Thursday, September 29, 2011

Late Night Writing - Read at Own Risk

I’m having one of those nights where I feel like writing.  I’m not necessarily sure I have anything to write about, but why the hell not?  I have fingers perfectly capable of typing, a laptop perfectly capable of receiving said typing and turning it into words on my screen, and a half empty bottle of Merlot, the other half already being in my tummy of course.  All of these things obviously add up to being primed and ready to write.  I mean look at me go…I’ve already been writing for a solid minute now and I think it’s going fairly well so far.

I was flipping channels and saw America’s Next Top Model listed earlier.  I switched over to it, but then once I remembered it was a real show and it wasn’t going to be Maya Rudolph doing her Tyra Banks impression I got really depressed.  Then I realized what was happening on the show and it made me feel better.  They are doing a season called America’s Next Top Model “All Stars”.  Apparently on reality TV when you lose at something you become an all star.  Because this season is made up of girls who have already tried doing the show before, and lost.  Some of them seem fairly normal, well as normal as you can be to be a contestant on a competition based reality show.  But most of them just seem to be the really loud ghetto girls who yelled at everyone because they didn’t “reck-a-nize”.  So thank you Tyra Banks for showing us that no matter how illiterate you may be, or how un-classy you may act, or how badly you may lose at something; anyone can be an all star.  And I do mean anyone.

Ok, there is either a skunk outside my apartment or Cheech and Chong are sparking up some skunk weed under my couch right now because I just caught a strong whiff of one of the two things.  Everyone cross your fingers for Cheech and Chong.

I decided today that I would go through the giant box which has not been touched since it got put in the corner the day I moved in after moving here from New York.  It’s that box of things that you really don’t have a need for, but you keep anyways.  And also of things that you don’t even know are in there.  You know what I’m talking about – when you’re moving or cleaning and you just keep finding boxes inside of boxes inside of boxes which you tell yourself you will look through next time…but you never do.  Well today I did.  And I am beyond glad that I did.  One of the boxes contained around a dozen cassette tapes of radio mixes I did when I was younger.  They are all titled either DJ Amy Hot Jams or DJ Aim-Dog Jazzy Jams.  I can’t say I’m partial to one title or the other, because they’re both obviously brilliant.  These tapes contain the best pop mixes from the 90’s and very early 2000’s you will ever hear in your life.  I’m talking everything from Boyz II Men to Brandy to All 4 One to Robyn to Mya.  Mya!  Come on now, if you didn’t know every word to ‘Ghetto Superstar’ including Ole Dirty Bastard’s part then I don’t know that we could ever be friends.  I for one, as a 12 year old white girl living in the suburbs, totally owned the ODB parts as you can probably imagine.  I really need to find a cassette tape player now though.  These tapes are just sitting there taunting me now.  Now that I know of their existence in my apartment I need to listen to them.  I can’t talk about this anymore…the sweet, sweet sounds of Shaggy and TLC are ringing in my ears and it’s too much to handle.

While looking through these boxes I also discovered a hard copy of the script I wrote when I was probably around 10 or 11 years old.  In my post “Back to School” I speak of how I tried to cast this movie during classes at my elementary school.  It didn’t go so hot.  But I haven’t read this script in years.  As soon as I found it today I sat right down with a cup of coffee and started reading.  As I read I realized from a young age I was meant to be a comedian.  Either that or a crack head.  It was quite clear to me.  It also became clear that the above mentioned pop artists had a great impact on my life because every single character in my movie was named after a 90’s pop star.  Except for 3 characters named Peppy, Poppy, and Pappy.  Correct, I was great with names.  It also included Barbara Walters, a bomb scare, saving stuffed animals from a fire, a who-done-it murder plotline, two old British sisters who were always bickering, and an astonishingly unprepared police staff.  I would say it all makes sense once you read it, but that would be a lie. 

I went for a hike at Runyon Canyon today and remembered just how much I hate how everyone does the little smile and nod at strangers when you’re hiking.  Why is it that people feel the need to do that when on any type of walking trail or path?  Just because we are walking through a pretty little canyon doesn’t mean I want to say hello with a close mouthed half smile and a “I don’t know you so instead of speaking the word hello I will just politely nod”, head nod.  I avoid eye contact at all times with strangers.  I’m that person who always somehow manages to get into weird and awkward staring contests unknowingly.  So I just avoid it all together.  When I do end up accidently making eye contact it always ends up being with the homeless guy standing a foot from my car staring directly into my eyes as I roll up my window and pretend not to see him and look away. (Keep in mind I drive a convertible so rolling the window up doesn’t seem to dissuade them much.)  So I don’t care if we are on a walking trail where everyone else got shot up with the happy drug and feels the need to say hi to everyone or if we are on the street walking through West Hollywood trying to avoid the creepy guy playing Spiderman on Hollywood Blvd.  Either way, I will be wearing sunglasses and avoiding your face at all costs.

It’s now after 2am which means everything on TV is infomercials, 90’s sitcoms, or religious shows.  So I can keep rambling incessantly here, purchase a miracle weight loss pill from an 800 number, watch Married With Children, or be reborn with the salt and pepper haired gentleman who hosts the 700 Club.  All options sound quite tempting but I think I’ll throw a curve ball in here and just finish the rest of this Merlot in bed until I fall asleep or decide to get more Merlot of course.  I know you are all probably concerned because if I am already all cozy in bed, traveling back to the kitchen could be quite a nuisance to get more wine.  No need to fret, I keep emergency bed time wine under the bed.  I’m no amateur.

Good night and good luck.  (Good night is directed towards you, the reader, and good luck is directed towards me in case you were wondering.  I have white sheets so the Merlot is always a little risky.  I need the luck more than you, deal with it.)


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Krieger Fever

4 out of 5 soccer fans agree Ali Krieger has the world’s most contagious smile.  It has been known to even spread through the television screen.  You don’t even have to be in her immediate area, and that is what makes this such an interesting case.  I have uncovered the mysteries behind Hope Solo-itis, Carli Lloyd-aphobia, and now I intend to take down Krieger Fever.   

