Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I Feel You in my VLOG and I Don't Even Know You

This Vlog is in two installments. The first installment doesn't involve lions, tigers, SE/30s, or flying lesbians, BUT it does cover the comment contest, judged by a Mystery Judge I cannot reveal otherwise this message will self-destruct. Get it? He was in the custard? It doesn't cover our discussion of comment contest awards, or our special guest appearance this week by my roommate, Ryan Murray. The second installment will include many exclusives you cannot find in stores. Other things you cannot find in stores include Pepsi-One, crack rock, and your mom, unless she works at the store, or happens to be in the store at the same time, in which case you should've carpooled, global warming, hello.

When was the last time my opening paragraph was related to any of the following things: 1)the ensuing post, 2)my blog, 3)reality? Anyone? Anyone? Waiting for a video to compress is like waiting for a pot to boil but like, for the rest of your life. Hell is not other people, hell is compressing videos for other people.

This week we wore costumes, for Halloween. I am a forest and Haviland is 'Get Physical.' I don't know what I am. I don't know what she is. She is gold pants. I am tree sprite. Also, I don't know whom I am.

UPDATE: Also, I spelled "judgment" wrong in the title sequence. What does that prove? I'll tell you: do not stay in school kids. Drop out now.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Commenter Awards: I Listen In, Yes I'm Guilty of This, You Should Know This

Tonight, Haviland and I will be filming our fourth VLOG, in which we'll be tap-dancing to the sound of iced tea being stirred and doing magic tricks -- I mean -- ILLUSIONS -- with live felines representing the full scale of Mac Operating Systems, e.g., Leopards and Tigers. Haviland will be making out with that girl from Heroes, which I've never seen. Also, there'll be flying lesbians, slam poetry, an affirmative action debate between Shane and Jordan Catalano, and a performance of the entire score of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, which luckily, I've been in. And also. Also. Also : eons ago, my Dad and brother took me golfing and, in order to ensure that all parties were exactly as miserable as I was, I performed the entire score of Joseph by myself, skipping lyrics I forgot, as we progressed from hole to hole. I was prepubescent and my voice was slightly better than it is now, which means it wouldn't necessarily kill you to hear it, but it might ruin your day, or your 18 holes.

Why this announcement? Because, unlike the first 4-5 lines of that paragraph, I was totes serious about the "comment of the week" thing I mentioned. But actually, it's "comment of the last two weeks." The auto-winner will receive ... um. Hm. Nothing? A link? Sometimes teevee people mail me things that I'm supposed to promote or talk about [read: tear to pieces and hate all over], and then I forget about it, I just like getting packages. I've got the first season of Dexter, the first season of Lesbian Sex and Sexuality, or um ... an autographed headshot of Haviland? A signed copy of Erotic Interludes 2: Stolen Moments, which I've got a really terrible terrible story in? But I bet the rest of the stories are really good, it's just mine, that's really bad. But um, I don't really need to give a prize actually. I dunno, what do you guys think? There's still a date with Lozo to give away. Eh, who needs a prize, the game is the fun part.

Also we need a judge, because I don't like judging things. Anyone wanna judge? The only requirement is that you be free around 9 P.M. Eastern Standard Time tonight -- 10.29.07 -- to provide your judgment. You can be anonymous if you want, and you can't make yourself the winner, unless you really deserve it. Email or comment, whatevs. If not, I've got some people I can cajole into doing it, so the show will go on.

Anyhow, we will read the top two winners out loud for your pleasure on tonight's vlog. Maybe we'll read all of them, who knows. If you'd like to nominate someone, please do so in the comments below. I don't really feel like going through them all right now, because I'm busy obvs, but just so you know, these are the posts with eligible comments: Why Don't We Get Hot and VLOG?, Great Mysteries of Life Ctd. , Whoever Creates a New Word For VLOG ..., Top 10 Harder Things, Top 8 Easier Things, and Sunday Top 10: I Just Wanna Be Bad.

Also. Also. Also. By "Best" I probs mean "most soundbyte-worthy." I dunno what I mean, actually, it doesn't matter, everything is meaningless.

I haven't gone through the comments at all, but I have cut and paste some into this little stickie on my desktop over the last two weeks [therefore; being excluded from this list is totes meaningless and reflective of nothing, nominate away] ... but some that are already in the running, fo-sho:

stef, re: Great Mysteries of Life #2
"i thought of an unanswerable question today: who the fuck are all the cab drivers talking to on their cell phones all day? each other? is it like the party line of cab drivers? is it like the telephone hour on bye bye birdie? like HIII ACHMED! HIII MOHAMMAD! WHAT'S THE STORY, MORNING GLORY? WHAT'S THE TALE, NIGHTENGALE? DID YOU HEAR ABOUT HUGO AND KIM!??!?! srsly now."
re: Harder Things
"things that are easier than most people think they'd be: me after a couple of drinks. OHHH."
"a;ex vega," re: Whoever Creates a New Word For Vlog
"Dear riese and haviland,

i watched your va-log (kinda sounds short for "vaagina monologues" eh?) for a seocnde time. this time i was a little durnk,
i ejoyed it even more tahn the fist time. aaand i thought you'd appreciat e that in some wierd wa.y
am i correct? yes?

sincerely forever,

Lozo, re: "I Just Want to Be Bad"
"Just like every other comment thread here, it breaks down into a discussion about sodomy. It's why I come back."

MeL, re: "I Just Want to Be Bad"
"Also? I enjoy the penis quite thoroughly, but I would still lick your face if I happened to be next to you on the subway. (If I happened to be in New York.) I bet you taste like tapioca pudding."
Moonkiller, re: "Harder Things"
"I hate it when people mess you around when your trying to get coffee. It's like I just want my coffee please and thank you, make Rhian wait and Rhian'll make you bleed. It doesn't help that they're all like Russian and don't understand what your saying they're all 'Do want any space in your coffee?' and then obvs I'm like 'Noooo' and they come back with 'So, space yes?'

A'ight. Get on it.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Sunday Top Ten: I Just Want To Be Bad

Generally, I wouldn't endorse any rumbles that don't take place in large tubs of Jell-O. Also, I'm gonna start running a "top two comments of the week," there'll be medals and naked girls involved, and the final two comment-composers can duke it out in a vat of the flavor of their choice, except not cherry. Also, I have trouble with the weighted impact of the first paragraph now that I only partially syndicate my blog. Anyhow:

"My blog annoys me," Lozo laments, following his blog about the site "I Can Has Cheezeburger," a site which features captioned photos of animals that allegedly delight millions of daily visitors. He continues: "I was hoping to get home and read some dissenting opinions, but it's all 'Lozo, you're right, that site totally sucks.' No one likes that site?"

I'm not like that, obviously. I'm a woman, I need affirmation. Love me with your warm hugs, bring me steamy hot beverages to warm the deep dark endless winter nights, tell me I'm pretty, stroke my hair, write me a poem, draw me a picture, love me, love me, love me. Memememememeeme. No actually, I just mostly don't like putting negative energy out into the world if I don't have to. The thing is; I kinda have to. Like, a lot. Because the world is 95% retarded and it keeps pissing me off and sometimes my stuffed dog gets tired of listening to me.
Lozo: I want a good debate and people kiss my butt.
Me: I remember one particular debate you just totally shyed out of. Anyhow, they just agree with you, that's all. Most people read blogs they agree with.
Lozo: I guess.
Me: Maybe I should write my Sunday Top 10 of things I could say to piss people off and start fights. Hmmm, maybe you've inspired me.
Lozo: "Top 10 Reasons That The Holocaust Was A Lie,"
Me: No! The catch is; they'd have to be true. Things I really do believe. I guess most of my opinions are right in line with my audience, I don't know how to piss off my readers.
Lozo: Hmmmm "Top 10 Reasons Vagina Is Better Than Penis."
Me: Probs "Top 10 Reasons Penis is Better than Vagina" would work better.
Lozo: Then do the opposite, yeah.
Lozo: We're RIGHT HERE.
Me: Haha
Lozo: I'm pointing at my head and pointing to the chat box.
Me: Why do you want to piss people off though?
Lozo: I don't WANT to. Like, if i say, "The Yankees suck and A-Rod is gay," I don't expect dissent because I've been saying it forever. But this thing today is out of the blue and super popular, so I expected more negative opinions. Maybe I'll start doing that, though. "Why My Commenters Are Fucking Idiots."

I think that it's possible people don't argue with me because:
i. You want to be gentle to me in the aftermath of this summer's multifaceted autowin-attack.
ii. You agree with me most of the time.
iii. You don't actually read my blog, you just scan for your name. Lozo.
iv. I provide so much room for dissenting opinions (e.g., "I hate ____, but I understand that other people like ____, which is fine.") that it's hard to argue with me.
v. You're scared of my little baby wrath. Understandable. It's fierce, like I could basically be America's Next Top Model if I had a jawline.
vi. You also don't want to send negative vibes into the world.
vii. You couldn't care less.
viii. I don't know how to use roman numerals.
viiiiii. You didn't come here to fight. Just as, unlike Lozo and his raging testosterone, I also did not come here to fight.

And it's not that I carry a great deal of neutral opinions, but the basic tenements of my belief system are pretty much in line with my peer group. Like, I doubt anyone who's reading this is gonna bust out with: "Gay marriage is WRONG, Riese, obvs, didn't you read The Bible?" [sidenote: YES. I DID.] or "The L Word is the best show EVER" or "I love the war in Iraq, I wanna go there right now," or, "Jell-O is sticky and might cause yeast infections."

