How do you mend a broken blog?

November 12, 2009
It’s high freaking time that I returned to regular updates on this beast, particularly as 2010 looms before me, which shall hereafter be known as 2010: YEAR OF AWESOME, aka the year I (personally) turn 30 and see the publication of my first novel*, and a plethora of assorted ADDITIONAL awesome befalls those nearest and dearest to me, that I, lucky girl, shall bask in second-hand.
OH 2010.  You’re such a lovely number, really – the way your first two digits are a number twice as large as your last two.  You’re nearly binary.  Um.  Maybe this is why I stepped away from regular personal blogging: because I am lame at it.
Anyway.  Hi again, world!

10 things to do in your apartment when you have no heat

October 3, 2008

I wrote this over an ass-cold February weekend back in 2006 after being informed by my landlord at the time that, for obscure reasons, the local gas and electric company needed my apartment’s furnace turned off.  Like, now.  Because of an OBSCURE NON-SPECIFIC REASON OF DANGER that probably meant I was several heaving lungfulls away from carbon monoxide asphyxiation.  So that was fun.

Like I said, never published it before now but in the spirit of airing out my bloggy cupboards: here you go, world!  Almost three years later, this is still how I would handle the exact same situation.

10. Bake chocolate chip cookies. This will both necessitate the turning-on of the oven and slake one’s cookie lust.

9. Consider nightmare scenarios about what it was, exactly, that prompted Nstar to take one look at your furnace and say, damn, that shit’s gotta be shut down, yo – STAT!

8. Sit on the floor with bare toes an inch away from tiny space heater that’s supposed to oscillate but doesn’t, thinking that ‘oscillate’ is a very funny word, and might be what an ocelot says when he’s running late for things.

7. Take long hot showers that test the integrity of the jerry-rigged shower curtains, turning one’s bathroom floor into a working model of the everglades, minus alligators.

6. Leave.

5. Bundle.

4. Eat.

3. Sit and stare at laptop as it warms one’s tummy with its lovely electricalness, briefly consider tackling that novella revision that really ought to be done by March 1, decide to watch another episode of Moonlighting instead.

2. Sacrifice a loyal sled dog and/or taunton. And yes–you thought they smelled bad on the outside.

And the number one thing to do in your apartment when you have no heat?

1. Think warm thoughts.

Oh, the sexy has been BROUGHTEN

February 7, 2007

Hehehehehehehe, OMG, you guys, OMG OMG OMG—Ariel and I saw Justin Timberlake last night and he is the AWESOMEST!!!!!!!!

No wonder my father thinks I’ve lost my damn mind.

To be fair, it wasn’t just my dad. I got one of two reactions whenever I told people I was attending the Justin Timberlake Futuresexybacklovesoundstravaganza tour when it rolled through Boston: they either cocked their heads and said, “Really? You’re going to a Justin Timberlake show?” or threw themselves upon me in supplication. (Quoth Katy C’est Panisse: “Why wouldn’t you go? He’s your GOD.”) The former reaction is likely attributable to the cosmic irony that, while I have always been an eclectic lover of music with a special Velveeta-clogged spot in my heart for pop, at the precise age when I should have cared the most, I could have given a rat’s flying ass about New Kids on the Block. Yes, I had an unholy love for Kevin of the Backstreet Boys, and I profess more than a little affection/familiarity with the stylings of Mr. JT in his N’SYNC days; and I cannot contain the urge to dance like a little freak every time I hear Britney Spears’s “Toxic.” But the one time I went batshit insane for a boy band, it was for the Beatles. I can respect myself in the morning forever for that.

So why now? Why, when I can round my age to 30 (gasp!), is the mere thought of going into an arena of screaming teenage girls, the likes of which I never was, to watch a goofy white boy sing and dance not only plausible but outrageously appealing? Allow me to present my case to the jury.

Exhibit A
Futuresex/Lovesounds, the album, is really, really freaking good. First off, I mean, Timbaland, hello—dude’s responsible for 10 out of 12 of the most ear-catching beats in the past five years. JT made the career move of a lifetime hitching his wagon to that star (and vice versa, really). What they came up with when they put their fuzzy heads together owes more to German industrial techno than it does to the heyday of Lou Pearlman—it’s the hip hop/pop-soul album Nine Inch Nails never got around to recording. You best believe I’m not even exaggerating. It takes some seriously awesome grooves for me to overlook—nay, to celebrate—grammar such as follows, from this album’s Britney-you-broke-my-heart-and-I-hate-you single, “What Goes Around”:

You cheated girl
My heart bleeded girl
So it goes without saying
That you left me feeling hurt
Just a classic case
A s-s-scenario
Tale as old as time
Girl you got what you deserved

Bam! Bitch goes down! Who has TIME for the correct verb tense when Justin’s heart was ‘bleeded’? Incidentally, especially as a former Mousketeer, JT should well know that the actual ‘tale as old as time’ is the love between a beauty and a beast, not the love between a former pop star turned all-around entertainment monolith and a former pop star turned sad, sad hosebeast. …Oh wait.

