2.17 eating sunshine

I’m very tempted to take the night off, but I just can’t help myself. I’ve created a nice little 17-day habit, and I kind of don’t want to spoil it.

Here is what I learned today:

1) Bieber’s “Somebody to Love” is the perfect little running song. Don’t judge me. Also, springtime running > slushy winter running.

2) “It’s Never Too Late for Now!” is my new catchphrase. Thanks, Liz Lemon.

3) I think The Office had to go through the sorta-painful, not-as-funny moments in the last couple of years to get us to this new place where it’s just better than ever. Earned hilarity. Tonight’s episode, where Michael Scarn’s film has finally come to fruition, it’s just absolutely perfect.

4) Kale and The Daily Show have more in common than the fact that they sorta rhyme. (They do!) Observe:

First, kale. This leafy green is my new mealtime jam. It’s super healthy, super yummy, and, yes, gives me super-vegetarian cred.
I was prompted to buy it because I’m reading Alicia Silverstone’s book, The Kind Diet. It’s a vegan cookbook / book book about where food comes from, what food does to our bodies, and how to love grains & greens. “Kind” means kind to animals, of course, but also kind to the earth and, as a bonus, to yourself.
While at times it feels like I’m reading a book written by Cher from Clueless (she says “awesome” and “cool” more often than might be necessary), it’s an interesting read. And it brought me to kale. Alicia says eating a plant-based diet is like eating sunshine. I thought about that as I rinsed my kale tonight and as foo-foo as it sounds, I believe it.

Being vegan is so awesome.

It’s not like eating meat and processed food is eating darkness, but remember the pollution monster from Fern Gully? I imagine it’s sorta like that. Doesn’t it make sense that natural close-to-the-earth food is better for you? I know “good for you” smacks of eating peas and brushing your teeth–unfun things. But I mean it in the mmmmmmmmmmmm good sort of way. I’ve been vegetarian for almost a year, and dabbling in being vegan-ish for about a month, and I can tell a difference in how I feel.
Eating Sunshine.

Second, The Daily Show:
Today’s convocation speaker at Drury was Frederick Lane, an author, lawyer and privacy expert…who has also been on The Daily Show. I could write a 2-page paper on his talk (would’ve had to as a freshman) but instead I’ll cut to the chase: my degrees of separation from Jon Stewart has now shrunk to ONE. This cannot be overstated. It’s silly, I know, but I got a little energy from being in the same room with an author who’s been to the comedy Promised Land.

I went to the post-talk lunch and had the chance to ask him more about the show. I could tell it was a cloud-nine experience for him, too.
He described the shock and awe of getting the email from his agent with the subject line: “The Daily Show!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
The nondescript warehouse in Hell’s Kitchen where they film.
Walking through the unglamorous writers room on the way to the stage. (I imagine a conference table, a coffee machine and some white boards. Still sounds like Graceland to me.)
Jon Stewart’s intelligence and ability to talk about anything. And his stature. I’ve heard before that he’s not a tall guy. It’s funny, if you google “jon stewart height” the top result tells you in bold typeface 5’7″. He seems so larger-than-life that it’s hard to imagine him being a person with physical limits. Wish to hug him even more now.

And so kale and The Daily Show helped me have a good day.
Learning feels good. Eating well feels good.
Recognizing that feels good. Writing about it feels good.


2.16 Burnin’ Love

Tonight at book club my friend Heather suggested that my love language is Mix CDs. I. Love. It. It’s funny because it’s true.

I talked about love languages at both The Skinny and at work this week–Valentine’s Day and all–and I don’t really identify with one more strongly than the others. Kind of a fan of them all.

But Mix CDs? The Mix CD is my mother tongue.
I love making them. Revising them. Giving them. Receiving them. And it’s not just about compiling a list of songs and slapping them on a CD. No, it’s about crafting an experience. Telling a story.

Case in point: SJ’s VDAY 2011 “Don’t Waste the Pretty” Mix

It’s a CD of love songs, of sorts. Self-love songs, you might say. I hesitate to call it a breakup CD, though that’s certainly a theme. There aren’t any weepy anthems here. No Bryan Adams power ballads or “please baby, baby please” Boyz II Men business. Just songs that make you want to work out. Or get a haircut. Or delete some cute texts. Or look real good in them jeans. “I’m Every Woman” type stuff, only Chaka didn’t make the cut this time.

I gave it the car test tonight, and I’m happy to say it holds up. I wish I could make you all a copy, but I did the next best thing. I made you a playlist on Grooveshark!

Grooveshark is my new favorite toy. I haven’t spent much time with it, but I think I like it. It’s like a mix CD in the computer. (That last part makes me think of Zoolander. Anybody else? Please. Make me a mix CD. I love you.)

