You don’t make the decision [about what type of person you become]. Your character determines what’s going to happen to you. -Doris Lessing
You don’t make the decision [about what type of person you become]. Your character determines what’s going to happen to you. -Doris Lessing
My roommate and I were having a high-brow conversation about Britney Spear’s latest music video the other night. She looks great, but we couldn’t figure out what it was–body is super fit, dance moves seemed remarkably on point, but no no, that wasn’t exactly it. Finally, Daniel hit it on the head:
“Well you know what, she just looks really awake.”
Dear God, please don’t ever let me get to a point where the crowning compliment someone pays me is that I look “remarkably awake” (though to be clear, I’d like to get close to that point). But you know what, he’s absolutely right. She seems to be hot blooded and ready to go.
More importantly, though, Spears’ video reeks of everything we loved about haute-couture 90s music videos. Desert dance scene? Yep. Inappropriately parked sports cars? Duh.
Solo in front of a dressing mirror? Come on, what do you think this is–amateur hour??–got it. She even has her signature black bell bottom dance pants (which, as a historical note, were not in style at any point).
It’s a relief that, with YouTube, we’re now in a music video renaissance. So of course, Daniel and I took this as an opportunity to indulge in some of cinema’s greatest, in an effort to prepare ourselves for a future that now looks visually promising yet again.
You know what I miss? Completely literal representations of a song. I’m tired of fighting through all of the allegorical themes in a Lady Gaga video, thank god Britney never made us work (comma bitch) that hard for a meaning. I mean she named the main character in that video Lucky, goddamnit.
It’s also worth taking a moment of silence for “Making the Video”–we all vividly remember each of those episodes, and how Britney would never miss an opportunity to help us navigate through some of her trickier plot lines, just in case it wasn’t clear that Lucky was a movie star who looked to have everything, but deep down she was actually very sad and unhappy. Ohhh okay, got it now–thanks Brit!
Come on Over (or ven conmigo, as I like to say)
So, here’s what I’m thinking: let’s get a bunch of future-race people together, put them in gym clothes and sparkly tube tops and have them dance in front of a gigantic, shimmering piece of chiffon fabric. Metallic balls! Make *sure* they’re holding metallic silver bouncey balls. Kthanksbye.
I like to think of Christina as the original Hombre, putting that hairstyle on the map a good decade ago. In fact, I gently encouraged (at gunpoint) all of my girl friends that red lowlights would be a “smart decision,” and I’d just like to say thank you and you’re welcome. I also remember being very bullish on body crystals at the time, which I argued were always appropriate and made a great day-to-night transition accessory. I’m still waiting for that trend to come to fruition.
This is arguably the easiest dance in the world, and my only recommendation in terms of an efficient way to learn the moves would be to take a Xanax beforehand, as I think it really helps capture Mariah’s tempo and energy.
Observation: good God, why do Mariah’s boobs always look like they’re separated by Lake Superior. And they’re always *just-barely* contained in her top (top being a very loose descriptor for several pieces of fabric, fastened together by dental floss who have been waving their white flags for sometime now). Given the geography of her chest, I always feel the need to salute that top, for all of the hard work it’s put in.
One last thing: thanks Mariah for putting ripped jeans on the map. It’s too bad that you inaccurately anticipated the correct side of the jeans to rip, but we appreciate the effort nonetheless–you helped tens of teenagers across the country ruin a perfectly good pair of jeans by encouraging them to destroy what is quite possibly the most important part of the pant.
Because of you
Oh haaaey, San Francisco! Wow, it’s very easy to understand why the rest of the country thinks we’re so gay, with videos like that. But oh em gee, they were really on top of the Golden Gate Bridge a long time. And I don’t even see harnii, so that’s quite the feat!!
Buttttt….Jeff Timmons. Man, what a treat, right? Though, he used to be huge, from a muscle point of view; looking at this video, I now categorize him as “just alright” in the body department, which goes to show you the intense pressure kids are under these days and how our body image has changed. Speaking of kids, he had one at the time. I remember that didn’t bother me then (it was almost charming), though with all that’s emerged in the news about children and the problems they lead to, you can better believe that’s a deal breaker at present. Today, Jeff is now a dancer at Chippendale’s in Vegas, so his life is clearly on the up-and-up; also, he’s a father of four (which sounds awful–and of course, I mean the kids, not the dancer part; most of you know that it’s a long term goal of mine to be objectified because of my body).