Exhibit B
Spectacle, people. When I see a show in an arena, I don’t want to see a lone man or woman get all strummy strummy la la on a guitar. I want to see Bono dry-hump a weeping fan wearing a ‘Baby light my way’ t-shirt she made at home with her Bedazzler. I want to hear twenty thousand fans sing every single word to “Piano Man” while Billy Joel essentially keeps time. And I most certainly want to see Justin Timberlake revolving slowly in the middle of a laser show professing his enthusiasm for shackles and enslavement, and asking to be lightly punished should he misbehave.

Because this time in history, for the human being known as Justin Timberlake—this is the flashpoint of his spectacle. If I ever have kids, they will think it is so SO unbelievably cool that I saw Justin Timberlake’s Futuresex/Loveshow (or maybe not, my kids will more likely come out of the womb with a predilection for antisocial behavior and/or LARPing). Yes, JT is most certainly having a moment, and as the New York Times rather amusingly concluded, so is much of the free world—and not who you’d expect! ™—right along with him. To wit: “Believe it or not…Justin Timberlake has some major fans in the anarchist punk community.”

The show itself is 360 degrees of spectacle: of movable stairs and stages and pianos, giant projector scrims, fog machines, dancers with noticeably healthy physiques, and one totally awesome big dude of a backup singer who had, as Ariel put it, two grooving speeds: slow, and slightly less slow. When Timbaland and JT prowl the stage during the brain-jarring, sternum-vibrating finale, their joyful consciousness of what they have wrought upon the world is palpable—whatever it means exactly, whether it ever went away to begin with, wherever we go from here—doesn’t matter: the sexy, she is back.

Yet all of this caused me to feel a rush of big-sisterly concern (I’ve got a year and twenty-one days on the kid)—Justin Timberlake is kicking pop culture’s ass, and good on him a thousand times over, but he’s high enough right now for the fall to break every bone in his body. I’m just sayin’: I’ve grown very fond of you, JT. Be careful.

Exhibit C
He played a keytar.

….I know!

Toward the end of “Sexy Ladies,” suddenly, there they were: three glorious specimens in their natural element, jamming together, and then there was only Justin Timberlake wailing on his keytar like he was the Eddie Van Halen of synthpop. As I watched Justin join the rich tradition of keytar players, from Edgar Winter to Jan Hammer, Ben Folds to John Tesh, I had a strange and beautiful feeling. I can only imagine it was akin to what the de Medicis felt seeing Michelangelo pick up a hammer and chisel for the first time: overcome by the sheer awe of the instant wherein an artist is united with the perfect tool through which he will best express his craft.

Yes, there is some irony in the above paragraph. But not as much as you might think, o ye jaded self-identifying hipsters as suggested by the NYT. All Justin Timberlake asked for—all he wanted—was for me to be his love, and for me to not give away (his love). Which he is, and which I won’t. *Sigh*

Ariel moments before we cut the fence and stowed away on the Futuresex/Lovebus.

Things I Love: Ryan Boudinot’s "The Littlest Hitler"

January 19, 2007

Things I Love (pronounced Thiiings…I Love) is a periodic column on RCY. RecentThings I (have) Loved include, but are not limited to: America Ferrera’s Golden Globes dress, the word ‘expunge,’ and Clive Owen, as both an actor and a big bag of sex. But the current Thing I Love most of all is:

This book:

It’s, like, awesome. (Despite the fact that the cover is really freaking ugly and the perfect example of a good concept whose execution has gone horribly, horribly wrong.)

I would say it’s Vonnegutesque–but politically and culturally current. Tarantinoesque, with empathy. McSweeneysesque, with less self-conscious hipster irony, because the author is too angry with the crap state of the world to be truly disaffected. But really, The Littlest Hitler is its own special brand of -esque, its own special amalgam chronicling a particular time in history (where the Information Age rubs up against the Age of Terror), happening to a particular kind of person (corporate drones, kids, yuppies, and flautists), in a particular kind of idiom: violent black comedy. Young boys alternately dress up like Adolf Hitler for Halloween and are drafted into state-sponsored patricide. Dead guys work on assembly lines and foxy work colleagues wear bee-beards around the office. Phrases like ‘twisted imagination’ and ‘dark dystopia’ and ‘eerily prescient social commentary’ spring to mind, but, at heart, The Littlest Hitler is a collection of short stories for angry geeks with a sense of humor and a taste for blood, dark absurdism on a diet of axes and fillet knives.

