Saturday, May 31, 2008

Just Talkin' Nonsense & Auto-Fun :: 5-31-2008

Welcome to "Just Talkin' Nonsense, " a new regular feature from autowin. What can we expect from "Just Talking Nonsense?" Well, you can look forward to the lowest possible interpretations of "form," "content," "art," and "language." Furthermore, you can expect both "deep thoughts" and links to other people's legitimate thoughts. How do we define "Just Talking Nonsense"? JTN = posts both started and completed AFTER midnight. The starting is key -- I usually finish posts post-midnight, but they'll contain writing begun in a more lucid state of mind. The late-night failures aren't substance related, it's just that by that time I've been alone in my room with the door shut for so long that I've become Emily Dickinson, except less good at poetry. (And also it'd seem, less good at grammar) (If I was a Native American, I'd want my name to be Riese LessGood)

Why midnight? 'Cause that's when I turn into a pumpkin. Pumpkins can't write, 'cause they don't have arms, and that's where I come in. The pumpkin speaks, and I am the vessel of his words. The pumpkin has been gutted, it needs me. The pumpkin is always a he. It's not sexist or anything, I don't believe in men or gender at all necessarily, just words. I believe in a whole lot of different ways to be alive. So many ways to be boys and girls and men and women that really, the binary's as old-fashioned as cholera.

Rose & Olive's nerve photo blog is my favorite. I discovered nerve photo blogs while working there. I was interning during Hurricane Katrina and Siege took a break from his usual subjects to photograph New Orleans, his hometown. His family is there, and so on. It was devastating, the photographs are incredible. My brother, who also lives in NO, said: "I'm fine, I'm at my friend's country club in Atlanta drinking beer. Worry about the people who can't leave." Have I mentioned that even though he was born after me, he somehow got older? I must have.

Also during the Autumn of my Internship, Kate & Camilla launched their photo blog. Lo and I went to their launch party in Faraway, Brooklyn. We emerged from the subway and dashed across the wet street and I screamed "Go! Now! Go!" and she said, "This isn't My So-Called Life!" But it was! It was my so-called life. The party was fun, we laughed at everyone. About a year later, I went to a Kate & Camilla gallery opening party with Stephanie, who'd modeled for them. Maybe a year after that, on the subway, I ran into the designers who's clothes Steph had modeled in Kate & Camilla's photographs -- they recognized me and were adorable, snapped me out of the mindset of whatever gross place I was traveling to.

See: life brings itself back around, you just have to stay awake.

Anyhow, Kate & Camilla don't have a photo blog anymore, which brings me back to Rose & Olive. I usually get uncomfortable looking at photos where people aren't wearing all their clothes, but somehow the nudity they employ isn't so much "look at me I'm sexy" as it is, "we were all naked in the womb, what's the big deal." Which also makes me uncomfortable, but life is supposed to be uncomfortable, right? So, they take good photo.

I only look at nerve photoblogs after midnight. Not 'cause I'm killing time but 'cause there's no time to kill. Time is not a pumpkin or a bunny, obviously. Time is a stapler. If time was applying for a temp job, it would list "collating" as a skill.

The photos I've got up here today, all taken from Rose & Olive, look like the houses I imagine sleeping in during that mythical/future part of life between sunrise and the rest of it when Alex and I will be in a car listening to loud heavy sweet popcorn music and the sun'll beat like beating and we'll be driving to California. Except actually some of the houses are more like houses I imagine I'll want to live in, in Eugene or Missoula, when I see how cheap/inexpensive the rent is everywhere but here and say "Pull over." ("If they say in the car that I am insane, I will take over the wheel." - Thomas McGuane, 92 in the Shade) (my "quote" in the senior yearbook) I'll make a CD for the car and name it "California." This'll be the playlist:

California - Joni Mitchell
Hotel California - The Eagles
Southern California Wants to Be Western New York - Dar Williams
California Uber Allies: Dead Kennedys
Goodnight, California: Kathleen Edwards
California Girls: The Beach Boys
Going to California: Led Zepplin
California Sky: Unwritten Law
California: Rogue Wave
California: Rufus Wainwright
Dani California: Red Hot Chili Peppers
California Dreamin': The Mamas and the Papaps
California Stars: Billy Bragg & Wilco
California Love: Tupac
California: Low
California Sun: The Ramones

Quote: "I woke up as the sun was reddening; and that was the one distinct time in my life, the strangest moment of all, when I didn't know who I was -- I was far away from home, haunted and tired with travel, in a cheap hotel room I'd never seen, hearing the hiss of steam outside, and the creak of the old wood of the hotel, and footsteps upstairs, and all the sad sounds, and I looked at the cracked high ceiling and really didn't know who I was for about fifteen strange seconds. I wasn't scared; I was just somebody else, some stranger, and my whole life was a haunted life, the life of a ghost. I was halfway across America, at the dividing line between the East of my youth and the West of my future, and maybe that's why it happened right there and then, that strange red afternoon." (Jack Kerouac, On the Road)

1) Thank you, Rebecca Traister, for this: Female Writers, Emily Gould, Sex and the City, The New York Times: Another Pretty Face of a Generation "It's been a nasty couple of weeks for New York's writing women, both real and imaginary." (Also, cheers to the Elizabeth Wurtzel related graphic.) Here's some snippets:
"What provokes such fury, over Carrie Bradshaw, and -- for a flash -- over Gould (barring a book deal and TV show that will turn her meanderings into cultural furniture) is that in a media landscape in which there are a severely limited number of spaces for women's writing voices, the ones that get tapped become necessarily, and deeply inaccurately, emblematic -- of their gender, their generation, their profession. More annoying -- and twisted -- is that those meager spots for women are consistently filled by those willing to expose themselves, visually and emotionally. And not accidentally, by those willing to expose themselves in a way that is comfortable, and often alluring, to many of the men who control the media, and to many of the women who consume it."

"We have to remember: There is nothing wrong with women writing about themselves, their youth, their indiscretions, their habits and values and personal development. Men have been writing about this stuff for thousands of years; they call it the canon."
2) The latest show: "They all feel the constant, mind-numbing urge to remind us of just how crazy and dramatic and hardcore their lush lesbian lives are." Boobs, Elbows and Asses: Lesbians Get Another 'Reality' Check with 'Gimme Sugar' (@nypress):
3) My hero Sam Anderson reviews Robert Olen Butler's The Sex Lives of Others (@nymag)
4) Seriously, I thought this was my secret trick, and if other people start being clever in their cover letters than I'm back to where I started from, which's "no marketable skills." 'Cause clearly it's worked so well for me thus far ... um.: "It's No Act, I Need a Job" (@the nytimes)
5) I just discovered this blog today; she's gay, is trying to start her own indpendent bookstore in Brooklyn and has an incredible link list/blogroll. (@written nerd)
6) Let's talk about SATC forevs and evs!! Patricia Field on Her Favorite 'Sex' Outfits and SJP's Crazy Hat, (@nymag), Sex Writers on "Sex and the City" (, and @entertainment weekly; a 100% SATC issue.
7) Do You Hear the People Sing? The Modern American High School Musical (@the simon magazine)
8) "Thanks to Eggers’ own books, McSweeney’s can continue to bankroll what it wants to publish. " Renewing the Faith: McSweeny's Goes Back to Basics, Making Publishing Fun Again. (@laweekly)
9) In Which Women Are Changing the Sex Industry from Inside. (@this recording)
10) Ian McEwan says that "prophets of the apocalypse have become a new and very real danger": The Day of Judgment. (@the guardian uk)
"Her art inspired me to do my best and,
To paint my music like, like I saw it best.
And she says I grew up well. Well, well I grew up strong,
Cause no one's got my back. No one's gonna write me my songs.
I've been tired for days and days."
-Tegan & Sara, "Days and Days"

Friday, May 30, 2008

Auto-Fun of the Day :: 5-30-2008

I still don't know how to use Final Cut, but I gave it my all -- the Logo NewNowNext Awards Red Carpet Video is up on youtube: (1) Part One & Part Two. It's also up on The L Word Online's video page.

quote: "Sometimes I think the people to feel the saddest for are the people who are unable to connect with the profound -- people such as my boring brother-in-law, a hearty type so concerned with normality and fitting in that he eliminiates any possibility of uniqueness for himself and his own personality. I wonder if some day, when he is older, he will wake up and the deeper part of him will realize that he has never allowed himself to truly exist, and he will cry with regret and shame and grief." (Douglass Coupland, "Life After God.")

