Thursday, May 31, 2012

40 Facts About Charlize Theron

1) For Charlize's role as the Evil Queen in the Charlize Plays An Evil Queen movie, they didn't have to use any special effects.

2) In Prometheus, she is both the Hive Queen, The Sentient Computer, and Buffy.

3) In Snow White and the Huntsman, Charlize controlled Kristin Stewart with her mind, while playing her own part as well.

4) When Charlize reaches up to touch the sun, it turns into the moon just to get closer to her.

5) For young Adult, they crafted Patton Oswalt out of Charlize's body fat, which she usually burns every night before bed.

6) Charlize was in Mighty Joe Young. I hope the apes remember we gave them that, when they rise up. 

7) There's going to be a new Mad Max movie and Charlize is going to be in it and you all just came in your pants a little.

8) In prep for her character in Mad Max: Fury Road, Charlize is going to tear down the world banks and turn the rivers to sin.

9) Charlize once said she was keeping 7 children in a cave, where they could see Russia from their house. I believe her.

10) Charlize is Leo. No, not a leo. The Leo, the Constellation.

11) There are seven types of dragons, and Charlize has killed six of them. (she is the seventh)

12) Charlize is actually the Tooth Fairy. If you're not nice to small animals, she comes and steals your teeth. Then eats them.

13) In 2030, on the 18th birthday of Snooki's son, Charlize will challenge him to a duel, and in defeating him, save the world.

14) There is a black crow that follows Charlize around constantly. She reads him Wordsworth, and he brings her diamonds.

15) She once taught high school Spanish, until a brutal episode of Destinos caused her to strip naked in class and start quoting Neruda.

16) Charlize actually had a small scene in the 2006 BBC series Planet Earth

17) If Charlize was a flavor of ice cream, she would be raspberry sprinkled with the All Knowing Female Spirit of the Universe.

18) She is Kamadhenu, the wish fulfilling sacred cow, "from whom all that is desired is drawn". Her credit rating is 800.

19) I once borrowed a dime from her. Overnight, in my purse, it multiplied into a 1000 snow white mice with bright silver eyes.

20) She does not get yeast infections. Instead, she breeds new disease resistant species of delicious algae to feed the world.

21) She once bested Zooey Deschanel in a ukulele contest. She won with a cover of Dolly Parton's Jolene.

22) She covers every Robyn song better than Robyn, but will refuse to do so out of respect.

23) When the human brain falls asleep, it converts memories into permanent forms. Charlize is a Permanent Form.

24) She was the first human to discover ants were edible. Later, she gave birth to the first of the polar bears.

25) When she cried over her first love, she restored the Yangtze River to it's former dolphin filled glory. 

26) When she drinks tea, it is a special tea from Burma that lets her see into the future and repel ScarJo's psychic attacks.

27) Charlize designed the game of soccer with one goal in mind, winning her game of Risk with God. #SouthAmericaAlwaysWins

28) She believes cupcakes to be an inferior form of dessert, preferring the liver of a fully grown Burmese python.

29) Charlize took over for Santa Claus in 2006, which is why we now have iPhones.

30) Having sex with her is like going back in time and knowing absolutely your parents really loved you.

31) She does not believe in ink, she fills her pens instead with elephant tears and her writing can only be read by starlight.

32) Charlize is a vegan. If by vegan you mean Inhaler of Universes.

33) Her blood is hotter than the core temp of the sun, a brush of her fingertips could power an entire city, but at what cost?

34) She was born in a South African laboratory, commissioned by Phillip Glass to be the first organic string instrument.

35) Her eyes are not actually green, but Neil Degrasse Tyson  fashioned her a pair of powerful lenses, so she would not inadvertently kill us all.

36) Her Afrikaner ancestors were kicked out of Germany for being witches and alchemists. She was only 5 at the time.

37) When asked to endorse a 2012 presidential candidate, she answered in a flawless French accent "Marie Curie".

38) She spends her weekends kissing coma patients awake. When they wake up, their eyes are black with flecks of gold.

39) Charlize does not eat fish, she talks to them.

40) When you turn off the lights, she glows in the dark and hisses.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Memorial Day is for Remembering Things, Right?

Once when we were in high school, some boys we knew shoved bottle rockets under the door of the meat packing plant across the street, just to hear them go off. Nothing got set on fire. This was also the time period Jay was using firecrackers to blow up tvs in his backyard. At one point in my life I thought burned off eyebrows were no big deal.

Once I thought it was a good idea to make out with my boyfriend on a private beach at the end of our street,  which wasn't actually a sandy beach but a very very rocky beach, and the next morning I looked like I had been run over with a truck.

Once a guy packed me a picnic basket of Jameson and strawberries, and we went out to the Presque Isle beaches, where the waves were huge, and swam out as far as we could go, and didn't come in even when it started raining but just floated out there in the deep water letting the waves pummel us. Until the ranger made us come in.

Once our neighbors bought a million dollars worth of firecrackers, and the boys climbed up on the roof of the building to set them off until I shouted at them that lighting firecrackers on a tar roof was idiotic. So then they moved to the parking lot, and shot bottle rockets at each other.

Once we drove to a rave in Cincinnati and before the party we were hanging out with these kids, and one of them shot up in the bathroom and got cotton fever. And I felt awful that I was the only one who knew what to do, and also realized that many people weren't that smart, and that it was totally okay to be around people who did drugs, as long as they knew how to actually do them, and that was fewer people than I thought. Then we went to the party and a friend of a friend got sick because he drank a lot of beer while rolling, and I realized I was also done with raves. 

Once my friend and I sat on the floor of this punk guys barely furnished one bedroom Lakewood apartment listening to 45s, ashing on the carpet, and drinking black label. Later that night I hooked up with the punk guy, and in the morning my friend made fun of me. "He's your friend though" I protested, "He can't be that bad!" And my friend who was much older than me said "That guy's a complete mess Bridget, he's crazy, I should have stopped you but I thought you knew." I was 19 though and I didn't know anything.

Once we drove to Detroit to see a show, in a van with no seats and all of us piled in sitting on the floor, and afterwards we went to a casino, where I ended up sitting on a couch in the hotel part, staring at the insanely crazy patterned carpet, listening to this guy talk for 2 hours about this film he was writing. 

Once we all got really fucked up on the 4th of July, and walked down to the beach at Rocky River, and I stood at the very end of the pier, on the edge of the stone, watching all the fireworks displays from all the different cities around the lakefront, which stretches out so far you stop being able to see it, and I swear the rock pier was moving with the water and everyone else got motion sickness but I didn't want to leave. I just wanted to stand out there right on the edge of deep water, really fucked up, and balance, because it was too beautiful to leave.

Once I was at a funeral for a friend, and we all went to a State Rd. dive bar afterwards, his friends not his family, and one of his friends tried to sleep with me but I remembered what my dead friend had said to me once in a barely furnished one bedroom Lakewood apartment, and didn't. Later that year I learned that guy got a DUI for falling asleep in a White Castle drive thru.

Once I went to Speak In Tongues to see a punk show, and after the show there was a performance artist from NYC who was squatting there, and he sat out in the tiny back courtyard, which was filled with cigarette butts and beer cans, and recited poetry and banged on a drum, and at the time I thought it was the coolest thing in the world, to just wander around staying at performance spaces, being dirty. eating donations, and reciting bad poetry. It was very Bodhisattva, no?

Once I went to a beach party, and realized that despite my best efforts I had managed to be friends with a bunch of really decent smart sweet people and that no matter where I went, I was always with the best people there, the people that everybody else there should want to know. 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Whiskey and Cigars: Bourbon, sortez de ma manière

When I look back on these years a decade from now, it won't be faces I remember, and there will be no awkward moments of comparing our chins to our younger selves. I will remember you by inanimate objects; glasses, bottles, bridges, photos I took late at night on the tops of hills with the city lights underneath us, abstract shots of architectural details you mailed me. Shoes. I have so many photos of shoes. This is more us, these props, this is what our lives actually looked like,let's remember that. It will remind me of the deer that ran across the yard, or the billows of smoke from the grill while we stood around with affable strangers, and you and me in particular we let our egos run rampant, but that's why I love us.   

