The Literary Giant

or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Alaina

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Location: West Hollywood, California, United States

Thursday, June 29, 2006

"Is it nothing to you, all who pass by?" "Man ass" and other LIRR jokes



It is true that I double-booked my going away party with my brother's high school graduation, but I somehow had both cakes and ate twice. While I sent text messages and played I Went To A Chinese Restaurant To Buy A Loaf Of Bread Bread Bread with my six-year-old cousin during the ceremony, Chan killed time in Roslyn and waited for me. At midnight, Owen and BJ arrived at the Roslyn train station.

Our foursome made a few quick stops [one was to 7-11] and then we walked to Chalet. The closed entrance door had a posted notice asking that patrons respect the dresscode. Very disrespectuflly, we entered Chalet.

Everyone at the bar turned and stared at us, ending their conversations but leaving their mouths open. It felt like it was accompanied by the record flying off the turntable. I didn't smile and I didn't wave because I didn't want to blow our chances of being served alcohol. We walked around the bar and up a flight of stairs.

The second floor is a string of rooms loosely separated by open curtains that contain couches, martini menus, and adults making out. All of them had loud music and soft lighting. We walked through a few lounges and decided to temporarily sit in one to plan our alcohol attack. A couple was far across the dark room and although I couldn't hear or see them very well, I could tell that the male was huffing because of our appearance.
What Did He Expect To Do In Here? I posed to my friends as I explained that we had to leave. It's Big And It's Not Like He Can Fuck In Here Anyway.

We walked to the staircase and stepped to the third floor. It is a small hallway, at the end of which is a bathroom that a woman was stumbling toward. Along the way there, however, she was passing two locked doors that read, "Private." A moment later, I bumped into the angry male from the second floor. Up close, it became clear that he actually colored in his tan with a brown crayon. I asked him about the Private rooms.
"Those are bottle service."
"Yeah? How do I get in?"
"You hafta buy a bottle and then you get the room to yourselves."
Believe the hype! Chalet has sex rooms.

When I bragged about going to Chalet, most people asked, "So, did you get hit on by any old men?"
I didn't. Nobody at Chalet was interested in us. Without acknowledging us, the patrons, some of whom were dressed in unexplained tuxedos and long gowns, interacted as loudly and lewdly as they would any other weeknight. Aside from the sauce, it was kind of like being at the zoo.

After we left, I tried to use my fake I.D. in 7-11, but the main guy who works there recognized me as younger than 28 and also not from North Carolina. My blunder might have been embarassing if I wasn't leaving, but I is so it ain't. Bye-bye, Roslyn.
My Top Eight [Songs For Moving]

8. Ben Folds Five -- Steve's Last Night In Town
7. The Beach Boys -- That's Not Me
6. Jens Lekman -- Run Away With Me
5. The Boy Least Likely To -- I'm Glad I Hitched My Apple Wagon To Your Star
4. Ryan Adams -- New York, New York
3. Figurines -- Silver Ponds
2. Art Brut -- Moving to LA
1. Jeffrey Lewis -- Moving

Recommendations For A Hot Summer In The [New York] City
[under the assumption that friends are not 21+ ]

June 29 - Land of Talk - Syrup Room
June 30 - Matt Pond PA, Voxtrot - Prospect Park*
July 1 - Elvis Perkins, The Little Ones - Bowery Ballroom
July 2 - Aa, Japanther, The Wowz, and more! - Stuyvesant Cove Park*
July 2 - Seu Jorge - Central Park Summerstage
July 4 - Beirut - Office Ops Rooftop
July 6 - Mates of State - Castle Clinton*
July 7 - Les Sans Culottes - Magnetic Field
July 9 - Broken Social Scene - China Club
July 13 - Les Sans Culottes - Warsaw
July 15 - Siren Music Festival: Scissor Sisters, Man Man, Art Brut, Dirty On Purpose, Tapes 'n Tapes, and more! - Coney Island*
July 16 - Tapes 'n Tapes, Someone Still Loves You Boris Yelstin - Maxwell's
July 19 - Vetiver - Soundfix Records*
July 20 - Diplo - Warsaw
July 21 - Jens Lekman, Beirut - Bowery Ballroom
July 25 - Langhorne Slim - Maxwell's
July 26 - Danielson - Knitting Factory
July 27 - Dracula by Kronos Quartet with Philip Glass - Prospect Park*
July 29 - Silver Mt. Zion - Bowery Ballroom
July 30 - Of Montreal - McCarren Park Pool*
July 31 - Amanda Jo Williams - Pete's Candy Store*
August 4 - Hot Chip - South Street Seaport*
August 6 - Gravy Train!!! - Kitten Factory
August 11 - Jim Noir - Bowery Ballroom
August 13 - Deerhoof, Beirut - McCarren Park Pool*
August 17 - Trachtenberg Family Slideshow Players - Maxwell's
August 21 - Frank Black - Beacon Theater
August 25 - Ted Leo & the Pharmacists - South Street Seaport*
August 27 - The Walkmen, Dr. Dog, Elvis Perkins - McCarren Park Pool*


