Wednesday, March 28, 2007

What We Do When We're Not Doing AutoWin

UPDATE: Sunday Top Ten is dancing it's merry way to Tuesday right now. As we all are.

All of my "original idea" energy is currently consumed by The Real Life of Autowin. So today, I'm only here to tell you how to spend the 1.5 minutes you might ordinarily spend reading me talk about myself.

1. Ingrid found an article from my former stomping ground, The Michigan Daily, entitled "Masturbating trespasser booted from frat." [sic] which is remarkable both for the restrained language employed by it's reporter and for the douchebag/awesome ire of the commenters. Some samples of student reactions to this event include:
"Come on like your going to ask her to leave? More like they should have been asking them to help out. Isn't that the role of a Frat to help the community? Come of course she is from Eastern ... U of M girls wouldn't do anything like that...YEAH RIGHT" -'Dirty Sanchez'
[seriously though, she probably is from Eastern. U of M girls wouldn't do anything like that FOR FREE. And that 'your' is ruining my life.]

" yo, pike is incredible. all they have to do is let women walk right in and they just start touching themselves. what pimps." -'Dres'

"If a girl wants to come in and have herself be taken advantage of by multiple parties, gosh darnit she sould have that right. Pike you have failed us all." -Fratdoody69
[and fratdoody, you have failed the English language and everyone who believes in it by using its letters and its numerical colloquialisms for the sordid purposes of that "handle." And by being a misogynist, even if only for pretend.]

2. I'm obsessed with podcasts, because I don't want to waste a single moment of the day, ever. If you're lazy, this won't matter to you. Hopefully you aren't:

2a) There's a Slate podcast about the art of re-capping television shows, like I do, in which a writer interviews a former writer for Television Without Pity, who are the founders of the whole recapping "phenomenon."

2b) Some fantastic This American Lifes I've enjoyed lately:
Simulated Worlds: Lew turned me onto this one, re: my obsession with wax museums.
Three Women and the Sex Industry.
By Proxy
My Experimental Phase

3) My very last L Word Recap of the season, Halleh-fucking-lujah.

4) I started my Diaryland diary in 2000, and switched to livejournal in 2002 ("It's fun! It has this 'comments' feature so you can write back to your friends!' -Jake, 2002) which I formatted much like a mass e-mail to 10 of my closest friends and 5 I never met, and one random girl I secretly crushed on in boarding school. Now I'm super old and very mature, so I have a blog like the other grown-ups.

This week has been really exhausting, writing-wise, especially in regards to putting my personal info "out there" in [redacted magazine]. I remembered: "Wow, i used to like, be obscenely honest in that livejournal," though it only got about 10 hits a day, I'm guessing, mostly from Carl. Because it was like--really boring. And not quite so LOL-worthy. And I quote Elizabeth Wurtzel with relative abandon, which is totes unacceptable.

So, here's some old material. From the old me. The one that worked at the Macaroni Grill, lived in a house on Willard in Michigan with 8 roommates (7 hot Kappas, 1 hot Natalie), drove a Lexus, went tanning a lot, and hadn't yet discovered the joy of Biosilk hair products. But, much like the new me, I did enjoy making lists.

March 30, 2004:
TITLE: "Didn't I Tell You That I'm Not Like That?"



1. Avril Lavigne's new single. It is almost as unintentionally laughable as "sk8ter boy," her previous release which also made me laugh a lot. Most of her songs remind me of the poems we would produce in my 8th grade poetry class. Not that the concept of virginity is laughable--it is, in fact, a wonderful concept and practice---but come on, Avril....."Don't think that your charm and the fact that your arm is now around my neck will get you in my pants/I'll have to kick your ass and make you never forget/I'm gonna ask you to stop, that I liked you a lot, but I'm really upset/Get out of my head, get out of my bed." Hmm. It's really funnier if you hear those words sung to her stupid melody.

2. last week, there was a white-board note written by donna, which read as followed:

last night...
Natalie: hey wanna hear a joke?
Donna: OK.
Natalie: Knock Knock!
Me: who's there?
Natalie: Marty.
Me: Marty who?
Natalie: Marty sitting ALL OVER the couch with his little loafers with no socks propped up comfrortably on our coffee table as he sprawls himself over the couch watching television, alone.
Donna: Are you making fun of me?

Conley: I think I've found a way to win this tie contest--you've gotta like, pick something that's really big right now that people would buy, so I think I'm gonna make "Passion of the Christ" ties, but make sure it says "passion of the Christ" so they know it's about the movie, and not just Christ in general.

Me: Do you think anyone would buy a "I Stand with Israel" tie?
Conley: I don't think that'd be as popular.

4. "I really think all of everyone's problems could be solved with Lexapro." -Rachael

5. That I can still use Christopher's Blockbuster card. Sorry, friend....but I had a lot of late fees on mine and not a lot of cash on me. I'll return it on time. Please don't take me off your account.

6. That yesterday lunch I tipped out every penny I made to the bartender and food runner. Steph saw the tip-out sheet and asked Jerry if I had twenty parties or something, and he said "No, for some reason, she just felt like tipping out all of her money." Honestly though, I really think everyone else worked harder than me. And I was an hour late (I had to take Nat to the doctor).

5. My Mom just said, re: crossword puzzles, "There's something very satisfactory about putting together a bunch of words and creating a finished product. And you can quote me on that. It's very blog-worthy." [pause] "Do you like how I just acted like I know what that word means?"

6. Shared items, google reader.

7. This Girl.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Chelsea 2BR for me, Alvy Singer, Gia, and the monkeys

Once again, the time's come for me to pull up my bootstraps, pack up my 15 pairs of designer jeans, 300 books and six plastic boxes of sentimental childhood items (on the off-chance that I'll wanna scan an old photo for my blog that no one'll think is cute but me [and my Mom, maybe, but she's probably got her own copy of it and it'd take her less time to dig for it in storage than load it via internet] [no, jokes about my mother's dial-up'll remain endlessly amusing to me and I'll never stop telling them, until Mom joins the other homo sapiens and springs for DSL]) and move to a new apartment. I hate moving. You wouldn't know that if you asked the US Postal Service because:

1. Obvs that's just a figure of speech, you can't ask them anything, like, not even: "Will I be in this godforsaken line for the rest of my life?"
2. I've completed 16 change of address forms in the last 10 years.
3. Just so you know, "2" is 100% true. Most things on this blog are between 50%-95% true, so grab hold of that gem and keep it, people.

I don't wanna move: I love this place. But I gotta, so I'm trying to excite myself about it by framing the move in a "Total Life Re-Vamp" Context. These imaginary re-vamps often involve a transition to somewhere suspiciously cinematic. When I was a girl in the heartland, staring at the ceiling and listening to Juliana Hatfield, I dreamt of a certain kind of apartment. The fictional kind.


10. Like the Ones in Woody Allen Movies

I like all the books on bookshelves and the typewriter and the papers. Alvy Singer has let his dust collect, he hasn't moved 16 times in 10 years. The perfect rooms for neurotics, for crisis, for breakdown. It may not've looked like that in real life, but if I wanted real life, I'd be living in some tepid romantic comedy set in the suburbs starring Jennifer Aniston, or something. I want bursting bookshelves.

9. Like the One in Igby Goes Down

I remember Amanda Peet all strung out on cocaine, billowy sheets, big loft space, Jeff Goldblum in a flashy suit, Kieran Culkin lookin' all Holden-ish and wide/bright-eyed. I think a disturbingly high amount of my apartments-i-liked-in-movies are occupied by drug addicts. This loft is pretty standard fare as far as films-set-in-NYC go. Huge windows, shiny hardwood floors. You can break down in these lofts, get all bloody and wired, and still not make a mess. The beds are random, walls are afterthoughts (in After Hours, I Shot Andy Warhol, Basquiat, Gia, etc). This'd be a perfect spot to explore my secret love for painting abstractions on large canvases while stoned.

