A Decade Under the Influence: Ten Years of Trickin’ & Treatin’ in my 20s

By don't waste the pretty, fashion statements, holiday fun, memories, partying like a rock star, roommates, ruling at life 4 Comments

Over the years, I’ve really come to enjoy celebrating Halloween. Many people my age have kids, so their Halloweens revolve around cutesy costumes and candy, which is awesome. Unfortunately, I can’t convince my cats to dress up as hula girls, so I’ve had to make due. At times, I feel as though I’m a little too old to be parading around in Halloween costumes, but then I remember that Halloween is a holiday, and I like holidays. And also, I’m fun. And fun people dress up for Halloween, right?

So now, as a tribute to…well, I guess myself — oh, and all the crazy roommates I’ve had over the years — I present to you a 10-year time line of Halloween adventures.

2001: The Beginning of an Era – Josie & The Pussycats
Halloween 2001

Ah, 2001. I was 20, living in the Chi O house with 31 of my sorority sisters. I can’t remember how Andrea, Jess and I decided on Josie & The Pussycats as our Halloween costumes, but I’m pretty sure it involved me suggesting it 97 million times until my suite-mates gave in and agreed that it was the most spectacular idea ever.

I can’t say much for the creativity of these costumes. We found some coordinating shiny shirts, wore similar color jeans, black boots, ears and fake tails (that we made out of a cut-up pair of old sweatpants and safety pins). Oh, but those were official Josie & The Pussycats ears…from when the movie came out. We went to a party at the German Club Manor and then some other party the next night.

I had this crazy plan to create a collage out of these photos and frame them in CD jewel cases for Jess and Andrea as Christmas gifts, but I never got around to it.I still have the ears though, and 2001 was definitely up there on the list of cool Halloweens.

2002-2003: The Devil Years
Halloween 2002-2003

I don’t really know what to say about these pictures. As if I didn’t learn well enough that devil was just not a good look for me in 2002, I made another attempt in 2003, and again failed miserably. Maybe it was because I didn’t have the confidence to don an entire costume or something. 2002’s red Abercrombie t-shirt, black skirt and knee-high boots were pretty awful. In 2003, my first costume didn’t work out, so I re-did devil a little better with this cheap, sparkly shirt and red glittery belt, but…seriously? No.

Let me tell you the story of the long lost pineapple costume of 2003, though. I was visiting Blacksburg with my mom, and I had this wild idea that I wanted to be a pineapple for Halloween. Yes, a pineapple. I bought green sweatpants, a huge yellow t-shirt, some fake foliage, a lampshade and a piece of ribbon. I drew brown details on the shirt, and then I colored the lampshade yellow and brown and cut two slits through either side of it. I stuck some leaves in the top and tied it to my head. Then I completely chickened out for two reasons: first, I was visiting school after college and I wanted to look hot — not go out partying in sweatpants; and second, the leaves on top of my head were tall and top-heavy, so I figured after a few beers I’d be falling over and crashing into door frames. Hence, devil. Oh well.

2004: Pleats, Plaid & Pink
Halloween 2004

In 2004, I was 23. I had just moved into my first apartment in Virginia Beach, gotten my first job, died my hair red and I was skinny. I wasn’t planning to dress up for Halloween until The Big A decided to come visit, so when I left work that afternoon, I headed straight to the mall to find a costume. I ended up squeezing myself into this skirt I found on clearance in the girls’ department at Dillard’s. That skirt was not a girls’ 16. Nor was it a girls’ 14. That skirt was a size 12. Score. Oh, and it was actually kind of like a skort — it had shorts built into it, which was a major selling point for me because even though I’m prone to occasionally wear something inappropriate, I’m never trashy. (Does something need a major selling point if it’s on clearance for $7.99?)

Add knee-highs, Mary-Janes, collared shirt and a sweater, and I was good to go. Andrea went as a biker chick, and we had a fun night on Granby Street.

2005: New Hotness – Lisa & Allison Take Over the World
Halloween 2005

Okay, 2005. Now we’re talking. Allison turned 21 on October 30th of 2005, so we obviously celebrated Halloween two nights in a row (which pretty much became the norm from here on out).  This was the year we discovered scandalous Halloween costumes and MySpace groups — I was a referee and Allison was a sheriff. When our costumes arrived, we modeled them in the living room for photos. (This was also right around the time that Allison convinced me to dye my hair dark brown if you couldn’t tell.)

