Monday, March 30, 2009

MonaLissa smile

I had no idea what I was in for.

I was in the waiting room at 8 a.m. this morning awaiting my very first MRI. I had envisioned an in-and-out thing in which I walked into a sterile, white room greeted by that robot maid from The Jetsons, stuck my hand into a hole in a massive machine, waited for a few minutes while "Disturbia" played overhead, and then it would be over.

I couldn't have been more wrong. I was in for the worst hour of my life.

The nurse who came out to greet me was named "MonaLissa." Yes, one word, pronounced like the painting. I want to think her parents were like: "Well, normally this would be a ridiculous name that would cause our daughter endless teasing at school and pick-up lines about her 'smile'... but I feel like if we just put that extra 's' in there, that'll totally throw everyone off."

Before I entered the room, I had to deposit my wallet, BlackBerry and watch in a small locker, which was a bad start, as it made me feel vulnerable and anxious. When I walked into the room and saw the machine, I turned to MonaLissa. "Wait, this isn't like one of those things where I have to lie still for an hour, is it?"

She cackled.

As it turns out, MRIs for your wrist are pretty much the worst. You have to lie in the machine for 40 minutes, not moving, with your arm extended out in front of your body. Imagine lying on a cold table as you feel your arm become increasingly numb... and there's nothing you can do about it. Then there is the intense buzzing noise (MonaLissa put earplugs in my ears, but that did little to curb the incessant noise, which reminded me of a cross between construction noise and the voice of Karen from "Will and Grace"). And also it is freezing cold. That's what it's like.

Every five minutes, MonaLissa would ask "if I was OK" over the loud-speaker. I felt like I was in some sort of Egyptian torture device, my arm slowly losing all feeling, and her questions were callous taunts. At one point I shouted the response: "NO!"

"What's wrong?"
"I feel like I am losing all feeling in my body... and I'm cold."
"I'm sorry... but, um, ten more minutes?"

I spent the forty minutes doing everything I could to distract myself: I counted my breaths (got to the 200s), tried to remember as many "American Idol" contestants as possible by season, and tried to recount every teacher I've ever had starting at kindergarten and moving forward.

When it was finally over, I told MonaLissa that it had been the worst hour of my life.

"That's what everyone says," she said. "On Friday, I did a guy for his wrist and he just pulled his whole arm out half-way through. It happens all the time. The only person who hasn't complained about the wrist MRI is a 10-year-old girl I did a couple of months ago."

"So you get to administer this torture every day, huh?"

"Yeah, but, you know... don't you feel good now that it's over?" It was hard to tell, though, if she was smiling or frowning.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Every time I get to one of these Ticketmaster security check "type in the words you see here" things, I go through the same thought process:

1) Well this is weird slash embarrassing - I can't really tell what those words are... aren't these things supposed to be straight-forward?
2) Am I abnormal? (This is the second step in pretty much all of my thought processes though, so don't think too much of it.)
3) Uhh, I guess I should just take a shot at it.

?!?!?! Three "n"s written in different cases?!?! Seriously?! Who makes these?!! Headmistress Queller??

I come lookin' for Gaga tickets; I leave wondering if I have become dyslexic.

Friday, March 20, 2009

in which i use a show aimed at 7-10 year old girls to frame a post...

My work days are about as predictable as the plot of a Disney Channel show. You know in the end Hannah Montana is going to realize family is really what matters and apologize to her BFF for ever doubting her.

There are some parts of my daily routine I unequivocally love and others that I have just learned to grudgingly accept (= the jet of air that strikes the back of my head when I enter my Starbucks, the influx of people who enter the subway at Union Square, etc.).

One part of my routine that I have recently become hyper-conscious of is the sidestep I perform every morning after I have walked down the stairs into my subway station. Every day, no matter the weather, temperature or amount of precipitation outside, I am greeted by a large puddle at the bottom of the stairs (see picture). In the beginning, I found it to be totally gross and offensive. I spent way too much time thinking about it. Was it water? Sewage? Alex Mack? Did it re-form each morning or was it just always there all the time? I tip-toed around it with the most careful of steps, holding my breath.

Eventually, with the passing weeks, I sorta forgot about it. I just lumbered around without paying it the slightest glance, caught up in my morning playlist and concentrating on staying awake.

Lately though, perhaps with the realization that this mundane daily routine is actually my life, something has changed. I really take a second to regard the puddle each morning. I see it; I avoid it; I begin. My day doesn't start until I walk around the puddle.

Maybe I like the puddle because it's manageable. Hannah's going to keep conquering insecurity / the Mean Girls / a bad haircut and learn some valuable lesson, five nights a week, and I'm going to keep on sidestepping.

Monday, March 16, 2009

this cannot be real

What exotic locale do you think this brochure (which I received in the mail yesterday) is advertising? Guesses? What's that? Jamaica? The Bahamas? Some viral campaign for "Lost"?

**This is where I would put one of those "jump link" things if I actually knew anything about the internet... but, instead, you're just going to have to scroll down for the answer...**


(Also, just want to note here that I never realized how fun/therapeutic painting on top of JPEGs was until just now...)

Anyway, this brochure is for the Isle of Capri Casino & Hotel in (click on the image to enlarge)....

... BETTENDORF, IOWA, obviously!

(What body of water is that even supposed to be?!?!)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

if u seek britney

I recently sent a friend who has known me for quite some time a link to the latest in the Britney Spears music video oeuvre. The subject line of my e-mail? "I am pretty sure my whole life has been building to this." His reply? "Nothing brings out the hyperbole in you like britney spears ;)"

Forgive him his winky emoticon; his point is dead on.

