Tuesday, June 29, 2010

No Lifelines Needed Yet

So, despite an excessive amount of free time recently, I have successfully managed to completely ignore my duties as a co-contributor, and Rock N' Roll Unicorn once again, and I apologize. I have to say though, that this post is going to be a HELL of a lot more chipper than my last!

First off, let me report that I will be gainfully employed in about a month's time, when I start my stint as the new Contestant Production Assistant at the daily syndicated game show juggernaut, "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" This is incredibly exciting, and really bizarre, because it tapes at ABC, who kicked me to the curb due to cutbacks this past April. I'm psyched to remain at my old stomping grounds, however, as my commute remains the same, and I know my way around, etc. Also, I know all the good places to eat in the area, including my fave, cheap sushi place, SCORE!

To celebrate my new found employment, I went to lunch with culinary goddess, and cake maker to the stars, Archana. She suggested this tiny place down in the West Village named, quite appropriately, "WestVil". Weirdly, she'd been to the one in the East Village, called.... WestVil East, um, really? Just call it EastVil! Anyway, I digress. So, the place can hold about 25 people or less, and the tables are JAMMED in there. We go in, and it's completely packed. There's a couple about to pay, and so we squish over to the side, as we wait to be seated. The waiter, who looked like a poor man's Christian Soriano (which is just sad), kept trying to get us to wait outside, where it was nearly 100 degrees, and my ass was in all black interview clothes, so that was not an option. Finally, we took our seats, and when Archana finally chose us a lovely bottle of white, to toast my glorious entry into the game show world, the waiter asked what we were celebrating. I told him about my new job, and his response was this, "Oh, I don't watch TV." Um... first of all, I DO NOT BELIEVE ANYONE WHO HAS EVER UTTERED THESE WORDS. Listen, I understand that I watch a disproportionate amount of television compared to the average Joe. Even when I held down a 9-5 and did a daily commute and all of that, I probably watch more tv than most of you, which is fine. I just have a problem the way people say this, as though it makes them better. Also, just say congratulations, did I ask for your life story? No.

Here's how I see it. If you tell me you never watch tv, I don't suddenly respect you more, or think you're smarter, cooler, or edgier than me. I think you're a socially retarded douche. I'm not only speaking of people like this because I'm scared that the industry I love to work in is slowly being overtaken by the Internet, it's more than that. Also, if this fool didn't watch tv, than it's even more pathetic how much he was trying to look like Christian Soriano, sorry. Finally, as Archana pointed out, this particular show I will now be working for was just featured in one of the most popular foreign films of our time, "Slumdog Millionaire." You didn't see that either? Liar.

Ok, so aside from that, I am actually really happy. I realized something the other night as well. I remember talking to my Mom when she would come in to say good night to me as a kid. Throughout the years our time together evolved from silliness (she would make my Potbelly Bear do situps, and it would always make me laugh), to more serious conversations about my future. My Father had always wanted me to be a lawyer, and although he never pressured me in a terribly intense way, I had gone along with it for a while, but I realized that was definitely not what I wanted. I remember telling my Mom how I hoped I would one day be able to learn about broadcasting, and work in radio, or maybe even TV. What's cool is, I've done both of those things already, and it looks like I might actually be able to maintain somewhat of a career in television. Realizing I'd achieved a childhood dream has been really surreal and awesome at the same time. Now I guess I'm going to have to expand my career dreams. I have some ideas, but we'll see how things go.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Best Place Ever

Today, I came home early and had plans to meet Samantha for dinner. I decided to take a short nap first. There were thunderstorms here in the morning, but when I got home around 3 p.m. it was sunny and humid. I got in bed around 4:30 and was awakened by a text message from Sam asking whether I still wanted to have dinner due to the rain. What rain?, I thought. And then I realized it was really dark in my room at 5:45 two days after the longest day of the year, and I heard the distant rumbles of thunder. Turns out there was also a tornado warning and about 15 minutes later I heard the tornado siren, but I quickly texted back that, duh, I still wanted to have dinner.

Anyway. I lay in my bed a few minutes longer listening to the thunder and gradually realized that it reminded me of something, something incredibly pleasant. And then I remembered my favorite place on earth.

I have been to 27 states (a few of those just driving through, I guess, and Vermont we specifically drove to because they'd still be selling liquor when the tiny New York town we were in was not). I've been to seven countries on two continents, and I've been to the moon (j/k!). But my favorite place ever (well, so far) is the Milwaukee Public Museum.

