top five embarassing crushes, inspired by the Trophy Wife

Notes: Melina describes my taste as sandy-haired and sweater-wearing, meaning I like preppy boys. Totally. Similarly, Suzanne and I have described my "siren song" (e.g. type I require great resolve to resist) as "Ma cherie, will you please proofread my thesis on quantum physics while I go to the symphony with Jean-Luc?" - i.e. cultured, brainy, and gaaaaaaay.

In order of embarassment:

5. This isn't going to mean much to my non-Bollywood-watching friends, but leading the list is Shahrukh Khan.

(There are also several other Bollywood boys I find crush-worthy, but they're not embarassing.) This man is a mega-star with dozens of movies to his credit and, bearing in mind the bias of a viewer not raised on the methods and styles of Hindi cinema, let's just say that he tends towards the cheesy. In a review of one of his most popular films, a writer on said he came across as a mix of Jerry Lewis (manic mugging) and John Stamos (self-satisfied lady-killer with too much hair). Ouch. But he is an oddly effective actor - when his character cries for his long-lost girlfriend who killed herself in the face of her father's disapproval for their love, I cry too. When he looks at someone with puppy-dog eyes, the kind not often employed by people over seven years old, I know the target will melt helplessly. When he dances, I amazed - few people in our culture, and certainly no people I know in real life, dance like that. Part of his appeal for me is that his foreignness, encompassing far more than nationality, somehow gets meddled with metrosexualness, which given my tastes is a dream come true. Also, he can totally rock orange cargo pants.

I think in the above scene he is singing (really lip-synching to someone else singing) a Hindi version of "Pretty Woman."

Shahrukh is low on the emabarssment scale because a) most of you don't even know who he is, so my shame is sort of anonymous, and b) millions of people in other parts of the world routinely swoon in his presence, so at least I'm not alone.

4. Because being imaginary is a character flaw that cannot be overlooked, as Bridget Jones says, I give you Constable Benton Fraser from the defunct tv show Due South.

This is embarassing because this person is pretend. But he is all the good stereotypes about Canadians - calm, helpful, reliable, kind - without the bad - smug, reserved, jingoistic in their own Jan Brady way. Canadians are tired of people loving the red-coated Mounties, so as an honourary Canadian I really ought to know better. I can't help it - he's almost impossibily good, saved only by a few endearing flaws that make him all the more loveable.

Plus he loves dogs.

3. Francis (what is the family's last name, anyway?) from Malcom in the Middle

Not only is he imaginary, he's baaaaaaaaaaad. I have never understood people who are attracted to the bad-boy type, but even I came under the spell of Francis. Even when he's lying on the floor, nearly unconscious from trying to eat one hundred marshmallow peeps.

We could also file Hugh Grant under the bad boy category, but save for a few moments every now and then, when he charms away my memory, I am so over him. Yuck.

2. Rupert Everett

Objectively, from a purely aesthetic standpoint, there is nothing wrong with this crush. For example, if I were a gay man, Rupert Everett would be a perfectly reasonable crush. But I am not. Over the last few years I have worked very hard at not forming romantic attachments to gay men, but resolve flies out the window for Rupert. He's British. He's musically gifted. He looks fantastic in every stitch of clothing (and not), even shiny pants and a cowboy hat, but especially suits. Numma. I think he's the only person I've ever described with the word "hot." He's funny. He's witty. He gads about town with fabulous gal pals. He seems to skirt delightfully and charmingly just on this side of being an absurd stereotype.

It is with great shame that I admit how much I love him, even though it will come as no surprise to anyone. He is embarassing because he reminds me of my failure. He is a badge of my weakness, my scarlet letter.

1. Kevin Sorbo

I mean, really. I don't even like sci-fi/fantasy. I have neither explanation nor defense for this except that he has sandy hair. I'm not sure I could have invented a more ridiculous contender for this list.

This post is brought to you by a mug of those powdered "international" "coffee" mixes in "cafe francais" - received as a starring component in a gift basket of "things we enjoyed in college" that also included Bailey's and a package of scrunchies.

Thank you to all the sites to whose pictures I linked.

the return of The Trophy Wife

Am thrilled beyond all good sense that Melina's blog has returned, and with it all the funny comments by her friends who live elsewhere.

In my defense, I must say that (get ready for easy but compulsory joke) I can fight this feeling - I have only seen REO Speedwagon because they were with Journey. No Journey, no voy. However, it is only just and right that the Illinois State Fair employ its native sons. So in that vein, how 'bout some Liz Phair? (Although only if she reversed time to a few albums back.) The state fair is worthy all on its own, so never fear, little dude, we will get our food on sticks and llama shows.

If you can't ask for what you want, just point.

