2010 according to my facebook status updates

Posted in Memoir | 2 Comments

Happy Birthday!

To all the Stephanies!

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

December movie reviews

It’s December!

Which means it must be the holiday season! I also know this because not only has my TV been bombarding me with those damn hell ass stupid “open heart necklace” commercials, fuck you Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, fuck you very much, but I also voluntarily rented a Tyler Perry movie. Like on purpose. I KNOW. Also, I completely hated only about half of these movies! HALF! Fa-la-la-la-la!

Children of Invention

I love when people recommend movies to me! Honestly, I will watch anything and at least when people recommend stuff, I know that 1) I’m not the only person besides the director’s mom to watch said film since it hit videostores and 2) exactly whose face to punch if it sucks. Happily for Gerard, I loved this movie! It’s not perfect and the ending is a tad contrived, though not as contrived as I feared it might be, the kids are as cute as buttons (that little girl needs a TV show RIGHT NOW!) and the story is touching and dude, I thought I was gonna start bawling halfway through it. Rent it! Oh…it’s about a single immigrant mom raising two kids without the help of their deadbeat dad. Yeah, it kinda hit close to home.

Deep Water

Zeem recommended this movie and it was fantastic! It’s a documentary about a 1960s yacht race around the world. It follows the stories of the 8 or so Englishmen who decided to do what had never been done before (nonstop solo sail around the world) and try to win fame and money for themselves in the process. I don’t care who you are, you’ll cry. Oh man.

Slap Shot

Drizz recommended this movie and I will have his head come WPBT for it. IT’S TERRIBLE! Okay, the first five minutes are funny. And as a new hockey watcher and nascent Rangers fan, it was interesting to learn about the penalties and stuff. But the rest of the movie? GARBAGE. Absolute, just poke my eyes out and bash my head in garbage. And Drizz will pay.

Winter’s Bone (2010)

This movie is FANTASTIC! I think Mary would like it. It’s about hillbillies in a place like West Virginia. But not. Or it might be. Anyway, the oldest daughter has to find her father or the law is gonna take their house. She meets some real bad peoples along the way.

What the #$*! Do We Know!?

You know what I don’t know? How I ended up renting a 3 hour movie about quantum physics. But, as I learned from the film, there are multiple realities all existing at the same time, so perhaps while I was watching this movie, an alternate Dawn was watching the Patriots game. There is no plot. There is no nothing! We never touch! Matter deosn’t exist! Your life is not only a lie, it’s not even your life! Or is it? Hey, let’s play basketball with a little black boy and draw on our naked bodies. You think I’m kidding, don’t you?

Knight and Day

Action star Tom Cruise is back! He plays an agent protecting Cameron Diaz from bad government CIA guys. This movie is just funny, action packed mindless fun. I enjoyed it, will never think about it again. Brava!


It’s funny watching a movie about commercial aviation set in the 1970s. People are smoking in planes. There’re three course meals offered, people eat with actual silverware. They dress up to fly! Security schmecurity! Astin would love it! The premise is the Chicago airport is snowed in. That same night a man buys a huge life insurance policy for himself and plans to blow up his plane to Italy so his wife can pay their debts. It has the feel of a documentary, but it’s not.

Airport 1975

Oh look, and it has a sequel! This one stars Moses and he’s all “listen up, dahrlin’ I’ll save you.” And he does. I liked the first one better. Way more believeable than this “a commercial airliner crashes into a single engine plane in midair and Charlton Heston parachutes into the cockpit to land the plane” one.

Dorian Gray

I love this story and I think I’ve seen a movie rendition of it before… this one isn’t bad, but it’s not better than just reading it. In fact, it’s worse. I don’t think they quite capture the process of Dorian Gray’s corruption. They make him out to be too evil too soon. It cheapens it.

Yellow Handkerchief

No idea what this movie is about. There’s a middle aged man who was just let out of prison and a teenage girl who has run away from home and a retarded guy with a car who follows them around…and then at the end there’s a yellow scarf flying from a boat. If you like artsy movies where you can pretentiously discuss lighting and mood and have no interest in plots or being awake, this is the movie for you. If however, like me, you thought this was movie version of that awesome short story you read in elementary school about the decapitated girl who wore a yellow handkerchief to keep her head attached to her body, this is NOT the movie for you.

The Last Airbender [Blu-ray] (2010)

This movie didn’t suck nearly as much as everyone said it would. I mean, sure, it sucked, but it just sucked a regular amount. I barely even rolled my eyes. I’m not familiar with the Airbender series, so I guess maybe that’s why I wasn’t angered or anything. But I wasn’t. It’s your standard kids with powers fare.

The Messenger (2009)

This movie was so so so good. It’s about an injured soldier from Iraqi Freedom or the Afghanistan war being pulled from the field while he heals and assigned to work with a Desert Storm vet (Woody Harrelson) on the Angel of Death squad telling families that their loved one has been killed. You follow them as they go to each house with the news and see how they spend their days in between those visits. It’s raw and moving but not preachy or annoying.

Happy Tears (2009)

Speaking of annoying. This movie stars Demi Moore and that actress I always confuse with the Weeds actress… Parker Posey, maybe? Blech. It’s terrible! She’s a bored rich housewife to a crazy trust fund baby and Demi Moore is married to a gay guy hoping to turn him straight. They are trying to put their ailing father in a home. All of which would be a fine premise for a movie, but why are there animations and stupid flashbacks involved? BLAH. DUMB. ANNOYING.

