I Bet You Think This Blog Is About You

Once upon a time, things were simple. You might remember it. Sit down for a second. No, wait, stand. We're gonna take a walk down memory lane.

Way back when, let's say, oh, 1989, you had very simple criteria in your life. You hung out with friends who entertained you. You found ways to amuse yourself that honed in on your talents. You made tape mixes and swapped them with other kids, having already screened said friends for their musical taste. It wasn't considered weird to filter people out of your life based on their (allegedly) shitty taste in music. Importantly, it wasn't uncalled for to screen people out for *lacking* their own taste in music. You did what you wanted to. Oh, and what your parents wanted, because they paid the bills.

Since I don't have access to your particular memory lane, let me take you down mine. I had a decent amount of friends (this would be the "the writer of this blog wasn't a total loser" clause). Within that group that filled my little address book, I had a few that I was genuinely close with. How did I know I was close with them? Because I'd share my sketches of the logo and bassist from Guns n Roses with them. That's how you knew you were in the inner circle. But how did I know who to share my prized artwork with? Did they have to be a GnfnR fan? Of course not. But, like a Venn Diagram, enough had to intersect to make them worth my time. If not, I was happy drawing and writing songs (including the sleeper hit "I Think I'll Become A Nun") in my room, on my island of pink striped walls and flaming flourescent carpeting, thank you very much.

Some of my friends just "got" it. And they mostly proved to me that they did via their understanding of music that I liked. Now, I'm not gonna push it. I have and always will listen to Madonna on my own clock. But my best friend throughout high school is the one who laughed at Doctor Demento tapes with me to no end, pausing only to film our own video for "Dead Puppies (Aren't Much Fun)". She was alongside me as we listened to hours upon hours of 103.5, hard rock. She would walk in to my room and pass my posters of Sebastian Bach or Bret Michaels without flinching. Only she could duet with me just right on Tesla songs.

Music brought people together back in the day despite the geographical distances between them and the absence of technology to fill those gaps. We didn't have file swapping. What we had was tape dubbing and the US Fucking Postal Service. Once you made a friend in Boston or in Wisconsin or in Canada, you could stay in touch via loooong letters of painstaking detail (and design) detailing all the millions of minute details of your life, accompanied by a painstakingly assembled 60 or -- if you were so devoted -- 90 minute tape mix.

I still have my crate of tapes. Someone asked me the other day why I don't dump them, given that I own much of that same music on cd. But perfect digital sound isn't what I'm after. What good is an Aerosmith song to me if not labeled in Julia-from-French-camp-this-was-the-tape-she-made-when-I-visited-her-family-jumped-on-their-trampoline-and-accidentally-ate-venison handwriting? And what about all the punk rock that I just couldn't get in to, but Jon "we-were-in-the-same-Holland-American-cruise-clique" Barabash of Edmonton assembled and sent in a steady stream of persuasion? And what about Stacy's mixes for my international family vacations, in which she plugged a mic and entertained me with her random thoughts between the Doors and Blue Oyster Cult?

Today we make our friends for different reasons. The office brings people together. Blech. Prestige brings people together. Class seating brings people together. Because-we-have-a-friend-in-common brings people together. Desperation (often) brings people together. Back in the day, my criteria was tightly enforced. I would rifle through people's tape cases in search of a reason to believe we should be friends. I was efficient as a forensic expert at a stinky scene. In, find what I need to make my decision, and leave.

I had a conversation with a male friend as I was starting college to the effect that "Real Men Listen To The Beastie Boys". Well, our theory was tested out not too much later. I went on a few dates with Jake, a Nice Guy. Exactly. There wasn't anything wrong with him -- he was cute, smart, and pretty fun. But there wasn't anything really *right* with him either. The first time I was over at his house, I sat myself right in front of his CD tower. My eyes scanned the impeccably organized collection. "AC/DC..... AC/DC....Beatles." There it was. All I needed to know. I scanned with my eyes, once, twice more, to be sure they hadn't failed me. I was on the scene of a stinky crime. I told him nicely that I needed to leave, and I went to find my friend and go home.

Somewhere on the journey to adulthood, I hushed my Muse-Ical Instincts. They were telling me all along, no, screaming, that the guys I found myself adoring weren't right for me. There was the guy who listened to too much nn-cha nn-cha techno. The guy who made me a mix with Len's "Stealing My Sunshine" (Author's Note: I would *never* dis on a mix someone had made me, but in retrospect, this digression was simply unforgivable). The guy who, surpassing Those With Stinky Musical Taste, proved to be a Blank Slater. No musical taste whatsoever. Audially malleable. And thus, for me, boring.

I don't think I need to go on. I think my point has been made. There's something to be said for listening to your heart. And when your heart beats with music every moment of every day, you have all the reason in the world to listen especially hard.


