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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

It's been years and I don't think it's coming back






Via Natalie Dee

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Shameless Self-Promotion



Things have been crazy, and I have a million posts I want to write, but fo
r now, here are some things I've been cheating on this blog with:


Every Day With Rachael Ray, February Issue: I wrote "Tough Love," a piece where I interviewed Andrew Zimmern of the Travel Channel's Bizarre Foods and Lisa Lampanelli the raunchy, Queen of Mean stand-up comedienne about what they're doing for Valentine's Day. I also interviewed Jillian Michaels from The Biggest Loser, but she was cut—wah wah. They were all really surprisingly sweet, which was the whole point of the article. See, even caustic douchebags have a soft spot!


Poutine: Corner Burger's Homage to Canucks: My review of a neighborhood restaurant's new dish on Fucked in Park Slope—plus a million Celine Dion references.



Desperately Seeking Kook: My appeal on Fucked in Park Slope to a local graffiti artist named "Kook" to reveal himself. My fascination with him started last summer, when Scott and I were walking to a bar to find graffiti screaming, "KOOK WANTS YOUR SOUL." I figured I had to write SOMETHING when I saw his markings again this weekend, declaring, "KOOK HATES YOUR MONEY." Who is Kook? Why does he want my soul and hate my money?




Case of the Missing Mail: A bonafide Fucked in Park Slope-stigation, where I try to figure out why the fuck I stopped getting my mail for two weeks. Then, everyone responded, saying that they haven't gotten mail in 3 weeks, that they saw their mailman lurking in their apartment's hallway, that they found their mail in the recycling bin—shit up in the 11215 is NOT good. It all culminated in me setting up a sting operation by mailing a letter to myself and tracking it. Follow the story here.


Farrell's: Where Cheap Mofos Go to Binge Drink: Shirley McClaine FREAKED the fuck out here in the 1970's and demanded service, thus becoming the first unaccompanied woman to be served at Farrell's a neighborhood bar that is so blue collar that it looks like a bunch of Smurfs are up in there. But despite its humble (read: divey) atmosphere, you can get a 32oz. beer for $5! If you have 4 of them, you've had a gallon of beer, and you've only spent $20. It is EXTREMELY dangerous that this place is only a short walk from my apartment.

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

When I'm not working, I hate myself



via asofterworld.com

Monday, January 18, 2010

Douchey Shit I Pulled in High School (the Aiming Higher Series)




She was an English teacher, and while she was young compared to all of the dinosaurs in the school’s English department, she didn’t tolerate any crap. She also didn’t tend to tolerate anyone’s feelings.

And as someone who was voted in Senior Class superlatives as the person “Most Likely to Tell it Like it is,” I appreciated this.
Asking a blind student if he got his driver’s license on his 16th birthday, evaluating students’ writing by shouting across the classroom that she could have eaten alphabet soup and crapped out a better essay—nothing was off limits or over the line as far as she was concerned.

She would stand outside of her classroom, casually leaning up against the doorframe (not unlike smartass high school students you see in movies) and stare at scantily clad, slightly overweight girls sporting muffin tops over their too-tight low-rise jeans.


“Hey, Amanda,” she’d shout across the crowded hallway. “I wish I had her mirror!”

And while I was a good student (in terms of grades, not in terms of behavior, of course), I prided myself on getting through the majority of high school without doing any of the assigned reading. The Good Earth, A Tale of Two Cities, The Awakening—it seemed like the curriculum was chosen specifically with the intention of making everyone want to kill themselves.
Because I managed to bullshit my way through essays and exams and occasionally wake up from my daily naps in class to offer some sort of thoughtful commentary, I claimed the position as the darling of the English department for three years.

But during my senior year, Mrs. Cammarata was the first person to call me out, claiming in the comments section of my report card that I “wasn’t working to my potential.”
Because this comment was listed alongside an A average in the class, my mother was confused.

“What does she mean you’re not working up to your potential?” she asked. “You have an A.”


My father was the one who got it. “Jeannie,” he said to my mother. “It means that Amanda’s being a lazy asshole and cheating her way through life.”


