Tuesday, December 27, 2005

My holidays were fine, if a little short. I like it better when Christmas falls on a Friday or a Monday, so you have an excuse to create a four-day weekend out of it. My little niece is cuter than ever. I feel like I have an unrequited crush on her. She breaks my heart regularly: Often, if I offer to pick her up or get a hug from her, she’ll consider the request for a second and then say, “no” and turn to something else. It’s not that she doesn’t love me, she just loves her mom, her dad, her grandma and poppa so much more. They see her a lot more than I do. In a few months I will start my secret campaign to turn her against all of them.

Two holiday anecdotes:

1. My mom is a psychologist or a psychotherapist (I don’t actually know the difference… shh!!) and one of her patients bakes her many cookies for the holidays. This year she baked more cookies than ever – dozens and dozens of like five or six different kinds. This kind of largesse is confusing for us people who take an entire afternoon just to produce a couple of sheets of Toll House. Mom implied that her patient didn’t really have any family that was worth doing all of that cookie-baking for, which started this exchange (extremely paraphrased):

Me: So, did she decide she shouldn’t bake cookies for her family this year, or did you “help” her decide?
Sc: Did you tell her, “You know, your family doesn’t really deserve your cookies. They don’t understand you. Better to give them to people in your life who help you.”
Me: “They’re probably really ungrateful too, never thanking you for your kind and loving cookie-baking gestures.”
Sc: … “By the way, thank you for the cookies.”

2. I gave my niece a small My Little Pony named “Hula Lula” several months ago, and Hula L. had come along to my parents’ house for the holidays. My sister has given Hula Lula a kind of trashy-sounding southern belle voice, because “she looks southern.” (I guess it’s the blue eyeshadow on the half-lidded eyes, and the long and lustrous purple hair? Apparently women in the south are all painted-up whores.) Anyway, the Hula Lula voice is best when my brother-in-law does it, because for some reason his version of the voice speaks extra slowly, as though Hula Lula just woke up and it’s 4:00 in the afternoon and she’s got dried vomit in her hair. Things like “yer real pritty” and “can ah sit awn yer knee?” sound even creepier than they would normally. I thought she should say, “honey, have you seen mah cigarettes?” and “where’s Pony’s medicine?” but he didn’t follow along.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Walking home from work today, all bundled up with my scarf wrapped around my face, I passed two guys dressed in construction-worker-type clothes (dirty jeans, sweatshirts, Carhardt jackets, beer bellies). As they passed, one of them said, "It's not THAT cold!" in a snotty, almost angry tone. I waited until I was 20 feet away before saying, "Bitch."

What those guys did not understand is that I have a nose problem. A nose-skin problem, really: Rosacea (must be said in loud, screechy old-lady voice). I already don't limit my caffeine intake or stay away from spicy foods, so I try to at least keep my nose out of the freezing cold air. My nose is bright red for the majority of my life, but it gets much redder out in the cold, which can't be good for its long-term health. I really don't want to turn into the guy at the Rt. 47 flea market with the bulbous plum nose who looks like a purple elephant seal. And unfortunately, I'm not brave enough to wear one of these. So scarf held up to my face is what it's gotta be.

If I could have explained all of that to Judgey McFatpants in a split second, I would have. The bitch.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Ads We Like and Why We Like Them:*

The one where the guy is humming the tune to "Karma Chameleon" and tries to convince his friend it's actually "Where tha Hood At?" Best part: the guy singing "Where's the hood?" to the tune of the "she comes and goes" part of the song.

The one where the guy is all psyched he ordered some cheap-ass pizza and saved money, so he tells his kids to turn on the light, and they cheer. Best part: After three seconds, he tells them, "Okay, lamp time's over," and the kids are all bummed out.

The one where the guy has a couple of voodoo dolls for cell phone charges or something, and once his co-worker tells him he won't need them anymore because there's a way-better cell phone plan out there for him, he says (Best part:) "Now I'm gonna make one for lonliness!"

All other ads suck. Yes, every one. But especially:

Any of the boring, boring, oh-my-god-so-mind-bendingly boring ones for Vehix or Carfax or whatever the fuck, where the entire 30 seconds is just watching a guy look at a car. Worst part: How frequently they play these ads.

