Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Sunday Top 10: Don't Date Me. Wink Wink.

Going outside in this weather requires at least 10 layers of clothing (or one winter jacket, for those of you who choose the "easy way out") and insanity begins it's hold on your brain around Block Five of your trek to the subway station (muttering to yourself, cursing imaginary gods, telling people you love Jesus but you drink a little, etc.). That means that if you want someone to come over and play with your hair and tell you how pretty you are, you will need a girlfriend/boyfriend (The only people who make extended treks through ice and snow to get to Other People are people who are hoping, at some point, that this "Other Person" will have his or her head between the Trekker's thighs. Furthermore, if you live in Sheepshead Bay or Ohio, the Trekker would also hope that the Other Person has Oral Skills)--and this is a tough time to get one, because most people are Gay, Straight AND Taken. Everyone is staying together at least until April, when girls start wearing shorts again.

Around Valentine's Day, people get extra-interested in each other's dating status. If I don't have a girlfriend/boyfriend, my single-hood is usually easy to explain:

1. I don't want a relationship right now
2. I've got this good thing going with my ex? He still tells me I'm pretty, we have sleepovers, and he helps me move, but he's agreed not to talk about his "feelings" or "where this is going"?
3. I've got this good thing going with someone else's boyfriend/girlfriend? But I promised not to talk about it.
4. I've made zero effort to obtain one. (Maybe a .5 effort, if myspace browsing counts) I mean, I don't even like, "go out." Like, ever.

This year, we are looking at Number 4. Haviland thought it would be "fun" if I did a Top Ten Reasons why you should be my girlfriend. But I thought that might be too obvious and I don't want to dissuade potential Valentines. It's sneakier to just get them in your ring and then pounce like a tiger. Then Karen suggested REVERSE PSYCHOLOGY.

So: I went to a private school for "gifted" students for grades 6-8. The Most Bad-Ass Thing the boys ever did was secretly play Magic the Gathering under the table and the Most Bad-Ass Thing the girls ever did was when we stole Ho-Hos from the vending machine. Our health teacher, who I'll call "Barb," wore 50’s-style cat-eye glasses, frumpy polyester skirts and scuffed velcro sneakers with athletic knee socks. Barb’s most noted fashion trademark, however, was the one inevitably un-buttoned button of her antique blouse, revealing her brasserie. Barb gave us condoms and bananas and showed us Mystery Science Theater 2000 versions of Sex Ed videos and raved about how much fun it was to have sex with her husband. That vision haunted us. We didn’t want to have sex anymore.

So I'm thinking if reverse psychology squelched any sexual activity happening in middle school (or else we were all just kinda ugly then, and had a lot of metal in our mouths), then it should probably also work on girlfriends.

Also, I have no time, and since I never write about my dating life or anything, and since I've got a list of "things that are wrong with me" pretty much at the forefront of my paleolithic skull, this should be easy to whip out. Fast. (Side note: I ramble when I go quickly. If you haven't noticed already)


10. I Have a Thing With Penetration. Of Your Ear. With My Wet Finger.
I've had this problem (a compulsive desire to submit my companions to wet willies) for about 6-7 years now. After her 25th subjection to this childlike attack, Haviland suggested: "I think you have a thing with like, penetration." (true) But it's really hard for me to lie in bed next to someone (read: really, ANYONE) in a non-sexual situation (read; not actively HAVING sex, though if we've JUST had sex, it's totally fair game) and not try to stick my finger in their ear. I don't know why. When I dated [redacted], he woke me up with a high-quality sneak-attack wet willie on the first night he slept over and I was like "Holy shit, you've been sent here by G-d to reek vengeance on me for all my sins of the past." That turned out to be true in many ways.

9. I Don't Do: Relationships, Sleepovers, Brunch, "Talking on the Phone," Feelings.

Unless um, I like you a lot. Then I'll do all of those things except brunch. Unless you're cooking it. Or I am.

8. I've Got Some Tight Girl-Friends (Just Friends!) Who I Often Prioritize. And I Might Call Them While You Are in the Bathroom.

Let me quote my spice girls, who once said: "If you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends." By "get," they mean "enjoy the company of." If you actually "got" with my friends, like in the biblical sense, I'd probably hack into your myspace account and post comments on the pages of your Top 8 encouraging them to try this great new diet drug that helped you lose a few pounds. Also, because this is the community on which "the chart" was based, I'd be surprised if you haven't already "got"ten with my friends. And I mean that biblically.

7. I'm Bisexual

I'm bisexual. That's pretty much irrelevant. But according to the Big Bi Survey I am currently conducting, only 16.4% of bisexual women (I have almost 400 responses so far) DISAGREE with the statement "Lesbians don't want to date bisexual girls," and 63% agree with that statement. I mean, sure, I'm slutty, flighty, confused, deranged, homicidal, insane, likely to leave you for a man, likely to initiate a threesome, likely to be in transition to gay or straight, totally likely to really want to date a man and a woman both at the same time, because otherwise how on earth could my perverted appetites be satisfied, but like, so what? Rita Mae Brown used a handgun to blow out the rear window of Martina Mavratilova's BMW. So you homos have your own issues, k?

6. Sometimes Dating Me is Sort of Like Becoming a Fictional Character

You will immediately become a part of The Automatic Win World. That means you will be photographed, quoted, described, and flattered, 2-3 times a week, right here on this blog. You will be expected to comment. On the up-side, if we stop seeing each other, I won't bitch about you or mention a breakup. I will continue to speak of you only when appropriate, e.g. a yearly quotes round-up, appropriate photograph, when describing your assault on my ears with your finger (see "[redacted]" in "10").

5. I Like the Stairmaster More than I Like You.

There are not many things that can come between me and my date with The Gym. The best way to avoid this conflict is to book 24-48 hours ahead of time, because then we're good to go. But as soon as I've decided to go to the gym on a particular day, I'm going. A "Day-Of" surprise will not be accepted, unless it involves: 1. Famous People, 2. Copious Amounts of Free Things And/Or Money, 3. Fame, 4. Tickets to an Amazing Event.

This shouldn't be complicated, really. But most people want someone to talk them out of going to the gym (e.g. "Skip the gym, baby, let's go have brunch insteadddd...."), so my partners are often surprised by my resolute and firm insistence (and my firm BOD). The thing is, it's got nothing to do with my body. It just pumps up my endorphins and helps my fibromyalgia, which you probably haven't even heard of, so there.

4. I Really Believe That Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder.

I actually go slightly insane when I get manicures because I can't read at the same time because I can't use my fingers, which means I am doing NOTHING at all besides just having my fingers painted (podcasts have fixed this problem). This is just to say that I like to pack each moment with as much activity as possible.

Because I'm a little obsessed about: 1. Time Management and 2. My Alone-Time. I like being Alone. I always have work to do.

This is kind of irritating to others, and I'm working on it.

Also, if I'm like, "in love," then this rule can be adjusted slightly. Somewhere between "slightly" and "completely."

Bonus: long-distance relationships are totally fine with me.

3. I Can Be a Little Annoying about Restaurants, Though Most of My Friends Are Equally Insane, Though in Different Ways, So I Have No Conception of This Being Strange.

