Stunted Adults

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Valentine’s Day is for Suckers

Flashback about, oh, thirty years: a wee ErinGoBrawl was interviewed by the local paper for a piece on Valentine’s Day, simply because she happened to be in the classroom that the reporter visited. When asked about what she liked most about Valentine’s Day, she didn’t bring up the candy or the cards, she simply stated: “I love it when people love you on Valentine’s Day.”

End scene.

Thirty years later, I am pretty sure that I still love that in theory, but it’s safe to say that I love nothing else about Valentine’s Day. Except the heavily discounted candy the next day – and, arguably, that is a Day After Valentine’s Day thing, NOT a Valentine’s Day thing.

This is all you need to know about V-Day.

This is all you need to know about V-Day.

You see, in just about a decade and change, my starry-eyed love of Valentine’s Day took more body hits than Apollo Creed in Rocky IV. It’s not often that I have acknowledged Valentine’s Day in my post-childhood life, but whenever I did it was disastrous. And this is no Lonely Hearts Club rant – I was partnered up for most of the worst Valentine’s Days in my short history, but that never mattered. You see, I’ve sworn it off since the age of 19 and have not looked back.

BigBrawler is totally down with this and has supported my boycott. The only thing I worry about is raising my LittleBrawlers in such a dark household. I won’t begrudge them the splendor that is V-Day treats and cards in elementary school (do they even do that anymore?) and I won’t try to color their take on the holiday. I figure they’ll get to the same conclusion on their own. After all, Valentine’s Day is the worst.

In support of my theory, please allow me to present five pieces of “anecdata” otherwise known as my Worst Valentine’s Days.

5) Our Lust’s in Jeopardy, Baby: I really only add this because it was devastating at the time, but really hilarious now. This could take the top spot, to be sure, but I’ll give BigBrawler some credit because we are actually together 15 years later. I met BigBrawler in late January at a college party. I was instantly taken with him, but that could have been due to the tequila shots I had been hammering at the time. He at least pretended he was taken with me as he dropped some (really terrible, but hilarious) lines on me. And then we made out. Like, a lot. You can ask PinotNinja, I was in lovvvvveeee. At the time I had zero expectations for V-Day, but didn’t imagine active heartache happening that day.

Turns out, BigBrawler was in love, too, but mostly with the idea of being single after a long relationship.

Not sure, dude.  Thinking being a player and crushing a lot are NOT mutually exclusive states of being.

Not sure, dude. I’m thinking that being a player and crushing a lot are NOT mutually exclusive states of being.

I really had no expectations of exclusivity at the time, which was good because then it wasn’t too much of a shitshow when I heard about him making out with a friend of mine… on Valentine’s Day. I mean, the making out was the weekend prior, but I heard on V-Day while sharing a drink with the friend who tearfully admitted she kissed BB but she had no idea I liked him. I forgave both parties immediately, but not without some good-natured joking. And I like to trot it out every once in awhile to remind BB JUST HOW AWESOME AND COOL I AM AND HOW LUCKY HE IS.

4) Middle School Match Up: Student council would have a fundraiser that was the predecessor of OKCupid or eHarmony and/or child brides. Every kid would fill out a questionnaire about likes/dislikes, etc. For $5 you could get a list of your perfect matches in your grade; $5 more and you’d get your perfect matches throughout the school. My curiosity and lack of first kiss prospects got the better of me each year as I ponied up some hard-earned babysitting cash (ask me about the night where a neighbor’s demon cat trapped me in the bathroom after I put the kids to sleep).

Spoiler: it never ended well. I managed to squirrel away the evidence of terrible potential mates before anyone could see how dire my future in our little town would be… except for one year. When a friend (not a friend) got my shame sheets and somehow put copies up all over the locker rooms. And I was teased mercilessly at the Valentine’s Dance because (of course) I was rolling solo. Damnit.

3) Hold Me Closer, Tiny Stalker: My love affair with Valentine’s Day saw its initial road bump at the ripe old age of 11. This was still the time of punched out cards and conversation hearts dropped into a carefully decorated shoe box with your name on it. Basically, it was a time to feel loved and ride an all day sugar high. Bliss.

There was one kid, David, who had an extremely creepy crush on me. It was the kind of situation that gets administrators worried these days, but back then every adult thought it was “adorable.” I had fended him off for months – switching seats in the classroom (only to have his switched the next day) and rebuffing his advances on the playground (he always managed to get his lips awfully close to my face). But my plan had a gaping hole: V-Day. I couldn’t play defense at my shoe box while dropping off candy and cards for others! I would definitely get an inappropriate card from the kid. Boy, did I ever. For a bonus, he asked me out on a date in said card. My mother made me agree to the date over a painful phone call to David later that day.

Oh, Ralph Wiggum.  Don't ever change.

Oh, Ralph Wiggum. Don’t ever change.

David and his mother picked me up and we went to a movie and got pizza. He tried to hold my hand the entire time. He made us go into this little gift shop where he picked out the creepiest looking cat figurine and bought it for me. My mom wouldn’t let me hide it away, I had to keep it on the shelf in my room, openly staring at me with its creepy eyes. In retrospect, this was the best Valentine’s Day I’d ever have – which is TOTALLY messed up. Pretty sure David is a hedge fund manager somewhere. I wonder if he’s landed the girl of his dreams.

2) Life is Like a Half-Eaten Box of Chocolates: Alternative title: You Deserve Dead Flowers. My senior year boyfriend was a sweet, but not that bright, doofus of a kid. Okay, he also ran with a particularly stupid group of misogynistic football players, if we are being honest here. Fine, kid was a dummy.

Dude was NO John Moxon.  No Ivy League in his future.

Dude was NO John Moxon. No Ivy League in his future.

Because of this kid’s inability to function like a normal human being, I literally had zero expectations for Valentine’s Day. This was a good thing.

Little did I know at the time that dude was looking for an exit strategy because: (1) it was senior year and (2) he was headed off to play Division I football. Girlfriends were a total drag in the scenario, obviously.

