Monday, March 31, 2003

Portrait of a very, very bad day. Alternate title: "I hate it when that happens!"

From Imagery From the History of Medicine, which also has some odd anatomic-pornographic sketches by DaVinci.

This is info about the Futurama episode I saw last night; scroll down to "external references" to see the incredible number of Star Trek nods they shoved into a 22-minute episode.
I had a perfect rainy cold Sunday yesterday. I got up late, ate some pancakes P generously made for us, put a few things on eBay (clothes and a midi sequencer of P's), helped T with one of those annoying time-consuming projects that take forever and are of dubious educational value (in this case, a Jeopardy gameboard for a trivia quiz about Lewis and Clark), and I didn't leave the house until around 10 p.m., when I went to 7-11 and bought some ice cream novelties for everyone (chocolate eclair bars, oh baby). We also watched Goodfellas, and my handyman pal came over to assess our crumbling bathroom situation. Next weekend he's gonna do the brunt of the work. We will attempt to help.

The war thing is just incredibly depressing and filled with gray areas. I tend to see both sides of everything - the opposite of Noam Chomsky, I guess (I read most of the long profile of him in the recent New Yorker), who seems to believe in absolute truth.

Got free Indian food at work for lunch and now I'm like an overfilled balloon (which reminds me - watched Futurama last night on Cartoon Network, and it was a hilarious episode about Star Trek... I have to start looking out for airings of it, it's really growing on me). More later...

Friday, March 28, 2003

the friday five 1. What was your most memorable moment from the last week?
Walking up the road from the sugar house in Ashfield, looking at the plastic tubes connecting all of the maple trees and watching bubbles of sap slowly make their way downhill.

2. What one person touched your life this week? Avani, who is queen of the sincere pep talks. Thank you, avi!

3. How have you helped someone this week? I helped T twice with tricky homework. I know, it's probably not enough. But this week totally flew by.

4. What one thing do you need to get done by this time next week? Try to sell books to Raven and some unwwanted, vintagesque clothes to one of the places in town. I keep putting this off.

5. What one thing will you do over the next seven days to make your world a better place? My personal world? I dunno... Keep showing the love to my sorta-step-kids. Be kind to everyone. That's what I always try to do. I can't help the world outside of mine, though. I am feeling defeated in that regard.

Yes, it looks like I have another auction up, this time for a weird old eBay item 2519331772 (Ends Apr-03-03 19:51:46 PST ) - apothecary case. I don't know much about it; got it at an auction with a bunch of other crap, $15 for the pile. Anyway, take a look, it's kind of cool.

Thursday, March 27, 2003

Kim Jong Il (the illmatic)'s LiveJournal

This is so great. Thanks to Scott for linking me up, yo.
Here's the track listing for The Worst Mix CD Ever Created. It's good, but I prefer Ted Barlows (in the comments section). But here's mine:

We Built This City - Starship
Mony Mony - Billy Idol
It's My Life - Bon Jovi
Dynamo Hum - Frank Zappa
Bitch - Meredith Brooks
Take it to the Limit - the Eagles
Kokomo- Beach Boys
Rhythm of the Night - DeBarge
Groovy Kind of Love - Phil Collins
I Will Always Love You - Whitney Houston
It's Been a While - Staind
The Sign - Ace of Base
All That She Wants - Ace of Base
Don't Want to Miss a Thing - Aerosmith
She Bangs - Ricky Martin
Lady in Red - Chris Deburgh
A sure sign of spring - there are three Tag Sales posted in the classifieds today. Soon I'll be doing one of my own.

P has been slowly raking up the flattened piles of leaves from the lawn. The newly-exposed grass is all yellowed and twisted. It will do fine, however.

Not much to say today. Lots of thinking about my future. I fluctuate between feeling hopeful and excited, to feeling guilty and loathesome, to feeling scared and overwhelmed.

And then there's the war, which isn't going well. The Iraqis are defending their country - imagine that! All we said was we'd come in, take over, and change almost everything about their way of life; why aren't they greeting us with open arms? And they're being crafty, dressing as civilians and pretending to surrender, only to come out guns ablaze. So unfair!