Sunday Top Ten: Things You Might Not Agree With [notice I ended that sentence with a preposition]

10. It's Bad, Actually.
I think Love Actually is the worst movie I've seen in my entire life. That's right, it's worse than From Justin to Kelly or Home Alone 2. I couldn't even sit through Meet the Parents. I hated There's Something About Mary and didn't laugh. I almost universally dislike any Adam Sandler, Rob Schnieder, Ben Stiller or Will Ferrell vehicles (except Old School, which is awesome). Also hated: all the Austin Powers movies, Sideways, Braveheart, Go Fish, Patch Adams, Kill Bill, Dogma, and probs like, most movies that exist. Also : I love. La-la-la-love. Jim Carrey. I think he's brilliant.
9. There is Nothing You Could Ever Say About Cats that Would Interest Me Even Remotely, Even "My Cat Just Died."

I've discussed my feelings about cats before, in "The Gayest Shit Ever": "I'm allergic to cats, and also cat-loving is just not in my disposition. I can't be all ooh-ahh about this little furball lazy thing that pees in a box of smelly gravel stuff. I've liked some kittens though. They're cute and sort of innocent, and haven't yet grown up to be lazy fat hairy dumb fucks like their parents. I don't like when cats jump on me, and I don't like it when a person has a cat-haired apartment." Cat hair is like Herpes, once it touches you, you're doomed for life. I just really couldn't care less about your cat, even if it dies, I still don't care. It was a cat, right? Cats die, you knew that when you got it, right? Because like, humans live longer than cats? I recognize objectively that the death of a cat is a very traumatic experience and it makes you very sad, but don't go to me for comfort. It is literally the one and only thing I refuse to comfort anyone on. The One Thing. I "get it" with dogs, though. Dogs have a lot in common with people. Cats represent everything I loathe about humans: they are needy, they paw, they are everywhere.

Cats that I like: fourfour's cat Winston, Dana Fairbanks' cat Mr. Piddles, The Cat in the Hat, the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland, Holly GoLightly's cat "Cat," Daniel Striped Tiger from 'Mr. Roger's Neighborhood,' and the cat Lindsay and I had, which I called 'Cat' and she called 'Moo.'
8. I think prostitution and all drugs should be legal and violent movies and video games should be illegal.
7. I Actually Don't Have Any Opinions
There's not much I'll absolutely stand behind, honestly. I respect almost anyone's version of reality, almost anyone's principles. I surround myself with people like Krista and Haviland who're all firm feelings, but I'm such a believer in -- if anything -- the power of subjective realities, so hyper-aware of the specific details and circumstances that prompt people to feel how they feel about anything. I want to change this; I hate being so objective, I hate my inability to judge anyone on my own and more than that I hate that I can be prompted to hate on someone by another person but not alone. I hate that there's so little I can't be convinced of. I understand why you might hate things I love, like Michael Cunningham or Ani DiFranco. I understand why you might love things I hate, like The Hills and The DaVinci Code. There's so little I won't coat in disclaimers, or give you room to disagree.

Some of the only things I'll endorse 100%/stand up for in any circumstance: gay rights, the importance of literature and theater, the loathsomeness of George W. and Ann Coulter and the Bush Administration, the importance of independent media, women's rights, sex workers' rights, misemployment of apostrophes in plurals, America's ridiculously corrupt education and health care system, the importance of being earnest.
5. Some books I've Not Enjoyed, even if I should or you did:
Empire Falls, The Crying of Lot 49, Gulliver's Travels, The Well of Loneliness, The Devil Wears Prada, White Noise, Less Than Zero, Pure, Harry Potter.

UPDATE: I've now located an essay, in this month's Esquire, from a writer that most people hate, but I don't, named Chuck Klosterman, and it summarizes how I feel about Harry Potter and I have transcribed the first two paragraphs for you below because I am kind, and procrastinating.
"Here is what I know about Harry Potter: nothing.

I haven't read any of the books about him, nor have I seen any of the movies. I know the novels were written by a rich middle-aged British woman named J.K Rowling with semi-lush hair, but I have no idea what the letters J and K represent. I don't know the name of the actor who portrays Harry Potter, although I think he has eyeglasses. I don't know the names of any minor characters and I don't know the narrative arc of the plot. I don't know where the stories take place or if they are set in the past or the future. Somebody at a steakhouse recently told me that Harry Potter doesn't die at the conclusion of the seventh book (and that this detail was important), but I wasn't even aware he was sick. I assume there are dragons and griffins and werewolves and homosexual Frankensteins throughout these novels, but I honestly don't give a shit if my assumption is true or false. In fact, if somebody told me that the final Harry Potter novel was a coded interpretation of the Koran that instructed its readers how to read my thoughts, I could only respond by saying, "Well, maybe so." For whatever reason, this is one phenomenon that I have missed completely (and mostly, I suppose, on purpose).

Now, do not take this to mean that I dislike these books. I do not ... in fact, I suspect they're quite good. Moreover, I find it astounding that the unifying cultural currency for modern teenagers are five-hundred page literary works about a wizard. We are all collectively underestimating how unusual this is ... [but] I have no interest in any of it."

-from "Death by Harry Potter," by Chuck Klosterman, Esquire, November 2007
4. Some books I've loved, no matter what the people say:

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, Everything is Illuminated, The Corrections, The Hours, The Year of Magical Thinking, Bright Lights Big City, Bridget Jones' Diary, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, On the Road, The Lovely Bones, The Ice Storm, The Virgin Suicides, Nobody Belongs Here More Than You
3. I Heart Affirmative Action
Howevs, the system is drastically imperfect at this point, but I love the idea and it's def better than not having it. Slavery was really fucking bad, you guys! And then freeing them like, "good luck" and then Jim Crow and everything that came after. 

People are like "Wouldn't it piss you off if you knew someone got your Columbia spot because that applicant -- your equal in all other evaluated areas -- came from a certain racial and economic background?" I can't wrap my head around this. No, that wouldn't piss me off at all? Seriously. I'd be happy to know that This Mysterious Aspirant had overcome the odds against him or her and thus, they probs do deserve the spot more than I do, they probably did work harder than I did, relative to their options and surroundings. Totes. Congrats, rock on. Loved U of M, awesome.
2. Sarah Silverman: not funny.
1. The Matrix: not tremendously interested.
I don't think men should ever wear sandals, it's really super gross. I have not and will never read the book blink or The Kite Runner, I believe the dead exist among us and speak to us in dreams, I think if you're bored you must be boring, in Robin Hood, that people shouldn't be allowed to eat chicken wings or various fried seafoods or tuna fish in public especially if they own my laundromat or share my kitchen, that generosity makes the world go round, Kelly Clarkson isn't fat, people do need to leave Britney alone as your attention is part of her illness and she needs to get better and for some reason I actually care, that abortion should be legal but I'm not sure I could ever do it myself, that we rationalise everything, that our guts are the most brilliant of all organs, that you're too uptight and should laugh more, that I'm too sad and angry and I should laugh more, that we take everything too seriously, that forgiveness and humility and selflessness altogether compose perfect humans, that we are blessed to have Rosie O'Donnell in our world, that all people have a right to redemption, "I praise how the body heals itself/I praise how it never learns," that you can lie about a fact to get at an emotional truth, that Justin Timberlake is a douchebag probs, that we are all too judgmental, that people almost always chose what's easiest, that we tell ourselves stories in order to live, that you should always put others first, that we are all equally real, that esotericism is boring, that smoking can be sexy, that Gawker is truly evil, that sex is hilarious, that men make me feel like a woman, which I like, and women make me feel like a person, which I also like, but for different reasons. I believe I can fly. That's not true, actually. I totes cannot fly at all whatsoever and I know that, however, if you are a series of hurdles on a running track, I will kick your ass, leap over you, and take your names.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Thursday Top Eight: And I'm Not Proud That Nothing Will Seem Easy About Me

It's kinda funny that Sunday I chose to write on "Things that were harder than I expected," and I said I'd write about Easier Things later this week, and between then and now a lot of hard things have happened involving people I love and care about -- even just people I know about -- and I dunno, things feel kinda crap, the air's a bit apocalyptic lately ... while simultaneously containing hopeful violent wind. I'm fighting competing urges to be productive or do all of the following things at once: lie on my couch, drink sweet wine out of the bottle, read Raymond Carver [I love his poetry, why does everyone underestimate this man as a poet, why is his poetry overlooked? I love his poetry.] and watch Tegan & Sara. That's not a mistake, I mean that -- "watch," like concert videos or whathaveyou. I like to watch them play music. Not because I want to bone them, but because it's better than crack.

I once again destroyed my back at the gym: I couldn't get off the elliptical 'til I learned who still had a shot at love with Tila Tequilla -- just about the worst reason ever to stay on the elliptical trainer forever while neglecting form. As I predicted, Steffanie was given the boot, and dear Stef, if you google yourself and land here, I want you to know that everything happens for a reason, and you were probs eliminated so you and I could be together. Also, my first question for you, Steffanie, is why the fuck did you agree to be on this retarded show? Are you retarded, like Tila and the other contestants? Also, readers: Why does no one on this show have a real job [or brain cells]? I feel like they're all "dancers." [I can't tear myself away from this show! It's possible I'll watch lesbians do anything. Except talk about their feelings, I guess.]

Ryan gave me this blue ball I'm supposed to roll around on top of to fix my back. That's not how it sounds. I wonder what'd happen if I swallowed this large pink pill in my desk drawer. Shall we find out? Lets see. Took it. I think that may've been a Percocet. I should probably include "reckless with pills" in my banner. Pill's not working. Nothing works on me anymore, I should be a lab rat for really strong medications. I'm chewing Bubbilicious. This post is going to be weird. I'll fix it tomorrow, it's item 457 on my to-do list. Ow. Giving my tongue a workout. Blowing bubbles. If I knew how to make balloon animals, I would. All the time. For birthdays, Christmas, whatever.