2) Jenny Allen is The Sleepless Woman -- "I fall asleep, boom, and then, four or five hours later, I wake up—like it’s my turn on watch, like I’ve just had a full night’s sleep. But if I act as if I’ve had a full night’s sleep, if I get up and do things, I will be pitiful tomorrow. I will confuse the TV remote with the cordless phone and try to answer it. I will not notice any of my typos—I will type “pubic school” this and “pubic school” that in e-mails to people whose public schools I am looking at for my daughter.": I'm Awake. Are You Awake? (@the new yorker)
3) This article reminded me of what happened with me & [redacted] magazine ... except my story never ran. [blessing in disguise, in so many ways.]: "The Times Magazine dapples Sunlight On Its Memoirist." (@the ny observer)
4) Jeanette Winterson interviewed for the Sydney Writer's Festival (@sydney morning herald)
5) "What is it about designers? Who are we and why are we the way we are?" Because they're cute, obvs! : "Defining the Designer" (@viget inspire)
6) RKB interviews Kerry Cohen on publishing and her "memoir of promiscuity" (@lusty lady)
7) Video games might not be that bad for you, but I still don't want to watch you play them. (@the prospect)
8) We'll find out tonight! "If SATC the series was promotions heavy, SATC the movie is positively heaving.": "Why retail hopes for Sex and the City won't pay off." (
8a) Classical Allusions in SATC: "Urban Mythology" (@radar)
9) "12 out writers share insights into the genres in which they tell their stories" -- this segment includes Sarah Waters and Rebecca Walker: In Their Own Words (@afterellen)
10) Hope! Hope! Now gays can get married in the sunshine, return to the trash and traffic, remain married: Paterson Sneaks Gay Marriage in Through the Back Door (@nymag)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Sunday Top Ten, Part One: I Wish I Had a River I Could Skate Away On

It is a truth universally acknowledged that it's lame to open any piece of writing with a quote -- even a self-indulgent blog post (update for those not aware: as of May 20th, 2008, "blogs which employ first person narratives" are the default "lowest possible form of written communication/art," ranking only slightly above: emails from technologically incompetent grandmothers, the Yahoo! front page headlines, Goofus and Gallant, Nicholas Sparks novels, negative comments on youtube, text messages from pre-adolescents and the screenplay for Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo). But it's also a truth universally acknowledged that the truth is a silly animal and there's no hunting allowed (we saw the signs this weekend), so I will persist -- I will open by quoting someone far wiser than I'll ever be. Although ... actually, I did just talk so much nonsense that the opening's already taken care of (opening with nonsense is punk and not lame), therefore I'm not opening with a quote, except that I secretly actually did. Hey-oh!

The Great Jim Harrison (The Legends of the Fall, After Ikkyu & Other Poems) once wrote: "One day. Standing in the river with my flyrod, I'll have the courage to admit my life." My writing teacher transcribed this quote in my "book" (I have this special book of my favorite poems & stories and I'd give it to friends/mentors to make a page or 2-3) underneath a 70's b&w of himself (my teacher). Above the photo, my teacher wrote: "Marie - Don't forget -- you owe me a big check so I can do a lot of thinking." See; I was supposed to get famous (due to my fingers allegedly being on the pulse of my generation -- a grave miscalculation), make money, and then send him to Montana where he could fish and think all his life.

Missoula, Missoula, Missoula, I'm yours. Eugene, your name is so terrible that you must be terribly lovely and green. I went to Ashland (same state), there were mountains, they were beautiful.

That's what they do (mountains). They sit there, look good.

I was upstate for Memorial Day weekend -- Alex's family has a cabin up there. Last night I came home. The sirens started after dark. A few, then a hundred, and then helicopters, then the people on the street with something to yell about and loudly. Seven innocent people shot, a few blocks away: "The gunman is still at large, and residents have been advised to stay in their homes." I miss East Harlem sometimes. No cab-drivers or delivery people or friends dared to tread into Sparlem, but people danced to music there. Here, on the West, music just thumps out of cars like it's fighting with the pavement, there's no dancing.

My favorite is NY1's article today, which ends with "two other unrelated shootings also happened in the area last night." (Subtext: "but we don't care.") -- shooting a 13-year-old boy in the leg? How the fuck does that happen? Seriously. How the fuck does that happen?

I don't know. And so, I keep talking about myself. Which I don't know either, but I know it enough to try to talk something. Crazy. Burma. Shoot.

Missoula, Missoula, Missoula, Santa Monica, San Francisco, Eugene, Tacoma, La Jolla, Raleigh, Anchorage, Chapel Hill, Concord, Santa Ana, Savannah, Interlochen, Missoula, Pierre, Charlotte, Colorado Springs, Mesa, Missoula, Des Moines, Providence, Montreal, Sioux Falls, Southampton, Escondido, San Antonio, Tulsa, Thousand Oaks, Topeka, Lafayette, Baton Rouge, Little Rock, Clearwater, Athens, Missoula. Those all sound nice. Literally.

One day, standing in the river with my flyrod, I'll have the courage to admit my life.

SUNDAY TOP TEN: Things I Used to do All the Time but Hadn't Done in Long Time, Until Recent Time.

PART ONE : 10-6

10. Hiking in the Woods
Once upon a time, I didn't own a laptop case but I treasured my hiking backpack. The straps were adjusted for my then-narrow boyish hips. I needed help to cram a sleeping bag into its lower pocket.

Saturday I was standing in the river and remembered everything.

Specifically: rivers I'd crossed before, tents slept in, that wilderness survival class I'd taken at thirteen where I had to build my own shelter from tarp & sticks and sleep in it for three days (but! I was young and we got mooned by the boys. All we could see was leaf-shadows on pale pre-adolescent ass, but what a thrill! Mooning!), getting lost in the Smokies, trekking the Tetons, singing bad hip-hop with backaches and bandanas somewhere in Northern Michigan. Afterwards I'd forget how bad my back hurt and remember the Nalgene bottle and the smell of fire.

It's always bizarre to have dozens of strong memories of a certain activity -- a non age-specific activity -- and then realize the memories are all at least ten years old, like when you go to the doctor and they ask when your last physical was and you feel like it was probs last year but when pressed realize, omg, it's been way more than a year.

I missed the woods. Hark!
9. Gone w/o Internet for over 48 hours
In the week preceding our recent jaunt to Malibu, I'd been wallowing in an imploding and increasingly boring state of depression/anxiety. Haviland said there was no internet at her temporary Malibu digs but 'cause Haviland's technologically impaired, I took this to mean, "I feel there's no internet in my house, but also I don't know how computers work and therefore I'm sure that You! Riese! will find the magic key to wireless." Howevs, I was wrong, Haviland was right as she always is. (First rule of fight club is "Haviland is right") Ixnay on the interent. This weekend upstate -- also, no internet ... and nowhere to drive to and get it, either. And ... it was actually totally ... fine. In Malibu everything was shiny with big lapping waves, upstate everything was green and familiar and safe. Wireless, shmireless. Once the panic passes, it's a whole new kind of calm.
8. Talked to Strangers A LOT

In the past three weeks I've met Alex's family & friends, gone to two parties in one night, hugged Leisha Hailey and interviewed -- on camera -- a plethora of B-list homosexual celebrities. So, screw you, ex-boyfriend who said I had no social skills! (I mean, I don't. But whatever.) (Sidenote; nothing wrong with the B-list. I think I'm on the W-list or something, optimistically). I think waitressing was my old unreal social outlet, I miss it sometimes. Good workout.
7. Hung up On Someone, Over and Over
This technique, employed popularly by dramatic adolescents, can also be enjoyed by full grown adults, if the situation merits. Have you ever had a hang-up relationship? You know what I mean? I had one, 4-5 years ago ... it made me insane and anxious, 'cause I never knew when he was about to hang up and depending on the circumstance, call back or wait for my call back, etc. If I hung up -- would HE call back? How many times would he have to call back before I'd pick up? Vice versa? OMG how did this become my fucking life, etc.?

Once you get used to it, hanging up becomes really not so different from just saying something. As an adult, I feel it's only necessary when someone insists on saying things you don't want to hear. Or! You can take "hanging up" and raise it "hurling phone against the wall," that's fun.

I made the poor decision of raising the topic of Emily Gould's article -- and subsequently, the "self-indulgence-of-bloggers" debate -- with B.

B.: "You're such a good writer, Marie, and you have so much substance, and so much to offer --"
Me: "Wait, slow down. I'm going to transcribe this for my blog, because I'm very self-indulgent and want to air all my personal conversations in public. Okay, got it -- I'm at "so much to offer," keep going--"
B.: "Okay ... really?" [laughs] "You have so much to offer, and yet you're wasting your time on things that are superficial -- I wonder whether or not it ever occurs to you that your endeavors are not as fruitful as they might be, or that they might be superficial, or not be worth your time as much as other endeavors."
Me: "Like what?"
B.: "Like not writing for a body that needs to be entertained. About lip gloss and manicures."
B. : "You say you feel empty, you might want to look at your work and ask why you feel empty --"
(I hang up)

B.: "What if I was your -- your creative writing teacher, coming to tell you this, would you listen?"
Me: "Yes."
B.: "Because of academia's institutions and --"
Me: "Because I'd take this advice from anyone other than you."
B.: "So it's just 'cause it's me."
Me: "Yes."
B.: "So, then, don't listen to me."
Me: "I'm not, when I do, it stresses me out and I can't write anything. Don't read my blog if you don't like it."
B.: "I'm only saying this -- and continuing to call you back when you hang up on me -- because I believe in you, weirdo, and I want to read your blog. I love your writing."
Me: "You haven't liked anything I've written all year."
B. "I liked that auto-portrait piece."
Me: "UGH. Okay, you didn't like anything besides that."
B.: "Okay, tell me what was the content in your most recent post?"
Me: "Nothing. Nothing it was totally irrelevant, worst blog ever, you should just read Elif Bautman and Arts & Letters and The Guardian UK and skip my vapid blog."
B.: "Just tell me what in that post --"
(I hang up)

And so on. Eventually we reached a truce related to different feelings about art vs. entertainment and clearly life in general. Whatevs. "Blog" is such a weird word, it sounds like "bog." Which is a swamp. "There's just no pleasing you, there's just no talking to you." (Ani DiFranco) But I don't know the answer to the question, "why do I do it?" The answer I gave: "I don't know yet." I'm ok with that. It'll be my final answer.

