Thursday, December 14, 2006

Random Conversations with Family Members #6

Special Christmas Edition

Christmas morning 2005:

Kali: Sweet. Starbucks!
Me: How come I didn't get a Starbucks gift card?
Kali: Hehe, loser.
Mom: Oh, I don't know. I guess I wasn't sure that you have them up there.
Me: Mom. I live in New York City. I'm pretty sure there's a Starbucks in my bathroom.
Mom: Well, I didn't know that. You know, it makes sense though. Every time I see a picture of those Olsen girls in People, they have a Starbucks cup in their hand.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Awkward...

I didn't write a lot of notes in high school, or very much bad poetry in middle school, but it's always fun to come across what I've saved from that time. The notes are good for nostalgia purposes, and the poetry, while horrible, was never made public, so it doesn't really bother me. There was, however, this one time in elementary school...

This is a case in which the writing itself is unimportant, because what really mattered was the subject matter. This isn't some pathetic poetry that I put into a notebook and never showed to anyone or a painful love-letter, it's something I thought was so amazing that I needed to share it with the entire 5th grade at Cool Spring Elementary.

I moved around a lot when I was little. I went to 9 elementary schools by the time my parents divorced when I was in the third grade. The combination of constantly being the new kid and my parents seeing no need to actually put me around children my own age basically made me into a social retard. I couldn't identify with other kids and was painfully shy.

I discovered early on that reading was a great way to stay busy and not talk to people (not to mention that it looked like you didn't care that they weren't talking to you). My parents loved the fact that I read a lot because it kept me out of their hair. I had no problem getting money to buy more books.

One day, in the 5th grade, I'm at a bar with my dad and I ask him for book money. He orders another beer and gives me a ten. I go around the corner to the drug store and buy a book. I go back to the bar, sit back on my stool and start reading. The book is really good.

Around the same time, we have a project in school. We have to pick a book and write a short play based on it. This was elementary school, so the "play" was only supposed to be a page or two long. My friend Steve did his on Freckle Juice.

Well, the book I was reading was so amazing that I had to use it. I started writing. And I couldn't stop. I wrote, and wrote, and wrote. I held casting sessions with confused-looking classmates during recess. I made copies of what turned into an 11-page epic and gave them their scripts. Then it was performance day.

We performed our scenes in front of not only our class, but the neighboring 5th grade class as well. I was excited. My play was amazing and I knew everyone would love it.

We started the play. The main character was Missy, a pretty, popular high schooler. She had a dreamy boyfriend and great friends with whom she had giggly sleepover parties. Then Missy was murdered.

My attention to detail in my writing meant that one of my 11-year-old classmates enacted putting a log onto another of my classmates to ensure that she would drown in five inches of water. Steve Chose a Judy Blume book. I chose Missy's Murder, a true crime book about a girl who was beaten and drowned by her best friend.

I remember looking around and seeing the uneasy, fearful looks on my teacher's and classmates faces. I got that sinking feeling in my stomach when I realized that I had been so caught up in my own head that I had completely misjudged the situation. This was clearly not my time to shine.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Random Conversations with Family Members #5

Thanksgiving Edition:

Dad: Happy Thanksgiving!
Me: Happy Thanksgiving to you too.
Dad: So, I'm watching the Thanksgiving day parade on TV. Are you down there?
Me: Oh, hell no.
Dad: No?
Me: I cannot emphasize enough the amount of "hell no" involved in that.
Dad: Yeah, I'm watching those girls with the short skirts and I'm thinking, "are you out of your mind?"
Me: Yeah. It's like two degrees here and rainy and awful. They are not having fun.
Dad: So what are you doing today?
Me: Having dinner with friends.
Dad: Oh, that sounds good. I just talked to Andrea and wished her a happy Thanksgiving.
Me: That's nice.
Dad: Yeah, so I've done my kid duty. You can all go to hell now.
Me: ...You're a terrible parent.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Last Comic Riding

I haven't been sleeping very well lately, so when I got on the train to go to work this morning, I was tired, cranky in general, and pissed specifically at the fact that it's only fucking Tuesday. So when I got on the packed express train at 96th street and I saw a homeless guy pushing his way through the car, I was not pleased.

I was listening to my Ipod, but unlike the Dominican hood rats who insist on turning up the volume of their Now That's a Shitty Excuse for Music: Volume 47 up to "sweet Christ, how can a pair of earbuds at the other end of the car make me feel like Reggaeton lives in my brain?" I could still hear what the bum was saying.

"So, where do you all think you're going? To work? You ain't going to work!"

Fuck. I am not in the mood to hear about the Zionist conspiracies or the perils of sharing a train with a bunch of circumsized people (an actual subway rant from a few weeks ago).

"You ain't going to work. Don't lie to me. I see you here every morning. You just ride back and forth. You ain't goin' nowhere." You're just ridin' the train 'cause you're jealous."

What?

"You're jealous because you pay 18, 19 hundred dollars a month in rent, and your apartment don't go nowhere. I pay two dollars and my apartment goes all over the city."

Wait a second, is he--

"I got everything I need. I got seats, air conditioning, I even got a stove. Third rail, man. That's hot!"

Yep. He sure is. The bum on the train is doing stand up.

"Yeah, I live on the subway. I live on the subway 'cause I'm hidin' from my wife. Oh, you may say that I'm not a man because I ran away from my wife, but you've never met my wife. She is three hundred and eighty-nine pounds, man! She wears size 69 jeans. She unbuttoned her pants for me and nine stomachs fell out. She tells me, 'babe, my stomach hurts.' I say, 'which one? Number 3 or number 9?'"

At this point, we get to the 72nd street station.

"Man, look at all those people out there. They're gonna come in. I bet they won't even knock. They just gonna come in and sit down like they own the place."

After the people from 72nd street get on, he welcomes them into his home and continues his shtick. When this whole thing started, the people on the train reacted the same way I did--which was basically just pretend to ignore him, and dear God, do not make direct eye contact. About halfway to 72nd street, it morphed into about half of us giggling to ourselves, but still trying not to attract attention or look directly at him.

By the time we were approaching the Times Square station, he had most of the car laughing openly and gladly giving him money. As he left us to finish our commutes and fantasize about creative ways in which we can kill our co-workers and still have it look like an accident, he left us with one final request:

"All right, everyone. Be safe out there, and please pick up your papers and your trash when you leave. I got company coming over later."

Monday, November 06, 2006

Random Conversations with Family Members #4

These are their stories: Chung Chung!

Me: There are a lot of gay people who are moving into my neighborhood, but it's still primarily Dominican.
Kali: The Mexicans and the Dominicans don't get along.
Me: ...okay. Well, there aren't really any Mexicans around here, so we haven't really had a problem.
Kali: They rape each other.
Me: What?
Kali: With forgeign objects.
Me: Uh...
Kali: And it punctures their colon.
Me: I...
Kali: And it leaves splinters.
Me: I have no idea---
Kali: Because it's a plunger.
Me: Ohhh.
Kali: And then they bleed out on the floor three hours later. And it's awkward.
Me: Yeah. I saw that one. That was the prison one, right?
Kali: Yeah. Ashley invited some Mexican guys from her work over to my apartment. But they don't speak English very well, so they haven't found the place yet.
Me: That sucks.
Kali: Yeah. Hey--what if you brought Dominicans down with you. That would be crazy.
Me: Kali, I don't think you want people to get raped with foreign objects in your apartment.
Kali: Yeah, that would be weird.
Me: Yes...weird.
Kali: Ooh! But then I'd get to meet Benson and Stabler!
Me: Yeah, I can't talk about this anymore.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

He's got money, the money I deserve.

What I love most about this Rhett Miller performance of "The New Kid" is the camerawork. It takes me straight back to TV-3 and working the noon show on a Friday that had a musical guest.

"Okay, camera 2: Zoom in on the guitar, slow zoom out to a medium shot."

"Camera 3: Try to get a medium shot at a cool angle."

Random Conversations with Family Members #3

Dad: Hello?
Me: Hey
Dad: Oh, hey. Did you get my message?
Me: Yeah.
Dad: Okay, so are Christopher Reeves and Kaynu Reeves related?
Me: No, dad. Christopher Reeve and Keanu Reeves are not related. They're two different names.
Dad: See, that's what I thought. Hey Holly, they're not related. It's Christopher Reeve and Kaynu Reeves. Two completely different names. Ha ha. See, I just wanted to call you to prove that Holly's fucked up.
Me: Uh, okay.
Dad: Huh? Oh, Holly says she doesn't believe you. She says that they're related.
Me: Except that they're not. Keanu Reeves is half-Japanese or something.
Dad: Yeah, I knew that. Holly! Keanu Reeves' mother is Japanese or something. they're not even in the same ethnic group! Ha ha, you're weird. Ow, ow. I'm getting punched. Yeah, I think they do still have family in the business.
Me: No they don't, they're not related to anybody.
Dad: Well, they have to be related to someone. They weren't hatched.
Me: Fair enough.
Dad: Holly wants to know if you're positive.
Me: I am 100% sure that these two people with different last names and no connection are not related to each other.
Dad: Holly still doesn't believe you. She wants you to Google it.
Me: I'm not going to Google anything. Google it your damn selves.
Dad: Ha ha, well, that's the only reason I called.
Me: You people are insane. I'll talk to you later.
Dad: Ha ha, bye!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

There's a reason it's not called "Project BFF."

