Category Archives: Gemma Burgess

On… books for Christmas

Sup. (See how effortlessly familiar I am with you guys? I don’t have to write a big long charming intro. I can just be myself, albeit the version of myself that says ‘Sup’ semi-ironically, without even a question mark at the end, because as a male friend once told me: ‘question marks indicate neediness, statements equal confidence’, to which I would add, ‘and can also make you sound like kind of an asshole’, but sounding like an asshole kind of fits with my semi-ironic use of the word ‘Sup’ so that’s just fine. Wait, am I still in a parentheses? Damn. Okay. Leaving now.)

Today my sister and I browsed McNally Jackson, and I kept seeing books I want for Christmas. So in case you’re looking for ideas or just need something to read…

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Does Santa Exist? by Eric Kaplan. Because I NEED TO KNOW.

 

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Secret Ingredients: The New Yorker Book Of Food And Drink. This seems like the kind of food book I’d actually enjoy.

 

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I Must Say: My Life As A Humble Comedy Legend by Martin Short. I love Martin Short so much that my sister and I refer to him as ‘Marty’ as in ‘Marty always says…’  This is hilarious. 

 

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Life Stories: Profiles From The New Yorker.

 

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Steve Martin’s LA Story and Roxanne, the screenplays. Love Steve Martin. Love those movies. Love reading screenplays. Love the whole damn thing.

 

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The Man Who Seduced Hollywood: The Life and Loves of Greg Bautzer, Tinseltown’s Most Powerful Lawyer. I try to read anything with ‘Tinseltown’ in the title.

Need more? Other books I read and loved recently: Saturday Night by Susan Orlean, Some Girls by Jillian Larson, I Don’t Know What You Know Me From by Judy Greer, and Fox recently read and loved All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki And His Years Of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami, and Laurence Of Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making Of The Modern Middle East by Scott Anderson. If you are looking for more gift ideas, my lovely friend Joanna always nails it with her gift guides. Happy shopping.

On… Christmas movies

I love Christmas movies. There are a dozen Christmas movie lists out there, but none of them have this one on it, and it’s so great.

THE SURE THING.

My God, that trailer sucks ass. The movie is so much better than that. It’s an 80s romantic comedy and yes, the premise will make you sigh (he’s going across the country to bang a malnourished bimbo?) but it’s really funny and weird and awesome. I swear.

Here are some scenes that may convince you to track down The Sure Thing and watch it.

One of the lines (“we speak each other’s unspoken language… fluently”) is now part of my internal dialogue. I may have put it in a book once. I can’t remember. I do stuff like that a lot, kind of as a pop culture Easter Egg for readers, but also just to entertain myself when I’m writing. Sometimes people spy the little things I put in the books and email me (“Did you know Jake Ryan is the same name as the guy from Sixteen Candles?”) and I LOVE that and pratically hyperventilate my reply (“Yes! I know! It’s the best movie! I love him! So much!”).

And after that, go watch a Muppet movie, any Muppet movie, because every Muppet movie feels like a Christmas movie.

On… bad hair

I have bad hair. No, I really do. It’s thin. It breaks. It doesn’t hold color. When I’m knocked up it grows in darker. Then after I have the baby it all falls out. Then it breaks some more, and sometimes, for no reason, looks a little pink.

I’m on a constant quest to get huge 90s hair, you know, a giant flip-the-bird of attitude and awesomeness. So I tried to learn how to blow dry, I tried this and kind of liked it but not enough to keep it, and this is good too but I detest the smell so back it went, and this really works though it kind of makes your hair into cement. But all blowouts, and all products seem to only in my hair for like half a day, then it just looks shit again. I know. My load is heavy.

BUT. It turns out my problems started WAY before blowdrying. (True on so many levels.)

I needed to change conditioners.

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Cleansing Conditioner by WEN.

