hey pretty

Ceci n'est pas une "dating blog."

Friday, March 30, 2007

With My Hand Covering My Eyes, I Peer Through My Fingers at the Inevitable Train Wreck

I've developed a habit in recent months of hating on Zach Braff. I will admit that this is not by any means an original hobby. The Onion's A/V Club published a lovely missive not long ago entitled Awful Things Zach Braff is (Probably) Responsible For. Once upon a time, I had no issue with ZB. I enjoyed the occasional episode of Scrubs and thought that Garden State was an okay, although extremely overrated movie. I even thought he was cute.

The turning point occurred when I foolishly watched The Last Kiss on DVD a few months ago. It's my own damn fault, I readily admit it. Five minutes into the picture I decided I hated it, yet stubbornly sat through the entire thing just so I could see exactly how much and why it was so extremely awful. I came up with many reasons, the list of which is far too long to share so I will just state its worst offense: ZB's character acts like a complete dick and in the end, gets away with it. I'm not talking oh, he fucked up, but hey, live and learn. I'm talking, he behaves like a pretentious, pampered, immature, myopic, greedy little shit the entire time and we're all supposed to forgive him in the end because he realizes his mistakes. That, and his nose really bothers me.

I know. It was a movie, not real life. The real ZB would never commit such heinous offenses. I also realize that it's bad to cast judgments on people based on their noses, over which they surely have no control. But still, you have to consider the fact that ZB took that role, so you have to wonder what he thought of the character. In my opinion that character should never have existed at all, let alone be brought to life on the silver screen. It's simply a horrid example of 30-something middle class white guys at their absolute worst.

I also take issue with the fact that he clearly fancies himself an indie-rock taste maker, although many of the bands on the Garden State soundtrack sound a lot alike in their semi-twee naval gazing kind of way. Whenever I find myself with an urge to hear the Carey Brothers I instead ask myself what's wrong, and how can I extract myself from this current state? And while I like the Shins as much as the next person, I never thought that they'd change my life, and I really think that's an unfair statement to make about a band. I don't know. I wish ZB would diversify his music recommendations a bit.

This is all to say that I just stumbled upon this gem on musicslut and am now bracing myself for the inevitable train wreck to come. Please oh, please. Leave Elliot Smith alone.

In other news, I am most excited for the weekend. Among other fine and exciting plans, I get to drink my favorite Pinot Noir with two of my favorite women in DC tomorrow night. I am confident that ZB will not make an appearance. Although one never can be too sure.


Monday, March 26, 2007

My Oh My

I rolled into work this morning two hours late, with a hideous headache after one of the worst nights of sleep I have ever experienced. It was the sort of night where I'd doze off for an hour, wake up, think I hadn't slept at all, recall the completely fucked up dream I had just had, and fall back only to repeat this scenario five or so more times before my alarm clicked on at 7:00 am. I have a love-hate relationship with my snooze bar, and two hours later we were still engaged in trench warfare.

The problem had everything to do with my weekend and my ongoing struggle to appreciate the finer points of the concept "weekends are for unwinding." This weekend marked the first official one of spring. It seemed that everyone came out of the woodwork to play. My weekend was defined by an overflow of friends, love, creative ideas, new possibilities, things that I didn't think I wanted that now seem like an excellent idea, things I didn't think I could have before that are now attainable, clarifications regarding some ambiguous situations, things that seemed bad that I'm learning to accept, self determination, and again--new possibilities. Several gauntlets were thrown down. I didn't get to bed until 5:30 on Saturday night/Sunday morning. Laura Sessions Stepp would not be pleased with me.

Seeing me cross the atrium of our office, our IT Guy (a friend, and one of the most sarcastic individuals on the planet) smirked and said: Well, you're looking lovely this morning. Decked out in a thermal shirt I stole from a college roommate (my last clean shirt apart from my vintage Journey tee), pants a size too big, lesbian orthopedic clogs, wet hair and eyes ringed with black circles, I could practically smell the facetiousness dripping from his words. I rolled my eyes and told him to suck it.