-I will not consume Aspertine, aka "Equal" or "Nutrasweet" in any context.
-I don't like spicy food. I consider excessive amounts of pepper to be a spice.
-I won't eat meat except for: heavily marinated grilled chicken and cheeseburgers.
-I will eat meat that is not grilled chicken or cheeseburgers if it is prepared by a chef at an expensive restaurant or by Ingrid Greenfield.
-I have been known also to eat hot dogs and fat-free bologna.
-I won't eat any kind of meat from Empire Corner or any other restaurant that costs below $10/entree and delivers faster than I could make toast.
-I won't eat anything that is heavy on onions or chives or garlic.
-I won't eat pasta or ice cream before sunset.
-I won't go inside a Chinese restaurant or a fast food restaurant or any place that has a scent I think might linger on my clothing after I leave.
-If you put sugar in my coffee or bring me Diet Coke instead of regular, I will kill you with a 6-liter bottle of Whoop-Ass.
-I won't drink beer. Or gin. Or anything lemon-lime flavored.
-I will not watch you eat wings or ribs.
-I can eat whatever I want and not get fat, which is annoying to some girls. On the up-side of this, if you pick up my eating habits, I will totally support you and your added weight, because I agree with Tyra Banks that she is not fat, and I agree with 89% of OK! Magazine readers that curvy girls are way sexier than skinny girls.
2. I'm Always Late

On the up-side, I'm probably late because I'm making you a card. Or getting you a present. Or trying to pick the outfit that would most please you. Or because I have no concept of how time works, and I often cling to the knowledge that if every train arrives exactly when I need it to, it is POSSIBLE that I will be on time.

Also. I'm working on this. (actually the funny thing is, I am running late AS I WRITE THIS!)

1. I Don't Want a Girlfriend.

Or do I?

Feel free to apply for this position. Or say mean things to me from personal experience. Or nice things! Just click "add comment."

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Join the Dots: B-Sides and Those Stuck in Development Hell

Because time is the devil's plaything (playchild? whatevs) and I am an angel who doesn't play with things, just with people, I have no time. Also: most of my brain is filled up with useless things like "When Harry Met Sally" quotes and detailed physical descriptions of all my ex-boyfriends' ex-girlfriends. Also: clever is on short supply this week, and when you combine "low on clever" with "low on time" you get blog posts that are about as clever as this one has been so far.

So today I am going to share something very special with you. (Remember when Blossom always had "very special episodes"? I liked those. There was usually something sexual happening in those episodes). I am going to share with you several posts that I started and never finished--sometimes these posts are at their earliest level of conception, like just a few words or notes. Sometimes I had not completed the post but had already chosen graphics, which I included below.

Please feel free to comment if you feel one of these ideas was unjustly canned.

OMG I totally think my upstairs neighbors are "riding the hobby horse, " like I seriously think I just heard her have an orgasm. It's kind of turning me on, even though they are probably gross, because let's face it, most people are.

1. 10/25/06 "Everyone's Name is Rachel or Lauren"

It has come to my attention that 85% of the people I know are either named 'Lauren' or 'Rachel.' The other 15% are named "Haviland" and "Natalie." Ha, just kidding. I know so many people. Just look at my myspace profile, I have like, a bazillion friends.

The best part of like, today, is that when I googled "Lauren," I got this amazing photograph of "NJ Calender Girls" 'Lauren & Lauren' from the website of New Jersey's 101.5 Radio, a station which declares on it's home page that it is 'Proud to be New Jersey.' There's a lot of grammatical and logistical problems with that statement, but whatever, the point is:

So I am going to begin a series of poems for all the Laurens and Rachels I have ever known. You can guess who they are based on the poems. If you are one of them, watch out! I have counted thus far 14 Rachels and 20 Laurens, as well as 8 famous Laurens and

2. 11/28/06 "An Open Letter to New York Sports Club"

Dear New York Sports Club,

You suck. Today you didn't even have towels. Yesterday as I was taking my ice-cold shower at your overpacked club, I realized that my frostbitten patience is far past expired. For how much you charge and the service you claim to provide (an escape from ordinary life, a SANCTUARY for our bodies!) and the zealous recruitment you practice every January even though there are still lines 10-deep for a treadmill at 8pm, it's absurd that you operate such a mediocre club.

At any given time, anywhere between 1-5 elliptical trainer/stairmasters are broken and those that are not officially labeled as broken are often as good as broke--they make loud clunking death noises, the chain catches or the TV doesn't work.

Once in July, I went to the gym at [redacted] for a lunch-time workout and a recluse from the stifling heat outside, only to find that your air conditioning was broken on the cardio floor! I should get 1/30th of my money back, and you could have apologized or told us rather than surprising us with a sauna when we arrived on the cardio floor.

A month ago, I arrived for my workout to discover that the water was broken, I mean "being fixed." We were not allowed to use the bathrooms, water fountains or showers. You're supposed to help us get in shape, not get in our way! At least hand out free water bottles--it's truly inane that we were forced to spend MORE money buying water bottles because you didn't have any free water.

The women who work in the locker room are bitches

3. 9/17/06: Top Ten Books That Have Inspired at Least a Temporary Behavior Modification for the Duration of the Time it Took Me to Read It:

-Bridget Jones' Diary, by helen fielding: began speaking in sentences without pronouns. began cycle of eating too much/calorie counting. increase in diet coke consumption. overwhelming inner monologue.

-High Fidelity, by nick hornby: took on mannerisms and musical sentimentality generally associated with emo boys who work in record shops, aka all my friends at the time. existed almost entirely in nostalgia. whined a lot, but I also earned it.

-More, Now, Again, by elizabeth wurtzel: became unapologetically unstable, emotional and self-absorbed. began snorting anything that i could crush. really, anything.

-anything by Lorrie Moore: content to date people i didn't like, comforted by my ability to create clever and condescending inner monologues about their amusing faults and the distance between how i felt about them and what they felt about me, as well as who they thought i was and what they imagined i might be thinking. very empowered.

-On The Road, by jack kerouac: totally excited about cross country travel, totally pumped! about everything! trying to eat! life! fast! yes yes yes! dig it!

-Bright Lights, Big City, by jay mcinerney: perhaps coincidental interest in Bolivian Marching Powder.

4. 6/5/06: Untitled.

Is is true that Jordan Catalano is dating Lindsay Lohan?
Why is Joey dating Tom Cruise? She's just a nice girl from the creek. I mean, she shops at American Eagle.

5. 6/25/06: Blindsided

some images:

-me, 12: at marie and tony's, making fun of my brother for not liking certain kinds of pizza or something. most likely sticking my thumb in his food.

-me, 14: in janelle's room with my geometry homework. probably thinking something like "what the fuck is a proof? wow, i can't believe how janelle's legs are always so smooth! it's like she doesn't shave them, it's like her leg hair is removed by angels!"

-me, 17: snowed-in on naples court, john and i alternately driving each other crazy, watching depressing movies like Gummo and sledding in the driveway.

-me, 21: in my bikini (this is the best image so far, huh?) on the roof of my house in Michigan, slathering suntan lotion along the smooth surface of my lovely legs, squinting in the sunlight, enjoying the heat, reading Prozac Nation and feeling comparatively joyful.

What do all these images have in common? That's me before I got BLINDSIDED. Moments when I was blissfully unaware that my fate had been sealed--divorce, death, rejection from my number one college (ok, I'm not saying all of these events are equivalent in severity), and getting Capital-D-Dumped. So I look at those images (especially the one of me in my little red bikini OW!) and think "stupid girl, if you only knew!"

Which I guess is why when things go wrong, I jump straight to worst-case-scenario, and panic, and drive everyone insane.

6. 6/7/2006: Which of My Blog-Stars Are You? A Quiz for Readers.
Please Answer These Questions to Determine Which of my Blog-Stars you are most similar to: Lo, Haviland, Lainy, Natalie, or ME!

A) It's Saturday morning and I've just come into your room to wake you up. You say:
1. I'm already up! Having my peanut butter toast! Want coffee?
2. There you are! Ready to go? I packed last night.
3. N/A--What's Saturday morning? I don't think I've ever been up for a Saturday morning?
4. Ten more minutes..just ten more minutes....
5. Getting...up...(goes back to sleep)

B) Your fashion philosophy:
1. When in doubt—go with black.
2. The costume of the day! In lieu of that....something short with tall boots/heels and a classic/sexy top—with a few sweaters in case I get cold. Which I already am.
3. The more sparkle, shine and cleavage the better!
4. Seven Jeans, boots, tank top, blazer—classic sexy smart girl. Or a sailor suit with red fishnets. Or hospital pants.
5. When in doubt—go with a wifebeater.

