Saturday, April 28, 2007

Disharmony

Okay, look, I'm not saying that I'm going to do any on-line dating. I'm not saying that I have anything against it either. It's a fine way to meet people and when I lived in State College where my dating choices were limited to:

*18 year old frat boys
*Married men
*Poets

I decided that salon.com would be preferable. I went out on a few blind dates and every single one of them was interesting and funny, most often in an awful way. Really. I didn't have one date that wasn't note worthy in some form.

A few are:

*A gay professor. How did I know he was gay? I didn't. But I got a little suspicious when he brought up homosexuality about 5 times on the date and then told me that he believed gayness was something you could overcome if you tried hard enough. Then he asked me if I would like to meet his mother. I am not joking.

*Another professor and/or administrator who I met for lunch in the student cafeteria. Before we started eating, he pulled out a little black case. He said, By the way, I'm diabetic. Some people are weird about that. He pulled out a shot, filled it with insulin, and stuck it into his arm. Then he ate his sandwich. I didn't care if he was diabetic, but I feel like giving yourself a shot at a meal is somewhat like blowing your nose into your hands and complaining about your allergies.

*A prison nurses who drove about an hour to meet me for dinner. Right before the date, he emailed to say he no longer looked exactly like the guy in the photo he posted. He wrote, I'm now bald and I have a moustache. We went to dinner. He was interesting and nice and had lots of stories about prison life which of course I loved, but he was also bald with that halo of hair around the back of his head and with a bad little stache. I agreed to go out with him again even though I didn't really want to. On the way to meet me, he got into a wreck and totaled his Jeep. He wasn't hurt, but I was relieved. He said, Well, we can still go out. After I get my car towed, I could borrow my friend's car and come out. I said, No, that's okay. Later, I emailed him to tell him I didn't really want to see him again. He emailed me back a photo of his smashed up Jeep.

*A philosophy professor with two cats who wasn't quite yet divorced, but whose wife had cheated on him by finding dates online in a site called spank.com. We dated for six months until I said, I love you and he said, Oh, I think of you fondly.

But anyway, if you spend even a little time looking at online dating services, you'll note that some guys don't know what kinds of photos they should post. I don't know what mistakes women make, but here's a short list of photos that should not be used to try to get dates:

*The absolute best is when the person has a series of photos where his cheek is clearly pressed up against someone else's; someone who has been scratched or blacked out, sometimes in a violent way. Find a picture where you are by yourself. There has to be one. If not, take one. In a few cases, the man is dressed in a tuxedo and you have to wonder, Is that his wedding photo?

*Photos where he is in a group of people, and the picture is taken from far away so the only thing you can really tell about him is that he appears to be in human form.

*Pictures taken with any combination of the following: shirtless, standing next to a sports car or motorcyle, holding up a fishing line with a hooked bass at the end of it, smiling into the camera in full hunting regalia with your foot planted on the head of a dead animal.

*I saw a picture of a guy today that shows him on a ladder with his back to the camera. You can't see anything of his face. You can only discern that he has on jeans and a matching denim shirt which is bad enough. What is he hoping to illustrate with this photo? That he's overcome his acrophobia?

*My friend K. doesn't like it when guys post pics with their kids. I don't mind, as long as the kid doesn't look like the kid is just about to graduate college.

More later...

Friday, April 27, 2007

Orange rubber shoes

Because of the rain, I rediscovered my orange rubber Steven Madden loafers and they are much cuter than they sound. Plus, they make really awesome squeaky noise when you walk. Sometimes, I pull together an outfit that sort of accidentally works but then I usually forget it. I need a Polariod.

Small note about cat, promise not to go into any detail: This morning, Ernesto discovered my blush brush. He grabbed it out of the make up bag, jumped down on the floor, and then laid on top of it as if trying to hide the brush. I retrieved it. He did this three more times until I had to hide the thing. I told you he is gay.

Molly went with me to pilates last night and did very well. The instructor is this girl who has the slender body of a willow tree and she has long blond hair and a pretty face. She's about 22 or maybe younger. She announced in class yesterday that she's getting married this summer to her fiance, who has been in class before. He is a tall, broad shouldered boy, also blond, with curly hair like Chris What's His Face from the movie Blue Lagoon. What faith! I don't know what would have happened if I had married the guy I was dating at that age. Well, we'd be divorced now, most likely, even though he was a very nice man. I would've cheated on him (I did cheat on him) and it would have ended badly. Instead, it just ended when I moved to Chicago. That's a good way to break up with someone...Leave the state.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Consumed

I have been feeling very self-righteous lately because I have managed NOT to blow all of my prize money on something dumb like a gigantic trampoline or a 500 gallon aquarium. And then to my own shock and amazement, I ordered an i-Pod. Why did I do this? Well, in my defense, there were many different factors involved. Jess and Scott had sent me a $40 gift card from Target as a house-warming gift. At first, I was going to be really responsible and buy like $40 worth of sponges or a toaster, but then I just couldn't decide, and plus, Target is really close to my house now if I need to get anything from there post-haste. Second, I've been thinking about how I might walk more if I had a better soundtrack than the sounds of buses and of helicopters flying above my house (as was the case this morning). So, if I have an i-Pod, then maybe I'll walk more or go to the gym more. Look, it's a possibility. Finally, someone recently mentioned that it's not that hard to put songs on it. I guess I thought it would be a task similar to adding extra RAM to your desktop computer, but apparently, you just hold the i-Pod up to the CD and it absorbs the music through osmosis. Perfect! Again in my defense, I bought one that's been previously purchased and so was $10 cheaper--add that to the $40 from J & S and the I got a 2 GB thing for under $100 including shipping and tax. 2 GB is roughly 500 songs. I only know like 30 songs total, so it should be no problem to cram them all on. How many songs did Billy Joel write anyway?


