Friday, November 30, 2007

Average Joe

Once upon a time in a land ten blocks away, I lived in an apartment with a rotating crop of roommates and dust-bunny pets and stories of throwing up black in the sink and pineapple pajamas and days of sitting on the couch in the winter when we brought our comforters out and watched terrible movies and games. There were off-color jokes, sexual exploits re-told each Sunday, the beginning of such never-die jokes like "Dead Weight K" and open, billowing man-robes, and there was something even more fantastic. God made man, and saw it was good. God made "Average Joe", and saw it was freaking amazing.

So today, dear friends, if you remember this show, or never even heard of it, let me re-paste something that might bring back fond memories of it for you. The three year old journal entry of my good old roommate, remembering perhaps the best reality show moment of all time, with my commentary starred:

"Average Joe: Hawaii had one of the most entertaining
endings to a show that has ever been on TV. After a
dozen or so episodes where the girl (I already can't
remember her name, that's how long reality stars are
in the limelight) has to choose between the nerds or
the hunks**, the show came down to one final episode.
She had to choose between Brian and Gil.

**If you'll recall, when the hunks arrived on the island there was a teaser to the upcoming episode where this barge blowed in across the waters and all the dudes on the "poop deck" had their shirts off, oiled and toned in the setting sun. It was then I made the following joke: "That boat should be called the "S.S. Chest!" My boyfriend at the time didn't laugh so I repeated it even louder, naturally, cause that's what you do when someone doesn't appreciate such a fine nugget of comedy gold such as that.**

Brian was a nerd just like all the nerds that you
know. He hangs out with nerds in his local bar
talking about nothing but sports**. He even almost
professed his love for this girl who he has known for
what, a dozen or so episodes. His Boston accent makes
the guys in Good Will Hunting sound like Tony Blair.
But Brian cares, and he's deep (or at least as deep as
a person can be on one of these shows).

**And calculators! Hey o!**

Then there's Gil. Gil's a pretty boy who probably
doesn't have much going on in his head. When asked
what he wants to come of the show by the girl, he
responds that "he wants to be an actor. of course."
He isn't trying to win over the girl with this simple
set up question. He just wants to be an actor.**

**Of course.**

So here's the dilemma of this brilliant NBC reality
show. Does she pick the dorky guy who's really sweet
and deep or the beautiful guy who doesn't have much
brain function and probably doesn't like her nearly as
much? Like there was a doubt in the mind of anyone in
America, she obviously picks Gil.

Now, I'm not calling her shallow. Most people
(probably including myself) would have done the same
thing in her situation. And while this should have
been the debate of the show and the shocking
conclusion, NBC upped the ante and gave us more.

A startling secret was in her past. Many people may
have thought that she used to be a stripper or that
she was married. Maybe even, she used to be a man.
Although, with only about 5 minutes left of the show,
it couldn't have been that good or NBC would have
Super-Sized it like they tend to do with their
shows(and I tend to do with my extra-value meals).**

**He's not kidding. You should see this man order wings. Actually, you shouldn't.**

So what was this startling secret going to be? Let's
tell this part in present tense for dramatic effect.

They are talking on the beach. She says that it has
been long enough and now it is time to get this off
her chest and be honest. So she says it,


Somewhere a record player scratches and the wrong
notes are slammed on a piano.

Now, many things could have happend at this point.
Fabio could come riding in on a horse, shirtless, man
pecs in all their glory, sharing a hairstyle with his
equine companion, and take her away as a punishment
for picking the hunk Gil. Or maybe Gil and Fabio
could fight for the honor of their mutual love
interest. Maybe everyone at home could be happy and
she could go back to Boston and bust in on the
Dungeons and Dragons tournament and make out with
Brian in slow motion.

