Best of C+S 2014: Things I’m Willing To Believe About Ben Affleck

2014 was a big year for Ben Affleck. He got to strap on the Batfleck Batman suit, he showed his peen on the big screen in Gone Girl, and he got his wifey pregnant. Or maybe not so much the last one. But the other two are true. Ben’s constantly in the tabloids, so what can we believe about him without dismissing it as another absurd rumour?


Well, friends, we’ve cycled back into that biennial rumor that Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner are having another baby. Frankly, I just don’t know why this is a concern. Is it because people are worried about overpopulation? Because it’s not like the world is overpopulated with charming, well-dressed children who are genetically suited to star in romantic comedies and movies where they avenge the deaths of their blue-collar family members. If there even is a quota on that, we haven’t hit it.

The worst thing about these rumors is they usually say that Affleck is a massive jerk, and Garner is having another kid to “hold onto him.” I have a very specific, mostly baseless mental concept of Ben Affleck, and that just doesn’t fit with it. My Mental Ben Affleck could best be described as a “classy Masshole.” He has a heart of gold, or maybe the outside is gold and the inside is some kind of craft beer.

There are some fictional facts I’m willing to believe about Ben Affleck, but they’re more like this:

  • Ben Affleck’s first swear as a child was “Jesus, Mary and Joseph!”

 

  • Ben Affleck’s first job was giving tours of Old North Church.

    Old ladies loved how into the “one if by land, two if by sea” bit he got.

 

  • All of Ben Affleck’s high school girl friends had names that ended in “een”: Maureen, Colleen, Eileen, etc.

 

  •  The city of Boston has issued Ben Affleck a platinum Charlie Card.

On the regular CharlieCard, Ben Affleck is also the artist’s model for the guy in the ball cap blocking the door.

 

  • Ben Affleck lost his virginity at Fenway (it was closed), at whichever age you, personally, consider neither too young nor too old.

 

  • Every year, Ben Affleck makes a “Good Will Hunting” pun at his annual hunting weekend with the boys. Nobody thinks it’s funny, ever.

 

  • But make no mistake, Ben Affleck is freakin’ cherished by those guys.

 

  • When there’s a mosquito or a fly around his head, Ben Affleck is the only living human person who actually tells it to “buzz off.”

 

  • Whenever you see Ben Affleck carrying a Starbucks cup, don’t be fooled: it’s actually Dunkin’ Donuts inside.

 

  • In Ben Affleck’s wardrobe, Friday is Polo Day.

 

  • Ben Affleck was a very early member of New Kids On The Block. He named the band.

    They were initially called “Kids On The Block” but Ben Affleck said they needed something that “sounds newer.”

 

  • Ben Affleck’s one true regret in life is never joining a frat.

 

  • Ben Affleck had to work with a dialect coach for Good Will Hunting. He kept getting psyched out and using his “acting voice.”

 

  •  Ben Affleck has quite the collection of Hummel figurines. He inherited the first ten or so from his meemaw, but kept buying them because “fuck it, I think they’re cute.”

“If you don’t think this is fuckin’ adorable, you’re probably an asshole.” – Ben Affleck

 

  • What you may know (via IMDB) is that when he was a kid, Ben Affleck’s mother told him that in order to get a dog, he’d have to pretend to walk a fake dog for a week. He quit after five days and never got the dog. I like this because it has the air of an origin myth, like George Washington and the cherry tree, only possibly even more fake-sounding. What you may not know is that Ben Affleck’s imaginary dog lived to the ripe age of 17, and Ben continued taking it out for walks and to the dog park well into his early 20s.

 

  • Inspired by Ben’s mom, Matt Damon told Ben that he’d only collaborate on Good Will Hunting if Ben would show his commitment by writing a pretend screenplay for a week. By the end of the week Ben had written the first ten pages of Good Will Hunting, a children’s story heavily influenced by Make Way For Ducklings, and a limerick calling Matt a “doosh bag” (spelled exactly that way). The rest is history.

 

  • When Ben Affleck takes his wife for ultrasounds, he always looks up at the bulletin board and comments that the doctor “has a lot of babies.” Nobody’s sure whether he’s joking or not.

    Now’s a good time to mention that Ben Affleck loves babies and babies love Ben Affleck.

 

  • In the mid-90s, Ben Affleck told Movieline magazine that his favorite TV show was “Singled Out.”

 

  • Whenever Ben sees a lady with a French manicure, he tells her that she “looks real nice.” He appreciates when you make an effort, you know?

 

  • Ben Affleck was at the receiving end of this – with a super soaker:

 

  • Ben Affleck has seen every episode of Dawson’s Creek, but hates “that doosh [sic] with the big forehead.”

 

  •  Ben Affleck was in the original cast of Goonies, but his scenes were reshot with Sean Astin when it became clear that Ben’s baseball team had a real chance of making it to the Little League World Series.

    They’re cool now, though.

 

  • Ben Affleck’s son, Samuel, is named after Samuel Adams. The patriot and the beer.

 

  • Ben Affleck hates Chicago. Says it “gives him the creeps.”

    Gives Ben Affleck the willies.

 

  • Ben Affleck’s confirmation name is Matt. Matt Damon’s confirmation name is Ben. (Imaginary Ben Affleck is Catholic, although Real Ben Affleck is, evidently, not).

 

  • When they’re making fun of Gwyneth Paltrow, the Garner-Afflecks use an affected British accent. Violet’s is particularly good.

 

  • Ben Affleck is constantly scheming to become best bros with Bradley Cooper.

    Can you blame the man?

 

  • Ben Affleck has a tattoo that incorporates the logos of all of the Boston teams – and you’ll never guess where it is!

 

  • Did you guess his butt? It’s there.

 

Orientation Express: Revisiting College Move-In Day 10 Years Later

By now, most kids are back in the school routine and still in the honeymoon period of getting to see friends, being in a higher grade, and brand new school supplies (just me?). With this new school year starting, I’ve been reminded that it’s been a whole DECADE since I began a whole new experience in college. Yiiikes.

Earlier this year, we spent a whole week reminiscing about our high school experience, but anyone who’s been to college knows that it’s a whole different beast than anything you’ve ever encountered in your previous 18 years of living. Whether you stay in your hometown, move to a different region of your state, or go across country, every freshman still gets that ‘Holy crap what am I getting myself into can I even handle this level of responsibility’ feeling on the first day they move into college.

For me, it was a unique experience to say the least. My parents and I loaded up our rental van and drove from Rochester to Boston with all my crap in the back. Here’s a thing to know about the college I went to: it’s right in the middle of the city. Like the “campus” is blocks of downtown Boston. This was the view from the building I lived in my freshman and sophomore years.

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With that in mind, moving about 900 students in on a busy Boston street is no easy feat. A lane of traffic has to be used specifically for freshman, and it has to be done very promptly and efficiently to keep the flow of traffic moving. I remember we pulled up to the building that was soon to be my home for the next 2 years, and looked out the car window to see (and hear) a bunch of screaming, enthusiastic college kids wearing the same shirt and for some reason, were really excited to see my car pull up. After a few admin tasks were completed, I vividly remember the very first moment I stepped out of the car and the important girl with the headset said, “Everyone welcome Traci to Emerson!” and a group of about 15 crazy people said “WELCOME TRACI” and cheered and yelled and started stealing my stuff. No, really. Well okay, they were taking everything out of our car, placing it in carts, and hauling it up to my dorm room so I would barely have to touch a thing (I didn’t lift a single item. It was the greatest).

Me, when first getting to my dorm on move-in day

The kids in the shirts, I would later find out were “OLs”, short for Orientation Leaders, made up of Sophomore, Junior and Senior volunteers who have a lot of Dunkin Donuts coffee and glitter running through their veins. In more recent years, the OLs have taken to dressing up in colorful outfits to, I don’t know, make the freshman feel more welcome? There’s really no way to accurately describe the shock when it comes to the very first moments of move-in day, so here’s a video instead. Also take note of the dad at 1:18.