When I reminded him that he had only read one book in his entire life and that it was Private Parts by Howard Stern, he relented, saying, “Who cares about me? Just read the stupid books.”

Of course, I didn’t, because really, I would have rather eaten a box of thumbtacks than waste my time reading The Pearl or Things Fall Apart. Smug people and those who have devoted their lives to education would probably say that by not reading those books, I had only cheated myself, but I disagree.

I have the basic understanding of the plot lines and general themes of all of the classics—which is more than enough to fake my way through a conversation with a Shakespearean actor or pick up on references of the books in more worthwhile forms of media, like TV or movies.
And so my general douchebaggery went on unchecked throughout high school.

That is, until Mrs. Cammarata called in a substitute for the day. Substitute teachers have a raw deal—they’re regarded by younger students as easy targets for pranks while they’re almost completely ignored by older students, generally possessing the air of authority over nothing more important than a hall pass.
My friendship with Brandon, the kid who sat next to me in Mrs. Cammarata’s class, was largely reared on years of being forced to sit next together because our names fell next to each other alphabetically. With both of our last names being at the very end of the alphabet, we always found ourselves in the very back of the classroom, prime positioning that lent itself to screwing around and not paying attention.

On this particular day, Mrs. Cammarata had left instructions with the substitute to have us all write essays about some book that I didn’t read. As someone who walked into her AP Economics exam (the one that her father had to pay $75 for her to take), wrote “I don’t know” on the top of the paper, and drove directly back home to go back to sleep, an equal mix of brevity and apathy had become my strong suit.
After Brandon and I had finished, I’m assuming that we started talking obnoxiously.

The substitute, who couldn’t be bothered to look up from her copy of Ladies Home Journal, seemed uninterested in our antics. Soon, as the other students began to finish their essays, the classroom became noisy with chatter, but not unruly or out of control.
The following day, I walked into class and took my seat next to Brandon. “Hey, you jerks,” Mrs. Cammarata said. “The substitute complained that you two were noisy and disrespectful.” We, of course, denied it, but it was hard to defend yourself against an accusation that was so in line with your normal behavior.

Noisy, sarcastic, obnoxious, disrespectful—I was all of those things. Mrs. Cammarata didn’t take a punishing tone with me, presumably because she found me amusing.
After all, I was the one who ran an “exclusive” report in the school newspaper, claiming that she had birds nesting in her hair for the past 10 years. She even posed for the pictures that I would later Photoshop pictures of birds onto her head to run alongside the expose. I was the one who ran a fake poll in the newspaper, asking students which book they preferred, The Grapes of Wrath or The Lord of the Flies with the results, 99% never read either book and 1% margin of error.

“Guys, I don’t care,” she said. “It’s my policy—if a substitute complains about the behavior of a student, that student has to write her an apology note.”


What a stupid policy that was. If I were to write an apology letter to every single person I had ever offended—no matter how mildly—entire forests would need to be bulldozed to provide enough paper.
When weighed up against the offenses I had racked up at that point—dubbing a girl in school “crazy” and making the name stick so much it was listed in the yearbook as her nickname, throwing a teacher’s snow boot out of the window so she was forever looking for it all winter, hanging up signs at school that declared there was a keg party at a history teacher’s house that was BYOB—talking to my friend in the back of English class didn’t seem so terrible. In the end, my sorry note was, not surprisingly, insincere.

I wrote, “sorry for disturbing you while you were reading your magazine,” while Brandon signed his note with the closing salutation, “begging for forgiveness.”

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Sunday, January 17, 2010

Orange you glad I didn't say hallway?


I've stopped trying to understand my landlord's thought process, mainly because understanding that kind of ridiculousness would guarantee the kind of headache that all the Tylenol in the world couldn't cure.
When I moved into my apartment, the hallway was in pretty bad shape. Picture really scuffed up walls, various water leak markings on the ceilings, and the kind of stairs that you would find in a tenement building in war-torn Kosovo. I was told that it would re-done after the apartment that they were renovating was finished. I figured, this couldn't take more than a month. I moved in on September 1, and they were already working on said apartment. Then, after a few days of work, they never returned. At the beginning of October, they were back again—for three days. Gone again, and returned at the beginning of November.