It’s gonna be me
And then there was the great debate of 2000 (which nearly brought down the entire economy and probably foreshadowed the terrorist attack the following year): Justin or JC. It seems so obvious now (Justin, duh!!), but I remember at the time screaming at the television when music video director Wayne Isham didn’t give what I thought to be adequate screen time to JC. Turns out, Wayne, you really were the visionary they all said you were, and I’d like to offer you my sincerest apologies, even if it’s about 13 years too late. (As I’m sure you know, JC would go on to let his hair grow out and get blonde highlights just a few months later, to tragic consequences; meanwhile, Justin went on to put out “SexyBack”–’nuff said)
In college, my freshman dorm would become the “Video Room” on Friday and Saturday nights (which looking back, sounds borderline psycho-sexual, and it probably was a little bit)–I had a playlist of classic music videos to set the mood as we pregamed before going out. So let me just say how excited I am to reopen that video room again with a new generation of music videos (and this time, let there be no doubt in its psycho-sexual intentions).
When I was interviewing for my job, one question I got was how many cabs there were in San Francisco (I conveniently interviewed just before they stopped asking those sorts of brainteasers).
My charming reply: “not enough.” (If you’re wondering, the way I went about answering this was estimating the population of the city–including tourists and workers, on top of residents, and then figuring out how often each of those groups would require a taxi. But again, all of this hinges on the assumption that the taxi board rationally distributes medallions based on demand, which they do not.)
So a couple of years ago, when an app called Uber launched in San Francisco, allowing you to commission limo drivers in their downtime, obviously I jumped on board (this will come as little surprise to most, but save for rail, I’m allergic to public transportation).
But since then, in my opinion, things have spiraled (dramatically) out of control: new startups, like Lyft and Sidecar, have given people like you and me the opportunity to turn our cars into cabs (joy), and everyone thinks they can now muse on the wonders of free market capitalism, transforming a stagnant industry. Gurrrrl, slow your roll!!–that’s my job; get your own douchebag blog.
Now, I’ve gone on the record that on a macro level, taxi drivers are among the worst people. In every country you go to. They’re rude, they smell, they’re awkward…I haven’t yet tasted (or touched) one yet, but I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that they would likely offend those senses as well. And yet, call me old fashioned, but I still prefer a traditional ‘ol taxi, when I’m crossing town for a Grindr romp. Here’s why:
Umm, I’ll sit in the back. Thanks.
So here’s a gentle fyi–I’m looking for a ride, not a common law marriage. Lyft drivers welcome you with a fist bump, and Sidecar says they’re building a “social transportation network.” Fine, I guess I can tolerate your terrorist fist jab. But as for a conversation? Absolutely not. I only mildly tolerate talking with people I’m “friends” with, so absolute strangers are completely out of the question, even if you only want to talk about me. Feature request: a button for a virtual privacy window, to act as an indicator to the driver that even though I don’t have enough money to actually hire a limo, my bloated sense of self still precludes me from wanting to chat with others.
And while we’re at it, no I do not want to sit in the front seat. I’m driven, thanks. So don’t offer it to me, because my response will be awkward for the both of us.
Route maps, or a giant cocktease?
What’s worse than sitting in the car while your driver takes what is very obviously a wrong turn? Standing on a street corner, waiting for your car to come and watching this all take place on your phone, with no opportunity to right the ship.
At first I enjoyed being able to see your driver make his way to pick you up. But then I found myself barking at the phone when–just blocks away–he decided to take a turn that *at best* could be described as circuitous. Or, seeing the car sitting at what looks to be an eternal red light, screaming at the people in front of him to “move it or lose it” (and just seconds later seeing the car teleport 4 blocks closer to you, realizing that it wasn’t in fact the world’s longest red but rather a buffering error in the connection).
I appreciate knowing a driver is on their way–it’s much more reassuring than the trash bin I imagine every single taxi call-in request I’ve ever made, but maybe such granular insight isn’t necessary, lest we all turn into sociopaths micromanaging every single turn.
Since when did you become Ayn Rand?
What really grinds my gears are all of these users suddenly espousing the value of a free market, “really showing an industry how to innovate.” News flash: downloading an app that maximizes your ability to squeeze one more shot out of your pre-game before heading out doesn’t suddenly qualify you as a guest commentator for Hardball.