Okay, but I am feeling a little consumer crazy, because I also just ordered a new cell phone. Listen, I have never once taken advantage of the free phone every 2 years deal and just realized that I can get a new one for nothing and so I picked one out and it has a camera in it. All this new-fangled technology! I resisted the cell phone for years and years and years, and also the laptop and also the car (didn't have a car for like 10 years) and now I feel slightly guilty for owning all of these things and feeling unable to imagine what it would be like without them.



I still love taking the subway, however. Today, I sat next to an older woman with a shock of short white hair who was reading a paperback. I glanced over at the title: Morning, Noon, and Night by Sidney Sheldon. For those of you who don't know, Sidney Sheldon writes books that are only a little more elevated than the drugstore bodice rippers. The kind of book that you tried to read in the library as a 13 year old, looking for the good parts. The one line I could catch from the book she was reading was the last sentence of a chapter, something along the lines of (and it was written in italics): "Yes, he knew that one day, he would own her, come hell or high water..."

It's probably harder to write a romance/mystery/thriller than it would seem at first. I know I tried endlessly in junior high to write stories based on TV detective characters, mostly Remington Steele, and it wasn't easy. But it can't be too too hard to write a pulp romance. I believe there are gradations of these books. Some are very veiled and innocent--like, the pirate will give the aristocratic lady "hot, hungry looks" or she'll be able to feel "his rippled muscular chest beneath his pressed white shirt." And then others are much less subtle and will talk openly about rigid manhood. Someone should write a parody novel, if that hasn't already been done.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

If A Story Falls in the Forest, Does Anybody Read It?

That is so profound.


Had my writing class last night again--the one with all of the very supportive and awesome women that meets in a church and where we get snacks! Last night, we had homemade chocolate chip cookies and ginger snaps at our break. The week before, we were offered poppy seed cake with icing (this is reminding me of the type of entries I used to keep in my Hello Kitty diary when I was ten. They were almost exclusively about the food I ate that day, or the day before, or two weeks previous. Something like: "Dear Diary, Today we had grape Popsicles and Kool-Aid. It was fun!..Dear Diary, Today was a fun day today! We had hot dogs, potato chips, pickles, any kind of pop we wanted and cupcakes. It was fun!" Ad infinitum).


The writing exercise for last night was to write (as yourself or as a character) about a time you (or the character) cried or didn't cry. I couldn't get into it. I started with something about a girl whose mom has just gone into remission from cancer and how she hears this and throws away all of her religious iconography, but that was boring and I've already written a cancer story. No one really likes a cancer story. Then I started writing about how I learned to disassociate and not cry and how I would sometimes force myself to cry and then stare at myself in the mirror to see how I looked while crying and how this has somewhat led to me narrating my life at times as though in third person. But that's not really true. I don't go around thinking, Girl walks down the subway stairs, almost falls. I am self-conscious to the point of being self-conscious about being self-conscious and trying very hard not to appear that way. There is probably a clinical term for this in the DSMV: Disassociative Affect Responsive Narcissism or DARN, you're self conscious! Anyway, my free write wasn't that great, kind of self-pitying, so I didn't read it out loud. One girl made another girl cry by writing about her dead boyfriend. We went over a story and I had to keep myself from talking the whole time...It was a good story but needed some work and I always get hyper when a story is already pretty good but could be even better. Here, let me write that!


I turned in my donation story. I kept changing things at the last minute and so when I finally had the chance to read through it after class, I noticed quite a few typos. Overall, though, it's not horrible. We'll see.


As far as the reading on Saturday, it went fine. I should've practiced reading it out loud at least once before getting there because I kept stumbling over my words. I hate that. There were three of us. The first woman read a piece about being a lesbian cop and about wanting a cheesesteak. I was really too nervous to listen. Then I read and nobody was sure if they should laugh at parts or not. In the future, I am going to have a minimum of five plants in the audience who will laugh and/or cry or sigh or go "WOW!" on cue. Another woman read after me; a well written piece about being abducted. Unfortunately, some kid kept playing with this toy that made a joyous circusy noise when he pushed the buttons, so she'd be reading something very serious and then in the background, you'd here the theme from Bozo the Clown. Maybe it was intentional; maybe it was a performance piece. Anyway, thank you to all of my friends who showed up. Without you, it would've been just me and the other two women and that bratty kid.
Thanks.


Celia sent me this photo. She said I should always wear the halo brace when going on a date to keep myself from doing anything inappropriate.
















I told her that something like this would probably be more effective:


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Bachelor or How Can I Get the Most Air Time?

Here are some ways that the contestants on The Bachelor are able to be on the camera for more than half a second:

*Get really wasted on weak lime margarita’s and slur uninteresting obscenities into the Bachelor’s ear. Drawback: You will be kicked off in the same episode.

*Throw yourself on the ground and hope to sprang your ankle. Someone did this in episode two. All the other girls were like, That bitch is faking it! She was bragging earlier about how strong her ankles are!

