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Category Archives: parties

Hey, baby, check out my big old sexy amygdala.

Happy Saturday! I’m at work right now. I’m writing to you from the PAAASSSTTTT. Like a GHOST. Aren’t you so scared? Yeah, thought so. I’m fear-inspiring.

It’s going to be a long day – work, then meeting friends at the theater who are coming in from out of town to see the show we’re doing right now (Aaron Sorkin’s The Farnsworth Invention – I saw a rehearsal a couple of weeks ago and it was wonderful, I can’t wait to see it with all the bells and whistles! And, also exciting to see my friends, haven’t seen them since right after Christmas!) then home and I will collapse into bed like a dead person and sleep and sleep and then back to it on Sunday, blogging and blogging and blogging and then ushering for the matinée performance and then coming home and MORE BLOGGING so I can get ahead of the game a little, because next week is a busy one, too. WHOO! Aren’t you exhausted just thinking about it? I am.

OK, so I don’t know how much I have in me, and this is kind of probably bigger than me, but I thought it was interesting, especially in an election year, so let’s see how it goes.

I found this article the other day about our minds, and why we might be predisposed to be either liberal or conservative. I don’t think it’s the best article – it seems lacking in a few things – but it does raise some interesting points.

It wouldn’t surprise you that Dad calls these the elephant and the asshole, right? Probably not.

The author, Chris Mooney, wrote a book that really doesn’t hide his feelings about whether he rides a donkey or an elephant to work – The Republican Brain: The Science of Why They Deny Science – and Reality – thinks that we are more apt to be liberal or conservative based on where we fall on the Big Five Personality Test. I think we’re discussed this test before – it measures extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness.

(Before I get going, here, this isn’t a conservative-bashing post. I promise. I may not be a conservative, but I know at least one good one. So I’m not insulting them here. Totally not. Read! You’ll see!)

According to Mooney, four of the traits tend slightly to measure your tendency to lean left or right, but one is the most telling of all – openness. How open you are to new experiences versus how concrete and black and white you see things. The more open you are to new experiences apparently means you’re more apt to be a liberal, while the more black and white you see things, you’re more apt to be a conservative.

(A couple of other interesting things – conservatives tend to be more extroverted than liberals and have more friends, apparently, and liberals tend to be more neurotic. Heh. No, no, not ME. ARE YOU MAKING FUN OF ME RIGHT NOW?!?!?!?)

There’s a test at the bottom of the link where you can see where you fall – five questions, I got two that made me tend more toward conservatism, one that didn’t matter, one that made me more liberal, and one (the big, important “open to new experiences one” that’s supposed to be the only real one that matters) that says ZOMG AMY YOU ARE A LIBERAL.

Interesting, right?

There’s also this article, which says (and it’s also hinted at in the Mooney piece) that conservatives have larger amygdalas than liberals. NO THAT’S NOT DIRTY. It’s a part of our brain that controls fear and primitive emotions. They also tend to have smaller anterior cingulates, which are the parts of the brain that control courage and optimism.

Look how sciency this is. Don’t you feel so impressed? I know I do.

So this article is saying that conservatives tend to be more fearful and less optimistic, which I guess would be why they want more structure in government, which is what conservative politicians tend to offer. And liberals, alternately, see things a little rosier, so are a little more apt to go for less governmental control. Right?

Aw, beagle with rose-colored glasses! This is a liberal beagle.

Both that article and this one hint at the fact that this is why fearmongering works in politics, and tends to work more efficiently with conservatives. (And that it’s a shitty tactic to use, no matter who it’s used on.)

Now, I find this all fascinating, but I think it leaves some things out. Sure, our brains might come into play – genetics, maybe, how we’re made. I like that idea, that even in the womb, we’re little liberals or conservatives just waiting to make our mark on the world. But I don’t think that’s all there is.

See, when I was young, I was around all conservatives all the time. I don’t think I knew a single liberal. I know you probably think of New York as a hotbed of liberalism, but upstate? They’re as conservative as they come up there. Gun-totin’, camo-wearin’, tobacco-spittin’ conservatives. I was brought up to believe that liberals were bad. Want to guess what Dad thinks about liberals? Yep. Dirty hippies, all. Lazy, dirty, hippies.

So I went off to college. In a big city. Downstate. You know what downstate means, right? LIBERALS LIBERALS DIRTY LIBERALS! And it just so happened that the first year I went to college was the first year I could vote, and ALSO an election year. The first Bill Clinton election year, actually. Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Ross Perot. Aw, remember little Ross Perot, all spitfirey and wee? And weird. Also kind of weird.

Seriously, just on looks alone, look at your options. (Also, Bill Clinton? I have such a crush on the man. Even now. Sigh.)

Now, Bush was the incumbent. The incumbent usually wins, right? But Clinton. Do you guys remember how he was kind of cool and magical and, well, shit, hip? (Let’s be frank, Perot wasn’t winning that election. It was cute he was trying, though.)

I was 18, I was in college (I had escaped from my horrifying small town and wasn’t being bullied anymore – I had never felt so free in my life), and I started what I would do every single election year up until now, and will undoubtedly continue to do for the rest of my life – I researched the shit out of those two candidates. (I researched Perot a little, too, but kind of gave up. He was a weirdo. I didn’t want a weirdo running my country, and it felt like throwing my first real vote away.)

I looked at where the candidates stood on the issues. I thought about where I stood on the issues. And I realized – shit. I need to vote for Clinton.

Then – shit. Dad was going to FLIP. DIRTY DIRTY HIPPIES YOU GUYS.

I voted for Clinton. And man, did my dorm celebrate when he won. It felt good. It felt like we were a part of something big. Have I mentioned enough how much I love voting? Probably not enough. Probably not ever enough. Voting is my favorite thing. I’d vote daily if I could. On anything, really.

Oh, and Dad? FURIOUS. SO EFFING FURIOUS. “I didn’t raise a liberal” and “How could you do this to me” and “DIRTY LAZY HIPPIES WHO PLAY SAXOPHONES ARE RUNNING THE WORLD NOW BECAUSE OF YOU.” (He still blames college for “ruining” me. Not even kidding. Because I was SO WHOLE BEFORE I LEFT FOR COLLEGE. Gack.)

