Posted by: Michelle Mitton | June 12, 2008

Weird Things That I Really Kind of Like

American IdolJennifer at Family Musings tagged me for a meme ages ago and if you haven’t noticed this already I don’t do a lot of memes (rhymes with “dreams”). I have nothing against them–feel free to tag me all you like–I just don’t know that I’m very good at them and tend to just blather on stupidly whenever I tackle one.

If you missed past pain you can read where I bared my soul previously by clicking on the “memes and misc.” link under “Posts by Topic” on my sidebar.

I really should let my family tackle a list like this–I could pass around a legal pad at a family picnic, ask them each to write down one odd thing about me and they’d be asking for more paper but I’ll do the best I know how. Here are ten odd things I love:

1. American Idol. Now given the fact that roughly half the solar system watches this show (it’s in syndication on Mars and Venus apparently) this may not seem odd but to those who know me better the full shock of this confession is evident. You see I’m a bit of a culture snob. I can rave about the latest Jane Austen movie, catch up on Masterpiece Theater reruns and listen to my opera like a good girl but I wouldn’t be caught dead watching a show like American Idol. I was curious the first year it ran but was rather disgusted because it was so obvious that Kelly Clarkson was the only one with a voice that I couldn’t see how it was much of a contest.

So I’ve refrained from watching for lo these six years until now. I came downstairs while Andrew was watching the early tryouts for season seven and I started watching casually. Then more and more and more until I was completely hooked–as in I’m doing whatever I have to do to carry over until my next A.I. fix.

Andrew was rooting for Brooke (I think he was secretly in love with that one) and Grace was not-so-secretly rooting for Cutie-Pie Archuletta though I rather fancied Michael Johns (with a nod to David Cook).

And here’s where I dig a little deeper: I actually downloaded several of the songs from itunes. Gasp. Yup, I loved several of the songs from the Dolly Parton and Neil Diamond tribute nights plus a few others and I can be found rocking out to them in my minivan from time to time at stop lights.

The addiction was bad enough to culminate in a dream where I was a contestant myself but Ryan Seacrest was madly in love with me. We had to keep things under wraps so the other contestants wouldn’t feel bad and know that they had no chance. He ended up taking me to Wales to meet his family after the season was over . . .

Sponge Bob Squarepants2. Sponge Bob Squarepants. Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? Absorbent and yellow and porous is he! . . .

We don’t have cable, never had. But while we were in Florida last March our hotel had plenty of it and it was there that I learned that there is always sometime, somewhere an episode of Sponge Bob playing. And it’s funny.

We had a lot of catching up to do, Bob and I, but it didn’t take long to realize that he’s one darn funny sponge. Have you seen the episode “Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy Meet Man Ray”? If the name doesn’t make you chuckle then you’d have to hear Tim Conway and Ernest Borgenine’s voices and John Rhys Davies as their arch enemy, Man Ray. Now that’s comedy.

The longing for the Sponge grew strong enough that when Andrew went out of town on business several weeks ago we rented a disc of ten episodes from the library (we still don’t have cable) and the kids and I watched all ten episodes while eating Chinese food.

Things have become bad enough that Andrew has banned all mention of “The Sponge Who Shall Remain Nameless” in the house because it seems the kids and I can’t go more than a few minutes without quoting a brainless line from the show then falling into giggles. Hard to believe I actually graduated from college isn’t it?

Of course the ban is only nominally effective and we’ll probably be found watching another disc on Saturday when Andrew goes up to Barrow again for the day. Sigh. Too funny.

Saturday Night Fever3. Disco. We’ll switch from television to music while I confess that I always have loved disco. Sure, I kept that little piece of information to myself in the college years but the part of me that heard the Bee Gees singing “Tragedy” and grooved has never died.

My Dad had the Bee Gees’ “Best of” album and I’d play it it on the turntable, hold my push-button tape recorder up to the speakers as big as Cadillacs then play that precious tape over and over in the confines of my bedroom. But oddly enough I’ve never seen Saturday Night Fever I was too young to be allowed to see it when it came out and then disco wasn’t cool during the 80s. Only now is it safe to once again admit you’d like to see John Travolta in a white polyester suite swaggering down the street to that thumping beat and wicked falsetto.

Scissor Sisters4. Scissor Sisters. If you haven’t heard “I Don’t Feel Like Dancing'” then I weep for you. A cross between the Bee Gees, the B-52s and Erasure, this song probably ties in with number three on this list because it’s really is a retro-Disco treat that I have listened to again and again for nearly a year. I’m not sure what that says about me–probably that in a former life I was a flamboyant leather-clad gay man, which disturbs me not a little–but then deep down I really don’t care, I’m too busy dancing.

If you watch the video on You Tube and check out his swinging moves then you’ll get some idea of the show you’d expect if you were to see me when I’ve got this song on my ipod during my Friday cleaning chores. It’s a show that you just don’t want to miss people.

Highlander5. Highlander. I actually haven’t seen any of the Highlander movies but my siblings introduced me to the cable series years ago. Since we didn’t have cable (again with the cable thing) I actually would have my sister load up a VHS tape of episodes which I’d watch during the kids’ naptimes until I could recite them then I’d have her tape me a new tape. I’m not sure why I liked the show, you really can’t get hoakier than Adrian Paul pretending to be an immortal, sword-wielding Scotsman with a punky American sidekick can you? Nope, not if you tried. Maybe it was the theme song. Queen had a good thing going there . . . our library bought the series on DVD which I checkout in a very thrilled manner only to find it must have been the European (i.e. “Director’s Cut”) version which was a lit-tle too steamy for me. Sigh. All I wanted was some science-fiction decapitation and lightning, not skin. Is that so wrong?

