While I was in Chicago last week, my friend Tony and I spent some time comparing the music we’ve been listening to lately. He’d put a song by the Portland band Menomena on the last mix he made for me, and I told him I liked it, so he showed me three awesome videos, one filmed in a Paris alley, one filmed in an elementary school cafeteria, and the other filmed in insect hell. Check them out. The first two will make you happy and the third will sort of blow your mind.
Menomena, “Wet and Rusting”
Menomena, “Rotten Hell”
Menomena, “Evil Bee”
Another band Tony introduced me to was Beirut. La Blogotheque has a great Take-Away Show of theirs that you should watch, if you enjoy watching things.
The next London Cringe will be Wednesday, December 12, and we’re looking for British readers. Please contact me if you’re interested, or if you know someone who would be, or if you’d just like to be added to the mailing list.
One more thing I am thankful for: tickets to see Led Zeppelin in London on December 10.
That’s right: Roy won the Led Zeppelin lottery. Led Zeppelin, reuniting for the first time in twenty years, the only way to get a ticket was to enter your name in a lottery, at least one million people entered, Jimmy Page fractured his finger, they had to reschedule, a few spots were freed up, and Roy was one of the lucky ones. Roy, I am so glad that time at the bar a few months back when we were talking about how we both entered this lottery, we agreed that if either of us won, we’d take the other, and we shook on it. THANK YOU BEER. THANK YOU ROY. THANK YOU JIMMY PAGE GET WELL SOON.
The icing on this cake is that I was already planning a trip to London at this time, for the next London Cringe (more on that to come). I don’t know what’s happened, someone gave up their voodoo doll of me or Mercury went out of retrograde or something, but this timing is amazing. Now I get to see my favorite (disbanded) band of all time, exactly three years after seeing my second favorite (disbanded) band of all time! Exactly six months from my thirtieth birthday, when I was also in London! And I was already going back to London! Lincoln’s secretary was named Kennedy! Kennedy’s secretary was named Lincoln! Don’t let that scare you! Let that free you!
I have to go eat some cheese now. More later. Happy Thanksgiving!
This Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for being able to fly to Chicago to meet Tony and Emily and then drive to Wisconsin, where we’ll eat our turkey in a hot tub in front of a fireplace, just like the pilgrims did. I’m packing my swimsuit, my puffy coat, and a pie recipe. It’s like a rap video from 1997.
I’m reading tonight at the Electromail Reading, Mama’s Bar, 3rd & Ave B, 8:30 pm. I realize that’s exactly four hours from now, so I apologize for the short notice, but last night I saw Van Halen at Madison Square Garden, and I’ve been slowly putting my life back together all day.
Last night I was on deadline, so naturally I found myself reading Whoorl’s archives at 4 am, and when I got to her post about lip gloss, I was like, Oh! Oh oh oh! Because if there’s one thing I like doing, it’s buying stuff to smear on my mouth and then leaving it in a coat pocket or old bag after three applications.
Today I went on a search through my makeup bag and old purses to come up with all of the lip products I own, just my own little decree from Caesar Augustus, and friends, I think I might have a problem. Do you see that photo above? Do you see how I arranged them in order from functional to colorful? Do you see how I took the lids off the lipsticks and rolled them up in the tube like I was having a little photo shoot? Which I was? Who am I? A girl who owns 39 lip products, that's who!
Oh, and yes, I know they’re all basically the same color. To you.
The weird part is, I use a grand total of three of those items on a daily basis: the untinted Burt’s Bees balm, the clear mint-scented-and-flavored Sugar gloss, and the Clinique lipstick that makes it look like I am not wearing lipstick. Right. Of course.
And guess what: I DON’T EVEN LIKE LIP GLOSS. I hate it. It gets in my hair and on the rim of my drink and I have zero patience for it. The one I use daily, the minty one, I use mostly because it’s more ladylike than chewing gum.
I swear to god I’m not high maintenance, at least not about my physical appearance. (Oh, how my mother wishes I was just a little more high maintenance about my physical appearance!) Most days, I don’t wear anything but chapstick. If I leave my house, I’ll wear concealer, powder, and blush, maybe mascara and eye shadow if I’m feeling fancy. And some lipstick. You know, the one that looks like my natural lip color.
So I don’t really wear a lot of makeup, but I really like to look at it and smell it and play with it and buy it. Going into Sephora makes me really excited, but I think it’s just because it’s the grown-up version of the 64 Crayola box. I like the colors. I like the names. Sometimes I buy them just for the names. Basically, I like picking them out. And then not wearing them, unless it’s a fancy party or Halloween.
