Wednesday, December 29, 2010

100 Fires- Give Them Money!

"I think donating to a film like this would be a great way for people to put their karmic balance in the black for the start of 2011." -Lee

Check it out.

From the website:

"100 Fires: Living From a Landfill" is a feature length documentary about the smoking dump that crouches outside the city of Santiago in the Dominican Republic. The film follows the buzos, or trash divers, who support themselves solely off what they can scavenge from the dump. They build their houses out of trash, feed their children with rotten food, and make less than a dollar a day by finding and selling piles of metal, plastic, cardboard, and anything else people will buy. We want to give voices to this community; ignored by their own government, invisible to society, and threatened by the toxic dump upon which they rely for survival.

What we need:
Filming for "100 Fires" is complete. We now need your help for post-production. Funds will be used for offline/online editing, coloring, and sound composing, engineering, and mixing. We will also use the funds for DVD graphic art, DVD printing, and film festival submission fees.


If anything, it's just good to know that people are trying to do good things in the world and bring awareness to social justice via artistic means. If you really feel connected, send a few bucks their way so that the project can take flight.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Couch Woman

It took no time at all, really.

Jackal came over this morning to exchange gifts. And by "this morning," I mean "approximately 1:30pm." And I was still on the couch in my pajamas. Watching "United States of Tara" which, as expected, I am now obsessed with. Netflix had better get me those next two DVDs STAT or I'm going to fall into a withdrawal fit.

It's freezing cold out, I have nowhere to be and nothing pressing (aside from the novel I still haven't written, but...well...we all have our things) and so the slide from Normal Functioning Human Being to Couch Woman was swifter then I thought. I was even eating soup. Out of a coffee mug. How slippery the slope.

I had brief grand delusions of going to DC for the day, art museuming it up, injecting a little culture into my life and kick-starting my creative organ again. Take the train, listen to all the awesome new music I've been gifted lately on my iPod, finish a bunch of books, write in my journal. Day tripping.

And then....the couch happened, and it was just all downhill from there. Comfy pants. Hot tea. Wine. On Demand. "United States of Tara." Blankets. Cats curled up all over me. Ohhhhhh, it was a swift decline. Did I shower yet today? Who cares? The cats certainly don't seem to. Hair sticky outy in ten thousand directions. I am....attractive. Blatantly clear that I am going nowhere fast.

Some exaggeration here, however slight. I actually showered and am out and about in the world, sitting in Teavolve with Lee. I'm supposed to be working on my writing. Instead, I'm blogging and day dreaming about....my couch.

I can see how people become hermits. If Jackal hadn't come over and forced me to interact socially like a normal human being, and if Lee hadn't then called me and reminded me that we had a writing date at Teavolve, it's entirely possible I would still be on the couch under my blankets. When it's cold like this, I just want to hibernate.

Wake me up when it's spring. Or when I have to go back to work, I guess. One or the other.

In the meantime....I'll be on the couch.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Miracle

I made it.

Somehow, I got through Hell Week. It was kind of a nightmare. On the other side of it, I can breathe again but in the midst of it was a kind of stress I hadn't tapped into since Masters comps. I had known December was going to be busy, knew that deadlines before the end of the year were looming, but what I hadn't anticipated was the sort of batshit crazy that can only crop up working for a non-profit. Oh, and Mercury has been in retrograde. Thanksssssssssss.

Zero sleep, too much caffeine, skipping meals and then eating odd things at strange hours, all while trying to balance some fun in there too (Book Club dinner, gingerbread house making, dinner parties with friends, and maybe a few minutes here and there to try and read a page of The Hunger Games [my new favorite thing]) and attempt to maintain HOLIDAY CHEER all led to me feeling more burned out then I think I have ever been. It's a miracle I am not completely sick, because the only times I get sick are when I am totally run down. I worry that now that I have said this, I am about to be hit with a freight train of flu. But so far so good.

In the last hour of my day yesterday, just as it was looking as though I was going to have to work forever, I was called into my boss's office and granted the most precious holiday gift I have ever been given- leave request granted. I suddenly have time off. I got everything (mostly) done! I HAVE DAYS OFF! I can...I can....READ BOOKS! I can watch all the seasons of United States of Tara! I can finally finish my subversive cross stitch! I can go for runs in the middle of the day! I can....SLEEP. I can SLEEP. Ohhh, sleep.

Honestly, I could go without a single present this year so grateful am I for this one. I do have to work a couple of days next week but, mostly, I'm free until January 3. I've never had such a long stretch of unplanned, unscheduled time. It feels so luxurious I might overdose. Come next Friday I might find myself still in pajamas at 5pm, unshowered for days, eating peanut butter straight out of the jar with a spoon. Classy.

Or, knowing me, I will attempt to fill this time with "productivity." Organizing, cleaning, errand-running, writing. Blah. I need to not let my inner PRODUCTIVITY VOICE take over this delicious vacation time.

So I come into this Christmas Eve a happy, happy girl. Despite everything, I love my job, I love what I do, and I especially love the sweet, sweet relief of reward that comes after so much hard work. And I get to spend the holidays with my family and friends. This is one happy girl right here.

I promise I will post the Gingerbread Incident. Now that I have all of this time....no excuses!

Cheers, Glitteratis- may your holidays be merry and bright, and may you take time for a breath and some relaxation. And by relaxation I mean passing out on the couch under 17 blankets watching terrible daytime television and reading British chick lit. Ohhh, heaven.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Gasp

Sniper-crawling into the holiday season this year. Face-down in the dirt, bogged down by the gravitational forces of work compounded with not nearly enough sleep, too many cookies, and the constant anxiety that, somehow, I have forgotten to do 47 things.

I have a feeling I'm going to sleep through Christmas this year. If I make it through this week.

In other news- 3rd Annual Book Club Holiday Party this evening. I look forward to this every year. The food is always fantastic, the board games are competitive, and the wine never stops. I love these girls/Joel-The-Only-Guy-In-Book-Club. Highlight of the evening: the annual White Elephant Gift Exchange. I still have not forgiven Catalano for prying out of my desperate hands a copy of Twilight: The DVD.

In other news- I have some pretty fantastic pictures of gingerbread house construction and a hilarious narrative to post. Maybe I'll get around to it....oohhh...sometime in 2011.

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz................................I wish.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Best. Present. Ever.

Sometimes, people do things that are stupid.

Or, if I'm feeling particularly insensitive, I might quote Jaunt and express that someone has "little success at life."

When people do stupid things that snare my own personal agenda, be it at work or at play, I have little patience for such idiocy. Overly sensitive though I may be, I do not suffer fools gladly and I am not one of those "graciously patient" individuals who taps into endless pools of kindness and understanding when stupidity rears its insidious head.

I am far more likely to reach for the more convenient reaction: "FAIL."

"I need something like a....a fail stamp," I said to my friend VBC one day. "A stamp that I can just use whenever someone has failed to be successful at life and therefore made my life more difficult."

You missed your exit and are now backing down the freeway with your hazard lights on? FAIL STAMP, right on your forehead.

You are in line in front of me and cashing out at the grocery store when you suddenly remember that you need just one more item from an aisle on the other side of the western hemisphere? FAIL STAMP.

You are going to feed me some lame-ass excuse about why you've been a terrible human being that has unnecessarily complicated my life and caused a disruption in my day? FAIL STAMP.

And then, VBC gave me a Christmas present:



My Fail Stamp's first mission: when I got out tonight, losers who attempt to talk to me in a way I find offensive, annoying, or simply boring are going to get Fail Stamped right on the forehead. Really, it's perfect.

I can automatically think of a thousand uses for my new Fail Stamp. I don't feel like paying this bill- so I'm going to Fail Stamp the memo line of the check. I dislike your attitude. FAIL STAMPED ON THE HAND AS A WARNING. I find your general presence to be a downer. FAIL STAMP ON YOUR PSYCHE.

The possibilities are endless.

Lee has a lot of competition for Best Christmas Present Ever this year.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Smells Like Snow

NPR kindly informed me that snow will most likely disrupt my afternoon commute.

I'm ok with this. I have on my new boots (thanks, Zappos, for mailing them so very promptly!) and a jaunty hat. Snow away!

Tonight: my friend Josh had expressed some anxiety about gift-giving, and so we agreed to forego (after all, it is next to impossible to follow in Lee's footsteps in terms of ultimate gift-giving) and instead throw ourselves a little holiday Fete. For us this means take-out sushi and Mystery Science Theater. (Nerd alert!) Quite frankly, I think Lee's going to have a hard time topping that. Really, it's my ultimate evening.