The locally-produced (or just incredibly poorly-done) ads for fitness video hawker and generally creepy-looking John Basedow. Why do I know his name? Why, it's because of the catchy jingle they play, that sounds like it was recorded on some kid's Hello Kitty boombox:
Here's John Basedow!
He's gonna show you how
To reach your potential!

There's more but I am usually moaning in horror too loudly to hear it. Worst part: The stupid workouts they're selling are on video only. That shit is so 15 years ago.

Special radio station shout-out to the ad for a WAMC station benefit show starring some female folkie. The ad has been playing several times each morning for several months, I'm guessing. It starts with a line from one of the chick's songs, and it goes, "Summer's almost over, and I'm crying but I don't know why." I know this ad has been on forever because I'm pretty sure it was actually late summer when they first aired it. Worst part: The line is sung in such a weird way, it's hard to resist singing along mockingly, which then means I get the thing stuck in my head.

*Subtitled: I watch way too much television.

Friday, December 09, 2005

It's snowing. Huh.

Chowflap reader Jennifer pointed this to me: The morning news mentioned a WFMU show, now available for a listen online, that played three hours of music recorded at the 2002 Sacred Harp convention in Northampton. I wasn't there, but that is my posse. Neat-o.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

So it seems that if I log into blogger via the comments section, then I can get onto the rest of blogger while I'm at work. Thus the blogging currently happening right now. I feel a lot better today. The virus is on notice and hastily packing its luggage. Plus, it didn't snow, and is actually kind of nice and sunny outside.

I live in a small New England town (officially a city, I guess, but it doesn't look like one) and my walk to work is about five blocks, three of which are in a residential area. Yet every day at least one panhandler asks me for money. One guy is always sitting under the railroad bridge on my way home, but today a different one asked me for a quarter for some coffee this morning, so I know there will be at least two spare-change opportunities today. I have to admit that I never give them anything. Is that bad? I am just convinced, like the worst kind of person, that they aren't going to spend the money on food or coffee or anything but booze or drugs. Frankly it's kind of hard to not think that when they're so often drunk while asking me for money. I don't know why our small town has such a large homeless population. The local state-run mental hospital was deregulated (nice term for "shut down and abandoned") more than twenty years ago, so it seems kind of unlikely all of these people are former residents. I've been assuming they're here because our town is full of generous and kind-hearted people who provide shelter and food for them. Which is nice. Go, us. But doesn't make me want to give them money. There have been days when I've had to stop myself from snarling, "Nope, I'm going to hold on to this money that I EARNED AT A JOB THAT SUCKS THE LIFE OUT OF MY VERY SOUL."* (It's especially difficult to not say that kind of thing to the "homeless" teens.) Not very liberal of me, I know. I am generous in other ways, I swear it.

I did laundry last night. I enjoy the readings of the flyers at the laundromats. It gives one a sense of what one's town is all about. My favorite one yesterday went something like this (going from memory, here): "Looking for housemate/ housing share for a vegan, non-toxic household (no TV or microwave). I'm a 22-year old part-time student who likes cooking, dancing, cats, reading, and playing a friend-made flute! I am joyous, easy-going, and clear [yes, she definitely said "clear"]. I love to PLAY!!" In college, people like that are what made me strip all hippie traces away that I had left from my Quakerly childhood.

In sum, I am an ornery bastard. Who loves to PLAY!!

* That's not even true; my job is pretty great, all things considered, but it's still work, and not always fun.

Monday, December 05, 2005

I've been sick. It's true. I am not one of those people who go through a cold in two days. My viruses linger for a week or more. They move in and unpack their bags. Their toiletry cases have regular-size tubes of toothpaste and bottles of shampoo. They're bold.

I am going to make a concerted effort to write more in here, even though putting up the facade of "look at how funny and clever I am, and how I can find humor in everything I see" is very difficult right now, and I can't write about what I'm really feeling because too many members of my family read this. (Depression comes along for the ride with the being sick for a long time. It's the circle of life.)

