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Monica Bielanko
That's What She Said
Just A Junk Drawer Dream
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The Complexities Of Towel Diversification

"I think we're going about it all wrong."
"Why? How? Huh?"
"Well.. we need to put all the towels in one dryer. FULL dryer power on the towels."
"Whatchoo talkin' 'bout Willis?"
"The towels are still damp."
"So, I think we're going at this all wrong. We need to put all the towels in one dryer so they get FULL---"
"Yeah, I heard you. But towels take the longest to dry. You've got to diversify so that not too many are in one dryer vying for the heat."
"Did you just say vying?
"Yes, vying.. like fighting?"
"I know what it means, I've can't believe you'd toss out vying, all willy-nilly."
"Believe it. You married an intelligent woman."
"Uh-huh... About the towels. If you give them their own dryer instead of mixing them in with the shirts and pants they'd all dry quicker because--"
"Full dryer power?"
"This is what I'm saying!"
"You're wrong. You're fucking with your timing. Drying is like cooking.. You've gotta time it so everything is finished at the same time.. You go and do something crazy like throw a buncha towels in one dryer and you'll be spending the night in the laundromat watching your towels dry. Diversify the towels and the loads are dry at the same time. Can you dig it? And yes, I said diversify. That word to big for you?
"You're wrong. See, it's like two rivers..."
"Two what?"
"Rivers! I'm working out an analogy to explain--"
"I think you're swimming against the current with this river analogy."
"Ha ha. Intelligent AND clever."
"Seriously, at the laundromat, it's all about Towel Diversification."

Another Day At Bay

Sky the color of cement is spitting down at these here windows of the tiny internet cafe I'm typing you from. Yup. My computer is broken. Again. Which has been nice, actually. It's good to live life instead of typing about it. Typing forces introspection which, to be honest, this past month I've had more than I can take of self evaluation and such..

Lotsa travel coming up in the very near future. In fact, I won't be home for very many days in July. Heading to Mama Bielanko's in Amish country for 4th of July festivities..(just when I thought I kicked my pot brownie habit) Then it's straight to London for the nuptials of Nick Hornby.. The day after I arrive home from London I hop a bird bound for Utah. I'll spend about two weeks out west there in the Beehive state.

Man, I haven't been home in more than a year and a half. That's wild to contemplate. I am interested to see how I've changed, how Utah has changed and how I'll feel about it all. Will I interact appropriately with family members without my 2,000 mile buffer zone? Probably not. That's okay though. It really wouldn't feel like a proper Butler family hootenanny if the cops aren't called at some point. Somebody HAS to cry.. it just wouldn't feel right without the tears and jeers.

The Surge has finally finished the bulk of touring for his latest album. Holy fucker! He was on tour very nearly from January to July. Poor boy. But as I type he is back to working out in his beloved gym over there in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, U.S.A. However, the band is already writing songs for their new album in addition to working on the soundtrack for an upcoming movie. I love the writing-the-album-and-then-recording-it part much more than the touring. So it's a good time.

In other news... I've met a few of you over the past year.. but if ya'll are interested, The Surge's band Marah, along with The Shalitas and some other fine, fine folks will be playing a very special gig right here in Williamsburg, a few blocks from my apartment! There is a rumor Sicksadworld will be there along with Xmastime. If you're into it, come on out! Introduce yourselves and mingle with the gang.

Hey! Who's there? Are you out there? Are you still reading? Does anyone read this shit?

You Might Be White Trash If...

You used duct tape and cardboard to insulate the air conditioner in the very public front window of your apartment.

You wear spandex around your neighborhood when you haven't worked out in many months.

You have unexplained bruises all over your white legs, most likely acquired during drunken exploits you cannot remember.

You yelled at your husband so loudly you worried the neighbors might call police.

You decided against buying a New York Post because you didn't want to "break a dollar".

Ten minutes later you withdrew 20 dollars from the unemployment check you just deposited to buy Star, Us Weekly and In Touch.

You considered buying the Enquirer too.

Decided not to go for a jog because you didn't want to miss your 'stories' on television.

You swept enough dog hair off your apartment to keep J-Lo in fur coats for the next decade.

You found yourself involved in an episode of Judge Judy and was disappointed with her ruling.

You watched The Maury Povitch Show on Who's My Baby's Daddy after that.

You scissored open a tube of toothpaste then scraped your toothbrush inside to get that last bit of toothpaste.

You bought new toiletpaper only after running out of paper towels.

You were upset you missed the Britney Spears interview.

You were doubly pissed when you missed the interview rerun the next day because you were watching a Nick at Nite Roseanne marathon.

You wore a stained wifebeater without a bra for three days in a row with no sense of hipster irony.

