Monthly Archives: June 2012

He was different, he wasn’t cool like me

The news has been very, very depressing lately. I KNOW, it’s ALWAYS depressing. But it’s more depressing than usual. Am I the only one that’s noticed this? I can’t be, right?

Even this pug wearing clothing is super-depressed.

OK, first, this whole thing about the bus monitor in Rochester that was bullied by middle school kids has me insane. INSANE. I tried to watch the video and I absolutely could not do it. I watched approximately a minute and a half and had to turn it off. Yes, yes. I know. The world stepped right up and donated her a ton and a half of money, because if there’s one thing people are good at, it’s throwing money at something that makes them sad to make themselves feel less sad. (Sorry. That’s rude. I’m sure people have the best of intentions.) So far, as of the writing of this post, the fundraiser to send her on a vacation has raised about $668,000. That’s a hell of a vacation. I’m not judging, and it’s not sour grapes, but there are a lot of people saying she “deserves” this money. Really? There are a lot of us who were bullied that much or more by children. Other teachers, even, according to my friend who teaches junior high. Do we also deserve that kind of payout? I don’t think anyone in the world deserves anything. I know, that’s kind of insanely conservative, coming from me, right? I’m a big fat enigma, what can I say. Is it nice that she’s gotten all these donations? Sure, it’s nice. Is it DESERVED? Debatable.

Whew! NOW my conscience is appeased!

That’s not the point. The point is, middle school. MIDDLE SCHOOL. Those children were, what, 12-14 years old? What the HELL are we teaching our young adults that they think it’s ok to verbally harass a senior citizen to the point of tears? Did you watch this? Did you all watch this? I think everyone’s watched this, right? I’d link to it but I don’t want to. I just don’t even want to. You know how I feel about bullying, you know that. I know how cruel children are to each other, of course I know that, but when did children stop having even a little bit of respect for an adult in authority? None at all? Really? I mean, sure, we were all kinds of eye-rolly at adults when we were children, sure we were, but we didn’t taunt adults to their faces until they cried. Is it the mob mentality? Like, these children weren’t really all that bad, but as a group they all just got meaner and meaner and meaner and spurred each other on? Or are they? Are children this bad now? My teacher-friend says they are. I don’t want to think they are. I can’t think that, I just can’t. Not without my head exploding.

See? THIS is how I want to imagine junior high kids. All shiny-happy-people. DAMMIT LET ME HAVE THIS.

I don’t know what the solution to this is. First, we didn’t have bus monitors when I was a kid. I asked my parents, and they said this is a thing now. Well, good. The buses were a NIGHTMARE when I was a kid. Just complete and utter chaos. Like, Lord of the Flies but the island was a moving motor vehicle. People were beaten, having sex in the back seats, things were thrown at each other, out of the windows, at the busdriver – and our bus was worse, because it had kindergarten through senior year on it, so you can’t tell me those little five-year-olds were safe with senior year hooligans around them. So, yeah, a bus monitor is a good idea. But apparently not in this case. What was HAPPENING on this bus? This shit kept happening? The busdriver didn’t stop it, or stop the bus? Did this woman report these kids? It’s obvious she wasn’t able to do her job as bus monitor. So were all the other kids she was supposed to be protecting unsafe, because she wasn’t even able to protect herself? I am kind of flummoxed by this entire situation. This couldn’t have been a one-time incident, right?

Look at this shit. This is what happens on the bus, don’t think otherwise. Buses are UTTER CHAOS. On WHEELS.

And listen, I was not an angel-child by any means. No no no. I was often quite cruel. Mostly because I was dealing with a lot of personal shit and I lashed out inappropriately. I don’t think it’s called PTSD when you’re currently experiencing the trauma. Current-traumatic stress disorder? I don’t know. Anyway, I’m just saying, whatever the reason, I wasn’t always nice. Far from it. I was often mean and sarcastic and bitter. Middle school kids are terrible. Just terrible. All those hormones? It’s lunacy.

SO MANY EMOTIONZZZ!!!!

The whole thing makes me nervous and upset. Do I think the kids deserve punishment? Hell yes. Everyone, no matter how old they are, needs to understand there are consequences for their actions, and that you can’t treat your fellow man in such a way. These kids grew up in a culture where anti-bullying was taught as part of the curriculum. According to the Greece School District Website, they teach using the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program.  (I have my doubts that these programs work, really, but they have to be better than not having a program at all, right?) It’s not like these kids don’t know what bullying is. Were they not aware that bullying an adult is the same thing as bullying a peer? Did they just not care? I know they’re minors, but I’d love to hear the kids’ side of this. What led them to do this? Were there thought processes involved, or was it just something that seemed fun at the time (like most things we do when we’re hormone-addled teens?)

I’m thinking about this too much, aren’t I? I do that with things like this. They upset me more than they should. Andreas wrote a very compelling post about compassion in the human race recently, but I don’t think it’s compassion that’s fueling my cyclical obsessive thoughts about this. It’s childhood trauma, and my need to know why. Why did this happen? What led to this happening? How can we stop it from happening again? Can we stop it from happening again?

And then, THEN, political shit has turned the country into lunatics. There is SO MUCH SHOUTING RIGHT NOW.

So, so much. And hating. And the Republicans are at war with the Democrats. WE HATE EACH OTHER SO MUCH. We can’t be friends. Because the Democrats are a bunch of dirty damn hippies who want the government to give them free…well…everything and also hate Merka and complain a lot and hate God and want us all to be vegetarians and also smoke all the legal weed, and the Republicans hate women and poor people and people of color and illegal immigrants and love guns a lot. So of course we can’t get along because we’re like cats and dogs or maybe oil and water and THERE IS SO MUCH SHOUTING. We seem to forget we’re all just people, and when we finish work, we go home, and we all worry about bills and our loved ones and we like to laugh and we sometimes cry and wear shoes, and we sleep, and we are sometimes loud and sometimes quiet and we’re all a little nuts. Nope. We’re not humans. We are DEMOCRATS or REPUBLICANS. Or, I suppose we can be something else, like Socialists or Green Party members or Independents or whatever, but no one takes those parties seriously. Probably because they aren’t shouty enough.

Listen, I love election season.

YIPPEE!

