Monday, June 30, 2008

Sunday [Monday] Top Ten: A Queer, Sultry Summer

So, air conditioner emissions worsen global warming, but the warmer the globe gets, the more we air condition. Right? That's not gonna work out long-term. Good thing I plan to die at 33, like Jesus. JK. I'll resurrect myself, obvs. Maybe on wordpress. Anyhow, when summer hits I get very cranky: "I hate summer," etc. But let's look on the bright side of life, at least it's summer 2008 and not summer 1808. I had this thought last summer while pondering "what did Emily Dickinson do without air conditioning"? I have the same thoughts over and over, like how we have the same seasons over and over. Like how there was summer last year, and there's also summer this year. That's called "bringing it back around"/"phoning it in." I'll keep going like this for the remainder of the post.

I don't want to take up too much of your time, 'cause as you know, we're only two days away from July 2nd, when you'll be at page 160 of The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. Furthermore, you're probs going to VOTE tonight to see Haviland sing and be cute.

SUNDAY TOP TEN:
REASONS WHY SUMMER IS SLIGHTLY MORE BEARABLE NOW THAN IT WAS IN THE OLDEN DAYS OF THE PRAIRIE


10. Air Conditioning:

[I made this graphic last year to announce the installation of my air conditioner.
So many things have changed since then, I can't believe that's the same room I'm in right now.]

I rush into my room, I stand next to the boxy white A.C., I put my forehead as close to it as I can without catching dysentery. You can snatch a blast from a store if it's got its doors open, or maybe a surprise gust from a heavy office door shutting. When the subway pulls in during rush hour and one car is strangely sparsely occupied, don't fall for it; that's the hot car. You've been waiting all this time in the sweltering black musty gasoline air of the station, anticipating the magic cool of the train, you just can't settle for this sauna. I don't.
*
9. Edy's Frozen Fruit Bars:
I like to stick things in Alex's mouth that she wouldn't put there willingly, like drugs and Tinkerbell. Howevs, I force-fed her an Edy's Frozen Fruit Bar 'cause it's delicious, not 'cause I wanted to corrupt or annoy her. Unfortunately I forgot that Alex can't eat cold food 'cause of her special teeth. You'd think after visiting the dentist 400 times in a month, she would've had that fixed. In the old days, there were no popsicles, you had to go to the cellar.
*
8. The Microwave:
Back in my formative summers, my Mom often denied me requested meals on the grounds that it was "too hot to turn the oven on" (we didn't have air conditioning). Basically what I'm telling you is I grew up in the suburban equivalent of the Nigerian desert. We made our own popsicles out of apple juice and slept in the basement, it was like having a slumber party with your family, which is every pre-adolescent's number one dream.
*
7. R-Family Vacations
In the olden days, people only traveled by sea when they wanted to move from England to America on the Mayflower or if they were pirates. (Or "o-pirates" as supr might say.) Now, we hit the ocean in order to spend as much time as possible around other homosexuals and their adopted children and to visit the exotic beaches of Massachusetts. I've gone on "the cruise" the last two summers and this year will be all-a-boarding it once more with Haviland, Caitlin, Alexandra, Tinkerbell, et al -- and hopefully I'll have lots of fun stories to share and a nice tan. I wrote about it in Curve (Page One, Page Two) maybe this year OurChart will hire me to live-blog from the ship. I hope they can sense my wanting telepathically.
*
6.Tank Tops



Before feminism, women were supposed to stay covered up all the time, unless they were dirty whores. In fact, even if you were a dirty whore and/or hooker, you would've worn a lot of clothing in the old days -- and "hooker" and "gay" meant the same thing. Look:
I just want to state for the record that I use the word "hookers" as a non-judgmental word, like when I say "slut." I know & love many sex workers, just like I know & love many lesbians but still call them "lesbos" or "homos" 'cause I like the way those words sound. I also love the word "hooker." It's right up there with "cock" and "fuck."

Anyhow, but it's not just hookers who've stripped down -- all women have. Myself included. We wear tank-tops and cut offs ...

... though I despise shorts and all leg-revealing things. Jeans with holes in them: "Instant air conditioning," said Matty as I debated what to wear to work that day. Then we descended my staircase and out onto 115th. He'd walk me to the bus and then go visit his friends at the Taco shop, or go get his big red jeep vehicle and drive to the beach. Or we'd get in the car together and he'd take me to the train station and for a second with the top down atop the monster wheels it was like we'd traveled through time to this strange sweaty street, it was wind like wind itself. The air beneath us conditioned our calves, our whole bodies. Then underground and to the office. Whoosh!
*
5. Hot Summer Jams
So obvs the olden days feature many of history's finest musicians, e.g., Bach, Beethoven, etc. Howevs, the villagers didn't always have an orchestra handy to really lay into Beethoven's 5th. Now, thanks to technological advances, you can listen to summer jams on your earphones, e.g., [admit it you want to get back into] Exile in Guyville [so bad it hurts, right? You should, you really should, I am, and it feels so good!], Rhianna "S.O.S." and "Umbrella," Beyonce "Irreplaceable," etc. Although I feel like last year's summer jam was ... THE CON!

Oh also I forgot that people could gather around one person on an instrument, like a piano or a banjo, but that still isn't as good as a Cure song on your ipod.
*
4. Girls in Shorts
Standing outside the Border's Bookstore at the Arborland Strip Mall, waiting for my boyfriend to swing around in the purple Kia ("blue!" he said), I told his friend I felt like my boyfriend was mad at me. His friend said, "Well, it is is break up season. Every summer, I want to break up with my girlfriend."

He looked like a sage at the expanse of the parking lot. High school girls in Abercrombie shorts -- half-teenage and half gazelle -- grazed their way across the pavement: "But I don't," he concluded.

"Why is the summer break-up season?" I asked.

"Girls in shorts," he responded. "It's all the girls in shorts," and his eyes traced the legs of all the girls in shorts who suddenly seemed to be everywhere. All the limbs. I was scared, I was not in shorts, would I be left for a girl in shorts? Would I be left for Lolita? Should I wear shorts? Do I need a tan? Heterosexuality was so exhausting. Maybe if the rules had been more innate and less societally prescribed, it would've been less stressful.

Also, there were so many high schoolers in Michigan. They're hidden here, in apartments or schools, or on the Upper East Side. It's better that way, less jealousy of youth's untarnished parts.
*
3. The Fourth of July
Prior to the year 1776, there was no "Fourth of July," cause the 4th is a holiday that celebrates the United States winning independence and blowing things up in the air on July 4th 1776. Although you still can't purchase fireworks in Michigan, you must drive to Ohio. After 1776, we started inventing more mini-explosions, intended to look like war-explosions but not the mean or deadly kind (hopefully). As you know I'm not a fan of Fourth of July 'cause of being outside during the hot-times, but this year I'll be in Atlantic City, kissing people's dice so that they'll win big money and we can Damn the Man, Save the Empire!
*
2. The Possibility of Sudden Turnaround
Most of global warming's effects are negative, but I do like the possibility that things could suddenly turn around at any moment. We've had an unbearable heat wave every summer since I've gotten here, and each wave is followed by surprisingly temperate conditions. I mean, it could snow tomorrow. It probably won't -- but it COULD. In Orlando, the narrator says that Elizabethian England, things were so different than now: "Of our crepuscular half-lights and lingering twilights they knew nothing. The rain fell violently, or not at all. The sun blazed or there was darkness." It's not like that anymore.
*
1. Pinkberry

I want pinkberry right now!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Making Something out of Nothing, the Need to Express, to Communicate, to Going Against the Grain, Going Insane

i. Shootin' Some B -Ball Outside of the School
The Rockford Peaches have nowhere to go from here but up, up, UP and away. As Carly pointed out, we scored twice as many points in the second half (8) than in the first (4), which's a two hundred percent improvement. At this rate, we'll be up to fighting numbers by the season's end.

Personally, I don't know exactly how to "shoot a basketball," and one of those bitches punched Alex in the face within 30 seconds of the game's commencement and made Alex bleed. Luckily for everyone, Alex isn't carrying any contagious diseases ... yet.

Why'd they punch Alex in the face? I don't know, but maybe 'cause Alex yelled: "I can't tell who I have, they all look the same!" after running onto the court. (JK, they didn't hear her say that. They hit her in the face 'cause other people suck.)

Me: "How do I talk about this game in my blog without sounding racist? I mean -- like -- "
Cait & Carly: "You can't."
Me: "So I should just go for it, like Lozo-style, just rush it all the way?"
You: "You have to."
Everyone We Know: "Yup."