*Ask the Bachelor to go with you into the hot tub and then tell him you’re a virgin. Same result as the first one, but you’ll at least be on TV long enough for your old high school boyfriend to see you and wonder how it is you are still pretending to be virgin.

*Tell the other girls that you are a real bitch and will stop at nothing.

*Sob about something stupid. Cry because you don’t have time to get ready because you were the one who fake-broke your ankle (this is a girl whose name is supposedly “Bevin.” What is that short for?) You should also cry on a group date and then make out with the guy with snot running down your face. BEVIN!

*Talk shit on the other girls behind their backs to the Bachelor. He’s not listening anyway, so it doesn’t really matter.

*Fart. Why oh why won’t someone pass gas? That would be the best! I bet ABC would bleep it.

*Hold hands with another girl so that you’ll get a shot at being seen as a wild party lesbo girl.

*Pout during the craps game so that he’ll wonder if you’re upset with him about his hair.

I think he is quite drunk. He keeps throwing his arm awkwardly around each person who he sees. He just kissed this girl to keep her from talking. I also wish he would call one of the girls by the wrong name. They all have this very similar sleek, longhaired look and they are like five Stephanie’s. All of them are wearing earrings that are larger than their entire heads.

I wish they would do a Bachelor season where the guy is just this complete dick and the girls keep saying how they feel a connection with him as he hocks a logy onto the side-walk and yells, Hey, I can see one of your teats!

Oh, look, he’s carrying Bevin into the suite. He is definitely drunk. He just told her that he did really well on his seventh grade science project and that he wants to be in astronaut. Bevin is crawling on top of him. Most embarrassing of all, she said, I think it’s hella! I don’t know what that means, but it was horrible.

He just slurred, “You’re my sanctuary.” He does not know what the hell he’s saying. “I love cheese and bananas and your hair is like a golden nugget in the bottom of an elf’s shoe.” Falls asleep briefly. Jolts awake when glass of champagne sloshes liquid onto his hand. Rubs his mouth on the girl’s face. Whispers, “I may have rubella, but I’ll cure it by rubbing your patella with my novella. Holla!”

Now he is pushing the women down the hill, forcing them to ski. And now he’s skiing doggy style with someone and knocking people over. All the gals are talking shit on everyone while he stares off into space, not caring or listening. This woman is the cutest one. She is of indeterminate racial descent---might be Asian or an Eskimo or just a direct descendant of Winnie from The Wonder Years.

His mouth barely moves when he talks. He may actually be being controlled by a ventriloquist.

Everyone has a Southern accent even though none of them are from the South.

Tina from Los Angeles is utterly the most adorablest one next to Winne, but she doesn’t have a chance in the world. She’s too nice and cute and honest. You know it’s a kiss of death when the Bachelor stares into the camera with no affect and mumbles, I really had a fun time with Tina. She didn’t cry or anything…I’d like to introduce her to my brother.

The word “connection” has been used no fewer than 500 times.

The date with Amber:

Everyone hates Amber because, even aside from the fact that her name is Amber and everyone inherently despises anyone with the name Amber, this particular Amber won’t shut up about what she’s going to wear on her one-on-one date with Randy. Should I wear black pants and boots and a hat and gloves or just shoes and a scarf with a skirt and heels with fuzzy mittens? The girls sit around with hateful smiles on their tight shiny faces. The Bachelor comes in to pick up Amber wearing an Old Navy zipper up that looks like he’s had it since he was in the tenth grade. They sit cross legged on some cushions in front of a huge fire at this Inn and dip bread into a huge vat of yellow cheese. Randy asks Amber if she lied about kissing or not kissing and if she has a connection and if she has a feeling about him and if she’ll hold his hand. She says, Well, yes, of course I didn’t…Wait what exactly are you asking me? I don’t read lips! Then they get into the hot tub. They are making out in the most awkward fashion. Oh, he gave her a rose and she just almost set it on fire. Why doesn’t anyone have a sense of humor at all?

The blond girl just apologized for dissing on the other girls by saying, Sorry for my word vomit. She actually said that.

Somebody overstyled Bevin’s hair into a Farrah Fawcet hairdo and he just got his fingers stuck in it and then had to pretend he was pulling her forward to kiss him. The Word Vomit Girl just made up a lie that Tina told Rolanda that Amber had sex with Randy according to Lisa. Now he’s hugging Winnie and putting his face into her armpit (accidentally?).

Predictions during the commercial break. Who will be sent home:

*Stephanie with the huge face and boobs that could walk away and get another job at a tennis court and highly plucked eyebrows because she is too fake. I mean, he likes fake, but not TOO fake.

*A couple of the blonds who we haven’t seen much off.

*Tina from LA who is very nice and cute and who will not make for very good TV. Oh, and also if you look at her more closely, she has a weird overbite.

*Word Vomit because she’s so obviously a total idiot.

*That other blond with the huge face and wrinkles.

*The brown haired girl who looks like she was accidentally picked. She seems funny, but she’s too much of a party girl.

Who will stay:

*Bevin. Good work milking the fake spranged ankle.

*Winnie, but she will be kicked off next week.

*Amber because she gives good head and she’s got a rose to show for it.

Uh-oh. Welcome to another rose ceremony.

He’s mumbling something in a monotone about vital signs and stats and how he wishes his puppet master would let him get out more.

I was right about Winnie.

Who is Danielle? I was wrong about her. She will not make it through next week.

Bevin. Of course. Watch as she fakes a fainting spell and has to be revived with smelling salts. Her hair is flattened to her head.