Christmas is next week, by the way. In case you weren't aware. I prepared very well this year, buying all of the gifts ahead of time. What I neglected to do, however, was allot time for a giant trip to the post office to mail said gifts. Maybe some year I'll get it all together.

Besos.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tweet This

For as media-savvy as I pretend to be, I pretty much never update my Twitter. Primarily because my phone is circa 1995 (OK, 2008, but seriously...) and I can't update on some new-fangled smart phone.

UNTIL! Nickle taught me how to text in my Tweets. So here we go. My third attempt at Twitter.

Follow me @NewGlitterati. I will try to keep up the hilarity.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Holiday Weekend

I think it's a pretty good sign if you're rolling into work Monday morning covered in bruises from ice skating, and still full of cookies from all the baking you did over the weekend.

Oh, and I spent all of Friday evening shaking cocktails for my friends at a very nice holiday party. Bartending skills do so come in handy, especially around the holidays.

More to come.

Check out ice skating at Patterson Park Ice Rink. Tremendous fun, and duly cheap. ($4 to skate, $2 for rentals. Where else can you have two hours of fun for six bucks?)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Give Peace a Chance

Ten years ago, when I was eighteen and stupid, I sat on a bus for eight hours from Salisbury to New York City just to go to the Imagine Circle and commemorate the twentieth anniversary of John Lennon's death with my hippy boyfriend at the time.

I should mention that I am stupid mostly because I had mono at the time.

Regardless, we stood around the Imagine Circle in Central Park late at night, absolutely freezing, with hundreds of people who had also made the trek to stand in a giant circle and wave lighters in the air. It's cliche, really, but certainly there is something powerful that compels people to participate in these things. I was young and feverishly sick, but somehow I knew that it was something I wanted to be- and should have been- a part of. Ten years later, I'm glad we made the trip.

Mostly because I still believe in John's mission and now I'm lucky enough to incorporate his values of social justice, art, and aesthetics in my everyday personal and professional life. There is no one on the pop culture radar these days doing what John and Yoko did (which I've talked about before.) The silencing of his voice was the silencing of a lot of voices, although Yoko has further pursued their shared vision in her work with Amnesty International and other world justice organizations.



Lighting a candle for you today, John. I would have jumped on a bus to go wave my lighter around at the Imagine Circle but, well...in my old age I prefer to remember you in the warmth of my home. I should stage a bed-in. Comfy.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A'Far

On NPR this morning:
"And a fire broke out in Baltimore's Cultural District last night causing multiple street closures...."

I thought this was in reference to the fire on East Baltimore street last night. "Hmm. Is that what we're calling The Block these days? The 'Cultural District?' How interesting. Mount Vernon is going to be pissed."

Imagine my surprise when, as I made my way up Charles to work this morning, I discover that Mount Vernon is, in fact, "a'far."

What is going on? Why is everything on fire? And why is this now routinely messing up my commute? (Is that self-centric?)

Even worse- Fox News's coverage of last night's fire on East Baltimore street. Why do they routinely look for "Man on the Street" interviews with the most unarticulate people? Do they purposefully seek out the pedestrian who's going to drawl, "Weeeeellllll, there wuz alla this smoooke and then the garls ran out buck-nayked in the streets." Congratulations, Baltimore. A fire has flushed out the "buck-nayked garls."

Can you imagine a throng of disoriented, anxious people being evacuated from their buildings and this sudden post-apolcolyptic mesh of bankers and lawyers in their suits alongside "buck-nayked garls" in the middle of downtown Baltimore? Did anyone politely offer their coat to a "buck-nayked garl?"

I just hope My Thai and Donna's didn't burn.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Longest. Documentary. Ever.

The documentary last night was fantastic: creative, artistic, enthralling, poignant, pithy, and lllllloooooooooonnnnnnggg.

I don't know what possessed me to think this thing was going to be brief, or why it would be a good idea to go to dinner AFTER the event. I got so hungry halfway through that I had to dig some gum out of my purse and chew it to keep my stomach from protesting too loudly.

It's hard to get really into art and politics when you're hungry. I think that goes without saying. I can be sophisticated, mature, and articulate most of the time, but when I'm hungry and it's late I am reduced to an antsy four-year-old whose only focus is blood-sugar maintenance. I should probably keep snacks in my bag for such occasions.

Four of us piled into Donna's in Charles Village immediately after, ordered more food then was probably necessary, and polished off a bottle of wine far too quickly for four people who had had nothing to eat prior. Still, it was a lovely evening and even though I couldn't seem to properly pin the red ribbon to my sweater (it kept turning itself sideways and looked more like a small snarl of discarded fluff) I do think that I adequately supported HIV/AIDS education and prevention.

Tonight: the lighting of the Washington Monument in Mt. Vernon. Every single year, I say that I am going to this event. Every single year, something "comes up." THIS YEAR, I AM GOING. HOLIDAY CHEER, DAMMIT.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

World Aids Day

World Aids Day today, and in commemoration tonight I will be attending the BMA-Planned Parenthood's screening of the Keith Haring documentary.

The year I turned sixteen was the year AIDS first appeared on my radar. Initially, it was due to the very kind and still-appreciated gift my grandparents gave me for my birthday: tickets to see RENT on Broadway. At the time, it was still the original cast. I was addicted to the soundtrack that year, and played it over and over on my portable Disc man. I was all about gunmetal gray nail polish and gay men that year. (Really, what has changed? Except now I'm on an endless quest for matte gray nail polish. Which is next to impossible to find. Honestly.) It was also the year that I saw the AIDS quilt on display at my mother's college when we went to an alumni event. I think it was the first time in my life that I felt connected to some cause. I didn't know anyone with AIDS, but I was old enough to start parsing out the social implications of a disease that brought stigma. And it was 1998, nearly ten years after AIDS was incorporated into the mainstream and was no longer relegated to being the "gay disease" sequestered away to certain pockets of New York City and San Francisco.

AIDS has become so...well, widely-accepted isn't the appropriate wording, but...I suppose a better way to put it would be to mention that medical breakthroughs have made it a much more manageable disease which has, in turn, somewhat reduced the stigma of it. I've even heard through various interviews that diabetes can be a far more crippling disease in terms of lifestyle and symptoms. Regardless, AIDS might no longer be the "gay disease" but neither should it be written off as some third-world country affliction like cholera that feels too distant to connect. It's still a huge threat, it's still rampant, and it's still debilitating. The stigma is not- and possibly will never be- wholly gone, and even in third-world countries the best defense is still education.

Looking forward to the documentary tonight. Keith Haring's artwork is ubiquitous- even if you don't know his name, I can guarantee you're familiar with his work, which dominated the 1980's and 90's pop art world.

And, of course, let's not forget the focus of today: act aware, reduce prejudice, and practice protection.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

From The Archives


Lovely, lovely birthday. Bike ride in the morning, beach during the day, beautiful weather, good food and drinks, lots of kind wishes and love, flowers delivered.
I went for the run in the evening last night before showering off the beach and found myself going past the house I rented with a bunch of friends for Beach Week ten years ago after graduating high school. I spent my eighteenth and now twenty eighth birthday here, at the beach, and I see this decade as parenthetical.
It was ten years' of experimentation, travel, good and bad choices, adventure, learning, growth, and a host of experiences that have left me with great anecdotes and what I see to be a very well-rounded outlook of the world. I fell in and out of infatuations, had my heart broken, did some very stupid and very cool things, lived all over, met great people, had ten thousand jobs.
And now I see myself closing that chapter and beginning to take the greater values and desires - the heavier elements that stick when everything else falls away - and beginning this next decade which I feel will set the course for the rest of my life.
-May, 2010

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Thanksgiving Toast

Wow.

How did we get here?

I feel like I was just at the beach, riding bikes down the Boardwalk. I'm not even sure where the fall went. There was running...there were a lot of Girl's Nights Out....some Book Club in there...I think I wrote a short story or two and about a thousand emails...

And now we're trying to plan New Year's Eve. The past year has been, well, full for lack of a better word. A little more pithy, I think then any of the years before it. And so, coming up on Thanksgiving Eve (truly on of the best nights of the year: like the ultimate Thursday Night as it combines all the fun and anticipation not only of the first official 4-day weekend of the entire year but of the holiday season in aggregate) I have a hell of a lot to be thankful for.

The foundational stuff- my family, my health, my general well-being. All of that, never to be taken for granted.

But this year, I owe a great deal of thanktitude to my friends. While they have always been everything to me, in the past year they have become even more than that. They have become second family, they have started to chart the course of my future, and there are some that have been woven in my fabric for so many years that their presence is just a part of who I am at this point.

