Monday, July 30, 2007

Sunday Top Ten: TAGGED

It'd be way cooler if we had to physically tag people for these 8-facts-memes (I don't know what that word means, actually, I just know people toss it around the webbernet like it's candy from babies or whatever). It'd be way way cooler if it was like Flag Football, where you had to wear the little tags on some velcro hooha around your waist and the other kids'd try to yank your pants off? Luckily, I wore long winter underwear (in the winter) and boxer shorts (year round), so no one, unfortunately for them, ever caught a glimpse of my ass via surprise "flooring."

Carlytron obvs tagged me for this 8-random-facts thing. These are the rules:

  1. We have to post these rules before we give you the facts.
  2. Players start with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
  3. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
  4. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
  5. Don't forget to leave them a comment telling them they're tagged, and to read your blog.

This seemed like it'd be super easy, but um, I've already published about 8 million words describing random facts about myself in the most long winded way possible, though usually I try to sugar-coat my self-centered ramblings with "themes" or "universal truths," but this's just like, supposed to be straight up hard core ME.

OK, I just stared at the screen for like, ten minutes. How am I supposed to just write random stuff about myself? I need a theme. "Random" is not a theme. Random is the anti-theme. Seriously, I keep fighting thematic urges. Is "Things I haven't already mentioned 10,000 times" a theme? "Deep dark secrets?" Yeah, As if.

Sunday Top Ten:
Eight Totally Random Facts About Myself! TOTES RANDOM!
and Two Totally Expected Not-Random Facts!

10-8. "You're the worst kind. You think you're low maintenance, but you're actually high maintenance."

I don't really look like I put much effort into my appearance. In fact, it may appear as though I wear the same thing every day and've had essentially the same haircut for ten years.

I get weekly manicures, but I get my nails painted black, and I wouldn't need manicures if I didn't bite off the sides of my fingers like a little rabbit except with fingers instead of carrots. My hair's dyed/highlighted ... but I go way too long between appointments and usually sport ridic roots ...

and I've never had hair longer than shoulder-length. Ever.

9. I don't have my ears pierced ... but I have my bellybutton pierced, and a tattoo on my thigh.

8. All I know about makeup application is how to put on eyeliner so it looks like you just emerged from a beamy sweaty all night rave, but I hate going anywhere w/o eyeliner, even to bed.

My daily wardrobe is really boring, but I really hate going out if I'm not in SERIOUS COSTUME.


7. The Loner's Manifesto

My Mom enforced "Night-Light Time" for me from 8:30-9:30 every weekday evening when I was a kid. This was important time for me to write my girls' sports team novels. She wanted me to learn how to have alone time, but by then I think I was already craving it and needing it regularly, always escaping from crowds to hide in corners, under tables, in bathrooms, on the floor behind potted plants.

Or maybe it's 'cause I don't like other people that much, or I find myself so annoying I'd rather not subject anyone else to my thorough investigation of every item for sale at Forever 21, four-hour missives at Barnes & Noble, sociopathic train habits (book/ipod/etc), lame "work-outs" or whatever.

I used to go see lesbian movies alone, like I was some stealth dyke in a dark veil in the 50's, like Boys Don't Cry, Lost and Delirious, Girl Interrupted (not a lesbian movie, but come on, seriously), but really, I've seen probs 50 movies alone, usually documentaries or indie movies -- my favorite going-alone theatres are Two Boots and the Angelika and I won't do it in the suburbs, only in the city, and I don't like going alone to big-ass theatres with stadium seating and loud noises.

I want to make a joke about that footsteps in the sand poster about walking with G-d, but I won't. But isn't that poster funny? It makes Jesus sound like a stalker.

Um, ha. Ha.

6. I Believe!

Speaking of footprints in the sand or whatevs, I believe in G-d. I just do. I had my Bat Mitzvah, even though they put me in Badass Hebrew Class for all the misfits, where we'd go through a new earnest teacher at a rate of about one per month. Back then, Hebrew School was just a place to get sent to the office and get bad grades, but I took Hebrew again in college 'cause I genuinely wanted to know. So, about four years ago, I was almost fluent in Conversational Hebrew. Now I'm like "Yofi."

I add this as a "random fact" 'cause no one ever expects that I do. After all, I'm cynical and doubting and half-gay, and I curse all the time, and I make jokes about Jesus and I KNOW Evangelical Christianity is the downfall of American society. But I've never ever not believed in G-d. It's just something I've always known and never doubted.

Just to be is a blessing, just to live is holy.
(Abraham Heschel)

For many are the pleasant forms which exist in numerous sins,
and incontinences,
and disgraceful passions,
and fleeting pleasures,
which (men) embrace until they become sober

and go up to their resting place.
(Thunder, Perfect Mind )

5. And Also, I Want to Have Babies.

Never doubted that either. Yesterday, Heart the Dog was all like "Yelp yelp Yelp!" and all up on our shit [Haviland/Carlytron/Riese World Revolution Meeting] and I looked at her and said, deadpan: "Heart. Seriously?" and just gave Heart the stare-down and Heart totally sat down and stopped being a hyperactive urination-station for a minute. Haviland was like: "I can totally see you in the future talking to your kids like that. They'll be like WAAAAA and you'll just look at 'em like 'Seriously? Right now? You're really doing this?' And they'll shut up. You should name your daughter 'Papi' so that you can just be like "Really Papi? Really?" all the time."

That's true. I've never ever not wanted to have babies. It's just something I've always known and never doubted.

I'm pretty sure I wanna be preggers too, though obvs not fat. I'm gonna be doing Yoga with all the lunatics from the Upper East Side. For a while I wanted to adopt, after constructing a huge senior project about orphan crisis resulting from China's One-Child Rule, and maybe I'll do that too.

But um, right now I am still a baby, and clearly cannot conceive of caring for another human 'til I figure out how to care for myself. I'd also like her to emerge fully functional like Dakota Fanning in Uptown Girls or Stewie.

4. Rebel, Rebel

When I remember high school, I remember myself as a well-behaved kid: I got good grades, my teachers usually liked me, I in the smart-kids classes and college-tracked, top o' the class, etc. Howevs , when I really think about it ... maybe I just think I was well behaved 'cause I felt like I knew so many people who were worse. 'Cause the thing is? I was, from time to time, a total bad-ass. I got caught skipping class in public school so I just started going to the nurses's office, having a fake phone convo with the operator/"My Mom," and then walking home. Because public school was boring and kind of the seventh circle of hell, socially, especially coming there straight outta nerd school.

It's way easier to get in trouble at Interlochen/boarding school, 'cause you live there. Thus, all the rules typically enforced by parents are enforced by staff and teachers, who're essentially required to act like the strictest possible parents at all times. So: sneaking boys into my room, sneaking off campus, canoodling with my boyfriend in the woods, snorting Vivran, drinking, smoking, and doing drugs were all breaking serious school rules, not just "laws" and "parental preferences."

By some bizarre unrepeated miracle, the first few weekends of my senior year, my roommate Ashley's Dad came to Traverse City, rented some motel rooms, and invite us all off campus for weekend-long revelries. I've got no clue how we all obtained permission to go--they had insane rules about those things, which's why we had to sneak off campus so often, obvs.

And I needed those weekends, too. It was right before college applications and everything started it's irreversible attack on our sanities, and I missed Ryan (my best friend) like crazy, and so I needed it. I needed dark smoky nights and I needed endless fall mornings with Krista, reading John Kennedy O'Toole out loud to each other, stuffing ourselves with fudge, smoking cigarettes and dissecting our overwhelming angsts over long Bob Evans breakfast feasts. Also, we may or may not've spent a lotta time playing guitar and singing Janis Joplin on the roof.

By the end of the year, every single one of my friends besides Ingrid and I had been suspended, expelled or at least forced to watch the "no smoking" video. How'd we escape punishment? Dumb luck, really. I think I performed an expellation-worthy act at least once a week.

The following video is a taste of our bad-assery (not really, but I only got so much time). In it, you can see Ashley & I on codeine in our dorm room (those're the scenes where I'm in pajama pants and whispering -- RETAINER FULLY ON -- about how if our room were to catch on fire, we'd be "in no capacity to deal with it"), Ingrid (my best friend, we had a very special friendship) and I planning an "alternative" campus tour on the porch of the boy's dorm, me drunk at a motel where Ashley's Dad took us all for the weekend (and my boyfriend making fun of me for being drunk), Krista in the motel, etc. ...

Little Eadie/Ree-Ree: "I'm wearing a lot of clothing because our room is so cold. I'm wearing two pairs of pajama pants. I'm wearing underwear too, of course."

Boarding School Undercover 1998

Add to My Profile | More Videos

3. Rebel, Rebel: First Amendment Activist '99

I did not have any three minute stories. I'm sure that surprises the hell out of you, because this blog is alway so brief 'n snappy. But so, to fill the three minute spot we each got at the Senior Reading, the teachers said: "Read a poem," and I was like "Um, I'd rather play Dolphin Noises on a boom box, naked." So then I wrote a flash-fiction story about this couple waiting in line for a roller coaster, and the girl's pregnant, and he's trying to talk her into riding anyhow:

“They’re not gonna let me on this thing,” she says to him.

