Monday, November 28, 2005

You know you need money when...

After all your kind posts on my literary achievement yesterday (I’m not sure, but thanks to all of you for saying so anyway) today I have just one quick piece of very low-brow advice: avoid showing up to your first day of a new freelance assignment with food poisoning.

Not to over share anything too gross, but lying on the floor of a bathroom waiting for the next moment you’d puke your guts out is no way to really impress a creative director, know what I’m sayin’? The worst part is if anyone actually noticed that I spent about 6 hours just sleeping on the bathroom floor today (it’s a private one-seater) and thought – GOD FORBID – that there was something else going on in there but puking. Because there wasn’t. It was just that. But it would kill me to think people thought otherwise. I know, I was sick, I couldn’t help it and I shouldn’t worry with such silly details. But come ON. I’m a girl. I’m shallow. I’d rather people know I was in there puking than have them think I was in there doing other things. PLEASE. We all know girls don’t do that sort of thing.

The things I do to ensure I get my day rate.

I’ve gone Joey.

Meet my dear friends Mill Valley Mama (MVM) and Her Baby Daddy (HBD). Their baby is due on Friday (I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Duck and I will share a December 2 birthday, along with Lucy Liu and Britney Spears) and today I got to spend the entire day with them which for me was a huge deal considering this could be one of the last days of their pre-parenthood to enjoy together.

MVM, HBD and Duck are collectively one of the reasons I decided I absolutely, positively have to be in SF. I love them dearly and I plan on being the greatest fake aunt the world has ever seen. But today on the way to their house I had a mild estrogen attack of crying, which, as much as I hate to admit it, came from selfishness. Allow me to explain.

I may very well be the Joey Tribiani of their lives. You know what I mean. Monica and Chandler, two of Joey’s best friends, are expecting. They buy a house more conducive to family outside the city. As excited as Joey is for them, he worries where he’ll fit in, when he’ll see them, will they still go to Knicks games together? Can Chandler still fit him in for “Baywatch” and sandwiches? Will Joey’s responsible, permanently employed friends still find time for him, unstable, unemployed actor Joey? Or is this is it, save a couple of days a year when they meet up to celebrate birthdays?

I started to think about my Joey parallel and I got really sad, a sadness not even little Dakota Fanning could console. I’ve never worried that we wouldn’t be friends anymore. But so many things can change the dynamics of a friendship, things that demand – and deserve - time and attention. Marriage. Jobs. New in-laws and families. And now, kids. I guess I just worried where I’d fit in. (See? I told you it was selfish.) I love these people. They’re like family. I miss them as it is.

But today we made brunch. We talked. We made Christmas cookies. We read the paper. We relaxed. We hung out. We did things that they probably won’t have time to do for a very long time. And I was thrilled just to be part of it.

As the day wore on, they told me stories about their fighting raccoons in the back yard and their unidentified caller on caller ID. I told them about my exciting life in the city, my job and my dating life, all of which took about 9.2 seconds total. The thing I realized is that I was secretly basking in the glow of what they thought was “boredom” and I think they were genuinely interested in my 9.2 seconds of city life.

I realized that while single people worry about how they’ll fit into married/couple/family life, married people probably worry that they’ll fall off the “call” list because their single friends think their raccoons-in—the-backyard stories aren’t enough of a draw. (Trust me, these 2 could make a 20-page legal document seem hilarious and insightful.) They worry that their kids/mortgages/college funds conversation won’t be a match for our small apartments/3:1 female to male ratio in the city/overpriced vodka tonic bitching. But in reality we’re each kind of secretly fascinated with the others’ completely different lives. And truthfully, we only talked about that stuff for about 5 minutes total. The other 9 hours we talked about the same stuff we always talked about when we were sitting around having drinks as single people. The nothingness that makes you laugh and love your friends: why Jessica and Nick didn’t work, why the 49ers can’t win to save their fricking lives, why some people think sitting in a hot tub naked with business associates is a good way to close a deal (We split on this: HBD is all for it. MVM and I, not so much).

In the end, both my selfishness and my inner Joey were soothed. But my inner Solomon came out with a vengeance. You may remember Solomon from “The Hand That Rocks the Cradle”. Slightly retarded, probably not a ton of previous kid knowledge but his love and devotion for the family was so strong that he would eventually overcome the evils of nanny Rebecca DeMornay by helping the mom knock Rebecca out the window and fall to her death on the point of a picket fence. So I’ve got that going for me. I’d gladly take down anybody that dared fuck with the happiness of my friends, their new little Duck or my God dog Josie. I’d rig a greenhouse. I’d steal an inhaler. I’d push someone on a picket fence. I’d follow behind their car on my bike-with-a-handy-basket to make sure they’d stay safe.

The next time I see them, they’ll have a baby. This still causes me to cry, but now it’s more from happiness and excitement than fear of losing my friends. Because I learned I’m on the very short call list when Baby Duck begins his/her exciting journey into the world. And they’re on my short call list for, you know, when I get free lattes, land permanent health insurance or go out on more than 3 dates with anyone.

And maybe that’s what life’s all about. Making sure you’re always on somebody’s short call list and that you have people on yours. Because without the call list, what have you really got? A bunch of Rebecca DeMornays, that’s what. And nobody wants that.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Pre-Thanksgiving randomness, the Sexiest Man Alive and too much estrogen

Matthew McConaughey is People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive. For serious? Who decides this? The same nameless, faceless board of people who certified pork as the “other white meat”? The people who made up Secretary’s’ Day? I’m sure I’ll take tons of crap for this but come ON, MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY??

