Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Challenge!

It is a rare thing for me to tell people "I'm a writer!" when they ask what I do. The fact of the matter is that I don't feel like I have the right to tell people that when it's not how I earn my paycheck. I certainly would love to make my living doing so, I definitely have been paid to write and edit, I have been writing for as long as I can remember, but still...it feels...dishonest. Sort of like "embellishing" your resume, which I have never been very comfortable with because it would be just my luck that an employer would look at like, the *only* fabrication on it and be all, "Oh, you're fluent in Chinese? Excellent, because if we hire you, that is where you will be working!"

Recently, though, another writerly friend of mine commented on the predominance of humor in my work and issued some good-natured skepticism at my ability to compose my current project, which should have a decidedly more serious tone. It happened like this:

"You're writing a thriller?! TAB, I have a hard time believing you could write anything even remotely frightening. You're afraid of ants."

"First of all, I'm only afraid of them in swarms and if you don't think swarms of ants are scary, you have been misinformed about their nature. Secondly, writers should be able to write anything, and I believe that I could compose something that is, at the very least, suspenseful."

"Well, maybe you should put your money where your mouth is."


And that's how it started. This week, I will post a very short story of the scary variety on this blog, open to all criticism, commentary and reprimand. Let the games begin!

Monday, June 28, 2010

TAB and The Misplaced Automobile

Since this Monday has dawned decidedly crappy, I'd like to take a minute to share with you all a story that is appropriately indicative of the occasional faux pas brought on by my Blonde Gene. Before you ask? Yes. This *actually* happened.

I had only been in Los Angeles for a couple of months and was working insane hours for two editorial internships, including requisite bitch work event assistance. (Working the guest list, making sure drunk D-listers get in cabs instead of driving, fending off groping photographers, etc. What a charmed life!)

At one event in particular, I think it was one of our issue release parties, my editor gave me the okay to invite one of the super cute fellas I was crushing on so that in between telling people "I'm sorry, you're just not on this list. Maybe you should have your agent call your contact here. No. I don't know who you are. I don't have TV," I could flirt and wink and be otherwise entertained by the presence of a cute boy.

Cute Boy arrived in all his newsboy-cap-and-tattoo-glory and, will wonders never cease, we had a great time hanging out. After the last D-lister had left, Cute Boy and I headed over to a small punk rock bar on Hollywood, coincidentally right by his house. I hadn't had anything to drink (duh, I was working) and so I drove and parked in one of the numerous $8 lots on one of the small side streets off Hollywood. This is the part where I should have paid attention, but I was distracted... maybe by something Cute Boy was saying, but probably by just how cute Cute Boy was. We hung out at a bar, had a couple drinks and decided to walk to Cute Boy's apartment, which was "just a few blocks behind Hollywood!" so that we could hang out some more and make out on his couch watch movies. This is the second part where I should have paid attention, because "a few blocks behind Hollywood" was Cute Boy code for "probably the longest, most confusing and circuitous route away from anything recognizable, sort of like Labyrinth but I haven't found David Bowie yet." Again, The Average Broad was far too distracted by things like "you better be a good kisser for making me walk this far in heels, you SOB, but oh... that leather jacket looks really, really good on you..."

At Cute Boy's apartment, we had another few drinks and did indeed make out on the couch watch movies, until we both ended up passed out on his couch. I woke up at around 4am, suddenly very aware that the parking lot where I had parked my car would charge me a hell of a lot more money than I had on me if I did not move my car by 6am. I kissed the Cute Boy on the forehead and strapped my strappy heels back on to try and make my way back to my car...

...which was...

...where, exactly...?

I was hopelessly lost. I didn't recognize any particular direction, street sign, landmark, sleeping bum... anything. I called Cute Boy to see if he could give me a general direction in which to head, but he didn't answer. Most likely passed out on the couch.

I kept walking and finally, FINALLY found Hollywood Blvd. Okay car, where are you?

