HTMLGIANT / elias

MEGALOMANIA VOL I: “a beginner’s guide to elias tezapsidis”

 
 

5 ways to get elias to like you

buy him an expensive dinner, an expensive outfit, or something expensive that he would like

tell elias about yourself but don’t talk too much about yourself or elias will tune you out

never under any circumstance tell elias that he’s your second favorite person

if you call elias in the middle of the night, please have something important to say to him (i.e. elias i just bought you a super expensive outfit) or he will terminate your relationship

do not bore elias under any circumstance

 
 

jonathan franzen despises elias

jonathan franzen does not like elias for some reason. it’s probably because elias writes a lot on the internet and jonathan franzen doesn’t know how to use the internet properly

 
 

elias grew up in greece

elias was a happy child in greece. he was super popular and everyone loved him. if this is a surprise to you, then you have a lot more to learn about elias

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Behind the Scenes / 8 Comments
June 19th, 2014 / 4:00 pm

MY BEAUTIFUL “CORRESPONDENCE” WITH PUBLICATIONS I HAVE BEEN PUBLISHED IN (AND/OR IGNORED BY!)

There was a year during which I essentially told my brain that the way to become a writer was to get published by McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. During that year I wrote a loooooootttt of things that are totally unusable for any other place and which were trying to get the right tone for that site. In retrospect, I fully blame the editor for always sending me back kind and personalized rejections which encouraged me—or at least I thought they did—to try again. Eventually, I stopped writing Open Letters, Monologues and Lists, but I think I owe my decision to try writing more to that editor and his charming rejections.

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Behind the Scenes / 11 Comments
May 5th, 2014 / 6:29 pm

FRESH OFF THE NEUE GALERIE: “THE ATTACK ON MODERN ART IN NAZI GERMANY, 1937”

Picture 8

Last Saturday I went all the way uptown to Neue Galerie to see the first American exhibition on the topic of “Degenerate Art,” which will be available through June 30, 2014.  One of my favorite subjects during my ultra-brief academic career (aka “undergrad”) was the exploration of the factors that made the transition from the Weimar Republic to the Third Reich possible. Above all other realms, that of culture was the one that appealed to me the most in my studying of how the German people were capable of gradually dehumanizing “non-Germans,” and to what extent this process was a political construct smoothly created by the Nazis. Reactively responding to German people’s despair and economic insecurity, Nazis built an ideology that made it possible for Germans to replace fear with hate for anything different. I am still fascinated by the institutional curating of art performed by the government, and what it translated to in political terms to have government authorities declare the validity of certain art, while condemning the existence of other art.

Maybe you should go see it if you feel like it and happen to be in New York, even if the security staff is  unnecessarily rude. Especially if you are not familiar with what was presented as “Degenerate Art” and how it became a key tool in spreading Nazi propaganda.

My favorite thing about the Neue Galerie exhibit was the curatorial decision to dedicate the lower level part of the exhibition to a mourning ritual. Specifically, the curatorial team conveyed a sense of cultural loss by presenting empty frames in the place of artwork that was intentionally destroyed by  Joseph Goebbels’ Commission for Disposal of Products of Degenerate Art, the government body responsible to preserve the German identity.  An inventory which chronicles the status of what was labeled “Degenerate”  can be also found downstairs, listing more than 16,000 artworks the Goebbel Commission would destroy, exchange or sell.

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Craft Notes / 2 Comments
March 20th, 2014 / 10:00 am

ALL SEVEN SEASONS OF “MELROSE PLACE” IN SCREENSHOTS

One of the first “essays” I ever wrote in elementary school was in response to the heavy question: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I am not sure this translates correctly in English, but there was a clear indication in the teacher’s inquiry this was about our professional aspirations. I correctly predicted at the age of six that I would move to “California, Beverly Hills” (which is one place) and inevitably be added to the cast of the epic tele-universe Beverly Hills 90210″ Aaron Spelling produced. Without irony, I consider my watching of this show about bratty teenagers dealing with their brattiness as a key paragon in my successful and organic learning of the English language.

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Random / 4 Comments
March 4th, 2014 / 11:00 am

ALL THE TEXTS I’D SEND YOU IF YOU WANTED TO GO TO A SERGIO DE LA PAVA TALK WITH ME ON DEAD RUSSIANS

…but then got ran over by a bus and died. No im totally kidding! but you really did get the flu and couldn’t join me.

