Monday, September 30, 2002

Sunday Herald article; Bush administration's crazy warmongering I have a feeling this is going to be linked all over blogdom... This article says that Bush's regime has had one main (yet secret) goal, even before Sept. 11: to ensure the world superiority of the United States through war and other acts of terror, the U.N. and any other allies we might have be damned. Quite scary, nauseating, and infuriating stuff.

Sunday, September 29, 2002

Hi, I'm back, I'm here, had a busy weekend. An hour or so after I arrived home from the airport my sis and bro-in-law arrived and we did a bunch of Fall stuff: apple-picking, the local library's fantastic book sale, apple-pie baking, Masterpiece-game playing, local trade show with many free raffles to enter... We also took in the last Aloha Steamtrain show ever, in a packed and sweaty bar. I was annoyed at the scratchy-sweater-wearing couple to my right, who weren't dancing properly. They needed to free their minds and let their asses follow, but they didn't. Mid-show Max took off his shirt as directed and we pogo-d and knocked into people for a few songs.

Wednesday I have tentative plans to do a girls' night out kind of a thing, but now I'm realizing Aimee Mann is playing that night.

Mind has turned to mush. More later. Probably tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 25, 2002

It looks like this is going to be the big peace march to attend. I haven't been to anything but little Quakerly candelight vigils since college, myself. I think it's time to start marching, if only to feel a little less helpless. I have some problems with activist rallies, actually; I find the experience of marching around with a lot of other people who already agree with me a little bit, you know, dumb. And I don't think I can face chanting simplistic slogans anymore (1, 2, 3, 4! We don't want your racist war! etc.). But what the hell else can I do? When they come for me in the end, I want to be able to say that at least I stood up and made sure I was counted in the opposition. Maybe then I won't be first against the wall... (who am I kidding -- I'm going to be first against the wall because Bush is going to turn the entire world against us, violently, and then more terrorists are going to blow up more shit in my city, and it's going to be exactly your fault, you Sept.-11th-politically-profiteering mutherfucker, you stupid evil dough-face, you blind sniggering crotch-sniffer, you manipulative doublespeak-spouting shameless bastard!)
I got the latest issue of the Smith Alumnae Quarterly yesterday, and I found out that someone I knew at Smith has died. She was a year younger than me, and I didn't know her all that well -- I think we were on nodding terms, since we had a few friends and classes in common. And because she was just that cool and outgoing and full of energy. Everyone on campus knew her, I think. She was on the rugby team and was a DJ at Smith's radio station and she'd always be dancing away funky-style at the LBA dances (the best dances on campus). Anyway, she developed brain cancer and died a few months ago. Her sister made this amazing website for her here.

Tuesday, September 24, 2002

Top four butt-innuendo-laden phrases from this summer:

1. Chocolate Jell Ring (Italian ice flavor)
2. Smuggler's Notch (souvenir pennant seen at stoop sale)
3. BK Back Porch Grillers (hamburger advertisement)
4. Fudge Patrol (almost too obvious to list; t-shirt available from Ye Olde Fudge Shoppe on Long Beach Island, NJ. Around the corner, you can see how their fudge is made!)

I can only hope that the fall and winter will bring yet more ass-innuendo opportunities.
The most offensive design job I've ever worked on: the audio packaging for a book that not only glorifies warfare in general (that would already be against my religion, quite frankly) but the military might of Nazi Germany in particular. You heard me. A quote from the back-of-book blurb:
"Aided by the tremendous air power of deadly screaming Stukas, Panzer battalions attacked swiftly and violently, smashing through enemy lines, destroying supplies and artillery positions, and shattering the enemy's will to resist. The sheer scale of rapid-fire victories amazed the world and elevated the tank soldiers to an almost mythical status."
...I guess if you're really into the whole technology of warfare thing you can let moral judgments re: a war's participants fall by the wayside. And did I insert some sort of subtle anti-war message into the design somehow? No, because I am a chicken. Anyway, I've closed this project, but there's a second volume coming up soon. Suggestions?

Monday, September 23, 2002

Another crumbling Asbury Park essay. On another note, I sure wish Weird NJ magazine had been around when I was growing up. The suburbs of north-central NJ are a soul-less and boring place. Pretending that some of the local roads were haunted or something might've helped.
When D and I were kids our parents took us to Asbury Park. It was already pretty run-down, but there were still a couple of buildings along the boardwalk with working rides in them. I remember a Ferris Wheel that was half in and half out of a building -- so when you were at the lower part of the circle, you were indoors, and then you'd very dramatically whoosh up and into the open air. Great views of the boardwalk and the ocean. I also remember D getting lost in a funhouse mirror maze and freaking out; one of my parents had to come in the exit to get her.

