Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Tweet Smell of Success (or is that just the scent of boredom?)

I keep having a nagging feeling that I’m missing out by not being on Twitter. I hate missing out on anything—I used to cry when my friends played schoolyard games without me, and it used to kill me when my college roommates went back to campus the night before I did. It makes me laugh now—what did I think I was missing other than stomach-churning shots of Dubra vodka followed by house parties littered with Solo Cups and teeming with guys wearing those black Adidas slide-flops? But I digress.

The Twitter party has definitely started—and continued for some time—without me, so part of me feels there’s no point in starting now. Do I really have anything interesting to say that’s not already documented on this blog or in my frequent Facebook status updates? My gut says no (plus, I have to save some things for my future bestselling memoir). Also, reading Twitter pages is kind of like eavesdropping on one side of a conversation; people are always responding to other Twitterers using the @ symbol, and you have to click through to that person’s page to see what the first person was talking about. Still it’s hard, as a pop culture aficionado, to turn my back on such a phenomenon. I read about it all the time. I’m constantly aware of this universe that I am not a part of. And in the modern age (“the modern age”—ha! I should be wearing my nerd glasses) of Internet-centric existence, every opportunity missed to further overexpose myself seems tantamount to falling behind in some kind of race towards fame, even if it is of the fifteen minute variety.

I suppose in the end it doesn’t matter. Something new will come along one of these days, and Twitter will be relegated to an episode of Vh1’s “I Love 2008” (I actually watched “I Love 2005” this weekend, so we’re not too far off), and whatever that new thing is I’ll probably jump on the bandwagon to prove that I’m not an old fogey. Or, maybe—maybe!—I can get rich with my own Internet startup to compete with Twitter. Some ideas:

Blather: For the olds. Instead of writing 140 characters they can just go on and on about their days and what they think of that Eminem character and did you hear that Mrs. Putnam from the bookstore has terminal cancer?

Knitter: Crafty types create pieces made from 140 inches of yarn; post photos.

Quitter: Noncommittal Internet users create lengthy profiles, post once, and then abandon accounts forever.

Bitter: People jealous that they’ve missed the Twitter boat compose blog posts devoted to their regret, and end up deciding that they can do better. Oh, wait....
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Monday, June 29, 2009

Sissy-phean?


I tried to describe my fitness regime to someone today as "Sisyphean," as my quest for physical perfection is pointless (as I hate working out) and interminable (as I nonetheless try to force myself to).

But then I remembered that Sisyphus spent all his time pushing a giant boulder up a hill, which is both aerobic and weight-bearing. I bet he was really cut.

I'll have to go back to just describing myself as "lazy." Doesn't have the same ring, though, do it?
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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sunday Funday: Hangover Recovery and Insecticide

A gnat died today when it flew into my lip gloss (not into the tube, mind you--actually on my face). I feel terrible. Who knew that aside from ruining makeout sessions gloss could actually be deadly?

In other news, Jeff and I threw a rockin' barbecue yesterday. We grilled all kinds of meats and I finally made the "frozen margarita in a bucket" mix that my aunt gave me for Christmas like two years ago (in case your are wondering, they did indeed taste as if they were made in a bucket, but as Jeff said, "they got the job done.") My friend Camille made amazing watermelon caipirinhas and another friend, Keith, got everyone drunk on some deceptively mild-tasting spiked blueberry lemonade. The drinking inspired a Michael Jackson Memorial Dance-A-Thon, in which I discovered that it is not recommended to attempt MJ's patented toe-stand while barefoot. All in all, however, injuries were minimal and awesomeness was maximal.

Photos to come!
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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Never Keep Your Business in the Back

Can we talk about this, please?


I actually have never watched an episode of Jon & Kate Plus 8 (there are a few reality shows that I do not follow, believe it or not) , but of course I've been reading the tabloid stories like the pop culture junkie I am. Everyone is quacking about infidelity and divorce and, OK, those are important issues, but I think the real villain in this story is being completely overlooked.

It wasn't his mistress or her bodyguard who caused this pain. It was the stylist who gave Kate that heinous reverse mullet.

If only she had put her business in the front and kept the party in the back. Then none of this would have happened.
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Fans n' Friends

Aw, my sister made a little fan page for me on Facebook! I'm on FB, too—feel free to friend me, but message me to let me know you're a reader so I don't callously ignore your request.
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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Adventures in Social Anthropology: A Far Too-Involved Analysis of Amtrak Boarding Customs on the NE Corridor


I took the train to DC today (I was only there for 3 hours, Ellaree, which is why I didn't call you!) and spent 7 glorious hours riding in style in Amtrak's regional coach class (What can I say? I'm a high roller, baby).

