Thursday, March 16, 2006

Think hard.

So, does anyone know what Queen Latifah, Vanessa Williams and I have in common, besides from being strong black women?

Hmmm? Give up?

Heh. Our birthday is on Saturday, that's what!

Clearly I'm biased, but there's no better day to be born than March 18. Sandwiched between St. Patrick's Day (heyyy, Irish heritage!) and the beginning of spring, it's undoubtedly one of the most glorious times of the year. After the exciting activities of the week prior (i.e. Pi Day, the Ides of March, St. Paddy's Day), the 18th is truly the quintessential icing on the cake, said cake being the cake of one tasty week.

Believe it or not, March 18 is not only a day for celebrating my mother's brave endeavors in the Phelps delivery ward (located on the fourth floor and to your right, as any capable Phelps volunteer knows) or a day for lamenting the three days that followed in which I laid in an incubator (sup jaundice?). Sure, it's intended to be a day of unadulterated Chrissy-love, but the 18th also brings joy to people all over the globe for various reasons.

Take "Men's Day" in Mongolia. Of course I have no idea what actually happens on said day, but you know the Mongolian guys will truly be living it up come Saturday. Let's just hope that "living it up" doesn't constitute "slapping mad Mongolian bitches" or anything sexist like that. I'd prefer to think that "Men's Day" gives Mongolian males an excuse to put down the herding staff and spend a day out fishing with the boys. What? Mongolia's a landlocked nation? Riiiight. Then just knock back a few Khan Bräus in my honor, guys. We all deserve it.

Let's quickly acknowledge the 18th as being National Flag and Anthem Day in Aruba (woo!) and move on to something more...tragic? March 18th is also known as Marien Ngouabi Day in the African Republic of Congo, you know. According to Wikipedia, President Ngouabi was assassinated on March 18, 1977 by an alleged suicide commando in Congo...gasp! All these years, I've been viewing the day simply as a 24-hour period in which to honor only myself. How selfish I am. From now on, I will request two extra candles on my cake; one for good luck (duh) and one in the honor of Marien Ngouabi. It's the righteous thing to do.

Before you get all blubbery at your computer screen, I think I ought to induce a change of pace. March 18 really has all sorts of reasons to celebrate. Awkward Moments Day, for one. Personally, I have these from time to time with people and I really think it's about time we acknowledge and celebrate them. You might find me doing my share this Saturday by calling and IMing people I normally don't talk to in order to procure an awkward situation. Of course, I will announce that it is my birthday in order to make the conversation that much more awkward. Can't wait.



March 18th is also Forgive Mom and Dad Day, which will be quite appropriate if my parental units don't hook me up with mad amounts of presents...joke. Don't forget to celebrate Biodiesel Day, Quilting Day, Goddess of Fertility Day, Supreme Sacrifice Day, and St. Edward the Martyr's Day, either! It's also important to acknowledge the many weeklong celebrations that are already in progess...like International Brain Awareness Week (March 13-19)! With all due respect to whoever imagined such a week, I think they could have come up with a better name. In my opinion, nobody needs an entire week to celebrate the fact that they have a brain and are aware of it.

Anyway, now that you all are educated on the pure celebratory joy that March 18 brings, I hope you all get out there this weekend and make the most of it.

Even if you don't, you know Latifah, Vanessa, and I will have it covered.

(Literally. We're getting matching "Birthday Sistahs 4eva" tattoos.)

Sunday, February 19, 2006

The doctor is in.

Okay, pick up your pencils, boys and girls. It's time for a little quz.

American heroes.

Who comes to mind when you hear that phrase? George Washington? Abe Lincoln? Chuck Norris?

Psch, obviously not for me.

I think about Dr. Robert Rey.

