Wednesday, January 30, 2008

My Number One Feeling is Sunshine

[Photos by Alex Vega]
On Monday we decided to go to Florida, so on Tuesday we went to the Newark airport to fly to Florida. Our flight was delayed and thus, over variations on salad at the JetBlue terminal's Chili's Express, I subjected my traveling companions to about an hour of my favorite conversation topic: "What should I do for a Top Ten?!". We considered some of yours, some of ours. Some I've done. Where We Are Going and Where We Have Been. We may or may not've spent the next four days throwing out ideas for "Top Ten Critters" at random, which ultimately we realised would have to be an extended feature, like those predictable yet annual "sexiest women ever" lists run in men's magazines -- the ones where Angelina Jolie & Halle Berry always make the top ten. They won't make ours. They may be sexy, but they are not critters.

I try to make Top Tens relevant to that week's activities and said as much, and so we tried to think of things that have been happening lately. One of our Top Ten phrases of the moment is "I have a lot of feelings" (and variations on that), so someone suggested "Top Ten Feelings." Now, our new favorite phrase is: "My number one feeling is [INSERT NOUN OR VERB]." Really, it's hard to keep up with us, we're like Juno. Anyhow, so, as I dipped my lettuce & crisp-bread into my ramiken of ranch, we brainstormed my Top Ten Feelings. It was very educational, I learned a lot about what my friends think of me. I'm not going to go into explaining the list formed in the box in the upper-right, you can make of that what you will. Also, usually my handwriting is way neater, but I was eating and writing all at once:


This list seemed depressing, especially since most people wouldn't understand that "impatient" can be a good thing. That box became a new brainstorm that led to the actual Tuesday Top Eight. Also: clearly kidding about loving animals, which I think I named as my number one feeling. Howevs, I changed my tune re: animals later on in the week ... and when I say that, I'm not talking about Alex leaping over lawn-chairs/tables and torpedoing into the pool (much to the surprise of our compatriots) or our primitive fondness for wrestling like children/monkeys (that's not a veiled sexual reference, I'm quite serious about our wrestling). I'm talking about Tinkerbell, obvs, my new dog (see left, and more on this later).

So, I will get back to this about lists of feelings in a bit. Firstly: a Tuesday night JetBlue fight from Newark, New Jersey, to Ft.Lauderdale, Florida, is essentially a retired Jew-train. If you were to loot the Sunday return flight, you'd establish a healthy supply of Juicy separates and fancy sunglasses, as well as a number of screaming children who I wanted to kill with my bare hands, but Tuesday is 95% peoples in their golden years. Cait was seated next to and thus became besties with a couple she called "my grandparents." Grandma read the news-ticker on her back-of-the-seat teevee out loud to her husband, 'cause old people like to read everything they see out loud to each other, e.g., street signs, newspaper headlines, the titles of other people's books, slogans on other people's shirts, etc. (Imagine aging Jew accent: Gpa-"Big bellies cause DIABETES!" [pause] Gma-"I KNOW!")
*
Here's the thing about Key Biscayne: we were steps from the beach, there were even hammocks available should someone care for certain degrees of relaxation. Palm trees and perfect temperate weather. Food without washing dishes, drinks without consequences. Freedom. From our balcony we could see two large glassy blue pools and their respective hot-tubs, and the paths and green space between them. Night-time is quiet and therefore belonged to us. The humidity mutes out to a perfect 75-degree-cool. There's that ocean. There's the possibility of wine delivered to a hot tub, and of being with friends who make you laugh more than just about anyone. That's an advantage to meeting people on the webbernets via bloggetry: they've already got your sense of humor and basic belief system mostly.

I don't like Miami the city 'cause the people are made of plastic and they all have shiny cars that intimidate me and believe in strange things, but I wouldn't mind visiting Key Biscayne every week or so. Also I don't like Republicans generally.
*
So Alex decided she only has five feelings, but then -- later and drunk, she couldn't remember all five, only: hunger, happy and "dancing."
Dancing isn't a feeling, Vega, Cait & I told her.
It is, she said. And also, she said, my number four feeling is music, and my number five feeling is RuPaul.
We told her RuPaul and Music are also not feelings, but nouns,
but she said, no, RuPaul is a feeling.
Okay Alex, we said, if you want dancing to be your number one feeling, then you go for it. You dance.
*
Also: back to loving animals. We got Tinkerbell from the gift-shop downstairs -- one of many places within the resort who found our presence alarming/interesting -- Tinkerbell also doubles as a purse 'cause you can zip open her back and insert things in it, like illegal drugs, tampons, money and condoms for straight people. Last night (Monday) I brought Tinkerbell to Carly's party and spoke on Tinkerbell's behalf ("Tinkerbell would like a vodka-tonic." "Tinkerbell is very cold.") but Carly told me I had to cut it out and put that shit away. That's fine, I don't expect anyone to understand Tinkerbell like I do. Tinkerbell is a woman's best friend.
*
We spent heaps of time in the elevator -- traveling from our room to the ground floor and subsequently to the outdoors or traveling from our room to the food room upstairs, where we attempted to identify mysterious wrap sandwiches that'd later reappear as salads or mini-deserts the next day. Alex and I ate a lot of sourdough bread and Haviland had a lot of lettuce and Cait dropped her food off the balcony onto the lawn below, which was awesome, our heads exploded along with the lavash.

I tried to tell everyone on the Vlog about this woman who came out of the elevator super-stressed while Cait & I were upstairs waiting on it. She wore a business suit and a nametag and looked like she'd just been to hell in back, and said urgently: I'VE BEEN STUCK IN THERE FOR FIVE MINUTES. Cait & I waited about two minutes for the other lift to arrive before hopping right onto the allegedly damaged elevator. Someone else in the elevator car asked 'isn't this the broken elevator?' which seemed dumb, we were all in an elevator we thought we might never leave, which says a lot about our desires to move from floor to floor. This was funnier later when we tried to re-tell the story than it was at the time. This happens often to us.

I'm not good at being around other people for numerous consecutive hours and also I had a recap to write, so one afternoon the girls left me alone. I tried to go to the food floor alone but all the elevators kept going down and I wanted to go up, which's why I'd pressed the "down" button. It happened like six times, so I started hiding when the lift would stop for me (but not really at all for me) by pressing my back against the button-containing wall when the elevator doors opened, 'cause every time it did all its passengers would look at me like I'd just ruined their lives by making them stop on my floor when I wanted to go up and they wanted to go down. So once I was pressed against the wall being quiet like a mouse and a guy goes "What's this? Another false alarm," and I was like, "Sucker!"

Also there was a tropical windstorm so I went outside and tried to stand as still as possible and let the wind blow my hair around and took photos where Hav says I look like a fetus. Then everyone came back and I told them that housekeeping had come to fix the safe and so now I had the contents of the safe, how exciting! I assumed Cait had called housekeeping to tell them that she couldn't get anything out of the safe. But she HADN'T. They just KNEW. Our sense that we were communicating telepathically with the resort increased when Vega answered the door to a nice hotel worker lady and then told us the lady had asked if we wanted room service. Which's odd, as we'd just been discussing that very thing. Then we realised that the lady had said "TURN-DOWN service," not room service, but Vega didn't know what that is. I do, 'cause they did it on the cruise, that was when they brought the free chocolates and gay t-shirts.

*

Before Saturday, the resort was almost exclusively populated by attendees of a mysterious "Circle of Excellence" convention (appeared Midwestern or Southern, most of them, a lot of capri pants) and very old white people. Perhaps it was because we were dressed like bums or perhaps it was our youth & beauty, but we got famous super-quick, and it seemed everyone in the resort knew about us 'cause everywhere we went alone we were asked "where are the rest of the girls?" I decided they probs thought we were rockstars, 'cause who else would dare to be so foxy and also so bummily dressed? The man at the gym kept really close tabs on us and said weird things about Heath Ledger and the economy (he liked to watch the teevee too, like the woman on the plane, and read out loud to me), it kinda made me uncomfortable but who cares, it was also comedy gold and I got a great workout!

On Saturday, the herds arrived -- neatly tanned middle-aged women with taut stomachs and lipo'ed thighs and their fleshy hairy husbands & cherubic hypnotized children, and some young couples & groups of pretty thirtysomething girls reading Janet Evanovich novels at poolside in overpriced sarongs -- but by then we'd settled in and we would've stayed forever, even with all the people. All of 'em! I'd never loved this kind of thing so much in my life.

*

When we went to the spa to get massages, during which Alex bff'ed her masseuse due to shared heritage and Cait got her masseuse to reconsider her stance on gay marriage and I got pummeled by some dude, they gave us these robes that totally swallowed Alex and we thought that was high-larious too. Cait took a photo with her phone, it's one of the strangest photos ever, we're like Samurai warriors. I cut off my head in this photo 'cause I look silly in it but you can see I'm preparing for Zen. Alex looks silly too, but I put it up anyway, 'cause it's precious:

*
Though Cait and I didn't want to go out (other people, crowded rooms), the going-out-to-a-lesbo-bar idea was proposed every night. But the last night we decided to get really crazy, which always means that Riese has to drink a lot and then do something really crazy no one else would want to do like get a tattoo. Holla! So I did, we went to Miami Ink, which apparently is famous amongst people who watch television. It was AWESOME. Here it is:

It's Ancient Hebrew for yud, which means "hand." It's here.

I'm so tough! I didn't flinch, I was like, I feel no pain, I am Yoda.
Then we went out and did crazy things I can't talk about, they're just too crazy. But the best part was when we got home and I took a swig of the Dasani water and it turned out to actually be one of many water bottles we'd filled with vodka on the food floor because we're very Savvy. Then I tried to make everyone talk to Tinkerbell but no one wanted to for some reason. She's very soft. Then I got sick, obvs, 'cause that swig of vodka was an unwelcome visitor. Seriously I drank A LOT of it on accident. Also I wasn't the one who put it in the Dasani bottle, the "girls" did that, I was in the room writing my L Word recap like a weirdo.

