Thursday, November 30, 2006

it's like yeah, motherfucker, i'm fine awesome

hi, my name is Heather. i have a website that i used to drunkenly ramble upon regarding quasi non-boyfriends who broke my heart, my probable yet unmedicated clinical depression and my anger with God, but then i got this new job description over at Gawker, got really busy, and now i drunkenly ramble about that more in real life than i do on the internet.

(hi.)

well, golly, you think to yourself, she sounds utterly charming. where did Dan find such a treasure? surely she has some incredible story, or wisdom, or advice to share with us, her life is so rich with cultural experience; so blessed with social grace and connectivity. impart your wisdom upon us, Heather. we beg you. this is a job i take very seriously, much like my job (which basically consists of wrangling google calendars, whipping hangover-ridden interns into shape and spending three quarters of income on coffee at Balthazar. oh come on, you know you would, too.)

but then, it hit me: i haven't slept in three days. an hour ago, i was so fucking excited because i met my deadlines (!) early (!!) and i could leave the office (in SoHo) to go home (to Brooklyn) to pluck my eyebrows (because i didn't have time this morning) and come back to the office (still in SoHo) in time to pick up my dream team partycrash (kate, richard) to make it downtown to CollegeHumor's Rush party tonight. i'd freak out about what i'm going to wear but MAYBE i'd have time to pull my shit together well enough to meet some guy who'll conveniently inform me after we've come seriously close to having sex that he kind-of-maybe-sorta has a girlfriend, and that kind-of-maybe-sorta shouldn't do this. or maybe i'd forgo looking extra skanky in lieu of a nap (omg, sleep. for serious.) but then i realized, fuck. FUUUUUUUCK.

it's the 30th. rent is due tomorrow i'm supposed to guestblog for fucking Dan.

(fuck.)

so instead of writing a post for Dan, i watched the dickheads my dears officemates play with this minigoddamnedhelicopterthing:

IT WON'T LET ME POST THE VIDEO. WATCH IT. IT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE.

(okay, it won't but that's me giggling, wearing the atrocious white knit hat.)

and decided that screw it, i'm just going to go home and wash my goddamned hair. because shit, clearly all i'm doing here is dropping names and pretending your amazement in my awesomeness actually matters. also, i fucking hate blogger. i fucking hate blogger beta even more.

(fuck.)

(almost enough to hate dan.)

(yeah, riiiiiight. like that's going to happen. i could happily die on my way home now, knowing that this will be, by far, the shittiest post on this blog EVER, and that is just. plain. awesome.)

(insert further delirious drivel here.)
(so yeah, i'm really going now. kisses.)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

I don't actually read blogs.

I, High Class Jackass, think they are, for the most part, a waste of time. Most of them.

There are, of course, exceptions and, of course, Dan's is one of them. He's truly a gifted writer as I noted a billion years ago, back when all you ungrateful shits were all "Dan who?"

So yeah, Dan is down in the Big Easy, doing some obscenely altruistic shit like building houses for Habitat for Humanity. He asked us, his friends, his real friends, the ones who are there for him, plying him with liquor, drowning his woes, and taking blackmail worthy photos, to step in and provide minimally entertaining content for your amusement.

And you - you people - have the nerve, the gall, the cohones to tick-tack-type shit like BRING DAN BACK, WAH-WAH!

Look, we miss Dan, too. He's adorable, if a little slight of build in real life, and we're entertained by his heart-wrenching posts of late, if only to feel better about our relative status in our dating-, housing-, mental-situation. But he's gone.

HE'S GONE, PEOPLE. So suck it up and give us, the poor pathetic bastards tapped to bullshit until the maestro returns, a break, some slack, some, like, whatever. My pizza's here.

Oh, and before I forget, this one time, Dan kissed me hello. For twenty bucks and a litre of Belvedere, I'll let you touch my cheek, you drooling sycophants.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

My family vacation south of the Mason-Dixon line (whatever that means).

Hi, I am Alice and I am taking over for Dan today. When I received this email from Dan, "thanks for taking care of my blog, you mexican day laborer", I thought- who better to share the joys of my 7 day family road trip than with Dan's readers. So I bring you a photo slide show of the wonderful days I spent with my mother and sister in what I can only call "bumblefuck" Kentucky and Tennessee. Incidentally, Dan and I happened to be in the state of Tennessee at the same time- two New York bloggers in a red state at the same time?!? Who knew that was even possible??