Anyway, this is what Asbury Park looks like now.

I love photos of crumbling amusement parks, I can't help it. So eerie and inappropriate. I also love the whole nature-taking-back angle.
And then I spent another 45 minutes adding to the post below. It was about tourists and NYC and 9/11/01. You'll just have to imagine the brilliance, since there was a run-time error or some shit. I'll get the hang of this eventually...
I just wrote -- no, carefully crafted -- a long and witty post that included a seamless segue between Neuticles and last nightÕs Emmys. And then Blogger has some kind of error and deleted all my good work. In brief: if youÕre obsessed with the look and feel of your dog or catÕs nutsack, and this obsession (combined with your own deep-rooted castration fantasies) is keeping you from getting your pet neutered, might I suggest neuticles?

The first quote on the neuticles media page is from the Daily Show, which should tell you something right there. My friend E (see, IÕm doing DÕs initial-only thing now) writes for the Daily Show -- in fact, he couldÕve written that neuticles joke, though I doubt it -- and he was up for an Emmy last night. The Daily Show writers lost this year to SNL; they won last year, though. I was on my honeymoon by the time they actually aired the Emmys last year (in early November) and did you know they delay broadcast of the Emmys on the west coast? Even though thatÕs where they take place? So we actually called E back in NY to find out if he won.

Speaking of E, he's the one who first alerted me to the mind-bogglingly good Flash animations at hoogerbrugge. I've viewed all 99 of the Modern Living animations, and if you're like me, it'll make you want to run right out and learn Flash, but then stop yourself before you've made it out the door, because how could you ever make anything that creative and amazing? It's already been done. Relax and enjoy.

Sunday, September 22, 2002

Yeah, um, "Sarah"? I haven't been mentioning the name of my employers here, so keep it a bit more secret, okay? I mean, I signed something when I was hired that means I might get fired for this kind of thing. Anyway, enjoy the blog, and pray for my safe return!
Hey! My first blog entry ever. I'm honored to guest-host Chowflap whilst my sister is experiencing several days of meetings and "imagineered" meal-events courtesy of The Mouse. Fasten your seatbelts, folks.

Dang. My whole name is up there for anyone to google. There goes my secret identity...
Having some lagging troubles with my new-to-me G3. Hmmm... Anyway. we finally ate at Smokin' Lil's last night, pretty much the only non-diner-or-fast-food restaurant in this shitty little town. It was fabulous. I got a mound of pulled chicken, with two sides - smashed potatoes and baked beans, and P got a 1/4 chicken and pulled pork with collard greens and dirty rice. It was all very Southern but not so authentic that the greens were boiled grey. They had sweet tea on the menu, for example. We ate and stuffed ourselves and had trouble sleeping later, we were so stuffed. Anyway, thumbs up for Lil's. They serve food that you can't get in Northampton so I think they have a good shot at making it.

I'm going to set up my twin sister, Sarah, as a guest blogger for the coming work week. She's an identical twin, so you'll hardly notice a difference, I'm sure. Also please note two new links, the Rockumentary which I've mentioned before, and Neal Pollack, who can go skinny dipping with me anytime, and his wife can come too.

Friday, September 20, 2002

I'm going to SoCal, flying miles up in the air in a lightweight tube of aluminum packed with people wearing too much cologne spray, and I haven't a laptop to bring. So I'm going to be computer-free next week, Monday-Friday, and it's unlikely I'll be adding blog entries. I might ask someone to guest-blog for me (maybe my twin sister). That could be fun. I will be blogging today and all weekend long, hot diggity.
Today there are posters up all over town that say "What kind of a man would BURN HIS OWN PANTS? Never forgive. Never forget."

It's been noted elsewhere in the web universe, but it bears repeating: Pants is a very funny word.

