Monday, April 25, 2016

Five Albums: Arrival

"See that girl, watch that scene/digging the Dancing Queen"  I'm 12 years old and I've re-discovered ABBA.  My parents laugh because they have video of toddler-me dancing to "Take A Chance On Me."  Oh, if there was YouTube in 1989!  But when I rekindle my love of ABBA in 1997, I do my share of dancing. 

In 1997, I've yet to have a crush on a teacher, so I can't relate to "When I Kissed The Teacher."  Maybe this does explain, though, why I seem to always go for the timid, mathy guys.

"My Love, My Life" is dreamy, ethereal ballad about breaking up with a guy named Mitch.  Or, at least I thought so, back in 1997.  "I can hear Mitch passing by, my love, my life" starts the chorus.  As a kid, this song bored me.  As an adult who is capable of Googling the actual lyrics, this song breaks my heart.  Mitch breaks my heart.  "Oh this has been my longest day/sitting here close to you/knowing that maybe tonight we're through" — the sinking feeling of your love dying and realizing your relationship is over.  Realizing that this song isn't really about Mitch.  

Hell, I was twelve.  I thought "Dum Dum Diddle" was profound.

If any one song reinforced my internalized misogyny and low self-esteem at this age, it was "That's Me."  Boasting about being not like other girls, while relishing being undeserving of love.  Whoof.  "I'm jealous, and I'm proud/if you hurt my feelings I cry out loud."  Yeah, #NotLikeOtherGirls cry out loud when their feelings are hurt, and then shrug it off like "That's Me"!  Uh huh.

IMHO, the album standout was always "Why Did It Have To Be Me?"  Lead vocals by Bjorn and Frida, so we get a rare break from Agnetha's usual airy strainings.  I always rooted for Frida, as the non-blonde of the group.  I felt that her face had more expression while singing, and I still watch videos of this song being performed live when I need a pick-me-up:

Is ABBA kind of punk here?  As punk, I guess, as ABBA gets.  After our departure into dirty, gritty rock, we have our "Arrival."  An almost completely instrumental number (unless you count "AHHHH" as lyrics), I listened to "Arrival" and thought, "this is what it sounds like when your plane lands in Sweden, naturally."  

ABBA is one of the highest-grossing musical acts of all time, which is hard to comprehend when you hear "Tiger" — a song that may be laden with sexual innuendo, but seem like it lends itself better to a ballet recital for five-year-olds.  Can you just see the damn costumes?  Little tigers in leotards and face paint, running around onstage, forgetting their choreography?

ABBA was engineered for dancing.  Say what you will about their lyrics (as Dorothy Parker would say, "if you don't have anything nice to say..."), their music is fucking danceable.  The opening piano slide of "Dancing Queen" comes over a loudspeaker and you are transported to the Land of Compulsory Dance.  In 1997, I didn't really understand "Friday night and the lights are low/Looking out for a place to go," but I had recently been introduced to Middle School Dances, and they were what I lived for.  Every month, for $2, you could go to the gym — which was the place where nightmares come to be made during the daytime — on a Friday night and the lights would all be turned off...hmmm...and stake out a claim of territory with your friends near the DJ booth.  The sweet old man spinning records was kind enough to take requests, to ensure they play the right music...huh.  The night was young, and the music...hurt your ears!  And then you get the let go.  

These dances were my everything.  I had not yet learned to be ashamed of my body, a shame that would rob me of my joy in dance for the next couple decades of my life, no, but that would come soon enough.  For now, my only responsibility (having paid my $2 at the door) was to spin, twirl, shake and high-kick my way through two hours of music without stopping.  I developed a bit of a reputation as the shy, quiet girl who could really dance.  I turned down partner offers — partly because I was terrified of boys at this age, and also because they'd only slow me down!  I was a solo act, baby.  A Star.  A Supernova.  I was the Dancing Queen.