The talk was at Housing Works, and it included two other speakers: David Gordon and Michael Kunichika.Your expectations were unclear: talk about Russian writers who, though they left us long ago, remain potent presences for readers and writers today. From Dostoevsky and Tolstoy to Vasily Grossman and Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky, we’ll learn about obsession, madness, realism, fables, and more, in an event with all the drama and pathos (well, at least some of the drama and pathos) of the great Russian novels themselves.

sergiodelapavaresize

Here are all the texts I would have sent you, in chronological order and without clarifying who said what, because color-coordinating via SMS goes a step too far:

truth-seeking urgency intrinsic in russian lit

antithesis to beckett & writers who focused extensively on beauty of language

falling in love w/ english language, less plot driven urgency

dostoevsky similar to conrad in terms of truth-seeking urgency

multivocality of dostoevsky

there is no right, just different truths

dostoevsky threw the best literary parties (metaphorically speaking, as a creator)

proust s parties were too long, and maybe the guests were wearing better clothes

abstract psychological curiosity in motives, including abnormalities–>russian approach

going in depth for big questions, characters not being introverted

serialization of lengthy works, such as ‘war & peace,’ adds towards creating a broader debate. they become part of the broader debates occurring during their time

some compare the creation of microcosms of russian lit to ‘the wire’

comparing to british office, where they look at the camera at moments of despair but the viewer cannot do anything to help // to embarrasing dostoevsky characters

nabokov disliked dostoevsky for his “bad writing”

dostoevsky had a v diff approach to writing from nabokov: almost got executed literally, then was told he had another five years

that is also why dostoevsky did not pursue inanimate writing, unlike tolstoy (?)

nabokov didn t like music!

neither did dostoevsky !! (probably diff reasons)

saul bellow s ‘dean of december’–>similar urgency in truth-seeking (someone from the audience)

can reading a book be so vivid it appears like a different life?

if yes, it depends on willingness of writers to go to great lengths in creating characters who go too far, embarrass themselves/ are visceral

perhaps a key element that helps bring about the urgent truth-seeking: religion s role for the writers

religion, like their fiction, was trying to explain what goes on beyond the physical

nabokov s direct ancestor was dostoevsky s jailor. weird how he was not willing to cut him any slack, considering

dostoevsky was crowd-pleasing oriented bc he lived off writing

MONEY!!!

 

 

Behind the Scenes & Craft Notes & Events & Haut or not & Random / 2 Comments
February 11th, 2014 / 5:20 pm

oops!…i did it again: i cant remember to forget you (FKA MEANINGFUL)

I. Two Days After Whateverdaythegrammystookplacethisyear

 I was taking about sex with a new person when I said I was annoyed choking is not on the table as an option. Then I said my ex’s name and remembered how she loved it.

“Oh, I know,” came his Freudian drip. I then punched him pretty hard on his arm, but without being violent. I was kind of upset, but I also knew he didn’t mean to hurt me, his tongue just worked faster than his brain in that moment.

Picture 1

The weird thing is, Billy was probably the victim in all of this. During a time we were trying to be over I surrounded myself with friends who weren’t shared, friends who didn’t let me respond to her manic pleas for reciprocity. So I saw the blocks of texts arrive, and I ignored them, but not because I wanted to ignore them. I was still forcing myself to not respond. That’s when it happened. I know because we eventually got back together and she never told me. But one day I went through her phone and saw her bragging texts about Billy and how he fucks like a rabbit and how the best part of it was that Billy was my good friend. She was bragging about it, but how unfortunate was that? She, who I successfully ignored, intentionally turned to someone else to hurt me for ignoring her. “Positional play is the maneuvering of opponents into the forced clarification of their (but not your) tactical lines of action,” and that was what she was doing. But we all got played in the end, thankfully including her.

Sometimes we do things for unclear reasons. Maybe because they feel good. Is that a reason? I think so, especially when I do the things. Is it worse when the sex is perfect with an idiot or when the sex is boring with a genius? I dunno, but I hope to have less of it and try to make it meaningful.

