Tuesday, July 31, 2007


So, as I think I might have mentioned, my sanity-saving group of friends at work are called -- internally, of course, we don't want to sound like assholes -- the ISHAs. This came about when self-proclaimed founder and "dictator" of the ISHAs, Bryan "Ambition" Levandowski, began calling Logan "Logisha". Somehow it caught on and then I saw the fabulous drag ball documentary "Paris is Burning" and decided that we were not only ISHAs, but we were the HOUSE OF ISHA. Unisha from the House of Isha. Try saying that ... I was going to write 'three times fast', but actually the scarier ending to that sentence is 'in public'.

Anyway, we are forever sending bitchy mass emails out to the other ISHAs to share our opinions, get feedback, or simply get laughs. For instance, today (read from the bottom up):

> On 7/31/07 2:11 PM, "Bryan" wrote:
>> Yeah, they kind of are. Esp the one with the scruff. I wouldn't mind
>> being stuck in a blackout with him.
>> On 7/31/07 2:12 PM, "Tamara" wrote:
>>> I don't think we should be complaining about their ethnicity, they
>>> are pretty hot.
>>> On 7/31/07 2:06 PM, "Bryan"
> wrote:
>>>> Or do those computer men use the bathroom WAY too often? I think
>>>> I'll have to lick the counters to test for coke. Hmm.
>>>> And furthermore, shouldn't they all be indian? Aren't the IT types
>>>> primarily indians?

Every day at 5pm we do a 5 o'clock dedication, which is a song played for the whole office but with a hidden meaning known only to ISHAs. For example (bottom up again):

On 5/4/07 5:08 PM, "Bryan" wrote:

And I honestly thought the dedication would have had something to do with (a) jackie’s boyfriend’s newly-circumsized penis or (b) my overt relation of my getting-head/answering phone story.

On 5/4/07 5:06 PM, "Tamara" wrote:

And if youre not going to play 9 to 5 loud enough for us cool kids in the back of the class to hear...well then, we’re gonna take you down.

On 5/4/07 5:05 PM, "Brian" wrote:

Logan, don't playa hate… congratulate!

From: Brian
Sent: Friday, May 04, 2007 5:04 PM

Subject: The first of what is sure to be many dedications today...

I dedicate Sublime's "Superstar Punani" to Tariq and his infatuation with "the Poon"

I know that none of you even get this or care, and Grandma, I'll explain the "poon" reference later, but seriously, guys, I love my ISHAs. I wouldn't make it without them. And so, for them, I'd like to make a very special dedication: "You Light Up My Life" by Debbie Boone.

Happy Tuesday, all you lovers out there.

Monday, July 30, 2007

First Time Ever! Promotion that is not Self-Promotion!

I'm BlackBook's Employee of the Week!

The last time I had an honor like this was in 1987. I was Student of the Month at Reilly Elementary school and my picture got posted in the local Safeway (that's a grocery store, for those of you who have never been outside of New York). In the photo, my eyes are closed, and behind me letters spell out "OUR WOLRD". That's not a typo.

Stigmata? I don't even know her!

On Friday night, my sister and I went to see ... oh, I cannot even bear to write this ... "I Know Who Killed Me", the thriller starring Lindsay "8-Ball" Lohan as a stripper. I was going to write "stigmatic stripper", as I'm sure those words have never before been linked, but that would qualify, in the loosest of terms, as a spoiler. So, if you want to see the movie forget that last line, kids. But, really, can something spoil if it's already rancid?

Now, my sister and I are shamelessly shallow when it comes to entertainment, and even we had low expectations, but I have to say that the first half of the movie did not suck. Unfortunately, mid-production it seems that the director of this fine film (Chris Sivertson) suffered a complete schizophrenic breakdown and allowed one of his personalities to finish the movie. Sadly for all of us, that personality was a drunk thirteen year-old who had watched one too many episodes of Nickelodeon's "Are You Afraid of the Dark".