Mostly we just laughed a lot, like A LOT, and like about everything. It was breezy and beautiful and everything I needed right now. I'm not entirely sure what we talked about but somehow we moved effortlessly and everything was funny and sunshine. I can't really explain it I guess, but it was the most fun. I wanted to stay but instead we're home again. The problem with home is that Key Biscayne was significantly better than home. That's okay. Maybe we'll go back soon. I'm also looking into a Walden Pond-esque situation, let me know if you have any leads. JK. I would never miss the Super Bowl.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Don't Know The Reason, VLOGged Here All Season

Well, we're back in New York City, and it sure is cold (also, boy are my arms tired!). I'm still in denial that we're no longer in Key Bisquane, which's one of many reasons I've yet to unpack. The other reasons include being very busy.

I hope you're ready to set aside approximately six minutes and thirty seconds to have your world rocked to the core by the first installment of the video blog we made in our hotel room at about 2 A.M. last week sometime. If you've ever dated a 16-year-old boy, you're probs familiar with that kind of experience. That's the kind of sentence that someone may suggest I delete if I ever want to be a successful human being.

There'll be a Tuesday Top Eight/Sunday Top Ten/Wednesday Top Wow dropping in your universe shortly. Also, I got a tattoo on my wrist, more on that later.

This video includes the following topics: leaving myspace (again), vacation/Miami, the Allegory of the Cave, the nineties, and this really funny thing that happened when we went to the elevator. If you look at the reflections in the sliding glass door, you can see Semicolon/Alex and Cait vibrating with laughter and amusement.

A soundtrack listing can be found here at Auto-Universe,. along with the soundtracks for Vlogs 13, 14, 15 and 16!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

We're Going to VLOG Miami ... Really Soon.

Hola! Welcome. Here we are in Sunny Florida! Actually, it's a little windy right now, but it was windy and sunny all day. Haviland is singing from The Golden Girls. We filmed some vlog so I made a preview, you can watch it below to whet your appetite for the real thing. A lot of amazing things happened today, like we've started communicating telepathically with the hotel people so they bring us things we don't ask for. Also I'm never coming home 'cause it's beautiful sunny and it's cold in New York. (I know! Crazytown! I hate the sunshine! Not as much as I hate waterparks and strangers, but it's hate just the same. Sunshine's a lot better with palm trees, p.s.) If I was reading this right now I would hate me. Actually, I'm writing this right now, and I kinda hate me. But y'know, I'm used to having that kind of relationship with myself, ideally you find it endearing, like the Golden Girls.

Also we had a big talk about the internet this evening and Haviland gave me permission to delete my myspace profile, which I've wanted to do pretty much since I put it back up after deleting it the first time. I'm not going crazy or dead, I just truly loathe myspace -- it makes my head explode, random dudes are still asking me for threesomes, and I never check it and therefore always feel like an asshole when I do check it.

I feel weird obvs about losing my comments and other things from my friends ... but today I was working on my book -- digging through a lot of old docs on my computer, and even stuff from last year I don't remember writing -- and I realised that I have approximately every other important minute of my life documented (been keeping daily diary since I was about two, and writing it all down on my computer in detail for about fifteen years) and so if I allow a bunch of myspace stuff to disappear into the great cyberbeyond sans backup or recording ... well, that's perhaps good for me. I can't keep holding on to things just by writing them down. I can only really hold onto things by grabbing things like a tiger and pouncing. Rawr!

Here's our preview. The real thing is gonna be even more awesome, if such a thing is possible. If it was, I might call it "awesomer."

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Call to Arms/For Serious ... And Speaking of Winners

1. Firstly, Jo ... email me with your address and you'll receive some stickers, which you can use to tape people's mouths shut if they talk too much or have too many feelings. I obviously speak from experience.

Everyone nominate me for this.

Um -- JK!! apparently it's not working. As soon as it starts working again, I'll let you know. UPDATE : It is now working!

I saw that the grand prize includes a dyke duck, which's the world's first lesbian rubber duckie, and goddammit, I want that fucking duck.

You can nominate this blog or Auto-Straddle or both. Together we can end world hunger.

Here is the queer duck, as you can see, my life would not be complete if this duck was not in it.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Travelgorrieopoly: Your Big Chance to Hit the Jackpot!

[un-proofread. We're boarding] Let's play a game. Not a game with complicated rules, like Cranium or Chutes & Ladders, but a simple game like "Poke Haviland in the Ear." Which, p.s., I just won. Poke planned & subsequently completed. We're currently waiting to board an airplane, I'm super-excited to begin my Airplane-Related Anxiety Attack, as I loathe airplanes. In fact, there's a lot of things I like and dislike about traveling. (Not time travel, I love all things related to time travel.) Nice segue, Riese. Thanks!

Back in the eighties, when I was a wee girl, my parents'd extract me from bed circa 4 a.m., drop me in the backseat and when I woke up, we'd be all the way to Toledo at least. That was better than airplanes and usually involved Egg McMuffins. I'm not complaining. I'm just happy to be getting out of the city, obviously, and also, I heart JetBlue. Usually complaining is funnier than happiness though, is anyone LOL'ing?

Here's the game: of course, comment as per ushe, but if you'd like to take a gander and guess which of the following two Travel-Things are lies, I'll mail you some Auto-Straddle stickers. Not right away, but eventually.

Travelolopygories: A New Game For Adults & Children
I'd Like To Endorse Some Common Travel-Related Concepts. Ready? Lez Go!
Also, TWO of these things are lies -- I'm pretending to endorse a thing, but in fact, I loathe this thing.
Airplanes won't be on it, nor will strippers & outlet malls, so y'know.
*
Theme Parks:
Obvs Disneyworld is the best theme park of all theme parks, 'cause it's educational (hello, Epcot) and 'cause it's pretty much the pioneer, like a Pilgrim. I feel the magic. I don't even care that it's artificial and subsists on perpetuating antiquated notions of Americana and subsequently shilling overpriced commercialized representations of this "dream" of pure/clean happiness which're actually un-genuine and exploitative on many respects. I melt for Tomorrowland. But Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio is the Roller Coaster Capital of the world and one of my Top Ten Places on Earth. Probs The Raptor should be one of the Seven Wonders of the World, no lie.
*

Wax Museums:
I will fully go to a wax museum by myself if no one'll accompany me. Howevs, most people find once they enter a wax museum and see all their favorite celebrities and historical figures in wax, they're glad they made the trip. My favorite wax museums are the Hollwood Wax Museum in L.A. and Madame Tussad's in London. FYI Dollywood (in Tennesee) is pretty much wax museum central. Second to Niagra Falls. I can't do the Chamber of Horrors though, totally freaks me out.
*

Waterparks:
I'm not a fan of appearing in public in a bathing suit -- in fact, I was completely unwilling to do so until about four years ago. Howevs, I was forced to don a suit and catapult down a slide in a raft at Wet 'n Wild in Australia in 1995 and it was pretty kick-ass (also I had a Speedo). Now I'm too old, so my experiences with waterparks were brief but glorious, though I plan on re-visiting when I have children who I can torture, 'cause it'll put hair on your chest. Wet 'n Wild in Las Vegas apparently also felt brief and glorious & was closed in 2004, two years after I flirted with death on that flume jet-pack straight-drop demon drop hooha. I enjoy flirting with death, death is sexy. It's like "what's up, nice bikini."
*

Hiking:
If you put your hands on your quads while you walk, you can feel yourself get sexier. Seriously, just try it. Also I like nature and trail mix, especially nuts and dried berries. My favorite part is at the end of a long hike, when I can moan about how sore I am and get a back massage.
*
Hotels:
When I become rich & famous, I think I'm gonna live in a hotel like Eloise. Ideally it'll be a nice hotel with Egyptian cotton sheets and fluffy towels, not the kind with rat shit on your pillow and dead babies on the comforter. I may've mentioned this before. I like being alone in a room where I don't have to clean up after myself, though last time I did this I smoked so many cigarettes that I could barely see the computer screen even though I don't smoke (I've talked about smoking alot recently, but seriously I don't smoke, ask Haviland.) That was when I wrote the March year in review, which was poignant. Continental breakfast - I wouldn't have it any other way. Also, in this terminal at the airport, they've got this magical cereal store, do you know what I'm talking about?
*
Historical Villages:
Much like wax museums, it's difficult to describe or defend my affection for this without dragging you into the boring depths of my childhood. My fave is Greenfield Village in Dearborn, the most famous is apparently Colonial Williamsburg (which I've never been to). You know: you take photos in stockades, you eat old fashioned ye olde candy and jams, experience the glory of free-running farm animals, etc. It used to be my dream job, I wanted to wear knickers and play in the hay with the milkmaid like Laura Ingalls Wielder. The only part I don't like is when they shoot things with rifles and etc. Or cannons.
*
Buffets:
Although buffets aren't exclusive to vaycays (see Old Country Buffet, or "OCB" as we called it back in Michigan), it's unlikely you can convince anyone over the age of 8 or under the age of 60 to attend a buffet restaurant except on vacation. These are less fun during beach vacations, when the effects of all-you-can-eat fried shrimp, gobs of creamy mac-n-cheese and handfulls of mini-muffins are evidenced immediately ('cause I've got a small belly, it's sensitive to anything entering or exiting, gets bloated like a baby). Howevs, it's fun for the whole family, we can all find something tasty to enjoy.
*
Strangers:

When you meet strangers (or snakes) on a plane, you get all the benefits of meeting a new person -- new stories, bizarre perspectives, engaging anecdotes for later -- without the baggage. Get it, baggage? Like you don't have to call them or anything, especially if you're in a hostel in Europe or out west. Most of my attempts to travel alone or w/people my own age result in disaster so I end up stranded places with strangers. The best strangers-I-met story is when I took the train to Wisconsin and met this Israeli girl, we drank a lot of wine, and I made out with someone in the bathroom. Amtrak: try it.
*
I wish I could tell you how much I love museums, but that's a gimme. Obvs I really do.
Also, I'd like to muse on my feelings about the beach, sunshine, and Florida in general, but chances are I'm about to prove myself wrong when we land in Miami.

