Friday, March 31, 2006

My So-Called Life

Today I stumbled upon the first publicity for our film! (Look at the second 'Arts & Culture' link).

Although Wesleyan is my alma mater and therefore is only doing itself a favor by promoting Cedar Heart, I'm kind of giddy. Last night Bajir, our new Director of Development Suzanne Appel, and I sat down for a meeting and suddenly it dawned on me: this is serious. We are making. A real. Movie.

Remember in high school, when the seniors always seemed so old and wordly and awesome, and then when you got to be a senior you didn't feel that way at all? Well, I know that other people make films. Other people have pow-wows late at night huddled around bags of stale blue corn chips, give their friends jobs and titles and use every asset they have at their disposal to make their film happen. They wonder, do we have a friend with a pool who wouldn't mind us throwing furniture in it? A supermarket we can get to let us film after hours? An undiscovered actor we're willing to take a chance on? Other people take leaps of faith and stupidity and come out trumphant on the other end.

But me? I'm just a high school freshman trying on the big kids' shoes. I wonder if I'll ever feel any different. I wonder if I want to. There's a kind of breathtaking magic that happens when you find that you've underestimated yourself ... it's quite something to be awestruck by your own life.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Ass = In Gear

(From my post last week)

What you can expect to read about once I can get my ass in gear:

1. My genetic predisposition toward athletic failure, or "yet again, I try to take a simple run in Prospect Park and realize why I never do this";

Oh, running. My lousy part-time lover. Everyone has that one thing that causes short-term memory loss... the hobby they pick up occasionally only to drop it again, the friend they never see and then, upon seeing him/her, instantly remember why, the food they forget they hate ... running is mine. I ran track in high school because my friend Rachel convinced me it would be a good idea. I chose track because running is the only sport that requires no discernable skill except the ability to remain upright while moving forward. I ran for three years and ... are you waiting for me to say that it changed my life and made me realize everything that I could accomplish? That was what I hoped -- that I would turn into one of those cover-of-Fitness-magazine, happy, glowy, effortlessly toned and well-with-the-world people -- but it was not to be. I hated it. I hated running. Hated the pain and the competition and waiting around for track practice. Once I even faked a fall so that I could sit out for a season. Yes, Athlete of the Year. That's me.

About twice a year I decide to go for a run. I live close to a park, and am too broke to afford a gym. I do like getting outside, and running just seems so ... healthy. Robust. Rejuvenating. I think, why don't I run anymore?

I find out the answer about halfway down the block: because it sucks! I get winded and my hips start to ache and I start thinking about how pasty and jiggly I look. I usually hoof it for about ten minutes before giving up and walking.

Anyway, two weeks ago I had a meltdown on a Saturday morning. I was stressed out and sad. I was not in my right frame of mind, or I never would have considered going on a run. But I did. I mean, I walked sometimes, but I ran more than I have in a long time. It was a gorgeous day and I did the whole 3 miles around Prospect Park. And you know what? I had the cheesy moment I had always hoped for. After ten or fifteen minutes it stopped hurting. I felt energized. The air in my lungs felt bracing. I felt good - no, great. I was happy and glowing for the rest of the day.

Based on that moment of insanity, I've decided to take it up again. It's been slow going -- I run maybe 20 minutes, about three times a week -- but I've run more in the past two weeks than the past two years combined. I still feel pain at first, and I still feel pasty and jiggly a lot of the time. I can't really say that I love running. I mean, I would rather look and feel healthy while watching American Idol and eating Krispy Kremes. But until medical science decides to do something about that, I'm going to try to stick it out with this upright forward motion thing.

2. Why I am the world's worst sick person;

I hate being sick, and I am bad at it. You might not think that there's skill involved, but take this simple quiz:

-Have you ever become so angry at your persistent bronchitis cough that you punched yourself really hard in the chest?
-Have you ever gone to Blockbuster with a 101 degree fever?
-Have you ever attempted to do "Denise Austin's Power Zone" workout while congested and headachy?
-Do you shun chicken soup and OJ in favor of ice cream and cookies?

If you answered 'NO' to any of these questions, then you are a better sick person than I am. I cannot sit still. No matter if I'm coughing, sneezing, vomiting -- I do my laundry. I go to the corner bodega and buy Oreos. I do yoga. If my body refuses to get well I often get so angry that I make it worse. If I am ever expected to recuperate, I need to be strapped to my bed and anesthetized.

