Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Intensive Care

Sometime in your life, as a total surprise, a family member of yours might be taken to the hospital where they will spend a prolonged amount of time in the intensive care unit. This happened to me just recently.

I hope this doesn’t happen to you, but you should be forewarned – it might happen and then you want to be prepared: it is not like the movies. Even I, an ardent admirer of "Steel Magnolias" with its long Julia-Roberts-Coma-Sequence was grossly unprepared.

Here are some of the main differences you can expect:



Movie Fib: There is only one doctor.

In the movies, to make it easier to understand, they use one doctor to deliver plot points. In real life, there will be about six thousand doctors. They will appear not to know each other. You will tell Dr. Lastname “Dr. Smith said so and so” and then Dr. Lastname will say something like “Dr. Smith…does he have a beard?” and then, even though you are almost thirty, your Mom will embarrass you by saying “Dr. Smith has beautiful eyes.”



Movie Fib: Important things happen all the time

Untrue. The important thing has already happened. Now basically what the doctors are doing is just telling you interesting medical facts to pass the time.



Movie Fib: There is definitely one fatal sounding beep.
Bullshit. All beeps sound fatal and will give you a heart attack. Then you will get used to them and none of the beeps sound fatal. There should be a sequel to “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” called “Machines F@!#! Say Your Dad is Dying Every Twenty Minutes”



Movie Fib: Your family will huddle in the waiting room, crying.

Your family will sit around watching TV and reading and then someone will say “Who wants coffee?” and someone else will say “All I want is Taco Bell.” And they will respond “I’m not bringing Taco Bell into the hospital, it’s trashy.”



Movie Fib: You Will Read Aloud to the Unconscious
Okay, this is true. You'll do it. I did. If you are ever the person IN the coma, you ought to have some books set aside ahead of time. Not me, but someone I will call “Mom” is going to read you Eat, Pray, Love. I know, it sucks. I can’t help it. None of us like Tom Clancy.



Movie Fib: There will be long silent montages demonstrating the agony of your family.

I don’t know what kind of family you have but we never shut up.



Movie Fib: The One Closest Person In Their Life Will Get Them To Open Their Eyes

Everyone has seen a ton of movies where the most special person gets the eyes of the sick person to open. This gives the hospital room a contest-like atmosphere where your family competes to see who really is the most important.

I for a few days wanted to be that special person, even though I know my sister and I are loved the same. But I wanted to do it, I wanted to see his eyes open and recognize me and I could say something funny like, “You idiot, don’t do that again!” or serious like “Dad, it’s me, I love you” or try to explain everything or tell him about what’s happened, or even, for a second, enjoy that certainty that he will be there with me a little bit longer. Just a moment longer.

Movie Fib: There are endings
You hope not.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Judy Blume


Was the greatest, right? I was never freaked out that I was going to be the class weirdo for being either the first or last girl in the grade to get my period, but rites of adolescence were shrouded in mystery just the same and it was comforting to have someone sort of explain things. For strong independent female characters and learning about boners, you can't beat it. So I made this. Congrats, Judy.

Things We Learned From Judy Blume

Monday, April 28, 2008

Chicago Tribune

The ol' "Suspicious Skies" Op-Ed was published today in the Chicago Tribune. This is around my third proudest achievement of all time, despite the fact that soon there will be no such thing as a newspaper. Whatever. Still happy. Happy like the last guy who sold a radio show pilot.

Suspicious Skies

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Celebribabes

Hello new parents! Congratulations on your
accomplishment. We can only assume that you are
nervous, excited, and full of questions like “Should I
breast feed?” “What if my baby cries all the time?”
and “How can I most effectively package and develop my
baby’s content for maximum distribution and revenue
generation on the Internet?” Lucky for you, our
company has the answers. To the third question.

Your friends might already have baby blogs, or a
flickr pages. Boring. Your baby can do so much more. A
baby allows you to increase your internet presence
ten-fold, thereby multiplying your opportunities to
create a genuine family brand that will drive
delighted consumers back to your website again and
again to view your particular brand of family
infotainment.

By creating a solid web presence, you’ll also be
helping your baby. By the time your baby enters
elementary school, they’ll have a fan base, a thriving
interactive web site and a marketable personality that
can easily connect with consumers. Remember how you
wanted that jersey only the cool kids had? Well, now
your kid is the cool kid but this time Nike’s paying
you 2% of the revenue based on sales from your site
alone!

