Friday, February 29, 2008

Absolute truths: IM in adulthood

People talk about our social world being all grey area. That nothing is ever really black or white. That all things are open for interpretation. It could mean this, but it could also, if you look at it from another perspective - after a few drinks - in a completely different outfit, mean that. There are no absolute truths.

I think that's a crock of shit.

Certain things are just true - absolutely true. They're tried, tested, and consistently either black or white. They may not be good or fair or even convenient, but they are true. Considering how much of "adult" life is legitimately blurry, I think we need to draw lines where we can. That way we'll all be on the same page when possible and can refocus our efforts on overanaylzing actual confusing matters - like how to save money.

With that - a new series: Absolute Truths (thank you Kevin). Edition one: IM in adulthood

  • You would get 80% more work done if you weren't online at work.
  • People who say, "I'm online at work because we use it to communciate internally" are lying. They may use it to communicate internally, but that's not why they're online.
  • No argument, no matter how big or small, should ever be conducted over IM, ever.
  • When people say, "oh, you IMed me? Weird, I never saw that." they are lying.
  • LOLing is over. In the adult world it can be replaced by a HAHA, BA/DA HAHA, or Mwuahahaha depending on the intensity and meaning of the reaction.
  • Straight men do not use OMG.
  • Away messages should now exclusively be used to communicate your location (i.e. Meeting uptown). Simple news links, holiday greetings, or default messages are also acceptable options. Personal mood announcements, meaningful song lyrics, and sarcasm referencing anything are not.
  • Think twice - no - think five times before giving your screename to a guy you've seen less than three - no - eight times.
  • If you are not online - for personal (as in, "I was done with IM after college") or work (because your company is smart enough to block it) reasons - you are missing out. The first place most people find out about most things is still online.
  • Switching your screenname from your former, hysterical, college/high school identity to a more work appropriate option is totally valid. Switching to another, new hysterical adult identity is not.
  • A person's entire personality cannot be discerned by their IM behavior. But 80% of it can.
Looking them over I realize some might not be completely, 100% truth, but they should be, so let's just go with them and be done.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Blissfully irrational: article reviewed

This is one of those articles you read and think – shit, I’ve been going about this totally wrong. I went to college. I listen to my mother. I watch the Today Show most mornings. How did I fuck this up so badly?

“I’m just keeping my options open.” It’s borderline my credo. Since graduating from college, I have applied it to everything from the careers on my horizon to the clothes in my closet. And that’s just the important stuff. Religion – testing out various churches to really explore where I best fit in. Boys – keeping a few people around just in case. Weekend plans – might be on the LES Friday unless Happy Hour at work keeps me late, but I’ll call you.

I’m the Jack of All Trades Master of None (read: Comm Major). Apparently this is not only irrational, as the article explains, but it is predictably irrational. I’m dumb, and anyone could have told me I would be.

My initial reaction to the article was obstinacy. One crazy general from the o-dark-hundreds goes with the asshole military break-them-down to build-them-up approach. Clearly in no way applies to my deeply meaningful life of existentialism. Options, like variety - spice of life.

Then there was that part about the study, and the game…and MIT. (Go back and read that part if you cheated the first time. Cheaters never prosper. Unless they always prosper and I was wrong about that too).

“Why were they so attached to opening all those doors?” the article asks. “The players would probably say they were just trying to keep future options open. But that’s not the real reasons, according to Dr. Ariely and his collaborator in the experiments, an economist who is now at Yale”

Yale. Fuck.

“‘Apparently they did not care so much about maintaining flexibility in the future. What really motivated them was the desire to avoid the immediate pain of watching a door close.’ Dr. Ariely (hate him) says. In the experiment, the price was easy to measure in lost cash. In life, the costs are less obvious – wasted time; missed, smarter opportunities.”

In life. Fuck.

So if not open options then what? Apparently, decisions. Definitive decisions. The fact that I couldn’t, after a good deal of thought, find one open option to close likely proves the point. I want to keep freelance writing so I can maybe develop a future career in magazine journalism. I think I’ll keep in touch with boy because you never know how people or situations will change. I feel like any day now baggy cargo pants are going to make a total comeback.

Apparently I should put more energy into my current job, cut the guy off, and donate the pants.

Then again, name five important things to come out of MIT in the past few centuries.

Right. Fuck.

Today's reading assignment

Please note the impressive inclusion of an image with link, then read the article accessed below and think about it a lot.

I'll be back later with thoughts. This day job is becoming a real commitment...

(thank you Erin).

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

quarterlife, reviewed

Yeah. No.

They’re all good-looking, they live in huge apartments, and one of them said, “Sometimes I cry for no reason.” I could end there, but in due diligence – here’s a recap:

The show splices together 8-minute digital video clips that feel like 20-minute home videos to tell the story of a self-absorbed video blogger (vlogger...vom) named Dylan Krieger (Bitsie Tulloch). Dylan’s character is hard to sum up without the use of tone. Let’s just leave it at this line: "It's my curse that I can see what people are thinking, what they want to say and can't say, who they want to be with. And what good does that do me if nobody can see me?" When I figure out what the fuck that means I’m going to hate it/her.