Nothing sexy, nothing scandalous. Here it is:

I am a compulsive to-do list writer. Any time I have a few minutes to myself or I'm bored, I will pick up pen and paper and begin to commit myself to a list of items that I must accomplish and that will make me feel like a productive member of society (my society, Lillyville, population: 1).

So here's my question: Do you ever finish something, only to refer back to your to-do list and find out that it's NOT ON THERE? Then do you write it in and subsequently cross it out?

Don't accuse me. I'm just asking.

"Home, Home on the seventh floor........"

My roommate moved in today.

This is a really big deal. Like moving into the dorms. Except, when I was that innocent child of 17, I had no idea what I was getting in to. College was a big fat mystery, not to mention the anonymous women I would be thrown into close quarters with. This time, it's like getting a redo.

In the original version of Lilly Gets A Roommate, Princess Caroline, as we not-so-affectionately called her, moved in. That deserved its own sentence so that now I can devote sentence #2 to a shortlist of her transgressions: hanging religious symbols on our door, squeezing the remaining two of us into a space that equaled only 1/3 of the room, setting up a loft and then carving into it the dates of her sexual conquests (this was verified by a quick climb-and-peep, but it's all true), hanging dirty underwear off a perfume bottle in full view of guests to our room, stacking a cd case with music that included but was not limited to "John Tesh - Sax By The Fireplace". Did I mention that she would get up first thing, shower, and then lounge around the room naked? Thank God for the fact that I was already quite dependent on contacts to make out shapes. But what I saw, blurry as it may have been, was more than enough for this kid.

In the remake, I should start by saying that the role of Roommate will not be played by a human incarnation of an ostrich. Rather, she's a beautiful girl, and Persian to boot. I've never had a roomie from the motherland. That will put a fun twist on things. Like the episode where the parents come to town. We can dub that one in both languages. Plus, my roomie (aka "Rumi" because I'm ohsoclever) and I, by virtue of our shared common mother tongue, can talk about people behind their backs. But in front of them. So should someone come over and we find the need to be excessively rude, we can do so. Fun for the whole family!

In this issue of Roommate, she has a life. Not to say that Princess C's devotion to the chemistry fraternity at the University of Michigan wasn't proof enough that she was a socialite... but Roomie/Rumi has a career. She has a boyfriend. She does not, from what I have seen, own anything that even rhymes with "Tesh". And I love her for this.

Some people have asked me if it will be hard to adjust to having a roommate after two and a half years of living alone. To them I say this: one- you're just regretting the fact that you didn't crash in my extra room more often. Two, you're just jealous that I get to go through dorm life, minus the food, and you don't. Neener neener. Or maybe you're slightly envious that our antics will likely be deserving of its own website: 712isthebomb.com. I say: stop yer crying and start planning what you're bringing when we throw a Brand New Roomies party.

It just feels like time to do something new, and moving stuff around the house and, perhaps more importantly, moving new life into it, seems like the right thing. I know that the days, weeks, months (years?) to come are going to teach me things. I mean, I already learned something. I learned about NEEDS. You see, her boyfriend moved her in, while she was *out of town* (yes, guys, go back and read that again. Then recognize that the bar has been raised significantly) this weekend. And this made me come to terms with some deep-seated needs *I* have. Every woman has needs, right? Needs that should be satisfied, like... the need to reach the top shelf of my kitchen cupboard. The need to have someone capable of putting my closet door back on its tracks. The need for someone who isn't as scared of the dark as I am to shut off the lights.

Girls who are out there whining (writing, singing, thinking) about how they need a guy to fulfill them emotionally and make them whole are a mystery to me. What I've requested? That's the real deal right there. The basics of survival.

Simplicity is a beautiful thing.

Of Late Night Rite Aid Runs and Checkout Lines

"Is Bill Clinton dying?" screams one cheaply printed trash mag from beneath a glaring flourescent light in Rite Aid. I notice it because I am in a line of 57274 people awaiting the mercy of the sloooooooow clerk. My first reaction was that it was just mean. And that Republicans need to be more creative with their propoganda. My second reaction was "We all are." Ha ha, smirk smirk, gotcha. True, though, right? It made me feel better, because no one wants to think of Bill as anything but the healthy and sexually robust guy we all know and love. But it also got me thinking...