Karate Kid (2010)

I actually saw this movie on a plane a while back, but just forgot to review it. I liked it. Which, for a Ralph Macchio fan girl is crazy high praise. I thought they updated the story well…though, it’s bullshit how they portray China as if it’s just like America, but the people just speak Chinese. During all the chase scenes through the streets, I was like, Chinese police would have shot them by now. It’s good, the ending isn’t even a complete rip-off.
Continue reading

Posted in Movies | 25 Comments

Person up, America

When I was seven, I took my first flight to Panama alone.

My mother, god bless her, sent me to my grandparents with two suitcases of clothes, every piece of identification I had in the world and a jar of hair grease.

Do you want to know why I remember the hair grease? When I arrived at my second eldest aunt’s doorstep (my grandparents lived on the 8th floor, my eldest aunt lived on the ninth floor and my second eldest aunt lived on the 11th floor) the jar of grease slipped out of my hand and shattered at the door.

I cried. And cried.

You see, my mom had extracted all kinds of “you’re a big girl, right?” promises from me before she left me at the airport.

Yah. TOTALLY! I’m a HUGE girl! Wait…that doesn’t sound right.

Fortunately, my aunt was able to scrape up the grease and boil out the broken glass and repack the hair grease in a new container. Unfortunately, the dropped grease was only the beginning. I lost one of my strawberry shortcake roller skates, I accidentally peed my scooby doo pajamas and tossed them over the balcony lest my shame be found out, I tore countless of my t-shirts roughhousing with my cousins and then, right when the trip was all done, I left my passport and every single one of my identifying documents in the bathroom at JFK airport.

I mean, I assume I left them in the bathroom, who knows. All I know is that there I was at customs, holding my grandmother’s fruitcake in my hand, with my scooby doo knapsack on my back (shut up, I liked Scooby Doo. Wanna fight about it?) and NOTHING else. No passport, no birth certificate, not even my library card, which I had insisted on taking in case “I wanted to borrow a book.” (Again, shut up, I WAS SEVEN!)

I was pulled out of line and sheparded into a windowless room with three uniformed officers. I was not allowed to see my mommy, even though she was waiting for me right outside customs, a mere ten feet away.

I firmly refused to relinquish the cake. Again, like my mother, my grandmother had extracted numerous promises from me about my ability to take care of that cake. Having failed my mother, I was determined not to also fail my grandmother.

But, here was a child, an identification-less child, deplaning from Central America, what were the TSA (or whatever they were called in the 80s) officers supposed to do but detain and interrogate me?

They asked me the easy questions.

“Stephane. No i.”

“Brooklyn, New York.”

“My mommy’s name is Angela.”

“I was visiting my grandma and my aunts and my cousin Alex. And my mean uncle Colo.” I did NOT like that guy.

They asked me harder questions.

“Mayor Koch is the mayor. Even I know that…what’s wrong with you, lady?”

“Um…the actor guy is President. And he talks like this (insert my seven-year-old Reagan impression, which was AWESOME) and my mommy says he’s a jackass.”

Which, she totally did.

“I don’t know where my passport is. I had it and now I don’t.” And then I cried.

Again, never loosening my grip on the cake.

I probably answered more questions and some of these same ones again, but eventually, they escorted me through customs, released me to my mother and told her that I took very good care of the cake. Yeah, she still beat my ass for losing my passport. But that’s another story.

No one was there with a camera phone to film me bawling in the custody of three officers, but it happened; and you know what, it should have happened.

Child or no, I was undocumented and those people had a job to do. A job which requires that they do their damndest to make sure that they only grant entry to people with permission to be in the United States.

Well, in the past week, the following video of a TSA patdown of a three-year-old, has gone viral and been used as the rallying cry of the “don’t grab my junk” faction of the US. Turns out the kid’s daddy was a reporter, so he got the story on all the wires and now, for the last six days, all we get is TSA/pervert/grope/blah blah all day long.

What they don’t mention, is that the kid set off the security alarm TWICE. What the hell were the TSA agents supposed to do? Just let it go cause she’s a cute little white girl? Have we gotten assurances from our enemies that they promise NOT to use children to smuggle deadly weapons onto planes?

Sure, she’s screaming and that’s real sad, but I’m pretty sure she probably screamed during her mumps vaccine too and nobody’s claiming we should spare the youth the indignity of vaccination. Well, except for that crazy blond lady Jim Carrey used to date.

I’m sorry, but I can still smell the burning rubble and charred bodies which resulted from the last time we had a catastrophic security failure in aviation. Our enemies are as creative as they are cruel. Say what you will about the effectiveness of these body scans or the pervvy patdowns, I know they are more effective than shuttling people on their way without inspection because they’re crying or throwing a tantrum.

I’m further aggravated by all the spilled ink and celluloid on this subject because a little more than six months ago, a seven year old child was brutally gunned down in Detroit when police officers raided her grandmother’s house looking for a suspect.

I would have thought government action would not ever be more intolerably intrusive than when a seven year old is shot in the head with tax payer bullets. I expected a national outcry. Dateline reports. Meredith Viera curling her lip on the Today Show. Sarah Palin and the mama grizzlies growling for Ayana Jones legislation forbidding the use of lethal force by law enforcement in homes where children under ten reside.

But I was wrong.


We draw the line when a widdle girl’s teddy bear is taken away by the mean lady trying to find out why the metal detector keeps going off when she goes through.

Give me an effing break.

You want to rally about keeping the government’s grabby paws out of our lives, how about you show up for rallies allowing same sex marriages? Or fight against warrantless wiretaps of our phones or the release of our freaking library rental histories?

Make a stand for liberty in the thousand and one areas where there is not a single implication for our security.

But when it comes to metal containers hurtling through the air at upwards of 600 miles per hour, filled with gasoline, well, maybe, you allow a slap or two on your ass and a quick look-see through an x-ray machine.

Or, and I know, crazy, how about you drive to grandma’s for Thanksgiving?

