Saturday, May 24, 2008

Whoa, Weezer

So the video for Weezer's new single "Pork and Beans" is freakin' awesome. Everyone from Kelly to Chris Crocker to even Charlie the fucking Unicorn makes an appearance. It's some great YouTube lovin' from a band trying to prove that it's still relevant--and I think that with this video, Weezer succeeds.

-Josh

Romance Through iTunes

Cassette From My Ex makes me nostalgic for times I'm not even old enough to remember: times when boys and girls who liked each other made the effort to press record and stop over and over in order to perfect the art of the mixtape, instead of just the easy carelessness of creating a playlist on iTunes and hitting "Burn CD." Making mixes is still a definite sign of affection, though. My ex-boyfriend made one for me before he left for London called "I Can't Believe I'm Making a Pretty Mix For a Girl." (The title basically sums up our relationship in a nutshell) I distinctly remember making one for a high school boyfriend of mine before he went to Europe for the summer. It was wonderfully titled "Europe Sucks But I Swallow." All of my mixes, given and received, seem to include the same songs and bands. Perhaps they are representative of the times. Or perhaps they're just representative of the kind of guys I choose to date:

1. The Decemberists. Usually "On the Bus Mall," but can also include "Engine Driver" or another mopey song with fat, sad acoustic chords.
2. Sufjan Stevens. Every mix I've made since first being introduced to Sufjan has had "Casimir Pulaski Day" on it. Call me a traditionalist.
3. Bob Dylan. Young lovers see romance in Dylan's skinny, scruffy frame and cigarette addiction. I don't know why, he was notoriously incapable of true love.
4. Joy Division. In retrospect, it's probably a bad sign to have "Love Will Tear Us Apart Again" on a mixtape for or from your paramour.
5. Modest Mouse. Since my faint obsession with them began in 8th grade, they've always had a presence on my mixes. Usually "The Stars are Projectors" because it's sad AND romantic, just like I was in high school!
6. Radiohead. I mean - obviously.
7. Some Form of Ben Gibbard. Death Cab or Postal Service or Ben Gibbard solo always open or close an album, tying it up with intensely fearful and angsty lyrics.
8. Kanye West. Look! I can listen to "hip hop" too!
9. The Smiths. Always "There is a Light That Never Goes Out;" sometimes "Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want."
10. Van Morrison. Straight from our parents' waning record collection, "Sweet Thing" is the be all end all of mixes.

-Jess

Friday, May 23, 2008

We Did Anal in High School, What Did You Ever Do?

Alex Pereene is my new favorite Gawker writer, mostly because he wrote an anti-Robert Lanham article, much the same as the one on millenialls I penned last week. He seems to concur with a lot of my sentiments: mainly, the problems (our addiction to Apple, obsession with global warming, distaste for the Clintons) Lanham ascribes to the millennials are primarily due to the ignorance of the Gen Xer's. They completely screwed us, so of course we continue to cling to the one good thing we can perpetually hold over their heads: we totally did get to do anal in high school. Now just accept the fact that Obama's got this thing in the bag.

-Jess

Oh and PS

I think we can officially retire the "Josh has too much free time" tag because starting this Tuesday I will not have too much free time! I'll be splitting my workweek between the alumni office Jess has worked at for, like, ever, and the offices of these guys.

So yeah. Now I gotta find that piece of paper where I scribbled my bank account number, cuz I'll soon be depositing paychecks again. Weird, right?

-Josh

Even Stumble Makes Me Sad


Last night I go to thinking about Emily Gould and blogging and the Internet in general. Then I started Stumbling. Then I took NyQuil. And then...something hit me.

The world is huge.

I mean, duh, but hear me out. Think of how many Web sites there are. Think of how many blogs and message boards and LiveJournal communities exist on that vast electronic space known as the Internet. I Stumbled upon a random web comic, and it was funny, but also, what with its three comments and obscure domain name, a little sad. Like, making these comics is probably this guy's passion, and he puts out there for all to see, but most people will never see it, simply because there's so much else to look at online.

They say that the Internet has interconnected the world, but I almost think the opposite is true. The Internet, I believe, has simply exacerbated the cultural specificities and individualism that existed in the decades and centuries before the advent of the personal computer. If anything, we've become less interconnected.

It used to be that everyone in America got their news from the same place. Obviously, there were local papers and magazines, but for the really big stories, you turned on CNN, or read the New York Times. The music you listened to came from the radio or your local record store. The comics you read were the ones syndicated in newspapers across the country. And you watched TV...on TV, either prime-time or in reruns, same as everyone else.

Now, though, it's different. There are thousands of Internet news sources, MySpace has seen the rise of hundreds of otherwise (and perhaps still) obscure bands. There are more web comics than I can count (though I read many of them, since I'm kind of a dork like that), and between SurfTheChannel, hulu, and YouTube, there are plenty of television-program-watching options. And except for the rare universal site like Google or Facebook, well, most of these Web sites are specialized and only seen b a relatively small portion of the overall population. Like this blog. Even though I know quite a few people who read it (thanks guys!), well...it's still just quite a few. Even the big blogs like Gawker may attract thousands of hits a day, but I doubt any of my friends outside of New York know what Gawker is, or read it with any regularity. Even though it has achieved a sort of national reputation, with readers across the nation (and, to some extent, the world, even though I think that just means Canada and England), it's still "Manhattan Media News and Gossip." As in, for people who live in New York. And New York's a big city but still just a dot on your typical map of the globe.

And it kind of saddens me. We live in age in which information is so fragmented and divided and specialized, you can find anything you're looking for, but it's very much an individual journey. I live by myself, so I can appreciate the values of alone-time, but I sometimes wish I lived in an era before the Internet, when I could open the New York Times, read the story on Page 2, and know that millions of people across the country were reading and absorbing the exact same information. It's comforting, I guess.

This, I take it, is the appeal of the small town, where everybody knows your name, profession, and children's birthdays. Yes, it's quaint, but it's nice to know that you're never really alone, that everyone living around you is connected in the same general informational network--not virtual, but real. Sure, it might get annoying because gossip travels fast and everyone will know your business, but it's nice that everyone you know is centered around the same imaginary axis, that everyone is in tune with each other. Walking down the streets of Manhattan I pass hundreds of people a day, and I will never know their stories or secrets, the tragedies and relationships that define their lives, their parents' names, what they had for dinner. Not that I'd really want to--there are just so many people--but I think New York Magazine had it right when it said that "we're not 8 million people sharing a single metropolis—we’re each living in our own private Idaho." And there is something scary to me about living in my tiny world, going about my business, seeing my friends, and never getting to know 99% of the people who share this island with me.

Have you ever left a club at 4am? It's sad, not just because the night is over, but because all of a sudden the music stops, the lights go on, and everyone drunkenly shuffles out. This shared experience of dancing to music and drinking at the bar and, yes, sometimes even talking to each other has ended, and everyone leaves, knowing that might not ever see each other again; and if they do, it's never the same. I know comparing an existential crisis to a night of clubbing may seem like a bit of a stretch, but it's a comforting feeling, really, being at a place like that, where for a couple of hours these otherwise unconnected people are all doing the same thing in the same space, and when that ends, it's a harsh little reminder that this is what American--or at least New York--life has become, a series of individual moments that sometimes cross paths but usually whiz by each other, each humming along to its own invisible rhythm.