Right as my imagination was spinning faster than
Deluxe's wheels in that Loews Coca-Cola commercial, it
was suddenly grinded to a halt when I realized that I
never could have guessed what was going to happen.
What did happen was dumbfounding and more disturbing
than anything that happened on the entire show, a
shame since they only reserved 5 minutes for this
event. Our pretty boy Gil, lost it. He couldn't
believe that she dated Fabio.** So he had to leave her.
After wooing this woman for the past however many
weeks, beating out 15 or so other Joes and Hunks, Gil
feels like he has to give it all up because she dated
Fabio at one point. To pacify viewers, Gil said that
any guy would have acted the way he did. I mean, come
on, she dated Fabio. Gil left and the show ended,
with Brian sad, the girl sad and Gil outraged because
she dated Fabio.

**Do you remember this? There was all sorts of bleepity bleep bleep and him being like, "Damnit! Noooooo!" and throwing himself into the ocean. Where oh where is the S.S. Chest when we need it. Take me home, beautiful sea-men!**

So what did we learn from Average Joe: Hawaii? We
learned that in the end, people are going to choose
the better looking, less nerdy mate. We learned that
no matter how much the nerd tries, he's still not
going to get the girl (unless he's rich, proved by
other reality shows). We learned that if a bunch of
guys see a machine that might possibly detonate a
bomb, they will use it. We learned that a man who has
different beards on both sides of his face will never
get the girl**. We learned that we should have better
things to do on Monday nights. And finally we learned
that if you're going to ask one question to a girl
before you start dating her, it should always be: Did
you ever date Fabio?"

**Speaking of this, that guy with the two different beards on one face was so weird! One was a lightening bolt and the other was like an exclamation point or something. Trashy men of America, be warned. Do not, and I repeat, do not, break out of your dayjob as a Wang computer brochure coordinator and decide to get "creative" with your facial hair. Your face is not a community college graphic design class.**

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Was that really necessary?

From Tech this morning, the following email:

Call Description:
K was unable to log into her computer.

We reminded K that we changed her password yesterday, while we were on the phone with her.

Thank you for contacting the Help Desk.

Well excuuuuuuse me for being a moron!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Mariage Frere

The luminary teahouse bears many things, not the least of which are the gentlemen sporting angular features and cream-colored linen suits, flitting around and giving disapproving looks when customers reach for Earl Grey. White noel displays and hand-blown glass teapots in the windows to the front, dim interrupted by skylights glinting off the glass cases of tartins in the back, and me between, having dragged my brother inside. He is irreparably bored and for the first time in the day, I shrug it off, promising I’ll design T-shirts with him later. We had finally found it,.

The tearoom itself is yellow and lovely; sconces and columns and curlicued framework, polished tables and the click-clacking of patrons, the scent of a six page menu of proper and lesser aromatics, crushed herbs, flower buds and essence. The cards are thick and the explanations precise. As usual, I understand next to nothing. But that has never stopped me.

Across the way, I point out, he can be buried in gold-plated potato chips on chains and neon sneakers. Though right now, I will do what I came here to do, and that is to act like a 40 year old British woman in a sweater set, who could stay all day, if only time and inspiration allowed…

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Quote of the Day

At the Musee Rodin, upon viewing The Thinker for the first time:

"I don't get it. What's the big deal? It's just some guy on the pot."

-my brother, art critic, and the only sixteen year old in the universe that calls the toilet, "the pot".

A star! Ici!

“You are a star!” The pretty customs girl clutches my passport as tightly as a winning lottery ticket. “Ici!” She shoves it in her partner’s face, at once their eyes bright, a flurry of French between them.


“Zup-hair koole!”

It is seven in the morning and my mullet is at its apex of ridiculousness. I am also wearing three outfits at once, unable to fit the nearly eighty six dresses I bought into a borrowed suitcase. Perhaps they think I am the lost Olsen. A third, slightly taller, far more homeless-looking one.

“Ah, no. Non, mademoiselle. Je suis une…um…” My accent rolling the words like marbles. “No, I’m not.”

“Oui!” She can’t, she won’t, believe it.

I sign a napkin, imagining the scenario later.