I was wrong about Tina. She won’t make it through next week however.

Uh-oh. The final rose. It will be…Stephanie from Kansas! Who?

Goodbye to Fake Boobs, Word Vomit, the fun brown haired girl and few others. Now they are all hugging and Randy is worried that he’s going to be sucker punched by FB, who is a transplant coordinator, ironically.

Next week: They are going on a yacht and Bevin keeps making out with Randy. And he will be making them work on a playground and see if they hate children. Stay tuned for more crap.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Patti and I, Part 2

Oh, well, the reason I originally wrote the title for the previous post is that Patti is also giving a reading at the book festival from her memoir or whatever it is that she wrote. And she is reading at exactly the same time I'm reading today or at least around that time. Our reading is from 5-6 and I think I'm last, so I'll probably start at 5:45 which is when she's scheduled.Of course, she's also reading on a huge stage whereas I will be reading in a little closet with four folding chairs. F you, Patti Smith. I hope you remembered to shave your armpits. Still don't have anything to wear. I put a skirt on this morning and nearly fainted at the sight of how pale my legs are. I can't go tightless because the audience will be blinded by my flesh and will not be able to focus on the reading.

I have a story due on Tuesday and so have sort of been working on this one about working at an OPO (organ procurement organization) but it's pretty messy still. I need to spend like an hour on it today before Liz and Luke get here but I don't really know what more to do with it.

Okay, wait, I have to say one thing. I'm at Black N Brew (my new coffee hang out; a good mix of local people, some hipsters, some nerds, some gay dudes, and no children) and this woman just walked in with long braids and that kind of nose piercing that always looks bad. I may have complained about this before. This is the kind I mean; the one that makes you look like you're a bull. It doesn't look cute on anyone, even if you are super hot otherwise. By the way, if you're interested in grossing yourself out, do an image google search for "piercings."

Okay, so I'm excited for this reading to be over. It's stressful to read--I worry that someone will fall asleep in the middle and start snoring or that there won't be anyone there or that I'll mess up terribly and start crying or something.

I'm stalling right now because I don't feel like writing. I've spent 20 minutes looking at pictures of people with piercings on every inch of their bodies. Okay, I'm stopping. Wish me luck.

Friday, April 20, 2007

BFF with Patti Smith



Liz and Luke are coming in tomorrow for this reading I'm doing at the Philadelphia Book Festival. You are more than welcome to come, as I suspect that the group will consist of me, the other two writers and L & L. So, you know, between 5-7 people. I meant to get something new and cute to wear but haven't had time to go shopping, so it looks like it's just going to be a wife-beater with stained pits and flood pants--oh, just talked to Amanda and she said I should write about how some of the female students dress on campus--we were just discussing this at lunch as well, because we saw a parade of fashion victims on the Walk.

Possible bad outfits for the reading:


1. A too small super thin t-shirt that clings to every curve on my body and allows the audience to see my belly button through my shirt as well as every wrinkle in my bra and each globual of cellulite. For pants, I will wear a pair of low slung jeans that are three sizes too small so that I can acheive the Muffin Top look and also so while I'm sitting down, anyone behind me will be able to see down my jeans to my ankles.


2. Return to the 80s--black leggings (or even better: white leggings) with a short short skirt that just brushes below the ass line. On top, a conservative button up oxford. Shoes: either white flat sneakers, Ugg boots, or a black pump. I just don't understand why anybody would wear leggings if they weren't exercising. It goes hand in hand with the jeans under a dress. Pick one thing! You're either wearing a dress or you're wearing a skirt but you are not to wear a dress and jeans or a skirt and leggings. I but you anything, anything, anything that stirrup pants will show up next with thick socks over them. That is perhaps the worst look invented (next to hairshirts) because no one looks good in it; everyone becomes a person with a fat ass and huge thighs and little bitty legs. All you have to know is that Lyndsey Lohan has been wearing leggings nonstop; don't copy her! Neither she nor Hillary Duff nor either of the creepy Olsen twins should have anything to say about what's cute to wear.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

This Could Be You

Heard some guys arguing on the subway yesterday about gun control. One guy said, So, what you’re telling me is that poor people shouldn’t be allowed to purchase guns. The other guy said, Well, yeah. Then the first man said, But most crimes are committed by guns purchased illegally, right? So, what difference would it make if poor people couldn’t buy guns? I hadn’t heard their entire conversation and so didn’t want to jump in and proclaim, Yes! Let’s not allow poor people to buy guns and then let’s allow all the rich people to arm themselves and live in castles and throw their Whole Foods bread crusts into their yards for the poor folk and yell out to them, Let them eat cake! But I didn’t say anything because one thing I’ve learned recently is that I shouldn’t jump to conclusions. For all I know, they are both very liberal men who are extremely intelligent about racial disparities, crime, and poverty.

It may be that they were reacting to the shootings at Virginia Tech yesterday. I saw an interview on TV last night with Katie Couric and a security representative from Blackburn (?). Katie asked, What could they have done to prevent this from happening? The man said, Well, the students could’ve used text messages to communicate with one another. Email is good, but text messaging is faster. I thought, Hmm…I think Katie was asking what the university or the police might have done better; not what the students might have done to keep the shooter from killing another twenty people. And why does no one know who the gunman is? Is this like a true life Law and Order episode where we never figure out who did it because everyone is dead? Even the shooter? It appears that the guy was a disgruntled boyfriend looking for his girlfriend. Did she die? Did he find her? Why didn’t he just shoot her? It would be better if she were dead, because how could you live with yourself, knowing that someone had killed 30 plus people because you broke up with him? Even though it’s not her fault, she will always think that it is. She will remember that she had sex with this guy who would later massacre dozens of people because she didn’t want to be with him. She will wonder why she even talked to him in the first place, or why she didn’t realize right away that he was unstable. She will remember a time when she thought he was cute, when she fantasized about being with him, and she will hate herself for not knowing the future. But that's just speculation; the man might not have even known her at all. He might have been delusional.