Please do not mistake this for Bieber Fever.  This is much more intense and it infects everyone, not just 13 year old girls and curious boys.  This is far more serious.  There are rumors her smile is in fact so bright that various airlines have enlisted her services to aid in guiding planes to land safely in poor visibility.  Although this is from an unconfirmed source, I believe it may be true.  We first started taking notice of these pearly whites during the 2011 Women’s World Cup this summer.  Ms Krieger had a lot to smile about throughout the tournament as she dominated the right defensive position.  And I do mean dominated.  She was without a doubt one of the most solid players we had playing for the US.  It was like trying to get past a giant, cavity free, and gloriously pure white brick wall.  Attackers had no answer for beating Krieger’s skill, determination, and blinding white teeth.  She was steady, solid, composed, and fierce every single solitary second of this World Cup.  She is without a doubt, one of the best defenders this country has ever seen, and still has such a bright future ahead of her.  Her composure over the ball is another impressive aspect of her play that draws you in.  She could be under enemy fire with a tank coming at her and she would just chill, look at her options, and calmly place the ball somewhere safe.  (Then she could just smile into the sunlight and blind the enemy with her teeth; easy solution) We should not only be thanking her dentist and her great genes which gave her this beautiful smile but also be thanking the Soccer Gods for sending us this phenomenal player who can do no wrong on our back line.  After especially dazzling plays those blinding teeth come out in a fabulous smile.  At that moment, it doesn't matter what you are doing, where you are, or how depressed you are…it will spread to you and you will smile. 

Her composure on the ball, her skill, her ability to get into the attack, her blinding chompers; all were being talked about all summer.  But nothing could ready us for the Brazil game.  It was an epic game which will go down in history.  The feeling of relief and joy and excitement all mixed in with dozens of other emotions is a feeling none of us watching will ever forget.  I would go into some of the details of the game and why it was such a relief but my anger management therapist recommended I not speak of how the referees decided to insert themselves into the game so horribly, or how the Brazilian players decided it was necessary to go for an Oscar every time the wind blew too strongly and protest for a foul and…I seem to be getting worked up.  Ok…three deep breaths…count to 10…think of Ali Krieger’s smile…ok, I’m back!  Let’s focus on what the outcome was; America’s fighting spirit and fierce athletes overcoming all obstacles and winning in the most dramatically fascinating game I have ever seen.  After Hope Solo came up with a brilliant save in penalty kicks after that exhilarating overtime, it was up to our remaining players taking a kick to win it for us.  It was our last kick; we just needed to put this one away for the win.  Who else steps up to the spot, but the one and only Alexandra B Krieger with nothing but determination and focus on her face.  There was no distracting this girl.  The laser focus, yet calm and confident look on her face is one I will never forget.  (Nor will the Brazilian goalkeeper I am sure) She looked calm, cool, collected and ready to send Brazil home.  She stepped to the spot, kept her head down, the whistle blew…and then she made all of America lose their freaking minds.  Krieger had scored the last penalty kick we needed for the win and we got to see the biggest Krieger smile we had ever been blessed with.  Dentists all over the world fell to their knees and wept at the beauty of it.  Orthodontists began rioting in the streets from on overload of emotion.  Teeth whitening specialists cursed the Gods that no matter how hard they tried they are not capable of making their clients’ teeth that white.  The world could not stop smiling.  Everyone near and far had caught Krieger Fever.

There are also some negative side effects to keep in mind though.  Roughly 4000 cases of pulled cheek muscles have been reported.  When someone catches a glance of Ms Krieger’s smile it is sometimes too powerful for them to handle and they smile so hard they cause severe trauma to their cheeks.  But some good news is that dentists and orthodontists all over are seeing such a spike in patients they are in need of hiring more and more staff.  Those who never cared about their dental hygiene are now obsessed with having a smile like Ms Krieger’s.  Who cares about Moves Like Jagger?  We want a Smile Like Krieger!  The elderly are shining their dentures, the coffee drinkers and smokers are quitting, the hockey players missing teeth are finally getting the dental work they need and the hillbillies are learning what toothpaste is.  She has started a nationwide movement for better dental hygiene. 

Krieger Fever is a special virus which when experienced in moderation can be spectacular.  But if you are not used to watching her then please, start in small doses.  We don’t need any more cheek muscle trauma cases being reported.  Start slow, and work your way up.  Because I can assure you, when you watch her play and see how absolutely brilliant she is on that field and how lucky we are she is playing for our country and she shines those moon beams at you, it can be overwhelming.  But just accept it, smile, and know that you have been infected by Krieger Fever. 

Ali, you are truly a hero and an idol to so many.  You’re talent wows us, your athletic prowess amazes us, your determination inspires us and your beautiful smile makes us giddy little school girls.  On behalf of dentists and soccer fans alike, I thank you for all you and your teeth do for us.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Hope Solo Will Dance Your Face Off

After 13 seasons of reality “stars”, musical has-beens, acting has-beens, retired athletes, current athletes, and Bristol Palin…I, Amy Maestri, for the first time will be watching this season of Dancing With The Stars.  I try to avoid most competition based reality shows like Jessica Simpson avoids books.  But this season they got one of the very few people I would actually watch for, Hope Solo.  After last night I think she’s capable to win the whole thing without a doubt.  I mean really, let’s take a look at her “competition”.

Carson Kressley-
He could be a bit of an obstacle for Solo, not going to lie.  He is a flamboyantly fabulous gay man with pizzazz that lasts for days.  Dancing With The Stars is a show where people prance around in sequins and shiny outfits.  It was a match made in heaven.  Let’s just hope he forgets he’s the man in the pair and starts dancing the female part and screws it up.