Despite my ragged constitution, everything that transpired this weekend was 100% worth it. I mentioned before that everything seems to be in a constant state of transition. But I think I'm learning to roll with it and to understand how these changes could help me in the long run. I feel in part like I'm seated on top of shifting tectonic plates, taking me for a ride and at the same time steering a new course for myself. For far too long I had felt a little adrift and now things are starting to make a bit more sense.

I've done a couple of things in the past couple of weeks that I am truly proud of. For one, I came up with a new business development idea for my company that I am now working with my CEO to fast track into something that we can share with outside groups and launch as a real thing. Bizarre seeing as how I have always thought of myself as the smart, sarcastic underachiever. And also because I'm a writer and not a business development expert.

Secondly, I've done a really good job recently of evaluating the presence of certain individuals in my life and honestly assessing how they can best fit into my life in a manner that is productive for everyone involved. It's meant realizing the shortcomings of certain relationships and accepting that I can't mold everything into something it wasn't meant to be. It's been sad to let go of certain expectations I had for people, but it was time. And it has meant displaying a bit of bravery and communicating with people in ways that I am normally way too reserved to do. And from there, lovely new possibilities have presented themselves--my reward for being assertive and true to myself. I was remarking to a friend earlier today that life has gone from Liz Phair song to a Nick Hornsby novel, and that's a very good thing indeed.

Friday, March 23, 2007

An Equal and Opposite Reaction

Dear Women Who Are Bat-Shit Crazy,

Stop. You're ruining it for the rest of us.

Signed, only semi-bat-shit crazy.

Sometimes, the closest route between point A and point B is a straight line. So that's the route I've chosen to take. Sometimes, it is also better when you want something, to flat out ask for it. Although popular logic tells us to be coy, mask our feelings with well placed words, there comes a point and time when a girl just has to lay her cards on the table and tell a boy what's what. If they can't deal with it, then whatever to them.

And on a seperate note, the contents of the bag I carried into the office from 7-11 totally illustrates that today is Friday: Gatorade, Tab Energy drink, cigarettes and a turkey sandwich that I ate for breakfast. Because I had beer for dinner last night. Quite a lot of it.

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

It's All In the Mix

Mission accomplished! I completed my mix. There's this moment in the movie Pollack when somebody asks the artist how he knows when a piece of art is complete and he replies totally dead pan: How do you know when you've finished making love?

The same sentiment applies to making a good mix. This isn't to say I experienced quite the same decisive moment of completion, but there comes a moment when you know it's best not to mess with a good thing.

I have a problem with knowing how to order musical arrangements. In this case, I let iTunes do it for me. Alphebetical by artist. It works in its own odd little way.

Without further ado:

Oh, Uncooperative Heart: A Mix By Hey Pretty

Criminal-Fiona Apple
This Isn't It-Big Drag
Listen Up!-The Gossip
Boys On the Radio-Hole
You Are What You Love-Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins
Have You Ever Seen the Rain-Joan Jett
Good Man-Josh Ritter
Galaxies-Laura Veirs
Shame For You-Lily Allen
Strange Loop-Liz Phair
Can't Let Go-Lucinda Williams
Do It Again-Nada Surf
If You Knew-Neko Case
Falling Down-The Redwalls
Fidelity-Regina Spektor
Hot Night Crash-Sahara Hot Nights
Another Nail In My Heart-Squeeze
Sleep With You-Clare Quilty

This collection of songs is a little indicative of where I'm at these days regarding some stuff that's been kicking around in my brain. A few additional tunes were thrown in just cuz they spoke to me.

If by any weird, random chance, anyone wants a copy, toss an email my way and we'll work out a delivery mechanism. People who have my personal email, use it. Those who don't, talk to me at: hey_prettyblog@yahoo.com.

End note: Sorry for any spelling errors in this post. My Mac doesn't like the spell-check function on blogger. Yes, I know there's no excuse for a former English major/professional writer to have such atroshus spelling skills. We can't all be good at everything, can we?


