Monday, December 29, 2003

I hope you all had some happy holiday times. Mine were pretty good. Only pretty because I had a bad cold through most of them. I'm still trying to shake it. All that stuff about zinc and vitamin c and echinacea making you get better faster? It's bullshit. I have proven it, a one-woman scientific study. But I was still able to get my snack on and my gift-giving on. My 86-year-old newly-widowed Grandmother was in full-effect, so I got my guilt on, too.

New Year's resolution: Use "getting my blank on" EVEN MORE THAN I ALREADY DO.

I also got to feel my unborn niece have the hiccups inside of my sister. Neato. Her brother-in-law, as it was told to me, complained about their choice of name for the baby, saying it wasn't "typical." Thank God my personal sphere does not contain the use of the word "typical" as a positive attribute.

And finally, last night, the Return of the King was seen. I had watched the Two Towers in the afternoon so I was fully prepped. As expected it was amazing, spectacular, heartbreaking, grand, and beautiful. It even had a Voyage of the Dawn Treader-esque ending, with the sailing off into eternity. (Tolkien would hate that comparison.) I'm awaiting the extended DVD version of Return for a scene in which poor cast-off Eowyn gets her budding romance with Faramir out in the open. I loved Eowyn's ass-kicking, and though I was almost sure that the "I am woman, hear me roar" aspect to it was an invention for the film, I was assured afterwards that it was not. I guess the next step for me would be to actually read the books, though I might have to wait until I actually retire to do so.

Monday, December 22, 2003

Hi y'all. I have been too busy to post. Seriously. The deadline schedule at my workplace changed a couple of years ago so that it is incomprehensibly busy right around Christmas every year. And then once I get home I have a million holiday-ish things to do. Usually this is fun; I like being busy and having plans. But I got a cold yesterday (well, I probably got it before then, and am now just feeling it) and despite feeling crappy I still had to wrap all of my gifts. I also decided to make some gift cards (which I did, though they're somewhat uninspired) which took about an hour in itself. I managed to wrap everything I'll be taking to New Jersey for the holidays save the stocking presents. Yes, our family, at my and my sister's insistence, still do stockings, though the youngest among us are 31. We insistuted a stocking-gift rule last year that served us well: Only food and disposable items (magazines, mainly) allowed. We all have enough pieces of funny, cheap, little plastic crap in our various homes. My sister and I have grandfathered-in an exception to the rule: you may have some little animal or creature sticking out of the top of the stocking. I got my sister's little guy over the weekend.

I also finally saw the current art show at the new Smith Art Museum. Loved it. It turns out M has met one of the artists (he's a friend of a friend), and it's an artist whose work I saw at MoMA a few years ago: Tom Friedman. His stuff is made from common household materials, and is funny and semi-conceptual and shows some serious obsessive tendancies, which I like. He stuck all of the spaghetti from one box together end-to-end and had it harden into a delicate and beautiful tangle. He created a perfect and intricate spiral of hair on a bar of soap. He smeared all of the blue-gel toothpaste from a single tube onto the wall to make a gorgeous trapezoidal shape. Anyway, be sure to check out the show, there are some wonderful pieces in it. We got kicked out before I could see the new permanent collection spaces fully, though I barged in to show M my favorite painting, Elmer's Mourning Picture. It's on the top floor, take a look. It helps to have read Adrienne Rich's poem about the painting, also titled Mourning Picture. But I can't find it online anywhere, dammit.

*edited to add a link (thanks, henning) to the painting.

Thursday, December 18, 2003

The following is from McSweeney's monthly newsletter. Happy holidays!

By John Moe


Dear Steven,

It's been several months now since you left and I remained here on Crumpit
in the home we built together. I think it's important that I share my
feelings. I hate you, Steven. Hate hate hate you. I hate you now.

For years we stood for something: we hated the Whos. Like we always said, if
it weren't for Christmas and the Whos' infernal screeching of "carols", we
would have had absolute quiet all year long. And isn't that why we moved to
Mt. Crumpit in the first place, Steven? Isn't that silence the very reason
we left the city? Every December, our meditation, gardening, and literary
work were shattered with "Wahoo-Boraice" or whatever that stupid song was
(have you learned it yet? Well, have you?). The Whos ruined our lives.
Annually. And then you joined them. And why? WHY?! Because you heard them
sing! The one thing that made us hate them all those years. It would be
comical if it didn't involve the death of both of our souls. Who was I
living with all those years? Honestly, if you know, tell me, Steven.

I don't know what kind of lies the Whos have been filling your head with
since you moved there, but I want to just remind you of something. There was
nothing wrong with your heart. I have, in our big file cabinet, the report
from the doctor that says that while your heart was abnormally small (5th
percentile), it was still completely functional and that unless you intend
to run a triathlon, you're fine. And all that aside, your heart has nothing
to do with your emotions. You left your Zoloft here, by the way. If you
haven't picked up a new prescription, I will send it down to you but you
should really renew it.

Alone up here on Crumpit for the last several months, my thoughts have
turned to the night of the Perfectly Awful Idea and how it proved so
imperfect. In retrospect, there were many mistakes. You shouldn't have worn
a Santa suit (cute, yes, and provided a good cover, but if you had worn the
Lycra jumper I ordered, the operation would have taken a fraction of the
time). Also, you shouldn't have engaged Cindy Lou Who. At all. I'm not sure
what kind of inverted Stockholm Syndrome took place while I waited on the
Roof, but I do know that it all could have been solved with a hard shove and
a quick exit (and again, it could have been avoided entirely with the
Lycra). Additionally, we should have stashed the Christmas crap and then
left town right away -- the shore, Cozumel, my parents' place even. Had I
known the brainwashing power of that song, I would have made sure about

But really, the problem was the Whos. They're stupid, Steven. People who get
robbed and then sing with joy are stupid people. We applied a logical
solution to a problem but it didn't work because these Whos are sub-logical.
Pre-logical, I think. Witnessing their senselessness, I began to see them
not as people but like a swarm of singing bees (and in time, I will deal
with them accordingly). And now, you've gone to live with them. In a --
what? a hut? -- I can't blame them any more for being who they are. Perhaps
I can't even blame you for being who you evidently were all along. Perhaps I
can only blame myself for seeing you as the one I spent all those years
with, the one I thought shared my yearning for solitude and my deep and
justified hatred for everyone else. But that was not you. You are a Who.

Enjoy the roast beast. Whatever. Asshole.

I could have ice skated to work this morning. The sidewalks in my neighborhood were all coated with about an eighth of an inch of ice. Despite the schadenfreude-ish hilarity of watching my dog trying to walk on the ice, I ended up walking in the street, which was only marginally better.

I also just discovered that I have accrued the maximum amount of vacation time that I can bank, 6 weeks. So I'm going to take the 24th off of work, just because I can (I hate the use-it-or-lose-it thing); even though it's a half-day of work that will cost me a full vacation day, I will replace it in a couple of weeks' worth of working. Whatever. I'm sure this is fascinating to you, my readers.

What can I say? I simply don't have that much to report. Spending a lot of my free time with the New Guy, M, which I feel weird posting about. Details especially. (It's going great, though. Go New Guy! You rule!) Other than that, I have been in a whirlwind of shopping and running errands and dealing with snow and ice and then collapsing in a chair or napping instead of vacuuming my apartment and doing laundry and cleaning the bathroom, all things I need to do. It's the fault of the fuckin' holidays, really; I can't blame New Guy for my lack of time for housekeeping. I can only partially blame him for me staying up too late several nights in a row. I am a grown woman who can Make Her Own Choices, but I have Poor Impulse Control.

I did, I think, manage to finish my shopping yesterday. I have everything in-house except maybe one or two gifts which are specific and easily purchased. Now it is time for the wrapping.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Done with the level of skill you'd expect from a high school student halfway through a computer graphics class, here's my multi-billion-dollar media company's Christmas card: Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

The Sitting Next to Brian show last night was fabulous. Brian had an all-star cast of musicians on the stage (and in the audience). It was great to see Brian singing and sitting front and center with a pared-down drum kit, instead of hidden behind various tall folks with guitars. Everyone on stage was relaxed and professional. I would not have thought this was their first time performing together in front of an audience; really, for most of them it wasn't, since Brian is in bands with most of the people in the room.

The songs themselves were pieces of retro-pop confection, sounding unlike any other band currently in town. By the last song eight musicians were on stage, forming a wall of sound that blew everyone away. Major extra rock points were awarded for the use of accordian and flute on various songs. Go buy the Sitting Next to Brian CD here.
A few days ago I wrote this dream fragment down before I awoke fully (I think I even wrote it without opening my eyes):

band name: Bullett
albums(2): Just Just, Fall Down
hit song: Have Halls for Rabies

Monday, December 15, 2003

This fuckin' snow can suck my dick.

It's fine, really. I'm just exhausted from dealing with it yesterday (and walking to work in it today). I made it to Brooklyn on Saturday, with A and T, and we had enough of the day left to enjoy a lovely brunch, some Chinatown (and outskirts) shopping and exploring, and a warm family party in a Quaker-friends' beautifully kept brownstone. And then Sunday the snow began. We left around 10:15 a.m. and didn't get home until 5:30. Yeah, that's right. A three-hour trip took seven hours and change. Most of the highways seemed unplowed and the rest were under-plowed. It was very slippery and hard to see; for very long stretches of time I didn't get up to 30 mph. Under each overpass, drivers were pausing to chip off the crusty wet ice from their windshield wipers (I did this too, at least 5 times). I didn't watch any accidents but saw several cars off the road. Despite all of this, we remained in good spirits. The kids remarked at how easy-going I was being about it (and how unlike the way their mom and dad would have reacted). Because I am a kick-ass dad's-ex-girlfriend.