Sure, he’s a good-looking guy. But if it’s based on who’s “hot” right now, in 2005, you can turn the pages of People Magazine and see at least 5 people who are as physically as great looking as MC but much bigger on the world radar right now: Kanye West, Matthew Fox, Jamie Foxx, Jake Gyllenhall, George Clooney, Orlando Bloom. Why Matthew McConaughey? But then, why Boss’s Day? Anyone? Who’s REALLY the Sexiest Man Alive?

Oprah for President – I try not to watch daytime TV when I’m not working because I always end up feeling like a sad housewife (minus the husband, house and kids). But today I watched highlights from Oprah’s 20th anniversary show. Good Lord. Oprah is honestly one of the most gracious, generous, wonderful human beings alive. I mean, how much good has that woman done? I want her job…and the means to help people feel so freaking happy, confident and fulfilled every single day, though I guess in our own way we all kind of have that power. But not like Oprah. Not cry-from-happiness-for-a-solid-hour kind of helpful. What boss takes their entire company (470 employees) and their entire families to Hawaii? Sign me up for that job.

My friend the Dshaw is convinced that successful, famous copywriters (famous copywriters?) will have the clout to get her to the Oprah’s Favorites show someday. If you meet such a person, Dshaw I want to go with you.

The only time prison and country music simultaneously gave me the chills and made me cry – “Walk the Line”. Saw it, loved it. But then, my mama raised me right. All good self-respecting southerners love them some JC (coincidence? I think not. Just kidding….really. I want to avoid having lightning strike me 2 days before T-Day.) I can’t believe they both actually sang the songs and sang them so damned well. I got actually got chills at the beginning while the prisoners were clapping, cheering and waiting for Johnny to come out and perform. And I got chills and more than a little misty when Johnny proposed to June onstage. Even sans leather. Joaquin is a vegan or some shit like that so he refused to wear leather, which the real Johnny would kick some ass over. It’s called acting, Joaquin.

Yeah, there’s a lot of estrogen flowing through my veins right now.
No day but Wednesday – Speaking of estrogen, the wait is almost over. “Rent” opens tomorrow. Dshaw can finally stop singing into her hairbrush, we can all stop crying at the previews and see if the movie is as good as the real deal. Has anybody seen a sneak preview?
Sak’s: uncovering a niche market in the commoner? I haven’t made too many trips to Sak’s since my downward income spiral into advertising began 2 1/2 years ago. Everyone knows that the commoners shop at Macy’s, at least here in SF. But today I wanted to track down some perfume I read about in Lucky (just for fun and sampling, not for buying) so I lifted my unemployed head as high as I could and strolled into Sak’s like I owned the place.

I was wearing jeans, my favorite Pumas and my Mrs. Darcy t-shirt, a freebie from the “Pride and Prejudice” premiere. (Sadly, 3 people on the street thought Mrs. Darcy was my actual name and that I’d gone to the trouble of printing up t-shirts with my new last name after getting married. I got 3 different “Congratulations!” For the love of GOD, people – read a book! See a movie!) Needless to say, I looked decidedly different from the rest of the very spiffily-dressed clientele but that didn’t seem to matter.

At the La Mer counter, 4 women offered to help me – in a genuine, non-annoying manner – in less than 2 minutes. They offered me 2 samples - a moisturizer and an eye crème - and considering how much La Mer costs, it felt like I’d just received $25 of free product. At Laura Mercier I received 3 samples of moisturizer, at Jo Malone, 5 different perfume samples and then the mother load: a free sample of Flower Bomb, pure deliciousness at a mere $125 per ounce.

What gives? Why is a commoner like me getting such excellent customer service and a bunch of freebies?


Happy Thanksgiving to everyone…just in case the blogging urge doesn’t hit me again before Thursday.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Just Do It. (Even though someone else already did it better.)

You know what bugs me? When creative directors – the same people who tell you they’re looking for fresh, new ideas and outlooks on products – steal someone else’s big, gigantic, Gold Lion-winning idea for their own client. For the same product/industry. Mmmhmmm. Yeah, that bugs me. The lovely and talented copywriting genius of Concha blogged about Alex and his buds at Crispin recently. Today, I take issue with Arnold. Not AH-nold. Arnold.

Today as I tried to burn my thighs off on some stationary bike at my gym, I thumbed through Lucky Magazine and saw something that I’d forgotten to blog about ‘til right now. VW’s Force of Good. This delightful little illustrated ad features some long copy and a bunch of tiny stickers featuring photos of icky situations that you can place on the next page where there’s a picture of a VW bug vs. (insert icky photo sticker here).

What a cool idea! I’m so warm and happy! A car company that promotes happy feelings! I love the last line of copy which reads “Who will step into the ring and become a Force of Good?”. Who?? WHO??? Are you even KIDDING ME with this? I’ll tell you who – HONDAAAAAAAA, that’s who! Wieden London did it first and they did it better, at least in my humble, unemployed copywriter opinion.

What ginormous balls. It would probably still irk me if someone had stolen this for a breakfast cereal, a hair product, a beer, whatever. But a car. For fuck’s sake, people. Have some pride.

I’m sure someone, somewhere sat in their office and justified it by saying “Our illustrations won’t be quite as psychedelic. Not as over the top. Theirs is about positive hate. Ours is more good vs. evil. And we’ll use tons of copy because the Brits hate copy. And stickers! We’ll use stickers! See? It’s different!”

What’s even more annoying is that as I sniffed around Google today to get some more info on this, all the comments I found were along the lines of “They SO want to be like Crispin.” Well, kids, I hate to break it to you but THIS ISN’T CRISPIN. (sorry, I feel all caps are warranted here). It makes me mad that Crispin even gets the glory for the copy-cat ads.

Honestly, if I had the money and was in the market for a car today and I could only choose between a boring, generic Honda and a funky little VW bug, I’d have to choose the boring generic Honda. It annoys me that much. GRRRRRRRRRR, you thieving bitches!