If I have any eccentric readers in the Miami area, give a holla, for $50 you can brush Haviland's hair and rub suntan lotion on her back. Seriously. Also, if you'd like to make out with Cait, Alex, or Haviland, just say so, they're right here with me and they are CUTE.
Our plane has been delayed about 100 hours, that's okay. I've been keeping busy, writing this random blog that makes no sense at all. Better than nothing, better than nothing.

What am I lying about? To Tell the Truth! Wheeeeeeee ...

Thursday, January 17, 2008

You're Heavy in My Mouth

I'm gonna start opening my blog with scenes from the movie version of my blog, like they're doing on The L Word with Jenny's movie. JK, this is a blog, not a teevee show. Silly rabbit, tricks are for kids. I find the pressure of an opening paragraph simply too much to bear. Still with me? OK so, someone suggested "Top Ten Things Riese likes to Put in her Mouth" (re: "Top Ten: You Tell Me") or something to that effect. I believe this stemmed from the initial suggestion for "10 Ways to Eat a Reeses," which was an amusing convo I enjoyed watching from my emo cave (also, I provided the answer to this in the comments, should anyone be interested). One week at band camp/boarding school we were plagued with a series of random, lengthy power outages, during which we could perform small bursts of anarchic behavior in the safety of temporary pitch-black-night. Somehow biting and sucking on each other's fingers became one of our favorite past-times. Like many of the witty anecdotes I share here, that looks a lot weirder on the page than it seemed at the time. Anyhow,that'll be number 10.


9. Ice Cream and French Fries...

Are my favorite foods. This seems to surprise people, 'cause unless you're my mother, Ingrid, or it's Summer '07 and your name is Carly, you've probs not seen me eat a lot of french fries or ice cream. That's because I don't want to be happy. In fact, I don't talk much about food on here --probs 'cause: 1. I did once and Hav didn't read my blog that day, 2. My Mom was a nutritionist and taught "food, facts & fun" at the Y and used my bro & I as taste-testers and class-testers, thus the topic is old news to me, 3. 'cause I'm about as qualified to discuss food as I am to muse on Russian literature ... clearly my Lean Pockets & Peanut-Butter-Crackers consumption rate suggests I've got no taste when it comes to food. HA! no TASTE! Get it?!

But since I'm talking about things I wanna put in my mouth, I'm gonna really open up. Let you see the Real Riese. Here's my opinion, in great detail, regarding ice cream & french fries ...

8a. Ben & Jerry's ice cream is the best ice cream ever. E.g., Phish Food, Everything But The ..., Chubby Hubby, Half Baked, Coffee Heath Bar Crunch, Cherry Garcia, Peanut Butter Cup, Mint Chocolate Cookie, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough.

8b. Obvs hands down totes Arby's, re: french fries, but there's some noble efforts that challenge the Arby's lockdown (it's the curly fries, specifically). These include Grandma's Kitchen @Interlochen, Red Hot Lovers @Ann Arbor, Applebees, Zen Palate's yam fries, In 'n Out, and the kind made from real potatoes that you get at foodstands like at fairs and stuff.

8c. Also, I like Haagen Dazs Dulce de Leche, cheap Neapolitan ice cream from the deli, Edy's whole fruit bars, those ice cream bars you can buy in Vending Machines or at the case right by the cashier a the corner deli -- Strawberry Shortcake is the best flavor, you know what I'm talking about?, also; Breyer's Cookies & Cream, also ... when eating soft serve: the first bite that is both cone & soft serve is the best, Butter Pecan, my Dad's sundaes = hot fudge & mixed nuts & Breyer's Vanilla, push pops named for cartoon characters, the time I chased the ice cream truck five blocks in my socks 'cause my parents said I could have some if I caught the truck and they figured I wouldn't but I wanted to be Maniac Magee and I did, creamsicles, Friendly's (their sundaes are out of this world, the one with reeses pieces and stuff? OMG so good), walking to Stucchi's in the summertime for the Raspberry Cheesecake Ribbon, Vanilla Almond Fudge Toffuti, Colliders, Dairy Queen Blizzards, dilly bars, the magic shell butterscotch and chocolate when we first discovered it, the final reward of the sundae area at cheap buffet restaurants I loved as a kid, like Ponderosa and OCB, when we went to London for three weeks and all my brother ate was chocolate ice cream, Superman flavored sherbert at Washtenaw Dairy, ice cream with my grandpa at United Dairy Farmers the summer I stopped eating and all the bicycling we did right after because I had to compensate and because that's what he'd been doing, that summer, to compensate for his loss, was fix antique bikes and then we'd ride them. It was a perfect afternoon -- the weather-- Ohio, oh, Ohio. And also; green tea ice cream and mocchi balls -- the gelly outside, the ice cream inside, omg --

We'd bike to Baskin Robbins too, in the summer, Kristyna and I, we felt like adults but also in an Audrey Hepburn movie, and we'd eat our cones outside on the barely stable plastic picnic tables and watch our bikes and look at people and cars. We'd go across the street to Panorama and rent a movie like "The Craft" and ride home and watch it, our legs pulsing like hot ice.

8. Cigarettes
I don't smoke, really, I totally don't smoke. I don't smoke because if I did smoke, it wouldn't be so unbearably delicious when I do smoke -- I wouldn't get lightheaded and dizzy, I wouldn't feel like I was having Grown-Up Candy instead of a pump of an addictive substance.

7. My Fingers
The real reason I get regular manicures is 'cause when I don't, I have a bad habit of eating my fingers. Like, the sides? And biting my nails, obviously, which's why I get black nail polish. Also because I'm cool and I want to be like Linsday Lohan. Was. In 2005. Or whenever. The years just bleed together, when it comes to famous people and wtf they are doing with their super-important lives.

6. Pens & Pencils
Apparently? I don't recall eating my pens, but there's some telling bite marks.

5. I can't talk about because there are children reading this (also, just to be perfectly clear, it does not rhyme with "dock")

4. Milky Way
I used to be the straight-edged innocent, so I'm still surprised every time I find myself in the position of the corrupter rather than the one being corrupted. It's the "me"/"not me" thing -- it's always the "not me" who inspires other people to do "bad things." Like, for example, psychedelic mushrooms. (I am hereby sacrificing my ability to be employed by anyone besides my present employer). But [redacted] months ago, I told a curious friend that when I'd done shrooms before, it was totally mild and not weird, and therefore she should be enthusiastic about giving it a go. I figured since it was a drug that affected psychological capacities, it was best that the psychology be optimistic and determined regarding the next few hours of its function. Howevs, I was totally lying! When I'd done them before ... it was soooo weird! I'm actually totally unexperienced in most areas of druggery, despite my rugged and street-wise exterior. Thus, my one prior shrooming experience was the weirdest I'd ever felt in my life (this second & more recent time -- where I was the one suggesting it, instead of the one it'd been suggested to-- was not weird at all, perhaps you saw the video), fo' sure, like I was making love to a Milky Way bar with my mouth and throat.

Spring Break, March '03: my U-Mich friends were mostly abroad, I was in New York, staying with my ex Mike (all names have been changed) in Astoria. I'd just purchased a coat that was hybrid Bob Dylan/Jordan Catalano (brown, wool lining, sheep whatevs, vintage) and I was wearing it with overpriced jeans and a green Hollister hoodie. My hair was platinum blonde. My mood that (near) spring was a kind of bursting optimism & fluttering excitement because I'd just left a dull domestic relationship and was working on my senior thesis -- as a creative writing student, my thesis was a short story collection, a culmination of everything I'd done thus far in life. I felt very much on the verge, etc. I'd doubled my eyeliner application.

I had a small dinner & several drinks at The Yaffa Cafe in Soho with an Interlochen bestie while texting Blake, my new paramour back in Michigan. After dinner I went to the Olive Garden to meet up with Mike -- I'd met Mike there in '00, we'd worked together as servers and he was a bartender now -- I had a few more free drinks while everyone finished their tables. Blake called: he was drunk, he missed me ... he told me he was falling in love with me. I said something that meant "I've had a great deal of free drinks and I feel like a shooting star" but sounded like "Me too." I was also falling in love with me, too, though (not Blake yet, but I would eventually), and I was falling in love with falling, and so, when Mike asked if I wanted to do shrooms, I said okay. A group of OG employees -- friends & strangers -- returned to Mike & Brian's apartment in Astoria.

And so we did said drugs. There was lots of Hospitaliano. The ceiling was moving like a tricky Magic Eye cartoon. Things were carved in the ceiling -- animals, maybe, or just a design, maybe the animals were in my mind. I opened and closed my eyes, but saw the ceiling just the same. I opened my eyes and was faced with Mike's eyes and he told me to open my mouth and I did, and he put a half a tab of ecstasy inside my mouth (which I'd never done before, either), and when it was in my veins he told me what he'd done.

Brian played Dave Matthews on his guitar, and Cat Stevens, Bob Dylan, Jeff Buckley. Mike's ex-whatever came over and lounged on his couch like a siren in an old movie and rolled a joint with a joint-rolling contraption she told me Mike'd bought her in Amsterdam. Her hair was beautiful, dark red.

I went to Mike's room and lay on the bed and next to his bed there was a bag of miniature Milky Way bars and I realised I was starving, and so I started eating these Milky Way bars and it was like the candy was making love to the inside of my cheeks, like the caramel was a sleek sexy fish on my tongue, like the entire Milky Way galaxy had been crammed into my mouth by an ambitious cosmonaut and was now exploding inside my cheeks like cotton-coated pop-rocks. Brian came into the room and lay on my back while I ate Milky War bars. The inside of my eyeballs danced. He put his hands on the backs of my arms, and then on the backs of my legs, but he wasn't touching me, he was just feeling around, like you might touch a wall in the dark on your way to your room. Then he got up and said "I'm sorry," and dashed out of the room. A chocolate-caramel-nougat angel climbed inside my mouth and curled up and slept there, and then I did too.

This is what I said about it, when endorsing it to aforementioned coruptee: "All I remember from doing it before was that I had these Milky Way bars and they were really good, and I don't even like Milky Way bars."

