Posts Tagged ‘Real Cool Yeah’

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.

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.

Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority: 2; Kate: 0

August 24, 2006

I wiped out on the stairs at Downtown Crossing today. It was one of those brilliantly clear moments experienced in slow motion: Death Cab for Cutie was wailing plaintively on my ipod, my usually beloved Reef sandals became more than fond of the edge of the top step, and suddenly, like an albatross unwillingly thrust into a moment of perfect grace, I fell up, bashed my knee on the tile, and skidded forward on my thigh and my arm until I was turned around enough to see the young lad behind me offering my sandal–the betrayer who had loved that step more than it loved my foot.

Had this been a Nora Ephron movie, we would have captivated each other with some pithy comments, decided we half-believed in fate, skipped work to go on a whirlwind tour of lovely Boston, and fallen in love by the time we got around to gorging on cannoli in the North End.

But this is life in Boston, and, according to Forbes, as a career girl, I’m MAN POISON, so all that happened was that I got my sandal back and a few kind inquiries into whether or not I was injured. (For the record, nothing was hurt; and not even my pride. This kind of thing happens too often for me to really care anymore.)

And I’m not normally one to grouse re: the dearth of romance in my life. Not that he was particularly cute, my sandal saviour. I’m just wondering why must I be saddled with the pratfall conventions of the romantic comedy but NONE OF THE ROMANCE?

Oh, right–I’m MAN POISON. Thank you, Forbes, for reminding me precisely why I have standards–and if you’re too thick to figure out what I mean, Mr. Noer, those standards include not dating guys who think like you.

Forbes: Giving Props to the Ladies Like it’s 1955

"It’s your blog, Kate–something’s gotta be done about your blog!"

April 21, 2006

Yes, I know. If for no other reason than to get that smug Maidenform woman farther down the page, so that, every time I load my own blog (which I do quite often, as it contains an incredibly convenient list of my daily must-read links, and clicking on a link is just SO much faster than typing a URL), I do not hear her homicidally perky little voice in the back of my head:

Smug Maindenform Woman: You’re going to be one of those people who blogs for exactly two months and then never touches it again.

Me (totally indignant): Nuh Uh. I’m just…busy.

SMW: So busy that you have, let’s see, how many sites that you “must read” every day?

Me (utterly indignant, but unable to keep shame out of voice): Whatever! I’m just, you know, not really…inspired.

SMW: Tut tut!

Me: What do I have to do to get you to shut up?

SMW: You’re doing it right now.

Me: You mean…this whole time, I’ve had the power to make you go away, and all I had to do was start blogging again?

SMW: Oh honey.

Me: Wipe that smug off your face. You’re the one who’s wearing a strapless bra. Sucker.

SMW: Oh, you miserable girl.

Ode on a Strapless Bra: The Oscar Recap

March 7, 2006


O! Strapless bra!
You are a creature of infinite complexity;
A banner, a bandeau, an ace bandage with molded cups.
You vex me.

Surely you were not invented by a sane person.
You flaunt your counter-intuitivity;
Girls grow to womanhood
thinking “beige”
is a synonym
for “invisible,”
when really, o strapless bra,
you should always be the color of the gown
that is too revealing
to be worn without you.

And you can be worn without straps;
with detachable straps;
as a halter;
with clear plastic straps that look distressingly like
Scotch Magic Tape
holding up my boobs;
yay verily;
you vex me.

But you are not all that vexes me.
To wit, o strapless bra:

I am vexed
that Heath Ledger
and Gary Oldman
have spliced their DNA.

I am vexed
that Duckface Lindley
did not leave her Creekside days
behind her,
though I did not expect her to,
and, really, nobody else did either.

I am exceedingly vexed
that a movie I
(admittedly)
did not see, but from all reports,
was a movie as
tempered
graceful
thoughtful
subtle
and multifaceted
as a machete to the groin
won Best Picture of 2005.
Though I will not be vexed for long;
I truly believe
Crash is 2005’s
How Green Was My Valley,
also known as
Best Picture of 1941
over fellow nominee
Citizen Kane.

I am vexed
that I did not wake up
beside George Clooney.
Or Jon Stewart.
Or both of them.
Sigh.

I am vexed that Charlize Theron
has lost control
of her eyesight
and her mind.

I am the opposite of vexed
for Philip Seymour Hoffman.
I am full of Upstate pride
because I firmly believe
more Oscar winners
ought to know and understand
the joy
of Wegmans.

I am vexed
that I do not personally know
Nick Park
and that he did not
make a tiny bowtie
for me to wear
because I totally, totally would have.

I am vexed that Dolly Parton
no longer looks like Dolly Parton
or should I say
Truvy Jones
who looked like a real woman
and not so much a dolly
though I have to give her props
because I doubt,
on an evening of nothing but strapless bras,
that she was wearing one.

The romantic in me

February 24, 2006

wants to hear Kelly Clarkson’s “Since U Been Gone” as one gigantic kiss-off to Simon Cowell/the cultural monolith that is American Idol.

She’s so movin’ on. But thanks to you, she gets what she wants indeed.