Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Steel Magnolias Drinking Game

Alright everyone CALM DOWN.

I understand that for some people, Steel Magnolias is sacrosanct (Just realized it isn't spelled "sacrosaint." Embarrassing.) But lets all just get on board with the fact that the movie is a bit ridiculous. I love it to the point of obsession, but one of the most featured characters is Dolly Parton. So... I think we can all get off our high horses and get onto our more reasonably-sized miniature ponies.

Also, I know that the movie is based on a play which I'm sure is much less ridiculous. Unfortunately, I only saw the live play once. And it was at my sister Emily's high school play - a York High School production.

York High School: Home of the Dukes of York. That is not a made up mascot.

"Fear the Monocle." Sigh... memories

The things I remember from Emily's performance in Steel Magnolias:

1. My sister played the part of Ouiser, a spunky, rich, bitter yet lovable southern lady. In the movie, she is played by Shirley McClaine, aka the light of my life.

2. At one point, Emily forgot her line. She was supposed to list two annoying things that teenagers do. The first thing is something along the lines of "you have teenagers urping on your shoes" and then comes the other thing. Emily forgot the second thing. She said something like "you have teenagers urping on your shoes and... MORE teenagers urping on your shoes!"

And she was embarrassed and came up to my family afterwards talking about it. My dad said, "yeah but you improvised! No one even noticed! Improvisation is what makes someone a great actor!"

And I was like "Ohhh. I see. Emily is just so great at acting. She's so talented. This is acting. Now I really understand" Like I was such a genius. I had figured out the secret to life at age ten. I probably wrote about it in my journal because YES I WAS THAT AWESOME.

3. End of list.

So anyway, the other day I was watching Steel Magnolias and eating Meijer-brand moose tracks (as one does) and realized that the movie is ripe for a drinking game spin-off.

I felt a little guilty about making this game after I realized that the man who created the play based it off of his real experience with his sister. But... then I decided that this can be my way of immortalizing that play. By making it into a drinking game.

Let's begin!

RULE 1. As soon as Dolly Parton gets on screen you better start drinking. Because I can think of two words that describe that woman's acting style. The first word is "forced" followed closely by "hairspray."

Don't get me wrong, I love Dolly Parton. You kind of have to love Dolly Parton.

Jan Hooks (former SNL cast member and stage mom to Jenna Maroney on 30 Rock) said that when Dolly Parton came on SNL her only rules were, "Look, okay, here's the deal. I won't use any cuss words and I won't make fun of Jesus." And that is adorable.

RULE 2: Drink when Shirley MacLaine sticks her tongue out. Or gets her mustache waxed.

By the by! Good ol' Shirley will be appearing on Downton Abbey as Maggie Smith's arch nemesis.

When I first heard the news I was all

But now I've adjusted and I'm just incredibly impatient for the spring. 

RULE 3: Drink every time Dolly Parton says an "aside" joke that would be totally cute on stage but ends up super awkward on camera. Examples include:

-"There's so much static electricity in this room, I pick up everything but boys and money."

-"Oh, Sammy's so confused he don't know whether to scratch his watch or wind his butt." 
-"Louie brought his new girlfriend over, and the nicest thing I can say about her is all her tattoos are spelled correctly. "

Here's my thing. You can't just take a play and plop it in front of a camera. Just like you can't take every movie and make it into a play. You need to change some things. But instead, the guy who wrote the screenplay (the same guy that wrote the play) kept all these little "aside" moments from the play and gave them to the one woman who doesn't really know how to deliver them. 

Rant over. 

Rule 4: Pour one out for one's fallen bretheren: the armadillo cake. 

Rule 5: Drink when you realize it's Daryl Hannah under those glasses and hair. 

I do appreciate that they made real attempts to make her look homely. There's nothing more annoying than when movies take a hot actress and try to pass her off as a nerd. I'm looking at you, Brittany Snow circa John Tucker Must Die. 

"As the years passed, he fell into despair and lost all hope. For who could ever learn to love a beast? "

Rule 6: Drink when Olympia Dukakis makes fun of Ouiser. 

Rule 7: Drink when you realize that Olympia Dukakis also has a part in a great American film I like to call Look Who's Talking. I used to be obsessed with that movie. Also, lets talk about the fact that in that movie the voice of the baby is Bruce Willis. Like... if you wanted me to list the top 10 celebrities I would have NEVER picked to be the voice of a baby, Bruce Willis would be numbers 1-5. Number 6? John Gosselin. 

Well done, Hannah. That was very timely. Everyone is still talking about Jon & Kate Plus 8.

Rule 8: One shot for every "oh god I wanna know WHYYY" that comes out of Sally Field's brassy magnificent trap. 