So, Lindsay Lohan plays a really bland, good girl type named Aubrey. Also, at the very start of the film she gyrates on a stripper pole. If you had seen any of the trailers for the movie, you already know that Aubrey and Stripper girl are identical twins, separated at birth. So basically, the movie is spoiled already.

Then Aubrey gets abducted by a psycho who cuts off her right hand and leg. She ends up in the hospital, wakes up, and claims she's not Aubrey. This would be confusing had the secret not been given away by the producers already (aside from the trailer, the movie's tagline is "If you think you know the secret, think twice." Also on IMDB one of the key words is "identical twins". Nice work, guys.) Anyway, Stripper girl is different from Aubrey because she curses and has sex and has no social security number, because he mother was a crackhead. We are treated to flashbacks in which Lindsay Lohan pole dances, and really, the fact that she is a stripper is totally not relevant to anything. Except ticket sales, I guess. Good luck with that.

Anyway, how can Stripper girl explain why she is missing a hand and a leg if she was not abducted by a psycho? Here's how: one day in the shower, her finger turns blue and falls off. Yikes! She does not go to the hospital because "hospitals are for rich people." Uh-huh. Also they are for people who's fingers fall off. A few days later, she wakes up in the night and her leg is halfway sawed off. Like a trooper, she puts on her thigh-high boots and hitchhikes (presumably to the hardware store for some duct tape), but alas, she falls in a ditch on the side of the road, which is where she is later found and mistaken for Aubrey.

So how to explain the random body parts falling off of a wayward stripper, who also happens to look exactly like a serial killer's latest victim? Stripper girl, like any of us would in such a confusing situation, turns to Google for answers. She types in -- I am not making this up -- "bleeding wounds unexplained" and lo and behold, she gets listings for "stigmatic twins", a (presumably rare) malady in which identical twins display each other's wounds. When I googled "bleeding wounds unexplained" I got a Web MD listing for hemophilia, but whatever. Obviously my Google is not as dramatic as hers.

OK, so we know that Aubrey is being tortured somewhere, which is causing Stripper girls limbs to fall off, but that doesn't explain why the twins were separated at birth, does it? No, it doesn't, which is why a climactic line of expository dialogue is needed. Our wise director films a scene in which Stripper girl screams at her (non) father: "Why didn't you tell your wife that her baby died in the incubator, so you bought one from the crackhead down the hall?" Um, what? Could have used a hospital scene in there, buddy. You know, have Stripper girl go to the hospital and be all, "I think I have a stigmatic twin, can you please check the birth records?" And then the nurse would be all, "Aubrey Fleming died after birth." And we'd be like OH SHIT! It's not rocket science, people.

I can't even go into the stupidness that follows, but suffice to say that it involves an ominous owl, Lindsay Lohan talking to herself in the mirror, a glass coffin, and a basement filled with prosthetic legs swinging from the ceiling like mobiles (By the way, the killer turns out to be someone with no apparent reason to obsess over prosthetic limbs. At least give him a back story involving a tractor accident! I mean, come on.) Then, at the very end, when Stripper rescues Aubrey and they are reunited, with all of four limbs between them, the director chooses to end the film with the two girls lying in the dirt, in a fetal embrace. At this point, I turned to Zoe and said, "If you ever find me buried in a glass coffin with an arm and a leg missing, please take me to the hospital. There will be time for hugs later."

Now you know everything, so you don't have to pay $11.00 to see this puerile piece of gratuitous Lohan crap. I will consider this my good deed for the week.


P.S. That hilarious picture at the top of this post is from the brilliant site LOLHAN. Go there. You won't be sorry.

Thursday, July 26, 2007


Justin may be bringing sexy back, but I am bringing sexyface, in spades:

And here everyone is laughing at my shameless posing. (Note: I am still posing).


Dui for lo-lo

Last night, I got a text from Jeff. It said, simply, "Dui for lo-lo".