Plot involves Dylan video-spying on her roommates Debra (Michelle Lombardo) and Lisa (Maite Schwartz) - literally turning the camera on them, without their approval. Note: people don’t do this in real life because it is a. really mean and b. borderline illegal. Also Dylan has known Debra since 9th grade. Nothing says a decade of friendship like exploitation. Debra has a boyfriend and wears glasses. Lisa is a blonde whore. That pretty much sums up their characters.

Dylan, Debra, and Lisa live in a large, artsy apartment across the hall from two funny, male neighbors, Danny (David Walton) and Jed (Scott Foster). Wait. That’s three close girl friends (one blonde, one sort of blonde, and one brunette) living across the hall from two close boy friends (one who looks like Chandler and one who looks like Joey). Right.

I didn’t like it. The characters, in my opinion, take themselves, their work, their thoughts, their plans, and their exploitations of each other (oh wait, that's just Dylan to be fair) way more seriously than an actual 20-something has time for. There was not one scene in which someone got embarassed at work, overdrew their bank account, or met friends at a bar and talked about what was on TV last night. Ergo: unreal. Here are a few additional reasons I give it a no:

  • Two words: Bitsie Tulloch. Actually, one word: Bitsie
  • Danny dates Debra but Jed is clearly in love with Debra, the childhood best friend of Dylan who secretly loves Jed. And they all, conveniently, or is it inconveniently, my GOD the intricate folds of this love square are so confused and genius, live in the same building. Life is so cruel!!
  • Dylan has both an entry-level job at magazine and time to create an intricate video blog of her every moment. Yep. Nope.
  • The chronicling of this every moment is so significant that Dylan actually takes her laptop into the bathroom to continue vlogging (vom) while brushing her teeth. Those of you who are familiar with my feelings on the viewing of teeth brushing realize just how horrendous this is. Those of you who aren't realize just how horrendous this is.
  • The following conversation between Dylan and her mother:

    Mother who raised child to produce secret vlog about best friends: "You fought me when you were a baby. I never understood it. I was always trying to figure out what I was doing wrong."

    Dylan: "Mom, did you ever think that I was just fighting to be who I was?"
Right. There’s that. OR, YOU WERE JUST A BABY.

I rest my case.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

On being touched by a stranger

So when I was in California last week for work, they picked up the tab for an afternoon at the spa for all of us. We were staying at a sweet resort for sales team meetings all week. As you picture this situation, remember that last week was also my first week working there. I met everybody on Tuesday afternoon, we had dinner and drinks that night (lots of them, my "work things" are apparently a little different than yours, Rosen). After a few glasses of wine, somebody brings up the question "tomorrow at the spa, do you care if you get a guy or a girl for your massage." The guys in the group are divided.

Wednesday we had meetings all morning, and then various different appointments at the spa. I rolled over there at 3, acting like "I do this all the time." The funny thing is: I don't. Never had before, actually.
When I get there, a few of the girls and one other guy are all checking in as well. Holy crap, I realize. This has the potential for incredible awkwardness. They take us on a quick walkthrough of the place, and then send us to put our robes on and meet back in the "Relaxation Room." Read: you cant relax in this room because your coworkers are here and you're afraid something you aren't supposed to see might slip out of a robe.
The other guy and I sit on one side of the room. The girls sit on the other. Everyone chats politely. Other coworkers emerge from their massages and join us, fully greased up and zoned out. Then a strong-handed looking young lady comes and takes the other guy away. Now its just me and them. Then a wimpy pierced-ear looking guy comes and calls my name. All the girls let out sighs of disappointment. I walk out, again, like I do this all the time.
I signed up for the deep tissue massage, basically because I'd heard good things. After the initial 5 minutes or so, I zoned out and it was really good. He was very careful to rearrange the sheets when switching legs, etc. Noted.
I feel like the whole situation raised some bigger questions in the group about level of self-confidence, etc. I leave you with these few to ponder yourself:
Next time, underwear on or off?
Does it really matter if its a guy or girl?

Might Be a Quarterlife Crisis

Tonight is the premiere of Quarterlife the new, highly-anticipated, digital video shorts that launched as a wildly successful Internet show a little over 6 months ago. NBC picked up the series developed by Marshal Herskovitz and Erik Zwick, the guys behind similarly successful life-angsty My So-Called Life. The buzz over this next project of theirs is huge.

Through digital snippet scenes shot home-video style a series of characters (paid actors - this is not reality tv) settle into their '20s in various cities and scenarios. The plot centers on magazine editor and writer Dylan Krieger sending her friends into fits when they discover that she keeps an edgy video blog about them on a website called "quarterlife." The show is supposed to depict our stage - the "journey stage" as The New York Times so famously termed it, in all its confusing, no-savings account, sexually promiscuous glory. But "supposed to" is the operative term.

