Friday, February 27, 2009

Text Message from Barcelona

Just so you know, I am a registered mute here. I wave my hands and make sad and happy faces. And sit on invisible chairs. (aka where is movie theatre???)

Thursday, February 26, 2009


HELLEOWWWW! I've missed you all, and soon the missing will end because I'll be HOME! HOME! Where my thoughts escape me! Home! Where the music aches me! Home! HOOOMMMEEE!

I wish I remember the words, but the spanish music playing in the background is ruining my thinking and analyzing abilities.

I love you all.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Everything is So Amazing and Nobody is Happy

Thanks Francisco and Eddie, my new favorite Facebook linkers!

My Life's Goal Has Been Fulfilled

So I can die now. I can officially die!

Check it:

The whole point of this blog hasn't been to talk about being Jewish or being in Seattle or being young and beautiful and well-traveled. Or to score brownie points with other journalists. No no no no no no!

The whole point of this blog has been to knock Major H Steven Blum (US Commander of somethingoranother in Iraq) off the first page of Google search, and re-instate MY name. The voice actor Steven Blum, whatever, he'll always be there, but Major H Steven Blum was supposed to go.

And, well, if you google my name now. Well, Major H Steven Blum is still there. But so am I! Right under him. On the first page. It's like we're making love. Which we probably wouldn't do. Since gays can't join the army. And he went to University of Baltimore (which is like, what? why would you do that to yourself?) But, anyway, I'm under him. Help me put myself over him. Tell everyone that is the best place for essays on modern life and straight porn.

Ohmygodseattle. It's for the children.

How Do You "Double Back"?

This is an expression I've heard over and again. But what does it look like? Is it like falling over your chair when someone tells you something? Or is it like gasping dramatically and putting your hand on your heart? And wouldn't doing it TWICE just look really supremely retarded?

Don't Click That Link!

Or do! Do click that link! Apparently, my site has been linking to porn again (on accident)! I've become a porn aggregator. A blog unknowingly endorsing porn. And it's not even gay porn. In any case, today will be the last day you can click on "my current wardrobe" and find porn. So sorry. I guess I need to find someone new with a hideous outfit I can link to. A Talbots catalogue perhaps? Or Coldwater creek? Or maybe I'll just link to a picture of a clothes bin at goodwill. I can never find anything good there. My apologies to the newly homeless, and Daniel Frum.

I LUUUUURRRVVV Postcards From Yo Mamma

This is, well, this isn't even one of the best emailed correspondence I've read on the site. But I like it, so here it is:

Backstory: My fiance and I spent the weekend at my parent’s lake house, and evidently left behind a CD that I burned for him to listen to in the car, a long while back.
Mom: I found a CD on the bureau in the third bedroom that had “I (heart) you” on it. Looks like your writing.

Me: Oh. Sry. We must have left that by accident.

Mom: Is that your lovemaking cd?

Me: What? NO! Did u LISTEN 2 it?

Mom: No, I did not want to think of you and Jason making sweet love on that new mattress that I just bought, tainting it.

Me: MOM! It’s a CD with rock music on it. Seether, Three Days Grace, Breaking Benjamin, Shinedown, etc. I highly doubt that we would be hittin’ it to that!

Mom: I have never heard of those bands. Is that what Denise calls “Kill Your Mother Music”?

Me: Knowing her, probably.

Mom: Well, it could be possible you use it for that. Some people like rough sex.

Me: OK Mom, that’s enough. But no, it is not our “lovemaking” CD.

Mom: Ok….I’ll mail it. Wait! Does it have any music on it from that Kahnyay person? A nurse at the hospital was having a fit her daughter was listening to his music????????? I wanted to hear some.

Me: NO, there is no KANYE West on there.

Mom: Okay, well maybe you should check him out. He might make some good music to sex to.

Me: Ok, mom. Enough.

Last Night

Last night I went to a festival in Sitges, which is a beach-side town near Barcelona. The city used to be an artist enclave with a predominately gay population. But now the festival in Sitges is for everyone. There were throngs of people there dressed up. Dressed up like bees, like bags of marijuana, arab terrorists, clowns, hookers (or maybe they were hookers), construction men, and gay fairies.

I went with a bunch of American college students. We walked up and down the beach a bunch, watched as people peed on the sand, and threw up all overthemselves. It was like being in high school all over again; you were just worried about people. Like the people on the rocks by the shore. And the girls being held up by their gay best friends, wobbling and stopping every few steps to dry heave on the pavement.