7. 12/14/06: An Open Letter to Ambitious Hecklers.

Listen Up: I know exactly how much ice cream is on my Tasti-D-Lite cone. I think it's fabulous that you have keen 20-20 vision and are therefore able to observe the size of my cone and comment on it from your vantage point on the sidewalk as I walk past you, rather hurried. For example: I also have 20-20 vision, and I noticed that you are wearing a jacket I saw in the Vice DON'Ts. But I don't think you need me to tell you that, just as I didn't need you to tell me what my ice cream cone reminds you of. If you were my boyfriend, that might count as "foreplay," and be kinda sexy. But you are a stranger! That's called "being an annoying douchebag for no apparent reason." I don't want to talk to any strangers. That's why I have my ipod on. I am listening to Ira Glass. Ira Glass would never say those things to me on the street.

Oh yes--you! my second heckler on the Haunted House of Horrors that is apparently Broadway at 2 in the afternoon--no. You cannot have a bite of my ice cream. I'm not sure if you know this--let's be honest--obviously you don't!--but I bought this for me to eat. Yup. Because it tastes good. I chose to eat it on a cone because that is easier to do because it only requires one hand while walking.

I'm not the first woman to complain about this. At least ten million women have complained about it, and many have done so on their blogs, which I doubt douchebags like you even read. Yet you continue to pursue such fruitless avenues of communication. I seek to help you.

It is hard enough for me to approach someone in a bar or club where people have come, allegedly to meet other humans--I mean, I truly cannot conceive of what exactly you gain from this situation. If you are looking for a date, I can suggest a few places to meet other women. Here's a start: anywhere but the street.

As a woman who has loved, dated, and been intimate my fair share of men---my desire to eat my ice cream cone myself is not related to any antagonism towards the gender (and really what is gender anyhow, but that's a whole new discussion) but really just frustration at YOU, specifically.

Luckily, on average, men still make more money than women and so there are many ladies who have sought to equalize this equation by providing the services you desire at a financial cost. You can find these women on craigslist erotic services, or in the back pages of The Village Voice, New York Magazine and The New York Press. Also, I would encourage you to only patronize those services which do not engage in sex trafficking and treat their employees well. Don't act like you can't figure out what those places are.

Furthermore, if this is not an option, I would like to suggest your girlfriend or wife. I am sure they would like to be told how beautiful they are when you come home, as opposed to me, I don't really care if you think i am beautiful or not. When I am wearing a XXL Interlochen sweatshirt with Ramen stains on it dating back to 1997, a baseball hat, yoga pants (ass totally covered by aforementioned sweatshirt), I am really going to doubt your judgment altogether.

Additionally: I think it is fabulous that you realize how beautiful it is for two women to be intimate with one another! However, again---if I was holding hands with a man, I don't think you'd tell us how beautiful we are, would you? If I am a woman out with another woman, we're actually NOT here for your entertainment. Shut the fuck up, or I'll get some beefy bulldyke to come kick you in the face and remove your dick with a monkey wrench.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Sunday Top 10: Life Lessons From the Lew-Man

Today's guest blogger is my younger brother, Lewis, who lives in New Orleans, LA. I was very excited to have Peter (and "helnad"!) comment during Natalie's guest-blogging spot, and I want Lewis' friends to know I expect no less from them. And Lewis, you too.

I'm 22--practically a baby, so you may be wondering why I'm writing on Life Lessons (although you're actually probably wondering why my older sister isn't writing on Life Lessons--not because she's been Alive Longer, but because this is her blog). As to the former: I may have the facial hair of an awkward 7th grader, but I also have many qualities generally associated with being grown-up: a bad back, car payments, dental insurance and a vibrating La-Z-Boy chair. So it's not how old you are, but how old you feel--and I feel like getting the early bird special. As for the latter--I'm not sure why Marie can't write this week but if I had to guess I would guess: rock cocaine.

(Riese Side Note 1: "The L Word" is actually not unlike rock cocaine. Pleasurable in the short term though ultimately unhealthy, addictive though you know it's not redeeming, etc. On that note...see recap HERE)


10. Mediterranean restaurants are BYOB.
I used to have a vegetarian girlfriend (Marie's side note: WHAT?!! Who was this girl?) who had established a routine of me paying for everything. (That should really be an item of it's own: "Don't pay for everything the first time or it won't be the last time!") This routine was becoming taxing until I discovered Mediterranean restaurants. Not only do they have a variety of vegetarian options but typically the owners have accepted Mohammad as the restorer of the original monotheistic faith of Adam, Abraham, and the other hard-drinking prophets we studied in Hebrew School. Translation? They won't serve alcohol, and I'm happy to BMOB. $3 corking fee! That's practically free.

9. Don't be in Charge of Anything Unless You Can Fire People.
I was elected to head up my senior design project: a solar powered boat. We inherited a carbon fiber hull, solar panels, and marine grade batteries from the year before.

Marie's side note: Carbon fiber what?!!! Marine grade batteries? As opposed to like, canine batteries? Aquamarine grade? Why is my brother doing things that involve solar panels and I'm writing jokes about lesbian TV shows? The answer is: Legos. Lewis used them to build things. I used them to produce stop-motion animation movies with 90210-esque plots (but with pirates and astronauts instead of teenagers) when Lewis wouldn't be in my movies anymore 'cause I always made him wear ridiculous costumes and lip sync to songs he didn't know.

We had good people on our team, but we also had all the worst people on our team, and basically our project was done before we even started. The boat never made it to the competition and only made it to the water once and then the whole Tulane Engineering department was eliminated. Logic dictates that the blame for this mishap should be directed at the top, but I would like to reflect that blame back down to the bottom, perhaps with a solar panel, to all the students with: 1. bad attitudes, 2. poor work ethic. They knew we were gonna get an "A" no matter what, I couldn't kick them off the project, and today these people design your oil pipelines, nuclear power plants and missile defense systems. So now they aren't just MY problem anymore.

8. Sunshine Special
I just found out about this sandwich 8 months ago and since then I've consumed about 200 of 'em--some brilliant chef came up with the idea to cram french fries, scrambled eggs, grilled peppers, cheese, sausage and house sauce into a 12' loaf of french bread. Slurp it down with a 99 cent can of iced tea and....Hangover Averted! Also: it's in my neighborhood and they deliver.

7. 74 degree days in January are nice/-4 degree days in January suck
I don't think that people in the north realize they don't have to be cold for 75% of the year. (RSN: I don't think people in...ok. I can't. But you've had some rough weather yourself, y'know?) I keep telling my friends from home that down south we have all those things Ann Arbor has (colleges, businesses, coffee shops) but without the periodic need to "layer up." Last Friday I played boche ball at the park. I just did a load of laundry and had to wash several pairs of shorts. Sure, it's hotter than hell during the summer but unlike up north, everyone here has AC. We keep ours at a brisk 64 degrees. It's like walking into a pool.

6. Hurricanes Blow But More Importantly: They Flood.
I had this idea that it was just a lot of wind? Before we left, I actually moved stuff from near the window to the floor so nothing would get knocked over. I live in an area that was relatively undamaged--the first floor of our house was flooded/ruined as well as our cars, but the only broken window in our house was the one our friend broke to get in and take refuge on the second floor. Katrina took me totally by surprise. It was the third time we've been evacuated since we started school, and for Hurricane Ivan my friend and I just sat it out. If I'd known Katrina was coming I would have brought more stuff with me when we left. I really can't complain; I was at my friend's country club in Atlanta drinking beer during the worst of it.

But it wasn't the wind itself that made it so catastrophic for the rest of the city and it wasn't seasonal rain. It was because the levees broke and everything flooded. Everyone has a story--"I evacuated with only suntan lotion and a wifebeater!" Now every time it rains people gather their belongings and head to the parking structure. I'm a drainage engineer so I know that we have enough pumping capacity to take care of seasonal rains, so that's not really necessary. We don't need to stand under a parking structure with our dogs and medications, we need proper Levees. Like, now.

