I am the gatekeeper. Are you the keymaster?

16 Mar

Leaving aside for a minute that one time I got really drunk and accidentally flirted my way into bed with a bartender using the above quote from Ghostbusters (Seriously, leave that aside.), right now I am using it to illustrate how terrified I am by my computer keyboard.

Why? Because the simplest facts of our lives are colored by all sorts of old and arbitrary decisions—the original reasons for which have mostly been forgotten. Why are all doorknobs on the right, for instance? Why the hell is a mathematical foot longer than an at-the-end-of-your-leg foot? Why are computers square? Who made chihuahuas look like that and, seriously, why? WHAT IS WRONG WITH MY KEYBOARD?!

I know what you are thinking.

(“But have you ever seen the back of a $20 bill ON WEED???) <—- That’s what you are thinking.

But I am serious.

Look at your keyboard. It is called a QWERTY keyboard because the first six letters in the upper left hand corner are Q W E R T and Y. It was designed to help people avoid frequently typing two letters that are next to each other, which would jam the machines. You know this. But here’s what you don’t know:

“Typewriter” was a brand name. And in order to help salesmen type it back when they were first invented, the folks who made the original QWERTY keyboard put all the letters in “typewriter” in the top row.

Go ahead and look.

This is a thing you can never unknow.



Terror in the CUBE.

12 Mar

Have you seen Showgirls?  If not, I’ll wait while you go youtube the audition scene, cause I really need you to have a visual on what I’m about to tell you. In fact, in light of some eerie similarities to both Showgirls and A Chorus Line in this story, as well as the whole musical theatre theme of this post in general, I’m going to give you the scene in script form.




The One Everyone Hates: Long curly blonde hair, looks like a barbie doll and can do triple pirouettes

The One Everyone Would Hate if The One Everyone Hates Hadn’t Shown Up: She’s also very good, but brunette

At Least We’re Not That Girl: Late, forgot her headshot, wearing a T-shirt, crazy eyes

Legs McLegs: 6’1″


30ish other dancers

along with,

Farnsworth: rakish club manager in rumpled suit who may or may not own a boat

Bubbly Dance Captain: bubbly dance captain

Taco Bill: offbeat casting director with crazy hair who house dances around the room throughout entire audition


An audition for a burlesque dance club in New York City

Pictures: they're worth a thousand words

Dancers are lounging on couches in a room in a club called The Cube in tight tank tops and short shorts.

Taco Bill: dances up to a table in the center of the room “Everyone! Girls! We’re going to get started.” he counts off ten girls “You ten get on the stage, and everyone else find a place on the floor. Then we’ll switch out groups until everyone gets to see the choreography straight on.” dances off somewhere

The One Everyone Hates: looks around, removes shirt before getting on stage so she’s just wearing a bra and shorts.

All Dancers: look around, grumble, remove shirts so they are now also only wearing bras and shorts

Bubbly Dance Captain: “Alright, we’re going to learn a pretty standard dance here, it goes …1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8…”

At Least We’re Not That Girl: shows up 

Bubbly Dance Captain: “And then the second part goes …1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8…”

Floor Dancers: look over shoulders while trying to learn dance backwards, one looks between her legs while upside down, At Least We’re Not That Girl falls off couch

Bubbly Dance Captain: “With music now, are we ready?”

The One Everyone Hates: “Yep!” giggles

The One Everyone Would Hate if The One Everyone Hates Hadn’t Showed Up: also giggles

At Least We’re Not That Girl: “Wait, did they teach it already?”

Farnsworth: speaking into microphone “Playback”

Burlesque song begins playing over PA system. All dancers perform audition sequence once. 

Farnsworth: “We’re going to have you go up in groups of three.”

Taco Bill: House dances across stage

Farnsworth: “So I’m going to count you off in threes now”

Taco Bill: House dances backwards across stage

The One Everyone Hates: looks around, removes shorts so she is now wearing a bra and sparkly underwear

All Dancers: look around, grumble, remove shorts

At Least We’re Not That Girl: “Oops, I forgot my headshot!” makes crazy eyes at Farnsworth

Farnsworth: “Um… that’s ok”

At Least We’re Not That Girl: makes additional crazy eyes

Assembled dancers go onstage and perform choreography in groups of threes. The One Everyone Hates does three pirouettes before starting and smiles like a Dallas cheerleader the entire time. 

