Aug 29, 2013

The Catcher in the Rye

I was kind of sad and sort of offended that so many of my classmates didn't like The Catcher in the Rye. They are removing it from US school curriculums and that makes me very sad. I wrote about why it is important for kids to read Catcher in the Rye for a school essay. Here is the last paragraph:

Holden Caulfield contains all the emotional turmoil of teenage life.  The Catcher in Rye applies now more than ever. A lot of kids now are out of touch with their emotions and out of tune with other people. Technology has allowed my generation to hide, instead of learning how to relate to people in a healthy manner. Social networking and online communication has made my peers more scared to make mistakes, because they will be humiliated digitally in a second. I think that is why many students feel like they can’t relate to the book. People who don’t have compassion for Holden, don’t feel comfortable opening themselves up to feel certain emotions. It is important for students, because if they read it thoughtfully, with an open heart, it will awaken their compassion for their fellow students and everyone they encounter.

Maybe I'm projecting.

Summer Photos

Here is my friend Charlotte's new kitten who at first we thought was just jumpy because he was nervous, but turned out to to be vicious. She slept on her bathroom floor several nights in fear of being attacked. 

 This is my dog Adam. He is a mini-Aussie doodle. He barely lets me hold him so I was very happy when I took this photo. 

Rest in Peace to the sweetest kitty Max. 

This is my best friend Scarlett on her birthday reading Side Effects, not posing.

New York

Buckingham Palace

A toffee tart 

Outside of the most beautiful store, Liberty.

I got my nails done at WAH-Nails at TOPSHOP. They are hand painted and amazing. 

 A street in Chelsea.

I've now seen Matilda the Musical three times. The kids are incredible. I really don't even know how else I would describe them. I wanted to scream the entire time because I loved it so much.The songs are funny and smart, I could go see it 500000 times!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 
I don't remember where I took this
My best friend Nyla and I met up with Leo (who wrote a post for my blog) and Rachel (who has a super cool blog) who are just the nicest/coolest people ever. 

Here is green tea soft serve from Chikalicious dessert bar in the East Village. SO GOOD. 

On our way back from New York, my dad and I stopped in Chicago to go see Pearl Jam at Wrigley Field. He was more excited than I have ever seen him in my life. 

My two best friends Nyla and Joanne on Nyla's birthday.

One Direction concert: a giant slumber party of joy. 

Simple Things on 3rd street mini pies mmmmmm

Valentina, one of my best friends who has two wonderful instagrams: @tuna_boon and @eat_more

Scarlett and I.

THE BEST NIGHT EVER. everevereverever

Feb 21, 2013

Guest Blog: Leo Reich

Here is the first guest post on my blog, written by Leo Reich (@leoreich_ on twitter).

Aug 20, 2012

Falling Out of Love with Twitter

I used to write more, before I got addicted to technology. I was going through my old journals from elementary school, pre-cell phone, and saw that I wrote so many short stories and poems. The excuse I tell myself is that I don’t have time, but that isn’t true. I do have time, but I am wasting it reading tweets and looking at Willow Smith’s Instagram. The amount of time that I spend on my phone scares me. The amount of time I see other people on their phones makes me realize that what I’m doing isn’t important and I shouldn’t be wasting my time. Getting invested in other people’s relationships just makes you feel bad about yourself and maybe feeling bad feels good sometimes.
I read into technology too much and it makes me sad. I take every “like” and “follow” personally. I take everything personally in real life as well, so maybe it isn’t different. Constantly having something to do like check Twitter, Facebook and Instagram makes me feel like I don’t have time to do other things like write or read. I feel like my brain is getting smaller and I cant think of any new ideas to write about. Sometimes when I start thinking about things that make me upset or I feel like I am thinking too much, I go on my phone to shut my brain down. I have been thinking about checking my phone the entire time I have been writing this.
I put so much pressure on myself to make sure my writing is good (whatever that means) that I stopped. I gave up and got involved in social networking. All I think about when I don’t have my phone is checking it. When I don’t have it, I don’t feel safe. (I secretly think one of the many reasons I didn’t like summer camp was missing my phone and feeling disconnected.
Why do I tweet? I like twitter because reading about what other people are doing makes you forget about what you have to do. I like Twitter because it makes me laugh. I like Twitter because it informs me when something important has happened. I like Twitter because it makes me feel closer to celebrities that I know I will never be close to. I like Twitter because reading about crazy things other people do makes me feel normal. I like Twitter because people are so  nice to me and it makes me feel happy.
I hate Twitter because it consumes me and I never stop thinking about it. I hate Twitter because it fills my brain with sad news and events. I hate Twitter because people are so mean to me for no reason and I don’t understand why. I hate Twitter because it exposes me to disgusting people who bully others. I hate Twitter because when I get mean messages, I like to look for mean messages about other people I like, because it makes me feel better, like I’m not the only one. I hate Twitter because it makes me jealous. I hate Twitter because it makes me feel bad about myself. I hate Twitter because it makes me feel good about myself.
I bet I will tweet this article.

