Tuesday, October 19, 2010

congrats! your awkwardness is etched into the Internet archives of Forever

If you like precarious situations, palpable awkwardness and generally botched handlings of emotional moments...or if you just like Jean Claude Van Damme. This one's for you:

Ok well, that one was mostly just for the Van Damme fans. But there's this too:

Honorably Mentioned short story on HumorPress:

James and the Giant, Glaring Realization I'm Better Off Alone and/or with Cats

Friday, February 26, 2010

before cell phones there was only sadness and the world was black and white

My cell phone matters to me. "Matters" may not actually truly encompass the gravity I wish to impart. My cell phone is my everything.

Does anyone remember a time when these devices were not an extension of our beings? No, you granola-loving hippie kids who were born after 1990 but pine after a Woodstock in which you can never participate, I don't mean the time you were just "sooo over communication" so you turned off your phone and deleted your Facebook because you were "totally sick of people bugging you." I mean a time that really had no portable phones. Not even those ridiculous car phones, or even Zach Morris endorsed gems like this:

I'm not saying I remember this time. I'm saying I really don't. Did people really just agree to meet at The Flagpole at 8 and truly keep their promise? What if there was traffic? A thunderstorm? Multiple flagpoles?

Perhaps a couple of my age-inclined readers (PC euphamism for older, not to be confused with OLD) may remember this time.

For me it is but a fuzzy, distant memory that exists the same way a word is on the tip of your tongue but you lose it, or when you try to recall a dream you had but it hangs just out of reach; I know a time that predates cell phone usage is out there somewhere, but fathoming it is next to impossible.

Despite my pathetic and desperate reliance on The Precious, I have lost many a cell phone in my day. By my count, I've owned at least 8 in less than 10years. They are inexplicably drawn to the very same mystery location that all left socks go, most probably the Bermuda Triangle.

Each time this coveted piece of plastic and electronic mystery disappears from my possession, or I manage to break it by some haphazard accident (involving a freak occurance of lightning or seat cushions of any kind) and I am left without it---I feel stripped naked and all alone in a cold, wide expansive universe of FAIL.

My last brush with irresponsibility, I got a text from a cab driver imploring me to please pick up the lost phone that I left one night in his vehicle. His recovery was prompt; as in he called the very next day, mid-afternoon. But in a panicked state of despair the very next morning, I had already raced down to my provider to shell out the obscene cash they wanted for a new one. I literally couldn't stand to go longer than about an hour of conciousness without it.

It went like this: I wake up, bleary-eyed and briefly unaware of the impending doom awaiting me as I recollect the series of unfortunate events leading to the death of my beloved phone. Then all comes rushing back, like fragmented clips from a C-level movie flashing before my eyes. Me leaving the cab and skipping upstairs; Me searching with increasing panic for my phone in my purse. I chase after the cab, a pathetic display of arm-flailing and incoherent, frenzied pleas with a cab driver who most certainly doesn't have telepathy or supermega hearing abilities. Me with a gaping hole in my heart.

Suddenly I am sick with grief at the thought of being un-contactable. I become positive that I'm missing important correspondence. Ed McMahon is definitely trying to reach me from beyond the grave to inform me about having won the oversized Publisher's Clearinghouse check.

Worse, I've surely been invited via text to the White House for a prestigious luncheon in which I will lecture on (INSERT AREA OF EXPERTISE HERE WHEN I FINALLY HAVE ONE). Something... I'm sure of it!! I wring my hands, fretting that I've missed a major chance to plug my blog with national airtime at the Luncheon. Drat.

In a weird kind of way, sometimes I feel an affection toward my cell phone akin to that of a pet. Or weirder still, a friend even. I'm excited to check my phone after a long, hard shift at work slinging booze to unruly bar patrons and fanatical sports enthusiasts alike.

So when aforementioned lost phone situation occured and I decided to buy a Blackberry to replace it, I probably should have considered the fact that a sweet affection toward a phone, characterized as a friendship at creepiest, could turn a hard left into downright obsessive infatuation of romantic proportions. They do call it a crackberry, after all.

