In a Fantasy Football League of Her Own

I’m relatively new to the fantasy sporting game, but this is what I’ve figured out so far: 1) winning is awesome and 2) playing in a fantasy league is a totally bizarro way to experience a sporting season. (Yes, that’s just the first ground-breaking observation I’m about to lay on you. Buckle up.)

Last year, my first foray into football fantasy, I finished 8th out of 12 in my office’s fantasy football league, with a record of 6-7-0. I had no idea what I was doing, but I was happy with any wins that I got.

As I write this, my record is 4-0 for the season, though I fear that my streak will come to an end this week. I am currently No. 1 in my office fantasy football league and this is pretty much the most absurd thing. Mostly because I am the lamest fantasy football league owner ever. I’m not making any sort of anti-feminist commentary here; I’m just talking about me, and how I deal with the very complex feelings that go along with playing fantasy football. 

Case in point: I drafted Peyton Manning in my second round. He was very, very good to me on Game 1, Day 1, Week 1 of this season. And he’s been good to me ever since. I feel like I owe my standing to him. But do you think that, when I woke up on the Friday after Peyton tied the NFL record of 7 TD passes in a game, my first reaction was, F*CK YEAH PEYTON! THROWING IT LIKE A BOSS! PLAYA GONNA PLAY!”?

(I just heard how ridiculous those words sound coming out of my mouth. I’m happy to re-enact upon request.)

Nope. My exact words were: “Awwww Peyton! Way to go! I, like, want to send him flowers!”

I’m not even joking. My first instinct was to send Peyton Manning flowers. 

I have developed a weekly fantasy football ritual. Every Tuesday morning, I take a screen shot of the current standings, as I sit on top, and then text my brother “STILL #1!” Is this totally lame? You betcha. But every player on my team has become close to my heart. My drafting strategy was doing a lot of research, little of which I understood, and then selecting players in a panic and in vain hope that I was choosing well. But now that they’re Team Puck Bunny, I want to hug every one of them.

KT

(Actual text conversation)

For me, the hardest part of playing the fantasy points game is that you’re inevitably rooting for at least 8 players and 1 team to perform below expectation that week. Let’s say you’re playing against Wes Welker, and he suddenly starts sucking at catching, you’re super happy. But do you stop to think about what happens to Wes Welker if he plays a mediocre game? He probably gets yelled at, guys. Shouldn’t we feel a little bit sorry that this guy has failed to do the one thing he needed to do this week?

Maybe not. I Googled Wes Welker’s wife and she’s pretty hot, so my sympathy only extends so far.

I can’t participate yet in the smack talk game because I’m still learning and I would feel badly making do by indiscriminately insulting these players’ mothers. So, apologies to my fellow fantasy football league owners for maybe not being the most engaging person to play against. But I’m having lots of fun.

And PS, I’m still looking for Peyton Manning’s favourite flower. The Internet doesn’t know the answer, and I’m no fool — my #1 status is basically all him. Thanks, Peyton!!!

Beyonce-SuperbowlRequisite Beyonce Superbowl pic.

Me, My Selfie, and I

I spend a lot of time thinking about what constitutes a selfie. Because while I find the rules of selfie-taking to be self-evident and quite obvious, social media has demonstrated that actually there is no rhyme or reason or standard to the selfie, and this anarchy is enraging.

I can’t say for sure when the term selfie came into my vernacular, but some cursory Internet research (Wikipedia) marks a resurgence of self-portraiture around 2010, when the front-facing iPhone camera skipped into town. (I did not get an iPhone until November 2012, so I’m sure my selfies looked positively amateurish.)

Just last month, “selfie” charmed its way into the Oxford Dictionaries Online’s quarterly update. It’s a dubious honour; along with terms like “phablet,” “twerk,” and “emoji,” “selfie” is pretty much storming the castle to herald the end of the English language before our very eyes.

Be that as it may, I think dictionaries are pretty awesome because they tell us what words mean. And Oxford Dictionaries Online defined “selfie” as “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.”

Ok. I want to focus on one particular part of that definition. A photograph that one has taken of oneself. By those standards, this is a selfie:

hockey rink

(“Gangsta” shot. Just trying to stay warm at a hockey rink. Sorry.)

