Revisiting Ninth Grade

One of the things I love about Twitter is the things you can learn and the people you can meet (one of the things I hate is that it inevitably also sends in the clowns, but that’s neither here nor there).

One of the lovely people I follow on Twitter, Ms. Pink Funk, tweeted the following and inspired this blog post:

So, I couldn’t even do that NOW.  Let’s forget the fact that I can’t name an endangered species off the top of my head with 100% confidence, but when Melissa invited a bunch of us over to help with her centerpieces for her wedding earlier in the summer, it quickly became apparent I could not be trusted with anything more difficult than putting the gift bags together, because I am not artistic or good at anything in the realm of that.  So.  Yeah.  And this project is for first graders?  Really??  That seems extreme.

But, that did remind me of two ninth grade projects I had that my dad flat out 100% did for me.  Why, you ask?  Why would he offer to do so or why would your mother allow such a deplorable act?

It was because of Mr. Salmi.

Ahh Mr. Salmi.  He taught Accelerated Physical Science, which my mom forced me to take (something about challenges being good even though I am inept at math and science).  But, I use the term “taught” loosely.  Our notebook organization was, no joke, 50% of our grade and we spent each and every class answering chapter summary questions, which we then had to file behind “double zero pink” (our notebook sections had to be separated by color) – anyone from Rundlett with me here?

Anyhoo – project #1 rolls around and it’s something about having to create a water tester (I was in 9th grade 10* years ago, bear with me here).

*=not really

I can’t remember the specifics, only that we had zero practical knowledge of how to do this – how could you possibly after reading irrelevant book chapters?  So, my Dad made it for me.  And I got a 100.

Project #2 was even worse and more asinine, considering, again, all Salmi cared about was fucking double zero pink and if it was filed in our notebooks correctly.  He asked us to make a brick powered car.  Yeah, you read that right – a brick powered car.

First of all – fuck you, Salmi!  If you had given us a MODICUM of practice on how to do this it wouldn’t have been as unreasonable.  I should have somehow powered the brick power car with “double zero pink” rather than an actual brick, you know, to really stick it to him.

Anyway, I got a 100% on that, too (thanks, Dad) – and Salmi was none the wiser.

It’s not that I am not willing to work, either.  It was just that he gave us projects with no foundation whatsoever and just sat back and watched us suffer.

My junior year of high school, we had a huge project in my English class.  Something about reading someone’s biography and then completing one of five project choices.  Well, it’s maybe a month-long project or something and the night before it’s due I realize I hadn’t started.  Soooo, one of the options was to write a short story.  My subject was Charles Lindbergh.  So what do I do?  Whip up five pages of bullshit about him and Amelia Earhart falling in love, which garnered a 97.  My mom was FURIOUS that I waited until the last minute and got such a high grade to therefore reinforce my behavior – but at least I did it myself.

Parenthood – the older I get, the harder I realize it is.


20 Years Later

So, I see on that the Backstreet Boys are reuniting for the first time since 2006 and are recording an album to coincide with the 20th (!!) anniversary of their inception.

Let’s ignore, momentarily, how old this makes me feel and discuss the age old question:

What in the HELL is “I Want It That Way” about?  Released in May of 1999, it was a song I listened to on repeat driving around the back roads of New Hampshire in my Subaru, heartbroken over Ben.  I’m not kidding – I would routinely sleep over at Lisa’s, wake up at some ungodly hour, and go for a drive.  Even if I didn’t sleep there, I’d routinely take random drives just to be alone – often driving from say, Concord to Tilton, just to get gas.

It was a sad, lonely summer for me.  I didn’t want to do anything – and pretty much didn’t.  Instead of being excited to go to Miami for college, I was crying all the time over the relationship that wasn’t.  So, this album really brings me back to that summer and all the memories, for better and for worse.

What the hell was I talking about?  Oh right – the lyrics.  I could not have done a better job than LA Weekly did – you can read the blog in its entirety here, but below are some gems to think about (Ben Westhoff, whoever you are, you’re a genius):

“So, wait, the “that” that I say is different than the “that” that you say? You’re saying that I want it a different way? A way that is not preferable to you?

Then the chorus kicks in and this thing goes off the rails.

Tell me why
Ain’t nothin’ but a heartache
Tell me why
Ain’t nothin’ but a mistake
Tell me why
I never wanna hear you say,
“I want it that way”

None of the sentiments here seem to go with any of the other ones. Even worse, no further explanation is given for what “that” is.”

… and then…

“So, check this, it turns out that the popularized version of “I Want It That Way” was not the only version the Backstreet Boys recorded. There’s another version out there, one thatactually makes sense.

The key lyric:
No goodbyes (ain’t nothing but a heartache)
No more lies (ain’t nothing but a mistake)
That is why
I love it when I hear you say,
“I want it that way”

!! This is like discovering the rosetta stone of craptastic late ’90s boy band music!”

So basically the song was just never destined to make sense, as the blog later points out.  I mean, we know it’s about some sort of relationship – but what are they agreeing to disagree about?  Why are they two worlds apart?  Is it a long distance relationship?  And actually, because the song makes no sense, it was perfectly fitting that the accompanying music video – them singing in an airport hanger (?) in front of screaming fans before they board a private plane – also made no sense.

