Nov 30, 2010

Something Wicked This Way Came

Pretty Things Peep Show with Go Go Amy, Heather Holliday, and my dapper brother Donny Vomit.

Thanksgiving break at the Thomas household came and went. But it shall not be soon forgotten. I have just now recovered enough from the whole shebang to compose this post-thanks post.



The four day weekend started off with a bang, that's for sure, and not in the typical pilgrims and indians kind of way. But it was bountiful to say the least, with the freakin' strongest vodka tonics I have ever had in my life (thank you Hi-Lo Club), the Pretty Things Peep show unfolding before my eyes (we were smack dab stage-right through the whole thing), and Donny's showmanship on full display. It wasn't the only thing on full display, as scantily clad and scantily cladder was basically the whole point of the event. It was burlesque after all. But nothing to blush about. All very innocent. Or perhaps that was just the vodka tonics erasing all prudence from my older sister veneer.

I also kept getting all weepy. I was just so dang proud. And it was so cool standing right there in the wings, Kathleen and I side-by-side. Equally tipsy in our tonic-induced bliss. And just knowing that we loved Donny more than anyone in the room. Our glasses may have been quickly emptied, but our hearts were full. Our hearts were so full is the only way I can describe it.

Okay, enough of that mushy-mush.

The rest of the weekend was spent at our parents' house. Mom and Dad played host to the eight-person troupe, who got to spend some rare down-time from their cross-country tour (which they spend in a cramped but well-loved RV) doing laundry, taking showers, hooking up to dad's wifi and grazing on an endless buffet of Thanksgiving treats that my mom just kept cooking basically the entire 36 hours.

Picture if you will, a living room full of tattooed guys and gals, sitting criss-crossed in any nook or cranny, all in jeans and hoodies, no sequins, no feathers, no makeup, every one of them with an Apple laptop in their lap, tiny earbuds in their ears, noshing on no-bake cookies and turkey sandwiches, calling home to their parents or significant others they've left behind for the five week tour, and occasionally looking up to watch Donny, or me, or Jeremy or one of my little boys playing our dad's Xbox on his ginormous flatscreen TV.

And that was our Thanksgiving. It was surprisingly a very Thomas affair.


Kathleen in the wings at the Hi Lo Club, documenting, of course. All I had was my crappy old iPhone. But the pictures are kind of cool anyway. They look how I remember it. Hazy. This pic of Donny my dad just emailed me from his iPhone today. It was Donny and Sam (who Donny hasn't seen since he was just a baby) doing what us Thomas's do. Playing video games. In an armchair. And calling it quality time.

I was just glad to be with both my brother and sister.

Nov 24, 2010

The Donny Show's Comin' To Town!





Actually, it's the Pretty Things Peep Show burlesque tour. And it's coming to Oklahoma City tonight at the Hi-Lo Club. Which means Donny's here!

What's doubly cool, is Donny's on the cover of the the Oklahoma Gazette. Okay, so my husband does all the covers for the Gazette, because it's like his job... but whatever. If we learn nothing from the Godfather it should be that family is family. Although brother-in-laws don't really fare too well in the Godfather and tend to end up "swimmin' with the fishes." So perhaps it's a double-edged sword.

Speaking of double-edged swords, Donny's girl pal, and sidekick Heather Holliday, is probably going to swallow one. Tonight. Not at Coney Island, but down the street. In the heart of the bible belt. Literally steps from my 'hood. Hooray!

"There is nothing like watching someone shoving 32 inches of solid steel down their throat 5 feet away from you... Being the host means being the person that serves as a connection to the audience and the world of the strange and bizarre... In the case of a burlesque show, the guy that introduces you to these gorgeous women doing amazing numbers... a classy presentation with only a small hint of dirty fun... It's this weird, wide world of vaudeville sideshow where there is drama, excitement, danger and sexiness. It's a different form of entertainment. Once audiences are exposed to it, they will keep coming back for more." [ -- Donny quoted in story ]


So of course me and Dad picked up a copy (or ten) at "Dad lunch" today.


Since Dad is like the social-media-expert-by-default at the state agency where he works (because he knows how to use Facebook and is addicted to his iPhone, basically) he's already working hard as Donny's digital content publicist. He art directed this shot with a coworker.

It's genetic compulsion, people. It may not be obvious at first glance. But it's sooooo coming from somewhere.