May 22, 2012

An Interview with Simon Cowell

When I talk on the phone, I try to speak like an overly polite secretary from Mad Men.  I speak calmly and quietly while pacing aggressively.
Interviewing is a lot easier on the phone. Simon did not get to see how terrified I was. He didn’t even know that I was silently squealing the entire time. Another great thing about interviewing someone on the phone is that long pauses are okay. I could smile with my braces without being self-conscious because no one could see me.
Simon Cowell is very smart, and thoughtful and everything I said made me feel like I did not know how to speak English correctly.
“Maude, how are you?
I’m so good, thank you.

“I’ve been looking forward to this, Maude.”
Oh! I’m so excited.

“I hear you’re very good.
Oh, hopefully.

“We’re going to find out, Maude.”
Okay, so I know you grew up with your dad working in the music industry.  Did you learn anything from him that helped you pursue this? Did he influence you in any way?

“That’s a good question actually because moms and dads are important, you know, in what you do in life. And with my dad, he was actually a very humble man, so I probably take after my mum. But he taught me a very valuable lesson when I was about 12 years old.  He was chatting about people who worked for him and he said, ‘Simon, everyone around you has an invisible sign on their head and it says “make me feel important”.’  I never forgot that.  As I got older, I was aware that when you work on a big show or when you work for a record label, you have a lot of people around you who do a lot of hard work.  You have to acknowledge what they’ve done. He also taught me though that you have to be your own boss. That was very important.”

Now that the rules have changed about who can audition for X Factor (like repped talent and groups), how do you think this will affect the show?

“I try where I can to take away as many rules as possible because, in general, I’m not a fan of rules. I think they’re boring. And if you introduce more rules then you’ve got to introduce even more rules. We’re kind of the opposite, we try to take away as many as possible. And one of the things that bugged me was that we couldn’t have people who had management contracts.  It sounded crazy because when you run a record label, most of the artist that you want to sign have managers. So I just thought the chances are that we should find better people [without the rules about representation]… If they’ve got representation, they’re probably quite good.  It just makes the show more open.  I’m always confident that there’s one person out there, Maude. You know?”
I know the youngest you can be to audition is 12 years old.  Do you ever think that’s too young? That this is too intense for them?

“I think it’s too old.

“I’ve seen 13 and 14-year-olds… they terrify me nowadays. I mean, you look to Astro…. When he first auditioned, he was 14 and he made me feel about 11.  They’re like a new generation, these kids who audition now. A lot of them have watched these shows before and they’ve grown up on YouTube and Twitter and Facebook and they know much more about the music business than I do.  Like I do with the adults, if I think they’re too nervous for this, I’ll say to them that this isn’t the right time. So they’re kind of screened before they meet me. I was really impressed with the young teenagers on the show last year. I thought they were brilliant.”