Jeff's texts usually read "I love u" or "Poop" (he comes from a scatalogical family, in which 'poop' is an all-purpose word, and can even be used, in some cases, as a greeting). Jeff is a pretty easy-to-read kind of guy. His messages don't usually need to be decoded.

I, of course, think too much about everything, so I immediately formed some theories:
1. This is a private joke that I cannot possibly remember, maybe because I was high
2. Jeff has a mistress, and he meant to send this to her, and "Dui for lo-lo" is their secret affair code
3. Jeff has gone insane

I called Jeff. "Hey," I said. "I have no earthly idea what your text means."
"DUI," he said, "Lindsay Lohan got arrested for a DUI. I thought you'd want to know."

Oh, Jeff. I've ruined you! But I love you forever!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Week In Review

So, I've gotten some complaints about my lack of recent posts. Mostly from my immediate family, granted, but it's nice to know they're reading. In my defense, I actually DO have a job, and work is the only place I can blog due to the fabulous, unfussy internet connection. So when work gets crazy, the blog gets neglected. Can't help it, unfortunately. Til the day someone -- ahem! -- pays me for this, Volcanic Ensemble must take a backseat to the daily grind.

Anyway, here is a handy week in review, or what I would have written about had I had the time (to go with the whole "ripping off the Times" thing, these are written as faux news stories. Enjoy:

Betrothed couple pay $5 but refuse to dance
Jeff Zorabedian and his fiancee, Una, may be studying the tango in preparation for their wedding day, but don't expect them to actually dance. At an open dance hour in Chelsea, the couple sat for over an hour, too terrified to two-step, before calling it a night. Despite pleas from their friend and teacher, Sara Lesin, Una would not remove her arms from around Jeff's neck, lest a stranger ask her to take a spin. In her defense, Una said, "All of the other dancers were professionals! We would have looked so amateur!" Added Jeff, his face reddening from the death grip his fiance had on his windpipe, "We're pussies." The couple have a mere 12 weeks to man up and face the music before they will be forced to perform in front of 200 inebriated guests.

Canadian 'zine gives girl a chance
The Sassy Curmudgeon, best known for her job as the most ironic car columnist in modern journalism, has been commissioned to write a profile of singer KT Tunstall for the Candian magazine STRUT. Tunstall, 35, is beginning the promotional tour for her new album, Drastic Fantastic. This will be the first time that Sassy, 27, is actually paid for a piece of writing.

The sun was shining on Sunday morning as Stephen Montalto erected tents on the lawn of his Westerly residence. In the kitchen, his wife, Barbara, stirred a pot of "Bitch potatoes" -- just one of the many dishes she painstakingly prepared for the Jack and Jill shower she was hosting, later that afternoon, for her niece Una and her intended, Jeff Zorabedian. The tents, which had seen better days, proved finicky, but the party went off without a hitch, with 30-odd guests ranging in age from three months (Sophie, the Shrader family dog) to 90 (Uncle Pat). Gift highlights included a fondue set, dish towels, and a check for $300.

That's all the news that's fit to print, folks. I'll try to be better this week.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Subway Moment of Zen

This morning's subway ride sorely tested my ability to not freak the fuck out on my fellow passengers.

Exhibit A: The young father with a portable DVD player in his lap, who played a profanity-laced skit from the Chappelle Show at full volume, presumably to entertain his two toddler sons, who watched with rapt attention.

Exhibit B: The man sitting next to me who began clipping his fingernails soon after I sat down and continued to do so for the three stops until I got off.

The only way for me to be Zen about all of this is to remember three things:
1. A lot of people on the subway are mentally unbalanced (in fact, I would wager to bet that at any given moment during rush hour, it is a given that you are in the same subway car as a crazy person).
2. A lot of people have no manners, and this is not their fault, as they probably were taught that it is nice to share your loud techno music with a cramped car full of people.
3. A lot of people are stupid, and this is probably not their fault. This has to do with many varied combinations of nature, nurture, and society's ills, and I cannot fairly hate them.