This is not a selfie:

canada day

(Taken on Canada Day a few years ago. Not sorry.)

Both of these pictures are of myself, but only one picture was taken by myself. Are we agreed that a selfie means a photo that you have taken with one of your own hands/arms? We are?

Well then, can you please explain it to social media?

Last week, Kim Kardashian made her first reappearances on social media, in a Keek video shot by Scott Disick of some stellar car-singing, and a blurry, so-called selfie taken during the same car ride. A lot of people on the Interweb have complained about the pic’s poor quality.

My beef, however, is more fundamental: This is not a selfie!

Kim Kardashian did not take that picture. She’s looking into the camera of the phone that’s in the picture (which apparently is the new iPhone 5S, 2 days before the official announcement of the new iPhones — this has Kanye written all over it). Aaaaanyway, that picture could not have been taken by her. Neither could most of these so-called celebrity selfies (some of these are nearly naked pics, so not entirely safe for work).

Am I a fool for thinking that a selfie is a self-taken portrait? Do people consider any pictures of themselves to be selfies?

Meanwhile, back at the office…

office sleep

(Selfie. Taken at work. Just now.)

The Peculiar Case of the Celebrity Instagram

The Celebrity Instagram, to me, is an incredibly puzzling thing.

I’d say that about a quarter of the people I follow on Instagram are celebrities. Now, these people don’t follow me. They don’t know me. And they never will. So I’m constantly mystified by the phenomenon that is commenting on celebrity Instagram pictures.

For many of the particularly famous accounts, Instagram is almost like a personal tabloid mechanism, but one that they control. Beyonce constantly posts pictorial responses to rumours and controversies about her: a picture of her wearing a “Can I Live?” sweatshirt after the Inauguration lip-syncing brouhaha; a picture of her sipping wine after rampant pregnancy speculation; and a “Take That Mitches” Romney dis after Obama won, which she quickly deleted.

In a really simplistic way, social media can be taken through one of two lenses: 1) this is what I’m doing and I want you to think I’m cool, or 2) my life is better than yours so you can suuuuuck it. Most of us peasants fall into the former category. And by and large, celebrities’ Instagrams strike me as the latter, by virtue of the fact that for them, Instagram is a one-way street – they post their pictures, which are met with unabashed adoration:

“I love you, be my best friend.”

“You’re gorgeous, can we hang out?”

“You’re hilarious. I love your show. You’re a cutie.”

For the most rabid of fans, Instagram, following in the footsteps of Twitter’s “I can peek in on the thoughts of famous people” ideology, is a means to try and get noticed by their favourite celebs, and a forum to make purely nonsensical comments.

TaylorSwift

I know Taylor Swift is a real sweetheart, but she probably doesn’t care that she is 11 years and 1 month older than one fan, or that another fan’s birthday is December 4. And what astounds me is that those comments have zero correlation with the picture posted.

My favourite celebrity Instagram for perusing insane comments is Kim Kardashian, because generally her pictures and captions are ridiculous, but the people following her manage to take it to a whole other level. Take this group pic that Kim posted from the Met Costume Gala, andconsider how rodmonium’s astute comment really adds something to the conversation:

photo

Like, whaaat?!?! Sometimes I read these comments and feel like I’m taking crazy pills.

Am I the only one who finds this interaction between fan and celebrity so odd and funny? As opposed to Twitter, where you only really view comments if you click directly on the tweet, Instagram comments are displayed for anyone to see and soak up the crazy. 

I’d be very curious to get the celebrity perspective. No doubt they are flattered by their photo being liked by tens of thousands of people. But do they read every comment? What do they think of them? Does Mindy Kaling say, “Hey BJ Novak, look, this person said, ‘Please get married. We all know you eventually will.’ LOL!”

At the end of the day, there is still a wall between fan and celebrity, even though social media tricks us into thinking otherwise. Instagram teaches us that celebs are just like us. They work, they play, they travel for work or pleasure, they hang out with their friends. It’s just that their lives are infinitely cooler than ours on a regular basis.

gillian jacobs

You said it, andreaisabell71.

