Tuesday, October 31, 2006

True, false, or opinion?

Okay, so I know Jesse did a True or False post a while back and I was going to link to his post but I can't find it right now and I'm not in a mood to google. (I know, weird right? Who's not in a mood to google?) And then I was reading In A Vault Underground, where Jeremy did a True or False post, and then I was thinking I wanted to do one, and then I was thinking that would be fun to do for Halloween. Sort of like a trick or treat post, except it's neither trick nor treat. (Maybe it's a treat?) (I'm really tired right now and I should be sleeping, so I apologize in advance if my grammar gets bad.) (everything on the true or false quiz below is totally random, there isn't logic to it or a theme.)


The following list contains some true statements, some falsehoods, and some opinions. Try to figure out which is what. (Whoever gets the most answers right gets a prize.) (each question is worth 2 points.) (I don't know what the prize is, but I'm sure it'll be great.)

The QUIZ begins...NOW. Begin!

1. Erik has never broken a limb. (except maybe a random toe here or there, but you can never tell if toes are really broken or not)

2. Erik has read Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment three times in his life, and he think it's time to give the book another read.

3. Erik once performed a monologue on the Globe stage in London.

4. Erik once (when I was sixteen) (what did I say about bad grammar?) (and now these parenthetical statements are totally throwing off the rhythm of this statement) (I can just feel it) threw up on the ceiling of my kitchen.

5. Ian McKellan once told Erik he looks scandanavian.

6. Erik (still) owns every Garbage Pail Kid ever made ("ever made," that is, until they started fucking making new ones a couple of years ago) (fuckers)

7. Erik looks like Jeff Goldblum.

8. Erik had three pet rabbits as a child. Each one was named Blackie.

9. Erik had three pet goldfish as a child. Each one was named Freddie.

10. Susan Sarandon once told Erik he was "sweet" and that she was "a tart."

11. Erik got hit in the head with a baseball bat when he was twelve (explains a lot, huh?)

12. Two years ago, Erik sold his entire comic book collection (over 2,000 comic books) for 300 buckaroonies.

13. Erik once inadvertantly started a mini fued between Amy Irving and Kate Capshaw (Mrs. Speilberg #1 and Mrs. Speilberg #2, respectively).

14. Erik has been to a straight porno movie theater in Venice, Italy.

15. Erik played a paramedic on ER. His scene was with Dr. Greene.

16. Erik applied to Barnum and Bailey's Clown College, but was not accepted.

17. The first concert Erik ever went to was Weird Al Yankovic.

18. The second concert Erik ever went to was Elvira. (Yes, she used to put on concerts.)

19. The Real World/Road Rules Challenge TV shows are the best shows to have ever been on television ever.

20. Erik has gotten two parking tickets this month.

21. Erik can sing every lyric to every song in Into the Woods.

22. When Erik was a kid, he had a copy of The Complete Guide to I Love Lucy sitting next to his television set, as well as a highlighter, and every time he saw a new episode of I Love Lucy he would highlight the episode in the book so that he would know when he had seen every single episode.

23. This one time, Erik broke into the Psycho house on the Universal backlot and he stood in the Janet Leigh shower. Naked.

24. Erik subscribes to Entertainment Weekly, US Weekly, and The Week.

25. Erik knows the root of pi to the twentieth decimal. (We had to memorize it in Algebra 1 and I never forgot it.)

26. Erik saw Dude, Where's My Car in the movie theater SEVEN TIMES.

27. Erik did not learn how to swim until he was ten.

28. Erik was born eight weeks premature.

29. Erik celebrated his third birthday at McDonald's.

30. During elementary school, Erik had braced for two years, then he wore a retainer for two years, and then he had to wear braces AGAIN for two fucking more years.

31. Michael J. Fox is a hunk.

32. Lindsay and Bonnie, Erik received your prize Cambodian shirts in the mail (thank you Adam!) and he needs to make plans with you so that he can give them to you! (this is true)

33. Erik once pretended to be a bird with Will Ferrell.

34. Erik's favorite restaurant in the whole entire world is Wagamama's in London.

35. Erik thought he was allergic to chalk until he was fourteen, but in reality touching chalk just kinda gives him the chills (but chills do not an allergy make).

36. Chocolate chip omelettes are good.

37. Erik love The View.

38. Erik have a secret tattoo that he hasn't told anyone about. On his left hipbone.

39. Erik has never been to Mexico.

40. This one time, Erik met Matthew Perry at a bar and told him he thought Perry was funny on Friends and Perry gave him a quick look and said "and I think you've got a great shirt" and then walked away from Erik. And Erik's shirt totally was not great. So Erik thinks Perry was being ironic.

41. Erik can juggle.

42. Erik can bowl a 150 game.

43. Erik was once in a minor fender bender with Lara Flynn Boyle on Hollywood Blvd. (just past Tamarind)

44. Erik has had sex at Disneyland.

45. Erik is legally blind.

46. Erik knows how to surf.

47. Erik only does crossword puzzles in ink.

48. Erik owns a unicycle.

49. Eric Dane (McSteamy) is really freaking hot.

50. Erik once slow danced with a nun.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Urine, I'm in, We're all in, for urine. (That makes no sense whatsoever, but whatever: New Thing #176.)

New Thing #176: Today I decided that even though I may not have the urge or desire to pee more than once a day, I do have the ability to pee more than than once a day, and whether I want to or not my body probably needs to and so I should probably just go ahead and pee more often.

I blame my amazing bladder on my mother for enrolling me in preschool before I was potty trained. We weren't allowed to wear diapers at the preschool and since I wasn't yet fully potty-trained I would just hold it in every day until I got home. I remember this very clearly. Suppressing my need to pee. Holding it in. It's probably my earliest memory. Weird.

But that can't be good for me. Most people pee several times a day. I'm sure it prevents things like kidney stones. I bet it's medically proven. So I'm going to make a concerted effort to pee more often.

(I am so so sorry that I felt the need to write a blog entry about my urination habits, but I figure most of you have come to expect that from me by now.) (But I'm sure this post will give certain googlers a thrill.) (Pee googlers.)

Pirate Mystery Man

My dad's birthday is this upcoming Friday (happy early birthday, dad!) and to celebrate we went to this crazy Pirate dinner theater in Buena Park tonight. It was kinda like Mideaval Times, except with Pirates. And everything's more fun with pirates, so we had a good time. Of course, Dad wanted everyone to dress as pirates, and since it was his birthday we all obliged. (Dad gets te award for best costume, though, and not just because it's his birthday--his costume actually was the best). My costume was kinda hodge-podge, but it did the trick. Anyway, after the Pirate Party, I went to a coffeeshop to do some writing and I totally forgot that I looked like this:

I mean, I had taken off my bandana and the scarf and the pirate shirt and all of that, but I had completely forgotten that I'd painted a mustache and goatee onto my face with mascara. It didn't hit me until I got back into my car after writing for two hours, but no one said anything and I didn't notice any strange looks, so people must have assumed I was getting a head-start on Halloween.

--On a total side note, there was this guy sitting in front of us at the Pirate show. He was really into it, it was also his birthday (I know this because they told everyone who was celebrating a birthday to stand up and this guy stood up), and he kept turning around and looking at us to make sure we were cheering and booing at all of the right moments (the show involved a lot of cheering and booing) (when I say that he was looking at us, it wasn't in a bad way, it was more like he was being a courteous host or something and he really just wanted to make sure that everyone was having a good time) and I knew the guy looked familiar and I realized pretty quickly that he was an actor and I'm usually really good at knowing where I know actors from (I never mistake actors for people I went to school with, even character actors; no, I'm usually like, "oh, the guy sitting next to us is the guy who played Angela's English teacher in that one episode of My So-Called Life," or "that woman in front of us in line is Neil Schweiber's mother who was also Working Girl's secretary!"), but I couldn't place the guy in front of us during the Pirate dinner theater and it really started to frustrate me, so I even tried to take his picture with my camera phone so I wouldn't forget his face and I could think on it later, but it was really dark in the theater and he was wearing an eyepatch so my picture isn't very helpful:

BUT as I was typing the above paragraph, it was like I suddenly stopped trying so hard to figure out where I knew him from and then I had a very clear image of him on Desperate Housewives and for a second I thought I was going to remember who he played...but then it slipped away again. It's going to keep bugging me until I figure it out. I'm annoyed now. I have to go to bed. Teaching English tomorrow and then I have to write in the afternoon so I have pages to bring to my writing group in the evening. (Actually I already have pages that I wrote today that I could bring, but I'm trying to finish this play by next week, so I'd love to get 10 more pages written tomorrow afternoon. We'll see.) (O, on a sidenote, as I write this I still have my eyeliner mustache, but the eyeliner goatee is gone.) (I washed the goatee off when I got home, but I liked the mustache so I left it.) (But now I'm going to wash it so I don't get mustache smears on my pillow.) (O, and don't you think we should start going back to the more Shakespearian and hearty "O" instead of the continuing to rely on the quotidian "Oh" we've all gotten so boringly used to?)

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Me stupid. Me need advice.

Okay, I did this totally stupid thing and I need advice.

On Thursday, I sent out two packages in the mail, both of which probably arrived on Saturday, or will arrive tomorrow at the latest.

