It’s The Little Swags

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When I feel like I haven’t done anything blog-worthy in recent history, I usually like to go through the photos on my phone and figure out what exactly I have been doing. According to the last month’s worth of jpegs, 98% of it has been taking pictures of my butt. The rest showed a series of small joys in a phase defined solely by my work schedule and my lack of energy to do anything else (not a great feeling).
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I wonder if 24 is the last acceptable year for one’s greatest pleasure to be trans fats before they’re to be held accountable for their assumed knowledge of basic health and dietary standards. Possibly. There’s some obvious irony in the fact that I was a vegetarian for 4 years and even worked at a health food store, and that now if it doesn’t come in a box with a side of ketchup I’m probably not that stoked to eat it. I have a lot of theories about the correlation between poor nutrition as a novelty and the listless anti-intellectualism in post-“yes we can” America but I won’t get into that. Maybe someday I’ll write a book called The Politics of Dietary Yoloing. Anyway, I eat Mcdonalds. And I recently had a Slim Jim for the first time since senior year of high school and I could swear I saw God’s vagina. My mother also sent me a gigantic box of Welch’s Fruit Snacks, something I used to refuse to eat due to their gelatin content, but it turns out they’re pretty delicious. What is wrong with me? Is out of sight, out of mind my new food philosophy? Have I become so distracted with the stresses of the workday that my only emotional release is in the consumption of animal byproduct and MSG? There’s a reason Meat Cat came to Liz Lemon in a dream.
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Since all my friends here have similar schedules, sometimes we don’t see each other for a while. The glory of social media has allowed many of my most treasured interactions to be with people hundreds of miles away, like writing with Alex over google hangout, texting Patrick about our post-ironic suburban ex-pat suicidal tendencies, or getting snapchats from my favorite friend I’ve never met Patrickthepuma (what’s his real name again?)

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When I’m bored and alone and have no one to textflirt with (which hasn’t been the case for a few weeks now, in the interest of Minimum Disclosure) sometimes I check my Ok Cupid messages, but I rarely find anything more romantically viable than interactions like these.

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If Dating Site Humor is something that strikes yer fancy, you should check out my cool friend Matt Starr’s Tinder Art. I actually met him on the app when he offered to make me a new profile picture for Facebook, that ended up looking like this.

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The art I’ve been working on has been a performance project called Morale and Survival, where I attempt to find a will to live in sporadic sobriety and mid-week overcaffeination. It’s hardly worked, so I’ve been finding external pleasures like this screenshot collage I made in the middle of the night of one of my depressing tweets, and ordering chicken and waffles at work.

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Since I usually try to write about partying and how much fun I’m constantly having, we can’t forget about Halloween. As usual, I was unprepared for the celebration, sitting on a set of half-baked costume ideas. That was, until the day before when I was wandering through Party Fair at closing time and found this gem for 14.99. A sign from the pimp gods, just for me. I would greet the world on Hallow’s Eve as a manifestation of Swag (pictured at top). Timely, appropriate, and with much reusability. Hannah’s last minute idea was Xtina circa the Dirrrty video, and with the help of my bronzer and a Juicy Couture bathing suit skirt I got a Belk’s in 2008 (idkkkk??) I think she pulled it off quite nicely. As it was a weeknight, the plan was to be home before 2 am. I actually was, but because I hadn’t been drinking for a few weeks I was also blackout. Hannah had to tuck me in bed and set my alarms for me, and the following workday was not a pretty picture whatsoever.
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Perhaps it was my consistent high stress level or the unplanned drunkenness but the next week I was consumed with an ear ache and a high fever for three days. I went to an Ear, Nose & Throat specialist who removed hard rocks of wax from my ear and gave me a Nasonex prescription before sending me home with a fever of 101. There is nothing I hate more than trying to traverse this city alone with an illness, then returning home to work remotely while trying not to barf on my compy. My only pleasures that week were in the wonton soup delivery from Shen Zhou, and the Papa John’s pizza sent to me by my friend Sawyer, all the way from NC. In Grub We Trust, y’all.
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Earlier this week, in celebration of the end of mercury retrograde and my dedication to spending the next year of my life in pursuit of my ~true passions~, I decided to get a pretty and kind of stupid tattoo (In the words of John Waters, sometimes stupid and cute /are/ enough). I went with Hannah to Morning Star tattoo on Wyckoff in Bushwick, where the metal is good (if you’re into that sort of thing) and the boys are rly rly cute. I got the letters “nsfw” for obvious reasons, and Hannah got some script in French that she has yet to instagram because idk y.
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That brings me to a total of three tattoos: a cat, “whatever,” and “nsfw.” And sitting here typing this at my office desk, I don’t think they could be more accurate.