Coming Soon:

Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness

Stop Making Sense

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Things Guys Do On The Subway That We HATE

Playing Shitty Music Out Loud — look at everybody else's ears.  What do you see?  Those are called "headphones."  People wear them in public.  If you're wearing headphones and I can still hear your music, then you need to re-evaluate your life.  Seriously.

Spitting — yo are you brushing your teeth on the D train platform?  NO?  Then you have no reason whatsoever to spit.  So you just bought a big ol' bag of sunflower seeds, and you are under the delusion that the shower of shells you're spewing onto the tracks are going to germinate a field of beautiful sunflowers three stories below 36th Street?  Oh wait, no, that's bullshit.  Spitting on the train is vile.  Would you spit on the seat of a cab?  If I gave you a ride, would you spit on my dashboard?  So don't spit on the fucking train, you wretched creature.

Manspreading — it's an epidemic.

“Showtime” — the top-left corner on Living In New York BINGO is "seeing a breakdancer kick an unsuspecting passenger in the face on the subway."  You're not really an official New Yorker until you've had to dodge a sneaker to the face on the E train.  In eight years living here, I've seen one female dancer on the train.  ONE.  

Singing/Rapping Aloud With Their Headphones — Well, congratulations, look who got a set of headphones!  Now let me tell you how they work.  The bottom-center square on Living In New York BINGO is being alone on a deserted platform late at night and suddenly hearing the visceral scream of "RAPED THAT BITCH IN THE ASS!"  Is it a dangerous murderer?!?  No, it's someone singing along with their headphones.

One of the proudest moments in my life as a New Yorker happened in the High Street underpass.  A creepy guy was singing aloud to his headphone about cracking skulls or some nonsense, and I just decided to sing along with my own headphones to the witty songstylings of Billy Joel — "Leave A Tender Moment Alone."  

Blocking The Doors — you say, "But Meghan, are you sure women don't do this too?"  And yes, leaning against the doors for balance when the train is in motion is a universal necessity.  My pet peeve is on the guys who keep leaning when the doors are open, defying the laws of gravity and physics to prevent anyone from getting in or out of the train.  Nothing says "I don't care what the function of a door is, I'm comfortable where I am" like ignoring angry people on either side of you while you play Candy Crush Saga on your iPhone 6S during rush hour.  

What bad behaviors did I miss?  What pisses you off on the subway?  Should we collect these "courtesey counts" posters and burn them in a fire, casting a spell on all those who violate the cartoons' directives?

Monday, April 18, 2016

Dressing For The Weather: New York City Edition

Summer:  "Which of my pretty pretty dresses should I wear today?"

*five minutes later* 

"Ok, I'm ready!"

Fall:  "I can pull off this sundress!  I'll just put a sweater over it.  And some jeans under it.  And a down coat.  I'm still tan from summer, so you can hardly tell that my extremities are turning blue!"

Winter: "Phew!  I finally fit all of my clothes on my body at the same time, aaaaand now I'm too tired to go out."

Spring: "The forecast calls for a high of 70 and a low of 20, so I just threw on these jeans and this t-shirt."  

"Okay, so what's with the suitcase?" 

"Oh that's got a hoodie, long underwear, my winter coat, my bathing suit and a pair of shorts, you know, just in case."

Monday, April 11, 2016

I'm Breaking Up With The C-Word: "CRAZY"

I won't even say "crazy" to my therapist.  Not just because it's an ableist slur (we'll get to that) but because I know she's going to ask me "What do you mean by that?"  She knows that word is bullshit.  And now you will too.

When someone describes something as "crazy, for lack of a better word," alarm bells ring: NO.  YOU'RE LYING.  THERE'S DEFINITELY A BETTER WORD.  In casual conversation, "crazy" means anything and everything.

