Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Struggle Sees the Light

One of my favorite television shows, Happy Endings, had a line in it this season that almost perfectly summed up my feelings about the universe. One character says to the other, "And to what degree of shambles would you say your life is in?". And that's how I feel most of the time. It's not a matter of "are you okay" it's a matter of "how much of a struggle are you undergoing, is it the labors of Hercules or is it trying to get a prescription pill bottle to open" (PS: Prescription/vitamin/painkiller companies, according to Jewish law I've been an adult since my Bat Mitzvah so WHY DOES CHILD SAFE PACKAGING STILL ELUDE ME?). So you must trust me when I say this has been a strugglesome year and know that I truly really deeply mean that on many levels.

You know, when I was young, I kind of assumed that the older you were, the more you would have figured out. And in college I thought, it's okay that everyone around me is an enormous struggle because soon enough we will have graduated and then we will get everything together. But now, having worked for the past year with a group of strangers, adults, people who really should by all rights be complete human beings by now, I understand that that was all a lie. Because people? Are a flipping mess.

Maybe it's because I work in the non-profit sector, specifically in arts management (by the way, shoot me in the FACE with arts management, my god, some days you step out of a meeting having just spend two hours arguing about what to do with audience surveys and concept of surveys in general, emotionally, artistically, financially, spiritually, and you think, aren't people starving, somewhere?), but the people around me sometimes seem like they are back in high school. Which I suppose is what happens when you spend your life playing pretend and drinking whiskey. Still, that's no excuse for not paying your gas bill, or doing your laundry once a month, at least, or, I don't know, having an honest conversation about your needs? As a person? In life? I just don't know. But if this is adulthood, i.e., just like adolescence but with more bills to pay and more concerns to have, well, I don't think I want any part of it.

So I'm going to graduate school. Just gonna extend my pre-adult life for as long as possible. I've see the other side, people, and I'm not having anything to do with it. Instead, I'm going to go to playwrighting school i.e. clown college and pretend that reality is indeed the stuff of dreams.

Still. I'm going to NYU-Tisch to join greasy hipsters and pretentious poets and learn how to write for Law and Order. I'm sure that's not going to be a struggle AT ALL. Smooth sailing. Bring it on. And until then, there is the summer. Stay tuned, people, I know I've got a lot more to say these days.

All that being said, check out some particularly strugglesome photos I've shot recently:
Oh good god.
Something about all of these people eating just really perturbs me. 
I don't even know how to say what the best part of this image is. The guy? Is HE the Messiah? The website? Or the fact that there is a NUMBER you can call? To, I assume, SPEAK to the Messiah? God, who even knows. 

But hey, that's some good news, right? Whatever other struggle is happening, at least the Messiah has come! 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Struggle Gets Train Rage

Lately it has been of a chilly nature here in my fine city of Struggledelphia, and despite the odd warmer day, I've been taking the El fairly frequently. What, say you, is this "El" of which you speak? Well, it's our sorry excuse for a subway. It has a plethora of lines! (It has two lines.) It can take you anywhere you want to go! (If you want to go somewhere around those two lines.) It's an easy way to get around! (If getting around means living, working, eating or hanging out around those two lines.) In a word, it's miserable.

The subway in Philadelphia is not like the subway in other cities. In New York, for example, all kinds of people take the subway, hipsters off home to Brooklyn, yokals desperate to catch that showing of Legally Blonde: The Musical, hungry interns and annoying Columbia students, all together in harmony. That's because it's an efficient system of transportation. And I've been to many cities like this. When I lived in Moscow I saw people literally take the subway back home to Kiev. KIEV. That's not even IN Russia anymore! (Note, this may or may not be a slight exaggeration). This is not the case here in my hometown. I take the subway, because I happen to live right by it. Other people who take the subway include the homeless, illegal immigrants, Temple University students and the gently insane. That's about it.

For example, my subway rides, if they had titles, could include ones such as "neck tattoos have I known" and "smoking inside, a how-to-guide" and "subway tracks: the untold garbage cans of our time" and "how many rats can you see at once?" and "singing to strangers, do or don't?" and "bling my burka!" (which, by the way, is an AMAZING reality television show idea, so someone make that, please. Thanks. Oh, yeah. It's a thrill a minute on the Philadelphia subway.

And clearly advertisers are beginning to pick up on the more charming aspects of my morning commute by offering us signs like this:

and this gemstone, sparkling in the morning dew:

Let me give you a close up, because that's fun:

But nothing, and I mean NOTHING, can top this little number:

Let me break it down for you, shall I? Number 1, those are two pieces of sperm. That's what that's supposed to be. Sperm. Anthropomorphic Sperm. Chatting. Have a bit of a tete-a-tete, if you will. And the one sperm, that knows about sperm banks (don't worry about the logic of a sperm wanting to be contributed to a sperm bank, there's no time for such a thing now) is obviously richer, better educated and more cultured then the other sperm, as evidenced by his briefcase. And suit. And the other sperm is just some punk, with a sweatband, like all the kids are wearing these days, and a sports costume of some sort. So if you do donate sperm and get that sweet sweet 150 dollars, you should go out and blow it on a suit and a (presumably) empty briefcase, and then go tell your friends/strangers you meet on the subway, about it. That's what I'm getting out of this.
Just because context is important, I thought you might like to know that this ad is sandwiched between an ad for a different kind of bank and an ad for the Henry Ossawa Tanner show at the Academy of Fine Arts

So that's my morning commute. You stay classy, struggledelphia! 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Aud Land Struggle

This is a taxidermy coyote in a rain slicker. Like you do. 

