Thursday, August 31, 2006

finishing and beginning

Melissa, Carly and I went to Joe's graduation tonight. That smart boy done got his GED! Fine, MBA, whatever. The university president spoke about how it was just the beginning of the graduates' lifelong relationship with the school. I went to that same school myself and now my primary relationship with them consists of screening when I see their number come up on caller ID. I got no money for you, bitches, I went into education.

Then the commencement speaker talked about how inspiring it was for him to see "two obese women" make it to the top of a wall during an outward bound weekend. Yeah, I'm not sure what his point was, either.

Joe did it the hard way... worked during the day, went to school nights. I give him a lot of credit. I can pontificate about how education enhances your soul and blah blah, but I probably wouldn't have gone to grad school if it hadn't been required for my job. He complained in his blog (blogplained) a lot while going through the whole thing, so we made sure to taunt him endlessly: "Joe, I forget, was this entire process a pleasure for you?"

So, go Joe! Real American hero! Now go make money so Olivia can buy lots of crap at the mall someday.

Got home and went to Fugakyu with Katie. It was a perfect night, with just the beginning of fall in the air. Tomorrow is September first, of course, and Beacon Street is already lined with U-Haul trucks. Don't even want to think about what Comm Ave looks like. Mattresses and bureaus and fresh starts everywhere you look. Welcome to Boston... now stop double-parking or we'll stab you in the throat.

Tomorrow I'm headed to Cape for the long weekend with family, including cousins, and a few friends. Next week I'm back to the three-foot-tall loves of my life. Working in a school keeps you on that academic schedule, so September is still about sharpened pencils and shiny notebooks.

I love fall, more than I can put into words. Pumpkins, leaves, all the oranges and browns and burgundys, like perpetual sunset everywhere you look. That perfect crispness in the air that makes everything feel clean and recharged. Hot chocolate, cider, apples. Needing a blanket on your bed but still sleeping with the windows open.

That's right, windows open. Deal with it, crazy.

no dip idioms are coming to mind

Me: Oh, fun dip! Sweet.
Dave: I used to eat the white thing and use my fingers.
Me: What white thing?
Dave: The stick that comes with it.
Me: Oh. Maybe I don't actually know what fun dip is.
Dave: Really?
Me: I was thinking it was the hard shell they put on ice cream for you sometimes at the parlor.
Dave: That's magic shell.
Me: The parlor? Where am I eating ice cream, 1812?
Dave: The country was at war when you were enjoying your ice cream.
Me: I was in a petticoat partaking in a frozen treat.
Dave: Trying to keep cool.
Me: I mean, I don't want to pick sides. Let's all get along.
Dave: Don't catch a case of the vapors.
Me: The vapors?
Dave: I think people were afraid to catch the vapors in 1812.
Me: Well, aren't you packed with knowledge. You're a treat for my eyes AND my brain.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

children are the future, or whatever

So I'm on the T reading this. Okay fine, it's closed and sitting in my lap, because I'm distracted by my own reflection, if you must know. When we're underground the Red in the window looks pensive. Above ground, whimsical. Pensive. Whimsical!

The guy next to me says, "Is that good?"

My reflection? Hello, it's versatile and awesome. Oh, the book.

"Yeah, it's pretty good. It's for work, so, you know…"

"What's it about?"

Uh, well, Harry and his friends get into a whole bunch of trouble, you see, and... "Well, I'm a—" (sometimes I think better of it and don’t bother giving my fairly weird, million question-inducing job title, short of wearing this incredibly random t-shirt) "—teacher. So it's about working with kids."

Why do people always try to compliment you when you tell them you work with kids? I suppose it's just to have something to say, but it's always stuff like, "Wow, that's really admirable," or, "You must be an extremely giving person." The word "noble" comes up, which is a word that never comes up, unless you're discussing a monarch or something. And the right person, some kindhearted soul who imparts her wisdom to the young, wears a vest covered with holiday-appropriate images, and has never spoken a swear word or a grammatically incorrect sentence, would have the right kind of response, something like, "Well, just seeing their little faces every morning makes it all worthwhile..."

This guy said, "You must really love your job."

And I said, "Well, considering I haven't had to go to it since June, yeah, I really do."

Yes folks, I truly am black on the inside. But you already knew that.

Monday, August 28, 2006

for better or worse

You know how sometimes you just can't predict ahead of time whether or not a wedding is going to suck?

I mean whether or not it's going to suck for me, the selfish guest. It's pretty likely that the wedding will not suck for the people getting married (although I've been to a couple of those, come to think of it).

When college or high school friends or family members get married, you know at least half the people there. I've gone to a jillion of these weddings, as we all have. When it's the wedding of someone that you didn't get all edumacated or share DNA with, it's harder to know what's in store for you at the blessed event.

My friend Jeff is two years younger than me and we've known each other since we were kids. Actually, his parents used to work with my parents (yes, back in the day, my parents met at work) and they've all been friends since their 20s. Jeff's parents were thinking about having a baby (read: him) and they came over one day when I was hanging out and drinking some orange juice and thought I didn't seem so bad, so as they tell the story, his dad agreed to knock up his mom. So when I say that Jeff is my friend, what I really mean is that the man quite literally owes me his life. But we won't dwell on that.

So, yeah. Jeff met A Girl, who is lovely and smart and once dressed up as Ms. Pac Man for Halloween, and over the weekend she became his New Wife. Of course, my parents were at the wedding. Don't get me wrong, I adore my parents. Big fan. Love their work. But the only wedding that I ever want to attend with them is my own, and that's simply because it's the only event that won't lead my mom to ask questions like, "So! Who was that young man you were dancing with? He seems nice! Is he single? What, I'm just wondering!"