The other team was all Asian girls. For those of you not from America, professional athletes still play in segregated leagues here, but instead of messing around within a sport, they just segregate the entire sport. You follow? Like white people got hockey, etc. Along with the Jews (my people), the Japanese (this was the actual ethnicity of our opponents) are traditionally not ballers and cannot smoke fools like you and me on the b-ball court. [Actually though, the Jews were good athletes in the early 20th century 'cause they lived in the ghetto, which is where you learn how to play basketball. Then they all became rich and had baybays and their baybabys grew up and now they run about in kitten heels on the teevee on reality shows about rich women and/or rich children who say mean things to the maid.] Anyhow when we saw the other team, we thought "Hey, maybe we have a chance."

Ok grasshoppers, this is what we call "stereotyping," which is wrong and unfair and evil, like assuming that all lesbians are psychos or that women are not as smart as men. What happens when you practice this type of behavior besides -- obviously -- ruining America and Freedom? You get your asses kicked by the Asian Invasion. I mean, pummeled. Just really beat. I didn't contribute much to one side or the other, as I discovered that running back and forth really takes the wind out of ya'. However, it wasn't really stereotyping, it was applying statistical knowledge to predict the outcome of a situation, like I [would've] learned [if I'd paid attention] in Science class. Whatevs, obvs the G-ds of basketball think otherwise.

Also, what we need is just one REALLY GOOD PLAYER. Like a sort of female Michael Jordan or even a female Chris Webber, or I mean seriously we'd take a female Larry Bird too. So if you fit that description and live in the NY area, we need you to come in, and do all the work while we trot behind you like disciples. Also Cait and Carly know how to play.

We need Sheryl Swoopes.
ii. Book Club Links

1. Junot on The Colbert Report:

2. Penguin's Feature with Junot Díaz
3. The Great American Pause: "When it comes to the novel, Americans are still willing to take it slow, or at least reward the writers who do ... Edward P Jones, Junot Díaz and Jeffrey Eugenides all took 11 years to write their Pulitzer prize-winning novels -a blink, really, when compared to Shirley Hazzard and Marilynne Robinson's 23-year gaps preceding The Great Fire and Gilead respectively." (@the guardian uk)
4. Novelist Junot Díaz Weaves Cultures and Languages (@PBS NewsHour)
5. Wao wins The Tournament of Books (@the morning news)
6. Into It : on what he's reading, listening to, and watching. (@cs monitor)
7. Chasing the Whale: A Profile of Junot Díaz (@poets & writers)
8. The National Book Critics Circle reviews Wao, (as a finalist in fiction). (@critical mass)
9 .Seven of Oh Seven: best book covers of 2008. Babypop, you win. (@fwis)
10. Slice's spotlight author - Junot Díaz. (@slice magazine)
11. An Interview with Junot Díaz @bookslut)
*
iii. quote me quote me quote me
I was writing about The New Fuck You last night so I started re-reading a lot of it. It's too precious to destroy with underlines. This is one thing I would underline though:
I agree to go. I don't have anything planned. I don't have anyone I have to see. At the very least, I guess, it won't be boring.

That’s why we do things, Julia and I. I like her about half the time.

We live together, so I have to see her. It’s easy that way. We’ve just discovered that our house is infested with mice, and it’s bringing us closer together.


(from "What She Gives Up," by Anne Reid)
*
iv. Amanda Palmer with the Boston Pops

Achtung, Baby! is one of my favorite places on the interwebs. Today, it introduced me to Amanda Palmer's (of The Dresden Dolls) solo career. I'm obsessed now. Here Palmer does What a Wonderful World with Boston Pops, Creep at Edinbergh, and In a Manner of Speaking.
*
v. Me Against the Electronic Music
You know what's weird? I feel like when I use the internet, I'm fighting with it. It wants to eat me alive & suck me up & make me dumb. I want to use it as cleanly and efficiently as possible. I don't want it to ruin my ability to deep read (per the Atlantic article) or waste hours on pointless pursuits.

But sometimes ... it does. The other day, Alex linked me to a video of the Tonys performance of In the Heights -- amazing. (Also I think I've envisioned the narrator of Wao to look like Lin-Manuel Miranda) The "related to" column encouraged me to view prior Tony performances, like Spring Awakening and Cabaret and this year's RENT and as I sat in my gym clothes with work piled up all around me I somehow found myself twenty minutes deep into this videos-of-musicals downward spiral.

I think rock bottom hit when I was voluntarily re-watching a clip from "The View" in which Rosie brings on an 11-year-old girl who's got Cystic Fibrosis and loves musicals and then surprises her by bringing on the Broadway cast of RENT to sing "Seasons of Love" with her. What can I say, I totes heart rock bottom. Am I listening to "No Day But Today" right now? Maybe.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Auto-Fun of the Day :: 6-27-2008

quote: "So you close your eyes and your fingers are pushing down and you're thinking of Helen Keller and how when you were little you wanted to be her except more nun-ish and then suddenly without warning you do feel something. A knot just beneath her skin, tight and secretive as a plot. And at that moment, for reasons you will never quite understand, you are overcome by the feeling, the premonition, that something in your life is about to change. You become light-headed and you can feel a throbbing in your blood, a beat, a rhythm, a drum. Bright lights zoom through you like photon torpedos, like comets. You don't know how or why you know this thing but that you know it can not be doubted. It is exhilarating." (Junot Diaz, The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao)

links: 1) On books that made people angry and politically charged that now seem totally worthless: "Burning is too good for them."(@times online uk)
2) Poem: "Expecting Honey" by Bridget Talone. Dear Dad. Come back. / And bring everything back with you." (@tin house)
3) They should put a comment card in the back in case people want to yell at her about their own personal problems in disguise as literary critique: So, Emily Gould is writing a book!(@mediabistro)
4) I thought I'd just discovered a solution to all my working problems, turns out I should probs move to Brooklyn ; "A Shared Office is a Great Escape from working at Home." (@nytimes)
5) The Virginia Quarterly Review: Lit Mag Love (@the magazineer)
6) I do this too! Elizabeth Kiem has been placing the fiction she reads in the rooms she knows. (@the morning news)
7) She's worse than you even expected, what with all the context: Up All Night With Amy Winehouse. (@rolling stone)
8) Punk Like Them: "Chasing a scene that no longer exists, they've created one of their own. A night out with the East Village's summer street kids." (@nymag)
9) A Genetic Theory of Male Homosexuality That Makes Sense (@slate)
10) The 11 1/2 Biggest Ideas of the Year (@the atlantic)
11) She's talking about butt-sex: "Final Fantasy: There's One Thing that I've never done in bed, and I'm saving that for my future husband." (@nerve)
12) Unequal America: Causes and consequences of the wide -- and growing -- gap between rich and poor." (@harvard magazine)
13) I knew it was a good idea to read A Clockwork Orange at 12: Children know which books they're old enough for. (@the guardian uk books)
14) Watch this now: A great week for homophobia. (@fourfour)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

We Will We Will VLOG You

So much footage and so little time! Speaking of time: time has a way of ticking on, 'cause of clocks, and before long it'll be Thursday night and The Rockford Peaches (a prestigious team including all-stars like me, Carly, Caitlin and Alex) will be playing their second basketball game in reportedly ugly shirts. I missed the first game, which was probs best for everyone. In this vlog, we discuss our impending athletic doom (facilitated by Carly, who roped us into a NYC Professionals Basketball League even though I'm defo not a professional. I actually thought it was a lesbian league, which'd mean all the players are bonded by sexuality and therefore not implying particular athletic prowess by participating. This is not the case. Mostly, we're hoping it'll provide fodder to make fun of each other afterwards).

Also, Haviland's here, we snatched her up at the airport on Monday night at about two hours past my [aimed-for, but never achieved] bedtime. The whole place smelled like B.O., but we waited, which is true love/friendship, clearly.
Riese: "I'm gonna sweat so much at the basketball game, it's gonna look like I just took a shower in all my clothes within 20 seconds of the first quarter. I'm gonna be like the Swamp Thing."
Caitlin: "Everyone will be sweating."
Riese: "No one will be sweating as much as me."
Haviland: "Riese, you published an article in MARIE CLAIRE about how much you sweat. You won a sweating award. I think everyone's fully aware that you have hyperhidrosis and will be sweating."
Riese: "They'll probs just think I'm a cokehead."
Caitlin: [does the groan she does that means the same thing as Haviland's "Really Riese? Really?"]
As I've mentioned probs 500 times this week, I haven't played basketball since my 5th-8th grade tenure on The Emerson Eagles, which concluded just before puberty (I was a late bloomer). We played spring ball in a Rec league & fall ball in a special private school league, and managed to lose every single game except one. Emerson performed a lot better in Mathletes, Quiz Bowl and Magic the Gathering than it did in girls' b-ball.

