Skip to content

Category Archives: erika

Happy Birthday To This

I. The 27-Club.

Last September I turned 27.

It made me nervous.

Being a major music fan and devout lifetime subscriber to Rolling Stone, I am all too aware of the so-called “27 Club” – a musical super-group headlined by Robert Johnson, Brian Jones, Jimi, Janis, Jim, and Kurt, all of whom met their untimely ends at age 27.

My nervousness wasn’t an actual, rational fear. Just a fringe anxiety. Still, it hung there. The 27 hurdle. A year it would be a challenge to survive.

In the months after my birthday the challenge of surviving gave way to the challenge of getting from one day to the next. Honestly, I was so preoccupied with life that the whole 27 Club concept didn’t reoccur to me until I was getting ready to jump out of an airplane last month. And, since that failed to kill me, I assumed I was in the clear with regard to the whole untimely end angle.

I continued thinking that until the past few days, when I began re-reading my entries from the past year in anticipation of the ninth anniversary of Crushing Krisis.

It was then I realized that it happened. I died.

If that sounds like hyperbole, it’s meant to be, but only a little bit. Truly, the past year of my life was so vastly different than any that came before that it was hardly lived by the same person.

If that sounds like hyperbole, it’s not. One of the benefits of your blog celebrating it’s ninth birthday is having the ability to make frequent, sweeping, and entirely-accurate generalizations about the state of your life.

In fact, that’s my favorite thing to do on August 26, the birthday of Crushing Krisis. Continue reading ›

here goes…

Okay, here’s my last post as a bachelor.

Bride aside, I am surrounded by the five most awesome people in my life, and they are in rare, rare form. Ross bottled my special wedding lambic in blue bottles labeled with me! I’m on my bottles.

I don’t think life could be any better than it is at the moment.

See you on the other side.

Hitching: Groom Team Style, pt. 2

When we last left our intrepid nuptial heroes we were all slinking out of David’s Bridal hoping that they wouldn’t call the cops on me.

Okay, not really. But, if we had stayed much longer I’m sure my photo would have wound up behind the register along with the people who write bad checks.

Lindsay, Matador from rear Though our negative experience soured me on the idea of big box bridal stores, Lindsay and I did come away with an idea of what my groom’s-ladies would wear. We decided on a combination of platinum and black, which meant we’d most likely need separates – lest we be left to the haphazard whim of multi-color one-pieces.

We also needed the ladies on Team Groom to look more groomy than maidsy, so we decided to add a matador jacket to make them more tux-like.

Thus began The Great Matador-Hunt of 2008. Because, you see, outside of the fairy-tale world of David’s Bridal matador jackets for women are apparently a fictional concept. We searched and searched, and turned up a scant one or two, neither appropriate for our purposes.

Jenny?In the midst of our jacket-search we settled (ironically) on something we tried at David’s: a strapless, lightly paneled princess top paired with a simple trumpet skirt. After some deliberation we decided that the skirt would be black to better mirror the gentlemen in their tuxes, while the top would be platinum.

At this point Lindsay, Gina, and Erika commandeered the good ship Groom from my control. They found a collection that carried what we were seeking in multiple styles, and each of them tagged their favorites. We discussed them at length for a week, engaged in several virtual straw polls to determine our favorites, and then Lindsay and Erika did a preliminary shopping trip in Boston.

Suddenly, seemingly out of the blue, Gina was picking me up early on a Saturday morning in August to bring me to a tiny bridal boutique in Havertown called Lizelle’s.

IMG_4035(It should be pointed out here that Gina has graciously served as the official Team Groom chauffeur for each outing, which has lead to extra hilarity in each instance, even though she has yet to wear a cap and a mustache as my godmother did for my mother’s wedding this past June.)

My boutique experience could not have been more different than our previous nightmare.

First, the entire shop was about as big as David’s reception area, but it contained approximately ten times the attractive dresses – no 90s promwear in sight. Second, Bruna – a pretty, diminutive woman with a European accent – had opened early just for us, and pulled out every iteration of the styles we were interested in. Third, I was allowed close to and, in one instance, inside of the dressing rooms.

Last, and most important to me, Bruna crossed out “Bride” on her info sheet and wrote in “Groom.” She didn’t even write down Elise’s name.

By that point a second customer had arrived, alone. I sat down across from her while Bruna fussed over Lindsay with a tailor’s measure.

