Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Flame

Being at home during the holidays is an exercise in futility. My days disappear in slipped stitches of late mornings and unscheduled afternoons. You know how you can never do anything after one PM on those days, and when you get up at eleven, it's already too late. I'm hardly lacking in things to do; on the contrary, I should be hard at work on a screenplay this very minute, or writing thank-you notes, or writing a condolence card for one of my favorite professors. Instead, I spend the morning reading, the afternoon lounging, and the evening watching movies. I drape myself over the day. In this way, I am always out of time. I am too busy to see friends, to work on the second issue of my film magazine, or to write angry letters to the editor about how much I hate Robert P. George.

I want to read each delectable book on my shelf at the same time, so I end up reading nothing but Jezebel and facebook. It's pathetic. My Danish teacher told me, "Americans just want everything at ONCE, don't you?" She's right. And by virtue of my desire to digest without chewing first, I end up learning nothing except how fast the holidays can go. If I am to keep my promise to myself and my readers--that is, my promise of WORKING to support basic human rights and progressive values--I really have to--

I was about to write "stop talking and DO something." But that's not entirely true. My talking by way of writing is meaningful in some respects. I hope that it has inspired someone out there to start talking, too.

Forgive the soapbox. I suspect I'll soon return to my standard writing voice, albeit with more of a conscious motive. Comments, as always, are welcome, along with suggestions.

Saturday, December 26, 2009


Okay, I'm in a terrible mood right now. Know why? Because I keep reading things about my country that would just never fly in Denmark. Two women who are married in California have to suffer through a status shift every time they cross state lines. Denmark was the first nation to legalize gay marriage, in 1989. Then I read about some women bloggers chastising new mothers for not spending enough time with their children when they KNOW that the US doesn't mandate maternity leave, nevermind paid maternity leave. Denmark does.

The kicker was reading an old New York Times Magazine article on Robert P. George, "a Princeton University professor of jurisprudence and a Roman Catholic who is this country's most influential conservative Christian thinker", according to the magazine. He's the reason stem-cell research is still illegal. He's the reason my gay friends can't get married. I'm sure if it were 1864, he'd be against the black vote as well. FUCK that. I'm sorry. I'm just sickened more and more by the egregious civil rights abuses passed off as "moral codes" in this supposedly free country. Glenn Beck, Karl Rove, and Antonin Scalia, three of the world's most horrible human beings, are big fans of his.

I hate stupid conservatives. But I hate smart ones even more, because really, they should know better--and likely do, which infuriates me as I see them using their influence (with the help of buzzwords like "socialist", "traditional marriage" and "Un-American") to draw a fevered following. It's disgusting. It's immoral, and I won't stand for it any longer. Let's all do what we do best and channel our energies into action. If you write, write progressively. If you make art, paint progressively. Work loudly, or work quietly, but please please PLEASE work.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

insert band here

Every time I think of a name for my band (read: me, five lines of lyrics, and garageband), it's already in use, according to google.

My first attempt was Runaway Suitcase, which I believed encapsulated both an escape from daily life and the contradictory desire to hold onto something familiar.

Then I found the page of a Christian Rock band--The Runaway Suitcases.

Skip ahead one month--today I was doing my homework/napping/listening to music (I am a serious multitasker) and I thought suddenly of the name Nonprophet

Of course it's already an atheist radio show, AND a band. So shit.

I'm still thinking, but if any suggestions come to me through teh interwebs, I would give you credit on the album or mention you in a song or something. Just keep in mind that probably no one will ever listen to it.

Oh, and the post title? That's taken, too.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Problem Solved

I just posted something. So there.

A Vague Apology

Here's a secret: I haven't posted anything on The Kitten Sandwich, my Danish blog.

That's not such a secret, I guess, if you've been checking it. But it's not for lack of trying. See, I'm limited by this things called "guidelines" and trying to find the right balance between deep and sad (and maybe a little depressing) and quirky and happy. In other words, I don't want to come off like I'm either on too much or too little Prozac.

The other thing is that I have to write, in great detail, about what I've been doing. I'm not so into that. As you know, I mainly write about stuff that's been on my mind/weird dreams I've had/brief anecdotes.

And the truth is, I'm kind of in hermit mode at the moment. I don't really want to leave my room, I'm slightly intimidated all the Danes in my kitchen (I never thought I'd write a sentence like that), and yeah, I'm a bit homesick. I blame it all on my comfortable bed, which I never want to leave.