Seriously, I wish everyone in this neighborhood could just truce for like 20 seconds so that a solid hour of my life that could pass without the sound of sirens. I'd prefer to hear cows or chickens.

If I started an Emily Gould fanclub on facebook, I wonder if anyone would join it. Actually, that idea is probably so May 26th, and it's totally the 27th already. The slogan would be "If you don't like what she's doing, don't read it, weirdo."

Q: Like you, Joni Mitchell was extremely self-referential. Many people liked this at first, but they eventually grew tired of it. When she finally stopped writing about herself and turned her attention elsewhere, most people had already lost interest and moved on. Do you worry that the same thing will happen to you?

A: Have people grown tired of Joni Mitchell's self-referentiality? I haven't.
(me neither)
6. Rode Bicycles
As I mentioned in "Top Ten Sport," bike-riding is one of my favorite life activities and has always been. Remember when you didn't know how? I can't imagine that anymore. I sold my bike when I left Williamsburg though and then the guy I sold it to emailed me and said that he'd fallen off the bike and was paralyzed for life or something and it was my fault for selling a bad bike. Except that I'd ridden it the week before, so whatevs, and also he test rode it around our 'hood before paying for it and riding away. Really I don't know what to say about that whole incident, it makes me itchy. Riding bikes in NYC is like Frogger. Riding bikes upstate, or along Venice Beach, is like perfect. Except for the inner thigh sweat and going uphill.

So anyhow, one day, standing above a river on a bicycle, I'll have the courage to admit my life -- lip gloss and all. For now; sirens, gould, self-indulgent english muffin eating. Ehhh. Scream.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

We've Got Hamlets to Visit, We've Got Trees We've Yet to Live In

This weekend I am going to a mysterious "place" upstate where I am told we'll be playing a game called "Manhunt," which involves running around in the dark w/flashlights and touching others with physical aggression. I just set myself up for a lot of really good jokes, I can't even decide, I choose both/neither. You decide, it's a contest, the winner gets a free slice of Key Lime Pie from the Denny's restaurant closest to their home.

Maybe it's not a joke, maybe it's a reality TV show, check it: there will be no internet and my traveling companions include Caitlin, Alex, and Alex's entire family who I will be meeting today.

Also by "place" I mean "house." And by "mysterious" I mean "I am a melodramatic person."

Alex feels it's possible that Cait and I's arrival will be much like Paris and Nicole dropping their credit cards on silver trays before trucking off to hicksville in The Simple Life, but little does she know that basically I am a woman of the wilderness like Robert Bly, Pam Houston, Jim Harrisson, etc., and that I also went to school in the woods for a long time and have, as evidence of that period, the following "poems" on my hard drive: "First Snow," "How to be a poet," "Hearing," "Smell," "Returning to Earth."

Also, "Banana Dreams" : "All the teenagers wanted / to be rock stars, / but you wanted a boat, / an isolated island, you wanted / horizons." What was I talking about? I don't know. I was 17. I was in the woods. I wanted HORIZONS!

This just in! Marie Lyn Bernard and Stephanie Whited reading at "In the Flesh." I don't look at the audience at all, which is cute/not. I stumble on the words twice, because of The Drink. Otherwise, great video, watch it!

Part one:

Part two:

One more thing before I retreat -- I finally read Emily Gould's NY Times article. I loved it. She said so much of what I've been thinking about lately. I also have always enjoyed her writing -- her voice reminds me of me sometimes. I started writing about it -- and about truth, and novels, and art and entertainment and emptiness and fulfillment and lip gloss -- but what I started writing is a mess, so I'll save that for when I return, at which point I will be the 30,000th voice to do so. But let's be honest, mostly I'll just be writing about myself, which is a brand new undiscovered topic rich with gemstones of delight, like a pirate chest.

The biggest shock was realizing on page 6 that Heartbreak Soup was her, primarily 'cause I'd really loved that blog and therefore had a meta moment to see that name dropped. I found them 'cause they linked to me ... secondarily because clearly I'm the worst reader ever, as I never picked up on the many hints dropped about Emily's identity/workplace.

OK! Y'all have a nice weekend, don't forget to Memorialize something unless you live in another country, in which case, um, I have no words for you. HORIZONS! That's all.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Auto-Fun & NEWNOWNEXT VIDEO of the Day :: 5-23-2008

Ladies and gentlemen of the press, fairies, ponies, unicorns, uh huh her groupies, tinkerbell and littlefoot, etc.: I'd like to share with you, before the auto-fun and the snack (graham crackers and peanut butter w/apple juice obvs), a short film. This film was created by me because last week we attended the Logo NewNowNext awards and now I'm supposed to have a video for The L Word Online documenting our efforts. That video will come. Just like rain, snow and me to Carly's office to teach me this g-dforsaken program (Final Cut Express). Using the four or five skills I mastered on FC today, I've assembled a little preview/teaser. I like the word "teaser," it's like oh! Is that a feather on your nose or are you just happy to tease me? Etc. I encourage you to visit the youtube page to view this, you can select "high quality" and it's way better. This video includes superstars like Me, Alex Vega, Caitlin's voice behind the camera, our friend Carly, Michelle Williams, Heather Matarazzo (and her GF Caroline who we know from Cruise '07), Wilson Cruz (RICKIE VASQUEZ!), Candis Cayne, Cyndi Lauper, Billy Eichner, The Dazzle Dancers, Heloise Williams and the Savior Fair, Michelle Paradise, Maeve Quinlan and Jack Mackenroth.

Also our super talented friend Robin does photography for them and so she made lots of memories for us:

quote: "We can so easily slip back from which we have struggled to attain, abruptly, into a life we never wanted; can find that we are trapped, as in a dream, and die there, without ever waking up. This can occur. Anyone who has lifted his blood into a years-long work may find that he can't sustain it, the force of gravity is irresistable, and it falls back, worthless. For somewhere there is an ancient enmity between our daily life and the great work. Help me, in saying it, to understand it." (Rainer Maria Rilke)

1) How to Judge a Book by Its Cover:"what makes a good blub?" (@the guardian uk books)
2) Possibly not just in it for the drama: La-Lohan & Sam I Am (@jezebel) Although I don't link to the blogs of people I know (in some way) in the auto-fun (see: shared items), I occasionally break that rule when Lozo turns three, or when Stef writes basically a Pulitzer-Prize worthy poetry series about the iconic lesbian couple, LOLohan and Sam-Ro. It's not to be missed, that's why it's linked here AND in the shared items. Forevs and evs. (@big-exit)
3) This year at Thanksgiving I can't forget to be grateful for the cutting-edge New York Times Thursday Styles Trends Pieces, like this one! "I Love What You Didn't Do To Your Chip Nails" : "Like untied high-tops, thread-worn jeans and bedhead, [chipped nail polish is] now part of a deliberate look." (@nytimes)
4) Cameron Mackintosh is trying to "rediscover the heart of Lez Miz." I hope it's in the first hour or so 'cause after that I drifted off. (@The Philadelpia Inquirier)
5) It's the guy they wouldn't let into the country! Sebastian Horsely interviewed: "The Dandy Man Can: Sebastian Horsely, lover of rock and Francis Bacon, gets deported for 'moral turpitude." (
6) Ellen DeGeneres asks McCain to walk her down the aisle. ( and the video is up at jezebel.
7) Thirteen Ways of Looking at Super Mario Bros (@yankee pot roast)
8) I LOVED THIS: "Exposed" by Emily Gould (@the ny times magazine)
9) Poem: "Neck" by Sarah Arvio : "I love you with all my soul / and all my I don't know what else to say / my friendishness and my girlishness." (@the new yorker)
10) I am not the only person on earth who reads while in traffic, in line, on the exercise bike, at the dinner table. This girl does too. She's also got tips on a site that offers books as disguised workish documents: "Wherever you may find the moment". (@reasons you will hate me.)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Auto-Fun of the Day :: 5-22-2008

quote: "Just as the eye was unable to turn from darkness to light without the whole body, so too the instrument of knowledge can only by the movement of the whole soul be turned from the world of becoming into that of being, and learn by degrees to endure the sight of being and of the brightest and best of being, or in other words, of the good." (Plato, The Allegory of the Cave)

1) "There are four ways to survive as a writer in the US in 2006: the university; journalism; odd jobs; and independent wealth.": Money, by Keith Gessen (@n+1)
2) Proust Discovers Livejournal. (@mcsweeney's)
3) Truth! This list of The Cutest Jewish Boys on TV includes Fred Savage, others. (@popserious)
4)I love this series, in which authors provide a "music playlist that is in some way relevant to their recently published books." This month is Lavina Greenlaw's The Importance of Music to Girls (@largehearted boy)
5) Once again the power of small unfiltered voices on the internet, combined with that reckless and Opinionated young urban demographic, are ruining the economy, the lives of others, old people, etc. This time, it's Yelp! (@the nytimes)
6)"The nomineees in the Samuel Johnston Prize for Non-Fiction feature a surprising number of novelists, as the Guardian notes, as well as a record level of assholes." (@bookslut)
7)"The desire for a writer to find readers is perfectly understandable, just as it is for a writer to fear judgment": Jonathan Franzen and Phillip Wood converse in Harper's New Book Blog: An Egg in Return (@sentences)
8) JK about the Apocalypse. (@universe today)
9) Chicago is the city of the year, probs 'cause of Oprah or the Cubbies! (@fastcompany)
10) It's Lozo's third birthday! (@wdwgdab)
11) Do 1.3 million people really make a living on ebay? Probs not. (
12) Andrew WK went to my high school. He was actually legitimately too cool for school then, still is: "I had some notes that I'd made to give me a starting point, sometimes, lyrically. But I misplaced those notes." (@the village voice)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Tuesday Top Eight: Time, You've Got Me Running

Clearly I'll believe almost anything for at least a minute if you yell at me loud enough, but it's never been difficult to win me over re: the possibility that we're spiraling slowly/quickly into mass apocalyptic extinction -- especially after George W. took office. Then, last year; getting my nails manicured black, listening to Lavar Burton (from Reading Rainbow and Star Trek: TNG, two of my fave shows!) and James Earl Jones perform The Book of Revelation for "The Bible Experience" audiobook (I like to educate myself via i-pod during mani-pedi time) (I'm a weirdo), I looked outside at April's snow and thought "yup, we're totally in for it."

