Tuesday, November 18, 2014: Master Cleansification and Anniversaries Today

I AM EASING my flabbo caboose back again into the Master Cleanse.

I need to. I have been indulging a lot lately and although it’s certainly all been worth it, every bite and quaff, I need to take a break. I’ve been so out of control lately, my clothes are tight. It will be good to pause, step away from the fridge, stop swiping on GrubHub and regroup; I always appreciate my breaks.

Right now, having last night indulged in that spectacular sweet sausage salad from Mamu Thai on 36th Ave and 36th St (their new shiny fall menu just went live last week!) plus those 2 pints of ice cream I’ve downed in the past 3 days, it is time for me to return to the Master Cleanse: my old friend. It’s been a few months since I last did it; I usually don’t go this long without doing it, it’s such a good balancer for me so I’m looking forward to getting back on the wagon.

It is my habit to do the Master Cleanse with some regularity, even if only for half a day at a time, breakfast and lunch. Most likely, though, before long, I take it to a full day, and then graduate to lasting more than one full day. The best effects happen for me if I last about three or four days. Then I get really hydrated and really clean.

I love this cleanse, I recommend it, but I also tweak it. Traditionally, the Master Cleanse involves adding two parts freshly squeezed lemon juice to one part grade B maple syrup (alleged to be richer in minerals and other nutrients than its grade A brethren), plus a smidgey pinch of cayenne pepper to a tall glass of water. The major substitution for me is using limes instead of lemons; no other food is to be consumed but you can drink as much of this juice as you want during the day.

This concoction is also referred to as lemonade since the Master Cleanse is sometimes called the Lemonade Diet. Its most famous user Beyoncé lost ten pounds on it for her role in Dream Girls. Internet searches on Master Cleanse surged after her performance: junkies were born, me included. One famous practice-r planted a lemon tree orchard on her Southern California property in order to have fresh citrus on hand (which is so not like me, what with my dozens of discount Northern-Boulevard-bought limes, frozen as juice in washed out salsa jars in my freezer).

My super secret-not-secret weapon, even more so than the tangy limes, is the use of a ton of cayenne because it is the cayenne pepper that does the cleaning, baby bears: use as much as you can stand. I use a lot, like close to a teaspoon with each glass.

Because for me, cayenne pepper is the magic ingredient of the Master Cleanse; it is the fast-paced vehicle responsible for literally yanking toxins out of my muscles, I swear that’s what it feels like. A good dose of cayenne seems to pull out all the tar of my ingested evils from my very cell membranes. I feel it, as crazy as it sounds: I feel my body let go of its poisons as the cayenne hits my system.

And I do love my poison, girl: all 19 of them. I love cans of local craft beer, pints of artisan ice cream, red meat, really good Thai takeout. I balance it out with raw vegetables (that’s the rule with takeout: must be accompanied by many raw greens) and pounding as much water as I can remember to drink. But, boy do I love my rich foods, my desserts and my drink or two. I can’t do it bigmeal and alkydrinky every day, which is a really good thing. I pay for each of my sins, I don’t like to overindulge: everything I ingest comes with its own price, its own consequence.

If I have too much beer, I suffer insanely the next day. I can’t have more than two a night: it’s tempting to have more sometimes, but the payment, the hangover and lack of sleep, gets worse with every day lived. It’s just not worth it: better to stick to the rules. My insides, my soul and stomach, though, are attracted to being bad; I like decadent stuff, I just can’t manage a ton of it so it feels best to balance. I realize it’s truly a gift that I can’t tolerate too much playtime, too much booze, too much overeating. I always say I drink the way an alcoholic wishes they could: I feel the buzz immediately upon consumption and the best buzz happens when I stop at one drink. My body craves the opposite of playtime as much as it craves actual playtime. For that alone, I am lucky.

My body loves the Master Cleanse, it loves this cleaning, these days when I need not partake in amazing Mamu Thai sweet sausage salad with sticky rice, a cold small can of SixPoint The Crisp (or two). I’ll miss these things. But I’ll enjoy them better, later on in the week, wearing clothes that won’t be as tight.

