Posted 3 years ago

J - It’s a remake of a 1950’s film, with a few key changes to “modernize” the story. Most notably, instead of rescuing the girl, the star finds her dead body and gets mad. Vengeance ensues.

Initially, icing the love interest struck me as gratuitous, but the writers have reassured me that it merely reflects a common male fantasy - you have sex, and then the girl either dies or turns into a Wii and a bag of chips.

Posted 4 years ago

Dedicated to all my favorite graduating English majors:

“Law school was a word I kept lodged at the back of my mouth, like a cyanide tablet, just in case”.

-Jonathan Rosen, Eve’s Apple

Posted 4 years ago

In tribute to the night I first seduced him, my boyfriend Christopher presented me with a card he had fashioned from these Michael Paulus cartoons.

I’d had him in my sights for weeks, but that night, at a party thrown by his housemate, I was feeling particularly irresistible (sporting my reading glasses & a red satin gown, I was decked out in my signature evening look – “Intelligent, but with Cleavage”) & I decided to make my move. Drunk on infatuation & enough vodka to stun the entire Russian armed forces, I stumbled into his library at 2am, where he was resting on the couch. Feeling my hand on his face, he opened his eyes & stared at me with what could have been awe at my cleavage, or surprise at waking up to find a near stranger molesting him in the middle of the night.

"I’m tracing your zygomatic bone," I informed him.

"You…what?"

"It’s lovely. You know," I said dreamily, "when I close my eyes, I can just about imagine how your skull would look with all the skin & flesh stripped off."

Now, if he were the excitable type, he would have responded to this intruder seductively caressing his face (“Intrusively probing my face, actually,” Christopher, the backseat writer, is now claiming. “It felt like aliens poking at my head”) and expressing what could be construed as a desire to skin him by having her removed from the premises faster than you can shout, “Put the fucking lotion in the basket!!” down a well.

But he’s completely unflappable and took this, like all the other eccentricities I would inflict on him in the years to come, in stride and soon afterwards, we began dating. Much to the delight of my mother, by the way. Concerned about my social skills and increasingly panicked about seeing me single at 25, she had gotten desperate enough to begin looking upon my volunteer work with the homeless as a mixer situation.

It’s said that psychology students see phobias & complexes everywhere they go, and something similar may be true of students of forensic osteology - whenever I meet someone new, at some level my brain is taking stock of their bone structure & constructing an image of what their skulls may look like in my mind’s eye. Even when among people I’ve known for years but who have particularly interesting faces, I sometimes find myself staring at them fixedly until they shriek, “Stop looking at my bones!” It’s not that I want to flay them, exactly. I just can’t help but be curious as to what’s going on under there.

Doing the reverse - predicting a person’s facial features from his skull is far more difficult for a variety of reasons (any facial features, like the end of the nose or the ear, have a cartilage rather than bony base, key descriptive features like hair, skin, tissue thickness must be guessed at, etc.) and finding an accurate way of doing so remains one of the holy grails of forensic science.

This habit of mine is mostly an intellectual game that makes subway rides, meetings, & other everyday activities much more interesting. For example, when my former roommate would drag me to what they call “art films” (because, I suspect, they are like paintings, only with less humor, action, or suspense), I couldn’t very well whip out a crossword puzzle in the theater. But when the heroine stared blankly into the camera to symbolize the ennui of modern life, I could at least stare back & entertain myself by measuring the dimensions of her mandible.

So! Next tumblr meet-up. You’re not all going to studiously avoid making eye contact with me, right?

Posted 4 years ago
hardlanding:

So we’re doing this again, except really badly? I don’t get it - has America run out of subcultures to exploit?
P.S. Love the seductive wheat-chewing, Kells. It elevates the picture to pure hilarity.