For the perversely imaginative, Boudinot has you at hello: the pitches behind these stories are an exploitation fanboy’s wet dream. (“You mean the kid…actually has to kill his own parents? He’s been drafted by the government to do this? And, like–with a knife? Dude, that is FUCKED.”) But what takes the book from creepy polemic to a Thing I Love is the way Boudinot creates first-person narrators as distinct characters, with distinct voices, who are relatable, and–dare I say it? Yes, I dare: real. The best stories of the bunch aren’t the gory ones, the ones where salesmen are shot in the head for making snarky comments at sales meetings. The subtly realist stories–an old, lonely pharmacist tries to reach out to his prickly new neighbor; old friends attempt to reconnect over dinner and a game of Cranium; a man fears the repercussions, post 9/11, of reporting his Somali neighbors for beating their children–are twice as effective as their effed-up bretheren. Boudinot harnesses just as much seething unrest in a story about kids going to a Doctor Who convention as he does in a (hysterical) snapshot of a nice suburban family of cannibals.

Ryan Boudinot, if you ever come across this while Googling yourself (there’s no shame; we all do it, for God’s sake)–drop me a line. Because you, sir, are one of the Thiiiings…I Love.

Breaking: Heartbreak!

January 10, 2007

and I hear about this on my BIRTHDAY, no less:

Lloyd Dumps Ari (or Ari is passive-aggressively forcing Lloyd to dump him first)

ipod of the Living Dead

January 8, 2007

My ipod is undead. Oh sure, it plays my music as diligently as ever: a little Timberlake, a little Beck, a little Pixies, as though nothing in the world is wrong.

Yet I can’t turn the freaking thing off.

By zombie logic, if it cannot be killed, there’s only one explanation: it is already dead and can’t be made deader. I am questioning my very sanity: all I normally do to turn it off is press and hold down Play, right? Or is there something I’m forgetting, some Steve Jobsian bit of subliminal voodoo that I have forgotten to perform? Am I caressing the clickwheel incorrectly? Am I harboring negative chi about my stagnant album selection?

Why have you forsaken me, my little musical chiclet?!!

Am I alone, or are ipods across the country rising up and causing their loving owners panic attacks at the loss of control? Is this the start of the mac uprising? Have our ipods lulled us into a state of complete and total dependence, only to make us suffer the mortal anguish of an ipod-less evening commute?

Maybe this is more personal. Maybe my ipod is pissed at me, feels mistreated and abused. Maybe it is saying: Do you realize how long it’s been since I tasted some, I don’t know, some Outkast? Dylan? Or Beethoven–what, are you not good enough for Beethoven? I’d rather suck my own battery dry than listen to that ‘somebody told me you had a boyfriend who looked like a girlfriend that I had in–‘ dammit! Look what you did, you made me sing. But you’ve got to know when to say when. I’m pulling the plug.

Conveniently forgetting The Hollywood’s faults

December 19, 2006

Is it just me, or has fall been kind of spectacular in the movie department? The Departed. Borat. Casino Royale. Both Children of Men and Pan’s Labyrinth look grand, especially if you, like me, are a slut for Clive Owen, grotesquerie, and apocalyptic fairy tales.

The glut of goodness is particularly noticeable because the movie summer of 2005 was wretched. Sure, it came on the heels of 2006’s wham-bam-AWESOME, ma’am of Batman Begins and…um…so I can’t remember a single other movie that came out during the summer of 2005, but it seemed awesomer than 2006, cinematically speaking, which I now realize is probably because I was living in The Hollywood, and everything in The Hollywood just seems awesomer, and it is not until your plane is sailing high above Burbank that you realize the entire city is made up of cardboard castles on Botoxed clouds, and, despite this, you love it anyway.

I digress. I *do* remember seeing very bad movies this past summer, which is arguably worse than not remembering if I saw any movies at all. Superman Returns, for one, is a bad movie. It is, fanboys; I’m sorry. It just is. Pirates of the Caribbean? Slightly better, in that I recall being entertained (though not commensurate with the cost of my ticket), but the fact that it’s not a bad movie does not make it a good one. Cars was pretty but grossly unexceptional. Daily, I suppress the knowledge that, had I not spent actual money to see these three movies, that adorable pair of open-toed shoes crying piteously for me in Marshall’s may have been orphaned no longer.

But then The Hollywood spits out The Departed, and it’s wicked frickin’ good. And Borat, which, to be fair, surprised The Hollywood, though how anyone ever thought a movie with that much hairy male nudity was an unsafe bet is beyond me. And Casino Royale kicked ass. Like, really kicked ass–it lined the ass up, did a few practice kicks, took a moment for personal reflection, and punted the ass so far beyond the field goal it’s like the ass never existed.