LOVE. I love that it gets all exciting, and that there are debates, and people get on television with charts and graphs and you try to guess who’s going to carry which states, and best of ALL you get to VOTE, which, listen, I love so much, I’ve mentioned that before, my insane love of all things voting-related. I love when the vice-presidential candidate(s) are announced. I love when these SCANDALOUS stories come out like “ZOMG BIRTH CERTIFICATE!?!1?!?” or “Romney was a total bully in high school” or “I can see Russia from my HOUSE” or whatever. Love. It all makes me very excited. I love how our political system works, even though it’s a little confusing even though I’ve totally studied and researched it and I’m quite intelligent. I love that we get a say in it. I love that there are PEOPLE whose JOB it is to decide what COLOR TIE a candidate should wear to best come across as compassionate or diplomatic or intelligent. I love it. All of it.

Listen, Merka. You are SUCKING THE JOY OUT OF MY ELECTION SEASON WITH THE SHOUTERY.

I don’t remember us hating each other this much four years ago. I really don’t. We all started hating each other this much since Obama became president? I’m confused by this. He really doesn’t seem to be doing that bad of a job. I mean, were you all asleep during Dubya’s presidency? The mess Obama stepped into when he entered the White House – I mean, I think if it was me, I would have just put my head down in the Oval Office and wept for like a month. It’s like everyone forgot the Dubya years. I didn’t. I didn’t forget them at all. At least now I don’t have to apologize for the president when speaking to people who aren’t American. I did that a lot during the Dubya years. There was a lot of “yeah, I KNOW, it’s so EMBARRASSING, what can you DO” coming from me for 8 years. A LOT. I haven’t had to say that once in the past four years. Mostly because I’m not embarrassed of Obama. He doesn’t make embarrassing gaffes or stand under big old “MISSON ACCOMPLISHED” signs when the mission wasn’t even accomplished or stare off into space for seven minutes while reading My Pet Goat while his country is under terrorist attack.

This just makes me sad.

Obama’s intelligent. Have you heard the guy talk? He’s intelligent, and he’s personable, and he’s got a sense of humor that’s more New Yorker than frathouse shenanigans. He doesn’t give his staff members nicknames like “Boner” and “Hillbilly Frank.” Is that the problem? Do people resent him because they think he’s smarter than they are? Don’t we WANT a President that’s smarter than we are? I know I sure as hell do. I want the person with his (or her, dammit, her, HER BEFORE I DIE PLEASE) finger on the button to be smarter than I am, and not think kegstands and/or red Solo cups are a good way to spend a Friday night WHEN YOU ARE IN YOUR FIFTIES.

Do you WANT someone like this running your country? I mean, maybe you do. I don’t know your life. But I’m going to hope not.

We’re talking politics. Sorry. SORRY. I know, I try not to do that here.

All I’m saying is, can we stop with the shoutery and the hating? Please? I know. It’s a lot easier to hate someone than it is to put yourself in their shoes for a few minutes and think, huh, if you put aside the politics, we’re just all people. Or if you stop bullying for a minute and look, that person is being injured by what I’m doing, and how would I like it if someone did that to me? Or if (and the kids who did this in Rochester are getting some of this now) people I love saw what I was doing, would they be proud of me right now? What if someone was doing this to my mom? My sister? My grandmother? Would I allow this to continue?

If we all just try to realize that every single person in the world is just that – a person – and trying to do their best, even when they’re being an INSUFFERABLE ASSHOLE – maybe we could just be a little nicer. And then I wouldn’t have to avoid watching the news or clicking on links or talking to my dad about anything but the weather. I need more happy “look, this guy rescued a dog for no reason other than he was a nice man” and less “another kid killed himself because he was bullied into thinking he was worthless” stories. Can we work on that? Any chance? Thanks so much, so appreciated.

This entire photoset is worth seeing. It’ll lighten your day. I almost promise it. Click. What can it hurt?

You know, we really are capable of such amazing things. Why are we wasting our voices and energy on shouting and tearing down when we could be singing and building up?

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The Targaryens wed brother to sister, why shouldn’t we do the same?

Whew! We made it to Friday, hooray! Tonight is going-to-see-my-friend’s-play night. It’s at this artsy thing in one of our local towns that I’ve always wanted to go to, so that’ll be fun, right? Look at me doing things that force me to get up off the couch. It’s all very exciting and probably I deserve a medal. Dumbcat, however, is NOT PLEASED, and when I get home does things like “MEOW!” and glares at me VERY POINTEDLY because I was not home for him to squish all up to and dig his claws into. He can try that with a pillow, but the pillow doesn’t go “Ouch, Dumbcat, what the hell? Why so pointy, bub?” and then scritch his head for him. 

(SIDE NOTE. In case you were not convinced Dumbcat is really dumb, the other day, he was asleep on the back of the couch and got scared by a ghost. Well, I assume it was a ghost. There was nothing scary I could see or hear. So he bolted up as if he was pinched and then decided I MUST RUN AWAY NOW. But one of his claws got caught in the afghan I keep on the back of the couch in case I get cold.

Evil. Eeeeee-vil.

So he was all WHAT IS THIS MADNESS. Then he KEPT RUNNING. So he was dragging the afghan behind him with one little paw and trying to run and making a noise like he was caught in a snare and knocking everything off the shelves with the afghan trailing behind him and I was like, DUMBCAT STOP I CAN FIX THIS and he was like NO NO NO MOM THERE IS A GHOST SOMEWHERE GOTTA GO. Finally he stopped and just looked at the afghan SO MOURNFULLY like “this is my LIFE now, I have this THING PERMANENTLY attached to my LEG” and I was able to catch up to him and detach him and he looked at me as if I was a goddess sent to him from on high and then I laughed until my stomach was sore. I felt kind of bad about it, but I still laughed. I mean, he’s like the Three Stooges of cats, this cat. He now thinks the afghan is his enemy, and will not sleep on it. He takes care to sleep on either end of the couch, but not in the middle, where that evil, foot-snatching afghan lives. It attacked him once. It might do it again. YOU CAN NEVER TELL WITH THOSE NEFARIOUS PLOTTING-AGAINST-YOU AFGHANS.) 