3. My date with a feminist recluse in Coney Island; and

Um ... do you really want to hear about this? The title kind of says it all, and I'm tired of writing. She was really involved in the women's movement in the 1960s and 1970s, and she lives in a house with rotting mangoes on the stove.

4. Dr. Schwartzburt, or How I Learned to Pay No Attention to My Doctor and Eat Chocolate and Drink Coffee So As to Prevent a Schizophrenic Episode.

Yeah, the no chocolate thing was a bust. I have, however, switched to decaf. And please refer to the first item on the list for more proof of my saintly habits.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Moment of Zen

Photo of me in Paris last October ...

Doesn't it look like I belong in a Calvin Klein ad, whispering about "Eternity", or, perhaps, on TV telling you how great my Tampax tampons make me feel?

Regardless, I have never looked so happy and relaxed. After re-reading the post below, I wonder if I should take vacations more often.

I think yes.

Special Ranting Edition: New York City

Last night I took a looooong trip home thanks to a water main break in Brooklyn. I also started out on the Upper East Side and was headed for south Park Slope, which is about the most complicated subway adventure I could possibly have orchestrated.

I am not being over-dramatic when I say that last night, for the first time, I realized that I am probably capable of murder. I’m a peace-loving person, and not blood-thirsty or evil, but the rage that builds up inside of me when I am forced to wait for the R train could, I think, easily go wrong were I armed with a dangerous weapon. After taking the 5 train to Union Square, waiting for 20 minutes for the R train which dropped me off at Pacific Street, and then waiting for 30 minutes for the N train (which, for no apparent reason, had switched routes with the R a mere two stops away from my home), I had stress-induced chest pains and my head was filled with macabre fantasies of being assaulted by a bunch of street punks who would soon find out that they messed with the Wrong Girl. Normally I get a little skittish when I’m walking home alone after midnight, but last night I felt like a New York Post headline-in-waiting:

KEY-ZAM!! Brooklyn Girl Blinds Would-Be Perp With House Key

Anyway, that’s just a long way of saying that I seem to have some anger management problems. Living in New York City probably doesn’t help. You can be reasonably sure that on any given block you happen to be on, someone is waiting to piss you off. For instance:

Men (and it is ALWAYS men) who keep looking behind them like you are following them. Newsflash: this is New York. Someone is always walking behind you. You are not on COPS.

People who stand in the subway doors and do not budge when the doors open, expecting you to maneuver around them lest they lose their coveted spot RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE FUCKING DOOR. Also, why is it always a giant man doing this? Does he feel that it’s not enough to take his usual spot filling three seats with his knees forming a ninety-degree angle?

People who allow their young children to disturb the small amount of peace one gets while riding a crowded subway or bus. I am not talking about crying babies, or fighting six year-olds. I am talking about a toddler with a hard metal toy who bangs it repeatedly against the seat of the subway making a loud clanging noise while his mother pretends not to notice. I do not normally think babies should be labeled as “assholes”, but in this case I must reconsider.

People who walk slow, or change direction mid-stride, or cut you off in line to board the train even though you have been waiting and they just arrived, or play boom-boxes with no headphones, or allow their cell phones to ring repeatedly without bothering to answer or silence them, or eat fragrant fast food (I have seen people eating fried chicken or Chinese food on multiple occasions. I even once saw a woman eat soup. I have yet to see anyone eat anything that is remotely portable or easy to eat on the subway), or talk loud about something stupid, or pick fights with other passengers, or preach about hell during rush hour.

Basically I spend way too much time getting pissed off about what other people are doing. I know that I should just mind my own business and try to be a happy person, but this is New York. In other words, fuhgeddaboudit.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Sad Fact

The last season of "American Idol" received more votes than the last two presidential elections combined.

I move that the voting age be lowered to 13.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


I know, I know, I've been MIA (sadly, I mean Missing In Action, NOT the extremeley hot Sri Lankan rap sensation. I wish I was her.)

To tide you over, here is a little interactive quiz about my life over the past week.

I have not blogged because:

A. I have been sick.
B. I have been working hard.
C. I simply don't care.
D. Oprah called me on my bullshit.

True or false:

1. I don't have a computer at home anymore because ...

2. I lent it to my boyfriend who ...

3. Is using it to scan his negatives and ...

4. That means I can only blog at work which ...

5. Kind of gets in the way of my doing any actual work and ...

6. I am already so stressed that I could snap at any moment and ...

7. Even though writing would no doubt alleviate this condition ...

8. If I write at work I will fall behind so ...

9. Jeff had better let me use my own computer if he knows what is good for him, i.e. ...

10. If he doesn't want me to suffer a complete mental break.

Fun, right????

