Saturday, December 27, 2008

Sparknotes Summary: What's the Deal with Caroline Kennedy?

Hey guys. So Jess and I are usually (at least somewhat) on top of our current events, but in the fog of being reunited and enjoying the holidays, we really haven't been following this whole Caroline Kennedy thing. Sure, we could weed through dozens of blog posts and links to piece together her deal, but perhaps one of our intelligent and generous readers would care to fill us in instead. And maybe some of you guys aren't quite sure what's going on with her anyway! Edify our ignorance and show us the way. We want a Sparknotes summary of: Caroline Kennedy.

-Josh

"We Back!"

The Maine Thing to Remember

Hey remember that time I went to Maine and said I'd post pictures but never did? Well Eliza finally uploaded our photos, and I'd like to show you a couple of them! Because they are pretty and I have nothing better to do until Jess arrives.

The beach was picturesque but also freezing; I was having a great time, obviously, but the smile was perhaps a little forced.


The whole town looked like a Norman Rockwell painting.


Ogunquit is weird because it's both really patriotic and really gay, two qualities that shouldn't be mutually exclusive but unfortunately often are. I think we should all try to be a little more like the fine people of Ogunquit. You can even gay up the National Anthem--try it!


The garbage cans had virtues printed on them...yeah, I don't know.


My new favorite sweatshirt. It says "Lobstercrombie & Pinch." It is huge and cozy and hilarious. It cost like twenty bucks.

Okay, well, there are a bunch more pictures of Eliza and I posing in front of small-town America, but I'll spare you the rest. Happy awkward-time-between-Christmas-and-New-Year's!

-Josh

"How are we supposed to write a great rock song if we don't even know what pussy smells like?"

I really want to send this to someone right now but I don't know anyone who likes the Jonas Brothers besides me and my 16 year old sister and she's downstairs on the couch falling asleep to Beverly Hills: 90210 DVDs. So... um, I'm blogging about it. Or at least posting it.



-Jess

REUNITED


Josh and I are being reunited after 4 months officially... TODAY. I will get to his house sometime around 2pm and we will make the best of dirty Jersey livin' by getting high and going to the mall. And hopefully making a video or two for you guys. Didn't you miss our musical stylings???

-Jess

Welcome to Mr. G's Room

Thanks to Mazi for getting me addicted to HBO's mockumentary series, Summer Heights High. The same actor plays three different characters: a flamboyant drama teacher, a troubled 8th grade boy and a bitchy 11th grade girl. Hilarity ensues. See the clip below for an introduction to Mr. G, the drama teacher.



-Jess

Friday, December 26, 2008

Fashion Fight

If I don't win this Diane Von Furstenberg dress on Ebay I'm going to cut a bitch. I'm not even going to link to it because I'm that competitive and serious about it!!!
-Jess

A Good Excuse to Get Out of the House While Your Grandmother Watches Guiding Light

http://www.mtv.com/movies/photos/c/cannes_posters_051908/slumdog_millionaire.jpg

Hello, it's me, and I'm being disproportionately impacted by an artistic incarnation again, only SURPRISE, this time it's not a book. It's a movie: Danny Boyle's Slumdog Millionaire.

This movie is like peeling a really ripe, beautiful orange with syrupy hands and getting the pulp stuck underneath your fingernails and taking a bite of the sweet/sour fruit and having the juice drip down your chin and sting dry spots on your lips. It is a wholly visceral experience. The cinematography is like if by some miracle Darren Aronofsky and Baz Lurhmann (ugh, minus Australia) had a baby and then that kid became obsessed with both Spike Lee and Bollywood and decided to make a film. There were incredible jump cuts and heavily-spliced montage scenes (I know what those things are now that I took a cinema class!). The acting was inspired. This is definitely Dev Patel's breakout role; he previously starred in Skins, my all-time favorite British teen soap. But this film brings Patel to a whole different level.

The plot revolves around a young man from the slums of Bombay who becomes a contestant on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. Each question he is asked on the game show is used as a catalyst to explore the painful and beautiful memories of his life.

Go pay $12.50 for the best goddamn orange of your life.

