Archive | January 2012

A Special Announcement

Everybody get excited, because it’s the Golden Globes! Ben and Gen are going to be viewing and commenting on the  whole shit show from their respective coasts. Each is responsible for demolishing one bladder of boxed wine over the course of the event. To watch what happens, click Golden Globes Preview

Kitty

Well, my cat died a little over a year ago. Those of you who don’t have a cat or just hate cats (FYI, you can eat poo) might not get it, but I still miss her every day. When she was alive, I used to carry her around my apartment, stand next to my roommate, and say, “Kitty, you’re my favorite roommate…that has fur.” It was hilarious every time and never got old. Kitty was my best buddy, and seeing her get sick and die was just the worst ever. When we came home from the vet, I wrapped her in tissue paper, put her in a shoebox and buried her out back of my parents’ house under the rose bush. The rose bush had a great year. Me? The jury’s still out.

I only mean that a little. Of course I know it’s been an amazing year for me, too (suck it, rose bush). I graduated from college, I made great friends, I was gifted an iPad from a gentleman benefactor. It was just hard to lose Kitty at such a critical moment. She represented more than she knew, which is saying something because she was getting her PhD in tuna. She was home to me. She would always, no mater what, sit on my books when I needed to study, scratch at my laundry basket when I was trying to sleep, and put her little paw on my face when she woke up all snuggly and adorable in the morning before she started shouting for me to give her treats. When she died it was like the universe was telling me, “Ok now, Genny. No turning back now. Go for it.” So I did.

I moved into my Chinatown apartment  on November First. I got a bed delivered that day and settled in for my first night. Around 2 am, I woke up suddenly to the sound of a cat screaming violently. It was so loud, I thought it was in the apartment. More likely it was on the fire escape next to my head. At first, I was annoyed to be woken up. But then, I smiled. It was kind of like this feral pile of mange was welcoming me. Assuring me, “Genny, you got this. First step apartment, next step, job, dreams, life.” Again, more than likely, he was probably saying “Screw you, Rat, this is MY chicken carcass”. Whatever, I am much more sentimental than that rat.

I still hear him from time to time. Never so close as that first night, but he’s out there. Roaming the rooftops, screaming violently, truly and deeply living. Every time I hear him, I think of Kitty, and her blind, tacit support of my every move. I like to think he represents that too. He is Kitty’s successor, saying, “go for it!” I hope he knows that I reciprocate the sentiment completely.  I always hope he’s happy. Though, given the screaming, if I am being realistic, I guess he’s probably not.

Top Ten Advantages of Living at Home

This movie is basically a less-dramatized version of my life

1. Free Booze – This one’s a no-brainer.  Better yet, seeing as parents have generally accumulated some level of wealth, and hopefully some level of taste (depends on the parent), they probably have good quality shit too.  Double bonus.

2. Premium Cable – HBO, Showtime, you want it, you got it.  On Demand? Yes, please. No need for a social life when you get to spend you evenings with Laura Dern, Sean Bean, William H. Macy, and Claire Danes.  Friends? What friends?

3.  Food – Best part of being a child back home?  Love and care that doesn’t need to be reciprocated.  Better yet, I allow myself to be bribed into running errands by using food as currency.  I have low standards.

4.  Pool/Hot tub Combo – This applies specifically to California, as it is apparently mandatory for every suburban home to have a pool and a hot tub.  Especially handy when escaping the heat of winter.

5.  Cleaning Services – The worst part of going to college was doing everything yourself. And it was so hard! Now, as long as your room has the illusion of cleanliness, your mom takes care of everything else.  And the best part is, because she’s your mom, you don’t have to pay her!

6.  Surplus Cash – Best thing about having aging parents is their inability to remember recent events.  Like exactly how much money they gave you and your brother to go see a movie.  Or how much that book you bought them on their credit card was.  You know, things they should know.

7.  Drama – Often times living away lacked the life-and-death situations and shouting arguments that happens when you put family in a small environment for long periods of time.  Never a dull moment anymore.  Nor a quiet one.

