Friday, February 27, 2009

Gettin My Ash On

On Ash Wednesday I ended up attending my church’s Spanish mass at noon because the English mass was at 8 a.m. (be serious). I sat there for an hour trying to follow along, wondering how it’s possible that I took Spanish for nine years and the only words I understood were Jesu Christo.

There were two priests doling out ashes that day. When I saw people in my line walking back with undefined round dots in their forehead, I jumped lines. That’s right. I’m a sacramental line-jumper. As the possessor of a fivehead, I have a substantial canvas to work with and the smaller the dot, the larger it looks. I needed someone with some spatial proportion consideration. Also, I have a pronounced forehead vein to contend with and Ash Wednesday is the only day that it gets to travel under the cover of darkness.

When I got home I looked at my cross in the mirror and saw that the priest had undercompensated on one side. Moreover, he didn’t really follow-through on the downstroke either. It looked like I had an “L” on my forehead, which is probably what I deserved. It could’ve been worse. At least I didn’t have to take my work ID photo on Ash Wednesday this time. But it certainly wasn’t the Immaculate Cross of 2008, the likes of which we will probably never see again. That year I had people stopping me on the street to compliment me on my cross. One fellow Catholic I walked past turned to their friend and said, “See, now that’s a cross.” For 12 hours that day, my forehead -- usually the subject of ridicule -- knew what it was to be special. I felt like one of those handicapped kids that gets one day to dress up in designer clothes, meet their favorite rock star and get a spa treatment at Elizabeth Arden.

But back to 2009: My forehead was a bit itchy (I forgot to moisturize that morning) but I was determined not to mess with God's work. Instead of scratching my forehead, I spent the afternoon stabbing at the itch with my longest fingernail. Then I realized my internet was down and wound up having a particularly harrowing phone conversation with Time Warner, during which I absentmindedly ran the back of my hand over my forehead several times. The results were not pretty. No longer content to remain confined in an "L", the ashes had pilgrimaged across my forehead in search of the Promised Land. This also happened to be the night of Jessica's birthday drinks. When my forehead and I arrived at the bar, the dim lights further confused matters.

“Oh my gosh, Noelle, is that a bruise?!” people exclaimed. “What happened to your head?”

After several hours and glasses of wine (I know, but if you factor in the Holy Trinity, I was drinking for four), I said my farewells. By the time I got home this is what my forehead was left with: the cloud monster from Lost. In case you were wondering where it’s been this season.

Time Warner Cable: The Power of You Rearranging Your Entire Day Around a 4-Hour Window of Home-Bound Time

Me: I'm finally back online. My internet was being a little punkass so I had to have Time Warner come over here and get crunk on it.

Lateefah: So my wild imagination actually envisioned someone in a Time Warner uniform finger snapping and neck rolling, yellin' at the internet line "Aww, hell naw...yo' ass better work, dammit!"

Me: That's actually pretty much how it went.

(In related news: I recently came across the website which I enjoyed immensely, even if it took me awhile to figure out what "livin' with your paper" meant.)

There Will Be Binging

This morning I received in the mail a package from my mother. “Oh fuck,” I whispered when I opened it. It was my belated Valentine’s Day present and it contained a huge box of Godiva chocolates (36 pieces strong) and two boxes of Girl Scout Cookies (Thin Mints, Peanut Butter Patties).

I guess I should mention that today is Friday and I haven’t eaten since Sunday. For the last five days I’ve been doing the Blueprint Cleanse, a fast where all you drink are six juices a day. And before you get all “that’s just unhealthy” on my ass, know that this ain’t your Beyonce’s maple-syrup-cayenne-pepper bullshit fast. The Blueprint juices add up to about 1200 calories a day so you’re not starving yourself. According to the site, the cleanse uses live juices to remove toxins and promote healing by supplying your blood with the vitamins, minerals and enzymes it needs to keep you going while you detox and reboot yourself from the inside out.


I just decided to try it because my friend Jessica did the three-day cleanse and swore she had more energy, was suddenly craving leafy greens and had no appetite for junk food anymore. She no longer even needed coffee. Another reason is because I’m writing a book about doing one thing every day that scares me for one year. And if the idea of going without food for five days doesn’t scare the shit out of you, then you must be on a juice cleanse like me and have nothing in your bowels.