Rule 9: Drink for synchronized slow hand waving. 

I love it in all its forms:

Rule 10: Finish your drink before the early--90s--slow--zoom--out--with--credits--rolling--over--it finishes. 

Yeah. That's a giant rabbit on the back of a motorcycle.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Remembering 9/11 through the eyes of a 6th grader

Watch out everybody, this post is not going to be very funny. But it was written in response to a friend who wanted to know how I recalled the 9/11 attacks, I think mostly because I was in the 6th grade at the time of the attack. Which is an odd age to be during such a monumental event. For the most part, being that age meant that I could remember everything, but I was told nothing. And so...

My memory of the 9/11 attacks begins with a boy named Nick.

Nick and I were never close. Actually we were hardly even acquaintances. I haven't spoken to him since high school, and I will most likely never see him again. But from now on, he is the opening line to my memorized script that I've prepared for whenever someone asks,"where were you when the planes hit the World Trade Center?"

Nick walked up to me in first period art class while I was carving a leaf-shaped stamp out of an eraser. He was bouncing from table to table, telling everyone that "some guy flew his plane into the World Trade Center in New York."

I thought it was an accident. I imagined it was a tiny airplane. For some reason, my mind went to a Wilbur and Orville Wright "flying machine" made of wood. I figured it must have veered out of control.

I frowned as I looked down to keep carving at my eraser."I hope the pilot is okay," I replied.

He sneered, "You don't even know what the World Trade Center is."

Then the game was on. This is the 6th grade version of chicken. Neither party understands, but both keep upping the ante. It can occur, in some instances, when the really popular girl asks, "do you even KNOW what french kissing is?" And of course you don't. But you immediately respond, "Of COURSE I know. I'm not a baby."

She insists, "Then what is it?"

You can feel yourself getting red so you quickly whisper, "I'm not telling YOU. Don't be gross." And you both go back to playing solitaire on your iPod minis.

"You don't even know what the World Trade Center is."

Of course I didn't. I was eleven. But I pretended that I did. And for the rest of the day I kept pretending. And so did my teachers. Although they seemed more focused on pretending that nothing was wrong.

Second and third period, when the towers started collapsing, teachers ran in and out of each other's rooms. The 8th grade English teacher would flit into our classroom to have hushed conversations with my math teacher. He covered their covert exchange with a clipboard or a sheet of paper. Then he ran back to his classroom, and my math teacher began to cry.

And we were copying equations from the board and filling out worksheets.

I don't blame the teachers for not giving us the details. Like everyone else, they were completely unprepared on how to handle this situation. Plus Junior High is an awkward age. Should we be told? We're 11, 12 and 13. We can solve simple algebra equations, but we also decorate our folders with Spongebob Squarepants stickers.

Ultimately, everyone did what they thought was best. But we still didn't know what was happening.  Occasionally we students would forget, for 30 minutes or so, that today was different from any other day. But then another friend would get called over the intercom. "Your parents are here to pick you up" the intercom would say, "please come straight to the office. Do not stop at your locker."

Halfway through the day, we were asked to put our heads on our desks while the intercom played Lee Greenwood's "Proud to be an American." I caught the eye of one of my friends and we started to giggle. When the song repeated for the third time, she let out a muffled snort. And the teacher glared. We stopped. We didn't understand, but apparently this was a serious event. We put on our best serious faces.

And finally, the intercom told us that we were all to go straight home after school. Don't go to your friends house. Don't go to soccer practice. Go home. Your parents need to know that you're safe.

Looking back, it's amazing that our parents were not kept with up-to-date information on our whereabouts. One quick text, and everything would be revealed. But this was the very beginning of cell phones, most of us didn't have one yet. We were too young.

Of course, when I got home I learned everything. My family sat in front of the TV absorbing information until we went to bed. For the rest of the week, information kept pouring in: lists of the fallen, lists of the missing, lists of what was to blame and who we were supposed to start blaming.

On that first Saturday after the 9/11 attacks I woke up abruptly at 6 am. Four days had passed since I was caught giggling to patriotic music with my head on my desk. I snuck downstairs to see if Saturday morning cartoons were on. I clicked through, but every channel was still full of lists and updates and haunting video footage. Disappointed, I switched off the TV and fell asleep on the couch. After four days, cartoons still weren't on, and I still didn't understand why.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Why the first day of work is the worst day of work

So I started work the other day. My first real job ever. I didn't tell any of my co-workers that it was my first job, but I think they realized it. Probably because when the administrative lady asked me if I filled out my W-4 forms I looked at her for a solid 10 seconds. Then I got uncomfortable and broke out into this goofy smile and looked from her to my boss about 20 times.