Turns out his mother gave him some cash and told him to go out and get me a gift. So, on February 13, he went to “the Sev” in our small town (7-Eleven for all you n00bs) and got a box of chocolates and a handful of carnations. He then used the leftover $20 to buy some Yuengling for himself and his friends.

On February 14th he handed me a handful of dead flowers (“you’re supposed to put them in water overnight?”) and a half-eaten box of chocolates (that his mom wrapped back up in pink tissue paper to prevent total mortification). The worst part: he ate all the good chocolates and left me with cherry-filled abominations. I didn’t even get any Yuengling!

About a week later, he dumped me over the phone, totally wasted during a night out with his friends. He actually drove drunk to my house to talk to me after that. I shoved him off of our deck before dramatically collapsing onto my stairs. I really should have gotten an award for my theatrics, at least. Or some Yuengling.

1) Once Again, But With More Disappointment!: At the age of 16, I had seen some shitty V-Days but was generally all about small, thoughtful gestures. So my junior year I got a small candy container and filled it up with my boyfriend’s favorite candies and made him a mix tape (we still did that back then, it was the NINETIES). I had no real expectations of getting anything in return; at this point I was pretty hardened to the holiday. I was looking forward to the usual hanging out on the couch and watching mindless television – nothing fancy needed. So, when the then boyfriend said that he had plans for us, I was honestly surprised and excited – maybe we’d get pizza? See a movie?

So, we piled in the car and he drove off to… the basketball courts at our high school. Eh? What? Okay, well this worked for me because I was on varsity at the time and thought a quick game of one on one would be fun, actually! I was totally game until he told me that he was meeting his friends and I was welcome to watch them play in the freezing rain. So I sat in his car shivering and ate his damn candy while listening to my mix tape, which was now alarmingly depressing, instead of hauntingly romantic.

Sad + candy = pretty much me in a nutshell.

Sad + candy = pretty much me in a nutshell.

I’m not saying that these are the worst possible Valentine’s stories out there, but it was enough to shake my love of love to the very core. Feel free to share your stories in the comments so we can have one big group hug/laugh.

Luckily, I am now matched up with a dude that, in spite of his appearance on my countdown, is more than happy to sidestep any real festivities or observance in favor of a good old fashioned high five and some Netflix.

Happy Valentine’s Day to all.

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The Stunted Guide to Wedding Planning

Not too long ago, PinotNinja and I attended a pretty great wedding celebrating one of our dearest college friends. It was a lovely wedding, with lots of charm and character that came directly from the bride and groom. Leading up to the blessed event, we got to talking about weddings we had attended where things were… not so lovely? You know the wedding where the Best Man gives a terrible speech, there is a cash bar, and it is outside in the middle of winter? Or, when the groom says the name of his ex in his vows, the bride and groom are getting married for a reality TV show, or someone brings a badger to a wedding? Though some of this comes from real life experience, there’s much to be learned from our favorite point of reference: Pop Culture.

And with that, we present The Stunted Guide to Wedding Planning.

1) Don’t Say Your Ex’s Name During Your Vows

Oh, Ross. You are the worst. But you know what was horrible? When you said Rachel’s name when you were marrying Emily. You know what was great? When you said Rachel’s name when you were marrying Emily.

Take heed all non-Friends characters caught in a will they/won’t they scenario spanning years: do not, under any circumstances, say your ex’s name. Just don’t. Don’t do it.

2) Don’t Get Married for Publicity and/or Promotion of Your Awful Reality Shows

kim_wedding_tile2

Kimmy K, I’m thrilled you have a wee one and a blossoming relationship with my favorite person ever, Yeezus, but what in the HELL were you thinking with that 20 second marriage to Kris Humphries? Girlfriend, you should never, ever marry for publicity’s sake. What a terrible move. I really hope you aren’t doing the same to my Yeezus. Don’t do it.

3) Don’t Steal Someone Else’s Wedding

Not talking your ridiculous pilfering of ideas from Pinterest (though, not sure “this wedding looks like it came directly from Pinterest!” is always a compliment), we’re talking about literally usurping someone else’s wedding. This usually happens with the help of a dolt of a brother. We’re looking at you, Cory Matthews.

No one wants to go to jail on their wedding day.

No one wants to go to jail on their wedding day.

4) Don’t Even Try to Marry Brandon When You Want to Marry Dylan

I don’t think you guys even know how many fan videos there are on the internet centered around the failed romance of Kelly and Brandon. Consider this your warning.

But, seriously, if you want to marry Dylan, don’t agree to marry Brandon. Just don’t.

5) Don’t Wear a Dead Bird as Your Headpiece

Only Carrie Bradshaw could pull this off. And she barely did.

Polly Want an Open Bar?

Polly Want an Open Bar?

Unless you are wearing a dead bird as a message to all birds to not crap on your dress and mess with your special day. If that’s your move, I applaud it.

6) Don’t Have Your Bachelor Party Right Before Your Wedding, And Definitely Don’t Leave the Planning up to Your Alan

We all know how this turns out.

7) Don’t Release a Badger in the Airducts of the Reception Hall

Winston is tragically underused in New Girl, but his tendency to go too far yields hilarious results. Though he could be a warning tale for all intents and purposes, it is particularly important to note: do not release a badger into the airducts of the reception venue and then get stuck chasing said badger through the airducts. Badgers have no place at a wedding, unless it is a raccoon wedding. And then, please take pictures and send them to PinotNinja. You guys know how much she loves raccoons.

I love this clip because this is what any one of us would do if stuck in an air duct for ten minutes: self-reflection and monologuing. Plus, it’s subtitled in Italian. Perfect. Just perfect.

8) Don’t Marry for a Royal Title That Involves a Dowry (Or, Don’t Get Married to that Creep Louis, SERIOUSLY)

Oh, God, Blair. Nooooooo.

