Love and Platinum.

july 27th, 2015

Experiment: refer to myself in lowercase when acting in my creative avatar (the extra-legal me). Pls to indulge, thx in advance.

Vlad and i made our wedding rings last Saturday with Mr Xie on Wabash. Two simple platinum bands which will stay shiny our entire lives, Mr Xie said. He helped us with cutting, flattening, bending, soldering, filing, smoothing, shaping, and polishing. Vlad made mine, i made his. It took from 10am until 3:30pm, with a break for lunch. Highly recommended if crafts and artisanship are your things!

Mr Xie said the platinum came from South Africa, most likely. i refrained from asking about sustainable mining and ethical treatment of workers. Only occurred to me then to align jewelry with values.

Vlad and erica | artisan workers The bar of platinum Vlad flatinums platinum

They came out lovely! So shiny! We've been wearing them right away. “We're already married,” said Vlad. “The rest is a formality.”

And this: the Numa Numa song! Recorded yesterday morning in the kitchen. i was practicing it for the wedding, and it sounded hot as hell so i decided to record one fresh take, right then. Check the specs on that platinum ring :)  Excellent proof of concept on this recording setup: Snowball mic running to GarageBand on laptop, iPhone recording video, audio synched up in post-production with Premiere.

You may be familiar with the Romanian superhit Dragostea Din Tei aka Numa Numa, made famous by Gary Brolsma's video. Gary was one of the first people who became famous on the Internet and then semi-famous in real life. One of the first viral video stars to be interviewed on television.

To my American ear, the Numa Numa song is delightful confectionary Europop. In April 2012 i recorded backing tracks and sang the entirety of the Numa Numa song for a mostly acoustic folk music show at the Heartland Cafe. i learned and sang it in Romanian, to the best of my ability. i assumed most people had heard of Numa Numa? Most people had NOT. But we white knuckled our way through it as i made everyone sing along.

i knew the lyrical content was a cheesy love song, something like that.

So then seven months later: i met Vlad. And as i quickly fell for him i wanted very badly to express my cheesy love. And realized, wait! i know a lot of Romanian! Verses and verses! Vlad, come close as i sing you now the song of your people!

And then with real passion, i spoke-sang the Numa Numa song to him. Hello. Salut. Sunt eu, un haiduc.

Vlad was charmed by most things that i did, but NOT by my recital. “I hate that song,” he said.

He's since tried to explain that to the young Romanian ear, that song is like a Nickelback song, assuming you find Nickelback crass and trashy and uninspired. So imagine for a second that only 25 million people in the world speak English, and you go to live in Romania and Romanian is one of the dominant world languages. And you fall in love with a Romanian who says, “wait! I know verses and verses of American English! Let me now sing you the song of your people!” And then your Romanian leans in and speak-sings, This is how you remind me, of what I really am.

That's not a great example, because that's still totally charming to me! But maybe only because it's hard to fully imagine what it means to grow up in a non-dominant media culture? Like if when non‑Americans found out i do comedy they inevitably responded, “oh, like Carrot Top?” and argh, no! For so many reasons, no, not like Carrot Top, why is Carrot Top the only thing non‑Americans know about the comedy of my people??

Or Vlad and i are just different :)

Anyway, Vlad has since grown to love Numa Numa! Because i sing it once or twice a week [day]. And at our wedding next month, i'll be singing it over acoustic guitar by the fire, probably as a duet with his father.

Squad Goals.

july 19th, 2015

So the proper name of the show is Jeopardy! with the exclamation point but for the purposes of this post I'm going to un'italicize and depunctuate. This is to “increase readability” because writing about the show the proper way looks insane.

I made it to round two of Jeopardy auditions. What does this mean? It means I did well enough on the online test in January to get an in-person interview in Chicago + mock game + 50-question test. Then if I pass that, I'm in the pool to maybe get called to Los Angeles. Then if I'm in Los Angeles, I'm maybe going to be in the show. But, like, if someone has an incredible winning streak and there's less turnover than usual, I might get sent home instead.

Some stakes: regardless of how I do, I am not eligible to take another online test for 18 months. Which means I can't take the January 2016 test or the January 2017 test. What's up 2018. More stakes: if I'm on the show, I'm probably ineligible to be on it again for the rest of my life, barring a winning streak and eligibility for the Tournament of Champions. Probably not even if I become a popular media personality and a candidate for Celebrity Jeopardy. #squadgoals

Fact: everyone on Jeopardy is smart.

