Tuesday, April 29, 2008

This is Your Brain On Blogging

Kittens-Coca Cola Box -
If a doctor were to look in my ear with one of those otoscopes after a long day of blogging, this is what they would see.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Resolve: Should NYC Bars Close at 2 a.m.?

Last week I went out for an innocent post-work drink with my old R.A. from college. One drink turned into many drinks, which turned into an all-night dance session at the gay club Splash, which led to me smacking my forehead on a bar top (long story), which led to drinks at an after-hours bar, which led to me passing out facedown on my couch with all the lights on at 6 a.m. Note: This was a Tuesday night.

So when Page Six Magazine asked me to write a 150-word editorial arguing that New York bars should move last call up to 2 a.m., I agreed immediately, mostly to try to save me from myself. It’s not that I want to end debauchery in New York. I just think we should strive to get it out of the way earlier in the evening. Tracy Westmoreland (former owner of one of my favorite bars Siberia), argued the other side from an economical standpoint, making my references to Jäeger Bombs and regrettable sex seem pretty silly in comparison. I'm sorry to disappoint you. I know you were all expecting me to be the next Paul Krugman.

My editorial below:
Nothing good happens after 2 a.m. Ever. Think of all the late-night pizza-eating and booty-calling that could be avoided if we all went home earlier. Tally up the embarrassing karaoke sessions that would never have happened (your rendition of “It’s Raining Men” is still the stuff of office lend, by the way) if we were collectively cut off. There’s a reason we never find ourselves saying “Wow, I wish I’d stayed out later and had one last Jäeger Bomb.” Or “I really regret not having sex with that random stranger.” Imagine a Sunday morning when you wake up and actually accomplish something besides nursing a hangover. Or how much less grouchy we New Yorkers would be if we weren’t kept up all night by the loud drunken loiterers outside the bar next door. New York doesn’t need a few more rounds. We need a few more hours of sleep. So put down the beer, stop all the drunk-dialing and call me in the morning.

Bonus pics of me "dancing" at Splash below. I think I'm actually doing The Shopping Cart in that first photo:

Hi, I'm Noelle. I'll Be Your Mercenary Blogger Today

Sorry once again for the dearth of postage. I've been busy helping out over at New York magazine's Daily Intel blog while one of their bloggers is away on her honeymoon. The bad news is that I'm usually too tired at the end of the day to write on my personal blog. The great news is that I'm co-blogging with my lovely gay boyfriend Chris Rovzar, who also edited me at the Yale Daily News. He wrote a hilarious post introducing me last week, in which he pointed out (quite rightly) that he and I are far and away the least successful YDN alumni our age working in journalism right now. As evidence, he listed a bunch of our former college newspaper colleagues who've gone on to illustrious careers at places like The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. The best part? After that post went up, a Harvard Law student emailed in:

Hi Chris and Noelle,

i think you left off Perry Bacon who is a national reporter at the
Washington Post from your list of more impressive YDN alums...
although you are being a little hard on yourself, I personally think
being a New York gossip reporter is more impressive than, say,
writing articles for the Council on Foreign Relations.

Hope all's well.

At which point Chris turned to me and said, "Geez Louise, he's right! There's ANOTHER one. I'm also glad he emailed from Harvard Law School to point that out..."

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Spring: You Are Here

Thank god Spring is finally here and I can get dressed again. I never know what to wear during those neither-here-nor-there weeks in between Winter and Spring. You feel stuffy in earth tones and wool but a little overeager (and chilly) wearing brightly colored cotton.

A few years ago I nearly had nervous breakdown trying to figure out a good in-between ensemble to wear to work. It was the first semi-warm day of the year I was a half-hour late for my job at a newspaper with an "anything goes" dress code policy. A mini-skirt was clearly in order but my legs were aggressively pale so I pulled on my black leather boots. By then I was mad tardy so I grabbed my leather coat and purse bounded out the door. As I was hurrying out of the lobby of my building I caught sight of myself in a mirrored wall and stopped short. Between the black leather coat, the black leather handbag, the short skirt and the black stiletto boots, I looked like a springtime dominatrix. (The craigslist ad would read: Dominatrix for hire. Looking for pain slut/balls to stomp this season. Let’s enjoy the cherry blossoms together!)