9) Don’t Murder Any of Your Guests During the Wedding

Sure, you may want to punch your annoying Aunt Martha in the face when she criticizes everything EVER, but you hold back because no one wants the cops on their wedding day and you have the capacity to turn the other cheek. Some folks, however, just don’t have the decency to abide by oaths of hospitality.

Dude, you are SO screwed.  (*sob*)

Dude, you are SO screwed. (*sob*)

10) Don’t Leave Your Own Wedding with a Dude on Rollerblades

Great advice from a beloved show (RIP Happy Endings). Even if you don’t want to marry your intended, maybe don’t bail when a dude on rollerblades objects. But even if you do – don’t go on your honeymoon with that rollerblading dude. Poor form, Alex. Just awful.

I think there is just so much that could go wrong on a wedding day (torrential downpours for me; a random and rambling best man speech for PN), why not avoid some of the biggest blunders. Unless you are looking to make good television, then have at it. But don’t be upset when some Internet Denizen calls your wedding “derivative.”


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Stunted Adults Birth Control: Holiday Edition

Have you ever sat back and daydreamed about your perfect holiday?

Maybe you want to be surrounded by loved ones, watch old movies and spend hours reminiscing about the holidays of yore.

Awwww. Family!

Awwww. Family!

Or maybe you dream of a well-attended holiday party with friends in neighbors in your perfectly appointed holiday home decorated with Martha Stewart-like perfection.

Fancy!

Fancy! But please step away from Pinterest.

Or a warm ski cabin with only your partner and a roaring fire, isolated away from the holiday craziness.

Seriously cozy.

Seriously cozy. You are totally going to get some tonight.

Or something else entirely.

Happy Holidays?

Happy Holidays? Not really.

We’re here to help you identify and achieve your goals. Consider it a holiday gift from SA. We’re giving and thoughtful like that.

Please answer the following questions, and we will reveal your ideal holiday style.

1) Would you rather:
a) Get a leisurely, quiet start to your day complete with an uninterrupted piping hot cup of coffee or
b) Wake up before the sun to the dulcet tones of a small child yelling “MAMAMAMAMAMAMA” at the top of his lungs

2) Does your ideal holiday meal include:
a) Succulent treats that are straight from the cover of Food and Wine or
b) Dodging remarkably well-thrown projectiles made of unwanted vegetable sides

3) For some active holiday fun you would like to go:
a) Dashing through the snow in a one-horse open sleigh or
b) Dashing through an in-law’s non-childproofed house trying to head off severe and/or debilitating injury

4) Your holiday tradition consists of:
a) Bloody Marys and Eggs Benedict while watching the Christmas Story marathon
b) Bloody noses from fighting over the same scrap of apparently amazing wrapping paper (aka, trash) while the same Christmas episode of Barney plays on repeat

5) You would cap off a day of holiday fun by:
a) Drinking delicious cocktails in front of a roaring fire, recapping all of your adventures from the day
b) Sobbing softly into your pillow, covered in a unindentifable slobbery substance, wishing that the holidays would just end already

If you answered (a) to all of the above, I don’t blame you. Good choices – all of them. You have excellent and fun holiday style. Well done! But you are going to have to put off any babymaking for the foreseeable future. You’re welcome.

If you answered (b) to any of the above, you need professional help. Your style revolves around hating the holidays and anyone who gets to have fun during them. But, you are ready for kids – congratulations!(?)

Happy holidays to all. God bless us, every one. Especially the parents of toddler twin boys, may the force be with you this holiday season.


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Bonjour, mon amour.

I just returned from a two-week work trip in Paris. Well-timed, I might add, to coincide with Paris Fashion Week. I had the extreme pleasure of dragging my ass up and down the streets of Paris in ill-fitting suits and uncontrollable bed-head alongside women like these:

I just can't compete.

I just can’t compete in my polyester suits.

So, thanks Paris!

I love travel and don’t do enough of it, but in my line of work, there is no such thing as travel in the traditional sense. I have been blessed with the opportunity to visit some very cool places, but only able to see the sights contained within my hotel and conference room. I pretty much only have my passport stamps as proof that I’ve “been there, done that.”

Now, PN is an expert in all things Paris and had a lovely list of recommendations for me – all of which are still languishing in my inbox. You see, I worked 20 hours a day (roughly) and had no time for things like cafes and runs along the Seine. So although it was super cool to take up a two-week residence in Paris (PARIS!), I didn’t have an opportunity to fall in love with the city. I knew the cafe on the corner for a quick bite to eat, the security guard at our office space, and to always watch your step on the streets of Paris. Nothing fancy, nothing remarkable… until one evening late into my trip.

All I wanted to do was to avoid this.

All I wanted to do was to avoid this.

It was 3 am and my team was hungry. It had been a long day and it was stretching out before us into a long morning. I was lucky to be working with two Parisians who knew a great spot to grab a late night meal. Before we trekked over to the restaurant, one of them grabbed my hand and squeezed it tight before she whispered: “aligot.” Then she danced off down the street in her Chanel shoes (seriously, Parisiennes are remarkably well-dressed…).

At the time I was delirious and starving, so I simply smiled and laughed figuring that “aligot” was a French word that I missed in my last-ditch attempts to learn important French phrases. I sighed at my less than amazing handbag and footwear and hurried to follow her into the dark streets.

We sat down and I was immediately told to order aligot, no matter what I wanted for dinner. I sounded out the word to our waiter who laughed at my Americanness, but dutifully scribbled down my order of “meat and something called al-ee-go.”

When it arrived, my life changed forever.

Hello, lover.

That is sexy.

It’s like fondue and mashed potatoes made sweet, sweet love and created the world’s perfect food. It’s cheesy, it’s starchy. It’s heaven.

I nearly licked my plate clean. And it was from that moment on that I could say that I truly, madly and deeply loved Paris.

I have several tales of my French experiences (including when a group of amazing, leggy models and I joined forces in Charles de Gaulle to start a near riot at the Air France check in… another story for another day – just me and some models), but none of them will ever compare to the instant connection I felt with aligot.