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Calling All A/V Geeks

The following items are at my house: television, ibook laptop, good stereo speakers, subwoofer.

The following items, I lack: DVD player, receiver.

Is it possible, dear lovely A/V geeks, to use my ibook as a receiver so that all of those components could be tied together in one glorious system?

Barring that, is it possible to, at the very least, connect the speakers and subwoofer to the ibook?

Questions like this illustrate why I need a boyfriend. Men are good at resolving things like that. And they're useful for reaching items on far-up shelves.


Tuesday, March 20, 2007


You know how sometimes you really want to post, but you can't quite decide what to say--how much of yourself you may want to give to the semi-strangers who orbit your sphere of being on a day-to-day basis? That's kind of how I feel today. Wanting to say something, yet holding back just to avoid repeating the same sentiments I seem to spew forth on a regular basis. I think I'm feeling a little self-protective these days. Sometimes the process of reaching out is too exhausting and semi-scarring to maintain.

I will say this much: I worked on that darn novel a bit last night. It's no literary masterpiece, but it's a start. Snappy, sarcastic chick-lit, material culled from personal experience. It's quite a relief to see that my time in the underbelly of progressive politics has inspired some entertaining prose. Even my relationship with my old organization's temperamental copy machine has inspired a few witty paragraphs.

I'm also working on a mix. It's a bit melancholy and unformed. Here's what we got so far (in no particular order):

Clare Quilty--Sleep With You
Laura Viers--Galaxies
Giant Drag--This Isn't It
Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins--You Are What You Love
Hole--Boys on the Radio
Josh Ritter--Good Man
Lucinda Williams--Can't Let Go
Neko Case--If You Knew

Mostly I'm just supremely bored and unsettled. Do you ever have that feeling where everything just feels like it's in a permanent state of transition?

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Friday, March 16, 2007

The Sports Imbecile Does March Madness (Part 2)

And...we are off and running. Do you know what I am learning? That although sports imbeciles often, unwittingly, do very well in March Madness, they often don't do very well at all either. Alas, it seems that the pure fact of being clueless about college basketball does indeed mean that your brackets will bite the big one.

Teams I selected to do well that are now eliminated: Gonzaga, Penn, GW, Old Dominion, Stanford.

The good news: All of my final four teams remain in the game. At least for now.

While I am not in very last place in the office pool, I am pretty close to the bottom. I'm sure this fact is making my smug male coworkers as obnoxiously smirky as usual.

Tonight at happy hour, I will pour a 40 out for those five departed teams. Farewell Gonzaga, Penn, GW, Old Dominion and Stanford. I hardly knew ye. Quite literally, in fact.

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

New Blogging Rule?

Here's what I think: When blogging about dating, the amount of words one devotes to a particular person should be less than, or proportional to the amount of time/words/apparent energy that person devotes to you in real life.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Another Strike Against Outsourcing

I was already feeling tremendously grumpy today, so a half-an-hour on the phone with the geniuses at Capital One didn't help.

Due to some not particularly great spending habits in my 20's, I have found myself with a rather unpleasant credit card debt, and a really high interest rate on one of my cards. I'm using my Capital One card, which has a low APR as the card that I transfer my higher balance from the other card to. I do this once every couple of months and it's slowly helping me regain my erstwhile financial stability. And my sanity.

Until today.

It seems that Capital One has joined many of its contemporaries in corporate America in the outsourcing trend. Now, when I call to make a routine balance transfer, I chat very briefly with somebody in the midwest before being transfered via a very fuzzy connection to some lady in India.

Apart from the loss of American jobs that outsourcing represents, it is a major pain in the ass for me, the consumer. Why? Because the ladies who work the call center in India, no matter how nice they may be in real life, maintain only tenuous graps of English, the only language I happen to speak fluently. Call it poor foresite among the adminstrators at Amherst Regional High School, but I am not proficient in Assamese; Bengali; Gujarati; Hindi; Kannada; Kashmiri; Malayalam; Marathi; Oriya; Punjabi; Sindhi; Tamil; Telugu or Urdu. While my inability to parse words in any of these toungues is not normally a handicap in my daily routine, it represents a major disability when attempting to communicate with the customer service reps at Capital One.