THE JONESTOWN MASSACRE happened on this day 36 years ago, November 18, 1978: Congressman Leo Ryan was shot dead along with 4 other people on a Guyanese airstrip, and then one of the worst mass killings of Americans on foreign soil happened a few miles away, deep in the South American jungle. The assassination of Ryan is to date the first and only murder of an active congress member; it was an unprecedented event on its own but was then almost overshadowed by the 900 other deaths which occurred on that day, in that jungle. Some people were shot by crossbow arrows, some killed by guns, some by lethal injection, some duped to consume a concoction of FlavorAid mixed with cyanide by order of religious leader and Jonestown founder Jim Jones.

The story goes, per the culturally iconic punch line, these people all lined up willingly to “drink the KoolAid” and blindly follow their leader to death, but that’s not fully the whole truth or the whole story at all, not even the KoolAid part; the joke even gets the brand name wrong. No one these days knows much about Jonestown or Peoples Temple. It’s a story we stopped telling very quickly afterwards, other than judgmental one-liners referencing that powered beverage. We remember the drink, we remember the name Jim Jones; we care to remember or know little else.

But not me: I know a lot about Jonestown. It’s a story that never left me; I’ve done a ton of research, bought out-of-print books on eBay and Amazon. One day, when I have time, I’ll write a book about it. Too many people don’t know about it, it’s an extraordinary and unbelievable American story.

IT IS ALSO MY fierce friend MP’s birthday. She is such a badass: she is but initials.

Thursday, November 13, 2014: SigNotUre and Initials

I GOT MY new SAG/AFTRA membership card in the mail today. It’s always an issue when I have to write my brontosaurus signature on the back of any new plastic card, membership, credit or otherwise. I end up practicing on the back of a piece of paper I’ve already lined up for shredding: on it, I execute my signature several times, ’til it flows easily out of me, so I won’t blow it on the actual SAG membership card, which of course I’ve done in the past and such action has left scars.

My signature has been a source of ridicule from my family for years. Yes, it is illegible, unlike the signatures of my mother with her gorgeously chubby and curvy script, cleanly spelling out her name or of my sister Helen, whose linear, elegant, black piano-key-esque autograph almost echoes written music on white paper.

But I, the only other female in our family, have an unfeminine wipe of a signature: I start my first name, penning its capital C as coming out of the gate like some sort of tidal wave rising over the spewed-out snake of its subsequent letters, the whole word projectiled out, like old used beer. Other than the screaming C, the first letter, all the other characters in my first name aren’t even close to being recognizable as actual letters.

I open my last name with a huge whirl of an M, and then end with the cushion I create out of the Y’s under-loop, it being the very last letter of my name. In between these two curlicues, these two statement letters M and Y, like as had been with my first name, there is just a mess of a field, no comprehensible letters, instead an inky flat plane.

I’m good at framing, as I try to do with my photos, so my signature has a commanding beginning, a distinct middle and a rolled-up end. You could sit on my signature’s end, that loop, it’s solid, final and large.

My signature is three points: the first letter C, then that M followed by the Y. More like a drawing, three points, not writing. Three defining pops, three distinguishable forms.  The rest is road, flat ink, not distinguishable, not legible.

“No one can tell what your name is.” My mother squints when she sees me sign anything.

“Ugh, I’m aware you feel that way, Mom. But my name is already printed on the card, so they can tell my name.”

Because this,” I continue, pointing to the signature, while my quick glance confirms what I’ve written still looks like a scritchy map, “This is how I write my name and this is what it’s always looked like, Mom, for years.  For years.  It’s not going to change.”

My indecipherable signature is certainly consistent, so if you are the cashier who’s checking to see if what I’ve scrawled on the receipt matches what’s been inked on the back of my Amazon Points Visa Card, you’ll see it’s got to be me who signed both. My signature may be a mess, but it’s a unique and consistent mess and those three loops are hard to replicate.

And isn’t that really the most important part of a signature, most specifically as a means of identification, like a fingerprint: doesn’t it all come down to consistency? The name of the game must be regularity of product execution: your signature must always look the same every time you scratch it out. And mine always does look the same: every time I wrist out my autograph, my hand always swings out those same arcs, knowing those same sweeps: the camber never loses any humps. Even those practiced autographs for my SAG card, soon shredded, were still consistent, still had those main characteristics.