I always expected that I’d fall in love with a starch/dairy combination. Who knew that he’d have a French accent to boot?


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Stunted Conversations: Britney Jean Spears

Welcome to the first installment of Stunted Conversations.

You see, PN, Snarks, and I spend more than a reasonable amount of time emailing and chatting – most of which never quite makes it to the page. Overall, this is probably a good thing for you guys, but sometimes our conversations reveal amazing things that must be shared. Indeed, PN and I have copies of conversations dating back over a decade that just reveal our own special brand of insanity.

Some breaking news this week required a return to the old format: Britney Spears’ new song “Work Bitch.” We are definitely Team Britney here at SA HQ, and the release of her new song demanded attention.

EGB: PN, we need to talk about Britney Spears and her new song. Please listen to it ASAP and get back to me.

PN: The first few moments gave me a Rhythym Nation vibe. You can’t go wrong with channeling Ms. Jackson.

Did she mistake her conservator’s last lecture to her on responsibility for song lyrics?

Chances that Kris Jenner is playing this to her daughters every time they walk into the room are high.

Is she sing-rapping with a British accent? She does realize that Madonna already did that, right?

EGB: It HAS to be the new Drag Anthem. Or at least, the number one song on my workout mix when I actually get back to working out.

When I heard the title I figured it was a song about my position at work. Was I a little disappointed in the lyrics when I realized this wasn’t the case? Yes, of course.

I feel like she’s nearly around the conservator bend, but I withhold all judgment until she totally redeems her Gimme More performance. I just don’t think this is the song that gets her there. That makes me sad. I need a Britney Jean Blowout, like now.

That being said, my invitation to Ms. Spears to come live in my spare room (circa 2006) still stands in 2013. She needed a safe space then, and she could probably use one now. She could totally bring her kids, I will bring the wine.

PN: Agreed. I would pay GOOD money to see Tim Gunn work it to this song in a glitter-kissed evening tailored suit.

This is not a Britney Jean Blowout at all. She needs to wake up, realize that Will.I.Am is the lowest of the Black Eyed Peas (an impressive feat), and find herself a better producer. If there ever was a moment calling for her to reunite with The Dream as a producer, it is this one right here. She needs her Umbrella and Single Ladies moment, and she needs it bad.

If you want Brit to come over, you know the way to her heart is with some Boone’s Farm and Doritos. No need to bust out the wine.

EGB: Yes and PLEASE with Mr. Gunn.

I totally figured she’s grown up enough to graduate to Pirate’s Booty and Bota Box. Baby steps. Let’s give her some credit AND agree that Booty and Bota is the slightly more grown up version of Cheetos and Boone’s Farm (and the name for my next theme party).

Lowest Common Denominator Peas aside, I guess I’m a sucker for hearing Brit Brit say the word “Bitch.” I can only imagine my fangirling would triple if she dropped the F word.

Then again, maybe I’m getting too old for this shit. I vividly recall sitting around the TV in college watching her dance to Slave 4 U and thinking: (1) we need a snake in this house and (2) wearing underwear outside if your jeans is a FAB idea. We were likely pretty drunk. I watched it the other day and thought: (1) where are y’all’s parents and (2) everyone go home and take a shower immediately. Any guesses on what the video will be?

PN: How do we befriend Tim Gunn? Should we stake out Mood?

Booty and Bota is fucking brilliant. You must do that immediately. You should also license it and market it to fraternities and sororities. It would be the perfect classy-trashy combo of pimps & hoes and a wine & cheese.

Brit should obviously say bitch in every song. “It’s Britney, bitch” should be her signature line. I mean look what hapenned on Scream & Shout — I think that was the only thing she did on that entire track, yet she got title credit and it was all over the radio.

YOU ARE NOT TOO OLD FOR B. SPEARS. YOU ARE NEVER TOO OLD FOR B. SPEARS. And we did need a snake in that house, if for no other reason than to scare off that raccoon gang that terrorized our back steps. Imagine if we let a python loose on those mangy fuckers? Who’s the bitch now raccoons? I cannot believe how much hatred I still have for them after 11 years. Wow.

I think the video is going to involve B. Spears dancing hard in a glittered up leotard with HEAVY invfluences from Madonna’s Vogue. I also think she’ll be surounded by a bevy of adoring gays. While not savvy enough to get a better producer, I do think she’s savvy enough to position herself as the next Cher.

EGB: I TOTALLY FORGOT ABOUT THE RACCOON GANG. Yup, that is a totally scientifically sound basis for getting a python.

So two things: !!! [the Internet was two steps ahead on a Drag Anthem] and !!!! [Vegas, baby!].

VEGAS! YES, SHE BELONGS IN THE SAME PLACE AS CELINE AND ELTON. DIVAS BEGET DIVAS.

And poo in a bidet on Reuters for implying that Brit Brit’s pop fame was harmed by her “troubled years.” FOR SHAME. BRITNEY 5 EVA.

PN: DIVAS BEGET DIVAS really needs to be on a t-shirt. Like immediately. Because that truly is the secret of life.

Nothing has harmed Brit’s fame, as is obvious by the fact that she has just been crowned the queen of Vegas. That is an honor reserved only for people like Siegfried, Roy, Liberace, Cher, Celine, and Elton. There is no finer company. NONE.

EGB: To wrap this up, I present the following image:

Needs no explanation.

Needs no explanation.

PN: I have never loved you more.


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Sweet, Sweet Fantasy, Baby*

I like to think I’m a sports fan. I probably know something about every major sport, including college football. I lived in two of the biggest metro sports areas in the country during my formative years, played several sports myself, and have a tendency to get swept up in good matches/games/sets. I appreciate sports.

So when one of my nearest and dearest (who actually works in a business capacity for a professional sports league) reached out about a Women’s Only Fantasy Football League, with a bottle of wine as the buy in, I didn’t give it a second thought. First, I like sports. Second, I like wine. No brainer.

