Wednesday, November 30, 2005

only GS-11s and above get the contaminated ecstasy tablets

B: working for the government is so strange...someone just brought me 2 glow sticks, 6 antimicrobial wipes, antibiotic ointment p ackets, and two handwarmers so that I could toss out the expired ones in my emergency kit....I'm just unsure if we are preparing for a terrorist attack or a night at velvet nation


B: seriously

B: did I tell you one of the things in the emergency pack--along side the gas mask--is a maxi pad (yeah like the kind my grandma wore)

EJ: oh that is priceless

B: your tax dollars...taking care of any off-cycle days

EJ: and ironically, it would also come in handy for a night at velvet nation

hours of happiness

Blogger Happy Hour tonight!

Why am I nervous about this? I feel like I'm crashing another high school's prom. D articulated it at lunch today-- it's just so strange, the idea of meeting people whose lives you read about but who, let's face it, you don't know. Not bad, just strange. Uncharted waters, if you'll forgive the cliche.

Well, here's to smooth sailing. And cocktails. Here's to those, too.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

all work and no play makes ej more than a little tense

Oh, the tingling nerve of it. The empty screen practically taunting me. "C'mon EJ!" it whispers. "No one will know! Vent! Let it all out! Your boss would never find it! No one else in your office would care! You go ahead and spew all the crap stored up inside you."

Oh Blogger, you foul temptress.

I will not blog about work. I will not blog about work. I will not blog about work. I will not blog about work. I will not blog about work.

Instead, I will say that standing in the Teet at 10:30 last night, after work, class and exhaling for the first time since I hit my snooze button that morning, I contemplated which pint of Ben and Jerry's would be my downfall. Two years, kids. That's how long it's been since I've induldged in that particular sin. More specifically, not since the week my thesis was due. There have been other ice creams, surely, but none with the caloric or emotional significance that comes with a pint of B&J.

It was a tough call between Fossil Fuel and Dublin Mudslide, but in the end I went with the former. The idea of something fueling was quite appealing, plus I was afraid that anything with a drop of alcohol would set me off on a whole other kind of binge.

I ate three-quarters of the pint curled up on my couch with Sadie kneading my stomach as if to say "Oooh goodie, more to play with," wondering when, exactly, it starts to get easier. Just when the things we work for finally fall into place after years of towing the line and working hard and playing by the rules.

My Dad said last night when I called for advice "At least you have the comfort of knowing you're doing everything right." That's lovely, but I'd prefer not to need that comfort at all.

Monday, November 28, 2005

disavowing all knowledge

What's that you say? There are two entries missing? Two entries that describe certain individuals in accurate-but-less-than-flattering terms?

There. Are you happy? I'm not. I don't particularly appreciate being censored, especially when the odds of said individuals stumbling across this site are comparable to odds of said individual's spouse leaving all money to Hillary for President 2008. Well, it wouldn't be the holiday season without carefully reasoned guilt that makes me feel like a petulant child.

And remember, DAD, I know when you're reading. It's called a "sitemeter." You are well advised not to return.

Monday, November 21, 2005

what i will do with all of my free time now that the show is done

* Really miss everyone from Company. You guys are so fantastic, and I had the best time working with you.

* See people again. I know, right? Such a novel concept.

* Actually do the reading for class before the day OF class.

* Write a 3000-word paper entitled "In Defense of the Middlebrow." Remind me again why I'm not doing this full-time?

* Host my office holiday party.

* Spend an overlarge amount of time scouring for ambitious recipes for said office holiday party.

* End up beating head into wall after two hours of buttering ramekins for individual chocolate molten cakes while simultaneously vacuuming stray cat hairs, wondering why ever agreed to host said office holiday party.

* Go back to Michigan to eat turkey, banter with extended family members, throw a bridal shower and see Garrison Keillor.

* See Rent, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Walk the Line, The Family Stone, Brokeback Mountain, Memoirs of a Geisha, Capote, Good Night and Good Luck and Pride and Prejudice.

* Figure how the hell my new TiVo hooks up.

* Read Are Men Necessary? and bitch about Maureen Dowd to all my girlfriends while being secretly afraid that she may be right.

* Renegotiate my salary.

* Make full use of my gym membership.

* Sleep.

* Audition for another show? I know, right?

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


We're standing outside the classroom, waiting for the Italian 001 students to finish their vocab drills. I am fervently grateful not to be among their ranks; Italian killed my GPA. Without Italian I would have graduated summa, and it's not like learning to say "the pasta is very good" helped me when I was lost in Verona and desperately needed to get a cab to the train station before the 9:34 AM train to Innsbruck.