I'm not a Jeffrey fan. I've been quite clear about this over the entire third season of Project Runway. He's mean, arrogant and his boorish "the world owes me something" attitude reminds me of a certain despicable ex-roommate of mine. Most importantly, however, I hated his designs. While he managed to pull out a few inspired ones (most notably his newspaper dress from the trash challenge and his couture dress) I found that most of his clothing looked like it had been made by and for cracktards.

So last night, after a season of nearly being eliminated every other challenge, making a fellow designers' mom cry, and almost being disqualified the day before the Bryant Park show, Jeffrey won the third season of Project Runway.

Since the moment it was announced, the "blogspots" were alight with people denouncing the decision and promising never to watch PR again. They were furious that Jeffrey's "ugly" clothes beat out Uli's effervescent frocks. I agree that Uli's clothes were more aesthetically pleasing, Laura's were phenomenally made, and Michael's a total fox, but, as much as it pains me to say it, I think the judges got it absolutely right this time.

I am a huge Michael supporter and think that he has an amazing amount of potential. I wanted him to win pretty much from the beginning. The muslin dress he made for the tryouts was gorgeous, and I loved his adaptability and willingness to listen to others opinions. However, what Tim said in his latest podcast is absolutely correct: he needs guidance. He flourished when he had Tim asking the right questions, but is not quite mature enough to be off on his own. He will do great things, but right now he really needs to work for a designer--because when he's left to his own devices, he ends up looking like a stylist for a Biggie music video circa 1996.

Uli and Jeffrey's lines were by far the strongest and either of them could have legitimately won. Laura's line, while impeccably constructed, lacked the "wow" factor. It's the same thing that kept Kara Saun from winning Season one. You need more than a superhuman work ethic to win this dog and pony show.

Uli was the dark horse of season 3. She has a preternatural gift for prints, which the judges likened to that of Diane Von Furstenberg on more than one occasion. She does her Uli thing and she does it well--which is why the judges often marginalized her talents. One of the biggest "what were they thinking" moments of the season came during the Everyday Woman challenge when they picked Vincent's horrendous dress over The airy outfit Uli designed for Kayne's mom (God, I hated everything Vincent did--and that dress is even uglier in person). Uli's Fashion Week designs were gorgeous and chic and looked ready to wear; and for the first time, she brought the drama. When the model at right walked down the runway in a "typical Uli dress" and then unbuckled it to reveal the bikini, the audience erupted in applause and I actually gasped. It was stunning. It was also the first time the entire season I thought she had a legitimate chance of winning.

Jeffrey, on the other hand, managed to have an entire line filled with clothes I would never want to wear, but could completely understand. Just living in New York and seeing what's going on in fashion right now, I can tell that he is on the cutting edge. One article I read (I think it was Entertainment Weekly) said that the skinny pant/striped blazer combination looked like something Misha Barton would wear. I absolutely agree. It's not my style, but I understand and respect the design aesthetic. He has a point of view, and whether or not the general public thinks it's pretty, it's undeniably current. Leggings aren't pretty either, but people are insisting on wearing them. All the effin' time.

As for the question of whether or not Jeffrey cheated: in interviews, on his blog and on his podcast, Tim Gunn constantly and consistently extols the integrity of the producers. Keith made great TV, but he broke the rules and got kicked off anyway. If the producers say that Jeffrey didn't break the rules and has to return the wigs in order to stay under budget, then that's good enough for me. Budget/rule snafus aren't unprecedented (again see Kara Saun). The Runway producers fixed the problem in the manner they saw fit and returned the contestants to an even playing field. Tim Gunn trusts the producers and I trust Tim Gunn.

The judges' decision to choose Jeffrey over the other three finalists boils down to this: Project Runway is about being on the cutting edge of fashion, it is not about what can be shoved onto the rack at BCBG's right now. Jeffrey's collection was the most innovative, plain and simple, which is why he won. If it had been about craftsmanship it would have been Laura. If it had been about being the prettiest, it would have been Uli. If it had been about being the most huggable, then Michael would be driving a Saturn Sky roadster into our hearts right now. But it's about fashion. Just because you wouldn't want to have him over for dinner doesn't mean Jeffrey didn't deserve to win.

With that said, I think the lack of a receipt was a blessing in disguise. Because LEATHER BUBBLE SHORTS? Are you KIDDING me? Jubilee Jumbles indeed.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Exposed

Some people are afraid of public speaking. To them the experience is akin to standing in front of a crowd completely naked. Exposed. And all eyes are on you.

To overcome this fear, the most common piece of advice is to picture your audience naked. Apparently, it doesn't matter so much if they're judging you if you're judging them right back. I don't know. I've never tried this trick, but I am quite skeptical of any relaxation technique that involves me picturing my mother in the nude.

Luckily, I am not called upon to speak in public very often, and when I am, it doesn't frighten me. It's talking. I do it every day. Whether it's in front of one person or a hundred, it's still the same act.

I'm a natually nervous person. Virtually any interaction with people is unsettling. So I talk. Babble, really. The more I talk, I reason, the more my audience will be focused on my words. The more they're focused on my words, the less they're focused on my nervous tics, or my hair, or what I'm wearing, or the fact that I really need to visit my eyebrow lady. The more I talk, the less they focus on me. The more I say, the less exposed I am.

It doesn't work if you just talk, though. You have to have something else; you need a hook. The truly successful talkers have intelligence. They use what they know in an engaging and non-condescending way. They can throw out interesting facts and clever anecdotes. They are the cocktail party talkers. I am not one of these people.

Instead of intelligence, I use humor, and more often, inappropriateness. If I throw out a funny enough one-liner, or an especially colorful curse word (I find that "fucktard" works especially well in this situation. "Fucktard" is a word that naturally draws attention to itself) people will focus on it instead of you.

I don't know if this can be considered a science or an art. Maybe both. Probably neither. Personally, I lean towards art. This is mainly because any time I get going on a talking jag, I have a very clear mental image of me tap dancing. As fast as I can.

Public speaking doesn't scare me. What scares me is public not speaking. If I'm in front of a group of people and I can't talk to cover myself? That's frightening. Of course, this is something I never realized or even thought about until I was wearing a cute dress and standing in uncomfortable shoes in a vinyard while somebody thrust a bouquet into my hands. My little sister was getting married and I was in the wedding.

I've never been a bridesmaid before. I've only been to three or four weddings in my life. I performed my dad's wedding, but my job was to talk. And stand behind a lectern. This time, I have to walk--slowly--which goes against every instinct I have, and I don't get to say a word as people just stare at me. Now, the situation isn't that dire, as there are other people to look at. Namely the bride. If I can just hold it together until she makes it down the aisle, I'll be fine. Nobody will even notice me. Walk slowly, don't trip, hold the bouquet, just stand there. No problem. Until there was a problem.

For various reasons, we are unable to have an actual rehearsal until about an hour before the wedding. The bridesmaids and groomsmen are all dressed and ready to go, and my sister was in her I Love Lucy pajamas so her soon-to-be husband won't see her in her wedding dress too early.

The mood is light as we walk down the aisle and take our places. We're cracking jokes and laughing at how funny my sister looks in her flannel pajamas and veil. She looks like a kid playing dress-up. Replace the actual veil with a bath towel veil and she'll be six years old.

Dad comes down the aisle and practices giving away his youngest child. He gets teary. I laugh. Dad always cries. I always find it amusing. I lean over to one of the bridesmaids,

"Dad's going to lose his shit during the ceremony. He'll cry more than anyone else" I predict.

As dad takes his seat in the front row, I notice that the mothers are getting a little teary as well. This I find unsettling. I'm not a big fan of emotions in general, of people expresisng their feelings. It makes me uncomfortable. And crying? Crying I find fucking terrifying. I don't like it when it happens in front of me. If someone starts crying, I immediately become like a caged animal, trying to find any means of escape. I have contemplated gnawing off my own arm on more than one occasion.

Crying is something I don't even like to do by myself in the privacy of my own home. I don't find it cathartic. Crying just makes me feel dirty and a little bit sick.

And crying in public? Okay, you know how those people who are afraid of public speaking feel naked? For me, public crying is like being naked in front of a crowd. While having sex. With a relative. And people are videotaping it. While everything dirty or embarrassing I've ever done in my life is being shown on a jumbotron behind me. As all of my deepest, innermost shameful thoughts are being broadcast over a loudspeaker. And there's a woman interpreting it into sign language.

There's a definite feeling of exposure.