M is my hero. He took care of my dog this weekend for the first time, and didn't even seem to mind that she destroyed an inflatable ball and gnawed on some Indian corn. And then when I was all starving and feeling strung-out from my road food (mocha frappuchino, mini mint Milanos, Fritos, honey-roasted peanuts) he fed me homemade pizza and tea. Thank you.

And now the sun is shining. And everyone should be going to Brian's star-studded CD release show at Harry's this evening.

Friday, December 12, 2003

So that crazy Henning over at the Living Rockumentary went and posted all of his Aloha Steamtrain digital images. I just watched almost the entire slideshow (there are 966, I got up to 767 or so), diligently writing down the numbers of the pics where I appear (because it's all about me, really) and then I realized there's no actual way to jump to the photo by its order number. So you're on your own, really, but I can tell you which pics I appear in anyway: 24, 291,482 (the left-most person), 501 (hair portrait), 504, 518, 560, 568, 621 (I'm way in the back in the sweaty mist but I know it's me), 624, 631, 753, 755. There are some really great ones (not just of me) in there, including plenty of the dearly departed Baystate (sniffle). So put "Memories" by Barbra Streisand on repeat, and let the slideshow roll.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

It really is over: I just had to pay for my video rental. I guess this means I can start asking for my CDs back, again. I mean come on, fair is fair.
I suddenly remembered that I dreamed last night that my eyebrows had taken over my face. Each eyebrow was two to three inches wide, reaching all the way from ear to ear, and eyebrow hairs feathered out all the way up to my hairline. It was disgusting and alarming. I looked like a caveman, and the rest of my face seemed pale and small and clammy compared to my thick, dark brows. I knew that finally the day had come when I would have to get them plucked by a professional (in reality that day came and went a very long time ago). What does it all mean?

Tuesday, December 09, 2003


Lieberman: "Thanks a lot, asshole!"

Monday, December 08, 2003

I Survived the Blizzard of December 6, 2003. Some things:

Squirrels live in the ceiling in my bedroom. They like to chat and get their house in order around 9 a.m. So far it hasn't woken me up. I should probably tell the landlord about them, though.

Apparently it's more important to keep my side-street completely free of cars (by going through the trouble of towing them) than it is out on the much-busier Hawley Street. Everyone who works for Ernie's Towing is going to hell.

The Spanish for Hitchhiking/Mitchell's show at the Brass Cat was not cancelled Saturday night. I got there in time to see a lot of the Mitchell's set. I drew some critters wearing pants (a bird, a swan, an elephant, a fly, and a guitar) along with co-doodlers L and D. Then L blew everyone's mind by drawing a pair of pants wearing a pair of pants. Awesome.

Apparently Max pulled a Pete Townsend and played bass so hard his fingers bled. Which is why he was long gone by the time I got to the Cat.

I missed Brian's birthday. Happy Birthday Brian. Despite this, there's been a couple of shout-outs to me on the Rockumentary in the past few days.

I just put up more gift-guide-ish links up at Craftytown, if you're interested.

Friday, December 05, 2003

No new friday five today, so I'll pulling another one up from the recent archives.

1. What food do you like that most people hate?
Seaweed, yum. Also sushi and oshinko. And my grandmother makes a semi-white-trashy version of lobster newburg (key ingredients: stale white bread, ketchup) that I love.

2. What food do you hate that most people love?
Mushrooms of any sort. They taste like mold and dirt and have a nasty texture. *shudder*

3. What famous person, whom many people may find attractive, is most unappealing to you?
John Travolta. The current giant-headed Scientologist version.

4. What famous person, whom many people may find unappealing, do you find
The late, great Phil Hartman of Saturday Night Live fame. He was a hottie, to me.

5. What popular trend baffles you?
The more unappetizing fashions of the 1980s seem to be back: metal mesh earrings and necklaces, bright pink-and-black striped off-the-shoulder shirts, little pointy boots... I just don't get it.

Thursday, December 04, 2003

I was chatting with M last night about Friday Fives, and today I found this one from Nov. 14 I didn't answer. It's kind of a fun and short one, so here it goes.

1. Using one adjective, describe your current living space.

2. Using two adjectives, describe your current employer.
Obsessive, thoughtful.

3. Using three adjectives, describe your favorite hobby/pasttime.
Detailed, imaginative, adventurous.

4. Using four adjectives, describe your typical day.
Sleepy, staccato, fleeting, feline.

5. Using five adjectives, describe your ideal life.
Inquisitive, reflective, creative, generous, fearless.

I just spent all morning putting together a rough layout (for work). It was all clickety-snap-TAP! slickety tap tap pank tap! over and over again for the 150 or so text boxes I made. My carpal tunnel-prone hands were getting bold so I put on my fingerless gloves. Clickety-snap-TAP! slickety tap tap pank tap! But I finished it and was all proud of myself, telling everyone I had gotten it done today, three days ahead of schedule. Yes yes, debl, you're a good girl.

And then during lunch we gathered 'round the TV and watched Dumbo. That "pink elephants on parade" part is fairly disturbing; I had forgotten how inventive and bizarre it was. The artists back then (1941) really paid attention to surrealism. I did learn something useful for my job, too; Casey Junior is the name of the circus train in the movie, which begat the name of a ride at Disneyland. This is the kind of stuff I am an expert in. I know, I want to shoot myself too.

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

This morning there was actual frost on my windows. All sparkly and frosty. Like frost. You know. Luckily it was on the inside of my storm windows, not the main window part that shares air with my apartment (my verbal skills seem to be missing today, sorry). But it's still a little bit alarming. My floors are also absolutely freezing, which is curious, since I'm on the top floor and should be stealing the rising heat from the four apartments below me.

And today was the first hair-freezing day of the season. I don't blow-dry my hair because it becomes a 70s-era, static-filled, fluffy mass if I do. So I leave the house with hair still wet. And it freezes. I have convinced myself that the freezing and thawing process makes my hair softer, but I know I'm likely just kidding myself.

I went and sang shape-note last night. As per usual I showed up late, but that was fine. There was a great crowd there and everyone was really into it. Lots of fast, fun songs and loudly mournful ones. By the end of the session my voice was sounding better, but my throat was constricted in protest. It's satisfying.

This shape note song that seems to be a group favorite, lyrics-wise. Plus, unlike many Sacred Harp songs, it talks about what to do when you're alive, as opposed to while you (or a loved one) is dying or dead:

Odem 340
Tune: T. J. Denson, 1935
Lyrics: James Rowe, 1915

Wonderful things of men are said,
When they have passed away;
Flowers adorn the narrow bed
Over the lifeless clay.

Give me the roses while I live,
Something to cheer me on,
Useless the flowers you may give,
After the soul is gone.

Life is the time for words of praise,
Hands clasp with friendly smile,
Blessings to cheer a pilgrim's days,
Are always well worthwhile.

Give me the roses while I live,
Something to cheer me on,
Useless the flowers you may give,
After the soul is gone.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

I came up with some new advertising slogans on my walk to work:
Legwarmers: They're Not Just For Wearing Over Roller Skates
Legwarmers: They Actually Keep Your Legs Warm
Legwarmers: You Loved Them When You Were 12, Now Love Them Again

Monday, December 01, 2003

Hi everyone, welcome back. My Thanksgiving break report:

Much turkey was eaten, along with generous helpings of stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, squash mash, carrot cake, and apple pie. Trader Joe's Rosencrunch and Guildenpop was also consumed in large quantity.

Work problems faded with the assistance of distance and some really great wine.

I missed the fantastic singer-songwriter cage match on Wednesday at the way-too-small-for-that-gig Bishop's Lounge. Congratulations to winner Henning!

My Wednesday-night drive to NJ took about 6 hours. I was prepared, and stress-free.

A dog was extra-loved by people who don't get to see her daily.

Major points were awarded to a person who gave me flowers.

Crafts were made. See Craftytown for more on that.

Movies watched: The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3, multiple episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm (hilarious), Scarface

Continuous hours slept the night after Thanksgiving dinner: 11.5

All in all, it was a very successful holiday time. I hope yours was the same.

Thursday, November 27, 2003

Hi folks, I'm writing this from exotic Piscataway, New Jersey. The drive wasn't as horrible as I feared; it took me about 6 and a half hours, and should have taken me a bit over four. No biggie. It's about bedtime now but I had to check my email (I got none, since everyone I know that isn't in the house I'm currently in is at the big singer-songwriter Final Showdown Deathmatch at Bishop's Lounge) and then I had to blog.

Today work was fine. I think the problem discussed in my previous entry has been sculpted into a more manageable one. Since today was the day before a holiday, I had this intense drive to get a lot done, and a lot of energy and drive to do it (the more I accomplished, the sooner I could leave for my drive south). I ended up skipping out at around 3:30.

One last thing - Why do people wear cologne? A couple of guys were wearing man-perfume at the pizza place today, and it made it hard for me to smell the yummy pizza and make my selection (chicken and broccoli, thanks). Being clean is nice, but why go and add a scent? A really unnatural and flowery one?

That's all I want to know. Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

The good thing about having a blog is that people email you when you send up the red flag, to find out if you're okay. Thank you people.

I feel better now. The trouble had to do with someone I have to edit, who thinks I'm doing it all wrong. She sent me an email in protest of some imagined slight, I insisted we sit down to talk it out, and things continued badly from there. Anyway, I can't get into details, but the humiliating low point of our "conversation" was when I said, "why do you hate me?" (it was in context, believe it or not, but I'm still embarrassed I said it aloud), and, well, there were numerous low points for the other person, who was very angry. Yet somehow I was the one who ended up trembling with adrenaline and then crying in the bathroom afterwards - in secret, I hope (except for you, dear readers). After all of the nasty things were said, I still had to fix it, being the uber-responsible one. So I did, with a simple solution that could have come about easily if the person had confronted me days ago instead of letting their annoyance build for an entire week, finally spilling it out in a vitriolic email to me.

