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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

So, it's New Year's Eve, and I'm chillin' in the Jerusalem apartment with the parents. Not that I'm complaining -- I have notoriously bad luck/bad timing with New Year's Eve celebrations, which in the past have included being hospitalized, falling asleep in a cab on the way home from the airport, and being stuck in a supermarket parking lot in the freezing cold. So being in a Jerusalem works for me.

To be fair, the past few New Years have been totally pleasant, often including going out and dancing to eighties music with Mary and friends, afterwards eating Mac and Cheese at 2:00 am to absorb the booze. Last year, I joined Kate at Mancini's, where she informed me she is going again this year. Hi, Kate! Happy New Year!

What have I been up to? Well, I had ambitions to do a chronological account, but that's clearly not going to happen, nor would be very interesting. Instead, I'll give pictures with captions!

Okay, so in continuing crazy-cat-person-ness, I bought some cat treats that I have been giving to stray cats. I made friends with a cat that lives in the Armenian quarter, near the Armenian Catholic church. Also, there was a cat in the Monastery of the Holy Cross that DEMANDED so serious loving:
We went to the Temple Mount and saw the Dome of the Rock, which I will talk about in more detail later. I just wrote a bunch about it and deleted it -- there's so much complicated history there, so it's hard to write about it, particularly in the flip way that I usually write.

I will say, from the Temple Mount, you can see the Mount of Olives and the Valley of Josaphat, which according to some traditions is where we are all going to go when the world ends:
I sat and looked at the view for a long time. Not bad!

Speaking of the world ending, I generally don't wear crocs, but there are some cases where I make exceptions:
Cute:
I wonder if I wouldn't rather go here when the world ends:
Or maybe here:

Monday, December 28, 2009

Not touristy stuff

Strib review is up. Huzzah!

When in Eilat, I went to the pharmacy to buy some conditioner. While trying to figure out the difference in Hebrew between "shampoo" and "conditioner," I heard a wispy song in the background. It sounded a lot like the T.I. song, "Whatever You Like," a Popular Hip-Hop Song I have Quite the Fondness for, in lame whitey ironic way. Listening closer, I realized that it was the T.I. song. A little-girl voice was lisping lyrics like "Late night sex, so wet and so tight...You ain't ever have to go in your wallet...long as I got rubber-band banks in my pocket...gas up the jet for tonight and you can have whatever you like."

A little weird to realize when you're standing in an Israeli pharmacy in a town in the middle of a desert, not far from the actual Sodom and Gomorrah.

Intrigued, I did with the googling and you tubing when I got to a computer. I found the cover, and it turns out it was featured on Gossip Girl so as per usual I'm way behind the times on this one. It's a cute lady called Anya Marina. I watched the video and fell in love with it. For starters, JUSTIN KIRK is in it! Justin Kirk, of Angels in America and Weeds who grew up partly in Minneapolis and who I saw at the Jungle Theater!

So you must watch this video. Aside from Justin Kirk (if you don't know him, he's the one being ridiculously adorable in the video), it's set in a sex toy store, which gives a weird/fun edge to the theme of "whatever you like." If it hasn't already been done, someone NEEDS to write a graduate thesis on the different iterations of sexuality expressed in this video and its companion video, the original, epic T.I. video.

Here's the T.I. video, which also illustrates why I love him: sure, there are the obnoxious booty video clich├ęs, but there's a sweetness and a sense of humor.

And here's the Anya video:

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Petra-fied

Happy Boxing Day!

My family and decided to spend Christmas in the Holy Land -- we've got a little apartment in Jerusalem, across from Ye Old English Tea Shoppe -- Kosher!

Getting here was an adventure, delayed by snowstorms on the East Coast and a taxi cab ride to the wrong address when I got to Jerusalem. Once I safely arrived, I was right away bundled into a rental car by my parents and we drove to Eliat, a resort town on the border of Israel and Jordan. The next day, we took a tour into Jordan, to see the "lost city" of Petra. Crossing the border from Israel to Jordan was quite the experience -- you literally have to cross a "no man's land" of dirt and barbed wire.

Our guide was a young Bedouin who looked like Jeff Goldbloom, if Jeff Goldboom were a Bedouin. There was a long bus ride to modern-day Petra, the outskirts of which are a plain-looking town. Then you take a hike through some canyons, beautiful and unreal:
There's carvings and tombs in the rocks, which is lovely and unusual in and of itself. Then, you turn a corner, and oh
Holy

Shit
Yeah, that's carved INTO the rock, people.
It's kind of like beautiful American Southwestern canyons COMBINED WITH beautiful Hellenistic ruins with a little bit of ambitious Egyptian tributes to the dead thrown in, for good measure. Those Nabateans could make some beautiful shit.
Being me, I got distracted by the animals.

No, not the camels. The cats!

Totally cute, undernourished, and clearly diseased, apparently they're kept around to keep lizards and scorpions away from the tourist areas that sell souvenirs. Sniff! I want to take them all home. Because yes, I'm one of those crazies that cares more about cats than people.

However, the donkeys and horses that give rides through the canyon have an open-to-the-public clinic sponsored by Princess Alia, so there's for sure concern about animal welfare.

So: Petra. Holy fucking shit. I'm not one of those tourists given to Shock and Awe -- I'm a pretty lousy and easily bored tourist, to be honest with you. Today, for example, now back in Israel, we went to see the Dead Sea Scrolls at the Israel Museum and I was like, yawn, I'm hungry. But Petra. Not a bad place to go when you die, huh? Look at these tombs:

Pop-culture reference points: Petra was where Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade was filmed (they have an "Indiana Jones" stall in modern-day Petra) and nearby is Wadi Rum, the desert that's the backdrop for much of Lawrence of Arabia, I think.

