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


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?!).