3. Push-Pops, Caramel Apple Pops, Ring Pops, Blow Pops, Dum-Dums
I used to keep a push pop in my bag like it was chapstick -- wholly necessary, better be prepared, you never know when I'd want a suck. I've been accused of an oral fixation, but I think that's lame, like something girls used to say they had to let boys know they were easy. Do you know what I mean? We all have oral fixations. We have teeth, they want to bite/chew, we have lips, they have very little purpose except the obvious.

I go through serious long addictions to these things. Like, I used to have a giant three-tiered push pop that took me about a week to finish, I'm basically seven years old.

2. My Toothbrush and Toothpaste
I get scolded at the dentist 'cause apparently I brush so often that I'm brushing away my gums. I don't care, I want minty fresh breath, obvs. I go through a toothbrush a week, about, and keep extras almost everywhere I've ever worked or played. Ingrid and I used to like to get in each other's faces and brush our teeth for no reason. Again: boarding school. We do these things, I don't know why, but we do.

1. Other Mouths
When it all comes down to it, there's really nothing else on earth as wonderful as kissing.

I love how lipstick can suggest
a grammar, and how, in sleep,
the mouth gives up its posture
like something defeated.
Isn't a morning kiss, then,
a kind of restoration, a love test
for the one who wakes first?
I love what we must forgive.
So good to find them, the people
who've discovered fraudulence
in their lives, who've cast off, say,
a twenty-year lie.
I love how they listen to poems
as if words were necessary
daggers or balm, their faces proof
that the soul feeds on wild riffs,
every sort of truth-scrap, the blues.
I love that the normal condition
of the soul is to be starved.

-from "loves" by stephen dunn

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Tuesday Top Eight: We're Unsure We're Unstop We're Unstoppable

Hi, welcome to the new and improved Tuesday Top Eight. 'Cause of "The L Word," I probs won't execute a timely Sunday Top Ten 'til about April. I asked y'all for ideas and you came out full force, per always, and so I'll be doing one of your! ideas! every week as a Tuesday Top Eight until the lesbian television season ends. If you get another top 10 idea -- because who knows where thoughts come from, they just appear -- y'know, there's no deadline, this isn't like, Harvard or The Spice Girls Reunion Tour. It's just a little blog. Bloggity blog blog with rolling admissions. You can even use the Common Application if you want. There's just a small matter of verifying your identity via the correct transcription of a series of oddly shaped letters. Also you should take AP Calculus. You don't have to, but you might want to consider it.

You guys, seriously, you know how sometimes I make jokes/self-deprecating statements like "I'm not funny anymore," or "one day I'm gonna run out of words/ideas/things to say"? OMGGG I was the girl who cried wolf! Now it's for real! No, not really. Seriously I've felt uninspired for about ten hours and I think it's the end of the world.

I don't talk alot about the process of writing, mostly because I'm in denial that I actually "write" things, like I'm a "writer," I tend to think more that like, I'm a producer of entertainment that happens to take place in letters forming words forming sentences forming paragraphs forming hopefully LOLs or Deep Thoughts. But from time to time I enter phases where -- for no particular reason (because moods don't correspond neatly to writing ability like they do for other vocations -- as in ... a happy person is more likely to be a better waitress, but a degree of happiness doesn't correspond that neatly to being a better writer -- nor does extreme sadness, or anything, moods and writing are closely related but certainly not easily predicted how they'll match up, you never know really 'til it's happening ... no rhyme or reason, so to speak ... ) -- my writing time becomes 50% writing, 50% staring at the wall. Luckily, I love the wall. I love all kinds of flat surfaces. You may recall that I frequently (redundantly, even) describe my adolescence (post-11.14.95) as a long period of time spent lying on the carpet staring at the ceiling fan. I'm not being dramatic when I say that; totes true.

I've been staring at the wall a lot. It's like, "What's up, Riese? I am a wall. You are not a wall, even though you have many complicated emotional walls and enjoy the album 'The Wall'." The usual idea-to-wall-staring ratio is like, 20:1, but it's been more 10:1 lately. That'll pass. I think the problem is I haven't been spending enough time reading. I mean, I still read more than most people, but I need to read about ten times more than most people, and since I spend less time on the train than I used to, I read less than I used to, and that sucks. Yeah. New Year's Resolution. Ta-Da!

So I'm just gonna write stuff, and ... yeah. Um UPDATE: I'm calling this a Sunday Top Ten for no reason other than because I can, because it's my blog KAZAAM! It's basically the top ten thoughts that popped into my head. Don't worry, the other ones will be soooo much better, totes promise.

Someone suggested "things I should do at least once or only once or never or everyday." Who was it? I separated topics from author of topics because I don't want to be biased. Like, I might automatically pick Haviland, you know? Except Haviland didn't have any top 10 ideas, so I can't pick her.

TUESDAY TOP TEN THOUSAND:
THINGS I THINK ABOUT WHILE I STARE AT THE WALL
OR, "things I should do at least once or only once or never or everyday"

A while back, I did a Top Ten on "Things I'd Like to do In Life Before I die" (Lozo's topic suggestion). So therefore, everything below ... are things I HAVE ALREADY DONE. 'Cause for that top ten I did only things I HADN'T done yet.
Get it? Got it. Good. Also 'cause I wouldn't be like "do this," even though I didn't do it, you know? That'd be totally hypocritical and weirdo. And I am many things but not a weirdo.


Things I'm Almost Entirely Positive Abolustely Everyone Should Do At Least Once:
Win. Straddle. Top. Dance. Get your heart broken -- not just broken, but totally torn up, ripped from your chest and run over and then dragged around the block 'til the whole neighborhood's aware you've been bleeding. Leave, be left. Read The Torah. Also: 1984 (George Orwell), Things Fall Apart (China Achebe), A Clockwork Orange (Anthony Burgess), The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger), Lolita (Vladimir Nabakov) The Unbearable Lightness of Being (Milan Kundera), Girl, Interrupted (Susanna Kaysen), Hamlet (Shakespeare), Mrs. Dalloway (Virginia Wolff), and really just read poetry, seriously, like anything. Be broke and do something you thought you'd never do to un-broke yourself and hate every minute of it. Read: Savage Inequalities, by Jonathan Kozol and Appetites, by Caroline Knapp. Give to someone in a situation where the recipient will not know it was you who gave, where you will never be thanked or recognised. Give and don't tell anyone you gave. Give just to give, give secretly and selflessly. Live Alone, live with strangers, live with friends, live with a lover, live with your family, live with an animal. Listen to these Albums: Kind of Blue (Miles Davis), The White Album (The Beatles), Blood on the Tracks (Bob Dylan), The Immaculate Collection (Madonna), The Dark Side of the Moon (Pink Floyd). Leave the country. Swim. Have sex with someone of the same gender: have sex without "traditional" heterosexual penetration and know that it is also sex. Divorce the idea of intercourse from the idea of sex, and then open up that idea and run around in it naked, touching and biting everything. Take care of someone who is sick because you care too much not to. Make sacrifices, allowances, time. Push everyone away and then let everyone in. Do something for yourself, purely wholely for yourself. Work in a restaurant. Tip your sever 100% and leave the restaurant before they can thank you. Leave the country. Go to a country where you don't speak the language: I was in Paris once, alone. I thought it'd be romantic -- I'd stroll side-streets, sit in cafes drinking pretentious coffee, feel inspired and full of possibility, meet strangers and develop brief but intense life-altering connections to them, order the wrong thing and then try to explain it to the waiter in a sort of slapstick skit that would ultimately result in me getting the right thing for free. But it wasn't really any of those things, it was just me: an 18-year-old girl in a strange city where I didn't know anyone and didn't really know why I was there either, walking around with nowhere to be and nothing to say that anyone else would understand. Do something you thought you'd never do for love. Call in sick to work because you're coming down from a bender, call in sick to work because your BFF is having a breakdown, call in sick to work because your heart hurts, be able to call in sick all those times because you never call in sick when you're actually sick. Acquire a bad habit. Listen to These Songs: "Simple Twist of Fate" (Bob Dylan), "Woodstock" (Joni Mitchell), "Yesterday" (The Beatles), "Redemption Song" (Bob Marley), "The Sound of Silence" (Simon & Garfunkel), "California Girls" (Beach Boys), "When Doves Cry" (Prince), "Ave Maria" (Handel). Do drugs ... I mean it -- loose your mind, even if it's just for a few hours or a weekend. Trip. Roll. Speed. Get high. Whatevs. I haven't done everything and I don't plan to or want to, but I think there's a value in finding out where your brain could go if you wanted to be crazy forever (you don't, you shouldn't, don't, don't ever) and just once ... Spend time, in whatever context (a volunteer, a teacher, a visiting friend, an employee, a convict), in an institution where people are locked in rooms and are not permitted to leave or make any of their own choices about activities, meals, sleep, waking, communication, therapy, punishment, reward. Pull an all-nighter. Get wasted. Like fucked-up blasted out-of-your-skull completely 150% wasted ... watch yourself do crazy things you've always wanted to do but never would've been able to do without your liquid thunder. Fast. Binge. Splurge. Save. Crossdress. Go to the movies alone, go to a restaurant alone. Drink alone. Be alone, be single, be in love, think you're in love but you're really not. Walk from the southern end of Manhattan to your apartment and call it a birthday party. Read a novel for fun, on your couch. Do absolutely nothing for a number of hours. Stare at the wall. Read blogs when you should be sleeping. Listen to music when you should be working. Have a torrid affair. Be a cliche, love it or not even know that it's a cliche. Also: The West Wing. It will really change your mind about what government is capable of ... I mean; it's fiction, obvs, but still. Do a walk of shame. Get fired. Cut off all your hair. Forgive. Talk to yourself out loud. Write an entire blog entry that sounds like a bad greeting card or like those annoying "dance like nobody's watching" posters they had up in your music classroom at elementary school that made you want to dance only when everyone you've ever known ever was watching, lest you be regulated to crappy font and gaudy purples and posters. End this paragraph because it's ridiculous enough as it is, even though you're sure there are 100 things you've left out.

