Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Persian Version



I'm giving you permission, as if you needed that, to procrastinate by watching this short doc about skateboarding in Iran and neighboring regions. 

You may or may not know that I am half-Persian. (And before you get into some debate with me about using Persian instead of Iranian- that's how everyone in my family has referred to themselves, always. So, save the argument.) My father was born in Tehran, moved to the US when he was 17, and has never returned. I have no family there and it's hard for me to imagine living under religious law. 

What I love about this- is the way young people find their own (sub)culture, beyond the restraints of a highly oppressive government. Enjoy.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Friday Suggestions: The Fevers of Springtime



Phew! Another whopper of a week. Here are some suggestions to get you through life, or at least your weekend.




2.  New video from a pretty good dude. (I believe he shot this all himself on his iPad.)



3. My pal, Noah, made this funny short. So, watch it and laugh.






 



















5. Some things you should probably not joke about with your lover, as witnessed from the very public arguments I saw on the streets of NYC this week- age, penis size, weight, intellect, and sexual prowess. 


Also, and in case you missed it...


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Ask Erin And Lisa!: This Week Spring is to Blame? (NSFW because we talk about sex and Lisa has a filthy mouth.)


We're back! Lisa and I are delighted to answer your pressing, and often lengthy questions, today. It's been another crazy week. Last week I blamed the Blood Moon, this week I blame Spring. What will I blame next week? 

Erin: Hey Lisa, how the hell has your week been?

Lisa: well, i cried my eyes out all day yesterday and subsequently, have a bit of an emotional hangover today.

Erin: Sounds awesome! Shall we distract ourselves with other people's problems then? 

Lisa: yes, i would love to distract myself, with anything but the way i feel right now. 

Erin: Let's do this. (Also, I hate myself for using that expression.)




Q.

My boyfriend and I have been on and off for about 5 years and have always planned on getting married and having kids one day. I have recently seen that he has been watching a lot of adult content on the internet and constantly see him looking at other girls. I know he still fancies me and we do it all the time but how should I feel about him obviously fancying other girls too.

He even suggested the other day that it would be fun to have an open relationship so we could both try new experiences with new people while still staying together and in love. I do not want this but really dont want to lose him.

Is he being a little disrespectful and what shoudl I say to him to make him just want me?


A.

Erin: Girl, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but he's already in an open relationship with you. When I was 20 and a nightmare, I believe I had the same discussion with my then boyfriend. I felt it necessary to gently tell him he was already in an open relationship without actually saying those words. 

Lisa: first of all, i like that you use the word "fancies." such a great word. secondly, any motherfucker that looks at other women all the time, is no one that you want to invest your time in. porn is one thing, being disrespectful in your presence is completely another. i have some hippie friends that do this open relationship bullshit, and i think it's a joke. 

Erin: I'm sure somewhere out there is an open relationship that works, but it seems like more often it's an I-want-to-still-get-laid-if-I strike-out-on-Tinder relationship. I think you need to move on and find someone who wants to be with you and only you. You are worth it. 

Lisa: he's being completely disrespectful to you and your question should be, "how fast can i get out of this?" 




Q.

Ladies. . . Does size really matter? And what would be a good size you'd be satisfied with? And do girls get intimidated if it's too big?

A.

Lisa: OMG THE BIGGER THE BETTER!

Erin: Bitch, there is definitely such a thing as TOO BIG. And intimidated is not the right word, but ladies know what will or will not fit. 

Lisa: brother, seriously, THE BIGGER THE BETTER!

Erin: Lisa, why do you have to make it all incest-y with "brother." I disagree, I think that it's not about the largess of the penis, but the overall shape and compatibility with the receptacle. Wow, I just grossed myself out by calling the vagina a receptacle. 

Lisa: ok erin, whatever, my receptacle likes them big. 

Erin: Basically, don't stress about the size of your junk. It's probably going to feel different for every woman. 




Q.

I have a friend that is in an international long distance relationship that I'm jealous of. She's also very confident about her life in general. I'm also in a good local relationship right now. Whenever I talk to her my self-esteem takes a dive when she mentions anything that reminds me of her relationship. I also feel bad about myself when she sounds so confident about her future plans when I don't feel so confident about my own. I want to be her friend, but I can't be supportive or talk to her without feeling crappy. Is there anything I can do?

