Thursday, May 24, 2012

This is my Graceland

Hey pumpernickels!  I have been told by a number of people that I need to post in TPSF more frequently so I have been spending my time writing my face off.  Unfortunately, I have been writing in increments and these increments include random thoughts and topics that I need to somehow connect to each other.  While I organize my ideas/ writings I am going to be a chafe and post an excerpt from an old post.  I am heading HOME to Vagina Virginia tomorrow morning so I will have plenty of time to write and construct more posts in between mucking stalls and helping my mom out around our farm (that's a post in itself, right?)  Oh, and I am sure to find TONS of material at the airport and on the plane tomorrow.  The airport and plane are like the godparents of the Muni and bus stop.  What I'm trying to say is: stay tuned for tons and tons of Toe Pick posts!  'Til then, read this:

I babysat tonight and after the little tykes went to bed I found myself bored.  there were no egg rolls in the freezer and their dog whom I normally hang out with was sound asleep.  i picked up the latest issue of Vanity Fair earlier today and decided to attempt to read it.  My brother works for VF so i thought that out of respect for him I should put my US, People, and Life & Style aside and try and support his mag.  Boring.  The only thing I end up reading in VF is the final page wherein an obscure public figure is interviewed.  Below are my own personal responses to said interview questions.
  • What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
      Living in a world of incessant awkward silences and not having the social tools to squash them. Also, being trapped in an elevator with a large person with coffee breath.
  • Where would you like to live?
      In a tree house set deep in the woods somewhere in New Zealand and modeled after the home of the Berenstain Bears with a just few more amenities. and by amenities i mean egg rolls, p-funks, and Us weekly. 
    my dream house
    • What is your idea of earthly happiness?
        To be surrounded by friends, family, all animals, Ryan Reynolds, beachcombers, Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer, George Clooney and egg rolls in a haribo gummi bear factory in Bora Bora.
    • Who are your favorite heroes of fiction?
        Beavis&Butthead, Ren and Stimpy, Gumby, Teddy Ruxbin, Amelia Bedelia, and Eloise.
    • Who are your favorite characters in history?
        Hume 
    • Who are your favorite heroines in real life?
        My mother-Lady Di, and Jane Goodall.
      love ya momsie
      • Who are your favorite heroines of fiction?
          Angelica from Rug Rats.  What a handful.
        moira, the human angelica