-Jess

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas is for Complaining

My Sister and I Trying To Look Like We Don't Want to Kill Ourselves

So it's Christmas and that means I was woken up at 8am by my horse-obsessed 11 year old cousin and told my outfit was ugly/inappropriate by my Grandmother 3,000 times and then drank my face off so that I was stumbling around in 4 inch heels by 1pm. Every single Christmas I have one of those epiphanies where I realize that everything I've unwrapped can't make up for the fact that the tension between my family members is unbearably palpable and my Grandmother just cannot keep herself from making negative comments about EVERYTHING and no matter how many gifts my mother buys us she will always get a disappointed look on her face when she hears what my step-grandparents have purchased. I live two lives. Last night at my mother's I was smoking cigarettes and drinking vodka and playing Wii and then I went home to my Dad's house and everyone was looking at old documents that my Grandmother brought and talking about our family tree while listening to shitty Christmas carols and I got dirty looks for smelling like smoke. This is how it was in high school. I could say "bitch" in front of my Mom when I was 15 and if I let it slip in front of my father his eyebrows got all scrunchy and his lips got thin like pencil lines. I'm still not really allowed to watch R rated movies at my Dad's house unless no one's around to hear or watch them.

It's not that he's religious, it's just that he's uptight, obscenely so. He wants everything to go perfectly, which is a quality he and I share, but it manifests itself in all its ugly glory when my Grandmother visits. My Grandmother is condescending and judgmental but she is subtle about it so that it takes a well-practiced ear to notice the verbal jabs she takes. It is never "You look ugly!" but instead "You would look a lot prettier if you'd get your hair out of your face. Why do you have to wear it like that?" It is so bad that my Aunt basically detests my Grandmother and treats her like shit to her face -- which has made this Christmas all the more merry! -- my Dad ignores or makes fun of her and my Uncle stays in Minnesota doing god knows what.

The funny and yet horrendously sad part is that my father tries very hard to not be like my Grandmother: to avoid the negative side comments, the judgments, the uptight demeanor. But he is just like her, albeit, a little more jovial and open, but really basically the same. It's frustrating for both of us; I detest him for treating me that way, and he detests himself for being unable to cease treating me that way. My Grandmother has no idea any of this occurs because she has no idea that she is awful! She believes she is the Saint of the family and everyone else is on the fast track to Hell, be it for our lack of commitment to Catholicism or short hemlines (GRAMMY SOMETIMES I WEAR SHIRTS AS DRESSES GET OVER IT) or foul mouths. Everything is offensive or dirty or shameful: my body, my overly active mind, my behaviors, my habits. My Dad knows that my Grandmother is essentially this horrible monster who eats away at your self-confidence (what little I have) until you are basically an empty, sullen shell, and yet he does not stand up for me. She made me cry this morning with one of her many comments about my appearance and all he did was try to comfort me and get me to stop crying. It's so difficult to explain this. I am hypersensitive, true, and still adjusting to being home, but it has taken years for me to get to this breaking point. There were times in high school I honestly thought I would kill my Grandmother because she was so frustrating and cruel without even realizing it. It comes in waves. Some days I can brush it off and laugh, but others I just cannot stand it. It is going to come to a point some time soon where I will just refuse to see her, because it is not worth it to me.

The shittiest part about it is that all I ever want to do is impress her and my Dad. Every single one of my accomplishments has been to prove than I am so much more than the fuck up I felt I was in high school, the girl who cried all the time and wouldn't get out of bed for four days and got caught drinking at 14. Blahblahblah, it's cliched I know but goddammit I just wish I could make them PROUD of me. My Dad is to some extent but I feel like I'm still always disappointing him in some way. If I could just quit smoking. If I could just go to school for Political Science and brush my hair and not be stoned all the time. But honestly I don't think even doing those things would make any difference to my Grandmother. I am a perfectionist but to her I will never ever be perfect; I will never come close.

So heh I guess this is my way of saying Merry Christmas and I love you all and I know your families are probably all just as fucked up as mine if not more so. Aren't the holidays wonderful!?!? :)

-Jess

Bart, Lisa, and Fa--Nah, That's Too Easy

Have I ever mentioned how much I love The Simpsons? I'll let John Waters help me out. He guest stars on this episode (a dozen years old!) about the family's new, um, "festive" friend.

"Well Homer, I won your respect, and all I had to do was save your life. Now if every gay man could just do the same, you'd be set." Yeah, tell that to the Mormons.