A.

Erin: Your "local" relationship can't be that good if you spend this much time and energy comparing it to hers. The real issue is your self-esteem, not hers.

Lisa: as someone who is currently in an "international long-distance relationship" myself, i'm jealous that your boyfriend is in the same town as you. 

Erin: OMG, Lisa, do you think this is one of your friends writing in about you?

Lisa: goddamn erin, it could be me! my advice will be the same either way- don't spend time with people who make you feel badly about yourself. period. 

Erin: Yes, but she also needs to figure out why she is so jealous. It doesn't sound like this friend is going out of her way to make her feel badly. She can't go axing out every friend that has something good going on or who has decent self-esteem. Unless, she would like to end up with a bunch of friends with even bigger self-esteem problems who are also miserable. 

Lisa: hmm, good point erin. look, we need to be happy for other people and their joy. start practicing happiness for your friend, even if you don't mean it right now. fake it until you make it, bitch. 

Erin: What you can do is go to therapy. You're always going to be unhappy if you don't fix this self-esteem issue. 




Freaks, this concludes another installment of Ask Erin!(and Lisa). You got a question? Use the form on the top right of the page. Your anonymity is golden and your question will be answered, eventually, and with (some) care. Have a good week and think about what we can blame for all our problems next week! May Day? 
xoxo


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

What Spring Brings



The crazies? 

Trouble? 



It is finally feeling, consistently, like Spring here in NYC. And all this Spring seems to have brought something wild out in people. In the past 72 hours, I have...


  • Witnessed a woman on the bus scream at her boyfriend on the phone (loudly and with abandon, oblivious to the uncomfortable bus riders around her) and then throw said phone down the aisle of the bus, cry, retrieve her phone, and push people out of the way to get off at the next stop.
  • Seen a woman on the subway platform crying quietly while eating a pretzel. 
  • Ran into my fave neighborhood crazy who told me last October that it's all my fault and I've ruined everything.  
  • Seen a man crouch down on 10th Avenue in racing position and dart across the street into traffic, laughing wildly. 
  • Broken up a potential incident of domestic violence while walking the dog last night, which is a long winded story that ended with me walking the dude down the street to cool off- which, by the way worked, because he had calmed down by the time we went around the block, and was able to sit and talk things out with his lady friend. He didn't seem like the type that would normally become violent but he got scary for a minute there. (She cheated on him.) (I feel comfortable disclosing this because it is highly unlikely that either of them reads this blog.) (Sometimes, I have to just step in and help, which may or may not be stupid.)
  • Felt a little crazy myself. 
What gives? Maybe April really is the cruelest month. I need something to soothe me. How about the new Courtney Barnett video? 


Friday, April 18, 2014

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Ask Erin and Jill!: Don't Shoot the Messengers



I’m back! And I’m not alone. This week, I’m fortunate to have my lovely comrade Jill here, to help me tell you all the things you don’t want to hear. 

Erin: Hey Jill, I’m so excited you agreed to this! How’s that blood moon treating you out there in L.A.?

Jill: I wish I had the pathology to blame the moon for what’s going on in my life right now. 

Erin: Sadly, I do have that pathology. Also, I give you permission to just blame it on Los Angeles. Alright, here we go…




Q. 

Girls what would you do?
What would you do if your boyfriend's best friend came up to you and said that he had strong feeling for you and you two are good friends?


Erin: Well, I’m operating under the assumption that you are committed to said boyfriend and not interested in the best friend. So this is fairly simple, yet arguably delicate. Tell him your flattered, but that you only think of him as a friend. Remind him that he’s probably confusing romantic feelings with friendship. (Although we know he probably just wants to do it with you.) And, I don’t think it’s necessary to run and tell your boyfriend.

Jill: Well…in theory I agree with you, Erin, but I’m in an angry place right now, so I say go for it. Your boyfriend is probably boring in bed anyway. 

Erin: Yeah, I mean if you want to piss off your boyfriend and potentially destroy one of his friendships, then go for it! Also, if the best friend actually makes a move on you, you’re going to have to handle this differently. Hopefully, this will all pass once you deflate his fantasy. 