To her friend or confused mother, shaking their heads, incredulously agreeing that stars just aren’t what they used to be...famous for not being famous now, on top of everything else.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Stories are coming...

I am in Paris at a strange computer and the air smells of hot chocolate and everyone drinks like Hemmingway and lolls in the streets and pokes one another with baguettes and wears fashionable little gloves and little jeans and seems to have a calling and I may never come back.

Okay. I will. And when I do, I will tell you everything I can remember; the first Shakespeare and Company bookstore where wannabe writers have pasted love notes to the old wooden walls, the flickering bistro where we were the only patrons as the West wind cleared the streets, the day I spent with a personal shopper exploring all the young designers with dayjobs at Chanel and nightjobs fixing enamel buttons, Waterlillies, Winged Victory, and the light show engulfing the Eiffel Tower each night, the cab driver that yelled, the cab driver that helped, my first Parisian party, the best and most bitter coffee, the cobblestones, the lights and the river...

Stories to come on Monday, when I am back and can tell you all about it.

In the meantime, Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


The funny thing about complications, emotions, ultimatums, the “never again” mantra is that all it takes is one morning when the air seeping in from your leaky window is just a little cold and you under the blanket are just a little hot, and your feet come out the edge for equilibrium, you see your alarm clock won’t buzz for another hour and everything seems different.

More than once the best laid plan is laid to rest. We want to think we’re in control of these sort of intangibles, or can at least recognize our lack thereof when we act out and are directed by them, but really, for me, I know that I am not. The manic moods of the unexpected call, the chance held out as soon as it’s not wanted, all of it, propels me forward in ways that I would never trade. Being alone and not lonely, being together and feeling so far apart, these are the things I can tell you about us. The greats, and they were greats, the best of them were so good that no other two people in the world experienced them quite like we did, no one knew as much, criticized so little, fell so hard and from such heights. We were the same, we knew that we were lucky only because something worth remembering is never permanent. It has no time at all, the metaphorical shelf-life of milk, if that. Just wistfully called upon in quiet moments. Like this. When I knew I was alive for a reason, and now, I can’t remember anything about it at all, just that it happened, it happened to us and to me, I can’t tell you why or how, but it did, I promise and one day I hope to tell someone, anyone, that I know how to do it again.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Quote of the Day

"Let me ask you something."


"Have you ever done it under a bed?"

(pause, turning red with not being able to suppress laughter)


"Just kidding."

"Hold on. I can't breathe. I'm laughing too hard."

"Me too actually."

"This is the best conversation that's ever happened."

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Continental Plans

Next Thursday I am going to Paris; city of lights, love, fromage and everything worth mentioning. I have never been this time of year or even when I was of age, and I want to believe it is just as I’ve seen in the most romantic movies I know (the ones in my head): blustery, sparkling, boots clicking, eyes cast in smoky cafes, pens in mouths, fingers stained with ink, brilliance solidified with each stroke, meeting of the minds, that sort of thing.

Of course, my brother, bless his teenaged heart (“K, no offense but your taste in music kinda blows. I mean you don’t even have the first Linkin Park CD!”) may cramp my fantasy itinerary just a touch. Unless we possess a shared and yet-to-be discovered love of absinthe and Christian Dior, I imagine we won’t exactly be spending every moment together. Nor with my parents, as this is a family vacation we’re talking about, spending Thanksgiving in France (my parents: cool but weird, right?).

So other than dusting up on the nearly ten years of French I lost in the months that followed, I’m doing clandestine research. What could be good? For all of us, or maybe even just me? Can I wander the streets by myself and discover things that are not simply meant to be shared? Is this the next phase of social experiment, me, on a pretty and romantic quest all by myself?

As always, I could really use your help, suggestions, advice. Have you been to/lived in/studied near Paris? And other than the usual, can you tell me where I should go? Do you have a place, a friend, a restaurant, anything that I can look up? Or even just your own take on carving out some time alone on a trip with others, where I could map my novel, sketch the sky, take a leap from navel-gazing and turn to something else entirely…

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

I am...