Normally, I'm a pretty laid back kind of gal. I tend to find that being nice to customer service reps and not losing my cool is a better way of obtaining the high quality of service that I desire. But doing so is hard when the person on the other end of the phone is convinced you want to transfer money from your personal checking account to a credit card. Why I'd want to do that is beyond me, but after saying very firmly into the phone "No, it's a credit card account" about a dozen times we still weren't jiving. I finally asked to speak with her manager.

Although incredibly surly, her manager was ten times more efficient and more importantly, *proficient*, and I had the matter of my balance transfer ironed out in all of 45 seconds. But this was after 30 minutes of arguing (in my cubicle, co-workers listening--mostly my bad, yes). It should not have been this painful, especially since the knowlege that the experience is going to suck doesn't make me want to repeat it, and for the sake of my credit rating, I really need to. I told her this much, and in response she rattled off a three-minute long term of agreement that I then agreed to without really listening to. So I might have just sold my first born off to Bollywood but at least I'm feeling a bit better about my financial stability.

And to think that more Americans are unemployed because of this simply adds insult to injury.

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Monday, March 12, 2007

The Sports Imbecile Does March Madness, Part 1

Don't ask me why, but I just filled out March Madness brackets. I haven't entered a pool, nor do I want to. Every year I am asked by some sports-nut who sees March Madness pools as a chance to rob me (the sports imbecile) totally blind. I know what they say about clueless people generally having good luck when it comes to that kind of stuff. I don't buy it. But I was bored and saw that the NY Times has an interactive brackets thing on their website, so I spent a few minutes impulsively choosing teams (I used "the force") and before I knew it, my brackets were complete. At times I chose based on seeding, other times I chose based on a desire to route against a team loved by an especially vile ex, others were chosen based on the inevitability of a few random upsets. I have even selected a "Cinderella Story." Winthrop is going to charge past the mighty forces of Notre Dame and Miami of Ohio to make it to round 3.

For the finals, I selected Memphis to face Kansas. I know nothing of Kansas other than the fact that they're supposed to be really good. Memphis I chose for sentimental reasons. When I was in high school, John Calipari, Memphis' current coach, lead the Minuteman of the University of Massachusetts in several very successful seasons. I went to high school in Amherst, where UMASS is located. Even as a disaffected theatre geek, I appreciated the success of the Minutemen in those years. The excitement they inspired in our sleepy little college town, which usually only got excited by things like Free Tibet rallies, was contagious.

Calipari lived in my town, a tiny hamlet called Leverett, home to only 1200 people. I rode the school bus with his kids. Although I never had reason to meet Calipari, I felt like I knew him through proximity.

Nostalgia informs many peoples' affinities towards the sports teams the fill their hearts. Therefore, I have no qualms in selecting Memphis to take it all.

Besides, it's not like there's money riding on this.

Updated! I lied. I joined the office pool. Now the guys I work with will have yet another reason to laugh at me. But I don't care. Clueless women have a long glorious history of beating sports-obsessed guys when it comes to this stuff. And, I am realizing today that I suffering from some sort of temporary depression and need a good distraction from my sorrows. And, it will give me something entertaining to blog about besides my somewhat broken heart, which I'm sure you all are tired of hearing about.

Go Memphis!

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Friday, March 09, 2007

Good Stuff (for lack of a better title)

No sage words deconstructing alarming new marketing trends today, my pretties. But, just to roll around in the excessive self-obsessivness and myopia that is blogging in '07, I did get a nice shout out in the Express this morning. Thanks, Express. I heart you as well. I was also given a little sugar by Buzzfeed, which is sure to become a new addiction of mine. So, thanks to Buzzfeed for linking to me, because it taught me that you all exist and now I have a delicious new @ work distraction.

