Category Archives: Friends

Four weddings and a quote about a funeral

It’s been an epic Labor Day weekend. Wedding Four of the summer was attended, thus concluding the Summer of Four Weddings.

From all this exposure to vows and receptions and DJs, I’ve concluded that I have no idea what kind of wedding I myself would have were I to have one. Unlike Jennifer Lopez in 2001’s The Wedding Planner, I didn’t spend my every waking moment as a child planning how I would get hitched to Matthew McConaughey. (I think it involved a Breyer horse ridden to a chapel and then a tiny woman being carried over the threshold of a doll house.)

In the lead up to Wedding Four, by accident or perhaps by no accident at all, I happened to be reading Dan Savage’s book about gay marriage and the overall institution of marriage, The Commitment. I initially picked it up because I was looking for inspiration to continue with my own book-writing, and I’ve always appreciated the no-nonsense style of Savage’s advice column. The subject matter of Savage’s book, as summed up in the subtitle, was a draw, too: “Love, Sex, Marriage, and My Family.”

I didn’t know it for a while, but I’m a romantic. I eschewed serious romantic relationships for a long time, instead getting a sad vicarious fix from romantic comedies like, yeah, The Wedding Planner. I’ve since taken a long, hard look at myself and my fears and exactly what was prompting my plan to turn into a lonely reclusive cat woman and thankfully, I no longer have much use for Matthew McConaughey. (Note: I still plan to be a semi-reclusive cat woman, I’ve just nixed the lonely part.)

Back to Dan Savage. A signature viewpoint of his that he brings up in his column, podcast, and in this book, is that a relationship doesn’t need to necessary last for years and years for it to be deemed a success. Therefore, even if a marriage ends in painful divorce, it shouldn’t automatically be categorized as a failure. Likewise, he says it’s too bad that marriages are only deemed a success when “death do us part.”

Toward the end of one chapter, Savage shares a short excerpt from Ovid’s Metamorphoses about a couple who helps traveling-in-disguise gods Jupiter and Mercury. The couple is hospitable and in return they receive a favor. They redeem it by asking that neither of them outlive the other: “Since we have spent our happy years together, / May one hour take us both away.”

Savage writes, “That’s how I want to go–with Terry, not before him, neither of us outliving the other. Death is a perverse measure of success, as I said, and I don’t believe that someone has to die in order for a relationship to be considered a success. But I live in hope that when our time comes, after many more happy years together, we’re both taken to Maloney’s [Funeral Home] on the same day, at the same hour.”

You know that’s some serious romance because not only did Ovid write about it, but so did Nicholas effin’ Sparks in his book turned movie The Notebook. (Spoiler Alert:) James Garner and Gena Rowlands dead and HOLDING HANDS in a nursing home bed together–that scene alone provided months of vicarious romantic satisfaction.

Hmm. What’s my point. Weddings. Love. Family. If I’ve learned one thing this summer, it’s that I’m pro those things. Maybe not holding one of my own, but I’m at least pro attending weddings. And I’m pro family. They’re good fodder for books. And love! I’m so pro love that I leave you with a compilation of all four of the first dance songs I’ve experienced this summer in chronological wedding order:

A video that mistakes Fred Astaire for Frank Sinatra at one point:

Lyrics that truly encapsulate love: “Cause every time I see your bubbly face, / I get the tingles in a silly place”:

A video tribute to Carrie Underwood that features a country song, but not one of her own:

And finally, a wonderfully bizarre mix of random images paired with movie stills and posters from Titanic and Moulin Rouge:

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It’s hard to exist.

I’m struggling with existence again. As usual. It’s so lame. And it’s also the least lame thing ever.

An old friend texted me a few minutes ago saying, “I hear you’re some kind of comedian now.” And I texted back, “I’m not sure what I am. What are you these days?”


I was riding the subway on Monday, and I was eating a turkey sandwich. The turkey sandwich part isn’t so important, except that the train was crowded and I was dropping lettuce on myself and I felt sort of bad, but not that bad because the woman sitting next to me was eating an apple.

In an attempt to avoid eye contact with any Q Train passengers who might be watching me eat, I started studying advertisements. One in particular caught my eye. For a few reasons:

1. It was for a book and I like those.

2. The concept for the book turns the author into a whore.

3. I’ve long thought about writing a book just like this. Well, sort of like this:

“Publisher’s Weekly” ascribes this book to the “stunt-blog memoir genre”. There is a gimmicky feel to this genre, but it can be done really well! I don’t care if Oprah plugged it, I really enjoyed Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia. Shit was inspiring. I also enjoyed Danny Wallace’s book Yes Man that inspired the Jim Carrey movie I didn’t see.