I grew up in a house full of women, road trips in my family are more like extended all girl slumber parties. We are an extremely close family, each with dry, sarcastic senses of humor. But I wouldn't recommend spending five days in any car with three adult hormonal women; like most families, we were bound to kill each other sooner or later.

Spending five days in the bible belt is what I like to call Hell or the Betty Ford Center. I never realized how much new yorkers drank until I was forced to spend 5 days in a dry county without libations or cigarettes. Much to my surprise, Starbucks has become a universal cultural beverage and can even be found in a town that has roughly 200 citizens. In the face of sobriety, caffeine became my dark master and new addiction.

I discovered something about myself during this week, I need at least 4 hours a day by myself with complete silence. Needless to say, my family drove me nuts. They talk incessantly, all the time, even in their sleep. I almost lost my mind. By the third day, I was ready to stab a ho. We got into our first family fight that was over nothing and resulted in mostly under the breath mumbling. I was jet lagged and running on 9 hours of sleep over three days, if you glance closely I am almost scowling in each photo. They made me visit Abe Lincoln's birthplace at 10 in the morning, when all I wanted to do was sleep in the car.

The thing about my mother that you realize upon first meeting her is that she talks to EVERYONE about EVERYTHING. She is the friendliest person I know. For instance, Elizabethtown, KY, Cracker Barrel. Mom spent a 10 minute conversation with the waitress documenting a 1996 road trip to Mackinac Island where I made her stop every 20 minutes for a bathroom break. And the day begins.



Elizabethtown, KY, Lincoln's Birthplace. Mom and Reg think it's funny and take a picture of my first bathroom break. Assholes, I really need to get a new family.

10:05 am: Reg (yes, she is named Reagan, after the President) and I in front of a copper Lincoln family. Reg is secretly enjoying my misery.

Reg desecrating the "symbolic" birthing bed of Lincoln by doing her best pole dancing stripper impression. That's my sister looking like the tramp that she is.



10:20am: Reg and I stand in front of the "symbolic" log cabin. Everything at the memorial was labeled symbolic because they couldn't actually prove any of it belonged to Lincoln. In fact, part of the cabin in above photo is part of the cabin Jefferson Davis, the Confederate President, grew up in. During the many exhibitions, the logs got mixed up, and now this is the symbolic log cabin of bigotry.


Reg and I outside the Lincoln Memorial in Kentucky, this one precedes the Washington, DC one. This is my reaction to 16 hours of hearing about my mother's and sister's sex life- they are both "in love". Blah, whatever that means.


Mammouth Cave. Yeah, boys, this is what I am going to look like in 16 years. My mom is a total MILF, but she is taken.

We finally made it to southern Tennessee around 6 pm, upon arriving we found out we were in a dry county. Along the way, all we could envision was getting trapped in a no name town and becoming a character out horror movies such as Deliverance and Wrong Turn. Instead we end up in a dry county. Can you imagine what it was like to be at a family reunion for 3 days with absolutely no alcohol???? Did you know everyone in the south is related? We couldn't go to a restaurant, butcher shop, gas station, or Walmart without family members coming out of the wood works. My mom kept trying to betroth me to second and third cousins, I didn't let her out of my sight for fear she would drive off and leave me in Tennessee. I live with a family full of jokesters.

Oops, how did that get in there? This is my parents' psychotic and shaved cat, Betty, also heir to the family fortune. My dad keeps threatening to leave all his money to the cats.

Does everyone remember that stupid movie with the Rock in it called Walking Tall that's based on a true story? While we were in Adamsville, we visited the original home of Buford Pusser, also a distant relative related by marriage. Who knew? Buford was the sheriff responsible for breaking up all the whiskey stills in the 60's that resulted in this county becoming the dry county it is today, including my family's still. Apparently it's a rite of passage for the men in the fam to go piss on his grave. Yeah, because that solves everything.

Mom, the Auntie, and I standing in front of what probably would have been the family fortune.

Ooh, Mom holding the legendary stick Buford was famous for busting up "trouble" with. What's even crazier is that when my mother was my age she was federal law enforcement and trained near Quantico. I wouldn't want to mess with her. Ah, poor town, the only claim to fame for Adamsville, TN.

Other highlights from the trip:

-Every shop doubled or tripled as something else. The butcher shop we ate at was a diner, butcher shop, and tobacco store all in one.