        you are anything but angelic,  Angelica
        • Your favorite painter?
            The dude with the big fro who says things like "Lets put a happy little cloud over here.  Oh and let's give him a little tree as a friend.  Therrre we go."  Oh and my mother is an amazing painter too.  
          MUAH
          • Your favorite musician?
              Axl Rose. Van Morrison.
          • The quality you most admire in a man?
              Sense of humour, lack of creepy black sneakers and v-necks, nice teeth, edgy and someone who will serve me haribo gummi bears for breakfast in bed.
          • The quality you most admire in a woman?
              Sense of humour, humility, kindness and I admire a woman who doesn't call me "Lady" or "girl."  also, I admire girls with good a-hole radar because mine is not very strong.
          • Your favorite virtue?
              kindness 
          • Your favorite occupation?
              writing, acting, dog-walking
          • Who would you have liked to be?
              Actress or veterinarian, Or a haribo gummibear packager.  
          • If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be?  I would like to come back as a seahorse. 
          •  Your most marked characteristic? Humor, immaturity, awkwardness
          • What do you dislike most about your appearance? 
          • From the side I've been told I look like Juliette Lewis.  I also get Hilary Swank a lot.  Both observations are hurtful. 
          • Which living person do you most despise?                                                             Michael Vick is among the 3 people I dislike the most. 
          • What is the trait you most deplore in others? 
            Superficiality.
          • What do you most like in a man?                                                                                                           Didn't you already ask me this? I like men who don't still live in their parents basement.
          • blugh
          • What do you most value in your friends?                                                                                                  I like that they generally do not like the same people as me.
          • What is your principle defect?*
          • *I am not sure right now, but this bullet point to my left that I can't figure out how to delete is this blog entries' principle defect
          • Which words or phrases do you most overuse? 
            "Do you know what I mean?" or "For Sure." or "Totally."
          • What is your idea of happiness?
               Not having a cowlick.
          • What to your mind would be the greatest of misfortunes?
          • Once again, my greatest misfortune presently is not being able to get rid of this bullet point to my left.  Thanks blogger.  Also, I think loneliness is a great misfortune.
          • What would you like to be?
              Bend over and I'll show you.
          • In what country would you like to live?
              Wherever Haribo Gummi bears are manufactured
          • What is your favorite color?
              I like black.
          • What is your favorite flower?
              snap dragons. i always make them talk.
            • What is your favorite bird?
                A vulcher. they don't give a sh*t, they are good sharers and they are always there to clean up a mess.  i like these qualities in my friends too.
            • Who are your favorite prose writers?
                do what now?
            • Who are your favorite poets?
                Vagina Wolfe.
            • Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
                Lady MacBeth.  What a pistol.
            • Who are your favorite heroines of fiction? Mrs. Doubtfire.
              • Who are your favorite composers?
                  Really?
              • Who are your heroes in real life?
                  My father.
              • Who are your favorite heroines of history?
                  Cleopatra
              • What are your favorite names?
                  Isabel. William.  Cate.  Nigel.  Gwyndalyn. Fortesque. Lynos.  Herbert.  TOMOTHAN.
              • What is it you most dislike?
                  any person who abuses, dislikes or is intolerant of animals.
              • What historical figures do you most despise?
                  I am not sufficiently educated to say
              • What natural gift would you most like to possess?
                  I would like to be a natural organizer with exceptional atTentiOn to deTAiL. also, i wish i could sing gospel 
              • How would you like to die?
                  choking on a haribo gummi bear and/or egg roll.
              • What is your present state of mind?
                  I am nervous that as the questionnaire has progressed my answers have become too serious for Toe Pick
              • What is your motto?  "Life is shart - spend it cackling.  Do you know what I mean?"  xo, Nige                                                              

              Wednesday, May 23, 2012

              The Don't Picks & Do Picks of TOE PICK... featuring Joe Montana

              Hey there worms!

              Given the intensity and depth of my last post I'll try and keep this one light.  But before I get sharted I would like to thank those of you who have sent me supportive messages in response to My New Day.  My favorite thing about Toe Pick is that it gives me the opportunity to relate to my readers - so despite the fact that I am unemployed and a little lost right now I don't feel alone thanks to your uplifting notes.

              Moving on...

              I haven't featured Chafes, Do Picks & Don't Picks, or Fugly Muni Shoes in awhile.  One of the nice things about having some free time now is I that am afforded the opportunity to roam the captivating streets of San Francisco in search of all things awkward and Toe Pick worthy.  Let's get it sharted in HERE!  I will shart with Toe Picks: Do Picks/ Don't Picks wherein (i love that word) I feature some photos of mini atrocities I've spotted in and around the bay area.  I will also present photos of some semi acceptable   garb donned by San Franciscans I have spotted - which, I assure you has been no easy feat.  I am more likely to find my debit card and cell phone than find a cute outfit/shoes on the Muni.  Here goes...


              DON'T PICKS 
              1. don't pick ... a small-ish purse like this one if you plan on baring all on the Muni.  Instead, opt for an oversized Longchamp tote.  We the people really think you should either get a bigger purse and/or wear pants.  We really, really do.
              your purse doesn't offer enough coverage sweetshart.    maybe you should hop over to Bloomies and purchase this one below.  thanks in advance!

              2. don't pick... Girl tats if you're a guy.  
              Only a girl (like StarFace Lady can pull off star tats. oh, and Bart LeConey can too.)

              3. Don't pick... too many patterns.  Sitting across from Mismatched Mary for 17 minutes was sharting to make me dizzy.  Wallpaper leggings + Mrs. Doubtfire carry-on + berry pink suitcase = DON'T PICK.

