All My Life I’ve Looked at Words as Though I Were Seeing Them for the First Time Or, Smart Girls Have More Fun

This is Max from Happy Endings (a show you should be watching).

maxbear

In the winter, Max basically hibernates to the point where he takes on the characteristics of the most frightening mammal in the animal kingdom – a bear.

Yesterday, my sister texted me to tell me that The West Wing is now on Netflix.

That being the case, I’m basically pulling a Max and spending the rest of this winter underneath the covers with the Bartlet Administration (my beard will probably be a little thicker, though…)

I love The West Wing for all sorts of reasons – the walk-and-talks, the fact that the show’s politics align pretty closely to mine, the staggering crush I have on Bradley Whitford/Josh Lyman (yes, I realize he’s 53 and that’s a little weird but watch this and tell me he’s not the coolest guy ever) as well as the rest of the cast who are pitch-perfect, but the primary reason I love this show with a fierce and intractable passion is because I love words and Aaron Sorkin writes some solid fucking oratory.

My own vernacular is wet garbage during a heatwave. Peppered with ‘ums’ and ‘uhhhhs’ and ‘dudes’ and ‘bros’ and just barely cogent asshattery that makes people wonder, “You grew up in England? Where they speak English?”

But Sorkin (and by extension, his characters) speak with the kind of bluster and bombast that no-one uses in real life.

When was the last time you heard someone quote Lincoln’s first inaugural address as trash talk during a basketball game or curse out his creator in Latin?

I’m guessing never because why would you bother with oratory when you can just hiss the word, ‘asshole’ and call it a day, right?

One of my 30 Before 30 Goals was to read Shakespeare’s comedies, tragedies and histories (so far, I’ve purchased a cheap copy of the bard’s collected works and I’ve read Hamlet).

I chose this lofty goal because I call myself a writer (which is akin to someone who subsists on a diet of instant noodles referring to themselves as a chef) and I feel as a writer, I’m obligated to be familiar with his works. Actually, I feel as a human being, I’m obligated to be familiar with his major works. Another reason I decided to do this is because I felt reading Shakespeare would give me a better insight into the human condition because let’s face it, he kinda covered the entire spectrum of humanity in his work – jealousy, lust, love, passion, madness, anger, ambition, greed, life and death.

But mostly, I wanted to read all of Shakespeare’s works because I watched CJ Cregg effortlessly quote Julius Caesar and the eloquence of that moment floored me.

I want to be that erudite and well-spoken. I want to be that well-versed in literature and most of all, I wanna be smart because as Aaron Sorkin told his daughter when he won the Oscar for The Social Network – smart girls have more fun and honey, you’re one of them.

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Bukowski Girls and Neruda Girls Or, Every Last Little Light In New York City

There are two kinds of girls in this world – Neruda Girls and Bukowski Girls.

Neruda girls want to hear:

For those of you not fluent in Spanish (full disclosure: I am not. I can curse and order food), it translates to, “I want to do with you what spring does with the cherry trees.”

It’s a good great line, right? Passionate, evocative, poetic and brimming with romantic promise.

Neruda Girls eat this up – warm honey all sticky-sweet on their fingertips.

Then, you’ve got your Bukowski girls who want to hear:

Like all teenage girls in love with the idea of love, I was once a Neruda Girl.

But now, that kind of talk just makes me cut my eyes, cock my head and go, “What’s your game, friend? What do you want?”

It’s not that I don’t believe Neruda’s lines. I’m sure he does want a woman to bloom underneath him. To burst forth all blushing pink and sweet.

I just think that Bukowski – irascible, inebriated bastard that he was – is a lot more honest.

Neruda will love you madly. He’ll grab you by your hips and sweep you up in this overwhelming delirium – all wild kisses tearing at your lips and your heart. All shattered plates and screaming and storming out. All blood and sweat and salt.

And he’ll do it again and again and again. Maybe with you or maybe with someone else.

Bukowski is just sort of fucking amazed by your very presence and the fact that you’re willing to give him everything. The fact that he’s willing if not eager to offer up everything left of him. But this is hardly devoid of passion because your kisses leave your lips raw with love and let’s face it, Bukowski might just die if you ever take your love away.

I’m a Bukowski Girl.

I never craved madness or a love that would make my blood boil.

All I want to do is just be in the same sun-dappled bedroom. To listen to you breathe and be close enough to touch. Because that’s enough. The warmth of your body, our records, our books, our morning coffee, your smile and how you make me laugh. Again and again and again.