Posted in Memoir, Personal, Wacky People | 31 Comments

I don’t like to explain myself

I did it! A whole weekend by myself at home without any of the distractions of human contact! Apologies to the blockbuster guy.

One of the movies I watched is a movie I actually saw in the theater…back when I could afford such luxuries: There Will Be Blood.

I thought of the movie again, for the first time in a long while, when I was visiting Petitedov up in Massachusetts. During a brutal game of Scene It, I decided that I wasn’t even going to try anymore and would just answer every question with the catch phrase from There Will Be Blood: “I drink your milkshake!” I even have this on a sweatshirt!

But upon quieter reflection, it’s a different scene which I think really captures who Plainview is.

He’s just been approached by a man claiming to be his brother. He’s already lost his ersatz son to an accident and blames himself because not only is the boy deaf, but he’s sent him away because the child is no longer of any use to him.

Plainview has the whole world figured out. He knows exactly how to flatter a man to get him to sign away his assets and rights. He knows what makes people tick, and he hates them for it. “I see the worst in people, Henry…I’ve built up my hatreds over the years… little by little.”

It’s a sentiment I know all too well. I see the worst in people too. With most people I see nothing worth liking. Too loud, too whiny, too cheery, too glum, too vapid, too pretentious, too pretty, too ugly, too mean, too nice, too cheap, too insincere, too naive, too boring, too wasteful, too from France, too cracking my aces, … the list goes on and on.

It amazes me that I’ve managed to find so many people that I enjoy hanging out with because I really have built up my hatreds over the years.

For Plainview, the appearance of this brother is a bit of a miracle. A tangible, true connection that will humanize…even save him. And he’s glad. There is relief on his face as he says “I can’t keep doing this on my own.”

But Plainview isn’t a fool. He doesn’t let this hope completely cloud his judgment. And in short order, he figures out the man is a con artist and brutally kills him.

He will keep doing “this” alone. He will do it alone until he is finished.

It’s a sobering message. There will come a time when the people I like do things I hate. When their shine is gone and I’m face to face with a spoiled version of them; maybe even the truer version of them. They are not my brother after all. And we’re done. Though I swear, I haven’t murdered anyone. Like really murdered.

I know, because it’s happened. Again and again. And I’m always angry and sad and stabby.

It’s cool though because it’s better than suffering fools or frauds.

Yet, some part of me is still willing to try. Though, I’m old now and getting set in my ways. Still.

I try.

Until I am finished.

Posted in Movies | 10 Comments

The Game kicks off Saturday

For the 127th time in history, the best University in the world, Yale, will meet up with the mental midgets in Cambridge for the annual tossing of the pigskin. We’ll drink their milkshake. And by “drink their” I mean “beat them” and by “milkshake,” I mean “in football.”


Hell is a cantab anyway?!

Posted in Yale | Tagged | 8 Comments

November movie round up reviews

Well, this is the depressing installment of Dawn’s movie roundups. I think I searched for “death,” and then just rented all of the results. I also really let the movies pile up this month cause I just couldn’t motivate to write anything. (Yup, another failed NaNoMo for Dawn!) Meh. Anyway, get your hot cup of Joe and your cloak of depression and let us begin. Since there are SO MANY movies, I tried to put them in order from best to worst, since I know no one is finishing this post. Sadly, I kept putting so many movies at the bottom, the bad movies kinda start at number 5. Lemon.

“You are a Nazi and I am a Jew. End of story,” says his best friend to Viggo Mortensen’s protagonist. Indeed.

But it is the end of a wonderful story and fantastic movie. It starts off slowly, Mortensen is a professor in 1930s Germany. He regards the Nazis with that casual disdain the American elite have for Republicans. They’re annoying and stupid and he can’t wait till they’re voted out… But then they come to him one day. The Fuhrer LOVED his novel. Thinks he’s a genius! Would he mind doing some research for them. “Oh, well, I guess I misjudged these guys! They’re not so bad.” Then it turns out his best friend has a little teeny Jew in him… they strip him of his medical practice. Freeze his assets. But Mortensen doesn’t want to make any waves. He’s got it good. He tells his friend to buck up “you hated being a psychiatrist anyway. All those whiny patients! Go to France. Surf.” Well… you know how it turns out.
Nazi. Jew. Awesome movie.

Leaves of Grass

I didn’t know what to expect from this movie. The box has that weird surreal art quality of yearbook photos of Ed Norton. Like the 40-year-old virgin movie box. But I actually really liked this movie. Ed Norton plays twins, one a philosophy professor and one a drug dealer. The drug dealer has gotten into a bind and a mobster is after him, so he wants his brother to pretend to be him around town, so he can go to a different town and kill the mobster. It was a pretty good plan…but it wouldn’t be a good movie if it works out, now would it?

The Towering Inferno
It amazed me how old this movie was: 1974! I don’t even have to lie when I say I wasn’t even born yet! OJ Simpson is in it! Crazypants. I actually didn’t like it though. And I know EXACTLY why. The Twin Towers. I know what happens when a skyscraper burns in real life. It wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t exciting. It was horrible and gruesome. And this movie clearly had NO IDEA. Obviously, not its fault. But it was hard to watch. All the quips and the extraordinary heroics to save the building and the people with helicopters and zip lines, but in reality, you know, the most we can do is watch the building burn and the bodies fall.

The Gathering

This movie was very interesting. It stars Cristina Ricci, who I will always think of as Wednesday Adams. Wednesday is hit by a car. The driver takes her home and she quickly becomes part of the family. But she has a secret past! (Don’t they always?) Strange deaths start to occur and the father in the family starts to see a pattern. Anytime something terrible happens, the same dozen or so faces can be seen in background. Think Hiroshima – there’s Waldo in the background of the photos of the dead. Pearl Harbor? Waldo again! San Francisco earthquake- NO WAY! Yup. Waldo. Anyway, he sees two of the faces walking around his town and starts to freak! Something bad is about to happen cause…they are GATHERING! It’s cool. Rent it.