Fact: most people on Jeopardy lose at Jeopardy. Ultimately the great and powerful Ken Jennings is a Jeopardy loser.

Anyway so originally I was like, “gotta win! Can't be on the show unless I'm gonna win!!” And that attitude was fine and fun for years, before I got the email about this audition. But as I'm studying and working through old games, yeah no: barring some Slumdog Millionaire serendipity, there's no chance of being “prepared” for this the way I was prepared for tests in high school.

My new strategy in preparation: practice hand-eye-ear-mind coördination and discipline (buzzer). Become rock solid and undefeatable in the areas where I'm strong (Star Wars, Star Trek, US History, US Constitution, US Supreme Court, anagrams, wordplay). Learn more about the areas I'm interested in (Shakespeare, world history, anatomy, biology, chemistry, literature, popular music, the Bible (the Bible as a form of popular music)). Generate interest and some content knowledge in my weakest areas (sports).

I'm going to wear a white suit to the audition and my hair will be freshly purple. A week ago I was thinking I'd just dye it natural brown and avoid controversy. Fuck that!! I'll be clear that if a natural hair color is the deal‑maker, I'll gladly make that deal. But when I come in, I'm coming in as me. A practiced and prepared me with the 27 amendments on lock, who can draw a passable map of the United States from memory. But the unbroken purple me.

And then two weeks after the audition, I will marry Vlad Seghete. Nothing Jeopardy can offer me is better than that :)

One Thousand.

july 9th, 2015

Today I am one thousand days sober. Yas queen!

In the beginning when people would offer me a drink I'd make sure they knew I was Sssober.

“Holy shitTT!! Wat???” they'd say.

Just kidding. I only wished they'd say that. Like a disruptive reaction, whether appalled or amazed. I had my response worked out, too: “it's cool; I'm really into soda now.” One time I got to say it, to Old Man Dan from improv class. He didn't think it was funny, which I thought was very funny.

The other thing I always wished people would say is, “WHOO HOO YAS QUEEN!!” over applause. Koelling, Cohen, and Bulnes from improv class did that.*
* If you're reading, lovers: that was one of the great moments of my life!

Now I say, “I quit drinking,” which fits right nice. “quitting” has a maybe-merely-aspirational tang. Like a New Year's Resolution. We all understand quitting. We've all quit things. We've all felt our resolve crumble. Just part of the Human Cycle. So for people who maybe feel on the hook by someone else's sobriety, “quit” lets them off the hook. And thus I avoid some of the more stressful reactions.

erica with Hank | Vlad

speaking of the opposite of quitting
So excited to get married to Vlad next month :)  Looking forward to some fancy ginger ale toasts. Vows in two languages.

Being Bridezilla™ means making creative decisions all day and being the star, like Björk. Just kidding, it's like being an administrator balancing a small group of competing interests, like a town clerk. Except for when I put on my wedding dress and flounce around when Vlad's not home. Then it feels like Björk again. I'm keeping the wedding dress secret from Vlad. Stagecraft. He knows the woman he's marrying.

Last night my cab driver had an Eastern European accent. I asked where he was from, and he hesitated before answering, “Transylvania.”

Îmi pare rău, nu vorbesc romanesti, I said. The driver LAUGHED! “But yes you do! You do speak Romanian!” Then I proceeded to kill harder than I've ever comedically killed repeating my handful of Romanian words and phrases (some of these may be misspelled—right now Vlad sleeps and I shan't wake him to check):

O zi bună lă lucru?
Did you have a good day at work?

Mă duc să mă culc
I'm going to bed

Lă cur băsini lă pocnesc
The butt makes a fart and goes pop

Te rog: zim un banc cu Bulă
Please: tell me a joke [about] Bulă **
** Bulă is a national character in Romania, sortof like Uncle Sam except goofy and always getting into trouble. Stupid in a surface way like the schlemiel but always getting one over on the secret police, so actually very clever? depending on how you want to read him. A reference that's suuuper ‘Inside [Romanian] Baseball.’

Ion confirmed that my Romanian is unusually accented, but totally comprehensible. O such proud!

May 2015 August 2015