Friday, March 16, 2007

Dear Christian,

You don’t know me but fifteen years ago, you changed my life. You officially made me crazy.

You and your stupid 1992 shot, that is. That’s right, I’m not capitalizing the word “shot.” I’m not putting a “the” in front of it to give it any more attention or reverence than its already gotten. If I wanted to be sportwomanlike, I’d give you your props. I’d say that it was pretty amazing that with only 2.1 seconds left, Grant Hill could inbound the ball eighty feet, and that you could catch it, turn around, even dribble, for God’s sake, and still manage to sink a shot that would end a double-overtime and send Duke to the Final Four. All with :01 seconds to spare.

But the thing is, Christian, I’m not feeling so sportswomanlike, even after fifteen years. And I bet Aminu Timberlake isn’t feeling so sportsmanlike, either. Remember him? Or have you forgotten about the player whose chest you intentionally stepped on as he lay on the floor after being fouled? Does that ring any bells for you?

Despite your bad behavior, I was impressed with Coach K, he seemed like a nice guy and an amazing coach, though he proved himself to be a bit of a whiner a few years later. (You can’t always play in Greensboro, Coach K.) I had no problems with Grant Hill and Bobby Hurley was fine too. But you. You, Christian, changed my perspective on college basketball forever. You made me crazier about it than I ever was before. And for that, I have to thank you.

Because before 1992, I had only one team to cheer for. After 1992, I cheered for Kentucky and anyone who played Duke. Crazy, right? Maybe so. But there’s an entire state that will agree with me and gladly stand behind me.

Some people pick their tournament brackets based on records, statistics, and skill. Not me, Christian. I pick with my heart, and thanks to you, that always involves picking Kentucky to win and Duke to lose. I can’t tell you how many brackets I’ve tanked with that theory, but I’ve had the pleasure of watching and cheering for teams I might never have taken an interest in.

Had you not made that shot, I might never have gone to the ridiculous trouble of rearranging my life to be at the rematch in ’98. I might never have bought a plane ticket on Monday—four days before I knew if we’d even win on Friday—in order to advance to the potential game with Duke on Saturday. I might never have gotten up at three in the morning to take two Southwest flights, rent a car, then drive three hours across the state to Tampa to meet my brother—all without even having a ticket to the game. I probably wouldn’t have cursed myself as I sat in the middle of thousands of Duke fans—not a Kentucky t-shirt in sight—wondering why in the hell I’d made the trip, and if we’d be able to come back from being seventeen points down. I definitely never would’ve stormed the floor when we won and I for sure wouldn’t have gotten to high-five Ashley Judd. And I probably wouldn’t have Cameron Mills’ face—the one he made after Cameron Mills sank the three-pointer that put us ahead for good—permanently etched in my memory. See what I’m saying? I’m nuts.

In fact, as soon as I’m done writing this, I’m heading to a sports bar so I can watch my Cats take on Villanova, another team I learned to love in 1985 when they beat Georgetown to win the national championship. I wanted Georgetown to lose too, because like you, a few members of their team seemed a little too cocky. See how it works? There’s a method to my madness.

In another hour or so, I’ll be hoisting my shot glass of Maker’s Mark to mark the beginning of Kentucky making it to yet another March Madness. They probably won’t make it very far this year, and that bums me out. But I’ll sure have fun cheering for the VCU Rams, my new favorite team as of last night at, oh, about eight pm Pacific time, when they beat your Dookies. It’s sick, I tell you, how I latch on to teams.

So thank you, Christian for pushing me over the edge into complete hoops insanity. And thank you, March for finally getting here. I’ve been waiting.

All the best,

PS—This is a link to the real Greatest Game Ever Played (note the caps). Take note.

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Monday, February 12, 2007

I Don't Need No Stinkin' Boyfriend

As I stared out the car window that grey, rainy morning, I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders. How much longer did I have? Would I accomplish everything I hoped to in the little time I had left? What was my purpose in this life? Oh, it was all just so unfair, this fleeting life of ours!

I was eight. My mother was driving me to school and Kansas’ “Dust in the Wind” was playing on the radio. It was a milestone in my life because it was the first time I experienced how music could uncover emotions that I never even knew I had—emotions my eight-year old self didn’t yet understand.

