Households that baffle me

Ready for another silly Zoe quirk?

If I go to a person’s home, ask for a Kleenex, and am given a piece of toilet tissue, I file that piece of information away. I remember that you do not keep tissues on hand.

If I stay over somewhere, am ill prepared, ask for a Q-tip, and you don’t have one? I find you seriously strange. This has happened to me. Your household goes into a special category in my mind. I remember Those Without Q-tips.

If I am at your place and am in dire need of a cotton ball and you do not have a single puff of cottony softness to your name, I will marginally understand, since not everyone uses them. But I will mask my facial response and not give in to the deep sigh I will want to heave.

I can not live without my cotton balls, Q-tips, and Kleenex. I just can’t. They are good for so many different things and I am never without. If, for some bizarre reason, I run out, it is on the High Priority list to get myself to the nearest drugstore or Target and stock up. Granted, it takes a year or two to go through an entire box of Q-tips. But when you’re Q-tipping with at least two people per box, the supply depletes at a quicker clip.

I keep my cotton balls and Q-tips (usually pink, purple, green or blue) in one of these. I literally have this exact thing at home, sitting on my dresser:

The holy grail cotton container.

Isn’t it pretty?

For those of you who don’t “get” what I’m saying here, then you should just move along. If you’ve survived this long without needing the touch, the feel of cotton…..[the fabric of our lives!] then my hat is off to you.

For the rest of us, we bow to the simplicity and unending delight of having little tufts of pillowy goodness laying around to help dab on creams/medicine, take off makeup, clean out our ears, and on and on and on. As for the Kleenex thing, no human never blows his or her nose, so I don’t know what your deal is if you just never have tissues and are okay with toilet paper. Facial tissue is the one thing that goes the fastest at any office and in some places, is hoarded. I speak from gritty experience.

When I travel, I keep a ziploc bag of cotton balls and Q-tips in my toiletry bag at all times. Talk about a vital necessity. I can’t risk going someplace and not having these with me. I don’t want to have to give someone my “You don’t have cotton balls or Q-tips?” face. The time you don’t have them on your person is the time you will remember that trip in infamy. Trust.

I think I’ve made my point. I probably could have just put the photo up above with “Got cotton?” and left it at that, but I am nothing if not a wordsmith.

Enjoy your day – and perhaps stock up on your favorite cotton products, as well.

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What other “Zoe Sayses” have to say

Zoe says beauty’s a drag | Courier Mail.

So I get Google Alerts for “zoe says” because it’s always good to be aware of what’s going on with your name/brand on the interwebs, when I got this one today.

Normally I don’t bother reading if it doesn’t have to do with me directly but this one I found hilarious (and kinda true).

I’m not saying Kim Kardashian can’t look stunning but I do think that she applies her makeup with a heavy hand. Think trowel. I don’t know about all-out drag queen but it wouldn’t surprise me if there are plenty of queens out there whose characters are Kim.

What do you think of Kim’s look? And do you agree with what this other “Zoe says” about Princess Catherine’s makeup on her wedding day?

 

I need a scientist…

…to explain to me why microwaved coffee gets flat and nasty and awful. It’s barely drinkable!

It doesn’t matter if the coffee is fresh and it just needs a quick pick-me-up. It will turn into the dreaded flat, bodiless beverage I can hardly choke down.

This is not happy coffee, folks. No siree.

My 8 is your 6.

I can’t fight it any longer. I thought I could conform. But I’m relenting and just letting it be the way it is.

I, Zoe, am here to announce that not only am I a night owl, but I am not an early morning person. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy being awake in the morning. It’s not like if I wake up at 11am, I’m pissed off. But I’ve come to the conclusion that pretty much anything before 8am is awful and unnecessary. For me. You could be bright and chipper at 5am and if that works for you, that is fantastic. I don’t understand it but I will still applaud anyone who is able to follow their own body’s natural rhythms.

I like to stay up late – I always have. In high school, when classes started at dawn (8am sharp), I still went to bed at midnight to get up at 6 or 6:30. I remember standing in the shower, freezing cold as I had been wrenched from my warm bed and trying to get the water super hot, while at the same time also doing everything in my power to not give in and sit down on the shower floor and doze. (I gave in to this temptation on occasion, not gonna lie.)

I’m pretty sure I am a third generation night owl. Both of my parents have never been early-to-bed people. My dad is much less a night owl now than my mom, but my mom and her sisters are definitely late night people, where going to bed early is 1am.