Soooo ... easy things. I feel like everything is easier than I expected, because I don't expect much. I don't really expect anyone to like, love me or hire me or anything. Rejected ideas for this stellar list include [okay, I'm feeling it now. Sort of mushy. Like I feel a little bit like Jell-O but slightly nauseous, and still awake somehow, this is quite weird]: Getting laid, getting internships, getting a job, lesbian sex, getting published, getting a freelance job, making new friends, avoiding phone calls, avoiding life, maintaining perky breasts, getting good grades, graduating college, working out, not going out, not spending money, going out, building a cave, writing 10,000 emails a day, learning to read.

So, right, things that are easier than I expected:

8. Finding This Apartment:
I was informed of my impending ejection from my apartment on March 18th, my then-girlfriend's 30th birthday. Brill timing. I put an ad on craiglist. I was straightforward : "BEST ROOMMATE EVER." I'm a freelance writer, so I've got no pay stub or steady income and I work from home and therefore, I'm home a lot. I stay up late, get up early, play loud music, and often cook dinner at 2 A.M.. I'm not messy, but I'm not a super-neat-freak either, and I eat about 100 meals a day. I've got a girlfriend, and she'll probably be sleeping over a lot, but she doesn't live in the city so I'll never be sleeping at her place. Howevs, I'm super fun! And I won't judge you for anything."

I figured there was no point in sugarcoating the fact that I was a highly undesirable roommate on paper. I expected invitations from people hoping I might not judge their heroin habit or goth band practice -- but most of the people who emailed seemed fairly normal. Then there was all this stuff that happened with another apartment and then I got an email from Zoey. I came to meet Zoey & Ryan and see this place the day after being up all night with food poisoning, and my girlfriend was in the hospital and my article just'd been killed, and it was raining like hard like hard. The apartment is beautiful, we totes clicked, Zoey'd been a fan of my L-Word recaps and thus kinda knew "of" me [like that I was a writer, not a "writer"] and Ryan also had a gay Mom and I was just like, perfect, done and DONE.

Oddly enough, they're most well-behaved roommates I've ever had, like I'm defo the weirdo in the house. Well, except Heart, that little dog we had for a while [see photo], Heart was like, on the depressive side of manic depression for sure.

7. Surfing
It's just really rare that I'll show any kind of instinct at all whatsoever for any sort of athletic activity. I skiied for ten years and still couldn't parallel or ski a black diamond. I can barely even swim. It's a miracle I don't fall down the stairs every day and break my elbows. The reason I picked up surfing so fast? Significant quadriceps. JK, I could barely stand up, but I wasn't terrible, it wasn't a disaster like snowboarding had been.

6. Make My Room Look Better and More Like a Grown-up:
I have these new sheets, they've changed the whole feel of my room. See, before, my sheets had holes [resulting from being nailed into the mattress & a fire of some sort] and my duvet cover was stained with ink, wine, whatevs. I'd covered it with another sheet, just a grey sheet from Tommy Hilfiger I got with an amazon gift certificate earned for using my credit card too often. Haviland & Cait picked out these new sheets & duvet cover for me because I don't know anything about how to make things look not retarded. My room looks so much better now, like fo' real, if you came over, you might fall in love with me. Until I start talking. Howevs, Haviland was dropping stuff into my garbage like we were on a Home Makeover show or Queer Eye. Mostly, she wanted to pitch various objects I'd employed to perform new lives as candle holders. She wanted me to get rid of my little toys too, like the plastic hula girl and the wind-up Santa and the dolphin paperweight but I was like "Carly has toys! Carly has toys!" and so she let me keep my toys in my cave. La-di-da.

5. This
Blogging. Sometimes if I sit and think about it, I'm like, wow, I can't believe people actually read this. Although the way this post is going, you might be wondering exactly why you still are.

4. Coming Out
I totes avoided having to deal with any of the sexuality issues through three primary accidental strategies:
1) The Blog: Though I'd identified personally as bisexual and would always say so if anyone asked, I didn't really start dating girls until about two years ago. Some people had always known, some were close enough to just know ... but most people just read my blog. It's awesome. Also, how many times have you gone onto somoene's myspace profile and been like "OMG, they're gay now?" Probs quite often. So I'm not the only one who uses the internet to avoid confronting a series of emotional realities. Also, my grandparents don't know how to use the internet.
2) The potential impact of having my first "real" girlfriend was sort of overshadowed by all the other special circumstances. I didn't really have time to ponder how to present myself as a lesbian (no one ever assumes "bisexual" in these cases, obvs) 'cause there were far more pressing issues. I wasn't really thinking about the weight behind my formerly innocuous daily communications, like saying the word "girlfriend" instead of "boyfriend." People respond to that, they just do, it's a surprise, to them, they are surprised but trying not to be -- I still remember the tennis club manager (where I worked for a hot minute) insisting on calling her my "roommate," which was not only inaccurate, but retarded. I didn't really have time to think about boys vs. girls, I just fell, I surrendered, when you feel you've found the right person you just zoom in and the rest of it goes away.
3) Apparently, my extended family has somehow decided that I'm a "career woman" who is too focused on work to acquire a male companion. That is just like, I mean, wow. Career. What's a career? Hoo-ha.

3. Getting Tattooed
I was super-drunk, mega-stoned, and I think Stephanie and I'd consumed a great deal of candy. I mean that; actual candy. At first it hurt, but then it kinda leveled out, like just became sort of sharp and muted throbbing, which is more or less my specialty. My thigh's not a particularly sensitiive spot either. The only hard part was figuring out if it was being tattooed in the right direction, as it was Hebrew, which is right-to-left, and I was looking in a mirror, and I was drunk. Anyhow I decided today that I want to get another tattoo. Anyone wanna design something for me? It's L-O-Z-O. That's his real last name. No, I think I know what I'm gonna get, I think the ancient Hebrew script signal for "hand." On my wrist. Maybe. I dunno yet.

2. Getting Health Insurance
The hardest part of this process, besides the 1.5 years before it happened and the six month post-application waiting period, was that I had to go to fucking Inwood to do the paperwork. Oh wait, did I say Inwood? I didn't mean Inwood. I meant basically I was in Alaska, that's how far I had to travel for this appointment, like, I should've called Rachel. It was on like 345th street or something. I showed her my bank statements, which reflected an income of approximately less than zero per month, because I was paid in cash then, and as a super-savvy anti-government radical neo-leftist feminazi super-warrior (not at all), I paid my bills w/money orders and everything else in cash, holla, and there wasn't that much of it, anyhow, so I filled out this form saying I only made $100/week [just following instructions] and then I got approved, which I wasn't expecting at all. I think everyone should have free health insurance in this country, so I was at peace with the whole thing. When I got the acceptance package in the mail, I started crying with joy, literally, crying, with joy, yes. Crying .. with joy.

1. Meet People
When did this happen? I don't know. I used to not even write as regularly as I should have for The Michigan Daily in college because I was afraid to attend meetings -- I hated the five minutes before and afterwards, when friends spoke to friends and I stood alone & awkward, projecting the air of a stuck up bitch who thought she was better than everyone, which was kinda true, as all anyone ever wanted to talk about was Weezer. This was before texting, there wasn't much to do on your cell phone besides stare at it. I don't know when I stopped being so shy and self conscious. When I moved here in 2004 I decided to start testing myself, challenging myself to overcome this -- I started facing my fears by compulsively meeting strangers. I'd meet boys or girls online and then arrange to meet them in real life and see what happened. Usually nothing good happened [though, Stephanie, my aforementioned tattooing companion, was one of the people I met this way], but I found it compelling, I started realising, maybe, how there's not really much difference between the people you're afraid of, and the people you talk to, sometimes for hours, or lifetimes.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Sunday Top Ten: Temporary Battles Can Take Up Half Your Life

Just so y'all know, I'm leaving this blog to become a Slam Poet, like in that movie SLAM!. I've never seen it, but I saw a poetry "slam" once at Sarah Lawrence, it was retarded, Sarah Lawrence students shouldn't try to slam anything besides each other. The poems were the lovechild of Ani DiFranco lyrics and the sound of fake mall waterfalls, and they were read out loud with lackluster slam-spirit by cherub girls in camisoles smelling like Tom's of Maine. I'm gonna replace Auto-Win with an auto-play flash-player that'll cycle "Umbrella" by Rhianna and the Tegan & Sara "Umbrella" cover over & over for all of time. That'd make y'all way happier than I ever can. Seriously, listen to that song and tell me if you are still sad? I doubt it.

This week's Sunday Top Ten might sound kinda like, glum? But it's not. Also, I'm gonna do "Things That Are Easier Than I Thought They'd Be" later this week, to like, even it out, or something. Feel free to tell me what to think, I'll believe anything.

Also, Lozo put up our vlog. You should check it out, 'cause there's a really productive world-changing conversation on the comment thread w/r/t "Haviland & Riese: Hot or Not?"