Things I Personally Think You Should Do At Least Once, But Really, It's Only My Opinion, Probs Not Right For Everyone:
Read: Where I'm Calling From (Raymond Carver), Bad Behavior (Mary Gaitskill), Birds of America (Lorrie Moore), The Year of Magical Thinking (Joan Didion), Between Angels (Stephen Dunn), Cowboys are my Weakness (Pam Houston), Our Town (Thornton Wilder), The Corrections (Jonathan Franzen), Bastard out of Carolina (Dorothy Allison), The Glass Castle (Jeannette Walls)Wasted (Marya Hornbacher), The Safety of Objects (A.M Homes), A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius (Dave Eggers). Watch Six Feet Under, My So-Called Life. See (you don't have to agree, but give it a shot): Roger & Me, This Film is Not Yet Rated, Bowling for Columbine, Farenheit 9/11, 7UP! --> 49UP!, SuperSize Me, All Aboard!, When the Levees Broke. Do something fantastic and then celebrate by dancing around your room to Blister in the Sun (Violent Femmes) or Umbrella (Rhianna). Listen to Tegan & Sara. Shut up. Turn off your phone. Make an escape plan. Visit New York City -- not because I live here (I'm busy obvs) but because it's important. Oh also: Empire Records, obvs, and Six Degrees of Separation. Keep a Journal. Let yourself go. Shape up. Buy Automatic Apparel. Um, whatevs. Follow your heart. Tell the same story twice. I just said that so I can tell this story, which I maybe told before, but I don't care to check, which's that in 2000 we were in a real estate office on 72nd and Amsterdam and we'd just dropped out of college to move to nYC for no reason really and the cute Israeli boy that'd showed us apartments all day 'cause the one we thought we were moving into wasn't ready yet and they'd fucked us over royally and now we'd be living somewhere ridiculous and more expensive and we found a place and it was great but also more than we'd planned on spending and I put my head in my hands and said Ryan, why the fuck did we do this? What the hell were we thinking? and all our stuff was in this U-Haul outside, we'd just taken all our stuff from Sarah Lawrence and our friend SF was in Philly with her van ready to go as soon as we knew of an address for her to move into and I said ryan why the fuck did we do this? and the cute Israeli real estate boy said "You have to follow your heart," and that was the best thing anyone has ever said to me ever. Also when he told us he played bass, Ryan thought he'd said that he drove a bus, and that was a funny convo.

Things Everyone Should Do Every Day:
sleep, wake, eat, move, read, think.

Things Everyone Should Never Do:
Hurt innocent people needlessly or with malice/intent. Kill.
Promote hate or ignorance
Eat chicken wings in front of Riese, because the bones gross her out
Watch "That 70's Show"
Make me watch you play video games.

Monday, January 14, 2008

UPDATED! Sunday Top Ten: You Tell Me

On Sunday I said this: "I'm accepting suggestions for the Sunday Top 10, as "The L Word" and other catastrophes* are crowding my brainspace. It's my job here at AutoWin to provide the illusion that it is possible for a semi-intelligent human girl to produce an endless flood of ideas, howevs, this is not true. Therefore, I'm fully prepared for the possibility that no one else has any ideas, either. But I thought I'd throw it out there. If I pick your Top Ten topic, you can win an auto-apparel item of your choice pending size availability. Or stickers. Um, or nothing. Soundtrack? Haviland? Just the joy of the game. The spirit of the game? It's not if you win or lose, something something. OMG, I feel like Snoopy or something, it's really gross. Hm. Well, here goes.

*JK!"

Now it's Monday. There are so many beautiful Top Ten ideas, I barely know where to begin! Some of the ideas are kinda similar to stuff I've already done, but I think I might end up doing alot of them as time continues to go on like sand through a hourglass. I've put the list of all the ideas here. And I'm thinking about it. Input is always welcome. I also have to get a passport today and a number of other important tasks, but this is totally like the top top ten list on my list of top things to do for the day of today.

Someone suggested I do a Sunday Top 10 of the Best Top Tens. So, while I ponder the next Top Ten, here's an old school link dump for ya'.

Ten Best Top Tens of 2006:
12.28.06: Top Ten Books of 2006, Some of Which I've Actually Read
12.24.06: Things They Are Better At Out Here in the Heartland
11.26.06: How to Provide Visitors With The Ultimate NYC Experience
11.19.06: Relationships I've Had With Animals
10.29.06: Revivals
10.15.06: Reasons Apartment 1A Is not A Place For Good Clean Living
10.8.06: Things That Are Cuter than Cute Overload
10. 1. 06: Yom Kippur Edition - Things I'd Like to Repent For
8.20.06: Things I Would Like Back, Please
7. 23.06: Appearances by Flannel Shirts in My Videos From Middle School

Ten Best Top Tens of January --> June '07
1.30.07: Why You Don't Want to Date Me
2.27.07: Dreams You Want to Hear About
3.25.07: Apartments I Want To Live In
4.15.07: My Skills
5.8.07: Potential Reactions To The Loss of One's Sunday Top Ten
5.13.07: Summer Scattergories
5.20.07: Requirements for My Unpaid Intern
5.28 & 5.31: Top Ten Clubs To Which I'd Be a Member: Part One & Part Two
6.11.07: I Am Not The Only One Without a Phone
6.19.07: On Camp

Ten Best Top Tens of July '07 --> December '07
7.2.07: Team Awesome's Gay Teevee Show Is Unlike All Other Gay Teevee Shows
7.22.07: Things That We Lost Along the Way/Concepts Abandoned Prior to Execution
8.13.07 & 8.16.07: Things I Want to Do Before I Die Part One and Two
8.30.07&9.2.07: Worst Nightmares One and Two
8.23.07: Live Through This And You Won't Look Back
9.16&9.20: Dream Jobs Part One and Two
10.2.07: Great Mysteries of Life Part One and Two
10.22.07: Things That Were Harder Than I Expected
10.28.07: Things You Might Not Agree With
11.26.07: Cities I Could Totally Never Live In

The New Sunday Top Ten will drop on Tuesday, fo'serious ...

Friday, January 11, 2008

We VLOG So Hard We Look Obvious

Remember 2007? Me too. My fortune cookie says: "there is a gradual improvement. feelings are sweet and tender." That's nice, it's like custard. I keep thinking that PB&J sandwiches are a real meal. We made a vlog in 2007, it took many hours and many miles in my moccasins. Well ... "we" made a lot of footage. R2-D2 handled the vlog. And it's pretty RAD! I think by Year 10 of writing this blog, I'll have started writing only in iambic pentameter, or switched over to only blogging cartoon drawings produced in MacDraw by me past midnight. It's like automatic writing. It's like automechanics. That's what I need on this blog. A good mechanic. Someone to answer questions people have while on the road of life, and etc. Once again my back is killing me, because I love editing vlogs so much that I ignore my posture, which is an important part of the body.

Anyhow. So we made all this footage in 2007. Today, I woke up and had my coffee and I thought: "Let's see what this footage can do." Then there was nightfall, and now it is now, and I made a vlog. I have to warn you that I'm slightly irritating in this video. Also, there's a part in the vlog where I say I don't wanna vlog anymore, and obvs I'm JK'ing about that. Though I really am considering talking less often. Because of the self-loathing. JK. Love it! La-la-love it. Also, if you're my Mom, I love you too! Hi Mom!

So, here's more vloggy goodness (100% ALL NEW FOOTAGE!) resulting from the filmathon with Semicolon & Stef as well as a few remaining bits of some Carly stuff. It's long, but also worth it. To buy the undergarments discussed in this vlog, please go to The Auto-Apparel Store and you can choose if you want Haviland to wear it for a day first or not.

Also: do you want me to provide lists of what songs are in the vlogs? Do people care? Discuss.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Sunday Top Ten: If You're Going to Hang Out, You Might As Well Hang Out AT THE MALL!

We went to the mall yesterday. You know, the mall? Where all the cool kids hang out, eating their Panda Express and getting Glamour Shots? The mall! The glorious Mall in New Jersey Somewhere! Upon entering I immediately exclaimed "I love the smell of commerce in the morning!" but I don't know if Hav or Cait got the reference, they probs thought I made it up, in which case they probs thought I was a very funny and creative person. In fact I'm not, after all, as I was quoting Mallrats (which was referencing Apocalypse Now, which was "adapted from" Conrad's Heart of Darkness.) AND believe it or not, this here is the tenth contestant in the "Sunday Top Ten Topic Contest" this week. I even considered doing a Sunday Top Ten of failed Sunday Top Ten topics, but I figured I'll save that winner for next week, or next year. I'm pretty sure I'll start thinking more clearly later this week, right now I feel all the ideas have been zapped from my head by Ilene Chaiken, my secret lover and BFF forevs. Also my flatiron died today and I'm probs more sad about that then any of you have ever been about your lesbian cat dying. How am I supposed to have hipster bangs without a hair iron?

Here's what we learned at the mall: we are OLD. You guys, we are really old, we are our grandmothers. We couldn't even be in Abercrombie for more than five seconds because not only did the entire place smell so much like a freshman frat party that we could barely breathe, but there was an impossibly thin little nymphette plucking around the store spraying even MORE Abercrombie cologne into the air, to maintain this sense memory atmosphere. And Hollister. Did I really shop here in college, and, if so, did I not feel a bit old? Hollister: the "California surf shack" exterior, the darkened windows, the emo music, the short-shorts. Haviland held up a pair and said, "These are boyshorts, right? These aren't actual shorts? Who wears this stuff?" I'll tell you who: the youth of America. That's how they get laid and do drugs, they just push the half-centimeter of fabric aside and they're ready for entrance, no need to disrobe. Look what happened to Jamie Lynn. We'd probs feel right at home at Talbot's or Ann Taylor with the rest of our age group.

The best part of our trip to The Mall was when this Kiosk woman asked Cait "Can I ask you a question?" and Cait was like "You just did," and just kept on walking. Anyhow, I love New Jersey Mall, 'cause it was mid-day on a Monday and so it was just us and the sweet smell of commerce. Also I love my friends, and I love my new sweatpants and they have in fact changed my life, I am approximately 10% happier than I was yesterday morning when I didn't have these sweatpants yet.

Anyhow, I used to really like the mall when I was actually a young person. I mean -- I used to think I liked the mall, just like I used to think I liked a lot of things that are embarrassing now, like chain wallets and boys who didn't wash their hair. We like, hung out there. Like it was our hangout.