Anyway, this has been a really long tangent. What I’m trying to say is, I don’t think it’s all genetics. I think it’s also the people you surround yourself with; it’s what you read; it’s what you watch (listen, don’t even tell me that Tina Fey’s take on Sarah Palin didn’t have an effect on the 2008 elections – yes, Obama probably would have won anyway, but people were pretty fired up about Palin for a while until she started…well…talking, and then Tina Fey came on and, well, were you going to vote for the candidate who could “see Russia from her houuuuse?” No, didn’t think so); it’s the social issues you think are important. I go down the list of where the candidates stand on the issues and I weigh it against where I stand on the issues and I vote for the person that most closely aligns with me.

Seriously, even one of the news channels accidentally used a photo of Tina Fey instead of Sarah Palin around that time. People couldn’t tell the difference. In other news: people are not bright.

So, sure. Maybe it’s genetics. But it’s kind of the old nature vs. nurture thing, isn’t it? Would I still be a liberal if I’d chosen to stay close to home, married someone from there, raised a big old farm family or something (gah gah gah can you even imagine how bad I’d be at that? I mean, sure, there’d be animals, but you’d NEVER get to play with them. You’d have to WORK. And also EAT them. No thanks), was surrounded by all conservatives being all shouty about how the liberals are ruining the country? If I hadn’t moved away, been surrounded by my people, most of whom, yes, were liberals, would I have swum like a salmon upstream and been the one little liberal in a town full of conservatives? I don’t know. I wonder about that. Who you are is made up of not only DNA, but experiences you have. People you meet.

So I’m undecided on this whole thing. I think it’s nice to think it’s hardwired, but I don’t think that’s the whole story. What about you? Think we’re genetically predisposed to be dirty hippies? Or do you think it’s more something we pick up from the people we know and the experiences we have?

This is every liberal ever, when Dad thinks about them. Also, I think he imagines this is all the men I date. HA! Fooled YOU, Dad. I DON’T DATE!

Oh, you probably want to know if Dad’s calmed down about this, right? Well, yes and no. There’s not as much shouting. (About that, anyway.) He’s accepted it. Our joke now is that our votes cancel each other out, so that seems to make him feel a liiiittle better. Oh, and also I found out that (I told you all this, I think?) his mom’s whole side of the family were super-liberals, going back back BACK. So apparently his mom and dad used to squabble about politics all the time. So don’t even tell me, DAD, that I’m the only one EVER with YOUR DNA that voted Democrat, don’t EVEN.

Happy Saturday, all. Have a lovely spring weekend. It’s Tulip Fest here this weekend! Because we’re all Dutch here! Nice, right? Here are some Albany tulips for you. Aren’t you so cheered? Sure you are.

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It gave “laundry day, see you there” a WHOLE NEW MEANING.

Time for another edition of RANDOM CRAP FRIDAY! I know, you’re all totally the most excited. Try to calm down, that’s not good for your blood pressure, seriously. Deep, cleansing breaths. Breathe in blue, breathe out red. There you go. Doesn’t that feel better? Thought so.

Baby, you can drive my car. No, seriously. You can. I’ll let you. Please do. It’ll probably break down, though.

So you know how the car was all “I AM A BUCKING BRONCO OF BROKENNESS” on Monday? Dad fixed it (spark plugs. No, seriously. SPARK PLUGS. Something was wrong with the spark plugs. I know nothing about cars, as I have mentioned – I know they go, sometimes, when you press the gas pedal – but was not aware that something as miniscule as a spark plug could almost kill you. How bizarre) and yesterday met me at work to switch cars with me and take his car home. I was super-excited, let me tell you. Because yes, it was very nice of him to let me use his car? But his car has some things I do not love. Like, the seatbelt sticks and I kept smashing my fingers trying to escape and I felt like I was going to strangle to death and die, and the trunk only opened if you popped it with a popper-thingy in the glove compartment, but the glove compartment didn’t always open so you felt like weeping because the trunk was holding your laundry hostage, and the rear defrost kind of took a year to do anything.

I love my car. It’s kind of no-frills, but it’s reliable and it gets good mileage and it doesn’t often die on the side of the road. My last car had all the bells and whistles (CD player! A thingamabobby that told you the weather outside and the wind direction and was SO TOTALLY FANCY!) but also broke down ALL THE TIME. So this one’s good.

This morning, I was not timely for work. At all. I kind of got sucked into Twitter? This happens, sometimes. I can’t help it. Twitter’s like this black hole of time suck. I mean, I love it so much, but it sucks me in and I look up and I’m all HOT DAMN BUT IT’S SO EFFING LATE. So I ran out to the car and got in and shut the door and whoa, what’s this? Door didn’t shut. Must not have slammed it hard enough. Which is unlike me – I’m a total bam-bam of slamming doors, and, well, everything, really, I told someone this weekend, and meant it, “I don’t think I own too many things that aren’t broken in some fashion” – but I slammed it again. Didn’t shut. Swung right back open like a haunted house door. Well, without the creaking. Or the ghosts.

So what’s a person to do? You can’t drive it to the garage like that. And AAA is for battery jumps and tows, not mysterious doors that won’t close. Also, today, I’m the only person in my office who can answer the phones. All the other trained receptionists took the day off. So it’s just me, and if I didn’t get in? My boss was going to be all red-faced indignant. Also, it was snowing. And the car door wouldn’t close. So all snow was getting in my car. THIS WAS VERY DISCONCERTING.

