Wednesday, December 30, 2009

foresight is 20/20

New Year's "predictions" are still a thing, right? I'm pretty sure in fourth grade we had to write predictions down in January and then see if they came true in June. (I think mine was something like "This year, everyone will finally realize that Michelle Branch is a goddess.") Well, I'm gonna take things to the NEXT LEVEL and make some predictions for... 2020. Bold, I know.

In 2020...

1) ... "next level" will still be a totally annoying phrase.

2) ... a 28-year-old Taylor Lautner will appear on whatever the 2020 version of "Celebrity Big Brother" is. ("Celebrity Second Life Virtual Twitter World"? Yeah, definitely that.)

3) ... despite the fact that I will be 34 (excuse me while I go beat my head against a wall) I will still be having awkward run-ins with people from my past, scowling when people start sentences with "Not gonna lie..." and deleting "friends" from my phone who respond to my text messages with phone calls.

4) Just kidding about the end of that last one. No one be makin' phone calls in 2020! Faxes : 2010 :: phone calls: 2020.

5) ... remake-happy as ever, some studio will remake "The Notebook," updating it for the times. "But I wrote you so many text messages!"... "I never got them!"

6) ... the wall mirror in my bedroom will remain propped against the wall, not hung. I have some serious psychological issues going on relating to this mirror, you guys.

7) ... Angelina Jolie will look EXACTLY THE SAME.

8) ... college kids will wear skinny jeans and trucker hats to the "00s" dance and make jokes about "iPods" and "cars."

9) ... all movies -- romantic comedies, foreign films, Rachel McAdams dramedies -- will be in 3D... which will finally convince me to get contacts.

10) ... every magazine/newspaper (the ones that still exist, at least) will make some kind of awful "20/20" vision joke. Even though they will irritate me, I will still make some, too.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

the post-AIM problem

It used to be that if you came up with something that you thought was super witty, you didn't have very many options; you could call up your BFF Amanda on the phone during a commercial break during "The O.C." and tell her, or make it your AIM status or whatevs. But nowadays, figuring out WHERE to record your totally awesome observation is harder than thinking of it in the first place! (Whoops, my bad, thinking of witty things is so easy and effortless, I forgot!)

Tweeting: This seems to be the hip spot for disseminating your totally insightful take on "Avatar," letting your peeps know that you just walked past James McAvoy on 6th Avenue (and he's "so short"), or offering any other variety of witty morsel (thank god there are so many varieties). Posting your quips on Twitter is safe (you know your exact audience, esp. if your twitter is PRIVATE like mine), it's trendy (where Ashton Kutcher goes, I go) and it's so simple, even my dad can do it!

Facebook statuses: Now, for something to reach Facebook status heights, it's gotta be GOOD. This is going to be seen by ALL your Facebook friends, so you best be confident in what you have to offer. A half-formed thought like "Where the f has Kirsten Dunst been?!" - though it may have promise - ain't gonna cut it here. Also, for those people who are constantly seeking validation in life, the "likes" your status can receive can be a great ego boost (though, of course, a status that receives no "likes" can cause some serious self-doubt... erm, at least that's what people tell me).

Twitter AND Facebook status: You better have something REALLY funny to say for me not to be a little peeved at seeing your Tiger Woods joke or "Modern Family" quote in BOTH my news feed and my Tweetdeck. (I don't even have a "Tweetdeck," but I like how it sounds in that sentence.)

"About me" on Facebook profile: No one posts their funny jokes here anymore. So three years ago.

Gchat status: Yeah, sure, a gchat status is an acceptable place to link to "Telephone" or tell me how much you're loving avocados nowadays, but please make sure to shake things up! Few things are more excruciating than seeing a "ridiculously tired" gchat status that has been up from June until December every time you check your gmail (i.e. every waking minute of every day).

(Mass) texts: This is for thoughts that are just SOFUNNNYOMG and must be shared, but are 2 PERSONAL for the online sphere. Maybe you just ran into a guy you used to hook up with while wearing your Captain Hook Halloween costume, or accidentally spilled Coke Zero on your boss' keyboard, or you just realized that new guy on "30 Rock" is like the same person as Kevin Maguire from 8th grade vocal ensemble. There is nothing more personal and meaningful than a well-crafted text #words2liveby.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

the waiting game

I've always been really "into" conversing with waiters. It basically started as an "omg what a QUIRKY thing to write in as one of my Facebook interests!" kind of thing, but I guess it is actually something I enjoy? What a weird thing to be analyzing like this... Anyway, I often will engage the waiter/waitress in some sort of stilted light banter right off the bat, say something like "oh, we haven't even OPENED our menus yet!" or "clearly it's a CRAZY night for me!" after ordering a Diet Coke. Some seriously funny material, I know.

One of my standbys is asking the waiter for a recommendation because I am just so indecisive. It dawned on me last week though that despite the seeming casualness of this back-and-forth, I have a surprisingly structured way of handling these recommendations. When I ask "So which of these appetizers is your most favorite?" and James or Monaco or Kelli comes right back at me with "pork fritters," no pause or hesitation, and then follows it up with some kind of CONVINCING reason ("I seriously just took some home to my sister last night"), I am sold. It's just too awk at that point to NOT order what they suggested after you went to the trouble of asking them in the first place and they straight up brought it.

BUT if Monaco starts listing like four different apps and gives a sort of bland description of each ("Well, this one's good if you're the kind of person who likes a lighter dish, but..."), I tune out, get bored and feel this sudden but intense impulse to intentionally order the one thing that Monaco didn't suggest.

And if Kelli says "I don't really have a favorite," she can kiss that 18% tip goodbye. 17 PERCENT, KELLIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

observations about conversations

1) If you're telling your friend some story and you mention a guy with the same last name as a famous person (e.g. "Scott Pitt"), the friend will 99% of the time ask "Is he related to Brad?" in this "I'm sorry, but it is required of me as a person to make this 'joke'" kind of way.

2) People are always describing things that are blatantly AGGRESSIVE as "passive aggressive." Some girl will be sipping her drink and say to you, "Yeah, she came up to me and said to stay away from John or else she would cut my ear off. It was SO passive-aggressive, am I riiiiiiiiight?"

3) People are super reluctant to admit that they know anything about you from the internet (via Facebook, Twitter, blogz, etc.). So there's this weird moment when you reference something that you KNOW the person you're talking to must know if they even once looked at your Facebook page in the past year or follow you on Twitter, but you have to kind of play it like they DON'T know out of some sort of weird respect/understanding (?). "I actually went to a Rihanna concert last week," I'll say. "Really?!" he'll respond, though his eyes are clearly telling a different story.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

disturbing-a

Sometimes I find myself in awkward situations that almost seem like PARODIES of awkward situations. It's as if someone has been watching my life from up above (think: "The Hills," not Religious) and is just constructing these weird, unbelievable situations to put me in to watch me squirm and then cackle at my fumbling antics.

On Thursday night, I went to a Rihanna concert with my friend Liz. I had come from work and was wearing a button-down shirt/khakis combo -- as you can imagine, I fit in seamlessly. Anyway, Liz and I were dancing to that awful loop of three-years-ago pop songs that always seems to play in that annoying half hour when you're waiting for a concert to start... when I notice this kid from my high school standing RIGHT behind us talking to his friend. I didn't say anything to Liz and just hoped if I stared ahead at the stage and didn't turn around again for the entire concert, nothing would come of it. Seriously, walking by someone you know on the street is one thing, but AT A RIHANNA CONCERT is just obscene.

Minutes later, while Liz and I were "dancing" to "Drop It Like It's Hot," I felt an ominous tap on my shoulder. "You're Josh, right?" was his opener. (The "I'm going to pretend I don't know your name even though I obviously do in an attempt to seem marginally less creepy as I approach you in this weird way" move always destabilizes me.) I recovered though, and proceeded to make small talk with him and his friend for about two minutes... (though, strangely, not once did we make reference to the fact that we were having this weirdo chat at a Rihanna concert).