At this point I was so behind that I didn’t have time to go back and change. I was self-conscious the entire way to work and sure that every passerby was doing a double-take. The fact that it was an obnoxiously sunny day made my black leather outfit feel all the more ridiculous. “Quit imagining things,” I admonished myself. “This is New York, where people wear all-black year round. No one is looking at your outfit.”

When I walked into the office our receptionist glanced up. Normally the woman was so self-occupied she wouldn’t have noticed if I was on fire. That day she looked at me over the top of her glasses. “Girlfriend” she tsked. “That is a lot of...material.”

At the end of the day, I left my jacket on the back of my desk chair.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Oh, Poor Demi

These are pics of Ashton Kutcher, 30, and Margarita Levieva, 23, in between takes on the set of the upcoming romantic comedy Spread. According to the current issue of In Touch:
Ashton has been careful to reassure Demi that anything going on with Margarita, a Russian-born former gymnast, is just acting.

Monday, April 14, 2008

I Carried a Watermelon

Me: You know, the more I watch 'Dirty Dancing' nowadays, the more I side with the dad. I'm also really grossed out by the idea of this twenty-something* guy boning a 17-year-old girl.

Jessica: It's actually filthy.

Me: Also, Johnny was really stupid.

Jessica: Well, if he was smart, wouldn't he have a better job?

Me: God, we're such ruling class assholes.

*Patrick Swayze was actually 35 in that movie. Creepsies!

The Three Questions

When you’re a woman walking down the streets of New York City, there are three questions that you’re asked on a regular basis. 1) Do you like stand-up comedy? 2) Where do you get your hair cut? 3) Can I ask you a question? (Or, alternately, “Can I tell you something?” or “Can I just say…?”)

I have learned not to answer the first two questions. Tell them you like stand-up and you’ll later find yourself in the front row of a painful 3-hour amateur comedy show. The second question is more deceptive. You pause, thinking to yourself, “They like my hair cut so much that they want to go to the salon themselves so they can look as fabulous as I do!” But this is only a ruse to get you to stop. Once you tell them the name of your salon, you get the ol' bait-and-switch. They say something like, “How much did you pay for it? I’ll bet it was too much!” Then they hand you a voucher for a discount haircut with a stylist-in-training at some random hair salon. Use the voucher and you will usually walk out of the salon with mini-bangs that you neither requested nor desired.

The last question can obviously go a number of ways. Sometimes it can simply be a quest for directions. (“How do I get to West 4th Street from here?”) Often the question is some kind of pick-up line. Then there's the guy in Union Square who tapped me on the shoulder the other day and said, “Can I tell you something? If you were a booger, I’d pick you first."

Then there's that.

There Have Been No Posts

Sorry for the lack of postage. I was busy helping out at Gawker all week. My Field Guide to 2008's Douchiest Cliques, a takedown of Style.com's Gangs of New York: 2008's Coolest Cliques, got far and away the most response if you want to check it out.

[Disclaimer: I don't think Julia Allison is a douche. Girl's a marketing genius and a friend of mine. She just happened to be on the list so she got looped in with everyone else.]

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

When We Die, Do You Think God Just Hits a Delete Key?

Me: I think I'm going to have a heart attack. Like the bloggers in the Times piece.

Balk: Meet you at St. Vincent's!

Friday, April 04, 2008

5 Things You Should Do Before the Arrival of the Potential Psycho Who Answered Your Craigslist Ad

I once saw this Law & Order: SVU episode where this serial killer would find single women to kill by scouting the classifieds for ads for girlie sofas. His theory was that anyone selling a flowery sofa is probably a woman lives alone with no one around to hear her scream. He would offer to buy the sofa and kill them when he arrived.

(Sadly, it took Detective Stabler and Benson a few days to find these murdered women. Apparently, owners of chintzy sofas don’t have that many friends to notice that they’re missing.)

I remembered this episode after I posted an ad on Craigslist selling my old TV and decided that the dude who answered it must be coming to kill me, too. Here is my to-do list to prepare for his arrival:

1) Bring up Craigslist ad onto computer so that, if I should be murdered, investigators will see it and know what happened and who did it.

2) Unholster taser gun (a Christmas gift from Dad after one of my college classmates was stabbed to death) in case things get ugly. But hide it in bedside table drawer so he doesn’t think I’m a total psycho.

3) Put Mace in back pocket within reach.

4) Plan to leave door open the whole time he’s here.