8. Mary McCarthy, Manhattan, When I Was Young

Back in the diz-zay, writers could totally wax poetic on the detailed layout of their apartments without worrying that the reader'd hurl the book at the wall and pick up The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. I read this memoir in the summer of '01 while on my 11th street-to-110th street commute to a non-fiction writing class at Columbia and the apartment descriptions remain apt, vivid. 21 Perry Street, McCarthy remembers, housed "the most secret of all the Village's secret gardens. It was very large, with two fountains, a small stoner altar, private sitting areas at the rear"; you get the idea. Bushes, turtles, peacocks, all things now only afforded by Madonna and SJP. She lived on East 21st for $90/month! And she can speak of the village like this: "Giving up Greenwich Village would have meant giving up not only its sweet, seedy streets, but a certain self-image. B and I were Villagers; we bore (I told myself) a noble heritage" which we could never do, now, because it's so cost-prohibitive. Am I NOT the first person EVER to make this point? Sometimes I'm really impressed with myself.

7. The Annie Leibovitz/Susan Sontag Situation

They lived across the hall from each other. Permanent dorm/permanent genius. Developed artistically, loved, fought, pushed, grew, etc. Perhaps even more remarkable is that on my first google, my initially incorrect spelling of "Leibovitz" resulted in a top result of: a post from "this girl called automatic win." When we aren't plotting to be the gay and half-gay Paris/Nicole, Hav and I often dream of being famous friends in the same building like this. Last week, in the midst of this mag-article/party-planning/memoir-writing nonsense, TB noted: "We're like so
Sontag/Liebovitz right now. Guess which one I am? Right--the white-streaked one of course, cause I'm fucking old. And you, the celebrity-canoodling Jew."

6. The Characters without Box-Springs: As Featured in the Writings of Tama Janowitz, Maggie Estep, Mary Gaitskill

Their characters live in hovels. A stench of something fecal and feline, dark windows haunted by ghostly stalks and stems, wallpaper peeling off in great strips like the skin of some sad psychedelic beast. The sexually deviant and perpetually underemployed and their shameless filth, and scraping by and wild-craving-fucking protagonists of their short stories--they're horrid but also beautiful. In particular: "Soft Maniacs," "Two Girls Fat and Thin," "Slaves of New York," "Bad Behavior."

5.Oh, RENT.

I think this musical's soundtrack tapped into our Midwestern Teenage Dreams of transporting our spoiled selves into unheated apartments (not important when passion burns deep inside you to keep you warm) to pursue art and love and esp. loving the sick/dying people and drugs and cold. That was a nice thing to sing along to. Now I think, that is pretty f'in amazing that they didn't pay their rent for an entire year. That's fucking crazy shit. I mean, why didn't they have any money saved up after a year of no rent? (I probably wouldn't've either, but i'm sure most of my tres responsible friends would be like "After that year of no rent, I've got enough in my pockets to buy a place in Soho!") Still, the romance! How can you connect in an age when strangers, landlords, lovers, your own blood cells betray? Sing! Burn things! Candles! Yay! Music! Damn the Machine, Save the Empire!

4. The Hotel Chelsea
Oh, the romance! The Andy Warhol Superstars, Dylan Thomas, Sid Vicious, Rufus Wainwright, Allen Ginsberg, Simone De Beauvior, Stanley Kubrick, Bob Dylan, Jane Fonda, Nabakov, Robert Crumb, Quentin Crisp, Sarah Berndhart, Burroughs, Christo, de Kooning, Jimi Hendrix, Jasper Johns, Janice Joplin, Robert Maplethorpe, and I love Chelsea! I just love it! It's everything we ever dreamed of, everything, everything!

3. C.C.'s Pre-Star Apartment in "Beaches"

During my first viewing (circa 1990) of this chick-flick tearjerker, I sobbed because: 1. someone died, 2. soft rock really yanks at my heartstrings. Now I'd cry from pre-internet nostalgia; this plot would never stand up now ... the precious b+w photostrip from the beach's booth, the faithfully exchanged handwritten letters, the trouble of tracking someone down in a time when only obscene fame or luck would land them naturally at your doorstep. (Now, C.C.'s character would totes've pimped out her MySpace and her Mom would have like, been her webmaster) ... but I also loved her little apartment, with the Chirstmas lights and tiny bed, the proverbially small kitchen. I don't recall where she lived, but I imagine it was someplace that claimed to be gritty and no longer is, like Hell's Kitchen. I just called Hav to ask her where it was and she was like "I don't remember, I just remember that really big apartment she got when she was famous that was on Central Park West or South or something. It was amazing."

2.The Apartments of Michael Cunningham Characters in The Hours and A Home at the End of the World

I told Lindsay I was reading The Hours and I'd noticed Clarissa also resided on West 10th, like we did (Summer '04). Clarrisa's pad is vastly superior: it's not, for example, a series of closet-sized boxes pretending to be rooms. It wasn't on the 6th floor of a 6-floor walk-up. In the movie, it's so lovely, and even the site of Richard's discontent verges on derelict glory. That being said, I'd take the threesome's starter Village hovel from A Home at the End of the World, too. It had a lot of love and wine in it, a good place to dye one's hair crazy colors, or for Colin Farrel to sport the worst haircut ever.

1. The Actual Apartment I Am Going to Live In

As I wrote this post, TB solved my apartment problem for me. So this is what I'm doing: something I never thought I'd do (and it doesn't involve a U-Haul, you skeptical bastards!) I'm gonna be homeless for 22 days, then move into a Warlem summer sublet and put my shit in (TB's) storage. This moving-again-fiasco has reminded me of how much I loathe myself for being so tied down to places cause I have so much shit (partially not my fault; my Mom doesn't keep any of my stuff in her house, like most people's parents do). So I'm going to be a hobo for 22 days, ideally finding places to stay for free and eating Ramen. I've considered living in storage space like the girl in Shortbus. I've considered couches. I've considered Central Park. I've considered your couch. I've considered, at length, the possibility of Hawaii.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Sunday Top Ten: Reasons to Drink Before Sunset

My favorite part of St. Patrick's day are the grown women wearing little sparkly stickers on their temples. Other than that, the whole she-bang just seems like an excuse to drink earlier in the day? Unless you're Irish. Then it's like, Irish-Jesus was born or something, right? I don't know. I'm not big into Jesus either (but I do drink a little! holla Dolores!). On St. Patty's '03, a guy brought a beer to our Hebrew class at U of M. Our teacher let him have it because I mean, he brought a beer to Hebrew class. That's pretty fucking awesome.

As you may recall from one of the other 500 blog posts where I talk extensively about myself and how fascinating I am, I do not like to drink before sunset.

This rule addresses two basic concerns: 1. The brief, glorious, appearance of virtue (when the truth is I just don't want to fall asleep at 3 p.m.), 2. My two personalities, Daytime Riese and Night-time Riese. Daytime Riese goes to the gym, drinks coffee, eats healthy snacks, answers e-mails promptly and goes to things on time. Nighttime Riese is usually either drunk or complaining or having a heart attack or both. But I realize that many people have more harmonious senses of self. These people drink before sunset, and there's lots of reasons to.


span style="font-style: italic;">(photo: myself and a small selection of my peers from the olive garden, 2001) The first floor of the OG is called the 'cafe,' and because our 4 obese managers couldn't be hovering in the cafe all night when the real action was in the 350-seat upstairs dining room, they installed a security camera to spy on us. We knew it's purview to the inch, and thus the bartenders could make fruity gross drinks in to-go cups and set them out of sight for us to pick up and take to the kitchen to chug. The reason for drinking was simple: working at the Olive Garden is not all Hospitaliano. It is also a lot of Zuppa Toscana refills and insufferable hungry fat human eating machines demanding more bread and then more bread. Also drinking increased the quality of my number-one skill as a waitress, which was seducing the waiters.