I wonder sometimes if I am capable of that kind of violence, or any kind of violence that could take another person’s life. I have been fortunate enough not to have been in any situations that are volatile enough to make me feel capable of physical damage to another person. And then I heard that my friend Kali’s husband got into a fight this weekend with some drunk dude who was hitting on his kid sister and when Paul tried to intervene, the guy punched him in the face, knocking out his front tooth. And what if the guy had a gun? Would he have been angry enough to shoot Paul? Or what if this becomes a thing; like Paul tries to confront this dude and it gets out of hand and someone ends up dead? Things like this happen every day. I don’t see it, I don’t personally experience it, but it happens.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

The Sims II, My Attempt to Have Deep Thoughts About a Shallow Video Game

Okay, here’s the thing. I think I’ve said this before, but I truly believe that the way you play Sims gives you a mirror into the way you’d like to manage your life. For instance, I can only play Sims in a way that attempts to make all of the characters as happy as possible. This illustrates a trait in my every day life (and a peek into my psychosis). I am sensitive about how people are thinking and I don’t mean this to sound as though I am a total humanitarian; all this really means is that I’ve learned that it’s very important to pay attention to small gestures and signs from others to determine how I might keep myself safe and out of trouble. I don’t like conflict and so I play the Sims in a way that allows for the least amount of unhappiness. This means that I am somewhat of a control freak. I don’t like things to go awry. I don’t like my Sims to be too distressed; to have to pee or to be hungry or lonely. I must make sure that they are completely fine on very superficial levels (and the game reinforces this—as long as they have all their needs met—physically or psychologically—they are happy). Which basically means that I don’t really enjoy playing Sims; it’s stressful because the game is also geared toward chaos and disappointment; the characters always want more, more, more (just like real people; just like me). And then you have my friends Liz and Luke who are much more laid back. Liz plays the game in a leisurely way, like, Oh, wait, Corey Crouton is about to faint from hunger? Whoops! And Luke is even less concerned. In fact, he sometimes plays the game in a way that creates problems for the characters. He lets Corey Crouton flirt with the neighbor in front of his wife, risking being slapped and hated. He allows Corey to wet himself and to be so hungry that he faints. It doesn’t bother Luke.

I could try to enjoy other aspects of the game, such as decorating or making perfect homes, but I don’t.

Went to an art opening last night in Northern Liberties where there was a naked man who had painted his penis blue. It was a multimedia experience; you could go to a screen and choose a video option to project on his organ. For instance, if you pulled the “tickle me” option, a Tickle Me Elmo would dance across his private area. He was not for sale. My favorite was a painting where the hand of the person in the painting was coming out of the canvas. Beyond that were four pink life sized paper penguins on the floor in front of the painting. Odd and funny. Okay, now I will try to write fiction for just a little tiny bit.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

The Road to Hell

Best intentions--planned on coming to this coffee shop to write fiction for one hour because I signed up to turn in a story in a week or so and I have nothing new. Liz and Luke will be visiting from Brooklyn next weekend for my reading thing so I won't have a lot of time to write then either...Scary (oh, a big cute black dog just walked in with his owner. How can a person not like dogs? They are always so waggy). I have bits and pieces of a story about working at the organ donor place but it's really fragmented and I don't know how to reign it in to a coherent narrative or what it's actually about, plus as I've mentioned before, it's a hard story to write without sounding moralistic. However, instead of writing, I have spent over an hour surfing the Web and reading other people's blogs.

(Aside: please kill me if I ever ever sound like this girl in here with her short bangs...She has the Philly Valley girl speak:"You knooowww, like I was like whatever, you know? I don't knooowww, you knoowww? Like, of course I carry around my own dice..." [she actually just said this]. "I jammed last night, it was really sweet! We just like sang a bunch of stuff to, you knoowww, hear it... I want to like cut out all of these pictures and like put them in random places, like the bathroom ceiling, you knoooww?" I think she likes this guy she's talking to--he's cute, tall, messy hair, slight sideburns, dimples, deep, low voice--I may be just projecting. She needs to let him talk. "I don't like ice cream." She's talking too much, giving him her verbal resume. "I gave my dog peanut butter once. It was really funny. That's awesome!" Maybe he likes her too. She's cute even if she never shuts up. "So, tell me what you think of this, because I need your opinion and if people don't like it, I'll just like ball it up and throw it in the trash." Oh, dear GOD, she just gave him a copy of a poem she wrote. OH, NO, don't!Thank God she's not reading it out loud but now she's pretending she doesn't care what he thinks. As he's reading it, she's casually flipping through the newspaper, even though it's upside down [not really]. He's now pointing out words in the poem that he doesn't quite get--it doesn't fit or something. She's defending it. "Well, it was an exercise they gave us. I can't remember what it was, but like, we had to use those words." She LOVES him. She is staring at him with her chin in her hands as he reads. "I mean, I wrote it like a year ago, I haven't looked at it since I found it." He's not reacting the way she wants...He's actually critiquing it. Now he's looking at his computer screen. He wants her to leave. She's trying to look at what's on his screen. She has a really really cute haircut, but I don't know how far it's going to get her).