6. Kraft macaroni and cheese. With slices of hot dogs. I don’t know that there’s much more I can say about this other than to put it out there and politely and quietly slink away. I could eat a whole box knowing full well that the fluorescent yellow stuff they optimistically call “cheese” is most likely radioactive. And for those of you who may not have experienced this culinary delight I would assure you that the correct ratio of macaroni to hot dog is one box of mac and cheese for two regular sized franks. Write that down.

7. Mondays. You hear TGIF all the time but for me it’s TGIM. Which means that after a wild weekend filled with kendo-sword wielding sons and small girls playing dolls in high pretend princess voices and a constant stream of footprints and breadcrumbs trailing from my kitchen I suddenly have a quiet house where I can put things back to order while everyone’s at school and work. Monday morning is when I catch up on my blog housekeeping and straighten up my house and relax in my jammies until 10 or 10:30 am. Pretend you didn’t read that Andrew (what he doesn’t know won’t hurt him). I love Mondays and all the quietness thereunto appertaining.

Japanese Rice Crackers8. Japanese rice crackers. I’m not a fan of Japanese food. In my opinion (however warped it may be) it’s either always too raw, too tentacley, too spicy or too ricey for me. BUT . . . I love the Japanese rice cracker blends–nothing fancy or anything–just the ones with the different kinds of crackers mixed all up where you get little sesame ones, little wasabi peas, little white pasty who-knows-what-they-are squares and twisty thingies? Mmmmmmm . . .

Mystery Science Theater 30009. MST 3000. Otherwise known as Mystery Science Theater 3000, the show where they take the World’s Stupidest Movie (and who knows how they top themselves each week) then have a low-budget comedian and his two puppet robots make comments on the entire movie. In essence you’re watching someone else watch a movie and the comments are the whole point (yes it’s as stupid as it sounds, you have to be in the mood). It’s funny and I’m a sucker for it. Though once again . . . no cable. Thank goodness for Netflix.

10. Dressing up. I know casual is in these days and you can see jeans at the opera here in Anchorage but for me fancier is always fun. I like wearing heels and nylons and dresses, I like getting ready to go out and then going out for a night on the town. I wish more people dressed up–my kids recently had a piano recital in the evening at the theater in our local library and my kids were tense that I made them wear dresses (girls) and ties (boys). I figured that it was a recital–that means you’re supposed to look nicer than you would at a movie theater but you know what? With the exception of the piano teacher–who looked stunning in an apropos black dress–and one student who came in full prom regalia we were the only ones not wearing jeans. I like to dress up.

11. Etiquette. Which brings me to number eleven–the conventional wisdom says, “Aren’t we glad we don’t live back in Victorian times when everyone was slave to etiquette?” but I say that I miss those times and love those rules that keep things running well. I like knowing what “etiquette” says because it takes the burden of always knowing what the “right” thing to do is–you just do what the rulebook says and you’ll be safe. What do I wear? Well what does the rule book say? Takes all the pressure off.

I love reading columns where people write in to Miss Manners mostly because the questions are always a hoot–they fall into one of two categories: someone’s been slighted or offended and they want Miss Manners to agree with their grievance for all the world to see or they’re trying to break the rules of etiquette for some reason they feel is justified but is usually to get out of work or money on their part. Miss Manners sees right through them every time and nails them to the wall and it’s so fun to watch. Wicked of me isn’t it?

Chameleon12. Chameleons. My children have been cursed with a mother who doesn’t like animals–it’s really sad, but there it is. I never had pets as a child, never wanted any and dogs make me rather uncomfortable. I’m okay with cats but why bother? They don’t like you anyway. Maybe if I lived in a rural area we’d have a horse or something or maybe some chickens but that’s highly unlikely–I’m not the rural kind of gal (and a defect in my character I’m sure). But if I had to have a pet it would be a chameleon–those things are fascinating. With their big googly eyes going two different directions and their 3- foot tongues going in and out and their two-fingered hands and feet looking like their fingers are taped together or something. And then there’s the color changing aspect which just makes them truly the wildest animal there is–or at least the only one I’d allow as a pet in my home. Do they shed or smell?

13. Reference books. I think I mentioned my habit of reading a book with a slip of paper which I use to write down all the odd words I come across. I look them up in the dictionary and memorize the definitions for future use–because “streatopygous” comes up in conversation so frequently. Well it’s not just dictionaries that I like, all reference books are interesting. Not to read straight through but to just pick up and turn to any given page where you’ll find something you didn’t know. Encyclopedias, dictionaries, thesauruses, it doesn’t matter but some of my favorite reference books are the Webster’s Dictionary of English Usage which gives you the difference between who and whom, The Language of Flowers for it’s obscurity and the fun of learning that a mushroom means “suspicion” (which pretty much sums up Andrew’s thoughts unless you’d include “pain” and “suffering”), A Handbook to Literature by Holman and Harmon which I will still turn to to jog the ol’ memory on strophes, iambs and hypallage and the Dictionary of American History which I used back in high school to study for my American History class but which still has interesting tidbits of info–though not much after 1985. Did anything important happen after 1985? I can’t remember.

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