We thought we were so cool, so we started a MySpace group called “Allison & Lisa Take Over the World” and encouraged everyone who joined to post a profile pic in their Halloween costumes in order to win our giveaway. (I’m not sure what we were giving away or if we ever actually sent a prize to anyone, but it was a pretty innovative concept for gaining popularity at the time.) Our group grew to over 300 members! (Actually, I can’t verify that. That might be my imagination running away with me. I know it was more than 85 though.)

We spent Allison’s birthday night at a big Halloween party. The following night, we decided to go out again. Allison’s friend Candice was in town, so she wore the referee costume on Halloween. I wore my schoolgirl outfit again — remixed this time. Halloween of 2005 was officially the one and only night I ever went out in public with my stomach showing (not counting the beach). It was a fun night, but ended a little crazily with a bunch of drama, people making out, and Mark ending up on the Cut Off Wall, but that’s another story altogether.

2006: So Much for the Sailor
In 2006, I dressed up as a sailor, and I didn’t take enough photos. Unfortunately there are no photos of me in my sailor costume that don’t involve either my ex-boyfriend trying to remove blue latex and cotton balls from his face because he thought he should paint himself as Papa Smurf or my friends in various unflattering poses and angles that I just don’t want to post because I’d kill someone if the posted a picture like that of me. So, we’ll leave it at that. I was a sailor in 2006. It was okay.

2007-2008: A Lisa in Wonderland
Halloween 2007-2008

Um, hello BEST HALLOWEEN EVER. 2007 was awesome. I grabbed this Alice in Wonderland costume from Hot Topic, and it was sooooo cute. Heather dressed up as a mermaid, and we went to Town Center. It was a pretty awesome time. Memories of the night include the dick-in-a-box dudes, “The Big Green Monster,” and…you know, I really wish I could remember more of that night. Oops.

The following night, I headed to Granby Street with Tara, Michelle, and a bunch of other friends for a costume contest at Baxter’s, and that was fun, too. I had a blast in this costume.

I wore it again in 2008, but that year was kind of lame. Heather and I spent two hours getting ready, and then we just sat in a booth at 501 all night. Yeah. Lame.

2009: The Pirate & The Peacock
Halloween 2009

Okay! Last year I started planning my costume early. I knew for a fact that I wanted to be a peacock and that I wanted to make my costume. As you can see, I ended up going out twice again — Friday night for Alli’s birthday and Saturday for Halloween.  I borrowed Tara’s pirate costume to hit up Granby Theater on Friday night, and I had fun with my makeup, using eyeshadow to create some dirty-looking cheeks. But, on to the peacock.

I found this electric blue dress at Plato’s Closet and used a little Stitch Witchery (that’s a product — I didn’t make it up) to shorten it. Then I found a matching piece of fabric and some brown and turquoise chiffon at the fabric store. I ordered a crapload of peacock feathers off the Internet, and invested in a glue gun. I cut jagged edges into the three pieces of fabric and pinned them to an old elastic belt. Then, using hot glue, I bustled up the top piece of fabric and stuck peacock feathers into the folds and underneath the bottom. I topped this costume off with peacock earrings, feather necklaces and a tiny hat complete with a few feathers glued on. Oh, and lots of sparkly eye makeup.

J decided he wanted to dress up kind of at the last minute, so he actually went as Colonel Mustard and I went as Mrs. Peacock. Heather was a cave girl, and I’m pretty sure it took her three weeks to comb all of those bones and sticks out of her hair. Another successful Halloween.

2010: Last Halloween of my 20s
Halloween has become a really fun holiday for me over the last 10 years. I never thought I’d still be dressing up in silly costumes six months shy of 30, but here we are. J and I have a cute idea planned for this year, but you’ll have to check back for photos because it’s a surprise.

I hope everyone has a Happy Halloween!