So, for some reason blogger wouldn't let me post this last week, because it's seen the title of this blog and decided to contribute to my continuing pain and sorrow. Like blogging platforms do. But enough about that, happy 2012, people! Assuming the Mayan calender is wrong (I mean, can we really trust people who could figure out about chocolate but NOT about adding sugar? That's like inventing paper and then being like, this will be perfect for clothing!) I think this is going to be a great (strugglesome) year and that the world will not (possibly) be ending. Why, you ask? Well, honestly, at lot of that has to do with the fact that I've gotten really into some new TV shows and looking forward to them is pretty much the only thing that keeps me going. I kid. Do I? Yes (no).

But most of it has to do with my new mantra, which I straight up stole from my friend Kate (thanks Kate!). It's, "Let things go, or you will be dragged". It's simple, it's effective, and I have pretty much a 1% chance of keeping it. I am just not a person who can let things go. For example, last year around this time I was having a  conversation with someone and I brought up Fredrick Jackson Turner's Frontier Thesis from the 1893 Chicago Worlds Fair (like you do, over drinks, you know) and he (the person, not Turner) was like, yeah, but that was over 200 years ago. And I was like, I feel strongly that that is incorrect, but I didn't say anything, I just internally cringed. AND I'M STILL CRINGING. Somewhere that knowledge lives inside of me, and if I might be perfectly candid, from that point on I've always thought less of that person (again, the guy, not Turner). These things LIVE inside of me, somewhere, grating against my nerves like a spoon playing a washboard in a hillbillie band. I am, on many levels, the Vendetta Kid.

And obviously this is not a particularly healthy way to live your life. In theory I truly believe that if you just breathe and give in to the universe, good things will happen. I've just never actually be able to do that. Instead I write bible-length emails about the 1893 Worlds Fair which, and this is very VERY important, NEVER GET SENT. It is the only way I've managed to avoid being tarred and feathered by angry villagers. So when I have a strugglesome vendetta I just spew all of that out into a notebook or an email or a handy google document and then there we go. Oh, don't mistake me, I still have black-out moments of mindless rage and fury over an insult I received a good 10 years ago, but it's lessened, somehow, by the knowledge that somewhere out there is a 14 year old's notebook with a well crafted scathing response to "Dude, your sister has more underarm hair then I do" (I was 14! And I wasn't aloud to shave yet! God, what a JERK!).

Still. Someday, when future generations find said notebooks and google docs, no doubt they will publish them like the brilliant pieces of personal petty grievances they are. In which case, Cosi salad guy who put blue cheese on my Greek salad instead of feta because you want to make me CRY, you will finally get what's coming to you.

Yeah. I'm totally going to get dragged, aren't I. 2012. Already a great year.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Fall Into Struggle

You know how life can get away with you? My life has totally gotten away from me. I thought I was cool and keeping things together and then I realized that I haven't posted on this blog since August. AUGUST. Holy hell. August. I don't even remember August. I can barely remember August Osage County and I saw that, like, two weeks ago. What the hell happened to me?

Well, I'll tell you. I went on Birthright (that's a trip to Israel, for all my goyim in the audience). Then I came back, moved out of my parents house into my own apartment, started a new job and started directing a play. All within one week. And since then it's pretty much been "go-go-go" that gets briefly interrupted by breaks for sleeping and drinking water (i.e. booze).So the struggle, oh, it continues, does it ever continue. A highlight reel? You got it. With photos that have nothing to do with anything but are still hilarious? But of course!

Struggles have I known, Autumn Edition:

1. I almost got arrested by airport security in Ben Gurion Airport, Tel Aviv, upon departure back to the mess that is JFK because I had organic date honey in my bag and apparently there is a thin line between condiments you were bullied into buying on a kibbutz (Pushy Israelis? No! Say it ain't so!) and bombs. I politely explained to the nice (horrible) woman at airport security that if I was a terrorist, wouldn't it make more sense for me to be bringing things INTO Israel rather then sneaking them out? She was not amused.

2. I moved into my new apartment and had an incident with my smoke alarm, and by this I mean that it just went off one day and would not stop beeping. Literally WOULD NOT STOP. At 10pm. On a Sunday. So then when I tried to fix the central alarm box in the common hallway, I locked myself OUT of my still-beeping apartment, in my Pajamas. I couldn't go to my parents house to get my spare key because not only was it raining, but I wasn't wearing shoes. Or appropriate undergarments. So I had to call my father to come and help me out. That's right. I called my daddy. Struggle.

