Monday, February 22, 2010

On the road again

I recently joined Zipcar. Because like Rain Man, I am an excellent driver. And while I claimed during my five-year stint living in New York that I didn't miss driving, it was a big lie.

I was not always a good driver and I'll also amend my statement to say that I am an excellent driver....when no one else is in the car. I get kind of nervous and distracted when other people are present. But on my own? I'm focused and pretty awesome behind the wheel.

My early driving days, however, were not so impressive. The same day that I got my license, in fact, I got into an accident. Not with another car -- with the garage attached to my parents' house. We had a tricky driveway/garage angle and because I had scored a 96 on my driving test, I totally thought I had it in the bag. But it was nighttime and as previously discussed on this blog, spatial relationships are not my forte. I managed to wedge my dad's Toyota Camry into the side of the garage and since he was already in bed, I had to wake him up and have him unwedge it. Not the best first day of driving.

But hey, I've never gotten a speeding ticket. I did once get a ticket for making an illegal turn, but that's my only moving violation (unless you count the time I totaled my Dodge Neon...but that was only half my fault). In college, I successfully drove a 16-person van from New Haven to Washington, D.C.
, which I think is kind of gangsta.

But honestly, it's not so much the driving that excites me about becoming a Zipcar member -- it's the freedom. Already, I feel like my life has been infused with possibility. I can go anywhere, at a moment's notice. On Sunday, I drove to Connecticut to have dinner with a friend. Just...because I could. My next trip, I think, will be to Amherst to visit Emily Dickinson's homestead. And who knows where I'll go after that. Life is a highway and I'm gonna drive it all night long.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

What is the point of curling and other reflections on the Winter Olympics

Despite the fact that I have basically failed at every athletic endeavor I've ever attempted, I love the Olympics. They make me weirdly patriotic and optimistic about world affairs. If we can all get along on the slopes and on the rink, can lasting world peace be far behind?

Some thoughts on this year's Winter Games in Vancouver, in no particular order:

1. Shaun White looks like a less-creepy Carrot Top

2. Male figure skaters can be sexy even when questionably attired. Let's just say that I wouldn't kick any of these guys out of bed:

Ok, maybe I would kick Johnny Weir out of bed, but I'm not sure I could get him there in the first place. I am, however, fascinated with the euphemizing of his gayness that plagued commentators during the men's competition.

3. Curling looks neither fun nor athletic. Was it invented by hockey-loving janitors?

4. Now that has someone died, it's pretty tasteless to make luge jokes. Tasteless, but not impossible.

5. Watching the opening ceremony, I wondered if I had smoked marijuana and then forgotten I had done so. My favorite part was what I termed "Hipster Riverdance." I hope you saw it, because after an exhaustive Google image search, this is the best photo I can find:

I've mostly been watching the Games at bars or friends' apartments, because the picture quality of my T.V. is so terrible. But apparently, I'm getting a new flat screen T.V. from my Dad for my upcoming's hoping it arrives before the closing ceremony, which undoubtedly will feature more random and unrecognizable Canadian celebrities!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

So You Think You Don't Like Poetry

This poem, by Sharon Olds, is dedicated to
Etan Patz, the victim in perhaps the most famous missing child case ever. It was the Patz case that started the whole kids'-pictures-on milk-cartons thing. Patz's body was never found -- he was six-years-old when he disappeared walking to his school bus stop on May 25, 1979.

The Missing Boy

Every time we take the bus
my son sees the picture of the missing boy.
He looks at it like a mirror -- the dark
straw hair, the pale skin,
the blue eyes, the electric-blue sneakers with
slashes of jagged gold. But of course that
kid is little, only six and a half,
an age when things can happen to you,
when you're not really safe, and our son is seven,
practically full grown -- why, he would
tower over that kid if they could
find him and bring him right here on this bus and
stand them together. He holds to the pole,
wishing for that, the tape on the poster
gleaming over his head, beginning to
melt at the center and curl at the edges as it
ages. At night, when I put him to bed,
my son holds my hand tight
and says he's sure that kid's all right,
nothing to worry about, he just
hopes he's getting the food he likes,
not just any old food, but the food
he likes the most, the food he is used to.

Etan Patz

Monday, February 15, 2010

"Are they made from real Girl Scouts?"

Of course, the answer is no. But even if I found out they were made from real Girl Scouts, it might not stop me from gorging on them. (Side note: Wednesday Addams = easily the highlight of Christina Ricci's career.)

I currently have two boxes in my freezer: Thin Mints and Tagalongs. I am also fond of Samoas, but I refuse to buy them since they changed the name to Caramel deLites. What is that shit about? My friend Alan pointed out that maybe the person who invented the cookie was from Samoa and trying to pay homage to his heritage. To demonstrate my solidarity with this most-likely-fictional Samoan baker, I will not buy or eat Caramel deLites.

Other cookies have undergone some name changes or the name varies depends on the region where they are sold. I distinctly remember what now are called Do-Si-Dos being called Savannahs when I was growing up. And every year, there are new kinds of cookies, like Daisy-Go-Rounds (which are apparently cinnamon-flavored) and 2010's Thank U Berry Much cookie, which according to a review on Slashfood, is excessively sweet and contains cranberry and white fudge chunks. (Side note #2: How does one become a Girl Scout cookie reviewer and what are the qualifications? Is rigorous training involved?)

You can waste a lot of time reading "Girl Scout Cookie FAQs" here. My favorite questions include "Don't Girl Scout cookies contribute to the childhood obesity problem?" and "Why didn't my Girl Scout receive her cookie patch?" (Side note #3: The answer to the latter is unfortunately not "Because the bitch didn't sell enough cookies, duh.")

But you know what's better than reading about Girl Scout cookies online? EATING THEM.