9. KEGS AND EGGS In my former life as a frat rat, I was mystified by my then-boyfriend's glee for his frat's annual "Kegs n' Eggs" event, which the boys celebrated on the last day of rush week by eating breakfast and drinking beer at Theo's at 6 A.M. I believe this was related to some sort of inter-fraternity sporting event, though the majority of my boyfriend's "brothers" were at least 20 pounds overweight and didn't fare well at Sport. Another fun part of rush week was when they locked the pledges in the attic and made them listen to Enigma for 14 hours. My then-boyf believed all these events made him a better man. These are just a few small examples of differences between me and my ex.

(photo: Sarah and I in NYC, full of purposeful but misdirected energies, 2000) In 2000 I was living in Manhattan with Ryan and Sarah, having my mid-life crisis, and quickly Sarah and I discovered that most places in Manhattan would serve us alcohol despite our tender young age of 18 (also we are tall, blonde, and used a lot of big words (we were really high on intellectual superiority then), which probably helped). We were very uncertain about ourselves/our lives, so when the server at Ernie's asked if we wanted champagne to celebrate "something," we were like, yeah, bring it on, it's noon, whatevs. As servers, we knew how good a mid-day alcohol sale would look to our server's manager, which made us feel charitable for a second of our grotesquely self-centered lives. We toasted to the future, or something equally uncertain and eventually wholly unworthy of a toast. Then we went home and I fell asleep on the couch until Ryan came home and roused me for our friends b-day party at the Roxy. We had a yummy Morroccan dinner and I got drunk again, then at the Roxy, Ryan and I fell asleep on a big red couch. Then we squabbled in regards to my non-desire to get another drink. Ryan went drinking alone. When he got back, he jumped on the bottom bunk of our bunk bed and we cuddled and watched people across the street living their purposeful lives (lying in bed and watching ppl across the street was one of our top activities) and Ryan told me how much he loved me and that he wanted to help me get better because I was sick. Then we slept in the bottom bunk together and felt like we were 16 again, before champagne lunches and birthday parties in fancy clubs and having to figure out what we were doing with our lives and stuff.

7. THE FOURTH OF JULY Another one of my favorite holidays, and by that I mean NOT AT ALL (it combines many of my least-favored things: eating outdoors, excessive heat, mid-day bottled beer, patriotism, loud explosions, glee). Once I had a beer on the 4th of July circa noon and fell asleep in the sunshine while the boys played beach volleyball. It was Natty Light.

My half-grandmother in Australia knows how to do it up right: she devoted the bulk of her wedding budget to quality booze. I was 17; my Mom'd been freaking out all week about my international status as old-enough-to-drink. I wasn't really "eating food" so often that summer, therefore a few glasses transformed me into liquid air. All bubbles, no flesh. In photos, my flushed bug-eyed face has the structure of a skull-and-crossbones. We returned to our flat, I slept all day, woke up and went to the reception and had more champagne. It remains the best champagne I've ever had. They remain married. Coincidence? Doubtful.

When I first moved to Sparlem and was entrenched in mountains of debt, I took a craigslist job filing for a doughy insurance salesman in Queens. His mother had just died of cancer and he had to go through all of her paperwork and thought it'd be easier if he had a pretty girl doing it for him. Obviously this job had "sketchy as hell" written all over it, but I couldn't afford to be picky. Somewhere between 115th and Queens, I got really nervous, went into a liquor store, bought a fifth of vodka, dashed to Barnes and Noble and downed half of it in the handicapped stall (then mixed the remainder to my juice bottle). I left feeling significantly handicapped. He wanted me to wear a really tacky dress. I would have been happier in something more revealing but less White Trash. He had a photo of G.W.Bush on his fridge. It was awful. His cheeks were so fat they swallowed his sad lonely beady-eyes but the vodka helped. It wore off before our alloted three hours ended. He bought me a Metrocard for the month, but I never went back. He scared me, I felt sorry for him, life seemed terribly unfair.

(photo: Lewis and I at a celebration)

My father's side is not Jewish, so we go there for Christmas. When we were children, my cousins and I liked to dress up as Pilgrims or pop stars and put on performances. We also made paper dolls, forts and snowmen. Now, we drink. Once my Grandpa had a margarita and then passed out on the floor by the couch. That's how I feel sometimes too.

Right? Esp. if vay-cay involves an open bar private party in Rosie O's vista on the private level of an Alaskan-bound cruise ship. Or large fruity drinks in bright pink and yellow colored souvenir cups at the Flamenco. Or like, just really anywhere but home.

The sun doesn't set til like, midnight, right? Also I love margaritas, and there are lots of summer events that inspire a little visit to the bottle, like going to work, baseball games, picnics and long walks down the beach.

(photo: Vater and I, drunkity-drunk-drunk)
I penned this masterpiece for Vater on the occasion of her departure from the agency, which means we never got to play it together. However, if we had, it would have been about 4:30, and we would've been very very drunk. That would've been far before sunset, except in the very worst part of winter. We're on the out-side of that now, btw, like things should be getting much sunnier very soon. Like, exploding into bright bright sunshine.

Friday, March 16, 2007

The Gay Strai Alliance

According to Urban Dictionary:
Gay: "often used to describe something stupid or unfortunate. originating from homophobia. quite preferable among many teenage males in order to buff up their 'masculinity'"

According to me:

If you ARE gay, you can use it to mean whatever you want. Or if you're half-gay, like me, then you can do a blog entry that's 50% gay, 50% strai, and 100% lame. Also, I just proofread this blog (ok, not really, I have a slave for that, but I did just read it again), and realized I've mentioned anal penetration at least 100 times. SO GAY.

(Also, the tone of this particular post has been described as a bit negative. So FYI, I want you to know that I am a really happy person. Re: that, check out my
guestbian blog on ourchart! )

The Strai-est Shit Ever (part unx, but incorporated into gay part deux)
(also, I've snatched the term "strai" from
LN James, one of my most faithful and homosexual readers):

Elizabeth Hassleback, right now (11:08 AM), on "The View":
First: her shirt reminds me of the tapestries we hung on our boarding school windows and cited as valid decorating schemes.

Second: So, Rosie suggests that perhaps the multitude of confessions extracted from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed were garnered via torture, and Elizabeth has this miraculously clever insight: "Do you think he should have been given milk and cookies, an attorney, and been able to watch American Idol?" Really Papi? As the co-hosts pointed out, watching American Idol is a lot like torture. But I like the "milk and cookies" reference. Makes me think of Santa Claus. That'd be funny. First, we're going to drag you around on a rope and rape you up the ass. Want some Oreos? Elizabeth would like that, probs, because of 'Survivor.' Ho ho ho.

Garrison Keillor's Ridic Conservative Family Values article on
Some highlights:
"Monogamy put the parents in the background where they belong and we children were able to hold center stage. We didn't have to contend with troubled, angry parents demanding that life be richer and more rewarding for them."

"The country has come to accept stereotypical gay men -- sardonic fellows with fussy hair who live in over-decorated apartments with a striped sofa and a small weird dog and who worship campy performers and go in for flamboyance now and then themselves. If they want to be accepted as couples and daddies, however, the flamboyance may have to be brought under control."

Seriously, Garrison? You know, Prairie Home Companion has been wallowing in the nether regions of my Netflix queue for many months (I'm pumped for the Robert Altman/Lindsay Lohan matchup) but now I don't even like, want to see it anymore. I'll endure those five seasons of Nip/Tuck Hav recommended before I summon PHC. I'd protest your radio show too, but I don't have a radio. Is this how they do it on the prairie, for reals? Laura Ingalls Wielder is rolling over in her fictional grave, asshat. Obvs Garrisson hasn't seen Brokeback Mountain. Or been on an
R-Family Cruise. Then he'd change his mind.