So I called work and left a very meek “I’m a silly GIRL! I don’t know about CAR DOORS!” message that made my ovaries shrivel up and die but sometimes you have to play the game so you don’t get fired, and called AAA (mindful the whole time of the last time I dealt with them and almost peed my pants and also died on the side of the road waiting for them to arrive) and explained the situation, and they were skeptical they could help, but said they’d send someone over. I got a very panicked call from the head of marketing who was assigned phone duty until I could get to work (“HOW DO I ANSWER A PHONE?” Yeah, try to talk someone through a multi-line phone system over the phone sometime, it’s a hoot, it’s like explaining the inner workings of the internet to an aborigine, it’s not something I’d recommend) and then AAA called. “I’m outside,” he said. Well, this was promising. It was only 18 minutes into the 20 minute ETA! Apparently, local AAA = better than the AAA in the boonies where I broke down last time!

So I went downstairs and the driver was at my car and THE DOOR WAS CLOSED. I seriously almost started weeping in the parking lot.

“You fixed it? Already?” I asked. He looked at me like I was insane. I’m thinking probably I had crazy eyes on display. It’s been a long week, seriously, what with the grippe, and the car breakdown, and the cat, and the holidays, and various and sundry other concerns.

“Yep. Here, let me show you how to fix it yourself, if this happens again.” I kind of wanted to make out with him for that, if he hadn’t been, you know, some stranger. And also if I hadn’t been late for work, and all. So now I can fix my door ALL BY MYSELF if it happens again. If I wasn’t going to renew my AAA membership because of the complete and total FUBAR situation earlier in the week, this guy made sure I would, let me tell you right now. WINNER, guy who fixed my door and then showed me how to fix it myself in the future.

So now I am at work, and I’m only in a LITTLE trouble, because I acted very “silly girl hee hee hee I’m so SORRY! And so UPSET! And so SMALL!” (this only made me die INSIDE, so I suppose that’s fine, no one can see that part) when I got here, and all is well, chickadees.

Elementary, my dear Watson

So on Sunday, the second season of BBC’s Sherlock premieres. You know what that means, right?

BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH BABY.

That’s really all I have to say about that, other than, you totally need to watch, if you’re not watching. It’s amazing and brilliant and wonderful, and this is coming from someone who’s not even that big of a Sherlock Holmes or mystery fan. Also, BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH. I’m seriously naming my next pet Benedict Cumberbatch. I hope my next pet is an iguana. That would be a great name for an iguana, right? Even though I don’t really want an iguana, because once when I worked at a pet store we had an iguana and that sucker was mean as shit.

Being a celebrity is a lot less fun and a lot more looking over one’s shoulder than anticipated

So I’ll go into more detail next month, but you know how I can see what search terms bring people to my blog? Um. OK. Either someone REALLY wants to be highlighted in next month’s post about search terms, or I totally have a stalker who wants me to make out with them, bendily. Or maybe wear my skin as a cape.

Dear stalker who is putting search terms into search engines like “Is Amy from Lucy’s Football willing to kiss or bend with any yahoo” and “Is Amy from Lucy’s Football single and willing to kiss strangers” and “Is Amy from Lucy’s Football dating Ding Dong Joe”: Um. OK. Well, if you’re trying to be funny and get in the stats post, you win, I’ll mention you at the end of January. If you’re actually ASKING these questions? WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU.

@lgalaviz says this is the price I have to pay for being a celebrity now. Well! That’s exciting. I’ve always wanted to be a celebrity. I have my Academy Award acceptance speech all practiced out in front of a mirror and EVERYTHING. It is AWESOME.

For the record: yes, I am single. No, I am not willing to kiss or bend with strangers. Or even people I know, for the most part. Personal space issues. Also, I don’t know anyone named Ding Dong Joe, but I’m waiting for him to arrive, because I’m pretty sure that, because he can’t keep his pants on, it’ll be a hot time in the old town tonight once he arrives.

Oh, and here’s a story. It’s mildly perverted. One time? In grad school? I made out with this guy who was kind of a stranger. Well, he was a friend of a friend of a friend. I don’t remember his name. I think I’d been drinking a little. I think it started with C. Chris? Christian? Clark? Whatever. And we were making out, but like, barely making out? I mean, kissing, but not even any groping. It was totally PG-13 making out. Plus, he was kind of a bro, and a little greasy. I don’t really dig bros, and proper hygiene is really a must. I think I was bored. I used to make out with people when I was bored, sometimes, when I didn’t have a book to read. And then it was time for me to leave, because my ride was leaving. So I was all, “See you later, Clark or Chris or whatever.” And he was all, “let me show you something in the laundry room.” And I thought, “this is odd, are we going to do a load of whites or something? It’s like 1am, this is not really a good time for laundry” but I went in the laundry room. And he then DROPPED HIS PANTS and was all, “YOU CAN’T LEAVE UNTIL YOU TAKE CARE OF THIS LOOK WHAT YOU DID TO ME.”

My response? I laughed until I choked, told him that’s what God gave him a left hand for, and walked out. Seriously, it was PG-13 making out. I don’t even think he went for second BASE, you guys. What the hell?

This is why making out with strangers is a bad idea. They drop their pants in the laundry room when you are all unawares.

Oh, and whenever I saw Clark or Chris or whatever in the future after that he totally gave me a death glare. Sorry, Clark or Chris or whatever. Best of all things to you and your pants-droppy assumption-makin’ self.

That kind of went off topic. Stalker! If you’re trying to be funny, well, it’s not, really. If you’re trying to be a stalker – nice job, well done, you can stop now, thanks. I totally have pepper spray and a really, really shitty attitude.

One Ringy-Dingy, Two Ringy-Dingy

So as mentioned earlier, I’m playing receptionist this week. That’s fine, whatever, I hate it but it’s only a couple times a year I have to take over the reception desk. This week, however, is the WORST.

It’s the end of the year, and I work in an accountant’s office. So everyone calling is all “ZOMGGGGG, I have to get my AFFAIRS in ORDER the YEAR she is ENDING.” And that’s fine, whatever, I think you might have done this a little earlier? But that’s just me, I’m a planner. Here’s the thing, though. NO ONE IS HERE. There are like 7 employees in the office this week. Most of us are lower-level employees who are not able to answer questions that are as detailed as these people are asking.

AND THESE PEOPLE ARE PISSED, YO.