(1) I sent out a full-length play as a submission for a theater grant, and (2) I also sent out a ten-minute play as a submission for the Act*rs Th*atre of L*uisville's Ten-Minute Play Contest (I put asterixes in the name of the theater because I don't want anyone from the Act*rs Th*atre of L*uisville to google their own theater and then find out how stupid I am--at least not before I decide how I should react to my own stupidity) (it's really not a huge stupid thing, but it is pretty stupid) (but if I learned anything from Gilda Radner when I was a child obsessed with Gilda Radner, it was that we all have a Right to Extreme Stupidity every now and then)

Anyway, here's what I did: I wrote a cover letter to go with the full-length play, and then I started to write a cover letter to go with the ten-minute play using the same computer document (i.e. I had printed out the first letter and then I started rewriting a new letter using the previous letter as a template), but, well...just now I was sitting at my computer thinking: I don't remember actually writing that second letter...and so I opened up my saved document on my computer, and lo-and-behold, all I did was write in the Act*rs Th*atre of L*uisville's name and address at the top of the letter and then I must have gotten distracted or something because I printed out the second letter and I sent it with the first letter's content.

Did I explain that clearly?

Basically, I sent a short-play to this theater with a cover letter that was about my full-length play. A play that I did not submit to them. So the letter makes no sense at all. (i.e., it's like, "Dear Act*rs Th*atre of L*uisville, look at me, I'm submitting my full-length play X for your ten-minute play competition!" but then instead of the full-length play attached they'll find my ten-minute play. Which is either going to be ultra confusing, or they're going to realize that I sent them the wrong letter. (Of course, the confusion might be confounded by the fact that the letter is addressed to them.) Either way, I look stupid. But do I look stupid enough for them to throw the play away, unread? Or will they ignore the letter and look at the submission anyway?

My natural instinct is to just let it be and assume that they'll figure things out. They don't want a follow-up letter explaining my snafu. Or do they? And they DEFINITELY don't want a follow-up phone-call. Or do they? Maybe they want a follow-up email? (If they even have an email address on their website, which they probably don't.)

Any thoughts?

Saturday, October 28, 2006

New Things #173-175, including bad soup

New Thing #173: Tonight, for dinner, I decided to try to get creative in the kitchen and I invented something I like to call Corn Pea Soup.

Unfortch, it's neither as good as it sounds, nor as good as it looks. (And I understand that it doesn't look very good.) (Which is to say, it was really bad.)

New Thing #174: I discovered and started using bloglines. (Thanks to communicatrix and her post HERE.) (Basically, bloglines is this website that helps you manage the blogs you read and tells you when people update.) (And colleen, I understand that your post was saying that you wanted to be freed from the tyranny of bloglines because of how it reminded you of all of the blogs you hadn't read--at least that's how I interpreted your desire to "mark all read"--but bloglines still sounds like a timesaver to me because now I don't have to click through all of my links to see which ones have updated--now I KNOW when they've been updated--which is exciting to me) (for now, at least)

New Thing #175: I saw the new Beth Henley play, Ridiculous Fraud, at SCR tonight. The play itself is slightly slight (things pick up in the second half, which was much stronger than the first), but it its own charm and a sweetness to it that I enjoyed. And the cast was great (especially Nike Doukas) (who I know) (and who's always so much fun to watch onstage) (and the three guys who played the brothers were also really good). All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable night at the theater.

Friday, October 27, 2006

New Things #171 & 172, an Instinct soiree, and some embarrassing moments

Okay, it’s mid-afternoon and my hangover from last night is finally (mostly) (almost) gone. I don’t drink very often, so when I do drink I tend to go a little bit overboard.

(That’s a lie—I don’t go overboard—jeez, “I tend to go a little bit overboard” makes me sound like I become Mel Gibson or something and that’s totally not the case—let’s just say that I don’t like to do anything half-heartedly and that goes for boozing it up too) (when I booze it up) (which is not that often) (which I already said) (but I feel the need to say it again so that my parents don’t think I’m a lush) (hi mom and dad, I’m not a lush) (but speaking of going overboard, how great is Overboard, the 80’s Goldie Hawn vehicle?)

(Best Movie About Amnesia Ever) (not that I’m changing the subject or anything) (because I’m not) (because Overboard is honestly in my list of Top 10 eighties movies) (the list would be rounded out, in no particular order, by: Tootsie, Irreconcilable Differences, Outrageous Fortune, Hello Again, Working Girl, All of Me, Broadcast News, Big, and E.T.) (I’m not counting any John Hughes movies because John Hughes sold his soul to the devil—in return for three perfect movies [Sixteen Candles, Breakfast Club, and Ferris Bueller], he would be forced to make dreck for the rest of his career—and we can just all agree to Recognize the Hughes triumvirate as Perfect, give them their own list, and free up some space for other great movies) (maybe I’m being a little harsh on Hughes—the first Home Alone movie is pretty good too, and dammit but I freaking love Some Kind of Wonderful, and hello he wrote National Lampoon’s Vacation, so I should forgive him for movies like Flubber, but the simple truth is that ever since Dutch his movies have gone down freaking hill)

Anyway, I got really drunk last night because I went to Instinct Magazine’s “Leading Men” Party (I was Jesse’s “plus one,” thank you Jesse) and the party was sponsored by Vodka (or, wait, I guess it was sponsored by Absolut, but I’m really bad at remembering product names) (sorry Wall Street, but product branding does NOT work on me) which meant that all of the booze was free. The party was also sponsored by underwear (more specifically, by 2(x)ist Underwear), which meant that there were all of these random men (or, four) standing around on tables in nothing but their underwear and I think there was supposed to be music pumping really loudly throughout the fete (do you like how I just used the word “fete?” I got tired of using the word “party,” so I opened up the thesaurus in my brain and thought “fete” would be appropriate) and I think that music was supposed to underscore the underwear models’ standing, but there was something wrong with the sound system, which meant there wasn’t any thumping pumping music, which meant that these (very attractive) underwear models were just standing there on these tables in their underwear and there was something extremely surreal about it. Like we were all rats in some sort of Dharma underwear experiment. Because no one seemed to know what to do about the models—if we were supposed to interact with them or ignore them or what—and then finally, to break the tension, (and I swear there was tension) (lots of tension), people started posing for photos with the underwear models, and I was no different. Check it out, New Thing #171: I posed for a photo with an underwear model:

Note the drink in my hand. I think that’s vodka #2. It’s important to keep track of the number of drinks I consumed last night because my level of drunkenness will come into play later in the evening when I do something embarrassing and slightly humiliating, but I’m getting ahead of myself. The most embarrassing moment of the night is still hours away at this point.

Actually, I think it was around drink #2 when a really embarrassing thing happened to Jesse (which we assumed, at the time, would be the most embarrassing moment of the evening, but Jesse and I both agree that the thing I did later in the evening clearly trumped Jesse’s embarrassing moment). Let me just paint the scene a little more clearly, first, before I get to Jesse’s embarrassing moment.

So, the underwear models (again, pictured above) are by the pool being all hot and stuff. (Except the above photo makes my favorite model look like his face is distorted, like he's a poster image for The Grudge 3, or something, and I'm sorry about that.) But we’ve already forgotten about the underwear models because there are literally millions of attractive people just bipping around, getting sloshed on free vodka (Absolut). When we were standing in line for our second drinks (so now I’m backtracking here) we met this woman named Allison who was like, “what’s this party for?” and we were like, “um, hello, it’s the Instinct Leading Men Party,” and she was like, “N’Synch’s here?” and we were like, “no, but close, it’s Instinct with an inct,” and then she was like, “oh the gay magazine,” except she didn’t really say that, that was just me inserting probably unnecessary exposition into my anecdote, and then we were like, “yeah, the gay magazine,” and then this helicopter landed on the roof of the hotel and we all joked that it was Tim Gunn from Project Runway arriving at the party (since he was this month’s Leading Man #1 coverboy) (but it wasn’t him in the helicopter) (Tim Gunn was a no-show), and then we finally asked our new friend Allison, “so if you didn’t know what this party was, how did you get in?” and then she basically gave us a crash course in How To Crash Parties at the W Hotel, and it’s really easy to do, so what I’m trying to get at here is that even though it almost seemed like every other person at the party was a gay reality television star, every other other person at the party might have been some crasher off the street, and I think it was mostly street crashers who were standing around us when—and yes, this is Jesse’s embarrassing moment that I’ve been building up to—Jesse and I were doing a “walk around” and Jesse forgot that there was a set of stairs leading away from the pool area and I looked away for one second and then when I looked back Jesse was GONE. And that’s when I looked down and saw that Jessehad fallen literally flat on his face on the ground (so Tara Reid of him) and then I rushed to help him up and, well, it all happened so quickly that I didn’t even realize that Jesse had thrown his entire drink in some poor woman’s face as he was falling ever so ungracefully to the ground—he told me about the woman with the drink in her face later, after we’d made our way to another part of the party and assessed the damage to Jesse’s body (one slightly bloody knee, one slightly embarrassed boy). But Jesse didn’t really have cause to be embarrassed because, miraculously, even though the party was packed, even though there were literally millions of people there, Jesse fell all over the ground at a really opportune moment because I think the only person who saw him do it (I didn’t even see him fall and I was walking with him) was the woman who got a drink in her face (and one could argue that she didn’t really see the fall either because her view was obstructed by aforementioned drink). Marcellas from Big Brother didn’t see him fall, that guy with the long hair who always wears a cap on his head from Janice Dickinson Modelling Agency didn’t see him fall, that one Survivor castoff (who I had no idea was gay, and who I still don’t know if he’s gay, but who I think maybe I had a little bit of eyesex with, and who I’m not going to out here) didn’t see him fall, and neither did Tim Gunn (who, given, wasn’t even there, but still, he WAS the man of the hour, being on the cover of the magazine and all), so I wanted to point out to Jesse that, on the plus side of things, TIM GUNN DID NOT SEE YOU FALL FLAT ON YOUR FACE AND ACCIDENTALLY THROW A DRINK AT A STRANGER.