Yeah, yeah, so maybe he wasn't even born in this country. Keep in mind that if he hadn't endured an improverished infancy in a working class neighborhood of Brazil, he never would have picked up his sensual accent and his penchant for people "looking as good out of their clothes as they do in them". Still, Dr. Rey's can-do attitude, possibly instilled in him by those American missionaries who rescued him from a hopeless existence (you wish I was kidding), is nothing short of All-American. I mean, how many people out there embody as many American ideals as he does? He's a family man. He's religious. He's highly educated. He has elegant, frosted hair. He regularly rocks pocket squares in bright colors. His wife weights 88 lbs. He has a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. He pumps iron while his patients are being anethetized. I literally could go on and on, but I think Dr. Rey's official website hits the nail on the head:

"While the term "Renaissance man" is frequently overused, Dr. Rey is the rare individual to whom this might apply. Author, lecturer, medical broadcaster, actor, artist and martial artist, his ability to focus and excel is noteworthy."

Is there anything this man can't do?

Probably not. Which is why he's a true American hero. Not to mention his last name means "king" in Spanish (don't you go discrediting him by bringing up the fact that autocracies are unconstitutional in the U.S.!)

I've had a love/hate relationship with Dr. Rey ever since "Dr. 90210" premiered on the E! channel a few years ago. In the beginning, I was fascinated with him, but found him too self-important, too immersed in his shallow, shallow plastic surgery practice. But then I really had to re-evaluate how I felt about him when I found out he pioneered the transumbilical method of performing breast augmentation, thanks to his fellowship at Harvard Med. Now, I don't know if you've ever watched the show, but that procedure is just about the coolest shit I've ever seen. Seriously. I don't want to spoil it for anyone, but he basically rams a tube up a girl's belly button and inflates her chest like a balloon. The man could moonlight as a clown if he wanted to, I swear. Anyway, I really gained the most respect for Dr. Rey after watching the recent episode, "From the Halls of Beverly Hills to the Shores of Mexico". It documents Dr. Rey's life-changing journey to Mexico where he performs a few pro-bono operations, intermittenly dispersed around a few endearing emotional breakdowns ("I am so used to the world of Beverly Hills with all the resources at my fingertips! I forgot the world was like this!"). Reader, I cried.

I often wonder what the world would be like without Dr. Rey. Would every woman walking around Rodeo Drive be condemned to a flat chest and a Buddha belly? Would we all have crooked noses and natural wrinkles? Oh, the horror! The horror!

I bring up Dr. Rey now since I'm currently writing this from my orthopedic-surgeon-uncle's house in San Jose, California. This Friday, I'll be accompanying him to his office and watching him perform a few surgeries. And I get to scrub up. Honestly, that's my dream. It's gonna be so "Grey's Anatomy". EEK! I'll let you all know how it goes.

Oh, and I will undoubtedly be piping in with some Dr. Rey quotes throughout the procedures, i.e.:

"We're elbow-deep in blood here, just trying to do some good!"

You tell 'em, Bobby.



Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Big in Japan

People, particularly teenagers, are always talking about how their parents have, in some way or another, come between them and the things they want. I wish I had a dollar for every time I hear these complaints; they're so cliché. Sort of like the phrase, "I wish I had a dollar for every time...". Anyway, I know you hear these things all the time, too:

"I was totally going to get a car for my birthday, but my freaking mom says I'm "dangerous" out on the roads or something...like, I'm a "threat" to "all drivers and their passengers", and that I should "wait" to get my "license". Psch. Whatever."

or maybe:

"I was totally going to be on Broadway once. Did I ever tell you about that? Yeah, some scouts saw me doing my thing at my summer camp production of "Cats" and I was totally tapped for a role in the Broadway version before the show closed. Yeah, I was definitely going to do it, but my freaking mom said it would "look bad" if I "never finished elementary school" and got a "pathetic" role, "writhing on the floor like a cat-in-heat in a friggen Meow Mix commerical". Whatever."

You get the point, but let me say this: my mother actually did destroy my dreams. My subconscious, 4-year-old dreams. I was going to be big in Japan, reader...until my mom had to go and use her "motherly instincts" to "protect" me. Psch.

Summer '93. Statue of Liberty. My aunt, uncle, and cousin were in from California. My only memory of the day? Walking up an absurd amount of steps and attempting to turn around and walk back down before my dad had to carry me the rest of the way (hey, 4-year-olds have fragile little legs, alright?). My mother's only memory of the day? Rescuing me from a potential international conspiracy.