He looks at her stomach. “They’ll probably just think you’re really fat. Don’t worry about it.”

She frowns at him. Sweat trickles down along the sides of his red freckled cheeks and then his neck, and she takes a napkin from underneath her left armpit and wipes it along his face, letting the sweat seep through the paper and onto her fingers, and she feels very close to him. She wishes that she weren ’t pregnant so they could still cuddle, wrapped up late at night on his couch, playing Sega. Now, she’s just a fat pregnant girl, ready to give birth to this monster like a Cabbage Patch Kid that'll change their lives completely, forever. She hates it. Her new idea is to pass it off to someone else as soon as it comes out, like a football.

And I read it for the Senior Reading, and it went really well. The last week, "Festival," is readings and performances for all the families/alum/recruiters/etc., including Senior Reading Redux.

I was called into the office by a woman I'll call Twatitude (clearly not one of the two male teachers who loved me. She never loved me enough.), and told my story, which she thought was a really fantastic story, honestly, was inappropriate for the Festival reading. Apparently, it "implied abortion," and they didn't want to deal with "phone calls."

In the following passage, the most offensive passage is highlighted:
“Isn’t it bad for the baby to take it on a rollercoaster? Don’t they have rules like this for a reason?” she asks.

“Nah,” he nods his head. “Nuh-uh. Rules are for pussies. My Mom has all kinds of heart and back problems, and she always takes these things real good.”

“What if this thing kills it?” she says, staring up at the ride, at the screaming kids with their legs dangling. “What if we get flipped upside down, the little cord thing snaps and it falls out and its head rams up against the inside of my stomach, what if that happens?

So, because I am a Professional Person, I cried my eyes out. It was like everything came to head that day: all my panic at the grown-up post-high-school life I was about to start, about leaving the woods, about the fact I'd chosen to stave off adulthood by drastically reducing my food intake. About my fear of leaving the only place in my whole life I'd ever been really happy, purely happy, for a moment or two, the place where I'd met my best friend Ryan who'd saved me from the near-suicidal pit I'd been wallowing in since my Dad died, about leaving my boyfriend John, leaving my best friend Ingrid, leaving Krista, Meg, Sheetal, Delp , everything, everything, everything I'd come to associate with the word "love," and though I was sick of the rules and the insanity I was also scared shitless.

I was happy enough with things that I'd even let myself be happy and I can't say if I've done that before or since: let myself enjoy something without anticipating it's inevitable terrible demise. But Interlochen was safe like that because it had to end, because high school ends, unless you're really dumb, and then you have to go back obvs.

And so that all came to a head when I was told I had to change my story. All the fear/sadness I'd been holding in. Twatitude suggested: "Read an excerpt of a longer piece," and I wailed; "Oh God, excerpts are so fucking lame and you know it," and finally I agreed to read a censored version of the story, which I created and she approved. I missed class that day 'cause I was too upset to go. It was the only time I ever fully skipped class, sans doctor's note, at Interlochen.

But before I left her office when I brought the censored story, I was composed, and reconciled, and I said: "Thank you. I was upset to leave this place, but you've just made me fucking happy to get the hell out of here. I don't want to be here, if this is who we are and what we stand for, or, rather, don't."

But the day of the reading I started freaking out again. I hated the censored story. It was bad. I liked the old one and so did everyone else. I went there not knowing what i was gonna do.

And I didn't know until I got up there and opened my mouth what I'd follow through on--I'd brought the uncensored copy with me too, just in case--that it'd be the "bad" version.

When the story ended, I walked by Twatitude and she wouldn't look me in the eye. She looked away, I dashed past, never to see her again. My favorite teacher hugged me and said "Nice work."

Then I got hands-down totes WASTED and ran into the night.

I graduated. John and I stayed in my Mom's hotel room at the Econo Lodge in Traverse City. We ate donuts and drank milk from the carton in the dark. We knew we were going to break up, because our relationship'd never worked incredibly well anyhow, there was no point in dragging it out long-distance (that was a bad formative breakup experience for me, obvs , as I thought it was possible to break up amicably, to leave no broken hearts). But we did care for each other, and love each other, though we also hated each other, and so he cried and got in his car and left the next morning, and I didn't cry and I got in mine. Then I got home, and I cried.

I hope she got like, ten million phone calls.


2. Other People's Words

I'm obsessed with quotes. I'm fairly convinced someone's already said whatever I'm thinking better than I have, and so I collect and hoard and compile and list and archive and broadcast and memorize. I've memorized a lot of Stephen Dunn. I've catalogued online three seasons of The L Word, every season of Six Feet Under, Ani DiFranco organised by topic and album, movies including Grey Gardens, Six Degrees of Separation, Pump up the Volume, Pretty Persuasion, Fight Club, About a Boy, When Harry Met Sally .. the list goes on. And on. And on.

I underline the fuck out of everything I've ever read -- underlined-to-the-point-of-destruction books include Prep (Curtis Sittinfeld), Wasted (Marya Hornbacher), The Year of Magical Thinking (Joan Didion), Bright Lights Big City (Jay McInerney), Birds in America (Lorrie Moore), Don Quixote (Cervantes), Appetites (Carolyn Knapp) and Demian (Herman Hesse).

I've got stickies all over my desktop just for quotes, currently featuring Michael Cunningham, The Buddha, High Art, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Tegan & Sara, the Bible, Abraham Heschel, Jack Spicer, Kathy Acker, Adrienne Rich and Chris Pureka. I just can't get enough, no, I just can't get enough.

1. BTW, there's this sitcom?

So, Carly and I wrote this sitcom. If you know anyone who is:

1. Rich and wants to fund the filming of our pilot (we have a crew),
2. In development or production, preferably at HBO, FX or Showtime
3. Is a producer who wants to produce it w/your production company or whatever,

Please let us know. Our meeting yesterday w/Haviland was totes exciting, though, and we seriously have a lot of stuff in the works related to this project and others that's gonna be good for all of us. So like, stay tuned, or whatever.

And finally. Now I need to tag some people. I'm trying not to tag people that I think have already been tagged, and kindly resisting tagging a few people that I know Crystal would like me to save for her, because I'm a really, really good friend.

1. Word Verification
2. A Stranger Among Her Own ...
3. SlogreenX
4. Memoirs of the Mundane
5. Tongue-Tied
6. Surplus
7. Why Don't We Get Drunk and Blog?
8. B.S.: Not Just My Initials

Get on it, kids.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

People Made of Paper: What I Learned From The TV #2

i. Auto-Straddle South of Nowhere Recaps:
Why have 10,000 things to do when you can have 10,001 things to do? Beginning August 10th, I'll be recapping The N's South of Nowhere with Carlytron on Auto-Straddle. ["Chase," your attendance is expected. All other NYC-area quasi-lesbian-television-watchers, your attendance is appreciated.] Go to Auto-Straddle for more info on this project, which ideally will take 85% less time than The L Word recaps, otherwise I'll be spending massive amounts of time indoors during my favorite season, autumn, which is significantly more depressing than being trapped by "Papi's Rules of Poker" while winter and its associated discontents rage outside my dark, dark window. Cause I can't be like "Well, who wants to be out there in the blizzard anyhow?" I'll just be like "Lets go play in the leaves and pick pumpkins! I mean, make screencaps!"

ia. Unrelated.
I miss Michigan in the fall. There were always nice leaves and apples, pumpkins, etc. Also, back then, I looked forward to my birthday as each passing year brought me one step closer to additional life privileges. Now I'm like: "Ew. Gross." Or, rather, "What if, for my 25th birthday, I went to Nation and kissed 25 girls ?!" [Haviland's idea, obvs. Holla!] I was clearly really excited about being allowed to rent cars. Also, sidenote: I've matured so much since then. For example, the idea of kissing 26 girls on my 26th birthday is totally unappealing. And, because Nation is Nation, it'd be the same girls, probs. I just want to put this out there: I would like to go to Chuckie Cheese's this year and kiss 25 Skee-Balls. Okay. Feel free to coordinate a planning committee to deliver on this deliverable ASAP [It is a constant struggle to not constantly bust out in HR-speak right now, as I've been doing a lot of HR copywriting over the past week. And should be doing more. Right now.]

ii. The Reading at the KGB Bar.
So, Tuesday night, I did this reading for this book I'm in called "The Bigger, The Better, The Tighter the Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image, and Other Hazards of Being Female." I sat in the back with Cameron and Krista & Pete, and couldn't see anyone, which's funny, because it's an anthology about beauty and body image and I was really honestly curious to match physical selves to writings-about-physical-selves but could not, for the life of me, see through the masses to the readers at the podium.

