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Happy Birthday to Me

So yesterday yours truly turned 35. What? you’re thinking. Impossible! You look so very, very young! (Even if you’re not thinking that, it’s what I choose to imagine you’re thinking.) But it’s true. I am now ten years past the age that, as a 10-year-old, I thought of as ancient. I think because I was going to turn 25 in the year 2000, which seemed highly futuristic and space age at the time, I equated that age with being super old.

Well, of course I no longer think that. I now know that 35 is when you turn super old.

Just kidding! Aside from the facts that I’ve started sprouting a stray gray hair here and there, my knees aren’t what they used to be, and I can no longer eat whatever I want without gaining (mumble mumble) pounds, I still pretty much feel like I did in high school. I’m still just as into music and books, I still get celebrity crushes, and I still find most of the same things funny as I did back then.

To that end, I thought I’d devote this blog to something that made me laugh recently–and it has to do with a subject I’ve been dealing with since I was a kid and likely always will: my hair. The battle against my poofy, frizzy, hard to tame curls, to be specific. I know those of you who have straight hair will say that I’m crazy to have ever wanted anything other than my big, wild ringlets. I’d kill for curly hair! I can practically hear some of you shouting. But that’s only because you never wet your hair in the morning and brushed it straight, sure it would stay that way, then went off to school, feeling divine, only to have it dry and become an enormous bush, making me look like I was walking around with a giant bird’s nest on my head. Not cute at all. Don’t get me wrong. I have love for my curls now that I have learned how to manage them. But back then, I didn’t have a clue.

Anyway, my coworker, Jen Rodriguez, feels my pain. She, too, had dealt with the horror of the crazy curls–pre-mousse and blow dryers. A former art major, she recently drew this cartoon, explaining the trauma to a friend of hers, and it made me laugh out loud. For all you curly-haired girls (and boys) out there, I hope it’ll make you laugh too. (If you can’t read the writing, I’ve written the words at the very bottom.)

My Hair Saga (by Jen Rodriguez)

I like to get my hair “blown out.” 

A good blowout makes me feel like…

MARY TYLER MOORE!

But blowouts are a lot of work if you attempt them yourself, on yourself, especially if you have as much hair as I do. 

After washing my hair, I am tempted to let it air dry. When it is mostly wet, it looks pretty cute. 

   Jen: Curly hair is not so bad. Why am I always trying to beat it into submission?

And I fool myself–yet again–into thinking it’s going to look just GREAT. 

   Jen: It’ll look CLASSIC! I will look like Hedy Lamarr! (Yes, Hedy Lamarr’s face is included in this fantasy scenario.)

But THEN–my hair FULLY DRIES. And I see it in the mirror. (Width of hair on each side = width of face)

It’s “classic” all right! Think “Baroque.” Think Diego Velasquez’s “Infantas.” (If you hear chirping that will be the family of birds living in my hair.) 

   Jen: I think I found my Halloween costume!
   Jen’s twin sister: Aren’t you a little long in the tooth to be called “infanta” anything?
   Jen: Shut up and get me a hair dryer and a round brush!

check it out.
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Happy Eid ul Adha, Baghdad!

I’m with R. L. Stine: 50 Reasons to Be Pretty Damn Euphoric You Live in New York City (Village Voice, Wed., Nov. 3, 2010)

Incidentally, whenever I travel in the world and inevitably get asked about inane American foreign and domestic policies, I tell people “I don’t really know.  I love in New York City, not in the US.”

 

Sometimes life seems hard here — the crowds, the expense, the 24-hour-living-and-working lifestyle…But then there are days, like yesterday, when we’re ever so glad we live in New York City. Like when much of the rest of the nation goes a reddish color of Tea Party, and we stick to coffee and stay (largely) blue. Like when Andrew Cuomo wins against Carl Paladino. And like when the Aeropostale at Times Square institutes an “AERO Dance Cam” to keep the young folks away from the East Village on weekends and allow us to mock them via the Internet…

As R.L. Stine put it last night,

Screen shot 2010-11-03 at 12.29.13 PM.png

Amen. Here are 50 other reasons to be blissfully happy that you live in New York City today — and every day — that you live here. May it be a very long time. Unless you want to leave, in which case, get the fuck out, and can we have your apartment?

50. Sending your laundry out for someone else to wash and dry it is not only convenient, it’s just good business. Especially since you will probably never own a washer and dryer. Which means you never have to feel guilty about not doing your own laundry. Next.

49. Drinking coffee four times a day, every day, isn’t the exception, it’s the rule.

48. The secret Chick Fil-A at the NYU dining hall.

47. There is always someone crazier than you. ALWAYS.

46. The view from the Brooklyn Bridge.

45. The view of the Brooklyn Bridge.

44. The epic feeling you get running to catch a train and succeeding…just before the doors close.

43. Bored to Death30 RockSNL. And a million other things that film here and we love. RIP Law and Order.

42. Manhattan-Brooklyn/Brooklyn-Manhattan wars never cease to entertain. Nor do hipster-Hasid wars. Or hipsters in general.