Even better is the fact that my parents and I were seated at separate tables (God love you, New Wife) but my mom was really concerned about this. "How are the people at your table? Are they nice? Are they easy to talk to?" I tried to tell her that I actually function in the world and converse with people on a daily basis, but she wasn't buying it.

Predictably, I love dancing at weddings, or anywhere, for that matter (would you judge me if I told you that I did Dance Dance Revolution for like two hours today?). Places where you can dance are getting fewer and further between, because clubs are for drunk 24-year-olds and sometimes your friends don't like it when you get freaky in their kitchen, for whatever reason. Weddings can be funny because they loosen people up, sometimes in a bad way. It's so great how some relatives (and we all have them in our families, let's face it) are either totally buttoned-up or they're grinding with bridesmaids on the dance floor with a bottle of tequila in one hand and a piece of cake in the other. I love people who have no reasonable middle ground. I want more of them in my life immediately.

I also love the high drama factor of the songs that you end up dancing to with random men. "Oh wow, hi! Of course I remember you! So-and-so's bonfire, I know, a million years ago! How have things been? Where are you living now?" and then suddenly you're dancing with him to Unchained Melody or How Do I Live Without You. Nice to see you again, and incidentally, were we ever drowning in the Atlantic, would you let me float on the door while you froze to death in the water?

I ended up knowing a few people there after all, one of whom I met years ago and really liked but had forgotten all about. She lives in DC and, well, she liked to get funky, I'm not going to lie to you. Honestly, I'm a fan of any event that goes right from hava nagila to SexyBack.

By the way, we're so hava nagilaing at my wedding. I don't care if I marry anyone Jewish, or actually, I don't care if I even get married. We're doing it at my 30th birthday party next year (next year, dear God! I'll be the one sobbing in the corner about how I should have made different choices).

Saturday, August 26, 2006


In the grand tradition of next door neighbors, one of mine and I are presently engaged in entirely pointless yet unrelenting psychological warfare.

Am I referring to Crazy Neighbor, the middle-aged guy who smokes in the dark and wanders over to my apartment with wine whenever he sees I have friends over? No, not even. This is an entirely different neighbor. The one with all the freakin' kids. The one with Tatertot.

I actually do have another neighbor who is quite lovely. She's never home, though, because she always travels. Good thing, because she's about Crazy's age and would inevitably fall prey to his dizzying intellect and highly evolved seduction techniques. So that leaves me to contend with this motley crew (I accidentally spelled it like the band name the first time around, because I'm just that metal).

On weekend mornings, the Tatertot clan enjoys having breakfast together on their patio together at about 6:30 AM. This breakfast presumably involves food, but mostly yelling. Not angry yelling, but the inexplicable need to screech in whatever language they all prefer to English when they're together.

So I usually wake up, curse them, then close my window and go back to sleep. But one afternoon Mama Tatertot said to me (and keep in mind she calls me by The Nickname I Detest More Than Life Itself), "Reddy, I heard you close your window this morning. Did we wake you up?"

Were I truly balls out, I would've said, "Yes, you inconsiderate, highly fertile monster, and next time I'll be hanging out the window like a sniper with a rifle, waiting to pick off whichever of your loud-ass offspring has slower reflexes."

Instead I said, "Oh, it's okay. I just closed my window and went back to sleep."

She looked at me like I had no idea how the world works. "Well, when the weather is so nice, we don't like to be stuck in the house all day. The kids like to be outside, and Husband works all week..."

I'm not sure what to do with all this irrelevant information. "Right, no big deal. I just close my window."

"It's just that when you close your window, the kids hear it, and they feel bad. They feel like they've disturbed you, and then they want to go inside."

Is she trying to make me feel bad for closing my window after they wake me up in the morning, as though I should lie there gleefully basking in their noise? The nerve of me! "Well, they shouldn't feel bad. Once I close my window I can't hear you anymore."

"It's just that when they hear your window slam, they feel bad, like they've made you mad. They really like you."

"Slam" feels like the word she's trying to work in here. What kind of Jedi mind tricks are these? Am I closing my window too hard, and thus disrespectfully? "Honestly, this all happens when I'm half-asleep. I don't even pay that much attention."

"Well, we'll try to keep it down."

"Don't worry about it. I'll try to close my window... um, quieter."

We both laughed a little. Then, this morning: The Louds were louder than ever; must've had a lot to say about those Grape Nuts. I closed the window. And later on today I was sitting on my patio, on the phone, and she walked over. Of course she'd be the kind of person who sees that I'm on the phone but just starts right in talking to me like I'm not.

"It happened again," she said.

"Um, hold on a sec..." I covered the mouthpiece and looked up at her. "I'm sorry?"

"The kids just feel so bad when they wake you up."

I used to have a roommate who was comprised entirely of muscles, nerves, and passive-aggression, and several times I found that, if she was annoyed by something I had done, she'd dance around the issue to such an extent that I would finally have to say to her, "Tell me exactly what the problem is," and then somewhere in the flood of words that would follow were the few that answered my question... It's your turn to clean the kitchen. Your boyfriend sleeps over too much. I don't like when you leave twelve towels in the bathroom. Okay then. I just hate the dance. Use your words and let's move on.

Anyway, I wanted to say something along those lines to Mama Tatertot, but at the same time, not really. I don't play my music too loud. I never have more than a few friends over at a time. So if the problem is my window-shutting, which is in direct response to her family's loudness, then, by God, there is simply no issue here. And besides that, I'm on the phone.

So I just shrugged. "They shouldn't feel bad. It's really not a big deal at all."

She smiled, clearly wanting to say something else, I can't fathom what. I smiled back and returned to my conversation. And on some level I think we both know: this is on now, bitch.