It's time for the ceremony. Somebody shoves a bouquet into my hands and I take my cute dress and uncomfortable shoes down the aisle as slowly as I possibly can. I take my place up front, acutely aware of all of the people who have been watching me. I take a shaky breath. The music changes and I see my sister walking down the aisle. This is when the problems start.

She looks absolutely stunning in her wedding dress. Dad looks so handsome in his suit, so...fatherly. The groom has such a look of excitement and joy as he welcomes his bride. The family is beaming with pride. This is going to be a beautiful wedding.

And I lose it.

Nobody has even started talking; the guests are still standing. And I cannot keep it together. I do not look beautiful and noble. I am not the proud sister, with a sheen of tears accenting the green in my eyes, fighting valiantly through the emotions. No, I am full-out crying. Sobbing, really. Complete with snot and shoulder shaking. It is taking every ounce of strength I possess to remain quiet. I'm even holding my breath at times to keep everything at bay.

"Holy shit. What am I doing? Stop crying, stop crying, stop crying. People are looking. Stop crying. This has got to end soon."

It doesn't.

It doesn't end during the vows, it doesn't end during the ring exchange, it doesn't end during the kiss. It doesn't even end as we are all filing out.

As we're lining up for the reception line, people are patting me on the arm and giving me more tissues. I'm still crying.

Guests are coming down the reception line. They are shaking hands. I alternate between crying and sniffling pathetically. When people get to me, they talk about my crying. I stop crying. I try to laugh. I start crying again. This continues until we're ready to leave the vinyard and go to the reception. I don't think I've ever cried for this long in my life. I want to crawl under the covers and hide.

We get to the reception. Adonilia is there. This is the first time I've seen her since she abandoned me to move back to Virginia.

"Everybody's talking about how you cried," she says. "Shut the fuck up. They are not," I say as I pour my first of many drinks. "Okay," she replies, "except...they are."

I hate her.

I was hoping that the change of venue would help everybody forget about what I had done. It did not. All afternoon, family, friends, aquaintences and strangers come up to me to talk about my crying. I'm beginning to wish I had just gone up there and shit myself instead. It would have been just as humiliating, but people would have been too uncomfortable to come up to me and talk about it afterwards.

I am basically living my worst nightmare. I have progressed from wanting to hide out in bed to wanting to walk blindfolded onto a busy highway.

Then it's time for the toasts. The best man and the maid of honor give lovely, brief toasts. Then my dad decides he wants to say a few words. He finishes and calls on my brother to say something. None of this is planned. He gives a nice speech anyway, and dad calls on my older sister, who says a few terrified words. Then he tells me to say something. Once again, everybody is looking at me. I can see the pity in their eyes.

"Oh, the poor crying girl has to make a speech. Bless her heart, I hope she can say something."

I take a deep breath. My speech is about as long as everybody else's put together. It is touching and funny. People are laughing. I start talking faster and faster, my hands flying. I'm picking imaginary clothes out of the air. I am covering myself. For the first time all day, I do not feel exposed.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

It's your time to shine!

I hate buying certain things. Every time I go to buy socks, underwear or deoderant I get pissed off. It's not so much the act of buying these things that bothers me, as it is the idea that I actually have to pay money for them. I really don't think I should have to pay more than a dollar for any of these products. I also think they should ideally come in bins which I can just shove my hand into and come out with a sock/underwear/deoderant supply for the next year.

Every time I go into Duane Reade and see some stupid stick of Secret with a $5.50 price tag, my vision blurs and I'm filled with rage. Unless it's a dire emergency, I cannot do it. I cannot perform the act of giving a surly drugstore employee an Abraham Lincoln and change so I can shove my baby-fresh PH-balanced purchase in my medicine cabinet and start my morning smelling like an infant in a clean diaper. Which leads me to do my shopping at the 99 cent store.

I love the 99 cent store with an almost sexual passion. I love the randomness of the Jesus figurines next to dinner plates next to toothpaste. It's a perfect storm of discounted crap and I adore it.

So after I tried to put on deoderant the other day and realized that I was doing nothing more than scraping plastic against my armpits, (which, blood? Does not keep you fresh) I knew it was time to make a trip to my favorite store.

Now the thing with buying deoderant at this particular store, is that they generally only have two kinds. Avon and Tussy. I had previously had a negative experience with Tussy. Turns out, buying deoderant because the name makes you giggle isn't the best idea, as you will end up wearing a scent that actually smells like sweaty armpits. I put it on and immediately felt and smelled like I had just run a 5k. It was the antithesis of deoderant. It was oderant.

So I went to the store intending to try the Avon, which I had avoided up to this point because of it's creepy ball applicator. At this point, I figured the creepy ball was preferable to smelling like a gym bag. I'm trying to decide between powder fresh and original when I spot something pink out of the corner of my eye.

"Well hello, Ladies Choice. How are you today?"

A lone stick of invisible solid had infiltrated my beloved store. I was excited. I checked around me to make sure no one else had their eye on my treasure. Relieved to see all of the other customers perusing the Goya beans and screwdrivers, I snatched it up.
I get home and get ready for the inaugural application of the deoderant I chose because I'm a lady. This is when I notice something important. It had sparkles. It said so right on the label. My deoderant has fucking glitter in it.

I was flabbergasted. I could only imagine the thought process. "Girls. Pink. Smell. Pretty. Flowers. Unicorns. Timberlake. Boobs. Stars. Sparkle! That's it. Fucking glitter! IN! THE! DEODERANT!"

Who needs this? Who is the person who is sitting at home, feeling badly about themselves because their armpits just aren't...shiny enough? Is this an actual demographic? Are there support groups? More importantly, did Ladies Choice advertise this innovation?

INT. LIVING ROOM. TEENAGE GIRL SITS FORLORNLY ON A COUCH. MOTHER ENTERS THE ROOM AND JOINS HER.

VO: The teenage years are difficult for everybody. Changing bodies and hormones can be especially tough on teenage girls.
MOTHER: Hey sweetie, is something bothering you?
DAUGHTER: No mom, everything's fine.
MOTHER: Come on, you know you can tell me anything.
DAUGHTER: It's nothing...It's just that--
MOTHER: I think I know what this is about. And don't worry, I had the same problems when I was your age.
DAUGHTER: Really?
MOTHER: Yes. It's your armpits, right? They just don't feel...pretty enough?
DAUGHTER: Yeah! How did you know?
MOTHER: Hey, I was a teenager once too, you know. All women have this problem. Of course, I wasn't as lucky as you are; I had to suffer in silence.
DAUGHTER: Lucky? How?
MOTHER: Well, you have Ladies Choice deoderant and anti-perspirent.
DAUGHTER: But I've been using deoderant for years and I still don't feel pretty enough.
MOTHER: Yes, but you've never used Ladies Choice. It has sparkles.
DAUGHTER: Sparkles?
MOTHER: Sparkles. Built right in.
DAUGHTER: Wow! I'm going to try it right now!

CUT TO MOTHER WAITING OUTSIDE OF THE BATHROOM. DAUGHTER COMES OUT.

DAUGHTER: I feel so pretty. Thanks Mom!
MOM: Don't thank me, thank Ladies Choice.
MOM AND DAUGHTER: (To camera) Thanks Ladies Choice!
VO: Ladies Choice deoderant. It's your time to shine!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

An open letter to the first three season premieres:


Dear anyone ever associated with The Office. I'm talking cast, writers, electricians, craft services folk, whomever:

Marry me.

Love,
Kona
__________________________________________

Dear Marc Cherry,

You were kind of an absentee daddy on your show last season as the ratings and Emmy nominations (or lack thereof) showed us. So I understand that you're a little rusty; here's my suggestion: Netflix the first two seasons and watch them. Realize that Marcia Cross is only playing one character. Her name is Bree. Please write accordingly. Yes, she is an amazing actress who can play any number of roles. That doesn't mean that she should be playing all of those roles on your show. Rein it in, big guy.

Love,
Kona
________________________________________

Dear Shonda Rhimes,

I firmly believe that you spend every Sunday eating croissants at the Chateau Marmont with Zach Braff and fighting over who can pick the heartfelt indie song that will best represent the inner turmoil and perpetual late-twenties ennui with which you insist on saddling all of your characters. "You got your Shins in my Joseph Arthur!" "You got your Joseph Arthur in my Shins!"

"But Meredith is scary and damaged!" I KNOW! Now I'm not one to endorse Fergie Ferg, but once, just once, I would not be adverse to seeing Meredith busting a move to "London Bridge--" If I didn't think her hips would immediately shatter and turn to dust.

Speaking of which, I was watching an old episode of House the other night, and they put this fat suit on a 10-year-old. It looked great; it had realistic-looking freckles and everything. I also watch CSI a lot and am often impressed/grossed out by the realism they are able to give their corpses. Your show has money; can't you do something about Ellen Pompeo?