From that day forward, music became my faithful servant. I used it to hide, to cope, to motivate, to laugh, to cry, and to remind me of special people and places. As I got older and life became more complicated, I used it to manipulate my emotions, to suck out painful feelings I’d buried so I could (in theory) spend some time with them and hopefully move on.

That’s why I love my iPod. It allows me to organize my emotional manipulation by mood. My combined playlist titles read like a strange poem composed by a Chris Martin-Missy Elliott hybrid: “I don’t miss him,” “Move your ass,” “London,” “Don’t Panic,” and “Yep, I’m hot” (hey, sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do).

But my trusty playlist stand-by is still “Good cry.” Because sometimes I just don’t want to move on or cheer up. I want to wallow in the self-pity that only Damien Rice’s “Blowers Daughter” can evoke. I want to marvel at how Ben Folds Five hits the nail on the head in “Brick” when they sing about feeling loneliness in a relationship instead of companionship. I want to believe the Indigo Girls when they tell me that love will come to me. I want to be transported to my favorite bench in Hyde Park again while I listen to Zero 7’s “In the Waiting Line.” Is that so wrong?

Since I’m pretty sure I’m not the first person to throw myself a musical pity party, I wanted to share my favorite playlist with you. Maybe you’ll see a song on here that you forgot about that resonates with where you are right now. (Or maybe you’ll just laugh at how I shamelessly worship at the altar of heartstring-tugging Brit pop.). As always, lurkers are discouraged - feel free to post your favorites. I’m always looking for new material.

Good Cry:

Long Road, Eddie Vedder

High and Dry, Radiohead

Don’t Panic, Coldplay

Run, Snow Patrol

The Last Goodbye, Jeff Buckley

In the Waiting Line, Zero 7

Strange and Beautiful, Aqualung

This Is the Last Time, Keane

The Scientist, Coldplay

The Wings, Gustavo Santaolalla

Heartbeats, Jose Gonzalez

All I Want Is You, U2

Pictures of You, The Cure

Brick, Ben Folds Five

The Blower’s Daughter, Damien Rice

Wish You Were Here, Pink Floyd

The Dance, Garth Brooks

Iris, The Goo Goo Dolls

Love Will Come to You, The Indigo Girls

Fix You, Coldplay

Rewind, Stereophonics

Walk On, U2

Cannonball, Damien Rice

You’re Beautiful, James Blunt

So Cruel, U2

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

It’s raining again, Supertramps

Sometimes you just coast along for days, months, even years and nothing exciting happens. Then all of a sudden, you experience a massive downpour of excitement that generally lasts for approximately three minutes before you return to your drought. Well, welcome to my downpour. When most of you finish reading this, you’ll probably scratch your head and wonder where the aforementioned excitement is (except for maybe one thing that actually really is exciting). But that should give you some insight as to the state of my drought.

In any case, let’s start with my exciting Saturday. I’m sitting on Fillmore Street having coffee with the lovely DShaw and CEinie. C, eagle eye that she is, brought a potential star sighting to our attention. D and I rushed into Noah’s Bagels to see what was truly an amazing site for our uncelebrified San Francisco.

There she was, barely past five feet tall, practically drowning in an oversized hoodie, oversized white sunglasses, leggings, flats and a ginormous bag. Let me give you a little clue (if the picture isn't enough): she’s worth billions and she had (has?) an eating disorder. And Uncle Jesse wasn’t present to monitor her eating. That’s right. I saw. An Olsen twin. Can you even fucking believe it? Even better – she was ordering half a dozen bagels. Get your carb on, girl! The ridiculous part of this story is that I’m 25 days shy of being somewhere in my (mid to late) 30s yet I ran into Noah’s Bagels to get a glimpse of her. Oh the shame! But seriously – an OLSEN TWIN. That’s rich.

