Thursday, March 31, 2011

Committing to the Moment

     My improv teacher gave me a note yesterday- try to emotionally commit to the moment.  I tend to pull back and don't become emotionally invested in the scene.  I took his note well, but I was also thinking "ah, sir, this is not exclusive to improv."
     Emotions are hard.  I don't like them; I don't like having them or dealing with them.  I don't know if this is normal or not, but I was brought up with the conceit that what people called emotions were a result of something else, usually hormones.  Any display of emotions, and by that I mean a hint of an expression indicating something other than complacency, was met with a swift kick and immediate quarantine to my room.  Expressing things was not part of Melchert guidebook for growing up.
     Emotionally stunted is one way to look at it, but I don't like to be that harsh when it comes to judging my childhood.  We just weren't expressy people.  Now, I have approximately two emotions- angry and really pissed.  You can't build a scene around those two emotions, and it rarely makes sense to react to every single thing that way.  Yesterday, I seemed pissed at everything, until I couldn't be mad anymore so I pulled away.
     Improv: it's not just about comedy.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Cherry Blossom Follow Up

     When I take pictures of cherry blossoms, they look like this:
The cherry blossom is the part of the photo in the middle that isn't lit at all, so you can barely see it.  I wonder if my mom would like that picture. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Mystery Team: A Review

     Mystery Team is available on Netflix Watch Instantly.  It's a must see for die hard comedy fans, especially those with mild to severe Donald Glover and Aubrey Plaza envy.  According to IMDb, it was only shown on one screen in August of 2009- so, a limited release.  Watch the trailer here: Mystery Team Trailer
     I really enjoyed the movie.  It was funny all the way through.  I watched it on my phone while riding a bus, so there is a chance I missed some of the finer points but I'm pretty good at paying attention, so I doubt it.
     I've started the supporting paragraphs of this review several times, and they come out horribly.  So, a list of what I liked about Mystery Men:
  • I adore earnest characters.
  • Their primary color bikes.
  • A through line.
  • Motivation.
  • An inciting incident.
  • He comes of age.
  • A U-M shout out.
  • Kevin Brown.
  • Donald Glover's disguises.
  • Good clean jokes.
  • Awesome dirty jokes.
  • The cinematography- the camera kept moving creating a great sense of fluidity and mystery!
 I'll have to give this movie another look, this time while I'll sitting still and on a larger screen, and perhaps write a more nuanced review.  It's definitely worth the rewatch.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Cherry Blossoms and Me

     I maintain indifference towards cherry blossoms.  Here is a picture:

Also, the definition of indifference:


[in-dif-er-uhns, -dif-ruhns]
1.lack of interest or concern.
2.unimportance; little or no concern.
3.the quality or condition of being indifferent.
4.mediocre quality; mediocrity.
 I don't love cherry blossoms.  I don't hate cherry blossoms.  I have a lack of interest or concern about them- I am indifferent to them.  I won't go out of my way to avoid them, but I also won't go out of my way to see them.  Most people who know me would not think to ask me questions about them; they know they would be met with a blank indifferent stare.
     What I do have a deep hatred of is festivals and parades.  There are few things I would over look my hatred of festivals for; I will not overlook my hatred of festivals for something I am indifferent about, at best.   For example, my love of beer would help me overlook my disdain of festivals and I would attend a Beer or Octoberfest.  However, I will not be going to the National Cherry Blossom Festival.  The festival hatred matched with the cherry blossom indifference would just create a miserable time for me and the poor soul who went with me.  
     In stark contrast, my mother loves both cherry blossoms and festivals.  This would be the perfect event for her.  Since she lives hundred of miles away, however, she has sent me several requests asking every question she can think of about cherry blossoms, the festival, the weather, and requests for photos.  I have no answers to her questions on top of the fact that I has thought my mother was one of those aforementioned people who knew me
     She wanted pictures of the cherry blossoms.  She didn't say this part, but I assume she would want a picture with both me and the cherry blossom.  This is just not going to happen.  This would involve me going out of my way to a place I don't want to go with a camera I don't own and with people who also don't want to be there to take out of focus pictures.  Seriously, Mom, there are pictures on the internet and they are much better than anything I could take.  I could take a blurry picture with my phone of me giving a cherry blossom the finger.  
     It is the frustration with these incessant emails that have led others to believe I actually now hate cherry blossoms.  I can understand where they're coming from based on the story but I maintain I am still indifferent; I am not going to the cherry blossom festival to take blurry cell phone photos of trees and flowers. 

Friday, March 25, 2011

When Worlds Collide

     Worlds colliding is overstating a bit, but here's what just happened:  I was at my desk with my right ear bud in listening to music at a low volume.  The music dipped out and a phone call was coming in.  I looked at the phone and I didn't recognize the number.  At first, I thought I should let it go to voicemail.  Then I remembered: my outgoing message is my impression of a robot saying "You have reached the voicemail box of..."  Oh god, I can't let people who don't know me hear that.  So I answered the call.
     The whole process made me feel ridiculous and of course brought up the reasons of having an outgoing message you don't want people to hear.  Well, I do because I thought it was hilarious.  When I got my new phone, the immense pressure of recording a new outgoing message got to me.  I'm not kidding, I sat in front of the phone recording messages for an hour.
     The old message was "You have reached Nancy's phone.  Please leave a message."  What I liked about it was that is was short and to the point.  What I did not like is that every person who left a message started with "Hi Nancy's phone.  I'm looking for Nancy..." or some variation thereof and they all thought they were so clever.  But I had a serious mental block about saying "This is Nancy..." because it wasn't actually me.  It was a recording of me.  Then I would over explain and the brevity would be lost.  As a side note, my sister's outgoing message is insufferably long- to the point that I don't want to leave her a message.  Seriously:
"Hello.  You have reached Queen Amadala's voicemail box.  Unfortunately, I am unable to take your call at the present time, but if you would like to leave me a brief message with your name, contact information, and the best time to reach you, I would be happy to return your call.  Thank you, and have a pleasant day."  I fell asleep listening to it.  Also, I think she hired wood nymphs to record it so it's overly enthusiastic and high pitched.  I've stopped calling.  (Also, she's not in PR or anything like that where an overly cheerful message is good business.  There's no reason for her long, happy message.)
     I digress.  The point was, I wanted to avoid that, but I was also hung up on saying "this is Nancy" or "this is Nancy's phone."  I tried many variations including "Nancy.  Message."  Mary suggested I imitate the automated message.  After two takes, I was pretty sure I had it.  She called my phone to check in and confirmed it was funny.  As per yesterday's post, I always like to go for the joke, so I left it and there it remains.
     I don't spend a lot of time thinking about my outgoing message.  Shortly after I got the phone my mom asked me if I got a new phone because my message "sounded funny."  Of course she didn't mean it made her laugh-funny, she meant weird-funny.  Oh well.  Only people I know call me, and those people know it's funny.  Except for when people I don't know call, and I have to answer my phone.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Jokes That Aren't Worth It