For whatever reason, I “come alive” after 10pm. If I start doing something that absorbs my attention and energy (like editing photos, for example), I can do this for hours and not look up at the clock until it’s well after 12:30. The opposite happens for me if I’m up before 7:30 or 8am – I am completely dead and lethargic and I have to use every fiber of my being to stay awake and not be angry that I’m awake.

My problem is, is that even though my better judgment tells me to pack up and go to sleep, my inner night owl is shrieking at me. It’s throwing a temper tantrum at the thought of going to bed before 12am. And honestly, going to bed at midnight and getting up at 8 is totally reasonable for me. That feels natural. But for modern day society where a decent work hour begins at 8 or 8:30am, this becomes an issue. I have lost count how many times I’ve tried setting the alarm for 6:45 or even 7:15, vowing that tomorrow is going to be THE DAY I start my new waking-up-early routine. It never lasts.

Waking up early is like going on the South Beach Diet. You can stay strict for about a week or two before you totally lose your mind and binge on carbs. (You know what I mean.) I just can’t keep at it.

Those who have no problem waking up at 6am or earlier? That’s great – really. (Baffling! But great.) Essentially, your 6 is my 8. Eight o’clock is still a totally reasonable time to be up and get productive before it’s lunchtime. However, we’re strapped in by society’s demands that we all show up at an unreasonably early hour to get our day started. If I had my own business, I’d have the official work day start at 9:30 or 10. 9:30 is pushing it, though. My first job out of college, the work day started at 10am. I thought I had died and gone to heaven. People actually thought you were strange if you showed up before 10. I’m serious.

The only way this “natural body rhythm plan” of mine can work is if my dearest other half doesn’t mind if I start doing a bed-at-midnight-rise-at-8am schedule. I haven’t exactly consulted him about it yet. But I suppose he’ll read this post and then we’ll have a little chat. (Did I mention he likes to go to bed and get up early? He could sleep from 7pm-7am, though. He’s a sleeper.)

For the time being, I can bask in the knowledge that getting up at 8 still affords me to get to work by 9 since I don’t live in a city with tons of congestion during rush hour. I refuse to feel guilty or shunned about this any longer. I am freeing myself of the bonds of waking-up-earlydom. Eight is early enough, dammit.

So yeah, that’s pretty much it. Let freedom ring. Thank you and enjoy your weekend.

P.S. What’s up with early bird vs. night owl? Why has the bird become THE animal symbol on this topic?

And here’s another reason checks suck.

A friend of mine’s Facebook status message reminded me to develop this post. He may not think that this was sitting in my Drafts for a couple of weeks now, but it really has been!

Can we all agree that the check is to the finance industry as the cassette tape is to the music industry? It’s a dead technology! Yes, at one time, it was revolutionary. But it’s inconvenient, better money-swapping systems are in place now, and the biggest flaw of all is that the check relies on other human beings to take an action before the transaction is complete. In other words, you have to politely wait for a person to physically go to a bank and deposit the check and then you have to wait for more humans inside that bank to process the check. FAIL.

And what if something happens to the check that’s completely out of your hands? Checks get lost in the mail all the time. They’re easily forged or faked and if you even ask a retailer if they take checks, you get blank stares. Restaurants don’t even take checks anymore. They’re like, “Haha, nice try asshole. You’d have been better off if you dined and dashed.”

In this day and age of instant gratification, taking days or even weeks to have money taken out of your account is absolutely agonizing. When people used to write checks at the grocery store, they probably thought it was the most convenient thing ever because they didn’t have to take time out of their day to specifically go to the bank, guess at how much they needed to spend on food, take that money out, and then shop with it.

And why are checks still in existence? One reason. To pay rent.

Honestly, between debit cards and PayPal, I have no idea why it’s necessary for any of us to pay rent via check now. That’s the most galling thing ever. How come there is no solution for landlords to accept PayPal? If I were a landlord, I’d totally sign up for that shit. I’d tell all my tenants that hey, I don’t need to conduct a thorough credit/background/cavity check; if you have a PayPal account, it means you’ve gone through some legal system to prove you have a checking account and you can pay me rent. Plus, then it’d save ME from having to go to the bank and physically deposit checks. And let’s be honest, who has time for that? I have tweeting and Facebooking to do.

In all seriousness, the lack of common courtesy by most people to go to the bank and quickly cash personal checks is one of the most aggravating things on the planet. The issue is only exacerbated when a person asks you to pay them right away or sets a deadline and then that person sits on your check for weeks. Granted, if you keep up your balance book or can constantly deduct the amount from your checking account when you log in to check your balance (as I do), you’re okay. It doesn’t take away the aggravation, though.