I haven't seen Quarterlife since it blew up on the Internet a few months ago. Part of me is annoyed that someone else came up with the idea first. The other part is afraid it will drive me further toward the brink of giving up and moving to suburbia. Full disclosure - I want to like it. I want someone to have correctly captured the relatable pieces of what we talk about over brunch and IM and vodka sodas. I want to see that it is, in fact, all the same out there. Also, there's nothing on Tuesday nights ever. Sadly though I fear it, like so many attempts before, will come close but no cigar .

I will watch tonight and encourage you to do the same, but I've decided that if I see one of the following things I'll abandon it immediately and return to my regularly scheduled programming of DVRd Oprah and On-Demand Flight of the Concords:

  • A cast comprised of entirely good-looking people: This, while lovely to watch, is not realistic. The supposed quarter-life experience of a set of perfect looking people has significant differences to that of normal-looking people. I don't want to get into those differences because it will make me look very shallow. We all know what they are.
  • Scenarios where people meet in any of the following places: a grocery store, public transportation, an elevator, their apartment building. This does not happen.
  • An entire set of storylines in which no characters are at all helped by their parents: This is not based in reality.
  • An entire set of storylines in which no characters get a job simply because they know someone: Ditto.
  • An apartment in which a dining room table with six-eight chairs and anything else can fit comfortably.
  • People cooking legitimate meals
  • The following line: "I think I'm having a quarterlife crisis."
Feel free to add your own dealbreakers. Full review of the first episode tomorrow.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Failure to manage the client's expectations

There’s this term you hear frequently in my line of work. To “manage the client’s expectations.” It’s always, “We’ve got to manage the client’s expectations” or “that could get dangerous if we don’t manage the client’s expectations” and sometimes, “she’s very good at managing the client’s expectations.”

It’s basically the business equivalent of sitting the kids down and telling them they’re only getting one souvenir each at Disney World. They way they don’t throw a temper tantrum on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom when you tell them they have to choose between the Cinderella crown the the Mickey ears. In my world it means explaining as clearly as possible to X Sponsor that while we will make our best efforts for X Celebrity to attend their event, the Festival is a busy time and, despite our belief in the importance of X Event, we cannot guarantee X Celebrity will be there. It’s a gentle crushing of hopes in an effort to prevent them from whining but you prooooomised in the form of a law suit.

I realized, after hearing the term for the umpteenth time last week, that I often have zero ability to manage my own expectations. My hopes get up – very up. Not to say I wear permanent rose-colored glasses, but if I really believe in and want it – my hopes cannot be talked into submission. If managing client expectations is about explaining realistic scenarios to prepare for possible disappointing realities then the same could/should easily apply to personal matters.

Run all possible scenarios, remind yourself of the chances, and proceed with a realistic approach. Get excited, sure, but try not to spend the money before it’s earned or, say, plan the wedding on the third date. I'm good with the scenario-running, but then it gets to chances (which is math) and realistic approach (which is not fun) and I'm putty. We'll have a 12 piece band and the colors will be silver and gold...

It’s like that recent study that determined the Danes are the happiest people on earth. Apparently it’s not because they can claim ½ of Jessica Alba. It’s just low expectations. In the words of one of the head researchers, "year after year we're just happy that things didn't go as badly as we'd feared." Contentedness as happiness. It’s hard to argue with.

Yes there are marked differences between a giddy belief that your idea for a novel will sell and being content with ½ a year of sunlight. It’s not that the Danes are realists and I’m naïve. I always know there’s a chance things won’t work out. I get that life is a random series of occurrences. It’s just all that knowledge has can in no way stop me from dancing around my bedroom to Tina Turner with a High School Musical grin because I’m pretty sure he likes me back.

Is it dangerous? Sometimes. The higher the hopes the further the fall. But try naming five great things to come out of Denmark in the past…ever. I googled and got Beowulf, Helena Christenson, and Hans Christian Anderson. That's three one of which is a fictional talking beast, and another the man who wrote the most famous fairy tales of our time. And Helena Christenson actually grew up in London.

I think I'll stick with reckless hope -- and Tina.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The things we/I live without

My parents took a trip into this city this past weekend because I threatened to stop going home to visit them until them came to visit me. I have lived 50 miles from my hometown of Freehold, New Jersey for almost three years. My mother has been here twice.

In fairness, it’s hard for more than four people to visit my apartment at one time, but these are the sacrifices we must make for our first-born – I tell her. Told her – I should say. I won’t be begging her to visit again for some time. It didn’t quite go as planned. My plan was for her to glow with pride at my well-decorated, independent life further validating my tiny existence with comments such as, “I couldn’t have done it when I was your age.” Or “You’re right, you do just belong here. It’s 100% worth it. Here’s a congratulatory $500 dollars.”

Instead, this:

“My god do any of these pots have matching lids?”

