Monday, December 08, 2014

scene

last night, i had dinner with my family. afterwards, we watched "wait until dark" which i'm sure you'll agree is a fantastic movie. but even though your cinematic tastes are already in harmony with mine, i'm still going to tell you why "wait until dark" is so awesome:
  • 60's, henry mancini music. is that a harpsichord? (i would say that the harpsichord was the keytar of the 60's. and i would also say that autotune is the keytar of right now.)
(also, do you remember the lap harp? where did THAT go?)
 
  • audrey hepburn's hair.
  • alan arkin playing three characters or, more precisely, playing one character who plays two additional characters.
  • the complete jerk of a husband (not actually an argument for the movie being fantastic, just something i wanted to point out. seriously, he's a jerk) who doesn't run to his blind wife after she miraculously outsmarts three murderous heroin dealers. "i'm over here... come to me... hot... warm... cold... colder... warm... " ... a-hole.
  • and of course, the scene. you know the scene. it's the whole reason to watch the movie.

tangent: i saw "wait until dark" for the first time when i was 15. it was late at night in my parents' bedroom and during the scene i jumped and i screamed, which startled my dog who then bit me.

it (watching "wait until dark" yesterday. not being bitten by my dog when i was fifteen) got me thinking about all my favorite the scenes in movies. the scenes which basically become the reason for watching a movie (or at the very least become cause for shushing a room and mouthing the dialogue in perfect unison) and i feel like most of those moments have to be universal. so what i'm going to do is list some movies and you're going to think of the scene that makes you want to watch that movie.
and i'll bet that we all think of the same scene.
we don't even need to talk about it.
because we'll just know. that we're both thinking of the same scene.
our minds are perfectly synced... and it's beautiful.

ok. go!

"ferris bueller's day off"
"teen witch"
"what's up doc"
"sleepless in seattle"
"psycho"
"independence day"
"dr. Strangelove"
"top gun"
"pretty in pink"
"red"
"ghost"
"empire strikes back"
"stop! or my mom will shoot!" kidding. just wanted to remind you that it exists.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

pre-tech teen rage

when i was 15, my sister and i decided to change the outgoing message on our voicemail to something "funny." i don't remember what we changed it to, but i do remember that my mom was not amused. this led to a confrontation, which led to an argument, which led to the kind of high-pitched shrieking match that can only happen between mothers and teenage daughters.

at one point during the three party RAGE, my mom screamed something at us and then stopped mid-sentence, hit record on the phone, and said in an overly-friendly tone, "hi. we can't come to the phone right now, but if you leave us a message we'll call you back. thanks!" and then slammed the phone down and continued on with her rage thought.

it was something a crazy person (or a mother of teenage daughters) would do.

it was terrifying.

i feel i need to make it clear that this is not a judgment of my wonderful mom. she had multiple teens. she was at war. nor is it an accurate representation of what our family life was like. i bring it up because it is an ugly family moment that's engrained in my mind. and the reason it's engrained in my mind is because, almost 20 years later, my parents still have the same, ridiculous, outgoing voicemail message.

and so, for the last 20 years, whenever my parents don't answer the phone and the voicemail starts, i quickly hang up.

and i literally haven't left a message on my parents answering machine for 20 years because i can't make it to the beep.

i thought about that today, when i called my parents' house three times in a row without leaving a message and my dad called me back all concerned because he thought i was possibly dying.



also, how does my dad not have texting?

Friday, October 10, 2014

smoother

about a week ago, i went to this bonfire thing and wound up trying to make small talk with a guy who i've known peripherally for about a year (meaning that he's friends of friends and often at stuff i'm at).

i say "trying" to make small talk, because i went to all my go-to, icebreaker topics and he was really just not having it.

plus, he was doing that thing where he was talking to me but looking around for someone better.

which i hate.

my defense strategy when a social situation is going awkwardly... is to make it worse. seriously. i go into a bit and i keep escalating it to see how long it takes people to get that i'm joking. its like a game of sense-of-humor chicken.

so i'm in the middle of a bit and i say something like, "what do you think i should do?" and the guy i was talking to said, "i don't know. maybe you should be smoother."

then he said he wanted to go get some "wassail before it runs out" and he stood up and walked over to a group of girls.

smoother girls.


i was left staring at the empty space where he'd been sitting. then, i realized that one of my guy friends, dave, had been sitting next to him. and i realized this when dave said, "um... hi kat." and dave said, "um... hi kat." because my stunned, staring into space, was actually stunned, staring at dave's face.

so, ya. maybe i do need to be smoother. but i think the better, more bloggable point is that sometimes  nice, straight arrow guys are kind of assholes.

