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.