Howevs, the essays were even funnier out loud, even if coming from ghost voices, and afterwards, a lot of people said nice things to me, and I signed some books [SURREAL!], and verified my social-interaction disability by being like "I thought you were gonna read!" to the editor of the anthology, who actually DID read, and I remember LOLing, but I didn't know it was her, because I couldn't see. I honestly was paying attention, laughing out loud, enjoying all the works. Also I honestly loved her essay in the book, which I actually read. [seriously.]

iii. Another Reading.
If you missed it, here's a surprising chance to redeem yourself: I'm going to be reading something [seriously, I have no idea what and probably won't until approx. an hour beforehand, drunk, and late] at the Young Artists' Lounge at 365 Days/365 Plays, which I was invited to do by the lovely Jaime/Surplus. Once, there was this GLBT blogger gathering Curly McDimple put together, and when Curly asked if I knew any other queer bloggers to invite, I suggested Jaime even though she's not a lesbian. That was one of the highlights of my career/bad habit in bloggetry.

iv. Chronologically, we are now returning to Tuesday night, the night of The Reading at the KGB Bar.
Afterwards: Carlytron missed the next train to Jersey, Borders was closed, and thus, we settled to do a few laps around the squares loosely defined as Manhattan's Inferno (Penn Station and it's environs). It was, actually, a perfectly temperate night, though the streets were cluttered with kids heading back to various pockets of Jersey to upload their new city-outing SUMMER BREAK '07 photos to facebook ...

Carly: "I love television, and I'm not ashamed to admit it."
Me [genuine]: "I admire that."

And then I thought about writing this segment, and how it is, indeed, frowned/scowled upon to say: "I learned stuff from the TV!" because on so many levels, especially for children, it's a damaging, world-destroying medium. But it's not, often, the shows themselves that are inherently damaging as it is the way in which they're presented and scheduled and often surrounded by/infused with advertising, bizarre promos, randomly inserted news clips, etc. [I've already talked about this like, 100 times, don't worry, I'm stopping. No rants against the miserable state of the universe today. Happiness! Light!]

I thought, maybe I should do "What I Learned From Books," just to be sure I'm still smart. Then I was like, oh, BFD, um, I learned EVERYTHING from books. That's like writing "What Nutrients I've Consumed From Food!" Then I felt better about myself because I put everything into perspective. But also: I realized I am not smart.

Like this is where I learned things:

50%=Actual Life
5%=Everything Else

v. What I Learned From the TV, Part Two

The Real World:

On The Real World I learned that pretty girls get their hearts broken, too. I was plagued with fairly severe Insecurity as a pre-teen, and remained convinced well into my teens that all circumstances surrounding my "love life" (my term, then), popularity, ability to make friends and overall success in Middle School were directly correlated to my [real or imagined] decline in physical attractiveness. Somehow, seeing the pretty girls on that show get rejected or be subject to adversity, I was like, Oh, pretty girls have bad things happen, too. Pretty girls are not happy, either.

It was validation, in a way, our first example of how "real" people "lived" in a visual sense. We've always been able to read about the lives of others, but those are controlled narratives--controlled, generally, by the writer themselves. [Like this! Holla!] But this show was different ... it was all the worst bits of us clashed against other bad bits of other sorta-good people and then sliced together like intersecting razorblades, an ingenious social experiment. I mean, seriously, you pick seven strangers to live in a house together: the naive Midwesterner, the tattooed rebel, the Angry Black Man, the moody spoiled musician, the beautiful ambitionless blondes ... this was before the Internet, even, before it was easy enough for a gay man in Idaho to discover there were other gay men in the world just by turning on his PC.

It was before ignorance became criminal rather than circumstantial.

Now we're over it; practiced, complacent, numb. But once upon a time, it felt like people were getting real: like a sophisticated voyeurism, one which transcended the narrative determined by the specified scope of a documentary film or TV program, because it had no purpose besides the immediate validity of everyday life. Now it's The Real World: Gammorha. It's like they just pick people who're likely to get drunk and make out in a hot tub. Is that actually interesting? I can't sit through it. The people get less and less interesting, more clear-skinned, hornier, drunker, less "real." [If they are real, that sucks, I quit.]

Of course, I woulda loved to see what it's like to have a conversation with a stranger surrounding by television cameras and a boom -- I think it's the people around them who actually prevented "reality." The person being followed by the camera, unable to acknowledge it's existence, incorporates it into reality eventually. But to those who are not around it and suddenly become so, their actions are, if anything, the opposite of real.

Also that parody they did of it on Dave Chapelle was like, one of the top 10 comedy sketches ever.

Also, I loved Jacinda. She was like fluffy candy packed together in the shape of a pretty girl in a shimmery scarf. I also loved Dan in Miami and Norm from New York. Elka was beautiful and I cried my eyes out when she went to visit her mother's grave. When Tami got an abortion in LA, I was like, note to self: do not get preggers.

We got addicted to London and wanted to be on it, wanted to live in London with an edgy boyfriend like Neil. Wanted to be Jacinda, god, wanted to be Jacinda, wanted to sleep with Jacinda, wake up with Jacinda and her cute accent. Would've given anything. I thought about London all the time, when I wasn't thinking about New York, or what'd it be like to die. I liked that it was rainy all the time, even. I plotted my escape constantly.

Boston was my favorite season. I think Genesis was the first femme lesbian I ever knew of, really. Remember how that guy's girlfriend's name was TIMBER? I'm gonna name my first daughter TIMBER and then have another kid and name it PAUL BUNYAN.


Reality TV was like what we had before the Internet to see what it was like to be someone else when not reading a script, and a way to see it immediately, beamed into your space, in a way books can't be because you have to go out of your space to retrieve it, and then select it. The TV comes to you when you want it, and I feel often that's more of an effect on it's appeal than anything about visuals. Because clearly people can and do read, we read voraciously online. We read online because we're used to television: to getting the exact content we want without getting off our lazy butts. Actually my butt is not lazy, so really I'm talking about most people, not special people like me.

My So-Called Life:

They did the literary name drop all the time; Shakespeare's Sonnet CXIII was the most memorable. This's the first time Jordan Catalano ever participates in class, because he totes knows why Shakespeare's mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun. Actually, Brian knows ["She's not just a fantasy. She's got flaws. She's real."] but Jordan takes a break from his illiteracy when the teacher inquires: "So, Shakespeare's not in love with her?" Jordan's like: "Yeah. He is." There's some grammatical subject-agreement issues with Jordan's response, regardless of meaning, but still, it's like, really romantic, like when someone looks into your eyes and sees straight into your soul. I re-created this scene in every screenplay/teleplay I wrote as an adolescent, using other works of literature in class discussion to bash my audience over the head with my point and sound smart, like I read books.

Here's an example from my screenplay, "High on Life," a thinly veiled dramatization of the actual relationship between a boy I had a crush on and a girl I had a crush on. He was "troubled": did drugs, skipped class, etc. His girlfriend didn't know how to help him. Life is rough for upper middle class white kids in cushy liberal Midwestern college towns, you know?


MRS. MEIR: How do you think Ismene feels? Heather?

HEATHER: I don't know. Scared?

MRS. MIER: Sort of ... Anna?

ANNA: She kind of feels like, helpless. She knows what's gonna happen to Antigone--but it's like, she can't do anything, or talk to anyone about it, 'cause no one can find out about it.

Even Kyle is quiet now. Everyone is listening. Her friends understand what she's really talking about.

ANNA: Because if someone found out, she knows that'd be like a death sentence for her sister, and she loves her sister a lot and doesn't want her to get into trouble. But her sister is just being so--stupid! She doesn't understand the consequences--well, she knows them, she just doesn't think they like, apply to her. She thinks that it'll be okay, that it's worth it. And Ismene just has to stand by ... and watch her sister go down.

MRS. MEIR: Excellent Anna, excellent.

There is silence in the classroom.

Deep, huh?

My So-Called Life also used Our Town beautifully; it still makes me cry sort of. And it was when my BFF and I were on the outs, and we'd been in Our Town together, I was the stage manager and she was Mrs. Soames.

Queer as Folk:

I used to wish I was a gay man. I don't know why, really. I think I just liked their style. I'd get jealous if I watched movies or TV shows about gay guys because it'd just make me wish I was one, and I couldn't be, which's totes annoying.

I know I'd find Brian Kinney less hot if he was straight, I'd find that dance scene ending Season One less romantic, less Top-Ten-Best-Scenes-Ever-Worthy. In fact, I'd probs find him chauvinistic and unkind, but it's so much different without the inherent power dynamics of heterosexual relationships, the centuries of unkindness between the sexes that erupt under the lights of a relationship, no matter how brief. [Disclaimer: I don't think I'm right or anyone else should think this. It's just how I feel about it. Today.]