There is this mix I was listening to recently and it is very good, but I have a problem with it: it closes with a juxtaposition of Justin Timberlake’s “Cry Me A River” and Britney Spears’ “Everytime.” Hopefully, I need not clarify why that poses a problem, but if I must let me say I have a problem with myself for feeling sorry for Britney, when she was the one doing things for unclear reasons because they felt good.  “This song is my sorry,” is a fucked up lyric to be used in a pop song when it is truly personal, and in Spears’ case at that time it was. [1]

You might remember my friend “Billy?” You probably don’t, so here. We grabbed lunch together last week, it was pretty fun. We got Ramen and talked about stuff on a broad scale: the things we are doing for money, the people we have been getting naked with and, naturally, cultural ephemera. An ephemeron we addressed for example was the Grammys ceremony and how we felt about some of the performances and awards. Of course neither of us was able to watch past the first half, or perhaps nothing of note happened in that half. We shall never know!

What we do know: Billy is dating someone seriously, and she is taking him a lot more seriously than he is her. She is “intense” and “confrontational.” She senses what they both know. Basically what he is saying is that he is not up for it. He likes her, but she feels for him in ways he doesn’t. I tell Billy to tell her that he knows her intuition is right. To stop playing along and pretending he doesn’t see what she is right to notice their “thing” is missing.

Must we pass over in silence what we cannot speak about? 

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II. Whateverdaythegrammystookplacethisyear

THE *REAL* GRAMMYS, HAPPENING EONS BEFORE THE SUPERBOWL 

I watched them with my friend who will not be told when she must cease thinking about Beyonce’s net shorts. (“i hate how everything moves so quickly. it’s like just because a few days have passed doesn’t mean i’m not still thinking about the grammys.  sure, not MOST of the grammys. but i’ll be thinking about her netted costume for a WHILE.  why does the internet want everyone’s brains on fast forward?”)

I could not believe how fortunate it was that I happened to be near a television! I was casually complaining about life to a dear friend on a Whateverdaythegrammystookplacethisyear when all of a sudden… Beyonce! I never fully get how award shows work, their purpose and how the selection process works for who gets nominated for what. But if they start with Beyonce, I am totally mesmerized and willing to watch with full attention and the occasional loud “OH MY BEYONCEEE!” There were multiple of those, and people on the receiving end of Beyonce’s electric chair were electrified, as expected, jumping up and down their couches everywhere, unless they lived on the West Coast, and thus were penalized for their decision .

The *Real* Grammys seem to be organized by a panel of Ladies… who Love Cool J. Why is he the presenter? Why do they keep Doin’ It (feat Leshaun)? The sartorial negligence of the Cool James was apparent as he momentarily shared a stage with an immaculately dressed First Husband of America. Let’s just say there were no ZZZs in Jay-Z’s perfect outfit, and even less ZZZs were there to be found in the way the Presidential couple looked like while performing together during the *Real* Grammys, intoxicating everyone with their intoxication.

The deep blue sea of sartorial hmmms deepened further when our favorite Neptune decided to hide his crown under a hat, and all of humanity wondered: “Pharrell. Why!” He was still perfect, and at least wasn’t being ridiculous like those dudes who must have been sweating balls in their anonymity protecting helmets.

But looks and looking supa dupa fly are not all that matters in music these days. The young musicians have set up the bar mad high, where only Lordes can fly, and your prepackaged Dark Unicorn won’t fly you there despite its hypnotic beat (gah, this hasn’t happened to my brain (?) since when Gwen Stefani was cheerleading) that encourages obsessive repeat-play.

If the producers of your album aren’t Illuminati, you might have to join a circus. In the words of pop-princess (does she keep being princess until Madonna dies?) Britney Spears: “There’s only two types of people in the world: the ones that entertain, and the ones that observe.” Pink misunderstood the distinction and thought being observed was synonymous to entertaining, but acrobatics are all the ZZZs Jay-Z was missing that night. Except for her thigh strength, which so wow, very anti-ZZZ!