"It is quite odd that a man married three times with kids by different women would write this piece."
-Anonymous commenter,

The Mail That Comes For the Girl Who Used to Live Here
I swear she didn't even do a change-of-address form.
I've spoken of her before ("The AlAnonitute"). She's the one who moved out after S exclaimed, "I'll fuck 'em both with a strap-on!" (re: "be quiet! I have roommates"), which was one of the Top Ten Moments of 2006. I think she also noticed that Maggie and I were doing a little re-creation of "Leaving Las Vegas" (which I've never seen, but I believe it involved drinking oneself to death). The AlAnonitute receives many offensive publications, including Time magazine, The Learning Annex Catalog, and mailings from various 'institutes' where she probably should have like--GONE--because she totally had a 10 foot crucifix up her ass. For example, I think she really could have evolved as a person if she had taken a workshop in "Tree Whispering" or a two-day retreat in "Awakening the Sacred Feminine." I don't know what the 'Sacred Feminine' is, but I have a feeling it would enjoy the firm but pleasurable experience of a 9-inch dildo. (Tara knows what it is, and apparently it's totally valid, and might not like a dildo. Eh, whatevs!)

The Contents of My Refrigerator, Which is Why my Diet is 50% 25-cent packs of Sandwich Cookies from the Deli

The Gayest Shit Ever (part deux, having nothing to do with actual homosexuality):

I don't get it, still. Seriously, I still don't get it! Don't you guys get in trouble for watching videos at work? Like, because of the NOISE? I thought the whole point of the internet was so we could do shit at work that is not actually work without anyone noticing. I just don't like it, or something. Hm.

I axed the spoiler-y part of this comment, but you get the idea. You can see, too, my gentle response.
tara: it's kind of a cheesy website. It reminds me of a mac or something.

me: It does. Aesthetically. They have a lot in common--this website, the mac computer.

tara: Like--what font is that? It's huge too. Kinda annoying.

me: I think it's Verdana.

tara: Who's this Rube person?

me: Dunno, it was a synonym for um--complicated. Along with Byzantine. And other zingers.
It's Lucinda Grande.
tara: yeah
me: that's gay.

tara: the whole site's gay.

me: i should write "the gayest shit ever: part duex. things that have nothing to do with homosexuality.""but are still gay."

tara: my favorite reference point online is columbia's bartleby thing.

me: hm, wheres that at.


me: "right after that preposition you used to end that sentence, marie."

holy shit. this place is fucking awesome.

tara: it has everything.

me: wheeee!!! the word of the day is "fustian." that's a good word.

tara: interesting. you'd think it was a typo for faustian.
or at least i would.
me: i thought it was?

This convo, which took place during my recent trip to the liqour store:
Hav (trying to quit Diet Doctor Pepper): "I'm taking your 'try bright lights' suggestion and going tanning to get more energy."

Me: "It's best if you can take a little nap in the tanning bed. Then you get the benefits of bright light and a little power nap--wait--hang on--(to the clerk)--and can I also have like, a small thing of Skyy?"

Hav: "Oh Riese, you're buying vodka?"

Me: (writing a magazine article that involves a lot of 'going out') "I've got a long week ahead of me."

Cheers, Gays/Strais/Et al.!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Sunday Top Ten: The Gayest Shit EVER

So I rallied the troops (and ESPECIALLY these guys) to heckle the people at to invite me to be a Guestbian blogger. That was really fun, like running for lesbian student council. Except now I don't know what to write about. I wish I had a baby. Then I could be like, "Guess what my baby did today?" I suggested to TB that I write about bad bi stereotypes, but she expressed concern that diving in with the bi topic would be "like making a giant bullseye and putting it on your forehead."

Me: "I think they write about like, politics, and like, tools? Dating, I think? Oooo! I'll just write about how much I like you!"
TB: "That'd be really gay."
Me: "That'd be like, the gayest shit ever."
Me: "OMIGOD! I'm just gonna write the gayest shit ever!"
TB: "Totally dude, just do the GAYEST SHIT EVER. Like, candles, cuddling and shit--"


10. Processing Emotions

Lede: "I just have all these feelings, you know?" OR "So this morning, in my bed, where I was sitting with five other big beautiful dykes, eating organic farm-bred pomegranates and Krispy Kremes, we got to talking about feelings. Then we decided that instead of talking about feelings, we would try some sexual healing, so we started taking our clothes off, but carefully, while checking in with everyone to be sure we were all still feeling OK about the orgy that was certain to ensue once all our breasts were out there in the open--"

Reality: Feelings? Do people still have those? Who has time? The first rule of Riese Club, don't talk about feelings at Riese Club.

9. Cats
Lede: "Many women look to other people or to Fiddle-Faddles for comfort in times of need. I just rub my face in the face of my cat and make cooing noises, almost as if I too were an animal. I lose myself in the ecstasy of allergenic cat dander and tuna-flavored cat saliva. But then the other day, I was playing with my girlfriend when Mr. Fiddle jumped onto her bare ass--"

Reality: I hate cats. "Hate" is a strong word: I'm allergic to cats, and also cat-loving is just not in my disposition. I can't be all ooh-ahh about this little furball lazy thing that pees in a box of smelly gravel stuff. I've liked some kittens though. They're cute and sort of innocent, and haven't yet grown up to be lazy fat hairy dumb fucks like their parents. I don't like when cats jump on me, and I don't like it when a person has a cat-haired apartment. I do, however, think Garfield is okay, but mostly as a vehicle for Odie. I'm just skeptical of the whole cat "thing," that's all.

8. Womyn's Studies/Herstory

Lede: "This weekend is the big march against [whatever]! Papi and I are making really big posters right now. Papi thinks it would really make a better point if I were to get naked and paint [whatever political slogan] across my breasts, to reclaim the motherland, you know? So I said, Papi, whatever it takes to get the point across to the Republican assholes, I'll do it, and she said, stop wasting time, the patriarchy is gaining speed as you talk and talk and so I took off my shirt (no bra, I burned them all)--"

Reality: I admit I totes love Women's Studies and probably would have studied it as a minor if I hadn't been so focused on getting the hell out of Dodge (A faster feat with only one major). But I need to save my energy for when it really matters: when you're stuck in a conversation with an ignorant douchebag who has subscribed to Girls Gone Wild since like, before VCRs or Spring Break were even invented.

7. Babies and Ovulation and Other Things Related to the Miracle of Life

Lede: "This morning, Sue-Ann and I took baby Radclyffe to the playground. She had her first word and walked around in silly circles. Then this twattish Stepford-looking woman came over to ask if me and Sue-Ann were sisters. I said no, we were both Radclyffe's mother. She didn't believe me, so I took Sue-Ann's pants off and pulled out the turkey baster from our diaper bag and went to town--"

Reality: On a Maturity scale of 1 to 10, I am closer to "infant" than "infant caretaker."

6. Tools
Lede: "I was at Home Depot this morning getting some screwdrivers and hammers and chainsaws to hang from my new toolbelt when I realized it was time to do what Jessalyn and I had always dreamed of doing: turn the basement into a rec room! But first, Jessalyn suggested we do a little 'power drilling'--"

Reality: Um, that's what ex-boyfriends are for. JK. Lo used to be like "You're such a lesbian Bob Vila today!" when I would fix things around the house. Yeah, fix things. With tools. Mostly just a hammer. I use hammers for lots of things. Like the Indigo Girls say, "I gotta get out of bed and get a hammer and a nail, learn how to use my hands ..." etc.

5. Cuddling

Lede: "At the end of a long day at work, there's nothing I love more than curling into the bulky arms of my girlfriend Fanny and watching old episodes of Dante's Cove on here! on demand. That's all, just cuddling. We used to have sex, but then we decided we'd rather just cuddle."
Reality: Cuddling is nice. It's lovely. It really is. However, the best part of cuddling is when you realize you're sort of like, rubbing up against someone's leg, and that feels good, like maybe better than cuddling? Like, A LOT better?