I have not yet told you about my adventure to get Indian food. It actually isn’t much of a story. It went very well! I did not say or do a single embarrassing thing! (Well, I don’t THINK I did. One would know, wouldn’t one think?) My food was good, and spicy, and there were no onions, garlic, or tomatoes to be found. (Oh, you probably want to know what I ate because people like to hear things like that. I had a little bit of naan that was stuffed with cheddar cheese so it was like the Indian version of Domino’s Cheesy Bread, and Chicken Vindaloo, which is, for people that don’t know about such things, pieces of very tender chicken in a spicy brown thick sauce served over this delicious kind of rice that I’ve never tried before and I’m not supposed to HAVE rice so I only had a little but MAN was that the best rice ever in the history of ever and I could have eaten 47,000 bowls of that rice alone, and it wasn’t even SEASONED rice, it was just longer and skinner than normal rice and had a really nice consistency and I loved it times a million.)

Naan is yum, even though I’m not allowed much bread. I’m down with you, naan!

I drank a lot of water with the spiciness. We talked and laughed a lot. I almost got arrested and/or killed driving illegally on the way home (dear GPS: that U-turn you told me to make? WAS ILLEGAL. That’s a one-way street, my friend. And I was on it before I realized it. Dummy. It’s a damn good thing no cars were coming) but overall, it was great. So look! I can leave the house and socialize with people in small groups without self-destructing or self-immolating or self-whatevering. What a nice thing to realize!  

I found this thing in the news, and I wanted to discuss it with you, but it’s icky. Do you want to hear about an icky thing? Because it is. Totally icky. Also, it taught me a sciency thing, so probably Andreas will be interested. And also disgusted. You ALL will be disgusted. It’s the ickiest. 

Andreas, this is sciency, but also gross. I hope you’re up for the challenge.

OK, so in California recently, a woman was caught having all the underage sex in a hotel room with a sixteen-year-old boy. Yes, ew, these things happen, fine, whatever, gross, that’s not the ickiest part. THAT’S NOT EVEN THE ICKIEST PART. Ready? 

It was her son that she’d given up at birth. AND SHE KNEW IT WAS HER SON. 

Here, you can see pictures of this woman. She looks like one of those Bratz dolls. A real-life Bratz doll! Worrisome. 

I mean, if you’re into plastic and puty duck-lips, I guess, whatever, I don’t want to be judgey.

Apparently she gave up her child at birth, and then she contacted him fifteen years later and started a conversation with him on Facebook which led to naughty texts (as Facebook does) and then they started meeting up in hotel rooms so she could tutor him in math (that’s a euphemism) and his family found out and called the cops. 

EUPHEMISM. Y = Sex.

When the cops questioned her, she said she was not guilty. “But, we have this video your son made, of you playing his skin flute,” they said. (EUPHEMISM. Also, what kind of asshole kid makes a video of it? Ew, THAT IS YOUR MOM.) “No, no!” she said. “You see, it’s not my FAULT. There’s this scientific phenomenon called Genetic Sexual Attraction, where 50% of people meeting a long-lost relative are sexually attracted to them. I am a VICTIM! Of SCIENCE!” 

And then I assume the cops made this face.

Well, setting aside the old “he blinded me with science” defense (which, bee tee dubs, didn’t work, she was sent to jail for 4 years last week) I was all, “WHAT? This is a THING? Being sexually attracted to your relatives is a THING?” 

Yep. It’s totally a thing. Science says so! 

According to science, if, say, you were separated at birth from your sibling, and then you meet up with him (or her) twenty years later, you are more likely to be sexually attracted to him (or her) because: 

You have facial similarities, and people (often without knowing it) seek out partners with a similar facial pattern/look 

Along similar lines, we seek out partners with similar traits and likes/dislikes; scientists agree that some of these things can be hereditary, and therefore the sibling would be seen by your brain as a good mate 

If you were raised by your opposite-sex parent, you “imprinted” on them; the sibling you didn’t know you had will share some similarities to that parent, and your ever-entertaining brain will turn that into sexual attraction (howdy, Oedipal and Electra complexes, nice to see you here!) 

Aw, Ralph. Don’t do it. SHE IS YOUR MOM.

Now, if you grew UP with your sibling (or parent, or cousin, or whatever) the odds of you being attracted to them are slimmer, because of ANOTHER sciency phenomenon called The Westermarck Effect, or reverse sexual imprinting.

Here is ol’ Westermarck himself! He looks sciency, right? And a little like Teddy Roosevelt.

The person this is named after is from FINLAND, which makes me think it MUST be true because all the best scientists and Science Fellows are from/currently live in Finland. 

Producing only the best scientists and science fellows for hundreds of years. I don’t let just any Science Fellow science it up around these parts. I’m SELECTIVE.

The Westermarck Effect states that if you grow up with another child (from about ages birth to six) you become desensitized to later sexual attraction. It somehow triggers a naturally-occurring incest taboo (“incest” being only the label put on it; it doesn’t only work within families. If you are raised alongside a foster brother, for example, you most likely would see him as a sibling and mating with him later in life would also trigger the “incest incest NO NO NO” panic-alarm.) 

Now, this all icked me out to the extreme (mostly the first part of this) but then I thought about it and you know what? Science is totally right here. Still ICKY, but totally right. 

Of course you’re most interested in people who remind you most of yourself. Even if you’re not aware of it. You might say “opposites attract” but how often are you with someone who is your COMPLETE OPPOSITE in ALL WAYS? That would be like me dating a man who hates the arts, is a conservative politically, who isn’t at all funny and also doesn’t think I am, who’s very, very religious, who doesn’t believe in equal rights for women and same-sex couples, who hates animals, who hates the city and would never consider living anywhere but a tiny town, who likes women who are quiet, who hates reading, who hates television, books, and the internet, and who doesn’t think bathing is a super-big priority. THIS SOUNDS LIKE MY PERFECT MATE. Oh, wait, no. No, it doesn’t. I mean, sure, maybe I’d find something about him attractive. Maybe he has really nice eyes, or he’s really kind to his children, or he really likes neon Post-Its, I don’t know. But those differences would make it awful hard to continue any sort of relationship. Even if we were like, “let’s make a go of this!” and decided not to discuss them, eventually they’d come up. Things always do. You can’t sit on stuff like this forever. These are fundamental differences, you know? 

These types of opposites attract, though. Just ask any kid who’s rubbed a balloon on their sweater then stuck it on a wall. SCIENCE BABY.

