Tuesday, September 28, 2010



CATALANO: Um...so....your new blog format?


CATALANO: Well, it's great.....


CATALANO: Well...it's just....kind of....a little bit......

GLITTERATI: Cluttered? Hard to read?

CATALANO: Um, well, kind of. Yeah.

GLITTERATI: Lee said the same thing. Dammit.

The Grid

42nd St > Herald Sq > hotel on 37th between 5th and 6th > Central Park > Coffee Shop Bar, 16th and Union Sq > Brooklyn Promenade > Heights Cafe > hotel > Stanton near Houston > Employees Only, Hudson > Times Sq > hotel> Times Sq > Union Sq > Punch, Broadway > East Village, St. Marks > VBar, 1st and St. Marks > Rockefeller Ctr > NBC studios > Shake Shack, Madison Sq Park > East Village > Bua Bar, St. Marks > Living Theater's 70's Porn Party > East Village bar crawl > St. Marks.

What a fabulous weekend. Wining and dining with some of my nearest and dearest. Am still recovering. More- plus pictures- to come.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Empire State of Mind

Stupid is coming tomorrow.

As if that weren't enough, we are heading up to NYC for the weekend.

I should mention here that Stupid is, of course, one of my Most Favorite People. We met in Florida when I was in grad school, and then she broke both of our hearts when she moved back home to Kansas City. A year or so later, I moved to Baltimore. And every year since, we have seen each other at least once. If not twice, like last summer. She flew out for my birthday, I flew out to surprise her for hers.

This year, we decided to eschew our home cities in favor of a bigger one: my favorite and her first time.

I'm not sure if there's anything better in the world then this formula:
(Excellent/Hilarious/Adventurous Company) + (Travel To A Favorite City)

Oh, wait.

We're staying with New Kid for a night. Who is also a Florida friend, who is also on my Most Favorite People List.


(Excellent/Hilarious/Adventurous Company)x2 + (Travel To A Favorite City)

= Glitterati is one happy girl right about now.

(I have no idea what this is...but I saw it in a store the last time I was in NYC and it said "Glitterati" on it. So, it's mine. Whatever it is. Some sort of....froufy, sparkly thing. Excellent.)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Embarrassing Groceries


Nothing like catching the eye of the guy behind you in line at the grocery store, realizing it's that guy from high school who wasn't hot at the time but suddenly became some sort of hot emo rocker that you know is most likely bad news but you feel might just possibly be at least somewhat solid because, technically, you've known him for over ten years so he can't be totally bad news so maybe you should say hi and.....

...then you realize you're buying a stack of Lean Cuisines and ten thousand cans of cat food. And toilet paper. Oh, let's not forget that.


Nothing like being embarrassed about your groceries.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Party Like It's 1999

I'm sitting on a sofa listening to Pearl Jam's Daughter, drinking beer out of a Solo cup. The girl next to me is wearing sunglasses inside at night. The girl on the other side of me has on the requisite flannel and Chucks. I've got rips in my tights expertly manipulated by my gay friend who utilized a fork for maximum effect. We are mired in how cool we are, at a house party with good music, dipping our hands into a bowl of Doritos and sucking the powdery orange cheese off of our fingertips which are stained red from earlier Jell-O shots. We are situated in the 1990's, when the epitome of cool was saying, casually, "Oh, I'm with the band." That is, of course, unless you were high school rock royalty fortunate enough to utter with chilling complexity, "I'm in the band."

And then my cell phone vibrates and it's a friend asking me if I picked up a card for the bridal shower I have to attend the next day. And I'm rocketed back into 2010, and it's not the 90s, but Eddie Vedder is still singing and the beer is still cold in my hand, and I suddenly remember that I'm 28 years old and that the relics of my teenage years have now reached a classic status worthy of being a House Party Theme. We are old enough to mock who we used to be, and how cool we thought we were.

But I remember. Old cars with duct tape on the cracked leather seats and someone jamming The Smiths into a tape deck. When diners were hangouts, and Goodwill had the best flannels. Late nights and frosty breath and watching the seniors sneak cigarettes out on the playing fields during breaks from drama rehearsals. When life was distilled down to the immediate necessity of saying the right thing at the right time, knowing the lyrics to the right songs, and having the right shoes. What, really, has changed?