Queer sex is hot. Maybe it's 'cause we're bombarded with so much explicit heterosexual imagery that I've become numb and bored of it, maybe it's that I've just come to find the process of creating sexual energy without the inherent biological puzzle-pieces offered by man/woman much more compelling, but given the choice, I'd hands down totes prefer to watch a man-on-man sex scene than a woman-on-man sex scene. It's transgression; it's deviation, it's Tina's special secret club and it's back rooms and it's largely unexploited at this point, if you don't seek it out.

Or, even if you do: it's paltry, it's insufficient, it's the tip of ten thousand superior icebergs.

Or else it's just hot, that's all. It's still fun and fresh, which's rare on teevee now.

When I watched QAF I didn't want to date Brian Kinney. I wanted to be a boy and date Brian Kinney. I was about to write: "He'd probably break my heart," but no one ever thinks that'll be them, that guy with the broken heart, right? You're going to change Brian Kinney. You'll be the one to break Jordan Catalano or Shane or Brian Kinney right open; and you can't do that simply by getting them literally naked, because we all know they'll do that for anyone. Maybe that willingness for physical revelation is what makes the illusive, walled-off interior so much more appealing. It's our least logical, most destructive selves that convinces us to pine for hearts like Brian Kinney's: hearts fit for deviant art.

But maybe that should be enough? Just the company, sans expectation.

"We are gasping, quiet, in the dark, and then the wash of violet and night tornadoes through my legs and up behind my eyes, plumbs and spirals my spine, and I know if I can keep feeling like this I'll be okay, if I can feel like this I'm not dead, I won't die. Life is sad. Here is someone."
(Lorrie Moore, Anagrams)
life is sad. here is someone.

But no one ever really changes, not for long, right? You can't change people. But people change me all the time. I think that's because I don't know who I am, or, maybe, because I don't like who I am a lot of the time -- otherwise I'd be more firm, probs, about keeping myself intact. Consequently, I tend to think I can change people, too. Don't we all want to get better? As people? I mean, isn't that the point?

Isn't that why we tell these stories? Because we like character development? We want to see people develop? Evolve? We are static, physically, glued to couches to watch stories which're all, really, transformation stories, and then we're hopeful that one day we, too, will break into blossom, will resolve the disaparity between our faltering egos and our wild, ambitious capes, flapping aimlessly behind us while we fly blindly, straining away? I still believe that--dumbly or because I have to in order to go on--that we can and will change, that we want to get along, that we're not stubborn, judgmental, stagnant, that we want to make each other happy. That we've not become too self-centered as a human species to ever truly create relationships of all kinds with other humans, to be selfless, to believe in the radical idea that someone else might have a better idea, that judgment is tricky business because everything's relative ...

I didn't learn that on teevee. I just made it up.


... Once upon a time there lived a girl. She slept in a lovely little cottage made of gingerbread and candy. She was always asleep. One morning she woke up and the candy had mold on it. Her father blew her a kiss and the house fell down. She realized she was lost. She found herself walking down a crowded street, but the people were made of paper, like paper dolls. She blew everyone a kiss goodbye and watched as they blew away ...

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Sunday Top Ten: We've Got Trees We've Yet To Live In

My favorite part of doing things is the part before you start doing the thing, where you can just think about how great the thing'll be. This takes many forms: a manic anti-inertia writing-spree with my little notebook on the subway, light bulbs turning on and then exploding in my head like stubborn shooting stars, or sitting with stacks of books or magazines at Barnes & Noble, pouring over a promising title like The Well-Fed Writer or a magazine I want to write for, convinced I've unlocked The Secret: then I'll get home and sit down at my MacBook and um ... check my email. Then I'm like, "Hm, maybe I should have dinner ..."

Last week: THREE projects which could've remained strictly in conceptual stages made advancements. It helps that they involved other people, because I bet there's a mathematical formula about that. Like if you combine two people generally with big dreams and little time/follow-through, it equals one very motivated human. You've gotta convince your Other that you're reliable, in order to look like a worthy partner/employee/manager/whatever. And it's just someone else to keep you on task, edit your "Yee-haws!," etc.

Also, we've got this post-cruise energy thing. Every text Haviland's sent me this week has included at least sixteen exclamation points and/or one motivational statement and/or a word in all caps, like "AMAZ" or "HOT"! (!!!!!)

Life feels strange, almost like school, where we'd get assignments, and then we'd have to do them. Especially group projects. JK, I always did those myself. I didn't trust those randoms with my multi-media projects. Plus, all the popular girls'd wanna work with me because I made such hot videos and got good grades for everyone, which worked out well for me, 'cause then I could be around them.

Today I will look at some of the things I lost along the way: those uncompleted projects. There're so many of these, really, that my mind almost exploded just thinking about it. I'll probably revisit this topic at a later date, because I'm sure it's really super-compelling: I mean, if it's not fun enough to read me ramble about things I HAVE done, just imagine how interesting it is to read me talk about all the things I HAVEN'T! (Not at all). All the things I wanted to go to school for (media studies, web design, Reiki)! All the bizarre things I attempted to organize as a child (charities, eco -action groups, street fair, magazine, 'zine, film festival, radio show, theatrical productions, etc.)! All the career paths/temporary jobs I suddenly lost interest in/abandoned (camp counselor, model, waitress, Jell-O shot girl, grant writer)! Oh, the Places You Will Never Ever Go!

(limited to recent history, lest this list spiral out of control, like life itself is wont to do)

10. "I'm Gonna be A Book Packager/Ghostwriter Thing!" : The Gossip Girl Phase

I pick up voice fast, almost too fast. I start reading someone I admire and I start writing like them, it's like taking a shot of Raymond Carver instead of vodka, then right after reading I've got this buzz. I can get drunk off a writer, a good one, if I've got a lot of long train rides. I'll start thinking like them, a little, their voice invades my brainspace and refuses to leave 'til the book ends. Maggie Estep shoots me up with poetic perverted instinct, her and Mary Gaitskill both ignore dirt by speaking explicitly no matter what the vocabulary, by being hard and gross but sort of honest about the deepest most deviant but really earnestly beautiful pit of us. Lorrie Moore sucks me inside of me, sarcastically but plainly and naked too, builds stronger and funnier walls around my self-preservation and/or vulnerability. She makes me desperately unique, alone, unable to communicate with men at all whatsoever, filled with private thoughts and bitingly witty/astute judgments. Marya Hornbacher made me stop eating, John Marsden lifted me out of high school and into another universe where I floated through hallways and meditated apocalypse or something to get me out of my own life, anything, Pam Houston makes me miss wide open spaces, mountains and men with skills, Tama Janowitz glazes my eyes over with sharp stupidity, she makes me tilt my head and say strange things to make normal plain people uncomfortable, wear costumes as assault ... the dozens of lesbian essay collections I've digested this past year rewrite my history in my head, they transform my memories into memories of always wanting women, which is true, too.

So I had this idea, upon reading a New York Magazine/[redacted] article about Gossip Girl, that I would become a ghostwriter for Gossip Girl. Like many YA series once they get big, the author just writes outlines, and then book packagers write the content itself. All I had to do was get the voice into my head and then write a sample chapter and send it off, I read all about it, and I was pretty certain that book packaging was my real destiny, due to my talent w/picking up voices. Then Don [owns my agency] told me it was a really bad deal because you only get like $4,000 a book, and the authors at our agency who did book packaging deals weren't always pleased with it [they've done a lot of TV tie-in books, like Star Trek, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, etc.] I was like, Dude, I will totally take that!" I see now what he meant, about ratio of time/money/recognition. But seriously, $4,000 is a lot of money! How long could it possibly take? Also! It could be fun.

So I read like, seven Gossip Girl books. My mind was all like "Welcome to New York City's Upper East Side, where my friends and I all live in huge, fabulous apartments and go to exclusive single-sex private schools. We aren't always the nicest people in the world, but we make up for it in looks and taste."

Then I sort of told myself I needed to wait for the next one to come out to really get moving on it. That was August of 2005.

Number 9 Interlude:

I la-la-la-love the planing stage. Like reading Get a Freelance Life or studying for the SATs to become a Kaplan Tutor. In preparation for a never-executed lit-mag blitzrkrieg, I created a ridic database of literary journals listed by prestige, payment, submission periods, and formats accepted, and supported the lit-journal industry by buying like, hundreds of them.

8. The Next Play

My senior year of high school, Krista directed "Familyland," a one-act I'd written. That was the best night of my life: incredible cast, a roomful of people laughing at my jokes ... I was all gung-ho about playwriting . Unfortunately, theatrical genius hasn't really struck since then. In '04, Krista started badgering me to come up with something new; she was starting a new job where she'd be in a position to get my work produced, if it was worthy. So, fast-forward to the night before Krista leaves for the summer of '05 [my play-completion deadline]: I had nothin'. So, as she packed and Pete made jokes, I wrote a 96-page play in about ten hours.