I don’t know about the similar facial pattern. I have kind of a lady-face. I don’t know that I look for a man with a lady-face to complete me. But the article did say it was unconscious, so maybe my reptile brain can translate my lady-face into the male equivalent and is looking for that for me, I don’t know. As for the whole Electra complex – well, here’s the thing. I love my dad. He’s a good dad! He makes me laugh and he’s very protective and he’s smart and he’s wise. As for wanting a mate like him? Well, I’d like a mate with some of his traits. But I’d also like a mate withOUT some of his traits. Because the person I described above who was my complete opposite (other than the funny and the television and the bathing) is my dad. We are very, very different. I love him, but couldn’t live in the same house with him. I go home for a visit and we’re at each other’s throats within a few hours. So, I’m sure the Electra complex is alive and well for some people, and maybe on the same level where I don’t know about the facial patterns, I’m secretly attracted to my dad, but if I am, I’m sure as hell not aware of it. And that’s FINE with me. I DON’T WANT TO KNOW. Because SHUDDER. 

Also, growing up with someone totally makes you non-attracted to them. It’s true. I grew up with a very, very attractive boy. My dad’s best friend’s kid. Blonde. Blue eyes. Smart. Funny. Great guy. Loved him right to pieces. We got along like peas AND carrots, and also maybe some…shit, I don’t know, asparagus or something. I mean, we didn’t grow up in the same house. We grew up separately. But we hung out a lot, because our parents were good friends and we were the same age (he was a month younger.) And when I got to my teens, I thought, huh, maybe I should fall in love with C. Because we know each other so well! And he is wonderful! And our parents are friends! And it would be so easy! But when I would hang out with him, there was just NOTHING THERE. It was like hanging out with my brother. No attraction. None. I could objectively see that he was a very attractive guy (still can); I could objectively see that he’d make a good mate (he did; he’s married now, with a child.) But that spark you need to want to start something just wasn’t there. Even more, not only was the spark missing, the thought of kissing him would make me both giggle and gag a little, because he was the closest person to a relative I had that wasn’t walking around sharing some of my genetic material. It seemed WRONG, somehow. So, my romance with C., which I think probably would have thrilled both of our parents, was not meant to be. I haven’t seen him in years, incidentally. And somehow, he doesn’t have Facebook. C.! How do you not have Facebook? You’re a toolbag, get a damn Facebook account already, I miss your face. No, I know he’s probably not reading this. I’m still saying it, since when has that stopped me from doing something? 

Yep. Totally would have been like this. I always thought this dress was ill-fitting. I mean, I’m all for cleavage, but this just looked ouchy.

So, back to the point of this post, which was the life-sized Bratz doll who is claiming that science made her ride her long-lost child like a childhood Sit-n-Spin. NO. And EW. No amount of science makes that less icky, lady. How are you in your thirties and you don’t know right from wrong? No. No, no no. Impulse control: you need to look into that. Also, NO and EW. 

OK, so there’s your icky report of the day. Oh, I should mention Ken totally blogged about incest a while back. That sounds worrisome but it’s actually really interesting. You’ll like it, there’s a nice photo of Ken’s jolly face. And I just re-read the comments on Ken’s post and realized that after I commented way back then, Andreas commented and MENTIONED the Genetic Sexual Attraction thing. I didn’t even see that then. Huh. Go talk to Andreas, he knows all about this! Because he is SCIENCY and he is SMART and he is from FINLAND, not because he is GROSS. Sheesh.

Also, look how pretty Finland is! Aw, Finland. Someday I will come and visit you and your sciency-ness.


All this nothing has meant more to me than so many somethings

If you’re not a Twitter (or even a Facebook) person, you don’t get your news all in-a-flashy like we do, so you might not have found out right away. But Tuesday night, I was sitting around writing something up for another blog (you’ll see, it’ll be out next week) and flipping back and forth to my social networks. That’s what I do when I’m writing. Here, I’ll give you a glimpse behind the curtain. You like that sort of thing, right? You want to see the Great and Powerful Oz?

This is totally me, only less manly. And wizardy. And curtainy.

Here you go. I sit down to write, I open up the following tabs: Twitter, Facebook, Gmail, WordPress. Then I write for a while, and when I’m either stuck or bored or need a break or notice I have a notification in one of the tabs, I flip around and see what’s up. I know I could probably get work done a hell of a lot faster if I ignored (or refused to open) the other tabs (and when I’m in a hurry, I don’t open them at all, and wait to check them until I’m done – I’m not a complete moron about what drains my time) but I like that they’re there, and I like that I can see if people are trying to get in touch with me or if important things are going on or what-have-you.  

So I was writing and writing and flipping around and catching up on back episodes of Haven while I wrote (I have such a weird crush on Eric Balfour with his big old noggin it’s kind of insane) and flipped over to Facebook and saw a post that just said “Oh” and the link said Nora Ephron had passed away. 

And because I am a gigantic sap I totally started to cry. 

Listen, Nora Ephron was a pretty stellar woman. You all probably know her from When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle and You’ve Got Mail (the first of which she wrote, the latter two she both wrote and directed) and you might think “meh, romantic comedies, whatever, cheesity cheese cheese” but she was really kind of someone we can all look up to, and it’s a huge loss that she’s gone. 

She interned for John F. Kennedy. She was a low-level mail girl (imagine calling someone an ANYTHING girl now? the mind just boggles) at Newsweek back in the 60s. Why? Because they didn’t hire female writers and she wanted to work in publishing. Her just-for-fun satirical writing with some friends led to her first writing job, with the New York Post. It’s the writer’s version of being discovered at a soda fountain and going on to become a famous actress, I think. (Side note: the person who noticed her writing? The publisher of the Post? A woman. Nice job with the early integration, Post.) From there, Ephron became a well-known reporter, essayist, and humorist, writing for not only the Post, but Esquire, The New York Times Magazine, and New York magazine, as well as collecting her essays into a number of books. 

That’s her with the notebook. And RFK. Neat, right?

So she conquered journalism. She was a hipster feminist, WAY before it was cool.

Also, she looked pretty kickass while doing it.