Thursday, September 19, 2002

Bacon. Love it. Live it. If you know me at all you know why this site is perfect for me.
So last night I went to the open house at T's middle school. Man, that place is depressing. It reminded me of my Junior High School - narrow hallways, orange lockers, confusing layout, not enough/small windows... But this is almost twenty years later. The building, the posters, the chairs, the little models of cells and planets, they're all straight out of the 1960s. (In fact the cell models looked like something I'd buy at a flea market - they were nicely mounted, made of plster probably, with little metal nameplates.) I was looking forward to going to this, but almost immediately after I entered I started feeling the old familiar anxiety, feeling trapped and bored, like I was back in school again. P has been distant lately so I was kind of on my own. We had to sit in a crowded auditorium, feeling like strangers from another planet, hiding in plain sight amid all of these "regular" people: They were about our age but seemed much older, and much more square, yet more in-the-know and relaxed than we were. The principal was introducing some of the teachers there, and kept saying things like "and I'm sure you all know Mr. X" and "Mrs. Z is familiar to all of you." Also things like "band C has two new teachers" and "your kids might be mentioning that 'specials' are different this year." Huh? I'd look at P and he'd just shrug I dunno.

Then it was time to find T's classroom. We found a familiar-sounding teacher's name on the map and headed over. We had to walk the length of the building to an area that was all open classrooms with "temporary" walls, with signs everywhere telling people to be quiet, since the walls were literally made of fabric and cardboard. After we stood in line to sign-in we took our seats. A bunch of parents had brought their kids, which seemed odd. The teachers introduced themselves and each gave a little speech about the curriculum for the year. Each of them ended their speech with some variation of this: We try to make it as easy as possible, but ultimately it's the student's responsibility to write down their homework assignment, and please, please make sure they do their homework, as it's very important for learning, and please please don't take them out of class all the time. All of which seems damn obvious to me. I was beginning to realize why T hates this school. The teachers here spend all of their time trying to bring up the rear and don't do anything to move the top students forward. They are incredibly under-funded, but it's more of a mindset than anything. Who knows, maybe all of the kids there are stupid, or their parents are, but I doubt it. We spoke to her Language Arts teacher afterwards (me: "Hi, I'm T's stepmom.") and she was glowing about T. She said "Oh we love Thea. She will excell." Well okay. So you already know that everything you'll ask her to do for the rest of the year will be too easy for her? We actually like this teacher, she seems to be no-bullshit and yet creative. I just wish there was some gifted-and-talented things going on, like there was at my school. Of course our G-n-T program was really just an excuse to get out of class and goof off with our hippy/flaky G-n-T teacher. But still.

I guess we should just be grateful that we don't have to yell at T to do her half-hour of reading every night, or to actually do her homework, or to ask us for help when she needs it. She does these things without being asked, because that's just what you should do. We are blessed that way, for sure. I just hope she can catch up when she transfers to the better high school in the next town over, or goes to the charter school, because the kids here are being groomed only for the local HS or the regional vocational school.

Wednesday, September 18, 2002

Personality Disorder Test - Personality Test Hey, I'm an avoidant, paranoid, dependent histrionic! How about you?
Iraq, Upside Down Here's Thomas Friedman's take on the only possible way a war on Iraq would actually help the U.S. Of course no war here is neccessary because Iraq does not pose a threat to the US. If we're going in just because he's a bad and scary person, well, the world is full of them. If we're going in to "stop terrorism" then so far, with our puffed-up chests and our "we'll do anything we damn well please" attitude, we're doing the opposite of what we should be doing. The Iraqis already hate us for imposing sanctions. Why give them and their Arab pals more reason to hate us? Why not at least attempt weapons inspections? We can take action after we discover hidden chemical labs and the like. But not going in to inspect at all will send a horrible message to the rest of the world. It's simply wretched politics - but then again, the rest of the world doesn't vote in the U.S., so why should Bush and co. care?
So I did it.

I bought a GameBoy Advance. And a Warioland 4 game. Total came to just over $100.

At home, the girls were incredulous. "Why do you have that?" Dumbfounded. "Where did you get that?" They figured I had stolen it from an 8-year-old or something. But no, I bought it.

I figure it will help me travel next week (and the future). And it's a treat, sure, to make me feel better. Is it bad that part of my justification was thinking, lots of people buy new books each time they fly... This is like a book, only better, and I can use it over and over, unlike a book.

I am a product of my generation. Or something like that.

I am also planning on taking my knitting needles on the plane. I bought some random yarn at the Salvation Army (three balls for a buck) and have retaught myself how to knit with some online help. My needles are bamboo so they shouldn't show up on the scanner.


From the Onion, of course. Go there and give them some money whydontcha.