     Usually I say to always go for the joke.  It's worth looking a little ridiculous if it's funny enough.  However, there are a few exceptions.
     1.  When jokes cost money.  Just like my friend's "I can't afford a $4000 joke" couch, sometimes jokes cost money, and spending that money is not worth the 30 seconds of laughter.  There have been many a times when I wanted to purchase a book for someone as a joke.  And not just a joke book, but a book that served as a joke.  But then I think it through and realize I'd be spending $15 to $20 on a book, and then I'd have to wrap it, and wait for the person to open it.  We'd have a good old laugh when they opened up, and then what?"  First of all, I probably don't have another gift because I spent the alloted money on the joke.  Second, now he has a book that just takes up room on his bookcase, and he has to explain to every person who sees it "Oh, it was a joke." 
   2.  When jokes make you sound stupid.  Sometimes I do this just for my own amusement.  I ask the obvious, stupid question, because I think it's funny.  When with people I know, they can see the look in my eye, and they don't answer.  They let me have the moment.  However, you can't pull this joke when you're not live or with people you don't know.  Mary made this point just a few minutes ago when she wanted to tweet "It's funny Harry Houdini is trending.  Did he just die?"  Now, I know that's a pretty funny joke.  But others might just assume she's a fucking idiot.  She's not.  It's not always worth making the joke when you have to spend the rest of the day defending it.  Unless it's a really awesome joke. 

     Another joke related topic I was discussing with my friend Tootie was about overhearing other people's conversations.  I was thinking about how often we overhear a snippet and roll our eyes at how dumb other people's conversations are.  And then I worry about when they overhear my conversations.  And I analyzed our particular brand of conversation, and how we often have flat out ironic conversations.  An outsider wouldn't really know we don't actually feel that way about the topic.  We aren't letting on with our words; instead we mean almost the exact opposite of what we're saying.  We know it, but passers by wouldn't.  Then I thought "what if I'm jumping to the conclusion that these other conversations are dumb too quickly.  What if they're also having ironic conversations?"  Tootie stared at me.  "You don't think other people have ironic conversations?"  No.  She doesn't think other people have ironic conversations. 
     I'm not going to stop having them though, because to me, that joke is always worth it.  Really, it's just the $4000 joke couch that might be out of reach.  However, if I ever become really rich, then I will resume my belief that the joke is always worth it. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

It Only Counts if Others See It

     Sometimes I'm one of those douchehats who take up a puffy chair or a table for hours at Starbucks while writing.  I don't do it often, but sometimes I need the change of pace and the pressure of sitting at a table with my computer can help my motivation.  If I'm having a particularly "ooh, shiny things are everywhere" day, heading some where like Starbucks can help focus that energy.  I don't know enough people in the area to be interrupted by people coming in and my fear of losing my seat and things being stolen keeps my ass in that chair.  One of the best pieces of advice I received about being a writer is "the writer stays in the room."
     The writer stays in the room, or in the coffee shop, ass in chair, in front of her computer, putting fingers to keys and words to page.  It's not all brilliant and it needn't be.  I try to write comedy, and it's not all funny.  But sometimes I amaze even myself how I can pull one funny sentence from pages and pages of blubbering idiocy about an otherwise serious topic.  Then I use that one funny sentence to build on.  I imagine journaling is scoffed at in literary or professional writing circles and because of that, I would never let anyone read my journal.  I bet most people do it though.  They might not admit it, but come on, it's part of the process.  If your process is to just put only perfect thoughts on the page, then eff you.  And teach me how!
     The part I don't like about others seeing me write is I feel a need to justify that what I'm doing is important.  I was out of the house for several hours last night and when I returned my roommate nonchalantly confirmed that I was at Starbucks.  Currently, my roommate is a subletter who is a social worker.  She is subletting from my roommate who is an honest to goodness writer; he is in the process of writing a book with a publisher and the whole nine.  Our walls are jam packed with books on foreign policy, politics, history, and the great things that plague the world and the human condition.  These are people who are living for the greater good, or are at least conscious of it.  When I walked in, my current subletter roommate had her computer open on her lap in the midst of work.  She kindly asked what I was working on.  I told her a sketch and then further explained sketch comedy.  She had spent five hours at the hospital earlier that day with a client.  I don't know what the client was at the hospital for but I bet it wasn't just to pick up some candy or because she loves how MRIs make her feel.  Roommate then had to bring work home with her.  I sat at Starbucks for 2 hours making lists of mythical creatures, parliament positions, and prostitute synonyms.  By the way, I really hope the Zombie Libertine is a huge hit.
     I have to remind myself of a few cliches every once in a while: to each their own, it takes all kinds, laughter is the best medicine.  If I wanted to be a doctor, I would have gone to medical school.  I don't, so I didn't.  I want to be a comedy writer, so naturally I went to engineering college, nuclear power school, and film school.  Now I just sit and wait for my brilliance to be discovered.  Which brings me back to my first point-  People can't see me writing when I'm inside my house.  I need to be out in public with the other people.  The only way for people to know I'm a writer is for them to see me writing.  Usually at a Starbucks.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Blow by Blow

