Friday, March 30, 2012

Famous bros update

Last night I dreamed about Bruce Springsteen. The dream started in my childhood bedroom, where I went through my bookshelves and found a Russian novelist I apparently loved (Dovyovev - way to make up a Russian name, brain!) and an old used version of the fourth Game of Thrones book (important dream discovery - the series was actually published in the 70s, but no one bought it and so George RR Martin republished it recently, to great acclaim!).

The doorbell rang, and it was Bruce Springsteen, to see my parents. This made sense, because we lived in New Jersey, and Bruce, as everyone knows, is from New Jersey. I let them talk for a bit in the family room while hovering excitedly in the kitchen, eating an apple. When he got up to go, I caught him at the door to introduce myself, but my mouth was full of fruit. I shook his hand, and he said he had to run, so I never got to ask him about Woody Guthrie's influence on his music. Damn that apple.

But still, we were bros.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Famous bros

Lately I have been having dreams in which I am bros with various famous persons. It started a few weeks ago, with a dream in which I was interviewing Brad Pitt for Google. I asked him about what kind of food he likes, how he combats jetlag, and a host of other titillating topics. He was very pleasant, and we had good rapport. We were bros.

Dream #2 was even stranger. I texted President Obama to ask him to have Michelle call Mike to wish him a happy birthday. I knew he'd come through, because we were bros.

Finally, last night I dreamt I was at some sort of hotel with a bar next to the pool. On my way back to my room from the pool, I figured I'd stop by the bar and see who was hanging out. It turned out to be my good buddy Taylor Swift, along with two other famous ladies who, in true dream fashion, I can no longer recall. They were settling in for a night of girl talk, and I sat down with them so we could dish. We were bros.

What the hell is wrong with me?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


So here is why I think I may need a life coach. I was considering what I wanted to write about today, and I thought about all the delightful things I see on the internet over the course of a day. Facebook and Twitter are a cornucopia of clever videos, stories, and photos. And the captions! My god, the captions. Every time I see something smart on the intertubes, it gives me a pang of gladness to be a human. I avoid Pinterest altogether so I don't over-pang myself. The downside is that by the end of the day I have no internet serotonin left. I collect browser tabs with interesting stories all day, but when I get on the bus in the evening I'm straight up brain pooped.

Here's where my need for coaching comes in. When I ponder all this, I think, Has there ever been a time in the world where humans were so aware of how clever and strange we are? Does it matter that we know? What does it mean that we know?

And what does it mean for me, and for those around me?

So ok, minor existential crisis, no big thang. At least it's not compounded by honkytonky hormones like in middle school. But lately I've also been turning all conversations with friends into probing studies of their hopes and dreams. What would they ideally be doing with their time? What's their calling? If they don't have one, how did they decide what to do with their life? Are their plans achievable? How do they know? I think half the time they sit on their bar stools looking at me and thinking I'm going manic, and half the time they seem to enjoy obsessing over What They Are Going to Do With Their Lives like I do.

My Obsessing doesn't extend to actual Action, however, nor have I dipped my toe in the font of Planning. I've just stewed about how many pretty things there are in the world and how much I like them, and how many people there are in bad situations who I would like to help, and how I know I can work hard if I need to but I really don't want to work hard all the time, really. So, law and medicine, let it be known that you're off my list. I'm sure the feeling is mutual.

A number of my friends have gone to one particular career/life coach, and subsequently quit their jobs for new and exciting things. I don't want to quit my job, but I'm very much pro-new and exciting things. In favor of coaching: it would require me to dedicate time and effort to considering how I want to spend my not-nearly-enough time on this planet, and to begin to work out how I can go about achieving any life goals I might gather up. Opposed: it would require paying for something that many people figure out on their own, and seems noodley and self-indulgent. Discussing a career is a noble goal; discussing a life path seems new age-y.

And yet I'm probably going to suck it up and do it, because I'm not writing stories these days, I'm not doing comedy, and I'm not helping people. Don't worry, there's practically a team of people, led by Mike, pushing me to do those things. But for now I'm not, and maybe I just need a coach to tell me why.

[Insert your own clever sports and coaching metaphor here.]

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


I realize it is deeply uncouth to complain about being tired after a vacation. But really, my recent adventure was EXHAUSTING. Exciting and indulgent, but also physically and emotionally draining. I love travel more than almost anything else in the world, but it's a guaranteed way to create some serious emotional ups and downs.

Today is my first day back in the office, and for the first time in a long while I'm realizing exactly why it's called the daily grind. I feel like I got ground down today, a little bit around the legs and the neck. Maybe the shoulders too. My teeth definitely did, grit grit grit. My job is interesting, my coworkers a delight, but a day at a desk wears on you. The waking up before your body wants to, the hurry to get all the usual things done (pee-wash-brush-dress-eat-pack-dash), the commute, the sitting under fluorescent lights in recirculated air, the arrival home and subsequent panic that there are only 4 or 5 hours left in the day for Real Life. I work for the best employer in the world - I should have nothing to bitch about. But I am a champion tooth grinder and jaw clencher, and if I am doing something I think is important I will not get up from my desk to pee, even if I have had to go for like 3 hours. As follows, I don't drink nearly enough water. My blood is probably clotting in my leg veins as we speak.

