Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Unemployment: Day 236 in Business Days; Day 317 in Human Days

It's been 7 hours and 317 days...since they took my job away.

People of the intarwebs! I need your help! Yet again!

The two cats in my deluxe apartment in the sky are driving me insane. This morning at 5am I abruptly and terrifyingly woke up to one of the little feline demons perched right next to my head on the bed. I swear to Bono (and rarely do I ever take Bono's name in vain), but I swear to Bono, I feel like I'm living in that awful Stephen King movie, "Sleepwalkers." Remember that movie?! For those of you that don't, here's an abbreviated synopsis that I condensed from various, dependable sources. (Okay, fine. This is merely a mash-up of a few different summaries written by trusted film critis.) (Okay, fine, again. They're only film critics in the sense that they watch movies and then pompously write synopsises on IMBD -- an obvious and pathetic attempt on their parts to sound and feel important.) People who write things online for no real reason other than to have random people online read them are so full of themselves. Sheesh, stop being so self-important and get a life. And a job. And then give me a job.

So, according to IMBD and me, here is what "Sleepwalkers" was all about. I've taken the liberty of bolding pertinent words and phrases...

Charles Brady and his mother Mary move to a small town. They are Sleepwalkers - "Nomadic shape shifting creatures with human and feline origins. The Sleepwalker feeds upon the life-force of virginal human females. Probable source of vampire legend" - according to the Chillicoathe Encyclopedia of Arcane Knowledge, 1st edition, 1884. They can change their appearance and often appear as cats. This is the modern-day tale of vampires cats who prey on virtuous young women. Tanya is a sexually curious virgin who falls for the new boy in school - Charles - only to learn too late that he's a life-sucking Sleepwalker. Mutating at will from golden boy to savage feline monster, he stalks Tanya to feed his seductive, cat monster mother.

See? My situation is exactly like Sleepwalkers! Here are the obvious connections that you might have missed:
  • "virginal young woman" = Me (obvi)

  • "seductive cat monster mother" = my 62 year old fairy godmother/hostess

  • Tux and Harmony, the kitties = SLEEPWALKERS, doing the bidding of my fairy godmother (obvi)

So here's where you, the people of the interwebs, come in. I need your help in suggesting what I can do to make these cats stay the frak away from me. And don't just tell me to get a door. Obviously a door would be ideal, but we need to work within a world that has no door...no barriers. The focus of your suggestions should be things that will keep the cats away without harming me, the cats, or the castle. Also, the cat curbing must be discreet. I can't make my Fairy Godmother aware of the fact that I know that she's a cat monster.

So please, suggest away. I'm tired. And scared. And virginal. And as the "Sleepwalkers" movie poster so accurately predicts, the Sleepwalkers are feasting on my fear. And it's dinner time.

Help! Don't let this guy eat my face!

Monday, November 16, 2009

My CinderHELLa. Plus, Skunk Funk: Debunked!

Unemployment: Day 235 in Business Days; Day 316 in Human Days

It's been 7 hours and 316 days...since they took my job away.

Over the Throg's Neck and through the hood, FROM grandmother's house I go! Or shall I say...flee!!! It's been one week since I was kicked out of my grandmother's house by my wickedly insensitive and self-centered uncles. This latest family drama feels like something out of a Brothers Grimm fairy tale that has yet to be simplified into sweeter bites more digestible for little American children. I don't remember Little Red Riding Hood having to call the po-po's. Here's hoping that in the end of my tale I'll find a job and a prince and get to live in a castle in Brooklyn and eat brie every day without ever getting a muffin top. What? A girl can dream. No "content middles" allowed! Only the happiest of happy endings is acceptable for this modern principessa!

The saddest part about this whole mess is how my grandmother, an 84-year old woman experiencing the beginnings of Alzheimer's, is being manipulated by two big bad wolves and forced to act like the wicked witch of the east Bronx. I was in shock the day following the mayhem when my grandmother asked a family member where I was and wanted to know when I was going to come home. She simply did not remember anything of the day before. She did not remember that she was force-fed a poison apple which transformed her into a raving lunatic who throws family out onto the street. It was like an evil spell had been cast upon her. But I digress.

I've spent the past week recuperating, regrouping and remaining calm despite my most recent upheaval. Many concerned people have written to me and offered all sorts of housing options and support. Thank you to everyone. No castles or glass slippers as of yet, but the offers of drinks and manicures and couches to get some beauty sleep have been greatly appreciated. I would like to report that I am now well-rested, well-liquored, and sporting well-polished nails in the color "material girl." Cause we are living in a material world. And experience is making me rich, baby.