The festival was driven by a parade. The parade was the big attraction. It ran through the crowd, where fences had been set up to separate the performers from the spectators. The problem was that some spectators need to go to the bathroom sometimes or get something to eat, and walking through the parade was fucking impossible and, it appeared, illegal (but the cops were hawt!).

Everyone was joyful. The joy was in the air. It hung in thick blankets, especially, on the beach where people were gyrating on the sand. But we were Americans; we only do joy ironically. So we sort of gyrated, we sort of smiled, we sort of hooted and hollared, but it was a pained and embarasing spectacle. We took a lot of pictures, though (of course). We tried to not look like we were peacing out on the American economic meltdown by getting drunk with a gaggle of Spaniards. But that's what we were doing. And that's what I'm still doing. And will continue to do. Until I end up being the Spaniard dressed up as a gay terrorist fairy hooker peeing and throwing up on his/herself at the same time. Only then will I consider leaving.

The Elizabeth Gilbert Effect

Every. Single. Hostel. I visit. Someone is reading "Eat, Pray, Love."

Notes From Tel Aviv

My notebook is Israeli. It runs backwards. What the cover would be is a dirty piece of cardboard, with coffee and dirt stains. The real cover is on the other side. It's orange and says "3 Subject Notebook." When you open the notebook from the opposite side, the coffee and dirt side, you get my first entry.I tried to turn this Israeli notebook into an American notebook.

This is what I wrote when I first arrived in Tel Aviv:

The streets are dirty in that New York way where sidewalks just barely pass as sidewalks. Somewhere under all that dirt and gum and dirty gum, there's a place to stand. The buildings here are collapsing, silently chipping away, while the insides become more and more modern. Things are trapped indoors. The indoors are bright. Indoors you can forget that you're in the middle east, in the middle of a war.

I'm constantly looking for signs of modernity. Brushed wood accents spell IKEA. How's the wall art? Dental care? People seem to have teeth, but they're not white. A woman in the restaurant coughs- will she be treated for what ails her?

But there's no time to think because I'm on a PROGRAM. There are things I'm supposed to see, places I'm being told are important to my understanding of Judaism. I'm told this over and over again and I vainly follow the advice thinking here I'll feel more like a Jew, or perhaps over there. If I stand at Masada and a Jewish bird poops on my shoulder and the sun hits the rocks just so and the clouds part a little bit, will all this make me feel more like a Jew? Or humor! What if I crack a joke, or a knowing smile or something (anything?) with someone on the street? Perhaps I'll feel more like I'm part of a people.

Really, it's just a search for community. The same search every 20 year old takes. But BIRTHRIGHT would like you to believe they've found the perfect fit for you. The perfect community. Really, it's just a marketing gimmick to get me to join the Israeli army.

Stereotypes abound. Everywhere. The noses, my god. Everyone's nose looks like my own. Some stereotypes I'd like to forget. Most, actually. The money thing. The outwardly Very Dissapointed Face the bartender shoots me when I say I'd like to order a smaller size of coffee. As if the tiny amount of lost tip is actually the most important thing in the world. Seattle waiters give looks, sure, but this one said "what a waste of a table you are" with such disdain, I would have doubled back if I knew how to do that.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Hey People.

Please, please don't call me "honey". It just doesn't feel like you mean it when you say it. Same with "sweetie". I'd actually be happier with "junior"...even "champ"! When you start a sentence with an ironically warm platitude, it makes it hard to believe anything else that comes out of your mouth.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The AquaDOME

The aquadome is funny because it's a tourist trap aquarium in Berlin- one of the least tourist trappy places I've ever been. The aduadome is a sphere of glass filled with fish and coral and sharks and this one HUUUUGE ugly fish and an elevator. The elevator is the big surprise. "Is four floor only baby starfish? Because I want to go to there," I said to the elevator operatorlady. She told me there were no floors. It's like "a submarine," that is also "an elevator." You just go "down" and then "up." Like a Disneyland water ride for grandpas.

The aquadome elevator is pretty sweet, though, I gotta say. While ascending to the top of the aquarium, a little boy stole an umbrella from the man next to me and used it to poke my butt. Then a man on the other side of me spoke in Turkish. The lady on the mic responded in German, and I stared at my very very english thoughts and said "fuck" to myself. Nobody understood.