Yesterday, I took a nap that turned into a three-hour energy gestation period that caused me to miss the boat trip and subsequent party that we new students were invited to.


I'm not a crazy person, I just remember what happened to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Grrrls and Guitars

Ever thought about starting a band? I'm pretty upset I didn't hear about Willie Mae Ladies' Rock Camp in Brooklyn until two weeks after it was over. I live, like, ten minutes from Brooklyn, and it was on a weekend. I totally could have made it.

But I didn't. And I still hear songs on my constant stream (BitchTapes channel, sponsored by Bitch magazine, aka my dream job) and dream about forming my own little band with my own little friends and making my own little indie sounds.

Then I remember my innate instinct to throttle anyone who tries to collaborate on lyrics or melody. Maybe I'd better stick to myself. So a few weeks ago I birthed a band with the aid of pure narcissism. Isn't that so twee?

I can't tell you anything else about it for fear of copycats, but I will say that I've composed a melody and the words to exactly one verse. I've been at least a little productive, which is more than I can say for the freak nutjobs who mobbed Arlen Spector yesterday.

Seriously, though. Death Panels? Has anyone actually READ the Life Counseling Clause?

In other news, who noticed my new cornify button on the sidebar? Click it, I dare you.

Monday, July 27, 2009



Pull my body up, slip from behind the seat in the shadowed train car. Wanting to be the first person out so I can run to the subway so I can run to the most important meeting of my life. Can't run, my feet are scissored by these old gold shoes that carried me to prom five years ago. Waiting for the train to stop, looking at the watch-face of the elegant yet nondescript woman next to me. She sees something on my bag, points. "Is this true?"

I stare. "What?"

She points again to my bag, this time at the button, which reads "I've Found Jesus!" and, in smaller print, "He was behind the sofa the whole time".

"I'm not religious. It's a...joke," I try to explain, silently willing her to notice the small print before I am forced to explain for the entire car.

All the fervor sweeps out of her. "Oh, that's too bad. For you. That's too bad for you."

I stare at my feet and bite back an "excuse me?"

I then scuttle to work, sliding around in my slippery shoes, wondering why my religious preferences matter to people like this. I appreciate their concern and all, but couldn't it be better directed at something that actually needs it? Like poverty?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

My Sister Holly

Did you know there was about a thirty percent chance I would be triplets? I never had siblings, so just the idea that some people had sisters was, to me, akin to the idea that some people attend Hogwarts. Namely, impossible but wonderful-sounding.

When the nurse wheeled my mom out of the hospital, she whispered frantically in her ear: "You can still try for the next one, but make it soon. Try soon, or it'll be too late." You know, kind of like how we're combatting global warming.

My exhausted parents didn't try again. I don't have a sister named Holly, but I could have. My Mom has said it was a potential name for another girl. Maybe she'd even have math skills.

Maybe she would've persuaded our mom to put real ants in my ant farm. Then again, she might have let them loose over the whole house.

And then I think how much our lives would be different. We'd spin tales around each other, laughing through shadows, singing long into the night.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Yes, I was out until 4 AM

"Hi, I'm Kaya Oakes," I proffered, my hand shooting into my plastic handbag. "I wrote...not this," for I was about to show the bouncer The Serpent and the Rainbow: A Harvard Scientist's Astonishing Journey Into the Secret Societies of Hatian Voodoo, Zombis, and Magic, "this book on the development and permeation of Indie Culture from its roots in Portland to the rest of the nation."

The bouncer, a soft butch with parallel piercings in her nose and lip, didn't look at my hand, which now held a copy of Slanted and Enchanted: The Evolution of Indie Culture. "Yes, and while I respect that, it's Pride weekend and no one without proof of age can come inside this bar."

"That's too bad," said Kim, "We're doing marketing research."

"Thank you for your time," I told the woman.

We walked away, towards the west. "See? I'm not drunk," I told them.

"That was a woman?" Kim said, turning it lightly with her tongue into a question.

"That was a woman," Keenen clarified.

We now had a vast array of potential facebook album titles, the sources for which had emerged earlier in the evening, when we were at our third dining establishment. "Mush," Kim said, as she mashed the remains of her flourless chocolate torte into the blue clay dish. Soon after that was "My butt is actually a sphere,"--which referred to Keenen's potential list of excuses should he end up crashing that night with a gay man from a bar-- and now there was, "Hi, I'm Kaya Oakes."

They strode through St. Mark's square, leaving me to jog after them. Damn them skinny people. They get everything, and I get a muffin top.