There are two reasons to drink bourbon; 1) because you hate yourself, 2) because you love yourself. It is a drink for egos, deflated inflated or transcendent. You cannot feel apathetic about yourself when drinking bourbon. The drink demands you instead feel apathetic about other people, seeing them only as orbiting spheres to your own center of gravity. Hence, you must have a very strong opinion about your own material makeup, and you have very little control over what direction that opinion will head, but it will be the truth. 

They call the part of bourbon that evaporates from the barrel the Angels' Share, and the liquor that is left soaked into the wood of the barrel is the Devil's Cut, and so I think logically the part you actually end up drinking should be called the Atheist's Friend. Because it will make you talk about politics, and gossip about people you know, and bond with strangers over the demise of the Western cultural empire. 

The stuff we put in our mouths last night tasted like banana bread, walnuts, fall leaves, grilled meat, cherry wood, lit cigarettes, backyards in Brecksville when we were teenagers, law school lectures, business cards soaked in wine, flooded caves, long drives in Southern Ohio, hot winds coming across deciduous forests in August, candlelight, and wood, so much wood, wooden chairs and decks and tables and baseball bats and futon frames and fence posts and garden walls and broken branches and logs fallen across creeks, all distilled into multiple shades of gold and brown and red. There was only one unfortunate choice, which smelled like mouthwash and tasted like cheap gum. I dumped it out immediately. Turns out you have to make mint juleps by hand, they cannot be bottled. Which is pretty much true about anything good. 

I think my favorite part about the red gold liquors are how hot bright they make the blues and greens appear. 

After the serious intensely decent and friend affirming drinking and conversations, I ended up in a car headed to the Mayfield Panini's for nightcaps of cheap beer and cheap humanity. The Mayfield Panini's, it turns out, is the distillation of 7 different kinds of evil. Laura counted 9 men with earrings. I counted 6 girls I was pretty sure we could convince to make out with each other for drinks. There was not a single person in there who was dressed in any kind of fashionably acceptable way except for one cute older Jewish couple who sat in the corner, obviously on a J-date. As we left, Lou bellowed out a Hall and Oates song that was definitely not playing, and the entire bar looked at us like we were splinters they had been afraid to take out and now they were relieved we were just growing out on our own. Then, completing our juxtaposition of adults and college kids, we went through Taco Bell and spent 30 dollars. 

We stumbled home after close, and sat on the cement garage floor eating tacos while Andrew sang us a song with a cartoon lisp, and there was much revelation about how we are the best sort of people, and how much I'll miss those boys, because we are the people who drink bourbon out of love for ourselves and only stop to think about tomorrow just enough to not fuck it up completely. Though honestly, the tacos were a bad idea. 30 is just old enough to make sure you wake up on time, but apparently not old enough to remember to bring a toothbrush in your purse. I should have thought to wash my mouth out with that mint mouthwash bourbon. At least there was a fan in my face in the morning.

Friday, May 25, 2012

On Bravery, Biking, and Being a Fat Girl

I got this tattoo one year ago on my birthday. It was partly to help me through the end of a relationship, but also because I just wanted a tattoo of something, anything. I was 32, it was time. The best tattoos I had seen on my friends had to do with their occupations; a chef's knife, a hair stylist's scissors, Myles's fucking awesome periodic table. So it had to be a word, or words. And I wanted it to be a tattoo that was a lesson to me, something I needed a reminder of, so that every time I looked at it, I thought "be that" or "do that". The body equivalent of a post-it note. I finally decided on "Brave" because when I thought about everything else I wanted to be in my life - confident, beautiful, smart, traveled, happy - bravery was like a primary color of those goals, it was a Basic Quality, like Empathy or Curiousity, a building block.

 I already thought of myself as brave by then. But I wanted to be braver. I was disappointed with myself at the end of that relationship, not only had I been weak and mean, but the root of all that pain had been fear. Fear of being by myself after a decade of being the other half of a couple for almost 12 years straight, fear of being over 30 and having a mediocre life, of being old and fat and ugly. Getting over being alone was easy. I have lots of people who love me because I love them, and so a few quick months of forcing myself to go out on my own fixed that. The mediocre life? Well, that's a benefit of writing, you learn that mediocrity is dependent on your internal interpretations of your life. This sounds cliche, but if the life of your mind is interesting, then your circumstances will be too. The most standard predictable weekend in the world can give you a good story if you're looking for it. I just had to remind myself of that, and it became true again.

 So that left the last part, those three super powerful words - Old, Fat, Ugly. I'm too vain to think I'm ugly, no matter my size, plain truth. I know I'm not beautiful, but I'm nice looking. I'm nice looking enough that it doesn't matter all that much. I don't know if I'm ever going to be able to think of myself as Old. In my head, I've been the same age since 15. I don't want kids or marriage or a house, so my timeline is pretty much up to me to design, hence the going back to school at 32.

 But Fat. I've been fat my whole life, since 1st grade. This is my body, my shape, this is what I'm used to working with. It's actually done pretty well for me so far. But the thing I think most people don't realize about the Fat Experience is how much Fear comes naturally along with it. It's not fear of other people, per se. I've been incredibly lucky - nobody has ever fat-bashed me to my face except my mother, and she did it with love, as mothers do. If someone tried to insult me to my face calling me a fat girl, I would hardly even think of it as an insult, because yeah, DUH. It's other constant small fears though - being afraid if something is going to fit, being afraid you are just a bit too big for the roller coaster bar to get down over your chest, being afraid to start dragging all this furniture to the curb cause it'll be too hard, being afraid to work out because I'll hurt so much the next day and not be able to go out, being afraid that when you go out to eat you're going to spill something on your chest because it's just so fucking big something is always spilling, being afraid you're going to look stupid in that photo because you didn't hold your shoulders right or you laughed. Being fat, for me at least, has been a constant challenge to get over myself. No matter how ridiculous my vanity or pride tells me I'm going to look, I have to force myself to do it anyway. This applies to things like karaoke, hooking up with boys, dancing, going to the beach. All things I love very much, and I will never stop doing them, but there is always a moment of fear I have to overcome. Luckily, I'm pretty good at being brave, I just don't want to have to be all the time.

 Which brings us to my bike. If you missed it, my car died. I decided to not try buying a new one. Maybe after I move I'll need one, but I'm not even going to think about till I've moved successfully and found a job and started classes. Nope, I'm biking it, or rather I'm trying to. I have a lot of friends who are Bike Kids, they've been relying on it as their primary mode of transportation for years, they all seem super capable and they love it so much. So while it sucks to not be able to go on road trips and explorations this year, I think learning to bike a lot is really important to me right now.

 But holy shit is it an embarrassing humiliating humbling experience. First, there's the fact that my carefully crafted outfits, the fashion aesthetic I've spent years building up as a Fat Girl, can no longer apply. Carey tried to argue with me, "of course you can wear dresses and makeup!" she cried. No sweety, maybe you can. But the minute I start biking any kind of distance, my face just pours sweat, so anything but the simplest makeup is out. I have to wear sneakers or sneaker like shoes, because the first time I tried to go biking in Mary Janes I bruised the fuck out of the side of my foot and it still hurts. So half my dresses are out because I would never wear them with sneakers. And my hair, my god. Helmet hair? Covered in sweat helmet hair? All the sweat in my body comes from my face. Basically relying on biking for transportation means I'm going to look like I just got out of the gym all the time. Sequin dresses are not sweat friendly. So there goes half my confidence already.

 Then there's how bad I am at it. I am not a graceful biker. I am hunched over desperately trying to balance and not fall around corners. I have to pedal twice as much because I have twice as much weight to push forward, and two times less leg strength. I am crazy skittish in traffic, out of breath and panicked, I'm on a Scare High the whole time. The whole thing sucks, a lot. And it sucks in public. Sitting somewhere and being pretty is easy as a fat girl. Biking on a crowded street where every car already hates you and you are beet red and soaked whenever you arrive somewhere is something else.

