Palms Springs, Girls, & Autobios

Pine outside my balcony in Palm Springs/Desert

I finally decided to get to Cali last week on my days off, and I picked Palm Springs as my destination since it seems like the anti-Vegas–quiet, laid back, and green, in other words. The timeshare I stayed in was actually in Palm Desert, about 15 minutes from downtown Palm Springs. After a terribly long trip out there, all the gas my truck guzzled on the wind-plagued, gradual inclines leading into the state was made worth it when I began seeing greenery in San Bernardino. I’ll be honest…the grass made me miss Georgia a lot. The icing on the cake was seeing the above pine tree when I went out on my balcony at the timeshare. I’m sure more people than not wouldn’t want a tree right in the forefront of their view, but I enjoyed seeing the needles and pine cones up close. Overall, the trip was just what the doctor ordered: I got to sleep in, relax, soak up some sun, and explore the area at my own pace. Ah, the perks of travelling solo!

My next order of business is to be a walking, talking advert for the HBO series Girls. I’d heard all the hype about this show when it premiered, but I was turned off because it’s executive produced by Judd Apatow, and also because it’s very Brooklyn-y just like the now-cancelled Bored to Death. Anyway, I kept seeing rave reviews online without even looking for them, and I finally gave in yesterday and began watching it on the bootleg Internet channel that’s pretty much become my new, free Netflix. Not to ruin the plot or generalize it in any way, but it’s essentially Sex & the City 2.0, except from the vantage point of kids right out of college by a couple of years. I literally can’t praise the show enough…Lena Dunham is the writer/star/producer and she does a brilliant job of putting the viewer inside the skittish world of post-collegiate 20-somethings. I’m not sure how much of the show is ad-libbed, but the dialogue comes off so naturally that one feels like they know all the characters personally after just a couple of episodes. Like most HBO shows, it’s very nuanced and rewards the viewer with a high emotional payoff if you stick with the series. I finished the season finale a few minutes ago and it left me desperately wanting more Girls. (This is also the worst side-effect of watching a marathon of any great series.) Good thing it got picked up for a second season along with Julia Louis-Dreyfus’s Veep…hopefully the Emmys will recognize one or both this year.

On a final note, I indulged my guilty pleasure of lapping up celebrity bios/autobios by reading Christina Crawford’s Mommie Dearest and B.D. Hyman’s My Mother’s Keeper back-to-back. The former is by Joan Crawford’s daughter and the latter is by Bette Davis’s daughter, for those who might not be aware. I knew from seeing the campy Mommie Dearest film that being Joan Crawford’s daughter was not a walk in the park–Christina and her brother suffered both physical and verbal abuse from their mother growing up. B.D., on the other hand, had a decent and lavish upbringing, at least relatively. Her mother even allowed her to get married off at the age of 16, and B.D. (who’s now a minister) is still married to the same man. The common thread in these already similar tell-alls is this: Joan Crawford and Bette Davis both played Oscar-worthy mind games with their children their entire lives. Both actresses were also raging alcoholics, which coupled with their fame and fortune concocted a recipe for disaster in regards to raising children with any sense of normalcy. Both daughters somehow turned out alright, and I can say after reading both books that I applaud them for telling their stories. Sure, *their stories* are just that; many people have speculated over the years that both women were only trying to cash in on each mother’s name when they wrote the books. But, as is the case with all of us, we’re entitled to tell our side of the story and enlighten others on our perspective and life experiences. It just helps to sell books if you have a famous name, right? (I’m still looking at you, Lauren Conrad! You and your trusty ghostwriter.)

Mommies Dearest…how creepy is this photo?!?

That’s it for this week. I meant to blog sooner, but I’ve had a bit of writer’s block. Hopefully I can get back on track with re-discovering the theme of the blog next week, once I’ve visited South Georgia for July 4th. With all that being said, Palm Springs is very aristocratic, none of the Girls are Southern, and reading both of the famous daughters’ autobios reminded me that no amount of money or fame ensures a happy life for anyone involved. How’s that for some backpedaling?


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