Sunday, November 30, 2008

Christmas: Oh come ON, Australia.

* * *

I was one of those lame kids who totally gets in to the Spirit Of Christmas. Come Thanksgiving I was all head-high and grinning (lips closed of course--this was pre-toothal-rearrangement, mind you,) making hand-made Christmas cards and carefully selecting which flavors of Jelly Bellys I would arrange in clear plastic boxes from Cargo Hold for the two people I called friends in middle school. It was so pathetic that when I was 14 and still hadn't come out to my parents as An Official Non-Believer in Santa, my stepmother pulled me aside and said, 'I know maybe you're just accommodating your little brother and sister, but Santa really doesn't exist [she braced herself and squared my shoulders:] it's JUST ME AND DAD.'

I was embarrassed; clearly my enthusiasm had caused my parents to rethink whether I might actually be retarded. No, I didn't really still believe in Santa, but by now I believed in Mariah Carey's first album, and that was enough to make me happy even as I was realizing that Michigan was not a romantic place to be for drama queens like me. I also didn't want to get less presents in the event that I did confess to knowing the truth. Anyway, like a normal teenager, I quickly discovered hatred for most things around me, and so the Spirit of Christmas evaporated, like bong smoke on a windy day.

My spirit was renewed, however, upon visits to Chicago in my late teens, and to New York in my early 20s. The cities boasted big Northern trees in their central squares—20-foot Norwegian furs, stacked with tasteful Christmas bling and nestled in an attractive depth of snow (holy shit I should write Pottery Barn catalogs). People bustled on Michigan and Fifth Avenues, shopping and pretending to look fucked off but secretly enjoying the dramatic and romantic vapor that reminded them of familiar movies.

Let me restate that I'm a total drama queen, and that a lot of the time I was herding through the masses in New York I had just had a pot brownie or had slipped Jamesons in my latte to help warm the walk. Like, that explains the stoned euphoria. But still. It was something.

* * *

So when they put this tree up every year in City Square in Melbourne, I just have to audibly sigh. Why are the tourists taking pictures of this thing? It is to make fun of it, right? You're not actually thinking this is what Christmas looks like, right?

Then they put these cheese-butt banners up on the major streets that say "Christmas" in whimsy bullshit lettering, to remind you that while you're sweating and getting skin cancer in this harsh Australian sun, you should suspend your belief long enough to think of Santa, snow, the North Pole, roast turkey, wool sweaters, extra blankets and milk. But the problem is just thinking about that shit when it's 85 degrees WILL ACTUALLY MAKE YOU VOMIT.

I say: just give it up. Stop calling it Christmas and just make it Presents and Lobster Day. Gifts n' Grog. Whatever. You're just making the rest of us reminisce for the days of Mariah*.

*Vision of Love was a good album, shut up.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Live Blogging the U.S. Election

I'm sitting here at Jeremy's with Stuart and Rachel and we're all pretending to be really important, sitting in front of Jeremy's gigantor TV with our various Mac laptops. It's funny watching this in Australia, where Australian television has just succumbed to streaming the American Broadcasting Company, with Channel 9 anchors occasionally jumping in to go, "uh. Yeah, so...this is person." Rachel predicts the Aussie broadcasters are going to talk about Barack Obama being "clean" and "articulate" at some point in the game today.

11:27: Channel 9 has made their "break to commercial" graphic the U.S. presidential seal with a Hendrix-style guitar riff of Pomp & Circumstance. Nice.

11:37: CNN's pundits have amazing skin. Anderson Cooper is a gay icon.

11:41: Every woman involved in this campaign, including Diane Sawyer, is wearing false eyelashes. I have no problem with this. Charlie Gibson is annoying me already. RIP Peter Jennings.

11:47: Channel 9's studio anchor is asking the US Correspondent, "how did those people behind you get in? Did they have to buy tickets?"

11:52: One of Channel 9's pundits is bright red and possibly still drunk from Cup Day.

12:01: Charlie Gibson is telling us which states he wants Obama to win: Delaware, DC, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Connecticut and Massachusetts. Yessss. John McCain's got Kentucky, Oklahoma and Tennessee. "People project Florida too early to their own peril"

12:07: CNN dude loves his touch screen software. He's pointing to random counties and babbling about some kind of trend, "John McCain cannot afford to underperform George W Bush in these areas." What?

12:09: ABC dude is talking about going to a bowling alley in Altoona, PA for reasons unknown.

12:15: Sources tell us CNN has 3D holograms!

12:18: Obama is hott.