Cheery Customer: You’re the groom?

Me: Yes.

Cheery: And you came with them to shop?

Me: Well, we did most of it together online. We just came here for the grand finale.

Cheery: (Clearly a little awed). That’s awesome. I had to drive by myself all the way from New York to get here!

A mere twenty minutes after our arrival I was pacing back and forth in the alley next to the store, calling Elise on her cell and at home on multiple cell phones, juggling them to try to find one with reception. Eventually we connected and I had her take one last look at our favorite style on the web.

Elise’s approval confirmed, I headed back into the store waving my platinum card. “We’re a go! I repeat, we’re a go on dresses!”

Bruna, not understanding the international signal for “charge me!” asked Lindsay and Gina to present their credit cards.

Me: No, Bruna, I’m paying.

Bruna: For vat?

Me: The dresses.

Bruna: All of them?

Me: Of course.

(As an aside, I find it fascinating that bridesmaids and groomsmen are typically expected to pick up the majority of their expenses. I know not everyone is in the financial situation to pay for their party’s clothing, but at the point that you have a group of people doing so much research, legwork, and chauffeuring for you it seems only fair to comp their costs as much as possible rather than rewarding them with some inane gift like a monogrammed hip flask.

And, seriously, I have the best, smartest, most-resourceful Groom Team of all time. If wasn’t so busy planning a wedding I’d have them whip up a World Tour or a grassroots political movement for me. I’m lucky they don’t charge an hourly fee. Buying them clothing and accessories is the least I can do.)

Bruna waved me away as she got started on the transaction, and I sat down again across from the cheery customer, who was paging through a sample book.

Cheery: Are you really buying their dresses?

Me: Of course. They’ve done so much for me! It shouldn’t cost them money to be in my wedding.

Cheery: Wow. You are really unique.

Greek Chorus, AKA Gina & Lindsay: You have no idea.

Me: I figure they’ll have to buy their own shoes, and who knows what we’ll do for jewelry…

Cheery: Oh! I can help you with that. I have my own jewelry business. You should call me; I’d even give you a discount since you’re paying for their dresses!

Beautiful dresses and good karma, all in one morning.

Where selflessness and procrastination collide

When I was in Boston with Erika she told me she likes to read CK when it is about my personal misadventures, rather than static ruminations or recaps of rocking Arcati Crisis shows.

That was two weeks ago today, on my birthday, although I just now typed “a week ago,” because I’ve definitely misplaced some of the intervening days. I’m not sure where they went – I haven’t been making many plans or playing much music – but they are gone.

Apparently spending days at a rapid rate just makes the passing of them easier – just like I’ve easily written more than 12,000 words today and now I can’t seem to stop writing.

Last Tuesday is the last day I can get a distinct fix on without referring to old emails or a calendar. I know I spent the day at work, plus another six hours working remotely because I felt like “tidying,” and that I subsequently spent three hours copy-editing my mother’s 536-word college paper. Not that it involved much copy-editing. Moreso, it was that I wrote her a ridiculous 1300-word rumination on her assignment and how she could marginally improve it, as it was already awesome.

(She claims that I did not get writing from her, but she is one of the most natural writers I know. She writes exactly how she speaks. It’s uncanny.)

On Wednesday Elise and I collected our pal Anna and crashed the auditions for our acapella alma mater, The TrebleMakers. Well, we didn’t crash, really. It was more like we were uninvited, creepy, old guests with valid, non-binding input on the audition process. I was wearing one of my larger suits and sporting some facial hair, the combination of which I’m sure projected the impression of a rumpled old man who just rolled out of bed in his pajamas.

(Think about this for a minute, my friends: the girls who are auditioning for TMs as freshmen were born after the release of “Like a Prayer.”)

As per usual, any encounter between us and acappella results in unparalleled excitement and lust for our harmony-singin’ glory days (which actually only ended in 2006). It also results huge laundry lists of songs we’d like to arrange – this time headed by “That’s What You Get” by Paramore and “Breakin’ Up” by Rilo Kiley.

Whereas usually such larks are promptly forgotten, on Thursday I fell ill completely out of the blue and spent the day home from work, during which I arranged like the unstoppable 2004-me that had a hand in a fourth of the arrangements on the TM’s last CD.

