Wednesday, July 30, 2008

What Barack Obama and Stephanie Meyer have in common

1. I don't care what music they like.
2. Evil conspiratorial marketing forces are trying to make me care about the music they like.

Well, maybe "evil" is too strong a word. How about useless? Seriously, I spend enough time unsubscribing from all my political newsletters now that they've been overtaken by Obamamania; every senator, MoveOn cause, or any group that ever thought of having Democrat-like leanings has proudly allowed its newsletter to be used as the mouthpiece of Obama and I am sick of seeing B.O.'s name in my inbox, so every time it happens I promptly unsubscribe. (And in the "please tell us why you want to unsubscribe" space I do precisely that.)

But now even my totally apolitical newsletter from a heretofore chill concert venue in Massachusetts -- a newsletter to which I continue to subscribe because they have such great musicians there all the time that I glean information and regularly learn about great new artists -- has gone to the dark side. Tonight's subject line promised that B.O. knows great music when he hears it, and it proceeded to tell me about the Kenyan-American cooperative band Extra Golden. For whom, I might add, B.O. himself apparently "pulled some strings to make sure they got their visas and work permits to play in the states." (So says the newsletter.) I suppose I could refrain from pointing out that if Dubya and his cronies pulled such strings for their friends everyone would be up in a snit about how shady that behavior is ... but when B.O. does it, it is suddenly saintly.

As for Stephanie Meyer, if you don't know who she is, I am jealous of you. She is the author of some silly young adult series about vampires and who knows what all. If I recall correctly, she's a housewife who is or used to be or hangs out with some Mormons or something until she realized she had stories to tell that are dark and yet uplifting about some vampires that take up residence in human brains ... I don't know, none of this is the point. The point is that the latest book in her series-of-young-adult-fantasy-books-whose-covers-are-indistinguishable comes out this Saturday, or, if you're in the desperate retail bookselling business, Friday night at midnight at a party to include games! trivias! wristbands! a chance to win the raffle prize of -- first place in line to buy the book at 12 a.m.

Well, as part of the attempt to make Harry Potter out of a sow's ear, Borders has all kinds of displays promoting the book and the series and the Twilight calendar and included among them is an endcap display of "Stephanie Meyer's playlist." The tunes that inspired her as she wrote the Twilight series ... or so they say. UGH.

I'm surprised no one thought of that for JK Rowling over the years. Or maybe she didn't listen to any music to inspire her as she wrote the HP books because of course we all know she started writing them in a cafe with her young children clamoring for her time/attention/money because had you heard she was a struggling single mother? You must have, it's got to be the most often recited pop culture sob story of the last couple decades, either that or Jewel's homeless-in-a-van-that-made-me-a-poet crap.

See, this is what happens to me when I get this annoyed. Run-on sentences.

But just for good measure, you know who else's opinion means nothing to me? All the middle-aged men in my neighborhood who like to say things to me when I go running. Are you listening, thirtysomething to sixtysomething men of Greenpoint, whether you be smoking, chatting with your friends, up on scaffolding building something, or just generally standing around being useless? Well, listen now: I DON'T CARE ABOUT YOU. I'm not going to look at you, I'm not going to return your greetings, and I don't know what on god's green earth inspires you to whistle and shout pleasantries and random "woo-hoos" and "go girls" at me when I run by. Shut up, OK? Why would someone actually stop and respond to you? Double ugh.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

4, 3, 2 ... finally!

At long last I've watched the much-talked about Romanian film, 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days. By all accounts it should have been an Oscar nominee and furthermore I could not FIND a single bad review of it earlier this year as I read about it everywhere, and I tried to go see it at Lincoln Plaza but it was sold out and then I kept trying to go and it just somehow never worked out...but that's been remedied now.

In a nutshell (how we love those) it's a bleak portrayal of how a young woman helps her college roommate procure an illegal abortion in late 1980s communist Romania. I'd heard "gripping," "unflinching" and so on. True, true. I think the best thing about it -- no wait, the two best things about it -- were 1. that it provided dramatic (variously tension-raising, frustrating, infuriating) plot points without lots of big flashing for-lack-of-a-better-word-blockbuster bells and whistles to let you know a dramatic point had been reached, and that kind of made you as a viewer suck in your breath all the more when they happened and 2. that the focus on the friend, and the fall-out on her relationships, makes you consider the intense ramifications of all that happened quite differently than in just focusing on the girl who gets the abortion.

Oh, who am I kidding -- as if there were just two magnificent things about it! And by the way, what you learn about living in that particular regime in the late 80s along makes it worth watching too.