So...cheers, friends. This year, I raise my glass(es; let's be forthcoming, here) to (and with) you. For all you are, all you do, and how many times I come dangerously close to leaking bodily fluids because of how hard you make me laugh.

I saw this toast written as part of a Grey Goose ad in my New Yorker last week, and found it very apt:

A Toast

to nearest

to dearest

to the crew

to cahoots

to the ones who've been there

to the ones who'll be there

to dropping everything

to saying anything

to no judgements

to no doubts

to loyalty

to trust

to favors

to lifelongs

to been too long

to nothing's changed

to having history

to having your back

to moving away

to never too far

to growing up

to settling down

to your second family

to friends.


Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Eat, drink, and be oh-so-thankfully merry.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Can't Go Back Now


I can't really say why everybody wishes they were somewhere else
In the end, the only steps that matter are the ones you take all by yourself.

Can't Go Back Now, The Weepies

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Why Lee Is The Best Ever

This is an example of the kinds of emails I send to Lee:

Subj: Are we still friends?
I had a dream/panic attack last night that I lost my job, got really, really fat and that all my friends and family decided to break up with me at once on the terms of me being a silly, impractical, and terrible person. This is what I think about sometimes. No wonder I am crazy.


PS: are you going to the dinner thingy on Sat?

The best part? He responded in a most reassuring manner that being silly and impractical are things he considers to be excellent qualities in a person and therefore part of the reason we are friends. Lee is still one of my most favorite people, despite the fact that he apparently loves his girlfriend more than he loves me- something I have come to terms with because sometimes I love his girlfriend more than I love him too. And he is one of my most favorite people not even because he calmly engages in my attention-seeking behavior by responding as though I were making some logical, reasonable argument.

AND I have already purchased his Christmas present, and I am so excited by it because I believe I have topped what I got him last year (an xkcd tie to outwardly display his inner geekitude), and I even believe it might be more geeky. I figure, I am a rather emotionally high-maintenance friend, so I might as well buy affection with awesome Christmas presents.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The "Thursday Night" Of Your Life


"The path to enlightenment is not a path at all- it's actually a metaphor for the time it takes for you to allow yourself to be happy with who you already are, where you're already at, and what you already have-no matter what."

I was on my undergraduate campus this past weekend, in town to see a play in the theater where I spent four years of my life rehearsing, building sets, sewing costumes, arguing, auditioning, defending, creating, acting, stretching, feeling, and engaging in one epic game of hide-and-go-seek. I walked past the dorms where I'd lived, the buildings where I'd attended classes each day, the Commons where I'd eaten all of my meals. This place, now populated by strangers and changing all the time, was home to me at one point.

Mostly what I felt, underneath all of the nostalgia and remembrance, was a pretty solid happiness that I am not twenty years old anymore.

We all did a lot of growing up in college, and some of us faced further growing up outside of it. Some of us are still in the thick of it. Some are never out of it. The things that I know now...well, there's no use postulating how anything could have been different were you to have been gifted with knowledge and foresight at the time. It was fun, awkward, hilarious, and often painful. It was everything it needed to be.

Standing in a place where one has stood countless times before and coming to it with fresh perspective and advanced knowledge always brings about the hovering question of what sorts of wisdom and understanding you'll someday bring to the table if you should chance to visit the places you frequent now. Imagining myself as a college freshman, ten years ago, and then imagining viewing my life as it currently is, ten years from now, does offer some pretty stultifying perspective in terms of what's important and what isn't.

And mostly what I wish I could have leaned over and whispered to myself all those years was this: It. Gets. Better. In every way. The challenges are new, the pain is deeper, the losses bigger, but monumentally life just gets better as it goes on. Especially when you're comparing the late teens/early twenties to the onset of thirty. My God. How I would never want to be 19 again. Honestly.

Which made me think, randomly, in this fashion: what is the best night of the week?

Normally, everyone says "Friday" or "Saturday." Some really energetic person might throw a "Sunday" out there, just to throw everyone off the game.

But the answer, at least in my mind, is Thursday. All of the really good stuff, Friday night, the weekend, an end in sight, etc. is still yet to come. There's still work ahead of you, for sure. But it's work you don't mind doing - this Friday work - because the end is so close you can taste it. Thursday nights have all of the relaxation of a weekend night, but on more dialed-down terms. It has anticipation. It's when you know the best is still yet to come, and you've come so far already.

Which got me thinking...I'm in the Thursday night of my life.

(This is all a truly meandering train of thought, I know, but this is where my mind goes when I'm doing things like writing all the time and running. Your brain just starts clicking in weird ways. Bear with it. Or...enjoy it. Who knows? I like to think it's some logical stretch but sometimes I say these things out loud and once they hit air, I find myself being gaped at with blank stares. Perhaps some things should just reside in my head.)

But, really. Thursday night. Work still yet to be done, but really good stuff ahead. Starting to put all of these lessons learned and experience gained into some kind of real-world context. I see my friends going through this, when all of the bullshit of their first terrible jobs, and their many terrible failed romantic encounters, and the cheap shoes and bad dates and sketchy decisions; all of that just sorts to fall away, and what takes its place is the fulfilling career, the hard work that feels more fruitful in the doing, the real relationships, the more solid decisions.

This is not, in any way, to say that mistakes don't still happen or things don't still fall apart. It's not to say that life becomes perfect after a certain age. I just see how the anxieties and uncertainties and things that fall through tend to fade away in time. And what takes its place is a calmer, more genuinely stable outlook and feeling. Confidence, perhaps, might be a way of looking at it. A belief that things will turn out the way that they should, eventually, and a faith and trust that everything that is happening is unfolding just as it should. A genuine belief that answers reveal themselves in time. Not a constant, panicked worry that because things aren't working out according to plan, total devastation is the only terrain left.

I guess that's the sweetest part of the whole deal. You get older and start to understand that what feels like complete and utter failure at the time, in retrospect turns out to be some bullet dodged or lesson learned that came in sweet handy at another juncture. You start to see how what feels like a missed opportunity maybe wasn't the best option, that wrong turns sometimes lead to the opening of very right doors, and that all of the twisting and turning was configuring you into something better and more satisfying. Perhaps that's an idealistic, optimistic way of looking at things. And, to be fair, there are some things that have happened in my life purely, I believe, to be fodder for some memoir later on down the road when I have twenty five years of distance from it. But, for the most part, I've seen more and more that things almost universally turn out the way they are supposed to, no matter how wrong or right it's felt at the time.

Maybe Thursday night is the anticipation that, regardless of what happens, this is the magic moment when you believe the best. When the experiences are still phantoms and hopeful ghosts and not yet concrete things that could be weighted with disappointment. There is no disappointment in anticipation.

Mostly, it's just a general appreciation for all that's happened and an excited anticipation of all that is yet to be. That's the Thursday night. That's the "Thursday Night" of your life.

Or maybe I just need to start keeping my thoughts confined to notebooks that don't see the light of day. It is possible I am simply becoming eccentric and slightly insane in my old age.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Writer's (Un)block

As part of "The Artist's Way," Julia Cameron suggests writing three pages a day- EVERY DAY- to get oneself "unblocked."

This is a dual-edged sword of the most excellent advice I have ever received and the worst.

Excellent because, she's right- you can't show up at a page every single day and write consistently and not start to feel things pouring out of you. Things you didn't know you felt, things you weren't aware existed in your psyche, old problems or funny stories or general bits of flotsam and jetsam floating around in your soul that would never otherwise see the light of day. It's kind of like this blog: some days, I show up here with absolutely no idea of what I'm going to write about. But the cursor is blinking, and there is some connection between some hidden corner of my brain and my fingers on the keys and things just come out. It is truly magic in a way only doing something you love to do can be magic. The creativity exists in you all of the time, as Cameron suggests. Sometimes it's just difficult to access it and learning to do this as a discipline takes finesse and dedication and a deep respect for otherwordly aspects that control your universe without you ever even knowing it. It's frightening, sometimes, what winds up surfacing. Frightening and freeing and ultimately gratifying.

This is the light, beautiful part of it.

Then there's the ugly side.