But as far as stunt-blog memoirs go, this has gotta be one of the most stunt-bloggy of them all. Maybe I’m just upset I didn’t think of doing it myself. I mean, how can you really go wrong when the backbone of your stunt-blog memoir has these kinds of stats:

IF OPRAH WERE… A NATION her 51.4 million weekly viewers and magazine readers would equal more than the population of Canada (33 million), Spain (40.3 million) or Argentina (39.9 million).

IF OPRAH WERE… A PILE OF GOLD she’d be equal to 24,000 14-karat gold bars.

cnnmoney.com reported in January that Oprah ranked second only to Google as the biggest brand newsmaker of 2006. Behind Ms. Winfrey were Amazon, eBay and iPod.

IF OPRAH WERE… A NATIONAL ECONOMY what she’d pump into the U.S. economy would be slightly more than the GDP of the Bahamas. See more here.


The only thing left to do now, now that I’ve accepted I’ll probably never figure out the big existential questions, is figure out what to spend 365 days of my life doing that I can convince a publishing house will make a memoir and make them money.

Actually, my old friend texted back to tell me what she is these days, and it sounds like the perfect title for a stunt-blog memoir: Nomadic Barista.

New Year, Same Auld Blog.

It’s 2010.  You know what that means…

Jake.

A new season of The Bachelor with a man named Jake.  I plan to watch last night’s episode online as soon as I hit the “publish” button on this post.  At which time I will laugh, cringe, cry, and masturbate.

I’ve been incredibly productive this year.  One highlight: I cleaned my room.  I found $20.  So far that money has bought me an egg and cheese sandwich and a coke.  Updates on the remaining $14 to come.

I also found my mini microphone.  I plan to hook it up to my laptop and record myself singing in the laundry room basement of my building.  I may even share some of these recordings on this here page.  The acoustics are pretty clean down there (pun intended).

AND LASTLY, I found the memory stick to my digital camera.  I went on my first photographic romp of the new year.  Here are the results:

It's 2010. You know what that also means.

Hate when buildings force me to consider things.

Dog in pink bonnet. You're not fooling anyone. You may be wearing a hat intended for a human, but you're still not allowed.

Still Life with Surgical Mask

It’s nice to exist.

I was driving around in the rain earlier.  I had just left my friend’s house.  A friend who lives five minutes from my house.  It would’ve made the most sense to go home–temperatures were just above freezing.  The roads had been sanded, but really it was the fog that was the main hassle. 

But I didn’t feel like going.

It was nothing dramatic.  It was just that it was a little after one in the morning and I felt like singing.  The car with the radio was the place to be, not the house with the sleeping family.

Driving around the town where I grew up.  Feeling introspective.  Up roads my school bus used to rumble each morning.  Down streets where things happened to me–things that shaped me. 

Just before I left my friend’s house, the friend who has been my friend longer than anyone, I said to her, “It’s weird to start this new year.  So much has changed.  Is changing.”  This past year was one of struggles and then realizations, and this coming one…I sense it needs to be one of action.  Which is exciting, but it’s also a lot of responsibility.  Part of me just wants to be lazy, but probably that’s the part of me that’s afraid. 

Anyway.  All I really am getting at here in all this sentimentality is that Keith Urban is an existential genius.  I was listening to the country radio station.  I was driving past the softball fields and then past the entrance to my elementary school.  And the station was airing an interview with him.  The interviewer was talking about how Urban moved to Nashville seventeen years ago.  And how that sounds like so long ago, considering that Urban’s only been really big on the scene for the past eight years or so. 

Then the interviewer asked him if it felt like it’d been that long.  Urban said, “Yes.  It does.”  And they were talking about how time goes fast, and that as we get older time seems to go even faster.  And this is when Keith Urban blew my mind.  He said that when we’re 10-years-old, one year is one tenth of our lives–and that’s a lot.  Then, when we’re 20-years-old, one year is half that, and at 30 years, even less of our lives.  So it stands to reason that years feel faster.  “It’s relative,” he said.

And that was when they stopped playing the clip from the interview.  It was as though the interviewer had gotten more than he’d bargained for–he was looking for the regular fluff and had ended up with kinda sorta intelligent stuff. 