At the natural stopping point, Liz and I kind of tottered around to face the stage again, our backs to the socially aggressive duo. Normally, this would have been the time when you part ways with your awkward run-in and breathe a sigh of relief. However, because we were at a concert, and because this kid clearly has an extremely high tolerance for the awkward, they just STAYED RIGHT WHERE THEY WERE, leering right behind us. For the whole concert! Liz and I contemplated moving our position in the crowd to get away, but we had such a good spot! (Right behind this spell-binding, plaid-clad girl dancing by herself, pictured.) So we didn't move, and neither did they, and I felt (more) self-conscious (than usual) the whole time about how loudly I was singing along, and now this guy who I hadn't spoken to since 11th grade history class and his friend must be intimately familiar with what it looks like from behind when a lanky dude wearing work clothes tries to "get down" to "Don't Stop the Music."

Thursday, December 3, 2009

the anti-julia theory of lying

At dinner the Friday after Thanksgiving someone referenced a "white lie," at which point my 8-year-old cousin Julia interrupted to explain to the table that there are two kinds of lies: White Lies, which one tells "to make someone feel good," and Silly Lies, which one tells. . . "for fun." An example of a "silly lie"? "When my mom came in while I was taking a bath and asked if I had washed my hair, I told her I had. . ." *giggling fit* "... but I actually hadn't - it was a silly lie."

I was struck by the notion that, for Julia, it was impossible to conceive of a lie that wasn't for a noble purpose. And she's on to something - white lies and silly lies are useful and great. Sometimes you really want to cheer up your friend who just got a bad grade ("Oh, I heard everyone did badly") and there are lots of times when it's just FUN to lie (like when the Jamba Juice guy asks for your name). But, to offer the Anti-Julia Theory of Lying if you will, I propose that the three most common kinds of lies come from a more nefarious place.

- Story Enhancers: These are basically harmless (right? tell me I'm right). They get sprinkled in lightly in a story to make it more exciting/memorable. She didn't "have a tough couple of weeks"; she was "battling serious depression." There weren't seven people waiting in line; there were "like 60 probably."

- Self-Conscious Lies: These are just SIMMERING in the corners of your brain waiting for those panicky, insecure moments. They emerge when someone asks your favorite book and you respond "Oh, it's really hard to pick among Flannery O'Connor's later works" (you have never finished a Flannery O'Connor novel and are not even sure if it's a man or a woman) or basically anytime you lie about your height/weight/sexual prowess/life achievements/etc. OK, let's not dwell in this paragraph; I'm getting anxious.

- Means to an End: These are the kind of lies that become necessary when you've got your eyes on a prize. Telling the museum dude you're still a student to get a discount, saying you have to "work" to get out of having to pick up your brother, moaning to your parents that you're out of cash when you're not (whoa, where could these examples have come from?!).

Monday, November 30, 2009

things that are weird about thanksgiving

1) You end up discussing one topic that everyone is only casually (at best) interested in for like 3/4th of the dinner (this year: Sarah Palin).

2) At the insistence of your 10-year-old cousin, everyone around the table is typically forced to reveal "what they are thankful for." It's uncomfortable and reminds you of the beginning of summer camp. Everyone answers some variation on "friends, family, health" except for one family member with this gloating grin who attempts to spice things up ("I'm thankful for... the New York Giants").

3) EVERYONE must comment on how full they are when the meal is over. It's like somehow seen as this culturally insulting thing to the host if you don't. "Desserts, Aunt Mary?! Are you trying to make me explode!?!"

4) After the meal, everyone's sort of like "ummm, what do we do now?" About an hour after the meal, I found myself sitting in a room with my extended family watching some Paul McCartney concert on TV while my small cousins did "gymnastics" on the carpet and my mom sorted through a box of old fancy gloves (?) with her sister.

5) The next day, it's just understood that you're going to be having leftovers for dinner but everyone's kinda silently bummed about it. It's like "Oh, you know what I'm craving after eating half my weight in turkey last night?! MORE OF IT." The Friday after Thanksgiving is spent resigned to your fate, which I think why it always drags so much.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

walk-by

In college, you were always walking past people you vaguely knew. It was kind of inevitable that a trip outside meant strolling past a kid who lived on your hall freshman year or that chick from section who was either named Marie or Mary. There was really nothing to do in these circumstances other than glide by with an added bounce in your step and give a quick glance up, perhaps with the slightest of smiles. If you were feeling all crazy and caffeinated, maybe a smiling head nod.

After graduating college, these sorts of "walk-bys" (yes, I am linguistically equating fatal shootings with walking past acquaintances) happen less and less. I guess sometimes I walk by a co-worker I don't really know in the office kitchen, but generally in those cases I just force a smile because people look down on people who are more Bella than Berry in the work place.

On Saturday though, I was walking down 59th St., outfitted in a giant sweatshirt, and jeans that were noticeably rolled-up at the bottom (it was raining is my excuse). I looked up and saw that a girl who I went to college with was fast approaching, sporting a fancy red trench coat.

Here are some facts about this girl:

a) We spoke once or twice freshman year, for a total of maybe four minutes. I think one of the two times was when she asked me to let her into her entryway because she had forgotten her key at her boyfriend's or something.
b) We are friends on Facebook, obv.
c) The last time I saw her was probably mid-senior year (= approx. two years ago)?

Would we stop and chat? Would I ask her about the one mutual friend I was pretty sure we had in common? Would she call me the wrong name?!

Of course, knowing me as well as y'all do, I doubt it will surprise anyone how this played out. I kept my iPod earbuds in (of course?) and did a sort of half-smile/furtive glance in her direction. In response, she smiled brightly, waved (!!??!), but did not slow her pace whatsoever and continued to just walk (I am actually kind of sure she sped up) past me.

As I descended into the subway, I was wondering about so many things, friends: Had Red Trench Coat not stopped because she was weirded out that I hadn't taken my iPod out? Was it because she really couldn't remember my name? Had she not recognized me? Or, most horrifying/probable of all... was it the rolled-up jeans?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

the fall of a queen

So there's this girl who works at the Starbucks on my block who is like the Barista Wunderkind. The third or fourth time I stopped in for my morning fix (man do I hate the jargon commonly associated with coffee drinking!), before I could even open my mouth she was coolly reciting my order from her perch over by the stand where they leave your drinks. The other baristas at the register all kind of nodded their heads blankly as if it is just understood in this particular Starbucks that she is the queen.

This morning, eager to get that ole' cup of joe (ugh), I stopped in to Starbucks; as soon as the queen saw me come through the door, she was in motion. I watched rapturously as she effortlessly prepared my iced coffee, like some sort of Starbucks Fairy, her blonde hair the perfect amount of messy in her black cap. But my luscious piece of Starbucks Heaven was about to become as stale as a Starbucks bagel (hay-o!). As the queen delicately handed me my drink she paused and grinned. . . and then pointed at the iPod earbud in my right ear (I always take one earbud out when I'm in Starbucks because I am so courteous).

"What are you listening to?"

I felt as if someone had just broken into my apartment, or stolen my journal. Her seemingly innocuous question was like a MENTAL SUCKER PUNCH to my emotionally fragile self. I stammered for what seemed like ages while she KEPT HER HAND CLASPED AROUND MY DRINK, as if this was some sort of test I needed to pass to earn my FRENCH VANILLA ICED COFFEE.

In some situations I would have tried to think of the most "oh yeah, no big deal, it's just a Kraftwerk Hot Chip remix" or "you know, just some jazz I'm really into" kind of response I could come up with, but I was too shaken to even muster that sort of fibbing. Instead I just told her the truth: "Umm, it's just this, uh, indie cover of a T.I. song... that my brother sent me." I really can't even describe how IDIOTIC and TALL I felt. It was like I was in a commercial for some sort of TMI Disorder. THANK GOD SHE KNOWS MY BROTHER SENT IT TO ME.

