30 November 2011

1 november: a revue

"be prepared, snotskirt, for a little TMI."

"mcrib is not a sandwich. it's a practical joke gone too far with bread."

"one doesn't growl in the hokey pokey!"

"something that is AMAZING is how one small chick flick (he's just not that into you) could speak so much truth into the world."

"i'm 30, white, single and ghost hunting. oh, how much i need to move to The City!!!!!"

"i generally do not trust movies with that many overly famous people in it... but i mean, sometimes it works, right?"

"its almost comical how much just having a coat with a hood that is made for rain and fits you correctly can change your perspective on weather and getting out the door in the morning."

"anyone who is deemed 'too thin' for something clearly deserves a cinnamon roll."

"this is like shakespeare wrote a break-up poem."

"i don't want my sperm in my mouth unless i put it there."

"i feel like an adult in this situation, which is very exciting, but there's also the fact that MY MOTHER IS HAVING SEX AGAIN."

"oh and uh, speaking of anal pleasures..."

"it's getting dark already. i forgot that would be happening."

"are you progressing toward being meatless?"

"we eat at 6:30. so, t-minus a zamillion hours."

"my lust for sausage sounded a little gross there."

"where did we put you?"

"i feel like we are on the verge of this being the food equivalent of a 900# service."

"this is what happens when you walk through another department that is celebrating a birthday."

"isn’t she glitter and wonderfulnessity?"

"i've been bizarrely emotional about it and led the fight for him to have cake."

"now, tell me what a (relatively) NORMAL thirty year old did over the weekend!"
"um... it frightens me that i am the relatively normal thirty year old in your world."

"finally, it was figured out."

"so is he pretentious? or just anti-oprah?"

"so this is a dress i would wear to work but never on a date."

"remember that boobs from afar always look better than boobs from owner-view."

"like, it is long enough, but it is butt snug."

"it probably doesn’t help that you’re extra 'my parents are not immortal' right now because of your dad’s nose."

"am i just emo or is this really moving?"

"if i can put active cultures into my body, i totally win."

"it looks vaguely arab. so that's fun."

"have you recovered from your father’s breakfast?"

"but alas i'm not in high school (and she's not justin bieber.) "

"denial is my favorite form of coping. is it the healthiest form of coping? probably not. but still."

"i feel this is just going to be a lot of 'eh', 'oh geez', 'god, why?' and 'well, what can you do.'"
"yes. and what better expresses that than a mustache?"

"i feel like this was a weekend where i was VERY single and you were VERY grownup."
"can we freaky friday ourselves so i can have the 'dancing in the club' weekend?"

"the unsteamy dates are always WAY more memorable than steamy ones. unsteamies are stories for life!"

"did i ever tell you how strange it is to see you write with capital letters? so surreal. it's like the perfect metaphor of being all grown up!"

"i was like, 'you're either deaf or foreign.'"

"it was pre-riots and post-war."

"cutting it in half was the hardest part for me as i'm a single woman and have no real cutlery."

"there are times when i wonder, 'why did you wrap that?'"

"it is obviously not on the scale of your having been on your deathbed while your child played unsupervised, but still."

"if you're checking your email in heaven..."

"i may be pulling that out of my bottom. but it sounds legit, right?"

"i feel like a good set of knives should be an Adult Goal for you. but then again, i guess the first goal is to accomplish platonic cooking."

"and it is AWESOME that steven will wedding-date you!!"

"like i have friends who can afford $250 necklaces! we can barely afford $20 burgers."

"if anything, middle school was far simpler."

"use of word 'masticating' = DEAL BREAKER."

"oh, i've heard this song in the clubs. by which i mean urban outfitters."

"i had a minor emotional breakdown over this last week after driving thirty minutes to an advertised 'the foodie store in northwest arkansas' and finding that it was a gas station convenience store that still sold wonder bread in the gourmet bakery."

"dying is definitely terrible – i am sorry it happened to you!"

"this is very close to an episode from the beginning of the season, where claire gets a night out."
"i do not know what any of that means."

"even in the canine community, the girl's regarded as a slut."