The Last Word

This movie is about a guy who makes his living writing “goodbye notes” for people who are planning to kill themselves, but can’t think of what to say to their family. So, he follows them around for the last week or so of their life, looks through their mementos and listens to them talk about their loved ones and then he writes up a “last word” for them and then they kill themselves and their families have closure. Unfortunately, he falls for the sister of one of his clients, but can’t tell her how he knew her brother. Ray Romano is also in it as his current client.

The Life Before Her Eyes
This movie tracks a Columbine type disaster, where the gunman shoots up the whole school, but decides to give these two best friends the choice of which one will die. The one girl is all “shoot me!” The other girl is all “yeah, shoot her!” She then has all this guilt as an adult and stuff. It’s all pretty dumb.

Peter’s Friends

So, a guy’s father dies and he invites his old college friends to come spend one last holiday together. This movie was so perfectly wonderfully depressing. “There’s high school, college and then a black hole.” “Adults are children with debts.” It stars Hugh Laurie! And Kenneth Branaugh (you really must hear me pronounce Branaugh out loud. It’s hysterical.) And that British woman who is always in movies with Kenneth Branaugh! There’s a wonderful scene where she hits on the host of the party by showing up naked to his bedroom and he says to her “I’m not in the vagina business.”
This movie is awesomesauce. Depressing depressing sauce of awesome.

Charlie St. Cloud

I had to go back and see what my Zac Efron movie rating system was like. (I CANNOT believe he lost an acting matchup against Justin Timberlake. This is how we end up with President Sarah Palin, people.) Okay, so here’s my system: 1 star for starring Zac Efron. 2 stars for featuring a shirtless Zac Efron and 1 star for having Zac Efron sing. Zac Efron does not sing in this movie. However, he is shirtless. A LOT. AND WET. The movie is about a promising sailor (like America’s Cup, not Popeye.) But then he and his brother die in a car crash. Paramedic brings him back, but his brother stays dead. But now he can see dead people. So he hangs out with his brother and his friends who died in Iraq. Then he has an affair with a young woman, who is trying to sail around the world. But then three days later, he learns his girlfriend HAS BEEN MISSING FOR A WEEK! She’s in his head! Dun dun dun. Oh yeah, minus one star for Zac Efron making out with some lame chick.

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Posted in Movies | 12 Comments

The blogger and the engineer

I can’t tell you how awesome Kaz is, oh wait, I can!
Kaz is totally awesome!
I’m apparently at the stage of grief where I invite myself over to people’s apartments and make them cook for me.
It’s like one of the middle ones.
Kaz also “volunteered” to help me build a toy car I bought for Sammy’s second birthday.

All week I’ve been telling people I’m getting an engineer to build a car. It cracks me up. Alceste and Mary were all “how hard can it be? Just do it yourself.”

Uh huh.

Here’s the thing about me: as “ra ra independent woman, my house, I bought it/my car, I bought it/ I depend on me” (word to Destiny’s Child) that I am, I know my limitations.

I’m a terrible cook, artist, mathematician, left hand side parallel parker and I can’t build stuff.
Within those confines, I lead a moderately productive life.

I tried to get Pi’s husband to put it together, but the Patriots game ended up being too awesome to miss. Have you seen this?!

I was gonna ask my other cousin, but then I remembered Kaz yelling at me for assuming assembling required a man!

Then I thought, you know who’s not a man…. Voila!

I got to her place around 7:30. She decided to make pumpkin soup. I helped by taking pictures:

Then when the soup was almost done, she decided we needed biscuits AND MAKES THEM FROM SCRATCH! LIKE FROM FLOUR and BUTTER. ON A WHIM!

Who makes whim biscuits from scratch?! Kaz!

And they WERE AWEEESSSSOOOMMMMEEEEEE. The pumpkin soup was also delicious. By 9:10 I’m all eating biscuits and pumpkin soup and completely forgot we had a whole other project to do. Watching someone else cook is exhausting! I needed a nap.

But Kaz is not my go-to engineer for nothing!

“Okay, let’s build a car…oh, who am I kidding, I’m building this car myself aren’t I?”

HEEY! I will be meticulously twitpicking! #RUDE

I brought over my bag of tools (four years ago I decided that I was going to try to learn to be ‘handy’ so I bought this $400 tool kit of 1000 tools and attachments. Wanna know how that went?)

“How come your tools still have the cellophane wrappers on them”?


Know thy limitations.

The building did not start off well:

The instructions were in Portuguese. The sheet said we needed goggles and a rubber mallet…two things my 1000 piece tool kit DID NOT HAVE! I was gonna cry.

But we powered on:

What do you mean what “we”? Who do you think took that picture!! #RUDE

Ultimately, we moved the operation out into her hallway because we didn’t want to wreck her newly installed wooden floors. This move turned out to be fortuitous. You see, sadly, our hammering was not getting the job done. The pieces just wouldn’t lock into each other. But then her big burly across-the-hall neighbor heard our sad girly hammering and was all “can I lend you ladies a hand?” And he took the pieces into his palm and squeezed them into submission!

I’m not even exaggerating a little bit.

It was kind of a blow to our “who needs a man,” assembling plan. Ha! I’m a poet and I didn’t even realize that fact.

He was very nice though, and for the price of a beer, he agreed to help us finish the car.