* free

Monday, June 26, 2006

A Twist of Arm

Danny Revolting drove me to the ferry station on the Staten Island side. It was a Sunday morning and, excluded from his knowledge, the boat was leaving once every hour, not half-hourly. All of the seats in the waiting room were filled so I paced and watched Staten Islanders interact. I was set on enjoying an ugly boy with long hair and a New York Dolls t-shirt and a fat girlfriend when I noticed that I was also being stared at.

The short, fat-backed, bald guy in a black collared shirt printed with flame-colored lion heads was not embarassed when I had looked back at him; rather, he lifted his controlled facial hair in a smile. I rolled my eyes and walked away.

When the boat came, everyone was herded through a few pairs of double doors.
"Nice tennis shoes," I heard, which is common because everyone compliments my sneakers. I looked over and it was the guy. I grumbled some appreciation.
"I think you caught me admiring you earlier. I couldn't help it. You're very pretty."
"Oh, O.K."
"Are you an artist?"
"Sometimes."
"I could tell you were an artist. I'm an artist. I'm also a filmmaker. I'm making a movie about 9/11 and also one about that bus out of Chinatown that goes to Boston. To top it off, I make jewlery and sell it up in Union Square."
At this point, I was suffering three plagues. The first was, of course, the new friend I was making. I wasn't compelled to shake him because of my hangover, a second plight, which made it more comfortable to listen to an idiot than to read the newspaper. Moreover, poverty had set in. I had two dollars, a canceled Platinum American Express, and a really full MetroCard that I contemplated selling.
"On Staten Island I was staying with a friend who drives a cab. Sometimes he'll give me a ride to Times Square and I'll show up in a limousine and people think, Who's This Celebrity? And then I get out."
Even if I wanted to read, I couldn't afford it. The Sunday Times is $3.50.
"It's a documentary called, The Aftermath of 9/11, and it's about the effect 9/11 had on Americans. I have interviews with Willie Nelson, firemen, that policeman over in the waiting room, I don't know if you saw him, but he had a big 9/11 tattoo so I interviewed him."
The Staten Island ferry ride is 25 minutes long. Looking at the Statue of Liberty from my window, I thought of two desirable commodities: freedom and water. Perhaps he was able to sense disinterest because my suitor then bent over his black duffle bag and quickly shifted through it. Hunched over, he lifted a fat handful of stringed beads. In nervousness, he broke one strand.
"I think everything happens for a reason. I think the people we meet, we meet for a reason. You're gonna do great things one day, I can tell. Now I don't know how, but I know you will. And maybe someday you'll hear about me and you'll think, Hey I Road The Boat With That Guy. God has a plan for us, and I don't know what it is yet."