I have a few preconceived notions about Fantasy Leagues – mainly due to my experience with dudes who run many, many teams (they are insane and need a hobby or twelve?) and The League on FX (which I find to be hilarious, but really don’t watch frequently). But seeing as this was a wine-based league with women that I knew to be lots of fun and moderately knowledgable in sports, I figured we’d avoid the crazy, trash-talking, intense bullshit.

Like the following (watch at your own risk…):

Or having friends like Taco (again, click with caution):

I put the draft date on my calendar: August 28, 8:30 pm. It wasn’t until yesterday morning (aka, Draft Day) that I realized my only prep was to register my team and tell BigBrawler who I thought my top prospects were.

As an aside, BigBrawler is NOT into fantasy football. To be frank, he’s barely into pro football as it is. He’s 100% college football obsessed, a diehard SEC fan. He doesn’t give a rat’s ass about my new venture. I joked about drafting a team of only SEC grads; that was the only thing that got his attention.

Anyway, I’ve been very casual about this draft, because it’s fun, right? It’s FUN. But I realized that I needed more than “I must have A.J. Green” (didn’t get him) as my battle cry. I needed to be prepared. I should have looked these ladies up beforehand.

So over lunch I took to the Internet, trying to learn just what the hell I was supposed to do with this draft and how I could strategize. I Googled things like “How many tight ends should I draft?” and “What the hell is a snake draft?” Yes, I’m that much of a rookie.

Three hours later, I had my plan – and it was highlighted, color coded, and annotated within an inch of its life.

I became the very person I didn’t want to become. I dedicated important hours that I’ll never get back to picking a fantasy team. Ugh. But at least I hadn’t trash-talked anyone.

And then I reached out the League Head (affectionately called “the Commish”) and told her I was looking forward to the evening, but was genuinely interested in just how many of our league mates were going to be coached by others with fantasy experience (friends, family, partners, boyfriends, husbands). Turns out… almost all but me and the Commish.

I’ll admit I got a little pissed. She confessed that other than the two of us, she could only think of one other woman that was flying solo. Everyone else would be drafting alongside experienced or knowledgable people. Well, it’s not against the rules, but I convinced her it should be next year.

So I race home just before the draft, fire up the computer, curse when my internet connection goes down just before, and then finally get logged on and start prepping my auto draft list, just in case I get distracted.

Almost immediately, the trash-talk started in our league’s chat room.

Someone picked Arian Foster very, very early. Based on a standard ranking list, a solid choice, but he is only probable for the start of the season, even though he says he’s well-rested. Not a huge issue, per se, but something to consider. So when someone drafted him 2d pick, she was immediately teased.

And I thought: Oh, shit. These bitches came to win.

A dear friend of many, many years is prone to trash-talk; she has been for most of our friendship. And she told the Commish to stop screwing around and that the Commish better not let her husband screw up this trash-talker’s next pick. The Commish fired back “Nope, J isn’t helping me at all. Flying solo.” Trash-talker doth protest – I highly suspect that her ultra-competitive, football maniac husband was hovering over her helping every step of the way.

And then I was on my round three pick and just as I was about to draft my player, I lost my connection. I hadn’t appropriately updated my auto pick to account for one of my mid-range RBs that I would get just a few picks later. And while I was out, the computer drafted two people that I had no business pursuing in those rounds.

Balls.

When I finally got back on and saw the carnage, I posted a big “BOOOO!” and carried on before being told “thems the breaks” and “get back in line.” Yes, you crazy ladies, I know this.

People started calling out other players for picking their next pick – I could barely pay attention as I scrambled to try to recover from my own fumble. And though it seemed so fast paced (you get 60 secs to pick each round), it ended a painful hour and fifteen minutes later.

The results: my team is not going to set the world on fire.

How did this happen? I planned! I studied! I checked out stats and ranking lists! For being a Fantasy Virgin, I did what I could do.

And those women who had co-pilots? Their teams are looking pretty solid right now.

I’m just going to have to buy my own wine to drown my sorrows this season.

But first, a toast to giving it a go on my own. Now, excuse me because I just got a push notification that someone dropped a WR I considered during the draft.

*If only everything in life can be described by Mariah Carey lyrics.


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In Honor of the Annual VMA Pile-On: A Reflection

Look, I haven’t watched the VMAs in years. I am one of those annoying folks – you know, the one talking about how much cooler the VMAs were when the performances were (slightly more) raw, the drama was real, and the awards didn’t all go to some horrifyingly lame pop. I’m talking about, roughly, the first 15 years of the telecast.

Yes, I watched the 2013 VMAs, due in part to Twitter’s amazing job at being a co-pilot in snark and awe. Long and short of it: I Was Not Impressed. This could be due to the fact that I am An Old, who has held onto the VMAs of yesteryear as the pinnacle of all things awesome.

I shook my head at T. Swift and her ridiculously cloying personality (but, a hat tip to her slipping in a “STFU” caught on film – now that is how you subtly cast off years of a finely cultivated good girl image), let my jaw drop with Miley, and rolled my eyes at Macklemore. Oh, and snorted at the faux humility of Justin Timberlake (an impression that was confirmed by my Twitterverse). It was totally underwhelming and, frankly, gross.

I honestly couldn’t believe that this is what the telecast had come to – what happened to the amazing moments of the past? There was the usual moment when I thought: “Obviously this year’s VMAs would never live up to my memories of the Greatest Awards Show of All Time.”

But did it actually meet those expectations? The show has evolved, but upon further reflection, maybe we haven’t strayed too far from the road map of the first decade or so. I know, I can’t believe I am even going down that path, but bear with me.

1) Sex. See: Madonna in any performance ever. Think back to her rolling Like A Virgin performance in a wedding dress in the earliest VMAs. Shocking, sexual, crazy.

Or her Marie Antoinette-inspired tumble through Vogue.

Fucking fabulous. Madge being Madge.

