Ugh. What is it like to have an entire room for your home office? Must be nice.
I can't decide between the following beds:
The considerations include:
- My mom labels the first choice "a princess bed" which is "going in the wrong direction," and indicates my refusal to grow up (I've had to live in a grown up brown and beige apartment for the last two years! I want to revert to childhood!! I want white and pink!)
- I want a king size bed, but A) the first bed doesn't come in a king and B) the room is pretty freaking small for a king
- Is it ridiculous to buy a canopy bed to go in such a small apartment?
- Bed A is $600 less than Bed B.
- Note that the top bed has a footboard, which might close off the small space even more. But, oh, I love that bed! I haven't seen it in person, though ...
Ugh, sometimes I think I should just change my name to Julia Goolia and start anew.PS. In case any of my regular blog readers are confused, I am very much a free agent, as it were. It's hard to pin me down ;)
Which means that soon a groundswell of support will grow for software that easily blocks their URLs for a specified period of time, so, in moments of weakness (which for me is like 95% of the time), you can't look at their pages to see gorgeous photos of their new girlfriend, who is from Brazil and has inner thighs which don't touch each other. Bitch.
M---, the computer science guy I dated last year, developed his own makeshift version when we broke up and he didn't want to be able to access my blog, lest he read about the places I was vacationing with the new guys I was dating. Totally understandable. (I think he might have even blocked Gawker as well. Even smarter.)
I envision something like this: a simple platform that blocks whatever URLs you type in (including Facebook profiles, Flickr photostreams, even, yeah, Vimeo channels), for a limited period of time, which you can adjust accordingly.
Maybe you're PMSing and lord knows what sorts of mushy (or worse, bitter) crap you might leave on your ex's Facebook wall - you only need 3 days and you're back to rational thought. Or maybe you have a deadline and you really, really want to stop yourself from watching your not-quite-a-boyfriend's inane lip dubbing video for the 8th time, so you block his URL for 3 hours. Or maybe you realize you need to detox on celebrity gossip - and you block Perez Hilton's blog for 3 months!
So tech nerds, make it happen. Because honestly, I have work to do. And this whole personal-stuff-on-the-web thing? Very distracting.
He always said he would call when I finally moved out of my old boyfriend's place, and he had seen the Vimeo video I shot - as an odd coincidence, I was wearing the emerald earrings he gave me last Christmas. I guess that's what prompted him to call.
It was so weird to hear his voice. But what was even more odd was that I didn't feel ... the way I thought I would. I was so angry and hurt when he stopped speaking to me, but god, now I'm incredibly glad he did. It was the only way to really move on. I mean, I care about him, I always will. I still think about him. But I'm pretty happy right now, and despite my continuing commitment-phobia, I'm enjoying my current love life.
I used to think that when I felt emotions about men while I was in relationships, that was the way things were and they would always be that way - because I felt them so strongly! They HAD to be true! I was CONVINCED I would marry A--. Then I was CONVINCED I would marry M---. And now? I'm no longer convinced of anything. (For the record, those are the only two men I've ever considered marrying. And yeah, neither are my ex-fiance. The irony does not escape me.)
I can't decide if the realization that it's difficult to trust yourself or your feelings in love is frightening and sort of depressing, or if it's empowering and sort of a relief. Maybe a little of both. I think the end result is that I'm more likely to enjoy the moments of falling and being in love, because I know they're ephemeral ... you might as well savor them while you can, right?
Below, a few photos from the Soho book party.
with the lovely and very sweet Imogen Lloyd Webber
These guys all had British accents. Three of them were single.
Guess which one flirted the hardest? Hint: not the single one!
with Meghan Asha and Emily Gould
It's in Emily's Gawker contract that she has to roll her eyes in photographs with me.
I finally passed the 7 person board to get my brand-new apartment today. Except the funny thing is, it seems to have SHRUNK in the time since I applied four weeks ago. Sigh. I'm totally overwhelmed, of course, and completely freaked out that I made the wrong decision. It's so expensive and it's in Hell's Kitchen, which is ... um ... really far away from ... everyone. Not to mention that I HAVE NO FURNITURE and I have to be out of my current place by Sunday.