I'm sensitive to Crackberry's needs, as any good lover should be. Even in a dead sleep at 4 am, I wake up to check my emails when the little red asterick pops up with a chirp. It's always spam, but I need CB to know I'm here (Somehow, I managed to get on the earlybird spam list for every product known to man that does not pertain to me, including cheap Viagra and getting a GED online...FYI apparently it's not too late).

I suspect I may not be the only one out there who likes her phone a bit too much, who prefers to text instead of answer a call. I think it may be a product of the times, whatever that means. I don't blame television, or the Media, or Eminem (although his lyrics are widely held to be the culprit for nearly all of life's woes).

I don't blame anyone really. I come from a generation of people who are often funnier via Facebook comment banter than they are in person. People who do things like blog instead of work (living proof). Remember when we died laughing at Texts From Last Night??

My roommate and I regularly facebook chat while sitting right next to each other on the couch. This is the Dawning of the Age of Aquarius, people.

No need for a pitchfork-wielding lynch mob to take to the streets in protest of the lacking face-to-face interaction our kids today get thanks to evil new forms of communication. We still talk and hang out. But like I said, sometimes my friends say funnier stuff online than they do in person. Sometimes texting is a more effective way of making plans. Sometimes small talk is just plain awkward. Sometimes people find funny junk online via their crackberries and iPhones, and I get to see what kind of weird stuff is occuring in Bentridge, Arkansas involving farm animals and finger paint. More importantly, sometimes people I actually know do funny junk and post it.

check out some sweet Chilean Miners

Either way. as long as they post it, and my baby Crackberry can chirp about it...I'm in.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Soapboxes are for the stuffy and strong-willed.

Look, when it comes to blogging, I don’t usually take on relevant current-affair topics.

I leave the insightful, world news commentary to media demi-gods like wise, fair and balanced TV politico Glenn Beck, always irreverent and in-the-know Regis Philbin, or even perhaps the fashion-forward picture of natural beauty herself Joan Rivers. These are the voices of our time, people.

But there are some important world topics that are so visible, so pervasive---that not acknowledging their presences would be like lounging on the couch flipping through the channels with tepid interest while a monster truck barrels through the living room and parks on the couch.

In this case, the monster truck topic is Jersey Shore.

**(Sorry parents whom I love dearly but happen to hail from the oft-mocked state of New Jersey. You have raised me well and never once asked me to live in NJ. For that I thank you, and remind you the following is in no way a reflection of you. I have never witnessed you fist-pumpin. You're safe.)

Now, New Jersey has long been taunted as the armpit of the nation. I imagine that when MTV producers sat back in their swivel chairs during their brainstorming meeting--tucked away in some back room of a skyscraping executive LA edifice--they were tossing around ideas for what population might be most suitable for the newest concept in reality tv viewing.

One 30-something hipster wannabe leans back and sighs loudly.

"Ok so what do we know works? What have we done in the past that was a hit? Let's let the people dictate what they want to see, shall we? Go on, fucks. Tell us."

Another exec offers,

"Well we had 'Dismissed'---the one where teenage attention whores got rejected while trying to date for money on national TV. Lord knows everyone loves judging the shit out of pathetic schmucks who think so highly of themselves as to be exposed to large scale ridicule, yet whose self respect is so lowly as to be willing to act like an assclown at the drop of a dime, for under 200 dollars. That was an affordable one by the way."

"Ok true, you're onto something. Consider the pioneer, the father of our genre! Its the basic Jerry Springer principle in action---'Thou shalt judge others so as to be reassured that there are always bigger trainwrecks out there than thouself.' Good we know who the characters are. Let's talk setting, shall we?"

"Yeah that's a problem. Where the fuck are we going to find a magical land full of people who are young but of age, attractive to someone but still judgeable and still with no standards, terribly vain yet still slutty...when we've totally tapped LA and sucked Orange County dry??"

