R I P
You never know.
I didn’t know. My friend Theresa brought up that it was the third anniversary of my second step-father’s death. She remembers this approximate date because it was Super Bowl Sunday, and I was at her house when I got the call that John had a heart attack. Six hours later he died on the operating table.
You never know how long you will have someone. Or if you want to even have them. My mother had lost her second husband of ten years to a particularly painful cancer just after the new year of 2000. During her grief group that year she met John. She didn’t tell me she was seeing someone until Christmas of that year. Though I was almost 30, I couldn’t even begin to hear it. I put a blanket over my head and pretended that I wasn’t there. I met him three months later in New York and he was everything that I didn’t want him to be.
Did I mention that I had just turned 30 at this moment? Very adult.
I didn’t like him. I didn’t like his family (I’m sorry David and Phil, who I now love so much with all of my heart).
You do learn to love people.
Maybe five years into their relationship, I was going through a tough time, and my mother picked me up at the train station for Christmas, and I was a nightmare to her all the way home. I got home and I’m sure I was nasty to my brother, as well as Phil. David couldn’t be there that year.
I went up to my room and scowled, which is to say, cried. There was a knock on my door and John came in with two glasses of wine and said, “Listen, I don’t know what happened, but your mother is inconsolable. I don’t think you want that. But you have two choices, either you go into see your mother and deal with this, which I think you want to, or you aren’t welcome here.”
Of course I wanted to be there.
But John allowed me to open up to him and we talked about for hours what I hadn’t been able to for years.
I’m a tough nut to crack.
I adore my real father for a million reasons and would never trade him for anything, but John was the father that I always wanted. I didn’t realize this for a long time. But during various visits, with his humor, and caring, I came to adoringly love this man. And maybe, I can only hope, that I became a strange twisted version of the daughter he never had.
Christmas 2009 was the last occasion we really spent time with each other. I had lost 25 pounds on Weight Watchers that year, but was looking forward to our family Christmas tradition of extra fatty lasagna. How furious was I to return home to find that he had, generously, made me an low-cal eggplant lasagna in respect for my diet. I was furious, obviously, and made this known. It was actually delicious. It was just John, my mom, and I that year. I got them all shit faced on negronis. In penance for the traditional lasagna fuck up, John made anything I asked him for when I was home, including Bananas Foster, flambéed and all. It was a great Christmas for all the most boring reasons, but it was at this point when I fully realized that I really loved him. And he really was family.
A month later he was dead. It just goes like that.
So tomorrow is Super Bowl Sunday and I’m here in Boston with my mother. I’ll make margaritas and some Mexican food to honor him. They liked their margaritas. It’s little things like that.
Regarding the 2010 Super Bowl, the New Orleans Saints won over the Colts. 31-17. Does it really matter at all?
It’s funny who you miss and don’t miss. It’s funny.
So, hello, she said.
Some of you click on my posts and say, “How lovely, another blog post from this lady has something to say about music, disappointment, and frogs. She likes the Oxford comma and that’s okay.”
Other of you say, “Shit, she tricked me. I thought this was a link to turtle fucking. Wanky liar.” That’s a British affectation, that word wanky, as I’ve spent a good amount of time in the olde UK. “There is no turtle fucking Rachel” you might say, “just another genuflection to the Cribs. Ugh.”
I am saving some of you from time wasted. When I write something on my blog and it posts to Twitter or wherever, I will preface it with “Random Shit” so y’all now (my southern affectation). That’s all I got. I can read people but I can’t write about issues that matter. I also can make fun of people, and lots of people like that.
That’s me. This picture. That’s who you are talking to. I look good - perhaps with this ridiculous filter and perhaps as the gal on the street. Who is to know?
So what I am saying, is that you are someone who is a regular clicker on my links, if it will now be prefaced with “Random Shit,” if you are prepared to hear my random shit. Tell me your random shit. It’s the little details that make everyone fascinating.
Strange. I don’t post this to facebook. You tweeters are much more interesting. For sure.
So, please come back. I would not like my google analytics report fall to a big fat zero.