Moment of honesty:  I use the word "crazy" in one situation only: when I can't hear what someone has just said.  Ugh I hate bars.  I have no idea what's happening in bars, other than nobody should ever play "Breakfast at Tiffany's" by Deep Blue Something at a volume level that makes my brain hurt.  Trying to catch up with friends, or meet new people...I have fuck-all idea what anybody's saying.  So I just squint through the dingy lighting to discern when their lips stop moving to indicate that it's time for me to speak:

Me: "Hi, how's it going?"
Them:  "Oh, this week was -- YOU SAY WE'VE GOT NOTHING IN COMMON --"
Me: Huh.  Crazy.
Them:  "Yeah, on Monday, -- THE WORLD HAS COME BETWEEN US --"
Me:  Oh wow, crazy.
Them:  "Yeah, so I'm thinking now I'm just gonna -- STILL I KNOW YOU JUST DON'T CARE --"
Me:  Hah!  Crazy.
Them:  "Yeah, maybe, I mean, do you think I should -- WHAT ABOUT BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S SHE SAID --
Me:  I don't know.  That's pretty crazy.
Them:  "You're right.  Do you wanna get a drink?"
Me:  Oh, God, yes.

Did I pull it off?  Luckily, the word "crazy" is so devoid of meaning, I can participate in conversation without hearing any of the context.  Thanks, "crazy!"

Ding!  That means it's time for the FEMALE PERSPECTIVE.  Women and craziness have been linked together hysterically - I mean, HISTORICALLY - for ages.  The term "hysteria" is a play on our anatomy, and the idea that our genitals cast a magic spell of craziness is perpetuated every time someone (even well-meaning) utters those three letters, "P-M-S."  Maybe I chafe at the word "crazy" because, like "PMS," it seems like a term used to dismiss women for having emotions or doing things.  A woman is acting in a way that is not pleasing to a man: she is sad, angry, disappointed?  SHE'S CRAZY OMG PMS DUDE WTF.  

Here's a cute bunny to go with your adorable internalized misogyny. Crazy, huh?

So what does "crazy" even mean?  You say, duh, Meghan, "crazy" is slang for "mentally ill."  Oh, cool.  Cool, because mental illness is something we should have jokey slang about?  Yeah, when you put it that way, you definitely don't sound like the douchiest douche who ever douched.  Let's take a minute to look at the range of mental health disorders that affect people during the course of their lifetime, and think about how different, say, substance abuse problems differ from PTSD differs from eating disorders differs from depression differs from *plops big-ass Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders on your lap*  Yeah, you're right, you can totally sum up ALL OF THESE things under the word, "crazy."  Sure.  Cute.  Cool.  Go ahead.

Now you whine:  I don't mean literally "crazy"! I'm just using it to describe something, you know, crazy!"

Okay, so the thing you're actually trying to describe is:

- Unpredictable
- Unfortunate
- Wild
- Amusing
- Surprising
- Disheartening
- Exciting
- Frustrating
- Irrational
- Breathtaking
- Unreasonable
- Unexpected
- Unfair
- Contradictory
- Coincidental
- Overwhelming
- Interesting
- Confusing
- Entertaining
- Excessive
- Passionate
- Violent
- Joyful
- Upsetting

So if you tell me, Meghan, this movie was crazy.  I'm sorry, I have no idea what you're talking about!  Is the movie a tense thriller?  Did you not enjoy it?  Was it so bad you can't understand how it got made?  Was it - Hold on, give me back the DSM - *flips through pages* —

"Crazy, for lack of a better word"?  Naw, dude.  There's definitely a better word.  If you can't find a better word, I've got one to describe you:  here's a hint, it rhymes with "crazy," Starts with an "L", sound it out.  "Lllllllaaaaaazzz-...."

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Quickies! vol. 2

Too long to tweet, too short for a full blog post, it's Quickies!

How to write the perfect dating app bio:

1.  Type in all the lyrics from Ani DiFranco's "Not A Pretty Girl."
2.  Wait.

I might have missed my calling in the military, because I LOVE pleasing authority figures.  Almost as much as I enjoy mocking them, which is tantamount to insubordination, so there is that.  Also guns terrify me.

