True Story or Urban Legend? 

I woke up this morning remembering a story I heard about in high school. I can’t remember if it was a news story or just an urban legend. I was about to google it to find out, but I decided not to. I feel like thinking about it instead, and reaching out to other people who might have heard about it too. Without looking it up, this is what I remember:

A popular teenage girl goes to a tanning salon to get a nice tan before her senior prom. She talks the people who work at the salon into letting her do multiple sessions in a row. She spends hours in a tanning bed and literally cooks herself to death. I don’t remember if she dies in the bed or later on that day. I feel like I read about this in the newspaper- I can almost picture the girl, but my mind could also be playing tricks on me. There is also an episode of Bones where a woman is murdered by being locked in a tanning bed, so obviously it’s possible.

Does anyone else remember this story?! What do you think- true story or urban legend?

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Clone Steak

Would it be considered cannibalism for a person to eat a human clone? Rodrigo says yes, but I am not sure. I tend to think of clones as steaks waiting to happen. Not in a bad way, I just don’t really consider them to be human. Rodrigo says that people like  me are the reason that human clones don’t exist- they wouldn’t be safe or whatever. Like I am one of the bad guys from that movie The Island. But those guys were really bad. And wasteful. I mean, if you are going to kill a clone for its liver or heart, why not cook up the rest of it for dinner? It is really messed up when they kill sharks for their fins or elephants for their tusks, and then just leave the animals to rot and die. Why should clones be any different? Honestly I do think there should be human clones, but not really for harvesting organs. Just for food. I think famous people who look like they would taste good should be cloned first. Imagine going to the supermarket and finding prepackaged cuts of Brad Pitt steak or a bag of Angelina Jolie wings ( I don’t think I’d go for those). There could be Beyonce brisket and Russel Crowe ribs, I bet you Scarlett Johansson tastes like chicken. I would have no problem at all eating human clones. I would probably stop eating other animals. I would be a vegetarian of sorts. So I ask you, whose clone meat would you eat?

Long Walks on the Beach

 

Why does everyone on dating sites say they like taking long walks on the beach? I don’t. I don’t think I even know anyone who does. It’s hard to walk on sand. Every time I do it, my calves hurt, I sweat, and I start breathing like a stalker. I can’t imagine that being a pleasant first date with someone. Yet universally, it seems to be that “a romantic dinner followed by a long walk on the beach holding hands” is the ideal first date people describe. I think it’s a lie. I think that it is probably the best answer to a seriously messed up multiple choice question like:

Describe your ideal first date:

A. A romantic dinner followed by clubbing seals.

B. A romantic dinner followed by watching a 12 hour marathon of Toddlers and Tiaras.

C. A romantic dinner followed by a long walk on the beach holding hands.

D. A romantic dinner followed by a 6 mile run.

I’d still probably rather watch Toddlers and Tiaras than walk on the beach. I guess I’m just not outdoorsy.

Holy Printmaking

Today I had my first class in printmaking and I had what I can only describe to you as an epiphany: I was born to make prints. It is the perfect combination of everything I love about every art form I love. We draw, we carve into wood, we paint the wood with big rubber rolling pins, then we run it through the giant metal printing press onto beautiful paper. Then, we do it again. We can use the wood carving over and over and over (pretty much forever), and with any color imaginable. We can mix and layer colors to make our own rich combinations. We can fuck everything up and use too much paint and still create something amazing.
I love the attention to detail in the original wood carvings mixed with the trial by error method of adding color. I love the smell of the thick gooey paint we use, and the smell of the chemicals we use to clean it. I love the wood, the paper, the metal. I want to live in the print lab. Really, it makes me happy just to be in there. The room is huge and well lit. Two of the walls are just windows with a fantastic view of the city. There are three big printing machines, and a beautiful japanese paper making machine. There are big wooden tables everywhere covered in acrylic. Everything is big and heavy and indestructible. While the work being created is so delicate, subtle, and precise.
My teacher is John P. Overton, the same guy I have for my Experimental Storytelling class. He is just great. He loves what he does and he loves art. We looked at a bunch of slides of Japanese prints from the 1800’s. They were so beautiful. I saw way too much today. It is becoming a blur- albeit a fantastic one- in my mind. I am sure I will have to do everything a bunch of times just to be mediocre -and I can’t wait. There is another girl in my class that is almost as excited as I am. Her name is Taylor. We stayed after class today hounding John with questions. We quickly learned that the best way to form a question to him is: What happens if…? He wont just answer you, he will always show you. My teacher encourages us to experiment and fuck up. Honestly, how much better can it get?

