The thing about those Kardashians…

Let me first express my deep and undying obsession with this family. I don’t know what it is. I don’t know what made it happen. All I know is that I have loved these people for as long as I can remember and there really is no explaining why. Maybe it’s all the glitter. Maybe it’s all the cat fighting and bitching I never got with older sisters. Maybe it’s because I grew up right next door to Calabasas and I liked seeing things on TV that I was familiar with. WHO KNOWS?! All I know is that no matter how obnoxious this family gets, no matter how many lost diamond earrings in the oceans of Bora Bora or failed marriages they endure… I will always be there for them.

It all started off pretty tame. Well, as tame as you can get while coming down from the high of a (rather boring) sex tape. Not a whole lot stands out in my memory. A lot of yelling, a ton of make up and an excruciating amount of dark, dark facial hair. Lest you forget this family’s heritage, they are in fact Armenian. No matter how whitewashed Kim has become (srsly, Google a picture of her from 2007 and look at her now. Unnerving), we can never forget their middle eastern roots.

But I digress.

Can we talk, for a second, about just what KKKK&R are famous for? Don’t worry if you’re having trouble thinking of something, because you’re not wrong. These people are famous for absolutely nothing. Truly, the most landmark thing anyone in this family has ever done (besides have nasty sex with Ray-J on camera) was when Robert Kardashian Senior played defense attorney to O.J. Simpson, and depending on who you ask, that may or may not be exciting enough to even gain any attention (unless you’re my older brother who talked about the O.J. trial on a semi-daily basis like it happened last week).

Really and truly, I’ve never had much of an issue with these people. As I stated above, I have watched every single episode of every single season of Keeping Up With The Kardashians and all related spin-offs (except Kim’s wedding special. That is where I draw the line. More on that later, k?) Nothing really that exciting has happened thus far.

On season 1 we saw the youngest Jenner (Kendall or Kylie… doesn’t matter, they’re essentially the same) dance around on a stripper pole, Kim “accidentally” had some racy pictures released, Kim talked to Playboy, Khloe got a DUI, Kourtney had a pregnancy scare and then had some of her own racy pictures released. Yawn.

Season 2, Kris Jenner (formerly and always Kardashian) bought a chicken coop, Khloe went on weird dates in the valley with some weird valley people (are there any other kind in the SFV?), the family went to Colorado for some quality time, Kim spent too much time on her phone and then had a hissy fit when Kris threw her phone off the balcony and threatened to leave home (this is one of my favorite episodes because we witnessed Kim’s crying face which is LITERALLY the most hideous thing I have ever witnessed. Look it up. Lolz for days), and Kim shot more racy pictures then got mad when they got leaked (are you seeing a pattern here?).

During season 3, Khloe went to jail, then posed naked for PETA (GO GURL!), Kim endorsed promoted whored herself out for got LASIK eye surgery, Kris got a pet monkey (not Bruce), Bruce got more plastic surgery (please god, make it stop) and Khloe got cheated on by some random boyfriend.

In Season 4, to forget about her aching heart from the cheating of her no-name boyfriend, Khloe decided to marry Lamar Odom after only knowing each other for a month (naturally, because like, what’s more normal than a rebound marriage?) (PS: I cried like a baby during their wedding. Don’t judge me.) Moving on, Khloe argued with Scott, Khloe slapped scott, Khloe thought she was pregnant, Kris accidentally gave her son viagra, Khloe made the most awkward going-away-gift for Lamar chalk full of “sexy” outfits and sitting a bathtub full of gumballs (this is real life, you guys), Scott shoved a $100 bill in a waiter’s mouth in Las Vegas and Kourtney pulled her own child out of her vagina while giving birth (I’m still not over it).

Season 5, Kim got mad when people spilled red whine (see what I did there?) on her new couch, Khloe lost her 7 CARAT ENGAGEMENT RING , Kim got Botox and then black eyes follow (karma?), and Kim dated an athlete (this could be in any season).

