Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Always a Bridesmaid

   8 one-time-wear dresses
 + 3 up-dos
 + 6 bachelorette parties  
 + 12 broken wine glasses
 + 1 foreign country  
 + 19 awkward discussions about my figure
 + 1 helpful observation that I “might have grown a size”
 + 9,874 angry tears
 + 284 happy tears
 + 10 hotel rooms
 + 1 trip to Vegas
 + 123 unsolicited opinions from elderly shower guests
 + 2 drunken blackouts
 + 1 friend lost
 + 9 enemies gained
 + 178 emails about penis straws
 + 21 vacation request forms
 + 7,000 airline miles
 + 16,000 US Dollars

Me never wanting a wedding

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Expert of nothing good, really

I'm fully aware that this is topic is well-trod among stand-up comics, bloggers, and thoughtful internetsters, but I must weigh in. It sucks being a master of trivial knowledge in 2011.

In 2001, I passed Boston auditions for Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. I made it through the throngs lined up outside the Park Plaza hotel, made it through the producer's written test with 30 other potential contestants, and made it through the producer interviews and saw my Polaroided head thumbtacked to their wall. They told me I was in the contestant pool. My phone never rang.

I will assume part of that had to do with the fact that I've had 15 phone numbers since 2001, and god knows which one I wrote down that day. But that small badge of Trivia excellence, my dominating audition performance, is all I've got left when the skank to my right in the bar will happily Google the answer to "Who is the only James Bond to be in one film only?" when the Triviamaster asks the crowd. I want to slap the phone out of her hand. I want to stand up and point down at her dumb head, yelling, "CHEAT! THIS CHICK IS CHEATING!" But that's something I might have done in 2001. I'm a goddamned grownup now. So I just write "George Lazenby, 10 pts" on my slip of paper, sip from my glass, and walk over to the Triviamaster and whisper THAT CHICK IS CHEATING as I hand him my answer. I'm a grown-ass man, dawg.

The point is this: I always relished my role as Information Provider when it came to helping people I knew get connected with information that was relevant to them. I would routinely get text messages from friends who knew that I would know the answer. Those don't happen as much anymore. Information has become devalued in the last ten years, even as the internet has become more cluttered with bullshit.

What pains me is that I have become no less hungry for new information, concepts, or music. I still yearn to connect the people I care about with what I think they would care about. And where it hurts most is music.

There's a million things in the world about which I am embarassingly uninformed. side note: Hockey is one of those things. I'm waiting for J.D. Salinger to swoop down from his hermit castle in New Hampshire and yell PHONY as I walk into work today with my Stanley Cup Champions shirt. But music is not one of those things. In fact, with each passing month, I become more and more laser-focused on what it is that gets me off about music. I find musical elements in unsigned bands' EPs that remind me of Oh Darlin! by the Beatles, or how a pedal steel can elevate a minimal song to a brutally heartbreaking minimal song. And nobody cares. People have their own musical taste (mostly wrong), and they don't need my expertise. And the more I feel like I'm approaching Music Nirvana, the less it matters to anyone.

And those subjects about which I'm embarassingly uninformed? It's all willful ignorance. The world is an ugly place these days. Our government is a mess. And the more I read, or plug into the CNN machine for an hour, the less I want to know about it. And the less I know, the more it passes me by. Which is part of the plan, I'm sure. Lazy voters make for easy elections.

So I will continue to post things on this blog which are more and more right, just so our readers are aware. My recommendations are not made lightly. I will tell you when I am a dumbass on a particular topic. But if anyone's looking to join an elite high-stakes Traveling Trivia Night squad, feel free to apply below. Let's win some goddamn airline tickets or something.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Mirror, mirror on the wall

by Trav

I realized that I was getting fat the morning I was brushing my teeth with my shirt off and my man boobs were slow clapping for me, demanding an encore.

I was flattered by the gesture because simple things like brushing your teeth rarely get awarded with applause.

I know then it might be a good time to stop the late night feedings in which I would ravage my refrigerator like a rabid, coked out raccoon. It was time for this man boobed raccoon to hit the gym, but where do I begin? What's a treadmill? Wait, what's a gym?

As I'm growing older I'm watching my friends running marathons, doing triathlons, and climbing mountains. I'm running to the bar, doing take out, and climbing to the third shelf for a jar of salsa con queso. Something isn't adding up here. Except for the pounds.

I ran into a friend who I hadn't seen in a year and he said I was looking "rotund." That's a word I normally associate with Santa Claus and cauldrons. Neither of which, I would take much pride in being compared to unless it was time to suit up with a bell in hand or as fixture at Hogwarts in Intro to Potions 101.

Everyone has their own way of saying things whether they are blunt and to the point: "You're fat." Then there is also that backdoor way of saying it: "You look like you've been eating well."

Everyone is a critic, but no harsher critic than that person in the mirror.

The mirror is where it all goes down. Self judgment.

