Friday Frivolity Flashback

Hello friends!  Short post today as I am gearing up for an insane couple of weeks.  Kicking off the weekend with my first baseball game of the season – here’s hoping it stays warm out at Nationals Park tonight – and then continuing on from there with a boating, birthday parties, and the ballet, because I am a Fancylady sometimes.

 

With all this frivolity on my plate (and the wedding of my almost-big-sister in two weeks!) and the final touches on my grad school application, I haven’t had much time to scourge the Interwebs for clever bits of Friday fun for you.  But fear not!  Sit back, relax, and check out these top ten most popular past Friday Frivolity posts!

Friday Frivolity: My Last $100

It’s Friiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiidaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!  (Hey, sometimes I like to pretend I’m Oprah.)  Very excited for the weekend to be here especially because the butter on our Easter table spread this Sunday will be in the shapes of little lambs and the moment someone cuts into it, I’m going to make jokes about sacrificial lambs for the rest of the day.

For a little bit of frivolity on this fine almost-holiday Friday, I was inspired by a great new website, The Billfold.  Brought to you by the good people behind The Awl, Splitsider, and Hairpin (all worthy reads in their own right), Billfold is an irreverently fun and actually useful site about money and finance.  They didn’t even pay me to say that!  I actually think that thought on my own!  One cool feature on The Billfold is the series “My Last $100” where the author details the last one hundred dollars they’ve spent.  So, I thought I’d give you all a little peek into my finances – prepare to be…underwhelmed (spoiler alert:  it’s mostly food and/or beer-related!)

Note:  For the sake of ease and sparing you from reading about every $0.75 Diet Coke and $2.00 cup of oatmeal I bought this week, this only lists purchases over $5.00 and doesn’t include last night’s Girls Night, because that is off-limits for blog talk (as I foreswore on shoes and you cannot welch on that business).

$10 – DC Beer Week button – put your hands in the air for supporting local beer, what what!

$22 – Pitcher of beer, nachos, and french fries for a pre-21 Jump Street best friend movie matinee.  Mom(s), please don’t judge us.

$18 – Grocery trip to Wegmans – all off the cold/hot bar to stock my lunches for the last few days.  A conscious effort was made to include vegetables, to counter the effects of purchases made the day before this

$25 – H Street Country Club – Shrimp fajitas, a single margarita, and a couple of Dos Equis Ambers – weird DC-themed mini-golf on second floor of the bar was free with entree purchase!

$18Little Miss Whiskey’s – Several beers selected from the beloved Beer Book.

$7 - Au Pon Bain – I attempted to order myself a “healthy” lunch sandwich (veggies!  no cheese!  no aioli!  lots of veggies!) but *true story alert*, there were apparently two Rebeccas ordering lunch that day because when I returned to my desk, there was a turkey, brie, and cranberry chutney sandwich in the bag.  I could have gone back and swapped out for my 400-calorie-veggie-delight but instead, I ate that brie-swaddled goodness and did not look back.  It was a beautiful moment.

Have a great weekend and remember to spend responsibly!

Post-Collegiate Life Lessons: Chevy Chase Edition

When I was kid, my mom would take Baby Sister and I to Blockbuster every Friday and let us rent five videos for family viewing over the weekend.  The break down of the rentals usually went something like this – 1.  New Release, generally action or family-friendly comedy, 2.  Children’s Movie, selected by Baby Sister and automatically disdained by me on the mere virtue of being the selection of a younger child, 3.  1930s-1960s Movie Musical, because I was that kind of a kid, and 4/5. Classic Comedies, culled from Blockbuster’s back shelves.  I would spend a significant amount of time going back up and down the aisles, trying to curate the perfect viewing experience.  My mom (or occasionally my dad, when he had the odd Friday off) would casually suggest that Animal House or Blazing Saddles might be a good pick and then I would be instantly hooked, spending the following weekends trying to watch the rest of the Brooks oeuvre or researching in my Maltin guide what other films the original SNL cast had produced.

A Friday in 1998 that stands out to me, even amongst so many nights of picking up movies that would find their way on my best-of lists for years to come, was the night that Post Collegiate Dad suggested we try a Chevy Chase double feature – Fletch and Spies Like Us.  I knew Chevy from the Griswold flicks and had recently seen Caddyshack for the first time, although I was more taken with Bill Murray’s Carl, dropping “it’s in the hole, it’s in the hole!” into most of my casual conversations.  But up to this point in my life, Chevy Chase was Clark Griswold and nothing more.