-The only place to go for entertainment and was suggested to us more than once to pass the time- Walmart.

-To pass the time, we made up games like cow counting and cross counting. Mom cheated ALOT. Reg kept pretending to fall asleep to get out of the game.

-My mother told us a story about how when she was younger to get rid of boys she didn't like, she used to pretend to have a twin sister named Alice. She would straighten and curl her hair every other day, then talk trash about the other "twin sister". "Patti is such a liar" or "Alice is such a whore." My mom has always loved the name Alice.

-We caught Mom making eyes at an older guy wearing fatigues, a greying mullet, and a t-shirt that said "it all starts with attitude". In Mom's defense, this guy would have been cute in an Armani suit.

-We heard a commercial on the radio giving advice for a happy and healthy marriage. "Men, you need to take control of the remote in the household. When you see offensive programming, change the channel. This will prevent upsetting your wife and keep her from developing unrealistic ideas of life, ones that God didn't intend." I.E. It will keep your bitches from getting uppity.

-My grandfather raises turkeys. He doesn't sell or cook them, just raises them for no good purpose. Chickens, he also had a lot of chickens.

-In the middle of three very dilapidated towns, there was a majestic mansion/church called the Church of Love and Truth. I think it should be called the "church of this is where all the town money went."

-In an attempt to continually annoy my sister, I kept telling her she was adopted. Mom told her it's not true.

I hope this was somewhat entertaining, I know I had a great time stuck in a county with no alcohol, internet, or cell phone reception. It was a great family bonding experience, I am sure we will do it again in another 10 years. Next time, I hope it's in a more civilized state where the day revolves around more than trips to Walmart and mealtime. Ah, good times.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Isabelle

Greetings, [redacted] readers. My name is Kate. Most of the time, I blog on Logged Hours, and every once in a while I take photos for Gawker, but today, I hope to entertain you while Sir Dan is on vacation.

As you all know (or if you don’t, hope you’re enjoying that coma), last week was Thanksgiving. My Thanksgiving consisted of going out to the far reaches of Long Island and puttering around the house with 24 other people (that's those crazy Irish Catholics for you). One of those people was my 9-year-old 2nd cousin, Isabelle.

Wednesday night, my aunt picked me up at the train station and informed me that we were going directly into town for dinner with my great uncle, my Mom’s cousin, her husband, and daughter (Isabelle). I hadn’t seen Isabelle since she was 3 or so, at which point she was a sweet faced little butterball who loved picture books. I come into the restaurant and see my extended family members sitting at a table with a little girl who looks like the Bee Girl from the Blind Melon “No Rain” video. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Bee Girl, this is her:

Hugs are exchanged all around, and we sit down to order. Isabelle looks at the menu and announces, “Parties of 6 or more get 17% gratitude.” Her mother looks at her, and says, “That’s gratuity, sweetie. It means ‘tip’.”
Isabelle looked at her mother. “Well that’s good. I was going to say that 17% gratitude isn’t very much.”

Drinks are ordered, and as the waitress is pouring our drinks, Isabelle taps me on the shoulder.

“I want to tell you something, but you can’t tell HER”, she said seriously, pointing to her mother. “If you do, you’ll get a bed full of rattlesnakes!”
“Okay,” I promised. “It’ll be our secret.”
She gets up from her chair and cups her hands around my ear.
“I can fake an orgasm,” she announced in a coarse whisper.
I looked at her, stunned. “Um… well, wow, that’s really something,” I stammered.
“Yes,” she said matter-of-factly. “You vocalize excessively.”
Trying to regain my composure, I asked, “Where did you learn that?”
“I got my hands on a copy of The Worst Case Scenario Handbook: Dating and Sex," she responded. “I also know how to get rid of a guy who is scamming on you, as well as how to expel excess gas. Shall I demonstrate?”
Fortunately, the waitress arrived with our food, so I was spared the display. As the waitress distributed our food, Isabelle turned to her and pointed to the middle of the floor.

Isabelle: “Look under there!”
Waitress: “Where?”
Isabelle: “Under there!”
Waitress: “I don’t see it sweetie, under where?”
Isabelle: “HA! I made you say underwear.”

The Isabelle Show pretty much continued all weekend. I could probably write a good 50 pages on her, but since I am merely a guest here, I’ll refrain and provide you with a few choice quotes that came out of her mouth over the course of the weekend:

While getting ice cream:
“I probably shouldn’t be consuming a triple serving. My parents are trying to restrict my caloric intake.”