Petra was really incredible, that's all I have to say. Not very profound.

Let's look at the Treasury, just one...
more time...
Sigh. Lovely.

Friday, December 11, 2009

I've found my new timewaster...

You know those fun blogs with a concept that post new things every day or almost every day?

Well, my friend Serena has thought of a good one: hotties in art. Check it out. You might learn something. If you have money (wait, you're reading this blog -- of course you don't have money. But if you know someone with money--they must exist--send them to Serena's store to buy pretty things).

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Snow Follows Me Everywhere

I don't know if I've mentioned here before that I'm giddy with joy that my story is featured in the upcoming issue of American Short Fiction.

They had a reading scheduled for this past Friday, at which an excerpt from my story was going to be read -- but it was rescheduled due to snow. Yes -- snow in Austin. Clearly, simply speaking my name was enough to bring wafts of snow down from Minneapolis. I am a chilly mortal.

Anyway, check out the saga on their blog, which is worth reading.

Also, check out the blog of this Austin resident: Amelia Gray.

Once upon a time, Amelia and I went to high school together, back in Tucson, Arizona. We didn't become friends till Senior Year, which I viewed as an opportunity sorely wasted. Amelia intimidated me because she actually wrote things, while I just thought about writing things. She had a play in the school's student playwriting contest (which I didn't know existed). She and her writing were funny and sharp. We stole hard cider and sherry from my parent's fridge to drink (that's what you get when you raid the liquor cabinet of academics). We went on a camping trip together, if you can picture that (I'm not sure camping naturally springs to mind when you think of me).

She went to Arizona State and I saw her briefly in Phoenix once, when I was in town for a night before catching a plane. She was reading If On a Winter's Night a Traveler and was a little distracted.

We crossed paths again briefly after college. She was on her way to an MFA program while I was just thinking about going to MFA programs.

We've crossed paths twice as AWP; the first time, in Austin, she was mid-MFA program, and I was mid "Maybe I want to switch MFA programs?" This last time, in Chicago, I stopped by the American Short Fiction table and was delighted to find excerpts from Amelia Gray -- excerpts from her book!

I think I babbled something incoherently to the person manning the table "She's my friend! From high school! She has a book! Is she here? Have you seen her?" Which I'm sure did make me sound weird at all.

I tracked down the table of the publisher -- Featherproof Books -- and there she was, with copies of her very own book. Which I bought and read the entirety of on the L train the next day. It's really good.

Now we are both in the latest issue of Annalemma. Here's a review of the issues that praises Amelia's story and says "there isn't a dull story in the lot," which I guess by implication calls my story...not dull?

And, full circle, Amelia lives in Austin, I've got a story in American Short Fiction, and a friend of Amelia's is going to read it, when I stop sending snowstorms their way.

Sorry for the fangirl babbling. Hi Amelia! I still think you are funny and sharp and still feel a little intimidated by you, in a good way. Come to Minneapolis sometime if you like snow! There's plenty to enjoy.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Dear Breast Cancer Awareness Fundraising Committee

Whoever Happens to Be In Charge of Marketing/Fundraising for "Money to Fight Breast Cancer",

I know that pink is the "official" color of Breast Cancer. Because women like pink, or because the insides of our boobs are pink, or whatever. I get that. It's annoying, but I get that.

I understand that for this reason you want to incorporate pink into the marketing materials that you send out. I also know that direct mailers are an important source of revenue to non-profits and for-profits alike.

However, here is the thing: when you send me a white envelope with one those clear plastic bits that lets you see the letter inside and that letter inside is pink, do you know what I think of?

Hmmm? Pink: alarmingly, eye-catchingly shining through a white business envelope?

Duh! It looks like an overdue bill! Your fundraising letter looks like an overdue bill!

Maybe I am an irresponsible person because this was my first thought. Maybe the other women of the pro-women mailing I got on because of Planned Parenthood are never late in paying for anything. But still, isn't pink in a business envelope kind of like the UNIVERSAL symbol for something is late?

So thanks for giving me a moment's panic, breast cancer people. (Wait, I paid all my bills! Is this that $20 dollars I still owe the dentist?).

Maybe this was your plan all along. Maybe the idea is that once people realize your letter ISN'T, in fact, the electricity company threatening to cut them off, they'll feel generous and want to give? Me, it just made me feel grumpy and I threw the letter away.

I thought you'd appreciate the feedback,

Easy O

Monday, November 9, 2009

REALLY old pictures of food




Okay, so I'm sick today -- down and out, out for the count, counted out, etc. I NEVER get sick, so I find the whole thing puzzling. I think, deep down, I have a healthy person's secret conviction that sick people are just faking. Actually getting sick is quite humbling.

I thought I'd take the chance to catch up on my blogging. I have lots of old ideas, pictures, etc. that during busier times simply sink to the bottom of my list. BAD BLOGGER. So today, I'd like to present a REALLY old installment of...

The Nervous Chef

Tagline: "Not Nervous? Well, you should be."

What's the Nervous Chef, you ask? The Nervous Chef is a cooking show that I have in my head. It's basically me cooking. It makes me nervous. Especially when other people are around. I tend to do dumb things, like putting in five cups of milk when making frosting, instead of the required .5 (that decimal point is easy to miss!). Most of my cooking involves me fucking up and figuring out a way to cover up said fuck up.