I’m sure I’m 3 months late on bitching about this, but I had to get it out.

Oh, and speaking of lack of originality, I saw a preview this week for a movie called “Annapolis”. Has anyone seen it? Isn’t this just a nice freshened-up version of “An Officer and a Gentleman” with a twist of “Top Gun? Tyrese Gibson instead of Lou Gossett Jr.? James Franco instead of Richard Gere/Tom Cruise? Jordana Brewster instead of Kelly McGillis? Minus the “Way to go, Paula…way to go” carrying-out-of-the-factory fanfare?

Alright, I’m done bitching. For now. To end on a nice, positive Honda-like note, can anyone recommend an original and non-AMC 1000 movie for the weekend? Something that’s not "Chicken Little"? And a new book? I just finished “Magical Thinking” by Augusten Burroughs…I highly recommend it. I loves me some Augusten. (Metrodad, are you cringing? I think I’m misusing quotes for movies and books.)

Thursday, November 17, 2005

The 47 Hustle

Today I was riding southbound to hell and Market on the 47 Van Ness where I planned to make a transfer to the N Judah (and no SteveO, I was NOT buying drugs). I was in my 4th favorite seat on a bus – the one in the very back in the middle where I can properly stretch my longer-than-average legs and ride like the lady of leisure I pretend to be in my head. (#1 seat– the single seats, #2, the forward facing seat of the four in the back, by the window, #3 – the window seat in the pair of seats adjacent to the back exit doors – more leg room. Way too much time on buses.)

In any case, I was reading my new Augusten Burroughs book (hi-fucking-larious) and minding my own business when I noticed a nice-looking youngish man sitting in the back. I took note of him as I don’t yet have a 47 Fantasy Lover and frankly, I kind of never expected to. I mean, let’s face it. The 47 has no flair, no edge. It could be driving down a major road in Atlanta or even worse, Indianapolis for God’s sake. Where’s the panache, I ask you? It’s certainly no N Judah or 10 Townsend as far as viable options for Fantasy public transportation crushes go.

Three men board and sit near me in the back. They immediately begin a little Price is Right shell game action using 3 different colored lids from soda bottles and a plain M&M. The ring leader tries to hustle anyone not listening to an iPod or reading a book to give him some money – “any money that folds will work” – to guess which lid the M&M is under. I kept reading, though a large man next to me who spoke no English and was missing a front tooth kept jabbing me in the ribs, encouraging me to play.

47 Fantasy Lover pulled out a $1 bill and gave it to 47 Bob Barker. I was engrossed in my book and didn’t pay attention for a few more minutes, until I looked up and saw Fantasy Lover pull out THREE TWENTIES and hand them over to Bob Barker. THREE TWENTIES! Suddenly it was as if someone had clapped their hands to snap me out of my hypnosis. Idiot Passenger (previously known as Fantasy Lover) wasn’t so cute….and he was an idiot (hence the name). Who in their right mind hands over $60 to the Bob Barker of MUNI? Idiot Passenger chose the wrong lid and lost. Naturally.

Idiot Passenger begins to heatedly DEMAND that Bob Barker return his twenties. Bob Barker ignores him and pretends he doesn’t hear. Idiot Passenger stands up, pretending he’s gonna fight Bob Barker. Bob stands and fights back. A pushing and shoving match ensues. The back of the bus erupts in chaos. People were yelling, moving and falling everywhere, hands were grabbing at bags, newspapers, books – you name it. I clutch my $8 H&M bag as if my life depended on it (because it did…it had my iPod in it) and rushed through the crowd to the back exit to de-board.

It was only after I de-boarded that I realized I’d almost fallen victim to the oldest trick in the book: the old distraction technique. And that at least 6 of the people on the back of the bus were involved (a nice man waiting for the 21 helped me piece this together –he was there also). So Idiot Passenger wasn’t really an Idiot after all. He was actually a conniving trickster, preying on honest MUNI passengers like me, waiting for the exact moment that my grasp on my pleather H&M bag would loosen so he could yank the very pulp of life from my hands.

While I should’ve been focusing my attention on my heroic MacGyver-like escape from the almost-hustle, I was instead focusing on how quickly I drop into Fantasy Land – and with people from public transportation. ??!!! Seriously, I should get out more, right?? But I take MUNI and I’m not so bad. Even so, I fast-forwarded to me bringing N Judah home to meet my family. “How did you guys meet?” “Oh, it was so romantic, our pelvises were pressed against one another and our pheromones just clicked, mom.” Beautiful.

I should have expected that type of behavior from a 47 man but as Carrie Bradshaw might lament, I couldn’t help but wonder: Is my N Judah Fantasy Lover a manipulative trickster too? Did Ex British Lover (EBL) fool me with slick distraction techniques learned on a parallel Oxford Circus F Market? Will I always develop a “thing” for men on the back of the proverbial bus? Are N Judah’s green eyes, delicious smile and 6’2” of lusciousness a cover for pure evil also? Am I doomed to a life of men who just want to grab my pleather purse when it’s convenient for them?


Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Why's The Man gotta be all up in my meds? - Part 1

This summer I freelanced at an online division of a MAJOR advertising agency, which happens to handle a MAJOR skin care product account, which for our purposes we’ll call “Pigeon”. (I know, how very Wheel of Fortune of me to not mention the actual name). Pigeon is available in drug and grocery stores worldwide. Basically, Pigeon is a big behemoth biatch of affordable skin care products.

