Happy New Year! (sort of)

Happy 2012 everyone! Let me start by saying that I think that the new year is completely artificial. For me, the year starts in September. The reasons for this are threefold:

1. School starts in September.

2. Summer is the best time of year, obviously.

3. I clearly have delayed development issues (Hey, 26 isn’t that old, right?).

So I was hoping to write a blog post every week, but then I realized that my life isn’t nearly that interesting. Besides that, I forget most of the funny things that happen within about 20 minutes.

There is one amusing story that I have managed to remember – thank goodness, or you guys would REALLY be in for boredom. So here goes.

Ever since my mother put up a wooden Nativity set that she bought in Jerusalem, my niece Katarina, who is 2 and a half, has been completely enamored of it. Thinking that it is a miniature toy set made just for her, she regularly rearranges it and talks to the little figurines (yes, we are considering getting her checked out). My mother, under the false impression that this is an adult artifact brought from afar to be kept in beautiful condition (when really it is a 2-year-old’s plaything), has taken great pains to make sure that Katarina plays “gently” with it.

On Christmas, she walked past and baby Jesus was missing. She called for Katarina and asked “Where is baby Jesus?” Katarina, having prepared an alibi far ahead of time, calmly said “Oh, Jesus went downstairs to watch TV.” After checking downstairs, my Mom informed Katarina that Jesus was not watching TV after all. Katarina looked up and replied “Well maybe he’s in the garage with Papou” (Papou = Greek for Grandpa). Clearly, this is one smart child we’re dealing with – either destined for politics (where her sweet talking skills will be useful) or a life of petty crime (let’s just hope for the first).

All of this talk of Nativity scenes and baby Jesus has led to some pretty interesting questions, and I suddenly realized that Christianity isn’t terribly easy to explain to a 2 year old.

We were reading a children’s book about Jesus, and he showed up about 30 with a beard. While I was trying to read, Katarina stopped me and said “That’s not Jesus.” I replied, “Yes it is,” and she turned to me like I was a half-wit and explained “Jesus is a baby.” Duh.

Likewise, we had a little feud during a church Christmas pageant, when she exuberantly cried “I want to meet baby Jesus!” after the festivities ended. I explained that the baby was just pretending to be baby Jesus, but she stood her ground, stubbornly proclaiming “No, it’s really baby Jesus.”

Religion has also come up at strange moments, like when she got a doll on Christmas eve and cried “Oh Mary!” and hugged the doll fiercely. She also likes to run around going “Aw, I look just like baby Jesus!” Once, after I tried to be a good godmother and teach her about God and Jesus, she went home to her Mom and said “Loli [my nickname] really likes Jesus!”

So far, she has established that:

1. Jesus is definitely a baby, and not an old man.

2. Jesus showed up at our church on Christmas, and is super tiny and cute.

3. She looks like Jesus.

My niece Katarina

Baby Jesus (according to some artist)

4. Her Aunt particularly loves to talk about him.

5. Oh, and we ask this baby to bless us before eating dinner and when lighting candles.

All of this has made me realize that I simply must strategize more effectively to teach her about religion. I’d really like to tackle the age thing, explaining that he grew up eventually, but she doesn’t seem to get this whole ‘aging’ thing. Likewise with “death” and “heaven”. In the meantime, we’ll keep searching for our wooden replica of baby Jesus – and maybe buy a man-sized version for next year, too.

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I would really like my leaders to be readers

Check out Herman Cain’s biggest bloopers here. My personal favorite is “We need a leader, not a reader.” I can’t believe that that’s a slogan for an American presidential candidate. Yep, that’s what’s wrong with our nation’s leaders – they just read too darn much! They really should get their quotations from more accessible sources, like lyrics of a song from the 2000 Pokemon movie (no joke…). I actually feel bad for Republicans that he’s even in the field. At least someone like John McCain or Mitt Romney I can take seriously, even if I completely disagree with them. This guy looks like he’s ready to step into George W.’s shoes, and get the whole world making fun of us again with his silly soundbites. Yikes…



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Life in the big city

Since one of my friends (you know who you are, IK!) encouraged me to make my blog more personal, I’ve been trying to think of ways to entertain you all without going too TMI-narcissistic-scary. 

I’ve come to the conclusion that I can’t write about something personal in a public forum without being just a TAD egotistical, but I’ll try to keep it to a minimum:) I thought I’d let you all in on one of the things that affected me most this fall.

After years of anticipating a day when I would finally get it together and go into American Idol and wow everyone with my Mariah Carey style chops (ha – not remotely), I finally took the big step and tried out for American Idol. Clearly, I was waiting for Simon to leave, who was the coolest and most damaging-I’ll-cry-into-my-pillow-every-night-remembering-what-you-said type judge.