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some the wiser

IMG_1719The morning after I turned 24 my extensions had turned against me.

Autumns are always a little rough for me. My birthday is in September, which never fails to put me in an existential haze. And no matter how many years I’ve been out of school (three) that feeling of starting a new grade never fully goes away. I start to feel the weight of a change beyond my control. Who was I, who am I, does it really matter… Everything Old starts to die to make room for something New. But that can be beautiful, or so they say.

The week of my 24th birthday was the usual mix of celebration and apprehension, with a short congratulatory period pancaking to an idle anxiety. Sure, I’d accomplished some things in the past year. But what would I do next? I was back on the job hunt, newly single, another year older and this was all sounding far too familiar…

The seasons were refusing to change. I was refusing to stop using my air conditioning. Other people’s lives were advancing all around me and the most exciting things that had happened in my life recently were that my mother had sent me a care package of Kraft mac n cheese and I got a membership at Planet Fitness (a contradiction not lost on me but in fact one that I find representative of my life philosophy. Everything in moderation, sure, but still everything I want). With more time to myself, that is, less time working, I started working out. I realized I was in better shape than I’d thought, and that running is a good way to take out aggression. Plus it burns off the booze! I guess I always knew these things, but if you remember me before I moved to NYC you know I couldn’t run a mile without my heart nearly exploding from my thoracic cavity (I found that word on wikipedia. Did I use it right? I’m not a scientist.) Now I can run like two miles while sexting and still have the energy to masturbate in the shower after. I’m a regular Florence Griffith Joyner.

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OK, so maybe not. But I still consider it an accomplishment. Let me have this, okay?

Somewhere around the end of last month, Alex and I fell into a lull on our Big Project, the ever-dreaded Writer’s Paralysis leading us both to send each other terribly transparent, self-deprecating gchats from our respective caves of neuroses. I had become pretty irritable by this point, but I think that had something to do with PMS, and as much as I love her, probably something to do with my mom coming to stay the weekend at the end of September. My lack of patience is still something I really need to work on, especially when it comes to someone who does so much for me. I mean, she birthed me, and even though I didn’t deserve it, she bought me these cool knock-off crocs.
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Susan Miller gave us fair warning that October would be rife with hurdles, disappointments, or possibly blessings disguised as the worst fucking thing that ever happened. The jury is still out on the blessings part, but I felt the tension in the air from the very beginning. Granted, I always feel tension at the first of the month because the words “rent day” and “freelancing” go together about as well as Virgo and Aries (that one’s for you, Susan). This time, I had a lot to look forward to, thus a lot of planning and stressing. With grand plans come great expectations and I have to be prepared for every possible outcome.

Every fall (as in twice so far), Sarah Sassafrass, Jeffrey Scott, and Justin aka Boy Reverend come visit me for a handful of days. They’re my fam away from fam, my Team outside of Big Things. When they visited last year, I had the cheapest mattress from Ikea lying directly on my floor, we made a huge mess, and because I started a new job that weekend we didn’t get to spend as much time together as I’d hoped. This time I had the Ikea mattress on an Ikea bed, fun things scheduled for every night of their visit, and I told them to bring they own damn towels. The Monday before they arrived I was feeling equipped for a houseful of guests, but I still didn’t have a job. So I looked on craigslist, found a post I liked for a development associate position at a production company, and applied. I interviewed Wednesday and I felt good about it, but hey, I’d been wrong before. I didn’t hear back the next day, so I decided to say “fucket yolo” and go to Hannah’s salon to get my hair texturized.

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It’s always a sight for sore eyes when I see those colorful heads of hair standing at the Starbucks across from the Megabus stop. I was feeling ready to party, we went home and changed for some party, prepared to deal with the continued hiatus of the L train. After drinking at Winston’s until about 1 am and getting a belated birthday present from Sass (a collar that says BITCH), we thought we’d finally hit the street. A walk, a wait, two trains, and another walk later, we arrived at the location of the party, only to see that…it wasn’t there. We had the address right. We were standing in front of it. But the doors were shut and there was no one inside, as far as we could tell. Bummed, drunk, and weirded out, we headed to The Woods to drown our defeat in pickleback shots, but not before seeing who I was pret-ty sure was Alia Shawkat of Arrested Development fame scurrying down the street ahead of us. Despite my confusion at how I always end up at this bar and that I was convinced something must be wrong with me, we actually had a pretty decent two hours. We closed the place down and it was the first time I publicly made out with a stranger since being single. It was not as fun as it sounds. But there was a dog in the bar, so it all came out in the wash, I guess.