     I considered giving the blow-by-blow yesterday, but I wanted to focus on the surprise party, and I didn't want to come off as too gloaty.   Also I can recall in my recent past saying "the quick version, I don't need the blow-by-blow."  If I'm instructing others to edit, perhaps I should take my own advice.  Also, I try to avoid recapping my weekends every Monday.  It would be repetitive and again, gloaty.  I bet people hate me a little bit when they ask "how was your weekend?" just to be polite and I come back with "Fantastic.  It was great.  Sooo good, seriously.  Way better than yours."
     Thursday Afternoon.  The weekend begins.  (I'll give my friends fake names, so they're not dragged into the internet for no reason.)  I left work at lunch time to go meet Blaire at the airport.  I got to the airport at almost the exact same time her plane did.  There were no metro problems, or baggage issues, or security problems.  It was practically tropical when she landed.
     The Grocery Store.  Blaire and I made a quick trip to the grocery store for cake supplies and lunch supplies.  This wouldn't be worth mentioning other than the fact the grocery store is across the street from the birthday girl's (Tootie's) apartment.  It created an extra fun factor; we were extra vigilant while picking out cake mix.
     Spring Breakdown.  I love this movie, and Blaire needed to see it.  True, it was a beautiful day outside, but it was also a beautiful day inside.  I made the cake, put it in the oven, popped some popcorn, we made sandwiches, and settled in for a hilarious 87 minutes.  I almost have the movie memorized, but I didn't ruin it for Blaire. 
     Cake Decorating.  Tootie's favorite kind of cake is white cake with white frosting.  I thought it would be hilarious to then also write on the cake with white frosting, so it was white on white on white- a Wilco cake, if you will.  This was amusing for a minute, but then it was really hard to see the message, so I outlined it.  I thought for sure I would ruin it, but it came out pretty well.
     The Waiting.  This whole time I was fielding text messages from Tootie, and lying in my responses.  Blaire and I walked down to the bar with the cake and a backpack full of T-shirts.  Yes, we had 30 matching T-shirts, because nothing says we're all here to party like matching T-shirts.  People arrived, put their T-shirts on, ordered beer, and waited.  Tootie entered and was blown away.  She had indeed been enjoying St. Patrick's Day, but when she walked in the back room of the bar and her friends were waiting, and we said "Surprise!  Happy Birthday!," well, a lesser person would poo themselves.  Hugs and beers all around.  There was a priceless double take when Tootie saw Blaire and it sunk in that a plane and serious subterfuge had been involved.
     Operation After Shock.  Friday morning was wonderfully slow going.  Blaire and I made breakfast- cinnamon rolls, eggs, bacon, and coffee, and we watched the Thursday night line up from the night before.  To borrow a phrase, it was awesome-sauce.  I mentioned this yesterday, but there were still more surprises lined up.  Tootie loves the zoo and our friend Natalie was due in with her husband, George, and their son, Clooney.  Clooney is the perfect age to enjoy the zoo, so it seemed to line up perfectly to just surprise Tootie at the zoo with Natalie, George, and Clooney.  She expected Blaire and me, but walking up with an extra three people in tow was amazing.
     Lunch on the Circle.  Post zoo, we grabbed sandwiches from a local deli and picniced on the circle. Norman Rockwell couldn't have painted it better.  He probably would have left out some of the riff raff who use the trees as their bathroom.  It's part of the ambiance though.
     Schmorgesborg.  We sat on the circle long enough to each get a little sun-burned.  We packed up and split up a little bit- I went with Natalie and crew to pick up snackies, and Blaire and Tootie went to buy shoes, including a pair of flip-flops for yours truly.  My favorite kind of shoes are the ones that just appear.  We spent the rest of the night at my place eating cheese and crackers and popcorn and cocktail wieners and wine.  Tootie's husband was eventually able to join us; one big happy framily.
     NYC.  Every time I mentioned New York City, we said it in that mooing voice from those old Pace commercials.  Haha, funny commercial, but seriously, New York City would be the least economical place ever to make salsa.  A 5 oz. jar would be $12 because of all their overhead.  Still, Saturday morning was nice.  We had coffee and a simple breakfast.  I got ready for the bus and the rest of the framily had a full day of relaxing planned.  The bus ride was fine, NYC was awesome, per uj, and the Super Moon came out. 
     Just when you think it's over.  Gosh, it seems like the weekend was already jam packed, but there's a entire extra day.  On Sunday, Tootie and I made a Zipcar trip to Trader Joes.  This is a big deal.  Then we strolled through the Farmers' Market, where she picked up a potted rosemary and I picked up some buffalo meat.  There was a lull where she read magazines on my couch while I cooked my lunches for the week.  Then we met her husband for lunch at Panera.  That was an adventure- it shouldn't have been, because it was Panera, but it was.  Then Tootie and I headed back to her place to watch the Michigan-Duke game.
     Couch Shopping.  After suffering a heart break I didn't really understand, we went couch shopping.  I know, how many hours are in the day, right?  Considering buying a giant bright red couch is hilarious.  However, Tootie hit it on the head with "I'm not sure I can afford a $4000 joke."  Good point.
     Sushi Happy Hour.  We slipped in the door of a sushi restaurant about 9 minutes before the end of their happy hour.  They're nice enough to tell us this, and we just put a line down a column on their menu to get the order in in time.  Sushi and Sam Adams for dinner.
     One More Stop.  Poor Tootie's husband, who was stuck at the office all weekend.  We picked him up some 5 Guys and Tootie got in a cab to take it to him.  I skipped home, high on life!  I received report later that he was very pleased.

Phew.  So much goodness in such a short period of time.  Maybe the short version is better.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Surprise Full Of Lies

     The something awesome depicted on Thursday's chart of awesomeness was a friend flying into town for another friend's surprise birthday party.  The whole surprise birthday extravaganza was surrounded in lies and subterfuge.   Luckily I have a very small guilt-center in my brain, or I might not have been able to pull it off.  I invented work projects, doctor's appointments,  and new dietary restrictions to work around plans she was attempting to make that would directly conflict with the surprises we had planned. 
     Several times throughout the day I received texts begging me to meet her at whatever bar she had stumbled into.  Luckily I have a day job, so I continued to use that as an excuse.  I was, in fact, not at my job.  I was picking up people from the airport, baking cakes, matching T-shirts, and corralling people.  That didn't stop me from replying with "Stuck at work,"  "So busy," and "I'll meet up with you later."  I was pretty sure she was actually getting pretty pissed off. 
     She was, but all of the anger vanished when she came in the bar and all of her friends were gathered to celebrate her.  Sure, it was St. Patrick's Day, but we were there for her, with beer, appetizers, and cake.  It was fantastic.
     The entire weekend was pretty damn awesome.  Friday she planned to go to the zoo.  Our framily from Norfolk drove up, unbeknownst to the birthday girl.  Again, there were more lies.  We were doing our best to coordinate with the arrival of the framily, so I had to be a little bit of a lazy pants when it game to meeting birthday girl at the zoo.  She kept updating me with the status of the lions, and I had to lay it on pretty thick about how I needed to eat breakfast first, how slow I was walking, and how I was lost in the zoo.   By this point, she had to think I was an idiot.
     I found her at the zoo, and then nonchalantly said "I ran into these people," to reveal the framily.  Operation After Shock was a success.  The rest of the weekend was a pretty perfect framily weekend, and we had to own up to every lie we told, starting about 2 months ago.  Including the fact that we all knew about this party the last time we were all together for President's Day, and it's amazing we didn't eff it up then. 
     It was a great weekend- an I Heart Weekends kind of weekend.  And hopefully she forgives us for all the lying.  Surprise!  We're all liars!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

St. Patrick's Day

Today is a great day.  So great, I made a chart about it.

