse Harper Lee. The county courthouse is hosting a 4-day party, including a "marathon reading" and showing of a new state-funded documentary. SIGN ME UP!

My old stomping grounds, The Alabama Booksmith in Homewood, is having a birthday party as well.  Alabama historian and author Kathryn Tucker Windham will be reading stories, and ole Jake (the store's owner who unknowingly named this blog) has somehow finagled two bookplates signed by Harper Lee herself... one going to the highest bidder and one to the luckiest person whose name is drawn. Yall may remember my gushing about the day I met KTW last year.

I've always wanted to read Mockingbird, Charles Shield's (very unauthorized) biography of Harper Lee. I find her incredibly intriguing. The whole friendship with Truman Capote thing. And then her subsequent seclusion after her darling book garnered such a massively overwhelming response. My curiosity meter flies high with this one.

Regardless, after 50 years, To Kill a Mockingbird remains on the bestsellers list with 1 million copies sold last year, and 30 million in print. Check out this article for lots of interesting info about what some call "The Great American Novel," including the following (written by Maria Puente):

How Valuable is To Kill a Mockingbird?

One gauge: A rare signed and inscribed first edition of the book, in the original dust jacket, will cost you $35,000 at Baumann's, a major book dealer.

Another gauge: Mockingbird remains one of the most frequently challenged books, repeatedly banned from schools and libraries since it was published, though the reasons have changed.
 Indeed. Happy Birthday to you!

He can be my dancin' shoes any day of the week

I just wanted yoouuuu to love me... Touch. Feel. Lose.

Ryan Adams, circa 2001. I love the mini side-headbang move at 0:48 or so.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

[30-Day Song Challenge] Day 30 - Way back when... July 2009

Day 30 - A Song You Loved From This Time Last Year

At this time last year, much the same as now, I had just returned from a trip to visit my family over the long 4th of July weekend. Michael Jackson had just died, and I had downloaded his greatest hits. And since I was readying myself to move to a new city in a new state, I was on the road a good bit. So there were lots of songs I remember constantly listening to. Here are a few of them:

Elbow - "One Day Like This"
(love the version below with the orchestra and choir accompaniment)
....Cause holy cow, I love your eyes

Jim James and Calexico - "Going to Acapulco"
 (from the I'm Not There soundtrack)

Cursive - "From the Hips"

Jenny Lewis - "Acid Tongue"
Gorgeous song. ...and I don't know what I've done...

And that concludes the 30 Day Music Challenge, folks! Only took me, ohhhh 3 months or so. Thanks for hanging in with me. :)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

I am the great Cornholio

Or, the reason why my sister and I share a weird sense of humor and bad habits of staying up way too late watching stupid TV shows.

So according to this article, Mike Judge is currently working on 30 new episodes of Beavis and Butthead, and for MTV, no less. Not a done deal, but definitely in the works. I'm stoked. Kinda. Natalie and I were forbidden, as most 8- and 10-year-olds were, to watch the show. But the second the parents went to bed, we headed straight for the den, and boyyyy did we want our MTV. In fact, 90's era seriously MTV aided in defining me (and likely scarring me for life) more than I even realize. Those were MTV's glory days. I very much remember the day Kurt Cobain died, watching the original Real World, and actually enjoying hours of actual music videos and pop culture news with Kurt Loder. Maybe this will bring a return of all good things.

My favorite part of the article:

Even better news for fans is that, should this come to pass, Judge plans on retaining the show's original ghetto-tech aesthetic, right down to the faded color palatte. The source also reveals that the Extract director intends on keeping B and B's format identical to its original sketch-videos-sketch incarnation, but with more contemporary music clips for the cartoon slacker-duo to skewer.
 I imagine their take on Lady Gaga won't be much different than Gar. Can't wait!

Here's a flashback for you. I'm sure my mother loved that I used to put my shirt above my head and walk around saying "Are you threatening me?!" Nice.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

[30-Day Song Challenge] Day 29 - song from childhood

Day 29 - A Song from my childhood
There's no way I can pick just one. I was constantly surrounded by music growing up. I remember Elvis, Conway Twitty, Gloria Estefan, MoTown, Beegees, Rockin' to the '50s (which was the name of an actual cassette tape we listened to on trips). Ohhhhh Donna, ohhhh Donnna... You name it. Here are some favorites.

Go West - "King of Wishful Thinking"
Who didn't jam out to the Pretty Woman soundtrack (on cassette tape, of course)? I also had no clue until today what the band's name was who sang this or that they were white dudes.
(Is it weird that I find that disappointing?) 

"Kokomo" performed by the Muppets
I think I had this on VHS somewhere. Love me some Muppets. And loved the Beach Boys version.

New Kids on the Block - "Please Don't Go Girl"
This was my first concert, when I was in the 2nd grade. I was in love with Joey Joe. (Gosh that voice made me swoon as much as any 8-year-old can.) I also refuse to acknowledge them as NKOTB.

Dolly Parton - "Time for Me to Fly"
Oh Dolly. Words can't express my love for this woman.
And how thankful I am that I was introduced to her at such an early age.

Whitney Houston - "I Will Always Love You"
Whenever my friends and I had pageants or put on plays, I distinctly remember oh-so-dramatically sitting down in a chair and belting this out, sans accompaniment of any kind, as my talent. 27-year-old me realizes that Whitney should not even be done by the best of singers at the drunkest of karaoke bars. But 10-year-old me never got that memo. Also, I feel the need to rewatch The Bodyguard.

The Little Mermaid - "Part of Your World"
No child of the 80s's list would be complete without her favorite song from a Disney movie. Here's mine.