And who are they pissed at? The answer is, the receptionist. Because, obviously, it is MY fault that these people are on vacation. Or, maybe I’m lying. I might, in fact, have them under my desk, and be all “shh, Jane Doe is on the phone for you, Jimmy Joe Johnson, don’t say anything, I’ll say you’re on VACATION! Hee hee hee!”

Listen, here’s a tip, from me to you. The receptionist isn’t lying. The receptionist, odds are good, hates her job, hates being there, hates talking to you, and wants to get you off the phone, but probably is telling you the truth. It’s the week between Christmas and New Year. It’s a dead week. No one is ever around that week. So stop yelling at her. She has the grippe, seriously, what kind of asshole yells at someone with the grippe?

OK, there. RANDOM CRAP FRIDAY. One more day and this year is KICKED, you guys. Can you even imagine? 2012. That is all KINDS of exciting. I like even years. They are invariably nicer than odd ones. Although I have to say, 2011 was a good one, overall. So maybe my data is flawed.

‘til tomorrow, my little wild Irish roses!


Yankee Swap is like Machiavelli meets Christmas.

Remember we had White Elephant gift exchange at work yesterday? You know how this works, right? It’s also called Yankee Swap in some places? You might remember it from that episode of The Office where Michael gave Ryan an iPod and kept screaming out “Yankee Swap!” and “it’s just FUN” and then someone tried to steal the teapot full of personal memories that Jim made for Pam back when they were cute and not popping out babies every five minutes.

OK, fine, if you don’t watch The Office (and you should have, back in the day, but now, eh, whatever, read my recaps over at The Loser’s Table and you’re fine, it’s not so great anymore) the point is this: everyone brings in an anonymous wrapped gift, and you all draw numbers out of a hat. #1 picks first. He or she chooses from the pile of gifts. #2 can either steal that person’s gift or choose a new gift. Etc., etc., until all the gifts are given out. Some places open the gifts in-between so people know what they’re stealing; some places put a limit on the number of steals. Oh, sorry. SWAPS. SWAPS, not steals. Because swaps sounds NICER.

Now, some people think this is totally the most fun ever. Those people also like parties, socializing, and small rooms full of loud people screaming laughter in their ears.

I think it’s nervous-making and off-putting for the following reasons:

  1. I don’t know what’s in the presents. How the hell do I know what to steal or take? I also am the worst chooser of gifts ever. I will elaborate on this more below.
  2. White Elephant makes people super-loud and yelly and laughy in a confined space. I feel like I’m in a sorority hazing of some sort.
  3. Some people buy good gifts. Some people buy garbage. Unless everyone’s gifts are on an equal plane of either suck or awesome, it’s kind of unfair.
  4. I think it’s rude to take things from other people, even though I know that’s the point of the game. I also, for the record, always felt sorry sending people back in Sorry, or making them pay a kajillion dollars for landing on my hotels in Monopoly.
  5. I don’t like that everyone expects you to tell which gift you provided after it’s all over. It’s ANONYMOUS for a REASON. I don’t tell anyone. I just sit there and nod and smile and say “maybe!” Whatever, you can’t break me, Guantanamo George, I’m like a master of torture.

So last year, we did White Elephant. We did not put a limit on the number of swaps and we did not open the gifts in-between. It kind of got out of hand and there was a LOT of yelling. Like, a lot, a lot. People got all bent out of shape, and people were afraid to gank gifts from the people who write out our paychecks, and people thought they were being targeted for thievery, and it was all very uncomfortable. Why are we doing this in an office? This is the kind of game you play on a prison block, and the loser gets beaten with soap in a sock.

Offices! This is NOT A GOOD IDEA. It causes LOUD NOISES. Loud noises turn normal people into Brick from Anchorman. I was afraid I was going to kill someone with a trident last year.

Also, my gift was a totally awesome weather station. Like, you set it up and it would tell you what the weather was outside so in the morning you’d know how warm or cold it was. Since I’m obsessed with shit like this, I thought, THIS IS AN AWESOME GIFT. In return, I received (as I mentioned in another post) a box of champagne flutes that looked as if someone received them as part of a gift registry, didn’t want them, and White Elephanted them. I don’t drink champagne. No, I did once, I take that back, in college, my friend bought us champagne and we drank a whole bottle the night before we graduated, you know, as you do, to celebrate, and I graduated with the worst hangover of pretty much my whole LIFE. No more champagne, please. That stuff is lethal. Also, the person who received the weather station was all “huh, this is…INTERESTING” and didn’t even CARE about the weather station. IT IS AN AWESOME WEATHER STATION THAT TELLS YOU THE WEATHER DUMMY. It IS interesting. It is the MOST interesting.

Anyway, so this year, the person in charge realized that things got all cuckoo-bananas last year so said we had a 3-steal cap on the gifts. “But how will we keep track of three times?” one of my coworkers asked. At the accounting firm. Where I work. With accountants. Who deal with numbers. All day long. Did I mention that there are bad moods, and there are people who hatchet-murder their spouses as they sleep, then there’s the mood I was in yesterday? No? OK. Consider it mentioned.

So we began the swap. I got number 10. That is not a great number. You want the highest number, because then you get final say on what gift you get since you get the last swap or steal, probably. But I got 10/23. Not winning.

So there was much merriment and I sat there thinking, “Hey, guess what, I have a ton of work I still have to finish at my desk before I go home, let’s hurry this bitch along” and then it was my turn. So there was a gift bag that looked like it contained alcohol. I needed alcohol. Badly. Like, immediately. I thought, “If I take this gift bag, maybe I can open whatever is inside and start drinking it right now.” So I took that gift bag.

Nope! Stolen. Like, immediately. IT’S YANKEE SWAP! IT’S JUST FUN!

Give me back my effing alcohol before I beat you over the head with the large heavy gift box the guy next to me has at the moment, cheerful-faced twenty-two year old who probably has never known heartbreak.

So there was a Charlie Brown gift sitting on the table. It was wrapped in newspaper and had an orange bow. I’m a sucker for the losers of the world, can’t deny that. So I chose the Charlie Brown gift. (It’s a Charlie Brown gift because of his tree. I watched that special last night. Lucy really is all kinds of an evil kickass bitch, right? I love her. “Dog germs!” Hee.)