Luckily, I'm Jewish and don't believe in Revelation, and 'cause the Jews are Chosen I'll probs survive the apocalypse anyhow ... um ... I actually have 'the apocalypse' as a tag, which is telling ... Where was I? I'm sick. I used Carly's chapstick last night before confessing my sickness, so I've been trying to downplay my sickness since then to relieve the guilts I've got over that. Coincidentally, I'm also getting way better.

Sidenote, not related to apocalyptic anything -- in fact quite the opposite! -- we went to the NewNowNext Awards last night and Alex and I pretended to be real reporters (and Cait pretended to be a real cameraperson) for "The L Word Online," the video's gonna be kickass!! I just need to learn Final Cut. Erum today maybe? Look at Michelle Paradise and Tinkerbell! They're so cute and clearly in love!

"What's that, Tinkerbell? You wanna go to the awards with me?"
Seriously, this video is going to be amazing! More about that later. Back to Top Ten Signs of the Apocalypse! I feel like this post is old-school autowin.
... Right! Yesterday at the gym I was watching The View (cue endgame music) and all these ladies -- there's four of them, they're all shiny with serious hair and they are all Not Rosie -- agreed that the end is nigh. They were so casual about it. "Yeah, I wouldn't be surprised," etc.

Then I flipped the channel to MTV during a commercial and confirmed immediately that the world'll probs end in 2010 for sure.
Tuesday Top Eight: Signs of the Apocalypse

8) My Super Sweet 16
The birthday girl hopes it'll be Usher, or someone like that, someone with a name like Skee-Lo or Lil' Romeo, and meanwhile in a gigantic clear wind tank labeled 'Daddy's Money,' other sixteen-year-olds have 20 seconds each to grab for dollar bills. Some kiss the money, some stuff it in their shiny white suits (they're all wearing white, it's a white party), omg, it's the musical guest -- but it's not Usher, it's two ballerinas. They're not wearing white, but they're graceful and talented and for the first time since the 45 seconds prior that I flipped to this channel to begin with, I'm actually interested. Something beautiful is actually happening.

The birthday girl disagrees -- she's horrified, "Oh my GOD this is so embarrassing, what was he thinking?!" she says. She's losing the crowd, her friends are giggling/whispering/aghast. She has failed to provide K-Fed or Kriss Kross. Her father slips into the background, avoiding the camera's reproach, as the birthday girl asks the DJ to stop the music right now, everyone hates it. "I'm here to party, not to see the like, ballet," one dude, the scent of money still fresh on his skin, laments. Anyhow, all is forgiven, her present pulls up outside: "Oh my God," a friend drops jaw for the camera. "She got a new Lexus. I'm so jealous."

All is forgiven. Let us rejoice!

I actually didn't know anyone who had a Sweet 16, is it normal to have one? I guess I went to a lot of Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, though.
7) Another Shot at Love With Tila Tequila
Ok so let's say hypothetically that you're in a swimming pool with a girl you fancy. There's approx. 50 others in the pool, one's named Glitter, the dudes are named Bo, Jay, etc. -- one-syllable words they'll later hurl at each other with the fury of a thousand tattoos of suns. Then, your fancied girl starts making out w/three other girls, and then she makes out with two other dudes, and then makes out with about 100 other people right there.

Would you:
a) Think "OMG, I love this girl, she's the one for me."
b) Try to start a fight with whomever's kissing her.
c) Boil over with jealousy because she is your one true love, you guys hung out for three minutes yesterday, it was awesome, you're in love, wtf.
d) Get out of the pool and be like, "this show isn't about bisexuality, it's about polyamory, which is totes fine, but also not my thing clearly as I've been brainwashed into believing she's my one and only soulmate, and also, Tila is dumb, I'm gonna go nap on that big-ass bed while all these losers duke it out in the pool."
e) Make like Ophelia and drown.

6) Our Stummies Hurt
As a wee lassie, I'd call my stomach my "stummy." Get it? Stomach + tummy = stummy. It often hurt. Everyone's stomach often hurts. In fact, I don't know any woman who doesn't have some kind of serious stomach issue. I think this's 'cause the food industry's semi-evil. We eat crap, everything, unless we're just eating organic, which's expensive, and sometimes not organic. I love string cheese, sidenote. Maybe I'll have one right now. I try not to eat lunch-related foods before 11:15. That's when Fourth Hour starts at Interlochen, a.k.a first lunch period.
"The world is ending out there and people are just getting cosmetic surgery and watching debutantes get screwed up the ass."
(Claire, Six Feet Under)

I read this article and my first thought was, OMG, if the Sex and the City movie is already sold out, I'm gonna be so pissed. THEN! I saw this, which is a timeline of when things'll go extinct in the future, and thought OMG, it's fate. Then I realized "I just thought 'OMG' twice and it's only 9:30. I've been awake since 7, when I awoke to cough. It was so much fun I figured I'd just stay up, and write nonsense all morning long. OMG. Blogging is supposed to go out in 2020, which is good, I'll probs run out of ideas by then. Or perhaps I already have!

4) Save the Cheerleader, Save the World
I started watching Heroes last year 'cause Haviland wouldn't stop yapping about it. After Episode One I told her I couldn't go on, it was making me feel crazy -- believe in magical powers, especially w/r/t apocalypse prevention -- but I started watching again. I'm about six eps in. It's making me feel crazy again, but I'm at peace with that, 'cause it's just so good.

3) My Requisite Angela Chase Moment

Things are one way, here's the evidence, things are another way, here's more. Write someone off, then back in, love them then hate them. It's easy, then, to make a case for just about anything ... for or against almost anyone. I'm gullible, sure, but I don't know many people strong enough in their convictions to never change their mind, or flip-flop. I used to think it was me -- I'm the one changing from one kind of person to another kind of person -- but now I think no; the facts can often line up neatly and eagerly on both sides no matter how still I stand, almost everyone's got a case, and no-one really knows what happened. The world is ending, it'll go on forever, it's ending in 2010, if we lived in Burma or Iraq, it's possible we'd feel it's already ended.
2) Check this out:
Monday 12th - Tegan & Sara concert
Thursday 15th - Uh Huh Her in Philadelphia
Saturday 17th - Carly's housewarming (gay!), Alex's friend's rooftop b-day party (kinda gay!)
Monday 19th - Logo NewNowNext Awards
Tuesday 20th - Uh Huh Her in NYC

That's what I've been doing. Seriously, gayest.week.ever. After tonight I'm not leaving my apartment again until Ellen & Portia's wedding. This has nothing to do with the apocalypse, I just wanted to chat.
1) Doesn't this feel like a countdown? Like now I'll be like, kazaam! Where's Will Smith?

But there's lots of reasons why the world might not be ending: like the gay marriage ban being lifted in California, or that right now most of my friends seem to be recovering from things rather than going through them. There's forgiveness still, and hope. There's misunderstanding, too, but also hoodies and lip gloss and kissing and Uh Huh HER.

You know how when you're sick, you hear everything like you're stuck inside a giant plastic bag? That's how I feel now, but it'll pass. It's like jittery and hollow and rainy, and made me write all this nonsense. Which is incoherent, but in my mind, has a thesis, maybe even five paragraph, and fireworks at the end.

For now, the world spins madly on. I'm hungry.

Monday, May 19, 2008

And ... We're Back!

This morning circa 8 A.M., the Verizon man added himself to the short list of "men who've recently seen me in my underwear" ... and by that I mean ... after a week of intense first worldian struggle resembling the struggle of people who are drowning and can't swim & the struggle of people who do not have real problems like me (Sia is the one with real problems, FYI) : I've got internet back now! For longer than random ten minute intervals! For reals reals! so I'll be responding to comments, posting, reading your blog, etc., with something resembling "regularity," really soon. Possibly even tomorrow, like Annie! Also, big up to Malcom X, apparently it's his birthday today and that's why Starbucks is closed.

Oh and, by request, here's Tink in her hot UH HUH HER-signed outfit. It's hard to read in the photo, 'cause reading is hard (just ask YouTube!) but Leisha wrote "HOT DOG," which coincidentally is the object Tom pondered shooting down a hallway in TLW Episode Five-Something: Blackout Sexathon. If you missed it, his final decision was to do Max like a man.