I AM SITTING DOWN TO WRITE MY THREE PAGES. I'M TIRED. I DON'T WANT TO WRITE. I HATE WRITING. WRITING IS STUPID. I HATE THIS PEN. I ALSO HATE THIS PAPER. I'M COLD. WRITING SUCKS. WRITING IS AWFUL. WHY WOULD ANYONE IN THEIR RIGHT (write?) MIND EVER WANT TO BE A WRITER? THIS IS STUPID. I'M BORED. I WANT TO GO WATCH DVR EPISODES OF 'HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER.' I DON'T WANT TO DO THIS ANYMORE. I'VE ONLY FILLED UP A QUARTER OF A PAGE. I HATE THIS. JULIA CAMERON CAN SHOVE THREE PAGES UP HER ASS. I HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATE WRITING. IF I ADD MORE VOWELS IT TAKES UP MORE SPAAAAAAAAAACE AND THEN I DON'T HAVE TO WRIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIITE AS MUCH. THIS IS AWFUL. I WILL NEVER BE A GOOD WRITER IF I KEEP WRITING ABOUT HOW MUCH I HATE WRITING. I AM A TOTAL FAILURE. I'LL HAVE TO JUST GIVE UP WRITING AND NEVER WRITE ANYTHING AGAIN AND THEN I'LL BE MISERABLE AND ALONE AND HATE EVERYONE AND EVERYTHING BECAUSE I WILL HAVE NO CREATIVE OUTLET. I'LL BE ALONE WITH MY CATS AND MY NON-WRITING AND EVERYONE WILL HATE ME AND THE WHOLE WORLD WILL FALL APART ALL BECAUSE I HATE WRITING AND I SUCK AT IT. THIS IS NOT HELPING! THIS EXERCISE IS RENDERING ME HIGHLY DEPRESSED! I AM NOW AN ALONE FAILURE WHO CAN'T WRITE AND ALL I WAS AT THE BEGINNING OF THIS EXERCISE WAS COLD AND TIRED! THIS IS AWFUL! I DON'T WANT TO DO THIS ANYMORE! OH MY GOD I'VE ONLY FILLED A PAGE???????????????? MAYBE IF I WRITE BIGGER. I COULD WRITE A WHOLE BOOK IN 200 WORDS IF THE PRINT IS REALLY BIG. IT'LL BE GENIUS. THEY'LL CALL ME THE WUNDERKIND OF THE POST-MODERN LITERARY WORLD. THEY WILL REFER TO ME AS A 'BRIGHT YOUNG THING.' MY BOOK RELEASE PARTY IS GONG TO BE SWEET. I'LL DEFINITELY INVITE DAVID SEDARIS AND LAURIE NOTARO. STEPHEN KING WILL BEG FOR AN INVITE BUT I'LL TELL HIM ONLY IF THERE'S A LAST-MINUTE VACANCY AND ONLY IF HE REDACTS HALF OF HIS BOOK 'ON WRITING.' CHELSEA HANDLER WILL SHOW UP WITH KANYE WEST AND FLASH EVERYONE. IT WILL BE THE PARTY OF THE CENTURY. I WONDER IF I CAN GET SAMANTHA RONSON TO DJ. I HOPE THAT MEANS LINDSAY LOHAN WILL SHOW UP LOOKING LIKE A TRAIN WRECK. MY SECOND BOOK WILL BE ONE WORD PER PAGE AND I WILL WIN THE NOBEL PRIZE IN LITERATURE FOR MY CHALLENGING OF STRUCTURE AND STYLE AND UPHOLDING OF CREATIVITY AND OWNERSHIP OF ONE'S ART. JONATHAN FRANZEN WILL WRING HIS HANDS WONDERING WHY HE WASTED SO MANY THOUSANDS OF WORDS AND PAGES WHEN HE COULD HAVE WRITTEN A 200-WORD BOOK AND SPENT THE REST OF THE YEAR ON VACATION. THE NEW YORK TIMES WILL FIRST HATE IT THEN ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT. THE HUFFINGTON POST WILL ASK ME TO WRITE 20-WORD COLUMNS EVERY WEEK ON THE TOPIC OF MY CHOICE. I'LL HAVE AN APARTMENT IN THE VILLAGE, A BEACH HOUSE IN THE HAMPDENS, A STUDIO IN BALTIMORE, AND A SMALL FLAT IN LONDON. THE CATS WILL TRAVEL WITH ME AT ALL TIMES. THE WEEPIES WILL WRITE A SONG ABOUT ME. ME AND MY 200-WORD NOVEL. AMAZING. WOW- THE CREATIVE PROCESS REALLY WORKS! THIS IS ALMOST AS GOOD AS AN OUTLINE!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Really? REALLY??

Oh, GWB.

I caught some snippets of your interview with Matt Lauer (insert weird, inexplicable celebrity crush sigh here) this morning on NPR. And, along with the rest of most of society, I damn near stabbed myself in the sinus cavity with my toothbrush when you said that Kanye West's comment ("George Bush doesn't care about black people") was one of the worst days of your Presidency.

I feel for you, man; I really do.

No, actually, I don't. I'm totally lying.

You stood by and watched while thousands of people lost their homes, their sense of safety and security, and every shred of a right to the pursuit of happiness in a domestic national disaster that was one of the worst in documented history. You shrugged your shoulders and "Boy, is my face red!"-ed your way all over the press when it was revealed that not only were there no WMD's in existence in Iraq, but perhaps further documentation that perhaps this information was readily available to you much earlier then you let on. You sat there, shell-shocked and most likely leaking some sort of bodily fluid in front of a classroom of kindergartners when someone whispered in your ear the the US had just been the victim of a series of heinous, shocking, and axiom-shattering terrorist attacks. And these are only the big-ticket news items.

But yet you, strutting around claiming that the Lord has saved you and that you will do good in His name for the rest of your life, called someone's attack on your personal character "one of the worst days" of your Presidency. You can crush much of the middle class under your cowbooted heel with the power of policy, grind out entire lower-income neighborhoods after a hurricane with one sweeping gesture of highly inappropriate ennui, and you can point your finger and declare war and chase after imaginary WMD while families of 9-11 victims wring their hands and wonder how everything got suddenly so very frighteningly out of control. You can do all of these things and take criticism and deflect accusations, but GOD FORBID someone point out an aspect of your personal character in a way you find offensive. That, GWB, is apparently where your line of reason gets crossed.

Oh, really? Is it now? THAT was one of the worst days of your Presidency?

How DO you keep the inside of that bell jar in which you reside free of your skunk-smell?

Monday, November 8, 2010

This Time, Baby, I'll Be Bulletproof

Oh, La Roux. You are so amazingly androgynous and fantastic. I love your music. I love your shiny coat. I love your pouf. Your pouf tells Snookie to go home, eat an entire package of Double-Stuf Oreos and cry herself to sleep for being the epitome of lame. Your pouf is like one giant, raging, exclamatory finger telling the world precisely what it can do with itself should it not immediately recognize and bow down to your greatness. Your humility and polite British accent then make us suspect that, deep down, you truly enjoy a cup of tea and a good crossword puzzle. Possibly you have a cat. Most likely you call your grandmother on a regular basis, just to catch up.
And then there's Far East Movement. Highly energetic, highly engaging, highly entertaining and....100% odd. Oh well, it works for them.

Friday, November 5, 2010

WEEKEND!

The first weekend in.................................... (insert ? here).........that I don't have plans, and already I have maxed out on plans.

Girls' Night Out tonight (which is slightly redundant, given that pretty much every weekend is Girls' Night Out, especially when Catalano's fiance is out of town), and then tomorrow I am locking myself up somewhere to churn out some writing. I have been terrible about this- and Stupid took me to task for it. I should have the next great American novel manuscript to her by Monday. I kid. I might draft a short story, or at the very least sit and stare at the screen for six hours like any normal tortured writer. And attempting to start The Artist's Way. It's completely intimidating (Write? For an HOUR? A DAY? EVERYDAY?) but I have no more excuses not to be flexing any creative muscle now that the marathon relay is well behind me.

However- if I do manage to make some creative headway, I am to be rewarded by going to see Due Date on Saturday night with Catalano.

Random note: Lee and I had an extensive conversation last weekend about the discouraging growth of one's thighs when training. You lose all this weight, it all becomes muscle, and then in the blink of an eye- you've got thighs like Lance Armstrong or, in my case- one of my biggest fears-a Williams sister. So you're uber healthy and can run crazy mileage and your resting heart rate is at a delightful low, but you've got killer thighs and your pants don't fit properly anymore. The non-fitting of pants ranks up there with Things That Can Utterly Ruin Your Day. Don't believe me? Dig out a pair of pants a size or two too small and see if you don't border on apoplectic throughout the day.

I digress.

Sunday- La Roux at Ram's Head with Nickle. I am so excited I can hardly contain myself, but slightly disparaged at the lack of wearable 80's threads in my closet.