Kill me now.
Here we are at the Nannette Lepore show during Fashion Week at the beginning of September. I'm wearing Couture de H&M, and I sort of like my hair in a bun. I should try that more often. Also, standing on the other side in the picture for once. Old photo habits die very, very hard.
It's like hanging out with Reporter Barbie!! But she's so sweet.
Anyway, here's a little Wedding Album for those who couldn't make it ;)
My parents (married 29 years) and maternal grandparents (married 67 years!) with my younger brother and me (not even remotely married for any years)
My grandfather walked my cousin Andrea down the aisle (her father had passed away). It was practically illegal not to tear up.
My mom was a bridesmaid, which she at first thought was ridiculous ("I'm too old to be a bridesmaid!!") but I think she eventually came around. After all, what idiot decided that there was an age limit to being special to the bride?! I thought she looked beautiful.
My father looked dapper in his tux - and Andrea and I decided that men should just wear dinner jackets the majority of the time. You almost can't go wrong.
My brother's adorable girlfriend of FOREVER (they even dated in high school), Allie. The family loves her. She's the Mary Poppins of girlfriends - practically perfect in every way. We keep worrying she's going to realize she can do better and dump him. hahah
What's a wedding without forcing your brother to dance with you??
Honestly, I must have done something VERY, VERY right in my last life to deserve the parents I have. They're not perfect, but they're just about as good as it gets.
Not to mention the fact that they've provided me with an unbelievable role model of an equitable and loving relationship. They have such an incredible amount of love, and perhaps even more importantly, RESPECT for one another, it boggles my mind.
They really are extraordinarily happy - and you can tell. I'm so glad I could capture this on video. I will play it at their 50th wedding anniversary (T-21 years).
Saturday night I was at Jakob, Ricky, Josh and Zach's Rubik's Cube party in Tribeca. The concept of such a party, in case you've never had the pleasure of attending one (and I highly recommend it), is that you come dressed in the six colors of a Rubik's Cube - namely, RED, ORANGE, YELLOW, GREEN, BLUE and WHITE. Then, throughout the evening you switch colors with someone else until you're all one color. How brilliant is that??
Although, I have to admit, I liked my original outfit so much that I refused to trade with anyone. Er. Oops?
With Ricky's adorable girlfriend, Anna Marie. I am madly in love with her!!! I hope they date forever.
With Ricky Van Veen!! Ricky's like a golden retriever puppy.
With Leven Rambin and Meghan Asha!!
Everyone looks so much ... HAPPIER ... in bright colors.
Just some guy I met at the party.
He wanted me to take off my green socks and make out in the bathroom, but I'm not that kind of girl. We talked and drank water. Actually, I'm not joking about that last part. HA
Okay, maybe not 1600. But that's what it felt like.
Sometimes people don't entirely understand my job, but I think I've finally figured out a way to explain it - if you ever did debate in high school, like, um ... me ... then you've heard of a form called Extemp. Obviously that's short for extemporaneous speaking, but in general the way it works is 1) you do background research on a variety of topics, 2) you're given the specific topic thirty minutes prior to your speech, 3) you write down some talking points, 4) you try to dispense information coherently and, if you're really good, you do it in an eloquent, clever, humorous, or at the very least, not totally cliched manner.
That's pretty much what I do every day.
Usually when I do a ton of segments in a row, it's because some celeb news has just broken (Anna Nicole Smith's death, Owen Wilson's suicide, Lindsay Lohan back in rehab for the 800th time, Britney Spear's leaves the house looking presentable - no, wait. that's never happened. but it would be HUGE news if it did).
But yesterday was unique - I did three networks, but I covered over a dozen VERY disparate topics. I'll just sketch out my day ...
8:15 am - wake up (sort of late, but in my defense, I was up working until 4:30 am the night before)
8:25 am - walk a very sleepy puppy
8:45 am - beat & carrot juice at Liquiteria with Jakob. I'm really enjoying him lately.