This agency gave a handful of volunteers the opportunity to visit a dermatologist for an office visit. The volunteers were pre-screened and had to believe that they had some sort of skin care issue that required a dermatologist consultation. I volunteered, was selected and was given a list of dermatologists to call in my area to set up an appointment. I was pretty stoked. Until I found out the premise of what I had to do, but then it was too late. (plus I got a $50 Amex gift card….yes, I am for sale, ladies and gentleman)

I was basically to act as a secret shopper. The derms (as they call them) wouldn’t know what my purpose as a new patient was. But it was my job to go in for this appointment using my real problem/issue as my way in. I was supposed to make sure that they mentioned Pigeon as a solution for my problem. . I was supposed to listen to what the derm had to say, see if he recommended Pigeon and if he didn’t, PROD him by asking him his opinion on Pigeon, if he’d recommend Pigeon for my problem.

Now Pigeon isn’t a bad product but I’ve gotta think that anyone who feels they need a dermatologist to talk with about some skin problems has already tried (and failed) with Pigeon and a whole shitload of other Pigeon-like products. The longer I sat in the waiting room, the madder I got. I’ve got a real issue here, people! Nothing disgusting, mind you, but it sure as hell can’t be solved by Pigeon – believe me, I tried.

If the advertising agencies and the Pigeons of the world can truly buy off doctors, I guess I was naively hoping the doctors wouldn’t settle for the cheapest whore on the corner. Couldn’t they have been a little more coy and waited for the expensive call girl? A sexy little $200 per ounce bitch who goes by the handle of La Mer? No, if I’m “doing” the dermatologist route, I’m DOING it. I want the super-fly, extra deluxe magic-motherfucking–cure-all pill and/or lotion that will make my skin as smooth and luminous as a newborn’s ass. NOT Pigeon. I sat in the waiting room and started to fume. Fuck you, Pigeon! And you too, big agency, for getting’ your big corporate nose all up in my medical beeswax.

It was then that I felt a little queasy about my decision to wield words in the world of advertising. Had I made the right decision? Had I wasted the last 2 years of my life? Not to mention assloads of money? This is the mindset I had when I went into the office for this very enlightening “appointment” (is it still an appointment if it lasts less than 5 minutes?) with my doctor, who by my account seemed to be in his mid-70s and hailed from some Scandinavian country.

DR: Vat is your problem today?
ME: I’ve got some….
DR: (interrupting me) Yes, you have ______. Eeees incurable. You have stress in life, no? When did this start?
ME: About 2 years ago (mentally, the pieces of the puzzle have now clicked into place)
DR: Theeees stress, is job-related, no?
ME: I guess…well, probably.
DR: (matter of factly) You will change jobs.
ME: Um, well, that’s not really an option.
DR: You change job. Or you do more yoga. Eees incurable. Vat else?
ME: (lame attempt) Um, well, would you recommend anything like Pigeon?
DR: No. I write you preeescription for ____ and ______. But ees incurable. Vill not go away until you change jobs. Maybe try shorter, colder showers. No red wine. But ees incurable.

All of this in LESS than 2 minutes. Clearly, I HAD made the wrong career decision - Dr. Scandinavian Pigeon had just made $130 in approximately 118 seconds. I guess I felt a little better that he hadn’t been bought off by Pigeon. No, scratch that, I felt like shit.

Because aside from the useless free visit and the $50 Amex gift card, what had I really gotten out of this? In those 118 seconds, he’d planted the seed that I should change jobs and do more yoga, he’d instilled a permanent sense of guilt and fear of irreversible damage for every future glass of red wine I enjoyed, he’d given me useless prescriptions that would have totaled $526 if I were to fill them. A sadness in knowing that I’d somehow contributed to the fooling of people in waiting rooms around the country who go to their doctor hoping for educated advice and walk out with…Pigeon. And he’d taken an hour of a very busy day and was causing me to run like a fricking Olympic sprinter back to a meeting where I was about to talk to someone seriously about spaghetti coming out of a little girl’s nose for some online video awards I was working on. Oh and my skin’s still the same. Thanks, Dr. Scandinavia, Pigeon and large, corporate agency, all of you. I feel just SUPER!

And we wonder what’s wrong with our health care system.

Coming Soon - Part 2: Meet my dentist, Dr. Bling, a man with a shaky Novacane trigger finger who wants to solve every problem in my mouth with gold. Front teeth and all.

Sunday, November 13, 2005


Not so long ago, Crazy Virgo and I were sitting in the lunchroom at France in the West discussing the burgeoning future of our creativity. It was a titillating conversation involving Catherine Zeta Jones, newspaper, door hangers, satellite dishes and the delicious - and often overlooked - new line of Safeway signature soups. Virg had already entered the golden blogosphere and was discussing with me the many reasons why I too should follow suit. In blogland, I could write whatever I wanted. Segregated, picketing foods, demonic babies and not-so-fresh cats walking on a beach would have a special home. I could exercise my own special dark brand of weirdness. I could laugh at my own jokes ? mohoohaa! I?d always be on brief. I could say ?fuck? whenever I wanted. Sold! Bacon Grease was born!

OK, so maybe we would be the only one reading each other?s blogs - except for the 2 friends we each had who already had their own blogs and would return the favor for us - but that didn?t matter. At least that?s what I thought at the time, silly na?ve girl I was, back in September.

You see, I?d overlooked the most important part of blogging. The post. The comment. I just thought I?d be writing some random stuff everyday and figured a few people would read it and come back every now and then to read more. Maybe. I?d honestly never really ?blogged? enough to remember that posting comments made it this fun, interactive experience.

But I found all these interesting people in the blogging world. I began posting comments. They posted comments. I made friends, mom! On the World Wide Web! I?m now addicted to knowing how all of my favorite blogging friends are doing each day. I look forward to reading their witty, funny posts and I get all happy and warm when they actually post something on mine. I love to discover interesting new blogs and as much as I hate to admit it, I am secretly ELATED when someone new posts a comment on mine. I?ve snared a new person! I can alert my sales force of the increase in circulation! I can raise my advertising rates! You will be MINE, world!