What next? Well, in her personal life, she married, she divorced, she married again (Carl Bernstein, maybe you heard of a little thing called Watergate? The journalists who broke Watergate? Woodward & Bernstein? This is that Bernstein, and Ephron knew who Deep Throat was THE WHOLE TIME, yo), Bernstein cheated on her with one of her friends, she wrote a scathing screenplay about it (Heartburn, in which she says the cheating husband is “capable of having sex with a Venetian blind,” hee!) and she married again, to a screenwriter, by all reports quite happily. 

70s feathered hair makes me smile. Here’s Ephron and Bernstein before the Venetian-blind-screwing.

So. Screenplays, huh? After she helped Woodward & Bernstein clean up their screenplay for All the President’s Men (her version wasn’t used), her writing caught Hollywood’s eye. Not long after, When Harry Met Sally happened. (Oh, she also wrote Silkwood. So whenever I say I want to Silkwood-shower my brain after I see something especially icky? Thank you, Nora Ephron.) 

Without Nora Ephron (for better or for worse, because YES, I KNOW, it’s NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN) we’d never get the line all women are kind of secretly hoping some guy will say a variant of to us at some point or other in our lives: 

I love that you get cold when it’s 71 degrees out. I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich. I love that you get a little crinkle above your nose when you’re looking at me like I’m nuts. I love that after I spend the day with you, I can still smell your perfume on my clothes. And I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night. And it’s not because I’m lonely, and it’s not because it’s New Year’s Eve. I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible. 

Yes, yes, like I said. It’s irrational to expect this. But think about it. Don’t we all kind of want someone to love us not only despite, but for, our quirks? The things that we think, “huh, this is probably driving someone nuts” – someone noticing that? And loving it? That’s something, right? That’s your person. The person that loves you FOR those quirks. The person who notices all of our junk and thinks, eh, we all have junk. The person who wants the rest of their life to start right now, because they found you. Don’t you even say this isn’t a little bit awesome. Is it irrational? Yeah. But it’s also a little bit awesome and kind of true and I love it.

Or how about, “Is one of us supposed to be a dog in this scenario?” or “Waiter, there is too much pepper on my paprikash. But I would be proud to partake of your pecan pie.” Or that they don’t make Sunday days-of-the-week panties, “because of God.” Or “Oh, but ‘baby fish mouth’ is sweeping the nation?” Or (sob) “I am not your consolation prize, Harry.” 

I know that it makes me a huge old girly-girl and I know that it’s creating these unobtainable expectations for romance, but I will always, always, ALWAYS want a When-Harry-Met-Sally romance on some level. Always and forever. I know it’s not coming, of course I do. The practical side of me is well-aware of that. But the side of me that still picks up wishing-pennies and refuses to step on cracks still holds out some hope. She’s optimistic, that one. 

Then Ephron decided, huh. I liked writing that. That went really well. Let’s try some directing, what do you say? 

The first one (This is My Life – heard of it? Nope, me either) wasn’t a home run. I love her a little more for that. If she hit it out of the park the first time, she wouldn’t be as relatable. Then: Sleepless in Seattle. 

Pair up Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan at the height of their squishy adorableness. Keep them separated for most of the movie. Throw in a ton of longing and heartbreak and the statistic (how much did THIS kill the women watching? I was in my early TWENTIES and was a little panic-stricken!) “It’s easier to be killed by a terrorist than it is to find a husband over the age of 40!” The Empire State Building. “That’s your problem! You don’t want to be in love. You want to be in love in a movie.” (I do. That is my problem. I ABSOLUTELY want to be in love in a movie.) Their faces when they see each other for the first time. “Magic.”  

Yep. Nice job, Nora Ephron. Add “meeting on the Empire State Building” to the “things all women secretly kinda want” list.  

Then You’ve Got Mail. Did everyone love this as much as I did? Or is it just me who was completely swept away in the whole New York City/bookstores and the love of literature/rivals/secret identities/falling in love without seeing each other’s faces thing? I’m ok with it if it’s just me.  

I’m going to quote the hell out of You’ve Got Mail. Listen, I tried to narrow it down. I just couldn’t. I love it so much. 

Sometimes I wonder about my life. I lead a small life – well, valuable, but small – and sometimes I wonder, do I do it because I like it, or because I haven’t been brave? So much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book, when shouldn’t it be the other way around? I don’t really want an answer. I just want to send this cosmic question out into the void. So good night, dear void. 

I would have asked for your number, and I wouldn’t have been able to wait twenty-four hours before calling you and saying, “Hey, how about… oh, how about some coffee or, you know, drinks or dinner or a movie… for as long as we both shall live?” 

I love daisies…They’re so friendly. Don’t you think daisies are the friendliest flower? 

What will NY152 say today, I wonder. I turn on my computer. I wait impatiently as it connects. I go online, and my breath catches in my chest until I hear three little words: You’ve got mail. I hear nothing. Not even a sound on the streets of New York, just the beating of my own heart. I have mail. From you. 

Don’t you love New York in the fall? It makes me wanna buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address. On the other hand, this not knowing has its charms. 

When you read a book as a child, it becomes a part of your identity in a way that no other reading in your whole life does. 

The odd thing about this form of communication is that you’re more likely to talk about nothing than something. But I just want to say that all this nothing has meant more to me than so many somethings. 

I wanted to be your friend…I knew it wasn’t…possible. What can I say, sometimes a guy just wants the impossible. 

And, the line that can make me cry just thinking of it, the line that I didn’t have to look up online for the exact wording because sometimes it comes to mind with Meg Ryan’s face attached, her hopeful, relieved, teary face, and I just get all weepy all over again because it’s just perfect: 

I wanted it to be you. I wanted it to be you so badly. 

If it makes me sappy and girly and silly, so be it. But I like the magic in this movie. I like that there are two people out there so, so perfect for each other, and they meet in the least likely of ways, and they, despite all odds, manage to make it work. I like that. So much. I like that it speaks to those of us who spend a lot of our time online – not the “ZOMG WE’RE GOING TO FALL IN LURVE” thing, but the making-a-connection thing through the computer, with someone you’ve never met, through their words and their thoughts and getting to know them through the minutae of their day, you know? I love that. It also doesn’t hurt that it’s Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks. The two of them really were the cutest together in these movies back in the day, weren’t they? 

