Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Sunday Top Ten: Not the Same as Other Kinds of Clubs

In September 1986, in Stoneybrook, Connecticut, Kristy Thomas developed what is now known as "Kristy's Great Idea." And, behold: Ann M. Martin [who, as Carly recently informed me, is a totes lesbian], began the chronicles of The Baby-Sitters Club--a story which resonated so deeply with its readers that now, even though it's 2007 and many of the series' original readers, myself included, are allegedly grown-ups who ought to be hiring their own baby-sitters [First I need to learn how to take care of myself, then I can handle a little squirt who cries even more than I do], are still curiously obsessed, as indicated by last post's comment thread.

But first: because MY attention drops into Deficit when writers make esoteric references to masterpieces they assume I've read, e.g., The Brothers Karwhathaveyoukov1, Madame Bovary2, or Ulysses3, without explanation--let me give you the secret sauce, lest you stray from this post: "I got the idea on the first Tuesday afternoon of seventh grade. It was a very hot day. It was so hot that in my unair-conditioned school, Stoneybrook Middle School, the teachers had opened every single window and door and turned off all the lights." (K.Thomas, 1986.)

WOC4, right? I've been talking about air conditioning a lot lately? Right?

OMG, about 75% of you are totally eyeing right-hand scroll bar right now: I didn't get baby sat by no club. God, I wish I'd learned how to read great books. Where's that nice lady who always helps me with my dentures? SHIRLENE!!! Where's my Jell-O? I'm gonna scroll down here, find myself a topic I understand ....or girls making out with other girls? ... I wonder if when Riese has babies, she's just gonna be like, "My babies are so cute, I'm gonna get someone from that hands-down-totes awesome club to sit on them." Boring.
Onwards and Upwards....[P.S. I mention masturbation twice in this post, and neither of those times include Kristy Thomas.]
"Please accept my resignation. I don't care to belong to any club that would have me as a member."
-Groucho Marx

Just in case there's not enough misappropriated quotation of this famous line, I'm doing it again, applying it to myself, and then spurring a Sunday Top Fifteen [to be written in two installments, because I've got so much material!] from the fine silk of its robust loins.

Here's a club I was in. It was called "the soccer team." I liked to distance myself from the other girls by dressing less preppy and wearing my sunglasses, even though the photographer'd told me 100 times not to. I slipped them on at the very last moment, like swift-armed Neo:

Michigan, 1996.


15. The O Club:
Back before the Internet was invented and before Western Culture went to hell in a synthetic handbasket, it was possible to make it to the age of 12 without knowing about orgasms. Or maybe that was just me, 'cause most of my present female friends, I've learned, knew all about 'em: they were totally rubbing one out before bed while I was reading Anastasia Krupnik for the thirtieth time. So perhaps my O-Club co-members were a bit more enlightened than me. Which'd explain why they thought it was funny to create a club called "The O Club" in 8th grade, and record our first (and only) club meeting, which took place in the nook under my loft bed. Initiation included a relatively dramatic series of high-pitched moans and yells, which I thought represented the entire action referenced in our club title. But actually that would've been "The Fake O Club." We even had a membership card. See photo, left. That's our motto on the card: "Let's rock." Write that down, boys.


14. Fight Club:
I'd clearly get my ass kicked if I was in the Actual Fight Club, though I took Self Defense when I was a Girl Scout, and I've got some lean/muscular legs that can put up a good fight. Mostly I just like saying "The first rule of ..." Apparently, I like it SO MUCH that I employ this phrase in my textual communications with complete abandon! A quick search of my Gmail archives has revealed extreme overuse. Some examples [and this's just the tip of the misappropriation iceberg]:

To [Gretel]: "Rule Number one of Marie Club: Everything she does that seems malicious or perhaps of negative intent is, in fact, almost always simply a result of her being: 1. a space-case, 2. out of it, 3. flustered, 4. on the verge of an anxiety attack, 5. drunk, 6. all of the above, as well as on tylenol cold and flu."

To [redacted female friend]: "Rules of masturbating when you live with your boyfriend: There are no rules to Fight club."

13. Sam's Club

When our [our=my family] life fell apart in the early-to-mid-nineties, so did my Mom's hippie-organic-healthy rules about food [e.g., no yellow #5, no corn syrup]. For many months, I relished in this lax policy, subsisting on fried mozzarella patties and fried popcorn shrimp, purchased frozen in 40 lb. bags at our local Sam's Club. Mom was a member [she needed bulk foods for PTA-related events], obvs, as was everyone's Mom. That 48-pack of Pepsi helped soothe my teenage soul. And decay my teenaged bones. They didn't have a lot of healthy stuff there. If you wanted a barrel of apples, you'd just like, start an apple farm, right?

Also, they sometimes sold like, Trampolines? They'd always have something random hanging from the ceiling that cost around a bazillion dollars. If I had a trampoline right now, I'd put it in the street and jump on it. Actually I wouldn't, it's so hot out there, I was sweating like a whore in West Harlem-who happens-to-be-wearing-pants instead of a whore-outfit because her calves are covered in bruises from running into walls.

12. The Special People's Club:
Welcome to the Dollhouse, in which the bitingly ostracized 11 year-old Dawn Weiner (Heather Matarazzo) creates "The Special People's Club" with her only friend, Ralphie, was one of my favorite films ever. When I made Ryan-C5 watch it in 1998 [we were doing that "trading-favorite-movies" thing you do with your best friend to "understand them fully"], at film's end, he announced: "Marie, that movie was really fucked up. I think you're mentally disturbed," and then pretended to be really scared of me all night. He meant it affectionately of course. [His favorites include Time Bandits, Fanny and Alexander, The Opposite of Sex, The Lost Boys, Buffalo '66, Brazil, Run Lola Run and Witches of Eastwick.] I watched it 500 times and decided it was my life's goal to make it a little bit easier to be thirteen, female, and alive. That's why I invented "The O Club" and got a college degree in Education. Just kidding about that last part. I have an English degree, it's really useful. I mean, they didn't even make me read Ulysses.

DAWN: I was wondering if . . . Well, I've been thinking seriously of building another clubhouse, and I wanted to know, would you be interested in being my first honorary member?
STEVE: What are you talking about?
DAWN: The "special people" club.
STEVE: Special people?
DAWN: What's the matter?
STEVE: Do you know what "special people" means?
DAWN: What?
STEVE: Special people equals retarded. Your club is for retards.

This movie, though considered controversial [Apparently the raw truth about seventh grade is harder to handle than blood/guts/violence], developed a strong passionate following, and jump-started the careers of [lesbian!] Matarrazo [Saved! The L Word], Eric Mabius [The L Word, Ugly Betty] and Brendon Sexton, III [later Oscar-snubbed for his supporting role as Warren in Empire Records, then going on to star with Oscar-winner Hillary Swank in Boys Don't Cry.]


11. The No-Girls Allowed Club, all variations on the He-Man Woman Hater's Club

First of all, I'm a feminist. Second of all, most female-friendly clubs involve things I don't understand. For some reason which I cannot recall as I am no longer retarded, I actually went to Sorority Rush at University of Michigan in 2000. I was placed in a group with about 30 other rush-ees, most of whom'd been fake-baking all day and enjoyed bragging about how they'd only consumed 1200 calories a day since 1986 and now survived on pure air. Enthusiastic elder robots shuffled us from "house" to "house" for presentations of re-dubbed pop songs [changing Mandy Moore lyrics to Alpha-Chi-Omega lyrics, whatever they were, I dunno, I was too busy trying to kill myself with an index card] followed by five-minute "interviews" with random sorority members. It was unbearable. I was like, Wow that totes sucked, and went back to the dorms, eager to commiserate my misery and disgust with my friends. But they were like, What did you like better? A-E-Phi or Chi O? [To any "Greek" readers: I'm not talking about you, you're awesome. I'm talking about sorority girls who don't read this blog. Also, I'm not talking about you: my friends, because all my friends in school were Greek, except Natalie. See: I like to be the out-girl in the in-crowd, get it?]

