mayans.

I’ve been afraid of the Mayan Apocalypse since May 19, 2002, the night I saw the X-Files series finale. Spoiler alert: basically the Cigarette Smoking Man tells Mulder and Scully that the Mayans knew when the aliens were coming, and that was the day — December 22, 2012. (Others say the 21st, so it’ll just be a great weekend of fear.) Mulder and Scully accept their fate, with Scully understanding the truth and Mulder understanding Scully’s faith, and it’s a lovely ending but also SUPER-BLEAK.

And at the time, it was like, well 2012 is so far away. I’ll be twenty-six, I’ll have lived a good life. It’ll be sad to watch my children be eaten by aliens, but at least I’ll have had them and we’ll have been happy. Twenty-six seemed so old.

I later became convinced that, although the aliens probably wouldn’t be coming, some asshole would make it a self-fulfilling prophecy and release anthrax or smallpox into the atmosphere. (Oh, right, that X-Files episode aired THREE DAYS after the ER smallpox outbreak episode, which I watched at least 100 times because Carter and Abby make out at the end of it. This was also shortly after the real-life anthrax attacks and 9/11 and my fifteenth birthday, so it was a rough and strange time all around.)

I have an uncle who believes alien contact is going to happen at some point in the near future, and he came up with a good meeting place for the family for when the inevitable happens. I will not say what the place is, because there is not enough room for all of us. When I moved to the west coast, much of my nervousness was about moving more than a day’s drive from this meeting place. This has evolved, over a period of several years — and through the filming and release of a second X-Files movie that did absolutely nothing to shed light on how Mulder and Scully were going to save us from this –, into a very real sense of dread and fear. I mean, thank God they are going to air the Gossip Girl finale the week before!

For a long time, I have thought about what I’d need to do in December 2012. I have planned to have a full tank of gas, plus extra gas cans in the trunk. Stock up on dog food and non-perishables (so Freckles and I can eat). Watch I Am Legend (research). Buy US and Mexican maps (GPS won’t work).

And now that the time is upon us, a really weird thing is happening — no one is freaking out.

I thought surely people would be hoarding canned goods, that churches would be packed, and that gasoline and other fossil fuels would start becoming scarce right around now. I thought everyone would be worried and scared, and that it would be hard to be away from my parents during these Uncertain Times. And yet … this is not happening. December 2012 has crept up on me, with little fanfare or panic. 13 million Americans watched the series finale of The X-Files, and yet everyone else seems okay.

I mean, I have plans in January. I have work to do in 2013. God willing, both Kate Middleton and Lady Mary Crawley will have babies next year, and the world needs to meet them.

The closer the date comes, the more secure I feel that the end of the world is not actually happening. Which is strange for me, considering I’ve carried this clenched feeling in my heart for over a decade. I’m not really sure what I’ll do when I wake up the morning after The Day and realize the sun is still shining and we’re all still here. Frankly, it’s going to be a little weird, and I won’t be completely convinced until it happens.

I still think I’ll get gas.

whiskey slushes.

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My favorite holiday drink is so easy to make, even you can do it. I am having Thanksgiving with some new friends this year, and I am planning to bribe them with these for affection. Fingers crossed.

You do kind of have to plan ahead, as it involves freezing, and that takes some time. I just made these for Thursday. Also, you need a plastic 2-liter pitcher. A glass one would be too dangerous.

1 can frozen lemonade concentrate
1 can frozen orange juice concentrate
1/2 cup sugar
12 oz whiskey (or more — I’m not your mom)
Sprite

Just pour everything but the Sprite into a pitcher, add water to fill the pitcher, stir, and freeze it. Serve it as 50% slush, 50% Sprite. That’s it.

Pro tip: Use cheap whiskey. I bought a $7 bottle of shitty shit yesterday, but then I accidentally broke it, which is why I used Jack. Don’t waste your good stuff on this, because you can’t taste it anyway.

halloween 2013-???

I have way more Halloween costume ideas than opportunities to dress up for Halloween. This year, I was McKayla Maroney, an idea I had long before the rest of Christendom had the exact same idea. BOO. Anyway, I’ve already moved on to next year and beyond. Here are my ideas for the future.

Katniss and a Trackerjacker. This involves me wearing a Katniss costume (I like this idea because I would be warm and comfortable, and also I would get to carry a bow and arrow) and Freckles wearing a bee costume for a dog. Only a good idea if I’m going to a party where dogs are invited; otherwise, probably too popular. Everyone wants to see a dog in a bee costume.

