Friday, January 31, 2014

Why So Serious?

Neighbors are trying to kill me.
I run before the sun is up. I pass their orange brick home
Oh! That guy scared me--Wait. What's--?
WHY would anyone do this? My heart exploded.
I stopped. Okay, it's a cut-out. It's a cut-out.
Wait...IS it a cut-out? This could totally be like the time that guy stood still in Madame Tusseau's Wax Museum and when I inspected him, he offered a mild, "Boo" so I obviously jumped nineteen feet into the air and darn near knocked wax Will Smith over. If I were a serial killer and was going to dress up as The Joker, I would definitely take the possibility of being mistaken for a piece of cardboard into consideration. The advantages! So I stared at this promotional material/genius murderer for a long time. A. Long. Time. And then I felt stupid, so I ran away.

Maybe it seems stupid to you too, but when when I'm running empty streets at 6 AM, bumping into a tubby child holding cotton candy wearing a Rainbow Bright t-shirt would terrify me. Let alone ol' Heath.

So an interesting thing is happening. I see this creepy image like every other morning. This thing that completely wrecked me last week is now typical scenery. I've grown accustom, maybe even fond, of the lil menace. It means I have a quarter mile left. I imagine his overly-lip sticked face cheering me on. Maybe stabbing future marathon competitors with a pencil.

Is there inspiration here? Like, what really scares us can become routine? I'm still kinda of working on the metaphor. Not that we should learn to be comfortable with our fears, but rather, we should see them as just two-dimensional benign onlookers. Maybe.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Exactly: Regionals 2014

"Really I just needed to get out of 'Zona," Whoa said as he hopped into the backseat. The road trip Santa Monica began. I had no hopes for this trip. I joined the competition team one week ago. Hotel money, gas money, food money, sharing beds, cramming in cars--not fun for me anymore. I'm getting older. But it seemed right to go.
Our hotel. Sleeping three to a full bed isn't the worst actually. You can get through.

It was everything.

Tournament morning. My things I need for good 'prov.
Old writing friends. always supportive. Life! Is! Big!
College in a person.
It was a refresh. Basics. Bagels and journals. Beach walks and sunrises. My college pal. My childhood friend and I split a piece of cherry pie to honor the place we spent summers.

Dizz and I met in 1999 at summer camp.
Why do we get what we need? Exactly what we need? I have Dizz for relationship talks, Jamin for mems, those LA boys for TV news. They're workhorses out there. I have new babes to remember I'm happy to age and senior chums to remind me I'm not there yet.

I'm not smart enough to have sought these things specifically. I couldn't have guessed I'd be laughing hysterically outside a Subway because Whoa would buy us all Frozen bags to commemorate how I was singing it in the bathroom before finals and that kid in the grey crewneck from Claremont college heard me. I broke during the set.
Right after we won. Regional champions two times running.
I wonder if it is survival of the fittest. The parts we require strain into our life? Obviously it's okay not to know. As long as you're grateful, life may hand you a plaque and a getaway. It wasn't that much money after all. Now that it's been spent. Now that I have stood, staring at this bird. We were both alone thinking about the ocean.

Still, I couldn't wait to get back home. That's the truest stuff. Life is just as good as vacation.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Frances Ha

-Girls does a good job of representing the complexities of female friendships, but Frances Ha captures the intimacies. Women do have a bond more ethereal than...anything. Not to get wacky, but we're the life-makers. Something under our surface tapes us together. There is awareness. I mean, you don't get to say we all talk too much without acknowledging that is for some reason.
-Frances deserves her fate. While this might make some movies too easy, not this one.
-Being young and happy is the best. It's also strange and difficult.
-This was not a woman's story. This was a human's story.
-I hated and loved every character.
-It was everything Llewlyn Davis wasn't. A redemption as I saw the latter Monday and the former Wednesday. I hated Llewlyn Davis. I gained nothing. I lost something. Cohens have forsaken me.
-I have recently realized I am uninterested in art that does not in some form provoke hope. I am also uninterested in arguing that some art imitates life and sometimes there is no hope. There is always hope, you jerk.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

I Still Love Theatre

In my first months of grad school I never checked out of class because everything could have been the next love of my life. Now 2.5 short years later I have lost that dazzling wonder. It's not sad though. I have the same excitement. It's just channeled. I scrape the rest from the stern.

