How Sam Rockwell Inspired Me to Be Better

The last few months I have had a serious crisis of confidence. Not really sure where it originated, but the impact was obvious — I became quiet when I should have been speaking up, a wallflower when I should have been a presence. Basically, I wasn’t myself.

Back in March I went to a screening of one of Sam Rockwell’s new movies, and he was there for a Q&A. My first thought was “I can’t wait to shake his hand and tell him how much his performances meant to me over the last 15 years.”  Actually, my first though was “I will make Sam Rockwell my husband. He will learn to love me,” but that seemed arrest-worthy, so I went with my second thought.

The Q&A ended and the theater started to empty out, but Sam Rockwell…Sammy…my main man Sam (henceforth known as MMMS) was still milling around with this peeps. This was my chance, but I froze. Could I go up there alone? What would I say? He’d think I was obsessive if I told him how much I loved his portrayal of Victor Mancini in Choke even though it was different from how I’d imagined the character each of the three times I had read the book. He would dismiss me as trivial if I asked to take a picture with him so I could show my dad I met Crewman Number Six. And he’d think I was rude if I told him what I really thought of Trust Me.

While I was mentally masturbating, MMMS started walking up the theater aisle towards me. Then past me. Then out the door. I had missed my chance and suddenly felt unbelievably lame. One of my favorites was within inches of me and I couldn’t man up enough to tell him I appreciate his work.

I wandered out of the theater feeling dejected, until I caught a glimpse of MMMS’s red leather jacket as he attempted to hail a cab across the street. I had a second chance and no desire to relive the crumminess I felt minutes before. I ran across the street (in traffic), tapped him on the shoulder (a little too forcefully) and told him how big a fan I was (kind of breathlessly, give me a break I had just narrowly missed getting hit by a bus). I threw out a few comments about the movie I had just seen and his earlier movies.  He was friendly, chatty, welcoming and more than willing to stand next to me for a few seconds to snap a photo.

I didn’t feel stupid — although I probably should have, given that I actually said…to his face… “Wow, I am so glad to meet you I am peeing myself in excitement…metaphorically, I mean” (ugh, it makes me cringe even now) – and really didn’t care if he or anyone else thought I was. We’d had a perfectly pleasant exchange and I had a happy memory to slide into in my “Cool Celebrity Encounters” brainball, alongside the Mick Jagger and Johnny Lee Miller files.

My mentor at work once told me the importance of “thinking about it later” to get out of your own head. Whenever you feel insecurity start to take hold, commit to thinking about that later and free your head up to focus on what is happening in the moment. MMMS showed me that this strategy is a good one – and the only thing I had to think about later was how glad I was that I spoke up (and how I probably should keep all references to urine out of my future correspondence with people I admire).

I’d like to get to a place where it is easy to replace stressing about other people’s perceptions with remembering how good it felt to push aside my insecurity and as a result get to awkwardly manhandle one of my favorite actors. And hopefully this will allow me to metaphorically awkwardly manhandle one of my favorite actors in any situation I might face.

And just because I think he is the bee’s knees…

Sam Rockwell

Written by lindsay in: Reflection | Tags: ,

Small Windows

Last week, I was on a plane (I’m  using “plane” loosely,  since what I was on looked like something that belonged in Kitty Hawk circa 1903) bound for Northwest Arkansas when we had to divert to a different airport due to terrible weather. We’d been on the ground for about 15 minutes when the pilot came over the loudspeaker and said “Air Traffic Control has given us a small window during which we can make it into Northwest Arkansas, so we’re going to go for it.”

“Small window.” Not a phrase I want to associate with safely getting a fuel-filled tinderbox from 35,000 feet to sea level during a lightning storm. I’d prefer “huge gap” or “Grand Canyon.” Unfortunately, for the next 40 minutes, the only distraction my head would allow from the white-knuckled turbulence was thoughts about the concept of “small windows.”

Small windows are exciting – they imply an intriguing and attractive challenge.  They’re also stressful in their implication that success is constrained and that there is a set period of time in which things have to be done exactly right. What if circumstances don’t line up? What if you make a mistake? You could miss the window. Then you’ve failed.