So. Today I have this pebble for you. A vlog of some quality featuring Carlytron & Matthew as well as never-before-seen footage starring Haviland and Alex. This is what's in it:

1. Discussion about Incest.
2. Haviland's reading of Supr's supreme drunken comment from autowin.
3. Our basketball team.
4. A preview of our basketball game.

And also, so much more.


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Auto-Fun of the Day:: 6-24-2008

quote:"To explode with flesh, without collapse. / To feel sick in my skeleton / in all the serious confetti / of my cells, and know why." (from "Me in Paradise," by Brenda Shaughnessy.)

links:
1. I was going to link to this before I even realized who wrote it!: Obama's Impossible Speech, by Sam Anderson. (@nymag)
2. "Deep Holes": short story by Alice Munro. (@the new yorker)
3. Critics Choose Their Most Loathed Books (@the times online uk)
4. No Clear Winner Emerges In Keith Gessen’s Party To Take Back the Internet: "Gessen had spent the last two weeks on the Internet! he shouted over the din of the crowd. And during that time, he learned that the Internet was a place where people expressed their pain! (“Isn’t that what literature is?” somebody shouted back.) He would continue to express his pain via the Internet, he declared! Eventually, he got off the table." (@gawker)
5. Vote for Muffin!: Haviland stars in a staged reading of VOTE! The Musical in NYC on June 30th, check out THE VOTE! SHOW! "Your Next Prez" featuring Hav in a cheerleader skirt!. (@youtube)
6. Furthermore: "Is Google Making Us Stupid?" (@the atlantic.)
7. Also, The World of the Used Book. (@popmatters)
8. Oh! AND! One day I'm gonna have a nice website that'll use this technique: Hand-Drawing Style In Modern Web Design - Volume 2 (@smashing magazine)
9. So, She's Got the Look = ANTM (@fourfour)
10. And also. also. also. Thanks, But No Thanks by Will Doig; Same sex-marriage is wonderful progress, but I'd prefer a civil union. (@nerve)

Monday, June 23, 2008

Sunday Top Topping and New York City Pride Week

Although NYC Pride embraces many of my least favorite things -- sweltering summer heat & drip-dropping human sweat, street parades, mid-afternoon beer consumption, live play-outs of OurChart cosmology -- and although Flag Day puts up a good fight -- Pride remains hands-down totes my favorite holiday. My personal Pride memories range from fantastic & surprising to harrowing & cataclysmal, but I remain a stalwart believer in Pride's potential for excellence. If nothing else, it offers Dani Campbell a chance to host yet another event, probs event #345 on her illustrious promotional resume, which's been building steadily since she failed to win a shot at love with Tila Tequila. Also, I officially loathe Tila Tequila now, I can't even joke about it anymore. She's just really a gross excuse for a human being. She has a great opportunity as a Vietnamese woman and "a bisexual" to make changes w/r/t visibility and understanding, and instead she's running around in a bikini and announcing on a television awards show that she "still doesn't know if she likes boys or girls!" I thought that bisexuality meant liking boys and girls ... you fall in love with a person, not a gender, you don't have to 'choose' ... whatever.

Anyhow! Pride! Despite my aforementioned affections, if it's 140 degrees outside during the parade, I'm gonna whine and bitch until someone transports me to a walk-in freezer and feeds me Creamsicles (NOT sugar-free, please, I prefer to my cancer in the form of a stunning golden tan, not sugar substitutes). Also, since transitioning to the lifestyle, I've yet to actually make it to the parade 'cause usually I go out the night before and then sleep all morning. I know, crazy, Pride makes me into a different person. A person surprisingly tolerant of crowds and polo shirts.

A selection of New York City Pride 2008 Events:
Friday, June 27th:
Girl Nation Downtown @ Stonewall - 10 pm
Showstopper @ Blvd - 199 Bowery (@Rivington) - 10 pm
Shescape - Mannhatta (310 Bowery between Prince & Spring) - 10pm
Remix Fridays at Club Remix (24 Murray Street, between Church & Bway) - 10pm

Saturday, June 28th:
Dyke March - 5:00 PM - finish - W.42nd street and 6th Avenue (Bryant Park)
Lovergirl NYC @ Cache (West 46th between 7th and 8th) and
Lovergirl NC Pride Extravanganza @ Pacha - 618 West 46th, between 11th & 12th.
GirlNation @ Nation (West 45th street, between 6th and 5th)
Under the Sea @ Cattyshack (249 4th Avenue, Brooklyn)
Heritage of Pride's Rapture on the River @ Pier 54 6pm - 11pm (must buy tickets in advance online)

Sunday, June 29, 2008:
Pride March: Noon -End
  • Moment of Silence : 2 PM
  • Dykes on Bikes: 11 am
  • 5th Avenue & 52nd street to Christopher & Greenwich.
  • Grand Marshalled by Candis Cayne, who you may remember from our New Now Next video.
Pridefest - Annual LGBT Street Fair -- 11am - 7pm (Hudson Street, Abingdon & W. 14th) Starlette Sunday @ Angels and Kings (500 E. 11th, between Avenue A &B)

In honour of pride, this week's Sunday Top 10 is actually a Gay-Themed Top 20 ... and is actually hosted on Auto-Straddle -- so go there and see it! -- 'cause clearly Autowin is a very intellectual and highly cultivated space for intellectual discussions about Virginia Woolf, The Allegory of the Cave, Boy-briefs vs. thongs and sophisticated feminist theory. Auto-Straddle is where I do other things, like talk about my top 20 most favorite fictional lesbians from (relatively) mainstream pop culture. I like how I make the category all specific for myself. I think eventually I'll develop Multiple Personality Disorder, which according to a recent episode of Law & Order starring (lesbian!) Cynthia Nixon (bringing it back around!), doesn't actually exist. Howevs, if it does, I hope that my personalities are named "Desmond" and Molly, from the Beatles song Ob-li-di-ob-la-da.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

I Wanted To Paint Nothing. I Was Looking For Something That Was the Essence of Nothing, and the Soup Can Was It.

[Attempting to construct a frivolous Sunday Top 10 with disproportionate self-consciousness, I figured I'd just write down my feelings -- mostly carry-overs from a few weeks ago -- and move on from there. Here they are. Yay! Sunday Top 10 is finished, will come tomorrow (it's finished, so that's a real promise)].

An Open Letter to All Interweb Haters and Self-Righteous Anti-Blogging Journalists:

[Not Good Autowin Readers, I love y'all. You're the best! This is directed at interweb haters, which sometimes includes people I know, but 95% of the time, doesn't.]

You Chorus of Cuntish Commenters [not my commenters, obvs], your twatiliciousness skyrockets. You under-sharers! You private, nasty people with little boxes of secrets in your stomachs! You're still riding the self-righteous tails of That Emily Gould Thing, a "kids these days" nose-snubbing/squabbling, or you're fired up by a number of additional fuels: NY Mag's recent "microfame" dissection, Keith Gessen's me/"the me you hate" breakdown, Julia Allison's continued Julia Allison-ness (although even she called it quits once).

The problem is: I let public & private negative discourse pervade my headspace. I get beautiful, supportive emails & comments from Autowin/straddle readers and yet a few negative voices overwhelm them. It's precisely the grateful notes that stop me from giving up -- it's not about ego-stroking, or wanting attention, it's about feeling that it matters though Old Media says it don't.

Why is sharing inherently bad -- and NOT sharing consequently "good"? There's plenty of bad oversharing out there, of course ... and I don't read it. Furthermore, I understand we must withhold most things, in fact, our hearts & guts tell us precisely what to hold back, just as it tells us it's time for lunch.

I like the internet! I LIKE IT! I'm sick of apologizing. I'm tired of reading over & over that the cultural pulse is beating inside an indulgent body and that this body is sitting & judging while we bloggers croon on like washed-up lounge singers. Watch me, watch me, I'm a lock-free Dear Diary, my Hooker Name is Elizabeth Wurtzel and my special trick involves opening my whole mouth and letting you touch my wisdom teeth. My Pandora's Box was opened against my wishes, but I haven't figured out how to close it and besides, everything happens for a reason.

In fact, this here blog has lead to many fabulous beautiful intangibles and I think it's better karma to keep going than to stop. I refuse to believe the internet isn't a little magic, look at this video from Kelka Pride. It's easy to scowl protectively at everyone, but it's more fun to play with them. Next year, p.s., we're all going to Kelka Pride.