In that brush-off, there have been times I don't care anymore. I have seen so much theatre. So. Much. Theatre. Mid-semester on through to the end I'm seeing at least a show per weekend. Often two, sometimes three. And sometimes I truly don't want to be there. It's not my bag, it's been a long week, I can't enjoy what I have learned to analyze.

But ultimately I go. Because I do still love theatre as a whole, and I can't miss it. I'm grateful for the choosing I can't do in this field. With movies, books, TV--all of it--it doesn't matter. See it now, later...sometimes you don't even have to TRY. You might say, "I'll get around to it," as if it will just pop up in front of you, but then it actually probably will one July afternoon on TNT when the remote is too far away for you to change the channel anyway!

I like that even if I don't think I'll like something, it will fade away forever if I don't go today. So I go. We make lives by choosing to go. Go-ing is living, and theatre makes me go, so, like, thanks.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Philosophies Of Roommates

RO: It's obvious what Alice should do.
RORA: Oh, of course.
RO: Because you only have one life!
RORA: Right!
RO: She's got one life. She's got to take a chance!
RORA: Are you kidding?! She's got one life, she can't screw it up!
Drive to AZ. Summer 2011.
Opportunity is not a lengthy visitor.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

We All Talk About Girls

Sunday night Season Three of Girls premiered. Monday morning, despite it being my first day of school, I carved out half an hour in which to watch the first episode over my berries and walnuts.

Girls is important to me not just because I like it (I do), but because it is the great corral of my demographic: liberal women in their 20s. While Girls certainly does not reflect my demographic at large accurately (mainly racially and socio-economically), some aspects of Dunham's conception of my demographic transcend race/money/being fascinating in New York City. Every woman in her 20s not only connects with some aspect of Girls, every woman in her 20s connects with some aspect of Girls on a very deep, almost depressingly accurate level. So, Girls does speak to me truthfully. And, further, people might think it totally represents me. And as far as the dodos who think Girls is trying to completely encapsulate every single young woman in America, I want to know what people think is being allegedly said about "me."

More importantly, most importantly, we all talk about Girls. It is the show most of the women in my life have seen and have opinions about. When a new episode airs the internet goes 'nanners, sure, but in person all the ladies around are chattin' it up. Season Two was a let-down to many critics--especially males--because not much "happened." But don't you see? The fun of it is not the plot moving along. The fun of it is gabbing with girlfriends saying, "I liked that Marnie did that" and your pal saying, "I hated it. If I were her..." It's a conduit for conversations about femininity. It's a backbone. It's a shared source material.

A few years ago while my sister and I were jetting through Season Five of Sex and the City she told me that someone she knew lived in New York during SATC'S heyday. And that everyone was talking about it. Like, you could go to your hairdresser and discuss the ins and outs of Steve + Miranda. I remember being so jealous. I want an automatic TV book club! I want to talk about womanhood every week with friends and strangers! AND NOW MY DREAM IS REALIZED!

So, this makes me happy. Obvs. Then I realized it also makes me a wee bit sad because maybe the reason we all talk about Girls is because it's the one big feminist television oasis in a patriarchal Sahara. But, honestly, I'm going to chalk this one up as a win because shared culture is just the best, and there's time for gender diversity next year. Even when things aren't "right," there are silver linings, and it's important to be grateful for those. They may be gone when the tides turn.

Saturday, January 11, 2014


Today I ran 12 miles for my marathon training weekly "long run." I have known I would run 12 miles today since last Saturday, right after I ran 9. Now, if you're impressed, you really shouldn't be. I'm slow. Mainly I read and watch Netflix. A lot like what you do on a Saturday. Just plus a treadmill. But, still if you were like, "Yeah, but I couldn't run twelve miles on any old day!" I would say, "Me neither!"

