Thursday, March 29, 2007

Goodreads

There's this new internet club, maybe you've heard of it? It's called Goodreads. I know it's cool because I got about six invitations to join in the span of two hours. It reminded me of the Friendster explosion of 2003 (you old folks know what I'm talking about). Anyway, on Goodreads you can list all of the books you are reading, are preparing to read, or have read that you would recommend to friends. The problem is that it takes a long time to find the book, rate and review it, and post it to your profile (What? Two minutes is a long time!), so if you're kind of non-commital like me, you will only have six books in your list compared to the thirty or forty that your friends inevitably have time to add ... every day. I decided to make my own honor system and stick to books I had just finished or am currently reading (sadly, magazines don't count on Goodreads); however, I'm pretty sure some of my friends are cheating, unless they ALL decided to re-read The Wind in The Willows simultaneously. Behind my back! Assholes.
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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Open Letter to the Street Lobbyist Who Accosted Me on the Corner of Bleecker and Broadway

Dear Suspiciously Over-Friendly Street Lobbyist,

I've tried to be pleasant. I answer a pretend cell phone call when I see you leap -- seemingly out of nowhere -- into my path. I smile tightly at you -- yes, my eyes may say 'Fuck you', but I make the effort to form my mouth into a forced mask of joy -- and shake my head as I make hesitant eye contact, and yet still you torment me. Some of your brethren politely ask if I have a moment for the environment, to which I can say, simply 'No." You, however, have mutated into an aggressive and ruthless breed. Your eyes are wild, your wide smile eerily reminiscent of Jack Nicholson in "The Shining". You wave at me, literally block my way, say things like "Ma'am, I know you like children!" There are so many things wrong with that sentence, starting with the ma'am. Also, how do you know I like children? Also, I'm on the phone. There is no way to put this delicately, OK? You are a blight on society. You are worse than telemarketers. You are like locusts, frogs, and blood rain poured into one brightly-vested human form. I know this sounds harsh, but come on -- you deserve it. I'd rather hear "Nice ass" from a lumpen bodega clerk than one of your manipulative, venom-tinged pleas.

Does that make me a bad person? Maybe. Think about that the next time you ask me if I like children. I don't even like kittens. I am your worst nightmare.

Hugs!

Una
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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

King of Wishful Thinking

When I was little, I had the mark of a true perfomer, which, I believe, is doing a lot of very earnest lip-synching in the privacy of your own bedroom. I mostly sang along to Madonna songs, pretending I was giving the show of a lifetime on stage at P.S. 282. I once famously yelled at my sister without breaking my concentration: "Life is a mystery - getoutofmyroom - everyone must stand alooooone ...." It's on audio tape. What's better than audio, though? Video. And what's better than Una LaMarche singing Madonna?

Lin-Manuel Miranda singing Go West.

(Lin, for those who don't know him, wrote and is currently starring in a critically acclaimed musical, In the Heights, off Broadway. I also went to high school -- and college -- with him).

I hardly ever forward YouTube videos, but this is priceless.
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Monday, March 19, 2007

Congratulations Sara & Jared!


My friends Jared and Sara got engaged on Friday. I don't usually do shout-outs, as this is an exceptionally egocentric blog, but this pic was too cute not to post.

Sara, it should be noted, taught the tango class that brought me and Jeff together as a couple, so she gets special Cupid points.
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Friday, March 16, 2007

But I Know I Put My Keys in My Chihuahua This Morning!

So, Gmail is totally awesome and I'll tell you why: Google matches words in every email you receive and gives you a little side bar full of advertisements that "match" your email topics. Most of the time they match obvious words (all of my wedding-related emails bring up dozens of links to gown, inivtation, and favor websites, and every time I check my spam folder I get a new recipe with Spam as the main ingredient), but sometimes, if you're lucky, you'll get something like this. I would first like to point out that the url is Beauregard's Doggie Window. I would next like to point out that this website sells purses that look like dogs. I cannot even begin to imagine the joy I would get seeing people's faces as I paused on the street, reached inside my terrier, and pulled out a lipstick.

Why does this exist? And how did my email to a friend -- describing my night of drinking to the point where I thought it would be funny to climb on a ladder and drop a hat rack and a few rubber duckies into someone's office (it was totally funny, by the way) -- get matched with this?

Please advise.
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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

No More Drama

To say that I am a romantic would be an understatement. When I fall -- for anything or anyone -- I fall hard, with my entire heart, body, and soul. When applied to a person, this trait is the stuff true love is made of, but when directed towards, say, a television show and fictional characters, it's a personality disorder.