Flash forward to this year: setting aside some of the very real questions of minstrelsy and appropriation that Miley Cyrus’ performance raises*, she maybe, just maybe, brought the same sex shock? Yes, comparing her performance to Madonna – without context – is apples to oranges, but compare them in context with the times? Maybe not so far off. It pains me to type this: humping a stage could be the equivalent of humping an oversized foam finger.

2) Drama. My favorite red carpet drama – Madonna v. Courtney Love. I loved the ridiculous silliness of CLove juxtaposed to the serious, but weirdly accented, Madonna in her interview with Kurt Loder. If you didn’t see this uncomfortable gloriousness live, it lives on in The Internet for your enjoyment.

http://buzzworthy.mtv.com/2009/08/31/great-moments-in-vma-history-madonna-and-courtney-loves-1995-vma-cat-fight/

OF COURSE C.LOVE WANTS ATTENTION. This is not news, though throwing make up is pretty amazing.

Okay, maybe it’s not quite the same, but the Kanye/Swift dust up was glorious. And, much like my love for CLove, I loved Kanye and his stepping in to take the mic. CLove stole the mic in the 90s by tossing a compact, Kanye stole the mic by stealing the mic. Plus, Kanye wasn’t wrong: Beyonce did have one of the greatest albums of all time. Was it handled poorly? Sure. I know Kanye regrets it now, but stand fast Yeezus – you are the best kind of crazy rock star.

3) The WTF award moment. Perhaps unsurprisingly the MTV Best New Artist Award has been handed out to some amazing hit singles. But, there have definitely been WTF moments – like who the hell is this person and how did they beat out Bel Biv DeVoe? That person was Michael Penn with his song “No Myth.” Do you remember him? Or his song? OF COURSE NOT. And I say this as someone with an unnatural grasp on pop music.

And this year, we have Austin Mahone. Who in the world is this dude and how did he pick off my current car jam “Clarity” by Zedd? Because I know I will remember Clarity for the long haul and have already forgotten to remember this Austin kid.

4) Utter spectacles. I really thought that I’d never see anything as forced and awful as Lisa Marie Presley and Michael Jackson’s kiss. It was slow, uncomfortable, and I seriously couldn’t look away. Here, share my discomfort:

Shying away from a double-Miley dose, I think that a better, sadder moment was Ms. Britney Spears’ attempted comeback with her “Gimme More” performance. I carry such a torch for Ms. Spears, I will forgive her everything and anything. So, “Gimme More” was the horrifying car crash that the show needed. I didn’t want to look away, but I wished it never happened to begin with.

I don’t know, guys, I feel like the more things change, they more they stay the same. And I remember a pre-teen ErinGoBrawl sneaking downstairs to watch the show way past her bedtime and reveling in the debauchery and madness. Though I bristle at the current state of the show, it’s safe to say that the standards are different now, and the show stays true to its formula.

* Check out some pieces – lighter, heavier – that raise these very real issues that deserve discussion.


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How Did I Get Here?: House Hunting Edition

I am reminded on a regular basis that I am of the “Fake It ‘Til You Make It” Adult variety.  This has become clearer after the latest chapter in the Brawler family’s life: buying a home.  

I couldn’t be trusted to find a safe, affordable home to rent (we are currently living in the Hobbit House, a cute 1920s era death trap), how the hell should I be trusted with buying a home that I will be solely responsible for in every way imaginable.

It’s time to move out of the Hobbit House and find my Forever Home (like an adopted pet). So we’ve pulled the trigger, have chatted with mortgage companies and are starting a marathon house hunting excursion this weekend. I’d say this is great, in theory, but it isn’t. What kind of idiot goes and signs up for a 30-year debt right before the second housing bust in 6 years?

This idiot.

A little background.

A mere two years ago, I found out I was carrying twin aliens, and BigBrawler and I realized that our cool, upgraded loft apartment in an old house in an urban neighborhood was not going to work. No walls, no space, no parking… no dice. So we started the ridiculously stressful process of finding a new place to live.

This is stressful for most people, but we were 30 somethings that actually still owned their AMAZING, GLORIOUS condo in another part of the country that we just couldn’t sell in the awful market. This condo, guys. Calling it a condo is pretty shitty, because it was a Den of Awesome. It was a corner apartment in a super old, gutted building in a young, fun neighborhood in an amazing city. I had new appliances, great light, and touches of the 1920s – like glass doorknobs and original flooring. I had parking! And a deck with plants! AND, there were no less than 15 bars within a 6 block radius, along with a pan-Hispanic restaurant with the best damn margaritas that your sorry ass could wish for on a hot day. Nouveau Xanadu. Shangri-La. Perfection.

In my mind, it vaguely resembled Versailles.

In my mind, it vaguely resembled Versailles.

[As an aside, it took two whole years to sell that place – TWO – and only after taking a huge hit. You’re welcome, America.]

Enter the Hobbit House. It was blah and suburban but it had a back yard for our pooch, and was located directly across the street from a supermarket chain to end all supermarket chains. We thought “okay, it’s a lease, this will do for now.”

Almost immediately, we noticed that things were not what they seemed. And I am not talking about the ghosts in the house, because we have those, too, though they are more of the Casper variety than Poltergeist. Thanks be to Jeebus.

Yes, this is me remembering a huge crush on Devon Sawa/Casper. Just go with it.

Yes, this is me remembering a huge crush on Devon Sawa/Casper. Just go with it.

The ghosts weren’t the problem; the Hobbit House has been actively trying to kill us since we moved in. We’ve had huge roof leaks, red water raining in our bedroom, lead paint peeling off, flying slate shingles assaulting guests and neighbors, prehistoric fungus in the yard, and, most recently, a killer mold infestation.

TOTALLY LIKE MONSTER HOUSE.

TOTALLY LIKE MONSTER HOUSE.

So it’s time. We are being adults. We are finally jumping back into the pool of responsible home owners even after Uncle Sam smacked us around. Being gun-shy, we are being even more frugal this time around and looking at the red-headed stepchild of the real estate world: “Fixer Uppers.”