9 laziness, procrastination and/or the motivational power of an artificially created sense of heightened drama for the purposes of getting things done (or not)

i used to be able to get everything done.

in fact, in college, i was that terribly annoying girl who got everything done way early. the girl who habitually wrote her 20-page essays on "women's evolving roles in [insert time period here] [insert nationality here] [insert literary genre here]" a full three weeks before the due date. so i'd have plenty of time to tinker. enough wiggle room to perfect.

i do not do that now. this is a season of imperfection. there is a decided lack of wiggle room.

all of my hopes and dreams are coming true! i'm having the time of my life! that is actually true but it's a palliative of limited worth in face of the overwhelmingness of the everyday. ie. the fact that, by next monday, there's three hours worth of interview questions to be drawn up, two 300+-page good biographies and a 120-page really bad one to be read, a 400-word review to be knock out and a mortified script to be finalized.

i am not in grad school but, suddenly, life is feeling awful maphy.

there was this moment in maph when we realized there was absolutely no way all the assigned reading could be done. this realization is the beginning of wisdom and likely a common ephiphany in humanities programs (and hopefully one never ever experienced by doctors and the people responsible for saving our lives). i could read anna karenina in three days or i could read ten pages of hegel. the russians won every time.

file this under shallow thoughts from captain obvious, but i'm starting to realize that maybe- perish the thought!- life in general is a lot like the maph required reading. a largely incomprehensible mass over which we exert a limited degree of control by identifying the things we aren't ever going to do and picking and choosing between the things we want to do, the things we need to do and the things we absolutely must do because we cannot live with ourselves if we don't.

that is why, in the midst of all of these things that have to be done by monday, there's got to be other things- the really, really important things (omg, synonym for "things" stat!)- like movie night and greasy chinese and high tea on saturday afternoon. this isn't so much a matter of balance as a matter of life.

4 Movies You Really Should've Seen By Now If You Want To Consider Yourself A Grown Person: Stranger than Fiction

"little did he know."
whole wide world.

29 November 2011

3 evolution

five weeks ago i recounted a story to steven. his response: "wow. you're being such a man."

it was the exact same tone he used that one time after we'd broken up in college, when i left a message on his voicemail about how i was going to be busy on friday night. talking to me on sunday, he inhaled and said, "you sounded so strong in that message." his tone was equal parts awe and horror.

he meant this as a compliment, this thing about how i'm being a man about this other thing. and there was a part of me that took it that way. as a really lovely compliment. still, there was another part of me that recoiled in horror because i really don't want to be a man.

2 jackie, oh no.

come on. admit it. like me, you have been patiently awaiting the dvd release of the made-for-tv movie jackie bouvier kennedy onassis since september 1999. you may be unawares that on november 22, 2011, your hopes and dreams came true and jackie bouvier kennedy onassis was released. it was! fear not! i, your awesomeoline, will now spare you the ordeal of ever watching it.

as nearly everyone who knows me knows, i love me some crap made-for-tv movies. camilla & charles whatever love means! william & kate: the lifetime movie! women of camelot! hell yeah. i even love the really, really crap made-for-tv movies. princess in love! a woman named jackie! diana: the last days! omg, so good.

but jackie bouvier kennedy onassis, shit. the word crap is too kind for this.

jackie's life story is a story that cannot be told in under two hours. and yet, that is what this movie attempts to do and, in doing that, it somehow trips the time/space continuum so that the 113 minutes of its duration feel like LIFETIMES.

no joke. it took me three and a half hours to watch these 113 minutes.

i aged during that time. severely.

jackie bouvier kennedy onassis is the only movie in the world slower than there will be blood.

so let's begin at the beginning. this was the dvd title page:

one should never encounter this much pink outside of a victoria's secret store. 

and here is our jackie, played by val kilmer's ex-wife joanne whalley- who also played scarlett o'hara and is, therefore, the destroyer of multiple american icons. 

and our jfk, who looks nothing even remotely like jfk. 

if jackie bouvier kennedy onassis is worthwhile at all it is for this moment: the cameo appearance by the biographer. a moment that likely means nothing to anyone else but, nonetheless, gave me a jolly good laugh because it was so unexpected and deeply awkward. 

a totally unbiographical marital reconciliation in front of the washington monument. 

so here's why the jackie story should never be told in under 4 hours: because the first half of the jackie story features a whole hell of a lot of obstetrical difficulty. a miscarriage, a still birth, the death of an infant. spread that out over a 4 hour movie and it's somewhat tolerable. condense it into the first 30 minutes of 113 and it's pretty much all death all the time and a prolonged series of scenes of people hugging awkwardly in hospital beds:

true to the formula of every kennedy miniseries ever made, the obligatory cutaway to rfk's lunch at hickory hill and the revelation that jfk has been killed. 

jackie at parkland, flashbacking to actual footage from the assassination, which is extremely confusing if you're not familiar with oliver stone's jfk and extremely annoying if you are. 