I don't own a building, but I'm pretty sure that when I can charge $1,600 a month for an apartment, I want to get it renovated and rented as soon as possible. These three-week long caps in construction didn't make any sense. The apartment could have been finished in September and rented in October, lining their pockets with extra cash. Apparently, my landlords are either retarded or so rich that losing out on an easy $4,000 doesn't matter to them.

The whole situation was crazy to me, because my apartment on the inside is so nice. Visiting friends would leave my apartment, enter the hallway, and express the feeling of entering some kind of crazy vortex—the nice apartment didn't match up with the shitty hallway.

But let me just say that a phenomenon started happening—every time I said to myself, "I'm going to call them and complain about this hallway!," they started working on it. They sanded everything down to prepare for painting. Then, they took a three week break. They came back and primed everything (and I mean everything. Abi said, "Does your door still look like someone threw a gallon of milk at it?").

Knowing the basics of priming walls (ie: you can't just prime a wall and then not paint it because it catches dust and dirt like a sponge, and it scratches easily), I figured this
was it. Finally, they would just fucking paint the walls and get it over with. After all, my building is four stories. If they have three guys working on it all day (which they did!), it could have been done in less than a week.

No such luck. We're taking radio silence on the homefront. Then, I came home to find that one wall was painted a pinkish orange color. Awesome, now I know what it's like to live inside of a gumball.

Then, they stopped again. One side, primer. The other side, Blanche Deveraux's be
droom. I left to go back to Buffalo for the holidays for two whole weeks, and all I wanted post-Christmas is to come home and have it be redone.

As I got out of the cab from JFK and got into my apartment, I saw it—an orange monstrosity. Now my apartment looks like the inside of a subway car. Brown, orange, and yellow everything.

They still need to redo the stairs, so maybe they can consult with Helen Keller to get a really, really ugly carpet sample or something.

FAIL.

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

This Shit is Bananas



As I've mentioned before, my job is basically that I serve as Project Manager for all ancillary guides and inserts that my magazine produces. I'm the one who makes the trains run on time—making sure editorial is on task, the design is done, and the production and distribution plan are in effect. This role serves me well because I'm a power-hungry Nazi who craves control.

My company has had a few layoffs recently, claiming my designer as one who got axed. So now, it's all hands on deck—our Art Director jumping in to help out. Of course, for some extra-special fun, the original file for the guide (it's a playbook for a show that has something to do with bananas) we're working on is corrupt, meaning that editorial and design will have to do extensive work to restore it.

What can I do? You know, besides apologize in the same breath as I'm sending them more indecipherable instructions from clients? Oh, yeah. I can try to smooth things over with baked goods!

I guess I took a page out of my old college roommate's book—whenever we had a fight, I'd come home to a warm plate of cinnamon rolls or a freshly frosted funfetti cake. "YOU CAN'T BUY ME WITH BAKED GOODS!" I would scream, as I would take the cake into my room and close the door.

So here I am, buying people with baked goods. Well, let's not be so crass. It's mostly because it's funny, and also because when my job sucks, I wish that someone would say, "sorry," or "thank you," or "here's a bottle of vodka" (although my boss does give me bottles of wine on a semi-regular basis).

And in the spirit of the douchey, "be the change you want to see in the world" sentiment, I've decided to show my appreciation to my edit and design team by giving them a banana cream pie.

I sent out an email with the subject line "This Shit is Bananas," telling them where they could find the banana cream pie, along with the request that they eat it, rather than pie me in the face with it the next time I send them more work.

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Breaking News: Milagra Shops at Hollister?



I sent this to a friend who evaluated the situation.

"Okay, so you're legit living next door to a crazy person."

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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Honestly


Saturday, January 09, 2010

WTF SANTA?!



Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Why people gotta scam on my bottle service?