The rest of orientation week was filled with icebreaker games (THE ABSOLUTE WORST) at this event called Hooray!, a guy nicknamed the “Dating Doctor” who talked about dating and sex, and as a girl coming from a Catholic education for all the previous years of my life, this was quite a change. There was a boat cruise, an epic dance where all the OLs dressed up in various costumes and busted moves along to popular songs of 2004 (similar to this, but imagine it being 10 years ago), and this 1980s safety video for everyone that had never lived in a city before. Honestly, they showed this, and in my opinion, it’s the greatest tradition our college has. A Bahston cop, dramatic reenactments, horrible acting, I mean, really.

“ATMs: probably the greatest invention ever to exist.”

In the end, Orientation week was a good way to transition into college life and not feel so scared about the daunting task of “being in college”. So for you freshman out there who still feel scared or uneasy about your new life, just know that the next four (or five or eight+, depending on the interest in furthering your education or level of long-term commitment)  years of your life will be some of the greatest you’ll ever have. You’ll make lifelong friends, you’ll learn things about yourself, about others, about LIFE. Just enjoy yourself. If those crazy OLs can let go of their inhibitions and wear tutus and banana costumes on the streets of Boston, you can make it through your freshman year.

PS: Please tell me our school wasn’t the only one with eccentric move-in/orientation events! Did any of you guys have a similar or horrible experience?

 

Stop Complaining About The Ice Bucket Challenge

By now, I’m assuming most of you have either done the ALS Association’s viral Ice Bucket Challenge or seen video of it flooding your social media. Pun intended. In case you need a refresher, a person who is nominated to take the Ice Bucket Challenge must post a video on social media of themselves pouring a bucket of ice water over their person (in regular pedestrian clothes). They must mention why they are doing this ridiculous activity (to raise awareness and funds for the ALS Association) and nominate more people to take on the challenge. Also they must donate $10 to the ALSA. If one decides to not take on the challenge, they must donate $100 to the ALSA. Either option must be done within 24 hours.

Okay, so let’s back up a bit. This all started when the friends and family of former Boston College baseball player Peter Frates launched an ice bucket challenge campaign towards the end of July. Peter was diagnosed with ALS in 2012, and everyone involved was doing it in hopes to raise money for the ALSA. Since the task involves nominating other people within a small time frame, the challenge quickly spread around the city of Boston. I personally saw it keep popping up on my news feed and then sure enough it spread across the country, reaching my friends here in LA and it seems over the past week, it’s gotten to people in high places. From police to firefighters to entire sports teams to celebs like Justin Timberlake, Jimmy Fallon, Tyler Perry (one of my fave videos), Oprah (she has yet to respond to Tyler’s challenge), Mark Zuckerberg, and even Ethel freaking Kennedy, who challenged President Obama – who declined respectfully and donated to the cause.

JT being a delight

As the challenge went viral, I noticed that the message of raising funds and awareness for ALS was getting buried by the actual act of dousing yourself in ice water. Yes, the whole point is to get attention by shocking your body to the core, but why even do it if it’s not going to a good cause? That’s dumb. This whole campaign’s point is to raise money. Yesterday I even saw a video of someone in Japan (one of my FB friends was tagged in it) pouring a bucket of ice water over himself and didn’t even say one word. He did, however write a caption to go along with the video which said, “I just wanted to join you!I do not know the reason why we do this. But, I understand that we only have 24 hours left to do this. Please accept my apology if the way I am covered with cold water is inappropriate.” The Ice Bucket Challenge has reached all the way to Asia but he doesn’t even know WHY Americans are doing it? Not only does it make us look stupid and well, ‘Americans’, but it proves all the naysayers right in that people are doing the Ice Bucket Challenge to entertain and for shock value, not for its real cause. Those naysayers include people like this writer for Slate, who proposes people start the “No Ice Bucket Challenge”, in which people skip the ice bucket thing all together and just donate to the ALSA.

I know I’m starting to sound like I’m against this whole thing, but hear me out: here’s the problem with this guy’s No Ice Bucket Challenge pitch – this is already a thing. Anyone, anywhere, can donate money any time to the ALSA. And since it’s an ongoing thing where they seek funds, the organisation (or its supporters) have to constantly come up with creative ways to get people to donate to their cause. It’s why advertising is a thing. For instance, you know a company like Coca-Cola exists, but they have to always have to keep re-inventing ways to entice customers to purchase their product over Pepsi, and in general, just stay in their brains. ALS isn’t necessarily a well known disease and this one simple campaign has already attracted the attention of thousands of people from around the world. So the next time someone hears about ALS (or Lou Gherig’s Disease), they might remember, ‘oh yeah, that had to do with the whole Ice Bucket Challenge thing’, maybe I’ll donate to them that year.

Not only that, but since July 29th, when this whole Challenge really took off, to today (August 15th) the ALSA has raised $9.5 million, and that amount is only going to get bigger as the days go on (like I said, Oprah has yet to respond). For comparison, this same time last year – the ALSA only raised $1.6 million. That statistic alone should prove to the “No Ice Bucket Challenge” people that all of this wasted ice and water was worth it. Stop complaining and look at the facts. Or better yet grab a bucket and put your money where your ice is.

Things I’m Willing To Believe About Ben Affleck

Well, friends, we’ve cycled back into that biennial rumor that Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner are having another baby. Frankly, I just don’t know why this is a concern. Is it because people are worried about overpopulation? Because it’s not like the world is overpopulated with charming, well-dressed children who are genetically suited to star in romantic comedies and movies where they avenge the deaths of their blue-collar family members. If there even is a quota on that, we haven’t hit it.

The worst thing about these rumors is they usually say that Affleck is a massive jerk, and Garner is having another kid to “hold onto him.” I have a very specific, mostly baseless mental concept of Ben Affleck, and that just doesn’t fit with it. My Mental Ben Affleck could best be described as a “classy Masshole.” He has a heart of gold, or maybe the outside is gold and the inside is some kind of craft beer.

There are some fictional facts I’m willing to believe about Ben Affleck, but they’re more like this:

  • Ben Affleck’s first swear as a child was “Jesus, Mary and Joseph!”
  • Ben Affleck’s first job was giving tours of Old North Church.

    Old ladies loved how into the “one if by land, two if by sea” bit he got.

  • All of Ben Affleck’s high school girl friends had names that ended in “een”: Maureen, Colleen, Eileen, etc.
  •  The city of Boston has issued Ben Affleck a platinum Charlie Card.

On the regular CharlieCard, Ben Affleck is also the artist’s model for the guy in the ball cap blocking the door.

  • Ben Affleck lost his virginity at Fenway (it was closed), at whichever age you, personally, consider neither too young nor too old.
  • Every year, Ben Affleck makes a “Good Will Hunting” pun at his annual hunting weekend with the boys. Nobody thinks it’s funny, ever.
  • But make no mistake, Ben Affleck is freakin’ cherished by those guys.
  • When there’s a mosquito or a fly around his head, Ben Affleck is the only living human person who actually tells it to “buzz off.”
  • Whenever you see Ben Affleck carrying a Starbucks cup, don’t be fooled: it’s actually Dunkin’ Donuts inside.
  • In Ben Affleck’s wardrobe, Friday is Polo Day.
  • Ben Affleck was a very early member of New Kids On The Block. He named the band.

    They were initially called “Kids On The Block” but Ben Affleck said they needed something that “sounds newer.”

  • Ben Affleck’s one true regret in life is never joining a frat.
  • Ben Affleck had to work with a dialect coach for Good Will Hunting. He kept getting psyched out and using his “acting voice.”
  •  Ben Affleck has quite the collection of Hummel figurines. He inherited the first ten or so from his meemaw, but kept buying them because “fuck it, I think they’re cute.”