No one (surprise!) stole my Charlie Brown gift. I sat there dreaming. Probably all the alcohol was inside. I mean, obviously a man picked this one out and wrapped it. No woman is wrapping a gift in today’s Lifestyle section and putting an out-of-season bow on it. Men don’t know what to buy for things like this. Alcohol is a safe choice. Therefore, I AM GETTING DRUNK IN LIKE FIVE MINUTES WAHOO. How will I get home from work? WHO THE EFF CARES THIS DAY HAS SUCKED A BAG OF DICKS.

Finally it was over and it was time to open the gifts. One of my coworkers thought a good idea was to pass the gifts two people to the right. What the hell? NO CHANGING RULES MIDSTREAM, SALLY ANARCHY.

I opened my gift. It was in a Baby Gap box. Well, that’s confusing, but whatever. WHERE IS MY ALCOHOL.

Well, my alcohol looked surprisingly like a gift certificate to a new sub shop that just opened. And I don’t eat bread, because bread is a carb, and I am diabetic. So, using logic, this gift is about as useless to me as the champagne flutes.

In the meantime, the SAME EXACT PERSON who poo-poohed my awesome weather station last year got my gift this year (what the hell?) and was poo-poohing the chocolate, coffee, travel mug, and awesome office voodoo doll I had lovingly picked out with no thought at all the night before in a frenzy because I realized White Elephant was Friday.

However, in a happy twist of fate, the cheery baby-faced brat who stole my awesome alcohol found that there was a selection of flavored sparkling waters inside. So ha, I gave you COMBS but you cut your HAIR to buy me a WATCH CHAIN but I sold my WATCH to buy you those COMBS, you Gift-of-the-Magi-thieving mofo.

However, one guy got FOUR BOTTLES OF WINE. And the woman sitting next to me got ALL THE LIQUOR. And the man on my left got wine that said Francis Ford Coppola on it. CELEBRITY WINE. No, for serious.

But one guy got a stuffed Angry Bird, so at least I didn’t get that. What the hell would I do with a stuffed Angry Bird.

So if anyone wants $20 to go to the new sub place near my office, let me know. I’ll swap you. ONLY QUIETLY. And for something GOOD. Like ALCOHOL. I totally need some right now.

(Psst…because many people asked for a photo of the Jezebel purse I mentioned I bought for myself yesterday when I was supposed to be shopping for only others, here it is. I promise it’s red. I think there’s something wrong with either the light in my place, or my camera. Anyway, here is my totally whorish Jezebel purse that looks orange but really is red and kicks ass in every conceivable way.)


Trust Me, Imagining the Audience Naked Just Makes the Situation More Uncomfortable.

I’m sure by now you’ve all heard about the Rick Perry situation. What? Some of you are from other countries and couldn’t care less about the American political situation? That is totally un-American of you. What’s that? You’re NOT American so of COURSE you’re un-American? Well-played. I guess. But I still have my eye on you. My patriotic, red-white-and-blue, apple-pie eye.

OK, FINE, in case you HAVEN’T heard about the Rick Perry situation, here’s a brief recap.

Rick Perry is one of the contenders for Republican presidential candidacy. He’s currently the governor of Texas. This immediately makes me suspect him (coughDubyacough) but whatever, there are a lot of people in the running right now and they all have their various issues, including Gropey McGroperson and Crazy-Eyes McGillicutty. ANYWAY. Wednesday night, there was a debate of the Republican hopefuls, with their bright eyes and bushy tails and whatnot, and Rick Perry…poor Rick Perry.

Rick Perry was asked what three governmental agencies he would eliminate as president. I don’t know, I didn’t watch it, I guess this is something that they are talking about. I had better things to do, like playing with my phone or something, it was like five days ago, give me a break, I don’t even remember what I was doing last night. Anyway, Rick Perry’s response:

“It’s three agencies of government when I get there that are gone – Commerce, Education and the um, what’s the third one there? Let’s see. Oh five – Commerce, Education and the um, um,” Perry said.

Mitt Romney, standing two podiums to Perry’s right, offered the Environmental Protection Agency as a suggestion.

“EPA, there you go,” Perry said.

But then, the Texas governor quickly retracted his statement, saying the EPA doesn’t need to be eliminated but simply rebuilt.

Again, he tried to name the third mystery agency.

“But you can’t name the third one?” CNBC moderator John Harwood asked.

“The third agency of government I would do away with – the education, the uh, the commerce and let’s see. I can’t the third one. I can’t. Sorry Oops.”

The third agency Perry couldn’t think of was the Department of Energy, which he rails against on the stump nearly every day.

Perry finally remembered the third agency 15 minutes later after referring to his notes, saying “By the way, it was the Department of Energy I was talking about.”

Now, my father, who I turn to for matters of Republicanism, because honestly, he’s the only Republican I know (no, I’m totally exaggerating, I think I know three others?) had told me a few weeks ago, when we were discussing politics (which we try not to do with very much regularity because THERE IS A LOT OF YELLING and then we end up hanging up on each other, but with love, I think) and I asked about Rick Perry’s chances of getting the nomination, “Oh, he can’t get it. The man can’t debate. He’s just horrible. Horrible.”

Now, I’m not going to go into Perry’s politics, which I don’t agree with (I can’t support anyone who openly denounces LGBT issues and a woman’s right to choose, so therefore, it’s pretty obvious which side of the political fence I end up standing on each election season) but listen. LISTEN! I totally felt HORRIBLE about this debating situation.

What? You all thought it was SO FUNNY. And everyone was all “HOW DID HE GET TO BE GOVERNOR OF TEXAS?” and there were all the dumb jokes and I know, I KNOW, it’s totally a hoot when someone flames out on national television. I KNOW.

But seriously, I FELT SO BAD.