Today, the Nervous Chef Makes Deconstructed Lasagna!

I was asked to bring Italian Food to a dinner party and wanting to be different, took the suggestion to make "deconstructed lasagna." I'd also watched the "Top Chef" episode where they have to make a deconstructed meal and so the thought made me feel fancy.

I used this recipe. I'd never used Rachel Ray before and have this received idea that I'm supposed to dislike her. But I found the recipe actually lived up to its promise of being easy and easily done in thirty minutes. This worked well for me, as I'm someone who leaves shopping and cooking till way too late in the day. As it was, I was only half an hour late for the dinner party; with a more complicated recipe, I may never have arrived.

My changes to recipe: despite having recently begun eating meat again, I made this vegetarian, using vegetable stock and no beef crumbles. This was a mistake, I feel -- the result was a little bland. I did also add some cumin, which I thought worked well and would recommend.

My big problem, at the end of the day, was the fusilli pasta. I know it made the recipe quicker, and is a different "take" on lasagna, but I thought it ended up looking like spagetti-o casserole:


So, I added some reggiano cheese on top, which helped:


Because I made it one big pan rather that individual servings, I put all the ricotta at the bottom in one layer, which I thought looked quite cool:


So, what was the result, Nervous Chef?

I arrived at the dinner party and plunked down my deconstructed lasagna right next to a baked ziti, which looked almost exactly the same, just with penne.

"What did you make?" I was asked.
"Deconstructed lasagna," the Nervous Chef answers, proudly and nervously.
"What's that?"
"You know...it's deconstructed."
"How?"
"Well, just...different kinds of noodles...the sauce and noodles are cooked separately...and I've got extra cheese for you to add yourself, you know, on the side..."
"Isn't this basically baked ziti?"
"Well, you know, it's deconstructed..."
Nervousness very high now.
"But what does that mean? Isn't that a just pretentious thing chefs say?"
"It's deconstructed."

So, quelle surprise, I was not heralded as a culinary genius for my Rachel Ray lasagna. And I actually preferred the other baked ziti, because I realized that what I really like about lasagna or baked ziti is the chewy, chewy noodles. Yum. My fusilli pasta tasted limp and overcooked to me. I loved the ricotta and the cumin and basil, but it was basically limp and bland, I thought.

What I'd do in the future (it is a simple and fast recipe):
-Use penne or some other thick pasta
-Use beef stock and beef crumbles
-jam-pack the thing with extras: spinach, more vegetables.
-More cheese. More cheese than you would ever think necessary.

So, my ultimately nervous thoughts on my lasagna:




Saturday, October 3, 2009

TMI Time: Signs I am Pre-Menstrual

1) Yesterday, I ate an ABSURD amount of food, some provided by the undergrad conference I was attending (at which I was referred to as "Professor" -- holla!), and some made for me by a friend whose same starts with "m" and rhymes with "sin." Three helpings of chicken pot pie, my friends.

2) My digestive systems has ceased to function in any meaningful way.

3) I got weirdly emotionally over "The Rachel Zoe Project" on Bravo and then over a commercial for tourism to California (??)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Meta-food -blog stuff

Okay, being technologically deficient, I am the last person in the world who DOES NOT own a digital camera (and nope, not even a camera on my phone). This means, that these days I barely count as a blogger.

It means that I can't show you pictures of my new yogurt maker (!) and the greek yogurt it made for me.

I can, however, link you to this food blog (which doesn't really need my wee little link) and tell you that I'M EATING THE KUGEL IN THAT PICTURE RIGHT NOW. That's right, bitches. It's so meta it kills me.

I can also link you here, because the Divine Miss M is Divine.

I can also link you here, to pretty, pretty issue #5, where my story "Grillz" is published and ready to ship out.

So, that's some pictures, right?

In good news, my phone provider, Altell (which I like to affectionately refer to as the RC cola of service providers) has been bought-en out by Verizon (the Pepsi-Cola of service providers?), which MAY result in things looking up in the technology department for ol' Easy O. So we shall just have to wait with breath that is bated.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Why, in fact, sometimes you SHOULD go off on people

Arriving at my teachin' job yesterday at the insanely early hour at which this is required, I was lucky enough to grab a parking space on the street outside my building (the fact that I have an insanely early class is the only reason this is possible and even then it is tricky).

As I parked, I sat in my car for an extra minute (don't know -- probably staring into space [see: hour, insane earliness of] ). I noticed another -- large -- car pulling in behind me. Wanting to make sure I allowed the car enough room, I pulled up respectably close to the car parked in front of me. As space is at a premium, I wanted to make sure we all took advantage of it. I was surprised and annoyed to see the car in back of me park while leaving a solid four/five feet of room between my car and their's. Getting out, I couldn't help but feel annoyed (assisted, no doubt, by hour, insane earliness of). At least one more, maybe two more, cars could have parked along that stretch; now, it was maxed out. I thought about saying something, but the man was an older gentleman in a suit and for all I knew he could, like, actually be my Dean or another instructor in my department or something. Plus, I hate those people who are so obsessed with efficiency that they feel entitled to yell at others if someone else doesn't conform to their exact idea of the best way to do things. I myself am not the world's best parker or driver, and I know I piss people off without meaning to all the time. Glass driving, don't throw verbal stones, etc.

As I walked towards work, I noticed the man meet up with another man and they each started routing through a cardboard box. As I walked past them, one man offered me a New Testament in small, vomit-green color. I said "no" instinctively and then muttered an incoherent "and tell your friend to...park...mutter....room..." and kept walking.