Nov 21, 2010

Harry vs. Ronald


So I am literally out the door on a Sunday morning, about to meet my mom at the movie theatre to watch Harry Potter (I don't remember the rest of the title... let's say... um... The Darkest Angstiest One Yet.)

My mom is the only nerd in my family I can get to go watch it with me. Except for Jeremy, my brother-in-law, but he's probably busy brunching on sustainable, organic, homemade fare with Kathleen as they reminisce over their Everest trip. (That, or he's playing Xbox.)

Sidenote, my mom can crush on a nerd about as easily as I can. In fact, this site that's been going around lately is pretty much right up my alley.

But what's funny is there are the so-called nerds that aren't really nerds at all, but just cute guys with plaid socks or a quirky sensibility. And then there are the real nerds. I think I walk a fine line between gravitating toward the latter.

For example.

A. The Office:
Jim or Dwight?

Jim is a nerd my-left-foot! Weirdly, I think Dwight is cuter. (I know, that one is really on the edge.)

B. The Old Saturday Night Live Guys:
Chevy Chase & Bill Murray or Dan Akroyd & Jim Belushi?

Chevy and Bill are players, through and through. They may have that goofy, rumpled guy charm. But they are leading men, have no doubt. But brainy Dan Akroyd is so loveable with that cigarette dangling out of his mouth in Ghostbusters. And Jim Belushi steals my heart every time he writhes around on the floor like Joe Cocker or dances his ass off in Blues Brothers. They are the real nerds.

I could literally go on and on.

But the question at hand before I run off to watch my Sunday matinee about the "Boy Who Lived" and his trusty carrot-top sidekick:

C. Harry or Ronald?

Harry's just too broody and romanticized to be a lovable nerd. That Weasley boy is gonna sneak up on ya'll. Mark my words.


But, Harry does have the ultimate nerd accessory going for him. Perhaps it's a draw.

Nov 18, 2010

Balloon Consuming




Earlier this week I attended the Creativity World Forum 2010. Strangely enough it was down the street from the ad agency where I work. I'm not saying it's strange that something with the word "creative" in it is happening in Oklahoma. Quite the contrary. It's probably more the words "world" and "forum" that just seem a little bit... er, out there.

But on the first day of the conference, I was greeted by these amazingly "out there" huge interactive balloon sculpture installations. They're part of a "Branching Out" theme by artist Jason Hackenwerth. You can even walk inside them. They are kind of insect/anemone like on the outside. Strangley suckle-ish on the inside. But, very, very neat. Kind of takes balloon animals to a whole new level.


So, one of Donny's tricks... or should I say sideshow acts (none of it is a trick really) is to swallow a balloon. Like this one. But usually longer, actually. It's a crowd-pleaser to say the least. Kind of pervy. Really gag-reflexy. He even did it once to Justin Timberlake's Bringing Sexy Back at a wedding reception.

It was Kathleen's wedding reception.

And she was booty dancing around him in a circle while he was doing it.

Sometimes as part of Donny's act he'll stick a deflated balloon in his nose, and then cough one end of it out of his mouth and then sort of pulley it back and forth. That one is just plain appalling. It's my favorite.

So from the Hackenwerth sculptures to hacking-up stunts, you can see how plain old balloon animals will just never cut it for me again.

Nov 12, 2010

Older Sister. Younger Sister.


Bossy. Bohemian.


Angel. Asspain.


Tattletale. Troublemaker.


Brazen. Bimbo.


Harpie. Hairbrain.

Okay, the Golden Girls weren't sisters, but I just love them so.

Sarcastic. Slut.

This is how the eighties defined older sister / younger sister.

I loved all these prime time sisters from my formative television watching years. I can't really think of any good TV sisters nowadays, there's just sister-wives and Kardashians basically.

I think Kathleen and I are less like TV sitcom sisters, and more like romantic comedy movie sisters, though. (But without the actual romantic conflict and resolution part, just the sister roles.)


You know, like Bonnie Hunt and Renee Zelweger in Jerry Maguire. Or Joan Cusack and Julia Roberts in Runaway Bride.

So our labels would be, you know like Joan and Julia's.

Responsible/Kooky. Rebellious/Partially Clothed.

Nov 10, 2010

Kind Of A Long Story: The Girl Who Never Slept Alone



When Kathleen was little I used to say she looked like a gorilla baby.