The other students are chatting about what classes they're taking next semester. M, the thoroughly nice guy who asked me out earlier this year but I turned down because my main college relationship taught me never to date a man who wears jeans with embroidered decals, asks me what I'm taking.

"Nothing as of now," I croak. Despite a paycheck's worth of Halls, the Death hasn't really left me yet. "I'm not technically a grad student."

Two other people look over at us. "I mean," I add, "I'm just taking this class because my job gives me great tuition benefits. I'm not a masters candidate."

"Really," he says. "Why not?"

I hesitate. It's complicated. "I just... now isn't really... I'm just not sure yet."

M shakes his head and goes on talking with the other people. I refill my water bottle, and it's a good thing I did. When we finally get to go in the classroom and the discussion starts, I play a big part in it. I do most weeks. I'm really not bragging here, at least not intentionally; I would be incapable of of graduate-level (or undergrad-level) work in a lot of disciplines. I'm good in this class because I studied these topics really intensely in college and the format of the class is very open-ended and free, a style that really suits me.

I get a lot out of it, too. Even though I bitch about the reading and often don't give it the attention it deserves, I always leave class with a million different thoughts bouncing around my brain, running in all directions. I often also leave wondering why I'm not doing this full-time. I have the means to do it if I want to, though it would leave me with less financial freedom down the road. A masters would make me a more valuable employee, would give me more power in salary negotiations and help me find a better-paying job. More importantly, it would be hugely stimulating and rewarding. Beginning to become an expert in a field, to be slutty with academia and learning, would be a delicious experience. I know I'd be good at it, I don't have any doubt about that.

So why am I not doing it? Why am I not pursuing this? My current professor, who I studied with as an undergrad, almost refused to sign me up for this class. "EJ," he said, "why the hell do you want to stay here? Go to Yale, go to Harvard. Is there a good reason you're not getting a PhD?"

The reason, though I didn't tell him, is that I don't know if I'm capable of that level of scholarship. Right now, I'm not even capable of doing a practice GRE. It's easier to stay in this comfortable limbo, full of relatively secure finances and a crazy fun social life. For the first time, I'm in a job I enjoy and can support myself with. I'm the head of my household, and giving up work to be a full-time student, no matter how intellectually rewarding, would be a huge lifestyle change. I hate to think that my shallowness is the reason I'm not a grad student. I'd hate to think that it was kickball and happy hours and community theater and dating crazy French guys and crappy television that is keeping me from pursuring this.

Yet another part of me wonders if these are really such shallow things. These are all earned, this lifestyle maintained solely by my work. Despite all noble notions of higher education, that one goes to college to become an educated member of one's community, we also go to college so that we can begin careers that can support a lifestyle to which we become accustomed. This isn't shameful; it's a practical reality, and one that is a hell of a lot more satisfying than women fifty years ago were faced with. There's freedom in it, independence and control over one's future. I'm very big on all of those.

Plus, it's damn fun. Who knows what's in the future? Now is the time where we can spend disposable income on building our networks and our lives, where we just begin to reap the fruits of all our labors in college.

All this is on my mind throughout the class, which is excellent as usual. When we're done two hours later, M and I walk out chatting about possible topics for our final papers. I say goodbye to him at the bike rack and start walking towards the Metro when he calls out after me "Hey-- you did really well today."

Maybe he just said it because he still wants to get in my pants. Maybe he really meant it. I happen to think the latter. I go home from class, as usual, with a million things on my mind, spinning off into a million directions.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

thank you much

Best. Show. Ever.

Thank you so much to my dear, dear friends. Seeing your faces after the show felt fantastic, and the flowers are oh so pretty.

Thank you to the enormous swell of people who came, forcing us to add extra chairs and hold the curtain while the ushers made sure we weren't violating fire code.

Thank you to whoever started applauding after my first scene. That's never happened before, and I had to bite my lip walking offstage to keep from grinning because it felt so damn good.

Thank you to tonight's entire fantastic audience, who totally made up for last night's far more tame group by laughing at everything that came out of our mouths. It's incredible the difference a strong, engaged audience makes.

Thank you to A for providing the classic A line "EJ, you've set the bar too high. I won't come and see you in any shit plays now." Having your support is great; being able to impress you is even better.

Thank you to the makers of Dayquil and Hall's Cough Drops for sponsoring my surprisingly resilient voice after four days of panicking and yodeling to keep my throat limber.