SUNDAY TOP TEN: TOP TEN HANGOUTS

10. The White Horse Tavern (The West Village):
When you're a little girl in the Midwest who dreams about New York, you dream about places like this. Once upon a time The White Horse Tavern was frequented by people like Dylan Thomas (who died there), Bob Dylan, Jim Morrison, Norman Mailer, James Baldwin, Hunter S. Thompson and Jack Kerouac. Poor writers/starving artists can't afford West Village residences anymore, so The Tavern's become a tourist attraction. [UPDATE: Totally not. Totally still legit place to go, frequented by verified cool people, I have been alerted of this by more than one person.] I bet places like this still thrive like in Brooklyn but I'm guessing they're in an area of Brooklyn that requires transferring trains, which I clearly cannot do, as I am super busy. New York Magazine describes the WHT as "the nostalgic high temple of the Alcoholic Artist." Those are my people.

9. The Hotel (Wherevs):
In junior high, hotel parties focussed on swimming, eating cake, and talking about boys. Sometime in late high school my friends started having a lot of "hotel parties" at the Wolverine Inn, a sketchy motel out by the freeway that seemed to take any business it could get, even large groups of rascaly 16-year-olds. My Mom the never let me go to any of these parties but that's OK, I had lots of fun at home staring at the ceiling fan, obviously.

But on Sunday night we had a hotel party and we agreed it reminded us a lot of high school parties, which is awesome, I like retroactive experience. Why'd we have a hotel party? Because Cait's 25th birthday cosmically coincided with The End of Les Misery Day and L Word Day! When Carly, Alex, Cait and I got to The W with our beer & carrots, remarkably only three hours behind schedule, the guy at the front desk was like "Any more than six people in that room is a disaster." We were like, fuck, because we're expecting about 30. (We didn't say that out loud, we said '10' and he shook his head and gritted his teeth like "prepare for SARS.") We were basically spooked into thinking that, were we to exceed capacity, we'd be eating each other's hair (and not in a good way, like how I want to eat Alice's hair) with our fingers up each other's butts and our elbows in each other's ears, and that security would march upstairs and murder us if we made any noise or if we were seen escorting many peoples up to our room. We panicked and started canceling the party but then we got to the room and were like, durr, it's totally fine. Then we drank some vodka and were like WHOOOO! It's TOTALLY FINE! and told everyone "JK" if they still wanted to come, and most of them did. Then we (Haviland, Cait, Carly, Alex, Myself & Ryan) had a slumber party which also reminded me of high school, with Carly and I playing the parts of the kids who keep talking really loud and making jokes while everyone else tries to sleep. Then the next day I went to Hollister and remembered that I am a dinosaur, not a high school student. Did you ever see that show "Dinosaurs" with the baby who hit his Dad on the head with a pan and went "Not the mama!" or whatevs? I loved that show. I was talking about it while we were at the mall actually, in the convo about what shows Ree-Ree was allowed to watch as a baby. Really I'm just a fan of anything involving muppets. This paragraph no longer has anything to do with hangouts, although, actually, I would like to hang out in Fraggle Rock, given the chance.

8. The Factory (East Midtown NYC):
When you're a little girl in the midwest who dreams about New York, you dream about places like this that no longer exist. Andy Warhol's legendary studio -- where he mass-produced silk screens and assembled a team of "Factory Superstars" to help create paintings and be in his films and contribute to the overall atmosphere of hipster genderfuck artist revolutionary drug addict totally fabulous awesome super-cool way-hot hot hot hot people doing Important Things with Art to Change the World. It's okay that it no longer exists though because if it existed now, it'd probs have a blog and then Gawker might make fun of it and then New York Magazine would write an article about Gawker making fun of the Factory blog and then all of our heads would explode and we could make a film about that and put it on YouTube and then we'd be famous for like 15 minutes, or whatevs.

Sidenote: I wonder if the concept of a concrete "hangout" has been displaced by the advent of cell phones. You know? Like now we can find out where our people are instantly, even when they're on the go, so we no longer need a common meeting place where it's likely you'll find the people you can't get ahold of at that moment. Does that make sense? Also, someone's cooking cheeseburgers outside and I want one even though I just had dinner.

7. The Fleetwood (Ann Arbor):
This is like The Salt of The Earth Hangout: The Fleetwood was the bomb. It's a 24-hour greasy spoon diner -- and always the same kids outside late with their rusty trucks in the lot back behind the restaurant. Gross bathroom, mediocre food, bad service ... but also when we were teenagers it felt TOTALLY REAL AND LIKE HONEST. We felt like authentic punks sitting out there at 2 A.M., smoking cigarettes and eating ketchup-drenched french fries with the kids who wore leather jackets adorned with safety-pinned fabric scraps bearing Food Not Bombs and Anarchy logos and had pierced everything and dyed everything else. Maybe that's the essence of a Real Hangout -- defined by the patrons rather than the establishment itself.

6. The Peach Pit (Beverly Hills obvs), and here's why:
a) Every every moment is a good time for a cheeseburger, even if you're 5'8 and 110 pounds -- a frame often suggestive of a more restrictive diet -- cheeseburger and fries, Nat, thank you. Deluxe. I want at least two animals killed to make this sucker. YUMM, megaburgers.
b) The Peach Pit After Dark -- the nightclub attached to the Peach Pit run by Valerie and David and later bought by Dylan to save it from going under-- showcased a totally random assortment of 90's pop acts: Collective Soul, Donna Lewis, The Barenaked Ladies, The Cardigans, Eric Benet and Tamia, The Goo Goo Dolls, The Brian Setzer Orchestra, Duncan Sheik and Monica.
c) Nat, obvs. He's like Debbie Navatni -- the wise sage of all things adolescent. A way to a teenager's heart is through their stomach, etc.

5. The Planet (West Hollywood but filmed in Vancouver):
Here's the thing ... if I knew that all my friends, all my enemies, and all my ex-whatevers would be at one specific coffee shop ... that'd be pretty cool, 'cause then I'd know exactly where NOT to go. But also, if I knew where Leisha Hailey was gonna be I'd probs wanna be there. Also, in The L Word, when you break up with someone, they don't just leave your life, they leave the entire universe. Even if you met them at The Planet, they will never again be seen at The Planet, because they're in the vortex with Papi and Mark, so you know. Urm. I like going to coffee shops where I can be a weirdo in my hoodie with my laptop and Ave Maria while everyone else functions like normal social humans.

4. Worldwide Plaza (Midtown):
Haviland loves Worldwide Plaza. Seriously -- if it was a warm day in 2007 and anyone wanted to do anything, Hav or Heather would always suggest Worldwide Plaza. It's an outdoor seating area near a few food establishments and it's close to the Broadhurst (where Hav worked) and New World Stages (where Heather worked) and also near where everyone on Broadway worked (Broadway) which meant we'd always run into people she knew there. There's lots of sun, which Haviland enjoys and I try to stay away from as much as possible, lest it interfere with my intense Gorey-esque darkness and porcelin skin. Probs if I'd been like "I'd like to get married" or "I'd like to hold a relay race for handicapped animals of all shapes and sizes," Hav would've been like "OOO how's Worldwide Plaza?"

3. Harlumbia (Uptown West):
In Manhattan you've gotta keep re-inventing space because there's not enough of it to go around, not really, like Carrie Bradshaw says (YEAH I'm quoting Carrie Bradshaw, and it is SOOOO not the first time I've done this): "After a breakup, the city becomes a deserted battlefield loaded with emotional landmines. You have to be very careful where you step or you could be blown to pieces." I think it applies to more than just breakups, though, you know? It's anything -- anything strong that left a mark. There aren't many neighborhoods in this city that aren't already cocked and loaded towards things I miss, and I've only lived here for a few years. And so I like to attack neighborhoods like I do with music (I play it on repeat 'til it's more associated with this repeating moment than with it's prior life) -- I can't afford to lose my favorite neighborhoods to the ghosts it now shelters, so I make myself go there, create new memories, new associations, fresher and different context. Like: this still exists, this place where you were, and that now you are. I feel like I've reinvented this particular neighborhood over and over and I must because it's my favorite: it was where Jake lived in John Jay, it was where I went to summer school, it was right below where Chase lived and so I'd walk there after stopping at Mo's because I was not just a friend but a friend/drug mule and then it was the closest neighborhood to my apartment and so then. also. also. also. It was where we spent most spring afternoons in '07 ... with her friend who sold used books on 110th and she'd play Jimi Hendrix on guitar and I'd read and we'd watch the genius kid play chess and we'd play chess and smoke cigarettes and drink liquor out of juice bottles. Then it'd become evening and we'd get food and walk home and cook it. I'd managed to avoid the area 'til about October, which's quite a feat considering its proximity, but then I was ready and I walked right to it and sat down with her friend the bookseller and we talked for a few hours about what happened this summer and what's happening now and it was really good, really nice. I walked there the next day too to go to my favorite stationary store ... day after day when there wasn't much else I could handle, other people in particular. But I was starting to feel safer & stronger. I was in physical therapy once for about seven months, and we'd do all these exercises to strengthen my quads to make my knees better and walking to Harlumbia I guess was like physical therapy for my little baby mind. Now I can do lunges.

2. The Mall, OBVS.
As a pre-adolescent, I loved the fuck out of the mall. There was nowhere we'd rather be: trying on Guess jeans at Hudson's, snatching fresh-baked samples from Mrs. Field's, paying $2.99 for poppy cassette singles at Musicland or Recordtown or whatevs, people-watching from a window table at Olga's while enjoying Orange Cream Coolers and gooey greasy pita bread-and-cheese "sandwiches," imitating what we imagined to be grown-up sex noises while sitting in Sharper Image's suggestive massage chairs. The boys would shoplift handfuls of gummy candy from Mr. Bulky's and we'd buy BFF necklaces from Claire's or get $3.00 makeovers at The Body Shop. I guess it was a safe temperature-controlled space for our parents to send us, though mine was obvs the last to permit such things (fascist, etc.) -- safer than downtown, where I fled to as soon as I got old enough to know better. Maybe the mall was a space station where I could pretend to be like all the other kids, potentially -- my present state of being wasn't nearly as important as what I'd possibly come there to improve via purchase.