10. The Breakfast Club:

I've seen this movie about 100 times. I've almost got it memorized: I can even tell you which dirty words have been ignorantly extracted from the televised version [it drives me insane]. I own it. And not until just this very moment, when I was about to type out a club-related quote from The Breakfast Club, did I realize that there might be a connection between this reference to clubs in the film and the film's title. Which, BTW, is never really explained. I think they just liked the way it sounded. I sure do. OMG, this IS the explanation. Seriously, I've been watching and quoting this film since 1994 and I just now realized this. I feel like I just had a really private and special moment on this blog. You guys? I love you. JK. Don't throw that word around. I don't love ALL of you.

Claire: You know why guys like you knock everything?
Bender: Oh, this should be stunning.
Claire: 'Cause you're afraid.
Bender: Oh God, you richies are so smart, that's exactly why I'm not heavy in activities.
Claire: You're a big coward.
Brian: I'm in the math club.
Claire: You're afraid that they won't take you. You don't belong so you just have to dump all over it.
Bender: Well, it wouldn't have anything to do with you activities people being assholes, now, would it?
Claire: You wouldn't know. You don't know any of us.
Bender: Well, I don't know any lepers either but I'm not gonna run out and join one of their fuckin' clubs.
Andrew: Lets watch the mouth, huh?
Brian: I'm in the physics club.
Bender: Excuse me a sec. What are you babbling about?
Brian: Well, what I said was that I'm in the math club, the latin club and the physics club.
Bender: Hey, cherry, do you belong to the physics club?
Claire: Thats an academic club.
Bender: So?
Claire: So, academic clubs aren't the same as other kinds of clubs.
Bender: But to dorks like him, they are. What do you guys do in your club?
Brian: In physics, well, we talk about physics ... properties of physics.
Bender: So it's sort of social. Demented and sad, but social, right?
I quote that last line a lot. It applies often.

9. Country Club

At smart-kids school, many of my classmates belonged to country clubs, and they'd take me, like I was their Little Match Girl. Like, Tennis, what's that? Why's everyone wearing white? "Tan" is a verb? Also, the summer of my fifteenth year, I visited a friend in St. Simon's Island, GA, and every day we went to the country club and laid in chairs and looked at the sun for hours, it was so weird. In St. Simon's Island, even the fifteen-year-olds were drunk, and they drove cars that looked like tanks for children. Though I imagine these clubs're probably a cesspool of vanity and sin, it's nice for a day to get all the lemonade you can drink. Also I think tennis clothes are hot, aren't they? Maybe I'm just thinking about Dana Fairbanks.
Really, though, I love "country club" as a metaphor. At Interlochen, Delp harped: "This's a country club, kiddos. Just wait til you get to the real world, it'll eat you alive." You know what, though? It totally did.

Every day we'd be made to repeat:
Delp: What do you know?
Class: Nothing.
Delp: What is this place?
Class: A Country Club.

We knew it though. We were like: More lemonade, thanks. Let's just sit on the beach and listen to poetry, fall in love with each other and then, fully in the throlls of crescendoing adolescent love, also fall in love with Raymond Carver, Mark Strand, Stephen Dunn, Jim Harrison, Pam Houston, Robert Bly, Kathleen Ann Porter, Anne Sexton, Bruce Weigl, Charles Baxter, Adrienne Rich, Gary Snyder, Stuart Dybeck...

In this photo, we almost look like we're at an actual country club, instead of about to get on school-buses to be transported to "Morp."
[That's "prom" spelled backwards, for those of you who are retarded. JK you're all smart. Smarter than me, even. 99th percentile. Go y'all. You all get in to Julliard, early decision. Congrats.]
Actually, just thinking about that now: we used to have no purpose in life besides reading books, talking about them, and then, in exchange, learning a little biology and having some awkward achy bones. That totes rules.

At Interlochen, the question was: "Does the ocean need to be listened to?"
The answer was: "Yes. Listen up: trees are falling."

8. The Baby-Sitters Club, Obvs

I was a good babysitter. Except once I locked the kids out of the house. Luckily I lived across the street. So after Emily stopped crying, like waaa waaa I'm five and my baby-sitter just locked me out of the house, we chilled at my place. They loved me anyhow, 'cause I never figured out how to talk to adults and children and people my own age differently, so I was pretty straight with them. About boys, and crack, and SARS.

"...and for me at age eight, just before I started at Emerson and started liking boys, the queen of Girl-Land was Stacey McGill of the Ann. M Martin YA series The Baby-sitters Club. Mom scorned the Sweet Valley Twins but admired Kristy and the girls on account of their implicit entrepreneurial spirit and hence, she forgave their whitewashed fluffy mass-marketed package.

Stacey worked summers as a lifeguard, and on the painted covers of those pastel-bright paperbacks, her long tanned legs dug into the sand like they'd crept up on her from underground, like maybe she was part mermaid. The cover art for Book #8, titled Boy-Crazy Stacey, pictures our heroine, adorned in a conservative yellow sweatshirt and her trademark red lifeguard jacket, cradling a freshly rescued young girl in her arms as a hunky lifeguard, tanned and as cut as a Ken doll, bandages the girl's injured foot. His shirt is unbuttoned to the waist. That was the kind of man I wanted: the kind that'd save a little girl's life with his shirt unbuttoned. And I also wanted to be a Mermaid. I wanted to be close to women who knew how to do whatever it was that Stacey did so well to bring all the boys to the yard, which I would be doing soon, too, because I was almost eight. Who Needs Baby-Sitting when there are BOYS around?"

-[me], one of 500 bad drafts of my "book," which I'll never finish, because I'm doing this.
It'd be different now: with Outlook, AIM and a simple homepage, the girls coulda been entrepreneurs way faster, but whatevs. Their exploits formed the base for grown-up work of similar literary merit, e.g. Sex and the City. (Hello: Mary Anne/Charlotte, Stacey/Samantha, Claudia/Miranda, Kristy/Carrie) . Furthermore, they struck a special chord amongst lesbians, who like strong women that have jobs and money and obvs the stories had a homosexy feel to them. Carly shared with me an essay, written by her friend Jane, entitled "Why Mallory's Gay." [UPDATE: Jane is now recapping the BSC TV series on her blog. Check it. LOL.] Some of the evidence includes:

-When the “gang” head out in the storm with Lucca to rescue Kristy from drowning in the pouring rain, Mallory is seen wearing plastic yellow overalls, galoshes and matching hat.
-Mallory jumps at the opportunity to secure her house for a party being thrown in Kristy’s honor.
-While there is no proof to this statement, Mallory was surely uncomfortable having to be crammed in a small car with Lucca, a boy, considering she “hates boys” (this fact taken from the book Mallory Hates Boys (and Gym) in which she explains her disgust for the two aforementioned items).
-Mallory‘s clothing brings up certain questions. Consisting mainly of suspenders, shorts and button down shirts, her wardrobe is rather un-heterosexual. She is also seen to wear ties on occasion, an accessory associated with males and lesbians.
-When Kristy goes off to see her dad and the members watch her get into his car, one exclaims, “Kristy has a boyfriend?!?” Mallory’s reply is, “The world must be flat.” This is clearly a reference to the fact that Mallory is infatuated with Kristy and believes that there is a chance at a relationship...

I learned a lot about babysitting from the BSC. For example: I kept getting babysitting jobs and I never locked anyone out of the house again.

"I felt deliciously scared--and happy. We were friends again...The Baby-Sitters Club was a success. I, Kristen Amanda Thomas, had made it work, or helped to make it work. I hoped that Mary Anne, Claudia, Stacey, and I --the Baby-Sitters Club --would stay together for a long time."
-"Kristy's Great Idea," Kristy Thomas, 1986

Stay tuned til the rest of this top fifteen comes out later this week, I know you can't hardly wait.

1A famous book by Dostoevsky. Often quoted by smart people.
2 This is a book by Gustave Flaubert. I quoted him and talked about him in that blog entry that got erased by zoho writer.
3 There was this list of the best novels ever and this book was number one. By James Joyce. Luckily, before I could feel too bad about myself, I saw that number two was The Great Gatsby, which I have read. Also obvs read Lolita. That's two in the Top Ten alone! I'm a genius.
WOC: Weird/Of Course. Maviland (Marie+Haviland) term, created to indicate strange coincidences of massive import.
5 Best friend/life-saver/life-changer, we met at boarding school in 1997, and later went to Sarah Lawrence and then to Manhattan together. Since then, he's been all over the world, and I've mostly been here.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Carousel of Progress: Beverage Bottles, Google Empire, Transportation, Interns

It's been a fantastic week for Progress. I'm now [sorta] employed, I journeyed to Pathmark for groceries [and stepped directly into a lagoon of tomato sauce, facilitating a somewhat sensual experience between my foot and the cleaning-man's mop], replaced my gapingly-holed Chuck Taylors with brand-new-[sized-too-small] Chuck Taylors [the ten minutes allotted for this errand did not provide for additional store visits to hunt down proper size, whatever, my feet'll shrink or my shoes'll grow, it takes two to tango], got my hair did [Visa's especially excited about that], and....yes...!!!...although the globe is warming, my room is cooling because...