I see small windows everywhere. There’s a sweet spot for launching a product. There’s a finite amount of time to make a good impression. There’s a limited supply of your favorite beer at your favorite bar (and sometimes your favorite bartender forgets to save some for you…). All of this is true, but seeing the world for all its small windows creates a lot of pressure and angst — simply put, it’s exhausting. Beyond that, when I spell it out, the concept of making vs. missing as equating to success vs. failure seems short-sighted. On my flight, in my head, the small window was the difference between making it to my meeting with my body and my PowerPoint presentation intact and hurtling to the ground in a fiery ball of wreckage a la Liam Neeson in “The Grey” (sans timber wolves). But weighing the best case with the worst (movie ever!) case seems less productive than weighing the best case with…just another case. Maybe the small window was the difference between making it to my meeting on time and…not making it to my meeting on time. Really not that big a deal.

My goal is going to be to try to see my life less as a series of small windows and more as one big horizon of time – with plenty of wiggle room for failure, imperfections and mistakes. That seems like a much healthier and more comfortable approach than the way I’ve been viewing things.

That said, I’d still like to thank the pilot of AA #4534 for taking a more rigid stance on small windows and getting me and my presentation to my meeting on time and in one piece.

Written by lindsay in: Opinion | Tags: , ,

It’s Not Delivery

There are a number of things in this world that make me feel insecure. Overhead luggage bins, for example, or the pressure of a waiter asking if I know what I want — just once I would like to have the confidence to order a meal at a restaurant without re-opening the menu.

But I never thought lasagna would be on that list.

Every night, I step off my elevator and straight into olfactory bliss courtesy of my neighbor’s cooking. The first night, it was nice! Who doesn’t want to be greeted by the smell of a home-cooked meal? The second night, it made me hungry. I just hope she didn’t notice as I awkwardly pressed my face against the door and deeply inhaled the sweet perfume of chocolate and chip.

After that, however, the aromatic onslaught started to chip away at my self-confidence little by little. Lingering vapors from the aforementioned lasagna mocked my fingers as they tap tap tapped my sushi order into seamless. Whiffs of freshly baked scones stalked me as I carried my burnt clumps of corn muffin to the trash compactor. The sizzle of a wok and the scent of homemade Pad See Ewe brought back terrifying memories of the great Pad See Eww disaster of 2011.

As the weeks wore on, those smells became an ongoing nightly reminder that I don’t always measure up to the standards I set for my adult self at some point between age 0 and age now. My adult self should know how to change a flat tire. My adult self should not have New Years Resolutions that involve meeting her favorite celebrity or getting a bartender to wear a funny hat. My adult self should not be able to name at least three people who blame her culinary “talents” for temporary gastrointestinal “problems.” Of course these are totally arbitrary standards, but they’re lodged in my brain, and extricating them is all but impossible.

However, tonight, I had a little victory. I pulled my frozen pizza out of the oven and walked downstairs to get my laundry before dinner.  When I got back, the whole hallway smelled delicious. Italian herbs and spices, Fresh mozzarella. Hand-crafted artisan crust. All coming from my apartment.

I had prepared a meal that I wanted to eat, and I made my hallway smell like Italy. That is something to be proud of, regardless of if I did it the way I thought I “should.”

That said, maybe my adult self shouldn’t be taking life lessons from DiGiorno.

Written by lindsay in: Uncategorized |

Who Killed Rosie Larson?

Until about 10 minutes ago, the answer to that question was a mystery. Given that I am only halfway through Season 1 of “The Killing,” I was hoping it would remain a mystery until I made it to the finale of Season 2, when the big reveal would…well, reveal itself.

But. No.

I watch TV on my iPhone while I exercise – thank God for unlimited data plans — and I tend to get pretty emotionally invested in my stories; I’m still reeling from Edgar’s untimely demise on 24 – the silent clocks ticks forever for you, my friend. I started The Killing a few weeks ago and have been happily mulling over my own theories and questions since then, as well as fighting off a growing depression from watching hour after hour of the gray, ambient misery mist that envelops Seattle.

Anyway, I was on the treadmill, watching Holder do his thing, and I took my headphones off for a second. “Is that the Killing?” asked the guy on the machine next to me. He looked like a younger version of The Governor on “The Walking Dead,” so of course I liked him immediately.