Oh, you know...health insurance and retirement plans and memos and cars breaking down and mortgages and bridal showers and actually LOOKING like you're hungover instead of just feeling it. All of that. But sometimes I think we're all, deep down, just a bunch of fifteen-year-olds with our hands shoved into our pockets trying desperately to achieve that delicate balance of aloof and approachable, interested but sort of bored, non-nonchalant but vivacious.

So it's funny when we dig through our closets and pull out old clothes and try them on for a night for someone's house party theme. The music, at least, is still good. Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, the old 99.1 WHFS line-up. We poke fun at who we used to be, and laugh as we eat snacks we would now never buy, and distort our teenage selves. I know how my parents felt now when I used to dress up as a hippie for Halloween. You take yourself so seriously at 15- you never envision yourself, thirteen years later, making a mockery of it.

So I think about thirteen years from now, and whether or not I'll be sitting on someone's couch listening to the Hotel Costes soundtrack and giggling as we eat hummus with pita chips and drink $7-a-bottle pinot while wearing skinny jeans with flats. If we'll reach a point, again, where who we are is dated and "classic" enough to be camp. If we'll have "2010 parties" in our later years and make fun of who we were in our twenties. If we'll joke about BP and Obama the way we did about OJ and cigars. If we laugh at how seriously we took ourselves at that time, and think of how much better off we are.

Kind of puts things in perspective.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Friday Trivia Email

For your enjoyment:

Dearest Trivials,

Oh, it has been so long! Can you believe we have been apart for nearly TWO WEEKS?! Oh, the agony.

Look, I'll be honest with you. In your absence, a coupla things have changed. I mean, what was I supposed to do? Sit around for two weeks and wait for you to return to my life? I mean come on, Trivs, life happens! LIFE HAPPENS. So, yeah, I grew a beard. It wasn't my intention, it just kind of happened. I know how you hate it when I have a beard but...well...you WEREN'T HERE. So I grew a freaking beard, ok? And you know what? I LIKE IT. And not only do I like it, OTHER PEOPLE like it. Maybe that's why you hated the beard so much...you noticed all the attention I was getting from other people, and it kind of upset you a little bit, eh?

That's not all that's changed. I mean, I kind of went through a bit of a rough patch there; you know, we all face that from time to time. And I started really thinking about my life- like REALLY THINKING- and I realized....hey....what the heck is going on here, you know?! I mean, YOU KNOW? So I figured I needed to get my life in order a little bit, figure out what I want MY life to look like....don't be insulted, ok, because need I remind you that you were EMOTIONALLY AND PHYSICALLY ABSENT these past 2 weeks, so....anyway, I decided that what I really need to do is, like, buy an RV. I mean one of those old VW RV's....with the curtains. So I sold a bunch of your clothes (oh yeah, my bad) and cashed in some old savings bonds and bought myself a 1967 VW RV. And the curtains were ALREADY INSTALLED. Can you believe it?

So basically what I'm trying to tell you is that I'm on this like....spiritual journey. And...I feel like it's been a long time coming. We were just kind of...stuck, you know? And- don't get me wrong- I am so, SO glad that you're back and all, but....you just have to accept that I'm kind of a new person. I have a different approach to life now, and these past two weeks have been so life-changing. I read all of this graffiti and it like...reached me, you know? Like really reached me.

So we can totally be back together and all, but I'm like not shaving this beard anytime soon. That's non-negotiable. And, you know, honestly I can think of nothing I'd like more than for you to board my VW RV as my co-captain and we'll head on down this trail towards spiritual enlightenment together and all, you know?

But seriously...not shaving the beard. So don't get all over-bearing, naggy, whining Trivia on me again.

Peace and smooches,

Lady "Rainbow" Trivia

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

My Life Would Suck (Without You)

Oh, Kelly Clarkson. I have the deepest of love for you, ever since you graced us with "A Moment Like This" while Justin "I'm Totally Not Gay Because I Got Married To A Woman" Guarini stood by with his perfect 'fro and his perfect gap between his perfect teeth to smile you onward towards your pop career.