You can tell that Alanis Morissette is Canadian because in her song "Ironic," the man who is afraid to fly laughs at the irony as the one and only plane he has ever flown on crashes.  
If that guy were an American, he wouldn't be laughing in that moment, he'd be screaming at the poor stewardess "MY GHOST IS GONNA SUE THE CRAP OUT OF THIS AIRLINE!!!"

I think a lot about child actors, especially because I watch a lot of Law & Order: SVU.  I don't just think about the child actors who have to go on the show and pretend to have been molested - that's creepy enough to think about (like how messed up is your young life as an actor being shuttled from one procedural drama to another, tearfully confessing on camera that you were touched by your basketball coach? Young actors must PRAY for the light-hearted relief of getting cast in some fluffy Disney channel sitcom).  I'm also curious about all the "child pornography" they have on the show.  That can't be real, right?  Which means somehow, someday, they cast a bunch of young girls to do a photo shoot in lipstick and lingerie in a dimly lit room, looking very sad.  How do you move on, as a child, from spending the day in a parent-sanctioned child porn photo shoot to having a normal childhood?  That creeps me out.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Currently... in April 2016

Very positive!  I've been soooo busy, and busy seems to be good for me.

RuPaul's Drag Race has been making my LIFE!  I feel like this is the best season in a few years - maybe since Sharon Needles and everything!  There are some REALLY STRONG competitors and I have my favourites (cough all the New York queens cough) but I'm on the edge of my seat.  Me & the BF watched all the movies in The Hunger Games series last weekend and whoa, I was not expecting them to be so good! 

I've been listening to something different on the train every morning these days.  Talking Heads, The Smiths, The Beatles - it seems like every day it's something new!

READING:  I just started The Moon is a Harsh Mistress and it's not the same as my typical Heinlein fare, but I'm enjoying it and it makes my commute shorter and more enjoyable because... 

I JUST STARTED AN INTERNSHIP AT BUST MAGAZINE!  I get to write pieces for their blog - so keep your eyes peeled!  "Like" us on Facebook (or friend me, geez, there's a little circle right up there on the left, click it!)  I can't believe how much writing I am doing, and I LOVE IT.. 

Next moves, parries and thrusts.  Career-wise!  Also haunted by the failures of my past, which is why therapy is still happening.

EATING:  So well lately - get ready - this past weekend has been culinarily indulgent!  Friday night I got GF pizza at Vinnie's and it was out of this world.  Saturday night we used a gift certificate at a local restaurant Wild and I had GF mushroom pasta and BF had salmon - it was unreal, so delicate and flavorful, right?  THEN, on Sunday, we went to the New York Botanical Garden, and ate at their cafe and can I just say WOW?!?  We had fish tartare in a shell of avocado with apple, grits with mushrooms, and a flawlessly cooked octopus tentacle with peppers over black eyed peas. Whew!

LOOKING FORWARD TO:  More ghost tours as weather warms up, and how about the weather ACTUALLY WARMING UP?  I planted some herb seedlings and I can't wait for full-fledged herbs!  Looks like we're finally going to put our office room together, and I'm going to start shooting videos for this blog (and you're gonna love it, believe me)!

Working and winning, feeling like I'm part of the world again.  Hope is back.  Doubt is receding.  I feel like I've found a good place for now.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Seven Worst Moments In The Life of a New Yorker

Category is: Law & Order intro realness.

Yes, they've all happened:

1.  The pounding bass line that's keeping you from sleeping on a weeknight has gotten so irritating that you venture, bleary-eyed and pajama-clad, into the brightly lit hallway of your apartment building only to discover that the offending apartment, the Party Animals, the horrific dubstep echoing through your brain like the Grinch harping on about NOISE NOISE NOISE -- is coming from the apartment of your one friend in the building.  You retreat back to your apartment, faced with the choice:  do I call the cops on my friends? Do I pretend it doesn't bother me? Do I say something?  Why couldn't it have been the frigid nasty couple in 23 who leave their packages blocking up the foyer for weeks!

