Wednesday, October 28, 2009

"Maybe you should have a beer beforehand."

Here's a two-part confession: I am terrible at doing a whole lot of stuff. This probably doesn't surprise anyone. Everybody's terrible at something. I know people who are terrible at being musical, people who are terrible at performing household repairs, people who are terrible at being even slightly normal around other humans.

I'm really terrible at lots of things, but one thing I'm especially bad at is self-promotion. It might seem counterintuitive, being that I have this blog and all. A friend told me the other day that blogs are largely narcissistic, which sort of made the compliments on my talents as a blogger from others sting in retrospect. And while I see my friend's point, I am choosing to disagree, for my own sake. I don't think he was talking about this blog specifically, but more the ugly view of blogger culture, the idea that simple people sitting at home can decide that people are expectantly for the next morsel of brilliance that will fall from their table.

One of the things that I'm discovering in new ways consistently is that (confession part two) I'm really very good at a lot of things. It doesn't even have to do with talent--there are just some things I can do very well. This is hard for me to admit, because I am used to downplaying things so much. It's hardly as if I am positioning myself as a wallflower, seldom seen and never heard. But I don't talk about my skills or abilities as anything unique.

This came into sharp focus last night, when a friend offered to go over my resume (two friends, actually). Having read my resume, my friend then asked me to talk about each position listed. And in each case, what I spoke was more detailed and more impactful than what I had listed and sent out to who even knows how many employers.

Obviously, you can't ramble on aimlessly on a resume, and so I am in the process of trying to rework our discussion last night into some kind of appropriate and proactive language. But here's the ridiculous part: sitting in this coffeeshop, when I retype lines on the resume with this new, stronger language, I can actually feel myself blushing as I type. That's pretty bad, right? I mean, wow.

I don't really know how to break out of this. I'm a pretty bold and confident woman in person, and even in my writing. But this whole idea of trying to tell someone, "Your organization needs me, and here's why," makes me feel like I have been dropped into a foreign country without so much as a name.

On the other hand, writing rarely makes me blush. It has at times, but not often. That might mean, as some have said, that I'm not being honest enough. But I don't feel that this blog is narcissistic, and I hope it never becomes anything close. I hope that it's clear that I'm just trying to figure things out the best I know how, and the best way I know how is by writing. I hope it's clear that writing make me feel more awake and somehow lighter, even when the topic is heavy. And I know that I'm no good in isolation. Too much time on my own just makes me smaller and more confused.

But I know people manage this every day. They present themselves as the talented, useful, amazing people that they are, they stay honest, and no one looks at them and thinks that they live on some kind of pedestal. So how do you all do it? What works for you? Psyching yourself out in the mirror? Pretending that you're Rocky going into a fight? Managing somehow, without blushing or cracking a smile, to tell someone their house is on fire and you're the only one with water? Please share, really. I'm interested.

Friday, October 23, 2009


Much like the blog and everything else, I signed up for Netflix last week, eons after everyone else did. I tried to act like I was taking the moral high ground, supporting local business (which I was, since I love Movie Madness) but I was also repeatedly paying late fees and spending gas money etc. So I stared at the free month of Netflix (thanks, Gabe & Robin, by the way), and decided finally to give in. And newsflash...

If you like movies, Netflix is crack. Seriously. It's insane. So let's say, in non-Netflix life, you're standing in Movie Madness and you want to bring a movie home. There are at least five that are in your face and interesting, but you are not a slug and therefore cannot bring five movies home at a time.

But Netflix gives you a queue, and you can add things endlessly! They're popping up to your house one at a time, so you may see a movie and say, "You know what, I may want to see that movie sometime in the next seven months. Let's stick it on the queue." And there it sits, waiting, and not at all making you feel like a slug.

Netflix also has this thing where you can find your friends who are on Netflix, and you can see what's on their queue and what they like, and you can compare tastes and have a big Netflix party. But see, the thing is, I don't want any of my friends to see what I have in my queue, not because I have added anything shameful or tasteless (yet), but moreso because my queue is insanely long and the breadth of it basically proves that not only could I swap trivia facts with that dorky video store employee who watches and knows everything, but actually, secretly, I am him, and always have been.

The thing Netflix famously does is they take the films in your queue, movies you've rated (I'm not telling you how many I've rated, either), and types of movies you say you like, and then they suggest things. If you're me, they suggest things you've heard of or been vaguely interested in, and this is how your queue grows to gargantuan proportions. But when you sign in, they suggest things based on mix and match categories. So today, my main screen is suggesting some "Dark Foreign Movies Featuring a Strong Female Lead", "Tortured Artist Dramas", and "Mindbending Psychological Movies". Don't I sound like a barrel of fun? Who wants to come over?

