Thursday, April 24, 2008

I cooked panda, then ate it


This is from over a month ago, but I'm still proud of the Anna-Mary teamwork. And it was vegan!

(But I'm still a carnivore.)

Monday, April 21, 2008

Send me your insane roommate stories!

I'm starting a site, WeShareAToilet.com, a collection of roommate stories. (Don't look! there's not much there yet!) I need some inaugural submissions!

Tales that come to mind - the girl with an arsenal of Robert Redford photos under her bed, the dude who randomly meditates mid-sentence, the skank who was VERY vocal with her boyfriend, the pimpletard who listened to Tool and didn't flush down his turds. Every one of those examples is a true story and amazing and worth sharing. So share!

Send dem roommate stories to weshareatoilet (at) gmail.com. Names and specs will be redacted, as will bylines, so no fame/revenge, just good holycrapthisisreal storytelling. Any questions can also be sent to the weshareatoilet email address.

Commence pillow fighting!

Friday, April 11, 2008

You had me at "dishwasher included" - an odyssey


For the last two weeks, I've been completely engrossed in Craigslist.

No, not missed connections*, but the equally skeezetastic world of apartment listings. And good LORD. I feel like I've just emerged from Satan's armpit.

Considering that I'm moving out of a tiny place I share with five other girls, my roommate Adam is schlepping it in from Jersey and my other roommate just fought off a bedbug infestation in Queens, we thought our housing demands were pretty simple. We totally acknowledged that we were bound to get screwed somehow, we were just trying to minimize it.

So here's what we wanted:
-Three bedrooms. We're friendly, but not that friendly.
-Location over space (so Manhattan/nearby Brooklyn rather than having a boccie ball court in New Jersey)
-No more than $3000 total rent after any fees, etc.
-Move in May 1st

First we learned that the Internet lies. You search Craigslist for "landlord only" and not a single one of those listings that we looked at was void of a middleman. They suck you in and waste your time showing you a place with walls that look like the surface of the moon and scabies in the bath tub and then say, oh, PS I want 15% of that noise. And it costs 4K a month and even though we're on Avenue D I hear that the bums are really friendly over here and the raping is only seasonal. Fair enough, you've got chilluns to feed, but how am I supposed to feel about doing business with such a blatant liar? It's not so much the lying, it's the fact that they think I'd buy into it. Bad acting, whatever the context, is always offensive.

Second, we learned that brokers might be nice people, but in general, they suck. Stating the obvi, I realize, but we had one broker who showed us "something in our price range" with a scenic view of a brick wall and one bedroom for the three of us. My roommates are great, but not great enough to have a pig pile with every night. Some of my favorite broker quotes:

"This is below market. I mean, you're lucky I showed it to you."

"You're NEVER going to find anything in that price range."

"Oh, you guys met in college. That's so cute. What's your credit like?"

"Really, Ave. D isn't any cheaper than Second Avenue anymore. I mean, people LOVE it here. It's ALL East Village now."

"I know the market. I can tell that you don't know the market."

"Yeah, I had to move in with my boyfriend. I kind of like him, but even I can't afford this market. Ha!"

Phew. One afternoon after looking at a "soon-to-be-renovated" job on Ave. B, my roomies and I sulked over slices of Two Boots Pizza. We might as well have been talking about angsty twentysomething relationships - the right one will come along, it just wasn't right, change is scary, I didn't trust it, I just smelled too much like patchouli, and so on. We were a bunch of sad pandas.

We looked at dozens of places, then my roomie stumbled upon a GEM in the Lower East Side. We wondered; could it be The One? It's under our budget, even after fees, spacious (a walk-in closet! my shoes rejoice!) and in Manhattan. Okay, so I have a view of the FDR, but I also have a view of the Manhattan Bridge. We pounced. Our lease-signing is on Monday and my obsession with Ikea seems slightly more rational now that I have somewhere to put that bookshelf.

We sucked it up and ended up paying a modest broker's fee. But soon it felt justified. When googling for her fax number, we learned that she moonlights as a stand-up comedian. They say that it's not necessarily wise to be choosey, but I want some jokes with my keys, dammit.


*I've always secretly wanted to BE someone's missed connection. It doesn't have to be anything John Cusack-worthy, but just a "hey, you seem rad" shout-out would make my day. In high school, my friends and I would write cryptic free personal ads to each other in the pages of Eugene Weekly. Does that count?

Monday, April 07, 2008

Stuff like this always makes me feel like a failure



Where is my electric, climate-adjusting belt?

