Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Funny Girl (special bonus at the end)

Ever since I was five years old, I wanted to be a star. I would watch Annie on continuous loop, and knew every word of every song. So much so, that I'd subject my family or anyone that would listen to my impromptu performances, complete with several wardrobe changes in and out of my grandmother’s old fancy dresses. There in front of an intimate audience of about five or so, I'd belt out the words of "Tomorrow" from one side of my mouth. Once I was old enough to reach the sustain pedal, and under the tutelage of our family’s foreign exchange student, I started to play my own accompaniments and even write my own music. With formal lessons, I'd say I had become pretty damn good. Even before I entered kindergarten, I was landing the leads in my preschool’s plays.. All except for Alice and Wonderland, for which I was passed over for not being a blonde. I'm not bitter about it though because the script was absolute crap anyway. Then one day I realized my absolute favorite thing to do while riding in the car on my way to Saturday morning bowling league. My father was driving and had made some off hand comment on something that just hung out there like the perfectly pitched curve ball. So I did what only seemed natural, I swung for the fences. The entire car erupted in laughter. I had made my first legitimate funny.

Turns out I had always been the goofy kid. Always making off-the-cuff remarks to anyone. Some even landing me in the principal’s office after school, like the time I called the boy in preschool a ‘silly ass’, because I had heard Mary Martin call one of the Lost Boys that in Peter Pan. But as my mom was quick to point out.. Peter Pan also didn't have a mother to answer to. Touché.

Quoting TV shows and my favorite movies, I was pretty much unstoppable. Especially if I found the one-liners entertaining and able to improv from. To those who knew me best.. I was the "funny girl."

Twenty years later, I'm still the first one to "go there," sometimes regardless of whether or not the situation is appropriate. After all, life is too short to not spend every minute loving it. And if science is right, I'llsave a ton of money in the future on Botox the more time I spend in stitches now. I was the type of girl who found the humor in even the most serious and inappropriate of situations. Whether with a quirky one liner, or a misplaced metaphor, I'd find ways to make the people around me smile. It was just my way of life.

Then about a year or so ago, I dated a guy in the industry who had an issue with funny women, particularly me. He didn't understand how women could possibly be as entertaining as men, or think they could get as many laughs. He’d criticize my sense of humor and quick wit til no end, all the while telling me.. “Don’t to take it personally.. Girls just aren’t funny.” He’d say I was an "easy laugh," which I found fairly ironic coming from a dude who made his living making fart jokes, song parodies about erectile dysfunctions, and making his poor producer (and my roommate) the ass of his social science experiments. In all honesty, I didn't find his humor as genuine or funny as others, simply because he was never willing to be the ass of his own jokes. Then one day, I overheard a line on the radio that sounded vaguely familiar as the voices around it burst into absolute hysterics.

That bastard had stolen my line. Apparently, I was dating Carlos Mencia.

People all the time cringe when they hear there is a female stand up comedian in the line up. That's total bull$hit. Not all girls tell menopause, “I'm fat,” and baby jokes. No… we tell boob jokes too. We aren’t all brutish, or unattractive either. The more successful female comedians are the ones that are willing to break societal rules and skirt the edges of political correctness. Unfortunately for me, people take my sense of humor as lack of personal awareness in social situations. In which case I say to them.. Lighten the @#$! up. So many women are afraid to go "there," that only a select few will tread the fine line of indecency.

But the thing about comedy no one seems to understand.. particularly women, is.. comedy is ugly. You can't be afraid to be the ass of a joke, whether you're the one telling it or are on the receiving end. I'm a big fan of self deprecation, it keeps you humble. After all, if you can't laugh at yourself, how are the rest of us supposed to without looking like huge a$$holes?

Some people argue that women aren’t funny because they don’t have to be. For men, being funny is ingrained in their evolutionary process. Simply put, men HAVE to be funny. Especially the ones that are less than good looking. Sad, but true. Men have to be funny, to get the girl. Girls simply have to have a sense of humor, to match the guys. So a girl.. with her own sense of humor, her own well of laugh material. Well those girls, are just special I guess.

My main point of contention with the ex was that women and men had different senses of humor. Its just how were wired. Don't get me wrong, I love bathroom humor and will chuckle at a stupid fart joke, but at some point you've gotta get newer more mature material if you want to keep them rolling in the aisles.

What makes a person truly funny is people’s ability to relate to them and the situations they face. They're called sitcoms for a reason. You have to be able to tell a story where your audience will say.. Damn, that's definitely happened to me before. The days of slipping on banana peels has long come and gone. Even living in a city like Manhattan, where every day is arguably a driver’s test road course where anything can and will happen… I dunno that I've ever run across THAT scenario. Ever.

Now you want to talk about sitting on the toilet to do an embarrassing deed and realizing mid-act there's no toilet paper? Now, that's eff my life material. It’s gotta be something we've experienced. Humiliation is best when it’s shared with everyone else. It’s what makes us human.

In order to be a funny girl, you have to be willing to strip away your inhibitions, your looks, and your dignity. Lucille Ball may not have been an absolute sex symbol, but boy could she make us laugh. The reason the country fell in love with Jessica Simpson wasn't for her singing as much as it was her lovable goofy nature and the fact she was willing to reveal her shortcomings and embrace them. At the end of the day, no one cared if it was chicken or fish, because she wasn't afraid to put it all out there for MTV’s cameras.