5. Hot Sauce Makes You Feel GOOOOOOD
Here's a little bit of science I overheard at the Maple Leaf Bar, a reputable source for urban legends, French Connections and local gossip: When you eat spicy food your mouth burns, this causes pain, nerves run a chain reaction to your brain, endorphins shoot back down to your central nervous system. Endorphins are those sexy little pleasure chems that reward your taste for cayenne with a pint-sized rush: not uninhibited, but it's definitely there. This fact, coupled with the availability of spicy foods and local hot sauces, has changed my life. It's like sex without the uncontrollable weeping. Actually sometimes it's exactly like sex.
(RSN: Okay, so I've published a lot of sex-related writing, used to work at nerve.com, even once got paid far too much to write straight-up smut for a porn mag under a ridiculous pseudonym you could never find in a million years, and maybe even mentioned sex here, and Lewis found my birth control pills in the computer room in 1998 and asked Mom what they were, but um ommgggggi asdsadasopigopipi whahassss my brother doesn't have sex, he's my brother! AWHAHSHHH!)

4. Business School is more fun than engineering school, and well paying!
I worked my ass off trying to snag an engineering degree, and then in my final semester I decided to take a few finance, management and marketing classes. Not only were the courses engaging and interesting but they were EASY! During "Investments," we might spend a day calculating the slope of a 1st degree polynomial (what is this, middle school?!).

(RSN: Poly-what?)

In marketing, we'd discuss the benefits of Coke placement in the cafeteria vs. Tostitos in "Survivor". In "Intro to Marketing" I learned that watching TV pays dividends. Every project was conducted in groups, giving me an opportunity to interact with the girls I'd normally only see at 50 cent night. We had three girls in the Mechanical Engineering Department and they weren't the type you'd see on top of a pool table at 4 am. Plus the average starting salary with a MBA from Tulane is over $72,000. Its a win-win-win.

3. The Line Between Mean and Funny is Razor-Thin
I'm still figuring this one out. Actual conversation I had with a roommate (name changed to protect innocence) after I heard she slept with this boy on my floor who disappeared and then turned up dead mysteriously freshman year:

Me: I heard the funniest rumor about you!
[redacted]: Oh what's that?
Me: You slept with the dead kid!
[redacted] (storms out of room, presumably goes to a Dark Place to cry and experience all 12 stages of grief all over again)

That was over a year ago. It's probably not the best example because that line wasn't necessarily razor-thin. It was pretty big, bold and well established.

(RSN: I think perhaps, my dear brother, that our own experience with untimely/tragic death makes us slightly less capable of dealing with grief properly when talking to those who do not live with it and the lasting psychological damage of dealing with it improperly every single day as we do. Like, for example, in this side note. Deep, huh?)

2. Bourbon Whiskey is Great.

(RSN: When exactly would you have liked to learn this information? Age 12? "No Mom, enough with the Manichevitz! Bring on the WHISKEY! White grape juice is for pussies!")

I still remember the day that I discovered a taste for whiskey. (Side Note: Not many people can say that. Bravo!) December 31, 2005, I had a friend in from out of town and we were facing an impressive liquor selection at the store, pondering the best selection for our itinerary: BBQ in the park, walking parade uptown, an all-night concert with Galactic--and, it turned out, an unscheduled early morning drinking at Snake n' Jakes. Most people, when faced with this night requiring intense energy, would have turned to something a little less legal. We turned to whiskey sour. I had never had the drink before but found the mixer strong enough to cover any ratio. We loaded up the car with Jim Beam and PB & J and made the rounds. Best New Years Ever. I was drunk for over 14 hours which remains a personal best. Oh and in case you want to buy me a drink, now my drink is "Bourbon and Soda."

1. Don't Date Anyone From Your Inner Circle
I don't even really want to get into this. Though it, perhaps even moreso than my awareness of flooding or the sunshine special, is a wise tidbit I absolutely could have used a little bit earlier in life (a year ago? two years ago?) than the golden years in which I actually did confront it.

(RSN: For assistance in dealing with "1," I recommend "2")

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Is There Inner Peace in Manhattan? - Love, Peace, Harmony, Oh, Very Nice, Very Nice

"Oh, love, peace and harmony?
Love, peace and harmony?
Oh very nice,
very nice,
very nice.
Oh but maybe in the next world."
-The Smiths, "Death of a Disco Dancer."

New York Magazine is a clever little machine. They do this very keen bait and switch thing to keep you on your toes. This is how it goes:

July 17th, 2006: You are unhappy because you live here. Do you want to be happy?

December 4th, 2006: You are burned out because you live here. Sorry!

December 25, 2006: You love living here? Right? You should!

THIS WEEK: Just kidding! You are miserable because you live here. Do you wanna be happy?
(Side Note: 1. It is problematic to have birds/butterflies flying out of a girl's head because of the term "bird-brain," which means "stupid person." And because it's just sort of strange to begin with. 2. Is it a coincidence that there are flowers in her hair, and there's that song about girls in San Francisco with flowers in their hair, and people in San Francisco already have inner peace? Simmer on that, NYMag design department.)

The various paths to inner peace the magazine suggests all seem a little time-consuming/expensive to me (e.g. religion, yoga classes, ditching bad habits, acupuncture, investigating toxicity levels of household objects). If they had asked me, which obviously they didn't, I would have said that Seeking Inner Peace is lovely in theory (as the cover so clearly illustrates), but in practice it's better just to Avoid Bad Things. This will better your chances of stumbling upon Those Shreds of Random Goodness that make the path to enlightenment a bit less crowded (unlike the aisles at Rite-Aid, which, as I will discuss, are quite crowded with gigantic boxes of Beta-Blockers and "Get Some Zzzzs" Aromatherapy Linen Spray).

Bad: The Manhattan Mall:
I have to get off the train at the 34th street B station three times a week, and I can't seem to figure out how to exit the station without walking into the Auntie Annies/Charlotte Rouse Orgie that is the Manhattan Mall. Going to the Manhattan Mall is the exact opposite of a Retreat to Como Shambhala Resort at Parrot Cay. Everything smells like Sweet and Sour Chicken/Cinnabun and the escalators never seem to take you where you want to go, and the garishly large signs--large enough even for the blind, which is probably a target audience for most of the clothes sold by the basement boutique "Hype! Hype!"---bear no relationship whatsoever to the actual location of the store advertised on the sign. I know these things because obvs I accidentally shop there sometimes, specifically at that little store by the door that sells trashy underwear for people with no class, like me.

It still mystifies me that The Manhattan Mall exists. It has a Food Court. Even the now-remodeled Arborland Mall in Ypsilanti, Michigan, got rid of it's food court. You used to be allowed to smoke in the Arborland food court. It was like a total encapsulation of slow suicide. Manchu Wok + Kools + Merry-go-Round (the store, not the ride)= death.

Good: Discovering New Things About Your Favorite Appliances.
Me and this toaster have been through some rough stuff. The other day I yelled at it and asked Maggie if she knew why it had such an attitude and she said she never uses the toaster. I use the toaster probably 15 times a day. Basically, the problem is that whenever I asked the toaster to toast just one item, it would refuse violently by spitting out said item within only moments of it's insertion, and obviously the item would NOT be toasted to my liking. I tried unplugging and replugging it (I call that the "cool-down" theory) and I tried holding down the lever even when it made terrible noises, like the noise of a ferret being electrocuted. But then I looked a little closer at the problem and saw this:
That is a little "instruction," if you will: the words "One Slice" with two tiny little arrows pointing at a particular toaster slot. A HA! True enough, when I use the slot indicated by the arrows, I have no problems. To think I've been battling this problem for about 5 months without noticing this--or even realizing that my problem only happens when I'm toasting one item. I realized it like, in retrospect.