9:15 am - Breakfast meeting with my SAINT-LIKE editor Elise at Time Out New York. Go over topics for next six columns, discuss how to make them better, more provocative (less quotes!!), talk about men & why they do what they do. Shake our heads repeatedly at their behavior in confusion/disgust. I love that this is "work."
10:30 am - Get call from FoxNews Live Desk. They want me to come on at 1:30 pm to discuss George Clooney and his medical records fiasco. I say yes, of course.
11 am - Back home, I get the stories I have to prep on for my 2 pm Court TV taped interview for a show called "Hollywood Heat." They want me to talk about a Star magazine cover story from last year on the diet drug Clen, as well as Madonna injecting vitamins instead of taking them in pill form, like normal people. I email a Star employee to try to get the story from a year ago, and I read and write out talking points on Madonna.
11:30 am - FoxNews calls - they don't need me for LiveDesk (although I've already prepped for it). They apologize, but I don't mind! That's part of the job. It's necessarily flexible.
11:45 am - FoxNews calls again - they want me for Studio B with Shep Smith, which is live around 3:30. The topics? 3 - Hasselhoff back in rehab, Keifer Sutherland's DUI, and George Clooney (yay! I've already prepped on him!). I say yes, I can do it, but am trying to figure out how the logistics will work - can they send a car to Court TV? They can.
12:30 pm - I read the stories for Fox, and send the producer back talking points.
12:45 pm - Another network emails - they have me scheduled to go on one of their shows. What are the topics I'll be covering, I ask? They list what feels like 80 ... I decide to prep for those AFTER I'm finished with my 2 pm and 3:30 pm appearances - I can't handle them right then.
1 pm - Jump in shower. This particular taping for Court TV doesn't have hair & makeup (which is really unusual) so I do my own. After more than two years of watching makeup artists render my face unrecognizable through mounds of war-paint, I'm pretty good at it by now. I slather on the Mac tv-pancake foundation, tease my hair, throw on a black blazer, grab my laptop & notes and go.
2 pm - In towncar heading to Court TV - it's on 40th and Lex, so it takes 10 minutes to get there.
2:15 pm - Towncar waits while I tape the two segments. After I cover Clen & Madonna, the producer asks if I can talk about PETA for another show she's doing. I oblige, even though I haven't prepped for it - usually you know the subject matter at least 20 minutes before, but sometimes producers will throw things to you at the last moment, and you just have to wing it confidently. It's part of the job. In this case, I know enough about PETA that I can give soundbites on which celebs have posed, why they pose, etc. They shoot some B-roll of me "working" at an office and "walking down the hall," and then I'm done.
2:50 pm - Back in the towncar, heading over to Fox at 48th and 6th. I feel like I live there, but that's not a bad thing - I work alone so often, that it's nice to be in a place where, even if everybody doesn't know your name, at least a few people do ;)
3 pm - I walk into the studio B makeup room, say hi to the artist, whom I've worked with before, get a touchup, and run down to the newsroom, where Shep is taping, despite being really ill. Turns out that there was yet another school shooting. Breaking news always preempts entertainment stories; I know I'm going to get bumped, but I already have all of my soundbites ready. Oh well - I catch up with Jill Dobson, who's supposed to go on with me. We wait until 3:40, when we're officially bumped, and then watch Shep vomit into a wastebasket as he rushes off air. You don't see THAT everyday!
3:45 pm - I'm done with Shep, but the car's supposed to pick me up at 5:30 for my next segment anyway, so I decide to NOT spend an hour in traffic and just hang at Fox until the show starts.
4 pm - I say hello to one of my best friends from Georgetown, Cristina, who works on the FoxNews breaking news desk - such a stressful job.
4:15 pm - I say hello to the producer for the following show, and sit at a desk to prep for the next two hours. NOTE: I HAVEN'T EATEN ANYTHING YET. I did have a coffee, so I'm not hungry, just wired. I don't usually have caffeine.
4:30 pm - the booker for the show says there are some topic changes. Another booker gives me the article to prep on. Okay!