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Hannah didn’t realize until much later that that was not her boyfriend.

That Friday was a huge milestone for the closet comedy nerd inside me. I had my first improv class at Upright Citizens Brigade, and at 400 bucks a course, this is no small feat. UCB has been a launch pad for many of your favs, and even though it may not be at the top of my Life Goals List to be on Saturday Night Live, I’d probably rank it somewhere in the top 100. But really, as a writer with a “performance background” it’s pretty much always been a dream of mine. So when I went to the training center at 3:30 for my three hour class, I was a little bit nervous. About as nervous as I was this time last year about my topless gogo dancing casting call, that is to say, I felt awkward for about five minutes before breaking the ice and flirting with all the girls. Of course, about halfway through the course I got a call back about that position I interviewed for. I had gotten the job. Yay! But there was just one catch. No! I’d have to be available every day until 6:30 and continuing the class at UCB at this time was a no-go. Fuuuuuck. Of course, I took the job with only slight hesitation, switched out of my UCB class and bore the fees I incurred with gritted teeth.

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That night, after buying some new accessories ^ at Patricia Field, I had Jeff dress me in my look for a night at Bossa Nova (the photos of which you will see next year sometime because it takes Sarah that long to edit them, ahem)

Every part of the weekend that I wasn’t in FULL LOOK from head to toe per Jeff’s insistence, I was lounging in bed, moaning off hangovers. We pretty much only got up to eat Popeye’s and go shopping on Knickerbocker, where I showed the gang what Bushwick life is really like, and where Sarah almost shat her pants. My favorite find of the day, and the only thing I could afford, was a teeny tiny “nurses outfit” in the Halloween costume sale section of Shopper’s World, that was really more like a nurse’s bra and slutty nurse’s mini skirt…they wear those in the ER, right? After getting drunk on Evan Williams and sending some of the best sexy photos I’ve ever taken of myself, we went to Passion Lounge for the marriage of Ultra Velvet and Shock Value.  Obviously the whole thing was great until the next morning, when our fish bowled brains had shriveled to raisins and I found a twitter mention from a hater calling me a whore. Sometimes it’s hard being a star.

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Because I had scurried over to my ex’s house that night (in a bikini top and socks with my shoes in hand…let’s not talk about it) I spent the next day blazed, walking around in an oversized boy’s t-shirt, a leather peplum, and arch-splitting heels that I couldn’t take off for the sake of The Look. The only saving grace of the entire day, besides waiting in line for 30 minutes to use a piss-stained Starbucks bathroom of course, was the kielbasa sandwich I devoured at Veselka, a Ukrainian restaurant in the East Village. It made me glad to be an EX-vegetarian (a refreshing break from kinda feeling guilty all of the time), and made me miss the kolbász my Hungarian gramma used to put in our kapusta. I tried to make a vegan version of this once and it came out SO abominably terrible I felt I’d disgraced my ancestors and vowed never to try it again.

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After not being able to sleep at all before my first day at work, I spent 8 hours staring into my computer screen like a fool and then scurried home for my last night with my visitors. I’d looked like a bucket of horse manure all fucking day but I had also promised myself that I’d have Sarah take my Christmas card pictures with Kos n Gon before she left (I plan on being an adult this year and letting other adults know, namely my family, that I am not an ungrateful, useless person that forgot about them when I moved to the Big City). After achieving some spectacular results that I wish I could show you but won’t, the four of us sat in bed with Gonny, ate two pizzas and watched Clueless. In typical fucking fashion.