My exact response was “Yeah, I just started – I’m a few episodes into season 1.”

You’d think that “Yeah, I just started” combined with “I’m a few episode into season 1” would be a clear indication that I had not in fact finished the show and that I did not in fact know who did The Killing’s killing.

To my treadmilling friend, however, it apparently was an invitation to blurt out “Oh, man, I can’t believe how it ended! I never would have guessed it was BLEEEEEEP.” (That’s me censoring in order to save anyone reading this from enduring the same spoiler I just experienced.)

I never would have guessed it either. Because I hadn’t even met one of the characters he mentioned. And the ones I had met had given me no reason to assume that they might be killers. And now I don’t even need to guess. That’s what happens when someone tells you something.

Sigh. Maybe this is karma for that time I spilled the beans on Boone dying. And on who killed Laura Palmer. And on the Season 2 finale of Boardwalk Empire. Actually, I really don’t have any right to complain, do I?

Still…annoying. Meccanized.

Written by lindsay in: Uncategorized |

Fassbendering My Way to a Completed Bucket List

They say when you stop looking for it, that’s when it happens.

When I moved here in June, I formulated a “New to NY” bucket list. In the two weeks that I was here at the start of the summer and the five weeks I’ve been here since I got back, I managed to check off every item – cultural, culinary, athletic, touristy. Every item, that is, except for one.

I had yet to be Fassbendered on a subway train.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Fassbender (also known as the “Shame Subway Stare”), this video may help.

Essentially, it refers to a particular type of creepy, ongoing ocular violation on public transportation, unfortunately usually performed by someone not nearly as Fassbendery as Fassbender himself. Anyone who is surprised that this ridiculous thing made it onto my list of must-do’s obviously doesn’t know me very well. For starters, this is EXACTLY the kind of weird thing that anyone who has met me for even 30 seconds would expect me to have as a must-do. Secondly, despite thinking “Shame” was boring and entirely overrated, somehow that movie has become a major part of my life, serving as both the focal point of a hilariously awkward first (and only) date and the springboard for making “Fassbender” (and any variation thereof) a common colloquialism among my friend group for anything related to interpersonal activity. My iPhone has even learned to auto-correct to Fassbender.

I had ridden the subway multiple times a day hoping for even a glimmer of a Fassbender, but at some point, I just stopped focusing on it. My mental and emotional energy had more important uses, and if it were going to happen, it would happen.

And today, it happened. On the E train coming back from dropping my friend off at Penn Station. At 9 in the morning. And, somewhat ironically, with Wilson Phillips’ “Hold On” playing on my iPod.  I didn’t look nearly as cute as the girl in the movie (I was in workout clothes on my way to yoga), and the guy Fassbendering was…well…no Fassbender. But it still counts!

Consider my “New to NY” bucket list complete! Now, on to the next set of city adventures (which hopefully will not mirror “Shame” in any way shape or form).

Written by lindsay in: The Ridiculous |

A Letter to My First Love…San Francisco

Dear San Francisco,

We met when I was twenty-two and just out of college. You were hip and dynamic and a little dangerous – nothing like the cities I’d gotten used to growing up on the east coast. I liked you immediately. Your limitless energy and the seemingly endless array of new experiences (Critical Mass, Bay to Breakers, Big Wheels) you could offer up made every day exciting and fresh. I couldn’t imagine having more fun

But then our honeymoon gave way to reality, and the key differences in our core personalities began to show. All those things on which we didn’t see eye to eye that started off as pesky annoyances ultimately became deal breakers. You never could fully address my distaste for playing “Will I or Won’t I be Shanked By That Bum?” every time I left the house. I could never deal with your utter inability to make a decision even hour to hour about what weather you wanted to display. Of course, there was a lot of good stuff — the trivia nights, the amazing food, the awesome friends, the ability to keep my butt and legs toned simply by walking a few blocks — that made me stick around, but after four years I knew it was time to call it quits.