Also, can we talk about Nick’s hair?  Also part 2, he’s only 32!  That means he was 12 when the band assembled, which seems ridiculous.  Or maybe he was 13.  Either way.

The rest of the album (yes I bought it, bite me), however, does have some catchy little ditty’s that actually make sense.

My freshman year roommate, Kandyce, who was beyond awesome, also had the CD and we’d routinely listen to it all the time while studying.

My second favorite song on there was “Don’t Wanna Lose You Now,” and the lyrics are as straightforward as you can imagine.

Kandyce always referred to Nick Carter’s solo ballad “I Need You Tonight” as “Nick’s Penis Song” (a perfect descriptor).

This album brings me back to 1999 as I ended high school and 2000 as I finished my first year of college, none the wiser about life or the meaning of “I Want It That Way.”

I can close my eyes now and see myself walking around campus in Coral Gables in long sleeves and jeans, too self-conscious about my body to dress appropriately for the climate.  High 80s?  Pssh, didn’t matter.  Now I don’t care – with this past summer reaching the high 90s more often that not, people just had to deal with seeing my arm flab.

You’re probably thinking:  why is this bitch obsessed with an album that she associates with so many horrible memories?

Well, I can tell you that good and bad, the experiences I had that summer and my freshman year of college are all part of the wisdom I now have in my old age of 31 (yeah, right).

And before you ask – if given the choice, I would absolutely rather listen to this album on repeat until the end of time than another goddamn Taylor Swift song.

Back When MySpace Was #1 – A Guide to Surviving Without Your Cell Phone

 The first time I started a blog was during my senior year of college when I was procrastinating on writing some paper or another.  I’ve been blogging (very sporadically) ever since across multiple different Blogger and Word Press sites, but without any sort of consistency.

One day, when I apparently had WAY too much free time, I basically went through all of them, deleted them, and put my favorite posts into yet ANOTHER blog, which I was going through earlier to find things to use for the book.

So, I am re-posting one of my favorites, with permission from myself.

How to survive without a cell phone for ONE WEEK (originally posted Dec. 30, 2006)

Before I even got to the San Diego airport on Dec. 22, I realized I had left my cell phone at home and would have to survive a whole week without it. I hope none of you ever suffer the same ordeal, but if you do, I have come up with a little guide on how to survive, should you ever find yourself in such a horrifying position.

1) Upon arriving at destination without cell phone, get to nearest computer. Immediately post My Space bulletin (ed note: Facebook status) and/or send mass e-mail alerting all friends of predicament. Be sure to use whichever method will hit the most people, specifically the people you want to see the most.

2) When one specific person who you are hoping to see but are trying to play it cool with does not respond to bulletin and/or e-mail, send My Space message (ed note: Facebook message) with any and all numbers where they can reach you.

3) Spend holiday/quality time with family and hope person calls/My Spaces/E-mails (ed note: Facebooks) you.

4) Go out with mutual acquaintance in hope of running in to aforementioned person. Get extremely drunk to dull the pain of getting blown off (again again again).

5) Spend entire next day hungover, miserable, traveling to Boston/Providence with your mom’s cell phone that you have taken for the week, receiving few to no phone calls, nothing from aforementioned person.

6) Check My Space (ed note: FACEBOOK, MY GOD, FACEBOOK NOT MY SPACE).  Oh wait, this was back in 2006 when MySpace was still relevant.  Carry on.), e-mail incessantly. Continue to not hear from person “x,” refuse to accept reality of situation by drinking lots of wine.

7) Sign on to AIM and talk to a different mutual friend — mention you have not heard from aforementioned person. Wait for friend to suggest plans. Continue to wait until you realize, “boy I need to get a life.”

8) Resign yourself to the fact that you will not see this person. Go out to the same bar your last night in town, run in to the same people, keep looking at the door, realize you are a loser.

9) On return flight, run into yet another mutual acquaintance who saw person you wanted to see but didn’t see. This confirms they are alive and able to make/keep plans with other people besides you. Remind yourself you need to re-read, “He’s Just Not That Into You.”

10) Spend three plane rides and two layovers reading/sulking. Call best friend with prepaid phone card to bitch.

11) As you are writing this list, person IM’s you to ask if you are still in town and makes up lie about looking for you in bar. Want to throw yourself off bridge.


Ahh, memories.  The person I was trying to meet up with, we’ll call him Michael Myers, was a friend from high school, who is now engaged to a person from high school that is not me.

Michael Myers was a pro at feeding me bullshit – he even had the audacity to come to Chicago a few years ago and NOT CALL ME but CLAIM he had call me.  Um, WTF, dude.  Just don’t even bother telling me you’re here so that I rearrange my entire schedule for three days only to end up sitting by myself on my couch watching the Golden Girls (okay maybe I’d be doing that anyway…but still).

He definitely mastered the I-am-dying-to-see-you-I’m-scheduling-a-trip-to-see-you-when-you’re-home-I’m-spending-all-my-time-with-you act.  And for the record, I have not seen him since…2000.  Maybe 2001.  And that was when I ran into him at the grocery store when he was with his then-girlfriend’s mother (if ever I had an arch-nemesis, that hoe bag was it…the girlfriend, not the mom).

As Katy Perry says so nicely, “shut up and put your money where your mouth is.”