For as long as I can remember, I have been a champion of underdog romance. A lot of people like movies like Say Anything, Pretty in Pink, and The Sure Thing, but I actually believe them. If a love story doesn't end up, in my estimation, with the right people together, I exhibit the kind of rigid denial most often associated with evangelists, or Dick Cheney. When I first read Little Women at age 12, I was so incensed that Jo passed up Laurie for that old professor guy, and that -- I can still barely bring myself to type this, as I refuse to accept that it's true -- Laurie ends up with that little bitch Amy, I threw the book down and cried. When popular Jack cheated on chubby Benny in Maeve Binchy's Circle of Friends, I covered the paperback with tearful grafitti: Go Benny! Jack is scum!!!

Later, after I traded in books for television (To my parents: this was not your fault. You read to me every night just like you were supposed to!), my condition worsened. When Billy and Alison got together on Melrose Place, I taped the episode and watched their first kiss over and over. Three episodes later, when Amanda came between them, I locked myself in the bathroom and sobbed. My sister, all of eight years old, banged on the door in vain, shouting "It's only a television show!" My brain knows that, but my heart doesn't. Some people wear their hearts on their sleeves; I wear mine on the screen.

I should have learned my lesson, but a few weeks ago I started watching the American version of The Office and immediately fell hard for Jim and Pam, the salesman and receptionist whose unrealized love is one of the show's major plots. Since I watched the entire second season in a few days, the courtship, for me, was quick and painful. They are perfect for each other, but Pam is engaged, so when Jim finally professes his love she can't reciprocate. Then he -- why, God, why??? -- transfers to another branch and just when Pam calls off her wedding he starts dating someone else.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

How can people stand this? I haven't cried yet, but I am kind of depressed, and while I hate to admit it, I really think it's because of Jim and Pam. I have no patience for fate's little foibles, no matter ho wmuch they boost NBC's ratings. You're breaking my heart, people!

I was sheepishly admitting my love of The Office to a co-worker today, and he said, "I got your Save the Date, and my roommate thinks you and Jeff look just like Jim and Pam." I smiled (despite the fact that I am totally hotter than Jenna Fischer Pam. Jenna Fischer is actually superhot; Pam is a little bit dowdy. But you know what, Pam? That means Jim really loves you for who you are. Oh, God. I need help). I guess I should cut my fictional characters a little slack. Not everyone gets their happy ending, as much as we want them to. I, on the other hand, have my Jim (er, Jeff). There is no sweeps week to tear us apart, and there is no author trying to turn our love story into a page-turner. I suppose I should feel lucky that I get my heartbreak from TV these days.

Amy is still a little whore, though. I'll say that to my dying day.
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Monday, March 12, 2007

Reviews You Won't Read in the Times' Eating In

I feel like I’m coming down with something. Possibly candy poisoning. True to my word, I managed to consume the better part of fifteen classic candy bars over the course of one weekend. The verdicts:

The Idaho Spud
My most anticipated tasting was also my first, and thus unmarred by the palate-destroying free-for-all that quickly ensued. This bar was much better than expected, a streamlined, baguette-shaped concoction of pleasingly chewy, albeit gray, cocoa-flavored nougat covered with chocolate and coconut flakes. Overall, light and sweet, with a nice aftertaste.

The Twin Bing
Well, you know, “gorilla balls” is kind of a warning sign. This candy did not benefit from being stored in the freezer; it’s taffy-like cherry center immediately hardened into a tooth-shattering nugget. Even if this hadn’t been the case, cherry does not go very well with peanuts and chocolate, and the consistency of the cherry center is totally weird. I would have gone for a smooth cherry cream, not a thick, viscous taffy. Ick. I still ate the whole thing, of course.

The Mallo Cup
A surprise favorite, like a Reese’s Cup filled with coconut-y marshmallow. The best part was a little cardboard insert that came inside, promising a $1.00 rebate to anyone who collected 500 points (the insert card was worth 25 points). The old-fashioned type made me wonder what would happen if I did manage to eat 20 Mallo Cups and send in my points – would anyone receive it? Was business still booming? Somehow, I doubt it.

Peanut Butter Mountain
Not that great, but hey – peanut butter and chocolate never let a girl down. Also, would make a great ride at Magic Kingdom.

Goo Goo Cluster
Jeff bit into this hesitantly but ate half of it. I ate the other half for no particular reason the following morning for breakfast. Gooey and sweet and thus totally impossible to resist even though you know it’s not that good. The kind of candy you will never remember you don’t like.

Clark Bar
Jeff got to this pre-Butterfinger Butterfinger and ate it before I could taste it. His verdict: shrug, chomp, chomp.

U-No
U No like this chalky Three Musketeers precursor.

Sky Bar
I have eaten this many times before, as it is one of my father’s favorite candies. A totally awesome Necco creation, Sky Bar has four segments, each filled with its own gooey center (fudge, peanut, vanilla, and caramel). My only complaint is that, to me, the fudge section always tastes kind of off, and if you miscalculate the side it’s on, you could end up having the fudge as the last taste in your mouth.