I never stopped thinking about you, though, and now seeing you again after all this time has brought back those happy memories.  It makes me nostalgic and question just a little if might be worth giving things another go. I can certainly see that you’ve tried to become what I always wanted. You’re more reliable than you were when we were last together — NextMuni’s “arriving in 2 minutes” now actually yields a bus in 2 minutes, not 60. You’re warmer than you used to be — literally, 70 degrees at the Fillmore Jazz Festival in (the normally frigid) July. You seem less volatile, too – I’ve spent over a week here without a single frightening encounter with an overly aggressive homeless person.  Could things be different if I came back? Could we could actually make it work this time?

But as I walked to the bus last night, breathing fog and shivering in my t-shirt in the 50 degree air (which, mere hours before, had been 75 degrees), a rat ran across my foot and a man with a shopping cart full of old electronics and newspapers swore at me. And I knew you hadn’t really changed in a sustainable way. You tried, but we still face all the same issues.  You can’t alter who you are for me, and I wouldn’t want you too.

I’ll always love you, SF, but we are not right for each other. You deserve a resident who doesn’t want you to change and who relishes your inconsistencies and loves you as you are, and I deserve a city where I don’t need a black market to access plastic bags or foie gras. But I’ll always look back on our time together fondly and with gratitude that I had the chance to know you and for the lasting richness, color and frequent and unexpected nudity you brought to my life. 



Now, on to SoCal, where family, friends and musicians await me!


Written by lindsay in: Uncategorized | Tags: ,

Is There Anything More Portland Than a Vegan Strip Club? And Other Adventures in Travel

Last week, I set out on a 6-week, all-over-America, last-hurrah-before-I start-work adventure. After a few days in Chicago visiting my sister-from-another-mother (which included multiple runs in 90 degree heat, a disgusting amount of dessert consumption, a 1.5-hour wait for a restaurant that was totally worth it and some Carl Weathersby blues) I headed west to meet up with a college friend  (we’ll call him “Noah”) for a few days in Washington and Oregon.

Now, Noah and I did a lot of normal things. We had several delicious meals. We hiked around the Hoh Rain Forest and Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park. We stayed at an oceanside lodge where we lit a fire and played cards like an old married couple (note: we are neither old nor a married couple). That stuff was fantastic, and I’ll post some beautiful pictures to Facebook once I get back to my computer.

But there were a few…let’s say ridiculous…things that we did that really made this trip special. I know Noah would object to the use of the term “we,” because it implies that he was a willing participant. To rectify this, I will make it clear which activities he was happy to be involved in and which ones he begrudgingly agreed to (or in one case, simply abandoned me).

First came our trip to Forks, Washington.  Noah’s reaction to Forks was that it was the location of the Kalaloch Lodge and a perfect and scenic place to spend the night on our drive down to Portland. My reaction was to yell “OMG Twilight!”, jerk around wildly in the passenger seat with excitement and text all my friends that I was going to the place where everyone’s favorite vampire tale takes place. In that moment, Noah’s regret at having agreed to come on this trip at all became evident.

I wanted to take an official Twilight tour, but, not surprisingly, they’re absurdly overpriced, so instead I made Noah drive slowly down the single street in Forks and pull over every time I screeched “Stop! There! That’s Bella’s X!” Sometimes he got out and took a picture of me in front of said “landmark.” Sometimes, he sat in the car shaking his head in disgust while I ran into traffic to snap a picture myself. Always, he was a good sport. I tried to get a picture of him with some Twilight glory to use to embarrass him at a later date, but he was too crafty. I did, however, manage to capture him in a reflection as proof to everyone we know that he was, in fact, on a Twilight tour with me.


And this is me with Bella’s truck!


A day later, we moved on to Portland, a city I have wanted to visit since I read Chuck Palahniuk’s “Fugitives and Refugees” 8 years ago. Our first night there was a particular type of Portland-y. We ate dinner from a food truck, browsed and bought books at Powell’s, went to Ground Kontrol (it’s an arcade…with a bar!) and ended up at VooDoo Donuts, where we bought several different kinds of donuts to sample. In keeping with the tone of the shop, all were inappropriately themed but because my parents read this blog I’m going to keep the titles out.