I wish I could say it got easier:

There was the fight about whether the axles were designated left and right or whether they were interchangeable. Then whether there were back wheels and front wheels. Then about exactly how helpful my videography actually was to the process. I believe my angry tweets to the “Little Tykes” company will prompt change in their sales and distribution policies! I’m like Norma Rae. For inept assemblers. Of children’s toys.

Ultimately, we got it all together. Kaz using her cooperative female style to make her burly neighbor feel like an asshole for instruction hogging and tools grabbing, until they were both working in tandem:

“Your cousin better be a really cute kid,” he said, sweating as he screwed in the last bee antenna into the head.
” Here’s Sammy at Halloween after his first haircut!: image

Burly neighbor was not impressed.


But when all the easy stuff was finished: the hammering, screwing, twisting, lifting. I took over to do the hard part of putting all the stickers on the bee’s face and giving the thumbs up:

A job well done! And now I just hope Sammy isn’t afraid of bees…

Posted in Personal | 17 Comments

VinNay visits shut-in island

Okay, let me ask you a question.

You have an airport organized by a system of color coded squares. You use the primary colors, Roy G. Biv. The B in Biv stands for blue.

Now, one of the airlines which uses your primary colors coded airport is called Jetblue. I ask you, for the love of all that is holy and unholy why would Jetblue NOT be located in the damn hell ass BLUE terminal???? Whhhyyyyyyyyyyyyyy?

But what do I get for my flawless logic and airtight reasoning? Punished. Like all the great scientists before me: Copernicus, Darwin, Dr. Atkins, Clare. Relegated to parking in the wrong terminal and walking a mile and a half in the freezing night to collect VinNay from his, APPARENTLY, JetOrange flight from Buffalo.

“I don’t want to hear it. It’s not my fault that I’m smarter than JFK airport.”

We were meeting Peter and Petitedov for pizza at DiFara’s, so the added on cardio workout was not the best.

Also, I was obligated to do my “lost at JFK loop around the airport.” Thankfully, I only had to do it once. Down from the all time high of four times.

Shut up. I am too still smarter than JFK.

Unfortunately, we hit an insane amount of traffic. However, back in Brooklyn, Petitedov and the Cider Fraud were somehow first in line at an empty DiFara’s! It was a recipe for multiple “where are you” calls from Pdov on behalf of a hungry hungry Peter.

We were originally supposed to meet them at the pizza shop, but switched to meeting at my apartment.
When we finally got there, Pdov informed me that 1) Peter was no longer my number 1 fan and 2) Now I definitely wasn’t getting any homemade cider.
I laughed.

“Peter has never ranked higher than my number 253rd fan and his cider making is fictional!”
They went Plan B.
“Fine. No DiFara’s pizza for you.”
Nooooooo. I’m sorry. Totally super duper sorry. It’s JFK’s fault!
“Okay. You can have a slice. No. Half a slice.”
We ate, I tried a few bottles of Riesling. There was one that was terrible. I felt bad throwing it away, but quickly discovered “come on, help me finish this horrible bottle of wine,” is not quite as persuasive as it sounded in my head.
Down the sink it went.

I decided to introduce Pdov and Cider Fraud to the game of jungle speed.
Americans need to start training if we are to have any hope of defeating the Astin-led Canadian jungle speed squad at the 2012 Olympics.

Object of the game is to get rid of all your cards. There’s a totem that people fight over…this is where injuries happen. Scratches, broken wrists, concussions, you know, the usual.

I jumped out to an insurmountable lead in the first game. I stayed away from unnecessary confrontations and got rid of all my cards first. All I had to do was not make a mistake and touch that stupid totem.

All I had to do was do nothing.

But nooooo.

Countess Spazz von Grabbyhands just had to touch it. I ended up with a palm full of new cards. And VinNay cruised to the first of six consecutive victories. Gross. After a while, he wasn’t even paying attention cause the Sabres were playing the Leafs in hockey and he was watching the game. HE STILL BEAT US.

Finally, we decided to all just gang up on him. This was a successful strategy. He lost the last four games, but the Sabres beat the Leafs AND we got to internationally trash talk Astin, so he was happy.

After the Cider Fraud and Pdov left, VinNay and I ended up playing a series of dealer’s choice heads up poker games. Starting with the most popular, hold ’em iteration, and then after six straight losses, he resorted to picking the esoteric retarded games like Razz. I still won. Then he tried to pick Jungle Speed again. No.

The next morning, we drove out to Jersey to have the hands down best pancakes on the Eastern seaboard. We get there, there’s a bit of a wait, but not too bad. We get the pancakes and they are awesome.

VinNay tries to pancake tilt me by claiming he’s had better pancakes, though he can’t think of where.

Yah huh. Suurrreee.

So la la la we’re approaching the end of breakfast, I leave to go to the bathroom. There I am, in the stall and the toilet explodes. I am quick enough to escape, but my pants are soaked AND the floor is quickly being covered in water.

Now, I am a recovering germaphobe, but NO WAY IN HELL, am I THAT recovered. So I bolt out of there, trying to take the wet pants off. As I am hopping around with one foot in and one foot out, this mom walks in with her two girls. The littlest one, who is adorably clothed in a Mets baby onesie is staring at me with wide eyes. Her mom, looks horrified at…well, at any number of things… the pantsless black lady, the flooding bathroom…New Jersey…

She quickly pushes the toddler into the other stall and pulls her other kid — horribly dressed in a Giants jersey — in behind them and shuts the door.

I wash off the pants and try to blow them dry. This was unsuccessful. Arggh. There was NO WAY IN HELL, I was wearing these pants in my car so….



I roll them up and do a walk of shame back to the booth.

I sit down and wait for the mocking laughter. Nothing.

All VinNay says is “should we get the check”?

What now?