Let me explain. This was in the height of Cabbage Patch doll craziness. And there was no way no how I was going to get one because our parents led us to believe we were poor when we were young.

True, our parents were thrifty, and had a spartan approach in general to spending but in hindsight I think this exaggerated sense of us being unable to afford anything cool... ever... was limited to designer fads (which were aplenty in the eighties) like Jams, Guess Jeans and Cabbage Patch dolls, but not stuff our parents liked (okay, and we benefited from, too), like... oh, say... a lake front house in the woods of East Texas.

I was an idiot kid, though, and thought the woods were boring and would rather have sidewalks to rollerskate on, and cable TV... and a Cabbage Patch doll.

But I got Kathleen. Since the dolls of the patch were so in vogue, that meant ugly-cute was in, so I was okay with Kathleen being a bit gorilla-ish in my nine-year old mind. Listen, I thought her nose was just a little, well, nostrilly.

But I also thought she was my own personal plaything. So once she outgrew her crib, and became somewhat interesting. I did everything with her.

And she never. Ever. Slept alone.


This photo of her is very deceptive for several reasons.

1.) Kathleen's nose looks kind of cute. Almost buttonish. It's the angle. Or, my perception has changed with age, and I realize that my fixation with Kathleen's nose was probably erroneous. But, the damage is done, since now Kathleen has spent her entire life willing herself into fabulousness. No serious damage, since it actually worked. She is fabulous.

2.) Kathleen is in a dress, like this is normal or something. In fact, to the contrary, she was often topless until she was four. Or in some oversized t-shirt that our aunt brought back from Holland.

3.) Kathleen is holding a kitty doll. This may have been her favorite at age two or three. But by four years old, the kitty was replaced with the first love of her life, Alf. How Kathleen got an actual Alf doll (that was not some generic concoction made by my mom out of old pantyhose... which don't laugh... was what she eventually made me a Cabbage Patch doll out of, and were so popular she'd sell them at the the country church craft fair) was beyond me.

4.) Kathleen is sitting sweetly upon her sweet, Strawberry Shortcake bed. Mom made the comforter, the quilted wall hanging and the alcove curtains. You can't see it here, but both our beds were set in alcoves, and we had these neat curtains on either side that we could close, and then pretend our bed was a stage or a secret clubhouse, or whatever. Both of our bedding was made out of miniature rosebud gingham fabric. Mine in navy and periwinkle. Kathleen's in pink and cranberry. But usually she was sleeping in my bed, or I was sleeping in hers.

With two of us in a twin bed, she'd often fall down the crack on the side of the wall. The padded Strawberry Shortcake wall hanging kind of helped her to not scrape the skin off her body on the way down. So, yay, form and function.

By the time Kathleen was getting all knees and elbows and getting too big to sleep with anymore, we got our mangy little Lhasa Apso family lapdog, Cecily. But Cecily decided she was Kathleen's, probably because I thought she was so mangy. So, naturally Cecily slept with Kathleen.

Then when Kathleen moved out, she lived with Donny in their stinky, dirty socks everywhere, pizza boxes everywhere, twinkly lights strung willy nilly everywhere college rental house. Not that she slept with Donny (although Donny did have a girlfriend once who got in a jealous rage over Kathleen and implied that they had some sort of Flowers in The Attic brother/sister thing going on.) I can only write that because it's so silly. I mean, duh, Kathleen never even slept in the apartment, because she was always at her boyfriends.' Donny had to befriend some skinny castoff stray little black cat so he didn't get so lonely and make imaginary friends out of dirty sock puppets and talking pizza boxes.

The point being, boyfriend turned to husband. And then husbands. Yes, plural... husband(s). Not in a Big Love way, like in a one-before-the-other-sort-of-way (which is another post entirely), all before the ripe old age of 26. So Kathleen, in short, is the girl who never slept alone.

Some might think that this is a personality flaw. How can you have never been alone? No My So Called Life lovelorn Claire Danes sobbing? No Ally McBeal single gal musical production pining? (Yeah, um, so that was kind of my m.o. obviously.)

And it's not that Kathleen has never shed a tear. You better believe she can wallow in a pity party. "Why-am-I-so-fill-in-the-blank?" Or "why-doesn't-anybody-think-I'm-fill-in-the-blank?" (Blow nose here).

It's just that the tears (and snot) on her pillow, are always next to another pillow. The pillow of a sister, a dog, a brother, a boyfriend, a hubby... a "other."