Farnsworth: “Alright, if I call your name, you’re free to go” calls 20 names while dancers grimace and cross fingers

The names stop

Everyone remaining: “whew”

Taco Bill: “Ha, you guys should do it like this!” House dances down center aisle

Farnsworth: “Can The One Everyone Hates, The One Everyone Would Hate if The One Everyone Hates Hadn’t Shown Up and Legs McLegs get onstage please?”

The three chosen dancers get onstage and perform the choreography for an iPad video. The One Everyone Hates is, unsurprisingly, chosen.

Farnsworth: “And the rest of you, I’m going to have come up and freestyle onstage two at a time.”

OneBadYamPajama: aside, to camera “Jesus, I am really not going to get this.”

The first two girls go up and look like two sorority girls trying to grind on a lamppost outside a college bar.

OneBadYamPajama: aside, to camera “Oh, well that’s promising.”

An arms race begins, with girls reducing clothing as much as possible before going onstage. Giant boots appear. Sequined clothing that poses a not unserious chafing risk is applied. The girls go up two at a time. 

Farnsworth: Points to OneBadYamPajama “Are you last?”

OneBadYamPajama: “Um, me and that other girl…” Points to At Least We’re Not That Girl, who has stuck around after being dismissed. 

Farnsworth: sighs “Sure. Both of you, come up.”

OneBadYamPajama and At Least We’re Not That Girl dance. Farnsworth perks up. 

Farnsworth: stops OneBadYamPajama. “What’s your name?”

OneBadYamPajama: “OneBadYamPajama.”

Farnsworth and Bubbly Dance Captain: sort through headshots

OneBadYamPajama: “That one.” points at headshot

Farnsworth: “Great.” puts headshot in a pile marked “keep”

Farnsworth: “Thanks ladies, we’ll call you.”

everyone leaves.

Taco Billhouse dances down back stairwell

And that, friends, is what it’s like to audition for The Cube.

It’s terrifying.

P.S. Please email me Farnsworth.

I just wanna DANCE!!



(That’s how you sign off on scripts, right?)

The Best Damn Thing

1 Mar

The other day, the best damn thing happened to me.





No. Christian Bale did not appear on my doorstep wrapped in a bow. Which. Is. Too. Bad.

I’m not going to tell you what it is yet cause suspense is driving the narrative of this post (stop reading. stop reading right now. I dare you to stop reading right now, I already got your page view, motha fuckaaaa).  *ahem* But I WILL say that this awesome thing involved my parents. It is basically the most amazing thing I could ever tell my parents, and in particular my mother, in the history of the world ever.

By a quirk of luck, the day after Best Damn Thing Day was my mother’s birthday, so in the interests of maximum impact (telling her the good news on her birthday), I kept the secret quiet overnight.  I’m not so good at keeping secrets though (When attempting—and failing—to keep them I usually jump around in my chair like I have to pee) so I was sitting at my desk feeling like my little heart was going to explode. For relief, I posted an extremely vague note that something good had happened to me on facebook. And because it seems I have friends (You like me! You really like me!), it rapidly got something like 30 comments that can be roughly paraphrased as:


But now! To your great relief, I will tell you what the best thing was.

My company, a small publishing company that publishes in-flight magazines, including the illustrious travel magazine that I edit, has launched this new “happiness initiative.” They’re doing it to make the “corporate culture” better for the people who work here, which is a laudable aim. However, I have been pooh poohing this initiative for months because:

A. They put a pun in the title of the initiative and that makes me want to punt a baby

B. No one can tell me I HAVE to be happy. *wears Doc Martins for a month*

D. Did someone say “corporate culture”? *shoots self in eye with rubber band and claims Worker’s Comp*

As part of this happiness initiative, they had everyone in the office send their top three life dreams to the CEOs. They were going to select a few employees and grant them their dreams Make-A-Wish style. I didn’t want to participate because I am an incorrigible curmudgeon, but was finally convinced to stop being a grinch about it and send in a couple of ideas by a coworker. On Friday, I got a call from one of the company executives saying that they had chosen me as the dream-receiver of the New York office, and they were going to make one of my top three dreams come true.