2.  For some reason, you think it will be a good idea to go to Midtown.  Or at least, not that bad.  As you emerge from the subway, you see dozens of cops in uniform standing at a barricade.  What's happening here?  Oh no - it's not - but it is.  It's a fucking PARADE DAY.

3.  Seeing your train on the platform from halfway down/up the stairs, running and shoving people out of the way screaming "SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIT!," launching yourself into the car and collapsing, panting, onto an orange seat, where you sit for another ten minutes - everyone staring at you - that train was being held in the station.  You didn't need to run.  You never needed to run.  Calm down, Thirsty McThirsterson.

4.  Ramming your crotch into the turnstyle bar as hard as you can, only to learn too late that that beep that you thought meant "Fare Accepted! Go Ahead!" actually meant "Swipe Again, Asshole!"  Have fun explaining the bruise on your vulva.

5.  The awkward cha-cha of Bikes vs. Pedestrians: "Hey bicyclist, are you going to run this light? Should I cross? I'm stepping out into the street - oh, you're going to hit me? Aren't you supposed to stop at a red light? Oh, now I look like an idiot. Well, suck my middle finger, asshole, learn to drive!"

6.  Waiting 26 minutes for the G train to arrive at 8:54 on a Monday morning, squeezing yourself into the over-full car, you barely miss getting your hair and coat caught in the doors chiming shut, sighing with relief as the train grinds into motion only to hear, "SHOWTIME!"

7.  You put your foot down on the sidewalk, just walking like normal, and you feel a sickening squisshhhh.  Your foot slides out from under you, and you fall on your butt.  As your tailbone crashes into the pavement, you squeeze your eyes shut, aware that the moment you open them, you will have to face whatever it was that was squishy, was slippery, and is currently ALL OVER YOU.

Monday, March 28, 2016


Me in 1987, full Millenial mode. Wearing a tiara like the princess I *think* I am. Typical entitled Millenial.

My name is Meghan.  I was born in 1984.  I am a Millenial.

I grew up reading Goosebumps books on the swingset in my suburban backyard, watching Chris Farley on Saturday Night Live on a grainy black-and-white television set, and sharing gossip with my friends for hours on a rotary phone, twirling the long, springy cord around my finger until the tip turned blue.

I don't know what those Millenials are in trouble for, but they look guilty as hell. Rip 'em a new one, Matt Foley!

We didn't have a computer until I was in high school.  My little brother - he's a Millenial too, I guess - he's ten years younger than me.  He grew up playing educational games on that computer when he was four and five years old, while I was using that same computer to download Liz Phair and Nirvana songs on KazaA.

Me in the year 200, aged 16, living in my parents' house.  LAZY MILLENIAL!

Some of my friends have children.  I guess those kids are Millenials, too?  They'll grow up with their baby pictures plastered all over Facebook, their first steps recorded on YouTube, their antics lamented by their parents on Twitter.

I was born in 1984.  My brother was born in 1993.  My friends' baby is about to turn one in June.  But we're all Millenials, you know, we have so much in common.

Which is the parent and which is the kid?  I honestly cannot tell these Millenials apart anymore.

Think back to when you were born.  How did you decide to be born just then?  You didn't, that's absurd.  "Millenial" is an insult based on the circumstances of ones' birth - much like gender, race, sexual orientation, nation of origin.  Something you have absolutely no control over.

I have a theory that when people use the "Millenial" slur against youngsters, they do so because they want to say something worse, but they know it's not okay.  Anyone - even a fellow Millenial - can roll their eyes to the heavens and huff, "Millenials these days!" and be rewarded with a laugh, even if he meant "Women these days!" "Jews these days!" "Queers these days!" "Italians these days!"  You can't say that, it's not okay!  She can't help being born a biracial Jewish lesbian in Naples!  Oh, but if she was born any time after 1982, that's cool.  She's a stupid, useless Millenial! 

Millenials...and a bearded guy? Ugh. Millenials are the first generation to sprout hair on their faces. Look it up.