I specifically don't believe in fate, and I haven't dropped the G-word in ten years. Of course it doesn't bother me when my grandmother goes on We Have To Pray That We'll Be Together tangents, nor do I dislike those of different heart-sets. However, my new friend's sloppy rambling on things I avoid, in conjunction with the corny lust in his posture, was inspiring me to dive off the deck. It was then that he gave me a necklace.
"I want you to have this. I think it will bring you luck." He held up a strand of puter-colored beads with some slightly larger and darker beads in the center.
"Oh, no. That's O.K. I don't really wear jewlery. Thank you, though."
"I feel very strongly about this." He then presented a small bag with a matching ugly pair of earrings. "Take these, too."
"No, no. I don't wear earrings. Really, these aren't mine."
"They cost me less than a dollar to make. And I think they'll bring you luck."
In an attempt to end this segment of the conversation, I put the necklace in my jacket pocket. "Put it on," he implored.
"I will later," I lied, dreaming of Manhattan's solid ground.

When I stepped off the ferry, he was still talking about himself. "I don't have that many friends in the area. Maybe we could get together sometime."
"I can't. I'm moving to Los Angeles. Sorry."
He got all worked up and started talking about fate again and then ended some sentences, "man." "I'm headed up to Union now to sell jewlery. Then tonight I'm going to a party; it's sort of a convention of erotic art. They said Tommy Lee is going to be there." He was headed toward the N train so I chose to take a bus that would go up First Avenue. He looked at me with frightening heartbreak so I waved my right hand and ran away.

Riding the bus, I was still hungover and poor. I got off before Eighth Street and found a small street fair. I would have ignored it but I could see a sign that read Thai Food $1. I massaged the two dollars in my pocket and approached the Thai booth. The only things that cost $1 were water bottles and spring rolls. The water could hydrate me, and the oily, crunchy, vegetarian roll would satiate my general desire for something greasy. However, for $2 I could get a bowl of rice. After five minutes of standing in the closed-off street, I ordered the bowl of rice. I scarfed it hunched over on the subway, which was a funny feeling, but as soon as it was over, I just wanted water and also something oily.

I got off the train at Herald Square and the first thing I saw was a black shirt with flame-colored lion heads. I looked the other direction and tried to run up the stairs, but then I felt an arm on my back.
"Hey! Whaddaya know?"
He is the only person I actively never want to "chance" upon again in my life, and there he was, an hour later, on the subway car next to mine.
"Why don't you have the necklace on?"
I gestured to my pocket. He reminded me what it would bring if I wore it.
"What are you up to now?"
I decided to use his crush on me to get a free bottle of water.

He walked me to Penn Station. "I know you're leaving soon, but maybe we could get coffee sometime soon."
"I really don't know, man. I'm so busy right now."
"Well, here. Let me give you my phone number. Do you have a pen?"
I didn't check. "No."
He walked to a chips-and-newspapers vendor and I stood in front of the Big Board. He returned with a piece of receipt paper with something scribbled on it. I threw it in my bag without looking at it. This time I gave him a handshake and then ran for a train. He headed to an erotic art convention. I don't know what happened to his phone number in my bag, but I threw the necklace away.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

I See Where My Dad Is Coming From

As the countdown to departure approaches single-digit days, more people are asking, "Why LA?" I'm beginning to feel that that question makes a lot less sense than Ben Kellogg's often-whined, "Why are you moving?"

There were always a slew of minor reasons I'd give when asked about Terry's preference of Los Angeles, but the overall argument was presented to me in the Starbucks on 2nd Avenue. Near the register was a large basket of small teddy bears for sale. Half of them were dressed like Kiss Me I'm Irish golfers so I couldn't grasp their aim. The other ten bears were meant for tourists to buy and bring home, wearing a Yankees cap, an I ♥ NY t-shirt, and a SWEATSHIRT. It wasn't a black My Chemical Romance hoodie with red detailing, either; these bears were not scene. They're just cold because New York is cold. And that's why my dad is moving.

Shit Lives!

A few days ago, Pook and I went grocery shopping for dinner near her Summer At NYU apartment. She was getting a host of ingredients for the evening and future meals while I was just buying a juice drink and a three-serving container of frozen chick'n nuggets in the shape of dinosaurs, so when it came time to check-out she went into a normal aisle and I opted for the express lane.

Ahead of me was a large woman with round shoulders and orange hair and her unfortunate offspring, a twelve-year-old girl with a few blue-and-green highlights and striped eye makeup to match. They were speaking in drawls that suggested that their trip to New York was somehow sponsored by Disney, and were apparently trying to cash in some sort of lunch sandwich coupon to Food Emporium. My guess was that the daughter kept trying to add the wrong kind of drink to the combo, and the woman at the register turned to me and said, "After you, this lane is closed."

