Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Sunday Top 10: Dreams You Want To Hear About

These stories are annoying and boring:
1. The re-telling of one's dream (unless you play a pivitol role in said dream)
2. "I was so drunk last night, I played ___ games of beer pong with ________ who totally lost and ended up throwing up in the ________ and then ____ started hitting on this girl but she turned him away for ________ and then we had ____ shots of ____"
3. Cameron's ammendment to the "nothing is more boring than listening to someone describe their dream if you aren't in it" rule was "stories about one's acid trip are more boring." Agreed.

But, because of:
1. The Oscars (The only movies I saw this year were "Little Miss Sunshine," "The Break-Up," "Short Bus," "The Devil Wears Prada," "Borat," "Dreamgirls" and--NOT MY IDEA--"The DaVinci Code"), which involves "dreams" in the following contexts:
i. The movie "Dreamgirls" about a band called "The Dreams"
ii. Dreams, as in "Hopes and Dreams" and "I've dreamed of this day all my life," as well as Ellen's opening bit about dreams.
2. Haviland Stillwell, as Fantine in "Les Miserables" on Saturday Night at the Broadhurst Theatre on Broadway, who sang "I Dreamed a Dream," which was lovely. In addition to being a stunning performer (yes, I got a little teary, per usual when someone I love does something spectacular, which is um, often Haviland these days) Haviland's dresser performed some notable feats with her rack, via corset.

I present....


10. the movie "what dreams may come": so pretty. just turn off the sound?
This movie was so beautiful! It was also, I think, so so bad. Cuba Gooding Jr., who we all loved at the time because of his triumph in "Jerry Maguire," was totally mis-cast as like, an angel (or God? i don't remember) in this sentimental Thomas Kinkaid-esque visual romp through all things sentimental and glowy and orange-ish. And Robin Williams, who is a genius usually, was sort of like, bounding around in golden meadows and spouting off zingers like "A whole human life is just a heartbeat here in heaven." Obviously I cried during this movie, which I viewed at the Traverse City mall, because it was about finding dead people in the afterlife, which is clearly a sensitive topic for me and a frequent topic of my actual dreams. But also I really don't understand why it's such a frequent topic of movies. Do people want to be depressed? I guess people say the same thing to me about listening to so much Jeff Buckley. But anyhow wow! It still sure was pretty. Even if it was sometimes pretty in a Thomas Kinkaid way. I want these people to paint a mural in my room that feels like all our film-style imaginations could ever expect from fantasy-heaven.

9. dream whip zine
Because I've been aspiring to hipster-dom since I was old enough to read "Sassy" and wear unflattering clothing trends, my BFF and I made a zine (called "Lunette") in high school, which enabled us to write about ourselves for public consumption AND receive other zines for free. The best zine I ever read was "dream whip." I assumed that it was gone, like other casualties of the mid-nineties--my braces/rubberbands, "My So-Called Life," chain wallets, the expansive zine scene itself (yes, I know that zines are indeed alive and well, but the internet has cut into it somewhat)-- But dream whip, I have learned by a quick internet search, soldiers on. In fact, it is written by a filmmaker named Bill Brown, and you can buy his back issues through microcosm publishing. I still have my original copy. Here's some selections:

8. "Sleep to Dream" by Fiona Apple
"You say love is a hell you cannot bear, and I say gimme mine back and then go there for all I care." I mean, seriously. Fiona Apple, continue to writhe and hurt and sing forever, I will always, always love you, no matter what they say. Your mind and your body cannot be stifled by your deviant ways. You got your own hell to raise.

7. "I Have a Dream" by Martin Luther King, Jr.
That was a good one, huh, that speech? About people being judged by their insides and not their outsides? Like the Dove "love your body" ads but more ambitious and with less pictures? Yeah, that was a good one. I liked Martin Luther King day. We got to hold hands with other people and sing optimistic songs. We don't do that enough, really. Yay MLK!

6. Champagne Dreams
I keep hearing that term in my head as I think about this Sunday Top Ten. For some reason I thought it was a Death Cab or Belle and Sebastian song. Then, just now, I heard it in my head, remembered what it's from, and felt like a douchebag. Remember when 'Lives of the Rich and Famous' was special? Like, before all those VH1 shows with lots of graphics and facial pore experts talking about how much Paris Hilton spends on underwear? I actually never saw it to be honest with you. But people were doing Robin Leach imitations like he was Borat or something. When was that show even on? Who was on it? Is it on DVD? Can I take this chance to say I think it was awesome that Britney shaved her head, it was so like "fuck you, you people that want me to be this sexy teen schoolgirl bubblegum bullshit!" I mean, I know she's troubled, and needs help, etc etc, but seriously can you blame her? jesus.

5. My So-Called Life, Episode 19: "In Dreams Begin Responsibilities"
This is the episode where Angela gets the note from Jordan Catalano that breaks her heart right open, but in a good way. Except that Brian Krakow wrote it and she doesn't know who to pick---the nice boy who has a way with words, or Jordan Catalano? I would have to say Jordan Catalano. This is the last episode of "My So-Called Life" ever. I think I have the whole thing memorized from start to finish. "Dear Angela, I know in the past I've caused you pain and I'm sorry. And I'll always be sorry 'till the day I die. And I hate this pen I'm holding because I should be holding you. I hate this paper under my hand because it isn't you. I even hate this letter because it's not the whole truth. Because the whole truth is so much more than a letter can even say. If you want to hate me, go ahead. If you want to burn this letter, do it. You could burn the whole world down; you could tell me to go to hell. I'd go, if you wanted me to. And I'd send you a letter from there. Sincerely, Jordan Catalano." One time someone wrote me a letter like that. I melted. I forgave.

4. Midsummer Night's Dream

I went through piles of old stuff at home over winter break (I still call it that, even though school's ancient history now, it still feels the same as it always did, you know?) and found this photo from "A Midsummer Night's Dream," which we did 50s style in the theater guild at Pioneer in like, 1845 or whenever that was. Centuries ago. Long ago in the then far before now. The then before me. This photo is important, and here's why:
1. It marks the very first time I wore a girl-costume in a play. Girls are often cast as boys in youth/teenaged theatrical productions, because there are never enough talented boys to fill all the boy roles. Since my body was much like a 13-year-old boy's until approx. my 16th year on earth, I was a shoo-in for boy-parts. I was "Robin," one of the mechanicals, or whatever, which is a boy, but I asked if I could wear a dress and be a girl and they were like "ok!" Actually, if I could hem that to mid-thigh, I'd totally still wear it. Like, right now.
2. This is the last photo my Dad ever took of me.

3. Dreamweaver (Wayne and Garth style)

This is how you can see if it's true love. When your special someone comes walking towards you, hair a-blowin' in the wind, if you hear "Dreamweaver" in your head, that means that you really love them, and want to shwing and then shoop. And then, if you are one of the 99% of the people in this world that found "Austin Powers" even slightly amusing (I am in the 1%), you can "shag." Basically, any time a hot woman comes on TV now, we're all hearing "Dreamweaver" in our heads if they play it or not.

2. Dream Dates in Junior High Notes
My 12-year-old BF and I would write each other really romantic notes about our deep secret desires. We expressed these through "dream dates," or stories we would make up about what we'd like to do together, which usually ended in a very satisfying smooch on the lips, or even a "french." They took place often at ski resorts by fires (including one improbable placement of a romantic fire on a snowy mountain), at school dances, or on schoolbusses. I think this was good practice for erotica writing later.

1. Haviland Stillwell singing "I Dreamed a Dream" in Les Miserables
I'm a little fidgety, especially during 3-hour tones on the French Revolution (right? I don't know, really), and so I did a lot of: dancing, stretching, sitting, doodling, annoying the people in front of us, but mostly I was in a state of complete ecstasy because I was wearing the most comfortable dress in the world, that I borrowed from Haviland ("borrowed"=took from her closet when I stopped at her apartment after work to change my clothes and look at myself, even though she wasn't home to grant me permission). This delight was only compounded by Haviland's performance, which I paid attention to. I got goosebumps, tears in my eyes, and all other possible physical reactions to see my best friend up there on a Broadway stage being a rock-star. When she was like "Tell Cosette I love her and I'll see her when I wake!" I was all like: "oh, sad!" Then I got up (literally, I was on the ground) when she returned from the dead to sing and be pretty in her nightgown. Before Hav was cast in this bohemoth, my knowledge of "Les Mis" was limited to the 10,000 renditions of "On my Own" I heard during 7th grade talent shows.

If you know what's good for you, there is still time: tomorrow at the Wednesday afternoon performance, Hav will be Fantine. GO!

Champagne Wishes and Caviar Dreams or Whatever!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

I Love the Subway, Unless I Forgot To Put on Deodorant

I cried on the subway about 15 times last week. (Yes, that's twice a day, which makes me like, an America's Next Top Model contestant.) I cried on the subway just about every time I got on the subway, and sometimes continued crying while exiting the subway, still clutching my tear-and-peanut-butter stained copy of "The Lovely Bones" (Alice Sebold), which opened with the murder of a 14-year-old girl (15 pages) and continued to describe the family's life in the aftermath of said murder, narrated by the protagonist, who was looking down from heaven (313 pages of grief, grief, death, grief, grief, breakdown and the occasional respite for "happiness in the face of grief, death, sadness and breakdown"). Now I've moved on to "Name all The Animals" (Ali Smith) which opens with the death of the author's 18-year-old brother (10 pages) and is currently dealing with that grief and aftermath thing. Both of these books are beautiful and amazing so I am willing to accept suicidal thoughts in order to witness their beauty, and Heather has promised me that I will do less crying (rather than more crying) as "Name all the Animals" continues.