I am guessing it will be at least two months before I step into that Starbucks again.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

a goddess, a model... and dry cleaning guy

Living in NYC is strange. Even though I technically live within like a 20-minute subway ride of pretty much everyone I know, I still see most of my friends way less the following crop of characters, each of whom has emerged as a pretty significant presence in my life. Of course, even though I see these folks like once or twice a week, I don't even know their names (= so New York right now).

1. Salad Goddess. Most of my lunch breaks are spent across the street from my office at this small, sterile deli place. I whip through the make-your-own-salad line without a word (the guy knows my order by heart - cute, right?) and then I bring my concoction over to the check-out area. There are two lines: one belongs to Salad Goddess - a cheery plum of a woman - and the other to Evil Bland Chick. Even though EBC will typically have no one in her line, I always wait in Goddess', which is kind of awkward because EBC will like look up at me exasperatedly. "I might as well give up!" she says with her eyes.... and she's right, she should. Because SG is on a different level. First of all, SG always deducts $.90 from my salad cost. I have NO IDEA why, but it's just always been the case and I obv have never asked for an explanation -- don't shoot a gift horse in the mouth, is what people are always saying (but which I never say because I am always worried I have it slightly off). SG and I have wonderful and inane convos marked by constant SMILING as she pushes buttons on the register:

Me: "Nice weather, huh?"
SG: "At least it's a Tuesday"
Me: "Seriously! When will this week end?"
SG: "Right, so chilly!"

Seriously the two weeks she was out visiting her family in Brazil I went somewhere else for lunch because I just couldn't deal.

2. Model Runner. Literally EVERY TIME I have gone to the gym in the past three months, this preternaturally attractive guy has been running on the fourth treadmill from the end. It doesn't matter which night of the week I go or at what time, he's always there, dressed in the same garb: black baseball cap, white V-neck t-shirt, short black shorts, iPhone attached to bicep. Despite all the seemingly toolish elements of this gym attire, he manages to look like a hundred times cooler than anyone else you have every seen. (The first time I saw him I BBMed my roommate: "I am pretty sure the guy running next to me is a Calvin Klein model" to which she responded "Touch him!" which somehow seemed totally appropriate at the time.) ANYWAY, the other day, MR picked up my towel for me when it fell off the side of the treadmill and kind of gave me a head nod (I'm pretty sure this interaction is the gym equivalent of a Facebook poke) and now we have a kind of head nod thing going on. I'm hoping this all pays off when I see pictures of him on Perez Hilton squiring Leighton Meester around town or something and then can use our bond for my PERSONAL GAIN.

3. Dry Cleaning Guy. This guy may be my fave. He's like 27 and has this improbable set of braces and he kind of seems like a hybrid between your 10-year-old cousin and an owl. He calls me "Joshy" which is like typically the #1 way to get me to act icy toward you but for some reason in this case is endearing. He is always acting all paternal ("How far are you going to have to carry these heavy shirts?!" "Long day at work?"). Once he asked me why I hadn't been in for a while and I kind of stammered like a schoolgirl and then he was like "We've been pinning for you." (Yes, "pin-ning" instead of "pie-ning," and the "we" referred to him and the old Asian man who has never said a word who leers in the back amongst the clothing). Once I came in and Air Supply was blasting over the speakers. I kind of did an imperceptible "well, that's weird" look and he just shrugged. "It's the only CD I've got, Joshy."

Thursday, November 5, 2009

things i should really try to stop doing (but def won't)

1) Deciding which bottle of wine to buy based on how "cool" the design is.

2) Using the construction "It's not that I'm trying to say she's Adjective X, but she's kind of, you know, Toned-Down-Version-of-Adjective X." (I always mean that she's Adjective X.)

3) Telling people the "hilarious" story of how I dramatically failed my first driver's license test... while I am driving them.

4) Sending e-mails that begin with "Heyo!"

5) Watching Grey's Anatomy.

Monday, November 2, 2009

bettering the world one wall post at a time

There really are no updates/adjustments to Facebook that don't irreparably shake the foundation of how we social network the fabric of life. And since I am basically a Facebook beat reporter when it comes down to it, I feel it my duty to cover the serious ramifications of this latest change.

For one thing, now that the news feed (which previously just served as essentially a Twitter-style list of Facebook status updates) now includes errrything (new friendships, event RSVPs, new group affiliations, etc.), your friends' more embarrassing Facebook habits have now become readily apparent. One of my friends confirmed she was attending five events in a rapid-fire 3:34am spree Saturday night... DRUNK MUCH OMG?!?! Another became a fan of so many embarrassing groups Sunday afternoon (i.e. Ashlee Simpson and Equinox). Serious social networking suicide going on, you guys.

More amusingly, Facebook has decided it will now take on the role of your mother ("Hey, do you still keep up with that really nice girl... you know, she always wore those big sweaters?") and is suggesting Facebook friends whom you might want to "reconnect" with. For me, these people have rotated between a co-worker I see every day, a girl who went to high school with someone I am no longer friends with, and my father. It's too bad that whatever algorithms they're using here aren't being applied to like build spaceships and break secret codes -- share the wealth, you Facebook guys!

And the phrasing!! "Help make Facebook better for her"?!?! I could get behind "Distract her from work" or "Reference an inside joke that neither of you will remember in two weeks." But this just seems like an over promise.

Monday, October 26, 2009

the stalker's gold mine

I can't tell you how many times I find myself on a Facebook profile page and need to quickly assess what I'm looking at (so many times is what I am trying to say). "So what do you think?" my roommate will ask as she watches me anxiously. When I need to make that quick appraisal, I always hit up one spot first: the "profile pics" album. It's a gold mine!

1) First question you've got to ask yourself: how many profile pics has the person cycled through? If it's just one, you've potentially got an issue: Does he never use Facebook? Does no one take pictures of him? Does he just not care? ALL PROBLEMZ. However, if there are more than like 30 profile pics, that's just TOO OVERZEALOUS. Perfect range is 8-12. (I am just laying down the law right now, huh? I think this is what happens when I blog after being hypnotized by Don Draper's swagger for an hour.)

2) If someone has put up the same profile picture twice, with a slight crop maneuver or adjustment done to the shot, THAT'S A DEALBREAKER, LADIES. Why the Zuckerberg didn't you just delete your first attempt?

3) If the person looks so different in every profile pic to the extent where your roommate asks, "wait... which one is him?" when looking at one of the selections, you've got trouble. Alternatively, if none of the profile pics actually feature the person's face, that's kind of mysterious... in a good way! (controversial perspective, I know)

4) A couple of group shots is OK, but get nervous if you see the same person showing up in more than a few: POTENTIAL COUPLE ALERT! (Ha, I feel like I'm writing a column in one of those women's magazines...)

5) If the person gets more attractive as time goes on, this is reason for optimism! It's like how colleges are all jazzed if your grades steadily rise over the four years of high school. In this case, the girl with the improving pics probs doesn't even realize yet how hot she has become so she is still so nice to everyone! (I learned about life from television.)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Emailing Eddie

So I know this guy, let's call him Emailing Eddie -- "a friend of a friend" is I guess the best way to describe him. Eddie, as you might guess from his name, is so in love with writing e-mails. He sends out these long-ish personal BCCed mass e-mails once or twice a month. Nothing too personal, but maybe a description of an event he's hosting that he wants you to go to or a YouTube link he wants you to check out or a bland life update (i.e. "I'm moving to the East Village, you guys!") I guess this kind of thing would annoy a lot of people, but - perhaps surprisingly (?) - I kind of don't really mind them. (I think it comes down to that the pleasure I get from receiving new e-mails trumps all else.)

But there is one thing Emailing Eddie does that just totally CMU (= Cracks Me Up). At the end of each of his electronic discourses, he includes -- in super small type -- one of those disclaimers that you see at the bottom of like an American Eagle promotional e-mail or a TrendSpotting Newsletter (how weird is my brain for thinking of those two examples first?). He literally writes: "If you would prefer to not receive these e-mails from me anymore, please notify EmailingEddie@gmail.com." It's just his e-mail address!

