Frenching, Part 1

October 18, 2011 § Leave a comment

I am blessed with one of life’s greatest gifts – a relative abroad. Not only is my aunt the kindest, coolest, auntiest aunt a girl could ask for, she is also sweet enough to let me crash her wonderful home in the friggin’ val de Loire every year. Typically I visit in the summer, escaping the city to lay under her apple trees like Marie-Antoinette on a holiday weekend. This year however, I’ve come in the fall and it’s just as beautiful and even more cozy reading by the fire with a coffee in my hand and a cat in my lap.

However, before I even made it to said coffee-and-cat scenario I experienced what I’ve come to think of as a Freakout Francaise moment. I’m not one of those girls who loves shopping – I’m one of those girls who loves whining about it. But France is forever providing the exceptions to my rules (dinner tonight was boudin noir – google if you dare), and Troc de L’ile is no exception.

My aunt picked me up from the train station in Le Mans (a city which touts it’s racing heritage right down to the very parking lots) and asked if I wouldn’t mind a quick stop at the second hand store to find an ottoman for her newdog. Truthfully, after twelve hours of travel, I had all the patience of a fussy toddler but all that went out the window when we walked in and I saw this:

Troc de L’ile is like the alternate universe version of ABC Home & Carpeting (no need to link them because the only person who can afford to shop there is King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, and he’s probably too busy to read my blog this week). Everything is unique and gorgeous and exactly the perfect thing for your home but it all costs, like, nothing! Just when I thought my aunt was turning into an eccentric old lady buying antique furniture for her dog, she picked out a cushy 60s armchair and said that’d do – after all it was only FOUR EUROS.

I’m not sure what happened next, but I was screaming. Moments later I was digging through everything from current to kitsch to genuine 19th century antiques. We arrived thirty minutes before the shop closed but I had time to become emotionally involved with several items before they graciously tossed me outta there. Here are a few of my favorite future birthday presents:

But I really can’t leave the country without this chaise-telephone. This will really class up my next drunk dial:

Sadly, I am not traveling home by steamer ship, so couldn’t buy any of these wonderful oddities. But if you live in France, Spain, Italy or the Netherlands, there may be a Troc near you. Also, can we be friends please?


July 20, 2011 § Leave a comment

Maybe I’m just being overly sensitive, but this is starting to seem less like a friendly invitation and more like a gun to my head.  I know everyone and everything from unborn children to grapefruit has a Facebook page these days, but I that doesn’t mean we have to like it.  Or “Like” it.

There’s a reason this new plague of forced-affection is so unsettling, and it’s the same reason we get creeped out when friend-requested by a grandparent or third-grade teacher.  Bottom line, Facebook is for:
1 – stalking people you’d like to sleep with
2 – stalking people you are sleeping with
3 – stalking people you used to sleep with
4 – pictures where you look cute (see above)
And I’m sorry, grapefruit.  I just don’t Like you like that.

Sorry, Milos

May 26, 2011 § Leave a comment

One of these things is not like the other.

Five days ago, I watched No Strings Attached.  Okay?

I’m kind of an insufferable snob when it comes to movies.  I own over four-hundred dvds, alphabetized and stored in archive binders.  I own a back-up copy of Kieslowski’s Bleu.  Last New Year’s Eve, I spent a beer and a half chatting with a funny, cute guy in an excellent t-shirt.  Then he brought up 2012 and I murdered him in my head.

I naturally blame this, in large part, on my mom.  We didn’t own a ton of videos when I was little, and I wound up seeing a lot of Merchant-Ivory at time when most kids were hooked on He-Man.  No one believes me when I say that my favorite movie at age two was Amadeus, but for reals, my favorite thing to watch after Pre-K was Milos Forman’s depiction of the impish, tragic composer and the lesser musician he tormented with his genius.  I ate that shit up.

I am, in fact, a movie scientist.  Well, a bachelor of science in the field of film.  All I know is it says “science” and “film” on my diploma and let’s not get fussy about it.  The bottom line is that I’m highly overeducated in the area, and could easily spend a weekend alone, in the dark, with a case of diet coke and The Decalogue, and never miss the experience of human contact.


 Five days ago, I voluntarily watched No Strings Attached, the rom-com abortion of celluloid starring Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher, recently inflicted upon a theater near you.  I watched it, and I cannot stop telling people what I’ve done.

Not to excuse my behavior, but I was on a plane.  It was a seven-hour daytime flight, and when considering this particular option on my little seatback screen all I could think was that if I did this, I could never say a word about it.  Many of my friends have a certain degree of movie snobitude, but one in particular is beyond even my level of Criterionitis.  If you make this choice, I thought, you can never tell Jon.  I pictured his face dissolving from warm and friendly, to a mask of loathing, judgment and pity that would burn me from the inside out until I was nothing but a heap of ash, soiling the lobby of the Film Forum.

I established some ground rules – just like Natalie & Ashton!  Number One, it couldn’t be the first movie I watched.  It’s bad enough that Fargo was available, and didn’t even crack my top five airplane options.  If I could say that my primary order of business on that 767, before even taking a Xanax, was to select No Strings Attached as my entertainment, the pilot could not in good conscience let me debark in New York City.  I picked another Natalie Portman feature first; one that featured both a dead baby and abuse of a step-child.  Check and check.  Number Two, I sized up my company.  The middle-aged Scottish couple seated next to me had downed four beers each by the time Natalie’s Totally Dead Baby was over, so if they raised an eyebrow at my next movie selection, I could just make judge-y faces at the litter of cans across their tray tables and go back to feeling superior.  Number Three, I waited until my mom, seated across the aisle, was fast asleep over a giant legal tome.  That woman shelled out unholy amounts of cash for me to spend four years analyzing Vajda and Fellini, only for me to turn around and say, “I wanna watch the pretty people do it!”

