Who is Deborah Schwartz?
The experiences of Deborah Schwartz
The persistance of Deborah Schwartz.
The relations of Deborah Schwartz



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Chardonnay

06.28.05
Last night I met Sam for dinner at a Thai restaurant.
Sam said I could choose the bottle of wine, as long as it was white wine. So I ordered a cheap bottle of Pinot Grigio. A couple minutes later, our server came back to say they were out of Pinot Grigio, but he could hook us up with some like-priced chardonnay.

When the wine arrived, I confided in Sam that I never ordered chardonnay because of that line in the Alanis Morissette song Ironic, "It's a black fly in your chardonnay."

The song annoys me so much, I am no longer able to enjoy an entire class of wine. When the song came out, I knew almost nothing about wine. I am not much better now, but I thought the irony was due to the fact that chardonnay was a very classy and expensive wine. I imagined one could substitute the aforementioned line with one like, "It's like finding a human hair in your caviar."

The song itself is whiny and irritating. But even more than I dislike Ms. Morissette's song, I abhor the abuse of the word "ironic". Additionally, I do not like being reminded that I was once so naive I thought chardonnay as a classy, high-toned wine.

Halfway through the bottle, Sam and I were rooted deep in the chasm of our distaste for Ms. Morissette and her musical oeuvre. I told him about the time I was working at the gallery in SoHo and I saw her. She came in, and one of my coworkers went up to her and said, "Ms. Morissette, I just wanted to tell you that I really respect your work." I was so grossed out, I wanted to puke. Once the coworker came back from making his comment, I remarked (maybe a little too loud), "She looks much shorter and dumpier than I thought she would."

Another reason I don't like Ms. Morissette's music is because in many of her songs, she makes dumb broad sweeping statements about men and how they have wronged her. While I was in college, I heard WAY TOO MANY mousey girls quoting lines from You Oughta Know as if it were feminist scripture. I wanted to grab Alanis by the collar and say, "Hey! Maybe it's not the men! Maybe it's YOU!"

Of course, when given the chance, all I did was whisper that she looked dumpy.

Our conversation moved on to work gossip and John Waters and the movie Showgirls, which I still haven't seen, but I'm told I must. The bottle was empty when I looked over and noticed that something black was floating in my wine.

"AAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!" I shrieked with delight. "THERE IS A BLACK FLY IN MY CHARDONNAY!" Sam clapped his hands ecstatically. A small fly had fallen into my wine glass and drowned there. I removed it with my finger and smeared it against the pink table cloth.

I said, "Is it ironic that we were talking about that line from the song, and now there was really a black fly in my chardonnay?"

"I think it is," said Sam. We toasted the fly with the remaining wine in our glasses. Then we paid the bill and I stumbled home.

06.27.05
I received a fan email of sorts.
It went like this:

Date: Sun, 26 Jun 2005 12:38:56
To: contact @ debcentral.com
Subject: Rejection

The Cream City Review rejected Deb Schwartz's work
Deb, nobody else gives a shit...

So I googled his email address.

And found that he takes photos of naked people in barn doorways.

Apparently, he goes by a one-word biblical-sounding pseudonym (think "Madonna") and can be found on a number of erotic photography websites. One bio says that he "wants his viewership to know that every model seen in these galleries was approached in public and had never modeled before."

Approached in public? To be photographed naked in front of a barn door?

I think that sounds kind of creepy.

06.26.05
Brian and I stopped into the Apple Store.
I asked the greeter at the door where the bathroom was, and he said, "Go up the stairs to the theater, make a right at Alan Cumming, and it'll be on your left."

"Excuse me?" I said.

"Go up the stairs to the theater," he repeated, "make a right at Alan Cumming, and it'll be on your left."

As I started walking up the stairs, Brian said, "I think he said make a right at Alan Cumming."

"That's what I heard too."

Sure enough, when we got up the stairs to the theater, we saw Alan Cumming. The bathroom was to his left.

He was apparently at the Apple Store to do a promotion for his new fragrance. After I went to the bathroom, Brian and I sat and watched the presentation, which was pretty cute.

As we walked to the subway, Brian and I talked about how nice it was to live in New York. One walks into a store to use the bathroom, and one gets to meet a famous movie actor.

There was a party at Heather Scott's pad, and we took the 1 train uptown. At 59th Street, a bedraggled-looking older individual with not too many teeth in his head pushed his way into our car. Brian and I were both sitting. Brian was located closer than me to the toothless guy, who proceeded to make a garbled slurry, wild-eyed announcement about his sinus condition. Then he snorted. It was no ordinary snort. It was a profound, wet, rolling sound, one that had originated in the cavernous depths of this man's sinus cavity. It was such a gross, aqueous, beastly noise, I turned toward Brian and buried my face in his shirt. The man announced to the entire train that he had spent thousands and thousands of dollars to have his sinus condition diagnosed. And there he snorted again, this one wetter and sloppier than the last.