 So...Bravery. It's needed more than ever. And the best way to gain bravery points is to just hold your breath and do it. I have a whole lifetime of being good at that to back me up, I guess. Tonight, I'm going on my first Critical Mass ride. It's a 6 mile ride with hundreds of people, a good percentage of whom I know. That's 6 miles AFTER I get downtown. I'm going to take the train down, but I have to get to the train station first, and last time I did that I was basically shaking by the time I got THERE, so honestly, I'm terrified. And THEN I have get back home to West Park, AFTER doing this. It will be my longest ride yet, I don't think I've gone more than a mile so far without having to stop. I woke up at like 7am this morning because I was so scared of this. I'm scared of looking like a fool, I'm scared of being the very slowest, and maybe not even being able to complete the ride, and of all the nice people I know who are going to try and be encouraging or ride slowly next to me, which is just even more embarrassing. BUT IT HAS TO BE DONE. It's like the first time I went to the beach with a group of people. Going to the beach in a bathing suit had to be done. Biking has to be done.

So I guess my point is, other skinnier people would be scared of this too. But since I'm used to having to be brave, I know copping out is not an option. I know it can be done if I just get over myself.

 I don't know, maybe I'll be in so much pain this summer I won't even care about getting laid.

well I made it to E. 61st and had to quit the pack, just had to go much slower and I didn't want to hold people back. So I had a nice leisurely bike down Cedar and when I passed the factories I smelled the cold musty dusty air and just wanted to crawl into one and fall asleep and turn into a ghost.

Update Update: Total tally of miles for the day, 8.6. The actual ride was more like ten miles, but I'm glad i turned around when I did, cause honestly, I barely made it home to my driveway, I was falling off my bike. And I just took the most amazing cold shower. And I rode for the first time in the dark and the pouring rain tonight. So, I'm not disappointed in myself at all.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

From the Diary of a Cleveland Lady

Friday: Had one cup of coffee for breakfast, nothing more, didn't want it. Worked all day, it was too revolting. Got a text from Sarah, in town for the weekend, couldn't be more delighted. Sarah is just divine, She picked me up from home, so humiliating to not have a car. Went to Flying Fig to hang out and talk while we waited for her boyfriend to get off work, he is such the cutest and makes the best Old Fashioned. Had two of those, also split one flatbread, chorizo stuffed dates, and softshell crab. Can't stand seafood, but adore crab. Saw simply loads of people we knew. Sarah is so calm and pretty and just being around her makes me feel sane. Ate so much. Did shots with the nicest girls sitting next to us at the bar, who were simply adorable. After Perren got off work, we simply ran to Parallax, hoping they were still serving sushi, because Sarah was totally craving sushi after seeing some art flick. They were, which was marvelous. There were so many old guys in mid life crisis clothes, with the youngest girlfriends. Ate more crab, and potstickers, and then eel? So gross. But you have to try everything. Didn't care for it, it tasted just like a sea battery. Had a pear cocktail that was divine. Afterwards, too stuffed to stay out. Perren drove us home. Stayed up so late texting a boy. Noticed I had picked off half my nail polish again, without even meaning to. The sparkly stuff is so revolting, it just peels off like tape. But I just love the color. Such a sucker.

Saturday: Had to work again, terrible. Felt so sick, and I kept tasting eel in my mouth, too revolting. After work, hung out with Kate, who is adorable. She was in town from Michigan for our high school reunion, which I won't ever go to, because please, I don't make nearly enough money. Had a wonderful time drinking mojitos with her at a biker bar on Lorain which was marvelous, but then they didn't bring out our tater tots till like 45 minutes after we ordered them, which was ridiculous. Left that bar, went to Prosperity, saw simply loads of people I knew. Danielle was there, all dressed up like a gypsy siren, she has the best costumes. Made friends with the cutest pin up girl, got asked why I didn't model for this other girl, which was the best, I love hearing that. Talked forever with Kate, about her marriage and how she's totally a world class athlete now and couldn't be happier for her. Drank coffee, but with brandy in it, cause really. Bartender was the cutest, though I totally thought he was put out with me, but then he wasn't, so that was great. Got home, stayed up too late texting a boy, so frustrating not having a car. Painted my nails pink, because maybe it will hide the constant chipping.

Sunday: Got up early to have brunch with Jonathan. Neither of us had cars, but I just couldn't get a bus because it was a Sunday, so I ordered a cab 45 minutes ahead of time. Just trying to be on time. Cab never showed up, so ridiculous, I hate cabs in this city. Called the dispatch twice and they kept making excuses, so revolting. Finally Shannon gave me a ride, which was amazing of her, because really, so nice. I have the nicest friends. Got to Bon Bon and met poor Jonathan who had been waiting so patiently. Ordered a coffee with three shots of espresso, just because, and sat outside because it was so lovely. Actually got attacked by a squirrel! It came around the bend, and just ran at us! Then it wouldn't leave, or get scared off, kept trying to climb up his leg and jumped on his bookbag. Sounds cute, but actually terrifying. Spent fifteen minutes trying to scare off the squirrel until the owner finally ran it off across the street. Cutest thing ever. Had wonderful french toast with blueberries and corn. Saw loads of people I knew. Myles picked me up and took me and Molly to visit Corrigan in the hospital, so sad. He's all broken, poor boy, but sounded just the same. Went on a mission to get his laptop from his apartment cause he didn't have it and was so bored. Then Colleen picked me up and we went to the beach, which was amazing but so crowded. I don't like Huntington, it's just always bustling. Went in the water for the first time this year, which was freezing. Got home, so tired, just collapsed. Did not repaint my nails, this pink is marvelous. Stayed up forever texting a boy. Really, not even the same boy. Ridiculous.

Monday: Woke up late and was totally going to clean, but then Carey wanted to go on a bike ride. It was so hot, but I just have to learn, so we biked to Ohio City where I got the cutest little lights for my bike. I was so tired, just shaking, which is ridiculous. Covered in sweat and ridiculousness. Walked down to Bar Cento and drank so many happy hour Long Islands. Simply wasted. Talked about everything. Cutest bartender, totally couldn't tell he was English until he said "telly", so adorable. Met up with Krissie, who is just the cutest, and biked to Prosperity for karaoke. I was so revolting looking, like I was wearing pajamas, totally embarrassing. Saw loads of people I knew. Put in a Cars song to sing, and a Paul Simon one, but then the DJ only played my NSync selection, which was totally humiliating. Everyone left early, but I didn't want to, so Tom gave me a ride home. Hate not having a car. Took me twenty minutes to take off my front bike tire to get it in his backseat, he was so patient, but really. Got texts from all sorts of people, but just stopped answering them because seriously. My nails were so dirty, this pink just collects dirt, it's horrendous. Totally went to bed without even showering.

Monday, May 21, 2012

It's like Fascism without the Eugenics part

Let's pretend, just for a lark (or a pigeon or a hen), that by a terrible and insane chain of events, I became the president. On my facebook page, I have my political affiliation listed as "I should just be the leader", let's pretend the Great Squid Who Holds the World in It's Loving Tentacles sees that, and make it so. Here's what I would do:

1. First and foremost - have someone design a kill switch I would wear all the time, so that killing me would detonate a complete records crash of all major American banks. Which isn't as good as a nuclear bomb, but a nice "fuck you" for killing me nonetheless. 

2.  Arrest (or abduct, however you want to say it) every member of Congress that does not sign a loyalty pledge to me forfeiting all their personal wealth if they are discovered speaking out against me or my policies. I should kill them, but I don't think I could. That will probably be my downfall. 

3. Put an end to lifetime appointments for Supreme Court judges.

3. Immediately raise the income tax for any person making more than 250,000 a year. Rewrite and simplify the tax code, no loopholes or exemptions for any businesses. Private universities will count as businesses. No tax exemptions for religious institutions.  

4. Marriage no longer qualifies you for tax breaks or even counts as a legal status, instead you can apply for certification as a Household. 

5. Offer an annual tax forgiveness prize for one winning business who invents a product or creates a process that arguably improves the human condition the most, as decided by a collection of judges, one from each public university. 

4. Make abortions and birth control a paid for government service. 

5. Legalize euthanasia. 

6. Make having more than one child per person illegal. 

7. Increase the boundaries of welfare, in recognition of the fact that increasing technology can only inevitably decrease jobs. 