Or maybe life has always been like that, everywhere, but the comings and goings of all the pseudo-celebrities and Craigslist postings and blogs and IMs just makes this disconnect more prevalent and noticeable. You used to not know what other people were up to, so you didn't care; now I know what my friend is doing on the other side of the country, but there's still nothing I can do to affect that; short of hopping on a plane and visiting her, all I can do is sit at my computer desk and wait for her to get back from being away.

I think this is the also the appeal of celebrity gossip. There are a thousand web comics and views of Iraq and databases, but there is only Michael Jackson, and when he dangles his baby over the ledge of his hotel, it is something everyone can be equally creeped out by. It is a universal moment, and all those different blogs and news sources and gossip circles that notice it will be discussing the same thing, maybe in different ways, but concerning the same event. I notice that gossip blogs more than any other news source link to each other. Not just "here's this article we're linking to, and here's our commentary," but "according to this blog, Britney Spears did so-and-so." It is a true interconnection, a network of shared information and values, a chance for everyone to notice the same thing.

I guess this is all a little emo. You know, we are all alone and all that jazz. And I know that's not exactly true, but when it's 2am and I'm Stumbling across all these Web sites that I'll probably never give a second glance, well, it makes me think. The world is huge.

-Josh

Sites that Save From Suicide

Drinkin, smokin, bloggin


If you're going crazy with boredom at work, as I spend 7 hours Monday-Friday doing, then you probably have a whole slew of websites you frequently visit in an attempt to assuage the pain of your going-nowhere-fast office job. My roommate Ashley, who was currently also hired at my office, asked me what sites I read to entertain myself. Below are some of my favorite websites that keep me from tightening the noose. Feel free to leave others because I could always use more distractions.

1. The Gawker Blogring Trifecta
- Gawker: Manhattan Media News and Gossip - and snark.
- Jezebel: Celebrity, Sex, Fashion For Women Without Airbrushing - and snark.
- Defamer: The L.A. Gossip Rag - and snark.

2. New York Magazine: They always have a few good articles, but it's even more fun to make fun of the bad ones.

3. Craigslist: Missed Connections, Jobs and Personals are my favorite sections.

4. Various Fashion Websites
- Fashion Toast: A cute half-Japanese girl in California takes pictures of her daily vintage digs.
- Who What Wear Daily: Their motto says it all - We don't care who you're dating or if you eat. We just care about what you wear.
- Fashionista: Whoever runs this website has perfected the art of Photoshop.

5. Various Celeb Gossip Sites
- Perez Hilton: Naturally.
- D Listed: What Perez doesn't post.
- Pink is The New Blog: I was loyal to Trent before I became a Perez convert. I still stop by every now and then to check in on him.

6. Ariana Huffington Rulez the Internetz
- The Huffington Post: They have everything. Really.
- 23/6: A snarkier version of Huffpo.

7. Various Personal Blogs
- One D At A Time: Tracie Egan a.k.a. Jezebel's Slut Machine's personal blog.
- Four Four: Tracie's friend Rich, and also a fellow Amanda enthusiast.
- LolSam: I'm biased. It's my friend Sam's blog.
- College Callgirl: A college sex worker. NSFW but I read it anyway.

8. Radar Mag: Even if they allow bitter Gen Xers to pen bullshit.

What do you guys read? I trust whole-heartedly in these sites, but there's only so many times I can hit "refresh" on Gawker and not feel like an asshole.

-Jess

Craigslist Ad Taunts Me With My Underage-ness

This kind of seems like the perfect opportunity for me.

I find myself daily cursing the fact that I'm 20, and only 8 months shy of the much-coveted and legal 21. I don't drink that much, but it's opportunities like this - coupled with the fact that like, it'd be nice to just traipse into my neighborhood bar without getting sweaty palms and heart palpatations - that make me super eager to turn 21 ASAP. Then again, once I do, I'll probably spend the rest of my life wishing I were young again.

-Jess

A 9 to 5-er's Worst Nightmare

And, subsequently, mine.

From Jezebel:

In honor of the holiday weekend, Jezebel will be publishing on an amended/shortened schedule today (we're off all day Monday).

No but like... what am I supposed to do all day? I don't... understand? I feel like a lost little girl with only Gawker and the readable vestiges of NY Mag to save me. And there's only so many hours I can take reading a Kundera book.

If I write a lot of pointless entries today, this is why.

-Jess

Small Decision

Should I make ramen? I'm hungry, but I just had a bunch of (delicious) zeppoles at this weird impromptu Mulberry Street carnival. Also I've had ramen every night for like a week.

It's sad that this is the biggest decision I've had to make all week.

-Josh

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Big Blue Caught Red Handed

After school Amanda and I used to sometimes walk to this little market in between our houses called Hershe's. It was a great little neighborhood cornerstore with all kinds of snacks and a deli and such. Well, in 6th grade there was this kid in our class who was of African descent - I'm not trying to be overly PC and say that instead of African-American, I mean he was actually from somewhere in Africa. His skin was so dark that he almost looked blue, so Amanda and I used to call him Big Blue. Looking back, it was kind of racist but we would say it to his face and he liked the nickname - I'm not really sure if he knew why we called him that - but he was okay with it so we were okay with it.

One day we were walking to Hershe's with Big Blue and some of his friends. So we all go and we're picking out candy and magazines like Vogue that I always got in trouble for reading, and we pay (well, some of us do) and leave. We're standing outside examining our stash when a cop car rolls up and the police get out and go up to Big Blue.

From here the story gets hazy - I imagine Amanda and I slowly backing away with a matching look of sheer terror on our faces. We walk backwards like this for a number of feet until we get to the corner, never taking our eyes off of the police or Big Blue. It turns out Big Blue had stolen some stuff and the cashier at Hershe's had witnessed it and called the cops. Amanda and I were, of course, oblivious, and after we got over our fear that we were going to jail with him, we eventually laughed about it while chomping on huge wads of Big League Chew.

-Jess

Mrs. Jones Was Fat and Mean

Mrs. Jones was our teacher in 2nd and 3rd grade because my little city public school was seriously underfunded and our class was divided for two years into 2nd and 3rd graders, and Mrs. Jones was responsible for teaching both. She was severely overweight and had a blonde and very short haircut. I remember she had a son named Spencer who was a few years younger than us, but when she would bring him in on random days we'd treat him like a little baby because we thought we were Cool and Old and 10 Years Old. He hated us, and he always wore Polo before any of us knew what Polo was.

One day Mrs. Jones got sick of Amanda and I talking during class, and teasing our frenemy Geoff who had severe buckteeth and always ended up breaking random bones by falling out of trees or something else equally laughable. So she split us up, putting Amanda on the far side of the room. I was rightfully genuinely pissed, because in elementary school sitting next to your friend is this Big Deal, because you were always doing group projects and such. So Amanda and I start blatantly passing notes to each other. I write one to the effect of: Mrs. Jones is fat and mean. I can't believe she split us up! Write back.


Well, because I had bad luck even back then, Mrs. Jones of course intercepts the note and takes it to her desk and reads it. I am MORTIFIED. I just called my 3rd grade teacher FAT and I am convinced she is going to SUSPEND ME or even worse - SIT ON ME. So I'm freaking out, and while we're in the midst of some sort of stupid 3rd grade project, I sneak over to Mrs. Jones' desk and spy that she has left the note unfolded and laid out on her desk. I snatch it and pray to God she never got a chance to actually read it, nor will she notice that it even went missing.