As we’ve been basically living in a Fixer Upper for the past year and a half, I’m a little nauseated by this whole process. I try to say positive things about each house we see: parroting things like “great space” and “lots of potential.” But being optimistic is against my very nature and the training I’ve received through endless watching of real estate shows on television.

You see, I watch a LOT of housing shows (anybody surprised?). And over the years I have yelled, gasped, and thrown things at the TV when I watch young couples go on a house hunt and just complain that they don’t like the wallpaper or the wall color. Wall color is NOT a deal breaker, you senseless, spoiled Yuppie. Do you know what a deal breaker is? Flooding in the basement (seen it), rotted attics (seen it), and a house full of faulty mechanics (you bet I’ve seen it).

But let’s be clear, I am not one of those people looking for a second home in these shows. These are not my problems.

Also, my problems do not include “there’s no space for our piano.”

Surprisingly, it’s hard to wade through some of the House Hunters clips online, but let me assure you, this comedy sketch poking fun at the home buyers on the show is not that far off.

Basically, I am going to end up with a major Fixer Upper and then I am going to require the assistance of the Patron Saint of Lost Housing Causes, the one, the only – Jeff Lewis. We could be featured on Interior Therapy, because I am sure Jeff and Jenni would have PLENTY to say about our house, but also about my hoarding tendencies and the fact that I am a very messy person. It would be a GREAT episode.

If this is all foreign to you, get thee to Hulu and search for “Interior Therapy.” It’s a magical piece of television.

Oh, the things he would say to us. It would be AMAZING.

Oh, the things he would say to us. It would be AMAZING.

And, honestly, if having Jeff Lewis dish out tough love to the Brawlers is even a possibility – I will find the ramshackliest ramshackle house and pledge my life to that mortgage. It’s the only way I will get through this process.


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I’m Gonna Keep on Loving You, Netflix

Once upon a time, I became involved with Netflix.  Even though I lived right next to a Blockbuster (and I mean, immediately next to the store), I loved Netflix.  I loved the order (a queue!), the choices, and the simplicity.  Oh, and the cost couldn’t be beat.

We had a good run, Netflix and me.  There were a few lost discs along the way, some “very long” waits, and some disappointing choices, but then instant streaming was added, and I was sure it was true love.  After all, Netflix knew that I needed to be able to watch all of Buffy in marathon format stretches whenever I want.  Netflix understood my need for random foreign documentaries or “Violent Comedies.”  No one else could understand why I never wanted to delete Party Down from my Queue.  Netflix accepted me. It was a solid relationship. 

Then Netflix had to go and cause the worst bungling of a good thing ever known to man.  The division between the mail order rental (RIP, Qwikster) and the streaming instant offerings was not well-received by anyone.  I was one of those folks who swore she’d never go back.  I stopped short of cancelling everything, but pulled back on the rentals and even toyed with dropping the instant.  Then Reed Hastings apologized, and I begrudgingly kept the service, but kind of checked out. In fact, I went months without even checking what was available. 

All of that has been forgiven. 

By starting its original (and not-so original, ahem, Arrested Development) programming, Netflix may be in my life forever and ever amen.

I’m all over Orange is the New Black. 

A lot of shit goes down in the bathroom at Litchfield. No pun intended.

A lot of shit goes down in the bathroom at Litchfield. No pun intended.

Have you seen/heard?  It’s an amazing show in almost every sense of the word.  It’s based on a memoir by Piper Kerman, who is played by Taylor Schilling, and adapted by Jenji Kohan (the creator of Weeds). One episode was directed by Jodie Foster (yes, THAT Jodie Foster).

Not only does it feature mainly women (being in a women’s correctional facility and all), the characters are so rich and diverse (as are the actors that play them!). It’s well-acted (except for a few bit parts in some backstory telling, but that’s okay) and it is near impossible to settle on a favorite character, though heaven help you if you try to debate a friend’s fave castmember.  There’s a character nicknamed Pornstache, which is so glaringly perfect that you will swear you were thinking of that nickname before Natasha Lyonne’s character Nicky even uttered it.

You, sir, are a royal dickhead.

You, sir, are a royal dickhead.

It’s well-written. It’s a critical and popular darling. It’s touching, tragic, and funny.  Okay, calling it funny doesn’t do the show justice: it’s downright freaking hilarious. And there’s something incredibly special about how the “funny” appears in this show about a women’s correctional facility, where vignettes of awful things run between scenes where characters spout off prison wisdom and self-deprecating remarks. The funny is sneaky and it sticks with you.

To wit (and this is probably my favorite line of any show ever), in a prison AA meeting, one of the characters talks about her rock bottom in front of the group.  Her confession was roughly the following:

I woke up in a construction site, sitting on a bulldozer with barbecue sauce on my titties.  I looked down and saw a homeless guy on the ground, wearing my t-shirt, and thought: not again.

What was perfect about this moment wasn’t just that it was an amazing line delivered perfectly (I’m not even likely getting the wording right), it was not a focus of the scene.  It was a sideshow; a blink and you’ll miss it moment – a slow burn.  And I seriously haven’t stopped laughing. 

And then there’s this remarkable moment with Crazy Eyes, describing her love for Chapman in a poem:

And then it’s back to funny in your face:

And there are mixed reviews on Jason Biggs’ turn as Chapman’s fiance, but he really nails a lot of these jaded, but heartbreakingly honest, lines perfectly:

These characters, guys. THESE CHARACTERS.

There are jaw-droppingly awful scenes with sexual assault, heart-break, murder, violence and, of course, the horrific stories of how some of these women ended up where they are. This show balances it all so perfectly. There are clear feuds and tensions, and there are moments when you think you are really going to Hate (yes with a capital H) a character, but then you see the humanity they show other inmates, or the complicated history that made them who they are. And you crave scenes with the ones that you actually do Hate – like Pornstache. He’s an awful person, an awful guard, and I want to punch him in the face in every single scene. But, truth be told, I can’t wait to learn more about him.

