Thursday, April 27, 2006

and i saw an episode of 90210 for the first time in like five years

I stayed home from work today with a distinctly nasty sore throat. Apparently when one is starting to feel feverish and have difficulty swallowing, she should perhaps not go to Black Cat for the Islands concert. You'd think I might have learned my lesson about weeknight rock concerts after a Sunday night The Go! Team incident that (admittedly, after a day of kickball) left me shuffling around like Ozzy Osbourne. But no, we here at EJ Takes Life like to learn things the hard way. Plus, we're getting too damn old for our own good.

It was a good show, but Black Cat crowds tend to the annoying side of reverential. Nineteen-year-old virgins in hooded sweatshirts stand stock still, perhaps occasionally nodding along as they vacantly gaze at the band. Hands in pockets and carefully positioned to be no more than eighteen inches closer to the nearest bystander, they dutifully applaud or, if especially daring, will cry out "Fairfax!" if the lead singer happens to ask where y'all are from.

It's rock and roll as interpreted by Millennials, and I gotta say, I do not approve of what the kids are doing today. What happened to youthful indiscretion, ill-advised moshing and life-threatening injuries sustained in pursuit of music? Kids, your parents partied harder than you when they were your age. Loosen up! Dance a little! The music is peppy and fun and has a good rhythm! Let the music move you! Or, y'know, at least move.

Or maybe you all are trying to be responsible employees and not get yourself sick so that you have to spend all day on your couch sucking on cherry Halls while watching Alias on DVD and telling your cat "That's Jennifer Garner! Mommy has a girl crush on her!"

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

perspective, people

While I do happen to think Cynthia McKinney is batshit crazy, this is not really that bad. Anyone who has worked in politics knows that being called a fool is practically a compliment. I still have warm fuzzy memories of an earlier boss calling me, at various points during my tenure, "incompetent," "retarded" and my personal favorite, referring to me as "the idiot assistant" while on the phone with the editor in chief of a national magazine.

And people ask why I don't work in politics any more.

Monday, April 24, 2006

the roosevelt at DC9

Because pimping your friend's band is one of the best (worst?) blogging cliches:

On behalf of DC's own up-and-coming rock band, THE ROOSEVELT, I'd like to invite you to our show on Tuesday, April 25 at DC9 (1940 9th St NW). We'll be performing with two other DC bands, Let's French and Kitty Hawk, both of whom are outstanding local acts.

WHO The Roosevelt, DC's next not-so-big thing

WHAT Show at DC9 with Kitty Hawk and Let's French

WHERE DC9, 1940 9th St NW, WDC

WHEN 9:00P, Tuesday, April 25, 2006

All the cool kids will be there.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

my pride and prejudice moment

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single girl, in possession of a goodly sum of drinks, must be in want of someone she says she can't stand.

Or, as someone told me last night, "You can't plan chemistry."

Thursday, April 20, 2006

for these gifts we are about to receive

When I called to wish my mother a Happy Birthday last night, something momentous and earth-shattering happened (and yes, her visit here was lovely. We ate like it was going out of style and gossiped about everyone in our extended family and went to the Spy Museum where she was an incredibly good sport and crawled through the ducts to "spy on Castro").

My mother asked for my advice.

I know.


My dad is both a notoriously late shopper and an impassioned gift giver. This means that he wants to give the girls in his life things they will love, but, because he doesn't have a clue where to start shopping, he waits until the last minute and then calls someone else in the family for advice while standing in a pool of his own panicked sweat in Marshall Field's.

Since the advent of online shopping, gift-giving in our family has become a remarkably impersonal yet efficient process. We email one another the exact links for items we find desirable with the exact color, size or amount indicated. Family members then coordinate amongst themselves exactly what they will give one another. True, this system does limit the surprise factor (like the time my sister chose to mark the birth of Christ by giving me a DVD of Superfly), but it also limits awkward moments and ill-advised purchases (like the time Dad inadvertently bought all of us sex toys).

So the system generally works. Dad isn't as big a fan as the rest of us, and he does tend to try to spoil our mom. To her credit, she does not encourage this. In fact, she will sometimes attempt to gently tell him that while she loves the thought, she simply does not have use for another Lladro figurine. Her interests in frugality, however, sometimes trump timing and decorum. This is exactly what happened when he gave her her birthday present.

To be fair, this was partly my fault. I'd told him to wait to buy something for her so that I could collect data from this weekend. True to form, she hauled me into Ann Taylor and pointed at a purse. "That," she said, "is perfect. Tell your father that he can get me that for my birthday." Subtlety is wasted in my family.