My life is imitating art, and in true fairy tale fashion, I have been blessed with my very own fairy godmother. My father and stepmother (not of the wicked varietal) have a dear friend who lives in their building in Battery Park City. She joined us for dinner the night of the mayhem. Upon hearing my tragic tale, she looked across the table at me, waved of her magic wand and insisted that I stay with her in her four-bedroom, four-bathroom, deluxe castle apartment in the sky. Where she lives...ALONE. Hot damn! - I've finally got a piece of the pie!

But every silver lining's got a touch of grey, as Jerry says, and this lining is no exception. My newly-acquired mansion of an abode comes equipped with two cats. My zip code may have changed, but my allergies and general disdain for animals have not. I'm just not the kind of princess that likes to hang with the furries. The furry touch of grey's names are Tucks and Harmony. Achoo! In addition to giving me the sniffles, these little critters also like to find their way into my room (which doesn't exactly have a door) all through the night and pounce on me while I (attempt to) sleep. I would ask my fairy godmother to wave her wand and make her precious kitties disappear, but I don't want to insult my hostess. I haven't even told her that I'm allergic to her beasts. A magical solution I've concocted consisting of a children's gate and a screen is in the works, but until it's in place, I won't be my regular sleeping beauty self.

During my many waking hours, I've been thinking this past week of all the things, good and bad, that I've left behind in my CinderHELLa Bronx life. One of the first that pops to mind is the fear that at any turn, I will be attacked once again by a skunk. Those of you who have yet to hear this stinky hilarious tale can read it here. But Manhattaners beware!! According to a recent NY Times article sent to me by my friend Mo, the skunks of da Bronx (which are actually quite widespread - who knew?!) are migrating south into Manhattan via the railroad bridge that crosses from da Bronx to Manhattan at Spuyten Duyvil. Yes, that's right. Bronx skunks are invading Manhattan. Fingers crossed that my skunk punk from da Bronx didn't follow me over the Throg's Neck and through the hood of Harlem from grandmother's house, down the FDR, all the way into the pristine kingdom that is Battery Park City! Cats might abound here, but I've a sneaking suspicion that skunks would not be welcome in this animal kingdom. Oh my goodness -- I just had a horrible thought....What if my skunk snuck under my dad's car, held onto the tail pipe, and made its way into Manhattan directly underneath us...Cape Fear style!!! I can just hear that Deniro skunk now: "Barri, come out, come out, wherever you are!" Mental Note!: Call dad and have him check underneath the Prius!

On a sidenote, I find it utterly hilarious that in recent days, all of the google ads on this here blog are for skunk smell remedies. I suppose there are more embarrassing products than Magic-Zymes or Hunt's tomato paste that could appear on the ad bar of my blog. But why can't the ads be for ANYTHING else I've ever written about?! Like maybe, I dunno, U2 tickets on sale this week. Or fanny packs at American Apparel. But no. The logorithms of the google ad machine think that I am, along with my readers...smelly. Well fine. Advertise what you will. But don't count on getting an invitation to the ball!

Jobless City Challenge: Summon urban fairy godmother and find yet another free place to stay while I reinvent myself. Just like Madonna. And Cinderella.

Money Saved: Well, now that I don't have to ride that silly express bus pumpkin carriage from da Bronx (which conveniently stopped running every night at midnight), I estimate that I'm saving myself about $150 a month. Which I will promptly go blow on the latest in glass slipper fashions. Hey, a modern day princess can't wait around for no stinkin prince to bring her shoes.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Am I a ZERO?

Unemployment: Day 230 in Business Days; Day 309 in Human Days

It's been 7 hours and 309 days...since they took my job away.

People of the interwebs! I need your help in answering a pertinent question!

Am I a ZERO??? I'll explain...

I have not written here in many moons. My lapse is for many reasons. Mainly it's because I've started doing this really time-consuming and horribly boring thing. You may have heard of it. It's called "working." No no, don't
worry, I don't have to change the title of this blog. I'm still officially unemployed and fabulous. But this past month or two I've picked up some promo and temp work that's kept me pretty busy. Setting an alarm for 6am every morning has been a royal pain in the ass. I would say that it was well worth it for the money, but see, I haven't even gotten paid yet for any of these jobs. Which has made finances a little tight since I haven't been able to collect unemployment while "working." I haven't even been paid for a job I did back in the beginning of September. It was a promo job for PowerAde Zero, a new Powerade product that has zero calories. I actually had to wear a t-shirt that said ZERO on it for an entire week. It's lovely the way wearing a t-shirt that says ZERO in large letters actually makes you feel like a zero. (You see where this is going?)

