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"Where Have You Been?"

It's been a while. Apologies. A couple things have gone down in the past couple weeks that have contributed to my interwebz delinquency...

  1. Work. Work has been crazy and I haven't had time to brainstorm during work hours at all.
  2. Social Life. In New York, in the summer, no one is around. We go to the Hamptons for the weekends, or boating in Connecticut, or a myriad of other snobby east coast elite locations, apparently. So I pretty much hadn't seen most of my peeps from June to August, so I've begin to catch up.
  3. Fitzy Computer. It's old, it's slow, it needs to be replaced. As a result, I've been avoiding it in my non-work hours.
  4. Westeros.

Read more about my descent into dorkdom...

Pre-Paid Ranting Plan

 Living in New York, you're in proximity to more people in one morning than most other people see in a week. As anyone in even the smallest of towns will tell you, most people in any burg, well, kinda suck. The stereotype we're all familiar with, of course, is the surly, foul-mouthed New Yorker who lets the f-bombs fly at the slightest of offenses. This is not my experience. Most subway preachers/panhandlers/assholes are ignored. Most citizens turn the other cheek when bumped into, or shoved, or shouted at for something they may or may not have intentionally done. The result, at least in my case? Imaginary fights.


Fan Girl Frenzy

Ever since I was a little girl, most of my friends have not understood my celebrity crushes. I remember vividly, back in high school, all my friends were watching a video (an actual video tape, mind you, none of this DVD business) of an N'Sync concert, gushing over which of the five guys was the hottest. As this was going in, I was reading a Kool-Aid stained copy of Jon Stewart's book Naked Pictures of Famous People and furtively lusting after the picture on the back inside jacket. This picture...

Siiiiigh. Okay. Jon Stewart. A (then) 37 year old, pretty average looking comedian hosting a late night talk show intended for the 20-40-something set on basic cable. Oh, and PS, he's two years older than my mother.

Let's compare this picture to a picture of N'Sync from that same year...

NSync: a traditionally good-looking boy band specifically marketed to teenage girls, the oldest (and least popular) of whom is 28. They dance complete with a full pyrotechnics show and sing about how much they want to be with you, YOU, teenage girl listening to the album.

I could not have had less interest in NSync. I didn't find them particularly attractive and their music made me want to claw my ears. But Jon Stewart? Oh Holy Mother of God. He's funny, socially aware, smart, self-deprecating... all these things culminated into making him the most (celebrity) man on the planet. To this day, Jon Stewart remains number one on "My List."

Another gent with the distinction of being on La Liste de La Comtesse is author and Middle East expert Reza Aslan. When interviewing Aslan as part of my last job (an opportunity I begged my boss for which she gave to me, laughing), it took all my power not to giggle uncontrollably and trip over my words, which would have been awkward considering I was asking questions like 'In 1945, there were approximately 800,000 Jews living in communities throughout the Arab world. Today, there are fewer than 7,000. What do you predict the future holds for these communities' and then an extended discussion about how colonialism influenced Jewish/Muslim relations and Middle-Eastern anti-Semitism.

So there you have it: the key to La Comtesse's panties? A big sexy brain.

So needless to say, I could certainly relate to this video, posted by UCB entitled Fuck Me Ray Bradbury...

See video at the bottom of the post...

Write What You Know, Douchebags.

So, apparently, this piece of shit is going around Facebook (it was brought to my attention by Mama Bogwitch, whose cousin put it as her status)...

If you think that putting up a mosque 600 ft. from ground zero and having the inauguration on the anniversary of 9/11 is immoral , inhumane and a complete lack of respect for the memories of all that perished there on that day, that politicians are doing a grave injustice to the fallen heroes, their families and all the people of New York City, as well as AMERICANS that find this appauling, repost

Siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh. Where to even begin? I could go on about this for pages and pages, but I'll keep it brief.

First of all it's racist and second of all it's ignorant. The racism speaks for itself, but the ignorance can be elaborated upon as there are several different types at play here.

Ignorance of Grammar: That shit is not even a fucking sentence.And you spelled "appalling" wrong.

Ignorance of Location: Let me say how very much I love when people who don't live in, and have never lived in, New York City speak for (literally in this case) "all the people of New York City." A) They want to build the place two blocks away. That's practically a state by New York standards. B) Did it ever occur to anyone that a good deal of the people in New York City are, in fact, Muslims? C) I'm a New Yorker. Moreover I'm an atheist New Yorker who hates all religions more or less equally. I want the community center to go up.