So, yeah.  Time.  I intend to make the most of it this coming year as we all float through it.  I’ll love; I’ll laugh; I’ll cry.  I’ll stay true to myself.  I’ll take action.  I’ll drive through the rain singing along to the country radio.

But for now I’ll go to sleep.

Have Your Cake and Have Your Way With It, Too.

I’m gearing up for a joint birthday party tomorrow night.  Mine and my arborist friend’s, to be specific.  It’s not really a party.  It’s just me at the bar I always go to joined by more people I know than usual. 

Today I visited the 99 Cent store next to the strip club in my neighborhood.  Stocked up on balloons and streamers.  Now I just need an embarrassing cake.  Ideally I would like this one:

That thing is pimp, right?  Hershey Kisses on the bottom.  Ivy made out of GUMMIES?  Genius.

Speaking of genius:

Yes. Yes, I would like a piece of that.

This one, though, takes the figurative and literal cake:

TOM SELLECK!!!!!

TOM SELLECK!!!!!

And this would be the last resort:

Sex, Love, and Oatmeal

This one time, I worked at a law firm. All I did was photocopy and file Elvis Presley music copyright documents. For hours. It’s pretty mind-numbing. And then all of a sudden you see Johnny Cash’s signature and you’re like, “That’s cool.” And then you go back to fixing the paper jam.

I was listening to Etta James’ “I Just Wanna Make Love to You” on YouTube when I found this awkward Elvis fan video:

My favorite part is at 1:25 when there are TWO replays of him catching a pair of panties. We humans are a horny bunch.

Speaking of horny bunches, I was catching up with a friend online who I met years ago in a college dorm room. I don’t really know why we talk to each other, except that a few drinks in I told him that I read his blog. And we’ve just talked ever since. See? Keep a blog, make friends.

We were talking about sex, love, and happiness, and how sometimes, or often, those three things go hand in hand…or, you know….other things in other things. I have absolutely nothing profound, funny, or interesting to say about love, but my friend did:

Somewhere deep down in my dark twisted soul, I’m a romantic. Underneath all the science, atheist books, and gigabytes of porn, I can appreciate love for what it is.

I really like it. I could be wrong, but I feel like those are two sentences that most people could change a few of the adjectives and nouns to make it sum up their general feeling, too. For insance, Elvis Presley’s might read something like:

Somewhere deep down in my pelvic thrust of a soul, I’m a romantic. Underneath that weird lip thing I do, the rhinestone-laden leather jumpsuits I wear, and the terribly depressing way I will die on my bathroom floor, I can appreciate love for what it is.

And now, for no reason in particular, I will speculate on how the man on the boxes of Quaker Oatmeal would adapt those two sentences. Wikipedia says, “It is popularly believed that the man on the box is Province of Pennsylvania founder, namesake and Quaker William Penn. The company states that ‘The Quaker man is not an actual person,’ but is instead a generic representation of a ‘man dressed in Quaker garb.'” Mysterious. I’m not sure I buy it.

Somewhere deep down in my pedophiliac leer, I’m a romantic. Underneath the illegal paraphernalia I store within my billows of white locks and underneath my traditional black cap, I can appreciate love for what it is.

He creeps me out.

Blasphemy!

Don’t you love eating in diners?  For me, it ranks right up there with watching Barbara Walters receive a lap dance.  My roommate took me out to one in our neighborhood tonight.  Along with our food, though, we unwillingly consumed an hour’s worth of Pastor Arnold Murray’s Family Bible Study.  Of all the things to blare on a flatscreen television in a New York City diner…The Shepherd’s Chapel from Gravette, Arkansas?  I kind of felt like God was trying to send me a message, especially after I posted my blasphemous Ash Wednesday poem…a casual “shape up or ship out (to the depths of hell)” kind of thing. 

But honestly I’ve become more of a Buddhist lately, so I think I’ll be all right.  I haven’t begun meditating or practicing yoga or pilgriming anywhere, yet, but it’s on the to-do list (right after #11: Be Serenaded, Preferably to the Stylings of This, This, or if nothing else, This).  

At one point Pastor Arnold Murray started going off on, not surprisingly, liberals (though he prefers the term “nutcases”).  I enjoyed the way the word rolled off his Arkansas tongue.  He said the problem with liberals (among other things) is they spend too much time listening to college professors…which I tend to think is the antithesis of a problem. 

There was a speaker directly above our booth, so it really felt like he was right there with us.  In case you’ve never seen Pastor Arnold (despite his Bible study being televised on 225 stations in the US and Canada):

“Life without discipline is not much fun,” indeed.