Enter my (divisive whisper) offline friends. Wonderful, dear, supportive people. People who for years have said things like ?Rbrown, you should be writing this shit down for the masses! It?s funny!? (Apparently I have a knack for finding the humor in divorce, scary in-laws, bad dates, yahouda-ed diamond rings, bus rides, job loss, death, houses catching on fire, etc. Who knew?) I tried to write in a journal, but truthfully, I?m smarter than the journal. I don?t perform for the journal. I don?t work as hard with the journal and therefore I?m just not as funny in the journal (not like I?m tearing it up on here, but you know what I mean). So I turn to the blog. You encouraged me. And I did it.

So I have to be shallow and just ask the question that I know all of the faithful blogwriters want to know: Why is it such a letdown when some of your dearest friends and biggest supporters come to your blog and DO NOT POST A COMMENT?? Come on, I can?t be the ONLY one who thinks about this stuff, right? How can some people get it (a big shout out especially to The DShaw, Ryan and MacFisto) and others not? I don?t need people to read this shit every day, but even if you stop in once and think this is complete shite, throw me a bone, people! I don?t have permanent work or housing! One post EVER is all I?m asking. I?ve got (use your taunting voice) my NEW BLOG friends that?ll post when they see fit. But offline friends, you should know that it gives me such sick pleasure to see a new comment. For fuck?s sake! GIVE ME PLEASURE!

I know it?s sad to want this tiny bit of validation. But I do. I?m sorry, I just DO. Sitting with your best friends over drinks and hearing, ?Oh, I read your blog. Good shit, Rbrown. Can you pass me that ketchup?? is fine. Until I go to my blog and I see that you?ve written nothing. NOTHING. Why do you torment me in this manner, my people? Look, the fact that anyone reads this thing is still a miracle to me. But you - you made it all the way to this ridiculously complicated URL about pig meat drippings! Can?t you just say something? Antonio of Aluminum Siding Inc. commented. Why can?t you? Please?

I signed your wedding registries, for God?s sake! I buy your products! I love your children! Comment, bitches!

PS ? Thank you Stan ? whichever of the 2 Stans I know that actually came here ? for posting a comment. Your duty is done and you NEVER have to say another word on this bitch again. Ever.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

See. Ryan. Act.

What are you SF people up to this weekend? Go see my friend Ryan in his new play Parallax You don't ALWAYS have to go have drinks and dinner on the weekend, do you? Have drinks, see play, THEN eat dinner. DO EET. He's good. Just get there before the 20th.

Note: I think costuming has banned the red cords young Ryan mentioned wearing in the Confessions of a 35-year old sorority girl post. So we're all cool on the costuming front.

Oh, the irony....

Yesterday I blogged about being an aged sorority girl. Today I’m tasked with thinking like an 18-24 male “tuner” who likes to “trick up” his Scion (did I even use “trick up” correctly?). And last week I was asked to come up with the most un-pc ideas I could possibly fathom for this little
gem of a show
coming to America in December. I knew my purchase of the Profanisaurus would pay off!

Do you see now why I needed to unload my Greek guilt? I couldn’t step foot into a sorority house now without a bunch of mirrors cracking, Lenox china breaking and a silent alarm sounding in every police precinct across the land.

Too bad I’m not working on tampons. I have niche insight. EWWWW….bad joke.

By the way, I’m lost on “Lost”. …I’ve missed 3 episodes. Anyone?

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Confessions of a 35-year old sorority "girl"

That’s right, bitches. I WAS IN A SORORITY. This came up again the other day and when the person I was talking to found out, he started laughing. Hard. Damn, it feels good to get it out there, though. I feel somehow that if you, my faithful 4 readers, find out I was part of something so vile and wrong and you STILL come back to this blog, then the Greek monkey might be - finally! – off my back. So here’s my full confession. Forgive me, readers for I have socially sinned.

I try to avoid the topic when it comes up. It kind of renders you completely unhip and a total social misfit here in San Francisco when people find out. But honestly, I’m almost 36 years old and it still IRKS me a little that people laugh. Not because I was in one. No, no, I know NOW that it was utter ridiculousness. But are they laughing because sororities are so cliché? Or because I actually got in? And actually suffered through all 4 years of it? I don’t know. The 17-year old in me wants to scream “I was cool! People liked me! They were willing to accept me! And my monthly dues and….” Yeah, so when I get to that part, I remember again. And I’m humble.

But I grew up in the south. I went to school in Kentucky, for Christ’s sake. What else would I have done for fun? I’ll admit it. I was a sheep. I zigged with the ziggers and zagged with the zaggers. You want to hear the worst part? I was….involved. SO very into it. This (almost) 36-year old hater-of-the-man, asks-questions-about-EVERY-possible-rule could hold a sheet over my face I’m so embarrassed at the bending-over I let myself take from a bunch of girls (actually, most of the girls were nice, not a lot of edge to most of them, but nice. But some of those uptight southern 60ish year old alums…Jesus H!) Check out a few of my Greek “accomplishments”: (holding sheet over face now)

-Rush Chairman – I cried a lot during that week. I was sensitive even then and to have pictures of 400 or so girls on a wall that we did a heads-down secret voting session on bothered me even then. So why did I run for such an office, you ask? I can’t even remember. For some reason, I think I wanted power. I wanted to be on the EXECUTIVE COUNCIL. And I was giddy with the power! Giddy, I tell you! Until the week began, that is. Then I had to reject people that weren’t “pretty” enough or “smart” enough or “whatever” enough. Ouch, man. I hated it and developed a boil on my face the size of a walnut under my left eye. Talk about karma.