“You don’t have a landline? What if your cell phone dies and you can’t find your charger? You’ll be just be cut off from the entire world. You should have a landline.”

“So when people stay over here where exactly do they sleep because your bed is awfully small for people who don’t belong in it.”

In fairness, she’s always shown love through uncensored communication. It’s one of the things you’ve just gotta love, then pray every night you don’t develop in yourself.

Still, her “assessing” got me thinking about the things my adult life is conspicuously missing. When money, time, space and knowledge of the fact that, “you’re supposed to have two extra sets of sheets for security purposes – don’t you know that?!” aren’t at your fingertips it’s amazing the things you can live almost three years without. Here are mine:
  • A large wooden or plastic spoon for stirring things aka “pasta spoon” – I just use a soup spoon
  • A cheese grater – I just eat it in slices slash don’t make tacos
  • A desk – I do most work on my bed or in a coffee shop ala college – except I had a desk in college
  • A landline – frankly, I just forgot that was a customary option. While the prospect of being cut off from the world is somewhat thrilling, it is ridiculous to call long-distance for the Thai delivery downstairs.
  • A vacuum cleaner – there isn’t enough floor space to necessitate it. We use a dust buster
  • A drying rack – this one I had but got rid of. The only place it fits is the kitchen/living room and the only think I used it for was drying my intimates. Wasn’t working out.

The list goes on, but I miss none of it. There’s something oddly satisfying about getting by without a Cuisinart or full-sized ironing board. Sure I can’t make certain dips and my clothes are always slightly wrinkled, but these are the sacrifices we must make in the name of big city living. Plus Mom, did you notice?! I fit 43 pair of shoes in here! And that’s something to be proud of.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Dear Douche: A social experiment

Valentine’s Day got me thinking about ghosts from my relationships past – and by "relationships" I mean guys I’ve given my number and/or emailed.

I decided I have some things to ask these guys who’ve disappeared – some things to ask and some things to say. I have a feeling I’m not alone.

Time for a blog social experiment. We ask the questions we’ve been dying to ask and say the things we’d love to say to all the guys and girls who’ve done us wrong. I’ll post mine below. You post yours in comments. We’ll compare notes, laugh heartily, and realize it’s all the game. Not quite sure where we’ll go from there, but I’ll get back to you.

Names have been switched from one scenario to the next to protect me:

Chris: Why you would invite a girl out with you, confirm via text that you’re excited she wants to come, tell her you’ll text her details later, and then drop off the face of the earth. This is strange. Please explain.

Dan: It was nice when, after two months, you emailed to say sorry things had gotten crazy but you’d still really love to get that drink. It was fucked-up when after I responded, “sounds great – what night might work for you?” you never wrote back. Who raised you?

Steven: When I said I'd lost my phone so you should just look around for me, I was kidding. Are you familiar with sarcasm? P.S. I found it -- in your living room.

Jim: Why, if you thought I was too young for you to go out with, did you give me your card, tell me to please call you because you’re dying to take me to Devin Tavern, and prevent me from talking to any guys who are actually my age? Seems you’re still too young to know right from mean.

That felt good. Yes, it reads like that bitter single girl I lectured in yesterday’s post, but it felt really good.

Have at it.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Sexism: Valentine's Day Edition

You can tell how a person feels about Valentine’s Day by the way they say it. Listen for it. The sentiment is carefully packed inside each syllable just like when people say President Bush or New Jersey. A word like that means people have opinions – strong ones. Add in the fact that the subject at hand is relationships and, more specifically, how they’re expressed by men and women, and you’ve really got something to blog about.

Some observations, some statements, and some special requests. Brace yourselves. Tough love ahead.

Dear boys with girlfriends,
We know you’re not all crazy about Valentine’s Day. Yes, it’s a lot of pressure. Yes, it’s a "Hallmark Holiday." Yes, you should just show love every day and not have to buy flowers that will die tomorrow on one random day in February. Sadly, none of that matters. Valentine’s Day exists. It’s February 14th, and everyone has been informed. To those of you who have accepted this and found a way to express your affection through some form of reasonable gift that speaks appropriately to your relationship (no weekend get-away if it’s been three months, no DVD if it’s been three years), bravo! You both maintain your manhood and get to have sex on this holiday. To those of you who protest the holiday, complain about it endlessly, or believe your girlfriend when she says it really doesn’t matter to her, prepare for a world of bad. What exactly are you trying to prove by being against this holiday? If it’s that you love your girlfriend so very much that you’re deeply offended by the mere suggestion that one day should attempt to encapsulate all this love and thus you protest the very notion - then I’d say you’ll make a mediocre lawyer and a shitty boyfriend. I think it usually goes like this:
  • You don’t like to have to buy gifts because it’s A. complicated B. expensive and C. full of pressure. Right. A1. Think about it for more than 5 minutes and then consult one of the billion websites that start making suggestions for V-day the day after Christmas. B1. Some of the most lovely gifts cost very little. Those may take 10 minutes of thinking and can’t be found on a website. C1. Deal with it -- like you deal with the pressure of your adult job and your Fantasy Baseball League. Or, ask any of your girlfriend’s friends or family members. They will always know.
  • You resent that this holiday is somehow your responsibility. This is valid. I don’t have a direct retort other than to say, you make the dinner reservations once a year and we’ll birth the children. Kidding. I prefer to cook in. But seriously – some things are a hold over from the olden days of chivalry. I do agree that Valentine's Day should be a mutual effort, but it would be nice if you could get behind the tradition and put in your share of it. If you have that big a problem with it – kindly discuss it with your hopefully feminist-minded lady and come to an agreement. And if she insists this day is all about her and you just have to deal – dump her.
  • You’re lazy and this takes effort. Just a second. I need to find my soap box. Oh. Right. I'm standing on it. Relationships are very special. They’re also hard to find. If you’ve found one that you even remotely like please grow a set and treat it with care.
Dear boys without girlfriends,