 

 

 

Imagine There’s No Heaven/It’s Easy If You Try Or, We Are All Made of Stars

I don’t believe in heaven or hell.

Well, I find myself hoping for the existence of hell in regards to people like Jerry Sandusky, Chris Brown and people who block the intersection when the light turns green but I don’t really believe in it.

Where do bad folks go when they die? They don’t go to heaven where the angels fly but they don’t go to a lake of fire and fry either.

Heaven’s a nice idea – a place where everything is beautiful and nothing hurts – and part of me really wishes I believed in it.

I can see why people do and I understand the need to believe in something like this but honestly, I think the notion of heaven is a fairy tale for adults. A dulcet lullaby whispered under your breath to keep away the monsters under your bed.

I believe that death is final and when someone’s gone, that’s it.

There are no ghosts, there are no angels, there is no-one watching over you.

There is ash and there are memories. There are fading photographs and that is it.

I’m also getting to the point where I get irrationally angry when I hear things like, “They’re in a better place now.”

No, dude. They’re not.

And you know how I know that? It’s because they’re not at the table with me, laughing and eating a good meal. Do you honestly expect me to believe there’s a better place than that? Really?

Bukowski had a bluebird in his heart but my bluebird lives on my sleeve, merrily chirping and twittering away – “Don’t be sad.”

Bluebird from California is a place. on Vimeo.

So, my heart is a birdcage for a crow — black-billed and beady-eyed. He’s quiet for the most part and keeps to himself, but when he gets ornery? He’s a real pernicious little fucker.

However bleak this perspective may seem, I’m not utterly devoid of hope when it comes to the notion of the afterlife. I’m just…realistic.

Which is why I love the following piece by Aaron Freeman.

I do not believe in supernatural family reunions, pearly gates or a better place beyond. But I do believe in the first law of thermodynamics and that gets me through.

The notion that as was will ever be and that the people I love aren’t gone. They’re just less orderly…and considering how damn disorderly they were when they were around – this makes perfect sense.

You Want A Physicist To Speak At Your Funeral by Aaron Freeman

You want a physicist to speak at your funeral. You want the physicist to talk to your grieving family about the conservation of energy, so they will understand that your energy has not died. You want the physicist to remind your sobbing mother about the first law of thermodynamics; that no energy gets created in the universe, and none is destroyed. You want your mother to know that all your energy, every vibration, every Btu of heat, every wave of every particle that was her beloved child remains with her in this world. You want the physicist to tell your weeping father that amid energies of the cosmos, you gave as good as you got.

And at one point you’d hope that the physicist would step down from the pulpit and walk to your brokenhearted spouse there in the pew and tell him that all the photons that ever bounced off your face, all the particles whose paths were interrupted by your smile, by the touch of your hair, hundreds of trillions of particles, have raced off like children, their ways forever changed by you. And as your widow rocks in the arms of a loving family, may the physicist let her know that all the photons that bounced from you were gathered in the particle detectors that are her eyes, that those photons created within her constellations of electromagnetically charged neurons whose energy will go on forever.

And the physicist will remind the congregation of how much of all our energy is given off as heat. There may be a few fanning themselves with their programs as he says it. And he will tell them that the warmth that flowed through you in life is still here, still part of all that we are, even as we who mourn continue the heat of our own lives.

And you’ll want the physicist to explain to those who loved you that they need not have faith; indeed, they should not have faith. Let them know that they can measure, that scientists have measured precisely the conservation of energy and found it accurate, verifiable and consistent across space and time. You can hope your family will examine the evidence and satisfy themselves that the science is sound and that they’ll be comforted to know your energy’s still around. According to the law of the conservation of energy, not a bit of you is gone; you’re just less orderly.

Amen.

Hunter S. Thompson Would Be Proud Or, The Few, The Proud, The Journalists….

Dear Anyone Who Went to J-School:

THIS.

Love:

Jaime xx

P.S. — My home state? Kinda bad-ass. Just saying.

__________________

We want to add some talent to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune investigative team. Every serious candidate should have a proven track record of conceiving, reporting and writing stellar investigative pieces that provoke change. However, our ideal candidate has also cursed out an editor, had spokespeople hang up on them in anger and threatened to resign at least once because some fool wanted to screw around with their perfect lede.