In the car on the ride home from ice cream:
“Is there an airbag in the front of this car? If so, I should probably sit in the rear of the car, as per federal regulations.”

While playing a card game:
“I smell opportunity.”

To the bakery cashier, after purchasing the last Key Lime Pie:
“You should really remove the sign that says ‘Key Lime Pie’. It’s false advertising, and then you’ll lose consumer confidence and have to shut your doors forever.”

While cheating at Scrabble:
“It’s not cheating, it’s creative game play. Write that down.”

To me, out of nowhere:
“I picture you with a bigger nose.”

By the time she left on Friday, Isabelle had caused my jaw to drop approximately 15 times. All I have to say is that her parents are in for a real treat once she hits her teens. That, and I’m not having children for a long time.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

And Then Things Got Back To Normal

I was at my parents house for my grandfather’s 80th birthday party. I had just gotten back from taking my little sister driving, which is a bizarre enough experience in itself seeing as how I still have memories from the early 80’s of swinging her like a pendulum from a door jamb while she hung helplessly in her jumpy. But in my family a little bizarre is never enough, so when my sister and I pulled up to the front of the house and my grandparents arrived just behind us, and we watched my grandmother stumble out from the passenger side of the car, we were less concerned and more curious.

As I approached my grandmother she was wobbling and laughing. After some prodding as to what was wrong, I finally got this:

“Well my stomach was acting up before, so I decided to take a Prozac. But I mistakenly took an Ambien.”

I resisted the urge to pull out a notepad from somewhere and jot down: “No. Things like this don’t happen only in ensemble cast Christmas movies.”

We move her inside and place her in a recliner. As everyone else starts showing up, there is my grandmother mumbling something about “helping in the kitchen” while nodding off, a colossal struggle between her strong Italian heritage and modern medicine. My sister’s yorkie is running around like mad trying to attack my aunt’s two britney spaniels, who are, in turn, trying to attack anyone who may possibly pet them, accidentally or otherwise.

Meanwhile, I am drunk. I am in the kitchen chatting people up when the pork roast comes out of the oven. The chaos has left us undermanned. My mother looks around for my father, for my grandfather, for my brother-in-law, can’t find any of them. Finally she looks at me and says, “Well do you want to cut the meat?”

Now, it’s not that I can’t cut meat. I’ve lived on my own for almost ten years and in that time I have eaten many steaks, never with my hands. I’m familiar with the process. But in my house it’s not so much an act of convenience as it is a symbol of paternal strength and familial rule. In this regard, I am unqualified. But with no one else around and my mother clearly unwilling to wait I take the knife in hand, albeit with an illogical amount of apprehension. Still, confidence when drunk is my strong suit. So I began to slice.

People are milling about the kitchen, preparing other dishes, paying little attention to what I am doing. My sister walks by and does a double take. With every perfectly cut, biased slice I feel more and more like I am ready to settle down and start a family. Suddenly, perhaps due to some sort of scotch fueled bout of hubris, I begin cutting a little faster, a little more professionally, a little more like I am qualified to do it. And no sooner am I brimming with pride does the entire second half of the roast go flying off the cutting board, landing squarely on the tops of my shoes as though I had purposely executed some fancy soccer trick. Immediately I reach down, pick it up and put it back on the board. I look to my right and the only person who has seen is my aunt, whose eyes are wide, perhaps impressed with my dexterity, likely just disgusted with her dinner on my foot. Fortunately she motions me to clean it off and keep cutting. Maybe we’re all drunk at this point.

Five minutes later, I carry the tray to the table and no one is the wiser. And it was at that moment, my grandmother nodding off at the end of the table, my grandfather making the same “Why can’t she be more like this at home?” joke for the third time to no one in particular, conversations flying back and forth, people passing plates to be filled, and me, standing stately at the end of the table serving dusty pork roast while three dogs lay at my feet licking the hem of my pants, that I felt like the whirlwind was over and things had finally gotten back to normal.

___________________________
* Please note that the entirety of this post was written while in Nashville. I’m not saying I feel dumber here, I’m just saying dumber might not be a real word.

Enjoy the two weeks of guest posts. I’ll be back on December 11th.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

And Then I Went on a Blind Date

Being a 26-year-old dating novice is scary. Not that I had never been on a date before, but I had been in a relationship since college, meaning that the majority of my previous dating experience included watching a girl from across a bar full of underage coeds, waiting until about 3:45 and then finally offering to buy her a shot immediately before last call. Ah, the romance.

