Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Ironically, I did not excel

Yesterday I interviewed at a temp agency that specializes in getting people jobs in creative companies like TV production and advertising. The Chandler Bing in me knows I could come up with great slogans. (“Cheese…it’s milk…you can chew!”)

The downside to the interview is that I had to take an Excel test. You can’t fake that! I’d plugged numbers into spreadsheets before, but this mofo was intricate. They were all “Group row C and create a blue border and plug in the appropriate formula to calculate the sum” and I’m all “Whaaaaa….?” It was the same feeling I had in college as when I sat down in a European History class and it was in German for some random reason. Nowhere on the syllabus did it say “in German”. The teacher just walked in and started speaking German without comment and nobody else seemed surprised the class was not in English. I simply fell through a wormhole into an alternate reality.

It was like that, just like me using my 8th grade German to catch every third word. Only this time I was frantically poking through the toolbar (is it called a toolbar? Fuuuuuuck.) to follow every third instruction. The verdict: I got 15%. That’s clinically retarded territory. I’m not really sure how I’ve managed to not choke to death on my spit by now.

Just as bad was that I had to wear a button down collar shirt and – as my dad would call them – slacks. I look ridiculous, a tossup between someone about something to fax a memo to the team in Pittsburgh ASAP and an ’80s comedienne.

Monday, April 28, 2008

For reals though, your last name is Jonas and you named your son Joe?

What the hell is a Jonas Brother? Like, they’re really brothers? As in they just looked around the living room one day and whoever was within arm reach got incorporated into the group? Unacceptable. You want to be in a proper boy band, you get your asses down to Orlando. Back in my day, you got cast in a group with four of your new best buds and you rehearsed until you could all dance in place in place in perfect union. (Except Hanson. Nevermind. Shut up.)

I saw the girls weeping on Oprah for you, but the fact that you have a single called “Dear God” tells me you’re in on the joke.

And there are two with curly hair? Merciful Lord of the Flatiron. Did you learn nothing from Timberlake? You shave those fusilli spirals until you’re a freshly shorn lamb. And no frosted tips? For shame! Get the peroxide, Jonas. How are the girls going to know who The Cute One is?

Speaking of the roles, there are only three of you. That does not work. Everyone knows there’s The Older Brother One (uh, I’m looking your way, literal older brother. You nailed it.) The Cute One, The Shy One, The Rebelious One and The Fat One (oops, sorry, that’s The Fatone). (Come on, you know you loved 2Ge+her .)

What do you have? A tambourine player named Joe Jonas. Joe Jonas! You know him from such musical moments as tripping at the American Music Awards and needed backstages stiches.

There’s also this sad little tidbit on Wikipedia: “Kevin, Joe, and Nick also have a younger brother, Franklin "Frankie" Nathaniel Jonas, also known as the "Bonus Jonas" and "Frank the Tank". He one day hopes to play drums for the band.”

If only he had some sort of in. Did your brothers leave on tour with Hannah Montana and not forward their contact information?

Sunday, April 27, 2008

I feel Turkish, because the Greeks have kicked my ass

I was talking about baby names with someone once and they mentioned the name Athena.

Them: You know, it's like every Greek girl you meet is named Athena. It's like come on already. Enough.

Me: Uh, I’m from Kentucky. I’ve yet to meet a real live Greek. Unless you're counting the "Toga! Toga!" kind.

Well, I can’t say that anymore!

I normally babysit one day per weekend for a couple who are somehow disinclined to parent on the weekends, so I come and sit with the baby while they take their toddler places (in the mom's case) or go to the gym and read the paper (in the dad's case.)

But instead of enjoying a quiet apartment today, I was thrown into Greek Easter festivities. It was me and 82 shouting people with gold jewelry and wavy, black Trumpesque pompadours. It’s exactly what you’re imagining.