It seems like only yesterday that my boss informed me, “The Amish are over. They’re played out, ok? Stop with the fuckin’ Amish”. This outburst was in response to nearly every medical & crime procedural under the sun airing an episode about Rumspringa during the same TV season a few years ago. This trend was triggered by a documentary which (misleadingly) portrayed Rumspringa as a period during which Amish teenagers can leave home & screw, drink, or snort anything they want for a few years before deciding if they want to permanently return to the fold.I personally didn’t want to stop with the fuckin’ Amish since the trend led to several consulting opportunities for me. Because according to TV, if you’re an Amish teenager & you dare venture out into American cities, the result is inevitably crack addiction, recruitment into a prostitution ring, and syphilis, followed by a fatal blunt force trauma to the head & Elliott Stabler looking down at your mangled corpse with his “I’m Intense! I’m Unhinged! I’m Too Close To This Case!” stare.But based on the number of scripts I’ve seen recently which deal with America’s favorite Anabaptists, I predict the Amish will make a comeback & be totally hot this season. Most are for TV, but my favorite is for a movie - the police are investigating the murder of a young Amish woman (murder is usually the event that introduces TV/movie audiences to the Amish). Unusually for this genre, the Amish are not depicted as a stern & quiet race; here, some of them seem downright giddy, like the men who stand around stroking their beards and being folksy & jolly, like Santas in slimming black farming clothes.One of the policewomen falls for an Amish man because he’s strong, sensitive, and portrayed by an actor with leading man facial features. One thing leads to another and pretty soon these two romantic outlaws are sassing each other in the one-room schoolhouse and exchanging suggestive looks over the butter churn. Supposedly this is a whodunit, but it reads more like a willtheydoit. It’s like, murdered Amish girl is interesting or whatever, but let’s get back to the possibility of illicit haystack sex.As a bonus, the actress being floated as a possibility for the cop is so terrible she couldn’t believably scream for help if her hair was on fire. I’m pretty excited about this project because I think it will be unintentionally hilarious, which for my money is the best kind of hilarious. P.S. Don’t rag on Kelly & her sexy grain-chewing - they couldn’t very well give her a lollipop to seductively fellate, could they? Her agriculturally-based attempt at Amish Sexyface is Hollywood’s way of being culturally sensitive.

hardlanding:

So we’re doing this again, except really badly? I don’t get it - has America run out of subcultures to exploit?

P.S. Love the seductive wheat-chewing, Kells. It elevates the picture to pure hilarity.

It seems like only yesterday that my boss informed me, “The Amish are over. They’re played out, ok? Stop with the fuckin’ Amish”. This outburst was in response to nearly every medical & crime procedural under the sun airing an episode about Rumspringa during the same TV season a few years ago. This trend was triggered by a documentary which (misleadingly) portrayed Rumspringa as a period during which Amish teenagers can leave home & screw, drink, or snort anything they want for a few years before deciding if they want to permanently return to the fold.

I personally didn’t want to stop with the fuckin’ Amish since the trend led to several consulting opportunities for me. Because according to TV, if you’re an Amish teenager & you dare venture out into American cities, the result is inevitably crack addiction, recruitment into a prostitution ring, and syphilis, followed by a fatal blunt force trauma to the head & Elliott Stabler looking down at your mangled corpse with his “I’m Intense! I’m Unhinged! I’m Too Close To This Case!” stare.

But based on the number of scripts I’ve seen recently which deal with America’s favorite Anabaptists, I predict the Amish will make a comeback & be totally hot this season. Most are for TV, but my favorite is for a movie - the police are investigating the murder of a young Amish woman (murder is usually the event that introduces TV/movie audiences to the Amish). Unusually for this genre, the Amish are not depicted as a stern & quiet race; here, some of them seem downright giddy, like the men who stand around stroking their beards and being folksy & jolly, like Santas in slimming black farming clothes.

One of the policewomen falls for an Amish man because he’s strong, sensitive, and portrayed by an actor with leading man facial features. One thing leads to another and pretty soon these two romantic outlaws are sassing each other in the one-room schoolhouse and exchanging suggestive looks over the butter churn. Supposedly this is a whodunit, but it reads more like a willtheydoit. It’s like, murdered Amish girl is interesting or whatever, but let’s get back to the possibility of illicit haystack sex.

As a bonus, the actress being floated as a possibility for the cop is so terrible she couldn’t believably scream for help if her hair was on fire. I’m pretty excited about this project because I think it will be unintentionally hilarious, which for my money is the best kind of hilarious.

P.S. Don’t rag on Kelly & her sexy grain-chewing - they couldn’t very well give her a lollipop to seductively fellate, could they? Her agriculturally-based attempt at Amish Sexyface is Hollywood’s way of being culturally sensitive.

Posted 4 years ago

trumpetstrumpet:

Evelyn Waugh wouldn’t be caught dead at your dinner party.

Waugh, one of my favorite misanthropic bastards in literary history, put a lot of effort into putting as much distance between himself & the rest of humanity as possible. To that end, he went to the trouble of printing up these all-purpose “Mr. Evelyn Waugh is not interested in your petty invitations and cordially invites you to fuck off” cards, which he would hand out to people who made demands on him (e.g. aspiring writers seeking critiques of their manuscripts, friends requesting his presence at dinner parties, his children asking him to stop publicly referring to them as “physically inept, monotonous, defective adults who fill me with depression”)

I like this convenient, good-for-all-occasions way of rebuffing unwanted requests and am considering printing my own set of “Miss Fresherhells greatly regrets that she cannot do what you so kindly suggest” cards. Just reviewing this morning’s events, I can think of several people to whom I could’ve given a card. For example, my boss, who stated, “I expect you to take this seriously” regarding analyzing a script which features a wise-cracking cat who freebases cocaine & has AIDS as the male lead, to the gentleman who lives on the 42nd St. subway platform and likes to greet me with a joyous, “Hey, Bootylicious! Swing it! Swing what your momma gave you!”

