Friday, September 30, 2005

"Eat at Meze's: Only Slightly Gross"

My friend from writing class, Karin (not to be confused with my drawing class friend, Karen), volunteered to write a food review for Philly Style magazine or someone and so invited me along for a free meal last night. The overall dining experience at Meze's was good and I don't want to sound like I'm not recommending it because I am fully recommending it, with the following suggestions:

1. Hold on tight to your silverware and keep an elbow on your plate at all times. Since this is a newer restaurant, the waitstaff has over-service-itis; you know, filling up your water glass after every sip, whisking your plate away at the slightest provocation (if you happen to momentarily lean back in your chair, for instance), having three different people ask you how everything is at four minute intervals, etc.

2. Don't order fish. Actually, that's just a note to myself. If you like fresh fish, order it. If you enjoy choking on tiny little white bendy bones, have the sea bass. We were told we could have it prepared at the table (with head) or fileted downstairs (without head but with fan-tail). We opted for headless. It did come without a head, though the fish platter also contained two eight-inch long sardines whose only disfigurement was the slice down the center of the belly that you were supposed to cut into and eat (I guess. I don't really know what you do with sardines). The heads with the little dead eyes were there and the tails and possibly even the scales. I don't like to eat anything with a face on it and I also don't like to eat anything that looks like it died violently just seconds before.

3. Don't exit the building when you hear a fire alarm; it's actually the ring of the phone at the hostess' stand.

4. If you want the manager to stop by your table, talk about strip clubs. Karin was describing a local male strip club where the women go wild and the manager stopped in his tracks and came over to our table, saying, "Oh, excuse, I overheard you say strip club," and then he told us about how he and his fiance have an ongoing argument about how much more subdued men are at strip clubs than women. I said something academic-like about the male gaze and double standards and he said, "Enjoy your pita! It's fresh from Greece!" and left. Veiled sexual innuendo? If so, compliment or not a compliment?

5. For dessert, you will be offered 5 strange things and 4 of them will have nuts in them. Order the thing without the nuts. It's doughy and has some strange fruit glaze on top (pineapple? apricot?) but no bones.

There now, see I've done all of Karin's work for her, thereby earning my meal.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

I met a real life heroin addict

William S. Burroughs, the only person in the history of the world to be both a hipster and a heroin user.

Instead of going to draw-ling (Karen's pronunciation) class at the Fleisher Museum last night, we went to Dive bar and drank. Very irresp0nsible, though we had the best intentions of learning shading techniques earlier in the day and parked in the correct parking lot and everything. But we were running late and so, rather than disrupt the scene, we (very considerately) found our way to Dive and the company of the five other patrons, the bartender (who had her hair done up like Princess Leia), and the bartender's girlfriend who was very chatty and friendly. Dive bar is basically one long bar with stools, but it's frequented by dirty li'l Philly hipsters with thousands of piercings, even more tattoos, and angled bangs that fall in their disenchanted eyes. Karen sat next to a guy who met the hipster criteria except he broke several of the rules of hipsterdom and was disqualified almost right away.

1. He had a blue tattoo in the center of his forehead. Hipsters generally have some type of job/art school gig and while they will get their chests, arms, backs, knees, biceps, shoulder blades, and ankles tattoed, they will not cross over the line into "unemployable due to facial tattooing. "

2. He told us right away that he was sexually abused by his grandfather (this wasn't c0mpletely out of context; I mean, aside from the fact that we'd known him for 2 minutes. The bartender was reading Bastard Out of Carolina and he overheard us talking about how the narrator, Bone, is molested by her mom's girlfriend. On an unrelated note: the bartender only had four pages left in the book and she didn't immediately finish it. I couldn't understand that). Okay, so hipsters are allowed to have unhappy childhoods, but they never talk about them. They create self-portraits out of wax and their neighbors trash, but they don't tell the stories. They don't talk much at all really. They're too busy observing the scene.

3. He was drinking Coke, not PBR or Bud Light or anything ironic.

4. He explained that he doesn't shoot up until 2 PM every day. Hipsters swallow X and do cocaine occassionally and drink too much all the time and maybe, maybe have tried a line of heroin but they do not "do" track marks.