Yeah.  Rachel – that’s so amazing that she sang at the White House.  That’s so cool.
“That’s unbelievable. I mean, this girl is 14 going on about 75. She’s got so much confidence. And to do what she did the other day… I could see that she was nervous but she pulled it out. I was really impressed with her.”
Okay, back to social networking and social media – do you think that’s changed the competition and how people respond to the show? How has it affected the show?
Again, that’s a very good question.  When I was making these shows ten years ago, you had to sit and wait for the review which could come 48 hours later in a newspaper.  You didn’t know what people were really feeling about the show. When we watch the show now, within about two minutes we know whether we’ve got this show right or wrong. You’ve got this instant feedback.  When I’m watching the show back, I’m watching the Twitter feeds simultaneously and it’s fascinating to see how people respond, whether they like something, they don’t like something.  So it’s like you’ve got millions of people who sort of produce the show with you now.  Because most of what we read about, we incorporate into the show the following week. If they particularly hate something, we’ll drop it. If they particularly like something, we’ll do more of it.  I think if you’re up for criticism and you can handle it, I think it’s the best thing in the world. I really, genuinely do. It’s a much more exciting time to be making shows now than it was ten years ago.”
Do you have any advice for people who want to audition?
“Do you know that I actually think that you shouldn’t ask questions when you audition? I think that all the smart artists that I’ve ever met in my life genuinely know why there is a gap in the market for them, why they are going to be successful and the kind of record they want to make. Those are the really successful artists I’ve met. So when you go to an audition, you’ve got to do your research.  You’ve got to work out why there’s a gap in the market for you and why you’re better than other people because that’s all that record companies want. They want to find something new and hopefully original. And if they do their homework and their research properly now, particularly on You Tube, there’s so many examples of people doing it well.  And I think you’ve got to come in with a lot of confidence.  I don’t mind people who come in with a lot of attitude either, I kind of like that.
What would you say about groups auditioning because they’re usually formed on the show? Do you think that will change relationships backstage?  How do you think that will affect the whole chemistry of the show?
“Well, one of the reasons I left American Idol to go on X Factor was I actually prefer auditioning groups more than solo artists. I think they’re more fun. And I’ve worked with a lot of groups over the years and sold a lot of records. So I was always amazed that there weren’t more groups in the charts over the last few years. But I think One Direction is really important because it’s proven that obviously there’s a gap in the market for a group. And actually the way that you form a group is quite simple. The best groups are normally the ones that are formed as friends deciding they want to be in a group. If they haven’t had months of preparation, they just have to learn a couple of songs and show that they’ve got chemistry and they’re different, and that they’ve got that kind star quality… but you can be a duo, you can be three people, you can be in a family. I mean there are tons of variations. Or you can school choir, you know that counts as a group. But I think like I said off the back of One Direction, you’re going to see a big, big change in the show this year.
How do you feel about One Direction doing so well and selling out concerts?  What do you attribute to their success?  What did you think when you first saw them? How did you know that they were meant to be together?

“Well it was genuine horror that we couldn’t put these guys through as solo artists because they screwed up something in their middle audition but I felt bad about them leaving. So we took a chance and we got these five guys back who we liked.  We said, ‘Look, we think you would do better as a group rather than solo artists because you failed the middle round through bad song selection or nerves … whatever it was’ – But as they stood there for the first time, you know I had a weird feeling thinking, ‘You know what? If this works, they’re going to be huge.’ I could sense it.  And then when they did another audition for me, five or six weeks later, they were absolutely brilliant.  When we made the record, we made it in partnership with them … we listened to everything they liked. We threw away what they didn’t like. And then it was literally fan power that made them who they are today. It wasn’t a big marketing campaign or promotion campaign; it was all word of mouth.  I put all of the success down to them and, like I said, fan power.  It’s just showing how the record business is changing in a really positive way, and if you trust your group and they’ve got talent and you trust the fans … it will work. It is a very, very different way than how it used to be.”
I’ve been a fan since X Factor … and we just saw them recently at Saturday Night Live and I was so excited. In the US, I think they really did just become famous basically overnight. It was amazing how their fan base grew so quickly.

And you know what? … There’s something exciting about a band. I don’t know what it is. When you’ve got more than one… everything gets bigger. The excitement gets bigger.  I think they’re a really good example of what is going to happen in America because genuinely most of the reason why this group has succeeded came down to them… they’ve got good taste, they really respect their fans, they talk to their fans as friends and they’ve become friends themselves.  The best advice I gave them was to never forget your fans, and most importantly, you’ve got to have fun.  You’ve got to enjoy the process. It’s when you stop having fun that it’s over.  We talk with them all the time … and they really are having a great time and they genuinely respect and appreciate what the fans have done for them. And I don’t think they’ll ever forget that.”
One last question. Do you think you’ll ever want to host a more traditional interview show like Piers Morgan?
“I’ll tell you what. I think you should.”
Thank you.