The second piece of exciting news is actually reallllllly exciting. It’s so exciting that I need a moment to place the html commands for bolding and italicizing around it. And I need to hit the caps lock button. Here goes: I’M LEAVING ADVERTISING. Again I say, can you even fucking believe it?? For something I’m SO (all caps) excited to do. I’m actually going to write – lots of words, not just taglines and lame credit card copy – for a women’s website that’s launching on January 1. The crazy part is that my collective “learning experiences” (i.e, failed marriage, online dating shenanigans, yo-yo dieting, crazy in-laws, proclaiming that I’ve found the perfect exercise for my body, leaving a career in my 30s) will finally pay off: I’m going to be the Relationships editor and the Body & Soul editor. No, seriously. I am. Really. I know it seems odd given what you know about me from this blog, but it’s true. When I sat down and made a list of things I’d like to write about and talk to women about, those themes came up over and over again. God help the women who read this site – and I hope there will be gazillions. Our mission is to empower. Can I empower? I hope so. At the very least, I think I can make a few people laugh and go “What the fuck was that girl thinking??” In any event, from what I can tell, I’ll be working with an amazing group of really smart women (and probably a few men too, but I haven’t come across any yet).

I have to admit, it felt a little strange to have spent so much time on creating a portfolio, traveling around the world, freelancing, sacrificing and working like a pack mule to walk away from something that used to be such a big deal to me. But the strangeness went away after about 7 seconds. The truth is, I like writing. Lots of words. Not just three. I don’t get to do that in advertising. But this door probably never would have opened if I hadn’t gone to portfolio school because I’m not sure I would’ve found my way back to writing at all. (My dream as a 16-year old: to be the editor of French Vogue. Yeah, I got a little off track, with writing, with my French lessons and with fashion.) And I never would’ve had any writing samples without this blog, which I owe to the wise guidance of my girl Crazy V (moment of reverent silence in her honor), or without any of you fine people who actually read this thing. So thank you. You guys are really taking the sting out of the (insert enormous monthly dollar sum here) I pay monthly to those hideola student loan people.

So that’s my downpour.

Oh, I also bought a bike, which would’ve been the highlight of my quarter so far had I not spotted an Olsen twin and just landed a great new job.

Now, if I could somehow be lucky enough to spot either George Clooney, Colin Firth, Chris Martin, Clive Owen, or Cillian Murphy buying a Noah’s Bagel, my life would really and truly be complete.

Please, karma, hook a sister up.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

You complete me, October

Maybe it’s different in your world, but in mine, every day has it’s own special feeling to it. Take Mondays, for example. I can feel the dread of Monday the second I wake up. Wednesdays are good because that delicious feeling of optimism and freedom starts to seep back into my psyche. I love the anticipatory feeling that Thursdays bring. So close to the weekend! Only a few hours left! And then of course, there’s Friday. Two whole days of freedom await. Sleeping late, farmer’s markets, coffee with your peeps, dinner, movies and exercise. Fridays are all about possibilities. Fridays are just plain excellent.

But for as long as I can remember, the entire month of October has felt like 31 Fridays in a row. Not just any Friday, more like 31 Fridays before a 3-day weekend. Maybe a little bit of 11:59 p.m. on December 31 thrown in there too, with a dash of “it’s my birthday and a bunch of hot guys are coming to my party” added for good measure. It seems that no matter what’s happening in my life, where I work, who I’m dating (or not dating) or where I live, October just kicks ass, plain and simple.

Why is this? How can one month transcend all the crap in every day life and the world at large? Here in no particular order are a few things that make me count the days every year ‘til October 1.

College football and tailgating – There’s nothing better than a long Saturday afternoon spent with a bucket of Kentucky Fried, a little beer, a little bourbon and a little SEC action (yes, even Kentucky).

Better sunlight, crisper air – October sun has a unique color and intensity that I love. The air just feels and smells better, especially when there’s a bonfire blowin’ my way.

Back to school – This officially makes me a dork but I loved school. As awkward as I sometimes was in high school, sometimes I still wish life was as simple as who was gonna drive us all to the big Tates Creek/Lafayette soccer game on Friday.

Summer in San Francisco – I challenge any of you – nay, ALL of you – to come to San Francisco on one of our perfect Indian summer October days and tell me it isn’t the greatest city in the world. Go on. I’m waiting. A clear view of the bay, a glass of wine in hand, and - merciful God - finally a day that requires no jacket. I love it here every day but October reminds me that every penny I spend to live here is 100% worth it.

My first date ever: October 18, 1985 Thanks, Kevin. That was the best Pizza Hut pizza I’ve ever had.

