Monday, December 31, 2007

Cover Letter

Dear Sir/Madam/a slack-jawed intern who will not finish reading the rest of this,

I am writing to apply for your open editor/freelancer/tightrope walker position at whatever you sell/publish/print, of which I am an avid consumer/reader/lemming. I am currently a editor/freelancer/aging wanna-be hipster at a luxury magazine/design house/LES apartment where I fix troubled copy/manically attempt to dazzle with brilliant turns of phrase like “after mashing arguably the most important caipirinha of his life”/cry myself to sleep on a daily basis.

While my most recent work has been in food/travel/fashion/music/citing Simpsons episodes aloud to the janitorial staff, I also have experience in listing work/marketing/chatting up silver foxes/figuratively whoring myself out to get free wine and/or crudités. I’ve lived in the city since graduating from the school I went to/a better one/the one I heard you went to and I am very familiar with the thing that you are looking for/thing I think you’re really looking for even though you won’t tell me, damn you with your head games/thing that you aren’t looking for at all. I know the value of hard work/kissing ass/a dollar and feel that I lead the lifestyle of/embody the delusional ideals of /buy enough stuff that you would approve of to exhibit my dedication to {insert your brand}. God bless {your brand}. I would have been drinking Pepsi/taken that year off to travel/be dead in a ditch long ago had it not been for {your brand}.*

I have attached my clips/resume/a threatening letter from my lawyer for your consideration.

I look forward to hearing from you/obsessively checking my email twelve times an hour only to never hear back/fielding your inopportune phone call because you insist on ringing my cell when I’m still in the cube I occupy. I hope that we will meet soon/you will find me talented enough to hire/you, upon finding that I am not talented enough to hire, at least find me attractive enough to hire anyway.

Best regards/Cherry Cordially/Happy Kwanza,


*If {your brand} is aimed at a youngish demographic, then {your brand} is hott. So, so hott. Your brand is like a first edition kaffiyeh. But way less inflammatory. But like, just as relevant.

If {your brand} is not, then {your brand} raised me with decent morals and a can-do attitude. {Your brand} is storied. {Your brand} is more classic than Dockers. I’d really like to be part of {your brand} at this exciting time because {your brand} is about to be ushered into whatever you want it to/whatever your boss wants it to/the nineteenth century and I have the wherewithal/googling capabilities/family connections to become an integral part of your team.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Ideas, people?

Here’s the thing about fancying yourself “creative”. As long as you have some sort of prohibitive factor in your life (say, your full-time job, your full-time relationship, your charity work with learning-disabled orphans that you'll really commit yourself to once your schedule clears) you can pretend that, and that alone, is the reason for your lack of fame, or worse, lack of daily greatness. I mean, it’s been working for me for over a quarter-century now.

But when you’re given the opportunity to showcase what it is, as the kids say, what you’re made of, and you can’t exactly produce it, this is where the trouble begins.

My full-time job, however glamorous and full of wine, has an end in sight. I knew this. We all did. But like the inevitable end of Titanic, didn’t you just hope there would be a Hail Mary pass that changed the outcome of history? I did. And that magic day, dear friends, has yet to come.

So there comes then that opportunity we were talking about, you and I, that free-as-a-bird, show-me-how-you think dare. From someone damn important. And you have forty other deadlines to meet. And your (my) brain freezes. It’s not used to being addressed to directly.*

So you shoot off a thought and you see if it sticks, and if it doesn’t, well, then it’s back to the drawing board to wonder why it's so hard to capture creative flow.


*Would-be employers, can’t you mar up this request by adding that I need to make a thousand copies? My best thoughts come to me during the abysmal tedium of everyday entry life, I swear!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas means...

The packed train ride there, lugging fifty pounds of books to distribute, falling asleep and waking up in a semi-panic that I’ve missed my stop.

Cocktail hour starting at four PM.

Tripping over the cat—who refuses to move from in front of the tree all day, but has no qualms about stepping on my face to traverse across the bed at night.

Sitting in the backseat of the car again.

Hours spent in the warmest room of the house and never letting the fire die.

My annual tour of duty as the official wrapper of all gifts (which I have since embraced, even wrapping gifts to me or gifts that I accidentally bought for me while shopping for other people—like Amy Hempel’s collected works).

Motown Christmas tunes.

Sidestepping the obstacle course that is the attic to procure said wrapping paper in the first place. And finding wrapped presents up there with no dates and three layers of dust, which I momentarily consider just putting under the tree and then handing to my parents.

Cranberry walnut pie for breakfast.