That Chase double-feature night changed everything.  I’m not sure if anything I had encountered in my life up to that point.  Whether it was Fletch insisting his name was Babar and that he didn’t have any elephant books or the entire “Doctor” exchange that I still reference in my daily interactions with the doctors here, that night made me a Chase devotee.  I was too young and too uninformed to know about the problems with employers, drugs, ego, and on-set difficulties – all I knew was that he was Chevy Chase and we were not and it was hilarious.

Harboring plenty of good will left from his 80′s classics, I was excited when I learned that Chase was going to be part of Community.  Throughout the past three seasons, the character of Pierce Hawthorne has been sometimes difficult to take but the show has provided a seemingly ideal outlet for Chase’s talent – physical comedy, a blissful lack of self-awareness paired with an overstuffed ego, and misguided bantering.  Watching Pierce try to slip in an Eartha Kitt sex story reference into each of the timelines of the episode “Remedial Chaos Theory” (it came up organically!), I really felt a glimmer of the old magic that made me want to dust off my Three Amigos VHS.

It saddens me to see the recent rumblings of discord between Chase and creator/executive producer Dan Harmon.  I am not as unaware as I use to be and I know that this is just one in a long line of professional disputes that Chase has been involved in that will likely result in his leaving the show, but I am still just as disappointed.  While I often try to ignore the behind-the-scenes antics and personalities when evaluating my pop culture intake, it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to do so as the creative process is shared in real time over social media and spread so quickly over the Internet.

With that said, I also can’t help but feel that hopefully a few lessons can be learned from Chevy Chase’s most recent professional troubles, one that may well-serve those fresh out of college and diving into their first few jobs:

  • Be careful who you say things to.  Part of Chase’s job is promotion - Community has never been a ratings powerhouse, so each cast member has been deployed generously to talk to reporters and journalists ranging from major publications to tiny entertainment blogs to help drive buzz.  This means that even the most casual quip or jibe made about his time on the set has been repeated, circulated, and quoted ad nauseum.  What may have been a careless remark about a gag or joke he didn’t like has now become gospel just by sheer repetition.  This just as true for office gossip, whether or not your office is on-set.
  • Don’t take things at the work place too seriously.  Maybe you and your boss don’t get along great or perhaps one of your coworkers tends to exclude you from lunch outings.  Sometimes it’s best not to let life at work upset your actual life outside of work.  While Chase could take the mature route and ignore what he perceives as slights and attacks from Harmon, he is only adding fuel to the fire by taking things personally.  It’s a paycheck and sometimes, that’s all it has to be, especially if you’re good at what you’re doing.
  • It’s prudent not to bad mouth your boss, especially in public.  And at the end of the day, it’s your boss who makes sure that paycheck keeps coming.  When you do have a problem, it’s always best to go straight to the source and try to have a measured, calm conversation.  Airing your grievances publicly, even after you’ve left your job, only makes you look bad and burns bridges behind you.
  • Try not to make the same mistakes twice.  The most aggravating aspect of this debacle is that Chase has done all of the above multiple times in the past.  This most current conflict, likely exacerbated by Harmon’s own prickly personality, could have been avoided if Chase had tried to learn from his previous mistakes.

What do you think?  Is my affection for the comedy genius clouding my judgement on this one?  Have you ever had some Chase-like moments of unprofessional behavior?  Still not sure what Community is?  Leave it in the comments!

 

Friday Frivolity: Nerd Nostalgia, Schoolhouse Rock Edition

Alternately titled:  How I Spent Thursday Night Drunk With My Schoolteacher-To-Be Best Friend Watching Schoolhouse Rock YouTube Videos

I’m a simple creature.  It doesn’t take much to make me happy.  A roof over my head, clean clothes on my back, and warm food on my table.  Throw in a case of Miller High Life and wireless Internet access and I will become downright gleeful.  Last night started innocently enough – a few girls gathered together for dinner, catching up, and gossip.  But then…everything changed.