While it may have cost her her marriage, it endeared her in the hearts of a nation of viewers. Women like Tina Fey and Anna Farris have forged into new territory where women can get just as many laughs as men, as long as they commit to the cause. And as for the brilliance of Judd Apatow style comedy… well, it just proves behind every funny man, is a funnier woman. Just ask his wife and star of Funny People, Leslie Mann. These are the women I love. I love their comedic ugliness, their “go there spirit,” but most of all.. I love their brutal honesty.

To be funny, you have to take chances. You have to not worry about failures, but most of all, you have to be yourself. Bare your soul in its entirety, even the parts that are just downright awkward and disgusting. My life hasn't been all rainbows and kittens, but it has been a wildly entertaining, and fun ride. I often say that my life is one sick joke after another, often starring me in one less than favorable situation after another. Where anyone watching would cringe, yet empathize, because well, we've all been there at one point or another. That's why I don't mind sharing my embarrassments, my triumphs, my laughs and defeats with you all. I'm only human. Sure I've made my fair share of mistakes and goofs, but that's what makes my stories endearing to people I've never met. Besides, who wants to be perfect anyway? Perfect is so ugly. I'm the kinda girl that gets the hiccups at least once a day from laughing. The type of girl who loves a good bathroom scene in a movie, and won't lie I've probably had more than one in real life. (Sorry to ruin the illusion, but girls poop. Were just far more discreet about it.) I'm the kinda girl who stumbles on her own two feet and nothing else. I wear my sunglasses into the club, not because I'm cool, but to mock the a$$holes arrogant enough to think they are. I don't hesitate to laugh when a guy gets punched in the nuts, but that's only because I don't own a pair. I'm guilty of loving a little schaudenfeude, but only because I expect my misfortunes to bring others a tad bit of comic relief every now and then.
Even in our darkest days, there's still always a reason to laugh. After all, it’s when people take life too seriously that they have trouble making it out alive. Girls can be funny too, and I just so happen to be one of them.

Knock, knock..

Just kidding.

This is the video of the skit I did at a recent 12 Angry Mascots:

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The F*ck-It List Part Three: The Hangover

In case you missed them:
The F*ck-It List Part One: Summer of Redesign
The F*ck-It List Part Deux: Baseball, Beer, and Blackouts

There is no mistaking that feeling you get after a night on the town and one too many adult beverages. The distinct dryness of your mouth that resonates down the back of your throat like you swallowed a mouth full of cinnamon. The red, puffy eyes that actually make you contemplate whether or not that stupid cucumber trick really works. The pounding sensation that you can only find in the frontal lobe of your head or a club of fist pumpers. Oh yeah, and the fact that if you breath just hard enough, you just might make the people around you blow a positive on a breathalyzer test. You may have had your fun last night, but now … not so much. Damn, I needed some Pedialyte, stat.

As I wandered from my hotel bed and made my way to the bathroom, I tripped over the explosion of girl products and clothing that happens any time two or more women share a living space. My hands fumbled through the darkness for the bathroom light and I braced myself for what the light would reveal. Squinting, I surveyed the bathroom half expecting to find Mike Tyson, a tiger, and a chicken looking back at me. I turned to the mirror at what was left of my night of randomness. My brilliant make up artistry had been reduced to something that looked like it had been created by a five year old. Yesterday’s perfect curls looked more along the lines of Russell Brand’s. And I’m pretty sure if you looked up Hell in the dictionary you’d be staring at my reflection.

After marveling at the results of the previous evening, I crawled back towards the bed. Alicia stirred in the second bed, and gave me the one-eye once over.

“Dude, you look like death.”

“You’re no Monet yourself whore,” I laughed. “Let’s go get breakfast.”

I threw on my brand new Sox hat and my favorite pair of Marc Jacobs, and the two of us proceeded to do the walk of shame down to the hotel lobby to find the nearest breakfast buffet. The upside to hangovers is your total lack of care as to what you ingest. I just kinda threw a little bit of everything on a plate, animal fats and all, and positioned myself on the bar stool next to Alicia. As the two of us sat there, trying our hardest to put some kind of actual nutrition into our bodies, and double fisting water glasses, a weird feeling of sadness began to creep over me. It must have crept across my face too, because it wasn’t long before Alicia noticed.

“Dude, Sterg… What’s wrong?.. “

“Honestly, I’m not sure. I mean, yesterday was probably the most fun I‘ve had in a long time. I got to explore a new city, with amazing friends, make new ones.. and maybe even found someone I am fairly intrigued by. But something just feels like its missing. You know what the problem with having fun is Alicia?? That feeling you get when you have to go back to the real world. It’s like coming off of an extreme high.. it's like…. A hangover. I won’t lie and say I remember everything that happened last night. Because in fact some of it is a downright blank. But, I get this pained feeling that I did something or said something stupid that’s going to.. “
My voice trailed off, as I looked down to find my phone flashing. One new message.

Ruh Roh.

The worst part of not remembering bits of your night is having people fill in the blanks for you, like a bizarrely messed up mad lib. And since my life follows in the grand form of Murphy’s Law, last night apparently had been no exception. I’ve always said that alcohol is one of the greatest tools man has when it comes to getting to know someone. It lowers inhibitions, loosens the mood.. but more so.. it’s a natural truth serum. As texts rolled in, pieces of last night began to fall into place. And the picture they were painting wasn’t pretty.