I prefer the subway over the cars we used in The Rest of the World specifically because I like to read while I shuffle from one Devastatingly Important Event to Another, but sometimes I'd like to duck into my car and change my shoes, or fix my eyeliner, or eat a sandwich, or, you know, cry.

Not like I would read while I drove (usually). But like: this is a barely-sensical-blog, not "This American Life," in which the opening scene blends seamlessly into the topic of the day, so really, the point is that if you want to cry for whatever reason, you'll probably need to wait 'til you get home, and by then you may no longer want to cry, because maybe you've decided to focus on your "life" instead of the life of "characters" in a "novel." Also there are no teenagers in my life, let alone dead teenagers. Because on the train and in the city, there are always people watching you. The Hills have Eyes.

We don't have a lot of easy privacy in NYC except in the bathroom, and even then, sometimes not. Like if you don't go to an office every day or if you work at Ally McBeal. Or sometimes even at home, like in crack dens, like the one I heard about on "This American Life," where everyone just went on the floor or in buckets. Gross, right? That's why you shouldn't do crack. Ta-dah!

Applying Deodorant: Does it matter if the thirteen thousand strangers at the intersection see me go for an under-jacket stealth deodorant swipe? Krista and I had dinner on Monday at the West Side Diner and this old woman with lipstick smeared all over her face sat down and yelled "Where's my waiter?" about thirty times, and there are homeless people singing along to LL Cool J on beatboxes in the median all the time, so really, what's a deodorant swipe? I don't know. Somehow I can't do this unless I am buffered by a friend who can certify, by their presence, that I am indeed a sane person, albeit one who forgot to put on deodorant and is now stuck with a corner-deli sample-sized stick of something awful like Ban.

Singing: I just feel like the quality of my life could improve by about 15% if I had just 10 minutes a day to scream along to "Because of You" (Kelly Clarkson), "My Junk" (Spring Awakening), "Irreplaceable" (Beyonce), "Fidelity" (Regina Spektor) and occasionally a little "Build me up Buttercup" (Temptations) or "To Be With You" (Mr. Big) action. Also my favorite part of going home for the holidays is being able to belt "All I Want For Christmas Is You" (Mariah Carey) while re-circling the parking lot at Twelve Oaks Mall and trying to stay Zen when customers with asses wider than my car are taking all eight days of Hannukah to back out of their parking space.

Re-application of makeup: Because I like to pretend like I don't wear any (except lip gloss and eyeliner) and because I scorn the girls with compacts on the train, I'd really like to do this in private. The Bloomingdales bathroom is not private and the Barnes and Noble bathrooms have crabs and gooey babies in them. Oddly enough, the best place in the city to apply makeup, as I learned from Stephanie, is in Sephora. You don't even have to use your own, and all rules of public etiquette and sanitation are giddily thrown out the window in favor of untethered access to Stila Smoky Eye Palette and DuWop Lip Venom.

Writing in my journal: Maybe if I stopped reading other peoples journals over their shoulders and trying to imagine what their lives might be like, I'd spend less time worrying that they were reading mine. Again--total stranger, why should i care? I have no idea. I just know that I do. Also, obviously I realize the irony in this statement, considering what i am doing right now.

Drinking: Drinking in public spaces is not only unseemly, it's illegal. Where is one to pre-party if one must go straight from non-drinking-event to drinking-event without stopping at home or at a friends home (two things which are far easier in The Rest of the World) and without taking a quick shot in one's car or in the backseat of a friend's car before heading inside? And am I the only one still convinced she can save massive amounts of money by insisting on pre-gaming every drinking-event she attends?

Drinking and driving is bad, obvs, and I'm not advocating such behavior. (Though I admit that, in September of 01, I often took a few generous gulps of Mad Dog 20-20 at the last three intersections before reaching my place of employment, The Macaroni Grill, because I was dating a boy there who made me nervous. (Kids: don't try this at home. Or in your car. Or on the train.) However the stuff didn't kick in til I was already safely in uniform and carrying several heavy plates of lasagna. Also I really waitressed better while intoxicated, because it helped dull the pain of having to collect and submit 14,000 'Create Your Own Pasta' forms and have discussions about the zany-ness level of my tie.)

Everyone who knows me is aware of the juice-and-vodka trick (drinking 25% of a bottle of juice, filling the remainder with vodka and then drinking it on the subway and the street with abandon), but even that is problematic when you have no-place to create the mixture to begin with, because like, are you really gonna bring a pre-mixed bottle with you to work at 9am? Who's thinking about drinking that early in the morning? Not me. Actually, this section is making me wistful for Riese circa 2006, who drank a lot more than 2007 Riese. Actually, I take that back. Perhaps crouching in a dark doorway to pour vodka into a juice bottle was not the high-point of my life. Though I'd argue that Natalie, Annie and I pouring vodka into juice cups at "Naked Boys Singing!" (Heather has a side gig stage managing these folks, which is why we were there, it made us squeal and made me feel homosexual) was the high point of my life, for sure. Aside from when Natalie and i consumed a 6-pack of Amstel Light in a cab between her place and Williamsburg two summers ago. Like me, she's always on the verge of bankruptcy/nervous breakdown, so she understands how much better this is than actually drinking at the event itself.

The other trick I know of is the Sofia Coppola champagne. It comes in cans that makes it look like red bull. You can drink them openly on the street and no one will know a thing.

Eating: My Mom always told me to do onto others as you would like them to do onto you. I would like for others to not eat anything on the subway unless it is completely scent-free. E.g. a Zone bar, a bag of nuts or dried fruit, a piece of bread, candy. But do I want to smell your sandwich? Do I want to smell your BARBECUE CHICKEN WINGS? No. No, I don't. And carrying a McDonald's bag onto the train is like carrying a Pandora's Box of every fast food smell to ever exist in the city onto the train and leaving it there, including the smell of stale coffee and gooey babies. I love the guys who totally sit all hunched over taking up as much space as possible to extend the gigantic girth of their Subway sandwich wrapper across their outstreatched egs and eat with little shredded lettuce bits falling everywhere. Really Papi?

Changing Clothes: I used to do a lot of quick changes in my car, especially between work/gym/school/home/out. Cameron's office became a good place to do quick-changes, especially when she got that full-length mirror. But now that I no longer work there regularly, I must dress to impress for a three p.m. interview, even if I'm following it up with an evening of lying on Haviland's couch. Luckily she'll let me borrow sweatpants. I can't carry this shit around with me, I'm not He-Man.

Checking to See if Your You-Know-What Has Started: This might seem gross, and that's because it is. But considering the amount of scrotum-coverage as of late, I feel this is actually quite vanilla.

The Morning After: Oh NOTHING beats the joy of the morning-after subway ride. There is no decency of retreating to private cars, or even sharing a car in which case one person is driving and therefore has divided focus. Nope! There you are, in a public place with someone you don't interact much with in public, but, as of 24 hours ago, you have a very intimate and private knowledge of. You realize you don't know if they drink coffee. You can be seeing someone for a while before your first morning after, because I don't do sleepovers, for example (using me as an example). Also I don't like talking on the subway really, I prefer to read. One time I asked Lewis (my brother, pervs!) if he would care if I read while we traveled on the subway and he was like "Um...Yeah!" And I was like "oh...hm."

Really though, this applies to all morning after subway rides, not just "morning after" subway rides: As your stop nears (after you've inevitably asked "What's your stop again?" thirty times if it happens to be someone you don't know that well), even if you are having a fight that will lead to divorce or a breakup or a discussion verging on the brink of a marriage proposal--when their stop comes, convo OVER. You have no control over this. You are at the whim of the subway engineer, your fate in his fast or slow hands. Because people will stay an extra 10 minutes at your house to finish a discussion or a fight or a confession but people will not, under any condition, suffer the unbearable consequences of taking the subway even 1 moment away from exactly where it JUST WAS if that place happens to be YOUR STOP, and GOD FORBID you should encounter the worst nightmare ever, which is if you actually RIDE ALL THE WAY TO THEIR STOP. When the discussion is over that means you must exit the subway at THE WRONG STOP, and, in some cases, you must actually exit the station, cross the street, and attempt to get back onto the subway going back towards your stop.

I mean, you may as well stand outside their apartment naked with a boom box blasting Sting. I mean, you basically ARE STING.

Also it's important that when you get off the subway during the middle of an awkward conversation that you announce to the car "THIS IS ME!" which, for some reason that we are unaware of, means "this is my stop." heather is demonstrating in the photograph.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Sunday Top Ten: How You Got Here

My Mom met one of her first serious girlfriends on the internet. This was prime fodder for mocking from insolent children, but it didn't help that she recruited me to photograph her and her friends all grinning and holding a huge poster reading "welcome to Michigan [redacted]!". Obvs they were mailing it to her. This is really funny because now she has dial-up and uses AOL as her internet browser (which is so 1992) and I (as discussed in "the circle of craigslist" among other posts) owe so many things to the seemingly incidental choices I and my pals have made when entering search terms or browsing on myspace or blog-surfing or whatever. I owe my life to this webbernet I once scorned.

