It’s official: I’m the bitch on the porch with a shotgun

These damn kids these days…

I think there’s a point in everyone’s life where there is a discernible shift from tolerance, indifference and acceptance, to “oh, hell no.” And this shift occurs somewhere from your mid to late 30s, but well before your 40s. It’s called, “I am officially getting old, and you fucking kids are pissing me off.”

I hit my moment when I was walking the dog before work one morning. We live just a few blocks south of the local high school, and there were some girls, I’d say 15-ish, smoking cigarettes in the alley, all gothed out, black jeans, punky hair, I’m sure before their school day. Me, in my classic London Fog trenchcoat, decked out for my office gig, looked at them and my first impulse wasn’t “Oh, yeah, suck in that sweet temptress nicotine. Fuck the man!” But “I really should call the police on them and scare the living shit out of them.”

It was then that I officially realized I was old.

This is not a new scene in my life. When I was 22 and living in London, I used to see a gaggle of school girls in their Catholic uniforms smoking in the alley by my apartment every single day on the way to the Tube. What was my first impulse? To light up, myself a very enthusiastic lover of cigarettes? Yes, and then to laugh and move on, thinking how pathetic their lives were because they couldn’t sit in a pub and puff away to the Smiths and talk about shit over a proper pint.

But these kids, these little Seattle riot grrrrls in the making, or just gutter punks, really pissed me off. And it didn’t have anything to do with their smoking. It was envy. Envy that there are seemingly few roadblocks left for me, rights of passage if you will, things that I can’t do that are illegal or just a little naughty that will piss off my elders–because there merely aren’t that many elders left to piss off and the ones who are left could really give zero fucks. Much like me. I mean I can smoke in alleys and swig beer out of tallboys, but that doesn’t make me reckless or defiant. It just makes me the token neighborhood pathetic, crazy alcoholic lady who keeps flashing everyone her tits. And our neighborhood already has one of those.

Public service message: Also, smoking is just really fucking stupid. There really is no justification for it. I’m pretty lucky that I look young for my age (thanks acne and an early introduction to Retin A and exercise and sunscreen!), but sometimes I wonder, “Shit, if I hadn’t done all that damage to myself as a younger person, just how hot could I be? Like Jane-Fonda hot when I hit 70?” As it stands now, I’m just shooting for Phyllis Diller hot, and I’ll be lucky if I hit that.

On a sick note: I still love cigs and can’t wait to start smoking again when I hit 75, maybe 80 (we’ll see how things are going…).

This also leads into my daily life, which I feel has a large part of lecturing to my boyfriend’s 13-year-old daughter about “wasting energy and turning lights off and don’t throw away perfectly good food,” and all that shit. Holy fuck. I’m my parents. Also, living with a teenager is like living with a really shitty, freeloading roommate who has absolutely no incentive to listen to you whatsoever. They also tend to have really crap taste in music. And you can’t kick them out.

I'm pretty sure I've seen the lady on the right's tits. You keep on chillin' the most!

So, there you go. If old age is enjoying a decent glass of wine and listening to vinyl and playing card games, then fucking sign me up.

When did you first realize you were officially getting old?

Let’s talk about Rad Stuff: The end of 2013

I just....no.

I had the pleasure of having a couple New York friends in town over the last couple weeks. And they both asked me why I don’t write on Evil Molly anymore.

I realize it’s been over six months (six months!) since my last post on the summertime wonders of indoor water parks. The truth is, there are several reasons, which are more like the sad, pitiful excuses of a lazy-ass American: A lot of it is burnout, writer’s block, not having enough adventure time and so forth.

But, as a book I recently read on dharma told me: “If you bring forth what is within you it will save you. If you do not, it will destroy you.” That is some heavy shit. What is my dharma, probably the only thing that is hardest yet brings me the most joy? Writing. And I have been ignoring my dharma. And, much like Justin Bieber on a Brazilian bender, it has been wreaking its karmic revenge.

The truth is the last half of this year has been some heavy shit: relationship woes, late 30s woman baby-making issues (oh, boy, is that a fucking fun ride, about as fun-sounding as menopause), a bumpy path in career decisions–every path has seemed like the path of the most resistance, covered in broken glass and Sarah McLachlan-abused-puppy commercials. This Winter Solstice day I feel tired, wretched, fed up and pretty much like I’m wasting my life away on meaningless shit.

Welcome to the Christmas season.

I think a lot of this time of year brings forth, a final pounding crescendo if you will, your year’s accomplishments, pressures and problems into one shitstorm of pressured happy good time holiday feelings. If you’re not dealing with the guilt to spend hundreds of dollars and precious few vacation hours to go sit with family, then perhaps your kids are hounding you for a new gaming system. Since I don’t play video games, I have no idea what this year’s release is, but I’m sure it’s some barely updated piece of plastic shit you bought them last year, so there you go. Last Christmas I watched my boyfriend’s extended family open their Kindles and gadgets and smartphones in a fury, the conversation then came to a screeching halt, while everyone shut down and hunkered over their screens. It was probably one of the most depressing displays of humanity I’ve seen yet.

