June 7, 2012

Living Room Pop

Haim (one of my new favorites) just posted their first video. Here it is:

Living room band practice, bike tricks, R n' B synchronized dance moves, childhood video footage, and sweet lo-fi pop that somehow reminds me of our childhood babysitter who had a massive Kewpie doll collection and used to drive us around in her CRX and play "Hold on to the Nights" over and over again. Like, she would just rewind that tape and play it again. A quick Google reveals the singer of that song to be Richard Marx. I always thought it was a woman. Anyway, Haim and their modern ballads. I'm not saying that I'm planning a breakup, but should that ever happen Haim's entire library is going on my Breakup Mix.

June 5, 2012

Dealing with Dentistry

Oh man. Since when has the dentist become such a traumatic experience? It's not like I enjoyed it as a kid (I remember gagging when they tried to make me sit with my teeth in those fluoride foam trays and spitting pink stuff all over the place) but it wasn't a place that I dreaded beyond comprehension. My lukewarm feelings are no more. The dread is real.

Exhibit A: Gentle Dental.

A hellish, cream-walled prison of confusion, pop-up fees, receding gum lines, and Novocaine.  The first visit almost exactly one year ago should have been enough. I was sideswiped with a need for different x-rays even though I had recently had x-rays and would have to pay for these out of pocket. Already smarting with this indignity, I was forced to bite down on unpadded bite wings (they were out of the pads) which cut into my gums quite painfully, while staring at a ridiculous mural of a tropical white sand beach dotted with palm trees. This kind of crap (the mural, the missing pads) does not inspire confidence. The resulting struggle was epic and in an embarrassing turn of events I found myself glaring at this woman in her baggy scrubs and telling her she was hurting me. With exclamation points. Because she was. I realize this is somehow against the rules of modern dentistry. Going to the dentist sucks but you deal with it. You need take it like an adult, even if it feels like an advanced and creative form of torture. If you don't follow the rules you are treated like you're five and told what a great job you're doing as you sit there suffering. The whole thing is a complete humiliation.

So it was that I found myself too cheap to deal with the necessity of paying for new x-rays yet again and returning to same dentist office for my cleaning a year later. It was a mistake. An adult would perhaps acknowledge that this place was not the right place for me, learned from last year's mistake, and found a new place to go, x-ray cost be damned. But apparently the challenge of find a new dentist was too much for me. I just wanted to get it over with. So there was this: my dental hygienist with remnants of a heavy french accent who insisted on asking me questions about my life throughout the cleaning (why do they do this when their hands are in your mouth?), the exam which revealed two cavities (allegedly) and was conducted by a dentist not much older than me who called me sweetheart repeatedly and appeared to imagine himself a possible shoe-in for Vince Vaughn in Swingers. Desperate to avoid making another appointment, I signed on to get them taken care of then and there. The whole thing took on the air of a bad dream as I was shuffled from the cleaning room to the lobby and back again, was informed of the cost of the fillings after they deduced coverage of my weak dental insurance, and then the found myself in the midst of sudden dental chair and Novocaine-needle freakout which resulted in tears streaming silently from under the Ray Charles glasses they gave me, and the eventual administration of nitrous oxide. This made the dentist's schtick almost bearable (at one point he told the hygienist that he needed the area to be dry, desert dry, Gobi dry, Sahara dry, but thankfully I was able to ignore this as an indictment against against his dental qualifications, and remain sitting still and breathing through my nose.

I left with my Quasismodo face (you know how it feels) and vowed never to go back. For real. I'd like to think that I could hold it together in a different dental office, one that doesn't constantly inspire words like "chartalan", "highway robbery", and "malpractice" but we'll see. I'm not convinced that dentists aren't secret sadists, every one, but I am looking for recommendations. I need a new dentist.

June 1, 2012

Adult Partying

What do you do at Adult Party Weekends?

You rent a house. You fill it with all your favorite people (some of whom you only see once a year at this event). Once this weekend was dedicated to Sasquatch, but we've moved past Sasquatch, grown up, if you will, to dedicate Memorial Weekend to quality time sans music festival madness.

You drive south after work on Thursday, stopping in Eugene to say hello to old friends who can't make the journey this year. You eat tacos and then sit around the fire and listen to records. In the morning you go to breakfast at a fancy restaurant and celebrate birthdays and the weekend and all that is to come. On the way to Lake Shasta you will stop in the tiny town of Rogue River to get some diner coffee and buy a dream catcher. You make it to Shasta in the afternoon and proceed to set up your tent (everyone else is inside on beds and air mattresses but it's nice to have your own little cave). You check out the lake, you jump in, you drink white wine with icecubes and eat hotdogs, you set up the badminton net and witness the most spectacular, aggressive dive for a shuttlecock you've ever seen. Blood is drawn. At some point the dancing starts and you start whirling around on the linoleum kitchen floor for hours and hours and hours. Cars filled with your friends file in throughout the night. It's exciting. Conversations range from catching up, updates on adventures, boyfriends, jobs, engagements, to African Killer Bees, cloud formations, stories from years past, feats of strength.

You go for runs in the morning. Some woman will say to her kid, Look honey, those people are running on their vacation. They're crazy. You will laugh politely, unsure if she actually hates you for doing this. After breakfast, you swim across channels to access the best, grassiest peninsula where you will float around on rubber rafts, eat Doritos, and watch your friend Brian leap from the bushes and throw a makeshift spear made out of a cattail at one of your friends. You'll see an osprey catch a fish. You wish the sun wouldn't hide behind the clouds. Later you will battle Brian in a choreographed Jackie Chan kind of way and vanquish him with a mimed stab to the chest. After dinner you will apply temporary tattoos to your body, because this is what adults do, and you'll end up with a neck tattoo of a panther killing or perhaps mating with a snake. You dance and talk, you watch the sunset, you lie in a meadow filled with lavender and look at the stars.

On Sunday you  experience Shasta in the best kind of way, via pontoon boat. Your generous adult friends rent a boat and all of you go out on the water and you will do this safely and responsibly because you are adults. The weather is the best it has been all weekend and you find a sheltered cove where you swim for hours, floating on life rafts, eating candy, and narrating the interactions of the jet boat people like it's a nature show. You will pull into a different cove on the way back and make rock piles on the shore, proof that you were there. You'll see deer hiding in the shade of the trees as you motor slowly up one of Lake Shasta's many arms. You will stay on the boat with Liz and Alexa to form the All Girl Crew (AGC!) and aid Captain Jesse in his efforts to return the boat back to the marina after dropping everyone else off. You will try not the laugh when the boat comes in a little hot and the marina guy's tone turns to panic as the boat bounces off the dock. You and Alexa will carry the heaviest, largest cooler ever across the dock, stopping to drain it out of desperation and then wait forever, while it drains.

You'll go back to the house, where people are lazing around in the grass, in the sun, wearing borrowed hats and listening to Alexa read from Book 1 of the Avian Gospels. You will eat barbecue and a burger that is just a patty between buns and some ketchup and it will taste like the best burger you've ever had. You play charades, two-person charades, and act out completely ridiculous scenes, such as fighting over an orange at Winco and then shooting your adversary. You'll sip beer from the bottle and end up cleaning the kitchen late at night after making the biggest vat of macaroni and cheese that has ever been made, because that's what adults do when they eat adult food. The night will end lazily, with minimum rush, because it's the last night and everyone wishes they could stay longer, but you can't and in the morning you will get up, pack up, clean up and then drive back to Oregon.

That's adult partying.