I do not want to say the book's title until I'm finished re-reading it. And maybe not even then.
So I’ve been revisiting old favorite books lately, but I’ve held off revisiting one of them, because it’s a biggie. There’s this one book that sort of changed my life, probably not because the book itself was so fantastic, but because it made me think in new ways, and it really did change everything I did afterwards: how I thought, how I acted, how I dressed, who I liked, why I liked them. This book changed the way I thought about religion and politics and myself and my peers. This book pretty much made me decide I should lose my virginity. Basically, this book did for me all the things that the Bible was aiming for, only with wildly disparate results.
It’s the fact that this book was such a Big Deal that I’ve held off re-reading it—that, and the fact that I loaned out my only sweet dog-eared underlined copy to this black hole of a girl I thought I was friends with ten years ago, and bitch up and LOST IT. I don’t actually believe she lost it: I had to friend-break up with her, and I think she was counting on the book to be the old black T-shirt of our relationship, only I wasn’t having any of that crap. So god knows what she did with it, but I was so hurt by the loss of it that for years, I refused to buy a new copy—until today.
Today it was really warm and drizzly outside, which reminded me of the summer I read this book for the first time. I spent so many hours cooped up in the swimming pool concession stand on those June days when it was raining outside, but not raining enough to officially close the pool, so no one was there but me and the lifeguards, and I’d spend the day sitting next to the sleeping cash register, legs stretched out across the counter, eating red popsicles and drinking suicides and reading this book. Today the air smelled just like that summer, so I decided what the hell, let’s give her a spin again, so I walked into Barnes & Noble and bought it and was almost afraid to open it.
Clearly, the odds of this endeavor being a huge personal disappointment and/or embarrassment are off the charts.
We were throwing furniture off the roof/We'd watch it shatter on the ground below
Clicking on the image above will allow you to view pictures from our double birthday party on Ryan's roof Saturday. It was a good party, at least as far as I was concerned, probably because I was on a Spodie drip and not at all involved with the unnamed parties who started throwing vodka bottles off the the roof onto the roof across the street, breaking that building’s skylight and causing the cops to show up. This marks the second year in a row that the cops have made an appearance at our birthday party, so now it’s like a tradition or something. The downside is that Ryan might be getting evicted, which is bogus because it was those OTHER people on the roof who threw the barbecue grill that landed the car on the street below, but anyway: pictures.
God, are you loving this summer as much as I am so far?
The Great Conjunction!
In the past few days, I’ve caught myself making an alarming number of Dark Crystal jokes. I mean, more than usual, and to everyone, not just my nerd best friend Laura. Sarah Hatter asked me if she could list me as a reference on her resume, and I was like, “Sure! Sarah Hatter served as Court Chamberlain during my reign as King of the Skeksis from 5097-6003. She ate my corpse on my deathbed with panache and fervor. A+, would do business with again.” Crickets. Hover over this picture to witness another one. I can’t stop.
I know exactly where this came from: on Sunday, I went to brunch with Sarah N. and Albee, and we thought it would be fun to go back to the same $5 psychic we went to after brunch on my birthday last year. Only she was closed, so we went to another $5 psychic, and this one sort of freaked me out. The one last year was pretty vague, all “blah blah, you will travel over water, you will have two loves in your life,” like she was seriously just reading me Rentals’ lyrics. But this $5 psychic, she started naming names and pulling out secrets I hadn’t even told most of my friends. I mean, she knew exactly where I’d dumped the body and everything! I’d just sat there sort of stunned the whole time she talked, and then at the end she pressed a crystal into my hand and told me to keep it with me at all times because of my blocked chakras or open doors from my past life or something. I was like, well, uh, I guess I’ll hold on to this, why not? I went into the whole thing on a lark, but, you know, I’ll try riding it out, whatever.