Tuesday, September 17, 2002

Also, I started working on my actual website, www.chowflap.com if you want to take a look. Temporary, it's all temporary...
A passed her driving test. She got points taken off for going too slow, of all things. But she passed.

I'm having a bad day. Someone prone to loads of self-criticism and low self-esteem should not enter the publishing field. Or any field, for that matter. In fact, just stay indoors at all times and only communicate with people on the most benign message boards like those at Cat Fancy or some place supportive like I Have Cancer.com.
Will Ferrell Apple "Switch" Ad I bet this is hilarious but I can't figure out how to make it play here at work. Probably for the best, actually...
Neal Pollack's The MaelstromCheck it out, the world's greatest living American writer Neal Pollack has a blog! I pre-ordered his McSweeney's book when it came out a couple of years ago and got a free poster of Neal naked except for a strategically-placed kitten. If you don't know who he is, just read the "about" page.

Monday, September 16, 2002

CrashBonsai This is pretty fantastic.

Tomorrow A takes her driving test. God have mercy on us all. She's taking it in Vermont, since that's where she got her learner's permit. She has to fill out this log "proving" that she's practiced different driving skills for a total of 40 hours. She filled it out yesterday. We'll see how she does tomorrow...

T has the boys after her. A kid from NYYM is sweatin' her via IM, and there's a "popular" boy at school who is interested (i.e. "has had a crush" on her "ever since he first saw her" - a whole two weeks). I'm happy for her. Sad a little for A, who is older and as far as I can tell doesn't get as much of this type of attention.
Salon.com Sex | Love in the age of irony The letter titled "We Hate You Guys," about how ridiculous and pathetic the boomers' self-importance looks to non-boomers, is right on. And the fact that it was written by the brother of a friend of mine only sweetens how good it is.

Sunday, September 15, 2002

P is trying to teach me Dreamweaver. My head is about to explode. Anyway, here's a photo of some people inside a shark on Long Beach Island.


Get this. People got to my site after putting in these searches:

overweight anna nicole pictures

towelie shirts

long beach island chowder hut

pregnant fuck

My favorite is the last one, of course.
Okay, most of you know me personally, so this doesn't really matter. But I've made myself slightly more anonymous just so I can sleep better at night. Nothing really happened, don't worry.

We went to the Big E today, me and the stepkids. I am a stepmom. How about that. I have a headache from tiredness so I'll have to give the gory details tomorrow.

Friday, September 13, 2002

Some other bloggers have been making lists. So here's a list for ya.

1. My first real kiss tasted like bean sprouts and was incredibly emotion-free. The day after, though, I got so excited thinking about it I was having trouble paying attention in class. I was 18.

2. My office is not so bad. Today we had the third-annual Brat-Fest, with bratwurst grilled on the deck out back and beer and chips. Started at 3:00, too, so I got paid for not working. I'm at the office right now in fact, with a nice buzz on.

3. My coworker friend is almost convincing me to try the Keeper, or the Keeper's disposable cousin whose brand name I forget.

4. Number four has been removed due to sensitive materials possibly reaching sensitive eyes.

5. I hope T's mom's karma catches up to her someday.

6. One day this weekend we will go to the Big E. The other day, I will help A learn how to drive in Vermont, the only state she's allowed to drive in. I do not know which day will be on which day. In between, the garden needs massive work, and I have many things I want to put on eBay to sell, plus some stuff I want to try to sell to the vintage clothing store, and my laundry situation has hit level orange. I am also very tired.

Thursday, September 12, 2002

Where is my sister? I haven't heard from her in a while. Methinks she followed Mario through her Gamecube to Sunshineland or whatever its called.
I think I need to fire my therapist. I've been seeing her for 6 years. Lately all she does is make me second-guess my own decisions and plant seeds of doubt in my head. Which is exactly what I don't need. Here's a sample exchange:

me: Yeah, I emailed my family telling them if they wanted to help us out, they could send us some cash earmarked for A and T's school supplies. The kids ended up getting their grandparents to buy everything they needed, though.

T: How do your parents feel about giving money to P's kids?

me: Well, I know my mom is happy to help, she really likes the idea of having instant grandkids, and she thinks these kids are great. It doesn't even matter because they never got the email asking them to help.

T: Well, why would you give P money for his kids' clothes?

me: Um, it wasn't for clothes, it was for backpacks and binders and stuff, which we didn't even end up buying. I wouldn't buy them clothes, I guess...

