The Power of the Internet (a post by Lee)

Behold, Dear Readers, the True Power of The Internet!

This conversation occurred just now between Anna Marie and me:

Anna: since youre new to normcore, i heard this writer read this last week at an event
http://www.thebaffler.com/salvos/revolution-mom-jeans
me: not NEW to normcore
Anna: prove it

The gauntlet had been thrown. I checked my email history for the word “normcore.”

Thursday, March 12, 2015 9:59 PM
DR: I want to be norm core.
me: ???
what is norm core?
DR: look it up!

I have known about normcore for exactly two weeks, which in Internet terms means that I have known about normcore forever. Once again, by harnessing The Power of The Internet, I have humbled Anna Marie.

A Visit to the Cat Circus (a post by Anna)

I don’t really like cats. I don’t hate them or anything, but I have a distinct childhood memory of a friend’s slumber party where her cat pounced on my head all night and forced me to nearly suffocate under a deep layer of pillows. But one thing that has brought me back to the cat world is The Amazing Acro-Cats.

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That’s why I totally freaked out when I was perusing the Circus Cats website a month ago and noticed their tour in Orlando overlapped with my family vacation to the national trucking conference. What are the odds?!? 
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I shared this thrilling news with Rachel and asked the concierge to book us a town car to the Circus Cats.  A man named Aklilu was waiting for us in a black executive Sedan, and he drove us to The Venue, a house-turned-burlesque-performance-space in the middle of an Orlando neighborhood. Aklilu was a little confused about why this was our destination, and he didn’t seem to notice the Circus Cats RV when we pulled up.
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Once inside, we approached a bar with “Caturday Meowmosas Specials” and a table of cat merchandise.
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Then we headed to the performance space. I chatted up the couple sitting next to me and learned they were on a surprise date, and the lady had been incorrectly guessing the destination all week long. The pre-show music included the Purina Meow Meow jingle, Harry Chapin’s “Cat’s in the Cradle,” and “Jellicle Cats” (Lee, remember that time I talked you into this?!).
 
Then… the show began. And it was as amazing as you could possibly imagine. The owner/trainer Samantha explained that she rescues cats, has 19 living in her home, and showed everyone how to “clicker train” your cats. They made a lot of anti-dog jokes, which I chose to ignore. 
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Cats jumped through hoops!

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Cats walked the tightrope on a disco ball!

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Tuna lit up the APPLAUSE sign.

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Cluck Norris competed in a bowling tournament again Tuna.

The show ended with a performance by the Rock Cats band.
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The Rock Cats!

By the time the show ended, I really felt like I was a part of the Orlando cat community. Rachel and I said our goodbyes and walked outside where a Lincoln town car (not Aklilu) was patiently waiting to take us back to the jungle hotel.
In the words of Davidson College, #CATSAREWILD.
 

The Oscars Were Alright Alright Alright (a post by Anna)

Lines, crowds, and commitment are a few of my favorite things. And they all converged for the annual Oscars movie marathon!

I can’t even pretend like this wasn’t my second year of madness. Sammie Sweetheart came in from Boston again just to sit in a movie theater for 24 hours, and I somehow gathered 11 friends for a day of non-stop movies. We met at the Times Square AMC with 400 others and scrambled to find a row to call our home for the day.

The order of the films is clutch when you’re watching eight in a row. They decided to order them by length this year, which would’ve been fantastic if I had seen any film other than Boyhood in advance. There was no rest for the weary. Watching every film in a sold-out theater was especially fun during fake baby scenes in American Sniper.

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My first year I showed up with merely a granola bar and a tiny blanket, while the pros around me had bags of Trader Joe’s snacks and pillows. Lesson learned! So, this year I brought a bunch of food I didn’t eat!

Also, the Times Square theater has a vertical layout, where you go up at least eight escalators to get to the theaters. The whole day was an escalator party!