Chaz Bono-
Either the people saying, “ABC is going to burn in hell and the devil will seize your home and your family if you stare at Chaz Bono directly.” Will win and he will go home early.  Or the people parading in the streets singing Cher songs in joyous triumph that he is on the show will win and he will stick around.

Chynna Phillips-
Unless she is going to sing some of her parents’ Mama’s and Papa’s jams then I don’t even want to acknowledge her.

David Arquette-
Can someone please convince Courtney Cox to get back together with him and write a Scream 17, or whatever number they’re on?  Please, occupy his time elsewhere.  Thank you.

Elisabetta Canalis-
Umm, nice job being George Clooney’s ex arm candy?

J.R. Martinez-
I’m still trying to figure out who the hell this guy is.

Kristin Cavallari-
First of all, I found it interesting that Rob Kardashian was introduced as a reality star and she was introduced as a TV star.  When do you graduate from reality star to TV star if you still have yet to do scripted TV?  I missed the ceremony for her I guess.  All I know about her is that her name makes me want calamari.

Nancy Grace-
I had always just assumed Nancy Grace had no legs.  I can’t even comment on her dancing or her fans because I am still so weirded out about seeing her out from behind a desk.  She also terrifies me, so that’s all I’m going to say here.

Ricki Lake-
I’m going down the list on the ABC site to get all the names right for this list.  I’ll be honest, as I saw her name I realized I had already forgotten she was on the show.

Rob Kardashian-
All of his sisters were there, his mom was there, Lamar Odom was there, but he is apparently doing this to step out from his family’s shadow.  He said he wanted to get out of his sisters’ shadows.  So he made the logical choice to do the same show his sister Kim, did previously.  (Snooki, if you are reading this, I recommend you thank Rob Kardashian profusely because he actually just made you look smart with that one.)

Ron Artest / World Metta Peace or whatever he’s calling himself now-
Do I really even need to comment on this one?  He looked like a coked up Dennis Rodman wearing an Aladdin vest trying to sexually assault his dance partner last night.  

Now onto the main event: Hope Solo.  She nailed her steps, got good comments from the judges, looked totally cool and collected, and oh yea…she looked a-ma-zing!  She looks like if a runway model and a body builder had a love child.  She’s tall, lean, gorgeous eyes, long arms, beautiful smile, and could kick everyone’s ass on that stage including Ron Artest and all 7 of his personalities.  

My prediction is she’s got this in the bag.  Not only did she get a top score last night, but she also has the best fans in the entire world.  Her fans love her as much as I wish I could figure out what Nancy Grace’s hot Irish partner was saying last night.  She will do her part and kill it on the dance floor each week and her fans will take care of the rest. 

So best of luck Hope and Maks, I know you will do ‘Soccer Fans’ and ‘Hot Russian Guy’ fans proud and win this thing.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Back to School

With all the back to school commercials and specials going on it makes me think back to when I was in school.  Without realizing it at the time, school helped make me the person I am today.  I never thought I would say that when I was younger, but it’s true.  It molded and guided me to the person I have become.  Don’t get me wrong though.  I’m not talking about all the “studying” and “hard work”.  I’m talking more about the day to day shenanigans which prepared me for a life of entertaining people through my ability to find the “fun” in anything.  And also because of my general lack of concern for my overall safety and of those around me.

Gym Class:
Gym was always fun.  I was athletic, I played sports, I could run forever, and yet I still refused to participate in most activities.  It was a glorious time.  Because I was a strong athlete at my school, gym teachers initially thought I would be one of the ones who would always step up to show a good example.  Turned out I was more the one who would step up to show a bad example just because I thought it would be more beneficial for the overall feeling of the class.  See, I knew I would be getting my exercise after school at soccer or during the winter, basketball.  So gym was more or less a time to wear ridiculous work out outfits from the 80’s I found at thrift stores and drive my gym teachers crazy.  I feel like I did a lot of good in my gym classes.  It has been scientifically proven that laughter extends life and burns calories.  So when all of the fat kids who refused to participate would sit down in protest, I would step up to the plate.  Sometimes I would break out in interpretive dance during badminton to express my deep emotional connection to the game.  Other times I would swing like an ape from the climbing rope from side to side in the gym yelling to the gym teachers, “This monkey wants a banana!”  So guess what I was doing…that’s right.  I was doing my small part in making America healthier.  You don’t want to run with the rest of us?  No problem!  I will make sure you at least have an entertaining class and burn a couple hundred calories.  Obese America: You’re welcome.

English and Social Studies Classes:
My favorite classes in school were probably English and Social Studies.  I mean out of the real classes obviously.  Art and gym were clear winners overall, but out of the core subjects I’d go with English or Social Studies.  English was always fun for me because I loved writing.  Granted, I never actually wrote what they asked me to, but I loved it.  Keep in mind I’m talking about elementary school right now.  Also, it’s not like I totally disregarded the directions.  For example if we had to do a book report on assigned reading:  I would do a book report, but I would do it on a book I wanted to read.  If the assigned reading was of no interest to me I deemed it beneath me.  I had better things to read.  So it would be a little confusing for the teacher when they would assign a book about climbing to the top of Mount Everest and my report was about Mia Hamm in her North Carolina Tarheel Days.  I always did the assignment on time, but I would do it my way.  If a teacher didn’t like the subject I chose I would eventually have to cave and do their report.  But I wouldn’t go down without a fight.  So when it was a typed report I would turn it in with the smallest possible font.  This would then make the teacher ask for me to make it bigger and bring it back in.  This would then make me go home and change it to the largest possible font.  This then lead to a dangerously high blood pressure for every teacher I had. 