It's actually incredible what mental planning allows us to do. All week when I mentally imagined my weekend, I knew at noon on Saturday I would run 12 miles. It was just, what was slated to do. No question about it. And what do you know, it wasn't even tiring! Enjoyable even. I read a bunch of Rachel Dratch's new book. Now, had I been in some weird horror-movie car-break-down-12-miles-from-gas-station, I might not have been able to run those 12 miles. Not just because I probably hadn't just eaten a protein bar like I did an hour before my run today. Just because mentally, I wouldn't have been prepared. Also, depending on the situation, a serial killer has buzzsawed my legs off? Unless my sister or Muffy were in the car and, like, thirsty or hobbled by a sprained ankle. In which case I'm sure some kind of strange "mother lifts a baby off a piano out of whacko love" muscles would kick in.  Regardless! The takeaway is, not going full The Secret here, but if you decide to do the things that are totally within your arm's reach to do, you will be successful in some capacity. Maybe the success won't look exactly like you had planned it, but the Mental Game is the first step to making the playoffs.

Would lift the Golden Gate Bridge for this missy.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Freal Happy Post! (No Vegetarian Rants)

Chances are, if you saw me any time between December 20th and 31st I was dropping some kind of candy or baked good into my mouth and announcing, "YOLO DIET STARTS IN 2014."

And then for dinner on New Year's Day I had Portillos. #KM
Chocolate cake shake & french fries. Emoji heart eyes.
But, guess what, you guys? It's been a week. And I have eaten no desserts. This is probably normal for most humans, but for me it's like...the equivalent of the 1969 moon landing for my fitness. Cookies is a food group to me? Let's...also be clear when I say "diet" I mean "eat whatever I want except donuts." I'm currently in marathon training, so, like, I shouldn't have popcorn for lunch anymore?

It's so funny when you start to eat sincerely healthy again. You're like, "This tastes so good and I feel so good. Why don't I always do this?" And I think that's true of all things we know are good for us. So,  let's just do the things we know to be good! And stop doing the things we know to be bad! Come on, guys. We've been doing this for years.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Another Upbeat Animal Post

One logical fallacy I certainly entertain in order to justify eating dairy products is thinking, "Maybe THIS product is was actually made without harm." Like, cows are painfully raped so they keep producing milk, but sometimes they're legitimately THIS yogurt I'm eating today is from a cow that wasn't raped. Or maybe a cow that actually just doesn't have many pain nerves...probably for some other screwed up inhumane reason, but the POINT is no animals were harmed in the making of this breakfast?*

When it comes to animals, this is a numbers game we will certainly always lose. Sure, maybe that cup of milk actually did come somewhat harmlessly in the moment it was taken, but that's a major fluke, and overall, that cow was miserable, and it's feces put a giant carbon trashbomb into our environment. ADDITIONALLY, there are certain things that there are no question about. If you eat chicken, that chicken's beak was cut off while it was alive. Not every 10 or 50 chickens' beaks. Every chicken's beak. If I cut off one dog nose, I'd go to jail. And you'd probably hate me.

*It's funny that we freak out about animals being harmed in the making of art (which is beautiful and lasting), but we're cool with animals being harmed in the making of fast food (which is generally sad and extremely fleeting).

Monday, January 6, 2014

Blackfish Is the Smartest Dumb Thing

Everyone loves Blackfish. Every. Single. Person. It's a well-made doc, it's streaming on Netflix, and it brings out everyone's inner activist. And our inner activist is a good person who we like! But also our inner activist is annoying because our inner activist makes us go out of our way to be that good person. It's always totally worth it, but we forget and stuff!

Blackfish's genius is twofold:

1. It's the least controversial concept ever. Literally no one is on the other side of "Hmm, should we made happy and free whales insane for our lame enjoyment?" You can argue animals don't deserve rights, but you're not gonna argue against flat out cruelty and shady biz. You're just not. So, unlike many powerful documentaries, everyone can agree on it's message. You can bring up Blackfish to any race, creed, politically affiliated person, and everyone's on the same page. And that feels nice. We like to agree!

2. In order to "support the cause" you literally don't have to do anything. To be on the "right" side of the issue you just have to not go to an expensive theme park.