Halloween – Admit it, the only thing that keeps Halloween from being everyone’s favorite holiday is that you don’t exchange gifts. Can we change that this year? Because really, dressing up like an idiot, drinking too much and carving gourds, you really can’t beat that. Nothing really captures the spirit of fall like dressing up as a buttery nipple shot or a fluffer.

The World Series – You can hate baseball all season long but you can’t hate it during The World Series. That’d be like spitting in the eye of autumn and who wants to do that? Even with Detroit and St. Louis, I still love catching a few innings with a cold one.

Beginning of college basketball season – All hail the official first day of the season of the GREATEST of all college sports. I loves me some October 15 stroke of midnight.

Pumpkins, apple cider and caramel apples - Don’t worry, I’m not about to pull a Julie Andrews and break into “Raindrops on Roses”. But come on. How can you be in a bad mood when you’ve got a chill in the air, a full moon, crisp leaves underfoot and a hot apple cider in hand while you walk through your neighborhood checking out the pumpkins?

Q4 and the Great Birthday Countdown - October is the passageway to all things fun. Haunted houses, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Chanukah (for my Jewish readers), holiday parties where I’ll dress in my finest black revealing velvet only to spend the night sipping cheap wine out of red Solo cups, Christmas, Boxing Day, a week of vacation that doesn’t count against my vacation time and of course, the holiday I spend kissing the same posse of beloved friends on the cheek (“I love you too, Grandma”), New Year’s Eve.

Oh, and no pressure, but there are only 35 shopping days ‘til my 23rd birthday. I’m just sayin’.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

"What's up with the quotes?"

I’d just popped in a Brach’s sugar free cinnamon hard candy and was perusing the nutrition facts on the label when I saw it. A statement in quotes. And not just any statement….this statement:

“Excess consumption may have a laxative effect.”

Now, aside from my initial shock and delight at the possibility that cinnamon hard candy could actually replace my Fiber One cereal and Ryvyta crackers, I was confused as to why this statement needed to be in quotes. Did someone famous say this? George Washington? Mary Kate Olsen? Calista Flockhart? Was the nutrition-label-typist-person just so embarrassed at the mere mention of anything having to do with (shhhh) bowel movements that they had to put it in quotations so that no one would mistake this for a first person statement?

I can almost hear the inner dialogue now of Bertha, in Chattanooga, Tennessee (where my Brach’s candies were manufactured): “Ain’t no way I’m puttin’ nothin’ havin’ to do with shit on the back of this bag.” Maybe Bertha is afraid that her friends over in Monteagle, Tennessee, knowing that she is ultimately responsible for what goes on the back of that Brach’s sugar free cinnamon hard candy bag, will read it and give her shit for having to type something about bathroom habits? I just don’t know.

Why, why, WHY? Do people put things in quotes that don’t need to be in quotes? Does it drive anyone else crazy but me? When I’m reading a menu and I see “The best pancakes in town…guaranteed!” I want to know exactly who is making this guarantee.

It’s even worse when quotes are used for things that aren’t even interesting, like “Since 1959.” That’s not even a complete sentence. And it’s not interesting. And who cares? And who said it?

If there’s a reason for these random quotes, someone….please enlighten me.

“Bringing you quality ranting since 2005.”

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Txting and my GLORIOUS return 2 the blogging world

Forgive me blogging world, for I have sinned. It’s been 87 days since my last post.

I can’t explain what’s been going on with me other than a bad combination of creative constipation caused by a job that’s supposed to make me more creative. That combined with some health problems along with a tiny onset of laziness have made writing hard…and writing anything interesting near impossible.

But today, I’m going to try, try my best to entertain you with my humble opinion on something really annoying. It’s a trend so offensive that it managed to get my lazy, uncreative, unenergetic ass back in front of my lonely keyboard so I could say my piece to all you fine people. It’s called texting.

I know, I know, texting is how all you young’uns keep in touch with your posse. I’m not completely against texting, mind you. In certain situations it makes complete sense. You want to give someone a quick piece of information on where you are, what to pick up at the store or which row they can find you in at the movie theatre. All perfectly acceptable uses of the text message.