ARI!!! so virile. so wealthy. so scandalous. 

fyi- every one of these made-for-tv-movies has one gratuitously tasteless scene. the tasteless scene against which all other tasteless scenes in the made-for-tv-movie are measured against and found to be somewhat tasteful in comparison. 

this is that scene for this movie: an actor playing rfk fumbling a football as the audio of the ACTUAL assassination of rfk plays in the background. 

dear whoever thought this was a great metaphor, it actually really wasn't. 

so, rfk is dead. jackie must marry. jackie and onassis: the wedding night! 

ari is sleeping with callas! 70s jackie is pissed!

every jackie movie does at least one thing really well. this one captures the balls-to-the-wall craziness of ari onassis lurking around the cemetery at skorpios after his only son's death. for that, i give it a tentative bravo.

um... ari is dead? jackie is an editor? it's the 80s? 80s jackie looks like marlo thomas???

maurice looks like pavoratti!

JACKIE IS DEAD.  and we are back to this...

28 November 2011

6 the financial investments of pre-teenoline

in 1991, i saved all the money i made selling my baby-sitters club books at the family yard sales and mowing the lawn to buy american girls dolls. not because i loved dolls (i didn't) but because my love of the american girls books- which imparted important Facts about things like child labor laws and victory gardens- was so great that buying the dolls seemed the inevitable next step.

that and their clothes were pretty.

and libby had one.

those dolls have been in their boxes at my parents house- a row of tiny coffins lining the top shelf of my mother's closet- for the last 10 years. unloved, unused, collecting dust until... [cue epiphany music] when i was scraping together pennies for london, it dawned on me that they could be sold. for, like, actual real money.

a huge proponent of my having actual real money, my mother promptly went into action and the selling process commenced.

we've previously discussed my mother's unique form of communication. you can, therefore, imagine her innate gift for ad copy.

in the advertisement for the samantha doll, my mother informed readers that the doll was purchased by her "pre-teen daughter in the late 80s." her daughter who "collected her dolls and kept them in wonderful condition." (would that i will go down in history as someone who kept her dolls in wonderful condition.)

she went on to detail the features of the doll itself, how "Samantha has on all her original 'Meet' clothes and her hair bow matches her dress"; "She has a tan body with long white strings. [btw, wtf?]"; and how "If she had bloomers, I don’t have those." [scandal!]

my second favorite sentence in the ad: "Samantha's eyelashes are all full and her hair is silky perfect." because, really, what girl doesn't aspire to full eyelashes and silky perfect hair? 

my first favorite sentence in the ad: "My daughter is now grown and needs to sell her doll."

because, people, THE DRAMA. seriously. if i didn't know me and i were reading this sentence, i would be wrought with anxiety over what could have possibly necessitated the selling of this grown woman's doll, which she kept in such "wonderful condition." what dire straits is she in that a $95 doll is going to get her out? 

i don't know whether this was my mother's funnily formal mode of communication or a conscious selling ploy, but it worked. samantha sold in two days.  

true story: on september 10th, 2001, i invested $1,000 in the stock market. at present, my investment is worth $556.

in the last five months, i've raked in $550 with the american girls.

the lesson to be learned here: american girls dolls = best investment ever.

0 in a world where few things are consistent, feel free to take comfort in the fact that for thirty years i have been consistently strange

27 November 2011

0 :)

“We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.”
- Ray Bradbury

7 this is heresy (but it's honest)

i do not like christ.

yes, this admission makes me The Worst Christian Ever.

because most christians seem to struggle with god and be all about jesus. jesus is supposed to be the easy part. non-christians, people who don't even believe in jesus, at least like him. they think he's cool. that he'd be fun to hang out with and include in dinner parties. they admire his sandals and envy his beard.

but, silly stupid me, i always take the path of most resistance.

god i get. we're tight. we talk. god's got my back.

christ i do not even know where to begin. not even at all. i do not like jesus.

this makes me a horrible christian and, quite possibly, a mediocre jew.