“If you don’t think this is fuckin’ adorable, you’re probably an asshole.” – Ben Affleck

  • What you may know (via IMDB) is that when he was a kid, Ben Affleck’s mother told him that in order to get a dog, he’d have to pretend to walk a fake dog for a week. He quit after five days and never got the dog. I like this because it has the air of an origin myth, like George Washington and the cherry tree, only possibly even more fake-sounding. What you may not know is that Ben Affleck’s imaginary dog lived to the ripe age of 17, and Ben continued taking it out for walks and to the dog park well into his early 20s.
  • Inspired by Ben’s mom, Matt Damon told Ben that he’d only collaborate on Good Will Hunting if Ben would show his commitment by writing a pretend screenplay for a week. By the end of the week Ben had written the first ten pages of Good Will Hunting, a children’s story heavily influenced by Make Way For Ducklings, and a limerick calling Matt a “doosh bag” (spelled exactly that way). The rest is history.
  • When Ben Affleck takes his wife for ultrasounds, he always looks up at the bulletin board and comments that the doctor “has a lot of babies.” Nobody’s sure whether he’s joking or not.

    Now’s a good time to mention that Ben Affleck loves babies and babies love Ben Affleck.

  • In the mid-90s, Ben Affleck told Movieline magazine that his favorite TV show was “Singled Out.”
  • Whenever Ben sees a lady with a French manicure, he tells her that she “looks real nice.” He appreciates when you make an effort, you know?
  • Ben Affleck was at the receiving end of this – with a super soaker:
  • Ben Affleck has seen every episode of Dawson’s Creek, but hates “that doosh [sic] with the big forehead.”
  •  Ben Affleck was in the original cast of Goonies, but his scenes were reshot with Sean Astin when it became clear that Ben’s baseball team had a real chance of making it to the Little League World Series.

They’re cool now, though.

  • Ben Affleck’s son, Samuel, is named after Samuel Adams. The patriot and the beer.
  • Ben Affleck hates Chicago. Says it “gives him the creeps.”

    Gives Ben Affleck the willies.

  • Ben Affleck’s confirmation name is Matt. Matt Damon’s confirmation name is Ben. (Imaginary Ben Affleck is Catholic, although Real Ben Affleck is, evidently, not).
  • When they’re making fun of Gwyneth Paltrow, the Garner-Afflecks use an affected British accent. Violet’s is particularly good.
  • Ben Affleck is constantly scheming to become best bros with Bradley Cooper.

    Can you blame the man?

  • Ben Affleck has a tattoo that incorporates the logos of all of the Boston teams – and you’ll never guess where it is!
  • Did you guess his butt? It’s there.

The Dawson’s Creek Virgin Diaries: Season 5

And we’re back in Capeside again! Well, technically not Capeside… you’ll see. For anyone that’s new to this series, I’ve been documenting my journey to good old Dawson’s Creek (which, BTW is so inaptly named, I’ll get to that in a second) for the past few months, recapping my thoughts as I watch it for the very first time as an adult (view Season 1, 2, 3, and 4 here!)

We ended with the gang graduating from high school, which for most teen dramas means an inevitable jumping of the metaphorical shark. Dawson’s going off to film school 3,000 miles away from home at USC, Joey (who has broken up with Pacey wahhh) is going to her dream college in Boston at an imaginary place called Worthington, BFFs/OTP Jack and Jen are also off to Boston to go to another fictional college called Boston Bay, and Pacey’s taking care of some rich guy’s boat by sailing around the Caribbean. Let’s see what happens when everyone leaves the Creek…

Episode 1

This episode starts off with a voice over that sounds vaguely familiar – and that’s bc it’s Ken Marino. I would tell you what he’s from but he’s been in so many things, so here’s his picture:

This also starts off with Joey – no sign of Dawson – and proves what I’ve been thinking for the past couple seasons: this show is a misnomer. It’s not Dawson’s Creek. It never has been. Unless they meant it to be like, from Joey’s perspective, it’s ‘Dawson’s Creek’. Whatever, it’s still stupid. Katie Holmes is the only person on the cast who has been in every single episode, so just look at the facts. Also I had no idea that they all went to Boston for college!? It’s giving me all the feels of when I was a freshman in Boston.

Anyways, Ken Marino (a professor) was actually reading one of Joey’s papers about that kiss she had with Dawson, and we’re led to believe that they kissed and they parted for college and nothing else ever happened. Perfect.

Enter busy Phillips. She’s deemed herself Jen’s BFF and I’m already loving seeing the beginning of their IRL friendship! Who doesn’t love a good best gal pal friendship?!

Dawson is actually in LA,  quietly achieving his life dream in the directors chair and it’s adorable. But there are so many people milling about on this lot, it’s as if there’s just a free for all at the studio. Not exactly how it happens IRL.

PACEY IS BACK FROM THE CARIBBEAN AND HAS A BOAT DOCKED IN BOSTON. BUT HE’S HIDING FROM EVERYONE BUT JEN WTF.

Jack, Jen, Joey, and new BFF Audrey (Busy Phillips) are at their first big college party AND OH LAWD this frat bro is legit wearing a puka shell necklace. And Chad Michael Murray what is your hair.  It is really 2001 all over again.

Dawson gets fired from his internship with a legit movie director because he decided to sass him and leaves LA to go to Boston and shows up at Joey’s door. Just when I thought the writers were making the right decision by not putting them together again. Ugh.

Episode 2

PACEY IS KISSING SOMEONE WHO IS NOT JOEY I’m not okay with it. Slash that person is Jennifer Morrison.

 Joey is dropping a class and has to wait in a line out the door. I never dropped a class in college because it was all online, but this is 2001. Times were tough back then.

With the help of Dougie, Pacey gets some gumption and gets a job at a restaurant. I’m super happy for him doing something with his life and all, but when is he going to show himself to everyone (read: Joey)? He can only hide for so long. Boston’s a big city, but it ain’t that big.

Well it looks like Dawson’s staying in Boston instead of going back to school in LA, mostly because of Joey. This is no bueno. Unrelatedly, was the general consensus on the last two seasons that it was cursed because now that they’re not in high school, it jumped the shark? Because I get that.

Episode 3

IT HAPPENED! Joey is at the restaurant that Pacey works at and sees him in the kitchen! Let the awkwardness ensue!

Meanwhile, Jack is pledging a frat and I fear that once they find out he’s gay they’re going to take hazing to a whole new level. However, I’ve been proven wrong…

Jack: I’m gay.

Blossom: You thought we didn’t know that?

Jack: Most people are surprised.

Blossom: Most people aren’t Sigma people. You’re sigma people, Jack. You’re one of us.

Jack: You mean, there’s other guys in the house that are gay?

Blossom: You’d be the first.

Jack: Most fraternities are not particularly well known for, you know, their tolerance towards alternative lifestyles.

Blossom: Which is precisely why we need you in this house, McPhee. Listen, Sigma Ep has a reputation for being one of the roughest, party-hearty, alpha male fraternities on campus, a reputation which is not entirely unfounded. The dean wants us to diversify. The dean gets what the dean wants, so, yes, Jack, we know you’re gay, and we want you in this house because you’re gay.

Question: how is this better than affirmative action??

Dawson is back in Capeside and spending some time with his family, particularly with his baby sister, and I have to admit him sitting with her in their front yard under an umbrella is equally hilarious and adorable.

It’s interesting watching this as an adult who has gone through the difficulty of figuring out independence and friendship in the first year of college. I always imagined high school would be like Saved by the Bell – and it wasn’t. I think if I watched this when it was originally on (and I was in high school), I would’ve thought their experience was exactly what college was like. But for me, it definitely was not. As an adult, I watch this season as more of a cynicist thinking, ‘That could never/never happened in college’, where as a teenager, I would have been like, ‘Whoa college is big and scary and filled with frat parties that I would never be invited to’. The first year of college is a day to day thing and you live your life looking at what’s in front of you. It wasn’t a “big picture” thing that the movies and TV portray it as.