Season 6 (honestly this is exhausting), Khloe hated Kim’s new boyfriend (enter: modern-day, real-life Geico caveman Kris Humpries), Kendall began her modeling career, Kris pretended she was a minister, Kim lost her diamond earrings in the oceans of Bora Bora and FLIPPED THE FUCK OUT and Kourtney reacted by delivering my favorite line of the entire series, in her total deadpan voice, “Kim, there are people that are dying.”

That is these people’s lives, you guys. Their priorities are fully out of whack. Their daily routines consist of taking slutty pictures of each other and releasing them to the tabloids, dating athletes, pretending their clothing store is successful, putting their last name on any and everything they can think of (perfume, clothes, condoms [okay that last one didn’t really happen but is it really that far out of left field?])and sitting on their Blackberries all day.

And that doesn’t even go into the spin-offs. There’s Kourtney and Khloe Take Miami, Kourtney and Kim Take New York, and Khloe and Lamar.

Despite their utter non-sensical place in pop culture, I can talk all the shit I want on those girls but I just can’t seem to shake my love for them.

Until now.

With the release of Kim’s marriage going under after a mere 72 days and questioning the very sanctity of marriage in itself, I have to wonder as I sit here and watch the third episode of Kourtney and Kim Take New York why the fuck these girls should be allowed to sit on television, make (what I’m sure is) THOUSANDS of dollars off of it, and be so self-absorbed, so inconsiderately obnoxious and self-righteously self-entitled. When I really think about it, I think I should make clear that I’m directing this towards Kim, mostly. I’ve never really liked Kim all that much, she’s always been my least favorite, but lately I just can’t stand ANYTHING she does. The fact that she made so much god damn money off that marriage only to end it less than 3 months later and then shit on everyone by doing nothing with that money other than probably spend it on some extra fabric to cover her flabby gross ass (look at her W Mag shoot with the silver paint, that’s another reason I don’t like her. Can’t get those images out of my head. Barf) makes me sick.

Can I tell you how uncomfortable it is for me, as viewer, to literally watch her marriage fall apart on a weekly basis right before my eyes? It is the worst case of dramatic irony I have ever experienced in my life. To watch Kim and Kris (the dog, not the mom) bicker and fight and throw each other around and cry about stubbed toe nails every god damn week is not only irritating, but also totally offensive. Like, I get it. Relationships are hard and blah blah blah but when you’re putting yourself on blast for the entire world to see, get ready for some discomfort.

There’s a lot of speculation as to whether her marriage was 100% for show. I can’t say I think it was COMPLETELY fabricated, but I do think Kim was just as much a victim to hopeless romance and the potential of a perfect Prince Charming as the rest of the world who has ever seen The Notebook. The only difference there, is that we don’t have a camera crew, Kris Jenner and Ryan Seacrest not only pushing us into tying the not but footing the bill for a compeltely extravagant wedding.

Khloe just got lucky. And I’d be lying if I said their relationship wasn’t at towards the top of my list of couples I one day want to emulate. (Like, if only for how tall Lamar is. And the fact that Khloe is my favorite Kardashian. Actually that’s a lie, Scott Disick is my favorite Kardashian, which should tell you a lot about how much I really love that family).

So let’s just call a spade a spade here, Kardashian family, and quit selling your show as a “reality” program. Just let us all in on the secret of how scripted and fake it is. We all know none of us reference our own marriages 6 times a minute, bathe in full hair and make-up or pick candy out of Dylan’s Candy Bar bag with the label so conveniently facing outwards.

 

A stupid, god damned beaurocratic standardized test.

It all started back in elementary school: the dreaded standardized testing and reporting (or “STAR testing” as it was presented to us in second grade as some ill-formed euphemism to detract us all from what it really was). Student councils, faculties and principals would rally the youth and get everyone EXCITED about taking this test. We were all told how important they were but that it didn’t effect our grades in class. That in itself never made sense to me. It’s a huge test that’s extremely important to your life, but you can’t study for it, it doesn’t effect your grades, performance as a student or standing in your level in elementary school.