If the end of this year has somewhat got you down–and that’s a perfectly natural way to feel (it’s 4:16 p.m. and the sun is already setting here…Welcome, Dark Lord, Seasonal Affective Disorder)–why wait til New Year’s to take stock of all the wonderful, life-affirming, little things you did and learned this year? Here are a few things that make me feel better already:

1. We finally shut off the cable. I had full intentions of not having cable when I moved to Seattle. Then, of course, the Evil Empire known as Comcast (one of the WORST companies in the world, as far as I’m concerned) basically told me that it would nearly cost as much to have internet and phone alone as it would to bundle that all up into a neat little package of $99 a month. Well, after an introductory period, $99 turns to $150, then to $160 and so forth. It keeps creeping up. And while I love my ‘Real Housewives’ and ‘Fashion Police,’ they’re hardly worth nearly $200 a month. The combination of Brian’s daughter watching TV all the time and my last three-hour bout with Comcast on the phone finally pissed me off enough to cut the cord. I can say we’ve been happily cable-free for nearly nine months, and I don’t feel like I’m missing a thing.

2. I quit my stupid gym and tried something new. I grew up outdoors and played sports all my high school life, so this year marks the 20th anniversary of taking care of my own physical fitness regime. I feel like I am down to try almost anything, but there are a couple things I’ve learned over the past two decades: I hate exercising on machines, and while I have my cardio discipline down, I need someone to yell at me and tell me what to do on lifting weights. There’s a Cross Fit studio a few blocks from my house. I finally tried it. I like it. It’s not a cult. It’s fucking hard (but not too hard), and everyone makes you feel positive and like every action is doable. Pushups are now the easiest part of the workout for me. And I fucking hate pushups.

3. I joined Air BnB. A friend of mine has been doing this successfully for years in NYC and I’ve always wanted to give it a try. This past summer I finally did it. I figured I’d get one or two people a month, and it would be a nice supplement to offset my rent. From the moment I posted, I got three requests within an hour. That was July. I was basically fully booked until the end of October, with a few stragglers here and there for the low season. It paid my rent for a few months, which allowed me to pay off a student loan. People always ask, “Do you get any weirdos? Is it creepy to have someone in your house? Do they steal stuff?” While we’ve really only had one guest we weren’t wild about, everyone has been right cool in their own way. No one’s stolen or destroyed anything. In fact, it’s been downright fun at times. We’ve met and made friends with people who live all over the world–it’s almost like traveling in your own home–including one guy who really taught me something about how to approach life. (More on that later).

4. I’ve met a lot of rad new people I didn’t know a year ago. Sure, it’s great to work at home, but that first year in Seattle I didn’t meet many new people. Now, my network is easily three times as strong, and I’m extremely lucky to work with talented people who make me laugh all day long.

5. And I’ve met a lot of strangers who have really taught me a thing or two…If there’s one word I would use to sum up this year, it would probably be frustration. Frustration nation, kids. But nobody ever learned anything from smooth sailing all the time. Just take a gander at anybody who’s never had any real barriers in life and has always pretty much gotten what they wanted. There are particularly three people who were albeit brief presences in life who taught me valuable lifelong lessons.

Our second Air BnB guest, Willie, was a visiting professor from Germany. This guy showed up, all smiles and curiosity. I usually just give folks the house tour, hand over the keys and that’s that. But Willie wanted to see the neighborhood, so he went with me when I walked the dog. And we walked and walked on a warm July night all over the place, had a beer, some pizza and sushi. Willie became a fast friend to both Brian and I, and he showed us some good stuff: One, he was always optimistic and curious about life, and had an appetite for exploring the Great American West, often embarking on long roadtrips and adventures. Two, he had very little disregard for money. “If we wanted to be rich and just make money, we could set our focus on that. But that’s not really what makes people in life,” he once told me. And three, Willie could have fun just about doing anything. That German loved to party.

This second guy, Ed, really made the comeback of the year as far as I’m concerned, proving that anyone, at any time in life, can make a change for the better. I met him while traveling. He had just lost his wife and was recovering from some pretty serious health problems. Ed not only resolved to lose weight, exercise more to recover from health problems, but to move forward and continue to enjoy everything in life, wide-eyed, bushy-tailed and ready for more. He was in his 80s. If someone in their 80s can overcome all that and rebound in such a damn inspiring way, then we all can.

The third lady was a random we met while surfing on the Oregon Coast. Now that day was pretty rowdy wave-wise. I’m a novice surfer at best, but I’m usually pretty decent at getting up on the board. That day, my first go at cold-water surfing, I just could not time it right. I had a problem finding a decent wave break and then I just could not get up. After about an hour and a half of this, I came back to the beach, stripped off my wetsuit, and hunkered down by the bonfire. Linda was sitting behind our group, I’d say a lady in her late 50s who had driven from Portland (she says she does it at least once a week, maybe twice if she can swing it) to surf. Linda, enjoying her red wine after her surf session was all sparkly eyes and cool chill–this is the lady you want to be when you turn 50. When the guys went back to surf, she asked me, “Why aren’t you out there?” When I told her I’d given up on the day, she said, “Ah, they’re not all gonna be great. Just think of it as a training day.”