In actuality, the only issue at hand was that at some point during this family excursion, a group of Japanese tourists approached us and asked to take my picture. What can I say -- I was a fairly adorable child and had a little bit of an Asian look going on. But of course my mother was, and still is, a bit of a mess. Her infamous reaction was a "NOOOO! NOOOO!" complete with superfluous hand gestures and a fumbling attempt to hide my face. Honestly, is that not hysterical? On one hand, you have my dad, a guy with a completely diplomatic personality who is proficient in six or seven languages (including Japanese), and then you have my mom who truly believed that had those tourists taken my picture, it would have consequently been posted all over the streets of Tokyo like "a damn Save the Children campaign". What conflicting genes I have.

Before I even begin to wonder what my mother meant about the Save the Children thing, let's discuss what could have happened had these Japanese tourists taken my picture.

  1. Lame possibility: I get into a few photo albums in Japan, provoke a few "aww!"'s at dinner parties and small gatherings over sushi...that's about it.
  2. Awesome possibility: My little American face makes its big debut as the animated star of an instant-classic anime TV show, which will be called, roughly translated, "My Little American Face". Queue up the merchandise; soon I'm a beloved anime phenomenon, my animated face on every child's bedroom wall from Fukuoka to Sapporo.
  3. Totally awesome possibility: The Japanese Parliament gets a hold of my picture, are reminded of the adorably naivety of American children. They bring the picture to the emperor, who although is only a figurehead at this point, still has the authority to assess the adorability of children who are qualified to be elected to the Japanese throne. Clearly, I am chosen. A search leads the Japanese authorities to Ossining, NY, where I am invited to move to Tokyo and take on the role of future empress, but once again, Mom loses her shit, does that whole "NOOO!" thing and further restrains me to the geographic limits of the United States. Gosh, that's so predictable.

My mom hadn't retold this story in a while but it came up last night while we were discussing our Japan trip in April. Of course I made fun of her overprotective tendencies, but according to her, "I told Uncle Mike and Aunt Linda that day right after it happened, and they said I did the right thing." Psch. If by "doing the right thing" means "spoiling your daughter's uncultivated dreams of being big in Japan", then I agree. As for Aunt Linda and Uncle Mike, they're family and I love them, but let me just say this: we went back with them to the Statue of Liberty about five years later, and they had my cousin Shanna on a baby leash. You tell me who's taking crazy pills now.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Are you my mother?


Every time my mom calls the house from her cell phone, she comes up on the Caller I.D. as "Hadley, Keith A." This literally happened out of nowhere. For over a year, only the number popped up, maybe with a "No Caller Information", but quite suddenly it took on a whole new persona. Who was this Keith Hadley and why was he calling us all the time? Naturally, my sister and I didn't pick up the phone for about a month whenever we saw Keith's name grace the I.D. box, assuming he was "some creepy old man". Yeah, yeah, we think every unfamiliar masculine name that comes up is "some creepy old man", but damn, that Keith was persistent. When we finally figured out that Keith was really just our mother is disguise (thanks to my sister's genius decision to read the number underneath the name), it was bittersweet. We had grown accustomed to this Keith Hadley character, although we knew nothing about him. Does he even exist? What does Keith Hadley do for a living? Does he have a family, or is he really just some "some creepy old man"? Is he ubermanly or does he pay attention to his pores? Do you think he likes Dr. 90210 or does reality tv mixed with graphic surgery gross him out? Does he support Starbucks' outrageous prices or does he abstain from caffeine altogether? If the latter is true, is it 'cause it keeps him up late and keeps him from safely operating heavy machinery over at the lumber yard? Since when is Keith Hadley a lumberjack? There's just so many possibilities, I'm surprised I can sleep at night.

Incase you're unaware, one of my most-used phrases is "I'll find it out for you in three seconds", being that I'm a Google fiend. Seriously, I tap that shit like 6-times-a-day-min. So clearly, Keith Hadley was my next great search:

"Keith Hadley has been a forensic scientist for over 50 years. He was a practising forensic scientist for over 30 years with the Forensic Science Service (FSS) and in the 1980s headed, for the FSS, the first Centralised Forensic Science Training Unit in the UK ."

Classy. Could this be our guy?