How delightfully 19th century to have Irish hired help to hold your baby. I sat on the floor with Christina, Nico, Peter, George, Olympia and Athena as they played blocks. I wasn’t supposed to watch the older boy, but the dad told the mom, “He’s being really bad. Have Kate watch him.” On it!

They sent me out for a walk with the baby while they ate, I assume to avoid the awkward situation of asking if I was hungry. And with that, I was unleashed on the twee little Hummel village of Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. It’s a delight, if tree-lined streets, charming historical brownstones and precious little shops are your thing. Meh.

The sidewalks are filled with adorable ragamuffins peddling their organic lead-free wooden scooters (sample overheard 7 year old’s conversation, “Did you save the picture as a PDF? You gotta.”) The businesses are all owned by shopkeeps who followed their chi and opened organic gluten-free bakeries, organic fair-trade coffee shops and organic French toy wonder emporiums. And instead of having their dogs poop on you, as in Manhattan, Cobble Hill pet owners doff their caps and step aside. It was a welcome vacation. One that ended the minute I got back to Manhattan. The mom paid me and the dad immediately pulled over to let me out.

“Is here good?” he asked. I laughed because I thought he was joking. But no, he seriously let me out in a housing project’s parking lot with a wad of $20s.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Saturday blahs

I know a lot of really rich kids. Private school kids, West Village townhouse kids, their-own-bathroom-with-marble-tub kids.

I have to say though, that I’m not jealous of their weekend homes or their full tuitions paid to the best college their little brains will get them into.

I’m jealous of this little girl, Charlotte, because of her hairbows. She has like 100 of them. All the colors! Polka dots! Stripes! I remember being in 1st grade and desperately wanting pretty, puffy ribbon bows like all my friends. I couldn’t have them though so I used to take my carrot bag from lunch and fashion it into a bow, knotting it into my hair for the afternoon, like a tiny accessories MacGyver. I thought I was really clever. I didn’t understand until years later why my mom made me stop.

And now I spend my Saturday nights scooping Charlotte’s hairbows off her vast floor and clipping them onto her special bulletin board. And she doesn’t care about them.

Amelia Bedelia works at Pinkberry?

At the risk of turning this blog into Postcards of Things I Ate Yesterday, I gotta talk about Pinkberry frozen yogurt.

Ever think to yourself, "I'm enjoying my fro yo experience, but I think I'd like it more if I could eat it in a $330 Philippe Starck Victoria Ghost Chair, available for purchase at Design Within Reach or any other major modern design store near you." ?

Yeah, me too. But there it was.

I finally caved to my curiosity after almost a year of seeing Columbia kids thunk on by with their flip-flops, American Apparel leggings, too-loud sentences that all seem to end with question marks and little Pinkberry cups. Plus Pinkberry settled their lawsuit this week for saying they had "all natural" ingredients. That sealed the deal. Preservatives and artificial flavorings? Sign me up.

The verdict? It tastes like frozen yogurt. I mean it literally tastes like yogurt that's been frozen, as though you asked someone who doesn't speak English as a first language to make you frozen yogurt and he translates it literally. Or Amelia Bedelia. I mean, she was the one who makes sponge cake by mixing the cake batter with real sponge.

That maid took things literally, man.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Viva la Arches!

I like to check in with tea once a year to make sure I still hate it. (Memo to tea: I still hate you. See you in Spring 2009!)

Likewise, I like to annually pop into a McDonalds ("Mickey D's" as the teens in commercials like to say right before I hit them) just to make sure it's still one step from chaos. You'll be delighted to know I can report back that the revolution is still a-brewin' there.

The least you need to know about my visit: A crackhead cut in front of me in line. I don't even mean that disparagingly. She was actually on the crack. Also, a hazelnut coffee with half-and-half could be substituted for a skim, sugar-free ice coffee.

I can only hope and pray none of my loved ones are inside the fateful day the homeless overthrow the minimum-wage government there and co-opt the fry machine in some sort of South American-style coup.

