Friday, May 29, 2009
She says it's on 17th and Irving. Someday when I'm famous, all of my fans can make pilgrimages to this historic spot. It will be like the Imagine circle in Central Park, but instead of Beatles songs they'll play "Pussy Control" by Prince and instead of burning candles they'll leave tabloid magazines fanned out around my name.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Jeff was transfixed by the babies, and cooed at them and held them in a way that made my uterus have a seizure. Evidence below:
BABIES. AGHHHHHHH. THE CUTENESS!!!!! They smelled delicious, in case you were wondering.
Did I even tell that story on the blog? So I'm always going on about how good babies smell, because they DO, at least up until they start eating solids. Anyway, my mother is a childbirth educator and sometimes she lets me tag along to her "birthclass reunions," gatherings at which her students bring their relatively newborn babies and eat bagels and gab. So we arrive at one of these things and my mom wastes no time in announcing "Una likes to smell babies." Way to make it seem creepy, Mom. Needless to say, the mothers eyed me suspiciously and moved whenever I came near them.
At least now I can get my baby fix without judgment.
The first time I thought seriously about death I was four years old. It was at the Planetarium, at the Museum of Natural History on 81st Street in Manhattan, which was—and still is—one of my favorite places. As a kid, I just got the biggest kick out of everything about it: the taxidermied animals in their hand-painted tableaus, reminiscent of snowglobes at rest; the long, ornate staircase railings with lions' heads for ends that just begged to be slid down when you parent wasn’t looking; the cultural exhibits in which carefully crafted dummies representing Eskimos and Native Americans crouched over fires and modeled the latest 17th century fashions, breasts and testes akimbo. My favorite exhibit, though, was the Hall of North American Mammals, because that was where my beloved Musk Ox lived. I cannot explain why the Musk Ox earned my deepest affection. They are large, hairy, horned creatures that look out from their bleak, wintry scene with a mix of apathy and misery. If they had a voice, I imagine it would sound just like Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh: Oh, why don't you just keep walking? Nothing to see here. If you look closely you can see little insects burrowing in the oxes' matted fur. They are not cuddly or sanitary, and yet for years I treated them like they my own homely, dead-alive pets. I don’t think I internalized that they were, in fact, lifeless skins affixed to plaster casts, but in retrospect I wonder if my obsession with the Musk Ox wasn’t kind of a red flag.
I can’t remember what we saw at the Planetarium, but depression struck halfway through the show, and mostly because I wasn’t paying attention. I was staring up at the vast black “sky” littered with stars when I started to think about how the stars must be feeling. (This was right around the time that I stopped eating Cheerios because I imagined them screaming in anticipation of death each time I raised my spoon). It must be lonely being a star, I decided. Lonely and boring. Once a teacher in pre-school had told me that she could see her grandmother in the stars, which worried me. Did being dead mean that you were condemned to float in a sea of infinite blackness all day, the planets revolving around you while you had nothing to do but think about how bored you were and miss Earth and watching TV and eating Kraft macaroni and cheese? I exited the Planetarium show and grimly informed my mother that it had reminded me of death. Red flag number two.
[This next part might not follow directly]
Growing up, my parents were lovers of life who talked and laughed loudly, ate and drank with abandon, and kissed in public. But every time a vacation rolled around they turned into angels of death.
“We’ll be gone for a week,” my mom would say, zipping up her suitcase, “And we’ll be passengers on two long international flights over vast expanses of water, probably with unlicensed pilots. So, God forbid, if the plane should go down, we’ve left letters and detailed instructions for both of you.” We received this same speech like clockwork every time one or both parents traveled anywhere that wasn’t visible from our house.
“There’s a blank check in an envelope in my sock drawer,” my dad would whisper to us before whisking my mother to Norway for vacation. “Along with the deed for the house and my ATM PIN number.” Blank check! He’d specified that it was to be used for the cost of the seemingly imminent funerals, but we didn’t care. As soon as the town car pulled away, we scampered upstairs....
To be continued...