Posted 4 years ago

"Big Fun" - Teenage Suicide (Don’t Do It) (from the Heathers soundtrack, you fool. Did you have a brain tumor for breakfast?)

I came across my Heathers soundtrack while I was cleaning out my old bedroom at my parent’s house last night. Hearing this track again sent me back to a period when Winona Ryder was the coolest actress in the world, Christian Slater had yet to develop a rare form of Tourette’s characterized by uncontrollable outbursts of smarminess, and Shannen Doherty was giving the world its first glimpse of the terrifying will to power that lurked in her soul. Good times.

Posted 4 years ago

GPOYW

Summary of last night’s poker game: The house really does always win.

Posted 4 years ago
My husband-elect is the product of the blond, patrician union of a WASP & a Brit, which is to say, a Supergoy. I am the multi-racial product of noisy, gesticulating immigrants. But we work, because we’re both ethnic centrists. Many of the traits associated with my ethnic background, such as operatic displays of emotion, intense religiosity, and a large rack, completely bypassed me. That I would rather die than cry in public, or that I believe three exchanges of “I love you” are enough for any romantic relationship (1. To establish the fact, 2. Wedding night, 3. Deathbed) qualified me for a diagnosis of severe autism by the standards of my touchy-feely family.
He, on the other hand, lacks some of the cool reserve & emotional repression associated with his people. For example, there’s the time he signed a letter to his mother: “Miss you. Love, Christopher” – his bewildered parents could only wonder, did he think he was dying? Did he think she was dying? What else could have prompted such a shockingly emotional outburst? Why is our son so out of control?
As you might expect, certain members of his family are taken aback by our cross-class/interracial union, starting with his grandmother/family matriarch, “Augusta”. Every time we meet, as we did at dinner last night, she blanches slightly, as though surprised to find that I’m even swarthier & more déclassé than she remembered.
I’m not terribly bothered by this because his parents like me and because I have a fundamentally flippant attitude towards any social interactions that don’t involve a casket. However, being on the receiving end of Augusta’s contempt is not pleasant and I’d really rather avoid it. Her smile brings to mind Dwight MacDonald’s description of Mary McCarthy (”When most women smile at you, you feel terrific. When Mary smiles at you, you look to see if your fly is open”). She wields euphemisms expertly; for example, when she smilingly called another dinner guest’s mother “quite a lively woman”; it was clear to everyone fluent in Venomese that Augusta was actually telling him his mother was a trouble-making slut.
My choice of career only made me fall further in her eyes. As Thorstein Veblen & Merchant-Ivory films (which I secretly like - I know they are uncool, but as a general rule, I prefer the emotional problems of characters who have quill pens and beautiful antique clocks to those who have vintage band t-shirt collections and desperately want to have quirky sex with Zooey Deschanel) have taught me, a trademark of “old money” is its worship of the archaic - this is why, among other things, their children major in classy things like French or art history, which involve tastefully studying the past. Future-oriented subjects like science, engineering, and computer science are best left to vulgarians, new money (same difference), and Asians.
Even worse, I have chosen to apply my scientific credentials to something as trashy as television (which…okay, point) and as proletarian as law enforcement. That I spend my time analyzing the rotting handiwork of the kind of tacky people who solve their problems by incompetently murdering each other only compounds my riffraff status. So, unsurprisingly, my work elicited only a curt, “Charming” from Augusta at our first meeting. She then cornered me after dessert to question me further, in order to determine just how low-rent I really am, an interrogation that essentially felt like this:

Fortunately, for most of the night, Augusta’s wrath was directed at another guest, a young man who is what you’d expect of someone raised in extreme wealth with no moral guidance or limits. Amoral & possessed of a delightfully malevolent, “dropped the rape charges” charisma, he is well on his way to becoming a full-blown WASP sociopath, like Charles Manson with his own horse. He had brought along some, ah, lively friends, including two young women who were what the English call “tarts” and what my mother calls, “Single Women Without Skills.” That Augusta was displeased by this intrusion would be an understatement and she was flinging euphemisms around the table like a ninja at a throwing star gallery all night.
Unfortunately, though, it came to be that Augusta & I were left alone together at the end of the evening. While outwardly calm, I was running wildly down the hallways of my mind, yanking doors open and upending boxes in a desperate search for a mutually agreeable conversation topic. Books meant to advise the socially awkward on how to make small talk tend to give terrible advice like “bring up your fascinating scrapbooking hobby” while ignoring the obvious -the best way to create an instant, lively conversation between people who have nothing (or nothing nice) to say to each other is to bring up a person, place, or thing they both loathe &/or scorn and then viciously mock it together. I have seen entire friendships spring up between strangers after they bonded by trading gleefully malicious commentary about effete liberals, reactionary conservatives, Megan Fox’s extremities, or how stupid your tumblr is.
So I made a rather clever, if I do say so myself, & rude pun on Charles Manson in a Polo Shirt’s last name. Augusta’s face contorted into a strange expression I eventually recognized as a genuine smile. And then she laughed! She made her own pun and we were off to the races, trading witticisms and dishing on our mutual dislike of his family.
It was nice. As we sat there, cackling like witches, for the first time I felt like she wasn’t judging me on my lineage, or on the color of my skin, but on the content of my insults & the quality of my vendettas. In fact, my boyfriend later told me that she spoke positively of my intelligence (more social advice: if you dislike the same things another person dislikes, you are “intelligent”) & included me in her plans for an outing next month, with no prodding from him!
This made me happy because it showed that two people from vastly different class/ethnic backgrounds can get along famously. They just need to a) find someone they can hate & feel superior to together and b) look past what makes them different and bond over what makes them the same; for example, that they’re both bitches who talk about people behind their backs.
I’m really glad I could share this uplifting experience with all of you.

My husband-elect is the product of the blond, patrician union of a WASP & a Brit, which is to say, a Supergoy. I am the multi-racial product of noisy, gesticulating immigrants. But we work, because we’re both ethnic centrists. Many of the traits associated with my ethnic background, such as operatic displays of emotion, intense religiosity, and a large rack, completely bypassed me. That I would rather die than cry in public, or that I believe three exchanges of “I love you” are enough for any romantic relationship (1. To establish the fact, 2. Wedding night, 3. Deathbed) qualified me for a diagnosis of severe autism by the standards of my touchy-feely family.

He, on the other hand, lacks some of the cool reserve & emotional repression associated with his people. For example, there’s the time he signed a letter to his mother: “Miss you. Love, Christopher” – his bewildered parents could only wonder, did he think he was dying? Did he think she was dying? What else could have prompted such a shockingly emotional outburst? Why is our son so out of control?

As you might expect, certain members of his family are taken aback by our cross-class/interracial union, starting with his grandmother/family matriarch, “Augusta”. Every time we meet, as we did at dinner last night, she blanches slightly, as though surprised to find that I’m even swarthier & more déclassé than she remembered.

I’m not terribly bothered by this because his parents like me and because I have a fundamentally flippant attitude towards any social interactions that don’t involve a casket. However, being on the receiving end of Augusta’s contempt is not pleasant and I’d really rather avoid it. Her smile brings to mind Dwight MacDonald’s description of Mary McCarthy (”When most women smile at you, you feel terrific. When Mary smiles at you, you look to see if your fly is open”). She wields euphemisms expertly; for example, when she smilingly called another dinner guest’s mother “quite a lively woman”; it was clear to everyone fluent in Venomese that Augusta was actually telling him his mother was a trouble-making slut.

My choice of career only made me fall further in her eyes. As Thorstein Veblen & Merchant-Ivory films (which I secretly like - I know they are uncool, but as a general rule, I prefer the emotional problems of characters who have quill pens and beautiful antique clocks to those who have vintage band t-shirt collections and desperately want to have quirky sex with Zooey Deschanel) have taught me, a trademark of “old money” is its worship of the archaic - this is why, among other things, their children major in classy things like French or art history, which involve tastefully studying the past. Future-oriented subjects like science, engineering, and computer science are best left to vulgarians, new money (same difference), and Asians.

Even worse, I have chosen to apply my scientific credentials to something as trashy as television (which…okay, point) and as proletarian as law enforcement. That I spend my time analyzing the rotting handiwork of the kind of tacky people who solve their problems by incompetently murdering each other only compounds my riffraff status. So, unsurprisingly, my work elicited only a curt, “Charming” from Augusta at our first meeting. She then cornered me after dessert to question me further, in order to determine just how low-rent I really am, an interrogation that essentially felt like this:

Fortunately, for most of the night, Augusta’s wrath was directed at another guest, a young man who is what you’d expect of someone raised in extreme wealth with no moral guidance or limits. Amoral & possessed of a delightfully malevolent, “dropped the rape charges” charisma, he is well on his way to becoming a full-blown WASP sociopath, like Charles Manson with his own horse. He had brought along some, ah, lively friends, including two young women who were what the English call “tarts” and what my mother calls, “Single Women Without Skills.” That Augusta was displeased by this intrusion would be an understatement and she was flinging euphemisms around the table like a ninja at a throwing star gallery all night.