Tuesday, March 25, 2003

McSweeney's has up an internet memorial of what sounds like an incredible unique woman, Amanda Davis, an author who is as close to perfect as I'd ever want to be. She just sounds amazing and cool and the kind of person I'd latch onto to try to absorb some of their energy and creativity and courage and fun. But I'd probably think I wasn't cool enough to know her. My life's goal: To assume I am cool enough. And to be more like Amanda Davis. Read about her here.

Monday, March 24, 2003

Hi. I'm all sore today because I did yard work Sunday. Not snow removal, but actual touching of dirt and plant matter, mainly clearing the way for my perennials to grow but also fluffing up my poor matted-down lawn. I also took down the Christmas lights from the front yard. It was satisfying in the extreme. I could have kept going but I would have really hurt my back (it already hurts plenty).

I went to a new-to-me sugar shack, the South Face Farm in Ashfield. My city-mouse sister and brother-in-law (okay, mainly the b-i-l) didn't really understand the concept. Why are we driving way out here? And waiting almost two hours for a table? They're just pancakes, right? Nothing extraordinary about them? Instead of waiting for a table, we could have driven out here, bought a thing of syrup, driven back to town and gotten pancakes of similar quality at Miss Flo's or Look restaurant, right?

Well. You aren't supposed to ask those kinds of questions. It's the whole experience of the thing. You have to wait in order to make it seem like something really special. And the syrup is amazingly fresh and still warm. And it's very pretty out there. True, next time I'll just go later and not at peak (10:30) brunch time. But I don't regret it. The city mice, though, said they'd never do it again, though they admitted they were glad they came.

The Oscars last night were possibly the funniest I've seen. Steve Martin is my hero. Thank God the terminally-unfunny Whoopi wasn't hosting, because then the terrorists would have won (that joke's so old it has dust on it, but still). I felt bad and embarrassed for Michael Moore; though I agree in principle with what he said, he sure picked a stupid time and place to say it. Glad he won, though. And Spirited Away got best animated film, which means it might have a chance of rerelease in theaters now (though the DVD is due out very soon, so maybe not). I was happy Chris Cooper won for Adaptation, and his honest reaction (overwhelmed, teary, humble) and non-Hollywood wife were beautiful.
What wasn't so great? Chicago, which I haven't seen but agree with the assessment that the film is like watching the popular girls hog the karaoke machine. They could have had real, non-movie-star people in those roles, people who had been singing and dancing on stage their entire lives. Every time I see Renee Zellwegger she looks stranger and stranger. She has this odd, squinty face and pursed, crooked mouth. You can't tell if she's smiling or frowning. I have no reason to dislike her (the way I dislike, say, John Travolta) so I wish she'd just relax. Michael Douglas/Kirk Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones gross me out. When the Douglases smugly announced the winner for best picture (Chicago), which starred the young woman bearing the next generation of the Douglas superstar line, I wanted to throw up. I did like the acknowlegement of Kirk's stroke-induced speech difficulties, though.

On the docket this week: Writing workshop tonight, shape-note singing tomorrow night, calling a roofer this week and possibly getting work started on the bathroom, and The Fawns CD-release party this weekend. Woo!

Friday, March 21, 2003

the friday five

1. If you had the chance to meet someone you've never met, from the past or present, who would it be? My Great-Grandmother who died in a mental institution in the 1920s or 30s.

2. If you had to live in a different century, past or future, which would it be? All of the previous ones have kind of sucked. Even if you say some really awesome time of peace and creativity like "the Renaissance" you have to deal with the lack of any proper medical care, sanitation, etc. I prefer to not have any say about what century I live in, and once I'm there I'll try to deal with the good and the bad.

3. If you had to move anywhere else on Earth, where would it be? New Zealand. I've heard great things.

4. If you had to be a fictional character, who would it be? I'd be the main woman in A Room with a View (the book - I don't want to be Helena Bonham Carter). Which I guess actually answers my century question.

5. If you had to live with having someone else's face as your own for the rest of your life, whose would it be? This question is really "Who do you think is the prettiest ever?" I like the dark-eyed exotic look, so I'll say Salma Hayek. J-Lo is very pretty too. But I'm just, I'm just Debl from the block.

Thursday, March 20, 2003

Fan Checks, Inc. These are awesome; you can get personal checks with The Who on them. The other bands this company offers? Not so much. But who cares.