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Your honor, they say that a picture is worth 1,000 words. But because this picture cannot speak—so stunned into silence is it by its own content—I'll translate.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
He also just reminded me that I haven't blogged about dropping my relatively new T-Mobile G1 phone into a glass of water. Well I did, and I'm an idiot. And yes, I know, How does one drop a phone into a glass of water? The answer is, when one is holding one's phone directly above said glass of water because one is trying to carry sushi into the living room to watch the reunion episode of The Real Houswives of New York. Fuck my life.
And now on to our regularly scheduled programming.
Curmudgeon OTW: Jeff.
When did you first self-identify as a curmudgeon?
When was this photo taken?
Would other people call you one, or are you a secret curmudgeon?
I think I went public a long time ago.
Top 10 list of things you hate:
1. Stupid people
2. Ignorant people
3. Ignorant and/or stupid people who think otherwise about themselves
4. Lines at the post office
5. Lines in general
6. The people in those lines
7. Most people
8. Rainy days
9. Most days
You are on trial for murder. Who did you kill, and why?
I'm fairly indiscriminate in the people I hate. I'd like to think that I'm an equal-opportunity hater, and that the particular person was more of a symbol, a sort of human metaphor. Either that, or it was you. I hate you.
If you could blight one thing from the earth forever, what would it be?
Money. Why can't everything just belong to me?
Curmudgeon (living or dead, historical or contemporary) you most identify with and why:
Ambrose Bierce. [ed: Uh, who is that?] Look him up. He wrote The Devil's Dictionary, a lexicon of everything that you should hate. [ed: Example: "Achievement, n. The death of endeavor and the birth of disgust"]
Favorite curse word/phrase?
There are so many. A good 'fuck' is seldom inappropriate, and oftentimes it is le mot juste.
Monday, May 18, 2009
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Luckily, whenever I find myself thinking, 'What to blog about today?,' you send me an email.
The title of today's email was: Is it a skirt, dress or godsend? Hmmm, let's see:
1. Is it a skirt?
Oh man, if this is what God is sending to bail us out right now, we are so fucked.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
I got this idea from my friend Lin, who has Google alerts for his own name in addition to a number of other things. The difference between me and Lin is that Lin is actually famous and therefore gets a shit ton of Google alerts about himself and his Tony-winning play. In retrospect, he was kind of a bad example to use as the basis for my Google alerts expectations.
What I'm about to say next is delicate because if you are reading these words that I'm typing then that means you're a reader of this blog (unless you're just stopping by after Googling "bleeding wounds unexplained," which links to me because I wrote about I Know Who Killed Me—a terrible movie in which Lindsay Lohan Googles that same phrase—and are here to tell me that I wouldn't know great acting and plot development if it bit me on the ass ... in which case, please stop commenting, Lindsay). In any case, here it is: I don't have a lot of readers. Sorry, guys. You like the unpopular girl. And I wear glasses. Tragic.
I know I have a small group of devoted fans—some of whom actually are strangers—but I don't get a lot of traffic. So the Google alerts are mostly just to alert me that I have posted to my own blog. (Duh.) For the most part it's depressing.
Today, though, I got a Google alert for a post by Blue Girl, a blogger who has linked to me a few times. She even quotes me on her blog! It makes me feel kind of like a rock star.
This sounds so cheesy, and I'm admittedly kinda hormonal this week, but I just want to thank all of you random internet strangers for reading this thing. Thank you Blue Girl (finally in a blue state!), thank you Anonymous commenters, and thanks to my friends and family. Keep reading and I promise I'll keep at it.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Thursday, May 7, 2009
I always make fun of my mother because, to hear her tell it, she's held approximately 50 different jobs. Some people tell their life story in one big lump, but she's preferred to let it out slowly over the years, doling out details like crumbs to my sister and I, who are perpetually starved for gossip, even if it is about our own mother. We survived for years on the tidbit that she once was employed making magic wands for a hippy-dippy artist in lower Manhattan.
"Like, with sparkles and everything?" we asked, half mocking, half delighted. She also worked as a dance teacher, as a bookkeeper for a Jewish community center, at Greenmarket, as a nursery school teacher. Every year or so a new job comes to light, and we kick ourselves for not pressing her harder for details.
