Tuesday, June 29, 2004

This is all purely hypothetical speculation.

If a girl, hypothetically, has an online personals ad, and that girl's profile says she is looking for a certain age range (a range reasonably centered around her own, clearly posted, age), would you contact the girl if you were the same age as the girl's father, and seriously expect a response?

Similarly, would you expect a response from a girl if your "More about what I'm looking for" answer said only "a woman who knows how to pleasure a man"?

Say you're about ten years older than the upper end of a girl's age range. And you also say, without irony, that one of your favorite songs is the James Taylor/Carly Simon version of "Mockingbird." Would you still think you had enough of a shot to spend a credit sending a message?

Monday, June 28, 2004

Wow, has it really been five days since I last posted? So sorry, dear readers.

For my first step in becoming a celibate groupie, I went to Provincetown with some rockstar friends this weekend. H and L rented a huge 15-passenger Chrystler Behemoth (actually I believe the model name was "Express") for the occasion, though there were only 6 passengers out of an expected 8. No matter; we filled the vehicle with music and gaiety. We listened to B's Rio, which he claims is better than my iPod (though then he couldn't remember why). He had it on shuffle, which somehow translated into a lot of Mike Nesmith interspersed with "When Doves Cry" and "Birdhouse in your Soul" and that creepy Capt. Beefheart song about "the blimp, the blimp!"

We got to the Cape around 6:30 Saturday, and wandered around Commercial Street for a bit before dinner at the venue (the Squealing Pig). I lead the group to the salt-water taffy place and the Marine Supply Co., and on our way back to the Pig we walked right past M, who blended in so well we didn't even see him, dressed in a tight lavender t-shirt, gelled hair, and pink, heart-shaped, rhinestone-framed glasses. For dinner I took the band's recommendation for the lobster toastie (grilled cheddar cheese sandwich with fresh basil, tomato, and lobster meat: heavenly).

During set-up I wandered off alone. I had never been in P-Town after dark. The vibe is laid-back and fun and just a little libidinous and carnival-esque.

Back at the Pig, the Fawns and SFTD each played two short alternating sets, and both were extremely well-recieved by a diverse crowd. Groups of people kept arriving and then leaving and then re-arriving. There was a lot of freeform dancing, and simulated sex acts, and some singing along. The meme of "woo!"ing H's arm movements during "Omnivore" was perpetuated. It was loud and rockin' for such a small room, but it fit perfectly with the mood of the night.

After the show we packed the van, and then waited for our patron to come by after work so we could give her a ride to her home, where we'd be staying the night. There was some expectation of a party at the house, but everyone was tired and our benefactor had a plan to get up early for the Wellfleet flea market, so we stayed quiet. We took every available inch of free floor space for our beds. T and M got an air mattress, B and A got the absent-roommate's bed, and H and L got the fold-out couch (I was invited to share it with them, but frankly I have trouble sleeping in the same bed with people I'm actually sleeping with, so I declined). I ended up using three couch cushions, my circa-1980 camping mattress, and my sleeping bag to make a bed that just barely fit on the kitchen floor. I couldn't fall asleep for hours. When it started getting light outside I crept around the air mattress to the bathroom (noted: M sleeps on top of the covers), crept back to bed, and then had to creep back to close the bathroom door which kept clacking semi-shut in the wind. Then I fell asleep and woke up just 3 or so hours later to almost everyone all dressed and awake and going into the back yard to see the horses.

We had a bleary breakfast at a random place on Comm. Street. I got a short stack of blueberry pancakes, which was more like an extremely short stack. We walked to the shore and I took some band photos with H's camera. Then the Express took us to Race Point beach just so we could all touch the ocean and collect rocks and pile rocks and look at the amazing colors of the sky and the water and the dune grass. Then we headed home, stopping at PJ's for some soft-serve (medium twist, rainbow sprinkles). And then I couldn't stay awake. I am pretty sure that at one point I even made a pre-snoring "snerk!" noise, but my friends are too polite to say anything. (I wasn't the only one having trouble with consciousness.) Thanks for the fun adventure, everybody!