Love,
Kona

Edit: In its neverending editing wisdom, Blogger is refusing to upload any picture of Ellen Pompeo. I tried a few different pictures several different ways, and none of them took. Blogger does not want to subject you to that unless you want to. Tell Blogger "thank you."

Blogger: The best editor I could hope for

So I was writing a post yesterday about my love of Fall and the season premieres of The Office, Desperate Housewives and Greys' Anatomy. The post ended up being a little on the long and bloated side and at one point trailed off into a conversation I had with someone about Pumpkin Spice Frappucinos. I read it over, wasn't thrilled with it, but thought it had some good points. I was posting the accompanying pictures when Blogger decided to eat the entire post.

Shit.

I spent the next five minutes trying to make the post come back, which of course it didn't. I cursed myself for not saving a copy like I usually do. I debated whether or not I was going to rewrite it. Then I understood.

Blogger knew.

Blogger thought my post kind of sucked and said, as it picked its teeth, "I wasn't really feeling it."

Fair enough. Thank you for keeping my shit together, Blogger.

Next post: the severely truncated version of my season premiere post.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Ronald John Hemenway


Five years later, and we've gone on with our lives. We go to school, we go to work, we vote for the next American Idol. We are rarely faced with reminders of that morning, five years ago. For some people, though, the pain of that day is still fresh. It is something that they live with; it is a part of them.

On September 11, 2001, Ronald Hemenway, 37, went to work. He had a successful career as an electronics technician first class in the Navy, where he was known among his shipmates as being intelligent, mature, and having a great sense of humor. He would always joke around with his friends on the ship about being so hairy he needed to shave three times a day. His career in the Navy ultimately sent him from his home in Kansas City to the Pentagon.

An avid horse enthusiast, Hemenway bred horses before joining the Navy and still kept two at his parent's home in Kansas. Right before the attack on the Pentagon, Hemenway and his wife Marinella had been looking at property in Virginia in order to make a home for their horses and two children, Stefan and Desiree, who were only toddlers.

Stefan and Desiree are both in school now, starting the process of growing up. While their memories of their father may be dim, projects like 2,996 are keeping not only his memory alive, but the memories of all of the people who died on September 11, 2001. It's five years later. We've moved on, but we have not forgotten.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Okay. So if Suri turns out to be a puppet, MK overdoses on "anorexia," Leinart says he's not the dad, and Nicky gets knocked up by that elf, I'm good

I'm not going to try to do one of those, "I know I should write more, but I haven't been because of xyz and I promise I'll do better" posts, even though...yeah. Anyway, we're going to talk about when obsessions become tangible.

I love celebrity gossip. I know it's not important, that there are events in this world that usurp whether or not Suri Cruise a) exists, or b) was birthed by a glassy-eyed runaway deep inside the bowels of the celebrity center.* From what I understand, there's a war or two happening somewhere...over there, and the Silver Fox keeps on talking about some sort of water-damage in New Orleans. I don't know much about it, but he seems really worked up about it every night on CNN.

None of this, however, changes the fact that ohmygoddidyouhearjessicaisdatingjohnmayer? She has a creepy father, ditched her sweet, understanding husband, turned orange, and is dating a dude with fish lips--while her ex is dating a hot lady who regularly appears in Maxim. Delicious.

So when I heard about Fafarazzi, which is basically fantasy football for celebrities, I, of course, became immediately obsessed. Knowing nothing about fantasy sports, I of course, screwed up my first round draft picks and missed out on the sacred tabloid cows of Paris, Jessica and Lindsay. Little fake Cruise, however, has proven to be quite the boon. After an ill-advised and sentimental draft of Pete Wentz, I dropped him, along with Owen Wilson and others and shook up my roster last night. I'm currently third in my league, but only one point separates me from second.

I'm betting on some more Couric news leading up to her putting on her serious face and talking about explosions and stuff, John Mayer's side of the story/fan-saving denial, and I'm really hoping that the Go Fug Yourself girls are right about the less-skanky Hilton girl.

Obsession is bad enough, but when you're actively rooting for Maggie Gyllenhaal to be pregnant with her brother's kid just because the points that would garner would be phenomenal, your mental state is probably less than desirable. But seriously, Scarlett. Where's the sex tape?

*Seriously. There is no third option. It's one of the two.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

If you know the words, feel free to sing along.

Yesterday was the kind of day that we all have. You know, the kind of day where you get off the train and you think, ow, my toe hurts. Which is weird, because you've been walking around all day, and it didn't hurt before, but now, after you've been sitting for a half an hour, it suddenly feels all stabby. But you move on.

You're walking around; it's after 10 pm and you haven't had dinner. You just got off of work and you decide you should probably get food before you get on the next train to go home. So you're walking around, and one of your heels has worn down so that the nail attaching the heel to the bottom of the shoe is exposed. So you're making a very uneven and annoying click CLACK sound as you walk. Click CLACK, click CLACK, click CLACK. You are way too fucking tired to deal with this. So you try to walk lighter on your left foot, which has the worn down shoe. Problem is, that makes you put more weight on your right foot, which has the stabby nail. So you start doing this weird kind of limp that makes you look like you were born without knees, and the crazy part? Is that there's a guy walking toward you who is doing the exact same walk you're doing--except it just looks like his balls hurt. Then you worry that it looks like your balls hurt, which of course, brings up the concern of whether or not it looks like you have balls that could be hurting. It's a very awkward situation.

So you're looking for food, but nothing looks appealing at all. Except a pretzel. Pretzels are simple; it's hard to go wrong. So you turn toward the pretzel place, and in the same motion turn away from it, because there's a crackhead in front asking for change and you cannot DEAL with a crackhead right now because you were born WITHOUT KNEES.

So instead, you get some frozen yogurt, which you quickly get bored with, so you throw the rest of it away. The train comes, and as you're sitting down, some 40-year-old straw hat-wearing, LaFours-looking motherfucker with a Mick Jagger pout that makes you want to slap his mouth with your book gets onto the train and sits next to you. And then, the existence of God is confirmed because as he's bending over to sit down, his stupid fucking hat falls onto the festering subway floor. And instead of just snickering to yourself like you normally would, you openly start to giggle and you sit on the train for the rest of the ride with a goofy-ass grin on your face.

So then you're home. You take off the heels that you've been wearing for the past 16 or so hours and see that the last two toes on your right foot are covered in blood. You feel kind of hardcore, but mostly just tired and annoyed.

But then, your annoyance is tempered by happiness as you realize that today is Wednesday, which means that Project Runway has made a cozy little home for itself on your Tivo, just waiting for you to bask in its glory. As you settle in bed, listening Heidi Klum's comforting and familiar lack of "R's," everything seems like it's going to be okay. Then Michael comes on. Dear, sweet, hot (neck tattoo!) if not for the fucked up grill, Michael. He's doing his first interview of the episode, in which he says, "I'm not trying to be 'Captain Save-a-Ho.'" And with that, an inner peace washes over you and you don't care that you've been home for less than an hour and you have to get up in six. You've got 35 more minutes of Captain (Not)Save-a-Ho.

That's just the kind of day it was.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

They're all naked? I...need a bloody mary: Surviving comedy (barely)

Maybe you've just finished reading Hatchet for school, or Netflix'd Alive, or perhaps, despite being the type of person who openly mocks reality shows, you're chilling out in front of your television on a Thursday night watching Jeff Probst smarm his way through another episode of Survivor. Inevitably, you ask yourself the question, "what would I do?" "How would I survive?" Most people are confident that their primal skills will kick in and they will be naturally adept at spear fishing. They will know which berries are poisonous and which are simply delicious. They dream of fashioning clothing out of foliage and animal skins, of killing with their bare hands. I hold no such delusions; being raised a vegetarian, I am, in a word, fucked.

Luckily, living in New York doesn't present many opportunities for me to die a slow, painful death due to my lack of survival skills. I may have no sense of direction, but I can find my way around a grid, and I am never more than thirty feet away from a bagel. The Jews may start all the wars in the world, but they do make a delightful breakfast food.

Perhaps I ensconced myself a little too much in my plastic bubble of urban safety, rocked myself to sleep one too many times to the refrain of, "it'll never happen to me," because last weekend, I found myself face-to-face with humanity at its most basic: inside the UCB theater for the Del Close marathon.

Once a year, for $20, you get seventy-four straight hours filled with Improv comedy. Seems like a good deal, if you're into that sort of thing. I am into that sort of thing, so the prospect of this was very exciting. Sure, there were going to be a lot of troupes I had never heard of, but there would also be people from Saturday Night Live, Best Week Ever, and my personal heroes, The Upright Citizens Brigade. Three days, nearly 150 shows, one wristband, and you could come and go as you pleased--in theory, at least.

So here's the first thing I learned: My friends and I aren't the only people in New York who think this would be fun. When I arrive, slightly tipsy from an elongated happy hour, at 10 pm on Friday night, there is a huge line to get in. I find Charlie, and we wait in line for Dave and Laura. It takes over an hour to get in, and I miss the first two shows that I had wanted to see. That's when I realize this shit is serious.