As I took a few small steps further, comprehension started to dawn. Okay, not only were these men NOT in fact employees, students, parents of students, etc., they were FUCKING PROSELYTIZERS. And A FUCKING PROSELYTIZER TOOK UP NOT ONE, BUT TWO, PREMIUM PARKING SPOTS AT THE PLACE WHERE I WORK.

And as I walked, I got madder and madder. And more mad and more mad. And I decided, fuck it. See hour, insane earliness of. And so I walked back. I tripped on my heels a bit as I walked over, and the men saw me. But luckily this was walking to them, not walking away.

"Hi," I said to them. "Me again. Are you affiliated with the university?"

Just wanted to check that they weren't, you know, part of a student faith group or something, which would be a bit different.

The man didn't answer the question (evasive, changing the subject -- confirmation of my suspicions), saying, "We're from the Gideon society."

Okay, hotels, Gideon bibles, got it, I think.

"See your car over there?" I say. "See how's it four feet behind MY car, the purplish/bluish one? You're left all the space and now no one else can park there. That's a spot that students or people who actually work here could use."

The man gets all cutesy and condescending to me. "Well you see," he says, "little lady" unsaid but hanging in the air, "if I'd parked as close as YOU parked to the car in front of YOU then you wouldn't have been able to get out."

"I could get out just fine!" I say, for a moment not quite understanding him.

"Have a nice day," he says, once again employing the "let's condescendingly change the subject and not actually address the subject" tactic.

I stalk away.

I wish I'd ended the exchange in a more dignified way, explaining that no one who isn't disabled/disturbed would have trouble backing out of a space with a QUARTER of the space he had "politely" left me. And that it's actually polite to park a little tightly and make sure the maximum amount of people can use an area where demand is really, really high. ESPECIALLY IF YOU DON'T WORK THERE. AND ARE THERE ESPECIALLY TO SPREAD RELIGIOUS BELIEFS ON A CAMPUS THAT IS PUBLICLY FUNDED.

What I really wish I'd said was this:

"Oh, I'm sorry. Am I annoying you? Is it annoying when someone comes up to you while you're trying to do something else and forces their opinion on you? Yeah. Think about that."

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Update-y kins

For this week and this week only, I'm being featured on mnartists! Thought I'd link, even if it's brief, and also to acknowledge that they are awesome and not only is my name now correct, there's also this nice stuff about me up.

I also found out that in November I'm to be published here, which makes me apoplectic with joy.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Old Pictures of Food

I mean, the pictures are old. The food was not old IN the pictures, if that makes sense.

These are pictures from a little over a year ago, when I was up in Muskoka with my uncle and aunt.

We made homemade sushi! Wasn't it pretty?















I actually don't remember what this was:
[ETA: This is obviously the seven-layer dip, photo taken from above. DUH!]




We also made seven layer dip:




Sigh. Looking at these pictures makes me nostalgic, though I'm not precisely sure for what.

Is always weird to see pictures from a year ago, I s'ppose (Dude! Didn't put up pictures of me, but - I look different. Shorter hair, not a red-head, thinner, and hey -- good news! Invisalign works! Bye, bye snaggle tooth. I was all, "Oh, look at little me! I look so young!" and then I was like, that was a year ago. Huh.)

I dunno. Is silly, obviously. Life is not hanging out in your summer cottage, writing, swimming, and making homemade sushi. Although that was very nice.

If you want to check out a real food blog, check out "Instead of the novel..." at right. Pretty pictures of food!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

More Deep Thoughts About Important Things

Yes, I teach impressionable young-ish minds, and theoretically write books and other literary-type things, but there's something important you should know about me, and that is that I'm completely obsessed with the legendary Ms. Britney Spears.

I've been "outing" myself more and more recently, so this won't be news to most of you...I have long, complicated thoughts and theories about why I love Ms. Britney so much, and that's matter for another day. It has a lot to do, as most pop culture obsessions do, with growing up in the particular cultural moment that I have, and the fact that Britney, as a celebrity, has come to mean and stand for lots of things, both to the culture and to me personally. To explain my complicated feelings -- which in the past, have consisted of envy, disgust, admiration, morbid fascination, schandenfreude, pity, admiration, frustration, and now mostly consist of "You go, girl!" -- would take a long time and involve sharing lots of complicated stuff about myself.

So for now, I'll just explain what I love about the following clip from a Britney concert.

1) The fact that, a few days ago, feeling grumpy and stressed, I decided that the ONLY thing that would make me feel better would be to watch Britney dance to "Toxic."

2) The fact that, at first, seeing the midriff baring and tight bright pants, I was like, "Oh an old Britney clip" only to realize that in fact this is from her concert like LAST WEEK. This is CURRENT Britney, people. AMAZING! She's looks great!

3) The fact that she STILL wears freaking midriff tops CONSTANTLY despite the fact that the fad has long past and that, although she's got a nice tummy these days, it's not the scary-buff abs of yore. It's like she's stuck a little in 1999, which is both sweet and sad.

4) But, snideness aside, her abs and body do look great. She jumps all around and there's NO BOUNCING of her tummy. It's all muscle. I shudder to think what would happen if I jumped around in a midriff-baring shirt, under bright lights, no less. Lord.

5) OH MY GOD SHE'S WEARING GLASSES! Girl is dancing in glasses! And has to adjust them during the routine. It might be the cutest thing ever.