Have you ever had to public speak? IT IS THE WORST, you guys. Like, just the WORST. Do you know what people’s number one fear is? Clowns? Well, sure, clowns, clowns are awful, and I think they should be the number one fear, and it’s totally suspect that they’re not, like, clowns must have a really good PR person or something, or maybe they ate their PR person with their horrible gnashy clown-teeth, but NO, it is PUBLIC SPEAKING. And do you know why? BECAUSE IT IS UTTERLY TERRIFYING.

And I know what you’re thinking. AMY! You are thinking. You are an ACTRESS! You get in front of people ALL THE TIME! Well, sure, I used to. I don’t act much (or honestly, really, at all) anymore. But acting is one thing, and public speaking is totally a bird of a different pecky mean horrible shitting-on-your-head feathered murderous color. Or is it a horse? That sentence wouldn’t work if I put a horse in it. Horses don’t have feathers and they don’t shit on your head. Let’s pretend it’s a bird. It makes things easier all around.

When you act, you’re pretending to be someone else. You’re saying someone else’s words, you’re acting someone else’s mannerisms, you’re using your body and voice to be someone else. When the audience sees you, if you’re doing it right, they’re seeing the character, not you. They’re judging your acting, sure, but they’re also judging other criteria: the writing, the directing, the other actors, the lighting, the costumes, the set. Also, sometimes they laugh and clap and you totally feed off that like a leech. Yes, we, as actors, are leeches, feeding off your approval. DEAL WITH IT.

When you public speak, it’s like walking naked and bloody into a zombie convention. They’re judging YOU. Just you. There are no distractions. They’re looking at you. They’re judging your words. They’re giving you the hairy eyeball. And you know what’s easy to do? Lose your train of thought. Have a brain freeze. Just stand there. With no words. And a dry mouth. And a million eyes crawling all over you. Just you. Everyone staring at you.

I have to public speak a lot more than I’d like. People always think that I’ll be good at it because I’m a theater person. “You’ll be so good at this ha ha ha!” they say. Well, screw you, Charlie, THIS SUCKS AND I HATE YOU. So I have to get in front of an entire theater full of people and give the curtain speech about turning off your cell phones, or I have to give a team report in front of our annual office meeting, and this is what happens:

Ispeakveryveryfastanddonttakeanybreathsinbetweenmywordsinanefforttogetitall
outasquicklyaspossibletogetitoverwithsoIcangorockandweepinthebathroomstall.

And then people say, in a confused tone, “Boy! You sure do talk quickly!” Yeah. SHUT IT OR DO IT YOURSELF NEXT TIME.

And one time I had to give the curtain speech at my theater but also I was running lights and sound so I had to set the lights and sound, then run from the upstairs booth, down to the lobby, throw open the doors, run down the aisle, up the stairs to the stage, and then give the speech. Panting. Which was totally classy! And not at all weird! People did NOT know how to respond to that. I was all “Huh..huh…welcome….huh…huh…to… huh…whew! Just…a sec…” NICE. Not at ALL off-putting or serial-killery.

So I totally have sympathy for people who have trouble public speaking, because it makes my chest constrict like a snake is eating my upper body when I have to do it. And I have TRAINING in it. I get it. I totally get it. Anyone who gets in front of people and talks? Comedians or politicians or motivational speakers or crazy bug-eyed preachers or whatever? PROPS TO YOU.

Now, imagine you’re Rick Perry. It is a MILLION TIMES WORSE. The whole COUNTRY is looking at you. And you GET FLUSTERED. And you LOSE YOUR TRAIN OF THOUGHT. Gigantic train-wreck of a brain-freeze. I can’t even IMAGINE. Seriously, don’t you feel a little bad for him? Then I thought of his wife, and his kids, and I was just mortified about the whole situation. Just totally mortified. I mean, I don’t want the guy as my next president, or anything, but it is just so, so embarrassing. If I was watching, I would have had to turn it off. I can’t watch public embarrassment. Like when Michael would do something embarrassing on The Office? I always would cover my face. My friend Mer and I call moments like this nervous-making. Rick Perry forgetting the last agency he wanted to eliminate was so goddamn nervous-making I can’t even.

I know. I KNOW. He’s running for presidency. He NEEDS to be good at this. This is part of the JOB. Well, and I’m not saying he would be, because, as mentioned, I don’t agree with where he stands on the issues, but what if he was really, really good at everything else, but just bad at public speaking? Like most Americans? Then it seems like kind of a shame to count him out, right? Again, I AM NOT SAYING HE SHOULD GET THE NOMINATION. I haven’t done my research fully, and for all I know, Perry kills kittens and bathes in their blood to stay youthful-looking. I don’t know who should get it. It’s looking like it will be Romney, who has interesting hair. I don’t care. I can’t see that I’ll vote for whoever it is anyway, unless something really unexpected happens in the next year, like maybe Obama decides to round up all the homosexuals and women and have them fight to the death in a cage match, or something. Whatever, I have my priorities.

I didn’t find it as nervous-making when Palin was stumbling and bumbling all over herself in 2008, and I certainly didn’t find it as nervous-making when “THE RENT IS TOO DAMN HIGH” Jimmy MacMillan was being a big weird glove-wearing moustache-wax weirdo at the New York gubernatorial debates last year, or when both Crazy Eyes Bachmann and folksy ol’ Palin decided to rewrite Paul Revere’s history and then REFUSED TO BACK DOWN ABOUT IT. I think because they owned their strangeness and mistakes and uneducated answers? Perry was SO EMBARRASSED. I mean, he went on Letterman and made FUN of himself. He tried to fix this SO BAD. The poor guy, I can’t even imagine. THIS IS SO EMBARRASSING YOU GUYS.

I just think we need to cut the guy a little slack. Is he the best presidential candidate? I don’t know. I’m not voting Republican, so honestly, whatever, it matters very little for me. But this was a very human thing that happened, that could have happened to anyone, no matter what your political party. And if you weigh stumbling over your words against allegedly sexually harassing four women and then having your lawyer encourage them to stay quiet about it oh wait that’s not what he’s doing except he kind of is? Honestly, I’m rooting for the guy who can’t talk over the guy who can’t keep his hands to himself, if I have to choose. But I don’t. Iowa does, in early January, and apparently, according to people more intelligent than myself, this is where we find out who’s going to come out on top.