8. End all federal funding to states that refuse to comply. 

9. Make it illegal to import meat.

10. Let's be realistic, I'm probably dead by now, but if by some miracle I'm not, here's where I step down and let Neil Degrasse Tyson take over. 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Things That Make You So Fucking Metal

Things That Make You So Fucking Metal According To My Facebook and Other Online Social Networks:

garden gnomes
seeing your kid win a wrestling match
making a nice asparagus risotto
buying a Ford Fusion
graduating college
having a barbecue
hauling 800 pounds of mulch out to the backyard
gluten free cupcakes
taking your mom to lunch
hello kitty purses
bowling with your friends on a Thursday night
wearing a bike helmet
getting a tattoo of a carrot

Friday, May 18, 2012

My Perfect Restaurant

The space has lots of rooms, like a house, but a huge first floor of a house, and there are lots of windows in every room, with carved old frames. The lighting is gold saturated, with little accent lights hidden in plants or on mantelpieces, in pinks and blues and greens, skulls with shiny bright eyes and plastic lit up lambs being harrassed by small Aryan masters. The corners are darker, and the walls are covered in different curling peeling swathes of wallpaper, gilt ornate 60s sort of stuff, whole walls of forest wallpaper, silver paisleys, green curlicues, dark red stripes. The ceilings are high, and painted in ancient world maps with sea monsters and dragons marked like Xs. Along the recessed black lighted edges of the ceiling are constellations painted in glow-in-the-dark paint, barely visible, they spill like green diamonds into the edges of the ceiling and keep the cornices spiderweb free. Piped into every room, all the time, regardless of the weather, is a soundtrack of rain, with the occasional clap of thunder or lightning. Over the rain, they play late 90s indie rock and hip hop. The dining room tables are a hodge podge of different heavy woods and styles, the chairs are all worn leather swivel armchairs, with brass rivets in their arms.

 The music is louder in the bar area, which is located behind a heavy door in the back of the house. Opening the door to get in makes it feel like you have left and gone to another place, it swings heavy shut behind you with a loud whoomp!  The bar walls are covered in wood panels and photographs that patrons have stuck up on the walls, framed or not. Just at seat level, all around the room, is a ring of scratched graffiti into the wood, Andy was Here, Lila is a...the floor is black and white tile. Several green shaded hanging lights are above the bar, and around the corners are ornate glass turkish hanging lights, around black steel resin patio tables. The back of the bar is a plate glass window that can be opened up into the backyard, which has another small dirty wooden pavilion, with a fire pit to keep away spiders, and a frog pond that gurgles in the farthest corner. Around the pond are tiny purple lights stuck in the ground among the white night blooms. The bar serves cocktails inspired by the favorite drinks of famous people - Marilyns, Hemingways, Roosevelts, Christies. It takes them 15 minutes to mix a drink, and they do it secretly in the back room. Perhaps Roosevelt himself is making your Old Fashioned. There is one cat in the garden and it hates women.

The menu for the restaurant is all comfort food: glazed beef stew with mashed potatoes and salty soft carrots, white sauced macaroni and cheese, spicy paprikash with crunchy fried latkes on the side, delicate pastas with nonexistent gauze like sauces, tempura fried chicken, salsa covered taquitos. It changes every day based off the market that morning, or that's what they say, but who knows the secret day life of the kitchen. The portions are not huge, they are portion sized. The wine decanters are huge, and made of heavy leaded crystal. You could kill a man with one. The silver coffee pots you can order with dessert are huge. The espresso machine whirs away  making you feel fifteen again. The dessert menu is not comfort food, it's as crazy or weird as the chef can come up with that day - jabanero mentholated ice creams, fennel flavored cakes, lemon brittles, mexican popsicles flavored with milk and cinnamon.

 Dress code is non-existent. All the employees wear their own clothes. Hours are lunch through late night dinner, Sunday through Friday.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

College Essays I Did Not Turn In Part 2

When I was 29, my boyfriend broke up with me. Again. I had been involved with him since the tender age of 22, when girls are like tulip petals, and in those 7 years we must have broken up at least 5 times. We would break up three more before it was finally over. At that moment though, on the cusp of thirty, I was less like a petal and more like dried out bark, just waiting to catch fire the minute he sent off sparks. Once it was “over” I found myself so apathetic, I wondered if my tear ducts had actually stopped functioning. The next weekend, his friend Nick offered to fly me down to Atlanta, Georgia for the weekend, the not so nice intentions very definitely implied. I went anyway. I had never been to Atlanta, I love flying, and probably I’m just not a very nice person sometimes, so I went. It did not turn out the way either of us expected. We were awkward and not very much fun together when it came to the things we shouldn’t have been doing, but we were a great team at seeing sights. He took me to the aquarium, the railyards, the original Chick Filet, a hundred little civil war things. Nick was a photographer, and so everywhere we went there was a constant clicking that accompanied us, like we were a horde of insects scuttling across museum floors.

I came back resolved to two things; 1) to never talk to Nick again, and 2) to buy a camera, and so that’s what I did. It was a Panasonic Lumix, and I loved it immediately. I was never one of those girls who took pictures of friends or parties or graduations. The only camera I had ever owned previously was a cheap pink plastic thing my parents bought me to take to Space Camp. In the few photos of me that exist before this time, snapped in cars or dorm rooms, I am always squirming and uncomfortable because I knew how unphotogenic I was, with my squishy Irish face and my Dad’s tight lipped smile. But Nick had showed me I could just take photos of anything, and in particular, trains. So I put on my hiking boots, and went to the Cleveland Flats, which is our valley of crumbling industry, armed with my laptop and fascination.

I started like every other beginner by taking pictures of graffiti on boxcars. The graffiti led me into the abandoned warehouses, and the warehouses into an obsession with forgotten buildings. I found crumbling churches, huge storage areas where green plastic lent the piles of tires an Emerald City glow, decrepit masonic temples with secret symbols painted on the podiums. I had partners that would come out with me on my off days for adventures, and I scoured satellite maps for areas to explore in parts of the city I had never ventured before. It was, for lack of a less obnoxious word, empowering. I started to compose stories for our adventures, tales of fugitives or fleeing populations of gnomes. Each building I found became an ecosystem, a carefully balanced world of monsters and history.

I had been lost as a writer before this. Long diseased relationships, especially with people you truly loved, can do that to you. When there is a constant feed of personal drama, it’s hard to get your brain to think of something besides yourself. Buying that camera gave me a reason to look outside my own life, and the more I used it, the more in love I fell with cities. Now every city I go to is a museum and a zoo. I take care to notice details, architecture, to look in between cracks and go down streets I have no reason to. And instead of feeling like bark inside, I feel more and more every day like a varnished piece of oak, worn down by constant touch, but only getting shinier with use.

College Essays I Did Not Turn In Part 1

In 8th grade, I wrote an essay about the Constitution for a contest. I don’t remember what my essay was about exactly, but I’m sure it was full of big words. I was the kind of fat little girl who wasn’t particularly funny or particularly pretty, so I instead tried to be particularly smart. I read all the thick books on the high school reading lists my mother  printed out, and I paid rapt attention at every historical  fort or clapboard house we stopped at on family trips. I went to space camp, computer programming camp, and science camp at the boys’ school. I was sickeningly stuck up, full of my teachers’ praise and the adoring pitying eyes of other parents (other parents always feel pity towards the really dorky kid). I thrived on the adulation of adults.

The only other real competition I had for this contest was a boy in my own grade named David. He was a  smart,  popular, very cute boy and I was in love with him, in that obsessive selfish way that only a 12 year old girl can love another 12 year old boy. I wrote his name on every surface I owned. So of course, to his face, I was even more stuck up, even more prone to awkward bitchy comments. Years later, when we were friends after high school and drank in neighborhood bars together, he was the only one of my middle school friends who remembered me as angry and mean.

The day they announced the winner of the contest, they called me and David out of class and brought us downstairs to the school library in the basement. It was a small room across from the cafeteria, and the nun who ran it was old and feature less, in my memory her face has been rubbed out with an eraser. Mr. Harkness, our English teacher was also down there with her, waiting. Mr. Harkness was the "mean" teacher in a school full of nuns and hippies, he looked at every child under his care as a lead poisoned drooling moron, except his tiny circle of golden students, to which David and I both belonged. David because of his general charm and intellect, and me because of my passive weirdness and ability to follow directions. Mr. Harkness had a sharp nose, was very tall, and taught me the worst thing any teacher could do to me was disapprove. He stared down at the two little scholars waiting anxiously in front of him.