Finally, the Instinct party ended, but we weren’t ready for our night to end, so we decided to go to The Abbey, so we could be boozy for a couple more hours. We got our gift bags (which included vibrating condom rings) (to check out the inventory of the rest of the bag, read Jesse’s blog post HERE) and then headed over to the Abbey so that I could have MY most embarrassing moment of the evening.

Okay, so: we go to the Abbey, we have a few more drinks, (drinks #4 and #5), and at this point we were really drunk, and that’s when I started to think about my old friend “T,” who I dated for a brief blip in 2001, and whose bed I’ve fallen back into a couple of times since, and who I know isn’t really right for me, but who I definitely like, (Jesse and I decided that he's definitely not my Mr. Big, but maybe he's my Aidan, and if you're a Sex and the City fan you know exactly what I mean) and, well, T lives a couple of blocks away from The Abbey, and so I sent him a text message. And I won’t beat around the bush here, it was basically a booty-text. A drunk booty-text. (New Thing #172: I drunk booty-texted an ex.) And here’s when The Most Embarrassing Moment of The Evening Happened. I feel my phone vibrating. I take it out of my pocket and see that it’s T, but I’ve missed the call, it’s already gone to voice-mail. I wait a minute and then my phone beeps: you have a message. Okay, cool. Let’s see if T’s coming over here, or if he’s asking me to go over to his place…

I check the message. It’s T. And this is what he says: “Hey Erik, you left me a text message about the Abbey. I don’t know who this is so maybe you got the wrong number. Thank you, bye.” And then he hangs up.

And I’m like, what? Seriously? You don’t know who this is?

In his defense, we don’t call each other very often—we only see each other a few times a year and when we are in touch with each other, it’s usually via email. So I could understand if he has a new cell phone and my number’s not in there. But still, I would imagine that he can’t know too many Eriks and when someone named Erik (I even signed my text “erik”) sends you a drunk booty-text, it can’t be THAT difficult to put two-and-two together and figure out who it is. Anyway, I called him back, and I was like, “T, it’s me." And then he was like, “Erik! I didn’t recognize your number!” And then we caught up for a few minutes and it turned out he wasn’t at his house by the Abbey, he was actually in Venice (California, not Italy) for the evening, and we made plans to maybe see each other sometime next week, and then I hung up the phone and felt like a fool because I DRUNK BOOTY-TEXTED AN EX AND HE THOUGHT IT WAS THE WRONG NUMBER. There’s something cosmically embarrassing about that.

Anyway, by that point in the evening I was exhausted and it was pretty clear I wasn’t going to get a chance to test out my new vibrating condom ring, (mom and dad, if you’re still reading this, I apologize for the mental image) and Jesse’s knee was beginning to bleed most profusely, so we left the bar and called it an evening. Embarrassments aside, Jesse and I had a really fun night. Thank god for friends because if either of us had been alone last night, I’m sure that Jesse’s falling-flat-on-his-face moment and my ex-not-knowing-who-I-am moment would have been moments that we obsessed over to the point of true embarrassment, but when you’re with a great friend then those mortifying moments become, well, like fucking battlewounds to wear proudly on your sleeve, you know?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Guest Blogging by PAM (new thing #170); response to my T.R. Knight post

My mom wrote the following essay in response to my blog entry about T.R. Knight coming out of the closet last week. I loved what she wrote, so I asked her if I could post it, and voila. Please welcome my first guest blogger, PAM. (New Thing #170: I had a guest blogger on my blog!)


TV Star's Bold Step Makes a Sad Statement About Our Society

By Sherry Angel

My son called me on Thursday with “very exciting Hollywood news.”

“Guess who came out today?” he asked.

I offered a few big Hollywood names that have been part of the gay rumor mill.

“No, this is really big,” he said. “It’s someone who’s on prime-time TV in the most popular series on the air right now. It’s George.”

My 29-year-old son and I are both huge fans of “Grey’s Anatomy,” so I knew exactly who he was referring to—George O’Malley, the sexy-in-a-fuzzy-bear-kind-of-way doctor who is one of our favorites in the show’s ensemble cast. I didn’t know his real name, T.R. Knight, but I do now. Because right there on http://www.people.com/ is a story saying that, in response to rumors about his sexuality, he confirmed “exclusively to People” that he is, indeed, gay.

“I hope the fact that I’m gay isn’t the most interesting part of me,” Knight said.

My son, who is also gay and does substitute teaching while pursuing the Hollywood dream as a screenwriter, would totally agree. As he told me when he came out to me at 23—“Being gay is not who I am any more than having brown hair or hazel eyes defines me.”

He was so thrilled about T.R.’s confession to People that he wrote this on his blog shortly after hearing the news: “Here's the thing: when was the last time an up-and-coming actor on one of the freaking biggest hits on television came out of the closet while they were still on their rise to fame (as opposed to fifty years later)??? Seriously, has anyone on TV's number one show EVER come out of the closet while their show was such a huge hit?

“People all across America love George O'Malley, and by extension they love T.R. Knight, and I can't imagine that this news is going to change that. Instead, people across the country (which is still frighteningly homophobic—I heard the word ‘faggot’ over a dozen times today, students slinging it at other classmates, as well as a couple of students slinging it at me) are going to hear that the actor who plays George is gay, and they're going to have another face they're fond of to associate with gayness and their hearts are gonna open up just a little bit more.”

After my son and I talked, I thought about the pain that lies just underneath the surface of his excitement over this news. He lives in a world where it’s still a bold step to admit being gay—where coming out can still mean destroying a career, risking relationships or becoming a target of homophobic slurs. A world where gay people can fall in love and create a family like everybody else, but aren’t permitted to get married and have the status and protection that our society offers other families—including many that are highly dysfunctional but have our stamp of approval because they appear “normal.”

It’s hard to think of my son as part of a group of people in our society who are still marginalized—and will be as long as they are denied the same legal rights that are available to heterosexual couples.

And it makes me feel very sad that he was so moved by such a simple act as a TV star saying, “I’m gay.” Behind both T.R. Knight’s honesty and my son’s elation is great hope—that hearts will, indeed, open up, and acceptance in our society will grow to a point where confessions like this won’t have to be made. Or can be with barely a ripple.


Monday, October 23, 2006

New Thing #169: I gave a kid detention

New Thing #169: On Friday, I gave my first detention ever. My least favorite thing about being a substitute teacher is the disciplinarian aspect of it, but it has to be done. If you're going to come into my class and start calling people asshole and calling people gay and hitting kids--and that's what this kid was doing on Friday, repeatedly--then you're going to get detention.

So now, today, Monday, I'm at the same school I was at on Friday, but I'm in a different classroom. It's second period. This is junior high school--seventh grade. In other words, hell. (Oh, and it's my alma mater, too, which is strange and surreal. I swear to god this school is The School That Time Forgot.) (Every single inch of the school looks exactly like how I remember it, nothing has freaking changed.) (On Friday, we had an assembly in the gymnasium and so many memories flooded through my head; most vivid was my election speech for 8th Grade Class President.) (I feel like I've blogged about that fateful day before, but if you weren't reading the blog back then, here are the cliffnotes: it was supposed to be the best day of my life; instead it was anything but. I was naive and fresh and excited and I truly believed that I could make a difference. My campaign slogan, slathered on posters all over the school, was "Erik Patterson's mom wants you to Pat Her Son with your vote." [I'm not making that up.] [Seriously.] [That's how big a dork I was.] [I honestly thought that was a brilliant campaign slogan.] ["Erik Patterson's mom wants you to Pat Her Son with your vote."] [Actually, now I think it IS a brilliant campaign slogan, but in seventh grade it ended up being totally. Completely. Mortifying.] I had this great speech prepared, mostly about how I wanted to get the blacktop repaved and how I was going to "bring back the read-a-thon." [I remember that very specifically. One of the boys in P.E. asked me what my campaign promises were, and when I told him I was going to bring back the read-a-thon, he was like, "who wants to read?" And in my head I was like "I do," but I knew enough to just keep my mouth shut. We were, after all, in P.E., and I didn't want to get pantsed.] Anyway, flash forward to speech day. We're in the gymnasium. They started with the secretary speeches, then the treasurer speeches, then the vice president speeches, [there was this girl Kirra Steel, who I would later go to my junior prom with, who was running for vice president--during her speech, she asked everyone in the gymnasium to stand up and look to the left and then after everyone did exactly as she asked them to, she said "look at that, we're already working well together," and I remember that all of the other candidates were like "wow, Kirra really brought her A-game, that was the speech they're going to be talking about tomorrow, I wish I'd thought of that"], and then, finally, it was time for the President speeches. There were three of us running for President, and alphabetically I was the third in line, which meant I was going to be the last person to give a speech. This kid Graham went first, his speech went well. Then Katie Hawkins gave her speech, which was even better. And then it was my turn to step up to the podium. I was very nervous. I had my speech written out on flash cards and I didn't look up at the crowd until I was on my third flash card. And that's when the sounds of laughter started to seep into my consciousness. I had been so concentrated on what I was saying that I hadn't heard them. But as soon as I looked up, it was like God had turned the volume in the gymnasium up, way up, and I suddenly realized that everyone was laughing at me and then I heard someone yelling--like, SCREAMING at me--"We can't hear you!!!" And then I felt a hand on my shoulder and one of the teachers told me that the speaker system had broke and that I'd have to yell the rest of my speech. So I stepped in front of the podium and started yelling as loud as I could about read-a-thons. But I had lost the crowd, no one was listening, it was awful. The next day, one of my friends who was alread on the ASB told me that I'd only received two votes, and I knew that one of them had been mine. Katie Hawkins won--and she deserved it, she was totally presidential.) Anyway, sorry, but I was in the gymnasium on Friday and that whole experience came alive for me again, and it's kinda fucked up that junior high school even exists, like, in reality, you know? Like, maybe as a concept it's a good idea, but in reality we should really spare all of our kids the horrors. The horrors.