Friday, August 25, 2006

high five

Top Five Dream Jobs
1. Woman of leisure
2. Opinionated socialite
3. Heavily medicated socialite
4. My current job, only more money
5. The most popular girl on Laguna Beach. How badly do I want to remake the opening credits with my own friends in it?

Top Five Places I'd Like To Visit
1. Spain
2. Italy
3. Ireland
4. Iceland
5. Greece
Secret answer: Mr. Toad's Wild Ride

Top Five Crushes
1. Jason Varitek
2. Vince Vaughn
3. Ben Affleck, circa Armageddon
4. John Cusack, Paul Rudd, same difference
5. Ron King, this guy I used to work with a hundred years ago (oh whatever, if he ever were to find this he should only be flattered)
Secret answer: That guy from the movie Step Up

Top Five Movies I Want to See
1. The Puffy Chair
2. The Last Kiss
3. Sherrybaby
4. The Oh in Ohio
5. The Pursuit of Happiness
Secret answer: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Top Five Underrated Movies
1. Kissing Jessica Stein
2. Vanilla Sky
3. Leo and Clarie's Romeo & Juliet
4. Contact
5. Bruce Almighty

Top Five Movies That I Wanted to Die During
1. Meet Joe Black
2. Bounce
3. Sleepless in Seattle
4. The English Patient
5. Ghost

Top Five Movies That I Know Every Word To
1. Labyrinth
2. Heathers
3. Clerks
4. Reality Bites
5. Speed

Top Five Beverages
1. Diet Pepsi
2. Water
3. Orange juice
4. Chardonnay (red stains my teeth. yesitdoes.)
5. Wachusett blueberry beer
Secret answer: I put flavored sparkling water in wine. Only at home, of course. It's still tacky. I basically create my own wine coolers. Why does anyone still talk to me?

Top Five Opportunities For Awkward Conversations
1. When you apologize to the person coming out of the public bathroom for shaking the door while they were in there, because you didn't know if it was a one-person stall or if the door was just sticking. And you're also sorry for trying it a second time about thirty seconds after you first tried it because you weren't completely convinced that it wasn't just sticking.
2. You're in an elevator and someone gets on and says "nice day" and you say "isn't it?" and then you ride up 3,000 floors together agonizingly slowly in total silence because weather small talk can only get you so far on a beautiful day.
3. On hold with a customer service rep who says, "It'll just be a moment, our computers are slow today" and you both just sit there breathing.
4. When someone's telling a joke, and you smile halfway through, and they say, "Oh, you know this one?" and you feel kind of bad for letting on but then they stop telling it and look kind of defeated and then you feel really bad.
5. At the Cherry Tree, when a guy that Party Jen hooked up with a few weeks ago walks by and says hello and suddenly three grown people realize that they have absolutely nothing to say to each other.

Top Five Famous People That I'd Like to be Swallowed Into the Fiery Depths of Hell
1. Carson Daly
2. James Blunt
3. John Mayer
4. Jewel
5. Carson Daly, again, just to make sure he's good and dead

Top Five Respones to "Is It True What They Say About Redheads?"
1. Uh-huh.
2. Mmm-hmm.
3. Yeah.
4. Sure.
5. No hablo ingles.

Top Five Song Titles That Are Popular According to iTunes But Also Sound Like Text Messages I've Sent Recently
Call Me When You're Sober
Crazy Bitch
Where's Your Head At?
What Was I Thinkin'?

Top Five (Well, Four) Songs That I Sang To Mark Yesterday in the Car While We Were Stuck in Traffic Even Though He Didn't Really Like It Because He Wanted Me To Stop and Focus on Helping Him Think About Where to Get Food But I Mean When These Songs Come on the Radio You Can't Not Rock Out a Little Bit
Let's Stay Together by Al Green
This Is How We Do It by Montell Jordan (see the world's been good to me, ever since I was a lowercase g, but now I'm a big G, the girls see I got the money, got the dollar billz, y'all)
I Could Not Ask For More by Edwin McCain (smilin' just to see the smile upon your fay-a-yace)
As I Lay Me Down by Sophie B. Hawkins (this would have been my song if I had been a dead serious, unsmiling a capella girl in college... best part is the background singers continuously and inexplicably belting out "uno gato"... one cat!)

Saturday, August 19, 2006

have you never been mellow

Usually when I'm on the Cape it's a full house, especially in season, but right now it's quiet, for the most part and until tomorrow, when things pick up around here and at night we all head to Chillingsworth, the most sublime food experience you could ever hope to have, around these parts anyway. Is it wrong to look forward to a meal all weekend? If you knew this place, you'd feel the same way, I swear. Anyway, this is pretty much what I've been up to in the meantime...

Wake up around 9, think about how much I love outdoor showers, but there isn't one here so take an indoor shower (products? I'm so glad you asked... Clinique sparkle skin body exfoliating cream, NARS body serum)
Wet hair, flip flops, shorts, bottle of water, sunblock to prevent me from certain death, book, deck
Lunch at the Dolphin with mom and her friend... oysters, Portuguese sweet bread, and continue to allow the Sox to rip my still-beating heart out of my chest
Shopping and art galleries in Barnstable... buy earrings with "moonstones" in them at a "magical" shop and am handed a pamphlet telling me about their healing powers (I just say thanks because "thanks, crazy" seems like an insensitive response)
No one wants to go to the whaling museum in Nantucket with me unless it involves drinking at the Club Car; I dismiss everyone I know as ignorant and alcoholic
Turn on cell to see what's going on with my peoples at home (I know, the point is to have it on all the time. I'm getting there...)
Bring iPod to New Seabury beach (Zero 7, thank you Greg)
Stop at grocery store for lemons, peaches and corn on the cob; raw bar at Popponesset for lobster; make dinner at home
Sunset boat ride on Waquoit Bay with dad; lovely but not as romantic as it sounds. He tells me he'll go to the whaling museum with me... whee!
A couple neighbors are over, a glass of wine or three, everyone's barefoot
Stop at the Roo Bar with neighbor from back home who's working on Cape for the summer... I used to babysit him and now he's applying to law school, which is disturbing on many levels... also, the Sox are ruining my life and I cannot discuss them any further without swearing and flailing
Peppermint tea with raw honey, several rounds of dirty texting
Jacuzzi with Philosophy's Falling in Love bubble bath, Creme de La Mer, read my book in bed