If you have money to burn, you don’t worry about this at all. You’re one of those people we hand-to-mouth people detest because you’ll say things like, “Oh I never even noticed that my check hadn’t cashed!” Shutup.

Someone needs to FIX THIS and figure out a way for us rent payers (mortgage payers too? I have no idea) to use PayPal or something equally instantaneous and gratifying. Lastly, do you know how long it takes me to go through a single BOX of checks? Years. I just switched to a new box that finally has my correct address on it after three years of it having an address I lived in for a mere six months. Ridiculous!

If someone has an idea on how to overhaul this annoying process, I’d love to hear it. Death to checks!

Blogging for two

No, I’m not pregnant.

Forreals. I’m not.

I just wanted to say that in case there is an obvious dip in my posting schedule, it’s because I’m divvying up my time between photography-related posts on ZVIC and here, where I can be free to write….well, pretty much whatever. There is a big difference in posting for a business and where you can just blab on and on and insert the occasional off-color word. You feel me?

I currently have some stuff lined up in development to get out there for you fine folks who read me on the regular – it just may take me an extra day or two to get it out there. But I haven’t forgotten about you!

Lastly….isn’t that preggo picture awesome? I wish I could draw like that. Instead, I’ll have to find a pregnant woman wearing a skimpy superhero outfit whose picture I can take.

Again, I am NOT preggers. This would be a very different blog post if I were.

Over and out. For now.

What exactly is Britney back FROM?

Britney lovers, don’t get mad at me, but I’m about to post a little critique of Ms. Spears for a post. I have one very popular Britney post where I lauded her comeback a few years ago when she released “Womanizer” before her album Circus came out. And yes, I do possess her Femme Fatale album (not that I understand why it’s named that, unless it’s just to signify that most of the songs are about sex).

But okay, this cover comes out and….how do I say this? It doesn’t look like her. It looks like a Photoshopped/plastic surgery version of herself. Does anyone else see this? Like, what’s going on with her chin? It’s jutting out. I think the eyes and hair are the same and I do love whatever white thing she’s wearing that is indistinguishable from the white of the cover but….Who is that? She’s done so many photo shoots where she doesn’t look completely different from one side to the other like this.

The next question is….what are you back from, Britney? With your figure? Isn’t that old news? She’s not singing live, as we all know. She still loves her some lip synching. It’s not dancing, since she can’t or doesn’t dance and gyrate nearly to the extent that she used to – like, at all.

So…back from what, exactly? Motherhood? Rehab? The mental asylum? I really don’t know.

Since I just did an album review, I won’t say much on Femme Fatale except that as I relayed to a friend of mine, it sounds rather “Britney Lite.” It’s got some great beats and I listened to it quite a bit and sure, I like it just fine. It’s no Born This Way but that’s okay. Am I going to shell out $150 or more to go see her in “concert,” though? No ma’am.

All I can say is that Britney looks pretty but there’s nothing remarkable about this cover except for the fact that whoever sliced her in real life or in Photoshop made her look like every other blonde Hollywood actress out there on the cover of a magazine.

Meh.

Maybe you’ve listened to a little album called “Born This Way.”

Have you been asking your friends, “Have you heard the new Gaga album?” or “So, what do you think of the latest Gaga?” No? Then you might not be interested in this blog post. However, several of my friends and I, as well as millions of others I can’t possibly fathom, have been doing this exact thing.

I know there are many, such as myself, who find it annoying when someone on iTunes/Amazon/Other Music Store I’m Not Aware Of puts the entire track listing down as part of his/her review of an album s/he’s downloaded. I can’t say I won’t be doing that in my review of Born This Way. There’s just too much to say about an, I’m sorry to put it this way, epic album such as this one. That isn’t sarcasm, either.

I know that Lady Gaga has famously predicted that this is the “album of the decade.” Considering her surreal rise to fame in the last 2.5 years, I think she’s probably earned the right to a little bit of ego. Didn’t The Beatles have their “more popular than Jesus” moment? Yes. I think most people know by now that that didn’t dim their star in the eyes of their fans. So, as an extreme fan of Gaga, her comment doesn’t faze me. Who’s to say it won’t be the album of the decade? Maybe she’ll have two. Who knows? I guess we’ll find out by 2020.

Anyhow, as far as this author is concerned, this album delivers. Like many others, I was extremely impatient for the album to drop and couldn’t understand why it was taking so long. When the single “Born This Way” came out in February, I said to myself, “I have to wait more than three more months to hear the whole thing??” It seemed a bit ludicrous. But now that it’s here and I’ve had it on non-stop repeat (iPod, car, iTunes at home, rinse, repeat), I can say that it was worth the interminable wait.