Sure, they say you can come and go as you please, but if you want to see specific shows, you'd better keep your ass in that chair, because once you leave, it can be hours before you get back in. I stayed until about 3 in the morning the first night, and went home knowing that I would need to come correct the next day.

I arrived at 4:30 in the afternoon, armed with gatorade and a box of cheese crackers. Unlike the night before, I was dressed in comfortable clothes and had plenty of cash. I got in line, and shortly after Charlie met me, he made a run for fruit and protein shakes. I was fortified and ready. I was staying through the entire night.

There's not much I can really say about the next 16 or so hours. Over a week later, I'm still trying to make sense of it myself. After a Friday night that included Horatio Sanz in a Dr. Phil costume consisting of a plastic breast on the top of his head for a bald cap and a piece of electrical tape serving as his mustache, and a group called "Emanciprov" that featured Matt Walsh as a bullwhip-wielding slave driver, I thought I was reasonably prepared. I was reasonably wrong.

It was the type of evening in which two guys did a thirty-minute comedy show as Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr.

It was the type of evening that had beer chugging and banana eating contests between the performers and various audience members.

It was the type of evening in which a dude dressed as Flipper attacked people.

It was the type of evening that featured a comedic wrestling show, that ended with one of the members taking off his clothes and running around the stage with birthday cake on his ass.

It was the type of evening in which I found myself on stage, slow dancing with a stranger to Benny and the Jets at 3:30 in the morning.

It was the type of evening that dissolved into chaos, prompting a very tired Doug Benson to leave the stage in the middle of a performance, saying "this is stupid" and hang out with his tiny Asian girlfriend in the row behind us.

The thing about the Del Close marathon is, once you're in, all vestiges of polite society leave. The effect of a black, windowless theater and a non-stop assault of comedy causes everybody who shares the space to become immediately feral. Survival instincts kick in and you start looking around, figuring out who you can get away with killing. At 8 am, you giggle because there are four guys over there drinking beers, shirtless. Then one stands up and you realize they are completely naked. And nobody says a word as they help themselves to the donuts that one of the troupes thoughtfully provided.

At the end of the marathon, once your friends have all left you, and it's been over thirty hours since you've slept, you may find yourself having a short conversation with Ian Roberts in the middle of one of his shows about how you don't like talking about being a vegetarian. "Good, so you know it's wrong then." he says to you. And you do know. Because even in New York theater, the time may come when you need to kill to survive.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Random Conversations with Family Members #2

This conversation happened roughly 4 years ago, but it is still my absolute favorite conversation I've ever had with my father.

Discussing the possibility of my younger sister moving in with her boyfriend:

Me: Dad, she should get her own place. They're too young and they both need to have the college experience.
Dad: Nah, it'll be fine. They'll be over at each other's places all the time anyway, this way they save on electricity.
Me: What? What does that even mean?
Dad: Besides, she's 18; she can do what she wants.
Me: She's 17.
Dad: Same difference.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

10-Second Movie Reviews #3



Well this is a special day at It's Just Like That. Because today, our guest reviewer is writer/director/actor Miranda July. She's here to talk about her film, Me and You and Everyone We Know.

Miranda July: Hey guys. It's me, Miranda July, or you can call me by my alternate name, "Poor man's Maggie Gyllenhaal." Man, it is tough in Hollywood for someone as quirky as I. There just aren't a lot of meaty roles that I can really dive into, you know? I want to pee on myself, too!

So I bucked the system and wrote and directed my own movie. And since it's Independent I can make the characters as quirky! as! I! want! It doesn't even have to make sense! As long as the characters are damaged, critics will love me!

Independent film: Quirky is the new good.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

My Year of Living Dangerously (relatively speaking, that is)

Those of you who don’t have the events of my life plotted out on your calendars (quick! When’s my birthday?) may not be aware that I recently celebrated a big anniversary. Now this anniversary isn’t of the 12-step (I already don’t do drugs) or boy-related variety (dying alone). No, July 1st was the one-year anniversary of me saying, “Dude. Fuck this” and moving to New York. Actually, the “Dude. Fuck this” happened more around June 23rd, but the move itself was a year ago Saturday.

Now, I could write about how much I’ve changed and grown as a person in this year, but I’m not really sure that I have. I’m pretty much the same old Kona. Except that I drink both coffee and beer now, two things that I never did before I moved here. So there’s that. Since I’ve got nothing insightful to say about my experience thus far, but do believe that this is a noteworthy occasion, I present to you:

My Year of Living in New York: by the numbers

Number of times I’ve moved
4

Number of buroughs in which I’ve lived
3

Number of roommates I’ve had
4 (plus the family I rented a room from the first month I was here.)

Number of roommates I’ve wished would fall into an open manhole
3

Number of jobs I’ve had
5

Number of jobs I currently have
2

Number of nights illegal fireworks have made me feel like I live in Fallujah
8

Number of times I've stepped around someone in a subway station who very well could have been dead
1

Number of delis/bagel carts that have been my deli/bagel cart
7

Number of delis/bagel carts that I had to stop going to because the deli/bagel cart guy creeped me out
3

Number of times I have cooked something more involved than grilled cheese and soup
4

Approximate number of miles I’ve driven
800

Approximate number of hours I’ve spent on public transportation
500

% increase in the number of times I’ve been referred to as “mami”
100

Number of concerts I’ve been to
4

Number of Rhett Miller concerts I’ve been to
2

Number of bizarre lies/rumors about me that make me seem a lot more interesting than I actually am.
4

Number of those rumors that ended up on television
1

Number of those rumors I helped start
1

Number of stalkers
1

Number of guys with whom I’ve drunkenly made out in the middle of a bar
5

Number of guys with whom I’ve drunkenly made out in the middle of a bar whose name I actually remember
4

Number of guys with whom I’ve drunkenly made out in the middle of a bar while I was supposed to be dating someone else
2

Number of guys with whom I’ve drunkenly made out in the middle of a bar while I was supposed to be dating someone else who also made out with Adonilia.
1

Number of times I climbed onto my windowsill to hang curtains above an open window with a five-story drop.
6

Number of times I was convinced I would fall backwards and die, leaving Buckley to feast on my oozing brain for days or weeks, depending on how long it would take for people to find me because people don’t know where I live now
3

Number of people who have my new address
1

Number of people who have my new address who live within an eight hour drive, are related to me or could be considered any sort of emergency contact
0

Living dangerously, indeed.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Random Style Tip of the Day #1



Dear guy on the subway platform at Penn Station last night,

Yes, I know it's hot. It doesn't matter. No, it's not okay even if you do live in Bushwick.

If you are a guy and

a. Your name is not John Belushi

or

b. You are not an actual samurai

You cannot get away with wearing a bun on the top of your head. Don't try. Sure, looking at it doesn't make me happy, but you're really only hurting yourself. And the possibility of you ever seeing a real-live naked girl. Without a window separating the two of you.

Seriously. This hurts you more than it hurts me,
Kona

Friday, June 16, 2006

Suck it, Soccer. F you, Futbol.

I'm on the 2 train to Penn Station yesterday, on my way to the airport. We get to 14th street and the train stops--but the doors don't open. I sit for a minute, reading and trying to avoid the, "aw man, can you belive this?" eye contact of my fellow commuters. All the sudden we hear the conductor, not directing this to us, but saying, "Yeah, somebody shot at the train. The police are coming down to investigate."

First the stabbings, now this? Is this because of the World Cup? Is this our answer to Soccer hooligans?

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Phase two in my celebration of Lauren's unplanned pregnancy.

After Lauren found out she was pregnant, she demanded a refund from Planned Parenthood for the morning after pill. The doctor laughed. I decided to help her out.

(Click to enlarge and bask in the glow of how lucky you are to know me)

Sunday, June 04, 2006

The Morning After, and It's a Whole New World


We were all cool in our own way, but she was the coolest. We all listened to the same kind of music, but she, more than anyone, influenced us. We all had friends in different social circles, but she was the one who glided from group to group with the most ease.

I don't remember specifically when we met; whether it was seventh or eighth grade, whether it was in gym or pre-algebra, or when we really started being friends. I just know that there was this group of girls who had been friends for a while and who I always thought was very cool. One day, for some unknown reason, they decided to let me be a part of it. Clichés become clichés for a reason: they are often true. So when I say that becoming friends with these girls changed my life, it is both clichéd and unequivocally true.

Most of my childhood was spent moving from school to school. On top of perpetually being the new kid, I was left by myself a lot from a very young age, leaving me with almost a crippling shyness, something that was exacerbated by the fact that not spending a lot of time with kids my own age made it difficult for me to relate to them. I was insecure and making new friends was challenging for me. I was a follower and all of my actions were influenced by whoever I was hanging around. As it happened, when these girls made me their friend, I had a best friend who I idolized. I followed her everywhere, and usually where we ended up was in trouble. I did a lot of things then, that had I been seventeen at the time, would have been completely normal--if not expected. But I wasn't seventeen, I was thirteen, and the path I was on was not a good one.