So, like, this explains why people don't freak out with love about Food Inc.? Because doing things is, like, too much! BUT, I just want to say that ACTUALLY being a vegetarian is ALSO just a lack of doing something! Just don't eat meat, y'all. If you'd be bummed about a sad whale, imagine a piglet?

I swear the meat industry has hypnotized our entire culture to forget everything we ever learn about animal processing. I was on the PETA website yesterday to find a rude/true fact I could post under Shells' Instagram of a sausage pizza. Maybe with an emoji pig idk...and I got so sucked in. The hard cold facts are just so sad. Pigs are smarter than dogs. Many never stand in their lives--crammed into steel cages. They are born and murdered in fear. I decide to dedicate my life to the cause and then five minutes later I'm just Googling the cast of Full House. Again.

This is why I'm glad to be a veg. I do forget how bad it is, but when I remember I'm able to wipe my brow and be like, "Oh yeah, I'm not supporting it. Thank goodness." Of course, I'm still not a vegan. #Guilt But, I make steps. I think about it. When I remember to.

Last night, pretty shortly after I had just been sucked into PETA-land, Ro came home and announced a bird had fallen from a tree onto the hood of her car. The little thing was puffy and grey, heaving like mad, cold and impaired. It was heart-breaking. As it was Sunday night we figured the lil baby was going to die before we could get it to a wildlife refuge today. We decided the least we could do is keep it warm as it passed, so I got out a shoebox and some berries. I put on gloves to handle the bird, but when we went back outside it was on the ground. When we approached it shot up and flew in a circle--clearly still injured. But at that point we were just scaring it, so we wished it well as it nestled into a bush.

I don't love animals.* I really don't. It takes me a long time to form an appreciative bond with them. I don't just see humans and decide to be ga-ga over them. Same for kittens. But for how heavy my heart was in the ten minutes I thought about that bird withering away in the night alone, you'd think it was my human child. And that's just nature.

Ro and I sat at the kitchen table with bird care webpages open. I asked, "After something like does anyone eat animals? Literally all animals in factories are tortured in some way." She kind of grimaced and said, "Well, that bird wasn't raised to be eaten. Those animals were." And I sort of laugh/shrugged. "Like slaves you mean? Like how slaves' purpose in the United States were just to serve, so they were treated terribly?" We laughed. Not because slavery is funny, and I'm not directly comparing animals to slaves. I understand one is human and one isn't...but I can't understand that there is much of a difference in matters of cruelty.

South Carolina swine.
Live like a Pharaoh, sing like a sparrow.

*Except I do lose my brains for bats. Man, bats are cool.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Nice Things (An Extremely Partial List)

1. Biking home from Bisque's house one day (in December mind you) I was struck by the beauty and simplicity of this lemon tree. I did nothing to deserve this happy sight except look up and be aware of some of the nice things freely given in this world.
Hello, world.
 2. We decided via group text to watch Place Beyond the Pines one night at 6. Incidentally, it is my second favorite movie of 2013--only coming in a hair behind Don John. In the text someone mentioned a blanket fort, so when she got off work, Ro made one. It was a charming evening, warm, sweet.
Cager in the blanket fort.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Golden Age

It's so weird. It's like one day I went to bed when anything was possible and when I woke up the mystery of parties had dissipated. En route to New Year's Eve party with Bisque I realized I knew just what to expect. You know what I mean? In high school who will hook up? Who will buy the cigarettes? Who will smoke them? Even two years ago--will cops come? Coke? What to wear, what to wear.
It's a relief. We finished our romantic dinner and showed up at Hill's. I knew every face. I changed into boxers. I felt sleepy. I took two pictures. We left at one.

First pic of 2014.
When I look at people who are older sometimes I get nervous. Like, when does That Life happen and will I know and can I avoid it? But what I've started to realize is when I was 16 I didn't get that I wouldn't always want to be 16. I don't always want to be in my 20s either. I don't know why, but I know I don't.
Neek & Hill & Dog
And so we're told this is the golden age,
and gold is the reason for the wars we wage.