Which is one of many reasons why I (and most bloggers, I assume) are totally fascinated by the search terms that bring people right here, to my triad of self-love: "This Girl Called Automatic Win," "Automatic Straddle" and "Marie Lyn Bernard Dot Com." Whenever other bloggers post about theirs, I am like, half-asleep before I even get to 'what is the meaning of the word douchebag," but I think that people w/o site-meters and people who want happiness or joy in their life (I don't, so that's why I can sleep through yours) will really find this information to be quite a treat.

I've sorted through the masses of searches for Kim Stolz, the wheelers from Return to Oz, Katie Morgan, Jordan Catalano and Haviland Stillwell and, of course, me, to find the best and the brightest for today's:


10. 12th street duane reade intern
Does Duane Reade really have interns? If intern=glorified unpaid slave forced to do unpleasant shit-work like waiting in line at the post office and sending faxes, then what exactly do the interns do at Duane Reade that is more shitty than what the Duane Reade non-interns do? Dig through the boxes of clearance merchandise to extract all the broken glitter eyeshadow squeeze tubes that leaked all over the Coty Musk? What part of employee-ship do they not yet qualify for? They haven't yet mastered the art of doing absolutely nothing or not speaking English or staring wistfully into space, and by "space" I mean the ATM by the door, which isn't holding any of their money in it because they are only an intern?

9. "what is NSA Hookup?", "internet dating lingo nsa," "meaning nsa hookup"
This is way more common search term than you might imagine. Who are these people, and why me? Why here? I don't know but if I had to guess I would say: Because of Brian Kinney.
The Answer You Seek: As Liz Phair once sang: 'Fuck and Run, Fuck and Run.' That's right. If that girl you took out last week is responding to your telegrams and love letters with "I said it was NSA!" then dude, you gotta stop. No Strings Attached. Strings=babies, phone calls, dates, dinner, respect, mutual enjoyment, female orgasms, the hiv, the clap, anything red and itchy, emails, texts, IMs, mix tapes, flowers, diamonds, dreams for sale and fairy-tales.
(Side note: on craigslist, if a truly smokin' hot girl is offering an NSA hookup, there may be secret strings that involve cocaine or money or a girl who is actually not smokin' hot. Or you might just be the luckiest guy on the lower east side)

8. Tasti-D-Lite; the calories, etc.
The Answer You Seek: What really matters is who you are on the inside. Tasti-D-Lite probably has a lot more calories in it than they say it does (14-19 calories an ounce, FYI, and all the good flavors are closer to that higher number, aka all the variations on "Peanut Butter"). It's about how it makes you feel. As a person, and as an American. Also, Sherlock, you can check out www.tastidlite.com. I know! Crazy, you'd never guess. And about the caloric content of your tablespoon of sprinkles: Really, Papi? As India Arie once sang: "I know our creator didn't make no mistakes on me, my feet, my thighs, my lips, my eyes, I'm lovin what I see." HOLLA!

7. "Blogs On Girls Feelings Towards Dick Size"
First of all: if there is a blog devoted only to that topic (like, genuinely, I'm sure there are many fake porn sites in this genre), someone please tell me all about it, that sounds absolutely incredible. OK.
The Answer You Seek:
Here's the deal, I think: it really depends on the girl. Some girls are tighter and can't handle Dirk Diggler, and some girls can't stand the ego that usually accompanies a big one. Most girls don't care. That being said, of girls that do care: more girls like big dicks than small ones. If you have a small one, my advice is to become really good at oral sex, and make it into a joke, like a guy I once dated who'd be like "c'mon, it's three inches of heaven, baby," which was funny. Another interested reader wanted to know if Tom Selleck has an 8 or a 9 inch dick. I would say: 8.

6. Other sexy things:
6a: "gay guys on a boat rubbing lotion on their butts": the photo on the left is from 'Atlantis Cruises,' where you can find as many buttered butts as your heart desires.
6b: "daughters used panties": look in the laundry hamper. also: ew.
6c: "hot women with duct tape over their mouths": look in your basement. also, really? just be like "hey, woman, shut the fuck up." theres no need to whip out the duct tape. it would be good if you wanted to give her a stache wax though.
6d: "pictures of beautiful indian ladies of age more than 45 years": awww....in my fantasy world where everyone is kind and loving and does only good things to each other, this man was trying to find a nice framer of his wife.
6e: "overweight strip-o-gram": i only wish i knew what this had to do with me.
6f: "random trashy sluts": you have come to the right place. welcome.
6g: "girls kissing girls": see "6f"
6h: "anything for a hit of crack cocaine she orgasm fuck": I would recommend an NSA hookup. Ask for photos, and the more haggard and tore-up your partner looks, the better the chances are of crack cocaine. Also, how did that lead you here? I am troubled, somewhat, by this.

5. Fashion Advice:

Q: "Where can I find sweatpants like Ciara's in "Promise" in Michigan?"
A: TJ Maxx.

Q: "Can men 40 and over wear carpenter jeans?"
A: No, unless they are a carpenter.

Q: "how to shave and get soft satiny smooth legs"
A: Men's Nivea shave gel for sensitive skin with Nivea aftershave for sensitive skin. It's for men, but we are living in a new world of gender flexibility and expanded freedom for women, or something. Which is probably why you are so concerned about the satin-level of your legs. For your independence.

Q: "dating advice or what to wear on a first date my dress or jeans to top restaurant"
A: What do you mean "top restaurant"? Are you eating at Top of the Rocks in the Rockefeller Center? I would say that you should wear black pants, boots, and something low-cut. Actually I would recommend selecting a costume, for example: "deep sea diver" or "tops: the supermarket"

Q: "how much do delias models weigh?"
A: less than you. But really, they seem a little shorter than runway models, and younger, so I would guess that they are about 5'8 and probably weigh about 115. That being said, I have no clue why Delias shirts come so wide and short. It's deceptive, like how they plump up the meat for Big Mac commercials.

Q: "why girls like hard tail pants."
A: I have been wearing the same two pairs of hard tail pants since the summer of 2003, and I have worn these pants--at times--almost every single goddamn day, I would estimate all-in-all my hard tail pants have been worn at least 700 times, and they don't have any holes in them. Unlike the yoga pants I bought at Express, American Apparel, Mandees and Modell's Sporting Goods. Oh also because we are sheep.

Q: "febreeze for hair"
A: Natalie, look! Someone else had the same brilliant idea that you did and that I quoted you on last year!

4. Health Advice:
Q: "What happens physically during a mental breakdown"
A: Um, this:

exhibit a: recognition/resignation exhibit b: exaggerated glee

Q: "help jesus i'm losing my hair"
A: Man, Jesus don't give a shit about your hair.

Q: "doctors appointments pregnancy why"
A: Have you ever tried to help someone give birth to a baby without a doctor? Have you ever stuck your arm, elbow-deep, into the vaginal canal of a pregnant woman and extracted the bloody crying fetus from her uterus? Then have you reached for a pair of gardening shears and then snapped that cord, trying not to get blood in your eyes? Probably not, because there are doctors that do that.
Did that gross you out? I'm really taking this blog to another level, and that level is "gross."
But seriously dude if this is like "Woman, why you makin' me go to the doctor to see if you're pregnant? I'll tell you right now woman you are getting FAT and I mean that with an "F" not a "PH"!

3. Relationship Advice
Q: "girlfriend needs to be called all the time"
A: Are you sure that's the problem? I mean, most girls I know don't need to be called 'all the time,' they just need to be called 'when you said you would.' If she really wants you to call her "all the time," then she's a fucktard. Break up.

Q: "how to win married lover"
A: I'd like to refer you to the classic film "When Harry Met Sally":
Marie: The point is, he just spent $120 on a new nightgown for his wife. I don't think he's ever gonna leave her.
Sally Albright: No one thinks he's ever gonna leave her.
: You're right, you're right, I know you're right.

Q: "why duane don't like to do laundry"
A: Because if he doesn't do it, I bet you will. Which is easier for him. He should try to get an internship at Duane Reade, I bet he'd be a shoo-in because his name is Duane and he is already lazy.

2. "mean bitchy quotes," "lesbian bisexual women girl trend 2007," "straight tomboys," "college ennui," "duane reade ghetto," "top ten reasons to break up on valentines day,"
Sometimes I feel like there really is a God--like some sort of "master plan," you know, fate, cosmos, etc.--when someone searches for things like those things and ends up somewhere like here.

1. All Things L Word
I realize this may not be of particular interest to many Automatic Win readers, so you'll be able to read this section in it's entirety on Automatic Straddle, if you so desire. But who doesn't like lesbian sex? Oh wait....they don't have sex on the L Word. I mean, they do, but even when they do, there is often gigantic art installations made of metal and plastic chairs blocking our eyes from their tits. So, if you are looking for recaps or screencaps, want to know where to get Shane's underwear, who plays Lindsay the vet, or know if KC and Elka are girlfriends...follow my link....[Number One, The L Word]

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Not So Needy to Need a Text, Tray, Soy Milk, Deals, Hot Wax Parrifin

The plethora of clearly mass-directed Happy Valentine's Day text messages almost rivals the onslaught I received around New Years Eve. I fell for ALL of those, because I'm a tool. I actually texted back, like "wow! It's been so long since you've gotten in touch with me! Happy New Year to you too, buddy!" and then when I started to put two and five hundred together, I realized these people were probably getting my earnest notes of good cheer and thinking 'wow, what a tool, I sent that to like, people I slept with in the nineties and like, classmates from junior high ..." And sometimes I was that person from junior high. Or you know ... the other thing.