5) Note that he asked to pick up the TV “at 21:00” and realize that if he’s ex-military, he could probably snap my neck faster than you can say “Actually I only take cash. But, uh...forced, unwanted sex is okay, too!”

Thursday, April 03, 2008

You Always Knew Jesus Was a Top, Right?

Stuart and Jesus the parakeets

When I finally got an office job after a year of freelancing, I would look back at the time I spent working at home and ask myself, "What did I even do all day?" (Because, judging from my 2005 tax return, I obviously wasn't working.) Now that I'm unemployed I remember the answer: taking pictures of my birds and writing inappropriate jokes about gay parakeet sex and candy rape.

Overheard in the Movie Theater

Nick: "Jessica, stop raping the Skittles for all the red ones!"
Jessica: [without looking up] "The Skittles had it coming."

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

When I Was (Almost In) Seventeen

When I was sixteen, I was almost in Seventeen. Well, I say almost, not really. On a whim I entered the Seventeen Cover Model Contest and made it to the semi-finals. Obviously I never had the bone structure to make it in the biz, but I got these photos out of it and they're pretty funny to look back on nonetheless. I came across these shots earlier today when I was cleaning out my apartment.

Lord, that lipstick I'm wearing in the red outfit is so 90's! How we ever thought it was a good idea to wear brown on our lips is beyond me. I remember it was 15 degrees outside when they took these pics. After Seventeen junked all the losing entries into the trash, a custodian fished out my application and called me at home in Houston and asked if I would come visit him in New York. Freak.

2008 Jennifer Aniston Slowly Reverting Back To 1996 Jennifer Aniston

Is it just me or do you feel like you're looking at a photo of Friends-era Aniston here, even though this pic was just taken Tuesday? Her weight's back up to the level it was at before she and Courteney started competitive dieting. Her hair is The Color Rachel. And just look at those frayed jean shorts. I totally had a pair of those back in high school that I used to wear with a brown braided belt and my shirts tucked in. To be fair, I think she's filming a spot for her new film Marley & Me. But still,I'm half expecting her to show up on Adam Duritz's arm with, like, a smile on her face.

I also like how it looks like she has four arms. Whenever I'm at parties, I'm always struck at how badly designed the human body is for socializing. We need four arms -- one to hold the plate of food, one to transport the food from the plate to our mouth, one to hold a drink, and one to shake people's hands.

Anyway, this photo makes me want to reach out to that Aniston -- with all four of my imaginary arms! -- and warn her, "Girl, don't listen to the hype. When the rain starts to fall, we will so not be there for you. The public is going to abandon you and become enamored of a big-boobied, husband-stealing do-gooder. Hurry, go find some orphans now. Collect 'em all!"

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Live-Blogging Today's Episode Of The Oprah Winfrey Show

I’m sorry but this is hilarious. I’m watching Oprah right now and it’s an episode about people who eat while they sleep. They’re actually airing night vision footage of people eating while sleeping. This is amazing. That’s it, I’m blogging this.

5 mins 47 secs: Right now we’re watching video of this woman housing some cole slaw, lunch meat and chugging milk from the jug while completely unconscious.

8 mins: Oprah asks the woman, “Do you remember any of that?”

“No, not until the morning,” she replies. “There are triggers. There’d be a spoon or crackers or dip or something we left. You’re kind of on autopilot. You don’t remember at the time but you have recollections in the morning.”

Okay, I can’t really relate to this but I can sort of relate to it. Back when I had the energy to drink I would come home late at night hammered and stop by the 24-Hour Baskin Robbins across the street from my apartment complex.(By the way, is that really necessary, America? I mean, really?)

I’d always get a double scoop of Cookies N’ Cream and Rocky Road to go and the next day I'd wake up to find an empty BR cup sitting on my nightstand having no idea how it go there. AND! If I was coming home from covering some celebrity event, I would routinely give away all of my party swag to the employees! I’d wake up and be all, “What the hell happened to my Swarovski crystal-covered BlackBerry holster?!” Then the next time I’d stop by Baskin Robbins, one of the employees would say, “Thank you so much for the crystal-covered BlackBerry holster!”

10 mins: I’m eating while I’m watching this, by the way.

16 mins 33 secs: Another guest is describing the time she fell asleep while nursing her child, had a bad dream that someone was trying to kill her, tucked her son underneath her arm like a football and sprinted down the hall to the living room where her husband and his brother were hanging out. All of this while she was asleep. What I want to know is whether her nursing breast was still flopping around as she charged down the hallway in front of her brother-in-law? Someone has to ask these questions, because Oprah sure isn’t.