Cuddle sounds a lot like curdle. Like curdled milk, which is bad, and makes you sick. But not sick like crabs or something, which you can get from actual sex, so that's one thing about cuddling that's better. Also, it takes less energy and is, from time to time, not entirely unpleasant.

Also, anyone who calls it "cudds" never gets to cuddle again ever.

4. Drama

Dina calls me sobbing: "Riese, I just can't take it anymore! It's so--" She hiccups. My phone beeps. Alicia's on the other line. I ignore it. Dina continues: "Riese, I don't know what to dooooooo--hang on a sec, I'm getting cigarettes--"

"Dina, Tell me you aren't crying at the store?"

"Of course I'm crying at the store," she exhales. "I can't talk in the house!" She wails. I hear a cash register chime.

"What should I doooooo--" she begins again. My computer beeps. Alicia's IMing me: I'M COMING OVER. CAN'T TAKE IT.

"Do you think this looks hot?" Leisha, my straight (and often barely clothed) roommate who I used to sleep with before I met my girlfriend, asks. She's behind me, wearing my dress, rubbing lotion on her legs but I don't have time to think, because just as I'm turning to Alicia's latest message and listening to Dina sob on speaker phone, I notice an email from a this hot mess of a girl claiming that I'm a heartless bitch for refusing to acknowledge the love that allegedly passed between us when we hooked up TWICE about ten lifetimes ago.


"Tell me if you like this dress, please?" Leisha puts one hand on her hip and the other on my arm, yanking me to her, blocking my view of her dress because when she pulls me up against her, her mouth is on my cheek because I turn my head just in time and--in the background Dina is still crying on speaker phone, the AIM is ding-ding-dinging and then, that loud buzz from downstairs that my girlfriend is here and so I tear myself away from Leisha's hot fast unstable energy and rip-roar down the stairs like Road Runner and thrust the door open like a happy hostess and grab my girlfriend's neck--

The Reality: Usually I somehow get involved in the drama in the start (sometimes that's my fault, sometimes it isn't) and then I run away really fast and say that I don't do drama and leave everyone else to deal.

3. Knocking Balls Around
Lede: "I've been playing softball for the Northampton Peaches in the Labia Majora League for 10 years but we didn't know real competition till last Friday when we faced off against the Providence Lady Lighting. It brought back memories of rough n' tumble rugby matches in college, which brought back memories of slipping my hand between the waistband of my co-captain's uniform shorts and the taut skin of her stomach and plowing my fist inside her--"

The Reality: If Elliptical Training could be a competitive sport, I'd kick some ass. Or if like, I hadn't stopped playing basketball and soccer in favor of going to boarding school to study poetry. But I think it's sexy when girls (and boys, but this is supposed to be an all-gay-themed blog, right? avoiding the bullseye, etc?) play sports.

2. Singing Along to the Indigo Girls on road trips

The Lede: Robyn pulled her iPod from the pocket of her cargo shorts and hooked it up to the stereo. "This shit is the JAM!" She said, cranking up her all-time faves from Swamp Ophelia and Nomads, Indians and Saints. "I hope "Get out the Map" is on this mix!" Jo yelled from the backseat, where her head was wedged neatly between her girlfriend's legs. How long till my soul gets it right? I sang, full of glee like a schoolgirl.

The Reality: I actually am considering writing about how much I love the Indigo Girls. And how much I always have, and always will. There's no joke here. I really do love the Indigo Girls.

Obviously, I need ideas, ASAP.

1. Watching "L Word" Highlight Video Montages on YouTube at 2am When You Are Supposed to Be Sleeping or Finishing Your Blog or Talking on the Phone for Three Hours Like a Teenager or Writing One of the 30,000 Emails I Owe or Whatever
The Lede: I am officially the biggest loser on earth.

The Reality: Like, times ten million. OK mostly I've become fascinated with this one girl, Amnesia, who has made 54--FIFTY FUCKING FOUR--music video tributes to Shane and Carmen. She has set clips of this sexy duo to the tune of her favorite terrible songs (e.g., "Lips of an Angel"). I don't know how she found this much footage. There must be repeats, because I don't think all four seasons of this show would actually equal the length of 54 bad pop songs and I refuse to watch another just to see if like, there were some deleted scenes that I missed or something?

Maybe just one more.

God, this is the gayest shit EVER.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Best of Not-New York 2007, Part One

Although most New York visitors are curious about Times Square and bagels and seeing the goddamn Today Show at the crack of unbearable freezing dawn---my weekend visitor, K-Lily, wanted to know about Duane Reade, because I reference it constantly on this blog and subsequently assume that everyone knows what I'm talking about. I do that because I live in New York and I think the world revolves around me. Really. I do. Obvs. Thus the blog, my attitude, etc.

"You win! I win! We all automatically win!"

But still, I thought, I need to spread my wings and fly, like RKelly. So, I'm gonna be totally Un-NYC centric for at least a few posts----even if that totally eliminates my chances of being spotted for a guest role on Gawker. But totally ups my chances of a shout-out in the Detroit Free Press, or the "freep" as us locals call(ed) it. (That still exists, right?)

So! Today I present the first entry in a series entitled "THE BEST OF NOT-NEW YORK 2007," in which I reveal The Best of The Best, using the categories chosen by New York Magazine for their Best-Of issue, pictured above. We will begin with "EATING," and this week I have both answered myself and solicited the opinions of other food expert eaters to compile not-nyc selections for 8 of the 26 total seemingly-slapshotty-selected categories in "EATING." There will also be other categories until I tire of this. Also, seriously, as I am writing this (in legwarmers, cargo capri pants, and a dirty t-shirt with a hole in the armpit, tres classy, very hipster, very east coast), I am eating cake frosting out of the container with my fingers. Because I started thinking about cupcakes.

Part One: French Fries, Barbecue, Pig, Gelato, Lunch, Paella, Newfangled Beef, Cupcake, PB&J

French Fries
NY Mag said: The Farm on Adderley (1108 Cortelyou Rd. Ditmars Park, Brooklyn)

I say: Arby's. (National Chain)
Hands down totes Arby's. I can never even decide: homestyle or curly? They are both delicious, but in totally different ways. You know, like men and women. That being said, I usually chose curly fries. I think they are just more emotionally complex.

I'd Also Like To Say: Grandma's Kitchen (Interlochen, MI), Red Hot Lovers (Ann Arbor, MI), and Fish & Chips places in Australia. I don't know which ones. The ones where I sat on the counter, like a little monkey.

NY Mag said: Da Enzo (494 Ninth Avenue)

Ingrid Greenfield of Chicago, IL (Wisconsin native) says
When I was working at the Guggenheim in Venice, my favorite way to take a break from the French women knocking their overly LV-monogrammed bodies into priceless works of art was to walk to Nico's on the Zattere for a Gianduiotto--a chocolate-hazlenut frozen gelato log thing, which the bar man will shave off into a cup and top w/fresh whipped cream. It actually costs twice as much to sit at a table, so, in lieu of that, this is how to best enjoy your gelato:
1. He'll give you extra if you flash a winning smile and let him call you and your friend "belle bionde sorelle" (beautiful blonde sisters)
2. Take cup o' heaven to sunny street, plop ass on edge of wide Giudecca canal with legs hanging over the water
3. Recline with sunglasses on (to avoid eye contact with typically scrawny Venetian boys sporting boy-band hair)
4. Shovel gelato delight into eager mouth
5. Have a cigarette, because the gelato experience is similar enough to sex (or watching Shane have sex) to warrant sinful behavior.


These were two separate categories in New York Magazine. My brother, Lewis Bernard, decided: "BBQ can double as pig. I thought a while about how to make a Jew Joke with the pig but couldn't think of anything. I do eat a lot of swine these days."

NY Mag said
: Eleven Madison Park (11 Madison Park, surprise!) for Pig, and Rub BBQ (208 W. 23rd street) for Barbecue.