The morning went per the usual.  (I wanted to abbreviate usual, but I don't know how to spell that.  It's like you-j, with a soft j.  But that is not shorter.  Per the uj?  From now on, if I write uj, I mean usual, but for short.)  The alarm went off, I was not happy about it, and I hit snooze for an hour.
     Once I'm awake and moving, I get to feeling pretty good.  I'm still on a high from the Lucinda Williams concert, so I crank her up on my iPod as I make my way through the Metro system.
      Then I go to work.  The waiting.  The WooHoo factor is at an all time low, since all I can do is watch the clock tick.  I'm leaving at lunch time today to facilitate a proper celebration, and lunch time cannot come soon enough.  The morning drags on.
     The end of the graph is more of an extrapolation based on expectations and past performance.  I'm pretty confident in its accuracy.  As the time goes on, the WooHoo factor goes towards infinity, just like any good exponential function would.
      Were I to attempt to write out the fomulae for the chart, it might look like this:

WooHoo(t) = 2t + 2
t= 6am→ getting to work
WooHoo(t) = 0
t= getting to work → lunch time
WooHoo(t) = et + Guinness
t = lunch time → party time!
 I have to admit, my formula skills are a little rusty.  But I think you get the idea.
     In the grand tradition of holidays, I will be taking tomorrow off, so there will most likely be no Oliver update.  I recommend listening to as much Lucinda Williams and Dropkick Murphys as you can to get you through the long weekend.  Also, remember a few years ago almost dying at the St. Patrick's Day Dropkick Murphys concert?  I'm glad I did it, but I won't ever do it again.  Seriously, I thought I was going to get murdered, and not in a good way.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Lucinda Williams at the 9:30 Club: A Review.

     Mind.  Blowing.  It was my first time at the 9:30 Club in DC; it did not disappoint.  I've seen Lucinda Williams in concert before, and this is the type of venue she prefers to play.  Standing room only, bars line the walls, and a balcony for those of us who like to lean on things.  I was lucky enough to be with a friend who had been there before and knew to get in line early, and then immediately cut left to head up the stairs.  We secured a prime location with full view, front and center of the stage.
     There was an opening act- Dylan LeBlanc.  He was from Louisiana, I think he said Shreveport, Lucinda's home state, and it gave me the feeling that that's why he was there.  A friend of a friend said "hey Lucinda, listen to this kid" and she gave him a break.  I'm sure he's good in his own right, but seriously, how awesome would it be to get to tour with Lucinda Williams?  He played a stripped down set- his best friend and him played their guitars.  It was good.  A decent precursor for the kick-ass show we were all rearing to see.
     I have no idea what time it was when she came out on stage.  Whenever the fuck she felt like, that's what time.  To me, she's the epitome of rock and roll.  She wears leather jackets and biker boots and plays her own instruments.  She keeps a binder with her songs on a music stand next to her.  Why?  Cause she has a lot of songs, and there's a lot of words, and she can do whatever the fuck she wants.
     She opened the show with "I Just Want to See You So Bad,"  and older song from her 1988 release, Lucinda Williams.  It set the tone perfectly.  From there she moved seamlessly through her catalog, going from old to new, up tempo, bringing it down, and then right back up again.  The friends I was with weren't familiar with Lucinda Williams's music, but by the end, they were full on converts.
     When you listen to her CDs, you know the music is good.  Great.  I listen to it for days; it gets inside your head and goes around and around.  But when you see her perform live, you feel the music.  I'm reminded of a saying by another favorite band Over The Rhine: "Quiet Music Should Be Played Loud."  I don't think I would ever classify her music as quiet; there are a few slow, beautiful songs that could be mistaken for quiet songs, but then you're probably not paying attention.  When you see her perform it live, you realize that fucker should be turned up as loud as you can get it.
     For example, the song Unsuffer Me from her 2007 release West.  It's slow and achy, the electric guitar moves along like a train on the tracks, it doesn't shred.  If you're at home, you'd be tempted to put the volume between two and three.  You'd be wrong, and watching it live proves why.  She pierces through you with her razor sharp voice; it fills the room and lingers there, washing over you, seeping into parts of your soul you thought for sure were dead.
     I truly love watching Lucinda Williams in concert.  And I think she really loves putting on concerts.  She loves the music, and not in a conceited away.  She has several songs that have so much breathing room and her band just attacks them.  She stands back, sometimes with her back to the audience, and just watches them play.  She dances to the music and basks in the glow of some of the greatest guitar solos and drum smashes to be produced.  I imagine before she goes on stage she just says "play the fuck out of it, guys."  And that's exactly what they do.
     She didn't do a lot of chit chat with the audience.  She started commenting about the news and how condescending Glen Beck is.  Then she sort of apologized for not having more to talk about.  Nobody minded though.  You could sing the names off the Vietnam War Memorial, Lucinda.  We'd listen.
     She has so many songs, it's impossible for her to play them all.  Though I think I remember being at a concert a few years ago where the house manager (or someone) actually snuck out on stage to tell her she needed to stop.  She told us they were kicking her out, and then played three more songs.  In the short lull between songs, while she's switching guitars, taking a drink, or apparently just shooting the shit with the band, you start calculating what song she could do next.  And no matter what she plays, it's fantastic, and you're blown away.  She could play for 3 more hours and you'd still feel like she just scratched the surface.
     She ended the set with Honey Bee, one my personal favorites off of 2008's Little Honey.  (Claiming favorites with Lucinda songs is a proverbial Sophie's Choice.  It actually means nothing when I say it, because they're all my favorite.)  She rocked the house and the crowd screamed for a few minutes.  Of course there was an encore.  Sometimes I wonder why they leave the stage, but maybe they line up shots, I'm not sure.  For the encore she brought Dylan LeBlanc back out and it was fantastic.  They did three songs, I think, maybe four, and she ran off the stage again.  People started filing out.
     But just when you thought it was over, the crowd was still rowdy enough to bring her back out.  This time, she said a few words about the world.  This is something that is tangible about Lucinda Williams and her music, but I have failed to mention it yet, or in my previous review of her new album.  She clearly stands for something.  And I mean really.  Not just good is good, bad is bad, but she has an honest to goodness point of view about the world, and it's present in every song.  If there was a revolution, she'd be a part of it, and you'd be glad to have her on your side.  I digress.  The band started playing lowly as she was speaking, and if you know music, you could recognize it.  She earnestly thanked us all for coming to the show, for digging deep in our pockets.  She's not known for doing covers, so when she does, it's best to pay attention, because it's going to be awesome.  Stop, hey, what's that sound never sounded so good.   The crowd loved it and belted along.
      She wished us peace, love, and revolution and she was gone.  The house lights came up and everyone started to file out.  There was that bittersweetness from knowing you just saw something great, but that it was over.  My only regret of the evening was that I managed to leave without a T-shirt.  I didn't even mind the walk home in the rain.  In fact, I sort of loved it. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Coffee as Magic