Roommate-Ryan, who coincidentally happened to read my blog for the first time this week, removed those soul-stifling bars from my window, AND, before I was able to jump out, filled said window with my AIR CONDITIONER! Ryan's the best roommate ever, besides Zoey. And me, 'cause last summer, I installed THREE air conditioners in Lo and I's apartment, inspiring Lo to comment: "You're such a lesbian today!" That's right. But now that I'm the girly one in my lesbo-ation-ship, I've got no time/strength for such things. I have to do my hair, etc. Anyway, enough about me. Go Ryan!

a power of butterfly must be the aptitude to fly

So, re: hair? On my first visit to DRAMATICS NYC [also'd be a good name for Nation on Saturday Nights], I thought "Hm, my stylist's name is TRAFFIC? That's weird. Maybe his parents were drunk, or Nascar fans, or both." But this time, my stylist's name was ZONE and his assistant's name: ENERGY. Today, at my new job, I commented to the girl-who-was-training-me: "Everyone who works here has a porn star name!" [E.G., Denver, Rod, Asia, Javier.] Then I said to myself: "Riese, you're not in your room anymore, shut up, weirdo!" She laughed/agreed though. Because I was funny/right. Not really/kinda.

Anyhow I wanna go to hairstyling school so I can get a job at DRAMATICS NYC and change my name to TOXIC.

Onto installment TWO of The Auto-Win Carousel of Progress: Winter-Fresh Edition. I don't know what I'm talking about anymore. Like I ever did. I mean, it's getting worse. My brain is tired 'cause I woke up at 6 A.M. to go to work. That's right, WORK. Did I mention that already? Obvs I'm not cut out for this "working" thing, I'm never going to work again ever. Over it. Totes tiring. What am I talking about? Right: the wheel. You know what though? That was a good one, yeah? The wheel? That was a fucking amazing idea, the wheel.


W/O: The New Poland Spring Bottle Caps...
Are accidents waiting to happen. Not even waiting, really. Rather: "actively exploding all over my bag/bed/floor/what-have-you." Has happened approx. 100 times since the cap's introduction, including this morning, when, as you know, I was on my way to my JOB. I didn't have time to check the front bag-pocket for damages--and, fast forward to several hours later: I reached into aforementioned pocket for emergency tampon to find it'd taken on the form of a dead jellyfish, if jellyfish were made out of cotton and not jelly. Why change a good thing, Poland Springs? You had the right idea by bottling water, which's a classic choice, so you had to compensate by inventing a new kind of cap? Seriously, what?!! I'd like to sit it on that meeting, which probs went like this: Hey, this is nice how I can suck water out of this bottle like a baby suckling his mother's breast. Let's change it because we hate women.

W/: Screw-Caps for Wine Bottles
Because I can't possibly go a single post w/o mentioning the Olive Garden this week: we had this wine called Lambrusco--probs sells at Pathmark for about $4.99/bottle. It had a screw cap, but this was back in '00, before screw caps were hip, so we were trained to cover the "opening" process [which in all other instances involved a flourish of "wine key" and a rare opportunity to demonstrate hand-eye coordination or really any useful brain activity whatsoever] with our napkin1 to hide the cheap-wine-giveaway suggested by the screw cap. I'm glad this stigma is gone, and now there's nothing embarrassing about ordering Lambrusco at The Olive Garden, except that you're at The Olive Garden.

I prefer 'em and love their proliferation: easier to store in crowded refrigerators, easier to tote and easier to open and subsequently hide if one is drinking in a place where one is not supposed to be drinking, e.g. work [not my new job that I started today, obvs, but other jobs I clearly no longer have for whatever reason], and doesn't require purchase of ghetto wine opener which breaks on first usage. Much like my heart.


W/O: [certain elements of] Gmail
Sometimes, in an attempt to prove a point about why I couldn't have Barbies or go to the cool-kids party, my Mom'd say: "Marie, if all your friends jumped off a bridge, would you?" And I was like, "Um, obviously. Why would I want to be alive if all my friends had just jumped off a bridge?" So, I got gmail. I even suggest gmail to my friends, and then shun them if they don't join up [except you, dear Haviland, and your adorable AOL]. But for reals, it drives me crazy that I can't put mail into good old fashioned FOLDERS. Labels? Wha?! I've never enjoyed labels much. Some of my least favorite include: top/bottom [re: lesbian sexual assignment, apparently for life], "artsy," bisexual, bi-curious, slut, JAP, slacker. I don't need my "Hav" label to indicate which emails are from Haviland--that much's apparent by her email address in the "FROM" field, yeah? Seriously: do you know anyone who's like "Thank G-d for those labels, totes helps me organize my life. Vigilant about the labels. I can see clearly now the rain is gone." This's what I want, and it's what I had on yahoo/hotmail/other retarded email servers: my inbox is just for emails I've gotta respond to. I'd like folders for the rest of it, and I don't wanna "archive" everything I've responded to, which'd be Gmail's solution. I tried indicating emails-needing-response with "stars," but then they slip out of top-spots and my starred emails end up being people I never really intended to respond to, like random dudes I met on J-Date in 2004. That's not a hypothetical. Also I label my emails anyhow, just cause I trust Google blindly, like I'm that douchebag and Google's jumping off the bridge, and I'm like, wait up! wait for me!

W/: Google Reader

I love Google Reader for what it truly is:"Google Reader helps you keep up with it all by organizing and managing all the content you're interested in. Instead of continuously checking your favorite sites for updates, you can let Google Reader do it for you. From news sites to your friends' blogs, Google Reader helps you keep up-to-date with all the online information that matters most to you."

I love Google Reader for what it is accidentally: Say, hypothetically, that one's girlfriend compulsively erases her blog posts at a rate so rapid it'd be hard to keep up if one wasn't informed of each posting more-or-less immediately: well, luckily, it's all stored in the Google Reader cache. Every last redacted word. Holla!

I've refrained from lauding the glory of Google-Reader on this blog because: 1. Google is evil, T.B. read all about it, they're spying on us, etc. [I use "google is evil" and "Al Queda" in this post. And "DRAMATICS NYC." And "porn." P.S., I hate George W. Bush and I love Rosie O'Donnell.] 2. I suspect that when people read this on G-Reader, it doesn't show up on my site-meter. But I'm abandoning pride at the gate, kids.

I actively monitor about 75 blogs right now, a feat only possible with the help of my third favorite site (GMail and this blog being first and second, respectively) on the internet, Google Reader, a site I would make sweet, gentle (and occasionally rough) love to were it physically possible (Don’t even get me started on what I would do to GMail, and as for my own site, well, let's just say it does just fine.)
-Amish, NYC blogger and a member of my social web back at the ol' alma matter, University of Michigan.


Absolutely everything about travel-by-plane is resolutely unpleasant. I know planes've got advantages: e.g., they move super-fast, which's especially important for overseas travel, as no-one wants to spend their vay-cay on an ocean liner. [Except cruise -ers, obvs, like me, but then there are people who get seasick, like Haviland, which's why she took sea-sick medicine and then started hallucinating: Everything's just so--BRIGHT!]