Goldenberg’s Peanut Chews
Already had this one, too, as it is on Dad’s favorites list, and my father and I share a sweet tooth (along with a willingness to eat pretty much anything). Delicious take on the classic peanuts-caramel-chocolate recipe: the peanuts are roasted and smoky, the caramel dark, thick, and not too sweet, and the chocolate is very thin so as not to overpower its fab ingredients.

I’m going to be really fat one day, you can just tell.

Still left to eat:
-Old Faithful
-Rocky Road
-Big Cherry
-Nut Roll (giggle)
-Nut Goodie (double giggle)
-Maple Bun
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Friday, March 9, 2007

CANDY!


I have mentioned on the blog my obsession with candy and my secret food-porn fetish book Candyfreak, written by future diabetic Steve Almond, but I haven't really gone into the depths of how far I will go to consume as much -- and as great a variety of -- candy as possible.


To read Almond's book, which chronicles his tours of regional candy factories in the midwest -- is to suddenly yearn to taste confections with names like The Idaho Spud and the Twin Bing (which looks, to quote the book, like "gorilla balls"). If you are a true freak, you will find yourself Googling these little-known candies, only to find that they are only sold in bulk, and buying 25 candy bars best described as "gray nougat in the shape of a potato" just doesn't seem wise given that you've never actually tasted it. In the interest of full disclosure, after my first read of the book in 2005 I did order 36 Goo Goo Clusters -- a Southern favorite that is essentially a misshapen lump of marshmallow, peanuts, caramel, and chocolate - over the Internet and ended up only eating two before I got so sick of them that I gave some away and froze the rest, only to throw them out uneaten when I moved to a new apartment that summer. Suffice to say that even in my most blood sugar-deficient moments I know that ordering foreign candy online is not a good idea.


Fast forward to today, when I found myself in Ricky's, a delightful New York drug store that also sells sex toys and feather boas, shopping for a razor. As I walked to the back, a red box caught my eye. On its candy-colored cover were the words 'Twin Bing'. Upon closer inspection, I realized that this magical box contained fifteen not only classic, but rare candy bars, among them the Idaho Spud, the Goo Goo Cluster, and, yes, the gorilla balls. I was only mildly concerned by the bright green 50% OFF sticker on top of the box, luminescent under a thin film of dust. Chocolate keeps pretty well, right? And also, 50% off! Sweet!


Now I am in possession of a huge box of old, weird candy, but, like a true freak, I am going to re-read Almond's book as a sort of food foreplay before I dig in and make myself sick. Look for my reviews in the (perilously) near future!

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Thursday, March 8, 2007

The Twelve Steps for Brides, by Una

Adapted from the original Twelve Step program for addiction, which is serious and not at all funny in its original form. Which is why I fixed it.

1. Admit that you are powerless over the urge to buy mini-sized candles in the shape of wedding cakes – 200 of them to be exact — and that this fact suggests that your life has become unmanageable.
2. Come to believe that a Power greater than yourself – namely, the Barney’s Warehouse Sale -- can restore you to sanity.
3. Make a decision to turn your will and your life over to wedding planning, to the point where watching 'Father of the Bride' while reading In Style Weddings seems perfectly rational.
4. Make a searching and fearless inventory of your wardrobe: do you have enough fierce dresses for all of your pre-wedding parties, or do you need more?
5. Admit to your fiance, to yourself, and to your credit agency the exact amount of your credit card bill.
6. Become entirely ready to have a facialist remove all of the defects of your complexion.
7. Humbly ask her to remove your mustache while she’s at it.
8. Make a list of all persons you consider ‘A List’ guests, and become willing to make amends to the ‘B List’ guests you have to cut from the reception for lack of room.
9. Make direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would dissuade them from sending gifts.
10. Continue to take shoe inventory and where you went wrong promptly search for receipts.
11. Seek through cardio and meditation to improve your body, praying only for knowledge of a way to stay fit while continuing to gorge on cake and champagne.
12. Wine. The last step is just wine.
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Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Una and Jeff: Best of NY


Our first date was back in 2003 and it wasn't at the Dove, but why argue with a bright, glossy page in New York Magazine?
I swear this is the first piece of realtionship publicity I didn't mastermind. We're just fucking adorable, what can I do?

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Monday, March 5, 2007

Monday Moment of Zen

Forget pliers. Forget ropes, chains, red-hot eye pokers. The greatest form of psychological torture, sure to elicit screams of mercy from any terrorist on 24, is standing in a twenty-five person line at the post office and watching as two of the three clerks -- who have been moving at speeds generally reserved for slowly eroding rock formations -- put "closed" signs in their windows as they sit there, averting their eyes, typing on their computers.