     I believe in the powers of coffee.  I believe it can fix most of my problems. This stems directly from most of my problems being caused by too few hours in a day and a lack of sleep.  When making decisions about going to bed at a reasonable hour, or staying awake, my go-to solution is to stay up, and just have as much coffee as I possibly can.
     Then morning comes and it feels like there isn't enough coffee in the world.  This, of course, won't stop me from believing in it.  I'm sure it creates a vicious cycle, but I'm going to engage it anyway.  The odd weekend schedule combined with daylight savings threw me off a little bit.  I went to bed at 2 am on Sunday night/Monday morning.  6 am really is just four hours after that.  I wasn't as miserable as I had the potential to be, and I used the healing powers of coffee to make me right with the world.
     Last night, I just had too many chores to finish and too many ideas to write down.  It was between 10 and 11 at night when I stood next to my freshly made bed, looking at it, contemplating my choices.  Sure, I could crawl in now, turn the light off, go to sleep, and be only slightly better rested.  Or, I could just power through.  I can plug my ear buds into my writing machine (Yes, it's a computer.  I like to call it a writing machine.), crank up the Pandora, and write out the things that are in my head.  I have sketches to write- funny ideas that need to be on the page instead of in my head.  And when morning comes, I'll just drink more coffee.  Problem solved.
     Morning came.  I wasn't that excited about the morning, but the coffee was calling for me.  I knew I'd need a little extra kick this morning to get me threw the entire day, so I fired up the espresso machine.  Yes.  This was like getting an IV to combat dehydration instead of just drinking gatorade.  This would get me through.  Then I spend the rest of the day drinking the diner quality coffee at the office.  It's not good, but it's there.  It's a lesser brand of magic, but it's magic nonetheless.  (Like David Copperfield doing the detachable thumb gag.)
     There's a moment each day in the late morning where I start to doubt my magic coffee wisdom.  Maybe I should actually try sleeping more.  Maybe I should drink more water, eat more fiber, exercise more ever, and really attempt a balanced life.  Whoops, I almost drifted off just thinking about it.  Coffee.  That is the answer. 

Monday, March 14, 2011

It's Like Being Bi-Coastal, But On The Same Coast

     This weekend was the beginning of my effort to be awesome and attempt some sort of bi-city existence.  I haven't mentioned this to too many people, because I don't like the looks I get, or the exhaustive dismissive sigh they give me with a "Ugh.  That sounds awful.  Why would you do that?"  Or something equally condescending.  I don't think it's awful, or all that exhausting, which is why I am doing it.
     Every weekend for the next 8 weeks (9 weeks, actually, minus the last week in April) I'll be making trips to NYC.  Sometimes just a day trip- up and back in the same day, and some are full weekend trips.  I made such a day trip on Saturday.  Everything went swimmingly, and I'm looking forward to subsequent perfect excursions.
     Yes, nine hours on a bus does seem like a lot.  But there's not a lot you can do on a bus, so you pretty much find one thing and stick to it.  That one thing is usually start to read a book and then fall asleep 5 pages in.  Bus sleep might not be the best sleep, but it's sleep, so it still feels good.  Also, I think being in the crunch position for 4 hours straight has done wonders for my abs.
     The bus let out right across the street from Starbucks.  It was like going home.  It pulled in about 7 minutes early, which gave me a great sense of satisfaction.  I knew where I was (28th & 7th), and where I needed to be (30th & 6th).  Brilliant.  I also got to meet up with a friend of mine who now lives in NYC.  We met in Boston; he was the star of Nancy Melchert's Explosio!, my severely underrated Production 2 film.  We chatted over coffee and free pastries, caught up, and planned to meet up again soon, probably next weekend.
     I was right on time for class, and didn't make an ass out of myself at any point.  For me, this is key.  Clearly, I'm really self-conscious about this entire endeavor.  I realize eventually it will have to come out that I don't live in the city, but I didn't want to lead with it and alienate myself somehow.  I had to pretend I knew about a few things, like inherently where things are and what that means.  For example, my friend, whom I'll call Brian, said he lived at Lexington and 45th.  "Isn't that the Chrysler building?" I asked.  Indeed, it is very close to the Chrysler building and we had a good laugh.  Plus, I was pretty proud for knowing that.  Then, while in class, someone was describing a terrible location and they prefaced it with "well, it's on A."  The room chuckled.  I don't know what that means.  Similarly, someone admitted to living "on 5th, between 7th and 8th."  Technically, I know where this is.  I could find it on a map and get there by walking or even by subway.  However, the teacher (Chris, who is wonderful, bt-dubs), commented "wait, that's what's weird about this story.  That you live on 5th between 7th and 8th.  Get out."  Hahaha.  It was funny.  I knew it was funny, based on Chris's tone, but I don't really know why.
     My concern about finding the bus stop and not missing the ride home prevented me from too much after class exploring.  I know I have more time for that, so I wasn't worried.  Eventually, I'll find out why it's funny that Karl lives on 5th between 7th and 8th, and why it's so hard to get to A st.  The bus left NYC about half an hour late, which wasn't awesome, but I honestly didn't care.  Also, it was really cold.  Inexplicably cold.  It was warmer outside than it was on the bus, and it wasn't warm outside.  I wasn't dressed warm enough for the bus.  Every person on the bus was dressed like Eminem in 8 Mile- hoods up, hands in pockets, ear buds in.  A girl next to me was full on winter-geared up.  For a four hour bus ride.  It was cold.
     I got back to the district a little after midnight, and home on the couch just in time for the last half hour of Saturday Night Live.  Then I set my clock forward an hour (balls) and went to bed.  My body doesn't really know what time it is or what city it lives in.  There isn't a time difference between NYC and DC, but since NYC is east of DC, the sun sets sooner so it's just a little different.  Just different enough to get in my head and mess with it a bit.
     So for the next two months, I plan to split my time between NYC and DC.  I'll be a weekender, because I think that might be a thing.  Maybe if I just tell people "I live outside the city" they won't think of it too much.  I don't have to tell them how far outside.  "On the other side of the tunnel.  Yes, it is west of the river.  New Jersey?  Kind of."