There are 39 items in that picture, so let’s round up to 40, because lord knows there’s another one or four hiding somewhere in my house. And let’s say that each one of those babies cost $10, which is an average, because some cost about $3 and a few cost closer to $24.
(Time out: WOW. TWENTY FOUR DOLLARS FOR LIP GLOSS. I remember scrounging the bottom of my backpack for nickels so I could afford a sixty-five cent bag of pretzels from the vending machine in college. And at my first two jobs. Here's where my financial advisor father has to go walk outside and count to one hundred and then cut his losses and focus solely on my brother from here on out.)
Anyway. So we are looking at roughly four hundred dollars worth of lipstick right there. Jesus H. Christ. Now, it’s not like I bought that all at once, or even all in same year, but still. $400. On something I smear on my mouth and then it comes off if I eat french fries. Which happens a lot. Let us not even think of how much I spend on french fries per year.
Things I could have spent that cumulative $400 on:
a plane ticket or two
a plane ticket to London in December
half my rent
a somewhat classy hooker
at least one pair of nice boots
six or seven haircuts
a new phone
two nice meals out, or many normal meals out
so many beers
Not to mention charity. That could be the cure for avian chlamydia sitting there on top of my bookshelf. But would the cure for avian chlamydia make my mouth shiny and fruit scented? I GUESS WE’LL NEVER KNOW.
1. It’s cold and rainy out, so we order Chinese for dinner. I get the chicken with broccoli and fried rice, like always. We eat while watching Law & Order: SVU. I can never decide if I like Olivia or not. During the show, my tongue keeps exploring that space between my two back molars. I think I have a piece of rice stuck back there, but I wait until the credits to go check. I totally do.
2. I am walking down the street, almost home, going out of my way to step on the crunchiest-looking leaves, when I remember that we’re out of toilet paper. The sun is starting to set and all the brick buildings are bathed in that late afternoon light that makes you crave bacon, or maybe a good hard slap across the face. I decide fuck it, we have kleenex.
3. No one who has ever known or loved me has ever truly appreciated the experience, as I am a beautiful misunderstood shadow full of wisdom and sex appeal. Every single person whose life has been touched by my presence remains in a stalled state of wistful remorse, except for the moments when God visits them with shooting pains for leaving and forgetting me. I sit on my throne built from baby femurs, checking my email and cackling.
1. The next morning I think it might be awkward, but it’s not. He asks if I want to go spend the day at Coney Island, and I want to hug him for listening before but I don’t, I just say yes. We realize before we leave that it’s Easter Sunday, so we both make calls to our families from opposite corners of his apartment before getting Chinese food and not talking much. We spend the whole day together not talking much. We do all the things I’d always wanted to do at Coney Island on a still-cold gray day with a boy I liked, only it’s like a silent movie. On the train ride home, I yawn and he says, “You can put your head on my shoulder and sleep if you want.” I try it for a minute, but it feels so unnatural. Taking my head off his shoulder is more uncomfortable than having it there. My stop comes first, and we don’t kiss goodbye. We don’t call after. Months later, he gets drunk and insists on walking me home from a party. We spend the surreal hours from 4 to 6 am in my room, where he cries about his ex-girlfriend and I pat his hand and then we both fall asleep on my bed together, in a completely unromantic way. I never tell my new boyfriend this part.
2. We are a secret, and we have a rare night alone together. It’s snowing hard outside, and we’re drinking vodka and listening to Let It Bleed. Instead of rushing into things like usual, he offers to make me some dinner while I take off my boots and sit on the radiator in the other room, warming up my wet stockinged feet. We haven’t touched yet. He’s out of an ingredient, so he runs down to the corner store in the snowstorm. While he’s gone, my phone rings and when I answer he says, “You were wearing tights, weren’t you?” I say yes and he exhales and hangs up. “You Got the Silver” comes on the exact moment he walks back through the door.
3. We are lying on my couch, pillows knocked aside, his shirt and sweater on the floor next to my jeans. We have not eaten any food nor left the apartment since he arrived eighteen hours before. The plan for the afternoon was to shower and walk to the pizza place around the corner, but after showering and dressing, the plan got forgotten, and now the sun has set again. His hand is in my hair and we are very quiet. I’m a little bit cold. I suddenly think this may be the happiest I’ve ever been in my entire life. Then I wonder if the hunger pains making me feel faint are clouding my judgment. I decide I don’t care and roll over again.