10. Building This Dresser
So I've been building this dresser, the construction manual lists approximately 260 steps. It's taken about 100 hours to construct, thus inspiring this post. I'm totes thrilled to've even received it, and obvs putting it together is a small price to pay, and besides, it's good for my arms which don't get a workout now that I'm no longer toting heavy plates of food or working on the railroad all the live-long day. Speaking of hand jobs, I was in such a state with the state of the dresser that I offered Lozo a massage with a happy ending in exchange for dresser construction, but then I thought that'd be kinda awkward probs for our friendship, and wouldn't necessarily entail less upper body strength than the building so I took it back. Not officially, but I never arranged for the exchange. Also, I can do it myself, I'm Bob Vila. UPDATE: Totes DID IT. holla. HOLLA!
9. Recapping The L Word

[original screenshot from a Season Three Recap]
I guess that if you look at it logically [something I willfully select NOT to do in most circumstances cause looking realistically at one's bank account or one's schedule is often a short-cut to depression and overwhelming sensations of futility. 'Cause if you don't think about it, it's still possible you could finish it in an hour, why not?] this show is an hour long --
-Pausing at least once a scene for screencaps, about 35 scenes per show: three hours
-Transcribing dialogue from the show and from friends: two hours
-Photo-shopping photos of my friends from the viewing party and inserting them: one hour
-Making graphics: one hour
-Actually writing about the show: endless/priceless.
All in all about 20 hours of nonstop fun. Then I added time to it by acquiring a well-needed but obsessive proper grammar & spelling habit [some of the S3 recaps that no one read but me were plagued with grammatical and spelling errors, and rarely cohesive.] Obvs I didn't anticipate this time commitment when I decided to do it. This is why next season I'm getting a screencaps intern. I'll give you college credit and a back rub if you're hot.

Anyhow, Carly and I re-watched the pilot the other day, and I'm excited to currently be hard at work at recapping it for AutoStraddle! I know -- why Riese? Why? The answer is: because I obviously love it.
8. SAT Math, Five Years Later
I "auditioned" to be a Kaplan teacher and succeeded, I just had to re-take the SATs to prove I could maintain the same high score I'd had in high school. Easy, yeah? No. I brushed up on my math pre-re-test, but I hadn't realised how much longer it'd take to do math now that it wasn't second nature. I only finished half the math section when the time ran out. Then I added "Kaplan tutor" to the list of "jobs Marie thought she had between July '04 and January of '05 that Totes Fell Through, Therefore Ruining Her Life Forever. JK Not Forevs, Things're Better Now."
7. Getting Our TeeVee Show on the Air Immediately
Sometimes I talk about something constantly then suddenly stop talking about it. I kinda did this with the teevee show but don't be alarmed -- nothing's gone wrong, we're just in a waiting period. Also we've got real clear and direct ways to improve the pilot when the time comes: things that seem obvious now that we've stepped back in order to see it fully.

I imagined the writing-the-teevee-show process to be like Field of Dreams, which is probs responsible for many similarly executed projects, like, there've been all these crap shows that make it all the way to air, surely someone'd see ours and greenlight it immediately. We shall write it, the development deal shall come, like it happens in the success stories you read about. I guess no one publishes non-success stories. Oh wait, yeah they do; it's called "blogs" and "World's Wildest Police Chases." JK. That'd be cool, if we got into a police chase and then, when captured, we'd be like "marie lyn bernard dot blogspot dot com!" that'd be the best viral marketing ever. Reality show marketing. We could get Carly on COPS getting arrested for crack whoring and she could plug the show in between "motherfuckers!" Would that be meta? I'm not sure. I think "meta" is the new "irony" -- "irony" being a grossly misused word these days, especially by me. Maybe Alanis should write a song about "Meta." JK. She'd really fuck it up.
6. Doing my Hair
Short hair is totes harder than long hair. For example, first thing in the A.M; I look like Season Three Pilot Shane. It magically deflates within about 2 hours [I wash my hair post-gym, unless I'm going somewhere in the morning, which um, I haven't done in a while], but its post-shower behavior is highly unpredictable. Just when I think I've discovered the ideal combo of drying, ironing, product and styling, four days later my hair will rebel and say it's not down with that routine anymore, then I'm back to the drawing board.

Haviland thinks it's grown out to bordering-on-bowlcut and she'd like to trim it but I responded: "No, it's like the Beatles, I like it!"

John Lennon & Friends for Wax
5. Writing my Book
Obvs this has been a bit of a challenge.
4. Moving On
I searched my gmail for "harder." Aside from stumbling upon some suggestive "harder! faster! wetter!"s, almost half the results were from a few weeks ago, when I kept saying that I'm waiting for things to get easier, but instead they keep getting harder and harder. Things've been lightening a bit, though, lately. Not the weight of these untangled things aforementioned as "getting harder " [these untethered wrongs with no space to right themselves now in the clear where "real" means the same thing to everyone involved, where perception looses it's fog and becomes fair game] -- those things remain the same level of hard, like other striking losses I've experienced. But the coping part's become lighter lately and there are other areas in which things have been relatively bright, promising, brilliant, huge, everything, enough. I've been blessed, really, in so many ways, by so many things, and, not to sound freaky, or hark back to a time of apocalyptic predictions and various second-coming related verse, but the way things came together to furiously and gloriously distract me immediately and thrust me fully back into living with functional social normality before I had a chance to absorb the possibilities regarding what I might eventually face in the future as well as what I was truly experiencing emotionally at the time -- and then the way things started turning around just as I'd hit all-time incapacitation and agoraphobia levels a few weeks ago -- I was always honest that I believed in G-d, I really truly do, and I think there's gotta be something divine or spiritual and trying really, really hard out there, there's gotta be something like that who's aiming for everything, a strange, tempting, dangerous ideal ...
3. Writing This Blog Post
Seriously, I feel like every day's mitigated by hardness, so this would be easy -- things that're heavier than I expected, lines longer, processes more complicated, people more unpredictable. But perhaps not, but I don't think that's because life is particularly easy or I'm good at it, I'm totes not, but that I manage expectation really carefully -- that's why when I give someone my heart, it's generally someone who's swept me away before I had time to weigh it out and determine likely I couldn't handle the suspense. This is pretty easy to analyze psychologically -- I've got this little girl in my gut who wanted a warning before she heard he was already dead, this like, fourteen year old who'd just gone to McDonald's with her friends from Theatre Club and had a two-cheeseburger meal with no toppings, who wished there'd been some kind of illness instead, some hours, days, years, to prepare for this premature death, to readjust her mind slowly to the way things really are -- it's not that I avoid unwise choices. I just try to expect the worst and be pleasantly surprised if it turns out better than that, lest it be taken from me suddenly and without warning. I can't prevent sudden tragedy, so all I can do is prevent anyone's loss being truly tragic. I'm careful of people. If I let them in, put something at stake [something=risking substantially life-changing loss], it means I've either been given no choice in the matter or, I guess, I've got no choice in the matter. Love's like that. When choosing -- I choose to not put it all on the line.

And also: I am, like Crystal said today too, afraid that as soon as I let someone in, they might see ME, and then be like, omg, this is not what I signed up for, and then I'm doomed. I know this moment will come eventually with people ... and I guess that's my guarantee that no matter how good and serious anything is, it'll eventually end when they see me, I mean, really see me, and so, therefore, it's best to not get into it to begin with, or to make the revelation matter.

Also: a lot of things falling under this category -- "Things That Were Harder Than I Expected" -- are Private Things or Obvious Things [e.g., "getting my life together," "reducing word count," "staying in touch with friends," getting a six pack" or other topics I often mull over], like I keep thinking of things and disqualifying them for one of those reasons. That's the main problem with writing this.
2. Walking in High Heels

[This photo shoot was the first time I wore heels, seriously.]
I didn't realise there was really anything to it, aside from just being a bit more on top of things. But it's like, balance. That's fine -- the walking part is fine. It's the noise! I kinda walk like an elephant. I don't look like an elephant. I look like a human girl named Marie, sometimes called Riese. But when I walk, you might be like, "Is that an elephant lumbering by my room for a 3 A.M. drinkie?" and it's actually me, just regulating, just walking. I'm not saying I lumber because it's true, but 'cause people've told me so. And I trust them. In heels though, I just feel like I'm making my presence so unavoidably present, and I hate that. Click, clack, look, at, me, lumber, click/clack.
1. Getting freshdirect to deliver Sausage, Egg & Cheese Lean Pockets.

I've put in a product request for this several times over the last few years, to the point where they probs're like "her again, really? Tell her to have some toast." Do any of you order from Fresh Direct? Because if so, please go to the product request area which's in the "New Products" area. There's an asshatty looking guy and an aesthetically pleasing graphic and you just click that there thing and tell them that you'd like them to carry Lean Pockets, Sausage, Egg & Cheese. Thank you, I appreciate it.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Whoever Creates a New Word For VLOG is the Automatic Winner. [JK]

OMG. I just realised we forgot to say "JK" in the vlog [waa], I guess it'll be super organic next time though, you know?

This one's longer. We made it for Lozo, but mainly for ourselves. Perhaps you've noticed: it's speedier for me to write 10,000 nonsense words than it is to bang out 1,000 brill words. It's also speedier to type "brill" rather than "brilliant," and it's all about the bottom line. The word "vlog," p.s., makes me feel like Slimer, it's super-gross.

For this week's vlog, Haviland and I tackle all your questions--not every answer's in the final cut, but don't blame yourself, it's totes us, not always on point, and also, apparently, I kept pronouncing Joe Torre wrong.

Some of the topics covered include Paris Hilton's fantastic album, Susan Powter's voicemail, Thanksgiving, how depressed Riese is that everybody in New York is too skinny for her to fall in love with, the war in Iraq, and how to make Haviland look naked. There's a lot of subtext, too. Very complex. "Meta" as the hipsters with the bangs in their eyes are saying. Ironically. While having their falafel in that shop by the L station after the nerve/onion cocktail mixer. I say cocktails ironically, p.s.