Okay, and now I didn't even meet my other best intentions for today and write something about the Sims--that was my topic of choice because Celia gave me a Chuck Klosterman essay about the Sims. But now I am in a time curnch and must leave!

More later...

Friday, April 13, 2007

No Longer the Class Star

Will have to write this sans Internet connection because apparently, the person whose connection I am sometimes able to steal is not on-line at the moment. So, I’ll write an entry anyway and save it and try to load it tomorrow. I wanted to write about my class on Tuesday night—this class that might save my life, or at least my writing life because the people taking it are good writers. As I said in the first entry about the class, we have a writing exercise at the beginning and write for about twenty minutes and then the teacher rings a little gong, Ding! And we stop and people volunteer to read their work. This week, the exercise was to write a self-portrait in some way. The woman sitting next to me was carrying a black bag that had some writing on it like, Religion for Reproductive Rights which I thought meant she was a fighter for the unborn. She read her piece first, and I was confused because she was talking about someone at a protest and I didn’t at first know if the protester was pro abortion or not. The first line was something like, "I want to slap Barbara…” It continues on and you realize that Barbara is an 18 year old protester against abortion who shows up at the clinic every day to harass the women coming in for abortions. The piece was really well done; she repeated the first line at different stages, each time complicating it by delving farther into why she had such rage against this girl—revealing that at one time, she was Barbara, very anti-choice, following the beliefs of her parents. So, it was a clever way to write a self portrait by comparing her former self to someone she encounters fairly regularly in her current life. Another woman wrote her piece by going through her stages of life, as a plump baby in a bassinet to a child, adolescent, high school athlete, artist. A piece about personal evolution broken down in stages. Another person wrote a list of identifiers, sister, half sister, orphan, half sister to an orphan. The only guy in class wrote an extremely lyrical and intelligent prose poem about looking into the mirror, started it with something about being Alice in the looking glass and going on to talk about Narcissus and he had a really arresting line about how when we look in the mirror, we see a backward version of ourselves. Another woman wrote about catching a glimpse of herself in a shop store window and wondering at first who that old woman was before realizing it was herself—being shocked that her hair was no longer strawberry blond but white. Another girl made a list of basically all the things she didn’t like about herself, about being too fat to fit through the subway turnstile (she’s not obese, but maybe it happened once that she got stuck) and then she had a shift in her piece where she wrote about Jim Jones, asking the question, What did he see when he looked at himself in the mirror? Every single one was well written and compelling and honest, bar none. Really. I’m not just writing that because I’m afraid someone in my class will find my blog. It’s true. I read last because my piece wasn’t very good, not poetic or deep at all.

“Worst Personal Ad Ever”

SWF, 30-something, though emotionally about 12 years old seeks handsome, funny, self-assured very wealthy man for quick though elaborate wedding and subsequent marriage sans prenup. Prefer someone with a history of heart disease and pattern of premature death among the men in the family.

Me: A seemingly good listener who is usually thinking about something else while you speak and simply waiting for my turn to tell a story that is much more interesting than yours. Have difficulty with intimacy due to a turbulent childhood that I will most likely never get over. Will require you to be outraged and sympathetic when I tell the fish story. Cannot cook, often drink too much, and have been known to steal cigarettes in bars. Am not crazy about babies or spending time with your family. Will fight dirty. Have cheated on math tests in high school and been glad to get away with it. Believe in my heart of hearts that I know better than you.

You: Passionate, but not in any way that would impact what I want to do. Devoted, tall, and preferably with dimples and slight curl to your hair though no frizz. Must be well read but notpretentious, an animal lover, but not an animal hoarder, intelligent and articulate but not a long storyteller, and emotionally available but not too needy. Above all else, must love me.

As an aside, why is Jacqueline Smith the host of a reality show about cutting hair? She looks good, but what is her ethos?

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Fake-Out Post

This is not a real post because I'm trying to get out of here to make it to pilates so I can lay on a mat and pretend to be using my ab muscles. I haven't been able to write this week b/c work is crazy and also because I can't get an Internet connection at home, which is when I prefer to update. I will try really hard to write more tomorrow.

Miss youse guys!

Monday, April 9, 2007

Howard K. Stern Really Does Care About Danilynn Even Though She Has a Made Up Name

Reminds me of this woman I used to work with at GOL whose name was "Dwendy." I believe her dad was named Dwight and her mom was Wendy and so when they had this new little girl, they decided to combine their names and forever after curse Dwendy--making teachers think she had a speech impediment. It also reminds me of my stepdad telling a story about how some guy in Chicago wanted to name his newborn daughter "Vagina." The doctors refused. There may have even been a court battle. I read somewhere that children who have non-traditional names have a better sense of self identity. I can relate to this as an Amy whose mom named her Aimee--I have met many Amys but have not heard of many Aimees (except for Aimee Mann and Anouk Aimee). I am an individual, just like everyone else.

