Monday, August 29, 2011

My Own Private Lilith Fair

It's only life after all

It was the late 90s and I was a child of Lilith Fair.

It was a great time for female singer-songwriters. My CD tower toppled with titles like Little Plastic Castle, Under the Pink, Fumbling Towards Ecstasy, and This Fire that spun on constant rotation on my 3-CD changer. If it had sandals, an acoustic guitar, and a vagina, I was listening to it in 1998.

So you can imagine my reaction when I learned that the next assembly at my Tennessee high school would be an Indigo Girls concert.

In an unprecedented move, the Indigo Girls decided to kick off their summer 1998 tour with a tour of Southern high schools. I've never understood why. But I didn't care why. I just knew it was going to be the best day of school ever.

When the fateful day came, I was ready. I picked out the perfect outfit: my offwhite Lilith Fair t-shirt from summer 1997, a floor-length maroon hippie skirt, Birkenstocks, and the pièce de résistance: a crown of maroon flowers for my head that I made myself out of an embroidery hoop and fake flowers from Michaels. I submit the following photographic evidence, taken that very morning:

Lanier and I pose like this in most pictures

I sized myself up in the mirror that day. The tiny bells on my crown were tinkling optimistically. The naked Venus figure on my t-shirt offset my long tiered skirt perfectly. I just knew that the Indigo Girls would know I was a true fan.

When we filed into the auditorium, I was nearly breathless. I snapped this photo of my friends Chris and Jessica waiting for the show to start.

Imagine the scene. Franklin High School auditorium, 1:00pm. I am perched in the 2nd row on the edge of my red plastic seat, tearfully wailing How long til my soul gets it right in exuberant harmony with the Indigo Girls. Rocking. The Fuck. Out.

The rest of the student not.

They are restless, bored--watching the show with approximately the same enthusiasm as had been displayed at a recent assembly featuring actor Chris Burke, best known as Corky from Life Goes On.

This is my life, y'all.

When Emily and Amy said they'd have time for a few questions at the end, a hot wave of excitement rushed through me. What would I ask them?? The resounding silence from the other 800 people in the auditorium meant that I was going to have to think of something, fast.

It was a total accident. Someone, I don't remember who, had recently returned a little stuffed sheep to me that they had had for some reason. It was in my backpack.

Chris with sheep

I called out to them that I wanted to give them a present. I handed the little sheep to Amy. She thanked me and put it on one of the amps along with a few other little doodads. A little black sheep.

It turned out to be a fitting gift. A number of high schools ended up canceling the scheduled Indigo Girls concerts, ostensibly because of profanity in their music, but actually because the Bible Belt often has problems with The Gays and especially The Gays exposing themselves and their lifestyle to Our Children.

Huge, HUGE props to Doug Crosier, our principal, for being such a cool guy. Check out this Rolling Stone clipping about the cancelations, where Doug nails it with a pitch-perfect soundbite:

And as for my sheep, well...That summer, when I saw them play at Lilith Fair, I was sure that I spotted him on top of their amp. Wishful teenage thinking or a symbol of solidarity between the Indigo Girls and their shameless superfan? I may never know.

Discussion Question:
What's the best school assembly you ever had?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

who's it gonna be?

you know you lookin at a winner

Thank you, internet. I knew you'd help me find the perfect home for these size 10 men's hot pink Converse All-Stars. And you did. The entries were all amazing in their own way but there could only be one. The public has spoken.


David's days of being shoeless on the playa are over. This lawyer-by-day, burner-by-night wild man has vowed to party in these beautiful footboats until he drops. I think he's the perfect forever home for these poor orphan sneakers.

David, I hope you'll take a pic of you tearin it up in these bad boys for me to post here. I'll shoot you an email to make arrangements for shipping.


Discussion Question:
What's the best thing you've ever won in a contest?

Monday, August 22, 2011

who shall rock the kicks?

Only one of you will walk out of this with a new pair of shoes.

In case anyone is just joining us, I made a blog post last week announcing to the world that I was giving a pair of men's size 10 hot pink Converse All-Stars to the person who could give them the best home.

The entries are in and they are amazing. We've got men, women, and even a couple vying for these subtle foot coverings.

Now it's time to vote! Just leave a comment on this entry (with your email address! no anon comments!) telling me who you think should win these shoes. On Tuesday at 8pm EST, I will tally the votes and name a winner.