Scaring the bejesus out of the dog by shouting his name through the empty wrapping paper roll right in his ear.

The streets paved with lines of glowing luminaria,

The un-seen mantle covered with shots of us on Santa’s lap each year, from me at four, grimacing in a short-sleeved purple dress in Miami to the regrettable B.U.M. equipment T-shirt and holiday troll earrings of 1990 (did I mention I was also wearing a jingle bell necklace?).

My dad with a video camera which must have been the newest model in 1989.

The ornaments that hold the most special of places in our hearts: the bright green pickles (how we have two of these is beyond me), my first stocking now yellowed and strung with a hook, my brother’s dilapidated pinecone monstrosity from kindergarten, my first-grade ceramic self-portrait (depicting what only can be described as that disease from the movie Mask—you know, the one with Cher), the clay boot from Texas.

Ten phonecalls before noon.

Loudly cursing out my brother’s computer for balking in the middle of the thirtieth NPR All Songs Considered podcast I’ve downloaded.

The Godfather trilogy.

Having our true holiday meal the day before—having no turkey but plenty of shrimp kabobs, friends and wine—and then spending Christmas Eve in our favorite Indian restaurant trying to out-best each other with preposterous dream vacation fantasies (Helsinki vs. Lake Como).

Trying to fit a Santa hat on the dog.

Me, wearing a dress and someone’s big blue pullover fleece, bare legs and my mother’s socks all day long while I switch from the Yule Log channel to Planes, Trains and Automobiles.

As many blankets as I can carry, spread out in every direction.

Alternating between a historical history of the spice trade and an old issue of Vanity Fair.

Nearly breaking the washing machine by overturning a gallon of detergent into a load.

Coming back to the city, wishing I could have taken the entire week off instead of just a day, handing in the story research and daydreaming about next week, next year, and everything else unrelated to right now.

Being very, very grateful.

Hope you’ve had/are having a wonderful holiday…

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Oh yes, there will be blood

I have never been afraid of the dentist.* That is until this lovely experience. Why don’t I just change offices you ask? Why, that would be too easy! Instead I hid from the fearless hygienist for a year and a half, cowering in a fetal position in the bathtub until I was forced to go back for a cleaning since the end of 2007 also marks the end of all my health insurance and a full-time job.

So here’s what went down:

Small Jamaican woman who might be the devil incarnate: Sit down!

Me: Y-y-y-yes, ma’am.


Me, taking a big breath of courage and cringing, remembering my last experience: Um…can I please ask to have a light cleaning? I think I have sensitive gums or something. (Code for, actually, my gums are fine, but I distinctly remember you giving the top of my mouth repeated, stabbing acupuncture with your little needle equipment because you were dancing to the radio blasting in the room as you scraped).

Small Jamaican woman who might be the devil incarnate: Wait just a minute. Let me look at your chart.

(beat, followed by furrowing of the brow)

Oh, it’s YOU. I remember you! I remember we had a lot of problems, didn’t we? Because you REFUSED to cooperate. Yes, lots and lots of problems here with your behavior.

Me, lower lip trembling and wondering if I can simultaneously get her in a sleeper hold and grab my chart, fleeing for the border, never to be seen again: I’m sorry. I’ll be good this time! I promise!

Small Jamaican woman who might be the devil incarnate: You said that I was hurting you! Why would you say that to me? Why? Why?

Me, looking at the ground: I don’t know. (Because you made me cry?)

Small Jamaican woman who might be the devil incarnate: Let’s not have a problem this time, okay? It doesn’t hurt!

The needle thing goes on. Good ole Stabby McStabs-A-Lot gets that familiar twinkle in her eye.

Cleaning commences with a whhhhhhhhheeeeeeeeezzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz! (noise from her various torture devices).

Cleaning ends.

Me, smiling like a maniac through a mouthful of blood: Mmmmmm! Mmmmmm! Please ma’am, may I have another?

Jamaican woman who might be the devil incarnate, looking a little freaked out: Okay, time to put your coat on.

Me: Muah-hah-hah! Victory is mine!

*And never had to be, I think I got my first and only cavity my senior year of college. What a dorky accomplishment.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Please Don't Tell...

We have/had a favorite bar. And much like a favorite band, brand, movie, whatever, because we fancied we were one of the first to really have found it, we claim some sort of ridiculous man-on-the-moon-with-an-American-flag ownership. Sure, we know it existed for a while completely independent of us, we know it will exist afterwards; we know we are just a couple of dorks who stumbled upon it mere months before the rest of the city, but come on, we’re twenty six years old! What thrill of discovery can we come close to that doesn’t involve getting married and having a baby at this juncture?