The truth is we all only have x amount of time. Not to be neurotic about how I spend my time, but a recent poll presents some unpleasant facts about my Usage of Time Allotted To Live:

1) watching "Strange Love", a spinoff reality show featuring Brigette Nielsen and Flava Flav = 30 minutes
2) checking email. compulsively = total 2.5 hours
3) lying in bikini top on balcony in constant stream of thought re: how much it would suck to live on the east coast = 45 min
4) prerusing magazines like Fitness, convinced that if I reread the exercises, I will be compelled to do them = 20 minutes
5) staring into the cupboard, convinced that something new will appear = 2 minutes
6) listening to Madonna warble "Imagine" on the tsunami telethon = approx. 4 minutes
7) spent bitching on the phone to friend that I had to endure Madonna singing "Imagine" = 1.5 minutes
8) spent bitching in person to friends over coffee that I had to endure Madonna singing "Imagine" = 45 seconds
9) spent reminding myself that 'harakiri' is not the answer to listening to Madonna sing "Imagine" = 10 seconds
10) watching tv show about celebrities and colonics = 20 minutes
11) explaining the mechanics of colonics ("intestinal vacuuming") to a friend via phone = 3 minutes
12) calculating the odds of having Brad Pitt as my operator if I called the tsunami telethon line = 4 minutes

And that was just today.

I'm not proud of these statistics. Although they do make me laugh. Because if you were to tally up the ways I waste my time, I'm not convinced that my more intellectual endeavours would outweigh. But I'm not sure where this great cosmic intelligensia scale is, so I'm not sweating it til I get there. Good thing one of my resolutions was to not be hard on myself or we'd be in some trouble. I guess making the most of your day is in the eye of the beholder. Because while I'd swap out some of the other choices I've made in the last 24, Flava Flav is a keeper...

That Last Ten Pounds

Whatever. As if. You really thought I was going to resolve to whittle myself into perfect shape yet again, for the 15th year in a row? Come on now. I got realistic this year. I decided to broaden the New Years Resolutions.

New Years Resolutions are an iffy subject with me. On the one hand, I want to make them, to join the legions of Americans who are promising to become their best selves in the next year. Then again, I feel like I should hold off until the first day of spring, launching my resolutions at the new year I genuinely celebrate, the Persian one. Or maybe I should have American resolutions for my American persona and Persian resolutions for my other persona? Examples: American persona vows to lose 10 pounds, be nicer person. Iranian persona vows to stop wishing ridiculous amounts of facial hair on fellow Persian females I don't particularly care for. And so on.

This year I decided not to think so far ahead (March = so far), so I racked up my resolutions. I wanted to learn conversational Italian, practice yoga more regularly, run 100 miles over the course of the year, finish Anna Karenina for once and for all... but the list looked so blah. And it wasn't much different than what I promise myself on a regular basis anyways. So I decided to "think big". To go more for thematic, quality of life-oriented decisions. Here they are:

1) To drop guilt. Jessica used to say that "guilt is a worthless emotion". I didn't understand. I heard her, but I didn't *get* it. I couldn't imagine getting rid of guilt any more than I could imagine letting go of my long hair or my eyeballs. Or my typing fingers, come to think of it.

I loved when she'd say it, because it was a comment usually aimed at my ex, or another guy on my Shit List of the Week. They'd push the wrong buttons, get on my bad side, realize they had taken me for granted (is there a patent on this procedure?), and then feel guilty about what they'd done. And Jess and I, suited up for a long walk through the hills of Westwood, would just tsk and say "Guilt? Guilt is a worthless emotion." And that would be that.

Guilt pervades many aspects of my life, and I'd like to clear it out and make room for other emotions I haven't explored that much. Like love. Or rage. Haven't felt much rage. Confusion? Nope. Know-it-alls don't go through that one very often. Euphoria. I'd like a bit of that.

Ultimate reason for dropping guilt: guilt IS worthless. It means there's a situation you're just dwelling on, without doing anything about it. It had never occurred to me, Miss Woman of Action, that this was a sticking point. You're not making the situation better, you're just feeling like shit about whatever has happened. Worthless. Consider it done.

2) To stop being so hard on myself. At least one friend has countered that I'm genetically coded for guilt by virtue of being Iranian. Hm. Is that a challenge? So far, I've spent 2005 eating cookie dough with abandon, taking a few days off work, no matter how many calls I've gotten or emails fester in my inbox, and refusing to be hard on myself about it (not to mention not feeling guilt about it). I can't imagine what a year without being cruel to myself about every aspect of my life will be like. So far, it's great. Like a daily vacation. Next year, I'm asking the annual gods for my own cabana boy.

So this is how the year begins. I've already been cosmically tested on both prongs of my New Years Resolutions (what, you thought it would be easy?), and I almost caved. But not quite. It's not easy work, sticking to these things. Halting yourself from writing a smooth-over email for the second time, or calling someone just to be sure that you don't have a reason to feel guilty. Ignoring the stack of paper that looms over you, casting a shadow over your desk.

Sometimes I think that, by comparison, ten pounds would be a cinch.