Okay. Picture this: Milwaukee, 1985ish. My grandparents live in a giant house on 31st Street. It's not the best neighborhood but I have my doubts as to whether it's quite as bad as I later realized my family thought it was. I looked it up on Wikipedia because I know very little about Milwaukee geography. Apparently the neighborhood directly adjacent is currently kind of on the mend but is known for drugs, prostitution and low income and property values. It was in this neighborhood, five blocks away from my grandparents' house actually, that Jeffrey Dahmer would be arrested in his apartment of horrors. That wouldn't happen for like six years, though.

Anyway. My grandparents lived on a quieter street and had a backyard that wasn't giant but seemed huge to me. They had a sandbox and a large garden and a swingset, and for some reason my little pea-brain interpreted this all as kind of "country." We were in the middle of a low income area of Milwaukee, but the old folks and their old timey ways and the tomato plants and home cooked meals had me thinking we were nearly on a farm. The funny thing is that the neighborhood in which I grew up (in Chicago) was definitely more suburban-esque than this one. But children are basically totally dumb.

So there I was, enjoying weeks at a time over the summer and school breaks hangin' out on the 'hood farm with the grandparents. And they introduced me to the Milwaukee Public Museum, rather than forcing me to play with the tomato stakes and dirty sand all day long.

I'm sure nostalgia plays into my abiding love of this place given that I haven't been there in years and years, and both my grandparents have passed away and the house is no longer where the family gathers for the occasional reunion, etc. Overall it's your typical natural history museum, with sections devoted to Asia and Native Americans and the Rainforest, etc. But really, this place is kind of amazing, mostly for three reasons.

The first is "The Streets of Old Milwaukee" exhibit, in which you walk through a recreation of old timey Milwaukee. Who doesn't love old timey towns? I sure do. There's a candy shop, too. Candy. Fun.

If memory serves, once you follow these streets around to a certain point, it becomes a different exhibit entitled European Village. This one is genius. It consists of a bunch of tiny little houses with windows strategically positioned at the height of a child, which you are encouraged to peer into. An exhibit that encourages peeping into people's houses is obviously gold, appealing to the snoopy voyeur in each of us. Each room into which a visitor can peer represents a different European country, and of course the inhabitants and interiors are old timey. You might spy on a Belgian lady painstakingly hand-sewing lace. Or a couple of French friends wearing striped shirts, sharing a baguette and a bottle of wine, sneering and bashing America, or whatever country they hated in the 1800s.

But my favorite exhibit is actually just one big diorama thingy (are the big scenes at a museum considered a diorama, or are those just the things you make in a shoebox in 5th grade? Whatever, you know what I'm talking about). It opens another exhibit, a trek into real, real old times, like those of the dinosaurs. There are also, for some reason, a lot of gemstones involved if I remember correctly. But this particular scene is simply that of a giant Tyrannosaurus Rex (possibly built to scale, though I know little about the exact size of a real T Rex) eating a Triceratops while some little dinosaur guys look on, undoubtedly ready to scavenge when Mr. Rex loses interest/satiates himself (which seems risky; what if a Triceratops is not enough for lunch today?). And the T Rex is eating, with blood on his jaws, not just, like, knocking the other dino down or playing a game like you might see on a kid's cartoon about affable, talking dinosaurs. The side of the Triceratops's belly has been ripped open and we see the internal organs.

Here, look, I found a picture:

Except that this doesn't really capture the feel of it, first of all because it was taken with a flash and this scene is in a dark room. Plus, my favorite way to view it was to walk up to this little balcony in front of the dinosaurs, which allowed you to view it from the height of the Tyrannosaurus Rex. But most importantly, there is an ambient track on a loop that uses both sound and lighting to indicate that a thunderstorm is approaching. As the thunder grows louder, the lighting dims further and there are flashes of lightning (okay, I think there's lightning. I may be making that one up). Then the storm retreats. Then it comes back. Then it retreats. And, um, little and not-quite-so-little old me would stand on the balcony and watch the storm come in and out and in and out while a T Rex feasted on a Triceratops until my grandparents or my parents forcibly removed me. I have probably stood in front of this for 20 minutes at a time. It was Jurassic Park before Jurassic Park existed, and that is one of my favorite movies. I love dinos.

This may sound like I am an undiagnosed autistic or something, which is a possibility. I also used to watch Dumbo at least five times a day and have actually never, ever tired of that movie (I watch it maybe once a year now, though). However, my sister loves this museum just as much as I do. When she was dating her longest-of-long-term boyfriends and she brought him to Milwaukee to spend a day with my Grandma, she also felt compelled to take him here and show him one of her favorite places.