So that’s what I’m taking out of this year. When it gets rugged out there, just think of it as a training day. At the end of 2013, I can do more pushups, have a stronger personal network, and a new German friend who also happens to have a lake house in Italy. And that ain’t half bad.

22 hours in hell, or what it’s like to be trapped inside a kid casino

“Just what is this place like?”

Long pause. “I imagine it’s like a kid casino.”

If you have never experienced the all-American greatness that is an indoor water theme park that may be like, say the Great Wolf Lodge just off I-5 in Grand Mound, Wash., then I have to say, good for you. You are winning at life so far.

There are 11 of these motherfuckin’ things spread about our fine nation in such glorious vacation spots including the Wisconsin Dells, Williamsburg, Va., and Niagara Falls. And may I say to the planners, makers and owners of such establishments, well done. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a good ol’ fleecing of the lower and middle-class upfront, and the folks who built these things are fucking geniuses when it comes to taking money from people who likely can’t afford to part with it. Geniuses.

We, however, not of the geniuses, were taking my boyfriend Brian’s daughter and her friend there for her birthday weekend. This is, apparently, what happens when you allow children to make choices. Or have children for that matter.

In my mind, I imagined this place might actually be a real, you know, lodge, in the woods, surrounded by picturesque hiking trails, scenic lakes and such.

What I had in mind...

What actually happened.

A co-worker once went here to escape the winter drudgery and forewarned me, as he, too, had a rustic Pacific Northwest lodge weekend in mind. Apparently the indoor water aspect, a smooth, controlled 84 degrees year-round, was calling. Then he told me what it was really like. “It’s like you’re being peed on by children. Constantly. Everywhere. Oh, look, there’s another drop. Of pee.”

A sign encourages parents to take their kids to the bathroom often. The bathroom was the only part of this park that didn't have a line.

Once we walked through the door, we knew what we were in for…hundreds of barely watched spawn running through the halls, waving sharp, projectile instruments, or “magic wands” that they had to buy at a “magic shop” to play a game called Magic Quest. What kind of game is this, you may be asking, gentle reader? Several points were marked out on the first five floors with stops and clues, where a handy bear or wolf would talk to you, but only if you inserted your “magic wand” into the slot. These plastic pieces of shit cost about $15. Oh, want a deluxe one? That’ll be $22. Not satisfied with your wand performance? You can upgrade your wand with several accessories, for a few more bucks! Oh, and there are no prizes or winners of this game. It’s just a hellish kid free-for-all all over the damn hotel.

But fuck wands. Let’s talk water slides. The place was mayhem, a shitshow if you will, of mass proportions packed into teeny-tiny bikinis and swim trunks. And an employee told me there aren’t even into high season yet, which is July and August. I watched throngs of people playing in an ocean simulator, and while, yes, the Pacific is a bit chilly this time of year, I thought, “Holy fuck, the ocean is right over there–how many of these people have even taken their kids to see it?

Tired of the water slides? Why, step into the Arcade, aka the hard-core casino part of the kid casino, where games look like actual slot machines and no thought or skill is required to win prizes! Just tickets…Lots and lots of $2 tickets to play a game.

Kid casino has many of the fine aspects of a real casino.

What else did this place have? Why, dream it up, and you can do it, as long as it involves sugar and plastic. Want to get a mani-pedi with your kid, while sitting on a ridiculous piece of plastic and eating an ice-cream sundae? You can do it! For about $50 a pop.

Step into the Scoops Salon for all your Pepto Bismal pink needs.

Are you ready to eat a real meal? Great! We have multiple options–the Loose Moose Cottage, buffet-style options, all-you-can eat, of course, only $14 for breakfast! Or try the Camp Critter Bar and Grille for its less-than-an-airport-quality $16 burger! I ordered a vegetable pasta dish for nearly $20. “That looks like they fucking took a frozen bag of Barilla with that cube of melt-in-the-dish sauce,” Brian said.

Would you care for a classy cocktail to wash away your frozen pasta dish?

Oh, and sugar was everywhere. Around 7 p.m., the sugar-crashing, pre-bedtime battle was ramped up to mythical proportions. If one of the world’s most pleasant sounds is a child’s laugh, one of the worst is truly their cries: “Do you hear the screams?” Brian asked as we walked down our hallway, the chorus of dozens of tantrum-throwing children echoing throughout the Great Wolf Lodge’s halls.

We roughly calculated, based on the Best-Western-in-the-middle-of-nowhere look and feel of our hotel room — which was around $300 per weekend night — that the average family of four would part with about $1,200 for a weekend here. Twelve. Hundred. Dollars. And that’s a pretty conservative estimate.

Brian: "This place is just nice enough to keep the pubes off the floor."

And when a kid allegedly pooped in the wading pool, with that, it was time to go. We made it through nearly 22 hours of the kid casino.