My face was exactly like Tom Haverford's:

After a while they both just kind of trailed off and told me to get my forms in by Friday. So... one more day to figure out what tax forms are aaaaaand how money works!

Why the first day of work is the worst day of work

1) Paperwork that you don't comprehend and will never have the capacity to understand

Have you filled out your W-4s and your Y-3s and savings & loans and stock options and insurance and healthcare?

No. I haven't done those things because I'm 22 and I don't know what you're talking about. Please don't stand there and wait for me to fill out these forms. Because I don't know what I'm doing. And unless I can somehow learn to understand them through osmosis, you're gonna be standing there for a looooong time.

2) Not having anything to do

Oh man when your laptop is exposed to the rest of the office... life sucks. There ain't no Facebook surfing for you, no sir. You feel like you need to be doing important things. But you don't know how to do anything yet. So you spend the first day exploring the homepage for the company you now work for.

"Hm, yes. I'm very interested in this press release you guys put out 2 years ago. So interested, in fact, that I'm going to spend the next 20 minutes reading it. Then I'll scroll through the pictures of your company BBQ again."

3) Being afraid to go to the bathroom

This might just be me. But my office is just one GIANT room with lots of windows and bright colors. So when I get up, everybody's watching. I don't want to spend too long in there, and I don't want to walk too weird on my way there. It should be inconspicuous. So I try to walk normal. And pee really quickly.

Unfortunately for me, someone else in my office seems to be on my pee schedule. Without fail, after I sit at my desk for 10 minutes with inner turmoil on whether I should visit the loo, I finally get up and this guy gets out of his chair and walks to the bathroom. Then I have to pretend like I was awkwardly half out of my chair for a different reason.

Rearranging my feet, or something. I don't know.

4) They usually ask you where the office should go for lunch. 

Most people think this is a nice treat. I think it is torture and this is why:
  1. They've lived in the city for 5 years and you've lived there for 5 seconds so you have no idea where the closest McDonald's is, let alone normal people food. So anything you pick is not going to be what they want. 
  2. You are just trying to get through the day unnoticed. So asking the new person to make a decision that will probably infuriate half the office is just... cruel and unusual. It almost made me want to pick a really unpopular food so that I could just get the hate out in the open. 
Co-worker: "Hey Hannah, what do you want for lunch?"
Me: "You know what I could REALLY go for? Long John Silvers. But if you guys don't have that, I'm not picky. I'm just really craving some day-old shellfish right now."

This was my face when I was asked to pick where the entire office went for lunch.

To conclude this post, I would like to regale you with a (kind of long & rambling) story of going home after work. Sit down, my children. Let me tell you a tale:

"Yesterday, I bought Worcestershire sauce and raw chicken breast (the usual). When the bag guy stared at me for a second too long I panicked and said I didn't want a bag. So I left the store holding raw chicken in one hand and Worcestershire sauce in the other. I was wearing uncomfortable shoes all day so I was also limping. Because of the blisters. When I got in my car I took off my shoes. 

When I arrive at my apt, I got out of my car. I was carrying shoes, my laptop, raw chicken and Worcestershire sauce. I tripped on my way out of the car and made a noise like, "HeyyaaahhhhhohcrapI'mgonnafallnope-therewego." 

Not for the first time, I find myself identifying with a foal

Unfortunately, our neighbor was standing outside my car with a bag of garbage. He saw the whole thing. We smiled awkwardly and I went inside. 

But it was stuffy inside. I went to open a window. First I had to pull open the blinds. I went to open the blinds, and realized the window was already open. So naturally I shouted out to myself something along the lines of "OH IT'S ALREADY OPEN. HAHA YOU IDIOT." Then I pulled aside the curtains. And who was outside my window? Yes. Young garbage guy. Walking back to his apartment after taking out the garbage. He heard me talking to myself. Again. So we smiled at each other again. And I backed away slowly from the window and shame-snarfed 3 brownies. The End."

**editors note: That was NOT the end. Today I got out of my car carrying my phone, my laptop, a panini, this weird french dip sandwich with horseradish and an empty bag of snap pea crisps. Why was the bag empty? Because traffic was long and I was hungry. Don't hate. Appreciate. 

So obviously it was difficult for me to get out of the car again. As I lumbered out, I said to myself "Careful now, Hannah. Lets not be silly." Yes, it was in the voice of the Mad Hatter from Disney's Alice In Wonderland.

Look at 7 min 13 seconds in if you want an example of my tone of voice.

And yes, it was out loud. Because I am nothing if not vocal about my shortcomings. And WHO should bike by at that very moment to witness this whole debacle? OH THAT'S RIGHT. THE VERY SAME NEIGHBOR AS YESTERDAY. I wish I was lying, but he and I seem to be on the same schedule. 

But thankfully not the same pee schedule.