So look, you, obscure co-worker who I speak to maybe once a month and have had ten conversations with maybe ever: really? Really?! You really want ME, specifically, to have a happy Valentines Day? I'm sorry--"v-day"? Right, just like you wanted me to have this great New Years Eve AND a Merry Christmas (P.S. Jesus? Christ-mas? CHRIST-mas? Not my day, not my day!)...enough! Enough! I don't need your trite mass-sent wishes of good cheer. See, if you knew me, you would know that I'm a borderline-sociopath. You'd know that although I cry on the subway when I'm reading a sad book, and although I cry when I listen to Spring Awakening on my ipod or Kelly Clarkson, and that I cry when people say nice things to me, I am also all-in-all a relatively cynical person.

That's why I have a blog, to blast my cynicism. You know how many valentines I am giving out this year? One. That's right. Just one. To my Mom.

Just kidding, I didn't send my Mom anything. I am sending out one, but it's not for her.
I'm still expecting my Godiva from my Mom, maybe it's delayed on account of the weather.
I actually have a bad habit of sending things on the holiday itself, rather than in anticipation of the holiday.

So FYI, here's some things I don't need. And--if you're my actual friend who actually loves me and sent a mass text today, that's fine, I appreciate it, seriously. It's all the half-strangers that boggle me with their totally misdirected love.

Save yourself the trouble, kids:

That Black Tray at "THE CINDERELLA CLUB"
The "Cinderella Club" is not, as it's name might imply, an underage porn web-ring or a gathering place for exotic dancers. The one thing it has in common with those places is the Tackiness Level. The Cinderella Club is an almost unbearably hot-pink and well-lit outpost for the sale of crappy but trendy jewelery, like a less ambitious Clarie*s, and they are all over the city, and it has an employee-to-square-foot ratio of about 1:2. They should send some of that extra manpower to Duane Reade. During my last visit to the Club, I was offered a black tray not once--not twice--but three times. The third time I yelled "REALLY! I SWEAR! I DON'T NEED ONE!" Carrying one of those things--which I assume they employ mainly to deter shoplifters from slipping $5 rings into their pockets--feels very unnatural. It makes me feel like a bodybuilder drinking an Ameretto Sour with a cherry. I have big hands. I can handle carrying whatever I want in those hands. Should I change my mind, I'll ask you--or her, or her, or him, or him--for a goddamn "tray." What is this, Old Country Buffet?

"SPECIAL DEALS" Offered by Companies That Have Already Ass-Raped Me And Then Trapped Me in An Abusive Relationship Where They Always Say They're Going to Change if I Change One Thing or Another But Then They Never Change, They Always Find a New Way to Hurt Me?: I'm Talkin' To YOU Sprint PCS, Chase Bank and Fresh-Direct
It hurts enough that I have to pay $5.99 for 3 slices of cheese, don't tease me with that $60.00 for new customer coupon you know I can't use now. I'm an old customer. OLD! I already pay a $3.00 fee every time I consider using my debit card and $6.00 every time I offer to pay for dinner with my debit card but then retract and $9.00 if I dare to actually use it to buy something and $12 if I use it at an ATM on an even-numbered street--and it makes me feel worse to see you offering free checking and all kinds of goodies to new bankers. It hurts enough that I never talk on the phone, because I'm a phone-a-phobic, and yet I have an astronomical phone bill that I can't seem to decipher or change, and that my phone is crap and I really want a treo, but I can't have one, because even though you are selling it to new customers for $100.00, I would have to pay $800, and if I dared to cancel my contract, you would fuck me so hard with a cancellation fee that I wouldn't be able to walk for three days, let alone send a text message.

Recommendations from Amazon.com Based on My Browsing History
Look, y'all need to get everyone together and start knockin' heads because this system is deeply flawed. You ask us to buy gifts for people on your site, and then when we do, we're punished by three weeks of Grilling Cookbooks. You ask us to buy books for school--but thanks, really, 6 books about the holocaust is plenty for me, I def. do not need 6 more. Nor do I need any more explorations into the world of Statistics 350, and I definitely don't need any recommendations based on graphics I was retrieving to update the website at the lit agency or any recommendations based on YA novels I was looking up while writing my book to remember what I used to read. Elizabeth George, Nora Roberts, "Rainbow Boys"--not my thing really. Are there any people that only use Amazon to look for things they want to buy and for no other reasons? (e.g. graphics for blog entries? um, using "the haviland touch" as a graphic for a myspace comment? ?) That might sound like a dumb question to people who don't work in publishing.

Spa Pedicure? (said by nail-lady, very beseeching, kind, innocent, unsuspecting-like)
I am so not falling for this one again. Post-spa-pedicure, my then-boyfriend did, indeed, gamely stroke my legs and say "they do feel a lot softer," and when I said "you're just saying that to make me feel better," he was like "no, they really do," in this really genuine voice, which was sweet, but not as sweet as the 40 bucks I was told I needed to shell out for the innocuously suggested upgrade, which involved a lot of lotions caked onto my then-not-softer-than-usual legs and wrapped in saran wrap. Tight. As soon as I put on my cowboy boots again, my feet were effectively re-ruined.

Erotica From Strangers
Like every egotistical writer and blogger, there is nothing that warms my insecure little heart like fan (e)mail or fan myspace messages. But: 1. I don't write erotica anymore, I just did it for a little while back in 04-05, and that was super-fun, but you know, I'm certainly not in a position to be anyone's mentor or dispenser of advice, and 2. you can just like me, you don't have to like me and send me a story involving graphic descriptions of sexual activities in a sort of sportscaster style play-by-play "lovemaking" voice.
Unless you're hot and I want to have real sex with you, then you can send me whatever you want. Note: this is a very limited group, and it doesn't include 50 year old men who describe women as if it is still 1923, when it was okay to act like women didn't have brains. There's a market for that stuff, and that market is soooooo not me.
This happens more often than you might think.

MySpace Event Invitations, Especially When that Event is a Threesome
I really like this in spirit, but I find it a bit flawed in practice. (the threesome reference above is actually something I get in normal messages, not via events, I just thought that would sound clever sorta) I tried to do one a few weeks ago for "The L Word" and that was kinda fun, but I think totally ineffective. I actually didn't realize that people really looked at them until I noticed when my friends opened their myspace pages, it didn't say "new event invite!" whereas I sort of like, figured that was part of my template. Why don't I look at them? Because they are 95% parties with people like that guy on the left. I'd say "that guy and those girls," but something tells me those girls aren't big conversationalists. Also, is that really his stomach? Is he jealous that the other girls are showing their stomachs and he wants to flash a little midriff too? There are a lot of things about the world I just don't understand.

The Free Newspaper
The thing about that free newspaper is that there are plenty of free newspapers to be found as your day goes on. Usually, I will find an am new york or metro on every subway bench, often expanding their mess onto the floor of the subway. Furthermore, you may find some at the coffee-fixins area at Starbucks, perhaps in the ladies room, in a taxi cab, at a friends apartment or office, on an empty chair at hale n' hearty soups, or in the waiting area at the subway station as late as 10pm. You might find one in your very own apartment, brought home by some roommate or other vagabond. I feel that taking one from the newspaper person is just creating more mess that will annoy me as I try to make my way in the world. I'm not too proud for second-hand-newspapers. Save the trees!

Samples of Random Products at the Gym
Girl, look at my hair. What am I gonna do with a Sunsilk volumizer? I'm a Jew, I already have a volumizer in my genes that I have managed to kill with careful product selection. What am I gonna do with a bottle of Soy-Milk while I'm working out? How about instead of handing out free bottles of Soy Milk, which would be so gross to drink during a workout, you should concentrate on other liquids, like the soap dispensers or the showers.

I think he's great but I'm trying to read and/or listen to my ipod, so shut up. Anyone who converts because of what you said on a 9am B-D-F-train is a total lunatic.

And, just to reiterate:

No Mass-Texts. EVER
I just don't know what the point of it is. Seriously, someone, make a case for this. I mean, how can you possibly feel special or entitled to a greeting that was mailed to everyone you've ever called, ever? If you want to make us all feel loved, then shoot us a mass email which is slightly less annoying , or a mass postal mailing, which is actually quite sweet. Or just you know--love me. REALLY love me. For who I am. As a person, and as a wilderness explorer.


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Sunday Top 10: I Think You're Crazy, Just Like Me.

I am re-reading "Strunk & White: The Elements of Style." I purchased this for myself a year ago because I had a really strong feeling that I didn't know how to construct a sentence. I re-read it but apparently nothing sunk in. Today (Saturday, when I began this post, which I imagine I might finish next week some time, as soon as I can find a goddamn photo of Duncan Fuckin' Nutter), on my way to and from the Waldorf-Astoria to move gift bags from one room to another for the HRC, I re-engaged with my friends Strunk and White and I am paralyzed. This blog is a grammatical and stylistic nightmare.

It's a nightmare I can't seem to wake up from. But that's fine! I will plow forward with blind and misguided ambition, much like Rachael, the young "prophet" who declares, in the film "Jesus Camp": "Man's decision? WHATEVER. God's decision? SOMETHING." That's right, Ray-Ray. You tell 'em.

