Twitter and Facebook feeds are blowing up. A cure for cancer? Nope. Peace declared in Syria? Uh-uh. Finally an Ikea in St. Louis? There are rumors, but nothing confirmed. No, the breaking news heard ’round the world is that the roles for the movie adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey have been cast. Hear me *squee*…………….Did you hear me?…….oh wait. That’s right. I couldn’t give a whip and chain.
This is a post I wrote about a year ago, but I felt the driving need to re-blog it today as I will be heading to Chuck E. Cheese’s with my children for our preschool’s fundraiser night. Please pray that tonight I don’t encounter another reason to ever write another post like this…
Chuck E. Cheese’s.
That is all you have to say to hear a collective, audible grunt from every parent within earshot. It may very well be the place “where a kid can be a kid,” but it is most certainly the place where a parent can get a preview of one of the circles of Hell. Okay, that may be a bit of an exaggeration. But a place where your money gets you a mediocre pizza, a temporary tattoo and fun size Airhead candy for a mere 100 tickets, and a lingering sticky film over your entire body is not what I envision Heaven to be. Maybe Purgatory.
But I can deal with all of that. And I understand that in the eyes of my children, Chuck E. Cheese’s is the ultimate restaurant. After all, as a kid I felt the same way about its predecessor, Showbiz Pizza. So when faced with having to take my own kids to this pizza funland for a birthday party or fundraiser night (because those are pretty much the only circumstances under which we set foot in there), my audible grunt is not rooted in my disdain for the place. My distaste for Chuck E. Cheese’s comes from the mouse himself.
Yes, Chuck E. has scarred me for life. Let me take you back in time to the day it all happened…
The year was 1993. I was a sophomore in high school. For some reason completely incomprehensible to me now, but which clearly made sense to the idiot teenage brain, I went to Chuck E. Cheese’s with a few friends. Maybe we really wanted a neon pillow shaped liked an alien head and figured the best way to get one was to earn tickets playing Whack-A-Mole for an entire afternoon. Anyway, I remember it clearly. I was in the middle of one of my personal best rounds of skee ball when I felt a large, cartoonish presence next to me. There stood Chuck E., mimicking my skee ball maneuvers. Ha ha. Funny Chuck E. Now move along and go high-five some six-year-old. But he did not move on. He stood there for a little while, looking at me. I tried to ignore him and continued playing until he left. To my dismay, he did not stay away for long. He followed me, silently, creepily, from one game to the next. Don’t you have to go perform “Disco Chuck” or “Rockin’ Robin” with your band right about now? It was incredibly disturbing.
Finally, it must have been Chuck E.’s break time, because he scampered away behind a door, and I started breathing easy again. That is, until I turned around and found myself standing face to face with a Chuck E. Cheese employee – a human one this time. I thought maybe he was coming over to apologize for Chuck E.’s annoying behavior and to treat me to five free tokens for my inconvenience. I was mistaken. Here is how the conversation went down:
Employee: “Chuck E. wanted me to come out here and tell you that he thinks you’re cute.”
Me: <crickets chirping>
Employee: He’s a really nice guy. He wanted to know what you thought of his tail.
Me: <crickets chirping>
Employee: So when he comes back, you wanna hang out?
Me: I don’t date mice.
That’s right, ladies and gentlemen. I WAS HIT ON BY CHUCK E. CHEESE. Of all the celebrities whose eye I could have caught, that was my one shining moment. Pathetic. Disgusting. And down right Creepy with a capital C.
And THAT is why I hate Chuck E. Cheese’s. Since that very unfortunate day, I shudder a little whenever I hear Chuck E.’s nasaly voice on a commercial. When we are at the restaurant, I get weirded out and have the urge to hide whenever Chuck E. starts walking the floor. But I grin and bear it, all so my kids can have their fun.
And that is exactly what I did this past Thursday when Michael’s preschool had their fundraising night at Chuck E. Cheese’s. I bought my pizza and tokens like a dutiful mother. I helped Grace score extra points on the basketball game so she could earn more tickets toward junk I don’t want in my house. And I even alerted Michael when I saw Chuck E. sauntering among the customers (no doubt scanning the crowd for some unsuspecting female on whom he could work his “playa” moves). Michael loves Chuck E. Cheese, and when he saw the mouse, he ran up and gave him a hug. As I watched, a bit horrified, I had the thought, “Oh Michael. You have no idea. Chuck E. Cheese could have been your father.”
Then I threw up a little in my mouth.
(The Chuck E. Saga continued a few years later. For the next chapter, click here.)
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A pair of sparkly shoes. Images of a rainbow room. Three companions leading me on a journey full of magic and awe. It wasn’t Oz. It was even better.