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During breaks, they hosted movie trivia like you’ve never seen it before. The questions all required naming the Best Picture Winner in specific year. And somehow, film buffs knew every answer. They had to call a tie between the two finalists because they only had 87 years to choose from. Who are these people!?

Many people stayed the whole night for their own pride, others for the free “I Survived!” t-shirt. My greatest accomplishment was this selfie of only my forehead.

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Even though the awards ceremony proved to be the most boring awards show of all time, at least now I can say I’ve endured a marathon.

The new AM / PM newsletter! (a post by Anna)

Announcement! If you’re looking for something weird to do in NYC or just want to know what’s going on, I’m about to open up the floodgate of my favorite events around the big city. Presenting…

AM / PM: a new monthly NYC events newsletter created by yours truly.

The first edition comes out today with details on the 24-hr Oscars marathon, LL Cool J hangouts, and Dolly Parton parties.  Sign up here: http://tinyletter.com/ampm

The dazzling new AM / PM newsletter!

The dazzling new AM / PM newsletter!

Par for the Glow Golf Course (a post by Anna)

One time I was reunited with my bestie Cary on the same day I completely lost my voice. It was torture to not be able to talk his head off all day, but I found a remedy: Glow Golf.

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YESSSSS

Now you may be asking yourself: what exactly is Glow Golf? It’s glow-in-the-dark putt-putt inside an arcade on the 2nd floor of a Greensboro mall, situated next to a Ruby Tuesday. Naturally.

GLOW GOLF!!!

Check out that St. Louis Steamer!

First, we had to figure out the complicated token/gumball/golf ball machine. You must use a one dollar bill to get a token, which is needed to get a golf ball, which is needed to get a putter from the 16 year-old staff standing idly next to you. This is the only way to play Glow Golf.

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Straight out of the 80s.

Finally, having conquered the token machine, we moved on to the real deal. Glow Golf, we came to learn, did not have a particularly clear theme; the golf course mixed dinosaurs, windmills, and the Lincoln Memorial.

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Swing, batter batter.

The creators of Glow Golf couldn’t dig out holes on the 2nd floor of a mall, so they built the course on top of the floor. Each hole was designed with the impossible challenge of being surrounded by a little hump. It was also extremely dark, except for the few black lights on the ceiling. As you can imagine, I was great at glow golfing!

Id rather be glow golfing.

In heaven.

Between my voicelessness and the giant dinosaur, the experience was speechless in more ways than one.

IT’S FRENCH FRY TIME!!!!! (a post by Anna)

 

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The One Where Lee Rides A Bus (a post by Lee)

This past Monday, I took my first unchaperoned bus ride across state lines. The experience was much more trying as an adult than it was, say, on field trips as a teenager. I decided to make y’all a helpful step-by-step guide on how to handle your journey.

LEE’S EASY 25-STEP GUIDE TO RIDING A BUS

1. Go to buy a train ticket. They cost $300. Panic.

2. Call your best friend during her lunch break and ask, “So, do I just get on a bus or what. How does anything work? Are there seat belts?” Your best friend replies with a cutting remark about your inefficacy as a human being. Your feelings are not hurt, as you aren’t even listening due to being in the middle of a high-intensity search for pictures of Zac Efron. Your priorities are sound.

3. Buy a ticket for a bus leaving at 1:45pm from a station 40 minutes away. It is currently 1:08pm.

4. Grab the bag that you packed the night before in a naive attempt to plan ahead. You do not remember what is in the bag; you were on the phone when you packed it.

5. Walk — but not with any particular speed — to the Metro stop. Pause to greet your elderly neighbor because you were raised well.

6. Board the Metro and successfully change lines. Feel in control until you realize with horrifying clarity that you do not actually know where the bus depot is located.

7. Consult your confirmation ticket. It indicates the depot is across from a Dunkin’ Donuts. Ponder for a beautiful foolish second if you’ll have time to grab a donut. It is 1:39pm.