It wasn’t really a fight, so much as a giant misunderstanding and far too much of the sauce. He called bull$hit on a lot of things, but mainly on how I choose to sabotage any relationship I seem to run into. It’s not like it’s the first time I had heard this. But coming from someone I saw as my equal, someone who ‘got’ my situation, and got… “me” made it sting all the more. I suddenly remembered the tears rolling down my face. Not because of him or anything he had done, but because he was absolutely right. This has been a reoccurring theme in my life for some time now. It was the same movie over and over again, only my co-stars changed: The heroine in search for herself, her place in the world, and possibly someone to share that place with. Instead of a happy ending though, the credits always rolled on her finding herself all alone and still lost. It was one of those movies you sit and stare at a black screen for a few minutes to digest, before you scream out.. W.T.F. Who the hell directed this piece of crap?.. I was supposed to be the leading lady, the superhero in my own life. Instead of being the Supergirl I was, I was actually more like Rogue, where any relationship I touched turned to crap.

Maybe I had the definition of hangover completely wrong. Maybe a hangover is that sinking feeling you get, when you know that you’re making all the wrong moves now, based on experiences you’ve had before. Regardless of how far I’ve come in finding myself, I’m still too guarded and protected to really let anyone in. So I do the only thing I know how to do. I shut the world out. Maybe I had met my match in this guy. He seemed just as guarded and just as jaded as me. And now we had both slammed our doors on one another, but for some reason hadn’t walked away. We just stood there, each of us behind our doors, unsure of what to do next. We could stand there and continue the stand-off, or maybe take the chance and let each other in. So I did the only thing I knew how to do… I walked away.

I remember the hurt in his eyes, the confusion as I assumed the stance: hands in the pockets, head hung down so the brim of my hat would hide my shame and embarrassment. Jesus Jennifer. What the @#$% is wrong with you?!!?.. How do we always end up here?.. Was it really all bad timing, or the wrong guys, or some fatal flaw within myself??... I consider myself a pretty positive person, and I always try to find the good in the less than sunny situations. But what was I supposed to do now?.. What are you supposed to do if you like someone, but you can’t get forget your past experiences enough to make new ones? Or worse, what if the other person was in the same boat as you. The S.S. Misery had taken me and my romantic life on much more than a 3 hour tour, and damn it if I wasn’t sick of it.

Then, I came back to the list. Wasn’t that the whole point of this trip… to make new memories?.. Maybe that was why I had such selective memories from the previous night. Taking in the sights of the city from the top of the Prudential building, people watching at the Salty Dog, dancing in the streets with five year olds at an outdoor concert. How bout the thrill I got from the crack of the bat as I watched the ball fly over the Green Monstah for the very first time? Or the warm feeling you got when he took your hand in the street, like no one else was there? I didn’t want this story to end the same as the others. And maybe it still has a chance.

A few hours later, Alicia and I found ourselves in a cab back to Hoboken. Our stomachs were still pretty unsettled and our heads were still banging, and the cabby’s driving really wasn’t helping matters. As I held my head to the window for some fresh air, Alicia rummaged through her purse and presented me with her camera.

“Here,”’ she said. “I think you need to take a look at these.”

I scrolled through the pictures of our adventure that read like a story book. Two crazy girls, in a cab in the wee hours of the morning. Flying on the small shuttle plane, and making friends with anyone who would talk to us. The top of my drink at brunch. Ok, my stomach turned a little on that one. Us at the Sox game with Short Round in the background. Or swaying to Take Me Out to the Ballgame and Sweet Caroline. Then.. there they were:

Pictures of the Perfect Stranger and myself.

“Do you know what I see when I look at that?” asked Alicia. “I see a real smile. Not the phony ones you have to flash when you’re ‘on’ or out in the spotlight, or the game face you put on to make sure no one knows when you’re really hurting. I see real happiness. Something I haven’t seen from you in a while. You just have to quit being such an @$$hole and start letting people in. You gave our friendship a chance, doesn’t this guy deserve the same from you?”

Sure enough, she was right. The smile was the most genuine honest smile I have seen on my face in a long time. It wasn’t a picture that I posed for, it was two people enjoying each others company. In that one moment, I saw what the rest of the world saw.

Sometimes we can’t explain why God brings certain people into our lives. We can’t explain or predict the timing, because everything really does happen for a reason. If we never had our hearts broken, never got lied to, never experienced pain, how would we ever know what it was like to be alive?.. Maybe sometimes life has to be a little ugly so we can truly appreciate how beautiful it can be. For Alicia and I, the list was the sign of a new beginning, a chance to do things right the second time around. Alicia had not only reinvented Boston, and Fenway, but she even rewired the way she felt about the Wingman’s real name. It was no longer a name that brought back pain and all those times of disappointment. It was a name that made you almost laugh out loud at his lovable antics and sense of humor. In short, it was a great start in the Summer of Redesign. And even I had been won over by the Wingman and his overtures. Maybe sometimes all you really need in life is a second chance. If I was willing to give cities, and places, and people second chances, who is to say I wouldn’t have a second chance at whatever this was with the Stranger?..