So, what did we learn from this experience, gentle reader? Nearly two weeks later, I sit here, with that forlorn, lost, dazed look on my face, trying to figure out how to sum up this experience. I can’t. Perhaps the best way is this: Sitting back in Seattle, at a local restaurant, before biting into a local grass-fed burger, Brian said, “I am so glad to be back in the city.” Hallelujah.

The end.

 

 

 

 

Dear Daniel Day-Lewis

Dear Daniel Day-Lewis,

I happened to catch your latest flick, “Lincoln,” via the old Pirate Bay the other weekend, and after the two and a half hour pomp and circumstance of enough 19th-century minutiae that would make any Civil War buff cream his or her pants, I am here to make an impassioned plea: Please fucking stop making movies.

That’s right. You heard me. Seriously, are you really this serious all the time? Doesn’t it get to be a drag, literally, to stomp around in a stovepipe hat, or loincloth, or irritating fake mustache and act like A) an incredible asshole, B) an incredibly important figure in history or C) both? Aren’t you tired yet?

I get it. Yes, you are a brilliant actor. Maybe the best of all time! But, to paraphrase as Joan Rivers so brilliantly put it during ‘Fashion Police,’ last week, ‘Lincoln’ was ‘flawless, I couldn’t find anything wrong with it, but I was bored out of my mind.’

It’s not just ‘Lincoln,’ pal. In fact, if you can’t sniff Oscar butt gold when a script hits your coffee table, you don’t even take a look. “Gangs of New York,” “There Will be Blood,” “Last of the Mohicans.” Every single one of your films is heavy, heavy shit. Would it kill you to go outside your range, and say do a Quentin Tarantino or Danny Boyle flick? Now, that I’d actually like to see. You could still get in some of the ultra-violence and asshole depravity you crave–you just don’t have to wear a fucking period costume and take on some horrible dialect to do it. Well, you might have to do the dialect part.

Last of the Mohicans, or "the Deathface of Fun."

We get that you can play these complicated, dark historical figures–and no one can wear a mustache quite like you and start screaming insane shit like, “I drink your milkshake!” But it’s getting kind of old. And dull. And if anyone says they actually enjoy sitting through one of your films more than once, I call bullshit. These are the same kinds of people who say they enjoy things like quarterly juice cleanses and reading the New Yorker cover to cover. Bull. Shit.

So, you’ve pretty much already got this year’s Oscar for leading actor locked up. How can the Academy not give you the award–I mean, the greatest U.S. president combined with the complex, highly contentious issue of slavery, and one of the most important events in American history? You’re like the kid in the wheelchair with the speech impediment who showed up every day for class with a B-plus average. Maybe not the brightest, but the one who’s gonna snag all those Lions Club scholarships. It’s almost enough to make me root for Bradley Cooper for best actor. And that poor son-of-a-bitch Joaquin Phoenix, shit, he’s gotta be hating life. First he gets screwed out of winning for Johnny Cash, and now he’s gotta sit there and watch this shitshow unfold on Sunday. I’d rather stay home, sit on my couch, and eat a bag of Doritos with one hand down my pants.

XOXO,

EM

P.S. Oh, and while I’m at it, will you tell your friend Steven Spielberg to stop making this heartstrings-yanking Americana schlock as well? I’d really like it if he’d go back to stuff like big sharks eating stupid people in the ocean.

Things I Could Give a Crap Less About That Make People Go Apeshit

Did you know there’s a football game this weekend?

The other day, when I pulled up my head and asked, “Hey, just who is in the Super Bowl anyway?” I got nothing but dead silence from my co-workers. Not from shock that I didn’t know. It’s just that none of them give a shit about the Super Bowl either.

I really dislike football. Period. Always have. I think it is excruciatingly boring to watch. And I can’t follow the rules for shit, nor do I care to learn. Any sport that was hands off for the chicks in high school was dead to me. I couldn’t tell you the difference between a first or second down. Or what “off sides” means. Or why roided up giants tend to be the most violent dudes on campus. The excitement/slash/support-the-team mentality that was forced upon us in high school marching band–especially those 7 a.m. in the fucking freezing cold rehearsals–didn’t help either.

I mean, it is Green Bay. I suppose there's nothing else to do there.

After a drunk kid threw up next to us at the very beginning of a Big Ten game when my parents were visiting, and we had to sit over that vile pile of puke in the stands, I vowed never to attend another football event again.

However, that “Friday Night Lights” program was pretty fucking good. I think it had something to do with that hot blonde kid who plays action heroes now.

And, due to some stupid anti-gay remarks from the 49ers Chris Culliver, may I just say, dude, you are playing for the fucking San Francisco 49ers. Get with the program! Oh, and if someone has to win this thing, go Ravens.

Here are a few other socially accepted and celebrated things I can’t fucking stand:

1. Holidays. Nothing gets me more irritated than forced emotion and socializing. And the holidays are primed and ripe to make you feel nothing less than an inferior, socially inept human being who has failed your parents and/or children. Now that the consumerist nightmare called Christmas is over, Hallmark, Zales and the Cheesecake Factory are chomping at the bits to sink their fangs into you for the worst one yet–Valentine’s Day. That’s right, fellas, get those orders into 1-800 Flowers now lest you be shut off from the vag until Easter.