Jill: I’d pick your boyfriend’s brain, subtly, about what he’s packing, if you know what I mean. You know all guys have seen their friends naked at some point. 

Erin: As in, don’t look a gift horse in the mouth or something? In re-reading the question, she says “had a strong feeling…” 

Jill: I know, I caught that. Just the one feeling. Can I borrow it? Lemme borrow that feeling. 

Erin: Yes, yes you can. 




Q.


I've known this guy for about 4 years now. We chatted on and off a couple of times, but only started to grow closer last October. We both have feelings for each other, and I guess you can say we're dating. To him, it feels like we're already in a relationship, and I feel that way too. The thing is, we aren't officially together yet, so I don't actually have the "girlfriend status" despite the fact that we treat each other like we're a couple. He said he wants to be together with me, but he isn't ready for a relationship yet. He also feels that relationships aren't 100% for him.

So I asked him a couple questions:
1) Whether it feels to him like we're in a relationship already
2) What will be different about us if we were in a relationship compared to how we are now
3) If he answers that there would no difference, what about a relationship with me is he not ready for
4) How long he will take to be ready and certain.

To these questions, he answered:
1) Yes, it feels like we're a couple
2) He doesn't think anything would be different
3) The status of a relationship scares him
4) He doesn't know but I'll be the first to know

I feel that his fear of the status of a relationship might hint at a fear of commitment? There might be more to his unreadiness too, like how it's gonna be a long distance relationship (he said before that he fears we might not meet in the future, but I told him that I'm willing to do whatever it takes for us to meet).

The whole thing with the long distance doesn't bother me at all. I'm a firm (or you could say naive, if you don't believe the same) believer of the idea that love knows no boundaries and transcends time and distance.

Right now, I'm just really unsure of everything and am at a loss of what to do. This issue of him being unready for a relationship has been around for a while. I'm not sure if I should keep waiting for the day he'd be ready for us to be together "officially," or if I should just stop waiting because he might never be ready. Part of me believes that we'll eventually get together and wants to keep waiting; but the other part of me wants to just accept the possibility that we might never be together, and fears the heartbreak and disappointment if he were to come to the decision that he doesn't want us to move to the next level.

Any advice at all would be deeply appreciated.


Jill: I sort of get it. I’ve had romantic feelings for guys I’ve formed online “relationships” with, never taken to another level, or even wanted to. I think it’s always about the fantasy for me, and the sort of feelings involved with just having a crush. I don't believe love transcends. I mean, for all she knows he’s got this online thing going on behind the back of his IRL lover. I’m guessing she’s youngish. 

Erin: She definitely sounds young. I’d say the odds are even money that she sent him the questions in the same way she presented them here. If someone I was dating, IRL or virtually, sent me test style questions to answer, my FB profile might mysteriously disappear. 

Jill: Yeah, there is nothing romantic about being surveyed. 

Erin: It’s the equivalent of asking someone to file emotional taxes, which I haven’t done for years. The Feelings Revenue Service is about 5 minutes away from auditing me. 

Jill: And, I’m gonna say it: real life relationships are hard enough, add distance to the equation and……

Erin: Also, when a guy says, “relationships aren’t 100% for him”- that means “I am totally not committing to you and if I do, I will cheat/it will end in tears.” So, move on young lady! 





Q. 