You ate a package of Ramen Noodles and thought "this is pretty good".

You sliced carrots into the Ramen Noodles and felt fancy. Almost gourmet.

You didn't wash your hair for a week because it seemed like "too much trouble".

You considered bleaching your hair platinum with a box of Loreal from Duane Reeds

You had to pee and decided the dark parking lot was as good a place as any.

You yelled at your dog to "stop all that goddamn barking or I'll give you something to bark about!"

You got excited when the unemployment check came in the mail.

You knew all the words to Poison's UNSKINNY BOP. And sang along. Nodding your head to the beat. In front of people.

You asked your husband whether he thinks Britney should stay with K-Fed then argued about it for the next ten minutes.

You used a black magic marker to color in a scuff mark on your shoe.

You puked Slurpee in a gas station bathroom because you were sick with a hangover.

You broke your flip-flop then spent ten minutes super gluing it together.

You liked the smell of the super glue and sniffed it. A lot.

I have done or said each of these things within the past week. My name is Monica Bielanko. I am white trash.

On Smoking

Most smokers wish they didn't smoke. I am a non-smoker and I wish I did. It's a dirty habit, of course.. We've all seen the super hip ads starring irascible teens intent on sticking it to tobacco companies. Smoking blackens lungs, causes cancer, makes folks stink.. But most importantly it's oh-so-handy during a night at a bar.

I notice that brother-in-law Dave can inhale great quantities of cigarettes, all the while staring into space. While this smoking festival is underway he appears to be occupied with solving the riddles of the universe and, of course, he always looks super cool. C'mon. Smoking just plain looks cool. If you didn't know what it's doing to their insides it looks sexy.. anything involving lips, sucking and blowing is pretty hot, right? Blame it on James Dean or Katharine Hepburn and all the rest of those sexy smoke sucker stars from back in the day. Point is, Dave looks busy AND COOL.

Me, I try to stare into space whilst wiling away a night at the bar and a strange man will skooch over and say 'you look like you've got a lot on your mind' and attempt to buy me a drink. It's not the buying me a drink part I mind so much as the fact that now I have to make small talk with a strange man.

THEORY: If I had a cigarette clamped between my fingers one would never mistake my staring into space for me 'needing to talk' or being moody. I'd just be enjoying my cigarette, see? Similarly, if I happened to find myself being chatted up by an Undesirable (read: Close Talkers, Low Talkers, Strange Men, Never Shut Uppers etc..) I'd simply excuse myself for a smoke outside.

Smoking lends you the excuse to step away from a boring conversation, light up and ponder the night air. Under the generous guise of not wanting to blow smoke in the faces of others.. you can pull out that Virginia Slim and step away in an attempt to light up and voila! You've extricated yourself from a snoozer of a conversation.. Without that cigarette I'm just the creepy girl standing by herself outside the bar.

In short.. I wish I smoked... but seeing how it kills you.. I guess I'll stick to feeling awkward at bars when everyone heads outside for a smoke break in winter's deep freeze and I sit there twiddling my thumbs, trying to avoid catching the eye of the serial killer eyeballing me from two stools down.

MTV Killed The Radio Star

They say video killed the radio star, but MTV, I am holding you personally responsible for the deplorable state of the music industry. I loved you. When no one else would, you let Madonna writhe around on stage in a wedding dress, clutching her crotch, painted on mole an exclamation point to her antics. I watched her pant LIKE A VIRGIN into the microphone she gripped with fingerless lace gloves and I was enthralled. You showed me what that woman-child Cindy Lauper looked like, porcelain skin, fiery rainbow hair and all. You brought me the always colorful Boy George and his deliciously bouncy songs. Because of you, I tried to perform gymnastics on the hood of a car like Tawny Kitaen. Unfortunately my acrobatics ended not in a make-out with the wailing lion-haired David Coverdale but a scraped knee and a dented hood. I did the snake dance along with Axl Rose to SWEET CHILD O MINE and WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE. I cried when CINDERELLA sang DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU GOT. I even swooned (this is worse than admitting I puked in the cupholders of my car) when the fellas from EXTREME crooned MORE THAN WORDS. You know the video, just a coupla sensitive ponytailed guys hangin' out in their studio whippin' up the obligatory rock ballad guaranteed to shoot straight to the top.

Point is, MTV, you brought the world of music into my living room in a way that radio never could. And I loved you like a toddler loves cotton candy. I loved Adam Curry and his perfectly highlighted and curled hair, I had a crush on Pauly Shore, was willing to overlook Downtown Julie Brown. I suffered through the SPRING BREAK reruns you aired nearly through Christmas. I watched Singled Out, the puerile game show that unfortunately gave birth to Jenny McCarthy's television career and still, like a fat lady to cake, I was drawn to you.