8.  Nighttime Freedom – Once 8 o’clock hits, the house is yours.  With your parents out and snoring like a light, who’s gonna ask you why you’re going to that seedy bar down the street, or who those strange asian men are, and why are they betting around the kitchen table.  As long as you get rid of evidence before the next morning, ignorance is your bliss.

9.  Increased Self-Importance – You’ve just come home with your college degree in tow, and how do you put it to use?  Not by finding a job, silly! You lord your superior intellect over everyone and demonstrate that, in fact, you do know everything.  And boy, what a great feeling that is.

10.  Love – My mom made me put this one in here…

Who’s Your Daddy(‘s favorite)…my dad named this post…

John Bane (my dad) has three children. Greg is an attorney, Will does Teach for America, and Amelia(me!) has no definite plans after graduation. John Bane loves all three of his children but never tries to hide the fact that he loves me the most. My brothers call it unfair. I call it a job well done.  I’m constantly working to maintain my spot as John Bane’s favorite child. After years of research I have generated a list of  my dad’s favorite topics of conversation.

List of My Dad’s Favorite Topics

  1. Baseball
  2. Vietnam
  3. William & Mary
  4. Greek Life
  5. Celebrity Gossip

Throughout my life, I have used my knowledge of the list to become the favorite child.

Baseball– When my dad realized my brothers “couldn’t catch pee running down their legs” I became his last hope for a baseball player in the family. I bring up my softball days frequently to remind my dad why I’m so much better than both my brothers.

Vietnam– My dad is a Vietnam combat veteran. Once in high school, I read Tim OBrien’s The Things They Carried for an English class. It’s a book written by a Vietnam veteran. To this day, I alternate facts I learned through this book with statements like “God. Hippies are the worst!” I also own a “God Bless America” t-shirt.


William & Mary– I go to my dad’s alma mater. My brothers went to UVA. My dad loves me more.

Greek Life– My dad always wanted me to go Greek. I avoided it until sophomore year but look at me now! I’m so Greek I appear twice on the composite!

Celebrity Gossip–  We agree on celebrity gossip. John Bane does not believe a female star can take the spot as “new female star” until she surpasses Pink. We both agree that Katy Perry has not yet surpassed Pink.

                            

I’m not worried about losing my spot as favorite child to either of my brothers. I keep my methods a secret. They’re safe on this blog. Neither one of my brothers will read this blog. They’re too busy practicing law and teaching geography. My dad will probably read this though…

How To: Watch a Movie Alone

This is part of a series of How To Guides about living on your own, in a new city, and/or with your parents.  Growing up is never hard to do, but it can be funny when you make a lot of mistakes, and force yourself to do things most people find shameful.  This is for your own erudition.

Living at home is phenomenal.  Nothing beats hanging out with your parents, eating home-cooked meals you didn’t have to make, getting your laundry done, premium cable (!!!!).  However, one of the things you first notice missing is your social life.  Living in the suburbs (where your parents probably live, if they haven’t already gone off the grid) is not conducive to a vibrant social scene, unless you’re into antiquing or socializing at the grocery store.  Then by all means, go crazy!  But me, I need some time with people that either a) didn’t have a direct hand in my existence and b) are under the age of 65.  I’m pretty easy.

For this reason, I like to go see movies.  Unlike most normal 20-somethings, I don’t usually have someone to go with.  Or I don’t want to take my 13 year old brother to see ‘The Kids Are Alright’.  So what do I do?  I go see the movie, by myself.  The following are the steps you need to follow in order to get through seeing a movie by yourself without taking a ride on what I like to call the Shame Cycle.

1. Confidence

This is the first and most important part.  Sharks and movie tellers are the only two known species that can smell fear on a person.  Second grade teachers have been rumored to have this ability, but there has been no empirical evidence to confirm the hypothesis.  Anyways, you need to walk up to the teller and say, in a loud clear voice, “ONE FOR TOY STORY 3, PLEASE.”  If they ask you if you’re meeting anyone, run.  They’ve already caught onto you and you’re dead in the water.  If not, you’ve passed the first test.  All that’s left is to get past the ticket taker, and often times they’re asleep, so it ain’t no thang.

Alternative: Instead of buying a ticket in person, you can also buy one online.  However, this means you have planned to see a movie by yourself ahead of time, and if this is the case, you’ve got some deeper issue to work on, buddy.