So I’ll continue to look at celebrities’ Instagram pics, and smile when I see something cool. I don’t know if I’ll ever be compelled to comment on a picture, but maybe I’ll start liking their photos every once in awhile. Because even though I know they won’t notice me, I’ve heard that insecurity is a defining characteristic of a famous person’s personality.

LaurenConradsombrero

Lauren Conrad, your silly little sombrero hair pic only got 91,800 likes? Ok, fine, I’ll throw you a bone and make it 91,801. I know you need the validation.

Is Megan Fox funny or do we just laugh because she’s hot?

Megan Fox is busy procreating up a storm (her fertility should come as a surprise to no one), but back in 2012, she was in two high profile comedies: Friends With Kids (Bridesmaids reunion! Jon Hamm in general!) and This Is 40 (quasi-Knocked Up sequel, but operating in a slightly different reality…) In both films she plays a sultry, limber woman who bewitches men without expending any effort. The pursing of her bee-stung lips cannot be considered effort, as it is the only way they know how to be. But the question: is she funny??

There’s no debate that she’s hot. Scarlett Johansson, owner of similar lips, wishes that the rest of her face had the femme-fatale-with-a-hint-of-Black-Widow symmetry that Megan Fox’s face exudes. But here’s where I have to stop with the goddess worship. After Esquire‘s slobbery nonsensical meditation on Megan Fox’s otherworldliness (it’s more fun to read Vice’s takedown of it), any individual’s attempts to poeticize her beauty is simply embarrassing themselves because nothing has ever been more embarrassing than that.

We’ve all been there. We’re talking to someone attractive. They say something, and we laugh. Hysterically. Nothing has ever been funnier than what came from the luscious mouth — I mean sharp-witted mind — of the remarkable specimen before us. This happens with attractive people we want to sex up, and it happens with celebrities. Alec Baldwin once told me I looked like I was chilly, and I giggled like a 14-year-old girl looking at a picture of JTT (for the ’90s set) or Justin Bieber (for Kylie Jenner’s generation).

Sometimes we laugh at what attractive people say because we want them to continue to shine their beauty in our direction. So: is this why we encourage Megan Fox?

The thing about Megan Fox is that she can be funny, but only in a very limited range. A lot of people might be surprised to learn that Megan didn’t actually burst on the scene with Transformers. In fact, she started out in comedy – on the generic sitcom Hope & Faith. Never heard of it? It starred Kelly Ripa and Faith Ford (Corky from Murphy Brown); I don’t remember which one was Hope and which was Faith, but I do know it was as broad comedy as broad comedy could get. Megan Fox was the ultra-hot daughter. Zaniness abounded, as you might imagine, and as it always does on those shows.

I don’t think you can really say that Megan Fox is preternaturally funny. When the jokes are centered on the perkiness of her breasts (This Is 40), or her limberness (Friends With Kids), or the question whether or not she is wearing underwear (This Is 40), the comedy is not coming from her, but from a worship of her. It’s not her line readings that are necessarily funny, it’s what her body is doing while she’s saying her lines. When her nipples are perpetually standing at attention, how can you not laugh at what she said about…. whatever it was…

That being said, she did a pretty funny mime of a blowjob.

Subway Education

Once on the subway a nine-year-old girl tried to shame-stare me into giving up my seat. Her hair was in braided pigtails, at least one item of her clothing had sparkles, and she was wearing a backpack. Luckily I am an accomplished starer, so I was unmoved. Also, I believe in Subway Education.

Where I grew up, there was no subway system. In fact, my first two months in NYC I was so scared of the complicated colourful subway map that I used the subway exactly five times (I had to build in a lot of walking time). So I fully admit that I may not have had what it takes to survive as a subway youth. But these kids growing up on the subway, they’ve got to learn the rules and regulations of subway travel.

– – – – – – – – – –

#1 If you can snag a seat, never give it up.

Exceptions to this include pregnant woman, little kids, old people, and people with handicaps. Or, if you’re an asshole, none of the above.

Why then, you wonder, did I refuse to give my seat to the little girl. This really applies more to children who are six and under, are adorable, and say the darnedest thing. Plus, this girl hit me with an accusatory look before I even had a chance to react, so I had to teach her a lesson.