Maybe that's why her tattoo is an ampersand. "And Kathleen" by design but, take it or leave it, also by nature.

Ah, well. A nose by any other name would smell as sweet. And, I think she grew into hers after all.

Nov 7, 2010

Must Be A Mountain Thing




So, that is not an animatronic yak. It is an honest to goodness buffalo. And some real cactus there, to boot. If you guys (and most of you are) are following Kathleen's documentation of her Everest trek, then you'll forgive me having a little fun with her travelogue-style graphics. I should have actually titled this post Jeremy & Kathleen: Six Years Later.

Not so much a need for passports, just snacks for the road and a car charger for the iPhone(s). Yes, plural. Two boys, two borrowed iPhones, less screaming. We are slaves to technology, and Angry Bird.

It was one of those crisp fall days that starts off a little too cold (okay, I know that's relative) and ends up pretty toasty by the time it's all said and done. But before the shedding of the layers began, the boys did look pretty darn cute.

I mean, Sam could almost pass for a ruddy-cheeked child from Lukla, Nepal here.

Except that every stitch of clothing he's wearing is from Target. And as picturesque and outdoorsy as he looks here, I am fairly certain he's thinking about how he's going to slingshot himself some birds into feather-flying, squawky glory as soon as he gets back in the car.



Nobody is falling off this goddamn mountain.


I would gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today... ope, nope, "Closed Tuesdays."

This is, as the sign says (why on earth did they plaster that vinyl banner over the original wall-painted lettering?)... home of the famous Meers burger. And it was, indeed, delicious.

So once we got off the mountain, explored the grasslands below, which basically was us just running around a field full of prairie dogs barking like crazy at us, with Sam bee-lining it for the horizon. I swear I felt like if I ever caught him as he ran on those freakily fast little legs for the rocky, cactusy, valley below, that I was going to either stumble upon a rattlesnake or a No Country For Old Men failed drug-deal death scene over the next hill. But I caught him. So if there were a bunch of shot-up pickup trucks and a suitcase full of undelivered cocaine waiting for us, it would have to keep for another crazed two-year old and mother in pursuit.

So panting, with two-year old under arm, we left the prairie dogs in peace (after Charlie stuck his sneaker into every prairie dog hole we passed) and went for burgers. And they were, indeed, delicious.


But, of course, my city kids were more interested all these cats that were hanging outside the establishment than the burgers. Or the buffalos. Or even the tormented prairie dogs. Like, you would have thought they were at a petting zoo, with all the cooing and stroking and just drooling over these cats.

So, really, by the end of the day, we could have just gone out in the back alley of the tattoo parlor down the street from us and had us a good old time petting all the strays. But then of course, we wouldn't have the memories. Actually, come to think of it, that sounds pretty memorable. Maybe next Saturday.

Nov 3, 2010

A Tale Of Two Trips



Expedition Everest attraction at Disney World's Animal Kingdom and the Anandapur soft serve ice cream truck that rests in it's shadows, complete with faux rust and flat tires. No detail is squandered on me at Disney. I should also note, this was my sisters' favorite ride at Disney a couple years ago. She can embrace "the fake"too, ya'll.

So I recently returned from a four day trip to Disney World. My sister Kathleen's recent Everest Base Camp trek which actually overlapped my trip, was a bit longer, a whole lot more authentic and, in true Kathleen fashion, loads more dramatic.

The biggest similarity between my recent Everest adventure and my sister's? Lots of walking.

The biggest difference? Modern plumbing.



Our first trip to Disney. Can you feel the magic? Can you hear the whining? Can you see my bangs?

Actually, thanks mom and dad for taking us to Disney when we were kids. Lots of people tell me their parents always meant to take them.

My biggest take-away was being so inspired and in love with all the "imagineering" as they put it. I was specifically obsessed with the animatronics (you, know all the robot people on the rides). Forget digital, 3D, computer animated, I need to hear that pirate's gears whirring away, see the delay in his mechanical blinking eyelids. I have a thing for puppets, too, obviously. I go bonkers for It's a Small World and all those creepy moving dolls. Classic.

I'm guessing Kathleen never saw an animatronic yak on the way up that mountain. But I think she saw enough yaks on those twelve to fourteen days that she is now a lifetime authority.

Perhaps she can help "imagineer" one... with blinking eyelids and all.