Thank you to the random woman in the parking lot who stopped me to say "You play dumb so well!"

Thank you, thank you a million times over. Tonight felt really good.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

ripping jolly good time

I would like it noted for the record that I called Matthew Macfayden's stardom back in the fall of 2003, when I started watching reruns of MI-5 on BBC America during my thesis-induced insomnia phase. Yummmmm. Even with the silly Darcy wig they gave him for the new Pride and Prejudice, yummmm. How did this show never catch on the US? It's Alias meets 24 with accents, people!

I've been watching a lot more BBC America lately, in large part because I don't get home until 11:30 every night and there is only so much Family Guy a gal can watch in a week. Besides, Footballers Wives is FAR superior to Desperate Housewives and The OC. Old episodes of Monty Python's Flying Circus inspire actual laughter, whereas I watch The Colbert Report and find myself thinking "This is funny. I should be laughing at this. Why I am I not yet laughing. This is funny, right?" And do not even get me started on BBC News versus all of American cable "news."

I've always been a bit of an Anglophile, but with this new habit of turning on BBC America, I'm taking it to a whole new level. What once was WASPishness could soon be replaced by lapsing into accents, a condition that has already been known to happen upon the consumption of multiple glasses of wine and group viewings of Sense and Sensibility. Yet beneath the references to places that end in "-shire" or "-heath," the basic premise for this new hobby easily translates into American English.

I used to make fun of my lovely old roommate for her devotion to General Hospital, but now I find myself PASSIONATELY worrying if Tanya actually did kill Jason and what the hell is going on with Chardonnay's hermaphrodite baby and OH SWEET MOSES I CANNOT BELIEVE HAZEL KEEPS HER HAIR THAT COLOR DOES SHE REALLY THINK SHE'S FOOLING ANYONE BECAUSE THAT COLOR IS NOT FOUND IN NATURE. And I realize that, despite the accents (which are often impenetrable as organic chemistry), I have become just another girl addicted to her soaps. It's only a matter of time before I start swatting my mewling cat out of my lap, yelling "I'll feed you after my stories!" Despite all attempts at self-delusion, the accents really don't make it highbrow, any more than a gigantic sequin-encrusted blazer and the strongest Botox in Manhattan make Susan Lucci look a day under seventy-three.

I still wish someone else I knew watched this stuff though, because I would really like to engage in a dialogue about the implications of the Muslim suicide bomber episode and whether by naming one's child "Chardonnay" you predestine her to a future career as a topless model. These are the issues that shape our world, people. Erasing international borders one fictional hermaphrodite baby at a time.

Monday, November 07, 2005

why i love my parents (technology)

From: Dadman

To: Offspring

Subject: another fine mess...

Once again, following in the footsteps of my kids, (who remain an inspiration to me) I have been cast to do a student film at U Michigan. From now on you can refer to me as Mr. Freidman - loving husand of Mrs. Freidman, who is suffering from some dread disease and he is dedicated to taking care of her - although (and this is the dramatic part !!!) it weighs heavily on him and he secretly feels over burdened by the situation.

And since my mother recently learned how to text message, I get at least two texts a day (three if she's at a conference and it's not yet happy hour). Highlights include:

"home bored paying bills wish was still at work"

"gross pt sooooo boring... waiting lalalala"

"u got camera ticket- 32 in 25 zone but dad paid it bc we dec. was horseshit"

backstage notes

One weekend down, two to go!

It went really well. A few tiny bobbles, of course-- dropped lines here, delayed sound cues there, a kiss so violent I nearly busted my upper lip open-- but overall, it went remarkably well. Great houses full of friends and family, and one really entertaining gay couple who sat in the front row of today's matinee and literally barked and hooted their enthusiastic laughter. My entire office and a bunch of friends showed up opening night, which was wonderful. I am so lucky to be so supported by these great people.

It's been a really long time since I felt the jangly nerves of opening night. I've blamed many of my flaws-- procrastinating, overreacting in relationships, analyzing meaningless comments and looks-- on being an actress, but when I'm actually performing I get a focus from nerves that I can't duplicate from anything else. It's an itchy energy, where it feels like ants are crawling on my veins and if I scratch with great diligence and attention they'll stop. When us girlfriends are backstage waiting for our cue in the opening number, doing our hushed disco-slam dancing to keep energy high, it's practically like a blood transfusion. The show seeps into me.