For many years now, I have cultivated my contempt for Penn Station's Amtrak boarding system. For those of you who have never been, imagine a vast room, in the center of which hangs a massive board displaying train departures. The trains are listed for hours in advance, but the gates (which line the periphery of the room, accessible via escalator) are not posted until roughly ten minutes prior to departure. Crowds of harried travelers gather beneath the giant board, staring up at it intently, hoping to be one of the first to see the gate number flip up and therefore get a running start. The gate number appears a few seconds before it is announced over the intercom, see, giving seasoned passengers the opportunity to leap across luggage and baby strollers and possibly score a plumb position in line (being one of the first on the train means, of course, that you can lie across two seats and fake sleep immediately, thereby ensuring peace of mind for the duration of your journey).

Normally I hate this system, because it breeds anxiety in people like me, who care deeply (for no reason that is apparent to them, no matter how hard they soul-search) about being the first in line. There are two sides to the room--East and West--and gates numbered 1 through 16 on either side. Stand in the wrong place and you could have a fifty yard sprint ahead of you. I tend to stand in the center just in front of the sign, my legs bent slightly as if bracing myself to lift something heavy. I find that this position affords me an extra bounce to propel me towards my destiny as first in line.

It never occurred to me that this system of boarding might actually suit my temperament, until today when I arrived at Union Station for my trip home. I arrived twenty minutes before the train was supposed to leave and checked one of many departure schedules. The gate was posted already--not a good sign. My mood darkened when I turned the corner to find a line snaking a hundred feet or so from gate K26. Not only was there a line, but also a vast seating area ahead of me in which travelers had camped out for God knows how long. As soon as the gate opened, these people got up and glommed on to the existing line, making it four times as wide. I was trapped behind a man with a giant rolling suitcase and was therefore forced to inch along slowly and wait my turn.

It was while I was waiting that I realized how perfect Penn Station is for me. It rewards the fast and obsessive and punishes the slow and oblivious. It scratches the very particular itch of people who feel superior when they correctly guess which side of a room to stand on for maximum proximity to an Amtrak departure gate. It is chaotic and unfair and anxiety-producing. It is so gloriously and unabashedly New York.
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I Huff and I Puff and I Post Your House Down! (Yes, Lame, I Know)

The time has come, my friends: Read me on HuffPo! Please comment, Digg, become a fan, etc. Every little bit of support helps!
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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Fun With Photos, or Dynasty Dreams

Jeff took this headshot of me on Sunday:


I like it: It's kind of Joan Collins-y, no? Kind of makes you think I'd make a really good strawberry daiquiri but then read your diary (or steal your husband) when you weren't looking.

Is it just me? Or is this my future:


A girl can dream...
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Poetry in Motion


Where’s the moon?
Where’s the moon?
If the globe at Columbus Circle
is the Earth then the moon is
63rd Street West
And that’s a simple test
Of spatial reality.
How did you do?
How did you do?


This weirdly wonderful spoken-word poem came from a particularly colorful subway crazy sitting next to me on the 2 train this morning. He got on at Nevins Street carrying about 50 plastic bags and wearing a hat made of buttons. I wish I had really taken in all of the details (I'm sure his buttons were awesome), but the thing about subway crazies is that you can't risk looking at them for too long or you might make accidental eye contact and become the focus of their attention.

As soon as he sat down he fished in one of his bags and took out a piece of paper. I'm not sure if he was reading directly from it or not, but for the next fifteen minutes he recited and repeated a number of phrases that could probably have passed for published work, had they been read by someone not wearing a hat of buttons:

The scarves that women wear
The scarves that Muslim women wear
Great video

4 to Brooklyn Bridge, 2 to Chambers
See the writing on the wall
At the African burial grounds

Caught in Satan’s snare in Lincoln Square
How much did the bookkeeper owe?
How much does he owe?

5 million others
Check it out, look it up
Who are the 5 million others?
Check it out, look it up
Who will say their names
give their titles
and reveal their fame?

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Monday, June 22, 2009

BREAKING! Harem Pant Update From Barcelona Correspondent

Hi Una,

Pantaloons are VERY popular here. Lots of exotic Indian clothing and also more classic styles of the pants. And the women actually look pretty fabulous in them. Maybe it's all about context. Or maybe because Spanish women are petite. Makes you realize how fat most Americans are. Not you or Jeff but you know what I mean.... You may have to rethink your position on the pants.

xo Mom
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Friday, June 19, 2009

Callie and Dinah

My mom is in Spain for two weeks celebrating her sister's 60th birthday, so I get to house-sit. Actually it's more like house-visit, as I'm not actually sleeping there. I just stop by twice a day to water her ridiculous number of plants, take in the mail, and feed the cats.