In honor of:
1. "Jesus Camp" and "Friends of God," two movies I saw this weekend about the evangelical Christian Crazies (lest any of you jump upon me with curses regarding what a bad friend I am for being too busy for you but not too busy for Jesus, I watched both of these movies while doing five other things)
2. Anna Nicole Smith, (who's show, "The Anna Nicole Show," should've been on Bravo! instead of E! because if it'd been on Bravo! people would have realized how secretly brilliant! it was and then watched it!), this month's Sunday Top Ten is devoted to my favorite crazy people EVER, those who were captured in documentaries or on documentary-style television programs. (That's not the same as Reality TV. Reality TV is when they have to create situations to make boring people more interesting.)

OH AND: When I looked up "The Anna Nicole Show" on imdb, this sentence was included in the plot summary: "The cameras also accompany her on dates and to Hollywood parties and charitable events." Charitable events? Hear that, Strunk? I'm like, Grammar Girl compared to that bullshit.


10. BAD CRAZY: ALL THE LOONIES TAKING BACK AMERICA FOR JESUS, AND ALSO FOR CRAZY PEOPLE, "JESUS CAMP": How many of these guys have to be outed as closeted homosexuals (seeking to repress their natural sexual desire by becoming assholes who preach about Jesus to dimwits) before their followers see the light of Actual Logic? I think this movement comes from two things: some sort of underlying revulsion with the very compulsions that make us human (aka all sex drives of all orientations, ambition, intellectual curiosity, intelligence, an occasional desire to transgress), groupthink/stupidity/inbreeding? I feel sorry for these kids. I don't like it when people accost me on the street to give me a free haircut or sign me up to vote, let alone to tell me that God has a special plan for me.

Don't get me wrong--people should believe what they want to believe. But these groups want to convert and conquer, and their moral absolutism is appalling. Have you seen "The Devil's Playground"? It's about Amish people. They actually have similar beliefs, the difference is that they keep it to themselves. Like, they don't even hang out with other people.

Compared to the Colorado Springs experience when a girl in a bowling alley gets confronted by an 8-year-old mini-lunatic who thinks God has a special plan for her, the Do-You-Have-a-Minute for Greenpeace guys don't seem half-bad.

9. GOOD CRAZY: PERKY and PUNCTUAL, AKA KATIE MORGAN, FROM "PORNUCOPIA": I can't say enough about the sage that is Katie Morgan. We watched this HBO documentary in November of 04. At that time, I had not seen very much porn in my life, ever. I still haven't, but I've seen a whole lot of documentaries about porn. Krista and I could not get enough of Perky N' Punctual. We gasped with delight when she shared her story of getting into porn (it's cuz she got caught with a lot of drugs and needed cash), and we erupted into girlish giggles of rapture when she told a casting director "I don't do up the butt!". Sometimes, I think some of my most compelling roommate experiences and memories are those lovely times my roommate and I were simultaneously sucked into some sort of non stop television marathon train-wreck, like Krista and I's Pornucopia-habit ("RIS! The gorilla! She's fucking a man in a gorilla suit!") and Monday night West-Wing-A-Thons or the weekend during the summer of 04 that Lindsay and I were accidentally sucked into the terrible world of...

8. BAD CRAZY: DUNCAN NUTTER, "SHOWBIZ MOMS AND DADS:" There's a lot to say about the pageant Mom and the Wonder that is Debbie Klinginsmith and her tone-deaf son, but the real gemstone of this brilliant program was Duncan Nutter. First of all, he's the gayest straight guy ever, and he's married to a very homely Earth Science teacher, and he is completely off his rocker. He moves all his 10,000 kids to Queens to pursue their dreams, which are obviously really his dreams. I think he'd be better as a diet TV guy, like Richard Simmons. Or as a Children's Television host. He could sing Bananas in Pajamas.

7. GOOD CRAZY: The Trekkie dentists, "TREKKIES"
This documentary, which I think I first saw with Jake, is probably one of the best documentaries ever. I'm partial to it because I've you know, experienced this culture first-hand, but also I don't like to go to the dentist. And if my dentist decorated his office as though it was a Star Trek battleship, that would be fine, because to be honest with you, going to the Dentist does feel, to me, a bit like being attacked by light-sabers in a galaxy far far away or like, having sex with a Klingon who is scraping away at my teeth with his evil pointy fingernails. I have a Dentist appointment on Friday, P.S. As you can imagine, I'm already thinking about how to get out of it.

6. BAD CRAZY: MARK HARRIS, "GAY REPUBLICANS": This guy says that he supports G.W because, according to him, G.W is not saying that gay people can't get married. He's just saying gay people can't marry each other if they both happen to be men. Also he'd rather be in a room of Republicans than a room of gay people. I'm guessing he's a 3-incher.

5. GOOD CRAZY: JONATHAN CAOUETTE in "TARNATION:" This is one of the most brilliant films I've seen in my life. Partially because I also spent massive amounts of time as a young girl filming myself or filming my brother in various compromising situations (e.g. music videos of 'Heal the World' and daytime-talk-show parodies in which he wore a series of female wigs) and it's fascinating to see how the filmmaker put these all together to tell the story of his mentally ill mother and all this fucked up shit that happened to him as a kid. Seriously, just fucking see it.

4. BAD CRAZY: DIANE, "FAT CITY": I miss Trio. It was like more or less my dream channel, showing nothing but documentarial delights like "Fat City," which featured this 600-pound woman, Diane, who says, while flashing the camera a disarming photograph of herself wearing something alarming: "In this shot, I was wearing a one-piece catsuit which is stretch lace from shoulder down to ankle with nothing underneath it. I see in this photo someone who is very comfortable in her own skin, someone who accepts herself and makes no apologies to anybody and also accepts the fact that she can be sensual." Really, Diane?

3. GOOD CRAZY: Anna Nicole Smith, "The Anna Nicole Show"
Oh Anna. "The Eating Contest" episode of your show was so beautiful! When you and Howard had that fight about if you were cheating or not and you were all like "Howard, fuck you, you asshole, you're lying, I can't trust you if you don't trust me"? There are other parts of the show that are more obvious, glaring, shocking train wrecks: namely, the fact that you are totally doped up on Vicodin or one of 10,000 other medications for the majority of the program, including when you are supposed to be going to various publicity events and interviews. But it is the eating contest that made me fall in love with you, and, thus, when Lo and I were at a little bar in Gramercy last week and the woman next to us made a comment about ANS and I made a comment about how awesome her show was and the woman next to us laughed like I was obviously kidding, I wanted to challenge HER stupid ass to an eating contest, which I would have totally WON. Yeah, as Anna herself may have said---she bit my goat. RIP, Anna. You ruled a lot.

2. BAD CRAZY: George W. Bush, "Farenheit 9/11."
It's sad to me that Micheal Moore made those few kinda-sorta inaccurate claims in this film (e.g. the kite-flying kid in Iraq) which left him vulnerable for grander assaults, like people who think the whole movie was bunk, when, in fact, 90% of this movie was really good and really true and really important. I've loved M2 since I first saw "Roger & Me" and subsequently developed a semi-obsession with the city of Flint, Michigan [this happens to me with documentaries and non-fiction books, I've been moved to similar individual awareness campaigns in which I preach constantly to anyone who dares to speak to me on the message of the film/book I've just seen, e.g. Joan Ryan's "Little Girls in Pretty Boxes" (a book about gymnastics and figure skating), Jonathan Kozol's "Savage Inequalities" and of course Eric Schlossel's "Fast Food Nation."] I saw this with Jon and Steph in '04, which means I was probably stoned and eating gummy candy, but I still dug it. Really the scariest part is when G.W is at his golf course like "we should do everything we can to stop these terrorist killers. Now watch this drive." There's nothing I can say about this man that has not already been said by someone who actually reads the newspapers instead of watching left-wing radical documentaries all night when I should be sleeping.

1. GOOD CRAZY: Edie Beale, "Grey Gardens." If you haven't seen this movie, your life is probably filled with sadness and despair. Edie invented the term "costume of the day" and there is not enough room in this blog to contain every element of her genius. Furthermore, once I went out with this guy who looked really good on paper (Ivy League, made a living as an actual artist, lived in a rent controlled apartment downtown, cute) and when he told me he hated Grey Gardens, he may as well have said "I eat babies for breakfast," because I was like, 'I don't feel so good' (I didn't) and I got right on the subway and went home and never spoke to him again. The next day on AIM, Lainy suggested that perhaps I am a lesbian. No, I'm bi. I just don't like boys who don't like Grey Gardens---ok. No. I don't like boys who tell me that Grey Gardens is the worst movie they've EVER SEEN. That would be like how Rachel from "Jesus Camp" would feel if I told her I thought her whole religion was bullcrap. She probably wouldn't date me. But she also probably hates gay people, even just half-gays. Though lets be real here: chances that Rachel will turn out to be a gay are pretty f'in high. I'll be breaking that story right here.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Who Will Save Your Soul When It Comes to Being Young and WIRED

I just got an electric toothbrush and every time I use it, I wonder if my roommates hear the buzzing and think I'm like, rubbing one out in the bathroom? I wouldn't do that, because I'm not a perv, and who has that kind of time, and vibrators are expensive, and besides, like, Maggie is more or less deaf, so I'm sure she's not wondering if I got a new Dolphin, which of course, you know, I didn't, not that there's anything wrong with that, it's just that I am saving myself. For Leonardo DiCaprio. What am I talking to? Who's that? Today I was so involved in my book that I took the subway two extra stops and then took the wrong train back. Actually that doesn't mean much for me, that's sort of normal. Guess how many hours I've slept this week. I am not even funny anymore, I'm out of jokes. Like the bottom of a barrel of pickles.