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

why online dating is not for the faint of heart

I was going to meet this guy for a drink, and then he called to confirm the when/where. This is what I heard coming out of my phone:

"So you seem really nice and cute and you live in [same city as him] and you're a redhead and the way I see it is just let's get together and see if we have a connection physical or otherwise and if so then great! What I'm saying is yay!"


"I have three dealbreakers. Do you want to hear my dealbreakers? Wait hold on that's my call waiting. Red? Red? That's my son calling. I told you I have a son, right? Can you hold on?"


"Red? Red? Hey, I'm back. Yeah, that was my son. He's only three and a half, so obviously SHE put him on the phone. That's fine though. I pre-pay the minutes and I prefer to use them to talk to the girls I'm courting. You know?"

I suddenly became very, very busy. Packed schedule. Booked for infinity.

I told some friends, naturally, and one said, "He's a loser. Who pre-pays for minutes?" I guess everyone has their own dealbreakers.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

have fun, stay single

So my mom calls me this morning and happens to mention that she heard that Jeff (my friend who is getting married later this month; she's friends with his mom) is having a pre-wedding party.

"Oh yeah, I got the Evite but I didn't look at it yet. What kind of party?"

"I think it's sort of a singles thing."

Oh, so this is what an ice water IV drip would feel like. "A singles thing?"

"Yeah, I think that because they didn't invite people with dates, they're trying to give all the single people a chance to meet each other before the actual wedding. You know, so it's more fun for you guys."


"I think it's a nice idea."

"Mom, it's a wedding, not summer camp! I don't need to have friends there!"

"Well, it couldn't hurt you to meet some new people!"

"I have plenty of friends!"

"I know, but I think some of his single guy friends might be there, too."

Deep breath, Red. She means well. Shemeanswellshemeanswellshemeanswell.

"This can't be his intention," I told her. "I'm calling him right now."

"Sure, call him. But I still think it's a nice idea."

He laughed so hard that his fiancee finally picked up the phone. "Red, what did you say to him?"

"I told him that my mom told me that you guys are hosting a singles mixer before your wedding. I was just wondering if he has any input as to my suicide method."

Turns out it's more like a gathering of all their friends, local and out-of-town, so that they have a chance to spend time with people since they won't get much of a chance for QT with anyone at the actual wedding.

Still, though. I wonder what I should wear to this rose ceremony.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Adulthood at its Finest

Joe: hey b!
Me: what's up, baby daddy?
Joe: you accept my dance off challenge?
Me: you've just stepped into the lion's den, my friend
Joe: well, when BBD is playing, all hell will break loose
Joe: and remember, never trust a big butt and a smile.
Me: this girl is POISON
Joe: you can do me in the morning you can do me in the night, you can do me when you wanna do me
Me: backstage, underage!
Joe: words of wisdom
Me: ew, remember the gross part in that song?
Joe: which part?
Me: smack it up, flip it, rub it down... oh no!
Me: and don't forget, the song title wasn't Do Me, it was Do Me!
Joe: oh yeah, with the exclamation point!
Joe: like a desperate plea
Me: anyway, i kinda want to settle this to the tune of cry me a river, by the illustrious timberlake
Joe: not sexy back?
Me: oh, maybe sexy back
Me: so what are the ground rules for a dance off?
Joe: well, rule #1, it has to be a reality tv show
Me: wait, now we're on a reality TV show?
Joe: how about a show called red's dance party
Me: that would be awesome!
Me: just like me dancing to things that make you go hmmm
Joe: things that make you go hmm, hmm, hmmm
Me: wait, and then every week i challenge someone who has angered me to a dance off
Joe: and they have to pick a bad 80's dance song
Me: this week, That Lady In Front of Me at Bed Bath and Beyond Who Had 600 Coupons
Joe: next week, the bastard who stopped short on haverhill street
Me: yeah, i could have friends do guest dance offs
Joe: it would go something like this:
Joe: Eric nies, host: mr. x, red has challenged you to this dance off for being a turd. now pick your song of choice. mr. x: i choose linear's sending all my love, eric!
Me: what if they pick love of a lifetime by firehouse
Joe: you have the right to block one song per episode
Me: this has suddenly become the grind. get eric nies outta here! i prefer judd the maladjusted cartoonist
Joe: you can always change it up and give the contestant a choice of 3 songs
Me: and how is the winner determined
Joe: the winner is obviously chosen based on the guest judges
Me: i call steve perry to the floor
Joe: steve perry, come on down!
Me: i think my go-to song should be easy lover
Me: when my opponent is almost down for the count, it's like my closer
Joe: and every episode is new guest judges
Me: ok, here's a guest panel: the Edge, garfunkel, and jewel, but only if she's bound and gagged
Joe: leif garrett, meat loaf, and elvira
Me: scott weiland, kevin federline, and brand from the goonies
Me: who would be all, i'm josh brolin! whatever, brand
Joe: slash, danny wood and punky brewster
Me: that's awesome
Joe: and punky would be like, my name isnt punky! and you'd be like, whatever, punky
Me: kenny loggins, dane cook's unfunny friend, and goose from top gun
Me: i could do this until we're both ill
Joe: me too!
Joe: robert smith, erik estrada and KITT from knight rider
Joe: "now david"
Me: geraldo, dr. phil, and mama fratelli
Joe: michael j. fox, mr. feeny from boy meets world, and betty white
Me: david caruso, burt bacharach, and a moth
Joe: stevie wonder (judging a dance off), dolly parton, and rusty from national lampoon's vacation
Me: the girl in the KY commercial with the spray who says "that'll work," your first grade teacher, and felicity
Joe: lisa kudrow, lisa lisa, and lisa turtle. a theme episode
Me: barry manilow, barry white, and barry this weird kid who lived down the street from me who used to lick his face
Joe: vanilla ice, iceman and ice cube
Me: stephanie tanner, mallory keaton, gertie
Joe: fred savage, ben seaver, and mike seaver's friend boner
Me: mistah seavah!
Joe: mrs. garrett, theo huxtable, and the ropers
Me: the guy from the greatest american hero, she-ra, and vanna white
Joe: brian boitano, the girl from small wonder, and optimus prime
Me: gary coleman, jem's nemesis pizzazz, tooty from facts of life
Joe: bronson pinchot, urkel and mr. kotter
Joe: mr. drummond, snake eyes from GI joe, and papa smurf
Me: inspector gadget, strawberry shortcake's cat custard, and a glow worm
Joe: JJ walker, shneider, and weezie jefferson
Me: the kool aid bottle, mr. T, bea arthur
Joe: re-run, george jetson, and a cabbage patch kid
Me: uncle jesse, luke duke, and mallory's boyfriend nick
Joe: nick!
Me: cagney, lacey, and the jetsons robot maid
Joe: barney rubble, magnum PI and chuck norris
Me: alf, kimberly drummond, and joey lawrence
Joe: but kimberly would never show up!
Me: right, because that's what's keeping all this from happening
Me: kimberly was on my favorite "very special episode of" ever
Me: remember that? when she was bulimic and ate a sheet cake?
Joe: yes!
Joe: although my fave episode of diffrent strokes is obviously the one at the bike shop
Me: what was that one?
Joe: arnold and his friend were tied up by some guy who was probably gonna molest them
Me: right!
Joe: it was a 2 parter
Me: the best ones were
Joe: i remember at the end of part 1, the guy put duct tape over arnold's mouth
Me: i liked the special blossom episodes
Joe: of course!
Me: i just blogged about the one where her boyfriend wouldn't have sex with her
Me: saved by the bell had specials too
Joe: the one with smoking weed
Joe: say nope to dope!