That's all I can say here.
Work's really bad; an interpersonal conflict just came to a head and I let myself get really angry. I just got myself to stop crying, so I'll write more later when I have calmed down (or returned home).

Monday, November 24, 2003

I feel better now. Work was freakin' me out. By 4 p.m. I felt like I hadn't even started work yet, but for all of the meetings and other interruptions. And then I still kept getting people stopping by with questions for me. But by 5:30, once I was the only person left in the office, I got things under control. I'm going to try to keep tomorrow morning meeting-free, for my sanity's sake.

I had a lengthy dog romp at the dog park on Burt's Pit Road on Sunday. It was exceptionally good. The weather was nice, especially for late November; there were a ton of dogs around; and all of the dog owners were laid back and cool. My dog L and I headed for the field next to a bend in the Mill River, where there was a nice-sized pack of dogs running around and playing. There was a gorgeous Great Dane, full grown but still puppyish, and a couple of Jack Russell terriers, a couple of labs, a short-haired collie, a Rhodesian ridgeback, and some random mutts. L did great with everyone, even playing stick-tug-o-war with other dogs. And when the growly play-fighting momentarily turned into a fierce-looking barking match, I pulled L away and the other guy pulled his dog away, and he was totally fine and calm about it. "Happens all the time," he says. Yes it does. I love it when dog owners know what is normal dog behavior and don't get scared every time someone gets barked at.
And then these two people on horseback came by with their dog, and the horses were amazing, letting the dog stand up and put its paws on the horse's side, and letting other strange dogs get close and stare and bark a little at these huge hoofed animals with the humans on top and asses up too high to sniff properly. After hanging out for a few minutes, they galloped down the path, their sporty dog running like a rocket to keep up. After I got home L slept like a black furry log. Like a dog, actually.

I also finally got inside of the new Smith student center. It's pretty damn cool. If they had to put an enormous modern white steel and glass building right next to old historic wood and brick Victorians, this would be the best one to have. I didn't explore very thoroughly, just stayed on the main floor, and ended up in a nice and extremely orange room that was very space-age and mod. There's a circular fireplace in there (unlit) and the rocking lounge chairs are made of sheet metal with red or orange padding stuck on (sadly some of the cushions were already coming unglued from the chairs). It was nice. I have no idea if I'm even allowed in there. I'm a woman, so that's nice camoflauge, and anyone with me could be my guest, I guess.

P.S. See Craftytown for a request for advice on driving during the traffic-fun-time coming up later this week.

Sorry postings have been light lately, dear readers. What can I say, work has been very hectic lately. Today I am getting so frustrated at my not being able to get things done (because people need me in on meetings and shit, which I guess means I'm important, which I guess I should be happy about, but I don't really care) that I actually gnashed my teeth and stamped my feet a couple of times.

Anyway, I'll post more tonight. Pinkie-swear.

Friday, November 21, 2003

I knew the Cat in the Hat movie was going to be terrible, and it looks like the nation's critics agree. My favorite two:

"If the producers had dug up Ted Geisel's body and hung it from a tree, they couldn't have desecrated the man more." -- Ty Burr, BOSTON GLOBE


"They may as well have skipped the hassle of securing licensing rights and simply called this mess Mike Myers: Asshole in Fur." -- Gregory Weinkauf, DALLAS OBSERVER
The Friday Five is Alive with Fives.

1. List five things you'd like to accomplish by the end of the year.
That's like only a month and a half away! These are things I must do, though I'd also really like to do them ... Organize a baby shower, create and mail out invites to a baby shower, finish my art-o-mat project, knit most of a knitting project I have yet to begin, and get an old futon mattress out of my apartment.

2. List five people you've lost contact with that you'd like to hear from again.
Tina Huytera, Maria Finucane (both were high school friends), Dave Vasquez (my first boyfriend), Ivan Ferris (college friend), and me. Heh.

3. List five things you'd like to learn how to do.
Make silver jewelry (via casting and sautering, with a kiln or torch), roast a perfect chicken, stop the loud rattling noise the heating vent is currently making in my office, sew a shirt from scratch and have the collar turn out nice, and change a tire on my car.

4. List five things you'd do if you won the lottery (no limit).
Hmm... I'd probably quit my full-time job, and then spend a healthy amount of time traveling all over the world (New Zealand, Bali, India, Japan, Iceland...), and of course I'd donate a big chunk to a pro-environment organization. I'd also buy houses for myself and my friends and family. And then I'd carve an idyllic hobbit-ish house out of the side of a hill, as a private nature-filled retreat where I'd go to "get away from it all," which would entail standing in front of gauzy windows while looking dramatic.

5. List five things you do that help you relax.
If it's cold out, and I come back to my house and jump into bed (with down comforter) to warm up, I will always end up falling asleep. I play puzzle games on my cell phone when I'm nervous or just bored. Ideally I do yoga, or at least yogic breathing. Also: drinking tea and petting my dog.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

I scanned the old photos of my grandfather but my ridiculous work email only allowed the smallest files to get through to me at home. So here's just a nice one of my grandfather feeding my dad.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

I just posted on Craftytown about the origin of the boots I'm wearing today. Unfortunately they're just a little big for me. Had I bought them in a brick-and-mortar store I would have done my annoying-shoe-shopper-lady routine of having them show me multiple pairs of the same exact size, since Doc Martins can vary widely. Instead I tried a 6, which was too big, and a 5, which was way too small. So I kept the 6, and I'm trying to be okay with it. I walked to work today in them and my feet keeps sliding around inside. It's just like walking on sand, except without, you know, the ocean, the sunlight, and the nice warm breezes.

These boots would be perfect for my pregnant twin-sister, whose feet are swelling up beyond her usual shoe size. Of course, she'd have to get someone else to lace them up. Last Saturday she showed me the deep indents her socks had made in her ankles at the end of the day, since she's all full of extra fluids. That extra-blood-volume aspect of pregnancy is almost as weird as having a little creature inside living off of your body. Like me, she's always been relatively skinny (we were quite bony in grade school, but have since filled out, in a healthy way I hope) so suddenly having no waist and a giant belly is a very new experience. When we get together, we go someplace private and compare our bodies as a kind of living before-and-after photo. As a result, I've seen my sister naked more times in the past few months than in the past 15 years.

I may end up seeing a lot more of her, if I end up in the delivery room as currently planned. I bought a book about being a Birth Partner, which details some practices better left to her husband (the daily perineal massage comes to mind), but also is teaching me things about labor and birth I didn't know before. For instance, during labor (or is it pre-labor?) the cervix not only dilates, but gets paper-thin. That shit is insane.

Anyway, I hope I get to be there for as much of it as I can, because it is going to be completely amazing and beautiful and scary and gross and sad and wonderful. I won't sleep for weeks.
The Onion is on the side of good.
Virgo: (Aug. 23—Sept. 22)
You're aware that life isn't a nice, sweet fairy tale. That said, it's about time you get to the sex and drugs.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Hey look, people: I Made A Difference. Maybe. Go click on over to Craftytown to see what I'm talking about.

Monday, November 17, 2003

Here's a nice warm pic for a classic cold November day:

This is one angora rabbit, by the way. Thanks to the Black Table for the link.
Here's what I read at my Grandfather's memorial service on Saturday, which was lovely all around:

(by e.e. cummings)

in time of daffodils(who know
the goal of living is to grow)
forgetting why,remember how

in time of lilacs who proclaim
the aim of waking is to dream,
remember so(forgetting seem)

in time of roses(who amaze
our now and here with paradise)
forgetting if,remember yes

in time of all sweet things beyond
whatever mind may comprehend,
remember seek(forgetting find)

and in a mystery to be
(when time from time shall set us free)
forgetting me,remember me

After the service I got to look through a bunch of old photos of my ancestors that I have literally never seen before, since they had been stuck away in a shoebox and forgotten by my grandmother. There were photos of my grandparents as children and as courting young adults. I snagged just a few photos to scan at home; two are of my Grandfather during WWII, looking extremely handsome and dreamy. I'll have to post one of them here. My sister and I were in heaven, seeing these for the first time - the photos in our parents' household dated back to 1955 or so but no further. We kept saying, "you don't understand - we buy photos of strangers, just like these, at flea markets for like a buck apiece!" I'm fascinated with very old snapshots; the unposed ones especially are like accidental windows through time. Look how they smile and laugh and look sad and lonely, just like we do now. I have photos of complete strangers framed and hung on my walls, and I could have had actual relatives instead.

And now I can.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

A recent story about major music acts making exclusive sales deals with big-box record stores reminds me of a related story I heard yesterday. I don't want to get myself or anyone else in trouble, so names have been changed.

It seems a company had cut a deal with a discount retailer - let's call it Barget - to sell a certain, sure-to-be-popular DVD title with a free kids' booklet shrink-wrapped with it. In return for being able to offer an exclusive freebie, Barget would help pay for the booklet printing, and both companies would win. People spend hours designing and creating the booklet, and it is hours away from going on press, when the company gets a phone call from another, much larger discount retailer, one that I'll call Ballmart. Ballmart says, and this is only slightly paraphrased, "If you go ahead with this deal with Barget, we will not sell your DVD title at all; going forward, we will have to rethink our entire relationship with your company." The recipient of this veiled threat, suddenly faced with visions of millions in in lost sales by being blacklisted from the earth's largest retailer, has no choice but to pull the plug. Now Barget loses their exclusive offer, consumers lose getting a neato extra thing for free, and the booklet company loses an opportunity to add some coupons for stuff. The only person who wins is Ballmart.

Another Ballmart thing I learned; you know when you buy a DVD, the first time you open the box, usually some coupons fall out, with offers for other DVDs and stuff from the DVD company? Well, Ballmart has a strict no-coupon policy. They don't want consumers realizing they can potentially get things cheaper, by using coupons, at someplace other than their store. So the companies who sell DVDs have to remove all of the coupons from all of the DVDs they ship to Ballmart to sell. Who loses? Both the consumer and the DVD company. The only person who wins is Ballmart.