While walking my dog this morning, I strolled by a house that has recently sold and whose owners appear to be doing the grand pre-moving cleaning out. Among the items set out by the curb for trash or taking was a twin-size headboard. On the side facing the street, it looks like a relativey normal dark wood headboard. On the side facing the sidewalk, it is a different story. This side has been painted with what at first glance appears to be a landscape of some kind. On closer inspection, the painting depicts the upper back and head of a person with long, blonde hair whose hand is raised. The raised wrist is encircled with a black chain that leads to and is "tied" around the bedpost. On the lower portion of the bedpost is what looks like a phallic-shaped lamp (base and shade, as it were). Other decor was limited to trees and grass - at least I think it was - I stopped looking at that point.

Is the painting instructional? wishful? commemorative? And what was the age of its artist? Clearly I need to borrow a digital camera for tomorrow's walk and post a picture.

reality bites

Advise, please: how to be supportive of friends when what they want/need for themselves is not what you want/need for yourself or for your view of the relationship, even if you know and understand perfectly well what they want/need is for the best, you empathize, sympathize, etc. with what they want/need.

E.g., "I know you hate your job and you are miserable, but don't leave - I'll miss you."

Also it forces me to admit my master plan of bringing all of my favorite poeple to Champaign-Urbana (well, my favorite Americans, anyway) is failing. By the end of this summer I'll be down, like, five. Unsatisfactory.

death trap

Long ago my mother instilled in me a fear of flip-flops. Don't walk long distances in them - they have no arch support. Don't run in them - you could trip. Don't ride your bike in them - you could get tangled up and not be able to use the pedals or get your toes stuck in the spokes. She was right, of course. I see all the students trapsing around campus and wonder how they are not buckled over in pain, my mother's voice running in my head. And when I wore mine yesterday evening, becuase all my other summer shoes were rubbing, I was convinced I would not be able to make the 4-minute drive to John's house safely, my feet ensnared in hot pink foam and orange plastic, unable to reach the brakes.

Summer is bringing with it a host of other worries of varying significance, ranging from inconvenienced-by-heat to panicked-homeowner. If I turn on the a/c, will its draining system suddenly burst and flood my basement? If I keep the window open, will my dog be miserable in the midday heat while I'm at work? If I hire someone to diagnose my humongous maple tree, am I ready to do deal with the diagnosis? How can I take two short vacations withoug going broke? In an attempt to save money, can I actually sew a pair of capri pants that look normal? Are all the plants I bought in the spring going to make it through the summer, or have I just wasted over $100? Do I need to put out my remaining window boxes so the neighbors won't tsk-tsk?

The only sensible option is to get a lemon shake-up from Taste of Champaign and sit quietly in the shade with a book. Shade is free and books are delightful. Good deal.

little bowls of goodness

At Radio Maria, one of our town's fanciest restaurants, they have my favorite non-cake dessert ever: dark chocolate pots de creme. Numma. I split one with a friend at a spur-of-the-moment decadent lunch today and it was heavenly.

Oddly enough, on today's menu was also bratwurst. What about Latin American/Asian/Caribbean fusion cuisine says "bratwurst"? But never you mind - it was delicious!

putting the "spring" in Springfield

Despite having lived all but 3 of my years in Illinois, and most of those in the central bits, I have spent very little time in the state capital. This week we took a field trip for work - a definite perk of the job - to Springfield to visit three museums:

  • The Museum of Funeral Customs

  • This was not nearly as bad as I was anticipating. You can never tell with these weird little topic-based places. Although it only discussed the US from about 1835 or so, it was still really interesting. Death is complicated, and attending to it caring for it may be even more so. There's something itneresting about how we handle the great equalizing force in the world. Except, as these exhibits show, there really isn't much equal about it, as the differences that exist among us in life are clearly in death too. Also, I must add, as if we needed further proof: the Victorians were nutty. As a museum person, I am deeply grateful for their tendency to collect stuff and put it on display. And I like their domestic architecture. But yikes. What weird social rules they had. There were codes about how long women had to wear mourning clothing depending on their relationship with the deceased. Men, of course, didn't have to wear anything different.

  • The Dana-Thomas House designed by Frank Lloyd Wright

  • Beautiful, of course. Clean but rich, calming but engaging, quiet but full of detail, unobtrusive but glittering and utterly useful. Why don't we build more buildings like this? Think of all the big, flat shopping centers and office buildings that could so benefit from these principles and visual vocabulalry.