Then I graduated and spent the next four years in a relationship. Suddenly single after all this time, I was reluctant to go on any date at all, let alone a blind date. I mean, there was no such thing as text messaging the last time I went on a date. When a friend laid it out to me like that, it was like my father asking me where you put the postage on an email. Clearly I hadn’t thought this through.

But due to factors like peer pressure and getting drunk beforehand, I decided to do it. I won’t recount the story of how the whole thing came about (it involves a convoluted series of Cyrano de Bergerac–style emails and a lot of Googling), but come date-day I met “Brooke” (not her real name*) at a dimly lit bar downtown. I got there first, sat at a table and watched as a seemingly endless line of solo girls poured into the bar, each more uninviting than the next. It was like Russian roulette, the click of the front door opening signaling my possible death (yes, death) every five minutes. It’s not that I am shallow, it’s just that these girls were unattractive, and being on a blind date with an unattractive person isn’t like judging a book by its cover it’s more like judging a painting by its cover. Because for the ten crucial seconds it takes for the person to get from the door to your table, looks are all you’ve got. If they don’t grab you right away, there’s nothing to fall back on. If you like the coloring and composition, though, you’ll stand a bit longer, and then you’ll really start to see the painting, and become interested in its depth, its history, etc., and then you’ll read the book . . . about the painting? I don’t know, I lost the metaphor. But basically I’m shallow, whatever.

Luckily, Brooke was attractive. And sane. So halfway through the night, I, while in the bathroom, texted my friend John (who was my “out” should things have gone poorly): “it’s cool, she’s hot.” The night went better than expected (better than a solid 98% of all blind dates not conducted on a sound stage). And I learned a very important lesson in the process: Despite social, technological or geopolitical advances, dating will always be the same as long as scotch exists. Maybe it’s not catchy enough for a t-shirt, but it’s about as comforting as it gets.

________________________________
* I figured I’d call her Brooke because when I was young my older sister would trick me into playing “Sweet Valley High” with her and her friends by telling me that we were playing “The Hardy Boys.” I should have caught on when all the crimes we investigated involved cheerleading and Tiffany’s new party dress, but regardless, I was always “Chad” and my make believe girlfriend was “Brooke.” And just remembering this now leaves me amazed not only that I can get a date at all, but that I can survive without a daily regimen of prescription medications.

Coming soon:
“And Then Things Got Back to Normal”
“And Then I Stole My Friend’s Xanax From Her Purse When She Wasn’t Looking”

And Then I Had To Find a New Apartment

Curiously, I don’t want to talk about this either, but for completely different reasons – like “the nightmares” and “the all-engulfing animosity which renders me nearly immobile.” I’m no novice at apartment hunting, but the first settlers of America were no novices at sleeping with their cousins in order to propagate a nation. That doesn’t mean they enjoyed it.

The whole experience can be summed up in this one story:

I find an ad off Craigslist that seems promising. I call the number. It is for Manhattan Apartments. Let’s just say my history with Manhattan Apartments includes lots of cursing and maybe some threats. But it seems like a great apartment, so I call.

I am around the corner from their offices, just coming from a meeting with a different broker. The person I speak with at Manhattan Apartments says:

“That apartment is still available. How quickly can you be here? These apartments go fast!”

I say, “Very soon, I am in the neighborhood,” and hang up. In reality, I am not only in the neighborhood, but literally right in front of their office. When I get upstairs, I ask for the woman I had spoken to on the phone. She comes out of her office, shakes my hand and sits me down in front of her computer. We have this conversation:

Me: “So that apartment on East 81st . . .”

Her: “Yeah, that one has been rented.”

Me: (sideways glancing confused face) “The one I called you about before?”

Her: “Yeah, they go quick.”

Me: “I hung up the phone with you and got on the elevator. It was rented while I was on the elevator? You’re on the fourth floor . . .”

Her: “What can I say, that’s Manhattan real estate for you!”

Rule #1 when talking to me: Never say “that’s Manhattan real estate for you.” I know what Manhattan real estate is. I live in Manhattan real estate. I carry boxes full or crap and boxes full of friends’ crap up flights and flights of stairs in Manhattan real estate. I once had sex in a stairwell in Manhattan real estate. I know what it is. And I also know when you are lying to me about an apartment that never existed in the first place.

