Monday, June 29, 2009

General Gaiety

George and Donna came down from Boston this weekend with their two girls, Lael and Avery. I always feel like a very important person when Lael and Avery are around because they like to sit as close to me as possible--which sometimes means directly on me, they want to hold my hand everywhere we go, and they want to change their clothes based on what I'm wearing. Which backfired for me slightly when George told Lael that she couldn't wear flip flops on Saturday afternoon because we were doing a lot of walking and it would be bad for her feet. As an aside, when I was little, I don't remember anyone worrying about my arches. If I had wanted to walk to school in my Bert and Ernie slippers, I probably would have been allowed, as long as I didn't punch anyone at the breakfast table.

So she wanted to wear flip flops because I was wearing them. After George's decree, Rob gave me a very meaningful look, glanced at my flip flops, and I grudgingly changed into flats.

We spent the weekend walking around Chelsea, which included a trip to the new High Line park, on the elevated train tracks overlooking the west side of Chelsea, the Meatpacking District, and the Hudson River. It is a beautiful and very cool new addition to the neighborhood, and is also apparently a new tourist haunt, because we had to wait in line and get our hands stamped just to get into the park. Luckily, this seems to only be an issue on Saturdays.

Sunday was the Gay Pride parade and we took the girls to 8th Avenue--the heart of Chelsea--for lunch. Their eyes were wide as they observed all the action, rainbows, and creative store fronts. "Would any boy really want to wear pink underwear?" they wondered.

They asked several questions about what everyone was doing, and Donna explained to them that people were celebrating because they were proud of who they were. The girls nodded. We walked past a group of guys in teeny tiny shorts standing on their balcony, toasting the street and dancing around in boas.

"Happy Pride!" one shouted, raising his glass to us.

We raised our water bottles to salute him.

"Those guys are weird," Lael said, looking back at them curiously. I thought about what to say to her and "sometimes weird just means drunk" didn't seem appropriate.

"I think they're just happy," I said instead.

Then we got frozen yogurt.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson died today, and I am writing this down because I think it's important to keep track of where we are when big cultural events happen. And this, to me and clearly many other people--like that guy in LA who was interviewed on CNN tonight wearing one glove--is a big cultural event.

So, to make it official, I was at work today when the New York Times Breaking News Alert came in to say that Michael Jackson had been rushed unconscious to the hospital. And then TMZ announced that he was dead and everyone in my office forgot that we are not actually there to talk about and Google Michael Jackson. At 6pm, 4 people were in my office, one of them screaming "REFRESH!" every 7 seconds because (despite the early call from TMZ) CNN, the NYT, and the AP were not yet showing an official death. "Get out of my office!" I finally yelled.

Michael Jackson has become a tragic, controversial, frightening, and even comical figure. And I never, ever knew him, which is fine with me. But just like I'll always remember that I was about to pack up and leave the office when the LA Times finally refreshed, I also remember where I was when I first became a fan at age 7. My friend Beth and I used to put her Thriller record on and dance like crazy people in the living room. And that may have been one of the first experiences I had branching out from my parent's music and finding some of my own. Not a unique experience, I'm sure. Just something I'm thinking about today.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Ranger Danger

As I sit down to deliver a Deepish update, I am having a little trouble figuring out how to describe the Colorado Mountains Bachelorette Camping Trip that I experienced this weekend. My friend Tash lives near Denver and is getting married in October. She and Steve have been together for something like 10 years—we all met in college. Because I bartended at the bar where Steve worked, Tash spent the first 5-6 years of their relationship thanking me every time we talked for introducing the two of them. She also spent the first year+ of their relationship commenting on his calves and saying things like “Oh my god, he’s so hot,” when he was sitting right there with us. On slow Sunday nights, we would sometimes go into the bar and study at one of the high top tables. I’d look up and Tash would be staring at Steve, sighing deeply and saying “Have you seen his calves?” Yes. Yes, I have.

I love this girl.