... and actually something that just happened was that this whole post got deleted. Now I'm writing it again. I'd say it feels like the first time, except that it doesn't. It feels less clever. You can imagine how fantastic the first one was.

Good. Lets talk naked girls on the cover of "New York Magazine" who don't care about privacy. This is the "greatest generation gap since rock n' roll." The gap is between parents like my Mother who think I will be stalked from information I reveal on my blog (I think this is a huge overestimation of my allure, I mean, Mom not everyone loves me like you do, you know?) and the teenagers who are on myspace and livejournal sharing themselves all over the place, doing whatever it is kids do these days, I don't know, there are no teenagers in New York. I mean, there are, I read "Gossip Girl," but I try to avoid them, which means avoiding Intermix and any crosstown busses at 3pm. Or dark alleys of ill repute.

I have thought about this though because I did not grow up with it. I went to boarding school in 1997, and we had two computers with internet access and then these monochrome machines we could use for e-mail only. Before that, AOL cost $2.95/hour, and though I spent many-a-night between 1994-1997 (hey, remember PRODIGY?!!) "chatting" and downloading photos of Jared Leto and Claire Danes, it wasn't like I left up away messages to inform my friends I was taking a shower. I've thought about what it would have been like to have all of this back then and I have decided, resolutely, that it would have been horrific. I had enough anxiety about who my best friends were and who was going to what party without panicking about the composition of my Top 12.

Because photoshop is a soft warm blanket of bliss, I have created my myspace page, circa The Dark Ages of Riese.

Without a doubt, I would have kept a livejournal filled with all the dark pain of my soul and lyrics from Jewel and Heavenly and I would have written really snarky mean things to my friends and then the next day at school I woulda been all like "Did it say [redacted] is a BITCH or did it say "Sometimes I don't understand how people can be so cruel, so cold, so uncaring"? It would have been host to poems like this one:

Poison Girl
You don't know how you hurt me
You just throw those poison arrows
hard sharp.
You have perfect aim
heart target.
You don't even know
when you throw.
(actual poem , copyright 1996)

I also would have talked way too much about who I had a crush on, like, to an embarassing degree. Unlike this blog, where I'm totally cool as a cucumber.

When I went out of town with my family during a weekend that a party was taking place I wouldn't be able to sleep until the party was over. I didn't know, of course, exactly when it was over, because I didn't have a cell phone. In fact, when I went to summer camp, my friends would send me actual letters with information I currently cannot imagine being informed of with a lag time of anything over 20 minutes. I would have known more or less when the party ended though because our parents had to pick us up in cars and they couldn't just all get phone calls from us so they had this sort of thing planned in advance without cell phones and all, which is how I would know that it was over (based on the paper-printed invite I had received) at 11:30. Then I could rest. Whatever was meant to happen had happened. I would sleep, and there wasn't a thing I could do in that bed, deep into the folds of a mountain covered in artificial snow or a little yellow bedroom in Ohio where at night all you hear is the trucks passing by, whish whish whish through the rows of boring cornfields--there wasn't a thing I could do between where I was and all that to change the night's events. If he had kissed her, if she and she had spent the night in consult: it was safe and already memory.

But if I could have seen my friends away messages? Or if they could have texted me the moment something of great social import had occurred? Then I would have had to keep constant vigilance on my life, carried my monumental anxiety from school to my home where the in-person freakouts (pairing, breakup, gossip spread) could have continued to play out their soft brutal mania in the form of cute comments on someone else's page or a subtle outsing from a top position or the number of my pics taken up with your pics with their pics or what they may or may not have said in their online journal and if their Mom let them stay up all night online, or if you were being put to sleep unfathomably early while a party raged in cyberspace, burning and necessary?

Um. Ew.

It was way too easy for me to imagine what I would have said. Probably because being on myspace is already a whole lot like being 15. It's like eternal yearbook.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Sunday Top 10: Project Fashion

It's Fashion Week. Think Ice-Capades, but skinnier and without skates.

Like most of the major events that occur here in New York City, my primary relationship to the event is:
1. Reading about it on blogs and other sources of breaking news.
2. Figuring out how to avoid the area where it is taking place (this was totally impossible when I lived in Sparlem on Puerto Rican Day, during which it took me 15 minutes to walk 3 blocks to the subway because i had to push through packed crowds of people wearing flags as "dresses" (like, I can dress really slutty, but there's slutty and there's like, so slutty I can use that term and not feel like a bad feminist) and beer-vendors riding around on ACTUAL DONKEYS.)

But because I have my pulse on the heart of New York City, this week's Sunday Top Ten will be about "Fashion."

UPDATE!: Gawker.com has described this list as: "Minus 6 and 5 these basically read like steps towards becoming the ultimate Vice "DON'T" of all time." WHICH IS AMAZING. I mean, think about it: baseball cap, sunglasses, handcuffs, wifebeater, black tank top, SWEATPANTS, legwarmers, white t-shirt, leather bracelet, police badge. That is basically the outfit of a homeless person who just robbed a police officer.

This Week, I will be showing off some of my best fashions. I will be showing these fashions in a runway show that begins at my bathroom and ends at the kitchen, with an after-party in the refrigerator, where I marvel at the fact that I accidentally ordered three giant bags of shredded mozzarella cheese from freshdirect but no cookies. If you want to know where to pick up the fashions that I will be showing this week and actually every week probably for the rest of my life (unless I get preggers, in which case I plan on lounging in hoodies and HardTail maternity pants), I would suggest: KMart, Mandees, your roommate, my roommate.

SUNDAY TOP TEN: TOP TEN FASHIONS you won't see at "Fashion" week.

10. Sweatpants and Not-For-Yoga-Yoga-Pants
Influences: toddlers (particularly those still "in diapers"), delia*s loungewear for college students, people who have given up all hope.

Krista and I often noted that our first stop upon arriving home--iPod dangling in one ear, voicemail light blinking on just-now-in-service cell phone, feet wet, urination needed immediately, starving as all get out, in desperate need of a shower--the first stop, always, always, always, is changing into sweatpants. This is evidenced by every photo of Krista and I taken within the walls of our apartment, in which we are both wearing sweatpants or yoga pants at all times. On the right is a photo of Krista leaping onto my back. You can tell that it's Sunday, because the Sunday New York Times is still on the floor. Actually, that doesn't mean much.

I've been wearing jeans at home lately because I read an article in "Writer's Digest" that said I would be more productive if I looked presentable.

9. That One Item Of Clothing You Got From Your Roommate and Never Gave Back That is Now a Staple of Your Wardrobe
Influence: Robin Hood, Krista, Jesse James, Mr. Dress-Up, Me, the old days when there wasn't any money so people would like, trade cows for other stuff.
So it starts out like this: person one says, hey, can I borrow this? Person two says sure, I never wear that. Person one wears it. Person one receives compliments on this lovely item of clothing she never would have thought to purchase for herself. Either you can spend the rest of your life feeling guilty about this, or you can make a list of all the items of clothing you have sacrificed over the years. I've taken a stunning black dress and black skirt from Maggie, and above you can see the legwarmers I wear about 10 times a week that I took from Lo. Above, it is a part of the ensemble that Haviland and I created for the Cyndi Lauper concert.

8. The Leather Wrist-Cuff
Influence: bracelets, S+M handcuffs, tracking devices, slap bracelets

I got mine for 5 dollah in the East Village and it has a little zipper compartment in it. This is where I keep my heroin. And my magic fairy dust. And probably a lot of germs. I have it on always, like Jesus.

7. Cop-Chic:
strip-o-Grams, police officers

I tried to convince my ex-boyfriend [redacted], who is now a member of the NYPD, to let me take a picture of myself with his gun. This is not the first time I've tried this with him. He told me that I could get arrested for illegal possession of a firearm (or whatever, I don't remember anymore). Then I realized that handgun laws are something I have never thought about for more than like, 5 seconds, but for the record obviously I don't really even know how guns work, I mean, I'm Jewish and from Ann Arbor and have never won an arm wrestling match against anyone ever. Anyhow this doesn't have a lot to do with fashion, but I think that the silver of his badge went really well with the silver of his handcuffs. Like Tiffany's. Also he let me out of the handcuffs, and I was a little worried that he wouldn't.

6. Hanes Boy-Briefs For Women
American Apparel Ads, Shane, Boys.

The problem with girl-styled boy briefs is that they don't always go all the way over your butt (I like to think I am not the only one with this problem), and the problem with boy-styled boy briefs is that they have a big sack for your wiener. I don't have a wiener. Also I like the style of boy-briefs. I still remember the day I went to the K-Mart in Astor Place and I saw these boy-briefs for women calling my name from the rack. I rushed towards the rack like the wind, wedging my way between the other underwears and the obese woman sorting through the discarded piles of "Just my Size" bras who looked at me like I was the devil's baby when I accidentally brushed one-tenth of her XXXL ass with my bag as I squatted to the ground to extract a pair of these or ten. I'm actually wearing some right now. The best part is, they go all the way over your ass, so that you can wear them with tight jeans and not have a panty line, and wear them to bed without showing any you-know-what. The photo on the left is Shane. The right is an Underwear model. Yes, I am seeing what you are seeing about this underwear model, which is why I want you to know it's not me.

5. Maggie's Cleaning Outfit
Influences: Betty Page, Edie Beale, Austin Powers' harem, leopards, saucy maids, sexy maids, sooo-not-desperate housewives.