More to follow soon. I’m full of cuckoo thoughts. I sometimes even get paid for them.
Here’s to money in the bank.
Your humble admirer,
Though I have nothing to say today, I don’t want the first thing someone sees when visiting here to be a giant photo of the culinary delight, ants on a log.
So I replace it with my Second Life avatar, Veronica Finsbury. She was very cool. She was a bit of a psychopath. We’ll talk about her another day.
Long live Linden Labs!
Ain’t she sweet?
Curiously this month the number of New York City visitors to this blog have dropped and Brazil is back up in the running. For the first year of Random Shit 75% of visitors were from Brazil. With a population of over 193 million people, and a growing number of English speaking expats, I guess that makes sense. I’m a registered in the expat community in Paraguay. Such a story for another day.
How banal is that?
The last week of any given year is the International Week of Benders. Yesterday, after a particularly boozy brunch and “just one last one” at my friend’s house, I somehow made it home. I guess I threw my parka on the floor next to the bed. When I woke up at 8pm to go to the bathroom, I slipped on the parka, skinned my elbow and somehow hit my head on my book shelves. Is it better to go to a New Year’s Eve party with a bandaid on your forehead or a slightly bloody Frankenstein laceration? Please respond if you have an opinion.
So, of course, like everyone else in American, next week will be a vegan juice cleanse and a month of working out.
At my age? Same shit, different day? Shouldn’t this be getting tedious?
So a quick recap of things I’ve learned this year, in the hope that you may take something from it.
1. You can hold a red poison dart frog, but you can’t lick it (yes we know, Rachel, you’ve been yapping on about it for the last twelve missives).
2. No matter what your heart tells you, if a man has Dave Matthews’ Crash Into Me on his make-out play list, run don’t walk. Truly, if any man has a make-out playlist, think twice anyway. As an aside, Mr. Matthews has said the song is about a peeping Tom which brings me to…
3…the fact that a good number of love songs are about stalking. Don’t confuse l’amour and harassment.
4. 2 out of 3 ain’t bad. I had three goals this year; get my horror movie made, get my play to Edinburgh and to write the first draft of a second novel. Though I originally felt failure in not achieving all three, I’ve been told that I didn’t do too bad. I would have achieved the movie if not for a man I refer to as Balding Shitbird.
See? Even the zombies are bored.
5. From Carl Barat’s autobiography, “Don’t be a lazy shit; follow your heart; don’t invite Miguel into the studio; don’t try to write twelve ‘Bang Bang’s, and for fuck’s sake be strong.” Especially the bit about Miguel. This book is better than you would think.
Purchase me at http://tinyurl.com/bx65kk5
6. It’s better to tell people why you are mad, instead of not speaking to them. Even if you then stop speaking to them….
Are you done talking, Rachel? Or perhaps you have left already.
7. You do find love when you are least looking for it. Though you don’t always get to keep it.
8. You can lose 17 pounds by stress alone. Can I market this?
9. I need to be project managed.
And last but not least….
10. There is not good in everyone (what a downer, idiot Rachel girl! You are supposed to end with something uplifting! Some inspiring words to bring us into 2013!).
If you are still there, you are thinking that you read all this way and this? Well, read the news.
Most importantly, don’t let Miguel in the studio….
I wish you all a brilliant New Year! 2013 will be the best year ever, for all of us.
As many of you know, I just finished the first draft of my novel Red Frog Beach. This is after nothing happening with my first novel Fading Blue, which took me three years to finish the ending.
I have enjoyed writing this. I have learned all kind of things, like facts about the most deadly golden poison dart frog, also know known as Phyllobates terribilis. What, you say? What about your title Red Frog Beach? To that I say, when you start a mystery you never know where it’s going to go. And there is no Golden Frog Beach on Panama so we’ll all have to suck it up for fiction’s sake.
I learned not enough about boating terminology and only one word of spanish. That would be rana, which means frog. Use it in conversation today. It will make you happy going into this week of jolly men in red suits.
Early readers have questioned while all medical personal and police detectives have Irish last names. Well, that is something I have to fix, though as you can see, the frogs don’t mind.