So anyway, this T Rex and his thunderstorm is what my thunderstorm today reminded me of, and it was quite pleasant, especially since we weren't whisked away in a Twister as we braved traveling for some burgers.

Monday, June 21, 2010

He's Gone! Along With Another Friend!

Yes, I've decided that my cyst was a he, because only a dude could cause me so much grief and heartache.

On Saturday morning, I went to the doctor to have the cyst cut out of my back. YUM! If you know me at all, you know that I am not a morning person to begin with. And I like to sleep in until anywhere from noon to 5:00 p.m. on Saturdays. So I was already kind of pissed that I had to schedule this appointment at 10:30 a.m., and who in the holy hell is up at that time on a Saturday? Oh, apparently everyone. Traffic was terrible. And having witnessed the traffic and glaring sunshine of a Saturday morning, I have to say that I now know I haven't been missing much at all when I'm acting like a vampire.

The waiting room was full; so full, in fact, that for the first 15 minutes of my 45-minute wait (and that was to just get into a room, and then wait some more), I had to stand next to the office doorway and put my hand out every time someone entered to ensure that the door didn't swing all the way open and crush me. Then, some 30ish guy (dude A) who was there with his parents recognized a new dude (dude B) who came in and sat down, and they proceeded to have the most awkward start-and-stop conversation ever. It was really painful for all of us there, I think. Dude B was like, "Yeah... I work at Com Ed still, but I transferred to the Addison and California office from Oak Park because it's closer to home..." and Dude A would immediately say "closer to home" a beat after, pretending like actually HE had been planning to say that because he was so totally familiar with this guy's life even though they obviously hadn't seen one another for years. You know that weird, annoying conversational style where someone interrupts you with your own just-spoken words. It was horrible. Then a few minutes passed and Dude A asked, "So what do you do for Com Ed?" and Dude B said, "I work in customer service" and Dude A smugly nodded his head like, oh yeah. Of course. In my omniscience, I knew that. The best part was when Dude A and his parents were leaving; his father apparently knew Dude B as well and came over to say goodbye and Dude B said, "Bye Frank" and the dad was like, "My name is Ray." hahahaha.

Anyway. Eventually I was called and they took me to a room and I sat there for another half hour or so. The doctor came in to mark the cyst on my back with a sharpie so that the nurse would know where to inject the vicodin (yay), and he noticed this little bump I have further down on my back. "Oh, we'll have to remove that too." What?!?! That little nubbin never did nothin' to nobody! That's just my lower back bump! WTF?!?!

In reality I was just like, "um, really?" And he told me that it would probably eventually swell up like the other cyst. I find this theory suspicious, as it's been there forever and seemed to enjoy just chillin' on my lower back being all small and stuff, but whatever. He marked them both with the sharpie and there was no turning back because that shit is permanent-ish.

The nurse left so that I could put on one of those crappy-ass paper gowns with the open back. I hate those things SO MUCH. Like being half-naked in a doctor's office while all the staff get to keep their clothes on isn't humiliating enough, they give you a robe that rips open with one quick, wrong move. I would so totally be okay with a real cloth robe that had been laundered after the last use. I'm not afraid of getting HIV or scabies from a damn robe. Also, this would be much more environmentally friendly. But no, I get to put on a paper smock with a flimsy plastic tie. Awesome.

The nurse came back and told me to lay face-down on the surgery bed/table thingy so that she could inject me with that vicodin. Which was the worst part; those shots sting like hell! Then she gave me the after-care instructions. Now apparently the doctor and nurses here are Serbian (I just looked up the doctor's "languages spoken" and I can assure you they were not speaking English or Italian, his other two, to one another). However, I'm terrible at accents and they sound Polish or Russian to me. So even though I'm sure she's totally a lovely person, everything she says sounds very forceful and kind of barked. Plus I was kind of pissed at her anyway for shooting up my back so I was mad at everything she said. She told me no exercising for the next two weeks, after which I would have the stitches removed. However, when she said this she also pantomimed using a weight machine, which is something I don't do. So I was like, "um, can I run?" And she very firmly said, "Maybe after five days, but be careful with your arm movements." Then she was like, "And if you have pain, you use only extra strength Tylenol. No ibuprofen." She said this one very severely. I had kind of been hoping for a vicodin prescription but I wasn't about to argue with her. I also didn't tell her that my drinking habits -- particularly my Saturday night drinking habits -- would probably preclude any acetaminophen use. She also said they'd call me with my results, which confused me. Did she just say this out of habit? I didn't know there were any results to be expected.

