Friday, May 30, 2003

Dear Haymarket,

Most mornings I buy my breakfast carbo treat from Bart's (muffins: $1.10) or Bakery Normand (danishes: $1.65) because they're the closest to my office. Today, however, I walked a little further up the street to buy something from you. I like you, really I do, even though the hipsters behind the counter judge me with their painted eyes. Anyway, I like you because you have good chai and your breakfast treats - specifically, the oat cakes - seem healthier than most. Which brings me to the reason for this letter. I bought a strawberry oatcake today for $1.15. And there was not a single strawberry in it. Not even a little chopped-up morsel. I ask you, how could this have happened? Was the tattooed androgynous baker so, well, baked that he or she forgot to add the identifying ingredient to the batter? Maybe the baker got the munchies and ate almost all of the strawberries first? Sure, when you make the blackberry oat cakes, they're fairly bursting with inedible, tooth-chipping blackberry seeds. But for some reason, no strawberries. What gives? This is almost as bad as the time I bought an oat cake from you and it was raw dough inside. At least with that one I could bring it back for a better one without looking like an asshole. But a strawberry-free strawberry oatcake just makes me suffer here in fruitless silence.

The Twins Thing is a perfect response to those stomach-churning Coors ads. You know, the one where the announcer goes "I like football on TV, blah blah blah blah blee (paraphrasing, here), and ...twins." My twin sister and I have been boycotting Coors products ever since the ads appeared, not that that was difficult to do.

Thursday, May 29, 2003

Tax Law Omits Child Credit in Low-Income Brackets Quick quiz. Which is more important: Giving lower income families the same tax credits for their children as middle income families get, or reducing the dividend/estate tax for wealthy families? If you're a Republican, the answer is the latter. Who votes for these assholes? Can I bitch-slap them? Please?

Wednesday, May 28, 2003

There was another round of lice-killing and hair-combing last night. I must have combed T's hair for an hour. It's actually quite nice. It's very soothing and contemplative, like petting an animal, which is pretty much what it is. Her hair is silky and completely straight so it's not difficult.

I finished my ass-less chair last night! Stayed up and move a seat out of strips of calico. It will only last like a year at most, but it looks cool. I didn't trim the ends of the fabric strips so underneath the chair there's a lot of fabric hanging down. It looks like the chair seat has a bustle. It's like a cat paradise under there. Someday I'll get a picture up online of it. I'm behind on my photo-posting but at least this week I have an excuse: We didn't pay our cable bill, it got shut off, and now it'll be Friday before I can get internet access from home.

Tuesday, May 27, 2003

I had a motherly weekend. I was the mother. I took one kid to the mall and drove her to a friend's house, and I helped the other one with a science project involving pond life. I took her to the pond that lies near the center of town and we scooped up water in a big bucket, looking for algae, a particular plant, and water fleas. The fleas are crucial to the experiment but we didn't find any. Hopefully her teacher will give us a clue on how to get some, since this experiment is from a hand-out she gave us. Poking around in the pond was fun. I don't remember my parents doing anything like that with me.

I also had to treat one of the kids for lice. She was pretty mellow about the whole thing; she's 14, which normally would be a prime age for a freak-out. I related; I got a bad case of lice when I was 16. It was incredibly creepy (literally) and horrifying and embarrassing (I didn't tell anyone, of course) though it was a good illustration of how random getting lice is - I showered every single day back then. Anyway, I used my past experience to take control of the lice treatment. Bought some over-the-counter poison shampoo, rubbed it into her head, then combed it through with a nit comb. I actually wasn't certain she had lice until I caught a couple on the comb. It brought back the memories... After getting one I'd dunk the comb into a bowl of water to get rid of it. When I was all done I flushed the water down the toilet; somehow just sending them down the sunk drain didn't feel like enough. Nasty little things.

Anyway, with all of the mom-ing I didn't get nearly as much sorting and packing done as I'd liked. I did work on some random projects I must finish before I move:

Painted one of my seat-less chairs. Now I just need to weave a seat onto it.

Went through my stack of fabric, found a too-big dress I was going to use for fabric, cut off the skirt part and made it into a finished skirt with a zipper closure.

Did a little weeding outside.

I put a bunch of stuff on eBay. I changed my name so it would be a little harder for people who know me from my job to see that I'm using my position for personal gain. I'm not doing anything unethical, really, but I just don't want to raise any eyebrows.