The daughter was sent to fetch a soda bottle and a guy who was very high and eating ice cream that he planned to purchase got in line behind me. I told him what the cashier had told me and he shrugged. The daughter returned with a Dr. Pepper that was half-empty and flat although she had not yet drank from it. Her mother repeated that it was a shame several times as the cashier hid the bottle and the daughter walked back to the small fridge from whence she had come. I was too fascinated to notice that Pook had already completed her lengthy transaction and was standing in front of my check-out lane. When I did see her, I started yelling things about how my express lane was running on the local track.
The large woman was angered and scolded, "Life happens, life happens."
"O.K., thanks. I'm just saying--"
"Life happens," she continued, "life happens."
"Yeah, life happened to your daughter."
"What?"
"The soda." And her hair.
"Oh. That's what I'm saying. It happens."

Thursday, June 22, 2006

"I'm Spiderman Again" -The Boy Least Likely To

Referring specifically to two overweight chiwawas, Malomar once huffed, "God. Everyone thinks I want their man." The more trim of the dogs, the female, would let Malomar's hand get close to her head, as though welcoming a pet, and then gnashed her teeth once the fingers were within biting-distance. This behavior came as a reaction to the affection Malomar had been showing the fatter, male pooch.
"Baby, your man is too fat," Malomar began, imitating a conversation with the bitch. "You, on the other hand, I think we could work something out..."

I worked at the Museum of Cartoon and Comic Art's Art Fest, a comic book convention, over the weekend. By Sunday night I had dropped $60 on a heavy bag of paneled novels and acquired a slew of 30 year old's contact information. Working the bar at the afterparty on Saturday night, I walked into a lot of personal intoxication, which made me especially thankful for the delivery of free pizza For Volunteers.

As I ate and listened to voicemails, a comic book-contributing guitar player was practicing to my right. He was scheduled to play in 45 minutes and was delectably skilled, so when he briefly put the guitar down, I started asking him questions. Two dollars later, I knew Jordan Cooper's occupation, hometown, plans for the evening, and was in possession of Antenna, a comic book that he and three friends had made over the course of three years [which they usually sold for $3]. I was then transferred to a bar that was far from any of the party guests, so I restarted drinking. A female [though not very feminine] friend of his came on the scene, and eventually I saw him kiss her on the head. When he eventually played his set, I incorporated dancing into my bottle cap-lifting job. However, I felt unaffectionate eyes on me; his lady did not appreciate my enthusiasm. He introduced me to her later in the evening and her smile didn't include any teeth.

The after-afterparty of the MoCCA Art Fest was at Cake Shop, and Jeffrey Lewis was entertainer of the after-evening. As a Purchase alumnus, and also the man who created my attraction to hairloss, he rarely performs in New York to an audience that I'm not a part of. After he plays, I can usually suppress my adoration long enough to hold a ten second conversation with him before my hands begin to shake. However, when I arrived at Cake Shop, none of my friends had come to meet me yet. Instead, it seemed that the only person available for conversation was Jeffrey Lewis himself, standing just off the small-step stage. I spoke to Jeffrey Lewis as though two of his songs are not in my iTunes' Top 25 Most Played at all. He performed and then I spoke to him again.
"So, what are you doing later?" I asked.
He laughed and described his planned supermarket visit in preparation for a trip up to Maine. I told him that his song "Moving" breaks my heart because I'm packing up my game and heading out west.
"I'll be on the west coast at the end of the month because my friend is having her baby."
KIMYA DAWSON!

Malomar and Jenny had arrived. For Malomar, who doesn't have a fake ID, I stole two Blue Point Toasted Lagers from the MoCCA afterparty. I presented one to her in front of Jeffrey Lewis and then asked him if he had a bottle opener. He stepped off the stage, knelt down, and opened the beer with the edge of the stage, which we instantly attributed to his Purchase education.