5. He contributed to the list I made up and passed around: "Top 10 Things I Love that Prevent Me From Killing Myself in the Morning" (though he crossed off the word morning and wrote afternoon instead because he sleeps in). I handed the list to the guy next to me, who was definitely a hipster (had the Beatles/Brit pop look going). He said nothing. He wrote "The number 7" (cleverly next to #7 on the list!) and slid the sheet back to me. Hipsters don't try to make friends in bars. They have plenty of friends, most of whom they don't even like that much. Above all, they don't do anything silly/stupid on purpose. Silly requires effort and carries the danger of being embarrassed. Hipsters don't do embarrassed.

I don't know what happened to David the heroin addict because he disappeared while I was in the bathroom. He took the list with him.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Support Our "Support Our" Car Magnets

The magnetic ribbon thing has gotten out of control. Driving to D.C., we found ourselves behind a truck with a "Support Our Firemen" ribbon on the back. Yes, because everyone knows how divided the world is on the subject of firemen and how firemen are treated like second-class citizens in our society, right up there with elementary school janitors and garbage collectors. I realize that the firemen magnet was probably part of a local fund-raiser or other to buy a dalmatian for the fire dept., but it is irritating how so many people buy one magnetic car ribbon (or two. If you already have a yellow "Support Our Troops" ribbon on your car, you're 75% more likely to also sport the "Support America" magnet) and think they're taking a much needed political stance. The $1 or whatever you spent at Walmart on a magnet ribbon to tack above the bumper of your SUV does not mean you support the troops . It means you spent $1 (that goes nowhere near the troops) because you saw that your neighbor had one and a bunch of people at church had them and you wanted to belong to the Go America club without actually having to do anything.

Monday, September 26, 2005

"And the next name I'm going to say is..."

That's Tyra Banks' frequently repeated line during the choosing part of America's Top Anorexic which I swear I only watched for four minutes. Every time she was peparing to pick the next lucky girl (who invariably squealed and seemd to pee her pants a little), she would say, "And the next name I'm going to say is...Amberlynnheatherjenniferkooklafranandollie." Why not just say the name? I guess it would've detracted from the final line, "And the LAST name I'm going to say is..." Though my Brooklyn Liz loves the show, I never got into it, especially after seeing part of one episode where the models were sprayed with a garden hose at a Phillips 66 station and made to straddle a Monster truck-sized tire for a photo shoot. I have no reality shows now, since we don't have cable and consequently don't watch much TV, though we can at least listen to the Daily Show and ignore the scrambled screen. It's like being back in 1940's, gathered around a gigantic radio listening to "Fireside Chats."

I can catch Real World Austin at the gym, but I much prefer the horrific Laguna Beach if only because of its unapologetic fakeness. Can't watch any of the home/weight loss/nose improvement shows; they're boring and try so hard to be emotionally manipulative. "The Connors have three children. Mariah, six, was just diagnosed with spina bifida. Taylor, eight, was hit by a tractor trailer and can't ever go outside now because the house isn't wheelchair accessible. And Briana, 10, is bald from the luekemia treatments she's had regularly for the last 8 years. Mr. Connor has just been laid off from his job at the factory and Mrs. Connor's insurance company where she's worked for 20 years just burned to the ground on Tuesday. Watch as we tear down and rebuild their family house and restore their hopes and dreams by turning the garage into a pinball gallery." Last scene: Everyone in tears, going, Omigod, thank you so much, thank you, thank you, thank you and the little bald kid looking up at her parents and saying, Mommy, I think my white blood cell count just went up! The newest of the gag-reflex reality shows is Amy Grant's Three Wishes. Same premise; lots of dying children and poor people being given the chance to have 3 things they've always wanted. My wish is that the first show would be some kid going, And my third wish is for this show to be taken off the air and never ever ever replaced by anything remotely resembling this thinly veiled excuse to talk about Jesus on network TV.