(courtesy of
This is several days old, but I love it. An essay about the logic of this war, from the NPR website.

All right, let me see if I understand the logic of this correctly. We are going to ignore the United Nations in order to make clear to Saddam Hussein that the United Nations cannot be ignored. We're going to wage war to preserve the UN's ability to avert war. The paramount principle is that the UN's word must be taken seriously, and if we have to subvert its word to guarantee that it is, then by gum, we will. Peace is too important not to take up arms to defend. Am I getting this right?
Further, if the only way to bring democracy to Iraq is to vitiate the democracy of the Security Council, then we are honor-bound to do that too, because democracy, as we define it, is too important to be stopped by a little thing like democracy as they define it.
Also, in dealing with a man who brooks no dissension at home, we cannot afford dissension among ourselves. We must speak with one voice against Saddam Hussein's failure to allow opposing voices to be heard. We are sending our gathered might to the Persian Gulf to make the point that might does not make right, as Saddam Hussein seems to think it does. And we are twisting the arms of the opposition until it agrees to let us oust a regime that twists the arms of the opposition. We cannot leave in power a dictator who ignores his own people. And if our people, and people elsewhere in the world, fail to understand that, then we have no choice but to ignore them.
Listen. Don't misunderstand. I think it is a good thing that the members of the Bush administration seem to have been reading Lewis Carroll. I only wish someone had pointed out that "Alice in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass" are meditations on paradox and puzzle and illogic and on the strangeness of things, not templates for foreign policy. It is amusing for the Mad Hatter to say something like, `We must make war on him because he is a threat to peace,' but not amusing for someone who actually commands an army to say that.
As a collector of laughable arguments, I'd be enjoying all this were it not for the fact that I know--we all know--that lives are going to be lost in what amounts to a freak, circular reasoning accident.

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

Parabounce: Airworld of Adventures Oh my, I really want one of these. In my flying dreams, my flight is more like large extended leaps instead of smooth steady flying, so this parabounce thing would be pretty damn close.

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

I'm wearing the tight pants today, except they don't feel too tight because I don't have to wear long underwear! Everything is soft and melty today and that is very good. The snow has almost vanished enough to reveal the piles of rotting leaves we left behind last fall. We aren't the only ones in the neighborhood who failed to get their leaves up before the first snowfall, though, so I don't feel like a suburban leper.
Musicians United to Win Without War This might be old news, but here's a list of musicians who are publicly against the war. there are artists from an incredibly wide range of genres - it's very heartening. And I need all I can get of that today. I keep thinking about what's going to happen and feeling like an angry clenched fist, but then I realize how powerless I am and I loosen up and just get sad. There are so many things wrong with what's happening Ñ the one that drives me the most insane is Bush saying Iraq is an imminent threat, and furthering the lie that they had anything at all to do with 9-11, when not a single hijacker was Iraqi Ñ if I try to think too deeply about it my head starts spinning. This is a dark day.

However. Even though clearly the international peace protests didn't change minds in the White House, I'm feeling even more strongly that I need to become more active. The very least I can do is stand up and be counted. And I'd rather do that little tiny thing than nothing at all.

Monday, March 17, 2003

‘Dark Orange’
Apparently once we go to war the country will automatically go to "dark orange," sort of a midway between orange (high probability of terrorist attack) and red (imminent attack likely). From the article linked above:

[begin excerpt] The impetus for the higher security levels comes from a stream of CIA and FBI intelligence reports for the past six months warning that Saddam Hussein is most likely to try an attack against the United States after an American invasion. In a closed-door Oct. 2, 2002, report to the Senate Intelligence Committee, later declassified, the CIA concluded that while Baghdad was drawing a line against going after U.S. targets directly, that would immediately change once an invasion began. The report concluded that "Saddam might decide that the extreme step of assisting Islamist terrorists (to use unconventional weapons to attack) the United States would be his last chance to exact vengeance by taking a larger number of victims with him." Asked that day on the likelihood of Saddam doing this, CIA Director Tenet replied: "Pretty high, in my view." More recently, the CIA has been warning about the possibility of terrorist attacks on U.S. troops abroad and Mideast oil fields. [end excerpt]

Why are we doing this war thing, again? We're like idiot children poking a hornet's nest to see what will happen.