So the tipping point has officially been hit at PDT, the not-so-secret speakeasy-cocktail mecca-strange family portrait and taxidermy-adorned alcove just beyond the riot grrrl waitresses at Crif Dog, coincidentally my other favorite place in the world. (If you have not eaten cheese tots and a bacon-wrapped hot dog here at four in the morning, then you have not vomited, er…lived, my friend. Horrible, sweet relief is the moment when they come back up minutes later and glorious is the next morning when you wake up alive. )

In any case, back to PDT, which we figure, as we are annoying implant New Yorkers who work in magazines and film, respectively, has a shelf life of about another two weeks on the “under the radar” and, as we all know, makes the place a “total sell-out” and “not worth visiting” anymore*.

Friday night found us excited to finally have a reservation at the un-un-godly hour of eleven. And yet, when we got there, we could not get in.

Because about eight armed policemen were in there “checking the liquor license”. Because it sure does make sense for that sort of search to happen at primetime on a weekend night. And utilize half a swat team. Sure.

So we sat in Crif Dog for about an hour and a half, nursing PBRs, in the bright glint and in sharp relief seeing what the place looked like to the virgin and un-inebriated. It wasn’t pretty. But we did start some camaraderie with the other misplaced patrons. We did start playing a game of guessing who was coming in to get a hot dog, and who was there to push open the door to their reservation-only table just feet away. And after a few beers and sheer boredom, this game began (alternating people who tried to get in, letting half discover for themselves that they couldn’t, and telling the other half).

Which created the following situation:

Guy with a sweet, sweet camel jacket, gelled hair, and his bored-looking girl of the evening approach…

Me, cramped by the door: “Oh hey guys, you can’t get in there.”

Guy puffing up in his button-down and staring at me with a Herculean strain of disdain and a “do-you-know-who-I-am?” face: “Um, no, WE can, WE have a RESERVATION”

Smug girlfriend sneers a smile.

Me, holding two beers, and sweeping my arms around the room at the five people we’ve been waiting with, bursting into a fit of giggles: “Ha! So do all of us! Ha-ha!”

Group of people now laughing with me at poor gelled guy and his girl.

Guy, pushing through anyway, only to be promptly turned away by the hostess. He and his lady friend scurry back to the place from whence they came. I’m guessing Murray Hill.

Me: “Oops. I don’t think he’s coming back. Was it something I said?”

My friend: “Let’s hold off on the beer for a minute, huh?”

Me: “You’re not the boss of me.”

Anyone have any idea what went down at PDT on Friday?

*Okay not really, but you know what I mean, when you don’t really fit into the crowd any more and your aunt wants to go there, it’s just a tad less fun than it used to be.

Holiday Quote of the Day

You know when you find yourself at Marquee (this place is still open?) at 3 AM on a Wednesday (I’m still engaging in such tomfoolery at my advanced age?) at the after-after-after party, coined by the two remaining participants of the evening—namely you and the male intern you’ve been sexually harassing for the past two months (all in good fun, I promise?)—and he calls his “friend”(his anti-friend?) who, you are told, when the upstanding young citzen arrives, you have to stay inside the club alone while said intern rides around the block with him, you know you need to stop accepting all invitations that come your way.

“I like your (*terrorist*) scarf.”

“Thanks! I got it in (REDACTED) European city. So, you know, it’s super inflammatory.”

“Zing!” *(High fives)*

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Snow Day

It’s holiday season time, and with the advent of eggnog and my constant joking about my/other people’s “hot toddies” comes all kinds of activity: ferocious shopping, office fetes, infiltration of a thousand santas, you know the drill.

But too comes something else,; tons and tons of Christmas music. And if you know me, if it isn’t on the only Christmas CD that matters, it might as well not exist.

So today, I’m listening, in, but not contained to, the holiday spirit, to the following hilarious playlist of predominantly European electropop music, what’s kept me dancing all 2007, in the hopes that though Paris is weeks behind me, the next time I’m there won’t be too far ahead at all, and that this year I can start a new tradition, of what exactly I’m not sure:

Tough Alliance “New Chance”

New Young Pony Club “The Get Go”

Crystal Castles vs. Health “Crimewave”

Krazy Baldhead “Applejuice”

Justice “DVNO”

Chromeo “Fancy Footwork” (Guns n Bombs remix)

Yelle “Je veux te voir”

Daft Punk “Music Sounds Better With You/One More Time “

Glass Candy “Rolling Down the Hills “

Bag Raiders “Nil by Mouth” (Reprise)

Rex the Dog “Circulate” (JBAG edit)

Alex Metric “Oh”

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Faux Pas

Last night at Graydon Carter’s playground, The Waverly Inn, inches from tuna tartare, feet from Anne Hathaway and neck-deep in swirling literati:

Me: Wasn’t he your Pushcart boyfriend?