A few weeks ago my girlfriend, who works at a bar, was supposed to come over after she got off work and spend the night. At least that was the original plan. She was leaving the following day with friends for a 9-day trip so I was really looking forward to spending some time with her before she left.
I asked her that morning if she was still coming over and she said she hadn't even packed yet so she was going to go home and do that rather than come over.
I went to her work and had a couple beers while she finished her shift. I noticed at one point she made a rather secretive phone call from behind the bar- I didn't ask about it, it just seemed a little out of place.
After she finished her shift, she joined me for a few drinks. About 45 minutes later she got a phone call. After she hung up she came back around and I asked who it was. "None of your business," she said.
That was not only a rude response, but a very uncharacteristic one for her as she has never kept any such information from me previously. Fifteen minutes after that, she finished her drink and said she had to go home. I kissed her goodbye and asked her if I could call her after she got home. She paused but then replied, "Yes."
When we left the parking lot, I was in front of her. When I made the right turn I needed to make she kept going straight, which was not the direction for her to be going to get home.
When I got home, I called. And I continued to call for 2 hours after that. I knew something was up all along due to her behavior, but I was still in shock and disbelief about what I believed to be going on.
I didn't sleep well that night for obvious reasons- and ended up getting up at 4am the next morning and continuing to call. She finally answered at 7:30 and of course I came completely un-glued. She told me that she went to a drugstore to get some things for her trip and then met some friends at a casino (we live in Nevada) and spent the night drinking and gambling. After calling her a cheater, liar and some other choice names she began to cry and kept telling me that her story was true.
I've thought all along that she was lying to me, but I wanted so badly to trust her. But I called her on it again the other day and told her that there was no penalty for telling me the truth but I would go away forever if she lied to me. She is still sticking to her BS story, so I have since moved on as much as that hurt to do.
How do you get someone like this to fess up when all the evidence points to her as cheating? And, am I putting too much energy into this? I still don't want to believe she lied, but with all that has gone on I really can't help it. What do you think?


Jill: Sounds like a witch hunt. And there’s no winning this game. 

Erin: Yes, she is either a total cheater and he should move on, or he is really paranoid and giving us a skewed account of events. Either way, dude, maybe it’s time to get single. 

Jill: The foundation of any relationship is trust.

Erin: Totally, and it doesn’t even matter why it’s not there. If it’s not there, the relationship is doomed. Now, to answer his questions at the end, specifically (How do you get someone like this to fess up when all the evidence points to her as cheating? And, am I putting too much energy into this? I still don't want to believe she lied, but with all that has gone on I really can't help it. What do you think?): You may never get her to fess up, either because this is all in your head or she is a really dedicated liar. Yes, you are putting too much energy into this- either believe her or move on. That is what I think, I just told you. 

Jill: He should just sneak into her phone and look for “evidence.” That seems like the most ethical solution. (And, I should spell out that I’m being sarcastic and- Dude, that is not actually a good idea.) He was probably expecting a more sympathetic response. 

Erin: They all are, Jill. But, you know, that’s not what we’re here for. On that note, Jill, thank you for telling it like it is and bringing the noise with me this week!




Kids, friends, enemies, bitches, dudes, ladies, assholes, lovers….Don’t kill the messengers. You may hate us now, but you’ll love us tomorrow morning. If you have a question for me and my rotating cast of colleagues, please use the form on the top right of the page. All questions will be answered, eventually, your anonymity is golden, and we will always tell you the truth. xoxo




Monday, April 14, 2014

Blood Moon Blues



I can say with confidence that I am happier now in my life than ever before. This is a clear and true fact. My present happiness does not  however always blot out the past. Sometimes, when I least expect it, old wounds open up and I feel forgotten pains again. 

Grief has a way of leaving tiny fragments behind in our cells. And that grief can resurface in altered, and arguably diluted, ways later on. Maybe it's like the theories about LSD flashbacks. I don't know. 

What I do know is that when I'm working, and by working I mean writing, which often involves delving into the past, I occasionally trip an old grief switch inside me. And, the sadness and the loss and the ache comes back, temporarily. 

This usually makes me cry. Today was one of those days. Following a particularly productive writing session, I felt overwhelmed with malaise which turned into a prickly sensation of grief which led to me sitting on the floor and crying. 

Then I decided to make myself feel even better by listening to I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got, which FYI is still a really good fucking album. But, it may have added to my nostalgia wallowing. 

As the sun went down and evening settled in, I carried the leftover dull pangs of what I felt earlier. I thought maybe I could blame it on the blood moon, maybe I could blame it on April, maybe I could blame it on reverse seasonal affective disorder (You know, when it's finally Spring and the weather is marvelous and somehow that's a little depressing...). 

Maybe I should just allow myself to acknowledge the past, without minimizing it, without distancing myself from it through writing (which is really what I do best), without denying it in spite of the life I now have. 

Anyone else blaming it on the blood moon? 

Fun Fact/Full Disclosure: This was the last song on a sad/angry mixtape given to me by someone who meant a lot, who died. We never really made up and I have always regretted that. 