The critical story arc wherein Natalie & her roommates all get their periods at once. It's tough for a while there, but then Ashton shows up with cupcakes, thank God.

And do it they did.  I’m not going to get into the details of the film except to say, that I’m not the only one who should be ashamed of themselves.  That Kevin Kline deigned to play father to The Kutcher himself is so tragic I want lay a wreath upon the shooting location of his Sophie’s Choice monologue.  But the fact is, I could have been watching him in A Fish Called Wanda, a comedic masterpiece and another one of my airplane movie options.  But no thanks, I’d rather watch him prance around in boot cut jeans and make out with someone actually named Lake Bell!

I’m not good at breaking the rules.  Upon landing, I immediately began sending confessional text messages to a phone-tree of my smarty-pantsiest friends:  Back from Scotland, the funeral sucked.  Guess what I watched on the plane?!

I saved Jon for an in-person reveal – in case he needed to hit me or something.  While waiting in line for the new Werner Herzog documentary, I tossed my head in extreme laughter at a kind of funny comment he’d made.

“HAHAHAHA that’s HILARIOUS!  Oh by the way, HAHAHA, you know what else is funny?!  On the plane back from Scotland, I watched No Strings Attached.  BAAAAHAHAHAHA!”

“Ugh, really?”

“Yeah!  I laughed four times!  Seriously!  HAHA!  I’m so sorry!”

I really think the phallus bouquet is about Ashton's desire to take their sex-based relationship to a deeper level, and not at all a visual gag for the trailer.

And then I remembered something.  Jon, not so long ago, had seen a little piece of cinema called Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole.  True, he was high, and sometimes people do fucked up things when they’re high – or HIGH UP IN A PLANE.  It’s kind of the whole reason Ashton Kutcher has a career to begin with.  He is possibly the most repulsive creature ever to wear a red wrist string, but if you were super drunk at some God-forsaken direct-to-dvd release party, wouldn’t you just want to grab him by his big, dumb haircut and make out with him hardcore?  That’s basically what I did on Continental Flight 17, five days ago.

I did not watch Country Strong though.  Unlike 85% of the passengers, I do have my standards.  If it turns up on Instant Netflix though, I’m not making any promises.

Dream Journal: Mommy & Meth

April 1, 2011 § Leave a comment

A few weeks ago I dreamed that my mom was doing meth with Kate Bosworth.  I caught them, and she was really embarrassed and I was all “Hey, Kate Bosworth, what the fuck?!”  Because it was obviously her influence.  She’d peer-pressured my mom.  I also remember that their dealer was some highbrow author I’d read in college but I can’t for the life of me pin it down (Elie Wiesel, maybe?), and I dragged my methed-out mom to his house to be like, “Look what you did to my mom!  This is not cool Elie Wiesel (maybe)!”

This is why is just about the greatest thing that has ever happened, on the internet or otherwise.  The second I woke up (and texted three people), I grabbed my laptop and clicked the bookmark to their dream dictionary.  This feature, a giant alphabetized list of common dream symbols, astonishes me every time.  I’ll log on and think, “No one else has ever dreamed they were having a mountaintop jousting match with their dentist.”  Then I’ll log onto Dream Moods and find mountain = obstacle, jousting = sexual conquest, dentist = concern over your appearance.  Then I get to spend all day wondering if I should change dentists, or get dressed up and make a move at my next cleaning.

The thing about using Dream Moods is you have to be able to break your dream down into searchable symbols.  With the Mommy & Meth dream, I’ve come up with these:  Mother, Actress, Drugs, Author.  Here’s what Dream Moods has to say about that:

Mother:  To see your mother in your dream, represents the nurturing aspect of your own character. 

Actress:  To see a particular actor or actress in your dream, look at the roles they play. How you perceive them or the characters they play can provide understanding. 

Drugs:  To dream that you are in possession of or taking drugs, signifies your need for a “quick fix” or an escape from reality. 

Author:  To see an author in your dream, suggests that your mind is preoccupied with some story, essay, or report that you are working on.

Now here’s the fun self-shrinkifying part where you lie in bed and wonder why you’re such a weirdo.  So, the nurturing aspect of my own character is in need of a “quick fix” or escape from reality, and is choosing to do so with a woman who typically portrays…girlfriends?  Surfers?  People who could use a cheeseburger?  In terms of the author symbol, I am constantly preoccupied with something I should be writing.  What twentysomething, Williamsburg resident isn’t?!  That’s what we do!  We sit in Second Stop Cafe, drink fifteen agave lemonades and play Bejeweled all afternoon.  Then our dad’s call and ask about the screenplay and we’re like, “Oh yeah, it’s pretty much done, just needs another edit.”

So, today instead of Bejeweled I’m going to call up the blondest friend I can think of.  Since I don’t know a meth dealer or Elie Wiesel, I’ll invite her to join me at Second Stop for some lemonade and maybe a vegan blackberry scone.  I’ll tell her about my screenplay, and we’ll discuss her memoir – the one about growing up pretty, rich and loved, in Connecticut.  Then hopefully tonight I’ll dream about trains, because that means tomorrow I’m going to get shit done.


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