I also bought a bikini (on sale), going back on my one-pieces-for-now-on resolution I made two summers ago. I couldn't resist. Bikinis are very handy for changing in and out of on the fly, like when I drive to a swimmin hole and want to change before I get back into the car.

I need to stop spending money now.

Friday, May 23, 2003

Cats to become a rabbit should gather immediately now here.

Thursday, May 22, 2003

So I wrote that post below, wallowed for a few more minutes, then decided that fuck it, I would try to get in to the Beck show: Standing room only, buying a scalped ticket, listening outside on the sidewalk, whatever. This was the first date on his new tour, and for some reason he's playing in my town at a tiny venue that holds maybe 250 people. I had to check it out. So I went to the ATM and took out just what I wouldn't mind paying for a ticket. I went and waited online for the standby line - it was two hours before the show and the ticket-holders' line to get in was already to the end of the block of buildings. After about ten minutes a guy came by and asked us all what we would pay for his extra ticket. The poor-looking college kids near me gave kind of lame bids so I thought 'be! aggressive! b-e- aggressive!' and I ran to him and told him what I'd pay. He took it. I paid a 150 percent markup, but so what - it was still less than what I had on me. I got in!

So. The show. Beck is a pop-rock angel. An angel with a hard-on (not literally). He was all curly-blonde and deep blue eyes and thin black t-shirt and shiny jeans. A music nerd in funk-star clothing. I stood less than ten feet away from Beck for the entire show, having maneuvered my way there right before it started (be! aggressive! b-e aggressive!) to stand next to Max and Anya. He played a bunch of stuff from his current album, along with some mellow numbers from Mutations, and then went to the everybody-dance-like-there's-ass-in-your-pants favorites like Devil's Haircut, Tropicalia, Where It's At, and Sex Laws. We got to see him dance a little. He bantered with the audience. He did a call and response which used "Sergio Valente" and "Jordache Jordache Jordache" and "Ooh, La La, Sassoon." I felt a connection growing between us. When he did a little human-beat-box and then a pop-rockin' dance move where he mimed combing his hair and straightening his bangs, that's when I knew: We are to be wed. Beck, call me!

Tonight I don't want to hear or even read anything containing the letters "B" "E" "C" or "K." I think that would be best for everyone's safety, including my own. I may have to drive somewhere far, far away to avoid the situation entirely. Or lock myself in a closet with a white-noise machine until everyone else is in bed.

I'm just being realistic here.

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

So anyway. The other cool part of my trip was Star Wars Weekends at MGM. I was officially "checking it out" for my "job" but it was really pretty fun. Lando, aka Billy Dee Williams, walked right past me and I got a couple of photos. There were costumed characters wandering around anywhere and some cute low-grade stage shows, including one where a Jedi master picks 10 kids from the audience, gives them padawan robes and plastic lightsabers, and has them practice some moves. After he goes through the routine with them, the music turns ominous and out trots a couple of Stormtroopers and then Darth Vader himself. Then one by one the kids, some of them no more than 3 or 4 years old, go through the routine with Darth, who does a good job of putting his light saber in the correct position for the kid to hit with his own. It was pretty adorable and funny. My one complaint was that there was only one girl in the group, and there were definitely other girls in the crowd who wanted to be picked. Very lame. At the end the Jedi tells the audience that Darth knows he can't defeat the Jedi trainees, so Darth stalks off.

I was impressed with the breadth of characters they had. The emperor and three red-robed guards, a not-very-close likeness of Han Solo, Luke, and Leia; a very very bad likeness of Mace Windu (Samuel L. Jackson), of whom I can only assume they just found the one bald black guy who worked at the park and forced him to do it; the entire Mos Eisley cantina band; a Gamorrean Guard; a couple of ewoks; more stormtroopers; Greedo; Chewbacca; and I think there was a Princess Natalie Portman (whatever her character was) in there but my eyes skipped over the new trilogy people. I was geeking out, and surrounded by others doing the same, which is always fun. Among the mostly-30-something crowd there were a couple of punks dressed up in long black robes for the event, and it was brutally hot out, so that's serious dedication.

Pictures tk. [tk= to come, in editor-speak]
I'm taking a break from reading this article in Time about more and more people accepting pay cuts and no raises while their CEOs get raises in the double digits because I'm getting so fucking angry. I'm like, Let's start a fucking revolution, I am sick of this shit. It's so unfair, to be rewarded for screwing over the people who work hard for you. Are you with me? Let's take up arms against our capitalist oppressors!!