But moving on, back to today: the kids are supposed to be reading silently and taking notes on one of the chapters in their textbook. And the kid I gave detention to on Friday? Yeah, he's in my class again. When he walked into the classroom, I heard him say "dammit" and then he ran out into the hall. And then he came back into the room a minute later and he was like, "hello, Mr. Patterson, thanks for giving me detention." And I wish that I hadn't needed to give him detention, but he was out of control and I tried, I tried, but finally detention was the only thing that would get him to settle down and do his work. Now he's sitting in his desk looking at me like I'm the enemy and talking about me under his breath--he doesn't think I can hear him, but I can SO hear him--or maybe he knows I can hear him and that's why he's talking about me. Either way, I wish that he was reading his textbook right now instead of calling me names. But I just don't know how to get through to him the fact that doing your work is ultimately going to be so much more satisfying than being a bully. How do you get that message through to a thirteen-year-old kid?

Sunday, October 22, 2006

New Thing #167-168

New Thing #167: I got my first free dvd screener in the mail. So this is my first "movie awards season" as a member of the Writers' Guild, and yesterday I received a dvd copy of United 93. I was like, what's this? A gift! In the mail! I haven't seen United 93, but I really hope it's better than Oliver Stone's movie, 'cuz I really didn't like Oliver Stone's movie. Oh, and speaking of screener dvds, Jessica got a screener copy of Little Miss Sunshine several days ago, and I'm really hoping they send me one too, because I missed Little Miss Sunshine and that would be a super fun surprise in the mail. I wonder if the studios only send some of the movies to some of the members of the guild and not to others? Or do they send everything to everyone? It's confusing.

New Thing #168: I created my own new favorite sushi roll. I just discovered this sushi restaurant near my house that lets you create your own rolls (maybe all sushi restaurants would let you create your own roll if you asked, but i've never asked before, and this place has it on their menu, like, "create your own roll") and the Erik Roll is kinda decadent but it is Oh So Good. The Erik Roll contains: crab meat, salmon, avocado, cream cheese, and crunchy roll flakes, and sweet sauce.

Not a New Thing, but still important: You can still VOTE FOR TIFFANY and she really needs your votes, so have at it.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

You just made my Knight, frakkin' T.R.!

I am so freaking excited. Yesterday I heard a rumor that T.R. Knight (who plays George on Grey's Anatomy) was gay, and then I spent most of the evening quietly hoping that it might be true so that maybe one day there might be a chance that he might become my husband (because he's, like, the cutest man on television) and I just got a message from Jesse, which I just went to People.com to confirm, and yes, T.R. Knight came out of the closet today, (!!!) and I hate to use the word "hero" lightly, but he's totally a fucking rockstar at the very least (and even though I'm holding out on the word hero, so as to not use it lightly, I'm still thinking it).

Here's the thing: when was the last time an up-and-coming actor on one of the freaking biggest hits on television came out of the closet while they were still on their rise to fame (as opposed to fifty years later)??? Seriously, has anyone on TV's number one shows EVER come out of the closet while their show was such a huge hit? People all across America love George O'Malley, and by extension they love T.R. Knight, and I can't imagine that this news is going to change that--instead, people across the country (which is still frighteningly homophobic--I heard the word "faggot" over a dozen times today, students slinging it at other classmates, as well as a couple of students slinging it at me) are going to hear that the actor who plays George is gay and they're going to have another face they're fond of to associate with gayness and their hearts are gonna open up just a little bit more.

I'm sorry, but when Lance Bass came out of the closet, he was past his prime as far as teenybopper popstars go. (Nothing against Lass Bass--I commend him too--I'm just saying that that was big, but this is huge.)

Just the other day I was saying that I wish that everyone in Hollywood who was gay would just come out already and we could stop wondering who is and who isn't and let the actors do their jobs of make-believe and we would believe them and kids all over the country would have lots of great role-models (because if you put yourself out there as an actor in the tv and film business, then you have to accept that part of your job is being a role model to your audience--you're hugely influential and people watch what you do and they learn from you) and this is frakking huge.

Thank you, T. R. Knight. I know you don't want people to make a big deal about this, but it is a big deal--you had the balls to come out of the closet on a Thursday afternoon and tonight we're all gonna watch you and continue to love you (as we watch you love on Callie, or Meredith, or Izzie, or whoever) and keep rocking on.

If you ever want to marry me, we should probably go on a few dates first, but I'm totally amenable to the idea.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

New Thing #166: I ate some rambutan.

Have you ever eaten the strange and bizarre (and delicious) fruit known as the Rambutan? (It's a cousin of the lychee.)

No? Never even heard of it? Yeah, me neither.

Until Saturday night, that is.

I saw it at Trader Joe's and I was fascinated by it's gangliness and hairiness and I figured, hey, it's My Year of New Things, so I bought it to bring as pot luck to Lanie's birthday party.

Pretty much everyone else at the party was like, "hey, it's not fucking my freaking Year of New Things," so no one else would try it, but I found the damn little Rambutans oddly tasty. Seriously. It's really good (in a surprisingly weird way) (like, it's the texture that's a tough sell, because it feels like octapussyish rubber) (but still) and I totally recommend it if you ever get a chance to try it. (Seriously.)

That's all I have to say about Rambutan, but before I go I want to share a photo (taken by Gina) that I like to call Me and Rambutan. The photo is kind of graphic and disturbing, though, so THIS IS A WARNING. DO NOT SCROLL DOWN TO LOOK AT THE PHOTO UNLESS YOU ARE OKAY WITH GRAPHIC AND DISTURBING IMAGES.


I'm serious. It's a really disturbing picture.


For reals, yo.


See?!? SCARY!

Don't say I didn't tell you so. (What is up with my eyes in this photo? I seriously have, like, serial killer eyes in this photo.)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Jeff Fucking Goldblum Again

I'm subbing right now for this class that's really relaxed--most of the kids are on a field trip, so there are only six kids in here and they don't really have anything to work on, so we're just hanging out. And this girl just looked at me and said the Jeff Goldblum thing. Except the way she introduced the concept of me looking like Mr. Goldblum was more clever than most.

This is how our conversation went down:

STUDENT: So, teacher...what were the dinosaurs like?

ME: (so. annoyed.) Are you saying that because I look like--

STUDENT: That guy from Jurassic Park.

ME: (sighing) Jeff Goldblum.


ME: The dinosaurs were really cool.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Vote for Tiff!

Okay, if you're sitting at your desk at work and bored, or even if you're at your desk at work and not bored, or even if you're not at work you're obviously at a computer since you're reading this, anyway, GO HERE AND VOTE FOR TIFFANY GILLESPIE. Vote more than once. Vote ten times. Vote a hundred times. Vote a thousand times. Okay, just vote as many times as you feel like it, but if you feel like being really obsessive compulsive, have at it. I don't know Tiffany, but Tiffany is related to Bonnie, my BFF, and Bonnie sent out a call to arms to vote for Tiffany and I got kind of obsessed with it last night and she's in, like, fourth place right now, and even though I don't know her, I want to help her get to first, and there's also something incredibly satisfying about seeing the numbers move up as you're voting. (I seriously voted for like an hour last night, I pretended that Tiffany was Dilana on Rockstar: Supernova.)

Her name is in the "Third Round" Box. Just click on her name and type in the code when it prompts you, and vote, vote, vote!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

So many New Things! (#150-165)


New Thing #150: I have a new writing group. (Which means I now have three writing groups--one that meets weekly, one that meets bi-weekly, and one that meets monthly.) (But each group is very, very different and they all really help me in different ways.) (And the most sure-fire way to make me productive is to have a meeting coming up because whenever I have a meeting coming up I'm like, "damnit, I want pages, I need pages, write pages, you have a meeting coming up" and then I'll have a furious flurry of writing activity.) (So I'm really excited about having a new group.) (And the writers in the new group are excellent and inspiring, which is a great bonus because it's always nice to be surrounded by people who inspire you, you know?)

New Thing #151: As a result of the new writing group, I have a new webpage. (Clink HERE for my bio, and clink HERE for info about my plays.) (I've been wanting a webpage with info about my plays for a really long time, so this is totally rockstar.)

New Thing #152: I have a new (short) play currently in production. (I wasn't involved in the rehearsal process at all so I didn't know what to expect, and when I saw it I couldn't have been more happy--my director totally "gets" the play--he's awesome--he just did some really nice, subtle, assured directin'--and the actors are wonderful.)

New Thing #153: I paid off Credit Card #1. (The Big One.) (Fuck yeah.)

New Thing #154: I paid off Credit Card #2. (Not done with #3 yet--that one's kinda in flux, i.e. still in use--but I'll get back to paying it off soon.)

New Thing #155: I have a new, quicker route to get from Orange County into LA (but I won't say what it is because it's top secret.) (And I realize one of my previous New Things was having a new route in and out of Los Angeles, but this one's even better and quicker and more secreter.)

New Thing #156: I made myself less of a slave to television. (I had decided to try watching every single new series this season, but in an effort to appease some of my readers who think television is turning my brain into mush, I just deleted about 15 "season passes" from my Tivo.) (Though I still plan on watching the Real World/Road Rules Challenge religiously.) (The only thing that could stop me from watching the Real World/Road Rules Challenge would be nuclear holocaust.) (I'm serious.)