And when we storm out on the stage, the lack of sleep, the fact that I haven't seen my friends in a month and there's a layer of dust so thick on my bathroom floor that Sadie sneezes when she uses her litterbox and I have purchased and not cooked with an estimated $37 in vegetables that have since gone bad-- it is oh so very worth it.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Lessons from Final Tech Rehearsal

When your role in large part consists of making out with a fellow actor, it is probably not wise to consume an entire head of roasted garlic smeared on a baguette for lunch.

Just a thought.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

putting my money where my pill is

Damnit. I didn't mind giving up Wal-Mart because I never shopped there anyways, but this one hurts.

AmericaBlog has a story on how a Missouri Target pharmacist refused to refill a birth control prescription for a 26-year-old woman. When contacted by Planned Parenthood, Target confirmed that it indeed permits individual pharmacists to refuse to dispense birth control and emergency contraception should it violate their personal religious beliefs.

I can't in good conscience give my business to a company that allows employees to discriminate and put women in harm's way on arbitrary whims. So, though it bums me out, no more Mossimo shrugs, Isaac Mizrahi shirts or Stuff by Duff home decor. I emailed Target's corporate website and strongly urge you to do the same by clicking here. Here's what I wrote; feel free to borrow all or any of it, but please write. They need to hear from smart, educated people telling them this is not OK.

Because of the recent disclosure that Target pharmacists may freely refuse to dispense birth control and emergency contraception, I will no longer be a Target customer.

I strongly believe that it is not a corporation's place to pass judgement on any sort on its customers. Target would not tolerate a white supremacist employee who refuses to help minority customers, nor a homophobic employee who refuses to serve gay or lesbian customers. Why then, may a employee refuse to serve a Target customer on religious grounds?

If Target wants to set a corporate policy to not dispense birth control or emergency contraception, that is its prerogative. Though I personally would disagree with such a directive and continue to shop elsewhere, a clear and defined company policy would be useful to the communities that Target serves. However, to allow individual employees to assert their personal beliefs on a whim is dangerous to customers. Women (and their partners) rely on these medications to preserve their health and their way of life. It is highly unethical for a pharmacist to aid in disrupting a cycle of medicine. It is dangerous to refuse to provide medical care to women who may or may not have been victims of sexual assault. It is highly irresponsible for Target to allow an environment where prescriptions may be filled one day only to be denied the next.

I am sorry that I will no longer be able to shop at Target. Until now, I have been pleased with the products offered and the services I have received at my local store. However, I cannot support a company that permits such a byzantine, discriminatory policy.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

in comes "company!"

Usually, the week a show opens is filled with stress, sleep-deprivation, scratchy voices and general grouchiness. Our director for Wait Until Dark went through five bottles of Maalox during tech week. I still have nightmares about the cue-to-cue of Bye Bye Birdie, when I was stood terrified atop of a 4x4 fourteen-foot-tall platform for an hour as the lighting designer bickered with the conducter. More often than not, much of the cast is on "vocal rest," wherein we don't speak all day (including with colleagues, friends and significant others) we we can save our voices for the show. I can just imagine the look on my boss' face if I replied to his questions about trip preparations by handing him an index card reading "For the next three days I will not be speaking, as to rest my vocal chords for a theatrical production." Riiiiight.

Company has been remarkably free of these usual travails. We've been running the whole show for two weeks now, and so far tech has just been... fun! I cannot overemphasize how rare that is for this stage in the game, but it's true. Everyone's got their shit together, knows their characters inside out and is having a great time with the material and one another. Spirits are high, we're out of rehearsal at humane hours and we've annoyed many a neighbor in the Dupont/Logan Circle area by laughing too loudly over post-run drinks. The only sad part is that we won't still be working together in a month.

Last night was my favorite night of the whole process: sitzprobe and bows. Sitzprobe, though it sounds like something a German alien does to unsuspecting earthlings, is the first time the cast sings through the show with the orchestra. After working with just a rehearsal piano for two months, it's fantastic to hear bass and drums and winds added in-- the show takes on a whole new life. A lot of the music is very 70s, and that really came out for the first time last night. And of course curtain calls are always fun to plan-- hello, we're getting applauded! That never gets old. So come see us and applaud us!

The Foundry Players Present


A Musical by Stephen Sondheim

November 4-6, 10-13, & 17-20, 2005
Thursday thru Saturday evenings at 8:00 PM
Sunday afternoons at 2:30 PM

Adults: $18 Seniors/Students: $15
Reservations: (202) 332-3454, or,

The Foundry Players
1500 16th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036