“ It was very close, you both did very well, but David has won first place and Bridget, you’re runner up. David, this means you get to choose what you would like as a prize.” Mr. Harkness gestured to the two very large heavy books to choose from - a Oxford dictionary and an anthology of science fiction short stories. My heart dropped. I had no use for a dictionary, and what 8th grade boy wouldn’t choose science fiction? Imagine my surprise when David actually, of his own volition, chose the dictionary! I couldn’t believe my luck. I wonder now if he did it on purpose, because in the end he turned out to be the kind of adult who would do that for a colleague, and I turned out to have no subtlety at all, ever, my entire life, so it must have been obvious which one I wanted. I always stare at things I want.

The book weighed 20 pounds and had a bright orange hard cover with gold writing on it spine. It was the first science fiction I had ever read that wasn’t written for children and therefore silly. There were beautiful descriptions of ships crossing stars, alien religions, time travelers and tech junkies and sentient computers. The stories were all from the early golden days of science fiction, when everything was published in magazines and all concepts were new and fresh. Every classic storyline was there - the cold war robots who killed their masters, the mining camps full of clones on Mars, Japanese dinosaurs brought back in time, the aliens who trick the kids because they are children and easily manipulated, the little black box that connected you to Big Brother/society and was the very first smart phone. Over the past 20 years, I have gone back over and over again to this book to find some image stuck in my head, or a description that tugs at me.

Later there would be other collections and anthologies and magazines, there would be O'Connor and Atwood and Fitzgerald, but that was the day I fell in love with the short story.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Why Discussing Politics on Facebook is Bad for You

Every few days, everyone on my facebook feed gets the politics bug. I don't know why. Scratch that, I do know why. It's because we all have the same friends, and so when you share something, all of your friends who are also my friends share it, and then more stuff like it, and suddenly the entire internet has a theme. At least, my view of the internet. My little tiny window directly influenced by who I choose to be in my feed. Today my window looked out into discussions of whether Joss Whedon is actually a feminist, an essay everyone posted about why traditional marriage was a misnomer, and then an essay about modern neuroses being the product of a capitalism free market society. I saw each of these things three separate times. I think I may make a new rule for myself against reposting, it smacks of incest. So much repeating.

 These are all very argumentative shitstorm topics though, and it got me riled up, my post whiskey juices flowing, and I really wanted to get into an argument over one of them. Maybe the marriage one? Definitely the capitalism one. I had points! I wanted to make them! I wanted someone to disagree with me, so I could burrow down deep into those points and discuss them vehemently!

 I posted on my facebook wall: It's politics day! Let's Argue!

 The problem is, there's nothing to argue about. Because out of my 814 facebook friends, I only know of two that would vocally be willing to disagree with me on the capitalism thing, and three that I could maybe argue the Whedon As Feminist Thing, if they cared to, but why would they? Why would I? Almost across the board, the people I have friended are tolerant liberals. Even if they disagree on a little point, like if God exists, they are still not going to argue about it, because they are polite and understand there are other viewpoints and we should all act like adults (adult being a code word for not fighting back). Boring. The responses I got to my facebook post were snarky jokes, and I made jokes back, and then all of sudden we were right back in the middle of a meaningless thread with no real exchange of ideas, just trying to outjoke each other about rightwingers and tea. I love my friends, they are funny people and witty and pithy, but how many threads like that do you participate in a day? The first instinct on facebook or twitter is to go for the joke. If we are funny, then more people will like us and respond and we'll feel rewarded, that's the whole point of social media. It's why both those forums are flooded with posts that are nothing more than emotional triggers - humor or "inspirational sentiment" or righteous anger, those are the quickest ways to make people click on something and thereby acknowledge you.

 It made me miss the message board. Sure message boards were vicious and stupid, but at least they were accessible to people not already approved by you.

 The other problem with politics on facebook is that it takes the nuance out of the discussion. You post something about gay marriage. Your friends all agree with it. In fact, they are already aware of whatever new story has broken but they repost it anyway. Their friends all agree with it. Maybe some distant relative doesn't, but your facebook post isn't going to change their mind, and anyway you've got them on a filter because you don't want their super conservative crazy talk clogging up the feel good righteousness of you and your friends. How can you make jokes about crazy teabaggers if you let your crazy teabag aunt read it? If you do get any disagreement, it's quickly nullified by the snarkiness of your overly witty friends. And we're right back to making jokes. Nobody learned anything.

 Of course I'm oversimplifying my experience. BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT FACEBOOK HAS TAUGHT ME TO DO.

 And real political theory? Real analysis of how an issue might affect someone other than yourself, a discussion not just of your own personal emotions but of actual facts and statistics and philosophies, is almost completely absent.

 Discussing politics on Facebook makes you feel more informed while in fact just stroking your ego and warping your perspective of the real world, all those people you are not connected with who still exist. Your friends, though a majority in your life, are not reflective of the whole. It's the glass bubble of your social economic class bias magnified and seemingly validated. We have isolated ourselves in little internet circles of people we are comfortable with. A medium that should have made us more worldly instead makes us more provincial. If we do ever have to interact with dissenting opinion in the real world, we run right back to our bubbles, and let the responses flow in about how we were right and they were wrong and blah blah blah people suck. It feels so good to have people tell you that you are right. It's addicting and easy.

 I guess the point I'm trying to make is I want to be challenged, I want to have to think and defend myself. But that isn't going to happen online anymore, because the insulation around our chosen social circles is wrapped so tight it's cutting off circulation. And when all this initial social interaction happens online, our real world interactions become solely guided by it. We meet people our friends already know on facebook. We make plans on facebook. We go to some event and talk to only people we already know on facebook. It's getting musty.

Monday, May 14, 2012

The State of Mom's Farm

For Mother's Day, Carey and I drove out to Mom's farm in Kingsville, smack dab in Amish country. There are little boys in black hats and bright blue cotton shirts everywhere, and when you drive down the gravel road to her farm, you have to watch out for the farm cats jumping and running through the fields. It was my first time out there since winter, and the main house is built now, with a proper kitchen and living room stove and porch. The lawn is still torn up and unturfed, but there's a pond now, that's filling up quickly with rain water. My mom and dad are good at building homes. First they renovated the house on 54th, and turned the empty lot next door into apple trees and gardens. Next they renovated the house on Archwood, and the backyard became a secret garden. Now she's got this whole new house, built from scratch, a well, a pond, animal pens. It's their talent, making places to live. 

Bruno the Landshark/Dog is obsessed with killing the goats. All he does the entire time he's outside is run around and around the perimeter of the fence, trying to get in. There's no distracting him, and around the fence is a deep muddy rut he's worn down with his circling. He is singleminded in his passion for goat. Elf, the little black and white goat, just runs around teasing him, moseying up to the fence then dashing away as he tries to nip her nose. He got in once, and she's got a big chunk taken out of her hindquarter to prove it, but she won't stop.I love her best. When I was trying to feed them, she practically climbed up on the stable roof trying to get at the bin, pawing at the tar with her long spindly legs. I wish I could put her on a leash and keep her as a pet, teach her to fetch frisbees and chase balls.

Daisy the Insanely Absurdly pregnant goat has still not popped yet. She's practically carrying a full grown goat inside her. She waddles around eating, always eating eating eating.

The new addition is Francis the baby steer. Don't get upset but Mom says she's raising him for slaughter. There's a good possibility Carey may launch a guerrilla rescue in the dead of night before that happens. I know Mom is a farm girl, and can kill things, but we'll see. He's going to have get inconveniently big before that happens. Right now he's the cutest stupidest thing in the world. All he cares about is suckling on things. Your fingers. Your arms. Your legs. Your skirt. If you don't let him suckle, or if you do and he figures out there's no milk coming from your elbow, then the headbutting starts. He's kind of a brat. Even Bruno leaves him alone, he's already too big to be practical prey.



