Thursday, March 20, 2008

Talkin' About My (90210) Generation


If you aren’t contractually stuck in front of a computer 8 hours a day like I am, then you may have missed the latest TV news to swirl around the blogosphere: they are totally making a Beverly Hills 90210 spin-off. Oh. My. God. (Because in my day we actually spelled out our OMG-ing.) I have no plans on rejuvenating my former 90210-aholism, but I will take this opportunity to reminisce about the good ol’ days when Brian Silver and Donna contemplated sex with more gravity than our president considered invading Iraq. When Brenda and Kelly vied for the love of balding Dylan. When I moved into my first group house, The Neighborhood and was initiated into the ways of the Beverly Hills teens by my new housemate, Trevor.

I barely knew Trevor when I lugged my pallets and mattress into the punk shabby chic Neighborhood. (In college all houses have names. Other names from my ilk: the Funkhouse, the Corn Rocket House, the Moonhouse.) As college kids are wont to do, we got acquainted over 40s of malt liquor and Velveeta Shells and Cheese. I complained of my shithead ex-boyfriend and he reciprocated with tales of his ex-girlfriend. We got drunk. We stuffed ourselves with chemical cheese. We did the “are you cool” dance, comparing favorite bands and Fugazi shows we had attended. Tired after a long evening of feeling each other out, we called it a night. As he headed up to his bedroom and I to mine, he paused at the top of the steps.

“So, are you into the Hills?” He asked.

“As in Beverly Hills?”

“Word.”

“Uh, no, not that I know of.”

He bounded down the steps, leaned his chin on his fist and pouted a perfect imitation of Luke Perry as Dylan. “Come on, you gotta love the Hills.”

Was this a test? If I admitted to a years long obsession with Brenda, Dylan, Donna, and the gang would he straighten up, roll his eyes, and smirk back to his room, muttering “yeah, I thought so.”? High school was still fresh enough in my memory for such guerilla tactics to be possible even among the punk rock and freaky.

“I’ve never checked it out,” I said.

“Wednesday. 8:00. Be there.” He said.

Trevor and I along with the rest of our house of alternativey college students gathered in front of the TV, 40s of King Cobra in hand to initiate what would become a tradition for the Neighborhood that lasted as long as the show. Malt liquor + cheesy drama about privileged high school students played by 20-somethings = Good good times. We hollered at the set:

“Don’t do it Kelly. Drugs are BAAAAD!!!”

“Fuck him, Donna. You know you want to.”

“Fight! Fight! Fight!!”

“Peach Pit Rules!”

If you wanted to get all psychological on our asses, (don’t mind if I do) one may say that we were blowing off steam from our own unhappy high school days. Most of us had been misfits mocked for our black clothes, heavy eye makeup, and love of The Cure. (Things that somehow make kids today popular. Insert shaking of fist old man style.) Finally we felt like we fit in and had found the kinship we so lacked just a few short years ago. We laughed at this idealized and heavily afterschool specialized version of high school and patched over some of the unhealed scars.

Or maybe it was a great excuse to start the party weekend on Wednesday.

I stumbled upon an old notebook of song lyrics that I had been toying with during my days as a bass player in the classic Harrisonburg punk outfit, Hatchet Wound. One page revealed my attempts to bring 90210 into my artistic realm:

Donna Martin graduates
Or upon you I will masturbate


I never got any farther than those lyrics. I love to imagine myself, cigarette drooping from my lips, a half-finished, warm 40 gripped tightly in my hand as I scanned the lyrical possibilities stemming from this very special episode of 90210 when all of Beverly Hills High rallied around Donna Martin who had been banned from graduation because she got drunk on prom night.

Donna Martin graduates
Or upon you I will masturbate
Shove your high school
It’s not great


No, no, that’s not it. I hummed it under my breath. I tried to get meta, feminist, but still nothing. I doodled a heart and an eyeball. Typical. Donna Martin graduates.

Later I was summoned to make another 40 run, forgetting all about the plight of Donna Martin and my attempt to raise her photogenic alcohol problem to kitschy art. Until now, thanks to a mind-blowing lack of creativity in the TV world. I hear the only remnants of the former Hills will be that a couple of the new characters are tangentially related to David Silver (played by the not-to-be-heard-from-again Brian Austin Green). David? Really? Ugh. They may as well bring back that meathead Steve. I am so whatever.

****

I'm going a-spring breaking for the next week. Stay tuned for my spring break re-cap as well as the mystery project I mentioned in my last post. It will debut mid-April, G-d willing.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Team Awesome

Greetings palios. Sorry to be such a low producer of crud for the last few weeks. Yeah, yeah, I know you’ve heard that about a million times before. I’ve been working on another blog-like project, which will be revealed in the next few weeks. Then, I promise, you will be overwhelmed with crud. It shall ooze from your ears, your eyes, your other less g-rated orifices. For now, I hope you enjoy more tales of how we Cruds keep the boring interesting, at least for ourselves.

****************************************************

During a Christmas visit home three years ago, the youngest members of the Crud clan harnessed our considerable powers to form Team Awesome. Like the Wonder Twins but with four less shape-shifting members: Me and Mr. Crud, and my brother Max and his (now) wife Kathy. The genesis was a trip to the grocery store. What sounds better to you?