6) Her TERRIBLE hair. This makes me feel so bad for Britney. Girl has no hair! She's dyed it so much and had so many extensions that she has very little real hair left. And despite being a millionaire many times over, her weaves almost always look ratty. But I kind of love that. Do you know how long it takes to sit in a stupid chair and get all those extensions put in? I might be like, "Fuck it, I'm putting in a sloppy bun," too. And I absolutely would have shaved my head, too. Am I the only one to whom that particular piece of Britney-madness made complete sense? YEARS of painful dye and extensions and wigs that have WRECKED your hair and EVERYONE makes fun of you about it. I'd buzz it off during a divorce, too. For realz.

7) Her dancing! Maybe not up to prime-of-Britney, but energetic and she looks like she's having fun.

8) The fact that Britney inspires me to dance and to have to fun with it. Yes, that's super-cheesy, I know. But true. And I'm not alone. There's a documentary called "How Britney Spears Saved My Life." Seriously. I wouldn't go that far, but I think it's sweet. Even the filmmaker was a convert.

Do your thing, Britney:



And, if you feel like, Get Naked:

Monday, July 13, 2009

What I Learned From Celeb-Reality Dating Shows on Vh1

Hey, y'all! It's summer, I'm teaching once a week (though I have an interview Thursday for some sort-of actual teaching work in the Fall) and doing one freelance editing project. Lots of time to write, to revise my novel!

So, obviously, I've been watching a lot TV.

Here's what I've decided I've learned about LOVE (or rather dating) from Vh1's reality dating shows.

(1) When you first meet someone, you have to stand out from the crowd. In reality dating shows, this is exaggerated, of course, as there are twenty girls/guy to one girl/guy. But, it's just as applicable in real-life in, say, a bar or a party. You can't hang back and expect them to come to you. Even it's "not your style" to be aggressive or "throw yourself" at someone, you kind of have to SOMETHING at first, or you're going to get eliminated (or not make contact).








(2) Good ways to stand out from the crowd include actually going up to the person you like and talking to them; casually ask to take them to one side, if you have to. Just ask cool and calm about it.

(3) Bad ways to stand out from the crowd include getting really drunk or offering to jump from large heights to get their attention.
*addendum: JUST BECAUSE THERE IS LOTS OF BOOZE AROUND DOES NOT MEAN THAT YOU SHOULD DRINK IT ALL. THIS CAN RESULT IN VOMITING, VIOLENT BEHAVIOR, EMBARRASSING PRATFALLS AND SLIPS OF THE TONGUE, etc.




(4) HOWEVER, all that being said, once you HAVE spent a little time with the person and they don't seem to be feeling you, there's pretty much fuck-all you can do about it. Last-ditch efforts to give them flowers, camp out in front of their room, write them a song, make them a meal, etc. will _probably_ not work. They might think it's sweet (or, creepy) and it'll make them feel worse about rejecting you, but they'll still reject you eventually. It's just drawing out the agony.




(5) On the same note, if they seem to be more into someone else, they probably are. Initial attraction is pretty strong. We do tend to make important decisions quickly.

(6) HOWEVER, if the object of your desire finds out something really damning about the more-attractive person, that can sometimes free up the field.

(7) On a related note, don't try to hide really damning facts about yourself. If you have a significant other already, still live with your ex, are a sex addict, are homeless, broke, live with your parents, your ex-girlfriend thinks you're gay, etc. it WILL come out. Best to broach that stuff yourself, in as positive and non-defensive a way as possible. Then you seem honest and open, and not like a jerk who's hiding something. Then the damning fact bonds you together rather than estranging you from the one you want.

(8) SO, if you get your hands on a damning fact (such as the ones listed above) about a person the object of your desire favors, you can often bring that fact up and get that person out of there. Then you seem awesome in comparison.

(9) HOWEVER HOW YOU DO THIS IS VITALLY IMPORTANT. It often works to just have the fact "come out" in conversation, so that it's not directly traceable back to you; or you can pass the information and have someone else do the dirty work (however, with this approach, you risk not getting the credit as well as dodging the blame). Another approach is to just tell the One You Want the damning fact in person. Act really upset and make a lot of hay of the fact that you're "really there" for them, and it upsets you so very much that other people are hiding things when you've been totally open. Make sure to emphasize that you don't to like rat out someone else, but that you're "not here to make friends" but rather to get the One You Want. So, even if your actions may seem two-faced and manipulative, it's all in the service of Getting the One You Want! You care! You're "stepping up."
*It's a fine line though, between bringing up these damning facts about others, and seeming obsessed with bringing other people down. Make sure you can put aside your desire to bash your opponents when necessary, and concentrate on getting to know the object of your desire. Otherwise, you seem mean-spirited and boring.







(10) While showing you care and that you're "willing to fight" for the One You Want, it's best not to actually GET into a physical fight with your rivals. Thus, when "calling them out" on the damning fact, don't get up in their face and curse them out, or throw things, or break things. This makes you like an unstable person and reflects badly on you, which is the opposite of what you want.



(11) Balancing friendship and love is extremely tricky. Being popular with members of your own sex reflects well on you and might increase your chances of love. However, excessive loyalty to friends can often negatively affect your chances, as you seem more interested in your friends than in the object of your desire. It's good to be friendly to every one, but be willing to throw your friend under a bus if you really have to. Also, don't pursue the same person as your best friend. This tends to be bad for everyone.




(12) When getting closer to the One You Love, it's important to be open and express your feelings. If they ask how you're feeling, tell them! Don't hold back. They can't read your mind. If you really like them, tell them.
*Like I said though, do this when you're getting closer to them. Not on your first date. That can seem over-eager. But, in general, it's better to have said your piece and stand by it, then to hold back and regret it later.