I am totally amused by the idea that someone would write an e-mail to this guy and just tell him: "Yeah, so... I don't want to get e-mails from you anymore." It's like calling up your friend and stammering: "Yo, man, uh... not so interested in your antics anymore. Cool it with the text messages?" What gets me smirking even wider (yeah, don't try to visualize that) is someone trying to unsubscribe from Eddie's e-mails in a nice way. Like, "Heyyyy Eddie! How's the East Village treating you? So, you know, I get so much e-mail every day, and I was just wondering..." BOTH WAYS ARE SO CRINGE-Y.

(I'm pretty sure my impulse to write this post was derived from my (not so) secret desire to write "celebrity blind items" for a living.)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

such a funny post LOL

Last night, gchat with brother Sam:

12:37 AM Sam: it was a joke josh
me: always so bitchy when ppl put someone's name in
i get it sam
whatever you say liz
it makes it like SO MUCH BITCHIER
if that's ok with you andrew
can't we just get the brownies david?
Sam: yes, that's a true thing lol
me: i know!
Sam: obviously josh
me: i thought you would respond initially with a "josh"
but instead you did a "lol" add on
the most tame kind of add on
the opposite of putting a name in fact
12:40 AM Sam: not true
lol can be super passive aggressive
like--i know how you feel about alice lol
i hate when you wear those pants lol
etc

And later...

Sam: i'm v pleased w myself! lol
(note how the lol allows me to say something arrogant)

Friday, October 16, 2009

deflating

Since I do have a blog and all (cat's out of the bag now!) I have taken to whipping out my trusty 'berry whenever I see something that amuses me. Often times, I will later blog about these images. On Wednesday morning, I woke up 30 minutes late, didn't have time to shower, threw on a starchy pair of recently-washed jeans and an itchy sweater and got in the elevator feeling awful, yo. I lumbered out of my front door, made a groggy right, and looked up to find... these GIANT BAGS OF BLOWN-UP BALLOONS. Briefly stunned, I decided this was a totally Hopeful Sign, as if I was being told: "Yeah, itchy sweaters suck but C'MON, JUST WHEN YOU LEAST EXPECT IT THERE ARE GIANT BAGS OF BALLOONS IN YOUR FACE AND THAT IS WHAT MAKES LIFE OK."

With an added bounce in my step, I felt that this Wednesday would be different and special and unpredictable. I hopped on the subway ready to strike up a chat with an appealing stranger or sing along to my iPod for all to hear (of course I did neither thanks to the nearby attractive couple that put me on nervous edge).

But I soon forgot about the balloons (post-lukewarm coffee, post-morning of only 2 e-mails) and my day was actually pretty standard, subpar even. I saved the photo on my phone just in case I wanted to blog about it later in the week. Little did I know Thursday would be like the MOST FAMOUS DAY FOR BALLOONS IN 4EVER. . . it's as if my balloon sighting was like this magical crystal ball vision, a glimpse into the future. It seems my Hopeful Sign was nothing hopeful at all; if anything, I find the whole "balloon bags in my face the day before #balloonboy" thing sort of chilling now. Maybe there are no such thing as Hopeful Signs. I had wanted to hold on to the string and let the balloons take me away, but instead, I now feel more grounded than ever.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

the filler

More often than not, when I'm talking to someone who has just seen a movie and unloading my typical Journalist Josh litany of questions and quips ("How was it?" "Was it actually funny?" "But I love Rachel McAdams!" etc.) I've noticed that I generally - without even thinking about it - work in a "was the theater crowded?"

This is almost always met with a quick double take before I get the "uh, kind of" response (seriously, that is the response you get 9 out of 10 times when you ask). I don't know why I keep asking the question. I really do not care about the answer, nor do I remember it a second later. Most of the time I am barely even watching your lips move as you answer (yep, I'm talking about you now) - my head is nodding but I'm dreaming about Eric and Sookie or about how I need to remember to buy more gum (my thoughts = where fantasy and reality be intersectin'!).

These are the questions we ask, the filler, the episodes between the premiere and November Sweeps when nothing much is happening as the plot moves predictably along. You ask if she liked the exhibit ("oh, it was really interesting") or how the drive was ("pretty smooth, thankfully") or if the water in Bermuda was warm ("it was actually surprisingly cold!"). It's how we proceed. The answers never surprise, yet we keep asking for 'em. Because, um, if we didn't, what would there be? Lots of long pauses and stuttering and avoiding eye contact, probs. And how would we ever get to find out what happens in November Sweeps?

Friday, October 9, 2009

nod and smile

It's weird how often the following happens to me:

Someone will say something to me that I can't quite make out (at a concert, on the subway, huddled next to each other on a helicopter) and I'll be like "Wait, what did you say?" (you know, because I can't hear them) and then they'll repeat whatever it was just as unintelligibly... and I'll just nod real jerkily and say (softly) "Ohhh, yeah" and smile pretty broadly. And somehow, at least based on how I'm interpreting the facial expressions I generally receive back, this seems to pretty much always be the reaction they are looking for.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

the NDD

One of the best parts of going to a party with your friends is the Next Day Debrief. Less anxiety-inducing than clicking through tagged pics the next day and more fulfilling than hung-over-ish-ly lying in bed waiting for Hulu to load, the NDD is all about savagely "evaluating" the previous night's partygoers. After years and years of NDD experience, I've noticed a few archetypes who seem to emerge during nearly every Sunday afternoon NDD session.

1) There's always someone who showed up totally unexpectedly/uninvited and everyone is all "WTF?!" about it. ("I turned around and I was like: 'Is that Jason?!' And then he sort of tried to talk to me...? It was so weird.")

2) There's always someone who everyone decides "seemed miserable." (The evidence is usually circumstantial at best: "I asked her if she liked her job... and she kind of just stared off into space.")

3) There's always someone that "no one got to talk to." And everyone says it as if it's somehow that person's fault. ("Yeah, it was so bizarre, she was always busy talking with someone else or something.")

4) There's always some weird duo who spent an inordinate amount of time talking and, inexplicably, everyone noticed them embroiled in convo. ("At first I thought they were flirting but then I heard him talking about, like, whitewater rafting or something and she was just sort of asking him questions about it." . . . "OMG, I heard that, too!")

5) There's always someone that may... or may not have been really drunk. It's this weird thing where one NDDer is all "100% sure" that the guy was completely messed up ("Did you see how he started dancing during 'She-Wolf'?") and then someone else jumps in with a "But he seemed pretty cogent when he was talking to me about how things were going with Monica." And then there's a pause as everyone considers.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

apple jack

Apparently when my 7-year-old cousin was "discussing religion" with her parents a couple of months ago, her 9-year-old brother butted in when he heard the word "belief" being tossed around and announced that he "believed in two things: Santa Claus, and that the dinosaurs became extinct when a giant meteor struck Mexico." To this Julia responded, with the sharp sting of a Blair Waldorf some fifteen years older, "Where did you learn about religion, Jack? The back of a cereal box?"

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Jason!

People love to talk about how "gmail changed everything" and how it's our new currency or whatever (metaphors that are just slightly off!) and how it dictates our lives and keeps all of our secrets (only gmail gets to read all the angsty draft e-mails I write but never send!). I shifted from "web mail" to gmail my junior fall of college, about when everyone else did. Yes, it was revolutionary, and yes, discovering gchat was like jumping into one of those ball pits at Chuck E. Cheese (though, like gchat, those ball pits were tons o' fun at first but then after a few years you got kind of tired of getting assaulted by the annoying kids who threw balls at you). Yes, eventually gmail lost its sheen. I started to take it for granted. My mom had it; my grandmother had it; people who didn't have it seemed immediately suspicious. A gmail address became as common as a cell phone number (this is some incisive social critique happening before your eyes, folks).