“Hey Mom, we’re going to the grocery store to pick up some boiled shrimp.” (Or scrimps as the Crud clan is apt to call them).

Or

“Hey Mom, Team Awesome will undertake the most awesome task of purchasing the boiled shrimp you desire!”

Yeah, I thought so. I am a big believer in turning the mundane into the magnificent, or at least the mildly amusing through use of mythic language, inappropriate nicknames, and interpretive dance. Team Awesome is merely one example of the magical, mystical world that is the universe of Kt Crud.

Although we are united as a team, we have divided into smaller, more focused super-duos. Max and Kathy are the Do-Gooders. Their superpower is protecting the weak and innocent, such as the hyper, super leg-humpy dog they picked up on the side of the road, Mr. Peepers. Even more illustrative is the night they drove by a bank late at night. They noticed someone inside, turning objects over and moving through the lobby in what they deemed to be a suspicious manner. Max pulled the car over across the street and for a few minutes they just watched, debating whether to call the cops. As they are put on this earth, specifically in the Nashville, Tennessee portion of this earth, to do good, they ended up calling the po-po.

“I want to report suspicious activity,” Max said (or at least I imagine that’s what he said because since becoming a lawyer he sounds official at all times.)

Not wanting to miss the results of their handiwork, they waited, breath held in anticipation. The police arrived shortly. They rushed the bank, causing the alleged intruder to drop what he was doing and lift his arms. After a few minutes the police left. The man continued what he was doing, being emptying trashcans and cleaning the bank lobby.

The Do-Gooders had called the cops on the night janitor. Still, you gotta admire their moxy and willingness to get involved. No code of silence here.

On the other end of the Team Awesome spectrum are Mr. Crud and I: The Petty Annoyance Squad. We do things like fume about abandoned cars on our street and fret about the pile of junk our scrap metal-harvesting neighbors keep on their lawn. Our official warrior cry is “Tsk tsk.”

Last summer, our across-the-street neighbors whose house we called Douche Lord Manor, slipped a flyer in our mailbox. Music! Beer! Fun! Sunday night 9:00 - ???? was scribbled over a list of hippie-jam band sounding names. On the back one of the manor’s occupants has scribbled a note inviting us to the party and warning us that it would be “loud all night.”

Aw, hell naw.

Mr. Crud and I went into a frenzy. We contemplated calling the OLCC since the douche lords were dumb enough to advertise that they would be selling beer on the flyer. In a past confrontation with an illegal after-hours club run near our old apartment, the OLCC was the only official body that could chase the Russian mafia (what we called the a-holes who ran the place who likely were not in the mafia but who were definitely Russian) away. Cooler heads prevailed and we merely called the police.

“There’s going to be a loud party happening tomorrow night,” Mr. Crud said. “What should we do?”

“On a Sunday?” The operator asked with appropriate incredulousness.

“I know!”

The police operator advised us to call early if there was a large, unruly crowd or if any fights broke out. Around 8:00, all was quiet except for the usual suspects drinking beer on the porch. Mr. Crud and I decided to go out to a movie, knowing that if we remained at home we would be consumed with watching the neighbors and waiting to get annoyed. We saw Hot Fuzz. The police theme sent my mind back to our house, our neighbors. I pictured them hooting on the front lawn, littering our quaint hood with plastic cups. At moments like these, I say a silent apology to the neighbors of my college party house. Karma dictates that I deserve a certain amount of loud parties to make up for the annoyance I caused, but I feel like I’ve burned most of that bad karma off after sharing a four-plex with the most annoying rotating cast of assholes I’d ever encountered. But enough on the history of my jerkazoid neighbors.

We returned home to find a lackluster party. What did they expect on a Sunday? Around 10:00 we went to bed, trying our hardest not to lie in wait of annoying sound. The thump of bass hit us around 11:00. Mr. Crud made the call. After a few furtive and furious glances out the window we successfully surrendered to slumber.

“Did the police come?” Mr. Crud asked the next morning.

“I don’t know.”

“I guess it doesn’t matter as long as we got some sleep.”

“I hate those assholes.”

Thankfully they moved out the next day and have been replaced by my dream neighbors: stoner computer gamers. Yes, Lord, you have heard my prayers.

Yesterday I made a solo Petty Annoyance Squad complaint against a student who has been using the faculty area of the locker room. My area. Last week she didn’t get the message from my annoyed huffs and slammed locker doors so this week I enlisted the HBIC of the locker room who assures me that signs will be hung, IDs will be monitored. They will do everything in their power to rid the faculty/staff/alumni area of the pesky students. (A tip on how to determine a student: she is overly modest, keeping every body part shielded until she can frantically cover it with clothes, whereas the faculty/staff/alumni just let it all hang out. She spreads her clothes, towels, makeup bags, brushes, oils, soaps all over the locker room bench. Oh! Also, she carries a backpack full of books. The clincher!)

I could have just told the offender that she needed to get thee back to the student area, but that’s not how the Petty Annoyance Squad rolls. Passive aggression is an important facet of our superpower.