(Then there is my heavily documented debate coverage, followed by a frantic 24-hours of strategic planning between E & I that has not yet yielded our first (non-political) freelance website but might still, soon.)

Our weekend was consumed by more arranging and kitten-mania. Yes, the kittens from earlier this summer are back in our yard, and have been for at least a week – sleeping in flower pots and causing all manner of mischief in our box planters.

Having spent a childhood raptly absorbing The Price Is Right, I decided it was my personal calling from Bob Barker to have the kittens spayed or neutered, and hopefully adopted. All weekend I colluded with Elise to capture them, at one point setting up a complex Fudd-esque “kitten blind” behind our back door.

Elise finally caught the trio of them in a complex gambit involving a pet carrier and… well, mostly just the pet carrier. Subsequently, in my infinitesimal wisdom I elected to release all three of them into our powder room without calling to see if shelters had room available, or researching what is entailed in fostering a feral cat.

Yes, feral. Feral, and raised on the mean streets of South Philadelphia.

They don’t seem very feral in the “scary & rabid” sense. They mostly just huddle under our sink and stare dolefully when I stop by to feed them. However, they certainly are feral in the “not digging on humans” sense, which is going to make it hard to get them out from under said sink to fulfill the mission set out for me plainly after every Showcase Showdown.

I spent the majority of last night placing said calls and undertaking said research, to generally no avail. As for today, I worked my typical no-lunch-break-and-extra-hours day, fielded a few unhelpful calls from pet shelters, and then headed home for an unlikely duet of kitten wrangling and drafting various Lyndzapalooza promotional strategies (at least a dozen, last time I counted).

Which brings us to this unlikely hour, and my belabored point.

In the past week I have worked extra hours, proofread and critiqued, crashed and input, arranged and recapped, strategized and arranged some more, caught and herded, called and researched, and wrangled and drafted.

All of that, and yet I have not contacted anywhere about tuxedos for our wedding, submitted two months of transit receipts for reimbursement, or scheduled a much-needed dermatologist appointment to combat the disconcerting red splotches that have overtaken each of my laugh lines.

Was I procrastinating on all three of those tasks before my whirlwind week overtook me? Sure, at least a little. But, in the past week I really wanted to do all three. I tried! I gathered papers and picked phones off their cradles. I just never found a window open enough to accommodate the completion of any one of the tasks, let alone three.

A week later I have plenty to show for my continued procrastination, but not much of what I’m showing does anything to help me.

Am I spending my time selflessly because I am so good at procrastinating? Or, do I find myself procrastinating because I am committed to spending my time selflessly.

Excuse me while I sleep on it.

Best. Pre-Birthday. Ever.

Best birthday-eve ever:

  • Boston craziness with Erika & Matt!
  • Brunch @ Club Passim (vegetarian, rennet-free cheese!)
  • All-day shopping in Cambridge (Newbury Comics!)
  • RiverSong w/Amanda and Dave!
  • An all-pesto pizza. Seriously. Honey, it’s better than Powelton. And, we only got medium pesto. Guess what I’m having for my birthday tomorrow?
  • Betting on the Emmys, while…
  • Giving ourselves spinach facials from Lush, and drinking…
  • A six-pack of Raspberry Cider Jack. Party like it’s 1999, baby.

    Did I mention I’m in Boston, watching Awards show with Erika while drunk? The only thing Erika likes better than that is watching Awards shows where they are drunk.

    Oo, Kathy Griffin!

  • A Personal Wedding (Or: The only feminist in the party is the one without breasts.)

    Last week I spent my sole lunch break shopping for dresses.

    This is one of the many peculiarities of our impending ulta-modern, decidedly-feminist nuptials.

    For those keeping score: Elise is the modern one; I’m the feminist.

    .

    At our engagement party I found myself standing in our kitchen next to my father’s wife, chatting about our (then vague) plans about the wedding. She asked me who my best man would be, and I snagged Gina out of the roiling crowd.

    I mean, hello, who else would be my best man but Gina? I’ve known her for half of my life. I’m in a band with her. We’ve only been in one fight, ever, which was neither of our faults. We are adept at psychic communication.

    These are all traits one seeks in a best man. She really is the best man for the job.

    (In this next bit I am maybe engaging in a slight blog-reality edit, but this is how I remember it. Or at least it’s how the story is best told.)