Alicia and I parted ways as we came out of the PATH tunnel, and I headed back to my place. Ah, home swoot home. For now anyway. I dropped my bags in the kitchen, and poured myself a big glass of water. My hangover was still in full effect, not so much from drinking, but from the sense that my fun-filled weekend was over. Looking back though, I really had made some amazing memories with equally amazing people. And just because I wasn’t in Boston, and they weren’t here, didn’t mean that the good times had to end. “Fun” really is kinda like a hangover, you just have to have to keep drinking up those wonderful moments that life hands you so you don’t forget those times when they can’t be there. As they say, the best cure for a hangover is hair of the dog. Maybe life is no different.

In which case I say… I’ll drink to that.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The F*ck-It List Part Deux: Baseball, Beer, and Blackouts

In case you missed it:
The F*ck-It List Part One: Summer of Redesign

Like two kids who were going to Disney for the very first time, Alicia and I barely slept. In fact, we met up so early that I think we even beat the Dunkin Donuts guy to work. One train and two cab rides later (it’s a long story…) we ended up at LaGuardia’s Shuttle Terminal. By all appearances, the terminal was in need of some major updates and didn’t exactly instill a sense of confidence in their flying abilities. In fact, I was beginning to have flash backs of that South Park episode when they’re flying to Canada to get Ike back. Regardless, we boarded our plane and an hour or so later, we touched down in Boston.

By ten thirty, Alicia and I were out in our weekend best, and ready to take on the city of Boston. Earlier in the day we had begun a scavenger hunt of things we wanted to do or take pictures of while we were in the city. You know - a group of sailors (that I’m pretty sure spoke zero English), a Yankees fan brave enough to wear their colors in rival territory, and a midget. If he’s foreign, we got bonus points. We accomplished half of it even before we reached Faneuil Hall, where we parked ourselves on some prime people watching seats at the Salty Dog. I ordered my usual water and Chicken meal, to which Alicia snubbed her nose at.

“Sterg, come on. You’re on vacation. Live a little.”

She was right. For those of you that don’t know me on a personal level and from what you read in my blogs, I maybe drink once a month. And when I do, I’m like a kid at Guitar Hero; I achieve straight rock-star status. I just try to do all things in moderation. That, and I’ve honestly been too busy to deal with the repercussions that come with a long night out. But Alicia did have a point, I was on a quasi-vacation, and in the city of Boston no less. To not have a drink it seems would be almost sacrilegious. And so we ordered up the first of many rounds of the day. This would not end well.

Alicia handed me her fork from across the table with some odd smelling breaded substance on it.
“What the hell is that?”

“Just eat it .. you’ll like it.”

“Right, that’s what he said. No way dude, that looks like fish. I don’t do fish. You know what I say, if it lives in the sea, it ain’t for me.”

“First of all it’s not a fish. It’s a Mollusk. Two… Come on, honestly. You’re not eight years old anymore; you can’t snub your nose at the finer things in life just because they might have a little seafood in them.”

I grimaced, but took her fork from her just in an effort to shut her up. I closed my eyes, took the bite, and marinated on it for a second. I then swallowed it as fast as humanly possible before opening my eyes. Much to my surprise, I was still alive. I had just tried clam “whatever the hell it was.” Now where was that barf bag?

About midway through lunch, I looked down to find my phone flashing with a New Message. I guess this is the part where I should probably fess up: I was meeting up with the Perfect Stranger. Yep, remember him from about two months ago? Well, as tough as our schedules are to coordinate, he had somehow ended up in Boston for the weekend, and my shoots had been postponed. So I figured… “What the hell, we’re only young once right?? Road trip.” (It also didn’t hurt that I had business in the area to tend to either, but we will skip that part for the sake of not ruining the party.)

The Stranger wouldn't be alone. We had each brought along our own teammates to keep things fair and less awkward. He brought along his best buddy, the Wingman, whom I had explained to Alicia was quite man-pretty, but had one giant flaw: He had the same name as her ex that had sent us on this journey in the first place. Besides that, if you want the real truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth? The Wingman and I had met on less than great terms, mainly because he hadn't been too fond of some of my business associates, and the feeling had definitely been mutual.

When we stepped off the elevator at the top of the Prudential Center, there stood the Stranger, flanked by the Wingman, and several others. I didn't know the rest of the group, but the introductions certainly didn't take long. In fact, they welcomed us to their group with open arms. I found out one was a native Bostonian, and in charge of planning the day’s festivities for the group. And the other, a retired soccer player, who was still built like an ox even though his playing days had ended.

The entire group was hysterically funny, except for the Stranger who would interject every now and then, but more so just seemed to be taking in the situation and watching the interactions around him. Much to my surprise, it was the Wingman who impressed me and dare I say grew on me during our afternoon festivities. How on earth was this the same guy I met two months ago with his buddy in Indy?.. Sure, there had been plenty of alcohol flowing that weekend (on his end not mine), and he didn’t know me from Adam, but this time he was a whole different person. Now that he knew I was one of them, I saw him in an entirely new light. He was funny, charming, and surprisingly considerate. How on earth had I gotten such a bad vibe our first meeting? I felt like such a fool for having such awful impressions of him. Even better, he and Alicia seemed to really be having a blast too.

As we parted from our afternoon of sight-seeing and drinks, the boys headed off to go shopping, while Alicia and I retreated for a power nap. As usual, it looked like Alicia and I weren’t even the ladies of the group. The plans were to meet up sometime around 6pm and head over to Fenway. I was beyond ecstatic. Ever since I was little it seems, my Dad had always made it a point to take me a ball game when we were out of town, on vacation, on work, whatever. In the past few years especially, it has definitely become one of our bonding rituals. I had seen the ivy on the outfield fence at Wrigley, and Monument Park of the old Yankees, but I had never seen the Green Monster live and in person. So to say I was a little giddy would have been an understatement.