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

I had a really disjointed sleep last night. I think I may have been sleeping with my eyes open again. First, it took a while for me to fall asleep; every time I'd be about to slip into unconsciousness, my sleeping dog would start "dreaming," which means loud, closed-mouth barking. It sounds like "Mouf! Merf!" and is actually quite funny and adorable, though less so when it wakes you up on a nightly basis. Once I fell asleep, I soon woke up with a start to find myself staring into the out-of-focus darkened room, with what looked like bits of pink fluff or fabric floating through the air. I even reached out to touch them, to find out if they were really there. It's an unpleasant sensation, to wake up in the middle of the night and discover yourself hallucinating something in the room, even though it quickly coalesces into normalcy after I wake up enough to focus my eyes a little (in the case of the fluff, it just disappeared; in previous times, shapes that looked like people or looming objects turned back into the collection of pictures on the wall or my pillow). I did a tiny amount of online research on this eyes-open-sleeping phenomena today, and no, I am fairly certain I'm not being probed by aliens, nor do I take any hallucinogenic drugs, nor do I fall asleep drunk every night, nor do I have a thyroid problem. So I think maybe I'm just a little weird.

Monday, June 21, 2004

Laurel Park, the neat converted-summer-homes/former-Christian-camp housing development a little ways out of town, had a big tag sale going on Saturday morning, so I stopped by. The tag sale in the common house wasn't very inspiring, but about 8 of the little houses nearby were having their own sales. It was great to have a reason to just wander around. The houses are all slightly smaller than what you'd imagine a house to be, and most of them are very close to their neighbors, and so people have gotten creative with their gardens and with making the most of their space. They run the place like a co-op with monthly fees and community events.

One of the people holding a tag sale was a woman, she couldn't have been more than forty, with a ridiculous bouffant wig on her head. It was obviously fake. She looked like an early Loretta Lynn. And it didn't go along at all with her casual clothes and lack of makeup. The stuff she was selling was cool - some neat old books, just like the ones I collect, and some old wooden toys, among other flotsam. A shopper picked up a small red elephant pull-toy and asked how much it was. She said, "Oh, I don't know... I always have second thoughts when it comes to selling my things. I just really like old things, you know? They just have more meaning for me... Okay, let's say $5, because I don't care if I sell it." Later I bought a $1 book from the 1920s about women's sex lives, and she gave me a half-full pad of watercolor paper for free.

All right, the story's not that interesting. The point is that I could have been her, a few years down the line. A couple of years ago I contemplated buying a house in Laurel Park for $90k - a price unheard of nowadays for anything but a mobil home in this town - because, as I said, they're super charming and sweet, and perfect for one person, especially for the price. But I was too afraid I'd turn into crazy-wig lady: A single woman who spends a lot of time around her house making it all cozy and funky and interesting, while slowly getting older and lonlier and more isolated, losing touch with old friends until her only social activities are with the old ladies in the development. It is true that I do think it's just as likely that I could live there and have a ball and make it work, but the crazy-wig lady archetype is still standing there in the corner of my brain, fretting over the fate of her odd little collections. And I'm just too young to want to be her.

Friday, June 18, 2004

So I have just a few random odds and ends this morning, things that didn't seem important enough to be their own posts (like that's ever stopped me before. But seriously folks...).

The food bank collection box at my office is still there in the kitchen, still accepting donations. It hasn't been emptied/delivered in months. Inside of it right now: A bunch of pasta, a JollyTime popcorn ball maker (two hemi-spherical pieces of plastic), Stop n' Shop brand pumpkin pie filling, and the winner of worst donation of all goes to: An open, half-eaten jar of organic baby food (mashed squash, I think), which I threw away upon discovery.

If you are a person who does not blush, and you happen to meet and spend time with someone who does blush, let me give you this piece of advice: If your new acquaintence starts blushing for whatever reason, the thing to do is NOT to say "Hey look, you're blushing! Wow, your face is getting sooooo red! It's like neon red! Ha ha ha! Hey everyone, look at her blushing!" Saying things like this to me means an automatic sucker-punch to the gut. Then I will rain bitch-slaps upon your face, until I am able to stand back and triumphantly say, "Hey look at how red her face is! You look like a candy apple! Ha! Ha! HA!" A jury of people who blush would acquit me in a second. The correct thing to do: Ignore the blushing entirely.