Anyway, last week I was jolted out of my 3pm post-lunch/pre-Sour Patch Kids stupor by this dramatic warning on the top of my gmail screen. Yep, that's right, I was almost out of room. I had no idea that could even happen. My first instinct was to panic: I am only 23 and I'm already out of space?! I have so much life left to live! So many pictures to send and mindless chains to respond to! I frantically searched for every mp3 and mp4 I've ever sent and deleted them, and that took me down from the emergency level of 95% full to a still alarming 86%. A week later, I'm already back up to 89%. I sort of feel like I'm in one of those movie scenes where the heroine is trapped in a room with water pouring in -- slowly rising to fill the space and drown her -- as she repeatedly shrieks "Jason!" at the top of her lungs. Am I destined for a life of deleting a whole swath of e-mails every two months? A life of anxiously watching a percentage gradually rise? A life spent constantly wondering if this one forwarding of the new Carrie Underwood song is going to push me over the brink? A life enslaved to the e-mail system we all blindly worship?

Meh, probably not. My brother told me I can pay like 20 bucks and get more space, so I'll probs just do that in a few weeks.

Friday, September 25, 2009

you like this

How I love when you read someone's kinda-informative-but-infuriatingly-vague Facebook status ("leaving this town for Madrid in 3 weeks!") and then you see that someone has commented on the status with the exact same stalker-status follow-up question you had ("wait, whyyy are you going?") and then the initial status updater responds to that comment ("im going to teach 8-year-old mute Spanish children how to knit...omg u should come visit josie") and, presto, you know everything. It's the same kind of satisfaction as when the dude at Starbucks knows your drink order without your having to say a word.

Friday, September 18, 2009

things that make me uncomfortable/fidgety

1. When I'm already chewing gum (and, let's be clear, I'm not the most subtle gum chewer) and the person I'm talking to pulls out a pack and offers me a piece.

2. When someone makes a declarative summary statement about a hang out session as it is occurring (i.e. "Omigod, I am just so happy we're getting quality Taylor-Josh time right now!")

3. When you're on the phone and you've been talking for a bit and you're kind of at the end of the convo but you're not really sure how to get out of it... and then the signal cuts out. Do you call the person back to say "bye," even though you are pretty sure you both acknowledge that the call was about to end anyway? It is hard to weigh which is more intense: the strangeness of not calling back vs. the awkwardness of calling back and dealing with a "Oh, so, uh, I guess I lost signal... and I'll, uh, talk to you later?"

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

a little red lie

Last night, during dinner with a friend, I said for what may have been the 67th time in the past few months: "Netflix is seriously changing everything for me." About twenty minutes later during my walk home, I mused that there are lots and lots of things that we just have said so many times (because they're like harmless conversation fillers that are vaguely relevant to pretty much anything) that are actually TOTALLY NOT TRUE.

Netflix has most definitely NOT changed everything for me. In fact, it hasn't even really changed one or two things. Sure, it kind of came in handy when I didn't want to have to buy all of the first season of "True Blood" on iTunes, but now I'm in this rut where there's nothing I really want to see so I just listlessly add movies that I have a vague - but diminishing by the day - interest in. "Duplicity" has been sitting on my night table for like a month, legit haunting me. In fact, in a weird sort of twisted way, Netflix has actually added an unexpected stress to my life. I come home, throw my bag down, slip into my fave black Nike mesh shorts (try to keep it together, everyone) and there it is, the red devil vixen. Each month I flinch as I see the monthly fee deducted from my bank account. I've been having sporadic visions of Julia Roberts saucily taunting me: "When are you going to watch me?" as she cackles in a large Victorian hat (just move on).

And the worst part is that I know that when I FINALLY do get around to watching "Duplicity" and then mail it back, there will be only one day of freedom before "Funny People" will have arrived to take its place. It's kind of like the worst relationship ever, me and Netflix: the vixen is always one step ahead, constantly reminding me that there is always something else to watch, always something else to achieve, so much of life that will never be lived.

Of course, this doesn't stop me from talking really slowly and blatantly lying: "I like don't even go to the movies anymore because I just wait for things to come out on Netflix." Bite of hamburger. "It really just makes everything so much easier."

Thursday, September 10, 2009

unexpected wonderland

Last night, I was getting out of a cab to go to a Fashion Week party (I know, I know, this is as "fish out of water" as Betty Draper going to the Vans Warped Tour) and right there - waiting for the light to turn red in his own "Celebrities, Just Like Us!" Vignette for my personal enjoyment - was... John Mayer, flanked by his two bro-friends on either side. They had just come out of the party I was about to enter.

I would've liked to have thought that were I to see John Mayer on the sidewalk, I would have just kind of glanced up, you know, in a totally "OK, yeah, sure, that's cool" kind of way, and then just continued walking down the street listening to Passion Pit while brooding or whatevs.

Yeahhhhhh, uh, that wasn't me so much.

I've had my brushes with fame before, but this one somehow really brought out my inner 15-year-old girl (that's still Mr. Mayer's prime demo, right?). I'm not sure if it was the fact that his smug mug is so regularly plastered on every blog and tabloid (which somehow made it seem like I was seeing a fictional character like Yogi Bear or Wonder Woman in the flesh), or that it was such an unexpected sighting, or that -- for a split second -- I realized that this was as close as I was ever going to get to achieving my life goal of becoming Jennifer Aniston... but I went a bit unhinged. It took me like two seconds to register who it was, followed by one second of disbelief, followed by three seconds of breathless panic. At this point, I instinctively whipped out my Blackberry as if I were a paparazzo's apprentice and craned to snap a blurry pic of the Heartbreaking Crooner himself, though he was already in front of me at this point, which is why we've got a SexyBack-style pic as opposed to a frontal shot (ugh, see how shook up I am? I'm mixing pop heartthrobs now!). And then, just like that, he was gone, across the street, probably off to play guitar in some swanky club and tweet about it. I frowned, and then texted all my friends in one of those adrenaline-laced ALL-CAPS MASS TEXT MOMENTS.

The texts I received back fell into three pretty neat categories.
1. "Body is a Wonderland" puns (e.g. "Did u tell him his body is a wonderland?" "Was his body a wonderland?")
2. Hotness queries (e.g. "1 to 10 how good looking is he in real life?" "Tony wants to know if he is hot in person" "Was he as hot as I would imagine? Also, was he with Jessica or Jennifer?" "Did you squeeze his butt?")
3. Disbelief (e.g. "wtffff" "Absurdity!" "were what and HOW?" "gahhh omfg")

[BTW, I'm loving Disapproving Glare, his bro-friend to the right. You just know dude has seen this all before. His tired eyes are just like: "Seriously, man? You are a guy in your twenties. Put the Blackberry down and walk away."]

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

two strange incidents

Two strange incidents this weekend:

1) I was hangin' at a party Saturday night, suave and sophisticated as ever ( %-) ), when this guy from college who I clearly knew and who clearly knew me but whom I had never spoken to before (it's weird how many people fit in this category, or is that just me?) approached. "I guess we're going to finally converse," I thought (my brain is kinda humorless). Right then, our mutual friend turned her head around and said something to the effect of "Oh Pete, do you know Josh?" to which Pete responded, "Yeah, I know him... but we're not friends on Facebook." Er, uh, what? It was an accurate statement, sure, but who says such things?? And how to respond to such a "greeting"? Something in his tone made me feel like I had just been reprimanded by the teacher for passing notes... or something. But despite my knee-jerk skepticism and the uncomfortable long pause after his line, I reflected later that I found his opener sort of amusing in its directness. I mean, it was actually kind of a smart way of classifying our relationship to the mutual friend, right? I mean, a relationship without a Facebook component is like Bruce Willis in the "Sixth Sense" (i.e. NOT REAL). And today, feeling spry, I even felt compelled to Facebook-friend Pete. I totally surprise myself sometimes, you guys.