Nearby, Jeffrey Lewis' girlfriend said to my friend, "I think your friend is hitting on my boyfriend." The second confusion of the evening! If you overheard the talks I had with these gentlemen, you'd know I was being polite. If you had seen me in my MoCCA t-shirt with six cartoon pins, wiping oiling-off eyeliner onto my high-waisted denim shorts, you would know that my conversations were innocent and without intent.

And you'd be wrong! Of course I wanted to make Cooper love me. I was obviously attempting a lay from Lewis. It's true that I wasn't flirting, but I never do; I just talk and make jokes. My only way to a man's heart is through his belly-laughs. I probably could've made some serious head-way, too, if it weren't for their respective, alert balls and chains.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Medical Records

On the second-to-last day of school, as with most mornings, Owen called me as soon as he woke up. "Alaina, wanna get some breakfast?"
I agreed to, although I had already had a yogurt, half a bagel, and a cup of tea. "Owen, wanna hear something stupid?"
He had begun to laugh. "What?"
"I think Mari gave me mono." His cackle set in.

Of Spartan-descent and the demeanor of an ass, I'm sure people are too easy on themselves when they get mono. I was awoken early by a fever that had set fire to my forehead to find that my nose was nonfunctional and that my chin was soaked with drool. Danny Revolting reported that I had been snoring all night despite his nudges and shoves. I immediately diagnosed myself as suffering from the mononucleosis that my roommate had used as an excuse to mimic a sloth for a few days and request an Incomplete in her classes.

"I'm gonna beat this thing," I vowed while buying four bottles of water. If I eat a lot of energy-inducing foods, I believed, I could be functional regardless of ailment. Half-slumped over a table and losing feeling in my legs, continuing to run a very high fever, I ate without stopping [I breathed through my nose]. Owen and BJ met us in the Terra Gay, so we all went to the Dining Hall and I ate the same way.

I saw the nurse and she said it was too early to do a strep or mono test. In the following days my throat ache receded to make way for jaw pain, and my family diagnosed me with infected wisdom teeth. Aside from toothbrush blood, the infection was causing lesions and inflamation of surrounded oral segments. I had a blister on my bottom lip which I called My AIDS and related to Tom Hanks in Philadelphia.

I saw the dentist and he said that although it would be best to remove my four aspiring teeth, my mouth technically had space for them. T and Mia agreed with the dentist, and the dentist perscribed me Valium to tie me over.
"I should get them removed when I get to LA," I said but didn't mean. As eating became easier, I swore to myself that I would keep my four new friends. "Imagine how much more food I'll be able to chew."

Sunday morning, walking to the NY Times' "Sunday With The Times: What We Eat" panel of Rachel Ray, Dave "thrifty" Lieberman, and a PBS chef that wasn't Jacques Pepin, I picked something out of my bottom left smart-fang. It looked like the remnants of bread, but I had not eaten anything yet in the day. Curious, I brought the little bits to my front teeth: they were tougher than bread, like coconut flakes or bamboo, but their taste was remarkably similar to the flavor I experience when my tongue glides close to a dentist's drill.
"Oh what the fuck," I sighed to myself on the street.

Largely devoting attention to live, culinary entertainment, I ignored the dental cannibalism that had just taken place.

Sincerely Yours

I had a dream wherein I strangled someone. I don't remember who it was or why I did it, but there was definitely a short, violent struggle. For the remainder of the dream, I walked around bragging, shrugging, "Yeah, I killed a man."

Although the majority of my dreams involve my buddy list or the obtaining of expensive goods and services, this dream was not especially boring and had a clear meaning: I don't take anything seriously.

This idea was first introduced to me at the dinner table of Lea and Reuve, who, confused by what their son had brought into the house, were trying to direct me toward sensible, practical, profitable aspirations. They usually reminded me that I was old enough to get my driver's license, too.

Without an honest answer that they could be relieved by, I'd avert their questions, making references to my forthcoming fame and also marrying rich.
"Alaina," Lea groaned, "stop making a joke of everything." This request was probably just relating to the conversation at hand, but it happens to be applicable to everything else.