But these girls were different. They got good grades and they didn't skip school. When they wanted to rebel, they dyed their hair with Kool-Aid and pierced their ears with safety pins. It was controlled danger--and it was comforting. After a while, I stopped hanging out with the friends I had before, and became a full member of this new group.

She was the ringleader. She was the most outspoken, and even though she was kind of a new kid, we looked to her to guide us. She lived in the center of town and her house was a magical place to me. Going there was like stepping into a TV show. Her family welcomed us, and in high school, her home became our meeting place; her family became our second family. We could go there when things got complicated at our own homes or when we just wanted some pasta--'cause her dad could make some pasta. Growing up with a single mother made me appreciate the normalcy of it all. The bickering, the yelling, the family dinners. It was so different from my own house, and I loved it.

Watching MTV and talking on the phone were two of those "teenage" activities that I very rarely did. When we became friends though, she would call me after school (she had her own phone line, which was the coolest thing ever) and we'd sit in our respective houses watching MTV and talking for hours about what we were watching. She knew how to fold notes in a complicated fashion. We all made up aliases and the Can You Be Miss America quiz. She and the other girls made me feel normal. I could relate to people more.

We traded clothes; we were obsessed with the color silver and girl bands. We listened to L7 and Hole and tried to be different from everyone else in their Guess jeans and Champion t-shirts. We wanted to be misfits. We were called skaters and bangers, neither of which was exactly accurate. When a guy in our grade said to us, "You guys are freaks...and you're not even the cool kind!" We felt like we had won.

In high school we developed more independent interests. A few of us got into sports, I got into theater, and she wanted to start a band. Our group of friends expanded. We became friends with a lot of guys and sometimes these guys became our boyfriends. But she was still the common thread between us all. She had the plan. I would call her on the weekends to see what was going on and she would tell me immediately because she had already talked to everyone else and mapped out our evening.

We didn't talk about the future very often. She and I only had vague ideas of how we wanted our lives to turn out. I'm not sure if either of us had any specific goals other than just kicking ass in general. When we would have discussions about marriage and babies, as teenage girls invariably do, I would talk about what I wanted to name my kids (two girls, three to four years apart) and she would talk about how she never wanted to have kids. Over the years, my baby names changed, but her insistence that she wanted to remain childless didn't.

I was dismayed by her adamancy for a couple of reasons. From my father, I have inherited the belief that everybody should be married and have babies all the time. This man has had four wives and five kids. He's clearly a fan of both. Although I do have kind of a "babies, yay!" point of view, I'm not one of those people who thinks that a woman cannot be truly happy unless she has children. When she said she didn't want them, I didn't think it was something about which she would eventually change her mind. And while I respected her decision, I considered it to be a major loss because I always knew that she would make an amazing mother. there are so many shitty parents out there that we need someone like her out there raising a kid or two, just to balance things out a little bit.

One of the biggest mistakes a parent can make is forgetting what it's like to be a kid. It's a delicate balance between friend and authoritarian, but I've always had faith that it would be a balance that she could successfully strike. She'd be the cool mom and a whole new generation of kids would escape to her house. The fact that this wouldn't happen, that my kids wouldn't know her kids saddened me.

But then, a few days ago, all of that changed. She found out she was having a baby. It was accidental, and she was understandably terrified, but the word on the street was that she was also excited. And so was I.

Once again, she was leading the way for all of us in another stage in our lives. Whenever I take that step, her mistakes and successes will be there to guide me; a fact that I find amazingly comforting. None of us expected this to happen at all, and if it did, she certainly wouldn't be the first. But now that she is, it feels like this is how it was always supposed to be.

The next eight months are going to be terrifying. Preparations will be made, plans will be changed, and she will somehow ready herself for her entire life to be turned upside down. In about eight months, there will be a baby. This baby will have no idea how important his mom has been to so many people, how much she has influenced us and changed our lives. He will have no idea how lucky he is to have my friend, Lauren Patricia, as a mother, but he'll be lucky enough to find out.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Think airport security is a pain in the ass? Guess what: It's your fault.

There are a lot of things in life that straight-up suck but are unavoidable and actually good for you, like taking out the trash. Or going to the dentist. Or getting out of bed in the morning. You know that cavity won’t fill itself, that your apartment will start to smell like an open sore, and that you need to get up and go to work so you can afford that filling and the apartment that won’t have the same stench as the scene in Gone With the Wind with the dead and wounded soldiers lying out in the Atlanta sun, because you’re enough of an adult to take out the trash in a reasonable time frame.

You know these things are necessary, so you do them—but you don’t look forward to doing them. Airport security is in this same category. Bad men got into planes and did bad things, so we need to go through a bit more red tape to get to Florida. Most people understand this and are grateful that security has been tightened and that it is more difficult to get on a plane. What’s a little inconvenience when it makes us safer?

At least, that was the feeling in the year or so following September 11th. National Guardsmen were hanging out with guns, security lines were longer, and old ladies were being searched in ways they probably hadn’t experienced since they snuck away from the dance with their beaus after a long evening of sarsaparillas and the Lindy Hop.

We took the delays in stride and just got to the airport a little earlier. A year passed. Then two. Then three, and there were no more plane-related catastrophes. So we started to slip back into our old habits. And we became impatient. Airport security once again went from our protectors to our enemies. Instead of people who were just doing their job, TSA employees became incompetent yokels hell-bent on making us late for our flight. They were unhappy with their station in life, so they decided to take it out on us. One of my jobs is doing market research in Newark Airport. In this capacity, I go through security sometimes eight times a week. And here’s what I’ve learned: It’s not them, it’s you.

It used to be that anyone could get through security and go right up to the gate. Airports were filled with the intimacy of tearful hellos and family members and loved ones waving goodbye until they saw the plane taxi down the runway. Now, in order to get through security, you have to either have a boarding pass or a TSA badge. With fewer people going through security, it would stand to reason that the lines would move faster, or at least at the same rate at which they moved before, but they don’t. Every day I see security lines that snake around the terminal in such a way that it begins to look and feel more like a figure-eight that is just feeding on itself with no end in sight.

Part of the reason for the wait is simple physics. You have 200 people going through two metal detectors and it’s going to take some time. That’s just a fact. Everyone could be going through naked and the security person still has to wait for that little green light to come on before you can be waved forward. It’s a slow process no matter what, so why do you insist on exacerbating the situation?

Don’t look around, because I am talking to you specifically. Why? Because you’re not John Cusack and you’re not Ross Gellar. You didn’t rush to the airport in a fit of romantic pique. There was no thunderstorm that caused a downed power line, leaving your cab stuck in a horrendous traffic jam this close to the airport. You did not then throw money at the cab driver and take off running through the stopped cars with only your copy of Rolling Stone to shield you from the downpour. You did not arrive at the airport dripping wet, maxing out your credit card to buy a first-class ticket on your true love’s flight because that was all they had left and, as we all know, you have to have a boarding pass to get past security and profess your love for her. None of this happened because you’re going to Phoenix to visit your brother. You’ve been planning this trip for months.

So, you’ve known that you were going to fly on an airplane for a while. You know that part of the deal is going through the security line. So what’s the deal with the studded belt and the dog collar, huh? You really needed to wear that today, Sid Vicious? And hey, Dippity Do-Rag. I understand that your Timberlands are going to be integral to navigating the frozen tundra of Atlanta in July, but they are fucking huge. They are not going to let you through with those on. Seriously. Don’t try. It will not happen. And to the guy in the Hard Rock Orlando sweatshirt? Okay, you’re a smoker. You rock hard, I get it. Oops, you left your lighter in your pocket. No big deal. It’s an understandable oversight. But the Swiss Army Knife on your keychain? Are you fucking kidding me with this? Is it your first day here? And by “here,” I mean, “on this planet,” because come ON, dude. That shit will not fly. And I mean that quite literally. Leave the weapons at home with your children, where they belong.

Because I love/hate all of you, I’m going to give you some tips on getting through the security line in a reasonable fashion.

1. Take off your shoes.
I don’t care what kind of shoes they are. If you are at an airport with the word “International” in the name, do not wear them. I know that the sign says that they “suggest” you remove your shoes, but if you don’t you will automatically be searched. So wear something that you can slip on and off easily. In other words, wear the flip flops, pack the knee-high lace-up Doc Martins.

2. Try not to wear a coat or blazer, and definitely do not wear both.
You will have to remove them and it’s going to be a pain in the ass and take up a lot of time.

3. Don’t pack a laptop in your carryon luggage.
I know that you’re really trying to beat your high score in FreeCell, but it’s not worth it. You’ll have to take the laptop out, put it in a separate bin and put it back in your bag. Unless you practice this a lot, it’s going to be awkward and time-consuming. If you must bring it, when they tell you to take it out of the bag, that does not mean take it out of your rolling briefcase but keep it in the protective cover. Dumbass.