My absolute favorite though, because they take what you like plus what the typical Netflix user likes, is when they recommended that I see some "Unrequited Love Movies", such as "A Cinderella Story" and "Taxi Driver".

Seriously. Apparently anyone who loves "A Cinderella Story" will also love "Taxi Driver" and vice versa. I would love to know how many angry letters Netflix gets in a month. "Dear Netflix, How dare you suggest that we follow "The Lizzie Maguire Movie" with "GoodFellas". Have you no sense of decency?"

That would be a great department to work in. I wonder if they're hiring.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Is this the worst band ever?

I heard this song on the radio today, and the lyrics are so dumb, I had to share them. I bolded the ones I found particularly baffling.

"Hey Soul Sister"

Heeey heeeey heeeeey

Your lipstick stains on the front lobe of my left side brains (what?)
I knew I wouldn't forget you
And so I went and let you blow my mind
You sweet moonbeam
The smell of you in every single dream I dream
I knew when we collided you're the one I have decided
Who's one of my kind

Hey soul sister, ain't that mister mister on the radio, stereo
The way you move ain't fair you know
Hey soul sister, I don't wanna miss a single thing you do tonight

Heeey heeeey heeeey

Just in time, I'm so glad you have a one track mind like me
You gave my life direction
game show love connection, we can't deny
I'm so obsessed
My heart is bound to beat right out my untrimmed chest
I believe in you,
like a virgin, you're Madonna
And I'm always gonna wanna blow your mind

Hey soul sister, ain't that mister mister on the radio, stereo
The way you move ain't fair you know
Hey soul sister, I don't wanna miss a single thing you do tonight

Well you can cut a rug
Watching you is the only drug I need
So gangster, I'm so thug
You're the only one I'm dreaming of
You see I can be myself now finally
In fact there's nothing I cant be
I want the world to see you'll be with me

Hey soul sister, ain't that mister mister on the radio, stereo
The way you move ain't fair you know
Hey soul sister, I don't wanna miss a single thing you do tonight
Hey soul sister, I don't wanna miss a single thing you do tonight
Heeey heeeey heeeeey (tonight)
Heeey heeeey heeeeey (tonight)

Just to give you some context, you know how does those deals? They're offering the new Train album, the new Five For Fighting album, and the new Creed album at $29.97. It can be 2000 all over again!

According to Wikipedia, the song was written by Armund Bjorklund, Espen Lind and Pat Monahan. Monahan is the only one who's in the band, and the other names, if you'll allow me to be presumptuous, sound vaguely Scandinavian, no? Pop acts, probably forever, but I know for at least the last 20 years, have been surviving off the efforts of foreign songwriters like these, presumably because they are Hit Machines. But seriously? All they did was string some pop culture references into a song. I bet I could write one. In fact, maybe that'll be my next blog.

I do have an embarrassing admission to make: I used to be a Train fan. In fact, I owned their first two albums. Paid full price for one of them, even. Anyway, as I heard this song today on the radio (105.1 The Buzz, if you're wondering), I thought, "Didn't they used to be better than this?" and I realized quickly that no, they weren't better.

Their first album had the single "Meet Virginia" about a woman who "...never compromises/loves babies and surprises/wears high heels when she exercises" and who refuses to confess when she is caught stealing. Line up, gentlemen, she's available.

The second album gave us "Drops of Jupiter", which I LOVED, but even then, I loved in spite of the fact that it made absolutely no sense whatsoever. The lovely girl in this song apparently sailed around in space trying to find herself, "listens like spring and talks like June", and misses fried chicken, soy lattes and her boyfriend.

So, yeah. The lyrics always lacked a certain something. But I guess I'm just appalled at how many flat-out lame or just totally wrong songs are circulating (and making money) right now. And they stay popular for so long! We've got the Black Eyed Peas reminding us of the days of the week on "I've Got a Feeling", and the lovely, insane Lady Gaga's ode to blackouts in clubs with "Just Dance", Finger Eleven's "Paralyzed", which always makes me feel like everyone involved with the production of that track is just way scuzzed out, and there's way more. I'm sure you all could think of at least one song out now that's nothing short of asinine.

I do have my pop song weaknesses though, and so in an effort to make amends, here's my current loves:

Jordin Sparks, "Battlefield". First of all, it's Jordin Sparks, for crying out loud, from American Idol. Second, it's a shameless and painfully obvious ripoff of "Love is a Battlefield". I know this. But dang it, it sticks in my head and makes me sing in the car at the top of my lungs. Win.