Here is my dream:

My parents don’t have passports. They have never been outside of the continental US and Mexico, but they reminisce dreamily of the few, brief vacations they have taken to the beaches of Cozumel and Playa del Carmen. Every year when I was in high school, my mom would get gorgeous travel calendars in the mail from aunts and uncles for Christmas, and we would sit at the bar in the kitchen and look at all the pictures. I remember us being particularly enamored of one calendar that showed shots of the Greek islands. We flipped through it until we got to a picture of the post-volcanic, possibly-Atlantis island of Santorini.


“One day, I’ll go there,” I said.

My mom smiled a tight-lipped smile and turned from stir frying something inexpensive. “Me too,” she sighed.

In college, on account of a saintly lawyer and a bastard of a family member I shall decline to describe here, I came into a sum of about $4,000. I used it to take a summer course in Thessaloniki, Greece. The course ended with a week-long cruise through the Greek islands, including Santorini. I sent my mom a ton of pictures, and she was as excited to look at them as if she’d gone herself.

Six years later, I became a travel writer.

My parents have still never been outside the US and Mexico, and every time I fly somewhere exotic and stay in some 5-star hotel I’m not paying for, I can’t help but wish that I could let them just once have the same experience. My long-suffering, one-time single mother clearly deserves it more than I. And so does my super-awesome stepdad.

And so, my company is sending my parents and I on an all-expense paid trip to Santorini, Greece. And giving me an extra week off to go.

I told my mom on the phone while she was in a J.C. Penny.

She cried.


Thanks company. Sorry I’m such a grinch. 🙂

Rollin with the Homies

7 Feb

Oh hai! (you may pronounce that Ojai, which is a place I just visited)

I have just returned, within the last 24 hours, from one of the better trips afforded me by my job (maybe my boss felt bad about the fire cupping thing?), and I am excited to tell y’all how it went! In general, it was an extremely relaxing trip to Southern California, which included postmodern tapas (foie gras cotton candy and Philly cheesesteak zeppelins, for instance) at Bazaar at the SLS Hotel, a massage and some time in a hot tub, beers by the beach, and a super plush hotel room with THIS view:

I'll just be not doing any work over here, if you need me...

There were even outdoor fireplaces, which I have to say is my absolute favorite thing about California and the Southwest. Y’all and your totally unnecessary fireplaces! It’s adorable! You’re killing me!

But not everything was so relaxing.  The reason I was there, in fact, was to review the 2012 extended wheelbase Rolls Royce Ghost, a car the size of a swimming pool that costs $300,000 and goes 0-62 in five seconds. For those of you who haven’t met me, let me just say that I don’t even like to hold people’s iphones in case I break them (also, babies), let alone things that are worth $300,000 and have a habit of hurtling down mountain straightaways like a herd of stampeding elephants. Suffice it to say it was a little nerve-racking to have somebody just up and hand me the keys to this thing.

So I land at LAX, and call the publicist in charge of the press fleet, and a man who appears to be about 6’7″ shows up in a collared shirt and dress pants with the sparkling silver vehicle. Meanwhile, I’m standing on the side of the airport pickup ramp in a pair of shorts and a sleazy rocker tee, with ripped nails and a pair of old boots and my hair all catywompus. I’m wearing a pair of giant sunglasses and am so short that it appears I might need a phone book to be able to see over the steering wheel.

The guy looks at me.

“You are….. OneBadYamPajama*?” he says, a little nervously.

“Yup. That’s me!”

He looks me up and down. “Why don’t we go somewhere where I can, um, show you how to use the car.”

He drives to the Park N Fly near the airport (which is apparently where they stash all their press cars…. SHOULD you be looking to rob a car lot…) and proceeds to show me what every single button on the console does. One turns on infrared night vision, so I can stalk my prey, and one sets a cruise control distance between me and the car in front of me so I can just chill out and basically not even drive, and, I swear to god, one of them makes a fucking umbrella pop out of the door. The car is so ridiculously cool that I forget for a second that I will never in a million years be able to afford one of these things and I start connecting my phone to the bluetooth computer system so I can call my friends by saying “Excuse me, JEEVES, can you call Sarah?”

This is maybe a slight exaggeration. Ok, it's a plane. Shut up.

“Yeah, that’s a good idea,” says Tall Pants. “It’s not a good idea to be texting while driving. I give lessons out here and this girl I was teaching was texting on her cell phone the whole time and I was like, you know, you’re gonna end up on the pavement in a big smear…”

*cough* “I’m, uh, not 16?”