Who'd be there? Who might we run into? What fun adolescent hijinks might occur? The mall as a centerpiece of teen culture is somewhat passe at this point -- I think the internet is the new default blame for adolescent hijinkery. Now it's impossible for me to enter a mall without feeling my very presence in such a space is ironic. Now when we go it's very specific -- we're looking for these items, these are the stores where we may locate said items, etc. But just going to the mall to hang out -- to pretend we're there for anything but commerce -- seems ludicrous, almost. Also,the mall is in decline, I read all about it in The Economist. You can also look at pictures of dead malls at deadmalls.com. It's kinda gross and fascinating. As I've mentioned, I'm mildly obsessed with Detroit and its structural decline, and deadmalls is no Detroit, but still.

1. My Apartment:
My place is the best place in Manhattan to hang out, and here's why -- I can't possibly be late for something that's happening in my own apartment. Plus, all my stuff is here, so if I need anything, I can just like -- get it! Also we have The Roof, another top hangout. Also it's the cleanest/neatest occupied-by-twentysomething-peoples apartment I've ever seen, seriously. Except for my room, my room is not one of the cleanest rooms I've ever seen, because I've got a lot of stuff. Which brings me back around to why this is a good place to hang out = all my stuff is here. And by "all my stuff" I mean "my new sweatpants" which you must realise is how other people probs feel about getting new cars. I haven't even wiped my hands on them yet (I tend to confuse my pants with napkins when I'm eating and computing at the same time), that's how much I love them.

*
I've sat in corners at parties hoping for someone who knew the virtue
of both distance and close quarters, someone with a corner person's taste
for intimacy, hard won, rising out of shyness and desire.
And I've turned corners there was no going back to, corners
in the middle of a room that led to Spain or solitude.
And always the thin line between corner and cornered,
the good corners of bodies and those severe bodies that permit no repose,
the places we retreat to, the places we can't bear to be found.
-from "Corners" by Stephen Dunn

Friday, January 04, 2008

Caurosel of Progress - Promise I'll Be Perfect From Now On


It's a good thing "eating healthy" wasn't one of my resolutions, 'cause I think I've eaten more refined carbohydrates in the past three days than I did during all of 2007, except for when K-Lilly got that coffee cake that one time and then went back to Nevada, leaving me alone with the coffee cake.

Sooo ... I'm OCD about completing self-imposed blog writing projects but June's kinda making my head hurt. The YIR's intent is to review the year, but it's like when people ask me what my Dad "does" -- they're intending to initiate a nice convo about the Business School, but they're gonna get a convo about death. Right now, my intent's to review the year of fun and feelings, but we're gonna get what's essentially a convo about death. On a scale of 1-10, much of June is just too loaded for right now. At the time, I wrote as if what was happening wasn't happening, and I don't wanna just do that again, 'cause that'd be retarded. As Angela Chase so wisely noted in the classic television program My So-Called Life, "And I mean, this whole thing with yearbook, like everyone's in this big hurry to make this book, to supposedly remember what happened? Because if you made a book of what really happened, it'd be a really upsetting book."

But -- this is the thing about time: it just keeps going, therefore increasing our distance from the past, like we're in a boat sailing away from a seagull on the horizon on a nice greeting card. Before you know it, I'll ask: "June? Where are you?" and then a bluebird will land on my windowsill, warble some Frou Frou and inspire me to smile, giggle like a schoolgirl and post June.

Sooo obvs ... I thought I'd just skip ahead to July, but July makes Firefox crash on my computer. I think it's got something to do with the cruise video. Clearly I could read each post one by one, but I'm already in need of an Excedrin/Vicodin from debating June, so July! July! will happen when it happens. As Jordan Catalano once said on the classic television program My So-Called Life: "So my feeling is ... whatever happens, happens."

This is pretty interesting so far, I'm sure. You might think: is there a point to this, or is she just stalling while she tries to think of something to write about?

Wellll, I was surfing the 'net, drinking my Coca-Cola, thinking wouldn't it be WILD if I just started posting random shit. Like every day something new & random: a video of Haviland dancing with a dolphin, Limericks to Ilene Chaiken, a movie review, a postcard with my real secret on it, an interview with Lozo, a recipe for coffee cake, a recipe for disaster, a side order of life, an adorable photo of a cat with a caption related to mixing meat and milk (which you can't do if you're Jewish, because of G-d) ... and so on. It'd be like a Philip Glass concert, but on a blog. Then I thought I'm probs not smart enough to pull that off, like Philip Glass is waaayyyy smarter than me.

Then I remembered: this is what I created segments for, like the Carousel of Progress! (other "segments," mostly abandoned, include Great Mysteries of Life, What I Learned from The TV, Deli-Guy Blogging and The Best of Not NYC) Whee! Previous installments of "Carousel of Progress" have included a look at advancements in transportation (Fan of: Lexus(es), Not a Fan of: Airplanes), bottle cappery (Fan of: screw caps on wine bottles, Not a fan: the new Poland Spring cap), the internets (not a fan: myspace, fan: bartleby), small hand-held electronics (fan: i-pod, not a fan: cell phones), etc.
What I attempt to do is evaluate advancements in technology, life, society and etc., separating the "really an advancement" from the "really annoying." The Poland Spring water bottle is a primo example of this phenomenon: when something is debuted to be new & improved but actually just sucks a lot and then makes your whole bag wet. This is a Very Special Carousel of Progress, because it's the New Year, and thusly, I will evaluate developments in areas of popular New Year's Resolutions (discovered via internet research, obvs, I don't talk to many "real life people.") Much to my surprise, celebrating President's Day was not on anyone's list, I don't know why. I guess that means the party's at my place! Holla! I'm going to be JFK, 'cause he was the cutest and got all the ladies. You can be Abe Lincoln or the guy on the wheelchair.

w/: Things I'm happy to do with.
w/o: Things I could do without.

Drinking Alcoholic Beverages
A lot of people decide to quit drinking for the New Year. I've never tried to quit drinking, ever. I mean, it's only recently -- after years of practice -- that I've really perfected my alcohol consumption skills (proper combo of sleep, enthusiasm, nutrients and drink) and! since moving to this apartment, I've only gotten super-sick from drinking twice -- an all time record for me. I think I probs threw up at 115th about 40 times. No lie. I had a lot going on. Obvs.

W/O: Parents' Liquor Cabinet, Mad Dog 20/20, "Jungle Juice," Smirnoff Ice, Boone's Farm, Natty Light
My early high school friend Stacey's parents were Jehovah's Witnesses and drunks. I feel like those things aren't supposed to go together, but they did, so anyhow, moving on: I don't think I ever saw them awake. It was like they were robots with jobs and directly following said employments, their systems'd power off and they'd collapse immediately onto their beds to recharge for work the next day. Therefore, Stacey's home was always blissfully supervision-free and her parents didn't keep tabs on the liquor cabinet. Her basement quickly became public high school debauchery central and thus, at the tender age of 15 (I believe I was 5'9 and about 120 pounds), I got drunk for my very first time in her basement. Gin & Mountain Dew. Obvs I ended up throwing up all night. Stacey's bathroom had this huge wall-sized mirror next to the toilet (random?) so I could watch myself throw up as it was happening, which left quite an impression.

'Cause early alcohol consumption isn't about preference or taste -- it's about "what can we get our hands on?" So I didn't really drink much in high school or early college 'cause Sunny-D & Rum didn't really appeal to me, nor did stale Dr.Pepper & Triple Sec. At 19, the corner store accepted my fake ID but didn't sell liquor, so we drank A LOT of Mad Dog 20/20 and Mike's Hard Lemonade and 40s of Mickey's Ice -- all of these things are gross. Now I just drink vodka-tonics and wine, 'cause now I'm a grown up and I can do whatever I want. AND to this day: I cannot handle gin or any lemon-lime flavored beverages, it makes me barf, hands-down totes.

W/: Public Transportation Enabling Additional Drinking
Because of the subways and the taxis, we can all get trashed w/o risking paralysis, death, or paralysis followed by death. When I was in Ohio a few weeks ago, I was carted on a family field trip to the local lounge to view a concert apparently involving a contestant from a show called Nashville Star, which I've never seen. Apparently I looked so ridiculously uncomfortable (tight posture, shifty eyes avoiding contact, panic-stricken every time another human dared to make physical contact) there that my brother actually asked: 'Wow, you really are crazy, aren't you?" I responded: "Yeah, I get nervous around other people. I mostly like to stay in my room." Also, I was plotting as to how I could use my Blackberry w/o seeming like one of those neurotic blackberry-addicted New Yorkers (therefore increasing my reputation within the fam as a pretentious and slightly psychotic asshole). Someone said something about how it's probs lame to be at this bar in Wilmington -- like to explain my weirdo behavior -- and I was like "Oh, I'm like this everywhere. It's not Ohio, it's that it's a room filled with other humans and I'm sober." Why was I sober? 'Cause I was driving. Why was I driving? Because I'm a weirdo control freak who doesn't like to give up control of her ability to come and go from a location as she pleases. This is why I live in New York and I never go out sober. I can't take social anxiety medication 'cause my body's already confused enough about what disorders it has, I can't do that to it.


Social Networking
Apparently a lot of people feel they're "addicted" to facebook and/or myspace and must stop. I've never felt addicted to either of these things, which's good, because on top of crack rock and the smack and carbohydrates, that'd be a lot of addictions, very expensive. Except for the crack, I hear that's not expensive.

w/Facebook:
I love facebook. It's clean, simple, easy-to-navigate, uniform and pure. Although, as Hav & I discussed in this vlog -- "enough with the applications already." If you want me to evaluate your personality or play trivia games or bite you, then say it to my face. I don't wanna dig through multiple columns of animated What South Park Character Quote is in Your Entourage Sandbox Quiz Game to get to the good stuff, like photographs of their ex-girlfriends. (sidenote: I actually have two rows of applications, which is more than enough, and trust me, I hate myself for it.)