4. Empty out your pockets before you leave the house.
You’re not driving anywhere on the airplane and vending machines take dollar bills, so you don’t need $15.64 in change.

5. Don’t wear a belt.
It’s going to set off the alarm. Try wearing pants that fit instead.

Basically, what it boils down to is realizing that you are, in fact, heading to the airport. Simplify what you have with you, and if your wait isn’t shortened, you will at least have the pleasure of looking down on the unprepared fools with seventeen necklaces and knee-high boots.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

And how was your Memorial Day?

A three-day weekend with beautiful weather. What more could you ask for?

Last night I was up a lot later than usual. When I went to sleep, I dreamt that it was the next season of American Idol. Katherine McPhee was back and in the final two again--against me. I was blonde and had to choose my three songs because we were just about to go on the air. I was being rushed around and thrown into hair and makeup, all the time thinking, "what are these jackasses thinking? I can't sing!" I was very dissapointed in the American public for voting for me.

Part of the reason I was up so late is because earlier that day I took a shower, laid out my clothes and blacked out for about five hours. During my slight coma, my subconscious wrote and acted out an entire 22-minute episode of Malcom in the Middle. I remember thinking it was weird because the parents each only had one line and it was the series finale. When I woke up, I realized that what was weird was the fact that I don't watch Malcom in the Middle.

In conclusion, on Memorial Day, my brain tried to eat itself.

Monday, May 22, 2006

New Jersey---Where even the graffiti is depressing

I was on the AirTrain at Newark airport today and we passed over a regular train track where a cargo train (is that the right term? Is that even a thing at all?) was passing by. Naturally the train was covered in graffiti. On two cars in a row, in different handwriting it said:

"I am trying to keep myself
but my self keeps slipping away."

"Lost in life"

I had to break into my emergency stash of Valium and airplane bottles of Jack Daniels to even make it through the rest of the trip.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Go big or go home, that's what I always say.

Me: Ahhhhhhh! I HATE you! I'm going to punch you in your...
Adonilia:...
Me:...
Adonilia: Am I supposed to just fill in the blank?
Me: No. 'Cause here's what I'm going to do.
Adonilia: Okay...
Me: So you know how we're going to move, right?
Adonilia: Right...
Me: Well, there will be moving expenses and everything, but ideally we're not going to move into a place that is too much more expensive, so I'll have some extra money and I'll start a savings. Now, I know some pretty shady people.
Adonilia: You do?
Me: Oh yeah. I could get any manner of things in a very short period of time. So I'll use these people to procure some sort of...heavy narcotic; something that will...you know, let's just come out with it. Roofies. I'm going to get some roofies.
Adonilia: Are roofies narcotics?
Me: I would assume so.
Adonilia: Hmm.
Me: Basically I'm going to put some roofies in your drink and knock you out for about a day. I'm going to rent a car--
Adonilia: Wait. Don't you need me to rent the car, since your drivers license says that you live in The Bronx, and the rental car companies charge twice as much?
Me: I'll rent it in Jersey.
Adonilia: Oh, okay.
Me: ANYWAY, so I'm going to rent a car, find someone to take care of the dog--wait. Actually, the dog will come with us. She loves car rides. Then we're going to take a roadtrip, Transamerica style.
Adonilia: Wait. Am I getting a sex change?
Me: Exactly.
Adonilia: What about when I wake up? Are you going to keep on drugging me?
Me: Yeah. It'll be a pretty constant thing. Basically, you're going to go to bed one night and wake up about a week later in California. With a wang. But more importantly, you'll have nuts.
Adonila: Which you will then punch me in.
Me: Indeed.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

You can call me Mary Poppins. Or asshole. Really, either one would be appropriate.


You know that you have truly become a ridiculous individual and your life has reached a brand-new level of asinineness when this is your purse...









...This is everything that is in your purse...












...and you are making up words like "asinineness."

I know this city is killing me

I come from a very healthy family. We're fortunate in that no one in my immediate family has ever suffered from an illness more major than the flu. People in my extended family tend to live to old age and then just...die. Sure, we have our accidents; my dad's car crash, my mom's various horse mishaps and my sister and I just being stupid and falling down, but all in all, we've pretty much got our shit together, healthwise.

Growing up in a family like this hasn't made me feel invincible, exactly. I'm still terrified that one of us will get into a terrible car accident and die. There was a year in college that I was convinced, for no particular reason, that I had cancer. Then there was the time after college when the doctor actually made me legitimately afraid that I had cancer. I know that I am fallible--at least as far as the major things are concerned. It's the minor things, the afflictions of the "common people" that I strongly believe shouldn't be able to touch me.

There was an incident in college where I went out to dinner with a friend and a bunch of his friends whom I had never met. It was a hoppin' friday night in Harrisonburg, so the restaurant was busy. When faced with a crowded restaurant and a choice of smoking or non-smoking sections, I always choose first available. Nobody's going to be smoking at my table, so it doesn't matter to me in the least, and generally, my friends agree.

Except this particular evening, I was not with friends, I was with strangers. Who soon turned into enemies. When I went to ask for first available, one of the girls told the hostess that we needed non-smoking. When I asked why, she explained that one of the guys had asthma, to which I responded, "Why should I have to wait 45 minutes just because that dude's too lazy to breathe right?"

I don't make the best first impressions.

I was, of course, kidding when I called the guy's lungs lazy, but I would be lying if I didn't reveal three things:

1. I was kind of annoyed that we would have to wait.
2. There is a part of me, a part not governed by science or reason, that kind of believes that exposing his lungs to smoke would make them stronger.
3. That I'm kind of better at life than him.

With good health comes a certain amount of arrogance. Being arrogant about something so fragile, something so often out of your control, is a dangerous thing because it can come back to bite you in the ass. I used to have a roommate who was flat-out allergic to everything. Our fridge was filled with anti-allergy pills, liquids, sprays and Lactaid. And I knew that every time I opened the fridge, laughed to myself and called her a loser, that I was tempting fate. But that didn't stop me. I could go roll around in a field of wild flowers while drinking a big glass of milk and eating a grilled cheese, and she couldn't. Therefore, I was awesome and she was not. She wore glasses when she drove, too. I mean, come on, she couldn't even see right! The question of who rocked the hardest was quickly asked and answered. I took a vision test that year and found out that I was 20/15. Nobody could touch me.

When I moved to New York, I started getting sick more often than usual. At first I chalked it up to stress and not taking care of myself and moved on. Then I read this article and found out that New York was trying to kill me--well, not me, exactly, just losers with allergies. I didn't have allergies, so this article clearly was not about me.

Then, recently, I was at work. I had to update one of our databases using a medical book with very small type. I worked for a while and then realized I was squinting. Me! Squinting! Like a common middle-aged housewife trying to read her grocery list in the supermarket. After working on this for the entire day, I had a hell of a headache. It didn't go away until the next afternoon. I started to worry. Did I need reading glasses? My dad didn't need them until he was 40. I'm only 25. Is this the first crack in my shield of genetic superiority?

Last weekend, I came down with a cold. I could feel it coming on. My eyes were watery, my nose started running, I knew it would be only a matter of time before I got a sore throat and a headache. Except none of that happened. For the past four days I've only had sneezing, runny nose and itchy, watery eyes. JUST LIKE ONE OF THOSE STUPID PEOPLE IN AN ALLERGY COMMERCIAL.

Am I this old? Have I reached the age where my body slowly just stops working? Because, no. I can't handle that right now. I've always joked about being old and boring, like how I barely partied in high school because I was too busy working all the time, paying bills and listening to Rod Stewart. Or my senior year in college where I was in bed by 8 or 9 so I could wake up at 3:45 in the morning and go work with Drinky McWhorepants and The Surly Asian. Yeah, Kona's so sleepy, ha ha. Deep down, I was still better than all of you.

But now I'm not. And I hate that. That's all I had going for me, and it's gone; replaced by a big box of Benadryl and plans for a new vision test. What am I going to do now? Learn a skill? Develop a talent? It's a little too fricking late for that. I don't really see myself becoming a master juggler anytime soon or developing "goals" or "dreams" or any of those other things that used to be beneath me. Oh sure, maybe I have "issues" and I should "talk to someone" and work on my "rage." But that sounds an awful lot like therapy. And therapy is for suckers.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Hey Johnny Damon!: Fun with beer, cops, mothers, celebrity look-alikes and awkward crushes


ed. note: in the following story, the part of Adonilia is being played by my roommate, who has previously been named Beast and E.

Last night, Adonilia and I decided to take advantage of the fact that we live three subway stops away from Yankee stadium and go to a game. Mainly, we drank. We went to a bar and had a few drinks before we got to the stadium where they charge astronomical prices. By the time we left the bar to go to the game, I was already kind of stumbling a little bit. The night pretty much went downhill from there.