(I read: "On the Internet, a person can enjoy all the downsides of fame without actually being famous. You can inflate your ego, betray your friends, alienate your family and earn the contempt of strangers without earning a penny in extra income" here and wonder -- am I about to make a ridiculous, flagrantly wrong point? But then I think -- I'm a young earnest writer, isn't it only natural that I'd write a blog, explore the medium? I wouldn't be the first "artist" to forge on so foolishly, w/o it being my "job"?)

[self portrait with sunglasses, andy warhol]
Watch me! Stick a tip or a word in the g-string of my informational striptease. I'm human. I've got a concrete heart & walls like pink floyd ... but humans, even loners like me, need some connection to the rest of the world, even if they hate the rest of the world. Even better, I like feeling that I've done what can to change it just by being me. And that live person-to-person thing -- that petrifies me, and I'm getting too old to keep drinking every time I'm forced to cross the gulf to strange strangers. But I'm safe here, and I like it here.

[Ten Portraits of Jews of the 20th Century Portfolio: Sarah Bernhardt
by Andy Warhol]

Example of Magic: Women's voices. Queer voices. Are everywhere. There's still a million differences between how they're received vs. the traditional voices but to simply exist is a big step in the right direction.

And here's what really I don't get -- and didn't get, re: the emily gould debacle, or any situation in which the writer isn't actively attempting to incite/provoke argument/debate, expressing hateful or bigoted ideas, or auto-playing an annoying song on launch ... if you don't like it ... don't read it. I don't like video games, but I'm not writing Nintendo to critique their latest version of Death Killer Raider Game #456 and, while I'm at it ... "p.s. Nintendo is fat & ugly!"

But -- commenhaters, you do read it! You eat it, devour it, lick the plate click-by-click and then smack your lips and vomit on the cook's face: "That was terrible."
The cook will ask: "Why'd you eat it?"

Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness.
- Eckhart Tolle

Writers (and musicians) have been oversharing forevs, it's just more searchable now. We're not savages. But we're vulnerable, 'cause we've taken off our armor and are now sitting behind it, naked & waiting. And there you hatoraiders are with your daggers & shimmering shields. You see our weapons and our best defenses, but decide instead to plan attack based on your feelings about our underwear (and women's underthings: far better to criticize). I didn't ask you to undress, so you don't have to, but you don't have to watch my undressing, either.

[Andy Warhol -Burkley Reinhold]
What can bloggers say in return to anyone who isn't "out there" like we are? I don't even know, 'cause I don't sit around thinking about why I hate people and where I can yell about it. I have complete respect for cyber-"anonymity" (in fact! Not only do I respect it, but I think it's a good thing that the blogosphere seems to be getting less crowded -- those meant to endure, have, and those who haven't, haven't, for whatever reason. Also 'cause if I add one more blog to my Google Reader, I'll have a heart attack), what annoys me is self-righteousness about cyber-anonymity ... the chip on the shoulder of many cyber-anonymous/non-bloggers ("learn your lesson from Emily," they say); loyal only to native art.

In fact -- bloggers can get fired (or -- just to avoid risking a blogger will blog about work when there's plenty of applying talent w/o blogs -- never hired in the first place) simply for having a blog, w/o first amendment protection. Your online-self is so damaging that companies exist now simply to erase it (for a fee). Blog-to-book sales have disappointed. Blogger-to-paid-blogger tales are increasingly less frequent. Oversharing's the Eighth Sin.

Sometimes "I'm not an internet participant, just an observer," is the new "We don't have a television, it's in the closet." (P.S. My teeve's in the living room, though I don't turn it on. I'm so cool, aren't I? For not watching teevee at home? I'm so much better than you. Don't worry, I'm also just like you at your worst and ugliest. Wanna hear about it? Listen: I watch TV at the gym, or with friends I'll stare blankly at its cheap stories and flat people w/expressive eyes and let it fill me like so much styrafoam.) Don't get me wrong -- I don't want you cyber-anonymous, or anyone who doesn't want to, TO participate. But if you do observe, and consequently choose so participate, I'd hope your contribution would be productive rather than just bitching at the content creators.

"The price of being known has gotten really low. I mean not the price, the reward.
Or whatnot. Andy Warhol could more accurately have said in the future everyone will be famous for $15."
-Emily Gould, Emily Magazine
*

[Screen Test: Edie Sedgewick. By Andy Warhol.]
So here's the kicker: the thing about microfame is that it doesn't necessarily bring any profits whatsofuckingever. It can even be a liability. This can be tough, I imagine -- dealing with the cons of fame (being recognized, criticized, insulted, gossiped about, dumped or attacked by a friend/partner) without the pros that make the cons bearable (this is how I make a living and feed myself and my family, so the sacrifices are worth it). I say "I imagine" because I'm not famous enough to deal with those cons, not because I have dooce.com-ish economic "pros." I don't know if the financial rewards for blogging will change, or if that's even the point -- though in a capitalist society, it sure seems like it is.

Saying you're a "blogger" once meant you were part of a forward-thinking generation of new-media enthusiasts, dreaming of an age that marries art, community and self-expression and births an international and ideally merit-based medium. Now, it kinda means you're a sucker, unless "for Deadspin" or "for Jezebel" are the next two words rolling off your tongue. Hell, it's gotten so bad that even Gawker seems to be pretty nice these days. Everyone's been snarked at, it's boring now.

The only thing left to do is be earnest, I think.

[In the Bottom of My Garden, by Andy Warhol]
What I like about Andy Warhol is his playfulness -- this can be fun. It can be entertaining or poetic, but bloggers can't have a deep thought or pull off perfect similie every day. Personally, I've lately tried to save those moments for the Sysiphean task of my novel. (Not a memoir anymore. I just ... can't.) Also, personally: my commenters don't yell or hate and are usually encouraging, and I like the challenge of increasing the user-friendliness and overall derth of fulfillment and format I can do with a receptive audience ... and at its very best most thrilling moments, it's like being an editor of my own little magazine, which has always been my dream job. I like dreams and the beach!

I've got faith that this medium's ultimately good for humanity, and also -- this medium's one of the only things I believe in that I can elect to take part in w/o spending money or leaving my apartment. There's frivolity, but there's also stuff I'm passionate about: group therapy, internet performance art, literature, book club, making people feel a little less alone.

The journey is all. We'll see.
*
The magic of the internet, again!: I just went online to track down some referenced posts, and found this at Slut Machine/Jezebel, expressing similar resolve. When I went to Gessen's blog to grab a link for my earlier graf, I found he'd posted this, which says what I just said, but better & briefer, and includes this exchange, which reminded me of conversations I've had:
Hampton: Rich people don’t blog. Happy people don’t blog. Successful people don’t blog.
Gessen:
I’m not any of those things.
Hampton
: But you’re those things enough, man. You wrote your book out of pain, and that’s why your book doesn’t suck. I don’t care what these people say. Whereas this blog is just the result of pique and wounded vanity.

[ Details of Renaissance Paintings (Paolo Uccello, St. George the Dragon), by Andy Warhol]


So, all ye haters, just shut your mouth. If I've learned anything of substance from blogging, it's that human beings are, by and large, better than we expect -- or could be. I think we will make this matter. We enjoy the first bite so we'll take it, and when we're all certain it's not poisoned, I'll pass it on to your grandchildren. I could do doomsday too, dressed in black for you, skip to my deepest blue. But this is much more fun.

Because I'll never be happy, therefore I must try whenever possible to feel happy, otherwise I'll die like a SIM, plunging red, time for bed, the hitch is dead.
I can't prove you're wrong about this medium ("the medium is the message"), but you can't prove I'm wrong about it either.

I've been obsessed with Andy Warhol lately, following the recent Interview Magazine issue dedicated to remembering him, which Alex brought me one evening and which enthralled me. I bought The Warhol Diaries and we need to finish Factory Girl. We wanna re-create The Factory, yes! we are such posers! Even my desire is a clichè, and I don't care! into something we call "The Warehouse." Like many things, it may not happen. Also though; it may. There was dry lightning for thirty minutes before the rain, and then the heat returned, following thunder. And then we went to bed, and then we woke up.

