Tag Archives: David Bowie

And, finally, Z is for Zoolander.

In the year 2001, the great and handsome prophet Derek Zoolander asked a profound question… one with the power to affect us all:

“Did you ever think that maybe there’s more to life than being really, really… really ridiculously good looking?!”

And many hearts were glad.

Especially the heart of this girl:

Baby R 0.1

And this girl:

Baby R 0.2

And especially this girl:

Baby R 0.3

Because it was quite clear that she was not destined for a life of being even really (just one really) ridiculously good looking.


Thanks be to Derek Zoolander, this girl finally heard it:

Baby R 0.4

Well, not that girl exactly… but that girl a few months later (the photo above was taken in the fall of 2000)… and many years more for internalization.

(Side note: yes, I do have an entire file folder dedicated to ugly pictures of myself. Is that weird?)

Zoolander, like Drop Dead Gorgeous (1999), Love Actually (2003), and Amelie (2001), came out at a very impressionable time in my life. And no matter how funny/unrealistic/weird those movies were/are– they made a big impact on me. BIG. Zoolander is no exception.

I guess I have a lot to ponder. (Zoolander quote.)

In addition to the quotable quotes and the most important lesson of all (more to life than being really, really good looking) there are a bunch of actual for realsies lessons to be learned, if you’ve watched the movie enough times…

1. Assuming that everyone is just waiting to tell you what a bad eu-google-izer you are is no way to live.

People aren’t always out to hurt you! I swear it! Some, yeah, but that’s their problem (or their editor’s), not yours. So give a person the benefit of the doubt. It could work out in your favor. Zoolander and Matilda were totally MFEO (made for each other– Sleepless in Seattle, another favorite) and it was a good thing he gave her a chance even after she hurt his feelings!

2. Have a go to for happy– like an orange mocha frappaccino!!

Derek is so super down after not winning male model of the year for the fourth year in a row, but his roomies know just the thing to cheer him up! (Maybe they could have done without the gas fight.) And in my life, I’ve had lots of roomies like that– Abby (my Fisky Sister) who told me stories from the top bunk to help me fall asleep; Erin, Adriane, and Aimee who put on a little bit of Abba Dancing Queen or Outkast Hey Ya for an impromptu dance party; Stephanie who popped Zoolander or Napoleon Dynamite into our $5 Korean Bazaar VCR; Seth who makes a great Harry Potter reference. (No joke, he told me last Friday that his patronus was me… cooking. Naturally, I swooned.)


3. Own what you are, even it’s a merman. MERMAN.

There’s not shame in being who you are! So own it! … see the photo gallery above. That was me, y’all. No point in pretending anything different. Might as well laugh about it together. After all, plenty of those images are in people’s brains, and there’s not a darn thing I can do about that.


4. Technology changes fast. REAL fast.

So… a huge punch line in the 2001 movie Zoolander is Derek’s itty bitty, teeny tiny phone. Do you remember that? When itty bitty phones were the shiz? And now we’ve got the the iPhone 6 and 6+… insanity. It wasn’t that long ago, really. Was it?

5. It’s good to know, and respect, what makes you farty and bloated.

For Jacobim Mugato, anything foamy will do it. For me? Anything with even a bit of lactose! Maybe I wouldn’t scald someone’s face if they tried to serve it to me. But I will take pains to avoid it so as to avoid the pains later. Just not worth the deliciousness.


6. If someone has to miraculously pull their underwear out of their butt to beat you– you’re kind of awesome.

For most of us, there’s always going to be someone better. Someone out there is faster, funnier, prettier, gentler, kinder, better at cooking, got a cleaner house, etc… but that doesn’t mean you’re not any of those things. Quit comparing and you’ll be happier. Guaranteed. You’ll at least have far fewer wedgies. (Side note: one time in middle school when I wore what I thought was the cutest outfit ever to school– train engineer overalls with a pretty white shirt with lace trimmed sleeves underneath– I got wedgied in the hallway. It was the wooooorst. No one likes a wedgie. And an elephant never forgets.)

7. Remember that most people are not professional film and television actors.

Except if Mindy Kaling actually became my friend, in which case, I would have a professional television actor for a friend. But alas, that day has not yet come. In the meantime, we don’t get to script the reactions of others. And even if we try, people are generally very prone to improv. Jerk people…

8. Age before beauty, goat cheese!

Honestly, I will happily take the wisdom of age over the beauty of youth. Granted, for me, youth wasn’t particularly beautiful (again, I reference you to the photos above)… so… maybe this one is more specific for me. But some of you can dig it, yes?

9. Talk it out! It’s usually pretty simple.

Derek and Hansel had quite the beef going on. Things were tense and everything kind of came to a head during the walk-off. (The walk-off judged by the David Bowie. So awesome.) Afterward, though, it only took one simple phrase and a brief discussion before things were all sorted out– “why you been acting so messed up toward me?” Both Derek and Hansel apologize for being whack. And that’s that. Just talk it out, yo. So simple. I even tried it once. (It’s so scary though!)

10. You can’t help who you love.

At the end of the movie, Maury says of Zoolander, “I love that kid. Dumb as a stump, but I love him.” And it’s true. When you love someone, you just do. There’s not always rhyme or reason to it. Dumb as a box of rocks, a la Derek Zoolander, or too intelligent for their own good, a la Sheldon Cooper and Amy Farrah Fowler. Love just happens anyway.