I also loved Social Studies because I really like history, mainly American history.  I also liked learning about the English because come on, who doesn't love a British accent?  So basically if you were an English speaking land, I liked you and your history.  My bread and butter was when they would assign projects where they allowed creativity; when they would give you a list of different ways to present.  My favorites were always dioramas or presenting a report as like a character from that time period.  I would always give it a modern twist too though.  So if I was giving a report on The Revolutionary War I would be Paul Revere telling everyone the British were coming, but instead of acting like I was riding in on a horse I would act like I was riding in on a motorcycle, or dancing to the Backstreet Boys.  Or on the Civil War, instead of trying to free the slaves through battle we were trying to free the baby lions from the zoo through luring them out with enticing cheerleader moves and chants.  This gave it a certain flair I thought.

Currently Holding Casting Calls:
I was 10 when I wrote my first movie.  It was a “who-done-it” comedy taking place partially in a school and then back at an old haunted mansion.  It was called “The Bomb Scare Killer” and I decided I needed to cast it immediately.  Problem was I just didn’t have the time.  After school I always had soccer practice or was busy playing “Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen” with my best friend.  The schedule of a 10 year old is exhausting.  I also was working on my sketch comedy videos.  They consisted of me and my two best friends basically looking like 10 year old crack heads wearing wigs with ADHD attempting Saturday Night Live.  So with such a busy and fabulous lifestyle, it was hard to find some time to cast my movie.  I was in the cafeteria one day overseeing a trade between two kids of a peanut butter sandwich for a bag of chips.  (I was kind of the food trading bookie in elementary school.  Obviously you can see I was meant for big things at an early age.  Very entrepreneurial.)  And that’s when it hit me.  Our cafeteria was perfect for casting.  It was one of those cafeteria’s that also had a stage on one end.  I could have my choice of 300 tables to set up at and watch the auditions on the stage.  So I got right to work and started spreading the word about auditions to friends and other students.  Once they were scheduled they were advised to “need to go to the nurse’s office for a head ache” at that time and meet me there.  I snuck out of class for my first audition and was feeling pretty damn good if I do say so.  I set up with my script in the cafeteria and waited.  But soon found my appointment had bailed.  If you’re not willing to skip out on class for an audition, what good are you at life?  I was disgusted, and was about to pack up everything when a hall monitor came in.  I was all alone, sitting on 4 stacked chairs because I thought it looked more authoritative if I was up high, had scripts spread all over the table, a mini Harlem Globe Trotters megaphone for directing, was wearing a beret, had a mug of water which I pretended was coffee, and a directors chop block.  Granted, I was very good from a young age at talking my way out of situations but I didn’t see a way out of this one.  So when the principal asked me what I was doing I simply tried to bargain.  I offered her a role in the movie if she let me go with a warning.  I found this to be an extremely kind offer.  She was not the best looking and I am sure would have been very stiff in front of the camera.  I needed beautiful actors, not ugly failed college professors.  As kind as I thought the offer was, shockingly she declined.  I was also in a whole other world of trouble seeing as how I was in a school, casting a movie, called The Bomb Scare Killer.  They seemed to frown upon that.  So my directing career had to be put on a bit of a hold.  While I was in trouble and not able to cast or do my sketch comedy I decided I should reflect on my actions as they had asked I do.  They wanted me to think about what I had done and learn from it.  Which I did.  If I was going to shoot a movie at school it needed to be less risqué and not involve the words “bomb scare”.  So I wrote a new movie about a group of upper middle class white kids in a rollerblading gang loosely based on my own life of course.  This later became a musical complete with dance numbers and a score full of nothing but Britney Spears songs.  I never did get to film it though.  It’s a shame, because as you can see from this brief description, it was obviously dripping in brilliance.  It could have been our generations West Side Story.  What a shame.

This is another topic I will have to come back to some time and revisit more of.  And if you are a former teacher of mine reading this, you don’t even need to say it.  I’ll be the bigger person here and step up and just say what needs to be said to you…You are all very, very welcome.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Carli Lloyd-aphobia

I recently declared my severe case of Hope Solo-itis.  It felt great to be honest, and open about it, and truly embrace it.  Now that I have done so, I feel it necessary to approach a new subject infecting soccer fans everywhere.  It seems there is a nasty case of Carli Lloyd-aphobia spreading.  I for one do not suffer from this phobia.  I may even have a case of Lloyd-itis, but that is not what concerns me.  The Lloyd-aphobia is what is infecting our citizens and I want answers why.

Carli Lloyd is what we in the medical field call a “beast”.  She’s like an 18 wheeler full of talent, skill, and aggression.  When this 18 wheeler charges down the midfield you should just get out of the way, or you will be demolished by it.  Basically what I’m saying is she’s a freak of nature.  The US Women’s National Soccer team would not be nearly as successful without her honking her horn in the midfield and plowing over the opposing teams.  The amount of work she puts into a game is insane.  Even if she doesn't finish a game with a goal or an assist I can guarantee you she still made a huge impact.  Her crafty touches in the midfield, her work rate which is mind blowing, her ability to control and direct traffic all over the field and her movement on and off the ball all contribute to winning matches.  She is a special player who is not only a "behind the scenes" type of conductor in the midfield but also a player who can shine and take control of a game putting an amazingly beautiful shot in the back of the net.  Her little touches and smart runs off the ball and movement in the center of the field is constantly creating opportunities for us.  She is also without a doubt one of the hardest working athletes I've ever seen.  She covers more ground in one game than most people do in 2 weeks of working out.  Heck, just watching her makes me want to take an ice bath after a game.

But it seems there are a few people who have come down with this Lloyd-aphobia I have spoken of.  They seem to be scared off by her talent.  They don’t seem to be able to embrace what a sickly talented athlete she is.  When you are a “beast” you have a lot of heavy expectations placed on you.  And although she is a very, very sick freak of nature in her pure skill, she will have a bad day from time to time.  When these days happen the Lloyd-aphobians begin to attack.  Even if she didn’t have a bad day they begin to have “episodes” we’ll call them.  It’s when they let the fear take over.  They know the power and strength behind this athlete and it sometimes consumes them to a point where they have no other defense than to lash out at her I suppose.  These “episodes” can occur anytime, with no rhyme or reason.  Carli can play a flawless game, until the last minute where let’s say her hair tie falls out and she has to fix her hair.  This is apparently enough of a mistake for the Lloyd-aphobians to attack.  I know, it’s intense.