Okay, now fill in the blanks:

1. Yesterday my temperature was _______ degrees. I stayed home from work and rented ____ movies from Blockbuster. I stayed in bed for _____ hours straight. A good word to describe my mood was ______________.

2. When I arrived at work today the pile on my desk was _____ feet high. Every time my phone rang I _________ it (hint: the answer is NOT "answered"). I dealt with my stress by stealing __________ from the office next door.

What you can expect to read about once I can get my ass in gear:

My genetic predisposition toward athletic failure, or "yet again, I try to take a simple run in Prospect Park and realize why I never do this";

Why I am the world's worst sick person;

My date with a feminist recluse in Coney Island; and

Dr. Schwartzburt, or How I Learned to Pay No Attention to My Doctor and Eat Chocolate and Drink Coffee So As to Prevent a Schizophrenic Episode.

Thanks for reading. I promise I'll be back soon.

Friday, March 17, 2006

I Dream of Grande Soy Lattes

I went to see my doctor on Tuesday. I told her I’d been feeling tired, depressed, and anxious, but most of all stressed out.

She told me to cut out caffeine, sugar, and chocolate.


Must conclude that she is trying to kill me.

Today is Day Four of my de-caffeinating process. I’ve never thought of myself as caffeine-dependent. I have had a pretty serious Diet Coke addiction for the past six years – to the point where, like a wine connoisseur, I would turn my nose up at bottled Diet Coke, as I preferred the subtle metallic flavor evoked by the aluminum can variety. I drank anywhere from 1 to 3 cans of Diet Coke per day, on average, sometimes adding in a Starbucks grande soy latte in the afternoon. My mind may not have considered those habits a sign of addiction, but my body is decidedly in withdrawal. Each afternoon for the past three days I have suffered pounding, migraine-like headaches. I feel fatigued all the time. I have also been wearing my cranky pants ‘round the clock; I suppose the full moon on Tuesday didn’t help much. To put it gently, I am not in a good mood. And guess what? I can’t have chocolate. All of those good things that are supposed to help you feel fabulous and spry – salmon, avocado, whole grains, fruits and vegetables – are just pissing me off. Broccoli is to a pounding headache as salt is to a paper cut. I want sugar, fat, and caffeine!

I guess it’s good that I’m de-toxing; clearly, I need it.

Friday, March 10, 2006

It's 6:22 on a Friday and I am Still at Work

The nakedness theme of today's entries was unintended.


Thank you.

See you Monday.

Tip For Instant Joy

Have you seen "Old School"? Okay, you totally should. Anyway, there's a scene in which Will Ferrell gets really drunk, strips naked, and runs all by his lonesome down a street yelling "We're all going streaking!"

I discovered this morning that if you get out of bed, pull off your clothes (if you slept in any) and run around your apartment naked yelling "We're all going streaking!", you will give yourself the kind of self-satisfied joy that you have not known since you were five.

If you have someone there to witness your display it only cracks you up that much more.

Unless, of course, it's your landlady or someone from the IRS.

They Say It's Spring ...

Can I just say … today the clouds opened up and sunlight shone down upon my tired, (self-diagnosed) SAD-suffering, pasty-pale little self. Spring is on its way! Then summer! The beach! Aaaaaah! Bare legs! Aaaaah! Outdoor cafes and balmy nights and street vendors selling Italian ices! Aaaaaaaah!

I used to have an odd preference for the winter – I always looked forward to hot chocolate, snow storms, and holiday cheer. I was a weird kid who didn’t like heat, perhaps because we never had air conditioners growing up. I always associated summer with lying naked in bed, unable to sleep despite the ten fans I had trained directly on my body. I had to take a cold shower right before bed, jump in, and fall asleep before I dried off, otherwise I stood no chance.

You know what, though? Bring that shit ON. Bring it ON. Winter SUCKS.

Monday, March 6, 2006

It's Hard Out Here for an Oscar Lover

For me, the Oscars are like a second Christmas: I start getting excited about a month before; I want everything to be just so; I sit through (oh, who am I kidding, I love it) hours of pre-show commentary in anticipation – tantamount to waiting up for Santa; and after it’s all done I’m over-full and kind of depressed. That was it?

The sad thing is that, like Christmas, the magic of the Oscars seems to fade with each passing year. Whereas once I had boundless energy to carry me through the musical numbers and endless, pointless, time-filling montage sequences, now I find myself growing tired, looking at the clock, wondering when I’m going to be able go to bed, and willing myself to stay up for the Best Picture show-capper so that I don’t lose my film buff street cred.