I just keep hearing Darth Vader in my head saying, "I find your lack of faith disturbing," and crushing that Empire toady's larynx.
This one from the Onion is a no-brainer, and I expect to see it linked on everyone's blogs today.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

I got a 106, thank you very much, and I did it without using references of any kind. What did you get?
Wouldn't it be funny? My mom emailed me a bunch of e.e. cummings poems to possibly read at my Grandfather's memorial service this Saturday. One of them is the same poem I read at my friend's wedding last November.
Wouldn't it be funny? Love and death, always breaking up and getting back together again.

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)

i fear no fate (for you are my fate,my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in my heart)

If anyone sees a bunch of keys lying around, with a Darth Vader lego keychain, they might be mine. I've never lost my keys so completely like this before. Luckily I have my house and car keys on a separate ring so they can fit in a pocket when I want to be purse-free. But the other key ring has my office keys, my bike lock key (this is crucial, since I want to take my bike in from the porch), and all of my saver cards (CVS, Big E's, Stop & Shop). It's not in the league of, say, losing a wallet, but it's fairly annoying and depressing.

I promise to blog more here. I'm getting a little more of a grasp on what I should blog here and what should go in Craftytown.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

I'm back from sunny and sometimes rainy Florida. Some things:

Very young, very fat children make me sad.

It has become socially acceptable to rent a wheelchair simply because you're too overweight to haul your ass around the theme park without collapsing.

A lot of people sneeze and cough without covering their mouths in any way.

Apparently you can dress in super-low-cut short-shorts, a half-mesh cropped tank top, and spiky sandals, whether you're 9 or 49 years old.

Wearing t-shirts with American flags and patriotic slogans is still "in."

British tourists yell at their crabby kids just as often as Americans.

Anyone who hates Animal Kingdom, as a couple did who complained loudly about "wasting a day there" during a 20-minute bus ride, will never be a friend of mine.

Getting a tattoo that names you and your sweetie as being in True Love Forever is a really bad idea if you're (I'd wager) 19 years old, tops.

Saturday, November 01, 2003

I'm a-gonna be away on business for the next few days. Expect blogging to resume on Thursday. I'll miss you!

Thursday, October 30, 2003

Hey now I'm famous!

Seriously, did I piss someone off? This has to be the worst photo of me I've seen lately. I know they took at least one other one. I can't look at it without laughing. I look like a demented Pocahontas.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

I just wrote two wordy posts over at CraftyTown: Go on over and check 'em out.

For now, since my hands are tired, here's the lyrics to a Rufus Wainwright song currently rockin' my world.

Go or Go Ahead

Thank you for this bitter knowledge
Guardian angels who left me stranded
It was worth it, feeling abandoned
Makes one hardened but what has happened to love

You got me writing lyrics on postcards
Then in the evening looking at stars
But the brightest of the planets is Mars
Then what has happened to love

So I will opt for the big white limo
Vanity fairgrounds and rebel angels
You can’t be trusted with feathers so hollow
Your heaven’s inventions, steel eyed vampires of love

You see over me, I’ll never know
What you have shown to other eyes

Go or go ahead and surprise me
Say you’ve lead the way to a mirage
Go or go ahead and just try me

Nowhere’s now here smelling of junipers
Fell off the hay bales, I’m over the rainbows
But oh Medusa kiss me and crucify
This unholy notion of the mythic power of love

Look in her eyes, look in her eyes
Forget about the ones that are crying
Look in her eyes, look in her eyes
Forget about the ones that are crying

Go or go ahead
And surprise me
Go or go ahead
And just try me

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

I am drawn to this idea: A story told only in words tattooed on willing people. The story will be published or summarized in no other form; only participants will get to read the story. A catch: you do not get to choose the word, though you choose the location on your body. For more info seeShelley Jackson's INERADICABLE STAIN : SKIN PROJECT.
R.I.P. Douglas Way Sr., who passed away Saturday evening.

Saturday, October 25, 2003

Finally got around to uploading some pics I took last weekend. Explanatory titles are below the images.

We live in a pretty place, here in New England.

This is a bendy tree down by a dog-friendly bend of the Mill River.

Dogs like it here.

If this was a movie you'd see them wagging.

Getty gave up on North Hatfield, I guess...

... but the Great Pumpkin didn't.

Merry autumn y'all.

Friday, October 24, 2003

I just spoke to my mom, who is keeping vigil at my Grandfather's bedside, along with my father, my grandmother, and a cousin of my dad's. Yesterday, when he became unresponsive, they spent the entire day in his room, playing music and reading poems aloud. Are you praying? I asked. Not exactly, she said. I blurted out that there was a Buddhist prayer they could do, you know, if they felt like it. I explained it to her: Picture the person bathed in light, happy and healthy and at peace; imagine them merging with the light and accepting death; make it a happy thing, in order to let their spirit go without turmoil. My family, like most, doesn't talk about spirituality much. We're Quakers, too, so there isn't much talking at all during services. But my mom liked the Buddhist prayer idea, and I think she's gonna do it. Because I was right there during the death of my boyfriend's father a couple of years ago, which was a very non-traditional death and after-death experience, I feel like I kind of have some street cred with my family when it comes to people dying. What a strange thing to be known for. My sister's the pregnant one (currently making her a minor celebrity in our infant-starved family), and I'm the death-experienced one. At least I can feel useful instead of helpless.

Thursday, October 23, 2003

I ran into an old friend yesterday. Lats I saw her, she was freshly married, working part-time at a hair salon, and part-time at a phone-survey place. Now she's pregnant (and, like my twin, is having a girrl, due in February) and teaching at Smith! You go, girl. We have a date to catch up next Thursday. I'm excited.

The "girrl" above is a typo but I like it.

Also yesterday was a dinner meeting of the MassLive Northampton bloggers. Our photos were taken and they're planning on putting us in the Spfl'd Republican, on quarter-page ads along with pull-quotes from our blogs. Yikes! I think it'll be hilarious. I had forgotten photos would be taken, and I had my hair in two braids and was wearing a v-neck sweater tied with a leather cord. I just know I'm gonna look like Pocahontas. With glasses.

I've been writing a bunch of stuff on CraftyTown, too, so be sure to take a look.

Also, update on my Grandfather: He drank 8 oz. of chocolate milk a couple of days ago so he's still hanging in there.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Singer/Songwriter Elliott Smith Dead Of Apparent Suicide

Oh my god. I am literally reeling with the news of this. Can't think of what to say. I'm a huge fan! ohh...

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

I saw School of Rock at a Sunday matinee: loved it. Even though the plot was very typical and somewhat obvious, it was done very well. There were a lot of great lines. ("You have to feel it in your head, your brain, AND your mind!") Jack Black and all of the kids were great. It even touched on real-life issues my musician friends face - balancing a rent-paying job with devoting all of your time to a band in the hope that someday you'll make enough from it to support yourself. Of course I can apply that to myself too, as a part-time artist. I still sometimes wonder if I should quit my job and go to grad school and become an artist full-time, which is what I've wanted to be since I was a kid - I'd live in NYC and make art, scrounge for an agent and a gallery, and hang out with people way hipper than me who drink too much and are completely self-absorbed.

Okay, maybe those last few parts I mentioned aren't what I want.

The problem with being an artist is that it's a solitary pursuit. Suddenly you look up from your desk and realize you haven't spoken to another human for four days. I need socialization. I liked my situation in college, with a big warehouse-like space filled with a warren of students' studios, always someone making art on the other side of a plywood wall. But I didn't socialize much with the other (and mostly cooler) artists. I felt too uncool. They all really committed to the role - smoking constantly, drinking cheap beer, taking drugs whenever available, oil paint all over their clothes, scruffy-looking but sexy. I was somewhat scruffy, but didn't drink much, smoke, or do drugs. So I was at a disadvantage.
Luckily, in my final year I found some nerdy artist friends and I stopped feeling intimidated.

Friday, October 17, 2003

At this site, a classic song is translated to the Latin and back to English. Here's a sample:

magnae clunes mihi placent, nec possum de hac re mentiri.
(Large buttocks are pleasing to me, nor am I able to lie concerning this matter.)
quis enim, consortes mei, non fateatur,
(For who, colleagues, would not admit,)
cum puella incedit minore medio corpore
(Whenever a girl comes by with a rather small middle part of the body)
sub quo manifestus globus, inflammare animos
(Beneath which is an obvious spherical mass, that it inflames the spirits)
virtute praestare ut velitis, notantes bracas eius
(So that you want to be conspicuous for manly virtue, noticing her breeches)
clunibus profunde fartas(*1) esse
(Have been deeply stuffed with buttock?)

Thursday, October 16, 2003

I am sitting here mushing and kneading a ball of Silly Putty in my left hand. (Actually's it's Pacificare Behavioral Health putty; it's a promo item from work that's supposed to de-stress us, or something.) Occasionally I pull it into a rope and try to yank it hard enough for it to snap into two. Then I try to join the flat snapped-off ends together perfectly, to get it to melt back into one. Right now I have an overwhelming urge to chew on the putty. My teeth are itching for it. But I know it won't chew well, will taste terrible, and I will regret it immediately. So instead I am typing about it, here for you.

This, right now, is the story of my life.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

I just called my grandmother. She says my grandfather is not doing well - he's in bed, has refused all food and drink, and tried to speak to her but couldn't be understood. She says that our visit made a big difference in him; he was alert and animated (and he smiled a bunch of times) on Sunday. So maybe now that we've gone, he's going to let go. I think we're all ready for it, though I get a lump in my throat whenever I think about it. Of course.

I've been relatively lucky in the ancestor roulette - this is my first grandparent to die. Before this the only relatives I ever met that died were two great-grandmothers (one on each side of my family) who died when they were 99 years old. I barely knew either of them. I'm essentially estranged from my other set of grandparents (long story, too personal to blog), so losing this grandfather is very sad.