[*serious-y chunk*]

Anyway, time to get serious-y. Let’s address the thing that agitated most of us about the *Real* Grammys: Kendrick Lamar—who was, is and will always be objectively the best in everything for which he was nominated—didn’t win anything. Then the band (is Macklemore a band? or just that dude with the two-year old Freeman’s Alley barbershop hair a solo thing?) made the crass, gross error of trying to recognized their (his?) inferiority by sharing the thought with all their fans. This literally felt like a violent slap to everyone: (1) the people who might have thought Mackleduders deserved to win stuff, (2) the people who wanted Kendrick to win stuff and were frustrated he didn’t, and (3) let’s not even think about all the other very sensitive and insecure artists who were both nominated and lost and not even publicly recognized by the true winner of stuff they lost as the ones worthy of winning.

To think this band (or dude? I really have to find out at this point!) would even consider considering publicly sharing a private message he sent which should have been private, because eww band or dude, get a publicist! The negative criticism they (or “he,” whichever is correct!) have received is totally deserved. Bad apologies are in poorer taste than not apologizing at all, and this one was a very selfish and self-aggrandizing one. The reason this “apology” really sucked was the way it was portrayed and whored out via social media. There is a Kendrick song called “Real.” It is greatly introspective and reflective, further showing where in the “real nigga” doctrine Kendrick falls: he is not obsessed with appearances in a way consuming his music’s production.

The song stresses the importance of showing up, of being “real” in a way that is vulnerable:

The reason why I know you very well/ cause we have the same eyes can’t you tell?/ the days I tried to cover up and conceal/ my pride, it only made it harder for me to deal

[*end of serious-y chunk*] 

Speaking of #Unapologetic, sources close to the Barbadian queen of pop Rihanna have revealed to TMZ the star watched the show at the comfort of a new planet she recently purchased. While she is considering Stay-ing there a while, TMZ has learned that Rihanna used telepathy to support her bestie (hmm. Cara?) close friend Katy Perry during her Grammys performance. “Where have you been?” thought Katy in the secret illuminati witchlanguage she shared with Rih, and then she felt the transcendental high-five from afar.

Then everyone bought things and companies were so, so happy! Well, almost everyone bought things. Mostly women who wanted to wear all the beauty products that made their stars look like stars. Men would have to wait for a sports event, like last year’s Beyonce performance at the sports thing which made Janet Jackson a star.

In conclusion, the *Real* Grammys didn’t really change anything, but that’s okay. Because the Grammys rarely do that. It is mostly public opinion that shapes who the big figures are in culture, and all the individuals who are nominated for these awards have acquired a level of respect as artists significant enough to see Taylor Swift going hard to Kendrick live, which is fine and great and super, but remains besides the point. When our cultural curators shift our attention to something silly, even if this silly something is endearing and well-intentioned, they (the curators) have taken our attention away from something else.

Who chose the direction to focus on Swift—and more extensively—before showing us an enthusiastic Hova? Probably the same exact person who gave Macklemore the award. It wasn’t me. But if it were me directing, I would have focused on the performance exclusively, out of respect to the person on stage. If a majority of the population only likes stuff because other people like it, then please save the stuff I like from getting Grammys! 

Picture 2

III Nine Days After Whateverdaythegrammystookplacethisyear

He felt sad, he said. It was the morning after he stopped hating himself for being kinda in the gray area for so long in private. The night before he had send me a text: “It’s over. A little back and forth but we both agreed it was checkmate. Broke up in Central Park, lol. It went so well/ was our first real convo. Probably the best convo we ve ever had. I feel surprisingly sad.”

I was really proud of him. And of me, for challenging him to be upfront about his lack of genuine want in his relationship. But I also felt meaningless. I wasn’t even able to arise in my person the decency Billy was finally able to come up with for his new ex.

Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent, I guess.

FKA-Twigs

 

NOTES

[1]  I know this with certainty, because this was the first song Spears wrote. She wrote it with a woman named Artani, who then went on a Greek reality-talent show, called “Fame Story,” which everyone in Greece watched at the time because we were trying to not focus on our faltering institutions as a nation.

Artani was dealing with a breakup while Britney was trying to face the new Justin Timberlake as an ex, who had released “Cry Me A River.” The song was personal, and “Everytime” was a vulnerable response to it, but how vulnerable was it really, when it was a pop song and it was created for everyone? Doesn’t that take away from it in serving a purpose as being a meaningful apology? I think it did/ does/ forever will. 