The only holidays that are acceptable are the ones that allow for spending time outdoors and eating things with your hands–Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day and so forth–with no forced gift-giving or spending time with the in-laws. You don’t need to suffer through church, or a pageant about Baby Jeebus, or make any trips to Target and get trapped in the parking garage for an hour. And that is just winning, Charlie Sheen style.

2. Live Concerts. Holy, shit, did you know Rihanna is coming to town? No, no I didn’t. Nor am I going to spend over $100 to buy her tickets that support her dumbass lifestyle. Are you a plus-40-year-old human being who gets excited when the Stones announce another tour, and pour your muffin top into your hot pants and too-tight T-shirt you bought during the “Bridges to Babylon” tour, just to get too drunk in the pre-concert tailgating party only to be puking your guts out during “Tumbling Dice”? Did you know that live, mega-concerts that cost more than $100 are the ultimate fleecing of the music fan? Now, you know.

Did you know Beyonce is in the Super Bowl? Did you know that soda and major athletic sponsors, like Coke and Pepsi, contribute to the obesity epidemic and childhood diabetes?

3. Chocolate. We get it. Chocolate’s great. It’s fucking tasty as hell. But it’s not on par with a) winning the Powerball, b) sex with a vampire or c) sitting outside and eating various things with your hands in the sun. I feel about the same way about chocolate commercials as I do about flavored vodka–and we all know how I feel about that.

4. Cheap alcohol. If you are out of college, and/or over the age of 25, the thrill of cheap alcohol–or getting a deal on a bucket of Pabst–should not be a big deal for you. You are an adult. Cheap booze doesn’t equal good booze–and probably nothing you should be putting in your body if you value your stomach lining or your rectum. The same goes for spilling a beverage or leaving a half-drunk glass on the table. It is not a big deal. As a tax-paying adult, one of the few things you are entitled to is not slamming a beverage before you leave, or having some 43-year-old jackass yell “party foul” at you.

5. In fact, getting free anything. I used to review movies–and it was awesome. The best screenings were the private press ones, where only a handful of you sat in an empty theater and got to enjoy a film in silence. The worst? When they made you attend an “open screening” that some KISS radio station gave out free promotional tickets to. Those cattle calls made my skin fucking crawl. If you are the kind of person who obsesses over getting ultimately worthless, free, tacky shit, you must stop it. Free doesn’t equate with something of value. And it certainly isn’t worth getting into a fistfight over and spilling your bucket of popcorn at a free screening of “American Pie: The Ultimate Reunion Reunion 2020.”

I'm quite certain that this entire franchise exists to allow those involved to pay their mortgages.

 

 

 

Aquasizing Nation!

I’ve practically done it all at the gym–kickboxing, boot camp, I’ve even had the misfortune of trying some hip-hop dancing once at a New York Sports Club in Brooklyn. And no, I haven’t had sex in the sauna. That’s gross, people.

But tonight, I did something I never, ever thought I would ever do. I aquasized.

There I was, 20 minutes to 6 p.m., taking advantage of a practically empty pool. The gym floor was in the throngs of post-work Tuesday night madness–empty-eyed shells of human beings queuing up for 30 minutes on the Elliptical and “Anderson Cooper 360.” As for me, I felt so smart for taking advantage of the pool. So clever indeed. About 10 minutes into my laps, when old ladies in pairs starting randomly dropping into my lane, I could smell something was up. And that something was aquasizing, fuck yeah.

If you’ve ever wanted to plop yourself into a casting call for “Cocoon”–or feel like the youngest, thinnest, hottest thing in the room–then this is the exercise for you.

In between listening to complaints about their knee surgery that didn’t take and how cold the pool is (it was 84 degrees, people) we finally got down to business. And I always wondered what the business of aquasizing is all about.

So, it’s this: A bunch of strength building, balance and resistance exercises–basically like yoga in the water, which is why, I guess, my shitty gym co-opted the hippie yoga teacher from the yoga hour before to teach our class. And walking back and forth from one end of the pool to the other. And I finally figured out what those noodles are for. After an hour of sloshing around, I realized, it’s no lap-swimming cardio workout, but my triceps were burning.

I also realized that aquasizing is a lot like “Coffee Talk” or a ladies’ social hour. Hell, there were two women in the back who didn’t do anything but half-ass lift a leg here and there and gossip. And in a brief moment, I thought, this isn’t half bad. Exercise that doesn’t suck.

Aquasizing, Steve Gutternberg optional.

Now, don’t be thinking that you can bust out aquasize twice a week and get into shape. This ain’t no Cross Fit. But if you’re looking for a different kind of strength-building to complement your weights-and-cardio routine, and for some KILLER people-watching and eavesdropping when you’re done with the date-rapists-in-training and the sorority girls on the gym floor, then aquasizing just might be for you–like sampling old without actually being old. And if old is splashing around a pool for an hour and gossiping, then it ain’t looking half bad.