2) I was on the phone with my brother Sunday night when I got a phone call from a girl I went to high school with who I have not spoken to in four years and who I was not even really ever friends with. My first reaction was "I still have Megan Kaiser's phone number in my phone?!" followed by: "Why the frak is she calling me??" I switched to pick up her call (it is very rare I don't just let a call go to voice mail, so this is a big deal). She said: "Josh?" Because I am completely deranged, I decided in this instant that I would PRETEND I DIDN'T KNOW WHO IT WAS even though I of course did because I was staring at her name right there on my phone. "Yeah, uh, who is this?" I responded. "Megan.... oh shit, omigod, I think I called the wrong Josh. Omigod. This is so embarrassing. I am so sorry" "Oh!" I said, "Wait... is this Megan Kaiser?" (my acting here was was like athlete-hosting-SNL bad). "Yeah," she said, seemingly unaware that I had "figured out which Megan it was" WAY TOO EASILY to be at all possible. "Uh, how are you?" she continued. I immediately regretted picking up the call. "Good!" was all I could muster back. "OK, well, I probably woke you up..." (It was 11:15 p.m.; she did realize I wasn't still the same age I was in high school anymore, right?) "OK, good luck in your search for the right Josh!" There was a pause and then we both hung up the phone.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

rabbit rabbit

The first of every month always holds so much promise. My OCD kicks into hyperdrive and I tell myself that this is going to be the month. I'm going to quit coffee, stop chewing gum, actually go to the gym (as opposed to my usual workout of thrusting my laptop into different parts of my apartment to see where I get the best signal), finally get crackin' on the musical I outlined featuring only music from Rihanna's oeuvre, and start taking some risky chances in life (hah).

Usually the first few days of the month go great, and I find myself totally deluded in my belief that I can keep up this lifestyle of productivity and good health. Sure enough, it takes just one Diet Coke spilled on my iPod or one subway taken in the wrong direction for me to tumble back down, down into the bleak land of nonstop Twizzlers and mindless YouTube searches and VH1's version of reality and "I should really hang those paintings already, huh? Meh, it can just wait 'til October."

Monday, August 31, 2009

the BCCing blues

Every once in a while, I'll admit it, I'll BCC someone on an e-mail. BCCing -- sort of like pretending you're listening when you're actually not, or making up believable excuses -- is the kind of thing that's a pretty useful skill to have, but that totally backfires if you get found out. Sure, BCCing has its noble purposes (like for, uh... party invitations when you don't want it known how many people you invited?) but generally it's kind of a shady practice. Like, if you're BCCing someone on an e-mail, there's probably a nefarious reason for it about 60% of the time. (FYI, the last math class I took was in high school...)

Anyway, a week ago or so I e-mailed my two roommates... and BCCed my brother. It just seemed like the easiest way for me to communicate the content of the e-mail to him without my roommates knowing I was doing so. Sure, I could have forwarded him the sent message (ugh, e-mail terminology really bogs down a post, huh?) but that seemed like an excessive amount of effort at the time. I bet you can see where this tale is headin'...

My brother responded to the e-mail "reply all" (!!) with some innocuous/short response, not having noticed that pivotal "B" and thereby revealing my deception. Of course, the back of my neck began sweating immediately when I saw his e-mail, my entire being stunted with indecision over how to react: should I respond to the e-mail as if my brother had been CCed hoping my roommates wouldn't notice, or write something back just acknowledging the awkwardness (generally a dicey proposition) or write nothing back at all? I literally couldn't think about anything else for 180 straight seconds and then suddenly my hands took over and typed and sent ("reply all"): "Hah, you were BCCed, weirdo!" And as if that wasn't a bizarre/uncomfortable enough response, I immediately followed with a second "reply all" e-mail: "Now the secret is out."

I know, I know... I really am a pro at freaking out to the point of utter dysfunction and making a situation that really isn't that big of a deal into a completely awkward mess. And that's a skill you really hope never gets found out.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

300!

This marks my 300th post, ladies & gents, which makes me feel older than, like, college bros, but still younger than, like, Matthew Perry... so pretty much how I always feel. If you haven't been able to figure it out by now, I'm into lists, so please indulge me as I share a dense list and then some facts with y'all. Because if there's anything I like more than a dense list, it's a dense list followed by "fun" facts!

Top Five Most-Read TxtMsgBtl Posts:

1) "things people say that do not need to be said" (706 page views, Feb. 2008) Not going to lie, this surprised me. I really have no clue why this particular post sits in the top perch, though it does feature one of my favorite comments ever (see the fifth comment).

2) "articles of clothing that people wear but that just never look right" (621 page views, Feb. 2008) Another list! And an especially snarky/judge-y one at that! (And, intriguingly, also from Feb. 2008...) Some of my wannabe-Blake Lively girl friends still give me smack for the first point on this list.

3) "channel your inner megan fox!" (464 page views, Jun. 2009) Happy to report that "Friendly Flora" and I have not spoken since the "book" incident.

4) "how to leave the perfect voicemail" (374 page views, Nov. 2007) This one was from early on in the BlogGame ("Let's have some fun / this... blog looks like it was made by a 5th grader"). This is one of my no-longer-in-production faux-instructional posts.

5) "weird things that are commonplace in vegas" (352 page views, Mar. 2008) I guess it's fitting that four of these five top posts are lists?

Now for the promised "fun" facts!

1:47 The amount of time the average person spends on the blog. I guess this is about half the length of a typical pop song (i.e. the units I use for life)? ... Statistics are weird.

The top five countries in terms of hits are: U.S., U.K., Germany, Canada and.... in a surprise fifth-place showing: SINGAPORE!

149 Number of people who have gotten to the blog by searching for "gross text messages"
106 Number of people who have gotten to the blog by searching for "is it weird to facebook stalk"
22 Number of people who have gotten to the blog by searching for "i hate pretzels"

17,869 "Absolute unique visitors" since txtmsgbtl's birth on 10/8/07

16.73% The percentage of people who have visited the blog using Safari as their browser. (And now that you know that, there is really nothing left to know.)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

things i love about vacations in hotels

1. I love how housekeeping always does things slightly differently each time they clean your room. It’s like this fun little game when you get back from dinner: how did they arrange my shoes this time? Is the radio on or off? (And if on: POP MUSIC OR CLASSICAL?!?!?) Did they mysteriously stack all the pillows on one bed? Did they decide to have a laugh and place like 15 mini-shampoos on the mirror? (Despite the use of my typical sarcastic tone here, I’m actually deathly serious: I really enjoy this “little game.")

2. I love seeing the same people over and over again. There’s always this one time when you're at the pool or at breakfast or waiting at the front desk when you totally zone out of whatever is going on and focus intently on another group of people. You make furtive glances (blatantly stare) and sorta pay attention (plainly eavesdrop) until you know their basic deets. “So the boy's going to Emory, I'm pretty sure, and that father just retired,” I’ll report back to my mom. (“That one?” she’ll point.) “Yeah, I’m pretty sure they’re going to that Chinese restaurant tonight that we were gonna go to.” (She’ll nod in approval.) But unlike when you observe strangers on a train or at a baseball game, chances are good you'll see these folks again – at the pool, seated next to you at dinner, in the parking lot. “Oh, wow," you'll say three days later, "Looks like Emory got sunburned.”

3. I love how it's totally acceptable to be totally helpless. In a hotel, the most trivial difficulties are rarely met with a frustrated growl and a shrug (i.e. how I deal with all things trivial and difficult) but are instead met with a “Why don’t you just call the front desk?" response. The lamp isn't turning on? Call the front desk. The shower water's too hot? Call the front desk. You can’t find the remote? Call the front desk. Whereas in Normal Life you would just give up on searching for the remote and chow on some Doritos, in Hotel Life all solutions are just a phone call away.

4. I love how your standards are dramatically lowered. When you're on vacay, there's all this time to kill "relaxing" during which you (I) need stimuli. Unlike in Normal Life, in which I decide I don't have time to waste away a day watching "Definitely, Maybe" or reading some mediocre novel, I'll watch/read pretty much anything on vacation. It’s like “OK, sure, let’s watch four straight episodes of America’s Best Dance Crew.” Or "OK, yeah, of course, let's start in on New Moon. WHY NOT?"