Eliza Doolittle at the Embassy Ball. Maybe this is just what I want to look like at my wedding? Yes, gloves and hair and all.

Dr. Jill Biden. I don’t know what this costume would look like, but I just love her.

Taylor Swift. A girl can pretend for one night a year. This one is all about the challenge of finding the perfect wig.

Undead-Downton Abbey. Lavinia already looked like a vampire. (My mom thought season one was going to end with the surprise twist that they were ALL dead already.)

Mary Poppins (again). I was Mary Poppins for Halloween at least once as a child, and often just on random Tuesdays. But I never had this dress, which will have to be rectified at some point in my life.

Sally Draper. Maybe I just want go-go boots.

 

can’t dish it out if you can’t take it

I’ve been asked a lot in the last few weeks to compare my personal style to Suri Cruise’s. I portray Suri as a very fashion-conscious individual, so I think people expect that I keep up with the trends. And while I do love clothes, I am not nearly as knowledgeable as I pretend to be.

I also have been asked a lot what I think Suri and her peers will think of their childhood fame when they are grown-ups. I have no idea what they’ll think about the paparazzi pics, the magazine covers, or, sure, the parody blogs, but I do suspect that they’ll look back in amused horror at the clothes their parents dressed them in. I know I do.

I pulled out some photos of me from my childhood — I’m sure these clothes were trendy at the time, Mom. (I’m the biggest kid in all of these pictures. That never happens.)

 

Those are the best capri-length pastel overalls that money could buy. My sister is wearing windbreaker pants. (Enough said.) You can see the discarded matching jacket in the background. What a look. Cousin Evan’s sharp outfit withstands the test of time.

 

Would you call this look color blocking? Or just mismatching? I don’t ever remember that neckline style being acceptable, and yet Chelsea and I are both attempting the loose turtleneck look. I wonder if my outfit pieces started out the same color and then went through the wash separately. That wouldn’t explain why it fits so poorly, though. That Peppermint Patty doll’s clothes fit better than mine. I actually like Chelsea’s look, and she is rocking her trademark “some hair up, some hair down” style, which she was extremely committed to.

Make it stop. What is going on with the straps and the random green rosette and that blunt haircut? Chelsea knows not to be proud to be seen with me.

 

Rocking a half-shirt and a high-waisted skirt. Never come back, 90’s. Chelsea’s color-blocked dress would be wearable today. So would her haircut. Not mine. This may have been the period after my regrettable decision to cut my own hair. Drastic measures were taken.

 

This is probably the stupidest dress ever sold. Shoulder cut-outs, an insane pattern, a flamingo applique? It’s literally a head-scratcher, apparently. How did that baby (my cousin) manage to sleep when this dress was SO LOUD? I really want Annie Stamell to leave a comment here and say that she would wear that dress, because she probably would.

 

the only 21 books i need

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how much stuff I own. Not, like, nice things, but STUFF — the DVDs and books and blankets and measuring cups I’ve collected. All it’s doing is creating clutter and weighing me down. If the zombie apocalypse started tomorrow, it would be hard for me to decide what to throw in my car and take with me. In the time it will take me to carefully pack the truck, I will surely be eaten. So I want to start trying to de-stuff my life, not just for the inevitable zombie apocalypse, but also to unload all this crap I don’t need.

Recently, the task was books.

I separated my entire collection of books into two piles — the books I will read again, and the books I won’t. (It’s highly unlikely I’m going to read my undergraduate Supreme Court casebook again, even though Justice Alito signed Article III in the reference section.)

The keep pile included only 21 books. Here are some of them:

Aaron Sorkin’s West Wing shooting scripts. I would rather read Sorkin scripts than any novel; he is my favorite writer, regardless of medium, and these two books are like brain candy. I flagged this speech.

The Time Traveler’s Wife. This is seriously my favorite book of all time. I love time travel romances, but too often, especially when these stories are on television, the logistics get all messed up and then I get ragey. (I’m looking at you, season five of Lost.) But the time travel details in this book never conflict with each other. My favorite part is the underlying message about fate: Clare loves Henry because he came to her throughout her childhood, and she recognizes him as an adult; Henry only goes to Clare’s childhood because they are in love in the future. THE LOVE COMES FROM NOWHERE.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. DON’T JUDGE ME IT’S MY FAVORITE. I love stories where a big group of heroes has to join together against a common enemy, like The Avengers or the season four finale of Alias. This is the best Harry Potter book, and I will defend it forever. It’s also my favorite movie.

