The Slack Daily is closed for a brief hiatus. You know where to find me.
See you in a couple of weeks.
Will said to me the other night I can't believe you're not watching The Two Coreys. I shrugged. I was never much of a Corey fan, even though Haim did a movie in my hometown, and I've met Feldman on more than one occasion at my friend Savage's Superbowl Party. The former is a one-man morality play on young fame, and the latter just struck me as a crybaby from his Surreal Life days. But one night I couldn't sleep and like a Jenny Craig dropout sneaking toward the refrigerator, I thumbed through the TiVo to season pass my way to 80's Corey goodness. Although what I'm getting is mostly 80's Corey badness, as the show is schticky at best and boring at worst. While I don't find the Feldmans as annoying as I thought I would (minus the fact that they're PETArds), Haim borders on a desperation so palpable that I find myself cringing at the screen.
But it makes me wonder about future pair-ups.
The Two Tonys: Tony Danza and Antonio Sabato Jr. are stranded on a desert island without hair gel.
Domo arigato, Mr. Sabato, but I think Danza's gonna be showing you Who's the Boss.
The Two Billys: Billy "Bad Guy in Every 80's Movie" Zabka embarks on a life in gay porn. Can Willie "Bibleman" Ames save him from this one-way ticket to Browntown?
The Two Alfs: When Alfonso Ribero breaks his neck in a freak poppin'-and-lockin' accident, his head is surgically implanted on ALF. On the run from Boogaloo Shrimp for stealing some of his signature dance moves, the Alfonso and ALF have to clear their good names by becoming the Galactic Ambassadors of Breakdancing. (Will someone please make me a photoshopped version of ALF-onso? Pretty please?)
Bonus material! Alfonso Ribero's breakdancing informercial:
In other celebrity pair-up news, Dlisted mentions that Matt Damon is playing himself on the animated series, Arthur. What they fail to mention is that Mr. Bourne has finally discovered his Real-Life Identity.
He's a Furry.
One of the benefits of blogging (a word I hate but have embraced) is that it allows you a few moments of daily introspection. The dark side of blogging is that those few daily moments can be extended into hours, afternoons, evenings...times when the Internet should just be left tucked neatly in bed for the the night instead of visions of hate mail, dwindling readership, and a fear of the mundane dancing through one's brain. I've done this long enough to know that when the online life begins to seep negatively into the real life, it's time to step back and reevaluate.
The problem is that after ten years of blogging, my online life and my real life are sometimes indistinguishable.
Luckily, I have a husband who understands this. Not so luckily for him, I haven't been the sort of wife who's been dealing with it well. Minus a few short outings and the occasional evenings, I've been either sleepwalking through life or been at that tenuous state of near-tears. I'm trying, I tell him, but the truth is that I'm not succeeding. I go through something like this every couple of years and I always manage to get myself out of it, but there's a lot of hanging over the edge scrambling to keep my grip before I can pull myself up and out of it.
I've always been a person to call myself on my own bullshit. It's why things like namecalling and hatemail don't bother me as much as they might someone else - you can be sure whatever someone's called me, I've called myself worse. But there comes a point when calling your own bullshit becomes the bullshit itself. That's where I'm stuck.
In the process of unsticking myself, I'm making a ton of mistakes. I'm-sorry seems to be my mantra these days, and it's gotten to the point where I'm terrified to open my mouth because I feel like inevitably my foot will end up there. I don't write about the intimate details of my life anymore, save for the funny stuff. I just don't feel like I'm any good at this anymore. But I am trying. I'm working at the gym and working on the freelance stuff and working on novel and the screenplay and working out and working on being a better wife and a better human being.
I'm trying, even when I'm screwing up.
About a year ago, Will sent me an email. I can't recall exactly what it said because I didn't respond to it. It's not that I didn't want to, but it got lost in the I'd-like-to-say-something-of-substance-so-I'll-get-back-to-it and never did. He finally worked up the nerve to email me again.
If I'm to believe this comment, you are complaining about the fact that you never get creepy emails from me. That's because I try my hardest not to be creepy although I will admit to repeatedly checking The Slack Daily but who can blame me for that, you're a fantastic writer and unlike many video blogs, yours are very entertaining and feature a dog from time to time. In short, if you haven't noticed already, I think you're great at least as far as I can tell from the Internet. I admire your intelligence, your spirit, and your socks of say nothing of the fact that you are cute as all get out. I'm happy to know that you exist Mistress Slack.
How's that for creepy? It's the best I can do.