2. Movie Selection

This is a very important part as well.  Pick a “Schindler’s List”, you’ll be crying for hours with no one to comfort you.  Pick a “Spy Kids”, you’ll be getting suspicious stares from parents and children alike.  Pick a “Notebook”, you’re bound to be alone forever.  Pick a “Fool’s Gold” and you might actually go into the world’s first stupidity coma.  The point is, selection is key.  Not too sad, not too happy, not too many families, not too many friends, not too much action, and just the right amount of Bruce Willis.  You don’t want to be reminded you’re all by yourself, but you also don’t want to forget that movie stars need to pay their bills too.

3.  Seating

Once you’ve gotten past the vicious hoardes, seating is very important.  Just like a school cafeteria, where you seat in a theater will slap you with a label that will remain with you the rest of your life.  Wait, that’s not right… but for the sake of the argument, I present some master-theater-goer archetypes.

Tracy Flick: You’re showing that you’re overeager and don’t want to see people’s faces when they see you’re alone.  This is for the weak-hearted and the strong-necked

Jennifer Grey: This position is naturally back in the corner.  Don’t fall subject to your inner Jennifer Grey.  There may be a Patrick Swayze to come and rescue you, but mullets take a long time to get perfect, so don’t hold your breath.

Jake Gylenhaal:  This is what happens when you arrive late to slip in unnoticed, but all the seats are taken, so you have to sit in the middle.  Just like Jake Gylenhaal did in Brokeback Mountain.  Which is not a good movie to see by yourself.

Steven Segal: This is the position of the seasoned veteran.  You don’t flinch at your solitude, you relish in it and sit in the very middle.  You don’t care that your ponytail looks stupid, by god you’re going to see the movie and you’re going to enjoy yourself!

4.  The Escape

As important as all the other steps were, this last one is just as important.  Stay too long, you’ll get called out for being a lingerer, and god forbid, get roped into a conversation to discuss the movie (ewwww).  Leave to early, and you run into getting judged by the attendant who is wondering why you’re leaving so early BY YOURSELF.  Timing is essential, just like in throwing a hand grenade.  Both have equally grave consequences.

Hopefully, if you should every find yourself standing in front of a theater pondering seeing a movie by yourself, remember these 4 important parts, and you should be fine.  If not, you could always just Netflix it.

Old Parents

We had a baby on my husband’s 40th birthday.  Awww, so cute, right?  Not exactly.  How did that happen?  Well, the usual, plus wine.  There’s a good reason that it’s tough to get and be pregnant when you’re old,  you just shouldn’t do it!  Here are just a few of the many reasons why old parenting doesn’t work very well:
-If you have to use a calculator to figure out how old you’ll be at his high school graduation…probably not a good plan
-When you get mistaken for being his grandmother at the middle school fundraiser…not cool
-When you drop him off at school in your mini-van and Mom jeans and the other Moms are wearing long blonde ponytails, daisy dukes and Uggs…ego hit, aka, sobbing in the car on the way home
-When you go to bed before he does…poor household management
-When he gets in trouble, you take a privilege away and then forget what you took away…he counts on it (and of course, fails to remind you)
-When you have to keep a Pez container of Advil just so you can be ready to throw the football with him…pathetic
-When you have no idea what he’s doing on the computer because he’s so savvy with it and he knows it…hello, dinousaur
-When even he knows not to even go there…aka..ask to be taken to Disneyland…he doesn’t want to be seen on “It’s a Small World” with you
-When he pats you on top of the head and calls you “Tiny Mom” because he’s 2 inches taller than you…you’ve lost all your powers
-When you’re accused by your other kids of giving him more then they ever got…guilty, but just this once
Why is this true?  Because I’m just too tired to say no anymore.  I’m worn out, I don’t have the energy to helicopter and hover and micro-manage.  What he does at 13 doesn’t really go on his permanent record  (I’m kind of counting on that).  He knows that he’s loved and all that, don’t worry about him.  My only concern as he gets older, is that he will discover that he can do pretty much whatever he wants any night after 8 p.m.(if he hasn’t already), because I’ll be asleep.  Fingers crossed…

Enter the Axis of Evil, aka: The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

In honor of the passing of one of the world’s leading unintentionally funny psychotics, I would like to share an email I received while I was studying abroad in Beijing during 2009 regarding an opportunity to travel to North Korea.  If you weren’t aware, China is very close to North Korea.  Here’s a picture:

Super close!