C is for Cookie, and that's good enough for me!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Conversations with clothes

Listen up, Powder Blue Rabbit Fur Poncho:

Yeah, I'm talking to you. I WILL figure out how to wear you out of the house someday. I see you smirking at me in the closet, all "Ha ha, you don't have the balls to wear me!" Look, poncho, you pose a sartorial challenge, I admit. I have trouble with the poncho look in general. And then when you add the fact that you are controversially made of actual bunny fur...well, it's almost too much. I've tried putting you on over jeans and you look silly. I've tried putting you on over a dress and you look even sillier. I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH YOU BUT I AM DETERMINED TO FIGURE IT OUT IN CALENDAR YEAR 2010.

And as for you, Gold Lam
è Backless Halter Top?

Seriously, what the hell am I supposed to do with you. I know you were worn by Christie Brinkley in an 80s cigarette commercial, but still. I can't do backless because of what I have going on frontwards. But you're so undeniably awesome, in a Studio 54 way, that I refuse to give up and sell you on eBay. You hear me, Gold Lamè Backless Halter Top? You're not going anywhere. I'm going to wear you, even if it's under a blazer and only I know you're under there.

Black Ostrich Feather Necklace. Sigh.

Look at you. Maybe if I were an octogenarian opera diva from Vienna, I could pull off wearing you. Or Joan Collins. But as a graduate student living in a studio in Allston, MA? You drive a hard bargain. I have found a temporary solution, though:

At least someone can get some use out of you.

Well, Rhinestone-Studded Yves Saint Laurent Black Pumps, I have at least worn you.

But I want to wear you MORE. I only wear you, like, once every two years. I need more occasions to wear you, more places where I can wear you without looking deranged. You are the gem of my shoe collection and virtually no one has seen you. Let's work together on this, can we?

All of the above items were given to me by one person: my eccentric aunt, a cookbook author and former high-powered ad exec. She gives me tons of amazing stuff, some of which is borderline unwearable, but I just can't part with any of it. And the story about the gold halter stop? Totally true. Only me and motherf%$*ing Christie Brinkley have worn that thing. She was stylishly taking a drag off a MAX cigarette (a now defunct Virginia Slim-esque brand) when she wore it. Maybe I should take up smoking.

This stuff is only the tip of the iceberg -- I have more crazy things in my closet that I will reveal on this blog in later posts (red alligator cowboy boots, a funereal black hat with netting from the 20s, a sequined bolero...). Lots of girls have costume jewelry, but how many have costume clothes? For a long time, I was her only niece and the sole recipient of all this craziness, but there is now another....and she has no idea what's in store for her. Lucky bitch.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Feb Club

Last night, I participated in the Yale tradition of Feb Club, or now that I've graduated, what's referred to as Feb Club Emeritus, or Feb Club for Old People. At Yale, in acknowledgment of the universally agreed-upon fact that February is the dreariest, worst month, there are parties every night because time passes faster when you're in a persistent drunken haze. Feb Club started sometime in the 70s and in 1989, The New York Times even wrote an article about the phenomenon.

Three years ago, some alums got together and made Feb Club an international initiative and now, there is a Yale-sponsored party every night of February in various cities around the world. What can I say, we Yalies take our alcoholism to a whole 'nother level.

I had some reservations about going to Feb Club -- the tickets cost $20 (which included a drink ticket, appetizers, and free Mory's Cups for the first several hours) and I was pretty sure I wouldn't know anyone there since I haven't attended any Yale Club of Boston events. I bought two tickets, but at the last minute, the person who was to be my guest backed out. So I came very close to not going.....but damn, am I glad I did.

This may sound dumb, but Yale people are my people. I've had mixed results making friends in Boston, but last night, in a room full of strangers, I had more fun and felt more like myself than I have in months. I successfully finished a purple cup, which for the uninitiated, means I drank booze (in this case, a mix of chambord and champagne) from a silver trophy cup and then put the empty cup on my head. I reconnected with a few folks and met a ton of new people. And the venue, the Foundation Room at the House of Blues, was gorgeous and staffed with patient bartenders who learned all the cup recipes.

I had to sign a waiver permitting Feb Club Emeritus to use any photos taken of me last night and I'll probably regret that decision....but will add them to this post when they are available. In lieu of those photos, I'll post some old ones featuring Mory's Cups from my own Bright College Years.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

So You Think You Don't Like Poetry

Disclaimer: this poem is kind of a downer...but hey, it's February, one of the more dreary months of the year, so what do you expect. Besides, I happen to love depressing literature -- I once took a seminar in college called "Doomed Love in the Western World," taught by a bitter divorcee. The syllabus included
Anna Karenina, House of Mirth, Antony and Cleopatra and Madame Bovary. It was a barrel of laughs.

Without further ado, I give you "Rain" by Don Paterson, which appeared in the New Yorker in 2008. It's especially appropriate given that the Oscar nominations were announced yesterday.


I love all films that start with rain:
rain, braiding a windowpane
or darkening a hung-out dress

or streaming down her upturned face;

one long thundering downpour

right through the empty script and score
before the act, before the blame,

before the lens pulls through the frame

the woman sits alone

beside a silent telephone
or the dress lies ruined in the grass
or the girl walks off the overpass,

and all things flow out from that source

along their fatal watercourse.

However bad or overlong
such a film can do no wrong,

so when his native twang shows through

or when the boom dips into view

or when her speech starts to betray
its adaptation from the play,

I think to when we opened cold

on a rain-dark gutter, running gold

with the neon of a drugstore sign,

and I'd read into its blazing line:

forget the ink, the milk, the blood--

all was washed clean with the flood

we rose up from the fallings waters

the fallen rain's own sons and daughters

and none of the this, none of this matters.