So I flew out on Friday and after the requisite trips to the liquor store, the grocery store, Tash’s house to load the car, someone else’s house to reload the car, and back to the grocery store, we were on our way. There were about 14 girls with us, and it is necessary to report that a fairly substantial number of them were lesbians and the rest were not. I mention this because Tash felt the need to make sure everyone knew exactly who was who. “This group of people,” she said on Friday, gesturing to 5 of us, “likes boys.” Which is funny, because Jess and Linda, her good friends who “like girls” were the ones who brought the penis straws and the penis water bottle that Tash had to drink out of all weekend. They also brought a rockin piƱata that was filled with candy and tiny bottles of liquor. Sweet.

I have debated whether or not to introduce the subject of illicit materials onto Deepish Thoughts, but ultimately feel I must do it, because otherwise the following story makes no sense.

Friday night we were sitting around the campfire, some of us drinking, some of us smoking…things, and some of us doing both. I am not lying when I say I only drink. I told the girls when I got there that I would be happy to smoke “things” with them if they wanted me to spend the rest of the weekend in the tent not talking to anyone. Because that’s exactly what would happen.

It got dark. We were bundled in sweatshirts because it was getting chilly, but the fire was warm and comfortable and all of the stars that you can never see in New York City were up in the sky where they belong. Suddenly a white car with flashing yellow lights pulled up near the campsite. I recalled something Linda had said earlier that day: “If you see a white car with flashing yellow lights, let us know. That’s the park rangers.”

“The park rangers seem to be here,” I offered.

Profanity, giggling, and proclamations of disbelief arose. “It’s true!” someone else said. “There’s two of them and they’re getting out of the car.”

Our friend Jamie stood up and walked towards the rangers, who had official looking vests, walkie talkies, and a clipboard. They talked quietly for a minute, but she couldn’t keep them from approaching the campfire.

“Good evening, ladies,” said a woman with close cropped hair and a t-shirt that showed off muscular arms. “We’ve had some noise complaints. Do we have any underage drinking going on here?”

Pretty much everyone started talking at the same time, explaining that we were not even remotely underage, and that we would try to curtail any noise.

She seemed unimpressed. She pointed to one of the girls across the campfire. “You look pretty young, can I see some ID?”

The chosen one got up and walked over and the ranger led her a few steps away from the fire. She then came back to the rest of us and said, “Look, it really smells like [“things”] over here. I think I can see what’s going on.” She got on her walkie talkie, “We’ve got a 420. I’m going to need backup.”

I am now only slightly exaggerating when I say at least two people had heart attacks. 5 burst out laughing, and the ranger said “Are you ladies sufficiently freaked out? You’re on candid camera!”

Yes, this was Jess and Linda’s gag on the group (they had purchased the vests and walkie talkies solely for this purpose), and I must say it was hilarious after everyone’s heart rates returned to normal. The “ranger” then hung out for a drink and went back to her campsite next door.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Rain, Rain Go Away

As my friend Matt said LAST WEEK, "If I wanted to live in Seattle, I would move to Seattle."

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Who Ran?

This seemed relevant today.

If it doesn't work, the relevance shall remain a mystery. And let that be a lesson to you. We don't always have the answers. Or the necessary technical skills to run a blog. Or our lives. Wait, who are we talking about?

*A Note: I don't mean to make light of the post-election events in Iran. I just really like it when Adam Levine pops up in the middle of that song. But it's scary and disheartening that people are being beaten in the streets and could potentially be executed under Islamic law for protesting the alleged victory of Ahmadinejad. My small act of subversion is a Deepish homage to them.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Trump Card

It's Saturday afternoon and I'm waiting for a phone call. The caller will be Gary, the guy who runs the IT Help Desk for my company, and he's based in Boulder, Colorado. I'm not really in the habit of talking to IT on the weekends, but I've made an exception.