Do yourselves a favor. Really. (Oooh, and you can Netflix, as I did.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The big apple of my eyeliner

Today, like most days, I signed on to Hotmail and skimmed one of the headline MSN lifestyle articles. (For "lifestyle" read "generally useless crap about things like fashion, celebrities, or weird news.") I'm so not putting a link to it here, because that would just encourage you to give it more hits, and it should not get more hits. It should die a lonely, terrible web death, because of a line which I will share below.

The article is called "The Dirty Dozen: 12 Makeup Mistakes You May Be Making." In the first tip (the first!), which is "Wearing too much (or too little) makeup," it offers up this gem:

"Your makeup should be time and place appropriate--so what looks perfect for a big evening event shouldn't be the same as what you put on to go to the grocery store or the gym."

I should not have to point out to any of you what is wrong with that sentence. I think anyone to whom I would have to point out what I find ridiculous in that sentence is no blog reader of mine. I will add one more thing, though, for all of those (and this latter category does include blog readers of mine) who like to say L.A. is the superficial capital of the world. This bit of advice did not emanate from the City of Angels, but rather from NEW YORK CITY makeup artist Jessica Liebeskind. Well, well.

Dude, maybe people in California are more naturally beautiful, and more relaxed, and they are definitely more into the gym. At any rate, they have sunshine and a carefree lifestyle and they do not need to be as stressed out about their dumb faces as Jessica Liebeskind.


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Calling all Canadians, plus coffee and baseball

How much do I love extra innings? Answer: a lot, meaning last night's All-Star game was fantastic, in my book. I was more than happy to stay up 'til 2 a.m. watching (as Brian puts it) "free baseball." I was sad for my Atlanta Brave Brian McCann and his oh-so-close almost out tag at the plate that ended the game, mere centimeters from sending it into yet ANOTHER inning. Hooray, baseball!

I was kind of hoping the National League would win, not because (also as Brian puts it) I am a baseball fan polygamist (this is because Brian doesn't know what it's like to grow up in a sports town without a team for your favorite sport) but because the N.L. never wins. But I'm happy for my Red Sox, too. Also on my things to do list is to join the Dan Uggla fan club. He rules. I spent the last couple innings making fun of how the announcers kept talking about his error(s) because they are so dumb they have nothing worthwhile to say while they ignored the good plays he made that kept his team alive. I love that after the game reporters accosted Uggla with questions about his so-called "less-than-stellar" performance and he was like, "Whatever. I had a blast." Yay, him!

Today I was thinking about Canadians and about milk. Not at the same time. About Canadians I was wondering what all the Canadians I now know were thinking in '04 when many of us here in the U.S. would make only-half-joking comments such as, "If Bush wins the election I'm moving to Canada." I mean, did you take that as a compliment? Or as an insult, like it would take something that drastic to get us to consider living in your fair land? I'm so curious.

About milk - or even cream - I was thinking that size does matter. When I get my iced latte at Starbucks or my iced coffee at Dunkin' Donuts, I always get a medium (which is a "grande" at Starbucks). Any other size doesn't taste right. I was thinking about that today and I decided it's not really crazy. It's a milk to coffee ratio. Those franchises are so standardized and they dictate down to the pumps of cream or ounces of milk in a cup, right. So take DD. They have their little cream pump and if there's a certain amount in one pump, and that's perfect for a medium, you'd have to have the exactly proportionate ounce-wise amount less for the taste in a small to be perfect! But it's probably not. I think a medium is maybe 16 oz, so if a small is 12, then there'd have to be one and half pumps instead of two. But I think they would do ONE pump instead of two. Or whatever. See what I mean? Ditto on the Starbucks iced lattes, where it's even more crucial. I loathe the taste of tall ( = small) and venti ( = large) iced lattes. But grande is just right.

OK, that was my Goldilocks coffee moment.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Let them blow out bargains

Happy Bastille Day!

I would like to point out that, you know, hypothetically speaking, if I were to work for a really silly company that is quaking in its financial boots and this silly company were to launch a desperate attempt to see some sales figures in the form of a crazy nationwide sale in which customers who are "sensitive to bargains right now" were invited to come in to see balloons, bright yellow tablecloth, and cheap products for sale in CARDBOARD BOXES on the front table in some kind of masquerade of big retail cheap-ass bargain basement deals, and in this hypothetical world if I were to be in charge of setting up such a thing and were to spend hours upon hours at work laughing hysterically at the hypocritical, inane, and basically absurd instruction sheets, let alone the comic relief provided by the display itself, tempered only by the frightful notion that this company is trying to sell off anything it can get people to buy in order to do SOMETHING about its pitiful situation, then my co-workers and managers and I, who at the end of the evening in this hypothetical world would want nothing more than to get the hell out of there and go drink a glass of wine, would fantasize about staging a coup, and taking the power out of the hands of fools, and it would be only too appropriate if all of this were to take place on Bastille Day.


Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Farewell Chicken

Have I mentioned how great it is to live across the river from Manhattan? Have I also mentioned the awesomeness that is Water Taxi Beach? Well, I'll mention them again; I know none of you read each and every blog post anyway. *smirk*

Almost every day I walk across the Pulaski Bridge, which links Brooklyn and Queens, and from said bridge I gaze over the water and am treated to a great view of the Greatest City in the World. There was this ad I saw in the subway a while back (I really might have mentioned this already) admonishing people to come live in such-and-such high-rise condos which are across the river over here, in one of the "other boroughs." Here's how the ad did it: it had side-by-side panels and one said "the price here" and it was, say, a third of the figure in the "the price in Manhattan" panel. It also had "the view from here" and showed the amazing, lit up Manhattan skyline, and then it showed "the view from Manhattan" and it was, like, Queens, and some crap expanse of randomness and rail and warehouses and such. The ad makes a great point. Only those of us on the outside have the killer views.

As I have patiently tried to explain to my Manhattan friends since last fall, we are one subway stop (one!) from Manhattan. I am literally closer to some of them than they are to, for example, Central Park. But the die-hard Manhattan peeps don't hear it. They just stay on their little island at all times, unless they're running the marathon.

But the Water Taxi's so wonderful! It's over in Queens, specifically in Long Island City, and it's on the water (duh) on the East River. So what you do is you go there and hang around in the sand and have a beer and listen to music and watch the sunsets and then look at all the light of the Greatest City in the World. (Have you picked up my sardonic tone in that phrase yet?)

It's really out of the way and from the outside you would seriously think you're looking at another nondescript warehouse across from some Long Island Rail Road tracks and a few under-construction buildings. But then you go around and across a parking lot (I know! a parking lot!) and then you step into some sand and you're on the beach.

As you can guess, we've gone there a few times. But tonight we went for the free BBQ party. Free food! Because the Water Taxi Beach is so awesome that they just randomly have a party on a Wednesday night with free entry and free barbecued chicken. (Or grilled, if you will.) Now, I have totally decided that my whole "Oh, I'm a lapsed vegetarian who occasionally eats poultry" thing has got totally out of control. I am beyond lapsed; I am heathen. I have had beef lately. Like, more than once.

Also, I have been really mood swingy lately. By "lately" I mean the past six months, or roughly since the beginning of my second 2L semester, also known as the semester I anguished through doing a clinic, also known as my Worst Semester Ever. By "really moodswingy" I mean crying jags that are a force to be reckoned with. I don't say "moody" because to me that implies a sort of temper, irritability, or kind of lashing out. Mine isn't really a lashing out. More like a lashing in. An exquisite suffering. A sudden, intense need to suddenly bawl my eyes out to the person next to me, who 99 times out of 100 is Brian; pity him. Not that this has happened 100 times -- shudder to think -- but you get my drift. It's kind of bizarre and even I'm fairly shocked by it when it happens but it's really deeply felt at the time. It can also go away just as fast.

Now, I totally want to chalk up the moodiness to the aforementioned clinic and Worst Semester Ever. It was often law school or something like it that precipitated the dissolving into tears. But it has also been Taxi to the Dark Side, the fear that Greyhound lost all my belongings forever, or even a simple misunderstanding. And a million other things. Lately I thought the malaria pills had made it worse. There's even a sticker that came with my pills that says "call your doctor if you feel sad, or have changes in mood." I laughed when I saw that the other day, but then I thought maybe it's not so funny. I have had the promised vivid dreams, after all, since taking the malaria pills. (I'm so totally done taking them now, by the way. But I have no idea what the half life is and I'm still having some vivid dreams.) So maybe they've also messed with my moods?

Anyway, lately I've been considering another possible culprit: meat. When I became a vegetarian around age 16 I remember that I started to feel a lot better, physically but also psychologically. And so right now I am considering this: all the chickens and cows we eat around here (the U.S.) are totally shot up with hormones, right? So doesn't it make sense that eating them when you totally used to not eat them would up the level of hormones in your body and throw things out of whack? These past few months in which I have become all moodified happen to coincide with when I started eating (a lot) more meat, after Brian and I got our household and kitchen equipped. The reason is a little complicated, but it boils down to: he cooks. I don't. (Especially during the Worst Semester Ever.) And he is a mega-carnivore. And I am not often known to turn down food offered to me, especially when all I have to do is warm the tortillas.