Mrs. Jones never said anything to me but our teacher/student relationship was never the same, even after she was out of school for five months because she sliced open some random tendons and nerves while using a bagel cutter.


-Jess

The Story of Eduardo Retardo

Inspired by these stories on a random Angelfire thread uncovered by Gawker, I decided to write a few childhood stories of my own which I will publish throughout the day. But not in caps, because I don't want to steal Dave's wonderful and metaphorical stylistic thunder.

In elementary school, my best friend was a girl named Amanda. We were both in the gifted program which actually meant our peers secretly despised us because they thought we had a sense of elitism, which we probably did, but mostly because they tried to bump me up a grade so I thought I was cool and smart. Plus there was never a gifted program until Amanda and I attended Union Terrace Elementary School, so we like to think they made it just for us. The gifted classes essentially consisted of Mr. Rusnak, an oily but nice enough balding guy, pulling us out of our regular classes to do weird projects that were supposed to prove that we were somehow smarter than the rest of our peers. Amanda and I, like most things, took it as a big joke, and generally used the time to subtly mock and manipulate Mr. Rusnak.

Anyway, even though we were two of the smarter kids in school, we were also two of the most conniving and manipulative. I say this with not one ounce of pride. We went to kind of a tough school in a bordering on ghetto part of Allentown, PA. It was definitely not cool to be smart. We became manipulative as a result, because it helped us to develop thick skin. There was this one boy named Eduardo who was in 5th grade when we were in 3rd. He probably should have been in 7th because he was about 12 years old, and was definitely held back a few grades. He used to mock Amanda and I incessantly. In retrospect, it was probably because he had a crush on the both of us. We were little blonde girls with sharp tongues.

Our friend Brad Smith's Aunt worked in the school cafeteria. We used to talk to her because she was one of the only adults who took us seriously. One day we told her about how Eduardo always made fun of us, so she innocently told us to retort with "Eduardo Retardo!" We did this, and I guess Eduardo was sensitive about the fact that he was 12 years old in 5th grade, and he got super offended.

One day when we were practicing our cursive in Mrs. Jones's class, Amanda and I got called to Principal Laudenslager's office, only everyone called him Mr. Longlegger because he was super tall. Around Christmas time, he used to read "Twas the Night Before Christmas" to the entire school (I guess we didn't have any Jews?) in a Pennsylvania Dutch accent so it sounded like a Canadian talking with a wad of mashed potatoes in his mouth. It didn't really make sense but it got us out of class.

Anyway, we both go down to Mr. Longlegger's office and even though we'd been in various types of trouble before we're totally sweating this one. We couldn't for the life of us figure out what we'd done. Was it because we always pretended not to hear the end of recess bell so we could run around to the front of the school and ring the speaker so they'd let us in and we could get to class late? Did they read the note I wrote about one of our classmates watching Demi Moore's 1996 thriller "Striptease?" Or was it something much worse?

Eventually Mr. Longlegger told us Eduardo had spilled that we were "making fun" of him and wanted to know who was responsible. Of course, being intrepid 9 year olds, we quickly ratted out Brad Smith's aunt, who had provided us with the cutting quip. She was promptly fired, and we had to resort to telling all of our secrets to the nice Janitor Bob, who was actually probably a child molester, considering he definitely had a handlebar mustache.

-Jess

Loneliness Is A Sign of Weakness


According to Monster, "emotions and compassion" are no longer signs of business "vulnerability." Instead, the only surefire way to avoid being a total financial failure is to NEVER EAT ALONE.

That's right, if you miss out on just one prospective dinner party, your career path could fall hopelessly off-track. Also, bringing business partners along to the gym or to church is recommended, because it's always a great idea to mix business and religion. In fact, this article would have you believe that you should never do anything by yourself, ever. And when you are outside the workplace, you should totally still think about business and networking; the good businessman works out at the YMCA at the break of dawn, and "as he's huffing and puffing on the StairMaster, he answers their questions about investments and loans." Because at 5 in the morning sweating my balls off at a crowded community-center-turned-gym, the first and only thing on my mind will be those spreadsheets Douglas sent over from accounting.

I eat alone all the time. So does Jess. Maybe if we ate alone together for the past year or so we'd both be millionaires by now.

-Josh

Heart of Gould

It's no secret that I love Gawker, and Jezebel, and even Defamer and Wonkette (RIP), despite the fact that I do not live in LA or DC, respectively. As a commenter, I've developed an especially strange and tenuous relationship with the writers, hungering for oft-glossed over details of their personal lives, Google image searching them in vain in an attempt to put a face with the snark-ridden entries. Emily Gould was always my favorite writer, perhaps because I saw a bit of myself in her. She was one of the few women contributers when I first started reading sites from the Gawker blogring, and I found her cool and composed, her posts thoughtful, compelling and above all - fucking snarky.

I remember once, walking home from work, I spotted Emily walking down Crosby outside of the now defunct Gawker offices. My heart fluttered in my chest a little. Because she exposed herself so honestly and powerfully - through her writing on Gawker, and also through her other two sites - Emily Magazine and Heartbreak Soup - I felt like I knew her. I felt like we were two kindred spirits caught up in the whirlwind of the New York media world, trying to claw our way out alive. Of course, I did nothing but write for this little blog - and she was a Gawker writer, one of the most coveted positions in the underground, subversive, suit-hating New York media club. I fully envied her.


Once I even ran into fellow blogger, and ex of Emily, Joshua David Stein, outside my dorm while on a smoke break. "Hey - you write for Gawker!" I proclaimed. I was definitely stoned, but also definitely excited to have such an intimate runin with one of my fav pseudo celebs. It was awkward, and I think he was a little taken aback that I recognized him, but it solidified the fact that Gawker writers had now become mini celebrities in their own right. In the same way they had opened up other "fame whores" to public scrutinity and anxiety, they, too, were now being sent to the slaughter, one post at a time.


After her relationship with Josh ended, I followed Emily's heartbreak with marked intensity. How could Joshua David Stein paint her as such an evil character in that New York Post article? I had silently rooted for both of them, and now, they were pitted against each other and I would have to choose who to side with.


Ultimately, I chose neither. Emily lost the heroine glow I had initially prescribed for her, and I began to believe the rumors about JDS being a total asshole. Emily seemed a little too wounded for me, but I understood that compulsion to share your secrets with the entire world. The internet had allowed both of us to become exhibitionists. I could never write the intimate details about my relationships that Emily ultimately penned and published, but the desire to share things with people in order to make a basic human connection was still there.


And in this Sunday's New York Times Magazine, you'll get to see exactly what I mean. Ms. Gould has the cover page all to herself, channeling a darker, more tatted up version of Julia Allison in an "I blog from my bed" sort of way. Leave it to Emily to make blogging sexy.


The article, though in my opinion is not some of Emily's best writing work, lays bear the exacting perils of laying bear. The skin that she had constructed to wear to fend off the (few) negative comments she received on her Gawker posts was eventually not enough to protect her from herself.


I am well acquainted with the harm personal blogging can cause, mostly through naive high school experience. The Xanga I kept chronicling my illicit teenage activities was, of course, eventually unearthed by my parents, only to be printed out and used as evidence against my transgressions. I was grounded for a month, and not allowed to go to my final Dave Matthews Band show of the season. It would have been number 15.