*For EJB 3/12/71- 2/22/95 


Ships of Years Past


I love stop-motion films. I was extra excited to hear about this one, being made by Yura Boguslavsky, about a sea captain's final voyage. 





It looks moody and beautiful and right up my alley. Boguslavsky has a true gift for storytelling and this project exemplifies that. Projects like these are why I appreciate Kickstarter so much, both as a source for discovering things I normally may not, and also as a way for projects we believe in to get made. 




I am sure this will get funded, but if I were you, I would pledge something and be a part of the magic. 


P.S. Yura is also a teacher and on his Vimeo page, he's posted these charming, ethereal stop-motion films made by his young students. Here are a couple of my favorites...


By 8 year old Varya Kryanina...


By 13 year old Diana Shamsutdinova...

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Ask Erin!: Telling You All the Things You Don't Want to Hear


It's only me this week and I am exhausted just reading your questions. Here goes nothing...


Q:

Ok- Facebook etiquette question. I'm confused. My ex gives me the marriage ultimate and dumps me after I tell her I want more time. This is after 15 months or so together. There was a previous 3 week breakup at 10 months because she felt I wasn't talking about marriage yet, etc. as well. We break up (hard for me) and become Facebook friends per her request months later, I accept. I barely use FB, she's on it almost daily posting. She knows that I'm rarely on and never post. Maybe 1.5 years go bye, I don't think either of us have entered a serious relationship yet. So now, she facebook messages me that her sister had a baby and asks how I'm doing. We facebook message back and forth 5 or 6 times over the next weeks, friendly texts, talkinabout old times. I'm not in town at the time. I start thinking she might be interested in me but am nervous about getting back together.

Three months go bye, I'm thinking Ill FB message and see how she's doing, (ill be back in town soon) see a few posts that make me think she's moved places etc. i just text, how are you? What I was up to, told her ill be back in town, asked how she and fam are? Etc. She texts back with just the thumbs up sign, nothing else. Then I go through her facebook "wall" and I see flowers she's received, new guy, looks like she's moved in with him, maybe.

She has every right to find new guy, but I'm pissed right now. I find the thumbs up sign rude when she was messaging me just a few months earlier. I know that when we were together she kept in touch with Exs, why not just politely message "I've got new guy" I also wonder now that I see FB pics of her and new guy, if she was trying to make me jealous or something. Is it proper etiquette to make new boyfriend posts viewable to old boyfriend.

Should I feel manipulated? This seems at minimum rude, to me? Did she expect me to look at every post she made and analyze them? I'm moving on but feel pissed off at her for getting me thinking of her again and then sending what I think is rude response. I know I should move on forget her. Etc. what I'm really wondering now is how manipulated and rude this was?


A:

Please know that what I'm about to say, I say with love. 

Wow. First, I want to know what a marriage ultimate is. Does it have anything to do with the wrestler that just died? Is it a matrimonial sandwich? I assume you meant ultimatum. The word usage/spelling/grammar in these emails is really scaring me. 

But, I digress. Dude, you could win an award in the I AM THE CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE AND I OVERTHINK EVERYTHING contest. She messaged you, 5 or 6 times, on Facebook. From what you say, she didn't indicate she wanted to get back together or was even remotely thinking about it.  This made you "nervous about getting back together." Really, you really went there in your head? In the 2 years-ish since you broke up, she has moved on. It is totally normal that she would check in, say hi, be friendly, without that meaning she wants to rekindle your defunct romance. 

Now, after stewing on the possibility of getting back together for 3 months, you message her and she responds with a thumbs up. Sometimes, when I am bombarded with too many questions or too much information or a question I don't want to answer or a conversation I don't want to engage in, I may send a thumbs up. But, sometimes, it's just a thumbs up (People I know in real life, please don't start analyzing my use overuse of the thumbs up.)

Now, you're pissed because she probably has a boyfriend and you think she has somehow constructed all of these posts to stick it to you? 

"Did she expect me to look at every post she made and analyze them?"  No! But, that's what you did!! Please, I implore you to let--it--go. 

