Monday, February 27, 2006

Bedtime Is Now 8AM

The roommate brought home some movies yesterday which was a perfect way to spend a rainy Sunday. I'm constantly thinking that it's a good idea to watch scary movies when I know it's not. I'll freely admit to having the most extreme imagination in the world, and one scary movie can set off a thousand clown-infested sleepless nights. But something about the smell of popcorn and the surround sound in the living room shushes that voice of reason, and I'm left kicking myself when it's time for bed.
So we watched 'Saw' which really wasn't that bad. It was twisted, but the dialogue was bad enough that I couldn't take it seriously. But of course, there had to be a clown in it. The whole cutting of the foot, that was bad, and it definitely made a cameo in my dreams last night, but that effing clown. I couldn't sleep for more than 5 minutes without opening my eyes to scan the room. And that's really what kills me. Why the urgent need to check to see if something's in my room? Do I WANT to find a clown?! And these are the arguments I have with myself as I try to get to sleep.
OK, close your eyes and just keep them shut 'til you drift off.
But what if when I close them something comes out of the closet.
Well, are you in any better shape if you see it come out of there?
Good point, but at least I can try to run out of the room.
You really think you'll make it out?
Stop, you're scaring me.
And so it goes. Gah. I'm an idiot.
Miss Congeniality 2 has been on HBO for like the last 3 weeks. I think I'll just watch that like 8 times until the clown will be a welcomed relief.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Saucy Wires and the Unattainable Cool

So I went out for drinks last night with this kid I used to work with, his girlfriend, some guys from their band and 3 other kids who I can only assume tuned drums or tested mics, because they had very little to say but were more than helpful when it came to fixing the wobbly table with a stack of cocktail napkins. Ryan is totally down to earth, and I'm sincerely impressed with creative expression, but there's something about people in bands that equals immediate intimidation. It's like meeting someone who owns leather pants. That's just a level of cool I could never hope to reach.
People in bands seem to walk to beats, have you ever noticed? And when they pass people on the street, others seem to take notice of their vibe. I'm not that girl. I'm the girl who steps in gum. And when I pass people, I can hear the impression I've made. "Oh, watch out, that girl stepped in something."
But I thought that a good way to hide my complete lack of cool would be to pick up early on behavior and language they used and incorporate it into whatever I said. I went into the whole thing as a cultural anthropologist. Observation was key.
OK, so everyone ordered whiskey. This was bad news. Hard liquor quickly erases the remote possibility of keeping what little cool I have. I ordered a beer and said screw it. I was here to observe and needed my senses intact.
The first thing noticed, and was stuck on all night, was linguistics. These people used words I knew, but in completely different contexts. Examples include, closed, dollars, and sealed. Also, 'wires' was a big hit. Their last set was described as, 'off the wires,' 'on the wires,' and 'working the wires,' which I'm told has nothing to do with sound check. But probably THE word of the culture was 'sauce.' They said it, at least every other sentence. Maybe it was a game, and I wasn't invited to play, but it was driving me crazy. I found that sauce can mean anything-- seriously, it's ridiculous. From the conversations alone, I deduced it meant, good, bad, hot, funny, crazy, messy, a musical style, a personal style, and I think, though I can't be sure, spaghetti sauce. But even that has lost all meaning.
My head was spinning and I knew if I tried to use sauce it would be the one context in which it doesn't work. "Don't say that OK? It's prejudice."
I was so over the whole night and ready to leave. Ryan's girlfriend was on the phone and she goes, "Just a sec, let me ask." She looked at me and said, "Do you want a cat?"
I had no energy to even think, and decided to be honest in my lame non-band way. "I have no idea what that means."
"It means my friend has a cat, and she's giving it away."
"Oh, no thank you."

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Get Thee To A Nunnery

So this'll be the last parent posting for a while because it's getting lame. But they called last night when they got back to NY and the conversation was too classic not to share. My dad gets on the phone and says, "I was thinking about it on the flight, and you know, Bob is gay."
Bob, dad? Bobby? The Bob who's starring as Kenickie in the Asian Tour of Grease??? HE'S gay?! really?!!
He continued, "And also, she died before you were born, but my Aunt Mary was gay. Of course, she was a nun, so we can't be sure--but yeah, I think she was gay. So you must take after her."
This was brilliant. In one transcontinental flight, somewhere between beverage service and a snack box, my dad had discovered a genetic breakthrough in sexual heredity. I got my scoliosis from my mother's father, and my fondness for the ladies from my dead Aunt Mary. Plus, it's an incredible relief to know my extreme love for the Sister Act movies has some genetic validity behind it.
I always thought that if I ever owned a race horse I would name it 'Delores Van Cartier.' Based on this single conversation, it's clear "Sister Mary Martin' is a more appropriate choice.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Based On Height

