Wednesday, March 31, 2010

kutub and me

So I had heard some chatter about this new Domino's "Tracker" online applet, where you can "follow" your pizza from its origin to its arrival at your door... and thought it sounded kind of ridiculous. Not to mention transparent after that whole Domino's Employees Spit In Pizza YouTube fiasco. Like, since you now all think we do gross stuff to your pizzas, we will distract you with this super fancy and sleek online tracker!

Well guess the joke is on me, if you will, since - after getting a taste of this tracker for the first time - I will now be ordering Domino's for dinner every night for the rest of time. Roommate Amanda and I got hungry late Saturday night and since we are lazy and undiscriminating, we decided to order from Domino's (it can be exhausting living a life filled with this much glamour, to be honest). After entering our order (half pineapple/chicken, half mushrooms/olives -
can you guess which half was mine?!?!?) and submitting our address, this tracker made its first appearance in my life and I was immediately HOOKED, like even more hooked than when you hopelessly fall into a late-night Hilary Duff music video YouTube vortex.

I literally just sat in front of my laptop, eyes fixed on the tracker, as "Kutub" prepped our pizza and then placed it in the oven.
Kutub! Just his name was sort of giving me palpitations. I was imagining a smurf-like hobbit wearing a cute hat while making my pizza in some sort of factory made out of Legos. What was Kutub thinking about right now, I wondered? What kind of music was he listening to? Does his boss call him "Tub" for short? Suddenly though, post-Step 4 ("Quality Check"... LOL, riiiight?), "Abdul" took the reigns from Kutub: "Abdul has left with your pizza," the tracker notified me. "It's coming!" I shouted to Amanda, kind of short of breath...? And sure enough, five minutes later, the buzzer rang.

"Abdul!" I exclaimed after opening the door, in the same way as when you finally meet your friend's new boyfriend after seeing his picture a million times. He smiled uncomfortably, which I took as an indication he is having trouble dealing with the fame. "Nineteen dollars," he said, bringing me back down to earth.

"I wonder if Kutub has a tracker
on his laptop that says 'Josh is now eating your pizza,'" I thought later, as I stuffed Cinnastix down my throat. Though I could see him not really being that interested in the tracker, and switching tabs to get back to Facebook.

Friday, March 26, 2010

so you think you wanna dance

I know I am taking a CRAZY BOLD STANCE with this one, but, um, I feel like somewhere along the way, Dancing (as in, Going-Out-On-A-Saturday-Night-To-Dance Dancing) has come to stand for something way more culturally meaningful/important/fun than it actually, you know, merits. If a girl has just gone through a bad breakup, she sends demanding (but fun!) texts to her girls: "Can we please just dance tonight?" (Ugh, how I wish you could actually italicize in texts!) Or you'll be drinking wine with your friends in an apartment and the energy is building and someone just finished a great story that kept getting interrupted (so much laughing!) and then someone says: "I think we should forget Kelly's party and just go dance" and everyone responds as if they were just offered birthday cake.

BUT the Idea of Dancing, I've found, almost always surpasses Actual Dancing. You get to the bar or the club (or even the apartment party) and it's hot so you take off your sweater (trying to ignore the fact that everyone can now see the weird yellow t-shirt you're wearing underneath) and then the music isn't quite right (it doesn't matter how many times you request "Sexy Bitch," they're not going to play it) and while you're drunk enough to move like some sort of possessed, gangly freak for about ten minutes, soon you're not as drunk anymore -- and while there are maybe three people in all of New York who don't look like strange cavemen when they are dancing, everyone else does! You're tired and sort of bored and you don't want to be the One Who Suggests Leaving. So you try to tell one of your other dancing friends that you're "going outside for a second" but of course that is a task that takes a good ten minutes to complete because you have to wait for a two-second lull in the thomping music for a precious moment to shout.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Back in the day, people had the same attitude about acquiring Facebook friends as they had about any accruing any fun thing to collect, like Pogs or Absolut ads: the more, the merrier. Pretty much any interaction - a 10-second elevator ride on the way to a class, an introduction in the cafeteria, an accidental grind on the dance floor - would result in a friend request. It was the first way to quantify "popularity" and we ate it up like DRUNKEN LATE-NIGHT PIZZA. (College jokes: always so fresh and original.)

