Thursday, September 27, 2012

How Long of a Distance is "Long Distance"

When I hear that someone is in a long distance relationship, I assume that distance is from, say, LA to New York or Chicago to DC or Austin, Texas to Sydney, Australia (I actually "knew someone who"). I do not assume that distance is from, say, Silver Lake to Santa Monica or the Upper East Side to Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn or Clarendon, Virginia to downtown D.C. Those are not - in a traditional sense - long distances. But they're also not short distances.

Silver Lake and Santa Monica are both LA neighborhoods, but you can rarely make it to one from the other in less than an hour, and that one hour because two in rush hour traffic on the 10. If you forget some crucial work document you need for tomorrow en route to spending the night at your boyfriend's UES apartment, you're looking at 45 minutes on the subway back to Carroll Gardens. I have never lived in D.C. so you folk from there will have to make up your own example that applies, but you get the picture. Distances any greater than - I don't know...1 hour transit time? - create logistical issues - that is a fact. But what are you supposed to do if you click with someone who just so happens to live five New Jersey Turnpike exits away?

I've been in this situation twice in my life, and I have two very different opinions as a result.

In example number one I dated someone who lived outside DC while I was living in New York. This went on casually for a few months, but I was young and loving NYC, and I wasn't entire sure we were the best fit. I visited a few times, he visited a few times, and eventually it fizzled because neither of us were particularly committed to visiting more than those few times. Let's consider this the "if one or both people don't want to make it work, it doesn't work" example. I know too many people who have successfully navigated distances far longer than NY to DC to think otherwise. Yes, it's frustrating, and you're not guilty of being a cold hearted snake if you can't make it work. But as you all know, it is incredibly difficult to find someone you want to go on a second date with let alone for whom you're willing to hop on a Chinatown bus. So if you find that person, you get on that bus.

In example number two I dated someone who lived in Astoria Queens while I was living in the West Village of New York. I hated Astoria, Queens (sorry, Astoria, Queens dwellers). It was annoying to get to, and I didn't live near the subway stops that got me there, and if I had to leave there late at night, it was scary. And yet I went to Astoria, Queens five times a week because I was really into this guy. The subway ride got shorter and shorter, and the neighborhood got cuter and cuter.  There was actually a moment when I thought, "I could totally live here know...things work out between us..." They didn't, and I went back to hating Astoria, Queens (and this guy!), but this is the "if you're really into the person, the distance doesn't matter as much," example. It's 45 minutes. You can barely DVR through an episode of The Voice in that amount of time.

But what if you're really into someone, but you still can't stand the distance? It depends. Is that distance a five hour plane ride? If so, I feel you bro. That's a full-on life commitment that may need to be evaluated on premises other than how much you like the person. But if that distance is, say, one hour in the car or 45 minutes on the subway, well then you're either not really as into them as you think or you're really selfish and shouldn't be in a relationship in the first place!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Know How to Work the DVD Player, and other lessons of cohabitation

Last Sunday afternoon I went to pop a DVD into the DVD player so I could start my first guitar lesson (they come on DVD's now!!!), and I realized that I don't know how to use my own DVD player.

I have lived with R for exactly six months this weekend, and it only dawned upon me this Sunday that I don't know how to play a DVD in the apartment we now share.

In my defense, it's not my DVD player; R had it before I moved in. In defense of being a 29-year-old human, I should know how to use the machine that plays the movies (and guitar lessons!!!) in my own house.

Naturally this little issue made me start to think about all the other pieces of knowledge I've relinquished since entering a life of cohabitation. And by "think about" I mean dwell on. See, I'm a recovering control freak who can't stand the idea of not knowing how to do everything herself. I now live with a loving man who has homemaking slash life skills that I simply do not possess (i.e. he makes the absolute best chicken soup you have ever tasted in your life). I know that people bring different strengths to the relationship and that it's a blessing to live in a house where each person takes care of different things. That said - there are certain things you must maintain a working knowledge of even after you've moved in with a man/woman. Here is my list:


You cannot be denied watching an entire season of Sex & The City on a surprise rainy day in LA because you don't know how to work the damn DVD player. That's a crying shame.