(13) To have sex or not to have sex? If you're not sure you're the only one your Love wants, do you have sex with them, or do you hold off for exclusivity? That's a really tough call and ultimately up to your best judgment. Holding off does give you an edge, but it's not foolproof. I will say this though: if it's a choice between you and one other person, and your Love wants to hang out with you FIRST and then wants to hang out with the other person later, don't have sex with them. They don't like you. We tend to save the best for last. It's the day-date/night date thing. You have the night-date with the person you really like. So if you get the first date, you're toast, baby.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Okay, clearly I'm ridic

I ordered some books from amazon today, and among their recommendations (most of which were right on: Margaret Atwood, a book of fairy tales, a cultural studies book), they suggested Camus' The Stranger.

Obviously, amazon thinks I am going through an existential crisis. Or that I'm an angsty teenage boy.

Clearly I'm obsessed with what computer systems think of me. It's like how in middle school I obsessively took quizzes in lady magazines. It's a chance to pretend you can understand what you never really get a chance to understand: what someone else thinks of you! Even if that "someone else" is a magazine or a computer system. And the intent at the end of the day is for you to buy things.

In honor of Camus:

Friday, June 26, 2009

Feeling hot, hot, hot

Yes, so creative I know. But it's hot! And humid! And...dang!

Added a blog to the right: "Punching Little Birds in the Face." A very talented lady who is becoming, like, a famous poet.

Am a winner in the Mnartists flash contest. I think this is awesome,and I get to be in a reading in August! However, they do call me lauren. Still, you can't have everything, I suppose.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Ha!

Now the movies I like are:

Dark Movies Starring Dustin Hoffman

Cerebral Foreign Movies

Romantic Movies

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Also

I was also thinking of naming my book after a wine term. It has lots of advantages -- there's lots of wineries in Oregon, one of the characters is an alcoholic, etc.

So I looked up some terms, and none of them were that great (although, I realized that enzymes are important to making wine, and one of the characters studies enzymes...). But two I liked:

Sweet Reserve

Cold Stabilization

I particularly like "Sweet Reserve" -- it sort of sounds like a romance novel title, and one of my characters is a romance novelist. But it also sounds like a weird, intriguing contraction -- which is good, I think. And I like the multiple meanings of "reserve." Here's the definition of "Sweet Reserve":

Sweet Reserve
A sample of the original juice from which a wine is made, used to sweeten the finished wine after fermenting to dryness and stabilized...The advantage of using a sweet reserve to sweeten a stabilized dry wine is the it adds sweetness, fresh flavor, and natural aroma to the wine. It may also improve the color of the finished wine somewhat.
From http://winemaking.jackkeller.net/glossary.asp


Possible Novel Titles

The Grafting Season

Divine Grafts

Divine Drafts

The Divine Graft

The Reason Why

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Ha!

According to Netflix, these are the categories of movies I like:

Critically-acclaimed Witty Comedies

Romantic Dramas

TV Shows

Dark Independent Movies Featuring a Strong Female Lead

Suspenseful Crime Movies*

*I really do hate all those non-suspenseful crime movies

I larf, not because it's not accurate, but because it's creepily accurate. And lots of their recommendations are either favorites or movies I really want to see (Although is "Y Tu Mama Tambien" really a "witty comedy"? I'm not sure. I think more "Occasionally Funny Sometimes Sad Coming of Age Drama Featuring an INSANE Amount of Nudity and Pretty Beaches")

I wonder if netflix is just going to get more and more specific? I half expect the next time I log in for the categories to be:

"Romantic Comedies With Actual Witty Dialogue and Believeable Chemistry Between the Leads, Which Can Include Movies With Hugh Grant, Julia Roberts, and Drew Barrymore, But Does Not Necessarily Give Any of These Actors a Free Pass, i.e., If You Can't Tell the Quality Difference Between "Music and Lyrics" and "50 First Dates" You Are Retarded."

OR:

"Independent Dramas that Are Not Too Precious For Their Own Good and Feature Strong, Complex Characters, i.e., Lots of Stuff With Laura Linney and Mark Ruffalo But That Does Mean These Actors Get A Free Pass, Either."

Thursday, May 21, 2009

OMG you guys, this is going to be the best summer EVER

So, I'm all grad-u-mated from the Mother F'ing Awesome program, and though I don't yet have a "job" lined up to the "fall," there is stuff going on this summer I thought you all should know about:

I'm participating in a reading to raise money for Kulture Klub. It's June 10th, at 7:00, at the Loft Literary Center. I'm reading with a bunch of other artists -- there will be visual stuff, written stuff: all kinds of stuff. Presentation will be quick n dirty -- less than an hour. And then free food and drink! Admission by suggested donation of $10-15 dollars. For a good cause! Less than a movie! On the weekends! At Southdale! If you buy snacks!

I'm also TEACHING a class at the Loft this summer, starting June 17th: "Writing Fairy Tales and Folk Tales." The Loft is also having an open house tonight, so I'll be pimping the class.

I'll be teaching the same class at the University of Wisconsin-Stout for a weekend over the summer. Check out my classy picture.

Off-Leash Area is also having a show this summer: "Ivan the Drunk and his Terrible Tale of Woe." I'll be tending box office June 7th and June 11th.

I'm also tending box office June 5th for this show.

So much stuff! And I will be revising my novel. There's that, too.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Overheard at the busstop

A woman said today, while I was waiting for the 2 bus, "I don't want to smoke. There's a pregnant lady... and a girl [referencing me]...reading a book."

I liked that I was in the same category as the pregnant lady.

