Saturday, August 2, 2008

"If you ever want to lose faith in humanity, read any comments section on the internet."

Comments are back up... for now.

As you can see, I'm hesitant about this, mainly because last time they were up I got sexually harassed. But I do miss the discussions our posts have the ability to foster, so for now, they're reinstated.

-Jess

Things in my Bathroom That are Sort of Like Vibrators



LOL at the screen grab. God I'm attractive.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Addendum to Jess's Post

I've been wondering something about this here blog--and blogging in general--as well. It doesn't have to do with relationships, but in terms of who you are in real life ("IRL" for the cool kids) versus who you are on the blog, and how virtual expression lends itself to and invades real-world interactions, I think it's relevant.

What do you do when you want to stop blogging? Or, at least, want to stop your current blog for a while before maybe starting a new one?

I have no intention of quitting J&J anytime soon, of course, but let's be real--few things in life are permanent, and I doubt this blog is one of them. Sooner or later (okay, probably later), this blog is going to end, and I am going to have some questions. I'll speak hypothetically of me leaving this blog, but keep in mind it's just for the sake of argument.

When it's time to stop, do I leave up the posts I've written here or do I delete them, one by one, methodically destroying my primary means of expression for who-knows-how-many months and years? I mean, the only reason I could think to stop writing for a personal blog is because I felt I have shared too much, that the world knows too much, that my thoughts and feelings are no longer my own but rather everybody's--private intangibles in the public domain. So it would make sense then to delete my online presence here. When you move to a new apartment, you generally don't leave all your old stuff behind, and not just because that would be a gigantic waste of money and nice things but also because, well, they're yours, and you don't want to leave them lying around for someone else's use. So if I packed up and moved onto another blog, or just stopped blogging altogether, why wouldn't I delete my posts here? They're my thoughts, after all, and if I'm no longer going to be controlling their output and expression, then I should at least have the right to take them with me, back to my head or whatever new platform I'm visiting.

But that seems wrong, no? Like, are these posts mine? They're here, now, for anyone to read. Deleting them just because I won't be producing new ones seems kind of cheap and definitely shady. And I don't know that I control my thoughts' output online; sure, I dictate what I post and when I post it, but after I hit "Publish Post," well, the cat's out of the bag. My posts are there to be linked to, dissected, praised and insulted, like art that never found a true gallery. And I do not believe in destroying art. But even just moving my old writing from here to my hard drive still seems like a complete rebuttal of the reason I started blogging in the first place, which was to share stuff with other people. And even if I decide that enough is enough and I no longer want to share, well, can I take back the things I've said? Does it work that way? If a post gets linked to by someone in cyberspace, does it still belong to me? Or did it just come from me, a gift I have bestowed upon whatever readership has found my words.

It's not a matter of agency, it's a matter of ownership. And in the cached world of the Internet, even if you want to take something back, it might just be too late. Do we own anything at all out here?

-Josh

It's Hard Out There For a Blogger

When I first started dating my ex-boyfriend back in November, this blog had really just begun, and it verged more on criticism of media and culture than personal. So when the guy I'd been dating started reading it, I was perfectly fine with that. We both fancied ourselves writers so it seemed something we could share. I also wasn't worried about him knowing things about me that I might not want him to know.

But now, that's kind of an issue. It's safe to say this blog is 50% cultural analysis and 50% me and Josh bitching about our "problemz." The personal blog throws an inevitable wrench into the beginnings of a relationship. There are a few scenarios in which your personal blog can really complicate dating:

Scenario One: He doesn't know about your blog.
This is probably for the best. If, like me, blogging and online media are a huge part of your life (i.e. take up the majority of your time because you're a tech/new media geek obsessed with checking e-mail), then it might seem kind of strange to keep that part of your life relatively hidden from someone you're just beginning to date. But this way you can decide when you want to reveal to him that all the secrets you probably wouldn't share until well into the relationship are online for anyone to read. The problem with this is that, if he's a Millennial, he'll probably just Google you, and if you haven't told him about your blog, he'll probably be super freaked out.

