Sunday, December 30, 2007

Anniversary

December 15th marked the first anniversary of our marriage, so naturally bob and I spent the day together. At work. In the truck. At the landfill. As unromantic as that seems, it was great to just have each other's company, and I always appreciate good photo opportunities. Besides, I had never really seen what actually happens to our garbage after we put it by the curb at night and the magical trash fairies whisk it away...

This is what several tons of baled garbage from New Jersey looks like on the back of a flatbed tractor trailer:
bob had picked it up in New Jersey the previous day and brought it down to West Virginia, and we were taking it to Kentucky. It was a rainy drive and the skies were a nicely dismal shade of gray, lovely. (Really, I mean that...I have always preferred overcast skies to sunny ones).
I also love factories...I think this one we passed had something to do with car manufacturing...
We arrived at the landfill and bob had to unstrap all the bales of garbage:
He has a tough job...Did i mention it was raining? Exhibit A, ladies and gentlemen - mud:I stayed in the truck and played with the camera and the mirrors...Two roads diverged in a yellow wood...I mean a landfill...and we drove up the one on the left to where the real business happens:Unfortunately I wasn't allowed out of the truck (plus bob warned me the foremen might confiscate my camera if they caught me taking pictures anyway) so I am unable to show you the veritable mountain range of refuse that was spread before me. It covered miles and miles. Here's bob, checking it out...
The equipment used to move the garbage around was quite impressive - the kind of vehicles little boys dream of driving, with giant spiky tires:I guess it all has to go somewhere, but looking at this place, i couldn't help but hate myself and all my American neighbors for our pre-packaged, individually wrapped, paper or plastic lifestyles that create this kind of massive wasteland of junk. I mean, it's not gonna keep me from using four paper towels at a time to clean up a milk splash on the counter or anything, but it tickled my conscience slightly. Only slightly. Like Tom Tucker's mustache when he kisses women...(there's a Family Guy reference for every situation, I am firmly convinced.)

After we got all the bales off the back of the truck and bob had swept the remaining bits of nastiness from the flatbed and removed his work boots (you should have seen the disgusting muck that was stuck to the bottoms of them) it was off to the nearest truckstop for a late breakfast. Mmmmmmm...eggs....After all the post-apocalyptic mad max surrealism of the landfill, my sunny side up eggs appeared strange in my eyes, as did the tacky gift shop that accompanies any good truckstop. I think I should start collecting state snow globes:I love my life. I think it is a gift to be able to have fun in any situation, and to be truly fascinated by the world around me, no matter how odd or trivial the circumstances. I feel sorry for people who spend their lives complaining, wishing for more material possessions and ever more exotic experiences. Open your eyes and your mind a little, and you can make every day as amazing as a trip to a landfill in Kentucky. Pretty freakin sweet...

Friday, December 14, 2007

Self-Flagellation

video

I saw this video late last night on mtv2. It had such a dark fairy tale thing going on that really appealed to me - I love the end when the girl turns and reveals her face and it kills him, it reminds me of the scary book of French fairy tales from the 1600's by Perrault that I read obsessively as a child until my mother took it away. Since I loved it so much I downloaded the AFI album it comes from called "Decemberunderground" (yes, I am an evil downloader person, come and arrest me) even though I know nothing of the band except that the lead singer wears an awful lot of eyeshadow for a guy. Not that there's anything wrong with that, I'm all for creativity and individuality in personal appearance, it's just that guys in eye makeup these days are generally of a certain type, emo or whatever. That should have been a red flag, but I didn't let it deter me. Turns out I like most of the tracks on the album except for the few with too much screaming and not enough singing (not my bag, baby) but I can't remember the last cd i liked all the tracks on anyway so that's not surprising.
I decided to do a little reading on AFI to find out what they're all about. Now we get to the real reason for this post: apparently AFI is classified as goth-punk and they have a real "hot topic/depressed/cut yourself vibe" going on. Gag. I should NOT like the album. I should NOT be listening to it for the third time. Goths are ridiculous mall-haunting Anne Rice reading attention whores, and I don't want to listen to the music they cut themselves and cry to. My shame for liking this album should be exposed and I should be properly punished. I sometimes think I'm a closeted Catholic, what with this desire for confession and penance and all, but then I remember god is dead like a good little Nietzschean. So when things like this come up, I like to punish myself through the public airing of my bad musical tastes via my blog. Here you go, world, Jenny is an embarrassment to herself. I need to listen to some Zeppelin now to wash away the shame.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Dripping With Sarcasm

wow...could there not be a truer statement? i know nothing makes me feel more fulfilled than a sink brim full of greasy dishes just waiting for me to scrub them sparkling clean...sometimes i think about it all day while i'm busy doing other less meaningful things, like attending classes or spending time with loved ones. and speaking of loved ones...some women like a cigarette after sex, but as for me - i like to go wash dishes while i bask in the sweet, sweet afterglow....ahhhhh, now that's satisfaction...