It's not the "flying" part that I despise, it'd be fun to learn fly a jet or go-go-gadget copter. But large commercial airliners are floating torture chambers: we're willingly strapped to Gravitron -esque "seats," we wait like Patient Robots for the moment we're permitted to recline half-an-inch, relish this moment...and then, for anywhere between 30-500 minutes, we experience unpleasant physical sensations like fresh-oxygen deprivation and virus transfusion (transmitted via little devil robo-tit fans) and THEN! THEN!, the half-inch recline is snapped mercilessly from our hands [often by a tired/hungover flight attendant while we are literally unconscious, which's like someone waking you up by whapping you on the ass and screaming MAKE ME SOME COFFEE WOMAN! not that anyone ever did that to me every single morning ever], like a stork bending to snatch up a chortling child. Then you land--which's when you're pretty certain you're about to die--and are spit out into a huge building that smells like rotten festering dehydrated humans. Sorta. Just thinking about it makes me want to throw up in a paper bag. That's why I take trains from New York to Wisconsin. Also because I'm afraid of Al Queda.

W/- LEXUS (I want to make this plural, but how? LEXI? LEXUSES?):
Once upon a time, I bought myself a car. Before you run away with any Riese-was-wealthy? ideas: Lexuses, moreso than other brands, maintain value, and I knew I needed to sell my car within a year of purchase 'cause I planned on being a part of it in New York, New York post-graduation. I wanted to maximize my return, like a year-long car rental?

Anyhow: driving it was like dancing! I'd never liked driving really, it was fine, got me from here to there. I thought shiny expensive cars were just shinier than other cars, and somehow grinned with bling-teeth-money-tongue-cash-tingle, I didn't realize it was almost like a different kind of car. Like, totes AS ADVERTISED. When I was really sad, which I was often then [the heart breaks into small pieces, etc.?], I'd drive it around Ann Arbor for hours, singing along to Fiona Apple: Cause I do know whats good for me, and I've done what I could for you, [imagine me pounding dashboard with I-Am-Woman triumphance] and you're not benefiting, and yet I'm sitting, singing again SING SING again! [almost yelling now, getting very upset] How can I deal with this, if he won't get with this? Am I gonna heal from this, he won't admit to it... Or I'd just park it in the parking lot of my elementary school, Eberwhite, and take a nap with the air conditioner or heater still on. Depending on the season.

The Lexus was white. It was so not-me. So entirely thoroughly not me, it was like floating through life in a stolen spaceship, which sometimes happens to be exactly what you need.

Even those of you w/o several seasons of Star Trek in your brain's back-log have certainly wished [out loud, probs] to be teleported. I usually declare this particular desire while sitting in someone's apartment or house late at night, imagining my own commute home: bus, cab, car, train, whatevs--anything besides the only other tolerable commute I've experienced, which's "falling asleep and having A Parent lift me and deposit me instantly into my bed, a.k.a. falling asleep and having A Parent lift me, deposit my body into a car, drive me home, and carry me to bed," which hasn't happened since the late 80's.

But if there were teleportation, I could import Unpaid Interns from all over the globe. Especially now that I've got an actual job, time's tight. A.K could flow my paper, Lozo could blow on my hands, Razia could stick it to those mofos and unintentionally practice precognition, Moonkiller could tote my things because she invented the totem pole, Mercury obvs is doing my hair and "word verification" was the cleverest thing EVER for number #1, M could recite Run DMC's It's Tricky which is no small thing, the spaz's ass is black man's kryptonite [making us quite a planet], kate'll let me use her hair products and can count words in her head, and carlytron wouldn't even need to be teleported, she totes lives here, could take a cross-town bus to perform a skit, a game, whatevs. And I need carlytron because we gotta bring The Truth About Stacey and Mallory and the Trouble with Twins to the screen ASAP.

And lk coulda written this post, if she'd wanted to, then I coulda been that black [dirty] angel, yeah, tooth to nail and [perfectly] translating [vain] words [are what sticks to the real]...crawling underground, lifting the phone [could hear our] voice, no black mark [upon their foreheads], yeah, yeah, environmental transformation. That's some translation, ghostwriter.

1: Also known as the "tail," required to be on our persons at all time, lest someone place a scalding hot lasanga plate into our hands. Once I was delivering lasanga to a table and I handed it to the server and said: 'do you have a tail?' and he said, No, I don't need it, and proceeded to handle 5,000 degree plates with his bare hands. I decided he was my hero, and now I can do the same thing. I was an excellent expo for this reason.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

A Little Madness in the Spring: Auto-Life, Interrupted

This post contains some true things about the True Life of Auto-Win. Like the MTV show True Life, but sans midgets, cheerleaders, Ritalin, binge drinking, video clips and annoying clank-clankity music.

I was gonna delete this post, morning-after bloggers-remorse style. BUT...I've been better at keeping up with others' blogs lately, and it seems many of us are: 1.drunk, 2.sad, 3.angry, 4.bored. Though I've never been "4," and lately not "1" either--I figure, there's some value in honesty, [even from me!] sometimes, since apparently everyone else [including Don Quijote] is doing it? For collective 1-4 ennui? We shall overcome, etc.?

What do you think?

Not like I should always actually be honest/semi-serious [I can never be ALTOGETHER serious]....but sometimes.

[I'll get to the intern/job stuff, my multi-tasking readers. You're all mighty fine, and I mean that.]


A print-out of the last post, given to T.B. for copy-editing:

"I have never seen so many hyphens in a document in my life!"
[Clutches document, laughs, makes 'AAAarrrgh, Auto-Win!' face]
"It's driving me insane! Why do you think I'm in the psych ward?"

Present events defy us, the past
Has no such scruples.

-Jack Spicer1

ii. Tuesday Morning, 5.22.2007

This morning I awoke with blood on my hands. I mean that literally: smeared red-and brownish, both hands, across all lines palm-readers read, blurring any remaining fortune. I know that might sound gross, but have you seen Battle Royale? That's gross. This's just what happened this morning when I woke up at 9:18 A.M. with blood on my hands. Yup, just my hands. Weird, right?

I foolishly expected a logical source: torn hangnail, chapped n' cracked lip, violent encounter between me and the nails I've employed to nail the fitted sheet to the mattress. Nothing.

It'd be like me to assume this means that I'm symbolically guilty of doing whathaveyouever to some other human and, subsequently, my victim's sought vengeance in the night, sneaky like a coal-bearing Santa Claus. But this morning, honestly: any potential symbol would be...like, a reflexive verb? An unvert must not be homosexual, heterosexual, bisexual, or autosexual. He must be metasexual. He must enjoy going to bed with his own tears. English lacks the morphology of reflexive verbs that other languages feature, which's why we pretend like EVERY verb has equal potential for reflexive action. It's like the linguistic American Dream. [Even "worship," "love," "run," "peel."]

But hand-bloodied is REFLEXIVE starting now.

I don't know what that means, really. I think it's like: Auto-Win, get a manicure?

So: iChat. I'm the girl, Lainy is the dog. Icons, weirdos.

iii. A Love Poem to Angelina Jolie

T.B. gave me her tooth two days ago: Sunday, May 20th. That morning, I brunched for Heather's birthday. She got appropriately sloshed, it was fantastic. Seriously.

I was walking from the train station: I have something for you, T.B. said on the phone. You're not going to like it. It's a body part.

It would've been amazing if she'd been like: What's up, Auto-Win, here's my heart [plops heart into hand] and uh, ripped off my foot earlier. [Places foot in my other hand, bloody.]

"I know stealing a foot is weird. But hello, living in a house where there's a foot available to be stolen is weird."

-Claire, Six Feet Under

T.B. wrote a blog about the tooth-giving incident, which she obviously deleted within 24 hours, as is often her way.

[During Visiting Hours, T.B. attacks mad-quick duties, like fixing my typos and deleting her blog, on her Crackberry.]

The tooth-blog was posted via phone dictation, however, and when I was reading it back to her I accidentally said "truth" instead of "tooth." She told me to leave it in: tooth/truth.

[Her name drop: death: a tooth among strangers. Jack Spicer.]

Anyhow, she took the tooth back, put it in her mouth, and I commented on the blog that I could've left it for the Tooth Fairy, if I'd kept it.

"In the parallel universe the laws of physics are suspended. What goes up does not necessarily come down; a body at rest does not tend to stay at rest; and not every action can be counted on to provoke an equal and opposite reaction. Time, too, is different. It may run in circles, flow backward, skip about from now to then. The very arrangement of molecules is fluid: tables can be clocks; faces, flowers."
-Susana Kaysen

Like: I coulda put it under my pillow for a fairy who would've turned it to cash or gold or else. Bling-bling-bling goes the alarm clock.

iv. Kleenex

Then this afternoon, I had a very brief nose bleed. [Still, this isn't near as gross as Battle Royale or Kill Bill. Also some bloggers talk about bathroom activities, and I don't do that, like, ever. Not in real life either.] Why'd this happen? No clue.