"Oh, god, Brian," I whispered. "That man's snorting sounds disgusting."

"Sounds disgusting?" Brian said. "He's snotting all over my arm."

I jumped up and dragged Brian to the end of our train car and through the door into the next one. Then I rubbed hand sanitizer (which I keep in my purse for such emergencies) all over his arm.

We both agreed this was another aspect of living in New York City. One minute, you're trying to find a bathroom and you bump into Alan Cumming, the next you are sitting on a train, and a crazy homeless man snots on your arm. You are forced to take the good with the bad. But at least life is never boring.

A little later on, we arrived at Heather's party. We both drank several beers, and all our problems magically disappeared.

06.23.05
I've been away for a bit, so let's do a recap.
This past week, Brian's mom turned 60, his sister turned 27, my dad turned 63, and my sister and her dog moved to Hickory, North Carolina. Brian and I flew down to Clearwater to celebrate his mother/sister's birthdays. My father celebrated his birthday by driving with my mother to North Carolina to help my sister move. Ali will be doing her PsyD internship in North Carolina, and was happy to see that the town she to which she was moving welcomed both her and her dog. My mother took many many pictures, but it's okay, because they're cute.

Brian's sister Jessie reported that her friend Kristin tried my hiccup miracle cure, and it didn't work.

Our friend Dave wrote about a facial feature. It went like this:

I have two faint linear scars on the left side of my face. If try to spot them, remember that they are on my left, so look right. They make a v-shape, meeting just below my cheekbone and diverge towards my mouth and chin.

I was riding shotgun with my aunt and my three sisters in her 1984 Tempo. On the way back from the Lowry Park Zoo, I somehow came to mention my agnostic tendencies to my aunt, and she reached over and clawed my face.

Thank God (a non-denominational God) I got a bad case of acne a few years later, obscuring the wrath of my aunt.

I bumped into fellow blogger Anthony Litton on the train. It was nice. We had a loud chat, and he told me his parents were in town (from Ireland) and would that day be visiting the museum at which I work. Julian (who is also a blogger) and I met up with them in the lobby (he was going to show them back to their hotel). I shook their hands and told them I had just seen their son on the train earlier that morning. They pointed to Julian and then to me said, "So, are you a blogger too?"

I said I was.

"Which one are you, then?"

I told them I was DebCentral. They said, "Ah! Yes! I do remember reading that one once or twice."

I told them that my mother used to feel a little bad that didn't call home often. But now she reads my blog and knows exactly what I've been up to lately. The Littons said, "Ah, We know what that's like. But I bet Anthony censors himself now that he knows we read it." Then they laughed.

06.17.05
Brian and I had dinner with Sam at the Chinese restaurant with the free wine.
Sam kept a copy of the New York Post open as we ate, and he would flip through it, making commentaries, to punctuate the meal. His favorite story of the day was one titled NICO-FIEND TENANTS FUMING OVER PROPOSAL. Apparently, there is a movement to ban smoking in the city's housing projects. Sam would point to the pictures of the smoking housing project dwellers, read their quotes, and giggle.

The free wine, the cheap Chinese food, the Nico-fiend article -- all was well with the world.

The next day, I met Brian for lunch in a dilapidated little diner not too far from City Hall. There was a party of six dining in the booth behind us. What they lacked in aesthetics, they more than made up for in volume and jaunty discourse. The most bedraggled and loudest one of them, a forty-something man with the face of a sallow bulldog, called out, "IT'S ABOUT THE CHILDREN! IT'S ABOUT CHILDREN DYING OF SECOND HAND SMOKE!"

Brian and I realized they were discussing the recent fuming nico-fiend tenants story. A woman (who I couldn't see, because she was directly behind me) responded, "You can't come into my house and tell me I can't smoke."

The man said, "What are you trying to say?"

"I have rights," the woman said. "That is an invasion of my civil rights."

"So," the man said, "You're saying you'd rather see babies die so you can have your civil rights?"

I leaned in close to Brian. "I don't think those are the only two choices."

"Frankly," Brian said, "I didn't think babies dying from second hand smoke was the issue."

The woman said, "I don't want no babies dying, but I have rights."

"This is about people," the man said, "--about children--dying of second hand smoke."

"First they're going to tell me I can't smoke in my own apartment," the woman said. "Next they're going to say I can't have sex."

"I think you would give up smoking in your own apartment if it meant saving a life."

"Are they going to come into my apartment and tell me I can't have sex?" The man said, "This is not about your rights. Second-hand smoke effects everyone."