But I did finish. This doesn’t come with the fanfare of following the finishing of the first novel, when people exclaim, “Oh my god, you did shit or get off the pot, you did put your money where you mouth is, you fished or cut bait (I never heard that one until today).” There always the lovely, “Congrats!”
I got drunk on champagne all yesterday, starting with Andrew, followed by Peter and ending with Kate, none of whom have twitter accounts.
On the flirty front, you learn that if you tell a man that you can’t do something like swim, they will be compelled to try to teach you.
On the snarky side, if you have been dating someone for a short bit of time and you text them that you’ve finished, and you don’t hear back from them, you cut them loose. They don’t get it. At all. So you set them on the way and you could care less. 6”2’ with eyes of blue only goes so far. After all, it’s only a genetic predisposition. See ya, as we said in grammar school, wouldn’t want to be you.
So what I have learned from writing this novel, as well as more about necrotizing fasciitis then I needed to know and why to stay away from open water in a lightening storm, is that you move on to the next thing. So January I start with a screenplay with nothing of an amphibious nature.
I’ve got at least a year of rewriting on Red Frog Beach, so expect some whinging. But I’ll keep it to a minimum.
Shit or get off the pot, you know.
Merry Christmas, y’all. Hoping you’ve been nice, not naughty. Maybe a little naughty, but good at heart.
More champagne now, please.
Some of you are saying, “Do we need a list? Won’t it just be all of the songs that you’ve written about in your blog for the last year?”
To that I say, “Suck it.” There will be a few surprises. Plus, there are those of you who only recently have delighted in this blog, so this will be new news from you.
Some of you are saying, “Why are you writing this 4:53? Aren’t you entertaining at your anti-Semitic Hanukkah party?”
To that I say, “Why pour salt in the wound?” It was cancelled out of a distinct lack of interest. Maybe I should have invited some of the chosen ones.
Anyway, I give to you my Spotify playlist of my 10 favorite songs of 2012. As always highly subjective. You will see that it runs the gamut of pure pussy music to punk rock. This makes me eclectic.
Some of you are now saying, “Hey idiot! That’s only 9 songs? Ever hear of remedial math?” Well, friends, some music is not on Spotify, so here you have the tenth choice, Black and White by Local Hero.
You may find it hypocritical to know that I am presently listening to Bizarre Love Triangle by New Order. Oh well. That was 1986. My freshman year in high school. Mid-life crisis.
Also, note that the 2012 Paul Weller album is pretty spectacular.
How does one man stay so cool for so long? I should also note that, refreshingly, he is old enough to be my F A T H E R. That is, if he was fucking at 14, which he probably was. He probably is my father, as I have stayed so cool for so long.
Reporting live from the sick bed,
Slightly arrogant today but that will change tomorrow,
It’s 11:11. Make a wish.
Last Tuesday was my birthday and let me tell you, so far this year sucks. Don’t worry - it’s not that kind of letter. I will not be offing myself, tonight or ever.
I remain hopeful as it’s only been 7 days and there are many more to come. Sunny side of the street from your friend at rainy day HQ.
Friday I went to the doctor on another unpleasant matter (don’t worry I’m not going to get into it, as I’m not looking for a pity party), and was told my blood pressure was through the roof. Long story short, pills, monitors, lectures about exercise. Part of getting old.
Vampires, beware for now. This blood is tainted.
Last night I get home and take my blood pressure and my numbers are in hypertensive crisis. Instead of seeking emergency care, as instructed, I went into my bedroom and wrote my will.
It was very short. Two emergency contacts and an “all my belongings go to Gabrielle. She will know what to do with it.”
That’s a lot of pressure. I told her this and she says I should be more specific as she doesn’t have a clue.
I woke up with just regular high blood pressure, but thought I’d think this through. I’m not sure that tumblr is legally binding, but….
I read once in book that I wrote, that when you die, all you leave are secrets and crap. If you are lucky, maybe some money.