Unfortunately, though, it came to be that Augusta & I were left alone together at the end of the evening. While outwardly calm, I was running wildly down the hallways of my mind, yanking doors open and upending boxes in a desperate search for a mutually agreeable conversation topic. Books meant to advise the socially awkward on how to make small talk tend to give terrible advice like “bring up your fascinating scrapbooking hobby” while ignoring the obvious -the best way to create an instant, lively conversation between people who have nothing (or nothing nice) to say to each other is to bring up a person, place, or thing they both loathe &/or scorn and then viciously mock it together. I have seen entire friendships spring up between strangers after they bonded by trading gleefully malicious commentary about effete liberals, reactionary conservatives, Megan Fox’s extremities, or how stupid your tumblr is.

So I made a rather clever, if I do say so myself, & rude pun on Charles Manson in a Polo Shirt’s last name. Augusta’s face contorted into a strange expression I eventually recognized as a genuine smile. And then she laughed! She made her own pun and we were off to the races, trading witticisms and dishing on our mutual dislike of his family.

It was nice. As we sat there, cackling like witches, for the first time I felt like she wasn’t judging me on my lineage, or on the color of my skin, but on the content of my insults & the quality of my vendettas. In fact, my boyfriend later told me that she spoke positively of my intelligence (more social advice: if you dislike the same things another person dislikes, you are “intelligent”) & included me in her plans for an outing next month, with no prodding from him!

This made me happy because it showed that two people from vastly different class/ethnic backgrounds can get along famously. They just need to a) find someone they can hate & feel superior to together and b) look past what makes them different and bond over what makes them the same; for example, that they’re both bitches who talk about people behind their backs.

I’m really glad I could share this uplifting experience with all of you.

Posted 4 years ago

File Under: Hell Is Other People

I attended a forensic psychology conference today. One of the people invited to speak was a young woman who told us about a man who had stalked her for two years before making an attempt on her life last May -in other words, it was a very sad, riveting story about an extremely traumatic experience. It was very intense, the room was very quiet, everyone was solemn, and the woman was clenching her hands and trying not to cry.

So there we were, being all quiet & grave and whatnot, when a cell phone rings. A cell phone! Some fool had left their cellphone on and not only was it incredibly loud and shrill, the ringtone was, I kid you not, the bass line from the Talking Heads song Psycho Killer. Can you believe this?! I just wanted to scream because what kind of ill-mannered jerk leaves their cell phone on the highest possible volume during an autobiographical presentation on what it feels like to be stalked and almost killed by a lunatic?! So, uh, I reached into my purse and turned it off.

Posted 4 years ago

My Trip to the Dominican Republic: A Memoir

Day 1 - Everyone Decides I’m a Lesbian:

I usually dress in dark colors, especially black & blue - my fashion statement is “Bruised”. I also prefer a minimalist aesthetic when it comes to clothes, make-up, & hair (I’m sorry if that makes me sound like a pretentious twat, but “I prefer a minimalist aesthetic” sounds classier than “I’m a lazy slattern”). This makes me stick out around here, as women my age look like Technicolor bombshells- overtly sexy, brightly colored, feminine outfits, full make-up, etc. I am feeling pretty suave sauntering around in my Katharine Hepburnesque threads when Monica, my traveling companion, informs me that her family & some neighbors have convened at the local beauty parlor to discuss the foreign visitor & the consensus is that my outfits are definitely bicurious.

As men swarm around me at a party that night, it’s clear the rumor that I’ve forsaken the sword for the chalice has spread & that it is titillating, not off-putting. Monica is disgusted, but because I’m an optimistic, U-haul half-full kind of fake lesbian, I choose to see this positively – I love “brotherhood of man” moments, in which we see that humans everywhere are more alike than they are different and that certain things are universal, like love of family, the desire for a better life, or prurient interest in the sex lives of long-haired lesbians.

Day 2 - The Funeral

The main reason I am in DR is to accompany Monica to her grandmother’s funeral. Everyone hated her, which means we have to sit through an hour of people reminiscing about what a wonderful woman she was. Afterwards, as we get ready to go into the graveyard, Monica’s mother unsuccessfully tries to fit her hat on my head to shield my face from the sun.

“You have a very big head. You will need a man’s hat” she says, giving the other women a meaningful look. I look at them too – they all have small, delicately feminine heads and they’re all staring gravely at my bulbous skull, no doubt wondering if its masculine proportions are the tragic result of a steady diet of perversion & vagina.