“Uh…yeah. The check. Totally! Get on that!”

“What’s wrong? You’re being weird…”

“Nu uh. You’re being weird. Check. Make it happen. Let’s go!”

As we walk out, VinNay runs into Zach Galifianakis waiting in the foyer. See? Told ya these were the best pancakes on the Eastern seaboard! That guy from that movie with Mike Tyson totally agrees.

I do not see him myself, as I am running my pantless self to my car as fast as I can, so I can toss the wet pants in the trunk and get into the car WITHOUT BEING SEEN BY ANYBODY!

This mission was successful! I was back in Brooklyn fully pantsed within the hour! And NO ONE noticed. I am that awesome.

Well, except for the non-awesome losing of my pants. Also, I’m not sure pantsed means what I think it means. Panted?

Anyhoo. I had a quick poker game at my place, Alceste won, took all of our money and then made us have a victory dinner with him at a Mexican joint in Whiteyville in Brooklyn. Stephane ordered a “small sangria.” Unfortunately, this turned out to be a “small pitcher of sangria.” However, you know how I feel about wasting good alcohol. Neither of the boys wanted to drink sangria, so I was on my own. Um…er…so…there might have been public dancing.

“Good thing, VinNay knows how to drive your car,” Alceste chimed in.

Indeed. Oy.

Thankfully, no amount of sangria can erode my amazing Scrabble powers. I trounced VinNay something like 1100 points to 280 points over two games. OH, so the best part of that? I asked him if he was good at building stuff and he said he was, so I asked him to put together this toy car I got for Sammy’s birthday. Then he was all “No, I don’t feel like it. I hate little black kids.” So I said “put together toy car or get murdered by me in Scrabble.”

He chose the murdering.

Ah, second best part? After being destroyed in the first game, he pretends that he doesn’t care about winning the second game, but then he plays this word “Ronin.” I ask if he means the movie with the car chase… you know, starring Robert De Niro. He goes “maaaayyyyybe.” So I challenge the word. He gets all happy because evidently, “ronin” appears in his nerdy sci-fi books meaning a warrior. But, turns out, it does NOT appear in the Scrabble dictionary. So, he’s sad again. I laugh.

OOH and third best part, I used all my letters to create a 9-letter-word bingo through two letters already on the board.

Even Fisch, who taught me how to play Scrabble, said he would never have found that play in a million years.

Hmm…I really need a Scrabble blog!

I took VinNay back to the airport. We left at 10:43 to catch a 12:00 flight AND HE MADE IT! All I know is that someone owes me a medal, a trophy and a plaque for getting him there in time. Also, on the way back, I got out of JFK without getting lost ONCE!

I am the master of all the world!

Though VinNay is now claiming that he just let me win at poker and Scrabble to cheer me up…


Posted in Personal | 21 Comments

Gonna slumber party like it’s 1999

I love it when a plan comes together. It’s not just one of the best lines from one of my favorite television shows as a kid, but a truism.
So when tickets for a football game between my favorite AFC team and my favorite NFC team went on sale, I quickly snapped one up. Then I arranged housing for myself. That went something like “um…hey…Petitedov…you are very pretty. And smart! Plus, you know I totally don’t think Republicans are the worst!”
Done and done.
All that happened over the summer, but as the date approached, I realized the game was happening over Halloween weekend. And I would be staying in Massachusetts!
“Hey, we should go to Salem on All Hallows Eve!”
“Ooh and we should get Angela to come! We can have a sleepover and make s’mores and draw mustaches on pictures of Vanessa Hudgens’ face! Oh and braid Peter’s hair!”
I was brimming with ideas culled from years and years of Sassy magazine.
Petitedov laughed and said she would run it by Angela.
A day later everything was set! Angela, Vince and Peter were in, but Peter did not want his hair braided.
Pshaw. Do I look like I care whether he *wants* his hair braided? We’re braiding it!
Pdov gave me the directions and I asked Peter if he wanted to meet me in Midtown or have me pick him up.
“I’m making cider, so I have to go back to my apartment to pick it up.”
“Okay, then I’ll come get you.”

I double park outside his building, he puts his duffel bag in the back seat and places the half gallon of cider on the floor mat in the back. I turn around to suggest that he hold the cider in his lap, when I noticed that the plastic cap is still vacuum sealed across the lid. Whoa! Peter takes his cider making really seriously!

“Wow. How’d you reseal the cap?”
“On the cider? How’d you reseal it like that?”
“That’s how it comes in the store,” he says staring at me LIKE I’M THE ONE WHO PRETENDED TO MAKE CIDER AT HOME!
“You said you were making cider!”
“No, I said I was *bringing* cider!”
I tried to come up with a combination of Cider and Fraud to call him:
This continued until we finally made it to the first long stretch of the directions Pdov had given me.

So, here’s the thing…never ever ever take directions from one Petit E. Dov. EVER.
She directed me to take M.C. Esher Expressway at the corner of Deserted Rd. Boulevard.
The road would twist and bend, inexplicably go from three lanes to one lane with NO warning. The highway was lined with gnarled up trees and thick gray fog AND I SWEAR I saw a tree eat a car right off the road!
I heard the crunching. And the family screaming inside.
I cried.
I had the Rangers game on the radio and so I turned it way up…but the signal cut out and all you could hear was howling and Vincent Price laughing.
I wanted to drive faster, but when I looked ahead, I would see cars disappearing into bright lights up ahead. No doubt victims of alien abduction.
Certain we were going to meet a terrible end, I pressed on…we finally emerged into the middle of civilization somewhere halfway through Connecticut.
Sanks God.

It was easy driving from there and we arrived at Pdov’s place about an hour and a half later.

And by “place,” I mean MANSION.