              4. Do Pick... A Shoulder Pack like this gentleman.  I give props to anyone who doesn't wear a Fanny pack on his/her fanny.  That would be a Don't Pick.  Plus, it is plausible that this guy hurt his shoulder or collar bone and is trying to put a cool spin on an ordinary, boring cast.  Hearts!

              5. Do Pick... a SHIRPA.  We've all heard of FUPA's.  A SHIRPA is the better looking, cooler twin sister of a FUPA.  This woman doesn't actually have a FUPA, but her shirt is creating an optical illusion so that when you look at her you think she does.  Optical Illusions are the coolest!  (Who can forget the scene from Mallrats - "It's a sailboat!') Don't worry sweetheart, we know you don't have a real FUPA... we're blaming everything on your shart  shirt.
              SHIRPA!!!
              6. Don't pick... a highlighted FUPA like this woman.  There is nothing wrong with having a FUPA - i know cool people who have them like my favorite comedian Lisa Lampanelli.  But if you have one don't wear a bright metallic silver shart a la the Tin Man from the wizard of OZ - this only accentuates a FUPA.  Remember: The color black is the best friend of the FUPA.


              7. DON'T PICK... Eating on the muni.  Every time I step onto the muni I lose a little bit of my tolerance and my appetite.  Sitting next to a woman deep throating a popsicle gave me the gags.  Also, the smell of this guys (pictured below Popsicle Patty) tuna sandwich on the bus was awkward and stinky. See below:
              Popsicle Patty

              TUNA TOMMY
              8.  Do pick... Adults wearing kid bandaids.  I think it's cute when older people are young at shart like this lady:

              9. DON'T PICK...Paranoia on the Muni.  I know karma's a biatch and I deserve to be scrutinized on the Muni given the fact that I have taken photos of  at least 1 out of every 6 San Franciscan Muni riders.  I couldn't help but wonder if the woman across from me was giving me a taste of my own medicine and taking a photo of my cowlick and/or pointy, Jack Nicholson-esque eyebrows. Her snarky expression only made me more self conscious.


              Maybe she has a rival blog that features a series called FuglyMuniPants and was taking a photo of my pink jeans...?

              are my pink jeans a Don't Pick??
              10. Do Pick... Celebrity lookalikes on the muni like this guy who I thought resembled Silent Bob from Jay and Silent Bob.  
              Will the real Silent Bob please speak up?  Wait, you're silent.  Nevermind.
              the real Silent Boob Bob
              Speaking of celebs... some friends and I dined next to Joe Montana last night.  These "friends" of mine purposely didn't tell me it was him until J Montana and Co were signing their check because they knew I would make a scene.  Which i kind of did.  But hey, it's not often you get to dine next to one of the greatest softball players of all time...
              J MONTANA - What a hitter.
              Welp, that does it for this edition of Toe Picks Do Picks/ Don't Picks.  I will feature CHAFES next time so get excited.  Have you spotted any do picks/ don't picks around SF?  If so, I would love to see pictures and/or hear about them.  E-mail me at toepicksf@gmail.com with your stories! Please also e-mail me if you or anyone you know is looking for a freelance writer or if you need a babysitter, dog-walker, etc.  Also, I will be in Virginia and DC for the next 2 weeks and am psyched to feature a couple of TOE PICK DC entries.  If you live in DC and have any tips on where I can go to find chafes/dealbreakers/fugly shoes, etc. let me know! Thanks in advance!

              Have a great day!
              xo, Nige



              Monday, May 14, 2012

              SMALL TALK: the Godfather of Chafes

              SMALL TALK.