Behind the Scenes & Craft Notes & Haut or not & Random / 6 Comments
February 4th, 2014 / 2:32 pm

BREAKUP TIME

Breakup Time: Proposal For Alternative Metric Systems That Objectively Reflect Human Pain
1. Liters of Visine produced, organically
2. Years spent on bathtub, monthly
3. Number of “Ace of Base” songs that sound like “just like Nirvana” (*ATTENTION: if said number >=5, please revert to the bathtub immediately.)
4. Weeks spent during which The Most Delicious Thing You Always Crave But Never Have Because “Too Many Calories” tastes like a shoe you would not even wear
5. Months spent during which The Most Delicious Thing You Always Crave But Never Have Because “Too Many Calories” is all that you have, all the time
Universally Shared Symptoms Across All Metric Systems
*When in a different continent, the following inquiry recurs: “WHAT DO YOU MEAN NYQUIL IS UNDER THE COUNTER?”
In your heart, Destiny’s Child is still a group. Sometimes, Oprah is the lead singer.
Stay strong! Start smoking, avoid leaving your house and spend more days, one after another, eating The Most Delicious Thing You Always Crave But Never Have Because “Too Many Calories.” It is all about finding the balance between 4 and 5, where “weeks” and “months” transform into days.
Video-games might also help.
Behind the Scenes & Haut or not / No Comments
January 27th, 2014 / 8:13 pm

i know everyone lives in brooklyn, so don t miss out on macaulay culkin s pizza band, which is playing somewhere in brooklyn later tonight!! or at least that s what i heard at this very hip coffee shop black brick today, which was freezing cold btw. also, the barristas were rude, but oh whatever, it was all worth it to see that girl in moonboots & balenciaga.

Moon-Boot-Black

anyway, this book, looks AMAZING, no? i mean, i dunno, but i dig the trailer.

(so yeah, i wonder what everyone is reading, actually. but if you want to talk about things you re watching that is also fine. why not?)

FUCK YER BRAND, IMMA DO ME (/help me figure out my brand?)

[u shd probably read the NOTE(S) as they come up for cohesion, but do as u wish, obvi]

so there s a lot of things that have been going on here, on our dearly beloved htmlg. there seems to be an even bigger emphasis than ever before on attn. and i won t lie, it is nice to feel that w/e it is i might have written here might have been read or provoked a thought to someone—ANYONE—outside of me. but the reason i am writing this, right now is to set up a personal statement of sorts for how i want to use this site, as someone who regularly (?) tries to put stuff up…

MISSION STATEMENT(S)

I will refuse to care about being “cool.” I reject the notion of a grotesquely narcissistic coolness in an alt lit universe, where we are all nerds, when viewed through the larger lens of people who are not only unaware of this lit stuff, but also actively ignore its existence.

Perhaps I am just the biggest loser in the universe, but I like to care. If I did not, maybe I would not want to write. The reason I started writing was to figure out things I was genuinely curious about, not always in a healthy fashion. It was not to one-up anyone, not to be smarter in a gimmicky sort of way that will fade and might feel cheap in a couple of years.

HTMLG was one of the places online I constantly returned to when I was in a cubicle day after day doing shit I hated, trying to find a way out. To me, it used to be a liberating space, a meaningful forum that introduced me to writing I care for, and still value. Now, it is confusing. I have the hardest time figuring out the intentions behind what is being written. Sometimes I wonder if pressing “publish” was the entire goal of some contributor; I do not think it should be. [1]

Picture 1

An amazing book of poetry was loaned to me, to remind me of my incentives and goals. Ann Lauterbach is brilliant, even though she cares. Or maybe because of it. I do not write poems, but her intentions—as presented in the middle section of “Under The Sign” are ones I would like to have as ideals.

The experience of art

So perhaps caring is not so bad. I will not actively try to not care about writing; writing by those who don’t care does not interest me.

But to care, one needs to put something at risk. One must “open,” perhaps even lose a part of their “security”—usually stemming from exercising a controlled performance of confidence—by showing insecurity. Being clevererererer just shouldn’t cut it if one wants to be true to oneself. [2]

I like the way Lauterbach understands writing. I wish we all agreed on that a little more, but I won’t force it upon you, because that would go against my principles.