So back in December I met this boy from online for drinks. I liked chatting with him but got the distinct impression that he wasn't too keen on DC and decided that things probably wouldn't go anywhere based on the hunch that he'd probably be gone before too long.

Well children, it seems I was correct. He indeed fled the coop. To Moscow. If only we had engaged in a whirlwind romance that ended poorly so I can somehow take credit for driving him all the way across the globe. But seeing as how all we did was knock back several bourbons together (I'm telling you, I'm a fun date), all I can really do is chuckle at the intense transience of DC. And of course, it's always nice to have a pal in Russia.

In other news...Really, there isn't much. There might be stuff to report about work in a bit but I am beholden to stay quiet about that for the time being. Let's just say that I may be quite the little entrepreneur. I haven't infected any more cute boys with my cold. But of course, the day is still young. And as for the one that I did infect, well...no comment. But speaking of boys, Good at Drinking has a fun post up about women's undergarments. Given the amount of energy we spend trying to look just so for our conquests, it was nice to see a man devoting blog space to appreciating our collective efforts. It also reminded me that I don't own enough cute bras. You may recall my last attempt to buy a new bra resulted in me shelling out 50 bucks for one that in no way fits or flatters and now collects dust in the back of my drawer. I should really use it for an art project or something, rather than letting it mock me as it currently is. So perhaps this weekend I will be a woman and brave that world. Maybe I will even let one of the little old ladies in the unmentionables department at Nordies take my measurements.

Anyway. My favorite part of his post was when he mentioned how sexy it is when women wear nothing but men's dress shirts. I used to have a boyfriend who lived with his twin brother and the two of them were hard wired to go absolutely nuts for a woman in a plain white tee and knickers. The very first time I slept over I snuck out of my boy's room in the morning to get a glass of water wearing nothing but one of his tee shirts and panties and accidentally stumbled across his twin in the kitchen who leered a little inappropriately. I scurried back to the boy's room and related the story. He just laughed. That's kind of how it is when you date a twin. That's also when I learned that it's a good idea to put on pants when you have a sleep over with somebody who has a roommate.

But, I do have to say that I have always derived a small pleasure from the moment a slip a boy's shirt over my head the next morning to go use the loo or get some water. Dress shirt or a tee it doesn't matter. There's just something so marvelously intimate about the moment when you slip the garment over your head--how soft and slightly rumpled it is and how it smells a little like them. It's like sharing their skin, in a sense. Even if all you did the night before was makeout a little, the shirt thing is key. I simply can't do it justice.

Finally, I just realized that DC and I are celebrating an anniversary this month: 8 years! I moved here in March of 1999. That makes 8, right? God, I am so bad at math. When I first arrived in our fair metro area, people were freaked about Y2K (ha!), Bill Clinton was still President, Adams Morgan was considered an edgy place to hang out, and I was convinced that I was way too cool for this scene and would be living in Brooklyn within 2 years.

Memories from the past two years--living in Alexandria; temping; my first long-term relationship; first job; learning how to drive (shut up, I'm a late bloomer); Election 2000; hanging chads; another new job; kickball; my slut phase; my own apartment; group houses; meeting other bloggers; Quizzo at the Pour House; volunteering on the Kerry campaign back when everyone thought Dean would be the nominee; having to evacuate from downtown on September 11th; getting laid off and rather than having the nervous breakdown I anticipated for two months, spending a whole glorious summer sunbathing, getting drunk, and reading library books; countless nights drinking on Capitol Hill; Cap Lounge burning down; an ever evolving group of friends; realizing being an adult isn't so hard after all.

Smooches, DC. Here's to 8 very formative years and the promise of at least a few more!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Perfume For Hipsters, By Fat Cats

Corporate attempts to commodify youth culture continue. The latest charade? Calvin Klein's latest incarnation of it's mega successful CK One.

The Gen-Xers (oh, I know, ouch) among you probably remember that one. It co-opted the popularity of grunge culture, launched heroine chic, and was aimed at both men and women. It smelled a little like pine trees. I really liked it when I was 17. But give me a break, I came from a sheltered environment and was too naive to know any better.