Institutions that I don't understand, people who are engaged in boring lifestyles, real world chores that I don't want to do at all--all become laughable to me. Whenever figures make impressions on me with heavy authority or superiority, I take the time to embarass and belittle them with my associates. Wherever someone is making poor decisions, I'm right there charging them for it. I'm a great girl and everybody likes me, but I always end up acting like an ass. It reminds me of a saying of Middle School girls: "he's not boyfriend material."

I can't really imagine what thirteen-year-old boy made a soft boyfriend material, but I remember who didn't: funny boys who liked hanging out with their friends and thought highly of themselves. Girls liked them because they were fun to be around and generally cute, but their friends would just admonish against it. "You couldn't imagine having a serious conversation with him, could you?" I was warned. "I mean, like, he'll probably make jokes while you hook up!" Seven years later, sexually active and thinking highly of myself, I'm beginning to believe I'm not girlfriend material.

However, I'm completely disinterested in recovery. Like most problems, I don't think this warrants special attention or severe tones. I don't take anything seriously. Whateva, I killed a man.

Living Situation

A girl who would sometimes sleep in my room when I lived with the Gothmate approached me in the Dining Hall. "You're going to be my roommate."
"Shit. Am I living in Big Haus again?"
"Nah, nah. The Olde, man." The Olde is an apartment complex named after its age, characterized by dingy, poorly-lit interiors and a chartreuse paint job. I think it's the most beautiful place on campus.
"Are you serious?" I celebrated. "Who else are we living with?"
"I don't know. I might try to live to the New, though." With no attachment, I didn't tell her what a big mistake that move would be.

Too excited, I went to the Office of Res Life. John Delate, the coordinator of housing, a man whom, due to his secret back office, most students would certify that they've never seen, was sitting on a couch with two secretaries. The three were instantly attentive to me, despite my slow entrance and inconsistant eye-contact.
"Hi, I was wondering if I could confirm where I'm living next semester."
"Sure, what's your name?" asked one of the secretaries on the couch.
"Alaina Stamatis."
"How do you spell that?"
"I don't understand. Would you remember my information?"
"I might."
One of the secretaries stood up and walked to a computer. When she sat down and seemed to have opened a program, I recited the spelling of my last name.
"Ah, you're living in The Olde. Apartment G-7-4." She was a trifle incoherent when she began to explain the nature of my double-room in an apartment with two other singles, shit I already knew about. Then she mumbled the word "faculty".
"What?"
"Yep, so you're all set." All three wished me a great summer.

I decided that I am probably living with teachers next semester. The housing process for Fall 2006 had been hailed as a fiasco by all future juniors, who found that sophomores had an easy time getting into The New and that faculty members were taking all the good apartments in The Olde. To assuage this beef, I believe they've funneled displaced '08-ers into the apartments that had been initially considered filled by one or two professors.
"Oh man, imagine the academic jokes you can make," laughed Natalie, as she began reeling scholastic-dishwashing quips. She has a point, but I think instead I'm going to pretend the teachers are my family; I'll tell them about boys I like, greet them in the late afternoon with "What's for dinner?" and eventually tell them I love them before I go to sleep. The only difference between my future parents and my current homelife is how drunk I'll be when I do familial acts.

The Campaign Trail: or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the PSGA

I turned to the short answer portion of my PSGA Executive Election packet, and Malomar brought shot glasses from her room. From my window, we could see ten or fifteen kids, a sausage-and-peppers trailer, and a Purchase-based band set up to open Culture Shock. Over the distribution of Baccardi O, including the filling of a Hello Kitty glass for me, I read aloud, "What are your qualifications and experience for this position?"
We drank and then I made up a slogan. "I go to a concert a week, I read music blogs instead of going to class, and I'm great on the phone."

The debate was on Wednesday, and lower-ranking candidates didn't know the format: a two minute opening speech, one minute for questions from the audience, and a minute-long closing speech. It was being filmed to be aired on pTV, so although I didn't have anything prepared, I wore my Abraham Lincoln shirt. My three General Programming Coordinator opponents were, in alphabetical order, Rickie [the dead horse candidate], Alex [who was most qualified and deserving], and Scott Mason [a graduate student who pretends to be Jamaican and hates women], and they all made their speeches before I did.