My Deadjournal, which I kept to the dissatisfaction of my friends, frequently pointed out their negative qualities, as well as subtly touching upon mine. My online journal became a platform from which I proclaimed all of my poseur interests, and it was greeted with vicious comments from my best friends and others who saw right through my charade. I was trying to be someone, as I so frequently was throughout my high school career, only online it was startlingly obvious. I eventually shut down my Deadjournal and transferred to a much more private and discreet Livejournal, which I still keep. It holds all the important things that have happened to me since I was 16. It feels good to know I can look back on those memories with a palpable mixture of nostalgia and disgust. But it is also a good reminder of how things can go terribly wrong when your whole life is scattered across the page for anyone with an internet hookup to read.


I try to steer away from writing about things that are intensely personal, but sometimes I can't help myself. Like Emily, my desire for exhibitionism and attention is still there. Hopefully it won't ever ruin my relationships - or really, my life - like it did hers.


-Jess

The Saddest LolCat Ever


Or should I say, LolDog?

-Josh

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

CSI Miami: The Outtakes

When Did Porn Become LolCats?

I Spy With My Little Eye: A MisShape!

I was just reading D Listed and who is modeling for unknown jewelry brand and tacky advert pusher Leviticus Jewelry? Why, it's Leigh Lezark! Random.
-Jess

C-S-Why?


So remember how I was gonna "live" blog the CSI: Miami season finale? Well what I like to do is watch the episode straight-through once, so I can, you know, enjoy it, and then watch it again while jotting down notes every few seconds. Unfortunately, I can't seem to get the video to work anymore (ether on the site or on SurfTheChannel), so I can't live-blog for all y'all. (Ask Jess or anyone who talks to me online and they'll tell you that my Internet connection is tenuous at best.) That said, here are a few questions/thoughts I had when watching the episode.

1. What kind of writer thinks "toodaloo" is acceptable dialogue? Especially to end a heated argument? Is this supposed to be ironic or funny? Because it just came across as weird, stupid, and outdated, and I usually only associate those first two descriptors with this show. C'mon CBS, don't let me down.

2. Are they really leaving us with the H-was-shot cliffhanger? Like, yeah it was unexpected, and yeah I wanna know what happened, but he's obviously not going to die or be otherwise incapacitated. He's the leader of the CSI squad and the protagonist of the show; it wouldn't function without him. I'll be he was wearing a bulletproof vest or the bullet just grazed him or something. But there's absolutely no way he was critically wounded or killed. Or else...that's the series finale, as far as I'm concerned.

3. Speaking of faulty cliffhangers, what was with that text Ryan got? No, he wasn't involved in Hoartio's shooting. I have two explanations: one, he was carrying that black guy's phone and dude was somehow involved, and now Ryan's got to figure out how; two, the text was about something else and now, like, his carpet is cleaned. I'll bet it's going to be the latter. It's gonna be something stupid. "Calleigh, it's done. My house has finally been fumigated. Damn cockroaches."

4. Ugh, I already miss Alexx. New dude totally has a bad attitude, which I don't understand, because don't you want to give a good first impression when starting a new job? And actually, sir, while you're an M.E. and that requires detailed, thorough work, well, same goes for everyone else in the crime lab. You can't say Horatio or Calleigh or Eric isn't thorough. Lose the chip on your soldier, and also stop looking like a World-of-Warcraft player who still lives with his mom and probably tried to shoot up his high school. At least call your next corpse "baby," for old time's sake.

5. Why is Calleigh not facing any punishment? She blew up a crime lab room. That's not a chemical spill or a lost envelope, that's a fiery explosion that could have killed someone. I know it was an accident, but still, she blew it up. Aren't there at least any repercussions for the rest of the lab? Like...fire damage?

6. Does Elizabeth Berkley at this point resign herself to playing the same character in every movie or TV show? You know, the bitchy, shady, pretty blonde who has a sordid past and a kid in danger. Does that even require any acting on her part?

7. I like Frank. He seems like a decent guy who does what he has to do. That said, what exactly does he do besides repeat what Horatio says and hand out warrants? And if he's a detective, doesn't he have other things to do besides follow Horatio around all day? I don't quite understand his purpose. I do appreciate the fact that he wears a suit and tie to work every day, especially when Eric always looks like he stepped out an Armani Exchange catalog. Keep it classy, Frank. I'd tell you to stand there and look pretty, but, you know, you got a little cushion for the pushin', so I guess just stand there.

-Josh

Six Feet Under

One of the strange aspects of working at the alumni office is that I'm responsible for putting people in touch with friends they haven't seen in years. Normally, this would be a joyous procedure, my heart heavy with the knowledge that I reunited friends so they could rehash years spent young and happy in New York. But sometimes things turn sour. Like this afternoon, for instance.

A gentleman called searching for a man who had been the President of the Alumni Association a few years back. The guy he was looking for had a pretty common name, so I had to wade through a bunch of data in our Alumni database to figure out who it was. When I finally stumbled upon the correct entry, the word DECEASED appeared in big, bold, red letters. I had to tell this man that the friend he hadn't spoken to in a few years, and was now tirelessly searching for, was dead.

There aren't many jobs I can think of where you have to be the bearer of such bad news: police officers, doctors and nurses, medical examiners. I never would have linked the alumni office with having to tell people their friends are dead, but now it makes total sense. And it scares the shit out of me.

Everyone's afraid to die to some extent. For me, I'm not as afraid of dying as I am of having those around me die. It used to keep me up at night. I remember one particular instance when I was in elementary school, lying in bed, getting myself so freaked out over the potentiality of my Dad or Mom just randomly up and dying some day that I ran to their room crying, begging them to never die. It's the finality of death that I can't comprehend. As an Athiest, I believe that when someone dies, they're gone - their body and their spirit. But that's so bleak and depressing that I can see why people turn to religion in times of suffering.

The smallest things move something in me -- catching a glimpse of a birthday party in a downtrodden LES basement, lifeless balloons floating along the ground -- a dog without a leash -- the way the sun hits my walls as it sets. If all of these things make me feel so deeply, how do I ever expect to contend with death? I've never had anyone super close to me die. And I'm so superstitious and OCD-ridden that even by writing this I feel I'm casting myself a fate of unavoidable death and despair. I hate planes and cars because I am afraid of crashes. Every time my phone rings at an inopportune minute - the middle of the night, early morning - my mind immediately flashes to someone calling me with tragic news. So much of my life and the way I operate is dictated by this intensely human fear of death and our inherent avoidance of it. So when I'm forced to meet it head on - "I'm very sorry sir, but according to our records, your friend passed away about a year ago" - it makes the world seem grey, somehow. Made of stone and silence.

Am I being too emo? Give me a break, I had to be the fucking grim reaper today.

-Jess

Best Craiglist Ad EVER

See here.

I have a feeling Mr. 26 year old East Villager and I would have a very long, happy life together.