The aquadome sits in the foyer of a hotel. Behind the glass and water are beige doors with gold numbers and windows with their blinds shut and leftover room service food sitting on the floor. If you combine the images of the doors and windows and fish and room service it looks like you're watching some terrible disney movie about rich fish who stay at the Marriott. Oop! There's the ugly big fish again! He's the ate-too-much-room-service-fish. I'm ready to leave now.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Sunday, February 8, 2009

This American Life

For the longest time I've obsessed over why I like this American Life. For a while, I thought it was the music (how it comes in at just the right point, emphasizing the perfect sentence). But now, I think I might like the show because of the way Ira breathes.

I was listening to an episode today, and for some reason it got really high-defy at this one point, and I could hear all the little in-breaths Ira took before and after almost every sentence he said. It was actually kind of a manic breathing, really shallow. His voice was clear, though. I mean, Ira sort of has a falsetto that falls out sometimes, but he's generally really concise and really clear. It was in this section before he was about to introduce a correspondent who would talk about the leader of this sect of mormons who excommunicated all these folks.

The correspondent breathed deeper, and you got the sense that she was even stepping away from the mic as she did it. Her voice was more NPR young reporter, all skeptical but grasping for compassion- sort of a faux-confessional, I'm talking to you, the listener, like you're my best friend and I've been on this crazy adventure. Maybe a style she picked up, or maybe what she thinks of as authentic. I'm not sure. But for a while, it was like the words didn't matter, and all I cared about was the sound they took- almost like I was listening to another language, intently, for intonation and emphasis to get the point of what someone was trying to say.

I listened to the rest of the show like that, just as sounds and breathing, and music. The interviewees, you could sometimes tell, were trying to take on that tone of someone who's just sharing an interesting story with a friend. But they were sometimes much more guarded. Almost like they were trying to adapt to the TAL story playbook, even though the way they talk to their friends and coworkers was in a non-emotive manner. That's when the music came in. The music gave the words an emotional resonance they didn't have on their own. They inscribed the story in a larger tale of good vs. evil or made certain sections spell doom and others hope. The words didn't make me think "oh that's really sad", but then, when I heard the music, I realized I should feel sad about what was just said. I was emotionally manipulated, but I didn't mind.

And the breathing. You didn't notice the breathing when regular folks were talking, but when reporters were talking, sometimes you could hear this very un-natural sounding in-breath. It reminded you that they were the storytellers, and they were investing all this energy into sounding very authoritative and naturally insightful and charismatic, but even for them, it was hard. It was still a chore, and there were the mechanics of it, right under the surface.

Enough Blog Fighting

Enough! Enough comment wars! Can't we all just admit that we pretty much have the same taste? The following should be funny to almost anyone...

Charolette Yi's stoned laughter after accidentally sounding like a pedophile.

People who won't give reporters what they want.

This poor, nervous child who is the epitome of how any of us would respond if asked to say happy birthday to Roseanne Barr.

The way this woman reacts to pickles:

"Kristin Schaal is a Horse" (you don't have to watch the whole thing).

Soap opera dubs.

The good editing in this video.

One of the only times MadTV made me laugh.

Well, okay that's a lie. There was Lorraine:

"Curious" Taz

Other things that make me laugh:

The happy child dancing in slomo near the end of this this video, anything written by Lindy West, this show I never talk about, Jackie and Debra, when Tao Lin tries to review books, people who post emails from their moms on anonymous blogs, when the drunk monkey tries (all-human like) to regain his posture on the table and falls near the middle of this video, Craigslist Best Of, the movies Clueless, Airplane!, Mean Girls, The Office (American), David Rackoff, Sarah Vowell, the whole TAL gang, cultural miscommunication. Okay now I'm exhausted and want to end this post.

Business Etiquette

I would likely, and gladly, fail this:

Business Etiquette Tips

Top Ten Business Etiquette Tips

Job Articles from

By Joe Hodowanes, Career Strategy Advisor, J.M. Wanes & Associates

Good manners can be one of your most important assets. Just in case your career fate is in the hands of someone who is a stickler for proper manners, it might be wise to read and practice the following 10 business etiquette tips:

Know how to introduce your spouse

Do not say, "This is my wife, Mary." Say instead, "This is Mary, my wife." Why? When you put the description before the name, it implies that your spouse belongs to you, which is demeaning. The description after the name suggests an independent person who just happens to be married to you.