T: Hey, as your therapist, I'm just looking out for you, because I know how bad you are at sticking up for yourself.

Do you see the problem here? 1. I don't think I'm bad at sticking up for myself. 2. What the hell would be wrong with giving money to a couple of kids that I love who are going through a traumatic event in their lives? 3. The way I asked for money from my family was done in a very no-pressure, optional way. Anyway, due to some error on my part I'm sure, the email missive I sent only went to the first person on my list - my grandmother, who happily sent a check for $50 for the girls to split, which they still don't know about. I think I'll suggest they spend it on curtains and other room essentials they need. Or maybe I'll spend it on their behalf. Which is my behalf too, since I want to try to help them be happy here.

Anyway. My therapist makes me feel dirty and wrong, like I'm living in sin. But she's an ex-bohemian hippie from NYC. I really don't get it. I see her point, kind of, that I'm the financially responsible one in the house, and here I am planning on adding even more to our collective debt (via a home equity loan for finishing our attic), which on paper P is not at all accountable for.... But why can't she just trust me to make the right decisions? Obviously I've thought about all of these things, and I know I'm taking a risk. I've spent much of my life avoiding risks and that's no way to live. Like I need someone else to doubt and judge me. Fuck her. I feel like I just waste my time with her, and we never get to the core of the problem, I spend the whole time explaining things I've already told her, or telling her things I've already solved on my own.

So that's why I have this blog! ha ha! You, my nine-hits-per-day readers, are my new therapist! ha ha ha!
MassLive News - Fun at the fair I can't wait to go to the Big E. I went once, years ago, and saw much craziness: David Hasslehoff doing a sound-check which turned into a mini-concert, a giraffe in a petting zoo, fireworks timed to Star Wars music, a stunt-filled racecar demonstration, crazy rides that seemed designed only to induce vomiting, truly awful crafts, free food samples.... And that was just one random day.
I was gonna post this yesterday but I wrote it at the office and the email and internet access was down for the entire day. So here it is, belatedly. These are my memories of hearing the news, and I might be off on some of the time details. The human memory is faulty.

A year ago I flipped on the radio to hear the Howard Stern show as I began my drive to work. I was late, as usual. The radio show was all confusing; I was hardly listening until I realized they were simply playing the audio from a local newscast, and Howard kept mentioning a plane flying into the Twin Towers. How horrible, I thought. I assumed it was some drunk or suicidal guy flying his Cessna like an idiot, and that the people saying it looked more like an M-80 were just overreacting, or even, maybe, the whole thing was some sick joke for the show. But then a second plane hit, and it was becoming clear that this wasnÕt some skit or prank. Howard and his fans were angrily calling for bombing towel-heads and kicking them out of the country. By the time I got to work I had changed the station to NPR which was also broadcasting the news instead of the usual classical music. In the office everyone was packed into the conference room to watch TV. My coworkers looked drained and stunned. The Towers were standing there puffing away like two giant smokestacks. They replayed the second plane hitting the tower a few times. I went upstairs. I didnÕt really know what to do so I called P who had just been tipped off by a call from my mother to turn on the television. Then someone told me that one of the towers had collapsed; I ran downstair and saw replays of it on the conference room TV. People were crying now. I called my sister in Brooklyn and got through on the second or third try. My brother-in-law answered. ÒI guess we canÕt call them the twin towers anymore, huh?Ó He always went to work late, otherwise he might have been stuck in a subway underneath midtown right about now. Of course now nobody was going to work.

It was a little after 10 and it was time for our weekly production meeting, which our boss insisted we do despite what was happening. Me and G, who grew up in the NYC area like I did, were appalled that she make us concentrate on our stupid trivial magazine during a time like this when thousands of people were dying, more reports of attacks kept coming in, news was changing every minute. The people from the art department came in half an hour late, saying quietly that the second tower had collapsed. I was furious that I had to be in a meeting instead of keeping vigil at the television or talking to my family on the phone. As soon as possible the meeting ended and I called my sister again. This time it took much longer to get through Ñ I kept getting a recording that all of the circuits were busy due to an emergency Ñ but I finally reached her. She had watched the towers fall, live, in real-time. ÒI just saw thousands of people die,Ó she said softly. She had also seen people leaping to their deaths. All of this I missed, which I was partly thankful for and partly angry I had missed it. I just wanted to experience what everyone else was.
I wanted to drive down to Brooklyn right away, and I wanted my sister to leave Brooklyn right away. I was incredibly sad that Bush was going to be deciding what our country was to do. I was feeling a nauseous mixture of exitement, terror, helplessness, and sadness. I knew nothing would ever feel
the same. A dark cloud had just passed over the country and would stay over us for a very long time.