41. We get the inside jokes. Because, actually, we made them up in the first place.

40. That horrified look on our parents’ friends’ faces when we tell them we live in “Hell’s Kitchen.”

39. Sure, we work out next to Alec Baldwin, Padma Lakshmi, and Bridget Moynahan, and walk the streets with Willem Dafoe, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Tina Fey, but, really, we’re kinda too busy with our own lives to notice.

38. Drinking is like breathing. Or slightly more acceptable.

37. Because it’s not enough to just love New York. New York needs to love you back, too. Hey, we have high standards.

36. Whatever you need, whenever you need it, there is someone who will bring it to you for a price, which may or may not be negotiable. (Or legal.)

35. By the time the rest of the nation has bedbugs, we’ll have figured out how to get rid of them. In the meantime, we’ll mock them by dressing our dogs up as bedbugs for Halloween. Laugh in the face of fear, New Yorker!

34. There are almost 200 bars in the East Village alone.

33. There’s no shortage of stupid rich people to make fun of.

32. The endless delights of the New York Post.

31. You don’t even need a passport, or a license, to partake in goat-eyeball tacos.

30. The fact that one-bedroom apartments cost an average minimum of a half-million dollars means we think nothing of spending $12 on lunch.

29. Restaurants are as common as single men and women. And equally diverse. And you never have to see either of them again after the initial awkward encounter.

28. The omnipresent opportunity to Gaga-ify yourself. And the chance that it will seem, just, normal.

27. Runnin’ Scared lives here! (And so does the Village Voice.)

26. Smart people are the norm, not the exception. (Which doesn’t mean they’re sane, but at least no one’s boring.)

25. Except in select ‘hoods like Park Slope and perhaps the Upper West Side, children are viewed as mysterious beings, rarely sighted and only occasionally understood, like pixies or magical small butlers. Until they scream, in which case, they are banished from the palace.

24. When you fly back into the city after a vacation or business trip, no matter how long you’ve lived here, you get that butterflies-in-the-stomach feeling.

23. Efficiency in a drugstore checkout line.

22. How easy it is to find doughnuts, pizza, Chinese food, or any other snack your drunken self desires at 4 a.m. Or to continue to drink. Responsibly!

21. Broadway. Museums. CULTCH-AH. Even if you never actually go to see anything (though you should, at least once).

20. Yelling “fuck” is just a mild obscenity.

19. There’s no shame in sticking your fingers in your ears like an anal weirdo when an ambulance goes by screeching.

18. Summer concerts at the Williamsburg Waterfront.

17. So many Missed Connections, so little time.

16. Other places have dog and cat people. We have ferret people.

15. The splendor of the Union Square Greenmarket.

14. A bagel with cream cheese and lox from Russ and Daughters.

13. There is an insane Korean day spa (Spa Castle) waiting for you in Flushing. AndRussian and Turkish baths in the East Village.

12. One of our bars has 100-year-old urinals.

11. Complain about the MTA, but you can get anywhere in the city for just $2.25. Or $2.50 single ride, come 2011. Still pretty damn cheap.

10. Subway rage. Bike-lane rage. Walking rage. Random rage. These are our therapy. Although we all go to therapy, too. No judgments! We bitch, therefore we are.

9. Jaywalking is an art form.

8. The free Ikea ferry to Red Hook on weekends! Plus, Red Hook in general. Can you say“Lobster pound”?

7. Subway “prewalking,” in which you walk to the exact right spot on the platform to board the train car that will save you the most time upon exit, exists and has a name. Gotta respect.

6. You can be alone, but never feel lonely. And vice versa. But if you die and aren’t found until a year later, you won’t be the first.

5. We are, as a group, anti-fanny-pack as much as we are pro-gay-marriage. Hetero marriage, on the other hand, we can pretty much take or leave.

4. 35 is the new 26. Or is it 45? Whatever, age ain’t nuthin’ but a number, and as long as you’re younger than your IQ score, no harm, no foul.

3. Finding your “local” is that much better here.

2. There is absolutely no reason to ever drink and drive. Added bonus: Spontaneous, fascinating conversations with cab drivers.

1. If you can make it here, you really can make it anywhere. But why would you bother to go anywhere else?

Let us know what we missed.

Boba’s Invoice




Boba’s Invoice

Originally uploaded by Laser Bread

I was wondering where the line item for Carbonite was, but then I realized the Empire would have footed the bill for that one.

Flickr

This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.