"Ain't nobody going to come into my house and tell me I can't have sex."

"This isn't about sex," the man said. "It's about babies dying. It's about cancer."

"Let them just try it," the woman said. "Let them just TRY and COME INTO MY APARTMENT TO STOP ME FROM HAVING SEX."

"This is about SAVING CHILDREN'S LIVES."

"And you know," the woman continued, "I've GOT to have sex at least ONCE A MONTH. Just let them try and stop me. It won't be pretty."

Brian and I could barely eat our food, so riveted were we by this interchange.

06.13.05
It occurred to me recently that my online resume is not only fairly out-of-date, but it also looks like (as my friend Julian would say) "total crap".

One of the biggest problems in maintaining my own fansite is my short attention span. I build a page that is of a practical use (e.g. my online resume), then decide it is more important to post pictures of myself drunk or pictures of expired stuff I've found around my parents house or of poems I wrote in elementary school. While these are hard-hitting subject matters which I examine unflinchingly, more basic pages on my site remain the virtual equivalent of my now-dead grandparents' house on Long Island--filled with shabby, moldering, out-of-date, and mostly useless crap.

Anyway, I finally updated my resume. I added a suave picture of myself at the top. Please note the eyebrows. I have pointy vulcan eyebrows. This used to cause me tremendous consternation. Then in my senior year of high school, I won honorable mention in some county-wide person essay writing competition. I think. Anyway, I wrote about something dumb. Probably. But this one chick wrote about her pointy eyebrows, and how they had a regal lineage. Her essay ranked higher than mine, and I was immediately jealous that I had not written about my pointy eyebrows.

Only, as you and I both know, if I had written on the topic of my eyebrows--even now--the essay would be a caramelized nugget of self-loathing replete with freaky flashbacks.

I pluck my eyebrows now. They still look pretty pointy, but no one makes fun of them anymore. At least, not to my face.

Send me a small nugget about a facial feature. Self-loathing and freaky flashbacks optional. I will post it here. I can be reached at contact @ debcentral.com.

06.10.05
Now that I work Sunday to Thursday, I have my Fridays off. To spend by myself. Doing productive things. Like making this page of old crap I found around my parents' house the last time I was home.

I hope you have as much fun looking at the old, expired crap as I did finding and photographing it.

Cheers!

06.09.05
I know a cure for hiccups.
It's true.

About a year and a half ago, I was at a happy hour, merrily imbibing, when I contracted a terrible case of the hiccups. I couldn't stop. hiccup! . . . hiccup! It was making me nauseated. And I could see it wasn't winning me any friends. I tried holding my breath. I tried drinking quickly. Drinking slowly. Having people try to scare me. Having people slap me on the back. I tried meditating, telling my diaphragm to relax and stop going into spasm. I swung myself upside-down on the barstool and tried to imbibe 180 degrees in the wrong direction. Nothing helped. Eventually, I sat in the corner and felt miserable.

The quest to end my hiccups resulted in my only becoming rather jittery and drunk. So Brian and I left the bar for the pizza place next-door. I was halfway finished with my slice when I realized my hiccups had completely stopped. I felt heady with possibilities. Or maybe just beer and pizza.

It has come to my attention that if I am drinking and contract the hiccups, when I eat something, they go away. If I am eating something and get hiccups, I drink something, and they go away. I am the master of my own diaphragm.

This past Sunday, one of my staff members got the hiccups at work. I had her eat one of the key lime coconut patties Brian had bought for me at the Tampa airport, and her hiccups went away. Several hours later, they came back. She ate a couple bites of her sandwich from lunch, and they went away again.

Then, last night, Brian got the hiccups too. I said, "You have to eat something and they'll go away."

Brian said, "But I was eating something when I got them."

"Well, then," I said, "You have to drink something."

He did, and sure enough, they went away. I really think my cure--as simple as it sounds--works. If you get the hiccups in the near-future, please try my ghetto cure and email me to tell me if it works. Maybe I will build a website called hiccupbusters.com. That domain name still appears to be available.

06.05.05
I am 28 years old, but I still get zits.
Normally, it doesn't really bother me that much. I mean, I'm not covered in zits. I just get them here and there around my face now and then. They remind me that I'm still young.

We visited Uncle Ira in the loony bin yesterday, and during our visit, my uncle said, "What's that on your face?"

I thought he meant I had gotten some piece of food or dirt on my face, so I began to brush it off with my hands.

"No," he said. "Above your lip. It looks like a pimple."

OH! The thing that looks like a pimple? Why, it is a pimple! Thanks for pointing that out.

I should also mention here that this is the same lunatic uncle who recently had a prostate biopsy, and a direct quote regarding the procedure was, "It was through the rectum, not through the mouth, that they were giving the probe."