4:45 pm - I methodically go through the topics, reading up on them, calling some experts to get their opinions.
6:15 pm - I've read the articles, talked to the experts, mapped out my talking points, and am ready to go! I'm particularly proud of my newfound sports knowledge: ask me anything about A-Rod - 54 HRs, 156 RBIs, his contract is up in 2010, but everything thinks he'll opt out early. The Yankees probably won't try to keep him, but only five other teams can afford to pay his likely 30/m year salary (his agent is quoted as saying he wants to get 300 m / 10 yrs). The Rangers would be ecstatic if A-Rod left, getting them off the hook for about 27 m - they pay approx 9 m of A-Rod's 25 m yearly salary. I predict he'll go to the Cubs. It's bizarre how much I'm enjoying talking about this subject. I can't figure out why this is.
6:45 pm - I get a quick makeup touchup, greet my girl friend Krystal and chat with the other guests, both men in their forties.
7:05 pm - Show starts: the host is fantastic, the format is fun, and my soundbites don't get garbled. I'm happy.
7:50 pm - DONE!!! CAN I EAT NOW??? I grab a brownie from the greenroom on the way out to the car with Krystal; we decide to stop by a Carbon party at Socialista downtown. I need to interview bankers for a story I'm doing for Time Out anyway, and Carbon Club is loaded with cocky finance dudes.
8:15 pm - We walk into the event. I spot my friend, the celebrity dermatologist Dr. Bobby Buka. He's a ray of sweet sunshine in this cloud of Brooks Brothers douchebaggery. UGH, finance guys. UGHHHHHHHH. I have never dated one, and I doubt I ever will. I'm not saying that it's impossible to be a fantastic man and work in banking, I just HAVEN'T YET MET ONE.
8:30 pm - I try to make the situation worth my time, so I'm asking the bankers questions for my column, but after 10 minutes, I get told that my notebook is "making the management nervous." Apparently they're not used to people who "write stuff down." It's like I'm a communist! If the party can't be useful, I'm done with it. I kiss Krystal and Dr. Bobby goodbye, and jump in a cab - I STILL HAVEN'T EATEN!
8:45 pm - I get a text from my girl friend Meghan - "Where are you?" - I call her; I'm leaving the West Village, does she want to meet at a cheap diner for a tuna melt? She does. We meet at her apartment on Mercer.
9 pm - On the way to the diner we walk by a Halloween superstore. I have to see if they have any Star related stuff - because I'm making my Shooting Star costume myself. They don't really, but I buy a star wand and two Deputy Star badges, just in case.
9:15 pm - My first real food of the day, a giant tuna melt with cheddar. oh YUM. Meghan and I talk about her career, my relationship, etc etc etc. It's so good to just chat after a long day.
11 pm - Dinner's over, we say goodbye. I'm at 6th St and 2nd Avenue, so I decide - despite my 4 inch heels - to just walk the 15 blocks home. I put on my pink iPod and think about how grateful I am to have a job and friends and life which I LOVE. I'm really happy.
11:30 pm - Lilly's ridiculously excited to see me - I play with her for a bit before throwing myself into the shower to get the eight pounds of hairspray and makeup off me. It feels SO GOOD to take it off!
12 am - Walk Lilly. It's still warm enough that I don't need a sweater, which I love.
12:30 am - Check emails, get ready for bed. Read the Newsweek cover story on women in power - Arianna Huffington is a role model of mine, and I love her philosophy. I thought "oh, fabulous!" when I saw the cover, but the actual story inside is just a boring collection of "My Life" anecdotes - there's not much take-away, nor is there much "this is what it all means." Very eh. I'm disappointed.
1 am - I climb into bed, and grab the book that I'm supposed to finish reading for an author interview tomorrow. It is so bad I want to cry. Oh GOD, it's unreadable.
1:15 am - I write down a To-Do list for tomorrow - write my column, prep for FoxNews appearance at 3 pm, interview that author, switch my plane ticket for the wedding I'm attending this weekend b/c I have to go on the CBS Early Show Saturday morning, call my agent, send columns to Yahoo, send schedule to boss at Star, eat cookies.
