Friday, August 31, 2007

Karaoke Bachelorette Party

Karaoke bachelorette parties, while relatively tame, are not without their own drama. Consider the midtown studio I went to last night, located in a former brothel where you have to climb three flights of stairs to enter the small, shady establishment. It’s BYOB so people come hauling boxes and bags of alcohol and, if they’re smart, water.
Each group gets their own room with sagging couches, machines with only Korean words and instructions, and strict rules about jumping and microphone swinging. Apparently, some karaoke performers can get out of control when rocking the classics. But not the bachelorette and her sister during the song “Maniac.” No. They were perfectly well behaved.
Last night, there was a slight karaoke miscommunication (bound to happen) when the owner—gasp—double booked one of the rooms! The problem didn’t involve our group, so I was able to watch with nothing more than curiosity as the owner, a middle aged Korean woman who looked like she'd be equally likely to smack you down or give you a hug, argued over the phone with the unfortunate party. But at some point in the conversation, threats must have been made, because she abruptly hung up the phone and went tearing down the stairs, screaming “I call police!” I didn’t really sense a lot of imminent karaoke danger, so I just headed back to our room and sang Killing Me Softly.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

It's possible I have too much time to think

I've decided machines at the gym should have their own little TV screens. And I can say this objectively because I don’t watch TV when I work out. But this morning I was at the gym, using an elliptical trainer that was at least 30 feet away from the row of TVs that hang off of the ceiling (I am spatially challenged, so this may not be true, but the point is, I couldn’t see the screens well.) I am assuming that the purpose of the TVs is to allow all of the people using the machines to watch bad reality shows and the stupid news channels they have on. But here’s the thing. At my gym, only the bikes and the treadmills are really close enough for viewing. If you want to use a different machine, you’re in a row that’s further back. So, that’s my solution. Tiny screens on all the machines, so everyone can watch Coach reruns at 6:30am if they don’t want to listen to Joe Scarborough’s nonsense on MSNBC.

Monday, August 27, 2007

I'd like to dedicate this to my mother

It has been pointed out to me that after all of my posts mentioning the pressure to get married, I have glossed over the fact that Rob and I got engaged. So...Rob and I got engaged! It was last weekend before we left for a quick trip to Chicago for a friend's wedding and to see my family. Our car to the airport was downstairs waiting for us when Rob asked me if I had finished packing. I had, but was worried that I was going to forget something--like my dress. So I started to list the things I was bringing and then asked if there was anything else I needed for the wedding. That was when Rob floated seemingly from the ceiling with this open box in his hand and said "How about this for the wedding?" And oh, the shininess. I don't know what happened after that, but there was hugging and laughing. Words were said. And then we had to run downstairs to get in the car.
At the airport, I walked around like a weirdo staring at my ring. It had suddenly started to rain and flights were getting canceled, but ours continued to flash on the screen simply as delayed. It ticked later and later by 30 minute increments until we finally had to stop looking at the monitor because it was clear that the airline was just inventing things and that pretty soon it would show that our flight was departing in June 2008. We decided to go to an airport restaurant where we were informed that due to the volume of hungry, irritable, un-airborn people, we could only have chicken wings or chicken tenders. They neglected to tell us that both were made with runway road kill, but it is the airport, so I'm not sure what I was expecting. We ate and made faces at each other. It took Delta 6 hours to decide that we would not be going to Chicago and that the lovely engagement, which had been timed to coincide with seeing my family, would be celebrated back at home with the cats.
To recap: we got engaged, drove to the airport, ate some crappy expensive food, and came home. But nothing could ruin the experience. Really.