Reciprocity


NOTE(S)

[1] It is entirely possible that the reason I feel this way about putting words together in a creative way is because I did not study it. Maybe the excessive studying of something leads some of my fellow HTMLG contributors to an insipid cynicism that is often reduced to “being smarter.” Maybe it has to do with the frustrations of a young writer—or new, actually— as an immaterial existence in a material universe: the rewards of writing are rarely fiscal.

money seemed
So yes, there is a relationship to be noted here that births frustration. But I do not think it should be our driving force. I will not let it be mine. In the Greek language there is no word that accurately translates to “writer.” The options for the translator are either “journalist” or “novelist.” Language depicts “realities,” to a degree. In the English language it might still be possible to be a writer at large. Someone who tackles fiction and/ or nonfiction. But rather than appreciate it, we are all beating this possibility; rejecting it, killing it.

The fixation on rapid success that is intrinsic in late-capitalism has infected our immaterial universe, stigmatizing creative intentions. And I am aware money is—and probably will be—an issue for a lot of us/ you/ whatever you want me to say. But to let it dictate creative intentions would be embracing defeat.

The rewards I value, thus far, are the kind and generous exchanges of ideas I have with individuals I admire and respect. I don’t know if they count as material or immaterial, but I do know that money cannot buy them. An email from Blake casually saying “hey man, i liked that thing you wrote” means more to me than a paycheck. Perhaps I am just the biggest loser in the universe.
integrity
Or perhaps I just prefer losing with integrity over winning without it.
[2] Or if it does, I don’t understand why such a person would turn to writing. Is writing not a resort away from “the real world?” The material world is the one I am willing to fail in with less hesitation; the immaterial one I have “chosen” out of no other choice: because I care.
care

Am I living in the past? Is anyone even reading this. Is “reciprocity” the recognition of who the smartererererer one is?

then fuck “you,” imma do it 4 me

sinister
Author Spotlight & Behind the Scenes & Craft Notes / 14 Comments
January 14th, 2014 / 1:30 am

THE GOOD GHOSTS OF SNAPCHAT

acura-sent-100-followers-a-snapchat

I don’t know if you have realized it, but if you look carefully at The Dick Van Dyke Show, you might notice that the star-couple does not share a bed. In fact, married couples did not sleep in the same bed until 1952 on American television, which is totally ridiculous. [1]

Things change in our culture and many weird things we are unsure we want to welcome suddenly become our reality. Here comes the Verysmartphone 5.3, with all of the internets for you to have and carry with all the time! The facebooks, the twitters!! Everything. And ew, you have Snapchat? What are you, a weird pedophile or, like, a huge slut?

Well I am neither, and I love Snapchat.

My entire immediate family lives in a country far, far away, in a small place called “Greece.” I don’t get to see them often, so it was great to have my mom and sister come visit over Christmas. We fought so much! It was amazing. But also, I made my sister download Snapchat. This has been the best thing for our relationship since I have emigrated from Greece and away from my family.

My sister is the kind of person who does not use social media the way I do. It is not a place for her to bitch about how adulthood is probably when you start washing your french press before you need to reuse it. We have a different sense of what is publicly acceptable as an extension of one’s self. This is where Snapchat comes in, I think. She is no longer preoccupied with appearing a certain way, even to me. There is a vehement liberation from the anxiety or stress some feel over the perfection a “permanent” record of a picture or note “must” leave; it is a weird empowering liminality that arrives with the immateriality of the Snapchat application.

An important detail to emphasize is that my sister is also not the kind of person to gchat or verbally engage with me meaningfully online. She might be more of a visual communicator. I do not know for sure, but that is what the past month has shown me. And I am so happy in this little unimportant—yet so, so important—discovery. I can look at the video she sent me of her walking towards her boyfriend’s Ducati, and I can feel close to her. I still haven’t met her boyfriend, but I kinda know how he makes her feel and this technology has given me a sense of intimacy I didn’t know was possible. (Sister’s boyfriend is also the President of the Ducati Club in Greece, and for that alone, from my standpoint, they’re meant to be!)

With Snapchat, my sister can have separate beds in a public sphere, and if that is what she wants it should be respected. But it is nice to no longer feel as away from her as I really have been.

Snapchat-20140110114704

[1] First shared bed thing was actually in 1947, but the couple was married IRL and it was before TV was really TV, just in case someone wants to split hairs.

Behind the Scenes & Haut or not / 2 Comments
January 10th, 2014 / 12:53 pm

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