Though it's really the Alzheimer's that's doing him in, the actual cause of death will probably be dysphagia (dehydration). He has a living will that specifies no hospitals, which means not getting even an IV drip to give him fluids. So since I feel totally helpless while waiting, I did a google on what kind of death this might be like. Here are some links, if you're curious:

This is really about assisted vs. unassisted suicide;

as is this one from the Hemlock Society;

and here's a reassuring Reuter's article about the subject.

My grandfather's on morphine, and has people around constantly to moisten his mouth, see that he's comfortable, etc., so I think it should be relatively okay.
It's Wednesday which means there's a new Onion. A favorite news brief from today's issue:

God's Gift To Women Returned
TUSCON, AZ—Moments after unsuccessfully propositioning all of the female patrons at the Kon Tiki Lounge, God's gift to women, 31-year-old Patrick Roland, was returned to his maker Monday night. "That Pat guy was cute, but he sure was pushy," said Debbie Werner, a fellow Lounge patron. "He kept trying to buy me Cosmos, but I told him to buzz off. A few minutes later, he stumbled out the door and got run over by a bus." Werner said she hopes that next time God's feeling generous, He gives women something more useful, like money.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

You never really appreciate your socks, individually, until you have to hang all of them up to dry in your tiny three-room apartment because someone broke the dryer (air was blowing, but drum not spinning) and didn't leave a note on it and before you figured it out you had done two big wet loads of laundry and it was 10:30 p.m. with no laundromats open. I had to find some thin rope and string it wherever I could (from roller-shade bracket to closet rod, for example) to make clotheslines. My bedroom looks like a tenement, with two criss-crossing lines of hankerchiefs, underwear, and socks. I stuck a broomstick between two kitchen chairs and hung everything I could put onto a clotheshanger from it (a lot of stuff that had been hanging up in my closet is now in a big pile) and set up a big fan to blow onto it.

One other wonderful feature of my building's (coin-op) laundry machine is that the washer doesn't spin the clothes dry; you can literally squeeze water out of the clothes when the load is done. So this morning I still have sopping-wet sweaters lying on paper bags on the floor and stiff wet jeans hanging off of chair backs. It's frickin' ridiculous. I should just lug everything to the laundromat after work but that almost seems like a defeat. Sickly, I paid for two dryer-loads before I figured out the stupid thing wasn't actually spinning, so I feel like I've paid for these clothes to be dry already. So get dry, dammit! This shit is insane!
You never really appreciate your socks, individually, until you have to hang all of them up to dry in your tiny three-room apartment because someone broke the dryer (air was blowing, but drum not spinning) and didn't leave a note on it and before you figured it out you had done two big wet loads of laundry and it was 10:30 p.m. with no laundromats open. I had to find some thin rope and string it wherever I could (from roller-shade bracket to closet rod, for example) to make clotheslines. My bedroom looks like a tenement, with two criss-crossing lines of hankerchiefs, underwear, and socks. I stuck a broomstick between two kitchen chairs and hung everything I could put onto a clotheshanger from it (a lot of stuff that had been hanging up in my closet is now in a big pile) and set up a big fan to blow onto it.

One other wonderful feature of my building's (coin-op) laundry machines is that the washer doesn't spin the clothes dry; you can literally squeeze water out of the clothes when the load is done. So this morning I still have sopping-wet sweaters lying on paper bags on the floor and stiff wet jeans hanging off of chair backs. It's frickin' ridiculous. I should just lug everything to the laundromat after work but that almost seems like a defeat. Sickly, I paid for two dryer-loads before I figured out the stupid thing wasn't actually spinning, so I feel like I've paid for these clothes to be dry already. So get dry, dammit! This shit is insane!

Monday, October 13, 2003

Hi. I'm back. I was in Florida, where I swam, rode on kiddie rides, and saw the B-52s perform; then I came home, had an out-of-town house-guest for an overnight (T, in town to spend time with her brother she's only met once several months ago, who her mom had given up for adoption before she was born and didn't tell T until the brother contacted her mom; he lives about four blocks away from me) and then I went to a wedding three hours away, which was very nice and fun. Dave and Kelsey: TLF. They exited the church to a guitar-only version of "Panama" courtesy of Mr. D. Crommet.

Then there was some craziness. My grandfather is not doing well. He has been slowly, very slowly, sliding downhill because of Alzheimer's. It's been very sad and frustrating to watch. He recently seems to have had a small stroke, or one in a series of small strokes, that somehow made him decide to stop eating, and especially, drinking. So instead of going home after the wedding, I went up to Laconia to see my grandfather and try to give some comfort to my grandmother. My parents and sister had arrived before me.

Apparently it's a fairly common old-person thing, the not wanting to drink fluids; put water in their mouths and their body just doesn't want to try to swallow, too afraid to choke on it. So nursing home aides put thickener in their drinks and spoon it to them like babies. The thickener is just starch - it doesn't add flavor. Thickened juice sounds okay, but gelatinized black coffee (which my grandfather took a spoonful of) is pretty gross to me. Anyway, he's all thin and his voice is whispery and reedy-dry, and a good 90-percent of the time he was incomprehensible. He did seem to realize we were all there, his family around him, and that seemed to make him happy. He'd smile and look like himself again. But then he would move his arms and legs, restless and agitated, like he wanted to get out of the loungechair and walk somewhere, though he's far too weak for that. He'd occasionally jerk his whole body in a startle response like babies sometimes do. At one clearer point he said, "I want a new brain."

I tried to do some of the Buddhist meditations you do when someone's dying - basically you picture them having a good death, surrounded by acceptance and peace, with the person completely healthy and happy. But the room was too noisy and busy, and he couldn't be still. So I said goodbye when everyone else did, and I hid my crying, because that's what my repressed WASPy family does.

My sister and bro-in-law had rented a car to get up there so I made them drive me home Sunday night. We ate at Spoleto's and on Monday morning I called my boss - "I know this is really last minute, but do you mind if I take the day off?" - and we three went to Casablanca, where we ate crepes in the window and watched the short and cute Pulaski Day Parade march down Main Street. Then they were all into the shopping. And then they left and now I'm doing laundry and the Red Sox game is in the background just because I don't have anything better to watch or do and I'm feeling lazy. I figure I deserve it.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

I'm going to be away on business (and then a wedding) until Sunday, so there's gonna be a break from blogging. See you then!

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

I love this idea: At the GALLOP PICTURE EXCHANGE you drop off a picture to be screened onto a t-shirt, and purchase a t-shirt with someone else's image on it. Unfortunately they're in England, but it looks like you can email them.

This image/shirt is available:

as is this one:

Go, be a part of this crazy experiment.
I wake up to NPR news so sometimes I hear stories through a semi-conscious haze. This morning I swear I heard that Roger Ebert had died, so I went online to make sure. He's alive (right??) but in my search I found Ebert's Answer Man column Archives on the Chicago Sun-Times site. Pretty interesting stuff about movies new and old.

I liked this letter, especially the Tom Clancy quote at the end (maybe he's not so bad after all):

Q: I've noticed an interesting trend over the last few years: You can sometimes tell who the "bad guys" are in a movie or TV show by what computer they use. For instance, on "24," all the bad guys used PCs while the good guys all used Macs. The same holds true for "Austin Powers," "Legally Blonde," etc. Why do you think Apple always gets the plumb roles? I'm of the opinion that Hollywood loves the underdog and has a close relationship with Apple computer, whereas PCs seem controlled by a megalomaniac in Seattle. Are there a lot more Mac zealots like me in Hollywood? Does Apple pour sponsorship money in big-budget studio movies?

Justin Toomey, Athens, Ohio

A: Since many Windows machines look alike, Apple is one of the few manufacturers that can gain by product placement, which accounts for some of the Macs. It's true that the movie industry and creative types in general prefer the Mac. The novelist Tom Clancy sends e-mails with this signature line: "Never ask a man what computer he uses. If it's a Mac, he'll tell you. If it's not, why embarrass him?"

Monday, October 06, 2003

Hey, I finally posted on-topic today over at CraftyTown - a review of a fine store called Glamourpuss. Thanks to Lesa for telling me about the store; I love it.

I saw two flicks this weekend - American Splendor and Lost in Translation. AS was great, but Lost was amazing. Bill Murray is just superb in this movie. Even during the funny parts - even during a karaoke scene - I was never thinking "Oh, he's doing the same schtick I've seen him do on SNL." Scarlett Johansenn was good too. Not incredible, like Murray was, but still very solid. I found it funny and touching and a little heartbreaking. Plus now I really want to go to Tokyo; I've wanted to go for years, but this movie clinched it.

I failed to find a dress to wear for the wedding, so I might end up wearing something I already have (and where's the fun in that?). I was hoping 25 Central could help me, since I had a quick look at their stuff during work Friday, but it seems that in the past two days they've sold out of all of their size smalls in the non-$300-dresses. I blame the Smithies. I might have to go to the dreaded mall after work. Wednesday morning I'm flying to Orlando for a media event (along with four coworkers) and won't be back until early evening Friday, so time is getting short.

In other news, I had a ham sandwich. Not really, but I did have some bacon. Yummy.

Friday, October 03, 2003

My brother-in-law pointed out this excellent site to me: 365 Days Project has a different odd song every single damn day. He says today's is particularly great but I'll have to wait until I get home to hear it.
It looks like Magnolia was actually a look into the future.