Oh lord, I'm exhausted. Having visitors is a lot of work. Having my parents here is a test of self. it's like a vision quest. Except we eat and drink a lot, we're never alone, and any hallucinations are created as a way of escaping the reality of the moment. OK, so it's nothing like a vision quest. But it's intense.
But I don't want to give the wrong idea. I freaking love them. I'm thrilled to have 2 of the most amusing people I know as parents. It works out quite well. However, they're constantly saying things that leave me speechless. I'd like to consider myself fairly sharp, but I usually can't think of a single response to about 85% of the things they say. Like a few years ago when my dad asked me in all seriousness if I'd like to get involved with Riverdance.
So a lot of our time together ends up being deep breaths and pained stares at the ceiling on my part, as I try to figure out what's a joke and what they're genuinely interested in knowing.
On our drive down to Monterey I had to stop to use the bathroom. When I met them back at the car my mom had a look of disgust on her face. "Did you pee all over the floor in there?"
Now honestly--how am I supposed to respond to this? My mother is incredibly intelligent. I would hope the combination of her reasoning skills and common sense would rule out the need to even THINK such a question. But here we were. After a slow inhale and no smile on her end, I answered. "No, mom. I didn't." And this was followed by a barrage of comments from my father for the rest of the day, including, "You know what would be a rewarding career Jess? Exploring the ocean floor!"
I am without speech.
But they finally let me pay for a meal last night which was a moment of personal pride because they literally never allow it. But of course, as I was handing the waitress the check, my dad had to go and ruin it.
"So Jess, do you typically pay?"
"Pay for what?"
"Well, on dates. Do you pick up the bill? Because you're so tall?"
I looked at him, and to my mom, and repeated this, feeling my lungs fill to a painful capacity, until deb decided to chime in.
"Your dad's just concerned that if it's based on height, being gay could get very expensive for you."
I was positive they were kidding. And totally impressed with the comic genius behind the buddy-delivery of the joke. And yet, there was a genuine curiosity in their eyes that scared me. My dad is from the old school, 'chivalry is a man's job' line of thought, so I always thought his biggest problem with me being gay was that he wouldn't want me or a girl to have to get the car if it was raining outside after a movie. And from across the table, I could see my father felt helpless, thinking his daughter was being swindled by these petit, appetizer and dessert ordering women who would stick her with the bill because she'd worn heels that night, clearly indicating she would have to pay.
I imagined when he finally came around to the idea, my dad would start suggesting I see certain women based solely on their height--having nothing to do with their sexuality or the possibility of even knowing them. "You know who's tall Jess? Geena Davis." "Well, I've heard that about her, dad."
And I could tell there were a series of height-related questions they were dying to ask, and this killed me. I wasn't sure where they would start, but I was almost positive they would end with a big spoon/little spoon inquiry. I hated to think my parents could envision me as a spoon. I hated to think that's how they viewed me now, at this moment, as we spoke. Their daughter, the big spoon, buying the short women of America all their meals.

Monday, February 20, 2006

ppppp p-unit

Oh boy. So Deb and Steve will be here in a few short hours. I've cleaned the bathroom 3 times but I know faces will still be made. My parents are completely ridiculous when it comes to bathroom cleanliness. I remember once on a family trip to Amish country, my dad took us 2 hours out of the way because he heard a restaurant called "Bird in Hand"had the cleanest public restrooms in all of Pennsylvania. They were quite nice, but I'd like to see how they handle this whole avian flu thing.
But I'm excited to see them, it should be good. My dad is probably the most excited person in the world, when it comes to, um, anything, so he's totally been looking forward to getting out here for awhile. Every day for the last week he's been calling to see if I need them to bring anything from home. I swear it's a universal thing that parents think as soon as you leave their house, there will be no place for you to by the daily essentials. Really. Well, at least that's how it is in my family. Whenever my grandma would come up to visit from Long Island she would bring frozen meats as her carry-ons. Seriously. Like huge turkeys and hams, and when we told her to stop she seemed amazed that there were places by us to buy such things. No matter where you go I think parents assume you're headed off to some mining village where supplies will be short and hard to come by. And yet, for the entire summer I spent in Alaska, not a single care package. I can see my parents sitting around thinking it out together. "Well, there's gotta be a Super Center up in those woods somewhere. On the other hand, if she ever goes out to San Francisco, we should totally stock her up on canned goods."
But I like how I can already predict pretty much everything they will say on their entire trip. It's a fun little game. My dad's big 3 will be saying "West Coast!" pretty much every 5 minutes, commenting on the hardwood floors in my apartment, and asking me why I don't have any fresh vegetables in my fridge. My mom will want me to walk them through my "favorite morning routine" (should it involve jazz squares? I've never known), and "whoa, jess! when's the last time you cleaned this sink??"
Right, well there should be no shortage of stories from their week out here, I'm sure--or frozen meats for that matter.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

MO Winter Ball (gong)

So the hotel has a big party once a year right after Chinese New Year, go figure. Last year it was on a huge boat which was hella cool, this year it was in this amazing ballroom at the Westin St. Francis, overlooking the city. As usual, prizes were given away. I tell this story all the time, but the company has a prize wheel they spin once a month where people win cash. Really, it's a giant wheel. I've spun it 3 times and I have no idea why. Every time they hand me the money they say with a smile, "Keep taking those Safety Quizes!" I have no clue what they're talking about. I've never seen, let alone taken a safety quiz. But what am I going to say?
Anyway, the wheel didn't make an appearance at the party but I still won dinner for 2 at Campton Place (a $250 value). I would have so much rather had burritos for a year for $250, but what can you do? Gani sent me some pics from the party, here they are.