I walked up and down almost every side street. I checked almost every parking lot. I found the bar and retraced (uh, I think?) my steps and still... my car was nowhere to be found. It was almost 5:30 and I started to panic, so I did what I always do in my times of panic. I called EM, who was oh-so-fortunately awake due to an early makeup gig.

"EM!" I started to sob into the phone. "I lost my car! I am on Hollywood and what if it's already towed and my feet are bleeding because of my stupid strappy heels and Cute Boy is passed out and not answering and I've been wandering around Hollywood for almost 2 hours already and I think everyone I've seen thinks I'm a hooker and I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DOOOO! ::sob sob sob::"

"Whoa, TAB," EM said. "Calm down. What do you remember about where you parked your car?"

"It was an $8 lot on one of the Hollywood Blvd side streets."


"...and Cute Boy has lovely brown eyes?"

"Sigh. I'm heading down there. Meet me at Hollywood and Random Side Street (that she knew off the top of her head and took me another 20 minutes to find)."

EM picked me up (wow, did that make me look even more like a hooker?) and patiently took me up and down every side street, past every parking lot, until we both noticed one of the blocked off side streets that was being set up for a farmer's market.

"Did you check that one?" EM asked me.

"Well, no, because I didn't think they would just close down a street that had a parking lot on it cuz then people wouldn't be able to get out!" Why would I even look there?!

EM looked at me with that I love you even though you are sometimes special ed look that she gives me when dumb things fall out of my mouth and made a loop to drive up the back of the blocked off street.

There was a lone $8 lot with just two cars glinting in the early morning light. One of these cars happened to be my beloved.

"MY CAR!" I squealed. I hugged EM and she sped off to work. I sashayed over to my car.

"I missed you, car! I shall never ever abandon you for Cute Boy again. Even though he probably won't talk to me anymore anyway because I called him almost 30 times this morning while I was trying to find you," I said. I checked the clock: 7am. I had been lost in downtown Hollywood for 3 hours. After that, I drove home, ate breakfast and crawled into bed.

At 9am, Cute Boy finally called me back after my 29 or 30 frantic voicemails.

"Why didn't you just stay? I would have paid for your extra parking. Plus we could have gone out for breakfast - I know how much you love bacon. Also, I would have bought you new shoes!"

At least, that is what I imagine he should have said. After I sent his call to voicemail, he texted me with:

"30 voicemails? don't call me again!"

To which I replied: "Not a problem. My car is more reliable than you are, anyway."

Friday, June 25, 2010

Why News Should Stop Ruining Our Lives, First Edition

Hey guys. Remember how that one time I was all, "I'm gonna start a blog but probably only write in it when I'm procrastinating from *real life work*?" Oh, you don't? Well, whatever. That happened. And then I felt like I had all these ridiculous and vaguely interesting things to say but totally got caught up in other stuff and mostly have been working on things like plot outlines and character developments and novella structure and website design and what exactly is a codex? Answer me that, WordPress. Also, this week I took a health quiz on CNNHealth.com and after answering a few questions CNNHealth.com said, "You probably have adult ADHD!" And I was maybe a little bit concerned, but was anyone really surprised? If you are one of the two people reading this blog (hi, mom!) you are most likely nodding and thinking, 'That explains so very much!'

Moving on.

I love reading. Blogs, newspapers, print magazines, news websites, gossip websites, the back of cereal boxes, scandalous Lycra-velour sweatpants ("What exactly is JUICY about your butt? Frankly, you should keep your colon problems to yourself, lady."). Lately, there seems to be a lot of bullshit happening and I think I'd like to join the chorus of bitch-ass whiners while presenting my own solutions. (Because stop complaining if you're not going to offer up another solution, okay?)

The Average Broad Presents: Why News Should Stop Ruining Our Lives. Edition 1.