So I slept with it on my bedside table that night (which felt pretty dumb), and had a horrible nightmare that I was at a pool party and discovered suddenly that everyone I knew was a vampire, and always had been, and they all could tell I wasn’t a vampire and wanted to bite me to turn me into one. After spending the whole dream running and hiding, I resigned myself to my fate, and decided to let Josh be the one to bite me, because I knew he’d be very nice about it. Then I woke up all sweaty and scared and was like, fuck you, crystal!
The thing is, I’m not sure on the protocol for disposing of a crystal shard. Is it like a cell phone, can I not just throw it in the trash? Or should I hold onto it until The Great Conjunction and then plunge it into the Dark Crystal and heal our turbulent world? What to do, what to do?
All I know is I better get some gelfling girl wings out of this.
Meme: 5 Things
Brittney tapped me to do this a few weeks ago: A List of Five Things that Society At-Large Likes, Yet I Don’t Get:
1. Reality TV. I should preface this by saying that I don’t watch that much regular TV to begin with. If the characters’ last name isn’t Simpson or Bluth and it doesn’t feature Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert, I’m not going to make time for it. Definitely not for reality TV. No American Idol. I would rather do long division for an hour than be forced to endure the mediocre youth of today butcher the mediocre songs of yesterday. No Trading Spaces or Extreme Home Makeover. I do not want to see anyone else’s house get redecorated, ever. It does not make me cry; it makes me change the channel. (Also, Trading Spaces pisses me off extra because one Saturday my friend Tad and I spent the whole day lying on the couch, drinking and watching '80s movies on TV, and we got really excited when we saw Trading Spaces listed on the TV Guide channel, only to discover it was NOT the Eddie Murphy/Dan Akyroyd movie.) No Survivor, Apprentice, Amazing Race, Bachelor, anything. I am not interested in any sort of program where people are on teams or scheming or strategizing or trying to win something or someone. They make me despise my fellow man, and I’m pretty good at that as it is. Really, the only reality television I’ve ever enjoyed is real lowest common denominator shit, like Love Cruise or Rich Girls, where there’s no point, it’s just stupid people being themselves for my own smug amusement. Even then, I can only take this in very small doses, preferrably when hungover. Sort of like Cheetos.
2. Cats. Here’s the thing: I don’t like cats. I do not think cats are cute. At all. Seriously. Even kittens. I never used to believe that people could honestly look at a baby or a puppy and not at least think, “Aw, I may not want one, but that sure is sweet,” until I realized that when I look at a kitten, I have the same thought process as when I look at an inanimate object. Yep, that’s a cat. No, I do not want to hold it. To be honest, I sort of want to hiss at it so it’ll go away. I don't want to microwave them or anything; I just want them to leave me alone. Now, I will admit that there are a few cats that I do like, but just because I got to know them and they were pretty cool and didn’t try to suck the breath out of any babies in my presence. THAT I SAW.
For the record, Cats I Like:
- My friend Laura’s cat, Bonnie, who slept at my side when I stayed on her couch even though she hides underneath it from everyone else
- My friend Sarah’s cat, Sylvie, who is the color of graphite and very shy
- My aunt and uncle’s long-dead cat, Leo, who was super fat and never moved while I petted him and basically acted like a dog
- Two of Brian and Erin’s four cats, but I’m not saying which two. I don’t dislike the other two; I just don’t know them all that well. And it’s a testament to Brian’s writing that I will actually look at all his freaking cat pictures on Flickr just to read his funny captions.
Also for the record, Cats I Do Not Like:
- My neighbor's cat I used to have to catsit (thanks for not telling me there was a burglar upstairs that one time, Rosa!)
- My professor's cat I used to have to catsit (thanks for sleeping on my chest and getting your hair in my lip balm, Budd!)