That pleasantness occurred in the afternoon. In the later afternoon, we went for dinner with my grandmother, who also felt the need to point out my blemish, again, by asking in a pseudo-concerned voice, "What is that on your face? You got a zit there?"

This type of behavior I will call "proactive family nitpicking". This is the flipside of what is know as bystander apathy. On Friday, Brian and I were supposed to meet up for dinner near our apartment. Before we were united, we were separated by two men in a fist fight. Brian was on his cell phone saying, "Oh my god. Two men are fighting. I should do something. They're really fighting. I should call 911."

As I walked closer, I could hear dogs barking both from the street and on my cell phone. By the time I was in eye shot of the action, the fight was winding down. Two trays of grapes had been knocked down from a fruit seller's cart. A large, middle-aged guy was pushing a smaller younger guy against a car. Then he pulled him up by his collar and screamed, "Apologize to my dogs! Apologize to my dogs!"

And there were the two large dogs, barking and running in circles nearby. The smaller guy said. "I'll apologize to you, but I won't apologize to your dogs!"

The middle-aged guy drew back his arm, and then smaller guy screamed beseechingly, "I APOLOGIZE TO YOU! I SAID I APOLOGIZE TO YOU!!! I just don't apologize to your dogs."

The middle-aged guy stopped to consider this. He said, "Are you sure about that? You mean that?"

The smaller guy said, "Yes. I said it. I mean it. I apologize to you. Just not to your dogs."

The middle-aged guy kind of pushed the smaller guy back with disgust. Then he picked up the leashes of his two dogs and walked away, but not before mumbling loudly, "See that it doesn't happen again!"

I walked up to Brian, and he said, "I never called 911." I looked around us. There were maybe ten or twelve people standing around (including the fruit seller), most of them looking awe-struck, some on cell phone telling their friends and loved ones about the fight they had just witnessed.

I said, "I can't believe there was a fist fight, and these people just stood here talking on their cell phones."

Brian said, "What? You wanted me to pull them apart?"

I thought about it for a moment. "No," I said. "You could've gotten hurt. And besides, I was also one of those people watching and talking on a cell phone."

06.03.05
I find this recent news about Christian Slater to be very disturbing.
Though the grope-action took place relatively close to where we live, I've never seen Mr. Slater about town, and he certainly has never so much as brushed by me in the Duane Reade, much less grabbed my tush. This disturbs me greatly.

Let us look at a blurb from the New York Times:

At just before 2 a.m. . . . Mr. Slater was outside a deli on Third Avenue at 94th Street, arguing first with a cabdriver and then with his girlfriend. In the midst of the quarrel with his girlfriend, Mr. Slater spotted the victim, who had just bought a soda, and "grabbed and squeezed her buttocks" . . . . Mr. Slater's girlfriend, whom prosecutors declined to name, shouted at him to stop, and he complied, but the victim called 911, and Mr. Slater was arrested a few blocks away. . . .
So what's the problem?

If Mr. Slater "grabbed and squeezed" my butt, I would be thrilled. Then I would run home and sell my undies on eBay. After all, he IS Christian Slater.

I told Brian that I thought the whole thing was ridiculous, and that the woman must be a total nutjob to call the police after having her butt squeezed by Christian Slater. Brian said, "Some feminist you are."

But this isn't about feminism. This is about my desire to have Christian Slater grab my butt. I think it would be swell. I have trouble imagining there are people who feel otherwise. Did you see the pictures? He's still very cute.

On another note, I would like to address the serious topic of quotation marks. It is true that if I were a journalist and I employed quotation marks as I presently do, I would immediately get hit with a law suit. But I am not a journalist. And one of the reasons I chose not to be a journalist was because I had trouble keeping myself from tweaking people's quotes to make them sound the way I wanted them too.

I am not a journalist. I am a fiction writer. And rare is the day when I don't "fiction-up" a quote.

During lunch several days ago, Andrea Blanken pointed out that I had recently attributed to her a number of words which she actually did not exactly say. For the record, she said words that were fairly similar to the words I attributed to her. I did not however have a steno pad with me, and I have the natural memory of a 92-year-old Alzheimer's patient. In addition, she recalled this story during a time when we were both inebriated. If I were to employ quotations correctly -- including inside the quotation marks only words I could attest to in a court of law and not fear getting thrown in the slammer -- the actual exchange looks something like this:

Andrea said, ". . . bowling green. . . clown shoes . . . debcentral . . . ."

Then I said, ". . . clown shoes. . . very long and thin . . . I didnít make it up."

Andrea said, " . . . guy . . . suit . . . clown shoes. . . "

And I responded, ". . . are you ordering another beer?"

Thank you, Andrea, for keeping me honest.


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writing right (or wrong)

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