It's Friday night. If we were cool, we'd be out somewhere. I don't know. Wherever the kids are going these days. To eat falafel. No, we're cool. We also went to Ikea today. It felt like Sweden, but with more furniture and less people.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Great Mysteries of Life Ctd.: Oh And I'm Feeling Directionless Yes But That's To Be Expected

Speaking of great mysteries in life I don't understand, the cashier at the Fredrick Douglass Avenue Dunkin' Donuts -- who, in case you're wondering, and I think you are, sported an unzipped fly, appeared approximately 100 years old and was possibly drunk [he smelled strongly of something sweet and rotten] -- just requested ID when I paid for my iced coffee with a gift card. This has never happened before, and if it had, I would have been similarly confused/suspicious about Big Brother.

Me: "Why do you need my ID? That's a gift card."
Him: "We must always ask for ID in these matters--" [Holds up gift card as if to physically demonstrate the meaning of "these matters," which I guess is "matters of plastic."]
Me: "I mean, I have ID, I just don't understand what you need it for. My name's not on that card, so like, it's not like you need to match me to the gift card. Anyone could use it and it would be legal. It's a gift card."
Him: [looking at the card more closely] "I see." [thinks again] "No, we must always ask for ID in these matters."
Me: "Like, what are you going to prove about my ability to use that gift card by looking at my ID? I have one, I just don't understand the point."
Him: [apparently resigned that I'm not handing over the ID, possibly already thinking about his next drink/masturbation session] "It is just our policy on these matters."
Me: "Well, I really don't get it, so ..."


[Stand-off continues. My iced coffee waits for me, untouched, tantalizing and then ...]

[His co-worker/drinking buddy says something to him in another language which I assume translates to "You are wrong, asshat," because my Robert Murdoch-y Cashier resigns and scans my card sans ID. Also, I think I should make a little Dictaphone and just record myself saying "No Sugar," and then I can play it for the goldfish at D2 every day when they ask "No sugar?" and I respond, yes, that's right, "No sugar."]
I thought I had like ten million "mysteries of life I don't understand," but I realised upon sitting down to write this that I just had a lot of miscellaneous petty complaints about life's small tragedies that I wanted to complain about to as many people as possible. I asked around to jog my mind, and here's what I got.

Crystal's Great Mysteries:

Re: Why does the fire alarm in my building only go off on certain floors? Like, surely you'd evacuate the whole building.
It's natural selection, I think. Probs they get rid of the people who use their powers for evil instead of good.

Re: Why won't Qantas fly me from Vegas to New York?
Why won't Qantas fly me everywhere? If they flew me everywhere, I wouldn't be afraid of planes.

Re: Why, after years of continual typing, am I still a retardedly slow typer?

That is weird.

Re: Why do people keep calling my phone even when I never answer?

I could not possibly "totes" this answer more than I already do. TOTES. I wish I knew, but I think it has something to do with bills and a dead body.

Re: Why do people always try to talk to me when I'm trying to enjoy a cigarette?

People are annoying and weird and assume people would rather talk than do just about anything else there is, that's why we've created g-chat and such, so that we can be chatting all the time with other humans. I don't know I think it's because people don't know how to deal with being needy. That's a long answer. I wish people wouldn't try to talk to me when I'm trying to enjoy a book or an ipod or a fake usage of phone.

Lozo's Great Mysteries:

Re: Why do girls care so much about eyelashes? Thickness? Length? Eyelashes aren't penises. Are they?
I think there's a subtle effect of mascara that you're failing to notice. Also they are penises. That's how gay people do it. Like butterflies.

Re: Why are there signs on the highway that say, "speed checked by radar"? What the fuck else would you check it with? Is that supposed to scare me into slowing down?
I realise I've literally always assumed there was some other method I just hadn't noticed before. Like, "Oh, by radar, cool, not that other thing, totes." 'Cause otherwise that'd be totes retarded, which clearly they are. Maybe it's because of radar guns.

Re: Why do they put cereal in boxes? They put chips in bags, can't they put Cheerios in bags?
This convo led to me discovering Lozo cares about the rainforest, it was strange.

Lainy's Great Mysteries:

Re: Why do I keep smoking even though it makes me feel like shit and I know it's killing me?
I feel like I can describe most of my life's activities as things that make me feel like shit, things that're killing me. There must be a patch for this or something, a different way to get the same drug, a change in method.

Re: Why do I break electronics so easily?
I tell myself that it's not me, it's the electronics. Headphones are the new crack.

Re: Why do I say the most inappropriate things to the most inappropriate people but with people I care about I oftentimes am shy?
It's what's at stake.

Re: Why do I like to stay up late even though I enjoy the morning?
I was just asking myself the same question. Maybe we really like all the parts of the day, every single hour, all of it, all of it, the hours, the hours.

And now ... My Great Mysteries!

What happens on my street every morning at 8:21 A.M.?
It's like a honkers convention, where all the cars in the city drive to my street and make sure their horns are working properly. Like, let's test them out doing a variety of long beeps and short beeps, all at once, good, again. That sound has awoken me from slumber for the past three days, it's unbearable, though it gets me out of bed early. But first I lie there, half-asleep and annoyed, fantasising about leaning out my window and dropping large rocks on people. Who knows where thoughts come from, they just appear, they just beep and crash.
Am I Hungry?
Sometimes I can answer this. Sometimes, it is pure mystery, because it is a kind of wanting and wanting is mystery.
How Did I Just Get Two Bug Bites? WTF? THREE!!
Why do people put songs that play automatically on their MySpace profiles?

In what circumstance would I think "Oh, thank G-d for that song that just started auto-playing on top of the music I'm already listening to! Your song and my song together equals the best song I've ever heard." You know? Put a player I can opt into employing, but making "Gimme Gimme" auto-start is not gonna make me give you jackshit, no custody, no nothing woman, no-thing. Not a thing, you hear me? Especially if you've already got a lot of other things going on on your profile. This is why I like facebook better, because myspace makes my computer explode.
Also, on the topic of myspace, what the f is up with those ads?
Srsly, any humans who'll cop to exclaiming: "OMG! I totally know the answer to this pop quiz, it's Jennifer Aniston!" and rushing to click the ad or "I know New York's real name! Totes! Free iPod here I come!" I guess you'll need a free laptop after yours melts following the virus that ad clearly leads to. There's an asterik, even, qualifying that the ad won't do what it promises. I thought myspace advertising space was really expensive, so I'd just expect higher standards from it's advertisers.
I guess I don't know the answer to that one. Usually they're pretty obvious. They're clearly targeting a demographic of people who watch that show, which as far as I know, doesn't include very many smart people. Like "Two and a Half Men," if they were like: WHICH OF THE MEN IS ONLY A HALF? I'd be like "DURRR."
How do all these terrible television shows get greenlighted?

This upcoming television season, which I know about because I sometimes read retarded magazines and am intrigued by the consistently ridiculous things that happen in the same world that like, invented trees and other really neat things, features many programs that are not necessarily worse than root canals. Like, for example:

-"Carpoolers" -- in which four douchebags sit inside a car driving to work and bitch about their wives. Like, really? That's typically the kind of thing I'd avoid being anywhere near, let alone turning on my television with the express intent to view for 22 minutes.
-"Cavemen" -- Based on those commercials that apparently everyone loved but I found intensely annoying. About what it's like to be an "outsider." You know, as a modern caveman, like Encino Man, great film. It sounds to me a lot like a show about what it's like to look like a douchebag.
-"Life is Wild" -- They advertise during 'Gossip Girl,' it looks like a bunch of douchebags running around in the jungle.

Who wants to be on television talk shows or reality dating shows? How could that possibly make life better? [Unless you're America's Next Top Model. Then you can live your life as a Cover Girl, which is awesome, it covers 85% of lines and has a smooth sheer finish.]

Who says, "OMG, I am so glad I ran around naked on television hitting my ex-husband's wife's lesbian lover's stepdaughter's aunt who's really my transsexual wife with a folding chair, that was so healthy, ever since I got back to Greenbo everyone's been recognising me at the Stop & Shop."

Or: I'd rather not compete with one girl over a girl I like, let alone an entire house-full of people competing for the girl I like.

Sooooo ... guess what?! I've been invited to appear on "The Tyra Banks Show"! I'm guessing they messaged every twentysomething bisexual on MySpace though it's highly possible I was hand-picked because clearly, I'm a shooting star and the camera loves me. The guy explained that they're seeking "a really fun and energetic Bi Woman" to go out with one girl and one guy. Apparently, this is a "social experiment" to "observe the differences between a woman on a date with a woman, and a man on a date with a woman." Really Papi? He's coming right out and admitting that's the point? 'Cause there's no way I'd actively contribute to perpetuating negative and counterproductive stereotypes about bisexuality, although also, I kinda would: I'd hope to trick them, turn it around. But they'd probs find a way to edit out my clever wisdom -- so --- back to no. But also, is this how she recruits girls for ANTM, "We'd like to break you into a million pieces, trap you in a house with a bunch of hyperactive anorexic loons and convince you that developing a signature walk and embodying the spirit of a desert flower or a crime scene is the most important thing you've done your whole goddamn life, then edit you to appear as insane and ugly as possible, and then -- in a matter of months, the entire world can watch your rejection on teevee!"

The financial compensation the Tyra Banks Show offfers is paying for the date. P.S., Tyra, I think you can afford a little more than that. Also, that surprises me, I think they'd be desperately interested in who might pay for dinner, the man on a date with a woman or the woman on a date with a woman. Like, as a social experiment.