-Jess

Rejecting Rejection

I generally find NY Mag's Daily Intel Sex Diaries feature amusing in the same way I find Gossip Girl amusing: I know that it's boring and fake, but I can't help but tune in anyway. This week's feature is called "The Super-Single Grad Student." The entry was just as mind-numbing as I feared, but one of the comments caught my eye:


So true of NYU. Pretty much no one has healthy sex lives. The arty/emo kids pork each other and then every other dirty arty/emo person in the city; they are thus burdened with afflictions that would make me vomit in 7th grade health class. The rest of the NYU chicks are either untappable nerds or socialite wannabes who assume they will meet the perfect (rich, metro, suave, funny, grounded) man. Since 99.99% of men in this city come nowhere near this ideal, these young ladies' dreams become so corrupted that they go to dive bars dressed like they are going to cocktail parties, pretend it is a cocktail party, get filthy loaded, and end of doing the boom-boom boogie with a skeezer-type fellow who hangs out at East Village dive bars. The cool guys at NYU are thus scared shirtless at the prospect of picking up some microscopic friends from the arty/emos and too self-critical to think they can began to fulfill the delusions of the soc wans (pronounced Szechuans), so they become humble, befriend the untappables, develop personalities, study, and get good jobs. The moral of this story for Lil Ms. Super-Single Graduate Student is that if you want a healthy sexual relationship with a grade A gentlemen, then why look further then the quiet young man in the back of your Wednesday seminar. Peace.
By NYAaron on 05/20/2008 at 12:53am

This is true in a lot of ways. There are a lot of JAPs and WASPs with Coach bags and glittery eyeshadow that traipse around like they own this city, wrists heavy with Tiffany's bracelets, hair straightened and lacquered with shine balm. But there are also girls like me, who are artsy in a (hopefully) non-offensive way, who are not hipsters or assholes frequenting East Village dive bars. The girls' situation is just as desperate as the guys'. With the internet, and the general human disconnect of New York that makes it near impossible to meet anyone normal, we're all just quiet young people in the back of Wednesday seminars.

I think a lot of it has to do with rejection, and the shifting of gender roles. My roommate and I were stoned and watching The Secret Lives of Mafia Women last night and the way one of them met her husband is because he pointed at her, drew her over with his finger and then made her dance with him. Am I crazy, or is that super hot? Why are guys not forward like that anymore? Have girls' standards risen so high that we don't care if we're rude and reject them? Are they too scared? I'm not saying I expect the guy to do all the work - I don't mind asking people out or calling them - but it'd be nice if guys did SOME of this stuff. Relationships are totally based on games, now. You can never be open with your feelings because the specter of rejection lurks near, threatening to ruin everything. I get the feeling it didn't used to be like that. Men were expected to be forward about their feelings. I kind of wish I could have seen those days.

But then again, I find myself so jaded by New York and relationships in general that when people are open and honest with me, and attempt to connect with me on a human level, I get freaked out and run. Yesterday at work I got asked out on a date by this 25 year old alum who came into the office. He kept making me write down films to see and gave me the website of Radiohead's publicity machine so I could try to get press passes for NYU Local when I go to see them in July. Then, as he was stepping into the elevator, he asked me what my name was and as the doors were closing, he kept pushing them open, and was saying, "E-mail me, Jessica!"

His forwardness - instead of making me want to e-mail him, even though he was kind of cute - just turned me off. So maybe I'm part of the problem, too. I perpetuate the games by being compliant, and refusing to change my archetype for what a relationship should be. I wish for forward men, but then I'm turned off by their advances. Where's the happy medium?

So anyway my point is: NYAaron -- will you marry me?

-Jess

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Jess and Josh How To: Be Miley Cyrus

Girls Will Be Girls

Perception is everything, they say, and so I frequently perceive myself as the non-pathetic girlfriend type. The type that is a-okay with my boyfriend hanging out with his friends, or not texting me back right away, or putting my call through to voicemail if he's busy. I hate clingy. I spy clingy in the eyes of girls I hate, and then I hate them more. It's the patheticism that turns me off so much. I say all of these things, and then when I'm in a relationship, I become a fucking advertisement for them.

I'll say this: don't read old Facebook messages. You will end up hating yourself. All the cliches about women can sometimes ring too true, and it hurts when you realize you, too, played effortlessly into them. It hurts even more when you're so vocally against the cliches, too. Are we sometimes so blinded by crush-induced hormones that we don't realize a nonresponse from an "I miss you" message is a huge warning sign? Do we not recognize that emotional unavailability means disaster, or do we just think, "This one will be different. I can change this one," and go along hoping for the best? When will we... when will I... learn?

It seems like subtlety no longer works. Apparently we need to be whacked over the heads with a sign post, emblazened in neon, screaming: He's just not that into you! Would that make breakups hurt less? Would that keep us from frequently being rendered the weaker one in the relationship?

Because let's be honest, that's what relationships are all about: a struggle for power. And the one who maintains the upperhand always comes out less scathed.

-Jess

The Worst Thing Ever

Hey, you know what's the worst gift for parents ever? Cookies with their children's faces on them.
I don't understand this. Do parents get some kind of sick, latent joy from biting the eyes and ears off their little ones? Do...do the cookies even taste that good? What is this? Who's responsible for these? And who on earth would pay thirty-five dollars for a dozen?
If you don't know what to get Dad for Father's Day, and Dad's a wealthy cannibal with a desire to eat his own children, then I guess this works. But even then, attach a nice card.

-Josh

CSI: My-Excuse-Ami

Okay that was easily the worst title to a post ever. But I just woke up and I'm hungover so just shut up.

Anyway, I do plan on "live"blogging the season finale of CSI: Miami. I'm going to do it today or tomorrow. I would have done it last night, but I don't possess a TV, and what with that Gossip Girl show also ending its season last night, I (lovingly) figured that Caruso and company could wait.

Just...just thought I'd let you know.

-Josh

WHAT THE FUCK

I'm pissed off. I'm pissed off because I interviewed Amanda Lorber a few weeks ago, acknowledging the fact that she is coming to NYU next year. I did it for this blog, and for NYU Local - and my interview never got put up on the site for some reason. Now WSN is acting like they discovered this fact, and just put an article up on the site about Amanda. And the article is linked to by Gawker and The Observer. Ok, my Youtube video is linked to by the Observer, too. But I did the interview first. If NYU Local wants to seriously take on WSN, they need to figure out what the fuck they're doing so shit like this doesn't happen. Meanwhile, WSN writers are story-stealers, but not like that's anything new.

-Jess

UVA Only Wants You To Write About Unicorns, Rainbows

What have we become? College campuses, a notorious beacon for vigilant self-expression, dissent and academic freedom, have begun to eerily resemble communist Russia. UVA at Wise (who knows there the fuck THAT is) recently threw 23 year old Steven Barber in a mental institution and expelled him for writing a creative short story that fictively explored the vicious acts that occurred last year on the Virginia Tech campus. Granted, they found three guns in his dorm room - but he had permits for each, and the docs who analyzed him deduced that he was neither a harm to himself or others. Lots of people own guns for protection - and Virginia college students are understandably super wary of maintaining a certain level of protection against the very acts that Barber sought to bring to light in his story.

Perhaps, like me, Barber sorts through his own feelings by writing about them, achieving catharsis through reliving the horror he puts down on the page. And really, there's nothing wrong with that. If it's against school policy, expel him for (legally) owning guns, but don't kick the kid out of school because he is a dark visionary. As Gawker pointed out, imagine the bloody horror pieces writer favs like Bret Easton Ellis must have churned out in college. I hate to imagine a world without Less Than Zero and The Rules of Attraction because some uptight administrator is afraid of writing that strays from the vein of Judy Blume.


-Jess

Monday, May 19, 2008

LIVEBLOGGING THE GOSSIP GIRL FINALE

8:02pm: OMG! Lily and Rufus had sex! Wtf?!?! On her wedding day? YOU GO GIRL. That shit is dirrrty.