Scenario Two: You tell him right away.
This will inevitably lead to him going straight home and reading it all the way through, at least if he's super interested in you. Now he will have an advantage. You won't be able to tell if he's saying that his favorite show is Mad Men because he knows that it's yours, or because he actually likes it. Inevitably, the dynamic of the relationship shifts from organic to sketchy, and if you're paranoid like me, you get really suspicious really fast. (Though I'm probably not the only person in New York who starts every conversation - romantically twinged or not - with "off the record.")

Scenario Three: You start dating because of your blog.
He e-mailed you as a fan. You hit it off. Now the trouble is he knows every single thing about you - including what you look like when you're drunk and sick and standing next to Rachel Maddow - and you know absolutely nothing about him. The next few dates revolve around you trying to figure out the kind of person he is beyond the fact that he looks hot in his Facebook picture and has a witty screen name. If you try to mention something about yourself he gives you a knowing look, because he knows.

The trouble with blogs is that they take away my favorite part of the beginnings of relationships - mystery. A blog is supposed to be a repository for you to put out pieces of yourself, and you have total control over what you choose to share with people. But as the entries collect, and people are more inclined to read them all at once, you lose the ability to control that information. You don't get to choose how people view you. You don't get to decide which pieces of yourself you'd like to give away first. It is right there in front of them, for them to accept or reject. In some ways this is good: no bullshit. They know what you're like - or at least the persona that you've developed online, which in some ways has become a significant part of who you are - and there's no room for lying or pretending to be someone you're not. But ultimately you lose the agency that caused you to start a blog in the first place. And in a world where finding a meaningful relationship is inherently difficult, it kinda sucks to think that me writing this isn't helping at all.


-Jess

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Don't Cry For Me, Blog-en-tina


Hey blog world sorry it's been so long I've been busy blah blah blah.
There are a few things I want to discuss.


1. I stopped doing Guilty Pleasures, I know. To the five of you who read this blog for things that aren't feminist or media diatribes, I apologize. It's just that, no bull, I am so busy at work. Not necessarily every second of the day, but long story short I'm doing the work of two people, and that work is tedious and time-consuming. So when I have a spare minute at the office, no, I don't really want to browse my iPod for the worst music on there and then blog about it. And again, usually I don't. Possibly special Madonna edition coming up, because I love that woman but I've been watching her recent live performances and...it's just not working out for her. She can sing okay, and she can dance okay, but she can't do both okay at the same time, even though that seems to be what she insists on achieving. I'm not going to comment on those hideous photos of her in the paparazzi--seriously, we've all had our bad days and our worse pictures, give her a break--but she's really showing her age, I think. Which is a shame because she was keeping it together so well; I mean, I saw her on the Confessions tour and she even pulled that off well. I think the reason for her recent oh-yeah-I'm-old-ness is that, much as I love (about half of) Hard Candy, it's really an album for the straights--not exactly her territory--and it's kind of R&B and she really took the easy way out with the producers and nobody is wearing your lingerie, Madonna. So, yeah, other than that, Guilty Pleasures is over.

2. I'm writing this at Bobst because NYU dormitory Internet is out for some reason, which bothers me because, um...I'm paying for it to be working, and it's not. No explanation, either--I went to the front desk and asked when it would be fixed, and the lady just told me, "I don't know. They're aware of it." Who's "they"? The five grad students charged with maintaining NYU's virtual presence are probably all too busy getting high and trying to get the hell out of New York (bon voyage, Jess!) because it's August and the city does indeed sleep in the month of August. Anyway, if you're reading this and you can fix my room's Internet, please do that. Prove me wrong, cyber-geeks.

2a. PS I actually secretly have a thing for cyber-geeks, so don't take it personally, Randall Munroe. (Mmmm.)

3. Oh yeah, why we got fired from our NYU jobs. Well, Jessica's reason is bullshit and she really shouldn't have lost her job over it, and I actually don't know if I can talk about it, but it involved something she posted on a coworker's Facebook Wall. How very millennial. As for me, I called my boss a flaming dyke and she found out. On Facebook. See how Facebook is changing our culture? Do a trend piece on us, Time.

4. I'm debating whether or not to go see The Dark Knight again. Like, I want to, and I want to watch it on a big screen, but twelve bucks is twelve bucks, man, and I don't know if that's appropriate for a repeat viewing. (By the way, IMDb users, number one? Really? Like, it was great, but not that great. Not Godfather great. Not even Annie Hall great, but I don't know why that movie is all the way down at #128. Come on people, let's at least give it double-digit status.)