    Dad’s wife laughed. Yes, yes, Gina is my best friend. But, does she have a “counterpart”? Another “good friend” of mine fitting the “best man” moniker?

    Additional “scare quotes” trailed after her sentence, hanging expectantly in the air.

    I replied that I had a great friend that I talk to every single day, who coddled me through my engagement cold feet, helped me design my ring, and even came early to help us set up for the party.

    Her name is Lindsay.

    The laugh this time was more pointed.

    “Don’t you have any male friends?”

    I do have male friends, and I love them dearly, but if anyone took an objective look at my life it would be clear to them that my best friends are all women, and since I’m marrying one of them it stands to reason that the next few on the list ought to be the ones at my side on the big day.

    Thus, Gina and Lindsay are my “co-best ladies.” CBLs, for short. With the addition of Erika, the girls outnumber the boys in my party three to two.

    .

    As we get farther into the wedding planning – and as we attend more weddings – I’m starting to appreciate how weddings can be both completely vicarious and intensely personal.

    Except, a lot of people don’t leave room for the personal. And, I suppose kowtowing to tradition, or family, or current trends can be deeply personal for a lot of people, but for us none of the three really matches our personality.

    Which means I have CBLs. And we’re not having flowers, because we don’t care and they aren’t budgetarily or environmentally responsible. And we’re making our own print collateral – not to save money, but because we both work in communications and we want to have control over the look and feel of our wedding.

    Through the process of discovering these personal touches, I am gaining a new appreciation for weddings. In 2006 we attended a barbecue wedding with pies instead of cake. Last month we went to a wedding where the father/daughter dance was the Action News theme song.

    Those are personal touches, perfect for their respective couples. Anyone who would turn their noses up at them would be insane.

    .

    Maybe most men don’t want to spend their lunch breaks looking at dresses – for them it would be less of a personal touch, and more of a personal hell. I can appreciate that. But to me everything from our CBLs to our DIY invites are the defining facets of our modern, feminist wedding. As the feminist half of that equation, for me it’s not just about axing antiquated “Adam’s rib” readings and sexist, sexual bachelor parties.

    Feminism isn’t just about the female – it’s about equality in words and actions.

    That means that I can and should have an opinion on dresses, and décor, and everything else about my wedding. A wedding marks the joining of our anima and animus, neither of us giving away or sacrificing anything of ourselves in the process. How can that joining be equal if the groom does nothing but say yes and write checks?

    And, besides, my CBLs are going to look stunning.

    My Favorite Trio Tracks: #14 – Supposed To Be (from Trio Season 2, #1)

    As of the end of Season 5 I have debuted 75 of my original songs in Trio, which – to put things in perspective – is just about as many songs as Sheryl Crow has released since 1993.

    Not every first appearance was a true debut – for many songs I had been playing them for months, or even years, before they finally made an appearance in Trio.

    However, some of those 75 songs really made their debut in Trio – not just their public unveiling, but their first ever recording.

    For me, the most infamous first demo will always be “Supposed To Be,” from the first Trio of Season 2, recorded September 30, 2001.

    “Supposed To Be” is a narrative song, a peculiar blend of “Every Breath You Take” and “Old Apartment” that would seem alien in just about any set of mine.

    It has a lot of chords, and a lot of words. I can’t tell you if I had even played the song once through before the Trio other than maybe for Erika in our living room – only to assure her that it wasn’t really about her, even though the character my narrator is… erm… attached to is clearly based on her.

    The lack of rehearsal makes its placement as the final tune a brave one, but apparently I had nothing to worry about – “Supposed To Be” came out perfect in a single try – so much so that I’ve hardly ever played it since.

    It may not be one of my favorite songs, but “Supposed To Be” is definitely one of my favorite Trio tracks of all time.

    Sudden Death Overtime

    Somehow moving just isn’t moving without some kind of impossible hurdle. Having come up short on hurricanes & delinquent roommates, here’s what we’ve cobbled together:

    There is no possible way for the moving truck to get onto our new street. The laws of physics seem to explicitly preclude it. Furthermore, the plausibility of any turn the truck has to make once we’re in South Philly is completely dependent on who is parked closest to the corner, and how bad they are at parking.

    And, the more exciting part:

    We are not done packing. I’d say i’m about 80% done with my own things, but i keep forgetting that i live with this other person, and that some things i typically think as of hers are really only thought of that way because she largely cleans them, but that i am actually responsible for packing them.