Last year, following my appearance in a Marie Claire dating article [I was pictured as the "open minded dater" = laughably false], The Keith Ablow Show, which hadn't yet aired, asked me to come on. Not my thing, but also I was scared it'd be a trick like those shows often are. So I was like "No way, weirdo, I'm not gonna walk into that trap! I'll go out there all proud w/my gender theory, and you'll shove someone from high school who wants me dead in my face, or I'll be sitting next to my grandmother."

I think most gay women in NYC got the Tilla Tequilla casting call -- come live in a mansion with a Maxim model and 13 other hot lesbians, it's the first lesbian dating show ever!--obvs it was a trick.
Does anyone really ever get Toxic Shock Syndrome?
I used to be really scared of this when I first read about it.


Why does everyone in my neighborhood walk so slow?
I feel like Roadrunner when walking down 125th. I swear, no one else on the street has anywhere to be at all whatsoever like, ever. I just figure, I'm going, I may as well go fast. That's why they call me Flash Gordon.
These are the problems, as I see them:
1. An abundance of strollers and "walkers." I think everyone in this 'hood either has three babies or is almost dead and deaf in both ears. Howevs, I'd like to add that we could all move a lot faster if more people opened doors for strollers and walkers and if more people helped old ladies across the street. Seriously, I feel like I help a lot of lunatics cross 125th, I cannot continue to carry the whole team.
2. A plethora of street salesmen hawking wares including DVDs about the apocalypse and large photographs of Erykah Badu and slave executions and Urban Lit. I support the Urban Lit, but the rest of it can go, except the coffee guy.
3. We just need a greater sense of urgency cultivated in this 'hood, or more space between street-vendors and the street for someone to do the I-live-here-street-walk. Also, perhaps there could be hoverboards like in Back to the Future, I feel like we've totes passed whenever all that stuff was supposed to happen, what crap.


Why isn't there a way to search for random word frequency?
Like, I want something to search my documents and tell me if I'm using any particular word too much or more than once. Does this exist? I'm not asking to search for a specific word, I just want it to look at a document and be like "you used the word 'enable' 15 times." "You used totes 500 times." "You talk about Haviland too much."


Why am I like, how I am?

Angela: Why are you like this?
Jordan: Like what?
Angela: Like, how you are.
(My So-Called Life)

I mean, seriously. I guess that's what this blog is about, but also in doing that, I hope to write about why you're like, how you are too. You know? A few months ago we had mice, and Roommate-Ryan put out these no-kill mousetraps that mice can sometimes get out of and asked me You think they'll fall for it, don't they know better by now? They'd just keep going back to the same situation? And I was like, yeah, they would, I mean, you shouldn't ask me, of all people, to say they wouldn't run right in there, all earnest about peanut butter. In the morning, I sometimes lie there for a second wondering if I remember how to breathe, if it's smooth sailing from here on out, cool customer, congruent, catastrophic, sweet like memory and words and hands, my lungs open, I grasp through the dark.

What should we Vlog about?
Haviland and I are going to do more vlogs, since it was superfun. Howevs, we need you to tell us what to talk about or ask us questions. This is a Great Mystery of Life, and I want you to help me to understand. See, you help me, we make jokes, and then in China, a butterfly flaps it's wings and saves a village of children, who were hungry but now are not. It's magic. Like Puff. The Magic. Dragon. Sometimes, I wonder, why don't I just write stuff down here that I shouldn't say? Like what is it that creates the decency between my brain and my methods of communicating how my brain is operating? Will it die before I do? I admire it, it is stronger than me, I am grateful it exists. There are so many words I want to say but until I say them, they aren't real. I say a lot of words, so it's the ones I restrain from vocalizing or writing that astound me the most, at the end of the day.

So what should Haviland and I Vlog about? Topics. Email, comment, whatevs. Just throw out a topic if you want to and have one. Any topic or question. We've already used "football" and "blow jobs," so none of that.


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Why Don't We Get Hot and VLOG? : Haviland and Riese Do Video

Lozo had finger surgery and can't type long sentences, let alone live-blog men's tennis tournaments. [Number of potentially un-funny How-Lozo-Broke-His-Finger jokes I've written and deleted so far in the writing of this post = 7.] For some mysterious reason, he thought I'd be the one with the answer to life's eternal question: "What's stronger than Vicodin?" I suggested two Vicodin -- but the point is; obvs his pain is deep, like a very deep hole in the ground or a well from the olden days. In order to satiate the ravenous athletic appetites of Lozo's audience, Haviland and I donated our services to his blog via VLOG. Perhaps you've seen it, as, in my awesomeness, I gave him a 48-hour exclusive on Part One of "Haviland and Riese's Awesome Video Blog For Lozo" and a permanent exclusive on Part Two, which he'll be posting later tonight, at which point that text will light up with the bright promise of Hyperlink [UPDATE: And it has]. Part One is also down below for y'all, if you haven't already seen it. It's very compelling: we talk to each other, talk to the camera, talk about ourselves, talk about the knot in my back which's actually getting worse, and apply lip gloss.

Also, near the end, you will hear me say "Obvs depends on the girl," and Hav say "Probs blonde," therefore answering the eternal question of: "How do those words sound spoken out loud?"

Actual blog entry to come sometime within the next 36 hours or so.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Sunday Top Ten: Promise I'll be Perfect From Now On

This week's Sunday Top Ten is Crystal's fault, kinda -- I like to absolve myself of blame straight away. I'd told her a hands-down totes fantastic story about listening to The Bible Experience on audiobook, which I later related here, and she suggested: "That would be an interesting/hilarious blog, you could call it 'Sunday Top Ten: Times I've Cheated to Win the Hearts of Others.' Actually that's a really crap title. This is why I don't have a blog audience." She's just being self-deprecating, obvs, she's got quite an audience considering she deletes her blog every two days, an action I've only had the courage to do once, and I didn't delete it, I just made the whole thing private for about ten hours. Everyone freaked out and thought I'd died. Seriously, if I'd died, I wouldn't've deleted my myspace profile first, which I did that same night. Rough night.

Anyhow, I tried but honestly couldn't think of ten times I've cheated to win the hearts of others ... then I considered "Things I've Done to Win the Hearts of Others" ... salivated over the idea of publicly stating my heaps of selfless grand gestures, supreme gifts and extraordinary efforts of relationships past, then realised that'd mostly be an exercise in self-congratulatory pride, fun for me, less fun for you ...

... then several un-interesting topic-morphs later, this became what it is, "Things I've Picked Up from the Fire" .... or "You Might Wanna Change Me, If You Met Me," which's funny because halfway into this thing I saw Crystal'd updated her blog [she's likely to delete it before I finish this paragraph so that may be a dead link] and she'd touched on this topic -- you know, but maybe not funny, coincidence = "clear signs of divine oversight" ... Anyhow, on seeing her ex next year: "I'd like to make some changes before then ... not because she didn't like me, she really did, that's the problem. She likes retards, so next time I see her I'd like to not be retarded. The need for change is not only about her though, she may be the least of it. It's also because if I keep going to the way I am ..."

Sooo .... relationships are not easy. I'm not in one or anything, but I've been, and I've got friends that are/were and it seems the topic of "how much can you change for someone" has been consistent issue and conversation topics w/my friends over the past several months -- how do you draw the line between what you're doing in light of them and what's too much? -- as Carrie Bradshaw said: "When does compromise become compromising?" For example in my last relationship I was unwilling to give up Satan-Worship, gluttony and my relationship with Lozo, I felt that would've been compromising. JK. Long story. [Good story.]

Sometimes, people want other people to change. Change is also not easy. Howevs, sometimes you're like: you know what, good point. This is something about myself I'd like to work on, and this is something that would benefit both of us and me especially in the long run, or like I wanted to read that book anyhow.

Angela : So, you and Kyle broke up? I mean, was there like, a reason?
Sharon : I guess -- I'd have to say -- it was my beliefs. I didn't feel -- like I should -- give up my beliefs. Even, even for Kyle.
Angela : So how do you, like -- I mean, you just -- *told* him that you didn't wanna have sex with him, no matter how much he was like expecting it?
Sharon : Oh, no. Oh, no, no. We had sex. I'm saying I had a belief that he was being a butthead, which was true.
-My So Called Life, Episode #13, "Pressure"

So anyhow, sometimes, you fight about behavior for eons, try to change for each other, flip fault like your brain's alternately treading water and breath-holding diving ... only to discover underneath all of that effort: you've just got different personalities. No one's wrong or right, no one's got big problems needing immediate fixing ... you're just not right together right now or possibly ever.

Sometimes, I feel like it's almost easier to be with someone who's nothing like you on the surface 'cause then you're forced to look for more essential similarities right away, rather than proceeding on a base level assumption that you're on the same page when in fact, you just like the same movies and have similar friends. You know?

When do you stop trying to make it work? When does it stop being good enough to be worth the actual time -- the actual minutes of life you're willing to devote to something ultimately temporary, preventing the entrance of other possibilities -- it's often argued that people don't ever really change, or that you can't change who you are, you can only change how you act or react. I think people can change, but finding a person at a point when the change you require is the change they can provide--that's tough. So often we're propelled into things when a piece of our soul recognises something beautiful and similar in the other but so often, timing is everything. So often, timing is tragedy. So often, timing is nothing, people are tragedy, so often, who the fuck knows.
Larry: Everyone learns, nobody changes.
Anna: You don't change.
-Patrick Marber, Closer
"People don't change, Wolverine. You were an animal then, and you're an animal now."
-X-Men 2
"There are the people who you've known forever who know you in this way that other people can't because they've seen you change. They've let you change."
-"Angela," My So-Called Life
"I won't mistake you for problems with me."
-Tegan & Sara, "I Won't Be Left."
Sunday Top Ten: They Made Me Do It
OR Things We Picked Up in the Fire,
and Either Kept or Discarded
in which I refer to many different people as "X,"
don't get confused. Not all the same person. That'd be a very schizo person. Haha! HA!!!


