Thursday, November 29, 2012

17 Again

Just like Matthew Perry!*

As those of you who read regularly may recall, I am a mentor for a young, gifted, and a black high-school student at my alma mater. I started last year, and even though she and I hadn't spoken in, like 6 months, I think our bond is strong and relentless, like James. Last night was the mentor-mentee meeting, which was way later this year because of Hurricane Sandy. Seeing as it's practically December, I missed the chance to talk to her about college choices, but we met up before the meeting to catch up on life. 

And I discovered that I'm basically still a teenager. I walked into the school and felt like I'd stepped into a bizarro world--everything looked the same but also didn't, you know? All high-tech, with the student and faculty key cards and flatscreen TV announcing the day's events and lunch! But I did instantly feel poor and chubby, and I think I suffered a quick bout of anorexia when I first crossed the threshold, so it was sorta like old times. Before my mentee arrived, I did run into a former classmate who was now working there as an art teacher. In the first of what would be 5 catch-up conversations with classmates, I realized that I've pretty much blocked middle school/high school out with the permanence of a Vietnam vet. But what makes it weird is that I was very active in school and well-liked, so when I see alums, they don't really get why I'm not particularly interested in reminiscing. 

It's also cause they're almost all lawyers or work in finance. They live the kind of lives one would expect after attending one of the best schools in the country, and then some of the best colleges in the country. 

I work at a magazine. It's about art. 

But what felt most uncomfortable was that I was the only adult at the dinner who was dressed like the students. I felt the self-consciousness that plagued me in the 90s (and was briefly mollified by Lisa Loeb and Ani Difranco), and wondered if I deserved to be there. As I approach 30 (in a year and a week, but still) and assume the role of "mentor" in a young woman's life, I think I should probably have sensible eating habits, money for dreams, and.... my shit together, right? Alas, no. 

When we got to the location of the dinner, one of the admins introduced me to senior boy who was applying to colleges. 

"Do you have any advice for him?" She asked expectantly, as he stood next her awkwardly tall. 

Without really thinking, I said, "Don't fuck it up."


I mean, what else is there--lord knows I don't have the answers!

But really, it was a nice evening. I got to talk to friends I hadn't seen since graduating, and we all marveled at the changes in the school. (They have Women of Color and Men of Color clubs now! And Asian Cultural Society! And LGBTQ club! And Ujamaa! Y'all, back in my day the only "women of color" club we had was the cheerleading squad, the members of which were all black, plus one white girl who had rhythm!) My mentee also told me about a trip she took to Europe in the spring, and it was kinda heartwarming and magical to hear a young blacktress squeal with excitement over the first realization that she was beautiful. I don't know how many of you have traveled while brown inside Caucasia, but there really is nothing like the boost you get when you're a young traveler in a land where everyone's down with the brown. I'm glad she found out when she was young, so she can go to college with confidence and not settle for less! My high-school themed evening continued into this morning, when I went to the dentist to get fitted for a new retainer--or I guess, to be specific, it's a night guard. 

Because, you know, I'm winning. 

I must say, though, I love having a mentee--aka a constant reminder of how far I've come. Plus, she gets all of my jokes, which is pretty great. But does that mean I'm really immature or just a crossover sensation?

*Speaking of Perry--talk about a comeback kid, am I right? His show Go On is nailing it!!!! I think what I love most is that the lead blacktor from Everybody Hates Chris is a series regular. He's on his way to being the black Neil Patrick Harris.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

I think I'm turning Japanese, I think I'm turning Japanese

I really think so. Because they have an island on which cats roam free!!!

I want to go to there.

But honestly, I'm not sure what I love more: The precious cat pics or the fact that this was brought to my attention by Jewboo, who sent an email titled, simply, "OMG." #howyouknowyoufoundtheone

Of course, my penchant for anthropomorphizing animals makes each of these pics so rich with meaning. 

Yes, I created captions. 

You're welcome.

Clearly these two are on some sort of quest, probably to buy kitten-sized beers without an ID. I imagine the one in front is Michael Cera and the one struggling to catch up is Christopher Mintz-Plasse


I have a feeling these two sleepy heads aren't even hers, but she's one of those cool neighbors who ends up taking care of all the kids on the block because she could never have any of her own. 

"Are you my mommy?"

Okay, these three are clearly the bad-asses of the island. I bet they have some cool name, 
like "The ME-YOWZAS!"

Just go ahead and make this your desktop background--you are powerless against this cuteness. 

If this just gave you a reason to hold on, Wilson Phillips style, there are 44 more photos on BuzzFeed! Like Tom Haverford says--TREAT YO'SELF!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

I am Ashlee Simpson. Or Voldemort--whichever you prefer.