    Usually going down to the packing wire isn’t a problem, but professional movers are due here in about 6.5 hours, and they aren’t going to be nearly as helpful as Erika and her “Look, it’s a [random unpacked thing], where should it go?” routine, which pretty much was singly responsible for getting me packed the last time.

    6.5 hours. I think as long as we keep picking CDs we both like we’ll probably make it. Unfortunately, all of my CDs are packed.

    Wish us luck.

    We’re moving on Friday. I’m not sure how many times I’ve moved that I can remember.

    Moving out of 64th Street was a novelty – having never moved before in my conscious life, the idea of categorizing and packing things seemed fun.

    Moving from Reed Street to college was a move of efficiency – the dorm room was only oh-so-big, and the hurricane was oh-so-bad. Two carloads would certainly be all that we could manage. I reminisced at length about it previously.

    Moving from Kelly Hall to Calhoun hall was my first introduction to desperate, anxious, nerve-rending, nail-biting moving. The orientation leaders hoarded carts and monopolized elevators for each other. Where were my belongings supposed to live, if i was to be out by noon and in at… four? Five? We sat in the piano lounge on our collective piles of stuff and waited.

    Ahh, now we come to moves i’ve documented on blogger.

    Moving out of the dorm to my first apartment (with a half-week stopover back at Reed Street) was pure misery – i was sick, my future roommate was being less than helpful, and at one point i didn’t even have a lease to prove the apartment was mine. It was also the only time I’ve technically lived with my mother since 1999. A wonderful example of our uneasy alliance can be found here.

    Next comes the move of legend: me from Spring Garden Street, and Lindsay and Erika from Race Street. This recap makes it sound rather pedestrian, but it still inspires only-slightly-hyperbolic stories from the five of us whenever anyone moves.

    (in here i help Elise move from dorm to Melon’s to 3216 to Baring to here)

    Moving from The Grotto to here was disproportionately easy, considering it involved more possessions and stress than ever. How i managed to get all the stuff from there to here, i’ll never know. The day was honestly a sleepless blur.

    Six moves in seven years, and also in twenty-three (if you don’t count when i was three).

    A Picture Share!

    Continental
    dinner @ The Continental (midtown)

    Good lord, if i had to write seventy five hundred highly critical, super observant words about theatre every term i think i’d grow to loathe it altogether. I mean, for heaven’s sake, they’re made up people! And, i have to have them act the whole damn thing out in my head, since i only directed one scene from the damned play.

    Anyhow, three days spent largely locked in the house with Erika, and 17 of 30 total pages due-by-Friday complete in my campaign to get Winter vacation started sooner than later.

    Speaking of whom, we decided a few things while we were in the mall for five hours on Black Friday. Namely: The 80′s are not coming back, no way, no how, we deny that anyone even contemplated it. The color palette was too all-over-the place, the fashions were altogether unflattering, and the music was drenched in too much reverb. We realize that we’re on a two-decade spin cycle, and that the 90′s just rehashed the 70′s, but we don’t care.

    Furthermore, women’s clothing with a single initial letter monogrammed over the breast is fucking dumb. I repeat: fucking dumb. We reserve the right to mock any such walking fashion faux-pas until she bursts into mascara-trailing tears. However, please note that giant letters worn across the whole of your chest are highly acceptable, as long as they are at least two thirds as wide as they are tall.

    And, for the record, eight straight hours of dissecting a single nineteen page play is not good for one’s overall sanity. Or eyesight. It is good for one’s desire not to write the other thirteen pages starting on Thursday after Friends, though.

    Blogathon: 15/24 – Beautiful

    Beautiful (mp3/ra)

    originally performed Christina Aguilera
    lead vocals – erika
    washburn acoustic and backing vocals – peter

    We’re taking a little bloggy break to have a concert downstairs in Erika’s much-more-air-conditioned room; pictures to come.

    In other news, go look at pictures of things stuck in peoples asses.

    some pictures:

    No, you're beautiful!

    Erika and Peter decide to learn the lyrics.

    Getting our sing on.

    I am so hot.

    Has it been 24 hours yet?.

    Erika Rubin, superstar.

    some pictures:

    Me!

    Elise playing Lisa Loeb songs.

    Erika fondling a cantaloup.

    Kate being tidy.

    Hors deurves are almost ready.