I will not, however, nor will I ever, Zumba.

Hehe. Old people without their shirts on. And Wilford Brimley!

 

 

An Idiot’s Guide to the Gym

At best, the gym is a slightly tolerable place in which to exercise in a calm, focused manner with maybe a nice steam or sauna at the end. At worst, the gym is a torturous place, filled with filth, germs, over-muscled juiceheads and pounding, autotuned dance remixes of the Killers “Mr. Brightside.” A step above hell, in other words.

I’ve belonged to many gyms in my life, ones I’ve adored (hello New York Racquet and Fitness) to what I believe is the douchiest gym in the history of douchey gyms that I ever belonged to (LA Fitness Clubs, you suck huge donkey dicks) because it’s simply close to my home and has a pool. And now, I realize that I am paying for that access to a pool in more ways than one. And that close proximity to the human race while it is sweating, straining, grunting and getting naked can be as disgusting as it can be a delight. People are fucking gross, yo.

But January is the worst. The worst. The other night, as I realized there was a scabby band-aid mere steps away from my setup in my bodyworking/abs class, I was about to lose it. Here’s a quick guide to you January idiots on how to behave at the gym:

1. Please deposit your scabby band-aids, maxi-pads and used paper towels — and any and all of your trash in the numerous trash bins scattered about the place.

2. Same goes for gym-issued towels you use to thoroughly wipe your dimpled asses after you emerge from the shower. There’s a huge hamper in the locker room for a reason. The floor and lockers are not, nor have ever been, the appropriate place to leave your towel.

3. Please don’t sit your bare ass on anything.

4. Don’t wear light-colored shorts and/or workout pants. There will be crotch sweat.

5. Oh, and if there is, wipe it up, will you?

6. Guys, yes, women do like to work out with free weights. Please, share your space with no fucking attitude, Ok?

7. Don’t spit in the pool! Don’t spit in water fountains! Just don’t spit anywhere!

And wait your turn.

8. Staff: Don’t spend a good minute or two discussing last night’s date and why they didn’t text you back, etc., when you have people lined up three deep waiting to check in and/or ask questions.

9. Instructors: Workouts do not live by squatting alone. Please come up with some varied routines. Thanks. Also, berating us is not cool. For instance, Aggro in spinning who insisted on yelling over and over, “Come on, Monday! Keep up, Monday! This is a serious cycling class, for serious cyclers! You know if you don’t want to take it seriously, there’s a waiting list of people who want your bikes!” as he forced us to listen to the Greatest Radio Rock Hits of the ’90s for a solid hour. We had enough of that shit in high school gym class.

10. More pool etiquette: Guys, waxing. Not just for women. Think about it.

The only thing I want to see a coat this thick on in the water is an otter. At least they are adorable.

Got more gym peeves? Please share.

Adorable!

More adorable! How is this much extreme cuteness even possible?

A Supremely Useless Guide to Ultimately Successful People

There is no other time of year that makes people feel more worthless, slow and sloth-like than the New Year. Yes, you ate too much cheese in December. Yes, you went a little cra-zay with your credit card at Target. And yes, you spilled too much childhood angst at your family gathering and too much self-loathing to your 2 a.m. NY’s booty call.

And now, you think, it’s time to change all that. But, noble goal-setter, odds are that you will probably crumble back into your average too-many-nachos and karaoke lifestyle soon enough.

Do you ever read articles or books (yes–books! Those things longer than 50 pages and no pictures) about really ambitious and successful people? And how they got to be that way? When you read about someone functioning for years on three hours of sleep a night and masterminding a major company’s rise to dominance from the garage to exploiter of Chinese labor and pusher of cheap, disposable, worthless consumer goods that are choking the planet, does it gnaw at your very being and make you want to pull your own hair out? Well, let’s take a look at this guide, a supremely useless round-up of ultimately successful people, that will make you crawl back into that New Year’s Eve pile of puke you left outside that faux Irish pub’s alley. Hey…I think I found my I.D.

Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo: Unless you lived, breathed and masturbated to the goings-on in Silicon Valley, you’ve probably never heard of Marissa Mayer or attended one of her fancy dinner parties in her apartment in the Four Seasons San Fran. When the Titanic that is Yahoo announced that it was going with Mayer as its next CEO, the tech world was all a-Twitter. So young! So ambitious! Such a genius! Mayer, one of the first ones on board at Google, is a computer mastermind and is reportedly worth $300 million. Oh, and on the day she got her gig, she also announced that she was pregnant, and was basically like, “I will be back at work within a week or two!” At 37, Mayer is exactly my age, and the stats did not go unnoticed. I think it’s pretty awesome that more women are getting jobs in male-dominated fields, but that Superwoman-I-Can-Have-It-All-Shit can suck it, no matter who’s having the baby or sitting in the top spot (you fucking hear that, Kelly Ripa?). It basically makes the rest of us who want to have a life look bad. Or lazy. Or worse. And we already have enough stacked against us. However, this paragraph alone from a New York Magazine profile really hit it on home for me: Workaholic Marissa Mayer is the bitch you love to hate in your office. And you know it:

“Those who succeed under Mayer tend to share her cutthroat worldview: Winners win. ‘She will outwork you; she will outwork anybody,’ says Casey, a former professional cyclist who rode on U.S. Postal with Lance Armstrong and later worked with Mayer at Google for half a dozen years. Indeed, Mayer has said that she pulled 250 all-nighters in her first five years at Google, and has been dismissive of people who, as she puts it, ‘want eight hours of sleep a night, three meals a day.’ ”

As someone who does want three squares–no, fuck that, I eat six mini-meals throughout the day to keep my energy levels up–and at least nine hours of sleep a night (you heard me right), I can proudly say that I’ve never pulled an all-nighter for anyone. You want to know why? Because unless you’re working for yourself, when you let your job become your life, you are a fucking fool.

Oh, and she posed in this dress.

Hillary Clinton, Sorta Secretary of State, Former First Lady:

Oh, man, has Hillary Clinton has had a rough month. First the concussion, then a blood clot. Always the bridesmaid and never the bride, she has been run ragged during Obama’s first term. Ms. Clinton has “logged more than 400 travel days and nearly a million miles,” according to this piece in CNN. This isn’t the first time Ms. Clinton has run herself into the ground. During that whole first time around in the Oval Office, she admitted to sleeping three to four hours a night during the Lewinsky scandal. Granted, she’s had an incredible job to do–and she’s done it–but Ms. Clinton, please get some rest. We may need you to step up in 2016.

The Obamas:

We are all madly jealous of this shot.

I was going to just do Barack, but fuck it, if I didn’t read that Michelle gets up at 4:30 a.m. to go work out with him before his day starts, she more than deserves to make this list, too. People look at the presidency and see a lot of things: honor, prestige, power. I just see a job that has to be a huge pain in the ass. Unless you’re George W. Bush, you pretty much don’t get to sleep in–ever. And when you’re not busy trying to negotiate with Boneheads, er, Boehner, you’ve got just a jillion other things to worry about. A super-overachiever, Barack’s mom used to get him up at 4 a.m. to study, or so he told us during his campaigning in 2008 and in his book, “Dreams of My Father.”

five days a week…[she] came into my room at four in the morning, force-fed me breakfast, and proceeded to teach me my English lessons for three hours before I left for school and she left for work. I offered stiff resistance to this regimen, but in response to every strategy I concocted…she would patiently repeat her most powerful defense: “This is no picnic for me either, buster.”

Somehow, amid Harvard Law Reviews and U of Chicago law school gigs, he still got in the cool, pot-smoking, Columbia student part. But the only way I want to still be up at 4 a.m. is if I’m getting ready for bed.

Lena Dunham, writer, director, actress, 20-something Voice of a Generation:

Ok, something tells me that Dunham gets her three squares and eight hours. She did a sorta interesting independent film that got her a sorta-interesting-yet-incredibly-indulgent-and-insulated TV program on HBO. Oh, and a $3.7 million book deal that pretty much sums up everything that is wrong with the book publishing industry. But, hey, yeah, if you measure success by TV shows and money, which we do here in America, then Ms. Dunham really kicked some Bushwick ass and became every Oberlin student’s wet dream. But before she counts her cash, she might want to think about what happened to that Prozac bitch.

$3.7 million of life advice, like "make sure when you have sex with hipsters they wear a condom."

EL James, author, Fifty Shades of Grey:

This woman should not be famous. At all.

Bieber!

This has to be the most Bieber-as-Lesbian look yet.

Do you feel awful yet? Welcome to average. It’s kind of not so bad.

It’s official: There are no new ideas in fashion. Or how the January issue of Lucky pissed me off.

Nothing prepares you for the slow suck of January through March like the January magazines. And no other January issue is lacking for, uh, content than magazines that don’t feature any writing to begin with.

This brings us to ‘Lucky,’ the magazine about shopping and style, or as Jon Stewart once put it, “the magazine for retards.” Now, don’t get me wrong. I likes to look at some pretty clothes whilst sipping a rooftop cocktail or at the beach. And I’ll admit, I’ve actually bought shit I’ve seen in ‘Lucky’ because A) it’s not a magazine for ridiculously young girls, or B) a magazine for the menopausal set, and C) there’s shit in here that I can actually afford, unlike all the crap Anna Wintour puts in Vogue.

That said, this latest issue of January’s ‘Lucky’ reached new lows in fashion I don’t remember seeing since I had an unfortunate incident outside a Daffy’s in the Atlantic Center in Brooklyn. Look, ‘Lucky,’ it is precisely this time of year–when we are sick to holy Mother of God of wearing the same-old winter shit, and it’s too early to crack out those crisp summer tees and sundresses–that we need you most.

This January 2012 issue of Lucky looks like a couple rental interns scrounged through the office closets and literally vomit-styled the models to meet their ad-vs.-editorial quota to keep the doors open one more month. And they were blind.