Good: The Wiggles:
So today at the gym I was watching "The View" and suddenly Rosie and Elizabeth are talking to these really enthusiastic children's performers called The Wiggles? They wear bright colors and they sing songs with lyrics like "Do the Monkey Yeah Yeah Do the Monkey!" and "Romp-Bomp-a-Chomp There's Dorothy the Dinosaur!" I mean: WOW. As I have not given birth to any of my own children and most of my friends are in a similar state of arrested development, I'm not really like "up" on the "Toddler Scene," and I'd forgotten how fantastic it is when grown men dress up in primary colors and totally just let it loose, you know? They put on TURTLENECKS--one of them dresses like a PIRATE--and sing "Let's make fruit salad today, let's make it the healthy way!" and the little kids just soak that stuff (I'm trying not to curse for an entire paragraph, because of the children) up! It totally took me back to the old days of The Gemini Brothers and The Song Sisters, my favorite musical groups when I was a tot. Children's Music is Magic. My face went from semi-horrified to completely captivated in about ten seconds. I just looked at their website and realized these dudes are more rich and famous than I will ever be. On the other hand, no one has ever photographed me in a turtleneck. Though I've been known to don pirate gear from time to time.

Bad: Rite-Aid

I know it's weird, since Duane Reade is generally at the top of my list when it comes to bitching about drugstores. But I'm switching camps. Duane Reade is cleaning up it's act and Rite-Aid is officially worse, and here's why: The aisles are crowded with tall stacks of unopened boxes and the cash wrap is crowded with employees--at any given time, you can assume that four of said employees are actively NOT unpacking aforementioned boxes and one is manning a cash register with an imitation of efficient behavior comparable to that of an aging carnie stuck with operating a ride that catapults children to their death while she smokes the cigarettes that cause the hacking cough she emits about every 20 seconds. I assume these boxes contain the stock that is noticeably missing from the shelves, as each aisle looks as though it has recently been ransacked by a band of Wild Cabbage Patch Kids with Rabies and long arms.

Good: Les InnerPeacables:
Maggie and I have decided to communicate only in song today, as if our lives were a rock opera. I'm a notoriously dreadful singer but Maggie says my voice is "cute, like a little girl's." Sample lyrics (imagine these being sung to a very peaceful melody):

Me: Would you like me to get you anything from the store?
Maggie: Yes you can get me a whore!

Bad: The Things Behind the Deli Counter:
Speaking of the store....Hey ladies! Do you feel like the intimacy of your relationship to your deli guy increases significantly the first time you have to buy tampons from him? (which involves, obvs, telling him exactly which ones you want, and since it's usually on the first day that you find yourself without any tampons, you're all like: "Green!!!!! I said GREEN!") Like the first time he sees you drunk, or the first time he sees you with someone you are clearly dating/fucking, or the first time you drop an armload of food-ish products on his counter that all include, in some form or another, processed carbohydrates, refined white sugar and/or obscene amounts of cream?

(Side Note): It's weird for me to mention tampons on this blog because, even though I am old, I still find the-act-which-shall-go-unsaid-which-requires-tampons to be embarrassing and gross and it makes me wish I was a bony boy who never cried or needed tampons. BUT tampons, in and of themselves, are not gross. They are just Q-Tips for Elephants. Plus I'm working on my issues, and one of my issues is "Disgusted by Womanhood In Self, Though Totally Tolerant and Occasionally Enchanted by Womanhood In Others."

Good: Reading About The Guy Who Wanted to Quit Smoking in New York Magazine's "Inner Peace" Issue
(photo from the article itself, which you should read, really, especially at the gym to maximize potential superiority complex)
Smoking for 25 years has made this dude "spit blood at regular intervals" and develop "chronic asthma." Holy shit! I'm like Captain Planet-healthy compared to that stuff.

Good: C'mon Get Happy Playlist:
fidelity/regina spektor. peaceful easy feeling/the eagles. laura/scissor sisters. the seed/the roots. because of you (jason nevins remix)/kelly clarkson. tell me something good/rufus+chakra kan. nothing in this world/paris hilton. crush 16/dave matthews band. the state that i am in/belle+sebastian. i've got my mind set on you/george harrison. maneater/nelly furtado. bad reputation/joan jett. iron man/the cardigans. better things/dar williams. first day of my life/bright eyes. i want you back/jackson five. stronger/britney spears. understand/christina aguilera. family business/kanye west. baby you should know/joy zipper. crazy/gnarls barkley. one love/bob marley. right in time/lucinda williams. irreplacable/beyonce. for the longest time/billy joel. come see about me/the supremes. as cool as i am/dar williams. i really got the feeling/dolly parton. all we have is now/the flaming lips. by the way/heavenly. lovertits/peaches. become you/indigo girls. one is the magic number/jill scott. i kissed a girl/jill sobule. uncle john's band/grateful dead. sexyback/justin timberlake. free/the martinis. marie/kevin devine. fuck and run/liz phair. papa don't preach/madonna. the luckiest guy on the lower east side/magnetic fields. mona lisa/wyclef. tower of song/u2 with leonard cohen. build me up buttercup. the temptations. under the bridge/red hot chili peppers. musicology/prince. sweet caroline.neil diamond.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Sunday Top 10: Saturday Night Sapphic Fever

Every now and then, we like to go to Nation on Saturday nights to remind ourselves why we don't go to Nation on Saturday nights anymore. As I've mentioned before, I am not the biggest fan of "going out," which is why we always have to go out in costume, because it makes my favorite part of the night ("getting ready") even more fun. (My other favorite part is "the part where we go to Pancheros." All that stuff in between is an elaborate and expensive game of hide-and-go-seek.) The costume of the day was "Willy Wonka/Stripes," p.s., which made sense to us.

Have you ever seen that movie Bar Girls? I tried to but I got super-bored. Like I did when I tried to watch Go Fish. And The Incredibly True Adventures of 2 Girls in Love. And Everything's Relative." And "Citizen Kane."


10. The Fake ID Squad: Inspired by Spencer and Ashley, these young fresh-faced girls venture into "The City" from the 'burbs (while their classmates drink stolen gin in the basement of vacationing parents and stick their tongues down each others throats) or to midtown from their NYU dorms (while their classmates drink overpriced gin in a seedy East Village bar that "never cards"), armed with glossy black fingernails and giddy ripe libidos. (Here's the thing: are t-shirts-over-long-sleeve-shirts the new "flannel shirts"? I have seen more women sporting this "style" at Nation than I have just about anywhere else since 1993. There's nothing wrong with it, really. Just sayin'. And while I'm sayin', I'd like to show you how to do it right:
See how the under-shirt is tighter than the over-shirt? Really the most important part of this illustration is that the under-shirt is tight. That's really key.)

(Side note: In last Sunday's top ten, I was wearing shortalls, and even though I was like, 11, in that picture, just keep that in mind when I offer fashion advice.)

You can feel them nearing you, blinding you with the flash from the camera they are using to capture precious moments for their myspace pages. You will note they have nice shoulders from playing lacrosse or rugby or softball. You will notice that they appear, in general, quite fuckable, that they'd make up for inexperience with enthusiasm (which is something) e.g. the cute blonde wearing the shirt with the number "11" on the back this past Saturday night. Maybe she's reading this from her living room in New Jersey, or--giving her and me the benefit of the doubt--her dorm room at Barnard--and she wants to move in with me and be my concubine while I help her with her Algebra, or whatever it is the kids are studying these days.

9. The Tall Beautiful Black Girl: She is the first girl you notice and the only girl who's movements you realize you are furtively tracing. She is the best dancer in the room and she is usually rocking a fashion statement that you've never seen anyone pull off besides her, ever, e.g., skinny jeans with ankle boots, e.g. 3/4 length sleeved color contrast vintage baseball jersey, e.g. blazer with nothing underneath. She's not there with a girlfriend because she doesn't have one, because she doesn't settle for second best. Her friends barter for attention from the Troposphere. You cannot dance when you are near her. She makes you look clumsy and thirteen, and you start panicking because you can't find your fake ID.

