Yearly Archives: 2008

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We had a wedding and what a wedding it was

The wedding can best be summarized by our guests who filled out mad libs throughout the evening. In lieu of a live blog, I believe their combined words tell the tale:

After four years of dating, Darren finally skunked Wistar in Portugal. With the help of their ugly monkeys, Darren and Wistar finally married on December 27th in the Live Arts Church of Bunion Pad. The couple’s families were mushroomy to see the scrofulous sight. Even their dearest friends felt moist when Darren and Wistar were pronounced man and wife at last. The bride looked winterizing in a lukewarm dress, but the guests didn’t know she wore badger underneath. Darren hired a professional wedding consultant to help him with his wagon wheel, but Wistar handled his hard hat herself. When they danced to Big Dumb Sex by Unprovoked Moose Attack and Beer for My Horses by Mr. Kayak, any Little League chest protector could feel the magic in the air. In the forbidden city of Charlottesville that night, all their wedding guests knew that Darren and Wistar would joust together forever.

My sister and her boyfriend also spoke eloquently when they said, “The wedding was foggy and we were confused to be invited! May you share many eyeballs together!” I would fill out my own mad lib, but the only words I can come up with post-night-of-my-life are “exhausted,” “elastic-waist pajama bottoms,” and “the prospect of starring in another wedding is reason enough to stay married to Darren until I die.” Thank you to all the beloved silver spraypaint huffers and card-carrying cupcakoholics who made the event so fridge magnetic.

Marquee over Live Arts - Photo by Billy Hunt

On being a writer and being in trouble

It turns out that if you want to be a published writer, you have to steel yourself for being in trouble all the time. You want everything you write to be true and good and universally loved, but sometimes what you write is false and bad and makes people hate you.

The sense of having done something wrong in public is especially hard to grapple with when you’re used to writing for a benevolent audience made up of your parents, your close friends, and boys who find you attractive. When you graduate into the “real” world of print, suddenly every opinionated stranger is privy to your mistakes. Yet each day journalists, newspaper editors, and other prolific writers – especially nonfiction writers – expose themselves to that kind of public scrutiny. Occasionally they offend, they overlook, they eff up, but they don’t stop writing. They don’t have the luxury of hiding in the bathtub until the storm blows over because the next issue is due at the printer’s at 5 o’clock and the ink is not sympathetic to their insecurity.

These people are my heroes. Meanwhile I’m in CVS buying canned soup and I’m paranoid that everyone thinks I’m a shoplifter so I buy extra stuff in hopes that the cashier will stop accusing me with her eyes. I perpetually feel like I’m in trouble. Compound that with actually being in trouble from time to time and I’m basically someone who murders people with her words. If a woman I admire wants to take me to lunch I wonder what I’ve done wrong and then I stop eating lunch for a while because lunch reminds me of being bad. (Probably too much information.)

But the best writers learn from their mistakes, even the big mistakes. And sometimes writers have to do a little ego stroking so their pens won’t freeze up forever. If I spell a word wrong, it’s probably because it wasn’t spelled correctly in the dictionary to begin with. And if I accidentally call Dr. X a pedophile when he is really a podiatrist, maybe my artistic subconscious is tuned into some larger reality where disordered feet prance around in Winnie-the-Pooh socks and drink wine coolers and beg to have their toes painted on a merry-go-round.

I think I messed up again. And I’ll probably regret it in the morning. But morning is for apologies and night is for balls of steel and writing is for people brave enough to say they’re sorry over and over again until the sun sets once more and they can spray paint the highway overpass with bad words like they’ve been dying to do all day.

Death by port-a-potty: a story with a happy ending

This is something that happened to me today: I was driving home from Richmond with Abbey, daydreaming about wedding dresses, eating Junior Mints, naming my future children, when BAM! – the truck in front of us on I-64 lost part of the shit-shack it was towing and we swerved at high speed to avoid a spectacular death.

Everybody’s okay, in case you were wondering. The truck driver got off at the next exit and we resumed our conversation about Twilight or whatever and I feel confident that many more people will hold their noses in that port-a-potty in the future. But I’m still a little shaken. I’ve had near-death experiences in the past but they’ve never been so. . . stupid. This one had so many. . . poop connotations. It so much resembled the way I would kill off a hateful character in a novel that I wonder if someone wants me out of this awesome book.

I have good advice for how you can avoid this kind of tragicomic accident. 1) Do not giddily tailgate an unstable port-a-potty for 30 miles secretly hoping something crazy dangerous will happen. 2) Never hang out with me or Abbey.

The turtle frog spider picture – now with more sex appeal

When the bbf and I each posted the spider-sitting-on-top-of-the-frog-sitting-on-top-of-the-turtle-in-my-parents’-pool-filter photo on our individual websites back in August, we expected to receive a handful of comments like “Cute!” “Rad!” and “Aww.” We did not expect “Your photo inspired me to get a permanent tattoo.”

“Incredible Journey” Tattoo

Aimee Pierson of California was so touched by the story of these interspecies friends working together to survive that she wanted to spread the word about their “incredible journey.”

It would not have occurred to me to get a tattoo of this image, but I am proud and amazed that our photo made such a difference in someone’s life. And the photo will continue to make a difference at every cocktail party Aimee attends in a backless gown. And at her community swimming pool. And in her sex life.

Looking at this tattoo, I feel like I’m standing on top of a smile on top of a puppy on top of Christmas morning. Thank you, Aimee, for sharing the turtle-frog-spider love.

Let’s streak the Downtown Mall

Who’s with me?

Let me tell you what’s going on in the world

People are reacting to Obama’s victory.