"Fuckin' puddles," said a trashed guy behind us, "They don't have puddles in Jersey."

"They don't have SHIT in Jersey," said his friend, "FUCK Jersey."

"Hey, do you know how to get to the PATH trains," the first one asked me.

"The what?" Said Kim.

"The PATH trains," I repeated.


"Jersey," he said, "sucks. You're not from Jersey, are you?"

"No," I said.

"I know a lot of nice people from New Jersey," Kim told him.

He softened. "Yeah, we're just trying to get home."

I tried to tell him he needed to get to fourteenth street, but Kim was telling him to go to Port Authority and eventually Keenen took over and if they hadn't been so drunk I'm sure they would've been fine. As it was, we can only hope for the best.

"Good luck, Nate," said Kim.

"Shit," said the other, "How do you know his name?"

Kim began waving her arns, half indignant and half drunk. "Because you said it, guy-in-red-shirt!"

I think he's probably still confused about that. But they said bye, and Kim shouted "See ya, Nate," when we were about a hundred feet away and everything was fine.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


10 Things NOT to do when in Manhattan:

1) Walk in puddles. The sky doesn't rain as often as dogs do.

2) Stand shoulder-to-shoulder on the escalator. You will spend the three minute ride trying not to cause a domino effect as you stand on one foot to allow people to pass.

3) Leave an open box of protein bars in an open suitcase on the floor of your apartment. You will hear a *nom nom* right as you're dropping off to sleep. ROUS? I believe they exist.

4) Wait until you're in front of the turnstile before you look for your metrocard. If you do this, you will be faced with a homeless man begging your bemused coworker, who has already swiped through, to open the emergency gate and let him in. She'll look a little freaked out, but you'll keep rummaging through your purse until the homeless man somehow manages to open the gate and you sneak in behind him.

5) Accept wine from art galleries at 9:35 PM on a Thursday night. You will wake up late to work by half an hour.

6) Sneak into Otto's Shrunken Head, even though the sign on the door clearly forbids entry to those under twenty one. Get thrown out, and sneak in again half an hour later with a tambourine. Get thrown out again.

7) Get roped into setting up a conference call. You will be on the phone with sprint for twenty minutes trying to tell them it doesn't matter to you if callers are announced with a short dial tone or a long one.

8) Try to eat a dosa using just your hands.

9) Attempt to start a conversation with your coworker about how you tried to cut paper but "that know, the thing" *waves hands like spastic robot* it...well, you know..."

10) Write a list like this.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Things I have encountered in my Manhattan neighborhood this week:

An old man peeing in the street, behind a car.

A woman pointing at an oversized universal remote and asking me "what the hell is this?"

An edition of the magazine House and Country that managed to obscure with models and borders precisely the wrong three letters.

In other news, it bothers me that the words gluten and glutton are so perversely similar. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Lady Godiva, children at your feet

Ever wonder about something your whole life and never really bother to look it up until it looks you up first? Yeah, so Lady Godiva --whose real name was the less-than-luscious Godgifu--was actually some greedy guy's wife who rode naked on a horse because her husband joked that he'd reduce taxes on his townsmen if she did so. That's pretty kickin', but completely ruins my former conception.

Naked Women + chocolate = HIGH FIVE!

Thanks, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich. Thanks a lot. Also, why did you make it so cold today. WHY, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich?!?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

High Intelligence

Don't you hate when you type a URL the length of a tapeworm and hit enter, only to learn you ended it in .coom?

Now every time I try to visit the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, I'll end up at the google help desk.

So yesterday, I saw the movie I Love You, Man and felt that Paul Rudd's character is a lot like me. This is no egotistical boast, as anyone who has seen the film can tell you. You see, his character is also accustomed to making up ridiculous words in lieu of sounding deliciously intelligent. Yesterday, for example, I was ruminating on how thick and clumsy I felt my first week of intensive dance classes two years ago. I told my mom--of course it was my mom--sleepily that I felt like a trinoceros.

Which must be nothing other than the love child of a triceratops and a rhinoceros, right? Ugh.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Talking Guy

Okay, what is it with older guys talking to themselves? I'm in the library, checking my email, and for like the fifth time this week, I hear a man say, "oh, boy" to no one in particular. Later he says, "oh, crap". That's when I decided to write this post.