Then came our argument about the validity of different kinds of toppings on donuts. In short, Noah is a topping whore who thinks anything is suitable on top of a donut. I include this so everyone can acknowledge how wrong he is. Our night ended with Noah teaching me to play Chubby Bunny (a game/choking hazard I had never heard of where you see how many marshmallows you can cram into your mouth while still being able to say the words Chubby Bunny – Noah took my phone away so I couldn’t take pictures). I include this so everyone can acknowledge how childish and disgusting we are.

Our next day was Portland-y in a different way.  I awoke with a burning desire to tour Portland’s underground (literal and figurative) as outlined by Mr. Palahniuk. I brought the idea of doing an underground-themed walking tour up to Noah, and he said he needed to do more research into it, which is Noah-speak for “I worry this is going to be another Forks, so fork you — I’m going to hang out with my cousin.” So while he caught up with family, I signed up for a 2 hour tour of “the sins of Portland’s past.” We (that’s me, our guide, and 3 older married couples) “walked through the remains of the city’s physical underground and explored the underground subcultures, political underground and immoral underground of the city’s sordid history.” That’s from the organizing company’s website, which also advertised the tour as “now with 20% more vice!” Thank God, because I was worried about being short-changed on the vice.

Despite how it sounds, it was mostly a history lesson (albeit one they probably don’t teach in Portland elementary schools) and really interesting. Notable non-educational moments include my bursting into hysterical laughter at the mention of the vegan strip club of the blog’s title and then 5 minutes later getting proposed to by a homeless man outside the coin-operated “24-hour Church of Elvis” (picture below) in front of the entire tour. I mean seriously, does it get any more Portland than that?


(Seriously, wtf is this?!?!?!?!)

Tomorrow begins phase 2 of the trip – San Francisco – which will be considerably less ridiculous than phase 1 (mostly because after 4 years living there I think I’ve done just about every absurd thing possible), but I can’t say enough about how much fun I’ve had this first week and how happy I am that Noah was along for the ride.

And with this picture, adieu until next time…


Next Time I’ll Ask for Directions

When I said I wanted to meet people in New York, this is not quite what I had in mind.

This morning, I planned to drop my rent check off in my building’s management office. The last time I was in the office was when I signed my lease in early May, but I have a pretty good memory (NOTE: in retrospect, I doubt this statement) and was certain that the office was located on the 24th floor in apartment D. So certain that I did not even consider the possibility that I might be mistaken. In fact, if you had asked me to bet my life on the office being in 24-D, I would have done it. So, I came back from my run, stepped onto the elevator and pushed “24” with the kind of confidence that one feels when she is so sure she is right about something that she is almost guaranteed to be heading towards a stupid and easily avoidable misstep.

Upon arriving at floor 24, I walked to apartment D, opened the door and entered. “No knock?” you might ask. “Why, no!” I would have answered.  “There’s no need to knock if you know where you are going!”

What followed was one of the most uncomfortable and confusing single minutes of my life.

It took my brain about 10 seconds to process that the room I had entered did not match my memory of the management office and another 10 seconds to realize that I was standing in a living room. (I’d like to blame exhaustion and dehydration from running in the heat, but it was 65 degrees and cloudy when I went out.)

Another 5 seconds to realize I had just walked into a stranger’s apartment.

5 more seconds for the resident of said apartment to walk out of the kitchen and see me standing there, in my sweaty clothes, looking disoriented, with Ed Sheeran seeping softly from my earbuds.

5 seconds for her to process that there was a stranger in her apartment.

5 seconds for her to ask me who I was.

5 seconds of stunned silence on my part where I stood there, mouth open, eyes moving between her and the rent check in my hand, as if that would clarify everything.

15 seconds of explanation and profuse apologies. I thought about asking her why she didn’t lock her door to prevent things like this from happening, but then it occurred to me that she could probably count the number of times this had happened on one finger. Maybe now she’ll be more careful.

After a few laughs, a few more “I’m so sorry’s!” and a silent thanks that she had merely been making coffee, I made my way to the correct location and deposited my checks. I then proceeded to walk around the block and cringe about 6000 times.

Fortunately, embarrassment rolls off me like water on a duck’s back, but I do have one regret: that was probably the only time where an exaggerated cat burglar backwards tiptoe out of the room would have not only been justified but also appropriate. A major missed opportunity.