As you look at your little flesh lump you might think
“but my baby isn’t doing anything particularly
hilarious and doesn’t seem to have a personality yet.”
Trust us: personalities are crafted, not born. You
just need to package your baby. Ask yourself the
following questions:

1. Does my Baby do anything weird when music is on?
2. Does my Baby do something that seems
preternaturally adult?
3. Would I be comfortable letting my baby fall great
distances?
4. Be around a scary animal?
5. Bear? Cheetah?

If your baby is dull, take heart: this is not about
what your baby does, but what the web says your baby
is. And you can make your baby do anything. It's a
baby. Here are some sample suggestions:

Baby who ONLY WEARS PINK
Baby who is DRESSED UP AS GODZILLA AND CRUSHES MODELS
OF TOKYO.
Baby who you’ve taught to say “NO WAY OSAMA BIN LADEN
and shake finger in a sassy way.

Or give your baby an adjective and let the site’s
content naturally develop from your efforts to apply
that adjective across multiple media platforms. For
instance, EDGY BABY might have a Mohawk. EGDY BABY
posts videos from Lollapalooza or a similar mass
culture event with niche market applications. EDGY
BABY’s photo gallery is full of hilarious pictures of
EDGY BABY asleep next to a well-placed glass of beer.
EDGY BABY swears in his/her blog (which you write
until EDGY BABY is both literate and a foul mouthed
bastard). A collateral benefit of this approach
ensures that by the time that EDGY BABY’s obligatory
nude photos emerge in their teenage years, EDGY
BABY/TEEN is ready to take them to the bank.

In terms of unique site visitors, product links,
subscribers and onsite ads, your baby’s content is one
of the greatest gifts you can give yourself. Get that
web presence rolling, and then we’ll talk reality tv,
book deals, you name it. Remember - in five years, if
you're not a product, you're not a person.

Sarah As Cell Phone


If you haven't watched "Texting Your Way To Love," this is my character.

Ocean Fun



A still shot from a game of, "Can You Beat the Ocean By Running Fast?" Chuck and I played last weekend. The answer is no. The ocean got us wet and the ocean also made our legs burn like fire.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

SuperNews

is Current's animated satire/comedy show. The guys over there were kind enough to invite me to voice the character of "Sarah" in this week's episode. So, check out

Texting Your Way to Love

Monday, April 14, 2008

Suspicious Skies

This essay will appear in a different more exciting format! Coming soon!

Monday, April 07, 2008

Making an Impression

Hi there. Below is my impressions reel.
video

Friday, April 04, 2008

Chicago Sketchfest

I went back in January to make a short "pod" on Sketchfest. Now it is done! Hooray.

Sketchfest Pod


I "produced" it so I was not on camera. I was just around the camera, having libations.

Who's That Sweeping?

Me. I am an excellent brooms-woman.

http://current.com/items/88884039_the_future_of_infomania


Exciting times, indeed.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Newsblast

I work at a show called 'infomania.' For many months now, my friend and co-worker Mark has written a segment called "Newsblast" almost every day. The last Newsblast aired on April 1st. At the end of this final Newsblast, there's a little tribute to him and his behind the scenes work. Mark does not like being on camera/performing (much) so most of this was caught over the months when he was just doing voiceovers and the camera was rolling.

http://current.com/items/88883466_newsblast_04_01_08

Check it out. The homage starts around 2:10. Congrats, Mark.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Then We Came To The End


This is a book about work, and the way we work, and how we treat the people we work with. It takes place in an advertising agency in Chicago that is slowly falling apart. I worked in an advertising agency in Chicago that was slowly falling apart and I have a deep desire to hold a posthumous book club with the agency and ask everyone if they know what character they are. Because that, in some ways, is the point of (and best part of)Then We Came To The End. It is written in the first person plural - the "we." And the use of "we" very much gets at the way we understand each other. In offices, people live in collectives, and operate in collectives and create narratives to understand them. Large, hive-mind shifting narratives where you can somehow know that everyone has an opinion about you and still survive the endless scrutiny of simply existing day after day with them because you've got them pegged pretty quickly.

I haven't worked in an office since August 2003. Now I am back in an office. A smaller office with fewer of the middle aged people that I found bizarre at age 22. Why were they talking to me? What did they want me to do? Didn't they know I had bigger dreams and a crushing interminable hangover from drinking at the Old Town Ale House until 4am? Every Wednesday?