So what the actual fuck is the point of it?

From 2nd grade all the way through 11th grade, every year around May we’re all supposed to gear up and get pumped over this painfully long and excruciating testing procedure that spans an ENTIRE week. A WEEK of testing. It’s supposed to be really great and fun and if you have a cool teacher she’ll bring you candy to “get your brain moving” and it’s the coolest thing in the world because a) you get to skip your regularly scheduled curriculum and b) you get candy at 8:30 in the morning from your teacher.

It doesn’t become crystal clear until halfway through high school that these STAR tests are a total, complete and utter crock of shit. The California Department of Education Website reads, “Each spring, students in grades two through eleven take a STAR test. The STAR Program looks at how well schools and students are performing.” NOTICE, won’t you, that the word “SCHOOL” comes before “STUDENTS”. The STAR test is really just a way to see if schools have their shit together. It’s not about the kids. And if I learned anything from that awful Cameron Diaz movie Bad Teacher it’s that the only thing teachers take out of it is a competition between themselves resulting in a bonus from their school t0 the teacher whose class gets the highest scores.

When 11th grade roles around, and you bubble in your last god damned bubble on that stupid test booklet, it’s like Christmas has come early and you can finally take a sigh of relief and rejoice in the fact that you’re DONE with standardized tests forever.

Until, WAIT A SECOND, BEFORE YOU START CELEBRATING TOO HARD, then comes college applications and the requirement of the SAT test to even apply. Another fucking standardized test. After nine years of standardized testing in elementary school through high school, it became clear to my parents and I that I did not excel at test-taking. My grades were wonderful but my STAR test scores were less than desirable (which should really explain a lot, with that information alone). After realizing that rejection letters from America’s colleges were imminent and inevitable, I opted for the ACT test, which I learned was for teens like me: college bound, book smart, (street smart, incredibly beautiful, really funny, talented, a joy to be around, fashionable) but not the best test takers. I scored in the 68th percentile. Whoops.

I was right about those rejection letters and headed for community colleges where I took more placement tests, found my way in, decided I wanted to be a journalist with a journalism degree, took a lot of general education courses, transfered to San Diego State and learned BOOM! another test.

This one, unbeknownst to me at the time, would be my biggest, and greatest, challenge. It would, again, unbeknownst to me, cause me to question my schooling, my brains, my life choices and most importantly, my sanity. During transfer orientation, I was clued in on the wonderful and beautiful Grammar, Spelling and Punctuation (or GSP for short) test. The San Diego State University testing office explains, “The Grammar, Spelling and Punctuation (GSP) test is a way of determining whether or not students in the School of Journalism & Media Studies at San Diego State University (SDSU) have sufficient command of English to indicate probable success in the curricula and in related careers.”

This test is bullshit for the following reasons:

  1. Passing this test constitutes a score of 80 or higher.
  2. You get three chances to pass this test, and if you don’t pass by the third attempt, you have to change your major completely (and if you’re anything like me, CHANGE YOUR ENTIRE LIFE).
  3. The test hasn’t been updated since the 1970s and it has an 80% fail rate for the first try. THAT’S A BIG 8-0.

Being the ever-eternal-optimist I am, I thought to myself, “NO PROBLEM! I got this!” What I failed to realize at the time was when the last time I was actually taught the fundamentals of grammar, spelling and punctuation was. Thinking back on it, I’m fairly certain I haven’t looked at a grammar book since 5th grade. The thing about the GSP is that it is another standardized test that determines whether I’m a good student or not. Not only is it extremely meticulous, the GSP is like the cattiest bitch I’ve ever come across. It’s tedious, it’s annoying and it’s a pain in the ass. When you ask around, everyone either took the prep course or got a private tutor. If the prep course falls in a time when you’re already in class, you do the next best thing and hire the best tutor around. She’s someone you’ve heard from numerous people that helps people pass on their first try. I got her, I paid her $300 for six one-hour sessions and I got a 78 on my first try. A mere two points away, I let it slide and not ruin my entire life. So, two weeks later, I took it again. And I got a 79.