I've only had two real ones, ever, both times as a kid:
1. U of Michigan basketball game, sitting in the nose-bleed section. Everyone made that nose-bleed in the nose-bleed section joke, over and over again, until I got an ear-bleed.
2. In line at Wendy's in Ann Arbor. Anticipating Frosty, receiving Kleenex.

So maybe that was it? The real cause of hand-blooding? Something's loose in there? How immature of me.

"If reality isn't my picture of it, I'm lost."
-Kathy Acker, Empire of the Senseless

I found myself remembering the morning he2 [no name, totes purposeful elusiveness] left my room and then my house with a nosebleed: up all night on blow, he called from his car, he was bleeding all over his shirt and driving too. I was writhing with really poignant misery. I'm coming down down down down.

Later he called from bed: Marie, my shirt's bloody, I might die in my sleep, okay?

He slept for six hours or so, maybe: he had a date with his other girlfriend that afternoon. I crashed/burned, woke up 14 hours later and met him at Champion House [Ann Arbor, MI] for Hibachi Shrimp. That's a place where they cook the food in front of you and do knife tricks, and it feels very much like being hit over the head softly with a puppet when it's just two of you, like you want to say: "You can cook that privately if you want, it's just the two of us?"

For me: one night only. For him: blow stuck around til he left Michigan. That can happen in Michigan. That can happen almost anywhere, actually. Or something like that.

[Vintage riese and devil-kitty.]

v. Roof-Top Soccer

Last night [Monday, May 21st], post-2N, pre-bed, I went to Tara D.3's on Claremont. I drew her a picture of herself. I messed up almost every body part [breasts too small, arms w/o elbows, one leg disconnected, etc.] and then wrote DEVIL-KITTY on it, referencing her former Myspace name.

Her friend Elliot told me I should be making advertising money from this blog with my traffic, and the best way to do that'd be to tell all of my readers to just click the gmail ad, even if it's for something lame, like Mother's Retreats or the "Are You Gay?" quiz, and then I'll get money. OK do that right now. Thanks.

We played soccer on the rooftop. Tara's got a good view. It was so dark, I could barely make out the white orb of soccer-ball, but bodies: always, heavy beating bodies. Tara, Angelica, Elliot, Tom, Caroline. The weather was more-or-less perfect. A violent flash of lights and sound and someone asked What's That just as Tara D. said Firecrackers and someone else said gunshots and I said The Apocalypse.

For a moment when we'd first arrived to the roof I said: It's so quiet, and Angelica said: It's nice, it's rare.

"The view from his office on the first floor of the maximum security-ward building was restful: trees, wind, sky. I was often silent. There was so little silence on our ward. I looked at the trees and said nothing, and he looked at me and said nothing. It was companionable."
-S.K., G.I.

We went back inside, downstairs, to a vague drum-beat. Back in the living room:

Tara-D: Are you gonna get off your computer and come back to the world?
Me: [to computer] THIS IS MY WORLD.

vi. Girlfriend, Interrupted

Just before emerging from her room to hand me the tooth, T.B.'s roommate looked me in the eyes, clutching her blue bathrobe, hair a-flutter beneath flowered headband and wild eyes: We might have to call the police. They're trying to freeze us out of here. It's an icebox.

The next day in the cafeteria, it's just T.B., myself, and T.B.'s mother when the the roommate--now ex-roommate, as they switched rooms the night before because: "My roommate's totally crazy. Like TOTALLY CRAZY." -T.B.--joined us, due to aforementioned cold and her new roommate kicking her out. She's made toast and is spreading peanut butter on it with her fingers.

Someone closes the door. [Someone from the outside!] The now-ex-roommate asks: "Why'd they close the door?"

I say: "They're locking us in here."

T.B.'s Mom [as we laugh together]: "Don't say that! Don't encourage her!"

The now-ex-roommate goes on to cause an alarm-lockdown-inducing ruckus.


"Was insanity just a matter of dropping the act?"

"One wants to get something off one's chest. One doesn't know quite what it is that one wants to get off the chest until one's got it off. But I couldn't apply the word intention positively to any of my poems. Or to any poem."
-T.S. Eliot

1: Jack Spicer's one of those poets you can name drop to look super smart and avant garde, it's even hipper than hipster [Dave Berman, Fredrick Seidel, etc.] Like, if you already know who he is and you read that name-drop, you'd be like, "Wow, Auto-Win is hard-core." You can't get any of his books anywhere, not even amazon, you have to go to some special rare bookstore. Like Tickle-me-Elmo at Christmas-time.
2: An ex.
3: This girl's been footnoted before...I met Tara on craigslist in March 05. In good times, in bad times, we'll be on each other's various sides forever-more. Lives with Lainy near Columbia, where she's in grad school. Not to be confused with T.B..

Monday, May 21, 2007

Sunday Top Ten: The Unpaid Internship You've Waited All Your Life For

I've decided instead of [or "in addition to"] getting a job, I'm going to GIVE a job. Like reverse Christmas, if Christmas was a day for getting jobs. If you think about it, a job's a lot like a Christmas present. For example: today [Sunday], it's unlikely I'll receive either a job or a present. I'd post an a "Job-Giving" ad on craigslist, but I can't afford that, I have children's mouths to feed and/or gloss.

This job is an unpaid internship but there's hope for advancement into the highest ring of angels around heaven. That's also unpaid, but it's really fun: 'cause angels can fly, they get special missions and never spill marinara sauce on their outfits, like I do when I wear white.

As you can see on this blog, my life's a laugh-a-minute AND a dynamic, fast-paced, detail-oriented, team-playered work environment. I go out all the time, party all night long, drink like a fish, sleep 'til nine a.m. and read a lot. [That's a joke, p.s., for those of you just tuning in. Except I do read a lot and sleep 'til nine a.m.] E.G. right now I'm reading Ovid's The Art of Love, which--speaking of presents--was a present from TB. So far, the narrator's ripped out his married girlfriend's hair [cause she dyed it, as I plan to do within the next 72 hours], impregnated his girlfriend's maid and then delivered a harsh missive regarding his ire over the maid's self-administered abortion. In the introduction, Ovid's described as "romantic to the core."

Here are the top ten requirements of this job.


This's the most important part of the job. I've got some people who already do this, including my trusty/patient shrink, but I feel I'll be exhausting their resources soon enough and could use some administrative support, if you will. And, re: my shrink--she's on the Upper East Side and I'm in West Harlem, so I gotta subway downtown before going uptown, which's maddening. I've got a return-trip routine though: purchase latte, crank up sad crazy music [I have a "crazy" playlist on my ipod], muse over all the ways I could improve my life but probably won't, because instead I'm sitting on the Q train going downtown instead of uptown in order to confront Times Square EXACTLY at rush-hour [1 transfer]. I learned two days ago, however, that Grand Central at rush hour's way worse, it's the scariest thing I've seen since Willow.

This duty's only quarterly. One of those times'll inevitably be a massive hair color fuck-up, self administered by myself at an inane hour of night, likely while intoxicated. (SEE PHOTO, RIGHT, which depicts "STAGE ONE" of "When I dyed my hair black and then red, and then blonde/orange '03") (SEE ALSO post DETAILING last year's hair-dye fiasco ) Following my inevitable success/fortune, this duty'll be taken over by Rachel, via private plane.

It'd be nice if you could put together a daily skit regarding the day's headlines and perform it for me as I enjoy my morning Kashi. Actually, you could switch it up every day: straight delivery, interpretive dance, musical number or perhaps even Charades! I'd be like: "20 civilians dead! 200 ? Shot civilians praying? --oh! Soldiers! School children?! Innocent bystanders in Idaho? Tornado?!!! Okay--that's close though--okay--hurricane? Apocalyptic mass extinction? There's a new family movie coming soon to a theater near me?"

TB already does this, but she's not an unpaid intern, she's my love-slave. Giddy-up! In any event, I'm looking to redistribute this particular labor in the near future and remove some of the load from TB's proverbial back, so please know MLA/Whatever grammar real good, especially: the difference between "that" and "which," "its" and "it's" and when to say "___ and I" or "me and ____." Ability to transform a 5,000-word essay into an 800-word essay is a bonus and will result in a salary double.