I am currently coming off of a high from this weekend, for I witnessed the greatest concert of my life TWICE. Once in Chicago. Once in Cleveland. By now, you should know me well enough to know I am talking about The Monkees. It happened. Micky Dolenz, Peter Tork, and…wait for it…Mike “Papa Nez” Nesmith. On stage. Together. Pinch me. Continue reading “The Memory of Sparkly Shoes: The Monkees 2012 Tour”→
At our house, we like to have music playing during dinner. Seeing as how we are not the kind of family who “dresses for dinner” (in fact, Michael is usually in some state of undress by dinnertime), we don’t listen to anything refined like Beethoven. One is more likely apt to hear Dave Matthews Band, O.A.R., the bluesy incarnation of John Mayer, maybe Foo Fighters every now and again; and if I’m lucky, my husband will throw me a bone and play one of The Monkees albums. But only if I’m lucky.
Last night the ipod landed on my Debbie Gibson playlist. (Laugh at my musical preferences if you will, but don’t pretend you didn’t just let out a barely audible “awww yeeaahh” and mindlessly sing, “Shake your love. I just can’t shake your love.”) Grace was particularly happy about this dinner music, having discovered quite the adoration for her mom’s favorite old tunes…which makes me particularly happy that she is jammin’ to Gibson and her squeaky clean pop instead of to some maturing Disney starlet who feels some pressing need to prove she is growing up by also proving she is a hoochi mama sexually empowered.
So there we were, chewing on our pork tenderloin to the bubble gum beats. A little “Only in My Dreams.” Spicing things up with “Red Hot.” Then Debbie slowed things down with “Lost in Your Eyes.” My husband felt the need to add his own commentary that “mommy likes to sing this song to me.” (Which is not true…because singing that song to him would kind of be like cheating. I used to sing that song to my poster of Micky Dolenz in my room. It’s “our song.” Mine and poster Micky Dolenz’s.) So when I failed to flex my not-so-golden pipes in response, Kurt protested, “Aren’t you going to sing to me?”
“You want me to paint a smiley face on my knee, too?” I asked.
He stared at me with a blank expression. Preteen Kurt obviously did NOT have the Out of the Blue cassette tape in his boombox rotation, otherwise he would have understood my clearly witty reference. So I explained what Miss Gibson was wearing on that album cover, ingrained in my memory as being the height of fashion: the ripped, tight-rolled jeans exposing her happy knee, the white Keds, the giant earrings, the striped shirt…
At that very moment, I glanced down at myself and realized I was wearing this:
And of course, that meant that THIS had to be done:
It took me twenty-five years to finally be as cool as Debbie Gibson was in 1987. I think a little Electric Youth perfume would really be the piece de resistance to complete the outfit.
Now let’s get back to the dance party with a little more “Shake Your Love”…while I go tease my bangs.
No, I haven’t switched teams. And really, it’s just one chick. And he’s a dude.
I’m talking about Chick McGee, member of the Marconi award-winning Bob & Tom Showwhich airs every weekday morning on over 150 radio stations nationwide…and the person my husband wants to be when he grows up.
No lie. My husband has a pretty serious man crush on Chick, which is possibly only rivaled by his deep affection for Alton Brown of Good Eats on Food Network. I am fairly certain the only reason my husband joined Twitter was so he could follow Chick and be privy to whatever hilarity the radio personality could cram into 140 characters. (I’m not judging, mind you…since I joined Twitter only after realizing Micky Dolenz of The Monkees had joined and was tweeting pictures of himself barbecuing meat.) And while driving through the hometown of The Bob and Tom Show during a road trip last summer, I swear on my life that these words were uttered by my 6’6 tank of a husband as we passed a gas station: “I bet Chick McGee has filled up his car there (sigh).” Okay, I may have used a little creative license adding the (sigh) at the end, but you get the picture.
So given my husband’s somewhat unrequited bromance with Chick, and being someone who understands the endorphin rush of a realized dream, I find what happened a few days ago to be fan-friggin-tastic. I am still not sure exactly how this all materialized, but somehow my husband was chosen to be one of a few “Chickmunks” (as fans of Chick are known) to call in and chat with the one and only Chick on an episode of his new podcast called Off the Air. I have yet to hear his fifteen minutes of fame, but when I asked my husband how it went afterwards, he said something along the lines of, “You know how it goes. I had a million things to say and questions to ask, but I mostly just ended up talking to him about Imo’s Pizza.” Oh, I know how it goes. We all remember my encounter with Andy Cohen and my homemade Real Housewives of St. Louis shirt complete with Imo’s Pizza logo. Still, I could tell he was on a high.
So that pretty much covers why my husband likes Chick…but why do I like him, you say? Well first, I think it’s pretty cool that he invited his loyal listeners to call in and be a part of his podcast. It shows the marks of good character, and that he is someone who appreciates the people who appreciate him. That can’t be said of everyone who holds a celebrity status.