Yesterday I finally bit the bullet and set up a tumblr account! I'd been putting it off forevs, especially since it would have meant transferring every single Blacktress post onto the new account. Even though Blogger is the new Geocities, I can't bear to let go of this safe space, and will be using Tumblr basically as a networking tool, since all the cool comics are in on it. will be where I post pics, vids, and links (and use words like 'pics' and 'vids') that move my spirit (to LOL or vom!).

I must say, Tumblr's weird. It's basically a newsfeed for people who want to read just a bit more than 140 characters. I feel like its tagline should be, "Tumblr: For when Twitter just isn't enough."

It's certainly not fit for extended musings and self-indulgent ramblings (save that ish for Wordpress--am I right?!), but that's fine because I've got enough going on--this "internet upkeep" is so much work! (#firstworldproblems)

Between the blog, the twitter, and now the tumblr (not to mention my "job" and "human interactions"), I'm being pulled in so many directions. I was just sharing the tumblr news with a friend and she was worried that I'd stop sharing TMI on the blog. It was then that I explained--and realized--a deep truth about myself: This blog is my horcrux. A part of my soul is in these webpages (mostly the slutty, awkward part, but still). Tumblr will be just one more location you'll be able to find the pieces, pieces, pieces of me.*

I mostly want to use it to create photo albums but since Tumblr is structured like a newsfeed, I'm not sure how it'll work.  I'll have to figure out how to use the system to showcase my favorite photos of middle-aged men holding animals against their will and disapproving transracial adoptees in the arms of their Caucasian parents. 

But don't worry--if there's anything I can figure out, it's how to work a Caucasian system!  Hope you will follow me or friend me or just generally F me.

*that's how you call back to a title, people!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

New York, I Love Hate You

I am so over this damn city.

I got on the train this morning and, honestly, there was nothing particularly special about today's rush-hour madness. I spent 30 minutes clutching my purse to make room, apologizing for my every movement and occasionally my own weary sighs, and trying to move in ways that would let the dude behind me know that we shouldn't be touching butts--you know, the usual. But I just hit a wall of Danny Glover-ness (I'm too old for this shit!) combined with Samuel L. Jackson fed-up-edness (I'm sick and tired of these muthafuckin' snakes on this muthafuckin' plane!!!) that I can't get through.

Listen, I know it's "the greatest city on earth," and I sure as hell wouldn't want to live in another city in America, but we're selling ourselves short, people! And the worst part is that these low standards are acceptable. Living in New York City and taking public transportation, I smell human excrement on a daily basis--sometimes several times a day--and this is commonplace. WTF??! This ain't Calcutta! This sure as hell ain't 14th-century England during the bubonic plague--why is there excrement in the streets?! We're worth more!

This started getting to me when I was walking to the subway and saw this homeless guy. He's tall and skinny and looks about 70 years old (thought he's probably 40) and he's balding with basically two long matted dreadlocks. When I saw him on the platform, my first thought was, "Aw, shit, this guy again. I better get a damn seat so he doesn't touch my shoulder and call me 'beautiful miss.'" Y'all, this man is not violent or loud, but he is relentless. But the point is: Why do I have a history with a hobo??? I am not, nor have I ever been, impoverished (praise black Jesus). I have never dated a hobo or performed at a hobo benefit. And yet I see this person and can immediately recall his life story and personality quirks as though he were an old school chum. I'm not okay with this! Of course, the fact that I'm annoyed by him just gets me one rung closer to hell, and I'm not proud of it, but this is how NYC gets you. You get inoculated to pain, y'all.

Yesterday after work I was getting into the train at 28th street and I saw two men on the steps, standing a few feet apart from each other. Black guy was standing further down, White guy was standing toward the top (I'm ID'ing them by race to make it easier to describe, don't worry!). On the other side, a guy was trying to exit, so I waited for the clog to clear. The guy came through but the other two men didn't move. The Black guy waved the white guy down and told him to come closer. I'm thinking these two are going to walk down so I start going down but they stop about 4 steps up from the subway platform. The Black guy reaches into his sock and pulls out a baggie. The white guy peels off some bills and hands him cash. I interrupt this exchange with, "Excuse me, um, can I get through? thank you."
Y'all, I walked through a drug deal!! LIKE I'M JUST STRAIGHT OUT OF A SPIKE LEE JOINT AND DON'T GIVE A F#?!%

I didn't realize this until a minute after I swiped my Metrocard--and that's what really got me. Growing up in pre-gentrified Harlem as the child of a mother who worked in family and criminal court, I am anything but cavalier, and I know that killers are around every corner (oh yeah, I'm a drama queen who grew up on Lifetime movies). I never thought I'd see the day I'd burst through an interracial illegal drug trade. That guy could have pulled anything out of his sock (like a weapon!) and I woulda been up in the crossfire! I need to go back to Australia so I can get my head back on straight and appreciate this place. Who's with me?