(Believe me, the irony was not lost on me that I was paying not to eat for a week when millions of people go hungry every day. Paying a lot, for that matter. That’s America for you.)

I have to say, it’s been nothing short of a revelation. I’m a decently healthy eater but I’ve never felt so hale and hearty in my life as I did this week. Mind you, it wasn’t always easy. At the end of Day One I had a pounding headache. According to the Blueprint website, this was a symptom of withdrawal. I was also ready to slap somebody for a plate of ribs. This is also, I’m assuming, a symptom of withdrawal.

But that night, when I went to slather my lips in Carmex like I always do before bed, I realized I hadn’t applied Carmex all day. In and of itself, this was remarkable. I usually have to apply lip balm (no lie) at least 10 times a day. I’m never without a tube. If I happen to leave the house without lip balm, I have to stop at a drugstore and buy some. Otherwise, in a matter of hours my lips go all science fiction and bad things happen. A few days later I noticed that my skin was brighter. Apparently, I normally live in a state of perpetual dehydration.

I never understood what people were talking about when they said that certain foods made them feel sluggish and other foods gave them more energy. No matter what I ate, I always felt the same way – a little lethargic, foggy-headed. I thought that was just, you know, the way it is. I’ve never really felt the urge to go outside and do anything except maybe sit down. But for the last five days, I actually wanted to do things! I was clear-headed and focused like never before. I could work for hours without break. It was like caffeine without the heart palpitations, shaky hands and energy crash. However, it was the mood change that really sold me. I was in a fantastic mood every single minute of every single day. Even when that person on the subway sat down in the seat that I was so clearly making my way towards.

I can't say I've abolished my junk food cravings like Jessica. This much was clear when I opened that box today. It took everything in my power not to stick my head in and make face love to its contents. But I'm definitely not looking forward to the return-to-sugar fallout. Yesterday I ate a small piece of candy and the result was instantaneous. I felt as if I’d been hit over the head with a sledge hammer. A cloud settled around my brain, making it difficult to concentrate. If that’s in any way a preview of what I’m in for tomorrow after I tear into those cookies, I’m going to be needing a Girl Scout insulin patch. Because come breakfast time I’m stacking those bad boys in my mouth six deep and showing no mercy.

P.S. Thanks Mom!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Wait Till the Department of Defense Hears About This

I'm totally late on this story. Meant to blog it last week but I had a deadline and deadlines wait for no weave. Many thanks to the anonymous reader who brought this to my attention. I love this story. It reads like a plot arc from the last season of Charm School.

Woman OK After Bullet Ends Up in Her Hair Weave

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Other than having a bit of a headache, a Kansas City woman was uninjured after a bullet fired at her ended up tangled in her hair weave. Police said the 20-year-old woman was in a convenience store parking lot late Wednesday when a man flagged her down and told her that her ex-boyfriend still loved her.

She replied, "Well I don't love him," then heard gunshots. She said she looked behind the vehicle and saw her ex-boyfriend firing a handgun at her. She stomped her accelerator and fled, then turned into another parking lot and called police.

She told officers she recently had ended an eight-month relationship with the suspect.

Police arrested the ex-boyfriend and his friend in a car.

If those U.S. soldiers in Iraq buying their own body armor had only known, they could have saved money by switching to weaves. All we can hope is when Jessica Simpson launches a line of clip-on hair vests and follicular-themed tactical gear later this year, she has the foresight to use a repurposed poster from the straight-to-DVD marvel Private Valentine: Blonde & Dangerous

Has It Really Come To This?

Seen last night in the candy aisle at the CVS drugstore on 14th St. and 1st Ave.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

Jesus and Stuart are wishing you all kinds of gay parakeet love this holiday weekend.

He Just Wasn't That Into Me

When people find out I used to interview celebrities for a living, the question I’m asked most often is, “Did any of them ever hit on you?” The answer is no, although there was a time when I thought one of them did. A few years ago, Rolling Stone flew me out to L.A. to profile Bradley Cooper for their Hot List issue. Wedding Crashers had just come out and his forthcoming sitcom, Kitchen Confidential, was getting all kinds of buzz.