Attention: Joey and Pacey finally faced each other and it was actually cute and I hope that they stay friends… for now.

Ok so this is a spoiler I knew was coming: Mitch gets into a car accident. But I did NOT know it’s because he tried to get a scoop of ice cream that he dropped on the floor. DA FAQ just happened. Although maybe he was drunk, because ice cream is his drunk food? No? Just the ice cream? Embarrassing way to go out, man.

Notable Quote: “I don’t know, I could use the snuggles.” Jen, explaining to Joey and Audrey why she’s leaving for a booty call with CMM.

Episode 4

Mitch is officially dead, and I like that they subtly confirm that by showing the “closed for death in the family” sign on the door of their restaurant, because TBH, I don’t need to see an entire episode of Mitch on his death bed. Also, is there really not a better way to get Dawson back to Capeside than having his father killed? I guess dropping out of school wasn’t enough.

Pacey just gave his approval for Dawson and Joey to get back together again, because apparently being at sea has helped him find himself and become a better person.

Pacey: Why on earth would Dawson Leery, of all people, want to drop out of film school? (Looks over at Joey and then knows.) Oh. I get it. It’s ok. You can tell me, Jo. I’m not gonna get upset. 

Joey Oh, Pace, I didn’t ask him to, if that’s what you mean. 

Pacey: Look. If anybody understands the various shades of gray here, it’s me, and I think it’s time the two of you got your shot… because the way I see it, you never did, and this world could use as many Romeo and Juliet’s as it can get. 

Joey: Look what happened to them. 

Oh man. Pacey takes Dawson to the crash site to help him realize that it’s not his fault his dad died, and yet again, Pacey Witter proves he is the greatest human #PaceyWitterDreamMan.

Episode 5

I find it comical that Ken Marino has been cast as the hot Englishg teacher when all I picture is him like this:

Jen’s all hooking up with CMM, and it’s to the point where she seems him out at a restaurant with some girl after he told Jen he was working. Pacey attempts to stop Jen from going in there and ripping out his beautiful head of hair and hilarity ensues #PaceyWitterDreamMan

DAWSON – I know it’s really hard, but you need to get a grip and deal with your father’s death. Avoiding it like the plague is not going to help anyone.

Episode 6

Is Pacey’s restaurant the only fancy restaurant they’re allowed to go to on this show, because it really feels that way with the amount of scenes they do here.

In my head, 2001 doesn’t seem that long ago, but please look at Dawson’s caller ID on his Motorola phone:

Why does CMM always play a douche guy? And why does he have a lizard in his room? Is Jen going to become a lesbian? I have a lot of burning questions.

One of those was answered because instead of Jen becoming a lesbian, she tricks CMM to think she’s down for a threesome with his side chick and instead both of them drop him. Again, Jen tricks CMM into a faux threesome. This show.

Yikes, guys. Dawson is drunk this is not going to end weelll. He actually said, ‘Have no fear, Dawson is here.’ He’s the kind of drunk that tells the truth when he’s inebriated so basically he just blamed Joey for his dad dying. sigh.

Episode 7

Dawson finally gets professional help to deal with his dad’s death and this is the therapist he goes to:

Recognize her yet? Time’s up. This is the therapist in 2014:

Episode 8

Well thanks DC writers for perpetualizing the stereotype that frat boys’ main goal is to get laid. Because that’s literally what they’re told to do – bring girls to a party so the brothers can hook up with them, and Jack decides to bring Joey and Audrey. I think it was scenes like this that made me think frats in college were the worst.

PS: Pacey slept with this girl Karen that he works with but honestly she needs to GTFO because she’s playing him like an instrument that you play a lot. And no one messes with our boy.

Speaking of sleeping with people, Dawson takes Jen up to New Hampshire because he won a film contest for the movie he made about his elderly friend Mr. Brooks who died last season. And apparently Dawson and Jen took the state motto, ‘Live free or Die’ to heart because they are into each other again and guess what – Jen gets it in with virgin Dawson! AND she’s wearing these pajamas!

Annnddd they’re dating now. Great.

Notable Quotes: Some guy talking to Dawson at the film festival: “I go to school in Boston. This really weird visual arts place full of freaks and misfits.” – literally sounds like where I went to school.

Episode 9

Ah here’s the annual Halloween episode. Joey, Pacey & Jack are telling scary stories that actually happened to them, and Joey’s is that she was stuck in the school library late at night with a creepy guy and another creepy guy who is Detective Wilden from Pretty Little Liars, so I automatically think he’s sketchy.

In full disclosure I fell asleep and decided not to rewind it.

Episode 10

Guys, turns out I really like Busy Phillips/her character, even after I decided I wasn’t going to like her because of who she ends up dating (hint hint). In the end, she was the right voice to come into the show as they entered a new season – kinda like how Gretchen was the right person to bring in last season. Right character, the right time.

This entire back and forth Pacey and Jack have about Dawson possibility losing his virginity to Jen is fantastic and honestly the best thing that’s happened this season.

For a couple that’s broken up then got back together than broke up and then got back together then broke up, this confrontation between Dawson and Joey re: sleeping with Jen is… WOOF.

Dawson: Joey, it hurts to be around you. When I see you, even from across the room, it brings up a thousand memories. Not just of us, but of my entire life before. It’s like I’m frozen in this place that I can’t bear to be. I care about you so much. As long as I can remember, everything’s always come back to you. I mean, even no matter what was happening between us. Even the thought of you is at least a constant comfort, but… I can’t go back. It just hurts.

Fashion note: I love that Pacey is suddenly Top Chef wearing an apron – and I just noticed he’s stopped wearing those hideous Hawaiian t-shirts. It’s like he was preparing for his voyage to the Caribbean for 4 seasons.

Episode 11

Joey is checking her grades on a board that was printed in computer paper. DO KIDS THESE DAYS EVEN REMEMBER COMPUTER PAPER??

Okay, so maybe I ship Pacey and Joey as friends too because them high giving over his promotion slash her grades is the cutest. Maybe I just really ship Pacey. Have I expressed that feeling yet? #PaceyWitterDreamMan

When is CMM leaving Boston for One Tree Hill, this is absurd. I’m over him. And his ridiculous helmet.

SOMETHING I DID NOT SEE COMING: On My Own reprise!! Well kind of. Joey gets the balls to sing for CMM’s band at this club where all the college kids hang out, and instead of a Broadway song, it’s Blondie. Although it’s less embarrassing than the first time I still can’t help but watch through my fingers. Partly because she started singing with her musical theatre voice and it was weird, but hey, at least she got up there and did it.

Notable Quote: “Right there in the bursar’s office on the formica. It was wild, passionate, hot, animalistic sex.” – Joey, being her usual sarcastic self about hooking up with Professor Ken Marino

Episode 13

Dawson finally decides to go back to film school (in Boston), and as a ‘Back to School’ present, Jen gets Dawson an ET Trapper Keeper and it’s actually super cute. That is the only good thing about this relationship so far. The nostalgic school supplies.

Joey is torn between two lovers – this kid Elliott, a peer and someone her own age who is really into her, and Professor Ken Marino. Joey decides to ditch a date with Elliott in order to go to an academic thing at Prof Ken’s house, and she ends up kissing him. But again, all I can see is Ken Marino. It’s so weird. When she gets back to her dorm, she finds a get well soon basket from Elliott, because she told him she was sick in order to get out of said date. And he made her a card out of construction paper. Look who’s making poor choices again – it’s Josephine Potter.

Notable Quotes: “If that’s what the people want, if they want me to be nasty and sarcastic, I can do that. I just need something that’s gonna take me there. Pacey, say something disgusting.” – Jen

“Sure, would you prefer sexist or just downright vulgar?” – Pacey

Episode 15

DC fans: this is the infamous robbery episode, so brace yourselves. Everyone else – thanks for reading this far but good GOD get ready for an effed up episode (which you can view in its entire below).

I figure this is a ‘Very special episode of Dawson’s Creek because of the different opening credits – it looks like the beginning of a Disney Channel Original Movie.