Gary is going to read my tarot cards. At some point during a particularly rough week in the life of my laptop, Gary and I were on the phone a lot. So I asked him what his weekend plans were and learned that he occasionally reads tarot (which he pronounces "tuh-ROW") at a local bookstore. Of course I jumped at the chance to have the IT guy do a reading for me, even though there are several psychics and readers within spitting distance of my apartment (if you’re an Olympic Spitter.) But have those people ever brought my entire email inbox back from certain death when I accidentally deleted it? No, they have not.

At 5 minutes to 2pm, I am pacing around the living room in anticipation. “You’re going to do this in another room, right?” asks Rob.

Gary calls 5 minutes late.

“Sorry,” he says. “I was getting a massage and the masseuse was real chatty.”

Gary asks me how many times I would cut the deck if I was there, and we jump into the reading. I won’t give you all the details here, because let’s be honest. You don’t care. Suffice it to say that I am apparently trying to decide between two things and I am NOT to make the decision just yet. However, when the universe delivers a message to me about the decision, I must be ready to go or I will miss my chance. I need to stay on my toes, says Gary.

He emails me a recording of the conversation, which is made better by the fact that you can only hear Gary and not my stupid “uh huh”s and “um, yeah, that makes sense”s. I take notes on the whole experience and read them to Rob afterward. His eyes are closed, but I think he is listening.

I tell him that I got the Death card. His eyes open.

"It doesn't really mean physical death," I say quickly. "It could mean rebirth of some sort, or..." I consult my notes, "change or transition."

"No," Rob says. "I think it means Death. Good luck with that."

Friday, June 12, 2009


Congratulations to Natascha, who found out yesterday that she passed the Bar exam in Colorado! I wish I could have heard the conversation when the woman from the Colorado Supreme Court called to give her the news and Natascha just kept asking “Are you sure?” Yay, Tash!

Kudos to Rob C (of Liz and Rob fame) who quit his job to follow his dream of tormenting my sister by sleeping in while she goes to work.
Just kidding, he quit left his job to start his own business and be the master of his domain. More to come on this.

And welcome to Jordan Tristan (“JT”) Riley, born Monday 6/1 to my dear friend Krista. I’m going to visit them today, so I will post a photo next week. I’ve seen a few already: the kid is a looker.

In terms of personal accomplishments, all I really have to share is that I walked to work in flip flops today and I have finally gotten all of the slime off my feet. Anytime this nasty weather wants to take a break would be fine with me.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Just Wednesday

In a strange but exciting development this morning, I woke up at 5:30am and went to the gym. Even more exciting, I remembered the gym's location.

Jeff Goldbum also got up early today to work out, so we hung out together: Me on the elliptical machine, him on the floor below in red pants, not looking at me.

Aside from that massive news flash, the only other thing I wish to share today is that I stole a copy of the latest Newsweek from my eye doctor.* Stephen Colbert is the guest editor and reading this issue has made my day.

Favorite line so far: "I hadn't seen [the Iraq War] in the media for a while, and when I don't see something, I assume it's vanished forever, like in that terrifying game peekaboo."

*Nooo, I don't steal. I asked if I could have it--they had a stack.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Warming up the DVR

Emma doesn't care what you think of her sitting habits. Stop looking at her.

Monday, June 8, 2009


I moved to Berkeley, California in 2000 and lived in a peeling blue building across from a cornfield, where I heard the corn was being genetically modified, but that might have just been a rumor propagated by the mailman. The mailman always had lots of information to share, including one particularly horrific story about how my scummy landlord had allowed a young girl in one of his apartments to die of carbon monoxide poisoning, then smuggled her out of the apartment wrapped in a large rug. The Cal newspaper had broken the story, the mailman said, handing me my bills. I already disliked the landlord immensely and this information was not hard to believe.

A man named Omar lived in the neighborhood; more specifically, he lived in a basement-type space below my apartment. It wasn’t an actual home, and Omar was not supposed to be there. He was pleasant enough during the day, standing outside my building or on the busy street a block over, greeting strangers and looking for spare change. But at night, after he’d been drinking, Omar would get the wild eyes. It was then that he would pound on the first floor window and challenge my neighbor Micah to fight him.