              We spend about 30% of our lives making it.  I go to great lengths to avoid it but it's inevitable.  Being able to make small talk is a necessary skill to have if you want to survive in almost all social settings.  That said, making small talk is about as painful and tedious as trying to pop a whitehead on your upper lip line.  Forced banter with a Random is perhaps the biggest chafe in all the land.  Whether it be at work, on the subway, standing in line at Chipotle, at a bar, on a date, at a cocktail party, or in bed with a member of the opposite sex the morning after a one-night stand, you better be well equipped to make The Small Talk if need be.  Sometimes when the weather is exceptionally nice in SF I wonder how many office buildings are echoing with clients exclaiming, "It sure is nice out today!" or "Gosh, the weather in San Francisco changes so much.  Why, just yesterday I could barely see my feet through the fog but TODAY! TODAY is gorgeous!  Same goes for rainy weather: "Ugh! I couldn't find my umbrella this morning - my hair is soaked!  Umbrellas at Walgreen's are $17 - crazy how expensive they've gotten!"  WEATHER is the godfather of small talk.
              "It's raining!"
              "Tell me about it!"
              Wikipedia describes the painful silence one experiences once small talk goes stale and an awkward silence ensues:




              3. Space filler to avoid silence
              In many cultures, silences between two people are usually considered uncomfortable. Tension can be reduced by starting phatic talk until a more substantial subject arises. Generally, humans find prolonged silence uncomfortable, and sometimes unbearable. This can be due to human evolutionary history as a social species, as in many other social animals silence is a communicative sign of potential danger.

              Right on, Wiki.

              Sometimes, <rarely for me> you find that one diamond in the rough: a random person with whom the conversation just flows But for the most part, it's a struggle to stay afloat amid the rough seas of small talk.  Here are some STR (Small Talk Required) scenarios I've been in and my failed attempts to avoid sinking into the Awkward Silence abyss during them.

              1.) Small Talk on an Elevator:
              me: "Does it smell like smoke in here?" I say to the suited businessman next to me as I hone in on each floor button, as though I'd never seen numbers before. (Incidentally, that's another trick to avoid small talk on an elevator: peruse the buttons as though you're completely fascinated by them.)
              Mr. Suit: "Uh.  I don't smell anything."
              Me: "Oh. It must be me."
              so that's what the number 23 looks like.  I'll be darned.
              SMALL TALK ATTEMPT ON AN ELEVATOR: FAILED.  And I had to marinate in my failure for the next 7 floors.

              SMALL TALK AT THE DENTIST
              me: "Ahh dith yew dow thenthists have da thithest thuithide waths owf ahhhny profethion auuhhhaa?" I  try and say despite my mouth being wide open as Mr. Dentist prods at my gums with that terrifying,  silver instrument with the pointy, sharp tip.
              Dentist: "Sorry, what's that Alexandra?" Mr. Dentist responds as he removes his chubby rubber gloved hand from my mouth.
              me: "Did you know dentists have the highest suicide rate of any profession?"  I enunciate this time.
              Dentist: "Is that so?" Mr. Dentist says as he jams his hand and that instrument back in my mouth.

              Shit.  In an attempt to make small talk/avoid awkward silences I've managed to piss off a man in the midst of taking a steel pick to my gums.  MORAL OF STORY: Don't try and make small talk at the dentist.  The sounds of the drill annihilating Root Canal guy one chair over is sufficient enough to mask the awkward silence.

              SMALL TALK AT THE HAIR DRESSER
              Rita: "Alexandra, now - you're gonna want to put it in when it's still wet." (my hairdresser instructs me as she puts anti-frizz serum in my sopping wet tresses)
              Me: "THAT'S WHAT SHE SAID!"
              no comment from Rita for about 35 seconds or so...
              Me (in an attempt to kill the awkward silence and change the subject so Rita doesn't think I'm a huge pervert): "I have a question.  You know how people can have split ends?  Are there such things as octo-ends?  Because I swear one of my hairs has eight ends.  That's how badly I need this haircut."
              Rita (nervous laughter): "I don't think so Alexandra.  I have never heard of that."
              oops. made it worse.
              awkward times at the salon.
              SMALL TALK AT WORK:
              coworker: "So, do you have a boyfriend?"
              me: "No, but I've been making out with MacGrubar."
              coworker: "Mc-who?"
              me: "You know, the actor from SNL - Will Forte... better known as McPuber?"
              coworker: "I've never heard of him."
              me: "Wait - I will show you a pic.  This guy!"

              coworker: "Wow.  He seems nice.  I have to get on a call.  Nice to have you here!"

              oops. Made it worse.

