Thursday, May 8, 2008

He wants to be alone, to ponder this to the point of understanding-ness.

I just finished a really short good book that I would recommend called The Body Artist by Don DeLillo. Its a bit of a downer in a way but its well done and very visual. He is very good at highlighting small human actions that remind you of things you do or know. I actually went and got two more of his books to read while in Israel, so I'm pretty excited to have found a new author I like. So yeah he's written like a ton of books, so check him out.

The book is big on loneliness and how it makes you act and feel when you are alone, so it made me think, which spurned me to discuss with my friends. The idea of being alone and what being alone really means to different people is just so varied.

On my end, I am more the sort of person who likes to be around people. I have never lived alone and always had a brother or roommate to be around. I have an endless compulsion to be doing things and recording the things I am doing for proof that I am doing things. (Who needs therapy?) But I digress, we'll talk about that compulsion some other time.

When I was about eleven I used to go around the corner to Tony's pizza place, order a grilled cheese and bacon sandwich and a Tropicana fruit punch and read at a table alone. I liked doing it. It made me feel adult to be alone. I liked that moment I had to myself.

Now I am that girl who goes to movies alone, museums alone, and sits in the park alone. I take long walks alone. I even prefer shopping alone. I have been known to start big alone art projects which I never finish. Yet I have friends who would never do those things alone, hate being alone, feel lonely all the time. Its very interesting to see how people act when thrust into a situation like that.

In The Body Artist the main character Lauren winds up all alone in this giant house by the sea. It is pretty intense to think of living and existing and being so alone like that, and its something I have never experienced and probably never will while living in the city. But I can relate to her actions. She makes up a schedule, unimportant things that have to be done. She cleans.

I have a pretty stellar boyfriend who likes to be around me, or at least puts up with me being around him, so that makes the times that I am alone a few and far between. I also have lots of friends and a roommate. But its very interesting to read about and think about.

On an unrelated note but another part of the conversation I had with my friends; the importance of the phone.
So I am not a phone person. I used to be one, but I've become increasingly less dependant on my phone as the years have passed. I'm a big screener, which is really annoying for all my friends, and also annoying for me since when I miss a call everyone thinks I am doing it on purpose.

But still, I am definitely one to screen my calls or keep them as short as possible. But I believe that phone conversations are important in relationships. All relationships. Friendships, family, love, whatever. Maybe its not the actual HAVING of the conversations, but the knowledge that if you did have one it would be a good one. Fluidity of conversation, back and forth questions and answers, discussions of topics that you cannot wait to talk about. Laughter at one another's jokes or stories.

The phone puts a distance between you where you can no longer rely on physical closeness or other distractions. Its fine to walk side by side and not speak or have a pause during dinner while you are both eating; these actions fill silences and allow for an actual closeness and comfort. But on the phone a long pause just feels like a waste of time and leaves you wondering why you cannot think of anything to say to one another.

I asked three of my friends on a scale of one to ten how important phone conversations are in relationships. All three of them listed in the high 8-9s. Okay yes one of these friends likes to talk A LOT both on the phone and off, but it was good to get a sort of general opinion on it. If they felt that it was about an 8 on the importance scale, for me it is around a 7 or 6, which is still above 5 and therefore on the more important side.

Maybe my views are skewed do to some phone pasts. I've had long distance relationships that purely rely on phone contact, and a mother who I can talk to for hours both on the phone or off, friends who enjoy hearing what type of soup I'm eating or what I bought at the mall on Tuesday, friends who actually ask me about these things. So maybe I never even questioned phone conversations back then. I was probably bothered by the amount of time I could spend on the phone, which is what leads me to believe it isn't the actual phone conversations that are important but the idea that you could have one if you so chose.

I also think that sometimes I just like hearing details. I like hearing what other people are doing so that I can get a real glimpse into their lives and feel like I know more about how they operate, how they live. When i want to be close to someone or I miss them, it's nice to know what they are feeling or doing, whats important to them on this day, what they will be doing later. I like to talk out decisions I am making so I can hear how they sound. (I do this constantly to my current roommate, poor girl.) And I like to hear answers after I say something, I like to feel funny or at least heard. It sounds so emotionally high maintenance but I don't think it actually is. I think it's just normal.

Anyway two separate topics that can kind of go together if you think about it, maybe. Maybe not. Regardless, to end my blathering, I just wanted to say that I think I am going to change my blogging policies and begin doing it just once a week or so. If this is going to be a writing exercise for me I should be putting more thought into the entries as opposed to just passing fancies or wonders. So that's what I'm thinking, and I'm sure no one will lose any sleep over it.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Kills on Fire!