So ... my mantra to keep my cool will now be "Crazy. Rude. Stupid. Blameless." Say it in the intonation of that old Nuprin ad ("Little. Yellow. Different. Better.") Feel the love.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Small? Yes. Dwarf? No.

Actual exchange that took place today, as told to me by my sister:

SCENE: A Philadelphia street. Zoe, fresh from a root canal at the dentist, walks by a construction site.
CONSTRUCTION WORKER #1: Hey, sweetie, how you doin'?
ZOE: (Smiles tightly, keeps walking)
CONSTRUCTION WORKER #2: Yo, man, don't hit on her ... she's a dwarf!
CONSTRUCTION WORKER #1: Oh, shit. Sorry.
ZOE: I am not a dwarf!

That's gotta suck. And right after a root canal, too. It's like the universe decided to add insult to injury in a very literal way.

Here is Zoe (who will probably be mad at me for posting a pic of her, but shut up, you look so pretty!)

Here is Peter Dinklage, an actual dwarf:

Construction workers of the world, can you spot the difference?

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Thursday Updates

You never know what you have until it's gone. Like, when you get a cold, you vow never again to take for granted the feeling of being able to breathe through both nostrils. Similarly, this week I am looking back fondly on the days when I breezed out of the office at six, unemcumbered by the anvil of stress that I know know to call "closing an issue".

Anyway, I am trying hard to stop hating people on the subway and in the street. For instance, yesterday, I thought I saw the tell-tale pole of a blind person (it turned out to be just something someone was carrying, but, true to form, I generally do not wait for more information to react unfavorably). My first thought was, Jesus! Why is he even in the subway? It's going to take him a fucking hour to climb the stairs, and I'll be stuck behind him, and I can't say anything because he's blind. As I began walking up the steps, behind a slow old woman but without the much maligned, imaginary blind man in my path, I realized that the effort required for an old, infirm, or sightless person to climb a flight of stairs probably outweighs the slight inconvenience I feel having to walk behind them.

Look at me! I'm well on my way to becoming a functioning member of society!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Death of the Sassy Curmudgeon?

I was making dinner with my mom the other night (well, drinking wine, eating hors d'oeuvres, and watching her make dinner, to be fair) when she brought up this blog.

"Honey," she said, chopping tomatoes, "I've been getting concerned about your subway posts. Life is too short! You've got to love your fellow man." I wish I could call her a hypocrite, but the only time I've heard my mother really curse someone is when she called a fellow driver a cocksucker while navigating the BQE, and that was sometime in the mid-90s. My mom stresses out, to be sure, but she has never openly expressed the urge to kick someone in the ass just because they walk slowly. I have never understood this about her.

She's probably right, though. All of the stress and rage that I channel towards my fellow New Yorkers is taking a toll on my health. I often realize that I am clenching my jaw without realizing it. I grind my teeth at night. My shoulders are perpetually creeping up towards my ears; I think the muscles might actually be stuck that way, like a late-stage fulfillment of that childhood fear of making ugly faces.

To appease my mother and save some small part of my sanity, I am going to attempt to stop wishing death and dismemberment on my fellow men. It is not going to be easy, but I am going to try. I will never become one of those people who loves everyone on God's green earth like a touchy-feely soul brother, or who signs emails with the words "Peace" or (worse!) "Namaste"*, but I might just stop wanting to flip off conductors as trains pull into subway stations. Maybe.

*The new girlfriend of an ex of mine signed her emails "Namaste". Isn't it nice when someone just gives you a reason to hate them? I barely had to do any work at all.