My mom has two cats: Callie and Dinah. Callie we've had since I was fourteen, but I can't call her mine because I've never really bonded with her. I spent the majority of my childhood and teen years treating our family pets (seven in all, though never more than three at a time) like either mildly interesting props or pains the ass, depending on my hormone levels. I maintain that my pet-mittment phobia stems from an experience in 1985 when I found a stray, named him Charlie, and watched as he was repo'ed by his owners a few days later. But anyway.

Callie and Dinah are an odd couple. Calle, 15, is scrawny and unobtrusive. She mostly keeps to herself and has taken, in her later years, to finding new spots to shit in other than the litterbox. For a while we thought she was kind of a genius because she started peeing in the toilet, but now she poops in my mom's ficus tree, so the jury is still out.

Dinah, 3, is huge. Seriously, she is like a sumo cat. We had to get her back shaved because she couldn't reach it to groom herself and it was growing dreads. My mom is very sensitive about this and I can attest to the fact that Dinah eats a bland and relatively meager diet of dry cat food, so there's no reason she should be that big. We think Dinah is actually not fat at all but instead simply has duplicates of most of her organs. Laugh if you want, but she's got thirteen toes and we have documented proof that her brother Fluffy has three testicles.

When I go over there tonight I'm going to try to document them for your viewing pleasure -- stay tuned.
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Saturday, June 13, 2009

Rubdown with Leo

Today my sister Zoe and I indulged in a mini-spa day together. We are the kind of people who are convinced that a new hairstyle and a tan can improve our lives tenfold, so we planned out an entire afternoon of pampering.

Our first stop was the tanning salon. Let me preface this by saying that I am not a tan person. I am the kind of white that blinds people, and when I try to self-tan, I turn orange. So to step into a tanning booth was to tempt a fate of the lobster-red variety. But I had never done it (my tanning method is to apply 45 SPF and sit out for ten minutes a day until I am the color of slightly off-white paper stock), and so I decided to bite the bullet and try to fool my genetic makeup. It was a stand-up booth that required me to strip and stand naked in a wide-legged straddle at the center of a tiny room lined with floor-to-ceiling bulbs. The music system was thrumming with some kind of generic trance-pop, and after a minute or so of standing there, I got bored and proceeded to amuse myself with some naked dancing while checking out the new, purplish hue of my skin under the ultraviolet lamps. When my five minutes were up I was buzzed from extreme Vitamin D exposure and warm to the touch.

Next, we went to a day spa/hair salon, where I had booked a massage and a haircut while Zoe decided to get some highlights. We are poor, so this wasn't a five-star establishment; everyone spoke Russian and the receptionist's eyes pointed in two different directions. A short, stocky man wearing blue hospital scrubs and black orthopedic sneakers approached us, and I snickered to Zoe "I bet that's my massage therapist." And guess what? It was!

His name was Leo, and he spoke with a thick accent.

"You lie down," he said as we entered the massage chamber. "I wash hands."

The period between when a masseuse leaves the room to allow you to undress and when they return is always stressful: What if they come back in before you're ready? Since I had never has a male masseur, I shed my dress and bra as if they were on fire and jumped beneath the provided burgundy towel. I was face-down when Leo came back in—I decided that the whole experience would be easier if we didn't make eye contact ... or, better yet, if I pretended he was Clive Owen.

The first thing he did was pull the towel down to my lower back.

"Okay to move down?" he asked.

"Um, sure."

He pulled down the towel, and I prayed that I was imagining that my crack felt a breeze.

He started at my head and moved down my back. It felt good, but I was acutely aware of where his hands were at all times, something I never would have felt with a woman. When he reached my lower back, his hands maneuvered just around the no-touch zones: He wasn't touching my ass, exactly, but he was close.

"This is OK?" he asked. I paused. Was he asking for permission to venture south, or inquiring about his technique?

"Um... the pressure is fine," I said. His hands moved expertly back towards the safety of my shoulder blades.

He wasn't unprofessional or pervy, but for the first twenty minutes or so I couldn't relax. If it was this weird to have a man massage me, I wondered, what must it be like for women with male gynecologists? I remember that episode of Doogie Howser when Doogie had to give Wanda a pelvic exam, and she was so embarassed, and at the time I thought, what's the big deal? I was twelve; I had no idea what a pelvic exam was. Anyway.

Other than the near-ass-touching, the most uncomfortable thing was his body brushing mine. When he leaned over, my open hand felt his flesh, and I inched it closer to my body, praying that I didn't inadvertently cup his crotch. The CD of that standard, vaguely Asian elevator music stopped abruptly halfway through, and for a good ten minutes—before he excused himself to restart it— the only sound was Leo rolling a lozenge around in his mouth and occasionally coughing. Clive Owen, I repeated to myself, shutting my eyes tight. Clive Owen sucking on a lozenge could be sexy, right?