Who derives the most pleasure from insulting people based on their age?  People born before 1982.  We're too young to understand your jokes!  We didn't grow up under the same circumstances as you.  Things were so much harder, simpler, easier, gentler?  Believe me, there is a chasm of misunderstanding between myself and my boyfriend, born in 1981.  He's not a Millenial like me, and it's like he speaks a different language!  He grew up reading books, watching black-and-white TV, twirling a phone cord until the tip of his finger turned blue.  We'll never understand each other.

A SELFIE? Ugh. Predictable. Millenials are the first generation to take photographs of themselves. True story.

How do you spot a Millenial?  Well, everyone knows Millenials are all the same: apathetic teenagers who rally for social justice. Wait, let's start over: rich kids who grew up in the suburbs and poor kids who grew up in the city, yep, they're Millenials too.  Okay okay, how about, "starving lazy wannabe artists with high-power jobs in the tech industry..." wait, something about these Millenial stereotypes seems contradictory.  What do all Millenials have in common?  Well, nobody likes them!  Yeah, that makes sense.  Let's go with that.

Millenials are so lazy and entitled, now they want jobs?  Do they expect to just get jobs for free? In my day, we bought our jobs.

So why are Millenials so maligned?  We're very powerful.  Politicians need our vote.  Companies need our dollars.  And they'll do anything they think they need to do to get it - from the outrageous debate antics of Trump pouring water on himself on stage, to the "PuppyMonkeyBaby" SuperBowl commercials that make no sense.  Millenials' attention is powerful.  We will inherit the world, in a very real sense. 

When we voted for Kelly Clarkson to win American Idol by texting the number on our screen, we opened the doors for more female solo artists who might not have had a chance before we said, "this is what Millenials want."  When we threw our support behind #BlackLivesMatter, it terrified a system built upon oppression, one that we inherited and one we will not uphold.  Millenials will get what they fight for.  Unlike the youth protests of the past - Kent State and Selma, Stonewall and the DNC - you can't turn fire hoses on a hashtag.  You can't fire into a crowd of memes.  The old guard doesn't know how to keep us down yet.  I mean, besides dismissing us as "Millenials."  Is that all you got?  What's in a name?

Millenials don't care about anything - except justice, equality, and human rights.  So SELFISH!

I have a theory: being a "Millenial" has nothing to do with your past, and everything to do with your present.  If you have a cell phone that can access Twitter, you're a Millenial.  If you understand how to operate the technology that came out during your lifetime, you're a Millenial.  If you know what the fuck "on fleek" means, you're a Millenial.

Unfortunately for non-Millenials, I see a lot of people with iPhones who were born in the '70s, '60s, even '50s!  My mom was born in 1952 (she'll kill me for saying this on The Internet) and when my laptop breaks, I bring it to her: she know how this damn thing works better than I do.  As far as "on fleek" goes, I was born in 1984 (we've established this) and I had to ask around before finally using Google to find out what it meant (and tbh, I'm still not sure I'm using it in proper context). 

Millenials are so weak and pampered, they need to shield their eyes from the sun. Back in the good old days, people looked directly at the sun, because it builds "character."  Disgusting, lazy, entitled MILLENIALS!

My name is Meghan.  I was born in 1984.  My grandma was born in 1925.  If I inherit her longevity, I'll live to see 2075.  I imagine that sometime in the 2040's, I'll start shaking my heads at the "kids these days."  Their hoverboards.  Their Mars vacations.  Their food that comes in pill form.  These kids don't understand what it's like to twirl a phone cord around their finger until it turns blue, the hollow thud of smacking the TV set when the picture goes wavy, and will they have swingsets in the future, or will they be virtual reality?  Kids of the future, I'll need your help, too.  It's 2057, and I can't figure out this damn TV remote, I wanna show you something.  That man is Chris Farley, he's pretending he's a Lunch Lady - what do you mean, "what's a lunch lady?" - don't you have lunch ladies these days?  Ah, then, you're too young to get this joke.  Never mind.

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