I don't have anything smart or witty to say about Mother's Day, only that I admire my mother's ability to reinvent her life at will. New homes, new jobs, new people. An army brat, a party girl history major jetting around Europe, a hippie midwife spiritualist, a church going nurse, and now the retired Farm Mother who lovingly calls her livestock assholes as she puts them to bed. She just decided she was going to make this place exist, and then she did, that's brave and strong. I wish it was closer, but it's turning out beautiful. Man, I can't wait for baby goats. 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Slip Ups

I've decided to just start making fun of my friends every time they use Instagram. Like, "Hey, there's vaseline on your phone!" or " Oh good, I guess you found the CLOUD FILTER".

On my high school senior page in the yearbook (I went to a rich school, we all got our own pages), I put this black and white over exposed photo of a single flower in a vase. So technically I think I was using Instagram before I even had a cell phone. I also put a lot of short lines of poetry, so there was my first Twitter. And finally, everyone signed it and then I promptly forgot about them so...facebook.

I've also decided that since writing a book in a week didn't work, I'm going to try and write one in two days.

Between the last post and this post, I guess you can see where my head is at. I've been listening to so much Whitney Houston.

I think it's funny that between the two of them, my parents manage to raise one hypersexual daughter with men issues who tells everyone about it, another hypersexual daughter with women issues who tells everyone about it, and a son who's going to get his doctorate and probably goes days without speaking to anyone about anything non-school related.

This video from my sister's stand up makes a good counterpoint everything I went on about in that last word vomit post. Not a counterpoint really, but an addendum? A supplement.

Friday, May 11, 2012

List of Things I Find Most Unattractive in Single Guys Over 30

I was driving home from Chicago this past New Years with two of my younger girlfriends, and we found ourselves stuck in a blizzard that extended the entire length of Indiana (otherwise known as the Birthplace of Every RV ever). A normally 5 hour trip turned into 7 and some change, so we had plenty of time to dissect our dating lives and crushes, past and future sex claims. We found ourselves composing a book, a zine really (there was some late 90s early 00s nostalgia going on) about how to be a Real Boy, a handbook for guys on how to properly ask girls out on dates, behave on said dates, and be a decent boyfriend. The book never came to fruition, but it set the tone for my year. What follows is one chapter of said imaginary book, Guys Over 30. It's been on my mind lately because so many of my guy friends have been bitching, so listen guys, here's what we're looking at.
I'm about to be 33 in a few months (what up Jesus, here come the miracles) and the struggle to find anyone acceptable to date in my age range has been...character building. Not only are, as they say, most of the good ones taken, but seeing as we live in Cleveland, the married with kids factor increases exponentially. People love to get hitched in Ohio.  The dating pool has weakened, and become way smaller, especially if like me you prefer to date childless people. Once you cull out the ones with children, and the alcoholics,and the ones with whom you have nothing in common with, then there's still the hurdle of finding someone nice who also happens to like you. I've met a lot of guys, and gone through a lot of OK Cupid accounts, and at this point my standards of who's acceptable to date have dropped so low I'm actually a little disappointed in myself.  But there are still 7 warning signs I look for.

Seven is incidentally the guideline for who is acceptable, age wise, to date. 7 under, 7 above, but nothing under 21. This rule is based on very sound logic I created in 5 minutes while sitting at a bar with a 26 yr old friend and trying to sound pithy, but it stands up.

Most of the single guys I know are actually closer to the 26-29 range, so you all should consider this a List of Things Not to Do When You Get Old.  And of course, these apply to women too. So don't start on me. I'm just trying to help. 

1. Bitterness.

Look, by now, we've all been screwed by somebody. We've also been the villains ourselves. Dating is messed up, hard, and stressful. And the particular stress of romance is only added to the adult stresses we also accumulate - work and bills and our own expectations of where we would be at 30. The worst thing you can do though is allow yourself to get Bitter. Not just kind of bitter, where we still feel mad over a particular breakup, but Bitter, where we feel mad over every relationship. Bitter at all the girls who have said no to you. Bitter at the younger person you see who is prettier than you, or more successful than you already. Bitter over your body starting to feel old and used.  Bitter at all the happy couples who got married at 25, and have decimated your social circles. Bitter about all the time you spend alone, living alone or going to events alone. See, it's not like I don't understand the reasons for an infection, but you can't stay sick.

Nobody ever lived a happy life, or really any life at all, who wasn't able to be positive about life. It's just a waste of time to spend all your free hours bitching about everything. Snark every once in a while is fine and funny, but Snark 24 hours a day is more than off-putting to someone trying to get to know you, it's sad and pathetic. If you really truly believe that everyone at every bar you go to sucks, that every person in the world is an idiot, and that you will be alone forever and ever then fine, stop going out, stay in your room, and shut up about it. But unhappy bitter people don't usually want to shut up, they want to make sure everyone who bothers to talk to them about anything more perfunctory than the weather is fully aware of how much their world sucks. It's gross, and it's why after 15 minutes being trapped talking to you in the kitchen at the party, I made an excuse about having to use the bathroom, and then high tailed it for the group of people in the other room who look like they were actually having fun. Curmudgeon is not a compliment, it doesn't lend you some sort of validity, it's an insult and it's unnecessary. Someone who is not you is going to win most of the time, get over it. The world is not fair or equal. But it's still fun, and people are still awesome.

2. Entitlement, and sharing every opinion you fleetingly have.

It's my experience that living through half an average lifetime should teach you that the world owes you absolutely nothing. Unfortunately, message boards from the late 90s appear to have taught most older men that not only does the world owe them everything from livelihood to hot girls, it's also their god-given mission to make sure the world knows all the opinions they have on everything in detail. If I say "I really like the Weakerthans", I don't need a ten minute speech from you about why I know nothing about real post punk, and Propaghandi was a much better band, and how you used to date this awful girl who knew all the lyrics to their third album and would sing them ad nauseum, because girls have crappy taste in music (which you won't say out loud but strongly imply, the exception being that really hot 19 yr old skater chick you're in love with on facebook). Don't be an idiot. Sometimes you can just say "not my cup of tea" and leave it at that.

I'm sort of convinced that the reason so many of my older guy friends don't like social media is they don't like the fact that now, instead of just their little group of friends, everyone gives their opinion, and it's too much opinion challenging. The internet should assist people with being more open minded, but it seems to have the effect of making certain people even more stringent in their own predeveloped views and tastes. (see point#4)

The other side effect of always talking about your own opinion is a lot of times you forget to ask mine. If we have an entire conversation in which you don't ask me a single question cause you're too busy talking about what you think, I'm probably never making plans with you again. Sometimes I'll chalk it up to nervousness and give it another shot, but two strikes and you're out. I mean, this is just a rule for people in general right?

3. Unrealistic Expectations of Girls You Like

Sure, you need to lose thirty pounds and you prefer to stay home watching netflix than going to shows or even just hanging out at bars, and you work 80 hours a week, but of course that 22 year old CIA student should have been interested in you, or wanted to stay with you and not dumped you for the 24 yr old sculptor. It's nice that you are into interesting girls, but if you're not interesting yourself than what exactly do you expect? You know, like any other older girl, I get a little bitter when I see a guy preferring to date much younger girls, but more and more now I often feel protective over that kid too. Like, that was me ten years ago, and I wish someone had explained to me the difference between an interesting guy, and a guy who only seems more interesting because he has a lot more stories and more money, just by virtue of being old enough to have a real job. Maybe then I would have learned to express my unhappiness or anger at something in a healthy open way, instead of a cowering passive aggressive way which bottles up inside and then explodes one day. Because if you're a young girl and you get angry at your older boyfriend then you're crazy and naive. Nobody explained to me that those older guys probably thought any girl that had a problem with them was crazy, and that's why they were dating easily impressed 20 yr olds that didn't have expectations of them, because all the older girls had figured out their bullshit.

This basically applies to any trait you desire in a partner: If you want a successful girl who's good with money, you'd better be that yourself. You want a girl who's adventurous? Super caring and gentle? Charismatic? Fun at parties? Clean? Never raises her voice or cries? Doesn't expect you to call? Hot and really good in bed? Funny? ALL OF THESE THINGS ALL AT ONCE? Well, if you were all of those things at once yourself, you wouldn't be single all the time, would you?