-Josh

Katy Perry Is Not Homophobic

I've recently fallen in love with Katy Perry. It took me a while to "get" her music, but the other night I finally gave "Hot N Cold" a fair listen, and...wow. It's great. It's a fantastic pop song about a relatable romantic quandary--the fickle lover. It's catchy, danceable, and the best angry-female driving song since Kelly Clarkson so moved on.

Okay, so maybe the other reason it took me a while to warm up to Katy Perry is because of the whole homophobia argument. Yup, lots of bloggers (I'll link to one in a moment, but a quick Google search yields of hundreds of results) think Katy hates the gays, and therefore we should not enjoy her music. But I think the gay community is overreacting to the sting of Prop 8 and American society's prevalence for painfully slow tolerance of those who aren't "normal." For my part, I just don't see how the singer is homophobic, and let me explain why.

The video for "Hot N Cold" has received criticism for being homophobic, specifically in its depiction of a gay bridesmaid. But...what exactly about him is gay? So he's a dude in a wedding dress; it's not like we haven't seen that before. Is anyone calling Dennis Rodman gay? (Crazy, yes, but not gay.) Furthermore, the guy in Perry's video is holding a tiny dog, which is apparently a sign that he's a "gay joke." Um, what? Since when is clutching cute little pets stereotypically gay? Or is it just a feminine habit that, on a man, presumably becomes a gay joke, because feminine = gay? I'm not buying it. In fact, I think the assumption that the guy's dog is a sign of a gay joke reveals more about the stereotypical beliefs of the critic than Katy Perry's level of tolerance. It's only a gay joke if you're already offended and are looking for more evidence. Why is there a male bridesmaid, then? I don't know...because it's funny? Cute? Maybe the guy is a friend of Perry's and she simply wanted to include him in the shoot. The point is that we don't really know his story, but immediately jumping to the conclusion that it must be a gay joke because he's a guy in girl's clothing seems jump-the-gun-ish to me.

Okay, fine, maybe dude's just a cross-dresser. But Katy Perry hates gay people! She even has a song called "Ur So Gay" that's filled with all sorts of stereotypes. Gay-hater, right?

Well, have you ever said that one of your friends should come out of the closet? Have you ever gossiped with other people that so-and-so is totally gay and isn't fooling anyone? Odds are that you have. But unless the guy in question actually stuck his hand down your pants, you relied on stereotypes to reach the conclusion that he's gay. Because guess what? We all rely on stereotypes sometimes, be they about race, gender, or sexual orientation. In the song "Ur So Gay," Perry's upset that her boyfriend is more concerned with himself (and his Myspace) than with her, a legimitate reason to get angry. And call me a terrible person, but a super-skinny, pale, makeup-wearing, H&M-scarf-donning guy would seem pretty...gay to me. And he'd probablyseem gay to you too. Nowhere in the song does Perry criticize him for supposedly liking men (she admits that he probably doesn't); she's just frustrated that her man doesn't pay much attention to her, believing it would make more sense for him to be secretly homosexual than just a shitty boyfriend. "Ur So Gay" isn't a euphemism for "Ur So Stupid," nor is it an abbreviation for "Ur So Gay And That's A Legitimiate Reason For Me To Hate You." She's just using stereotypes--like we all do--as an outlet for her romantic frustration. Sue her.

And then there's that whole kising-a-girl business. A lot of gays got angry at these lines: "It's not what good girls do / Not how they should behave." But for the daughter of two pastors, kissing a girl isn't a "good" thing to do. It's an unfortunate truth in this country that many still view homosexuality as a sin and a sign of rebellion as opposed to a legitimate sexual orientation. I mean, we need Wanda fucking Sykes to tell us how to appropriately use the word "gay." Do you think we're a very tolerant nation? Katy Perry knows that we aren't, and she's reacting to that. She isn't doing it for attention, though she hopes her boyfriend doesn't get jealous (nowhere in the song does she mention a watching audience). And, in fact, she even says that homosexual desire is "just human nature." True, hearing a million close-minded suburban high schoolers giggle about how lesbianism is naughty isn't the most heartening sound to the LGBT community; hearing them sing that gay desire is human nature, however, sounds a lot better. Because it's true. And as ubiquitous as it has become, Perry wrote "I Kissed A Girl" from a personal place, and kudos to her for not changing her message--or her fantasy--to appease the Top-40 masses. Towards the end of the song she says the kiss is "no big deal," but it's funny how Perry's critics seem to overlook this lyric.