8. Those Swedish Girls: They might not be Swedish but they are blonde. They read about Nation in their PlanetOut travel guide and took a cab from the Marriot Marquis because they didn't realize it was within walking distance. Maybe they are lovers, maybe they are friends, maybe they are ex-lovers, you can't tell, maybe they are French and don't French people kiss each other a lot for no reason? All you know is they won't leave their perch which is inevitably in a prized area like the bar or the back corner that has shelves so that you can lean great or set drinks upon them and have full usage of your hands. Sometimes they aren't from Sweden. Maybe they aren't ever from Sweden. They won't speak to you but if you speak to them they will perk up, smile and nod, eagerly answer questions like: "Is this what gay bars are like in Denmark?" and then you can feel like you learned something. Which is something.

7. The Girl Who Really Wants to Dance on the Bar, Like BADLY: You notice her cleavage first and that's the last positive impression you have of her all night. You will watch, or rather, try not to watch, her futile attempts to climb aboard the slippery bar and make her debut. The bartenders stop her before she attracts any attention. She watches the paid womanservants (the bar is their domain, they dance the hell out of it) who pour alcohol down the open throats of the eager birds below. When it gets to be that time, the girl eventually will climb on top of the bar where she will either make out with a womanservant or will bring up all of her friends and they will rub their butts to each other's genitals. They might do this to a techno remix of "Since You've Been Gone" by Kelly Clarkson. Sometimes she is a straight girl with a lot of lesbian friends and she just got dumped by her boyfriend, sometimes she is just a drunk gay girl in a low-cut shirt who is glad to be out of Peoria.

6. The Girl You Either Made Out With In Line for the Bathroom at Henriettas OR maybe She's Just A Girl You've Seen On Myspace: You can't remember which. Also it seems possible that she just looks like someone you saw on some reality TV show. Maybe one of those Road Rules/Real World competition shows. The Sword in the Stone, or something.

5.The Why-Did You Leave the House Anyhow If You Aren't Gonna Talk To Anyone But Each Other: They are making out usually, or grabbing each other suggestively, as if they are all alone. At home. Where they live. Together. The funny thing is that when they are at their mutual home there is not so much grabbing and/or making out, but out here with all the potential for jealousy and flirty eyes beckoning beneath backwards baseball caps, there is more grabbing. You try to play the eye contact game with the cuter one. This fuels the other girl's fire, and we all go home a little bit lit.

This is what happened before they came to Nation:

Girlfriend 1: We never go out anymore.
Girlfriend 2: I thought you hated going out.
Girlfriend 1: Yeah, I know.....but maybe it would be different now?
Girlfriend 2: Now? Why would it be different now?
Girlfriend 1: Because I'll be with youuu.
Girlfriend 2: You're with me right now.
Girlfriend1: I just don't want to become one of those couples, you know?
Girlfriend 2: What? The kind that don't go to places where they have historically consistently always felt semi-miserable?
Girlfriend 1: You won't be miserable if you're with meeee.
Girlfriend 2: Jesus Christ. Put on some mascara, let's go.
Girlfriend 1: Mascara? Are you joking? I'm not wearing this!! I need more than mascara! I have to go change!

(Girlfriend 1 dashes to the other side of their studio apartment in Red Hook and starts surveying her closet, filled with hope and optimism, while Girlfriend 2 checks her email and ruffles her hair a little.)

4. The Gay Guy: These guys are trying to be in monogamous relationships with their boyfriends, which means they aren't allowed to go to boy-bars because they'll probably end up in the back room with Brian Kinney, and they aren't allowed to go to straight bars because they'll probably end up in the back room with some girl's bi-curious boyfriend. Or they are accompanying their best friend who just came out and doesn't have any lesbian friends yet. Or they didn't know that Saturday was girls night.

3. The Straight Bartender: She tells all her friends (she lives with 3 other girls, all fellow students at AMDA, in Astoria) that she loves working at Nation because she doesn't have to deal with men "like, hitting on me!" She thinks that all people are beautiful and that everyone is bisexual at heart but there was "society conditioning" that made us into boys and girls. She thinks kissing girls doesn't count as cheating. She wears a cute headband and never puts enough liquor in anything. She wishes her ass looked as good as the asses of the womanservants on the bar.

2. The Are-They-Or-Aren't-They Team
These are two girls who could be best friends or could be girlfriends, sometimes it's a blurry line, even for them. The couple themselves kinda love it or are kinda over it, but either way it won't change anything. This is further complicated by the third possibility which is that they are two girls who are good friends and both drunk and kinda lusty, and so they keep touching one another suggestively in order to seal the deal that they can be one another's back-up plan if it comes to that. Which it probably will, because they are ensconced in a circle of dyke drama so thick you can sense the laser-lines of complicated history from the other side of the room. You can sense it from fucking coat check.

1. Me, Us, Whomever I'm the girl with Owl-ADHD, we are heads turning, jerking, looking over (I'm taller), surveying, assessing, wondering, hoping, noting the cliches, judging and being judged, dancing like no one/everyone is watching, what am I looking for? What are we looking for? Do we want to be looked at, looked for, looked after, look look look. Smile. Flash. Look. Drink. Who knows why we do it? Who knows why we keep going out into this specific world, all I know is that we do, and we will, and again. Maybe even soon. Maybe even this Saturday. Maybe the blonde girl will be there wearing her same t-shirt. Maybe that's her going-out shirt. Maybe she's dumb. What does it matter the next morning, besides, just another phone call to ignore, another aggressively amorous e-mail to negotiate or the opposite of that, another phone call to wait for, another google search, another moment where you care too much or not enough or maybe both. Maybe, I think, both.

This is Just to Say

Sunday Top Ten: Obvs is really not ever happening on Sundays, because I want you to have that day to spend with Jesus. Sometimes it is done on Sundays, but it won't ever be done on Sundays for the duration of Season Four of "The L Word." We will continue to call it "Sunday Top Ten" but we'll all sort of like "know" that's it's actually more like the "Monday Afternoon" Top Ten, if by afternoon you mean late evening.

Recap of Season Four, Epiosde Two of The L Word, which is unfortunately titled "Livin' La Vida Loca."

Photos from The L Word New York City HRC Premiere Party

"You've Come A Long Way Baby," an essay/memoir by Marie Lyn Bernard (that's me, y'all), now published on Suspect Thoughts, "Utopia Means Nowhere," Issue #17.

Friday, January 12, 2007

I'll Send My Winter To You

It's Winter Now. Cold, etc. An open letter of tribute to Winter-Wear, My Winter Essentials:

Jeff Buckley:
He (not Jeff Buckley, but My He, an Illusive He, He Himself) told me in one of our first conversations that he wanted to play Tom Waits at his funeral, "Take it With Me," to be specific, and I've listened to it a million times since then and I think I agree, mine too, maybe he and I will go down together, that would be easiest, you could just play the song once. But what gets me about funeral songs (those of us who've spent years feeling morbid, staring into voids of emotion or aspiration, know this) is that people can't sing at their own funeral, you know? But if the ghost of Jeff Buckley could've sang a song at the funeral of Jeff Buckley I would like for it to be "Lilac Wine." Listening to Jeff Buckley is like flirting with Death, except that Death is fashion model with expensive skin and eyes like bullets and she is wearing a white t-shirt and Jeff Buckley's underwear. Listening to Jeff Buckley is the closest we can get to unbridled pain without having any unbridled pain in our own lives. "Everybody loves Jeff Buckley," a friend said to me yesterday. "Not people who want to be happy," I said. In grey freezing January, you have no choice about happiness. Crank it up. Cold and broken Hallelujah ...