-PanhellenicRush Chairman - As in responsible for the entire fucking week of Rush at the university and everything that led up to it…oy. Again, one might say, why run for such an office? Actually, I was approached…by the PRESIDENT of Greek Affairs! He stroked my ego (“your organization was impeccable.”). Clearly he recognized a human yellow Labrador retriever when he saw one and made his move because who else would want that stupid job? What a fucking sucker I was. And look at me now: in the biggest ego-stroking biz of all…will I ever learn?

-Fraternity Sweetheart - NO, not the screw-the-members type of Sweetheart deal…the kind where they vote from their favorite of ALL the Little Sisters. Look at that. I’m still trying to spin it and make it sound good, after all these years.

And the crème de la crème….
Homecoming Queen, 1st Runner Up – Um, yeah. Can you believe it? Can’t you just see me down there on the 50-yard line on that crisp, sunny, October afternoon in 1991? All liquored up, after an afternoon of tailgating, waving to a crowd of 25,000ish? Holding my silver plate and wearing my sash? My mom still has the picture, God love her. Actually, I still have the silver plate. I keep it because it’s silver (-plated). Come to think of it, I need some cash….

There were moments when I fought back. I was told that it was MANDATORY (a word that was very big in sorority life that I’ve hated ever since) that I participate in either Spring Sing or Powder Puff football. I really didn’t want to do either. So I didn’t. My fellow Exec Council members told me I was setting a bad example and HAD to choose or I would (gasp) lose my voting privileges. Oh really? I quickly recited a list of all my stupid “accomplishments”, recollected my 3.5 GPA and told them I thought it smacked of hazing and would be discussing it “outside the chapter” if they pushed it further. Victory was mine! Rbrown 1, Evil Greek Empire – 0

And moments of shame:
I lost my shit during Rush when I found out –brace yourselves - that someone had stolen all of the Peppermint Lifesavers used to freshen our breath between rush parties. The fucking nerve! I think I actually YELLED at a roomful of astonished girls over this. Must’ve been the boil.

But for all the complaining, I have many, many great memories of honest to God fun. And a few dear friends that I still talk to all the time.

So now you get to decide: can you still read the blog of someone so….uncool? Adult Rbrown begs you to come back. Sorority Rbrown says, like, you are SO losing your commenting/posting privileges if you don’t.

Parenting through the eyes of a clueless single girl

This may sound strange (and foreign to my southern readers) but for a few years now, I’ve been pondering whether or not I really want kids. I’ve never been the type of girl who oohs and goos over a stranger’s baby. I didn’t grow up babysitting and I’ve never been one to get all giddy at the thought of changing a diaper.

But over the past 8 months - WHAM - everybody and their freaking brother (or sister, if you will) has a bun in the oven. Two of my best friends, one (MillValleyMama) is due on (drum roll please) my birthday (24 shopping days left) , and yet another good friend due in January. Another friend with QUADS…good LORD. Not to mention the almost full-term pregnancy I spent locked in an office with the lovely and wonderful Better Lighter Half (yet another advertising partner, she’s the light, optimistic side to my dark, twisted one. She brought The Nugget into the world a mere 3 weeks ago.) I learned a lot. And I was mistaken for her lesbian partner more than once.

It seems every day I find out that somebody else is pregnant or dropped a baby while I was away, living the life of single, irresponsible debauchery. Today it was Halle Berry. Tomorrow, who knows? And to top it all off, in between freelancing, I’m working at this uber-hip baby-clothing store owned by a (non-pregnant) friend of mine. And it’s actually really fun. Duly noted, universe. I’ll give kids some more thought.

Maybe the Gods are conspiring to give me the opportunity to make a better, more informed decision once I actually find my baby daddy? I don’t have the answers, my friends. I do know that I L-O-V-E The Nugget like she’s my own, and this gives me hope for my maternal future. Today I drove she and BLH to Target and I was a nervous wreck, hands at 10:00 and 2:00 on the steering wheel, knuckles white, cars whizzing past me at a reckless 55 while I crept along at a safe 46 in the right lane of drizzling rain on 280 (precious cargo, I can’t be hydroplaning and shit).

I think I’ll know for sure how I feel once I finally meet my very own West Coast Metrodad. Until then, I’m more than happy to live vicariously through my friends who’ve been thrown in the deep end and their shit load of weird, funny, foreign stuff they share with me. How do you parents do it? So much to learn, so much to remember….very confusing. Must have vodka tonic. Anyway, here are a few of my favorites. Please, give me more.

Lactation consultant – BLH informed me this is a real job title assigned to an actual person. No shit. This sounds like something from a shitcanned Bud Light commercial. Who knew?

Roughing up the nipples – Apparently, it’s an old wives tale that women are supposed to “prepare their nipples” for nursing by giving them a good roughin’ up. Grab the nipple! Chap it! Show that teet who’s boss! Um, OUCH. If I’m ever in the family way, I’m leaving my girls alone, thank you very much. Luckily, MillVallyMama and BLH tell me this isn’t true. But they tell me when you switch from breast-feeding to bottle, the little one CAN get a bad case of….

Nipple confusion – Too…many…jokes….

Perennial massage – Oh. Holy. Jesus. BLH read me this (with a very shocked and white face, might I add) one day upon receiving her weekly update (34th week I believe it was). I tried to find it just so you could read it in all its glory. But you have to subscribe and frankly, I think word of mouth learning is much more fun. So here it is, to the best of my recollection: “To prevent tearing (more vodka please), it’s a good idea to get in the habit of giving yourself a perennial massage.” They then proceed to tell you precisely how to hook your fingers and um, you know, put them in the general area and hold it there until a slight burning, stretching sensation occurs. Even better, they suggest having your partner do it for you. Maybe use a little vegetable oil. I’m not making this shit up, I swear.

