Monday, June 30, 2008

Citizen Grope

Cameron and I went to see Alice Smith and Citizen Cope on Thursday night. This makes Cameron extremely awesome because she is way more pregnant than anyone else who was at the show, and still rocked out like a champ.

When we got to Terminal 5, we stood back and surveyed the scene, trying to decide on the optimal spot to stand. "Let's go feel out the crowd," Cameron said, and neither of us knew at the time how apt her statement would be.

We chose a slightly elevated spot right in front of the sound guy, which made it a nice viewing area and also a perfect place for people to trip all over themselves. You couldn't even really call what we were standing on a "step," yet it was far enough off the floor that I got a squishy handful of at least one large man, and almost ended up wearing my beer.

Ah, feeling the crowd, one love handle at a time.

Our other observation, which Penny had warned me about, was that the crowd was really young. Prior to this show, I wouldn't have considered Citizen Cope an aphrodisiac, but I will never make that mistake again. In every direction we looked there were teenagers making out with each other. I don't care if this makes me sound old, but I seem to have reached the point where spending a concert attached to someone else's face is an unappealing prospect.

Cameron and I stood on our ledge, directly behind a couple who went one entire song without breathing. And when it was over, he walked off in one direction and she pushed past the two of us, her eyes very unfocused, and ran directly into the railing we were leaning on. She let out a little whoosh of shock, and then felt along it drunkenly until she could make it around. And then she went back to the bar.

Because a lot of Citizen Cope's songs sound the same after a while, the falling and the face sucking were highly entertaining. Cameron and I agreed that we should not move up any further towards the stage, lest we find ourselves spontaneously making out with each other. It seemed to be a very real possibility.

For a better post on feeling old at concerts, check out Todd Levin's guestblog on

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Sugar, Sugar

According to the Wall Street Journal*, High Fructose Corn Syrup feels it is getting a bad rap. So it has hired a high profile ad agency to help it get back in the good graces of its prime target: moms.

The ad campaign? From what I can tell, its tagline seems to be
HFCS: Just as Bad for You as Sugar. Sweet.

Which totally reminds me of another great, if not highly effective, slogan,
Chlamydia: It's No Worse than Syphillis. Have some.

A diet high in sugar isn't good for anyone, I know. And studies show that both HFCS and sugar intake can lead to obesity in our fattish nation. So the corn people's logic is essentially that, although processed, HFCS contains the same ingredients as regular table sugar and should therefore not be avoided or removed from certain foods. Though this is not quite true (HFCS contains more fructose, which is tied to obesity at a greater rate than other -oses), let us suppose for a moment that they are the same.

Why would we eat the fake one instead of the natural one?

It appears that our country values wealth over health (shocking, I know.) Most of the foods that include HFCS do so because it is cheaper than sugar. Corn subsidies have driven down the price of corn syrup, and sugar import tariffs have made it more expensive to procure the real deal. Americans are paying more than twice the world price for sugar.

I know, this is more information than anyone wants or needs. But since I actually found myself highlighting portions of the WSJ article, I figured I should look into this more. Plus I just think it's a fascinating marketing choice. Watch for the ads on TV and in major newspapers:

HFCS: Your chubby body will never know the difference.

*I can't link to the article, because the paper lamely will not let you read it if you're not a subscriber.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Is It Safe?

I had a cavity filled today for the first time in about 16 years. The dentist assured me it would be quick and painless, and said that although I would feel like my face was swelling up, it really wasn't, so don't be nervous.

Finding out that I had a cavity felt like failure in some way. I am a bad flosser, I admit it. And then there was the procedure itself. There's something very weird about getting a hole drilled in your head, but I looked at the ceiling and tried to ignore the smell of hot flying tooth chips.

Anyway, the real point of this post is that the entire side of my face is killing me. It feels like I got smashed in the head. So I am sitting here with a bag of peas on it and I just want this to be a cautionary tale to anyone who feels like they don't have "time" to floss. Do it now.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Seoul Show

Rob is pacing around the apartment. He brings one item of clothing from the first bedroom into the second bedroom and lays it in a suitcase. Then he goes and gets another one. I will go insane watching him do this, so I have decided to just narrate his activity.

Those of you who are more observant will note that Rob is supposed to be in South Korea. He left for the airport this morning at 5am. I was actually able to form a coherent sentence--something about love and safety--before he left. Then at 8:30am, when I was drinking my second cup of coffee, the phone rang. His name flashed on the tiny screen and I picked up, "This is not good."

"No," he said. "My flight was cancelled."

He had been planning to fly to Los Angeles and then on to Seoul, but a little mechanical issue became a showstopper, and he spent the next 5 hours running from airline desk to airline desk trying to get someone to take him to Asia. The things he said about Delta today: they were not nice things. Finally Korean Airlines came through, so he is zipping up his suitcase for Take Two of this trip, which will be a direct flight (14 hours) to Seoul, arriving a mere 3 hours before his meeting.