She told me the shots would kick in ten minutes later. So I lay on the bed thingy. And lay. And lay. My hands were falling asleep from propping up my head. Probably about 20 minutes later, the doctor came in and got right to work. He began to cut my back open, asking if I felt any pain, which I did, so the nurse had to give me yet another shot. He was cutting open the troublesome cyst at the time and explained that scar tissue was more difficult to numb. Then things just felt really gross because I could not see or feel what he was doing but I could feel him moving the skin on my back around and that made me want to vomit. I knew stitches were coming at some point -- and sewing up skin just creeps me the fuck out -- but I had no idea when. Oh wait, NOW you're cutting loose the final stitch... okay, I got it. Then he moved on to the smaller, inoffensive cyst on my lower back. That one went much more quickly and he... not so much asked whether I wanted to see it as he said, "Now I'm going to show you this one , see it's not so small" and he brought the tweezers up by my face and showed me a little cyst the size of, say, a single edamame. I had been kind of pouty about the waiting and the shots and the insistence that we remove an inactive cyst up until that point, but the moment I realized he intended to show me something he'd just cut out of my back, I got really cheerful really quickly. And it was everything I'd hoped for and more.

Soon I was all sewn up and ready to go. He ran out of the room (that man is BUSY) after telling me not to have TOO MUCH fun this summer (ahahahah, doctor humor). I stood awkwardly clutching my paper robe while the nurse put the cysts into little jars. She asked if I wanted to see the big one and I quickly and loudly exclaimed, "YES." It was HUGE! Ever since the last time it angrily blew up, it's felt like a pea-sized lump in the middle of my back. Honestly, the lower nub felt larger to the touch. But this guy was a super secret giant! I think he still had some flesh attached (YUCK!) but he was about the size of a superball. You know, smaller than a ping pong ball but bigger than a large marble. Maybe the size of a walnut in the shell. I am terrible at making size analogies. But it was glorious!
She told me that they were most likely just cysts but they were, in fact, sending them to the lab and would let me know. Is there some kind of malignant cyst disease? I have no idea. Neither she nor the doctor told me what a bad lab result would entail, so... um, I may be dying of bumpy back. I haven't a clue.

I was finally able to remove the bandages this morning, and now I'm totally freaked out by the stitches on my back. Luckily I'm supposed to keep them covered with giant band-aids until I have them removed. Easier said than done, though, in summer. I already had one slide off due to some minor sweating. I think I'll be spending all of my money on big band-aids.

So, there ends the tale of my little cyst. Or cysts, now, I guess. Unless something goes terribly awry in the next two weeks, I'll just have two small scars as a reminder. Goodbye, guys! Have fun in the lab.

I decided to spare you guys a picture of cysts. Here is my dog in a bag. Despite the crabby look on her face, she seemed to really enjoy this.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

I Heart Gossip Girl

I seriously love this show. Schemes and hot dudes, what more do I want in life? I just watched the second-to-last episode of the season and here are the things I think need to happen on the season finale (which happened over two weeks ago; I'm behind) and into next season:

Serena needs to continue wearing tight mini-dresses

I love Serena. She is the best chick on the show. She also has a really hot figure, all hips and ass and tits. They are constantly putting her in ridiculous mini dresses that are way inappropriate for the occasion, but I like it. These need to continue, if only as an ode to Blake Lively's older sister, Robyn Lively, queen of late '80s B movies and early '90s failed television dramas.

Serena and Dan need to have a troubled relationship for the entire next season

Let's face it, Vanessa sucks. She's going to Haiti. This episode had this whole Serena/Dan unexpected thing at the end. WE NEED THIS REVISITED. Firstly, they are step-siblings and that is a hot situation. Secondly, Dan is only hot when he's with Serena. He briefly attempted this macho Ernest Hemingway bullshit and that was unappealing because he has way too many feelings and is essentially a PMS-ridden chick at heart. Serena, however, is fickle and kind of slutty due to daddy issues (aren't we all?). So when they're together, she's the dude and he's the lady, and I cannot express how much I love that dynamic. Plus, he's totally beneath her on paper and that is so true life.