Day 2

I woke up at 7 am and took a hot shower. I decided I wanted to feel good today, so I wore my cowboy boots. I walked to school and had coffee and homemade oatmeal with brown sugar for breakfast. I arrived early to my 8 am life drawing class. For four hours, I sat on a stool and drew a naked man with a mustache. I learned about proportion and how to fit the human figure on a page. I usually get to the knees and run out of room on the page, but not today. My teacher said I was doing well. I loved the class.
After that, I had an hour lunch break before my next class. I ate a chIcken salad and drank more coffee. I went outside and it was sunny! Real sunlight here in Seattle is scarce. It was actually warm. My next class was in experimental storytelling. My teacher knew everyone in the classroom except for me. When he took role, he told us that most of us were juniors or seniors. Then he looked at me and said “Well, everyone but you. I’ve seen your work; I’ve been to your website.” I was surprised. He then told us we were going to have to do presentations for the class on contemporary narrative artists and then he looked at me and said “maybe you’d like to do a presentation of your own work.” Now I was just plain shocked.
We talked about the course and the kind of work we would be doing. All of the content is self-directed. We can use any materials we want for our projects and we are starting them right away. As a class, we all went down to the library to look at slides of the work of some narrative artists. In the elevator my teacher told me that his class was too full, and a few days ago he had decided to drop someone — and that person was me. Then he said he talked to my advisor, looked at my work, and decided to let me into the class. Um… pinch me?
After class, it was much colder outside. I decided to hurry to the art store to pick up some supplies before it started to rain. I walked the 1/2 mile uphill to the store in my cowboy boots fast. I bought a cutting mat, a big metal ruler, two art supply boxes, a sketch book, charcoal, erasers, and a giant pad of newsprint paper that I could not even fit into the shopping cart. I then walked all the way back to my dorm carrying a huge plastic bag filled with all that heavy crap. I practically ran the whole way, but I made it without getting stuck in the rain. Now I am going to go eat dinner. I think I might have just earned myself another pizza.

Day 1

I had my first class today here at Cornish. It was at 1pm in room 605 of the main art building. I arrived at noon so I could eat lunch in the cafe downstairs and then make my way up to class early. When I got to the hallway outside the room, a few students told me that the door was locked. More students began to gather in the hallway outside. Finally at 1:02, the teacher showed up and opened the door for us. We all found seats and the teacher took roll. My name was not on his list. I sat and listened to his introduction for awhile, not wanting to interrupt. I quietly checked my schedule that said Tuesday, 1pm foundation art with Kristen Ramirez. This old man did not look like a Kristen. Or a Ramirez. Fifteen minutes later I decided I was definitely not in room 605. It turned out I was in room 607; the classroom for design students. When I finally made it to room 605, I was 20 minutes late.
The class was interesting for the most part. I say for the most part because it was four hours long. After the third hour, I stopped caring about art. I was exhausted. I felt old. I am eight years older than most of the people in my class. I have decided that eight years is a lot. After class, I went back down to the cafe to eat dinner. I ate a whole pizza by myself. I deserved it. Then I walked back over to my dorm to lay down. The dorm I am in is an old motel. It is pretty nice as far as dorms go, but I can tell it was a crappy motel. We have magnetized key cards that allow us to enter the dorm buildings and different ones that open the doors to our rooms. The magnets are very sensitive and when I carry both of my cards next to each other, they become demagnetized and stop working. Then I have to go to the main dorm building so they can reprogram them. This has already happened to me twice and I just moved in.
I have two classes tomorrow. They are each four hours long. The first one is at 8 am. I don’t know why I tell people I am an artist. I think I would much rather be a princess.

Cleaning My Room

I am all for not living in filth. Really, I am. In theory. It’s just that every time I start to clean my room, I become really interested in doing other stuff. Everything distracts me. Take today for example: I found some books that I thought I had lost, so I sat on my bed and looked at them and thought about reading them. That took awhile. Then I started to look around the room at the mess. It was overwhelming, so I decided to make a list of what was most important to clean.