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All that week it was work, work, work, dates, dates, dates. Including my first ever Tinder date, a concept that both excited and terrified me. I love sexxxting and meeting new people and talking about myself and eating fried chicken with strangers so you’d THINK dating would be my thing but truthfully, I’d only gone on one blind date in all my years of having Facebook, Twitter, OKcupid, and access to other people’s Grindr accounts. The first guy hit me up on Twitter, turned out to be a complete psycho and put me off the whole idea for a while. Until Tinder came along and I made it my personal mission to slide the entire city of New York to the left. The way I see it with these things, someone is only safe to approach if their profile appears self deprecating, effortlessly ironic, or no-fucks-given to a strong degree. I think it was Groucho Marx that said “I wouldn’t fuck anyone from a social network that would have someone like me for a member,” to paraphrase. Anyway, I had an amazing time. I got free Pies N Thighs, and shocked myself with my ability to have a great time while completely sober with a guy who doesn’t drink. Weird, right? (Yes)

By the weekend, I realized I’d spent all my free time in the last 7 days either naked or in belly shirts, so the stress must have been good for my figure. I’d been sustaining on dick pics and Miller High Life (cause that’s all I could afford) and I thought I looked just great, which is why I was AGHAST that PaperMag put up a picture of me from last Friday’s Ultra Velvet looking like a toothless hillbilly. IRL I looked spooky and swagadocious and the paparazzi just caught me at a bad time. The perils of fame, y’all.

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Screen Shot 2013-10-21 at 9.53.38 PMWho needs a jack o lantern?

That Saturday, after emptying my pockets on a prix fixe brunch, reeling off of one bong rip and watching straight boys play GTA,  I decided to get my look together for Kelela at 285. We pregamed at Moe’s and I ate free pizza while annoying, if cute, Australian boys argued with my concept of society. After trying to run away from them on the street, failing and feeling kinda bad afterward, we ended up at 285. The thing about 285 Kent: the inevitable sighting of the boy you do not want see, followed by the boy you kinda really wanna see. Both are disconcerting, and by 3:45 when Kelela left the stage I was overstimulated and ready to die.  But the night wasn’t a total loss. The music was amazing as expected, I spent the night in Reid’s bed after he paid for all my drinks, and at some point I took a selfie with a golden retriever.

IMG_1529_2The next morning, even though I found myself gnawing on slim jim and watching the Kardashians as usual, I felt like something had changed. Maybe it was the fact that I hadn’t really had that much to drink the night before. Maybe it was watching the leaves blow across the parking lot of the food bazaar. The air tasted different. Did I feel capable? Hopeful? Maybe I could act like a teenager and still get things done. Maybe I could be free but not lonely. Nope, as I walked down Irving avenue towards my apartment, I realized it was just autumn. I was still poor, I was still confused. I’d taken two steps forward and a five picklebacks. But hey, I was still alive. And idk, maybe I was ready to write again.

Dead at ’13

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You all know I love to complain. It’s partly because I am a loud, bratty perfectionist incapable of being satisfied and partly because I enjoy finding the humor in my misfortune and sharing that humor with you people. So it should come as no surprise that even though I have reunited with nearly every one of my closest friends in the past four weeks I can only think about how being with said friends exhausted me completely and how I’ve since become physically ill.

When I returned to Brooklyn after Christmas I spent a few days working and trying to relax. When I unsurprisingly failed at that, I focused my efforts on frantic attempts to stave off the illness I’d been trying to avoid since November (swallowing 9 whole cloves of garlic per day, mainlining packets of emergen-c, spraying the homeless with Scrubbing Bubbles, etc). Sometimes I have to remind my body that I have shit to do, and a good handful of the most important people in my life were to arrive in mere hours. I primped and dustbusted every corner of my apartment in anticipation of everyone’s arrival, which was expected to be sometime around 7 am New Years Eve. Although I only had two guests staying with me that night, pieces of my crew were to be scattered all over the city for the next week or so. I even planned a dinner for that night at Chimu, the restaurant next to my building, to bring us all together in grand adult fashion. Of course, not one individual arrived at my house before the sun was down, and only about half the reservation showed up to the restaurant.

Y do I even try?

Never mind the epic of reasonable alibis each absent member provided. I suddenly knew just how my mother felt when I showed up at her house this (and every) Christmas hung over and two days late. When I got over the minimal ego bruise of the situation and realized the food was just as delicious as I knew it would be, it was time to change into the New Years outfit I’d had planned for a month and pop no less than three bottles of champagne. No need to start off the year with any drama. Although, in a way, that was exactly what were were about to do.

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One by one they started filing in. Lil Kim, Tall Pat, Katy, Patrick, Matt, Kam and Connor joined Brad, Winston, Hannah, Coby, Peter and myself to briefly “pre-game” (something I’ve really got to find another name for) before heading to the drag show at Secret Project Robot…an event that boasted all any event need boast: free champagne and a Bushwick address.