Public speaking. Seriously, the worst. THE WORST. I know you’re surprised I have actual grown-up emotions about something. It’s a little shocking. I’ll try to be more flippant tomorrow.


All the Party People in the House say…“Meh”

If you’ve ever been around theater people, you know they like to socialize. A lot. Drinks after rehearsal; cast parties after a successful run of a show. I don’t do these things. I used to. Then again, I used to drink regularly, which made these things tolerable. There is nothing sadder than being the only sober person in a room full of theater people when you’re already not good at social interaction. There is a LOT. Of DRAMA. At a THEATER PARTY. People are drinking. There is yelling. Someone always ends up crying. Someone else ends up on the ground for some reason. There are fights. I haven’t been to one in years, but this is how they used to be, and I’ve heard stories and seen photos – it seems it’s still going on. I want to remember my cast and crew fondly, not for the one night of drunken debauchery spent post-performances. Also, I’m pretty sure I’d say something stupid at the party and no one would speak to me again. I can be really blunt. If someone’s doing something stupid, I usually call them on it. “That’s a really stupid idea, I can’t back that,” I told a friend recently who is rushing into a romance that I am convinced is ill-fated. When I told people I said that they were shocked. “You can’t SAY that to someone!” they said. Why? You can’t? Really? Even if it’s the truth? Because it’s a really stupid idea. I’m not saying something that isn’t true. It’s really, really stupid. Like, Thelma and Louise driving off the cliff stupid. Like saying “I’ll be right back” in a B-horror movie stupid. Like drinking anything Jim Jones gives you stupid. I can’t say that? That’s frowned upon? Like, by societal norms, or something? That’s annoying. I’d want someone to stop a younger me before she decided to go out with that one crazy guy that time, why wouldn’t people want a warning?

See, I don’t go to parties. (I don’t go to crowded movie theaters, malls, or concerts, if I can help it, either.) There are three reasons for this:

1.   I have mild-to-moderate social anxiety. The idea of being forced to relate, on a social level, with people makes me nervous. I feel like I’m going to say something stupid. Then, in order to cover up my nervousness, I do one of two things: I start rambling (this causes people to think I’m adorably neurotic, have Tourette’s, or am a basket case) or I clam up entirely and stand in a corner like the bad fairy who wasn’t invited to the christening, glowering at everyone. None of these is really preferable to staying home, which is what I end up doing, if I can help it. 

2.   I have agoraphobia. I don’t like crowds. I have a physical aversion to being touched, even by accident, by strangers. (I don’t like much to be touched by people I know, either. I kind of need to be locked up in a crystal tower for the rest of my life to avoid the issues that plague me.) Large crowds = lots and lots and lots of touching, usually by accident, sometimes on purpose. Do you know about frotteurism? It’s a thing. It’s a real thing. People might be doing this to you. That bump against your thigh might not have been by accident. Think about this the next time you’re in a crowd. That doesn’t make you nervous? Seriously? 

3.   I hate people. 

The first two are real issues, which I suppose I could work on with the help of a team of psychiatrists, drugs, aversion therapy, what-have-you, and come out all shiny-happy-people on the other side. Here’s the thing. I’ve been to therapy. Therapy sucks, and doesn’t work for me. Neither do pills. I know, I know. “My therapist is awesome!” “My pills are a godsend!” “Are you a Christian Scientist?” I’m happy for you, I really am, and no, I totally believe in better living through pharmacology. My brain doesn’t work like other people’s brains do, I’ve tried both therapy and drugs, and I don’t want to be a zombie robot person again, which is what drugs do to me, and I don’t want to tell some stranger – a stranger I am paying my life savings to – my issues, either. I mean, that’s what the Internet’s for, right? Strangers you don’t have to pay will listen to your problems! (No, Nervous Nellie, I’m not going to tell you my problems. Relax. They’re none of your business.) 

The last one – well, yeah, I hate people. I really, really hate 90% of people. Oh, what? No! Not you! I couldn’t possibly mean YOU! Most people are – how to put this nicely? Kind of useless. They don’t make an effort. They don’t think before they act. They ignore obvious social cues. They – and this is one of my number one pet peeves of all time – waste my time. 

I have very, very limited time. I work two jobs. I have what amounts to almost a full-time job at the theater where I volunteer. I am home, on average, one or two nights a week, other than the time I’m sleeping. So when I have free time, it is a luxury. People that have no consideration for that time make me want to throttle them. If I am on my way home from work, and you stop me for “just a minute” to chat, even when I say I’m going to be late for something else? RUDE. If I’m on my way home from volunteering, and I’m so ready to sleep that I can barely keep my eyes open, and you decide you’re lonely and you want it to be social hour and WON’T.STOP.TALKING? RUDE. If I’m doing something, and it’s working fine, and you think I should be doing it differently just because you’re a time-wasting shit-weasel with nothing better to do all day than to think up ways to waste my time and fray my nerves? RUDE. If you tell me you’ll be somewhere at a certain time and you show up half an hour late and I could have been doing something else with that time? RUDE and INCONSIDERATE. If you tell me you’re going to call me and you don’t and I was waiting around for it? RUDE. Do I need to go on? I think you get it. Wasting my time is a cardinal sin with me. Like, if I had been Moses with the Ten Commandments, that would totally have been #2: 

THOU SHALT NOT WASTE MY TIME 

#1, of course, is, as always: 

THOU SHALT TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THINE OWN SHIT 

I haven’t decided on the other 8 yet. One of them has to do with waiting your turn in lines (whether at a store, in a line of cars waiting to merge, whatever), though. One is about not shitting where you eat (literally and figuratively.) And one is about not touching me. That’s #3.  

NO TOUCHING 

Because Arrested Development quotes belong on the New and Improved Shiny Ten Commandments. 