Sure, I have noticed a change in SF taxis: they no longer scoff when I pay by credit card (or pretend their system suddenly stopped working), and they’re a bit easier to find–they’re even building their own app! But to be clear, most of your angst should be directed at the regulator who controls them, and I highly doubt taxi drivers were begging for these boards to be put in place in the first place. They only want the same playing field that these startups have. Which oh by the way, is one of the tenets of that free market you suddenly love.
So there. Disclosure: I do use Uber, alongside taxis. Not because I’m trying to make any sort of statement or I think it’s revolutionary; I just find the tinted windows help protect me against the paparazzi a little bit better.
The America’s Cup: like most San Franciscans, obviously I have been excited about it. Though, also like most San Franciscans: “umm, wait what? Did it happen or like what’s going on?”
You can imagine my titilation when it was announced that the premier sailing event of the…world(?) would take place in the San Francisco Bay. As a connoisseur of elitist sports (or more accurately, a connoisseur of the *gear for* elitist sports), setting this race in our backyard on a beautiful race course stretching from the Golden Gate to the Bay Bridge and passing by Alcatraz just made a lot of sense.
But…what. a. cocktease. They’ve been actively racing since last summer, and we still don’t have a winner (though they were “practicing” last summer). And what’s worse: there are only three challengers (more on that below). As someone who competitively races against people on the sidewalk daily, let me tell you this: you’re not doing it correctly if it takes you over a year (and as many as 40+ races) to find a winner.
Still, I’m determined to be interested in this sport, lest I be cast aside by other sailing aficionados, relegated to the masses and their love for more pedestrian sports like Nascar and cock fighting.
So, after some thorough research (and this particularly fascinating channel on YouTube), I’ve put together some items that finally have piqued my interest for the sport:
#1 — They’re flying: While sailboats, of course, have always pitched out of the water (and quite dramatically in races), this year’s boats–the AC72–include foils that can actually bring both sides of the catamaran out of the water, so they’re almost flying. The foils help propel them to speeds that are actually faster than the wind itself (1.6 times faster). It’s crazy to see a boat over 7 tons going 40 knots on an incredibly small surface…see:
#2 — They’re huge: I didn’t fully appreciate this until I was sitting at the office watching one go under the Bay Bridge when its mast nearly touched the deck of the bridge. In fact, at 185’ high, the boats in the last America’s Cup actually couldn’t fit under the Golden Gate (though this year’s masts are a more modest 135’–see photo at top of post)
#3 — There are only three challengers: So here’s where it get’s tricky. The champion of the previous America’s Cup (in this case, the Golden Gate Yacht Club with Oracle Team USA at the helm) defends their title against a challenger, determined by the Louis Vuitton Cup (which took place in July and August). While 12 clubs applied, 9 failed to meet the requirements, making it a three horse race to challenge the defender.
#4 — The BRANDS!! I threw my pinky in the air the moment I set foot inside the Moet & Chandon “Champagne Garden” on Marina Green. It’s a pussy fantasia of “puh-you-re lux-uh-ree” (as Jill Zarin would say): the Lexus charging station, a 100’ sail with only “PRADA” splashed across it, the Louis Vuitton cup, and of course, there’s the trophy itself, the oldest active trophy in international sport (and by far, the douchiest). Really, what more could a girl ask for. SWAG? Yes please.
So there you have it. Is this enough to actually get you through watching a race? No, absolutely not. Nowhere did I mention the rules (they change every year), the science behind tacking (it requires a PhD in physics or meteorology or both) or the fact that–most annoying of all–there isn’t actually one definitive race, but rather an endless parade of practices, qualifiers and sets, to determine the winner. This video does an adequate job explaining it (or rather, is a reminder that often times, 3-minute vignettes are more compelling than being there live):
But, I’ll see you at the Moet & Chandon Champagne Garden this weekend, yeah?
It’s time to come clean: I’m a bridge porn addict. No, I don’t like watching porn that takes place on bridges, I love the bridges themselves. (though given the latter, the former is definitely interesting)
Everything about them. Pictures of bridges: I’ll take four. Documentaries about bridges: I know what I’m doing tonight. A good run across a bridge: stop it, you’re making me moist. When I’m driving across a bridge, I’ll have to hang up the phone or make everyone in the car stop talking so I can tee up a really good “bridge song” (a song that captures the moment; probably the best bridge song of all time is “Galvanize” by the Chemical Brothers).
Needless to say, the opening of the new Eastern Span of the Bay Bridge next week has me hot blooded and ready to go.