Tuesday, September 10, 2002

All right, forget it. Links are back to normal. Sigh.
I'm trying to use blogroller but it's simply not working. For some reason it's only putting up one link and it's always the same one, so I don't think it's because the column is too small. My stab-in-the-dark method of html coding seems to be catching up to me.

Monday, September 09, 2002

So around 3:00 today all Important Files were off my desk so I could get to work in ernest, making business cards to leave out at this reception tonight. Yes the chair I have been painting lo these many days is done. I brought it up to the gallery in Thornes during lunch and there were two other chairs there and well, I think mine outshone them both. I'm just saying. I made the text of the business cards in Quark, 8 to a page with a half-inch margin around each, and then I did a different doodle on each of the 8. Then I went to Paradise Copies, where Lord Russ helped me print my stuff onto ivory cardstock. He was wearing his "Ning" t-shirt, which has a photo of young Henning and "ning" written all over it. And of course he didn't charge me a thing. Northampton will be a less groovy place after Russ leaves.
Anyway, P is coming to this reception thing, though he is very busy and tells me about that a lot. I shouldn't complain, really. He threw a birthday party for me last night and it was very sweet. It was a semi-surprise in that I knew when it was and that other people were coming, but no other details. At the last minute he told me, "You have to go out and get ice and Cokes, I forgot them!" and I knew it was a ruse but I played along. A came with me and as we were walking thru the Big E she kept on stopping to remark on things to drag out the time. "Oh look at these Thomas's Waffles, they're all spongey and weird! Hey, have you ever had these frozen sausage things? They're really good." When we came back the living room was decked in balloons and streamers, and T had set up paper plates of party favors for everyone: Playdough, plastic cowboys and indians, and Blow-loons. Actually I think these were B'loonies, but Blow-loons is the best name for a product ever. Dennis and Lauren and Max and Anya and Penny all showed up. It was sort of a quiet time but fun anyway. We grilled. There were scallops and shrimp and pasta salad. I got great gifts from everyone. Among other things, P gave me a book about Step-parenting. (apparently when P told A he had bought it for me, she made a kind of sad/cute "aww" noise. I'm not sure what exactly that means, since such a gift can be taken in several different ways. Like giving a fat person a dieting book: What, you think I'm fat? In his defense, though, I had told him my therapist recommended I get a book on parenting teens... but I don't think A knows that) I stayed up late last night reading it, forcing myself not to fall asleep, sure that on the next page I'd find exactly the answers and advice I was looking for. Instead there was a lot of validation of my feelings of competition and frustration, which was nice and makes me fel less crazy. But mainly the book tells couples to See a Counselor. Anyway, I got into bed after 1:00 and couldn't sleep until Philip got up around 6 a.m. I got up at 8:00 and was extra late for work. Oh well.
I took photos at the party and of the painted chair but I can't upload the photos until P teaches me how to do it and he's withholding that info from me in a frustrating way.
Dear reader, something horrible just happened. I bought some "chunks of energy" at Cornucopia (name not changed in order to indict the guilty) and I took a couple of bites out of one. About to take another bite, I look down at the "chunk" and it has a grain moth worm squirming out of it! Aaaaugh! I tossed it and the whole bag in the trash and spit out whatever was in my mouth but dear reader I had already swallowed some of it. In fact there is still "chunk" stuck to my teeth. What is it with health food stores and grain moths? I know it's because of all the bulk food, but jesus people, get an exterminator in there! Strewing cedar and lavender around is not gonna cut it. Stupid hippies, making me almost lose my lunch.

Friday, September 06, 2002

And so A and T's first week of school here draws to a close. A was invited out to a movie tonight by a girl. She's not sure she wants to go. Both of them have decided they don't really like the kids in their school very much. Their mindset is completely foreign to me so I'm kind of at a loss. I never had to move when I was a kid, and I went to school with basically the same people for 12 years. In a way that's good, in a way bad, because you never get a chance to reinvent yourself. I felt very trapped in my awkward-nerd role and transforming into my awkward-artist role took a long time. Anyway, if I was a teen moving to a new school and a new state and someone invited me to do something social after school, I'd jump at the chance out of gratitude if nothing else. Even if she doesn't get a great friend out of it, she's putting herself out there and who knows - lots of people act differently outside of the confines of school. I'm going to try to convince her to go.