Serena tells Dan his business, as usual

Jenny and Nate need to bang a lot

This is the only way I'll like Jenny Humphrey, who so far this season has proven to be an ungrateful, obnoxious little bitch with possibly the worst extensions since Britney and Kevin: Chaotic. They tried to redeem her character this episode by totally re-writing her, and I'm not buying it. However, Nate is boring but handsome (and also full of comic relief, like when he catches on to schemes 2 to 3 episodes after even Dan fucking Humphrey has caught on, and pats himself on the back for slow detective work). He needs something to do, and that is not Serena (his current but soon to be ex-girlfriend -- keep up here), because she's better than that and they are ridiculously snooze-worthy together. They were hot when they banged at that wedding because he was dating Blair. They are not hot, not at all, any longer. Nate needs someone new to bone, Jenny needs to accomplish something good. Two birds, one bang.

Chuck and Blair need to not get back together until at least mid-season next year

Remember, I haven't seen the final episode yet. I'm figuring they will actually Affair-To-Remember this couple and have someone injure themselves en route to the totally ridiculous Empire State Building meet-up Chuck proposed. Or something like that. The point is, Chuck and Blair both need space to separately fuck with other people's lives. Particularly Chuck. I don't know how in the holy hell this dude has gone from date rapist (ep. 1 of the series) to nearly respectable guy in love, but holy shit, writers, you really worked a miracle there, huh? Guess it's easy enough when you play the "my mother died in childbirth; j/k she's back from the dead to completely swindle me with my douchebag paternal uncle" card (a popular one, that). But he needs to be evil again for awhile. This show crashes when he's a touching little sweetheart for too long.

That said, I want more Lily/Chuck touch my cold black heart action

I really like Lily. In fact, the Van der Woodsens (or whatever the fuck this lady's name is after 5 or so marriages) are the only people I really care about here. And when she manages to convince this total degenerate to be good for a milisecond, it really melts my icy heart. This only needs to happen about twice a season, though.

Most importantly, Eric Van der Woodsen needs to become a righteous schemer again

Remember when Eric briefly became interesting because he schemed against Jenny Humphrey when she first turned into a total, horrible, irredeemable bitch from hell? This was before the bad extensions, I think, and coincidentally, right around the time he finally got rid of that awful blond dye job. Anyway, he was interesting rather than just being the token gay. Let's not do gays an injustice by pretending they can only be upstanding members of society. Let them scheme like everyone else! It's only fair.

Kill Vanessa under a landslide of rubble in Haiti

Seriously. She's going to Haiti. Is there any other reason to send her there than to kill off this killjoy? My god, she's boring.

Give Rufus back his balls

Every time I see him wearing a sweater over a button-down and taking care of UES teenage business, my soul feels sad. He's an ARTIST. A popular grunge musician, allegedly. My god, Lily, give him back his testes.

I think there was more, but I drank some cherry wine, became briefly impassioned about this, and now I've kind of lost interest.

xoxo, Amanda

Friday, June 04, 2010

Well, My Life Will Never Be The Same

So, I finally found it. "It," in this case, being the one thing that actually grosses me out to my core.
I know that last post, I indicated that the "sac" inside my back cyst makes me dry heave, but I was exaggerating. Its mention creates a brief, slight nausea, but then brings on a sinister smile when I think of telling other people about it and grossing them out. (What a great, strange phrase by the way. "Gross out.")

I am not easily horrified. In fact, I like to think I could weather the following scenario: Woman giving birth vaginally while someone creates a "Boston Cream Pie" on her chest. Nearby, Dirty Sanchez and Rusty Trombone are being enacted, while
Saw 25: Finally, Torture Porn with No Plot! plays on a screen. Someone is cutting off the fingers of people with gambling debts, while at an adjacent station, doctors reattach said fingers. The baby is finally out of the birth canal and its eyeball falls out of the socket and dangles. The afterbirth is produced and someone eats it for the nutritional value.

I mean, this sounds like a delightful carnival to me. Additional things that I find funny/pleasant/totally whatever: farts, diarrhea, vomit, menstruation, period sex, facials, semen in general (although I'm currently eating creamy broccoli soup and taking a bite after typing "semen" was slightly strange), pulling poop out of my dog's butt when she's eaten the bush in my parents' backyard (this is, in fact, a thing that happens -- I use a plastic bag, not my bare hand), shaving people's backs, etc. etc. etc.

So what finally got to me? What actually made my vadge wince -- you know that feeling, when you KNOW it's bad?

A bloody nipple. SO GROSS.

All I can say about said nipple is that it was not mine, thank god. And it was not one of those running-related ones, which is I guess not the worst (but is still DISGUSTING). Everything else is left up to your imagination.

This is the closest thing I could allow myself to post.