But it really starts to chafe my unmentionables when people use this as a tool for dating. Truthfully, “dating” isn’t even the right word because that implies that you’ve been out on a few dates with someone and that you’re in a comfort zone that allows for such conduct. Nope, where I’m seeing a gross misuse of texting is in the beginning stages of dating, the courting as my grandma liked to call it, or the wooing stage as I myself like to say (are there still people capable of the woo out there? Where the hell are you?)

Guys, do you really think the best way to impress a girl you haven’t taken on a date yet is to send her a text message that says: “Hey, what r u up 2? Jon (from Tony Nik’s)”. Or stated more bluntly, do you really think that you stand a snowball’s chance in hell of EVER seeing this girl naked or having any of your parts fondled by her with a message like: “’sup with you? Tim (Onion Guy)”.

Let’s just go ahead and establish a few facts:

*This should be COMPLETELY OBVIOUS (and I’m all-capping and bolding you so consider this me yelling): you should NOT be asking girls out on texts. Period. Shhhh. No. Uh-uh. Stop. Don’t speak. Nope, don’t do it. Shut it.

*If you have to put who you are in parentheses, it’s probably better to call. Because we can forward this shit on to our friends – and don’t think we’re not doing that because we are. Seeing things like “Jay from Amante” actually typed out on a tiny phone screen in conjunction with the no phone call route won’t score you very high on the smarts index. Admit it, even you felt a little stupid having to type it out, didn’t you?

*If a girl tells you she doesn’t like to get texts and won’t respond to them, don’t pull the text-equivalent of “Swingers” on her and text her 11 times in 2 hours.

*Nothing makes a woman swoon like reading a flirtatious communication where words have been reduced to simple letters, numbers and symbols, right? No, no, NOOO! Which of these would you rather get from someone you like?

Example 1: had a gr8t time with u last nt. hope 2 see u soon. R (from last night)

Example 2 (email): Hi, Rebecca, Just wanted to say that I had a really great time with you last night. Looking forward to seeing you again soon. Rob

Example 3 (phone call): Rebecca, hi, it’s Rob. Can you get your sweet, hot ass over here so we can get it on?

Ahem. Ok, so that’s not exactly how it goes but that could be the result for you, my friends, if you use your communication tools wisely.

Now, I know there are some of you out there who think that texting is a perfectly fine tool (oh the irony of that word) to string along as many guys/girls as you possibly can. Or that it’s a nice way to “not get all serious.” I have one word for you people: MANNERS. As my first grade teacher Mrs. Varney used to say “You’ll catch more flies with honey.” My modern day version of this would be “If you’re trying to get laid, a phone call will get you a lot closer.”

Finally, let us not forget the words of another sage, my dear friend Bberk: “Don’t be dum….get you sum.”

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Without further adieu...

...I present 3 brand spankin' new blogs to enjoy. And yes, all writing parties involved are big fans of the spankin'. I predict you're gonna want to add all 3 to your favorites.

Ladies and gentlemen, please give it up for my Mistress of Creative Kwan, my first wife, possibly the only person who can put me to shame in the quoting department, my 24-7, attached-at-the-hip, pop-up-in-my-dreams-like-the-Microsoft-paper-clip, Walkabout-lovin', best-quality dear friend. Say hello to Paging Dr.Freud. (You may know her from this blog as Better Darker Half). Trust me, once this little lady fully gets her blog on you won't want to miss her warped and hilarious insights. They've made my life a happier, funnier place. How's that for an intro? No pressure! "Mmmmhmmm. You're lovin' me now, aren't you Jerry??!!" (insert family appreciation kiss towards the screen here)

Paging Dr. Freud

Meet Steve, the man who's willing to take a few corrective spankings just to get this blogging thing right. Such a selfless act...and from a Red Sox fan! Doh! (Just kiddin', you know I'm on the bandwagon) He's witty, funny, smart and maybe a tiny bit sarcastic at times but that's just part of his charm. (don't try to merge in front of him on the freeway, though...for God's sake). Oh, and he's hot too. Methinks you will likey the book man and his quirky insights.

Eternal Blogging of the Thoughtless Mind

Sometimes don't you just wish you could just way what you want to say...without worrying about being all PC and shit? Read this. Sheer genius. Super funny too. Gosh, these girls are really SMART.

Open Letter To Someone