There's a lot of sexual references to men in this "post," I guess I may as well mention Lozo. That's all. Just throwing it out there for good measure. Ha ha measure ... um. OK, girls are hot, xoxo gossip girl.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

I Pull Up to the Front of Your Driveway With Magic Soaking My Spine (and Auto-Fun)

A night out: widespread potential for things to go wrong. For me, the moment I leave the safety of a designated shelter, I'm already on edge, thinking of the myriad missteps possible between the door of aforementioned shelter and the engagement in the promised fun. ("Fun" = the commonly agreed upon purpose of a night out).

These areas of potential failure include:
a) Entertainments (Good movie? Party full o' douchebags?)
b) Company (Friends, humor, value, tension, fights, lovers, diversity, desire, deflection, admiration, the whole spectrum of human emotion really.)
c) Food (Hunger, cravings, availability, economy.)
d) Intoxication (Level, type & sensation, result, how your stomach/head feels about it.)
e) Transportation (Form, comfort, cost, pleasure experienced en route, cabbie smelled/ruled.)
f) Economics (Cost more/less than expected, you saved twenty percent on car insurance, something inspiring a "priceless" away message on AIM happened, you were robbed at gunpoint.)
g) Special (Having your phone stolen would be an especially bad thing, getting hugged by Cam and Leisha at their initiative would be an especially good thing. Meeting the ex-love of your life in an unexpected but terrible place = bad. Meeting the love of your life = good)
h) Health (Are you tired? Are you allergic to the punch/cats? Did you get too drunk, or take up yoga? Or ... like, the proverbial yoga?)
i) Intellect (Did this event make you smarter somehow? Probs not, but you never know, I do enjoy a good poetry reading, I felt spiritually moved by Uh Huh Her the first time I saw them for real.)
j) Fashion (How did you look? Did you do the costume of the day? Did Haviland compliment your attire? Is your name "Tinkerbell," and were you wearing a pullover made out of Uh Huh Her briefs?)

Sometimes the stars align however, and all in one night -- you make it to your far-away location without pulling any U-Turns, despite Miss GPS's stern desire to re-calculate the route, run into a friend you haven't seen in forevs, enjoy the friends you're with, reach the perfect level of intoxication (giggly, but not about to crack one's skull on a glass table), drinks seem basically free compared to NYC, your cabbie actually waits outside of Wendy's -- for y'all to fulfill your specific 5-piece and fries craving (easily satisfied within blocks of final shelter!) -- just like you asked him to, Leisha and Cam say awesome mega-kind unexpected things about your video/your yous and are super-sweet all around, Tinkerbell gets her Uh-Huh-Her outfit signed, etc. I'm just saying ... such a thing is possible. Did we see Eric Mathew? No. But otherwise, Philadelphia, we're cool now. I call truce. Also, UHH, we still need to have a chat about tardiness.

Also "Special" is that North Star Bar in Philly had a gigantic fan upstairs, providing many opportunities for memory-making via photograph. Unfortunately we didn't see Rovermom, so I didn't have a chance to punch her in the face.

I have this idea that I take too long to write things. And I don't know if that makes me write better things, or just write things that are equally good (if not polished/refined) but in different ways.

Someone explain twitter to me. Why would I want people to keep tabs on me all the time, isn't that what stalking laws prevent? I just don't understand it.
I saw this on post secret and thought I'd put it here.
I like it.

I have notes, everywhere. I go through them to put things together and my mind boggles itself. What was I talking about? Here's a sample of a notebook page of material from yours truly, circa I'm not really sure, but I think at least two years ago?:
Under "heroes," I wrote "Mrs. Dalloway." Aspeth wrote "Captain Kangaroo." That's when I knew I loved her.

I didn't like him in the morning. Sometimes men reminded me of giant animal trees. Sad ones. This primal lust -- beast -- cut through way too quickly with its apology. It was in the moment between animal and apology where he lost me.

"She's not very bright, Marie. She's just beautiful and not bright and so
totally ordinary."
"But she's got a really extraordinary ass."

face of faith - nellie mckay

melt your heart - jenny lewis

go your own way - snow and voices

Her friends were all angles, it turned out. She'd thought they were gelatinous, gooey things -- shifting & blending into each other ... forming better, stronger things. But no, it turned out, looking around the table - all points, points wanting to be made. and now.

"you are so lovely it makes me sad" -text message from a---.

-Veronica is from Florida.

-2BR apt w/a vegan drug dealer.
-Alice runs everywhere she's crazy like that

In middle school, the songs were our ideas. "Our song" -- an initiative, carried forth w/o support or input from our partners. We chose sweet pop ballads like "Hero" or "Groovy Kind of Love." First song we danced to, lyrical relevance. Our boyfriends were scrawny kids with awkward teeth, swallowed in skater pants; they listened to Nine Inch Nails.

"I got a lot of problems. I am very sick. I have a lot of problems, Miriam. I used to have a Camaro." (-Man in metropolitan hospital.)

All I had then, was a faint suspicion that I was more than this.

Me = "Long, lanky Olive Oyl type. Perverted in a good way." - Daphne

And in this spirit, I go on to the automatic "fun" of the day. This's been difficult to assemble, 'cause my internet has been completely spastic for about four days now, making life so insufferable that I actually subjected myself to making an outgoing phone call to fix the problem. I thought just now it was fixed via that magic trick that verizon people do when you call them that makes you look like a total idiot for even calling, but it turns out; totally not. I keep starting thoughts I can't finish, it's disorienting.
[Someone quoted this in the comments recently ... i couldn't find it ... then i was reading this blog just now and came across it, subsequently, the poem its from in poetry, and thought, this is something to say again ...]

quote: "What are you thinking?" She asks.
Light shutters across us. Wherever you are
in me I'm there, though it's not what you wanted."
(Phillip White, "Infidelity.")

1) Speaking of the stars aligning; last week I randomly felt inspired to speak of Chris Farley. This week, Sam Anderson reviews a book about Chris Farley, (@nymag)
2) I just finished "Have You No Shame: And Other Regreattable Stories," but I'm not gonna talk about it 'til July, which's when I estimate I'll finish "Stuff I'm Reading: May" considering we're well into May and I've yet to do April ... anyhow, recommended. (@mediabistro)
3) A poem for Michigan, the Midwest : "A Primer," by Bob Hicok. "February/ is thirteen months long in Michigan. / We are people who by February / want to kill the sky for being so gray / and angry at us. 'What did we do?' is the state motto." (@the new yorker)
4) "Dear Writing, a love/hate letter" (@lusty lady)
5) Audacia's got a video clip now of her standing up for sex worker rights during the spitzer hoo-ha on CNN (@waking vixen)
6) Janice Erlbaum: "Remember when I used to talk about myself all the time. I kind of don't feel like it any more." (@girlbomb)
7) The Top 12 Jews in Cinema (
8) "Another person chimed in: 'Do you like fag porn? All my queer female friends do.'": Girls Love Gay Porn (@the village voice)
9) It's possible, apparently, that instant messaging is not harming teenager's language skills but rather represents "a linguistic renaissance." Includes LOL statistics. (@the new scientist)
10) Anyhow, yay! Gays can marry in California! (@nytimes)
11) Also, I updated autostraddle! Kinda ...

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Auto-Fun, Etc., for a Great Bright Beautiful Tomorrow :: 5-15-2008

A'ight ... first off a brief Autowin PSA. This'll be like a Lozo PSA, except without the big-girl bashing ... or like a TV PSA ... except I'm certainly not about to tell you "don't do drugs," that'd be boring. Do drugs, come on, you only live once, and you defo only overdose like 2-3 times, max. No seriously. Also, I won't tell you who to vote for (*cough* Obama), or if you should choose recycled or unrecycled paper. I'm gonna talk about myself. That's right. Mememeememe. For a change.

I don't talk about this stuff, because I think it's on my Top Ten list of lame things to talk about ... but, although my friends enjoy mocking me (as per their writings [(1) OMG Stef's cartoon recap is up! LOLZ!] and recent comments), the truth is ... I'm a big huge rockstar, and whomevs wants to yell at me on the street (please use only my rockstar name, Van Halen) (Haha! I'm so funny! I mean, Automatic Win!) should go for it. It fuels my big rockstar ego and I'm totes used to it. Later, me and Penny Lane and the other girls, we go down to the river, and we see our friends at the record store.

No fo'reals reals, as at least 4-5 people can attest but really only I can say for sure ('cause only I receive my ingoing and outgoing correspondences with excellent verbal and oral communication skills), I do from time to time receive emails/comments, or hear people know about me from friends, or witness real live-conversations regarding recognizing me ... and sometimes also people talk to me! In public!

It's more likely, however, that I'll get an email the next day, probs 'cause I talk about my social awkwardness often, therefore I: a) have socially awkward readers, b) have non-socially awkward readers who don't know how to talk to someone who's already explained 100 times that they don't know how to talk, period. Therefore, they don't wanna talk to me 'cause they don't wanna risk a panic attack or, really, anything involving me responding in "not the cowboy way" or in a way not evident of the aforementioned rock stardom. c) I'm not a very exciting person to meet, 'cause I'm weird/not actually a rockstar.