The broker went on to say that she had a number of other apartments to show me in that price range. I know, in my heart of hearts, that these apartments will be heaps of trash. If I am lucky, one of them will have a closet. I know this. Yet there are few things more alluring than the possibility (be it 0.01%) of finding a good apartment. So I concede – take the bait, take the switch, bend over.

I spend the next two hours traveling around town with a tall, middle-aged, distinguished black woman looking at apartments that wouldn’t even be used as crack-houses in “Law and Order.” She is from the south, and every movement she makes, every word she says, is aimed at making the people around her understand that WE NORTHERNERS MOVE TOO FAST. In these two hours together, mostly spent on a bus in cross-town traffic, because that’s not awkward, I learn about her husband, her dog, her first bike, her first car, the last movie she saw, the movie she saw before that, and her dreams to attend medical school. All the while we are walking endless city blocks, peeking our heads into bombed out apartments, her never breaking her rhythmic southern drawl, as though me asking, “Are they going to put a faucet on the sink?” was a rude interruption of her waxing nostalgic about Christmas dinners long ago.

In the end, I did find a place. Actually, I found a great place. So great that right up until they put the keys in my hand I was sure that it was some sort of boiler-room scam and my security deposit was lost forever in a Cayman Islands bank account. And despite the fact that I lived in a pseudo-crack den for weeks with only an air mattress and a big screen TV, at least it was my pseudo-crack den.

Coming soon:
“And Then I Went on a Blind Date”
“And Then Things Got Back To Normal”
“And Then I Decided To Accept Jesus as My Personal Savior”

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

So Then My Girlfriend and I Broke Up

And that’s really all I’m going to say about it.

(Except this: So there were two earth shattering celebrity break-ups that overlapped with my own – Reese and Ryan; Britney and K-Fed – and while the stories were generally amusing (Ryan cheating, K-Fed singing, etc.) I have to say I was unimpressed. And yes, I understand that saying this makes me sound very unforthcoming, heterosexually speaking, but the fact of the matter is my own story was so much more exciting. Not that we’re going to talk about it, but let’s just say that instead of having a fight and then being kicked out of the 500,000 square foot Malibu estate and being relegated to the sparsely decorated Miami condo, I had to load my crap into a U-Haul and drive it to my parents’ house. And instead of having my attorney negotiate terms with her attorney, I had to be like, “Can I take one of your pillows? Because I don’t have any.” What I’m saying is, I don’t get the fascination with celebrity break-ups. What we should be fascinated with is normal people’s break-ups. Like there should be a whole website dedicated to unearthing the details of ordinary couples’ devastating separations. Example: Which of the following items would you rather read on a boring Monday morning?

Kenny Chesney and Renee Zellweger filed for divorce over the weekend citing irreconcilable differences. Apparently, on Saturday evening Renee Zellweger opened her eyes for a few seconds and realized that she was mistaken, she meant to marry Keith Urban. Chesney, an alcoholic country singer, didn’t care. They have agreed to take their millions and go live posh lives in separate gated communities.

or

Pamela and Tim broke up early Sunday morning when Tim admitted that while free-basing with a few friends at a party, one thing led to another and he got a couple of blow jobs because he wanted to see if he could tell the difference between white girls and Asians. Pamela, who thought she was going to marry Tim, spent the rest of the night drinking Rum and cutting herself just to feel something different.

I think you get the point. And no one steal this idea, because it’s pretty much my only hope for a prosporous future. And my attorney law school student friend has advised me that by posting it on my blog, it is officially copyrighted. He also advised me that my template was “bland” and that that’s not how you spell “prosperous,” but you don’t become Ecuador’s first janitor / attorney law school student friend by pulling punches.)

Putting the “Ded” in “Dedication”

Even the post title smacks of half-assedness. But in the interest of not burning myself out too fast and in sticking to my new motto (“Mediocrity: the first step to success!”), I’ve decided to kick things off a little differently.

Instead of “writing something new and amusing every day,” which I have decided is an outdated format, I plan on writing four or five shorter posts over the next two days catching everyone up on what has happened over the past two months. Then there is Thanksgiving, so no posts, then the long holiday weekend, then I’m taking off for two weeks. So that’s 3 days on, 17 days off. Try not to be crushed by the palpable excitement.