You can't be any geek off the street, gotta be handy with the steel if you know what I mean, earn your keep! Regulators! Mount up!
-Warren G

Right now, there's 5-6 humans outside on the street yelling like wild hooligans. Now--my Mom kicked me out of my home for blowing bubbles in my milk many-a-time, but that's no excuse to be yelling silly things into the night air when I'm upstairs having important thoughts. I need someone to regulate on their asses. Also, I'd like someone with one or more of the following super-powers: Seeing Through Walls, Precognition, Cross-Dimensional Awareness, Zach Morris Time Freeze, Flying, Spider-Vision, Telekinesis, Ability to Teach Public School in a Low-Income District, Go-Go Gadget 'Brella.

Seriously though for those of you familiar with the Go-Go Gadget 'Brella and the recent onslaught of random-ass NYC rainstorms, you know how kickass that would be. The guy on the corner'd be like: Five dollah! And you'd be like, ziiiippppppiddiiii


Most of my clothes are within the $5-$30 price range, which means they fall apart more-or-less instantly. I noticed Krista1 often got her pants hemmed, though, which's when I realized that people my age get their clothes fixed instead of just stuffing them in the closet for whenever they learn how to fix stuff so it don't split open no more. I don't need hemming though, I need hole-fixing and lengthening, if possible. I've had this pair of Abercrombie jeans since '03 that recently earned a hole in the ass, and I don't know what to do about it. Sometimes I think maybe no-one'll notice if I just don't stand up, or something?

For starters, call the dentist: I haven't been to the dentist since that blizzard during Winter Break '04, when Mom put Lewis2 and I up in a motel right next to a dentist office. There was no Internet. So what did we do instead? Well, I'd tell you, but Mom would probably email me about it, and then call me, and since I haven't filled this position yet, who'd call her back? That's right: no-one. There was a little gym in the motel, which was nice. I'd run on the treadmill like a little bunny and watch movies on the teevee, but if I ran too fast, I couldn't hear the teevee, so I'd have to slow down. It was very frustrating. Sometimes I'd go to the lobby and argue with the guy about how internet works, and Lewis'd get very indignant about the misleading sign claiming "free internet-wireless" or what have you. We tried to get some money back. For Mom, obvs.

So anyhow: Dentist. I brush my teeth approx. 20 times a day, which's why I have toothbrushes all over this city. Actually, I did make a dentist appointment a few months ago, but apparently the free insurance I'm scamming off the government had already picked a dentist for me in East Harlem, where I lived ten gazillion years ago. So you'd have to hunt that down, then call.

My Mom. Natalie, Krista, Direct-TV probs, Aunt, Grandparents, Cousin-who-just-had-baby, Noah, and Visa, because I think they're scamming me on the APR.

Mostly, you'll be required to tote groceries [I haven't found a grocery store in this 'hood, which means I've been living on pasta/Ragu and peanut-butter-crackers from CVS], alcohol, and my lap-top. See, not so bad. Not like actual mules, who have to carry ten pounds of bananas through the desert in Mexico or Egypt or whatever.

First order of business is getting rid of the bars on my window and installing the oft-mentioned air conditioner.

Also, I've got this problem with my bed that I've had for a few years now: I keep an additional comforter between my mattress and the fitted sheet for extra comfort, but this also puts strain on the fitted sheet's ability to stay put, especially during "special" activities, e.g. sex. As soon as I note the fitted sheet coming undone, my anxiety level skyrockets and it's all I can think about: must fix sheet, must fix sheet. I've been known to interrupt activities to fix the sheet, and also to demand "off the bed!" immediately following said activities to re-position the sheet as quickly as possible. I've solved this problem by nailing my fitted sheet to the mattress, but now there's multiple holes in fitted-sheet-corners. There must be a better way. Please fix.

Also: cleaning. I like cleaning sometimes, but not all the time. I like things being clean though. I hate my room being dirty. This's one of many things I will be talking to you about, see Job Requirement #10: The Futile Process of Discussing Why Riese Doesn't Fix Things That Drive Her Crazy, e.g. my room being disorganized.

Like, what should number one be on this Top Ten? That's your job interview question. At The Olive Garden3 they asked me what I would tell the guest if their food was taking forever, and I said I'd tell them that the kitchen staff was fucking up and I was annoyed with them, too, pass the buck, kiddos!, and they still hired me. So, no pressure.

1: Krista. Sisters since we were made suitemates at Interlochen (boarding school) in 1997. Lived together in East Harlem. Currently painfully far away at Yale.
2: Lewis. My younger brother. Lives in New Orleans. OMG!!! Yes. He was also living there during Katrina, but he got out just fine.
3: When I was 18, no-one would hire me w/o waitressing experience, so I got a job at The OG in Times Square, 'cause they have training/brainwashing there, so it doesn't matter how inexperienced you are. I talk about it a lot, so I'm glad I worked there. It's great anecdotal material.

Friday, May 18, 2007

The Carousel of Progress: Melted Cheese/Dead Poets Edition

To pour smelling-salts into the open wound of my recent social-networking-drop-out , MediaWeek's just reported that 70 percent of robots young humans belong to things like myspace and anyone who doesn't will fail at life. Luckily, I've been comfortable since 1981 just chillin' in the outcasted 30 percent [fighting against the grain, etc.] so whatevs, obviously they found their survey-takers on social networking sites, I dunno, I didn't read the article, that woulda been like reading Fitness magazine during a Fibro attack, which I've never done. I'd read People Who Can't Leave Their Room/Bed Magazine, otherwise known as Poets & Writers.

[guess y'all gotta join OurChart now!!!]

Seemingly Unrelated Tangent: There's this period of time in May between when the heat sets in and when your air-conditioner gets set in.

That's happening right now. What did people do before air conditioning? [Continuation of the last blog's opening query: what did Emily Dickinson do without air conditioning?] I was an American-history obsessed child, pining to travel The Oregon Trail, churn butter, befriend the Cherokee, be the Cherokee, etc. Or I'd wish I was Pocahontas [she's my great-great-great-etc-grandmother. See photo, LEFT, in which I wear hand-made Native American "headband" In Earnest, circa '94] or Jo March: climbing trees, playing boy's games, cutting off my hair, and ultimately opening a school for poor boys, a.k.a. "ragamuffins," so that all people can be equal and learn-ed. But now I realize that wouldn't've been much fun without air conditioning. '

So today I introduce a new segment: THE CAROUSEL OF PROGRESS. In which I look back on the century and tell you what's good and what makes me wanna live in a Wigwam.

[One day, I'll progress into a blogger who writes smooth, well-founded transitions and concise, well-founded introductions.]

[P.S.: My track record for "sticking to the 'segment idea'" for all previously conceptualized segments: 0%. This one's good though, I think.]

Four categories: VIRTUAL, LARGE BOX-SHAPED OBJECTS, PORTABLE ITEMS, FOOD-STUFFS. Might repeat these categories for future segments. Might not. You never know what I'm gonna do. After all, lately TB & I's internet presence has felt much like a complicated act of cyber-performance-art.


W/O: myspace, obvs!
Just call me! So I can ignore you! Want a hot photo of me? There aren't any. What if I turned "Sorry" into an abbreviation, like "Totes" and "Obvs"? It'd sound like "SARS," which, as a disease, is something to be sorry about, I mean, SORS about. I crack myself up. Seriously, I'm laughing right now. SORS, dudes! I've considered crafting a new profile; but I actually don't wanna be on myspace, I just want my old comments back, and creating a new profile won't fix that. Honestly, this does feel right-er to me. Like I'm being true to MY space, you know? I only joined it in the first place in May '05 so Tara1 could show me photos of this girl she was about to go out with. I was like What's myspace? Looks retarded. This color scheme blows. Why's my computer freaking out? What's with this annoying music and the glittery icons? Do people still listen to Newfound Glory?

[JK, Myspace rocks.]

