Kind of a Mess Interviews: Zan of Oversized Cliches

Oh ZanZanosaurus.  Zan is one of my favorite people and I barely know her.  She’s an APW reader, lives on a farm and blogs her butt off.  You should be her friend.  She might let you come pet a cow or something….

Fun Fact about Zan that you (and she) did not know: Zan refuses to pick a favorite book.  She views them all as special, unique little snowflakes and will not choose among them.   However, I have it on good authority that it’s a toss-up between “Chicken Soup for the Scrapbooker’s Soul” and “Scarlett.”

Who was your first celebrity crush?

Oh well this one was easy. Christian Bale in “Newsies” I was a wee-thing when that movie came out so I didn’t have any crushes that I could recognize as romantic per-se (I did not understand what was going on with the lady on the swing AT ALL) but I did have … shall we say … stirrings towards the young Mr. Bale (Stirrings? Seriously? I think was channelling Judy Blume there). There was something rather fetching about his bad New York accent and his slightly greasy hair. Of course I was attracted to his bad-assery, which won him the top spot in my heart. On balance I thought David Moscow was cuter (and Jew, so there is that) but he lacked Bale’s panache.

“Newsies” also explains my enduring childhood fantasy of handing jerks their asses via spontaneously choreographed group song and dance. [Editor’s Note: Me TOO…)

What is your dream job(s)?

If I knew the answer to this one I’d be out there pursuing it like a crazy person. I don’t know the specifics but after a certain number of years in the “real” workforce of 9-5dom all I know for certainty are general things I want (like flexibililty, bosses who aren’t incompetent nincompoops up their own asses — you know who you are — a living wage and a the sense that I did something worthwhile at the end of the day. Apparently this is a tall order and explains why I’m in graduate school.

What would be your dream trip?

Forever now I’ve really wanted to go to Japan but now I’m freaked out by the radiation thing so I’m staying away. If someone could promise me I wouldn’t be killed, maimed of kidnapped I’d really like to go to: Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq, the DRC and Burma. There is a long and boring story behind each place, but I’m not a thrill seeker I swear! It’d probably just be easier to go to a beach, right? In that case, I’ve always wanted to go surfing in Hawaii — most of the surfing I’ve done is in cold water and I vastly prefer not shivering to death on my board, so Hawaii is the realistic dream, the others places maybe not so much.

Why did you pick your screen name or blog title?

I’ve wanted to live in New York City for as long as I can remember. Back in the day (2006!) before blogs were part of my daily routine I started reading this girl’s blog She moved to New York, followed her dream and wrote about it. I thought she was awesome.  When I decided I was finally going to take charge and move to NYC, without much of a plan and by the seat of my pants, I wanted to write about it. I mentioned to a friend that I was moving “just because” and he wrote back, not really encouragingly and said, “Have fun in the city of oversized cliches.” and there it was, my blog name; I still think it is surprisingly apt, and funny too.

I should note that he wasn’t being mean, he’s just one of those people who cannot understand why anyone wants to live in New York City. I, on the other hand, can’t bear to think of leaving.

What is your favorite ensemble and what does it say about you?

I love my blue DVF dress and tortise-shell patterned mary-jane heels because it makes me feel super put-together and competent. When my life feels disorganized and out of control I like to dress like someone with a mission. That said, most of the time I wear jeans and a sweater/t-shirt.

What makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up?

People sucking their teeth. I HATE that. Nails on a chalkboard does it to me too but you don’t get too many chalkboards these days.

What is the first thing you can remember wanting to be when you grew up?

I think I simultaneously wanted to be a teacher and a farmer. I wanted to be a teacher because as an incipient nerd I loved school and wanted to “be in school” my whole life. I wanted to be a farmer because I read “Farmer Boy” at an impressionable age. We had a big vacant lot behind out house when I was in primary school and the neighbor girls and I played farmer just about every day in the summer. I spent some time living with an Amish family as a kid too and I thought it was awesome, I didn’t even miss TV. I did, however, think that seeing a calf born was really weird and gross. Ah, the miracle of nature.

What is your favorite time of day?

It depends on where I am. If I’m not in the city, if I’m in the country or something, I love the first lights of dawn, it’s a really nice quiet time. In the city I love the summer nights, it finally cools down enough so you don’t want to melt and everyone seems so fun and zingy!

What thing do you believe in that you know you shouldn’t? (Ghost, horoscopes, Wyoming)

Hmm. I don’t believe in psychics PER SE but there have been some pretty freaking psychic predictions in my family. There’s this woman in Mexico City that all the ladies in my family used to go see and just as an example she predicted who my aunt would marry, how he’d die, how she’d marry the next guy, what his initials would be, how many kids she’d have and of what genders, etc. This same lady also predicted that my namesake would die just before she did. Freaky no? This mystery witch died awhile back, but if she was still alive I don’t know that I’d go visit her. If it’s all predestined and you can’t do anything about it then I don’t think I’d want to know.

Talk to yourself at 5, 10, 15 and 20.  What one sentence would you say?