The good news, and it’s two-fold, is this: 1. There will be a bevy of terrific guest posters while I am gone, hand picked for their talent, their intelligence, and most of all for their willingness to do it even though some of them don’t technically know they will be doing it yet; and 2. I have a terrific reason for my two-week absence. My friend Scott and I decided a couple of months ago that we wanted to take an “active” vacation. His suggestion was a two-week bike tour of Portuguese vineyards. (Because why should activity sacrifice romance?) Unfortunately, about three weeks into the planning, just short of buying our plane tickets, it was brought to our attention that they don’t provide you with a bike, you have to bring your own. And since Scott doesn’t have a bike, we instead decided to drive down to New Orleans and build houses for Habitat for Humanity.

Please note that there are more flattering ways to tell the story, and I may not have gotten it right. Of course when I tell it to everyone at my office, or to the check-out girl at the supermarket who is cute (for a check-out girl), there is no mention of drunkenly biking European countrysides and lots more mention of poor, disenfranchised victims of nature’s fury and a decentralized Republican government needing help – our help – because at the end of the day if I can’t look at myself in the mirror who can I look at in the mirror? (Or something.)

Point being, these houses aren’t going to build themselves. We all need to sacrifice a little something to get the job done, and your sacrifice will be sitting in your ergonomic office chairs reading great material from a variety of writers while thinking, “Huh, maybe Dan should go away more often,” while my sacrifice will be throwing heaps of sheetrock and insulation into a dumpster, stepping on nails, eating warm bologna sandwiches in the warm noontime sun and constantly dealing with the burdening weight of being a hero.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Welcome to [redacted]

Well this feels strange.

Not so much that I’m back at this after a two month hiatus. They say it’s like riding a bike – once you learn, you never forget, but if you’ve never really learned then the metaphor doesn’t apply to you. And I never really learned, so forgetting shouldn’t be a problem.

It feels strange because the majority of you reading this right now are doing so because when I quit my last blog (link intentionally omitted, because we’re not going to be doing that here) you sent me a nice email saying something like, “Aww, don’t quit. Hope everything’s OK. You’re awesome!” And on the one hand, that quasi-personal relationship we now share is great and profound, but on the other hand it’s a little bit intimidating because now I’m not just writing poorly worded prose for random people I can only assume exist (because Stat Tracker says so), now I’m writing for real live people with real live email addresses that I plugged into Google and MySpace and Friendster to find out what your real live faces look like. So maybe it’s only weird because I don’t understand the boundaries between “accepting compliments and support” and “stalking people.” This isn’t coming out like I had planned.

Basically there’s a lot to write and plenty of time to write it in. Am I rusty? Yeah. (SEE: “resorting to pictures of farm animals on the inaugural post”) Do I occasionally cry when I walk past the park and see innocent children laughing in the sunlight? Sure, who doesn’t. But, most importantly, am I ready to get back to what I love doing most?

You know now that I write it I’m not so sure. I expected a much more enthusiastic response inside my head, but instead I got something like, “Well, you know there’s that big Fall sale going on at Target, maybe you should hold off?” Whatever, I guess it’s too late now. Because obviously I’ve already gotten this far and if there’s one thing I’m not it’s a quitter. (Ed. Note: Except for the last time I quit.)

So what have I been doing for the past two months? Well I went through a pretty hard, depressing time. There was a lot of confusion and drinking and purposefully bumping into smiling people on the street saying under my breath, “What, you think you’re better than me? Because you have a bed? Is that it?” I contemplated buying a puppy but didn’t have the money, so I contemplated stealing one but didn’t have the heart. Apparently my situation was more complicated than I thought. I considered becoming emo, but am pretty sure I’m too old and people actually do understand me. I ate take out every night for three weeks, but eventually went to Costco and bought prepared, frozen food in bulk, which is extremely less romantic. Finally, frustrated with my inability to suffer a break-up like people in the movies, I accepted my fate, resolved to embrace these exciting, uncertain times, looked myself long and hard in the mirror and thought: But that puppy really would have helped.

And here we are. [redacted]’s first post. Why [redacted]? Well it’s a play on words. Actually, it’s not. Maybe it’s ironic? Or sarcastic? I don’t actually know what these words mean. I just use them at will and then you guys go “HAHA – I LOVE YOU.” That’s the formula and we’re sticking to it. Now someone post a comment that says “HAHA – I LOVE YOU” so we can get the sarcastic irony out of the way.

It’s good to be back.