On the way to take our seats, Adonilia and I got food and $7.75 Bud Lights. Our hands were full and I didn’t have the foresight to take out my ticket so I could figure out where our seats were. Luckily, there were two police officers stationed at the entrance of our section.

Me: Dude. I have no idea where are seats are. I’m kind of scared.
Adonilia: Yeah, I don’t know either.
Officer: What are your seat numbers?
Me: Uh, I don’t have my ticket out
Adonilia: Mine’s in my pocket (she cocks her hip towards him. The cop just looks at me like, “does she really want me to stick her hand in her pocket?”)
Me: God Adonilia, stop trying to get some anywhere you can!
Officer: (chuckling, he takes out the ticket) Uh, you guys are in row L. It’s right up there.
Me: Thanks officer. I’m sorry that my roommate is such a whore.

We found our seats, which were located in, I believe, Denver. All I know is that the air was quite thin. Now, I have a tendency to get quite belligerent at sporting events. Big surprise. What generally gets me in trouble is the fact that I don’t limit my rage-fuelled rants to the opposing team. If my team is doing badly, I’ll yell at them just as much. Because how else are they going to learn? Of course, since I know very little about baseball, it’s hard to tailor my curses toward the actual player, causing me to fall back on disparaging their mothers. I don’t remember a lot of what I yelled last night, but this is some of what I do recall with a reasonable degree of accuracy. You can pretty much just assume that when I wasn’t yelling the following things, I was yelling some variation of “Your mother’s a whore.”

“Hey Johnny Damon! Steinbrenner made you get a haircut for a reason, why don’t you do something with your life? Like HIT the goddamn BALL!”

“Ooh, way to go, Yankees. Thanks for getting that guy out. I’m so glad you could take some time off from PAINTING your TOENAILS to actually play some fucking BASEBALL!”

Boston had a batter up who was taking forever. He kept on alternating between balls and strikes before he finally got a hit like, three days later.

Adonilia: God. This guy is taking forever. Shit or get off the pot!
Me: Yeah. Come ON!
Adonilia: I have a nine-year-old child. Not because I have a nine-year-old child at home--
Me: But because since this guy has been up at bat, you’ve met someone, fallen in love, gotten pregnant, given birth, and your child has aged nine years?
Adonilia: Exactly.

Adonilia and I leave after Johnny Damon is out for the second time. I’m still yelling as she’s ushering me out of our row.
Me: Hey Johnny Damon! You. Me. Parking lot!
Adonilia: Kona, you’re not going to beat up Johnny Damon in the parking lot.
Me: I KNOW. I’m going to STAB Johnny Damon in the parking lot!

After Adonilia dragged me out of the stadium, we decided to continue to drink at the bar across the street, as they were still running their 3 for $10 beer special.

Drunk Guy: Hey, what’s your name?
Me: Kona
Drunk Guy: What’s your friend’s name?
Me: Adonilia
Drunk Guy. Cool. So are you girls Dominican?
Me: …
Adonilia: What?
Me: Uh, no. We’re not Dominican.
Drunk Guy: Oh, so what are you doing here?
Me: We just got back from the game.
Drunk Guy: Hey, me too. You’re very pretty ladies.
Me: Uh, thanks.

Drunk guy #2: Hey, you look like the sister of what’s-her-face.
Me: Oh, “what’s-her-face!” I love her!
Drunk guy #2: Yeah, you know who I’m talking about!
Me: No. I have no idea.
Drunk guy #2: Uh…the singer…from that show.
Me: Jessica Simpson? You think I look like Ashlee Simpson? That’s hilarious.
Drunk guy #2: Yeah! You totally remind me of her!
Me: I don’t think this guy has seen her since she dyed her hair back to blonde and got the nose job.
Adonilia: …yeah. I hate the entire Simpson family. Is Nick Lachey’s new CD out yet? Because I’m going to get it. I’m going to physically go to the store and purchase it because I want to support the Nick Lachey cause. I’m on Team Lachey.
Me: Oh, totally.
Adonilia: Yeah, I kind of love him, but I’m still not actually attracted to him in any way.
Me: I always have been a little bit.
Adonilia: But you have that weird thing for frat boys.
Me: …yeah.
Adonilia: Whereas I have a thing for Scott Weiland-type heroin addict guys.
Me: Is it completely wrong that I kind of like Emo boys?
Adonilia: No, they’re adorable.
Me: I kind of have a little thing for Pete Wentz.
Adonilia: Who?
Me: You know, from Fall Out Boy? The one who had the pictures of his wiener all over the internet because he sent them to a girl he liked and she posted them, and then he went on his website and wrote about how embarrassed he was and how he felt like a total tool, and then when the band went on TRL a few days later, he wore a t-shirt that said “Team Naked Pictures?”
Adonilia: Uh, okay. You know, I’m beginning to think that we really don’t look at the same internet.

At some point, the game ended, with the Yankees getting their asses handed to them 14-3, and we took our non-Dominican, Celebrity-sister lookin’ asses home. Thanks a lot, Big Unit. Nice pitching. Your mother’s a whore.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Friday, May 05, 2006

Here comes the bride, all dressed in...FURY.


There are certain events in life, that despite their inevitability are still shocking when they actually happen. You've planned for the possibility, deep down you know it's coming, yet when Arrested Development gets canceled or Britney gets knocked up with the spawn of Cletus again, it's still unsettling.

Which is why, when my sister called me yesterday and said that Joel asked her to marry him, I screamed, "HOLY SHIT!" in the middle of a crowded bus. Sure, it's better than yelling "Fire!" in a crowded movie theater, but probably still pretty distressing for the other riders.

If you look at the announcement objectively, it makes perfect sense. You've got two people in their early twenties who have been dating for nearly six years. They've lived together for four, had a dog for about three, and bought a condo six months ago. They're stable, in love and the families get along. Of course they're getting married. Why wouldn't they? It's the next step. But the thing is, it's Kali and Joel...and it's Kali.

Kali is one of those people who just kind of goes through life and never makes any sense. Ever. She's generally the drunkest and/or angriest person in the room--and that includes times when I'm in the room with her. And I know from anger.

While blinding rage is the personality trait that Kali and I share the most, it is indicative of a larger family trait. The Gallagher girls are nice people. Really, we are. We can even be downright nurturing at times. But we're not exactly the easiest people to get along with. While it manifests itself in different ways in the different sisters, what it comes down to is that if we perceive weakness, we will run roughshod all over you. These episodes can be intense, but brief, and dealing with us takes a great deal of patience and understanding. And Joel, God bless him, has patience that makes even saints feel inadequate.

He has the tremendous ability to just sit there, blissfully letting everything just wash right over him, chuckling occasionally to himself and burning DVDs. Because that, I'm convinced, is how Joel handles the stress of dealing with Kali on a daily basis. He will manically burn any DVD you put near him, a practice that has caused him to amass a DVD collection numbering in the hundreds, only half of which he's ever actually watched. But it's his happy place--the one place in his life where he has control over something.

Because Kali? Can't be controlled. Her most common response to any question is, "I do what I want." She constantly jokes about how Joel is totally gay and probably has AIDS. Every phone conversation I've had with her starts like this:

me: Hey, what's up?
Kali: What do you want, fucker?
me: Uh, nothing. I was just calling.
Kali: Oh. Your mother's a whore.
me: Oh.

And ends with her saying, "Okay, I'm done talking to you right now." and hanging up on me.

She's not a very sentimental person. When Joel calls her cell phone, the name that pops up on the screen is not Honey, or Pumpkin, or even, you know, Joel. It's Fatty, which is how she refers to him most of the time.

Despite all this, after nearly six years, their relationship is still the one to which I constantly aspire. It is based on love, respect and compromise. When they have a problem in their relationship, like they did when they were first adjusting to living together, they work it out. When Kali was mad that she had to work all the time and Joel just stayed at the apartment playing video games with his friends and making a mess, she would call me so she could come over and hang out and not have to deal with it. Then the calls stopped. When I asked her why, she said, "Oh. I talked to Joel about it. I told him what was bothering me and he said he'd try to make it better. We're going to the movies tonight." I was dumbfounded. She had a problem, and instead of letting it fester and blowing up at him, they had a conversation and worked it out. Who does that? They do. Over and over again. In short, it is the most mature relationship I have ever seen. The most confusing thing about the two of them is that together, they make sense.

Because of this bizarre and touching relationship, I'm getting a brother who not only puts up with Kali, but with the rest of us as well. He'll do favors for my dad, fix my mom's computer, and on my birthday, when I drink too much and generally act in a very unbecoming fashion, he'll make sure I actually make it home. He'll also take a picture of me passed out on his shoulder on the train so he can make fun of me later. Welcome to the family.

So to Kali and Joel: Congratulations, mazel tov and good luck. Just please, no babies yet. Because even though the relationship is solid, when I think of Kali with a baby all I can picture is her holding it all confused and uncomfortable. "Ahh, baby is so loud. Stop crying baby. Shut up! Joel, make it stop crapping everywhere ALL the TIME! God!"