10. Smoking (Doesn't Stick)

I'm the most impressionable cigarette smoker ever. I've previously met non-smokers whom I've told "Oh yeah, smoking, gross, would never do that," revealing nothing of my past affections. Meanwhile, I'll date a smoker, and then start smoking. I never get addicted [Seriously; no denial here, I'm pretty open about my vices], it's just like "Oh, you're having one? I'll have one." Things'll end because things often do: and always, always, a partial pack remains. Theirs or mine --so I open the partial pack, I finish it. Ash builds at the base of a glass jar that once held a cheap candle. And then I toss it.

9. Lifting (Didn't Stick)
X asked me to meet him at the gym. I didn't know, I was 18, was it a date? In public high school, it seemed date #1 --for my friends obvs as I got no play in public high school -- was "making out while drunk in your friend's basement," and in boarding school, I dunno, the same thing but in the woods? No, JK. The Mel-Caf obvs. X told me it was a date, later, after, when we were at dinner.

X was 27, I felt grown-up like a girl in a magazine. X made me do stuff with free weights. "I just do the lat pulldown and cardio," I'd confessed though really I knew better. But X made me lift with him, said I needed to get strong, and then I got comfortable enough to do it on my own. Then I left New York, and him, and muscles eventually too. I prefer to be dainty, like a willow in the breeze.
8. Watching Movies Again (Stuck)

Me: "Whatcha doin'?"
X: "Lebowski."
Me: "Again?"
X: "I love Lebowski."
Me: "Whatcha doin'?"
X: "Watching Super Troopers."
Me: "Again?"
X: "It's so funny. Wanna come over?"
Me: "And watch Super Troopers?"
X: "It's so funny."

I'd never really understood why people re-watch movies, I'd get so restless. It was hard enough for me to pay attention the first time around, let alone the second time -- I get it now, all the things you miss the first time around sometimes, and it's satisfying in that way as life itself rarely is -- do-overs, you get it, really get it this time. Or something like Reality Bites that seemed boring and retarded the first time (1994) and like it'd been coiled straight outta my soul the second time (2005). But then I started to understand the entirely separate but totes valuable aspect of re-watching films, one of these being that if you wanted to make out instead you could I guess -- anyhow it provides something else entirely the 10th or 11th time, it's like soup or a blanket or something. I own DVDs now. I like them in the background sometimes; Gia, Almost Famous, St. Elmo's Fire, Breakfast at Tiffany's.

7. December is Darkest, in June There's The Light, But This Empty Bedroom Won't Make Anything Right, June July August September October I'm Alive November December Yeah All Through The Winter I'm Alive (Didn't Stick)
It seemed like X and I had tickets upon tickets to things; like every time we considered breaking up, in the back of my mind I'd be like "Fuck, what about the Pistons tickets? What about the Unwritten Law tickets?" or whathaveyou. Life became concert-and-sporting-event-centric, which felt-grown up to me, like these suburban pleasures based on national tours 'cause nothing exciting happened organically out there, but really, that was just the beginning of what X was willing to line up overnight for, I felt like X was on a calender that was light years more organised and boring than mine, that X knew where he wanted to be next year and what row and aisle number, I didn't even know what music I'd like then. Or maybe my favorite player was about to get traded, or maybe I'd have finally run away.

I want to be able to plan that far in advance. I want that really bad, sometimes.

6. Embracing Debt (Durrrr)

Before I met X, who was in Law School, I was unaware that one had the option to NOT pay off one's credit card at the end of the month. X was a Master of Debt. We'd get back to X's Brooklyn Heights apartment and X'd beeline for his computer to log that day's receipts on Quicken. One summer in L.A., X lived off of credit cards -- making cash withdrawals to enable minimum payments. X often said: "I'm the master of my debt" and "I have perfect credit." Amazed by the unused line of personal credit I had available, X encouraged me to take advantage of it, not be so uptight. And so: here we are, kids.

Maybe I would have been
Something you'd be good at
Maybe you would have been
Something I'd be good at.
-Tegan & Sara, "Call it Off"

5. I Bet it Stung, Don't Get so Uptight, Don't Get So Uptight ... (Didn't Stick)

X didn't like it when I made fun of him. Something about our sense of humors didn't exactly work together, which was odd, as we were described as "the funniest guy in school and the funniest girl in school," as if our relationship was instant comedy gold. Sometimes it was, but sometimes it really wasn't. I'm aware that making-fun-of-someone often veers into cruel and low-blow territory, with humor used to mask deep-rooted and vicious truths, but I don't do that, I'm just mean when I wanna be mean, not funny, anyhow I tried to be nicer. Now I just know I can't deal with sensitive people, or people who are sensitive to me specifically for whatever reason, like past insecurities/problems whatevs whatevs. You've gotta be able to take it -- and dish it out -- or it just won't work.

4. Blogging my Life Away (Stuck, Obvs)
I don't think I ever woulda started a blog if X didn't have one. I was like "what is this blog thing? And how is it different than livejournal?" She showed me the light.

Also, I've literally had three requests for additional photographs of X's ass, previously the center of attention when I used these old photos of us in my Dream Jobs Sunday Top Ten and It's Not What You're Like, It's What You Like Sunday Top Ten. I'd ask her if it's okay to post additional photos, but that'd be a little awkward, so I'll just do it. If I had that ass, I'd want it photographed and displayed as often as possible.

Also, FYI, this was X's comment-response to the multitude of ass-compliments received following the March post, which's brill: "Oh my ass is FAMOUS! There are so many people that I would like to thank ... Riese for making this public announcement on my "somewhat perfect' feature (and for buying us those amazing matching boy shorts which read "Hands where I can see 'em" and which perfectly hug my curves), Blox-tox for saying 'Carmen Morales perfect' which made my day, my Mom b/c I believe I inherited this ass, and by gym Maxim where cardio machines make it all that it can be!"

3. Being Blonde (Stuck)

My hair stopped being naturally blonde in the early 90's, but I've been dying my hair for so long that I forgot what my natural hair color was 'til I let it all grow out about two years ago as part of my Low-Maintenance Movement. Haviland [no point in X'ng dear Hav] saw my old photos and immediately launched a personal campaign to convince me that I had to go back to blonde, get highlights, etc. I'm not opposed to these campaigns--I wouldn't kiss my high school boyfriend unless he'd done his hair the way I liked it. When I showed up at her apartment re-blonded, the second line out of her mouth was "Omigod, we're going to look SOOOOO hot on the cruise!" Agreed. See, here's a "before" and "after":
"You're happy if the thing you naturally want makes the other person happy.
If it's not that way, then I don't know. I guess you're in limbo."
-Richard Ford, Wildfire

2. Ending Teeny-BopHood (Stuck Obvs)

Email, 1998:
This following excerpt is from an email I sent Jake on May 13, 1998. It's brill in how it addresses how Ryan changed me and also how little I've changed since then. Also, "phat as hell" should probs like, come back. That's ace.

"This summer, I'm gonna tear down all those fucking pictures of Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes and Jared Leto from my wall. And take down that stupid bulletin board. If Ryan's taught me anything, it's that the whole Leonardo DiCaprio thing is totally fucking crazy ... I mean, what is that? He's not even fucking real! I need to get that shit off my walls, or get over that phase, as Ryan calls it, my 'teen bop' thing, but I can still have my guilty pleasures, e.g., 90210. I saw Dawson's Creek today! It was fucking awesome, just because it sucks that much. i think it's hilarious how stuff like that can almost make me cry. But I'm going to tear down all those pictures, throw them away, and turn half of my room into an office, like where I can write, and its' gonna be my computer, like maybe some pictures, like those postcards, and I can sit there and work on my novel, write letters, listen to music. It'll be phat as hell."

1. Attempting to Understand Republicans (Ugh.)

Sometimes I joke that if Kerry'd won in '04, it's possible my relationship with X coulda lasted a little longer, though ultimately we just weren't right together and X was ready to be a grownup and I was ready to make out with as many girls as possible. I had a lot of anger towards the Republicans and the Country and 'cause X was really the only Republican I knew, I took a lot of it out on him. X wasn't a fan of Bush, but X said "I'm not gonna vote for fucking KERRY," and then I stabbed his eyes out with the overgrown fingernails of unaborted babies and fire-bombed his room, killing all the women and children. And (and!!) the rest of X's family was totes liberal. Last time I saw X, he said he's a registered Democrat now, "cause of Bloomberg." Amazing.


"I'm not unfaithful,
but I'll stray."
-Tegan & Sara
We're left with style,
a particular way of standing and saying,
the idiosyncratic look
at the frown which meas nothing
until we say it does. Years later,
long after we believed it peculiar
to ourselves, we return to love.
We return to everything,
strange, inchoate. Like living
with someone, like living alone,
settling for the partial, the almost
satisfactory sense of it.
-Stephen Dunn, "Essay on the Personal"

Thursday, October 11, 2007

You Can't Just Hop a Plane : On Australia

I was a big fan of "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very, Bad Day," in which the protagonist suffers a series of crippling ailments, including being forced to sleep in his railroad-train pajamas and getting gum in his hair, prompting him to repeatedly resolve to move to Australia. I related, 'cause of Big M. You know what? My hair looks a lot like Alexander's. Maybe tomorrow when I'm trying to put off re-starting my life and joining the world, I'll re-create that photo on Photobooth but with lip gloss. That would be really funny, actually. Maybe just to me, but that's fine. [UPDATE: This could still happen. You never know.]