Lovers in Hoodies:
Maybe you like them naked, which is obvious, I guess, and makes certain things quicker, and maybe the fact that I'd rather see my lover in a hoodie is the kind of thing that indicates premature aging, perhaps the shriveling of ovaries or that my kind of love is less like Maxim and more like Good Housekeeping but when I see my lover in a hoodie I want to curl up next to them and stay there, possibly forever, or at least until March. I want to laugh while I stick my head underneath the billowy stomach of it and then push it off. I want to see you in a hoodie and then I want to take it off.

The L Word Day:
I remember when the boys complained 'Why isn't there a "Take Your Son to Work Day?" and I thought Because every day is Take Your Son to Work Day, because that's how it is, you take him there--THERE--or you raise him to believe he deserves Assigned Work and he takes himself somewhere like THERE, and The L Word is Our Day, like Our Chart. The L Word Day is because everyone else got Christmas. The straight people got Christmas, because they had swollen bellies holding babies and man holding wife. But too many homo-people didn't get Christmas, didn't get real questions about their lives which are words that mean I Love You, instead they got the cold stare people deliver instead of saying I hate you you make me nervous and they didn't get rings that later go with certificates to announce at cheering tables of families lost already to the abc family channel and so you come back to where you've set up exile and you wait and in six days, it is Your Holiday, it's The L Word Day, where lesbians are beauty queens and straights are serving punch and crackers on folded tables, it's The L Word Day you deserve it, everyone else just had Christmas, goddamnit.

The Seasonal Affective Disorder Playlist
how to fight loneliness/wilco. lilac wine/jeff buckley. please please please let me get what I want/the smiths. incredible machine/fiona apple. take it with me/tom waits. so jealous/teagan and sara. virgin state of mind/k's choice. good enough/sarah mclachlan. dream brother/jeff buckley. most of the time/bob dylan. five string serenade/mazzy star. yesterday/the beatles. marrow/ani difranco. hold on love/azure ray. about a girl/nirvana. latter days/over the rhine. hurt/christina aguilera. the promsise/tracy chapman. exit music for a film/radiohead. hazey jane II/nick drake. hold you in my arms/ray lamontagne. hallelujah/rufus wainwright. when doves cry romeo and juliet/prince. shadowboxer/fiona apple. no woman no cry/bob marley. witness/sarah mclachlan. strung out again/elliot smith. s ick of me/ani difranco. proudest monkey/dave matthews band. where did I go wrong?/martin sexton. wish you were here/pink floyd. ghost/indigo girls. after you're gone/mary gauthier. fly away/poe. ill take the rain/r.e.m. does he love you/rilo kiley. the weakness in me/joan ardamtrading. nowhere to go/melissa etheridge. fighting chance/melissa ferrick. fade to black/metallica. porcelain/moby. will the night/low. blue/joni mitchell. ghetto gospel/tupac with elton john. bother/stonesour. evolution/cat power.

mr. burt and your bees and your affordable line of moisturizing products in small containers
Remember when we thought it was addictive? Maybe it is, I guess, like water. I wish you could protect me from other things too like how you protect my lips from the elements with your chapstick. I wish you could protect me from other things too. I like what you've done for my skin, but you could stick around a little longer, I won't go crazy, just make a commitment, protect and protect. I wish you could protect me from waiting for the bus in the windy cold for thirty minutes when I could have walked in ten. They probably don't have busses where you're from. Burt, you don't need the m15 because I feel like you know how to fly, all raincoat-yellow grease and water cutting against ice-blue sky.

children in a lot of winter gear
I make animal sounds (gentle animals, animals with fur who can't run too fast) of approval and Hallmark quality cute overload for small children who have little limbs sticking out of their boxy winter parkas. I think it is funny. It makes me laugh and smile and want to be a child or have one, and if I have one I want to drop it into a big green puffy coat like a pea into a fleece pea-pod with gortex lining. Like a marshmallow.

empire corner
You are only two corners away from me but I am too hungry to walk. Maybe I passed by you on the way home but honestly I've never been inside, I don't want to smell like Wok Night (wok night, we had that at interlochen, the teachers made stir fry in a wok and all night long our clothes reeked of soy sauce and sesame oil just from that thick air in the cafeteria). I find it amazing that you ride your bicycle through snowdrifts. My fortune is a snowflake, all lucky numbers, and the cookie is only a little stale.

sleeveless coffee
Maggie and i just had a 10 minute conversation about ways to get Starbucks delivered here (car service? homeless person? courier? submissive man from craigslist?). I am thinking of my fingers on the coffee cup without a sleeve. In the summer we have shirts without sleeves. In the winter we have cups without sleeves. It feels like the cardboard might be searing away the lines of our fingerprints, but it feels like so much good heat all at once, I'm willing to burn my tongue or my identity just to taste it.

top song for s.a.d:
"I'll Send My Winter To You"
by Saturday Looks Good to Me

Holding together with glue
he says the particles are entwined
a presentation past due
outdated misshapen valentines
I'll send my winter to you
with the last of the ice early april melts
No point in being confused
over old months collected and times we've spent
spring has been harder to see
then at one point I might have believed
Light pulls itself into view
weary eyes watched sun rise over fall
sleep for an hour or two if only in respect
for the principal
Written in rain in a coat designed to be unbreakable
At the bottom of the lake
in the center of town
still covered with snow
Elected scraps
and artifacts
of some unsung history
dragged from frozen deeps
while the neighborhood sleeps
silently leering
I'll send my winter to you
if only to have someone to send it to.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Sunday Top 10: Why New York is Better Than London

This week, Natalie Raaber is guest-blogging the Sunday Top Ten. I did some editing and added some imagery, and as Natalie is currently in the air somewhere between Newark and London, it is likely that her boyfriend Peter will see this before she does, and if he does, Peter, this would be a good moment for you to comment on the blog. It would mean so much to me and I would totally freak out, like I did when my Mom commented on my blog.

First, this is a photo of Natalie and I in Central Park in November of 2001..... ...after our plane back to U-Michigan was canceled (we were visiting NYC for the weekend just to chill) because of the crash that happened in Queens with that Dominican Republic-bound flight, which obvs sent us into a major panic. At this time, we both imagined living in NYC one day. I live here now, but Natalie is in LONDON!!! She says she will come back.

Here she is to tell you why:

In an attempt to shed some much needed light on the age-old debate of "NY vs. London: Which City is Hotter?", I am guest blogging for my dearest friend Maaaarie.

Okay. A disclaimer. Many apologies in advance…this entry will not be nearly as memorable or witty or clever as readers have come to expect from the very talented, very with-it, Ms. Bernard. But because I promised, and I never (reaaaaaly?!) fail to deliver, I will write this Sunday’s Top Ten. Just this once. Marie helped me out with an extra infusion of trademark wit, but really most of the jokes are my own. Reeeallly.


10. Carrot juice. Freshly pulped (on every corner!)

9. Colombo frozen yogurt. Actually, frozen yogurt, in general—-with toppings, like Oreos and Reeses peanut butter cups. London’s version of “frozen yogurt” consists of frozen fruit (that’s right, you heard me, real, healthy fruit) mixed with frozen PLAIN Dannon yogurt and excreted in ribbon like fashion from an odd metal contraption. It just doesn’t do it for me.

In New York, on the other hand, women have the option to buy soy frozen “yogurt”, Colombo frozen yogurt OR a 30-calorie frozen yogurt like substitute (e.g. Tasti-D-Lite), which they often coat with the crumbles of a 600-calorie candy bar. I love it!

8. Taxis! Ahh, those beacons of hope. Even though I have been hit by two of them (errr, it was sort of my fault, but whatever) and almost killed by at least 11, these modern day rickshaws are little yellow and black temples of delight. And in New York, they’re around for the masses to enjoy. Always. (except if it’s raining, in which case, it’s impossible to find one.)