Brigid Berlin: He'd sit behind me reading The Post. He'd say; "Well isn't this a great story. Why can't Pat make a script out of this?" I'd say, "What are you talking about?" I didn't have the Post in front of me. "Well, this is a great murder, why can't we do this?"
Vincent Fremont: Or, "they're so peculiar."
Brigid Berlin: "All these young kids, they're doing such great things, and we're doing nothing."
Vincent Fremont: "He liked youth and he liked the news. I think that Andy would have been with the kids at 80. He would have appreciated anybody creative who was young, and helped them go forward. ..
*
Vincent Fremont: It's hard to project what Andy would be like today because he was so unpredictable. People always ask me what Andy would have painted. I think, with all the scandal that's gone down over the years, Andy would have been fascinated. And all that world of technology -- we would have stayed with it. Andy was very curious and he always wanted to know what was going on, and that keeps you young. I'm still trying to emulate him in that sense. Can you imagine how many young artists would have been coming to visit him?
*


Saturday, June 21, 2008

Weekend Auto-Fun :: 6-21-08

quotes: "My work has been about making a record of my life that no one can revise. I photograph myself in times of trouble or change in order to find the ground to stand on in the change. You get displaced, and then taking self-portraits becomes a way of hanging on to yourself." (Nan Goldin)

"To me, literature is a calling, even a kind of salvation. It connects me with an enterprise that is over 2,000 years old. What do we have from the past? Art and thought. That’s what lasts. That’s what continues to feed people and given them an idea of something better. A better state of one’s feelings or simply the idea of a silence in one’s self that allows one to think or to feel. Which to me is the same." (Susan Sontag)

photo (left): Photos by Nan Goldin, words by Susan Sontag.

links:
1. "Glamorous lesbians -- no that is not an oxymoron -- have always been here, but were invisible to mainstream culture until relatively recent": The Triumph of the Lipstick Lesbians. (@the village voice)
2. Irvine Welsh on why he wrote Trainspotting (@the guardian uk books)
3. Compared to these guys, I defo owe Visa only one of my limbs, not two: Bankrupt! 65 Famous People Who Lost it All (@popcrunch)
4. I hope everyone stopped multitasking after that Atlantic Monthly article I directed you to last year, 'cause multitasking is ruining the whole wide world: "The Myth of Multitasking" (@the new atlantis)
5. I've really got into Jezebel lately, especially "Fine Lines," which dotes on old-school YA novels. From the archives, one of my favorite childhood reads about my number one fantasy (getting trapped overnight in the Metropolitan Museum of Art): "From the Mixed-Up Files of Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler." (@jezebel):

"I miss New York. Not the New York somewhere over to my left. A New York before The Squid & The Whale brought divorce to the Museum of Natural History. A New York before nannies got groped; a New York before private-school girls intertwangled lustily on beds in some benighted plan to rule the school. It was a New York that had room for a notepad-toting minor to spy unaccompanied on people through dumbwaiters; a boy to wander Chinatown having adventures with a cricket; teenagers to contend with a genie in a mystery at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. Not a world where children playact adult dramas, or unhappily contend with the chaos adults leave in their wake. It's a New York that keeps adults perpetually at shoulder-level, briefcases and purses jostling, while the children, front-and-center in the frame, get up to whatever children get up to."
6. Two poems by Sara Messer: "It’s true I slept with Abe Lincoln. / I now know everything there is to know about this country. /Believe me, I carry a tapeworm for you the size of Kentucky." (@ guernica)
7. Shel Silverstein's unusual route to becoming a children's author. (@poetry foundation)
8. Mourning America's Lost Amusement Park Icons: Out of Service -- includes Back to the Future, Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, Autworld! In Flint!, Captain EO, and some amusement park in New Jersey where people kept dying 'cause the workers were always drunk. (@RADAR)
9. I knew a fraternity that hazed its brothers by locking them in an attic overnight listening to "Fly Away" by Enya on repeat. The U.S. Army uses the same tactic: "How US interrogators use music as torture." (@the guardian uk)
10. The 80's are back for men's fashion, check it out, lesbos: "Recalling the 80's? Try Selective Memory." (@the ny times)
11. Much ado about semicolons. (@slate)
12. Could you go w/o email for a week?NPR investigates (@lifehacker)
13. Bumper Stickers = Road Rage. (@newsweek)
14. I know deep down inside that Tinkerbell isn't real, but she's geting a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame. Go Tinkernell! (@people)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Live Blogging my DONE To-Do List: 1. Auto-Fun - DONE, 2. Book Club/B-Day Contest Info- - DONE

I completed the auto-fun last night, and then said: "Now I am tired and must retire to my chambers. There are bunnies and littlefoots waiting for me with tea and crumpets and a lullaby. Tonight's lullaby will be "Major Tom" sung by the Langely School Choir. I'll do the book club stuff tomorrow at the end of the auto-fun."

It is now the bright shiny morning of our content, and scroll down for all things Junot Diaz and LJLBF (those are my brother Lewis's initials, in full).

quote: "And how I feel right now about that is a little sad because I want to live so much and have all my time and do so many things. So I have to attend to the thing in front of me because if I am not focused I can get overwhelmed by my desire to do everything still, yet as they say the clock is ticking and I won't get to it all. I can't. And the impossibility of that choice, of the everything when I was young, that choice made me a poet because I could have some purchase on everything and do a little bit of it all day." (Eileen Myles, "Live Through That?!")

auto-fun:
1. An advantage to my elite education is that I was compelled to read this entire story from start to finish: The Disadvantages of an Elite Education (@the american scholar)
2. Gay Men and Straight Women Have Similar Brains, Study Says (@the la times)
3. Another great Dirty Girls Review. (@city paper)
4. Rich people actually are happier than poor people. Ta-da! (@portfolio)
5. OMG, this is really sweet. (@the planet podcast)
6. "there's still nothing like a good old-fashioned hardback." Editorial Notebook (@nytimes)
7. Top Ten Family Guy Newscasts (@nerve.com)
8. Interview with Drag Historian Joe E. Leffreys (@naked city @the village voice)
9. Media Bitchery: The Definitive Biography. (@gawker)
10.
The Microfame Game. .A lot of feelings about this. (@nymag)
Y'all rocked the Birthday Contest. You made me & Lewis laugh & smile over and over. The videos! The Jesus-postcards, personally selected songs, e-cards, animated postcards, personal photographs etc. -- y'all blew me away. SO it's hard to pick a winner. I shouldn't hold contests, I feel bad about all the people who didn't auto-win. I'd be better as a teacher where I can grade people. Contest judging is like teaching a class where everyone's pass-fail, and only one student can pass.

I wonder if there's anything I'd be qualified to teach a class in. "The Collected Works of Cecily Von Ziegesar" or "Contemporary Writing By Urban-Dwelling Sexually Flexible Women" or "The Contemporary Memoir" or "The Short Story after 1950" or "Suburban Discontent in the Modern Novel." Anyhow, back to Lewis.

Rather than waste a tree by literally pulling names from a hat, I made a numbered list of all the entries in order of submission, and then emailed Alex:
Number 17! Dorothy, here's lookin' at you! Email me with your address and you'll get a book in the mail, or, if you've already got the book, you can get next month's book when it's decided, or auto-gear.

The creative award was a little harder. So I narrowed the field and then asked Lewis for his faves -- and, having disqualified his first two selections 'cause I'm not about to give a free book to someone who's already endeared to me (a.k.a. people i know outside of blog-world), especially 'cause obvs they'll be buying the book on their own or else I'll kill them ...

As y'all know, I'm a sucker for things that are so bad they go all the way past good, back to bad again, and then into the beautiful realm of terrible/AWESOME. Chaitee wrote a poem, Lewis cited that as a favorite because though it was "terrible," it indicated admirable "effort." Of course, I love it.

Highlights include:

Happy bishday Lewis, I thought your name was Leonard
Can I call you Leonard? I think that name is splendid.

I hear your car uses diesel
So does mine
It's not really feasible
To use petrol
With fuel prices the way they are
Though diesel is $1.70 a litre and climbing here in Australia which makes me want to gouge my eyes out with spoons, mash them into a fine meal, mix with water; and use as my own special brand of fuel
I forget what word I was supposed to be rhyming
Diesel
Rhymes with weasel, maybe you should get one for your birthday
Or get a sticker of one, to put on your car window, that'd be awesome, I say.

What a blow
No giant rubber fists
as gifts
For your birthday

Howevs, Chaitee's already confessed to buying the book, which means she'll be taking another prize. So ... Sarah R., want a copy of The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao?

Lewis was very heartwarmed by all your good wishes and wrote this story for all the heartwarmers. Apparently he already posted it on his Facebook, so if you're facebook friends w/Lewis, you've already read it. I'm not facebook friends w/Lewis, 'cause I'm scared that one day I'll get something in my feed like "Lewis Bernard has added 'booty calls' to his interests," and then I'll be scarred for life. Which's probs how he feels every time he tries to read my blog or published stories.