I don’t know how it works and I don’t care enough to find out. Something to do with parabens. Whatever. The point is, you massage a giant glob of this into the bottom 3/4 of your hair in the shower, leave it for a minute or two while you shave your armpits and consider shaving your legs and then say nah fuck it I’m good, then massage it out. BOOM. Your hair will be awesome.  (By the way, those of you who have read this blog for a while know that every now and again I come on and I’m like DROP EVERYTHING GUYS I HAVE THE ANSWER TO ALL YOUR BEAUTY NEEDS and it’s never the answer, not really, but it’s the answer for now. And as with everything I like most, I enjoy the process. Otherwise, what’s the point of anything? Anyway, try this stuff if you want to, and if not, that’s okay too.)

On… the WTF podcast

I just started listening to a podcast, and like everything else that I discover about six years after everyone else, I’m OBSESSED. (No, it’s not that Serial podcast. I know everyone is talking about it, but I honestly get too freaked out just thinking about it, let’s move on, no seriously, stop it, let’s move on.)

I tried listening to a couple of NPR podcasts before but they seemed to be just very annoying people talking about movies/music/books/”culture”. I thought they were being pretentious fuckwits but couldn’t argue back. So I stopped listening. (I know hate-listening is a thing, like hate-reading and hate-Instagramming, but I don’t do it. Not to be all hippie-ish about it, but that negative energy shit like totes drains my chi. For the same reason, I don’t watch reality TV and I don’t read gossip magazines. Sorry, back to the point: I wasn’t into podcasts.)

Then I discovered WTF. The host is a comic named Marc Maron.

He interviews comedians, writers, actors, directors – basically, people creating something, usually comedy. He is an exceptional interviewer. Charming, funny, self-aware. He seems to make each person feel like he connects with them uniquely and finds them extraordinarily interesting and charming. And so, as a result, they ARE interesting and charming.

Some interviews work better than others, but I almost always come away thoughtful and with a very definite and specific understanding and appreciation of each person. It’s one of those makes-you-love-humanity-more things: everyone has a story. And right now, when much of the internet seems to be permanently premenstrual, picking fights and being a bitch to everyone it meets, that is pretty damn valuable.

So now, naturally, I have a mild Marc Maron obsession. I pretend that we’re on a friend date (a totally platonic friend date, come now, I’m married, I have two tiny ginger sons, and he like wouldn’t even ask me out you guys, helplessgigglebitingmyfinger) and he’s asking me questions about my life and I’m being all scintillating and hilarious and thoughtful. This is, I’m aware, VERY FUCKING LAME OF ME.

Anyway, I figured you might like it too. There are over 500 interviews. I pick them out at random. You need an app like this for your iPhone, then look up ‘WTF’ and the last 100 interviews are free. Or do as I did and realize quickly that you’ll need the official WTF app for premium access to every interview ever.

A good interview to start with is Dax Shepherd. (He’s an actor, you know him.) He’s a great raconteur, he seems like a truly lovely and smart guy. I also really enjoyed the interviews with Elizabeth Banks, Nick Frost, Natasha Lyonne, Laura Dern, Nicholas Stoller, Bill Hader, Diablo Cody, Robin Williams (this one is really wonderful, though it will probably make you cry), Ivan Reitman, Jason Reitman, Molly Shannon, Josh Radnor, Hank Azaria, Jon Favreau, John Oliver, Danny McBride and um there are more but let’s start with them. You’ll enjoy them.

There are other interviews that are okay-but-not-amazing, and a few where I came away thinking ‘well that guy is a total dick’ or ‘I would SO not have a drink with that woman’. But I won’t tell you their names because you know, karma (see above re: negative energy shit totes draining my chi).

Anyway. Enjoy. Mwah. x

 

 

On… a great article

This is brilliant. There is about to be a backlash on the deification of motherhood.

“No wonder so many of us have stopped listening to all those people trying to tell us to surrender, embrace our inner housewife, have it all, accept less than “it all,” be more French, be less attached, be more attached, lean in, lean out. Today’s absurdly conflicting notions of motherhood play far better as comedy. No matter what the script says, we don’t have to perform such a farcical, unrealistic role. We can rip the S off our chests. We’re still the same underneath it all.”

Yup.