Remember D.A.R.E.?  Of course you do!  D.A.R.E. is famous for keeping almost no middle class suburban white kids off of drugs but giving us all really cool retro shirts to wear ironically when we were smoking up behind the tennis courts during our off period (Mom, I swear, it was only the other kids, I was there to study!)   Apparently, D.A.R.E. is still alive and kicking (because in all seriousness, they do good work, especially the drug dogs they bring to school when you graduate), so my STBBF was kind enough to share this jaunty tune that her students are currently learning to perform for their D.A.R.E. graduation.  Warning:  Listening will cause major earworm.  NOT A JOKE.

Once we listened to this song like five times – and warned each other to “check our attitudes at the door” – it was a YouTube nostalgia fest.  After brief detours with Rappin’ Rabbit and The Hippo Song (one of us grew up with a weirdly musical religious aunt), it was time to bring out the big guns – SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK!  My passion for Schoolhouse Rock cannot be overstated.  We own the VHS set at home and I still love to pull them out and watch them en masse when I’m visiting the PCParentals.  I have very fond memories of catching the clips during Saturday morning cartoons, implementing them into my stash of babysitting tricks, and playing tracks off the dope cover album when I was a college DJ.

The genius of Schoolhouse Rock is that it exists perfectly at the intersection of sincerity and camp.  The content is legitimately educational, unlike so many contemporary offerings, and there’s an earnest enthusiasm that never quite feels hokey, because each song’s story is sublimely silly in its own right.  While I always had a personal preference for the grammar and history series, even the math and science songs had a way of making me want to laugh at it and with it, all at the same time.

So, in honor of this most frivolous Friday, please enjoy my top ten favorite Schoolhouse Rock videos (in no particular order).

Sufferin’ ’til Suffrage

I like to think that my feminism really grew out of watching this over and over again.  Also, how fantastic is that girl’s ponytail?  SUPER FANTASTIC.

Three Is A Magic Number

I am not ashamed to admit that I still use this to do multiplication in my head!

The Tale of Mr. Morton

Not only is this story incredibly sweet (Mr. Morton was lonely…Mr. Morton was), but another great feminist-inspiring song – spoiler alert, the woman proposes!

Interplanet Janet

“A solar system Ms. from a future world” is just the catchiest damned lyric.  This has a 89% chance of being my Halloween costume this year.

Elbow Room

It was a toss-up between this and The Shot Heard Round the World, but is there a better song that illustrates Manifest Destiny?  It’s also a PostCollegiate Family Favorite – we often sing it when we’re cramped in small spaces together.

Lolly, Lolly, Lolly (Get Your Adverbs Here)

Everyone is always raving about Conjunction Junction but honestly, this is the Grammar Song that just gets stuck in my head whenever I think about adverbs – which is probably more than any reasonable person should.

Electricity, Electricity!

A little dare – go switch your lights off and then on again.  Did you just sing the chorus to yourself?  Of course you did.  Don’t be ashamed.

Dollars and Sense

Okay, so I clearly did not learn Becky Sue’s money lessons very well (as evidenced by my inability to stick to a budget) but this is like the most charming song about currency that has ever existed.

Rufus Xavier Sarsaparilla

Thanks to STBBF for reminding me how awesome this song is – saying all those nouns over and over CAN wear you down!

Mother Necessity

This song comes in hand whenever I’m watching Jeopardy and there’s a category on inventors. 

Okay and one more bonus video, because, come on, it’s the golden standard of Schoolhouse Rock videos:

I’m Just A Bill

It’s a classic for a reason, folks.  And it’s adorably old-fashioned as it features a Congress that used to actually DO things like enact laws!

And In the End, The Love You Take, Is Equal To The Love You Make

Ah, February 14th – truly one of the most manic, bipolar days of the year.  It seems that every year, as we inch closer to the second week of February, the world becomes split into two distinct, rival camps – the ridiculously over-the-top, scream-it-from-the-rooftops-that-I-am-in LOVE couples and the cold cynics who hate any display of warmth, affection, good manners, or kindness on any day even nearing the 14th.

When it comes to my views on Valentine’s Day, I agree with The Oatmeal – the worst part is not all the reminders that you are alone and unloved (because you aren’t!  I love you, readers!) but the people who feel the need to shout their distaste for love in your face and remind you incessantly that they hate Valentine’s Day.

I get it – for many people, it’s not fun to be reminded that you be missing something in your life that you want or need, but to be honest, I think it’s nice to have a day out of the year where we can be reminded of the power of love.  I like to embrace the universal feeling of love – the kind of love that not only comes from a romantic relationship (or at least the pleasing euphoria of lust) but the love that is borne out of kindness, consideration, and respect for others.