Here's the only updates I'm interested in: Any activities whatsoever performed by people I've dated/made out with in any capacity which includes "casually" (read: not much conversation) and "seriously" (basically married). Yeah. EVERYTHING. I don't even mind knowing if you're the number one L Word trivia master 'cause that's good information for me to twist around in my demented mind and think: Without me, you're so bored that you just took an L Word trivia quiz for ten hours, you're probs miserable in your sweatpants eating ice cream right now, crying and thinking about me. Just like I am also crying and thinking about me in my sweatpants. Other things I'd like to know: if my friends become friends with each other, if you've just received your auto-gear, if you've joined the Automatic Winners or added "My Books" because that's my favorite app, obvs. Everything else I am not interested in.

w/o Myspace trying to be Facebook:
Myspace: YOU MAKE MY HEAD EXPLODE. I don't prefer facebook for its status updates and the other features you're attempting to bring onto your site, I prefer it for not making my head/browser explode. Once you start letting people design their own templates, it's anarchy, it's out of control. Music starts playing, flashes start flashing, colors glitter and gleam and scroll and burst, graphics dance, slideshows pop up and freak out, and those fucking ads about shooting George Bush or whatever dance over my head like an annoying ad about shooting George Bush. Think of it this way -- would you let a 15-year old design your website? No, unless it's a genius kid, like I was. I'd like to delete my profile but I suggested that to Haviland and she went "NO," right away, like I'd just suggested that we all go eat some babies for breakfast (Haviland has a Snacks-4-Life cookie and a yogurt for breakfast). I deleted my myspace profile last year but then revived it during a particularly dismal week of life from that nasty month of June, and I'd like to have my old profile back, but I just love facebook now, myspace gives me a headache.

*
Reading
:
I like to imagine that everyone has resolved to read more books this year. I also like to imagine things about unicorns and time travel.

w/: Online Booksellers
I heart online booksellers 'cause now people can buy really embarrassing books sans embarrassment. Like you know how the first time you got condoms or tampons you got super-nervous, wondering "what does the cashier think of me?" when in actuality the cashier was probs thinking like "1 plus 1 equals ... hmm ... I wonder which episode of Grace Under Fire is on tonight ... I should paint my nails hot pink next time ..." but at bookstores, chances are the clerk really is judging you, which's why it's a good thing they don't sell tampons at bookstores. This affects me directly 'cause it means there's no excuse w/r/t ordering books I'm in like Dirty Girls AND 'cause I've been known to read YA novels & queer theory books and, once upon a time, tried to read erotica so I could learn how to write it. I found erotica to be 95% boring, so I just winged it. Winged? Is that a word? Not that there's anything shameful about queer theory, and I've bought most of my books at The Strand, but I don't think I could've handled making eye contact with anyone when I was doing book research via classics like Same Sex in the City: When Your Prince Charming Turns out to be a Cinderella and The Straight Girl's Guide to Sleeping with Chicks. See, I can write about it on the internet, but can't handle buying these books in front of a stranger I'll never see again and have never seen before. Why is this? I don't know. There are many things about life I do not understand.

w/o: the gradual closing of every independent bookstore everywhere
I feel like we're just holding our breath before they all disappear, which puts major decisions about our reading choices -- e.g., front table selections -- in the hands of a few very rich & powerful people, and ultimately the entire culture will spiral into apocalyptic mass destruction. The number of independent bookstores in America has decreased from 5,200 in 1991 to 1,702 in 2005. Some of my favorites have shut their doors just since I moved here (Ivy's Books, Gotham Book Mart), and NYC is one of the best cities in the world for independent bookstores. That's bad news, guys. Here's a list which includes the remainders.

*
Work Less, Play More
:
w/: you guys who have jobs where you never have to do anything
I've come to the official conclusion that at least 75% of you read this blog while you're getting paid to do something else. I don't know how so many of my peers landed these lesiurely dream jobs of leisure that enable constant g-chat availability, facebook addictions and blog-reading, but it works to my advantage, clearly, and to the advantage of all people with blogs everywhere. Without boredom at work, there would be no blogs. There was a survey about this in '05 and Advertising Age did a story on it that you can't access w/o registering and paying, so I'll just tell you what it said: one-quarter of the American workforce reads blogs -- an average of 3.5 hours a week spent reading blogs at work. It's probs more than that now, 'cause I didn't even have a blog then. [No. Really; there's just more well-done blogs out there now than there were and it's become more mainstream too.]

w/o: the constant work-related communication via handheld devices
I love my Blackberry 'cause I like the keyboard and its cute little interface and the fact that it informs readers that I'm writing from a blackberry -- my Dash didn't do that, so people probs just thought I didn't know how to format paragraphs, use punctuation, or change to a more aesthetically pleasing font. Howevs: this is clearly bad for us like -- as a society. It's hard out here for a hermit, you know?

People really are working all the time now, and you're always expected to be on top of your shit -- work is bleeding into life and we accept this -- and somewhere along the line it became acceptable to use your Blackberry in social situations, like all the time. I do it too, but you started it.

The trick, as I've mentioned before, is to establish yourself as an unavailable person. For example, I haven't looked at my Blackberry or my email since about 1 P.M. But really the only person who calls me is the outsourced Indian girl who's in charge of harassing T-Mobile customers about overdue bills. And Natalie.

*

(picture from APOLITEWINTER )

But I know working all the time is one of my problems, too. But I don't really care.

I've always been (to a fault) totally at peace with my vices -- and with yours, you know. I don't judge. Life is hard, I say. Here is something. Have fun. Have a drink. Go tanning. Smoke 'til your lungs turn to ash and crumble. Try to laugh. Everything is fleeting. Lose yourself. Let Go. There is Beauty in the Breakdown.

My Year in Review: a rollercoaster. Non-stop action, all-consuming denial, disarming reaction ... and sometimes vices were all I had because vices and habits are something, they are just something. They are something or something else. Maybe my blog is a vice.

Last year -- for two weeks of Depressing June and for much of September, October and November -- I indulged my psyche ... indulged the crash, the aftermath ... in a way I haven't done in years and years (though it used to be standard, daily, when I was an adolescent). I liked the silence & La Triviata and the sharp erect curve of my hipbones in my palms as I lost my appetite for all things concretely nourishing. Depression is like that -- it's a friend, it's full and satisfying and terribly entirely enough and I think that's the best part, is how self-sufficient & fearless it is. It's satisfied to only relate to substances or things or private action, it doesn't need anybody. Sometimes you can find someone else to destruct with you, and sometimes that makes it better, or at least more fun, less lonely. It doesn't have to be lonely, but it can be. It's a snap: your brain is here, in the world, and then something happens and your brain snaps again and you're Darkness.

I've had many Dark Ages, but never have I had a Dark Age that I spoke about as immediately as I did last year ... but there's something to be said for time before hashing it all out again in "Year in Review" format. There's insight, I think, in sailing a distance from the act, for not just seeing the light but like, chilling in it, nesting in it for a bit.

When June happened, I was "blessed" to be phone-less, since it'd just been stolen, along with other things, and I had no desire to replace it or anything. So when she wasn't here, I was alone and still and getting through to me was so complicated. I felt fifteen again, skinny & wry & elizabeth wurtzeled out to the max. I read Kathy Acker. I drank. I starved. I smoked cigarettes. I listened to my house phone ring. I would've walked into traffic if it hadn't required leaving my room. I lay on the bed. I pondered the colour of my walls, I stopped breathing, when I stood up all the blood would rush to my head and for a moment I'd pray to faint. I felt gutted, violent & quiet & small, I felt an emptiness so thick it broke into pieces, it had shapes: emptiness like spades, cleaving to my gut and simultaneously poised for attack.

And by the end of June I was the opposite of that. I was all action, all drunken and oblivious and during the daytime just productive -- at the writer's table with Carly and our index cards and new music and our teevee show and meeting new! people! and the summer, the hot hot summer, and then the cruise running on the docks with Heather and dancing at night with strangers who didn't feel like strangers and an august of revisions and refinements and job searching and working and sitting and freaking out and not sleeping, really, hardly, ever at all, and then there was September and I crashed back to that elemental state and then I started to crawl out of it in late November just in time for winter and it's respectful hibernation and now, I'm here, I've crawled out, ta-da! I'm ready! Watch me go! I've got a Blackberry! Contact me! Whenever! Hoo-ha! Processing Fees! The past six months! Just! Happened! I don't know what happened. I wouldn't've guessed that October would feel so much like June, but I'm glad to know that before I really wrote/"reviewed" either of those months.

I'm glad, for one thing, that there were times I said nothing, or that I waited 'til the very end of August to even address June, let alone talk about it.

So. A break from this look at the year. To see how the past plays out in this bright present. A break from my self-imposed decision to Review the Year. And talk about myself. To myself. Memeememememememe. blablabalabla. ( I sound like I actually think what I'm saying is important. That's a mask, it's totes not, you should read The New York Times.)

Because now it is 2008 and I can't say that there's any vice or habit I feel I oughta break right now, there's nothing I need to get rid of or add (nothing wrecking me more than memory) and so I guess, ultimately, my New Year's Resolution is less rollercoaster, more coast. Less false starting, more follow-through. I think: this is possible. This is already happening and this is everything/something. Things change, people change ... and circumstance, ultimately, hasn't prevented every person I know from becoming an even cooler person than they were last year. So.much.hope.

And then maybe, just maybe, in a year or two or ten, I'll get to that imaginary future I've been banking on all this time while I forgive myself of smaller sins. This place: where everything is stable enough, good enough, real enough, fulfilling enough -- that I can afford to let go of cancer-causing agents or devote myself to the physical evolution of various neglected muscle groups. Because when I think about the word "future," I think about rides in Tommorowland -- spaceships like seashells, people like machines with teeth like microchips -- I don't think about memememe getting old and still and satisfied and stable. But maybe I will. And then -- in this stable future I'm spinning and progressing towards, because that's how time works -- I will breathe.
*
we must pass
through solitude and
difficulty, isolation and silence
to find that enchanted place where
we can dance our clumsy dance and sing our
sorrowful song. But in that dance, and in
that song, the most ancient rites of conscience fulfill themselves
in the awareness of
being human
(Pablo Neruda)
*