Two weeks later, when Krista and I were traveling cross-country together (long story), sitting in Denver in the Amtrak station, having completed every question on Trivia Machine and needing new entertainment: Krista pulled it out, and set it on her lap, and began:"'Well ... I really loved the character descriptions! I was so hopeful for the rest of the play!" That's totes not a good sign at all. These are those character descriptions:
CRYSTAL JONES, 18: Looks as though her clothes no longer fit properly. Awkward, plays with her chin-length blonde hair a lot. Blue eyeshadow. Medium height, mostly plain looking with a hint of cherub beauty. Wants to be a stage makeup artist.

DR. JEB JONES, 48: Gynecologist, specializing in giving birth and fertility treatments. Pro-Life. Tall, white beard, Donald Sutherland-type. Polite but angry. Liable to burst. Stoic exterior, creepy interior.

BARBARA JONES, 40: Stunned into persistent silence. Painfully nice. Enjoys crafts, always makes too much for dinner. Hopelessly codependent.

MIKE JONES, 17: Shoulder-length hair. Self-conscious. A bit tall for his age. Plays a lot of pool in the basement, drinks a lot of flavored cola. Wants some ass.

RICKY, 17: Crystal’s best friend. Gay. Thin, good-looking, puts a lot of gel in his hair. Hasn’t yet figured out how to make it through. Wants to be a model.

DEVON, 19: Swedish exchange student. Kind, the airs of someone who is well-traveled and well-read but never makes a point of it. Non-judgmental. Wears glasses.
It was all downhill from there. We discussed revisions. Which I never did. Because I am retarded.

7. On the subject of theater ... My So-Called Life, The Play

I was pretty convinced that this was the most brilliant idea I'd ever had. So I wrote 46 pages of "My So-Called Grown Up Life" in the car as we drove to Vermont for New Years Eve and was like: "Haviland Stillwell: this is the best play ever written." It was the cast all grown up. Brill.

Then we all read through it and everyone who knew the show thought it was really fun and funny, but Hav was like Riese, really? Because of like, copyright, and plays don't make money, I shouldn't put all my energy into something so futile, and this and that. I was like, silly, that sounds like the perfect project for me then! JK, I was like. Oh.

Here are those character descriptions:

ANGELA CHASE, 27 – Author of the New York Times bestselling book "Getting Out Alive: How To Save Our Adolescent Girls," psychologist and public speaker. Despite this, she still tugs at her sleeves and often avoids networking parties. Has resolved to practice what she preaches for the past two New Years. Married to Brian.

BRIAN KRAKOW, 27 – Began as a development intern at after his third year at Brown and now serves as Chief Design Director. Most of his friends are still in coffee shops, plotting The Revolution. Secretly wishes Angela was more of the barefoot-and-pregnant type.

RAYANNE RAYMOND, 28 – Completely out of control, possibly on a downward spiral. Recently divorced, recently disheveled, often drunk/drugged but surprisingly functional nonetheless. If she knew what a Peter Pan complex was, she might know that she was developing one.

JORDAN CATALANO, 29 – Blue-eyed and beautiful, still makes 15-year-old girls melt when he mops the floors of their private college prep high school. Veteran of "Operation Enduring Freedom," honorably discharged after two months of service when he lost two fingers in his left hand.

Then, we decided to dress up in the O'Donnell children's snowsuits, pull out their props, and take photographs of ourselves. So that was that project.

Number 6 Interlude

Most've my memories of great ambitious projects which I eventually abandoned are from the Spanish Harlem apartment. I had a lot of misdirected ambition then. I didn't even start this blog 'til I moved to Williamsburg (which continued when I moved to West Harlem, obvs). While living in Spanish Harlem, Matty [my friend I met at a CAKE party who lived across the street] decided we were going to:
1. Start a business collecting cans in a truck that doubled as a can-deposit-center. Use this money to "teach kids to build birdhouses."
2. Buy old buildings [with non-existent start up] and fix them.
3. Start selling pot brownies from his kitchen.

I honestly fully embraced, researched and considered all of those options. There are diagrams.

This was our temporary can collection vehicle. Here, he's putting the doors and roof back on, since it was night and we were done stopping every ten seconds to leap out and get cans he's spotted.

What lesson did I learn from that? Kiddos, don't do drugs. If you do, someone might try to talk you into selling pot brownies from their kitchen and driving out to the beach stopping every five seconds to pick up cans.

5. Gimme an M! Gimme an F! Gimme an AAAA!!

On my last day of class at the University of Michigan, I remember telling everyone: "This's my last day of class, ever." And everyone was like, well, what if you go to graduate school? And I somehow just knew I wouldn't. I don't know why. Maybe it's 'cause I'd spent all my money already on going to school, and didn't think I could handle the stress of finances and school at the same time,which'd mean I'd need a career first, which'd mean I'd probably lose interest 'cause I'd be so ridiculously successful already. (HA!!!!)

But my writing teacher'd told me: "Don't pay for an M.F.A. program. They should give you a full scholarship." I sent out for pamphlets. I was thinking of myself in Iowa City, looking serious but wearing a hoodie. I was imagining living in a sort of faux -bohemian apartment studio with some sort of dark hot androgynous girl in a white v-neck t-shirt who was a Fantastic Creator of Art of Some Format and had all kinds of secret skills. It'd be Iowa City, but it'd be cozy and perfect and I'd become a Great Writer who maybe lost a little voice but gained an ability to choose words properly when I'd re-find it, back in a more hard-core city, a few years later. But then what if the other kids were really annoying or something? It's like, a twelve person workshop.

Anyhow: I've got lists. Rankings. Books. Pamphlets. Really obviously I just like reading material about things I COULD do with my life, rather than the actual act of doing these things.

Number 4 Interlude: Website

Areas of my website I keep thinking I'm going to update any minute now: The L Word Season Four Quotes, add some fiction to the "Fiction" area of the website (All I've done so far is change it from saying: "This page, like life itself, is a work in progress" to "Though this entire site is 'in progress,' this page is especially so"), creating an overall design that doesn't make me want to pull my hair out every time I see it (w/o using HTML editor or a web designer), add recent stuff/links, add new movie quotes, add book quotes because the book quote page was so aesthetically irritating to me that I had to take it down, create a "cast of characters" page for my blog, update my links, write that Season Four Auto-Straddle Round-Up I said I was going to write, and wow. So many things. I could go on, but this I think is mostly for my own reference.

Number 3 Interlude: Sign Up Now!

I wish the Internet had existed back when my insomnia was really bad, like in the 90s. Then, instead of watching Undressed marathons on Volume Level "4" [a.k.a.: requiring closed captioning, but preventing my Mother from getting pissed at me], I coulda spent all night joining various web-communities, beginning my profile/database/creative content/great moneymaking idea, and then never signing on again. I've got half-assed membership all over the goddamn Internet. The best are the ones that make you register every single book you've read in your life, which I love doing, 'cause I get to think about all my books, but it takes forever and you keep thinking of more. It's like that scene in The Phantom Tollbooth where they want the kids to fill a lake with an eyedropper. I've also started and never regularly updated profiles at a million photo-sharing sites and various writerly places.

Sites I've joined, half-assedly, and set up a profile/presence/registration of some sort, never to truly follow up again: flickr, library thing, all consuming, onemodelplace, goodreads,, technorati, youtube,, etsy, shutterfly, cafe-press, and so on. And so on. Could go on forever. Won't.

2. Novel Ideas

I've started about 10,000 novels I never finished. I even have a folder called "Big Ideas," which is code for "Things You'll Probs Not Finish." A doc labeled "Great American Novel" (HA!) (81 pages). "Memoir" (written in 2001, 219 pages). The best was the YA novel, "For a Girl" (118 pages). I was totally into the YA Novel when I decided to write "my book." You know, that book I keep talking about? The one I'm allegedly writing? Right! That [the moment I gave up YA novel to pursue My Book] was an embarrassingly long time ago. Like, wow. Hang on BRB I'm going to go clamp a mousetrap on my ear and stick my finger in the toaster.

1. The Cruise Video

I stopped myself this time. I was like "Are you really seriously Riese going to spend hours and hours editing a video of you, Heather and Haviland talking to yourselves? Could anyone possibly find this entertaining?" Then I thought to myself: "Obvs/No way." So it's totally uncompleted, unimpressive, and I'll never make it snazzy. But that's okay, I'm learning all about time management.

Some notes about this video:
1. I copied some clips really quickly from Haviland's camera yesterday. She wasn't at home or anything, but I have keys, because we're weirdos. Anyhow I had to jet back uptown, so it's pretty random what I uploaded, and I couldn't go back and get different clips when I was doing the editing, per ush, so this's just what it is.
2. Because Carly and I are obsessed with the confidentiality of our concept, I've only included three super-brief snippets from the reading, so as to not really give anything away or really show anything besides that we did it. The people with music stands in front of a red wall: that's the reading.
3. That muppet is me.
4. Heather and I are, sometimes, intoxicated. We're really good at keeping our cool though, obvs. She's the one talking when I'm on their balcony.
5. UPDATE: I just watched it and decided it's totes entertaining. Seriously!