I'm also stymied by the mid-afternoon snack. It's completely necessary - by 3 or 4 p.m. I'm super hungry - but in my many years of adulthood I still haven't tracked down the perfect afternoon nosh. Sweet treats are too sweet; fruit isn't filling enough (don't even get my started on what an absolute snack sham bananas are); chips and crackers are too salty; nut butters aren't good enough on their own; and yogurt gets gross if you eat it every day. Suggestions welcome.

So what to do, aside from quit my job to become a shepherd somewhere in Sonoma, then start an arty wool shop with the fleece of my flock? Well, I vow to drink more water, to start. That will force me to stand up more often, which seems like a plus. And I'd like to say I'll grind my teeth less, but that's just not going to happen. I have plans to stash some workout clothes in my desk so I can dash out for a quick run if I feel like I'm getting sucked into braindead land. And finally, I'm going to use my words - I'm going to blog here more, or write stories, or email amigos to pull me out of deskdom at the end of the day. Every once in a while, anyway.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


As always, SXSW was a huge and exhausting and heartwarming and occasionally disappointing experience. In the five years I've been going, I've never managed to see all the shows I've wanted to see, I haven't spent enough time with all the friends I wanted to have a beer with, and I've spent too much time rushing around and not enough time just enjoying the scene. And yet, as always, I'm incredibly glad I went.

While I go through my photos and process the last week in my overwhelmed and underslept brain, here are some good insights on the SXSW experience:

  • a friend of a friend's blog is well written and gives the musician's perspective
  • a friend's interview in the Atlantic about the Austin music scene 
  • this is a pretty solid list of artists to check out; we saw Grimes and Dustin Wong

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

I am made of mush right now. Sleep deprived, dehydrated, alcohol-sodden mush. A week and a half ago I flew to London. I walked, I ate, I worked, I sightsaw. Wednesday I flew to Dublin. I crossed the country, visited the family homestead, drove back, went to a wedding, strolled Dublin, and flew to New York yesterday. I had a birthday dinner with my dad, caught up with friends, and was escorted by those friends to a very hot bath and some chamomile tea. Thank god for that.

Tomorrow I fly to Austin for SXSW. I really can't wait, but I'd better be very very nice to my body so it doesn't break down on me even more.

Here's a few select phone shots from London - will post more on Dublin later.

View from the Thames
 Morning run along the river
 My travel uniform. I'm a packing ace by now.
 Atop the London Eye.
I realized while walking by Big Ben that most of my mental images of it are from disaster movies where it gets blown up.
 Food pilgrimage to Ottolenghi.
 I could eat nothing but Ottolenghi for the rest of my life and be a happy happy lady.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Wonderful thing of the day

Hello from London! It's chilly but great, though I did spend the day working. (Launched this!!!)

I received the email below from my former boss, who is a True Character. Its oddness made my day.

Subject line: Questions. Lots of questions.


I got questions. Lots of questions. Like as starters, how are you? How is your boyfriend and does he appreciate you? How is your dad and mom and are they enjoying their by now not so new house? Have you gotten a raise recently? Are you aware that we finally hired someone to step into your big shows? Are you aware that I can't type worth a damn? Do you ever come East and let publishers take you out to lunch or dinner? Are you still tall and comely?

Answer these, and any other questions that I should be asking but haven't (like, have you gotten a raise recently?)

Friday, March 2, 2012

Chicken legs

I am currently waiting for my delayed flight to London, bouncing my leg so hard the whole row of uncomfortable boarding area chairs is shaking. I'm amped up, man. AMPED. I've got a long flight ahead of me, with lots of excitement on the other end. But after a long parade of house guests - who, don't mistake me, I loved having - last weekend's domestic laziness was so nice. And it's hard to leave San Francisco. Every time I do, I'm sure there's going to be a devastating earthquake and I'll be trapped away from it. So while I'm gone, earth, don't quake. You're on notice.

As an expert in the field of upsetting dreams, I of course had anxiety nightmares last night. The worst one was about Ezzie. Ezzie used to be a fat black and white cat. She is now, on doctor's de-fattifying orders, a skinny cat who is half black and white and half pink, because she has licked off all the fur that she can reach. Her tongue is a weapon of destruction, constantly sandpapering her stubbly skin. It's truly disgusting, and is either the product of allergy or nerves. We are employing various methods to try and treat it, but none have worked so far.

So. Last night I dreamed that Ezzie had licked all the way through her fur, through her skin, through her flesh, through her bones. Her hind legs - which in real life look like naked chicken wings - were actually cleanly gnawed through at the upper thigh. It may not be biologically accurate, but in the dream each thigh bone separated into two pieces and met again just above the knee, and since she had only gnawed the top portion, she was still able to walk. Her picked-over thigh bones clinked against each other like china as she moved. I could see the little circle of marrow in each bone, and wondered how she had been able to do it so neatly. It was deeply disturbing.

Bon voyage to me!

Thursday, March 1, 2012


Dudes, I am killing it today. You know those days? You get shit done, you tie up loose ends, you calm anxieties and you're ready for more. I'm in productivity overdrive so I can leave for my trip tomorrow with peace of mind. And you know what, aside from the necessity of getting ready for travel, inspired me to be so fabulous? A romper. A silk, abstract print romper.

I signed up for Stitch Fix (and yes, that's my referral link, feel free to disregard), where you plonk down $20 and get sent 5 items of clothing that have been picked out for you based on what you've said you like. In my case I got 4 things I didn't like, and this magical romper.
(Apologies for the grainy bathroom photo)
I never thought I could love a romper, but I do. I DO. And if I can wear a romper, I can do anything.