I know that having dirty dishes in the bedroom is gross because of bad smells and bugs, so those were number one on my list. The same goes for food in the trash can, spilled food, and sugary drinks. I decided that the cups of coffee were okay unless they had milk and therefore should not be left in the room for much longer. The clean clothes pile had somehow gotten itself mixed up with the dirty clothes pile, so now all clothes had to be re-smelled and re-piled. I wrote down dust because dust being all over everything is unfortunate. Then I crossed it out. As long as I remember to pick things up slowly, my allergies wont act up. If I don’t open my curtains during the day, you can’t even tell that there is any dust at all. I got bored writing the list and decided I had better start cleaning. I took the dirty dishes to the kitchen and made some coffee.

A few hours later I came back to my room and started to sort through the clothes on the floor. It turned out to be much easier than I thought. Since all the clothes were touching and some were dirty, I decided they were all dirty. Therefore it did not matter how I separated them just as long as I made a clear path from my bed to the bathroom. It should have only taken a few minutes, but I was watching myself in the mirror. I was trying to decide whether or not I looked believable as a cleaning person. Not because I am white or anything, just based on my posture or technique or whatever.

I tried watching myself fold some shirts, but that only made me hungry. Then I realized that every time I fold clothes I get hungry. That means I eat more when I clean. That means cleaning makes me gain weight. After this revelation, I had to rethink my priorities. How badly did I want a clean room? Pretty badly. Was it worth gaining five pounds? Definitely not. I needed a solution. I needed to think. I decided to play some word challenge on facebook so I could clear my head. After beating all my friend’s high scores, I came up with the answer. Christmas is two weeks away and I am going to St. Louis. Instead of putting away all my clothes, I would just pack them. If you pack like I do (the stuffing method), then it doesn’t feel like cleaning at all. Plus it’s fun because you get to think about where you are going and who you are going to see. I finished cleaning my room and I am all packed. Now I just have to find something to wear tomorrow.

Prescription Sunglasses

 

The thing about sunglasses that I’ve always loved is that they make my already poor vision even worse, and in doing so, they make the world look a whole lot better. Including me. This is especially true when they are scratched up or dirty. Everyone has perfectly smooth skin and a year round tan. No one looks older than twenty-five and my car never needs to be washed. Yes, with my sunglasses on it is dare I say, a perfect world. Or it was anyway.

Today I picked up my very first pair of prescription sunglasses. Once the initial awe of being able to see during the day wore off, I realized that this might not have been such a good idea. Before, when I put my sunglasses on, no matter how shitty I felt, I always looked better. My pimples went away, my clothes all matched, and was it just my imagination or did I actually lose five pounds? With the new glasses, I look in the mirror and I just see me wearing big glasses. I see everything. And World, this does not work in your favor either. I am sorry to say that Superman and I do not have as much in common as you thought. The more I see, the more I judge.

That “hot” guy at Starbucks that always gives me a few extra shots of chai for free… well I’m not so sure I want them now. I don’t know if I want him anywhere near my drinks at all. I look at the retouched photo of Jessica Alba on the cover of my Cosmo. She still looks pretty good, but she is nothing like she used to be. Photoshop just can’t compare to my old sunglasses. I guess I never realized just how bad my vision had gotten. It happened so slowly. I thought I was just naturally developing a better attitude towards the world. Now I know things only seemed better because I am partially blind.

On the upside, I am now a much safer driver. So if you were worried about me hitting you with my big truck, then you are probably glad I added the prescription to my glasses. I can see stop signs before I run through them. I see now that it is a family with small children crossing in front of me and not an obese woman with a lot of legs. It’s true, before the new glasses, I would have probably scared the crap out of you, slamming on my brakes, coming within inches of crushing you. I could easily have run you over. But in my defense, you would have looked damn good while I did it.

 

If I Ever Stop Painting

A few days ago I had a dream that Janet and I gave up up on being artists and decided to start our own casting agency. Janet, who actually has had a career in casting and has worked beneath people less qualified than herself, was my assistant. It went something like this:

Janet: “So, who should we cast as the lead in “There are Too Many Bridges in Seattle?”