Two points away the first time, one point away the second time.

So here I am, an hour and a half after viewing my test scores, completely brain dead because this is the beginning of the end of my college career and finally, it feels as if there is a real chance I won’t pass this test, and will have to, in turn, change my major (and my life).

NEWSLFASH: WRITING IS THE ONLY THING I’M GOOD AT.

And I know, this test does NOT mean I’m not a good writer. It in no way, shape, or form has any reflection on my abilities as a writer (duh, you already knew that since you’re reading this and enjoying the shit out of it) but it WILL effect my chances of getting a journalism degree. That’s the most frustrating part.

That brings me to my point, which is that through the entirety of most students’ careers, from kindergarten to infinity and beyond, learning ability and testing have been lumped into the same category. When is the school system and the government going to learn that just because someone doesn’t test well doesn’t mean they aren’t smart or they don’t learn anything in school.

I am so sick of being judged on my ability as a student, a journalist, a writer, a human being, because I got a bad grade on a test. Acti0ns speak louder than words in all other areas of life, so why the fuck can’t it be applied to other areas?

Standardized testing is an inaccurate and unfair representation of the capabilities of the American student and I am sick of being a victim.

Time to start Googling clown colleges, for real.

Country Strife.

I never thought this would happen to me. It’s like I’ve been bitten by a radioactive spider, except there are no cool superpower side effects, but instead, I’m just tortured by longing for something I’ve spent most of my life hating. I hate to say it, and really I am so embarrassed to do so, but I think I may love country music.

I know, I know. It’s awful! Of all ailments to take me over this early in life, this one is definitely at the bottom of my list. I cannot believe this is actually happening to me.

I think my disdain for country music stems from a long childhood full of it. Most of my memories as a youngin’ are accompanied by a little country twang singing in the background. My step-dad was an avid country fan and there wasn’t anything any of us kids could do to escape it. Every time we got in the car it was his favorite country CD or his favorite county station. When we would try to protest he would look at us and smile, “My car, my rules. When you get old enough to drive and you have your own car, you can choose what we listen to.”

That smile said it all. It was the smile of a deranged kidnapper who knew every move he made would only torture our souls even more. The pain! The agony!

My mom did everything she could to counteract this deep exposure to country music. She took her parenting very seriously when inundating us with the usual classic rock figureheads. She even created a game we would all play when we got in the car with her. She’d flip on the classic rock radio station and the first person to shout out the name of the artist got a point. Long car rides up the coast turned into battlefields with “the game”. My mom and older brother ruled at it. They even passed on the good game-playing skills to my little sister. It skipped me. I was too busy in the back seat listening to The Backstreet Boys on my CD player.

Between the over-exposure to classic rock and the hammering of old country dudes like John Hiatt and Hal Ketchum in my head, I was adamant about liking crappy tween pop. N*Sync, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, 98 Degrees… I had it all. Not only was I hell-bent on listening to over-produced and over-synthed late 90s pop, I vehemently detested the genres pushed on me as a child.

I have spent 75% of my life cursing the very foundation of every country song I have ever heard. No, I don’t care about the barbecue stain on your white t-shirt or how some girl is “killing you” in a mini-skirt. I don’t wanna hear about your Nascar races, I don’t care about your farm your parents own or the old dirt road you drive down in your rusted Chevrolet while you drink beer (which is illegal to do while driving, don’t forget that) and chew on a long piece of straw. Your ten-gallon hat is not cute, I don’t like your boots and your tobacco chew is grossing me out.

I’ve been singing that tune for a long time.

I am very serious about my distaste for this kind of music. When I visit my aunt and uncle in Texas, I do everything I can to avoid any exposure to it. My uncle loves to blast country tunes on the radio while he does yard work and when he’s inside, the CMT countdown is playing in the middle of the living room for all to hear.  I’d grit my teeth and get by, being thankful they open their home to me while I visit and knowing I have no place to dictate what plays on the radio.