Okay, let's start with the big, greasy elephant in the room. I'm looking at you, BP. Currently, you got rid of Smarmy Dbag Tony "I just want my life back!" Hayward. Bravo, there, but lest you forget, the Gulf is still actually on fire because of hemorrhaging toxic goo. Seriously. There's been some bitching complaining talk about like 2 billion dollars of BP's envirorape money going to help out the businesses in LA (not the LA where I live, which is a whole different kind of fetid screwball) and now people are all up in arms about how we should stop deep water drilling and just rely on foreign oil (that is actually what will happen because are YOU going to stop driving and using gasoline? Oh, you use public transportation? Well, those buses don't run on hopes and dreams. Maybe they run over them, but that was more of a Rosa Parks thing and that turned out okay). Everyone seems pretty content to throw money at the problem and sort of cross their fingers and be all, "Please work, please make them stop yelling at me!" Additionally, hurricane season is a-comin' and I think scientists have predicted something like toxic, apocalyptic oil-rain that will probably catch fire and fall in some kind of biblical manner. Not really, but I could see it happening. The whole thing is a clusterfuck that just gets worse with each passing day.

MY SOLUTION: Kevin Costner and James Cameron are really just the tip of the iceberg here - let's get Hollywood involved! All they're doing these days is putting out bad movies and fueling tabloid sales, so they definitely have the time and money to head on down to the south and figure out something useful. The team will consist of mostly directors, but not Michael Bay because he would probably favor throwing explosives at the oil slick, which, science tells us, would not help. I'd like to see Asylum get involved (they make all those awesome Sci Fi movies like Mega Pirahnna and Sharktopus) because I think marine disasters are really their realm of expertise. The team will be headed by Oprah, because that woman shits hundred dollar bills and can single-handedly destroy industries (remember the whole cattle rancher/red meat lawsuit? Mmm... steak...) with just one flippant comment. Oprah will be in charge, but have the assistance of James Cameron because he did that one movie about another maritime disaster and thinks he has the answers. Also, with Costner's new-fangled centrifugal oil gadget, it'll be like a trifecta of rich talented people coming together for the greater good. Take charge, Oprah!

Additionally, media coverage will be limited to one day a week, when every newspaper, blog and website is allowed to recap the events of the previous week. It shall be called "Fucked Fridays" and people will have the option to read until their heart's content about how we're all bad, over-consuming resource whores and then feel bad about it until everyone gets off work and goes to Friday happy hour! The other six days of the week can focus on other reasons why we're screwed, like Arizona's huge wildfire, McChrystal's foot-in-mouth disease, the shitty World Cup refs and the ridiculous *facepalm* of new reports finally getting it right that joblessness and economic despair has not, in fact, lessened to the degree that everyone was stating. Oh, and also that Meg Whitman pushed an Ebay employee or something. Maybe we should send her to the Gulf, too. You know, to like, help out or swim around or whatever. Maybe she can go push Hayward around.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Estrogen and English Degrees Make You Fail At Scrabble.

I came to a conclusion while talking to my friend Hot Musician II (to differentiate him from the first Hot Musician that I introduced you to earlier) that my beloved Scrabble is more than just a game - it is an allegory for my life. It all began when I foolishly started challenging any and all iPhone carrying friends to Scrabble games, thanks to the iPhone app "Words with Friends". I have a BA in English and sometimes like to think it makes me the greatest of all Scrabble players because, duh, it's words and the spelling of them and I derive a sick, sick amount of pleasure doing that every day as it is. (I won't even begin to detail how excited I get when I catch things my spell checker doesn't. Now you know my shame.) Reality, however, is annoyingly far from that misconception and it really just means that I feel worse about myself when I lose... which is frustratingly often.

Anyway, it just so happened that I was losing spectacularly to Hot Musician II and... 3 other friends in 3 other games at the same time. Huh.

"Clearly the Scrabble gods are trying to teach me humility," I said to him. "At present, I am losing 4 games. And guess what my major was in college? Oh, yeah. English. I minored in French and Italian because I always had such an easy time with language. UNTIL SCRABBLE. That proves how useless college is right there."