This crazy trip has got me feelin’: festive
And I’m singin’ along to: A Decade Under the Influence – Taking Back Sunday

Constant with a K

By concerts, employment, fabio the hamster, hot lead singers of bands, las vegas, little cousins, lj, memories, music, not ruling at life, top notch communication blunders 2 Comments

The other night I saw Jack’s Mannequin at the Norva. It made me think of my time in Las Vegas – sharing a bunk bed with my 10-year-old cousin, laying on the floor, idly tapping out some LJ entries to the tune of Andrew McMahon’s irresistible voice (still Something Corporate back then) while I casually sipped glass of wine. The window would be open, and the sounds of the little cousins chattering would echo through the house. It was funny, at first I hated how loud that house was, but when I left, I couldn’t stand the sound of silence for quite a few months. My idea of quiet became the muffled sounds of laughter and video games drifting up the stairs while the door was cracked and the cat kept trying to sneak in. The occasional witty comment I overheard was enough to keep me inspired and keep me writing whatever LJ work of art I was creating at the time. And Fabio the Hamster. He could keep me going all night long.

You know I used to keep a mini notebook in my purse? I used to write down interesting quotes and song lyrics and funny ideas all day long and then blog about them later. I concentrated so hard to writing these hysterically satirical posts that I usually forgot I was supposed to be figuring out what to do with my life. Those were the LJ’s golden days. I remember now.

You know what else I remember now? My favorite lyrics to "Konstantine" by Something Corporate.

"I had these dreams in them I learned to play guitar
Maybe cross the country
Become a rock star."

Before MySpace; before Facebook; before my vapid second blog about materialistic bullshit that requires zero creativity, the LJ was my constant source of inspiration. Sure, it made you laugh, but best of all? It made me laugh. Constantly.

There was no writer’s block, and there was no wasting all my silly thoughts in a one-sentence status update. Whatever happened to composing an entire thought? An entire anecdote? An entire story?

Maybe it’s because I spend my days at work writing proposals. It’s not the most creative writing, but it’s a lot of writing. Maybe I just get it all out of my system at work, and I don’t feel like writing for fun anymore. 

Speaking of writing proposals at work – today a person who was supposed to be feeding me some narrative for a program management plan sent me some text. As I read the first few sentences, I grew suspicious of the fact that it sounded extremely too general and nothing like the rest of his writing. Needless to say, I Googled "program management" and soon came to the realization that he copied the entire program mangement plan from freaking Wikipedia.

Anyway, maybe someday Something Corporate will get back together. And maybe someday, I’ll be inspired to bang out some hysterically satirical posts again. Maybe soon.

A Brief History of How I Developed My Computing Skills

By being a computer genius, games, gen y, life-changing purchases, lj, memories, myspace, really great money-making ideas, ruling at life, school, skills, technological enigmas One Comment

It occurred to me this morning that I have been fumbling around with computers for approximately 20 years now. It’s no wonder I’m such a computer genius.

Playing on the computer used to be so much more fun. For example, making banners with the first version of The Print Shop, and printing them out on that primitive, perforated printer paper with the holes on the sides! Yay for the old school Apple II series (which recently celebrated is 30th anniversary).

My first instant messaging experience
I sent a message from the family room computer to the computer in my parents’ bedroom. Then I ran in there and sent a message back to myself in the family room. Then I ran into the family room and sent a message back to the bedroom. (Notice how this used to be less of a social networking experience and more of a physical activity.)

Early gaming
I definitely learned a few things from Where in the World is Carmen San Diego? – mainly the states and capitals, the locations of various foreign countries, and the beginnings of my impeccable detective (aka “Internet stalking”) skills. I liked Carmen San Diego much, much more than The Oregon Trail. The only thing I learned from that game was how to ration money and kill off the rest of the people in my wagon in order to keep more food for myself.

Adopting e-mail
My first e-mail address was (Don’t try to e-mail me there. AOL sucks, and that address doesn’t exist anymore. The AIM name Atlantys23 still belongs to me, however, and you might catch me on there once in a blue moon.) I used AOL to keep in touch with friends from summer camp and hang out in the occasional teen chatroom (13/F/NJ u?). Those chatrooms always turned into an insult-fest. I vaguely remember typing something along the lines of “well, you have the IQ of a tube of toothpaste” to more than one stupid ass in another time zone. By this time, Where in the World is Carmen San Diego? was a television show.