Friday, March 11, 2011

When The Cat's Away

     As a direct result from the all those awesome things I'm doing, I didn't get a lot of sleep last night.  As evidenced by my neck pain, I must have slept on my head.  To combat the sleepy-sleepies at work, I stopped at Starbucks on my way to the office for a triple tall americano.  The combination of low sleep and high caffeine pretty much makes me over-the-moon happy.  It might be a fake chemically induced happy, to be followed by a huge crash-and-burn later tonight, but for now, it's great. 
     I enjoyed my banana nut loaf and triple tall americano as jovially as I possibly could.  It's possible my coworkers didn't share in my delight.  I may have also been chair dancing to the awesome playlist I was listening to. 
     And then, uncontrollable laughter.  I did it to myself, so it was hard to explain to others what was so funny.  Plus, they didn't ask.  I wrote this email to Mary:
I needed you earlier when I read a headline too fast.  It read "DoD Says More War Funds Possible As Senators Eye Cuts."

I thought "Wow.  Eye cuts.  That would really hurt."  Then I thought it was a really bitchy thing for the DoD to say, and a really weird analogy.  Basically, I thought the DoD was saying that getting more war funds was as likely as senators getting eye cuts. 

And now I'm laughing uncontrollably about it.  It doesn't make any sense.  Obviously that's not what it means.  I can never explain this to anyone else.
Now I am trying to explain it.  Because it was a great moment.  I was laughing so hard, I was crying.  Basically, I was that asshole who laughs at their own joke, but then takes it even further, and laughs so hard at their own joke, they cry.  The fucking funniest joke ever, and I told it.  I was realizing this as it was happening, and it only fueled the fire, and created a vicious laughing cycle. 
      And my coworkers kept working, deliberately ignoring the laugh attack I was having in my cubicle. 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Cool On The Outside

I have some pretty awesome things coming up, and I'm doing my best to maintain a cool, calm exterior.

My improv class showcase is on Sunday.  Secretly (whoops, not any more), I want everyone to show up.  I say "oh yeah, it's just a little thing the classes do" but I mean "you gotta come, please please please.  Come on!"

I'm transitioning to the next level of classes, and I'm excited about that too.  Since class is on Wednesday nights, Thursday mornings can be a real challenge for me.  I'm tempted to introduce characters at work.  I practice accents while reading memos out loud.  I want to play "same line, different reaction" with my boss, but without his knowledge.
Nancy, did you get the email I just sent?
I don't know John, why don't you go fuck yourself, and when the email makes it to my computer from space, I'll let you know. 
I doubt I could convince him to ask me again though, so I could react differently.  

But I'm loving the involvement with the theater and the company.  There's a contrast between the excitement of improv and the dullness of the office  that is a kin to Jekyll and Hyde.   I must maintain my cool exterior, but on the inside, I'm yelling out seven things I wouldn't use at my desk and making up Beastie Boys songs about my coworkers.
Let me tell you a story about a girl named Leah
Who sits at her desk with a big idea
For lunch she warms up a cold tortilla
She knows the capital of North Korea
The thing I'm over the moon excited for is frequent trips to New York City for sketch classes at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater.  I've been trying to keep this to myself, to prevent the naysayers from coming out of the woodwork and commenting on how exhausting bus trips are.  Yeah, I know.  But it's totally worth it and it'll change my life.  Because it's UCB and it's NYC and this is about more than just being bored on the weekends and really liking smelly buses.  I've simply been skillfully avoiding too many plans on weekends, until really pressed, and I say "I'll be in New York."  For what?  Awesomeness, that's what.

My calendar is filling up, and I'm really excited about it, but I don't want to blow my cover.  Instead I'm going to maintain this creepy perma-grin I have going on to balance out my exploding interior and my cool exterior.  Yeah.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Like We're Going On A Plane

     Everyone is allowed one carry-on and one personal item.  This rule, which applies to flying, seems to now apply all of the time.  People carry so many things now, one bag cannot contain them all.  I've been guilty of it myself at times, though recently I've reverted back to carrying my giant backpack.
     Sometimes it's obvious- one bag is a purse, and the other is a lunch bag.  I get that.  It's still cumbersome.  A purse or briefcase and a gym bag is pretty common too.  But sometimes, there are just two purses, or two messenger bags.  Their organization technique is unclear to the casual observer, which I realize as type that sentence out, could possibly be the point.
     A messenger bag and a purse.  A messenger bag and a briefcase.  A backpack and a purse.  It's easy to conclude people just carry too much stuff.  But it seems to go deeper than that.  Each person, with their two reasonably sized bags, seemed airplane ready.  In one bag, they probably had their prescription medications and no more than 3 oz of toiletries.  An extra pair of socks, a pair of sunglasses, a book, a phone, and an iPod.  The other bag contained things that were important, but would probably get left behind if the plane were going down.  The things we don't want to trust to baggage handlers or pay the fee for; we don't want to be without them, but they can be separate from this other similarly sized bag.
     In general, this is not a well thought out theory.  It just occurred to me this morning, as I sat with my kind of large backpack in my lap, knowing my lunch pail was inside of it.  I carry two bags too, but one is inside the other.  That actually seems more ridiculous.  Or at least the same.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Happy Paczki Day Indeed, Mary

     It's one of the few Michigan traditions I do miss.  For non-Michiganders, it's Fat Tuesday.  For a long time growing up, I didn't actually know what Fat Tuesday was, but I knew what pacski day was.  (Quick disclosure: a pacski is a Polish pastry, not unlike a doughnut, but more awesome.  It's pronounced like poonchki, kind of.  You can read more about them here.)
     The moment my dad would walk in the front door with the giant pastry box was better than Christmas morning.  He always ordered his way ahead, and would usually get two dozen.  If mom prepared dinner that night, it was going to go completely unnoticed.  We tore open the box and divvied up our pacski.  My favorite were the powdered ones with custard, even though I don't think that's a traditional Polish filling.  It's embarrassing now, but no shit, we would put down three each.  Easy.  He did this for as long as I can remember.  He would actually leave work early on paczki day to make sure he got his.  He would work on Christmas Eve, but damn it, those pacski meant something.    
     Holidays that revolve around food are my favorite.  This is a very regional holiday, and the mania is difficult to describe to outsiders.  It's easy to explain the hullabaloo of Mardi Gras.  But the hullabaloo of the paczki?  Maybe you have to be from Michigan to understand that.  (According to the internet, other places celebrate it  like Buffalo, Toledo, Cleveland, Milwaukee, South Bend, and Windsor.  So I guess they get it too.)  I often had to explain it to me new Michigan transplant friends at college. 
     Yes, we order our paczki weeks in advance.  Yes, there is a parade.  Well, they're like doughnuts, but they're more dense, and more fattening, and just way better.  Yes, I will skip class to go buy paczki.  Yes, I will call my parents so we can compare paczki from Ann Arbor, the paczki my mom got from the hometown bakery at lunch, and the dozen my dad brought home from a bakery in Detroit. Because it's a thing, and it's important, that's why.  Now excuse me while I go gain at least ten pounds in about 45 seconds.  
     Happy Paczki Day! 