Yoink! Stolen from the email archives of CS Lewis in honor of her Birthday

I spent this morning and early afternoon at our local DMV.   Since I have been meaning to become a legal citizen of this metropolis for some time now, I thought that I would take advantage of this free time so generously mandated by puppet company for which I work and change my Virginia license to a New York one. Also, I sort of had to renew it, because technically my license expired 8 months ago.   As is normally the case whenever I go to well populated areas, chaos ensued.

I rolled into the DMV at what I thought was on the early side, 9:30am.  Clearly the rest of Manhattan had the same idea, because when I got off of the elevator, the line just to get in line was wrapped around the waiting room.  In fact, it took a full five minutes just to step out of the elevator, as the end of the line had wound itself over to us.  We all took turns holding the door open and cursing the banner which hung over our heads, mocking us with its slogan, “Don’t stand IN LINE!  Visit us ON LINE!”

Finally I get off of the elevator and stand patiently in line to get in line.  To set the scene, basically there is a line to get into the door, and through the door there is another line, where you tell the trusty DMV employees your situation.  They direct you to another line, where you get your picture taken and hand over your necessary paperwork.  And then yes, there is yet another line, and this one is the doozy; this is the line where they give you a number and lure you with the false promise of actually getting your laminated license in your hot little hand.  You don’t. They mail it to you in 10-15 business days.  I waited 2 hours just to hear that. Oh, and to be accused of having a warrant out for my arrest.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.

And so I begin to wait.  My number, might you ask, was B308.  It did not bode well for me that they were on A60.  I notice a lady nearby who is having trouble with her written test.  She caught my eye and whispered, “Hey!  What do you do if your tires break down n’ shit?” I stared blankly at her, because I don’t know how a tire, per se, would break down.  So I asked her, “You mean, if it pops or something?”  At this point, the security guard notices our exchange and comes over.  I’m thinking in my head that I am going to DMV jail for aiding and abetting a cheater.  Turns out that he was a nice fellow and just wanted to clarify the question for her.  He ended up giving her the answer as well, thankfully allowing this clearly competent driver out on the streets.  Well done!  I wish I had a copy of that test, because I wondered on the way home what feasible multiple choice solutions there could have been to confuse her. A.) Keep driving?  B:) Paint your car?  C:) Go back in time to when you had a normal tire?  Anyway, her new nickname shall be Cheater McPumpkineater.

I’ll skip ahead through the next few hours, which I spent running up my cell phone bill by answering “Beetlejuice” whenever someone called.  I thought, perhaps, that after a second or two I could explain that I felt like Beetlejuice in that last scene of the movie when he is in the waiting room.  Unfortunately I confused my grandmother who, when hearing “Beetlejuice,” promptly said, “Oh, sorry, wrong number” and hung up the phone. That killed me.

Finally, the heavens opened up and B308 was called.  I ran over to the counter and handed over my paperwork and my passport. The employee entered in my info, asked me my middle name (it’s Susie*) and then began staring intently at the screen.  All of the sudden, she says dramatically to me, “You have a NDR!”  Now, I have no clue what an NDR is, but my stomach dropped as I thought about the unpaid parking tickets that are still sitting on my desk.  I also thought that perhaps my name ended up on some sort of watchdog list after the whole jewelry box/bomb fiasco, proving once again that I am persecuted for having impeccable taste.   She called over a fellow employee with a very professional, “Boo! Get yo’ ass ova’ here!”  Boo came over and began pounding on the Control key several times.  This highly technical maneuver revealed the following inflammatory information: C.S. Lewis has a warrant out for her arrest in Kentucky.

Now, I have been to Kentucky several times because I have family there, and to my recollection, I have never broken any law in my travels.  Sure, there was the time that I crashed my cousin’s dirt bike into the side of their barn after mowing down several rows of ripened corn.  But that was when I was eleven.  I have been a model citizen ever since then, at least in Kentucky.   So surely there had to be some sort of mistake that even the infallible Control key move might not catch.  We finally figured out that my middle name is “Susie,” and the other C.S.’s middle name is “Suzy.”  So C. Suzy Lewis of Kentucky is a badass.  I never did learn what poor CS II is wanted for, but hopefully she has learned that if you do the crime, you or someone else with relatively the same name as you will do the time.

As I waited for Boo and company to process my paperwork, I saw Cheater McPumpkineater next to me, arguing with the DMV clerk over what type of credit card they take.  Apparently at that counter, they could only take the Discover Card.  So she yells at the clerk, “Who in the hell only takes Discover?  Is that that crazy one with the bald headed guy?”  The clerk and myself were baffled at this question, until I realized that she must be talking about The Diners Club card, which used to be pitched by the late, great Telly Savalas*.  The reason I think this is funny is not because she was confused about the names. I mean, in her defense, they do both start with “D.”  I just find it hilarious that she is referencing a commercial that has to be at least fifteen years old.