New Thing #157: I have a new favorite fast food joint, Chipotle Grill. (And I think I can admit this without feeling ashamed because, as far as fast food joints go, this one's relatively healthy.) (Right?) (Well, even if it isn't, I'm obsessed with this place now.) (I've never been a huge fan of Mexican food.) (It's all of the cheese.) (I don't do cheese well.) (But the fajita burrito at Chipotle Grill makes me feel kinda sorta slightly orgasmic in the mouth.) (It's just too too good.) (Like, illegally good.)

New Thing #158: I made my MySpace page "private" because some kids at one of the schools I substitute at were like "do you have a MySpace page" and then I was like "I so totally do NOT fucking have a MySpace page" to them, except I didn't say "totally." I just really don't want high school kids looking me up on MySpace, that's a kettle of worms I don't want to open, or whatever the cliche is.

New Thing #159: I made a vow never to teach 1st grade ever again. See, the thing is, I enjoy teaching kindergartners because kindergartners are way fun (because you basically get to spend the day reading them stories [I am a really good reader of stories] and building Lego castles [I am an awesome builder of Lego castles]), whereas 1st graders are way not-fun because they still want to play like they're in kindergarten, but it's time for them to buckle down and LEARN, which they don't want to do AT ALL, yet it's still your responsibility to Teach Them The Building Blocks of All of the Knowledge They Will Need As They Embark On The Next 16-ish Years of Their Formal Education, and it is T-O-U-G-H work. And as much as I enjoy writing things like "The pot got hot" (we were studying rhyming) and "Erik the Elephant likes to Eat" (we were studying alliteration) on the white-eraseboard, I would prefer to teach kids who will at least pretend to be more interested in what I'm teaching than they are in drawing indecipherable pictures on their desks or stealing ghost-shaped erasers from the teacher's cupboard. (Wow, did I really just write a mini-diatribe about why I don't want to ever teach SIX-YEAR-OLDS ever again? I am a heartless bitch.)

New Thing #160: I organized the files on my computer. (I'll admit, this is a boring New Thing, but it's something I've been meaning to do for a really long time. I'm generally not a particularly "neat and tidy" person [cough cough understatement cough cough], but I can be really anal about organizing things like my books and my computer, but the files on my computer were so haphazard and saved all over the place and it was getting out of control. Like, I'm working on this new play, and some of the files for the play were saved on the desktop and some were saved in "my documents" and some were saved in my "theater" folder, and some were saved in another random folder--they were just all over the fucking place, and I finally buckled down and organized the hell out of all of my files and now I know where everything is and it feels blissful.)

New Thing #161: I backed up all of my files. (Again, this New Thing is kinda boring, but it's so essential--I mean, I've come *this close* to losing EVERYTHING before, and that would be hellacious and sad--so I finally got one of those things, I don't know what they're called, but you know what I'm talking about--those sticks that have copious amounts of memory--and I backed everything up and now I can rest easy at night.)

New Thing #162: I had a crazy, weird allergic reaction to alcohol last night, which isn't *entirely* a New Thing (see, when I was a kid, I used to have allergic reactions to Manishevitz grape wine every year at Passover), but I haven't had an allergic reaction to alcohol in a good decade, and this was more intense than anything I'd ever experienced before--the only side affect of the allergic reactions of my past was a slightly reddish face, but last night my face felt like it was el fuego, and I've never felt like that before. Like, my face literally felt like it had turned into The Hottest Chili Pepper in the World, and this was after only ONE SIP of this random mango martini that the crazy bartender had made for me. ("I'll make you something really good," she told me, and maybe she was trying to flirt, but it was all bad, bad, bad.) Honestly, I have no idea what I was reacting to because I don't know specifically what was in the drink--I think it was Mango vodka and saki--which sounds weird--I should have asked, but I was too busy freaking out about the fact that my face was melting off. Anyway, my face returned back to normal after about fifteen minutes, or so, but the whole thing was super-freaky.

New Thing #163: I'm applying for writing grants again. I used to be really good about keeping abreast of what was due and when, but the whole grant thing fell off my radar a while back and it's been at least a year since I applied for anything. Anyway, I'm gonna start keeping up with them again and I just got back from FedEx Kinko's, where I overnighted one of my scripts to a foundation in New York. The application is due tomorrow, which is Sunday, and they weren't really specific about whether or not that was supposed to be a "mail by" or "received by" deadline, so I just went ahead and spent too much money by FedExing it. (On a side note, I tried to buy some brass fasteners, i.e. "brads," at Kinko's, so that I could bind my script, because I'm out of brads, and I forgot that no one in Orange County knows what a "brad" is. I mean, seriously--I wouldn't expect everyone in the world to know what a "brad" was, but if you work at Kinko's, where your main job duty is to photocopy and bind things, I would think that you'd know what a brad is. I don't know why I find this so annoying. But I went up to the counter and I asked the woman if they sold brads, and she looked at me blankly and then she was like, "brads?" And then I was like, "brads." And then she gave me another blank look. And then I was like, again, "brads? Do you sell them?" And she was like, "what?" And then I remembered that I'd had this exact same conversation about a year ago at a different Kinko's in Orange County, and then I explained to the woman that brads are brass fasteners that hold scripts together, and then she was like, "yeah, I've never heard of that." And then I had to go to Staples, where I DID find brads, but even so, when I walked in and asked the man at the counter if they sold brads, again I got the blank stare followed by the question "what are brads?") (Why am I psycho about brads all of a sudden?) (I just feel like, it's fine if you don't know what brads are, a knowledge of brads is not necessary for daily life, but if you work at Kinko's or Staples, you should, like, know what brads are.) (Suddenly I feel like Brian Krakow. Like, this feels like something stupid that Brian Krakow would obsess about.) (Which is appropriate, since I'm so Brian Krakow.)

This is not a New Thing, but: It was my friend Lanie's birthday two days ago and I totally forgot to call her and wish her a happy birthday and I want to make up for it by sending her a shout out right now. HAPPY BIRTHDAY LANIE! (And yes, I'm talking to YOU, Lanie--there's only one Lanie, and you're the one, and I hope you had an awesome freaktastic birthday.)

New Thing #164: I peed on my pants. Now, before you react, read the sentence again. I didn't pee in my pants--I peed on my pants. It was really embarrassing and that's why I'm burying it way down here as the 14th New Thing in this round-up of New Things. Here's how things went down. Basically, this was last Sunday, right before my first meeting with my new writing group. I was over at my step-mom and brothers' house, and I had to go to the bathroom, and, okay, I won't get into details here, but suffice it to say, my phone rang and it distracted me for a beat and I inadvertantly peed on my freaking pants. And I was supposed to be at my new writing group in thirty minutes, and I still had a twenty minute drive, and I didn't have any other pants to change into, and there was a big splotch of pee on my pants, and it was kinda mortifying because I didn't want to go to my new writing group and have someone notice the pee blotch (splotch?) (what's a better word: blotch or splotch?) and then from that day on become known as the Pee Blotch/Splotch guy, and I realize that I'm outing myself right now by writing about it, but it's much better to laugh about it later after having gotten away with not being caught with pee on my pants than to have actually been caught with pee on my pants. So there I was standing in my step-mother's bathroom trying to figure out what the hell to do and I took my pants off and I wetted a wash cloth and I scrubbed the pee blotch with soap, soap, fucking soap, and then I furiously scrubbed the spot with a dry towel, just trying to dry it, dry it, dry the hell out of it, and then, for extra measure, I grabbed a bottle of my step-mother's perfume and sprayed some in the air and then swatted my pants through the rosy mist (better to smell like perfume than to smell like pee) and by then I was definitely running late for the group, so I threw my pants back on, ran out of the house, got in my car, and furiously drove through Hollywood. By the time I got to the house we were meeting at, the wet splotch/blotch had dried and I didn't smell like pee at all. Just a faint whiff of rose in the air. Crisis averted.

New Thing #165: I let go of my fear of death. Not to get morbid or anything. And when I say that I "let go of my fear of death," I don't mean that I want to die or anything--heavens no--but I've always been a hypochondriac and I feel like the hypochondria is rooted in a deep fear of the unknown, a fear of death--and now, I don't know, I'm just not afraid anymore. I'm not thinking about it. When it happens, it'll happen, and I'm not going to waste any more time obsessively fearing the inevitable. That sounds so blase, but I just mean that I'm spending more time focusing on living in the moment and less time on worrying about something that I can't control anyway. (That doesn't mean I'm abandoning trying to eat healthy and exercise and all that--of course I want to do the healthy things that will help me have a long, healthy stay here in the land of the living--I'm just saying that I'm not going to lie in bed at night anymore wondering if I have a brain tumor and then deciding that I probably do and freaking out.)

Friday, October 13, 2006

Svetlana’s Choice

It’s time for another season of the Real World/Road Rules Challenge! I know that some people really enjoyed my Fresh Meat write-ups and some people were like “really, Erik? Reallllllllly? Again with the Fresh Meat write-ups?” so I’m not going to do a play-by-play thing here, I’m just gonna jot down some thoughts as I watch the show. And if you don’t care about the Challenge, you can leave me comments about how television is destroying my brain.

--First of all, I am so happy that there’s another Challenge. It feels like the last one finished a couple of weeks ago (I think it did) and I’ve been jonesing for some cramazing MTV reality.

--Wow, I can’t believe Evan is back. After the hernia debacle from last season, I wonder what physical ailments he’s gonna try to fight through this time. This dude could partially severe his head and he’d be like “I’m fine, I can push through it, I don’t give up.” There’s a difference between not giving up and accepting that your body is literally falling apart and you desperately need medical attention, but whatevans.

--Diem’s back and she’s in remission from her ovarian cancer! I love her and I’m really happy for her.