#2 Do not make eye contact.

You are on a subway full of strangers. Most of them are weird. Some are crazy. Many are carrying illness and disease. These are not your friends.

Kids don’t understand this. To them, the subway is one big carpool, except they don’t even know what carpool is. They say adorable things that would sound crazy coming out of an adult’s mouth. And they stare with their moppet-sized eyes. As a human being with emotions, you can’t help but eavesdrop on their babblings and trade smiles. Which is cool and all, until you get the stink-eye from their parent.

Eye contact is dangerous. On the subway, pretend that you are a robot.

#3 There is a fine line between a little cough and becoming a subway leper.

As much as you don’t trust anyone on the subway, they don’t trust you. The slightest hint of illness — a little cough, a tiny sniffle — is proof of your probable status as Patient Zero. If that behaviour is continued, you will incur looks of disgust, the likes of which you have never known. Make sure to give as good as you get. Practice in the mirror.

#4 If the subway car smells, switch to a new one at the first possible opportunity.

#5 Someone invented earbuds/headphones because the music you are listening to is supposed to be just for you.

If anyone else can hear it, your music is too loud. If anyone else can discern the lyrics, it’s really too loud. Also, you’ve killed your eardrums, so enjoy your rapidly onsetting deafness.

#6 if you are reading or watching something on the subway, you shouldn’t act all pissy if someone is trying to figure out what it is.

A lady reading her People magazine did not appreciate me looking at it over her shoulder. And a man once offered me an earbud because I was trying to guess the movie he was watching (Meet Joe Black). I was not wounded by either encounter.

#7 You are not going to live happily ever after with the guy you made eyes at on the subway.

Unless you do.

It happens.

But probably not.

– – – – – – – – – –

On that same subway ride as the shame-staring little girl, a baby saw me drinking my smoothie and threw a major fit.

Mmm, that was a really good smoothie.

Almost 30: Orphaned?

I am almost 30 years old. This fact will become important later.

A few months ago when I was home, I went with my mom to Chapters (Canada’s version of Barnes & Noble). She went off to pick up a book at customer service. I began perusing the front table display of books, wandered to the next table, and then the one beside that. I read the back covers, found a few that looked like interesting reads. I perused and I wandered and I waited for my mom. And then it started to dawn on me: maybe I had been abandoned by my mother in Chapters.

I looked around, but couldn’t see her anywhere. I didn’t want to stray from the area where she had left me because what if she came back looking for me? And I am now tall enough to see over the book shelves, unlike the times as a child when I tried to find my parents in a sea of grown ups and came up to their knee caps.

I didn’t have any money. I didn’t have any identification. I resigned myself to the pitiable reality: this was my new life. I even said aloud to myself, “well, I guess this is my new life.” I was sad. I was scared. It was only 10am.

Suddenly I saw a flash of a dark black bob with bangs. My heart leapt with hope. Realized it was an Asian woman with the same haircut as my mother. I thought, close enough?

I sighed sadly.

And then, all of a sudden, my mother appeared. She wondered why I hadn’t gotten my Starbucks, the whole reason for my straying from her side, which I had forgotten in all of the abandonment. I held my mother’s hand as we perused the card section for a birthday card for my sister. I was glad I didn’t have to start a new life.

In case you forgot, I am almost 30 years old.

The Subway Goodbye

Anyone who lives in NYC or another city where public transportation is the primary form of travel will know what I’m talking about: the subway goodbye is the most awkward of all goodbyes.

There are pretty much two kinds of subway goodbyes: the friend goodbye and the date goodbye. And maybe this isn’t true for everyone, but for me, I’m the worst at both of them.

When riding the subway with friends, there’s that moment when you become aware of the impending parting of ways and you’re in conversation and you either continue that conversation or you sit by side in silence, and that would be weird, right? So you talk and talk and then suddenly it’s “um ok bye, see you soon” even though you haven’t scheduled anything upcoming so maybe it will be weeks and weeks…

It’s worse with a date.