The voice is perfect because I/We Did That. We would go to Starbucks for peppermint mochas because the day felt long and we felt irritated. We would complain about being oppressed. And we'd see the same people every day and then we'd leave and forget them, slowly, gatherings for drinks falling by the wayside.

In the interim of this time I was in another work situation, with a touring company of actors. (Here I commence pretending someone reads this who doesn't know me). And for some reason, you'd think it would feel the same but it never did. It never felt the way an office feels. It was more like high school: a lived in drama.

In an office there is some facade of propriety you have to follow. There's a sense of professionalism that comes from the industrial carpet and the khakis. In a van with seven other adults bound to each other by the fact that we have a show to do and only one van, well, just much much different. The personal relationships become more important. There is no boss. No sense of adult to please on the road. The stage manager is in charge of us, but also is one of us: at the end of the day, a friend.

Hmmm. I'm going to have to think about this. I recommend this book, though, - the first third is phenomenal, followed by a of a drop off in the novelty of the narrative device and, thus, the strength of the writing. It's also very funny at the beginning.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Live Bloggin!

LiveBlogging from the ideal Ohio debate:

BRIAN WILLIAMS
Hey, welcome to the final Democratic debate before the March 4th primaries, here in Ohio. With us tonight, Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama

(The camera pans to show Clinton and Obama)

BRIAN WILLIAMS
So, we're all pretty much ready to choose right? Great. Let's go home.

Everyone applauds and then they all go home.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Ready For Day One

There’s a lot of talk in the democratic campaign about being ready on Day One. Hillary’s main argument is that she’ll be the most ready on Day One. Barack Obama wants to prove that he can also be ready on Day One, even though he lacks thirty-five years of experience readying for Day One. To prove this point, they both throw the words “Day One” into their speech at any opportunity possible. To paraphrase: “I’m ready for Day One.” “We need a leader prepared for day one.” “How many donuts can I have in a Day? One.”

For a long time, I thought that “Day One” was what the survivors of a nuclear apocalypse would call the day they all got together in Nebraska or wherever, but this campaign has broadened my mind. Now I am psyched for Day One. It sounds like a wonderful day.

I remember when we used to evaluate Presidents based on their first hundred days. How delightfully antiquated of us! I laugh at my pre-Day One self. Laugh at her? I barely know her. Who’s that young fool in that sepia toned photograph on my myspace page? Me, before day one.

Day One will be like New Year’s Day, except instead of hangovers we’ll all be in a pretty good mood. We’ll still order pizza in, but we’ll go jogging before we eat it. And, unlike New Year’s Day, we won’t pretend to follow our resolutions for three weeks until our best friend visits and we decide that having between two and twelve drinks isn’t a big deal. We will go whole hog with Universal Health Care. In a day. What day? Day One. Make your doctor appointment now.

On Day One there will be a parade, but a parade that all the kids can go to by themselves and no one will kidnap them. The adults will watch football. There will be football on Day One, because that’s American.

And on Day One, all of the other countries will forgive us. Like petty co-workers they will point and whisper “Day One” as we saunter into the UN and suddenly, everyone wants to sit with us again. No translators, thank you. On Day One, we speak the universal language of Day One.

On Day One the Iraqis will wake up, as if from a spell, like the winged monkeys in Oz, and realize that they’re all friends. They’ll ask us not to go, but we’ll pack up the Emerald City anyway.

The Beatles song “Yesterday” will become irrelevant because no one likes yesterday. Not after Day One.

Our landlords will replace our appliances without a commensurate increase in rent because on Day One, we deserve a new dishwasher.

Wait? Did I just say landlords? I meant that we’re all homeowners with substantial, small, and legal loans. Day One: you own a house for real this time.

On Day One, the 24-hour news anchors will look at each other and say this:
MALE: I am out of things to talk about. Why just keep repeating ourselves?
FEMALE: You’re right. That’s enough vaguely disguised editorializing for one day.
MALE: Well, see you tomorrow.
FEMALE: Yeah, go have fun and don’t worry about any workplace shootings or random kidnapping of a young female like yourself! That’s not gonna happen.
MALE: Not on day one.
BUT THEY WON’T LAUGH AT THE SAME TIME AFTER HE SAYS THAT.

I see you Day One, and I await you with open arms. The Democrats have promised and I believe. Barack, Hillary, make this day come. I know that you are ready for it.