RFamily Cruise 2007

Add to My Profile | More Videos

Okay also: I'm doing this reading on Tuesday [see sidebar] at the KGB Bar. 7pm. Be there.

Also my roommate Ryan is gonna be on Guiding Light on Tuesday! He's a waiter, and he's never even waited tables in real life, that's how awesome he is at acting! He's in a few episodes, so this's only the beginning of the glory.

Friday, July 20, 2007

The More You Know: What I Learned From The TV

A long long time ago, I wrote a blog about esotericism in popular television, and then it got erased by zoho writer. You may remember this, as my reaction was severe, really only comparable to the "Great RISK Fiasco of 1989," when, after two weeks of nightly Risk-playing with my brother Lewis and our father, I took over Ukraine and Lewis reacted by lifting the board and dumping all it's contents onto the stairway. [He was on the stairway because he'd run there during his fit of hysterics.]

So, after zoho writer erased my work and I transitioned from denial to hysteria, I called my then-girlfriend, who told me about this short story she'd written that got erased and how when she re-wrote it, it was the best story she'd ever written. I believe my reaction to that was a high-pitched wail or something like "No, I'm not re-writing it, it'll never be good again." Mostly because I'd done a lot of research for some inane reason. Sometimes I get on these research kicks. It's weird/awesome/wastes my life away.

The funny thing is, actually, she ended up being right, but in a roundabout kind of way: the story I ended up re-writing was kinda [cue violin swell, then transition into Tegan & Sara "Dark Come Soon"] the story of MY LIFE. I solicited my readers to tell me their worst computer-crash stories to make me feel better, even/especially if they never ever usually commented, and I'd make it into a Top Ten, and then all these readers came out of the woodwork and most of them stuck around, which's awesome/AWESOME. AND one of them was my now writing partner, Carly, with whom I just finished (a possibly final) draft of the pilot. It is really good now. I mean, we thought it was good before, but we were wrong, NOW it is good.

Anyhow: I told myself, one day, when I don't know what to write about, I'll attempt to re-create that post. But I still don't really want to do that.

Howevs, I decided to unearth it and see what I could gleam. I have a printout of an early draft of the blog from about 12 hours before it was destructed forever, which I'd brought to the ex-GF during visiting hours for her copy-edits. I'm looking at that now. It's peppered by her handwriting, red ink: circles around misspellings, carrots removing unnecessary hyphens, corrections of it's/its, #s, the scribbled words "suspension of disbelief," "disconnect," "allusions," "Thomas Pynchon (bag over head)." What did we talk about that day? (I remember, of course: it was one of the best conversations we've ever had. Sometimes, I am still sad. Sometimes it is not as easy as I say it is to be happy.)

Anyhow Part Two: This all relates. Carly and I are writing a TV show. I was watching a montage of L Word clips on a friend's myspace the other day and thinking how these characters are a part of my life and how magic it'd be if one day our characters were a part of your lives. Then I thought about how I have learned things from television, every now and then, and I'm not just talking about Sesame Street, Square One or Loveline.

I think the best television writers are also artists/educators, not just comedians/entertainers. Usually they're smarter than their shows imply [unless it is Alan Ball, Aaron Sorkin or Jim Henson, they have smart shows]. That's why TV writers're always dropping allusions to high art, to remind us of their literacy. Nietzsche must've done a triple-somersault in his grave, Mary Lou Retton style, when Jenny Schecter announced on The L Word that her story, "Thus Spoke Sara Schuster" had been published in The Best American Short Stories [Totally impossible, unless the guest editor was Ryan Seacrest or a chimpanzee.] Later, this became just one element of the glory which is Jenny's on-screen literary career, which is one of many reasons why I heart The L Word and it's strange little world of magic and make-believe.


There was a great "This American Life" called "What I Learned from TV." In it, Ira Glass referenced an episode of The O.C. [which was basically, in terms of learning things from TV, American Bandstand for Young Male Musicians with Faux Bed Head and Feelings] which referenced This American Life! I think it was when Seth had that girl over, the snotty one, and Summer was like "Who's there, I hear a voice," and Seth says it's "This American Life" and Summer says: "Is that that show by those hipster know-it-alls who talk about how fascinating ordinary people are?"

How super-duper-meta, right? Anyhow Ira loves that show. I love Ira. See how I did that? See how I brought that back around? To LOVE?


These are some of the things I've garnered from the Evil Box. This might be a regular feature, which I will return to frequently, like I do with the "Carousel of Progress" (which I will return to, seriously). Because I've learned a lot of things, obvs. Usually I learn better without commercials, or watching shows on DVDs. I find promos to be a bit frightening sometimes. Like when they're like "Kathy Griffin hits HARD TIMES!" and she's crying like her Dad is dying? And then all these graphics are like bang bang bang "Seee what happens when life isn't SO FUNNY ANYMORE!" boom-boom-bup-bop-ding! Kathy Griffin! Like, whoa. Not cool! [I love her show though, sidenote. Carly you should edit their promos so that kinda stuff doesn't happen.]


The L Word:

"You need to watch The L Word," Becky told me. Becky wore $80 sweatpants and had a waterfall in the backyard of her Westchester home; she was a brilliant photographer and an A-E-Phi and my best friend at University of Michigan and she was really into television and was one of the only girls I knew that'd never kissed another girl. She was the one who told me to watch Six Feet Under, so when she recommended The L Word--which I'd heard of, vaguely, but hadn't really considered watching, because I generally avoided anything that might make me want to be a lesbian, I knew it was: 1) probs a good recommendation, 2) appealing to heterosexuals as well as homosexuals.

So fast forward to December of 2004, New York City: I'd just joined Netflix. I ordered the Season One DVDs. I watched. I had a boyfriend. I kept rewinding to the scene where they try to figure out if Lara is gay, and the one where Shane's wearing the hoodie and talking to Tammie Lynn and says "You have a lot of feelings." I kept rewinding. I called Krista: "You have to come home right now. There is this girl on this television show, and I think I'm in love with her. It feels very real. She is unlike anyone I've seen before, male or female, she is perfect human, we are in love, we have a lot of feelings, you must come home and watch." And I showed her and she sat down on the ground in a heap of scarf and skirt and said "Oh, Ris, you're right." (She spelled it "Ris," and was the first person to call me that. It's pronounced "Riese" though.) "Ris, she's beautiful. Okay, rewind that scene again." (Krista is straight.)

And for a week we put red envelopes in the mail, received new ones, watched the whole season in four days, thanks to a speedy Netflix turnaround. When Shane told Cherie: You entire life, people have said that...I would become a psychopath if I don't learn how to feel. But I wanna know, Cherie, what the fuck is so great about feeling? Because I finally let myself. And I feel like my heart's been completely ripped out. I remember feeling specific and sad and I realized a good first step towards learning how to feel would probably be to admit I like girls, or something. I don't mean as a lesbian, though that's a part of it: that I liked spending time with other girls, something I'd forgotten in my string of boyfriends and co-workers and my boyfriends' friends, always against girls in some way rather than with them/for them. Anyway. Yeah, it was just part of a lot of thoughts I was having then.

I just looked through my old livejournal to find this conversation I had with Jeremiah [I'd give him a code name to protect him, but, as a member of the NYPD who had no interest in helping me when I was being threatened, I'm not really into protecting him right now, I mean, hello, totes paradox!] when I made my screensaver entirely pictures of Shane. [Sidenote: There's so many LJ entries right when we broke up when I talk about how I think relationships are "bunk" and how I have no feelings and how I was sorry that I'd broken his heart: "He wants to have babies. I want to be a baby. Well, a 23 year old baby," and that "no man is an island. except me," and "I'm bloody Ibiza!" I've totally matured like, not at all since then.] Anyhow:

Conversation with my Then-Boyfriend. January 3rd, 2005:

Him (points to screensaver): Who's that?
Me: Shane.
Him: Shane?
Me: Shane, from The L Word. she's hot.
Him: The L Word is about lesbians, right?
Me: Yeah. She's hot.
Him: You're attracted to her?
Me: Absolutely.
Him: I don't find her attractive at all.
Me: You really should see her in the show. You need to see her talk.
Him: You mean "hear" her talk. You can't see someone talk.
Me: You need to see her while she is talking. it's like--the way she moves, and acts, it's like--everything. It's like pure sex.
Him: Would you have sex with her?
Me: Oh yeah.
Him: So are you like, totally bisexual?
Me: Haven't we discussed this already?
Him: Yeah, well, i know you've been with girls, but i thought you said you liked men better.
Me: I do like men better. [UPDATE, 7/19/06: I was lying.]
Him: Do you think you could go the rest of your life without having sex with another woman?
Me: What exactly do you mean by 'having sex'?
Him: Never mind. I got my answer. Let's talk about something else.