Me: “You know that hot guy with the mean eyes that shot Scarlett in that movie?”

Janet: “Do you mean Jonathan Rhys Meyers from the Woody Allen movie, Match Point?”

Me: “Yeah. Well, definitely not him.”

Janet: “Okay. Good. So any ideas as to who then?”

Me: “Well, I was thinking of Tom Hanks but not Tom Hanks. Like he should be hot but not so hot that it’s distracting like with Brad Pitt.”

Janet: “Right. Great. Okay, got it. Now what about the love interest?”

Me: “I really like Emma Thompson.”

Janet: “Hmm. Well, our lead is supposed to be in his early twenties and the love interest has to be around the same age.”

Me: “And?”

Janet: “Emma Thompson might be a little older than that.”

Me: “So?”

Janet: “So we might have to cast someone younger than Emma.”

Me: “Oh. That sucks.”

And so it went. In the dream, the movie was successfully cast and a huge hit at the box office. I woke up with a feeling of accomplishment but as the day went on I began to question the probability of this career outside of my dream world. I am almost obscenely gifted at forgetting names. I love movies but I hardly ever remember the names of the actors and as far as directors and producers go, my memory draws a complete blank. I know Steven Spielburg did E.T. and that is about it. It’s embarrassing really. Having grown up with an actor father and a writer/producer mother, I should know more than most. But I don’t and if I am going to go into the field of casting, I better start doing my homework.

I decided to start paying attention. I went to see “I love you, man” because Paul Rudd was in it. I watched the entire film, sat through the credits, and left the theatre knowing that Paul Rudd was in it. Oh yeah, and the Hulk. I retained nothing. I did have however, a sort of epiphany as to why credits don’t help me at all. I don’t pay attention to the character’s names in the movie either, so when the credits roll I am staring at two lists of names that have no meaning to me whatsoever. I like credits where they put the actor’s name next to his picture but I am usually so busy looking at the picture that I don’t have time to read the name.

This may sound like a perfect argument as to why I should not pursue a career in casting, but the truth is I think I would be really good at it. I am always watching movies and complaining that they cast the wrong guy as so and so’s boyfriend and that other guy with the big head from that smart action film would have been so much better. So I might cast Paul Rudd as the perverted dying grandfather and Robert Downey Junior as his son, coping with letting go of his father and trying to be supportive of Emma Thompson, his pregnant fifteen year old daughter who has just realized that she has fallen for her unsuspecting autistic swim mate, Natalie Portman. I would of course find parts for Christopher Walken and Samuel L. Jackson and everything else would fall into place. I doubt other casting experts would agree with these choices but can you honestly tell me you wouldn’t go and see that movie?

Clap if You Believe

I remember watching the Mary Martin version of Peter Pan repeatedly as a child. There is a part in the movie where Tinkerbell is dying and the only way to save her is to show your belief in fairies by clapping really hard. At this part of the movie, they break the fourth wall and ask the viewers to clap if they believe. I used to clap until my hands were sore. Tinkerbell’s light would be blinking out and then due to my clapping it would grow brighter and brighter. If my mom was around, I would bring her over to the t.v. and make her clap too. 
With both of my parents in the movie business, I understood at a young age that once something was recorded onto a tape, it was the same every time you watched it. There was just something about the “what if” that pushed me to clap. What if this movie was different? Could I really risk killing Tinkerbell? She was a bitch but she didn’t deserve to die. As I grew older I became more skeptical and I knew it was silly to clap. No matter what I did, Tinkerbell was going to survive. I knew that. But I never stopped clapping. 
A few months ago I saw “He’s Just Not That Into You” and was disturbed by whatever plastic surgery it was that Jennnifer Aniston had done to her face. It looked like she had a nose job and her face looked swollen from collagen. I saw the movie again last week and the first thing I thought when I saw Jennifer Aniston was: why hasn’t the swelling gone down yet? It had been a few months. Surely she could not still be swollen. And why didn’t she change her nose back to the way it was? Surely she doesn’t like what she has done to her face. And then of course I thought: duh. It’s a movie and it won’t change. I knew that was the reality but I couldn’t stop myself from wishing before all of her scenes that she would look normal again. Maybe if I tried clapping…