I spend a fair amount of time on this blog complaining – and while I know that I have an amazing circle of family and friends to help me through what is turning out to be a pretty insane decade of my life, I’m not always as vocal or appreciative of how much love I have in my life and how lucky I feel to be surrounded by such a loving group of people.  In that spirit, here are a list of things I love on this Valentine’s Day:

  • I love my mother for coming into town quarterly to help me shut down bars and go shopping for ridiculous fragrances
  • I love my father for email bombing me with on-line petitions and sneaking in the occasional “women’s issue” email because he “knows it’s important to me”
  • I love my baby sister, for always making me laugh both intentionally (parental imitations, mocking me, wordplay) and unintentionally (tipsy tweeting)
  • I love my friends, for indulging in my 1,000 word emails, usually sent in multiple throughout the day, and generally responding with advice like “let him put it in you” or “it’s not too late to run away to the circus”
  • I love that, even in 20 degree weather and with less than a few hours notice, I can get together a fairly impressive trivia team
  • I love my co-workers, especially the ones who keep candy trays on their desks and never even raise an eyebrow if I make a half-dozen visits during the day
  • I love the guy at the Metro Station, who hands out the WaPo Express and never fails to compliment my smile or my outfit or my manners, and manages to always boost my spirits without being creepy
  • I love the doctors I work for, who dedicate every minute of the day to caring for others, to putting their needs second always to the needs of the patients, and for still managing to be friendly and warm to the staff
  • I love how nice people in the District can actually be, especially if you flash them a smile
  • I love that I have a little corner of the Internet to write and muse and complain and be silly and that you guys actually come here and read it and write me and make me feel less alone

Sure, there are things I would probably love to be able to list (I’d love having no financial woes, I’d love to help make my friend’s troubles disappear, I’d love to be able to tell my heart exactly what to feel) but all things considered, there is a lot of love in my world – and hopefully in yours!

Happy Valentine’s/Anna Howard Shaw Day!

Post-script:  Speaking of love, I love love love our fearless post-collegiate for this week!  Be sure to check back in the next day or two for our in-depth interview – it’s going to be a great one!

The First Years Out

As long-time readers know, I was let go from a job that started out great but turned out to be one of the most challenging experiences of my young, inexperienced life.  I learned a lot of lessons from those three years but one of the most important lessons learned is that I will never be as erudite or witty as my co-worker/friend/partner-in-crime-and-drinking Kate.

Kate is just one of those all around awesome people, who (conveniently for me), wrote a great blog post last spring about the stages of post-collegiate life (click it!  read it!  love it!)*  I love this post because it showcases not only Kate’s trademark levity but also covers some serious ground.  According to Kate, here is what will happen after you graduate**:

  • You will move back home – This was only not true for me because I was very comfortable with being exceptionally poor.  Like, skipping meals to buy $2 PBRs at bars where the bartenders would conveniently forget I had more than one poor.
  • You will have a terrible job – Sorry, folks.  This is a non-negotiable.  You will have a terrible job, be terribly underpaid, and probably hate yourself a little bit.  And as for crying at your desk?  That happens to the best of us.  Embrace it.
  • You will get a pet – Kate got a dog.  I prefer minions.  Either way, you’ll need something to love you unconditionally when everything feels like it’s going wrong.
  • You will go to graduate school – Let’s be honest, all of y’all are in graduate school or already have that secondary degree or are in the midst of applying.  Even I can’t hold out forever…
  • You will be jealous of your peers’ lives – Whether it’s job envy or a desperate yearning to afford the vacations that everyone else seems to take, you will hate Facebook and it’s annoying window into the wonderful lives of others.  The good news is that in a few years, the divorces and epic burn-outs of your peers will start replacing all this good news, so at least you can revel in a little schadenfreude.
  • You will have so much fun – Amen, sister friend.  Those first three years out were hard (and it’s not gotten that much easier) but the amount of fun you have barely scraping by with great friends to commiserate with cannot be overstated.  And as long as you remember to have fun, everything seems to work itself out eventually.

*This post was originally published on the George Washington University Honors Program blog.  Even if you’re not a GW student (or an honors student), they have a lot of great resources!

**As a disclaimer, I agree with the author that these stages only apply to poor, pathetic humanities majors.  Engineers and science nerds, congratulations on your decent salaries and job security!