Kate Chopin’s collected novels and stories. It’s just so efficient! Everything she ever wrote in one volume! This is my favorite short story of hers.

To Kill a Mockingbird and The Great Gatsby. Cliche, but duh.

The Lost Encyclopedia. I don’t know, I just love it.

Emily Post’s Etiquette. You’d be surprised by how often I refer to this book — do you tip on carryout? How do I respond to this passive-aggressive email? Who gets invited to bridal showers and bachelorette parties? USEFUL, even in a zombie apocalypse.

The Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook. There are a lot of cookbooks in the give-away pile, because this, plus Cooks Illustrated back issues, are the only recipes I need that I can’t get online. Need to know how to braise a chicken? Page 253.

Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique. The Feminine Mystique was originally published in 1963, and I am holding out hope that it will one day help Betty Draper stop being such a nasty-ass bitch.My copy has a lot of markings in it and an introduction from Anna Quindlen.

Mark Helprin, Winter’s Tale. In a season three flashback episode of Fringe, young Olivia reads this 750-page book, and I think I ordered it from Amazon that night. It is masterful, a beautiful story about love and redemption and magic. (Also, time travel — are you sensing a theme?) Downtonian Jessica Brown-Findlay is playing Beverly in the movie, which is being directed by Fringe writer-director-producer Akiva Goldsman. Also there is a flying horse.

The rest of the books are going in a big cardboard box to set on the stoop. Free stuff, neighborhood!

this us weekly article is everything bad about celebrity journalism.

“PICS: Bikini-Clad Neve Campbell Introduces Baby!”

If by “introduces,” you mean, “gets papped from afar while taking her child outside,” then sure, she introduced her baby. But when I think of someone introducing their baby, I think of, like, Roc and Roe on 20/20 or Maxwell Drew Johnson in People or the beginning of The Lion King. “Introduces” implies consent. Neve Campbell did not put out a press release when her baby was born, she has not provided the press with a name, and no one even knows her child’s sex.

These are the kinds of pictures I won’t post to Suri’s Burn Book. For starters, they are boring and Neve Campbell is barely famous, but mostly … this isn’t what I want to make fun of. I want to make fun of the C-listers who LOVE to parade their children around in public for attention. (Giuliana Rancic and Vanessa Lachey are going to keep my blog in business for years.) The paparazzi are free to take photos in public, but for Us Weekly to suggest that she or her child had any agency in this situation is ridiculous and creepy.

[Sidebar: I wonder if this is coming across as hypocritical. I hope not. If it is, maybe this is worthy of a longer post about my own “editorial” decision-making process. (There is one.)]

Also: “The new mom proudly showed off her post-baby body in a black bikini while splashing in the water with her man.” If I never hear the phrase “post-baby body” ever again, it’ll be too soon. How do you know she “showed it off”? How do you know she did so “proudly”? Ugh, that sentence is so offensive to me as a person.

It’s too hard to be a lady in this country these days.

 

imagining downton abbey, season three.

Randomly, the back of the 2013 Downton Abbey wall calendar is online now, and there are some new promotional photos hidden inside. Like every nutty nut on Tumblr, I’m trying to figure out WHAT IT ALL MEANS. Here are some ideas. (Under the cut in case you haven’t seen season two or the leaked season three promo — which, if you haven’t, get on it.) Continue reading

revisiting my disdain for organized collegiate activities.

In high school, they used to have mandatory pep rallies, which was a surefire way to get me to sit like a surly bitch in the bleachers for an hour, openly hating everyone. I would have much rather been sitting in Calculus than at a pep rally. When was it my turn to have the rest of the school be forced to clap for me? Answer: never. They never force people to get peppy about the school newspaper or getting a 5 on an AP exam or the musicals or girls who are friendly but not popular. Man, even thinking about it now makes me angry — such utter bullshit. The injustice.

That really turned me against sports in general and football in particular. When I was applying to colleges, I wanted to go as far away from the SEC-obsessed land of my childhood as was reasonably possible. The fact that GW (where I ended up) didn’t have a football team was a draw for me.