Her: Pushcart? No, no, he won the Pen/Faulkner.

Me (half mock embarrassment/half real): I cannot believe I just mistook the Pushcart for the Pen/Faulkner! How gauche! I hope no one from Vanity Fair heard!

Francois: They did. But just for that joke, we won’t kick you out.

Catching up with the mentor and finally, finally getting back on track with my novel. With bad jokes like these, there’s no choice but to pretend to be a writer again…right?

And on our way out, the paparazzi took our picture…must have been the slowest night this year.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Match Point

When the day arrives in which you come upon a holiday party, invited this time, a gathering of your superiors (not in work, but rather, in life) and half the men-and they are men this time-are in tuxedos, and the girls are all a-glitter in designer sparkles and crystal flutes are passed by a bedecked staff, and your friend has bailed, what else can be done but saying yes to small mugs of sundae-flavored liquer until the following conversation occurs?

Fancy neurosurgeon: “I’m a fancy neurosurgeon.”

Filter-less freelancer: “Does that mean you can drill me a bliss hole?”

Fancy neurosurgeon, now gulping down scotch: “Pardon?”

Filter-less freelancer, somehow emboldened by not knowing this person, and not for the first time feeling like saying the most ridiculous thing that comes to mind: “Surely you know of bliss holes! Like in that article ten years ago in Rolling Stone? Where people get tiny holes drilled in their skulls as some sort of medieval throwback to let out all the bad spirits. And they say they’re in a perpetual state of joy…pure bliss. Right?”

Fancy neurosurgeon, with a twinkle in his eye: “Right.”

Filter-less freelancer: “So how about it? Can you drill me a bliss hole?”

Fancy neurosurgeon: “Oh I’ll drill you a bliss hole all right. Why don’t you turn around?”

Record player scratches to a screeching end.

Filter-less freelancer: “Well played, sir. Well played.”

Have I finally met my inappropriate conversationalist match?

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Cards that care

Relationship Query

“So, she’s told you repeatedly that she’s really into you and couldn’t even look at another guy even if you do whatever with another girl.“


“Wow. A tad premature right?”


(Sigh) “Girls need to get better about not doing that.”

“Yeah, well they need to be HONEST.”

“That’s so stupid. They ALWAYS want to be honest. And it’s like, sure, but, um, you’re clingy. And have invented our relationship in your head. So don’t be honest just yet.”


“I have to talk (REDACTED) down from that nonsense all the time. People are always all ‘I don’t want to play games! I am who I am so you have to love me!’”


“But then it’s like, hey a-hole; we can’t just wear our pajamas to work, so to speak.”

People really abhor the idea of "playing games" because it sounds so sinister and fake and anti-love.

But is game-playing mutually exclusive with taking it slow, figuring things out, or any other social patterns in a mating ritual? We all want the parachute to be fully operational before we jump, but I think there are ways to get to the point about that and ways not to set yourself up for make sure the conditions are as perfect and stable as possible before you test them...

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

America's Next Top Kitten

So it's doing that spitting-snow thing on a Wednesday and there's foie gras but no Beaujolais left in the tasting kitchens in which you spend your days rolling around...(life is the anti-hard this week, though I fear it might be just a product of my overactive fantasy life). Well what could fix this but a video combining my two favorite things? Those two things being, of course, kittens and judgement.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Beep Boop Boop

Saturday I went to an Atari Djing workshop. For those of you who haven’t heard of this (read: anyone normal), it’s the art of djing using only an archive of Atari sounds. Through an Atari. As in reformatting floppy disks and hard drives to make the keys on an Atari into some sort of mixer. Nerds, our day has come. Let us bask. Actually, without sounding too weird, some of the music is actually kind of awesome.

This is not to be confused with Gameboy Djing, which you may have heard about a few years back. They are warring. No, I’m not joking.

So, without further ado, the tie for quote of the day goes to the following:

8-Bit dude talking about video game djing: “I have absolutely no idea how to do that.”

Voice in the back: “What, how to please a woman?”

And then…

Fan: “(Famous Atari DJ), will you sign my Gameboy?”

Voice in the back: “That’s like asking Tupac to sign a Biggie CD!”

Oh voice in the back, how I adore you…