“I’m not going to fight you, Omar,” Micah would say calmly. I could hear this from my futon on the floor above. “Have a good night. I’ll see you tomorrow.” It wasn’t quite as easy as it sounds, though, and usually Micah would have to repeat himself several times before Omar wandered off to start trouble elsewhere.

One night the police came for Omar. He was in the basement, which you could only enter from a little side door about 3 feet high. The police knew Omar’s name. I think everyone did.

“Come out of there, Omar!” yelled one. “You know you can’t be in there.”

“Just a minute,” Omar called back, as though there was a delivery guy at the door. “Let me put my pants on.”

We didn’t see Omar after that. The reason I’m thinking about him is that there’s a man who sits on a bench outside Madison Square Park who looks exactly like Omar. Maybe Omar pulled himself together, moved across the country, and likes to spend his time outside now, feeding birds. I bet my Berkeley mailman would know the answer.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

You Can Dance if You Want To

I was on my way home from work tonight, talking to Joe. I call my parents a lot on my walk home; if you ignore the sirens and car horns, it's actually a delightful time to catch up. Tonight Joe had to ignore the fact that I somehow contracted the Black Lung around 5th Avenue and coughed pretty much throughout our conversation.

"Are you sick?" he asked.

"No," I cleared my throat. "I think I just inhaled street fumes."

Seriously, it's been 40 minutes and I'm still coughing.

Joe has been substitute teaching for 6th graders for two weeks, while their regular teacher is on maternity leave. At least, I think this is true. He might tell me that he has really only been subbing for three days and the regular teacher is getting her tonsils out. I don't know. The street fumes have made me woozy.

He told me about the trip the 6th graders went on today. A 2-hour boat ride in Chicago. They had quite the spread of food: chicken, pasta, hamburgers, desserts galore. And there was a DJ, so they danced.

As soon as the word "danced" came out of Joe's mouth, I had an immediate memory of 7th grade, when I was a student at the school where Joe taught Social Studies. We had a school dance, and lots of people were there. Including Joe. And his small robot, Robie, who was yellow and ate pennies and danced when you fed him the pennies. And Joe put Robie on the ground in the middle of the room and danced with him.

I was mortified. I went up to my Language Arts teacher. "He's embarrassing me!" I complained. She nodded, "I'll talk to him."

So Joe and Robie left the dance. And although I think I apologized to Joe later that day, I feel guilty and a little bit sad when I recall that experience. But I also have to laugh at the idea that I thought it was my Dad who made me a dork in 7th grade. Really, I did that all by myself. I'm ok with it, though. I have still never danced with a robot.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Only cartoon cats sit like this

The latest chapter in the saga of Things Emma Sat On: her butt.

I feel I must note that the extended absence of this feature does not stem from the fact that Emma has been behaving normally. It's more that she's conditioned us to think that regular cats like to sit on DVD players and other household appliances. (Emma on a DVD player...coming soon.)

Monday, June 1, 2009

Books made of Air

Deepish Thoughts was officially launched about 2 years ago, around the 2007 Book Expo America, which really only matters to people in publishing and those people’s parents who pretend to be in publishing so that they can show up and get free books. The free books have always been, in fact, the best part of the show.

But this weekend, there were not a whole lot of giveaways to be found, as people are cutting back on expenses. Thus, I came away empty-handed, nothing to curl up with when I got home, nothing to send to the parents. BUT! At the Harper Collins booth, a movement was taking place. Instead of piles of books, there were piles of postcards. And those postcards had the following information for all you savvy e-readers out there.

To read an advance copy of Mary Karr’s new memoir LIT:

Login at
Enter BEA1-2009-LIT1-0005
Select your device and file format for download

To read a copy of The Book of The Shepherd, a new novel by Joann Davis, enter BEA1-2009-BFTS-0008

Which means that there were freebies being offered, but they were 21st-century freebies. You can download these to your Sony Reader, iPhone, Windows or Mac Computer, or Smartphone. Keep in mind they are uncorrected versions.