This past summer, however, something strange happened. My uncle Billy and I were lazily lounging on the couch watching the CMT countdown when “Homeboy” by Eric Church came on. I found myself, dare I say it, enjoying the music. And if that wasn’t enough, even worse, and I can barely bring myself to even write the words, I found myself logging onto YouTube later that night to hear the song again… and again. I couldn’t believe myself. Something was coming over me.

The next thing I knew it, I was home in my apartment downloading my favorite country songs I heard while I was spending my week in Texas. I couldn’t believe myself but there was no denying it: I was starting to like country music.

It was all downhill from there.

I saw the movie “Country Strong” and not only did I love it, I downloaded the soundtrack and listened to it on repeat for a week. When it came out on DVD I ran to Target and bought it. The last time I bought a DVD was 2007.

The day after I turned 21, the first place I wanted to go was In Cahoots. I found myself digging through my closet looking for my “most country” outfit and pulling up to the bar at 6 p.m. to make sure I was there early enough for the free line dancing lessons.

I am longing for a pair of cowboy boots. I drove all the way to Temecula just for more line dancing and I even had my friend make me a 50 song playlist with her favorite country jams on it.

It’s not enough that I’m letting country music and line dancing take over my life, it’s the fact that when I listen to country music, or when I’m line dancing, I feel like I’ve been transported into a world of pure bliss. I’m not sure if it’s because it reminds me of my Texas family who I love so much, or what but I can’t kick this country habit.

I’m like a junkie.

Who am I? What have I become?

I don’t know how this happened to be. I don’t know why this is happening. I don’t know how to get rid of it from my brain. But I am embarrassed. I am confused. I am in a constant funk.

And the only thing that could fix this discomfort I’m feeling is a nice tall cold glass of beer, a slide guitar and some really cute boots I found at Boot Barn.

 

http://www.thedailyaztec.com/2011/11/hit-to-the-hillbilly-bone/

An open letter.

Dear Christmas,

Hey buddy. How are things? I wanted to write to you and find out why you’re trying to steal my thunder. Like, I get it. You’re the son of god’s birthday (which is totally bigger than P.Diddy’s white party) but I’m just asking for a little breathing room. Some time to shine. First of all, there are a bunch of problems with the way we celebrate you in the first place. A strange man shimmies down the world’s chimney, puts a bunch of presents under some pine-needly tree that really makes a total mess of any room they’re in, then peaces out but not until he’s eaten your food, left a bunch of sooty footprints on your carpet and made your dogs bark like he’s the postman walking a pack of German Shepherds. Someone needs to explain to me why the second Halloween wraps up, everyone gets a week to get over their sugar comas and then starts listening to “Jingle Bells” and “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” (which everyone fails to remember is about a sexual advance that is of questionable intent), drinking out of red Starbucks cups and decking out their patios with red and green icicle lights.

Where’s my recognition? I’m the one day of the year where it is not only socially acceptable, but also encouraged, to binge eat and then pass out on the couch and watch football. Like seriously, I am every man’s fantasy. Forget busty women in a bikini, I’m the one who’s letting you eat till you can’t breathe and then watch sports for the rest of the evening while your wives and girlfriends clean up your mess. I mean, hello? What more do I have to do to get a little respect?

It’s not enough that I feel totally unappreciated at the beginning of November, when it’s finally my month, but imagine if it was you, and I remembered your birthday a week before. I forgot to throw anything together because I was too focused on my other friend’s birthday (we’ll call him Jesus) and instead, just called up Honeybaked Ham, asked them to throw together a nice muffin basket and just sent it on over. Then, a month later, you saw me throw together the most show-stoppingly awesome party of all time and you feel horribly left out and you sit and wonder why your friend Jesus got such an awesome party when all you got was a measly muffin basket. Well I’ve had it.

I get it; a lot of people may debate my legitimacy. Sure, my roots may have been founded on being an unwelcomed guest to a party, taking the credit for a giant meal that wasn’t even cooked by my people but tradition is tradition, man. A guy can only feel so helpless. I can’t help the way I was created. I can’t help if you disagree. I am a product of my circumstances. People wore hats with buckles back then. Everyone was dying of smallpox. Shit was crazy. Like Mama Monster said: I’m on the right track, baby, I was born this way.