Had a very good time in Brooklyn with Liz and Luke. On Saturday, Liz and I went shopping for four hours, ending up at Beacon's Closet and then we met Luke and had dinner at this hole in the wall restaurant that served good pasta and pizza and then went back to hang out with Snake (the fat cat) and watch The Devil Wears Prada. On Sunday, we walked around some more and went back to Beacon's Closet and then to a bar for dinner where I had the best veggie burger ever. We talked about being in youth groups as kids because I want to write a story about a young girl who has a crush on Jesus. Then we went home and worked on the NY Times Sunday crossword and watched Lost Boys of Sudan. I think they were worried that we didn't do enough things, but it was so, so, so good for me to be with them and to laugh and be silly and gossip and people watch. I love Brooklyn though I could never live there because I would feel too anonymous.

Friday, April 6, 2007

The Easter Bunny Died for Your Sins

What gives? Penn people got to leave at 2 p.m. today. Meanwhile, Joe and I are sitting in our respective offices, staring longlingly out the windows and flossing our teeth (well, I'm flossing my teeth. I don't know what Joe is doing. Something with tea?). Tonight, Carrie is taking me to an auction or an auction house or something like that where I will no doubt accidentally buy a Ming vase because of improper auction etiquette. Don't scratch your nose! Tomorrow, I will take the Greyhound bus (not the Chinatown bus. Celia has forbidden me from taking the Chinatown bus with its renegade ways) to Brooklyn to see Liz and Luke and Dave might even be around if we are lucky. I don't mind the bus b/c I can read and it's less stressful than driving, but aren't they supposed to be building an express train from Philadelphia to New York? Hurry up!

Last night, Molly and Celia and I went to some bunny hop fundraising pub crawl in Fairmount. We were even given bunny ears which we bravely wore and which I will no doubt also wear around the house now. I'm not sure what cause we were supporting; possibly Maybelline's animal testing of a new mascara on baby bunnies. The best part was that more and more people kept showing up with these rabbit ears on, so you'd look around and see more and more bunnies, multiplying rapidly, just like in real life. Ingrid S. showed up a little later and we asked her the question from one of our previous outings: What's the worst thing you've ever done as a kid. She told us a story about peeing her pants in front of her first grade teacher because she wouldn't let Ingrid leave to go to the restroom. AND! She also had a dead hamster story, just like Lisa Marie, which I won't go into here. Don't hamsters have a short life expectancy anyway? Like two weeks tops?

Just as an aside, does anyone remember really believing in the Easter bunny? Because in searching for images for this entry, I saw tons of photos of really bad Easter bunny costumes and I can't believe kids would be fooled by that. (Mommy, why does the Easter bunny have a moustache?). I vaguely remember as a kid wondering why the Easter bunny looked more like a stuffed animal than a real bunny. Like, Santa Claus was a human being and when you saw him in the mall, he looked like a human being. And the Easter bunny was supposed to be an animal, so why was the mall EB not a real rabbit? I also was confused about what Jesus and the Easter bunny had in common. I couldn't recall anything from bible study about rabbits playing a significant role in the crucifixion or you know, hanging outside of the tomb in packs, waiting for him to rise from the dead so I wasn't sure why we celebrated a religious and a fun holiday. I suppose the same could be said for Santa (was he at the nativity?) but for some reason, I never questioned the Santa/Baby Jesus connection.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

America's Next Top Bitch or "And the Next Name I'm Going to Call is..."

Caught the second half of this show last night and it could easily be a rerun from any of the other previous seasons. They do the same thing every time. They have the same girls. There's always one bitchy girl who is there to spice everything up because, let's face it, models are boring. The bitchy character is always named Jade or Onyx or Pewter. The one from this season is Jael or Joxi. She's loud and tall with short hair and she's not that attractive. I think she even has bad skin--that pockmarked skin you cover over with Cover Girl Extra Acne Hider Filler-Inner. But she's aggressive and mean, so she gets to stay for awhile so that they can have some kind of drama other than split ends. Nicole Richie and Paris Hilton were also on the show briefly at some party where a couple of models got pushed into the pool. NR pitted the models against one another by telling Joxi that one of the blonds (Amber? I think her name really is Amber) said she hated her. That gave Joxi the opportunity to call Amber out and say, Why did you tell NR that you hate me? When we all know that everyone in the house really hates YOU? This made Amber sit on the dishwasher and pout in a head scarf. Both she and Jox were kept for next week, while this petite pretty red head was sent home for being too well-adjusted and having a healthy body image. Tyra Banks was wearing the longest, thickest, fakest false eyelashes I have ever seen. Seriously. She looked like a cartoon character or a Tyra Banks female impersonator. For the final photo shoot, they were asked to do 4 headshots with each one revealing an inner personality trait. The girls pondered this and practiced having facial expressions and emotions. They came up with: Happy, Silly, Goofy, Smiling, Frowning, Unfrowning, and Fake-Scared.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

I Enjoy Being a Girl

Okay, so I bravely went to a new writing workshop last night in Centre City, not knowing what to expect, hoping for the best, expecting the worst, etc. The meetings are held in a church which of course made me suspicious, like I might step through the doorway and be grabbed up by a bunch of Southern Baptists and be brainwashed and made to write biblical tales and to watch hour upon hour of the reenactment of the crucifixion until I finally give in and become a born again (which reminds me. I pass a sticker on my way to work every day that reads, "Before you were in the womb, I knew you." Guess who the quote is from? God. God said that. God said that to someone who passed it along to someone else who passed it along to someone who works at a slogan factory and bam! You have the word of God on your window. Still, if the initial statement was passed along like a game of telephone, it's quite possible that he initially said something like, "Before you were in the room, I drew Lou."). But it turned out that class was held in a nice nondenominational space bearing only one crucifix. The class itself is not affiliated with the church, I learned with relief. I was one of six students--four women in their late fifties or early sixties, one pale-faced guy, me, and the teacher. All of them were very, very nice and welcoming. The guy was someone who in the daytime probably works as an accountant and who, as a child, was pummeled by kickballs during recess. Nerdy and small with khaki Dockers and loafers. While he was speaking, he unselfconsciously sat half Indian style. Since it was the first class, the workshop consisted of two free writing sessions, reading of work, and discussion of what images we liked.