--We cut from Diem’s heartfelt confession to Casey talking about how she spent her Fresh Meat reward money on a boob job and that’s why I love this show. Because one woman’s remission is another woman’s boob job, or vice a versa—MTV doesn’t discriminate—health or fake boobs, whatever makes you happy, MTV will tell your story. (Have you ever noticed that people say “boob job” and they say “fake tits” but they never say “tit job” or “fake boobs”? I think we need to switch things up and start saying “tit job” and “fake boobs” more often, but that’s just me.)

(I just realized that I ended my last two paragraphs with “but” phrases.)

--Evan just addressed the hernia debacle. He was like “my doctors gave me a clean bill of health so stop worrying about me, Erik,” and then I was like, “but you were such an idiot for trying to compete with your intestines literally pouring all over the place,” and then he was like, “they weren’t literally pouring all over the place,” and then I was like, “I saw the footage! They were! Literally! Pouring all over the place!” and then he was like, “nuh-uh,” and then I was like, “dude, you’re a tool and your hernia’s gonna come back to haunt you this season. I call it right now.”

--Wes is back this season without Johanna. They’re still dating, but she’s not competing on the show this season, which is probably good for their relationship. The less time they spend together, the fewer opportunities he has to call her a bitch and for her to realize that he’s a douchebag and she deserves better. (Apparently “douchebag” isn’t in my spell check. Why the freak isn’t douchebag in my spell check? Have I never typed the word douchebag before? What’s up with that? Why don’t I use douchebag enough for my spell check to know it by now? Douchebag is a perfectly perfect word. It should be used more.) (That reminds me of this one time when I was in French class in high school, my French teacher Ms. Branica was asking all of us where our families originally came from and this one girl was trying to say that she was Dutch and she said she was “a douche” and we all thought that was the most hilarious thing.) (Why on earth is that memory so vivid in my head? It’s not particularly funny, yet it is INCREDIBLY VIVID IN MY HEAD. Like, this was twelve years ago and I can remember the look on this girl’s face when she realized what she had just said, yet I can’t remember what I wore yesterday.) (Similarly, I have a very vivid memory of the time my biology teacher in junior high school told the class that we were going to study orgasms in class that day, when she meant to say “organisms in class.” And I don’t remember a single other thing that I learned that year. I just remember the teacher saying the word “orgasms” and the fact that we were gonna study them.) (Do I have the most puerile mind or what?)

--Back to Wes, he just said that he can’t wait to have a bunch of “little Wes’ running around.” This is why I believe in zero population growth, people! We can not have little Wes’ running around! Ahhhh! The horror.

--I love how they cut from Wes saying the thing about wanting to have a bunch of “little Wes’ running around” (I still can’t type that phrase without vomiting in my mouth just a little bit) and then the brilliant MTV editors cut to a shot of Casey (Wes’ former partner from Fresh Meat, who he treated horribly) looking all despondant and biting her lip.

--Thank God For Beth. “I am going to make everyone’s life a living hell.” That’s why we love you, Beth. I predict she’s going to kill someone this season. Seriously.

--Who’s Paula? I don’t remember her from past seasons. Why don’t I know who she is? Is she a major MTV character and I’m just having crazy memory loss? Why isn’t Tanya on this season? We want Tanya, MTV.

--CT is the new Wes. Cocky bastard. Love it. He has SO MUCH ‘TUDE!

--Holy crap, we’re only four minutes into the episode and I’ve already written a novel about this baloney?

--Okay, wait, I think I’m remembering Paula all of a sudden. I think she’s a drunk crazy girl who hooks up with lots of people. (Fairly safe bet on the Challenge.)

--Solo mission! Everyone’s happy about it except for Paula. I don’t get Paula. What’s wrong with Paula? Casey doesn’t look happy about it either. Casey, this means that you won’t ever have to compete WITH wes ever again (this time). You should be really happy. Stop frowning. You have new boobs!

--TJ just explained the rules and true to Challenge form, they don’t make sense at all—or they kinda do, but they are so freaking complicated that I couldn’t explain the rules if you paid me 8 million and 7 hundred thousand dollars to explain the rules to you. (How great was tonight’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy?)

--Nehemiah just said “We are fighting for half a million dollars. I cannot even imagine what kind of snakes are gonna come out of people’s personalities.” I love Nehemiah. He’s always saying things like that. I mean “I cannot even imagine what kind of snakes are gonna come out of people’s personalities” makes sense, but it’s really oddly worded. Snakes coming out of people’s personalities? People acting like snakes, yes—but snakes coming out of people’s personalities? It’s just odd wording. Fascinating, strange wording. Nehemiah is like the Yoda of MTV Challenges.

--Tyler seems really conniving and he just said that the girls are all going to pick him first because he’s gay and girls love gay guys and either he’s totally going home today because MTV loves to set us up for an ironic fall at the end of the first episode every season.

--Reason I love these MTV kids #1,897: They just got a clue that told them they would all have to leave the house at 10 a.m. tomorrow morning for their first challenge and EVERYONE gasped as if 10 a.m. was SO EARLY.

--Oh, I think Paula is from Key West. I think she’s new. I think she’s the girl who eats her hair.

--Holy crap. MTV always makes their challenges difficult, but this challenge is fucking even more difficulter than usual. As usual, Beth is trying to screw everyone. Okay, wait, the challenge just ended for the girls and I don’t get their strategy. They’re somehow trying to work as a group but they’re all in it for themselves and there only one person who can get a key but they’re all trying to get the key together? What?

--Evan is totally about to rip his hernia again. Seriously, Evan. YOU ARE PULLING FIVE MEN WITH YOUR BELLY. YOU ARE GOING TO RIP YOURSELF TO SHREDS. Why are the guys all trying to help Eric win? What’s up? Why isn’t anyone else trying to get the key? That was the weirdest challenge. It made more less-sense than the MTV challenges usually do.

--I think it’s interesting that that Derrick didn’t try to save Diem (he chose Kina) (did he and Kinda ever have a thing?) and that Tina didn’t save Kenny (she so holds a grudge from Fresh Meat!) and now this girl Svetlana (?) from Key West has to choose between two of her boys from Key West, forcing one of them into The Duel, and this show has so suddenly just become Svetlana’s Choice, I love it, you just know that MTV somehow orchestrated the entire schoolyard picking system so that it would end exactly how it ended. She even has Meryl Streep’s accent. This is so epic.

--Hey, lookiloo, remember how Tyler was like “I’m totally gonna get picked first because I’m gay and all the girls wanna pick the gay guy?” Remember that? Yeah, well Tyler, I think you’re gonna be this season’s Ev (remember Ev?) because here you are, in the bottom two, and you’re totally going into the Duel today. Just wait.

--Yep. I was right. So predictable (yet I still love it). Tyler’s the last man standing. If you ever say “I’m going to be the first person picked” on an MTV reality challenge, then you are always going to be the last person picked. It’s like a law or something.

--Tyler’s competing against John and I don’t care who wins at all. As long as Derrick’s not going home today, I’m happy.

--Tyler has to lift 31 watermelons to stay in this game. Another reason I love this show. They have challenges that involve lifting 31 watermelons. In a shock twist, Tyler won the challenge! Crizzazy. It was kind of an ass move for Tyler to put his “best friend” in the challenge and then send his “best friend” home by lifting 31 watermelons.

--Beth just said “I don’t want any drama. I swear to you, I don’t want any drama.” Um, huh? Beth? Your last name is Drama! Your name is “Beth Drama!”

--MTV totally just pixilated the nipple boners that were poking through Tina’s shirt.

--Diem JUST finished her chemo and she’s back for another challenge. She is such a rockstar.

--Okay, remember how, like, 30 seconds ago Beth was all “I don’t want any drama. I swear to you, I don’t want any drama?” Well, now she’s all: “I think there’s a bunch of bitches on this show. I love just messing with them and playing with them. It’s very fun for me…I’m gonna have to take down some bitch today, I know it.” And then she did the Beth cackle. Beth! You’re insane! (And I hope you never get kicked out of the challenge because you are great MTV.)

--It’s time for their second competition and Diem just said “the second I see that mud pool, I’m freaking out: Damn it, damn it, I have to take my wig off, I’m so pissed,” and she hasn’t taken her wig off yet, but I just want to say that I’ve always thought women with bald heads are beautiful. I love bald women. It’s a look that more women should embrace more fully.

--Speedo time!

--I’ve always wanted to run around in a big vat of mud. That’s the only reason I wish I knew how to play football—so I could go play football in the mud on a rainy day, like people do, and get really muddy.

--This challenge is pure gay porn.

--Kina hates Beth so much that I hope they’re the final two ladies standing. Beth is practically a cartoon character. Is she playing her self

--Diem is freaking out about having to take off the wig. I understand, but D—you’re gonna look so much hotter than any of these other girls. I like that the other women all decided to put on swim caps so that they’d all look the same. Nice moment of solidarity on a show that is almost devoid of moments of solidarity. Unless your name’s Derrick, because my man Derrick is super solid.

--I said this wasn’t going to be a beat by beat blog, but it kinda has been. Sorry, Lindsaylindsay.

--The wig just came off and Diem, you are SMOKIN’. Seriously. So. Hot. Derrick just yelled out “D—you look good!” And she’s starting to feel it—she’s starting to feel “kinda kinda good” and she fuckin’ should—you can sense that all of the guys are like, “dayum, girlfriend.” And, uh, yeah…I think I just turned straight. My grandmother will be proud.

--No one is putting rings on Diem’s pole. (That sounds uh wrong.) But But I don’t think they’re just being nice. She deserves this win because she totally just had a great personal win and she should take the challenge to honor that. Awesome. She did. She won. She’s totally rockstar. Diem Brown, I want you to self-google yourself and read this: You are fucking awesome. Feel it. Believe it.