Hey so remember when I posted about the fire in Webster Hall During the Kills Concert?

Well has way better pictures of it than I did, PLUS Alex and I are in one! If you click on the one to the top we are in the crowd on the second floor right under the exit sign. I am wearing a white shirt and looking at Alex with a drink in my hand and she is looking right at the camera. Candid moments with fires. Awesome.

Opposites Attract

I wonder what Paula Abdul was trying to say to us in her video Opposites Attract.
I mean, it is her dancing with a cartoon cat, and the song is about opposites attracting. Two steps forward versus two steps back, movies versus TV, quiet versus shouting, and neat versus messy and so on. Opposites.

So does that mean that she believes cartoons are the opposite of human beings?

If someone asked you to name opposites in a quickfire challenge, would you blurt out "CARTOON!" when they said "Human beings?" I don't think I would. Yes we have some opposite traits, such as flat versus 3d, living versus not living. But a cartoon is at it's core comprised of elements of human beings and human behavior; their every move is created to mimic our feelings and behaviors.
I think I might say "Dog." I guess that doesn't make a ton of sense but that is the first thing that pops into my head. "Slug" would probably make more sense. Slugs don't look like us or act like us, they aren't driven by any of the emotions or impulses we are. But they do like beer. I've seen them drown in the stuff in my old backyard. So then okay we aren't complete opposites. In fact slugs also breathe and move and eat and mate, so they really aren't our opposite at all.
Maybe "Chair." Chairs don't move and they don't eat or sleep or mate. They don't have a heart. But they do support, which human beings are capable of doing. And a wood chair was once alive. Still, I think chair may be a better opposite than slug or cartoon.

But maybe Paula meant that cats are the opposite of human beings.

Generally I'd say that the opposite of a cat is a dog, not a human being. But then again the opposite of a cat could be a mouse, as has been inadvertently stated by such cartoons as Tom and Jerry, Sylvester and Tweetie, Itchy and Scratchy. Or a fish. Still, I think that a cat exhibits far too many human traits to be called an opposite. Especially a rapping dancing one who calls himself Paula Abdul's lover.
Paula's opposite in that video should really be like, a man, who is old, and fat and can't dance. And he should be nude, and every time she smiles at us he should burst into tears. That would be more appropriate than a cat who shares a great many traits with her. MC Cat enjoys dancing (both break dancing and tap) and so does she, he likes singing and so does she. He likes Paula and Paula likes Paula. They are both hams for the camera and they both agree that opposites attract. At one point they are both wearing white sneakers.

And yes sure opposites do attract but you must have SOME things in common in order to be compatible. Even if one person is messy and the other is neat, they still have to be able to live together or be around one another and therefore have found some common ground.

So really my point is, what is Paula trying to pull? Are we to believe that
A- She is really attracted to this cartoon? I mean he's thin and energetic but come on, he's wearing suspenders.
B- That MC cat would really be loyal to Paula when he has his back-ally buddies just waiting to take him out to strip joints and milk bars? The temptation is far too great and why would a dancing man such as himself want to be held down by the demands of fame on Paula's schedule? Can you really see him sitting in the back of a tour bus waiting while she signed autographs? he's not a background kinda man.
C- That Paula Abdul has the power to dance on cartoon steps?

....I lost track here didn't I.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

ladies ladies please

My mother once told me that at some point in my life I would find myself playing mother to the world, and namely to men. And she was right.
When I see an ailing case it's like I can't stop myself; there is something in me that enjoys running headfirst into a burning bus to rescue an already dead body. And it's not just me. I have girlfriends who have dated men with drug problems, gambling problems, drinking problems and money problems. And lets not even get into the list of men with emotional problems, they seem to be the most desired in our lives. Is he a head case? Then yes I'll date him. Please.
What is it inside of a woman that feeds off of the need to help, to heal, to be the source and the cure of love for someone who will never change? Is it something we are born with, born into? I feel a neverneding obligation to make everyone happy, to protect my family and friends, to clean up. And I'm not even clean!
It's like we enjoy pain. And maybe we do. Strong women are masochists too. Maybe even bigger masochists than weaker women.
Being a strong female is trying. It causes alienation both in the workplace and at home. While climbing to the top you are inevitably trying harder than most men and therefore exhausting yourself and those around you. Controlling everything you possibly can. Strong women are bitches, they are demanding, they are independent, they are feminists. These types of stigmas allow little room to play the submissive. And maybe the only place that a strong female can find that outlet is in a male dominant relationship. It is exhausting to play queen, hostess, organizer etc etc.
So is a little abuse welcomed? Is a little submission necessary? To feel even or whole or to let lose for one second or to get off do strong women need to feel weak?
It is an interesting parallel that the strongest girls I know have also had the worst relationships. They are bored with the smooth sailing ones that they can control; it is the rough, tumultuous ones that stick. It is the men who are mean that you go back to.
My mom says it's just a phase, that you go through your phase with the bad guys the wrong guys and you get your kicks doing so. But times they are a changing, and women are stronger than they have ever been.
Sorry this was a sort of jumble of suppositions and questions but I am eager to get some answers from you guys