Well, things have changed, bros!

While (compulsive/self-conscious) people (like me) used to be hyper-aware and judge-y about how many "friends" people had ("Oh, you really want to invite Marcia to see "Pan's Labyrinth" with us? She only has 57 friends on Facebook" is the kind of thing I was always saying), now everyone has hundreds of Facebook friends and no one really cares. We have more important things to think about, like what to order for brunch and whether or not our Starbucks "guy" will comment on our cool shirt.

Nowadays, at least for me, the criteria for deciding to friend someone on Facebook boils down to one question: "Do I want to be updated on the progress of your life for the rest of time?" Do I want to know when you're going upstate for the weekend, read your "funny jokes" about Justin Bieber or flossing, and get flooded with tagged pictures from your parties... when we are in our fifties? Basically when I meet someone new at this point, I am talking about the weather or my job or how I just can't live without vodka cranberries, but I am thinking about if a Facebook friendship with you is worth it. Do I want to be inextricably tied to you for the REST OF TIME (think about it, you guys - Facebook friendships are forever) or would I be just fine never getting the chance to scroll past your links and likes and updates every day?

Of course, inevitably, I'll search you the next day and see we have three friends in common and one of them is my Ultimate Crush Fantasy's younger brother or something, and I'll friend you on the spot. Because when it comes down to it, on Facebook especially, prurient self-interest always trumps common sense.

Monday, March 22, 2010

extreme makeover blog edition

As some of you eagle-eyed readers may have noticed already, there have been some changes around here. Hopefully this blog now looks less like a 4th grade web project and more like THE CUTTING EDGE OF THE INTERNET. Note some fun new additions to the right-hand side of the blog, as well. Sooo fun and new.

Let's hope this change to the aesthetics is more Rihanna than Felicity.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

L.A. (high) lights

I was in Los Angeles over the weekend visiting some friends and the whole time I felt like some sort of neurotic anthropologist (I guess it's true what they say - personalities are not location-dependent!). Maybe it’s been too long since the last time I left New England or something, but I found myself continually playing "tourist," reading the names of stores we passed out loud (“Linoleum City!?”) and saying things like “So people in L.A. are really into fruit, huh?”

A few notes from the weekend:

1. The time difference. I made this stubborn, strange decision to not set my watch back the three hours, which was completely impractical and also totally messed with my "psyche." I felt sort of like a character on Lost, my mind in one place and my body in another (spelling it out!) – my Blackberry would tell me it was 1:38am as we'd just be heading out for the night, or I would frown at a 4:11pm upon waking up. Such confusion! Of course, this inhibited me from being fully present in L.A., and it caused me to blurt out totally weird (and not in the charming way) things, like when I shrieked "Why are we going to a supermarket at three AM?!" to my bemused/perturbed friend as we cruised into Ralph's right before midnight closing.

2. Playing the role. I feel like it’s mandatory for all outsiders to make some sort of "fuss" about how you have to DRIVE EVERYWHERE in L.A. It's one of those things associated with a city that you have no choice but to bring up... like, you've gotta talk about the bad food when you're in London, or the weather when you're in Florida, or the lakes when you're in Minnesota (?!). This is all to say, I found myself continually kvetching about driving for no reason other than this weird sense within me that I was supposed to. Similarly, on Sunday, when this Jack Johnson-ish dude was making our sandwiches at an ABSURDLY slow pace (like, my grandmother would be bitching about it), I yelped to my friend: “What the fuck is taking him so long?” not because I had so many hot places to hit up (L.A. has clearly rubbed off on my vocab, lolz), but because I felt like it was expected from me, the neurotic New Yorker. Just like it was totally unsurprising when my friend, the L.A. transplant, responded, “That's how things are here."