--Oh…nice…Tina and Beth are starting the first catfight. As Evan says “one of the most beautiful moments [Diem winning] was quickly followed by one of the most ugly moments…” and Tina is about to punch Beth…oh, do it! Fight! Fight! Fight! Whoa…Tina took a punch! I didn’t think it was gonna happen. Holy crap! She totally just took a fucking punch and then the episode ended! Cliffhanger, baby.

--This is an amazing show. Wow. Just wow.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Guessing Game

If you've already seen this photo and you know, definitively, who this is, then don't spoil the fun for others. But if you've never seen this photo, then please feel free to use my comment section to guess who might be hiding behind the big hat. I had to post this because I thought it was truly bizarre. I mean, wow. Weird.

After you've made a guess, go HERE to find out who the mystery person is. (photo via World of Wonder)

New Thing #149: I saw a Martin Scorsese movie in a movie theater.

I love going to the movies, natch, and I like to think of myself as a having seen my fair share of films, but even the most avid moviegoer has to have missed at least some of the biggies along the road, and, well, I have to admit that not only have I never seen a Martin Scorsese movie in a movie theater, but, um, I haven’t seen most of Martin Scorsese’s movies at all. I haven’t actively avoided his films, they’ve just slipped by me. Raging Bull? Never seen it. Taxi Driver? Nope. Goodfellas? Sorry. Casino, Last Temptation of the Christ, and Gangs of New York? No, no, and no. (I am SUCH a loser.) (The only Scorsese movies I'd ever seen before the other night were The Age of Innocence and Cape Fear.)

But all of that’s going to change, and soon, because after seeing The Departed, I want to see every Martin fucking Scorsese movie fucking right the fuck now. He’s a genius. Who knew? (Okay, a lot of people knew, and I feel shame—so much shame—for not knowing.) (I mean, I figured, but I didn’t really KNOW.) (And: Now. I. Know.)

(New Thing #149: I saw a Martin Scorsese movie in a movie theater.)

Oh, and I’ve always said that you’re either a Fan of Damon or you’re a Fan of Affleck, and the twain shall never meet. Everyone in the world has one who they prefer over the other. It’s a simple matter of fact. Like, if you polled a thousand people and asked them “Damon or Affleck,” I promise you that you wouldn’t even get one lone aberrant responder trying to say “both.” You just wouldn’t ever hear “both” because those “I like both Damon and Affleck” people simply don’t exist in the real world. And I’ve always been a Fan of Affleck (not for any real reason, really, other than the fact that I’ve always enjoyed being contrary with Jesse whenever he mentioned Damon, because Jesse has always been an unapologetic Fan of Damon), but after watching The Departed, I have to concede to Jesse and admit that Damon is way better than Affleck. He rocks in this movie.

The movie may not be for everyone--I've talked to some people who didn't like it--but I was the first movie I've loved--really, really loved--all year.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Overheard conversation between two teens

10/10/06 - 11:15 a.m.

I remember being in high school and having lots of quiet hushed conversations with friends during class and writing notes and doing my fair share of being a teen, and I remember feeling like I was getting away with it, but one thing I've learned since I started subbing is that THE TEACHER HEARS AND SEES EVERYTHING. It's true.

I overheard the following conversation yesterday, and it broke my heart a little.

I'm not exactly sure how the conversation got around to adoption, but it did, and then I overheard this snippet of talk:

TEEN #1: I was adopted.

TEEN #2: Really?

TEEN #1: Yeah.

TEEN #2: When?

TEEN #1: When I was eight.

TEEN #2: So did you ever meet your real parents?

TEEN #1: Of course. I lived with them until I was seven.

TEEN #2: Were they nice?

TEEN #1: No.

TEEN #2: Why not?

TEEN #1: Because they left scars on my back, that's why.

And that was it. The second teen shut up, not really sure how to respond, but finally getting the message that the first teen didn't want the second teen to press the issue any further. The first teen didn't seem upset really, she was very matter-of-fact. But I was innerved--just the fact that I had overheard this small private moment, it felt invasive. Like I'd accidentally read someone's diary or something. I really felt for this teenaged kid, and I'm glad she got out of that situation and found a loving family, a home. (Which I know she did, based on the rest of her conversation.)

Tales of a Substitute Nothing

The following is a verbatim transcription of a conversation that took place yesterday between me and some Freshman dude named James.

James walks into the class, looks at me.

JAMES: Are you our sub?

ME: Yep.

JAMES: (looking at the board) Your name’s Mr. Patterson?

ME: Yep.

JAMES: Did you know our real teacher’s name is Mr. Patterson?

ME: Yeah. I know. Freaky.

JAMES: Did anyone ever tell you that you look like—

ME: Don't say it—

JAMES: That actor, that guy—

ME: No, I don’t.

JAMES: The guy from Independance Day—

ME: Seriously. Don't say it—

JAMES: Jeff, uh—

ME: Dude. Stop.

JAMES: Bloomberg. Jeff Bloomberg.

ME: It’s Goldblum.

JAMES: Yeah, that’s it! You look like Jeff Goldblum.

And in my head I’m all “oh my freaking god” because I’ve been getting “you look like Jeff Goldblum” since 1993 and I’m so over it and I really wish Jeff Goldblum would do the decent thing and just, like, fade away into obscurity, or stop looking like me.

And then this girl Kylie is like:

KYLIE: Actually, I think you look like Vince Vaughnn.

And then, even though I think I look way more like Jeff Goldblum than like Vince Vaughnn, I turn to Kylie and I’m totally like:

ME: Thank you—Vince Vaughnn is way better than Jeff Goldblum.

KYLIE: I know.

And then this other girl, Danica, pipes in with:

DANICA: Actually, I think you look like my dentist, except my dentist has a bigger nose than you do.

ME: Um…

And then I put the kibosh on this conversation and shush everyone so I can take roll.

UPDATE: Hey, check out this pic I just found. It's me and me.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Watch Friday Night Lights, part deux

I totally fell for Friday Night Lights last week. I've decided it's my favorite new show of the new shows on the telly this year. I've been thinking a lot about the final voice-over quote from the end of the pilot episode. Just been thinking about it. It resonates, and it really hit me when I was watching the show:

"Give all of us gathered here tonight the strength to remember that life is so very fragile. We are all vulnerable. And we will all at some point in our lives fall. We will all fall. We must carry this in our hearts: that what we have is special. That it can be taken from us. And that when it is taken from us, we will be tested. We will be tested to our very souls. We will now all be tested. It is these times—it is this pain—that allows us to look inside ourselves."

Oh, and the show's kinda hot, too. Not as hot as Paul Rudd,

but still pretty hot. (Am I really weird for thinking that the above photo of Paul Rudd is definitive proof that there is a God and he's a really good guy and he listens to my prayers? Like, is that weird? That THIS MAN is my ultimate fantasy?) (photo source: kenneth in the 212)

Word to the wise (New Thing #147 and 148)

If you ever find yourself in the position where you're teaching an elementary school ESL class and you've only gotten 3 hours of sleep and you don't understand or speak a lick of Spanish, you should, at the very least, eat breakfast.

New Thing #147: I taught English as a Second Language to a group of kids who, for the most part, only spoke Spanish, which would have been fine and manageable had I gotten more than three hours sleep and eaten something (anything) before beginning my seven hour shift, but since I was so danged tired and hungry, there were several moments where I not only didn't understand or speak Spanish but I also didn't understand or speak English. Despite my complete and utter lack of mental faculties today, the kids were good kids and I think they liked me.

New Thing #148: (this one I haven't actually done yet, but I'm doing it tomorrow, so I'll go ahead and take credit for it): I'm substituting for a teacher with my own name, a teacher named Mr. Patterson. How funny is that? (Okay, maybe it isn't even remotely funny, but I'm still running on the same three hours of sleep from last night, so humor isn't my strong suit right now) (I don't know what my strong suit right now is) Still, I think it's funny and I'm really looking forward to being able to say "I'm Mr. Patterson" tomorrow and having kids look at me and be like "no, you're not, we know Mr. Patterson and you're not Mr. Patterson," and then being like, "oh, but I am," and then them being like, "um, you're weird and you're not our teacher," and then me being like, "but we have the same name! ha!" and then them looking at me blankly. It's gonna be so funny.

Friday, October 06, 2006

This is pandemonium, Larry!

Okay, oh my god, if you're a fan of the Real World/Road Rules Challenges (hello Uma, Marie, Annie, Steve, Bonnie, et al) then YOU MUST WATCH THIS:

Clink me for a preview of MTV's The Duel.

Yeah, it looks like it just might be the BEST freaking challenge EVER.

So. Much. Drama. Like, more drama than usual. And there's usually a lot of drama. And Derrick's back. And Diem's back. And I had no idea the new season was starting so soon! Holy frak!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Fortune cookie: 10/5/06

What's it gonna be?!?? (better be something freakin' good)


Rebecca Gray, one of my favorite actors in Los Angeles (or anywhere), and one of my dear friends, was on Criminal Minds tonight, playing a mother who's daughter had been abducted, and she rocked it.

Congratulations, RG! You were awesome. Big xoxo.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

New Thing #146: I handled a bunch of Rainforest bugs; oh, and I've forgotten everything I learned in 6th grade

I subbed for a 6th grade class yesterday. When I arrived, some random woman walked up to me and asked for my phone number. I was like, “okay, sure, why?” and she told me that she was one of the other 6th grade teachers and she’s always looking for people who are willing to substitute for 6th grade. She said “willing to sub for 6th grade” as if it was the stupidest thing she could thing of something willing to do. I gave her my phone number, she gave me a tight smile (“good luck”) and then she left me alone to wonder, what the hell am I getting into subbing for 6th grade? Are 6th graders really that bad? Are they going to eat me alive?