I’ll put it this way: I haven’t listened to an album this many times in a row without getting sick of it since 2006, when I had Madonna’s Confessions on a Dance Floor playing absolutely non-stop between my stereo at home and my iPod. And those songs still hold special meaning for me.

Don’t get me wrong, I was obsessed with The Fame Monster, too. Those songs fully converted me to being a Gaga fan more than just The Fame, but to each her own. On Born This Way, Gaga did not lightly write her songs. Not a single fluff piece exists on this thing (especially “Scheiße”). The lyrics are important, absolutely, but anyone who was alive in the 80s can hear the strong musical influences that lie within this pièce de résistance, e.g. Madonna, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, and a plethora of 80s rock bands who were huge.

Let’s get to the tracks, shall we?

“Marry the Night” – I’ve always been one to believe that an album can be as strong as its opening song. I like that not one of the four singles released prior to the album dropping was the first one listed. This one gets your toes tapping, head nodding, and you singing along to the chorus with one short listen. This song also told me that despite what I may have heard and liked about the released singles, that this album isn’t effing around. It’s a completely different sound and vibe altogether. Gaga took this rebirth seriously. This song is a fantastic freedom anthem or, at the very least, could go right up there with one of my favorite road trip songs, “Running Down a Dream,” by Tom Petty.

“Born This Way” – I don’t think I have to go into too much detail about this one, since it was the first single out and  we all knew it was coming and what the message is. Whether you believe or not it sounds “exactly” like “Express Yourself” is up to you. The most Madonna-esque thing about the song, in my mind, is at the way end when the music stops and she’s singing the chorus on her own and then it goes out completely while she whispers, “Same DNA…but born this way…” And I thought that before the video came out and there is a quick shot of her doing her very best Madonna impression (via makeup).

“Government Hooker” – I was actually surprised I like this one as much as I do. Though it might have a funny beginning, it sounds really good when the beat hits. My favorite part is when she sings the reprise, “I’m gonna drink my tears tonight…” I was listening to it in the car the other day and it occurred to me that while she may have written it about politicians’ wives, it could also be about the politicians themselves. We elect and pay for them to be in office and more often times than not, they turn around and screw their constituents.

“Judas” – This one had to grow on me but grow on me it did. One of my friends has said that this is her favorite song on the album. I can’t say that for me but it is definitely good. From the very start, you’re in for a ride on this one. Although I can appreciate a song about loving the wrong man, I don’t read too much into the religious overtones of it, but I do like it. This one ends as it starts – abruptly. It’s like going on a Tilt-A-Whirl.

“Americano” – I know only one other person who likes this song as much as I do. It kind of made me think it was “Alejandro II” but it’s definitely got its own flavor, and it’s not about loving the wrong person. A few friends of mine don’t like the “mariachi” sound but I really like the fast-pacedness of it and it has its special message(s), of course. (I had to look it up but it’s about immigration/law in Arizona and gay marriage.) This one has a decisively less 80s flavor to it but keeps up the pace, if not sets it, for the rest of the album. No slowing down here!

“Hair” – How can you not like this song? It has a classic feel to it about rebelling as a teen and, well, being free as your hair! I feel like if there was a modern day version of the movie Grease, this would be in it.

“Scheiße” – Um…I really don’t like this song. I can’t get past the manic German-speaking. I skip it when it comes on now. I know, I’m not a purist. I didn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater, however. I still adore this album. I just couldn’t get on board with…whatever this song is about.

“Bloody Mary” – Gaga is quoted as saying that this song is about living between fantasy and reality. Makes sense, considering some of the distorted sounds that come out while she’s singing. To me, the song’s chorus has a very “come hither” sound to it. It’s kinda trance-like. I can’t explain it better than that. More Jesus/Biblical references. I haven’t delved into the deeper meanings.

“Black Jesus+Amen Fashion” – This one sounds the most Michael Jackson-esque, at least in its opener. The folks over at Palace of Gaga have said that this one tells us that putting on a new spirit is as easy as putting on fashion. It’s super catchy and has a little autobiography in it about her rise to stardom. Love it!

“Bad Kids” – Gaga sings to us about loving your perceived flaws in this somewhat unusual sounding track. Here’s a good article that breaks it down. This song has a sizzling electric guitar playing on the main verses. The chorus gets super 80s and reminds me of a Whitney Houston song or something.