Lewis Jacob Lyn Bernard of New Orleans, LA (Michigan native) says: Roughly 500 days ago, I had the joy and privilege of gathering a few things and fleeing New Orleans as fast as traffic would allow. We ended up in Atlanta. I hate Atlanta. Actually, not only do I hate Atlanta, I also prefer Pepsi, don't get "crunk" and like my tea unsweetened. I'm a bit of a fish out of water in the capital of Southern America. However, if you can fight your way through the traffic you might just find yourself at Fat Matt's Rib Shack on Piedmont Street. Huge smoked slabs of ribs covered in a tangy BBQ sauce, great sides, and local beer on tap. We ate and drank outside the Shack for hours (waiting for my man/$26 in my hand...) and eventually we were rewarded with live music. A friend got the fish. Don't get the fish.

NY Mag said: Kyotofu (705 9th Avenue)

Rachel Kramer-Bussel, the most productive writer in New York City, says:
Sprinkles in Beverly Hills -they're huge and very rich, kinda like Two Little Red Hens here. The coconut and the red velvet are especially divine. Best to split with someone, though.
Cupcake Beach in Destin, Florida makes amazing vanilla/vanilla cupcakes with real vanilla beans--they FedExed me some, which was amazing in itself, and both the cake and the frosting were like the cupcake equivalent of Breyer's Vanilla Ice Cream.

(check out Rachel's cupcake blog: "
Cupcakes Take the Cake" for more cupcake tips)

"New-Fangled Beef"
NY Mag said: Porter House New York (10 Columbus Circle, fourth floor)

Lewis Jacob Lyn Bernard and his friends from New Orleans, LA say:
Lewis Bernard:
"Not sure what that is, like tofu or something?"

Jillian (originally from Door County, Wisconsin):
"I think it has to do with raising happy, hormone-free cows. But its probably just a spinoff of some anti-wisconsin propaganda bullshit. Like, that "happy cheese comes from happy cows, happy cows come from california" crap--but only with New York and beef."

Katherine (originally from Atlanta, GA):
"Star spangled beef?"

Sarah Ravits (originally from Seattle, WA):
It seems like maybe that's what an old person in a buffet would call it, if it were cut into weird shapes or something. Maybe new fangled beef is the McDonald's beef that isn't really "beef" but contains a small amount of meat and is then treated with weird chemicals manufactured in New Jersey such as "Essence of beef" or something of that sort."

NY Mag says: Boqueria (53 W. 19th St)

Cameron McClure of NYC (originally from California) says: When I first moved to Spain I tried Paella for the first time, and this was '98 or '99, and Spain was still on the peseta, and it was a good time for the dollar, so I didn't even blink when it cost sort of a lot, like the equivalent of $8 or something, and I guess the waiter didn't blink either, because they expect Americans to eat enormous amounts of food, like my Spanish roommates expected me to eat pancakes and sausage and eggs for breakfast everyday, and were really disappointed when I had tostada de tomato everyday instead. So anyhow,the paella was for like 2 people, or maybe 4, and I ordered the seafood one, and it came with muscle shells, and shrimp with their heads on, and clams in the shell, and chicken, and octopus, and other sea creatures that I could not identify at the time. So I sort of freaked out, but not vocally, because my Spanish was horrible at the time, so I think I just smiled. And ate as much as a person can when shrimp heads are staring at them accursedly.

NY Mag Says: Prune. 54 East 1st. St.

Jason Nadler
of Los Angeles, CA (originally of New Jersey) says:
Nate N'Als Deli in Beverly Hills. It's a Jewish deli that beats any New York Jewish deli, and you may get to see Larry King...Live.


NY Mag Says: Davidburke & Donatella. 133 E. 61st St.

I say: Zingermans, Ann Arbor, MI.

When I went to hippie high school (kids playing guitar in the grass, picking proverbial dandelions, a lot of Ani DiFranco and Grateful Dead blasted from cassette decks in beat-up Volvos with rolled down windows to let out all the smoke), my Mom gave me a daily lunch budget of $2.00. That probably seems like not enough. Yeah, it totes WASN'T. I used to get curly fries from this place that also sold crack-cocaine, that would be my whole lunch but safely under $2.00. We also liked to go to Zingermans, which is world famous and therefore very crowded and really expensive, and take up the whole place standing in line to get 50-cent bags of bread ends and then grab a bunch of mayonnaise. That was the cheapest lunch, and you'd have extra money left over for eye-glitter. But if we were feeling really flush, we'd get soup or a kid's sandwich from Zingerman's. $4.99. And seriously, they were fucking amazing, and it wasn't just because we usually ate bread ends with mayonnaise. Which, by the way, was also delicious. Zingermans serves their free-range organic corn-fed peanut butter with similarly organicized jelly on raisin bread. It's like what God would eat if God was an 8-year old boy.

FYI: The next post is in process but I'm still looking for anyone who can recommend where the fuck to eat Fugu or caviar (seriously? I thought that just happened in like,
Three Men and a Baby or whatever movie it is I am thinking of with the caviar in it. ew. but like, no judgments) and BON BONS (the 18th century doesn't count, that's not a real place). So like, e-mail me and stuff, at I'm gonna be really starving for answers when I get to stuff I don't even do in the city, e.g. buy furniture, get things fixed, give birth to children and then feed & entertain them. Also, I've got some additional solicitation to do for the rest of the food categories. Annie Barrett, that means you.

Also side note:
BEST FOOD IN MY KITCHEN RIGHT NOW: I just put strawberry frosting on a Le Petit Ecolier cookie and then my mouth actually jumped out of my body to say "Thank You."

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Sunday Top Ten: It's Not What You're Like, It's What You Like

In the old days--like whenever "Little House on the Prairie" and "Great Expectations" happened, or um, "I Know Where the Red Fern Grows"--people knew people. If I lived in the Great Plains in the 1590s or whenever, I would know all about my friends' families, religious backgrounds, vocations, relationship statuses and economic situations. Also I'd know if they were a king, queen, serf, pauper, butler, knight, etc. Now--like whenever "The Audacity of Hope" and "Shampoo Planet" happened--I'll know if someone prefers Diet Coke over Diet Pepsi before I know if they have any siblings.

During Kim's weekend in NYC, she experienced many exciting things. The most exciting thing, I'm sure, was being assaulted for topics, and, subsequently, items, for the Sunday Top Ten. I feel like it might be like that to hang out with Ira Glass. He's probably like "stories on this theme! stories on this theme!" So obvs I asked her for ideas about every 10 minutes, which means, Coley, I know where you buy your underwear. (I wish there was a better word for "underwear." Because "panties" sounds gross, like Rex Manning asking "What color are your panties?" But "underwear" sounds clinical, and "underpants" sounds like "billy, put on your underpants, stop scaring the little girls!")

Also, it's Tuesday, not Sunday. That's kinda funny, I think. Like, surprise!


10. Underneath Her Clothes....Boy-Shorts, Thongs, Briefs, V-String, Bandeau?
I know which style of underthings my friends select for everyday, formal and/or gym-wear. This is because my friends and I are all beautiful, and we like to make love together in big hills of whipped cream. Sometimes I know special details, like that [redacted] prefers Conway and that [redacted] prefers boy-shorts that say silly things on them from the Victoria's Secret Pink Line, and we both heart J-Lo's line and totally stocked up in the Pennsylvania Wal-Mart on our way through town several eons ago. To the left, to the left, you can see that Lo and I are wearing matching underpants. You might also notice that her ass is somewhat perfect. But that's not really the point.

