Thursday, May 26, 2011

lower case i

(a hipster romance fiction)

I met him at the Toy Division listening party. Toy Division is my roommate Erin’s 8-bit Joy Division cover band. Erin and I were toasting the end of a long summer copy-editing Arthur magazine for nickels on the dollar to pay rent on our Southeast Williamsbushwick studio. This album was going to make us rich a little less poor.

While we got drunk on un-ironically chilled cans of ironic beer, news travelled from the bartender (what was his name again?) that a helicopter piloted by a Yankees pitcher had just crashed into the side of a building on the Upper East Side.

And I love moments like this; when news of a jerk dying outpaces the jerk turning in his proverbial grave. An Al Qaeda Steinbrenner joke was inevitable but sometimes it’s the simplest form of sarcasm that gets the biggest job done.

“I guess he really hated the Yankees.”

We said it at the same time. I looked up to see the face of my Romulus… or is it Castor? Anyway, I looked up. The bartender I’d taken for granted. My bartender…

You could hear an iPhone drop. Love was taking place.

Oh and his name is Victor.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Cross-Posting. GIMME A BOOK DEAL.

Dear BEA Publishers,
It used to be all you needed to get published was rohypnol, a turkey baster and ten minutes with Sonny Mehta. Today, a book’s marketing gimmick is developed so far in advance of the actual book you can actually get a deal with just a mockup of its eventual hashtag.

So let me cut to the chase. I’m a writer. I want to get published. Here are the books I can write (most of them in less than a week). I guarantee publicity and sales. You don’t even need to tour me. My Skype account’s been upgraded. My LinkedIn account’s been updated. But look… if Microsoft and 5 billion Wall Street dollars fail us (which of course it won’t), I am not afraid to inject botox into a little girl’s face on Good Morning America. Fuck it. I will botox SEVERAL little girls if necessary. So in no particular order, some books that’ll make us all some mad coin.

1. A guide to tantric masturbation.

2. “What Pantone is your Parachute?”

3. The surefire Asian weight-loss diet no one’s talking about yet. (Hint: North Korea)

4. A series of romance novels about white+asian graphic designers.

5. A series of hardboiled crime novels starring an NYPD detective of Middle Eastern origins.

6. Dictionary of foreign neologisms used in American English, replete with a pronunciation guide (native, adopted), etymology, and graphics.

7. Reinterpretation of The Little Prince in which the prince is a junkie.

8. One of those Tiger Mom books laid out like one of those “Weird Japanese Inventions” books.

9. A book about flea markets that turns into a tote bag when you get pregnant.

10. The Bible in Asian pidgin.

Bucket List

It would be awesome to usher the apocalypse by crossing out some things on my bucket list, but that would require my having a bucket list, so all I have now is a meta-bucket list: a bucket list of bucket lists.

Before I smolder in a lake of fire governed by zombie tigers, from whence I came there are:

1. Things to eat
2. Places to see
3. People to meet
4. Dares to execute
5. Truths to tell
6. Fears to overcome
7. Faults to admit
8. Something purely gluttonous and selfish
9. Any iteration of any of the seven sins (since I'm burning in hell anyway)
10. Any iteration of pure kindness.

Sidenote: why are there seven deadly sins but not seven fecund virtues in the Christian mythology? There are Seven Virtues in Buddhism, after all. Of course they're just a group of Buddhist Gods, but... If eternal salvation really depended on a bunch of fat Asian dudes I'd have organized a Groupon orgie for a barbecue lo mein combo at a casino, and tape cheap computer gadgets and pirated dvds all over my body a long time ago.

Sometimes I revel in the fact that there is something wrong with us.

Transcript of text-versation with Michelle Borok, whose birthday is right after mine.

Michelle: Happy birthday lover!
Anne: I love it when you wish me happy birthday because that's one year closer to when i never have to hear from you again.
Michelle: I love it when you get one year older because I know that our life bonded together is that much closer to finally being over.
Anne: I love getting older because that's just more of your mistakes I get to mock derisively.
Michelle:I love being with you as you get older so I can watch your sharp mind turn into a dull baby spoon. Only good for eating man yogurt.
Anne: I love eating man yogurt because it reminds me of what you could never give me: joy.
Michelle: On your birthday I wish I could spread that joy all over your face, and maybe you would choke on it a little bit.
Anne: And then I would walk around Manhattan and people would point and laugh. That's my gift to you on your birthday: granting ++++ +++++'s wish.
Michelle: Perfect.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

You've been in New York too long when...

A dream I had last night.