The electronic signature at the grocery check-out seems especially sensitive to these characteristics, those loops; I smash and splatter the plastic pen in circles against the blue screen after having said “credit” to the sweet pea who’s packing my bags at the Food Bazaar; I swirl out my signature.

No electronic screen has ever had any problem with my signature I keep meaning to tell my mother.

 

HOUSE OF DVF on E! is not to be missed simply because of Madame Diller herself, the shining, leeeeeeegendary Diane Von Furstenberg.

Miss DVF has spent decades not just designing dresses, hunnay, but also teaching my gender how to make it all look easy; when I was 12, I devoured the first edition of her 1976 bestseller The Book of Beauty, which I copped from the Book of the Month Club; at the time, I was shapeless, inflamed but very hopeful.  She offered hints on eating well, managing stress, taking off makeup, putting it back on.  I’ve been acquainted with all that is Furstenbergilicousness since back in the day, girl.

And Miss Diana alone is enough for me to watch this show: she enters a room like liquid gold, a contented grin never far from her wide-eyed and high-cheekboned kind face; her honeyed skin stretches her long neck and smooth shoulders, she is more dancer than grandma, always wearing a dress.

Easy to watch.

Monday, November 10, 2014: Live Tweeting Gotham, Denying Self of Beer and Ice Cream and a Plus-Sized Love Triangle on Judge Judy

MAYBE one day I will actually post a Monday entry on a Monday night. Not tonight. It’s already tomorrow afternoon.

LIVE tweeting is a challenge, especially for a meticulous slowpoke like me (hi, it’s Tuesday): I’m a tippy-tap typer to begin with (I correct via the backspace button, like a lab rat pressing for more crack) and my real-time writing is made all the more slow when time is of the essence, which it certainly is during a one-hour show. I am also compelled to read my tweets out loud to myself before I post them #amwritingandtalkingtomyselfatthesametime which putters me down even more: live-tweeting may be a fast game but this girl still has to be meticulous.

And the heat is on when you live-tweet: it’s all done in real time, as it happens, so your tweet becomes redundant within less than a minute, and since Gotham was quite lively last night, the tweeting storm was as punchingly furious as the episode itself. Despite my lack of speed, I love the involvement: it’s like watching a sport and being a part of it all at the same time.

It’s not just about the tweets I write myself: it’s also very much about what other people are saying, whether it’s trending en masse or not. I think some of the greatest tweets don’t necessarily get insane attention but still add to the landscape of what people are thinking; thus, for me, a huge aspect of this sport of live-tweeting involves watching #gotham refresh on my search feed so I can see what people are saying, hundreds of ideas at a time which I scan feverishly, looking for tweets I might retweet or just favorite (favorite as verb, not adjective). I don’t steal tweets: I don’t want to, I don’t have to. Plus why miss out on the fun of sharing and supporting someone else’s brilliance? That’s part of the fun of Twitter: you’re not alone. My retweets add to the patchwork of my own timeline: I love my retweets in the same way I love my original thoughts because they speak for me. They show anyone looking at my profile who I am because of what I like, not just what I say. Ourselves in thought: that is Twitter.

SOME of the funniest and tightest tweets for me last night featured #YungGotham, offering cogent analysis from a vox populi that is very urban, very smart and very, very funny. And as a gal who will retweet or favorite an incredible, tight tweet with little hesitation, it is a connected experience to read something better than what you would have written yourself and to then be able to use it, giving credit to its creator, as a means of expressing yourself. It’s a concept of “respectful concurring,” if you will: it waters the seedling of the actual thought for the person who expressed it. When a concept, a tweet, goes viral, it’s essentially a resounding chorus of WhoVille residents yopping: “This is what I’m thinking, this speaks for me.” It’s glorious to see: humans agreeing on a particular thought. It is philosophy and democracy in action and it is a beautiful dance to behold.

And that is what I truly love most about Twitter: how its posts create one living, breathing thing, real-time thinking, which is an organism that communicates while it grows, and it grows solely from its input, its ever-expanding data; it continually evolves, it is never static. The 140-character limitation for posts lends to the creation of quick, tight poetry, in clean, gymnastic one-liners. Twitter has restored my faith in humanity because I can find content that is so funny and so real and so insightful. My fellow humans speak their mind and, when their voices fully resonate with me, it makes me feel so much less alone in my own experience.