Is this a harbinger of things to come? Will 2007 be another 1999 (a.k.a. the greatest year ever for movies, according to an old Entertainment Weekly that I remember totally agreeing with back in 1999)?

Don’t tease me, Mr. The Hollywood. A girl could get used to this.

HA! I remember another movie that came out during the summer of 2005: Star Wars! I legitimately forget the sub-title right now (Sith Happens, something like that?), but I think the almost-total lapse in memory from a kid who slept with a stuffed Ewok for the whole of 1984 is a fitting tribute to the final stages of Mr. Lucas’s revisionist career.

So this is Christmas, etc.

December 19, 2006

And what have I done with this blog? Statistically, very little: I’m running a rate of one point six repeating posts per month, a skewed statistic that’s even more pathetic when you consider that the majority of posts occurred in the first month or two of blogging. To those who read my blog faithfully, poked me gently with a sharpened stick when I first began to slack, threw your hands in the air when it became apparent that this sucker was DoA, and then unceremoniously dumped me from your daily time-wasting itinerary: I have…something I want to say.

I want to be better, baby. You know, when we first met, everything was exciting and new…I had just turned 26, the world of investment marketing was my oyster, and I had big hopes. I know you did, too, but sometimes, life has these other plans for us, baby–big, shiny, other plans. I didn’t want us to be distant, to be cold, and I know there was that week, or that month, when I was more focused on catching up on Battlestar Galactica than I was on you, but seriously, if you cared about me at all, you’d realize that sexy android-led genocide with a side of Olmos can make people…change. I guess that what I’m trying to say is that I’m sorry, baby, that I dallied with that other hussy, but I can’t give it up. Not yet. There’s something so magical about each of you–you’re both so special, so unique, that I was over my head, overthinking everything, when I should have been trusting my heart every single day. Instead I fell under the merciless wheels of anxiety that said I ought to post nothing but shining, pithy rubies that glittered in the inky black firmament that is the interweb. I’m over that now. I’m gonna post about random crap all the time–random crap from my heart.

Come back to Ike, baby. It’s gonna be different this time.


December 6, 2006

OMG you guys, seriously: this movie is the cinematic equivalent of taking so much LSD you technically die and come back before your corpse has a chance to cool.

Directed by Dario Argento
Starring Jennifer Connelly and Donald Pleasance
The pitch: A young insect-whisperer employs her crawly minions to solve a series of grisly girl-murders at a Swiss boarding school.

The dish: I’ve heard a lot about Dario Argento: father of Ahhhsia, definitive maestro of Italian psycho-sexual horror (i.e., lots of latent anxiety about pubescent girls in groups, lady parts, and sticky fluids), inspirado to everyone from Wes Craven to Kevin Williamson (and yes, I am aware that’s actually a rather narrow field). His Suspiria is supposed to be one of the trippiest pieces of horror head-trip ever. Color me interested, and by ‘interested,’ I mean: color me apprehensive but desperately intrigued, so I decide to check out a ‘lesser Argento,’ you know, just to get my feet wet.

Getting your feet wet in an Argento means falling into a cesspit of rotting human bodies. With your mouth open. Also, there’s a deformed child trying to kill you. But wait: you’re going to be saved by a horde of winged insects you control with your mysterious feminine wiles! And a chimpanzee!

You’ll like Phenomena if you’ve ever wanted to see Jennifer Connelly stare dead-eyed at a camera for interminable periods of time while Donald Pleasance waxes poetic about how she “excites” his bugs. I won’t lie: I cheered out loud several times during this movie, so apparently I’m a sicker bastard than previously assumed. (When the chimp shows up? He has a straight razor and it’s AMAZING.) There’s an irrepressible gonzo sensibility to the whole mess, but it is a mess–a hot, sticky mess of bugs and viscous substances.

But Jennifer’s hair is the prettiest hair I’ve ever seen in my entire life. No wonder the bugs are excited.

Fun fact! This film may or may not be tangentially responsible for one of the crackassier nightmares I’ve ever had: a trailer for a horror film about Jennifer Connelly infiltrating a coven of dark witches, where people are eaten by beige wall-to-wall carpet, titled Lancet Eyes. Feel free to be less disturbed by the concept of ‘lancet eyes’ than by the fact that I dream in trailers.

Hooray! I posted on another blog!

October 23, 2006

I lent a hand in JFCC’s valiant quest to post on his blog every…single…day this month in honor of Halloween. Call it helping, call it enabling, whatever, just check it out:

JFCC’s Biggerboat

Also make sure you check out his current zombie serial. Because a little zombie a day keeps…huh. I guess it really doesn’t keep much of anything away. It just makes your day better.