I remember I the first blogger I really read was waking vixen, and I'd see her places but never say anything, because I'm a weirdo. Then she posted a post saying, "Hey, if you see me, say hello," or something to that effect. I'm certainly not going to go that far -- if you see me, feel free to say hello, but also, feel free to say nothing, or to write later, though I'm bad at writing back (I'm better at passive forms of procrastination, like "reading emails") ...

Anyhow, this was leading to some sort of point ... oh! I'm sure about 25% of you are socially less awkward than me, and actually might consider yelling at me on the street, and I just want to be sure that no one is deterred form doing so in the future by thinking it's a revolutionary act based on all the recent chatter. 'Cause it's funny, and awesome, and rocks like a rockstar.

Oh also, from my top ten favorite second-hand stories ... someone asked my roommate, upon her reveal that auto-win was her roommate, if I was "that crazy in real life." (Yes!) (No!)

Anyhow, I have the whole "omg, it's so awkward," routine down pat, I do the same thing every time, it's actually a whole new kind of lame. It's much easier w/Haviland, 'cause she's good at conversational arts. Also, you can just throw money at me, or yourself/your body. The latter option has offered thus far a 100% success rate.

If I'm out in public, chances are, I'm already drunk, and therefore vulnerable to your wanton affections. This is how I always end up in an alley somewhere, up to my elbows in won-tons. Like the soup!

OK, that's all. Really, only 20 people read this blog, the rest of the commenters are just me jerking around. That doesn't fly for The L Word Online, I'm not taking responsibility for 75% of those commenters, but also, I'm not certain they read my recaps, I think they just have a lot of Bettina related feelings they want to share ASAP.
On youtube, "Videos being watched right now ..." is like 'everything that is wrong with the world. Terrible pop star, bloody sports, emo tree, something involving glitter, girl with her red thong panties around her ankles. Ta-da, this is America!
I've been thinking lately about increasing leisure -- remembering a time before I was determined to exist with 150% productivity at all times and never be at rest. As long as I haven't finished (or started) the proverbial book (which really exists on a symbolic level at this point), haven't paid off my debt, or had seven babies and eaten pickles with cream cheese in my bunny slippers, I haven't earned leisure (the latter doesn't count as "leisure," 'cause even though there's slippers, I'm preparing for birthing ritual). Howevs, I've decided that I'm going to take unearned leisure from now on, to prevent losing my mind.

Sidenote: Hanging out w/a friend counts as "doing something" 'cause "hang out with ____" is one of the things you can put on your to-do list and then cross off right away, I like to have as many of those things as possible. E.g., "email Mom," and then I'm like, omg, just did!

Speaking of Leisure ... tonight, Philadelphia here we come! A;ex and Cait and I are heading to Uh Huh Her. We're a bit worried that Rovermom might be there, and if so, I'd like to let her know especially that emailing the next day is fine, let's not throw punches.

Auto-Fun!With your host, me, the girl that writes this little blog.
I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!
quote: "When I was 28, four or five years after I quit playing music, I married a postmistress. Because she was pretty. Because she was sweet and she loved me. So that we could have two sons who could both be drummers like their dad. For those reasons. But also so I wouldn't have to wait for my mail. Because there's a letter coming, a letter from the actor James Dean. And here's what it will say: If the life you lead is not the one you dreamed about, then flee." (Rick Moody, "The James Dean Garage Band.")


@ Granta: (2) Web Habits of Highly Effective People. A.L. Kennedy, who I mentioned before 'cause he wrote my least favorite story in The Book of Other People says, "I don't blog or Facebook. If I want to write, I'd rather do it to some kind of definable end."

He's got a point. But it's funny that it's him, specifically, making this point -- the author responsible for that story I hated -- howevs, I did preface my dislike with my recognition of the fact that A.L Kennedy is more successful than I'll ever be.

Now I'm blogging about blogging about hating Kennedy's story 'cause Kennedy himself said --in an article I'm blogging about right now -- that not-blogging is the secret to his success, and if that's not meta, then, well, I QUIT. Also, someone make up a abrev for "meta," STAT, I've got monkeys to save. The tornado isn't going to stop on its own accord.

Also, via the same Granta piece ... Maud Newton's (3) detailing of her ADD-writing habits, which reminded me of my own, almost exactly. I relate to Amanda Gersh's habits. Oh, Granta, how perfect this piece is for me today! A success! Unlike me, much like A.L Kennedy.

'Cause I have this theory? [cue Angela Chase theme music] That my time managment issues relate to me being my own boss. My own motivator. It's hard to come up with daily self-motivation. Probs all the world feels this way, which's why other people work at the dairy queen & are closely supervised at all times. Clearly I'm too hard on myself, and deserve a pat/rub on the back.

More on reading habits & styles at (4) Light Reading.

Obvs I like to limit my perusal of book criticism to one author and one author only, Uh Huh Her, I mean, Sam Anderson, but (5) I love any reviewer who opens with: ""Bright Shiny Morning" is a terrible book." Usually I think all book sales are good for publishing and therefore won't bash authors, but James Frey is not good for publishing, bash away.

My internet's been in and out all day -- I'd rather just have it or not, this way's such a tease. The articles are taking full hours to load, it's pretend dial-up. I write an email, and 40 minutes later, it sends! It reminds me of downloading songs overnight many moons ago ... sticking in a CD to burn, leaving home for a semester, then returning to find it: Ree's Hot Mix, Happy Hannukah to ME!

OMG, the plus-sized girl won on (6) America's Next Top Model! Oh, it's a hoax, obvs, everyone knows plus-sized models aren't real, like unicorns and fraggles.

Critical Mass has an (7) interview with Jeff Gordiner on his book "How Generation X is Saving the World." And he includes this Borges quote, which I love:

quote #2: "A man who cultivates his garden, as Voltaire wished/He who is grateful for the existence of music./He who takes pleasure in tracing an etymology./Two workmen playing, in a cafe in the South, a silent game of chess./The potter, contemplating a color and a form./The typographer who sets this page well though it may not please him./A woman and a man, who read the last tercets of a certain canto./He who strokes a sleeping animal./He who justifies, or wishes to, a wrong done him./He who is grateful for the existence of Stevenson./He who prefers others to be right./These people, unaware, are saving the world." (Borges, "The Just")

Let's finish up:
(8) The Chicago Tribune insists that "no man" should be forced to sit through the Sex and the City movie. Stef, Cait and I had a serious team meeting last week regarding the fact that we've already put May 30th in our calenders and have been looking into getting tickets online. Errr/Durrr. (@the chicago tribune)
(9) I'm still not entirely certain why people la-la-la-love these Nintendo Wii machines, but apparently they can now also work out?: "Wii Fit" (@ny times)
(10) Science has confirmed that all the neurotic people live in New York City and THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is what I call "bringing it back around." Thank you and goodnight. (@the boston globe)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Under Feet Like Ours, Under Vlogs Like Ours, Uh Huh ... Her.

On Monday night we went to see a music show featuring the band Tegan & Sara, it was quite delightful. I adore Tegan & Sara all over: music, witty banter, stage presence. Natalie remarked, "This is the best rock 'n roll concert I've ever been to!" I'm not gonna divulge how many concerts she claimed to have attended (en total) in her entire life, I'm hoping she may've been exaggerating for dramatic effect on that, like I often do. We've been besties since college, therefore we share some key personality traits, e.g., a tendency to spark up a story with a little glimmer of fiction. On a scale of 1 to 10, this particular post is written at a USA Today reading level. There will be a powerpoint presentation and short video after class, in the meeting room, with danishes. xoxo gossip girl.

I've got a lot of shallow vapidity to cover today, so on with it, yes.

Okay so; Tinkerbell didn't go to T&S, which was valuable foresight, 'cause we all accidentally wore brightly colored hoodies from the same store -- therefore, we already looked like the M&M's Street Team (or the Tellitubbies) and would've looked ridic w/the added element of comedy/childhood/dymensia implied by the tote-age of a stuffed de-strapped dog sporting American Airlines wings.

Luckily, Tink makes plenty of appearances in our latest vlog, which covers the following topics: durrrrr.

Honestly; I think I used all our best footage on the first one, recklessly, w/o any consideration for the future. Perhaps 'cause at that time I had bleak overall feelings about the future. Then, yesterday, I decided instead of hating everyone per always, I'd just love everyone! Really, I mean, it's just as fair/unfair.

Then, only hours after making that new life choice, I was forced to reconsider: some people enjoy, it seems, screaming along to Tegan & Sara's already quite harmonic melodies, therefore reminding me both why I hate everyone and of sing-a-longs in Kindergarten and on Sesame Street. I get the desire -- I do it sometimes too. But you don't need to SCREAM sing along, this isn't System of a Down or heavy metal rockers, they're quite lovely w/o your harmonies. I've seen the Indigo Girls live a bazillion times, so I know from sing-a-longs.

I think it's possible we're getting too old for this -- my companions agreed. Therefore, we'll have to pack the next couple years as full to the brim with this kind of activity as possible.

But really: the concert was awesome, there was loads of witty banter, and I enjoyed spending quality time with Cait, Alex, Stef, Natalie, Chase & Ang and Ms. Jackson. I'd talk about the concert, but how do you talk about concerts, I think that's like dancing about architecture, right? I think I said that last time, but then tried to write about it anyhow, and I imagine whatever I said last time goes for this time too -- I love them, they played this and that song, omg, are you jealous do you wish you'd been there omg. They told lots of cute stories, unfortunately Carly was not there and therefore I had no one to tackle when they played "Living Room," so we all left relatively unscathed. There was heaps of witty banter, like a story for every song, like Raffi! Super-cute.