- Every other cat on the planet
- Your cat
3. Ben Stiller. Annoys the living crap out of me. He’s all anxious and angular and does not make me laugh, ever, at all. To me, he’s the embodiment of physical comedy, which I find simultaneously boring and infuriating. My brother made me watch Meet the Parents, and it was excruciating, except for the four minutes Owen Wilson was onscreen. I mean, I don’t Julia Roberts-hate him, but I don’t get why he’s funny. I’ve had more than one person try to cure me of this by forcing me to watch The Ben Stiller Show, which was funny to me in the only way Ben Stiller’s movies are funny to me: the people around him are pretty hilarious.
4. Beer. This might come as a surprise to you, since I often mention my hobby, drinking, but I’m not that into beer. Maybe it was growing up in Oklahoma, where beer is 3.2 and a waste of time to try to get drunk from in somebody’s field before your 11:30 curfew, but to this day, I cannot drink enough beer to actually get drunk from it alone. If someone made me shotgun brews, I could do it, but I’m not going to fully enjoy it. I'd just be going through the motions, like a 1950s housewife silently staring at the ceiling and making her shopping list during sex. I like beer, but in the way I like soda. I’ll have a few if I’m relaxing at a barbecue or split a pitcher on the patio, but when it comes to alcohol, I prefer whiskey or cider. Which you can go ahead and call girl beer. I don’t mind.
5. LIVESTRONG bracelets. My cyberfriend Lady Toole did an admirable job of discussing this a few months back, but I really don’t get the LIVESTRONG thing. I mean, of course, I’m against cancer and what have you, but I was confused about the whole movement from the start. Last summer, my friend Matt Clayton gave me a yellow rubber band bracelet that said PLAYER, and he had a red one that said BALLER, and I thought this was pretty awesome. This was before I noticed the LIVESTRONG trend, and then I started seeing people everywhere with yellow bracelets like mine, and I was like, Huh! Little kid on the subway is a PLAYER too! So’s his mom! Then one night John Kerry was on The Daily Show, sleeves rolled up, sporting his yellow band, and I was like, “Liz, come look! John Kerry’s on TV wearing my PLAYER bracelet!” and she was like, “Uh, Sarah?”
Endnote: I lost my PLAYER bracelet the night I got married in front of CBGB's. Which I’m sure would be fraught with meaning had I gotten for real married.
Let's go ahead and baptize the lions while we're in there, Bill
This is like when you hear that your ex lost his hair and got fat, and your friends are like ha, yeah, aren’t you glad you’re not with that guy anymore, but you’re like, man, he was always nice, that’s really too bad.
Tulsa, why you gotta make me look bad for lovin’ you?
My brother is in the hospital right now with a fractured skull and a blood clot in his brain. If you could think some good thoughts or whatever it is people do in these situations, I would appreciate it. It usually weirds me out a little when people say “I’m praying for you,” maybe since I grew up in the Bible Belt, and since I don’t personally pray, but sometimes my friend Laura tells me that she told her mom about some hardship I encountered and that her mom was praying for me, and something about this really warms my heart, mostly because I love Laura’s mom, and it’s nice to think that someone else’s mom has got my back somehow. I am just rambling now.
Update: My brother is doing much, much better. He might even get to go home from the hospital as soon as today. I have counted up the emergency room visits/hospital stays he’s accumulated since birth, and according to my calculations, Young Stephen Brown has ONE (MAYBE TWO if we don’t count that metal plate in his hand thing) life left. It’s a good thing he’s not a cat. For lots of reasons. The most important being I hate most cats.
Seriously, thank you to everyone for all the kind words and thoughts.
Last weekend, my brother was in town.
We did a lot of things.
We went to the Rock Paper Scissors Smackdown at Freddy’s (where I beat a Japanese news anchor on her own television program, and my brother drank all of his spending money for his trip in one night).
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We went to see Yankees/Red Sox at Yankee Stadium.
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We went to Ryan’s Memorial Day rooftop barbecue.
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Mostly, we drank a lot.
click on image to see more (about 2/3 of the way through the set)
This weekend, I uploaded about 200 pictures to Flickr and did not drink at all. That felt nice.