Facebook's Compare People function: A rebuttal

My Wednesday was going smashingly. The bus? On time. The weather? Seasonably warm. The coffee? Icy. Then I open my gmail and get cyber punched in the face.

Friends, casual acquaintances, former co-workers and elementary school classmates, I've been compared to you on Facebook. And I fall short:

lost 1 place, now #3 best to hang out with for a day
lost 2 places, now #7 best mother (potential)
lost 6 places, now #13 most athletic
lost 6 places, now #14 most useful
lost 5 places, now #15 best listener

Now, I personally don't play the Compare People game since the fateful day I was asked to choose if I'd rather date my brother or brother in law, but that doesn't mean I don't feel the sting of anonymous people dropping me six places in the useful category.

Who the hell is better to hang out with for a day than me? Nobody, that's who. Certainly there are not two other people in the known universe. I'll fight you both.

I may not have any kids (that I know of! Zing! Wait, that doesn't work.) But 7th best mother (potential division)? I'd like to think I could keep a kid alive to adulthood. I babysat a family of four kids not too long ago. Got there at 9:00, changed two diapers, fixed two snacks, fed a baby a bottle, assured child world wouldn't end before we found lost Dora doll/found a lost Dora. I may be exhausted, but I've got this under control, I thought hubrisly. I looked at the clock. I'd been there 11 minutes. Still, the basic idea is the same. Just for 18 years.

I'm actually OK with 13th most athletic. (Even though - not brag here - I almost did a push-up the other day.) It's still a spot on the soccer team. On the bench, I suppose, but allowed to suit up in case there are injuries. If you need me I'll be at the concession stand.

Fourteenth most useful? HA! Bitch, I'm vital. If you need to know where anything is on the Upper East Side, why - specifically, in excruciating detail - H&M is better than the Gap, what you should buy at Target, need someone to ask donde esta the library in Mexico, I'm your gal. What topping should I get on my pizza? Pepperoni. Why am I using "instantaneous" incorrectly? Because it means two things happening at the same time; it's not a synonym for "instantly." What's my sign? Gemini. What's the mystery lyric in the Good Times theme song after "scratching and surviving"? It's "Hanging in a chow line." You're welcome. Who's useful now?

And lastly...listening? Who are you people who think I don't listen? I listen, hear, mishear, overhear all day every day, son. See who doesn't pick up the phone the next time you have troubles.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

It's gonna be a great movie

One thing I miss about being a reporter and copy editor is the insane crap I’d Google daily for stories. How to strangle someone, top 10 worst Mexican stereotypes, what are some positive things Hitler did, what state has the lowest age of consent, what are Magic Johnson’s kids’ names and where do they go to school.

And so on and so forth. There are days I’d be typing it in to Google and await the government's/Dateline's arrival.

That worry’s been given a rest for a while, until yesterday. I’m working on a short movie script for a friend of mine and I’m praying my computer makes it through the project without having to go to the Apple Genius Bar.

So far, I’ve searched:

STD tests
STD, waiting period to get tests back
Being sexually active with an STD
Calling partners to tell them you have an STD
STD horror stories
How contagious is herpes?
How contagious are herpes?
Herpes itch?
The happy people in the Valtrex ads
Having sex with herpes
How do you kill crabs?
Can you see crabs?

It’s gonna be a comedy!

Monday, April 21, 2008

I'm a hustler, homie

It's come to my attention that I don't write on here as much as I thought. I need to shake things up! Make it dynamic! Represented visually, via puppies, I need to take it from Fig. 1 to Fig. 2.

Fig. 1

Fig. 2

So I'm going to try to write something every day for a week solid. This counts as today's post.

No? Fine. Here's a story. A few weeks ago I played poker and beat a beloved children's show host. (I won't say which one, but it's a show with a big blue cartoon dog. Use your crime-fighting skillz.)