Kelly Clarkson, "Already Gone". I have always loved Kelly Clarkson. Always. I have completed long car trips with nothing but "Breakaway" in the cd player and loved every minute of it. And I just think she's great, even if she's also from "American Idol", and EVEN after "From Justin to Kelly" (Side note 1: I voted for Justin Guarini all the way through Season one of AI. Side note 2: I was housesitting for my parents a while back and tried to watch some of "From Justin to Kelly" on the FUSE channel. It's really bad.) Also, turns out the first two tracks on her latest album are "My Life Would Suck Without You" (which is essentially an ode to codependency), followed by "I Do Not Hook Up". I think that's hilarious.

Royksopp feat. Robyn, "The Girl and the Robot". There are so many awesome things about this song I hardly know where to start. I think it sounds fantastic, and I typically hate these dancy, Scandinavian-esque (sorry, but they're from Norway) tracks. Also, it has Robyn, who was popular when I was in junior high and is apparently still going. But really, you have to see the video. I can't embed it, but click here. It makes the song. Like, someone could hear the song and think, "I know what you mean, I'm dating a robot, too..." and the video would be like, "No, seriously. my boyfriend is red and boxy and made of metal and he waters plants."

How can you not love that? And I'm curious, what song or band is driving you up the wall right now? Also, feel free to share any pop culture-laden hit songs of your own. What rhymes with Fergie?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

"Tell them I'm eating my body weight in cheese & crackers."

Personally, I'm not fond of the "I'm angry and I'm going to vent my frustrations on all my hapless readers" posts. But I heard something tonight that made me so frustrated I have to get it out. As always, I'm happy to hear what you think.

A friend of mine, who shall remain anonymous, texted me tonight to tell me that a burgeoning relationship had just ended. This person contacted my friend recently, and let her know that though they hadn't seen each other in several years (they were classmates), he had been thinking about her consistently and felt that God was telling him to explore a potential relationship with her.

I know, it sounds a little weird already.

So, this "relationship exploration" or whatever began very recently, and they had been in contact on a daily basis since. Tonight, apparently, they were discussing eating and exercise habits, and this person said told my friend something along the lines of, "If we end up getting married, I will run with you every day until you have the body of a model."


My friend was understandably taken aback, and she informed him that while it was one thing to encourage her to be healthy and reach her goals, it was something else entirely, and entirely inappropriate, to expect her body to change utterly because she was now his wife.

When she told him this, the man announced without much fanfare that he had obviously been wrong about God's leading in the situation, and that both the conversation and the relationship possibility were over. Just like that.

My friend is neither fat nor thin, but that is hardly the point. I told her plenty of stuff that she already knew, mainly that his words were complete bullshit and she should be glad to be rid of him so soon. But it brought up a question to my mind that I have often wondered about before.

Before I go any further, I want to make it clear that this is not a man-bashing post, that women are just as capable (and I think sometimes just as likely to) of having these same thoughts.

A long time ago, some pastor or another told me to make a list of what I would want in a husband--character qualities and the like. They made the point that the list should not be focused on physical attributes, but that this list should be consulted when I dated anyone, and if crucial items on the list were not met, I should not be in the relationship.

Whether you've been told explicitly to make a list or not, I believe we all have one. Especially for those of us in the Christian community, many of whom have been told that our spouse is out there, waiting, and God, in his perfect timing, will bring us exactly the perfect person for us.

What this often turns into is the incorrect assumption that we can essentially custom-order a spouse from God. And because this is rarely discussed, it often goes unchecked, leading many of us to think in the back, secret spots in our minds that this Perfect Person God Has Chosen For Us will look how we would like, will have a personality that compliments us perfectly, will share our political leanings, sexual interests, social constitution and, of course, obviously, spiritual discipline.

This is so untrue. I remember being absolutely cut to the core when I first heard this, but it's true:

GOD HAS NOT PROMISED YOU OR ME A SPOUSE. There is nowhere that says that God is bound to provide you the perfect husband or wife. For many of us, He will, but not because He has to. And since it's not promised to us to have a spouse, what right do any of us have to tick off boxes and categories into which our spouse must fit?

I do believe, if you are a Christian, that God intends, if you marry, for you to marry someone who also loves God with all their heart, soul and strength, and who will encourage you to do the same. And it's all well and good for us to say, "Well, I want to marry someone who isn't a liar, and who isn't greedy..." etc, but the truth is we're all liars, we're all greedy, and we're all sinners, and whoever you marry, that sin is going to show up at some point. The important thing is not to imagine it's not there--it's knowing what to do when it arrives.