In other news, I made a kick-ass carrot soup last night with carrots I grew myself. Of course it took about an hour and a half what with the almond-toasting and the carrot-peeling and chopping. It had ginger and cinammon in it but wasn't sweet, just yummm. I love growing carrots; each time you pull one up it's a little surprise. Will it be big and long? Will it be short and stubby? Will it have three legs? I also have way too many tomatoes which are currently rotting in the pantry. I just don't really like gazpacho, and I don't know how to can things. I'm eating them as fast as I can.

I also worked on the chair I'm painting for Safe Passage. It's a bitch to paint, because I end up in all of these wacky positions I have to hold while I try to paint straight. My legs are actually sore from the looming and hovering I had to do. And it's not even done. It has to be finished by early tomorrow so I can poly-coat it before the artist reception thing on Monday. I don't even know if I can poly this safely, since I used acrylic paints; I'm worried the polyurethane will smear the paint. I'll try to do a test somewhere inconspicuous.

Wednesday, September 04, 2002

A and T had okay days at school today. T's day was better than her first, and it was A's first day. A liked half of her teachers. But she has the same complaint as T, that the people here are not worth being friends with. I think they're being a little snobby, though I know the main reason why they don't like the kids here is that they aren't their friends back home, the friends they were forced to leave for no good reason, just because some selfish whore decided she didn't want to be a mom anymore. I'm sorry, did I type that out loud?
So I'd better write about my birthday weekend extravaganza before it gets to be too far in the past. Thursday night we arrived late at my parents house, where my sis and bro-in-law already were. We had lasagne and Carvel ice cream cake - we always, always had a Carvel ice cream cake for our birthday growing up; usually we'd give the Carvel person some picture of Garfield or Snoopy torn out of the Sunday comics for them to draw (with icing) on the top. This time the top was this thick fudge. While pulling the candles off of it, we coined the phrase "Fudge Suction," a future band. After their first self-titled album, they'll release "Forkful of Fudge." But it just won't have the buzz of the first one and will quickly end up in the remainder bins.
I got the aforementioned digital camera, which was exciting; sis got a Game Cube, which I will never own because I have enough trouble staying away from the television. And then Mom pulled out these huge photo albums she had made for us, all photos of us and our family from birth to now. Most of the shots I had never seen before, because my dad used to only shoot slides because the color was better. So they got prints made from the slides, and the prints look brand-new, unlike the old photos. It's one of the best presents I've ever gotten.
Friday we picked up friends A and SR and convoy-ed down to Long Beach Island. It was cloudy and a little chilly. LBI is less charming than I remembered, but it was still pretty neat; it's very skinny and the little beach houses (way too many) are cute and strange. Some of the best store names we passed: Hands (a department store), Sunglass Menagerie, and Capt. Jackson's Mr. Breakfast.
We got into the Green Gables and were shown our rooms. They were pretty shabby, and P and I got the worst one of the three; but they all had some problems, with bubbling paint, old linens, dirty windows, etc. It was "shabby chic" without the "chic." Plus, I had been expecting some sort of common room or lobby we could hang out in, but there was nothing. Really, Green Gables' main gig is the restaurant, which is very expensive and well-regarded (glowing reviews coated the walls). The "Inn" part of it was a total afterthought. It seemed like they had this old Victorian house with a restaurant on the first floor, and they had these old rooms on the second and third floors, and hell, let's put some "antique" furniture in it and charge $130 a night for 'em. And the free breakfast, the one where they tell you the chef bakes special pastry treats for? It's bullshit. The first morning we caught them buying bagels and muffins from the place next door.
Anyway. I'm not going to do a recap of everything because that would be boring. So I'll do an US Weekly-style bulleted list.
- We should have swam in the cold our first day, when we had a chance (pre-rain). The water was very warm.
- It is very hard to find food that isn't fried in LBI.
- Lobsters over one pound are easy to overcook.
- Lots and lots of immature yet hilarious jokes can be made when visiting the Fudge Factory, where you can See It Made and buy Fudge Patrol t-shirts.
- Chowder Hut may have been recommended by someone on Chowhound.com, but their clam chowder pretty much sucks.
- Crazy Taxi is a very fun game.
- I rule the Skill Cranes. I got a stuffed Grover and a talking Towelie (South Park character I've never seen).
- A funny real LBI band name is the Swingin Johnsons.
- The nature trail at Barnegat Light is very nice. I wanted to climb up the stairs to the top of the lighthouse but noone would come with me. Instead P and I walked out on the huge jetty and got buffeted by strong winds and rain and spray and had a ball.
- The protected wildlife refuge apparently doesn't count fish, since they were letting SUVs drive on the beach to reach the prime surf-casting areas. We did see incredible waves churned up by wind and dolphins frolicking in the surf. The wind was so strong the sand stung our bare legs.
- There's really only so long you can play video games before you start feeling dizzy and bored.
So on Sunday it was pouring, really raining, and we decided to go to Brooklyn. We had to pay for the third night anyway, which really sucked, since we didn't really like giving the place any more money than they had earned. The whole island seemed to be done for the summer. Everyone seemed worn out and like they didn't care anymore. I don't blame them, but a vacation like this is extremely rare for me, so yeah, I was disappointed.
We hit Brooklyn around 6 p.m. and read the rest of the blah-blah in the entry below for 9/2.
I actually had a lot of fun. I got some kick-ass gifts and hung out with very funny sarcastic people and ate fudge and I slept very well. So do not feel sad for Debbie.