Since I would never decide I was ready to go on reality TV on my own, I luckily got some prodding from my amazing artist development teacher Cari Cole. Out of the blue, New Jersey auditions unexpectedly popped up, and I was signed up to audition.

I very much wish that I could go into details, but I signed a bunch of waivers, and am a very paranoid law-abiding citizen, so I can’t go into the nitty-gritty of what happened in the auditions (suffice it to say it was no Abu Ghraib, so I’m not totally sure why all the secrecy is required).

In any case, I did at one point get to sing for the Producers, among them the show’s creator, Nigel Lythgoe. Although I didn’t make it to Hollywood, this experience was pretty cool. The guy sitting next to Nigel (who seemed very British and in the know:) called out to me “You’ve got the voice baby” and Nigel agreed and told me that I sounded like a throwback – specifically like Janis Ian! Just those comments were reason enough to audition – it boosted my confidence to new heights!

They also told me that I looked very nervous and uncomfortable (see, this is where the narcissistic part does NOT come into the story – I actually hate having people stare at me while I attempt to perform, and feel like I should be juggling or doing something pretty circus-like to warrant all that attention).

Sooo I’m left to work on my nerves – they told me that I should definitely come back next year – and try to get a lot of experience performing before then.

This new confidence (and reminder to relax onstage) was especially helpful because I had a performance coming up at The Bitter End, this hip venue on Bleecker Street in the Village. Just reading through the list of people who have played The Bitter End almost gave me a heart attack – both of joy and fear. Billy Joel, Norah Jones, Bob Dylan, Tori Amos, Joan Baez, Miles Davis, Patti Smith, Stevie Wonder, Lady Gaga, andddd Janis Ian, my American Idol twin, among many other intimidating and inspiring names (more here!).

I performed a song of mine called “Bad Dreams” on October 19th, and it went off pretty well. After Idol, I finally had a different feeling on stage. Rather than wanting to bolt and catch the next bus home, I realized that I actually wanted to share my song. Yes, I realize this must seem kind of anti-climatic for someone pursuing a songwriting/singing career. But it was a big deal to me.

So now I’m ready and working hard to get to the next performance, whenever that may be! In the meantime I’m saving my pennies to get demos of my new songs recorded and really enjoying living in New York in the fall. Global warming is really improving my quality of life in the short term – it was 60 degrees outside today! Hope that everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving and that it gets to 70!

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The 2 year marriage?

Mexico City is considering making the length of marriage negotiable, beginning with a minimum 2 year temporary contract. Arguing that half of marriages in Mexico City end within the first two years, lawmakers hope to simplify the divorce process. Much like an insurance policy, when the time is up, the marriage would simply “expire” unless renewed.

These temporary marriage contracts would also have a built-in pre-nup structure to determine how any kids and assets would be split if the couple breaks up after the 2 year period.

In my opinion, you might as well not get married if this is what the marriage is (it’s sounding more and more like divorce prep school rather than marriage). Marriage is supposed to be a huge commitment, and this proposal does pretty much everything it can to ensure that it’s not – that it won’t be a hassle at all to quickly dispose of it. I’m not against making sure that things end smoothly if they do have to end, but I think that treating a marriage like a cell phone contract is not the best idea. Thoughts?

Leonel Luna, a Mexico City Assemblyman who co-authored the bill, believes that his proposal will be voted on by the end of the year.

Read more on the bill here.

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Dum Dum Girls

I love this band the Dum Dum Girls, who have the best retro vibe. You can listen to their songs and read an interview with lead singer Dee Dee via Pitchfork.

But before you do that, take a peek at the video for Bedroom Eyes below. It’s especially cute – happy, easy retro pop.

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Stream Feist’s upcoming album

You can hear Feist‘s upcoming album Metals by entering your email address here (the process is quick, trust me).

Spin calls the album “a gorgeous collection of overtly poppy tunes, cinematic art-rock, and strummy ballads.”

After listening to the first two songs, I call it soothing, sweet, and clever… Nice music to listen to on a cloudy morning like this.

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Karolina Kurkova and I are best friends

Ok, not really, but we look like it in this picture that I found on Society Allure. I chatted with her at an event at the Alexandre Gertsman gallery in December and just found this photo series by googling myself (no, I’m not narcissistic at all, it’s purely a business strategy… ahem hem).

Anyways, the Victoria’s Secret model is a lot thinner in real life than it seems like in the catalogs, but very friendly and sweet.

I also got to hobnob with Dr. Ruth (below), who I thought was someone’s very kind grandmother until my Mom gave me the 411. I prefer not to think about her giving sex advice or writing “Sex for Dummies”, although I’m sure it’s all very good information.


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