9. Mac or PC:
This is pretty easy. I don't have any friends with PCs. If you are reading this, and you think you are my friend, and you have a PC, well, then you are not really my friend. If you'd like to defend yourself, please read this: it's your side, and I found it to be dashing and witty, so much so that I posted an excerpt below. TB sent it my way. She has a PC. Which is why we aren't friends. Also? I was really surprised to discover Melaina had a PC, I totally pegged her as a Mac person. But I respect her decision.
"PCs have charm; Macs ooze pretension. When I sit down to use a Mac, the first thing I think is, "I hate Macs", and then I think, "Why has this rubbish aspirational ornament only got one mouse button?" Losing that second mouse button feels like losing a limb. If the ads were really honest, Webb would be standing there with one arm, struggling to open a packet of peanuts while Mitchell effortlessly tore his apart with both hands. But then, if the ads were really honest, Webb would be dressed in unbelievably po-faced avant-garde clothing with a gigantic glowing apple on his back. And instead of conducting a proper conversation, he would be repeatedly congratulating himself for looking so cool, and banging on about how he was going to use his new laptop to write a novel, without ever getting round to doing it, like a mediocre idiot."
-the PC guy in Britan
Still, I just don't get it. I mean, Macs are just cooler. Actually, Cameron coincidentally e-mailed me this afternoon to tell me about the first big event in her and Jay's road from engagement to marriage: the purchase of a beautiful i-mac for their cozy apartment.

8. Bag-Stock
I know I can depend on Natalie to always have 8 to 36 ounces of water in her gigantic sack of insanity (sometimes she whips a laptop out of that thing, or like, an entire outfit or a pair of shoes, she's like a magician). She's also been known to cart around a jug of water so large that I wonder if she intends to empty it into a shallow pool and do some laps. Krista usually has some sort of ecologically responsible lip gloss handy, Hav always has gum (as does Heather. They also both have TMJ) . People can depend on me for a selection of reading materials, eyeliner, a pen, and a sweaty sports bra. And a Push-Pop, if they so desire.

7. Subway Past-times
I am very serious about my battle gear. She said it like this, and I agree, I too don my :
"don't fuck with me" gear (iPod, book, journal)--tokens of hermit tendencies, alarming others to the fact I don't care to be bothered."
I got my boots on. My music: opera if I'm reading something complicated, shuffle if I'm reading something light where the words won't distract me. I've got a movie in my mind, and for y'all--yes, you too, man with the speech about the missing limbs and the starving children, etc, yes, I will give you money on the street, I will donate to places that help you, but don't fuck with me on the subway, dude, it's illegal for a reason, that reason is that it's annoying as hell---it's a silent film. The orchestra is my ipod. Krista listens to audio-books, but usually in the morning she devours "The New York Times"; she folds it into thirds, and then halves, and then reads the Opinion page first. She takes these little paddles of newsprint home with her and leaves them everywhere, and I love her. Lo reads or listens to music, but never both at the same time--the music, she says, is enough. I find that's often the case with musicians or dancers--the rest of us don't pay as much attention as we ought to.

6. Soda of Choice
The best part of waking up for Haviland is the crack and fizz of her first Diet Dr.Pepper. Krista drinks Diet Coke--although she scrunches up her face in utter repulsion when I suggest purchasing low-fat versions of things like butter ("fake butter," she calls it) or cheese ("fake cheese"=krista's definition) or when I turn down a scone. I've mentioned in various essays about body image (every young feminist writer will ink her pen for one of these suckers at some point) that I know which of my friends drink Diet Coke vs. regular Coke. I of course enjoy the latter, because I don't want to die of aspertime cancer. I am already really pushing it (it=cancer) with my lungs and skin.

5. What Medications They Take
There's a few ways to figure this out. The dead-giveaway is reading labels smacked on the plethora of orange bottles stored in the outer pockets of their messenger bag. During "when I was a kid" convos, if your friend mentions depression, eating disorders, drug addictions, abusive relationships, closeted homosexuality, voices in their head, jail time, or alcoholic parents--it's likely they're taking a pill for that now. If they aren't, they're likely to mention that pretty early on, too. The quickest way: go to the bathroom, and open the medicine cabinet. For friends who live in glorified Manhattan closets without medicine cabinets, check out the dresser: on top, or in the first drawer. Also, sometimes people are complaining about side effects like being fat and not horny, so that's a good way. You know, just go backwards. But honestly, most people would like to talk about their Lexapro. Because they're just so happy to have it!!!!

4. Online Habits
Some people are on AIM all the time, but never really ON it (like they can't actually talk, their computer just "signs them on"). Some people check myspace every 10 minutes. Some check myspace every day. I have friends who know more about MY friends than I do: they are tracking the movements of my Top 12 (relationship status, suggestive-comment count, new drunk-party photos) while I am, you know, writing this goddamn thing. I am not any of those people. I am the person who goes on AIM to proccess specific drama with Haviland and then gets irritated if anyone else attempts to contact me. Which is why I have like 10 email addresses and 5 AIM names.

3. Common Anxiety
If I've just "accidentally" spent $150.00 of non-existent money (aka "Visa money" aka "magic money") at Victoria's Secret Semi-Annual Sale when I was supposed to be doing final edits on an essay for a journal to further my hypothetical "career," I'm gonna text Krista. If I just discovered someone else is publishing a book that reminds me of the one I'm writing and I'm camped outside her door, hurling softballs coated in Neruda at her windows, I'm gonna text Haviland and if I just put a grapefruit on my credit card, that's one for Natalie.

2. Cell Phone Company
I had AT+T from the beginning of cell-phone time, until a weekend in New York City resulted in a $350 phone bill. Now I have Sprint. I got it because my boyf at the time had Sprint, now I honestly like my Sprint-using friends much better than the rest of my friends. There's a special place in my heart for y'all: Mary, Katy, Kim, Lewis, Scot (the boyf-at-the-time Sprint user), Rachael, whoever. I never pay my phone bill because they charge me for dumb shit. They keep calling me and making idle threats. I'll know right away if you have Sprint--the first option when you text me will be to call you, which I will always do accidentally but end before you notice, I think. Also people who have T-Mobile are always really smug about it, like they got invited to some secret club where Catherine Zeta Jones personally services all the customers with a lap dance while they are fed God-Nectar through gold tunnels of love by their Top 5. Cingular has bad reception in NYC, and verizon people are always on the phone with Verizon.

1. Hair-Care and Eye-Care
I think I'm the only person on earth who doesn't wear contacts and doesn't consider washing my hair to be a serious and special activity. I once believed the "tell him you have to wash your hair" joke (re: when a man you don't like asks you out) was 100% joke, but it turns out that for many women, washing their hair is, in fact, a legitimate hobby. As in "I can't go out until I wash my hair" or "Let me call you after I wash my hair" or "Before you take those naked photos of me, please let me wash my hair." I wash my hair every day, otherwise it gets greasy. Which might be because I put grease in it to counteract it's Jewish habits (frizz, fro, etc) (Biosilk, it's a miracle). But anyhow. I actually have contact solution at my house because it's um, useful. Because after we take off our thongs and roll around in giant tubs of cherry Jello and brush one another's hair, sometimes the ladies want to spend the night.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Why Doesn't Anyone Ever Know What I'm Talking About? I'm Hung Up On You.

I'm Hung Up On You: Live From My Portal

Dr. C always asks me the same questions, so I always give the same answers. Then at the end, he'll laugh (nervously) and make some completely out-of-left-field comment that will totally knock my socks off. Today, not only did he ask me 'Do you have any additional superlatives for me?' after I'd responded to the quality of my moods, sleep, anxiety, overall health, living situation, job, etc. as "Super!" , "fantastic!", "never been better," "magical," and "mind-fuckingly-unbelievable!" but then he followed up that excellent execution of vocabulary with:

"Black nails, huh? So are you--goth?"

(note: he said this in almost the exact same tone he used to ask me if I was bi, except, due to content, it felt decidedly less like a nervous sexual advance and more like a quasi-adorable question from a-completely oblivious-to-pop-culture hippie father. If that father was not a hippie and wore only Banana Republic and said things like "millions of people take [medication name here]. It can't be bad for you, if millions of people take it.")

"Yeah," I answered. "Me and Lindsay Lohan. Thus the studded dog collar and the Hot Topic platform boots. And the attitude."