4. Being Set in Your Ways

The other day I was trying to figure out why it was I connected so much easier with guys in their mid twenties than in my own peer group. I was discussing this with my sister and our friend, and I was searching for the right word to define what the problem was with older guys, and then our friend pointed out that older guys are often so stubborn about their lifestyles already. They've got their routine, they've got things they refuse to do or try. Not only is this not exciting or interesting, but it basically means either you've got to also have a lifestyle just like theirs or you don't have a place in their life. It's all well and good to have a settled lifestyle when you married, but if you're still looking to actively date, you have to maintain the attitude of a younger person when it comes to entertainment, you have to stay creative, energetic, and adventurous. You have to be willing to make time for new things, to be flexible about adding new things to your life. Frankly, shouldn't we all be trying to be those traits anyway? Till we die, significant others or not? That, dear guy friends, is how you stay interesting so the interesting girls will like you.

5. The "Nice" Guy

If you put anywhere in your dating profile that you are a "nice" guy, then you are either boring or a serial killer. That's the constant whine "Oh these girls I like always date these assholes, why don't they date me, I'm a nice guy." Well, it's probably cause you're boring, or a serial killer. And they just didn't want to sleep with you. Maybe also they can tell you kind of hate women (see point#1)

6. Being Too Hard on Yourself

You know the other reason that girl didn't want to sleep with you? Because you hate yourself. Because you are over 30 and still haven't figured out how to be at peace with the faults you can't fix, and how to fix the ones you can. Self-loathing is not honest, it's indulgent. It's easier to have no expectations of yourself if you tell yourself constantly you're just a fuck up. But if there's really nothing about yourself that you like, nobody else is going to like you either. Most people do like themselves honestly, but if you are constantly cracking self-deprecating jokes, then that's a big old advertisement that you're not that cool. Frankly, you should have figured that out in high school. As you get older, money and looks have very little to do with whether a girl will go out with you or not. Liking yourself and having confidence is everything.

"But But But even when I did do that it didn't work!" Well, guess what. It doesn't matter who you are, lots of people don't want to sleep with you. That is a fact. Being rejected by a girl doesn't mean you are unlovable, it just means you have to move on to the next girl. Once again, high school. I'm 33, I no longer have time to waste trying to make guys like themselves.

7. All the Girls You Like Are Either Way Hotter Than You, Or Lesbians

This sort of links back to point 3, and it's a big giant warning flag. If a guy is constantly crushing on the hottest girl friend he has, or is really into lesbians or girls with boyfriends or girls that have already made it clear they don't like him, then basically he's just scared of relationships or isn't into dating anyone at all. You are never going to be good enough for a guy who's like that, because you will be available. Guys, if you are this guy, your standards aren't the problem. You are just not happy with some big aspect of your life, and probably you need to reevaluate what you do for a living, or where you live, or what kind of hobbies you have.

8. The Fact That You are Old and Don't Know Any of This Yourself Already

I mean, there's nothing we can do about that now. Maybe just don't admit you read this?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Why We Should All Move to North Carolina

By now you've heard about North Carolina passing a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage yesterday.

I am moving to North Carolina in the fall, and the result of this amendment passing was a bunch of texts and facebook comments from my friends saying things like "nascar! country music! awful awful terrible place!"
And then there were 8 hours of posts about stupid bigoted hick NCers. And THEN (because this is how the social media cycle works) there was an hour of reactionary "wait a second, stop judging a whole state like that".

This is one of the latter. Stop judging a whole state because they passed a crazy awful evil law, OHIO. Remember how this state also voted down gay marriage just a few years ago OHIO? Remember how we then elected a crazy tea bag governor who is anti-union, anti-choice, anti-public employees, anti-public transportation, and pro-fracking, OHIO? Remember how we haven't even impeached him yet, unlike Wisconsin which is slowly getting it's shit together regarding Walker? Stop throwing rocks at glass houses Ohio.

And stop telling me that my chosen future place to live is going to be awful and I'm going to be surrounded by hicks and just hate every minute of it. I live in Ohio. I KNOW WHAT ITS LIKE BEING SURROUNDED BY HICKS. I am very well aware of what it's like to live in a place where only 42% of the population is sane. What you should be saying to me instead is "Hey, good, we're glad you're moving to North Carolina because then that will be one more sane person there who can push other people to be sane too."

Mostly, stop being assholes. You don't convert people to your point of view by being assholes and calling them names. Has that worked on you? Has the Right Wing calling you all bleeding heart idiot godless heathen sluts made you see the light up the elephant's ass? Or has it only stoked the hatred between the two camps, so that instead of reasoned arguments, or even emotional pleas, we only vomit vitriol at each other?

It is frustrating beyond belief to me when people throw away decorum, politeness, and most importantly cultural and political strategy, so they can type in all caps. If you really want to have any effect on this new law, then move to North Carolina with me and establish residency. Or stay here. Whatever. As far as I can see, culturally, North Carolina is pretty much going to be exactly like Ohio, and I did pretty well here, so I'm not worried. Places like these don't change by encouraging everyone to run away and making fun of the ones who stay.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

She's a Good Hearted Woman in Love with a Good Timing Man

He leaned into her, and asked, "Do you like me?" and the way he said it was an accusation, not a question.

She stood quite still for a moment and then she laughed a little. "That's not something you ask someone. That's not something you ask because unless you want to confess your own answer to the question, it's disrespectful to assume that they want to confess. You can't ask someone something like that unless you have already given your answer. It's rude. It's a power play. But yeah, of course I like you. You are very likable. Lots of people are likable. I meet someone new I'd like to sleep with pretty much every day. So it doesn't excuse you being rude. Do you like me?" and as she spoke, she had stopped laughing.

"I don't want to answer that," and he was standing too close, it made her angry.

"What the fuck, that's terrible. That might make you a terrible person." but she was smiling again.

How to Pick the Kentucky Derby Winner Based Solely on Their Name

Sabercat, Ho!

My uncle was a racehorse, so I have a checkered emotional past with horse racing. I used to watch races all the time, and now they all remind me of "the accident". I do however still watch the Triple Crown races, thus becoming the most welcome and lucrative source of American horse racing's funding - the drunk person who places bets based off of horse name, color, and whether the jockey is cute.

A name is the most important quality a horse can possess. Picking a winner by their name is an ancient skill, it requires intense focus and contemplation. Have you ever met a swami who could master the forces of mind and earth to levitate? That's the kind of concentration we're talking about here. Once you have mastered an instinctual sense for red flags and good omens, you must look at the racing form from within a zen state. The entirety of your being must be calm and balanced, letting the names wash over you like ocean waves until inspiration strikes. Sometimes, various masters find it helpful to drink a lot, to achieve this carefree enlightened state. But the most important thing you can do is have confidence in your initial picks. Your friends, (especially the ones who know how to read the stats of a racing form like they think it gives them some sort of credibility or something whatever ) will try to convince you to listen to them. They will tell you misleading things, like "that horse has been scratched, he's not even running" and "why are you placing win tickets on 7 horses, you're just betting against yourself." Your friends, while well meaning, do not understand that once when you were 6 you had a dream you are pretty sure was of the future, and then it totally came true later, and you're probably more than a little psychic.

Let's look at the names of this year's Kentucky Derby contenders:

1. Daddy Long Legs: A novice will immediately think Long Legs = Fast. But dig a little deeper. What is a Daddy Long Legs? A harmless bug that looks enough like a spider that it might as well be a spider. And spiders, while glorious and surprisingly articulate, are creepy and scary. So...harmless and creepy. That isn't a winner, that's the clerk at Walgreens who always tries to talk to you.

2. Optimizer: Could be an air freshener, could be a giant Gundam Transformer robot who sets atmospheres on fire with lasers. While the attempt at scifi awesomeness is commendable, it stinks just a little bit too much like disinfectant for me. This horse is like the Storm Trooper of the Derby.

3. Take Charge Indy: I love this horse, because he brings to mind record stores and Harrison Ford, but with a hint of sexy mid twenties crisis. I would totally hit on this horse at the bar.

4. Union Rags: three words - Civil War Zombie. Four more words: sexy historical romance hero. In conclusion: Sexy Civil War hero fights off zombies, seduces kindly Georgian widow who takes him in. Solid pick.

5. Dullahan: I was torn over this horse because even though the word Dull is right there in the name, it's also really really similar to my own surname. However, I'm not dull at all, sooo pass.