i recognize this as the problem it is. as a christian, christ is kind of key. plus, as a writer writing about religious business, i should totally be all about christ because christ is the only member of the trinity to which pronouns can, in good conscience, be applied. christ died for my sins and gave me pronoun freedom. he's clearly a cool dude.

but no, we do not get along. jesus and me.

i've known this for a year. i've only just realized why.

in the church i grew up in- the scary fundamentalist one we only attended for three years, which nonetheless scarred me for life- we were told that we were in the messiah's army. there were battle plans and scripts and memorized verses and prayers. and our mission: we were to go forth, thus armed, and win sinners to christ.

this is what i walked out on. that jesus christ who hated so many things in the world and so many of the people in it. never mind that this is not the christ in the bible, it's the christ i grew up with.

that christ mightily offended my understanding of god. he still does. we're not friends. and, god forgive me, i do not want to be in his army.

my father says he didn't get christ until he turned 50. as though the messiah were a mathematical formula around which one will be able to wrap one's stubborn brain after years of rudimentary calculus.

this doesn't bode well for me. i suck at math and i expect to die young.

23 November 2011

0 What living in Utah means for your Breaking Dawn viewing options:

Every. Freaking. Screen.

0 Movies You Really Should've Seen By Now If You Want To Consider Yourself A Grown Person: Le fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain (a.k.a.: Amélie)

in college, on some saturday night during junior or senior year, i apparently sat down the group of rough-and-tumble guys i ran with and forced the whole lot of them to watch amélie. i only know this because one of the first things mrs. married said upon my meeting her for the first time was (1) thank you for keeping my husband alive and (2) thank you for making him watch amélie.

amélie is an important film to see if you want to be considered a grown-up because...

a. upon seeing it, even if you've never been to paris, you can get a pretty good sense of what being in paris would be like.

b. upon seeing amélie, you will then be able to make references to amélie, which- if you run in hipster circles, francophile circles, artistic circles or university of chicago circles- will lend you street cred.

c. having good vocabulary is key to being a grown-up and amélie is the very definition of "twee." (if you do not know what "twee" is, watch amélie.)

d. movies with subtitles are so grown-up.

did i mention that it's very, very pretty? 

2 i don't cook much

as evidenced by the fact that the category of "'cooking' in the city" contains scare quotes and a grand total of three posts (one of them a musing on how i don't cook and two of them recipes featuring the measurement "a shit-ton").

but i do like to eat. and- as a southern person- when i find things that i really, really, really like to eat (as happened with The Ketchup Of Our Lives. and The Pasta. and that burger at the algonquin.), i'm moved by my native regional zeal to share those things with everyone i know. so, dear everyone i know, this is one of those things:

spaghetti squash stravaganza 
things you will need:
1 spaghetti squash
1 can/jar of some sort of sauce

things you need to do:
1. take one spaghetti squash.
2. cut it in half. (based on personal experience, i would discourage you from doing this with a paring knife while simultaneously talking on the phone with your gay boyfriend and yelling at your cat.)
3. scrape the seeds out.
4. microwave it for 15 minutes.
5. pull out all the squash insides.
6. dump some sort of sauce on top.
(optional: add whatever other vegetable/dairy business you want in there)
7. voilà... yum.

22 November 2011

0 hey, remember this?

omg, it's totally still happening!!!
eleven days later.
are you shocked?
i'm shocked.
are you LOLing?

(LOLs are not guaranteed)

0 11/22

if you've not read frank rich's article in new york magazine on the rise of hate in american politics, do it.

"this much is certain: Both presidents [JFK and Obama] were centrists in the Democratic parties of their respective eras. Neither could be remotely described as radical, let alone 'socialist,' as critics of both have contended. Both are ardent capitalists largely content to leave corporate America to its own devices. Both are wary of the institutional left. Both are hawkish by their party’s standards. But for all this moderation, they, like the similarly centrist Bill Clinton, who was accused of enabling drug running and murder on the Wall Street Journal editorial page, have inspired a hatred so nightmarishly disproportionate to their actual beliefs, actions, and policies that it’s worthy of Stephen King’s fiction."

0 dear baz luhrmann,

whycome every picture emerging from the set of your gatsby remake features your actors pulling Moody Staring Pensively Off Into The Distance Douche Face?