The personal anecdotes are dispensed in the same staccato way. Once she was at Studio 54 (or maybe just outside, but she ran into Rudolph Nuryev!) She dated a man with an afro. She hitchhiked in Italy. She was at the March on Washington.
Only recently have I come to realize that I take after her, at least in the employment history. In ten years I have held as many jobs: as an instructor at the Botanic Garden, as a potato salad restocker at my college campus center (from which I was promptly fired for smoking during my shifts), as a library clerk, as a publishing intern, as a real estate receptionist, as a producer's assistant, as an office bitch for a sweater company, as a documentary production assistant, as an archivist, as a magazine editor. I've never made magic wands, but I once forged David Arquette's signature on a Bulgarian visa application. So that's something. We'll see how it goes.
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
You know what sucks? When someone says to me, “This will make a great story for your blog,” and then the next day I can’t for the life of me remember what it was. Does that mean it wasn’t interesting or that I have early-onset Alzheimers?
A fat man called me “Red” today in the subway (presumably because of my red coat), which was actually kind of cool since I’ve always wanted a sultry nickname worthy of a young Lauren Bacall. (It should be noted, however, that this man was no Bogie.)
Ideas for Self-Appointed Titles
-Undersecretary of Go Fuck Yourself (stolen from Rahm Emanuel)
-Doctor of Irrational Hysteria
-Queen of Canceling Last-Minute Plans
-Countess of Overpriced Conditioner
-Dean of Pantsless Activities
-Viceroy of Shits & Giggles
This site makes me happy. It’s like Ryan Gosling is your boyfriend and he says “Hey girl,” a lot.
Want to see what Summer Una’s perfect outfit looks like? Here it is, y’all.
Sadly, Summer Una cannot afford to buy her coveted maxi dresses. Hey girl, what if I was your boyfriend and I said "Hey girl," a lot?
Sunday, May 3, 2009
I attempted to "spring clean" my closet in anticipation of the warm weather, but it only served to depress me. I am incapable of entering a new season without deciding that I need a whole new wardrobe. My high school diaries are full of sketches of the dEliA*s corduroys and Doc Marten mary janes I planned on procuring for the new school year. Only problem? Funding. In the margins of said diaries are calculations of how much all of my fantasy wardrobe (including new shades of Lipslicks lip gloss, sure to propel me from totally geek to totally chic) would cost. Inevitably the total reaches hundreds of dollars, and I make a follow-up chart that shows how many weeks (approximately 80) of allowance I will have to save in order to become the New Me.
This year I am fixated on "maxi dresses"—that's "long dresses" for the dudes reading—made of comfy jersey fabric. I have convinced myself that even though I am short, maxi dresses will make me look willowy and carefree. On slow days at work I fill cart after cart with wish list purchases, stare longingly at the items, and then close my browser before I am tempted to charge $600 on my credit card. In truth I have a closet full of cute dresses and separates, but they are OLD and therefore incapable of turning me into a new person: Summer Una, who breezes down the city streets in flowy fabrics and flat sandals, her (suddenly) perfect waves falling down her back, her wallet (suddenly) full of hundred dollar bills and LipFusion glosses.
I fear that as happy as I am with my life, I will never stop wanting a new wardrobe. Sure, a $50 shopping spree at Old Navy gives me a quick thrill, but like cheap drugs, oh, how quickly it fades. I need the good stuff.
The other thing about spring cleaning is that it forces me to confront the dry cleaning pile that I have spent eight months cultivating, since last summer. I should dry clean things as soon as they get dirty, but since dry cleaning is expensive, I stuff everything into a bag and put them into my closet, hoping that elves will launder them while I sleep. Sometimes I sort through the bag, divide it into piles of "Must Dry Clean Now, As I Am Down to Sweatpants and Sports Bras" and "Let Fester For A Few More Months," and then forget about them for a few weeks until I have already spent the money I had set aside for dry cleaning.
The ironic thing is that were I to dry clean my clothes, I would pretty much have a whole new summer wardrobe. Sigh.