Katy Perry isn't homophobic. Some of her listeners probably are, yes, and view her music as a great outlet to make fun of gays. But it's not Perry's fault that certain intolerant listeneres have corrupted her vision; plus, I think most people understand that she isn't bashing homosexuals when she sings about kissing girls or dresses up her guy friends in wedding dresses. There are plenty of things to change about America's attitude towards gays, but Katy Perry's music isn't one of them, and condemning her work is just barking up the wrong tree.

-Josh

Merry Christmas!


My Grandmother got inordinately angry at me for taking this picture so now I have to show it to the entire internet to get her back for calling all my dresses too short.

There will be more bitching about her later on, I'm sure. She's already made me cry and it's only noon. YAY CATHOLICZ. Merry Christmas!

-Jess

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Greetings from My Dad



My dad just forwarded me this video. It was sent to him by someone named "Marlene."

I know.

Happy holidays, everybody.

-Josh

I Think I Found My New Years Eve Dress

In case anyone cares! Heh.

I've been really wanting something backless with long sleeves like Blair from Gossip Girl wore in the Thanksgiving episode. (Yes I am officially obsessed with Leighton Meester; it's pathetic but not as pathetic as my previous obsession with Rachel Bilson when she was on The O.C.) Here's her dress:


I'm sure that shit costs like $8904382 and is made by Philip Lim or something so I am going for a cheap alternative courtesy of hipster hem haven Urban Outfitters:

I am not sold on this yet as it is not long sleeve so if you see anything that fits the description please leave a comment or e-mail me! It's always important to me to have a special and gorgeous New Years Eve dress, which is silly because I have never once had a good New Year's Eve except for once junior year of high school but after drinking a shit ton of tequila that night I scarfed down cold pasta and then threw it up at like 6am. Ooooh, the good old days.

Merry Christmas Eve :)

-Jess

P.S. I love this one. Too bad I don't have three hundred motherfucking dollars to drop on a DRESS.

Happy Holidays Bitchez

For some reason I became orange by the end. Also kind of look toothless in the preview. I should not "Vlog."

Cute

From the Facebook of a kid I went to high school with who is currently in Iraq:

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Happy Hanukkah!

Happy Hanukkah, everybody! I know I'm a couple days late. I've been too busy playing around with my new Nikon D40 and drunkenly watching Nick at Nite. Keeping it classy, I know! Feel free to tell us which Hanukkah/Christmas/Solstice gifts you've received in the comments section. Let's revel in materialism and forget about the recession (for like ten minutes.)

-Josh

My Stepdad is Adorable

My Favorite Songs of 2008


Sam recently made a list of his favorite albums of the past year. I'm not a huge album person; call me Millennial, but one of the joys of my iPod is that I can shuffle between songs whenever I want, and don't have to skip the three boring middle tracks to get to the record's next single (ah, the Walkman era.) That said, here are the songs that made me go "Squeeeee!" this past year. (Note: a couple of these songs may have been leaked or released as singles in 2007, but the albums on which they appeared were not available until this year. Hooray for technicalities!)

10. "Playing with Fire," Lil' Wayne
I like Lil' Wayne, but I don't love him. Then again, I'm not a huge hip-hop fan, so I don't appreciate Weezy's music the way his diehard fans do. That said, this is pure poetry. On an album filled with radio-friendly bravado in songs like "A Milli" and "Got Money," Wayne's vulerability is what sells this song. His voice cracks as he recalls the abuse his mother received during his childhood:

Mama named Cita, I love you Cita,
Remember when your pussy second husband tried to beat ya?
Remember when I went into the kitchen got the cleaver?
He ain't give a fuck, I ain't give a fuckk neither.
He could see the devil, see the devil in my features,
You could smell the ether,
You can see Cita,
You can see the Cita, see the Cita in my features.

It's heartbreaking and strong and when I listen to this song, I get it. I get why people love Lil' Wayne. He can surprise you, which is a commendable achievement in today's cynical music world.

9. "No Redemption Song," Jason Collett
Taking a break from Broken Social Scene, Collett here opts for quieter alt-country, nowhere more effective than on this sweet slice of highway rock. Any song that begins, "Staying stoned on Highway 401" is bound to be a personal favorite, and that trickling guitar that travels up the C scale seals the deal. When I take my own cross-country trip across America, this will be the first song on my playlist.

