Tuesday, July 25, 2006

An Open Letter

Dear Mr. Shyamalan;

Your account is well past due. Please remit payment immediately in the amount of $45.00 (a $9.50 refund for each of the following movies: Unbreakable, Signs, The Village, and Lady in the Water).

We have tried to contact you numerous times via talking with our mother about hating the stupid Village, and referring loudly to your latest shitball as "The Cunt in the Puddle" or "Wet Bitch," but we have received no response. We will be forced to take legal action if you do not immediately send payment for the money we have wasted every turd you've slapped your name on after the Sixth Sense, which we all figured out way before the ending, but generally wasn't too bad and also had a New Kid on the Block in it.

BRUCE WILLIS IS REALLY DEAD! We bet you think you're soooo smart.

Please refrain from using "Night" on any further communication, checks, or legal material. That's not your name. You made up that name. We all know that's a fake name, dick.

Please cease and desist appearing in your movies. It has been brought to our attention (during the few moments watching your films when we were not busy shaking our fists in fury) that you cannot act. Hitchcock put himself on the cover of a paper in Lifeboat. That's a cameo. A cameo is not giving yourself more lines in your movie than you gave Jeffrey Wright.

Dick.

Disregard this letter if you have already sent payment. If you do not refund our money within ten (10) business days, we will be forced to take further action and begin negatively reviewing your DVDs on Amazon.com.

I'm serious, Manoj. Cough it up.

Sincerely,

Katharine Maria Cacace
(Note the use of a real middle name, dick.)
Furious moviegoer out another 9.50
Brooklyn, NY

Monday, July 24, 2006

When You Flush Upon A Star

Foreword: If my bathroom foibles make you think I'm weird, you're lying to yourself and the world at large. Everyone has their bathroom quirks and I'm positive that mine isn't even that strange.

Does anyone else remember that MTV special about OCD with that guy who had to rip off something like thirty sheets of toilet paper and arrange them in a line, then do this weird breathing ritual for five minutes before he could poop? That is the kind of thing that is out of the ordinary. But if it's what you gotta do to poop, I'm not going to hold it against you.

My thing is that if someone else comes into a bathroom while I'm in a stall, I don't like to come out until they're gone. It's not a weird Freudian embarrassment thing, it's just that I don't like bathroom socializing. Brad doesn't like it when people eat food on the street. It's his thing. I don't like having conversations near farting and toilet paper, leaning on that gross counter with the sinks where everything is wet.

Especially at work, where you could conceivably be talking to your boss about five seconds after they finish pooping. What if you were silently judging the person in the stall based on their horrendous, embarrassing, hysterical body noises or furious toilet paper unrolling, and then it turns out to be the person who signs your paycheck?

In movies, on TV, and according to the general word on the street, women have bathroom pow-wows, a practice that originates in elementary school and continues until they're chatting on their bedpans in the home. Maybe over the years I've missed out on important sisterly advice gained only on the shitter, but I just can't bring myself to do it. So maybe I'm the person who you think is taking a really long time in the stall for no reason, but the reason is that you're there, and you seem like a talker. I'm not going to have a conversation with you over the handsoap about who did what with all the paper in the second stall. That's horrible. I'll count floor tiles until you finish your business.

Still, no matter how hard I try to fly under the radar while in the ladies' room, the place is an undeniable Bermuda Triangle of intensity. I can't count the times I've been trapped in a stall (often rattling my belt or blowing my nose a lot to remind people that I'm there and assure them I'm not trying to eavesdrop on their eliminatory functions) through stupid conversations ("My neck looks fat!" "NO, it totally doesn't." "My neck looks TOTALLY fat!"), or arguments, or the occasional huddle of girls blowing rails.

I vividly remember being in the bathroom once in fifth or sixth grade, and actually, thinking about it now, I bet this is where this whole minor pathology started. I must have been particularly bored in class, or particularly full of Juicy Juice, because I never, ever went to the bathroom when I was in school. Aside from the horror of putting your girlybits on a public school toilet, my teachers would always insist we wait until lunch, wait until after math, wait until after art, wait, wait wait. I chose to wait until I could park it on a crapper I could vouch had been cleaned sometime since the Cold War.