:)

 

Thursday, October 09, 2014

little girl in the middle

hanging out with 40-year-olds...
me: i invited [other 40 year old], but he never got back to me.
40: ya?
me: AND since he's not on facebook, i had to look up his phone number and text him out of nowhere like a stalker.
40: you texted him?
me: ya.
40: but he doesn't have text messaging.
me: ... so... how am i supposed to get a hold of him?
40: well, you could call him.
me: call him? like, call him on the phone?
40: yes.
me: ... well that doesn't sound right at all.

versus!

hanging out with 20-year-olds...
me: what did you do last weekend?
20: my friends and i went camping.
me: during the insane rainstorm?
20: ya. it was so much fun! we grabbed some steaks and a grill and drove up to some canyon, but it was too expensive so we drove to some other canyon but all the sites were full. so then we parked in front of an empty cabin and tried to use their grill hook up.
me: what?
20: but then our grill didn't have the right sized hook up so we couldn't grill the steaks. and we didn't have any matches to start a fire but i did have some flint so i started a fire in the rain with a piece of flint. it was awesome.
me: ...
20: but then we didn't have any way to cook the steaks, but we had a tin can and some butter so we just put the steaks in a can with butter and kind of deep fried them. they tasted amazing!
me: …i don't believe you.
20: and then we slept in my van. the rain kind of made it sink down into the mud, so we were kind of sleeping on an incline, but-
me: - i think i might need you to stop telling me this story.


"he that is more than a youth is not for me, and he that is less than a man, i am not for him: therefore, i will even take sixpence in earnest of the bear-ward, and lead his apes into hell."

is it sad that i just associated shakespeare with my awkward social interactions? also, who's the ape?

am i the ape?

Thursday, July 31, 2014

zap

i think about the “why am i still single?” question a lot.
like, a lot.

because it’s a big deal. connecting and partnering up with someone is a huge part of the life experience. and not being able to make something so integral to the human existence happen, makes me feel defective.

the horrible truth is that i haven’t been on a date in more than 8 years (i was strong-armed into an awkward blind date 6 years ago, but i don’t think that counts because neither of us had a choice in the matter or talked to each other before or after. or during). i don’t talk about it because if i did, i’d have to explain that it’s not that i don’t get asked out on dates, it’s that the idea of going on a date with someone makes me panic. mentally and physiologically. my stomach clenches, my heart starts beating really fast, my breathing gets really shallow, and the only thought that goes through my mind is, “nonononono.”
and also i make this face:

i’m pretty sure this isn’t a normal, rational reaction.

but it’s the reaction i ALWAYS have. it doesn’t even matter whether or not i like the guy. we can be hanging out and flirting and i will be fine, but the instant i sense a date invite coming, i panic and i shut it down. (like, i could write an instruction guide called “shuttin’ it down: how to not get asked out a date: wait, why isn’t anybody buying this book?: the kat story”) and then i walk away feeling absolutely broken.

so, of course, the question i ask myself is “why?” i never really went through any exceptional trauma or heartbreak. i’ve been surrounded by very kind, good people my entire life. the guys that i’ve dated have all been nice guys. i mean, even the not nice guys i dated would still probably qualify as nice-ish on the jerk spectrum. there’s nothing traumatic to blame my weirdness on.

the best explanation that i can come up with is this: i am a freaking pansy.

here’s something that i remember from my psychology classes. negative reinforcement.
most people know what positive reinforcement is. positive reinforcement is used to encourage a behavior. when ziggy does the trick i want him to do, i reward him with food or praise or a pat on the head.
and most people know what punishment is. punishment is used to get rid of a behavior. if my niece does something naughty, she’s put in time out.
but most people think that negative reinforcement is the same thing as punishment. which it kind of is but kind of isn’t. punishment is about reducing a behavior, but negative reinforcement is actually about promoting (“reinforcing”) a certain behavior by stopping punishment or pain. it’s not an ideal way to teach or train because it’s usually fear or pain driven and it’s less controlled. for example, let’s say you want someone to only bring you objects that are red. if you’re using negative reinforcement, then every time they bring you something that isn’t red, you shock them (*zap!*). eventually they’ll learn that when they bring you red objects, they don’t get shocked.