Sunday, July 8, 2007


Last night I totally lost it at Jeff. Not the first time, of course, but the first time in long enough that I had forgotten what it feels like -- that dry, throbbing ache of having hurt someone you love; the emotional equivalent of a nasty hangover. For Jeff and me, fights all follow the same script: I (the vocal, emotionally volatile one) get upset about the fact that Jeff (the silent, emotionally guarded one) is not as vocal or emotional as I am. For instance, last night the fight centered on the fact that Jeff wasn't making conversation with me as we walked. At the time, I felt extremely justified in my criticism of what I interpreted as his disinterest in me. However, as I worked myself into a tearful fervor, I suddenly stopped being able to rationalize why I was picking a fight with a man who so clearly hadn't done anything intentional to hurt me. Instead of stopping the fight then and there, however, here is my patented next move: I start to feel ashamed of myself, and guilty that I've picked a fight, so I switch gears from angry to incredibly insecure. I am the worst girlfriend, my insides scream. He is not going to be able to put up with this abuse for long. We are doomed.

Here's the thing: I'm three months away from getting married. My parents are on their way to divorce. It's much harder than I thought it would be not to, for lack of a better term, feel really fucked up about that. I am, by all accounts, a hopeless romantic. I believe in true love. Or, believed? My parents, who were quite happy for most of the thirty years they were together, have dealt with their separation as amicably as possible. There are no screaming fights, no suicide threats, no drunken warnings to never get married. I cannot, reasonably, blame them for my shaken beliefs. At the same time, I am scared. It's hard not to look at the problems Jeff and I have now as seeds that will someday grow into cracks that will break our future marriage apart. And that fear, I'm pretty sure, has the potential to be self-fulfilling. If I am to have a healthy and happy marriage, I need to stop envisioning its inevitable end.

Jeff pointed out last night that I always pick fights after we've spent time with one of my parents, usually after I've had a bit much to drink. He's right. Unconsciously, I think, I'm pushing him. Seeing my parents, while often wonderful, flips some kind of switch in me. I'm reminded of the end of their marriage, and it makes me test the strength of my own. Are you sure? I seem to be taunting, as I find some excuse to point out Jeff's shortcomings as a partner. Can you really love me forever, even when I'm being a manipulative, needy asshole? The answer, of course, is yes, he can. And I can, too, though Jeff is rarely, if ever, manipulative, and only occasionally needy or an asshole (only the very advanced can pull off all three at once).

Jeff is pretty wise. "We'll always have problems." he said to me last night as I stood, wiping my tears on an East Village stoop. I know he'll forgive me for last night, and for all of the other nights to come when I let my insecurity get the best of me. It's not often you find someone who still loves you at your darkest, most selfish hour. I just want to be able to let go of whatever it is that makes me keep testing him. I want to believe in love without fearing its end. I want to be as trusting and wise and strong as the man who, in three months, will be my husband.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Tandzeret chmrtem (I'll squish your balls)

I actually do a lot of work at work. I swear. But today, I got bored, and when I get bored I Google random things that I make mental notes to Google during the week. For instance, today I Googled "Hugh Hamrick", who is David Sedaris' boyfriend. This weekend Jeff and I listened to David Sedaris on CD in the car on our way back from Reading, and Hugh was mentioned a lot and I just got curious. Last week my girlfriends and I found ourselves wondering whether our vaginas have glands and valves the way that men have the prostrate and the vas deferens, so I found myself somewhat suspiciously Googling "vagina gland". It's like the modern version of looking up words you don't know in the dictionary. What can I say -- gay painters, vagina glands -- I love to learn!

Anyway, every now and again Jeff brings up the meaning of his last name, Zorabedian. My grandmother's friend Peter, who is also Armenian, told Jeff that Zorabedian means "son of the general", but so far we haven't been able to find proof. For some reason I was thinking about that today and so I Googled "Armenian names". I found out that the ending 'ian' DOES mean 'son of', but every Armenian name ends with 'ian', so I had bubkus. I then Googled "Armenian words", hoping that I could find the word for 'general', and that is how I stumbled upon the most wonderful thing I have ever read: Armenian curse words! Some gems:

Budjukhnert koonem.

I'll hump your thighs.

Dzous hamboures.
Kiss my ball (just one).

Eshoon noor oodel chi vayeler.
It's not pretty watching a jackass try to eat a pomegranate.

This is SO COOL! With the wedding coming up, these will really come in handy when I meet my extended in-laws.
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