Anyway, so, I'm in a stall and all of a sudden I hear footsteps thundering down the hallway, followed by the door to the bathroom smashing open. I remember being absolutely terrified. It wasn't until I heard girly shoes pacing up and down in front of the sinks, and even girlier sobs and sniffles that I realized the tornado was just another fifth grader. Still, though, I was in the middle of someone's moment, so I kept my mouth shut.

Until the sniffler started yelling at me through the door.

"WHO'S IN THERE?"

"(Silence.)"

"Come on out, you wimp! WHO'S IN THERE?!"

[I pull my feet off the ground, like she hasn't already noticed them, and remain silent.]

"Oh, I bet you think this is really funny. (Sniff). I bet you're having a real good laugh in there."

"(Silence)."

"Fine, just stay in there. I'LL leave."

And she did. I'd figured out who she was when she accused me of laughing at her; only one girl in the fifth grade had that flair for the dramatic, and the social life to warrant hysterical tears and the balls to storm out of Social Studies and into a bathroom, and then accuse the lone pee-er of interrupting her. She grew up to be the designated badass, the one who ran away with boys who wore leather jackets even in the summer, leaving the rest of us to play volleyball in gym class and speculate where the cops would catch her.

Occasionally, when looking back for places my life might've taken a more exciting fork, I stop on that one. That's the stuff of teen dramas, you know? The beginning of a growing-up montage that starts with the bonding in the avocado green bathroom, and fast-forwards to another bathroom in a high school, years later. I'm positive if I'd answered her, asked her what was wrong and gotten the lowdown on whatever Brendan or Mike made her cry, a different life would've unfolded like a telescope toward another point on the horizon.

Anyway, I hate talking in bathrooms.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Long Time, No Time

In an office, you're new until someone newer comes along. It doesn't matter if you've been in your job for half a century; you're still the new kid unless there's some spry biddy at the next desk with a mere forty years service under her girdle.

I'm very much the new kid, and rightfully so. I've been at my new job for something like two and a half weeks now, which means I'm pretty sure how to work the coffeemaker and I know three places to eat for lunch, but I still have to fake a laugh when they tell that joke about that time? When Chuck got in that argument at that meeting in London? And he was slamming the table? Whoo, boy.

The greatest part of negotiating your way into a corporate climate is finally, after a few weeks mainly concerned with learning how to do your job, finding your office crush. I found mine at a two minute full-company meeting. From the back, I watched unfamiliar man after unfamiliar man in khaki pants file into the room until there, between two Publishing Women (buttondown, chunky necklace, hair affixed to head with unfashionable claw clip), appeared The Hot Guy.

On a later trip to the mailroom on a different floor I found his office, and therefore his name, but that's not the point. He'll be The Hot Guy as long as I work at my new job, because he'll always be silent in a meeting, or on another floor, or (hope against all hope) in the elevator with me.

Work can't work without someone to salivate for. I have longer hours now, doing harder things that leave my brain sort of mushified by the time I leave; when I get home, I'm able only to shove a quesadilla into my face, play a few rounds of Bejeweled, and pass out on the couch. The cube life needs a highlight, a hot, sort of brooding highlight who may or may not ever walk by, but he could, he could!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Aesop It To Me!

This weekend (in truth, five days) was aggressively good, one of those weekends that is obviously sweet revenge on seven hundred boring high school weekends filled with macaroni and cheese and a Comedy Central movie marathon.

My computer is updating itself at work, which gives me a little bit of time to at least begin to collect the thoughts of the last blogless week. As it turns out, when you work at a real company that publishes a real number of books, you don't have as much time to write a thousand words on American Idol or why you hate the photocopier. (Plus, I don't hate the photocopier anymore! One paper goes in, two papers come out. End of wonderful, wonderful story.) Then, when you get home, it is very important to sit on your couch in ugly shorts and watch the Golden Girls, and blog nary a syllable.