The West Wing:

When I've been writing for too long and my brain hurts, I turn out all the lights and lie on my bed and listen to Ave Maria over and over. Time slows down and G-d feels tangible and my body cools. Then I can sit back down, turn on Firefox, go to my google home page, see the CNN headlines, and remember that George W. Bush is president, not Josiah Bartlett. Then I go stick my head in the oven.

Also: On steamy afternoons when New York's beat me senseless and I feel I've spent my entire life transversing subway tunnels, one station to another, walking to transfer, transfer, beaten by crowds/smoke and instead of touching people I love [Once I believed if I held on to her tightly enough for long enough, we'd become the same person], I am feeling strangers and their big purses and beer breath and tampons/cosmetics/mass-market paperbacks and so I listen to "Ave Maria" on repeat on my ipod, and then everything slows down and I can step away a little.

The first time that song struck me as something I needed in my earbuds a lot was when I heard it on The West Wing. I actually learned a lot about world politics from that show. Seriously.

"I was watching a television program before, with a kind of roving moderator who spoke to a seated panel of young women who were having some sort of problem with their boyfriends -- apparently, because the boyfriends had all slept with the girlfriends' mothers. And they brought the boyfriends out, and they fought, right there on television. Toby, tell me: these people don't vote, do they?"
-Josiah Bartlett, The West Wing

The 'Issac and Ishmael' episode after 9-11? Amazing. So many things amazing on that show. I can't even begin.

Krista introduced me to West Wing. I didn't expect to love it. But I loved it! I came home once and Krista was crying on her bed, on the tiny screen Bartlett was accepting his second term of election and Krista said: "Why can't we have a president like that?" and I thought, "What?!" You're crying over an inauguration on television? But then when I watched it, and I got to that scene, I felt the same way. Dark and wondering why.

Jed Bartlet is both passionately religious and spiritual as well as politically liberal and entirely logical. He's memorized the Bible, so he can go head-to-head with Conservative Bible-Beaters and win every time. Also, he's not real. But who is? Jenny Schecter? Zarathustra? Me? Auto-Win? Auto-Straddle?

I can't answer those questions.


Okay, just two for now 'cause it's 3:48 AM and I am tired and need some sleep, for real. Also, I should say some other things. These are those things:

1. We had a Blogger Meet-Up thing outside.

We took a train to Brooklyn to go to Cattyshack for this Weenie Roast thing. I knew Caroline was gonna be there [who we met on the cruise], because she works there, and also I'd invited Carly (before I met her) and Jamie (who's not actually gay) via Curly, the organizer, when she asked me if I knew anyone who'd wanna be invited. We also brought Carly's friend Roy and my friend Haviland.

So yeah, we took a train and then it was so hot and humid and it was taking forevers.

Me: "Dude, this is taking so long, I'm like, not even gay anymore."
Roy: "I left my gay back at Jay Street."

But then eventually we got there, still gay. It was so hot though! Like, the weather! When I'm hot, it's hard to think of other things. But I did, a little bit. I also ran into a girl I knew from Sarah Lawrence. It was so weird.

There's some photos:
Check out Haviland's poses. Also, I look just like A MUPPET.

UPDATE: Unfortunately, Carly doesn't like the photo of her that was taken at the Weenie Roast, and offered to send me a replacement photograph. I thought "I don't remember Carly having a camera," but who knows, I was tired and leaking intelligence from my pores, maybe she did have a camera and I just didn't notice.

This is what she sent me:

Unfortunately, The First Rule of Auto-Win Club dictates that if you don't like your photo, I get to choose whatever photo I want from your myspace and use that instead. Unless you are ethically opposed to photos in general, which Carlytron is DEF. NOT., she loves photos.

That's her on the right with the shark head.

I don't know what I'm going for here. But it's probably pretty hot.

2. I am sleepy. I have more things to write, but I don't think I can write them. In fact, I can't promise this post included correct spellages of any words of the English persuasion. I'm just saying, that's all.

3. Also related to teevees, the Emmys were announced tonight. I don't watch the teevee really so I hadn't seen very many of the shows, but seriously, Carly was IMing me about it and she is and I also am weirded out by this Two and a Half Men thing. It's like the new Everybody Loves Raymond. Sometimes I feel like I live on an island. No man is an island, except me. I am Ibiza! I am Bloody Ibiza! Also just to be sure I was paying attention, she stuck "Curl Girls" and "The L Word" into her list of nominations for best television drama. I was like "WAIT! Curl Girls is a reality show, right?"

Monday, July 16, 2007

Sunday Top Ten: Gay Rosie Cruise Blog, Part Two, with VIDEO

7/14/07: The weirdest part of returning from the cruise is remembering that everyone's not gay anymore. You re-adjust your mindset to auto-gay while aboard, and I today on the subway I thought: "Wow, there're so many hot gay girls in the city these days!" and then remembered: "Oh yeah. Those girls look straight because they ARE straight."

Also weird: I got about 1.5 hours of sleep last night and I'm still awake. I don't know why. It's either stimulants or insanity or both. When I first woke up, I wasn't sure if my dreams were reality or not, and I had to double-check with Hav that no one had a foursome last night. Also, Lainy somehow packed one of my Chuck Taylors and both of my flip-flops (I hate flip flops in non-cruise context, so this's not a big deal, but man do I miss that Chuck Taylor) in her suitcase, and I'm supposed to go to her place to obtain it, which seems unfair. I cannot do this. Instead I will just wear my cowboy boots.

Somehow I managed to get off the boat without my passport or filling out a customs form and possibly still fucked up from the night before. I'm like Johnny Depp but without a stunning jawline. Where is my passport? Good question. I haven't seen it since I boarded on the first day. I've been feeling like Natalie Rabey lately [she likes to live on the verge]: though I frequently lose things like hats and sunglasses and umbrellas, it's rare for me to misplace a key item like a passport and I've never lost a phone or a wallet (howevs: the Philly phone theft was not my fault whatsoever, and I mean that: I'm really good about accepting blame for things, even things that aren't my fault, so when I say "not my fault," I'm serious). I'm really on a roll these days, though.

The most brill event of the cruise, as featured on, was the reading Heather and I put together for "Living it Out"/"Live it Out" (I like the former, Carly prefers the latter). Everyone seemed concerned we weren't enjoying our vacation. However, relaxing gives me anxiety attacks, so I may as well be anxious, you know? It's more productive. Heather, who stage manages Altar Boyz and pretty much whatever else you throw at her, assured me it was "fun." It was fun! So yeah, we did a reading starring Andrea McArdle and Haviland Stillwell ... omg I have so many bug bites I am going to scream or itch all my skin off. Probs the latter.

[P.S. I stopped taking photos. Layla has a bunch, which I'll post as I get them.]

ALSO UPDATE: Speaking of the cruise ... I wrote an essay about the R-Family Cruise I went on last year (Alaska 2006) and my dear friend Haviland, and it just went up on OurChart! Check it out and write me something nice.

Sunday Top Ten:
Really Just "Cruise Blog, Part Two" but Told in the Format of a Top Ten, Highlighting the Highlights of the Last Four Days of the R-Family Cruise.

10. Night Watch: 7/13-14

Jenn, Riese [me, obvs], Heather, Megan, Haviland, Mary Mitchell

On the last night, backstage, following Annie: champagne for everyone and their mothers. Andrea threw Megan against the wall: "This is for the DVD extra deleted scenes, when Sydney pushes Parker against the wall and shows her who's boss." [Seriously though, that's only the beginning of the amazingness Carly and I have planned for the DVD extras.] Anyhow, the champagne: entire bottles. Of Moet. So Heather slipped one in her bag, later we uncorked it in the hallway with surprisingly minimal poppage.

We all needed to sleep, to pack, to get up early ... instead, we drank in the piano bar while campaigning for Megan to sing, for Hav & Megan to do "Take me or Leave Me," for more champagne, poured into flutes, filling empty air with sugary bubbles. Later in the night--though I don't know when, because I wouldn't let anyone tell me what time it was, Megan noted: "I have no recollection of any time before this conversation." It feels that way sometimes. We spent the last two waking hours -- Heather, Haviland, Megan, Layla, Maddie and I -- laughing in the smoky darkness of H+H's stateroom. The sunrise, I hear, was perfect.

9. Boogie Nights: 7/13

We're admiring A.McArdle's Juicy separates -- in particular, her bedazzled ass -- and telling her how smokin' hot she is, and she says: "But I'm like: the 70's!" This was much funnier in person. I don't know how to tell you that.

8.Wild Things: 7/10

Drinking Party, Courtesy of Room Service and the Pirate Liquor Store
Since I'm the Queen of Smuggle, I picked up some Smirnoff at the local liquor store in Key West and then poured said Smirnoff into water bottle and then re-boarded the boat. They don't let you bring liquor on board : I guess it's mostly so they can make more money, but perhaps there's more to it than that. International Outer Space Laws or something.

It just occurred to me: maybe I am invisible? I feel like I've opted out of everything required and all the rules all week, and no one seems to notice or care or I guess just dare to challenge me, which makes me worry perhaps I have no more skin and everyone can see through me?

