Friday, June 30, 2006

"my goal is - i'd like a career or something"

Reality Bites isn't even my favorite Isn't Winona Ryder Annoying? movie. That would be Heathers, followed by Girl, Interrupted, and maybe even Beetlejuice. In my personal teen movie pantheon, it comes in way under Empire Records and Clueless -- although, yes, way above Say Anything. John Cusack is cute, sure, but there's no chemistry at all between him and his weird-looking love interest. And the whole dad going to prison subplot? What is that about? The best scene in that flick is the last one and I have to admit I still of that from time to time when I'm on a plane.

Fun fact: Winona Ryder's boss in Reality Bites, the host of the unbelievably low-tech morning show, though, does play the dad who goes to jail in Say Anything. I think he's in every movie this late 80s - early 90s era has to offer.

Fun fact II: "Baby I Love Your Way" by peter frampton plays a pivotal role in this movie as well as in that other, way better john cusack one, High Fidelity.

But the uneven Reality Bites does feature some super quotable quotes and a fantastic Janeane Garofolo (with bangs!) Just fast-forward through the Ben Stiller courtship scenes.

My job continues to be lovely, even more so since I've received my very first paycheck. I haven't been able to conceive of it as permanent yet -- time will do that for me. Very slowly, I imagine. If nothing goes wrong.

Monday, June 26, 2006

dude. so proud (of you)

In honor of Pride weekend, though I didn't get to see any parades or strip down on a club dance floor to the intoxicating sounds of 80s Madonna, I got to see the almighty Alison Bechdel at the NYGLTQ center. The room was draped in floor-to-ceiling rainbows for the occasion and it just shuddered with anticipation as all the sensibly-clad audience members waited for the Dyke to Watch Out For herself to read to us.

She really is incredible, in case you don't know. When someone asked whether she bases her comic strip characters on a real life queer community in Vermont, she said, "No. It's just me up there. They're all my imaginary friends."

Her new graphic-novel memoir is a morbid, totally funny examination of her growing up butch in contrast to her distant, demanding dad who ran a funeral home, taught English literature, forced all of his children to become slaves to his fierce opinions about interior design, and -- Alison eventually learns -- had sex with boys. It's intense stuff done with a light touch.

Also in the spirit of the weekend, I met for lunch a boy I last saw ten years ago, when we were both at camp together. He found me via a mass email my new publishing company sent out, a sort of "let's welcome the new employees to the family!" thing, and he emailed to ask if I was the ester he remembered. (Existential question: Am I? Essential answer: Well, yes. Same height, too!)

This boy was one of my first in a short string of -friends, as well as my second kiss. Now he's gay. He looks about 30, which is more alarming, and he's really sweet. We had fun picnicing in Union Square, catching each other up on our narrative arcs from the past decade.

And what, I asked, does he remember of little ester from way back when? He pauses to think for a minute, then replies, "You were pretty cynical for a twelve year old."

Friday, June 23, 2006

ages and ages

The combination of no internet in the apartment and a full-time job has not been kind to my blogging intentions. There's so much to relate, too. For instance, I have set a RECORD for wedding dress shopping. It was such an amazing record, Guiness couldn't even contain it; they had to issue a whole new book, exclusively for me, and containing nothing but this achievement.

Wedding dress shopping time, from start to finish: 2 hrs, 0 minutes.

Mind you, the dress we found is no "it has a skirt and a top: it'll do" satisfizer dress. It's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. Among its other qualities, it's criticism-proof: it faced an array of critics -- Mr. Ben, my mother, my father, my grandmother, my uncle, and even my oldest friend (and her new girlfriend) -- and emerged absolutely unscathed. There is nothing to say about this dress except that it is beautiful. It's even NOT WHITE and nobody cares, because that is how outstanding it is.

It'll be a year or so before we see each other again, my dress and I. The little fancy frock store where we found it, with the help of a career saleslady (my favorite kind!), is kindly storing it for us until time comes to cut it down to my size. It is crazy to realize that this wedding shebang is over a year away, when so much feels like it has be done RIGHT NOW.

Meanwhile I have also spent a week and a half at my new job, whose loveliness cannot be compared to anything I have known, except the summer I spent interning at Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. As I did there, in this office, I have freedom and responsibility, intelligent people to talk to, and my own computer. The atmosphere is civil and civilized. Apart from being over-airconditioned, in fact, I have nothing bad to say about it at all. Cross your fingers that that continues.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

luckily flourescent lighting is a good look for me

I feel like Goldilocks. The first office was too big, the second office was too small ... the third office? Comes with SNACKS. Free snacks, in the kitchen! And I have my own desk! Fo shizzle. There's my name on it and everything. And when I answer the phone, I can say ANYTHING I WANT. Granted, I haven't really tested that, but for the first time in my employment history, no one has given me direction.

It's kind of astounding. I've never been treated this well. They took me out to lunch my first day, and get this. No one has yelled at me yet. I know! Crazy! I can't explain it. I'm just doing my best not to fuck it up.