Could you all make some form of decision about where you’re going to be on Valentine’s Day night so we can go there too and work something out? Thanks.

Dear girls with boyfriends,
You’re going to need to make every effort to just fucking relax a little bit about this. Yes, it is very special. Yes, he should be able to make an effort one day out of the year. Of course you’re very easy to shop for. But if you could calm down a little this whole process will be a lot better for the both of you. A few things to remember:
  • Men may be able to pee standing up, but they can’t read minds. If you want something very very badly and will be extremely disappointed if you don’t get it – be that a dinner reservation or a diamond necklace – you’re going to have to make it a little clearer than 5 magazines with flagged pages strewn about the apartment.
  • Be reasonable. This is about the two of you, not the two of you in comparison to your friends, co-workers, and members of the Real World House. Pressure applies on both fronts. He may need to buck up but you probably need to buck down (which is either the opposite of buck up or a gross sexual term).
  • It is not all about you. Do something for him. No, sex doesn't count.
Dear girls without boyfriends,
I know it’s not easy. I know thoughtful cards from your Mom and girlfriends or fun dinners with your gay best friend don’t make it a ton better. Bottom line: it’s not going away, it’s one day out of the year, and the bitter, angry, man-hating routine is really overplayed not to mention totally transparent. Do something fun. Show some people you love them – friends, family, who cares. Cursing the day is counter-productive. Using it to make some other people feel nice is following the Golden Rule which, apparently, is wildly important. Also I guarentee their appreciation will make you feel nice. I know that sounds silly, but I’ve found that silly-sounding things are usually quite wonderful – like the circus – or making really involved scrap books.
If you’re still miserable, lonely, and annoyed - male or female - and just want this day to end then I suggest dealing with it like the Jews deal with Christmas. Order Chinese and go to a movie.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

I live in Boston now.

So I got 2 job offers at once. Which was sweet. The weird thing is that now, 3 weeks later, I have accepted both of them. I quit the first one last week, which was awkward. It gave me that feeling in the pit of my stomach that reminded me of the feeling you get when you know you have to break up with someone but you are pretty sure they don’t see it coming. But then afterwards you feel a lot better, you know?

I digress. My real point here is that both offers had me working out of Boston, from where I now sit and write. So I started looking on Craigslist for apartments. For a while there, Craigslist replaced Facebook as my go-to site that I was constantly reloading in case somebody posted a gorgeous recently renovated hardwood throughout stainless appliace including a dishwasher in a quiet neighborhood with free off-street parking and laundry $600 a month place. Nobody ever posted that place. Maybe next time.

You know how after you click on a link and then go back to the page the link is a different color? That’s what I used to hold my place. So when I went back, the last place I looked at would be highlighted and I could work my way up from there. I sent lots of emails, highlighting my shining roommate resume, 24, easygoing, relaxes during the week goes out on the weekends, blah blah blah. I heard back from a lot of people. It was pretty much guaranteed that when someone called me back I had no idea which ad they were calling about. I set up a bunch of times to go see places…the first time around they were all over the place, and the next time all were in Southie. I saw 6 places the day I was mostly in Southie. I am currently living in the last one I saw.

The evening went something like this:

  1. Place looked great in pics. Guy is pretty awkward on phone. Says he’s a freelance music producer, which sounds cool. When I get there he sits me down and interviews me. I feel like I am speed dating. Also he had a pony tail. No thanks.
  2. 3 meatheads, Budweiser neon signs on the wall, playing XBox when I got there, while I was there, and when I left. No thanks.
  3. Shit everywhere, roommates mysteriously leaving, disgusting stains on floors, walls, carpet. Possible site of meth lab. No thanks.
  4. 2 br. This one somehow got lost in the shuffle of me not knowing which person was calling with regard to which ad. Nice place, small rooms, too expensive. Oh well.
  5. Guy calls like 3 times in the 10 minute prior to my arrival. Gorgeous place. Wreaks of smoke. He keeps itching himself, clearly needed a fix. And his roommate who was out is a teamster. No thanks.
  6. Finally a normal place with a normal guy for a roommate. I’ll take it.
Nine out of ten of the other places I emailed had cats. They never made it onto my call back list. When I was talking to someone about this annoying fact we decided it was because cats are like starter pets for people our age who cant handle a dog yet. Get a fucking fish.

