I’m Obsessed With You: A Series

In the spirit of my various Lenten resolutions, I have decided to embark a miniseries of blog posts on the things I love.  For the next few weeks everything will be coming up roses and diamonds and magical rainbows here on Turkey Curry Buffet.  I have even installed a new header in commemoration– because you know what they say!  A Lisa Frank binder is worth a thousand words.

Full disclosure: the last two nights at work I completely failed at not complaining.  I made fun of strangers, I muttered about a bad tips under my breath, I growled and cursed.  One of my co-workers asked another, “Anyone know why Liz is in an extra-bitchy mood today?”  Well, am I allowed to blame all this negativity on PMS?  Listen, I know that no one wants to hear about PMS on a blog that, were it to transmogrify into a human being, would probably drink Skinny Girl margaritas, order grilled chicken on her salad (dressing on the side, natch), and consume both while reading The Rules and hanging her purse off the side of the table on one of those little bedazzled purse hooks BUT GOOD LORD IS IT HARD TO BE GOOD AND KIND TO OTHERS ON A FEW CERTAIN DAYS EACH MONTH.  Like if this were the 1600s I would totally need an exorcism right now.

It also turns out that when I said to myself, Liz, what do you love?, the first ten things I thought of either 1) had to do with food or 2) had to do with pop culture.  Since I am not sure I am ready to share my true feelings for chain restaurants, or bacon, with the world, I am going to discuss some of my pop culture obsessions, even though I recognize this comes dangerously close to violating the No Celebrity Gossip Clause of the Lenten Treaty of 2011.  To that I say: whatevs!

So Laura and I were also recently discussing what genre of music we would choose to listen to for the rest of our lives, if we had to choose just one.  We both fairly immediately decided on pure unadulterated Top Forty pop music, but upon further consideration I realized that my true musical love– my in-the-car-alone, windows-down, hollering-at-the-top-of-my-lungs guilty pleasure– is….

Debut Singles of People Who Did Not Win American Idol.  They’re pretty much all up-tempo power ballads about longing for love.  They’re like the Shakespearean comedies of contemporary pop music.  I’m obsessed.  Let me give you some examples:

“Invisible” by Clay Aiken (I so love that this YouTube video has been uploaded by a user named “twighlightholic32494”), which is actually a fairly creepy stalker anthem– no Clay, you may not be a fly on my wall and “just watch me in my room” (yes, those are the actual lyrics).  This is so totally what Caliban would have sung to Miranda if The Tempest had been a musical… written by hack songwriters living in Glendale.  Which would be amazing.

-“Over It” by Katharine McPhee, which is one of those songs designed for the freshly rejected to belt out so that we can pretend we are gonna put on our stompin’ boots, key up your car, and put all your things in a box to the left.  I mean who needs him, right?  Right?  No, I’m not crying.  I’m just… allergic to your cat.  What?  Well, yeah, duh, I have a cat.  I’m not allergic to my own cat.  Just other cats.  It’s weird.  You wouldn’t get it.  What?  No, I’m not drinking gin.  It’s nine in the morning.  DON’T BE CRAZY.  HA HA.  YOU’RE CRAZY!  Basically it’s the musical opposite of Adele’s “Someone Like You” which I also love, love, love because she’s actually tackling the “crying so hard you’re snotting all over yourself and have no dignity left” category of heartbreak to music and, somehow, making it beautiful.  (Seriously, click on that link right now.  The live performance will give you chills.)

-“Whataya Want From Me” by Adam Lambert.  Admittedly I’m still not sure what this song is about.  In most of the verses Adam seems to be thanking his lover for being sweet and patient with his emotional neuroses, but then the chorus is, obviously, “Whaddya want from me?” which is something Al Bundy would say to Peg while sitting in his recliner with his hand in his waistband right before demanding another beer.  It’s kind of like the All’s Well That Ends Well of American Idol runner-up singles.  Also, I thought Adam Lambert wanted to be like Freddie Mercury?  Expecting someone to sound like Queen and then getting this super-slick pop-rock emotion-fluff instead reminds me of the time I was 14 and rented Clueless from Blockbuster with my best friend but when we got home we found Clerks instead inside the VHS case.  Which we then watched.  THAT was an education.

-And last but not least: “Crush” by David Archuleta, which is one of my all-time favorite pop songs.  This is deeply embarassing.  He’s basically the Latino Justin Beiber.  If this song came on my iPod at a party, I would dart across the room to skip it even if I were playing Seven Minutes In Heaven with Jason Segel (who, by the way, is making the new Muppet movie, which in turn makes him even more of a panty-dropper).  It’s kind of fun to reimagine the lyrics to this song as David’s ode to a phone sex operator with whom he has fallen deeply and irrevocably in love.  To wit: “I hung up the phone tonight/ Something happened for the first time/ Deep inside it was a rush/ What a rush”.  Listen, Holden Caulfield.  She doesn’t actually like you.  You’re paying her to like you.  But really I love this song because it so perfectly encapsulates that moment– those one or two slow, almost meditative minutes– when you realize, for the first time, that you like, or love, someone, the kind of moment that seems to happen all the time in Shakespeare and doesn’t really seem realistic– like really Claudio, you just instantly fell in love with Hero when she was crossing stage left, just by looking at her?  Yeah, sure, buddy– until it happens, in one way or another, to you.  You know, like the in the fountain scene in Clueless:

I’m majorly, totally, butt-crazy in love with Josh!