Written by lindsay in: Uncategorized |

A RiffTrax for High Art

On this rainy New York City Friday, I went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I found the exhibit of nineteenth century European artists especially evocative. The color, depth and passion expressed by the artists’ brushes truly inspired me….enough to spend the afternoon ignoring the audio tour I had purchased. Instead, I quietly annotated each painting for myself and giggled just softly enough so as not to disturb my fellow cultural patrons. Much like the perfect wine complements a fine meal, today I discovered that the perfect iPhone camera and sense of snarkiness complements fine art.



It’s amazing how they got the wolves to pose for so long!


An artist who captured the true essence of the Earl’s personality.

weirdhat2 first date nightmare.


An early attempt to counteract the portrait adding 10 lbs.

first_date first date nightmare, part duex.


 “No, really, Uncle Alfonso, the hat will be GREAT for the portrait…”


No one understood why little Lindsay’s birds never seemed to last very long.

Written by lindsay in: Uncategorized |

Ode To Mr. K (& Middle School Science Disasters)

Let me tell you about the time I became a human mood ring in Mr. K’s seventh grade life science class.

Mr. K loved science. I mean, really loved it. To him, photosynthesis was a symphony. Mitosis, an opera. The periodic table, Shakespeare. To me, these were things I had to learn in order to make it to eighth grade. My goal was to memorize the facts (Interphase, Prophase, Metaphase, Anaphase, Telophase, Cytokinesis…that’s right, baby) and move on.

Until one day when everything changed.

We were in the midst of an experiment (I don’t remember the end goal). Each team had several beakers with small amounts of liquid that we were tasked with mixing together. Mr. K warned us to be extra careful not to spill anything, because the resulting substance could “cause damage to the desks and be very difficult to clean up.” I, lacking any semblance of coordination but apparently possessing impeccable timing, waited until my lab partner had poured the last beaker’s worth of liquid before tripping and knocking a book into the fully mixed concoction, which subsequently fell into my lap. Green liquid splashed all over the place. My khaki pants, my tan Hush Puppies shoes, my white collared shirt, my frizzy brown hair, my pimply face, my tiny, carnie-like arms and hands…everywhere.

Mr. K, drawn from his desk to my station by the laughter and pointing of my classmates, told me to go to the sink, wet a paper towel and wipe my clothes and skin off. I did as I was told, and the green marks easily disappeared. It was as if I hadn’t spilled anything. No fuss no muss. Or so I thought.

In my next class, I looked at my hands and noticed that there was a slight discoloration on the skin where the chemicals had spilled. It looked as if I had been bleached, just a little lighter than my natural tone. I thought maybe it was the lighting in the cafeteria. An hour later, I walked past a mirror in the girl’s locker room and was surprised to see purple blotches everywhere the chemicals had touched. Two hours after that, I was brown. Then orange. Then green. All told, that day I cycled through every color of the rainbow and then some. It was the coolest thing I had ever seen.

I remember a few other things about that day — my mom’s panic when I arrived home blue (not sad blue…blue blue…toilet bowl cleaner blue) and the subsequent 3 hours I spent in the dermatologist’s office being wiped down with something that smelled like nail polish remover – but what stands out most clearly was that being the first day I was really excited about science.

I’m thinking of this because, sadly, I found out that Mr. K passed away last week. I hadn’t talked with him in sixteen years, but I wish I could thank him now. His class turned me on to how cool science could be. That excitement stuck with me through eighth grade earth science (where my only mistake was to get caught eating the graham crackers and icing we were supposed to use to model tectonic plates and seismic activity). Through Honors Biology, Honors Chemistry and AP Physics in high school. It is what drove me to major in Human Biology as an undergraduate and to take a summer internship at a medical device company building a new kind of colonoscope (ask me about the off-color slogan I suggested at an all-hands meeting on my second day of work), which is where I first was exposed to working in marketing. Even though I’ve chosen to pursue a career in marketing in a different field, I haven’t lost that excitement for science and still geek out reading science news every day.

I can rarely tie my current interests back to a particular event, but with science, the thread is very clear for me. And it all started with that one absurd and colorful (ha…ha…) experience in Mr. K’s class.

Written by lindsay in: Uncategorized |

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