W/: Bartleby.com
This's like, all the parts of the library that you can't bear hiking into anyhow because it smells like dead poets and the books are so heavy you start pining for that initialed Jansport you sacrificed in 1997. It's the best reference site of all time. I can't make any jokes about it, because I'm dead serious, y'all. It'll change your life. It changed mine. E.g. I'm much smarter now then before. And I can hyperlink my heart out.

Vintage Chat Convo, Also Printed in a Previous Blog Entry [not a good one, thus no hyperlink]:
TB: my favorite reference point online is columbia's bartleby thing.
me: hm, wheres that at.
TB: http://bartleby.com
me: "right after that preposition you used to end that sentence, marie."
holy shit. this place is fucking awesome.
TB: it has everything.
me: wheeee!!! the word of the day is "fustian." that's a good word.
TB: interesting. you'd think it was a typo for faustian. or at least i would.
me: i thought it was?


W/O: Forced TeeVee
Last night, I tried to work the TeeVee for the first time since moving in, 'cause I wanted to see which of these young women would become America's Next Top Model. [Unfortunately, it wasn't Hoolihay. Boo.] No dice: I had to actually press buttons on the TV-box itself, as the remote was boggling. Then I promptly sat in front of my ibook, only glancing up briefly to note how little I care about this Cycle, or really any of 'em since the departure of Kim.

Also: I've seen roommate-Zoey do fancy things with the remote, like making live TV rewind and fast-forward? I don't know how this DVD-R thing works and probs never will.

But ANYHOW SERIOUSLY: I despise teevees in random public spaces. I think we should be forced to choose a program and commit if we want TV. Not like: Hey what's up, I'm waiting for the doctor, reading my Highlights for Children, oh HEY TV what's up genocide? Like, gimme my laundry before I have to watch one more moment of Keith Ablow, please. Thanks. When someone says "Lets just see what's on TV," and just clicks it on, I want to gouge my eyes out with mechanical pencils and run away to Walden Pond. That's why I don't know how to click it on.

[Side note: Yes, I have an L Word blog. Totes Paradox.]

W/: Air conditioner, obviously.
As a kid, we went without. Mom insisted it was a waste, so we'd sleep in the basement when the weather turned unbearable, which was fun, like a camping adventure but with Legos and a damp-basement smell. In '95, we moved to a place with central air but Mom insisted on keeping the house steamy-hot til we almost died of heat-stroke. I always envied the rich kids who kept their rooms ice-cold even while out of the house. It was just waiting for them, like "Sure, whatevs, whenever you're ready, I'm here for you, cold as ice, baby!" But this habit emitted toxins into the air, etc., thus global warming, etc.


W/O: Cell Phones
I might just be saying this 'cause I've dropped my month-old Sidekick on the floor so many times already that now the screen's slowly cracking, suggesting impending breakage. That being said, I love that I can get email on it. I also love it's size. I wish it was bigger. I hate talking on tiny phones, it makes me feel like Shaquille O'Neal eating a White Castle burger. Or Alice when she's 10 feet tall.

W/: Ipod
Not because it can store ten gazillion songs (hypothetically, if it wasn't jam-packed with six-hour audiobooks and ten podcasts), but because it's teeny-tiny. I never liked discmans. Skippity skippity cumbersome monster-things. I stuck with my Walkman/mix tapes 'til I got an ipod. I like my music portable and my phone cumbersome. I prefer Ira Glass and Patti Smith to Voicemail.


W/O: Restaurant Menus Featuring Cheese n' Onions n' Whatever Smothered Nonsense
It's just lazy, really. Why be a real chef when you can just de-frost a hunk of filet and coat it in melted cheese, onions, peppers, bacon bits, chives, sour cream, and whatever else Applebees can think of to send its patrons into immediate cardiac arrest? I mean, a frat boy or a drunk person could do that. In fact, they are doing it right now, and as my ex-the-frat-boy always said: "When in doubt, add melted cheese!" Except there was no doubting about it. He was CERTAIN he wanted melted cheese on EVERYTHING, especially the hot dogs he exploited with chili-beans and Kraft Singles in our microwave. They were like: "Help us, Marie!" but I was like "Sorry, I'm busy making my veggie dogs in a pot like a civilized person."

[JK, I microwave veggie dogs when there's no one around to be smug to. Heather2's sister Annie microwaves everything, even Twizzlers. She got inspired by Haviland, who also microwaves everything. I refrigerate everything, like cookies and nuts.]

I love melted cheese as much as the next person--in fact, MORE [along with peanut butter, it's 50% of my daily diet]--but that brainstorming new-menu-item session coulda been spent creating a fun spring salad for Haviland and I to enjoy. Also, all that Monterey Jack doesn't disguise the taste of injustice, Benniganbeehollihays! I know there's body parts in your meat, I read about it in Fast Food Nation. P.S. for NYC-Dwellers: there's a "meatpacking industry" as well as a "meatpacking district" [which's a cool place to party for people who like to leave their apartments], and this industry's mainly centered in the Southwest, relies on cheap "disposable" immigrant labor, and is evil.

Summer '99, fresh outta high school, I visited my best friend Ryan in NYC, where he'd snagged a $400/month apartment on 79th and Broadway and was interning at MTC. This sublet had a catch: it was smaller than our dorms at boarding school by about 70%. Ryan told me he lived on Kraft Dinner, but I didn't believe him: he had no stove! I observed his "preparation" of "Kraft Macaroni and Cheese" in the microwave, and though it did involve the contents of the KMC box, the resulting dish was not anything like actual KMC. As in: the noodles were still hard. Luckily, someone's wheels of invention were already turning and EasyMac debuted just in time for me to go to college.

Side note, re: Ryan's apartment, air conditioning:
'Cause he had no AC, Ryan had a sadistic pre-bedtime ritual which I was submitted to during my visit. He'd shuffle me into the shared bathroom, turn the water to ice-cold, thrust me under, and stand/leap like a jumping-bean on the other side of the shower chanting mind over matter mind over matter until I turned blue. Then, teeth a-chatterin', he'd usher me into bed and explain: You have to fall asleep within the next ten minutes. Otherwise you'll get hot again and need another cold shower. Hurry, hurry.

Which's probably what Emily Dickinson did, too. She mentioned, then forgot; then lightly as a reed, bent toward the water...

These girls should be familiar, but just in case:
1 Tara: Tara's a regular character on this blog and Auto-Straddle, and the core of the circle of craigslist. Lives in my hood with Lainy and goes to Columbia and helped me move. Not to be confused with TB, who's first name is also Tara, but it's pronounced Tah-rah.
2 Heather: Haviland's girlfriend, duh, and faithful Auto-Straddle humorist. Stage Manager of Altar Boyz and whatever else needs to be managed/taken care of. When she gets off the train she says This is Me! even when no one else is around.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

To Wash Off the Heat: Underwater Pattern-Swim, My Space Auto-Grin

I wonder how Emily Dickinson made it without air conditioning. I guess that was before global warming. If I was in Michigan and fifteen years old, tonight'd be a perfect night to jump the fence at the Marriot out by the highway, careful not to catch/snag our super-cool skater pants in transit [though torn-up skater pants'd be even super-cooler, I mean, talk about distressed denim, yeah?!]. And then: safely across, we'd strip to our conformist Speedos, glide into the pool--which we'd know/feel but not SEE was all aqua-blue--and splash and dunk in the dark like the best kind of petty criminals. Like embracing the warm, etc. Instead, I'm in NYC, so I'll just whine on my blog.

With just the door ajar, that oceans are.....

Sometimes I lie awake at night worrying that all the good melodies have been used up and there'll be no more good songs, ever. Jake1 used to tell me not to worry because people are inventing new ways to make music. E.g. in his band, Flashpapr, Ben played "computer," like he sat on stage with his lap-top. I thought that was very neat at the time, now it's probably normal. Flashpapr wrote one of the best songs ever written, ever, called "White Flowers." You can listen to it right here. Feeling half-finished and a strange sense of guilt: there is no dream you'll have when you sleep tonight that includes me in your arms...

This's a segue into talking about myspace, which has also "been done" by most bloggers, including me. This time's different though. I'm playing lap-top.