Do not become the office clown

A few people do this out of nervousness. Some do it merely to be liked, as it achieved that end in the past. But gaining a reputation as the office jokester can be detrimental to your long term career. The reasoning is simple: Coworkers are less likely to take you and your ideas seriously. If this advice contradicts your naturally jovial personality, here is an option. Maintain a low-key office persona during working hours and a lighter, less business-like persona after hours.

Do not get intoxicated at business-related functions

This is one of the biggest out-of-office blunders. Using profanity in the office is the only other blunder that tops this. For the record: If you care about your career and the way you are perceived by others, never -- repeat, never -- do either.

Do not give your boss a gift

Unless you have a personal relationship with your boss, do not give him or her a gift for holidays or birthdays. It is inappropriate, can be seen as apple-polishing, and puts the employer in an awkward situation. In general, try to downplay exchanging personal gifts in your office. An option is to create an office fund for purchasing birthday flowers or taking the employee to lunch.

Do not correct your boss in public

If a mistake was made, explain it in private. An exception: If you are in a meeting and your boss makes a major error in his or her statements, you can speak up gently with something like: The last figure I got was $2 million, not $4 million, Jim.

Rise and shake hands during business introductions.

In a business situation, when anyone enters the room and is being introduced, stand and shake hands. Contrary to popular belief, it does not matter who puts their hand out first. Another sidebar: Before a staff meeting starts, wait in the conference room for the person who called the meeting to arrive; remain standing until they enter and let them take the best seat.

Avoid sexual harassment

Play it safe and err on the side of caution. Some men still feel obligated to tell a female colleague or client how nice she looks since she changed her hairstyle or how attractive an outfit looks on her. However, such comments denigrate your business relationship. Save such compliments for personal friends.

Mind your mealtime manners

When calling to extend a breakfast or lunch invitation, you should clearly and immediately establish yourself as the host. When it's time to pay the bill, the rule is simple -- the host pays. The host should give the guest a choice of dates (e.g., How about next week? Monday or Wednesday?), a choice of restaurants, and a choice of times (Would you prefer 12:30 or 1:00?). Never discuss business until after your guest has had the chance to order.

Know when to use someone's first name

The general rule is that you always defer to authority by using an honorific (Mr., Ms., Mrs., or Dr.) until you are given permission to use a first name. It is always inappropriate to call prospective clients by their first name until they give you permission to do so. Additionally, even if you are on a first-name basis with your boss, always introduce your boss to someone as Mr., Ms., Mrs., etc., and include their title (e.g., This is Mr. John Doe, vice president of Operations). At that point, your boss can tell the person to call them by their first name, if so desired.

Never use profanity in any business situations

This one is normally considered the biggest breach of business etiquette, especially when it is aimed at people. There are few things that so touch us with instinctive revulsion as the use of profanity.Remember: Having good manners costs nothing, but it buys everything.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

I Don't Know If It's a Good Play But..

The award for the best play title ever should go to

"Blanche Survives Katrina in a FEMA Trailer Named Desire"

NYT article here. They're having legal problems getting it on stage, shockingly.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Rick Steve's Melancholic, Alienated, Self-Defeating,Immature and Unhelpful Gay Nephew's Guide to Prague

Editor's Note: The Following Should Not Be Taken As Actual Advice For Travelers. Rick Steves Was Stoned Off Glue And His Brother Was The Only Person Around Who Could Write A Section On Prague in 2009, As The New Year Has Just Occurred And We Would Really Like To Stay On Top of Our New Listings. We'd Delete It, But Hey, New Content Is New Content, Right?, And We're Trying To Include New Minority Voices In Our Efforts To Reach Out To Those Affected By New Media And Readers of Blogs Dealing With Issues Of Existential Despair, And Provide These Readers With Tourism Advice That Speaks To Their Needs As Young People. So, Without Further Ado, A Piece of Writing I Haven't Even Seen...

Hi, welcome to Prague.

Let's start with an image, since I guess that's what guides are supposed to do. So, imagine a garbage man taking out the, uh, garbage. The man looks really pissed off at the world. As he takes out the garbage, the garbage bag tears. Garbage starts slipping through the tears of the garbage bag. The man looks like he's going to cry. Inside his car, "I am Beautiful" by Christina Aguilara is playing.

Welcome to Prague.

This is the first thing you see.

(My editor said I should use contrasts).