Monday, March 7, 2011

Why I Stay Indoors.

     I'm a homebody, and I like it.  Sometimes I forget why I prefer home to going out, so I venture out into the world, and then I am loudly reminded.
     A few examples:  When I put my ear buds in and I'm standing in a line, it is because I don't want to interact.  Some people don't get that, or they see it as a personal challenge.  Judge my choice if you will, but I wanted a little snack and was craving some Taco Bell.  I haven't had Taco Bell in years, and I just wanted something with gooey cheese in it.  I went in the combination KFC/Taco Bell and stared at the menu.  When I got in line, there was a gentleman who got in line right behind me.  I had my ear buds in, but not up so loud I couldn't hear what was going on around me.
     He mumbled something about going ahead of him, and I thought he was saying I cut in line.  I had never been in this location before, so maybe I stood in the wrong line.  I tried to let him go, ask if I had cut, because that was not my intention.  He said he was just joking around.  Great.  I face forward again, and read the menu.  Yes, I'm the asshole who doesn't know what's on the menu.
     Then mumbler asks me something else about what's good on the menu.  Now I'm trying to walk the line between not wanted to be rude, but wanting to be left alone.  I take my ear buds out and turn to him, saying "I can't hear, because I'm trying to listen to my music.  What?"  Then he mumbles more nonsense about what's good or good for you at KFC/Taco Bell. This goes on for a while, through the entire process of ordering and waiting.  I keep putting my ear buds back in, and he keeps trying to talk to me.  He makes comments like "I'm just trying to be friendly.  Smile."  He is apparently not good at reading social clues.
     I get my cheesy roll up and he asks me if we can sit down so he can talk to me, apparently about any multi-racial ancestors I may or may not have.  Hell to the no.  I have friends waiting for me, I have to leave as fast as I possibly can. Sorry, Taco Bell, I know it's not your fault, but I won't be back soon.
     A few days later, I get invited to go to a bar for an early St. Patrick's Day celebration.  Again, I forgot what being in public was like, so I headed out.  Fighting through the parade was bad enough, but then the stereo-typical bar behavior began.  I forgot that I was actually just an object, and I was supposed to let men talk at me however they wanted.  And also, I should know my place as the friend, the buffer, the third wheel, what have you.
     Out of the blue some guy says "You know what's not a good movie? 'The Runaways.'  Don't waste your time.  I'm kind of a movie connoisseur."  Amazing, I'm lucky enough to meet the one guy who understands movies well enough to judge a poorly received quasi-bio-pic about the first all female rock-and-roll band almost a year after its release.  Thanks buddy.  You sure blew my mind.  
     There were a few other verbal sparring matches throughout the evening, most ending with the declarative statement "you're a bitch."  Yes, I am.  And I'm right too.  Overall, it was kind of disgusting.  Someone commented on my eyes, which is a nice compliment, but it's tired by now.  Luckily he followed it up my commenting on my breasts.  Except he called them knockers.  Ah, that felt good.
     I think the sting of being in public this time will stick with me for a while.  I like my couch, and the color of my walls aren't so bad.   My floors aren't sticky, I don't have cheap beer, and no one interrupts me when I have my ear buds in.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Burritos. A Review.

     Burritos just may be the world's most perfect food.  They contain most of the major food groups, and when made correctly, are portable.  My favorite burritos are made at Herrera's, a small Mexican food restaurant on Temple St. in Boston.  Ever since leaving Beantown, I have been on a burrito quest-  the search for the perfect burrito.
     My ideal burrito is on a thin soft tortilla shell made with Spanish rice, black beans, steak, pico de gallo, cheese, sour scream, and guacamole.  (I'm pretty sure that's all the food groups.)  This is the combination I look for and therefore use to judge burrito restaurants.   
     Often, when expressing my desire for a burrito, people send me to Chipotle.   I don't have anything against Chipotle, but they use white rice with cilantro and lime.  As I just stated, I prefer Spanish rice.  I've gotten into an argument over this before.  It started off simply enough, with the acquaintance recommending Chipotle as though I'd never heard of it and commenting that is was very good because of the cilantro lime rice.   I responded that I knew of Chipotle, had indeed eaten there, and while it was fine, I really preferred the Spanish rice.  Perhaps this acquaintance's mother invented cilantro lime rice, I'm not sure, but apparently I was being indignant, and an argument ensued. 
     I discovered a chain I had been previously unfamiliar with when I came to D.C. - California Tortilla.   It's very close.  They use Mexican rice, which is an acceptable substitute to the Spanish rice, since it's the same thing.  Their tortilla shells are a little thick though.  It's an odd phenomenon.  And the like to put lettuce on things, which I just find unnecessary.  Of course, if you're paying attention, they'll be happy to 86 it.  For now, it's a decent Herrera's substitute, though it is definitely that- a substitute.
     The hardest part of the quest has been finding a burrito place close to work.  There aren't a lot of lunch options near the office- a Subway and a Five Guys, which are both fine, but not burritos.  I attempted a frozen burrito for lunch today, and it kind of left a hole in my soul where an awesome burrito should be.  A substandard burrito usually ignites the quest for an awesome burrito.  This might require a trip to Maryland. 

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Lucinda Williams: Blessed. A Review.