But I've got to see if this connection I've imagined between the meat and the out-of-whack mood swings is legit. So I am waving bye-bye to the chicken, beef, and so on, and returning to my non-meat-eating ways. Just like I was for a decade, without fail. Which I wanted to return to anyway but ... but ... et cetera. So I am totally going pesco-vegetarian again, and today we went to the free bbq chicken party and I danced and ate my last chicken for a while. Remember when I went vegetarian in high school and my farewell meat was a hot dog at Lollapalooza? Everyone I knew was appalled by that; rightly so!

Also, I'm fat right now. Seriously! I'm kind of horrified by it. Even though I got my big orange bag back from Greyhound eventually, half the jeans in it don't even fit at the moment. I'm sure sitting around in Michigan doing nothing for three weeks didn't help. It is so time to get back on the horse. Horse = running, exercising, gym, pilates, softball and so forth.

In summary:
1. Water Taxi Beach rules, even though the Lord sends down thunderous rain upon us when we try to go there to get free food meat.
2. I'm not sure which sucks more, doing a law school clinic or getting malaria.
3. "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." -- Michael Pollan

Monday, July 07, 2008


Independence has come and gone, or the day celebrating it anyway. T-minus 24 hours 'til our departure from Michigan. Already my mind is starting to wrap up its vacation mode and return to New York mode and all the productive things I want to do with the last month and a half of my summer. I am ending my vacation reading a memoir by a girl my age who grew up in Grand Rapids. I picked it up yesterday while we sat around watching the men's Wimbledon final.

About that, I don't really watch tennis on television, much. For some reason, tennis and hockey are two sports that just don't really captivate me when televised, and I much prefer watching them live or, in the case of tennis, playing. But yesterday's men's final between Federer and Nadal was pretty exciting and dramatic and watching it live was super-captivating. In fact some sports writers have already called it the greatest tennis match ever. So there you are. I also got to see a lot of extra-innings baseball yesterday, which is my favorite, and that was the background as I sat around reading. Yay! When I finish this book I'll surely return to Norman Mailer. I have a whole bus ride to fill with it.

My thoughts have started to turn toward what I'm going to do next summer, or, more specifically, where I'm going to go. I didn't mean to think about it; I'm actually rather happy to not, frankly. But other people are making me think about it. They do this by, for example, asking me, "What are you doing next summer?" That question should be OFF LIMITS, in my opinion. But as I was thinking about it some more, I realized a funny thing. It's OK (for me, at least) because I like nothing more than thinking about where to go next. So here's what's funny about that: OTHER people are the ones who get annoyed when I start pontificating about moving to a new place and being indecisive about where to go and fantasizing about all the other cities in the world in which I could live. Well, then maybe OTHER people should stop asking me about what I'm going to do next. Because for me, the "what to do" question is inextricably linked to the "where to go."

More on the geographical question as the coming school year develops, I'm sure.

The other thing about it is that I have to decide where to take the bar exam. I'm leaning toward taking it in New York and then moving on after that.

And don't think for a moment that I've abandoned the desire to get my M.F.A. ...

Friday, July 04, 2008

Talk about your revolutions

Fourthity fourthity fourth! Happy Independence Day, oh United Statesian readers of mine. We are soon to stroll down to the lake to enjoy some fireworks on the beach (that would be Lake Michigan). Then, another wedding of a friend of Brian's tomorrow and then our summer vacation in Michigan will come to an end. It has been nice to spend some time here and did I mention I like reading novels? The blogging hasn't been as forthcoming as it might have because my computer gets persnickety as we steal communally share the random wireless networks floating about. Brian's computer doesn't seem to have a problem but mine can only hold a connection in twenty-second intervals, apparently, which is a MAJOR pain when one wants to hold forth on the ol' blog. Or, do anything online really. It's kind of like dial-up.

Anyhoo, yay for Michigan and yay for this ol' independent country of ours (sorry Brit friends) and yay for the thought that maybe the U.S. can get its collective head out of its collective ass by next 4th of July (what can I say, I'm an optimist on holidays). (Unless I work in a Borders store on a holiday -- that'll kill any hope you had for humanity, right there.)

Number of times I've swum in Lake Michigan: 2
Number of news stories I've heard/read this week about Obama's votes in the Senate disappointing the ideals of his followers: 4
Number of pages of The Naked and the Dead I've read: 139
Number of different cities in which I've spent the 4th of July: 11 (I think)