“Yeah, no, I know. I mean, of course you know that.” He laughs awkwardly.  I start fiddling with the navigation system and apparently impress him enough with my fearsome computer skills that he thinks I can safely be left alone with the car for 15 minutes.

“I’ll just go validate this parking ticket,” he says.


Next thing I know I am cruising the Pacific Coast Highway at like 110 mph, pulling up next to guys at stoplights in pickup trucks who are practically licking their windows over the car. And they look at me…. and I look at them… and then the light turns green and I go “Ha. HA! Sucka, this thing is the size of a hippo but it goes 0-60 in five seconds!” and I smoke them.

And this is basically what I do for four days, with intermittent stops at various valet parking lots, where the valets stare at me as if I am made out of money and steak and quaaludes and everything nice and park the thing in the front and don’t even charge me for it.  And all is well. Until I get to route 154 through the Santa Ynez valley, which is one of those roads they put in car commercials during the Superbowl and you look at the guy driving it at 250 mph in an Audi and you’re like, Jesus, that man must have balls made out of titanium. It was one of those roads, and while I am normally a careful driver, this car was so cool it made me feel like the Red Baron again so I just had to drive it like this:


And then when I got to the bottom I drove the Rolls through the drive through at In N Out so I could get a burger to calm my nerves. I think it still smelled like animal-style fries when I dropped it off. Tall Pants is not going to be pleased.

*Obviously not my real name, fools.

A Kindred Soul

22 Jan

Here’s another guy who believes in doing things that scare him, albeit on an entirely different level:



(via NumbaOnePunna)



Things I am bad at #1: Famous People

22 Jan

Last night, after accidentally taking a 5-hour post-Happy Hour nap (shut up, I had a lot of wine), I woke up at 2am in my apartment in a state of delirium and thought, “Well fuck. I was supposed to go out tonight.”

After a flurry of texting, I decided it was a good idea to head to a party at a new club in Soho called W.I.P. that is based on Andy Warhol’s factory. (So, it’s pretty surreal to begin with, but even more so when you arrive, sober, at 3am after first mistaking it for a clothing boutique elsewhere in Soho also called W.I.P. and wandering around clueless in the snow for 15 minutes. Lots of people in sunglasses. Also, maybe, bats?).

Finally, I found the club and the person I had come to see, whom I shall call “Almost Unreasonably Attractive Gentleman.” He and a friend of his were hanging out in front of the bar, and when I walked up, he handed out shots for the three of us. I gave AUAG a hug, palmed the shot and then turned to introduce myself to his friend.

“Hi, I’m [OneBad],” I said.

“I’m Lance, nice to meet you.”

*we take shots*

Then I proceed to hang out with these people for another 15 minutes before some of Lance’s friends show up.

“Hi Friend1 and Friend2,” I say. “How do you know this unreasonably attractive gentleman and Lance?”

“Oh, well, AUAG we met at [place of business redacted]. He and Lance have been hanging out forever, and we knew Lance since before he was in NSYNC so…”


At this point I whip my head around and realize I have been doing shots with Lance Bass.

Will I ever get better at recognizing celebrities when they are right in front of my face?

I think not.

Also, a 5am snowball fight happened. And I made a snow angel in the middle of the street in Greenpoint.

You people love me.

BOOM! Head Shot

19 Jan

Twenty-eight is a strange age, so don’t let anyone tell you it isn’t. You’re old enough to recognize that you need other people to respect you, so you can’t slack off at work or get arrested for public drinking or be a general ne’er-do-well without repercussions anymore, but you’re still young enough that going out with some regularity, getting laid and having a really, really good time is still a higher priority than, say, flossing.

All of which is to say that 28 is an age at which I am finding it incredibly difficult to have a uniform, age-appropriate concept of self. On a Friday, am I still supposed to go out dancing at clubs or should I stay home and work on short stories so that one day I’ll actually publish one? Am I too old to be wearing these thigh high boots or too young to be wearing this brooch? Am I using this CrockPot too much to still be cool, cause I can totally order Thai food omglolrofl?  I should really have gotten rid of my tongue ring by now, right?  LIP GLOSS OR LIP STAIN?!?