Sunday, August 26, 2007


Rob, Chat, John and I chartered a fishing boat with Captain John today. I was the first one to catch a fish! And the first (and only) one to puke over the side of the boat. I am surprisingly proud of both events. I named my fish Ralph, which was good foreshadowing. Chat caught the biggest fish, but decided against naming it.
It was supposed to be rainy and chilly, but we've realized that the weather in MV never matches the forecast. In fact, it's sort of like opposite day. Every day. So it was a beautiful sunny day and we were out on the water for 4 hours. It took about 30 minutes for the seasickness to kick in. I was able to warn Chat, who was sitting next to me, so I'm hoping the experience wasn't too traumatic for anyone else. Rob came over and held on to me as I hung over the side. Because, really, the only thing worse than being horribly horribly sick to your stomach is being horribly horribly sick to your stomach and then drowning.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Dispatch from the vineyard

There are no actual vineyards here. It is definitely a case of false advertising.
On our first full day in the house together, 5 of us set out to purchase some necessities. Girls went to the grocery store, not really because we're girls, but because both Rob and Chat have the disease that renders one unable to enter the grocery store without having some small fit that might result in one lying fetal on the floor until one is carried out by hefty stock boys. We sent them to the wine store for safety's sake. When we all met up after our errands, we had spent the same scary amount at both stores. Which means we had enough food for a small army and enough wine, well, it turns out we had enough wine to last us about 2 days. When they told me they bought 20 bottles, I thought they were a little crazy. The next day, when they told me we had taken down 8 of those bottles, I admired their brilliance through the haze of my hangover.
I have also learned several things on vacation:
1. I should not drink champagne and wine for several hours and then play Pictionary. Violence ensues. At one point, I admit that I did throw my pen down and refuse to draw anymore after Rob and John couldn't get my clues for the word "deadline." (A face with x's for eyes. And a line.)
2. During Pictionary, when someone draws a big body and then a smaller body, the answer is not "little human." A better guess is "baby."
3. When you are jogging down the side of a windy road with no actual running path, facing traffic, you should not stare at your engagement ring just because it's new and shiny. Watch the road.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Deepish Thoughts is going dark

Not permanently, but the blog will be on hiatus for a week or so while I'm on vacation. First stop is Chicago for wedding 4 of 6. Then Martha's Vineyard! I am going with 6 friends, one SUV, 5 books, and a Bocce ball set. I could not be more excited. We have sheep in our yard at the house we rented. I promise many good stories of Penny chasing them around trying to eat them.
Let me leave you with a thought: I just learned that there is a new form of cosmetic surgery being practiced wherein doctors are taking hair from the head and using it to elongate eyelashes. This was originally devised as a procedure for accident or trauma victims, but now women around the country have decided it's a brilliant idea to give them that doe-eyed look they desire.
More on blinking your bangs.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

As if I need another distraction

The cover story on the Aug 27 issue of Newsweek is about Facebook and how oh my god, everyone is doing it! This probably wouldn’t have phased me, except that I keep hearing from coworkers and friends that oh my god, everyone is doing it! The founder of Facebook (I can’t remember his name, so I’ll refer to him as Opie) says that the site is not for social networking. Rather, says Opie, it’s about connecting to the social graph that already exists in the world. Tap into it, and you have a company that went from a Harvard experiment to one that Yahoo offered $1 billion to buy (Opie said no.) Facebook, according to one of the dudes on the board, is now valued at $7 or $8 billion. And they’re probably taking it public, anyway.
What I’m trying to figure out is how people even have time to be addicted to Facebook. I can barely keep it together to do my job, blog once in a while, visit my own favorite websites, attend to Gmail, call my friends and family, read books, keep up with Entourage, work out, clean the house, feed my cats, and occasionally talk to my boyfriend. Now you’re telling me I need Facebook? A site that, according to some members, people can spend 4-5 hours a day on?
MySpace still has a lot more members than Facebook, and I understand that it’s pretty addictive, too. But a 22-year-old I know told me that Facebook is so much better than MySpace. MySpace, she said, is ugly and disorganized. Facebook is clearly where it’s at. I understand this, because this woman joined Facebook in college and it became a big part of her social life. But now my friends in their 30s are all about how Facebook is a must for any professional. Why? What exactly is Facebook going to do for your career? Seriously, someone tell me.
I tried Friendster for a while 5 or 6 years ago. It was so stressful! It was just like staring at the stack of magazines that piles up in my living room, taunting me for subscribing when I have no time to read them. I wonder what it is that the people who spend their time on Facebook are giving up. For some, like my aforementioned friend, I suspect it's work. She says she spends much of the day bouncing between job responsibilities and Facebook responsibilities.
But what if, upon trying Facebook and finding a bunch of my friends or other like-minded people to spend my time with, I found it just as addictive? The danger is great. So I think it’s best that I stay away, unless someone comes up with a truly compelling argument to join Opie’s gang that doesn't involve me giving up sleep or food, or result in me getting fired.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

In Memory of Phil Rizzuto

Phil Rizzuto died yesterday at the age of 89. In honor of his life, I’d like to share my favorite memory of Phil.