[I discover this gold mine.]

Me: ohhh! dabney coleman doesn't want his daughter to share a hospital room with arnold because he's black!
Joe: haha very special alf
Me: no way i missed that
Me: look at the description: "Kate's alcoholic friend stays with the family for the night and when she meets Alf at 2 a.m. while she is on her binge, she thinks he is her imaginary drinking buddy she sees when she is drunk. Alf convinces her to go to a clinic."
Joe: holy shit do you remember that show california dreams?
Me: yes! OH MY GOD. look at all this wonderfulness from facts of life: "Tootie is lured into child pornography by a sneaky photographer. Natalie is almost raped by a clown on Halloween. A pimp almost strong-arms Tootie into prostitution. Natalie loses her virginity to her boyfriend Snake."
Joe: "Arnold and Kimberly are picked up while hitchhiking. While the driver tries to seduce Kimberly, Arnold is given a sedative and, after managing to escape, has a difficult time trying to tell authorities where Kimberly is being held captive."
Me: "Gang members take over a neighborhood playground and injure Urkel and 3J in the process."
Joe: 3J?
Me: oh my god, fraggle rock is on here: "In an attempt to make the Fraggles, Doozers and Gorgs put aside their differences and live together in peace, The Trash Heap makes all the radishes in the Gorgs garden disappear, hoping to make them realize how much they have in common."
Joe: "After the house is broken into, Rose buys a gun for protection and almost shoots Blanche's date when he enters the house late at night."
Me: "Michelle enters a horse riding contest with permission from her father (Bob Saget) and fell off when her horse painics during an event, temporarily losing her memory. This was the final episode."
Joe: "Carol's boyfriend Sandy (Matthew Perry) dies after a drunk driving accident."
Me: that was matthew perry? i totally remember that
Joe: "Mike receives preferential treatment from his boss (Dick Van Patten) because he (unlike his coworkers) is white."
Joe: tons of racial problems in the 80s!
Joe: Mr. Belvedere: "While at camp, Wesley is given an inappropriate massage by a male counselor. The counselor encourages him to keep the incident a secret, but Wesley reveals the truth when the counselor offers another camper a ride home."
Me: inappropriate massage!
Me: "Richie tries to convince Chachi not to join a gang."
Me: "MacGyver catches some poachers who are killing rhinos for their horns. At the end of the episode Richard Dean Anderson (MacGyver) gives a special message about the problem of poaching and gives a phone number and address for more information about it."
Joe: Saved by the Bell: "Jessie takes caffeine pills in order to keep up with school and her social life. Zack drives drunk and wrecks Lisa's mother's car, which results in Slater being injured. A teen star arrives at Bayside to shoot an anti-drug commercial, but it is later discovered that he smokes pot himself. Oil is struck, and while everyone is initially excited about the money this could bring the school, Mr. Belding and the kids decide to shun the developers when the oil kills the wildlife in a local pond that Zack and the gang had been caring for." all of those i totally remember
Me: all the 80s tv kids took pills to help with school
Me: man, it was all racism, inappropriate massaging, and homework pills
Joe: yup
Me: just a regular thursday around these parts
Joe: indeed!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

A Few Reasons Why I'm Glad That Al Gore Didn't Single-Handedly Invent the Internet Until I Was Already Grown Up

My non-hipster cousin Andrew and I were talking about... well, okay, I'll talk about Andrew first. I love this boy. He's about to be a senior in college, and right now he's living in New Jersey and commuting to Manhattan for his internship every day. And he's not even living in that part of Jersey that's within spitting distance of the city. I mean, are you kidding me? After a foreverlong commute like that, I'd just find some bar and lament about public transportation all day while drinking fuzzy navels and playing with my split ends. But no, he does the commute and THEN he goes to work. He's my hero. In time, he may even restore our family's good name. It will be tough, as I've had almost a decade headstart of corrupting it, but I have faith in him.