Maybe Stef will do a cartoon recap?

Afterwards, someone tried to pass off a flier about some other place we could party at (unfortunately, I'd surpassed my daily allotment of "other people time" about four hours prior, also: sleepy sloos time) and Alex whooped and gave them a high-five. We inquired re: whooping, she looked dejectedly at the flier and said: "I thought it said MADONNA, not MONDAY."

So anyhow, we made this vlog. Believe it or not -- 'cause we do enjoy talking about the same things over and over again, and you might think I'm recycling old footage -- this vlog contains 100% all-new never-before-seen footage. Topics include: global warming, the health care system, Encyclopedia Brittanica, Fellini films, your Mom, truth in memoir, flying lesbians, how to get a date with Haviland, dancing lessons from Alex, the United Nations, world peace, and the proper position of second-wave feminist discourse within the modern fourth wave pro-sex feminist movement. JK, it's about nothing at all whatsoever.

Speaking of videos! Leisha & Cam have debuted their video for us (part of the Uh Huh Her SXSW Video Contest Winning Prize Package), and you can watch it here ! Obviously, they were held up in post-production -- special effects, animation, etc. Anyhow, clearly we'll be collaborating in the near future, 'cause I am really good at following people around and talking to strangers. No but honestly, wouldn't that be awesome! I'd be like "Alice, what the frickin' frack?" JK, totally professional, obvs.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Auto-Fun of the Day :: 5-12-2008

Omg lmao rofl, we're going to see tegan & sara tonight! That's right, it may be raining outside, but imaginary sunshine tugs joyfully on our heartstrings. Why? Well, this week's off to a rip-roaring start and, in fact, should probably just end tonight. Quit while we're ahead, etc. I mean, I actually wrote a Sunday Top Ten on Sunday, omg is it The Big Kelkian Reveal?!, I love Amy Sedaris, and, oh right ... yes we can! Let's hold hands, climb trees, take those pills, sing in the rain, talk hard! OK I feel gross now and probs can't use any more exclamation points for at least 24 hours. I guess it depends how the concert goes.

If you don't remember what happened last time at Tegan & Sara, let me refresh your memory with this snippet from Carly's recap of the event: "I kept saying "You guys, they're totally going to end it on Living Room" ... so then it ["Living Room"] came on and I SCREAMED like a schoolgirl and then everything was a blur. What I can piece together was that Riese screamed too, jumped on me and we went crashing to the ground. My head nearly went through a glass table and all of our combined weight landed on my pointy little elbows. So, needless to say, they are totes achy right now. But it was totally amazing, I was so drunk it hardly stung, just a massive rockstar moment."

Luckily, last time we were prevented from doing any large-scale damage or pulling off any totally irreversible tomfoolery 'cause we were in the VIP area (less people up there) and Haviland was with us. Hav generally ensures relatively responsible Riese Behaviour. Howevs, as I've mentioned few times, she moved somewhere, I think to Romania possibly, or Burma, I can't remember, she hasn't blackberry messaged me in over ten hours. Oh wait, JK, just checked: she has. Anyhow, I'll be there, with bells on, along with A;ex, Cait, Tinkerbell, Natalie and Chase.

Tegan: "I think that the reason for [the album's title] has evolved. It just started to feel like everything's a bit of a con. For me, during this record, I was projecting this really happy extroverted image, but inside I was sad. And Sara was writing a lot about anxiety and marriage and death and commitment, and then you do all these stereotypical things, you buy a house and in the end it's ..."
Sara: "Well, it prevents you from thinking about what the reality is, which is that we're all just shuffling towards death and we're all going to lose everything."
(interview, The Guardian UK)
1) This is my favorite blogger of all time that I don't know for real. Her name is Kristen Iskandrian. She just posted a new blog post. When I discovered Kristen, I emailed all my friends about it and they thought I was kidding. I wasn't kidding, she's my favorite writer on the webs for reals. Well like top ten. For sure. This new post isn't like her other posts at all, but obviously it is still brill, just for different reasons. (@ifeelmyfeelings)
2) I couldn't figure out how to make a joke about this article on the movement to eliminate stigma around mental illnesses like bipolar disorder and schizophrenia that would be tasteful in any way, so um, here you have it: "Mad Pride" [@nytimes]
3) Rich (of fourfour) and Slut Machine do "Pot Psychology." Listen, if I ever recommend a video, it's cause it's good or has conjoined twins and/or me in it, so really, you must trust me. I trusted Stef, who lead me to it, and now I pass it on to you, grasshopper. (@jezebel)
4) I became fascinated with this woman, and her marriage to Robert Lowell, just right before she died, which was stunning timing, but still: Elizabeth Hardwick: "An Original Adventure" (@the believer)
5) Also there, the full text of Hornby's latest Stuff I've Been Reading which's like mine, except better. (@the believer)
6) The Sexiest Woman (Barely) Alive: "They're all white. They all have long hair and they're almost all blonde. They all have the same high cheekbones. Each woman is allowed exactly one deviation from the norm, and the deviation is immediately remarked on -- her tattoos or extra-dark eye makeup or her curves. The girls of FHM are obviously products of a fundamentally icky consumerist objectification, but their engineered homogeneity also reveals an incredibly limited imagination." (@the star)
7) London gets to see the SATC movie before we do. (@the guardian uk)
8) Interviewing the OK Cupid guy (responsible for nerve & onion personals, among others): "OkCupid is going to get the hot, trendy, hipster, cool, grunge, 27-year-old, who just wants to hang out and chat with interesting people, and if something happens romantically, so be it." (@the village voice)
9) Cynthia Nixon has a girlfriend, loves her, is pretty and successful, is in that big movie that's coming out soon, is subsequently asked retarded gaymo questions by reporter: "Sex and the City star Cynthia Nixon Plans to Marry" (@the mirror uk)
10) Hollywood Sex Scene Database does the Top Five Scenes to Incite a Revolution (p.s. TALK HARD!!!) (

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Sunday Top Ten: Entries From a Smokin' Hot Pink Notebook

When I was a little girl in Dork Middle School, anybody who was anybody (which was almost everybody, 'cause there were only 16 girls in my graduating class) read Lurlene McDaniel novels ravenously -- stories which confirmed our suspicions that the world was a cruel, cruel place. Also, anybody who was anybody was allowed to go to the mall alone w/o parental supervision, except me, 'cause my mother was a fascist dictator who didn't want me to have fun or be happy. (JK Mom! Love you! Loved going to the mall with you too!) (Wouldn't it be fun if instead of Mother's Day being "Celebrate Mom" day, it was an April Fool's Day combo? The fam pools collective wisdom to play a big trick on Mom? Like in Home Alone, when Kevin sets booby traps for the thieves? Mom'll get up expecting breakfast in bed and then be like wtf are there micro-machines on the floor, um, hello blowtorch, KEVIN!") Anyhow. What was I talking? Oh yes. Literature.

Since leaving my Dork School peer group for greener pastures, I've not met another fan of McDaniel's cannon of Dying Children Lit -- until last weekend when I met my friend's sister who was also a big fan, which is AMAZING, and we bonded over it.

Also, I just started reading Rachel Shukert's Have You No Shame, in which the author's mother uncovers her daughter's collection of Holocaust Lit and replaces the books with Babysitters Club and Sweet Valley High, delaring that: "I'd rather have you shallow and sexually precocious than morbidly psychotic."

So I started thinking about all the morbidly psychotic books I read as a kid. I wasn't allowed to read Christopher Pike or R.L Stine like everyone else (see: mother's general desire for me to be ostracized from peers), but I feel like the shit I was allowed to read was probs way worse for my little baby mind than those authors' straightforward & blatant horror/violence.

Which brings us to an actual Sunday Top Ten. For the first time since um ... oh, I don't know.

or "Things that affected me more than going to the mall w/o a parent would've."

10. Cynthia Voigt's "Tillerman" Series: Homecoming, Dicey's Song, et al., also The Boxcar Children
Amped up my desire to be an orphan forced to live by my wits,
as well as my certainty that I'd be better off alone like the pop song "Better Off Alone,"
therefore increasing my implicitly unfair & ungrateful resentment towards my family for feeding, clothing and loving me,
inspiring me to write my own bad novels about runaways.
In Homecoming, 13-year old Dicey Tillerman and her three younger siblings experience the literal opposite of my life situation -- they're actually abandoned at the shopping mall by their mother, who subsequently lands herself in a psychiatric hospital. Meanwhile, I was being followed around the mall by my psychiatric mother (ten steps behind, providing both protection and distance), therefore preventing me from Having Adventures like Hunger, Misery, Orphanhood, Eccentric Aunts on Dilapidated Farms and Evil Catholics. Reading the plot summary of Homecoming, I realize it's possible I stole it for my epic novel Fly by Night, in which young pyromaniac Erin leaves her abusive home w/precocious brother Tommie, eventually meeting a guy named "Fly," who looks a lot like Jordan Catalano. 'Cause Erin can't stop burning things down & 'cause their number-one income source is carrying groceries to cars (in real life, I suspect this is not the growth sector Voigt's novels implied), they're forced into homelessness and then communal living with Fly and his super-fly buddies. There's a happy ending, I won't spoil it!