Thursday, October 02, 2003

Black Table has a funny yet very creepy interview with the cagey, morally-bankrupt webmaster of a soft-core kiddie porn site. The article is titled WHY DOES CHILDSUPERMODELS.COM EXIST, ANYWAY? and I wouldn't go to that site unless you're ready to be seriously disturbed and saddened. Just read the interview.
I can't seem to stop sneezing and blowing my nose - my annual first-frost cold might be beginning tonight. I found this appropriate image from Engrish:

I just wrote another Craftytown entry. I'm still kind of flailing around there. I haven't really figured out what I want to (and can) say. It doesn't help that we're in crunch-time at work and I don't have time to wander around downtown during lunch. I do want to post a review of the new expensive craft-ish store - it's called KOMJ or something (four letters that don't make a word). I'll have to stop in sometime today first.

I went to the open mike at Harry's last night - and where the hell were you? I got there at 10:30 expecting it to be packed and there were three people there. Henning hadn't even started playing. Eventually I spied L hiding in the smoky moonlit corner and I joined her. It was a surreal night. Weird performances, each unique and odd. I don't want to dis anyone who has the balls to go up and perform so I just won't say any more. It was cool to see Jeff play; he uses a sequencer (not sure that's the right name) to play with himself. (Heh) He'll play a few bars and hit a pedal and it will play what he just played in a continuous loop. So he plays his own backup guitar, kind of. He also had a drum machine in there. Really cool sounding.

Tonight I'm back on schedule, hosting dinner-and-TV-night with the girls, A and T (who are 17 and 14, for those keeping track at home). I feel bad about T, who was frustrated she missed out on a massive trip to the mall I took Saturday with A and three of her friends. A couple of them were buying birthday gifts for T so it's kind of good she wasn't there. Instead T went with some old White Brook friends to the Easthampton Fall Festival (a trade show with a bunch of boring booths in the high school gym) and then to Fright Fest at Six Flags, but she said it wasn't fun. T is trying to be polite to her old E'ton friends, who adore her, but she really has never felt much of a connection with them. She connected immediately with her new PVPA friends, who are as smart and creative as she is. She seems happier than I've seen her in a long time. But what do you do, if your old friends just aren't who you want them to be?

I had a similar situation in jr. high and high school; I was part of a sizeable clique of nerds and geeks, but my sister and I never felt totally comfortable with them. They wore makeup and perfume and (most) were overweight and in marching band and were kind of judgemental and had fluffy pink bedspreads with white poster beds and didn't have any creative outlets at all. The boys were similar except either painfully tidy and uptight (polo shirts, khaki shorts, and white izod socks pulled up to their knees), or really slobbish and messy (one had a fabric-covered three-ring binder that was shiny with french fry grease). So my sister and I picked the three people we felt the most affinity with - a creative band-member girl, an artsy sorta-punk newcomer, and a messy boy - and we clung together at parties. After school we'd get together with one or another, making art, reading Shakespeare aloud (for an English class), or playing Super Mario Bros on Nintendo. At night, if it wasn't freezing, we'd walk "downtown," i.e. the two strip malls nearest our suburban development (which had a movie theater, a 24-hour diner, a supermarket, a K-Mart, a Burger King on one side and a McDonald's on the other, and a row of tiny stores), singing Elvis Costello songs and trying to get the harmonies right, talking back to the cars full of semi-scary guys cruising the neighborhood who'd stop and ask us if we needed a ride or wanted to "party", spray-painting tropical fish with a stencil on the new housing development's cement culvert that the skateboarders had taken over. It still wasn't perfect but we did the best we could.

It was pretty wild to see how everyone had changed the summer after our first year in college. A couple of the uptight boys, who had gotten into prestigeous schools, came back complete drunks and potheads. A couple of the girls really let loose and now frequently "hooked up" at parties, where they would drink until they blacked out. A few of them ended up dropping out of good colleges to go to community college. They had all worked so fuckin' hard in high school they were completely burnt out by the time they reached college. Mamas, dont let your babies grow up to be high-achieving perfectionists with insular social lives, because they make really bad choices when they find out what they've been missing.

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

I got a letter (an account of a dating "dealbreaker") published in Salon. If you're not a member, just watch the stupid ad - it's worth it. Just call me "Erin" - I'm the second to last story.

Tuesday, September 30, 2003

I have digital camera envy. Sure my camera looks cool, but lately I've been noticing that most of my photos have a ton of noise in the darker areas. I thought this was a low light problem until I saw the pics I took of the Brooklyn Bridge in bright sunlight, and the shadows were noisy. Grrr. I looked around online and the only advice I've heard is to keep the ISO as low as possible and use the shortest exposure you can. My camera is only a year old and should be able to take nice images; it's a Canon and a 2-megapixel. It's not a resolution problem anyway, just noise (instead of being shades of black and grey, the shadows have speckles of red and green in them). Maybe it's my no-name brand memory card? Is that possible? Probably not... I'll play around with it in the next couple of days.

Go check out Craftytown (and admire my restraint in not making any double-entendres; it was difficult not to since I have the sense of humor of a 12-year-old boy) to read a short post about chestnuts.

Last night I let the dog sleep on the bed, I was so cold. Today I have the Fawns' Wicked Cold stuck in my head. Even the "dan-nat, dan-nat, dan-nat, dan-nat" part. It's much better than yesterday, when I left work singing, inexplicably, Lady in Red.

Monday, September 29, 2003

How could I have been surfing the web for so long without ever seeing the glory that is the World Beard and Moustache Championships.

This guy is the current world champion in the "partial beard, freestyle" category. I think I'm in love:

Sonograms are cool. Here are a bunch of my future niece.
Thursday I went out, Friday I stayed in. Saturday I went out, Sunday I stayed in, which means that tonight I should go out. Hmmm...

Saturday the Fawns headlined at Harry's where they rocked the house. Lisa has some great new songs; her voice, and the whole band, sounds confident (tighter yet looser - you know, when a band practices enough that they know what they're doing and can relax onstage) and I like them more every time I see them.

I went to an after-party at H&L's, where henning decided to prove the fact that it's always like Christmas at their friendly home, by having a Christmas-carol singalong. Somehow it was the best thing to do at the time.

Also, Danny the dog got some serious lovin' from both dog and man. There is photographic proof of this.

Sunday I cleaned the bathroom, making it look better than the day I moved in. I used this cleaning stuff called "Scrub Free" - yes, that's the actual name of the product. And guess what? I had to scrub. A lot. I got a cut on my finger from scrubbing so hard. Scrub Free, you can kiss my ass. The tile looks a lot better (again, nicer than the day I moved in), but I don't know if I can keep it looking that way; I was in there for an hour of almost constant spraying, scrubbing, and wiping.

After that I worked on my art-o-mat project; read more about it on my Craftytown blog (see new link at left!). I was hoping I'd wake up today with super muscular forearms, but no dice.

Friday, September 26, 2003

Hey lookie here; you can now find me at CraftyTown, my official MassLive blog. Go take a look. It will be about making things and shopping. It's the materialistic blog! I'll never get to be a buddhist at this rate...

Anyway, I hope you don't yell "Judas!" at me the next time you see me: I can't have sold out, as I'm not getting paid. Chowflap will continue to chug along as always.
I just got word - Hortense it is! I'm getting a niece!
Eye on Northampton's Under-Construction Asian Restaurants: I peeked into Ichiban today, which for months looked like a bunch of crazed monkeys had gotten in there, and now, suddenly, it's starting to look pretty good. What was most exciting is that it looks like they're going to have a River of Sushi: an oval-shaped track with little boats floating around it (there's a current, somehow) and on the boats are small plates of sushi of various kinds. You take whatever one you want off the boats, and at the end of the meal they count up your plates to figure out your bill (like Dim Sum). This is a fairly common sushi-place gimmick, and it's a fun one; my sister and I ate at one in Little Japan in San Francisco, but you can find them all over. I think the idea might have actually originated in Japan. It's nice to be able to pick and choose the nicest (and freshest) looking pieces of sushi.

Also Teapot's Tofu now looks almost complete, with the tables and chairs all in place and cleaned off. They seem to be building an elaborate shade, similar to the Brewery's, over the little sunken patio they have (where the Fire and Water exit was), which seems like a waste of money for a space that could probably fit like 8 diners, but what do I know.
Today's the day I hopefully find out if I'm getting a niece or a nephew. My sister will get to narrow down her name choices, too; Ashley or Ashleigh, Eva or Adolph, Jorge or Fanny, Raindance or Skysparrow, Axl or Left-Eye, Constance or Jebediah, Khalil or Nefertiti, Raiden or Kitana. It won't be easy.

Thursday, September 25, 2003

This is beautiful. I love these people, even though they work in advertising.
This morning I woke to Bjork's Homogenic. As a wake-up album it was okay, not spectacular. But I do loves me some Bjork. I want to stick her in my pocket and make a little home for her in my skirt.

Last night I saw the School for the Dead show at Harry's. They were very rockin', moreso than usual it seems, though I think I've been seeing them in venues where they have to tone it down a little. I had been told that Henning was on some prescription painkillers so I was watching for some extra goofiness, but he seemed fine, even pulling off the neat trick of tuning his guitar, while singing, in the middle of a song. Max was also back-hurting, due to bailing water out of the basement of the house I sold to him (and I can't stop feeling somehow responsible, like I sold him a lemon). I need to go over there and show him some tricks I learned.