So, all of this is to say that I am sorry and frustrated for my friend. Unfortunately, I've found that sometimes invoking the name of Jesus over a relationship simply allows for one person (or both) to jerk the other around and cause great amounts of grief.

How do we handle this better, friends? How do we stop the inner monologue that says, "Well, this can't possibly be the person for me, because God wouldn't send me someone who...". I wonder if any of us can see people for who they are, and not just who they are to us. Would it change anything? I think it might.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Making sure you get yours..

***A note for my non-Christian friends: The following might seem a bit more 'hyperspiritual' than previous posts, but I hope it will still offer an engaging perspective for you. Please feel free to share your thoughts***

I've been thinking a lot about what it means to live as a Christian lately. It's fair to say that I've been pretty focused on the topic for the last two and half years, but I know I am still learning. And I've been thinking about it in terms of some of the political debate that has been circling around.

What does it actually mean to live as a Christian who is fully devoted and committed to Christ?From what I can tell, it has to do with a lot of letting go.

If, as Christians, our goal is to live like Christ, then we have to study how He lived. In the time of His ministry, He had no home, and lived largely by the kindness of friends and neighbors. He lived a life of consistent service, never asking to be compensated, and He lived a life where the very people He served ultimately sent Him to His death. When He was on trial, He didn't speak in His own defense, and never demanded that His rights be upheld.

So what does this mean for us? A more appropriate question is what does this mean for me, as I can't promise that everyone will come to the same conclusion.

I have to remember that everything I have, the socks on my feet, the food in my pantry, my degree and the breath in my lungs is a gift from God. Because everything I have is a gift, I do not have to demand anything from anyone. I will be cared for, I will be protected, regardless of whether I receive the proper respect my position affords or the paycheck my degree requires. Because God has loved me and provided generously for me, I am compelled to share that with others whenever and however I can. To this end, I will serve who I can as well as I can. This is, I believe, excellently lived out through things like the Compassion Connect clinics.

In the midst of the country being deep in the health care debate, I submit that it is not up to me to determine who is deserving of health care and who is not. Jesus famously used the metaphor of the sick to point to honoring him ("I was sick, and you cared for me"). I believe our actions, for good or ill, have deeper impacts than we realize. God's love and care for us are not dependent on them, but he can take our meager offerings of service, and use them for far greater things.

I don't believe that this means that every Christian must liquidate their assets and begin to live on the street. It doesn't mean we should fear success, or that having money is bad. But it does mean that we hold what we have lightly, understanding that it is not ours, and should it be taken from us, we will not be without hope. So, we serve, we give and we learn, slowly, to put others ahead of ourselves.

I hope it's clear that I am learning just as much and just as slowly as anyone--I hardly wish to submit myself as an example. Jesus' call regularly worries me, because I love my life so much. But I know that in losing it, whatever form that takes, I will gain a greater value of Christ and being like him, and what could be better?

I believe a large part of this comes from where we take our identity. I want my primary identity to be that of a Christian. Any other identities, past, present or future, will fall, I hope, under that. Where is your primary identity? Is it as a Christian? An American? A spouse? A parent? Does your identity come from your job, or from what you choose to consume? Whatever determines your primary identity will determine how you live.

I've been thinking about writing this blog for several days, and I've postponed it because it made me nervous. I understand that the views I am putting forth may not resonate with everyone, and may even frustrate some. But I believe I must say them. I'd like to hear your thoughts on this as well...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

"I'm a woman, so I love puzzles in the shape of men."

I had a conversation yesterday with my friend Julia, and although she called under dark circumstances, I laughed harder than I have in a very long time. I've known Julia since I was 14 or 15, and we've managed to stay in excellent contact. That having been said, I have completely given up on knowing where in the world she is at any given time. She works for a missions organization and is hopping from one place to another all the time. So now I just ask, and it's usually something like:

H: "So where are you now? Copenhagen?"
J: "Copenhagen was literal days ago. I'm in Albuquerque. But I'll be in Johannesburg Thursday."
H: "I'm in northeast!" (insert clown horn noise here)

Julia is one of those people who really does need to write a book at about her life. I know we all tell one another that we are so fascinating we should each be penning volumes about ourselves all the time (every waking minute!), but with Julia it's actually true. She's a talented writer already, with some great poetry and short stories to her name. But her life is better than any fiction she could come up with, mostly due to the fact that it's usually completely insane.

Julia's not the insane one, to be clear, but things around her tend to go really crazy all at the same time. If it were happening to me, I'd probably be drowning in vodka and Xanax, but she manages to keep it together. Selfishly I would like to credit that partially to our phone conversations, but i doubt that's actually the case.