I think part of what steals the magic away is the fact that the Academy has gotten predictable. I read a piece in the New York Times yesterday in which someone broke down the nominees into “Conventional Wisdom”, “Underdog”, and “Wild Card”. In all but one major category, conventional wisdom reigned supreme. Note to self for next year: don’t bother going with exciting choices for the Oscar pool. She who chooses blandly, wins.

This year there were two surprises, and big ones, I’ll admit. The first-ever rap song nominated for an Oscar actually WON, and “Crash” beat out “Brokeback Mountain” for Best Picture. The problem with these surprises is that I’m not sure they were entirely deserved. This is obviously up for debate, but I didn’t actually think “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp” was a very good song. Similarly, while “Crash” was incendiary and interesting, I thought “Brokeback” was the better film. For once, I have to say, the predictable winner should have won.

If I had picked the Oscars, the night would have gone somewhat differently:

Paul Giamatti for Best Supporting Actor
Amy Adams for Best Supporting Actress
Felicity Huffman for Best Actress
Heath Ledger for Best Actor

I also would have taken out the props used during the musical numbers – no one is expecting Broadway here, and in my opinion a simple spotlight is as effective as ten burning cars in the background.

But that’s just me.

Thursday, March 2, 2006

I Love Paris In the Springtime

I am known among my friends as somewhat of a pop culture maven. I always used to say I was an idiot savant, until I learned what that meant: a human who is basically a drooling moron, yet has unlimited access to specific, accurate knowledge in certain fields for no apparent reason. Not only am I not technically an idiot, but also I think idiot savants generally display astounding knowledge in fields like mathematics, science, and music -- not Brangelina trivia.

The fact of the matter is, I’m smart, but I like dumb things. I haven’t ever read Beowulf, I have a truly horrifying grasp of international geography, and, when playing Trivial Pursuit, friends often believe they are not speaking clearly: “No, what civil war general,” they’ll say, as if I have misheard the question. I haven’t; my answer is just that wrong.

Now, to give myself credit, I speak articulately. I can write well. I use big words; I follow basic news and politics. I guess you could say that I’m smart in a sort of blanket way. I can generally pass myself off as a bright person, but if quizzed on facts, I’m kind of fuzzy.

There is one area in which I’m sharp as the 10-carat diamond that Paris Latsis gave to Paris Hilton. Oh, snap! That’s right – I know everything there is to know about the vapid, pointless world of celebrity scandal. For instance, that 10-carat diamond? Fake, it turned out. And Man Paris totally dumped Girl Paris because his parents didn’t want their son dating such a spoiled American celebri-whore. And also that happened like years ago, because now she’s dating another Greek heir named Stavros Niarchos.

On one level I’m really not proud of this. Of my four college roommates, one is a German-Jewish studies scholar who has read every lofty book known to man, one is a traveled musical theater star with a knack for magazine publishing, one is well on her way to becoming a successful webmaster and web designer (who also speaks fluent French and is the partial owner of a downtown restaurant), and one is applying to business school, having climbed the ranks at a small but influential non-profit. I have my own successes, sure, but it pains me to know that, if I were pressed to choose an area of expertise, it would not be the Supreme Court, or even documentary film; it would be dissecting the downfall of Jessica (Lachey) Simpson’s marriage.

On another level, I have to give myself a break. There are lots of worse things I could be addicted to. I don’t drink to excess, I don’t do drugs, I don’t smoke cigarettes. So what if sometimes I need my trashy magazine fix so bad that I buy a copy off the newsstand even though I know it will be coming in the mail? So what if I check celebrity gossip blogs as often as I check my email? So what if I decline dinner plans in order to be home in time for “Project Runway”? I actually like this quirky facet of my personality. I like the idea of a girl who got a near-perfect score on her SATs who shuns C-Span for “American Idol” and the “E! True Hollywood Story”. I like seeing my stacks of New Yorker and Nation magazines next to my (admittedly larger and more often-read) stacks of Peoples and In Touch Weekly’s. I think it gives me balance. I spend a lot of time defending or making fun of my predilection for frivolous gossip, television, and reading material – this blog entry is evidence of that – but when I think about it I’m really not ashamed at all. I suppose I just have a hard time accepting that it’s something that makes me … well, happy. It’s not that I hate my life (I don’t) or that I don’t want to learn about the real world (I do); I just like what I like. It’s my thing. It’s part of who I am. If people on the subway judge me because of what I’m reading, well, screw them. Work is foreboding enough without having to read the Bible on the way there.