A few weeks ago as I was walking my dog on my street, a car drove up slowly next to me and the window rolled down to reveal a late-middle-aged woman with fussy hair. She said "I hope you pick up after that dog." I said yes, I always did, I am a responsible pet-owner. "Do you have bags with you?" Yes, yes I did have bags. I'm very responsible, I always pick up the poop. She chuckles and says "But do you USE the bags? Because they're no good unless you use them!" Uh, yes, I always, always use them. (Didn't we go over this?) She pulls into the driveway of the house diagonal from mine. Her house is huge and expensive-looking and her lawn is weed-free. Now, every time I pass by it, I think about leaving a neatly-tied baggie of my dog's poop on her porch. This very morning my dog took a dump on her property, and I contemplated leaving it there out of spite; but I didn't. Because I am a responsible dog owner, not one of the many, many people who carry around plastic bags just for fun and fashion.

Monday, June 14, 2004

So the family torture weekend never became torture. I actually had a good time. It's true. I made it up to the New Hampshire house around 9:30 on Friday night, and dinner hadn't even been served yet. It turns out that my father's-father's side of the family are a bunch of fun drunks. Well, they aren't loud and crazy, but they enjoy the wine. At the house were my grand-uncle's children (four daughters) and several of the daughters' spouses and young-adult children. Their newly-widowed mother was also there. I really like her; she seems to be more optimistic and open than my grandmother, who has always seemed unhappy and disappointed (at least since I was a baby). Anyway, dinner was nice. I was under some questioning that put me on the spot, which I don't like, but I had decided before I arrived to enjoy myself as much as I could, so when I had the floor I was joking around a little, going with the flow. By the end of the night I was feeling like I was fitting in. The nonstop wine pouring might have had something to do with that.

The next day we drove up north to Sabbaday Falls (the name is from the early-settlers' slurring of Sabbath Day) and we met up with my parents and my grandmother. It was a perfect weather day. It's the very start of motorcycle week, and there were Harleys everywhere, lots of people riding on the curvy roads of the White Mts. National Park without helmets (Live Free or Die!). I was concerned that the "Impeach Bush" bumper sticker on my car was going to get me a punch in the face, but it never materialized. One motorcycle's licence plate frame said "MY OTHER TOY HAS TITS." You kind of have to admire these guys for resolutely staying put in the seventies.

At the Falls area, we wheelchaired the two widows up a dirt path to a place upstream from the head of the falls. We turned off and gathered in a clearing in the trees near the river, and a few people gave some readings: a couple of psalms, an e.e. cummings poem, and a letter my grand-uncle wrote to my grandfather in the 40s. Then it was time. My dad took the small cardboard box out of a paper bag and opened it to reveal a sturdy clear-plastic bag, tied with a plastic tie with a metal dogtag on it. Inside the bag were the white ash remains of his father. I followed him to the rocky riverbank, where he untied the bag, and calmy perched on some rocks and poured, slowly, the ash into the water. It's amazing how small a body becomes when all of the water is steamed away. How colorless, too. As he poured the ash into the stream, a large plume of white filled the pool below, and dissipated slowly on its way to the sea.

Then it was my grandfather's brother's turn to be laid to rest. His daughters opened up the bag of his ashes and they each scooped a cup and spread it on the ground. Then they took the remaining ash and cast it into the water, "so they can play together" my mom said. They were all crying, whereas my parents and I were more sober about it all. My grandfather died after suffering from Alzheimers for years, where my grand-uncle had died just two months after being diagnosed with cancer, so the pain was still a shock to them.

We each gathered a rock or two from the river (choosing some nice pieces of New Hampshire granite) and then made our way down to the picnic area at the bottom. We decided it would be best to wheel my grandmother down backwards, since she could lean back that way, and there were some giddy near-mishaps along the way. My grandmother was chuckling over it all, while being bounced around down the path.