Oh, and there’s this other really cool thing he did. HE POSTED A LINK TO THIS VERY BLOG ON HIS WEBSITE! Yeah, that’s what I said. This measly, little, needle in a haystack blog. Granted, I owe a big thanks to my husband for even thinking to give some mad props to his wife’s online ramblings amidst what was surely a riveting discussion about thin crust and provel cheese. But Chick didn’t have to actually check out my blog, and he certainly didn’t have to promote it on his site. (Again, his website is Off the Air with Chick McGee. If you click on the “Listener Link of the Moment” under the Episode #5 – Chick’s Favorite New Comedian entry, it will bring you right back HERE…so I guess you can really just take the shortcut and stay here. OR you can go to his site, download his podcast, and have yourself some giggles. Chick would probably appreciate that.) I’m not sure that most of Chick’s listeners are necessarily part of the “mommy blog” demographic, but hopefully they have wives or girlfriends who are…or are the type of people who still enjoy reading about poop, inappropriate actions, the bird and the bees, and creepy cartoon characters. Wait, maybe it is the same demographic…
So Chick, thanks for giving a girl from the small town of WordPress.com a chance in the big city of ChickMcGee.com. If it turns out to be my big break (at the time of this post, you have driven…wait for it…24 HITS to my blog!), we MIGHT just name our next child after you…or at the very least, our next dog. (Though I am not guaranteeing that there will be a “next” of either of those.) If not, I know my husband will still hang on your every tweet. Either way, we may have to have a Fat Kid Weekend in your honor.
Happy “Cuss Counting.”
**Update: You can now listen to my hubby Kurt on the Chick McGee “Off the Air” Podcast!! You can almost hear how excited he is in his voice! Go to www.chickmcgee.com and download Episode #6:Twitter House Party. Kurt’s call starts at the 30:20 mark. He actually did a pretty good job! And Chick confesses his love for St. Louis. Super cool all around!
I did it. Okay, I only half did it. Okay, I only one-quarter did it…because it was about all I could stomach.
In case you are wondering, I’m referring to reading the “why-the-hell-is-this-a-best-selling-book” Fifty Shades of Grey. To be clear, I did not purchase this book for myself; it was purchased for me, without my blessing. And he who shall remain nameless got the mother of all eye rolls when he brought it home for me. At first instead of reading it, I was going to drop it right in the box for Goodwill. Aside from having already heard from practically the whole world how terribly written the book is, I have also never been a fan of the tawdry romance/erotic book genre. But then I decided to give it a shot. I won’t try to make up some excuse as to why I decided to begrudgingly read it (like it would be a good study of the type of writer I do NOT want to be). It’s simple; I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Curiosity killed the cat. In this case, it killed my faith in the publishing industry.
But I gave it the old college try. As I read it each night before bed, my husband would frequently ask, “Have you gotten to any good (wink, wink) parts yet?” My answer was always no. After only getting 128 pages into it (during which I took a brief hiatus to read a rather wonderful book called Room: A Novelby Emma Donoghue), my answer is still no…and yes, technically I have gotten to one of the good (wink, wink) parts. Apparently, my idea of a sensual encounter is quite different from author E.L. James’…mostly because mine involves a man who has respect for women. Call me crazy. I’m sure some people would tell me I need to keep reading. But since I am not in school anymore and don’t have any required reading, one of my requirements for taking the time to finish a book is that it doesn’t take more than 128 pages to get good.
Anyway, enough of my rant. Let’s get to what this post is really about. A few days ago on Facebook, a friend of mine wondered which actor people would cast as the title character of Christian Grey. Regardless of how bad a book might be, I always find that an intriguing question to ponder. And apparently, my friend was not the only one pondering this, for she later posted an article about fifteen actors who could be good choices for Grey. Some of the notables were anything but unexpected: Hugh Jackman, Robert Pattinson, and Chris Hemsworth, among others.
Now, I know you are all just dying to know who I would choose to play Christian Grey. If you have not read the book, Christian is this incredibly wealthy, incredibly gorgeous, incredibly mysterious man (super creative, right?). I won’t say much more about him lest I spoil something for anyone who still plans to read it…and also because after 128 pages, I don’t know that much more about him myself. However, what I do know is that while Christian is supposed to be some very decadent eye candy, I can never picture him as such because I’m too distracted by the corny, forced, clichéd, and overly dramatic dialogue. Such dialogue deserves an actor who can deliver these lines with the appropriate amount of cheese factor. So here are my top choices:
1. David Caruso Not only does he literally have the “copper locks” that make Christian so irresistible, but think of how awesome that CSI theme song intro would sound during hot and heavy love-making scenes.
2. Jeff Goldblum You know this guy would be down with the freaky ways of Christian Grey. Also, to be honest, Christian’s “fixations” kind of creep me out, and I think Goldblum could convey this very successfully.
3. Drake Hogestyn Those of you who are fans of the soap opera Days of Our Lives know Hogestyn better as “John Black.” Hogestyn almost seems like a no-brainer to play Christian Grey. Being a veteran soap actor has provided him with necessary love scene experience, the ability to deliver banal and insipid dialogue on an expert level, and the deep, breathy voice punctuated by appropriate dramatic pauses I can only assume would be characteristic of Mr. Grey.
4. Nicolas Cage The king of all cheesy actors. End of story.
Or maybe even more entertaining would be Saturday Night Live’s Adam Samberg impersonating Nicolas Cage in the role of Christian Grey. I would probably pay some money for that.
So that is my list. I highly doubt any of my castings will come to fruition, which is a mighty shame. Then again, maybe if they cast someone like Hugh Jackman in the role, there might actually be a case of a movie being better than the book. It can’t be worse. God help us all if it is.