I promised recently that I'd dedicate an entire post to the country "Australia." This is that post.
As this chart demonstrates, Australians are the second-coolest people on Planet Earth, second only to Americans, who're slightly better than everyone else by alot. Hey, Japanese readers: how do you read this blog? Does it translate to Japanese and, question two, if so, is it good? In Japanese? Do you LOL, or whatever it is that happens over there? Luckily, I speak Australian. As you possibly notice, I use Australian spelling. Also, I have this problem with contractions, but that's unrelated.

I tried to think of a good theme for this Australia-post, like "Reasons Australia's Better Than America" or the opposite of that. Howevs ... I'm not sure if y'all are aware of this, but America's not rocking so hard right now and thus I'm having trouble bashing it [too obvious, possibly ungrateful, also problematic as I'm passport-less and therefore trapped, furthermore probs some Norwegian Star employee's got my passport and is doing dirty things with it] or endorsing it [we suck], so I'm just gonna ramble, per ush.

-A Special Place in My Heart for Australia: I've got a lot of connections to this country. I've got family there [in Melbourne and Sydney, my Mom's side], have traveled there five times, work as a copywriter for an Australian company and write for "The L Word Online," which's co-run by an Australian. Also, my dashboard clock is on Sydney-time, in order to best enable the delivery of about 50% of the work I get every day, which is a lot more than 0%, so that's something. Also, I LOVE SILVERCHAIR. JK, I don't like them, but they looked like girls, which's hot. They opened for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, I kinda went to that concert.

-Handjobs for the Holidays: I attended second grade in Melbourne, Australia for a month. For fun. I honestly thought attending school was fun, isn't that badass? Unfortunately, the Australian teacher immediately noticed my improper pencil-holding skills: I wrapped my fist around the pencil, rather than gripping it properly like a douchebag. The teacher made me cry [first day, keep that in mind] and gave me a "pencil grip," which cramped my style big time. I'm back to the old way now, which makes my hand ache on occasion, but such is life. Other things don't make my hand ache, so that's something. I never learned it proper.

-Fun Vocabulary I Enjoy: , Have you noticed American slang, aside from AutoWinSpeak/Maviland, always sucks? E.g., "Sucks."? "NOT," "the bomb," etc. That's not near as awesome as how Australians talk. Wanker? Dropkick? Full on? Ace? I love "can't be bothered," too. Ace.

-Big M: I don't know why exactly, but as a kid, I felt drinking Big M was like drinking nectar directly from the inner organs of twelve dancing deities. I recall there being far more flavors when I was there than there are now. Someone tried creating flavored milk in the U.S. but it never took off, 'cause Americans are dumb and want to die. I'm one of them, what can I say.

-The Piano Has Been Drinking: Every restaurant is like, BYOB [right?] Saves money for more important things, like having afternoon tea with Queen Elizabeth. Oh wait, that's um, England. Hooo-haaa. Also, they're not so uptight about drinking over there. Kids can drink socially pretty young and consequently, they have less alcoholism and probs less blogs cause people learn to drink responsibly before they turn 21, instead of going off to college and becoming binge drinkers like in MTV True Life: I'm a Binge Drinker. I don't have any data to back this up, but I'm pretty sure it's true.
-The Yellow Book: This show, PlaySchool -- great show. We watched it every day. Bananas in Pyjamas eventually came to the U.S.A. and got kinda annoying. The theme song of "PlaySchool" chanted "open wide, come inside," thus inspiring young trashwhores everywhere to you know -- open wide and come inside, etc.

-The Australian Dream: The American Dream is a cool idea, but it doesn't really work, 'cause you're sorta fucked if you're born into a hands down totes shitty family in a super-poor area. I mean, you've got a shot, especially if you're good at basketball or strike oil in the Oklahoman hills, but you might not get toilet paper or textbooks at your shitty local public school, so you're gonna have to pull some Stand and Deliver shit if you wanna be president, which isn't really fair. Yet, Americans insist that we're indeed, a meritocracy [esp. laughable with the Blue-Blooded White House right now] -- that if you work hard enough you can be whatever you wanna be, if you can dream it you can do it, and if you fail, you've got no-one to blame but yourself. Or your parents I guess, but no one really wants to hear about your parents, like shuddup already.

So, this is what Australia and Europe have over us: they're not in denial about how the world works. America's not really a meritocracy, but we prefer to claim we are. In Britan, they're totes like, "yeah, aristocracy, totes," acknowledging of nepotism, the politics of silver spoons, the value of blood, the fact that life isn't really fair, that people aren't exactly where they deserve to be. They just are what they are -- more realistic about expectations and therefore less likely to judge a person straight off based on their occupation.

In America, it's all about "What do you do? What's your job?' It's so common, the first thing to ask straight away. I've become highly conscious of trying to make it not the first thing I ask now, because I don't like being asked, I hate it, actually. I guess it'd be cool if we could just be like "what do you DO?" like, with your time, things you might ask a school-aged kid. You're not gonna judge him on if he's in second grade or not, you know, he's totes just like a second grader or he isn't. Does he play soccer? Enjoy arts & crafts? That kind of stuff. And if the answer is your job, then that's cool.

I mean, people [strangers!] literally ask me "So what do you do for money?" all the time. I can't believe that's appropriate for human people to ask other human people they barely know. This might not be on topic, actually, moving on.

-The accent is really cute. Totes.

-And I Take Into Myself ... The Power of Drugs: I used to have this honesty problem. My Mom smoked a lot of weed and was very paranoid, and thus she swiftly convinced me to also be paranoid. This acceptance of paranoia was the beginning of my life-long personal dedication to humoring the insanity of others, which has paid off and not paid off in a number of interesting ways. Anyhow, when I was in Surfer's Paradise/Gold Coast in the summer of '96 w/my BFF Kristyna, I don't know why I thought the ticket-taker at The Craft would see into my skull and discover I was 14, not 15, and bar us from the film, but I did, and so when he asked my age, I fessed up.

Kristyna was unimpressed: she had a lying problem, and my compulsion for truth-telling habitually cramped her style, and she had significant style. What would we do with the beautiful evening that now stretched endlessly before us? Well, things worked out for us after all -- we trudged to the boardwalk and bought cigarettes and a lighter -- the salesman asked if we intended to "set the world on fire" -- I adopted the phrase immediately and permanently ... obvs. These cute boys asked for a cigarette which's teenage code for "Hi, I also like to live on the edge." They clearly both wanted a pass into Kristyna's pants, which wasn't a hard thing to procure really, but anyhow, they were surfers, invited us to their shady Motel, we clearly went.

Clinton rolled a joint. I tensed up. "Just do it, Marie," Kristyna said. "Just take one hit, your Mom won't know." I knew I was on thin ice already, we'd just met cute boys which was more or less the point of life at that time, and so, I just like, did it. I didn't cough or die or anything.

Clinton had longish blonde hair and sand in his ears, stylish swim trunks, clean pure tan. Jeremy was quieter, funnier, and kept his hoodie on -- we met up with them outside our hotel the next day and took them out to dinner on my Grandmother's dime. She was unimpressed, obvs, as I woulda been, were I her ... the problem was Kristyna, I just couldn't stand up to her. She was my best friend. I loved her and hated her so much.

Clinton and Jeremy kept telling me to take my "toboggan" off 'cause that's when I wore a winter hat 24/7.

So, that was the first time I ever smoked pot. I didn't feel anything, I just waited to feel things, all the time then. The second time I smoked pot was three days later, with my Aunt Alicia, who's only a year older than me. Alicia, Kristyna and I were staying with my cousin [I think?]'s family in Australia and my cousin's husband took Alicia and I to their study and started rolling a joint, using this joint-rolling contraption. I felt like I wasn't allowed to say No, so I said Yes. He took us out to the backyard.

Kristyna was sleeping, so it felt secret and special, maybe the first time I'd done something cool without her. The lawn was dark green and wet. Alicia was a far more developed badass than I was. I was innocent then, like tigerlilies. It was weird. My head felt sorta large and puffy. Barely felt anything though, as I hadn't yet learned to inhale.

[Kristyna, Alicia, Me.] That's my winter hat that I wore every day, even in the summertime. I thought it balanced out my lack-of-chin, but in fact it only extenuated the problem. Luckily I am far older & wiser now.

-Frozen Hands and Feet: During my most recent visit, in 1999 for my step-grandmother's wedding, I swear I was freezing my ass off the whole time I was there. No central heating. Also, I managed to gain five pounds in one week, pretty impressive. Sticky Date Pudding, spaghetti and meatballs, pastries at three in the afternoon, and fish 'n chips. Also, alcohol, obvs. My Mom freaked out that I was drinking, as I was merely 18. I really hadn't drank much then. I also went running every morning on the beach in Melbourne, listening to Jay-Z. Hot.

-Some Noted Exports: Rachel Griffiths-love her. Kylie Minongue- also noteworthy. John Marsden and the Tomorrow series. A series of books of children's rhymes, including: Unreal, Banana Peal, Alright Vegemite, Captain Cook Chased a Chook and Far Out Brussel Sprout! which are all apparently no longer in print. Olivia Newton-John.

-You Take a Second, Take a Year: The flight to Australia takes approximately a gazillion years. You stop in Los Angeles, then New Zealand. Howevs, Qantas, as referenced in the classic film Rain Man, is an ace airline. I had an ex-boyfriend who'd always joke that I was like Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man. Like whenever I wanted to drive he'd be like "I'm an excellent driver." And he'd call me Rain Man. That was nice. Autism. ha ha.