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Wow! I just got an email meant for this person (note: NOT ME). Our names are identical, down to the middle initial! Plus: the email had to do with a stock repurchase. Not just any stock repurchase, but the purchase of a stock relating to a person who was much in the news this past year for some stock-purchasing-and-selling troubles of her own. Maybe this person's email mistake will cause me to be swept unawares into a web of mystery and shady financial shenanigans!

I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Not being able to blog from work has really cramped my style. Like, today out in the parking lot I saw a guy wearing a Cosby sweater whose torso was completely square. And I almost forgot about it, but, you know, I remembered it, which is how you just read about it. And then at home I have all these Slegs to kill, so you see how little free time I have.

For the first time ever in my life, today I bought the local paper just so I could officially get a bag for Bag Day on Saturday (the one day of the year when almost every store downtown offers 20% off of any one thing in each store) instead of finding a store willing to give me a bag. The past few years I've been avoiding downtown completely on Bag Day, but there's one item I need to buy for my dad's birthday next week, and it would be dumb to buy it NOT on bag day. So I am going to have to brave the slow-moving, Coldstone-Creamery-eating, jay-walking, preschooler-and-senior-citizen-towing crowds. For Father.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Hello? *tap tap* Anyone here?

Anyway. There's a screen shot from Katamari Damacy on page 14 of this week's EW. Is it bad that I know exactly what level it's from, the prize the Prince is wearing, and the name of the cousin the Prince has just rolled up?

Also: I had a flash of image-memory yesterday of a small spiral-bound notepad I had when I was a kid, with Snoopy on the cover in a leisure suit saying, "I've got Disco fever, babe!" For whatever reason, my sister and I would read that aloud every time we saw the thing. My sister pronounced it "babY" and I pronounced it correctly and after a couple of years we had a discussion about the correct pronunciation. And now that notepad would go for $4 if it was as-new in some hipster store in the East Village.

Monday, November 07, 2005

The sign outside of Friendly's in Florence says:


Shhh! Nobody tell them! Hee hee hee hee.

Monday, October 31, 2005

I know this will seem obvious, but it case you didn't know, or (like me) remember: KFC is terrible. KFC should not legally be able to call what they sell "food": maybe "phood," or "fud," or even "a food-related experience."

The only reason I tried KFC again was the memory of an awesome wing. About 10-15 years ago I tasted a deliciously sweet and salty thing from KFC. It was unbreaded and succulent and had the sauce baked into it, giving the wing a deep red-brown color. I thought it was what they now call "Honey BBQ Wings," so I ordered a six-piecer yesterday. I knew I was in trouble when they put a plate on my tray with eight golf-ball-sized gnarled lumps coated with uncooked "bbq sauce." Apparently they just put the nuggets into a bath of the "sauce" right before serving. And since the "sauce" is about 80% high-fructose corn syrup, it coats the nubbins quite thickly, so the sauce-to-meat ratio is way out of whack. I took one bite and had to spit it out into a napkin. Not only was the sauce disgusting — thick, sticky sugar syrup laced with liquid smoke, caramel coloring, and some salt — but under the sauce was fried breading, and under the breading was fried wing skin, and under the wing skin was a tiny piece of meat (on the bone, so you know it's real) that had been impregnated with artificial chickeny flavor and more salt. Unfortunately, I was hungry, so I gruesomely eviscerated three of the nuggets to get to a few small bites of meat. Of course I couldn't do it without coating my hands in the "sauce" which I sure as hell wasn't licking off my fingers. I did eat a biscuit, a chicken strip (dipped in ranch sauce — its first ingredient was water, which seemed more benign), and some cole slaw, so it wasn't a total loss.

Today I'm in detox, eating stuff like brown rice and root vegetables to make up for my diet this weekend. I was in P-Town for one night, which was very cold and rainy but then very nice, and I ate no vegetables while I was there (save the potatoes in my clam chowder and the iceberg lettuce on my lobster roll). Of course since I am eating so healthily today, it means I can also eat some halloween candy (and a cookie, and a doughnut hole, etc) to keep the toxin levels even.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Did you know? Faces gives you 10% the price of any umbrella if it is raining when you buy it.

Did you know? You can re-use oil for frying once (using it a total of two times) before it becomes kind of worn-out, chemically.

Did you know? The spiced creme brulee tastes just like egg nog. Egg nog and winning and God smiling upon you.