Tuesday, September 03, 2002

Welcome to The Graciela Burbank, Burbank's newest hotelIt looks like we're staying here instead of the Universal Hilton for the LA trip later this month. It looks a lot nicer, is only $2 more a night, and includes some kind of free breakfast. The rooms are big and have useable bathtubs and DVD players and down-filled duvets. Sweet.
Apparently T thinks all the kids here are white trashy. I suspected as much. They all move in big cliques - that's 8th grade all right. And there are stupidly strict rules (at least compared to their hippy-ish rural Vermont school), probably because the kids are slacker assholes. There's got to be some cool, smarty, creative kids in this town, though. Flywheel is here, and there are always teens hanging out and working there, most of whom probably live in Easthampton. She just has to dig to find them.
My officemates surprised me with a cake right in the middle of a meeting today - really it was the only way they could have done it and still surprise me, since I've been here for 6 years and I know the sneaky cake drill (and it is always sneaky): set up an "emergency meeting" or tell everyone to "come to the conference room for a short meeting about next issue." yada yada. It was yummy cake, chocolate, with very fudge-like frosting, from La Fiorentina.

I just got word from P that T arrived home from her first day at the new school. She hated it; said the teachers suck and the students suck and then her eyes filled with tears. Junior High is one of the deepest levels of hell. I feel for her so much. She is changing schools at a terrible time in her life. Poor T!!! And she might not want to talk about it, about what happened, if anything did, because I know I never told my parents about the mean things people did and said to me. But I could actually give her advice. I know I got the worst advice in the world, about how to handle someone teasing you: ignore it. Which never works, ever. If you fight back, even a little, they start to respect you, and leave you alone. It took me a long time to learn that lesson.

Hopefully she just hates it because they're all uninteresting hicks, though.

Monday, September 02, 2002

lyrics to Rufus Wainwright's "Grey Gardens"

I love Rufus, and if I was younger he'd be someone I'd have an unhealthy infatuation with, just because he's so cute and smart and unavailable. During the trip I tried to figure out the words to this song, which I now see was a futile gesture. I grew up deciphering Elvis Costello lyrics but here I was overmatched. I would never have heard "Honey I'm a roller concrete clover" or "In between been dragging a dragonfly," though to my credit I did understand the word "dragonfly."
Hi, I'm back, and I'm 30. My trip is through. Though all in all I had a fun time, there were many disappointments in the Inn and the weather and the food. Plus I never found the "Jersey girls- Best in the World" t-shirt I was hoping for. We left the Jersey shore Sunday instead of Monday because the weather on Long Beach Island was so bad - rainy and windy - that we never ended up swimming, and we had quickly exhausted all of the entertainment options (which were slim to begin with). We ended up going back to Brooklyn yesterday, just in time to have dinner in Manhattan and shop at Toy Tokyo, my new favorite shop in the entire world, and buy the two most recent Magic Whistles at St. Mark's Comics. Anyway, I will write more about the trip in the days to come. I also got a digital camera as predicted, so expect to see some photos.