Busy, happy little life of mine.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Urrrrrrrrr?

When someone texts you a simple question.......


("What kind of wine should I get- red or white?")



.....and you find yourself not only completely blanking on the answer but actually unable to understand the concept not only of the content (red vs. white- which do you prefer?) but the actual delivery and real-time action (someone is asking me a question- I should answer this question) to the point that all communication breaks down and you are literally staring, slack-jawed and blurry-eyed at your phone like primitive man with no idea how to respond. Should I hit the phone against my head? Light it on fire? Open it up like a Magic 8-ball to see if the answer is floating somewhere inside?................

...........you probably aren't getting enough R+R.

'Sall I'm sayin'.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Election Night Coverage Commentary

Politics. Only the important stuff:

"O'Malley's daughter is hot."

"His wife looks concerned. No- now she's happy. No, wait, concerned?"

"Where is this taking place in Federal Hill? I think I would notice a large crowd in the neighborhood. They have lighting rigged up. Where is this? The park? I didn't see anybody over there."

"She's got to be, what- 19? At least. She's really hot."

"Look at Elijah Cummings...what a happy man. He is totally wearing a shiny suit. He brought that out special."

"Or maybe I just think she's hot because her dad is powerful."

"Seriously- there are a LOT of people there. Where IS this?"

"That guy in the back comes into Metro. He's intense. He even looks intense."

"HOW SHORT IS BARBARA MIKULSKI?!"

"Maybe she looks that short because she's standing next to O'Malley? How tall is he, like 6 feet?"

"No way, O'Malley is like 5'10". Mikulski is like 4'8". She is a tiny, tiny woman."

"I often get attracted to girls who have power. Maybe she's not really that hot."

"Is this at the 8x10? Or AVAM? WHERE IS THIS TAKING PLACE? The news crew says 'Federal Hill,' but I'm IN Federal Hill and I do not see this giant crowd!"

"Stephanie Rawlings-Blake looks tired."

"Really? I think SRB is looking good."

"She's gorgeous. Too much make-up, though."

"Wake up, SRB! O'Malley is going to win!"

"Ehrlich is going down."

"WHERE IS THIS TAKING PLACE?"

"I mean, she looks pretty hot right now. If I didn't know her dad was O'Malley I'd probably still think that she's hot. I think."

"SRB might be coming down with the flu."

"HOW SHORT IS BARBARA MIKULSKI??"

"Wouldn't it be funny if this was taking place at Ropewalk? And ironic?"

"I love Elijah Cummings. He just looks so joyful. In his shiny suit."

"Do you think O'Malley's daughter is hot?"

"She's NINETEEN."

"So?"

"You're like....way older."

"So?"

"Is this at Ropewalk? No way they could fit that many people in there."

"I think it's a the Museum of Industry."

"That's not in Federal Hill. It's like...downtown."

"It is not, it's on Key Highway."

"SRB is so tired of standing there."

"Where is that phantom arm coming from?"

"I think O'Malley won."

"Oh, good."

"Awesome."

"SRB looks happier."

"Elijah Cummings looks shiny. And happy."

"O'Malley's daughter looks hot."

"Barbara Mikulski looks short."

"WHERE IS THIS BEING FILMED?"

Fin.

Monday, November 1, 2010

November Sets In


Sticky cider hands, smeared makeup, safety pins holding everything in place. Halloween comes every year, just as sure as it always has. Catalano posed the question; the question, the thing in the back of our minds constantly as we watch change happen around us and begin to understand that it's a tricky thing, time, in how it's just going, going, gone; "How old do you think we'll be when we stop going all out for Halloween?"

Never, I hope. The theater geek in me clings to this holiday as reason and purpose for keeping wigs, capes, stage makeup, and props in my possessions.

But still. There is something monumentally depressing about the detritus strewn about after Halloween.

Although, this does ultimately mean one thing:

HOLIDAY SEASON 2011 IS NEARLY HERE!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Sick Day

While pretty much nothing sucks more than feeling under the weather, (unless it's feeling under the weather on such a gorgeous day) there is something to be said for a good stretch of time on the couch. I can't remember the last time I spent an afternoon on the couch. (Even if our couch is brutally uncomfortable, too short, and not nearly fluffy enough.)

In between naps today I finally started catching up on my DVR list, specifically Boardwalk Empire. It stands as further proof that television has nearly surpassed film in writing and production value (albeit primarily on premium channels) and I'm also glad to see Steve Buscemi finally getting his moment in the sun. Michael Pitt (who I have loved since Hedwig) proves excellent as well, and the eye candy of historical detail is exquisite.

Yeah, I said exquisite. Even through my cold medicine haze, I pulled a little grandeur out and sprinkled it here for you, dear readers.

Onto the next phase of the healing process: NyQuil. And lots of it. Have to rest up for Epic Halloween Weekend.

It Must Be Halloween....

My shopping cart items:
2 boxes safety pins
4 packages Oscar Mayer lunch meat
1 package fishnet stockings
1 fake gothic cross
eyelash glue
1 curling iron
1 bottle NyQuil


The NyQuil is for my cold. Everything else points to an epic upcoming weekend. I'll not reveal further details until after the weekend lest someone steal my idea of being a lunch meat-wielding Madonna.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Zen Dentistry

I'm pretty sure I am the only person in the world who finds the dentist's chair a calming, Zen place to be.

I attribute this fact to my refined Welsh genes which gave me a slender nose, skin that freckles charmingly in the sun, and a mouthful of peasant horse teeth. My parents, to whom I am eternally grateful, nipped what could have been a snarling orthodontic nightmare early on. In my bank of very early memories, none of them exist without some form of orthodontia. Arch expanders, rubber bands, retainers, extractions, adjustments, cranks, braces, and all manner of plastic and metal hardware existed in my mouth at one point or another for the sole purpose of completely rearranging what nature intended to be overcrowded and chockablock. Eventually, the 18-point pile-up that might have occurred in the frontal region of my jaw was straightened and refined into the fetching smile I sport today. Thanks, Mom and Dad, for putting the orthodontist's kids through college!

But a secondary result of all of this tugging and straightening is that I feel quite at home parked back in a dentist's chair with people poking around in my mouth. I was pulled out of school on a monthly-and sometimes weekly, depending on the status of the hardware- basis for afternoon appointments that involved smocked technicians scratching and rummaging around in my face.

I had a dentist's appointment this week; the first in a long, long time. (Part of the deal of returning to the 9-5 workforce is what I now recognize as the luxury of health insurance that includes dental.) I mean, a LONG time. An amount of time that might make a dentist, say, suck in a mouthful of air in a dual reaction: "OhmyGodDISGUSTING" and "Ca-CHING; JACKPOT!"

Also because there had been a serious stretch of time since anyone had stuck pointy metal objects between my teeth, I think the dentist was under the impression that I had some sort of raging phobia about general dentistry and went quite out of his way to insure my comfort.

"Now, we're just going to do X-rays right now. JUST X-RAYS! This won't hurt AT ALL!" he assured me. I somehow made it through the horrifying and life-threatening procedure of photographing my teeth and was rewarded with a toothbrush. A PURPLE toothbrush! Because I am a brave little soldier.

I almost wonder if he was slightly disappointed that I was cavity-free. A perusal of my X-rays revealed a mouthful of strong, sturdy European choppers with five-foot long roots. (Which only furthered my somewhat pervasive fear that my teeth are, in fact, abnormally large and horsey.) No cavities! Good for you! You've been brushing your teeth sometimes! And maybe flossing on that one night a week you force yourself to go to bed at 10pm so you can get something close to 8 hours of sleep! Hooray, aces!

"I'm going to clean your teeth now," he said. Good. It was early in the AM and I had only had time for half a cup of coffee, so this meant I could settle back in the chair, open my mouth, close my eyes, and embark on a nice little snooze. No more questions to answer about my previous dental history. Have at it, good doctor, and wake me when you're done.

Except he seemed to be under the misapprehension that I was bordering on a giant freak-out.

"I'm just going to use the Water Pik," he explained. "This is NOT A DRILL! I promise!"

Ok, fine, use a fire hose for all I care. I'm closing my eyes now, mmmmkay? Night niiiiiiigghhht.........

"This won't hurt AT ALL," he went on. "It will make a sort of loud noise, but it's NOT GOING TO HURT!"

OK. I HEARD YOU. GO FOR IT.

"Are you ok?" he asked.

"Yep, just fine."