"Keith Hadley and Karl Lillquist (Central Washington University-Geography) led a trip focusing on geomorphology and biogeography to Elliot Glacier on the slopes of Mt. Hood."

I always thought Keith might be into glaciers. Perhaps his middle initial, "A", is short for "Ascension", or "Adventure." (Yeah, that was lame.)

Keith Hadley is also an accomplished photographer, specializing in...African-American employment and automobiles?

Title: [The Houston family.]
Source: Keith Hadley.
Name: Hadley, Keith - Photographer
Location: Keith Hadley
Subjects: African Americans -- Employment, Automobiles, Houston family, Stone Mountain (Ga.)
Keywords: Georgia, Houston, Doris and Julia, Return South Migration, Southern States - Economic Conditions

How righteous.

I also wouldn't mind if the Keith Hadley I've gotten to know through our Caller I.D. was the West Virginia Dance Federation's "Drivers License Plates Chairman". Sounds like a lot of responsability, but you know Keith's the only real man for the job.

"Keith Hadley reported one new sale in the past year. There are only 18 plates remaining in use. He stated that the web page has been updated with the current application form and that fees have increased slightly. He had a balance of $299.04. Keith reported the web site "humor page" never changed but always reflected that it had changed the day you called it up. Don said he would take care of it."

Hmm, this Keith actually sounds like a little bitch. Way to disgrace all those who share your name, West Virginian Keith Hadley. Now go sell some more drivers license plates. One new sale in the past year? Even forensic scientist Keith Hadley could beast you with that record. What a disgrace.


Yet, no other Keith Hadley's story is quite like that of Baltimore Keith Hadley:

"Keith Hadley went past fatherhood and directly to grandpa. His wife’s, Cathy, daughter gave them a grandson 2 years ago. Keith is now in Baltimore so I guess he has an alibi for being both a Ravens fan and a supporter of Art Modell. His first trip back to campus was for the reunion but I guess it agreed with him because he came back to join me for the Blue Gold Club golf outing at Stonewater in August!"

That first sentence creeped me out, not gonna lie. Yet, it makes me feel for Keith all the more. Gosh, Cathy Hadley...couldn't you have put your daughter on birth control or something? Now the family order is all messed up. Maybe Keith wanted a biological child, too...did you ever think of that?! But nooo, you had to let your daughter get knocked up, so now your next child is going to be younger than its nieces and nephews. It's like Father of the Bride II , just more fucked up. Greeeat, this is just great, Cathy. P.S. I bet your eggs are old & cobwebby. Good luck getting preggers.

Alright, alright. I only got as far as search page 5/24 but I think I've accumulated more information about Keith Hadley than most. But will I ever find out who he really is and why he has usurped my mother's phone number? Probably not. But a girl can dream. And google.


Disclaimer: This entry was in no way intended to offend the Keith Hadleys (and their wives, no matter how ancient their eggs may be) of the world.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Real, Irrational, and Unequal.

I'm not a fan of skin cancer. I don't think anyone is. As a girl with knows all too well what it's like to live with a pale complextion, the sun and I have a delicate relationship. It's on/off, love/hate, disappointing/gratifying...simply put, we need couple's therapy.

I've been trying to find a solution. I mean, I get a bit of a glow come summertime, but any memories of enjoying said glow are overshadowed by more painful ones, literally: me at the beach, huddled under an umbrella, shirt over bathing suit, slathered in 45 SPF; lying stationary in bed, covered head-to-toe in aloe, unable to sleep because of another raging sunburn, etc. Believe it or not, my skin tone doesn't bother me that much. When you've been pale your whole life, nobody expects you to keep up a golden complexion; while tanorexics constantly worry about people noticing a fade in their skin tone, us pallid girls are not objected to this kind of scrutiny. If anything, we're complimented when our skin is able to hold color. The first day back at school after a vacation becomes something like Groundhog's Day.

"Hey, what's-her-(pale)-face went to the Dominican over break. Do you think she got a tan?"

"Hmm, probably not. She's more of a burner. I bet half of her face is falling off by now, it gets hot down there."

Of course bets and wagers are placed. If the girl comes back tan or even with an optimistic burn, things are looking up for her skin tone. Maybe she'll outgrown her sensitivity to the sun and enjoy a lifetime of healthy color. If she comes back just as she left, six weeks to an eternity of Casper comparisons await her. Bummer.