This is from a fellow student, and I have not edited this email in any way, as any changes would ruin the essence of it:

In recent history, Americans have only been allowed to enter North Korea on four occasions: in 2002, 2005, 2008, and now in 2009. Not only are we here on the right year, we also happen to be here during the one month Americans are allowed to enter North Korea during 2009. 

It is dangerous and travelers do on occasion get detained but you would literally be one of 600 Americans to have stepped into North Korea since the country closed its borders to foreigners in 1953. What is most spectacular about the trip is that we would be going during what is called the Mass Games. The Games only take place once every few years and is comparable to the Olympic opening ceremony only this features 100,000 synchronized gymnasts inside the world’s largest stadium[1]. North Korea has decided to open its borders to foreign tourists like us for these games.

Upon entering North Korea, your passport will be taken by North Korean officials for the duration of your stay. You may not bring your cell phone. You may not bring your laptop. You are not allowed to use local currency. You may not speak to any North Koreans. Assume you are being listened to at all times. You may not say their leader Kim Jong’s name (it is Holy and not be said out loud). Not under any circumstances can you voice any criticisms of North Korea. Any pictures you take have to be government approved and will be checked upon your departure[2].

For anyone who is up to going, there are a few of us who are also really interested and we would love for you to come too! Every detail of the trip has to be settled TODAY on Wednesday, Sept 30 so please call me PRONTO if you want more information and are interested in coming!

This was equal parts shocking and intriguing, and during the 5 minutes I actually considered going, I decided to send it to the one person who would freak out the most: My mother.  I like to do things like that to keep our relationship interesting.  And by interesting, I mean dramatic.  Here was her response:

No Fing way!!!!!!!!!!!  Don’t even think about it Ben!!!!

Your personal axis of evil,

MOM

So as I look back on the life of a man I never knew, I’ll always remember two things: 1) My mother loves me enough to not want me to get abducted in a foreign country and 2) North Korea is bat-shit insane.  I only hope this new guy proves equally exciting for many decades to come.  Fingers crossed!!!

Los Angeles Correspondent,
Benjamin Gullickson

[1] The Mass Games are done for the sole purpose to honor and praise Kim Jong-Il.  It’s super creepy.  Check it out.

[2] She really had me at “assume you are being listened to at all times”.  Nothing says “vacation” like espionage!

A Family Affair

On New Year’s Eve, I went to a Pink Martini concert at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles.  It was an absolute blast, and never having heard any of Pink Martini’s music nor been to the concert hall before, it was definitely a night to remember.  The hall is absolutely beautiful, and its exterior amazement is matched only by its interior grace.  The concert itself was a raucous occasion full of surprise guests and even an accompanying marching band.  It was certainly a memorable experience, and a wonderful date night with my sister.  Yes, my sister.

Going on a date with your opposite-sex sibling is a rite of passage that every man must face at some point.  It just makes it all that much harder when your sister is a six foot tall blonde, leggy beauty and you look just like her except without the long flowing golden locks and the boobs.  Not fun.  It’s also all the more awkward when you’re both single in a new city and do a lot of things together, like have a fancy evening at the Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love my sister and love hanging out with her, it’s just very uncomfortable when you’re sitting in a restaurant in your fancy clothing and you realize every other couple in the room is boning each other.

Seeing as I have absolutely no shame though, I look forward to going on future dates with my sister.  Yes, I said it.  It will be great fun going to bars and clubs with her, watching as heads turn and records scratch.  Her, in a sea of gentleman suitors, and me sitting alone at the bar.  Or maybe instead we’ll have a picnic at the Hollywood Bowl.  Or maybe we’ll go on a shopping spree in Santa Monica.  Whichever we choose , it’ll be highly romantic, and everyone will be thinking, “Wow, she really lucked out in the genes department.”   Because if nothing else, I’m a good brother, and a good brother knows how to be a good wingman.  A good brother also knows to consume more alcohol than said sister so that she has to drive home.  And I am a VERY good brother.