“I’m not kidding.  I’ll tell you why I say that. I don’t know you but I can tell you are a fan of what you’re talking about.  I think that’s where I really genuinely mean this… I think there’s going to be massive gaps in the market going forward… the hosting roles and judging roles are going to be people who are genuinely fans of music and what they’re seeing.  You can pay a lot of people to do the job, but if they’re not really into it… .  You’re going to see what’s going to happen on X Factor this year with how we’re changing the judging panel and with what we’re going to do with the hosts because I really want people on the show who know more than I do because they come from a different background and have different experiences.  We have to change things up quite a lot.  I’m probably going to be interviewed by you in the future on TV.  I’ve got a feeling.”
Thank you so much! Thank you for talking to me. 

“No, I like you.
I’m so excited. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

“No, thank you, sweetheart. It’s been an absolute pleasure.”
It’s nice to talk to you.

“Alright, darling, take care of yourself.

“Bye, Maude.”
Simon Cowell is the nicest person I have ever spoken to.

May 21, 2012

Interview with Paul Rudd

Interview with Paul Rudd for HelloGiggles:

I don’t remember the first time I met Paul Rudd, but I do remember seeing him make my sister cry in a deleted scene fromThe 40-Year-Old Virgin in which he can’t turn off a toy robot which terrified tiny Iris. He was playing a scene. Iris was actually crying.
Paul Rudd is a great actor. He has also been a great pretend dad to me in the movies Knocked Up and the upcoming This Is Forty. I loved chatting with him about his Bar Mitzvah, his career and his new movie Wanderlust.
I asked him a lot about his childhood because I don’t think anyone really knows much about what Paul Rudd was like as a kid. I also thought it was unfair that he knows a lot about me as a 14-year-old but I know anything about him as a 14-year-old.
This was an important interview for me because I finally worked up the courage to ask follow up questions. It was easier with Paul because I know him personally. I did not know the band One Direction personally when I interviewed them. I still don’t. I am not happy about that. I have not heard from them since the interview. What is that about?
Here is my interview with Paul Rudd.
Hi, Paul!
Hello, Maude! Thank you for spending this time with me today and thank you to HelloGiggles!
Thank you! Okay, what is some advice you wish someone told you when you were a kid or a teenager?
That’s a great question. You know, people said it to me and I even thought it’s probably good advice, but it’s really true and that is enjoy your youth and don’t take things too seriously. Always remember, even though a situation might seem like it’s the end of the world, it’s not. It really is true that you will be okay and look back on things and laugh. You don’t need to sweat it – whatever it is – that much.
That’s really good. Because you know, I really do take things too seriously right now.
I know, it’s very sweet and I adore you. That’s why I want to grab you and say, ‘It’s okay, Maude. It’s okay.’
Okay, what were you like as a 14-year-old?
Uh, that was around the time I started to go through puberty and my hair went crazy curly, and I had zits and glasses. Uh, but not cool glasses. They were almost kind of like sunglasses but like a bad frame of sunglasses with clear lenses. I have pictures that I could send you that you would be horrified and you would laugh your head off. Fourteen was tough for me.
Were you a nerd?
Yeah, I didn’t think that I was but I probably was. I really prided myself on my fashionable dress. I had a very independent streak and thought, I’m going to dress super cool and different than everybody else and everybody is going to be envious of my cool clothes. But looking back, I realize that nobody was envious and I’m sure they were laughing. I really prided myself when I was in eighth grade for not owning a pair of jeans, and I never wore jeans for a year and a half. I wore a tie to school every day, although I didn’t have to. But then I started moving into kind of like new wave kind of style and was really into thin ties and really baggy pants. And I remember when that movie Pretty In Pink came out, some people in my school said you totally remind me of that guy, Ducky. And I thought that was a compliment.
Okay, what was your Bar Mitzvah like?