Now meet your contenders!

Meg Z: Hangover Warrior

i will wear them every saturday when i am hungover chugging pepto bismol as a sign of solidarity from my feet to my liver, stomach and butt.

Matt Flagg: Road Runner, Road Runner

I require these size ten pink sneakers. My shoe size is 9.5. I have sentimental regards towards Converse because I used to run road races with my poppin Allstars. I'll never forget running the River Run in Jacksonville in some Converse and looking down from the Hart Bridge to the St. John's River while running over a wet open grating.


If you give me these sneakers, I will strive to go to Burningman. And wear these bad boyz.

painsthee: Spousal Style Synchronicity

Actually, my feet are that gigantic, and as a bonus, my hubs and I wear the same size. And then we could do that thing where we each wear ONE of the pink shoes and one black shoe. And then this could be incorporated into a "make everyone nauseous with our twee-ness" but then perhaps could morph into some sort of crazy black and pink harlequin halloween costume, or better yet, a pink and a blue shoe, and then we could rock the "shim" gender confusion costume. THE POSSIBILITIES!

David Shifren: Shoeless on the Playa

These shoes are just my size - and style. I'm a regular at NYC Burner parties (i.e., every weekend) and at the Burn. I have an extensive playa-fabulous wardrobe, including more hot pink than even my female and gay friends.

But I'm currently without fun shoes since my last pair recently fell apart (mid-party - I kept dancing with my shoes held together by duct tape). I've been reduced to wearing my extremely boring dress shoes (I'm an attorney by day).

I promise to provide an excellent home for these shoes, giving them TLC to make sure they last despite my wearing them every weekend (and many weeknights). I want these shoes so badly I'd even be willing to come to Boston to pick them up.

Captain Gonzo: A Simple Man with Simple Needs

They will fit the Gonzo nice & you know I will rock them hard and hug often :)

Meghan: Pink-Shoe Prom Queen and Tasteless Tastemaker

I am also named Meg and I ALSO WEAR A 12!!! You know how hard it is to find shoes? Peggy Hill and I have a sororal bond when it comes to shoe sizes. For the most part, I have to buy all of my shoes online, without trying them on. Before the internet, I was subject to men's gym shoes and for occasions like prom, forced to wear dress shoes that were obviously manufactured with tasteless trannies in mind.

I would wear them while sitting on the subway eating a combination of keilbasa, mexican street corn and baklava and carrying a Welsh Corgi. Just think of the conversations I could strike up with all the tasteless trannies who are gonna be soooo jealous...

bluestarfish’s sister: World-traveling DIYer

so I'm not entering since I'm only a men's 8.5, but my sister has bigger feet than me. Converses are like her favorite. I think she owns at least four pairs, but none of them are pink. She would love the shit outta them. I think the only ones that aren't decorated are the tie-dyed ones, because those are already super awesome. I can't promise that she would decorate them, but I would bet she does. She is about to go on a big adventure... She's is studying abroad this semester, so in a month she's leaving for France! Those shoes would see the WORLD. She gets off a plane in London on her way back, and I think she has plans to visit Italy and some of those other countries nearby. She could wear those shoes all over!

Discussion Question:
Who among these seven entries is most deserving of a brand new pair of shoes? Comment and vote!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

converse all-stars sneakers giveaway

these shoes are free as a bird now

How I got these shoes is not important. What's important is that I'm giving them away.

I have a pair of brand new men's size ten hot pink Converse All-Stars that are looking for the perfect home. But shoes this magnificent can't be sold willy-nilly. They need the right owner. Not just any man (or giant-footed woman) can rock these puppies. I know someone out there needs these shoes.

Is it you? Is it someone you know?

If you or someone you know needs or wants these shoes, comment on this post and tell me why. Would you wear them every day? Are they the perfect finishing touch for your burn night outfit for Burning Man? Would you turn them into an amazing art project? Be convincing.

On Monday night I'll post the finalists and you'll have 24 hours to vote for a winner. Whoever gets the most votes will have these beauts shipped to their door posthaste. (If you're headed out to Burning Man and want to wear them, I'll do my best to get them to you before you leave.)

this is how fast I will ship them to you

Tell yo mama. Tell yo friends. Tell anyone you can convince. Please, please repost this link! Even if you don't need these shoes, I bet someone you know does.