8. "White Winter Hymnal," Fleet Foxes
Renaissance roundelays may have gone out of style, but Fleet Foxes are bringing them back. This is the perfect track for right now, when my backyard is covered in snow but I'm in my living room curled up in an afghan. If "New Slang" got high, this would be the result. With lyrics as mysterious as they are evocative, harmonies that would make Brian Wilson proud, and glorious chord sequences, Fleet Foxes make me hope it stays wintry forever.

7. "Where He At," Raz Ohara & The Odd Orchestra
Under the radar is indie music; beneath that is Raz Ohara. Settling in like a morning fog, capturing the moment when you're smoking a cigarette and staring out your window while debating whether to call that guy back, the song seems to stagger through its 4-minute-and-change length, dire strings adding to the pathos of a guy who "only takes." Thankfully, Raz and company decided to give something back.

6. "Feminine Effects," Of Montreal
I've already talked about this song, but my praise is worth repeating. It still gives me goosebumps, and the sparse instrumentals contrast nicely with the rest of the band's work, perfectly complementing that tiny fear that you're just "something to be laughed at." But it's impossible to laugh at Kevin Barnes's self-exposure; you just hope that, sometime after this song is over, he sees how wonderful he truly is. (Note: I consider this part of "Skeletal Lamping," even though it's not.)

5. "Love Lockdown," Kanye West
I don't much like Mr. West's latest album; there's too much AutoTune and not enough Kanye. By which I mean, that seemingly contradictory mix of arrogance and vulnerability found in his best stuff. (Then again, I'm not really a fan of AutoTune at all.) But here's an example of Kanye West not rapping but retaining his essence. Ominous beats and lightning-quick piano chords fill the listener with the same dread Kanye feels at having to tell his woman that "I'm not loving you." Plus, you know, it's catchy as hell.

4. "Ready for the Floor," Hot Chip
How many kids do you see at a party simply "carving up the wall," clutching a beer and waiting to get their picture taken? (I'm vain too, but I never ask for it.) Well, Hot Chip wants you to come out on the dance floor and let down your guard. Hot Chip wants to get to know you better. Hot Chip thinks "you're my number one guy." And Hot Chip has crafted the best song from Britain of the year. You don't here the key of B enough in pop music, anyway.

3. "She's Not Me," Madonna
I mean, duhhhh. If you have known me at all this year, you know how much I love this song. It's so campy and fun and totally fuck-you and there are whistles and hand-claps and it probably just quadruples my estrogen levels but I'll be damned if I can listen to this song without dancing. That includes when I walk down a crowded street. Hard Candy should have been more like this, because you can tell Madonna actually enjoyed recorded this song, and I can't necessarily say that for all of the album's tracks. It brings back the seventies without sacrificing Pharrell's studio guidance, but the real magic of this song is that it somehow managed to turn "She's not me" into the refrain of the year, quickly followed by "and she never will be." Fabulous.

2. "Time to Pretend," MGMT
Yeah, whatever, there's a reason these guys got huge. Thirty years from now, when classic-rock podcasts are replaying hits from the aughts, this is going to be on heavy rotation. Does its timeless quality lie in its drug-induced daydreamy lyrics, its harshly shimmering synth lines, or in the sheer fact that given the current economy, lots of people probably want to "make some money, find some models for wives." MGMT totally called the economic metldown, way back in January. Depression never sounded so sweet.

1. "Tú No Eres Para Mi," Fanny Lú
This is Colombia's number one song of the year! And if we welcome its cocaine, maybe we should welcome its musical choices as well. I'm a sucker for pure, feel-good pop, and despite the fact that I have no idea what Fanny's saying (besides the title, which means "You are not for me," a sentiment to which I relate all too well), Fanny sings its so well, to that extent that I think this song could melt the snow off my driveway if I played it loud enough. It's totally catchy, totally cheesy, totally Larry Rudolph, and I really hope this song becomes successful in the US so I can calypso-dance to it with all my friends. If you haven't heard it already, listen to it now. Listen and baile.
(I'm aware that it may be considered disingenuous to select a song released in December of this year as the best of 2008. But that's just how high my hopes are for Fanny; I'm willing to throw her un hueso.)

-Josh

I Look Like a Tool

Tell you something you don't know, right? Well, people still seem to think I hate the New School and also don't know how to be a journalist. Even though I write for a blog and not a newspaper, and even though we're not just trying to be an online version of the Washington Square News, and even though everything I said in that article is true except the last line (which is only arguably true), and even though I don't pretend to be a reporter because I don't want to be a reporter.