I watched You Can Count On Me tonight and smoked three cigarettes inside my apartment. Bad plan.

I couldn't help it! Mark Ruffalo was smoking in the movie!

I'm impressionable.

Even if I am the girl reading the book.

Monday, May 4, 2009

This is really shocking

I have a really shocking confession to make.

I really didn't like Neko Case's Fox Confessor Brings the Flood.

I think I pretended I did.

But I found it atonal, over-done, boring, and pretentious.

I liked one song on it, a little, "That Teenaged Feeling". But that was it. And I have one other song by her, "In California," that I liked.

But I am obsessed with her new song, "People Got a Lotta Nerve." I can't stop listening to it. I might even buy the album.

It's...a real pop song. Yes, it's musically interesting and she's got that weird voice going on, but it's...catchy. And structured. And...funny! And the lyrics are light-hearted but interesting. And it makes you feel totally confident and sexy. I listen to it and sing along and am like "YEAH! I'm a man man man man man man eater!"

I am so not a man eater.

I love that song.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

A rant -- sorry, few will hear it.

Okay, I just have to say something. And as pretty much no one reads this, so oh well.

But I am fucking sick and tired of hearing Americans complain about how "their tax dollars" are being used to "bail out rich people that caused the collapse" and how they want to tar and feather corporate executives. And Frank Rich's article about how this outrage over AIG bonuses and lack of transparency in the distribution of stimulus dollars is Obama's "Katrina moment," just made my feelings boil over.

I'm as opposed to the horrible, secretive, inefficient corporate culture as anyone. I too think our economic policies of the last couple decades have been worse than useless (and, I'm sorry to say this, I know how it makes me sound, but I've BEEN opposed to those policies long before most of the Americans who are now bitching have been).

I for sure felt a sense of vindication Alan Greenspan admitted his was "fundamentally mistaken" about his assumption that financial markets would regulate themselves; I rejoiced that his horrible, Ayn Randian policies have been proven to be, well, wrong. Markets don't fucking regulate themselves. Everyone pursuing their own self interest DOESN'T result in a solution that is optimal (and don't quote game theory at me -- think about it for five seconds and get back to me).

But here's the thing, Americans: where is your sense of responsibility in all this mess? Why pick NOW to get all outraged and say it's "not you," and your "tax dollars" shouldn't be used for all this bailing out of corporations and rich executives and that you demand transparency in government and economics and that making money isn't a good thing in and of itself and that people should think of the common good?

Wake up call: who voted for politicians that supported this culture of executive and corporate secrecy and pursuit of money and self interest and deregulation? YOU DID. Who supported Bush and Regan and politicians that supported deregulation and pursuit of free enterprise and self-interest at all costs? YOU DID. Who, for that matter, bought Ayn Rand's fucking books? YOU DID. Are we are a republic or aren't we? IF YOU VOTED FOR THE PEOPLE THAT PROMOTED THE CURRENT POLICIES THAT ARE FUCKING US than hey, guess what? This IS your fault, not the fault of people WHO HAVE ONLY BEEN IN CHARGE FOR A MATTER OF FUCKING MONTHS.

Stop fucking evading responsibility. Stop blaming everything on "greedy executives" and "greedy politicians" -- guess what? YOU ARE PART OF THE CULTURE THAT CREATED THIS. You voted for people who told you that businesses should be left alone to do their thing; you voted for people who told you to slash organizations that helped the common good; you shopped at Wal-mart and bought bad stocks and said greed was good and voted for Regan and the Bushes. So you basically said that these kind of policies were fine by you.

And now, you're conforming to every single horrible stereotype of Americans and avoiding subtly and self-sacrifice and thoughtful consideration in favor of blind outrage that ignores the complex REALITY of the situation in favor of the simple "we're right and a select group of EVIL PEOPLE are wrong" rhetoric that has so comprised America in the eyes of the world. Stop blaming everything on someone else. If we're all in this together -- if we truly have democratic principles -- that we will stick by the people we elected. We will acknowledge our mistakes. We will contribute to the COMMON good and stop fucking bitching about it.

The most revealing part of Frank Rich's article is this:

Since Americans get the big picture of this inequitable system, that grotesque reality dwarfs any fine print. That’s why it doesn’t matter that the disputed bonuses at A.I.G. amount to less than one-tenth of one percent of its bailout. Or that CNBC — with 300,000 viewers on a typical day by Nielsen’s measure — is a relatively minor player in the crash. Or that Edward Liddy had nothing to do with A.I.G.’s collapse, or that John Thain, of the celebrated trash can, arrived after, not before, others wrecked Merrill Lynch.

These prominent players are just the handiest camera-ready triggers for the larger rage. Passions are now so hot that even Bernie Madoff’s crimes began to pale as we turned our attention to A.I.G.’s misdeeds, just as A.I.G. will fade when the next malefactor surfaces.


That's exactly it, right? We're ignoring the fine print. We're blaming people in charge now, rather than acknowledging, "hey we voted for and encouraged all those people that fucked us." We're demanding INSTANT RESULTS rather than than giving those now in charge any time at all to change and rectify the policies of the last TWO TO THREE DECADES IF NOT LONGER.