Of course, I still had my poker face on as we walked the last few blocks to the stadium. I’m a big proponent of having to act like I have “been there,” but sometimes I just can’t help it. Moving through the sea of Sox fans, we stopped along the way so the Stranger could buy a hat. The two of us perused through their selection before he finally settled on his choice. Then he turned to me.

“Yeah, you definitely need a hat too. Which one are we getting?..”

Really?.. The stranger was going to buy me a hat?.. As dumb as it seems, I am not really the type of girl to want or ask for much. I’ve just always been a huge fan of the “little things.” So often guys will make these huge grand gestures to win girls affections, when in reality most of us would just be happy to know you were thinking about us for a split second out of your day. I guess that’s because in my ripe old age I’ve discovered that sometimes it’s the little things that people do for one another that seem to really mean the most. Maybe that, or I’m just a huge romantic sucker. Regardless, I guess the Stranger was right. The natives here were awfully restless and I was about to step foot in their house, so I had to do my best to dress the part and blend in. I found an old vintage beat up hat that was just my size, and put it on over my loose curls and sunglasses. I looked up to the Stranger for approval to which he nodded. I’ve always loved how I looked in baseball hats (maybe because they camouflage the “five head” I sport nicely) which is why I wear one pretty much a daily basis. Now, I was dressed and ready for action.

The six of us made it down to our seats: Not too high, not too low… and unfortunately very close to the nearest beer stand. The Stranger and I ended up sitting next to one another, while Alicia and the Wingman ended up on the end of the row. I often bitch about being short and the fact it forces me to wear shoes that would make even the Spice Girls shake their heads, but being pocket-sized does sometimes have its advantages. And in old stadiums like Fenway, the advantage became completely obvious. Alicia and I seemed to be the only ones who didn’t have problems fitting into our seats. The guys on the other hand looked like Arnold Schwarzenegger sitting down in a plastic chair for show & tell in Kindergarten Cop. So, having the clear advantage, I scooted over best I could and gave up my leg room.

Throughout the game, the Stranger and I would bump knees and such the way two kids on a playground would harass one another. I know, we’re real mature. We’d sing along to the songs on the loudspeakers, and even befriended the guy sitting in the row next to us, who eerily resembled the kid Short Round from the Indiana Jones movie. It wasn’t until the 4th inning or so that things turned a little serious.

“Just curious.. but why do you blog so much?” he asked. “I mean, isn’t it a little weird putting it all out there for people. I mean, I kinda prefer my privacy. Especially when it comes to dating.”

“I dunno, I’ve been doing it since I was in college. People were like, she always writes about sports. She loves sports; she must be the perfect girl. So why is she still single?.. So one day, I decided to open up and write about some things that were going on in my personal life, and people seemed to really relate. I feel like if I give people a glimpse into what I am really feeling and seeing.. and what my life is really like.. not all push up bras and cowboy hats, maybe people will get to see the real me and not be so quick to pass judgment. Besides I never out the people I am talking about. I write the story as it happened, or as much as I can, while keeping the people I care about safe, regardless of my standing with them.”

“That’s true but.. it's just.. Jenn, I think you’re an amazing girl.. you have so much depth but no one gets to see it because you’re so guarded and worried about everyone having preconceived notions of you.”

“Yeah, I guess,” I said as I tilted down the brim of my hat and stared out into the eyes of the monster. “I’ve just always thought that if people are going to go around talking crap, I might as well make sure the truth is out there at there if they want it. Plus, I’m just.. I’ve just never been the type that was good with words. When given the opportunity to say something brilliant whether at work or to a guy I like.. nine times out of ten I will probably put my foot in my mouth. That’s why I write: there is always a backspace key, a second chance.. hell.. as many chances as I want to get it right. Besides, blogging is my therapy. If more people put down their thoughts on paper, psychologists would probably be out of work.”

Just then, the crack of the bat brought the two of us back to our reality. We jumped from our seats, just in time to watch David Ortiz’s ball sail into the depths of the outfield, and over the Green Monster. The crowd erupted with applause and cheering as our row did our own victory dance, with high fives all around. I’m pretty sure I even gave Shorty one too. The rest of the game went by rather slowly, because at this point we had two games going on: the one on the field, and musical chairs for bathrooms and beer. We stayed until just after the 7th inning stretch or so. Long enough to sway to take me out to the ball game and of course some Sweet Caroline. Bah.. Bah.. Bah..

As we walked down the ramps and exited Fenway, Perfect Stranger grabbed my arm to steady me in my four inch heels. But when we got to the bottom something weird happened.. He didn't let go. Walking through the streets, through a sea of curious onlookers, where some guys would have retracted, he didn't. I looked down, and PS's hand was in mine. I really couldn't help but smile.

Most of us hadn't eaten since noon, and were starved to say the least. Me on the other hand? Not so much. Still, we ended up at a restaurant, seated around a giant circular table. The guys had me in absolute stitches as they did things with breadsticks that would make the girlier kind of girls blush. But not Alicia and me. Instead we dove right down into the gutter with them, until we were practically falling out of the booth in laughter. Maybe it was the ballpark beer, or perhaps those wonderful butterflies I hadn't felt in so long, but the food as delicious as it appeared really had no appeal to me. So I really just sat and drank and reveled in the great company. This was probably the fatal error of my evening.