What if you have a group of lady friends over for an afternoon of catching up on The Voice, and you all decide some juicy steaks would really make the afternoon? No competitive girl would let some other obviously more domestic girl man your grill (say that five times fast!).


Turning the grill on is worthless if you don't know how to cook stuff on said grill. That seems like an obvious thing, but in my experience it is not.  


I'm not entirely sure what this includes, but one time I couldn't find the Bed, Bath & Beyond coupons, and it was a real issue. I have my own desk, so things like my voter registration and Forever21 punch cards are kept safely there, but if you share a desk, keep it organized.


Prior to living with R I lived with my cousin Geanna in a darling New York City apartment built sometime around the American revolution. One day I found a roach in the bathroom. I handled that discovery by jumping up on the toilet, and screaming at the top of my lungs until Geanna killed that bug without a second thought. Following that I lived with two gay men who killed every spider we found, and I now I live with R whose fly-swatting count is somewhere around 30. If a bug found its way into my current apartment I literally don't know how I would handle myself slash the bug. This is a sad state of affairs.

I eventually figured out how to make the DVD player work, but it was only after a dozen tries some incredibly helpful YouTube videos. I now keep a little write-up on the steps in my desk drawer - right now to my instructions for how to start the grill and a giant can of bug spray.

Friday, September 21, 2012

My HuffPost Live Segment: Are Millennials Lazy & Entitled?

Check out the final segment from my HuffPost Live appearance last night. Great conversation with the show hosts and guests. See below for links to those folks so you can check out their work on the topic.


Mark Babbitt - CEO & Founder, YouTern - Here's Mark's article on how his generation could use the help of some Millennials.  

Jean Twenge - Author - Jean's book GENERATION ME takes a look at the stats behind this generation's actions and reactions. 

Seth Mattison - Generation's Expert - Seth runs a consulting firm that helps connect generations through best practices and work relationship development. He's also a frequent speaker on the circuit covering this topic. 

James Harrell - Grad Student - James is a grad student at Harvard dealing with the generational issues first-hand.

Have great weekends everyone!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Everything I Know About Fantasy Football, and Why I'm Insanely Jealous Of It

I'm insanely jealous of fantasy football.

Every single year groups of mostly male friends come together around the competition that is fake football on the Internet. Well, I guess it's more like fake real football? Or maybe it's more logical to think of it as real fake football? Whatever it is, there's a freaking TV show about it, on real TV, which makes it cooler than it's every been.

R - as one example - is engaged in what seems like 15 games, which I believe are termed "leagues." He has his high school friends, his college friends, his LA friends, his work friends, and then these things called "Suicide Pools" that seem really intense and stressful, but everyone seems to love the most.  I believe he is the "commissioner" of one of his leagues, which seems important even though I don't have a clue what it entails.

From what I gather, Fantasy Football is the most fun thing in the entire world...for people with a familiarity of every single important player in the entire NFL. R and his friends have these hysterical daily e-mail chains where they talk about their pretend games and make jokes about each other.  They create mass texts when the games are actually being played to communicate around the progress of their fake teams and make jokes about each other. I believe there are drafting parties where they order pizza, drink beer, draft their "picks, " and makes jokes about each other! It all seems SO TOTALLY AWESOME, and I only understand about 47% of it!!! (sorry, had to)

Here - for your entertainment - is that 47% which I believe I understand:

  • Fantasy Football happens on the Internet on sites like It is illegal to exchange money on the Internet (and maybe in person?), but people almost always bet on the games for as much money as they think they can get away with spending before their wives/girlfriends find/freak out.
  • Each person in a "league" makes a fake team out of real players. They name this team something that either refers to an inside joke, pokes fun at another man in the league, or, ideally, both. Having an awesome team name is as important if not more important than having an awesome team.
  • There is a draft where you pick the real players who will be on your fake team. This happens in a weird order that's either called a serpent draft or an eel draft. I can't remember, but I know it has something to do with it going back and forth, so if there are 10 team captains then the 10th person gets both the 10th and 11th picks. If this is remotely correct, I'm going to go buy myself a new dress as a special treat for excellent listening. 
  • You don't want to first draft pick (for some reason), but if you get it, you go Brady every time (even though you and everyone else hates him).
  • You only pick offensive players to make up your team, but you also pick the entire defense of one team as your defense. I just learned this on Sunday, so I'm still unclear about how or why this is the case. Somehow this defense of the team whose entire defense you are using as your pretend defense earns points that count for or against your fake team, but I don't know anything about that either.
  • Each week you decide who of the real players on your fake team you want to "field" in the fake games that your online league is playing. In this way you are like a pretend coach for a pretend team with real players. These "games" that your fake players are playing aren't like real games but rather like games of points. This part makes more sense in my head than it does right now in this blog post, but I lack the proper football words to explain it better. Sorry.
  • Each player on your fake team earns points towards the fake games you're playing in your online league based on their successes in the game they're playing in real life. So, if the running back who you decided to play this week in your fake games makes a touchdown in the actual game he's playing in actual life, you earn X amount of points. I believe this applies to every single player you've fielded in your pretend game, but not the players you benched for the week. This explains why men scream, "I KNEW I SHOULDN'T HAVE %&$!-ING BENCHED HIM THIS WEEK?!" at the TV. 
  • I do not know how many points a player receives for various good things they do, nor if players lose points for bad things. If I were in charge of this I would keep things simple and give 10 points for a touch down, 5 points for a really impressive catch, and -5 points for what I believe is termed a "flag on the play."
  • The computer system your group of friends (aka your "league") uses to play these pretend games calculates ALL the points based on what's really happening on the field for all of the players in play on all of the teams EVERY SINGLE WEEK. This is the greatest miracle of all. I do not know how it works in the slightest. In my mind a very fat man (or group of them) are locked in a room every weekend (and also Monday nights) where they're fed pizza and told to log every move of every player into some mega system. I imagine this to be a highly coveted job among men.   
  • There are points during the season where you're allowed to trade players with your fellow league mates. This can get very heated resulting in more e-mail chains, mass text messaging and making fun of one another - aka extreme male fun. 
  • Someone wins in the end receiving money and one year of glory.

Things I still do not understand about Fantasy Football:

  • Who in the world has the time for all of this.
  • How EVERYONE seems to know EVERYTHING about EVERY player on EVERY team. I have not once heard a man say, "hey homes, you thinkin' Golden Tate or Dexter McCluster?" and the other man respond, "I'm sorry. Remind me who Dexter McCluster is and what team he plays for? I can't keep track what with these hundreds of players and dozens of teams." How is this possible? I can't even remember all the heads of all the major fashion houses in the world, and I read Vogue every month. (note: I asked R for the names of two players saying, "hey, can you give me the names of two obscure players with really weird names." He sent me six).
  • Who made this up in the first place? And what's he up to now? Because if it isn't resolving the crisis in the Middle East while simultaneously building a better Facebook and fixing the NBC programming line-up, he's not being put to proper use. This man is among the greatest minds of our time.
I want a fantasy game that I can play with all my groups of best girlfriends every single year, except I can't for the life of me figure out what real game we would fake play... There is literally nothing that my people (I can't say "women" because many women successfully play Fantasy Football), are as committed to as those die-hard fantasy players (aka every man I know). How can I be the next inventor of the next great fantasy francise?

Or is my time is just better spent studying every single football player currently playing in the NFL? And, if so, who is willing to loan me the NFL player flash cards I know you people study before bed every night...

Thursday, September 13, 2012

My Dave Matthews Band Concert-going Experience: 10 Years Later

Last night I went to see Dave Matthews Band at The Hollywood Bowl because Dave Matthews is an outstanding musician with an incredible catalog of songs, despite what all you eye-rolling hipsters think. I guarantee you all listened to him ten years ago just like I did.