I'm pretty down right now. Now that this blog is linked all over the place, I feel I can't elaborate. But reality is coming home to roost. It's a familiar pain (which makes me feel old), and I know it will mostly subside. It just takes time.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

I've been waking up to a CD every morning. I've been trying to pick albums that make me feel good to be awake, and as a bonus, have a first song that's great to wake up to. So far my selections have been:

Bjork - Vespertine
Django Reinhardt - some French collection
They Might Be Giants - Flood (first song: The Theme from Flood)
REM - Green (first song: Get Up)
Stevie Wonder - Innervisions
XTC - Apple Venus Vol. 1

XTC and Bjork have been the best, though only Apple Venus has remained in the player for three mornings in a row. "River of Orchids" is just a perfect waking-up song; it starts with the sound of a drop of water, then the thrum of a bass, and slowly becomes all complicated and earnest. Here are some lyrics:

Take a packet of seeds
Take yourself out to play
I want to see river of orchids where we had a motorway
It's all in your back yard
You've the whole world at your feet
I said the grass is always greener when it bursts up through concrete

I seem to like songs about wanting civilization to revert back to nature. I love seeing the weeds win.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

It's not that I'm all sad about Gordon Jump, and posting those lyrics as a tribute is kind of a joke. But I did go through a period when my family watched WKRP reruns every night at dinner. Similarly, I have likely seen every episode ever made of: Benson, Three's Company, MASH, Night Court, and Taxi; shows that were rerun on one of the three networks during 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. all week. For many years our family had a small black and white TV on the dining table in our kitchen, and we'd watch it while we ate, not talking but occasionally laughing together at the fake people on the television (we put the fun in dysfunctional!). WKRP was a really funny show, and I stand by that. For years I would say "Chi Chi Rodriguez" the same way Les Nessman did (Chy Chy Rod-rig-wheez), and the episode where they drop the turkeys from the helicopter is a classic. I even had a crush on Johnny Fever, which was quickly quelled when he ended up the teacher on the embarrassing Head of the Class. Good times.
From the AP: Gordon Jump of 'WKRP' dies.

Baby, if you've ever wondered,
Wondered whatever became of me,
I'm living on the air in Cincinnati,
Cincinnati, WKRP.

Got kind of tired packing and unpacking,
Town to town and up and down the dial
Maybe you and me were never meant to be,
But baby think of me once in awhile.

I'm at WKRP in Cincinnati.

Monday, September 22, 2003

Had a lazy weekend. I really only did a couple of things; yesterday I cleaned my apartment, read a lot of a book (a memoir called Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight), and went over to visit with A and T and get Chinese food delivered. We watched the first 20 minutes of the Emmys (Garry Shandling - not so funny. Jon Stewart - hilarious) and then the girls insisted we watch an episode of Sex and the City on DVD. I've only seen a couple of episodes, and this one was a really great one, dealing with Carrie attempting to be friends with Big, discovering he's engaged to his new young and bland girlfriend and accepting that she needs to find someone who will appreciate her complicatedness. Not that expensive-shoe-wearing makes her complicated, but the sentiment was good. Anyway, I completely missed seeing a friend onstage, when the writing team for the Daily Show won, for Best Comedy Writing for a Show that's Hard to Categorize. He's really my sister's friend, but I've spoken to him several times, so that counts...

[If you hate the "today I had a ham sandwich" entries, skip this next paragraph... In fact, you may want to skip my entire blog, Mr. Judge-y Pants.]
The other thing I did was go to the Big E, which ended up being the sun around which my entire weekend revolved; I had to prep for it beforehand, and I was completely wiped out after. I was to meet up with my sister, her husband, and her in-laws (including two bro-in-laws) around 1:00, so I spent the late morning getting the car gassed up, getting cash, eating breakfast, dropping the dog off... By the time I got on the road, I was all set to get there on time - if there was no traffic. But there was. A lot. I'd been to the fair twice on two other years and never, ever did I deal with traffic. I have no idea how; I guess I just got lucky. This year was horrible. Stop and go traffic on rte. 20 with no end in sight, so I took a chance and slipped off onto a residential street, eventually making my way close to the Big E. In previous years I just parked on someone's lawn for $5. This year I wound all around the side streets and everyone's little lawn lots were either full, or $15. Fuck no, I said, and kept driving. I managed to get on a main artery by accident, and spent a good half an hour going about a third of a mile; hopeful locals on this road were asking $15 or $20 for their remaining spots, with signs that were clearly taped over from when they once said $5 or $10. Fuck no, I said, and kept driving more. Eventually I got free and circled around once more, seeing that the high school lot I rejected because it was too far away (though only $5) was now full. That broke my spirit. I found a close-ish lawn with space available for $10 and just sucked it up. By the time I got to the meeting point I was an hour late. Thank god for cell phones.

Anyway. As for the fair itself, well, it was going to be hard to feel it was worth the $22 I'd paid just to get in. I was also working with someone else's itinerary, namely that of my sister's in-laws. Once we all found each other, all the parents wanted to do was visit the various buildings.

The State buildings are always kind of cool. Highlights: The lobster rolls in Maine (much better than the cheaper ones in Massachusetts); free samples of maple sugar cotton candy in Vermont; and the Flatbread people in Vermont, who were friendly and cheerful though they were using a big fire-burning oven and it was wicked hot in there. Also, the much-hyped (by the in-laws) clam fritters (in Rhode Island, maybe?) were completely clam-free as far as I could tell, though give me a little deep-fried doughy puff and I'm gonna love it no matter what. They also sold old-fashioned coffee-flavored syrup and fritter batter whose package design hasn't changed for 60 years.

But then, instead of wandering through the midway, or seeing the farm and animal stuff, the in-laws wanted to go to the other buildings, which are big-ass open spaces divided into flea-market-type rows of booths and cubicles. Some of the booths sell handmade jewelry and crafts, but an alarming number hold what are essentially live infomercials, with a patter-spewing pitchman or woman selling convertible ladders, plastic blocks, pressure cookers (at least ten different locations selling those! Weird), chamois car cloths, blenders, and finger-grating mandolines. And then you'd stumble across a lemonade stand or a fried dough booth, looking totally out of place indoors. My sister and I were very tired by the middle of it all, and we kept stopping and sitting on the greasy concrete to rest our legs.

But then it was parade time, and the inlaws had said they really wanted to see it. So sister and I went and stood close to the route. Several marching bands passed by, all in band-stasis, holding their instruments straight out in front of them but not playing them, while the drums pounded out a marching beat. There were the usual slow-moving antique cars - does anyone think these belong in a parade, ever? I mean, unless it's an antique car parade? - though it was very funny to see a modern Comcast Cable van in the middle of them. Wow, I never see those around anymore! Then there were a bunch of 4-H kids, and then Smokey the Bear, whose pants were falling down and would have shown bear-ass-crack had he not been so hairy. And then a huge white RV came by, with Ronald McDonald standing on the top, waving an American flag. Uh, whatever. Then, finally, came the much-hyped Mardi Gras floats. We waved our hands frantically and aggressively but ended up beadless. I had said I would flash my boobs, but the bead-throwers were mostly preteen girls so I abstained. The six floats passed and that was it. We turned around and saw that the in-laws had remained at a picnic table a good 50 feet away the entire time. If they wanted to see the parade, why didn't they get all up in there like we did?

After that everyone disbanded, going their separate ways home. I was going to hang out by myself for a bit, taking photos of stuff at the midway, but then A called telling me to come home and get the dog immediately. So I had to leave. Frustrating. And then on the way out I got caught in another traffic flow which detoured all of the exiting fair traffic so far south that I ended up in Agawam! I was furious, stressing about picking up the dog on time, composing angry letters to the Big E traffic cops in my head.

Conclusion: It was very nice to see my sister once again, and would have been fun if had been us "kids" without the adults, especially since my sister had never been to the Big E before. But I will never ever go on a sunny Saturday again. It was crowded and expensive and generally unpleasant. We only ended up seeing about a third of the fair.

I did get some nice french fries, though.

Friday, September 19, 2003

In honor of 'talk like a pirate day,' I be sharin' this 'ere scurvy joke with ye, arrrr!

A pirate walks into a bar, not wearing any pants. He has a steering wheel hanging, heavily, from his balls.

The bartender asks, "Whoa, what's the steering wheel for?"

The pirate says, "Arrrr! It's drivin' me nuts!"

Thursday, September 18, 2003

No comment neccessary, except for Arrrgh! Talk Like A Pirate Day - September 19
This is hilarious. From the Morning News: The Non-Expert: Broken Hearts.
I'm pretty excited for the upcoming hurricane action. 50-mph wind gusts? Thunderstorms? Sideways rain? Bring it on, baby. This kind of weather always reminds me of when my aunt lived here in the mid-1980s. She had graduated from Smith and was living in an apartment in that huge, tall, olive-green victorian on Crescent Street. There was a hurricane and she got into the house's little cupola thing - there's a term for it, it's a little square room on the very top of the house with windows on all sides - to be as close as possible to the wind and the rain without getting wet. It's no wonder she went on to get her masters in poetry.
I've been asked to do an even-more-public weblog for Masslive, about "Northampton." I'm considering it, about what my voice would be, and how to differentiate my blog from the other town blogs on the site. Email me if you have any ideas.

This morning a recipe tester came in to feed the two foodie editors some breakfast casserole: biscuit dough, with egg, crumbled sausage, and cheese on top. Looked pretty good and smelled great, but I don't eat red meat. The tester/creator was a man, which is unusual. It was cute to watch him explain the dish, all proud about how simple and tasty it was.

Also for some reason there were a dozen Dunkin Donuts muffins up for grabs. I took a blueberry. I don't know who started the trend of putting chunky sugar crystals on top of muffins, but I don't like it. The muffin top should be an unblemished chewy/crunchy helmet of joy, and the sugar just wrecks the texture. I worked for Dunkin' Donuts one summer; it was my obligatory fast-food restaurant experience. Maybe I should write them a letter.

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

The other much more popular magazine being created in my building is in the midst of recipe-testing for their Christmas issue, so all week it's been tons of different kinds of candy (left over from a gingerbread-house-like project, I'm sure), cake, and cookies in the free area of the kitchen. Goddamn. It's not the calories I'm worried about - I lost a few pounds on the break-up diet - it's the sugar. I get high (or at least less sleepy) and then I crash low, and then I start craving a sugar hit every afternoon, just to control the shakes.

All of this is to say that I really don't have much to say. I'll pull something together for you later, dear reader.