Thankfully, this time I responded. He suggested at one point that we should get together but it wasn't until November when I said hey, let's actually set a date and grab a drink, but it's not a date-date even though later I texted my friend Carla from the bathroom with a okay, he's cute and funny I think I could date him. But I was mixed up in all sorts of other nonsense and I didn't want to be one of Those Crazy Girls who Jerks Guys Around. So I was clear, and he was okay with that. I knew he wanted to kiss me that night but he didn't, which just made me like him more. Night after night we'd chat on IM, and night after night he'd invite me over. I knew you'd say yes, he told me later, it was just a matter of when.
He was right, and when was a week later. I came over (that's me in the third story, the season changed to spring to protect the not-so-innocent) and essentially never left. The reason I didn't want to date him is that I knew it would never be Just Dating. Six weeks later we told the universe we were getting married. A month later I was moved in. And four months after that, I was sporting two rings on my left.
It's taken some getting used to, not just for us but for our family and our friends and as silly as it sounds, the people out there in blogland. Will your Internet Girls get jealous? I asked when we started dating. He said that there had never been a problem, and although there were a few bumps in the road and a couple of choice comments, most of my experience with his readership has been positive.
Until this week.
It's clear to us that the mail - only three pieces thus far, from different, anonymous addresses - is coming from one of his female readers. Whether it's past or present is anyone's guess, the only thing that's constant is her utter and complete contempt for me. Which is based solely on the fact that I am married to/shacked up with/having naughty time avec Will. One of the points she made to me in her first email is that he's dallied with other women.
I didn't respond to the email, but y thought is of course he has.
Everyone has a history, the only difference with blogging is that your history is out there and tangible. It's pictures and names and descriptions of events. When he was writing about his girlfriend before me he wrote like he loved her and was the luckiest guy in the world. Because he felt that way. If he had been writing about the girl was first engaged to years and years ago, he would have written the same way. While I skimmed some of those posts when he and I started corresponding, I didn't read them closely because I was jealous in an abstract way. I wanted someone to write about me like that, too.
My history is found on the slack - there's plenty of breakups and makeups and I-think-this-is-it that wasn't it, and then no-this-is-it and it wasn't it, and then this-is-REALLY-it and wow, was that sure not it.
The person with the hate mail is clearly not just a troll. I'm not sure what the purpose is, though. Simple jealousy? Thinking they're better for Will than I am? Are they trapped in something they don't want? Are they envious of the fact that we said 'let's get married' and then actually did?
Someone's trying to use his past - which is not remarkable in any way from anyone else's past who's dated anyone, ever - to try and scare me off. And while I don't like thinking about him being with anyone else in real, tangible, physical terms, the way he wrote about his history was one of the reasons I fell in love with him.
No one's ever written about me the way that he has. That's what made me fall in love with him, and that's probably what the woman who's sending the emails wishes she had or misses. Send all the hate mail you'd like, lady. If I were her, I'd be jealous, too.
Ah, August. When the streets get a bit warmer, the air gets a bit more acrid, and glowsticks become difficult to find It's August 14th, which means we're a couple of weeks away from the spectacle to top all spectacles, we're just a fortnight and change away from...Burning Man.
As I was walking Daisy this afternoon, I spotted my first art car putt-putting down the street. The skinny brown-haired girl in the granny glasses and the tube dress at the wheel of the behemoth honked her horn and waved at us, so I returned the salute. I couldn't help but think about my favorite Burning Man story. You know that one. The one where I don't go.
Every year at this time, everyone insists that I must go to Burning Man it will change your life, as if the moment I cross the border into Nevada I'll become a glowstick-wielding, goggle-wearing hippie who will suddenly embrace things like single-ply toilet paper, porta-potties, playa dust, and showering out of hefty bag.
Whenever the inevitable you-must-go-it-will-change-your-life refrain is hauled out I always smile politely and say thank you, but I know myself well enough to know that if I'm not physically comfortable, I won't have fun. It's not as if a SlackVacation requires topless native girls fetching frosty beverages whilst fanning me with palm fronds, but hey, it doesn't hurt.
Younger slackbrother j. is a Burner, and the first year he came back it was all he talked about. We learned about BM history and BM trivia and BM do's and don'ts. When he met Will for the first time, I made a bet with Will on how long it would take j. to mention Burning Man, setting the line at twenty minutes and took the under (Will won, but for the record it was twenty-six minutes.) Yeah, it was sort-of mean but sort-of mean is on our family crest next to stuffed cabbage, the Chicago Bears and vodka.
But the other fact is that I don't want my life changed. Sure, there are things in my life I'd like to change, I want to lose this last fifteen pounds (working on it) or make more money (working on it) or have former readers of my husband's blog write me in a jealous rage to say I'm a fucking fat has-been whose husband will tire of her riding his blog coattails you pathetic untalented whiny whore (thankfully this past week I've received three of these, so I'm thinking I can finally cross that off the list!)