I believe CNN calls this a “thrisis,” but I am not down with the popular media effort to turn every 5-year period in a person’s life into a differently named crisis, so I am just going to have a continuous lifelong crisis that I call a “whysis” and they can shove it till it’s time for me to quit my job, buy a hot rod and start banging a Jonas Brother.

THIS, ladies, is a crisis.

Ahem. So you’ll recall that on Friday I (young!) bought a ticket to Coachella and promptly realized that that was mildly financially irresponsible and I should figure out a way to make some money to pay for the associated flight and housing (old!). I scored a science writing assignment for a website I have worked with called thefix the other day so that took some of the edge off, but then I tried to hook up a quick cocktail waitressing shift (I worked as a cocktail waitress for two years when I first moved to NYC) and didn’t have any luck. At which point, I thought, “well, I dance, and I’m fit, so in the past, when I needed quick cash, I would just get a job as a club dancer. Since I am also hoping to meet new people and want to still feel sexy even though I am 28, it is maybe a good idea to do this again?”

So. Saturday morning I send a whole mess of emails out to Pacha and Webster Hall and The Box that list my experience. I attach a bunch of slutty pictures of myself in sequin bras in various colors.

This one, for instance.

And I figure I probably won’t hear back but at least I have temporarily alleviated the need to look for a job.

Then, late last night, I get an email from the manager of the Box, which, for the uninitiated, is a pretty wild burlesque club on the Lower East Side, offering me an audition as a backup dancer for some of their acts. This sounds perfect, because I have no desire to be a main act at The Box. Main acts at the Box are basically straight burlesque, and require lots of nudity and lots of sex and generally also some weirdness (The last time I went a headliner danced naked onstage then ISWEARTOGOD popped a fake fetus out of her vagina and ATE it). Being a backup dancer there seems like pretty standard gogo/half naked stage dance fare though, so I told the manager “Absolutely, I can make the audition tomorrow. What should I bring?”

The manager doesn’t get back to me until 2pm today, at which point I’ve eaten nothing but vegetables and water and am squirming with nerves because I have no idea whether my “audition” will consist of learning choreography, freestyling for the staff or doing a straight GoGo set on the bar in a thong in the middle of service.

The manager tells me I should bring dance heels and flats, wear form fitting clothes, and …

Bring a headshot.

Now, because I haven’t formally auditioned for many dance jobs in NYC, and have a day job as an editor, and am fucking 28 what-the-hell-am-I-even-doing?! I don’t have a headshot, and it is now 5 hours before I am supposed to be at an audition that requires one.

But thankfully, one of my fellow editors, the magnificent, unparalleled, saintly NumbaOnePunna, is also a photographer, and he, along with the help of a friend I’ll call SwedeyPuppies (he likes Sweden and dogs) in the art department, volunteers to craft me a headshot in less than an hour.

My office is, unfortunately, open plan, so in order to pull this off, NumbaOnePunna and I have to sneak out into the hall with his loaf of bread-size camera and my makeup bag without my boss noticing and make it back in time to meet some publicists that are visiting the office with (wtf) cupcakes and brisket in 15 minutes. While we are out, the art department calls a meeting, leaving just my editor in chief and managing editor alone on our side of the office.

When Numba and I return, the managing editor is making a sweeping motion with her hand.

“Where did you guys go?”

“Oh, ha. I needed a headshot for a…..um… moneymaking scheme? Numba said he’d shoot one.”

“And you have the art department directing it?” She looks shocked.

“Oh no. They’re having a meeting.”

“What kind of moneymaking scheme?” says my editor in chief when I return from red facedly pouring myself a glass of water.

“It’s a … a dance thing…”

“It doesn’t involve a cage, does it?” asks my managing editor.

“ha. ha. ha… ha……….no cage??” I squeak.

*Interoffice IM pops up on computer*

NUMBAONEPUNNA: “Good job. Now they think I was taking pictures of you in your underwear.”

But then the brisket and cupcake people show up with (I am not kidding) mountain dew/dorito cupcakes and distract everyone so I don’t have to continue the charade of being a respectable adult.


Anyway, check out the awesome headshot NumbaOnePunna and SwedeyPuppies made me in 45 minutes:

Elbow is gonna get ya. Elbow is gonna get ya. My elbow is gonna get. YOU. TO--NIGHT!

…Oh, and then the manager emailed me to postpone the audition, so I could have waited on the headshot. Oh life, you are HILARIOUS.