After eating lunch I said goodbye to the main group; my grand-aunt (?) said it was nice to get to know me better, which was very sweet. My parents and two of my dad's cousins decided to go to Center Harbor and a huge fancy quilt store there. I made Mom ride with me so we could chat and she could see for herself how non-depressed I am. I think it worked. After the quilt store I drove back home, totally tired and almost driving off the road; I made it home just in time to go see my friends play a show at PACE, but I decided instead to relax at home and then just go to the after-party at 11:30. I stayed up until 4:30, which meant that Sunday was mostly a wash; I didn't really leave my bed until 2 p.m. But all in all I had a good weekend, despite (or maybe because of?) my cranky Friday venting.
I'll get to the weekend recap in a minnit. First here's a nice pic of me and my niece, taken nine days ago. My mom swears she looks exactly like we did when we were babies, which I can tell from looking at old photos of us. It's like my sister cloned herself. Although we were completely bald - including eyebrows - for our first two years of life, the hair grew in with a vengeance. See the photographic proof:

Friday, June 11, 2004

My weekend plans have been shot by the disintegration ray weilded by the matriarchs in my family. I didn't go out last weekend (I was in Brooklyn with the family instead) and I haven't gone out all week, so I was looking forward to throwin' a penny tonight. But alas, instead I will drive three hours to stay in the living room of some relatives I don't know very well, without the buffer of my parents or sister to help me. For my very old grand-uncle (who I've met twice) is dead after a long illness, so we must gather here in a remote part of New Hampshire, The Asshole State (it's on their license plate! really!), even though three out of four of the guy's children live in California, where he also lived, by the way. And instead of it being in the afternoon, like you might expect a reunion on a beautiful late-spring day to be (and which would allow me to drive there in the morning and drive home at night), let's have a dinner. Oh and since we're all going to be together anyway, let's scatter my grandfather's ashes (my freshly-deceased-granduncle's brother), but let's do it an hour and a half NORTH (i.e. further away from me) of the reunion site, because god knows there just isn't anyplace pretty enough in the middle of the state, even though that's where my grandfather lived for most of his adult life. And let's set out for the ashes-scattering place at 9:30 in the morning, because it might take a while, what with the stopping every half an hour so my octogenarian grandmother can pee.

So the schedule seems to have been made specifically to ruin both nights of my weekend. I refuse to let that happen, so I'm skipping the evening event and will attend the ashes-scattering/lunch instead, which I actually am interested in being a part of, and which will allow me to be released with time served. I know the plan that was formed has absolutely nothing to do with me, and there are a ton of other people involved. And I feel guilty bitching about it (I'm venting here, though, so I can be pleasant and charming tonight and tomorrow). It's just kind of a puzzle, the way the plans were laid. I blame the passive-aggressive elderly yankees in the family.

I might be happier spending time with these folks, most of whom are smart and somewhat funny and who lead interesting lives. But I had a series of poisonous interactions with my extended family growing up which made me dread all activities with them. When we had family gatherings, the children (and my sister and I were the only children; I have two cousins, and they're both below the age of 12) were expected to sit quietly with their hands in their laps, along with the grown-ups in the sitting room, as they made polite chitchat for a couple of hours. It was excruciating and impossible for us, and when we failed to behave, we were made to feel flawed and out of control and just oh so very bad and wrong. It wasn't until years later that I realized that it wasn't my fault that I hated those times so much; normal people, and by normal I mean not joyless middle-class WASPs, would let the kids go play in the yard, or at least give them a game or a puzzle or a book and let them do their thing in a corner of the room.

So you must understand how I feel when I tell you how jealous I am of my sister, who has a newborn baby to take care of and so is excused from attending. She got out of a horrible family reunion held in the middle of Louisiana several years ago, too, though I don't quite remember how (she's a slippery one). That reunion gave me PTSD, I think. So she owes me Big Time.
This mp3, a reworking of an old song by Eric Idle, is hilarious and satisfying. (It's for adult ears only, and not work-safe.) In it he sings about being fined by the FCC, though I searched the web and couldn't confirm it, so it might be creative license. Through my search I happened upon Howard Stern's home page, which he has turned into a liberal blog site (but with, you know, more stuff about boobies and drinking). Awesome.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

At about 8 p.m. tonight I noticed that it was getting dark very rapidly. I left my one little refrigerated room in my thrid-floor apartment and went over to the window in my bedroom. Lightning was flashing and the trees were whipping around in the wind. I leaned over to rest my elbows on the windowsill and stick my head up close to the screen, to be as close to outside as possible. The screen smelled like galvanized metal, kind of salty and bitter. The rain was coming down just a little bit, huge drops well spaced apart. The wind kept changing direction. Leaning inside the window frame, I could feel the house breathing: cooler air, along with a smattering of drops, would hit me face-on, and then things would shift and slower, heavier, warmer air would exhale around my back. I watched the electric blue flashes get closer and more in focus, and the rain got so hard I had to close the window to keep out the flood.