I informed my father and he dutifully went to Ann Taylor, credit card in hand. However, they were sold out. Thrown by this wrench in the machinery, Dad went next door to Kay Jewelers and purchased pearl earrings. Then he went back to Ann Taylor and special ordered the bag.

I learned all this when on the phone with my mother yesterday. "He gave them to me and my first thought was 'I already have two pairs of pearl earrings! Who needs three pairs of pearl earrings?' I mean, I only have two daughters, and you don't even have pierced ears!"

"And you said this to him when he gave you pearls?" Pleasnopleasenopleaseno--



"I know, I know. I don't think it was the right thing to say. What do you think I should do?"

"Go back in time and graciously accept the nice gift from your husband? Was he hurt? Is he giving you a hard time?"

"Well, not really, but when he took them back--"

"Wait, he took them back? Right after he gave them to you?"

"Well, they were expensive and I don't need them! So yes. And he didn't seem devastated, but he looked a little hurt. Believe me, I'm beating myself up enough for the both of us."

"OUCH. Well, you could..."

I proceeded to rattle off a list of suggestions informed by a lifetime of women's magazines and mediocre relationship milestones of my own. Buy him something, leave him a note, tell him how inspiring their oldest daughter found it that they could go through a significant and awkward moment that involved money and emerge just fine from it, laugh about it, get it out in the open, etc.

I could tell none of these were sticking and she was growing more anxious about the whole thing when my dad walked in the door and she put him on the phone for a second.

"Dadman, heard you all had a little incident last night."

"Shoot, yeah. Oh well, it's just stuff in the end." He sounded upbeat and genuinely happy to be having this conversation.

"So you're not hurt or anything? You should just know, Mom feels really badly about how she handled it."

"I was DEVASTATED." Uh-oh, he's in community theater mode. "I was torn to pieces; how could she love me and treat me in such a way?! No honey, of course not. Shoot, she made me take them back and now I can buy her a fifteen dollar bottle of wine and sock the rest away for a golf trip. Now, I'm gonna go take your mom out to dinner on her birthday. And, I may even kiss her a little bit."

So really, my only advice should have been: marry a great partner and the rest will take care of itself.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

celebrity baby smackdown!

I can think of no better way to mark one year of blogging at EJ Takes Life than to dedicate this post to little Suri Holmes Cruise. "Suri" is apparently a Persian name and is also taken from the ancient Hebrew saying "Suri-ously, this child is fucked."

In a truly fantastic turn of events, Brooke Shields and her husband also had a baby girl today. If we travel back in time to the gentle, 2005 days of Tom Cruise's descent into a PR cautionary tale, we will recall that he mistook "promoting a summer blockbuster" with "publicly advise Brooke Shields on how to treat postpartum depression with Centrum." Clearly, the universe is not without a sense of humor.

Fifteen years from now Suri Holmes Cruise will be diverted from the L. Ron Hubbard-approved path to Scientology Level MCIVXXXIILM or whatever the hell they call Heaven by the (equally unfortunately-named) Grier Hammond Henchy, who will lead her astray on down a road paved with Midol and Benadryl. A classic Hollywood tale of too much, too soon. From there it's only an ill-timed snort of nasal spray until they're photographed leaving the Chateau Marmont after a threeway with Moses Paltrow Martin.

Well, good luck, Joey Potter. You're gonna need it.

Friday, April 14, 2006

i will follow you into the dark

Because there can't be too many photos of the Mall at sunset.

When Ben Gibbard is the subject, a blurry photo becomes art.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

attack of the bobos!

This afternoon I ordered artisinal bread over the Internet.

Somewhere in Bethesda, David Brooks is spontaneously orgasming.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

twisting my stomach into knots

No posts for the weary. They make me work at work now, and then I clean when I get home. I clean because my mother is visiting in three days, a subject I wrote a very neurotic post about only to have Blogger delete the entire damn thing. Suffice it to say that I have Mommy issues, and that they have made me do really insane things like bleach-wipe the insides of my ventilation ducts (never mind that my mother is A. not staying in my apartment and B. I haven't seen her dust or 409 anything in over a decade). Suffice it also to say that I am fed up with Blogger and its adolescent mood swings. My one-year blogiversay is coming up and I just might celebrate the occasion by migrating to a new server-- any recommendations (or cautionary tales) from the peanut gallery?

Tonight is Death Cab for Cutie and Franz Ferdinand. It's gonna be freakfraggin awesome, if a little nostalgic (whither fall 2004?). Stay tuned for blurry photos and recaps of white people dancing in the aisles of their forebearers.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

I will neither confirm nor deny that tonight, at an undisclosed location in suburban Virginia, a certain opinionated brunette was known to have performed a karaoke rendition of the Tiffany classic "I Think We're Alone Now."