I thought it was funny one of my first days at this apartment when Maggie was cleaning in six-inch platform shoes and a little mini-dress. I thought maybe she needed to do laundry or something but it turns out no, that's just what she wears to clean. Today she was doing it again and I think it's possibly the trend of the year, so I thought I would capture it here. You will notice the pairing of leopard print with wedges (Maggie calls them "my Fred Flintstone shoes") and Windex. It's post-modern-housewife-couture.

Me: Why do you clean in heels and a mini-dress?
Maggie: Because then I'm like "oh! I am so clean, what is this terrible mess! Like I'm very prissy and want things to be clean."

If you look at the photo in the upper right hand corner, that's when she was telling me that we should do a blog about going around the city doing all the things that everyone has done except me. For example she suggested: going to a strip club.

4. Sunglasses and Baseball Cap
Influences: Jay McInerney, sorostitutes, unabombers, Nicole Richie, J.T Leroy

It's always good to have these things in your going-out bag because you never know what could happen. Especially when, like me, you love Jesus but you drink a little. In the winter, this is less important, because we all wrap ourselves up like mummies and you can't really see how haggard anyone looks through all that (mummies are usually dead, so you see what I mean). For example, this past Thursday night, I went to see a show called "My First Time" with Heather, and in honor of the show's title, we declared "asking for it" (visible lingerie and high heels) the costume of the day. Then I slept there and the next morning I had to go home on the train in high heels and visible lingerie, like a hooker. Just kidding. I put those things in a bag. I like to save my walk-of-shame outfits for actual walks-of-shame, not just sleeping at a friend's place. I squeezed my 9.5-sized feet into heather's size-6 sneakers and borrowed a hoodie and tried to wrap my scarf up really high and look really devastated like maybe I was on my way to fashion week or to bomb the Baby Phat show.

Side Note: THIS ESPECIALLY comes in handy if you go out with rich guys who give you money to take a cab in the morning, because then you can just get on the train and then you made 20 bucks, like a proper hooker.
Side Note Note: I have not done this since 2004. I'm much more mature and less drunk now.

Influences: Marlon Brando, Leonardo DiCaprio in 'The Basketball Diaries,' Gia, Shane, Hot Lesbians

I have some kerchiefs and some undershirts. I hear some people call them wife-beaters, which I think is kind of funny.
There's nothing funny about beating your wife.
(Six Feet Under)

That's true. But there is nothing sexier than your wife wearing a "wifebeater." I estimate I own about 40 wifebeaters, all hanes size small mens wifebeaters which I purchased in three-packs, or sometimes 6-packs. Every now and then it's nice to get new ones, because I wear them to the gym and get them sweaty, and also they are tighter when new. ALSO you must always wear TWO wifebeaters. Otherwise it is see-through. I learned this from Krista. She changed my life. When you consider that both of us chose our outfits when we are already 10 minutes late for wherever we are going, it is remarkable that this is the second time I've mentioned a shared fashion trademark.

2. The Black Camisole
Influences: I don't even know anymore. Eve? (as in, Adam and)

To your left you see the original black camisole in 1999, which was Calvin Klien, and generally purchased at Marshall Fields, when we went there on the mall bus. Then we would tie knots in the straps so that they wouldn't be so low cut, and our little midriffs would show above our baggy Abercombie/American Eagle/Levis jeans. Now I heart the H+M black camisole, of which I have like, 10, but 9 of them are broken, 'cause H+M is pretty cheap. I keep buying more, like a goldfish with no memory.

1. No. 1 Fashion Tip for Well-Muscled Boys from MEEEE
Influences: James Dean, Every Hot Boy Ever, and also Alice Piskei can rock a white t quite well.

You can try to do a lot of things to like, look hot, but really all you need to do is: 1. your hair, 2. put on a white t-shirt. That's right. Also, I like cologne, but that's just me. Oh and also, guys always look good in dark slightly boot-cut jeans, so I don't understand why some of you are still not buying boot-cut jeans. Carpenter pants are so '00, unless you are Melissa Ferrick or my friend (in which case I love you unconditionally), and tapered jeans are so NEVER.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Come on Ilene, I'm Begging You Please!

"I wanted to name this post whatever the female equivalent of "blue balls" is, and then I realized that there wasn't one, except 'lesbian bed death,' which relates to emotion and to a couple and to a permanent situation involving metaphorical DEATH rather than a sexual state that needs immediate and obtainable relief, which pretty much sums up everything I want to say about this."
"Why it Matters So Much That No One is Fucking on 'The L Word'"

(I have posted this on both of my blogs, which means different comments are being posted on each blog, but maybe that's even more fun than having them all in one place? YEAH IT IS! Two conversations is better than one. Just like two sex scenes is better than zero, and like how twenty-two sex scenes would be way better than zero)

We are four episodes in to the fourth season of "The L Word" and we haven't seen anyone's breasts. Marina has not followed Jenni--the engaged Midwestern writer who spends most of the first season removing and re-dressing herself in ripped up tights and "dresses"/tablecloths--into the bathroom at The Planet and pushed her up against the wall and kissed the strai right out of her. Cherie Jaffe has not told Shane she was thinking about something more than a haircut and Shane has not laughed a little, betraying her trademark cool, and then, when Cherie puts her hands under Shane's shirt and climbs the length of her smooth scrawny torso and removes her shirt, Shane has not stripped Cherie to her Fredricks of Hollywood Skivvies and she has not leaned in like an insect sucking sex via her lover's lips, like Shane always does when she fucks people (and it's hot, that she does that, it's lovely). Shane hasn't fucked any people this season. Alice has not reached tentatively into all that space between her body and Dana's ass and then lay her palm on it and not let go, there has been no disco music as pants are tugged off, reams of necklaces discarded like so much extra ethical nonsense, blindfolds have not been tied on and whipped cream has not been fed and naked bodies have not curled up into each other in a loveseat , happy and oversexed and sated and beautiful. Bette has not gone to a gay bar in Manhattan and taken a girl to her hotel room and undressed her with the sad desire of a woman lost and lonely, she has not made love to a stranger for the pure release of it, anonymous, safe, special. None of those things have happened.

Two nights ago I saw the movie "This Film is Not Yet Rated," Kirby Dick's documentary expose about the MPAA, which addressed, among other things "whether sexual content in gay-themed movies is given harsher ratings penalties than their heterosexual counterparts" and "whether keeping the raters and the rating process secret leaves the MPAA entirely unaccountable for its decisions." He also discussed the unease by the MPAA over female pleasure, in and of itself, noting that films which show women orgasming and focus on female pleasure are far more likely to be slapped with an NC-17. You can hardly imagine a woman sticking an eclair up her vagina with the same comic glee we gifted Jason Biggs in "American Pie."

And so, as Carrie Bradshaw (who, along with her three gal-pals, had so much on-screen sex there was hardly time for dialogue), might say...'I got to thinking about relationships..." And by "relationships" I mean my relationship to "The L Word," and why it pisses me off so much that the show has been violently zapped of all it's libido this season. Come on, Ilene. For those of us who are not dating EZ Girl, sex is still something we enjoy having.

There is probably a Debra at every middle school, and maybe more than one in schools with graduating classes exceeding 36 students (like mine, a private school for "gifted" students, most of whom would have spent public school stuffed in a locker reading X-Men comics with the flashlight from their swiss army knives). At our first 6th grade party at Mirella's cottage on the lake, we waited til past eleven to tentatively slide open the glass door and leave our carpet of sleeping bags and our Doritos and half-drunk Clearly Canadians to dash across the wet porch to the hot tub even though her yard and our world was coated in heavy snow. Even though it was December and our parents would have never let us out of the house without at least seven layers, one of which usually had a name that sounded just like a comic book hero: Gore-Tex. Moisture-Wicking Spandex. It was just bathing suits, cold air, and the promising gurgling hot tub.

I would never even remember this party if Debra hadn't done what she did. It was a Prelude to her Personality--that she would always be just naive and awkward enough to make us queasy by pushing boundaries we all respected with far greater reverence. Basically: we were having a normal conversation about boys and Debra took off her bathing suit. She told us "I just feel better naked. It feels really good in the water." I could see her white skin,gelatinous in the pale blue water--a color that someone with Debra's nearly albino-white skin would never intentionally wear, let alone dip her nude body inside. But she did, and she had. We were horrified, but because we were 12, we dealt with this by ignoring her at the time, and then later telling everyone (yes, all 30 of our classmates) and making fun of her. At the time, we just tried not to look. Everyone called Debra a lesbo but the funny thing is that of all the girls in that hot tub, Debra is one of only two who did not turn out to be bisexual or homosexual. Maybe that's why she was comfortable being naked in front of us and we felt like we were witnessing something private and when you are 12, private is the same thing as gross. As school went on, some of us would participate in risky games of strip poker with boys but no one was ever chastised like Debra was for her transgression. Being naked made sense if there were men around.

In 8th grade Debra had her own birthday party at a hotel out by the highway which is the first time I saw two women have sex on television. Debra's Crazy Single Mom was sleeping. Debra's father, rumor had it, was just a sperm donor. Debra's Crazy Mom had once made us all dig through the garbage cans at Mongolian Barbecue because Debra had accidentally left her necklace on the table and it had been thrown out. She yelled at all these Mexican guys who didn't speak English and I felt like I was watching a movie where Mothers acted in public how mine sometimes did in private.