The first writing prompt was to make a list of words you like for a couple of minutes and then to let that list or one of the words or an idea from a word lead you into a free-write. Some of my favorite words were: Jupiter, lilac, ambidextrous, velvet, socks, and argyle (see, I also found that I wasn't always thinking just of words I like but also associations I had with them like socks leads to argyle leads to plaid leads to Scottie dog leads to Blackie). We wrote for awhile and mine turned out to be about a girl named Penelope Jupiter who is stung by a bee. Then people read their work--most of it was nonfiction, some of it seemed related to the exercise, and some did not (the guy, for instance, wrote a funny diatribe in response to something he'd read earlier in the day on a political blog). The teacher read her work too.

We took a break at about 8 p.m. and the teacher told us to go into the kitchen for a snack. And guess what? There was decaf coffee and regular coffee and hot tea and homemade brownies and carrots and celery and matzo crackers with jelly and butter. I couldn't believe it. I felt like I had stumbled on some secret treasure, this strange place where people just get together and write and talk about writing and then are given chocolate. What could be better?

The next writing prompt was to choose one of the these two tortures and write from it:

*To know that you will never have something that should be yours.

*To know that something that shouldn't be yours is yours to keep.

I picked the second one. I couldn't think of anything for the first torture except for obvious stuff like someone you love who is married to someone else. The second one seemed easier to me--it's a secret. A secret is something that shouldn't be yours but that you often have to keep.

Anyway, it was really nice to be there and to meet these women who are all older (for once) and still engaged in their craft and wearing great jewelry. One woman had on a pair of low rise Converse sneakers. She also wore tortoiseshell cat eyeglasses with teeny tiny rhinestones in the corners.

In completely different news, Jess informed me on Tues. a.m. that I missed what may go down in pop culture history as the best premiere episode of The Bachelor yet. For instance, one girl sang the National Anthem to The Bachelor.

Here is where you can go to get a great recap each week as written by Lincee.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Being Social

Met up with Kelly and Amanda and a couple of other peeps on Friday night at this bar called Roosevelt's which is popular mostly because you pay $7 to buy a cup and then can order as many beers and well drinks as you can consume until 7 o'clock. The crowd was fairly well mixed. We saw one really cute guy with a pencil behind his ear and as he was leaving, Kelly yelled out to him, Are you an architect? He was not. I accidentally insulted the cute bouncer guy--the one wearing blue high tops, by saying to him, Do people ever tell you that you remind them of that guy from Party of Five? He walked away. I didn't really mean Party of Five, I meant that guy on ER who was on some other TV show (Once and Again). Seriously, this guy looked just like him (by which I mean he looked just like a young gay porn star). I don't know why he would be offended to be compared to anyone on Party of Five, maybe it was the way I said it? I was sincere, however. It's not like I told him he reminded me of someone from Little People, Big World (the reality show about a family of little people). He did not later ask for my number.

Next, we walked over to another little really cute bar--I forget the name and I ended up talking to two women sitting at the bar about how hard it is to meet guys. Both of them had joined e-harmony and said it worked out great, except for they still don't have boyfriends.

On Saturday, I watched about 25 hours of television. I knew having more than three channels to choose from would be a problem. But some of these shows are utterly hypnotic. The show in this case was a MTV marathon of The Hills, the "reality" show spin-off of Laguna Beach. I'm not sure how much of it is staged. It seems like all of it is. Padhraig argues that it could not possibly be staged because no writer could come up with dialogue that inane and bad. It's true, but at the same time, every conversation has some sort of forward motion---it links at least remotely to the next plot point involving bitchiness and bad boyfriends and friendships ending and changing clothes and trips to the hair salon. Here's a typical example:

The main girl, Lauren, who is very pretty but has something odd about her mouth; it's like her mouth is positioned too far off her face, like an exaggerated Sim character: So, Lilo, what did Steven tell you about me? Is he like mad or something that I am going out with Stephen?

Lilo: (a dead ringer for Lauren except she has a normal mouth. All of the female characters have long, straight, impossibly shiny hair. There is not one black or ethnic character to be found): Like, I don't know. He like said that you were like always falling for the bad guys. You know? Like Steven knows that Stephen has like this reputation.

(Pause as camera pans back and forth between the two characters to create some sense of drama when in fact it's often just the other person searching to remember her loosely drawn "lines"): Wait, Steven said that?

Lilo: Like, yeah. (More panning back and forth).

Lauren: No way. He can't be like serious. Not after he made out with Jennifer right behind my back! Steven's just jealous because he knows that Stephen and I are like friends or something.

Lilo: Let's go change our clothes.

Lauren: Like.

Help me. I also caught an episode of a show my mom likes a lot called House. Very funny and quirky and dark. I will try in the future to limit my TV watching to only 12 hours a day so as not to completely be turned into jelly.