Also, Lewis was inspired to catch up on my blog and would like to make it known that he hasn't worn Axe Body Spray since high school, and that since abandoning the allegedly irresistible scent, his luck with the ladies has increased exponentially.

Here's Lewis:

I'd like to thank all of you who wished me well on the 24th anniversary of my escape from my mother's womb.

Looking over the list I see a nice variety of friends from the third coast to the dirty coast, spanning a couple of continents and countless (well, like 6) states. It's a privilege to have touched so many lives and so, for those of you don't know about June 16th's bender at the Maple Leaf (for the record, neither did I, surprise!) I'm gonna share my favorite story from it.

Early in the night I'm chatting it up with this girl. (I don't remember her name, hair color, age or really anything besides her saying she's some sort of singer and that she had a nasty bruise on her arm.) She says the bruise on her arm is a result of taking too much Valium on her private plane, apparently, though she couldn't recall specifics. I'm bleeding from the elbow for some reason too, so I find her admission comical and noteworthy.

The conversation shifts to astrology ... so, I leave her at the bar, find my friends on the patio, and one thing leads to another and before you know it the five of us are at the front bar ready for birthday shots. I look up to see Valium Girl standing on a bench, watching the band.

"Come take a shot with me, it's my birthday!" I yell. Valium hops down and joins me and together we find my friends -- money unspent and no shots to be seen.

Dan explains: "There's no sugar for lemon drops so Margot went to Jaques-Imos to borrow a cup."

Valium starts laughing: "I thought you said MAKE OUT with me, not ..."

Oh, I know what she means, and it's awkward, but I manage: "No, no I said take a shot with me --" and then -- excellent! "... but you followed me!"

"You just looked so confident and it's your birthday! So I just figured."

So there's the lesson: Carry yourself with confidence, say it's your birthday, and the world is your oyster.

(Additional Life Lessons from the Lew-Man are here.)

Book Club
:

Okay. I'm gonna give y'all a week to get your hands on Junot Diaz's The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and then you'll start reading like wild rabbits. It's cheapest online. Wao has received numerous awards including the New York Times Notable Book Award, National Book Critics Circle Award and the Pultizer Prize for Fiction. A brief Wiki-hijacked description: "The novel chronicles not just the "brief wondrous life of Oscar Wao," an overweight Dominican boy growing up in New Jersey and obsessed with science fiction, fantasy and women, but also the curse of the "fukú" that has plagued Oscar's family for generations and the Caribbean since colonization and slavery. The middle sections of the novel center on the lives of Oscar's mother Beli and his grandfather Abelard under the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo. Rife with footnotes, science fiction and fantasy references, and street Spanglish, the novel is also a meditation on story-telling, Dominican diaspora and identity, masculinity, and the contours of authoritarian power."

You must be at page 160 by July 2nd for our first team meeting. If you aren't, you will suffer. Look at Junot in that picture! He's standing by a wire fence on an urban street! You know what that means. I wonder where my author picture will be taken if I ever have one. Hopefully on the roof. Of my urban street. Anyhow.

While awaiting your book's arrival, you should read his short fiction: I love the story Alma (@the new yorker) and FYI; Wao started as a short story, I've not read it (Fear of Spoilers), but I imagine it'll be interesting post-reading. Last summer I ate Wildwood -- (not available online), and I'm recognizing much of it in the novel. I was encouraged to read that Drown was his only book before this one, so, coupled with The New Yorker's stories, I've read almost everything he's published and therefore I am a Junot Diaz expert! Perfect for my position as book club leader!

In the mean-time ... if you've got any questions you think would be good to ask/discuss, vocab you didn't know, or opinions about what you've read so far, email me at Automatic_Win@yahoo.com. I'm gonna try to finish it within the next few days so that I can field your requests regardless of how far you're reading ahead.

I'm compiling a list of some of the english translations of spanish words I didn't know (nothing that'll give anything away. I'm only on page 100) Not knowing a few words here and there really doesn't matter, though. FYI.

OK -- I'm still figuring out exactly how one operates an online book club, and how I will make mine super-special and fun ... but I will figure it out and obviously you will be the first to know. I'll be posting online interviews and other related tidbits over the next few weeks. But I promised some information today, and I like to follow-through on at least 65% of my promises.

Also! I'm really excited. This is more-or-less my fantasy about anything a blog could ever be. We're all gonna read a really fucking good book together and have good conversations about it! Srsly, I've had a legit pep in my step for the past week just thinking about it. You can ask my neighbors on my urban streets all about it.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

H & R Advice Column #2: You've Got Feelings, We've Got Feelings, Let's All Scream for Ice Cream!


Hello grasshoppers. Haviland & Riese have more advice for you! [A full update on: The Book Club (selection: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao) & Lewis's Birthday Contest will come on Thursday. Also -- the book is full price at Barnes & Noble, so I'd suggest buying it online. Buy @ amazon via this link here and I'll get .02 cents towards the purchase of alcohol for myself. If you're in NYC, put yourself on the library wait list STAT, 'cause it's got 370 holds already. Cheapest copies I found were on amazon,Textbookx.com (here), and Half.com (here).]

Questions have been edited for brevity. Also, I make up all the names. Just FYI. Any tips for our advice-seeking people? Please do tell. Also, as always, send your inquires to ASKAUTOWIN@YAHOO.COM (and if you already have, and you're not in this column, we'll get you next time) ... and you just may see your questions answered in a VLOG.



Left Asshole Husband, Moving to Virgina, Wants to Go Girl-on-Girl
Hi H&R,

After 3.5 years in a verbally (and sometimes physically) abusive relationship, I got separation papers, asked my boss for a job transfer, and will be closing on a new house June 30 in a different city. My question is - how do I find a girlfriend (not boyfriend) and a group of great friends like you do - in my new city? I'm moving to Williamsburg (VA, not NYC), which is close to Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Newport News etc. I've always liked both sides and I want to focus on women a whole lot more. Please advise me.

Meet Virginia


Dear MV,

Riese:

* Firstly, congratulations on getting out! Before you leave, I'd suggest putting a chicken in his bed & locking the door.
* Secondly, OURCHART, obviously. Jeez.
* Thirdly, Historic Williamsburg. I bet there's a bunch of lesbos churning butter and playing with sheep there, like at a nunnery.
* Fourthly, I'd suggest starting a (new) blog, then people will be lining up to sleep with you, like Cinderella. Since Williamsburg is pretty tiny, any lesbo you meet will probs be eager for friends so if you see a lady at the store with short hair and a big axe (as if she's about to go lumberjack it) or Jodie Foster, be like "what's up?" and wave your metaphorical pride flag.
* Fifthly, Go on craigslist, honestly, look for other girls looking to make gay friends and stuff. That's how I met Chase, and through her I met Lainy, and through Lainy I met Haviland (they'd met each other on friendster). I'd say "go to the gay bar," but lesbians never talk to new people in gay bars, 'cause they're all freaks and weirdos.
* Sixthly, ARE THERE ANY LESBIANS READING THIS WHO LIVE IN THE WILLIAMSBURG VIRGINIA AREA? IF SO PLEASE GET IN TOUCH. ASKAUTOWIN@YAHOO.COM OR COMMENT.

Haviland: Seriously, congratulations on getting it together and getting out of that horrible situation. Really fantastic.

What kinds of things do you like to do? I would suggest doing those things, and you'll find people you like that way. I wouldn't focus on "finding a girlfriend." Relax in your new home, make it comfortable for yourself, and reach out to cool people there. You'll eventually click with someone and voila, instant girlfriend...but for now, I wouldn't go out seeking that. Good luck!

Riese: OK also a few weeks ago we had a conversation where Caitlin and I admitted that sometimes a drink helped ease social anxiety, since usually talking to strangers gives us the panic. And Haviland was 100% bewildered by this, not understanding how we could feel uncomfortable about talking to other people and subsequently overanalyze everything we say ... and that we do this just 'cause it's "talking to other people," not any other factors. Hav will go talk to anyone and is adept at meeting people she likes, and she doesn't even drink. However, I'd suggest that you get drunk first. Really the internet is the key, I've felt.

I agree through about not looking for a girlfriend. I never was -- in fact that was the last thing I wanted for a long time -- but when it happens, it happens, and it'll happen for you.