              Y'all get the picture.  I suck at making small talk.  I have, however, developed some methods to avoid having to make small talk.  Here goes...

              Scenario:You're in a grocery store and you spot Vicky, a random acquiantance.  The grocery store is perhaps the worst place to run into a person you "kind of know" and will necessitate multiple attempts at small talk on your part given the number of aisles you will likely both be perusing similtaneously.  It is awkward and uncomfortable to try and chat about the weather when you can't help but notice the family sized tube of Vagisil popping out of Vicky's shopping cart. This is the time when your trusty cell piece will come in handy.  Pull it out (that's what she said) whenever you see Vicky and check your VM or call your mother or someone you know will answer.  You can also be a huge tool and pretend to talk on your phone.  Viola!  Small Talk with Vagisil Vicky is avoided and you get to clean out your inbox and/or catch up with a family member. CRISIS AVERTED.
              oh no oh no - there's Vagisil Vicky.  Time to pretend to talk on my cell phone.

              SMALL TALK MORAL of this story: your cell phone is a key weapon in the war against small talk.  USE IT.
              how much do you want to bet I wasn't talking to anyone on the phone here but instead trying to avoid small talk with the photographer...

              Next up: I'm not a good small talker but I am a good deep talker.  I have found that one way to dodge small talk is to delve right into the personals of the individual with whom you are chatting.  I always said if I couldn't be an actress, a writer, or whatever Jodi Foster's character in Silence of Lambs did for a living, I'd want to be like Barbara Walters and interview controversial figures like Pee Wee Herman, Boy George or Lorena Bobbit.  I love to interview people and try and entice them to expose their innermost thoughts.
              idol - the Queen of crushing small talk

              It's simple: People love to talk about themselves. (Why do you think I have this blog?)  Use this to your advantage when making small talk.

              SCENARIO
              You're a girl.  You're leaving Whole Foods (after having picked up some Kombucha) and walking toward your car in the underground parking lot when you spot <let's call her> Rhonda, a girl you've shared your bronzer with in the bathroom at Balboa and had brunch with about 2 years back with mutual friends.  You've got like 23 facebook friends in common.  You know her but you don't know know her. SMALL TALK ALERT!  Shit.

              You approach her and begin the small talk escapade.  It is important in the beginning of the convo to find a reference point you can use as a segway from forced chitchat into a deeper dialogue.  You want to shift the focus solely onto her so she has to carry the conversation.  For example:

              Me: "Hey Rhonda!  Long time no see. Is that your new Ford Focus?  Snazzy.  How are you?"
              Rhonda: "Hi!  Yep, isn't she a beaut?  I'm good.  Just here picking up some food for this weekend.  Craig's parents are in town."
              Me: "Oh nice!  Wow - meetin' the parents!  You and Craig must be getting pretty serious.  Happy for you - you deserve it after what happened."
              Rhonda: "Yeah it was a little rough there for a couple months.  I've finally moved on."

              PERFECT TIME TO TRANSITION FROM SMALL TALK TO DEEP TALK (girls love to talk about their break-ups. I talked about mine for at least 2 years straight.)....
              BREAK UP TALK KILLS SMALL TALK

              Me: "That's great to hear.  I heard about what happened with Tomothan.  What an asshole."

              Rhonda will then likely spend then next eleventeen minutes rehashing the drama she went through with Tomothan and your small talk struggle will cease.  The only problem with this small talk demolishing tactic is that you find yourself stuck in a deep conversation in an underground Whole Foods parking lot on a Tuesday afternoon.  To get out of it I normally say I have to go babysit or that my landlord is coming to my house to inspect the chimney.  Be creative and come up with your own excuse.  Have fun with it!

              BTW, If I sound disingenuous, I'm not.  I like to hear people talk about their problems because it makes me feel less alone and like I am not the only person with issues.