As a bit of background for those of you outside of San Francisco, the Bay Bridge connects San Francisco to Oakland, a 6-mile journey bifurcated into two spans by Yerba Buena Island. It’s dwarfed in notoriety by its sister bridge, the Golden Gate Bridge. But one could make an argument that the Bay Bridge is cooler. Am I going to do that? No sir, not right now; maybe when I’m sitting alone on my couch after drinking half a box of chardonnay. But if I were, here’s why:
You’re right, though: it’s not orange.
The West Span of the Bay Bridge is a Suspension Bridge and resembles the Golden Gate; the East Span is a trussel-style bridge–it’s uglier, and also a lot less safe (part of it actually collapsed in the 1989 earthquake). It’s built on a foundation which engineers have warned will not be able to sustain another major earthquake.
This weekend, they are making the switch from the trussel-style East Span with a brand new Self-Anchored Suspension (SAS) bridge and skyway. When complete, the SAS will be the longest in the world. They’ve been working on the bridge since 2002, and this weekend, while the entire bridge is shut down, they’ll be making the switch.
If you’re out hobnobbing at a cocktail party this weekend, here are some delicious tidbits you can serve up, should the conversation head that direction (or should a pregnant pause give you opportunity to redirect the conversation to this far-more fascinating topic):
So there you have it, consider yourself properly armed for the inevitable Bay Bridge conversation. I’ll be lining up on Tuesday morning to be one of the first to cross the bridge. And of course, I’ll be playing my bridge song.
As my célébrité continues to grow at an alarming rate, I find myself inundated with social invitations and formal appearance requests. It often boggles my mind that people expect an on-the-fly response to their invitation. I don’t think they realize the complex social calculations that are involved in drafting and executing someone of my social standing’s calendar. I can’t be expected to compute these equations that fast…do I look like Watson, the IBM supercomputer and Jeopardy-ien extraordinaire?
[Anecdotal observation: the people that demand these sort of split-second responses are the same people that accuse you of not calling them. Umm, hi. Last time I checked, a phone call takes two players. And as far as my call log can tell, you called me just as little as I called you. So it seems like we're both on the same page WRT our friendship…it's definitely not a priority. And frankly, guilting me is only reaffirming why I didn't call you in the first place]
So let me help you interpret and navigate some common responses:
“Oh, defffinitely.” Definitely, eh…that’s like 100%, right? Wrong. Notice how their voice went up midway through definitely. That’s extreme unease you’re hearing. This person is absolutely not coming to your event/house party/quinceanera. And to be honest, you’re not even a good enough friend to get a courtesy excuse later. Awwwwk—waaaaard.
“Sure, email me the details.” No doubt, you’ve encountered this. And we all know what it really means: umm, you caught me in the middle of a brain fart and I can’t think of a single excuse…yet. But by the time you send me the details, I’ll have manufactured something extraordinary. Either that, or you’ll forget to follow up, sparing us both the awkwardness that will inevitably follow. [Note: always carry an excuse in your back pocket—you never know when a drive-by ambush might happen. I keep three]
“Definitely, maybe!” Though this implies extreme hesitation, this is actually one step away from solidly penciling you into their schedule. What it’s really saying is this: “I don’t actually think of you as a close friend, but I’d like to fix this and the first step towards doing that is attending your somewhat intriguing soirée.” You’re lowering your guard…being genuine with the host: you’re trying to repair the years of neglect you’ve paid to this relationship by sincere honesty. And gosh darnit, it just feels good…doesn’t it?
Or, you can do what I do: “yeahhh, Nope.” Said with a completely straight face and no excuse after, I find it really keeps people on their toes and reaffirms who’s holding the strings in this friendship. “Can you believe that, he flat out said no. He’s probably going to just sit at home, watch a Dateline child predator story and go to sleep.” And you’re probably right, but I’ve got you talking about me later, and that’s all that matters.
You’ll notice that this list is completely devoid of a definitive “yes” response. It simply doesn’t exist. Why? Because deep down, we’re always waiting and hoping for a better invitation—a backstage pass to a Lindsay Lohan cocaine bender, a surprise sexual rendezvous with a Craigslist Killer….any opportunity to climb that social ladder higher and higher.
Every once in a while, I try and serve my community by unexpectedly showing up to an event which I didn’t solidly RSVP to. I do it not just because of my court appointed community service requirement; no, it’s worth it just to see the host’s face as she says “Oh, I didn’t think you’d show.”
“I said defffffffinitely, didn’t I?”