Anyway, here's what the latest insightful commenter has to say about me:

This site has a tendency to hate on issues they are not familiar with, rather than trying to engage people and ask “Why is this happening?”Why can’t journalists, college or professional level reporters, do this? If Josh Becker did that, more New School “students and web surfers would appreciate it and post items, instead, he looks like a tool.

Gosh, I don't know what to say! That was a double-insult, of both me and the entire Web site! Why is this happening???

Well, Jay, the drama at the New School is happening because the New School hates its president, which was the headline of my article that you hated. Also, New School students can't post items on NYULocal, because it's only written by NYU students. (That's why "NYU" is in the site name!) But I guess it doesn't matter, since I'm "part of the reason why media is going down the toilet in this country." Put that in your resumé and smoke it!

-Josh

Now I Remember

why not having the internet at home is better for me. In Paris I went to sleep at a reasonable hour instead of Stumbling pointlessly until dawn and I didn't get eyeball headaches from staring at the screen.

Maybe my Grandma was right about the internet?

-Jess

Things I Want For Christmas

This economic depression-twinged holiday season, what I really want is a break on tuition and someone to have sex with whenever to help me forget about how poor I am, but these five frivolous objects will probably just have to do.





Seasons 1 and 2 of Skins on DVD


Instead I will get stories about the Vietnam War and a hangover.

-Jess

Monday, December 22, 2008

Nothing Typical

I'm rarely optimistic. Carved from a lifetime of superficial gratification but emotional disquiet--never really finding the right group of friends throughout adolescence, coming out at a time when others were declaring love for their prom dates with charm bracelets and away messages, leaving sexual encounters sadder than I entered them--I long ago decided to take the classically pessimist view of life, that if you expect the worse then you can only be pleasantly surprised.

Of course, my mind runs away from me sometimes, and I build things up; from the simplest party to a first date, my imagination paints landscapes I'll never know, scenes and scenarios in which I'm everything I want to be. There's almost always a significant other who never pushes me to fuck him when I'm not in the mood and, absent or with me, tempts my future with sickeningly sweet kisses and platitudes, whispering in my ear from a satin bed sheet in some modern city. And the other things I imagine go perfectly, like sitcom montages, my friends' laughter timed to whatever quirky indie track is stuck in my mind at the moment.

But this is all anticipation and fantasy; when I really begin to think about my future, I never grasp fulfillment. I see myself struggling and going through the motions. I'll sit in a room with my closest friends and depress myself: 'I will know these people for the rest of my life.' And I couldn't have picked better people to know, but this inevitably, this single social thread, my English major that will surely prove absolutely useless in whatever occupational endeavor I attempt, this blog, my inability to lower my standards for the multitude of perfectly acceptable men out there--all these things keep me up at night, as I stare at the ceiling and pretend I'm comfortable. What I mean is: I rarely get excited by my future. I am never eager to dip into the next phase of my life, and excuses come to me more easily than any sort of plan. I'm not suicidal in the slightest, but I've always wondered, when I die, if I would miss anything especially--not people, I'd miss so many people, but other, intangible things, the sort of things that make one wake up in the morning and go to bed early for. So many people my age have already found these x-factors. I'm not passionless, am I?

No. Because, try as I might to suppress the feeling, I cannot help but feel good about this upcoming semester. I worry that I've jinxed myself right there, but it cannot be ignored. I'm eager to start my classes, two of my best friends in the world are back from studying abroad (though many other good friends are leaving, and I tepidly comfort myself with a "less is more" philosophy), I'm going to be in a workshop with a renowned writer who might be able to teach me how to- ha!- break into the business, I'm going to have to get a new job and will not settle for something unappealing, I got a new camera for Hanukkah that is so incredible awesome and I'm going to piss off all my friends by taking pictures of them every three seconds, I will turn 21 in February, I am probably going to start therapy...

...Slow down. There's so much to do. But for once, I'm ready to take on these challenges, to not try to do everything at once but also not just hide in my bed until my life somehow falls into place on its own. Consider this my self-motivation. By the end of this semester, I will be happier than I've ever been before.