I even tried to spice it up by arranging this giant parade in New York City. What could be better than 50-foot balloons in the shape of your favorite characters floating down 7th Avenue? Yeah, the road closures are kind of a bitch but I’m doing the best I can here. I can’t really fix all the world’s problems like that guy in the red suit claims he can. Plus, you get to see Al Roker in mittens and a fedora and honestly, what’s more adorable than that? The Thanksgiving Day parade is one of the best standing traditions to ever exist. And no, don’t tell me the Rose Parade is better because it’s not. Floats made of flowers? Whatever. You don’t have Kanye West rapping on a Build-A-Bear Workshop float riding down the middle of the street while grown men in animal suits holding ribbon wands prance in circles and throw glitter at the people that have woken up and stood outside to watch at least four days in advance. As far as parades go, I’ve got this one on lock.

Give me a little credit, okay? I deserve more excitement than just a week’s notice. Quit arguing over where I’m gonna be celebrated, only invite over the people you know will bring those incredible sweet potatoes with brown sugar on top (non of that marshmallow shut, we’re not communists) and sit back, eat until you can’t think straight, get all loopy on tryptophan and remember how great I am.

I can tell you what’s not great: having to explain to your five year old why dad’s handwriting look’s a lot like “Santa’s”, telling your kids to bake cookies to leave out when you’re just going to eat them yourself (only proliferating this grand illusion) and having to lug out that bushy tree before you start bleeding over onto Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday.

Can we just relax for a minute? Can we show my boy Squanto some love? (you know Jacob from “Twilight”? He’s like that guy only like, fifty times hotter. Trust me. We hang out). I mean, the nation has even done me a favor and waited until the day after to start officially shopping for you (except damn, this year some stores are really pushing it and opening the doors at midnight. It’s like, come on, give me a break) so can you at least wait until then to start decorating and selling things at an unreasonably low price?

In closing, all I’m asking for is a little credit. You’re like the Michael Jordan of holidays. You’re everyone’s favorite. Even the non-Christians (shout out to Diwali). Don’t shove yourself down our throats. We like you, just let some of us other holidays get some. I heard Veteran’s Day has been in counseling for like four score and seven years. Can you just wait to put out your decorations up until I’ve had my time in the spotlight?

Gobble gobble, bitches. Pilgrim out.

The dawn of a new era.

I’ve had blogs before. I’ve had Myspace, AIM (including an embarrassing Buddy Profile in which there was a tab in there where I simply LISTED MY FRIENDS [and by friends I mean every person I could think of when I was a 12 year old sitting at my computer] because I thought it was important to have one single column of names to show everyone who looked how many friends I had), Xanga (omg, remember that?!), Blogspot, Tumblr, Facebook, you name it. I am a social media whore.

But now it’s time to get serious.

As serious as a sassy southern California beezy can be, that is.

Some people go to medical school, trade school or even clown school to find their niche in the world, but at 21 years old, I’m pretty sure this is my end-game. And I’m totally okay with it. Because what better way to get away with bitching and complaining in fragmented-yet-totally-sensical (is that even a word? who cares. this is my post and I’ll do what I want)-and-hilarious sentences than on a blog?

Let me first say, before you roll your eyes, which I’m pretty sure you’re in the midst of doing (unless you’re like me and have perfected the fasted-eye-roll-in-the-west eye-roll like me. It’s like, one of my greatest specialties), that I know you don’t care about my blog. I’m not one of those pretentious assholes that thinks what I have to say is the greatest thing since Mama Monster’s latest rant about gay marriage and being “born this way”. All I’m saying is that sometimes the world can be mean, cruel and utterly and irreverently hilarious and if we can’t whine about the it, then we have to just deal with living in it. And there’s NOTHING funny about that.

So come along for the ride. I promise you won’t be disappointed.