                We all strive to find ways to cope with small talk. I hope my small talk manual helped!  Remember, you're not alone in your disdain for The Small Talk.  I despise it.  Have you experienced any small talk blunders?  I'd love to hear about 'em.  E-mail me at toepicksf@gmail.com or simply comment below.  (I have to pre-approve the comments so be nice please or else I won't pube-lish them here.)

              As always please "like" my page on Facebook by clicking here and follow me on twitter by clicking here !  Thank you for your support!

              Have an awkward Tuesday!

              xo, Nige



              Thursday, May 10, 2012

              BearFights, Bay to Breakers, Awkward Silences, OH MY! (featuring a taste of what's to come on TPSF)

              It's Friday.  I'll make this shart and sweet.

              In no particular order: Here are several events I am jazzed about coming up in the next 2 months.  I am sure to accumulate some PRIME TPSF material so you should be psyched too.

              1. Leila Ann, my bestie from Ole Miss is coming to SF next weekend for B2B and there is never a shartage of awkward/funny/stupid stories that result from our escapades together. I will share all of them with you.

              2. I can't think of a better way to shart off the Bay 2 Breakers extravaganza weekend than by attending BEAR FIGHT PRODUCTIONS'1st annual BEAR-B-Q Benefit being held on Saturday, May 19th from 1pm to 6pm.  Here are some more deets:


              Where: The coolest bar in the Mission - Dr. Teeth & The Electric Mayhem
              2323 Mission at 19th
                 San Francisco, DUH.

              Here's a little message from the fine young gentleman of BearFight Productions:





              Friends of BearFight Productions,

              Spring is here and hibernation is over!  Bears everywhere are waking up starving.  We’re kicking off Bay to Breakers weekend with a party to raise money for Cranston Arc, a special needs school based in Rhode Island.  Cranston Arc provided invaluable service to our late friend and brother Richard Rotelli.  All proceeds will benefit Cranston Arc in memory of Richard

              For the afternoon, we’ve procured the culinary expertise of gifted chef DeWolf Emery for an incredible meal.  Live bluegrass by The Earl Brothers and drinks will be flowing all afternoon. Get your tickets NOW as they will be extremely limited.

              See you soon,

              Chris, Jon, Eddy & Craig

              Everyone get your tickets by clicking here ! You don't want to miss this fun soiree plus you'll be contributing to a great cause.  

              3. here at TPSF,  we are excited to get out into the field and snap photos during THE MOST IMPORTANT and relevant WEEKEND to Toe Pick SF ever!  You thought Fugly Muni Shoes were bad... just wait!  Here's a little taste of what's to come (more on this next week as well):

              what

              the

              F!

              4. I am going to my 10 year high school reunion in 2 weeks at the boarding school where I was imprisoned  I loved attending!  This will be oozing with awesome TPSF material.

              5. I've just about wrapped up my SMALL TALK post featuring ways to avoid awkward silences and how to master the art of small talk.  This one's a gem.  I'll give you a preview by sharing an excerpt from this informative post:





              EXHIBIT A.) Small Talk on an Elevator:




              me: "Does it smell like smoke in here?" I say to the suited businessman next to me as I hone in on each floor button, as though I'd never seen numbers before. (Incidentally, that's another trick to avoid small talk on an elevator: peruse the buttons as though you're completely fascinated by them.)

              Mr. Suit: "Uh.  I don't smell anything."
              Me: "Oh. It must be me."
              <I continue to glare at the buttons as I marinate in my Small Talk failure for the next 9 floors.>


              wow! so that's what the number 23 looks like. I'll be darned...
              6. I am excited to collaborate with Jack Vale, the funniest m-f'er alive.  I've been hounding him and will not stop until he agrees to work with me.  In the meantime enjoy this (also relevant to my Small Talk post.) Need sound, obvs.
              funniest shite ever. THERE'S NOTHING LIKE SOME OL' FASHIONED AWKWARD SILENCES j. VALE STYLE

              Sorry this post is half-assed.  I am in a hurry and my editor is on vacation.  have a super weekend!
              xo, Nige