Still not convinced by my slobbery love letter? The list of reasons to love this show is not yet complete, but here’s a good intro guide at Buzzfeed.

OITNB has already been picked up for season two (actually even before the showed debuted on Netflix), so I am comfortable in declaring that I will continue my relationship with Netflix for the next year. As long as Netflix continues to crank out some amazing original programming, I think we could be fully committed and picking out china patterns in no time.


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Princesses?

It saddens me that Princesses of Long Island isn’t doing well in the Bravo universe. I mean, it seems like perfect Bravo fodder: some sad sacks, lots of money, daddy issues, overbearing parents, spoiled ladies, alcohol and fighting. Pretty much the cocktail for success at Bravo. And I say this in only the most loving way, because I love Bravo so very, very much.

We asked ourselves why this show isn’t faring well. PinotNinja suggested that, perhaps, you have to know the beast to love it, and unless you are familiar with this particular brand of person and place, it may just seem like a lot of noise. Snarkoleptic confirmed that, in spite of recommendations from us, she has absolutely no interest in watching the show. I get it.

Then again it appears as though, even if you are familiar with the beast, you may think that the show is the most offensive show in history. In fact, it’s been called “truly horrible for the Jewish people” and, perhaps more mildly, (in what is probably my single favorite episode review because my conversations with the television during an episode closely resemble the content of the review) “disappointing.” Yikes.

But I implore you to check it out, turn it off if you are disgusted, or if you feel like you could stomach it – pull up a comfy seat, a big glass of wine, and give those eye muscles a good stretch because it’s going to be a long hour of eye-rolling.

My college friends LOVE the show. Love it – and we all arrived at the conclusion independently. But it’s safe to say that we also love reality TV and understand that only the most outrageous folks are cast in these shows. A few of us have personal experience from when we group-auditioned to be on Road Rules/Real World. Yes, yes we did.

Our fascination with this show may also be due in part to our attending a college with a high number of Long Islanders, and thinking about how some of our favorite faces could TOTALLY be on the show.

We are very familiar with the areas/towns that the stars of the show are from, and we like to laugh along and marvel at the utter insanity. But trust me when I say, we truly, unironically, and fully love the show and the princesses.

However, not everyone does. In fact, they’ve been downright and offended. Long Islanders are over it.

I can’t say that I blame them – it’s hard to see some over-privileged, coddled, shallow folks prance around on a show that frames them as representative of the place you call home. Nevermind that Long Island itself is actually a large, diverse area.

And, let’s talk about the unbilled character: Judaism. The women all describe themselves as Jewish, to a greater or lesser extent depending on the individual, and nearly every story line involves a discussion of their take on Jewish culture, the faith, or the food. And pretty much ever episode title is a play on Jewish words: “You Had Me at Shalom”, “Intermenschion”, and “Shabbocalypse Now.”

That being said, even I know when to call bullshit – Amanda ordering cheese on her sandwich at a Kosher deli? Come on now – I’m not Jewish, I don’t keep kosher, and even I know that is not a good idea.

So let’s be clear, neither Long Island nor the Jewish faith can be considered a monolith represented in full by these six women. Bravo’s spokesperson acknowledged that when she said that the show is “about six women who are young, educated, single and Jewish living in Long Island, and is not meant to represent all Jewish women or other residents of Long Island.” And I truly believe that if you asked any of the personalities on the show that they would say the same thing. I also fully understand, as I have said before, that only the most outrageous people end up on this show, and maybe Joey Lauren who is a foil to some of the more over-the-top antics of the other cast mates.

But, to be honest, the show makes it extremely difficult for those unfamiliar with Long Island and Judaism to keep them separate in their minds.

And this is potentially a huge problem.

Yet, despite all of those legitimate concerns, I freaking love this show. FREAKING LOVE IT.

For the entire episode, I make fun of the various business ideas (the Drink Hanky? Seriously? As my friend put it “use a GD napkin like the rest of us!” Except the Kissamint, because that’s my jam.), gasp at what appears to be Ashlee’s full blown reliance on her father to be everything in her life, really wonder if Amanda sees Jeff the way the rest of us (and her mom, Babs) probably do, yell at Casey to get over Erica stealing her high school boyfriend (seriously) and question how Joey hasn’t gone completely apeshit on the other ladies. I’m not going to even mention Chanel Omari, except to say – she’s my Queen.

The editing on the show is amazing, but I don’t even know how much you can credit editing for Erica and Amanda going out to a club with Amanda’s mom, Babs:

But, Amanda, dear – you should really listen to your mother and think long and hard about marrying Jeff:

Ashlee is something. I do think I love her, though I go back and forth, but she confronts some of the criticism of the show pretty much head on and owns it. Bonus points for the entire spa scene.

There’s plenty of fighting!

Then there’s the typical drunken fighting that I’ve come to rely upon on Bravo shows, except this one contained a hateful slur that I seriously didn’t expect to hear and I sat with my mouth agape for the rest of the scene.

Not cool, random party crasher from the South Shore. Not cool. And, yes, this is the pool party that led to the firing of the teacher who attended the party and showed off his abs. I wonder if the drunken woman suffered any repercussions.

Speaking of drunken, there’s always something with Erica. I’m not going to say much about Erica, because I am not privy to whatever may actually be going on (though her reference to taking recreational Adderall in the Hamptons episode was shocking), and watching her makes me very, very uncomfortable, but this “intervention” was awful and painful. I don’t think that Casey was the best choice for this conversation given the history and, what came across as, her enjoying it a little too much.

So, the bottom line is that there is a little of everything that you’ve come to expect and love from Bravo: ridiculous antics, drama and over-the-top personalities, except with a little something different tossed in this time. That something different has sparked boycotts, outrage, and questions about whether or not it will be renewed for a new season, but in the meantime, I will sit back and watch the fighting, the crying, and the clubbing, like an honorable Bravo soldier. Granted, I missed last night’s epsiode, but I will surely tune in later today. I’m in too far to turn around now.