Wait I know a place like that! I had to visit my great aunt once in New Jersey...and after a week of hearing her bleat on about her world famous ice tea recipe and the proper way to clean her parakeet's cage, I finally went berserk fled. I blacked out for a while and when I came to I found myself at some bar down at this place called Seaside Heights. It was pretty terrifying, I've never seen so much fake tan and real, genuine disillusionment. It'll be perfect, swear."

And so went the fate of the universe down a dark path; deep into a new addicting low we hadnt reached before. If, as a nation our reality tv consumption was a heavy coke habit, we just graduated to crack. I'm not absolving myself of responsibility, i'm right there with you, crack pipe in hand.

Point is, Jersey Shore has seemingly swept the pop culture nation. Evidenced by some of the following facts:

~ratings that peaking at almost 5 million viewers


~They are signed on for a new season at 10 grand an episode!!!


~Snooki went to the Grammy's

What is it about this, shall we say candid group that makes them so viewable? Beyond the Springer Principle, I mean. I get that its mostly that--watching these vapid individuals flail about on screen is nothing short of sensational. But in a weird way, they kind of start to grow on you. When you first start watching, you laugh and point at Vinny's fist-pumping display of perspiration while 'beating the music back'...but after a while he becomes a bit endearing.

And the list goes on. Snooki is less than discerning in her men choices. But somewhere beneath all the displays of pickle consumption (literal, actual pickles by the way) and nether-region exposure, there seems to be a sweet albeit misguided girl.

Jenn 'JWoww' seems to house a good heart, although its buried deep underneath a mountain range of silicon. Pauly and Mike aka 'The Situation' seem desperate to contract as many STD's as possible by conquering every female on the Shore with the right parts, yet their frat boy antics are mildly funny and entertaining a la John Belushi in Animal House.

There are more characters, but you get the point. We become invested in the drama, a common social phenomenon that represents much of our fandom. Old women with their soaps, dudes with a diehard almost gang affiliation with their sports teams. Even work water-cooler drama needs following and catching up on after you've been gone for a while.

What I'm saying is, maybe some of you are above reality tv. And by above it, I mean, strong enough to escape it's crack-like clutches. Obviously, I'm not. But chances are, you follow something else. Maybe the object of your morbid affection is less tan, less oblivious to their own idiocy---but you have invested your time in it nonetheless.

At first, I was appalled by Jersey Shore. I felt this show represented everything that's wrong with the world etcetera etcetera, insert soapbox decree here.

Instead, I consider the give-and-take of reality tv consumption one of the most interesting sociological experiments of our time. This stuff is supposed to be us, to reflect us, People! And if one argues that much of it is mutually agreed upon (a script that someone writes, and the reality tv star reads/acts out) and not exactly true and candid 'reality'...I still argue that it doesnt make it any less us. We are consuming it, therefore shaping what we want to see. We give the feedback almost 5 million strong.

Ive heard of people having Jersey Shore themed house parties. 'GTL' has become part of mainstream slang (Gym, Tan, Laundry..what the guys did with their days). I swear Snooki will get a dating show.

And I'm sure I will watch it, in spite of myself. America will watch it, despite everything the Constitution stands for, and despite what our forefathers would have wanted. I'm not saying its good, bad or ugly. Well it is kinda ugly. What I'm saying is its our choice.

We're 233 years old, damnit, and we do what we want.

Monday, January 18, 2010

umbrellas are not the new black

When it rains, California melts.

My nose is always runny. But it runs extra when it rains. I am ill-prepared for any weather but the pleasant kind, and I never really can look put together in the rain. Supposedly, everyone has a spirit animal or something like that right? My rain-related spirit animal is definitely a wet, shivering chihuahua with big sad eyes and matted fur.

My roommate was distraught when the idea of going outside in this weather came up. She and I wanted lunch, and making our own food at home was obviously not an option. Our fridge currently has the following items: miracle whip, 3 beers, a tomato, and approximately 6 to-go containers from various dinner instances ranging from 3 days to 3 weeks ago.