2 am - Fall asleep. Ahhh.
Kim commented on your video "Why I Go to Gawker Parties":
"julia -- i knew about you via gawker before anything else (i read your column in amny but didn't know that was you until it was pointed out to me). and seeing you via video has really made you more likeable (to me, at least, but i'll guess to many others as well). just thought i'd point that out. vimeo adds a nice counterpoint to everything they write about you on gawker. (p.s. i love la esquina. yuuuuummmmm)."
[cue Carrie Bradshaw sing-song] - So I had to wonder - If the internet depersonalizes us and makes us more vicious (through a combination of anonymity and bitchy, subjective, unsubstantiated opining), will online videos personalize us again? Make us more likable, or at least more real (maybe I mean "more accurate")?
[Except, uh, Carrie wouldn't ever wonder about this, because she barely understood the concept of IMs. But, you know, go with it.]
I emailed Jakob. What did the Fameball think?!
------ Forwarded Message
From: Jakob Lodwick
Date: Sun, 07 Oct 2007
To: Julia Allison
The realness of a Vimeo identity is unstoppable; with that sort of intimacy, it's almost impossible to hate anyone who is not straight-up evil.
From: Julia Allison
Date: Sun, 07 Oct 2007
To: Jakob Lodwick
Well ... I agree, to an extent. Certainly, Vimeo has been and I think will continue to be very good for me - but only because in person most people find me genuinely likable. Well. At least 85% of the time (the other 15% is PMS). However, I would refine your statement somewhat, adding in a paraphrase of what a reality show producer once told me:
A lot of reality show stars complain that the producers manipulate them – through editing or whatever - to get a certain type of character. The producers actually say that ISN’T true, it’s just that the stars don’t realize what they’re really like (bitchy or obnoxious or whiny & stupid, etc.)
When it comes down to it, how you come across in a visual medium like video on Vimeo is very much how you come across in real life. The difference is that you can see yourself – and if you don’t like what you see, well guess what? Your self-perception is off.
In other words, if you’re annoying in real life, you’ll probably be annoying on video too. If you’re self-important and egotistical in real life, you’ll probably be self-important and egotistical on video.
And so the people who will benefit off of this new video culture are A) those who are personable in real life and B) good actors. :) We all know that I’m definitely not B, so I’m swinging for A.
But now I'm losing on my own turf!!
Okay, so no matter what you think of my column, check it out this week - the topic is Temporary Rational Abstinence. Um, and maybe vote for me?
I love Halloween. Love. It. If I could alternate Halloween with Prom and occasionally do Christmas and a Birthday every other month, I think my serotonin levels would triple.
In any case, I spent a long time ruminating on what could top my costume from last year (I was, ahem, a "Condom Fairy"). I needed this year's costume to be just as ... uh ... clever.
So, after much thought (and a few suggestions), I've decided to be a Shooting Star. :) Although I'm not sure exactly what a "shooting star" looks like, but I know it will involve a silver gun and thigh high boots.
If you have any other suggestions, know of a particularly talented costume designer or where to buy a silver tutu, email me - julia [at] juliaallison.com.
And if you're looking for a costume of your own, I HIGHLY suggest avoiding the insanity of Ricky's and visiting www.PierreSilber.com - I have literally dozens of costumes from them, and they never disappoint.
Oh - one more question, while I'm soliciting your advice. Lilly the Puppy needs a matching costume. Should she be a "Child Star"? Or ... a "Fallen Star"? Or, um ... a comet?? I'm stuck.
PS. Jakob is going as a "Fameball." It was my idea. ha.
Their "party" yesterday night really blew. And it's not just because they didn't yet have a Google Husband Finder (TM), even though I asked specifically for them to get on that, already. It's because of (but not limited to):
1) them having security that would be appropriate if we were entering Angelina & Brad's hotel room, or, say, The Pentagon, but yeah, not really for a "consumer media welcome event." There were like four checkpoints, and more Google employees "monitoring" the room than actual reporters attending the event. Also, they actually TURNED MEDIA AWAY, which was confusing, because it was a really sparse crowd - all of seven registered guests had actually showed. And they were from budgettravel.com.