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Finally an answer to the question of the ages: Just what in the hell is Broasted Chicken?
This past weekend I put my first-ever political bumper sticker on my car. I couldn't pick just one of the many horrible issues the administration is currently screwing us over, so I got one that gets right to the point: Impeach Bush. I had room for it after finally peeling off the completely faded and torn Maggies sticker. After sticking it on I drove to my parents' house in Piscataway, NJ, by way of Brooklyn, and I was sort of keeping an eye out for other drivers giving me the finger, but there were no incidents. The family, including my wealthy CEO uncle (by marriage; making tons of money does not run in my blood), loved the sticker. By the way: my 86-year-old grandmother says she's backing Dean.

Friday, September 12, 2003

Today I'm wearing all black (t-shirt, jeans) in honor of the death of Johnny Cash.

Today I'm also wearing a loud polyester shirt from the 1970s in honor of John Ritter.

RIP, Johns!

Thursday, September 11, 2003

For September 11, here's the New Yorker's current cover, which I find both heartbreaking and cute:

Eye on Northampton, sort of:

This morning I had to stop by DairyMart to get some milk for our office's Socialist Milk Collective (though we get free coffee, tea, and non-dairy creamer, we don't get milk - so those who want milk take turns buying it for the group) and walking just ahead of me was local rockstar Thane, with a short androgynous person (a woman, I decided). Thane was ahead of me on line, with a 5-pound bag of sugar, which he paid for entirely in coins he had brought in a tupperware container. He waited while his companion bought two one-dollar scratch-off lottery tickets with a $20 bill. They left, and I bought my milk, and then the old guy behind me bought some lottery tickets by saying: "I'll have a two number, and a four number, and a seven number."

I love that crap.

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Also - The Daily Show was new last night, and hilarious (Al Franken was the guest) so I am pleased.
I must be a bit pre-menstrual because on Sunday night I teared up watching the last five minutes of a Star Trek episode I've seen like five times. It was the one where this probe from a dying society melds with Picard and gets him to live an entire lifetime in 20 minutes and then he comes to and is in his quarters all sad and missing his fake family and then Riker comes in and says "we found this in the probe" and leaves, and it's Picard's flute from the fake world and he plays it all sadly and then it ends. And everyone watching it cries. Come on, that was a really good episode.

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

I didn't even watch the MTV video awards and this recap is still cracking me up. Two of the Television Without Pity writers just taped themselves talking shit throughout the show, and then transcribed it.

Here's an excerpt:

Stee: I feel bad that 50 Cent can't open his mouth very wide.
Pamie: Well...Yeah.
Stee: He just wants a hug.
Pamie: And to kill you.
Stee: He broke Eminem's Moon Man.
Pamie: Aw.
Stee: He's so humble.
Pamie: Because he's retarded.
Stee: What?
Pamie: What?
Stee: 50 Cent's not retarded.
Pamie: Whatever.
Stee: No, he just can't open his mouth very wide because he got shot so many times. Nine times in his jaw!
Pamie: This song is "Mah-ba-dee-bu-duh. So come give me a hug." That's what retarded kids like. Dancing, hugs.
Stee: That's true. "I like the circus."
Pamie: "Go Shorty, it's your birthday."
Stee: "Go Daddy, it's the kitty. I like the kitty, and it's my birthday!"
Pamie: "I like parties, it's my birthday!"
Stee: "I like ham! And I like pizza! Let's go swimming! Take me to the beach! Take me to the zoo!"
Pamie: "Have you ever seen a cat? I have! I have three."
Stee: "I wanna sit in the front seat, you sit in the back!"
Pamie: "It's time to take my meds, I'd like some more jam."
Stee: "Where's my helmet? I need my helmet."
Pamie: "Give it back, it's mine, it's mine, it's mine!"
Stee: "You wanna bite? You can have a bite. Everyone gets a bite."
Pamie: Do you think our room in Hell will have an ocean view?
About six years ago I used to do some occasional house and dog-sitting for my boss (she's now an official VP, and the highest person in the office). I loved to stay there, alone in her huge, stylish, comfortable house with her two big dogs (a hound mix and a greyhound), a nice tank of fish, and an ancient cat named Olive. Her husband had an incredible collection of CDs, mostly jazz. One night I discovered that they had a CD-player/clock radio in their bedroom, so I set it without even checking the CD that was in it, and went to sleep on their futon on the floor. In the morning Django Reinhardt started playing, plucking away at his guitar, dragging me out of a deep cold-weather sleep.

I bought a mini-stereo on Sunday, and after I set it up, I discovered happily that it could be used as an alarm clock. I plunked in my Django CD, identical to the one I first heard at my boss's house, and woke up this morning to the same song in my little, not-very-stylish, semi-comfortable apartment with my dog who had snuck up on the bed during the night. I felt satisfied, in a way. And then I felt lonely.

It doesn't help that I haven't been sleeping well. I even tried some super-Sleepytime Tea with Valerian and I didn't feel it a damn bit. Also, the Daily Show has begun a third week of reruns. I'm not sure what's going on.

Monday, September 08, 2003

Inspired by a thread on Masslive's Northampton forum a couple of weeks ago, here's my list of Things I Love About Northampton.

Pedestrians having right-of-way


Not one but two places where you can get a free scoop of gourmet ice cream on your birthday

Not one but two completely cylindrical buildings, within a few blocks of each other

The dog park on Burt's Pit Road. It's a beautiful walk, even if you don't have a dog.

The name of Burt's Pit Road

The community gardens - $10 for a 10x10 foot plot for an entire season

The cutie-pie four-year-plan Smithie lesbian couples walking around downtown

The odd but peaceful culture clash between the patrons of City Cafe (regular Joes, girls who use tanning booths) and Harry's (indie-rock hipsters, smokers)

The statue of the gay sailor in front of Memorial Hall

City Hall, which looks like a low-rent theme park's castle

Sense of satisfaction in knowing ways of avoiding downtown traffic and parking problems

The Mill River. You can swim in it in the summer and skate on it in the winter. I've found some cool artefacts in it, too

Tiny prop planes always flying around, and on nice days, multiple sightings of skydivers

Walking on the dyke near my house. The view of the mountains is gorgeous, and in the afternoon the sun hits the face of the Summit House and it looks like it's glowing.

Chai at the Haymarket

Being able to walk to work

The peaches at the Saturday morning Farmer's Market

Even the panhandlers are (usually) polite

Helen Hills Hills Chapel (Helen married her cousin, and took his name)

Bag Day and sidewalk sales

The Academy of Music

Pleasant Street Video, an absolute gem of a video store

Broasted chicken (and BLTs, grilled cheese, fish sandwiches...) at the Bluebonnet Diner

The punk/hippie teens hanging out in front of Thornes 24-7. They seem so happy to just be together

Karaoke at the WWII Club (though I haven't attended for years) and the Club's working periscope

Don't know if they still do this but: Freshly-squeezed grapefruit juice for your gin and grapefruit at Ye Ol' Watering Hole, of all places

The enormous tree in front of the Dairy Mart

All of the strange, beautiful Victorian houses

Seeing Zeke Fiddler in his little orange car

The Listening Room, and Unmi for creating it

Thai Kitchen, La Veracruzana, India House, Osaka, Bakery Normand, and Teapot

Packard's somehow getting away with basically ignoring the town smoking ban

Even more later, maybe.
My Bloginality is INTP.

Friday, September 05, 2003

C'est le Friday Five.

1. What housekeeping chore(s) do you hate doing the most?
Cleaning the litterbox. I hate it. If I did it more often it wouldn't be as bad, yet I still can't make myself do it more than once or twice a week. I also hate dusting - I have so many knick-knacks and shit I have to move, it takes forever. Instead I just floof around with my fluffy duster which doesn't really do anything.

2. Are there any that you like or don't mind doing?
I kind of like cleaning the bathroom, giving everything a good scrubbing. Basically any cleaning where I can see the results, I like.

3. Do you have a routine throughout the week or just clean as it's needed?
I clean as needed. This is another good thing about living alone: not feeling pressured to clean, or having to clean up others' messes.

4. Do you have any odd cleaning/housekeeping quirks or rules?
Uh, no. I think I have a pretty reasonable approach to cleaning. However, the way I do the dishes probably wastes a lot more water than it should. I never really learned how to do an entire sinkload of dishes, having grown up with a washing machine.

5. What was the last thing you cleaned?
My hands. Also, I did the dishes last night. This weekend I need to do a sweep/vacuum and some laundry. I have to get back into the laundromat swing. Last time I went too close to closing time, and had to take my clothes home only half-dry. I had to make a clothesline out of jute rope and hang it in the hallway/stairwell (tying one end to a towel rack in the bathroom and the other end to a plant hanger above the stairwell window) to hang up the damp clothes. Not so good with the planning, there.

Thursday, September 04, 2003

It's Thursday, and it's fall (almost) which means the return of Must See TV for the teens in my life. They are extremely emotionally invested in Friends and I got them to give Scrubs a try, which they now also like. This reminds me, I saw a rerun of Will and Grace the other day, and in it Karen says this about Grace: "She's really confident for someone with such small breasts."
I love that.
From the Yes, but how do they smell? department:

Dutch customs find 2,000 baboon noses

Associated Press

Sept. 4, 2003  

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) -- Around 2,000 baboon noses were found packed in an abandoned suitcase at Amsterdam airport when they started to stink, officials said Wednesday.

Dutch customs police made the gruesome discovery last week and turned the case over to the Agriculture Ministry's Inspection Service, which said it had several leads that may help it track down the culprits.

Baboons are protected under international law.

"We assume these animals were killed, and we have to prevent something like this from happening again," spokesman Louis Steens said. He said the noses had been destroyed.

The noses -- around 66 pounds worth -- were en route from Lagos, Nigeria, to the United States and are believed to have been meant to be eaten or used in traditional medicine by immigrants.

"It is known that many inhabitants of Asian and African countries ascribe beneficial properties to these medicines and use them for that reason," the Inspection Service said in a statement.