Last night, I attended the Youth in Revolt premiere. If you care about people like Ed Westwick, Michael Cera, and Zack Galifaniakdjskdhskadjks, be jealous, because they were sitting in front of me. The movie was okay, but I’m getting really tired of the Michael Cera awkward-but-cute-and-endearing genre—also, it had claymation, which I’ve found positively terrifying ever since I watched that Rudolph Christmas claymation show hosted by a claymation snowman version of Burl Ives playing a banjo.

Anyway, so we went to the after party, where I was delighted to find that they had reserved a table for us with bottle service. Normally, I would rather eat a box of thumbtacks than spend time in a douchey, crowded club, but I can deal with it when I have a table reserved for me and my friends and an entire bottle of vodka to myself.

The place was so crowded that people were crowding our table. At one point, I actually said out loud, “You know what would be useful right now? A velvet rope to keep these douches from crowding me.” A velvet rope? Who am I?

I know that this rant is going to sound ridiculous and smarmy—one giant white whine. I know that I should just shut up and be glad that I get treated to the VIP treatment once in awhile like I’m not paid in candy wrappers and push pins.

But I can’t tell you how annoying it is when someone tries to scam on your bottle service. For those of you who haven’t experienced the joys of bottle service, you are sitting at a small reserved table with a bucket of beers to your left, and a bucket of ice on the right, surrounded by a bottle of Grey Goose, cranberry juice, tonic, and orange juice.

For a drunk like me, this is so much to process and frankly, way too much to drink, but like a trashy person who wins an all-expenses paid trip somewhere, I was incredibly possessive of my winnings. Yes, I will order room service 700 times. You said all-expenses paid! This booze is MINE. I am NOT SHARING.

Every so often throughout the night, I’d see a stray hand come in and try to reach for a beer or the bottle of vodka. I tried my best to defend my bounty, but more often than not I was distracted by another douchebag standing in the opposite direction or quietly judging Michael Cera’s red knit ski cab (we’re in a CLUB, Michael. You’re not Santa Claus).

Some girl, who had been giving me ice stares all night came over and actually said to me, “So I see that you’re not drinking all of your vodka. Can I have some?”

Excuse me? First of all, you better believe that this bottle is going into my goddamn purse at the end of the night. Second of all, you stare at me all night and then come over and blatantly ask me for a free nip? No mofo way. I’d rather pour all that shit on the ground than give it to you. I know that I look like I’m 15, that I’m not glamorous, particularly well-dressed, or any other superficial factor that would typically earn someone bottle service. But I’m here, I got it, you don’t, DEAL WITH IT.

I wear my bottle service like a badge of honor. It means that I’ve done at least something right. Back off, bitch.

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Monday, January 04, 2010

Baby, it's motherfucking cold inside






I've written extensively about the problems I've had in my apartment—from my leaky ceiling to my ridiculous neighbor. The newest one is that they've started re-doing the hallway, painting it two tone, pink and orange. Awesome, now I know what it's like to live inside a gumball.

I was home for Christmas for the past two weeks, and to avoid the dramarama I had over Thanksgiving with the leaky ceiling, radiator, and the fear that I would need scuba gear to be in the apartment when I came back, I decided to turn off the heat to avoid the appearance of any leaks.
Well, of course, I came back and it was motherfucking f-r-e-e-z-i-n-g up in here. So I turn on the radiator in the living room, and I notice that nothing heats up. I go into the bathroom and notice that the flaming heat pole of death next to the bathtub that I have no way of controlling is also stone cold [Steve Austin].

I put on a sweatshirt and deal with it. A few hours later, the heat kicks on in the living room and the bathroom, but not in the kitchen. All is fine with me—I'm not spending that much time in the kitchen anyway.

Then, there's a knock at my door. It's my neighbor (not Milagra), wearing one of those big puffy coats with the fur around the hood. She looks like a goddamned eskimo. She wants to know if I know what the fuck is up with the heat.

She said that she was also out of town for the holidays, but the people upstairs said there was a problem with the boiler in the basement and the fire department had to come. She's presuming that they turned off the boiler, which means they turned off the heat in the entire building.

I could get mad, but the flaming heat pole of death in the living room is burning up, so I feel fine about the situation. I came home from work today and it was still freezing in the kitchen while I was cooking dinner. I went to clean up my dishes and found that the dish soap underneath the sink was frozen.