On another note, I think its funny that all of our blogs seem to have lists in them. Somehow no matter what the topic, we both make a list.

Also, this is funny.

Time's tricking

Time is a funny thing. Not funny ha ha -- funny confusing – makes-no-sense funny. Time when you’re 23-26…7…8 is a scary thing. Not shake in your boots scary -- scary like you have no concept of it and yet it controls you scary.

I notice us stuck in this “life’s too short” but “we’ve got a long way to go” mode. We know this is only the beginning of a long journey, that people are living well into their 100s, that Moms with 6 kids change careers at age 50, but we still can’t quite see past 27 – on the odd days at least. On the even ones we’re convinced we could die tomorrow, sure everyone we pass on the street is after our very same dream job, and firmly believe missing one Friday Happy Hour is the difference between a life alone and the person we’re meant to be with.

It has a lot of implications – this time mind fuck. We do things in the name of time, create time lines, and segment things by time. If we knew exactly how long we had to go we could properly divide all the important goals and friends and years in various cities. But we don’t – so we have to guess. And what do you get when you add pressure to guessing? A shitty SAT score.

As logic and one particularly level-headed friend of mine would have it – we should ignore time and simply do what’s best for us. He would say making decisions in the name of time that aren’t really the right decisions ends up a waste of time which makes doing them in time’s name null and void. It’s logical, you just have to read it a few times. Does that make taking risks and setting goals a waste – no. It makes promising yourself you’ll have a child before you’re 30 dumb. It makes not starting a career in writing because you spent 120K and 4-years on a business degree silly. It makes staying in a relationship because you’ve already put 5 years into it dangerous.

Easier said than done. Living in the here-and-now is an acquired skill – and it’s up against a pretty powerful American machine that values 16-year-old Pop stars and the “40 Most Powerful Executives Under 40.” For this life issue: the baby steps approach applies (dissertation on the fact that there are really only two life approaches – Baby Steps and Band Aid forthcoming).

Here are mine:
-No more calling 27 my scary age
-No more referring to college as “the greatest time of my life”
-No more holding on to things because they’ve “always been that way”
-No more going on dumb dates because I’ve “only been on X dates since college!!”

More to come when I have more time to think about it. Have to meet clients for drinks because it’s important to my progress at this company, and I’d like to be in a directorial role before I’m 30. Plus the person I’m meant to be with could be there…

Monday, February 11, 2008

Monday: a new approach

It was the kind of weekend that I can’t blog about because there’s a chance my little sisters read this. No earth-shattering revelations. No significant self-reflection. Just alcohol, haze, and two bagels with bacon, egg, & and cheese.

Thus today, something different. In lieu of deep thoughts, here are interesting snippets (to me at least). Besides having nothing appropriate to post, I figure not everyone finds 500-word essays on my apartment helpful to overcoming 20-something life.

For Self confidence

"Jake Sasseville, the host and creator of a fledgling late-night show called The Edge With Jake Sasseville, is standing in his office, just back from lunch, when his assistant, Gina, walks in holding a bank statement. A camera is trained on him as he realizes his checking account is overdrawn by $2,500. It’s Thursday afternoon in November, and payroll—a $30,000 tab—is due the next day."

For Bar conversation
-Tractor company John Deer is doing a denim line for people who “want to look like they work the land.”

-Paul Revere hats are making a comeback. This is not a joke.

-Nearly half of British men would give up sex for 6 months in exchange for a 50 inch plasma tv.

For Procrastination:

For General life improvement:
La Vie en Rose and Eastern Promises both recently came out on DVD. The former: a biopic of famous French singer Edith Piaf – heartbreaking, but excellent. The latter: a modern, fast-paced Godfather set in London. Rent them both but watch with caution. Not really your “feel good” films.

We’re All Fucked, but we deserve it:

"Some users have discovered that it is nearly impossible to remove themselves entirely from Facebook, setting off a fresh round of concern over the popular social network’s use of personal data."

Line of the weekend:

“I’d say call me but I seem to have lost my phone so I guess just, I don’t know, look around for me. I’m usually downtown.”

Note: I may have fallen off the wagon this weekend, but I did figure out how to include links and an image in this post. I think I net out ahead.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

A Gift from My God

Today was the most significant day of my recent life. No sarcasm. No exaggeration.

To provide some perspective: In my recent life – say 1 to 1.5 years – I have gotten a new job, been promoted at that job, begun life-changing friendships, ended life-changing friendships, switched entirely to skinny jeans, and run four miles without stopping. It’s been a big year. Today though -- today topped it all. Today I found out that I can stay in my current apartment and take over the lease from my former roommate without the rent being raised to market value or my having to pay the new-renter's fee of 2-months rent.