Keyboard brilliance
I learned to type in high school, but luckily I still got to take my standardized tests on paper with a No. 2 pencil and an answer sheet. (Do kids still take SATs with pencils anymore?) According to multiple online typing tests, I type approximately 103-108 WPM.

My computers
When I started college in 1999, I had a computer that was solely mine for the first time ever. It was a piece of crap. It would freeze, and the power button wouldn’t turn it off, and I would have to pull the plug and kick it to turn it off and start over. (This probably had something to do with all of the music I was illegally hoarding off Napster and Limewire.) I learned the value of saving my work every five minutes, along with grasping the concept of an ethernet cable, being connected to the Internet 24 hours a day, managing multiple e-mail accounts, and using the computer to communicate with people in the next room.

In 2000, at Virginia Tech, I got my second computer. That one worked a lot better. I learned how to reformat my own hard drive and operate a computer while under the influence of alcohol. I also discovered the usefulness of an FTP site and submitted my homework online, and I was the proud owner of a pirated version of Windows XP by the time I graduated college.

Internet omniscience
If you’re an avid reader of this blog, I’m sure you remember the arrival of my post-graduation laptop. All hell broke loose! I came to terms with wireless Internet, I mastered [the basic concept of] HTML code, I started up the LJ, and I I finally broke down about two years ago and created a MySpace page. I’ve found roommate after roommate on; I pay my bills online; I’ve got more than four functioning e-mail addresses; I’m on my second iPod and my fourth digital camera; I’m making money off of at least four different websites while I sit here at my desk (Associated Content, CafePress, SurveySavvy and eBay); I’m working hard on developing my new Virb profile, and my pride and joy at the moment is my 250GB external hard drive (that my awesome boyfriend gave me for Christmas). You’ll get more results Googling “VTJerseyGirl03” than you will “Lisa DeNoia,” and I even have an abbreviated version of my online alias (VTJG03) on my license plates!

So, there you have it – how to become a computer genius in 20 years.

Anyway, back to work (and Internet browsing, and solitaire, and MySpace, and Facebook, and Virb, and Google, and e-mail, and Vision, and…you get the point).

Oh, and at some point during this 20-year technological revolution, Where in the World is Carmen San Diego? became a board game?

Ut Prosim

By breaking news, hokies, memories, school 3 Comments
I felt sick to my stomach most of the day yesterday as the details of yesterday’s shootings unfolded. I couldn’t stop thinking, Why? Why would anyone do this? Why would anyone do this at my school? Why would anyone do this at the greatest school in the whole entire world?
Last night, as I finally watched the cell phone clip that captured the sound of 27 gunshots from outside Norris Hall, I had a brief flashback to a sunny, warm, October afternoon just a few years ago. I was walking arm-in-arm with a cadet – my boyfriend at the time – after an English class, down that very sidewalk, smiling, laughing, kicking around fallen leaves on the ground, discussing Kurt Vonnegut, my later-to-be favorite author. We were sophomores. I cried.
I cannot believe that this “massacre”, as Wikipedia has dubbed it, occurred at my school. At my school. A massacre? I am sure I speak for every alumnus when I say that although many of us are not directly acquainted with the victims of yesterday’s shootings, we are still deeply saddened and horrified at what took place yesterday morning on the campus we used to call home. We’re here, in our offices and our homes and our graduate schools across the nation and all over the world, and we are thinking of you.
We’re out here. We are saddened and devastated, but we’re not wearing black. We’re wearing orange and maroon. We’re wearing our class rings. We’re driving around with our Hokie license plates and showing up to work in our VT polo shirts.
We’re re-connecting through phone calls and e-mails and text messages and bulletin boards and coming together to mourn this tragic loss. And we will unite, as we have before, and do whatever we can to support our fellow Hokies during this critical time.
We’re out here and we’re not going to let the news media tear apart the integrity and reputation of our school and its actions and decisions. I have every faith that the Virginia Tech administration and police department did everything possible in response to this unimaginable crime. Such an event has been unprecedented in our society.
Think of the possibilities. Had the campus been closed, would that really have changed anything? Students and staff would have been roaming the sidewalks, the Drillfield. There would have been no windows to climb out of, no desks to hide behind, no doors to barricade. Do not judge the university for its response, judge the media for not responding accordingly. This is not the time to find the perfect picture, to capture the ultimate expression of devastation on a student’s face. This is not the time to bombard Charles Steger and Wendell Flinchum with accusatory questions. In the words of a friend, “We need to devote everything we have to teaching morals and values to every kid who’s sitting in a classroom somewhere right now.  It seems like almost everything in the world today acts as either a temptation or a distraction, taking our attention away from what we should be doing.”
What we should be doing is paying more attention. Parents should be paying more attention to their children, students should be paying more attention to their peers, adults should be paying more attention to their co-workers and their neighbors, teachers should be paying more attention to their students. We should all be paying a little more attention to each other.
Some say we should implement stronger gun control laws; some say we need even more security at schools these days; some say we should have more detailed procedures for dealing with situations like these, and perhaps we will. But in the meantime, perhaps we should all just be a little nicer to each other.
And perhaps we should say thank you. Thank you to the professors like Beth Waggenspack and Emily Stallings in the Department of Communication who pulled a visiting high school art club from West Virginia into Shanks Hall and secured them in a basement until the danger had ended, and of course to those like Liviu Librescu, the 76-year-old professor who lost his life stalling the gunman while his students escaped from the window. Thank you to Dr. Rachel Holloway who got the word out to us communication alumni about some of the positive responses on campus yesterday and gave us a glimpse of optimism just before bedtime last night.
Thank you to President Steger and Police Chief Flinchum, who have put their personal emotions aside to bear the burden of keeping the rest of us informed as details are released.
And finally, thank you to the students and staff of Virginia Tech. Thank you for showing your support for our amazing university yesterday and this afternoon and for sticking by each other during this tragic time. Go Hokies.