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

preparing, printing, packing

Whenever I'm about to go on a trip - no matter how long or short, really - I get kind of crazy anxious. I "prepare" to an excessive extent. I overpack. I overplan. I the zip code of where I'm going ("URLs as verbs" should be a category on Jeopardy or something). I print out like EVERYTHING possibly pertinent to the trip on the internet. And I worry. And then I write about how I'm worrying.

But invariably, when I'm actually taking the trip, I pass out on the plane (in that weird nodding head way) instead of reading the seven magazines I have organized in my bag; I don't even end up wearing half the clothes in my suitcase; and most of the plans I have drawn up with my friends end up getting totally scrapped for a diversion to an amusement park, or an afternoon of watching old Lady Gaga clips on YouTube in bed. It's just a fruitless endeavor to attempt a structure or organization for a trip; it doesn't and won't hold.

Of course, even with this knowledge, when the next trip rolls around I'm back to sending anxious e-mails beforehand, and trying to schedule an emergency laundry sesh so I can have ready my most "L.A. shirt"... which I probably won't even end up wearing. Though every trip is, of course, different -- specific friends, cities, feelings -- the days before always feel the same. And like most things, there is something comforting about this, but then also something closer to numbing.

Friday, March 5, 2010

introduction dysfunction

In this "post-awkward" time we live in, people are always going on and on about trying to "avoid awkward situations"... which, of course, is the kind of thinking that only serves to enhance and exacerbate the perceived awkwardness of any given encounter.

One of the most "classic" awkward situations is when you come across someone you know but who you aren't sure knows you... or, at least, someone you know but who you aren't sure is going to acknowledge that he already knows who you are. Recently, I've noticed more and more people going overboard with Unnecessary Introductions, beginning e-mails with "Not sure if you remember me from that class we were in together..." (um, we are Facebook friends, buddy - not only do I 'remember' you, I know that you saw "Shutter Island" last Thursday and thought it was "crzay.") Or mutual friends will make these clunky formal interactions while you share a look with the other person as if to say: "We have been through this three times and even had a ten-minute conversation outside that bar six months ago, but of course we will not acknowledge this at the moment as Kathleen introduces us yet again."

But this past weekend, I inadvertently took the Unnecessary Introduction to a whole new stratosphere. Heading into one of those grungy-ish East Village bars filled with sculptors and people who work in digital marketing or whatever, I was looking for my friend, her boyfriend (whom I had met like five times) and her boyfriend's friend (whom I had never met). Prepared for the "awkward" introduction (=kind of a redundancy, I guess), I skulked toward the back of the bar. "Well, I guess this one won't be so bad," I thought, "I know two of these people already, but not the third - it will all be quite straight-forward." (My thoughts are excessively dry and grammatical.) I arrived at the table, hugged my friend, and then turned to the two gents. "It's so nice to meet you," I said, extending my hand to... my friend's boyfriend... who I had met at least five times. Who has bought me drinks before! Whose twitter I have stalked on like ten different occasions! Horrified, I instantly realized my error, but it was too late.

"Did you say 'meet' you?!" he asked.

"Omigod, I'm sorry, I am sooo out of it," I gasped, doing my best Scatter-Brained "Hills" Girl. This excuse didn't go over so well! He didn't smile. I tried again. "I don't even know what to say. You guys... look really similar?" I slunk into my seat.

When he got up to leave hours later, I decided to whip out a JOKE to defuse the tension (which had already been defused, and really only resurfaced again because of my "joke"): "Well, it was really nice to meet you," I said, all overwrought and wry and wink-y. I immediately regretted it. I got home later that night and made a note on a stickie to friend him on Facebook the next morning.