Honestly, I don't think attendance at Burning Man will provide me with a bright-and-shiny-new career path, unless I'm thinking of Fire Dancing or Burning People in Effigy on a Professional Basis.
I have been told by more than one Burner that my reluctance to go is because I'm afraid, afraid to face myself, afraid to face my problems, afraid to face life. I'm not exactly sure what doing E in the desert whilst dressed like Tank Girl and dancing like I'm seizing under blinky lights with thirty thousand of my closest friends has to do with facing life. If that's life, well, then they're right. I am afraid.
I think that it's awesome that there truly is something out there for everyone. Most Burners are truly open people...open to anything except the idea that I have zero desire to go. I'm gonna face life right here in LA next to my husband and my dog. But thanks for asking.
Stay safe, y'all.
If someone asked me what I believed in, I'd have to say that I want to believe in God but my personal credo lies somewhere betwixt Karma and The Force.
Which is why it's a good thing that no one ever asks me.
I've written before that I try to live my life on the idea that one shouldn't be an asshole. Contrary to my sometimes-earned bitchy nature,it's pretty easy to do. I don't wish anything bad on the people I dislike. I don't think that the Evils of the Universe are always earned. Sometimes bad things happen to good people. And unlike Morrissey, I don't hate it when my friends become successful.
But if there's a God, or a Buddha, or even a Yoda, I'd like to take him/her/them/it aside and ask why good things keep happening to people I dislike?
I remember the very first time I felt left out. I was in grammar school - first grade, maybe - and my mother would drop me off two afternoons a week at the Park District to take ballet. Sometimes these lessons were right after school, so if we were running late I'd have to change in the cold basement of the building. The bathroom was teeny, even for a 6-year old, and I'd slide on my tights and my leotard, bumping elbows and knees into the wood paneled walls. No one from my school took classes, so I'd spend breaks sitting in the corner or going over the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies.
One autumn afternoon was one of the girl's birthdays, and while they had cupcakes upstairs I changed in the cold basement. By the time I crept up the concrete stairs, the Tupperware container with the leftover cupcakes was put away. I didn't ask, and no one offered.
Little did I know that I was only a bad haircut and an ironic t-shirt away from being an emo kid.
I'm 34 and those days should be behind me, and yet sometimes I sit back on the sidelines and wonder when when did this all happen? A few months ago I read a post on a woman's blog which went something like I'm not one of these oooh-I-just-started-a-blog people, I've been doing it since 2003. It was that moment when I realized that while I had been tippy-tapping at the slack, the whole blogging revolution just passed me by like a Tupperware container filled with cupcakes.
Some of it is my cantankerous nature. Mr. Marx (not Karl!) refused to be a part of any club that accepted him as a member and I'm not much different. I'm not a joiner. I hate to play to the political nature of most groups. It's not because I'm punk rock or I'm smarter or I'm cooler (because let's face it, I'm not) but mostly because I don't worship at the cult of personality unless I really think it's someone worth worshiping. One of the things that made me fall in love with Will is that I think that he's an amazing writer. I read a lot of blogs (way more than what's linked on Ye Trusty Blogroll) and I think he's so fucking talented that sometimes I'm amazed at how easy he makes it look. Why he's not making a living just doing this is completely beyond me.
Recently I received an email from BlogHer saying that they were accepting new blogs for advertising, and that my blog would qualify. But can I take money from something I don't believe in? It's something that feels inherently cliquey, like a grown-up version of high school, except that instead of being ignored by the popular kids you're ignored by the popular bloggers. I could cut across cliques by making the high honor roll and writing full annotated research papers about SPAM products for fun one day then lighting up a cigarette and cutting class and drinking vodka out of a plastic water bottle in the park with the burnouts the next. If people can't manage to be welcoming in six keystrokes, what makes me think it would be different in person?
One of the things I loved about Consumating when I joined is that for a long time it had this everyone-is-accepted vibe, where every type of nerd was represented and actively welcomed. It was a seven-layer cake of dorkdom, each part more delicious than the next. I don't participate as much anymore, but I like to think that I was one of the Nerd Ambassadors, helping to foster that sort of goodwill.
My fat does not equal curvy comment got me kicked off friends' lists and blogrolls across the board. I didn't say fat girls couldn't be curvy, but that one didn't automatically mean the other. The jury announced their verdict not in open court but in technorati rankings and rss feeds. I also know that to weasel myself into the good graces of the greater blogworld I need to smile and curtsy like a 1950's sorority girl. Which honestly, I'd do if I had the stomach for it -- Hollywood has taught me how. But this is the one perfect place in the Universe - a Mystery Spot, if you will - where I don't have to.