I was curious about what the experience would be like almost 12 years after my last DMB concert-going experience (Giants Stadium, Summer 2001, I think...). Turns out it's almost exactly the same. Here are the details:

  • Everyone is roughly 10-12 years older than you. You think, "wait, but my generation was the biggest Dave Matthews fan base!" but then realize you were 12 when Dave got big.
  • Everyone is dressed roughly like they were 10-12 years ago. You think, "wait, is that person 25 or 35 because they're wearing a shear tank as if they're 25 buuut they appear to also be 5 months pregnant?"
  • The Dave Matthews Band, on the other hand, has not aged a day since the last time you saw them and are dressed in the exact same clothes. Literally, I swear to you Carter Beauford (the drummer, but you pretend haters knew that) was wearing the same football jersey when I saw him in the Meadowlands in '01.
  • EVERYONE SMOKES POT. I do recall a good amount of pot smokage at my previous DMB-going experiences, but this was intense. I attribute this to the fact that I now go to concerts in California vs. New Jersey. 
  • People drive to Los Angeles from places like Tennessee for this! Literally I sat in traffic behind a guy from Tennessee on my way to the show, and he had one of those dancing lady decals on the back of his 1999 Four-Runner (see above). Los Angeles is an lovely place, and DMB is a fantastic act, but TENNESSEE to LA for a CONCERT unattached to a festival is nuts. 
  • Apparently bald men dressed in business casual attire and drinking red wine are most likely to know every single word to every single song. There were two of them within a four row radius of me. I can only image what those guys looked like 10-12 years ago (the same). 
  • Two Step is a dynamite song. He closed with it. The crowd went wild. That's all. 
  •  American Idol contestant Phillip Phillips really does look, sound and act just like Dave. I was a denier at first because of my sincere love for Phillip (he does not! he's is so original! plus he's way cuter than Dave!), but turns out it's a direct copy. That probably explains why Dave didn't invite Phillip to play the bowl with him. I remain disappointed. And yes, that is something you "real music" lovers are welcome to criticize.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Celebrate Good Times (and bad times, and random times), Come On!

If you know me, then you know that I am incredibly indulgent. I treat myself to a dirty martini every single time something good happens with my writing career and a cheap dress every time I feel like I've been eating healthy enough to enjoy the process of trying on a new, cheap dress. I love a party, and so I like to simulate that idea of celebration as much as possible. Sometimes this involves spending money, yes, but sometimes it's as simple as turning my phone off and settling into two whole hours of So You Think You Can Dance with a pint of Adonia by Ciao Bella Greek Frozen Yogurt (go buy some the minute you finish reading) in my favorite pajama shirt (it's my Dad's old button work down that I refer to as my sleep suit).   

If you know R, then you know that he is somehow more indulgent than I. On Labor Day he insisted that we buy 1.75 lb lobsters from The Bristol Farms because it was the last day of summer, and lobsters feel like a summer thing, so we have to buy them today and have a lobster feast in the backyard. Yes, Labor Day is a holiday, so a celebration is not technically out of the ordinary, but he had us celebrating a free weekend with no plans awhile ago (brunch! a movie! let's finally get you that new computer!), so there's that too.

Here's the thing. Life is rough. It's stressful, overwhelming and sometimes painful. Many of us spend 75% of our time doing something we don't want to do as a means to afford things we want/need. There are only really five major holidays in the American calendar. Sometimes just calling something a celebration is all you need to feel like it's more special than any other home-cooked meal or take-out sushi or evening on the couch.