When we looked outside, water was hurtling from the sky above the way it does convienently in romantic comedies when the protagonist gets locked out of his fiance's parent's summer home in which a precarious misunderstanding involving superglue, a nudie mag and a spatula ultimately leads to him looking like a major jackass.

Point being, it was raining hard. She looks at me and goes, "Well what would we even wear out there?" I met her question with a blank stare and then some blinking.

She's like, "A hat?"

"I mean, yeah. A hat's a good start."

What's good is how Californians drive in the rain. Myself included. And by 'how californians drive' I mean they drive shitty. They, we...you know what I mean. We drive shitty.

Like depth perception is somehow soluable and when it rains that natural ability washes down the storm drain. Along the side of the freeway, cars are stalled and strewn about...halfway down gravel embankments and pulled over with their emergencies on. Their occupants are just standing alongside the car---drenched, shaking their fists at the sky because damnit, sometimes rain-driving is trickier than text-driving even.

I really prefer the summer. Magazines like Cosmo and Marie Claire are always writing hard-hitting expose articles about how to slough off dull, dry winter skin for the summer, and how to exfoliate dry, dead summer skin for the holidays. The circle of life.

Will Smith wrote hit song "Summertime" as a tribute to this season, and I am confident he would never pen a song with the lyrics "winter, winter, winter time/ time to sit back and unwind"...

Mostly because during winter time, people dont really get to unwind. They get to freak the eff out trying to find the right kind of ice cream maker or nose hair trimmer or boxed dvd set for someone who is probably also at the mall scouring the sale bin for some other craptastic item that sums up the holidays the way only a bald Walmart bigwig would want.
(I dont think that smiley face from the Walmart commercials ever wanted it to be like this when he began rolling back prices. I'm convinced that's not what he envisioned when he set out to create the dirt cheap utopia that is Bargain Storeism.)

In the summer, life is just better. It stays lighter later, clothing colors are brighter, and Ball Park Franks never fails to run the exact same commercial they've been running since the dawn of time... involving a rousing outdoor bbq scene, beach balls and a talking dog. K maybe that's the Busch's baked beans commercial that has a talking dog, actually. Regardless, summer is better.

Since I've written this, my roommate has cracked open one of those beers I mentioned. Fridge beer count: 2.

I think the rain might have also stopped since I started writing this. I haven't looked outside or anything, but the sound of screeching brakes and fist shaking at the sky above has subsided outside. We live by a busy street.

Thank god it has because even if California is experiencing a drought, when faced with the choice of either

[enduring some rain in order to replenish a depleted water supply that causes us to steal remorselessly from neighboring states]


[living in a world with rain but without text-driving]

hah, that scenario is a no-brainer and never stood a chance. Any good Californian knows a world without texting is too cruel to even imagine. silly.

Monday, December 21, 2009

I am Tanya the Banana

When I was little, I did a lot of singing to myself.

Based on the impersonations my mom has done, I’ve gathered that I had a sweet but persistently nasal voice as a child. I chatted with everyone around me, made up songs, acted out scenarios and the like.

The first time I procrastinated to my own detriment, I was in 1st grade. I waited until the night before to start my book report about seals, and had to stay up until 1 am finishing it. (When my mom reads this she will mutter to herself about me telling random people on the internet about how she made me stay up so late. Don’t worry mom, it’s just us here.)

In grade two, I completed a literary masterpiece that was a testament to the long-winded nature that my burgeoning personality would someday actualize. It was 23 pages long, about a talking, walking banana named Tanya. She went on an adventure that would put even the most adventurous of the fruit family to shame. (I feel like the most adventurous fruit would be a kiwi. Not the most rugged perhaps, but certainly willing to embrace a come-what-may outlook.)

One Halloween, my dad channeled all of his creative prowess into transforming his sweet, nasal daughter into an all too realistic rendition of a vampire for Halloween--complete with a trickle of blood at the corner of my mouth. I went to one house, saw my face in their hallway mirror and ran home crying because I scared myself.