Monday, June 12, 2006

still here ...

I'm not starting the new job until Wednesday, as it turns out. I'm pretty excited, about as excited as I could be, I think, to be exchanging a subsidized 2-day workweek for a regular old 40 hour one. I don't feel comfortable talking about it in too much detail, except to say I'll be an editorial assistant at a publishing company in the city. I'm going to be a paper-pusher! A wordsmith! It is a dream come true, and the cherry on the sundae is that I'll be near Trader Joe's.

Still, I have a couple more breakdowns scheduled before I'm cool with everything that's happening. I'm never allowed to forget about the impending wedding for more than 48 hours at a stretch because I'm guaranteed a call from one of my parents within that time frame with a new question or comment. I can't hold their excitement against them -- of couse I'd rather they be thrilled than passive & sullen; and Mr. Ben and I are going to be in DC this coming weekend to encourage them.

But it's a lot to digest.

At Mr. Ben's law firm's clambake yesterday at a majesterial estate in Larchmont, a fellow who is a year closer to his wedding than I am to mine had lots of advice for me, much of it delivered as he held me by the shoulders. He is attempting to coordinate an interfaith, 400 person mega-marriage in New Jersey. Good luck, friend!

I am not so ambitious. I did, however, wonder idly about how many romance novels I'd have to write and sell to afford a gorgeous 1770s farmhouse on Long Island Sound, complete with barn cum guest house, a croquet lawn, kayaks, a pool table, a ping pong table, and the means to offer my hundred guests a raw bar, a regular bar, and a buffet lobster dinner.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

anyung! gobias!

There should be a word that captures the feeling of laughing while feeling guilty about it, laughing even when you KNOW it's kind of wrong. There probably is a word, actually, in German. The Germans have all the good words.

That magical German word would capture exactly how it feels to watch Arrested Development, which I'm doing now, courtesy of Netflix, by the DVD-full. Part of it is in celebration of new status!: ALMOST EMPLOYED. Yes, you read that right. If all goes well, I start my new job on Monday!

For the record, I received that job offer on 6/6/06. I wonder if that means this new job is cursed, or somehow related to the Beast slouching towards Bethlehem to be born. ... Well, as long as it comes with health insurance, who can complain?

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


Apparently today's the day that the apocalypse is supposed to start. Sixth day of the sixth month in the six year of the new millenium.

Yesterday I was tense from 5:30 AM (when I woke up) until I went to sleep, so tense that today my shoulder muscles are SORE -- and I was just waiting to hear about a job. I wish I'd realized we were waiting for the Beast today; I could have consolidated. Maybe both will happen! Maybe I'll get the job offer, and then the world will end. As long as it's not vice versa.

I'll be pretty upset if it turns out I spent my last full day on earth with my shoulders hunched up next to my ears, staring at my cell phone, knowing that a strong wind would be enough to start me crying. Could have been worse, I guess? (How could it have been worse?)

Thursday, June 01, 2006

this war makes me tired

The WP is now reportering, in their reportery way, that we no longer have anything to worry about, here in America. Those of us turned into despairing head-shakers of the behavior of our soliders in the middle east can finally relax our neck muscles, go take in a movie or something. The problems of behavior -- which is to say, the massacres like Haditha, the prison tortures like Abu Ghraib, the shootings of pregnant civilian women racing to hospitals, as just happened yesterday -- NONE OF THAT will remain to make us uncomfortable, after the marines watch a slideshow about "ethics" and "morals."

Oh no, you say. (You skeptic.) A slideshow? Are you SURE that's going to do the trick?

Ah, but this is not just any slideshow. Not like the sexual harrassment awareness luncheons at your office where everyone rolls their eyes, searches through the free sandwiches for the one they really like, and waits til it's over. No: this is a slideshow that will emphasize "'core values' training in how to operate professionally and humanely."

If soldiers in active duty don't understand DON'T KILL CIVILIANS, what on earth are you going to put in a slideshow to get through to them?

Okay, I feel a little better. Jesus god, this war is exhausting. Sarcasm falls in the face of it.

The truth is, I feel for the soldiers -- they're in an impossible position, embedded in an increasingly hostile community, facing an invisible enemy that never weakens, knowing that the government that sent them there has no plan for how to get them out and knowing that support for their mission back home has dwindled. That must suck. But you know who I feel worse for? The increasingly hostile community that's stuck in the middle of what may turn into a civil war, patrolled by soliders growing ever more trigger-happy and stressed out.

I just finished reading Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell and I'm currently reading Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott. Both women take their frustration at the president, specifically at his drawing us into this unwinable war, and mold interesting books out of it: in Vowell's case, she takes the reader on a guided tour through the three successful presidential assassinations in American history (Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley). Lamott struggles to love Bush the way Jesus loves him or, failing that, to be funny.

If you're as tired and cynical at this point as I am, I recommend both books. They may have been written as coping mechanisms, but reading them works as one too.