This will not stop me from being cynical or unnecessarily snarky and I will still get high and laugh at dumb things, don't worry. But huzzah! Onto the new year, and a new hope. To all my gentile readers, Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah to us Jews! I will not be unrealistic and expect a TOTAL LIFE SHIFT in the course of a few months, but I know I have it in me to improve myself at a little bit, ensuring all the while that this next semester is anything but typical.

-Josh

Aux Etats-Unis

The weirdest part about being back is that it's not weird at all. The trip was hell, 17 hours of pure travel, so many bags and heavy bottles of wine and cartons of Gauloises and Xanax and sleep-deprivation and shitty plane food. But as soon as I walked out of the gates at JFK and saw my Dad I cried like a baby and kind of didn't stop until I fell asleep last night at 10pm. I cried when I saw NY taxis and signs in English and a Dunkin Donuts and when my Dad spoke to the parking attendant in English. I cried while going over the Verrazano Bridge and crossing into Pennsylvania and I really cried when I saw my dog. And then all of the sudden I was eating Chinese food at the dining room table and my sister was talking about field hockey and I was thinking about how I was tired/wanted to get stoned and then everything was back to normal and Paris never happened and I never before had thought in French or shopped at Monoprix or slept with a British doctor or watched the Eiffel Tower loom while taking the 6 train to school. Suddenly I was home and it was freezing outside and the Christmas tree was in the family room and my Stepmom had bought some more ceramic Santa Clauses in an effort to be "less tacky" (cue: irony) and I was sitting in bed on Facebook and wondering when I could sneak out the back door for a cigarette. And Paris was so far away, 3700 miles to be exact, and I felt like I should have savored my last moments more, even though for the past week and a half I've walked around murmuring "this is my last time on this street," "this is my last time seeing my crepe guy," "this is my last metro ride."

Apparently NYU sent my family a letter home about how to handle students coming back from a trip abroad. When I made an obnoxious comment about how US money makes less sense(/cents! pun!) than the Euro since it's all one color/size, my Dad laughed and said, "NYU told us that you would be a little negative about your home country!" I'm so happy to be back, it's just that I'm not used to it yet, not at all. I didn't know where I was when I woke up this morning and it doesn't help that I have slept in my bedroom at my Dad's house about 15 nights in the past year. It takes time to carve out homes and when you're in college you leave them as soon as you put down the knife. So au revoir, Paris. I will hopefully be back to admire your beautiful men and practice my already-dying French and enjoy a cigarette without getting evil American stares.

-Jess

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Penn Teller

UPenn was so much fun! Okay at times it was really weird because there was a little drama in that one of our friends (quote-unquote?) separated from the rest of the group to hook up with someone from his high school and didn't see what was shitty about his behavior. And it was really cold, especially when we walked at least a dozen blocks in the freezing cold and I wasn't wearing socks since they were wet and I hadn't had coffee beforehand and everyone else was gratingly chipper and I was just trying to not kill myself.

But forget the bad and remember the good times! We smoked and hung around our host's frat house and ate Chinese food and went to her friend's Christmas party which just turned into all of us dancing to TLC and I hooked up with an Alaskan ("Is Sarah Palin considered normal up there??" I asked him, after more than a couple beers) who ended up missing his flight back home to spend the night with me and when we eventually got to the breakfast place after walking a dozen blocks in the freezing cold I had eggs and bacon and a warm biscuit with butter and it was delicious and I am definitely visiting again next semester, but not until March at the earliest because Philadelphia is a really cold city and I was unprepared for the wintry onslaught. Antwan took pictures at the party; I'll link to them when they're posted.

Now I'm waiting for my mom to pick me up (aww) so I can spend a week at home. I know what I'm getting for Hanukkah but will hold off on telling you all until I actually receive the gift. I don't have weed, which really annoyed me last night--six days at home without weed?--but this morning I woke up and realized that if I was so upset about not smoking weed for less than a week then maybe it's time for me to cut back. With that in mind, I'm not going to attempt to score some green at home because that process inevitably involves driving all around East Brunswick with people I'd rather not deal with. Fortunately, Jess is spending the night at my house later this week, so I'll just make her bring some. Welcome back to America, J-Roy*! I guess I'll just drink heavily. Or (ha) try to enrich myself through literature and culture.

-Josh

*"J-Roy" was our freshman-year nickname for her, but for some reason it fell out of vogue. Since I'm late to both adopt and dispose of cultural trends, I haven't quite given it up yet. Also there's this really great song called "Paper Planes" you all should check out.