If you’ve never lived in Manhattan, aren’t familiar with Greenwich Village, and don’t think it’s a priority to live equidistant from a vintage clothing store, CVS, and 24-hour Falafel stand – don’t bother reading on. The significance of my day is in direct relation to the absurdity of my life. But absurdity is in the eye of the beholder, and my eye behold Washington Square Park.

Some background:
I live in a rent-controlled apartment on a quiet-ish street in the heart of Greenwich Village. It’s a two-bedroom, fourth-floor walk-up in an old tenement building below a very old chess shop. The apartment consists of a small all-purpose room (approx. 200 sq. feet), a tiny bathroom (approx. shower stall-sized), and two bedrooms (I’m afraid to measure – but they fit beds, small dressers and armoires...because they don’t have closets). By all-purpose room I mean kitchen, living room, dining room, library, solarium, office, and home gym. It’s a Swiss Army room. For this château we pay a very fair fee just under $2,000 for two people. To put it in perspetive. My friend down the street pays $2,800 for the same sized space – and she doesn’t have a bedroom window. Again, all in perspective.

Long story short:
The lease was held by my former roomate - an alcoholic yoga-freak who's since moved to Switzerland. I found her on Craigslist, of course, and bribed her to pick me with chocolate and alcohol, natch. She has held the lease for five years, thus stabilizing the rent. Last May she moved to Europe but agreed to keep the apt. in case she moves back. I pay rent through her. She decides not to come back and wants to break the lease. Now as I formerly understood the terms of rent stabilization, changing the name on the lease left the apartment open to be re-listed at market value. The lease-holder stabilized the rent. New holder, new rent – plus standard down payment of 2 months rent. I was screwed.

The fear with which I went into that lease office to discuss the situation and find out just how expensive it would now be cannot be described. If you’ve ever searched for a Manhattan apartment or been beaten within inches of your life, you understand. Add to that the fact that my lease is up May 1st – day 5 of the Tribeca Film Festival. Also I don't have enough savings for a realtor and can't technically pay market value for anything south of 125th Street. Things I was considering offering the landlord by way of begging for just one extra month include: all of my shoes, one-three of my eggs, or sex – many times.

I’m not sure what my stance is on God, or miracles, or luck, or Karma but I got whatever good there is to get by whatever is in charge of giving it. The apartment is rent-controlled, not rent stabilized. I pay a security deposit and that’s it. I have the option to auto-renew after 6 months with a raise of only $50 to the total rent. Oh, and there’s a new Mexican restaurant opening two doors down.

It’s funny, I thought, after buying a celebratory bottle of wine that I will drink on my two-foot-long couch while cooking dinner with my left foot and doing leg curls with my right – the way we prioritize things in our early 20s life. Most people probably think I’m psychotic for being so ecstatic about holding on to my sad excuse for an adult apartment which, though cheap for Manhattan, is astronomical for the world. They’re probably right, but it’s way too late now. I drank the Coolaid and washed it down with a fresh-cooked Falafel. Now it’s Chess with homeless dudes, tanning on the West Side Highway, coffee shops with a wait-list, and the $10 Vintage-shoes rack until someone pries me from this heaven-sent apartment -- or I require a full-sized bed.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

I'm back. I think.

Holy crap. I am getting to the point where it’s been so long since I’ve posted that I feel like its too late to post about all this stuff. Oh well. Big thanks to Jessie for holding down the fort and making me look like a lazyass over the last month.

Anyway, I’m going to try to get through it all in a series of posts over the next week and a half, which, as I will explain, will also involve moving to Boston and starting my 7th, that’s right…7th job since college. Today I will start with a list of items that I have been meaning to post about slash that are the reason that I haven’t posted slash that are only sometimes rational thoughts due to exceedingly high stress levels over the last few weeks.

In no particular order (and what the hell, people seem to be commenting once in a while, so feel free to chime in about what you’d like to hear more about) here are some of the things on my mind.

- I quit my job at Bear Naked, which was by all accounts the perfect and best job I could have ever asked for. I took a job at a small beverage startup, and quit 4.5 days later…only to call up Kashi, who I originally turned down, and accept the job
- Craigslist is quite possibly the most interesting sociological study out there, and everyone in Boston has a fucking cat.
- I got rear-ended, which caused one of those “holy shit I have no idea what to do in this situation, but I am supposed to be an adult and know what to do” type of moments and ultimately led to an exchange of incredible awkwardness with the guy who hit me
- I am moving back to Boston. I could write all day about that one. I think.
- Working from home. This will likely be an ongoing saga.

That’s all I can think of right now. There are like 15 other things that have crossed my mind but that I never wrote down, and based on the half a notebook of other stuff I’ve written down in the last month, they go lost in the shuffle. I’ll be back in the next few days to write something of actual substance.