Well, CK is trying to duplicate the popularity of CK One with CKin2u. According to a company spokesperson, speaking via the New York Times, CKin2u was conceived as a fragrance for the "technosexual generation."

Huh, what's that now? That sound? Oh yeah, that was just sound of all of my skin being eaten by a serious case of the willies. Let us continue.

I wasn't sure what the "technosexual generation" is either. Lucky, he goes on to explain. "Technosexuals" is apparently a new marketing buzz word for young people who use text messaging and blogging in order to meet and arrange hookups.

Yeah, yeah, I know. All the cool kids are doing it these days. But ew. Something about that description kind of makes me want to stop blogging forever and communicate with others only through Morse code. I feel, I dunno. Dirty.

It also makes me feel somewhat ashamed to be even tangentially involved in the practice of professional marketing. Yes, I know. It's Capitalism, get used to it. Corporations have been making a fast buck off of youth culture for zillions of years. I hear ya. Perhaps its just the blatant commodification of young people's sexuality that grosses me out. Navigating the dating/hookup scene is hard enough. Youngsters hardly need some corporate suits in corner offices trying to make a fast buck off of it. For every cool kid who successfully negotiates a late-night tryst via text message, there a dozen others nervously checking their inboxes and wondering why their crush is ignoring them. Do we really need the marketing geniuses at Calvin Klein exploiting this dynamic? Methinks not.

And what about the morning after? Maybe someone should get on that potential gravy train. Why don't we have a fragrance that embodies the giddy uncertainty of what comes after the arranged-by-cell-phone-(most likely) drunken tryst? Can you bottle smudged eye-liner, bed-head, morning breath, discarded condom wrappers, stilted conversation and that glorious moment before the curtain of what-the-fuck-did-I-just-do falls? Because if you can, they probably will.

Not that my own perfume, or anyone's for that matter is 100% noble and pure. These days I am favoring Pomegranate Noir by Jo Malone. It smells like musty old books growing in a forest. By amorous tree sprites. Yes, it's that good.

I'm feeling punchy today. In the comments section tell me what a perfume would smell like if a marketing exec could bottle the essence of you.

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Birthday Meme, etc

This blog has been all sorts of lame recently. Apologies for that. There are events I'd like to share, but I'm testing out this new thing where I don't blog about the intimate details of my personal life. It's all sorts of nerve-wracking. It's sort of an "out of respect for somebody else's privacy thing". You may have also noted that I deleted a bunch of posts. Again, a respect thing. Woe unto yee who gets involved with a blogger, that much is certain.

So, on that note. Recovery Overachevier tagged me to participate in the birthday meme. What I did: Pulled up Wikipedia and searched for my birthday. Found three notable historic events that occured on that day (besides my birth, obvi), two notable births (again, besides me), one death, and one holiday. The results are below.

Now, I am supposed to tag five other bloggers to participate. Instead, I open it up to all. However wants to join in, by all means, do.


-René Descartes has the dreams that inspire his Meditations on First Philosophy

-Playing against Army at Yankee Stadium, Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne gives what is considered the greatest locker room speeches of all time by saying "Win one for the Gipper." The Fighting Irish would win the game 12-6.*

-National Educational Television (the predecessor to the Public Broadcasting Service) in the United States debuts the children's television program Sesame Street.

2 Birthdays/One Death

Martin Luther, German Protestant reformer
Richard Burton, Welsh actor **
Jack Palance, American actor


US Marine Corps Birthday

*Given my ambivalence for all things sports, this is ironic to say the least.
**To report that I share my birthday with a brooding, overly dramatic lush is all too perfect. Too bad I lack Sir Burton's acting chops.

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Monday, March 05, 2007


Wanted: gallons of orange juice, pint of ice cream, cold meds, box of Kleenex, vat of chicken soup.

Please deliver to Hey Pretty ASAP.

(I lived in complete denial of this all weekend, btw. But I can assure you, it was all completely worth it. Hopefully the person I might have passed these germs on to will forgive me for infecting him).