Three gentlemen walk into the room. Intriguingly, they are all holding hammers, but otherwise seem appropriately-attired and non-psychotic. I mention this so you can better understand how surprised I am when they stroll over to the coffin containing Monica’s grandmother and begin repeatedly smashing the hammers against the lid. A fourth gentleman joins them. He’s obviously the creative one, because he’s chosen a knife, which he uses to carve scratches into the coffin’s sides.

Now, this seems like a remarkable turn of events, but the other guests are calmly milling around the room, completely uninterested in the four guys going to town on Grandma’s final resting place. Actually, most people are staring at me. I am sitting stock-still, my hand pointing at the melee, my face frozen into an open-mouthed gape. I am a sculpture titled, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot in Repose.

Monica’s father explains – in many parts of DR, grave-robbing is a major problem. Shortly after a burial, thieves will go to the cemetery at night, dig up the coffin, toss out its inhabitant, and take the coffin. Often, they will also rob the corpse itself – some guests had stories about relatives who were stripped of the jewelry, gold teeth, and clothes they were buried with. So, to dissuade thieves, the family will damage the coffin before putting it in the ground to destroy its resale value.

(Why keep burying people in expensive coffins? Well, nobody wants to bury their loved one in something cheap, for sentimental reasons and because to do so would make the family look bad).

After the ceremony is over, I walk over to the gravediggers who are preparing to get to work. All of them are Haitian migrants. One of them, Alix, is shaking his head as he stares at the departing guests. “Look at them. Dominicans look down on us,” he says, referring to the profound racism Haitians are subjected to in DR, “But look at how they act, how they rob each other’s graves!”

“You mean thieves don’t steal coffins in Haiti?”

“Oh, they steal,” replied Alix. “But our thieves wouldn’t leave your grandmother lying naked out in the open, like she is garbage. They will steal the coffin and put her back in the ground. They have respect!”

I non-sarcastically agreed that this seemed like an important distinction. Tripping over your dead, naked Nana when you visit her grave sounds fairly traumatic, so I can appreciate people who make an extra effort to be more sensitive graverobbers.

Posted 4 years ago
totallycliched:
Vintage Alice in Wonderland
Oh, this isn’t Alice in Wonderland. It’s actually an artistic rendering of me in my new $2000/month NYC apartment.

totallycliched:

Vintage Alice in Wonderland

Oh, this isn’t Alice in Wonderland. It’s actually an artistic rendering of me in my new $2000/month NYC apartment.

Posted 4 years ago

Gratuitous Picture of My Christmas 2008 Family Reunion

I don’t know if I ever mentioned this before, but my family is deranged.

I don’t exempt myself from this judgement, but I do like to think that I treat my personal insanity like a wet umbrella carried onto the subway - I keep it neatly wrapped & tucked away where it won’t drip all over everyone or inconvenience strangers. My mother, however, has a tendency to draw everyone around her into her madcap little capers. So it was no surprise to get a call from her at 7am screaming that I must get to her office immediately because the tenants who rent out the top floor of the house (& who owe her $6000 in back rent) were in the process of moving out. These grifters neglected to tell her they were moving and were apparently waiting until she went out of town to abscond without paying. Except they weren’t counting on a nosy neighbor (who I call Blue because she wears enough turquoise eye shadow to coat a Navajo bracelet) calling my mom to tip her off.

One hour later, I was at the office. Blue was yelling that the moving truck just pulled out of the driveway and my mother was on the phone yelling that I had to follow them. I went right back into the cab I just vacated and said the words I never thought I’d say in real life: ”Follow that truck!” The cab driver, who we’ll call G, merely stared at me and said, “Lady? You kidding?” I yelled, “We’re going to lose them!” and whipped out some money  (of course in a movie, I would have suavely slipped him a crisp $100 rather than dumped a crumpled, sweaty wad of $1’s & $5’s, some coins, and a cherry throat drop covered in lint onto the backseat, but never mind that). Having morphed into a fountain of movie cliches, I nearly added, “This time it’s personal” or “Lieutenant, we have a problem”, but I managed to control myself. G was unimpressed, but he pulled into traffic.

A half hour into the chase, G had abandoned all his skepticism, was tickled pink to be involved in this little adventure, and was going down side streets and swerving around to “throw them off”.  I thought about pointing out that the movers had no idea this was happening and are not paid enough to care, but I let him have his fun because the cab ride was taking longer than I thought and I wanted him to be in a good mood when I told him I was about to run out of cash. Mercifully, however, the moving truck finally stopped in front of a building. G volunteered to follow the movers inside to find the apartment # in case the grifters were already there. He was nearly beside himself with excitement and tried to act inconspicuous. To him, inconspicuous apparently meant covering the bottom part of your face with your jacket, not making eye contact with anyone, and furtively casing the building. Two women who lived in the building were eyeing him uneasily and clearly calculating how weird he had to get before it wouldn’t look racist if they called Homeland Security.