“Fashion of His Love” – The tribute to Alexander McQueen. I don’t “know” fashion so I am not familiar with McQueen’s works but I know from paying attention that he had a massive influence on the world of fashion. Lady Gaga sings about this topic on pretty much all her albums and it’s a nice token to McQueen’s memory. To be honest, I thought it was about Jesus when I listened to it the first few times, and it sat well with me. I like that there are moments when we can hear Lady Gaga sing on her own before the drumbeats or guitar get going. This chorus, if you can’t hear “I Just Wanna Dance With Somebody” by Whitney Houston when it comes on, go listen to that song and then listen to this one again! It’s uncanny. But also awesome.

“Highway Unicorn (Road to Love)” – One of my favorites from Born This Way. You hear the chorus first and then she sings deeply with a strong beat that builds to the high chorus. This one can easily go on repeat until you learn every last nuance. There’s still no sense of stopping – the energy keeps flowing.

“Heavy Metal Lover” – Strong contender for my favorite song, though I’ll tell you soon which one I think steals the title. To me, the song is the slightest of nods to The Fame Monster but it retains this album’s flavor. Heavy synth and more pop. Great to blast in the car, especially with friends, since the song discusses how sometimes a crowd does it better.

“Electric Chapel” – After listening about 100 times now, I believe this one takes the place as Favorite. It’s such a tough call, though. Who knew that organ and church bells could sound not only cool but NECESSARY on an album? I can’t say enough how much I love this track. The opening guitar makes me think of the movie Top Gun. It has a nice story within it, though.

“The Queen” – Such a freaking awesome follow-up to “Electric Chapel!” Honestly, it’s the third in a row on this section of the album that I think was just genius to put together. This one has a lot of different meanings and you can certainly look them up…I think it’s kind of fun for this one to remain subjective. Can’t go wrong with this one – fantastic guitar solos.

“You and I” – I have a bitch of a toothache going on right now so I didn’t bother to Google the word You that has the umlaut over it. Cute way of putting it, though. (Better than U ‘n I or something.) Just when I think there can’t be a fourth song in a row that is going to blow my mind, this one kicks down the door with its Queen-esque vibe. The drums take this one. You could totally see Gaga singing this in some dive bar somewhere. It’s just overall fantastic and a great love song. I believe this is the only one that Gaga wrote on her own for the album. Not 100% on that, though.

“The Edge of Glory” – Um, yeah. Out of the four singles released prior to the album dropping, this one stole my heart. I didn’t think anything could top “Born This Way,” but this one just managed to do it. I like the more dancey feel to it and could totally see people going crazy in a club or venue somewhere – even me, who is not a self-proclaimed awesome dancer. She performed this on the finale of American Idol and I thought she did a fantastic job. I am waiting on pins and needles for the music video of this to come out and based on what I’ve read, the speculation is rampant as to how it’s going to look. I’m probably as excited for this one as I was “Telephone,” and that video was mind-blowing, let’s face it.

I’m not going to review the bonus tracks but I will say that The Country Road version of “Born This Way” makes you fall in love with this song all over again. It’s quite amazing how she was able to spin it two totally different ways. This has a bluesy, Springsteen-like feel to it. Even Kevin, who is decidedly not a Lady Gaga fan, has said that her and her music doesn’t completely suck. This is coming from a die-hard Bruce fan. So props to you, Lady Gaga! As if she needs more.

I know this was long. I felt it towards the end there, if you couldn’t tell. I probably haven’t done this long of a post since my very first one. But I can’t sing its praises enough. I know millions of others out there love it just as much as I know there are at least half as many who can’t stand it. One review I saw called it “schizophrenic” and an overall “disappointment,” which I couldn’t protest vehemently enough. I love that she reinvented her sound for this album and I hope she’ll continue to do so. The artists who do stick around for a very, very long time. (Hello, Madonna knows that formula all too well!)

My only wish is that Lady Gaga doesn’t completely abandon the sounds that have been a success for her. For example, Kelly Clarkson hasn’t done a single song similar to those on her first album Thankful, ever. And I really really like that album. If she did another pop/R&B album like that, I’d pre-order it, even. Now I have to wait for Clarkson’s albums to hit and test out each song before I commit. I love Kelly Clarkson and own all her stuff but I still go back to songs from Thankful and ask, “Why isn’t there more of this?”

Okay seriously, I need to be done now. If you’ve read all the way to the very end, I applaud you. Hell, I applaud me for finishing this tome of a blog post. I welcome any and all feedback if you’ve listened to this album and care to share!