But Kate, I didn't know you played poker, you're saying to yourself. And you're correct! It was my first time playing, which made the victory all the sweeter. I refused to learn for a long time in protest of poker being on every time I turned on the Travel Channel.

I figured I'd lose my chips early then sit and observe to learn the game. Out of eight people, I got second. Turns out you have a great poker face if you literally have no idea if your cards are decent or not.

My strategy, if you want to learn from me, was as follows:

1. Have a friend generously write out what each hand is.
2. Get cards.
3. Consult paper.
4. Hiss quietly "Is a 2 and a 9 of spades anything?"
5. Put all your chips in the middle.
6. Make sure beloved children's host keeps drinking.
7. Listen while everyone debates about high straight flushes or something.
8. Somehow win.

So I guess I've actually taken the blog from Fig. 1 to Fig. 3

Fig. 3

Saturday, April 19, 2008

I love it when you call me Il Papa

Get out the good china! The pope’s one of two people in the world my mother would break out the good china for on a non-holiday. (The other correct answer is not me, her eldest daughter, but the queen of England for those of you playing at home.) And now he’s in my hood! Down the street, blessing up a storm and sprinkling holy water up the wazoo. (Fun fact: The Catholic Church will make you feel guilty for touching someone's wazoos.)

He was a mere four blocks away yesterday at a church seemingly pulled at random from a (tall pope's) hat. I was telling someone about my plans for the day and actually had to say the sentence, "I just hope the pope doesn't get in the way." In other news, I have absurd problems.

Even though I currently see Jesus as a distant relative to be obligingly visited on holidays, I'm all for seeing visiting dignitaries. I love me some pomp pope! and circumstance. I love parades too, and bogus holidays like Arbor Day. Anything that distingusishes one day from another really.

Thursday night the streets around the U.N. were already blocked off, but the cops let me cut through (hello, security? Damn this honest face of mine.) It was completely silent and empty besides me and was by far the most room I've ever had on a sidewalk. I loved it for two blocks, swinging my arms with wild abandon. Three minutes later I got creeped out and started missing people. Related: I would not do well on any sort of wilderness trek.

But seriously, Ratzinger? You couldn't stay in the country a full week? I don't expect you to tour like Motley Crue or anything, but don't be stingy with America. I know you're 81 and mostly a palate-cleansing pope after JP the 2, but just think of all that great time you'll get in the Popemobile. And the holy waving! You practiced in the mirror for weeks to get the arms at just the right angle.

But no matter how long you stay, you'll still be one of my favorite popes.

Just behind Sergius III, the dude who strangled his prececessor.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Ode to a Guido

With hair looking all gelled up and spiky
Your name is probably Joey or Mikey

Or Cousin Paulie or Anthony
(Though you pronounce it Ant + Knee.)

Everyone else calls you a guido,
but you think you're all pretty neat-o.

Your tan's slathered on, your T is too tiny
and for some strange reason your jeans are all shiny.

And by the way, nobody believes the jacket's Armani
It's made in a sweatshop by an Azerbaijani.

You keep protein powder over your fridges
and come Friday, cross Manhattan's tunnels and bridges

to hit the clubs and Gallagher's 2000
before returning to your house and

ordering up some eggplant parm
you're a simple guy, you mean no harm.

Catcalling to every girl within earshot
telling her what she needs is what you've got

She's getting away! There's no time to be subtle!
Better yet, you're on to the next before you hear her rebuttal.

You're oblivious to the city's despise
and second person plural is always "Youse guys".

Wow oh wow, your friend has on a nifty striped shirt
and if someone spills beer on it, they're gonna get hurt.

Hey look at that! A fancy gold chain!
Does the 7-pound cross cause you neck strain?

Does it remind you of Jesus' cross?
Was it a gift from a Mafia boss?

Come summer you'll be at the Jersey Shore
causing a ruckus with girls dressed as whor...nevermind.

But you just want to meet a nice gal
to make her your wife. You'll find her! You shall!