The episode starts out in Downtown Crossing, which, when I lived blocks away from there, was a bustling area. Even if it’s midnight. Joey is walking by herself at a leisurely pace, staring at stars in the sky. I take this as a bad sign already because no one in Boston does this unless you’re a tourist. Walking is for getting from Point A to Point B. Also, it appears that no one else is around at this time of night – but she said she was taking the subway, and if the subway’s still open, it means there should be people around, but conveniently, there is not a soul in sight.

A man spots Joey going to an ATM vestibule and follows her. Instead of straight up mugging her, he decides to talk to her and tell her he’s not going to rob her. Then asks for money. She says no, but he keeps pushing. Joey being, well, Joey, insists she doesn’t have any and he’s all ‘Bitch I saw you come out of the bank’ (not verbatim). She tries to walk away and he pulls out a gun.

Joey is spending waaayyyy too much time chatting with him. She told him her real name AND the school she goes too NO TIME TO BE SASSY RN JO. THIS SCENE IS LASTING WAY TOO LONG. WHY ARE THEY SPENDING SO MUCH TIME TOGETHER AND WHY ARE THERE NO OTHER PEOPLE AROUND THIS IS THE WORST. NOW SHE’S GIVING HIM DATING ADVICE?? ” I can’t believe I’m even participating in this conversation,” says Joey. I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU’RE PARTICIPATING IN THIS CONVERSATION EITHER.

He takes her back to the bank so she can take out money but the  two are still chattering on as if they have all the time in the world. The mugger takes note of Joey’s “nice” coat and refuses to give it to him, but he’s all ‘It wasn’t really a question’ and the camera pans to the gun in the waist of his pants. Not really necessary to keep showing the gun, but okay. He takes the money from her savings ($500) and her coat, and walks away, hopefully never to be seen again.

I just found out that the version on YouTube is different from the one on Netflix, which means unless you want to watch this ep on Netflix, you won’t be able to hear this absolutely ridiculous song that includes the lyrics, “Alone again, as I often am/Candles burn, slowly at both ends/Who am I, why am I here/Can I learn to overcome this fear”. And then this happens:

I’M SORRY, WHAT WAS THAT? THE MUGGER STOPPED IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STREET TO WAVE AT WHO HE JUST MUGGED AND THEN GOT HIT BY A CAR?? I have seen a lot A LOT of TV programming and this is hands down one of the worst scenes I’ve ever seen in my life.

In one of the more frightening scenes of this entire series, Joey goes to get her coat and money back from the seemingly dead body in the middle of the street, but HE WAKES UP and won’t let her call 911 for help, despite the fact he’s bleeding profusely.

He throws her cell phone and he threatens to shoot her, but bitch still refuses. Turns out the gun wasn’t loaded the whole time, but still. If someone has a gun on you, don’t argue with them and make them angrier. I mean she literally says, ‘If you want to shoot me, go right ahead.’ HELLO?? DID PEOPLE STILL WATCH THIS SHOW AFTER THIS EPISODE??

It’s a hit and run and Joey decides to stay with him until the ambulance gets there. The mugger guy is lit’rally on the ground, bleeding, but still wants a cigarette. He can’t light it himself because HE JUST GOT HIT BY A CAR AND IS INJURED so Joey helps him light it. What even. But then she goes to the hospital to make sure he’s okay… THIS EP SHOULD BE RETITLED JOEY: GO HOME.

At the hospital, Joey finds a little girl who I’m convinced is a little girl ghost, because frankly anything could happen at this point. She’s a real girl, whose mother asks Joey to look after her because she needs to look for her husband – who got hit by a car. Yeah, that husband is her mugger who’s currently bleeding to death on an operating table. They put the pieces together and his wife apologizes and gets the hell out of there.

I think it’s a sign that if the wife can’t even stand by her man, you shouldn’t either, right? Nope. The mugger is awake and requests to see Joey, and they talk even more like can you guys just stop? Did the writers run out of ideas? Why is there an entire episode dedicated to this?

Oh, he dies.

Real talk: was this episode part of a theme week on WB? Like Green Week on NBC? Was it Be Aware Of Your Surroundings Week? Don’t Act Like a GD Idiot Day?

Episode 16

In the middle of everyone taking care of Joey and making sure she’s okay every minute of the day, Pacey and Audrey had sex, and they’re in a weird middle ground where Audrey doesn’t want to continue because of the Joey factor. Relatedly, Pacey has now adopted a Shaft look in lieu of his I work at Trader Joe’s look, and I honestly don’t know what’s worse.

Jack and Pacey’s friendship has always been sweet, and Pacey unknowingly goes to a gay bar with Jack and it is the actual cutest. Not to mention guys are hitting on Pacey and he’s just letting it happen. #PaceyWitterDreamMan

Notable Quotes: “Pacey, you’re not gay.” – Jack “Well I know that and you know that and as far as he’s concerned you’re my boyfriend!” – Pacey

Episode 17

There’s a shot of Flutie Flakes – does anyone outside of Western New York/New England remember Flutie Flakes, the cereal named after beloved football player Doug Flutie?

Honestly why is CMM still on this show? Now he’s chasing after Joey romantically and hoping to recruit her for his band. She agrees to fill in as the lead singer, but I find it hard to believe Joey would just agree to do it. Also they’re (the writers) are so trying to sexualize her and it just isn’t working we know her as the girl next door – which isn’t to say she shouldn’t have a sexy side but throughout this entire season even she’s wearing makeup and it’s WEIRD.

Also weird: Pacey and Audrey blatantly want to check in to this sketchy motel to have sex and Joey is forced to stay with them. I’M JUST NOT OVER PACEY & JOEY, OKAY.

Episode 18

There was legit a side swipe cut into another scene. Did someone edit this on windows movie maker?! What is happening to this program?

Forgot to mention Jen broke up with Dawson in the last episode. Nobody cares because nobody cared about that relationship in the first place.

Wait the real episode credits just flashed on the screen that was showing Dawson’s movie it was so meta and weird and The Simpsons-esque do not like. PS: Dawson has a movie.

Notable Quotes: “Can I say something? My Grams is dating a 65-year-old African American man named Clifton Smalls.” – Jen, telling it like it is.

Episode 19

Ok so the only image I had of busy Phillips on DC prior to this marathon was a random vision of her sitting outside a white beach house on spring break. Literally that is one picture I’ve had in my head for all these years and apparently it’s from this episode.

Really didn’t know CMM was on dc for this long. He really took over WB/CW back in the day, didn’t he?

Pacey is back in his natural habitat (Hawaiian shirts)

Wait who is this random YM featured girl duo featured at the MTV Spring break special on the beach – it’s M2M, who I know better as the girls who sang the song from the Pokemon soundtrack.

Oh a baby Hilarie Burton reppin MTV! Getting hit on by her future OTH co star CMM. Remember when she was literally picked off the street during TRL and now she’s like a legit actress who has a baby w Denny from Grey’s? Some gals have all the luck.

I’m still not convinced Joey completely wants Pacey to fall in love with Audrey it’s still too weird. They’re giving each other relationship advice, and there’s still so much flirting and chemistry that it’s hard to believe otherwise.

Meanwhile Dawson is still daydreaming about a relationship with Joey and has a weird flashback of their time together that’s in sepia tone, but the montage was like it wasn’t even finished. This show is in shambles.

Speaking of shambles – Jack just drunkenly jumped from the roof into the pool & Dawson shows up and has the swim in and save him. The fuck.

Of course Dawson is there to win Joey back, and Pacey is straight up like yo Dawson I’m over this Joey shit. Give it up.


It ends with Dawson barefoot on the beach looking pensive and it’s straight out of Sandcastles in the Sand. Get a grip Simon.

Episode 20

There is literally a scrunchie on the doorknob of Joey & Audrey’s dorm room and I literally said EW out loud when they panned to Joey and CMM in bed. GTFO AND GO TO ONE TREE HILL.