I had been wondering why there were so many prominent signs declaring that assaulting a postal worker with a gun carried up to a 25-year prison sentence.

Now I know why.
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Friday, March 2, 2007

Clap If You Believe in Unas

I made a run-of-the-mill phone call today about an invoice that proved very informative. A brief transcript:


Guy: Hi, this is Scott.

Me: Hi, my name is Una. I'm calling from BlackBook and we have an invoice --

Scott: Great name.

Me: Thanks.

Scott: Did you ever -- I bet you get this all the time --

My brain: Please don't say Uma Thurman.

Scott: There's this movie called Legend, with Tom Cruise, from the 80s. It wasn't out on DVD until recently, but Tom Cruise was like a magical wood nymph --

Me: Tom Cruise was a wood nymph?

Scott: Yeah, it's a great movie, and there's this character named Oona in it. She's like a Tinkerbell-type fairy.

Me: Wow. Well, I'm calling to see if we can pay this invoice by credit card.

Scott: We don't actually have a credit card system here.

Me: Oh, OK. Thanks.

Scott: Watch Legend!



So I Google "Una Legend" and of course nothing comes up because every character named Una is spelled with the double-O (perhaps they foresaw the tendency of people to pronounce the U version 'You-na').



So I google "Oona Legend", and behold, a site devoted to her:

There are no words for this promotional photo -- if you have a caption email me.



Not much is known about Oona, except that she is a cheeky willful little forest fairy and lives in a magical forest together with other mythological creatures like elves and goblins. None of her friends have seen her true self before because she kept it a secret since she was born. Oona has wild unbrushed golden hair, unusual lightblue eyes and wears a very revealing dress probably made of leaves and others natural materials. She acts bitchy and stubborn sometimes, but she has a heart of gold and a very carefree spirit.



They only got a few things wrong:



Not much is known about Oona Una, except that she is a cheeky willful little forest fairy magazine writer and lives in a magical forest brownstone together with other mythological creatures like elves Jeff and goblins mice. None of her friends have seen her true self before because she kept it a secret since she was born had a unibrow. Oona Una has wild unbrushed golden brunette hair, unusual lightblue hazel eyes and wears a very revealing dress probably made of leaves rayon and others natural materials. She acts bitchy and stubborn sometimes, but she has a heart of gold and a very carefree spirit.



Anyone out there seen Legend? I want to know if this Oona person really is my fairy doppelganger.
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Thursday, March 1, 2007

Frankie Say Relax. Shut Up, Frankie.

I am stressed. Stressed in every way a person can be stressed. My shoulders have migrated to my earlobes of late, the muscles so stubbornly tight that as soon as I relax them back down they snap up like a rubber band. To get them to stay down, I have to practice yogi-like shoulder control.

I have always been an anxious person, though I didn’t self-identify as anxious until after college, when I realized that literally running from place to place, chain-smoking all the way, wasn’t normal. My parents are neurotic and anxious in their own ways, but I feel that my condition must be inborn: as a child, I was full of fear and anxiety, and though I grew more confident as I emerged from adolescence, panic always seemed to be thrumming under the surface. A by-the-book perfectionist, I worry even when there is nothing to actively worry about: am I working hard enough? Going to the gym enough? Spending enough time with my boyfriend/mom/dad/sister/friends? Am I too tense? Am I getting enough vitamins? Am I successful enough? Eating enough vegetables? You get the idea.*

I have come a long way from the person I once was, a person who agreed to every social invitation or work project thrown her way and who considered time for herself as a sporadic perk rather than a necessity. Now I think about what I want and need a lot more, but I still don’t know how to relax. I often find that muscles I didn’t even know I had are unconsciously tense, and when I take a moment to breathe my eyebrows drop about two inches.

Right now the big three stressors in my life are money, work, and wedding, in that order. Wedding’s not so bad, I guess – just some anxiety about the ballooning guest list. Work is a minefield of mixed messages and strange, unreasonable managerial decisions, but as I’m relatively low on the totem pole it’s mostly out of my control. Money, on the other hand, is in my control – or out of it, if you consider how much I owe on my American Express card (it’s not enough to keep me in debt the rest of my life, but if a grand was a year, I have a teenage debt child. Like most teenagers, it is the bane of my existence).

I have a million excuses why I can’t relax: my bathtub is disgusting (true); I have no time to myself (not true, but I choose to spend that time with my TV shows); I am bad at relaxing (uncontrovertibly true). I think in order to truly relax I would need a few Quaaludes, acupuncture, and hypnotherapy all at the same time. My birthday’s coming up though – HINT!

*I always laugh when I pass those free Stress Test booths in Times Square. How could anyone not know if they're stressed? Also, why would anyone not immediately do a 180 when they see giant copies of Dianetics, the Scientology bible, on display?
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