She continued to direct (her last movie was Julie and Julia, which wasn’t that long ago) and write books. She had two children. She had a large group of friends and supported up-and-coming young writers and comedians and directors; many of whom were women. She believed that (unlike a lot of men, both then and now) women in comedy WERE funny, ARE funny, and if they had to work twice as hard to show that? Well, nothing wrong with a little hard work. She openly talked about (shh!) “female issues” – sex, aging, romance, motherhood, divorce – and she made them FUNNY. And RELEVANT. She made them so MEN wanted to read about them or watch them. MEN! Interested in WOMEN’S issues, can you imagine the HORROR? She reportedly had a huge cackle; if you made Nora cackle, you knew you’d done something really special.  

I would have liked to make Nora cackle. I have a cackle. I’ve been told the same thing, actually; that if someone hears my laugh in an audience, from all the way backstage, they know the show’s going well. I’m proud we have that in common. We’re not the type to be silenced. We don’t whisper; we roar. 

I love this. This is 80 flavors of adorable.

She believed very strongly in the power of the written word. From Hilary Rosen’s piece about her in the Huffington Post: “What do you do when your friend Nora Ephron dies? You cry and then you write about it. Because that is what she said to do whenever you told her a story that moved her or amused her. ‘Write about it’ she’d say. It was like Beethoven telling you to play a symphony or Billie Jean King telling you to serve the ball or Springsteen telling you to rock. She was the best of the best and when she said, ‘write’ she was telling you to engage in the noblest pastime she knew.” 

How can you not love a woman who believed in the written word this much? “The noblest pastime she knew.” Chills. Just, chills. 

From Lisa Belkin’s piece, also from the Huffington Post: “’Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim,’ she said in a 1996 speech to the graduating class of Wellesley College.” My college graduation speaker told us to make sure to save for retirement, I think. I’d have liked a speech about being the heroine of my own life. I try to be. I think I’m succeeding. 

And finally, from Arianna Huffington’s piece from the Huffington Post. (See, Nora Ephron didn’t really need to write anymore, and didn’t have time to, really. But when Arianna Huffington approached her about a new blog she was starting, Ephron did some research and realized that blogs were the wave of the future in writing and making that immediate connection. She made the time, because she loved it so much. She was a regular contributor to the Huffington Post and good friends with Arianna Huffington.)

Ephron and Arianna Huffington.

“Nora excelled not only as a blogger but as a blogging evangelist, spreading word of the medium’s particular value and making many converts. She quickly grasped that ‘one of the reasons for blogging was to start the conversation and to create the community that comes together briefly to talk about things they might not be talking about if you hadn’t written your blog.’” 

Savvy woman, that Nora Ephron. 

She intimated she was ill in her last book, but very few people knew she was suffering from leukemia. She played that close to the vest. I can appreciate that. I’d do the same thing. Who needs the sympathy? Life’s too short for that. She passed away on Tuesday from complications related to the disease. 

We lost one of the good ones Tuesday. She paved the way for a lot of women in writing and in comedy. She showed what we can do, us women, if we work together; if we refuse to take no for an answer; if we work our asses off. She wrote beautifully and told it like it was and she loved deeply and she laughed, and she laughed, and she laughed. 

Thank you, Nora. You’ll be missed. In your honor: I think I’ll write.


Tell me on a Sunday, please. Or maybe a Wednesday. What day is this?

Here we are, tater tots. Wednesday! Week’s halfway done. I’m pre-writing this, as I do. So here in Amy-land, it’s a lovely Sunday. I am loafing and writing and finishing making magical packages of awesomeness to send to Germany and playing with Twitter and painting my nails and watching a LOT of bad television and nibbling on popsicles and contemplating scrubbing the tub which I hate doing, but it needs to be done (blergh) and generally spending the day as I most enjoy spending my Sundays: doing exactly what I want to do in a timeline I want to do it in. Well, except the tub-scrubbery. No one wants to do that. Do any of you want to do that? Because I’ll let you, if you want.

Yep, I totally look like this today. All fancy & shit. OH WAIT NO I DON’T.

I’m working through old shows this summer. Currently, I’m watching last summer’s shows. I’m that far behind on my television watching. So this summer, I’m watching last summer’s Pretty Little Liars, Warehouse 13, Drop Dead Diva, and Project Runway. Yes, none of these have that much merit or value. I’m aware. This makes them perfect for summer viewing. I don’t want to think too much during the summer. It’s hot, and I want to sit on the couch typing and half-watch television while I do so. These shows are perfect for that, because you really don’t have to pay a lot of attention to them. They go on just fine without you paying close attention. There are silly twists and melodrama and pretty dresses and sometimes steamy kissery. I’m very pleased with these shows for my heat-addled brain’s summer viewing pleasure. I KNOW, you’re probably all QUITE DISAPPOINTED I’m not as deep as you thought I was. Sorry. I’m really not. I like silly foolish pretty things as much as the next girl. (Also, does anyone WATCH Pretty Little Liars? What is UP with Aria’s earrings? They are HUGE! They would ruin her whole ears. Although, honestly? She is cute as a damn button, that girl. I have a little envy of her adorableness.)

Stylish, but also? HEAVY.

I have very exciting things coming up (well, one of them has passed at this point, which is one of the perils of writing so far in advance) this week. And I thought I had no plans! But now I have ALL THE PLANS! First, I am going to dinner with some theater friends. We are getting spicy Indian food. Are you so excited? I am. By the time you are reading this, it’s already happened. Hopefully I was well-behaved and didn’t totally act like a jackass, and my social anxiety didn’t ratchet up to crazy heights. Also, Dad said, “You shouldn’t eat Indian food. It will kill you. IT WILL KILL YOU.” I’m not really sure it will, since the people who live in India eat it all the time and seem to be thriving just fine, but apparently that’s another thing that Dad wouldn’t do: eat Indian food.

This looks good, right? I think so. I’m tentatively optimistic.

I just checked the menu and it has a LOT of things and now I am immediately worried that I am going to either get something I hate or look like an idiot in front of people that I don’t want to look like an idiot in front of because the few times I’ve gone out for Indian food before it was either a buffet (therefore, the choice is removed from you – you just take whatever looks yummy) or I think I just got some sort of curry and that was that. But there are a LOT of choices on this menu. THIS IS VERY DIFFICULT. Also I like these people but don’t know them very well because we’ve worked together but never socialized so I am now officially freaking out. See? See why I am not ever fit to socialize with the normal folks? Good grief. I just sent Twitter an SOS and told them to decide for me. They have to work with the constrictions that I hate onions, garlic, most vegetables, beef, and anything that strikes me as weird.