ANNA NARDINI. ARE YOU HERE TO RUIN THE SHOW WITH A SURPRISE DAUGHTER TOO.

YUP ANNA NARDINI IS HERE TO RUIN THE SHOW BY SEXUALLY HARASSING PACEY AND KISSING HIM UNWILLINGLY.

Did I mention she’s his new boss? She’s his new boss. And she’s trouble.

Notable Quotes: “Could he be any cuter?” – Audrey “No, but he could be more in tune.” – Joey, on CMM serenading him outside her window.

Episode 21

Sherilyn Fenn is probably a nice human, but she should stop picking roles that make her look like a homewrecker. She continues hitting on Pacey, even goes to his apartment and Audrey walks in on Alex (Dumb homewrecker Sherilyn Fenn) trying to kiss Pacey. Understandably, Audrey leaves in a fit of rage, and when talking do her does work, Pacey goes back to his apartment to sleep with Alex. PACEY WITTER.You’re better than this!

Episode 22

Pacey leads the employees to oust crazy Alex from her dictator-like position at the restaurant, and it works. But then Pacey gets into a car with her and her inner crazy comes out. She basically almost kills both of them. What is happening.

Episode 23

I’m, like, over this. These are the loose ends that need tying up at the end of the season: Grams may or may not get married in Vegas to Clifton Smalls; Jack stayed in Boston to help his gay frat brother; Jen’s off to try repair her relationship with her parents in New York; Audrey and Pacey embark on a road trip to her home in LA; Dawson is being forced to go to LA and Joey is most likely going to Paris with no clothes or luggage.

Meanwhile, the summer after my freshman year of college I went home and worked at the local amusement park where I sat in a hot ticket box and put wristbands on sweaty Rochesterians. Essentially the same thing.

So, folks, one season left, and frankly, I hope it’s better than this one because I lost interest way too many times during this fifth season. Will Joey actually go to Paris? Are Audrey and Pacey still together after their epic road trip? Is Grams marrying Clifton Smalls? Most importantly, WILL I STILL CARE ABOUT ANY OF THIS IN SEASON SIX? Tune in next month for the final chapter of the Dawson’s Creek Virgin Diaries…

We Own The Finish Line

Monday, April 15th, 2013: A day that will be remembered as one of the most tragic in the city of Boston.

Monday, April 21st, 2014: A day that will be remembered as a testament of courage, strength, and perseverance by the people of Boston.

Boston Red Sox Victory Parade

Before writing this post, I sat at my computer staring at a blank page for almost an hour, trying to figure out exactly what I wanted to say about the one-year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings. I knew I wanted to talk about it in some fashion, but I was at a loss. We try to keep things lighthearted on our blog, but the events last year didn’t stop us from writing about it (x,x).

As I look back at how devastating that day was, I remembered how I couldn’t stop watching the news play out like a movie as police put the city on lockdown and searched for the college-kid bomber, and how I had a weird unsettling feeling in the weeks after, and how my mind kept going back to one thing: how incredibly proud I was to see the people of Boston, a city I used to (and still do) call home, come together as one resilient unit.

We all know that immediately after the bombs went off, there were people who ran towards the site to help injured victims, as opposed to running in the opposite direction. First responders, police officers, marathon volunteers, even those who were running the race stopped to take care of strangers. This was just the first of many examples of courage and kindness to come out of a horrible event.

In the hours, days and weeks that followed, stories of heroism and love came to light, like cowboy-hat wearing Carlos Arredondo, whose instinct to run towards survivor Jeff Bauman and stay with him until he received help after losing two legs -and that image became one of the most memorable moments captured from that day; editors at Boston Magazine created a simple yet powerful image of running shoes from those who participated in the marathon and gave them a chance to share their own personal stories from that day; and even this makeshift memorial that was created right after it happened. A usually bustling Boylston Street (where it all went down) was still closed off, but people still came by to show their respects.

Nearly a month after that fateful day, I returned to Boston to attend my friends’ wedding – one of whom had been running the marathon but finished well before the bombs went off. This memorial was moved a few blocks down to an area just a stone’s throw away from the finish line, and also happened to be an area where I used to walk across every day to get to work. The familiar setting paired with an unsettling yet powerful tribute was like a feeling I’ve never had before. Of sadness and grief, but also pride for what this city has done to show their support.

Prior to living in Boston, I had no idea that A) the Boston Marathon was such a huge deal B) Patriots’ Day, the day of the Marathon, is a state holiday in which there’s no school, and usually no work for the adults. People flock to the course to watch people run by. The marathon has always been unique in that the course goes through a ton of residential areas, where people will sit on the sidelines and cheer people on – whether they know them or not. And I can’t help but think this year, the sidewalks will be filled with more people than ever before. It is that kind of support that is so overwhelming it brings tears to my eyes. So often we get caught up in being negative and frustrated with people who make us mad every single day, but in the end, we have to remember that we’re all in this together. That’s all we can do – stand together. Every single person who was there to physically help at the finish line, every doctor, nurse, every person who donated money to the One Fund, proved that the city of Boston isn’t just made of individuals, it’s a city that can come together even in the darkest of times and still find a way to take charge and go into the light.

Boston proved that the only way to combat this hateful crime wasn’t with waging war – it was by showing that a trying time only brings them together, forces them to be stronger, more resilient than ever before.

Celeste Corcoran became a double amputee after the bombings. She’s spent the past year learning how to walk again and determined to stay strong on her own two feet in the face of something so tragic. Through the Dear World project, Celeste, along with her daughter Sydney who severed a femoral artery in the blast, were able to return to the finish line a few weeks ago, stronger than ever before.

She said, “I had never been back, and this was about reclaiming it. That finish line has been a negative space since the marathon. This was about reclaiming that space in a positive way. I chose to be there. I took back control.”

And that’s exactly what the people of Boston and thousands more will do on Patriots’ Day – take back control. Boston isn’t a city to easily back down. I think that reputation precedes them. After the bombings, it’s hard to imagine anything that will rattle Boston and its people. It’s a city that is so incredibly loved by the residents and exudes so much pride that it’s contagious the moment you enter the city limits. It’s a character of its own and that character will never concede, never show signs of defeat, never waver in the face of adversity. I mean this is a town where the Boston Red Sox, seemingly the soul of the city, had to endure an 86 year wait for a World Series championship. And season after season, the fans said, ‘we’ll get ’em next year’. It’s about staying strong, Boston Strong.

During a tribute held last week, hundreds of survivors and first responders gathered to pay tribute to the lives lost and the ones who made it out with heads held high. Vice President Joe Biden gave a speech that pretty much summed up the whole spirit of the city, that will be carried on this Patriots’ Day and every one from now on:

“We are Boston. We are America. We respond. We endure. We overcome … and we own the finish line.”

Monday: I Am Okay.

Monday was a weird day.

I woke up and checked my phone, scrolled through all my friends’ pix of Marathon Monday and felt extremely jealous I wasn’t there for the big day. As I drove to work, three separate cars literally almost smashed into me. I have a 30 minute commute and three different assholes weren’t paying attention to where they were going, and could’ve resulted into a major accident. I was hoping the odd and horrible start wasn’t going to be an indication of the day to come.