I did have some understanding of NCAA basketball. My dad went to the University of Louisville, and it would have been impossible to grow up in my house without a healthy respect for the Cards basketball team. Here we are before a UofL basketball game. The red eye is on purpose because we are that committed to the team.

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But basketball doesn’t generally involve tailgating, mostly because of the whole winter situation. At GW, I lived across the street from the arena, and I would usually be in bed until it was time to line up outside and complain about the cold.

My sister went to Auburn University, though, and that opened my eyes to how fun the college football experience can be. My first tailgate was at an Auburn game. I was like 22. Chelsea was a senior in 2010, when the team won the national championship, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen her as stressed out and mean as she was during the 2010 Iron Bowl game. (And that’s saying something. She’s my sister.) My favorite Twitter-friend-turned-real-life-friend Anna Kathryn is also an Auburn alum — it’s how I knew she was a trustworthy individual. Both of them, smart and hilarious, know a LOT about Auburn Football.

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In the south, college pride gives people something to rally around that isn’t, like, secession or Chick-Fil-A. For people who aren’t sociopaths, it fuels healthy rivalries. It is fun, when it’s about being proud of the whole school and tradition (or, for me, of the southern experience and of my sister), and not about celebrating mean kids who, yes, peaked in high school. 

My favorite part about the Auburn community, which I am appropriating even though I did not go there, is saying “War Eagle” to people in Auburn gear. I’ve started saying it to people, just because it’s fun. (It’s Auburn’s battle cry, but you can say it on the street to a fellow fan with the tone of a friendly hello.) Living up north — or, as far north as I’m willing to go, 5.3 miles northeast of Robert E. Lee’s home — when you swap “War Eagle”s with a stranger wearing a Tigers shirt, it’s always a pleasant five-second exchange. Because what you’re really saying is, “Damn, it’s good to be a southerner, am I right?” And they always say it back.

i just did the most awkward thing ever.

So I’m laying in bed falling asleep to the quieting and familiar sounds of Downton Abbey when I get a text. It’s from a Maryland number, and the limited text history is about being buzzed into my apartment. This new text, however, is inviting me out on a boat tomorrow. (!!!)

My friend Dave was at my apartment on Thursday night and he had texted me or called me when he was downstairs from a number I didn’t have saved. (Work cell? Someone else’s because his phone died? You’d have to ask him.) So I immediately was like OH MY GOSH DAVE IS THE BEST FRIEND EVER AND I AM GOING ON A BOAT.

Listen, there are two things you drop everything for: 1) family emergencies and 2) boat invitations. I was already planning my outfit in my mind and trying to figure out if I need to buy sunscreen in the morning.

I texted back to find out the plan, because I have really important plans tomorrow night involving Spice Girls and The Newsroom, and Posh Spice waits for no boat. (My text also included the word “Awesome” with a LOT of extra E’s on the end.)

The response was, “Oh my God, I’m so drunk, I texted this to the wrong person. I’m so sorry.”

I was crestfallen. Now, not to call Dave out, but none of this is seeming out of character at this point. Our friendship is such that it wouldn’t be all that weird for him to (A) have a random friend who has a boat, (B) decide to invite me out with a bunch of people at the last minute (especially since, as mentioned, I had just seen him on Thursday), or (C) accidentally drunk-invite someone to a boat party.

So I responded with the only appropriate message: “You suck.”

He responds, and this is where it gets weird…

“That’s fair, I have douchebag status. To be fair, you are the first Craigslist girl I have ever inadvertently hit on.”

Realization hit me with a wave of mortification. It wasn’t Dave. It was the person who bought a cabinet from me on Craigslist this morning. Whose weird boating invitation I had immediately accepted. And then bitched at when he withdrew the invitation. I tried to explain it in a follow-up text, that I thought it was my friend who had also recently been to my house and that I was in a weird mixture of one-third asleep, one-third late night Downton warm fuzzies, and one-third BOAT JUBILATION when I responded to that text. I saw what I wanted to see and totally forgot that a stranger had spent ten minutes at my apartment this morning.

I’m sure he thought I was making that up. I’m sure he thought that I thought he was asking me on a boat date, and that I was extremely enthusiastic about that prospect. (I used the word Awesomeeeeeeeee.) I want to die.

We agreed to call it a draw on who made that texting situation more awkward, but let’s be honest, it was me. He has drinking as an excuse for bad texting, but all I have is boating enthusiasm.