Let them eat cupcakes.
Life in Slacklandia's been sort of hectic, so today I thought I'd let someone else drive by pimping out a few folks who have stuff going on...
The Fabulous Miss Lenora Claire Presents: Golden Girls Gone Wild!
The show - which has been featured everywhere from NPR to the National Enquirer - opens this Saturday, August 11th 8pm at the brand new World of Wonder art space located at 6650 Hollywood Blvd at the corner of Cherokee and Hollywood. All for the low low price of five bucks! Will and I will be there - will you?
The One-Armed Wonder Does It Again: The Start-to-Finish MS Bike Ride
Friend and funnywoman Damienne Merlina is once again raising money to make the 150-mile ride for the cure for MS. Let's face it, most of us can't go more than a few miles with both arms. So shake out those pocketbooks - even a couple of bucks helps!
The Girl's Got Moxie: Tenth-Muse.Com
I met Joelle, the brunette half of the MoxieGirls, last year on Consumating. Our friendship was forged in a 24-hour whirlwind trip of strange boys, strange cities, strange Starbucks, and a whole lotta (not strange) booze. She and her fabulous business-partner-in-crime Kathy just wrote The IT Girls' Guide to Blogging with Moxie. If I could franchise myself, Joelle would be my San Diego Slackmistress, although with the way her life is taking off, it's more likely that I would be a Los Angeles Moxiegirl. (Minus the web design talent. Okay, maybe there's a problem with this plan.)
Mommyblogging makes me want to stab myself in the eye with a spork. Add crafts into the mix and I might go on an Oedipus-Inspired Ocular-Sporking Rampage. But the JustJENN makes good stuff. Cool stuff. Stuff you would actually buy. (Even Target agrees!) Plus if she likes you, she'll make you cookies. Or maybe that's just for me and Will?
So that's it for today. A little reading, a little buying, a little fundraising, a little naked time with Miami's fabulous foursome. What else could you want?
I was reading a blog the other day that was causing me to get all twitchy. It wasn't hatecrush material, it was just sort of one of those either I've changed or they've changed or maybe I just thought they're someone they're not. I still wanted to speak out, to say something. For twenty minutes I worked on a response that was honest without being cruel.
Maybe I should post it anonymously, I thought.
The Internet lends a wide cover to those who wish to remain anonymous. You can use cloak your IP address and set up multiple email accounts. You can provide false names and false addresses in case Big Brother is watching. But in the blogging world, remaining anonymous seems to be for one of two reasons: control and fear, and usually? It's both.
When the slack began in 1997, I used the moniker the slackmistress because my boyfriend at the time (who started the site!) wrote under the name the slackmaster. When it was clear that his writing wasn't going to last (and neither was the relationship), he generously gave me control of the site. I had been the slackmistress for about six months at that point, and I thought I'd just continue it until it died of natural causes. I never dreamed that I would be doing this ten years later.
Initially, I didn't post a picture of myself or my name. I loved the idea of the woman-behind-the-curtain, and I felt that if no one knew who I was, I could say whatever I wanted. Not that what I was saying was all that provocative, I just liked the added safety net. As the site got more popular, I realized that people weren't reading because I was cutting edge or snarky or particularly even funny, they were reading because I was real. While I kept the slackmistress, I included my name - my real name - in an article or two. Nina Bargiel and the slackmistress were still two different personalities duking it out in my head, not having become one and the same yet, but people didn't care. It was just another layer chipped away.
Some people - wise people - write anonymously because they've had issues with stalkers or have young children or are concerned about fallout from work. I've certainly had my share of bizarre interactions, but for the most part, I've been lucky to have none of those problems crop up. In fact, the slack almost became my work for a period back in 2002 when it was looked at for source material for a television series. I wasn't all that disappointed when it didn't happen, simply because it's my life and it'll always be there.
SlackDad was always concerned about stalkers and while I got my share of strange mail I decided to keep my physical identity a secret. But after nine years I broke that rule, and in 2006 started posting photos. And links - to my MySpace, to my IMDB, to my LinkedIn Profile. Then there was Consumating, which put the social in social networking, and Flickr to document it all.
I am no longer anonymous.
Anonymity still creeps in along the edges of my online life. Some are harmless, like the anonymous reader, of which there are plenty. Some anonymous commenters simply don't want to give their name, but some just want an unobstructed view to throw rocks. Same with the anonymous emailers, who must enjoy their attempts to be hurtful and cruel but when one throws out accusations and then doesn't back it up with a name, well, it's difficult to take them seriously.
Which brings me back to my anonymous comment. I deleted the comment, closed the tab, and walked away. If I'm going to say something, I'm going to put my name on it. Or I'm not going to say anything at all.