Since I couldn’t find any of this stuff on the actual site (apparently, it’s just still a “preview” of January issue online. the fact that I couldn’t find anything immediately online these days kind of just blew my mind) I actually took pictures of the magazine’s worst looks to post below:

Lucky: This look says I’m funky and fresh!

What it really says: We may have met in the bathroom at Union Pool in Brooklyn, where I promptly blew you, but I’ll be sitting on your doorstep all night, every night, for eternity!

Believe it or not, this is the "look of the month"

Lucky: So Madonna!

What it really says: I’m a socially inept asshole who has to constantly draw attention to my tits. Or “I’m on ‘Gallery Girls.’ ”

Did you know that you could wear a leather bra as a top?

Lucky: Be cozy and cool!

What it really says: Amanda Bynes is my style icon.

Even Lindsay Lohan wouldn't step out in this shit in LA. And LA is the only place in the world where sluts pair strappy sandals with stocking caps.

Lucky: Bold stripes and florals almost always complement each other. (really, they said this.)

What it really says: ‘Almost always,’ still not always.

You know your wardrobe needs a pair of Beetlejuice pants. Or Lenny Kravitz.

And now, just to end on a nice note, here’s what I found on Lucky online while searching for this garbage. Brilliant party dresses:

Burberry

Vivienne Westwood

I would kill for this Tom Ford.

See what you’re capable of Lucky? Now quit letting extras for ‘Girls’ style your magazine and get your shit together for February.

 

2012: It’s the Final Countdown: What would a Cosmo Girl do? (or day five)

Back in the day, someone gave me some very bad sex advice.

“What you got to do is get yourself a ‘Cosmo,’ ” said my friend Cheeseman (and yes, Cheeseman is his real name). “And, you know, pick up some sex tips.”

Imagine that being chirped at you in a very white male Republican voice.

“Cheeseman,” I said. “I’m not 12. I know how to give a blow job.”

The other day, I picked up a stack of magazines from my building’s gym. (hey, I know what you’re thinking; but I put my old magazines there when I’m done with them and return these–it’s like a lending library). And for kicks, I thought I’d pick up the Nov. 2012 issue of ‘Cosmopolitan’ magazine.

A few minutes with ‘Cosmo’ reminded me of why I despised it a decade ago. It’s Real. Bad. Writing. Sex lists by interns fresh out of Oberlin and Vasser, who’ve had awkward sex twice with their junior-year prom date and a slightly uncomfortable shower experience with the resident lesbian on their dorm floor in college. Sex writing in Cosmo consists of ideas of what Awesome Sex Must Be Like as imagined by those who have no idea what real sex is like, i.e. my kindergarten self, who had a crush on Luke Skywalker and imagined that having sex with him involved sitting across from one another and peeing into one another’s crotches. And EL James.

And now, verbatim, advice from ‘Cosmo,’ that will probably not get you through the coming Mayan apocalypse, but might very well entertain you on your smartphone while you’re stuck in traffic escaping a fiery hellball. (for added fun, imagine that this advice is being read to you by a very buzzed Kathie Lee on the fourth hour of the ‘Today’ show.)

1. “Lie on your back with your head hanging off the bed, and slid his penis into your mouth. It’s a good way to reduce your gag reflex.” (Ed note: Also, good way to choke to death.)

2. “Are there any oral moves that my husband can try that will make him feel more like my vibrator? …ask him to try tongue flutters…he can also wrap his lips around his teeth, put your clitoris between them, and use a biting motion.” (Biting and clitoris, two things that will never be friends.)

3. “When I arrived at the cabin, I noticed Chris right away. With deep brown eyes, a friendly smile, and quarterback arms.”(QB arms? What’s next? Tight-end anal?)

4. “Speaking fluent 20something is hella awesome. Overuse slang like amazeballs while you can still get away with it.” (Or until someone like me punches you in the face.)

5. “Pull up a pic of Ryan Lochte’s bod on your phone…” (We can’t masturbate to stupid, Cosmo. Give us something to work with here.)

6. ‘Get Tipsy in the Tub: Two magic words that’ll get your guy on board with spa night: booze and nakedness…Pour a quarter bottle of red into a warm bath and hop in.’ (That better be two-buck chuck you’re tossing in.)

7. ‘This weekend head out in your favorite leather jacket, no shirt required. The wicked fabric on your bare skin will make you feel extra naughty.’ (Me so naughty, tee-hee!)

8. ‘Cosmo is to sex positions what Apple is to the iPhone.’ (Steve Jobs, blow jobs...)

9. ‘Laze between the sheets with your man and a sweet treat this weekend. The perfect spoon-feedable, romantic dish? Rich chocolate mousse.’ (Really, now, who does this?)

10. ‘Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives is a freak-of-nature show–it makes our mouth water, and it gets men to actually watch the Food Network with us. This weekend, take him to lunch at a Guy Fieri-approved locale.’ (Dear ‘Cosmo,’ The New York Times would like to take you out to dinner, then a little backdoor action. And no, they’re not going to take you to brunch or introduce you to their friends the next day. Or call you back. Ever.)