Billy is at the blackboard. The class watches.

Ms Vaughn: Rirruto?

Billy: Those are zees.

Ms Vaughn: They look like r’s to me.

Billy: That’s not fair! Rizzuto is not a word, he’s a baseball player!

So long, Phil.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Karl Rove is movin' on down the road

Karl Rove is stepping down from his position as Captain Dipshit at the White House. He says it's so he can spend more time with his family, but it's probably because Satan has come to claim the rest of his body and join it with his soul. Right after this photo was taken, Bush clutched Rove to his chest and said "Save a space for me, big boy. Somethin' real close to the fire." He then faced the crowd and said (and this part is true), "Karl Rove is movin' on down the road." What? This makes Rove sound like a traveling man of the people, just heading off into the great unknown for more rollicking adventures. Then they started singing some Poison song from 1988.

More Karl Rove

Friday, August 10, 2007

Just in case you weren't sure I'm a dork

I recently procured two test prep books for the GMAT. I am not planning to take the GMAT, but I am obsessed with these bright purple and green books. One is for the verbal portion; the other is math. Lately, when Rob comes home I am on the couch with one of the books and a little notepad, answering sample questions. He says hi and I'm all "Look! Fractions!"
He says I'm doing it so that I can say I could have gone to business school, but just didn't want to. The truth is way nerdier than that. I like standardized tests and getting scores on things.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

I'm Yorning You

Oh my god, I know it’s not funny. I’ll stop after this. Last night I went to see Crowded House with Rob and a couple of guys from work. I have to admit that I was not that into the idea of seeing Crowded House. I know they had that one song on the Singles soundtrack and when Rob sang “Don’t Dream It’s Over” to me at a restaurant once it was definitely charming. But an entire show? I told people I was in it for the drinks. Then Pete Yorn opened the show and he was really good. Quality. Why he needed 5 guitars on stage, I’ll never know. But questions like that are best left to others—like the old rocker guy who plays electric guitar everyday on the southwest corner of 23rd and 7th. I bet he would know the answer.
Oh, Liam Finn actually opened the show, but we were still at dinner so we didn’t catch that part. He’s Neil Finn’s son, making this the second example of opening-band nepotism in one week. But he’s a talented dude—he was back on stage with his dad and the main act and he played at least 6 instruments.
Eventually Neil Finn got tired of singing and wanted the audience to do it instead. They (I would say we, but I was a definite non-factor) did not disappoint him, taking over on several verses of this one song that I would know the name of if I was a real fan. I give Pete Yorn an 8 and Crowded House a 6.5. Rob gets a 9 for buying dinner.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

You've been Stung

People. I went to see The Police on Friday night. Our seats behind the open stage provided a good view of Sting's black-denimed butt and Stewart Copeland's fluffy hair flying around his bandana (a screen above showed Copeland's eyes bugging out of his head as he drummed.) Sting sounded incredible, as if not a day has passed since they recorded Synchronicity. But I can't get over the way he looks. The man does yoga once a day and is all tantric and stuff; apparently that's the way to go when formulating a life plan for having arms like this.
So there you have it: a tantra a day keeps you looking all studly. Not to be confused with a tantrum a day, which I've tried and it doesn't make you healthier.
Sting's kid's band Fiction Plane opened the show. As we were busy standing in the line for alcohol (part of my own longevity diet), we missed their set.