People are making MFA Fiction programs the new International Affairs programs.

People are giving up their personal email accounts.

People are divorcing because of cyber affairs in Second Life.

People are interviewing ingenious 10-year-old girls who write books and ride scooters at Smart Girls Have More Fun.

People are feeding designer Kool-Aid to design junkies.

People are talking about how f’ing cute this French girl is.

People are hungry for weiner dogs.

People are excited to see the Twilight movie because Bella Swan is apparently the new Jane Eyre.

People are making refrigerators without electricity.

People are microwaving things they shouldn’t be microwaving.

People are still amazed.

Face calling

Now that I have a new computer and Gmail offers free video chat, my face can call your face. Our faces can literally communicate back and forth through cyberspace. I’m talking about Cyber Space Face. I’m talking about Future Stuff. Who invented this Cyber Space Face Future Stuff? And what was I doing while they invented it? Changing light bulbs? Handwashing hosiery? Writing “2007” on checks?

I’m so amazed by this new technology that I won’t even complain about the obvious disadvantages: 1) being caught in my loungewear; 2) discovering what my face looks like when it’s talking; 3) taking ten giant steps backwards in document-sharing technology (now I just hold papers up to the webcam).

Whoever revolutionized (and sort of invaded) my life with thrilling Robot Face Science, thank you. You are light years ahead of my couch car fueled by white wine and pajama bottoms.

The Virginia Film Festival is in my backyard eating all my popcorn

The Virginia Film Festival takes place in Charlottesville this weekend! Granted, it’s no Virginia Festival of the Book, but UVA has now thrown this party 21 times to tremendous acclaim. And the weekend promises to be as exciting as anything possibly can be without a nonstop parade of serious books and authors. Movie stars have always lagged behind novelists in the glamor department. Consider the fact that they live in trailers.

But despite having a clear favorite among our two local arts festivals, I still plan to see some movies in the next few days, especially since the theme this year is intriguingly “Aliens Among Us.” And yes, I have an all-access VIP festival pass; and yes, I will be flaunting it throughout the weekend whether or not I am attending a Virginia Film Festival event at the time. So check back for updates on all the culture I am about to soak up.

Lastly, if you’re thinking about dressing up as a Hollywood celebrity for Halloween, just consider this: you can put together an author costume in three minutes using a cardigan sweater, office supplies, and whatever’s in your sock drawer. You don’t even have to be good-looking! Unless you’re dressing up like me, in which case you have to be very good-looking.

Did I say me? I meant Marisha Pessl. Or Zadie Smith. Or Padma Lakshmi. But they’re much harder to pull off. For instance dressing up like them would involve more than greasing your hair, wrapping yourself in a blanket, putting on holey slippers and holey socks after confirming that the holes don’t coincide, and then complaining about the central heat being broken while you cuddle a laptop for warmth.

Breezy Palomino calls out the liars

Of all my Murray cousins and their significant others, Nick and Alice have the best blog.

 Breezy Palomino has the wind in her hair

Scoff Magazine’sThings That Are Never True“:

2) This is the perfect weather for my fleece jacket and river sandals. I just get so cold up top and hot down bottom.

Brooklyn hipster imitation is the highest form of flattery

I wanted to be supportive. I really did. The poster’s kind of cool, even if the women depicted look too scrawny and too bangly and too fashionable to compete with the likes of us. They’re also in the Break Arm Position.

Hipster arm wrestling poster

But then I visited the Classy Ladies Arm Wrestling Society (CLAWS) Myspace page and the more I examined it, the more icky I felt. CLAWS was founded by three 21-year-old Brooklyn artists and DJs who are into 1) bike ridin’, 2) whiskey drinkin’, and 3) taking publicity photos of themselves in cute outfits. Okay, we’re into all that same stuff, but at least we’re not writing excruciating copy and questionnaires like this:

Have you ever found yourself clearing off a barroom table, staring down your best friend, hands locked, nail polish chipped … a frenzy of dudes gathering around you…when the jukebox and everything you’ve ever accomplished (graduate school, solo art show, your band’s European tour) is drowned out by the sheer necessity of this moment…of your moment…when it all just comes down to arm wrestling?

Calling all classy ladies with a penchant for arm wrestling and whiskey drinking…Fill out this survey and send it in. [. . .]

1. Name
2. Nickname
3. Age
3. Locale
4. Birthplace
5. Which female celebrity would you most want to arm wrestle?
6. Which fictional character?
7. What’s your favorite ‘would you rather’ question?
8. Theme song in movie of your life at two moments, (both while walking down crowded nyc street)…1. you’re exalted, in LOVE, it’s a scorching summer day 2. you’re exalted, in LOVE, but it’s a grey winter day
9. Last but not least, why do you love to arm wrestle?

I wonder if I could make it onto the CLAWS roster with a few white lies. I dream of wrestling the fictional Madeleine, as played by Chantal Goya in Jean Luc Godard’s 1966 Nouvelle Vague film Masculin, feminin, while surrounded by a frenzy of dudes in bands who are still boozy from the night before. I dream of walking down Flatbush Avenue on a scorching summer day with a bottle of whiskey in one hand and a fistful of MIA’s ass in the other to the tune of “Under My Thumb” by the Stones. And I would rather contrive to arm wrestle away my existential hangover than admit that I am ripping off the nice girls of Central Virginia.

This has all been an antagonistic preface to the following challenge: Brooklyn hipsters, we will rip your skinny arms off! We will shatter your bangles! We will mock your DJ careers! And then we will declare ourselves the original Lady Arm Wrestlers!

But all in fun, of course. There’s room for every patient in the wrestling fever ward.