8:03pm: The Blair/Chuck "hatred" is getting old. I need them to cut the crap and just fuck.

8:03pm: Blair makes sequins look classy.

8:04pm: That fleeting look full of whimsy = Blair is totally into him.

8:04pm: Rich people ALWAYS replace their coke addictions with running addictions.

8:05pm: So not his sponsor and definitely his dealer.

8:05pm: OH SHIT I'M SO RIGHT.

8:06pm: Is Georgina way hotter than Serena or am I crazy?

8:07pm: It's still relatively light out in New York. It's weird watching this show not under cover of darkness.

8:08pm: LOL the Venus sisters are sooo fucking manly - eww that dress!! Tennis players should not become fashion designers. Think of all the lycra!

8:08pm: Oh, Verizon sponsorship. Josh Schwartz never did miss a chance for product placement.

8:09pm: THANK YOU SERENA. Ah, finally telling him. IT ONLY TOOK 4 EPISODES.

8:10pm: Dan is too perfect. He needs to not be so understanding. If she would've just told him from the beginning none of this would have happened. Then again, we wouldn't have had a TV series either.

8:10pm: Whoa, Serena's denial totally shows her WASPy roots.

8:11pm: Whoaaa forshadowing, warning us of the blowup about to ensue following Lily and Rufus' consummation.

8:13pm: OMG. Bart totally knows!! He could DESTROY her. He like, owns Manhattan. That's really mature of Bart, you have to admit.

8:14pm: Oh I saw this preview clip on Gawker. I sense sexual chemistry between Dan and Blair. Their faces are soo close together.

8:15pm: "One last battle and the war is won" - PERFECT.

8:15pm: Georgina's outfit is brilliant and perfect for her Cruel Intention-esque behavior.

8:16pm: Oh my God! So fucking lame. Her PARENTS? That's their revenge!? Believe me - girls like that have their parents wrapped around their pretty manicured finger. Add money into the mix and her parents don't give a shit how many show ponies G sold for some blow.

8:16pm: YES!! A stab at Cirque, and then! "At least I lasted longer than Lohan" - all is officially forgiven.

8:18pm: BRB time for some Special K.

8:19pm: The cereal. Special K the cereal.

8:20pm: A girl my boss went to high school with is one of the contestants on the ridiculous "Farmer Wants a Wife." LOL.

8:21pm: Um, why is Derek Jeter in a Ford commercial?

8:23pm: How can Rufus not want to KILL Serena now?

8:23pm: Of course they start playing MGMT when Vanessa walks in. *indie cred*

8:23pm: LOL Blair is wearing Lily Pullitzer!

8:24pm: Oh shit. "Except for you." I think Chuck just made me a little wet? Is that weird?

8:25pm: SERENA'S OUTFIT IS THE MOST SHITEOUS DRESS I'VE EVER SEEN IN MY LIFE. A sleeveless turtleneck dress with a huge rose doily at the collar and a keyhole? I'm sorry. No.

8:25pm: YEAHH, I knew Nate's Dad would pick up the goodz. Speaking from experience, you'd never do a deal in broad daylight on Central Park West - it's dangerous AND tacky.

8:29pm: I still can't believe they're bringing 90210 back. The CW is soo desperate.

8:29pm: This is poignant. Imagine loving someone, fruitlessly, for 20 years.

8:30pm: "Not that you can ever have enough money" - ew.

8:30pm: Why is everyone dressed like they're in Miami?

8:31pm: "I didn't sleep with her, but I may as well have" = BLOWJOB.

8:31pm: Token gay! You can tell by his pink shirt and floral bowtie.

8:31pm: Lily and Rufus are actually really heartbreaking. This is the epitome of mature. Can you imagine?

8:32pm: Blair has a hideous doily too!

8:32pm: This wedding can't really happen -- can it?

8:32pm: Good job on having Gossip Girl speak the vows.

8:33pm: Phew, I need a cig. -- Ew, more Williams fashion.

8:35pm: No seriously. What the FUCK at that Secret deodorant commercial.

8:36pm: Ohh, shameless Michelle Trachtenberg ABC Family movie plug. She def strongarmed the network for that commercial.

8:38pm: I wish "I need some air" meant she went out for a cig. Seriously - not ONE of these drug addled kids smokes?

8:38pm: Chuck has sincerely switched from evil to savior. And he "was" in love with Blair. Nice try. I'll wage a bet they hookup before the end of the season.

8:39pm: A passport? LOL Dominica! He's jumping bail? What? I didn't even realize he was going to go to jail. Upper East Siders don't go to jail. Money buys innocence.

8:40pm: OH SHIT. Nothing is hotter than Nate Archibald punching his own father.

8:41pm: Is it innuendo that Vanessa and Blair are wearing matching hair accessories?

8:42pm: Am I the only one who wants Dan and Serena to break up? Serena's sad victim act is getting tiresome.

8:43pm: "Maybe I want to break up with you." - YES. Thank you! I don't want Dan to be a victim anymore, even if he is from Brooklyn.

8:44pm: "Too much has happened." That line will break anyone's heart.

8:44pm: Jenny has been noticeably absent from this episode and the last. Where is Little J?

8:45pm: Parting is such sweet sorrow.

8:45pm: Now that Serena and Dan are over, you know that Lily and Bart are too. Rufus is finally gonna get his.

8:45pm: OMG - Chuck is gonna use his toast as a platform to get Blair!

8:46pm: Just when you thought Serena's outfit couldn't get any uglier, she wears black gloves.

8:46pm: Death Cab! So quintessentially Josh Schwartz. I can't help but love it.

8:47pm: Love it when hatred spills into making out.

8:47pm: Gay guy to ruin the day - how typical.

8:48pm: Good. Blair finally deserves a healthy, satisfying sex life.

8:48pm: Ew. Please no. Just let go. Dan - please! For me?

8:49pm: Ew total vom at the time lapse.

8:51pm: Oh wow - Jenny. Since when did she apply for a Parsons internship?

8:51pm: Of course she got it. Oh shit! Eleanor Waldorf. PERFECT.

8:51pm: Blair needs to give me that dress. RIGHT. NOW. Sailor chic immaculately done.

8:53pm: HAHA manbangs!

8:53pm: Ew Vanessa is wearing a belly shirt. We get it. She's trashy.

8:54pm: Friskiness is next to sluttiness.

8:54pm: Nate and Serena are totally reprising the Sheppard wedding this summer.

8:55pm: Something bad is going to happen. I can tell.

8:56: This is getting very soap opera-y.

8:57pm: LYDIA HEARST! LYDIA HEARST! I've been waiting for this moment!

8:57pm: Bart's speech scared the shit out of Chuck. If he doesn't go to Tuscany I'll kill him.

8:57pm: Oh fuck. Lydia Hearst is not cute.

8:58pm: Rufus' band getting a tour is a cop out. Schwartz didn't know how to tie up the Rufus/Lily/Bart triangle. Lame.

8:59pm: This episode overall? Boring. But really - aren't they all?

You know you love me.
xoxo
Gossip Girl

Liveblogging the Gossip Girl Finale

Since my one roommate is in Seattle and the other has work until 8:30pm, I'll be forced to watch Gossip Girl alone tonight. Well - not entirely alone. Hey all you internet friends, make me feel popular and tune into my Gossip Girl season finale liveblog. Sardonic commentary, fashion analyses and shrieking girly girl comments such as "DAN IS SUCH A HOTTIE!!!11" are a definite promise. OMFG: Be there.