He's just about eight years younger than me, newly 21, and it's starting to feel like there isn't a huge, gaping amount of years between us anymore. I've been waiting for this because he's always been such a blast to hang out with that I just knew he was going to be the coolest adult (read: drinking buddy). When he was 12, I'd take him to see Adam Sandler movies and to chain restaurants and let him have like seven Shirley Temples, but I was 20 and we just didn't have a whole lot in common at those ages, as I was dealing with much more adult issues like whether or not my floormates and I should smoke before or after the Stanton basement party tomorrow night and where my light blue/dark blue Grumpy Bear ringer t-shirt was.

I always used to wish he was my brother, but it's probably a good thing that he wasn't. Despite the age gap, I just know that the "why can't you be more like your brother?"s would've started before he was even able to sit upright. He's inherited my father's exact brain, which seems unfair because he's yet another person in my family who possesses that infuriatingly effortless brilliance that eludes me, and you know what else? He's athletic. And tan. Are we even related? Anyway, I should enjoy him now, before he graduates and he's making five times what I make while simultaneously being drafted for the NFL or something.

Anyway. The thing we were talking about is how wired his childhood was, compared to mine. Wired, not weird; that's a whole different topic. When I was in high school, as is also the case for most of you, we didn't have the internet, cell phones, or reality TV, not that the latter can be counted as progress. Seriously, how ancient will that lack of technology make us seem to our kids? "You mean when you stood in line at CVS you just STOOD there without having anyone to talk to on the phone?"

I was just watching, ahem, Indecent Proposal, and remember the part where Woody Harrelson goes barreling through the hotel because he's decided that he doesn't want to go through with the, well, indecent proposal, and he ends up running out onto the roof just as the helicopter containing his wife is taking off and whisking her away to the sex boat? Nowadays he could've just called her, cancelled the, uh, transaction, and saved himself the trouble of having to buy a million dollar hippo to get her back in the end.

What, you didn't see it? Oh, you should. It's terrible. And I know technology is mostly good, if only for having a handy way of keeping your wife from getting on Robert Redford, but there are some reasons that make me glad that all of it didn't exist when I was younger.

1. I would've been all about the internet porn. Not so much because I'm a sexual deviant, although sure, that would've come into play at some point. But mostly because it'd be easily accessible and oh my GOD what IS that?!?! I mean, my friends and I used to pore over the phone sex ads in the Boston Phoenix, thinking it was the raciest stuff EVER. And if Al Gore had come through earlier, I'm sure I would've been grounded twice as much as I already was for all the crazy stuff that my dad would be able to tell I was looking at online (you can always tell when you share a computer, right?).

2. Email/instant messenger/MySpace politics. Do you know that on MySpace, you can organize your friends in order of how much you like them? Imagine the logistics of this in high school, when everyone simultaneously loves and hates and dates each other. I can just hear my girlfriends' voices: "And then I looked at his MySpace and he already put that slut Christina from my trig class into his number one friend slot!" Or, "So I checked and his away message said that he was out for the night. Who the hell do you think he's with? I'm so not speaking to him tomorrow in Western Civ." Voice mail and text message analysis nowadays is bad enough, but at least it doesn't include psychological profiling via MySpace and instant messenger. Not that I've completely avoided this debacle. I have friends who perform entire seduction rituals via text message. Meanwhile, this is a typical text message from me:

hi, where (from Red, Tues 6:14 PM)

sorry. # whe8re ar we havng dinner/// (from Red, Tues 6:15 PM)

3. Like most other teenage girls, I used to be on the phone constantly, because you had to spend all night discussing everything that happened that day (which we don't do now, at all, whatsoever). And you know that if they'd had cell phones back then, I would've been on mine for hours upon hours, and I have to say that I like living in a world where I don't have to give any thought to going over my minutes or roaming charges or anything like that, because that wouldn't have been the case if I had had a cell phone when I was 15. And I'm sure that my ringtone would've been Freak Me by Silk or I'll Never Get Over You Getting Over Me or some such shit. Actually, I still feel like I'm on the phone all night long, so I suppose there hasn't been much progress in this area. But at least I don't rock out to Freak Me anymore. Not every day, anyway. Fine, it's on my iPod.

4. Of course I would've had a blog back then, because I was made for this kind of stuff. I actually kept a journal on the computer when I was in high school, and it would've been a very small leap from saving it to a disk to hitting "publish post" and immortalizing myself in all my agonizing teenybopper glory. As it is, my journal entries from that time were all very specific about things that happened and conversations that were had, and it would've been hard to live down several years of "and then she was totally like well I don't know and I was like what and he was like yeah." I've pretty much gone from transcribing every conversation to hardly even listening to my friends when they talk. If that's not progress, I don't know what is.

Friday, August 04, 2006


Well, if you people are going to keep sending me surveys, I'm going to keep taking them. Especially when they're so delightfully inane, not unlike yours truly.

Happy weekend, all!

Do you sleep with your closet door open or closed?
Closed. I wouldn't be able to sleep if it was open. (I know... trust me, I know.)

Do you take the shampoos and conditioner bottles from hotels?
Only if they're high-end. I hear the W hotels have Aveda products. Whee!