Friday, May 2, 2008

The roof is on fire

what a goddamn eventful day yesterday was! let me tell ya about it.
(Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end; then stop.)

For those of you who don't know I lead a project called the Young Authors Club through New York Cares. Its a group of about 12 kids and 12 volunteers and we all meet in PAL Duncan, Hells Kitchen. PAL Duncan is this really amazing program; it is run by the Police Athletic League and it allows these kids to have a place to go and learn and read etc. Their tuition is based on family income so some of the kids there pay about $5 for the whole year.
Okay yes it's a bit of a madhouse. The first time I walked in the receptionist was nursing her baby behind the desk, and the bathroom has no doors that lock and one stall is missing a seat.
But regardless of all that stuff these kids love to write and some are pretty damn good.
Every time we have a session I am truly surprised at the level of comprehension and writing skills. It is very interesting to see what the kids know and don't know and what they like to write about. For instance I gave them an assignment to tell us where they are from or what their names mean; none of them knew. Most live with either very young parents or foster families and you forget that they probably won't ever know this sort of information.

Yesterday I gave them an assignment which they really embraced. They were told to write a letter to the president and tell him what they would want to change and why. So okay yes some of them wanted things like tater-tots every Sunday for the rest of their lives. But others expressed some really genuine ideas including an AIDS vaccine, an end to the war, and money for their parents to buy a house or car. They also got into debates over whether they were voting for Obama or Clinton. (They are eight.) To hear them debate about political issues was really such an intense eye opener as to how influenced we can be at such an early age. It was wonderful. Every time I leave there I want to take a child with me. But that's illegal.

So after that I had to run to meet Alex for The Kills concert. My phone died because I'm a big softy and I had let the girls at Pal Duncan play with it which meant they were turning it on and off for an hour. So now I'm late, and it's raining and my phone is dead. So I did the grossest thing I could think of; I used a pay phone. Like three times. (As Alex said when i finally met her, 'Hepatitis in the ear!")

The concert was in Webster Hall, which is totally insane on the inside. There are mirrors everywhere and the floors are all checkered and the upstairs bar is made out of a giant fish tank. I had been there only once for a New Years when I was still underage and could still vividly remember the hoards of Asian and Arab men who surrounded us like gnats on the dance floor. Anyway neither Alex nor I had eaten but they wouldn't let us back outside once we were in (and the lady in the bathroom was charging money for one spray of perfume so we knew the cheese-its she had laying out must have been like ten bucks) so we just said okay fuck it let's get drinks.

Two drinks in we were drunk and enjoying ourselves much more. By the time the Kills came on we were warmed up and ready to dance.
And then the roof was on fire.
The band sounded great and we had a great view from the top right balcony. Everyone was listening intently when Alex pointed to the ceiling and told me we had to go. So I look up and say, "oh." The ceiling was this web of design and all carved and I watched as this orange fire slowly crept along the edges, making its way closer and closer to us. Suddenly managers and security guards began pushing people back from the area as the band played on. Alex and I gathered our stuff and stood there watching as the fire slowly made its way in new directions and then began burning itself out.
Nobody really panicked, in fact no one even moved. After a few minutes the fire stopped and everyone went back to their spots. After a few more minutes the firemen came, which every girl up in that balcony loved. Especially Alex. After a few more minutes a fireman came on stage and stopped the show, much to the surprise of the band and audience who hadn't even noticed that the roof was on fire. Security guards kept yelling at people not to take pictures of the firemen or the fire but we did anyway. I mean, come on.
After about ten more minutes the band came back on and all action resumed. It was a great concert and really one of the more freaky/scary things I've ever seen in my life. Imagining if the fire had continued and how people would have was frightening. I could only imagine the insane trampling/pushing/rioting that would've gone on.

To end the night I got a bacon egg and cheese sandwhich from Cozy Soup and burger, this diner on Broadway and Astor Place. It cost eight dollars.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Quote of the day

"My genius has come alive! Like toys when your back is turned."
-Tracy Jordan, 30 Rock