18 mins 54 secs: A guest named Ashley confesses that she wakes up unleashing bloodcurdling screams every few weeks. Are there no good sleep-related habits? Does anyone get up and clean the house while they sleep? Pay the bills? Maybe get in some volunteer work? Dr. Oz tells us that there are actually some people who have sex while they sleep and that this is mostly a problem among men. No kidding. I think I’ve dated a few of those guys.

32 mins 19 secs: Correction: I was eating. Oprah just welcomed a guest who opens with this testimonial: “I was finally diagnosed with anal fissures after several years of going to different kinds of doctors.” Whoa! Where did this come from? I thought we were talking about sleep? A little warning next time, O? If you were really the Queen Of All Women you’d know that you can’t just go straight to anal.

33 mins 6 secs: I have forgiven Oprah for the anal thing because the woman continued on with this gem: “It’s exhausting. Just trying to put a simple pair of shoes on – the bending, the twisting. I have to call my son and have him put my boots on for me.” Then they cut to a clip of the son helping the mother into her ankle boots. Hee heeeeee! Can’t. Stop. The. Laughter. This is even surpassing that infamous Oprah/Oz poop episode where one of the guests described her hemorrhoids as “feeling like a bunch of grapes are hanging out of my rear at all times.”

33 mins 47 secs: Dr. Oz just got out a sock and is reenacting the process of poo passing over anal fissures. I’m not even making this up, nor am I making up the following exchange:

Dr. Oz: “Remember, your anus looks like your lips.”

Oprah: “I wouldn’t know…”

I don't know what that has to do with anything, but I would have to agree. Case in point, this picture of Naomi Campbell.

35 mins 52 secs: Dr. Oz tells the anal-fissure afflicted woman: “You gotta keep that area dry. Because if it’s wet, those cracks don’t heal. So, as crazy as it sounds, you gotta take a hair dryer, put it on cold and then just shine it up there.” [Mimes holding a blow dryer up against his asshole.] “It works. It dries it out.”

It's also a fine conversation ice-breaker: "Hey Ted, nice to meet you. I'd shake your hand but I'm too busy firing this hair dryer up my anus. Maybe next time?"

55 mins: The rest of the show was kind of boring, featuring a guy with sweaty hands and the importance of eating a piece of whole grain bread with olive oil every day.

Ah well. Kudos to Oprah for keeping it together during the first half hour, because I was basically dry heaving with laughter. I don’t care what people say. That women deserves every penny.

Too Wired To Enjoy Facials

I treated myself to a facial today. I probably shouldn’t have, being unemployed and all. But I just got back from the beach and my skin looked like the surface of Mars so I did it anyway.

The first thing that happened was that I was greeted by the aesthetician, which sounds like someone who administers anesthesia but is actually someone who administers facials. She had me lie down on a terry cloth recliner and pulled a blanket up to my chin. Note: this probably would’ve been more cozy if I hadn’t still been wearing my jeans. There was some cleansing and some pinching and then she smeared something all over my face and left me alone so it could harden.

After a half hour – a half hour! – of lying there in the dark listening to muzak, I got antsy. Who knew when this lady was even coming back? Since I was left to my own devices, I turned to my own devices. I creeped across the candle lit room and pulled my BlackBerry out of my coat pocket and started returning emails.

When the aesthetician returned she found me sitting up cross-legged and hunched over on the recliner. The glow that illuminated my face had nothing to do with the beauty mask I was wearing and everything to do with AT&T. With one motion, she snatched up the offending device -- or, excuse me, my “wireless email solution for mobile professionals.”

“You don’t know how to relax, do you?” she said accusingly. (Though, honestly, I think she was still mad that I wouldn’t give in to the bonus $25 citrus mask that she kept insisting my skin would thank me for later.)

“Listen, it’s nothing personal,” I said. “It takes me two sleeping pills just to fall asleep at night. Horses have been tranquilized with less. So, yeah, you might say I have a problem relaxing.”

Also, I just don’t feel like anyone should be lying on their back staring up at the ceiling for that long unless they’re a quadriplegic or have someone on top of them. Maybe I’ve just been in New York for too long. They should open up a joint where stressed out New Yorkers can stop by, lie down and have a 30-minute anesthesia drip.

Now that's something I could get down with.