Try It, You'll Like It

I've decided to throw some art at you on a semi-regular basis, because art is good for you, many people fail to appreciate it because of preconceived notions that "art is boring" or through lack of exposure to it altogether, and because it would please me. Mostly because it would please me.

I don't want to frighten anyone right out of the gate, so we won't go straight to post modernism or pop art or any of my most favorite genres that can be inaccessible and confusing to some people...let's try something nice and pretty and easy to digest but still interesting, like this impressionist/realist piece from 1862 by Édouard Manet. Be sure to click on it to view it in its larger size, otherwise the finer details are somewhat muted.


It is called "Le Déjeuner sur l'Herbe" or "Luncheon on the Grass" and was quite controversial in its time, apparently because a painting of a nude in a classical setting was deemed acceptable, while one in a contemporary setting was not.

The background of the painting seems to have been painted with far less attention to detail than the figures in the foreground, in particular the nude woman, who seems the most vividly realized object in the entire piece, no doubt to further draw attention to the fact that she is indeed naked in the presence of two men. It almost makes her more naked by contrast.

I love that the woman is nude for no real reason (although I suppose one could surmise that she had been bathing with the other female figure in the background) while the fully-clothed men seem engaged with each other and completely oblivious of her very presence, let alone her nudity. I also love the direct eye contact with the viewer by the woman, almost challenging you to be shocked by her. It takes her out of the painting in some way, bringing her into the present day, instead of merely making her a flat and inanimate image on a canvas painted 150 years ago.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Snow! and Its (Possible) Effects on Elderly Neighbors

well, it's here.

people have been warning me that it was about to come, and a couple of days during last week it looked as if it might be time, but today we woke up and the ground was officially covered in snow, and the air has been full of soft fat flakes for the better part of the day. i'm told these are deemed "snow flurries." probably not momentous to some of you, but for zoe and me, quite the Occasion, and the beginning of our first winter in a snowy new world.

zoe and i were simultaneously delighted and apprehensive as we waited this morning for the school bus that never came - after it was fifteen minutes late and i had checked the news for school cancellations and watched the neighbor's Bronco pull out of the driveway next door and promptly spin in a slow and stately 360 degree turn like some sort of gigantic metal ballroom dancer, i bundled zoe into the car and cautiously drove her to school. surprisingly, i had no problems on my maiden voyage into the treacherous waters known as "driving on snow encrusted roads." apparently other people did not fare as well, since an hour later on my way to school, i saw multiple people standing and shivering forlornly on the side of the road next to their formerly roadworthy vehicles which were now resting peacefully in various ditches.

also in winter weather related news...

i am now keeping an even more vigilant eye on the elderly (and hopefully ailing! just kidding...or am i...) owner of the amazing house across the street that i fully intend to swoop in on and purchase in the future as soon as the old dame's corpse has hit the mortuary. now that the harsh weather has set in, i am looking for signs of pneumonia or hypothermia or whatever the hell else would do in an old lady of uncertain age and health...but she seems damned hale and hearty in all honesty and every time i see her walking at a snail's pace down to the teeny little tiny little jane lew market, i have thoughts of unscrupulous intent and imagine befriending the old woman and wheedling my way into her good graces (and last will and testament) and convincing her to bequeath me the whole kit and caboodle... i mean, look at this house (the picture doesn't do it justice at all), it's a hundred years old and amazing even covered in snow and you should see the inside...once i walked by and caught a glimpse and it's all original dark hardwood floors and crown molding and wainscoting, and the adjacent property is definitely big enough for the Nubian goats i intend to own, and i've been watching - nobody comes to visit this old lady except an obviously unrelated cleaning woman so why shouldn't i scheme on the place? sigh...because it's morbid and slightly evil, i know...hmmm, i think this is officially the most wrong tangent i have ever chased...