Wait! I just heard another man sigh audibly! Why is this an old guy phenomenon? And waiting on the train platform last summer the same old man would come by every day and say "oh, what a day, oh boy oh boy oh boy what a day." It's as if they have to convince themselves they're still alive or something.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Coughing Guy

Those of you who know me in "real life" (tm) are aware that since I moved across campus I have been plagued by Coughing Guy--an unidentified resident who stands outside my window day and night intermittently and lets loose. His superior disguise mechanisms have made it impossible to identify him--until tonight.

I was walking back from dinner when I heard it--that infernal result of a ruptured lung. I froze, and scanned the quad. I saw a man in the distance, walking towards the dorm, and I hurried to catch up with him. I had seen him before; he's about my age with a premature bald spot. Lovely.

So he walks up the stairs, and I crouch in the stairwell, and I hear it again. It definitely emitted from his mouth. I have identified the perpetrator.

There has never been any mystery surrounding Burping Girl, though. She's my roommate.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


First off let me just say that the level of wind on this campus right now is literally gale force. I've been blown!


Um. So I went to Kate's house yesterday at 7 because I wanted to surprise her...she had just finished a paper, and wasn't answering my calls, so I popped in unannounced, only to remember that she was in class. So I waited on the couch for her to come back.

I later learned that she stood for some time outside my dorm window, wondering if I was in my room, so hiding in her house wasn't so creepy in comparison. When she came back she said she'd already told a friend she'd visit, so I waited on the couch until she got back again, at 11. Yeah. During her outing, I spent quality time with my ipod (or ipood as we like to call it) and my closed eyelids. After sleeping for a couple hours, I turned on the tellie and caught the end of Tool Academy (which is all sorts of awesome) and back-to-back episodes of The Girls Next Door!

Shut up, I was tired.

I learned that some people consider the girls "good role models". A mother brought her daughter, who had just turned 18, to the mansion for a surprise. It was all sorts of creepy, and they were all like, don't leave her alone with Hef, she's legal! And I was all like, even if she wasn't...But anyway, then the girls went to a spa for mother's day with their moms and grandmas, and every three minutes one of them would say "It's so great that three generations of women can spend this day together!"

Then they went to New Orleans and flashed everyone and Bridget was really excited when they hosed down the street and she said "It smells like...lemon! That's really cool." And then Kendra was really sad that no one could see her boob job because she was sick. And they had this charity ball or whatever, but all they wanted to do was "go to the REAL party tomorrow!" They are role models, people. ROLE MODELS.

As for the picture, it's the least slutty one I could find. I don't want to get thrown out of the library on pornography charges, not in this wind.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Earth being born

The delightful forty degree weather allowed me to spurn my unzippable fluffy winter coat (see Coat Saga) in favor of my navy coat with four gold buttons. There should be six, but my jackets hate me.

Anyway, I was walking outside and smelled what struck me as a kind of mulchy smell. Like spring. I couldn't really put my finger on it, but I'm going to call it the Spring Lump for now, because the air was really heavy with it.

And that was my day.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Beer Man

The first train trip home was blemished by the presence of a beer-drinking white boy, whose idea of fun involved calling each of his friends and complaining about his bitch of an ex girlfriend who apparently told her parents he was hitting her. The guy said it was bullshit, but he also called his friends "my man" and "homie". Ghetto: ur doin it rong.

The second train trip home featured the delightful presence of a beer-drinking white MAN, who growled periodically in my direction and informed me I was not Marilyn Monroe. If he had his way, he'd jettison his body 4,000 feet into the air.

Sandwiched between aforementioned trips was NYC.

Kate, who interned at the Museum of the Moving Image last summer, got us free tickets into MoMA, where we sat, entranced, looking at "Pour Your Body Out".

The video projection covered three of MoMA's twenty-foot-high walls; the above photo belies how insect-like I felt sitting next to it. Highly saturated with a focus on nature and the close up, the shots dissolved easily into one another and were accompanied by a vocal/electronic soundtrack that captured both the familiarity and foreign nature of the images.

There was a COUCH, for God's sake! People took off their shoes and dove in; expelling smells of sock and oily hair into the protesting air.

We hopped through the photography and painting galleries, where I saw my first original Warhol (which is, itself, a kind of oxymoron. How different are the photocopies, really?)After browsing the bookstore, we disappeared into the subway system and popped up again at some vintage stores and American Apparel and Urban Outfitters, where I finally got colored tights and some new shoes.

After visiting some friends of Kate's in Queens (they had four cats and a dog!), we took the train home, and it is on that train that we encountered beer man.