"You sure? This won't hurt," he said, again. At this point, I was starting to wonder if, perhaps, whatever he was planning to do was, in fact, going to hurt and this was his disclaimer ahead of time. Or something to convince me, mentally, that it WASN'T hurting, I only THOUGHT it was hurting. It couldn't possibly hurt because he told me so many times that it wouldn't! I was starting to doubt this, a tiny bit.

"I'm going to get started here in a second," he said. Awesome. Settle back. Eyes closey. Hands foldy. Sleepy sleepy time. I figured I could get in a good twenty minutes while he was scraping a few years' worth of artsy-I'm-only-waiting-tables-and-freelancing-until-my-book-deal-comes-through crud off of my newly-insured teeth before I had to get up and go to work.

It didn't hurt. At all. I was just dozing off when he stopped. "You still doing ok?"

Yes. I'm fine. My eyes are closed because I am sleeping. Not because I am trying to shut you-and, by proxy, this nightmarish situation in which you are squirting water onto my delicate, sensitive teeth- out of my mind. I am actually trying to doze off. Don't worry- I sleep with my mouth open all the time; this is no problem for me. Unattractive, perhaps, but utterly convenient for you.

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.............

"Where did you say you went to school?"

I didn't. Say anything. Because I am TRYING TO TAKE A NAP! Now. Sleepy time.....

"All done!"

Wait, what? I barely closed my eyes!

"Now, that wasn't too bad, was it?"

Yes! Yes it was! I don't even think I actually fell asleep, I just got my eyes barely closed and you woke me up and now I'm awake again! I DID NOT GET A NAP. WHAT IS THE POINT OF THE DENTIST IF I AM NOT LEAVING WELL-RESTED?

"That's a difference now, huh?!"

Huh? What? I am cranky! You woke me from my nap! Actually, you did not wake me because I did not actually fall anything close to asleep, I barely even shut my---oh. Oh. OOoooooooohhhhhhhh.

My teeth are so..........slick. And my mouth is so.......minty fresh. It's actually quite...well, it's quite refreshing!

I left the dentist, swiping my tongue across my newly sparkling choppers, feeling the squeaky clean of a plaque-free mouth. And, to make up for my lack of nap, I rewarded myself with a triple shot skim latte.

So my mouth was clean for approximately seven minutes before I had coffee breath again.

Oh, well. Maybe if I'd gotten a nap....

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Urban Family

Several years ago, when I was exiting a four-year relationship, I experienced that swift and utterly inevitable consequence of ending a long-term relationship littered with friends who have only known you to be one-half of a couple: the excommunication from certain group activities. Very quickly, my list of people I would consider friends whittled itself down. This is a natural life process- there are certain people who are in your life circumstantially. It doesn't belittle the weight of the friendship at the time, but it does make you consider what kinds of people are gonna be there for the long haul.

I think, because of this circumstance and also because I lost touch with so many people when I high-tailed it to Florida for three years after college graduation, that I had this ingrained fear that most adult friendships are transient. Dependent on circumstance and temporal. And I think, because of this, I perhaps haven't valued my friendships quite as much as I should have. This has been brought to my attention a lot recently. Several of my friends have gone to bat for me in circumstances that they surely didn't have to get involved in, much less offer the support and care that they did. I don't know why I got it in my head that you had already made all the lifelong friends you were going to make early on. This is categorically untrue.

Because, the fact is, my friends make up the bulk of my life here in Baltimore. Where I never wanted to be in the first place. They have become a family of sorts, a network of support and love. And, even more surprising to me, they don't always wait for me to reach out to them. Their presence is consistent, constant, and welcome. Persistent even, at times, as well it should be. When I am truly upset, I have a very nasty habit of hermiting myself away which leads to this cycle of feeling sorry for myself because I am alone. This is bass-akwards.

My mom told me that I never have to be alone if I don't want to be, and she's absolutely right. At any given moment, I am fortunate enough to have friends I can call who will show up, listen, laugh, answer the phone or a text, or otherwise be present. And I'd do the same for them.

I think this is part of what I feared so much about being single in my late twenties- I had this horrific and deep phobia that all of my friends would move, get married, or otherwise extricate themselves from my life and, little by little, my friendships would be pared down and I would find myself utterly alone. This has proved itself to be completely untrue. In fact, if anything, my circles of friends continue to grow (in strength and in breadth) the more I invest in my life here in Baltimore.

A lot of it goes back to the Butternut Squash Soup Incident of 2009. I was in a definitive low. Things were Not Going Well across the board. I was Not Happy. And the only thing I could think of to remedy a thousand broken situations was to move. I wanted out of Baltimore, out of the messes I had found myself in, away from a history of indecisiveness and apprehension. I started looking for jobs and apartments in New York, Vancouver, San Francisco, London, Berlin. I looked into work visas to catapult me abroad. I wanted Out.

And then Jaunt made a batch of butternut squash soup and gave me a stack of Tupperware bowls of it. Some for eating immediately, some for freezing. Jaunt made this delicious soup, purposefully made too much too much of it, and gave me the leftovers so that I would have meals for the future. I don't even think it took any mental strategizing on her part; it was simply a facet of this life she had in Baltimore. Buy ingredients, make soup, give leftovers to friends for future lunches and dinners. This is life; and this is what you do when you are a part of it.


And I realized that if I moved, I would be starting over. Again. With no neighbors to make me soup. I would be, for all intents and purposes, truly alone. Possibly in a foreign country. Sure, I'd make new friends and have new adventures. But how long would it be before someone gave me soup? It took me two years in Baltimore before someone did that. Did I want to leave all of the networks of community I had started here in Baltimore to wipe the slate clean and work, again, on building a life from the ground up somewhere else?

The logic seemed- and was- skewed. I was trying to escape Baltimore because I was seeking change and looking for things that I thought I couldn't find. Mainly- community, belonging, purpose. Right. Under. My. Nose.

A year later, I've...shall we say....re-evaluated several things in my life. And realized that I have no desire to move again, at least not in the near future. I've built a life here, a community, a network of caring, hilarious individuals who not only make me soup, but cupcakes, pieces of art, mixed CDs, artfully mixed martinis, and a plethora of other richness that makes everyday feel special in some small way. I have friends who teach me yoga, who help me run races, get me job interviews, sit next to me in chuch, and tell me to stop feeling sorry for myself when I occasionally start down the path of pity-party. I have friends who tell me when I'm out of line, when I'm beating dead horses, when I'm so far off-track I'm not even in the park anymore.

I finally have the life I always wanted, only it doesn't look a damn thing like this THING I had in mind so many years before. I'm never alone, not really, unless I choose to be. There's soup in my freezer, companionship a short walk in pretty much any direction. I have neighbors from whom I can borrow eggs. Or, on one occasion, lime juice. I have the kind of friends who tell me, point blank, "This is what your friendship means to me," and it's my job, then, to reciprocate and contribute and give and give as much love as I am getting in return. Because that's the clincher with adult friendships- when circumstance no longer binds you together, it takes effort and energy to keep the wheels turning. If it's too much effort, too much energy, the thing will fizzle itself out. But, for the right people (the ones who are life-long,) it's never too much and it doesn't even feel like effort half the time. It's just what you do. You show up. You answer the phone. You make soup and share it.

(This also isn't to say that I don't have life-long friends that "go wayyyyyyyyyyy back." Snap; frenemies from ages 13-18, long-distance admirers of one another's work from ages 18-23, and then bffffffffs from then on; is getting married this spring and I am a bridesmaid in her wedding. Our friendship began, in a very twisted sort of way, when she kissed a boy who was the love of my life for three months in 1995. I hated her. I coveted her white blonde hair. I kind of thought she was totally cool. We became friends when we had to play tennis together in high school. She is totally as cool as I suspected. Mr. Spaz and I go 'way back as well: my high school exboyfriend who became one of my closest friends and then married my college best friend. Double insurance that both of them will forever be a part of my life. There are others, too. Several friends from college who, despite our geographical distances, stay close in my life. A couple of true lifelong friends from grad school. Again with geographical distances. But, again, it doesn't matter.)

And, of course, I'm thankful for all of the debauchery that goes on. My friends-all of them- are, truly, partners-in-crime. Our history reflects a lot of late-nights and distilleries consumed. Especially, for some reason, the last six months or so. Good God, this was an epic summer. Which reminds me: it's Halloween weekend and Catalano's fiance is out of town. More history to be made. (And, subsequently, photos to be hidden away, never to be posted on Facebook or blogs or any sort of public sphere.)

The Last Few Weeks....









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Trashy, ugly queens.

Monday, October 25, 2010

You Found Me

Here are search terms from viewers who wound up here while seeking...perhaps not me, but that's what they found anyway.