All missions in Operation Attain Mature Adulthood are in full active swing. That is all for this briefing.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

angrily slammin' it

Every morning I get to my office at 8:30, check email, check voicemail, check in with my boss and then run around the corner to buy a cup of wildly inconsistent coffee (one day my vanilla latte has absolutely no vanilla syrup, the next it's so sugary it might as well be from a gas station)(but it's an independent place and not Starbucks, so I feel the pull to keep buying from them despite the varying degrees of taste). Then I sit back down at my desk and sip at my coffee while reading the daily news on my favorite website--

The gossip is usually at least a day old, but the language is priceless. IMDB has a truly delightful way with verbs. Celebrities are forever "slamming rumors," "racing to contradict allegations" or "angrily lashing out." Oh, the action of it all! Simple pull-quotes are wildly exaggerated. To take but one example:

"Heath Ledger is desperate to have five more children... [he] is convinced having six children will bestow endless fame and fortune upon his family!"

The quote this came from? "Six. That's close to the figure we're talking about."

Reading IMDB's gossip news, I'm struck by the linguistic banality of my own writing. I've never hotly confronted anyone, and am fairly sure that I've never slammed rumors of any kind nor been embroiled in any wrangles. I'm not even sure what being embroiled in a wrangle is, although it sounds pretty fun, if a little messy.

Maybe I should start blogging in the manner of IMDB News: "EJ hotly contradicted reports that she bracingly overslept this morning. Hair akimbo, she angrily slammed rumors that she cares more about ten minutes of extra sleep than blow-drying her fair locks. 'Yeah,' she said to a reporter, 'I was tired this morning.' Fans scrambled for more information, shrieking in angst and running wild through the hills slaughtering innocent woodland creatures when her publicist would neither bash nor assert these allegations."

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

boom boom boom

There is literally a spring in my step.

Climbin' up on Solsbury Hill, I could see the city lights...

I'm literally bouncing in my flipflops down the bumpy brick sidewalk. The world is full of news good and bad. Dear friends are in love and getting married. Someone has died. I flounce my way to the drycleaner. The sudden sunshine makes mundane errands positively joyful.

I was feeling part of the scenery, I walked right out of the machinery...

The Hill is full to bursting with the smell of cherry blossoms. When you live in Washington in the spring you don't stop to smell the flowers; the scent halts you in your tracks and shakes you by the shoulders. It's not just the blossoms. Every other front yard has suddenly exploded with flowers and the gardeners who tend to them.

When I think that I am free
Watched by empty silhouettes
Who close their eyes but still can see
No one taught them etiquette

The streets are filled with people. Children racing plastic trucks down the street, their yoga-pant clad mothers walking behind them in gossipy pairs and threesomes, always keeping one eye on their shrieking kids. Twentysomethings, the men in suits that always look a little too big for them, walk from the Metro with a cell phone or an iPod bud attached to their ears. Retired couples putter in their front yards, watering plots of tulips and impatients.

It's days like this when I love this city and this neighborhood the most. Then OOF I trip over a loose brick in the sidewalk, snapping me out of my goofy reverie.

I will show another me
Today I don't need a replacement
I'll tell them what the smile on my face meant...

I wander through Lincoln Park. The steak marinating in the fridge needs at least another fifteen minutes, and I've already run all my little neighborhood errands. I've never been an outdoorsy person, but over the last year I find myself craving sunshine and grass. Sunshine and grass in a controlled manner, of course. The kind where families of every color play together on the jungle gym, where friends meet to kick around a soccer ball after work. A park. So simple, but so wonderful. Is there anything better than a sweet oasis in the middle of a crazy, messy world?

My heart going boom boom boom...

Now thunderstorm clouds have blocked the sun and are starting to race overhead. But they're not here yet. Right now it's just me and the dogs and the happy strangers bonded by our joy at just being in this moment. And, of course, Peter Gabriel.

When the storm does come I'll stand on the street to brace myself against the wind. And then I'll go home and eat my steak and drink my wine and be just as merry.

"Hey" I said "You can keep my things,
they've come to take me home."

Monday, April 03, 2006


So much happened this weekend. I mean, so much. And because kickball has started and I have a good quarter of a keg coursing through my body, I won't attempt to do it justice here and now.

But it's great to know that no matter how much seasons turn, people change and the road of life continues to bend, there is one constant in this ever-evolving world:

Tori Spelling will always have TERRIFYING cleavage.