Meanwhile, the poets out there will meditate on the idea of the bride-of-the-future donning a glass dress.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Why I Don't Like Bon Jovi: The Official Statement

Last weekend at an East Village dive bar, "Living on a Prayer" came on full blast and everyone started belting at the top of their lungs. I sat, politely sulking and sipping my too-sweet fruity concoction and thought why, God, why?

I find myself in this situation all too often. I love fun. I love freedom. I love music. Hell, I even love some conspicuously bad music. But when I tell people I don't like Bon Jovi, they react like I've confessed to being an Osama Bin Laden groupie or something.

Just take a good look at Jon Bon. Some people see An American Icon. I see lame agony.

I fully acknowledge that it's really cliche to use the online space of a blog to rumble about disliking a pop culture phenomena, but bear with me. I'm not merely being a contrarian, I'm just confused about what everyone sees in him that I don't (see also "Titanic," Coke, Scarlet Johansson).

It's not his life, he's not living on a prayer and I'm totally going to pull the Oregon card here and say that he's NOT a cowboy, let alone one riding on a steel horse. And you know, he wasn't wanted dead or alive, now or in 1984. The only thing about Bon Jovi that is timeless is the moral that people will eat up crappy pop music, even if it's from a poser.

But that's the thing. I like pop music and the 80s gave us great jams from U2, Madonna, Tina Turner and Michael effin Jackson - just to name a few. They sold records and became icons, and although we can giggle at their crimped hair and neon-influenced music videos, no one can deny that in addition to being easy on the ears, they were ridiculously talented artists and promoters. What they were singing about resonated with people at a certain time and place.

Let's say that Bon Jovi is a competent musician/performer/songwriter. His whole career still hinges on cheap ploys to capitalize on densely populated, bored America - the stereotypical Jersey trash comes to mind. This is smart on BJ's part because they have money and feel disenfranchised from hip hop and country, but yearn for ballads to drive their Datsun pickups to. Bon Jovi tries to make the Jersey Turnpike feel like a country road. It's not a country road, it's the Jersey Turnpike. He should take a lesson from John Malkovich and embrace it. And then there's that whole issue of his changing his name and denying his Italian roots, but I'm not going to even go there.

And he has a ton of kitch value in the tri-state area, which shocks me. It's not cool to be into Bon Jovi on the West Coast, regardless of the reason. But in the northeast, it's retro to like him because he's sooo 80s. Yeah, I get it frat boy, but thinking that Bon Jovi is "retro" is like claiming that Lynn Spears is sane.

Free speech is great and for that reason, let Bon Jovi crank out his ballads. He gives to charities and probably isn't a bad person on an individual level. But after years of being the minority when it comes to his music, I thought it was past time to make my official Bon Jovi stance clear. I mean, it's an election year after all.

And the next time you're at a bar shouting about how you just wanna live forevah, think of the person in the corner looking bored...and quietly judging you.

A Debut on Amazon


A Google alert for my name (it's not narcissism, it's staying informed of one's web presence) reveals that for the price of $5.95, you can buy on Amazon an early gem from my journalism career: my 2002 feature story on mullets, originally published in Eugene's Register-Guard.

I didn't know that archive news stories were Amazon fodder these days. I also didn't know that my use of short sentences in ledes was so out of control:

THE KENTUCKY waterfall. The Missouri compromise. The Canadian passport. The Tennessee top hat. Here in the Northwest, it's simply known as the mullet.

You've seen them. Business in front, party in back. Short on top, long on bottom. The hair makes the shape of the No. 7 when seen as a profile. It seems as if a third of the high school students in the late 1970s and early '80s sported one.

What's worse - having a mullet or having documented evidence that you were obsessed with them?

This is too easy

They found rotten feces in Oregon.

Thanks Jenny!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

The Nick-at-Nite/Jamie Lynn Conspiracy

Growing up, Nick-at-Nite was a beacon of hope in the lagoon of cable TV madness. They ran "I Love Lucy," "The Honeymooners," "Leave it to Beaver" and "The Mary Tyler Moore Show." My baby-boomer parents relived the idealized suburban life that they never had and I learned that Cuban racismo can be really silly.

Ah, yes. The insane Pilon family not clawing over each other to the television set and peacefully crossing the generation gap.

In the last few years, Nick-at-Nite has dramatically shifted programming gears. The line-up includes "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," "The Cosby Show" and "Full House" - in other words, the shows that I grew up with.

And therein lies the theory. People of my generation who are cranking out kids now have something to watch with their own spawn. The execs at Viacom know that us GenY, Nicktoons-bred children of the 80s yearn to teach the youngins about life before the iPhone. The babies Spears will know the power of John Stamos!

Depending on what you think about teen pregnancy, this marketing strategy is either progressive or trailer trash. Either way, I miss Lucy and Ethel.