Now it's time to Paul Revere it and let your set know about this remarkable opportunity.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

tips for moving (learned the hard way)

working too hard can give you a heart attackackackackack

I have moved every summer for the last 10 years--with one sweet exception in college. My considerable consternation with moving has been well documented. I was pretty sure I'd said all I have to say about the matter.

But now the time has come once more for me to cram all of my worldly possessions into boxes and schlep them into my next apartment, and just like clockwork, I want to write about it. I recently noticed that last fall's post Tips for Living in a Tiny Apartment is my 2nd most popular blog post of the year, so I think it's time for a followup. Let's talk moving.


It's time for some dehoarding, whether you're moving across the globe or just across the street. Go through every single object you own and get rid of anything that's damaged or that you don't use. If you're getting rid of a lot of stuff, I suggest throwing a party with a Drunk Thrift Store theme. Ask your guests to bring some booze, and in return invite them to raid designated boxes of your possessions. Everyone will get looped and start putting your clothes on and leafing through your old Seventeen magazines and you'll save yourself a trip to the Goodwill.

Get all of your parking permits and address changes squared away a few weeks before the move, because lord knows you won't have time for anything responsible like that once your life is in boxes.

do all that stuff you've been meaning to do
Over the course of your dehoarding, you no doubt found some things that needed dry cleaning or mending or supergluing. Do it now. While you're at it. clearly mark all of your mostly empty consumables like foods, bath/beauty products, cleaning products, etc. USE ME and do your best to use them up before the move. Whatever you haven't taken care of by your move out date gets chucked--it wasn't important anyway.


-lots of packing tape
-new box of garbage bags
-one thousand newspapers (I unscrupulously take stacks of the free ones advertising cars or apartments.)
-a few sharpies
-cleaning supplies set aside for cleaning up at the end
-bags packed with essential clothes, medicine, personal care items that you'll need throughout the move
-all of the boxes. This is the most important part. My favorite boxes for moving are white bankers boxes, because they have tops that fit on without being taped (although I do recommend taping them!) and because it is physically impossible to pack them too heavy. Aside from these priceless gems, never pay for boxes. Get them free off Freecyle or Craigstlist, or at virtually any local store. Liquor stores usually have a zillion boxes.



start with the least essential stuff
Picture frames, decorations, books, DVDs, off-season clothes, etc. Then handle your kitchen stuff, pantry, and linens--things you'd generally use daily but can live without for a few days. Save your clothes and bathroom for last, since those things are the most disruptive to be without.

label the bejesus out of your boxes
Write the name of the room the box should go in on all four sides of the box so you can see it no matter how it is stacked. Write what's in the box too. When you get there, you can set each box down in the room it belongs in the first time you set it down.

pack smart
-Pack your glasses and other breakables in wine boxes from the liquor store. They come with perfect cardboard dividers.
-Pack your books and other heavies in white bankers boxes or other small boxes. Otherwise they will be too heavy to carry.
-Cushion your breakables with towels and clothes instead of bubble wrap when possible.
-Pack linens and clothes in double-bagged garbage bags. Gather clothes in your closet in groups of 5-10 garments at a time, then pull the garbage bags up over them. Tie the bag at the top around the hangers. Clothes can hang here until they're ready to move. At the new place, you can just hang the clothes up and cut the bags off of them. VOILA your closet is intact!

put everything in a box
You are going to hate yourself if you have to carry a bunch of odds and ends out of your almost empty apartment one at a time. There are going to be things that don't want to fit into boxes--fans and shower caddies and sleeping bags and other randoms. Save a couple of bigass boxes for the very end to throw all of the last-minute stuff into.


invite a bunch if people
You cannot have too much help doing this. With two people, it will take two miserable hours to move out. With five or six, it will take half an hour. Bribe them with snacks and beer and the promise of helping them move when their time comes.

load smart
Put the boxes in the truck first and the furniture last. When you get there, get the largest furniture in place before you start moving any smaller items in. Otherwise you could be setting yourself up for a very unpleasant game of 3D Tetris when you try to set your rooms up.

order a pizza
Nothing is better than ordering a pizza the first night in a new apartment. It's good practice for remembering your new address.

Discussion Question:
What are some of your hot tips for moving?