The Year In Review

By memories, year in review One Comment

I filled this questionnaire out last year, and the year before, and the year before that, too!

What did you do in 2006 that you’d never done before? Highlighted my hair, got a cat, bought a condo, belly-danced

Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I kept a lot of them, and of course I’m going to make more! 

Did anyone close to you give birth? No

Did anyone close to you die? No

What countries did you visit? Just a little bit of this one – but not very much at all

What would you like to have in 2007 that you lacked in 2006? A new car

What date from 2006 will remain etched upon your memory? August 28th

What was your biggest achievement of the year? Buying a condo

What was your biggest failure? Not running for a long time, not eating healthy and gaining eight pounds

Did you suffer illness or injury? I burned my hands a few times cooking.

What was the best thing you bought? Taupe suede Diesel boots (and my condo)

Whose behavior merited celebration? Chris’s – he’s the most thoughtful, generous person I know. He took me surfing and put air in my bike tires, and he really helped me out a lot when I moved into my new place. 

Where did most of your money go? Rent, clothes, paying my new mortgage, eating out 

What did you get really, really, really excited about? Seeing Rent with Allison and Mikey Q in February, getting Mele in April, flying to Alabama in June (which didn’t happen, but I was still excited!), seeing Reel Big Fish in concert in July, going surfing with Chris all summer, moving into my new condo in October, and getting my new kitten Kona this week

What song will always remind you of 2005? Dark Blue – Jack’s Mannequin

Compared to this time last year, are you:
Happier or sadder? Happier
Thinner or fatter? Fatter
Richer or poorer? Richer

What do you wish you’d done more of? Running

What do you wish you’d done less of? Eating out

How will you be spending Christmas? I flew home to New Jersey. My grandparents stayed with us and we had Uncle Cricket, Aunt Angel, Cricky, Joelle, Uncle Johnny, Toni, Olivia and Dario over for Christmas Eve. I hung out with Kristy after that (even though we skipped midnight mass). On Christmas day, we drove up to Aunt Debbie and Uncle Vinny’s house for dinner, and then I watched The O.C. on TiVo with my mom. I got some cool presents, including a new 30GB iPod and a starburst mirror from Pier 1. I played a lot of Nintendo Wii while I was at home. After spending a long time at the Newark airport, I finally made it back to Virginia Beach, and Chris and I opened presents together last night. He gave me a really pretty painting that I’m going to hang in my hallway, a 250GB external hard drive for my laptop, and a gift certificate to the spa! I love them. I gave him some Diesel shoes and a Ralph Lauren winter jacket, some jeans, some boxers, some shirts, a book and a CD. I loved Christmas shopping this year!