Monday, February 11, 2008

I'll Cry if I Want To

Okay, I'm trying to write some "Shouts and Murmurs" style pieces. Your feedback is appreciated. The boyfriend in the following piece is fictional. In case you were like "Girl, no you don't." You are correct. I don't. Also, this was written three weeks ago.
*
Hillary Clinton nabbed New Hampshire yesterday and,
according to the blogo-pundo-talko-sphere, it was
because a lot of us ladies turned off Grey’s Anatomy
just in time to see those “tears”, put that pint of
ice cream back in the freezer and rush to the polls.

The endless speculation into Hillary’s emotional
makeup makes me wonder: do I, as a woman, have what it
takes to be President? I have the pedigree. I mean,
not yet, but I could get it. I went to Harvard and
that’s like step numero uno.

But what I’m worried about is my innate lady-need for
emotions. If you’d asked me about my emotional state
before this election, I would have said I was normal.
Love cute babies, have road rage normal.

Now, I’m not so sure. As a woman, would I cry in front
of Kim Jong-il? Get PMS-y right when I have to launch
a nuclear bomb? Or would I turn my emotions off and
become an unfeeling robot? Robots can’t be President
and neither can sissies!

To test my mettle, I kept an emotions journal for a
whole day to find out if I had what it takes.

6AM – Awake. Emotional response: robotic.

7:30AM – Forgot to bring special face soap into
shower. Wash face with regular soap. Emotional
response: sensitive. Worried about effects on face.
Gotta get over that: can’t think about skin when
troops are on the line.

8:20AM – Drive to work. Sad story about Iraq on NPR. I
do not cry. I sympathetically, but decisively change
lanes, indicating to other drivers my resolve.
Emotional response: Balanced.

9:30AM – We’re out of instant oatmeal at the office.
Emotional response: Hot Pocket.

11AM- My boss and I go over some of my work. Emotional
response: initially sensitive but more robotic as
criticism intensifies. I get you, Hillary!

2PM – Read about Britney Spears on the internet.
Emotional response: I can save her. I want to project
my values into her life. I want her to read books and
watch BBC DVDs. Does this mean I would be an
interventionist President? How would I deal with the
Middle East? Could Syria or Jordan deal with all five
hours of Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth?
Worrisome.

6PM – Dry Cleaner. Negotiations. I insist he has lost
my sweaters. He insists I lost the ticket. I don’t
have the ticket but it doesn’t mean I lost it.
Jackass. I’ll launch a missile on your bulls**t right
now, buddy. Emotional response: patriotic.

6:15PM - Tell Dry Cleaner he is unprofessional. Vow to
never return. Emotional Response: Robotic. The kind
of thing you’d like to see with Kim Jong-il. This has
nothing to do with the fact that my dry cleaner is
Asian.

7PM – Home. Find ticket. Emotional response: Guilt.
Wild waves of guilt. I am wrong. I am flawed. I am a
blight on the human race. I do not deserve to exist.

8PM - I e-mail my family, friends, the dry cleaner,
people I have wronged, people I have admired. I
confess. Apologize. I drive to the dry cleaners. I
apologize. He says its okay. I’m glad its okay. I need
everyone to like me except that one girl from college
who was such a bi-otch when we tutored those
low-income kids.

10PM – Show journal to boyfriend. Ask if he thinks, as
a woman, I can be president. He asks why he isn’t in
it. I say, “Why would you be in it?” He wants to know
how I feel about him. I say “Why is everything always
about you? I’m a busy woman with a country to run
(someday).” He looks like he might cry. I think I’ll
just tell everyone he did.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

I didn't really like Juno

I didn't mind it, but I didn't fall head over heels in love with that awkwardly self-conscious hamburger phone.

I started liking the movie around the last third when the self-aware coy/smartassishness let in some genuine emotion and stakes.

I generally agree with this take:

http://nymag.com/daily/movies/2008/01/oscar_nominations.html

Friday, January 25, 2008

Return of the Bloggin'

Okay, I'm back. Who cares? Me. I care.

I was talking to someone on the phone yesterday who asked if I wrote one of these entries when I was high. These beautiful pieces of literature? No.

But it made me want to write in it again. Here's a tale to file under "Is This Adulthood?"

The bathroom in our office has an energy saver switch. It turned off yesterday when I was in the stall, so I was left in the pitch dark. Immediately, I thought "Candyman, Candyman, Candyman," and then I freaked out, scuttled out of the stall, pants around my ankles, and turned the switch on, and scuttled back to the stall. Because it's okay to be 28 and frightened of a fictional ghost/serial killer that lives in Cabrini Green and comes to get you through the mirror. That's okay.