2) them passing out freaking primary colored BABY BOTTLES (but calling them "sports sippers" ... uh. right.)
3) them having the crappiest food (cold & gross mac & cheese, cold & gross pizza, just gross sushi, and GOLDFISH?) since I last ate at my high school cafeteria. Except my high school cafeteria WASN'T WORTH 10 BAJILLION DOLLARS.
4) them not realizing that their stupid event had NO FREAKING POINT. Why am I here? What is the REASON for this? I asked myself repeatedly, and sometimes my shrinking violet party-companion, Emily Gould. The answer, according to the strange hovering spokespeople, was to "introduce the consumer media to how Google could be a part of every moment in your life." Ah, now I see. Creepy. And, well, not really true! Other than showing us Google calendar (um - wow. Yeah, already knew about that. Already determined it was crappy!), and Google photo something or other uploader, I couldn't figure out how this event showed me anything other than Google took their "Primary Colors" theme very seriously (I matched, luckily.)
5) and finally, the most egregious, least explicable Google move of them all - the directive that "no photos or video shall be taken at the party or on the premises." Um ... huh??? WHY!?!?! They had no clear explanation for this, other than it was "just a decision they had come to." Sure! That makes sense!! Invite the press with the intention of sucking up to them but TELL THEM NOT TO COVER IT - and, while you're at it? Act like you're trying to hide something in a really sketchy way!! Brilliant PR move, right there. Who's doing evil now, bitches???
6) One more thing: their offices really suck.
That little yellow square I'm holding says "Google" on it. Maybe if they had spent their money on a GOOD CATERER instead of POINTLESS LANDFILL-READY PLASTIC LOGO-EMBLAZONED FAKE ICE CUBES, they'd have had a better party. but no.
Here's the 2 second video I did manage to film, before Evil Google Lady told me "it wasn't cool."
What, like you don't bring your laptop to amateur charity stand up comedy events FOR THE TROOPS?
Yeah, I didn't exactly, uh ... prepare ahead of time. But I have to say, being able to check your email in the middle of a set is a huge bonus.
PS. You may think I have no creativity lately with which to spice up my outfits. Incorrect. I have no money lately with which to shop for new ones! Thus, headbands and American Apparel tee/skirt combos. I apologize. I will try to remedy this weekend.
Tonight will be on CNN's Glenn Beck at 7, 9 and 12. Also will be on Dan Abrams' show on MSNBC, around 9:55 pm EST.
Dad with me, circa 1983.
In honor of his birthday, I'm reprinting the below column, which I wrote in honor of my Dad on Father's Day 2006. Happy Birthday Dad! I love you.
THIRTEEN SIMPLE RULES FOR DEALING WITH MY DAD
AM NEW YORK – “THE DATING LIFE”
JUNE 19, 2006
BY JULIA ALLISON
My father is not big or tall. He does not own shotguns. And he has never threatened to murder any of my boyfriends with his bare hands.
He doesn’t need bare hands – he’s a lawyer. He cross-examines them to death.
Most past beaus haven’t survived his withering interrogatives.
There was Greg, who often reeked of cannabis: “You do realize that pot is illegal in this country, correct?” There was Jeff, who didn’t believe in going to class: “Would you say failing out of college indicates you don’t take your studies very seriously?” There was James, who was superbly talented at drinking copious amounts of vodka: “How many alcoholic beverages, on average, do you consume in a given week?”
There was Dan, who nearly had a heart attack every time my father would interrupt one of our interminable high school make out sessions by pounding on my bedroom door and bellowing, “Are you studying physics? Just remember the first law: Bodies in Motion Stay in Motion!” I’m still mortified.
Even The Current Boyfriend had a rough start. After interrogating Boyfriend about his “intentions,” my dad pounced: “I understand you’re ‘divorced’ – would you happen to have a copy of the documentation? And exactly how old are you again?”
I’ve always told my boyfriends to “just be themselves” when they meet my dad. I’ve always been a moron.