(It starts as a harlequin romance)
Afternoon sunlight poured into the bedroom like a syrup, casting amber light across the face of Fabio, pronouncing his roman features: alabaster skin toasted almond, deep penetrating eyes and aquiline jaw. His arms were taut with the strength of carpentry, and in the Tuscan sun, each tensile motion he made toward his obedient fawn was pronounced with muscular shadows. Annabella laid supine on a bed covered in soft cottons that smelled of Freesia and human desire. She would wait for him with her body, but beckon him with her eyes.
As Fabio approached Annabella, he pulled her chest up to his face, with one motion of the hand between her shoulder blades. She moaned with her head draped back, feeling his hot breath become cool against her skin. The downy hairs on her body invisible but to Fabio now bristled awake. She lifted her head to look deep into Fabio's eyes and confirm a ready eagerness to make love. Their eyes met inches apart...

(Then, suddenly, a change of tone)
Fabio narrowed his eyes as if to warn her of the thunderous effect of his affection. As if... He kept one hand between Annabella's shoulder blades and pursed his lips, perhaps preparing to make a statement. Perhaps... He exhaled once, seemingly preparing to dive in. Seemingly...
After staring at her through several breaths, he took his other hand and wiped gently at his nose. Then he did it again. He repeated this motion several times, each time less intent on wiping away whatever was bothering his face. It looked like nothing more than a gesture.
Annabella then slowly, stutteringly lifted her hand toward her own nose, paused just before her fingertips reached her nostrils, took one more good look at Fabio, whose eyes finally dilated, whose lips curved into an approving smile. She touched her left nostril and discovered... an interruption. A sticky obtrusion. A booger.

This is the dream I had. It started out as a boner fide wet dream set in Italy, only to quickly devolve into an episode of Seinfeld. (sigh)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Birthday parties are for assholes, not dickheads.

Let me begin by saying I am sometimes an asshole. Never a dickhead, but an asshole, sometimes.
Dickhead=top. Asshole=bottom. I'm a bottom.

Let me continue by saying that only a dickhead wants to party like an asshole, but an asshole is the only one who can enjoy their own birthday party.

Dickheads throw frat keggers. They have sweet 16s at nightclubs intdended for salty 21 year olds. When they were 18, their parents rented a penthouse for graduation. They wear tiaras covered in tiny plastic dicks to their bachelorette parties, because they're dickheads. They invite DJs from London to celebrate objects because the British are dickheads. They get married on yachts they don't own. They coined the French acronym "rsvp."

Assholes host "marathons" for shitty TV shows. They celebrate adult birthday parties at Chuck E. Cheese's. When they were 8, their parents made them spin around blindfolded swinging aluminum bats at pinatas and identically shaped children who were rapturously following the papier mache effigy, waiting for it to explode into cheap candy. Assholes hire karaoke DJs because assholes like to sing out loud. They get married in houses they own. They coined the American acronym "BYOB."

Another wholly anonymous breed of person chooses never to throw parties. I guess that person doesn't fit in the dick-butt dichotomy. Maybe they're pussies or twats. More on that later.

I've never felt badly about throwing my own birthday parties. If there was ever a day one was allowed to revel in their self, to be totally self-absorbed, I think it's the anniversary of my birth. But, and with full psychoanalytic disclosure, I admit that having birthday parties as an adult has everything to do with having been denied birthday parties as a child. You see, my dad was a twat. Big time. No birthday parties. No Christmas presents. When the phone rang, he'd pick up the receiver and drop it back on the phone. One time he told me he'd take me to a friend's house to hang out, and instead drove me with him to work. Said later that he wanted to use the carpool lane during rush hour later. He was a real winner.

My parents were separating/divorcing as I turned 16. It was a tough time, not because I wanted my parents to stay together but because my mom was so fucking miserable contemplating how she'd fare as a single mother. Note: after a couple years in a one bedroom apartment and no car, she bootstrapped herself into the family business and sent me off to college. By all counts I think she did swell.

Meanwhile back at sweet sixteen... I was so bitter at all the kids with their quincenieras and adult-mimicry that by the time my birthday reared around I was hell bent on out-enjoying myself by spending the evening after a field show competition, with my loyal marching band mates, at Denny's eating beef barley vegetable soup and french fries. Just as we'd do after all our competitions.

That night, one by one, each of my friends defected. "Sorry man, I gotta go home tonight." "Hey, maybe next week we can go to Burger King. I'll buy you a Whopper." "Oh man, it's your birthday? Sorry, I can't hang. I'm gonna see Jennifer." I was so dejected and sad. I really thought long and hard about the meaning of friendship and life concluding only that I may as well resign to being a twat, just like my dad. Fuck parties. Fuck celebration.

Mike Martinez offered to drive me home that night, on his way to pick up a girl. He just needed to stop by his house to change clothes. And I'll never forget these details, because my truly, sincerely, epically bummed-out depressed ass was like an etch-board to the world. Not even Mike, my asshole best friend, was going to let me third wheel for the sake of my own self.