Rickie had recently shaved her head into a mohawk and was wearing a shirt that she forgot she had bought from me in front of the library. Alex went up and listed all of the things he'd done for the Student Center over the past year, and I wanted to make a back-handed comment about how the Student Center is great for a clubhouse. Scott Mason went up before me, and established himself as the crazy candidate before I could: dressed in a suit, garnished with green-yellow-black pins, he moved the podium and began strutting and rambling. He was getting laughs for his varying vocal intonations and for saying, "bullshit" in a scholastic setting, and I thought of Woody Allen [in Annie Hall] whining to the woman backstage that two comedians can't go on in a row.

I wanted to make a schtik out of moving the podium back, but in mock-consideration, he did it for me. I introduced myself and recited the slogan in a Craig Johnson-Representing-You voice and got a few giggles. As I began preaching, though, with little to say, in my bare voice, to no audience reaction because I wasn't making any jokes, things fell apart. I ended sentences abruptly and began new unrelated ones like an immigrant. I said, "preserve" twice in one statement. Ghost, host of Da Blast, the best show on pTV, was seated in the front-center, and I could see him put his head down, embarassed on my behalf. Malomar, the only friend I'd brought with me, recalled thinking, "Alex is pretty qualified," as she watched me drown.

"Guys, I'm soooo nervous right now. I apologize profusely. I'm sorry you have to watch this." The audience began cheering, my words overpowerd by clapping. "Right, we'll try this again." I said something coherent, and then my two minute-portion was up.

Emily, who was on the panel seated to my right, asked me if I would like a sip of her water. However, it was seltzer, and I'm just not that kind of girl.
"Actually, can I have your pizza?"
"Sure," said another Emily, also seated on the panel.
"You're definitely not eating it?" and she nodded at me. I brought the pizza onto the podium, looked right into the camera, and took a big rip out of it.

From that moment on, I was known as having a really good campaign.

In the following days I designed two posters. The first employed two pictures from my pear-ravaging series and read ALAINA STAMATIS for General Programming Coordinator: TAKING A BITE OUT OF BAD MUSIC. On the other was a picture of me pulling down my upper lip, with GPC drawn in from MS Paint. Above it, fairly unrelated, was captioned VOTING MAY 2nd & 3rd IN YOUR EMAIL IS YOUR ONLY CHANCE AT PURCHASE TO GO GREEK [referring to the absence of frats and sororities on campus] and the rest of the poster was covered in Google images of statues, urns, and thirty-year-old men in togas. 75 copies were made of each poster, and I proceeded to tape them on stall doors and above urinals in the Library, Humanities, Social Science, Natural Science, Dance, Visual Arts, and the hall bathrooms of every dorm building. Freshmen began staring at me because they couldn't remember where they recognized me from.
"I'm in your bathroom," I'd yell at them, "and I want to be in your Student Center!"

Running for office made me a celebrity. People approached me in the vegetarian eatery and I got all the alcohol I wanted at parties. Someone was overheard saying, "We're voting for her because she's cute and eats pizza."

The second televised debate would be live, and I grew affectionate toward all of the nervous PSGA executive candidates in pTV's screamin'-green room. I sat on the sunken couch eating a chocolate chocolate chip cookie on top of a white chocolate chip cookie as a sort of fatwich, and I think the other candidates grew affectionate toward me, too. Then Scott Mason tried to ask me if I was still hungover in front of the presidential candidates and I became ruthlessly competitve.

PSGA hopefuls were brought into the studio in order of executive position, and my position would be filmed second-to-last. A panel of Adam and President Jeff "I'd rather be naked" Stein gave us four identical questions, and again we were interviewed in Stamatis-last order. I felt lucky this time.