Have you ever stolen a street sign before?
No, I wouldn't even know how to go about doing this. But if I ever saw a Red Street, you know I’d be showing up at 3 AM with a stick of dynamite and a disapproving lookout buddy.

Would you rather be attacked by a big bear or a swarm of bees?
Uh. Great. I'm going to go with bees, because it would probably be slightly less terrifying than a giant bear coming at me. I'm probably dying either way though, huh?

What is your biggest pet peeve?
Toppers. "You think THAT'S bad? Listen to what happened to ME." "I know you're not done with your story yet but it sounds JUST LIKE the time that I..." It's one thing to exchange stories, quite another to have no concept of anyone on the planet other than yourself.

Do you ever dance if there's no music playing?
Is it wrong if my answer to this is "yes, constantly"? And does singing to myself count? Lately I've been obsessed with Walk Away by Kelly Clarkson. I know, but what can I say? I find that the feisty beginning ("You got your mother and your brother every other undercover telling you what to say...SAY!") is way more interesting than just picking up your phone and saying "hello?" I want people to think I have one of those ringback phones but then realize it's actually me singing to greet them.

What's your favorite scary movie?
I have no favorites! Scary movies have ruined my life.

Where would you bury hidden treasure?
Why am I burying it? I'm out drinking it, hello.

What is your "song of the week"?
You got your mother and your brother every other undercover telling you what to say...SAY! See, wasn't that fun? Maybe it's better in person.

Is it OK for guys to wear pink?
I once watched a train wreck occur between two of my friends over this very "issue."

What movies could you watch over and over and still love?
Kissing Jessica Stein. Dazed and Confused. Reality Bites. Back to the Future. Armageddon, for Ben Affleck's slo-mo walk in that orange spacesuit. Oh my.

Were you ever a boy/girl scout?
I was a girl scout until like fourth grade, but I hated it. I told my mom how I felt, and she told me she'd always thought it was kinda lame too and it was OK if I wanted to quit.

What is your usual bedtime?
I try to be asleep by 11. 3 at the latest.

When you were a kid, what did you dress up as for Halloween?
Oh God, everything. An M&M, a bunny, a clown, a tiger... one time I was Pebbles Flinstone, and a woman opened her door and looked at my friends and then at me and said, "Oh, look, a, uh... cavewoman!"

How many languages can you speak?
One, barely.

Who is better... Leno or Letterman?
Conan. Keep cool, my babies.

Occupations you wanted to be when you were a kid?
Writer, crimefighter, fort builder, popsicle eater, Ewok.

Cheetos or Fritos?
I haven't seen either of those products since like 1986.

Astronomy or astrology?
Uh, seriously? Astronomy.

Is there a profession you picture your future spouse doing?
Why yes, actually, he's a catcher for the Red Sox who's on the DL right now. Is that too specific a request? I do NOT want Mirabelli as a consolation prize.

How well would you adapt to living in an Amish community?
Uh, considering that my friends call my apartment Red's House of Booty, I'm thinking I wouldn't fit in so well. (And that name is not because of my shenanigans, it's because of THEIRS!)

Put your iPod on random. What song comes up?
Steppin' Out by Joe Jackson. I love this song!

Do you burn incense?
Not since like freshman year of college. It was too hippie for me even then.

Hot tea or cold tea?

Tea or coffee?
Peppermint tea.

Can you swim well?
Define well.

Can you hold your breath without manually holding your nose?
Um, yes. And so can you. Oh, do you mean while swimming? Yeah, I thought only little kids held their noses.

Which are better, black or green olives?
I'd love to ask this of the guy who pioneered the concept of the endlessly complicated olive bar and just watch his head explode from the enormity of the question.

Do you have any godchildren?
Yes, one... my cousin. His name is Chris and he looks just like me, just like what my brother would've looked like if I'd had one. Huh. Maybe he IS my brother.

Red Roof or Econolodge?
Don't even talk to me. I stayed at a Red Roof on the way to Canada and I didn't want to touch anything there. I'm sorry, I know it probably makes me a horrific snob, but I don't understand paying money to stay at a hotel that's significantly crappier than my own home.

Do you like to go camping?
I like everything about it except sleeping in the tent and peeing in the woods. So, in other words: NO. What am I, a goddamn pioneer?

Are you suddenly realizing that maybe you're more high-maintenance than you're willing to admit?
So much so that I just wrote that question for myself. Also, Material Girl just came on my iPod. No, I'm just kidding. It's Papa Don't Preach. I'm keeping my baby. Don't be upset.

If your parents are still married, do they have a good marriage?
When they're not sending my newborn brother off to be raised by other family members, you mean? Well... yes, they seem to have a good marriage, but it always sort of amuses me. My parents are literally polar opposites. My dad is brilliant but can be very emotionally detached, while my mom is flighty but very nurturing. My dad is very shy and my mom befriends everyone she meets. My mom is overdramatic to an alarming degree and my dad is underdramatic to about the same degree. I have absolutely no idea how they've made it work, except that they just laugh at each other's quirks, they're always having fun, and they freakin' adore each other. Who knows? Compatability is an interesting thing.

What is your favorite episode of Fresh Prince of Bel Air?
I don't know, but my favorite episode of Blossom was one of the "very special" ones where she wanted to sleep with her boyfriend and he wasn't ready yet. It's such a common problem among teenage boys, I'm glad that someone finally addressed it.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

hot and bothered

I wish I were an anchorwoman.

"Good evening. Well, we've had another day of the mercury inching upwards. Let's go live now to a Hotness Expert to tell us how warm it actually is, in case the fact that large patches of your skin are boiling and sliding off isn't already enough of an indication. Dr. Swelter is the author of the provocative bestsellers Hot Enough For Ya? and If You Can't Stand the Heat, Do Something About Global Warming Already. Dr. Swelter?"