It's at this point I think, Okay, self. The dish soap is frozen. Maybe you have some Latin [ie: hot hot hot] blood in you and you don't realize it, but it is motherfucking cold up in here. I turn on the radiator in the kitchen and now it's hissing like a motherfucking geyser and leaking, even though the incoherent, drunk Russian maintenence man they sent over supposedly fixed it a month ago.

Here are the things I'm thinking:

1. Maybe I should invest in a Snuggie so I can get through the winter without dying of hypothermia.
2. Why the fuck don't they teach the mechanics of 1920's era radiators and heating systems in college? I have an education worth $120,000, so you'd think I'd be able to actually do something productive, like stop a leak, or understand steam valves and the like. I spent the majority of my time in college analyzing reality TV shows that masqueraded as academia, but it would be really nice to be able to do something around the house—like stop that stupid hissing noise.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

I'm Pretty Sure I'm the Only One Who Watches Styl'd...




...but I'm kind of enjoying that the two gay guys on this show are the LEAST dramatic of the bunch.

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Friday, January 01, 2010

It's a Wonderful Life



2009 has been marred by the recession. Everyone, including me, has complaints about money, their job, their lack of a job, and everything else that can be attributed to the economy's complete nosedive. I myself actually feel that the economy took a nosedive directly into my apartment, which would explain the leaky ceiling, shitty hallway, and surplus of mice and other dirty rodents (ie: my neighbor) that always seem to pop up.

I spent a lot of time this year looking at apartments, interviewing every psychopath on Craigslist, and complaining about it to anyone who would listen. But I'm trying not to be too negative about what is already thought of by everyone as an incredibly negative year.

And I feel like I've already been negative enough lately. As they said when Abi tried to sage brush my apartment to get rid of the negativity: "It's Amanda
you're gonna have to burn the place down if you're going to get rid of the negativity." And then shoot me with silver bullets. Not Coors Light, but actual silver bullets. You know, the ones that kill werewolves.

Anyway, so here's a greatest hits list of 2010:

1. Bob Marley Birthday Tribute: Usually, my job gives me tickets to hot Broadway shows and exclusive $1,500 a seat fundraisers, but this time, I had written a story about Jamaican culture, and thus was invited to attend the the Bob Marley Birthday Tribute at BB King's in Times Square. I was supposed to meet Abi outside of the venue after work on a Friday, but possessing prior knowledge of how expensive the drinks are at 'King's, I ducked into a deli and picked up a tall boy of Bud Light for the walk over. Abi immediately sees me with the giant can wrapped in a paper bag and grabs the can from my hands. We take turns chugging outside of the entrance to the place, while tag-team bitching about work. All of a sudden, we're greeted by one of New York's finest. "Busted," Abi said. It wasn't really a surprise
—we had been drinking in Times Square, which is really the equivalent of blowing lines in the middle of Main Street USA in Disneyland—it's a given that you're gonna get caught. The cop told us to dump it out and we headed in for a weird, marijuana-hazed night filled with reggae performed by the High Times Cannabis Cup Band and repeated mentions of the Rastafarian god, Jah.

2. Weekend Trip to Boston: At this point, Scott was still living in Boston, and Tim and I blew off work on a Friday to drive down to visit. This is a phenomenon that happens whenever I leave New York
—everything is so cheap that I feel like JD Rockefeller. We had dinner at The Ninety-Nine, a place whose claim to fame is 16oz. beers for $1.99. Had I died and gone to heaven? Obviously. The weekend consisted of a million beers, laughs, and one very special, incredibly hungover trip to Friendly's for some ginger ale.

3. Trivia Newton-John: Abi and I stumbled into our favorite bar for a quick drink before a show at The Living Room when we discovered that it hosted Trivia Night on Wednesdays. As we both watch Jeopardy religiously and can rattle off random facts about things such as Sting's real name (Gordon Sumner), the name of the prostitute Hugh Grant got a blowjob from in 1995 (Divine Brown), as well as an arsenal of information on convicted serial killers, we knew we would rule at this. When we found out that Trivia Night also centers around a ridiculous buy-one-get-one-free beer special, we knew it was a match made in heaven. Now, a year later, if it's a Wednesday night, you know where I'll be.