Ex Wants to be Friends, Ex is Probs a Liar, Ex Says She Still Loves Me

Dear H & R,

My ex and I were friends for a couple years before our long-term relationship. We broke up 'cause she said it wasn't working, but I heard from another friend that she'd just been trying to get me out of the way so she could hook up with an old-school crush, a boy. In fact, all my friends have stories about her: that she gave guys her number at a bar, that she kissed a guy in a bar, that she'd gotten a text from a guy offering to take her out to dinner (she says she never talked to him), that when she refused to kiss her crush in public he called her a bitch and a cocktease (she says he understood her refusal) ... I don't know what to believe, it was messy and we both said a lot of confusing/hurtful things, and now sometimes she says she wants to be friends and she made a mistake or that she still loves me.

Once when arguing, she said she thinks sex with a girl isn't like being with a man and doesn't count as losing your virginity and that she wanted to go back to being with guys. She'll get mad and say I'm taking it personally when it's just about guys vs. girls. [An additional paragraph detailing specific misbehaviors is not being published, per request of the author]

I feel like I have wasted so much of myself on her and everything we had was a lie but she says she said that to get back at me, that she did/does love me.

I am not friends with any of my other exes and am finding it very hard to want to be friends with her, I don't know what to believe. Should I even try to be friends with her again like she wants, or is it too hard to be friends with an ex, and just give up and move on?

Love you gorgeous girls by the way
So Dismantled


Dear SD,

Riese: It has taken me many moons, grasshopper, to come to understand the behavior you describe in the part we're not allowed to print. First of all, please download Fiona Apple's "Get Gone," and put it on repeat and scream at the wall. Okay.

You need to cut your losses and get out stat, she's using the oldest emotional manipulation tactics in the book. They always work on me too, but recognizing them was the first step to change that behavior on my behalf. You gotta step out of your body and look at these people subjectively, the two girls that are fighting.

It sounds like she's got a lot of personal issues to work on and thinks she deserves every bit of love she gets, and that no one will ever understand this deserving and they'll question her and this's why she must lie to get the response she probs honestly feels she is worthy of ... but she's not considering that the other person is actually RIGHT about how humans oughtta behave, especially to those they love. There are rules of human behavior that apply to everyone, including her.

It'll be hard to leave, but you must go. And also, like ... even if you look at Bette & Tina, there was no emotional manipulation there. Bette fucked up, but she wasn't a fucked up person. Marina was much more manipulative ... even Jodi, sometimes.

It sounds like you're almost addicted to it, and so getting off it will feel like sweet sweet freedom ... but first you must endure the painful withdrawal. And for that, time will heal your pain, and good friends.

Haviland: Agree fully with Riese. I don't think it's impossible to be friends with exes, but it sounds like you don't want to be friends with her, anyway. So what you're really asking is, "can i pretend to be friends with her, and hope that while we're "friends" I'll actually get her to confess her undying love for me, and we'll get back together?" The answer is no. And even if it were yes, thats just too annoying, painful, and time wasted from hanging around people who won't make you ultimately feel so bad about yourself. I don't even know you, but I'm pretty sure you don't deserve that. Judging by your choice of web-reading, you're a smart person, and smart people shouldn't waste their precious emotional energy with people who drag them through the drama-mine the way this girl obvs is. It's all easier said than done, but focus on yourself, your friends, job, etc...and get out of it.

Quarterlife Serial Monogamist Desires The Casual Sex

Dear H&R,

I have a confession to make: I am a quarterlifer serial monogamist. Despite all of my friends extolling the virtues of having a 'slut phase' I've just never been able to do it. Whenever I have The Sex (even if I've been consuming The Drink) I wind up with a lot of feelings, and subsequently a girlfriend. While I generally don't mind my situation, it does mean there are some things I've never indulged in (redheads, I'm looking at you). Occasionally this leaves me with the nagging fear that one of these girlfriends will become a wife, and that I'll never be able to so indulge.

Do you have The Casual Sex? If so, how? If not, do you have similar breadth-of-palette anxiety?

Sincerely Forever,
Anonymous


Dear SFA (you get to keep your chosen name, 'cause it's so sexy!),

Riese: Well ... I'm not gonna disclose the breadth of my experience, but let me say this: really, the only thing that matters is if you like the girl or not. If you're totally into her, then the term "Casual Sex" no longer applies-- nothing is "casual' when your partner is serious. So the key to having The Casual Sex is to hook up with girls you wouldn't ever want to girlfriend. For example, maybe you could already have a girlfriend but could agree to be in an open relationship, thus eliminating your anxiety about wives and so forth. Howevs, those are tough to coordinate and rarely work.

The CS may be fun and thrilling, but the best part is right before you first kiss and you're still wondering if it'll happen and what it'll be like. Maybe do that once or twice, then get married. Also, there's massage parlors. And threesomes?

Anyhow, I think one's sexual experiences (and subsequent talents) are actually better attributed to quantity and quality of sex with the same partner over a long period of time, rather than a few fumbling nights of momentary pleasure and mutual unknowing with randoms here and there. You never learn much from having Casual Sex, besides that alcohol is SEXY and you miss your ex, 'cause with her things were comfortable, like the John Mayer song "Comfortable."

Haviland: "Slut phases" are not for everyone. It sounds like you're just not that kind of person, and that's really okay. You could break up with a girl you really like just to go out and have encounters with people who you're doing your damndest NOT to like, and then feel bad about yourself, and feel gross and also like you're compromising who you are just for a story to tell, or you could just reconcile with yourself the fact that, well, you like relationships. And there's really nothing wrong with that. Don't let your friends pressure you into being slutty.

Riese: She doesn't mean "slut" as a derogatory term. Just ... FYI. Take back the word, ladies!

Haviland: No, of course not! I would never use that term - that's how SFA referred to it, so I was being all therapist-like and just going with his terminology. Also, of course, if you are going to go there, do use protection, and have a team meeting to make sure you're all on the same page about what's happening.

Friend is a Mooch, Drinks my Jack Daniels, is also a Drummer For Our Band

Dear H & R,

So, I have this friend who is kind of a mooch. I've known her for about 6 months now, we've grown pretty close quickly, we're in a band together (she's a phenom drummer, ps). She's a really awesome person and I know she's kinda broke, but so am I.

She'll ask to share rides but never takes a turn driving or offers gas money, she helps herself to the booze I bring to rehersals or my jack & coke, if we get food or booze as a band, she literally never chips in, and at bars she'll try to put her drink on our tabs "by mistake" by ordering with us, etc. This weekend I refused to carpool w/her to a gig and she got huffy (we always go to her place for rehersal so she never has to drive, or pay for gas or food ... and we just got new recording gear and she's yet to chip in). If she wakes up drunk on my couch I won't even feed her when she wakes up, as I would with any other friends/enemies. I'll wake up, hide my food, and when she's up I'll say I need to go grocery shopping. She'll ask "Want me to come with you?"

We confronted her when she was two hours late for a rehersal where we'd been waiting outside her door and she wouldn't answer her phone and she said "I don't need this right now," and stormed away crying. Then she drank half my Jack.

-Closing the Bank of Myself


CTBOM,

Riese: The first thing I do in this kind of situation is prepare a spreadsheet of what she owes you. Then make another list of what she's done for you. Then cut them out, paste them in your journal and bitch to anyone who'll listen. That's what I'd do, and it feels good.

This girl isn't just a mooch, she's basically a criminal. Out out out with her bitchass nannyfucking motherfucker ass. You'll find a new drummer like Alex Vega or Lewis Bernard. If she says she doesn't need this right now and starts crying, you tell her you don't need this right now either then slap her in the face, and while she's down grab her wallet and take all she's got. Anyhow she sounds crazy ... and I'm guessing she doesn't have any money. Possibly she has narcissistic personality disorder, is manic and in a stage of hypomania, or is a sociopath.

Haviland: Tell her what's bothering you. If she starts to cry, tell her you don't really know how to deal with her, because you have some very unemotional issues to discuss and she's making them emotional. I suggest you find a new drummer who is more professional. And definitely, set up more clear boundaries - like not allowing her to crash on your couch whenever she's too drunk to drive. Has she heard of a cab? And if she can't afford it, then she can't afford to be out drinking. She's an adult and she can plan ahead. Certainly, once in awhile, sure, we make mistakes, but it sounds like this is fairly habitual. I'm never certain as to why people are so nice to irresponsible "friends" when these so-called friends continue to take advantage and not return the kindness.

Riese: The bigger the hair, the closer to the Lord, y'all.

Can't Get Into Contemporary Fiction
Help H&R.

Contemporary fiction leaves me cold. Am I reading it wrong? I was an English major: I enjoy literature from pretty much every movement up through the modernists (this includes work from other countries as well). I love a solid, plot-twisty, character driven, socially conscious Victorian novel just as much as Sei Shonagon's scattered, piece-meal, self-indulgent, pillow-book musings.