Meanwhile, I was on the phone switching back & forth between my mother & my job. My mother was swearing out blood oaths and ever more elaborate threats of vengeance against the grifters, sounding like Lucy Ricardo if she married into the Soprano family. The receptionist at my job informed me that my boss was ticked I took the morning off, told me honesty was the best policy, and suggested I tell him the truth. I agreed, and then hung up because I needed time to come up with the truth. Finally, G emerged triumphant with the apartment number and took me home. Before he left, he handed me his card and told me that if I ever needed to do this again, I should call him. I almost didn’t take it because why would I need a driver who performs surveillance work at my beck & call? Then I remembered I’m getting married next year and thought, “Oh right” and took the card.

The only thing remarkable about this little adventure is that it is an entirely typical morning for this family. Also typical is the message I just got from my mother stating that she wants to deliver a lawsuit & letter from her lawyer to the grifters via singing telegram and wants my help in coming up with a rude jingle.

Posted 4 years ago
I know what you did last summer.
Collaborator. 
(This is the nightmare I had the night I cashed the check I received for the work I did on ABC travesty/Courtney Cox comedy series Cougar Town. Simone was very disappointed in me. She lectured me for an hour on existentialist feminism & the status of Woman as the Other, and then set my Melrose Place DVD collection on fire.)

I know what you did last summer.

Collaborator.

(This is the nightmare I had the night I cashed the check I received for the work I did on ABC travesty/Courtney Cox comedy series Cougar Town. Simone was very disappointed in me. She lectured me for an hour on existentialist feminism & the status of Woman as the Other, and then set my Melrose Place DVD collection on fire.)

Posted 4 years ago
totallycliched:
So, my 10-yr-old niece was interviewed for a program for gifted children. Her mother is one of those academic stage moms and coached her backwards and forwards. But apparently not well enough because when they asked her what her favorite movie was, she said, “Pretty Woman”, which she thinks is very romantic. Hahahahaha. Also, what?
Of course it’s her favorite movie. Pretty Woman is basically a recruiting poster for prostitution as an alternative to grad school or even dating; I’m thinking of telling my curly-haired ten-year-old cousin to rethink her plans for Harvard Medical School and just head straight for a push up bra and shiny thigh-high patent leather boots. But I wouldn’t worry about your niece liking this movie. First of all, there’s no explicit sex/language as far as I can remember. Pretty Woman is a Disney movie and Julia is a Disney prostitute - very guileless & prim, she’s like Donna Reed with a specialty in oral sex.
Secondly, it teaches some very important life lessons. Like that scene where Julia goes into that fancy store in her hooker clothes and all the salesgirls are mean to her and throw her out even though all she wants to do is buy some Bill Blass. Julia cries and it’s awful. It’s like that scene in The Rosa Parks Story where they try to throw Angela Bassett off the bus and nearly as upsetting.
Disney movies typically like to sell this “nice girls get ahead, people will see through an off-putting exterior and see the goodness inside” nonsense. Pretty Woman tells the truth, namely that everyone will judge you on how you look and couldn’t care less about the heart of gold underneath, but if you show up with a boyfriend who is #82 on the Forbes Richest Americans list and (this is important) his AMEX card, people will basically give you anything you want, including their dignity, friendship, and all the fake love & respect that’s in their hearts, which (assuming a good lawyer represented you during prenup negotiations) is better and longer-lasting than the real kind.
That your niece recognizes all this on some level is a good sign. She may be even more gifted than you thought.

totallycliched:

So, my 10-yr-old niece was interviewed for a program for gifted children. Her mother is one of those academic stage moms and coached her backwards and forwards. But apparently not well enough because when they asked her what her favorite movie was, she said, “Pretty Woman”, which she thinks is very romantic. Hahahahaha. Also, what?

Of course it’s her favorite movie. Pretty Woman is basically a recruiting poster for prostitution as an alternative to grad school or even dating; I’m thinking of telling my curly-haired ten-year-old cousin to rethink her plans for Harvard Medical School and just head straight for a push up bra and shiny thigh-high patent leather boots. But I wouldn’t worry about your niece liking this movie. First of all, there’s no explicit sex/language as far as I can remember. Pretty Woman is a Disney movie and Julia is a Disney prostitute - very guileless & prim, she’s like Donna Reed with a specialty in oral sex.

Secondly, it teaches some very important life lessons. Like that scene where Julia goes into that fancy store in her hooker clothes and all the salesgirls are mean to her and throw her out even though all she wants to do is buy some Bill Blass. Julia cries and it’s awful. It’s like that scene in The Rosa Parks Story where they try to throw Angela Bassett off the bus and nearly as upsetting.