It was late when Debra suggested we check out the hotel's adult offerings. "I've seen lots of these," she said, and the way she said it made me think that perhaps porn was one of those delicious and naughty things that I needed to taste before I went to high school. Maybe it would give me clues about how things worked out there. Also I thought it seemed private and I was very strict about those things then, so when two naked girls with plastic skin poured pancake batter down each other's chests, rubbing it on their nipples, totally abandoning the pretense of making breakfast for their hunky boyfriends, who were poolside wearing, oddly enough, tuxedos, I felt nauseous and had to go outside. Later, when considering my sexuality, I would use this story as evidence that I could not possibly like women. I would tell people that I threw up. Much like a person might throw up if they ate raw pancake batter off someones nipples because that's basically asking for salmonella poisoning, not to mention herpes. I mean, there was probably leftover cum on her skin from the facial she'd likely received earlier that day. Not the cucumber kind, the sperm kind.

So this is what I knew about two women together, naked and kissing: it was gross, it was private, it was shameful, almost, and maybe I thought that because it was Debra who was so comfortable with it, just as she had been about undressing in the hot tub and making us all squirm so early in the game. It was part of a world that was not delicious. A world where the only reason a woman would need to put her mouth on another woman would be to clean up a mess they had made while cooking for their boyfriends at the pool.

Debra had dared to watch a sexy movie when there were no men around, she had dared to undress when there were no men around, and this was perverted because we thought the female body was like a body falling in the proverbial woods and did not exist unless there were men around to hear it remove it's clothing and eventually, it's chastity.

I didn't see two women having sex again for probably a decade, with a few exceptions, like "Wild Things" (Neve Cambell and Denise Richards), which featured some surprising threesomes, but the women were manipulative psycho homicidal bitches and it was clear their relationship to each other was fraught with difficulty and largely for the entertainment of their male friend.

But I saw plenty of heterosexual sex. So much, in fact, that I barely remember any of it, besides "The Basketball Diaries" because I was in love with Leonardo DiCaprio, "Disclosure" because I was with my Dad and "Georgia" because I was with my Mom. In these films, it was the combination of man and woman that set the banal on fire.

I've always been a girl far too influenced by what she saw on TV, and in high school, after my parents' divorce and my father's unexpected death, I sought refuge in hours and hours of "Beverly Hills 90210" and "The Real World." I was captivated by Brenda and Dylan's turbulent romance and Andrea's crush on Brendan--"90210" showed me what my life was supposed to be like, once I grew up and became better looking and got better clothing and grew breasts. I envied Valerie the vixen, dating wholesome blonde Steve and secretly sleeping with the then-troubled David Silver. I envied Kelly, even when she was coked up and dating the sexy painter Colin. I never realized that 90210 was categorized as a nighttime soap-opera for teenagers. I honestly believed that was what life was really like, just not for me--yet. That's what sex and dating was all about.

I am bisexual--I know this now. But for most of my life, the side of me that lusted for women was completely muted by the world around me. If I had been a 100% lesbian, maybe I would have paid more attention to that, maybe I would have had to come out and overcome the stigma and the dogma that told me my stories were unworthy and my heroes were unsexy and I was condemning myself to a gross world of bitchy masculine women who threatened the status quo simply by existing. But I'm not, and so I didn't.

The concept of desiring women was difficult for me because so much of my concept of desire itself was based on what I saw on TV, to a damaging degree. And even moreso than television, it was my culture and my friends that dictated my desires.

There were six girls in that hot tub. Elisa came out as a lesbian at the age of 21, Mirella as a bisexual at 20, Katy as a lesbian at 25, and me sort of dodging the question since I was 16. I didn't actually tell my Mom until about five weeks ago. This is remarkably late for girls who were raised by University professors, listening to Ani DiFranco in our mini-vans in one of the most liberal towns in the country, surrounded by feminists and always accepting of homosexuality. We had gay friends. We were down. We believed in gay rights.

And I wonder if there wasn't something we swallowed about how to desire, how to be sexy, what to want--and then imposed upon each other--that made us take so long to reconcile that it is okay, and even hot, to be with another woman. That politics wasn't enough to make us comfortable with Debra's naked form in the hot tub. That a woman can want and that a woman can deserve pleasure. That sex is still relevant even when there is not a man in the room. That we should desire and not just desire to be desired by a man with testosterone and a tempest of a sex drive succumbing to his biological urge to fuck and be fucked, to touch and be touched. Men make sex acceptable and forgivable and therefore we see it all the time. But women? Make your pancakes! Put on your clothes! No one wants to see you cum. No one wants to see you leak and bleed and cry and cum and love and spill and want. Shut up, open your legs, prepare for the only kind of sex that the MPAA deems acceptable, which is the kind where a man enters you or desires you and you try your very best to give him what he needs.

The sex drive of men is something we are all comfortable with in this country. It's funny and hormonal and slapstick (American Pie), it's potentially uncontrollable, maniacal/homicidal (American Psycho), it is adulterous and it insatiable (American Beauty), it is fun and social (American Graffiti) and it is entrepreneurial (American Gigolo). But women? No. NC-17. XXXX. Stop it with the moaning.

I've always been an outsider. I've always been queer. I've always felt out of the mainstream but somehow always been in the popular crowd at school, like the funny sidekick girl. That means there has never been anything automatic about how I delegated sex and love because I was always pretty sure whatever I was doing was probably wrong, like all of my other feelings were.

So I looked to television, and movies, and my friends, and books, and managed to be simultaneously intelligent, inquisitive, independent and clever and completely at the mercy of pop culture.

What did I see about women alone with other women? Absolutely almost nothing. What I knew of lesbians were the butch soccer coaches and the overweight girls with shaved heads who held hands in the hallway of my alternative high school. I knew my Mother, who came out when I was 15. As an adolescent, clearly I saw my mother as the least sexual creature on earth. So were her girlfriends and her friends who wore (in my cruel teenaged opinion) bad jeans and belts and had hair that was simply short though not in any particular style and they didn't wear makeup and never rocked menswear quite like Shane or Ivan or even Moria/Max--three women who are, in my opinion, all beautiful and masculine and butch and hot.

I saw, eventually, Dr. Weaver on "E.R." She is--at least to me--not hot. At 15, I saw 'All Over Me' (my mother and her crew of lesbian friends were in the back row, I was with my friends near the front, which was more or less an encapsulation of my worst nightmare ever), and I fantasized about that one scene so consistently that when the movie came out on DVD last year and I re-watched it, I was surprised to see that that scene I remembered was actually not a sex scene. They just kissed! But it meant so much more to me than that. I saw "But I'm a Cheerleader." About a hundred times. But this was a campy teen movie, a plot that took place and ended, and it didn't have the engagement that we develop with our television characters.

This is why 'The L Word" changed my life. Here were women who owned their desire. There was no shame. There were no bad haircuts (arguably, there were nothing but bad haircuts, but please go to a dyke bar in Idaho and come back and tell me who has better hair: Shane, Season-Two-Jenny, or the girls from Idaho). There was even a girl--Shane--who fucked with abandon, who disregarded feelings and relationships in the pure pursuit of unadulterated pleasure. These women were rocking their desire.

Sex scenes, it turned out, didn't need men to be worth 30 seconds of screen time. There was enough happening--and enough women and men in the world who wanted to watch--that women could have sex that related to storylines on screen on premium cable and it wasn't porn. It was a story about the lives of women, and these women slept with each other, and that mattered, and that was enough.

Watching it changed everything for me, and that's why I didn't even care that the writing was pretty bad. I just loved seeing these pretty girls on screen who got naked and wanted each other and that it had good ratings and a big fan base and it was like for me the whole world was splitting open.

And now, we are at episode four, and although it's been fun and funny and had some good moments, I can't imagine how we will survive the remaining paltry portions of this show without feeling quite substantially that our desires have been rejected, deemed not worth the time or the film or the commercial dollar.

Just talk, ladies, they are saying. Talk and have friends and fights and emotions. That is what you do best, isn't it?

It is nothing short of tragic that somehow, this year, Ilene and the girls have decided that women once again do not deserve 3 minutes of air time to pant and paw and kiss.

The opening song, which makes us all want to kill ourselves, proclaims that these women are "fucking" and that this is "the way that we live." Where, Ilene, are these allegedly fucking girls? I haven't seen any. Is it 1993? The dykes should make jokes and then get off screen? Sure, they have stories to tell, but why is it suddenly that sex takes place once the camera turns off? You know this is what we want and you are denying us this request. You've already denied us SO MUCH--good dialogue, characters we loved, logical plot-lines, developing characters--and now we don't even get to see the girls FUCKING?!! ILENE?!!!

In her book Appetites, Caroline Knapp writes: "This is, of course a profoundly human stage—the clash between the desire to satisfy appetites and the fear that they may overwhelm us, control us, lead us astray is as old as the story of Adam and Eve—but the female journey across it can be experienced and expressed in particularly painful and confounding ways, women being the gender born and raised on the notion that the female appetite is limited and curtailed to begin with, that female hungers should be reined in, permitted satisfaction in only the most circumscribed, socially sanctioned ways."

We love "The L Word" for embracing the female hungers that are not socially sanctioned--and for increasing the possibility that these female hungers will be socially sanctioned in our lifetime.

So Ilene, please. In the first episode of your show, Bette asks Alice "why are you so convinced that everybody is fucking everybody else?" and Alice answers: "Because they are."

Here's the thing: they aren't anymore.

Give the girlies what they want. Get 'em naked, throw them in a hot tub, and see what comes. You may be, if only in retrospect, surprised by how good it all feels.