I decided not to drink much to leave room for other activities. I was not about to have a repeat of Last New Years. 2012 was merely the beginning of my comeback. In 2013 I aim for perfection, beginning with my alcohol-to-drug ratio.

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After we arrived, the ten dollar cover–five more dollars than we had expected—tore our crew into smaller, albeit much more manageable pieces. Those of us that made it through the door were served an ample supply of teased-wig realness, a good two hours of free champagne and all your favorite crowd-pleasing hits from the 2000s. Hannah and Winston were acting like total love bugs spreading PLUR all over the place despite the fact that Hannah could barely stand up after 11:30. At one point I was on Hannah-duty and kept having to sit her down on the bench outside while I went to get drinks or go pee. By the time we finally counted down to midnight everyone around me was totally loopy, either lip syncing for their dear lives across the dance floor or caught in a tear-filled heart to heart by the pinball machines. But all I could think about was how much my god damn feet were hurting, so before we went to the next party I stopped by my house to change my shoes.

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Our next venue was oddly enough a Lutheran church in the heart of Bushwick. We entered through a dimly lit dirt basement where we checked our coats and spiraled up to the stairs to the main hall. It was unlike anything I’d ever seen. What used to be a “house of God” was now a playground for heathens and insomniacs (that could afford the $60 entry fee). By this point I was so out of my mind all I could think was that it made sense. Finally a church had made itself useful to me. After I successfully over-vibed with everyone I was with to the point of toplessness, security started yelling at everyone to get out, presumably due to the rising sun. We waited for a cab in the freezing winds, checked our email and went to the second location. Inside the warehouse, the address of which remains unclear to me, we danced until our raggedy faces had fully drooped to the concrete floor (sometime around 10 am).

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That day I slept as well as I could with the afternoon sun beaming through the curtain and into my eyes.

The few nights that followed were certified flops as I had to work and was otherwise useless, until that Thursday when Patrick and I decided to hoof it in Williamsburg and have just enough drinks to say rude things to people. We left just in time to eat all of the pizza, and I fell asleep with ranch in my lap watching Reno 911.

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The next morning Patrick went to court to deal with that ticket we both got last summer (remember that time we trespassed like 6 months ago? Well I had pretty much forgotten about it too). I stayed home to fail at sleeping until Austin arrived and I skipped off to work. Afterward, in typical fashion, Patrick, Kim, Austin and I went to the Metropolitan, had some laughs, took some photos and left. And as usual, most of the fun was had on the train. But before going back to my apartment I made sure to stop by a nutritionally unsafe taqueria that was basically located in a trashcan under some stairs. I ordered a burrito situation that I drowned in 12 ounces of different hot sauces and immediately came down with a disturbing case of GUT ROT that lasted through the next day at work. I didn’t want to go out that night, but Bill had finally arrived and I couldn’t pussy out. On my way to the party I projectile vomited mid sentence on the sidewalk. I later continued to throw up in the toilet, and followed that up by drinking liquor and performing more than my share of 2009 antics, ie. runway walks back and forth in my brother’s apartment, things just flying up our noses, etc. For a minute I completely forgot we weren’t in my college living room. When we were finally heading to the bar, two of my friends got tickets for doubling in the subway turnstile before realizing the train wasn’t coming for another hour. We ended up just going to a bar in my neighborhood instead, and when we ultimately separated I decided to sleep out. This decision later left my friends stuck in the snow, desperately trying to get in touch with me (asleep, naked, fetal positioned me with a stomach ache in a boy’s bed). They ended up having to take a $50 cab to our friend’s house in Park Slope. Yeah, I’ve been doing a lot of flopping lately. Perhaps I’m getting too old for this.

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Sunday night, Austin and Bill were the only two visitors left standing. Refusing to stay in for even just one of our nights together, we dragged ourselves around Brooklyn aimlessly for hours looking for bars and restaurants that may have not even existed, before settling on Greek takeout and going home to watch Archer.

Could I fucking sleep now?

Like clockwork, I was immediately overtaken by the paralyzing cold that had been stalking me for weeks. I can’t breathe, I have chills, and I’m forced to work because I just spent my last five bucks on kitty litter. As I write this, snot is pouring onto my upper lip and I miss my friends terribly. But now that they’re gone, I have the freedom to sit here alone, removing my nail polish with Burger King napkins and watching all 7 seasons of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia in succession. And believe me, it’s just what the doctor ordered.
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