So instead of telling you about how I went to the best concert I have ever attended and will probably ever attend last night, about the out-of-body experience I had after the first three notes of "...Baby One More Time" blared throughout the Prudential Center, or about how when I heard the guy behind me in line for Mrs. Field's cookies (this concert really was like heaven) proclaim "Britney legit changed my life" I nearly turned around and hugged him... instead of any of that - I will present some pictures.

There's only two types of people in the world: the ones that can rock giant, furry black headpieces... and the ones that observe.
I think this was the moment when I thought to myself, "Josh, WTF, you are within shouting distance of real-life Britney Spears wearing her Jasmine costume floating on an umbrella. CHERISH THIS MOMENT."What I love about Britney is that even though she is this larger-than-life megastar who can't leave her house without getting assaulted by thousands of skeevy men with cameras, you can totally tell in this picture (of her CHILLING ON TOP OF AN EMPTY JAIL CELL IN A SEQUINED BRA) that she'd totally rather be vedging out in her sweats, watching "CSI" and pigging out on nachos.
These two were in the row behind me. They both wore flannel. They both looked like extras from the "Twilight" movie, and I am pretty sure neither of them smiled or moved (other than when he went to get beers) during the whole concert. Though I did see her sway slightly during "Toxic." (Which just proves that you can't deny "Toxic," no matter how flannel you may be.)Living legend, you can look but don't touch.Yes, she sang "Womanizer" wearing a police officer's outfit. Somehow, it made sense. The thing is, as she writhed over shirtless men purring her lyrics about knowing "just just what you are," I was thinking about how on the first day of college my suitemate and I discovered we had the same ringtone ("Toxic"), about how I saw "Crossroads" with my two best friends in high school the day it came out, about how we listened to "Blackout" so much on the road trip I took this summer that "Radar" became as much a part of me as my name (=makes sense in my head). Because - and this is saying a lot considering the insane joy of her concert - with Britney Spears, what you see is still less than what you get.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

you can do it, Carson!

Too many weird things are going on in the world of Facebook now for me to even try to follow them. Apparently they're redesigning the home page/news feed sometime soon and I just don't know if I'll have it in me to muster even a half-hearted "this is a rant" post. Facebook just keeps changing and it doesn't care what I think.

Sometimes, though, I see something so ridiculous that I cannot restrain myself.

One of the recent developments that has sorta-registered on my radar is this new thing where you can click that you "like" a status update, a video, a new friendship formation, the announcement that one of your friends is attending "Adira's Bday DancePartyParty," etc. I have no idea who in Facebook Land decided this was just what everyone needed, but I'm imagining it was a curly-haired girl in her early 20s who wasn't popular in high school but then sort of got pretty in college.

I am looking forward to the day you can click that you "dislike" Mary's new profile pic or "roll eyes" at Kevin's new favorite movie ("Synecdoche, New York"), but this "liking" thing has me fooled. It adds nothing to the conversation, makes no sense (2 people like "Elena Glenn is not feeling happy") and also emphasizes your stalker-ness.

But I guess there is an upside. This new feature has paved the way for baffling / awesome occurrences like this (courtesy of occasional reader Sam Duboff):

(click to enlarge)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

huntin' for treasure

Finding restaurants to eat at in NYC is like some kind of weird treasure hunt. You have the map pointing you in the right direction (=, Yelp, cooler/older people in your office), you need some basic level of instinct to get there (= your instincts), and the treasure is kind of an unknown and ultimately ephemeral (= food). And the treasure chest is your MOUTH. (That extended metaphor is right out of the Odyssey, actually.)

Basically, restaurants are this big source of pride among people who consider themselves True New Yorkers. Everyone has their favorites... their go-to hot spots, their nice places, their cheap dives.

"Do you know a good Asian place that's sort of fancy but not too ridiculous?" you ask, all wide-eyed and innocuous.
"Oh, you have to go to Mandarin Mascara," she'll respond, smug and wise.
(Mandarin Mascara is not real. But you just know that, if it were, it would have killer spring rolls but kind of bad service / gaudy tablecloths.)

At first, I wasn't really into the whole restaurant knowledge competition thing. I just sort of ate wherever I came across... which was usually Pinkberry slash anywhere that seemed like it might serve me hummus. Now though, I've gotta admit, I'm kind of getting into the whole thing. What can I say? I'm attracted to that feeling you get when that e-mail chain about where to eat Saturday night is going 'round and you can send a totally effortless (by which I mean: totally effort-ful) e-mail which says something like: "Hey, I was thinking we could maybe try Rabbit Claw (in the Lower East Side)? Apparently they don't take reservations and you can only get seated if you arrive with five people after 8:45 and knock twice on the stand to your right when you walk in the door, but their crab cakes stuffed with pork rinds are supposed to be absolutely incredible."

There's a reason they made a sequel to "National Treasure." After you find the treasure once, you can't help but keep lookin' for something better.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Most of the abbreviations that have been incorporated into common parlance accurately convey what they actually mean. For example, when Betty types "TTYL," she actually does intend (usually) to talk to whoever she is chatting with later. (I am blowing your mind right now, I know). Anyway, it has always bothered me that one of the most common abbrevs -- "LOL" -- almost never actually means that the person who writes it is laughing out loud. It struck me just how much this gets to me the other day when in two separate gchats, my chat partners wrote: "I just actually LOLed." Basically, if you want to say that something is so funny that you are laughing at your computer, you have to use the word "actually" or "literally" before "LOL" because the widely accepted understanding of "LOL" is NOT that you are actually laughing out loud. OMG, dudes, we've got a totally misleading abbreviation on our hands!

I'm going to try to make "SOC" (= "Sort of Chuckling") or "GRN" (= "Grinning Right Now," an acronym which is doubly awesome in that it looks/sounds like "grin") happen.

Neither of those is going to happen, but, you know, you can't just go knocking the established system without half-heartedly proposing an alternative you know is improbable and silly.