"Thank you, Red. Indeed, it's sizzling out there."

"Dr. Swelter, what do you recommend that people do during this kind of extreme weather?"

"Well, for starters, we are urging people to be sure to consume plenty of liquids."

"Interesting. Tell me more about these liquids of which you speak."

"Drinking water keeps you hydrated, and hydration is very important during this kind of heat."

"Undoubtedly. And actually, Dr. Swelter, one might argue that, as the human body is composed primarily of water, hydration is always important, even in, say, February. However, we don't talk about hydration in February because that's when we like to talk about frostbitten extremities and snowfall records. Honestly, we really couldn't care less if our viewers spend the entire winter sitting in a sauna eating salt and drinking Guinness, so long as you don't do that shit in the summertime when hydration is at its trendiest. Any other tips?"

"You want to make sure to stay in air-conditioning whenever possible. For people who need it, there are cooling centers throughout the city."

"Ah yes, those cooling centers, or as I call them, Giant Dirty Puddles Set Up on the Street With a Sprinkler Thrown in for Good Measure, can be quite refreshing for poor people."

"And speaking of, Red, we are mostly concerned about the elderly, particularly shut-ins, who may need help in understanding the threat that this kind of heat can pose to their health."

"Good point, Dr. Swelter. Although by definition, I'm sure shut-ins are going to be a little hard to get to, as when their neighbors knock on the door, they often pretend that they're not home, even though they haven't stepped foot outside since FDR was in office. What do you suggest in those circumstances?"

"That can certainly be a problem, Red. We urge neighbors to check in on and take care of each other at times like this."

"Right, maybe they could just try knocking really, really hard, and then draw straws to figure out which one of them has to peer in through the lace curtains and hope they don't find the old lady in rigamortis. And perhaps we should give these elders in our community a moment's consideration around the holidays as well, since their children probably never call, never write, and never give them a goddamn moment's worth of their time, you ungrateful, selfish little bastards."

"Absolutely, Red. We also want runners to take heed of the heat warnings."

"Ahh, yes, I was wondering when you were going to mention something about the emaciated crackpots sprinting down our city streets. While it's endlessly entertaining for my friends and I to sit in a pub and play Count the Eating Disorders as they run by, I must admit that I'm a tad concerned for their safety. Plus, you can practically see their tendons. Would it kill them to eat a steak?"

"Indeed, Red, this is certainly not optimal weather for vigorous outdoor activity. We are urging all your viewers to exercise indoors for the next several days."

"Duly noted. Another problem that we're running into here at the station is coming up with synonyms for hot. Scorching, blistering... there are only so many of them. We're also running short on heat-related idioms. Turn up the heat, the heat is on... they're not as abundant as you might think, and we very much don't want to risk becoming repetitive. Repetition is certainly a concern when you're a network broadcaster. We simply don't have enough air time to sit around saying the same thing over and over again different ways."

"Good luck with that, Red, and all my best to your viewers in staying out of the hot seat during these next few days."

"Oh, thanks, we haven't used that one yet! Well, you heard him, folks... grab your maracas because it's hot-hot-hot! Next up, we'll check in with a condensation expert who can tell us what to expect for our coffee tables if this balmy weather pattern continues."

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

visiting hours

At about quarter of one this afternoon, I was bringing raw fish and coffee into a psychiatric hospital. Let me back up.

One of my friends has bipolar disorder. Usually this condition is managed quite well by medication, but every now and then the veneer cracks and he ends up in the hospital, which is where he's been for the past few weeks. His mom called over the weekend to tell me that he could finally have visitors.

One of his friends brought framed group pictures for his bedside table. Another brought magazines for him to read. I brought his favorite sushi for lunch. The staff member who unlocked the door sheepishly informed me that she couldn't allow me to bring in any plastic bags or glass bottles. I unwrapped the miso soup from its carryout bag and poured the green tea into a styrofoam cup. I know she's just doing her job, but how can this be my friend who has to have his plastic and glass confiscated? This is better than yesterday, though, when he told me that he thought he might be dead. I just laid down next to him and rubbed his back and told him everything was going to be okay, that if you can see trees outside and pillows on your bed and people that you love, then you're alive. I know that all he wants is to be back to normal, working, emailing, playing his guitar. I'll write him a note telling him I was there and that I'll be back tomorrow, because sometimes he forgets. I won't cry until I'm back in my car.

The coffee was for a guy staying down the hall whom my friend has gotten to know during his time there. This guy is very nice and had put in an order with me the day before, only if it wasn't too much trouble. Hot coffee, despite it being about 135 degrees outside. I guess it doesn't matter what the weather is like outside when the air conditioner is cranked inside and all the windows are closed. Locked, but let's not dwell on that. Cream, six sugars.

Later on in the day, after leaving the hospital, I was getting coffee again, this time for another friend and her mom, on my way to spend time with my friend's new baby. Medium iced decaf, cream, splenda, something about coconut. No sugar. Six sugars? I don't drink coffee, so anytime that I pick it up for someone, it always seems infinitely complicated.

These two friends were only about half an hour away from each other, one getting used to being a new mom, the other thinking about getting better and going home. I stopped in to visit and be thrilled or devastated, as appropriate. And either way, bring coffee. I may get the order wrong, but at least I'm there, I guess.

Happy Birthday, MTV! or, I Stopped Caring About You After the Early 90s But Enjoy Your Cake

In honor of MTV's 25th birthday, let's recall the only moment really worth remembering in the station's past quarter century, shall we? Otherwise known as the moment, 14 years ago, that I knew I was straight.

Okay, and one other moment. As if I could forget The State.