Tuesday, October 24, 2006

hilarity, by brittany

Check out this user review from Amazon.com:
The book that I have chosen is not only one book but it is a series of thirteen books. I will only be writing about eight of the books. The reason that this book has influenced my life is that there are three children named the Baudlaires. These children where one day out at the beach and the had received a terrible message saying that there parents had just been killed in a terrible fire in the Baudlaire residence. after the fire sunny, klause and violet baudlaire where now known as the "baudlaire orphans." they were being moved around from crazy family member to the next. Every single one of the family members had died because of a terrible man name "count Olaf." the only thing that he wanted was the baudlaire orphans huge fortune that there parents left them. the reason that this book had influenced my life is because a lot of times I can take my parents for granted and in this story these children have no family, friends or parents. I did not realize that I have a good life until I was finished reading these eight books about three children getting pushed from family member to family member.

Written by: Brittany McDermott
Priceless! Now, some of you might take issue with my making fun of what is clearly -- or should I say, hopefully? -- a child. To you, I say, PISH TOSH. In fifteen years, this "Brittany from California" will have a better career, hotter husband, even hotter lover, and way more money than I. What will I have? Only the ability to mock grammar.

The last Snicket book, The End, outsold every other book in America last week, according to my office's copy of Publisher's Weekly. No mean feat. I contributed, I am not-quite-ashamed to admit. It's the only book that's really caught my attention lately, succeeding where Water for Elephants, Special Topics in Calamity Physics, and Fortress of Solitude have mysteriously failed.

In grown-up book news, I have finally picked up another that's met my standards: Arthur and George by some stuck up British postmodernist. Yes! I wish I had an audio version. The only thing better than reading British writing is having it read to you, complete with sexy sexy accent.

Friday, October 20, 2006

friday afternoon politics

A sample from a conversation Bush had with O'Reilly:
"O'REILLY: The secular progressives don't like you because you're a man of faith.

"BUSH: Yes.

"O'REILLY: You know that.

"BUSH: Yes. That causes me to be sad for people who don't like somebody because he happens to believe in the Almighty.

"O'REILLY: But you know that's in play.

"BUSH: Absolutely."

"O'REILLY: They think you are some kind of evangelical. God tells you what to do and you go out and do it. And they hate that."

"BUSH: I guess that I have pity for people who believe that. They don't understand the relationship between man and the Almighty, then."
Just so we all know what country we're living in.

I say, Draft Obama. Who's with me?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

five year plan

A friend of mine was just on Jeopardy!. He did fine -- didn't win but seemed calm and smart, and he seemed to have a good time. I'm scared that, in that position, I'd get all star-struck, forget Alex's name, doodle on the monitor ... Still! I want to be on Jeopardy!.

Okay, with that in mind, here's my new plan for life.

STEP ONE: Find someone to publish my novel. It shouldn't be too hard; it's not like there are very many writers in NYC competing for attention.

STEP TWO: Get a lot of attention as a result of the publishing company's masterful marketing of the book. Watch book rake in huge amounts of money. Oh, wait! Get to enjoy huge amounts of money!

STEP THREE: Who are we kidding? Me, enjoy money? More like just add it to my Orange savings account. First maybe buy another pair of Fleuvogs and see a movie at the Angelika.

STEP FOUR: Get married. It'll probably be time for that, right?

STEP FIVE: Become exhausted trying to juggle media interviews with full-time work. Explain to my office that I need to take some time off for the book tour.

STEP SIX: Book tour! Gotta buy clothes! Gotta remember not to mention Franzen while on Oprah!

STEP SEVEN: Backlash. Escape to New Zealand. Accept advance for second novel, perhaps about monkeys. Plot plot. Try not to cry about what they're saying about me back home.

STEP EIGHT: Decide to take a little time off from the monkeys and study to be on Jeopardy!

STEP NINE: Take test to be on Jeopardy! Pass test!

STEP TEN: Deny being romantically involved with either of the Olsons. Cling to Mr. Ben, call him "my support."

STEP ELEVEN: Discard monkey idea. Monkey idea crap. Start thinking about all the second novels of wonderkinds. Panic.

STEP TWELVE: Long for the kind of uncomplicated, happy life I had as an early twenty-something before fame got in the way. Autograph another copy of the book for a starry-eyed little girl. Watch some TiVo. Consider a record deal.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Politics, at all levels: baffling

I don't know what to make of either of these two stories. First, my alma mater REFUSES TO ACCOMODATE PRESIDENT CLINTON. That's Bill, you understand. Everyone's hero. The last democrat to get anything done on a national level, the fundraiser, the kingmaker, the bloody wanderer, at least according to that Remnick guy. Who turns down Bill?

And for what?
LPAC Managing Director Jim Murphy said “What they were requesting was a space that held 1,000, which we don’t really have, at 3:15 on Wednesday. The closest we could come indoors was LPAC, where we had a long-standing endowed lecture scheduled for [4:30].” The lecture was the Annual Lee Frank Lecture in Art History. This year’s lecture was “A Japanese Potter’s Study Trip to Edo: Ceramic Research and Development in the 17th Century,” presented by Louise Allison Cort, who is Curator for Ceramics at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C.

Swarthmore is not merely a Quirky Little Skool of Quirkiness and the Wearing of Outmoded Shoes (scroll down to the very end). It should be taken seriously. Yet I can't imagine any other comparable college treating an American icon so shabbily and hiding behind such a flimsy excuse.