  • the brand-spankin' new Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum

  • Oh. My. Gawd. Mannqeuins of the presidential family, ideally situated for posing and being photographed with - just like Mikey Mouse. Mannequins of young, idealistic, hard-working Abe! Mannequins of other 1860s celebs, including John Wilkes Booth, glaring at you as you enter the museum. Mannequins of the Cabinet pondering the Emancipation Proclamation. My colleagues and I diverged on this place. It gave me the heebie-jeebies and for the first time I can remember I found myself sitting on a bench making phone calls because I really didn't want to spend any further time in the galleries. This never happens to me - I can always spend more time in a musuem. But not here. Problem 1: there were a lot of holes. No museum can tell the "whole story," if there even is such a thing, of any topic, but the omissions here seemed large. I know very little about Lincoln and I would love to visit this place with someone who knows what isn't being said. Problem 2: halfway through I was struck by the anti-South bias. We can all agree slavery is bad but the picture is so much more complicated than that, and I don't think the museum explained enough about slavery, why it was used, why people objected, why it was such a hot topic for new states, etc. Clearly this is not a slavery museum but they talked about it too much with too little information. There were some cheap tactics too, like a diorama of slaves being sold that had bright red lights projected on the faces of the traders. Thanks, got it, they're demonic. Problem 3: there is a really good gallery with reproductions of contemporary political cartoons from all over the place, showing both how Lincoln was not much loved at the beginning of his presidency and how complicatedly troubled the US really was. Then a few rooms later, Lincoln is dead and is clearly already a hero of epic proportions. But there's no in between. They didn't describe much about what he did to inspire such a transformation in perception. Problem 4: mannequins. Problem 5: too few artifacts. The word on the street is that this insitution assumed that other museums and private collectors holding Lincoln items would donate them as this place opened, but it hasn't happened. They wouldn't need so many mannequins and shiny new replicas of tin candle sconces and crisp wooden crates in the "cabin" if they had more artifacts. I'm all for props and replicas - but in proportion, and not as filler. Problem 6: you have to use finger quotes a lot when describing this place. As one of my colleagues said, it's a theme park, not a museum. Weird. I did really like how they emphasized Lincoln sites in Springfield, using maps and integrating distances to the sites into the discussions in the text. Also they had bibliogrpahies in the labels for further reading. Both of these devices are really smart and thoughtful, and I hope they inspire people to see the real sites and to fill in the gaps. I'm going to take the easy way out and ask my mom and an Abe-o-phile friend, who between them should give me a much clearer picture. And maybe go to New Salem sometime this summer. But only if the costumed interpreters don't pretend it's 1835. That's worse than mannequins.

    What's a "meme," anyway?

    The music meme, thanks to Melina! (PS I'm glad you're writing again - the fans were getting restless. But I am not glad you spilled the beans on SLSA. Shame.)

  • The last CD I bought was...

  • Oh crikey. I was given Pink Martini's new album, Hang on Little Tomato, for my birthday, and last one I downloaded for free was a collection of Bollywood music, Bollywood for the Skeptical. But I guess the last one I purchased was... um... Free Me by Emma. And if you don't know who that is, I'm not going to tell you. And listen to "Crickets Sing for Anamaria" before you judge too harshly.

  • Song (CD) playing now...

  • Sountrack to Kandukondain Kandukondain, a Tamil remake of Sense and Sensibility that has lush, joyful music that makes you want to run around in the fields like Marianne, frolicking with Willoughby. In a good way - you know, the fiesty, sharp-witted, big-hearted heroine way, not in the sad-sack moping in a cottage way.

  • Five songs I listen to a lot or that mean a lot to me.... This is hard for me because I tend to go through phases, supplemented by the really long-standing true loves. For example, I liked some moody crap back in college but I have no need for that now. At the start of grad school I would have listed Dean Martin on here somewhere because I was in a rat pack phase. It would be interesting to inventory the favorites from the phases and see what they have in common.

  • "I'm Looking through You" by the Beatles and "Brilliant Disguise" by Bruce Springsteen. The former is my favorite Beatles song ever, and the Beatles are my favorite artists ever, so there you go. I pair them because they're both about not seeing people as they really are, whether you are the looker or the lookee. This is a problem I have that has caused me major pain over the last fifteen years or so. Oddly though the songs don't make me sad. They're just resonantly descriptive.

    "Instinct" by Crowded House. Another favorite band and another song that reminds me of how wrong I can be. But in a good way. It's hopeful.