Now, I admit...I may have compromised my integrity yesterday for the sake of curiosity, but trust me that it was quite a memorable experience.

So, I went tanning. I know, I know...UV rays are bad. Cancer is bad. My sister invited me because she was curious to see how dark I would get from going just once and to be honest, so was I. She and the girl at the tanning salon discussed my situation and decided that a basic bed would be good for me, being that I was a first-timer and my skin might, you know, scald off or something. Just kidding. So as my sister went on in to enjoy a more intense tanning experience, I sat and waited. Two seconds later, some people I knew walked into the salon; funny how my first instinct was to throw up my hands and say "I...I...I don't usually come here!" Ohhh, Chrissy.

Five minutes later, I am still alone in the lobby, waiting for the "newbie bed" to open up, as I had come to think of it. This is where it gets weird. The door to a tanning room opens, and out walks my Precalculus teacher. Yes, my 6-foot-whatever, ubermanly Precalculus teacher...now with a significantly redder face. Keep it mind that it was only about 2:45 pm at this point, and I have his class 9th period. What the fuck is correct, reader.

"Uh, hey Mr. Courtney."

"Hey Chrissy...d-do I look tan?"

"Oh, definitely?"

"Yeah, well...I, uh, I've been feeling under the weather lately...so uh, I have to tan..."

"Oh, uh, yeah, I know what you mean...me too."

"Well, my ride's here...have a good weekend!"

"Bye, Mr. Courtney."

If this hadn't happened to me, I would have never believed that such an awkward situation was possible. He probably thinks that I tan all the time and am such a lost cause that I never get any darker...while I now know the secret of his skintone self-consciousness. It's positively ridiculous.

Oh, and don't forget that he had just come from the tanning bed that I was waiting for.

Awkward pause.

What would YOU do in a situation like this? Seriously, I want to know. Was I supposed to tell the girl, "Uh, that guy who just walked out of here is my math teacher and there's a possibly he tans nude. Can I upgrade to another bed?"

I felt that saying that would only fuel the awkward atmosphere, so yeah, I took one for the team, so to speak; the team being myself. Let's just hope that the antibacterial spray applied between users does its job. Ew.

And of course the only thing I could think about as I lay surrounded by UV lights was logarithmic functions. Polynomial functions. Power functions. X-intercepts, y-intercept's. Precalculus plagued me for those 15 minutes, when I already felt slightly claustrophobic and very much like something being microwaved. It was a devirginizing tanning experience that I never could have expected, that's for sure. I did get some color, as awkward and traumatizing as the event was.

I think I'll go back on Monday.


Sunday, January 08, 2006

Putting the "real" in reality since 1998.

It's no secret that MTV isn't all about the music anymore. That changed probably about ten years ago. Sure, they still have TRL (not what it used to be) and play music videos a few times a day, but but I'm pretty sure that the largest percentage of music played on the channel comes from those song clips they play in the background of all their 5,000 reality shows. I remember watching "never before seen" clips from Laguna Beach last summer, sans music, and it was the most awkward, boring five minutes in my whole career as an MTV viewer. After conspiring with others and doing some extensive analysis right there on the couch, we decided it was because the background music had not yet been added in. Without anything to provoke emotion, we had been forced to watch the dullest, most undrama-filled day in Laguna Beach, CA...ever. This was not the MTV to which we were accustomed. What a friggen letdown.

Well, if there is one MTV show that seldom fails me, it's the True Life series. Honestly, I've been following it through all eight seasons, and it's addicting. Every time I see that opening, it's like seeing it for the first time, as cheesy as that sounds. First the "What's up, Doc? -- MTV DOCUMENTARY --" message, and then the trippy black background with all the video clips, culminating with a *BOOM*:

TRUE LIFE: I HAVE OBSESSIVE-COMPULSIVE DISORDER...! TRUE LIFE: I'M DEAD BROKE...! TRUE LIFE: I'M ON ADDERALL...! TRUE LIFE: I'M GAY AND I'M GETTING MARRIED...!