OR they might simply learn to avoid bringing you things all together.

that’s the problem with negative reinforcement. it’s about avoiding pain so it’s hard to control what behavior is actually being learned.

so even though i’ve never experienced something truly traumatic, i would equate a lot of my dating experiences to getting an electrical shock. (*zap!*) over and over and over. and instead of learning how to do the right things, i’ve learned instead to avoid the pain entirely by refusing to date all together.

again, this speaks to the bigger truth: i am a freaking pansy.
because a lot of the potential pain i panic about shouldn’t be so painful. but in my mind it is. the idea of dating “for fun” or dating “just to date” eludes me. where is the fun? seriously. there is no fun. but i truly do have a desire to form functional and loving, long-term relationships.

tragically, that means i have to go on dates. i used to think that i could stay in my nice protective shell and wait. and then maybe the right guy would come along and then i would just know he was, like, the guy and i would lock it down. but that is a fallacy.

and here is what i have very brutally learned (*zap!*) in the last year: negative conditioning can happen whether i’m actively dating or not. i need people in my life and when i close myself off, i actually increase my odds of getting hurt. because you know what kind of people spend a bunch of energy befriending a closed off, emotionally withdrawn person? crazy, codependent people. do you know what kind of guys pursue a girl who is not putting out a dating vibe AT ALL? creepy, oblivious, socially awkward guys. the more i have tried to let people into my life and work to develop friendships of my choosing, the better and healthier my friendships have been. and the more resilient i've been.

long story long, i have started saying yes to dates! 

and it is unsettling.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

flibbertigibbet


yesterday was the first day of my summer classes, which made me think of my FIRST first day of summer school right after my freshman year at the Y. 
i think my plan was to take a couple of generals at the salt lake center during the summer where/when they'd be less work and easier to pass, and my strategy must have worked because the only thing i remember from my biology class is my teacher pointing out that i have adherent earlobes. which is a recessive gene (when you're 18 and your entire class squints at your earlobes, it makes you very self conscious). (are punnett squares still a thing?)
also, with abiding fondness, i remember hot biology boy.
he came in late the first day of class and, in my mind, took 5 minutes to get to his seat a couple of rows behind me because he was walking in slow motion. (perhaps that's why he was late?)
he was beautiful in that awkward, millennial, heath ledger in "ten things i hate about you" way where you ask yourself, "is that a shirt with embroidery on it?" and then you say, "who am i to judge? i'm wearing a belly chain and i have 2 jennifer lopez songs on a mix cd."
 
after not so subtly turning around to stare at him about 37 times, class ended and i decided to pull out my best move- a move i still use to this day- i stared at the ground and shuffled past him.
as i did, he said, "hey." 
i, flirtatiously, jumped and looked up with a confused expression. 
he smiled. 
i made a gurgling noise and smiled back, while continuing to walk past him, daring to look him in the eye and imagine a time, long ago, when the delicate tangles of his hair covered the emptiness of my h-- 
and i walked into a wall.
ya. when i hit the end of my row, i did not turn to walk to the door. i kept walking. into a wall.
and i like to think i did what anyone would do next. i looked at the wall, then at the ground, sighed, and shuffled out of the room.
 
but funny story. i walked down to the computer lab to start planning my new life on a different planet (because in space, no one can hear you scream) and hot biology boy followed me, introduced himself and asked for my phone number. 
 
and then we went out a couple of times. 
one night, we ended up at a ginormous luau and hot biology boy wound up winning a limbo contest. 
another night we wound up at a "look out" point (where all we did was look out because i was oblivious and it wasn't until years later than i understood what was going on there) and there were literally fireworks going off in the distance.
 
after that, i started blowing him off and eventually he stopped calling, and then class ended and we went our separate ways.
ya, i know, the ending kind of fizzles.