And then the screen went to black.

(End Transmission)

Monday, July 13, 2009

The F*ck-It List: Summer of Redesign

Meeting good people in a city like New York is like winning the jackpot. You encounter so many people on a daily basis from different walks of life that finding a kindred spirit is often a daunting task. I had been spending most of my time either on set or in meetings, so I really didn't have time to notice how dismal my social life had become in recent months. The only people I had had any contact with were the ones I had been working with, and I've recently become a big proponent of not crapping where I eat. It had been months since I'd been home, or seen my cat who I sent home before my last excursion to LA, and the loneliness was really starting to set in. Then one night, on an errand to the tanning place, I met Alicia.

Alicia was in her mid-twenties and worked days at a local hospital. She only worked at the tanning salon as a favor to her friends that happened to own place (that.. and meet people in an environment that didn’t involve alcohol). That night while I was waiting for my airbrushing session, we both found ourselves engrossed in an NBA game on the lobby’s television. It wasn't until a ref made a lousy call for which she expressed her severe disdain with a certain hand gesture, that I realized this girl was a legitimate fan. The two of us got to talking and realized we had tons in common. We were both Florida transplants that came to New York for work and love, the latter part not working out so well. We’d crack jokes about our NYC dating horror stories and the random guys that would come into the tanning salon just to try to score a date with her. Soon my 10 minute spray tan appointments became full blown gossip sessions. And a friendship was born.

Alicia and I were sitting around at brunch one afternoon when we realized that before we’d met one another, we had been living the exact same story in the exact same town. We were two smart, marginally attractive girls who let their lives go to $hit over boys who cheated on us with simple girls. I think everyone has had the experience of breaking up with someone and drastically changing their outside appearance. After Alicia’s most recent, and probably the most devastating of breakups, she lost 10 pounds, stopped tanning, and without a second thought cut her gorgeous blonde hair to her shoulders and dyed it black! Waking up the next morning looking like a combination of Snow White and Kate Moss on heroin somehow still didn't make her feel any better.

Recently turned blonde again, Alicia is still figuring out life. Like me, all the self exploration and internal sole searching she’d been doing left her doubting herself. So she started allowing friends hook her up. That disaster ended with a huge realization that she didn’t have any idea what she wanted. She doesn't have a type. We are supposed to get more insight and intelligence with life and all its experiences. But the truth is we know less about ourselves now than we did when we were 18.

Walking down the street after a gluttonous meal, we realized that we both had come to hate this town simply because there were too many bad memories here. That particular day however, the weather was beautiful, not a cloud in the sky, and all of Hoboken was out at the parks and walking their dogs in the fresh air. In short, it was the perfect day.

"You know," I said, "Some days.. I think this town is almost livable."

We both stopped dead in our tracks.

Alicia turned to me, and said, "I was just thinking the same thing. There were days where I would lay and bed and want to wake up when it’s over. And then.. one day you start meeting good people and you think.. maybe, just maybe I could make it here."

So we decided right then in there that we were going to reinvent this town, and do over the past few years of our lives. We'd make lists of all the things we have to do to get rid of the old crappy memories and make newer, funnier, and better ones. We coined it our “f*ck it” lists.

We’d each make lists of five places that we wanted to redo. We'd go to these places with the new awesome people in our lives; take lots of pictures, hell maybe even video. and erase the times we had spent with people who had caused us enormous amounts of pain.

The concept of the f*ckit list really had nothing to do with boys. It was really about two girls living very similarly unfulfilling lives that came to find kinship with one another and decided to take matters into their own hands. You can only be victims of circumstance for so long before you decide to be proactive and do something about it.

So thus began the summer of re-design! The first thing we needed to do was decide on locations! See it's not about the building or that particular night, but the person you were with who disappointed you so greatly in the end that the mere thought of the place left such a rancid taste in your mouth! So when I got the call from a friend that he would be in Boston this past weekend, I couldn’t resist. Besides, Boston and I had never formally met and I had always wanted to go to Fenway Park. But for Alicia, Boston was a ghost town of bad memories and was definitely one of the top priorities on her list. And like that, the two of us packed our bags, and began the first of our many adventures to come.

After all, as Henry Miller once said, “One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things." And that is exactly what we needed.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Training Camp

I couldn't believe I was actually going on a blind date. Is this what my social life had come to? Going to meet up with virtually a perfect stranger? Ok, so it wasn't a totally blind date as we had met once before and exchanged a few texts here and there, but my general knowledge of the guy was pretty vague. He came with a decent amount of references through mutual acquaintances of ours, but some part of me still remained skeptical. You can’t believe everything you here, and people wear different “hats” when it comes to the way they behave around friends versus potential romantic interest. And how much can you really gauge someone during a first date anyway? After all, first dates are kinda like training camp: both parties bust their ass to prove they're better than the rest, survive the cuts, hope they fit the system and live to see another date.

So I went into this meeting like I would the trenches, preparing for every scenario possible. I even brought a deck of cards along, just in case his company completely sucked.
While I generally find random dates to be complete disasters in the making, one shouldn't discount their usefulness. They may not be Mr. Right but they were definitely good practice in case I happened to run into him at some point. It had been months since I had been on a date, so I had nearly forgotten how I was supposed to act on one.