Bottom line: you need to be celebrating more things, more often. This may feel silly at first - are we really about to have a dance party in our living room because I had a really good meeting today? - but you'll very quickly learn that celebration, like exercise according to Elle Woods, makes you happy. And being happy makes you more happy. And when you're happier you want to celebrate more, so it's just a vicious, beautiful cycle.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Event: The First Day Of Fall - the changing of the seasons is no small deal, especially if you live in a place that actually has seasons. 
  • Activity: Go find something you can pick (apples are popular around this time, I believe), and pick it. If you're aggressive you can make a whole day out of it and turn those apples into apple pie and eat that applie pia ala mode while watching something like LEGENDS OF THE FALL (get it?), but that's up to you (and the man you may have to convince to join you...).
  • "Plus Up" It: Bring a Flask Fall makes me think of brown liquor, and brown liquor makes most things more fun. So if you can RESPONSIBLY incorporate a cup of cheer into your Fall-themed activity, please do! 
  • Event: You Made Something Great Happen At Work - This isn't the same as getting a promotion. If you get a promotion you best celebrate with a nice, big dinner featuring a nice, big bottle of wine. This simple celebration applies to you somehow saving the day and/or pushing a project forward expertly. It is most appropriate if you've recently had a shit time at work and this success is the only thing that's keeping you from quitting!
  • Activity: Mad Men Cocktails Night. Don and Roger it up for the evening. If you don't have the proper supplies, go buy them. Want a cigar to go with that snifter of giddy, go for it. I cannot endorse splurging on a 1940s-style smoking jacket, but if you can swing it, make it happen. 
  • "Plus Up" It: Fudgie The Wale Cake. Ice cream cake somehow tastes better when it's in the shape of a happy-go-lucky ocean mammal. I did some research, and it turns out Fudie wasn't invented until 1970, and we're only up to the late 60s in Mad Men time, but it's close enough. 
  • Event: The First Day Of School - I don't go to school anymore, but that doesn't mean I can't celebrate with a ravioli dinner like we used to do at my Mommom and Poppop's house on the night of the big first day. 
  • Activity: The Clown Surprise! In case your Mommom and Poppop aren't around to make you ravioli, I recommend one of those Friendly's sundaes with the upside down ice cream cone as the clown hat. 
  • "Plus Up" It: Buy yourself a "first day of school outfit." Just because you're going to work in it and no one took your picture doesn't make it any less delightful to wear something brand spanking new.  
  • Event: The Anniversary Of... - I unfortunately don't remember the exact date I, say, graduated from college, but if I did I would celebrate by dancing to Kelly Clarkson's "Sing You've Been Gone" on repeat while drinking Busch Lites (right girls?). Perhaps you broke a major bone? Sang in a huge competition? Won some fairly impressive spelling bee? Call your Mom, she'll remember.
  • Activity: Go back to that time or place in your life and celebrate exactly as you would have at the time. Examples include binge eating fruit roll ups, dinner at a famous suburban chain restaurant (so, Red Lobster), or - if this is a middle school memory - slow dancing with your special someone to Boyz II Men.
    For even more inspiration you can check here for a whole list of those random "legitimate" holidays like "National Hot Cross Buns Day" or "I Want to Start a Business Day" - both of which are apparently, TODAY!

     Good Luck. Have Fun. 

    And feel free to share all your celebratory suggestions in comment!

    Thursday, September 6, 2012

    My Podcast about Romance and My Article about Money in LA vs. NY

     I don't invoke a Newsies intro image for any old day. Two big things have happened/are happening that I think you will enjoy.

    1. JUST THE TIP PODCAST, featuring the voices of R and me! 

    Erin La Rosa and Marcos Luevanos of "JUST THE TIP"
    Our friends Erin La Rosa and Marcos Luevanos has a new, fun podcast called Just The Tip in which they discuss relationships, romance, sex and the like. R and I stopped by their cocktail-filled set for a session on Modern Romance, from our perspectives. Mostly it's just me talking about the fact that I have too many clothes to share a closet and R agreeing.

    Here's the link to give the podcast a listen! We come on at 10:45, and I miraculously only regret one thing I said! Guess which one!

    2.  LEARNVEST ARTICLE on NY vs. LA: Money-wise

    In honor of my two year L.Anniversary (sorry, had to), I wrote a little piece for the fine folks over at LearnVest about the financial differences between a NY and LA life.

    Categories I considered include housing, transportation, food & drink, and clothing. Spoiler alert: it's not looking good for either city...

    Back with a thoughtful post on how to celebrate the most random things in your life (like, say, Thursdays), tomorrow! For now, hope you enjoy. 


    Tuesday, September 4, 2012

    Thoughts on LA at my 2-Year LA Anniversary.

    As of this past weekend, I have lived in Los Angeles for two years; two whole years ago I wrote this love letter to New York City from my one-way Virgin America flight to LAX. I both cannot believe it's been that long, and cannot believe how quickly the time has flown. I also still cannot believe I actually went through with it.