     What this album needs is a rainy day and some day-drinking.  Not heavy day-drinking, but a casual beer while you're making a sandwich type day-drinking.   Blessed is Lucinda Williams's most recent album, released on Tuesday.  I'm still not sure I've listened t it enough to give it the review it deserves, but I'll go forward with my first impressions.  Perhaps in a few months, once our relationship has moved past the  beginning stages and we are fully committed, I'll have another view.  But right now, I'm still in the we're-not-coming-out-of-our-room phase.  That phase where friends don't want to be around us because we just stare deeply into each other's eyes.  Yes, Blessed and I are currently staring into each other's eyes.
     I had pre-ordered this album so it would ready for me on the day of its release.  Tuesday's lunch time shenanigans actually yielded the positive result of getting the album a full five hours before I expected to.  I was trepidatious about ripping into the package as soon as I got back to the office like I wanted to, based on the sound the tearing would make and the subsequent squeals of excitement I wouldn't be able to control.  So it had to sit on my desk, taunting me, until those who are sensitive to such sounds had gone home.  I tore open the box and the plastic wrap and plopped in the CD drive on the computer.  Ahh, Lucinda Williams's voice filled my ear buds and all was right with the world.
     Buttercup is a great album opener; it sets the tone.  Lest you ever thought Lucinda was just going to lounge about while you treat her like crap, she tells you otherwise.  Sure, you might be kinda nice to look at, but she's better than you and your sweet-nothing-nicknames.  Good luck finding someone who will let you call her buttercup; you're a dick, and it's a degrading nickname anyway.
     With I Don't Know How You're Living she brings it down a notch.  It's slow and sweet.  One of the greatest aspects of Lucinda's writing is her specificity.  She won't simply say "I've done everything for you, and now we've lost touch."  She tells you what she's done for you, and then notes she doesn't know how you're living.  And it's a bummer, because she wants to know, and when you want her to know too, she'll listen, and she'll do all those things she's done again.
     I fell in love with Copenhagen the first time I heard it, even though I didn't really know what it was about yet.  "I'm fifty-seven but I could be seven years old 'cause I'll never be able to comprehend the expansiveness of what I've just learned."  I was wrapped around this song's finger.  Confusion and longing, and a straight shot to my soul.  This belongs on the soundtrack of my life, accompanying every walk down the street I ever take.
      With Born to be Loved, she is talking to all of us, I think.  We can get pretty down on ourselves, and feel like our lot in life is to just be in the bad place we're in.  Not so, says Lucinda.  It also serves as a reminder that nobody was born to be put upon, or beat up, or just treated badly.  The repetitive lyrics drive home the longing and desperation. 
      Seeing Black kicks it back up, and it's odd to say how much I love this song.  It's not her first song about suicide; it's not even the only suicide song on this album (see Copenhagen).  It's gritty and loud, and fun to sing along with.  I sense a bit of a fuck you for killing yourself in it along with bewilderment and a need to understand.
     Soldier's Song brings it back down again, and it seems like it's going to be obvious, but it's not at all.  It's quite three dimensional, and you vividly see the world being painted with each lyric.
     The titular Blessed is one of those great songs of hers that starts off slow, and then builds.  She reminds us how blessed we are, so we should be paying closer attention.
     Sweet Love is considered a departure, simply because it's a love song.  I disagree, because I think her catalogue is full of love songs.  But I digress.  This song is slow and sweet.  Musically, it's very stripped down- I think I hear a soft snare drum, guitar, and the gentle whine of an accordion.  Lyrically, of course, it's beautiful.  I feel like I'm floating in a gondola when I listen to this song.
     Ugly Truth is probably about a lot of different things.  Fame and fortune, the road there and the impossible road back perhaps, and about not being true to yourself.  You can't hide from the truth. 
     Convince Me is another roller coaster ride.  Indeed, the whole wide world is falling apart.  It starts off slow and smooth and by the end she's ripping guitar licks and smashing up the drums.  She's just begging you to convince her of one damn thing, but you can't really do it can you?
     Awakening.  You know what?  I don't even care exactly what this one is about.  There are so many elements to it; it's mournful and haunting, and as much as I love lyrics, I find myself surrounded by the music so much I realize I wasn't paying attention.  Whoops.
     Kiss Like Your Kiss is another love song.  The imagery is like something out of What Dream May Come.  How she can paint a fully composed picture with words is beyond me.  If you were ever in love like this, it must have been amazing.

With this album, she also released a collection of the same songs, recorded in her kitchen.  It is nothing short of amazing.   I am looking forward to a long and happy relationship with  Blessed.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

I Needed More Time

     Today's post was supposed to be a review of the new Lucinda Williams album, Blessed, but I need more time.  I'm not some douche-hat at Spin a popular music magazine who can casually review an album after half  listening to the first track.  I actually pay attention to the music, and if I ever mis-quoted lyrics, in print nonetheless, I would fire myself. 
     Anyway, Thursday's post will be a song by song review of the new album.  Thank you for your patience. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Lunch Hour Shenanigans

It was the type of stuff that happens in bad movies.  Most of today's post is lifted directly from an email I sent to a friend immediately after all of this happened.  A little bit of background though: yesterday I received an email alert from my back concerned about irregular activity on my bank card- the card would be blocked from further use until I personally verified the charges and then jumped up my own ass.  I checked my account online and everything was legit.  I called the number per the email, but something didn't seem quite right.  While on the phone I attempted to re-login to my account to verify the alert had been sent by them.  Their site was down.  I told the representative on the phone I would deal with it in the bank, because I wasn't comfortable giving my info over the phone.  The bank closes before I get home from work, so I had to go on my lunch hour today.

I approach the bank at the same time as the oldest woman in the world. As much as I wanted to push her out of the way, I don't.

I wait in line behind her. It takes a log time. Finally it's my turn with the teller. I explain the whole story and add that now I'm using my lunch hour to deal with this. He tells me to sign up to talk to a personal banking specialist.


I sign in. I use English.

About 1 minute goes by and a douche in a suit walks up to the clip board and says "Ok. We have Na-nay?" I look around and clearly he's talking to me. "Nancy" I say. Hey says "I can't read this. It looks like Na-nay or something."  He looks around for a person who could be named Na-nay, but I'm the only person in the waiting area.  He concedes, shakes my hand, and tells me to head down to his desk. 

I am now livid (on the inside- outside I'm just peeved). We go to his desk and I tell him I just need the card unblocked. He reads me the account activity and I say yes, those are all good. He calls the card unblocker people. It takes a few minutes but it gets unblocked.

"What about all the debits that were supposed to come out today while it was blocked? Will I have to contact those merchants?"

He looks at the screen in front of him and says yes, the gym didn't go through so I'd have to call them, but the rest should be good. I told him if there were any late charges I'd be back. Then he tried to sell me a credit card.

And you'd think that'd be enough to make an exciting wasted lunch hour, but no. As I leave the bank I get a phone call from a delivery service not being able to leave a package. Well, I am right around the corner. Is he close, because I can meet him there?

Indeed he is, so I run to my house.  I am not a good runner- this is quite painful actually.  I almost miss him again, but was able to let out a "I think that's for me" as I got to the door and he was calling whoever he calls. He gave me my new Lucinda Williams CD and drove away.

Then I called the gym I go to, which should have been easy but it was hard. Their number isn't on the Internet because they just changed names. I found it on my old keytag waiting for thee train.

I'm still on the train now. It's delayed due to mechanical problems. Of course it is.

2 hours out of my life I'll never get back, but at least I got my new Lucinda  CD.