I’ll do a more proper entry on Gotham itself very soon. Gotham, yung and old, needs its own space: I just love that show and could go on and on. Gorgeous, violent Gotham seduced me with its first commercial, some several months ago during this past summer; I think I may have even drooled. It’s so NYC, so Queens, so steely, dark and divine. But today I am just writing about live-tweeting during Gotham, not the show itself even though it’s one of the only shows I try to watch live, to watch along with Twitter.

I ABSOLUTELY had to indulge in one taped episode of Judge Judy, just one, because I must behave and one half hour of pure fantastic awfulness makes me feel less guilty than a whole hour. Yesterday’s episode involved a rivetingly stubborn woman who beat her husband’s lover: even Judge Judy reprimanded the wife to punish the husband, not the husband’s lover but the wife, in front of us all, refused to accept the screaming truth: some people are so watchably moronic, it is television gold. The icing, or let’s say the Velveeta, on the cake was that each party, husband, wife and lover, were all very tall and quite large. I love characters in action, a love triangle that tips the scale at 900 pounds: there is symmetry to it, a visual sensibility.  The beaten up lover was rewarded the maximum settlement of $5000: justice.  The wife remained belligerent during the exit interview: injustice.  It’s still all fabulous because it’s La Judy.

TONIGHT 11/10/14  I am amazing: instead of inhaling a pint of ice cream, I am on my second can of seltzer for dessert (and some Vanderpump Rules) and we all know how I feel about seltzer, it’s bubbly manna from heaven. My best friend tells me seltzer makes bones brittle: after a pause, I say I’ll take my chances. Bubbles apparently put bubbles in bones, according to her. But I love bubbles, never champagne, only seltzer and beer and I do have to have them on occasion. Tonight I am pretending to be one of those people who have seltzer instead of a full pint of Ice & Vice ice cream for dessert. I have been incredibly good on the ice cream front: only one pint last week and it was the first one I had had in weeks and I only had it (Three Twins’ Mint Confetti) to help me recover from a previous night’s love affair with four cans of Sixpoint’s The Crisp. I am officially too old to manage more than two cans, may the lesson finally be learned.

Today also is my dear friend Cary’s birthday, we’ve known each other since we were tiny, the best kind of friend to have. It is also Sesame Street’s birthday, the 45th anniversary of the first episodes airing. Some of us, Cary and me included, remember this event so well that we readily recall Sesame Street’s pre-debut promotion and being excited to see the first episode. I am dating myself: I was the ultimate consumer for Sesame Street. I was the perfect age for this show that revolutionized aspects of television way beyond the realm of children’s education: at five years old, I ate it up, jumping into that easily accessible and yet magically unattainable world of Muppets who were more real and fully drawn than actual humans. Bert and Ernie, in retrospect certainly are suspicious live-in bachelors, but they are also both sides of me: the furious nerd who always comes in last (and is funny looking) and the squatty clown who always sees the upside (and is equally funny looking). Me and me.

OKAY and this woman who hit this guy with her high heel shoe on the F train? No one deserves to get knocked down but why did she aggravate and bully him? What a nasty person: she pushed and pushed and pushed. Shame on her, I hope she learned something about herself but maybe not, if her friends were egging her on. That’s a tough brutality which cannot be easily changed.

DRITA and Karen back for next season of Mob Wives, on December 3.  Girl, I do not know how much I got to give to the Mob Wives this time around, but I do love me some Drita: fierce Drita Drita, she ain’t no meter maid. And I am curious about Miss Karen, Miss Junior Female Bull, and what she’s been up to. But I wonder how much juice is left, though, in this franchise and I am growing less interested. I have to limit my reality TV: can’t waste too much of my precious time watching the fluffyfluffy.  Mob Wives is the fluffyfluffy.  Vanderpump Rules is the fluffyfluffy.

Gotham is not the fluffyfluffy: I can’t focus too well on anything when I first watch it: Gotham is something I always have to watch twice. I’ll tell you why soon.