4. Memorial Day Picnic: Because I live very close to Prospect Park (one of the largest parks in NYC, second only to Central Park), I decided it was time to capitalize on my walking distance location and have a BBQ. For the occasion, I made Lynchburg Lemonade, which consists of Jack Daniels, Sprite, and fresh lemon juice. Tim and Abi came, and we set up camp on what was apparently a no-grilling area. After we set up the tiny grill I had purchased at Rite Aid that morning, the Parks Police promptly showed up to tell us to put it out. We pretended to put it out and continued grilling after they left. The remainder of the day was spent eating homemade burgers and rosemary roasted potatoes, getting thoroughly plastered, trying to find a spot in the woods to pee in that no one would see, and then going back to my apartment to order pancakes for delivery from the diner. My roommate, who at the time had lived with me for about 10 minutes, came home, and was greeted by Abi and I screaming, "ARE YOU PANCAKES?!" She responded with, "No, but I wish I was."

5. Remembering Michael Jackson at the Dram Shop: Scott moved to Brooklyn at the end of May, only a few blocks from my house, and before it happened, we declared that considering our general obnoxiousness, belligerence, and penchant for pre-gaming with 18 packs, definitely Summer '09, would be when we'd be doing time. Little did we know all of the ridiculousness that we would get into, including the time that we tried to hail a cab and ended up taking a limo home. One of my favorite nights of the summer happened the night Michael Jackson died (morbid, I know). We had gone to the movies and decided to get dinner and drinks at a bar in the neighborhood called the Dram Shop. Of course, because the King of Pop had died, they were playing his songs. Unfortunately, since every bar's music selection has turned into whatever songs the bartender has on his iPod, when we showed up, they were playing the same three Michael Jackson songs on repeat.
After scarfing down the Dram's signature basket filled with cheeseburgers and hand-cut fries, we drank about 700 beers. Finally, one of the bartenders arrived with an iPod filled with Michael Jackson tunes. He had all of the hits, of course, but we were waiting for "Man in the Mirror"–a lesser known, cheesy anthem from Jackson's Bad album. We figured they wouldn't play it because it's not exactly a good bar song (it's more like a song you sing alone in your room at the top of your lungs and then you realize that your roommate came home and heard everything and is paralyzed with laughter outside your bedroom door—not that that's ever happened to me).

All of a sudden, we hear the beginning notes of "Man in the Mirror" (ie: angels singing). The bartender lets it play, and we're all singing along. Once he realizes what a ridiculous, sappy song it is, he turns it off and searches frantically for another MJ song that's a little more upbeat. The bar FREAKS out. An acapella version of "Man in the Mirror" was then sung by us and our fellow Dram Shop patrons, even punctuated with MJ's signature "woos" and "hehe's." Scott and I took numerous shots of jager and declared that we were the executors of Michael Jackson's will, offering everyone rides on the ferris wheel.

6. Scott Moving In: As I was freaking out about whether I was going to be able to find a roommate or have to move out of my old apartment, my roommate who was subletting for the summer decided that she wanted to move out early. This left me liable to pay $2,700 worth of rent for the month of August by myself. Since Scott was subletting in an apartment a few blocks over, he agreed to break his sublease and move in with me for the month to help me out (only to be threatened by a lawsuit. Now THAT'S friendship). Frankly, I'm surprised I still went to work during this time, as Scott was unemployed and always welcomed me home each night with an 18 pack of Bud Light chilling in the fridge. During this time, we became best friends with Fran, an overweight, surly, 70-year-old bartender at the neighborhood dive-o-rama, Jackie's Fifth Amendment. We'd be sitting on the couch, polishing off another rack of beer, and Scott would look at me with a twinkle in his eye and say, "You wanna go to Jackie's?" Cue 1,500 power hours, 400 Golden Girls marathons, 600 episodes of Intervention, 50 late-night pizza orders, and 1 very disgusting bottle of mango vodka—it's a wonder I didn't get fired. One of my favorite nights of the summer was when we were going to see Abi's friend's band play at a concert venue in the neighborhood. We did our usual power hour to pregame, but Scott threw up before we left, declaring that he was "hitting the reset button." As we were walking to the concert, we noticed a graffiti vandal named "Kook" had made his mark on several buildings in the general vicinity of the venue. One even declared, "KOOK WANTS YOUR SOUL," which we obviously screamed the entire walk there and back. While at the concert, we drank 10 million beers and took about 15 photobooth shots. Scott stole all of the business cards that the photobooth machine had for some inexplicable reason, and threw them all over the apartment. I was still finding them as I was packing to move out. We decided to leave after we scarfed down a chocolate waffle from Funk 'n' Waffles, and eventually made our way to Jackie's. We shared a bucket of beers, and when it was obvious I wouldn't be able to stay to finish them, Fran gave them to us in travel cups. Scott took off his shirt and we were screaming the lyrics to "Man in the Mirror" all the way home.