At the end of his article, Frank Rich acknowledges, briefly, that perhaps ignoring the big picture in favor of demonizing Obama because it's convenient might be a bad thing:

As the nation’s anger rose last week, the president took responsibility for what’s happening on his watch — more than he needed to, given the disaster he inherited. But in the credit mess, action must match words. To fall short would be to deliver us into the catastrophic hands of a Republican opposition whose only known economic program is to reject job-creating stimulus spending and root for Obama and, by extension, the country to fail. With all due deference to Ponzi schemers from Madoff to A.I.G., this would be the biggest outrage of them all.
Yeah, fucking exactly, Frank Rich. Thanks for putting that as an afterthought to your article about "populist rage." Blaming Obama and those who are in charge is shortsighted. It delivers us into the hands of THE VERY PEOPLE WHO GOT US INTO THIS MESS WHO HAVE NO REAL PLAN TO GET US OUT OTHER THAN SITTING THERE AND CRITIQUING OBAMA. That is a scam, a scheme, a manipulation.

So stop feeding the "populist rage." Start acknowledging that a manipulation of "populist rage," got us into huge messes in the first place. Passions are easy to stir; complex, long-term solutions are much more difficult, and involve rolling up your sleeves and getting your hands dirty. If you critique Obama for even DEALING with people who are part of the problem, then you resign him to doing nothing: sitting in the Oval Office and feeling smugly superior. That's not the same as Mike Brown and Katrina. Obama has been in office for months, not years. And what he's dealing with is the result of YEARS of policies that the American people have come out and said they supported, time and again.

So let's be American for once. Let's be self-sufficient and innovative and responsible unto ourselves. Let's not be whiney and intolerant and act like mysterious governmental and corporate figures are responsible for our problems. Okay?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Spring Breakdown

Not a clever blog title.

I'm sitting in "It's A Grind" coffeeshop with my BFFHSAB (Best Friend From High School and Beyond). The coffeeshop always makes me think of the old, brilliant "Weeds" credits -- and I'm currently drinking an iced coffee, which makes me feel like Mary-Louise Parker in the brilliant first season. Which goes to show you how mediated by television my life experience is. (It might work the other way, though: I do think that the first three seasons of "Weeds" do capture some aspects of life in a Western gated-community-suburban-type place fairly accurately, even if it does get increasingly over-the-top. I love that moment in season 1 when MLP admits sometimes racial stereotypes are true: "I like gin. I'm not fond of hugs." Like her character I like iced coffee, hybrid cars, my own bathroom, and gin -- and I'm not fond of hugs).

Before I typed all that, I should say that I'm back in my Western Suburban hometown for Spring Break. The idea was to get a lot of work done on my thesis, write a draft of my thesis essay, catch up on a bunch of miscellaneous projects, do some job/grant application stuff...my parents are actually out of town, meaning that Spring Break was supposed to be largely a self-designed writer's retreat, a la the summer. After all -- a huge lovely suburban home for me to work in, all on my own-io.

One my thesis advisers emailed me days ago asking how it was going. "Did you finish the last part of your novel? How's all that solitude?" I just wrote her back, saying "Um. It's going okay."

It's not going okay.

I spent two days lying around in my own pee (as the divine Miss M puts it) before realizing that my BFFHSAB is also on spring break and has tons of actual work to do, too. Trying to follow her example, I went with her to a coffee shop at 8 am this morning (suffice it to say, I still wasn't out of bed when she got to my house -- I had to be the Getting Ready Ninja). She's sitting in front of me, industrially doing work, because well...she's smarter and harder working than me.

The sheer amount of work I blithely thought I'd get done in what amounts to five days is started to press down upon me. WTF was I thinking? Why did I waste two whole days?

My lovely BFFHSAB has just lent me headphones (I forgot mine) -- which might help. So I'm going to take a crack at working, gulping my iced coffee all the while.

Gulp.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Whoa, it's a not post

I won't say "Hey, I'm posting again!" because obviously I said that below and obviously it was A LIE.

I have no particular reason to post again, other than that I'm always writing blog posts in my head, so why not write them -- not in my head?

Oh, and occasional vague feelings of guilt for not using the blog as a Self Promotional Tool (though writing that makes me feel like a Self Promotional Tool*)

*I stole that from someone else. Which is even worse.

Here goes:

My old story has been archived online here, on the Whistling Shade Press website.

I'm having a story come out here in the summer (Annalemma magazine). I submitted to them partly because I really like their mission statement. Read it! Also look at the pretty pictures and read the stories, if you like.

I have a book review here. This kinda makes me feel like a rock star. Or the Minnesota book reviewing equivalent of a rock star. Which I guess is like Ethan or Jake?

Oh, my inspiration to post this was to say: why is it that when I choose "shuffle" on my IPod, I just skip every song that isn't already a favorite song I always listen to? This keeps me in the same pattern of just listening to the same songs over and over, which is why I picked shuffle in the first place. But then posting distracted me enough to stop doing that. So I actually discovered some songs on my IPod I'd never listened to before. Um...well done me, I guess?

Although it's funny that I feel that I don't listen to enough songs in my collection, because this is pretty much the reaction of my Music Loving Friends when they see my itunes collection:

Me: (secretly hoping Music Loving Friend will approve of my music collection) Here's my itunes collection!

Friend: This is...all the music you have?

Me: Yeah.

Friend: Oh.

This is because I always whittle my collection down: I never back it up, and so when my computer dies*, I tend to let the songs I don't actively want to replace go by the wayside. I also don't put embarrassing old CDs onto my computer. As a result, it's a slimdowned collection, meant to impress my Music Loving friends (look! only...sort of acceptable music here! No embarrassing 90s bands!). And then they...aren't impressed, because my collection is so small. Because if I really Loved Music, I'd never let attrition whittle my collection down.

*This tends to happen to me a lot, which is matter for another day.

Sigh.

Peace, y'all.
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