With a date, you usually aren’t even riding the same subway home. Sometimes the awkward goodbye happens at the subway entrance. Do you kiss goodbye at the top of the stairs? Do you go through the turnstiles and then deal with the fact that you are going on different trains? And what if, in the best-case scenario, you are taking the same line but in different directions AND the uptown and downtown trains are on the same platform? You get a reprieve in being able to talk/flirt a little while longer. Until, of course, the train comes barreling into the station and you are torn apart!

Man, I am totally having stress flashbacks. Makes me yearn for the simplicity of being dropped off at your door and making out in the car. Or making out in the parking lot and driving away in your own car.

Public transportation doesn’t care about your love life, plain and simple.

It’s impossible to not cry while watching The Impossible

You know that kind of sob that starts in your chest, rattling around like a tiger trying to escape its cage, the sob escalating into an involuntary shudder because it has nowhere else to go? This sadness has more of a rich texture to it, starting somewhere deeper than a superficial tear. Starting in your heart. Something in the moment, in your resolve, breaks, and you start to crumble.

Imagine feeling that — or rather, recall feeling that — and picture that experience happening in a movie theatre. Surrounded by at least 30 other moviegoers. Imagine that every single other person in the theatre is going through the same experience. That was the experience I had going to see The Impossible in theaters.

I knew going in that I was going to cry. I have a panic reflex to tidal waves (the end of Deep Impact, anyone?). And maybe it’s funny because I share my name with a mermaid. But drowning is one of my biggest fears. I even find snorkeling stressful. We’re not meant to breathe underwater, ok, so it just seems like tempting fate. In any case, I knew that the reenactment of the tsunami would be hard to watch.

But truthfully, the tsunami is an oddly detached moment. Because of the nature of a tidal wave, to completely consume everything without exception, I found myself numb watching it unfold before my eyes.  What really got me, and what gets me every time, are the little moments of kindness, of emotional connection. I think about going through that situation and I’m not sure how I would react, if I would have what it takes to survive. The hardest part about watching The Impossible is that it’s about family.

I’m not sure how many people know the resolution of this true story going into the film; I did. But that didn’t diminish the experience for me. There were moments that, had I been alone, I would have been absolutely destroyed. As it were, I shuddered with sadness A LOT. And then I would settle down and continue watching until another moment came along and I lost it.

Needless to say, I wore waterproof mascara and it worked (recommended).

Lucky for you, you can watch it in the privacy of your own home, now that it’s out on DVD, etc. You can get as Lauren Conrad streaky mascara as you’d like.

Subway Leper (We’ve all been there)

We are taught by our parents not to talk to strangers, not to go anywhere with strangers, and most disappointing and taunting of all, not to take candy from strangers. Basically, we are indoctrinated at a young age to be disciples of xenophobia, to view those we don’t know as suspicious.

This is quite problematic when it comes to using public transportation. When you are called upon to ride at least twice a day with a subway filled with these suspect, disgusting and possibly dangerous others whose only link to you is the fact that they are also humans (allegedly).

But it is at its absolute worst during cold and flu season because these gross, dangerous weirdos are going to infect you with your germs and you are out of luck because, locked inside the car, you are a sitting duck. Or more likely a standing duck.

The slightest hint of illness is regarded as The Plague: a sniffle, clearing of the throat. Someone with Kleenex is no longer just a prepared individual. They are clearly sick. And it’s even worse when you’re the sick one because there’s nothing like being made to feel like a leper before 9am.

A woman sitting beside me gave up her seat to an older-looking woman, but I’m convinced it was in part to get away from me. Kind of rude to do that to an old lady though; their immune systems are much weaker.

The most important thing I learned is this: When blowing your nose, do not look around. Keep your head bowed and stare down at your feet. You don’t want to see the looks of disgust. They will wound.

I see, I laugh, I write

In many ways, I relate very much to characters who use voiceovers in television. JD from Scrubs, Veronica Mars from Veronica Mars, even Carrie from Sex And The City. I’m CONSTANTLY narrating my life and observations to myself, and often when I’m thinking, it’s structured in essay form. I love sharing my observations about movies and TV, which are my true passion, and also about really ridiculous things in the world. So this is me getting out of my own head… and getting into yours… MUAHAHAHA. But seriously, hopefully you think my writing is mildly funny/interesting/worth a read!