This was easily-found on the internet. I AM NOT THE ONLY PERSON WHO HATES THESE THINGS KEN.

So far I think we’ve decided I can have a glass of water and maybe some chicken if I scrape off all the sauce. And a free breath mint at the register. Maybe. Bee tee dubs, Ken’s totally despairing over my food issues today. Here, I’ll show you:

Anyway, so I’m freaking out about something that normal people wouldn’t. No, not just food. People AND food. Welcome to my head, it’s a fun place to be. This will already be old news by the time you read this so I’m sure you’ll know if I a., died of Indian-food-related death or b., made a fool out of myself. Or, c., it all went fine, which is probably what will happen. I’m thinking probably c. I always blow social shit all out of proportion.

Then then THEN, my friend N. sent me a message and a play he wrote is being performed this Friday. Well, I want to go! Because guess who was sort-of-kind-of the inspiration for the play? No, not Idi Amin. ME ME ME! I want to see the play sort-of-kind-of based on me! Also, N.’s playwriting skills are really kind of stunning. I have all kinds of envy. Not the “I HATE HIM” kind – I couldn’t be more pleased for him – but the “WHOA do I wish I could do that” kind. I tried to write plays once. I wrote three. Two were somewhat successful. One was terrible. And then I stopped writing them, because it never was something I wanted to do again. It’s not like I miss it. It just wasn’t my thing. My dialogue is stilted and I have no eye for what makes a dramatic scenario. (One was good enough to win a prize, though. And be performed! On television! I know, quite fancy. Someday I will attempt to get it switched from VHS to DVD and you can all see wee skinny 17-year-old Amy being interviewed on television. It’s a kick.)

ANYWAY, N. is wonderful at such things, and extremely talented, and I’m very much looking forward to seeing his show. I’m attempting to get out and do more things that are not in my comfort zone. It’s a thing I’m trying. I’ll report back and let you know how the experiment progresses.

Then then THEN, Sunday, I’m going to Poughkeepsie to see C. and C. and Vassar that looks like all the castles and to see a play with fancy PEOPLE in it! From the front ROW!

WELCOME TO HOGWARTS!

I know. This week really is going to be the best, right? Although I detest summer heat and humidity and grossness and such, I certainly do love doing things in the summer. There are always fun things happening. Soon there will be a trip home for The Nephew’s 3rd birthday celebration, then there will be a trip home for a long week-and-a-half where you will totally miss me because I will be OFF THE INTERWEBZ for 9 whole days (well, I’ll still have posts, I think…working on that, don’t fret, my little lemon drops) and then there is MORE bon vivanting before the closing of the year. I know! Oh, and a BIRTHDAY before the year is up, whoo-hoo! And a BOOK! And a VERY AUSPICIOUS ANNIVERSARY, which we will talk more about in a few months! I know, 2012 is really rounding out nicely. I so approve, 2012.

The rest of the week will be work work work come home WRITE WRITE WRITE slouch slouch try to read a little sleep repeat. I am trying VERY HARD to keep up with sj’s Tolkien read this summer. I can already see myself getting super-behind. My reading’s been spotty lately. This is what happens when you write every second you’re not working or sleeping (and also sometimes writing when you ARE working. Ahem. If anyone from work is reading this, THAT IS A LIE I WOULD NEVER HA.) So far I am still on-target with the reading. WHEW! Yes yes YES it just started. Shush, you.

OK. On to my next project: walking over to my mailbox and seeing if I got my final piece of the top-secret prize package, then making you all a pretty video of what’s in it, wrapping it all up, then packaging it for mailing tomorrow. I know, this is so short, Amy-wise. I have THINGS TO DO. Tub-scrubbery! Package-wrappery! This is quite a day! Yay for Sundays! That you read about on Wednesdays!


Oh, kakopos. THAT’S not going to propagate the species.

Random crap Tuesday? Yes I think I will THANK YOU. 

Last week, my old roommate (and good friend who I miss all the time and am SO SAD she moved away, wah) C. emailed me and said, “Do you want to come visit? We can see a play at Vassar!” A couple of years ago, we went to see a play at Vassar. It was called PIRATE! And it was the STUPIDEST THING EVER. We still make fun of it. It made no sense, and we couldn’t even make FUN of it, it was so bad. So we were all, “VASSAR WHY ARE YOU EMBARRASSING US LIKE THIS.” (Vassar, for the .00002 of you who don’t know, is a fancy private college south of me, down where C. lives. It used to be a girl’s school. It’s just a school now. In the summer, they have a theater program where famous people come in and act and it’s very hoity-toity. Also, when you walk around on the campus, you feel like you’re at Hogwarts. Every building looks like a historic castle.) 

Castles, right? Totally castles.

Anyway, I did some research and they’re doing a play based on The Crucible (which I inexplicably love – I think it’s something about the crowd mentality, and how people behave under pressure, and how it’s an allegory for McCarthyism – I just find it a really well-written piece of work) called Abigail/1702it’s about events five years after the events of The Crucible. I like that idea a lot. To add to the excitement, guess who’s starring as the scorned crushee and lying accuser Abigail Williams? Chloe Sevigny!

Kids? Trees Lounge? Boys Don’t Cry? The upcoming season of American Horror Story? Yes, fine, also Big Love, but I don’t care about that show. That’s probably where most of you know her from, though. And and AND, C. got us FRONT ROW SEATS. ZOMG, you GUYS! I’m going to be FRONT ROW to see a very famous famous person! At a college that looks like Hogwarts! In a play I’m excited about! This is totally zingy news, I can’t even tell you. Also, the website tells me there’s a post-show discussion so that’s exciting, right? YES, it is! Bounce, bounce, bounce. 

Also, I get to see C., and C., her fella who makes me laugh (I know, that’s a lot of C.s and is probably confusing you, sorry), and her cats! One of whom I have not yet met! He is a NEW cat, aw! Yay for new cats! He is full of vim and vigor and I am very excited to meet him. Yay for adventures! Next Sunday, too! Less than a week away! 

Next, let’s talk about SEX BIRD. 

OK, so BFF sent me an email, the gist of which was, “hey, there’s this bird? It tries to have sex with humans.” Well, I like crazy things like that! Which he well knows. That’s why he’s BFF, you see. 