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Exercise Caution: the Photographer Is Drunk

we like to get schnockered and play cards on the weekends and inevitably after i get a few shots in me i feel compelled to pull out the camera to preserve the event for posterity even though my photographic skills deteriorate in direct proportion to the number of drinks i have consumed...but i just blame it on the bad lighting and click away merrily.
by the way, it seems that no matter how well i do in the first three hands, i am incapable of sustaining it and i always lose. like ALWAYS lose, i'm totally serious. it's really kind of funny though and in no way interferes with my enjoyment of the game. it is just accepted by all participating that "jenny will not win." i used to think that only bob could win (case in point, those three aces are his), but since zach started playing with us and started winning occasionally, i have amended it to "only a perrine with a penis can win." it's almost enough to make me want a penis...well, almost...i don't think i could actually handle all that business hanging around down there - the dangle factor, the constant need for rearrangement of various parts, the shrinkage according to current weather conditions, the critical need to protect vulnerable and vital bits - how do guys manage all that?

well anyways...moving right along. the boys don't like their pictures taken during these little soirées, so i usually end up getting shots of things that don't object, like miles or the ridiculously large and ridiculously awesome big ass fork and spoon with tikis on them that hang above our kitchen table.





so that was our friday night, and there are a few of you out there that i wouldn't mind inviting to join us sometime - as long as you're okay with the fact that you're probably not going to win...unless you have a penis and your last name is perrine, of course...

Monday, November 26, 2007

I'm Not OC, Really I'm Not

I was up all night writing a five page paper for dental lab.

On Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs and its relation to dentistry.

It hurt.

Bad.

I better get an A on it.

Or I'm climbing a clock tower, I swear to god...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Added December 6:

No shooting rampages necessary - I got a 99% on the paper...I missed a comma, hence the 1% deduction.
Ms. Shockey is a really strict grader, so I should feel good about the score - but I can't help thinking "if only I hadn't missed that comma"....I think I need medication. As Woody Allen said "There's nothing wrong with you that Prozac and a mallet won't cure."

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Holidays

Ah, Thanksgiving...that festive occasion when we gather together with the people we feel obligated to see and consume a meal we feel obligated to eat. When we pray to a god we don't believe in that a particular relative won't force us to finally say that insulting thing we've wanted to say for the past three Thanksgivings but were never quite drunk enough to say. When you bite into that delicious looking deviled egg, only to unfortunately discover that your new mother-in-law uses an entirely different recipe than you are used to and you wonder how rude it would be to spit it into a napkin, then do the "right" thing and reluctantly swallow it with a smile. When we are felt up by various members of the opposite sex we are vaguely related to, or when a second cousin twice-removed-by-marriage pretends that repeatedly poking your husband and calling him a "ticklish little baby" is perfectly acceptable. When we wander out to the wood shed to view the dead deer hanging inside because it sounds like more fun than hanging out with the in-laws...

Oh, what's that? You had a lovely meal with a family you adore and you all held hands and said "grace" and then took turns sharing the blessings you are thankful for? Well screw you, you well-adjusted freak, the rest of us had a shitty day and the only thing we are thankful for is that we don't have to do it again for another year...

What? It's only a month until Christmas? Oh for the love of god....

Friday, November 16, 2007

Parliamentary Procedure and Self-Perception

Yesterday in dental lab my class elected officers for the first ever American Dental Assistants Association in West Virginia. I went into class swearing to god that I would refuse any nomination I was given on the grounds that (a) I'm freakin busy (b) it's not my style to be in charge of ANYTHING - I'm neither a leader nor a follower, I'm an observant and sarcastic bystander...that reminds me of what Ringo said when asked by the press whether the Beatles were mod or rocker; he wittily replied "Neither, I'm a mocker"...excellent...Damn you, tangent! Where was I? Oh yes, reasons I planned to refuse possible duties...(c) I don't like "clubs". I'm rather anti-social, but not in a dangerous way.

When it came time for nominations my worst instincts were confirmed when I was put up for two out of the six posts. Secretary and Parliamentarian. Which brings me to the entire reason for this particular blog...when the term "parliamentarian" was written on the board, I was amazed when a good half of the class simultaneously said "That sounds like a Jen job." To which I replied somewhat under my breath "That's because you all think I'm the only person who knows what the word means." A few of the girls sitting near enough heard me and said that was exactly right. Ms. Shockey, our awesome instructor (well, I think she's awesome, in addition to her extensive dental knowledge and experience she is also a medical examiner...there's just something about a woman who cuts up dead bodies you gotta respect, know what I mean?) then explained what the term "parliamentary procedure" meant. Here's a link, in case you're not familiar with the term either. (Thank you wikipedia, bastion of quasi-knowledge.) Someone said "Yes, that sounds like Jen, she's a little ass kicker. She'll keep everybody in line."

What?!?