My new plan is this: No more being yourselves, unless “yourselves” is perfect. Instead, all boyfriends who interact with my paternal unit will have to adhere to the following – let’s just call them Thirteen Simple Rules So My Dad Won’t Refuse to Pay for the Wedding. (Or have you arrested.)
1) My father will ask you many questions. You will look him in the eye when you answer, and you will ENUNCIATE. Under no circumstances will you check your Blackberry during the conversation.
2) You will not attempt to touch, kiss or partially disrobe me within three miles of my father. You will not slap any body part of mine unless it is my hand and I have initiated a high-five. Most importantly, you are not interested in cohabitation or sex until marriage, and even then, only to procreate. You love me only for my mind. My body? What body??
3) Whether or not you believe in God, you will not begin a debate on the merits of atheism or staunchly declare, “You know, Marx settled this question a long time ago.” You will go to church with my father and you will sing along with the hymns. If you’re Jewish, you will pretend that you considered your bar mitzvah a spiritual experience and not the most efficient way for a 13-year-old to separate his relatives from their cash.
4) Speaking of cash, upon seeing my father’s house/car/boat/lawn mower, you will not say “that is money.” You will refrain from ruminating aloud about your Kanye West-induced fear of golddiggers. And you will never, ever use the word “pimp,” or debate how hard it is to be one. Instead, you will set your car radio to NPR and hum Beethoven’s Fifth.
5) When my father asks you about your college education, you will not look confused and say “Huh?”
6) You will eschew all frivolous and/or hedonistic activities, preferring yard work, vigorous exercise and paying bills promptly and in full.
7) You will brag about working 167-hour weeks to save for the expensive college educations of your unborn children. You will find a way to work the terms “personal responsibility,” “family values” and “401k” into as many conversations as possible. You will name-check your health insurance provider ("Whoops, just broke my leg. Good thing I have a low deductible with Blue Cross!").
8) You will profess a great interest in attending law school, even if you are currently a model slash waiter who (until five minutes ago) thought that the LSAT stood for “Last Saturday.”
9) You will not admit to any “youthful indiscretions.” You never had a youth, or if you did, it was spent reading ponderous books about Thomas Jefferson, working part-time jobs that taught you “the value of a dollar,” and discouraging girls from going wild.
10) You will bring my father a nice bottle of wine, but profess not to drink, “except for the occasional glass of red at dinner.” You have never heard of keg stands and you do not know what “boot and rally” means.
11) You will google David McCullough and reference him repeatedly. “According to David McCullough,” you’ll say, and then you’ll make something up. If you’re challenged, you’ll reply sagely, “Well, look at chapter 18 of ‘1776.’” No one will bother.
12) Under no circumstances will you admit to any of the following: pedicures, strip clubs, credit card debt, binge drinking, threesomes, comprehensive knowledge of unemployment benefits, comprehensive knowledge of drug trafficking laws, road rage, not voting, voting for a Democrat, and exceptional familiarity with internet porn.
13) You will not repeatedly mumble, “This is just like ‘Meet the Fockers.’”
If all else fails, think “What Would Colin Farrell Do?” … then make the opposite decision.
Today is my dad's god-knows-what birthday (somewhere in his late 50s), so I thought that I'd write a little "through my eyes" tribute (I did the same thing with my mom a few months ago).
My dad is quite a character - almost 100% oblivious to pop culture (he once asked me "who this 'Angelina' character was"), he speaks thoughtfully, methodically, in an organized and disciplined fashion. On birthdays and holidays like Thanksgiving he likes to ask big, important questions, such as "What have you learned this year, Julia?" except it comes out sounding more like: "So. DRAMATIC PAUSE. What. have. you. LEARNED. this. year. Julia?" And he expects you to have a SERIOUS and THOUGHTFUL answer to that question, with statistics, facts, and exhibits charting your progress, intellectually, academically, financially and spiritually.