I don't remember anything Rickie said. Alex would speak well, but when the camera focused back on the panel, he'd look over at us and sigh, "I'm so nervous," which made my heart swell. Scott Mason, clothed and duragged in Jamaican paraphernalia, said he'd spend $15,000 to get the Whalers up here, and other things to roll eyes and turn stomachs.
"Alaina, standard opening question, why do you want to be General Programming Coordinator?"
I told Adam, Jeff, and the people of Purchase that I had been to a jazz party the previous night and there was a live band playing. "I felt like it was my birthday. I want to make everyone feel like its their birthday in the Student Center."
When asked how I'd improve turn-out for the Student Center and events in the Performing Arts Center, I said I'd advertise more to the Adult Ed. students. "I want to enjoy my music with the elderly."
When asked who I'd spend $15,000 to bring up, I answered, "Citizen Cope. Or Devendra Banhart. Any recording artist who used to be homeless is at the top of the list."
I got the panel to laugh. Having answered briefly, I left a minute open for a closing statement. I shrugged, I think, and then I thanked the PSGA for giving me this opportunity. I said I have love for my opponents and everyone running for positions. I told the camera that I'm having a great time, and even though I left out the part about hating Scott Mason, I was telling the truth. When I got the call from one of the Emilys that I had lost the election, it wasn't just my blood-alcohol level that kept me from being upset; I had been sublimely happy for the past few weeks, and was only sad to see it end.

Unfortunately, the sleep I'd lost, the classes I'd missed, and my forgetting of at least two friends' birthdays were, technically, in vain.

Saturday night, sometime after 2 a.m., a freshman girl told me that she had voted for me in last week's election. I recognized her because she had given my old friend a new, gruesome haircut [which I eventually remedied to the best of my sheer ability]. It wasn't the girl's fault, though; it was clear that she had long-ago botched her own mop, so to put your locks in her palms is Russian roulette with a full round. I wanted to tell her that she didn't have to lie for me to be nice to her, that I wouldn't make a window into her soul, but I was too tired. I went into an apartment, ate defrosted pizza, and watched a student film on pTV.

Go West, Young Man!

I had been under the impression that my family would not be moving until August. I planned to ride the LIRR to my summer internships from Real World Roslyn, as I had every other hot season. However, there is an ad running for the sale of our house in today's NY Times, and Terry is close to sealing a rental in L.A. for the time between June 2006 and the completion of our house on Mt. Washington. My main objective for this weekend, Spring Break II, is to box up even more of my room, but all I can really do is grow increasingly affectionate toward New York. I texted Malomar [a.k.a. Conjunctivitis Jones] about the Stamatis race to the West, and she responded, "Ugh, take me with you." I wanted to write back, "Please take my place."

elliotkaufman: watch Russian cats walking on tightropes, negotiating mazes and doing paw-stands:
elliotkaufman: http://www.moscowcatstheatre.com/

New York was my town, and it always will be. It's time to get reflective.

Top Five Venues

1. Student Center
The drummer from Akron/Family mocked my voice, the singer from Of Montreal did the twist with Kyleigh, and everyone underwear-danced to Please Dept. I fully intend to take charge of booking shows for next semester because Jesse Heffler brought shame on our scholastic family.

1a. Glass House Gallery
It's just like the student center, only the management requests that you smoke indoors. Something about not having a liquor license or producing meth.

2. Warsaw
The perfect cross between a communist rally and pool hall. It'd be number one, but the acoustics are actually terrible.

3. Northsix
Great acts and easy to score sauce underage.

4. Town Hall
First place I ever saw Woody Allen in the skins. I had to open my eyes wide to equally distribute all the extra water they were filling up with.

5. Webster Hall
When the audience gets really excited, the floor moves.


Bottom Five Venues

5. Jones Beach Theater
Shit public transportation and Tommy Hilfiger's a racist.

4. Knitting Factory
I know you hate it, too.

3. Roseland Ballroom
There's trash on the floor and trash on-stage. I would enjoy taking dance lessons there, though.

2. CBGB
I'm so glad that shit hole lost its lease. The restrooms are completely nonfunctional, the flooring is uneven, the stage is cramped, and the clientel should funnel their money into something more practical, like their retirement funds. At the New York Dolls show, a bald guy with a hearing aid almost assaulted me with his head. I hope they erect a Hard Rock Cafe in its lot.

1. Madison Square Garden
Not a good seat in the house [unless you're seeing the Knicks vs. Utah Jazz].