I went to the Northampton anti-war candlelight vigil last night, not because I think it will do anything to change the inevitable war we're going to start probably today, but for myself to at the very least confirm that many, many people agree with me. It was pretty with all the candles, and the crowd was huge; we stretched up both sides of Main Street. But, you know, a fat lot of good that will do. After millions and millions of people demonstrating around the world against this war have been brushed off without a moment's contemplation by the administration, I know we can't make a difference.

Sunday, March 16, 2003

On Saturday Night Live last night there was a skit that had a character by Rachel Dratch in it; she played one of her painfully nerdy, socially inept, unattractive but well-meaning women. She's very funny at it; all I have to do is look at her with her big goofy smile and the slightly insane head-tremble and I start laughing. When asked to describe what sorts of things she liked to do, she said something like "Well, I enjoy buying things on eBay, watching foreign films, and ['pet my cat' or something equally pathetic-sounding]." Whatever it was, it was hilariously close to what I could say about myself, though I'd never tell a stranger that one of the things I "like to do" is "buy things on eBay." Like it's a hobby or something. Because to me, shopping is AN INCREDIBLY SERIOUS WAY OF LIFE.

Anyway, I hope no-one out there sees me as a crazy Rachel Dratch lady. I think I'm too sarcastic and self-aware and sassy (and sexy, smooth, slim, schooled, soft, sophisticated, and sensual) to be her. Alliteration is fun.

It is so warm out (or at least "not cold") that we have a couple of windows open. It's really not warm enough for that, but the lack of spring has made us crazy. In our neighborhood people are out riding bikes and kids are playing and, mainly, snow is melting, albeit very slowly. We're gonna have one hell of a mud season. I don't care! Bring it on!!

Thursday, March 13, 2003

I emailed my mom some questions for a piece for class I'm trying to write (and failing - I'm really stuck) about twins. From my mom:

"One odd twin fact I'll add. I warped your brains for most of your third
year trying to toilet train you guys. Nothing. Then, in April, in a single
day, you decided this would be a good idea. You switched from diapers to
panties and never went back. Sarah was unmoved by this example for three
months. From April to July, Sarah watched you use a pottie, day and night,
without fail. Then in one day in July, Sarah decided to convert. She also
did it in a day."

Ha ha! In your face, Sarah!
eBay item 3505956011 (Ends Mar-16-03 13:04:25 PST ) - Lot of 18 PULP paperbacks! romance,mystery ! Dude, this is a fuckin' bargain yet noone has bid on it. 18 books! 50 cents a book! I paid two dollars each for many of these. Come on! I don't even expect to break even, but someone out there has got to see how great this is.

Speaking of old books, my favorite used bookstore is having a sale this weekend Ñ I think it's 35% off everything. The store is Troubadour Books (on Rt. 5 in North Hatfield), and a postcard advertises it as a "Help Cheer Me Up - I'm Depressed" sale. You're supposed to bring flowers or a joke for the owner. He's always cut me a nice deal for the sleazy pulp paperbacks I favor, so please go visit his establishment this weekend.
I was upbraided (what does that even mean?) last night for not blogging yesterday. Now that I've been linked on the BlogBeat three times I've got a rep to uphold or something.

I did go to the Tuesday night shape-note singing thing. It's like learning another language, this note-reading thing, and even though this system of reading music was made for the unlearned Puritan masses, I haven't been able to totally get the hang of it yet. I was confident in the beginning of the Tuesday meeting but the songs quickly became more complex. I hope I didn't annoy people too much with my bad notes. Because of the high volume, it's hard to hear yourself sing - like singing in a club with insufficient monitors. You can hear your neighbors very loudly but you can only hear yourself when you've either done something wrong or are singing so loudly that if you DO do something wrong, everyone in the room will hear it. Anyway. I enjoyed it and will try to come again.

We have a brand-new ventilation fan in our bathroom. It works like a charm; I had it on during my 10-minute shower this morning and the mirror didn't even fog up. I feel like such a grown-up, getting things like this done - I called the guy, told him what I wanted, and now will pay him for his services. I'm all responsible and shit.