Marie, why did you erase your myspace profile? I'm not sure really. I think I just wanted to see how it felt to delete my myspace profile. 'Cause I think the internet is really funny. Like, all I have to do is press one little button [twice, because obvs Tom is like "WHY HAST THOU FORSAKEN ME??!! You can never return to the way things were!"] and like: poof! There goes a whole year of stuff that I worked hard on and actually just spent three hours re-modeling! Bye! Like, I've clicked a lot of buttons on this computer, haven't I? A LOT!!! Like, millions. But that button, which I clicked with the same physical action I've used to click a whole lot of other buttons, made My Entire Space disappear forever! I guess I did it because, for one sweet minute, I felt like disappearing too.

I'm over that now.

How does it feel? Well, I feel really bad because my friends/fans put sweet comments on there that are now gone. So, yeah, that's how it feels: guilty. That's okay though 'cause I got a Beethoven Bust to keep me warm.

TB's suggested I write a blog entry about all the things I've done for no reason, like selecting the name of this blog or my AOL screen name.

Vintage Chat Convo:

Tara: where does "automatic win" come from?
me: oh, automatic win?
is that i automatically win a girl's picture even if she won't give it to me
and i automatically win the "who has the longest fingers" contest
Tara: oh, that's sweet
right on garth
4:14 AM you have some madass long fingers
me: actually, i don't know where it [automatic win] came from.

[side note: hers are longer]

The parts of my existence I put great thought into are random; e.g., a Sunday Top Ten, what to pack when I leave home for a day, what magazine to read at the gym, how to phrase things in emails, what to have for dinner, a quote for a birthday card, what library books to check out. Perhaps it's that these small things take up so much mental energy, I've got none left over for many randomized big things.

But people, I think about people: I hold on tight though I often attempt to pretend like I don't, like I'm not holding at all: and even those few attachments often feel cumbersome, unwieldy, possibly dangerous. It is, in fact, dangerous. It's the scariest thing of all time. I take their advice, too. I lean on them, metaphorically and literally. Though literally often it's more of a lap-lean than a shoulder-lean.

"I wanted only to try and live in accord with the promptings that came from my true self. Why was that so very difficult?"
-Herman Hesse, Demian

So then there's all the things I just decide lickity-split, saying, Fuck it: Pros/cons/whatevers. Boarding school: my Mom and I were fighting, and I yelled, hypothetically but with feeling; WHATEVER I'M GOING TO BOARDING SCHOOL. So then I got on the computer, waited til 1997 for the page to load, and applied, and got in, and left. I learn every room long enough to make it to the door, then I hear it click shut behind me.

Even college. Because I wasn't accepted to my top choice, I was like, well, I miss Ryan, and if I go to Sarah Lawrence, he and I can hang out a lot, which'd be fun. So okay, I'll go there.

Then, November '99, at Ernie's in Soho, SLC Parents Weekend, my Mom was feeding me and Jake and my brother Lewis and I was freaking out inside about everything; my whole body smelled like chlorine 'cause I'd spent the morning swimming laps and wondering why my heart wouldn't ever stop beating.

Why did I decide what I did that day? Because my Mom said, Marie maybe you should go to school part time. Maybe that will help you relax and then within a few hours I'd decided to drop out of college altogether, a thought which'd only entered my mind that day as a natural extension of the part-time idea. Like, why do part time when I could do NO TIME?

Back then, my rooommate Rachel would say amazing things when my alarm went off at Four A.M., always loud and piercing like a fire alarm, like the end of the world. [I mean: her voice, my alarm, both.] Rachel would shout: There are elephants pounding in my head! Could you possibly be any louder? Do you have to clomp around like that? So I quit the crew team before the first regatta. Because of the morning practices, because of Rachel, because my body was beginning to feel separate from itself, an abandoned ship marked by an enthusiastic if waning flag.

But then! Rachel’s alarm--Rachel preferred the radio---began at 6 (I’m going swimming at 6, Rachel said) and continued for hours, every 9 minutes, another snooze, another painful pop song. Sometimes the alarm didn’t wake her up, and I'd yell: Rachel! To which Rachel responded, on a good day, with something like I know! or on a worse day, I’m fucking going swimming! or on a really bad day: It’s not as bad as your fucking alarm and you clomping like a horse, like an elephant, like a goddamn tortoise, I’ve never seen a skinny girl make so much fucking noise!

One morning, our fight escalated til we were tearing through the house like tigers, leaping across banisters, between other people’s rooms, yelling, throwing around animal metaphors, any swear word that fit neatly between two other words. It ended at the bottom of the stairwell, I looked at her eyes: they flashed with hate. Then, as if on cue, we both started crying.

But we never explain
why we treasure our secrets.
We're in love with our sadness sometimes.
-Chris Pureka, "Cruel and Clumsy"

Rachel had bleached hair and big eyes and wrote dirty brilliant poems. I told my friends on the phone: Eyes that get big, like a frog’s, when she is mad. She can be quite beautiful, I told them, and also quite frightening.

So I packed up a backpack and stayed in my friends’ dormitory for a week. A trial separation. I called myself a “hobo.” It was a joke. I slept with Amber, cuddled up next to her: she slept in tights and dresses and had dinner at 4 A.M. Sometimes we'd go to "The Grill" and wait for the cookies to come out of the oven, then lick them off our fingers while they were still hot and moist and perfect. I'd fall asleep before Amber, but sometimes we fell asleep together. She kept a list of all the boys she'd kissed on her nightstand.

Rachel and I both started smoking but didn't tell each other. We shared an ashtray.

In Amber's dorm, there was no yelling, only smoking and parties. At the end of my week as a hobo, my mother visited and I relished the sanctuary of a hotel. I slept on a cot and it felt like paradise. I felt ready to return to my room, prepared for more yelling, for more half-asleep fights, to pillows thrust across rooms, to unbearable alarm clocks.

Two weeks later, I told my Don I was to dropping out of college and moving to New York City, to take time off before I lost my mind. Because I had friends in the city, because I was on the Slim-Fast diet, literally, but also underweight, because what I did eat I quickly got rid of, because I knew there was no reason for this besides that I wasn't happy and needed to leave.

I wanted to be in the city, anyhow. That's where I'd wanted to go to school.

"I just can't take this like, little fake world on a hill," I told my Don.

"That's called 'going to a Liberal Arts College," He told me.

"Well, I guess I don't want to do that then," I told him.

He told me I was the best student, the most promising writer, he'd had in years, that it'd be a huge mistake to leave. Yes: he extracted a can of gasoline from his pocket, he threw it recklessly around my fire and then turned his head when it started burning I hate white rabbits I hate white rabbits.

And Behold! Ryan! After two weeks of ignoring me completely because I'd disobeyed him by attending a play he was in [he thought it was bad, and my opinion mattered too much to risk things], Ryan told me: Marie, I'm coming with you. I'm moving to the city with you. And we did. We got a bunk bed. Sarah slept in the other room.

The name of Flashpapr's album: Do What You Must Do.

Rachel decided to move back home to Philadelphia to dance, because she didn’t like the dancing at Sarah Lawrence. Because she felt fat. Because her family, she reminded me, is in Philly.

We left behind an empty room, poster putty like melted fossils of a half-started life. We left with our reasons for leaving.

This's Sarah2 and I. I'm like "Whatever, SLC!" and she's like "Whatevs, Tufts!"

And just like that: March '00, at a cafe in Paris [I'd just recently pondered going to Europe for a weekend and then bought a ticket, and by "pondered" I mean, "considered for about five minutes"] where I'm eating something flat and rich and gross and not filling, my then-boyfriend says You should go to U of M, that's great in-state tuition, you won't be in debt when you graduate and I was like, okay.

So just like that: lickity split, decided to go home, even though I used to tell people I'd rather go to an all women's school in the middle of the desert than go back to Ann Arbor. But you never know, you know? You never know what you must do 'til you're doing it, sometimes.

And there is that sound again
The one you've been hearing for decades
Eternal laughter
Endlessly ghosts laughing at histories repeating
Them in you
Forever again
-Flashpapr, 'the air in my stomach'

Cause I never explain who's who:
1: Jake. Violin-player. Met in Ann Arbor, MI at Commie High. Colleged at Columbia in NYC, and, a little bit after that, moved to CA w/his girlfriend for music school. One of the best people I've ever known, hands-down totes.
2: Sarah. Harp-player. Met in Boarding School (Interlochen). She wanted to live in NYC real bad too, so I convinced her to drop out of Tufts and move there with me, so she did.