"Oh, look at you fat ass. You are disgusting. You are lucky your lady loves you so much. Boobs all sagging. Stomach almost sittin on the sink. Damn. When did you stop caring? You're not gonna live forever big boy. If you want to spend some time with your lady, lose the boobs and belly, son. Go on naw!"

It sort of happens like that. Results do vary.

Your mirror. Your thoughts.

I guess that being said, you may see me in a gym near you and if you see me struggling with a machine, just lend a hand show me how it works. I promise you, my man boobs will thank you. They might even applaud you.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

My Church

by Lauren

The only time I feel 100% fulfilled is when I’m shopping. I experience a heartwarming excitement that I imagine others feel when they win a prestigious award or lay eyes on their baby for the first time. 

I step into Anthropologie and begin sweating a pleasant, nonintrusive sweat. Like it’s May and perhaps I'm wearing one too many light layers. My eyes sparkle and my lips assume a demure smile as I greet everyone I pass. “Darling skirt! It suits your figure.”

I use the word "Darling."

I gaze upon a feminine field of promise: bows, ribbons, lace, florals, pins, buttons, clips, patterns, prints, textures, knits, jewels. The potential to transform myself into someone else is overwhelming. I almost faint. I am elevated to a state of pure enlightenment. I am all-knowing. I understand the meaning of life. I could solve the world's problems. I could cure cancer if a scientist would just find me here, downstairs in Accessories.

I waltz about the store and collect items in my size. I make a show of carrying a heavy load of expensive clothing on one arm. A heavy load of material items that will make me feel secure and pretty. Maybe even superior. “Oh, yes,” I laugh to the salesgirl, impressed with my own adorableness. “I’d love a shopping bag.”

I climb the grand spiral staircase and round the corner to an abrupt halt. The sight before me brings me to tears. It hurts to stare directly at something so beautiful. My heart opens and love flows out, then I feel it come back to me. I have met my soul mate. I have found my perfect match. I have seen the face of God, and He looks strikingly like a wool-angora dress coat with an exaggerated shawl collar.

I discover it's in my size and I levitate. I drop my bags and disrobe in the center of the store. Love like this can't wait for a fitting room. I slide my arms through the fabric, one by one, my pulse quickening as I fasten the vintage porcelain buttons. I brace myself as I turn to face the mirror. A cry escapes my mouth as I see myself as I'm meant to be. The coat must have been made for me; it hugs my curves and masks my flaws. The ones that can be covered by a coat, at least.

I float to the register and bask in the staff’s congratulatory praise as they commend my taste. They all have the same coat at home, of course.  “Isn’t it sweet?” the androgynous blond asks, anthropomorphizing an article of clothing as if it were a puppy that wants to cuddle.

“It is," I agree, petting it.

I glide out the door and onto the sidewalk. I fall into step with my fellow New Yorkers. I love this city and everyone in it. I love life. I love myself.

My skin shimmers with productivity and a sense of accomplishment. I feel a Hero's Glory. It’s like I’ve single-handedly rescued prisoners of war, and I can wear them tomorrow to work. For the next hour, I sigh more than usual. I’m dazed and tranquil. My cheeks flaunt the most gentle blush, suggesting I’m experiencing the a runner’s high or engaging in post-coital reflection. Neither.  This is better.  

It’s the kind of feeling some pay $300 an eighth for, only much more expensive and gentler on the nose.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

An Open Letter to the MTA

by Lauren

Dear MTA, 

I am writing to tell you that you are in critical need of an ass kicking. 

It has consistently been taking me about 30 minutes longer to get anywhere than it should. This is likely attributed to your colossal service cuts that eliminated scores of trains and the employees who operate them. This coincided with yet another rate hike. You charge me more, MTA, and you deliver me less. 

You must not have been paying attention in Basic Business 101. You were flirting with the class burnout, weren’t you, MTA? Twirling your hair when you should’ve taken notes? You skipped school and raced out to the bleachers, just to find him with his hand up someone else’s shirt. It’s ok, MTA. It’s happened to us all.

But let me explain how it’s supposed to work. You promise to provide BETTER service and customers are incentivized to agree to a price increase. You get more money and give more service. Are we clear? 

In the interest of better service, I’d like to make some suggestions.

I recommend that rather than scaling back on the people who drive the trains, perhaps you could curtail the people who ride them. For example, consider having a “bouncer” at each station, prohibiting the following groups from entering:
  • Old businessmen who tell me to smile
  • People over 6 feet tall
  • Tourists
  • Mariachi bands
  • Children
  • Passengers wearing any of the following:
    • Bedazzled shirts 
    • Backpacks
    • Cubic zirconia earrings 
    • Sunglasses 
    • SARS masks 
    • Clothes from the previous day 

This should prove to be a much more pleasant experience for Me, and surely some others. In fact, don’t limit yourself! You needn’t stop at people. There’s so much more to get rid of! A few candidates could be stairs, boomboxes blasting Sugarhill Gang, and instances in which I witness another human defecating inside a train car.

I hope you’ve found this useful, MTA. I’d tell you in person but it’d take me too long to get to your headquarters, 10 blocks away.

The WB