-Jess

New York Magazine Can't Keep Its Metaphorical Dick In Its Pants

There’s some more whining going on at New York Magazine today, specifically coming from one Phillip Weiss, a married man who has chosen to examine the paradigm of infidelity in his article “What Makes Married Men Want to Have Affairs?” The article consists primarily of him bitching about how he wants to have an open marriage, because, for men, sexual drive is primal, urgent, unable to be ignored. God, if I could get ahold of his e-mail address, I’d fuck him just so he’d SHUT UP.

But really, I don’t disagree that marriage is a myth we comfort ourselves with in a barren, corporate world. We have the desire to share things with each other – but not all things, so we marry and join bank accounts and households and attend each other’s family gatherings, but we keep secrets that allow us to maintain a personal identity outside of “Mr. and Mrs.” I’m not into marriage – with the divorce rate continuing to skyrocket, and I myself coming from a home where the marriage slowly crumbled – I don’t see it as a realistic nod to happiness. Quintessential American life is built on morality, while we are constantly being thrust into an “immoral” atmosphere. Marriage is essentially a religious construct. It is passé. It only leads to pain.

But the trouble is that people continue to get married, and continue to expect monogamy from their partners. If men want to have open marriages, they need to acknowledge that their wives will be seeking extramarital sex, too. You can’t have a hooker and a devoted wife and be honest about both. If you can withstand the idea of your wife with someone else’s cock in her mouth, then feel free to pick up your very own Ashley Dupre. But the trouble is that most men can’t. They want the comfort of a monogamous wife, who tends to them and cooks for them and raises the children, alongside a guiltless tryst with a perky young blonde.

And while scientific data points to the fact that men’s sexual desires are stronger and more prominent than women’s, and men engage in about 10% more affairs, it’s not uncommon for women, too, to want to fuck someone besides their crumbly old husbands. But women are more secretive about these kinds of things. They tell fewer people, and they’re less likely to get caught. For men, fucking someone else reaps bragging rights, an important component to male bonding. It’s the age-old concept of the Old Boys’ Club, where cigars and topless women signal success and masculinity.

The more we drive the wedge between sex and marriage – the more they’re deemed as two separate concepts almost at odds with each other – the more we doom the institution of marriage to failure. Because it’s the expectations that lead us to disappointment. If I ever get married, I will expect my husband to be emotionally monogamous, but not necessarily physically. Perhaps the idea of being open and honest about extramarital affairs is pedestrian and tragically optimistic, but if my husband comes home smelling like another bitch’s perfume I’m certainly not going to pretend he got some new cologne and resign myself to the emotionally battered wife role. I’ve had enough experience with dishonesty to know that no good relationship can withstand a foundation built of it. If marriage is a myth, I want the sex to be the mythbuster. We can both fuck other people, but only if we promise not to feel afterwards. Only if he comes home for dinner when I ask him to, and promises not to do it in our bed, and can successfully separate sex and love into two dichotomous camps.

The trouble is that most people can’t do it. In some ways, I’d rather be married to Spitzer than Clinton – at least Spitzer picked up someone whose job was to fuck him, where you know there are no emotions involved whatsoever. It becomes reduced to something completely physical, an animalistic urge curbed by a young sex worker who will do the things a wife might refuse in the bedroom.

Maybe the cure for all this is to acknowledge that both men and women are sexual beings, and if your husband or wife asks you to delve into a little S&M, cede your ego and go along with it. Sexual satisfaction and marriage do not have to remain strange bedfellows. If you want your spouse to remain monogamous, then you have to be prepared to face a variety of compromises. Weiss himself acknowledges that he thirsts for sex from other women because there are things he wants sexually that his wife won’t give him. Sexual openness and honesty and a lack of shame are all important components to a sexually healthy marriage. But for some reason, people can’t seem to master these tactics. Blame it on society or rusty American mores that tell us we are wrong to possess desire, but the fact remains that if husband and wife cannot sexually satisfy each other, then the creeping desire to fuck other people is always going to lurk beneath the surface.

Another funny assumption made by Weiss is the idea that young women don’t want to be complicit in the fantasies of older men. It’s no secret that I have a total thing for older guys. I’m 20 years old and every time I flirt with someone I check for a wedding band. And most other girls I know entertain the same fantasies. We all want a hot older guy because they are generally sexually confident, emotionally mature and worship you in a way younger guys don’t yet understand. Weiss writes, “I explained Squire’s history to my friend and suggested that we could change sexual norms to, say, encourage New York waitresses to look on being mistresses as a cool option. “That’s fringe,” my friend said dismissively.” His friend is wrong. As a “millennial,” my sexual norms are already different than the boomers. I don’t look at marriages as sexually monogamous, because I am realistic about these kinds of things. As children of divorce, most millennials are. We expect a lifelong emotional commitment, not a physical one. And so when a married men checks me out in a bar, I don’t stop and think, “Lecherous son of a bitch! What would his wife think?” Instead I direct my gaze downward, willing him to buy me a drink, because there is nothing more youthful and exciting and erotic – for both of us – than forbidden sex.

And isn’t that what this is all about, anyway? If all men who desired them were granted open marriages, sex with other women would just get old. This concept functions the same way underage alcohol restrictions do: tell them they’re not allowed to do something, and immediately they’re doing it – and they’re doing it in full force. If men and women were given the opportunity to sexually experiment with others while married, the wonderment would wear off pretty quickly, and wouldn’t we be just as unsatisfied as we were before?

-Jess

I Hate High Schoolers Even More Than Kanye West Hates White People

Generally, I'm a pretty good big sister. My little sister Alison and I have had our tiffs that always verge on physical (yeah hair pulling!), but ever since I left for college, we've had a pretty sturdy relationship. She is the complete opposite of me: super athletic, tan, brunette, Abercrombie-clad and owns a Hannah Montana wig. Sometimes I wonder if she purposely forged her identity in contrast to mine. Or maybe that's arrogant. Whatever the case, I took her to see the Kanye West/Rihanna/Lupe Fiasco/N.E.R.D. show at the Tweeter Center in Camden, NJ on Saturday and it was like my worst nightmares incarnate. Allow me to explain.

I hated high school. I hated it so much that I've never once looked back, or felt an ounce of nostalgia for it, and when I sometimes walk the halls to pick my sister up to drive her home, I get nauseous, not reminiscent. They were the worst years of my life. I was awkwardly intelligent and awkwardly clad in boho chic and just basically awkwardly awkward. My Dad was the principal, so everyone knew who I was, who I slept with (and didn't sleep with), and everyone attended the parties we threw. Even the people I hated. Especially the people I hated.

And those tanorexic drunken sluts in jean skirts with fried, dyed hair and red cups permanently glued to their manicured hands made up 99% of the crowd at the Tweeter Center on Saturday night. The parking lot was a disaster area. People kept getting flat tires from driving over broken bottles and busted beer cans. I got beer spilled on me numerous times and a piece of glass lodged in my foot. There were people puking and pissing and shitting and fucking. It was a shitshow. I don't know how else to describe it. The average age was probably 16. And these kids were not buzzed or drunk... they were shitfaced. Passing out, falling over, vomiting, shitfaced drunk. Their eyes rolled back in their heads. Several people got carried off the lawn in stretchers. Girls were foaming at the mouth and falling to the ground with their skirts up around their hips. Did I get that bad when I would come and party at DMB shows when I was 16? Was I just enjoying myself too much to notice? Or has binge drinking become a serious issue? - no doubt in response to the overprotective parenting that disallows any form of alcohol from ever knowingly passing an under-21 year old's lips. They don't have these problems in Europe. Only in America is it normal to pass 10 people puking in a row and think nothing of it.