8. Finally arrive at your Metro stop and exit. Stand at the corner of the street for two minutes before approaching a bus whose doors are closing and is clearly about to start pulling away. Do not hurry to the bus because you are wearing shoes that you cannot run in. Doubt your decision-making abilities.

9. Approach a random man and say, “I am here to check in for this bus.” Be pleasantly surprised to realize that you approached the proper stranger. He gets you on the bus and you nearly kiss him. It is 1:49pm.

10. Recognize that you do not know proper bus etiquette. Are you allowed to smile at people? Are you allowed to answer incoming phone calls? Can you take a whole two-seater to yourself, or does that make you seem unsociable? Smile at everyone, particularly the hottie in aisle 3 who avoids eye contact; do not answer any incoming phone calls (sorry, Jordie!); take up a whole two-seater; your shirt is unbuttoned.

11. Sit down, the bus departs, and you immediately fall asleep because you have an impressive talent for napping in public spaces.

12. Wake up 30 minutes later with nary a clue where you are. Feel chilly but be unsure how to turn off your air vent. Your reading light doesn’t work and you hold your book up dangerously close to your eyeballs. Make a note to call your optometrist.

13. Somewhere in New Jersey, the bus pulls over into the James Cooper Travel Plaza. Mistakenly assume that the bus driver is filling up the gas tank. The bus driver announces that passengers have 20 minutes to walk around.

14. Text your best friend to ask why you are at the James Cooper Travel Plaza. Your best friend responds, “When you first board, they take a vote about whether or not you want to stop. Did you miss the vote? I assume yes.”

15. You missed the vote. As such, decide that you don’t deserve to get off the bus. Also recognize that you are incapable of making this bus twice in one day; stay firmly in your seat.

16. Everyone else gets off the bus. You are all alone. 30 strangers trusted you with all of their personal belongings. Feel very responsible and trustworthy; your heart swells with veritable affection for these 30 strangers.

17. Take this opportunity to see what in fact you packed. Contents of duffel bag: 2 mini pouches of baby carrots, a SodaStream bottle filled with water, a pair of pajamas, 4 dresses, and a leather American flag fanny pack filled with ChapStick. Feel shame and inadequacy.

18. Everyone reboards the bus; they all have good-smelling food. With a newly-realized intensity, discover you are hungry. Eat one of your bags of carrots, fearing that you are crunching too loudly and disruptively. Suddenly and passionately hate these 30 strangers and, despite not even being a meat-eater, sincerely covet your neighbor’s chicken nuggets.

19. The bus driver walks through the bus and counts everyone, much like your high school chaperones in days of field trips past. Laugh aloud heartily because this strikes you as very funny. Draw a strange look from the handsome man across the aisle.

20. After four hours of not speaking aloud, feel lonesome and decide to strike up a conversation with the handsome man across the aisle. He tells you, “I am trying to do work.” You apologize and then laugh again. He is not amused.

21. Realize with great alarm that your phone battery is at 17%. As someone who is prone to getting lost and wandering in cities, despite frequent admonitions from your friends of, “Stay exactly where you are. I will find you. Do not move. Stay exactly where you are,” this strikes profound fear in your heart.

22. Text your best friend to ask where the outlets are on the bus. Your best friend tells you the specific location of the outlets. You are unable to find them. The next day, on the trip home, you do. They are precisely where your best friend said they were.

23. Finally arrive at your destination, and immediately begin wandering despite your best friend’s calling and saying, “Stay exactly where you are. I will find you. Do not move. Stay exactly where you are.” Never obey your friends because you and you alone are in control of your own destiny.

24. Be found seven blocks away from where you were supposed to be. Make your best friend carry your luggage. Later, make your best friend’s roommate carry your luggage. Derive pleasure from how powerful you are.

25. The next day, repeat this exact same process with the smug self-satisfaction that only comes with being the type of person who makes all the wrong decisions and yet still gets everything right.