This stuff may be evidence that I have been a wordy, sensitive-souled oddball since day one; that as children we are pint-sized versions of whatever we are meant to become as adults. The same way a seed holds all the potential for whatever tree it will become.

I truly marvel at minds unlike my own. Bring me your orderly, your methodical, your shy huddled masses yearning to interact free. I want to study them because I don’t get it and I want to so bad. That’s pretty creepy, I know. I can’t fathom a world where people don’t know how to verbalize their feelings and articulate their interest in another person. I want to body swap and see it firsthand.

So does this mean it’s all there already? If I woke up one day and decided I wanted to be a professional organizer, or a mechanical engineer or a shy cemetery security officer it simply couldn’t be? As much as I’d like to denounce that, proclaiming that with the power of will and determination at the helm I steer my own destiny, I’m just not sure.

I think no matter what, I’m going to be a clumsy girl who dreams up stories about adventurous inanimate objects and accidentally leaves her car keys in the toe of one of her heels behind the bathroom trashcan. I don’t see an end in sight to eating dinner in the bathtub, or making friends with strangers who are semi-unwilling.

Because we used to eat rice crispy treats for breakfast. And my favorite song as a kid was Buffalo Soldier.

Because the rules don’t always have to apply and when I was little somebody told me I was just fine the way I am.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

you silly girl

I really wish I was more domestic.

I wonder if there is a chance I was born sans a gene, or if perhaps I had a traumatic incident with a vacuum cleaner when I was young. And maybe I just blocked it our entirely and the answer to my quasi-lack of adult life skills can all be explained by a vacuum tube and an overly inquisitive nature. (I hope so, therapy is kinda pricey.)

My boyfriend laments my messy, messy ways. Rightly so, we are currently sharing a space and no human should have to live alongside a monstrous pile of clothes that consumes human children and small dogs, in which I have affectionately named, The Vortex. I insist V and I have history, so it's too late to give him the boot now. He says I'm just lazy.

I don't want to believe I'm just a lazy POS, case closed. I feel like I have arguments to combat this claim. Sure, there's all that jazz about holding down two jobs and making it through school and blah blah blah..but I'm talking about real, concrete examples.

I mean, I'd definitely chase after an ice cream truck in a heartbeat if I felt my inalienable snacking rights were being threatened. In college, I singlehandedly spearheaded the planning and execution of themed party ensembles on more than one occasion. And in the face of my mother's refusal to get me a rodent pet as a child, I posted a rebuttal list on the door of my bedroom entitled, "Top Ten Reasons Why Hamsters are Great!" Just the right balance of proactive and passive aggressive, I think.
See, Anthony? I'm not lazy. These endeavors required forethought, careful planning and most importantly--passion.

Okay, maybe not so much the thing about the ice cream truck, because that doesnt involve planning-- that just requires passion for ice cream.

But still.

the writing's on the wall

The way I see it, there are at least a couple flavors of old people.

((Dad, I'm talking about really old people...like, senior citizens...not you. You can't be really old yet if you are proficient and particularly current on the latest social networking trends.))

That said, I say at least two because I believe there may be hybrid variations, the ones that dont quite fit neatly into these categories (see new age marathon conquering power walkers who's silver lining is that they are in waaay better shape than their adult children...pun intended.) Nonetheless, I am standing by these two main types.

Some oldies are sweet, kind, virtuous and patient. They speak soft and deliberate gems of wisdom, and are rarely surprised by life's little woes. They like the kinds of slow and steady skill activities that I have no patience for. That is: everything in the sewing category including knitting, needlepoint, patchwork-quilt making and the like.
Baking, golf, tending garden, long and drawn out walking tours. I would like to add penuckle to this list but I haven't got a clue what it is or how it's played, so I can't. I just know they like it.

Which brings me to the other type, and my concern. Some oldies are stubborn, ornery, and firmly steadfast in their belief that things in their day were considerably better than the day we live in now. Nevermind the major technological advancements that have prolonged life and eased human suffering... and the Internet kind of made a splash... those are baby games compared to the advent of prohibition and flapper-chic. They complain, cajole, prejudge, and constantly insist that their soup is too cold no matter how scalding hot it really is. (Please see shitmydadsays.com for a version of this that is an entertaining example because its not our blood relative).