P.S. The Pro-Blowing People Up Rally yesterday brought out approximately 400 people (from the TV footage, it looked like about 50 people, 15 of whom were kids and 20 more who appeared to be tourist just walking across the screen on their way the Washington Monument). The estimated number for the Peace Rally was 100,000 and this was the number given on Fox News so you know it was more like 500,000...

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Our protest has ended the war!

Shawn and I drove to D.C. yesterday to attend my first ever march; a peace march against the war. Shawn brought a sign he's used in various other past marches, one that reads "Do You Feel Safe Yet?" I found a generic sign on the side of the road and held it up for awhile before Shawn and I got into a non-peaceful squabble about how much room it took up and I abandoned it on the side of the street. I don't really have the personality for marches or protests or organizing. I get embarrassed when people chant things like, "This is what democracy looks like!" or, "What do we want? Peace! When do we want it? Now!" I admire the people who don't feel stupid doing that, but I feel self-conscious. I even thought Shawn was whistling too loudly.

An excellent mixture of people which I guess is what you want though of course CNN's online article about it is accompanied by a photograph of some lon-haired, bearded hippie dude in a knit hat. In real life, there were college kids (and not just in tie-dye...I saw many marchers who, taken out of context, I would've assumed were sorority or fraternity family-bred Republicans), families, older people, Vietnam vets, some soldiers who had been to Iraq already. I wish I would've written text from the signs we saw; I'd ask Shawn but we're sort of in a fight right now because I leaned over his shoulder while he was reading about the protest and scrolled down, causing him to lose his place and say, Goddamnit! Don't be an asshole! or something like that. It's awesome that you can participate in an event meant to end conflict on a global scale but remain unable to get along with the person standing next to you.

After the march, we stayed for about half of the free concert; heard Cindy Sheehan speak and listened to country singer Steven Earle and the articulate poetry/speech of a basketball player from some team I never heard of. Shawn felt hopeful afterwards, but I honestly don't know how much difference it will make since this administration has never given a shit what the people think anyway.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Listen to me. I have a lot of important things to say.

(Picture by broadywaybound7)

Have been spending too much time on other people's blogs lately and clicking on their links which bring me to other links and on and on until I'm overwhelmed by the waves of "me, me, me" in them and so what do I do? Decide to begin my own new blog, as though I have anything of interest to add. One category springs to mind.

Top 5 Blog Types to Hate:

1. Highly specialized, uninteresting topics only relevant to the reader and her/his family, like this one I just found that's about a woman's baby...The baby isn't even born yet, but she's tracking its growth from the date of inception through age 2. The blog is called "From Sperm to Eternity." (Not really. I wish). On the other hand, I don't mind so much when they're at least funny, like the one about hating horses.
2. Blogs about a person's day-to-day boring shit like those written by undergrads or stay-at-home's. "Today, I had a chemistry test. Yuck! It was so hard! Tomorrow, I have a test in English. I haven't even studied yet!! We ate dinner in the dorm tonight and it was meatloaf again! :[..." Ad nauseum. Nobody wants to read about your boring life and less you happen to be a D-list celebrity.
3. Badly written "story" blogs where people share their fiction or even their nonfiction using tons
of adverbs. "I walked stiffly into the room and there was Damien. He winked at me slyily. I looked quickly at the floor, and then glanced furtively at the clock on the wall: twelve midnight-ly was rapidly approaching."
4. Ones with lots of moving images like scrolling lines of sophmoric adages and sparkles that shoot across the screen when you move your mouse or animated gifs of Barney spanking himself. Ditto any with accompanying music that blares to life seconds after you enter the site.
5. Blogs comprised solely of links, especially when half of them are not explained but rather alluded to so you have to click on the selected text to find out what they're exclaiming about. And it's usually super boring. Like: It's finally happened!
Okay, yes, blogs are self-indulgent. Nobody cares what you think about Katrina or the Bush Administration or where you were when Janet Jackson's Nipple Was Revealed. They're self-conscious and only sometimes funny and unnecessary. And yet I still have one. I tell myself it's so I'll write consistently, but who knows. Let's see if I write, knowing none of my friends are aware of the new blog and so I can't even use the excuse that I'm writing to keep those I don't speak to regularly up-dated on my fabulous, amazing, unbelievable life.