AP Essay Grading rubric art
LGBT glitterati
glitterati baton rouge
got a vasectomy
that jaunt be the sh**
the avett brothers
Drama Glitterati Party
Glitterati's Pizza
cutaway earth grading rubric photos
is Glitterati a place in new york?
glitterati blog
new york glitterati
new orleans sweat bands and their meanings
glitterati dinner theater

I am thinking of opening a bowling alley/roller rink/coffee house/martini bar/used book store/music venue/art gallery featuring all of the above search terms as themes/decor/stock. Or...I'd invite you into my head because that right there is probably a fairly accurate description of what my thought processes look like at any given moment. Throw a bunch of fairy lights on everything and call it a day.

Friday, October 22, 2010

OK, Ani DiFranco...

I swear to God there are days when I wake up, spill everything, can't decide what to wear, feel mad at everyone for making my life difficult and then wonder why no one ever hugs me, trip over everything and nothing, and why is that girl's hair so perfect and is that person talking about me and I just want to go home and write about everything in my journal and eat graham crackers and then watch "My So-Called Life" and....

.....I realize that I am stuck in a time warp and I am actually 16 again and maybe I should re-read "Reviving Ophelia" and blame all of my insecurities and temper tantrums on society....

At least I know, at the core, I could very well someday be a successful teen writer. I am a little too mentally connected to the target market at times.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Marathon Relay

So, I'm pretty much still on an incredible high from this weekend. The marathon relay was everything I had hoped it would be- a beautiful fall day, running through the streets of Baltimore, feeling strong and finishing hard. I ran a little slower then I would have liked, but the whole race felt so good that I can't complain. After the race, my team managed to somehow collect a few hundred free beer tickets (literally- I have no idea how we hunted and gathered so many free tickets when everyone was only supposed to get 2), hit up Lee's parent's annual Marathon Party (where I'm pretty sure I housed about 4 plates of food, because apparently I forgot to eat post-race in all of the hubbub and fun), and then not only made it to the Avett Brothers concert at Pier Six (with Grace Potter and the Nocturnals) but also managed to close down the bars later that night. It was a marathon of a day, to say the least, and I'm still recovering. (See what I did there? Ha.)

To add to my lingering high today, I was called into the conference area to find that my bosses and coworkers had gotten me flowers and cookies to celebrate the completion of the big run. It was such a thoughtful gesture, and I'm pretty sure I would have shed a tear or two if I hadn't excused myself to go put the flowers in some water.

The whole experience has left me with a bit of a hankering for more, and a serious interest in training for the half next year. And this is how it starts. A 5k here, a 5k there...then a six mile relay....then a 13-mile half marathon. I don't think I could fully commit to the whole marathon, but then if you'd told me six months ago that I could beast out 6 miles in a decent time and feel so fantastic, I would never have believed you.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Canceled

I canceled all of my online dating profiles awhile back, in an uncharacteristically quiet and drama-free sweep of cleaning some clutter out of my life. But I've recently found myself in conversations in various venues where I've started opening up about the whole online dating thing: why I did it in the first place, the successes (0) and failures (multiple), and why I am no longer a proponent of it PERSONALLY but can see how it might work out for some people in general.

In order to understand my reason for canceling the profiles, I guess I should first state my reasons for signing up in the first place. They are, in this exact order:
1. For interesting stories.
2. To meet men in Baltimore that:
a) are not someone I've already dated
b) are not friends with someone I've already dated
c) are not currently dating or have ever dated any of my friends
d) do not frequent the same places I do thus raising the chances of awkwardness (I like a little geographical separation, if only from one neighborhood to another)
e) have tastes/interests/hobbies similar to mine.

I'm not going to regale you with stories of some of the creepsters who sent me hilarious, sad, ridiculous, and sometimes downright pervy emails. We all know they're out there, and it's a stale story that (SHOCK! SURPRISE! AWE!) there are people with less-than-average social skills crawling online dating websites. To be fair, there are people with less-than-average social skills also crawling the bar scene. They're just sometimes a little easier to spot on-line.

I will say this: it's too much information. Pulling up someone's profile and seeing all their deets in black and white, perusing their interests/hobbies/family structures/pet peeves and getting all of this information upfront is definitely one way of weeding out individuals. The power of information is not to be belittled. I sure as hell don't want to meet up with the guy who has publicly posted on his profile the fact that he got a vasectomy at 21 to avoid contributing to the overpopulation of the earth. More power to you, Dude- you weed through a substantial population of females who might want to think about procreating someday that way. And I'm not particularly interested in striking up a conversation with a hardcore right-wing Republican who attends anti-choice rallies on weekends.

But all of this works against you as well. I've been on so many dates with guys who, on paper, are my Gemini twin: same likes, dislikes, upbringing, wants, desires, views of the world. And I meet them in person and, I've discovered, having 500 things in common with someone is absolutely no guarantee of any chemistry, spark, physical attraction, or even that you'll LIKE this person. I'm well aware that one of my most insufferable habits is correcting peoples' grammar. I get this trait from my mother (who emails me when there are errors in my blog- which I have learned to love to hate.) I don't need to date someone who has this similar burning desire for grammatical correctness. It would drive me insane. I also don't need to date a guy who loves Chick Lit. Some interests are mine, should be mine alone, and are not for sharing.

And, in my day, I've fallen for guys who are virtual opposites of me in every way. It's just a matter of what works and what doesn't and no online dating profile is going to give you that particular stat upfront.

Mostly, thought, there was something very significant lacking for me with online dating, and this was the thrilling sense of an organic situation arising out of chance meeting. There is something so very intoxicating about dating that derives from everyday or random situations. Whether it's suddenly seeing a friend in a different light, or chancing into an unparalleled conversation with a stranger at a bar, or having someone answer your Craigslist ad for a roommate and subsequently dating this individual for three months thereafter. It's all about the story.

I'm not saying there's no magic to be had in online dating. I know so many people for whom it's worked out, but I just never had any luck with it and, after awhile, I started getting annoyed with it. It was one more thing to check, one more set of emails to weed through, and one more spot of homework to be done in my otherwise busy life. Then there was the attempt to set up dates. Apparently it's a pretty big turnoff when you say to a guy, "I'm pretty busy this week and next- could we meet for coffee three weeks from Tuesday?"

So maybe I wasn't really all that committed to the process to begin with. I mostly signed up out of curiosity, really. And for the stories, of course.

Example: Record for shortest date- 25 minutes. I spent 1 minute sizing up the situation and the next 24 wondering how long I had to stay before it wouldn't seem so completely rude to leave. One cup of coffee later, I was out the door dropping the totally lame coup de grace of "Oh, my friend just texted me...she needs me to pick her up." Even I was ashamed. But this date was literally painful. We had absolutely nothing to talk about, and there were actually long periods of silence where we just sort of stared at the floor or the ceiling. We couldn't even grasp at straws and talk about news headlines. It was THAT. BAD.

Mostly, though, I've found that I vastly prefer to spend my time in the company of friends and doing things that I actually like doing as opposed to going to dinner/drinks/coffee/whatever with strangers. Perhaps if I were older and had been single for longer it would be different, and I would be more interested in meeting new people online. But, for now, I'm pretty happy with where things are and much more interested in meeting someone organically as a result of all of this time spent doing things I actually like doing.

Although I have some damn good stories. Saving it for the novel that I'm going to write someday. There's a statute of limitations on certain things.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Style and Fun, Not Competition

I do also need to add in here that I could not have asked for a better marathon relay team. Far from being overly concerned with timing, performance, and endurance, our focus is on two primary objectives:

1. Looking Good. This was accomplished through forming a cohesive identity and complying with a design scheme involving matching sweat bands and a commitment to an 80's aerobics theme. If you're going to be running a marathon relay, you damn well better look the part. Forget about high-tech fabrics that wick or expensive sports outfits- we're going for retro style here, and if you can't go big then you can go home. So completely committed is my team, that our captain has cautioned us against running too fast for fear spectators and other runners won't be able to fully appreciate the visual.

2. Obtaining Extra Beer Tickets. Each team member is awarded 2 beer tickets upon the completion of the relay. This is, obviously, not nearly enough. Our goal is to obtain additional tickets by any means possible (and I think El Capitan is quite serious about any means...) Why? Because we just, collectively, ran 26.2 miles and will be in need of refreshment. And, because we have seasoned livers, we require more refreshment then the more serious runners who will most likely want to forgo the free beer. And we will be happy to relieve them of their tickets.