I know what you're thinking. How could I so quickly feel like a ZERO after spending my summer being such a superstar Fringe hero. I should still be basking in the glow of that experience, the amazing reviews, and the massive accomplishment of producing my play on a NYC stage. But having no money and no job and four large block letters on your chest -- Z-E-R-O -- can send you descending down the HERO to ZERO well in zero seconds flat.

But I'm strong like bull. The past year has thickened my already tough skin. It takes more than unemployment, no money and wearing a silly little shirt to make me feel so less than. So just for kicks, I'll share with you the other factors that are making me feel like such a nonentity. What miserable fun!

No Money. I know, I already said I have no money. But not having enough money for a manicure is so sad that it must be mentioned again. And you know I love my manicures! = I'm a ZERO

Sorta still pining over ex-boyfriend, Do Wrong, who has clearly moved on = I'm a ZERO

Discovering that the Artist Formerly Known as My Husband left me for a short lesbian** = I'm a ZERO

And the coup de graces -- Being thrown out onto the street by my own grandmother. Seriously. This past weekend, my own grandmother kicked me out of her house. She was bullied into it by my two evil uncles, and it was for reasons that have nothing to do with me, but regardless, she kicked me out. Me. Her own granddaughter. In true ghetto Bronx style, the cops even had to be called. It was horrible. = I'm a ZERO

Luckily, I'm surrounded by amazing people who helped me flee da Bronx, people who opened their home to me and people who are just simply there for me. One of these people is a new friend who lives halfway across the world in South Korea. (Stay tuned for details of my upcoming South Korea adventure!) After hearing about my ghetto weekend from Bronx hell, he offered some wise words for me to think on:

"The sun literally never sets on the people who care about you and are pulling for ya."

So am I a ZERO? I think I've answered my own question. But feel free to leave comments about how awesome you think I am. My cake could still use the icing right now.

**I have nothing against short people or lesbians. One of my best friends is a short lesbian. I do have something against being left for a short lesbian. Just doesn't sit right with me. It's funny, cause I found out after my marriage ended that some people in my family always thought that The Artist Formerly Known as My Husband was gay. I don't think he's gay. But this whole situation has got me thinking...Which is worse? To be left because your significant other is gay, or to be left because your significant other would rather be with someone who's gay? Either way, I say oy vey.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Pup Crawl: Free & Furry!

Unemployment: Day 191 in Business Days; Day 262 in Human Days

It's been 7 hours and 262 days...since they took my job away.

To all you unemployeds and employeds out there: Here's a fantastic and free way to spend this Saturday evening. The First Annual Brooklyn Bridge Pup Crawl.

This Saturday, September 26th, the first annual pup crawl takes place along the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City. Take in the Manhattan Skyline (free) and the Statue of Liberty (also free) as you and your beloved pooch enjoy a moonlit stroll (free!). Prior to the walk, your pup will receive a stylish illuminated dog leash to keep visible and to light up the night, drawing attention to the cause. (free! woof!)

The evening will include refreshments for you and your pooch (free!), as well as a special doggie bag with treats (freaking free!) to say thanks for helping to feed other pets in need. If you're unemployed and broke like me, you can eat the dog food in the doggie bag. I'm gonna pour it in a bowl with some free tap water and pretend it's a bowl of frosted mini wheats...mmmm...mini wheats...what people with jobs eat...

The Pup Crawl is donation-based and proceeds provide food to animal shelters across the country. So if you're still gainfully employed, it's a great cause for some of your hard earned.

Don't forget to register! See you at the crawl!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Unemployed & Fabulous: The Movie!...(sorta)

Unemployment: Day 176 in Business Days; Day 243 in Human Days

It's been 7 hours and 243 days...since they took my job away.

On August 22, I performed a matinee of "I Will Follow" and then ran up to Gotham City Improv to perform in their storytelling series called "Mindfields" that evening. Doing two shows in one day felt amazing. It made me feel like a bona fide actress, creator-y person. It was glorious.

Lucky for you, there's video of me reading my story in "Mindfields." If you've been reading this here blog since the beginning, you may recognize it. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Skunk Update

Unemployment: Day 163 in Business Days: Day 224 in Human Days

It's been 7 hours and 224 days...since they took my job away.

Since last night's skunk incident, I have received many personal messages with various home remedies, the most common one being a bath of tomato sauce. Thank you to all who wrote in to help fix my funk.

I would love nothing more than to take a bath of tomato sauce in 95 degree weather. Seriously. I can think of nothing better right now than simmering like a spicy Italian sausage in a vat of tomato juices until I'm good enough to eat. Or at least deodorized enough to sit on the BXM9 without making every passenger vomit like a scene out of "Monty Python's The Meaning of Life" or "Stand By Me."