Disney movies typically like to sell this “nice girls get ahead, people will see through an off-putting exterior and see the goodness inside” nonsense. Pretty Woman tells the truth, namely that everyone will judge you on how you look and couldn’t care less about the heart of gold underneath, but if you show up with a boyfriend who is #82 on the Forbes Richest Americans list and (this is important) his AMEX card, people will basically give you anything you want, including their dignity, friendship, and all the fake love & respect that’s in their hearts, which (assuming a good lawyer represented you during prenup negotiations) is better and longer-lasting than the real kind.

That your niece recognizes all this on some level is a good sign. She may be even more gifted than you thought.

Posted 4 years ago
"Communist Party" or as I like to call it, "When My Father Plays Celebrity Dream Date"
You know how it is when you haven’t seen your father in a long time? And then one day, your family congregates in Miami for a wedding and there you are together again, laughing and joking, and you realize how much you’ve missed him? And while you’re gazing at him affectionately, trying to remember why you don’t come see him more often, the words “Of the past let us wipe the slate clean!/ Enslaved masses, arise, arise!” suddenly start blasting out of the car stereo and you remember that your father is a communist?
Not some pussy socialist, or sell-out “social democrat” like in one of those northern European blonde countries, with their welfare states, pathetic lack of re-education camps, and all that effeminate human rights, “one man one vote” talk, but a flaming, hardcore Red who has decided to amuse himself today by blasting the Internationale, the communist anthem, at full volume while parked in the center of a fiercely anti-Castro Cuban exile Miami neighborhood. Like me, your hopes that the people around you will be too young to recognize the song are probably dashed when some angry-looking gentlemen come over to tell the Bolshevik who raised you to turn that [string of Spanish expletives] off and go perform sexual intercourse upon his own person. 
A few things probably occur to you - first, your father is not the sort of man who stirs up trouble and then flees from the consequences; no, he happily confronts consequences, including drunken, angry ones, & will even put them in a headlock on a public street, if that’s the way they want to play it. An admirable quality, perhaps, but not really convenient right now.
Second, in light of the two half-full beer cans that have been hurled at the car you are sitting in, it’s really too bad you rented a convertible, even if it did remind your 8-yr-old cousin of her Barbie Dream Car.
Also, you probably recall that your mother, knowing your general inclination to skip family get-togethers, strongly urged you to show up, insisting the weekend would prove to be full of heartwarming family fun. However, as you stare at the two Cuban-looking cops who are now headed in your direction, perhaps to break up the commotion, perhaps to bash in the Bolshevik’s head, you realize that despite only being a few hours into this thing, you’re pretty sure this get-together will mainly just prove that Lizzie Borden was right. 

"Communist Party" or as I like to call it, "When My Father Plays Celebrity Dream Date"

You know how it is when you haven’t seen your father in a long time? And then one day, your family congregates in Miami for a wedding and there you are together again, laughing and joking, and you realize how much you’ve missed him? And while you’re gazing at him affectionately, trying to remember why you don’t come see him more often, the words “Of the past let us wipe the slate clean!/ Enslaved masses, arise, arise!” suddenly start blasting out of the car stereo and you remember that your father is a communist?

Not some pussy socialist, or sell-out “social democrat” like in one of those northern European blonde countries, with their welfare states, pathetic lack of re-education camps, and all that effeminate human rights, “one man one vote” talk, but a flaming, hardcore Red who has decided to amuse himself today by blasting the Internationale, the communist anthem, at full volume while parked in the center of a fiercely anti-Castro Cuban exile Miami neighborhood. Like me, your hopes that the people around you will be too young to recognize the song are probably dashed when some angry-looking gentlemen come over to tell the Bolshevik who raised you to turn that [string of Spanish expletives] off and go perform sexual intercourse upon his own person. 

A few things probably occur to you - first, your father is not the sort of man who stirs up trouble and then flees from the consequences; no, he happily confronts consequences, including drunken, angry ones, & will even put them in a headlock on a public street, if that’s the way they want to play it. An admirable quality, perhaps, but not really convenient right now.

Second, in light of the two half-full beer cans that have been hurled at the car you are sitting in, it’s really too bad you rented a convertible, even if it did remind your 8-yr-old cousin of her Barbie Dream Car.

Also, you probably recall that your mother, knowing your general inclination to skip family get-togethers, strongly urged you to show up, insisting the weekend would prove to be full of heartwarming family fun. However, as you stare at the two Cuban-looking cops who are now headed in your direction, perhaps to break up the commotion, perhaps to bash in the Bolshevik’s head, you realize that despite only being a few hours into this thing, you’re pretty sure this get-together will mainly just prove that Lizzie Borden was right.