And finally, bonus #11. There’s always room for a David Duchovny cameo.

Why don’t you love me?!?!?!?!


In conclusion, Hi. I’m former graduate super student Rachel Stankowski and it’s my pleasure to welcome you to the Rachel Stankowski Center for Physicians Who Can’t Write Well… and Want to Learn to Do Other Stuff Well Too.

That’s what I’m talking about!!!!



And that, ladies and gentlemen, concludes our A to Z (plus an interlude for an XX) blog tour. Things were super tough when I started. Things are still kind of rough, but it always (always!) feels good to write… and all this letter by letter mumbo jumbo has allowed me to fill up my little notebook of thoughts. Get ready, cuz here I co-ome!

(I just heard that song on my Pandora, we played it in pep band in high school… recipe for being completely stuck in my head.)


PS: I totally watched Zoolander again, just one more time, to make sure I really got everything I could out of it. When I went to play it from Amazon Prime (I’m obsessed!) my options were to “resume” or “play from the beginning” because I watch it a lot… I am not ashamed!!!!

Hoggle Goes Organic, Makes Friends

(Like my newspaper-style title? Made me feel pretty clever…)

Have you ever seen The Labyrinth?  Please say yes… because David Bowie plus the Muppets, it’s too good!

The Labyrinth

In case you haven’t had the pleasure, let me give you a very brief synopsis:

Angry at her parents for leaving her home to babysit her little brother, fantasy-loving Sarah wishes that the Goblin King would come and take him away. Which, unfortunately for Sarah, he does. In order to get her brother back, Sarah has to make her way through a massive labyrinth, replete with many interesting characters, both good and bad… on a deadline. I’m sure IMDB does a better job here.

While I love the movie for a lot of reasons (like I said, David Bowie AND the Muppets… what’s no to love?), I’m especially fond of the character Hoggle and I found myself thinking about him the other day.

Hoggle Face

Hoggle is the first person (or person-like thing) Sarah meets in the labyrinth and she immediately clings to him as a friend. To which Hoggle replies:

“Friend. Huh! I like that. I ain’t never been no one’s friend before.”

But Hoggle messes up. A couple of times. And ends up reassuring himself that he doesn’t need friends and that the only person Hoggle needs is Hoggle. But you can see that he’s totally dejected and lying even to himself as he says it. (Hoggle may be a classic introvert, yes.)

The best part is at the end, when Hoggle realizes that not only is Sarah his true friend, but so are the others in their unlikely band of heroes– Didymus and Ludo. (Didymus is a little foxish dog-like thing who rides a dog around as his noble steed, I just love it!) Ludo even says in his slow, sweet, growl-y voice:

“Hoggle and Ludo frieeeeends…”


It makes me so happy; that organic growth of friendship out of shared experience and necessity.

And I’m delighted to tell you that I’ve somehow managed to scrape together a similar sort of (heroic) band right here in Marshfield.

As I partied with my crew on Friday night (ugly Christmas sweaters and white elephant gift exchange*) I thought about this group of people and how it came to be and the word that kept springing to mind was that old, standby buzz word:


Organic growth is a good thing in business. It’s also valued in the marketplace. People are pretty into organic fruits and veggies, meats, cleaning products, and personal care items. The idea of something being natural, or as-intended, generally has a very positive connotation.

And I guess I’m not sure why I ever thought that friendship would be any different.

I had a really great group of friends in grad school and it was hard to leave and go to a place where my crew wouldn’t be quite so ready-made. And I wasn’t really sure what to do about that. I signed up for several fitness classes, I scoured craigslist and meetup and the library bulletin board for some sort of group or club to join or get involved with, and nothing really worked out. I even got overly excited about a new potential friend after we ran together at an early morning conference 5K and invited her to go fly kites with me (I’m not even kidding… I’m such a nerd…), but it was so forced and just didn’t work out. I was so sad. And somewhat resigned.

I had essentially decided that I would forgo friendship for the time being and focus on family. I assumed that someday I’d have kids and they would make friends and I would become de facto friends with their parents. Problem solved.

As I pursued that route of action (or non-action, really), hanging out primarily with my husband and his sister and brother-in-law, something rather curious happened. We got involved in sand volleyball at a local supper club, Sister Doctor invited people she knew from the clinic, Seth invited another soccer referee and his wife who were also new to the area, and things kind of just… happened. Turns out, one of Sister Doctor’s resident friends lived next door to the soccer ref and his wife. The wife is a teacher and had another friend from work interested in getting together… the weather got cold, volleyball ended, and we started playing board games… and then started a book club…. and then had a Christmas bash… and planned another for New Years Eve… and look at this. Friends.

Hoggle has friends.

It wasn’t fast, but it also wasn’t forced. And I think, for me, that has made all the difference.


*A white elephant gift exchange is something I was not familiar with. I assumed it was a small secret santa-style gift exchange. Wrong. But I didn’t bother to google it until after I’d already bought gifts for Seth and me. So I was the nerd who brought a homemade pan of apple butter cinnamon rolls and a jar of cream cheese frosting to go with and a lovely little Christmas cactus and box of frosted Christmas tree pretzels. White elephant fail! Although, I walked out with a sweet inflatable ninja turtle punching bag, I don’t that’s a tacky gift at all!!