21 November 2011

0 white nite: ie. the transformation of k.smartt

2 this is a pep talk

three months ago, i spoke with a biographer whom i barely knew but whom i had, nonetheless,- in a move requiring balls i do not possess- asked to write me a recommendation for the levy.

in a singularly devastating conversation after i had donated blood, he turned me down. lesson learned: do not make emotionally grueling phone calls after giving blood.

but it wasn't his denial that was so devastating. it was the fact that, in offering his advice on how i could strengthen my project, he hit upon every insecurity i have about this whole jackie thing.

which is quite an accomplishment given that they number in the millions. i've so, so many and, in an hour, he hit every single fucking one.

this led to the first time i've ever questioned what i'm doing.

the first time i was brought to my knees by the notion that what i've spent the entirety of the last year working at is maybe a colossal mistake.

the first time i begged god to show me if what i've been putting 3/4ths of my income towards was really just a fail that i've had the cockiness to blog.

it was the first time i felt i cannot do this.

i cannot be a writer.

and that scared the fucking shit out of me, because i have to do this. it's not that there is no other option but that there is no option. and yet...

this happened on august 13th. it's been three full months and yet still, much like the career of mike tyson, it surfaces every now and again to give me a good battering.

the thing is, everyone has an idea of how you should do whatever it is you want to do. whether that's writing or marriage or kids or your career or your whole life. everyone thinks they know better. they want you to write or see or do whatever it is they want to read or see or see you do. and the one thing of which they're absolutely certain is that you need to do precisely what they did because that worked so well for them.

the most valuable lesson i've learned in the last year is that these well-intentioned people, they do not fucking know.

they haven't seen what you've seen. they don't know what you can do. you have to show them. you have to write it or do it or be it or go there or do whatever the hell it is that lights you up. you have to bring the whole fucking world in line with where you are, with what you see.

i'm being melodramatic. ridiculous. i see what i'm doing as a crusade of sorts and i also see that seeing it that way is both pretentious and preposterous. because it's just jackie. just biography. just a book. and i am fumbling, flailing. moving heaven and earth for an 82-year-old dead woman i never knew and who has only twice in twenty years deigned to appear in my dreams.

the second most valuable lesson i've learned in that last year is that dead women aren't particularly good company. but, in spite of that, there's a rightness about this whole thing. there's a rightness in moving forward, particularly when you come to grips with the fact that forward motion doesn't have to be easy or linear and it most certainly doesn't have to make any sense.

i like to think that's why the legit biographers- the people with published books- don't seem to get what i'm doing. that maybe that's the reason they look at me all what huh? when i say i'm doing podcasts and going to conferences and that i have all these silly little columns that pay nothing.

they don't know. they don't see.

there's value in that if you embrace it. because, really, why the fuck would we want to waste all this energy on something everyone already understands?

what we're doing here- writing, living- is a process of constant revision. i think there comes a time when our expectations need to be pared away so as to make room for the possibilities, but i also think there comes another time when, in the jagged circuitous route towards those possibilities, we must confront the sheer impossibility of them.

stare them down, let the acknowledgement that maybe even we don't really fucking know what we're doing bring us to our knees before we put hannah montana pen to paper and keep plucking along. for in that- the simple, subtly rebellious act of continuing to write not because you know where you're going but because you know you are not done- there is a whole world of wonder in which the possibilities become real. and that is the world in which i want to live.

17 November 2011

5 huh

in things that happened yesterday that i did not expect to have happen yesterday and yet which it is good to have had happen- i bought a ticket to prague.

because a paper i wrote- though i'm not entirely sure which one- was accepted to a conference on celebrity studies that's being held there come spring.

this has done much to hammer home my belief that there is no better possible gateway to exotic(ish) vacations than the 82-year-old dead woman i've chosen to write about.

seriously. i proposed exotic travels to everyone i've ever dated (all of them actual, alive people) and yet it wasn't until i struck up a serious relationship with a dead woman that the exotic travels came true. a fact that reenforces my central thesis that jackie is an icon of such elastic extremes that she can be anything you want her to be.

(revelation: jackie has fueled my spirit of adventure more than anyone i know. this is equal parts fascinating and creeptastic.)

for me, at the moment, she functions much like a passport. a glittery ticket to a world whose wonders prove an excellent pallative to the strain stemming from her secondary function as a financial sinkhole.

and so i apparently really am going to prague with jackie to deliver some paper in a palace. file that under sentences i couldn't have even begun to imagine writing eleven months ago.