She'll have bangs so high and nails like talons
and she'll spend half your paycheck at the local salons.

She’ll send four kids down her birth canal
Before leaving you for your cousin Sal.

But tonight is for partying, hell yeah muthafuckas
and inspiring jealousy in the rest of us suckas.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Don’t Tell Mom, the Babysitter’s Dead hits a bit close to home

When I started nannying as a stop-gap while my company un-hiring-freezes, I pictured it being more like so:

than like so:

Babysitting will kill me eventually. Not because of the kids, (my motto is “even a crying child will go to sleep eventually.”) who are by and large awesome little people. The neighborhood one little girl lives in however is going to get me murdered. Murdered!

Here’s a quick Q&A session:

When you turned on the news the other night, did anything catch your attention?

Yes, the story on the robbery victim who ran into traffic and got killed by a car.

And why did that stay with you?

Because it’s the exact location I’d been standing 24 hours earlier.

What noble pursuit puts you in such danger?

The noble pursuit of funding my Fabergé egg collection via reading bedtime stories.

Surely this must have been the first time you risked your life to babysit this child.

Funny you should mention that. This is the same apartment I emerged from a few months ago just in time to hear a man get shot. I stayed on the other side of the street, because we all know bullets can’t cross asphalt. That’s just basic physics.

Wow. Must’ve been a fluke.

I thought so too, until I emerged from their apartment a few weeks after the shooting in time to see the paramedics bringing up a restaurant dishwasher muttering “Miguel.”

And what tipped you off that he was the victim of a violent crime and not a, say, heart attack victim, Det. Stabler?

That would be the blood pouring from his side and the cop saying, “You keep saying Miguel. Is he the one who stabbed you?”

Pretty strong tipoff. But at least he probably lived.

Which is more than I can say for the man who was the subject of the candle memorial at the restaurant next door.

What the hell neighborhood is this?

It’s up and coming.

Is this making you rethink your job choices?

It’s starting to.

And did the mom just text you about babysitting Wednesday?

Sure did.

Bonus question: Know of any great blogs for people wanting to completely deconstruct the outfits of everyone’s favorite Baby-sitters Club hot tranny mess, Claudia Kishi?

Sure do!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Honk if you want Juliet to Mount-a-you

Naw, shawty, don't be drinking that.

Because I just pretty much copy whatever this girl does (I'm often referred to as the Red of the Upper East Side) here is my recent crop of Googlers. I hope you crazy kids all found what you were looking for when Google delivered my posts.

bumper stickers that the capulets and the montagues might put on their cars if the lived today

Co-dependants anonymous. Poison control hotline number: 1-800-hear-the-rest-of-the-story-before-you-drink-that (It’s long distance). My other car is a hearse. Follow me to the Globe Theater. Swords don’t kill people, poorly informed teens kill people. Honk if you want Juliet to Mount-a-you.

mtv sex in the 90's sin bin

the dog brothers from mtv

mtv dog brothers sin bin

the dog brothers mtv

See, I don’t kid when I say this is most of my Google traffic. The people cry out for a reunion show, Viacom. Make it happen!

daddy's on his hig

Boy does that bring back some childhood memories. A cool summer night, playing with my brother and sister in the yard, Dad in the background zipping around on his hig.

fox syxy

You know it, son! It’s the only way I know how to roll.

blogspot hubris bodacious

There are three words I use to describe myself. Those words are: Blogspot. Hubris. Bodacious.

name some kids hobbies

Wii, texting, shoplifting, hoop-and-stick

jonathan taylor Thomas

Still alive and kickin’!

redheads look alike

Word up.


Are you there, Ma? I call out to you in the dark, anonymous hollows of cyberspace.

pilar bardem and her necklaces

Yes! Can we talk about those?!?!? Less is more, Pilar. Less is more.

the roaring 20 toilets

I like to imagine it as a set of 20 toilets.

Kate apartment hidden camera

Oh. My. God. I should probs follow up on this.