So, 4 hours later, I headed out of the DMV.  And in 10-15 business days, I shall have a license of my very own that I will undoubtedly misplace soon.

* Not really, but you know, keeps the pseudonym working…

**Who loves ya’, baby?

District 9 movie marketing- will the political/ cultural allegories resonate?*

I have many (mostly) male friends, nerdboys of the highest order.  Like me, they collect action figures, watch Star Wars on a regular basis, debating the merits of the chapters, characters, arc and colors of the light-sabres and generally revel in the outright fantasy without guilt or embarrassment.

And rightly so.  They are some of the smartest, most successful people I interact with and I’m proud to stand in line with them for hours to get in to see Iron Man’s first showing.  However, they tend not to know too much about international politics, or at least don’t discuss it.

So when one of them, JET, came to me and insisted I watch a preview for District 9, I was struck by the plot and setting.  Aliens have landed, neither to hurt nor to help, they are refugees and are being kept away from humans in tin roofed shacks in a contained area in Johannesburg.  I didn’t need to wait to see the credits, hear the accents or even the remaining 90 seconds of the trailer to know that I was looking at Soweto.  It kind of hit me in the stomach- I wasn’t expecting this from what is clearly a sci-fi/ action film aimed at young men.  But the setting was striking.

It’s not a coincidence, the title refers to the District 6 township in Cape Town.  I wonder if the “9” is a nod to the ward in New Orleans.  The director is South African and the set design, terminology and visuals are striking to anyone who has even set foot in South Africa- during or after apartheid.  The psychic sucker punch were nearly identical images broadcast from the  Soweto riots of a year ago, where frustrated, unemployed black South Africans, afraid for what little they’ve been able to gain in the 13 years since Apartheid ended, began attacking the refugees from Angola, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Nigeria… anyone who might take their potential jobs, or recognition they’d so long been denied.

I’m still unsure as to why this unsettles me so much or surprises me.  Comic books and science fiction have always been social and cultural mirrors disguised in fantastic situations and characters, but mainstream studios making the connections more obvious (think Iron Man, Stark Industries and Afghanistan) is intriguing.

I suppose there are several questions which I will chew over before and after seeing this film (I’ve never been accused of under-analyzing anything, including action movies).  The question I am mainly interested in opening for discussion is this:  are the studio execs putting their money where their mouths are in making some aspect of more mainstream movies politically relevant, are they not thinking about it, or do they think their audience won’t notice, or worse, won’t care?

Click here to see trailer.

*or am I imagining all of this?

shout out to ms savory and taunjon

thanks for executing the prisoner and disposing of the remains while i squealed and fidgeted and generally freaked out in the dining room.

and especially for not making fun of me for it.

if all the world were a stage

i’d be totally frenched.  see, i hate theatre.  well, not theatre, musicals.  and not just in theatres.  in the movies, too.  although i know that the venues in which movies are played are called theatres as well.  and the soundtracks.  everything.  EVERYTHING about it. 

even my generational imperative for love of nostalgia, real, manufactured and otherwise, has begun to fail the wizard of oz, grease and the sound of music.  those are the musicals i grew up on and so loved as part of my childhood.  at some point in the last ten years, i realized i may love them for what they meant to me at 6, 4, 8, i don’t actually like them.  i don’t want to see them. ever.  again. 

i was chuffed to play jan in PS 21s magnificent stage production of grease.  i LOVED, LOVED LOVED the Sound of Music Tour i went on during my first european backpacking tour.  it was spectacular.  you get to see all of salzburg- an astoundingly beautiful and friendly city, but you also go into the alps, have lunch in the village of st. gilgen, which contains the church from the movie, motzart’s familial roots and a mountain lake of the most incredible blue I have ever seen.  on the way back, you can even give an alpine slide a shot.  you sing the songs on the bus- ineveitably filled with australian, american, canadian and japanese tourists.  everyone knows how absurd the experience is-

oh, to experience the sublime while being completely aware of it…

Continue reading ‘if all the world were a stage’

who do we call at the OED to get “adult” updated?

For numerous reasons over numerous years, I have often stopped and thought:

“whoa.  i’m an adult.” 

Clearly anyone meeting me would wonder what it is causing me to wonder.  I’ve got a serious job and a serious title, have been taking care of myself since I was 15 (and had the honors of watching out for a few others over the years), pay my bills, wear suits to work….

here are the things I have taken care of- planning and execution, without consulting a single other human being for advice:

Continue reading ‘who do we call at the OED to get “adult” updated?’


truth

“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

truth

Upon common theatres, indeed, the applause of the audience is of more importance to the actors than their own approbation. But upon the stage of life, while conscience claps, let the world hiss! On the contrary if conscience disapproves, the loudest applauses of the world are of little value - john adams
November 2017
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from the man who taught me everything:

“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.”

bygones