Though not all THAT responsible. I took A and T to the mall last night. We hit American Eagle (which was all somewhat conservative preppy clothing when I was a teenager; now it's cool and sexy) and Express. AE puts their initials on everything, which I hate. But their spring line has a lot of nice almost hippy-ish stuff, like soft A-line knee-length skirts. I tried on some on-sale pants but they were too low-rise for me; I don't really mind wearing those but I feel too old for the style. I did, however, get a fruit-themed tank top and panty set. I couldn't help it, it's adorable and I feel adorable wearing it. At Express the kids both got these flirty, kind of tight miniskirts. It looked good on the older one but it looked vaguely too mature for the younger one (T). I'm not sure why. A and T have similar bodies at this point - they're both very curvy. I didn't try to stop T, however; it's her decision, and she'll learn from experience the pros and cons of wearing sexy clothing. She's smart and sassy, maybe she'll work it, in a good way.

Tuesday, March 11, 2003

French Fries Get New Name in Congress This makes me want to throw up. Sure, some hick diner in North Carolina can change the name of their fries, I don't give a shit - but our ELECTED OFFICIALS are spending their time (and our tax money) to do the equivalent of "I'm rubber, you're glue." Except Congress is being more immature.

Monday, March 10, 2003

Yo, help a girl out and bid on this bunch of very cool old paperbacks. Thanks.
Sacred Harp Singing FAQ This is a better Sacred Harp website than the one I linked below, if you want more info.
Also - I got sniped, horribly, in an eBay auction last night for some very cute Fluevog loafers I've never seen before. I was the high bidder 45 seconds before the auction was to end, and the next time I refreshed my page there had been four more bids and I was the loser! Fuckin' snipers! I was heartbroken, until I got ahold of myself - jesus, it's only a pair of shoes which probably wouldn't fit me properly anyway. But still. Because of it, I signed up for a sniping service, thereby ensuring that the snipe circle be unbroken.
Saw something horrible on the way to work today. On the part of Rte. 10 between E'ton and N'ton where it goes 50 mph, in the middle of my lane, someone had hit a deer. A full-grown doe. She was lying on her side with her head up, still very much alive, but her body was broken, some guts spilling out. She wasn't struggling, just looking around, stunned. The car that hit her had stopped and there was a police car there, and everyone was just standing around. I wanted the cop to shoot the deer to put it out of its misery. What were they waiting for? Animal Control, or something. Anyway. A horrible way to begin the week.

I had a good weekend. I did some art, watched a couple of Sopranos, went out to a bar and ate peanuts. On Sunday I went to the Western Mass Sacred Harp convention - part of two days of shape note singing. It was very casual, people were invited to drop in, and it was free, so I went. (Months ago, over at Dan Richardson's house, I had heard a recording of the local Sacred Harp group. It was loud and powerful - almost shouting, but tunefully - and had elaborate harmonies. It was beautiful and sad and uplifting all at once.) The crowd was lively and had a wide range of ages. There were plenty of middle-aged ladies in long skirts and men in sweater vests, but there were also a bunch of people my age, including some who were all artsy-looking in black jeans and purple hair. Encouraging. I sat in the alto side of in the huge open square and tried to figure out how to sing along with my borrowed songbook. The notes are divided into four shapes. Songs are referred to by page number only. Someone would get up, shout a number, and start the first note and the rhythm. Then the group would go through the entire song just using the names of the notes: fa, sol, la, mi, and each of the four parts were, of course, singing different notes, so it sounds kind of ridiculous and cacaphonous - about 200 adults singing at the tops of their lungs "la la la meeee so so sol mi la so la" overlapping each other. Then once the tune is gone through, the song is sung with words. The run-through was extremely helpful; I'm good at picking up melodies quickly, so I was able to follow and sing along to most of the songs, though I definitely hit some off-notes. Anyway. I might try going to the local weekly "sing" on Tuesday. I think it would be good for me on many levels.

Thursday, March 06, 2003

This snow makes me want to hit people. We're getting 3 to 7 inches. There's at least 3 or 4 on my car out in the office lot right now. I'm beyond stir-crazy and cabin fever to actually, really, it's-not-funny-anymore psychosis.

Also, go read my fun dream I had last night at Your Own Rockumentary discussion room place. I kept it short.