Couple other things I would like to give you a heads up on:

  • KATU-TV (ABC 2) has just launched a bunch of hyperlocal neighborhood-focused sites, and they said they were looking for neighborhood-centric bloggers. So i got in touch with them, and will eventually (when I post something) be seen here. I have access to some of the other neighborhood sites as well, so if something's going on, feel free to give trume a heads up. :)

  • I've gotten some feedback recently about the blog on Twitter, which I think is crazy and makes me feel weirdly excited. So, if you're on Twitter, feel free to say hi to me, ohmylands. If you hate Twitter, I'm sorry, but I love it.

  • Last thing is something I want to put out there and see what people think. Someone on Twitter posted a link about a new Conservative Bible being worked on, with the aim of ridding the scriptures of their current "liberal bias". According to one source I found (; apparently Wikipedia is too liberal to be trusted), one example of this bias is found in Luke 23:34:

"Jesus said, 'Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." Is this a liberal corruption of the original? This does not appear in any other Gospel, and the simple fact is that some of the persecutors of Jesus did know what they were doing. This quotation is a favorite of liberals but should not appear in a conservative Bible." (

Does this bother anyone else? I'm going to wait a day or two before I comment further, but I would like to hear your thoughts. Remember, you can find me all over the place. :)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

"You save my life, I'll save your life."


I went to see The Hangover with Jessie at the Laurelhurst tonight. If nothing else, the experience reminded me why I try to avoid the Laurelhurst on Saturday nights, and why I tend to avoid jam-packed movie theaters in general.

For the record, The Hangover is actually pretty funny. It won't change your life, but it will make you laugh, and it wasn't nearly as raunchy or as grossout-focused as I thought it would be. That being said, people of the Laurelhurst 9:35 show: It's not that funny. Seriously.

This audience, which was packed, laughed at every single thing. Every. Single. Thing. And here's the problem with laughing at every single thing: it's not how comedy works. Comedy is usually a string of funny things (often called "words" or "gestures") that together work up to something called a punch line. The string of funny things is, in fact, intended to prepare you for the punch line. By that token then, if you laugh uproariously when, say, someone waves their hand or says "Let's go", and then laugh again, equally uproariously when this person's friend waves back or says, "I agree", then you often actually end up missing the far funnier thing that person three has to say or do (Particularly in movies like The Hangover, where there are three principal characters, this is how the scenes are meant to play out. Person A is funny, Person B is normal, and Person C is hilarious, but you miss that because you're still laughing about A and B, who weren't funny, really, to begin with.).

And so, attendee at the 9:35 showing at the Laurelhurst, when you and 200+ of your loudest, drunkest, most every-single-frame-of-this-movie-is-pure-comedy-gold friends chortle and guffaw through two hours of mayhem, I get a bit annoyed, because I can't hear half the movie. Maybe I'm just old.

But like I said, the movie is funny, for the most part, it's not a complete creepfest like Wedding Crashers or a completely body-fluids-obsessed farce like every other hit comedy in recent memory. And Bradley Cooper's extremely cute, and the other two guys are plenty funny, but hopefully it won't shock anyone to learn that the movie is just a rehashing of funny scenes from other movies.

Case in point 1: "Oh no! There's a tiger in the beloved car and he's going to rip it to shreds! This is nothing like the scene in Tommy Boy where there was a deer in the beloved car and he ripped it to shreds!"

Case in point 2: "Oh, my, that wedding singer is creepy and innappropriate, and will not be seen again. But he's also nothing like the creepy and inappropriate rival wedding singer (in The Wedding Singer, in case you're lost) who pops up once and will not be seen again."

It's pretty sad, too, when something gets introduced and you know exactly how the next ten seconds will play out, ie; character in the backseat finds a used condom, tries to toss it away, inadvertently sticking it to the passenger's cheek. Passenger claws desperately to remove the condom, in turn inadvertently attaching it to the driver's neck, causing the driver to operate the car erratically, etc., ad nauseam.

Also, and after this I promise to be done, someone needs to stop putting Ken Jeong in movies. The man is not funny. He's over the top and ridiculous, which for sure has its place, but I'm tired of him already, and nobody knew he existed a year ago. And in The Hangover, it's almost like we're supposed to give this collective sigh of relief like, "Hooray, we can all be racist and laugh at the Overstated Asian Accent of Dubious Origin because he's Asian and he's the one doing it, see? It's hilarious.

Well, I disagree. In HeatherLand, Ken Jeong is fired for the next 18 months, and no theater is allowed to be more than half-full. Also, the popcorn and drinks are free, and if you like characters in a movie, you get to take them home and make them part of your celebrity family. HeatherLand is a lovely place, believe me. And you have to, because in HeatherLand, I'm always right.