So I went to this link and read the story of the kakopo, the bird too stupid to perpetuate its own species. 

See, the kakopo, in case you didn’t want to click, is a large, strange-looking green parrot in New Zealand. It is flightless, and it hops all around being green and curious-looking.  

KAKOPO!

The kakopo also seem very stupid, and I think might be the Dumbcat of birds.  

“The flightless nocturnal birds, while essentially ground dwelling, are strong climbers but freeze when confronted by a threat, making them easy pickings for predators.” 

Freeze! Freeze when confronted! Well, no wonder they’re going extinct, of course things are going to eat you if you don’t know enough to run away! Even Dumbcat knows to hide in the pots and pans cupboard! 

Freezing and falling out of trees. That’s the kakopo for you!

Apparently back in the day there used to be so many of these things you could shake them out of New Zealand bushes (NOT A EUPHEMISM) like apples, but now they’re all freezing and whatnot and dogs and cats and “stoats” are eating them. (Stoats are adorable weasel-creatures.) 

Aw, stoat! Cute, right? So cute.

Also, to add insult to their freeze-tag injury, the kakopo males “…also attract mates by emitting a deep booming sound from thoracic air sacs, turning them into conspicuous targets for hunters in the night forest.” So they’re freezing, and also SCREAMING ALL LOUD “COME AT ME BRO!” to the hunters while they look for lay-deeeez? Oh, my, kakopo. It might be survival of the fittest that you’re going extinct. 

Kakopo also are lazy and slow breeders. They only like to breed when there’s a lot of fruit on the trees. Oh, also with humans. Did I mention, also with humans? Yep. 

Whaaa?

“In the early days of the conservation effort, rangers even wore an outlandish rubber helmet dotted with dimples in an unsuccessful attempt to collect kakapo sperm when males tried to mate with their heads.” 

ZOMG BEST. Can you even imagine?  Kakopos totally know how to give head. Ba-dum-bum.

“Off to work, Martha!”
“Don’t forget your dimpled sperm-helmet, Frank!” 

“Kakopo, NO! Down, kakopo. DOWN KAKOPO!”

Then the article was all, hey, want to watch a video of a bird trying to mate with a guy’s head? And I was like, YES I DO, WHAT? IT’S LIKE YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW ME WHEN YOU ASK THAT QUESTION. 

 

The look on that bird’s face. His wings. The actor (Stephen Fry, I guess? I don’t know who that is, but I feel like I’ve heard the name before) trying SO HARD not to just break out into hysterical laughter over the whole thing. The poor zoologist trying to be all serious about it.  

BEST VIDEO EVER. 

So the kakopo population has doubled recently, but only because people are working really hard at it. The kakopos are too busy humping people’s heads and looking all into it to bother. 

Oh, ok, you probably want to know about how my play went last week because I’ve totally been remiss in telling you? Very well. It went very well. I screwed up one light cue but I think only the actors and the director and I noticed; an actor messed up one entrance, but I think only the director and I noticed. So overall, huge success; the audience loved it, the board of directors loved it, and the director did a wonderful job so will be asked to submit shows for consideration to be a director for our 2013-2014 season (that was the point of the showcase last week, it was her “audition” for the board of directors, so to speak.)  So, all was well, and other than various board-of-directorly duty things (board meetings, running auditions, ushering, attending critiques, etc.) and one showcase we’re doing next month that I’m running the lights for (which will be simple), I’m on a theater break until – get this – FEBRUARY. I know! Is that not the nicest thing you’ve ever heard? I can relax, I can do MY things, I can bon vivant, I can write write write write WRITE – this is going to be fantastic! 

I have been the MOST remiss in mentioning that I received an award from the lovely Emma over at Does My Bum Look Big in This? And, as always, I’m going to jerk out and not accept, because I hate nominating other blogs. Someone always gets left out and someone’s feelings always get hurt and it’s a whole thing. BUT, that is NOT going to stop me from talking about how much I love the lovely Emma. Emma is my secret British kid sister; she is wonderful and amazing and I love her and want her to have all good things and success and happiness and joy and also maybe kitten-rainbows. She is sweet and smart and funny and brave and honest and we both like serial killers and American Horror Story and she has a wonderful writer’s voice, and I predict many good things for her in her life because of it. So, thank you, Emma! I think you’re the bee’s knees, and I appreciate the award so much, even though I didn’t accept it because I’m the worst at accepting awards because I hate when people yell at me for not including them on a list of blogs that I like, or not including them on my blogroll, and then I get acid indigestion. 

And finally…your results for the Fifty Shades of Gray poll…should I keep reading these terrible things and blog about them? Should I not? 

In a SURPRISE UPSET, by TWO POINTS, the no votes have it! I DO NOT HAVE TO KEEP READING THESE BOOKS! Thank you, you guys. Most sincerely, thank you for that. 

I can’t for the life of me figure out how to show you the results that I’m seeing on this screen. Yeah, I’m not the most technologically advanced. (Oh, wait, I figured it out, I can’t unless I “upgrade to a pro account.” Well, screw you, PollDaddy. I guess you’re all going to have to trust me? Eep. Maybe I can take a cellphone picture of the screen later. THAT’S sticking it to the man, yo!) I got 19 no votes and 17 yes votes. One of the yes votes was a write in. The write in was “Can you digitally record yourself while you read the most embarrassing part” with no punctuation at all, which both made me nervous, then snort-laugh. So I texted it to BFF, and then we had a three-hour “let’s turn Fifty Shades into a musical” text-a-thon which was just the best thing ever. Sample lyric from the finale song, entitled “Laters, baby”: “Laters, baby…see ya, maybe…shouldn’t have trusted my heart to Christian Gray…*sigh* Gee.” 

There will also be a dream-sequence “Beauty School Dropout”-style number starring Ana’s Inner Goddess (played by Lady Gaga, of course.) 

Don’t worry, once we make our Fifty Shades of Gray musical millions, I won’t forget you guys. I’ll still blog, in-between hanging out with NPH and Stephen Sondheim. 

Look how dapper. We’re going to have the best time.

And there you go! Tuesday in the CAN! Whoo-hoo! Listen, we totally have a short week next week. Because of MERKA. This is great, I can’t wait.


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