But you know what they say– if music be the food of love, play on.


I’m naked… shivering in the dark… with nothing… nothing!

It always takes me a while to decide what to give up for Lent.  I was on vacation last week and this year Lent snuck up on me like a priest on an altar boy.  (Too soon?)  My friend Nick and I were lounging by the infinity pool when he said “Isn’t it Ash Wednesday?”  I looked up from my Star magazine, pina colada and cigarette and saw that my vague intentions to give up sweets, drinking, smoking, and celebrity gossip were clearly already fucked.

On this same vacation someone told me that they had once given up complaining for a while and that doing so had made them incredibly happy.  So I decided to jump on that bandwagon lickety-split, not least because doing so would allow me to continue poolside binge-drinking and chain-smoking for the remainder of my vacation.

But, after returning to the US and consulting with my cabinet, and by “cabinet” I mean my best friend Laura (who I learned had ALSO given up complaining for Lent, which was greatly encouraging, because God knows silent uncomplaining misery loves company!), I’ve also decided to give up celebrity gossip.  Hopefully God will overlook the twelve junk magazines I read on my vacation.

Whether or not you believe in giving up things for Lent, or giving up things for Jesus, or Jesus in general, or God, there is something to be said for attempting asceticism at any time of the year.  (In other news, I cannot believe I spelled asceticism right on the first try.)  Abstaining from any activity will allow you to see the degree to which this activity has control over or effect on your life.  With the absence of something, you are left to consider the size of the hole it has left behind.  Were I to give up, say, french onion soup for Lent, I’m pretty sure I’d find that french onion soup has absolutely no control over my life, because I hate that shit and I never eat it.  The cheese!  It’s so fucking hot!  And, like, completely separate from the soup!  You have to fight with the cheese to get to the soup.  Who wants to fight with cheese?  Not me.  Why can’t it all be put in a blender and pureed and THEN served?  Like a smoothie!

Wait.  Am I complaining about french onion soup?

Giving up complaining, on the other hand, has made it immediately and violently obvious that negative statements are as essential to my moment-to-moment lexicon as breathing, or my tongue.  I wouldn’t say I’m whiny person– although I could be and have no idea of it, I hope to God I’m not– but I’m finding that my attempts at jokes and small talk are almost always built around something negative.  And I slide into such talk without even realizing it; I’ve already broken this Lenten resolution about five hundred times.  Just this morning I was e-mailing some ladies about shoes for an upcoming wedding and ended up making fun of the size of my own toes.  It didn’t even occur to me until just now that I was not making a joke or stating a fact– I was, in fact, complaining.  Although I’m also not sure of exactly how to define “complaint”– is it anything negatively phrased, or is complaining specifically an act of whining?  How broad a net to cast?  In any case, attempting to positively rephrase statements, such as last night when I caught myself and said “I love staying in on St. Patrick’s Day” instead of “I hate going out for the idiot parade that is St. Patrick’s Day”, has been like exercising a muscle I didn’t even know I had.  (That is, of course, what she said.)

Giving up celebrity gossip has been quite a bit more cut-and-dry, but wow is celebrity gossip EVERYWHERE.  I am averting my eyes from every newsstand, grocery store aisle, bar television and Facebook post and am beginning to feel like an Orthodox Jew at a strip club.  When I’m writing and want to procrastinate (an urge I feel about as frequently as The Weather Channel shows Local on the Eights) I can no longer turn to gawker.com, jezebel.com, dlisted.com, or, if I’m really feeling no shame, perezhilton.com; instead I have been visiting and revisiting nytimes.com and all the sudden I find myself knowing a whole lot more about what’s going on in the wide world.  Meanwhile my virgin unread US Weeklies are being stashed in a pile under my bed until I can binge-read all of them on Easter Sunday (No– you may not borrow them in the meantime. Let’s not get all crazy with the Christian values here, people.), and until further notice this blog is officially renamed No Fun For Any One.

I guess for the next month I am just going to have to write about the things I love instead of the celebrities I hate.  It’s going to be absolute torture.

P.S. I do reserve the right to write about music and movies, not as celebrity products, but as art.

P.P.S. I will give away ONE (1) brand new un-read US Weekly to the first person who can name the movie from whence the title of this post came.