Um, pretty sure that if my partner ever administers a perennial massage we would both be irreversibly damaged and thus never do anything that would cause pregnancy again. Yikes.

Monday, November 07, 2005


I’d like to think that nothing shocks me anymore. But today, something so vile and just plain wrong happened at my gym that I can scarcely type about it. But I must.

I went for a workout. I belong to a nice gym. Clean. Regular people. Sure, there are the normal goings-on in the ladies locker room. Women who feel they must walk, bend, blow-dry, plie, lotion-up, shirtcock, stretch etc. while completely naked, simply because they can. I know this sounds like a dream to you straight men, but at times it can be a bit….uncomfortable. But NOTHING could be more uncomfortable than what I witnessed today.

It was a slow day in the ladies locker room during the 3:00 hour. Just me. Or so I thought. Then I rounded the corner to put my things into the locker I normally use. And there she was. With her leg propped up on the bench in the middle of the lockers. A woman. Trying. To. Insert. A. Tampon. OUT IN THE OPEN. I’m still so embarrassed for her as I type this that I almost have to put a decorative sofa pillow over my face on her behalf.

Can someone PLEASE tell me what on earth possesses a woman to attempt this? Instead of walking the extra 200 yards to the very PRIVATE bathroom stall? What…the…FUCK? Who does that? I can only assume she was just trying to speed up her getting-dressed process and thought “what the hell…nobody’s here. I can do this fast.” But you’re wrong, tampon lady. SO VERY WRONG! And your little miscalculation in judgment has scarred me. Deeply and forever, I fear.

I’m not even sure what my reaction – or hers - was. There was no speaking. Merely the sounds of swift movement, mine and hers. I could feel my face turn hot and bright red. I grabbed my things out of my locker and scurried away, looking at the floor. For shame, tampon lady. For shame.

I’ll never speak of this again.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Happy Guy Fawkes Day, America

Like me, I’m sure many of you have been just counting down the days in anticipation to Guy Fawkes Day, which is observed tomorrow in England. For those heathens among us who use this holiday merely as an excuse to drink too much and light things on fire, may I remind you that tomorrow is the 400th anniversary of the day that Guy Fawkes and his fellow plotters planned to blow up Parliament simply because they believed they were being persecuted by the Church of England. To commemorate this day, people all across England naturally celebrate with a big drunken hoopty-do of all things fire-related: fireworks, bonfires and a general lighting-on-fire of anything they can get their hot little British hands on. Of course they do. Why wouldn’t they? Fire = celebration.

Interesting. On Halloween last year in London, Better Dark Half and I (please note the introduction of new friend. I’ve been told using real names is so not blog-like…her short bio is at the end) and I asked what everyone would be dressing up as for Halloween. Silence, or shall I say… silent mockery. Use your best proper English accent for this: “What the fuck are you girls talking about? Dressing up is for CHILDREN, if that. You Americans and your silly holidays. You don’t know fuck all about celebrating” Ahhh yes, one of the main reasons I miss living and working in London: honest, verbal mockery. Seriously, you know exactly where you stand and I do so love them for that.

So fast forward a few days to people explaining to us what Guy Fawkes Day is. “It’s this day where people light fires ‘cause some nasty terroristic fucker tried to overthrow the Church o England.” So what happened to him? “Oh, he was hanged and then drawn and quartered. You girls wanna go to a good bonfire?”

You gotta hand it to them. To their point, Guy Fawkes Day is not some silly little day to be trifled with. But then, neither is Halloween if you think about it. Come on, people celebrating the blurring of the lines between the living and the dead. That’s some scary paganistic shit! But there’s just no halfway over there, nothing gets watered down. Let’s go set things on fire! Burn shit up! YEAHH!! Meanwhile, over here in America on our scary little holiday: Let’s go dress up as whores! Wear our push-up bras in public and carry milk jugs and call ourselves milkmaids! YEAAAHHHH!!!

So I was thinking. We still have time to hop on a flight and get there by tomorrow lunch time and share some of our fine Halloween traditions with them. I think they need lightening up just a smidge, don’t you? We can all go in costume! It’ll be FUN! Good times! They’ll LOVE US! Crazy V, you can go as Whore Condi Rice, Concha, you can go as Whore Maid or just come from your gig in your lingerie, Metrodad, if BossLady and the Peanut will allow you a couple of days away to serve your country, you can bring out the drunken priest threads which I’m sure would be a HUGE hit over there given the whole Roman Catholics being persecuted thing associated with the day. Dshaw, you can just show up in your yoga clothes drinking wine, Better Dark Half and I can go as fluffer and shark-with-laser-beams-attached-to-head and Jaime, you can just wear some trash bags and dance. Shopping Diva, you can come as Whore sweat pants-wearer. Janny, as pregnant Britney (bring Brazilian Kevin), Half Listening can dress up as a nursery worker and SteveO you can come as you are and just admire all the milkmaids. Macfisto, I know you want to relive your youth. You've got nothing better to do. Don't use those quadruplets as an excuse.

We’ll have a few pints, light some shit on fire, arm ourselves with the ways of Guy Fawkes Day and return triumphantly with some dark, new knowledge to share with our countrymen for NEXT October 31. Won’t all the kids trick-or-treating at our houses next year be surprised and delighted when the plastic pumpkins on our front porch blow up as they reach for candy??!

Who’s with me, people? The fish are with me! Who else is coming? Onward to London!