5: “You are correct, kindergarten is AWESOME.”
10: “You don’t really want to be a boy. Trust me.”
15: “High School will end one day, I promise.”
20: “You’re doing a good job! Really!”

If you could ask me (Alyssa) anything, what would it be?   I know you said that this isn’t Oprah but now that Oprah is retiring do you think you might be able to take over?

NO WAY.  Too much responsibility.  I’d TOTALLY rather be Gayle.  Some of the power, none of the trouble or massive taxes.

18 Comments on “Kind of a Mess Interviews: Zan of Oversized Cliches”

  1. Jo
    June 23, 2011 at 6:43 am #

    Yep. Newsies. <3. And I'm sure you're right about that movie being where I get my desire for that exact same thing.

    And yes, Farmer Boy. Do you know that Carson has lived the most Farmer-Boy-ish life and yet has NEVER read that book?! I'm going to read it aloud to him one day to rectify that.

    Ah, Zan, I heart you so.

    • Jennifer
      June 25, 2011 at 9:32 am #

      I KNOW RIGHT? Zan, how is it we did not talk about Newsies yet??? :)

  2. Erin
    June 23, 2011 at 7:52 am #

    Farmer Boy ftw! Farmer Boy was my favorite out of all of them. Every once in a while I will know some random agricultural fact that will totally flummox my husband. I never tell him I learned it from a kids’ book… I also think half my love of food comes from the descriptions of Mother’s groaning table and Almanzo’s little boy appetite. Mmmmmm.

  3. ddayporter
    June 23, 2011 at 8:23 am #

    yayyy Zan! hey apparently Lady Gaga wants you to visit Japan. via Jezebel: “I can’t say enough to people all over the world that the majority of Japan right now, Japan in general, is very safe. It’s fine to come here. It’s beautiful. The most important thing, and the best thing, we could do for Japan right now is to boost tourism, and so everyone come to Japan and come enjoy the beautiful country.” — Lady Gaga.

    • Zan
      June 23, 2011 at 8:59 am #

      Much as I love the Gaga, and I do (I am only one degree removed from her) I have fears — founded or not — of my babies being born with six heads due to tainted Japanese lettuce or something.

      I think I am sufficiently freaked out, especially after writing a paper on the government cover-up of the extent of Chernobyl’s effects, to stay away. Sorry Gaga. Hubo and I are going to NZ for our honeymoon in the winter, and we’d thought of stopping in Japan, but I think we might do Thailand instead.

  4. Kerry
    June 23, 2011 at 8:56 am #

    Zan I love you! Mostly because of the Newsies reference, but everything else was good too.

    Ddayporter – Craig and I had actually planned a trip to Japan this fall and were THIS close to booking when the disaster occurred. I still want to go, pushing it back to next spring…Craig is more than wary. I’m sending him this Lady Gaga quote. Who better to listen to about nuclear fallout??

  5. Sarah
    June 23, 2011 at 8:57 am #

    Dammit, Zan, you took my crush answer! But really … YES.

    Zan, I do <3 you so. And Alyssa. Can't leave her out! =)

  6. Katie Mae
    June 23, 2011 at 9:35 am #

    It’s nice to meet more people who had a giant crush on Jack Kelly/Christian Bale. Man was I obsessed. Although I actually thought Racetrack was cooler, until I realized he was 24 at the time of filming. Now that I’m finally 24, I should watch it again.

    • kindofamess
      June 23, 2011 at 12:36 pm #

      I even had a crush when he was creepy Nazi-dude in Swing Kids. (Though poor sensitive Robert Sean Leonard was the one that won my heart.)

  7. mere...
    June 23, 2011 at 10:24 am #

    You were right, I should be her friend. Absolutely to Jack Kelly! And the dream job answer is everything I want that I haven’t been able to put into words. If anyone ever finds that job, let me know!

  8. Ms. Bunny
    June 23, 2011 at 10:28 am #

    Zan makes my heart happy. This was a good way to start the day.

  9. KA
    June 23, 2011 at 1:29 pm #

    DUDE! Total David Moscow girl over here. Wanna go see the musical in the fall?

    And keep me posted on that dream job, as I have the exact same requirements over here!

  10. Moz
    June 23, 2011 at 3:09 pm #

    Plus, if you’re Gayle you get to edit O magazine and that is a much better job.

  11. ElfPuddle
    June 23, 2011 at 3:25 pm #

    All your crush answers make me feel so old!

  12. Mary
    June 23, 2011 at 4:12 pm #

    Was I the only one whose favorite Newsie character was Gabriel Damon (Spot)? I totally had a picture of him next to my bed for I don’t even know how long.

  13. Ariel
    June 24, 2011 at 3:01 am #

    Newsies!!! I wanted to love Christian Bale for all the above reasons, but his dancing was so horrible, I couldn’t fully commit. Spot’s accent was better and he smoked a mean cigar, but I fell for one of the background guys (the one with the eye-patch, Blink?).
    I was convinced for all of season one of GLEE that David Moscow was Mr. Schuster despite the credits. I was sure he just changed his name.

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