"That's why you never play songwriters, college girl, I didn't even graduate high school!" Hot Musician II laughed at me. Damn it.

"What an allegory for higher education versus the real world. Book learnin' is great but if you don't have the smarts to know how to work with what's in front of you, you're just as fucked. I think my failure is also reflective of being a woman, too, because my brain keeps trying to complicate it. Like, I could have all the letters for 'zoo' but my head will be like, 'dude, you could totally do 'zoology' if you could just get another g, o, and y and can find a place to play it.' While most men would be like, 'Fuck it! ZOO! Woo 38 points!!!' But because I feel compelled to hold onto my letters and wait because something amazing will surely happen! And then, it's the end of the game and there is nowhere to play and I end up with something as anticlimactic as 'zit'. So thanks, Scrabble, for exacerbating my disgust with a useless degree and cementing the fact that I am a crazy, over thinking woman with too much education, no common sense and an overabundance of estrogen."

Hot Musician II laughed at me again and played "COZ" for 16 points.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

5 Dating Commandments

Recently, through another text-flirtation with an entirely different hot musician (yes, I am aware I have an addiction), talk progressed into the "when are we gonna go get drinks?" avenue and - I imagine he verbally braced himself - he made a comment to me indicating that before we really got to know each other very well, he would appreciate it if I would forewarn him about whether or not I was crazy so that he would be prepared for any and all windfalls.

Now, most normal ladies who are in the midst of a flirtation with hopes of dateability would toss their hair nonchalantly, tilt their head back and laugh at the idea, while secretly swearing up and down that if this man ever even so much as looks in the direction of another female, she will sugar up his gas tank and set fire to his entire collection of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Editions dating back to 1993. Having repeatedly burned myself by trying to play The Cool Girl, however, I miserably resigned myself to his loss of interest when I answered in all honesty, "Oh. Well, yes. I am."

He then needed to know the extent of crazy that I had just openly admitted to, but it left me to wonder... when it comes to women, does it *really* matter? Granted, I'm well aware that it's my own damn fault for laying my cards down so early in the game, but I have tried the latter - keeping your crazy a secret until, God help you, PMS or a shitty boss or alcohol or another female entering the picture sets you off and you are then guilty of blindsiding the poor fella with pent-up female rage coupled with (more than likely) hormonal imbalances, when you promised him from the beginning that you weren't like that, no sir, you weren't like those girls.

I have written before about every single female's capacity to be the crazy broad, but let me explain a bit further. Yes, there are varying degrees of crazy women, and no, no female wants to be labeled "the crazy ex" (at least no women that I know) but it is all pretty relative to one's experience. I think it's all conditional based on how you were raised, what you expect from a relationship and what you expect of yourself. In an effort to further quantify the subjectivity of these instances, below is my own personal list of Dating Commandments, which if broken, stand an excellent chance of eliciting from me the response of a crazy broad.