5. Jess is leaving New York for a while (sad, I know), but I'm approaching a fairly scary/exciting milestone as well: this is my last week in the dorms! Then I'll be home for a little bit, and then in my brand new apartment! Which I think makes me .005% more New-Yorker, and I don't really know how I feel about that, because the more I scrap together change to buy lunch in a vending machine, the more I wonder if I really belong in this city or not. But that's a discussion for another time! For now...

6. ...remember this?? Still so good. Let go of every excuse and just watch it, masses!

-Josh

(P.S. I don't know what that picture means either. I just Google Image Searched "blah.")

In Which Jess Reveals What a Softie She Truly Is

One of the first pics taken in my apartment. Notice the carton of unpacked shit to the right. Let's all LOL at how much of a D-Bag I look.

Alright. I'm going to be sentimental for a moment because at the very core this blog is a diary of sorts, no matter how public, and I want to at least vaguely document how I'm feeling while experiencing my last few moments in New York for quite some time.

I'm sitting in bed, in this obnoxious "heather gray" American Apparel romper, drinking coffee from a dorky NYU mug. My roommate Ashley asked me to clean all my shit out from the bathroom cabinets so I'm currently surrounded by random medicine tablets and skin care products and an unused pregnancy test from like four months ago when I had a boyfriend and actually stocked up on those things because I am paranoid and ridiculous, but unnecessarily spending money on plastic you pee on is undoubtedly one of the many things I do not miss about being in a relationship. My Dad came and took all of my stuff back home last weekend so I've been sleeping on a bare mattress in a room with white walls pockmarked with the remnants of that blue sticky shit that you tack posters up with and is supposed to easily peel off but ends up leaving a greasy residue that lets NYU charge you extra for "damage."

I am fully aware that this is the nicest apartment I'll ever live in. Some day when my parents aren't taking out tens of thousands of dollars in loans to pay for NYU housing and I am living like a real person in Brooklyn paying rent by waiting tables and trying to get some sad, silly manuscript published, I will look back on this well-lit and spacious apartment that sits across from douche monster John Mayer's building and has views of downtown and sometimes if you squint the Brooklyn Bridge, and I will probably want to kill myself for not appreciating it more.

Which is why I'm making a point of appreciating it now, with cigarette ash collected sullenly in the corners of the windows, and sunlight spilling through the blinds I permanently fucked up one night while trying to drunkenly hoist them up and reveal my room to the cityscape. And I can see that rich guy with the basketball court attached to his four story townhouse shooting hoops (and missing). And I can see people smoking cigarettes on their balconies and workers scaling the sides of the old police headquarters on Centre Street to erect scaffolding around where the clock is beautiful but almost never right. I can see the best restaurant in New York, the Landmark Diner, and I can almost even see tourists pushing each other to get the best fake bag down on Canal Street.

This city has taught me a lot about myself and about the human condition. I have much more to learn, in Philadelphia, in Paris, and when I get back.

New York, I love you, oh please don't change a thing. Except maybe rent prices.

-Jess

The Most Important Discovery Of Our Time

Vanessa is freaking out maybe a little bit.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Updates

Hello my loves,

Sorry Josh and I have been so M.I.A. recently; he's been working his ass off sorting galleys at the Library Journal and I've been basically confined to my bed with a terrible cold the past few days, which has left me feeling rather uninspired. I'm still pretty sick unfortunately. This is my last official night in New York - I'll be back and forth between Philly and NY until I leave for Paris in early September. I have lots of cool stuff to tell you about projects I'm hoping to take on and people I've met recently (JESSICA VALENTI AND LIZZ WINSTEAD AND RACHEL MADDOW - see below) but I'm in that lull where it's too late to take Dayquil and too early to take Nyquil so I feel like I maybe kind of want to die and god this Vitamin C fizzy drink tastes like what I assume Metamucil tastes like which is to say it's DISGUSTING.

We promise we will update you soon.This is Rachel Maddow. I have a girlcrush on her. Ignore how hideous I look: it's a bad angle and I was drunk AND sick and those are really the only excuses I have for looking like I do above, which is maybe kind of depressing.

-Jess

Sunday, July 27, 2008

One Good Thing About Ohio