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

cape cod views

I'm on vacation with my family on Cape Cod for the week; below, the highlights of my vacay so far:

This is some new water fountain situation they installed in the center of our hotel. We were informed that someone apparently "spiked" the fountain with bubble bath Saturday night, to which I asked, "Do you think it was done... intentionally?" (perhaps not my finest moment).

"It's a spoof," my brother Sam explained.
"Of what?"
"... convention."

I spent a good four minutes by the beach Monday contemplating why this flashy gum called "Flame" (which my dad offered me and which I had never seen before) has a "5" emblazoned on it. (It remains a burning question.)

OK, you guys. get ready: this is the demonic rabbit LAMP that greeted us in the room I'm sharing with my brothers. I named it "Donnie Light-o."

Yep, this is what I was reading at the pool today. In case you can't make out the words here, this interview with the luminous Hayden Panettiere promises dish on her "favorite things: driving, pickles and 'bad good boys.'"

When I showed this picture to my 10-year-old cousin he gasped, "One person ate that all?" followed by "What is that gross thing?" (referencing the chili dog).

Thursday, August 13, 2009

9s on the meter

Even in a Life of Continual Awkwardness such as my own in which everything sorta blends together into one congealed awkward mess, I have become aware of two distinct scenarios that keep recurring, both of which come in at around 9 on the "Duboffian Awkward Meter" (scale: 1-11):

1) I keep finding myself in situations in which someone asks me and a friend (let's call her Rose) something to the effect of: "So, how often do you guys hang out?" or "So do you guys see each other a lot in the city?" It's this weird thing because it's this ostensibly innocuous question but - in the seconds after it is asked - I find that I'm (in a "life flashing before your eyes" kind of way) all of a sudden evaluating my WHOLE FRIENDSHIP with Rose, like I am thinking about that dinner we had in Soho and the time she flaked out on movie plans and the long e-mail exchange we had about "True Blood." And then it's awkward because you have to, all at once, try to a) read what Rose is thinking about the whole thing and b) determine who is going to respond, all while you are thinking analytically about the friendship! It's even more awkward (we're talking blatant stammering and eye contact aversion zone) when you don't WANT the person asking the question to know how tight you and Rose are. You do the little "flashes before your eyes" evaluation, share a coy knowing smile with Rose and then you just both kind of mutter something or look away. "Oh, yeah, every now and then...," Rose says, "Josh is just so busy, you know?"

2) E-mail chains: so fun, right? So fun. But lately I have found that like, about once a week, my e-mail chains get gum stuck to their soles (work with me here) as someone unintentionally responds in the chain just to me (intending to write to the whole group). I NEVER KNOW HOW TO HANDLE THIS.

Do I...:
a) forward the e-mail to the other people originally on it, CCing the sender (Tyler) and writing something like "Tyler, looks like you were dozing off at the mouse again?" (that classic question)
b) respond directly to Tyler with a trying-so-hard-to-be-casual "Oh hey, think you sent that just to me, um...?"
c) do nothing and wait for Tyler to either realize it or not realize it while I nervously click on the chain over and over again as I bite my nails?

Usually I am too stunted with indecision/anxiety to do anything other than option c.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

when :-/ just isn't enough...

I have tired of the traditional emoticons. There simply are not enough to convey the specific and subtle range of emotions I find myself yearning for on a daily gchatting/gmailing/texting basis. I've developed a few though that I am hoping will pull a Pattinson and advance from dwelling in Goblet of Fire-style semi-obscurity to HITTING IT BIG:


:-? = anxious/self-conscious

Ex.: Why hasn't she accepted my friend request yet :-? It's been five days!!


%-) = rolling eyes (Note: This is not the way I want this one to be represented. GOOGLE, QUIT TOOLIN' AROUND AND MAKE A PROPER "ROLLING EYES" EMOTICON!)

Ex.:Tim:
it's just that i have such booked days
i'm going to *try* to see her soon i guess
she emails me about seeing movies and stuff
i just literally haven't had a day free
Me: %-)


:-} = condescending smirk

Ex.: :-} I don't know which is worse: that you saw "The Ugly Truth" or that you tweeted that you saw it...


:-@ = STFU

Ex.:Kim:
I just walked out of my gym and LITERALLY BUMPED SMACK INTO JESSE MCCARTNEY
Me: :-@

Thursday, August 6, 2009

shaky standing

I've realized that whenever I work up the courage to write a somewhat confrontational/bitchy/formal e-mail to a friend about something that's bothering me, and then he or she responds with something nice and understanding (if not exactly what I was looking for), I immediately feel the impulse to write something back that overcompensates in the other direction: jokey, cute, casual.

No one, I've noticed, is particularly good at standing his or her ground.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

awkwarddd plan-making situations

1) When you decide to walk out on that plank and make plans to get lunch or a drink with someone you don't really know that well in some sort of concrete manner (Facebook message, e-mail, maybe even VERBALLY?!?!) and the date is set and you're kind of looking forward to it and like generating topics you can talk about in your head (wait, who would do that?) AND THEN, somehow, before the date in question, you find yourself at some meeting or party or bar and there she is, jus' chilling. You kind of do a head nod and maybe exchange a few words and then there's a pause and then one of you says "So, uh, we still on for drinks next Friday?" and then you (me) cringe even though it's not really that awkward but somehow the unexpected run-in pre-plans has completely thrown you off and made you doubt why you even sent the e-mail to make plans in the first place.

2) When you have plans with someone you haven't seen in a while for a catch up dinner or coffee and then you get an e-mail from him the night before that says something to the effect of "So excited for dinner tomorrow night, but was wondering if you would mind if we actually met up with four of my friends from high school who are having dinner nearby." Maybe you're, I dunno, Justin Timberlake and meeting new people is like NBD WHATEVS but if you're me (i.e. not Justin Timberlake) this is not something that sounds appealing. I mean how you guyz gonna catch up when there are four randos right there? The forced conversation, the questions no one actually wants to know the answers to, the awkward bill-splitting at the end: not gonna be fun. BUT you've already committed to the date so making up an excuse at this point is basc just making it blatantly obvious you want none of this "high school friends" intrusion going on. So you wait a few hours and then send an e-mail saying that you forgot you, uh, had to help your roommate with something and let's resched? (You never resched.)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

on their way out

My mom e-mailed my brother and me yesterday with a list of the board games in my youngest brother's room (which for some reason is where all of our board games are kept, shoved haphazardly into a wall-mounted bookshelf). She was in a "cleaning mood" and wanted to know which games we wanted saved.

The list was long, and many of the titles unfamiliar (Yali? Triopoly?!? Say When?), but I couldn't help but feel a sense of real loss as I scanned the titles. Of course, most of these games we played just once, if at all, after convincing Dad to please Dad please let us just have this one. And of course, the chances any of them will ever be played again are quite small. There are pieces missing; the boxes are crushed and misshapen; instruction manuals stained with coffee and soda.

The games catalogued in an e-mail, on their way out, humiliated... it's an end. It's not an ambiguous feeling, like the way that Arcade Fire song or two nearby strangers talking makes you feel. No, it's more finite. When Clue and Pictionary are marked for death, drawing in the margins just seems implausible.

"Just tell me the ones you want to keep for sure," was the last line of her e-mail. You can only delay for so long.

Monday, July 20, 2009

just a typical wknd

Friday, approx. 5:15 p.m.

I was walking about ten blocks to my apartment in humid 80-degree weather holding a bundle of button-down shirts in a giant plastic bag. My arms were stuck to the plastic, multi-colored monstrosity I was clutching due to the overwhelming sweatiness of my forearms (you're welcome for that visual). Sweat was literally just cascading down my face and onto the plastic (you're welcome x2). I somehow manage to get my keys out of my bag, open the front door and enter my building, only to see a little girl (maybe 5?) is getting on the elevator with her dad. They're totes easy-breezy Land's End catalog. I kind of fall into the elevator, the girl darting next to her dad. She looks at me as if I am Hagrid. Her eyes slowly move to her dad: "Mom always says she hates this elevator."