    "Mitwa" sung by a bunch of people on the Lagaan soundtrack and "Konjum Mainakkale" sung by Sadhana Sargam on the Kandukondain Kandukondain soundtrack (mentioned above). (And yes, I had to look up the names of the artists. I have a hard time remembering what I cannot pronounce.) I'm listening to these a lot lately. Re: "Mitwa": In structure I think it probably fits under the oft-employed and oft-mocked genre of "song accompanying compilation of footage of movie characters accomplishing a major challenge," such as cleaning up an old building, doing a makeover, etc. But, according to the subtitles on the version I saw, it's about getting your friends to join you in a task of importance. Looking at a translation of the lyrics, I will readily admit it's cheesy but I like it anyway. Re: "Konjum Mainakkale ": I just think this is very musically pretty. I don't know what it's about exactly - during the movie, Aishwarya Rai is running around in an beautiful field, and there are really interestingly-costumed backup dancers popping up in strange places. The subtitles suggest that she is singing to the minah bird, but I can't find a translation on line at the moment. Hindi movie music is in my head all the time these days because discovering Bollywood movies has been so purely enjoyable, so fun. It's so thoroughly entertaining and, like some of the items on Melina and Kelly's lists, it makes me want to dance. It inspires me to learn about so many things I never would have guessed I would find interesting and as a result I'm reading all these fascinating books on the social meanings of film, travel essays, architecture, history, novels, etc. India in general has always intrigued me, I think becuase as a little girl we lived in England for a bit, and the movies are turning out to the way in that I needed. In many different ways, they engage my brain and my heart. Voila.

    "Song 2" by Blur. You know the one - 'Woo-OOH!" I likes me some Brit pop, but this one has extra oomph for me becuase it came out when I lived in Toronto, and every other Friday night our graduate college had big fancy dinners followed by nutty parties in our common room in which people got really silly, fuelled by alcohol, people having to have been on their best behavior with visiting scholars and government officials for the preceeding three hours, incredible amounts of school stress, etc. This one always got people bouncing around the room, kicking off shoes and academic gowns, yelling, having fun. Canada's best and brightest doing truly awful but genuinely-felt dancing.

    I don't listen to "Under Pressure" by Queen and David Bowie all that often, but I do really love it becuase I believe it's true that turning away from life and from problems doesn't work, that giving love another chance is all we can really do, because at the most basic level it's love that inspires hope and creativity and bridge-building and all that. Plus we should be nicer to each other. Something in our complicated world needs to "dare [us] to care fore other people."

    Side note: I am often struck by how many of my favorite songs are sung by men. I don't know why this is. I have sung in a variety of organized and unorganized ways most of my life and I feel strongly about making sure women from all walks get to raise their voices in whatever way is joyful and useful to them, but most of my favorite songs and artists are men. Go figure.

    Another side note: this is hard to do, this list. It's hard to choose and explain. This list does not give you a full sense of the music I like. Waaaah! I feel pigeonholed and judged!

    hit with the defeated stick

    It's one of those days that just makes you want to give up, go home, and go directly to bed. It's unseasonably hot and the gardening I simply must do when I get home is intimidating. I have no hot-weather clothes to wear to work, making me want to wear my pjs to work even more than I usually do (want to, that is - not actually wear them. Even my workplace is more formal than that). Work is alterntaing between light speed and snail's pace. Distracitng "do this now" projects keep coming up, preventing me from doing what I had planned to do - and wow, I actually had made a plan, so it's distressing not to be able to do it. "Plan your work and work your plan," as a friend's motivational wallpaper says (real wallpaper, not on a computer desktop). I've been drinking the same mug of coffee all day so probably I will get ill from the dairy that's been on my desk all day. My house needs to be vacuumed, as the dog fur tumbleweeds dance in the air conditioning. This morning I found ears of corn that had gone bad - towards liquid! - sitting on the counter.

    I feel like I can't keep up with my life, can't handle myself, even though, from a reason-based standpoint, I am not particularly busy and there is little of importance to cause me stress. It's one thing when other people disappoint you. It's another when you disappoint yourself. What to do about that....

    I want my mom.

    Ellos se gustan mucho.

    There's a little romance a-brewin' in my Spanish class, I think. Lots of walking off after class together. He notes what she is wearing. She asks him questions about his high school band. It's cute. Too bad class is over - how will I know what happens?

    Off to Chicago this weekend. Some kind of choreography concert. Some good food. Lots of giggles. What else could you need on a weekend?

    I rambled about other stuff too. Wanna see?

    April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 May 2006 June 2006 August 2006 October 2006 December 2006 February 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 September 2007 July 2008

    projects, friends, etc.

  • I love Bollywood so much that I made a separate blog for it.
  • remember when I went to Australia?
  • when you take grad school too much to heart re: literature
  • when you take grad school too much to heart re: travels
  • The Trophy Wife
  • rock and roll lifestyle
  • Why God Why
  • Technically not a friend, as not a human, but still a place I love very much, so it counts: Massey College
  • credits

  • Blog design is based largely on Not That Ugly with some ideas from Firdamatic with some additional tweaking
  • Flickr rocks! Really.
  • Hurrah for Blogger
  • And for folks trying to library-ize blogs: Blogwise and Blogarama
  • Sorry this looks like poo in Firefox. I've no idea why.