You helped blow the lid off the rap scene developing in The Bronx by inviting the greats (Grandmaster Flash and the Furious 5, Kurtis Blow, Sugar Hill Gang, Funky 4 Plus One More, Run DMC and the Beastie Boys) onto the network, going so far as to feature them on a show created specifically for rap music.

YO MTV RAPS! played a major role in bringing the sounds, the fashion, the slang, the politics and the controversy to the suburbs of America. Would the Beastie Boys have been able to take over the world without the (You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party) video?

Now rap music has done gone and lost it's mind.. Fo' shizzle. Video budgets in the millions, glorifying gangsta life, bling, 'grills' and crime. Videos featuring women as party accessories, no better tha the Kristal they're dumping down their rock hard breasts as they shake it like a polaroid picture.

Still, I'm okay with that aspect. Some gal wanna shake her booty for the masses, that's her bizness, yo. So despite the bloated lifestyle revered in rap, it is after all, still music.. That's the key though... MUSIC. The M, does stand for MUSIC. Doesn't it? Or is it M for money?

Recently, I turned to you.. just to check in, you know.. see what The Kids are up to, make sure I can still be considered reasonably cool. I waited patiently through your ten minute commercial break and was rewarded not with a music video but The Hills. The Hills, your new "reality" show based on a bunch of snotty teens with silver spoons firmly entrenched up their asses. Speaking of silver spoons, one episode of The Hills had me pining for the good ol' days when that adorable Ricky Schroeder epitomized a rich kid. He may have had a train in his living room, but he didn't come close to the train wreck that is MTV.

So, just when I thought I might have to shoot my television Elvis-style if I watched another episode of the abomination that is My Super Sweet Sixteen , Money Television brings me The Hills. This small screen horror features teens grappling with highly scripted situations. The abject humiliation of Daddy buying one of the teens, like omigod, a Mustang instead of a Mercedes, like gross! Or the tragedy of being offered a full-time job when the tanned, fake-breasted, bleached blonde little gal just wants to live off Daddy's dime and like, party. And stuff.

After The Hills I was lucky enough to catch Cheyenne... another "reality" show based on yet ANOTHER (yawn) generic, blonde pop star. As if Jessica and Ashlee aren't enough. After Cheyenne you aired The Hills: Behind The Scenes and I was privileged to catch those same wealthy teens giving me a tour of the enormous condo they call home. Like, this is my closet and these are my shoes.. I have, like, two hundred, I think. And here is the hot tub and, like, this is my bathroom which I think is, like, totally cool because it has three sinks and a plasma T.V. and a sauna which is, like, TOTALLY awesome for unwinding after a stressful day of pretending for the cameras!!

When I returned from rinsing out the sick I accidentally threw up in my mouth, MTV you aired five hours of The Real World. FIVE HOURS! The 'Real' World has morphed from a somewhat interesting concept that was, let's admit it, never reality, (a giant rent-free apartment in the coolest cities in the world) into a platform for obscenely good looking young adults to drink, fuck, ultimately try for acting careers and eventually end up on The Surreal Life before checking into rehab, getting knocked up and moving back to their small town in Nebraska.

I went to bed disappointed but not broken. I got up early (well, 10am) in hopes of catching some legitimate music videos. Guess what? You're airing Ashlee Simpson (who, surprise, surprise, has her own "reality" show on your network) and a bunch of bands who all sound the same and are probably managed by a subsidiary of Viacom. Or Ashlee's dad. I powered through the Simpson disaster only to be rewarded with a Fall Out Boy video. This is the band whose guitarist just happened to co-host The MTV Movie Awards from the red carpet. I know this because I've been able to catch most of the show in bits and pieces as you've aired it roughly 800 times this week alone. I get it, Jessica Alba is the new 'It Girl' because you say so. She's probably got a reality television show in the works and is hammering out the final bit of her recording contract with Joe Simpson.

MTV, America's children are marionettes and you are lurking in the satellites above pulling their strings or more accurately, yanking their chain. The marionettes have become so tangled in your strings they will never know the joys of discovering the hundreds of genius musicians that span the decades. That is of course, unless Ashlee covers a Replacements tune or Puffy samples Marah.

The moral of this tale... MTV, I think we should see other people. You've changed. You aren't who you used to be and just watching you for ten minutes makes me feel like more of a tool than your silly 'VJays'. The celebrity ass-licking, telling me what's hot and what's not, shoving everything BUT good music down my throat... I don't need you, I've got In Touch and US Weekly and Star and People and Entertainment Tonight and The Insider and The NY Post and and and for that. I just wanted some good music. If you get your act together, maybe, just maybe we can start dating again.. But we'll have to take it slow. I just don't trust you anymore.