The only conclusion I can come to, is the assumption I made previously:  They are deathly afraid of someone with that much talent.  It is the only possible answer to such an odd phobia with such odd reactions.  I just can't understand it.  Also, might I mention as a reminder, what an absolutely clutch player she is for us when we need something huge.  Pop Quiz: Who scored the game winner for us in the 2008 Olympics, giving us the Gold Medal?  I'll give you a hint: IT WAS CARLI LLOYD.

In my last piece released on Hope Solo-itis I made a public statement that I embrace my Solo-itis and encourage others to catch it.  In this, I am declaring it unpatriotic, unrealistic, and just plain silly to have Lloyd-aphobia.  Accept the Lloyd!  We need the Lloyd!  The Lloyd led us to Olympic Gold and World Cup Silver!  The Lloyd has a rocket of a shot that would slice runway models in half if it hit them!  The Lloyd has poise on the ball that poets will one day write about and painters will paint her taking a shot on the Sistine Chapel!  Ok, I seem to be getting carried away…

My point being: Embrace the Lloyd and let’s do away with this phobia of her.  I want “Lloyd-aphobia” to no longer be in our English language. (I understand it is not currently actually in our English language, but humor me here)  I for one love watching her play and think she is one of the best central midfielders we have ever seen in our history.  And also one of the best we will ever see.  I cannot imagine a US Women’s National Team without her, that would be the real thing to be afraid of.

In fact, let’s make that the new phrase, the new phobia.  Lack-of-Lloyd-aphobia”

That one….I do suffer from.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Hope Solo-itis

I am not a doctor, I have never studied medicine, I paid my Asian friend Suong to do my homework for me in high school.  You may say this means I am not qualified to diagnose someone with a serious disease.  But I beg to differ.  I see Hope Solo-itis spreading everywhere.  And there is no pattern to figure it out…the very young, the very old, men, women, the young athlete, the elderly obese, even the deaf / blind / mutes who cannot hear, see or speak of her…no one is safe.  It’s an epidemic and it is taking over our country.  It’s even spreading to other countries.  I intend to get to the bottom of it right now.

Some have been afflicted with this disease for years.  We have come to learn they are called “Holos”. They have been dealing with this sickness almost in the shadows.  No one had done any research on it and they were forced to try and hide it at times.  When they would show their true colors and share they were a Holo, people would sometimes even shun them at times and tell them we don’t have a place for that in our country.  It seemed in the late 90’s there was a similar illness called Hamm-itis.  But once that died down there was a period where the public’s interest faded in learning more about these diseases.  Until this Hope Solo character came along that is. And then all hell broke loose.

The Solo-itis epidemic saw a spike in 2007.  At the Women’s World Cup in China there was a severe upward trend in Holos appearing everywhere.  They were growing larger in numbers and stronger.  When people would trash talk their illness and the Solo name, those were fighting words.  The Holos would not put up with any of it.  If you mess with the Solo, you have to answer to the Holos. 

But nothing could prepare us for what we saw this past summer.  The Women’s World Cup in Germany created a world-wide frenzy.  It didn’t matter who you were or where you came from, it was spreading like wild fire.  I advised close friends and family to stay in their homes and avoid direct contact with people, but it was too late. Everyone was affected.  The world has been taken over, and it has been taken over by the one and only Hope Solo.

Now, I have a confession.  This may shock you, but it is important you all know this…

I am in fact…..a Holo. 

I was infected in early 2007 and have been living with the disease ever since.  I understand the allure of it.  Once you see Hope Solo play, you are forever a Holo and there is no cure and there is no going back.  I think every other Holo can agree though…we don’t want a cure.

I am severely affected by it, but I have found two other people who are so far into the stages of this disease that I am surprised they are able to function still in every day society.  They go by the Twitter names of @HopeSoloSwag and @HopeOnTheSolo.  I suggest everyone who is living with this follow them immediately so they are able to get guidance and information from them.  You can visit their website at for more information.  They have done some great things and are the best super fans out there.

Hope Solo, if you are reading this:  I thank you for being a true hero and a true athletic phenomenon.  You have touched many people, and I for one am proud to call myself a Holo and embrace my Hope Solo-itis.

My First Job (con't) The Adventures of Amy and JoJo

A few disclaimers to begin:  If you have not read my entry “My First Job”, you will not understand a lot of this.  Also, as much as you may be led to believe it by the title, this is not a story about cartoon characters named Amy and JoJo.  We are real people.  Thank you for your time.

Last time I spoke of Byrne Dairy and my first job I had told you about my buddy Scruffy Tubs.  I think it is appropriate we start this off with a good Tubs story.  There were two restrooms in the store, both single stall, one for men and one for women.  When the women’s was out of order we were obviously forced to use the men’s.  When I was in there one time I noticed the paper towel dispenser was missing and instead there was just a giant gaping hole in the wall.  If you are thinking Scruffy Tubs may have something to do with this, you are correct.  I came out and asked Hot Boss what had happened.  Hot Boss turns into a 12 year old girl sometimes with giggle fits and this was one of those times.  He shuffled me into the back room giggling and then proceeded to tell me what happened.  Apparently Scruffy Tubs was in the bathroom and there was no one in the store other than him and Hot Boss.  All of a sudden Hot Boss heard a crashing sound and Tubs screaming and groaning.  Then he heard nothing for a couple minutes, then some more groaning and now swearing.  Soon, Scruffy came around the corner from the restrooms with that look that your dog gives you when they have just come from eating your shoe or pissing all over your carpet.  With his tail between his legs Scruffy Tubs said, “So, uh, boss.  Uh, I um, da paper towel dispensa, uh well it’s not in da wall no mo’.  See, da floor was wet and I uh, well I slipped and da paper towel dispensa broke my fall.  But then it came outta da wall and then I kept falling.  And then it fell on top of me.  So there’s no mo’ paper towel dispensa.”  After hearing this, if I was having a bad day I would just walk past the rest room to remind myself of such a glorious story and it was an immediate pick me up.