Also, how dykey does Dicey look on that book cover? Yow.

As I mentioned in the "Family Film Edition" of "What I Learned from the Teevee," I was a big fan of Orphan Lit and wanted to live in a Boxcar, eat hobo stew and scavenge for loaves of bread, etc. Unfortunately, I was never orphaned, though I enjoyed building forts and pretending to run away from home. Honestly, my coping mechanisms haven't really changed much since then.

9. The Face on the Milk Carton, by Caroline B. Cooney
Among other imaginary acts of heroism, I often hoped to find a classmate or friend on a milk carton and save the day, like in America's Most Wanted which I wasn't allowed to watch. Once a lax babysitter let us watch the show (she was fired, clearly) -- this guy killed his wife and hid her in an egg incubator behind his trailer, I still have nightmares about it. Also I believe this book fueled my fear of being kidnapped, and a ridiculous obsession with cults. Later, this became a TV movie staring the foxy Kellie Martin.

8. The Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess

I know what you're thinking -- "The Clockwork Orange" is not a young adult novel. This is true. Howevs, my father felt I was very mature, and 'cause he wanted me to become a great filmmaker like Stanley Kubrick, he made me read this book (we had a serious book-before-the-movie policy) when I was 13. Though most grown-up lit was off limits (e.g., Stephen King, other crap), I was permitted both this and Lolita. This is the essence of hippie intellectual spirit. I was like "Dad, what's 'the ol' in-out-in-out'"? Which was a very special moment for everyone and eliminated any perceived need for a "birds and the bees" convo.

7. Face at the Edge of the World, by Eve Bunting
Romanticisation of Suicide, Additional Reasons to Fuck it All

I'm not sure if this is the right book, 'cause I probs read more than my fair share of suicide-related narratives. But I think this is the one where the protagonist spends the whole book trying to figure out why his successful and talented BFF suddenly offed himself, eventually (SPOILER ALERT!) determining that perhaps he simply wanted to "quit while he was ahead." So basically all bets are off, re: offing oneself, not good news for me as I believe I was diagnosed with clinical chronic depression at the age of 5. Logistically, it would've been impossible to do myself in since I was so well supervised, especially at the mall.

6. Eating Disorder Lit, including:
Second Star to the Right, Stick Figure, and Little Girls in Pretty Boxes
As I've noted previously, I was the scrawniest little kid you ever did see. Howevs: my Mom was a nutritionist who helped people diet, I wanted desperately to gain weight, I was a first worldian adolescent in the 80's/90's surrounded by body image obsessed girls. Therefore, I was totally fascinated by everyone else's fascination with thigh girth. As a chronically pre-pubescent teen, I looked to literature to psych me into understanding wtf the deal was ... later, I employed this background when counseling the reedonkulous number of severely anorexic and/or bulimic friends I acquired over the years. I think it's 'cause subconsciously, ED'ed peeps are drawn to me, thinking "what is her secret of svelte-hood?" and then eventually they learn that I hate myself too, it's just more annoying coming from me, 'cause I'm not actually fat, just completely insane, and have read too many books about eating disorders (late-adds include Appetites, The Body Project and Wasted) and also; the media, etc. Calvin Klien fashion magazines hoo-ha. Kazaam.

Teacher: How would you describe Anne Frank?
Angela [distracted]: Lucky.
Teacher: "Anne Frank perished in a concentration camp. Anne Frank is a tragic figure. How could Anne Frank be lucky?"
[Jordan Catalano walks in, late]
Angela: "I don't know... Because she was trapped in an attic for three years with this guy she really liked?"
(My So-Called Life)

5. Judy Blume Novels

As I've mentioned 500 times, I'm essentially a human sponge, willing to take orders and absorb desire from whomever's speaking the loudest. Through Judy Blume, I verified that I was, indeed, justified to angst over my bust which wasn't increasing though I thought it must, it must, and that the best way to bond with other girls was via boy-related discussions. I've since learned otherwise, but I still love Judy. The girls in Blume novels are relentlessly catty and tell me srsly if you can't imagine this on the back of a porn DVD: "Rachel is Stephanie's best friend. Since second grade they've shared secrets, good and bad. So when Alison moves into the neighborhood, Stephanie hopes all three of them can be best friends since Stephanie really likes Alison. But it looks as if it's going to be a case of two's company and three's a crowd." Anyone? "In bed"? I know I was reading Lolita at 12, but c'mon now ...

4. The Quiet Room, by Lori Schiller and Amanda Bennet
I'm 99.9% sure schizophrenia is one disorder I defo don't have, but I seriously used to hear voices sometimes as a kid (probs it was G-d, before She lost faith in me altogether), and reading this book really freaked me out -- clearly I had enough neurosis w/o worrying that one day the voices would stop arguing with each other about my self-worth and instead command me to kill someone. Luckily they went away ... now the only voice I hear is Tegan in my iPod. Who's going on MONDAY!?! TO TEGAN & SARA?!!!

3. Entries From a Hot Pink Notebook, by Todd D. Brown
Felt I related to the protagonist's psyche deeply,
began early fascination with gay male culture,
subsequently realizing literally as I write this that perhaps I identified with the narrator's feelings of alienation and outsiderdom for other reasons,
e.g., personal gayness.
So, it featured my fave plot device, the gay reveal and subsequent gay crush gay reveal (y'know, the "OMG, my BFF I'm in love with is kissing ME BACK!" thing) and it's actually a really good book, though I realize the title suggests otherwise. Sometimes it hurts: the titles given to brill books. It's much easier to recommend a book called "The Sound and the Fury" than "Entries from a Hot Pink Notebook." I read this approximately around the same time I was writing in my own diary: "my greatest fear is that I'll turn out to be a lesbian. Yuck." Also, gay men were sorta "in" in the mid-nineties amongst liberals -- Rickie Vasquez, etc.

2. Lurlene McDaniel books
According to Lurlene McDaniel's website, "everyone loves a good cry," which's why McD's written 40+ books about "kids who face life-threatening illnesses, who sometimes do not survive." Sample titles include: She Died Too Young, Sixteen and Dying, Please Don't Let Him Die, The Girl Death Left Behind, Letting Go Of Lisa, When Happily Ever After Ends, Goodbye Doesn't Mean Forever, etc. The best was when two kids with different illnesses fell in love (e.g., cystic fibrosis + leukemia = true love) or when everyone would get into a car accident right before they were supposed to go to college on scholarship (w/bright futures, obvs) except for one girl who'd be left behind to angst. In a rare appearance by an African-American character, McD brought us Baby Alicia is Dying, in which a teenage girl grows attached to the HIV-positive black baby abandoned by her crack is whack mother, probs in Planet Harlem.

Basically, Lurlene McDaniel peddles the most demented books of all time, and I somehow ate them up. We all did. I imitated them, too, with similar plots in novels I wrote (for fun?). I guess we all felt strange and sad all the time for no reason, our little Dork School, filled with kids who suspected that, given the chance, public school would eat us alive and stuff us into lockers, and also: that perhaps we weren't fooling anyone (least of all ourselves) by avoiding the resolute knowledge that our problems weren't really problems, actually. We read the newspaper. We had politically aware parents. We didn't know jackshit, hadn't lived through anything worth crying over. Faces on Spilled Milk Cartons.

I coped w/my sense of alienation as a kid by reading, constantly, both intelligent books not mentioned here and the lame stuff I'm talking about here ... or by trying to be like everyone else as best I could though I felt hopelessly different. I'd been sad all the time for no reason as long as I can remember ... while driving w/my Mom from one place I was running from to another place, I mentioned wanting to get back to some childhood place where I'd been happy and she said I'd actually never been. "Intense," was her word. I guess I knew that already, I just wanted her to disagree, or blow it off. 'Cause I mean, seriously. I don't mention Elizabeth Wurtzel all the time for no reason, I'm legitimately afraid of her & her entitled torture, her ... whining.

I had an association and fascination with terrible & morbid circumstances and latched onto the littlest things to excuse my moodiness -- these books tapped into the part of me that wanted a reason for it. I wanted to be told, again and again, that tragedy waited around the corner. I'm certain there must've been wood nearby worth knocking on, if I'd known enough to do so. Clearly; I knew nothing.
"I know sad stories aren't for every reader, but it's the kind of story that most of my readers like from me. When I write "happy" books, many readers complain. So I focus on what I do best---stories that might bring a tear, but that focus on real life (where happily ever after rarely occurs). And while the books may not have "happy" endings, I try to give readers a satisfying ending---life is full of trouble and matters out of our control. How we deal with troubles determines our own character."
(Words of Wisdom from Lurlene McDaniel, clearly a Sick Puppy)

1. Sweet Valley High
I actually was prohibited from reading these books an account of their apparent vapidity, etc., But I finally sneaked one home, probs using crafty techniques learned from another YA novel. Just my luck: I got the book where Elizabeth gets kidnapped. Not good. This verified, to me, that my Mom was Right about these books being Bad; which's why Mothers have special powers that cannot be questioned. Like how the first time I drank alcohol, I threw up all night, which's exactly what she'd told me would happen. Actually, that still happens. Yet I continue drinking. Hm.

Howevs, I'd like to once again point out that nothing scary ever happened to me at the mall, except for this:

On that note of "things I did 'cause everyone else was doing it," if anyone's got a bridge in Brooklyn they'd like to sell me ...