3. The day before my Fringe Show opened,  my sound designer quit. And despite the vodoo dolls and fist waves at the sky, I still had to actually figure out a solution and run the damn sound myself. Just another name to add to my death-list book.

4. I went to the theater and a complete stranger told me to punch my new boss in the dick. That one was pretty funny, actually.

5. My hair still doesn't know what it wants to be when it grows up.

So, sorry for the delay, anyone who might be reading this, but I promise, I'm back, and struggling more then ever. But hey, you probably called that, right?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A Struggle Is Worth a Thousand Words: San Juan 2011 Edition

I don't even know what to say about Puerto Rico anymore, I really don't. You've heard about all the crazy there is to hear, right? Hahaa, oh, silly reader, of course you haven't, such a thing is foolish. There is ALWAYS more crazy in the Caribbean. If they can't find it locally, they import it.

A few years ago when we visited San Juan we were informed, upon arrival, that all of the water was off. As in, the water company, in what is apparently a rotine move, will periodically shut off water in various parts of the city to repair/maintain the pipes. So if you happen to visit during such times, don't worry, relax, have some rum, but don't expect to be able to shower, use the bathroom, or get some water. That's fine, though, really, I mean, who needs it?

I thought that was the worst trip ever. And really, it was. But this time when we went to Puerto Rico for your favorite Struggle's birthday, the electric company had surged our home and left us with no power. Okay, yes, we got it back eventually, but not before a week of anxiety, many broken bulbs, a fridge full of spoiled food and a broken microwave and dryer. Oh, and HOURS on the phone being passed between people who don't know what they are talking about. And if you think that's bad in English, you might want to try it in Spanish. Just saying. Sigh. I still had fun, though. It was probably the rum. And of course, I saw some strugglesome things. And I like to think that the universe works hard to make my birthday a complete struggle every year just because it can. I appreciate it, even, I think it's nice. At least is something special, right?

For your viewing pleasure, struggle in San Juan 2011, a photo display:

There's a lot to think about here. Plantain soup in a bag. Hedgehogs as spokespeople for soda. Pulpo. Prado. Struggle. I'll leave you to it.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Struggle has just one thing to say

My foot is 100% better. All clear. So today, TODAY, I win, struggle. I beat you. Enjoy the sweet taste of defeat, my friend. you've earned it. And besides, I'm totally failing again tomorrow. Maybe I will break the other foot....dream big, baby.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Struggle Waits It Out

I am not great at being patient. It is not one of my many virtues. Don't get me wrong, I'm a super virtuous person, I got em all, charity, simplicity, big hair, sturdy extremities....but patience, no, that's not really my bag, baby. Which is really a problem when you have broken a part of your body and you are waiting for it to heal. Because you kind of need patience while the bone cells regenerate and knit themselves back together. And yelling at your foot to "Heal faster, you jag!" doesn't actually work as well as one might think it would. So I present to you for your reading pleasure and deep edification my tips and tricks for fast foot healing. At the very least, they can save you. It may be too late for me, honestly, I'm thinking about just scrapping the thing and putting a wheel there. 

1. Double up on your calcium. Hell, triple up on your calcium! Shotgun milk, slurp down yogurt, or do what I do, and chew on Calcium supplements the size of horse tranquilizers. It has the added benefit of being extremely attractive to members of the opposite sex. 

2. Use your crutches as weapons, indicators, cat prods, make things fun for yourself! The nice people at the hospital gave a physically unbalanced person long pointy metal sticks. Clearly they want you to USE them. 

3. Febreze your walking boot. I don't care what time of year it is or if you think you among all the people on earth are immune to sweating. People in your life will thank you. 

4. Do not say "my boot is so smelly!" and then force friends and loved ones to smell it. Trust me, they will not appreciate being a part of your healing process in this way. 

5. Do indulge in as much Law and Order as possible. This is just a general life/sick/bored/snow day/heat wave day rule. Nothing makes you feel as good as watching Ice T fight crime. 

6. Do offer to help around the house, and then pathetically be unable to do so. This provides a constant reminder to others that you are in pain and special and need their constant devotion and care. Try whimpering gently as you fold laundry or attempt to wash a dish. People love a good whimper. 

7. Do make up interesting stories about your injury. I put my foot on the ground and it broke? So what, it's boring. I heroically rescued a baby tiger from poachers, only to have it turn on me? I'm a rock star. Other alternatives include knife fight, hooking, and falling meteor. And no, you can't use those. They are mine. 

8. Do not drink and hop. 

9.When you drink and hop, make sure no one is around to see how foolish you look. 

10.  When you finally get off of the crutches and out of the boot, don't be an idiot and break your foot again. 

Just to be clear, that last one was mostly a warning from me to me. Come on, little foot, keep it together, don't fall apart on me again!