7. Abi's Birthday: It was too perfect that Abi's birthday fell on a Wednesday, which is also trivia night. To ease the excruciating hours in jail (ie: the office), I decided to send Abi
countdowns from our favorite serial killer, Aileen Wuornos. After I declared that it was time to party like we were on death row, we met at our favorite bar for trivia at 6:30. We had our usual feast of fries, sliders, and 10,000 buy one, get one free beers. Fast-forward a few hours and trivia is over at 11, which is when we usually leave. Wanting to keep the celebration going, we move to the bar and make friends with the bartender. About an hour later, it has really thinned out, because, hey, it's after midnight on a week night. The bartender lets us swap our iPods in with his, and all of a sudden, it's a Motown dance party, starring Martha and the Vandellas, Marvin Gaye, and The Temptations. Some crazy lesbian and her terrified girlfriend came up to us, declaring they're going to get married. I snorted, and asked, "WHERE?!" This obviously did not go over well, and of course, Abi jumped in and does what she always does to ensure everything is extra special awkward: she declares that she and I are a couple, but that she also sleeps with men. This obviously makes me look like the schmuck of the year, and crazy lesbian will. not. let. it. go. "I CAN TELL YOU'RE NOT HAPPY WITH THIS ARRANGEMENT," crazy lesbian shouted into my ear as Abi was making googly eyes at the [male] bartender. Extra weirdness ensued, but soon everyone is gone expect me, Abi, and the bartender. I realize that it's 4am, and I have to get up to go to work in 3 and a half hours. We were at the bar for a grand total of NINE HOURS. We are the champions.

8. The Perks of the Job: Because I get paid nothing and work like a Japanese beaver, I am privy to a number of perks from my job. This past year, I saw Cynthia Nixon in Distracted, Allison Janney in 9 to 5: The Musical, and Carrie Fisher in Wishful Drinking. I also attended the Tribeca Film Festival as a VIP, saw Andy Samberg, Fred Armisen, Seth Myers, and Keenan Thompson at the New York Comedy Festival, went to the advanced screening of Paper Heart and got bottle service at the after party, attended the Food Network Wine & Food Festival with my entire family, and perhaps most notably, attended the $1,500 a seat Paul Newman Hole-in-the-Wall Charity Fundraiser. Hosted by Julia Roberts, the entertainment for the night included Jerry Seinfeld, Kristen Chenoweth, James Taylor, Art Garfunkel, and a very special guest appearance by Bill Clinton. It ain't all bad, right?

9. Jay-Z Answer the Call Concert: And speaking of perks, perhaps one of my favorite concerts ever was
the Jay-Z Answer the Call concert at Madison Square Garden. It was a charity show to benefit the victims of 9/11. I was just happy to get tickets, as it sold out in about 10 seconds, but when we arrived, Abi and I were shown to the Club Suites. Good thing we were the first people to show up, because we could barely contain ourselves as we realized we were in a box with a private bathroom, catered food, open bar, and an awesome view of the stage. Was I in heaven? Perhaps. Jay-Z put on an awesome show, punctuated with awesome special guests. Biz Markie ("Don't ever talk to a girl who says she just has a friend") opened, and throughout the show, Jay-Z was joined on-stage by John Mayer, Rhianna, Beyonce, Mary J. Blige, Kanye West, and Puff Daddy (P. Diddy?). Really, I was just blown away by the fact that I was even allowed to be there, receiving so much VIP treatment. As the concert opened with "Empire State of Mind," Jay-Z's love song to NYC, I turned to Abi and said what I always say to her: I take you to the best places.