Red Cup, Green Cup

“I wish life were like a red cup, green cup party,” my good friend said. We were an hour or so into a two hour coffee prompted by a particularly crazy weekend – so crazy it ended up three days long for one of us….

It was one of those coffees where you lecture each other and realize you’re actually lecturing yourself then give advice you’ve never actually taken while saying things like, “Why did no one prepare us for this?” The red cup, green cup comment was prompted by our bi-weekly whining about why people can’t just be straight-forward. In hindsight, it really was a genius theme party (second, of course, to Champagne and Shackles). Red cup if you’re dating someone, prude, or have a lot of self-respect. Green cup if you’re available, deal well with regret, or black out easily. No questions, no confusions, no mind games – just stop, go, and drink.

Truth is we're still playing it most Friday and Saturday (and Sunday, apparently) nights - just with a distinct handicap. Sexy eyes and rounds of shots are not color-coded. Nor are sass and quick grinds on the dance floor. Those moves, no matter how seemingly see-through, are only ever grey.

I’d like to make a push for a post-grad Red Cup, Green Cup game involving bullet pointed, relationship personality details. Maybe taped to glasses or beer bottles? Or worn name-tage style right on your shirt?
  • Just ended a 2-year relationship
  • Only looking for sex
  • Prefer blondes
  • Am obsessed with my career
  • Am actually looking for a boyfriend
  • Don't be confused by my sarcasm - it's how I flirt
  • Probably not going to sleep with you tonight. No, definitely.
Imagine how liberating. Plus there’s the added benefit of easy networking. “Oh 'Prefer shy girls, intimidated by clingy, don’t technically have a bedroom door?' You’ve got to meet my friend, 'Friendly though quiet, fiercely independent, just moved to a nice-sized studio.' You guys would really hit it off.”

Of course, that’s to say we can all reduce our mating identity and desires to 3-5 bullet points. Which would require us make some decision about who we are and what we want...and then admit them – at least from one night to the next. Too tough. We’ve only been adults for 2.5 years.

Plus, if we could decide, and then be clear about that decision, and then take some risks to go out and get it – what the fuck would we talk about for two hours over coffee?

Friday, February 1, 2008

Sexism: Superbowl Edition

A recurring series (maybe).
It has long been my assumption that guys like girls who like sports…within reason. It’s a tentative relationship – territorial even - between guys, girls, and sports. A lot like that between guys, girls, and fashion. Fashion is ours. Sports is yours. I know that’s sexist, not 100% true, and makes me sound like such a girl. But sexism is rooted in fact, it’s 80% true, and I am a girl.

Here’s what I’ve deduced:

Guys on Girls:
She should like them enough to understand the importance of him watching them, but not so much that she plays in his fantasy league. She should know them well enough to not say embarrassing things like, “Which tight back just scored that goal?” but not so well that she insults his own knowledge: “You’re calling that off sides? Get some fucking glasses!” She should have her teams and support them loyally, but not to the point of face-painting, hair-coloring, or car-decaling. I gather it’s fine, maybe even endearing, if she starts supporting his team, for lack of her own. But if shit like “Our Patriots” or “We’re doing sooo great!” starts to creep in she’s done. Same for the asking of sports questions. Properly timed (not at fourth and goal), well-informed questions (not, “why do they run into the big group of guys like that? If I were playing I’d just run around those guys." Ever.) that show interest without showing off (to provide an example I would have to show off). But most importantly, if she doesn’t know or like sports at all she should pretend either very very well or not at all.

Guys on Guys:
From what I gather: if you like them, want to talk about them, enjoy video games about them, and can participate in them with normal enough tendencies – you’re in. If you don’t - you’re still in, just not when the game is on. If your girl doesn’t and won’t let you – you’re out.

Girls on Girls:
More involved -- shocker. Girls hate girls who show off in front of guys – especially when it comes to sports. Ask any girl you know. We’re also somewhat jealous of girls who actually do love and know sports and can keep up with the boys. This relates back to point one: guys like girls who like sports. Girls also know when other girls are pretending to love and know sports. That’s because we’ve done it and know exactly what it looks like. There are far more details on this issue – as there are with all girl on girl on issues - but this is fine for now.

Girls on Guys:
We like that you like sports. We like that you get all into it with your guy group and have email chains about rules and predications and players. We’re not crazy about the whole Madden thing or the Fantasy League thing or the all day Sunday thing, but that’s mostly because it excludes us and we don’t understand it. We like to watch sports with you because A. we like to do everything with you and B. we like sports too…but mostly A. Many of us do known and like and care about sports, but 9 times out of 10 we’ll go watch the game at a bar b/c you’ll be there.

There’s more to it, but those are the basics. I’ll be conducting more research on Sunday as I root on my adopted team in a bar where I suspect there will be boys who I can ask appropriate questions to enhance my already extensive knowledge of football -- because I really do like it.