Did you fall in love in 2006? Surprisingly, yes

How many one-night stands? 0

Who were your best friends? Kristy, Mike, Allison, Chris

What thing did you do that was meaningful to others? I adopted my two kitties. I’m sure that’s pretty meaningful to them. I baked cookies and cooked dinners and tried to be a good listener for my friends when they needed to talk to me.

What was your favorite TV program? Love Monkey, The OC, NCIS, Saturday Night Live, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Desperate Housewives, Las Vegas, Big Brother All Stars, Veronica Mars 

Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? No

What was the best book you read? The Anita Blake,Vampire Hunter novels by Laurell K. Hamilton, Rich Woman by Kim Kiyosaki 

What was your greatest musical discovery? Jack’s Mannequin, Joshua Radin, Paste magazine, Lily Allen 

What did you want and get? Real estate, a 401(k) plan, an awesome boyfriend, a new job (which I left to return to the old one), a super-fabulous new hairstylist

What did you want and not get? Diesel jeans

What was your favorite film of this year? The Last Kiss 

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? 25, Mikey Q made me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Doing something exciting on my birthday?

What kept you sane? TiVo, Mele, ice skating, belly dancing, music, Why Men Love Bitches

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Rachel Bilson

What political issue stirred you the most? I hate political issues. 

Who did you miss? Kristy, Tom, Mike, Allison, Andrea

Who was the best new person you met this year? CJ, but Amy Morris is pretty cool, too.

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2006: Maybe working in restaurants isn’t really as fun as I used to think it was… 

Quote that sums up your year: “Lisaaa. Thanks for, uh, spillin’ the beans with that whole bullshit thing that you fuckin’ pulled on me when I’m sittin’ in el recliner just chillin’ like a villain, and next thing you know you’re all, ‘SHABLAAM! Prove it you can kiss,’ and I’m like, ‘Wow this’ll be really, really fuckin’ awkward and weird.’ You’re like,’What-the-fuck-ever,’ and you looked at me and you’re like, ‘Ahheeeeaaaahhh,’ and you just fuckin’ kiss me and I know you were fuckin’ turned on by it. You’re like, ‘Oh, I’ll never tell Mike.’ Oh! Guess what. I already knew you were gonna use that fuckin’ leverage against me. The second that things became–you had some sort of turmoil between you and Mike, you’re had to throw that in his fuckin’ face you kissed me just recently again, and guess who called me – Mike. ‘Hey, Mark dude, when’d you make–when’d you kiss Lisa again?’ Oh, yeah. Again. Yeah, that’s why I hate women right now. I hate you, Lisa. I fucking hate you. And I fucking hate all of the women. Right now. And you’re like, ‘I wonder why.’ And you are the Cunt Master. You are Captain fucking Cunt Master. You know why I came up with all that shit? Because I fuckin’ know goddamn right that’s what you really are. And you just proved it. I’m that good. I’m fuckin’ that good. I know what you really are. You’re a fuckin’ huge fuckin’ cunt. That’s what you are. You’re a cunt. And far be it from me to ever be–to ever talk to you again. Yeah. Whatever. Cunt. Cunt. Cunt. Cunt. Cunt. That’s what you are. And that’s the biggest fuckin’ word a woman never wants to hear is the fact they are that person. And you are. You’re the biggest cunt I have ever met – you and Allison. I hate you both. That’s why I don’t talk to either one of you. Because you’re the fuckin’ epitome of the fuckin’ women around here. You play–Allison fuckin’ plays games with gir–like, guy’s minds. And you’re just a bitch. Some guy in a Porsche is nice to you, and you’re like, ‘He’s not my type, I fuckin’ hate him.’ Oh. Sorry that some guy has a couple flaws. God forbid you learn to deal with it and maybe actually learn to like him. Whatever. Fuck you. I hate you. Uh-buh-bye. ” ~Infamous voicemail left by Mark Heustis, March 8, 2006. Priceless.