We got out of his car and headed toward the house when Bruce Watanabe happened to drive by in his rice rocket and said "hey, is this where Anne's party's at?" Mike gave him a clear zipper across the mouth gesture, eyes wide open. I looked in shock at Bruce, who said "oh hey. I guess it's already started. Happy birthday!"

Mike walked into the house ahead of me and screamed "Bruce fucked it all up!" and I heard the loudest collective moan ever. When I got into the house I saw dozens of friends' faces, and my mom in the back laughing hysterically. I hadn't seen her laugh in years.

Mike explained to me that my mom had been organizing this surprise birthday party for me with him for weeks. I don't know how else to depict the joy I experienced on that night, except to say that I vowed never not to have a birthday party after that. I guess that doesn't make me so much an asshole as a sucker, but depending on who you ask, it might be the same difference.

Monday, May 16, 2011

A Year Ago Today I was in Mongolia. Today I'm a Mongoloid.

It feels like just yesterday I was waking up on the carpeted dirt floor of a "4 star" Mongolian hotel room, celebrating the end of my birthday trek around Terelj National Park with Michelle, but the fact that I can drink top shelf vodka again is my only real indication that the memory is an old one. Then again, one can only resist vodka for so long in New York City before being accused of being a homophobe.

Last week I happened to recount all my tales of Mongolia to a family from Le Vigan, France (it's closest metropole is Montpellier and the area is appropriately comparable to Vermont, politically et cetera). The family was riveted by my stories about horseback philosophy and the meditative silence in a daily ritual of napping, leagues away from plumbing, electricity and mundane stress. But halfway through my above average French retelling of the Asian outback, Fabienne (mother of the family), says to me:

By the way, in France we call them Mongolians, not Mongols. Mongols are what we call people with downs syndrome.

First, I'd like to point out that I inferred she was talking about downs syndrome without actually knowing that "trysomanie" was the french term for it. I inferred because Americans use the word "Mongoloid" derogatorily to refer to the same. I'm not sure why I assumed the French word for a mongolian was "Mongol" and not "Mongolian" or "mongolien" but I had actually been talking about that very vodka that felled me. So I had to ask:

Can't vodka be mongoloid?

Fabienne said no. "Nothing's Mongoloid unless you're trying to insult someone," she said. I'd argue the only people who'd understand the insult are dead... or Mongolian. I am trying to reappropriate the words to signify nothing more than that something/someone/anyone comes from the upper steppes region adjacent to Uzbekistan, Russia and the People's Republic of China. Easier known as Mongolia, Mongol, Mongoloid. For fucking Christ's sake Ghengis Khan fucked and killed more people than Ceasar and Charlemagne combined. What part of that is retarded?!

So I am officially pledging for reclamation of the grammatical fragment "Mongo-" and proudly calling myself a fucking Mongoloid.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Natsume Ono in New York City

Natsume Ono Book Signing and Giveaway (Original Prints and Art!) at Kinokuniya New York.
Starts at 7pm.

I'll be there translating for her. :B (Yes, I just did :B)

Friday, May 6, 2011


I've returned to this blog after a long recess only to whine. And yet this is no revelation. The fact is, I've been whining a lot the last year, and am not sure if it's hormones (which I'm happy to admit, make me seem more shemale than woman sometimes), or the dutch oven of rush hour shart toxins in my new neighborhood in NYC.

I am guessing what has rendered me more New York Chinatown (crowded and annoying) than San Francisco Chinatown (unique and cheeky), is the sick realization that I am deep-down-inside, a Los Angeles Chinatown (flashy but unenterprising).

Nothing's more offensive to a New Yorker than to be accused of seeming "LA-y."

I'm rehabilitating my ego. Mind you, a rehabilitation assumes nothing more than that something has always thrived in its natural circumstances but may have been handicapped by external forces: aforementioned toxic air for example, or... private tragedy, public trauma, illness, cheap tampons...

My recovery is going to be simple, as the absence of two things glare back at me when I assess the damage I cause myself when whining out of my pajama sweats (designated attire for whining):

1. Writing.
2. Lists.

Consider this a template.

INRE: Writing.
All of us have an innate talent. Granted, some of you have utterly useless talents, they can all be boiled down to one action. I don't claim to be a good writer, but it's something I can do... confidently.

The big reveal is that I haven't been writing. This is the kind of absenteeism that'll turn math professors into Unabombers. Do what you're good at and you won't ever find yourself wrapping explosives kraft paper and string out of a wood shed in Montana. Or in my case, eating leftover potatoes from a diner in an unlit bedroom watching reruns of Everybody Loves Raymond, while stroking a gun.

INRE: Number 2. Lists.
All of us have our own system of discipline. For some people it's assistants. For others, it's a wife. For me, it's personalized lists. To Do lists, Top Ten lists, shopping lists, a roll call of corporate indigents, cast members of my NAMBLA TV show "How I Met Your Son"... I take real joy in my lists.

Make your discipline joyful.