10. Halloween: Never in my life do I believe that I was more out of control than on Halloween this year. Carrie, an old roommate from college came up to visit, and she, Scott, and I were going to meet up with Tim at a bar in Manhattan called Porky's. Usually, I avoid Manhattan at all costs on holidays because more often than not, you're forced to pay obscene cover charges only to be crammed into a bar playing shitty, cliche music, and all of a sudden, your only goal for the night is just to get your hands on ONE overpriced drink, which is almost impossible to do since there are 200 people for every one bartender on duty. When we met up with Tim at Porky's after breaking into a museum to use the bathroom (hey, it was a long subway ride and we had downed a bunch of beers and vodka on the way there) and marching in the NYC Halloween parade by accident, we saw that the line to get in the bar was ridiculous. On the way there, we passed a bar I had been to before and I noted that there seemed to be no line there. We decided to ditch Porky's and head to the other bar. The clipboard girl at the door asked us if we were on the list. It seems that the reason why there wasn't a line at this particular bar was because it was hosting a private party for the night. Obviously, we weren't on the list, but I replied to her with an insistent "Of course!" I spelled my name for extra effect, and then Scott chimed in, saying we had just bought the tickets online that day, so maybe her list wasn't updated. We were being very helpful. She shrugged, and let us all in for free. Thinking we had just bilked the place out of four cover charges, we were delighted to find out that the party also featured open bar. This, of course, wasn't good enough for us, and eventually, we talked our way into the VIP area. Finally, after my balls of steel had dropped, I called the waitress over. "You know," I said. "This isn't a big deal, but we prepaid for bottle service and it isn't here yet." The waitress was SO SORRY, and we were promptly presented with carafes of cranberry juice, tonic, and orange juice, served alongside a full bottle of Grey Goose. I can't believe we got away with this, because drinking that bottle (which, at this particular bar, cost around $1,000) was equivalent to breaking into a liquor store and downing a bottle. I should mention that I was dressed up as Sue Sylvester from Glee, and I'm pretty confident that she would have acted exactly the same. Of course, my punishment came the next morning, when Carrie and I spent the entire day tag-team puking in my apartment, laying on the couch and moaning while watching the New York Marathon on TV.

11. My Christmas Party: When I moved into my new apartment, I found my inner domestic diva. I started hosting parties with fancy appetizers, served alongside cases of Bud Light. And while I've had a handful of parties since I moved into my apartment in September, by far, my favorite was the Christmas party. I put up lights, made a ton of food, and perhaps most notably, 38 red and green jello shots. I told Scott, Tim, and Abi to bring booze, but I also had a case of beer in reserve. They all show up, and the official count for alcohol was 80 beers, a double bottle of wine, and 38 jello shots for four people. We finished the jello shots while Abi yelled about Scott's choice of Christmas music (A Taylor Swift Christmas). Tim tried to get us to take "Christmas Shots," which were whipped cream, Hershey's syrup, and peppermint schnappes. We all refused to take them after the first one, but every now and then you'd notice that Tim was missing, and then you'd hear the signature spraying noise that comes only from a can of Reddi-Whip. The night ended with us ordering $40 worth of Dominoes at 2AM, anxiously watching the Pizza Tracker on dominoes.com, tracking our order's progress ("OH MY GOD, KAZI PUT THE PIZZA IN THE OVENNNNNNNN!"), and then scarfing down the pizza while watching Roseanne and discussing how Sandra Bernhard may be the ugliest woman in the world. Perfection.

And those are just my favorites. I mean, really. As negative as I want to be about this past year, it's been a hell of a lot of fun.

Here's to this year.

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