About 15 minutes into my shift, my boss came in to tell me two bombs went off at the Marathon and I was shocked at what I saw on TV. I couldn’t believe it. I started to tear up, watching this scene of tired yet accomplished runners crossing the iconic finish line painted onto the Boylston Street pavement, and seconds later a cloud of white smoke and utter chaos erupted. It was all too familiar but foreign at the same time. This warzone was a place I used to frequent almost every day – I worked blocks away from an area where there was now bloodstained sidewalks and undistinguishable debris…

To those who are unfamiliar with exactly how big this day is, I’ll do my best to encapsulate it in a somewhat brief paragraph. Officially titled Patriots Day, this annual state holiday falls on the third Monday of April, when schools and businesses are (for the most part) closed down in honor of the battles during the Revolutionary War. However, this day also marks the day of the Boston Marathon, which is regarded as one of the foremost long-distance running competitions in the world. People from all different countries come to run the 26.2 miles through picturesque eastern Massachusetts. More than 500,000 spectators line the entire course route to cheer on the runners, even if they don’t know anyone running. This is an inspirational day where everyone comes together to celebrate and support each other – it’s really an amazing sight to see. On top of that, the Boston Red Sox have a home game in the morning at Fenway Park, just a stone’s throw away from the marathon finish line. Needless to say, it’s a busy day in the city, and you can feel a different energy in the air. Everywhere you look, there are runners, tourists, baseball fans, college kids, families, etc. who are just excited (and maybe a little drunk from too much celebrating) for the day. Think of it as a small scale version of New Year’s Eve in Times Square.

After learning of the bombings, I scrambled to make sure my friends running in the marathon were ok, constantly checking all forms of social media for any updates on them and all my friends in town. That first hour or two was just making sure I saw the three words on my screen: I Am Okay. Thankfully everyone I know is safe. One of my best friend’s sisters was literally about to turn down Boylston Street but the police stopped her and all the other runners from continuing on. If her pace was just a few minutes faster, she would’ve been crossing that finish line when the bombs went off. The rest of the work day was a mix of wanting to know what was happening but not. I had my TV locked on the news, and my boss, bless him, was trying to make me feel better by continually asking if I was okay, telling me overdramatic people in these situations are the worst and that he had been in Boston years ago and he loved the city (Is that near Cheers? No). Ok cool, thanks, but not helping. Appreciate it, but not helping. I am okay.

I felt helpless, heavy in heart. The only way I can describe it is that I haven’t felt this way since 9/11. I had the feeling that there is only so much you can do when you are miles away from the situation. The feeling that everything you do in your normal routine feels so trivial compared to what people are going through in Boston. The feeling of wanting to continuously cry all day, because someone’s monstrous attack effected the lives of innocent bystanders. The feeling that it could have easily been someone I knew injured or dead, but it was leaving me grateful yet guilty at the same time.

Throughout the day it took every part of me to not break down and cry. I’d see photos of what was leftover from the broken stands and injured spectators. First-hand videos of people running, not knowing where to go, trying to get in touch with loved ones, fear in their eyes. Stories of runners who crossed the finish line, only to go to the hospital to try to help or donate blood. Reports that an eight-year-old boy was among those killed, and many people had to have amputations due to the injuries from flying shrapnel. The tireless policemen, EMTs, first responders, volunteers, anyone and everyone who ran towards the bombs to help rather than run away. Just knowing how absolutely chaotic it must have been around that area is scary enough – I purposely avoided that area because I knew it would be a shitshow of too many people when I lived there. Thousands of people crammed in a fairly small area, not knowing where to go, what to do, how to get to whereever they were going. The subway was shut down, roads were already closed because of the marathon, it must have been just utter devastation. On my timeline, I saw current kids at Emerson, my alma mater, reporting the school was on lockdown. Isn’t “lockdown” just a word the media uses when something like a shooting is happening…? It’s all too unreal and too overwhelming that I won’t let myself focus on it for more than a few minutes at a time. I am okay.

“Boston is a tough and resilient town. So are its people.” – President Barack Obama

However the one thing that has stuck with me and somewhat helped in coping with this is that Boston is a strong, loyal, kind, city. I know those words aren’t necessarily the first thing you think of when you hear Boston, but it’s true. People may seem like assholes at times, but they’re coming from a good place. It’s one of those, “You can make fun of your own family members, but if an outsider messes with your family, you’re dead meat” type of dynamics. However, it’s not like we’re an exclusive bunch. Boston is a town of transplants and college kids – you stay there for one day and you feel like it’s your home. I lived there for five years, but it feels like I’ve lived there all my life. In some way, I feel like Boston is just as much of a hometown, at times maybe even more so, than the actual town I grew up in. It’s where I found out who I was as an adult, where I made lifelong friendships, experienced life on my own for the first time. So when something like this happens, we are all Bostonians. We help out our own.

“If it’s one person or a HUNDRED people, that number is not even a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a percent of the population on this planet. You watch the videos of the carnage and there are people running TOWARDS the destruction to help out… This is a giant planet and we’re lucky to live on it but there are prices and penalties incurred for the daily miracle of existence. One of them is, every once in awhile, the wiring of a tiny sliver of the species gets snarled and they’re pointed towards darkness.

But the vast majority stands against that darkness and, like white blood cells attacking a virus, they dilute and weaken and eventually wash away the evil doers and, more importantly, the damage they wreak. This is beyond religion or creed or nation. We would not be here if humanity were inherently evil. We’d have eaten ourselves alive long ago.

So when you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think, “The good outnumber you, and we always will.” – An excerpt from comedian Patton Oswalt’s response to the bombings

The online outreach for my college alone is a testament to how strong the community is, and again made me tear up even more. The Facebook group for alumni was filled with posts asking if everyone was okay – these are people who don’t even necessarily know people at the school anymore! I keep seeing stories of restaurants opening their doors, serving people for free, offering a place to charge cell phones. A former New England Patriots player was spotted carrying an injured woman to safety. People stopping runners on the streets to see if they’re okay or need to use their phone. A woman carrying young kids who were injured and looking for their parents away from the bombing area. We help out our own.

So here we are, enough time has passed that it’s still fresh in our minds but seems so long ago. I feel like I’ll go to sleep and wake up the next day thinking this was all a dream. You hear it all the time when horrible incidents such as this occur. “Not us. Not this town. It could never happen here.” But it did. No matter how many times I see  footage of the bomb go off, I don’t think it’s real life. No, that is my hometown. That is a street I have walked countless times. I know that area like the back of my hand. This did not happen. People I know did not escape the incident by mere minutes… I’m in denial, but thankful. Angry, yet reflective. A million different emotions which I can’t fully comprehend. Monday was a weird day – but I – we – are okay.

You’re Saying It Wrong: An Outsider’s guide to local pronunciations

Having lived in three different places, I’ve come to learn some of the local slang, colloquialisms, and ‘correct’ pronunciations of things. I’ve noticed that a common theme between Rochester, Boston, and Los Angeles are the different neighborhoods in each city which are totally pronounced the opposite way of what your brain thinks. Here are some I’ve found questionable after stepping out of the city limits.

1) Rochester (RAH-chester)

Interestingly enough, Rochesterarians are known for their odd, slightly midwestern accent. It’s nasally and weird. When I was home for Christmas, it was more evident than usual that the strangers around me at the mall were total Rochies, exaggerating their vowels. It’s actually a good test to see if someone is a native Rochesterarian or not, by asking them to say the name of the city. If you don’t stretch out that Raaaaahhhchester, you’re probs from like, Albany or the city, where they think ‘upstate’ New York is Westchester.

2) Chili (CHI-lai)

You’d think this five letter word is said ‘CHI-lee’, but as a suburb of ROC, you say it CHIli, rhyming with the alcoholic drink ‘mai-tai’.

3) Charlotte (shar-LOT)

Rochester is right on Lake Ontario, so naturally there is a beach. Or something that resembles a beach when the waters aren’t deemed toxic. However, this beach is not like the North Carolina city, home of the Bobcats or Bachelorette Emily Maynard. It’s questionably said with an emphasis on the second syllable , because that makes more sense.

4) Woburn (WOO-burn)

Not WHOA, BURNN (that was stupid, move on).

5) Quincy (QUIN-zee)

If you pronounce President John Quincy Adams as President John KWINSEE Adams, you’ve been doing it wrong your whole life. Quincy was the birthplace of the President, hence its namesake. The town was named following the pronunciation of the family name, but people have been saying it wrong for years. Have a Bostonian tell you the right way to say it. Or take the red line and see where you end up.

