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: 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!"

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

How Kona got her groove back without marrying a much younger man and finding out like, ten years later that he's gay, which, come on. Ten years?

I've been in a little bit of a musical rut lately (for almost a year.) My music rotation has been a largely uninterrupted sequence of Old 97s, Rhett Miller, Jason Mraz, Liz Phair, Real Johnny Cash and fake Johnny Cash. My Ipod provides a soundtrack for my day, a beat to walk to. And lately, my beat has been a little...guitar driven.

Maybe it's because music is escape. I live in the ghetto, and as E says, "not the quaint ghetto. The ghetto with broken glass, chicken bones and hypodermic needles littering the sidewalks." So I listen to music that reminds me of calmer places, like Texas, or Virginia, or prison. It's just easier to deal with dogs shitting in the middle of the sidewalk when you're listening to music with lines that talk about a fever being "hotter than a pepper sprout."

Moreso than escapism, I've been hit with a simple lack of good hip-hop. From November '03 to August of '05, we saw the release of The Black Album, the subsequent brilliant mash-up, Kanye West's debut, Talib Kweli's second album, Mos Def's second album, John Legend's debut, a Kanye-produced Common album, and Kanye's follow-up. Even Eminem's fourth studio album provided a few good songs and an eerily prescient music video. But since last summer? Nothing. Sure, I've been told that I need to buy The Minstrel Show, but I still haven't been able to get really excited about anything that's been released. Until Robert DeNiro made me get excited again.

April 25th marked the beginning of the fifth Tribeca Film Festival, Robert DeNiro's ploy to make me thrilled to pay $13 to see a movie at the Regal by my office. Every year, Tribeca has a three-day series called the Tribeca Drive-In. These are free outdoor movies shown at the World Financial Center Plaza. On Saturday, I went to the premiere of Word.Life (AKA The Hip-Hop Project.) The Hip-Hop Project is a documentary about a New York City program called Art Start. The film spans three years and follows a group of inner-city teenagers as they make a hip-hop album. The process is more than just writing rhymes. They put this album together from the beginning. They help secure funding and studio space as well as produce, write and perform all of the tracks. The film itself is amazing and is a must-see even for people who hate hip-hop. At points in the screening, the audience was cheering, yelling and crying; we all got sucked into the drama of these kids' daily lives.

While the film reminded me about what I love about hip-hop (the emotion, the pain, the roots in poetry) we had the extra bonus of a Hip-Hop Project performance before the film started. The energy and the raw passion that they showed is so rare in a lot of music today. They had everyone on their feet and as corny as it sounds, they left more than a few people inspired. I went online and ordered their CD, the proceeds of which go back to the Art Start program, the purpose of which is to "value and nurture the voices, hearts and minds of under-served children and teenagers and help them transform their lives through the creative process."

I'm looking forward to getting the CD and walking to a brand-new beat.