6.Bodemeister: Bode is the name of a rich surfer boy who isn't the smartest tack in the shed, but has a heart of gold, and eventually wins the snarky big city supporting actress who keeps trying to convince her best friend the heroine that living outside NYC is just horrific. Or he's a snowboarder who helps the hero train for his big show, and stands up for him against the snow lodge bullies. Either way, this horse is a supporting actor. Will place or show, but not win.

7. Rousing Sermon: people who get roused by sermons are the adult equivalents of the people in high school who thought yearbook was really really important. Also they are probably homophobes. I do like the pleasing R word S word combination though.

8. Creative Cause: sounds like a charity or a grant application for inner city youth after school programs. I bet this horse has a boring facebook page and really likes gluten free Asian food.

9. Trinniberg: a good old fashioned nonsense word. Bouquet of Hindenberg, Von Trapp, and Trinity who was this very nice older girl who I used to do community musical theater with. None of those things are very champion like.

10. Daddy Nose Best: If you are going to make a pun, do it with a more attractive word than Nose. Seriously, nose is the most bulbous stumbling word, it's just clumsy. I do like that the jockey has a very alliterative sounding name though - G. Gomez. Points for that, and also because I recognize the jockey's name and anyone you've actually heard of before in this sport must be good. But no on the Nose.

11. Alpha: Solid strong beautiful completely obvious name. Reminds me of a story I read about sending pods of clones to do moon mining, and the leader was Alpha. They were all gold skinned. If this horse was gold, this would be a solid pick.

12. Prospective: sounds like a job interview or debutante. I like it, but I just wish it was Prospero instead.

13. Went the Day Well: I like it. It's sing songy. It reminds me vaguely of a Nick Cave murder ballad, or a pretty Irish lass, who will also probably get murdered at the well.

14. Hansen: Obviously brings to mind a winsome troupe of pop icon brothers, but the misspelling also has overtones of butler/right hand man. Reliably good, skilled with shoe polish and a garrote. Probably ex British Intelligence.

15. Gemologist: did you know that gemologist is actually the term for someone who studies precious stones? I thought for sure there was a more scientific sounding name for it, but I looked it up and it's true. Which sorta brings me down on this name, because I liked it better when it sounded like a word they made up on My Little Pony. But the word Gem still tastes like Saturday morning cartoons and pretty pink plastic toys. I approve.

16. El Padrino: What is this, the Inquisition? No.

17. Done Talking: Alright fine then, just leave me here at the bar. I'll get a ride home with someone else, probably that guy over there, lots of people would love to take me home. Asshole.

18. Sabercat: Without a doubt, this year's Derby winner.

19. I'll Have Another: Why would you make your horse sound like a drunk looking to get laid in a hotel bar?  Though listen, there's nothing wrong with the traveling salesman hook up. Just use protection. Don't expect a lot. They are probably going to pass out after you blow them.

20. Liaison:  French sounding, illicit, but honestly sort of boring, cause if you're really "liaising" then you don't have to sneak around and hide it from anyone, cause you don't give a fuck. This horse should just be named Fucking. That would be the most amazing horse name ever, and would win all races of all time. This one sounds too much like an mid thirties woman Richard Gere is trying to sleep with who isn't Diane Lane.

Good luck! Remember, your instincts are much sounder after a few juleps.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Dead Heroes and Wannabe Villains

Think of the best science fiction story you have ever read.* Science Fiction is the best example of this, but it can apply to any kind of writing that paints a picture of the future. Really good stories of the future leave a stain on your brain tissue, a shadow that permanently changes how you imagine the next 100 years or whatever of human culture. That's the beauty of scifi specifically (I love using those two words together), it touches the most malleable part of our imagination, the part where  we are both scared and excited for The New. So years after reading a certain story, you will be just going along in your normal life, supposedly functioning as an adult, and all of a sudden something you see or read or watch will make you stop in your tracks, and think "Oh, that's just like...." and the entire situation takes on an epic metallic feel. It's the Future Chills. Probably also the foothills of a Conspiracy Complex, but The Chills are good for you if you keep them in perspective. Its good to be reminded how fast our complex little tangles of culture are developing , and what's being left behind in the process, all the knots and catastrophes that are right around the corner.

It's not scifi, but a good example of The Chills is when the Pink Slime Fiasco happened, and all that flashed in my head (as it does every time there's an FDA scandal) was the blue tinged milk in The Jungle. That's indelible. 

I had two moments of The Chills this week. The first was on May Day, when the news here in Ohio was full of the Wannabe Anarchist Bombers, 5 men who had planned to blow up a bridge. A bridge that basically goes from one suburb to another, and is very pretty, but not exactly a strategic target. One of the ten thousand blurbs I read about the subsequent FBI arrests quoted one of the emails between the boys - that blowing up the bridge would hurt nearby corporations because people wouldn't be able to get to work. Cause, you know, that's the only road anywhere into the island fortress of Brecksville. 

What gave me The Chills is how quickly the media banded together to laugh at them. I mean, they ARE laughable, no question. But the set up here is that these guys had talked about blowing something up a little bit too loudly, before they even had a plan, and someone had tipped off the FBI, who had infiltrated them with some undercover agent who I'm sure had a beard (update: he did not have a beard. Instead he had a lot of convictions for check fraud. Sounds like he's an expert on handling complex political terrorism threats). Then this guy guided them through buying fake C4 from the FBI, and they waited to bust them until the bombers actually tried to plant the explosives. Within minutes, on May Day, the word of the arrest was everywhere - every news station, radio, twitter, facebook. It was a media blitz. The information that these guys might be "into" Occupy Cleveland spread like napalm. Dumb asses kid-looking photos of the suspects, and screenshots from their moronic facebook profiles were available to everyone immediately. And just as quickly, it was decided that the local take was going to be "hahahaha idiots". And listen, I'm not saying there's any other plot here other than the obvious, but there doesn't need to be a deeper level. The FBI orchestration of this and the consequential cancellation of the May Day Occupy protest and non-renewal of their permit is enough to get The Chills going just from the surface view. I mean obviously these guys were assholes and went along with the whole thing, so fuck them anyway. But still. CHILL. All that laughter.

note: now there's some blog post going around asking people to rally behind the suspects, claiming they were manipulated by the FBI into doing something violent, when really they are just nice Food Not Bombs boys. First of all, having lived in a house full of Food Not Bombs people who liked to break into laboratories and free animals, not the most convincing angle to come at this with. But also, if they put money into buying C4, fuck them. Your defense against the charge of planning to blow up a bridge cannot be "I was just stupid." We already know you were stupid, because you were planning on blowing up a bridge. Technically, that then makes you into Food And Bombs.

The second moment was when it was announced Junior Seau had killed himself. I don't follow football, and I don't know anything about this guy's superstardom at the sport. The story is he retired, and apparently was loved in the community, had a family, had the pro football retiree dream, and then shot himself in the chest. The news stories are vague, but three salient points stick out. 1) he had recently had a car accident 2) there is a report out there about him assaulting his girlfriend, which is not something he had a record for and 3) he is the 4th pro football player to recently kill himself. CHILL. The last one even left a note requesting they cut open his brain and study it for damage, which is why he shot himself in the chest and not the head. Spoiler: you don't always die quickly from chest shots. You suffer. In a way, that both Junior and his colleague chose to kill themselves that way, giving their bodies to science, is incredibly brave. There are a lot easier ways to off yourself.  From an uneducated outside view, and this is all speculation of course, but it seems pretty easy to write a scenario where this guy had brain damage, was depressed, found himself not acting like himself, hurting people he loved, and took matters into his own hands. It's tragic, in the way that every suicide is tragic. But it's also creepy as all get out to think of these gladiators, these warriors, coming out of the crazy insanely rich highly pressured combat of pro-football into what should be their golden reward years, and yet  plagued by the consequences of the severe head trauma they subjected themselves to for decades, then killing themselves and requesting their brains be cut open. When a society's heroes start killing themselves en masse, something is wrong with that society, right?

I'm just saying, it's very literary. And anytime real life gets too literary, I feel The Fear a little more keenly.

*If you tell me you've never read science fiction, just go away. We have nothing more to say to each other. Go buy a used copy of the World Treasury of science fiction edited by Dave Hartwell. It is actually a treasure. It changed my life.