6) Worcester (WUSS-ter)

It’s not ‘Worcestershire Sauce’ so don’t say it like that. But if you ask a native Bostonian, they’ll say it the way it’s really supposed to be said, ‘woos-tah’.

7) Los Feliz

Yeah I actually still don’t know what the correct pronunciation of this is. I hear two different versions all the time. All I know is that Lauren Graham lives there, next to Natalie Portman. So I mean, there’s that.

A love letter to Dunkin’ Donuts

Before I moved to Boston for college in 2004, I had of course been to this iconic food establishment before. But in my house, we didn’t eat many donuts, if anything, we got bagels from the Wegmans freezer section, and if I wanted to go get coffee, it would usually be a sit down coffee shop like Java’s or The Spot.

But it all changed when I moved into my dorm room, which not only was smack in the middle of Boston, but there was a Dunkin Donuts at the bottom of the building. I lived on the eighth floor, and when I took the elevator down and walked down a flight of stairs, there was an entrance specifically for the Little Building into the DDs.

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The building I lived in my freshman and sophomore year of college. Dunks in the bottom left. Sigh.

This place was my savior. No time to go to the DH for breakfast? Dunks. Afternoon coffee pick me up? Dunks. Late night ice cream? Dunks (because there was also a small Baskin Robbins there too).

What I didn’t really learn until I lived in Boston was that DDs is a long-revered legacy in New England. It was started in Massachusetts, and practically one on every block. My good friend Caitlin, who is from a town on the outskirts of Boston proper in Medford, has told me that in her town alone, there was a point where there were 15 DDs. 15 stores for a town that has a land area of about 8 miles! I think that’s a fair telling of how much people in New England love this place.

But if you have any qualms about the quality of this fast food establishment, I would like to bend your brain a bit. Yes they have good donuts. But what their real forte is is the coffee. The bevs in general really. Me? Medium French Vanilla with cream and sugar. In the summer, the iced version, which is what I dream of most days. Occasionally I’ll spring for the vanilla chai or hot chocolate. Dunkacinnos if I felt the need to splurge. DDs is so much more than donuts.

Bagels? Croissants? Sandwiches made from those items? Hash browns? There was a period of time where my friend Devin and I would drool over their waffle breakfast sandwich. Sounds disgusting but actually quite good.

So here’s the problem. I moved to Los Angeles in the fall of 2009, knowing full well that there are no DDs out here. The last time Meghan and I had DDs iced coffee on our road trip out to LA was the saddest.

This is Stanley. He followed us on all our adventures across the U.S., but more importantly made sure no one stole our last iced coffees for the next few months.

Literally, we have to drive all the way to LAS VEGAS in order to go to Dunks (Yes, I’m aware there is one on Camp Pendelton, but ugh, security stuff). As much fun as that city is, it’s not as easy of a commute as it was going down and elevator and into a special side entrance at the Little Building.

When Bostonian transplants in LA try to tell natives here how amazing DDs is, they don’t understand. My aunt once said to me that there was one in Los Angeles. HA! Pray tell, where is this magical Dunks you speak of, because according to the 10 million times I’ve checked the restaurant locator on their website, it says there are none within a 50 mile radius of my zip code. And also, don’t try to tell me that Starbucks or Yum Yum donut shops (yes, that’s the real name) are the same. They’re absolutely not.

Even celebs who hail from Boston, like smokeshow/Captain America Chris Evans can’t resist it, and my boy John Krasinski has even lobbied for a Dunks here in Los Angeles (as for now, to no avail. Can’t believe his infectious charm didn’t work on the CEOs).

You know what the worst part is? It’s that the DDs advertisers thought it would a good idea to show their commercials here in California. Yeah, I get that they still sell packaged coffee in grocery stores, but when you’re showing me a :30 second advertisement of a cinnamon raisin bagel with your new cinnamon cream cheese, I literally find myself salivating over it. Not cool.

But alas, going home to the east coast means of course getting to see my friends and family, but it also means getting to drink a steaming hot cup of french vanilla coffee with cream and sugar. It always tastes that much better after not having it in a long time.

So I can use every cliche in the book, ‘You don’t know what you have until it’s gone’, ‘Good things come to those who wait’, ‘Patience is a virtue’, etc. etc. But one day, just maybe, I can use ‘America Runs on Dunkin’ in the way it’s really meant to be used.

UPDATE: AS OF JANUARY 16, 2013, DUNKIN DONUTS ANNOUNCED THEY ARE OFFICIALLY EXPANDING THE FRANCHISE INTO LOS ANGELES!! OUR PRAYERS HAVE BEEN ANSWERED!! IN 2015, I WILL BE HITTING UP EVERY SINGLE DDS IN THE SOCAL AREA, WHO WILL JOIN ME?!

The Theater Angel

Wang Theatre

Wang Theatre

One year for lent I decided that instead of giving something up, I’d do one nice deed for someone each day. I did well for the first week or so, but then I kind of made stuff up as the days went on. Like, “I said ‘thank you’ to the T driver, so that definitely counts as my good deed.” I found it surprisingly hard to go out of my normal routine to find a nice thing to do.

But one day, I was the recipient of the ultimate act of kindness, and it was something I will never forget.

The year was 2009, I was still living in Boston, and my good pal Brian and I went on one of our regular dates to the theater, because spending time together working at a theater meant needing to go out and enjoy it once in a while. Per usual, we opted for the lowest priced tickets to see The Color Purple at the Wang Theater. Now the Wang is one of the largest, oldest, and most majestic venues in Boston. Marble, chandeliers, and epic staircases – actually, we had our commencement in that very theater.

Anyways, we made our way up to the balcony – not the complete nosebleed seats – but high enough. We got settled in, looked through our programs, noticed LaToya London from S3 of American Idol was in it, laughed at that fact as one would, and I broke open my bag of CVS peach ring candy that I hid in my purse.

Just as Brian was reaching across and into my lap for the prohibited candy, a man came up to us asking if we wanted tickets to sit in the orchestra. B and I looked at each other quizzically, then at the man the same way. He was tall, dark, and handsome, yes, in a cliche way. He had a great smile and I asked if he was serious. He said “Yes, absolutely. Come follow me down and I’ll explain.”

Obviously the appropriate response to this was to follow the good looking stranger down, because we clearly won’t be killed just before watching The Color Purple, as I assume people have some courtesy when it comes to uplifting African-American musicals. As he was walking us down, he nodded to the ushers to say, “They’re with me,” in an extremely VIP way. I looked behind me at B and gave him the “WTF” face and responded with a “I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT’S GOING ON, BUT I LIKE IT” face right back. Theater Angel, as we dubbed him, led us down to the orchestra, probably about 10 rows from the stage, which you know cost the big bucks. He guided us to our seats, sat us down next to this pretty woman who turned out to be his date, and said, “Good seats, right?”

Um, yes sir. He explained that the first time he ever went to the theater was with his mother as a kid. They couldn’t afford expensive seats, so they always sat in the balcony, where the cheapo seats were, aka where we were sitting. But it was that first show that made him fall in love with theater. He continued going to play after play, made a career out of his passion, and now has become successful in the industry. Theater angel said, “One time, a man came up to me and offered me tickets to the orchestra. It changed my life. And I promised myself, that when I had enough money to buy not one pair but another pair of tickets, I would go up to the balcony and give a couple of people the opportunity I never had growing up, and sit near the front next to all the action. I’m paying it forward.”

I could’ve cried right there and then. But I had to keep it together, and could only mutter out thank you over and over again, just as the lights were dimming for the show to start. I remember we used our box office skills to find out his name via the ticket stubs, and we found our guy. Basically, he turned out to be some big shot theater producer, so clearly he had enough money to use on us.

I’ll never forget our theater angel, and the extremely random act of kindness bestowed upon us that day. If I ever have the opportunity to do so, I will absolutely bring some crazy candy munching theatergoers up to the good seats. Because who knows, one random act of kindness might actually change their lives.