Meet Better Dark Half: My dear friend and non-lesbian advertising partner/wife for over a year. Cruelly torn apart by geography, she for her desire to live in NY and mine for SF, our reputation for death, religion and S&M in student ads follows us mercilessly through the advertising industry. Because we lived, worked, drank, traveled and pretty much did everything together 24/7 for 9 months, we still pop up in one another’s dreams like the Microsoft paper clip helper. Missing you, BDH. And yes, I’m doing the Jerry McGuire homage-to-the-screen kissing right now.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

BBC - 1, Working Title - 0

Last night I had the privilege of using free tickets to see an advance screening of “Pride and Prejudice”, courtesy of the San Francisco Spinsters (no, I’m not a member, thank you very much). My friend Rana and I lined up with a gaggle of 300 or so giggling 25-35 year old women (OK, we giggled a little too, I admit it) and the question on everyone’s lips was, duh! – will this movie be as good as the BBC version of the movie?

The Scene
Before giving you my (humble) opinion on the movie, let me set the stage for you. We filed into the good old AMC Van Ness theatre #10 a good 45 minutes early and sat ourselves next to Token, a kindly gentleman who looked to be in his mid-40s and was for a brief moment one of the only two men in the entire theatre. (Another boy-man of 24 or so appeared about 5 minutes later with his girlfriend. Good God, man, do you shop at Benefit with her too?). Anyway, after 3 seconds of chatting my gaydar confirmed that Token was completely straight and somehow he and his movie-reviewing female companion were supposed to be seeing “Chicken Little” at the same time at the Kabuki. Movie Reviewer got wind of the mistake and pulled him by the arm out of the theatre saying something like “there is NO WAY I’m staying in this theatre to see THAT movie with all these GIRLS!” I was briefly insulted then realized that she was glaring at me for chatting it up with Token. And then I was briefly delighted at being called a “girl”. Tee-hee, giggle, giggle.

Shortly after that, Rana and I and the rest of the audience experienced an Oprah moment when we each got giant gift bags full of full-sized Bliss products -!!- and a cute lil baby tee that anyone over 5’4” will most certainly have to stretch over a chair to wear that says “Mrs. Darcy” on it. (I feel sad that Token missed out on this.) If this is buttering up, Working Title, consider me fully buttered and ready.

The Hullabaloo
Before I tell you what I thought (as if the title didn’t give it away) I have to say, if you haven’t read “Pride and Prejudice”, then you should be flogged. I love reading and I love reading Jane Austen so it’s hard for me to understand why self-respecting, smart women who also like to read and especially LOVED “Bridget Jones Diary” (the book and the movie) cannot also sit themselves down and read the Real McCoy. It’s an excellent read. In fact, it’s a page-fucking-turner. Janie A. is brilliant, funny, clever and witty. Her words are beautiful and she’s a master of details and no detail can be ignored because it adds an important layer to the story somewhere down the line. But my blog is a safe, welcoming place, so if you haven’t read it, that’s cool. Just please promise me you will someday. Once your brain adjusts to the language, you’ll be in…. hook, line and sinker.

In 1995, the BBC produced a 6-hour sheer-fucking-genius mini-series version of “Pride”, much to the chagrin of men everywhere. It was so long because it was absolutely true to the book, a fact I’m sure many film snobs in the world thought was the wrong way to go due to the fact that movie people like to do their own creative version of stuff. Understood. (Although I say bollocks to that). To me, it was perfectly cast and the locations, houses and details within were incredible. The period experts also say that the dancing, costumes, hairstyles and make-up were also spot-on. All of a sudden, people who’d never read the book picked it up because the movie was just that fricking good. When does that happen? When is the movie as good as the book? Almost never. Well done, BBC peeps.

…and finally, the movie
So the poor bastards at Working Title had a tough row to hoe (as my dearly departed Grandmother might’ve said) going into this one. If you’ve never read the book or seen the movie, you’ll probably really like this version. You won’t know that you’ve missed out on 75% of the details and back-story that make this one of the greatest books ever written. You’ll miss out on watching the development of one of the steamiest, most sexually tense, love/hate relationships of all time. You won’t get to see the relationship between Elizabeth and her oldest sister Jane (which the real Jane would have hated…that’s an important part of all her books). In fact, you won’t get to see any of the characters really develop enough to care as much about them as you do in the book or in the BBC version. You won’t catch it when the writers slide in some random, non-Jane Austen period speak-ese in order to compensate for time and catch you up. And you won’t be annoyed by the super cheesy ending.

You WILL see Dame Judy Dench playing a fucking brilliant Lady De Bourg. And Tom as an excellent nervous, smarmy little Mr. Collins. Everyone else is fine. And not “fine” in the British compliment kind of way, just “fine” as in OK. Lots of Keira Knightly looking pensive, smiling big with her tongue between her front teeth to show how girlish and full of life she is. Lots of really beautiful people with huge, luminous eyes (what causes that? Is this a coincidence?) Jenna Malone, as annoying as she is to me, actually pulled off a good Lydia, maybe because Lydia, that dumb scandalous whore, is just so fucking annoying. And Bingley’s sister – SCARY – she could seamlessly have gone from 1850s England to 2005 San Francisco and pulled off a bitchy milkmaid look down in the Triangle, no problem.

Last but not least, Matthew MacFayden as Mr. Darcy. He really didn’t bother me. I can’t say he was Colin, but he wasn’t bad. Got me at the end a little. But he didn’t really get a chance to shine with the limited time so it’s hard to say.

All in all, I say see it. If you love the other movie and the book, you won’t feel good until you see this one. I’m still convinced that even the worst cast of actors (me, the guy at Starbucks on Union and the #7 bus driver) could get together, read this and pull off a masterpiece simply because of the brilliance of Jane’s words. I’d love to know what other people thought, both people who’ve never read or seen anything else and people who are tainted like me. Anyone?

Note to Typepad users: I just tried 7 times to post a photo of Colin Firth. See? The free service sucks too.