Angela and Vince were already there, so Petitedov showed me to my room and said she was going to open a box of wine for us. Yeah, I said box. Don’t judge. It’s delicious.

I put my stuff in my room, go across the hall to *MY PRIVATE BATHROOM* to wash my hands and when I came out I was in a whole other wing of the mansion and was totally lost for like 11 hours before I found my way back to the living room and the wine.
But find the living room and the wine, I did.

Angela had packed the wine the night before, so it was warm. Pdov did not have any ice in her fancy mansion, so she hands me this frozen beer mug. I made it work.

There will be a whole lot of pointing in these pictures. I do not know why. But I blame New Jersey. Or Philly. Or sock eating salamanders. Don’t ask.

Well, as you can see by the size of my second glass of wine, we didn’t do anything else that night, but go to bed.

I woke up bright and early the next morning cause, well, I didn’t really sleep.


Months ago, Pdov had been bragging about making some fancy Jewish dish for the high holidays and Angela and I demanded that it be made and brought to us. I decided that “Shakshuka” was too hard a word to say, so I called it “shakalaka” or “ramalamadingdong” or “M. Night Shyamalan” and finally “Shakira.”

So Pdov promised that we would have M Night Shyamalan for breakfast. The whole place totally smelled like waffles and bacon, so when I got up I was looking for waffles and bacon.

I didn’t find any:



“Do you want coffee, tea, orange juice”? asked our amazing up at the crack of dawn to cook M Night Shymalan hostess.

Shakira didn’t look like something sweet, so I opted for orange juice. (Tis a quirk, I can only drink coffee when eating sweet foods or no food.)

“Do you have any ice,” I asked…apparently having lost all recollection of having this precise conversation the night before.

“I tried…but all I got was an ice penis.”

What’s that now?

Evidently, fancy mansion people have these fancy ice cube trays that are more like water bottles with ice cube shaped indentations on the bottom. She filled it with water, left it in the freezer overnight and got this:

Ice penis.

I helped her set the table and we all readied for breakfast.

Well, except Vince who didn’t like onions, tomatoes or bread. In case you forgot what the Shakira looked like:
Yah…sasat for Vince.

I’m kidding.

Our lovely hostess would not let him starve, so she made him a separate egg dish. She kept telling us that we should get started eating our shakiras. I listened. When she finally sat down for breakfast, my plate was squeaky clean.

Angela and Peter had waited.

“Don’t tell me you guys waited for me to start eating!”

“Well, most of us did,” Angela said all snitchingly.


“Well…eat eat,” Pdov commanded. And then 30 seconds later:

“So, how is it?”

“Mine’s cold,” Peter said with a straight face and we all started laughing.

After Shakira, we headed off to Salem in the freezing zero degree Massachusetts cold. We decided to take Pdov’s mom’s minivan. I called shotgun, but was overruled because Pdov and Peter have to hold hands as they drive. *sticks finger down throat*

Vince and Angela and I sat together in the back, until Angela tried to buckle in her seatbelt and discovered she didn’t have one.

We spent like ten minutes looking for it and we finally found one in the ceiling of the car, but it didn’t come all the way down.

Vince volunteered to switch seats with her.

“No, I don’t want you to go flying through the windshield.”

“Okay, let Peter sit back there.”

“I don’t want Peter to go flying through either. Let me drive!”

“No, I’ll go slow… we won’t get into an accident.”

“Arrgh. Fine. I’ll just die!”

The gang kept making fun of me for being on my Droid all the time.

“Will you put that damn thing down and enjoy the scenery?!”

“Why? She can just google “foliage in New England” on the Droid.

There was insane traffic on the way to Salem.

“WHAT THE HELL! I can’t believe all these vultures flocking to Salem on Halloween! It’s obscene! WOMEN DIED THERE!” says Stephane with absolutely no sense of self awareness whatsoever.

“But isn’t that what we’re doing?”

“No. We’re doing it ironically. They’re serious. And I don’t live here. Look at all those Massachusettses license plates!”

“Well, that one’s Rhode Island…”

“Bah. Same thing. They can go anytime! Why are they going today?! Jerks!”

We finally made it to town. We went to some witch musuem thing ranked number 3 on trip advisor. There was this scary monster thing which didn’t look scary until you get all cocky and are like “I’m gonna go take my picture with it,” and then you’re standing next to it and it’s looking at you and then you run off screaming. Hypothetically.

Next stop was lobster martinis at the lobster shanty. It was cold, so I was going to get a delicious lobster bisque.

One problem… Lobster Shanty no have lobster bisque. I KNOW, RIGHT? Who has a lobster martini, but NO LOBSTER BISQUE?!! #Racism

Okay, so what happens next is now the source of great debate, finger pointing and blame assigning.

I am fairly sure I said “Oh, it doesn’t matter if they don’t have bisque. I’m sure I can find something else to eat. I’m not picky. Plus, I am a mature and reasonable person who has totally outgrown temper tantrums.”

However, Petitedov was all “No! You came for lobster bisque, you will have lobster bisque!” So when the Lobster Shanty seating guy came by, we told him we would sit outside because we’re just having drinks. But then when all the tables around us were eating their delicious lobster macaroni and cheeses and Angela pointed out that the Lobster Shanty had been featured on the food network, we were all starving and wanted to get our full Lobster Shanty on!

But Vince and Peter didn’t want to eat outside because the food would get cold too quickly. But the wait to eat inside was now so long, it would run up against our dinner reservation — another place that was featured on the food network.

So…no Lobster Shanty for us. Which meant we endured an evening of Angela calling us the bastards who are one fourth equally responsible for her not getting to eat the sirloin tips at the Lobster Shanty…though, she did get her martini.