It was actually a nice massage, once I was able to ascertain that Leo was not trying to feel me up and that I was not accidentally touching his penis. But the ten minutes of uncertainty convinced me that I am not evolved enough to sumbit my naked body to a man who isn't my husband.
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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

New blog title: "The Weepy Bitch"?

I have PMS. And not the cute, snarky, feed-me-chocolate kind that I wrote about in the early days of this blog. No, what I have is the red-hot-anger alternating with deep depression version, which leads me to snap at people and burst into tears as soon as I walk in my door.

Jeff was quite patient and loving with me yesterday as I blubbered and felt sorry for myself and stared catatonically ahead as I complained about everything from my money woes to the fact that I gained 3.5 pounds since I threw out my scale. As a dramatic, solitary tear ran down my cheek and I wiped snot from my nose with the sleeve of my bathrobe, my husband silently typed a URL into Youtube and showed me this:



Of course I cry-laughed through the whole thing, and afterwards I turned to him and sputtered "Do you ever wish you had a wife who wasn't such a snotty mess?"

"No," he said, pulling me close. "I love you, you weepy bitch."
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Saturday, June 6, 2009

The Recycling Cycle

Does this happen to anyone else: You spend all day Saturday (or Sunday) every week cleaning your apartment, and then by the next weekend it's completely disgusting again? How does this happen?

Anyway, I finally decided to take care of our paper recycling, which Jeff and I shove into the pantry until it has sufficiently aged. Turns out my recycling avoidance is even worse than my dry cleaning avoidance.

Exhibit A:


Exhibit B:


(The dry cleaning would be that pile of stuff unceremoniously dumped atop the plastic bin—yes, the same one that is still slick with oil.)
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Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Price of Laziness

I have numerous times on this blog referred to my inexplicable inability to take my dry cleaning to the dry cleaners (well, actually it is explicable—I am broke and also lazy—but I prefer to think of it as an unknown malady that has yet to be diagnosed). In fact, I was thinking that, thanks to my tendency towards self-deprecation, this blog will mostly be a record of things I suck at, like running, making gingerbread houses, opening cans, and understanding the proper uses of Canola Oil. Ah, my legacy. Anyway, moving on.

My cousin got married a few weeks ago (congrats, Steph and Kyle!), which forced me to dry clean at least one dress lest I show up wearing my ever-fetching favorite outfit of brown biker boots and a sack-like jersey dress. I chose for the occasion a watercolor blue Rebecca Taylor number that I bought last summer for my friends Betsy and Fipp's wedding (I chose the dress partially because I had only worn it once, so it wasn't really working too hard for all the money I spent on it, and also because Jeff doesn't like it and he wasn't coming to the wedding, so I figured I could give the dress some love without being self-conscious about its frontal bow ... Jeff doesn't like bows. He's not a bow man. And the bow kind of obscures my tits, which angers Jeff because he is a tit man. But I digress). ANYHOO I brought this dress to the cleaner across from my work on Park and Church. I dropped it off on Monday, May 11. And then at some point during the week I decided it wasn't worth the $11 and that I would just wear a different blue dress that was already clean. (Riveting, isn't it? I promise I'm going somewhere with this.)

As of this Monday I still hadn't picked up the dress, more than two weeks later (this is actually the most timely I have ever been about picking up dry cleaning. I once left a bunch of stuff for over two months and was so embarrassed that after I finally picked it up I never went back). I was thinking about it as I rode the train to work. I thought about my dress, and how little I'd worn it, and how very much I'd paid for it, and how I longed to wear it while sipping margaritas at some fancy garden party. And then I got out of the subway. AND THE DRY CLEANER HAD BURNED DOWN.

What we learned today, children, is that God hates the lazy and the cheap. And also probably bows.

RIP pretty blue dress.



I will always regret leaving you to perish in a crappy dry cleaners. At least we had that one magical night. It wasn't worth $400, but it was worth something.
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Monday, June 1, 2009

A Picture Speaks A Thousand Snarfs


If you ever wonder, What could I do to make Una laugh so hard she cries and wheezes, making her husband ask her if she is OK? The answer is: Self-deprecating captions on unfortunate school portraits. Preferably with laser backgrounds. I also would have accepted: Fourfour's ANTM recaps. Read it, love it.
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Stop It With the Bloggerhea!

I know it's hypocritical to ask fellow bloggers to stop putting their dumbass opinions online, but for real: if you are a racist moron who thinks that Sonia Sotomayor's life can be summed up by the lyrcis from "Jenny From the Block" by Jennifer Lopez, then please do us all a favor and slap a password on your site so that the rest of us aren't exposed to the idiocy.
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