He walks up and reads over my shoulder. "You're making me sound like a madman," he says in a bizarre monster voice.

"I disagree," I say. And then, "You should listen to The National song Slow Show on the plane."

"Don't boss me around," he says melodramatically, as though he is so stifled by my attention to our music collection.

The phone rings and he picks it up. "I know," I hear him say. "I'm not happy about it either." Apparently the driver who is waiting outside said it was unusual to be traveling to the airport at this time of night. A weird thing to say, in my opinion, but I guess it's not as weird as going to the airport at 5am and then going back at 11pm.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Paulie comes to New York. Hilarity ensues.

My brother Paul came to visit this weekend. He had never been to New York, and every time we told someone that, they got a doe-eyed blissful look on their face like we had just told them he was about to lose his virginity to a solid gold princess. We ran into one of my neighbors on the elevator and he was simply thrilled to hear that Paul would be experiencing New York through fresh eyes. Like several other people we spoke to, he clapped his hands and proclaimed avuncularly "I am so excited for you. This is wonderful."

And it was. We saw The National, Modest Mouse, and REM at Madison Square Garden and John Scofield at The Blue Note; jogged along the Hudson River; walked through Central Park; went to the Neue Gallery of German and Austrian Art; ate and drank copiously; and viewed the city from my rooftop. Then I begged him to move here and hang out with me all the time. And this was beautifully balanced by a number of phone calls from our mother, who asked if I would please make sure Paul got on the plane on Sunday to return to Oak Park. In my dad's words "We need him here, too." I think their anxiety stems from the fact that they now have children in New York, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas. Paul sometimes threatens to move to Colorado and my mom breaks into hives.

Everyone loves Paul. He is the youngest in our family and when he was a baby, the rest of us siblings fought over who got to sit near him in the car. He was so small and cute and he referred to himself as "My Paul" since that's what our mom called him. Oddly, many of our other relatives still call him "Paulie Boobs," for reasons that remain unclear. I think the only time I have been even remotely angry at Paul was when I was 10 and he was 4 and he bit me really hard. I screamed so loudly that he burst into tears and ran away.

There was no biting this weekend.* Paul did get on the plane, and is back in OP at this point, while everything here is as it should be on a Sunday night:

I am slowly recovering from the weekend and pretending tomorrow isn't Monday. Rob is packing to go to Korea for the week, because if the two of us are actually in the same place for more than 7 days at a time, there will be a catastrophic disaster in the space-time continuum. Smokey is resting quietly so that he has enough energy to wake us up in the middle of the night. And Emma is protecting a pizza box with her oversized cat butt, proving the point that if we put anything at all on the ground, Emma will sit on it. I might make "Things Emma Sat On" a regular feature of the blog.

*Rob kicked me, though.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

How to Take a Compliment

Setting: Client lunch

[Sarah enters restaurant. Client, Betsy, is already there.]

Betsy: “You always look so glamorous.”

Sarah's brain to Sarah's mouth: [Say thank you.]

Mouth to brain: [No, that doesn’t seem quite right.]

Brain to mouth: [Ohhhkay. Try saying What a nice thing to say.]

Mouth: [Wrong.]

Brain: [You’re on your own, moron.]

Sarah: “There’s a safety pin holding my pants up.”

End scene.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Saying sorry to loose women everywhere

Today Joan Rivers was kicked off a show called Loose Women for using foul language. It's just like that time Slash went all mental at the Grammy's when he was accepting an award. "Thanks, M-Fers, for the f'ing award" and so on. I'm sure this is not the first time someone has compared Slash to Joan Rivers.

I can't decide which is the best line from the article, but I think it's one of these:

From the network:
"We would like to apologise to Loose Women viewers for the inappropriate language used on today's show."

As a loose woman myself, I'm thinking of forgiving them.

From Joan Rivers:
"I would be delighted to go back if they would apologise and give me a gift."

A gift. Like what, exactly? A little coin jar you can toss a quarter into each time that naughty urge strikes?

The BBC has too much class to report what Rivers said about Russell Crowe that got her booted, but I don't. Check it out.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Doin the Bull Dance, Feelin the Flow

I am sitting on the couch, stuffing myself with bread and watching the US Open at Torrey Pines. I don't know how to play golf and have never particularly enjoyed watching it, but for some reason I'm actually following this. It might be the food slowing me down, allowing the announcers' self-help audio book voices to lull me into a comfortable state so I forget to argue with Rob about who controls the remote. Or it might be that the last time Rob and I had dinner at home and watched TV together was 3 weeks ago and I'm just coasting on what is now a novelty. The couch! Dinner! TV! This is all so...May 2008.

So I'm enjoying the tournament. But it fascinates me that many of these golfers--professional athletes--are so badly out of shape. Their guts are pushing through their pastel polo shirts and a few of them could use sport bras. I know that sounds mean, but did I mention these are professional athletes? Don't they work out?

Of course, there are exceptions:

And then there's this guy, who is either here to golf or to clean your pool:

This is the most I've ever thought or said about golf. Clearly my appreciation is growing.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

That girl is poison. Or not.