Snaring a boy had not been an issue for me since my sophomore year of college. While I’m not the type to just hook up, I’m a shameless flirt, and take pride in my ability to work a room, and catch whomever’s attention it is that I'm seeking without being overly obnoxious or fake. In short, I just pride myself in being personable and genuine. It’s what happens next that always throws me for a loop. As it turns out, I’m the Terrell Owens of dating. I was more likely to bobble, or drop the pass than I was to catch it. I remember one first date that began with the tail of my dress getting caught in his car door, and ending in sheer embarrassment. Or another time, when I brought dinner over to a guy’s place. I had laid out this amazing spread from one of my favorite restaurants, “717” to surprise him. Then, my usual klutzy self attempted to sexily lean on the edge of the table. Turns out my lean was more Fat Joe than it was sexy. I soon discovered the importance of using all the screws in the IKEA box, and that the top of his table wasn't properly secured to the legs. The entire spread of food came crashing into my ass and all over his floor. Or there was the time I ate it on a slick floor in a pair of 4 in heels I had insisted on wearing, in front of an entire restaurant full of people. And in perhaps my worst scenario, I knocked the specials menu into an open flame at the table sending it into a small inferno before my date’s very eyes. He must have still found my Julia Robertsesque dinner manners endearing though, because I still got a second date. Needless to say, when it came to actually carrying out the deeds of dating, the perfect pass catch was usually just beyond my fingertips.

But then there were those beautiful moments, those one handed grabs right in the far corner of the end zone that remind me why I still play this game in the first place.

I spent what seemed like an entire week planning the perfectly crafted date. A cool place for dinner, a fun social event for afterwards (no not that you perverts), and an appropriate yet stunning outfit to match. My typical fashion ensemble consisted of a ball cap blue jeans and a beat up pair of cowboy boots. But thanks to the help of my manager Phil and my newly appointed stylist, Orly Shani, I was beginning to look more like a grown up, and less like one of those porn styled Abercrombie and Fitch catalogs.

So I had the outfit, the plans, now all I needed was a date. But apparently JetBlue had other plans. To prove my life is the true definition of Murphy’s Law, my date’s flight never left its gate. All flights.. Cancelled. Which left me all dressed up with no date “to go.” (Thanks a lot JetScrew.)

The funny thing is.. I really wasn't even mad. Sure, I had wasted a perfectly good outfit, had to cancel reservations, and had spent hours getting dolled up. At least, I still had an amazing time out with good people I’ve come to call my “New York family.” Somehow all that effort still seemed worth it. Maybe because for the first time, I felt great about myself and nothing else. I had spent so much time worrying about fitting into someone else’s system, and “making the cut” that I forgot that I was still a pretty awesome commodity myself. So me and my previous “Tony Romos” hadn’t meshed well. So what?.. Maybe I had just been playing for the wrong team (and not like that). Certainly, there has to be someone, somewhere looking for the talent and everything else I have to offer, that is willing to have me come workout, and give me a chance to prove myself. Hopefully for the sake of this Florida girl it’s not Buffalo.

The point is I had “suited up” and met my challenge head on. And that was really all that mattered. So maybe my game got called on account of weather? Who's to say we couldn't reschedule for another day? At least I knew I was ready for whatever this crazy dating game would throw at me. That’s what dating is for anyway… PRACTICE. After all, practice is everything. It may not make perfect, but it definitely works out the kinks. Who knows? Maybe I would find a team worthy enough to call my own. Besides, its only July and we’ve got a long season ahead of us. No excuses. Play like a champion today.

Oh, and I bet you're wondering if I ever got that date?? Well, some things are just better left a mystery.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Introducing Cherry Bomb

Admin Update: Introducing Cherry Bomb

Cherry Bomb is sexy, smart, confident, and above all, extremely motivated. Director Kyle Day and writer Garrett Hargrove didn’t just want an actress that could play the part, they needed an actress that actually embodies those qualities that define Cherry. She needs to be a woman that stands out in a crowd of thousands… and then kick everyone’s ass if necessary. We found just that kind of sweetheart…..

Jenn Sterger stood out in a sea of 50,000 people at an FSU game, and once she made her first impression on the world, she has not slowed down. Voted by E! as one of the 20 hottest women on the web, a talented writer for Sports Illustrated, featured in Maxim magazine, and with a huge online following, Jenn is one badass woman that now is taking on feature films with that same tenacity that made her a success in every other arena. With two pictures already under her belt, she gave us an audition that showed an incredible range of character and it left no doubt in our minds that Jenn Sterger is the woman capable of taking Cherry along her wild journey.

Cherry Bomb logline:
Its 1984. An exotic dancer named Cherry has just watched the five men who assaulted her walk free with the help of a corrupt police force. Seeing no justice coming from within the system Cherry enlists the help of her brother and they take the law into their own hands and seek justice on their own terms… one bullet at a time. But with a professional hitman after them and the police closing in, Cherry is forced to put herself and her loved ones in harm’s way to satisfy her need for revenge and her desire to end the corruption that is plaguing the city.

Cherry Bomb

Thursday, July 02, 2009

“Well .. What does THAT mean?”