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

Go help out Jim Treacher and buy this Deceptively Earnest-Seeming Thong. And because I also care about The Issues of the Day, get one for me too, size medium.

Monday, May 19, 2003

Hey, I'm back! Hello. No more trips scheduled, and my travel urge has been satisfied for the time being. The cruise was weird. Yes, there was a lot of food available all the time, and lots of activities at any given time, but everything is geared towards pleasing the widest audience possible. So the food was kind of uninspired, and there were dance clubs, but they played very mainstream music, and there were "funny" shows and games, but they were never really that funny or surprising. I think for me to enjoy a cruise, it would have to have different activities. If I was Julie the Activities Director, here's what I'd offer:

Ska party - black and white attire requested
the exquisite corpse poetry game
knitting class
Mr. Show - live on stage!
80s-television-shows trivia contest
Scavenger hunt
Dance Party with music by Beck, the White Stripes, Pixies, The Jam, etc.
Video-Store Dana doing his Bar 19 multimedia thing

And so on. I also did not like the motion of the ocean. And it's really not the size of the wave, because the sea was pretty calm and I still felt all woozy and unpleasant. My room was the most-forward room on the ship, and it was low, on the second level (out of 10). I could feel vibrations from the engine, and there was a constant, unexpected back-and-forth motion. So I spent some nice evenings dozing on the upholstered lounge chairs on the promenade deck, with the breeze blowing and the sound of the water being sliced by the ship.

The ship stopped for a day at Nassau, which is a fairly depressing place. I didn't take an "excursion," opting instead to save my money and wander around, and take a cab to the public beach and the Atlantis resort and casino. Lots of grim-looking women asked if I'd like my hair braided (in corn rows; most of the little girls on the ship had them by the end of the cruise). If I didn't respond they'd say "hellloo!?" in this pissed off way. I was looking to buy some Bonine after a very bad night on Dramamine. That stuff sucks so much that I can't believe it's so popular. It just acts like a downer, which my body fights, so I'd get very close to falling asleep and then I'd jolt awake, swallowing hard. Ugh. A tourist map pointed out a pharmacy so I used it to guide me into the non-tourist area but the pharmacy must have shut down. It was extremely hot out. On the way back a "bus" driver offered me a lift back to downtown - one dollar. I took it. It was kind of a grimy open-air mini-van with bench seats and it worked for me. Once I was closer to the tourist area I miraculously found a local supermarket which had a slightly crumpled box of Bonine for sale behind the counter. I also bought a couple of stencilled tin plates, $1.50 each, and I saw but did not buy a can of "Jamaican-style Irish Moss Drink." It was my favorite store on the island, way more interesting and exotic than the jewelry stores and t-shirt crap shacks I also wandered into.

I took a taxi van to Atlantis and bet with $6 on video poker and nickel slots. I was never ahead so I quit while I was only down a little (to $5). I walked to the public beach which had a bunch of locals under the scrbby trees, most just hanging out but one selling and smoking weed. The white tourists were all out in the sunny sand. I had been warned to not leave valuables on the beach unattended and I had my camera with me, so I asked some sunbathing lady if she'd keep an eye on my stuff and I went to the water before she had time to answer. The water was gorgeous, bright turquoise, totally clear and cool. I got out pretty quickly and went back to the ship.

The next day at the next island stop I ended up snorkelling for the first time. It was wonderful. You get to be a fish! I couldn't wear my glasses so everything was blurry but I did see a bunch of tropical fish. I swam right over them! The rest of the day was not nearly as exciting; lots of looking for a shady place to lie down and walking around in the sun. I also passed up a chance to try out a Segway, $15 for 10 minutes.

I am happy to be back in my New England home. More travelogue possibly later tomorrow!

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

I got a couple of pics to share from my last trip to sunny Florida. This one is for my sister:

And I just really liked this Mexican sculpture. Plus there's a reflection of me in my funny hat.

That's all for now. See you Monday!
Today (Tuesday) was even fuckin' crazier than yesterday. Too boring though to recount here, all work stuff. I did take the 200 hi-res pics off of my memory card and saved them onto my work computer (opening and naming each one) and then I burned a CD of them, which was pretty exciting.
Tomorrow I fly back to Florida. The first and last nights of my trip I'll be staying at the hotels I stayed at during a family trip to WDW when I was 11 (spring of 1984, I think). It was noteable in that we were together for an entire week and didn't fight once. It still awes me to think of it. The trip was also pretty much the only vacation our family took that wasn't to visit family or a Quaker retreat thing. In fact it may have been my first hotel experience of any kind. Now I'm all jaded and shit. And I say things and add "and shit" to the end of them. That's how jaded I am.