Do you know people like this? I call them Time Sucks. (Sucks like they suck away your time, not “they suck,” but they also do suck, so it works on many levels and is clever like that.) There are definite rules to dealing with a Time Suck. First: recognizing a time suck. They have sad and/or desperate eyes. They are needy. When you are around them, time….sloooowssss….downnnnnn. The rest of the world, however, the world you are missing, seems to be going by at a frenetic pace you are desperate to rejoin, but you cannot, because you! Have been captured! By a Time Suck! The key rule in avoiding Time Sucks: be firm. NO WAFFLING. Tell the Time Suck – FIRMLY – “No, I’m sorry, no time now.” Do not be fooled by the sad eyes or passive-aggressive, “Oh, ok, I was just…” NO! It is a TRICK! You will be looking at vacation photos until DOOMSDAY, I am TELLING YOU! Briskly walk away! You have a MISSION and PURPOSE! The MISSION and PURPOSE is to get out of the Time Suck’s orbit, because I am telling you, he or she WILL SUCK YOU IN AND YOU WILL DIE THERE AND YOUR DEATH WILL BE SLOW! SLOW AND BORING! 

Also, listen, I am almost always exhausted. I have this hereditary thing where I can’t sleep. Sometimes I can. But not for long. And not well. So I often am running on very little sleep. This makes me cranky. Some days I’ve gotten more sleep and I’m better than others. But you don’t want to bother me on the days I got less than four hours. You really don’t want to load me up with trivial details. Sometimes I yell. Sometimes I just wander away. Sometimes I say words that aren’t in the correct order and make no sense. It’s never very entertaining. Mostly, it’s scary. See? It’s best, if you know you have something stupid and worthless and time-wastey you want to share? To stay right away from me. Because I do not care for it, and mentally, I am not able to function on the level it takes to deal with it. 

Anyway, where was I? Oh, yes, people. Hate. Here’s the thing, though. Unless I know you pretty well, you would have no idea if I hated you or not. I can count on one hand the number of people who know me well enough to read my facial expressions to tell if I’m just being polite or if I want to smack you for being an ass. One of my theater friends is excellent at this. She knows just when to swoop in and rescue me. We have shorthand for it: flames. This is from the movie Clue. Which I love. Irrationally. If you don’t, you might have missed the bus to crazytown. You love Clue, right? (No, not Clueless. Which is also fun, but a very different movie.) If you do, you probably know the scene: Madeline Kahn is talking about the woman her husband had an affair with. “I hated her…so much. It – It – the – flames…on the side of my face….burning…” And she acts it out, and it is brilliant, with her hand crawling up the side of her face. You know about this, right? I suppose you could YouTube it, but I’m not even going to give you a link, because I want you to get the whole movie right now and watch it, because the entire thing is a big old bowl of awesomesauce. Anyway, my theater friend knows when I am having flames, and she insinuates herself between me and the person who is causing me to flame out, and says something like, “Amy! I need you for an important thing, in the place!” and helps me with a timely escape before I roll up my script into a tight tube and give them a hasty and unplanned tracheotomy with it. 

If you want to get all psychological, I’m sure this all stems from me rejecting people before they can reject me, because I’m a beautiful broken disaster of a woman who was a severe bullying victim for most of her formative years. Or, if you want to be more practical about it and stop being judgmental and thinking you know me because you don’t, a lot of people are just really, really stupid, and small talk makes me want to scream. I don’t want to chat. I want to get shit done. I want to be doing something important; if there is nothing important to be doing, I want to either be on my couch watching television, or sleeping. These are my priorities. Chatting about what happened at rehearsal for a show I’m not involved in, what some guy I don’t even know said one time and how shocking that was, or how much your cell phone plan costs you per month, then broken down per day, really is not a judicious use of the small amount of leisure time I have, thanks, though. I know. It’s all about knowing how to play the game. I’ll never get ahead in this world without knowing this very basic skill, how to chat mindlessly about nothing. Fine. If that’s the case, I’ll stay where I am. As mentioned, I hate and fear time sucks; small talk = a major time suck. 

I break down social invitations (the ones where I have a choice of attending; some are, unfortunately, mandatory) thusly: a. will I enjoy it more than watching television or sleeping? b. will it cause a nervous breakdown of epic proportions? If I can safely answer yes and no to these questions, I will attend. If not, no, thanks. So if you ask me out and I say yes, congratulations! You are more important to me than television or my bed, and not likely to cause me to weep in the bathroom. 

This having been said, I am, above all else, a theater person. I went to school to learn how to act; when called upon to attend a function where it matters that I interact in an adult fashion, I do so with aplomb. I’m not saying I enjoy myself. I can honestly count on one hand the number of times in the past ten years or so that I’ve enjoyed a social function. But people don’t know that. I’m very well-behaved. I can, even – and have, even, and will, again, I’m sure – MC the event. In front of everyone. I know! Fancy! I’m good at it. I take it on like a role – I’m playing the part of a socially-poised adult who likes to entertain. And I knock that role out of the park. I make people laugh; I make things run smoothly; I improvise and goof around and I should get a damn Oscar, honestly, because inside I’m screaming get me OUT of here, already, TOO MANY GODDAMN PEOPLE ONE OF THEM MIGHT TOUCH ME! 

There are people who are suffering, much more severely than I am, with social anxiety. Jessica has been blogging her way through dealing with her issues with it, and I applaud her bravery – she’s facing the problem head-on, like an adult does, with grace and humor. I’m taking the other route – the Bartleby the Scrivener route, I guess. When faced with something he didn’t want to do, Bartleby said “I would prefer not to.” This is my go-to answer. I would prefer not to. I would prefer not to go to a party where I’m going to spend the whole time afraid to open my mouth because I’m afraid I’ll look like a fool and I won’t enjoy it anyway. I would prefer not to. I can, I could force myself to, but would prefer not to. I thank everyone for attempting to include me, and I appreciate the invitations, and once and a while, I’ll actually accept one, but for the most part, when I have the opportunity to do so, I would prefer to stay home. I would prefer to do that. I would prefer very much to do that, actually, so I think I will.

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