Down the street from my shitty, pointless hotel is a souvenir shop filled exclusively with shitty, pointless babushka dolls.
There are a few cups and wooden carvings magnetized to the mirrored walls, but the primary focus is shitty, pointless babushka dolls. The woman who owns the store wears a bright metallic winter jacket with fake fur. She ties her belt around her waist so tightly you wonder how she breathes. She looks like something out of a Gary Shtenygart book. And she's selling little, ugly, painted wood carvings of fat Russian ladies you can put on your fridge, ironically. Kudos, you. And everyone will say "oooohh, where did you get that?" and you'll respond, "I got it in EUROPE," and then your friends will be all like "JEALOUS!" and you'll feel glad because the point of life is to make people jealous through the attainment of ugly things you can place about the house ironically.

The buildings of Prague look like something out of Hogwarts (or some other analogy that doesn't suck). They're grand, with sooty roofs and gold spires. Spires abound. The city is, quite literally, injecting itself into the sky. Forcefully. With little stars of davids and crosses. Everywhere you go, you're reminded of your athiesm. There are also lots of stupid tourists on stupid missions to count all the stupid old churches in Europe or something, too. It's just basically sad. Tourism is shitty and pointless and does nothing to bolster feelings of mutual understanding between countries. All you really understand from being a tourist is that lots of countries have really old churches, lots of countries were conquered by barbarians, and lots of countries want you to buy their babushka dolls. There, now I just saved you 800 dollars and the neck pain associated with long airline travel. Mazel Tov for staying home.

Also, the food is quite possibly better where you are. I've now given away 2 terrible meals to homeless people. One was a pizza that had goo on it (literally, goo) and the other was a salmon pasta that smelled like my grandmother's nursing home. No, actually, that's a lie. My grandmother's nursing home smelled like Pine Sol. This smelled like the gunk at the bottom of a boat that catches fish in stormy weather. I feel bad for the homeless people who got my food. But, mostly, I feel bad for myself.

I also got in a fight with a lady who refused to let me sample her gelato. I guess, here, sampling is not something people allow. So don't try to buy gelato here, unless your ready to commit to a certain color of gelato without knowing if it actually tastes like mint or mangoes or dulce de leche.

And don't try using the internet here. I went to this cyber cafe, and I was using a computer when it froze. I told the man there I needed to use a different computer, that the computer I was using had frozen, but he kept pointing to the security cameras and yelling at me in Czech. Then he head-butted me. He knocked his head against my head. Hard. I doubled back and ran outside and called the cops. Then his mom showed up. She looked like she was going to cry, so I didn't press charges. So if you like internet, and not being head-butted, Prague also hates you. But if you like being misunderstood by people, and inadvertently causing angry cultural clashes and having things like foreheads smashed into your skull, and then being guilt-tripped into not pressing charges by a short Turkish lady, this is the place to go.

So, let's recount that. Prague is a really great city for getting head butted, being unprepared for the taste or texture of the gelato you just bought, being guilt tripped by short turkish ladies, buying wooden tschotchkies you can scatter about the house, ironically, to make your friends jealous, watching sad proletariats (who gravitate towards soulful, misunderstood teen pop stars during their lonesome days) try, unsuccessfully, to shovel up the trash that fell out of their trash bags, and being pitied by die-hard christian as they continue on with their religious pilgrimage across Europe. If all these things sound appealing to you, you'll certainly enjoy the remainder of my uncle's guide to this shitty, pointless city.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

This Travel Deal is So Sweet It Sounds Like Spam

Are you planning on going to Prague sometime in the next two months? Of course you are! It's old and freezing!

And the following will blow your mind:

Go to Are you there? Good. Now click on hotels, type Prague under cities, pick your dates, press enter. A list of hotels will pop up. Search for hotel Aramis. You'll see its only 32 dollars a night, and the third night is free. That's sixty four dollars for 3 days at a hotel with rooms that look like this:

and a lobby that looks like this:


But it gets even better.

Now go to "rate details" and enter in the following code under coupon: "Fan50". Then you have to create a name so Expedia knows who you are, and create a password with numbers and letters yada yada. When you're done with all that, click enter.

Your bill will pop up. It will look like this:


14 dollars.

For three days.

At a hotel that looks like this:

With views of this:

Think Prague is too expensive for you? It isn't.

According to, you can fly SEATAC to Prague for around 600 dollars. Round trip.

In other news, you're welcome. Now come visit me.