But here's one of the great downfalls of grandma's house: There is no bathtub. It was removed a few years back so that the old folks here could get in and out of the shower more easily. So I have no way to take a bath, in tomato sauce or otherwise. But from the smell a me, I clearly had to do something. And the overwhelming responses all seemed to call for tomato sauce. And so...earlier this afternoon...with G-ma in the next room watching TCM...I opened 10 cans of tomato sauce...carefully carried them two by two to the bathroom...peeled off my stinky tank top and shorts...stepped into the shower...said ah what the hell...and proceeded to baste myself like a pork chop. I layered tomato sauce on my shoulders and my arms. I dripped it down my back. I rubbed it into my belly and thighs and watched it stream down my calves. I slapped a handful onto my ass, laughing, wondering if a scene like this exists in some porno out there. It must. "EveryWAY Italian" with Giada de Whore-entis.

I took a deep breath, closed my eyes, and worked that tomato sauce into my hair. Somewhere in Soho, my hair stylist, Rick, was just overcome by an unexplained feeling of dread. Sorry, Rick. I worked it into my scalp good as the acidic liquids leaked into my ears. I gently massaged it onto my face and neck. Even with my lips tightly pursed, I could taste the tomatoes sneaking in through the cracks. I imagined my pores opening wider and wider, allowing the raw sauce to seep into my skin, into my insides, into the depths of my very soul.

I was entirely immersed. 30 seconds passed. A minute. Three minutes. How long am I supposed to stay like this?

I realized that nowhere, in any of the many recommendations, did anyone mention how long it takes for tomato sauce to work its magic on stinky skin. In the heat of the tiny bathroom, the sauce slowly hardened to a paste. I could feel myself sweating underneath it, becoming faint. How long had it been now? Only minutes?? Or hours??? What if when I try to move my body, I can't? What if I become encased in tomato sauce, destined to be stuck under its red shell for the rest of my life? Like a Greek myth, what if I've been banished by this Medusa Skunk to an eternity of standing in my grandma's shower in da Bronx, a marinara stone where once my body stood?! My soul still alive inside?!! In a hundred years they'll sprinkle parmesan on me and not even remember why!!! I can't let this happen! I must reclaim my own fate! I found my tongue in my mouth and licked my tomato-y lips. My right hand received the message from my brain and broke free, sending crusty pieces of tomato to the shower floor in its wake. I summoned the powers of Hera, Athena, Artemis, Starbuck and Giada, and pushed that hand toward the faucet. I turned on the water and used its rushing stream to release the broth drying on me. To release my soul.

And hopefully...to release the skunk.

Since my marinara encasing, I seem to be smelling sweeter. So stick a fork in me -- I think I'm done. But does anyone have any recommendations on how to get skunk smell off of an Italian leather bag?


Unemployment: Day 163 in Business Days: Day 224 in Human Days

It's been 7 hours and 224 days...since they took my job away.

There are fucking skunks in da Bronx! You wanna know how I know? You wanna fucking know how I know?! Tonight, during my usual, shitty-ass, three-quarter-mile walk from the bus stop to my grandma's house in Throg's Neck, something very unusual happened. I turned the corner by a tiny wooded area, I heard a rustling in the bushes, and I was barely able to register the two glowing eyes fixed on me before I heard a mother skunking hissing noise and felt a spray down the right side of my body. HAIR AND FACE INCLUDED! The urban girl in me instinctively first thought I was the lucky recipient of some air conditioner "rain" from a window above. But quickly I remembered my present surroundings and realized there was no way it was air conditioner rain. I was nowhere near an air conditioner. Or a building. And that's when I smelled it.


The remaining half-mile walk was excruciating. The reek of my own skin made me gag every few steps. Oh the retching! The wretched retching!

I've been in the shower for the past hour and I still smell like Pepe Le Pew. I'm typing this wearing rubber gloves so that I don't stink up my precious mac. I don't know how I'm going to sleep like this. And there's nothing in G-ma's house to take the edge off. I'll have to settle for a xanax chased with a shot of Ouzo. If my life weren't so freaking awesome these days (see iwillfollowtheplay.com), then it would really suck right about now. Instead it just stinks.

And I was wearing one of my favorite blue dresses. Will I have to throw my dress away? Will I have to throw MYSELF away?

Help me. I beg of you, please help me. Stop laughing at me for a brief moment and please tell me how to make this fucking funk get off me.

And then buy tickets to my play, "I WILL FOLLOW" so that I can make some money and move out of this stinking borough. Here! By them HERE! And stop laughing at me!