Point being, I feel like I've inadvertently sealed my fate in 'which oldie are you' catagory. I think a quick rundown of some facts about me will illuminate everything:

I lack patience
can't play penuckle
I look funny power walking
I'm prone to whining
I love soup

My only hope is shitmyornerygrannysays.com

its like looking into a crystal ball of doom.

who moved my cheese?

I feel like when the question of 'which are you, 'glass half-empty or half-full' kind of a person comes up, I have the kind of internal struggle-reaction that should be reserved for capital punishment debates and anti-abortion protests.

I always feel obligated to gingerly reply, "why, half-full of course!" because its the upbeat, pro social, and seemingly expected response (sort of like how people ask "how are you?" but really don't want to know the answer. If you answer anything other than the allotted, "fine thanks," or "okay, and you?" people look at you like you hyper-disclosed a dark and twisted fetish involving barnyard animals).

Shunned is the pariah who dares admit that he or she sees the world as a tall, bitter drink half-drained.

One time at work, a group of bar regulars and I were discussing who saw the glass as what. Regular #1 proclaimed his sunny, shiny, glass half-full with assured confidence. The others sort of looked at each other for a sec, then followed suit as per the pariah rule outlined above. When it was my turn, I faltered, torn between wanting to appear a productive member of society and my natural inclination towards being a mildly self-deprecating, sarcastic little punk. Punk wins.

I'm not sure if it's half-empty, but I'm pretty sure my glass has a hole in it.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

look mom, no hands.

i did some fairly extensive blog reconnaissance before deciding to take the plunge into interweb gut-spilling.

My newly appointed friend/life-coach Tommy encouraged me to do it as a way to flex my writing muscle. My main concern was first, what will I write about...and second, will I inevitably be grouped into a category of people who have taken to blogging as a way to share one of the creepiest forms of affection known to man: the collection of personal characteristics people assign to their pets.

The last person I want to affiliate myself with is the chick who devotes 3 hours a day to cataloging how many times her cat scowled at her when she broke the news about changing kitty litter brands. Or how different meows coupled with different blink patterns obviously mean different things. Pet Fluffy's Online Shrine.

Those people are terrifying.

Tommy assures me that this type of affliction isn't contagious, and I think that means if I'm not one of those kooks already and all my shots are up to date, I'm not in any imminent blog-related danger.

But back to the recon I did. I came in with an open mind and heart, and stumbled into the 'Blogs of Note.' As I clicked through the them, I slid further and further into the deepest, darkest and most random corners of the internet.

Blogs devoted to civil war memorabilia, horse grooming, zany animal pics, angsty poems. Art History discussions, political rantings, personal rantings, incoherent ramblings.

If you've ever gotten lost on facebook, myspace etc you might know what I mean.

Like when you start on a friend's page, and then bounce to someone else who you don't know but want to see their pictures closer (to criticize them more thoroughly, obviously) so you click on them, then the next thing you know you are on Lupita Jackson's page perusing her awkwardly-angled baby shower photos from three summers ago and suddenly snap back to reality and go W T F am I doing with my life???? (see awkwardfamilyphotos.com if you need an idea of what kind of people we're working with here)

Nevertheless, I still want to do this. Despite some of the oddities I've noted, I think it will still be fun.

Tommy said to write about the mishaps and misadventures of bartending.

I shot back, "Look, I'm more than just bartending! I'm deep ok??!"

Ok, maybe this won't be deep. But I can tell you one thing you won't ever see here, and that's an apology for "random musings and the like." I was slightly peeved that in each blog I explored, the author felt the need to justify his or her self-described 'musings' with a humble disclaimer about this being "just a little place for me to ramble about whatever thoughts I have at the moment."

Truth is, i treat just about any forum as such. And I don't plan to warn you that random thoughts will follow. That ruins all the fun.