Saturday, approx. 1:48 p.m.

I realize that I have somehow become a "fan" of Megan Fox on Facebook. Had I been drunk? Sleep-facebooking? Had my (not so) subconscious obsession with Ms. Fox momentarily taken over my entire being? Mortified and confused, I gchat my brother ("that's so embar!"), change my Facebook password and remove my "fanship."

Sunday, approx. 9:50 p.m.

After a delicious late dinner in the West Village (Robert Pattinson's got nuthin' on me), I am jazzed by the small book that the waiter drops off at our table with the check, meant as a public guestbook for comments and messages. Sadly our book is basically empty, save for a small drawing and a short note. I write a haiku: "Little Owl is good / sliders, pork, chicken, cocktails / it ends with a hoot."

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

by a margin of 5

Everyone has that one person who updates his/her Facebook status way too much and with statuses that are wayyyy too personal. (...uh, right??)

Anywayz, this first status here was posted two weeks ago. Ya know, no big. Just got engaged while snorkeling. Her status before this one was "peanut butter is sooooo good."


Then this one popped up a few days ago. I was struck most by -- apart from the alacrity with which she conducts her romantic business and her generally blasé attitude towards significant life events -- the fact that apparently when it comes to "likability," quirky engagement story > sealing the deal.

Friday, July 10, 2009

it's a wonderful salad

Every time I go to the Whole Foods near my new apartment, I am irked by this "Wonderful Pasta Salad." I have never seen this particular pasta salad at any other Whole Foods, nor can I remember ever seeing the word "wonderful" used to describe anything that spends its days positioned between orange tofu and potato salad.

There is nothing about this mess that looks "wonderful," let alone even "remotely appetizing." In fact, my best guess would be that some Whole Foods manager got sick of discarding a full tray of the untouched gluck every night, and decided to have some wild organic fun and see if adding a wildly overpromising adjective made a difference.

Of course, I've been wrong before! Maybe there is some mind-blowing wonderment going on here that I am just totally missing. Maybe the salad magically replenishes itself? Maybe it actually tastes like a mix of avocado and hummus (a.k.a. heaven)? Or maybe the fact that when you squint at it, it looks like giant Swedish Fish swimming in a vat of silly string is enough to fill the anxious/irritable Whole Foods masses with boundless, unexpected wonder.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

things i am sick of (television edition!)

1) Character A: "Well, there's only one person stopping you from getting that job/promotion/girl/donut..."
Character B (squints and furrows his eyebrows): "Who?"
Character A (wise/knowing look): "..... You."

2) When a character is told a piece of information that is blatantly fabricated (i.e. her boyfriend is cheating on her with her cousin) and it comes from a totally unreliable source (i.e. her social arch-nemesis) but she STILL believes it blindly and wholly and acts as if it is true... instead of just, you know, double-checking with someone (her cousin? her boyfriend? anyone!).

3) TV shows about a down-on-his/her luck middle class parent who has a really messed up and morally questionable habit/addiction/profession but WHOM WE TOTALLY LOVE ANYWAY!

4) Whenever a character uses a search engine and it's some weirdo Google rip-off with an insanely large font and 1998 aesthetic. (This applies to e-mail and texting, too - why is it so hard for TV shows to get technology right?!)

5) Subplots involving clones, characters getting conned out of money, or daddy issues.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

<3 thy neighbor

I had only heard things about my new neighbor.

These are the things I knew about her:
1) She has dogs. Lots of them. Maybe five? They bark.
2) She recently e-mailed my roommate asking if she could borrow her CDs ("....if you even have music that isn't just on your computer!") so that she could "fill up" her iPod.
3) In return for said CDs (which my roommate inexplicably did offer), we received a bag of really soft home-baked chocolate chip cookies.

I had kind of been envisioning a not-as-toned Kelly Ripa with bad roots.

**

Last night, at around 9:30pm, I barreled from the elevator to the door of my apartment, stomping and growling as I do, Whole Foods bag close to body.

The series of events that followed happened as a blur. I need to break out another list, you guys.

1) I looked up to see that Kelly Ripa/My Neighbor was emerging from her apartment, clad in cute black bike shorts and a neon pink tee (she did kind of look like The Ripa!), gabbing on her cell, with three dogs (!!) following behind her.
2) Startled by her emergence, I stopped short, only to notice that there was a small Duane Reade bag hanging on the doorknob of my apartment. My first thought was that the homeless chick who is always hanging near my doorstep had left me a poisoned pie.
3) I made eye contact with Kelly, who then unexpectedly reached for the bag from my doorknob. "Oh, that makes sense," I thought. "She must have just been leaving her cosmetic items hanging from my doorknob for a quick sec!"
4) She fumbled as she tried to take the bag off the doorknob (mind you, this whole time she is like SCREAMING into her phone about some party invitation she didn't get yet). Panicking awkwardly (as if I would panic any other way), I took the bag off for her and tried to hand it to her (assuming it was hers), but -- instead of taking it -- she motioned that it was FOR ME.
5) Befuddled, aroused and sleepy, I walked into my apartment and reached into the bag.

This is what the note said:

"Hi neighbor, I had to bake for someone and I kind of overcooked this batch of cookies. Please throw them away if they are too dark! xo..."

I took out one of the cookies. It looked like an 8th grade science project or the remains of a small squirrel (take your pick!).

I wasn't sure whether to be thankful or disgusted, if she had actually been trying to take the cookies away out in the hallway (maybe after we made eye contact, she felt totally awk about having left us twenty pieces of coal to dispose of?), or if she had been wanting to hand them to me herself and give me a welcoming kiss on the cheek. It was too much for me to make sense of and my DVR was getting antsy, so I just gave up and ate one.

**

This morning I slipped a CD under her door. The note: "I burned this just for you."

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

this alternate you

My high school had this really strange tradition where every senior was assigned one morning on which he or she had to speak to the whole school for 15 minutes. It was called "Chapel" because it happened in a (non-denominational) chapel. Yep. Most of the time, Chapels were kind of blah, forgettable affairs. Seniors would talk about the Summer That Changed My Life or the Relative Who Made Me Who I Am or the Life I Am Meant to Have. It was all a little too Perks of Being a Wallflower for a truly sophisticated gent like myself. (This is funny because Perks of Being a Wallflower is such a quirky thing to reference!)

My favorite Chapel was when this super popular Abercrombie frat boy revealed that he was secretly this obsessive "Magic the Gathering" player. "Remember when I told you guys I was up visiting my cousin at UMass??!" he said with a grin, looking up at his Bro Posse, "Well, I was actually at a Magic the Gathering tournament in Philadelphia!" "Nooooo way!!" the Brody Jenners-in-training all howled in unison.

Sometimes when I'm feeling nostalgic, I want to re-read my Chapel. But I don't. I hate reading stuff I wrote in the past. It's like watching yourself in an old video. It's you alright, but it's this alternate you, who has all your worst features, relies on tired cliches and really has no idea how to dress.

Friday, June 26, 2009

futuresex/lovesounds

E-mail received last night from my friend, "Anonymanda"...

date Thu, Jun 25, 2009 at 8:27 PM
subject you know whats weird?
mailed-by gmail.com

i was literally just thinking like two days ago that why michael jackson looks/is so weird/different is something that i didn't understand as a child but thought i would at some point understand when i was older, but i never actually did. i then tried to come up with other things like that, that befuddled me as a child but i figured eventually i would understand. the only other things i could think of were like, existential and epistemological questions.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

new york in a nutshell

On my way into Jamba Juice yesterday afternoon, I took note of their prominent promotion (mainly because I was struck by the awkward neologism "blissdom") for a new blackberry infused-drink: BLACKBERRY BLISS!

New Yorkers are really taking it to heart. Pictured below is BLACKBERRY BLISS, New York-style, folks: