Elle Severe Presents

Archive for July, 2012|Monthly archive page

Past Loves: Whitebread Edition

In Past Loves on July 31, 2012 by WhiteBread

I will preface this post by telling you all that I am, in fact, a weirdo.

Bob Saget

From Full House to America’s Funniest Home Videos, Bob Saget became the last person I saw/heard before going to sleep most nights as a child.  Rumor has it he permeated my brain so dramatically during my formative years, that the first word I ever uttered was “Bob”.  Maybe it was his wholesome family values, or his plaid shirts and corny jokes, or perhaps it was that fact that I secretly could tell his Philly swag equaled a very dirty side.  Whatever it was, Bob did it for me.

The impact of my Bob love definitely stretched into my later years as well.  Up until my current boyfriend, nearly all of the men I’ve dated and/or slept with beared some resemblance to Bob.  This fact proves once and for all that not only is he a tough crush to get over, but that I’m probably the weirdest fucking person on the planet.



Nomar Garciaparra

What?  I’ve got a thing for noses.

In 1997, Nomar not only entered the baseball scene as the young phenom, shortstop for the Boston Red Sox but he broke into my young, impressionable heart as well.  For years following, my unhealthy obsession with Nomar continued to grow.  Going to countless card shows to add to my collection, pouring over numerous magazine and newspaper articles, memorizing all of his statistics and trying to catch a glimpse of him during Interleague play, I attempted to learn all about this man I admired.  I furiously defended him among groups of friends, family and strangers throughout all of his injuries, steroid rumors and OCD tendencies, and simply could not get enough of him.  The man was a saint to me (remember when he saved that woman who was drowning!), and I was in love.

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The Big Pink

In Life, Musings, Random on July 31, 2012 by K. Vargo

If you have a chance to go see The Big Pink, go.  Even if you only know one song.  If you are a music fan you will enjoy it.

It has been over two years since one of their songs hit the mainstream but they are still playing small venues.  I saw them at the Rock and Roll Hotel in DC and tickets were only $13 apiece.

One day my friend and I were walking by the Rock and Roll Hotel and I saw that Foster the People was playing.  I didn’t get tickets.  I doubt they will ever play a venue that small again.  I learned my lesson to never pass up cheap tickets at a small venue even if I only know one song.  Just go.

The Big Pink played last night, a Monday, they were going on at 9:15 (which isn’t awful) and sometimes it can be a pain to get a back from the Rock and Roll Hotel as it gets later, my friend also had a really long day at work and I was feeling ambivalent.  But we went.  The band was awesome, and the crowds at smaller places really seem more into it and genuine about their love of music.   It made us remember there is more to life than work and why we love this city.  So I encourage you to always go to a show whenever you can.  I have never regretted it and if the band ends up sucking live or you can’t deal with the crowd, you can always leave. But you won’t know until you go.

The Big Pink


Camden Yards – The Story of the Stairs

In Life, Musings, One Beer In, Random, Sports on July 31, 2012 by Elle Severe

In September 2006, my husband, myself and our two best friends, Sully and Claire, decided to take a baseball road trip and combine our two biggest loves: drinking and the Red Sox.  We drove to Baltimore in Sully’s super smooth riding Volvo while he made us listen to his iPod, which was chock full of crappy music.  Luckily I had had a root canal the day before and was fully stocked with Percocet.  Once I settled into the backseat I strategically wrapped my pillow around my head in a turban-like fashion, pulled my hood over it to secure it in place, took my medication, which shall henceforth be known as “candy”,  said ‘peace out’ and slept ‘til Baltimore.

Once in Baltimore we checked into our motel, found our room and after settling in to this wonderful hotel that I booked online (“Only 3 miles from Camden Yards – Come Stay With Us!”), immediately set about trying to get the hell out of this room.   Now remember kids, back in 2006 we didn’t have the internet on our phones so I had to call my sister to ask her to please find us a new hotel room that had been cleaned sometime in the 2000’s.   Honest to God, this place was that type of place where if they did that black light thing on the bedspread, the whole bedspread would glow….we had to go.  My sister called back pretty quickly and got us into a nice Courtyard Marriott.  We packed up and were just about to hit the open road when we noticed that there was a Walmart across the street.  This proved to be serendipitous as we actually needed a Walmart.  Why? Well Sully and Claire were not boyfriend and girlfriend.  Sully was my husband’s best friend from childhood and Claire was my best friend from high school; they were not a couple.  So as to eliminate any awkwardness and keep costs cheap by getting only one room per stop on our illustrious road trip, we agreed that at our first available convenience, we would stop and buy an air mattress.  Sully had graciously agreed to sleep on the air mattress so I graciously agreed to pay for it.  We pulled in to Walmart and once inside went our separate ways, boys to the gun section, girls to bedding.  When we met up in front of the store 20 minutes later, I had a new air mattress and Sully had a new machete.  I guess the powers that be think it’s a good idea to sell machetes in Walmart stores in Baltimore.  I don’t think that’s a good idea, at all.  For the rest of the trip, from Baltimore to New York and back to Boston, any time any of us acted up,  Sully threatened us with his new machete.  In retrospect, I have to question the wisdom of all four of us in thinking that it was a good idea to A. purchase a machete, B. keep said machete in hotel room,  C. keep said machete in hotel room within reach and D. keep said machete in hotel room, within reach, while binge drinking.

Anyway, by that evening we were ensconced in a lovely Courtyard Marriott that my super efficient sister found online (Dear Karyn and Expedia, In all likelihood you probably saved our lives. Love, Elle) and were trying to figure out our next step.

The boys agreed to think on it while watching porn, while I decided that an herbal remedy would help me think better.  Claire, who is a good girl, sat and watched the debauchery unfold.  Finally, after what seemed like hours but was in fact only about 15 minutes, our great minds came together and it was agreed that we should head over to the Inner Harbor before the game starts.  Once there we would see the sights, get some drinks, have some dinner…brilliant plan!

Sidebar: I cannot for the life of me say or write ‘Inner Harbor’ without hearing it in my head as INNAH HAHBAH, that’s how ingrained my accent is.  Moving on…

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New Kids on the Block – The Jacket

In Life on July 27, 2012 by Elle Severe

Don’t skip this post because you think it’s about the New Kids on the Block; it’s not.  It’s about a Jacket.

Last summer, June 11 to be precise, my best friend and I had tickets to see the New Kids on the Block with the Backstreet Boys at Fenway.  Early in the morning my mother called and asked me if I wanted her to bring over my official New Kids on the Block tour jacket from the 1989-1990 Hangin’ Tough World Tour.  Because I wanted to see the look on Claire’s face when I showed it to her, I said “hell yes”.  After hanging up with my mom, I ran upstairs to my attic and pulled down two pairs of very important sneakers: peach colored Gazelles from 1988 and Kelly green Nike Cortez also from 1988.  Feast your eyes on these bad boys:

Got my money’s worth for sure.

I remember buying each of these pairs of sneakers.  The first pair, the peach colored Gazelles, were bought in Montreal during my junior year class trip. You need to understand that I had to buy these Gazelles in Montreal because they were supposedly “illegal” here in the United States because they used “real” gazelle skin to make these sneakers.  In fact, the only place you could buy them locally was at a little corner store in Savin Hill called Deb & Georges.  In retrospect I realize that all of this was utter nonsense and could even constitute being labeled an urban legend; the truth was simply that they were distributed in Europe and Canada, not the US.  But, at the time, having “real” Adidas Gazelles was a big deal, and if I had to buy them secretly in a basement in Savin Hill or in another country, by God, I would.

Now not only did I pay for these sneakers myself, but I actually paid for the whole trip to Montreal by myself.  I was a very enterprising high schooler.  I had a job at MGH as an assistant to an administrative assistant (back then they were called secretaries).  I would save every dime from my weekly paycheck and then spend it on sneakers, trips and what the rest of you would call “living”.  My parents didn’t pay for shit for me back then.  They still don’t, but now that I’m somewhere in my 30’s, married, have kids and am reasonably self-sufficient, I’m fine with that.  Back then it pissed me off.  I always thought that clothing and school costs were basic needs to be fulfilled by parents by some contractual obligation created in utero.  Not in my house. Once you turned 13, your ass got a job and your ass paid for your own damn shit.  This has its benefits, for example, when you save up for a few weeks and you buy the newest, hottest most awesome boom box the late 1980’s has to offer, complete with double tape deck and equalizer – no one can say anything to you.  It’s your money.  That part I liked.  Until I was asked to pay rent.  At 15.  In fairness, they probably asked because  I also bought a sweet “walkman” that week as well and to my parents it probably looked like I was suddenly rich while they were clearly still struggling.  Hey, not my fault they decided to have two more kids after me.  They should have quit while they were ahead, am I right?

Anyway, I figured the sneakers in combination with the jacket would be a great start to the night…but then it started to rain and with one look outside my window, I was pretty much all set.  On the one hand, I was excited to see a concert at Fenway, on the other hand, I kind of wished it was Aerosmith and that it wasn’t in the rain.  I began furiously texting my girlfriends asking if any of them knew if the concert would be rescheduled due to the rain.  Knowing that Fenway in the summer is on a tight schedule, I figured that wouldn’t happen, and I got real grumpy over the idea of standing in the pouring rain listening to a bunch of goofballs from Dorchester.  Made all the worse by the fact that 4 out of the 5 of them grew up pretty much in my neighborhood.  I always get super resentful of people from around here who are more successful than I am.  But, as with all things, some sleep improved my mood.  Two hours, a hearty nap and a nice shower later, I was ready to rock and roll, so to speak.  Unfortunately any hope of my NKOTB jacket and Nike Cortez outfit was out the window due to aforementioned rain.  The Jacket is sacred and the already fragile 20+ year old sneakers would have crumbled in all that wet.   Between that and my new found adulthood wherein which I don’t give a shit and prefer comfort to style, I thought, eff it, khakis, sneakers, a t-shirt and a raincoat will set me up real nice.


This is hers, mine says ‘Friends”, awwww.

My best friend 4eva (we have matching beaded bracelets that say so),Claire came to pick me up and we quickly reflected that the last time we had been to a New Kids concert we were 17.   That was more than one decade ago.  I refuse to say specifically how many decades ago for fear of you actually figuring out my age, but I will let you know that we took the commuter rail to Foxboro for this concert.  That should give you some indication of how long ago it was.  Oh and the fact that the opening act was one Mr. Marky Mark and his Funky Bunch.  We went with two boys.  Neither of them we loved.  One was gay and the other was dating our other best friend.  It was a weird little group.  This time, 20-something years later, it was just us, some rain and the promise to reclaim our youth at Fenway.

My mother arrived with ….The Jacket.  The second I laid eyes on it, I immediately got giggly and proceeded to have a vivid flashback of the exact moment I first laid eyes on it and so here it is, The Legend of The Jacket:

Late, late 80’s.  Lady D is on KISS 108.  It’s a rainy Saturday afternoon in December.  Lady D is doing a contest where she will play 3 seconds of a song, you guess the song, you get tickets to see the New Kids at the Worcester Centrum, New Years Eve.  Lady D plays the song, my mother, at the kitchen counter with her back to me, chopping up peppers on the cutting board, says “Me and Bobby McGee, Janis Joplin”, I look over at her, shrug my shoulders, pick up our phone, dial KISS 108, and hear Lady D’s distinctive Marlboro voice say, “Alright caller, what do ya got?”, “Uh Me and Bobby McGee?”, Lady D “You just won tickets to the New Kids on the Block! What’s your name?” – okay, now here’s where shit got weird.  I didn’t care about the tickets.  I only called cause I was bored, but now I’ve won something.  For the first time in my whole pathetic life I have WON SOMETHING.  So what do I do? I go APESHIT.  I start screaming, I start going “Oh my God, Oh my God, no way, no way!”, I mean I am beyond RIDICULOUS at this point.  I didn’t even care what I won.  In fact, my first thought was that if I won my mom was going to have to take my age appropriate 12 year old sister cause there was no way I was going to see the New Kids cause I like U2 and The Cure and New Order and Metallica, okay? Cause I’m cooooool.  But no, I go bananas, on the radio, in Boston, on a rainy Saturday afternoon.  I know this is going to be trouble, but I can’t contain myself – I just WON SOMETHING! When you’re a born loser, winning tickets to a concert is tantamount to hitting the fucking lottery.  I was pumped; I’m not going to lie.  I manage to calm down enough for Lady D to ask me how I knew that song.  I explained that I didn’t but my mom did.  She said “Put your mom on the phone” so my mom and Lady D chatted for a minute and I think my mom even told her that she would be giving the tickets to my little sister.  After that she told my mom to sit tight and listen for the win since they were on a delay.  We hang on the line, give info to the main office, hang up and wait for the replay of the win.  A couple of commercials later Lady D comes back and then you hear the win: “Alright caller what do ya got?” and then you hear me all quiet and weird, “Uh, me and Bobby McGee?”, “You got it caller, you just won tickets to New Kids on the Block! What’s your name?” and then I hear what is the rest of my social life crumbling into an abyss, a little squeaky voice pipes up and says “It’s Elle Severe, oh my God, oh my God, oh my God, no way  no way! I won? I won something? Oh my god!”.  I was that caller that they salivate over.  I was that freaky caller that LOSES HER SHIT and they’re in the front office like “OH. YEAH. GOLD.” So for the next 60 seconds you hear me losing my mind and freaking out over winning and then you hear my mother telling Lady D how she just knew it was Me and Bobby McGee and of course she’s a Joplin fan and blah blah blah.  In another life I think my mom and Lady D could have been close gal pals.  Anyway, as I listen, I realize that I’m in trouble.  First off, I sound like a 13 year old, secondly, I sound like a loser, and thirdly, there is NO way people from school didn’t hear this.  No way. Back then, everyone listened to KISS, it’s what you did. Yeah, we had WHTT 103 or something, but KISS was the staple.  You weren’t cool unless you were listening to KISS 108.  Anyway, I know I’m dead, but I just resign myself to the fact that I will deny, deny, deny.  Plus, it’s too complicated to try and explain to people that I wasn’t excited over the New Kids tickets, I was excited over the WIN itself.  I don’t win shit, I’m not lucky, I’m not blessed, I.don’t. win. shit.  I Won Something.  For once.  Alright, so whatever.  Moving on, the deal is that not only did we win tickets, but also a chance to meet the guys backstage before the concert.  I want no part of this.  I tell my mother that I’m perfectly fine with her bringing my sister and some of her little friends.  For some reason my mother insists that I’ll be going.  I’m all set.  We go back and forth and finally my mother drops the hammer and says that I’m going, I’m bringing my sister and she’ll spring for a third ticket so I can at least bring a friend.  I nominate my friend Holly.  She’s always up for anything and she’ll enjoy herself.  She’s also a U2 fanatic, but she loves coming up to my house for the weekend and I think that she secretly likes telling her Cape pals (she lives on the Cape) that she’s “going to Boston for New Years” and will be going to a “New Kids concert and going back stage”.  So she’s roped in now.

Monday morning I’m at locker minding my business, the New Kids ticket radio fiasco is a million miles from my head.  Head in locker, Carly North comes up behind me and says “Elle, did you win tickets to the New Kids on KISS 108 this weekend?”, I freeze.  My plan to deny has left my head, I quietly say “Yeah, I guess so”.  Carly says “I thought that was you. It sounded like you” and then something weird happened, she DIDN’T make fun of me.  To my face.  I’m sure she probably did to her pals at lunch, but in that moment, she was actually really cool and not weird about it.  She even said “That will be fun” and then just walked away.  Hmmmm.  What do I make of that? Well, I’ve still got 6 hours of school and the rest of the class to deal with so I need to be on my toes, but suddenly I feel empowered; I decide, FUCK THAT SHIT.  I won tickets, I’m going to that concert, I’m going to look cute, make Donnie Wahlberg fall in love with me, move to California and you all can suck a bag of dicks.  The next person that says comes up to me and asks me if I won tickets I loudly say “Yeah, I did AND? No I don’t have an extra so step off” (“step off” was hugely insulting back in the late 80’s, as was “oh snap” and “ya burnt”, you know what’s hugely insulting now? A well executed “Go fuck yourself”, never underestimate the power of nicely played “Go fuck yourself”).  As it turns out no one else mentions it and I survived the day with minimal damage to my already diminished social status, no loss, no gain.

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Nobody Likes You When You’re 23

In Life, Musings, Random on July 27, 2012 by WhiteBread

When I graduated with my Master’s of Public Health this past May, I immediately thought to myself, “In the words of the physically dead Michael Jackson and the professionally dead Kenny Loggins: “This is it”.  This is the beginning of something great!”


These big expectations met a pretty mundane reality.  Rather than be patient and satisfied for the time being though, I instead turned to the one thing I do best: getting angry.  I had a hard time thinking of my graduate degree as a boon for my future; instead, I found that furthering my education had only left me with a giant chip on my shoulder and no dip anywhere in sight.

Alright, I know what you’re thinking.  “Hold up.  This is crazy.” (And probably going a bit further with a Call Me Maybe reference).  “You’re in a pretty awesome situation and should be counting your blessings.  Sure, you may not consider yourself flourishing on a professional level yet, but you can at least consider yourself successful on an evolutionary level (you are surviving aren’t you?)”.

Ok, I hear you and overall, I’d have to agree with you.  You’re right, I am lucky.  So why do I still find myself bitching so much?  Why do I still feel so inadequate?  Why do I think I’m missing something in my life?  Well, I’ve spent the last few months contemplating these very same questions.  And after weeks of tears, moments of moping and countless hours of self reflection, I think I figured out the answer: I’m 23.

Being 23 sucks, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise (oh, I’m looking straight at you Lena Dunham).  Trust me, I’m a doctor.  Alright, I’m not a doctor, but I have been living this age day in and day out for the last nine months.  I have also done some research.  A great deal of my time has been spent reading autobiographies and memoirs as well as asking older, much wiser people questions about life and aging.  And you know what?  95% of them agree with me: being 23 isn’t fun.

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Flag on the Play

In Rants, Sports on July 27, 2012 by K. Vargo

I’m a baseball fan.  I’m also from Boston so you know what that means, die-hard Red Sox fan.  Right now I live in Washington, DC; to satisfy my baseball cravings I go to a lot of games.  I have an issue.  My issue spans all baseball parks from Fenway to Safeco:

If you are going to a game, and the teams playing are the Nationals and the Mets, why the fuck are you wearing a Phillies jersey? Are you being defiant about the fact that you are at the game? Like “fine, I’ll go but I’m gonna make sure everyone here knows I am NOT a fan of either team playing.”

Come on guy.

Did you show up on the wrong day?

Were you just hoping that by wearing that team’s gear they might show up to play just for you?

And I am not discriminating here, Red Sox fans are not off the hook on this one. I hate it when people wear Sox gear to the Nationals games when they are not playing.  Whenever I see this I want to walk up to the person perpetrating this heinous offense and ask them directly, “you know the Sox aren’t playing, right? Okay, just wanted to be sure.”

And of course there are those that wear a Red Sox hat to a Patriots game or the Caps shirt to a Nats game.  I can’t decide if this is mildly insulting to the team that’s playing or if people do it to show some kind of allegiance.

You’d think I’d be over it being from Boston where people consider sports schwag to be a legitimate, and even optimal, wardrobe choice no matter the circumstance.   But no, it still gets under my skin when I see people wear a Bruins jersey to a Sox game and a Sox shirt to a Pats game and a Pats jersey to a Celtics game and Celtics tank to a Bruins game. Or any of the above to a wake.

Wear the right gear, or don’t wear any at all.