It’s actually been more a help than a hindrance in many situations. I helped a co-worker successfully aid his friend on “Who Want to Be a Millionaire” when, listening in on their “phone-a-friend” conversation, I immediately knew that it was Britney Spears’ diamond-encrusted bra that was yanked off of eBay in 2005. I have, on occasion, ROCKED Trivial Pursuit when I land on the pink squares. Also, I find that many people don’t read celebrity magazines or watch reality TV, and that as a result, by proxy, I am their entertainment. Some people have presented papers in front of illustrious panels, but I bet I have an even more captive audience when, surrounded by co-workers, I explain the unfortunate twists and turns that led to a contestant’s elimination on “America’s Next Top Model”.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’d never want to actually create the drivel I read and watch. I don’t dream of working at Star or VH1 – I pride myself on doing work that actually has some positive impact on the world, however small. But when quittin’ time comes and I walk through my front door, the only thing that makes me as happy as my boyfriend’s smiling face is a glistening pile of magazines. I tenderly set aside the New Yorker for later and look for the big pink letters, the splashy headlines, and the ridiculous compound names that tell me I’m home.

Learning to Link

I just now learned how to put links in my posts. Oooh, now there is no stopping me! Thank you, Blogger Help!

Pink Is The New Blog is responsible for my staggering up-to-the-minute pop culture knowledge.

Click here to learn about my new production company and film project.

This is where I spend a lot of my time (unwillingly, for work, although I HAVE grown rather fond of it).

And, finally, if you need to laugh at the expense of celebrity others, go fug yourself.

Wednesday, March 1, 2006

Desperately Seeking Stephen J. Field

Searching for photographs of Justice Stephen J. Field is not a fun job.


The Real Truth

My sister told me that lately she's been writing in a diary. "Not exactly like a diary, though," she explained. "I promise to tell myself the real truth."

It's interesting - I totally get what she means. How often do we admit the deeper, darker truths of our lives to anyone, let alone to ourselves? Though I love to write, I have never been able to successfully keep a diary for more than a few months. I started when I was a pre-teen, and kept a diary over the three weeks of each year that my family would go on vacation to Block Island, RI. The entries pretty much read like this:

"Today I woke up and ate breakfast. Then we went to the library. I got [insert Judy Blume title here]. We went to the beach. Then we came home and had dinner. Then we got ice-cream. Good-night."

Occasionally something exciting happened, like when I learned how to insert a tampon (No, I'm not kidding - there's a big page with the words, in all capitals, of course, as if I was looking ahead and planning how best to embarrass myself in the future, "I FINALLY GOT A TAMPON IN!!!!!!!!"). I often recounted my dreams, gave blow-by-blow accounts of the fights my nine year-old sister had with my parents, and fantasized about my fall wardrobe, using diagrams to show my diary the fabulous vests and bracelets I would wear to my 10th grade orientation.

When I got older and began to have more interesting and more tortured things to tell my diary, I found that it was difficult not to edit myself. Anyone who is honest with their diary most likely has a really depressing collection of entries. You don't take time out to say "Hey Diary, my life is awesome, I'm writing this to you from a party on a yacht -- oh, looks like they're about to give me my award, gotta go! TTYL!!!!" My diaries from high school and college are oddly chipper looking back. Reading them over, it seems like I'm trying to convince myself that I'm having a good time.

Diaries are - rightly - what we spill to when we feel depressed and alone. My entries (sporadic as they are) often start out, simply, "I am so depressed." Then I find that I can't elaborate because what I feel is such a cliche. I want my entries to sound good, dammit - I have always done this, always tinkered with their form and content to make them read like little essays, as if someone other than me might someday pore over them.

The point is that a diary is supposed to be completely unself-conscious. It should be the truth in its most primitive form. My sister has the right idea, telling herself the real truth. I'm afraid that the closest I've come to the real truth is recorded for all time in my pre-teen tampon adventures on Block Island. Ever since I've had truth of any consequence to tell, I've entrusted it to people with my voice - convinced, perhaps, that a written record could later haunt me.

You won't read the real truth on this blog; I'm not brave enough for that. I hope, though, that someday I'll write it down. I think rather than a ghost of sufferings past, the real truth might serve as a badge of honor, a reminder that, since simpler times when I spent summer days reading Judy Blume, I've lived through a lot. And lived to tell the tale.
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