Well I didn’t speak or really read Hebrew. I bailed on Hebrew school early on. So I kind of memorized my Bar Mitzvah piece and then the day before I had to do it, I totally panicked and started to project and then I wound up doing okay during the actual piece and had some phonetically written out in case I lost my place. But I just wanted to get through it and go back to my grandmother’s house for kugel.
Did you have a big party and a Bar Mitzvah theme?
No, it’s so weird the idea of it, because I grew up in a place where I didn’t go to any Bar Mitzvahs because I wasn’t in a very Jewish neighborhood. And I really didn’t have friends that were Jewish. So it wasn’t like what you experience in Los Angeles, or what thirteen year old kids here in New York City experience where there’s lots of Jewish kids. There’s a Bar Mitzvah circuit. I didn’t have any of that so it wasn’t even until I was an adult that I even realized that people had big, extravagant Bar or Bat Mitzvah receptions. Mine was, I literally went back to my grandmother’s house and she cooked. And there was no entertainment. There was no theme to it. I mean I have since been to Bar Mitzvahs where it’s like the theme would be Transformers or Indiana Jones, or some sport’s theme. The theme to my Bar Mitzvah was pinstripe suits and relatives that had a lot of phlegm in their throats.
That is so gross.
It’s so true. It’s like congratulations, Paul. You were wonderful up there [phlegm noice].
And no friends were there?
I had no friends there. I had a bunch of cousins. There were very few children.
All of the Bar Mitzvahs I went to had like Transformers theme and airplanes.
Yeah, and I didn’t have any of that. I didn’t even know that was an option. I never heard of anything like that. Mine was a low key affair that was really like, you know, just the house smelled like fish. And people were milling around and occasionally handing me an envelope.
Are your kids going to get Bar and Bat Mitzvah’d?
You know, Jack Is 7 and Darby is 2, so we haven’t really had that conversation. We’re not particularly religious, but I think that we probably would because you know, I had that, and it would be nice. I think it’s kind of like, you do it for the relatives.
Would it be better than yours was?
I think, yeah. Because Jack has been to a couple of friends’ of ours Bar Mitzvahs and like when he was four, he was just so psyched. It was like a fun party. So I think he’s fully anticipating having one, but I don’t think he realizes that he has to do anything.
It’s hard. All of my friends were so stressed out and it was just, it seemed like so much.
It’s really stressful. It’s super stressful. I was really freaked out about chanting and singing. I just got really monotoned and didn’t even go “oh la la”. I just read it.
Who were your female influences growing up?
Well, you know my mom and my sister because they were closest to me, my grandmother and the females in my life. Apart from my family, I had a couple of great teachers in school and the best ones I’ve ever had were women. I had a teacher in 8th grade named Mrs. Sanders, who was amazing. I had a teacher in high school, Mrs. Shipley, who encouraged performing and that was her thing, and she was great. One of the best teachers that I ever had. So really it was a few teachers.
And did you have any favorite female comedians or actresses then?
When it came to it, I used to like watching the Carol Burnett Show. I thought Carol Burnett was very funny. And I liked Madeline Kahn a lot because in my house we were watching a lot of Mel Brooks movies and she was always in them and super funny. And Gilda Radner. I used to like watching Saturday Night Live. I always thought that she was hilarious.
Okay, what should my friends tell their parents to convince them to take them to see Wanderlust this weekend?
Wow, well it’s got a sweet message, but it depends on the parent because it’s not really, I mean let’s be honest—
Age appropriate?
We’re not talking about you know, The Lorax here. I know it’s pretty bawdy. So I don’t know. I can’t wait to see the parents, but I would not want to make a suggestion on the chance that some kid took my advice, went to their parents, got permission, went to see it, and the parents realize what it’s about and then they trace it back to me and then I’m embroiled in some legal battle.
So you don’t suggest that young children see Wanderlust?
I don’t. I wouldn’t know what to say. As a parent myself, I get a little skittish.
Well, I think that’s it.
I’ve really enjoyed our interview. I hope we can do it again when later on maybe, even in a year when you and I are playing father and daughter. I’ll really give my answers some serious thought and maybe by December I’ll have an idea of what I can tell kids to tell their parents to take them to go see Wanderlust… Probably.
When it’s on DVD.