My friend Sara and I had been out late at some club in Hollywood the night before so I showed up to the interview wickedly hungover (I’m a professional). His publicist set up our lunch at the trendy Urth CafĂ©. The first words out of Bradley’s mouth after we introduced ourselves: “Do you really want to be here? C’mon, I’m going to take you to a place that’ll blow your mind.” We hopped in his jeep and he drove me to a great hole-in-the-wall Mexican food place where he knew everyone by name.

Dude was a sweetheart. He pointed out which smoothies he thought would best cure my headache. He asked permission to drink his latte when it arrived before the food. But the best part was the vibe between the two of us. I’d interviewed tons of people before, but this was the first time it felt like a date. We laughed, we shared stories, we flirted. All this and I’m not usually attracted to blondes (it would be like dating my brother). Yet for this guy, I made an exception.

“I’m actually going to be seeing you in two weeks,” I said coyly as the interview wrapped up. Kitchen Confidential was having a launch party in New York and I was scheduled to cover it.

“Oh great!” he replied eagerly. “I'm really looking forward to it!” Then he offered to drive me to the airport. I already had a ride but he asked several times, “Are you sure? Are you positive? It’s really no bother.” Clearly he was into me.

I spent the next two weeks fantasizing about what our life together was going to be like. I couldn’t believe I was about to be dating a celebrity. The paparazzi, I knew, would be annoying. They’d follow us down the street, photographing us shopping together and brunching. I figured I’d let them get a few shots in before taking charge. “Okay guys, that’s enough for today,” I’d say. “Let’s shut it down. Thanks!” Our wedding would be featured in InStyle magazine. They’d follow Bradley and me to the playground to photograph us pushing our herd of Aryan-looking babies on the swings. But we’d get through it – together.

The night of the party I arrived in my meticulously planned outfit -- camisole, cute blazer, stilettos, city shorts (it was 2005). I waited until he’d settled in with a drink and strode up to him casually and said, “Hey there!”

He looked at me quizzically. “Ummmm…” He had no idea who I was. After five horrendous seconds, and my prompting "Rolling Stone?", he said, “Oh wait! Now I remember you. How ya doin’?”

Yeah, that was uncomfortable.

The next day I tried to figure out where I had gone wrong. I went over our conversations, which was easy by virtue of the fact that the interview had been tape recorded. I spent hours (well, minutes) pouring over the details of what had happened that day we met. Was it my outfit? Maybe it was the hangover?

I recounted this embarrassing story to a friend of mine last week after we saw He’s Just Not That Into You. “Oh my god!” she said. “That’s amazing. You basically behaved like one of the characters in the movie to one of the characters in the movie. Only you did it in real life!”

It’s true. I'd completely projected a fantasy relationship onto a man who had forgotten me the instant I’d left his presence. The truth is, it was just an interview to him. Nothing more. Or maybe it was because I’d been dropped off for our interview by a guy driving a convertible, and when Bradley had asked, “Who was that?” I replied, “Oh, him? I met him last night.” Yeah, that could’ve been it, too.

Why I'm Going Out for Valentine's Day Tonight

[via I Heart You]

Someone once told me that February 13 is the night that married men take their mistresses out for Valentine's Day. So Nick and I plan on playing the "Whore or Procrastinator?" game at dinner tonight while scoping out our fellow diners.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Quote of the Day

"The Milk Mustache campaign is taking the allegations against Chris Brown very seriously," a company rep tells

The Got Milk campaign is pulling Chris Brown's ads at the end of the week. Personally I think the situation could've been resolved with a little creative copy editing to make the ad more topical:

"Chris Brown feat Milk: How do I stay light on my feet? By drinking milk. The protein helps build muscle and strong bones that you can use to pummel your girlfriend when she starts getting mouthy. got milk? and a decent attorney?"

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

"So I Decided To Risk It All..."

The vacant stares, the awkward voice-overs, the kicky music. Newsweek (I know, right???) has done a spoof of The City that's totally spot-on. Next week on The District: Barack walks into Rahm Emanuel's office and says, "You won't believe what happened to me today." And then Rahm's mouth drops and he says, "Oh. My. God. Seriously?"

[Via Daily Intel]

More Evidence I'd Never Make It As A Copy Editor

I was rereading the Market Analysis section of my book proposal last night and came across this line: "This is a book my void can fill." I'm going to tell myself I was up late the night I wrote that.