Monday, May 12, 2003

Whew. Busy day here at camp debl. This morning I discovered the Perils of Modern Fashion. My dog jumped up on me unexpectedly, and, since I was wearing a midriff-baring shirt and low-rise jeans, her claw carved a little frowny welt in my flesh just below my navel.

The sun was shining about half an hour ago but now it looks like it's back to being clammy and wet out.

Tag Saling was not as great as I was hoping for. Perhaps my expectations were too high. They certainly were for the "Monster Tag Sale" at the church downtown. I even got up early - set the alarm for 8, after staying up until 2:30 the night before. I mapped out some juicy-sounding sales and planned my attack before leaving the house: Estate sale in N'ton first, then hit some E'ton ones, ending up at the Monster. But the estate sale was really just someone's basement full of junk. I scouted for about five minutes and left. Apparently there were some good clothes there, because a friend scored big there later. Oh well. At the E'ton ones, they had an okay selection, just nothing of what I was looking for: small kitchen table thing, air conditioner, new-ish microwave oven, Fire King bowls... I did get a fairly large plant stand/shelving thing for one dollar, and a nice vintage flower pin for 50 cents. At the Monster Tag Sale I scored a broken watch for 10 cents (woo!), a book with a nice cover and illustrations for some distant future art project, and a 75-cent plastic yellow case for all the spools of thread I bought at a previous tag sale. As you can tell, I was not very successful. But I had fun anyway.

I also saw the X-Men sequel. It's better than the first one. It's just a bubblegum movie, but I found it thrilling enough. Plus they had previews for the new Matrix film, Hulk, Charlies Angels II, and Stuck On You, the preview for which took me a few minutes to realize it wasn't a parody of a dumb movie but an actual dumb movie.

Friday, May 09, 2003

Ah yes, Tag Sale season! It's a great time to be alive! Breathe it in deep, people! Woo!
the friday five

1. Would you consider yourself an organized person? Why or why not?
I'm medium-organized. I have hanging files holding crap like paid bills, rabies vaccination certificates, and the like. I very rarely forget to pay a bill on time. But there are also too many piles of things I haven't found homes for yet. Clutter is an issue I deal with often.

2. Do you keep some type of planner, organizer, calendar, etc. with you, and do you use it regularly?
I have a Franklin-Covey planner that I use mostly just to schedule meetings and scribble notes. Work paid for it. I have various other notebooks scattered around the house that I use to write lists of Things To Do, tag sales, directions, etc. I ususally know where everything is.

3. Would you say that your desk is organized right now?
It is, but only because we had an office clean-up day just a couple of weeks ago. Even when it was cluttered I knew what was on my desk. Usually.

4. Do you alphabetize CDs, books, and DVDs, or does it not matter?
It doesn't matter. After I move into my own apartment I may try to alphebetize my CDs. In the past I've clumped them by artist and frequency of play (the most popular are front and center). It's hopeless to keep my CDs organized with three other people using them and not putting CDs back in their cases half the time. (pet peeve? why yes!)

5. What's the hardest thing you've ever had to organize? There was that horrible job recoding parts at Tubed Products, but that wasn't hard per se. I once took it upon myself to create a treasure hunt for my boyfriend's daughter, who I had only known about a year (only on the weekends). I scouted out locations all around the house and then wrote each clue in the form of a haiku. I mixed it up so each kid would be going different places instead off moving everywhere as a group. At the end of it were baskets of toys and candy, a basket for each of them so the game was non-competitive. I was all proud of myself but then when the game was actually being played, I realized with horror that I had left out a location, making the kids come to a dead end in the middle of the hunt. Also the clues were too hard for them, which surprised me (come on, any 12-year old should be able to figure out where you put water to make it stiff). I ended up having to give them the answers to the clues and filling in the missing clue stop by just telling them where to go next. I was completely mortified. They seemed to like the prizes, at least...

The next year I wasn't as ambitious. I tied the end of a ball of yarn to each prize bag and unwound the yarn all over the room. I gave each kid a ball of yarn and told them to wind up the yarn as they followed it to the end. Much simpler and quicker and no possibility for failure.