I am far more concerned with your mental health than with her Facebook etiquette. Also, maybe you should talk to a licensed therapist. I'm not being bitchy, I am serious. It sounds like you spend a lot of time conjecturing what is going on in other people's heads. That is a futile exercise, one that will surely drive you mad. 




Q:

My friend has been dating her bf for two years. He appears to truly love her, and he is affectionate with her - even in public. So, here is her deal. She started getting suspicious about his behavior: being late for dates, sneaky with his phone, and he has started turning the ringer off on his phone any time they are together. She has not caught him cheating, but her gut feeling is that there is something going on.

She did a search for him online, just to see if anything would show up. His name showed up as a member of a chat site. It wasn't private, so she could see all of his "friends" that he is connected too. Every friend was female, and several live overseas. He had recently updated his online photo too.

Would you think this is harmless or a red flag to their relationship? I told her there is no reason for him to be on an online chat site, chatting with random women if he is dating her. Thoughts?


A:

Yes, these are all red flags. Your "friend" sounds fairly sane, so her gut feeling is the first indication that something is off. Ladies (and gentlemen), you know when we're being lied to, and spending all your time constructing possible explanations of your partner's behavior is usually just an intricate way of stubbornly staying in denial. 

I assume the chat site was not something harmless like Llama Owners of America. You are right, there is no reason for him to be chatting with female strangers online. Sketchy, sketchy, sketchy. She should save herself the inevitable heartbreak and get single. 


Q:

So this guy and I have been flirting back and forth for a while and he finally asked me out. We've since been on 4 dates. This past weekend he spent the night at my place. Here's the "catch" he had surgery Tuesday. So how long should I wait for him to call me and it be because of the surgery and not be being blown off??

A:

Bitch, YOU call him and ask him how he's doing post-surgery! You did not mention the type of surgery, but most people, both ladies and dues, would appreciate it if the person they've started seeing called or sent a text to say "Hey! I know you just had surgery, how's that going?"

Get off this waiting for him to reach out thing. Checking in on him post-surgery is the right thing to do and not stalker-y/breaking those stupid "rules"/or anything else. 

So, you're not going to know if he's blowing you off until after you  check in with him, but at least you'll know you did the right thing. 


This concludes yet another week of doling out questionable advice. You may not like what you hear, but that's not my problem. It may sound harsh, but it truly is for your own good. If you have a question, use the form on the top right of the page. I promise that all questions will be answered, with some care, eventually, by me alone, or with Lisa, or Louie, or one of my other shifty pals. Until next time! xoxo


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Love Me Like It's 1996


My favorite show in the world to watch right now is My Mad Fat Diary (Thanks to Seth!). It's a British show, based on Rae Earl's memoir, about a teenaged girl struggling with anxiety, depression, and weight issues. 

The series starts off in 1996 (for both seasons so far) and the music is the best I've heard on any show, ever. 


Launch trailer...



You can watch full episodes on YouTube. Here you go, start with Episode 1...


The UK wins for television programming, always. I hope they never try to re-make this in the U.S., because they would totally ruin it. 

Also, this is what I'm listening to today....




Also, me circa 1996. 

(Joy!!)

(In my favorite X-Girl T-shirt)

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

MY WORST NIGHTMARE



I think most all humans have a fear of something. Many of these fears are silly/unfounded/a little crazy. 

If you know me at all, you know that there is nothing I am more afraid of than rats. (Yes, yes, I know. There are far worse things, like your child dying etc. But, I'm not talking about that level of awfulness.)

So, like I said, I detest rats. When I have anxiety dreams, rats always star in them. Growing up in a canyon house, rats would get in through the basement and I could hear them running in the walls. I still shudder when I think about that sound. A few years ago, in LA, some little mice found their way into my house and I nearly had a nervous breakdown. 

Living in NYC, rats are sort of unavoidable. I try to squint so I don't see them when I'm in the park, or really anywhere there are bushes around dusk. I have friends who have had rats as pets, I enjoyed Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh, and I believe they are fairly intelligent and creative creatures. But, I just can't. 

So, when I saw this video, I was relived to see that many other New Yorkers are equally wimpy when faced with a rat, in a moving subway car. 

Enjoy. And, I'm sorry. 


What are you (irrationally) afraid of?