Ignornace of Islam and Jihad: Jihad is as much (if not more of) a call/threat to secular Muslims as it is a threat to Americans (though I know the concept of something not being entirely about America is shocking to most Americans). This is about rallying other Muslims to fundamentalism. Jihad is a barbarous, bloody "conversation" within Islam. Most terror attacks occur in heavily Muslim populated areas in Western cities, usually by young men who grew up in the West and were shunned by the societies they lived in. Feeling that they didn't belong in the society they were raised in because of rampant racism and anti-Islamism, they turned to fundamental jihadism. So, really, shit like stopping a Muslim mosque and community center, is exactly the kind of attitude that breeds new terrorists, not the mosques themselves.
When you are very lucky, you encounter people in your life who lead you to appreciate things you'd never even thought about before. I married such a person. 

To put it bluntly and in the most accurate way possible, Monsieur is a huge nerd. Since he was a kid, he's had not just an interest in, but an appreciation for, gaming. Video games, table top games, it doesn't matter. He currently is blogging his way through every game NES ever put out. While I have joined in some of his interests, I have remained impervious to others. Yet with few exceptions, I've at the very least developed an appreciation for them. Video games fall into this latter category. I don't care for them. I have miserable hand-eye coordination (true story: up until 3 grade, I was sent home with "cutting homework" because I couldn't figure out how to use scissors) and I feel the same way about video games as I do about sports: the goal is too vague. I will just never care enough to put any real effort into getting a ball in a hoop or saving a cartoon princess. So dreams of The Last Star Fighter must needs be pushed from my mind; but I've become acquainted well enough with video games to appreciate that a) they can be a vehicle of great artistic achievement; b) the people who play them are often discerning, intelligent men and women; and c) I know enough know games and the gaming world I to know next to nothing about them.

This was all in my mind the other day when I was reading The New Yorker and came across a very long article on video games. It was written by a man (Nicholson Baker) who had never picked up a controller until last fall.


Am I My Begonia's Keeper?

At my place of employment, I have the great privilege of working with Holocaust survivors. One in particular has a certain peccadillo: every time she comes to the office, she brings the woman who sits across from me at least one plant from her garden. The co-worker who receives these plants does not sit near a window (like I do) or near a shelf on which to put them (like I do). So all plants wind up on a bookshelf adjacent to my desk. Since I am the closest person to the plants (and because my co-worker is lazy and has relinquished all knowledge of these things after they leave her hands), it falls upon me to take care of them.

Now if I were talking about a small potted violet or perhaps even a taller, yet stately orchid, this would be just fine as a once in a while gift. Oh no. If this woman could give my co-worker two, 25 foot tall weeping willows every week for the rest of her life, I think she would. About two weeks ago, she gave us our fourth plant in four weeks: a two foot tall angel wing begonia.

I. Fucking. Hate. That. Damn. Begonia.


Lady Galgathea?

Okay. I cannot be the only child of the 80s to see this.

So here's a picture from Lady Gaga's (super-awesome) Vanity Fair shoot

And here's a still frame of Lady Amalthea from the (super-awesome)1982 classic The Last Unicorn

I mean right?!

Other things Lady Gaga and Lady Amalthea have in common... Read more.

Kids' Stuff

Every morning when my 27 year-old self gets to work, at my big girl job, my co-worker asks me how my evening was. The past few weeks, my response has been the same

"I watched cartoons."

Okay, maybe that doesn't strike some people, maybe even a lot of people, as a ridiculous thing to say. Who doesn't love The Simpsons? Many non-geeky/age appropriate people list The Family Guy as one of their favorite shows. Slightly out of the mainstream (but still on popular networks) cartoons like The Venture Brothers and Archer show that a cartoon format is a great one for finding the comedy in the spy/adventure genre.

But what I have been watching is not a show meant for adults. Over the past couple weeks, I've completed one and a half seasons of Avatar: The Last Airbender.


My Best Friend's Wedding

At best, blogs are insightful and witty: a place for all of us to express the big and little things that make our lives wonderful (or horrible) and fascinating. At worst, they are narcissistic cesspools that, in terms of literary accomplishment, practically cancel out Shakespeare. A couple weeks ago, my co-worker and I were entertaining ourselves by reading her former boss' wedding blog. The particular entry that captured our imaginations was a re-cap of a wedding she had been to the day before. It essentially boiled down to a condescending strand of back-handed compliments placed in direct comparison with the writer's own upcoming nuptials. My co-worker challenged me to write a similar post in the same style. My efforts are below...

I've always been extremely interested in names and naming things. I name absolutely everything. As a child, I once named a toothbrush (Flora... like fluoride, get it?) I've named the next five daughters I will have, three sons, million pets, the next two racehorses I will own, billion and seven nail polish colors I will invent, a restaurant I will open, and a bakery I'll launch. As you can imagine, picking a title for a story I'm working on and naming all the characters is positively orgasmic.