"but why, kat? why?" 
why did i blow him off?
"yes, why??"
 
because i didn't know his name. i was too frazzled after the whole wall thing and, after two dates, i had no idea how broach the topic. at the time, blowing him off seemed like the most rational way to handle the situation.



nothing like that like happened during my classes yesterday.



unimportant tangents i also thought about yesterday during class:
the worst millennial fashion? the two piece prom dress. 
worst song? the thong song

other than that, i regret nothing.

Friday, June 07, 2013

come on, son!

last week, there was a guy on the radio whom i named "inferior stefon."
he was like this!

...except not.

he's some sort of local, "night life" columnist and i was super excited to hear him promote the downtown happenings for the weekend, but it wound up being the biggest letdown of my life.
(hyperbole? you decide)
and sure, part of the problem is his source material, because how many "human roombas" and "football jellyfish" can you find in salt lake city?
and sure, part of the problem is that stefon is not a real person.
but come on, son! part of the problem is you. you need to step up your game.

naturally, this got me thinking whom i would be if i just tried a little harder.
and the first thing that came to mind was andy rooney.

that's not weird, right?

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

thin but wiry



i've been taking advantage of my three whole weeks of "no class!" weeknights (not to be confused with "low class!" weeknights (because that's EVERY weeknight! (... i don't know))) and going to my favorite weightlifting class at the gym. i'm super buff now. i can totally lift moderate levels of weight for my gender/age/body type classification like you wouldn't believe!

ANYways. my gym started a new class called "body combat" and if you know me and my love of sitting on the couch and watching taebo, you know that this is my type of class. i found out that it starts right after my weightlifting class, so i decided to give it a whirl.
and i loved it.
and i will tell you why.
the reasons being threefold:
1. it was a good workout. beating the air wildly with my tiny, petulant fists is a solid workout.
2. everybody in the class takes it very seriously. they act like ll cool j's mama personally called them up and told them to knock the air out. the teacher encourages the intensity by wearing boxing gloves (to, i guess, protect his hands from the air as he beats it wildly) and yelling at us to keep our guard up (lest the air punch us in our heads) and put on our angry faces (in response, i always instinctively look at myself in the mirror where i discover that i am, in fact, wearing a big, goofy grin).
3. there are a few "moves" that are amazing.
i must describe my favorite moves to you in detail. 
my favorite moves being threefold: 
there's one where you sweep the leg of the air. and the teacher always yells out "sweep the leg, johnny!" (i am the only person in the class who gets the reference) and i am delighted. but also conflicted because i want to beat the air with honor and not have to resort to cheap shots.
there is also a move where you kick the air in the stomach and then kick the air's sidekick (also air) in the knee caps and then pretend to jump over each of their slumped, unconscious bodies. the only thing i can think to liken it to is a move the rat king makes in "the nutcracker" (coincidentally, that would make a really good name for another move in class).



i am really freaking good at this move. like, better than anyone in the class. probably better than anyone in the world (watch your back, rat king!). because if there is any move that i would actually use in a real life fight, it would be to leap over people and run away. that is my move. that is my jam. (sadly, we have yet to use my other move, "the windmill," in class)
but my most favorite of all the moves that we move, is a little thing called "street brawl." in essence, you push the air to the ground and hold it down with one hand while you wail on it with your other. not even "johnny" would've done this to daniel-san (that is lie. i was testing you and you failed. the cobra kai dojo believes the enemy deserves no mercy).
i like to think that some gym trainer was walking at night in compton and saw an actual street brawl and thought, "wow. that looks like an awesome workout."
alternatively, i also like to think that some gym trainer was walking at night in compton and got pinned to the ground and wailed on and thought, "wow. your arms look amazing."

i might start referring to this class as "fight club" because, having written all this out, i'm pretty sure the only thing that could make this more awesome is if i were to start thinking i was beating up the brad pitt version of myself.
and also i could start making soap.
because that's a part of "fight club," right? they make soap?
ya... i've only seen the cleanflicks version of "fight club" so i don't really know what it's about. the edited version was only, like, 55 minutes long.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013