JoJo and I were becoming better and better friends and we started hanging out outside of work.  We were tired of only sharing experiences such as Tubs mooning us or Witchcraft trying to put a spell on us.  Or the crazy mom of the group, who I affectionately referred to last time as Pecan Glasses (Due to her smearing pecan ice cream all over her glasses and still wearing them) telling us we shouldn’t be drinking beer in the cooler.  How dare she?  So we began setting out on our own adventures which normally consisted of us crashing someone’s party, creating our own party, stealing people’s food and or beer, and dressing in Mexican ponchos and sombreros of course.  One specific experience comes to mind right away.  JoJo and I had enjoyed one of our normal evenings of going to a party and mooching off of everyone before going back to my house.  We decided we weren’t done for the evening and wanted to have a camp fire.  We had a fire pit in my back yard and were all about continuing drinking and lighting that bitch up.  The problem being; neither of us could make a fire that lasted more than 30 seconds.  If we were lost in the woods together I would give us roughly a day and a half before death occurs.  We would build up the logs and toss a match or two in and then some news paper but it just would never catch.  So being the drunken resourceful little thinker that I am, I went inside and grabbed anything I could find in an aerosol can that said “Highly Flammable”.  When I came back out I just started spraying everything in the fire pit with said cans, took another sip of beer, prayed to the fire gods, and then tossed a match in.  It basically created 4 seconds of massive flames which tried attacking my face and then went back to nothing.  Fail.  But after some perseverance, another 6 pack between us, and some more flammable liquids we finally had a fire going. 

We were sitting on a picnic bench with our backs to the fire having a few drinks.  All I can really say about what happened next is that gravity and I were just not on the same page that night.  I wanted to stay up, it wanted to pull me down.  We seem to have this disagreement quite often.  Needless to say, gravity won.  To be fair, gravity had a 12 pack on its side working against me as well.  So I fell backwards, basically inches from the fire.  My legs were still up on the picnic bench while my elbows were holding my body up from lying in fire basically.  JoJo decided as this was all happening that she had to pee.  This couldn’t wait apparently.  I have to assume it was a life or death situation where if she chose to take 5 seconds to help me she would have died from an unknown disease that kills you if you do not immediately release yourself the second you have to pee.  I am still unsure if she is cursed with this disease, none the less, she chose the bathroom over her fallen sidekick.  Not only did she choose the bathroom but she chose it while laughing hysterically at me lying in a fire.  Granted, I was laughing as well.  I’ll be fair here; it wasn’t like I was being burned at the stake when she left.  I was a moderately safe distance from the flames.  So as I lay in my back yard, by myself, at 3am, inches from flames eating my face; I thought about my options.  I realized if I moved either of my arms it would result in me falling directly into the flames because they were all that was supporting me.  I also realized I was way too drunk to navigate this situation on my own.  I don’t make the best decisions sober, so when I need to make them and I have been drinking I usually just don’t decide and just wait for someone else to do it for me.  But, once again, being the smart little drunken resourceful thinker that I am, I discovered a beer close by.  It was close enough that I could keep my arm planted to hold my body away from ensuing death, but also grab the refreshing beverage.  I mean, I was lying in a fire…it was hot, give me a break.  I was obviously thinking on a survival level, not an “I want another beer” level.  So when JoJo came back out she found me still lying in the fire pit, but drinking a beer.  As she continued hysterically laughing at me she came over to help now that her bladder was empty and she was capable of doing such.  Thanks JoJo, you saved not only me, but also that Bud Light.  You’re a true friend for life.

When we weren’t crusading around town dressing as Mexicans and drinking we were back to the grind at work watching the circus ensue.  Pecan Glasses and Scruffy Tubs were working the ice cream stand one night and they were both on their ‘A’ game.  Pecan Glasses no longer wanted to be Pecan Glasses.  She had gotten contacts but still hadn’t mastered them.  When I say she hadn’t mastered them I mean she looked like a rabid monkey trying to put them in.  She would make all sorts of noises and swat her arms around in the air while they were settling into her eyes.  I know this, because she wouldn’t go to the bath room to put them in.  She would do it right out in the store. But don’t get me wrong, she was very sanitary when doing it.  She literally would poor half of a mini bottle of hand sanitizer into her hands, push it around for 2 seconds and then, with her hands dripping in sanitizer would put her contacts in.  She would then complain about her eyes stinging saying her contacts were “broken”.  Just a guess here, Pecan Glasses…the burning could have to do with the rubbing alcohol your smearing your eye balls with.  I’m no doctor, but just a thought.  So on this particular night Scruffy Tubs took his usual 13 minutes to make one milkshake and when he gave it to the customer she asked him if he had to go milk the cow.  He didn’t quite understand she was upset and making fun of how long he had taken and just grunted at her and walked away.  This was his normal routine if someone confused him.  So Pecan Glasses had to come over and finish the order.  The customer’s friend asked for a hot fudge sundae.  She said no nuts, I believe 3 times, and I was across the store and heard it.  Pecan Glasses then proceeded to pile nuts all over the sundae.  As she was doing this the customer stated one last time no nuts.  Pecan finally heard it, giggled a little, then pushed all the nuts off into the trash and handed her the sundae.  When the customers started complaining about how bad their whole experience was, Pecan Glasses just up and walked away scratching at her eyes like a meth head who hadn’t slept in 9 days and then started yelling her eyes were on fire.  This is when I decided I would swoop in to try and save the situation and get a tip.  This was always the perfect situation because the second the customer realizes you’re normal and even just a little better than the last two, they instantly love you.  It’s like after Bush left the White House.  My dog could have gotten elected after him and everyone would have said President Muffin was the chosen savior of our country and would lead us to prosperity.  It’s not exactly a tough act to follow.