It was a Sunday brunch not too long ago, where a few of my girlfriends and I sat around trying to decode a five word text from a boy, as if we were the archaeologists who had just discovered hieroglyphics weren't intricate finger paintings. I mean, it was a simple five word text: “I had a great time.”

“It means what it says it means,” said Stuart, our brutally honest window into the not so pretty world that is the male psyche. “Why are you women always reading into things?”

“But that is so generic. I mean, he could just be being polite,” my girlfriend countered.

“Hmmm. I don’t think so.”

“How do you know he’s interested?”

“Oh.. He's interested.”

“How can you tell? Because if he wasn't he just wouldn't text you back anything.”

Stuart was right. Here we were three intelligent girls, sitting around, reading texts that were written at a first grade reading level, and we could barely comprehend their collective meaning. The guy might as well have written her in wingdings.

With all the different means of communication we have available to us, why is the gap between men and women getting seemingly larger?... Cell phone companies pride themselves on fave five plans and unlimited texting, (and my ultimate vice of Blackberry Messenger--BBM), but really humans are doing far less effective communicating, and only adding a lot more confusion to an already baffling dating world.

I too am absolutely guilty of using technology as a crutch, mainly because… I hate talking on the phone. It’s a well documented fact I have awful phone etiquette. It’s nothing I do on purpose, and I actually am quite embarrassed by it. Maybe it’s my ADD, or my inability to multitask while having a conversation—I tired chewing gum once, big mistake.. huge. It’s certainly become a huge issue when it comes to conference calls, too. My usually dynamic personality is reduced to single syllables, some of which aren’t even in the English dictionary. “Mmm-Hmm mmm-hmm. Ok. Goodbye.” 2 years of public speaking classes, down the drain.

And don’t get me even started on voicemails. I leave voicemails like John Favreau in Swingers, progressively more awkward, and not sure how to end the one sided conversation I have ended up having. And that is sober. Throw in some a night at the pub with my buddies and transient Southern accent, and you’ll swear Daisy Duke is drunk dialing you from knee deep in Uncle Jesse’s moonshine stash.

Sometime during the 9th grade, I believe I discovered texting, and my parents discovered unlimited texting plans. SMS Texting was such a brilliant idea. It eliminated the need for the awkward phone call, it made sending stupid number codes through pagers obsolete, and it killed time during those brutally long hours of Mr. Stookey’s Physics class. With texting, I was unstoppable. I was poetic, I was composed. I was less of a bumbling idiot, and that really seemed to help me with the boys.

One night, Alicia and I found ourselves eavesdropping on the group of guys’ conversation at the table next to us. They were debating whether or not to drunk text these girls they had met earlier that night, and strategizing what to say.

"Put a winky face dude. Chicks love the winky face."
(The male brain ladies and gentlemen.. Hard at work.)

REALLLLLLLLLY guys?? Were we women really that easy to figure out? I laughed at their rationalizations and returned to my plate of syrup drenched pancakes. Ah. Boys. Alicia and I knew a few boys like this. One in particular with an affinity for the internet slang term “LOL.” His use of the word while texting was beyond incessant and the greater majority of the time was completely inappropriate. We’re not even sure he knew what LOL even meant.

“Hey what's up? Lol.”
“Just got fired form my job. Lol.”
“Dropped a weight on my foot at the gym. Lol.”

To which, I say, “No sweetie, that’s not LOL, that’s FML. “

Besides that, men text like they are being charged by the letter while women text like they're trying to win a Pulitzer. I asked my guy friends why this was. They explained they text for basic functions in life, to get to the WHO, WHAT, WHEN, and WHERE. They don’t need details or cute little stories. If you have them, just pick up the freakin' phone. Which brings me back to our original conversation and the five word text. Women are always looking for answers, hidden meanings to things guys text. We can’t help it; It’s how our brains are programmed. Guys are much more willing to accept things at face value. If you say you’re cool, you’re cool. There’s no tone or body language to set off alarms otherwise, so why worry about what you might have meant. Maybe that’s why sometimes men just don't grasp a woman’s constant excuses as to why they can't hang out, no matter how ludicrous they may seem are really just the girl’s way of saying.. I'm just not interested.

And the worst part of texting?.. There is no UNSEND button. You may spend twenty minutes crafting that response to the date of your dreams, hit send... then realize. Damn. That was quite possibility the dumbest text ever transmitted. But it’s gone. There’s no turning back. You have to just pray the person on the receiving end of it has a sense of humor, or doesn’t mistake you for some wacko. This also applies to drunk texting. See www.textsfromlastnight.com.

I think when it comes to communication; nothing beats a “face to face.” Maybe that's why we should all just cut through the BS, look each other in the eye whenever possible. “I like you, you like me.” It’s really as simple as that. Besides, it’s so much easier to read the other person when they're standing right in front of you. Heck, with Skype, even long distance face to face is completely possible. (Men are visual creatures anyway.) You can see the person, you can see them react, their mannerisms, and just as importantly, they can better read you. Body language however primitive is still probably the most telling form of communication. Hell, if cavemen could figure out this whole mating thing, surely there must be hope for modern civilization yet.
If we can learn anything from the technology at our hands, it’s that nothing still beats a real meeting of minds. That way there’s no second guessing, no misinterpreting, and no awkward pauses. None of this.. “well, what does he mean by that?” Because if he is standing right in front of you, odds are you know the answer already.

And if you still insist on texting, remember one thing…

Chicks dig the winky face. ; )