Thursday, May 08, 2003

I did it; I gave big checks to the rental agency for the third-floor cozy garret apartment. I kind of like how funky it is, actually, and if I end up hating it I can get out of the month-to-month lease very easily. I went back for a third visit today and I measures the smallest door width: 29 inches. I think I can probably fit most things up the stairs. Other new info about the place: coin-op laundry in the basement, and storage room available in the basement, so I can put my giant boxes for my TV and monitor down there.

I slept poorly again last night. Here's the bad insomnia-schedule I fall into: Go home from work. Take a nap (1.5 hours, usually). Eat dinner. Watch TV. Stay up to watch the Daily Show at 11:30. Watch a little more TV because by this time I'm lying on the couch with my entropy-inducing dog. Go to bed finally, around midnight, and my mind starts buzzing, thinking about all of the paralyzing details I need to think about, the details I've been blocking out with good ol' television all evening. Toss and turn in bed, often with eyes open and my teeth tapping out songs (a weird habit I have) wondering if I should keep my mom's little desk from college or sell it, if I should get a plot at the community gardens this year or will it be too much of a hassle, if I should bite the bullet and buy the neighbors a new lawn mower to replace the one I accidentally totalled. Finally I either take a sleeping pill or fall asleep naturally an hour or two later.

I think tonight, instead of non-stop TV, I'm going to make some lists. A fun one will be Things to Find at Tag Sales (includes: microwave oven; record player; futon couch or short sofa, small butcher-block kitchen counter thing). This Saturday should be nice and ripe for the Tag Saling.

p.s. My SARS seems to be better, despite the lack of sleep. Whew.

Wednesday, May 07, 2003

So I couldn't sleep last night, thinking about my potential new home. The girls living there now have basically no furniture, just a few small-ish pieces and a number of futons on the floor. What kept me awake was realizing that maybe the reason why there was no furniture is because they couldn't get any up the stairs (there's a turn in the stairwell). So now I feel compelled to ask to see the place for a third time before I give up my fee to the rental agency. I don't care, I'd rather be sure than to regret it later on moving day, when I'd have no option but to throw most of my furniture away.

Also, possibly due to my stress levels lately, my SARS is back. At least, my throat hurts like hell every time I swallow. What the fuck?? I'd better be well by next Weds., when I return for my final trip to Florida, this time for a 3-night cruise. I got my room assignment and it's the room that's the furthest forward possible on the boat. Not sure if that's good or bad, movement-wise. Probably bad. Crap.

Tuesday, May 06, 2003

Okay, hi. Florida was pretty great. I saw many animals and got to stare at them for a long time, and get paid for doing so, which was nice. After the first day my SARS seems to have gone away. I did wear the EarPlanes and they seemed to work, though I also took Sudafed so it wasn't an accurate scientific study. The heat was very oppressive. The last two afternoons I was there I ended up feeling dizzy and sick, and this was while I was taking it easy, staying out of the sun and hopping into air-conditioned buildings as often as possible. So I'd have to go back to the hotel and collapse on the bed for a couple of hours. I'm still recovering, really.

My boss's 3-year-old daughter was along for the trip (as was the child's dad) and she totally fell in love with me. She only calls me by my full name because that's what she's heard her mom call me. She would come up and hug me a lot, and we played some games, and I taught her what a monkey-bite was (she likes to have tickle fights). She also said "excuse me" a lot. A couple of times she said "excuse me.... I love you." So cute. I'd be all "oh, that's so sweet! Thank you!" because I'm not as free with the "L" word as she is.

So I may have found a place to live. It's kind of a right-out-of-college apartment, unfortunately, but I think I need someplace slightly shabby if I'm going to keep my dog. It's an attic situation and so the spaces are a little funky. The bedroom is normal but the other rooms have slanted walls and the like. The shower/bathtub is especially short and odd, as is what would be the dining area. And the walls are painted interesting colors, which I like, but they're all sponged on in swirly Trading-Spaces-like ways to varying degrees of success. But it is a month-to-month lease, and it's on a quiet street just two blocks from town. So I told them to go ahead with my application. Meanwhile I'll be looking like mad for something better (cheaper; with straight walls) in the next couple of days.

Monday, May 05, 2003

I'm back - and here's just a little something, apropos of nothing.

LInk courtesy of Boingboing.