Also today, in the forehead-smacking section of the internet, this gem: Mark Warner, the Dem's frontrunner and my horse in the 08 race, is bowing out to spend time with his family.

Not only is the event itself perplexing, the reasoning is laughable. May as well pretend he had a lecture to attend on Japanese pottery in 2009 and he didn't want to be distracted. Family -- please. No one's family is that interesting unless you've been hit, and I mean mob-style, by some serious scandal. He must have been hiding a diddled page or two in his closet. Maybe Hilary knew about it. Maybe Bayh did. In any event, I'm disconsolate.

Monday, October 09, 2006

fashion victim? or ensembly challenged?

Oh my god! Jessica Simpson is wearing my junior prom dress from 1999! Where did she find it? And why does she look so angry about it?

At least SHE wasn't asked to prom in the middle of French class, with everybody listening. At least the Clinique counter makeup lady didn't pancake her face as white as a mime. At least HER mother's Greek hairdresser didn't iron her 40 pounds of hair straight, Elvira-style!

Okay, calming down now.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

the jimmy buffet band!

In town for the weekend, my parents had very important questions for me:

1) Why did you cut off all your hair?
2) Where do you want to register?

The second, I guess, assumes that either my hair will grow sufficiently or that somehow I can still scrape enough femininty together to be a bride even with what my father called a "garcon-ish" do.

Best I can tell, I want to register on Amazon.com where adults invested in my future happiness can feel free to buy me Criterion collection DVDs. And maybe one of those portable DVD players -- those always seemed cool. It's such a funny custom, registering, at this point. Do I need silver? A china pattern? Mr. Ben and I live in a SQUARE. No kidding. There is no room for extra pillows, let alone single use kitchen appliances.

Taking this into account, my family also wants to know when Mr. Ben and I are going to inquire about maybe moving into a bigger apartment in the building. Just to have a place to fit all the stuff.

Can I register for restaurant coupons? Not to Denny's; to one of Morimoto's places or Bobby Flay's. Or maybe that amazing sushi place in the Time Warner Center, where you sit at the counter and eat out of the hands of -- and at the whim of -- the chef. That would be the best wedding present ever. Are you taking notes?

My family wasn't in town merely to twist my head about the wedding. They know that I'm headed down to DC the last weekend in October and they will have about 48 hours to keep me tied to a chair, force feeding me samples from the caterer while parading potential corsages past me. What they were actually here to do was take a really interesting car tour of Old Brooklyn, one that could have been subtitled, "Maybe we should roll up the windows and lock the doors."

The idea was to take my 93.5 year old grandma back to her old stomping grounds, the neighborhoods she grew up in. The primary hood, where she was born and lived until she was twelve, is now more commonly known as Bed-Stuy. Needless to say, it's a pretty different place than she remembered. For me, it was fascinating to drive around Brooklyn, since I haven't, really -- and I got to ask lots of history questions of our well-informed, hard-boiled, hardcore-New-York guide.

Also this weekend, Mr. Ben and I went with a couple friends to see 49 Up, the latest installment in a British documentary phenomenon. In 1964, a director chose, virtually at random, a cross-section of seven year olds kids. Apted was then the director's intern, but he quickly took over the franchise: every seven years since, Apted checked up on them, interviewing them about their mundane lives. Some subjects are embarrassed, some proud, some understandably resentful but unwilling to extricate their lives from Apted's project. It's fascinating viewing.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

picture time!

Check it out:

photog by benj
more like a blog, less like a banana

Exciting things have happened lately. For example, yesterday, the Day when We Take Our Souls to be Dry Cleaned And Have to Stand around and Wait til They're Done, Mr. Ben and I atoned and then went for a long, lovely walk by the water on the Upper East Side. In case you're not down on your Manhattan geography, that's where the beautiful go to procreate. After some sunbathing on a bench watching the stroller parade, we took a brief tour of the Gracie Mansion area and the neighborhood in general before Ben stopped short and said, "My coat!"

His beautiful black leather coat that he found in a thrift store in Carreboro, NC! The one that makes him look just a little like James Dean. (Or Jason Priestly. Carpe Diem - he looked hot in it!) Apparently it had gone the way of so many items of clothing he's had over the years that I admired, that he can't remember not to lose.

But maybe not. I remembered that he had last been wearing it on the bench 15 blocks and an hour back. "This is the Upper East Side!" I reasoned. "These people wouldn't be caught dead stealing your second-hand coat. Unless it was Prada." We wound our way back, found the exact bench we'd been warming, and sure enough, slumped over the banister, there it lay, as though drunk! Best ever.

That could have been enough suspense and drama for one weekend. But no! I also bought my very first pair of Fluevogs, the shoe brand I've been eyeing for a YEAR, because getting all my hair cut off made me giddy. That's right: I have only an inch or two left, and the resulting bobbish cut has been called Cute, Dykey, and Sporty (which is just another way of saying dykey, except when referring to the _____ Spice). I, when taken together with the hair cut, have been called an Ingenue, told that i Sparkle and seem to have Grown Wings.

My favorite exchange so far goes like this.
Me: "I kind of look like Sigourney Weaver!"
My friend: "Yeah! Except she was really tall. And really thin."