I mean ... wow. OK:

I smuggled some prohibited things onto the ship.
Boarded without a ticket, also not on the room list.
Skipped the lifejacket drill.
Drank vodka from the mini-bar and replaced it with water, avoiding cost.
Smuggled Smirnoff onto the ship in a Dasani bottle.
Made about 400 copies without paying until the last 15 or so, when they got a new desk clerk.
Stole an inner tube that's supposed to cost $20 to rent.
Scheduled an event which conflicted with a already scheduled activity and got that activity canceled. for our event.
Enjoyed free drinks at private events simply for being best friends with Haviland .
Ordered room service simply to obtain mixers (juices are not free usually) for our smuggled alcohol.
De-boarded without a passport.
Walked right by customs, since I hadn't filled out a form yet, because I'm stupid and didn't know we had to.

I think that's only the tip of the iceberg.

7. Incredibly True Adventures: 7/11

I'm not big into the beach, swim suits, sand all over my skin, etc. But this private island at Grand Stirrup Cay was too beautiful for me to be cynical, even when I got my hands sticky from watermelon. The Island was my only shot at getting tan but Haviland made me put on suntan lotion. Boooo . By this point, I'd totally stopped taking photos because Heather and I were so busy putting together the reading that I couldn't really think about much else, like pictures. But other people took pictures. Like Jenn and Nick, photographed on your left.

We stole a big raft/inner tube thing and laid on it--Heather, Lainy and I--talked about Susan Powter and stared at the clean blue sky and big sun. Then we heard a little voice yell "Heather Joy!" and turned to see a cute Havi-head bobbing in the water, nearing us. "Heather Joy I'm swimming all the way out here I better get a kiss!" And it was so funny. Almost as funny as my bathing suit which did not match. Layla's got a photo or two of that situation.

That's Jenn and Nick on the left.
Jenn, Ross and Nick after that, and then a lovely photo I took of Heather and Haviland on our way out to the island.

Heather and I had to go back to the ship to make fliers and stuff for the reading, confirm space and actors, etc., then we came back out for the island dance party and drank a lot of tequila really fast, then spent the night chillin' with Caroline, who works at Cattyshack and is Heather Matarazzo's girlfriend. Later she called Heather-M and I talked to her on the phone and was like "What's up? Why aren't you here?" because I've been her fan for like, for-ever, since Welcome to the Dollhouse, obvs.

6. Boys on the Side
This is a photo of the one time I did not either eat at
The Garden Cafe
or skip a meal altogether.
I keep walking into the kitchen with my plate but there is no food to put on it. Where is my food? Do I have to make it myself? I'm gonna walk into another room with my plate and see if I can find some food. Perhaps some hummus or salad? The worst part of the cafeteria (it's called the "Garden Cafe" but we all know what that means: dining hall!) was that the fries were in the kiddie section, which is blocked off with little fences, a la McDonalds Playland, so I had to fully bend over to access the knee-high serving area to get fries. I'd eat adult food, but it looked un-tasty.

5. High Art: 7/10

"I am WAY BUMMED to not be on the boat and the reading sounds like the most
exciting thing to ever happen to me - slash - not happen to me, as I
am not there."

I wake up on Tuesday morning with my mind a-buzz, thinking: "We should put together a reading of this teleplay." I go to Heather and Haviland's room, relay this idea. Then Heather morphs overnight into Super-Producer. Seriously: Heather Weiss, you are abso-fucking-lutely amazing.

There was so much talent on the ship. Casting was fun. Most important of all was getting someone amazing to play Sydney and Andrea McArdle said she'd love to do it. And she effin' nailed it, it was brill.

So Wednesday, we're making invitations, securing space, inviting actors, she's calling Michael The Event Coordinator drunk after our night at the beach luau dance: "The thing is, Michael, that there are a lot of important people coming to this reading, Andrea McArdle is reading the lead ..."

Then he gave us permission (which he tried to redact the next day) and then we started handing out fliers. By that I mean we collapsed laughing in the hallway and handed out fliers with relative abandon. I think my flip-flop fell off. I don't know what happened, all I remember is sitting on the carpet while Heather was laughing.

4. If These Walls Could Talk 7/10-7/12

Our girl ... Shaana? I forget her name. Anyhow, she rocked. We filled out a recommendation form for the desk clerk ... "Dude, she's gonna be promoted to ship captain." She even crossed her fingers for us when Heather was talking to Michael.

3. All Over Me 7/12/07

"9:30 movie has been canceled for an event in the cinema. We apologize for the inconvenience."
-sign outside the CINEMA

Me: "This is the best thing I have ever seen in my life."
Heather: "We need to photograph this sign and then save it for our hypothetical scrapbooks. This is amazing."

(We totally forgot to do that, but it's true: the joy that swelled in our ambitious hearts when we saw it ... it felt real. So many of my projects exist only in theory--this one included, of course--but the fact that this reading was coming together, was official, had displaced The Pursuit of Happyness ... made me feel pretty excited about pursuing my own happiness. And Carly's, obvs.)

Because circa 24 hours ago, we'd reserved the space (or so we thought), confirmed it's availability ... and then seen The Pursuit of Happyness on the schedule. Obvs Heather took care of that immediately by opening the display case and removing that information, lest anyone get excited. I suggested we post a sign indicating "the movie's been relocated to your room, where it happens to be showing on your in-room movie channel at this exact moment,which's brill planning on behalf of the Norwegian Dawn."

I refused to accept that our reading could be displaced by a crap Will Smith movie (confession: I kinda love Will Smith sometimes, I mean, "Fresh Prince"? Holla! Also I.C. used to write for that show).

Back Row, L to R: Esera, Janet, Andrea, Craig, Anne, Jen
Front Row, L to R: Tara, Megan, Haviland, Riese, Nick, Lainy
So, that night, if anything could be more exciting than that sign, the men in black showed up with fruit and water and chairs and music stands and then our cast:

Andrea McArdle (Broadway's original Annie, obvs) as Sydney, Meeeeeee as Morgan, Haviland Pekor Stillwell as Samantha, Craig Ramsay as Caleb, Janet Caroll reading stage directions/etc, Megan Jacoby as Parker, Nick Nerio as Joe, Anne Steele as Courtney, Esera Tualo as Aiden, Tara Michelle as Kyra, Chelain Goodman as Hannah, and Jen Namoff as Deb/Lizzie Marriot/"Angry Dyke."

2. Saving Face

"What're you gonna say before the reading starts?" Everyone assumes that because I don't like talking to humans one-on-one, I'm similarly frightened of crowds. So not true. I was an actress once upon a time in my youth, and though that was eons ago, I'm not afraid of stages, talking on them, or speaking to audiences. I love readings! Hello, sex and dating panel, anyone, obviously not. Howevs, I didn't know what I was going to say to introduce the reading, and I actually don't remember what I did say.

But I had this really fabulous idea to say: "HELLO! I'm Ilene Chaiken, creator and executive producer of Showtime's hit series The L Word. Today we have a special new project to share with you, starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers..."

Here's the thing about that: it's really effin' addictive. Once you start saying "HELLO! I'm Ilene Chaiken !" in an Ilene Chaiken voice, you can't stop. I kept saying it over and over. I wish I could've introduced it like that, but what if no-one laughed? What if they thought I really WAS Ilene Chaiken, you know? [Then I could probably get this show made tomorrow, even before Carly and I go back to do more revisions. I could be like: "This show isn't the greatest, but it's about lesbians!" and then, BOOM, made.]

1. Imagine Me and You

There's so many good things in the air right now. It's hard to know which one to face and run at full-speed, and it's hard to know what full speed even is. I think I/we've done our best to go for it, though, re-channeling negative energy into progress and direction and dream-making.

Our cruise, in fact, was re-routed: apparently we were owed another day at the private island, but the boat was unable to run at it's optimum speed and we had to cut out the extra morning to make it home in time. I didn't care because honestly I had no clue where we were going in the first place.

That's probably a good metaphor for life. I could use a lot of boat and water related metaphors right now, like stuff about going with the flow and seeing where the wind takes you or something, but those are all pretty passive. I wanna be a little Jet-Ski like zzzzzzzz.

Really though: one of the best things about coming home was checking my voice mail to hear one from my grandmother: "We saw your article in the magazine," she says, Ohio accent in full force. "Well, sweetie. We didn't realize you were in such a state!" Yes: Marie Claire magazine, this time featuring an article written by me and no terrible picture of me, is in stores now and buy it!

Below I've tried to construct a graphic like the kind they have in restaurant windows with the mag-cover and a little snippet of the article they're referencing. See, it's my first byline in a major magazine!! By Marie Lyn Bernard! It's like, 4 pages long, 'cause I tend to go on for a bit, but ay! Go buy Marie Claire. Anne Hathaway is on the cover, and she is smokin' hot.

I wish I'd written "Discover your Inner Fembot!" I mean. Wow. Who knew, you know?