i read this article the other day on the "dunning-kruger effect."
essentially, it's the idea that when people are unskilled in a certain area, they lack the very skills required to see that they're unskilled.
or, as my dear friend bill mcneal once said, "it is the wise man who knows there is much he does not know." (matthew, nodding, "... i know.")
i would say that the dunning-kruger effect (sometimes, in my mind, i call it the "dunder-mifflin effect") has been kicking my trash the last 4 to 5 (to 9 (to 381)) months.
and i will tell you why.
i decided to take classes at the local community college to become a paralegal. the process of deciding to do it was super random. so random, in fact, that i don't actually remember the impetus for doing it. however, around august, i made up my mind that this was something I wanted to do. i knew i wanted to do it, but- full disclosure (that in no way makes me look sympathetic)- was incredibly embarrassed to be taking classes at a college. i was embarrassed to tell my friends and the people i work with that i was spending time and money on community college paralegal classes because i felt like they would look at me with knit brow and make some sort of judgmental "...hu." noise and then ask me what i'm doing with my life when i could be doing so much more with my brains and my height and my thick, hipster bangs!!
so my first semester i kept things pretty quiet and took one, ridiculously easy class where i didn't really learn anything and sometimes the teacher would forget to even come and i kind of just went about my business.
then the worst thing possible happened. last semester... i had to put actual effort into my classes. i had to, like, learn stuff.
i even got things wrong.
tragedy.
because it turns out that watching "boston legal" does not instill you with actual knowledge of the 14th amendment.
um, also, the word "amendment" is NOT spelled "ammendment." no matter how many years you've spent spelling it that way.

to sum up, it was humbling. i got a glimpse of just how little i know and i did not care for it.
 
if you ask me, the dunning-kruger effect (sometimes, in my mind, i call it the "diane-kruger" effect) is maddening because confidence tends to stem either from expertise or absolute incompetence and, no matter which end of the spectrum you're on, you assume your confidence is stemming from competence. so you never really know if you're an idiot.
and then there's the tragic middle. the quasi-competent. who know just enough to doubt their abilities. when people receive training in an area, but aren't necessarily experts, they tend to underestimate their skills and defer to the people with confidence (whether competent or not), assuming they're equally qualified, if not more so.
maddening.
you can interpret this any way you'd like, or apply it to any subject, but here's how i'm pacifying myself: 
the idea of not knowing my own incompetence completely freaks me out, but, at the same time, the dunning-kruger effect (sometimes, in my mind, i call it the "doogie-howzer" effect (not really, i just wanted a third parenthetical)) weirdly reassures me about my own self doubt  because it shows i at least know enough to know i don't know it all.
and it really makes me feel better about the bigger things i'm not completely confident about. i worry a lot about my emotional maturity and social skills. frankly, i worry that i'm creepy. and annoying. so it's soothing to think that even doubting my social abilities might be proof that i'm at least somewhat socially and emotionally aware. 
sigh. 
i hope. 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

boo

a couple of weeks ago, i went to a football game with a friend and her family, including her 16 year old niece who quite obviously thinks i'm lame. which is totally fine because i am kind of lame and also she's 16, so the eye rolling and the cringing kind of just comes with the territory. i was thinking about how hard it is to be a teenage girl- how much time you spend worrying about embarrassing yourself, how HUGE the little embarrassments feel and how generally inhibited you have to become just to feel like you can survive. i really don't feel like i was ever myself with my friends until the summer after my freshman year of college because i was so terrified that they wouldn't like me. 
and i was a pretty well-adjusted kid.
as an adult, i have the opposite problem. i live alone and tend to go unchecked in a lot of ways and the challenge is to stay on the right side of social norms.
here, i'll give you an example.
halloween is coming and i freaking love halloween. i love dressing up and going to any and every party. i don't care who's throwing it or who's invited, i am in. so this moment comes when i'm picking out my costume and i'm like, "oh my gosh! i'm going to get my dog a costume! i'm going to get him that 'star wars' at-at costume because that would be hilarious! AND then i could dress up as princess leia! OR!! you know what would be so funny? is if i dressed up like ziggy and then i dressed up him like me!... wait..."
i don't want to be the teen girl who immediately puts the kibosh on the first thought because it's like so totally lame and i can't believe i even thought about dressing up my dog for halloween because people will just think i'm like so totally lame! BUT i also now have to guard myself against fully letting loose, because frankly the end of that rainbow is me on some sort of freaky, hoarders reality show ("these are my 79 dogs all named after a child i never had!").

thank you for your time.