I digress. That was an aside, believe it or not.

The point of this blog update was to announce the reinstatement of @NewGlitterati's Twitter account. I canceled it awhile back because, well, it just seemed like one more thing. Like honestly, I already have an entire blog dedicated to my mindless musings...who the heck wants to follow my mindless musings throughout the day? To be honest, I never really got the point of Twitter. Facebook I could get on board with, for some reason, but Twitter....it was just one more account to check, one more log-in, one more thing to update. It's possible I will reach this level of frustration again, but since I've been cleaning house and shaping up around here (did you notice the changes? No? Really? Take another look. Go on...I'll give you a moment. No, really. Seriously? Wow. Come back and read this blog after a good 8 hours of sleep and we'll discuss this again. SERIOUSLY?!) I figured I'd get back on the multi-directional bandwagon of technology.

So yeah, you know, follow me or whatever or don't. It's fine by me. I can't promise anything staggeringly funny or different, but I can promise that at some point I'll most likely post something I'll later regret, I'll frequently mention weird inside jokes, and I'll probably talk a lot about food and drinks and movies and music since those are four of my Most Favorite Things and things to which I dedicate a lot of time. I'll try to be good and actually keep up with it this time.

But seriously, I thought I'd slip through the changes to the blog and just not say anything which, in retrospect, was a little rude. Those of you who have been coming here for years temporarily freaked out wondering if you'd somehow stumbled onto the wrong blog. It's sort of like when you come home for the summer after college and discover- gasp- that your family has converted your room into, say, a guest bedroom (or that your younger brother has hijacked it, boxed up all your stuff, painted it a different color, and moved in- NOT THAT THIS STILL BOTHERS ME OR ANYTHING) and you feel a little bereft at having been left out of the decision-making process.

I'm sorry, Glitteratis. But if I stared at that blank white page for one more second....it's had the same layout since inception (NOT the movie...) in March of 2008. 2.5 long years we've had here together, eh? Anyway....

The changes are not permanant and it may take awhile before I find a layout that I (and you, dear readers) can really feel at home in. But I liked this one for the meantime. A little cozy, no? Kind of makes you want a cup of tea and a cookie, eh?


On this lovely Wednesday evening, I am enjoying a glass of Martin Codax tempranillo in a (very loud) cafe and tempting myself with the idea of something sweet.

Movie I watched last night: Happy Go Lucky. Loved it. Took me awhile to place Sally Hawkins until I remembered that she'd guest starred on several episodes of Little Britain.

Welcome back, Glitteratis. Settle in. Have a glass of wine. Or a cookie. Or both! It's all fine here!

Oh, and follow me or whatever.

Agony Auntie

I have an intense desire to be Carolyn Hax. Or at least tap into her divinely creative and intuitive EQ.

I mean, I can't sort out my own interpersonal relationships for crap, but I would love to have a go at someone else's! Up for it? Email me at thenewglitterati@gmail.com and we'll see where it goes.

Forthcoming: more on the Happiness Project.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Treats from the Half-Assed Gourmet

'Tis the season; fall, that is. While it might still be a good week or so away from the official start of fall, all of this weather in the upper 70's after a summer of 100+ degree heat is feeling downright nippy.

It's about the time of year where I begin the shift away from craving ice cream and frozen fruit (is there anything more wee-fwesh-ing than frozen strawberries in the summer?!) to warm, gooey deliciousness.

There are two items ubiquitous in the kitchens and pantries of pretty much everyone I know: fruit that's about to turn, and a random rummage of half-empty bottles of liqueurs leftover from that time you made sangria or from last winter's blizzard when everyone drank laced coffee and hot chocolate for a week straight.

There are two more items that should be ubiquitous in your kitchen: dark, dark, dark chocolate and that almighty fat free, sugar free chemical fluff known as Cool Whip. I keep both of these items in the freezer and, believe me, there is little you can't throw in with these two things that won't be delicious. Stale cookies, a crumbled granola bar....seriously, try it!

So, slice up that banana that is seriously starting to go soft and simmer for a minute or two in a pan with some Frangelica. Shave some dark chocolate on top, throw a spoonful of frozen Cool Whip over the whole thing, and it all melts together in some insanely delicious (and, I like to believe, not so terribly fattening) last-minute Bananas Foster. Take those too-dark strawberries and throw them in a pan for a flash frying in some blackberry brandy. Again, top with some dark chocolate shavings and a dollop of Cool Whip.

This can work with just about any kind of fruit and any kind of liquor. Apples sliced and flash-fried in Goldschlager. Too-ripe berries tossed in flat champagne or a little bit of coconut rum.

Experiment! And- I'm telling you- dark chocolate shavings and a dollop of Cool Whip rarely steer anyone wrong. Some stale graham crackers work too.

Welcome, Glitteratis, to the Half-Assed Gourmet. Throwing together deliciousness from random odds and ends. I'd like to post more of these in the future, so ideas and suggestions are always appreciated.

Monday, September 13, 2010


Untitled, Sept 2001, The New Glitterati.

I didn't want September 11 to go by unnoticed on this blog.

I, along with about a thousand other runners in Baltimore, lined up at the War Memorial Plaza on Saturday morning to participate in the Run to Remember 5k. It was an absolutely beautiful morning, reminiscent of that day.

Not a year passes that I don't find myself in some sort of quiet reflection on September 11, and I don't think one ever will.

We're embroiled in a tense political climate with people clamoring over one another for even five seconds of ludicrous talk time to scream about mosques and spitting on the graves of the dead for attempting to erect anything that even remotely smacks of Muslim-identity anywhere near Ground Zero. It was nice to take a moment of silence, the sun emitting brilliantly against that snappy blue cloudless sky, the slightest of early-morning autumn chill in the air, listening to flags flap and just musing on everything I hate and love so very much about this country. We are, undoubtedly, sublimely fortunate to have opinions on things. Sometimes, though, I think that people take advantage of this.

I ran because it was a way to be active and involved, because it made me feel like a part of something bigger, and because, in some small and probably insignificant way, it made me feel like part of the solution. We can have conflicting opinions, we can fight, we can throw our weight around and we can even come dangerously close to hating one another over political opinions. But, at the end of the day, regardless of affinity or affirmation, we can get together and we can all run a race, elbow-to-elbow, to remember and celebrate and mourn.

If there is any message to be learned, if there is any silver lining, if there can be a tiny drop of wisdom in the midst of the rubble and smoke that still haunts us, then it must be this: we're all in this life together. Whether you like it or not.

Never forget, they say. Who could?
Untitled, Sept 2001, The New Glitterati

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Seat's Taken

What keeps you going isn't some fine destination,
but just the road you are on and the fact that you know how to drive.
-Barbara Kingsolver

Friday, September 10, 2010

Trivia Email Friday

Too much heavy stuff around here! One of my greatest pleasures is composing the Friday Trivia Email, with which I take dramatic creative license.

Here's today's.

NOTE: My trivia emails are ONLY KIND OF MOSTLY fiction. Any resemblance to real or historical figures is unintended. Except for the fact that my parents really did not allow us any fun cereal of any kind.

Dear Trivials,

I'm starting to think of these emails as sort of a one-sided pen pal exchange. Sure, every now and again you bombard me with hate mail or corrections to some questions I asked on February 27, 2009 (STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS, PEOPLE!), but mostly they remind me of the kind of exchange I once had with a girl I met in Ocean City when I was 10. Her family had rented a condo on the same floor as mine, and we spent two weeks of the summer playing on the beach and watching cartoons and eating sugary cereal (at her place of course- my parents GENEROUSLY ALLOWED us to have evil processed cereals like FROSTED MINI-WHEATS on vacation. I mean, come on, this was a step up from our usual choice of Grape Nuts or Wheat Chex, but certainly nowhere near anything resembling tiny cookies or anything that would turn your milk Technicolor pink.)

Our letters started off:

Dear Little Lady Trivia (because, of course, I had not yet risen to the stature I claim today),
HIYA! Howz your summer? Mine's great. My brother is stupid. I got a new horse. He's white and named Prince. Do you have a horse? I made you a friendship bracelet! We should start a Friendship Club!
Anywayz, gotta run!
Horse Gurrrl

Dear Horse Gurrrl,
Sup? My summer is ok. My brother is also stupid. I don't have a horse. I live in a stupid city. I have 2 cats. Only one likes me. I want a horse. I would name him Chad. Thanks for the bracelet! Can we have secret names in our Friendship Club?

Dear LLT,
My new horse is so awesome. Do you like the picture I sent you of me riding my horse? My secret name will be Princess Victoria and yours can be Miss Ethel.
Princess Victoria

Dear PV,
Yeah, the pic is great. Here's a pic of me from swim team. I'm mad because I'm cold and because I got disqualified for not touching the wall with both hands. If I had a horse I'll bet I would not be so mad! How come you're not wearing your friendship bracelet in the picture?
Miss Ethel (I'm not sure that I like this name...could I be Princess Veronica?)

Dear Miss Ethel,
No, you can't be Princess Veronica because it sounds too much like my name and I already picked my name!
Princess Victoria

Dear PV,
You didn't answer my question about the friendship bracelet!
love always,
Miss Ethel

Dear PV,
Haven't heard from you in awhile! Friendship Club is not the same without you!
Miss Ethel

Dear PV,
Miss Ethel

I'm never speaking to you again.
See you next summer!
Miss Ethel

Lady Trivia

PS: If you are interested in hosting a round, please let me know! Please note that the category of "A capella singing of rock ballads" has already been done.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Take Initiative

#6 on the Happiness Project: Take Initiative at work.

How does this translate?

MERCURY RETROGRADE has me in a state of unease. I am disorganized, feeling sleepy and slightly panicked, and seriously self-doubting. Why do these things always go altogether like some jambling, horrible, off-key sonata? I constantly feel as though I am a step behind, or too far ahead, or somehow lacking crucial details. This is typical Mercury Retrograde, but also typical of what happens whenever I neglect to allot enough time for what I've come to term "White Space."

White Space is clean, clear, and under control. White Space is "I don't have to be anywhere at this moment but where I am." White Space is "STFU, turn the phone off, and no, I am not answering that email RIGHTTHISSECOND." White Space is an active passiveness, a stepping away.

I find excellent White Space in monotonous activities. Cooking, showering, on the treadmill at the gym. When my body is occupied and my mind is mine, all mine. But you can find White Space in a variety of environments and tasks.

Not driving. White Space requires a sense of relaxation, of not-constant vigilence. Maybe a long drive. Sunset in autumn, wide road, destination far off, no traffic, music blaring. That could be White Space.

White Space is undemanding, and requires nothing of you but the untangling of thought processes and the general resetting of one's state of being. Interruptions, false starts, or impatient stimuli disturb this.

So...how does this translate to taking initiative at work and happiness? Well, I define "work" as not simply what you do during business hours or how you make money, but any sort of project that you engage in that requires brain or brawn power. It could be errands, chores, To Do's, any of those things. Taking initiative and actively grabbing responsibility causes wheels to turn and things to get done.

All in the hope of creating more White Space for oneself.

White Space requires a silencing of all other demands, and most of the time the only way these demands in our lives can be silenced is if they are addressed. To pursue White Space means to clear up the clutter of your life, to tie up the loose ends and dot "i's" and cross "t's" and confirm, confirm, confirm. That way, nothing can creep in to White Space. Taking initiative to clear your own plate of responsibility not only makes you feel able and proactive, it also gives you a sense of completion and productivity that will come in handy when you're ready to wipe the slate clean and decompress.

It's sort of like lying on the couch. Lying on the couch, reading chick lit. How relaxing! But wait....did you remember to take out the trash? If it doesn't go out right now, you'll forget. And if you forget, the bins will be overflowing next week and you'll receive one of those ridiculously passive aggressive "friendly reminders" from your Neighborhood Association representative who--of course--has been keeping tabs on the state of your garbage disposal. And taking out the trash requires- crap- that you purchase new trash bags. Which means you have to put gas in your car.

Lying on the couch reading a chick lit book has suddenly become a Thursday evening nightmare of chores and To Do lists.

Taking initiative means keeping all of the little tick tocks of your life up-to-date, in working order, and at least halfway full with a note (physically written and placed strategically) to buy more. To avoid interruption of White Space. To cultivate a sense of completion and relaxation. Which leads to.....happiness. Oh the joy of chores done, clean house, phone calls made, wine glass full, new book to be read, and no where to be or anyone to answer to. Bliss!

I liken it to vacation. When I go on vacation, I want the house spotless, laundry done, bills paid, chores completed so that when I come back, I am walking into a clear space. Whilst on vacation, I'm not lying there obsessing over whether or not I remembered to buy cat litter. It's been done. I took care of it. Breathe sigh of relief. Nothing infiltrates White Space.

Take initiative. On the job, start to notice little loose ends that require tightening. Confirm, confirm, confirm.

(I cannot stress this point enough: CONFIRM!)

I wish you healthy productivity and rejuvenating White Space. Get cracking.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Where The Voices At?

Just finished watching The U.S. vs. John Lennon.

I kept thinking about my generation, and who might be seen as the cultural, radical, innovative thinkers. Greenday?

With "the medium is the message" distorting sensationalism and creating something out of nothing, there seems to be nothing left in this world that is truly original or groundbreaking. And, when it comes to political spheres and protests and ways in which we react to the Powers That Be...well, you can plan five thousand benefit concerts and it will never- in any way- come close to what The Beatles, and John Lennon in particular, did for political movements in the 1960's and 70's.

My generation appears lazy, jaded, and cathartic. The children of the flower children, and what wars are we fighting? Sure, we're the first to embrace things like recycling, organic living, and green initiatives. But we've also watched so many wars, a ballooning defense budget, and attacks on the right to the pursuit of happiness. Where are the radicals in this country where gay people are denied basic civil rights? Where are the demonstrations and, maybe the more important question, what could anyone possibly do in this day and age to really garner attention?

In the age of YouTube, Facebook, blogspot, and all the other ways we can communicate our hard-earned (albeit certainly not by us) rights to voice our opinions publicly and safely, where's the sensationalism that is required in radical schools of thought? It seems, in this day, you have to drink the Kool Aid or marry a bunch of thirteen-year-old girls or shave your head and come after a paparazzi's van with an umbrella to get any semblance of attention.

John and Yoko spent 7 days of their honeymoon in bed, allowing reporters and filmographers and photographers access to their most intimate of moments. And it was ground-breaking. It was real, it was raw, and there was nothing to hide. They had their message, they had a captive audience, and although we might now look back on their escapades with a decided yawn (you mean they weren't photographed climbing pantiless out of the back of a limo or caught doing lines of cocaine off of an LA club toilet?? How boring.) it was absolutely radical, it was absolutely new, and it was absolutely a media-frenzy. Regardless of whether or not it made a difference (and I think it can be argued that the fact that my generation; some of whom weren't even alive to see Lennon walk the earth let alone bed down with his Japanese wife; has a very visual mental picture of Lennon and Yoko in bed together with flowing hair and white pajamas shows just how permanent sensational media images can be) it was seen and heard and held a presence.

Who's holding a presence now? I would argue that John Stewart and Stephen Colbert have made significant contributions. Maybe Family Guy and The Simpsons. South Park, to a certain extent. But where are the artists? Where are the sensationalists? What could they possibly do that hasn't already been done?

Where are our generation's John and Yoko, fighting back against Rupert Murdoch and ridiculous bigotry and the nauseating reactions to building a center that promotes religious tolerance in the Financial District of New York City? Where are they fighting against the evil of BP, against a government that will leap into action for crises halfway around the world but take five days to send aid to one of our very own cities in an act that, I am more and more convinced, is evidence of the presence of institutionalized racism here in this country? Where are our battle cries, what cards are we burning, and how long do we have to grow our hair before it's anything more than some hipster's idea of a fundraiser?

I wish I knew. I'm just as guilty as anyone else. I'm not eschewing the system; in fact, I'm very much working alongside of it. To be fair, I'm doing so in an effort to enact change and promote advocacy and activism, but honestly I'm not existing outside of any boxes here.

What will the documentaries about our generation look like? Obsessed with ourselves, with our personal growth, with our "journeys," and Facebook and personal achievements? We are the most selfish generation to cross this earth; the most highly-educated and, by far, the stupidest. And, please understand, I in no way credit myself or place myself outside of it. I'm just as enmeshed and embroiled in it as anyone else, but I watch documentaries about anger, about a genuine care for humanity and the art and beauty and innovative thinking that can arise, and I wonder just what the hell we think we are doing.

If Lennon were alive today to see what BP has done, to witness our ridiculous "Operation Freedom" and "Patriot Acts...." what would he say? What would he do?

Where's our John Lennon?


Lovely weekend. No traffic. Beautiful weather.

Outlet shopping, sleeping in, crab picking, kayaking, bald-eagle sighting, champagne-drinking, ice cream eating, boardwalk ride-going, beach napping, drinking fire pit-side, dancing, bike riding at sunset, long running, sub-eating, book-reading, magazine-browsing, sunny, delightful weekend. All with good friends and excellent company.

A very nice way to end what I can only describe as one of the best summers of my adult life. A lot of things came together for me this summer, and a lot of new paths opened. But, during it all, I would say that I did a pretty damn good job of squeezing everything I could out of summatime this year.

Last night on my way back from the beach, I stopped at a coffee shop on my college's campus for some tea. It was about eight o'clock, and students were buying coffee and snacks, chairs circled up already for discussion groups and meetings to kick off the new semester. At first, when I walked in, I had the distinct feeling that I had mistakenly wandered into a high school. And then I realized that I am exactly ten years older than incoming freshmen this year. TEN YEARS. It felt so odd to be standing in such a familiar location, populated by complete strangers. Children, really. My old roommate wasn't behind the counter, and no one I had ever had a crush on was perusing the Internet at one of the computer stations. The art on the walls had been done by no one I know, and the furniture had been swapped out since I graduated in 2004. Still, as I walked across the dark parking lot to my car (dark at 8pm! Fall is most definitely on its way!), the lights buzzed familiarly, the leaves crunched the way they always did, and across the road the neon TCBY sign clicked just as steadily as it did all four years of my college education.

I feel as though fall is naturally a winding down, take-stock time before I settle in for winter. This fall, in particular, feels like a lot of things are culminating. After a frenetic and highly-charged summer full of everything I most love to do, fall is time for deep breaths and clean rooms and a general feeling of settling into this new life.

Not that it will feel like fall anytime soon. This 90-degree weather will most likely stick around for awhile. But that's ok. Plenty of time for the cold to set in.

Cheers, Summer. You rocked my world.

Friday, September 3, 2010


Oh, Friday, you simply could not come fast enough for NG, here.

Hurricane be damned, I'm beach-bound this weekend! The break is more than appreciated. Since the Fourth, I've been in gogogogogogogogogogogogogogogogo mode between New Job and Old Jobs and Book Club and Trivia and friends and boys and all of those things that make you stop and go...."What happened to August? Was there an August in there? Have I slept at all since the beginning of July?"

Answer: Not really.

So I'm skipping town to unwind my head and body from these knots they've been in. It can rain all weekend for all I care: I have a Jane Green and a supply of sauv blanc from my new most favorite place on earth, and that should keep me occupied for awhile. I am hoping to get a kayaking trip in at some point this weekend. Do hurricanes cause riptides in backwater Eastern shore creeks? We shall find out.

In other news, Stephen Hawking is stirring up the science-religion debate with his suggestion that "the universe can and will create itself from nothing [...] It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper [fuse] and set the universe going." Oof, Hawking. Surely you anticipated the world's reaction to that.

Those who never believed in God in the first place jump all over the argument as testament to their beliefs (because atheism is a belief structure that requires just as much faith as any other religion), and those who were on the fence might find the statement an easy "out." Those who did- and still do- are picking apart Hawking's wording.
"Hawking's god is a god-of-the-gaps used to plug present gaps in our scientific knowledge. Science provides us with a wonderful narrative as to how [existence] may happen, but theology addresses the meaning of the narrative,"commented Denis Alexander, director of The Faraday Institute for Science and Religion.

That's the real missing gap, isn't it? Meaning, I mean. We can postulate away the hand of some God in creation, we can find a thousand theorems to prove that there is nothing out in the universe but endless dark matter and cosmic dust, but the fact remains that we will derive no joy or feel for existence from solving complex math riddles. I agree with Alexander's assessment that Hawking is discussing another god, a sort of random factor that scientists once attributed to some divine intervention. But Hawking can't explain away the existence of faith, and I don't think he's trying to. In the search for the spark of existence, while science can measure and attest, there's no logical formula for meaning, thought, beauty, art, and all of the things that conjoin to form our human assessment of life via spirituality. This God is a separate God-- and if you are monotheistic the only God--and Hawking's statement that God's hand in creation is unnecessary does nothing to devalue the ultimate poetry. If you believe, that is.

People will undoubtedly line up on all sides of this debate to debunk, refute, support, cry out, uplift, embrace, or even completely ignore Hawking's new work. At the end of the day, however, it comes down to a question of faith.

On that note....tying up loose ends here and then packing up the car to head to the shore! Peace out, Glitteratis, and enjoy the holiday weekend.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Space On the Shelf

All of this Mercury retrograde has me returning to writing in full-force, which is fantastic, and I'm romantically reunited with the idea of writing a chick-lit novel.

Stupid and I were gnawing over this discussion point. "I consider us both fairly well-read individuals," she pointed out, with the inference of "but we still love chick lit." It's true. No girl can subsist alone on a steady diet of British gabbery, true, but the genre of "chick lit" is surprisingly broad and currently quite controversial.

It has a stigma of pastel book covers and taking up space in book stores under signs like "BEACH READS" or "50% OFF PAPERBACKS!" But the fact is that women auteurs have cornered a serious market in the literary biz and are giving former heavy hitters (King, Irving, and Grisham to name a few) a run for their collective money and shelf space.

Jennifer Weiner, author of "In Her Shoes" (among other works) has been a vocal activist in the reclaiming of the chick lit titleage and removing the stigma of "fluff" from what is genuinely well-crafted literature. There's an excellent Huffington Post article in which she teams up with Jodi Picoult to discuss this, which has sparked a debate about New York Times' coverage of new literature and its consistent failure to give page space to women writers over men.

The fact is that "romance" has long carried a notorious reputation of corset-ripping, bosom-heaving, lords-n-ladies type of simply constructed novelling that doesn't even try to parade as literature. Writers like Weiner, Jane Green, Candace Bushnell, and Marian Keyes might get trotted out as Ferragamo-wearing sensationalists but the fact remains that they touch upon some heavy human subjects in terms of relationships and modernism. The backlash of feminism (unmarried thirty- or forty-somethings, career-driven women, attempts at balancing the drive for success with the overwhelming pressure of motherhood and how women are consistently asked to choose identities between the two) is an important topic that is given voice in these tomes. Dating in modern society; the shift from traditional to online dating, the frequency of forbidden office romances, and the difficulty of meshing one's cultivated autonomy with that of another are also all issues that modern women tend to face.

And, perhaps more importantly, because there are entire books dedicated to all of these things, women are given an arena in which to battle out the various consequences and demands of each. Just as male writers tend to grapple with modern ideas of masculinity, so do female writers attack and work through these feminist issues in their writing. The fact that it gets dressed up in stylized print and Technicolor covers should not- and, for anyone who frequents the pages therein does not- reduce the quality of the literature or the writing.

To be sure, I am not speaking in generalities. There is some chick-lit that is pure fluff. We know that. And we consume it the same way we do Krispy Kremes- as a treat, mostly in private, and discussed only with others who we know indulge likewise. But when genuinely brilliant writers get lumped into the same category and refused page or shelf space because of it, something real is lost.

Kudos to Weiner and Picoult for speaking out, and for writing in the first place. Their gifts to the literary world are real, and they have paved the way for future advancement for women writers.