7. Things actually go BUMP in the night, like after 11pm! To be fair, there are things that go bump in the night after 11 in London, they are just much farther and fewer between. As New Yorkers, we demand constant convenience. If we want carrot juice at 3am, we better have it easily accessible, dammit! And, beautifully, it usually is.

6. Martinis. I love them. I really love them. The fact that you can get a better martini at the Ding Dong Lounge on Amsterdam and 106th than you can ever hope for in all of London makes me want to die. Or just go home at 11--without, of course, a cab, frozen yogurt or carrot juice.

5. Brunch. Sigh. The Londoners version of brunch consists of sausages, undercooked bacon, baked beans (which alone make me want to vomit) and a Guinness. (Are you joking?! That’s like 75% of my daily caloric intake before 1pm, and while I'm talking about 1pm, I should mention that brunch in London is often over before I even wake up! The latest brunch-spot closes at 3pm.). It’s a tragedy.

And also, only in NYC can you order an egg white omlette without the waiter thinking you are insane, anorexic, difficult, a total bitch or a diabetic. And if you are anorexic? Well, welcome to New York.

AND THIS IS THE BEACON OF MY TALE: In order to obtain a good egg white omlette, I take a thirty dollar cab ride (sixty, really, because it's there-and back) to Vignt Quatre in South Kensington.

(Marie's side note: Natalie could also learn how to cook. Just sayin'.)

4. All Things "M": I already mentioned martinis; however, this list also includes: mojitos (the best one's I've had are at Mercadito on B between 11th and 12th), the MTA (or subway), money, the mail (as in it actually gets to where it’s meant to go...or, at the very least, to one of the 4 apartment sublets you've lived in during the last two years) and the MOMA.

The “Tube” is impossible, overheated and always breaking down. It is NOT true what they say about the MTA being so awful--it is, at least, better than The Tube. It’s an archaic logistical nightmare. And it’s fucking expensive. The dollar is weak—and as I am still in exchange conversion mode everything is twice as expensive in London than in New York. A sugar free skinny vanilla latte is about 5$. For a tall! The mail, like the transport system, is a mess. The Tate Modern, in my opinion, does not quite live up to the MOMA or the Met, but to it's credit, it's still fairly awesome.

(Marie would like to add a note and claim this note lest there be any confusion that this particular statement could be attributed to Natalie, that Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum (another M WORD!!) in London beats the New York version any day. Marie would also like to add this semi-humiliating photograph of Natalie, myself, Monica and a wax figure of James Dean, from 2001, in the NYC Madame Tussad's, which is where I begged my quasi-boyfriend Marc to take me all the time, because I am totally obsessed with wax museums)

3. No Plastic Toilets. NY has yet to latch on to the innovative (?) plastic urination stations and I for one couldn't be happier. These Tyco-like toys stand like proudly displayed gray penises in the middle of places like Trafalgar square and China Town. Men (and some daring/drunk women) pee into 1 of the 3 (or maybe 4) receptacles strategically located around the plastic station. This happens at all hours of the night (but they become particularly busy after the tube closes...at 12am, or, if you're lucky 1am). In New York we have civilized places for people to pee publicly---like alleys and behind dumpsters. Or in Barnes & Noble.

2. Singing: In London, people sing all the time. In bars, in restaurants, on the street. In New York, we have places for these people, e.g the A train at 3AM, Julliard (if you know what you're doing), American Idol auditions (if you don't), and, of course, KARAOKE BARS.

1. Maaaariiiiie! My love—who understands that fingers are to be picked. Wait no, she doesn’t get that, she slaps me (hard!) on my hands every time I start picking. It’s her only flaw, really. She is a special woman—and very close to my heart. I owe her (a huge portion) of my mental, physical and emotional well-being. I am about a million times smarter than I ever would be because of Marie. She is hip and she is a star!

In conclusion, I (it's Marie/Riese now) would like to share another lovely photograph. This is Lewis and I in England. You can see that we are about to become Knights of the Round Table.

The L Word: Season Four, Epsiode One

Hey Automatic Losers, "The Sunday Top Ten," which this week is composed by Natalie Raaber with some minor assistance from Marie Lyn Bernard, will appear tomorrow at some point. Because we all know that "Sunday Top Ten" means "Monday Top Ten." Just like if I say 'I'll meet you at 6:30' you know that means 'I'll meet you at 7:15.'

Anyhow, for all interested parties.....

The L Word Season Four, Episode One: Legend in the Making:
Some Moments, Some Screencaps, Some Brief Foreplay, Some Lesbians, Some Strais, Some Quotes, Some Jenny Moments and Some Kittisms

Tonight we went to the Premiere Party for the Info-mercial for "OurChart.com" (which I mentioned I was intensely excited about already), starring actresses Leisha Hailey, Mia Kirshner and Rachel Shelly. We were confused that the infomercial seemed to suggest it was more of a forum to organize the notches on one's belt than for lesbians to honestly network with one another. I'm going to be optimistic that it's really about the latter, because we shot some great pics of ourselves tonight that would be really good on our OurChart page. I can't wait. Really, I can't, I've been checking it about every ten seconds.


Sorry. I just had to mention that. I think it's a good thing to say. And bang some furniture while you're at it.

Also, they screened these little clips from "The L Word," which is supposed to be about The Way That We Live. I know that because they didn't change the opening song.

Our goal at the party was to get photographed for GoNYC Magazine or for Curve, and within 30 seconds of our entourage's arrival (Me, Haviland, Sherri, Maggie, Natalie, Jessie, Annie, Lainy), dressed in red, as we pre-planned, we were totally photographed. The girl who photographed us had really nice breasts.

I'll have photographs of this event within the next 2-3 days, depending on how fast Heather (post-party photographer) and Sherri (premiere-party photographer) get their acts together. I admit this event did make me very emotional and happy, just to see all of these gay women and allies in the same room with characters they could look to and cheer for and feel for and lust after, that there is a forum for these stories, even if they are stories as poorly told as 90210 told the stories of teenagers in high school. It's still great, to be in that room, and to feel that energy. Precious Moments, y'all.

There were a lot of cute girls there though most of them were my friends or they had girlfriends or both. Anyhow going to lesbian events always makes me feel super gay (side note: seeing "Naked Boys Singing" also made me feel super gay), so we'll start out this show at a Kinsey 6.

"This is how much I love you guys. I'm like, rolling my eyes already."
-Heather, who so gamely came over for the post-party viewing of the 10pm episode although the show, as it stands, is not necessarily her favorite.

Lesbian Squabble #1: Can You Hear Me Now?
In the Ring:Tina V. Jenny, Alice, Helena, Max and Kit.
Content/Result: The Gals want Bette to know that no one can take her baby away from her, so they have all gathered round to leave her a voice mail telling her to come home. This will for sure work without a doubt. Tina wants the Gals to know that "if she's not in L.A by the time I get back, I will call the police and she will NEVER see Angelica again." We all know Tina will win, but the real winner is Alice, because when Tina busts in and rips out her waterfall (not the kind of waterfalls with dead mirages in them, the other kind) of haterade, Alice is like "Bette, now she's definitely not gonna come home" since Tina left that little Moment of Hate on the Intervention Voice Mail.

"Look at their cool luggage!"

Shane Wins the Wet T-Shirt Contest
This is when Shane comes out of the sea because she used to be a Mermaid, but then Ursula gave her feet because floating around you don't get too far, legs are required for jumping, dancing, and walking around on on those, what's that word again? FEEET

Lesbian Squabble #2: Last Night a DJ Saved my Life
In the Ring: Max and Jenny
Content/Result: Max totally loses. Jenny says she doesn't forgive Shane for leaving Carmen, especially cause Alice spent all that time planning the wedding and Helena spent a "small fortune" on it (and Jenny managed to get laid by a cute French girl, but whatevs), but Max said he would forgive Shane and Jenny should too. Why? Why is not a good question to ask when it comes to Max. Because Max is stupid.

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