Here ’tis:

Misery / Maroon 5
Rolling In the Deep / Adele
For Reasons Unknown / The Killers
Many Shades of Black / The Raconteurs
Real Love / Mary J. Blige
Somebody to Love / Queen
Paper Bag / Fiona Apple
Used to Love U / John Legend
Next Girl / The Black Keys
Cue the Rain / Queen Latifah
Cold Shoulder / Adele
If You Really Love Me / Stevie Wonder
You Can’t Hurry Love / Supremes
Why Don’t You Love Me / Beyoncé
Bills, Bills, Bills / Glee Cast
Express Yourself / Glee Cast
Take Me or Leave Me / RENT Soundtrack
Single Ladies / Pomplamoose
Baby / Justin Bieber & Ludacris
King of Anything / Sara Bareilles
Cry Me a River / Justin Timberlake

Couldn’t find versions of either Adele song that would play on Grooveshark. Damn shame. She’s awesome. Please youtube her at your convenience.

After book club I went to Borders, which is going to be closing soon. Felt kinda sad. I know I’m guilty of purchasing the majority of my books online. I like to save a buck and get a thrill from earning free shipping. But you can’t walk around Amazon.com. You don’t browse there, or at least not in the meandering, discovery, tangible experience kind of way. I usually go to amazon when I know I want something specific. Click, click, done. I’m going to miss Borders. That place gives me joy. I feel like the outraged bookstore patrons of You’ve Got Mail, only this time I’m mourning the loss of a “big, bad chain store” as Tom Hanks would describe it. Yep, I’m getting ready to break up with my favorite bookstore. And breakin’ up is hard to do.

2.15 the morning after

Well folks, I set a small blog goal for myself and actually followed through. This is no small feat, m’friends. Thinking back over these 14 days, watching & writing about Groundhog Day feels like much more than two weeks ago.

Writing every day actually changes time a little bit. It gives the days more richness. Makes them thicker.

The ubiquitous Socrates quote “the unexamined life is not worth living” gets a lot of play on inspirational coffee mugs and dorm bulletin boards. But I still ponder what it means for the life of the writer, which is inevitably one of examination. Only recently have I started to see this quote in a slightly different way. I think it’s not as if the examination brings up these products that are valuable and validating–it might, and hopefully it will. But the act of examining itself is the good part, the part that gives life worth.

So I’ve examined my heart and my ideas about love these last two weeks, but as a result I’ve ended up thinking more about the act of writing.

Writing is how I figure out what I think. It’s how I mentally doodle.
I surprise myself. I figure things out. I write my way through the maze.

Last night I saw the Justin Bieber movie (hells yeah I did! And I won’t apologize. See it, and I guarantee you’ll never mock the Biebs again). Watching the kid drum on a kitchen chair at 3 years old, hamming it up in grainy home videos, you just get this feeling that performing is what he’s supposed to do.

My relationship with writing feels something like that.

There’s evidence that I was a word ham when I was in preschool. “She was writing books before she could spell” kinds of evidence. I was also telling jokes before I understood the punchlines. I remember going to the diner in Sparta with my grandparents when I was really little. We’d just watched “Lonesome Dove” the night before, so when the time came to pay the bill, and Grandpa mentioned the tip, I announced, loudly enough for the whole place to hear, “tip that whore!!” At first I was being sincere; because I’d heard some TV cowboy say it, I thought this was appropriate. I had no idea what “whore” meant, but I discovered that saying it made people laugh. And that was a thrill.

I like writing about serious ideas. I like writing about my life. I like writing about what I observe. I like at least the idea of writing about books, hence this blog. But I know without question that what I like the most is writing funny.

Teach me your ways, Kelly Kapoor.

I think it’s my new life goal to get Mindy Kaling to notice me on Twitter. I want her to take me under her badass-female-comedy-writer wing and guide me to a rags-to-riches development not unlike Biebs. (But with slightly less awesome hair and a deeper voice.)

The last time I was this blog prolific was my “Once a day in May” project in 2009. I revisited it today, and the post from May 1, 2009, was dedicated to my newfound nerd crush on David Wain. I’d found a New York magazine article where he describes a typical day:

Q: In one sentence, what do you actually do all day in your job?
A: Never the same, but often involves some combination of writing, walking, meetings, editing, shooting, laughing, debating, reading, watching, and sitting in coffee shops.

The sexiest man alive.

Two years ago I read that and thought, I want to go to there. And you know what? A lot has changed for me in two years, but I still feel exactly that. I want to be a comedy writer. Say it louder now, like you mean it. I Want To Be A Comedy Writer.

Does it become less scary if I proclaim it out loud (online)?
Does it seem less silly or more delusional to make such a ballsy claim?
I don’t mean to say I dislike what I’m doing now. Being a university writer who does voluntary comedy on the weekends is great. But saying I also want to do something else gives me a focus for the future. Something to strive for. A place to put my hopes again. Thicker days.

Put it on a coffee mug, folks. I’m inspired.