Ok, all this talk of ice cream, now I want some.  So I’ll end this story so I can go get some but again, I will most likely revisit more adventures of the Byrne Dairy and also of me and the one and only JoJo.  I still haven’t even told you about how we metaphorically dunked the shit out of one fat donut.  Intriguing or idiocy?  I’ll let you decide.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Amy and Jamie Take California

I want to share with you all a story of a magical week which was surrounded by glorious events that still make me jealous I can’t go back in time and live it again.  There is adventure, travel, donuts, rum, peacocks…what more could you want?  By the end of this story you will either say, “Wow, what an entertaining story about a fun vacation.”  Or you will say, “Wow, Amy is a hot mess and just wasted my time with this nonsense.”  Either way…you’re welcome.

Let me give you a little background on me and my friend, Jamie.  We went to high school together and were friends, but never hung out outside of school much.  I lost touch with her after graduation as I did a lot of people when I moved to California.  I moved back after a year and a half though.  Apparently spending all of your money on vodka and massive impulse buys is not the path to success.  Skip ahead to the night of my 21st birthday when I am back in NY.  I was of course two hours late and already smashed.  I pulled up with my boyfriend in his jeep and I looked to my right and saw, none other than Jamie.  I looked like a crazed mime who had gone on a cocaine binge, pounding on the window of the car freaking out that she was there.  Amy and Jamie were reunited, and I had to make a drunken confession to her.  I am comfortable enough to admit Jamie was my girl crush.  In our drunken haze we recalled stories from high school and admitted we were indeed girlfriend soul mates.  It was pretty special.  Our boyfriends didn’t seem to mind.  She remains in my phone as ‘Jamie My Girlfriend’.  Well, that’s a lie.  On her birthday a couple years ago I changed it to ‘Jamie My Girlfriend The Birthday Girl’ and never changed it back.  So congratulations Jamie, it is your birthday every day in my phone.

Onto our adventure.  Jamie and I were both somewhat, slightly, extremely intoxicated in Syracuse New York when we planned out a trip to California.  The next day the tickets got booked, the suitcases got packed, and the friends and family feared for our lives because of the events they knew would inevitably ensue.  I got to Los Angeles a couple days before Jamie because of her work schedule.  I had gotten a rental car and did my usual:  You book the cheapest car, but when you get it search for anything possible that could be wrong with it after leaving the lot.  If anything doesn’t work or even is just slightly inconvenient for you, take it back about an hour later.  Complain saying you will never use their company for renting again and they will upgrade you for no charge.  If you make a big enough deal out of anything, especially when there are other customers around, you get what you want.  If anyone from Budget, Hertz, Enterprise or Dollar rental car services is reading; don’t worry I totally never did that to any of you.  Or you can just flirt with the guy at the desk, either way works.  So anyways, I picked her up at LAX with my brand new Mustang and we were ready for the week.  By the way, one of the first things she saw in California was a “men working in trees” sign.  Seeing such a ridiculous road work sign is in itself a sign; a sign of very ridiculous things to come.

We were heading down to San Diego to stay with my aunt for the majority of the trip and then we would head back up to LA for the last couple days to catch a show at The Groundlings and then fly back home the next day.  Before heading to San Diego though, we decided to take a drive through Malibu and just enjoy the day.  We drove up into the mountains on some sick roads with some amazing views.  A little too amazing, seeing as how I almost drove us off of a cliff one or six times.  After almost killing Jamie I figured I should pay her back by taking her to lunch.  Its common courtesy; when you almost cause death, you buy lunch.  Everyone knows this.  So we went to this great Mexican place at the end of Santa Monica pier.  I have been there almost a dozen times and I still could not tell you the name of it if my life depended on it.  As we were walking down the pier we decided to check out the shops and some rides too.  They were shooting a commercial at the pier which we kept walking through the area behind where they were shooting and they kept getting mad at us.  Seriously, Jamie and I apparently cannot take direction from anyone.  A deaf / blind 3 year old would have understood better than we did.  They seemed to just give up on us after a while and allowed us to walk through eventually.  So if you see a commercial at the Santa Monica pier and two confused girls wandering around aimlessly in the background, you’re welcome, and yes I will be signing autographs.  Then, as we ate, the birds seemed to take on a very strong feeling towards Jamie.  That feeling was summed up by them kamikaze bombing her as she attempted eating.  She hovered over her food holding her knife like a serial killer looking like a paranoid crack head who had just sat down to her first meal in 8 years.  She was not about to let one of those birds get at her Chimichanga.  We escaped from dinner with no food having been eaten by the birds, and no birds having been slain by Jamie.  I would say it was a success.  Then we headed to San Diego.  I figured within 20 minutes of getting there we’d be on the beach.  Instead, somehow within 20 minutes of getting there I already had 2 parking tickets.  I honestly can’t even tell you how that happened or when that happened.  It’s like they just would appear on the windshield out of nowhere.  San Diego must have little parking ticket nymphs that float around ruining people’s day.  Either that or I just have a severe lack of an ability to read street signs.  My money is on the nymphs.