Music fades out and right on cue, I'm pysched for another hour of dysfunctionality and triumph. Very fulfilling.

I'm sure by now that you, the reader, understands that I have a restless and inquisitive brain. Do I wonder about the Savage brothers at night? Of course. Do I contemplate the pros and cons of such institutions as the Myspace Top 8? Well, yeah. So you know that I'm constantly imagining myself in True Life-esque situations. I.e.:

True Life: I'm Obese
...what productive things would I do in my spare time if I were 400-lbs. and couldn't even get up off the couch? Sudoku puzzles? Rubix cubes? Would I get gastric bypass surgery or would I just sort of chill out on my couch indefinitely, eating salad perhaps?

True Life: I'm Jealous
...what kind of jealous girl would I be? Would I be openly possessive, or would I sorta just let my envy brew silently and blow up at the end of the episode? Would I be nagging all the time, or would I be abusive, throwing punches and f-bombs around constantly?

True Life: I'm a Gun Owner
...what kind of gun would I get and most importantly, who/what would I kill with it?

True Life: I'm Backpacking Through Europe
...if I actually ran with the bulls during the San Fermín festival in Pamplona (my dad did that, actually) and it freaked me out, would I spend the rest of the afternoon with my head under a cupboard, like the guy in the episode, or would I find another way to deal with my near-death experience?

You see, there's just so much to think about. And trust me, I could go on for days, mi amigos. But I wonder what it is about this show that is so enticing. Is it because it's cathartic? Maybe. Does it take even the most potentially joyous situation -- i.e. True Life: I'm Getting Married -- and put some unfortunate spin on it? Oh, definitely. You know I was devastated when the gay couple's parents refused to come support them, or when the mother-in-law was being a hardcore bitch and wouldn't let the bride get a $2,000+ cake, or when the limo driver was an hour late and the infuriated groom (who needed to be sedated) told him he "swore on his @#$%-ing father's grave that [he'd] gut [the driver] like the pig that he [was]" or whatever. It's the drama, as always. MTV's always been good about playing it up and making it work for them.

I think I just like watching people lose it, though. I mean, Morgan, 23, from L.A. may have seemed like a normal college senior/aspiring actress, but five minutes into True Life: I Have OCD and she was into all of her rituals, like smiling towards the upper-left corner of the shower before she left the bathroom, or kissing the Bible repeatedly before going to bed, all so that her mother wouldn't get kidnapped, raped, beaten and killed. 'Cause you know, that happens to people's moms all the time in L.A.

All joking aside, the show does have it's really sad moments. Like True Life: I'm Dead Broke. That whole episode was depressing, but it was definitely a reality check, especially for all of us who live in Westchester. We take so much for granted, even just having running water or a place to live, or being able to go to great schools and knowing how to read. Not to mention having cars and knowing that however we spend our day, it's pretty much guaranteed that we'll be able to eat dinner that night. It's ridiculous. But of course it's ridiculous that people are still living in awful conditions in the United States when there's so much wealth and assistance available...

I know, it's crazy. An MTV show can actually inspire young people to tackle our nation's core issues.

Anyway, I often think about the day when I will make my debut on True Life. I mean, I still have to find my main adversary in life and find some way in which I can use it to my advantage, but as long as I keep checking MTV.com's Casting Call section, I'm sure I'll find some description that fits me. Maybe I can take the True Life camera crew with me to Japan this April for True Life: I'm Going on Vacation?

Are you planning your dream vacation? Bring True Life along! We're looking to document several unusual vacation adventures this winter. Going away with your significant other for the first time? Going on a trip with your crazy family where you anticipate adventure around every corner? Hitting up the ultimate party spot with some friends? Venturing to an exotic location that will test your limits?

I mean, Japan's exotic. And maybe it will test my limits, and know we'll be doing a lot of cool stuff there, but I don't think that my parents and I would make very good True Life stars. My dad would become an attention whore, my mom would be all giggly yet constantly worried about how she came across on camera, and I would be pissed off all the time that they were taking away my True Life spotlight. It just wouldn't work.