*I read on wikipedia (source of all truths) that the tantric thing was just a joke Sting once made at a dinner party. I choose to ignore this new information, but felt it only fair to pass it on.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Tales from the mean streets

On a recent half-day Friday (definitely one of the best summer reasons to be in publishing--someone let me know if you come up with any good fall, spring or winter reasons), I walked into the Chelsea branch of the New York Public Library. I love libraries, but for some reason in almost two years of living in New York, I still didn’t own a library card. Immediately excited past the point of acceptable dorkiness, I began wandering the aisles, grabbing random books. I ended up with so much more than I could possibly read in the three weeks allotted, which is why I found myself back at the Chelsea branch yesterday with 15 pounds of books to return. The library was closed so I looked around for the handy book drop. A seriously patient, but possibly normal woman was standing at the door, waiting 45 minutes for it to open, and she told me that the book drop was only open when the library was open (Hello Purpose. You have been defeated.) She went on to explain that the book drop had been firebombed more than once and stricter measures had to be taken. I thanked her, clutching my books tightly as I backed away from the danger. Only after I was about a block away did I realize it hadn’t even occurred to me to ask this woman to drop my books for me when the library opened. I made a mental note: Monday morning. Common sense seemingly intact.

Monday, August 6, 2007

The Magic and Mess of the Movies

Yesterday Rob and I went to see The Bourne Ultimatum. We got to the theater on time, found a seat in the middle of a row (no chance of getting out to get water or use the bathroom without disrupting 15 people) and settled into our smelly, sticky seats. We then watched 7 previews that I truly believe were all for the same movie. 2 featured Meryl Streep, 2 starred Russell Crowe, all had a battle/terrorism/war theme and all featured gunfights or explosions. The male and female leads were mostly interchangeable. 18 minutes later, the previews were over and nothing stuck out as worth seeing. Or rather, all seemed interesting enough, but nothing stuck out as unique. And the titles…In the Valley of Elah? Lions to Lambs?* Wow, catchy.
It’s not a pleasant experience to go to the theater. I would much rather be at home watching a movie, being able to pause or rewind, and not having to deal with the conversations taking place next to me. And a question for the people who clap in the middle of the movie after the end of a scene: are you under the impression that the actors are actually in the room with us? Who are you clapping for? Stop it.
The movie was good, but the only thing making the experience remotely worthwhile was the size of the screen and I’m just not sure that’s worthwhile enough. I think I can wait until the DVD release of that new movie starring Meryl/Reese/Susan/Charlize/Tom/Jamie/Denzel/Jake/Christian/Russell…and then I can fast forward through the previews, too.

*I only know the names of these lame-sounding movies because of a furious bout of note taking during the previews. Otherwise, the whole pre-Bourne experience would by now surely have melted into a big shiny celebrity puddle in my brain.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Finishing The Deathly Hallows

I just got off the phone with Amanda, and she reminded me that I haven't posted my thoughts on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I don't know how I missed doing that--I finished the book on Sunday morning and surely that is more interesting than analyzing the effects of Clarence Thomas's childhood on his speech patterns. Or not.
I loved the book. I wanted to read it slowly and really enjoy it. Sometimes when I read the Harry Potter books, I find myself speeding through because I'm so anxious to find out what happens next. This time I made myself sit in a chair and read all the words. It was great. I don't agree with people who think the middle was too long and slow. I think J.K. Rowling was building up the quest, making it clear how arduous it was, thereby making the climax even more satisfying. With all of the expectation surrounding the ending, I am blown away that she handled it all so well. I don't really want to give anything away, in case anyone hasn't finished it or eventually wants to read the series. Suffice it to say, I think she had a tough challenge ahead of her in pleasing readers and...I am pleased. I do agree with Jay that a lot of action and information was stuffed into the final pages.
Sometimes I really want to be British. I tried reading some of the book out loud with a British accent, but I was unconvincing and mostly just freaked out the cats.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Today I want to talk about Clarence Thomas

Since February 2006, the number of words spoken by Clarence Thomas during Supreme Court oral arguments was 132. The number spoken by Samuel Alito, who is the second-dumbest (I mean that in the true sense of the word, really) judge on the court was 14,404. In more than a year and a half.
There have been a few theories as to why Thomas doesn’t speak up: he learned listening skills as a young man when his dialect was mocked in school or he prefers more cerebral conversation and the quick back-and-forth of the court doesn’t suit him. Obviously it’s neither of these. He’s worried about what might come out of his mouth if he opens it; referring to Long Dong Silver when addressing a prosecutor probably wouldn’t go over well.
Meanwhile, Chief Justice John Roberts has had two seizures in the past week and has been diagnosed as an epileptic. This is really unrelated to my wanting to talk about Clarence Thomas, but since we’re on the subject of the Supreme Court…