I hate the bus

Hate it! I've never liked the bus. As a kid, having to take the bus to school was pretty much the worst thing in the world. In kindergarten they wouldn't trust kids to remember their bus numbers so they were written on laminated paper cutouts of buses that we were forced to wear as necklaces at the end of the day, in order to make our way home. But my mother, not trusting the durable combination of paper and yarn, did me one better. She wrote my bus driver's name on my lunchbox and said that if I got lost, to call out her name. I realize, writing this now, that my mother must have hated me. First off, there are a thousand things wrong with the logic behind it. The bus # would have worked just as well, if not a million times better. And, given that my driver's name was Norna, (go ahead, say it once) it did very little to help my lunch situation with kids who were learning to read. NNNooooorrrna. Is that you? um, no. I'm jessica, my mom hates me.
So, strong negative feelings abound when it comes to taking the bus, and I can tell you in the last few months it's only gotten worse. Here's a highlight reel: A woman jumped in front of the train I was on, a man coughed literally 2 inches from my head like he was trying to test me in some gross way, a homeless man wearing a dress and one sneaker sang "Hey Mickey" into my face for 8 stops, and tonight, Lynn, a complete stranger and perhaps the worst smelling man in the history of the world, talked to me in a sports metaphor for my entire ride concerning the fact that he's "just trying to be about it." A sample of the convo follows, but I can't stress enough how badly he smelled and how hard it is to react to people when they're speaking, and you're trying to hold your breath.
"You see, I'm just trying to be about it, all's fair, the balls in play but it's inbound, it's in the net, not on the line, you know?" (nod, nod, wait for door to open, inhale, hold) "There are no fouls, I'm not gonna foul. I'm just tryin to be about it, I play clean for my 8 points, you know? (nod, hold it, nod, what the hell sport is this?) and so it goes. for the entire ride.
You know in monopoly how there's the B&O railroad? That comes from something. That comes from truth. The plastic seats have actually absorbed the smells. The scents are so insane they're actually changing the properties of plastic to allow for absorption. It's bad news. But on a positive note, I'm meeting Lynn on Sunday for a pick-up game at the pool.

Friday, February 17, 2006


Right, so I started a blog. I did it partly because I like to jump on trends years after they're hot, (ugg boot shopping tomorrow, anyone?) but mainly because I'm amazed at how much random stuff can fit into a day, and I'm inclined to share.
So the hotel I work for, Mandarin Oriental (gong!), works hard to constantly redefine opulence and their latest find is that rich people love sound effects to introduce things of importance-- a practice made popular by the Law & Order "dun-duns." So from now on, whenever I mention Mandarin Oriental (gong!) a young Asian boy with a promising future in symphonic percussion studies, will be paid for his efforts. It adds a certain amount of flare, and rich people love to support the arts.
Anyway, celebrities often stay and it amazes me how many of them use fake names to check in. Most celebrities have already changed their names once to become celebrities, and here they are, again, switching things up to stay one night away from home. I smell identity issues. The worst though, is when B list celebrities come in and change their names, like they couldn't possibly be bothered with the screaming fans on the street. That's why I was pleased to see the VIP arrival list the other day said, "Michael Douglas, actor" Not only was this a cool potential sighting (Catherine zeta-Jones, what?) but I liked that Michael Douglas didn't think he was so big, he had to stay under some ridiculous name ie. Simon Cowell who stayed as General Mills and insisted everyone call him General. What an ass.
So when the front office called saying that Mr. Douglas had checked in and cared for some welcome tea, I was more than happy to go up, (will Ms. Jones be needing tea?) Upon entering the suite I met a man at the door who looked familiar and coming from such a big family, I thought for a second he was an uncle I hadn't seen in a while. I quickly dismissed that and fought urges to hug him, but clearly, he was NOT Michael Douglas. When he started talking I put it together and almost screamed out his name like it was game. Special shout out to my brain for holding off on the tourettes at that particular moment. But this Michael Douglas, actor, was actually Michael Keaton, actor(?). Don't get me wrong, I LOVED Beetlejuice, Loved it, it really was brilliant. But please. Don't you think this is a terrible idea on his part??! People see a VIP list, get all excited to see Catherine Zet-- um, Michael Douglas, walk in and oh, hi. It's Mr. Mom. Talk about let down of let downs. And he has to know that's the reaction he's going to get. Why would Michael Keaton do this? As I turned to walk out the door, I felt a rush of sadness, thinking that Michael Keaton thought it would be a good trick to play, and people would be overjoyed to find him in the room, instead of that other Michael. And I felt guilty for only giving him a confused, "are you my uncle Peter?" look. Thinking that as soon as I left the room he would run to the Minibar to drown his sorrow, order Fatal Attraction on Pay Per View and cry alone all night. So just before leaving, I turned slowly, and softly said with a smile, "I loved you in Jack Frost."
Just kidding about that last part, but how effing cool would THAT have been?!