Anyway, I'm not taking a semester at sea any time soon, nor am I moving to Las Vegas, nor do I have a sugar daddy. I'm not a cheater, I'm not moving to a foreign country, and I'm not a sumo wrestler. Hmm. Maybe True Life: I Live in a Small Town? Well, Briarcliff's not completely secluded, plus we have our own MTV history to deal with. Looks like my only hope may be True Life: I'm on Meth...

So what does this mean? Must I abandon my True Life dreams?


I guess what it means is that I better start working on that crystal methamphetamine habit if I want to be on the show by the time I finish junior year.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Eight is the magic number.

I vaguely remember an episode of "The Real World: Las Vegas" where the "seven strangers" took a trip a woman's house -- I can't remember her job title; Trust Counselor? Psychotherapist? -- and participated in a whole bunch of bonding activities, including falling backwards off of a deck into their roomates' arms, and uh...sharing secrets? I don't know. The falling backwards thing is just about all I remember. However, at some point, the roommates sat in a circle and played this game where they were on a sinking ship with only six lifejackets, and taking turns, each assumed the role of the captain and had to go from roommate to roommate saying, "You live, you live, you live, you live, you live, you live, you die." Cue the drama. Cue the waterworks. Cue awesome reality television.

The point of this gem of a game was that "every time you talk behind someone's back, every time you do something to hurt them, intentional or unintentional, it is like saying to them, 'You die.'"

Naturally, this was the first thing that came to mind when I was contemplating the Myspace Top 8 feature.

I don't know how many of you are involved with this little site (okay, lie: almost all of you, being that there are 46,674,752 users at present) but Myspace hasn't seen a blessing/curse quite like the Top 8 feature since its creation in October 2003. It sounds great, right? Pick eight of your Myspace friends, be they your real-life friends, internet friends, or sexy randoms, and put them on your first page of friends for easy access. Say goodbye to random kids from Alabama who just happened to be registered on the site before you! Say goodbye to sketchy Myspace creator Tom Anderson! Say goodbye to androgynous Myspace Celebrities who are clearly too scene to care about your adoring comments!

I'm sure picking a Top 8 is an easy task for people with *cough* eight friends. For the rest of us, it's a grueling task. Unbeknowest to us, we are fueling egos, reassuring anxious minds, and/or killing the souls of our peers. I've heard of friendships being severed due to so-and-so leaving what's-her-face, " A.K.A. HER BEST FRIEND!", off of her Top 8 accidentally. And God forbid you're one of those people with 9-12 "BFFL"s. Might as well just leave your Myspace friend order as is, because you'll be feeling the backlash from leaving those stragglers (Jealous Girls #1, #2 & #3) off of your coveted 8 for months. Yes, being left off of a friend's Top 8 is easily comparable to not being invited to someone's birthday party when you were nine, not being invited to someone's bat mitzvah when you were thirteen, not being invited to the "party of the year" when you were sixteen, or using my favorite metaphor, being told "You die!" by a roommate on "The Real World" when you were twenty-three. The horrifying twist? Your disappointment doesn't just last the duration of one agonizing day or night, but rather continues indefinitely until maybe -- just maybe -- he/she/heshe (showin' respect for Jeffree Star) changes their Top 8 to include you. And let's be serious...that could be never.

*Sigh*

Apparently, there are rules for the Top 8 now. Unspoken, yet widely followed, rules. If you see someone who has added you into their Top 8, it's nice to switch yours around a bit and get them into yours for at least a little while. Some people also like to get superspecific with the placing as well; i.e. "You put me in the bottom left corner in the second row? Cool, that's where you're going." Boyfriends and girlfriends should always be first, but best friends and family are also fair game. Random friends are also acceptable in the #1 position, as long as there are no sketchy motives behind said decision. Oh, and having Tom in your Top 8 is never cool. Creepy.

I remember somebody once saying to me, pre-Top 8 feature, "Oh my god. Look at the ugly people on my first page. Like, WHO ARE THEY? I should have denied them. This is embarrassing." If this is your shallow mindset, then the Top 8 feature is perfect for you. Get the beautiful people in there! Get your friend count up! But if you have a heart, be careful to whom you say "You die." You never know when they'll hit it off with XMatthewX at a show and earn a spot on his Top 8.

Ohh, and trust me, that's gonna sting.