I spoke to Kate about it and she requested my teddy bear monkey named Graham, my blood pressure machine and all of my Nanette Lepore dresses. I offered to throw in my Covent Garden Hotel pencils and an autographed Motorhead photo.
All prosthetic bloody body parts go to Ron in case he wants to make Howlers and is just a little under budget. He can have the script too.
Nellie (code name but easy to find), I burden her with my unpublished books to make someone read them. I also leave her $349 if she want to go the self-publishing route at McNally Jackson. Also, my two giant mirrors so she can remember how pretty she is.
Is there anything you want? I’m not scared of being knocked off for what you will inherit, because there isn’t really much you’d want. A four foot Dixon Ticonderoga #2 pencil, a custom made ouija board, some very nice copper (is that possible) martini glasses from a man I once loved. Some very expensive wine, a very respectable TV, a game from Sweden which gives you electric shocks (people come over and say, “What? Who would play that?” Invariably, they all do).
I don’t know. I guess I have to think about it a little more.
So, Gabrielle gets all the secrets and then crap is crap.
Don’t worry. I’m a healthy person with an overactive psychosomatic imagination, a flare for the dramatic, and a lover of all things dark.
Morbid? Really, what did you expect?
Yes, that’s right. I decided to have a small Hanukkah party on the second night of the festival of lights, as the first night I’m going to a Christmas party. That’s okay. I’m just a half-Jew and we get to celebrate everything. And I’m only inviting gentiles.
As I relayed the invite list to my friend Kate, she said, “You really don’t have any Jewish friends, do you?”
I said, “Of course I do. Some of my best friends are Jewish.” And they are. Rebecca, Peter, Nellie from the East. And even more half-Jews like Phil, Joscelyn and Liza.
I looked at my text message log and saw that I’ve texted with 175 people since I’ve had this phone and only 22 are chosen or half-chosen. That’s 12.57%. The US is made up of 2% Jews, so it looks like I’m above average friend wise there, but Manhattan Jews make up 20% of the local population (that seems low). I am lacking, it seems.
I have huge issues with my Judaism. I’ve gotten better. I have moved from vitriolic self-hatred to semi pride. I use my full name of Rachel Ferguson Neuburger for my writing. People comment, “That’s a very long name. Aesthetically it looks funny on a poster.”
To which I reply, “I don’t want people to think what I write is too Jewy.” Some people laugh, some people scowl, my Scottish mother rolls her eyes.
Up with Scotland.
Dorothy Parker had a German Jewish father and a Protestant Scots mother. I remain in good company.
I could write a book on issues about my Jewish heritage, but I won’t tonight. I’ll just say that I used to be friends with a blond skinhead girl named Christine who ended up in the Klan. A homeless man came up to us on the street, pointed at her and said, “You are like an angel.” He then turned to me, and said, “And you? The devil.”
Anyway, back to the party. I thought it would be clever and fun to have a Hanukkah party where I can teach my friends (and myself) about the holiday. I’ll make my weight watchers recipe for potato pancakes, get a dreidel and light the second/third candle on the menorah.
This is bad. I’ve had to spell check Hanukkah, dreidel and menorah. Max and Siddi (my lovely late grandparents who escaped Nazi Germany in 1938), I apologize for my ignorance. I will try to be better. I didn’t have a bat mitzvah. My brother did.
I was going to make a playlist of all Jewish musicians for the party but changed my mind, as I didn’t want a mix of Kenny G, Beck and Steely Dan. I can not stand Bob Dylan (shoot me). I do love the Beasty Boys so we can go with that.
I’ve picked my party and I’m going to stick with it. So don’t get offended with the lack of invite, Rebecca.
This atheist is proud of being Jewish, but certainly got myself off on the wrong foot. It’s a slow process, changing yourself.
More about this self-hatred another day.
But until then, only six more shopping days until the first night of Hanukkah. Make it count.
This post has been deleted due to a pretentious and pandering tired woman searching for clever words. Forget her.
Really, you don’t want to know.
Too much flying. You’ve got a pretty picture, and that should be enough.
Kisses and all that tom foolery,
(see how clever you get with jet-lag?)