I met Nina out for dinner tonight. Chat and Rob are both still in San Francisco and we decided that the best way to handle the fact that they abandoned us was to get together and have more fun than they were having.

Nina was not drinking, which meant there would be no rousing Bel Biv Devoe sing-alongs. For a brief moment, I considered also not drinking, but...Nina likes to encourage others to drink. She was not as feisty this evening as she sometimes is, what with the teetotaling and all, but man alive, when Nina is feeling the spirit, she can be 90 lbs of Ferocious. And when that happens and Nina tells you to drink, the only response is "How Much?"

After which it is only a matter of time before you hear her start going "Girl I must warrrrrnnn youuuu" and then, if you were of a certain age in the 90s, you can't help it. Your body starts to rock back and forth and before long, you're in a group of people (or maybe it's just two of you, whatever, that's not important) singing the lyrics to a song that really doesn't need to be sung. Ever. And you're not quite sure why (or if) you even know the right words.

Oh, and Chat is rolling his eyes and trying to put everyone in a cab to go home. And by the way, this is not one of those things that has only happened once.

Nina and I were so well behaved tonight. We considered going to see Sex and the City, but decided we were too wiped out from the week. So there you have it. When we're not with the men in our lives, we are not quite as driven to drink incessantly. Interesting.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Civic duty has caught up with me

Well, it's happened. Despite the fact that after nearly 3 years I still carry around a driver's license that says I live in San Francisco, the juror qualification questionnaire has arrived. This is what you get when you pay your taxes and generally act like a willing member of society.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Amazing things going on in other countries

Is there anything as fabulous as a Polish A Capella group named Avocado performing Smells Like Teen Spirit in a shopping mall?

I think the answer to that is obvious. Just sit back, check out the middle guy's kick-ass knee moves and enjoy.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Home again

I got back from California last night and it was a trip of such varied experiences that I find it hard to report on. A definite stand-out was the amazing first edition bookstore that was so hot inside it felt like a sauna (but a magical sauna) in Los Angeles, where I learned that I had to read the His Dark Materials trilogy, The Lace Reader, and Child 44. But I also learned that I would not be buying copies there, as Child 44 (the signed edition) was selling for the bargain price of $300. So I went elsewhere and have already finished The Golden Compass (the first in the series; loved it, it made me feel like a kid, and not in the way that spending several days with my family makes me feel like a kid) and I am beginning The Subtle Knife (the second book) this evening.

Rob is still in San Francisco and will be there all week, so I am looking forward to doing all of the things that typically horrify him, including waiting several days before unpacking, eating lentils and/or cereal for dinner, and watching romantic comedies I have seen before on (gasp!) non-HD TV.

And because I am still missing him, I would like to take this opportunity to marvel at the numerous facets of Rob’s personality that I was able to enjoy during our weekend in San Francisco. We celebrated our 3rd anniversary Thursday night, which involved me traveling from Berkeley to meet him at a restaurant and him texting me every 30 seconds with messages like “Where are you?” “I’m hungry” “Hungry” and “Jesus.”

Can you feel the love?

But ok, since Rob frequently accuses me of taking his statements out of context for use on the blog, I will admit that he had just flown in from New York, it was 8:30pm in California, and he was on his way to getting fairly drunk while waiting for me at the bar. When I got there (basically exactly when I had promised to arrive), it was wonderful to see him and we had a very fun dinner. But is that an entertaining story? Noooo.

On Friday, I met him at our hotel after spending some quality time with a close friend in the East Bay. Upon greeting Rob, I told him that Krista and I had been hanging out, talking about relationships. He smiled wickedly and said “Good. So you’ve got that out of your system.”

But then just when I had decided that I was going to kick him in the head, I walked out of the bathroom to catch him prancing around the hotel room opening all the shades while singing like a soprano in the girls’ choir, “ah AH! Ahhhhh AHHHHHH ahhhhh!” And I felt very lucky to have had this weird person in my life for three years who challenges and amuses me, and makes me happy. And who can also pull off prancing.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Whine Country

Oh, so tired. Three days of Book Expo America in Los Angeles, which involved running around and talking, talking, talking to publishers, authors, potential authors, coworkers, vendors, and the guys who tried to keep people from stealing the books out of our booth even though ALL THE COPIES SAID DISPLAY ONLY. I was dying to catch someone in the act of thieving the $100+ art books, if only to have a finally suitable place to air the pent up aggression that comes with spending 8 hours a day in an airless convention center.

The show was mostly enjoyable for me, despite the above paragraph, but by the time it was over, I was extremely sick of hearing my own voice. And that mixed with the fact that I was meeting my parents and my sister for the next three days meant that at one point my mother did have to say to me, "Don't whine. Use your words." She's a retired kindergarten teacher, which is good because after a long weekend of work and events, I am evidently a retired kindergartner.

Tomorrow I am off to San Francisco. I am bringing three bags, eight pairs of shoes, seven new books, and my words.