Over the next few days we did exactly what we had planned on though.  We laid in the sun, we drank, we ate, we drank, we napped, we swam…we drank.  One of the nights after some drinks was where I discovered Jamie’s Russian Rodney Dangerfield impression which I will hereon refer to as R.R.D.  After a few too many cocktails I decided I would enjoy some outdoor play time, being the 5 year old on the inside that I am.  I found a short brick wall in the yard where I would balance on and walk across like a balance beam which took some insanely intense concentration.  I started to get cocky here and there and try little tricks like I was one of those crazy talented Chinese midget gymnasts.  But I was quickly reminded that I am instead, just a crazy clumsy Italian average height idiot.  This was made clear by me falling directly on my ass seven times before giving up.  Jamie was chilling in a tent outside in the yard and after each round on the beam I would walk back to the tent to peak in on Jamie.  She would be eagerly awaiting my return and every time I looked in the tent she seemed more and more excited to see me.  We were both obviously having a blast with this little ritual because it went on for a good 30 minutes I would say.  Afterwards we were sitting on the ground and then it happened.  In her newly discovered and accidental R.R.D voice Jamie said “wool”.  Yes, wool.  I do not know why she said it, where it came from, or where she intended on going with it, but she said it.  And she said it just like a Russian Rodney Dangerfield would.  I can’t explain how much I love to this day that I got to hear what Rodney Dangerfield would sound like if he came from Russia and was a sheep shearer.

The next day we went out for groceries for a bon fire we were going to have that night and we wanted to find donuts, headlights to be specific.  Apparently they did not exist in San Diego though.  We looked forever and it became one of those battles that is no longer even about the task at hand.  I don’t know that we even wanted the donuts anymore; we just couldn’t let the donut gods win.   But after two hours we had succumbed to defeat.  We got a variety box of donuts and headed back to my aunt’s house for the fire.  This night is mostly a blur for me but I do recall Jamie yelling at our neighboring fire pit friends because they had used our donuts to put them on the end of sticks and put them in the fire.  Who does that?  That is donut cruelty and Jamie was not about to stand for it.  She let them have it, and rightfully so.  They’re not marsh mellows people, get your snack foods straight.

(Parking ticket update: 1 more, totaling 3 so far.  Damn parking ticket nymphs)

The next day we headed to the zoo which is always great.  There is always a peacock wandering around the zoo and I always try to pet him, but he is tricky!  Also, I’m about as graceful as Shaquille O Neal would be attempting Swan Lake in figure skates so it never goes well.  Aside from the visual of me chasing a peacock around the zoo knocking shit over the whole time add in the audio of me yelling, “Jamie!  I’m gonna get him!  I almost got him!  Jamie! Look!  I almost got him!  Jamie!  Loooooook!”  You would have thought I was that 5 year old kid with ADHD trying to get my mom’s attention and that Jamie was the neglective mom who was off somewhere smoking cigarettes flirting with the zoo maintenance guy.  Needless to say, it was a great day and we took a ton of pictures.  Now that I think of it I still haven’t sent her the pictures she asked for from that day.  (Keep in mind this trip happened roughly 2 years ago.  My bad Jamie.  I promise I will send them…soonish.) 

After an excellent few days in San Diego it was time to head back up to LA.  The hotel was amazing that we were staying at.  It was a huge room, a couple of TV’s, big kitchen, big mini bar (yes I see the irony), it was all so nice but we had to get ready quickly.  So we did, and then called a cab and were on our way.  The show was amazing as it always is at The Groundlings. (Now that I’m a student there I will suck up a bit)  After it was over we decided we were close enough to the hotel to walk.  We were not.  Well, maybe we were, but we got so lost who knows where we were.  We made the logical decision to find a liquor store before we go any further and buy a bottle of Malibu.  (Rule to live by: When lost and in despair, locate nearest liquor store and the world will once again be ok) So we brown bagged it around some pretty sketchy areas until we finally called a cab.  The cab asked where to and when we told him he laughed at us and literally drove us around the corner and we were there.  See, rum will always lead you home.  Jamie tipped the cabbie which infuriated me that she would tip for such a short ride.  Sorry for yelling, Jamie, I have some rage issues when it comes to tipping cab drivers apparently. I’ll seek help.

(Parking ticket update: I lost count after 3.) 

The next morning I woke up to the sound of the blow dryer coming from the bathroom.  Jamie was in the process of trying to dry off her phone which she had dropped in the toilet.  It was a sad morning.  She had killed her phone, and we were packing up to leave this beautiful hotel room and also leave California.  We spent the day around LA and then headed to the airport for a red eye.  We were exhausted from a crazy trip and just wanted to get on that plane and sleep.  But of course, we had one last obstacle.  This obstacle happened to come in the form of a giant Mexican lady who was in one of our seats on the plane.  She spoke no English and when I told her it was my seat she just kept shaking her head saying no acting confused.  But I think she spoke more English then she let on.  Because when she was saying no, she was saying it with a very strong tone.  With that one word she was basically saying, “I know exactly what you’re saying little white girl.  I am going to act like I don’t though because I want this window seat.  So you can take your little ass and plop it down in the middle seat.”  Seriously, you could hear her saying all this just by how she said “no”.  It was impressive actually.  Finally a flight attendant came over after my attempt at translation didn’t work.  She didn’t seem to respond to me saying “You in my seat-o.  Move-o before I have you kicked off the plane-o.”  She reluctantly moved to her seat, the aisle one, with the help of the flight attendant and Jamie and I took the window and middle seats.  I took the middle one being the good friend that I am.  I pissed off the old Mexican mule so I might as well have to deal with sitting next to it.  As hard as I tried to sleep it wasn’t happening due to the mule keeping her light on all night flipping through some sleazy Mexican tabloid magazine with super glossy pages reflecting the light directly into my eyes.  Thanks mule.  None the less, off we went, back to New York.  Although Jamie and I were convinced for a solid 15 minutes they were going the wrong way and we would be in Japan when we woke up.  Thankfully when we woke we were still in America.  The pilots apparently knew better than we did.  Weird I know.

I can honestly say this was the best trip I have ever been on.  Now, as I leave you, I will ask that you play me out with a theme song. Imagine in your heads ‘Paper Planes’ by MIA, as it was our theme song for the trip which we listened to roughly 13,006 times.  (I also just really like the idea of exiting or entering things with a theme song.)  Jamie was a specialist at the chorus doing the gun shots perfectly and always spitting clear across the car while doing so.  So hit that beat and do the gun shots in the chorus with me while you practice your very own R.R.D.