12:26: Australia's Channel 7 news anchor to their Phoenix correspondent: "are the Republicans looking morose yet?" Also, Sarah Palin voted in jeans and a Carharrt jacket made out of moose.

12:30: Wolf Blitzer in da house!

12:35: Channel 7's anchor says, "this is not just about who's going to be in the White House, it's also about bums on seats in congress."

12:39: Wolf is calling Pennsylvania for Obama. WOOT!

12:51: The Australians around me are scared of James Carville. Fair enough.

12:54: Four years ago I spent about 9 months volunteering with NARAL, registering women to vote through phone banks and later, by bussing myself and elderly Jewish women to Pennsylvania most Saturday mornings to do non-partisan door-knocking. I ended up campaigning in some capacity in 4 states, and while those all went blue, I spent Election Night crying in front of the television at my friend Brian's house, spliff in hand, after a very long and exhausting day in Pennsylvania.

It kills me a little that I wasn't able to be active in my community during this campaign. I certainly would have been more inspired by this election cycle, and I've got friends back home who say they were sad I couldn't have been there with them.

Anyway, I'm glad to be here. And this year I'll be smoking a celebratory spliff.

1:00: Michigan goes to Obama! REPRESENT!

1:02: Tom Brokaw's experienced timbre joins the fray. "It's all about the economy." No shit!

1:03: NBC's map is an ICE RINK upon which they're sticking red or blue vinyl state stickers. Lame.
[UPDATE: I am dum and didn't realize it's Rockefeller Center. That makes more sense.]

1:04: The Australian anchor wants to know: "If Obama loses, will there be riots in the States?" You wish, Shane.

1:14: Holy shit. Obama is leading in Ohio AND Florida. Although Fox News is saying McCain's only .4% behind in the popular vote. Aw HELL no!

1:20: Charlie Gibson is on the touch screen. I hate watching old people try to use computers.


1:31: Oprah says "it's a moment for all Americans." I'm waiting for her to say "you go girl" to Obama.

1:40: Some country hoo-ha moron is playing the gee-tar on stage in Phoenix, trying to temper the blow of those assholes losing Ohio.

1:44: In the background of Channel 9's coverage in Phoenix, it totally looks like they're packing up the stage. SBS is covering the election after 2pm, after "Cooking in the Danger Zone."

1:46: The Australians are reporting, "you blokes are gonna need a miracle mate." I think we should be drinking every time someone says "blow."

1:47: Who the fuck styled Channel 9's "Mike"? He's wearing a tie Jeremy describes as "novelty squirting tie"

1:53: This girl is totally reporting "statistics" that she read on Facebook and Twitter. Um. She's getting paid for this? Why isn't she reading DGIST?!

1:56: Australian correspondent says "I think this election will make a difference in America more than Australia."

1:59: Anderson Cooper says, "Joe the Plumber isn't the face of America, don't they get that?"

2:00: Mormons love McCain in Utah, ____* love Obama in Iowa.

*who lives in Iowa again?

2:02: Anderson Cooper wants to know if they can go home once Obama hits 270. His pundits are working out the math of what time they can split.

2:03: There is a collective "awwww!" in the room as I announce Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are on live now (and it's not syndicated on TV here.)

2:07: James Carville, while describing the monumental Democratic sweep, is basically saying "I'm not going to get laid for awhile, folks."

2:12: Aussie correspondent says, "I was talking to a black American at the airport, a black American who was cleaning shoes, and he says he is scared that Barack Obama won't win."

2:15: Australian "US Politics Analyst" is totally using the wrong terminology..."the Republican caucus needed to fix the economy."

2:17: IT'S OFFICIAL: Channel 9 declares Barack Obama the next president.

2:24: Jezebel blogger says "
SPENCER: Take a drink every time Dana Bash blinks and you will be FITSHACED." Dana Bash looks like the dad in Finding Nemo.

2:25: Harry Malkonian is the only American on Aussie TV and Carolyn says "is Michael Musto's dad."

2:29: Channel 9's interim guitar riff has switched to the Star Spangled Banner!

2:32: Anderson Cooper is trying to make some random point and his pundits basically just told him to shut up. "Let's resist the temptation to characterize the Republican party as old white men" FUCK OFF OLD WHITE MAN!

2:38: Al Franken may win a Minnesota senate seat?!

2:43: Just drank for first mention by Australian anchors for "first Jew." Who knows what he's talking about. Lieberman maybe?

2:58: VIRGINIA FOR OBAMA! Hasn't happened since LBJ in 1964.

3:00: CNN Breaking News: Barack Obama elected president!!!!!