If we go chronologically, here are the things I did this weekend: Stolen Transmission for the Gil Mantera's Party Dream show, then had the day off, then drank in Union Square and saw The Devil Wears Prada, then sat around for a whole Saturday, then MisShapes, then visited my family for an early birthday dinner with my mom, then saw Madonna, then saw the Futureheads play at Motherfucker, then spent the fourth on a rooftop on the Lower East Side, watching planned fireworks in the sky, and then little bootleg fireworks on the ground.

See? Really good. So good that I'm willing to overlook the rain, and the early rising, and the general malaise of the 9:00 hour in an office. Besides, I think whatever good karma driving my weekend forward is still hanging on by a finger or two; there was no line at Starbucks this morning, and a hot young dad picked up my sweater when I dropped it trying to juggle my coffee, umbrella, wallet, bag and building ID.

I like to pretend that I'm not just keeping a diary online; I try not to update with lists of bands I've seen or parties I've been to unless theyre's a point to the story aside from "Hey, remember that?"" This is tied to my delusion that I have thousands of readers, like a newspaper columnist, although judging by my site meter they all read from one computer.

Anyway, in this effort to be bigger than myself, let's take this weekend in terms of lessons learned, not things done. Like Aesop, or some shit.

The Lesson of Madonna:
If you're trying to change the world, pick one cause at a time (and you probably shouldn't deliver your message hanging from a huge, disco fabulous cross). I had sort of the same trouble with U2's last concert, when Bono was yelling something about promoting public health in Africa while the screens on stage flashed crosses and stars of David. There must be good money in digital religious iconography, because Madonna's screens showed crosses, stars of David, ohms, and Hebrew letters over the faces of African AIDS orphans while she sang from a crucifix and her dancers did a little number about gay marriage. I am all for supporting each of those things. I'm just not positive I can do all that at once. It was the charity equivalent of that kids song about Joe who works in the button factory.

The Lesson of Gil Mantera:
When in doubt, make everyone uncomfortable. They'll love you for it later. When you put your pants back on.

The Lesson of The Devil Wears Prada:
Size six may be the new size fourteen, but champagne is the new popcorn. Four bucks for a single soda, or eight bucks for a whole bottle of booze? You make the call.

The Lesson of Motherfucker:
Sometimes a bad party has a hidden goody bag. After Madonna let out, I was pretty ready to go home. Two and a half hours in Madison Square Garden with no air conditioning (apparently Madonna really CAN do anything she wants) plus a pair of shoes that gave me an epic blister were enough to make me salivate at the thought of putting on pajamas. Still, the Fourth of July Motherfucker party was going on just ten blocks away, and it seemed stupid not to go. And it would've been; the Futureheads sounded incredible, and they played "Hounds of Love," which I will assume was for me and me alone.

The Lesson of MisShapes:
You are what you wear. I wore a big red bow in my hair on Saturday with an otherwise pretty normal outfit. Still, you would think I was walking down the street with my boobs a-waggin' naked in the summer heat with the looks I was getting. It's true that I can't remember the last time I saw someone wearing a big bow in their hair but for real, I was at CVS on line behind three teenage transsexual prostitutes buying antibacterial hand wash, and the cashier didn't bat an eye until he noticed my Minnie Mousey accessory. When you're looked at funny, you feel funny. At least until you get inside Don Hill's, and there's a duo wearing matching shorty shorts and tank tops.

The Lesson of the Fourth:
America, sometimes you're not so bad. I'll hate on the current administration as the next young, liberal arts educated, New York democrat, but you can't be on the roof of a building downtown, with fireworks exploding over the East River and the Empire State Building all lit up red, white and blue, and kids lsetting off little crackling rockets in a park seven or eight stories below you, and not feel a little something like pride. This kind of America I'm all for: summer city heat, hot dog in hand, stupefied, looking at the sky.
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