A special type of dork qualified by too many books, saving voicemails that make me smile, missing my mom, liking The History Channel, waking up early on Christmas, creating a playlist for a party that hasn’t yet been planned (and in my mind it’s called “Snow Day” in a hotel room and everyone must wear Freezy Freakies)…

No good at figuring out which printer is the one I’m supposed to print to, untying knots, giving directions, following directions, uncomplicating matters, keeping my bed made, finishing paintings, having an inside voice, arranging flowers so one doesn’t stick up in the middle, reading a magazine any way but back to front, remembering that thing I wasn’t supposed to forget…

A believer in naps, doodling in important meetings, frequent hot chocolate breaks, sarcasm as a cure-all, spooning when it means something, IMing for hours, laughing at my own jokes if no one else will, listening to hearts not minds, telling it like it is, having a back-up plan…

Elated often, regularly confused, hardly ever thirsty, nervous in spurts, and thankful every day of my life…

Monday, November 05, 2007

What to hold

I’m free-floating again on borrowed time. But this go-around, I’d like to think it’s owed. I crawled into this place by pestering, barely once-in-a-while dazzling, and somehow came out unscathed, maybe even partially endearing in my all-too-familiar awkwardness. People are finally giving me a chance and with that, my mantra keeps coming back, “Don’t. Let. Go.”

My hands are wrapped tightly around an idea, and I promise I won’t. Not until I can pass it off to someone else and retain half the credit. Show them what I’m made for, what I think I’m capable of, if only I can conquer the rest. I own the drive and believe that might be enough for talent to follow. I have to think that, because without it, I will never be good enough. Though part of me doesn’t want to be good enough. Because then it will be coasting instead of fighting, wanting and wishing and doing anything in my power to make it true. That’s what I’m used to and respond to and that’s what I aim for keeping.

Until then, I’m busy as I wait. If I don’t need recognition, maybe it will just appear. It’s four years in the making and I hope that I’m worthy by now…

Friday, November 02, 2007

Best Halloween Picture Ever

You know, you end up getting in the world's best picture with Dan Deacon and then someone comes along and sprays graffiti all over the camera just as the shutter opens...

Unbelievable Quote of the Day

Graham: “I book all the acts for the TK festival.”

Me: “Whoa. That’s awesome!”

Graham: “We’ve already confirmed Black Kids and The Tough Alliance.”

Me: “Whoa. That’s awesome!”

Graham: “I want you to tell me who else I should book. And then I want you to come out for this.”

Me: “You’ve got to be kidding! I know nothing about music. I can’t tell you who to book for TK!! I’m just a stupi-“


Me (fighting valiantly the urge to dance with glee): “I mean. Yeah sure. ”

Graham: “Okay I’ll have artist passes for you.”

Me (hopelessly losing that fight and nearly shouting): “Be right back!”

The rest of the afternoon will be spent clandestine victory dancing in the handicapped stall of the 9th floor bathroom. Because that’s where there’s enough room.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Nothing ever changes

New job, same old me.

Over the phone:

Other end: “Okay I’ll connect you now.”

My end: “Thank you, sir.”


Other end: “It’s MA’AM.”

My end: “Oh, jeez. Sorry…I. Uh. Your voice is just very, uh….robust. I mean, I like it…”

Both ends: **click**

In person

Me (to maintenance men): “Thanks for coming down here to put in a new lightbulb. It’s so dark down here with this low-lighting.”

Maintenance men: **chuckle**

Me, getting started: “Yeah it’s like, romantic down here or something! It’s hard to work!”

Male intern in incredibly tight jeans and skinny tie: **chuckle**

Me, further encouraged: “Intern, don’t you think it’s like, way too sexy down here? ”

Male intern in incredibly tight jeans and skinny tie: **clears throat**

Me, deflated: “Oh, uh. I guess it was just sexy for me. Not for um…you and me. I see.”

Maintenance men: **chuckle**