Monday, November 12, 2012

How to go from a "Maybe" to a "Hell to the No"

Just when I think these artists can't get to me, an email comes in that amazes me to no end. 

We got a submission from a woman a while back and unfortunately can't do much with her work, so we sent a perfectly succinct rejection letter that read:

Dear [Cray Lady],

Thank you for submitting your artwork to our magazine. We don’t currently have an opening to feature your artwork. But the drawings are most impressive, and if the appropriate occasion arises, we will be in touch.


[A respectful and competent adult who serves as the editor of this magazine.]

Maybe that was a bit impersonal, but we don't have all day to be buttering up egos. 
Apparently, we're also mentally ill. Her response:

Look at my web site I am included in every major museum collection in the country  you do not think you can do an article ?   What are you thinking [Cray Lady]. Connection

Sent from my iPhone

I have no idea what "connection" means. I also don't think that you can be that bitchy when you seem to lack a grasp of basic punctuation and grammar. I swear, they are TOO MUCH. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012


Whew child! You know these last couple weeks have been straight out of the Mayans Guide to the End of the World (now in paperback). With Hurricane Sandy and the election, I didn't know if it was okay to keep breathing, let alone have dreams! Luckily, I can now write to you with the comfort that comes from knowing that our president is not Mitt Romney and our VP is not Paul Ryan--and that my vagina is still a safe space!

Look, I'm not someone who believes Obama is a god (although I do wish he could be my dad and Joe Biden be my baby daddy!). But I am almost 100% sure that Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are minions of Satan, so I'm happy with how things went down. For me personally, as an able-bodied, heterosexual, college-educated female in NYC, I'm somewhat sure that if the Republicans had gotten their way, I would have been inconvenienced, but mostly ok--I'd currently be packing up all my shit, figuring out how to break my lease, and asking around about how to find work in Canada (would they love a blacktress?). Plus, Jewboo probably wouldn't want to move and then we'd have to negotiate a long-distance relationship (which would probably work well since I wouldn't be able to afford birth control). I really didn't feel like starting over, so I'm glad I get 4 more years in America. Perhaps by then I will be a powerful celebrity in the vein of Brangelina and able to help the Dems hold it down yet again. 

Of course, many of us have joked about moving to Canada when the political climate got colder than life in the D, but I am for SERIOUS. I know Obama has let folks down, but I never expected him to be a magical negro, so I'm cool. And, quite frankly, I hate that the race was even close in some states. It proves that there's still so much to be done, and it's crucial that the energy that built over this election (and actually carried over on election day) be maintained as the president struggles to work with many Republicans who are dedicated to his demise. I found an NYTimes opinion piece that succinctly articulates why Tuesday's results were so hopeful:

Still, Mr. Obama’s victory did not show a united country. Richer Americans supported Mr. Romney, while poorer Americans tended to vote for Mr. Obama. There also remained clear divisions among voters by gender, age, race and religion.

African-Americans and Hispanics overwhelmingly supported Mr. Obama. White men voted for Mr. Romney; he won among those who said they opposed gay marriage, wanted to outlaw abortion, or favored mass deportation of illegal immigrants. None of those are majority positions in this country anymore. ... The polls were heartening in that they indicated that a solid majority of Americans believe abortion should be legal, and that half of Americans now say their states should recognize marriages between same-sex couples.

Of course, I added the underlines. To me, the election of Romney/Ryan would have been indicative of a growing hatred for minorities of all kinds (ethnic, racial, socioeconomic, sexual orientation)--and I would have had to get the hell out of dodge.

Besides, do we really think it's okay for one man to have his own planet and his own country?

Monday, November 5, 2012

Inside the Mind of Paul Ryan - A Collage

Y'all, why is this election even close? We need to stop bullshitting and be real about who these Republicans are--angry White men who think they're the dispossessed. 

I feel like Romney gets ample attention in these final hours, but his potential VP is ignored. This cannot stand! Paul Ryan is so bitchy, he needs his own show on Oxygen. I have assembled a few of his best facial expressions. (Yes, this is how I spent the day before election day.)

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Chris Rock: Always Speakin' Truth to Comedic Power

Please forward widely to the most Caucasian people you know--especially the ones over the age of 55. We're down to the wire, people!