Anyway. The worst part, for me, is that the anonymity I so cherish in New York was completely forfeited the moment I stepped into the Philadelphia area. "Jess Roy - hi, you don't know me, but I know you, can I use your cell phone? I lost mine." "I remember you from when you were a senior." "Hi! I read your blog!" I forgot how weird it is for everyone to know OF you, but not know you.

The lawn was littered with kids who were sophomores when I was a senior, hooking up with each other, their fake tanned skin stained with beer and sweat, grinding their American Eagle jean skirted asses against boys whose baby faces betrayed their underageness. The girls can tart themselves up to look older - short skirt, lowcut top, lots of makeup. But the boys, they still look like babies, with braces and mop hair and LL Bean backpacks. I forgot how young and immature high school boys are until I saw them groping 16 year old boobs. How could I forget how obsessed teenage boys are with boobs?

The whole time I felt like the college kid who inappropriately shows up to a high school party and everyone whispers with shifty eyes, "What a loser."

"I don't want to be here!" I wanted to scream, "I'm just making sure my little sister doesn't get drunk or date raped or both!" No one would have cared. They were all too wasted.

The concert itself was brilliant. Sadly the best part of Rihanna's set was her costume changes. Being the oldest person there, perhaps I'm going deaf, but I just couldn't hear her. Kanye put on a sick show - he played all my favorite songs, and the special effects completely made the show. Arrogant as he may be, he's an amazing performer. He didn't even have backup dancers. It was just him on stage with dry ice and lights and he kept me captivated the entire time. Except when people would stand in front of us, or pee near us, or flash us their vaginas.
It's safe to say that I do not miss high school, and I will not be voluntarily reliving it in Camden ever, ever again.

-Jess

A Shameful Confession


I can't stop listening to "See You Again" by Miley Cyrus. Apparently this song has been all over the radio for months? And when Gawker did headlines like "Oh, She's Just Being Miley" it was actually a reference to this song, and I laughed because I thought I got the inside joke, and I totally didn't. But I do now! I get it! And this song must have crack in it, because the first thing I did when I woke up this morning was plug my headphones in and listen to it. AND, despite the fact that prior to this I had not updated my iPod in 3 years (legit), I updated it yesterday just so I could add this song. So... listen if you dare.

-Jess

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Things That Can't Be Fixed

The problem is that no matter how many talks we have or fights we put up or promises we make, nothing ever changes, because the way we feel stays the same. I will always feel like my stepmother is replacing me, and she will always feel that she is going out of her way NOT to do so.

It started because she sent me an e-mail saying that she didn’t include my name on a birthday card our family had sent to her brother-in-law. I could think of no example of her pushing me out of the family more glaring than that. It’s not as if I was going to send him my own card - I didn’t even know it was his birthday. And it’s not as if anything would have been lost by including my name, except perhaps some semblance of personal satisfaction on her part. She e-mailed me to tell me this, and when I told her I was kind of offended by it and didn’t understand her logic, she told me that being offended requires that I care about my family, which I clearly don’t.

But that’s not true. I know I can be ungrateful and selfish and nearsighted. I know that I owe them much more than I could ever give back. But I love them so much that sometimes it keeps me up at night. I mean, it terrifies me, because the thing about love is that when you love someone, you are acknowledging that you are afraid to lose them, that, when they die, your love will automatically become pain. It’s horrifying in some ways, but that’s why it’s more difficult to love people than it is to just let them go.

I tried to explain this to my stepmother but she takes everything too personally and, as hard as she may try to understand where I’m coming from, she just can’t. It’s not her fault, I can’t really understand her position either. In the kitchen today she barely acknowledged me with a sharp nod, and I had to control myself from flying across the room and snapping her head off her neck. My father did nothing, because even in his maddening passivity he always manages to take her side. Even if my stepmother will say outright, “It was my fault,” as she is rational enough that she sometimes does, my father is still wont to believe that I am evil and awful and did something to “hurt” her. To him, that is what I’m always doing, it’s what I was put here to do - hurt people.

Because I hurt them with my honesty and my emotional savvy, and yeah sometimes my words. Because I don’t know when is the right time to be blunt and when is the right time to let things slide so that healing can begin. I don’t know how to hold my tongue, and most times I think it would be wrong to do so anyway. But I am driving this wedge between me and my family, and I don’t know how to stop. I am stubborn, but it extends beyond personality flaws at this point. Now it is this thing ingrained in me, and every misstep made by my stepmother or my father I ultimately view as a personal attack. Ulterior motives lurk everywhere, behind their dinner-for-2 reservations and wedding pictures framed by heavy oak atop the living room credenza. 

And for my stepmother, she can’t understand why I can’t just put my negative emotions towards her aside and accept her as a part of my family. But I’ve been trying to do that for four years now, and I’m still failing miserably. I can accept strangers and distant friends into my life with panache and graciousness, but I cannot allow her to become a real part of my life. She can send me envelopes stuffed with money and her family can get me drunk at WASPy, catered dinner parties, but the problem remains that we will never understand each other. Perhaps these are the spoils of war. My father, in an attempt to build a new life after all the destruction, destroyed what was left of his old life, the good parts, the parts that loved him, too.

It was the winter of my freshman year when I went back to the house I grew up in and first discovered that it wasn’t my home any longer. I had developed allergies to the love of my life - my dog - that left me wheezing and itchy-eyed. My bed felt uncomfortable, foreign, and my room was littered with memories of years that I felt disconnected from. There, in a picture hung beside my bed, I was staring with devilish eyes, a hookah mouthpiece draped awkwardly over my left shoulder. And just below that, me and my three best friends from high school, perched on an overturned boat docked at my lake house, donning pajama pants and polos. Even then I had felt those moments had taken place a lifetime ago, and now, at 20 years old, this house feels like it is inhabited by strangers. I feel like I should ask before I open the refrigerator or change the TV channel. I spend most time in my room, and my family continues their lives around me, aware of the fact that I am home, but intent to not let it affect their routine.

In this way I exist outside of my family. When you’re younger, your whole identity seems shaped by where you come from, and who you are raised by. People ask questions about your parents constantly. At school now, even my closest friends don’t know the intimate innuendo of my family life. I won’t give that to them. Those things are mine, and they are painful, and so I keep them with me, to mull over on Sunday nights in my dark bedroom, only car lights from Centre Street grazing my ceiling, making it possible to see. As I grow up, my family will always be a part of my identity, but it becomes less so. I become defined more by my accomplishments and the people I choose to surround myself with, as opposed to those I've just kind of been stuck with from the beginning.

And we all feel it - that burgeoning distance, the strange mix of familiarity and foreign discomfort that invades us when we step into the house we grew up in. But with my parents divorced, it makes things more difficult. The house continues to change, my stepmother continues to live here while I am away - even if she IS trying to push me away, it’s not like it would be that difficult. I am doing it myself, I am running, and I have been since I was 13 years old and they sat me down on the hard, floral living room couch and broke the news.

These are the things that can’t be fixed, or won’t be, but not for lack of trying.

-Jess