We do a mix of quick hit investigative work when events call for it and mini-projects that might run for a few days. But every year we like to put together a project way too ambitious for a paper our size because we dream that one day Walt Bogdanich will have to say: “I can’t believe the Sarasota Whatever-Tribune cost me my 20th Pulitzer.” As many of you already know, those kinds of projects can be hellish, soul-sucking, doubt-inducing affairs. But if you’re the type of sicko who likes holing up in a tiny, closed office with reporters of questionable hygiene to build databases from scratch by hand-entering thousands of pages of documents to take on powerful people and institutions that wish you were dead, all for the glorious reward of having readers pick up the paper and glance at your potential prize-winning epic as they flip their way to the Jumble… well, if that sounds like journalism Heaven, then you’re our kind of sicko.

For those unaware of Florida’s reputation, it’s arguably the best news state in the country and not just because of the great public records laws. We have all kinds of corruption, violence and scumbaggery. The 9/11 terrorists trained here. Bush read My Pet Goat here. Our elections are colossal clusterfucks. Our new governor once ran a health care company that got hit with a record fine because of rampant Medicare fraud. We have hurricanes, wildfires, tar balls, bedbugs, diseased citrus trees and an entire town overrun by giant roaches (only one of those things is made up). And we have Disney World and beaches, so bring the whole family.

Send questions, or a resume/cover letter/links to clips to my email address below. If you already have your dream job, please pass this along to someone whose skills you covet. Thanks.

Matthew Doig
Sarasota Herald-Tribune
1741 Main St.
Sarasota FL, 34236
(941) 361-4903

Honest To Blog

Sarika: Paps has a blog.
Jaime: Wait, what? What? What?!
Sarika: Yup. Paps has a blog.
Jaime: Dude! No way! Have you seen it?
Sarika: He won’t let me, but I asked him why he had one and he said, “I’m very popular on my forum, Sarika.”

This comment was followed by hearty guffaws and the stark realization that I truly am my father’s daughter.

I’ve been blogging for about ten years now and I started where many fresh-faced bloggers do — Livejournal.

My best friend (Hi Gabs! So happy we reconnected again!) introduced me to the site when we were seniors in high school and it was pretty much less-than-three at first sight.

I’m a relatively garrulous person so Livejournal was a great outlet for me. I opined often — about boys I had crushes on, about school, music, family, friends, pop, girls etc….

But I was never completely open about my life. I may wear my heart on my sleeve but make no mistake, that sucker is swaddled up pretty tight.

Instead lieu of opening up and really talking about my life, I’d post song lyrics or movie quotes.

It sounds cryptic and cool until two things became painfully obvious:

1. Susan Storm isn’t as transparent as I am. I mean, I share the news that my ex dumped me (rather unceremoniously via telephone) and then post lyrics from Babyface’s When Can I See You? It doesn’t take Freud to figure out that I was having an issue letting go.

2. I’ve been listening to Babyface ad nauseum for the past week and now, have posted lyrics to one of his sappier numbers on my Livejournal. Adios, limp-wristed grip on cool. Hello, homey confines of dorkery.

I was always honest, but that honesty was filtered through lyrics and dialogue and other people’s angst.

Flash-forward to me as an adult and I’m still filtering myself through pop culture.

I’m hoping to change that, though.

This year, I made myself a few promises — to finish the fiction piece I’m working on, to collaborate with Dan on a screenplay, to publish more than my own blog and to be honest. Even when it’s not pretty. Especially when it’s not pretty.

Hopefully, the following will help provide the inspiration for me to do just that.

Blogs I love-love-love:

Caffeinate Me — I get the feeling that if I ever met Andrea in real life, I’d spend my time eating delicious food and exalting a Monica Gellar-Bing-esque, “I know!” every five minutes or so.
Apricot Tea — I discovered this blog via Andrea and holy cow, this girl can write. She’s eloquent, passionate, funny and whip-smart. She’s also stunning and dresses how I wish I could — with confidence and like an adult.
Starting Over at 24 — Totally defunct now, but when he was writing, SO (or Brandon as he’s known in the real world) was funny, poignant and could whip out pop-culture references like no-one else. He’s the Sports Guy of relationships and considering how much I adore Sports Guy, that’s a huge compliment.
Slice of Pink — Janet is a total inspiration. Smart, classy and with great taste.
Suburbabble — Holly Actman Becker’s funny, frothy and generally kickass guide to being a mom in the suburbs.
Amor Del Viaje — Dana is the kind of person every girl wishes she had for a BFF…and lucky me, I do.