And that was the highlight of my night.

Monday, June 07, 2004

I wrote a cranky post over at Craftytown about the parade I decided not to attend yesterday. It might have been fun, had I gone with a bunch of friends, or a boyfriend if I had one. I'm still a bit sick, very phlegmy with the coughing and the nose-blowing and the unforgiveable "haaawk!" noises that I sometimes make when I forget that I'm at work in an open-plan office and everyone around me is cringing in revulsion. I really only do that very very rarely, but I'm sure it's happened. But what am I supposed to do, leave the building every two minutes to blow my nose and keep from drowning? Stay home for a week and a half just because I have a slight cold?

Thursday, June 03, 2004

So, you may have noticed I'm trying out a new template. The problem is that I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I'M DOING. Consequently, I shoved the links in wherever they could go (none of the templates have a built-in place for links. I don't know of a single blog without a list of links on the sidebar. What the fuck?), and the stuff I should be seeing on the right are way way down on the page. And I probably aren't available anymore on RSS feed or whatever it's called. Work in progress, please stand by...
Not much to see here - I'm sick as a dog. Cough, cough, hack, haaarrrrrck! I did find out that the Fahrenheit 9/11 trailer is online. I can't wait to see it. The film found a distributor, by the way - I think it's going to be in theaters by the end of this month. Rock.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Hi. Welcome back. I went for a hike yesterday. An illegal hike, up around the ruins of the old Mountain Park amusement park on Mt. Tom. I was actually looking for a series of letterboxes, but I couldn't find a single one - probably because after the most recent arsonist fire at the park, the city demolished the remaining structures, with the letterboxes in place, I assume. I had been to Mountain Park once when I was a kid, circa 9 years old, and all I remember is that it was night, and I rode a strange little train ride, and my dad talked my sister onto riding the roller coaster, and she came off of the ride crying because she hurt her toe on it somehow.

Anyway, I was very excited to check out yet another urban ruin. But I was not prepared for how intensely creepy the Mountain Park site is. It was about 3 p.m., with the sun shining, the temperature perfect, and yet I was nearly trembling from the icky feelings. But I was more fascinated than afraid, so I poked all around the overgrown cement platforms and old loading areas, all nearly reclaimed by the mountain's plants and trees. I saw many recent signs of human life: the usual smashed beer bottles and graffiti, but also a sodden pair of shorts, numerous paintball shells, and a condom. I saw three other people during the hour I was there; one was a man, one was a girl who was dressed like me (later I thought that I might have seen a spectral mirror image of myself), and one was a teenager holding a Big Gulp. They were all wandering alone, like me, and I avoided them. I was minding my own business, so they did the same.

Of course I took some pictures.

It's Always White here: (According to some of the graffiti I read, they sure wish it was.)

Once you hop the central gate, take a look to your left and you'll see the old parking lot slowly turning back into a meadow. In the intense sunlight, this place has a very post-nuclear-holocaust feel to it. I'm sure it'll show up in a nightmare or two:

This is the view from the middle of the midway:

Here is one of the many new-ish piles of rubble. Note the burned trees in the background, from the latest fire:

I think this is the remains of the Carousel House, which was the sturdiest structure on property. Some fans of the Park had wanted to preserve it somehow, but the building was ultimately abandoned. In 2002, someone set it on fire.

Duck underneath some vines and bushes and you'll get to the old "kiddie land" area. The tiny train ride wound up and around a mini-golf course:

There were tons of interesting things lying around. Here's a machine:

And I'll leave you with this. I hope it was for fried dough, my favorite fair food:

Thanks for stopping by. Come again soon!