    A week or so ago I was chatting with a college student from back east - a former neighbor who is now a film studies major at UVM - about making the move to LA following graduation. "It's exactly where you need to be to determine if a career in film is right for you," I said, but in the back of my mind I thought, "Ugh the move is so crazy is she going to pull it off? did I pull it off??"

    This past weekend I had brunch with my friend Zac who just made the move here from New Orleans. "So, I know this is a ridiculous question at this point," I said, "but do you like it here?" I expected him to mention the obvious pluses (weather, space, beautiful people, creative environment) and in the next breath the minuses (traffic, too spread out, beautiful people, competitive environment). Instead he just said, "Yes! I love it!" And Zac doesn't lie for the sake of...anything really.

    As I take stock of my own feelings about this city, I realize they have far less to do with the city itself and far more to do with my life in this city. I would list items like "having dinner parties in my backyard" and "driving two hours to a writer's retreat in a mountain cabin." Yes, people have dinner parties in New York, but I never did because I couldn't fit more than three people inside my kitchen/living room at one time. And there are plenty of places to go out writer's retreats outside New York, but I never went on one because I wasn't a part of a community of writers in New York. What I'm saying is that it's not entirely about the city, it's about what the city allows you to do, or rather, who the city allows you to become.

    I moved here to make a very specific life change because Los Angeles is the place where my life goals could best be realized. But I think the act of moving itself made me realize more life goals than I intended to accomplish. I think that LA - perhaps because of how far away from home it is? perhaps because I moved here in my late 20s? perhaps because of the nature of the city itself? - helped me grow up more, and in a different direction. Could that have happened in New York? Maybe. But I think there's something about rocking your entire core with a "re-set button" move that opens up channels you didn't realize existed. It's probably a lot like how people who've tried LSD think about life before and after they've tried LSD. That's not a recommendation to try LSD or to move to Los Angeles, though if you were going to pick one of the two I'd go LA, even though that LSD scene in MAD MEN with Roger Sterling was pretty funny.

    Some other day I'll write about the things that make me feel more adult since moving to LA (as a preview, it's boring stuff like, I have a savings account now because I don't live crawling distance from five bars, two vintage clothing store, and an Urban Outfitters). For now, here are my top five love letter items to this city after two pretty fantastic years:
    • I love that brunch is between 10am and 11am here. There's something about starting the weekend day before 1pm that makes the weekend feel like a legitimate amount of time off. This early rising situation may have to do with the fact that I'm rarely hungover here (because I'm rarely really drunk here), which is another unexpected plus. 
    • I love that the beach is 20 minutes away (without traffic) and 40 minutes away (with traffic). I know that's a given when you live in LA, but it hasn't ceased to delight me, and I'm not sure it ever will. 
    • I love that my community of people here is as obsessed with media and entertainment as I am. Yes, you can talk about television anywhere, but in those other places you probably won't talk about which eight directors you're really hoping direct the last season of Breaking Bad, and for what reasons. I find that stuff infinitely interesting to discuss. I may tire of this - people say you do after years in the industry - but for right now it's still really exciting.  
    • I LOVE the food here. LA may not be considered the food capital of the nation, but I firmly believe that the quality and creativity of the food for the price is better here than in any city I've visited, and I know some really picky eaters who agree. For me, this has a lot to do with the fact that avocados are always in season. Always
    • I love that R is here. I didn't have an R - or any other upper case letter - during my New York life. Our relationship has been the single best thing to come out of my move West, and as you know I drive an adorable red Jetta, am on the cusp of fully launching my writing career, and have the best hair of my life on account of the low humidity. R still takes the cake. Well, R and the fact that I have a giant herb garden now, but I would have killed every single one of those plants if it weren't for R, so they technically go hand in hand. 
    I think I'll stay here for awhile longer, based on how it's gone for the past two years.  How long? I don't know. We'll have to discuss at my three year anniversary, when I'm (gulp) 30, and this blog will go by an entirely different name...