Ben

Nicki Minaj and Rosetta Stone

I love Nicki Minaj. I hope the name “The Ironical Chronicle” doesn’t suggest my love for Nicki is in any way ironic. It’s the real thing. Last month, my friend Mary introduced me to the Big Sean & Nicki Minaj – Dance (ASS) (Official Music Video) and I haven’t been the same since. I can’t stop watching it.

The video has two highlights. First, the word “ASS” pops up on the screen in multiple languages throughout the video. Watching the Big Sean & Nicki Minaj – Dance (ASS) (Official Music Video) is like purchasing the entire Rosetta Stone series and only learning the word “ASS”. Unlike Rosetta Stone, IT’S FREE!

The second highlight, as I’m sure you could all guess, is Nicki Minaj’s ass/verse.

The only low point is Big Sean. I don’t know what it is, maybe it’s the fact that his ass is so unimpressive compared to Nicki’s, but I don’t enjoy his ass/verses.

This winter break I’ve had a lot of time to think about ways to improve my life and the lives of others so I’ve taken the liberty of editing/fixing the Big Sean & Nicki Minaj – Dance (ASS) (Official Music Video). Here is my edited version. I hope you enjoy it!

Phil Bobberman

I was a bridesmaid, recently, in a friend’s wedding. It was a lovely ceremony, a beautiful party, and a delightfully open bar. This was my first high school friend to get married, so it was kind of a doozy.  There were a bunch of people that I went to high school with there, who I was admittedly a little nervous to see. As, you, my imaginary readers, know, I am just so very unemployed, which is not the proudest thing to announce to people you haven’t seen in 3 years. I thought about lying about my life. But then, I thought, I should reconsider.

Let me tell you a little story about a lie I once told. During my sophomore year of college, I approached the winter break with dread and anxiety. Then, much as now, I felt nervous about seeing old friends. I needed encouragement, a game to play to help me feel less inexplicably uneasy. Naturally (not crazily at all) I decided to create a fake boyfriend, complete with backstory and Facebook page, and trick my friends into thinking he was real. Those who knew me best called me out on it within 15 minutes (the bride from this wedding among them). There were others, still, who I kept going for over 2 and a half years. Truly, this was my Magnus Opus.

For those among you considering a similar experiment (which I do recommend), here are some of the details. My boyfriend, Phil Bobberman, was a first year law student at the William and Mary School of Law. I had met him through a friend of a friend at school. My friend who introduced us was a real person that I knew from a study abroad, who none of my high school friends had met, but who I had talked about before, unwittingly establishing credibility. Phil Bobberman had grown up in Pennsylvania, liked hiking and photography, and was hoping to start a career in copyright law. His Facebook pic was of him far away on a mountain, hiding his face with a camera while taking a picture (re: he loved photography). I found it on google.

it was something to this effect

I arranged an accomplice. A friend who had helped concoct the plot posed as Phil. I changed his name in my phone to Phil Bobberman, and we texted periodically over break. I would let him know when I was in a group of people and he would text or call me then. One time, I let a high school friend pick up one of these calls before passing it over to me, at which point I made sure to sound all love struck and shit. This whole project was enhanced by the fact that I am a phenomenal actress.  Seriously, though, I’m really good.

I was very pleased with myself over this whole thing. I thought (and maintain) that it was hilarious. I eventually heard through the grape vine that my friends, as they found out that Phil was, in fact, fake, thought I was a psychotic asshole, and, well, I can’t say I entirely disagree. As such, it was a little troubling that at this wedding, my immediate impulse was to make an excuse for why my fabulous New York boyfriend couldn’t be there as my date. I guess I feel ok about resisting that impulse.  I’m really not trying to become the girl-who-cried-fake-boyfriend. Although, I will admit to you now, internet, that I do think that the only thing funnier than doing it once would be doing it twice.

Fun though it may have been to trick everybody again, I decided that I should really be respectful of Phil’s memory.  It was special time we shared together before he realized he was gay and dumped me publicly. I would never want to cheapen that.