Is that really how I come off? Anyone who has actually known me since I was young could tell you that I am "the smart one" or "the shy one" or maybe even "the funny one" in my family, but a tough girl? My psychology teacher said he thought I was probably pretty rebellious as an adolescent when we were discussing human development. Boy, could that not be the furthest thing from the truth. I've never been in a physical fight of any kind, I abhor confrontation, and I hate to admit it but it truly never even occurred to me as a teenager that I could have risen up and gone against my overbearing and overprotective mother's religious and socially paranoid house rules.

I know that we never see ourselves exactly as others do, but I really am surprised that the apparent general consensus about me at school is the exact opposite of how I see myself. I am, in my opinion, bookish, odd, vaguely amusing, pretty but in a weird way you can't quite put your finger on, and above all else, solitary to the point of being almost unable to identify with those around me. I like people, but only because I like to watch and analyze them in a very removed way, like a scientist with lab rats, not because I want their friendship or acceptance.

Are we who we think we are, or are we who others perceive us to be? Is it possible to be both? What if the two are diametrically opposed to one another?

By the way, I am now the parliamentarian for the West Virginia chapter of the American Dental Assistants Association. I couldn't turn down the nomination, even though I desperately wanted to. See? Told ya I can't stand confrontation...sigh...

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Tiny Tidbits of Hilarity

Courtesy of bob via text message last night while he was in a hotel out of town...

"floovenhoffenmacher" directly translates as one who wants a candy bar but does not want to put on pants

and then, twenty-one minutes later...

"machenhausenflooven" one whose chocolate desire overrides inability to overcome laziness to don pants

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The #1 Thing NOT to Say in Psychology Class

so i was sitting in psych class on monday and prof drago was talking about word association and started to demonstrate the concept by asking random people to say the first word that comes to mind when he says another specific word. for instance, drago said "mother" and people variously responded with "father", "love", etc. (oh, and by the way, the dean - a tiny rigid little woman with no apparent sense of humor - was sitting in on class that day, and happened to have positioned herself at the desk directly next to mine.) it was all well and good until he said "horse" and my first thought was "cock". i barely managed to stifle my laughter and avoided making eye contact with him, hoping to god he wouldn't call on me and i'd be forced to unconvincingly make up something more acceptable, like "saddle" or "pony" or "cart" like the rest of the well-adjusted little students were saying. mercifully drago didn't notice me and i was spared...of course, if the dean hadn't been there...i probably would have just said it...hahaha, what would papa freud think?

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Tasty Morsels of Culture at the National Gallery

For Zoe's 7th birthday (October 6th) we took her to the Smithsonian to see mummies and dinosaur bones, per her request. When this did not prove to be as thrilling as she expected (she actually said "I thought dinosaurs would be bigger" in a very nonplussed kind of way while we stood beneath the hulking frame of a t-rex) i seized the opportunity and told her we would be peeking into the National Gallery for a minute. We ended up spending the rest of the day there. What a selfish mother I am...but I couldn't help myself, it was like church for me (except without the obligatory uncomfortable clothes.)
The first thing I spotted was this huge Claes Oldenburg typewriter eraser as we were passing by the sculpture garden, so of course we ducked in there first...
Then I suspected I saw a Lichtenstein and practically took off running through the garden to get at it. It was indeed, and I about dropped dead with sheer joy (not for the last time that day...)

When we finally made it inside, there was so much to see that we really didn't even know where to start; we had not planned to go there and we kept promising Zoe that we would only look at a few things.
Here is Van Gogh's self-portrait...the shades of blue are amazingly vibrant. Incidentally, did you know that it is now widely believed that he went insane from the lead in his paints? He cleaned his brushes by sucking the paint off in his mouth as he worked...
We wandered through the old masters, bob had a religious experience with some Rembrandts and a Dali, and i got momentarily distracted by some adorably fashionable Japanese schoolgirls who were giggling together near the rotunda fountain. By this time Zoe was bored and exhausted, but we couldn't leave without seeing the Warhols, so we went to the East building where Zoe took a rest...
And I got to see more Lichtenstein
and two huge canvases by Jackson Pollock (one of my absolute favorite artists, you can literally feel the madness in his works, its incredible)
And then, at last, the Holy Grail...the Andy Warhol room
I didn't know what pieces were there, I just knew they had some. When I saw Marilyn I was utterly speechless. My first instinct was to stuff it in my purse and make a run for the exit, taking down any security guards who tried to stop me with a flying roundhouse kick to the head (did I ever mention I was married to an alcoholic Native American kickboxer for a month? No? Slipped my mind...) Eventually I was able to quell the crazy voices in my head saying "Take it, it SHOULD be yours" and i just stood and stared and sighed.
Oh, Marilyn......