One more thing: I attempted to watch my tape of "24" last night, but the entire program was somehow without any sound. I had also taped a show right before it on a different channel, and the sound was fine. So either Fox is fucking with me, or some weird VCR thing happened. Anyway, T and I watched the whole episode with the "mute" on so we could see the closed captioning. I read much of the show aloud which added some extra drama and interactivity to the experience. But I really would have loved to hear the big bomb go boom. Dammit.

Best. Photo. Ever.

Actual caption: Children crawl through a 40-foot long model of a colon in Washington, March 5, 2003, part of an exhibit on Colorectal Cancer. Wednesday marked the start of a nationwide tour to promote a better understanding of Colorectal Cancer, during National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.
Photo by John Harrington

[link courtesy of]

Wednesday, March 05, 2003

Just when you think our backwards country can't get any weirder...

Peace T-shirt leads to man's arrest

March 4 -- Roger and Stephen Downs had these shirts made at Crossgates Mall, but Stephen Downs was arrested when he refused to take his off and leave the mall. Lindsay Cohen reports.

ALBANY, N.Y., March 4 - A Selkirk man says he was arrested Monday for expressing his objection to possible war with Iraq at Crossgates Mall. He says all he did was wear a T-shirt bearing a message of peace, which he actually purchased in the mall.

STEPHEN DOWNS AND his son, Roger Downs, each had a pro-peace shirt made Monday night. One shirt simply said "Let Inspections Work" on one side and "No War With Iraq" on the other. The other shirt said "Give Peace A Chance" on the front and "Peace On Earth" on the back.??The men paid about $23 for each of the shirts and then wore them in the mall.
"We were just shopping. We were wearing these T-shirts. We weren't handing out leaflets, we weren't saying anything," Roger Downs recalled.
They may not have been saying anything, but they were creating enough of a disturbance to one employee, who called security.
Security asked Downs and his son to remove their shirts. Roger Downs complied, but when Stephen Downs wouldn't, he was told to leave the mall. When he refused, he was arrested.
"This struck me as a powerful way of expressing myself. I wanted to do something peaceful," he said.
Roger Downs says he is proud of his father.
"I'm impressed that he's refused to have his civil rights violated," Roger Downs said.
New York Civil Liberties Union President Stephen Gottlieb says he can't believe the peaceful T-shirts could lead to Downs' arrest.
"We believe, most of us, in the Bill of Rights, and we believe that protects the freedom to speak. Well, if there's a freedom of speech, where do we get to do it?" Gottlieb asked.
Gottlieb says he believes there is a law protecting peoples' rights to free speech, even in shopping malls.
Guilderland police say they arrested Downs because he refused to leave private property. That, they say, is trespassing.
Representatives for Crossgates did not return calls for comment Tuesday.
Signs posted at entrances to the mall say that "wearing of apparel... likely to provoke disturbances... is prohibited" at the mall.

Tuesday, March 04, 2003

Here's Monday blog on Tuesday. It was very windy Sunday night, so windy that the plastic on the window in our bedroom came unstuck a little, and was crackling and snapping loudly like a noisy, crinkly plastic bag. By 2:00 a.m., after trying to retape the thing to no avail, I told P, "If I'm still awake in half an hour I'm ripping that thing down."

P: No, don't. You do and it'll be 10 degrees colder in here.

Me: I don't care!

Ten minutes pass. Flippity flappity flippity flappity flippity flappity.

P: All right, rip it down.

Me: Really? Yes!!

I ripped it down and it only got a little colder. I like sleeping in a cold room, as long as I'm well-blanketed. Yesterday I installed another plastic cover, but this one seems a little thinner and cheaper. Maybe someday spring will come and we can be plastic-free.

Also this weekend I watched the first 10 episodes of The Sopranos. One of the first things I said at work the next day was "What the fuck is with that?" without even thinking about the inappropriate cursing. Luckily the person I was talking to agreed with me that whatever it was was, indeed, fucked up.

I also did a little sorting, clearing my computer desk so I could actually see wood again. I went through my books and I'm getting rid of about 15 pulp romance books (I still probably have 30 top ones). I think I'll try selling them as a lot on eBay, because it's not worth the time to do them individually. Does anyone out there want them? Name your price.