I could have wound up on a team where performance was the number one goal. Although I certainly am going for a PR here, it's nice to know that my team is focused primarily on these aspects and that timing is, really, only thirdly important. I don't think I could be on any other kind of team.

Our team motto: "Rule #1 of Marathon Relay Club: Never apologize, never explain. We run for style and fun, not for competition!"

Rock on.

This Is Ourselves Under Pressure

My alarm went off at 6:10 yesterday morning. As usual, I hauled myself out of bed, feeling approximately one million years old, with legs and back aching. Dark out. Of course. Chillier now, in the mornings. A jacket was needed, and I could see my breath. When I first started this, there were mornings when I would be sweating before I even got out of bed. Somewhere in there, there's been a transition of three seasons: spring to summer to fall. In another handful of weeks, it will be straight-up cold in the mornings but this day marks the last official day of Training.

For the past 10 weeks, since nearly the beginning of August, it's been six days a week of training for the marathon relay this Saturday.Six days a week, some in the early mornings and some in the evenings when I limp through the door from work. Running before or after work doesn't seem to make any particular difference in terms of energy levels: forty minutes of alternating jogs and sprints is exhausting regardless of whether it's at 6:30am or 7:30pm.

I originally signed up for the marathon relay back in June, when running was still a fairly new activity to me.

Let me make one thing clear: I'm no runner. I ran indoor track for one season in high school, but mostly I found the whole ordeal so boring I eventually quit for the more interesting pursuits of theater and for sports that involved a little more action and ball-hitting, like tennis. I'm a very active person, but I also get routinely bored and so tend to change it up between running, elliptical, yoga, and Pilates.

The running thing just kind of happened. One day last spring, my muscles were itching to do something and the gym was closed. I so rarely have the urge to run, and even more rarely do I want to run outside. I was always a treadmill kind of girl, preferring to watch syndicated episodes of Friends while listening to Thievery Corporation. But this particular day, the gym was closed and I was in serious need of a sweat session. I laced up my crappy New Balances, strapped the iPod to my arm, and went for a run.

It was fairly short at first, just a couple of miles through the Inner Harbor, maybe. A mere jog pace. But it felt so good that, the next day, I found myself reaching for the running shoes again.

It became an addiction. Two miles turned into three, then four, then timing became more of an issue. Everyday, until my quads hurt so badly I had to take a day off. All that day, I felt itchy. I couldn't sit still. I had a trainer teach me better stretches. My parents bought me new shoes for my birthday, and I traded in my badly-worn trainers for shiny new shoes that actually fit. My miles pared down from 11 minutes to 10 to 9 to an epic 8. I signed up for the Baltimore Womens Classic.

Running a 5k would have been, in the past, a horrifying prospect. Challenging yourself to physical feats in the privacy of your own mind is one thing. But putting money down, getting a timing chip and a bib, and performing this in a venue with a thousand other women is an entirely new arena. As I said before, I'm not a runner. Or, at least, I wasn't until I crossed the finish line in 26 minutes and 33 seconds- a very decent time for my first 5k.

My second 5k I shaved nearly two minutes off of my time. And it was on a hill course in the pouring rain. I was hooked.

Signing up for the marathon relay was a definitive turning point in my life. Not only did it mean that I would have to commit to my new hobby for a distinctive period of time (commitment being a difficult agenda for any Gemini, this one in particular) I have a nasty habit of jumping on board with some activity/passion/hobby/
project, getting my life all up into it, and then slowly becoming bored or less disciplined or otherwise drifting away. It's not something I'm proud of and, in fact, Jackal and I adopted as our New Year's Resolution for 2010 the mantra: Finish what you start.

I knew it would be hard, I knew I would get discouraged, but I also knew that if I signed on the dotted line and made a promise to a team that I would be there- fit and ready for action- that I would follow through. Because, apparently, I can't keep the promises I make to myself (I WILL finish all of those projects I started...someday), but I'll go through hell and high water and a whole lot of other crap to keep promises I make to other people. One of my biggest pet peeves is flaky individuals, and I often damn near kill myself attempting to never come off as such.

And, the thing is, this year has been a whole lot of "put your money where your mouth is" in terms of following through on what I say I'm going to do. Running the marathon relay- and doing it in a decent time- is a huge point of pride for me. After having spent a couple of years floundering around, not really sure what I wanted to do, I'm pretty damn proud of saying that in 2010 I went to New Orleans and helped build some houses; found my passion in life and subsequently found an awesome job that routinely allows me to engage in all the things that make me happy; ran four 5k races and will run a 6-mile marathon relay with an awesome team. It's been a busy year.

So, along with about several thousand other people including many of my friends who have also risen to the challenge, I'll be running through the streets of Baltimore on Saturday morning. Even if I come in over my projected goal time, if I finish then I will finally have seen something through to the end. And knowing I can do this, knowing that the power to take responsibility and discipline into my own hands, is endlessly empowering.

Now, about that novel I'm gonna write....maybe if someone makes me sign up for a deadline....

Monday, October 11, 2010

Get Over Yourself.


(This is not an octopus.)

It pains me to admit it, but I've been wrong about some stuff lately.

For one thing, octopus have three hearts. Two hearts exist for the pumping of blood through each set of gills, and the third is for the rest of the octopus body. They work in concert with one another to get blood pumping through what is actually a fairly complex, and frighteningly intelligent animal. That appears to be a sack of Jell-O with snake arms.

I was convinced that the octopus is the only animal in the kingdom with triple hearts.

Convinced.

As it turns out.......I was wrong.

It was a crushing defeat; one I handled with neither grace nor dignity. I stomped my foot. I pounded my fist. I downed another beer. I stated my point, over and over again.

I'm pretty sure Apple should market a series of commercials about the fact that, in the digital age, most people are less than 15 seconds away from proving you wrong. A few buttons pushed (most of them mine,) a link up to some distant satellite, and BOOM--I'm wrong. Dead wrong.

Octopii do have 3 hearts. So do squid, cuttlefish, and nautiluses. All of which are counted as separate- but equally triple hearted- creatures.

I was wrong.

Swallowing your pride is not something that has ever come easily to me. Admitting wrong and accepting blame are so incredibly hard. It took me years upon years upon years just to say that maybe, perhaps, quite possibly, I am not a victim. Maybe sometimes I make decisions that are....less than wise.

The fact is that I usually assume that most decisions I make are stupid and fraught with failure. I am my harshest critic, as I'm sure most people are for themselves. I just don't always publicly admit this. I'll sling a whole lot of blame around before I'll realize that pointing a finger means at least three are pointed back at you. I had a high school teacher fond of that expression. I found that it also applies to more rude hand gestures as well.

The thing is- sometimes you have to take a huge step back when a situation is feeling fraught and you're feeling cornered. You have to take a step back, breathe, and before you begin listing faults and blame-gaming all over the place, you should probably first stake out what the caliber of ground is you're standing on. Because, 9 times out of 10, there's a good chance that ground is shifting depending on who's defining it.

That's not to say that I'm wrong all of the time. It's just that I somehow developed some sort of indefatigable self-righteousness somewhere along the line, believing I had it all figured out and that I had somehow risen to some enlightenment that perhaps other people hadn't quite reached yet. And the universe has a way of knocking you down a few pegs when this happens.

I think one of the hardest lessons to "embrace with grace" is how to accept responsibility, to figure out what you did wrong, and how, and why, and then figure out how to salvage the pieces and move on from there. It's not a pretty process. In fact, it can be downright humiliating, upsetting, and earth shattering.

But it's important. Because when you find yourself making the same mistakes again and again, sooner or later you have to come to terms with the idea that perhaps you should change up your game plan a little bit.

I was wrong about the octopus. Thankfully I hadn't staked any money on that one. But there are certain things in my life that I do put a lot of stake in, and I don't want to come up short. Stepping back, admitting blame, and uttering a well-timed mea culpa is possibly the only antidote to ultimate failure.

So...you know. I'm sorry. For the whole octopus thing. I was wrong. I should have fact-checked before I went spewing my inconclusive knowledge of the phyla Cephalopod. Only I don't think Cephalopods are a phyla. They're a class. And the difference between a class and a phyla is....I have no freaking clue. I was a dual Mass Comm/Theater major who squeaked through Bio 101.

Not that I'm making excuses.

Hide Your Children from THE GAY.

I just don't even know what to say to you, Carl.

Thankfully Cuomo spokesperson Josh Vlasto does:
"Mr. Paladino's statement displays a stunning homophobia and a glaring disrespect for basic equality. These comments along with other views he has espoused make it clear that he is way out of the mainstream and is unfit to represent New York."