(Side note: black nail polish is totally "over' and in fact I think verging on saturation/uncool-ness, so I love it even more now. i'll like it 4-eva, just like chuck taylors.)

"What's Hot Topic?"

I was suddenly roped into providing definitions for: Hot Topic, Goth, Emo (which I sub-divided into "Seth Cohen emo" and "pop punk emo").

These things mean nothing to me, but I know about them.

Which is what's so fucking weird about our world right now. We sit in front of identical machines that offer portals into absolutely everything. It's not our rapidly expanding ability to pursue niche interests or obsessions that interests me, but rather how there are things I can't even imagine avoiding on this machine--like Gawker, or like blogs in general---things that are SO CENTRAL to my universe and so completely out of the orbit for so many other people. We all know the media is sort of a circle-jerk, but you don't really realize the extent of that until, over the course of one week, you are met with a blank stare regarding the following topics: The James Frey debacle, "RENT" (the musical, the movie, the empire), NPR, Gloria Steinem, Raymond Carver, the Jim McGreevy scandal, the term "JAP" (Jewish American Princess), the "logo" television network, the Duke rape case, the concept of "independent" films, Jack Kerouac and "On the Road," Ted Haggard, the connection between the failures of our public education system and prison populations, and the political movement of people who think the Holocaust was a lie (it's encouraging, of course, that holocaust-deniers are not in the public eye as much as I imagined). Oh and also a clueless computer tech guy who, after M commented on her ravenous appetite this time of the month, actually asked if a period lasted ONE OR TWO DAYS. As in "One day? Two days?"

I was endeared recently to learn that there is at least one person in my universe who has never seen the music video for Madonna's 'Hung Up.' Living one's entire life without seeing Madonna gyrate in her pink leotard is super-tragic, though I'm not sure I would have been turned on to it were it not for melaina's blog and the gym. And I think I was working at then, and we had our pulse on the finger of bare thighed women in popular music. Also I go to the gym and there are about 10,000 TV screens there. It's like Sears.

Also, until last week, though I claimed otherwise, I did not know what made a Nintendo Wii different from other Nintendos. I don't understand why they keep making new Nintendos. How could anything get better than MarioKart?

Also I still don't know what "The Departed" is about, and, I realized, in conversation last week about why I don't like Russel Crowe, that I have not seen a single movie with Russel Crowe in it. Ever. No, not even Gladiator. Shove it.

I've accepted that there are many things that compose huge giant chunks of my consciousness, like literature, that don't matter to most people. I don't expect everyone in the world to know about Savage Inequalities (re: the American school system), the Jonathans (Safran Foer, Franzen, Lethem), Ani DiFranco, blogs, theater, The L Word, New York Magazine, Lorrie Moore or Christina Ricci.

But sometimes people really surprise me. Like not knowing about Freygate.

Or when I referenced the "George Bush doesn't care about black people" Hurricane Katrina "thing," and [redacted, because i was such an incredulous asshole about it at the time you probably wanted to flood my life with toxic water from the Hudson River] replied with a blank and curious stare and said they hadn't heard anything of it.

I guess because we are all sitting in front of the same machine, it's boggling how easy it is to bypass entire portions of it's content. Do we really have access to everything, or are these new filtering tools (like Google Reader, my playground lover) just enabling us to filter out everything, via tag, and increasing our limited knowledge of our limited world?

Also why doesn't my computer know the word "internet" yet?!! Stop highlighting "internet" every time I do a goddamn spell check. Waa.

I'm trying to work this stuff out.

In these cases, the "you" refers to the group of people who do not know about the chosen thing.
Why I Assume You Know This: If Gawker were a girl, she would never win homecoming queen but she'd sweep the yearbook hand-outs: "most popular," "most likely to succeed," "best style," and "best looking." Gawker would be really pretty, but like--interesting pretty. Gawker would be very popular but she would keep her loyalties few and select. When Gawker was in the room, you'd feel self-conscious. You'd feel simultaneously that Gawker was looking at you AND had no idea you even exist. You'd be afraid to talk to her because she might tell everyone what you said, or just judge you, silently, which would feel almost worse. She'd have a really distinct/enviable style and be known as mean and smart and cold and there'd be mysterious rumors about her home life (single mom? gay dad? raised by famous author? lives with punk rock headlining sister in a van down by the river?) that maintained your rapture though you knew/suspected it was all a lie. She would get into Brown but drop out after three years for a tempting job offer. Her crowd would be girls who had to copy each other to fit in, but she could just be intimidating and smarter than them and that would be enough to keep them at their heels. Every time she'd look at you, your heart would skip a beat, and you'd add it to your psychological sidebar. You'd kind of hate her though, underneath all that love and admiration, because she has all this power. And she actually deserves it sometimes.
Why you don't: You don't live in New York City and you don't like New York City or the media it produces and then congratulates itself for.
OR 1. You aren't in publishing or in the media. 2.You have a job that requires you to perform certain tasks in exchange for a salary and you can't spend the entire day blog-surfing and checking to see if they've put up the gold star motel yet.

Gloria Stienham:
Why I Assume You Know This
: You are an educated human being in the 21st century. You have, at one time or another, heard a little snippet about feminism. NOT about women who throw paint on fur and think all sex is rape, but like, ACTUAL feminism. The kind you shouldn't be afraid of, unless you are Ted Nugent or a Morman.
Why You Don't: Because I don't know who played in the Super Bowl. And because of the patriarchy. Because of most of the points she's ever made.

The James Frey Thing:
Why I Assume You Know This: You can either: 1. hear, 2. read, or at least you could last year. You like to use these senses to pick up newspapers or glance at television screens playing the news, or "surf the web" in search of additional news. You have conversations with people who read literary fiction or memoirs. You know about Oprah, for Christ's sake. Larry King. OPRAH?!!! Oprah. Everyone knows about Oprah. And if you don't, you are amazing, and I love you and forgive you.
Why You Don't: This story was more insulated to the world of publishing than I thought, I guess? I mean, I couldn't have avoided hearing about it thirty times a day, but then again, I missed The Olympics.

Why I Assume You Know This: You are alive in the nation called America, and you've heard of a thing called "radio."
Why You Don't: I really don't know. I'm not saying I think you should listen to NPR, I'm just saying you should have HEARD of it. (pun intended) Because I am an elitist boho bastard with no connection to the American people? Because I grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and you grew up in Buttfuck, Nebraska? Actually, that would be hot, if there was a city called "buttfuck." And actually, then, I think, there would be NPR there. I don't know. I'm being honest, I think it is because I'm an elitist twat. That's fine. If it wasn't for Krista, I would have missed a lot of things that happened in politics. Now that she's in New Haven, I probably do.

Some Things I've Been Called Out For Knowing Absolutely Nothing About Recently:
"Lost" (TV), "American Idol" (TV), John McCain (i know a little. but not a lot), the i-phone, the aforementioned Nintendo Wii, any movies that have come out with guns in them, Pan's Labyrinth (?), football, some cop-shooting thing, "The Sopranos," pretty much every TV show on TV that's not on "The N" or on at the gym in the mid-afternoon or not "The L Word" or "The View," why Dean stopped running in 04...also, i didn't get that youtube thing until like, 10 years after the rest of y'all.
I never saw TV as a kid, too. Like Facts of Life (?), and um, whatever else was on that people keep talking about. A Different World, or Different Strokes, or Different something something. Whatever. Shows that were on between 1980-1992. Didn't see them. You Can't do that on television? Me neither.


There's a lot of stuff I don't know anything about. A lot. So I'm just as uncool as all of you. Except for the "One Day? Two Days?" guy. I'm cooler than him. Also he asked "so do you just stick something up there when you think it's going to come?" (REMINDER: his convo, NOT mine, which I could not BELIEVE we were having), and I said "Uh, like a tampon?" and he said
"Yeah. You could call it that."