I never did get my bisque. Pdov took us to some weird soup place that puts jasmine *RICE* in lobster bisque (THE HELL?) So I settled for chicken noodle or something easy and not nasty. But to make it all up to us, Pdov took us out to this dairy farm that had awesome ice cream! It kicks Ted Drewes right in the face!

Okay, so after exhausting witches, failed lobster shanties and delicious milkshakes, we were supposed to take naps. But no. Angela convinces us, Jedi style, that what we really want to do is play “Scene It.”

I don’t know if any of you have played this game, but it’s a combo board/video game where you roll dice and answer questions on a card to advance around a board. Also, I’m pretty sure Angela invented it.

“I’m going to destroy all of you,” she said sweetly as she batted her eyes.

“Huh? What?”

“Nothing. Just…you’re all going down and will probably have to call your mommies when I’m through with you.”


Sure enough, this chick is answering the questions before Peter can finish reading the cards. She’s like “Bullworth. 1997. Cameron Diaz. Wayne’s World. A lightning bolt shape.”

And me, Peter and Petitedov, who were a team, were all crying in the corner and begging her to stop.

Seriously, if Angela ever invites you to play a game of Scene It. Run. As fast as your little legs can carry you.

When we got to the dinner restaurant, they told us we had to wait for the people at our table to finish their coffee. This took about ten minutes. But Petitedov said we were lucky because usually the wait is much longer and you can only make reservations for five people or more. “So it’s a good thing you came, Stephane!”

Fifth wheel for the win.

Damn, I’m short.

Dinner was wonderful, but the portions were out of this world. The lobster ravioli could feed an army of fourteen really skinny soldiers. But still. FOURTEEN!

We had a lot of wine at dinner, which is the only explanation I have for why we decided to play some more Scene It. Though this time it was more of a freestyle, cooperative, please-Angela-don’t-hurt-us version of the game.

I went to church with Peter the next morning before breakfast. This was, without a doubt, the whitest congregation I have ever seen. AND I have gone to church in Poland. Mass was a bit weird, and the priest was skeeving me out with all his cryptic talk of needing to forgive people because everyone is a good person and a child of God. And then they had all these dumb announcements about some family committee thing and I was ready to be out. Plus, today was the big football game!

Pdov took us to a fancy brunch place. We ordered way more food than we could ever eat, but the awesome part was they had lattes and pancakes AND eggs. We put in our drink orders and JUST TO SPITE ME, Pdov made sure to tell the waitress “No ice.”


After breakfast (where I goaded Peter into finishing all the food on his plate even though he was clearly stuffed) I went off alone to my Patriots game.

I was dressed in my Riots gear and listened to the Jets game as traffic snaked toward the stadium. I have to admit that, although I don’t mind doing stuff by myself, I did miss having company for the game.

I ended up overshooting the stadium and having to beg this cop to let me make a U-turn into this weird parking lot at the end of Patriots way. He let me, but when it took like 9 minutes for me to get the car fully turned around WITHOUT running him over, I knew that I had sullied the reputation of women drivers and New York drivers, world over. #FAIL

I memorized my parking space and started the hike back to the stadium. I was two hours early so I went to the Patriots Hall of Fame museum. This place is EPIC!

They have an exhibit where you can try to hit the kick Viniatieri made to send New England to the Superbowl in ’01. You can huddle up with Tom Brady and the rest of the offense. They have a mock locker room! And you can try on a Patriots Superbowl ring!


Plus, they have these:

Someone tell CK and VinNay what those are. Grin.

With about an hour left till kickoff, I walked to my seat, which was in the middle of the very first row on the Patriots side. These are the best seats I have ever had at sporting event. I totally couldn’t believe it. Neither could security and they demanded to see proof that this was in fact my seat. #RUDE

I was ready to “racist” them, but as the game went on, I realized that everyone else in that section are season ticket holders who are at every home game and know the security staff by name.

Okay, but anyway and so here is the awesomest thing ever in the world that happened. So I’m sitting in the front row. I’m taking pictures of the guys at practice and suddenly I see Tom Brady. Well, I see the number 12 and the jersey, but I know who it is.

I’m taking pictures of him and he starts to walk toward me. I’m still taking pictures. HE KEEPS WALKING TOWARD ME!

OH. MY. GAWD. I take another picture, but he is still sauntering directly over to me, so I’m in full on “OH MY GOD! TOM BRADY HAS SPOTTED ME FROM THE FIELD AND IS COMING OVER TO TALK TO ME” MODE. I put the camera down, cause dude…I’m cool. I’m cool. He’s walking over. I wave. He takes his helmet off and smiles at me, he comes closer and then…BOOM disappears below the ground. That’s when I realize he wasn’t coming over to talk to me at all. The locker room entrance was at the base of where I was sitting.

BUT STILL! OMG TOM BRADY!!! I could have totally touched a lock of his hair! I coulda!! But I didnta.

I ended up sitting next to this weirdo lady in a half Patriots/half Vikings Jersey. The front was Randy Moss’ old jersey and it was sewn to the back of a Favre jersey. She said she was a Patriots fan, but that she loved Brett Favre. Everyone surrounding her wanted to murder her.

It was a great game, I froze my ass off, but we won. I ended up getting lost trying to find my car again, and then when I finally found it, I spent an hour sitting in the parking lot while the traffic cleared.

Still…did I mention how Tom Brady came over to talk to me?

Totally worth it.

I went back to Pdov’s place to finish up the leftover lobster ravioli and milkshake, collect the Cider Fraud and head home to New York City.

The weekend concluded and was judged to be the best slumber party ever. And Tom Brady judged the hottest quarterback ever.

Ever. Ever.

Posted in Personal | 10 Comments