He doesn't just believe in the Protestant work ethic - he IS the Protestant work ethic. Vacations and sports have no appeal to him - in fact, they don't even exist as possibilities, although he's a huge fan of jogging on the beach and weekend couch naps. When I first moved to New York and started going to the Hamptons with my then-boyfriend, he grew increasingly concerned that I was acting "like a hedonist." "Well," I asked him, "What should I be doing on the weekends?" His answer: "Working, running errands, vacuuming, grocery shopping, maybe doing some laundry." As if that were perfectly reasonable. Sigh.
He's infamous in our family for his extreme thrift (cough cough, cheapness), but he's never carried a credit card balance and always paid for his cars in cash (which he then keeps for 15 years). He would probably still be wearing suits from the 70s if he weren't sartorially saved by a combination of my mom goading him to actually spend some money already and then taking his credit card and doing it for him, and my 84-year-old grandmother obsessively buying him shirts and socks. To this day.
He lives with my mother in the same Chicago suburb he grew up in, barely two miles from the high school he (and my brother and I) all attended. Every Sunday, I get a voicemail from him, with a description of his usually brain-numbing weekends ("Your mother and I took the dog for a nice walk. And after that we went to a kitchen sink expo. Then we attended a town hall meeting!") It's all very Garrison Keillor sweet, really. Dad loves to run 5ks, but I'm fairly sure it's just to get the free tee-shirts. He subscribes to Word-of-the-Day, and will frequently forward them on, with horrible puns attached. He adores New Yorker cartoons, and mails out the ones he deems relevant, with the printed names crossed out and yours written in. When my brother and I were younger, in order to receive our allowances, we had to submit Excel spreadsheets updated quarterly with our budgetary goals.
Conservative (but ostensibly a Rockefeller Republican), he inexplicably voted for Bush twice in a row. The family's still mad at him for it, and further peeved that he never made use of being in the same law school class as the Clintons. Truly a tragedy. My father does not fear cancer or drunk driving accidents or nuclear holocaust or muggers toting glocks - my father fears LIABILITY. My brother and I were lectured on the issue at least twice a month for years.
He is one of, if not the, most ethical human beings I know. Still, he does not "believe" in waiting on hold or in lines. Also, he is a terrible driver.
Despite the very lawyer-ly facade of "serious," Dad actually has a fairly well-developed, albeit at times painfully corny, sense of humor. An insanely loyal Princeton alum, he can rattle off every classmate, their profession, their kids, and their kids' professions, within a 2000 mile radius, all while singing the fight song and wearing one of his innumerable little black & orange Tiger printed vestments.
He is gregarious, a consummate networker, and one of the best public speakers I have EVER seen. It was always his intention to run for public office - he thought very seriously about joining the Illinois senatorial race back in 2003 (um, you know, the one some guy named Barack Obama won?), but my mom said "oh, HELL no!" and threatened him with divorce. He made the right choice, a political life is no life at all. Still, he's so good at distilling large & complex ideas that I've always encouraged him to be a law school professor ("doesn't make enough money!"). Oh well. For now, I suppose, his lectures will stay confined to my brother and me.
Happy Birthday, Dad. I love you!
Dad Then, circa 1979.
I'm doing the Morning Show tomorrow, and most likely several spots on either CNN or MSNBC or Fox about Brit Brit. I'll keep you updated.
Other stuff on my mind ... I'm moving soon, to 53rd and 9th, and I've been having second thoughts about the location - it seems so far away from everything. I suppose it's all a matter of perspective, but I love the area I live in now (21st and 2nd) - I can walk to the Village in 5 minutes, Soho in 15, across to Chelsea in 10. I'm moving to be closer to the studios (Fox is at 48th and 6th, CNN is in Time Warner at 59th and 8th and MSNBC will be moving to 30 Rock), but I wonder how smart a decision that is. I mean, I already have pretty extreme stress-related issues AND quite a bit of trouble separating my work from my personal life. Is it really smart to move to a place where the primary benefit is being able to get to work faster? Not to mention that Leven now wants to live with me, and let me tell you, a studio that's 12 x 14 isn't going to hold all our combined shoes, let alone, you know, us. But I've already submitted an application and put down a deposit ... I just want this settled!