1. THOU SHALT NOT SCREW OTHER BROADS. This, while basic, needs to be burned into the insides of many a man's eyelids. While I may be alone in my "only have eyes for you" genes, there are so many issues at work here... a devotion to honesty and maturity of self-control, and what boils down to a basic common courtesy to treat others with respect. Whether it's knocking up some other skizank or a fervent kiss in a bar parking lot, it's never the act itself that hurts, it's the betrayal, which is, in my world, utterly inexcusable.
2. THOU SHALT RESPECT MY PERSONAL CHOICES AS MY OWN. My parents, very loving and wise individuals, raised me to respect the opinions of other people as their own, and while I might not agree with them, it was a selfish and sometimes ignorant thing to judge someone not only based on race, sexuality or gender, but by their religious and political beliefs. As a result, I will never inflict my beliefs and opinions upon you because they are quite personal to me, and I expect you to do the same.
3. THOU SHALT UNDERSTAND THAT I AM A WOMAN. Oscar Wilde has this great quote, "Women are meant to be loved, not understood." I couldn't agree more. You may think I'm mental when PMS hits and all I want is to be told I'm loved, curl up in a ball under my covers and cry because there wasn't enough peanut butter in my Reese's, but most of the time, I legitimately cannot help it, so please don't get angry with me. Be patient. I don't need you to fix it. I'm not like that all the time, but I will not apologize for hormone shifts because it's what makes me a female. It's okay, though, for you to tell me I'm out of line if I yell at you for no reason. Sometimes, I need to hear that. Additionally, get used to the fact that I do not care about your power tools, sports team or computer thing, and I will accept that you do not care about which stilettos match best, which celebrity's ass looks fattest in person and whether or not you really could grate cheese on that Calvin Klein model's abs. I have my girlfriends, you have your manfriends.
4. THOU SHALT PUT THE FRIENDSHIP FIRST. I don't think anything can really last without a serious foundation of friendship, and that's what will last when the honeymoon phase of any relationship fizzles. I expect you to be a friend to me, be honest with me if I'm about to make a stupid decision, tell me if you need something more from me instead of hoping I'll guess correctly, laugh with me, laugh at me, indulge with me and tell me when enough is enough.
5. THOU SHALT BE A GENTLEMAN. I definitely don't expect you to treat me like a princess, pay for me all the time, send me flowers every other week or carry me over any kind of threshold - I can do that myself. I do, however, expect you to be a man, offer to pull out chairs and open doors and show me the kindness that, at the very least, you expect to be shown yourself. I probably won't get crazy if you break this commandment, but I also won't call you again. Ever. And, I'll probably tell all my friends you were too much of an idiot for me.
That's pretty much it for me, because I think most everything else will fall into one of those rules. In short, you might think I'm crazy because I have a short attention span and probably a mild case of ADD and the incurable habit of voicing almost everything that enters my brain, be it a craving for some cheesy fried thing or a pontification on the number of sweat glands in a woman's cleavage, but I've since accepted that it is my crazy that makes me who I am, and let me tell you, finding comfort in your own skin is better than any comfort you'll find with another person.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Average Recap!

Okay, as it turns out, I'm not dead. I sort of thought I was on Monday when my epic death plague hangover triggered an equally epic death migraine, but long story short, my absence from my little blogiverse has been a result of various important other things, like EM's birthday a week or so ago. Also, it's summer, and as we all know, summer is the time when the surrounding heat creeps into your body and leeches into your brain like, "Hey! It's hot! We don't want to do anything! Screw laundry! Screw grocery shopping! Screw responsibility! This is beer drinkin' weather and we're going to make you too lethargic to get off your lazy, sweaty butt and accomplish anything. Even blogging, the laziest of all writing exercises. Not. Gonna. Do. It."

Additionally, the sad facts are that I haven't really had much entertainment to share. Eharmony guy, music journalist guy and hot musician have pretty much gone the way of the buffalo, TOL and I are still on pleasant but ever-more-distant terms (good... I guess?), work is still as soul-sucking as it was last month and most of my extra writing has been funneled into one larger project approved by the Writer's Workshop of Death (inclusive of MEH and Friend With Great Hair). EM and EM's boyfriend are still doing well and planning on visiting EM's boyfriend's family in the nether regions of the States in July which will most likely leave me bored and alone in the apartment for a month, but also able to sit around in my underwear without fear of impropriety or social repercussion.

Ahh, stability - a blessing and a curse.

To Recap:

1. The Average Broad: not dead.

2. Everything is pretty much the same.

3. Oh, I think I'm gonna get a bbq this weekend. Omg. BBQ. ::swoon::

4. Have you ever seen banana flavored ice cream? I don't think I have, but I wonder what it would be like to have a banana flavored banana split.

5. Also, I'm going to learn to surf this summer. Hell yes.