It turns out, 6th graders ain’t bad at all. I don’t know why it’s a grade that substitutes apparently have to be “willing to” substitute for. I mean, yes, the kids were definitely going through crazy hormonal shifts and were more interested in flirting with each other than doing their assignments (quick anecdote: at the end of the day, I was cleaning up and I noticed a very small piece of paper on this one kid Tony’s desk, and I noticed the paper had writing on it—I picked it up to throw it away with the other loose papers I was throwing away, and looked closely at it—it was actually a note, which read: “Tony, will you go out with me?” and as soon as I read it, I looked up and this one girl Katie looking at me, totally mortified, like, oh my god the teacher just read my note, and I looked at her and smiled and put the note back on Tony’s desk and she turned red and ran away), but the 6th graders were fun to talk to and they were a smart group of kids, and totally easy to police. (A lot of substitute teaching consists of keeping kids from killing each other rather than actually teaching.)

It was “Science Day,” which meant we had this visiting rainforest specialist come in for an hour and she brought several rainforest animals for us to meet and touch and I touched some crazy bugs. The scariest one was called the Emperor Scorpion—part of his body folds over his head like a headdress, and he really does look like royalty (or, bug royalty, at the very least) and he was the biggest scorpion I’ve ever seen in real life. (Um, the only scorpion I’ve ever seen in real life?) I also got to hold a really big beetle, which was apparently the kind of beetle that they eat on Fear Factor, and I’ve decided that the bigger the beetle the less disgusting the beetle. I know that might seem like an incongruous idea because small beetles are gross and you’d assume that big beetles would naturally be even grosser—but the larger they are, the more manageable they seem. Like, I could imagine having a really big beetle for a pet and walking it around on a leash, but I totally can’t even imagine looking at a small beetle without jumping up and stepping on it.

I cannot even begin to tell you how stoopid I felt during the rest of the day as I was “teaching” 6th grade—the kids were supposed to work on several different worksheets and projects throughout the day and they kept coming up to me with questions, like, “what’s a mode number?” and there were several moments when I wanted to say to them “do you know how long it’s been since I was in 6th grade?” but instead I would huff and haw for a minute pretending to be “thinking” and in the meantime I’d be looking up the answer in my teacher’s manual and trying to figure out how to explain a simple math concept that read like gibberish to me (though I totally know what a mode number is now).

Monday, October 02, 2006

Watch Friday Night Lights.

Okay, so I'm usually not really into sports, um, at all, which I think is a pretty well known fact about me. Like, you can start talking about sports and I'll try to keep up as best as I can, but after awhile I'll get kinda glossy-eyed because I have no idea what you're talking about and it starts to sound like you're speaking Egyptian and, well, I'm sorry about that glossy-eyedness thing I mentioned that I get, it's just that, well, it just happens.

But if I was going to pick my favorite sport, the only one that I really have any investment in is football--two of my brothers play football, see, and my brothers are pretty much the coolest people in the world, so if they love football, well then I'm happy I love the game too, dammit. Therefore, football's my favorite sport.

For the sake of full disclosure, I also have to admit that I've always loved movies about football. Especially movies about high school football. Um, remember that Goldie Hawn movie Wildcats? Yeah, I love it. And the Sean Aston movie Rudy? Turns me into a blubbering mess. I love underdogs.

Anyway, enough about me. One of my friends is on the writing staff of "Friday Night Lights," which premieres Tuesday night on NBC at 8pm, and she has assured me that the show is awesome, and even if she hadn't assured me, I think it looks pretty awesome myself, based on the promos (clink on the links in this sentence to see them) and I'm really looking forward to the show. I thought I'd pass on my friend's assurance of the show's awesomeness, and tell y'all to watch the show too, and then maybe, if we all like it, then we can, like, gab about the show together and stuff.

(By the way, as far as other new shows go, I love love love Ugly Betty so much I could marry it, I'm fascinated by Dexter and I already think Michael C. Hall should get an Emmy [except his character is way too fucked up to be recognized by Emmy voters], I'm getting really tired of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip but I'll give it one more week just because so many other people like it so much, I'm embarrassed to admit how much I really truly completely love Standoff, I'm so utterly bored by Brothers & Sisters that I took it off my Tivo list of shows to be recorded, I'm so utterly "eh" about Smith that I took it off my Tivo list of shows to be recorded, I thought Six Degrees only had two interesting degrees [Hope Davis and Campbell Scott] and that's not enough to hold my interest so I took it off my Tivo list of shows to be recorded, I'm totally into Kidnapped even though it almost feels like there's too much plot sometimes I'm still totally into it [and Jeremy Sisto could read the phone book and I'd be like "that dude has so much damage I wanna see more"], I thought Jericho was too depressing for words and not in a good way, and I like Men In Trees but it's no Ugly Betty.) (Oh, and if you think I watch way too much television, I'd like to point out that of the ten shows listed above, I just took five of them off of my Tivo list of shows to be recorded, so I'm not as much of a sloth as you think I am.)

Sunday, October 01, 2006

New Thing #145: I hawked goldfish at a church fundraiser

Yesterday, I spent five hours volunteering at my friend Christina's church fundraiser. Every year they put on a big carnival to raise money and this year she was in charge of "the fish booth," which meant she had to find people to help her man it, and she got me and Jessica to come help out for the afternoon. Basically, kids could buy eleven ping pong balls for a dollar and there were a bunch of fish bowls in the middle of the booth and if you got a ping pong ball into a fish bowl, then you got to take home a fish (and if you got eleven ping pong balls in eleven fish bowls, then you got to take home eleven fish) (and so on).

Christina and Jessica were in charge of bagging the goldfish, while I was in charge of selling the ping pong balls. There were several kids working the booth with us, but I'm pretty sure Christina, Jessica, and I did all of the real work. I like kids and all, but they were kind of being worthless helpers. There was this one girl, Kelly, who, like, literally just stood there all day. Like, I would be yelling (all carnival barkery) "we've got homeless fish here! fish need a home!" and then a dozen families would come over and I'd sell them a bunch of balls and they'd throw their balls and miss most of them but get some of them and then I'd be crawling on my hands and knees picking up ping pong balls and yelling back to the fish baggers "we need three fish for the girl in purple! we need two fish for the tall guy! (etc.)" and then I'd look at Kelly and she would literally just be standing there staring off at the Ferris Wheel, longingly. But, okay, it wasn't JUST me doing all of the work--there were some other kids helping out a lot too, but I was really freaking annoyed with Kelly and I wanted to give her a hard time on my blog, since I couldn't give her a hard time in real life. (And I totally changed her name, it wasn't really Kelly, I picked a fake name in case she ever self-googled her own real name with the phrase "fish booth," because she was probably, like, 9, and I don't want to really be mean to a 9-year-old. I don't roll like that.

Throughout the day, I would occasionally try throwing ping pong balls myself and I never made it. Lots and lots of other people (like, almost everyone) were making their ping pong shots and getting goldfish (we had TWENTY-FIVE HUNDRED in the tank), but I could not, for the life of me, get a damn ping pong ball into a fucking fish bowl. It just wasn't happening for me. I guess I'm really bad at sports. (What am I saying "I guess" for, when I totally know it to be true?)

Anyway, my favorite moment came towards the end of the day. There was this girl, she must have been about seven years old (though I'm really bad at telling peoples ages, so she could have been twelve for all I know--but I think she was more like seven or eight) and she was wearing a shirt with a pink star puffy painted on it, so for the purposes of this story we'll call her Star. So Star bought eleven ping pong balls and she started throwing 'em at the fish bowls. And she missed and she missed and she missed and she missed. Eleven times. (Most people--me excluded--got at least one of their eleven balls in.) So then Star looked in her little pink wallet. Even though she saw that there weren't very many more dollar bills in there, she really wanted a goldfish, so she considered for a beat and then she handed me another dollar, and then I handed her eleven more balls and she started throwing. And she missed and she missed and she missed and she missed. Over and over and over again. And with each ball that she threw and missed, her spirits went down notch by notch. When she was down to four balls, she looked at me and said "I'm not gonna get a goldfish, am I?" And I was like, "don't be down, you might still make it," and she just looked crestfallen and she said, "no, I'm not." And then she threw the ball and missed and then she picked up the next ball and said, "I'm not going to make it," and I said, "don't say that, you gotta have hope," and then she threw the ball and she missed, and you could just see her spirit breaking, and I kept telling her, "you're gonna get a goldfish, I can feel it," and then she threw her second to last ball and she missed again, and she looked at me, her eyes big and sad and said "I don't know," and I told her, again, "don't lose hope," and she swung her arm and the ball flew through the air in this arc and then it started to descend toward the table with the fish bowls and it landed with a bounce against the lip of one of the bowls and then it ricocheted to another bowl and then bounced up and back down towards another and it started to look like it was going to go in and this whole moment was totally going in slow motion and then and then and then...it hit the lip of the other bowl and bounced down to the ground. Star didn't get her fish and she was out of money and it was over. Her dreams of winning a fucking goldfish (how much is it to ask?) had been dashed and you could just tell she was distraught about the whole thing. So then I was like, "hey Star--watch this." And then I picked up a ping pong ball from the ground and even though I hadn't made a single shot I'd thrown all I day, I threw the ping ball ball and suddenly PLOP, it went into one of the bowls and I looked back at Star and said "it looks like you won!" And her whole face lit up and she ran to get her fish.

I know that from the way I went on and on and on about that fish story, you'd think this was, like, Requim for a Fish, when it's really just a simple little story, but it felt nice to bend the rules for star and help her believe in the carnival again.