(I can read non-fiction and I've read Sarah Waters -- though really for (nearly) the same reasons that I watch The L Word-- she writes about female desire.)

But when I read The Corrections or All the Sad Young Literary Men or other contemporary, well-thought-of fiction, I feel... nothing or restless or irritated. What am I missing?

-Sad Young Literary Woman


Dear SYLW,

Haviland: I am so not the person to ask about this...if you need political recommendations/journalists to watch, come to me. As for modern fiction...Riese, go for it!

Riese: Have you read Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants or Jurassic Park?! You'd change your mind if you did! (JK)

See, I feel the same way except the opposite. I believe this fairs better for you than for me ... I think everyone just likes what they like, 'cause I don't understand how anyone could prefer reading a socially conscious Victorian novel to Bright Lights Big City.

Your problem comes from this: what just came out (a.k.a. contemporary fiction) hasn't stood the test of time yet. All the stuff you like has -- old literature comes to you like a filter that was set in stone before you were born. We take a gamble when we buy a brand new book. Will it last? Will it matter next year?

Although, you do mention two authors widely known to be assholes, which's interesting. Though actually I'd recommend The Corrections as something you might enjoy -- I think although the subject matter is contemporary, the approach to the novel as an art form is more similar to your favored writers.

Look for contemporary writers who admire the same writers you do, that's the best route.

But also, you like what you like ... at least it works out in school. I was forced to read The Canterbury Tales but you were not forced to read Nobody Belongs Here More Than You.

Coming to the City To Do Good Work, Already Having Trouble With Roommates and Apartments
Dearest H&R,

I'm a Georgia native currently living in North Carolina with no ties to NYC, but I recently took a job in NYC w/Habitat for Humanity that pays a $980 monthly stipend, an unlimited MTA card, health insurance, and $200 directly paid to my landlord. I found a girl on craigslist moving from Oregon at the same time I was -- we clicked right away, talked a lot, and thought we'd cut costs further by acquiring other roommates, and we found two guys on roommates.com. I told them my work info, and since they weren't looking to spend over $600/month, all was well w/r/t that.

Today one of my future roommates emailed to say he wanted me out of the apartment deal 'cause of my finances. I've got savings, but I'm fine if he doesn't want to be my roommate 'cause he's a tool who can't grasp the humanitarian concept. What gets me is the girl I met on craigslist is still getting a place with them, even though she'll be making less than me! And! We've got tickets to see Ani DiFranco and Kimya Dawson on July 16th -- since I bought the tickets, is it wrong of me to not want to share this glorious night w/the backstabbing roommate-stealer? Is it overreacting? Am I completely naive about my NYC financial situation? Do you know anyone who needs a roommate? And finally do you know anyone who wants a ticket to Ani D & Kimya D?

Sincerely Yours,
Homeless Home-Builder


Dear HHB,

Riese: First off -- I think what you're doing is pretty abso-fucking-lutely wonderful ... and I'm inspired by your eagerness to endure what's going to be a very very difficult budgeting situation. You're gonna have to live in far-out Queens or Brooklyn to find rent under $600, so I'd suggest looking on craigslist sublets & temporary where the price is already there and you'll be judged by your personality rather than your income. Also; from now on -- TELL EVERYONE YOU HAVE A MASSIVE SAVINGS ACCOUNT. Live close to your to-work train so that even if it's a shit neighborhood, it's convenient. I've lived in about 500 apartments and done the hunt about 100 times, so I know the deal.

Also, think about a part-time after-hours job. Kit gave a blow job for a taco once.

As for your ex-roomie, you're gonna have a lot of easy-come-easy-go friendships in NYC. It can be dog-eat-dog/heartbreaking. You can lose & regain your faith in humanity hourly, and there's no perfect method to figuring out who's gonna be a good one. Take someone else to the concert, forget her. She's fucked up and you haven't even met her yet. Out out out.

All city-dwellers have heaps of people within a five-mile radius who we no longer speak to -- people who've been fleetingly crucial, so absolutely necessary to daily life but are now gone gone gone. Think of these people as practice for the friends & lovers that'll end up mattering. Since day one, my number one NYC rule has been Don't Fuck People Over on Housing.

They're wise not to go into an apartment-hunting situation w/you 'cause your budget is lousy. They'll end up going higher once a broker or landlord seizes them. Even though clearly you're an amazing person, they're entering a city full of amazing people.

So you gotta think about how to position yourself more attractively this time around: can your parents be gaurenteers? That's an asset. Your best asset to sell yourself is that you'll rarely be home 'cause you'll be working often. Maybe you're quiet & go to bed early (or loud & party all night) and will appeal to someone similar, or maybe someone who's new to the city will want to live with someone also eager to make friends. If you're gay, search "GLBT friendly" on CL and you might find someone who'll care more about your sexuality than your job. Think assets, baby. Post a "roommates wanted" ad, that worked for me once.

In New York City, every person is a dime a dozen. Once you understand that and embrace it, you'll discover that you can use this both to avoid pain and to maximize pleasure. Trust me ... or ... don't.

Haviland: Yeah, she's right. It's hurtful, what she did, but honestly, this happens all the time, and you have to just move on. Do the CL thing under sublets...you'll find something, don't worry. Good luck in New York!

Riese: ALSO ANYONE NEED A ROOMMATE OR WANT TO GO TO AN ANI DIFRANCO CONCERT ON JULY 16TH? There you go.

Wants To Know What To Wear to the Clubs

Dear H&R
What you should/should not wear to the clubs
or
what does riese/carly/haviland wear to the clubs?
And
What’s your favorite part about summer?
-Hot Fun in the Summertime


HFITS,

Riese: We will disclose our answer to this one in video. What we wear to the clubs -- and boy do we club! -- is a multimedia question. Also, I loathe all parts of summer, there's nothing I like about it except that it's not freezing cold outside like it is sometimes in January. and that's liking "not-winter," rather than summer specifically. So. Oh! Oh! The Rosie Cruise!

Haviland: Don't wear anything to "the clubs" that is going to be uncomfortable, or that you'll care about getting ruined when people are knocking up against you and spilling their drinks all over you. I think it really depends where you live, because fashion in LA and NY, for instance, could not be more different. What do you like to wear? Start there, and then observe what other people wear, and steal ideas. Just no Ed Hardy prints, please. Also, re:summer, I love the summer, and in LA, it's always summer!

Riese: By that she means, "I'll elaborate on the vlog."
Have the Desire With Me So That We Can Get to Know Each Other Better and See What Happened in Future

hello dear,

how are you today i hope that every things is ok with you as is my pleassure to contact you after viewing your profile which really interest me in having communication with you if you will have the desire with me so that we can get to know each other better and see what happened in future.

i will be very happy if you can write me through my email for easiest communication and to know all about each other also send you my picture, i will be waiting to hear from you as i wish you all the best for your day and God bless you.

yours new friend,
jane saleeby.


Riese: Send naked photos to Lozo. No fat chicks. While we're on the topic, you also have a good day and G-d bless you too, Janey Jane Jane. You and your little profile and your big big desire.

yours new special friend, Riese.

Haviland: Can I introduce you to my friend "punctuation"?

Riese: Especially my lover the comma. Something tells me y'all would click like WHOA. You can't meet the semicolon, clearly, she's taken.
Desires Of Going Into Long Time Relationships and Financial Transaction for Our Mutual Benefits

Permit me to inform you of my desire of going into long time relationships and financial transaction for our mutual benefits.
I am Miss. Emanuela Fofana and I inheritated an important sum from my late father who died in recent crisis in Cote d'Ivoire . I wish to request for your assistance in investing this sum in lucrative venture or manufacturing and real estate management in your country.
I have Five million, five hundred thousand United State Dollars. USD ($5.500,000)to invest in this transaction and I will require your assistance in receiving the fund in your account in your country. I will gladly give you some reasonable percent from the total sum for your assistance. Please it is important you contact me immediately on this email address .
For more clearification on the next step for smooth conclusion.
Awaiting your immediate response and God bless you.
Thanks for your understanding

Yours Sincerely,
Miss. Emanuela Fofana


Haviland: Ooh, what does it mean to "inheritate" something? And how about "clearification"? Is that like Clearasil? Did you inheritate the Clearasil Corporation? And I don't even know what to say about "smooth conclusion"...Riese, perhaps you can help her with that?

Riese: My friend used to drink this tea called "Smooth Move." Just saying. Also, wtf is Cote d'lvoire? It sounds sexy.