Did you know? Toddlers love ponies and riding and crackers, but they really, really, really love their mommies. Especially when it turns out they're suffering from roseola.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Something bad has happened.

I can no longer post from work.

I don't know why, but with the move, I have lost the ability to have cookies, or something, which makes no sense, because sites like the NY Times remembers my sign-in info from day to day. So, yeah. Maybe it's blogger-specific. Maybe they're onto me! Yikes.

What else? Oh, it rained a lot, for like ten days. Today it got sunny, very sunny, and for the first time our office was blasted with sunlight, making me search the storage boxes in the basement for a piece of yarn (and I found some), with which I hung my five-dollar pashmina as a curtain. But that wasn't enough, so I scrounged a large cardboard box that blocks the window nicely, although it's a bit tenementy. The building owner was supposed to supply shades before we moved in, but since real estate transactions never ever work out properly, there are no shades and no ETA for the shades.

On Saturday morning I drove to an estate sale in the pouring pouring rain. It was a very crappy little house a few feet from a busy road. An old Polish Catholic lady had lived there. She had an interesting living room set but I wasn't in the market for any furniture. It was the kind of estate sale that I love, where an entire household is for sale, so you are free to open drawers and pull stuff open and make an offer. (While I was in the kitchen a woman asked about the half-empty bottles of alcohol - not great stuff, mind you, as one was Manichewitz - and the estate sales guy said she could have them for free. She happily took them all.) Like many women of a certain age and class, the late woman was a sewer. She had a lot of bad, boring fabric, and like I've seen at other, similar sales, she had a curiously large number of zippers. But she also had some sewing pattern catalogs from the 60s-70s which I snatched right up. I dusted off the ol' scanner to share some choice shots with you. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

I have a new office location, one that makes me the Eye on the Armory Street Parking Lot (as well as Armory Street itself). Armory Street is barely a street, yet gets a lot more traffic than I had imagined. I also never before noticed that the Thornes building has a roof seemingly composed entirely of pigeons.

Also seen today: a vet begging with the aid of a life-sized Halloween novelty head and torso. Well, it was more of a half-torso. It was holding a bowl and when someone walked near it would say something like "come closer, don't be shy" in a "spooky" voice. The vet was sitting calmly next to it with his cane and cardboard sign. After I passed him I overheard someone saying they had seen him outside of the VA hostpital over in Leeds, hitchhiking with the torso. More as this story develops!

p.s. I put up some photos in my new gallery (thanks, DG!): four from the amazing benefit show and dinner at the Apollo Grill Sunday night, and an incomplete gallery of photos from my summer in NYC. Check it out here.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

See last post for an update on the car fire, of which there are a couple of photos here, in my spankin' new gallery.

Monday, October 03, 2005

This morning at 6:30 a.m. I awoke to D saying "Do you smell that?" Never a good way to wake up. I sniffed and said yeah, what is that? I instantly thought that I must have left the toaster oven on or something. Then I noticed orange, flickering light reflected on the ceiling. We zipped the shades up and lo and behold, on the street right out front of my apartment, a big old white Jeep's engine was on fire; not just smoking or something, but on fire, in a big and unquestionable way. And it was parked right behind D's fancy car. We called 911, but they were already on it. D ran into the cops outside and they let him move his car, "if you hurry." He hurried. The cops sprayed the flames with their little tiny extinguishers but the fire just seemed to enjoy the attention and didn't get any smaller. The extinguishers made a big billow of white smoke/steam waft up to my open bedroom window and I was awake enough to close them before the cloud got inside. Then a fire engine showed up, and they hooked up a hose and sprayed the crap out of the car, but it still kept on relighting! Man. Finally they broke out the foam stuff, and that did the trick, though they had to whack the shit out of the front hood with a prybar in order to get it open so that they could really douse it.

By the time it was all over, the front half of the car was completely destroyed, and there was a very large white foamy puddle with small pieces of burnt car sitting in it. The woman who owned the car came out in her robe and be-towel-ed hair and said that earlier she had heard someone trying to steal her car, trying to get it to start. And I guess the car didn't turn over, but it got so hot that the dirty, oily engine caught fire. There are several key details missing in that story, though, and it's fairly unsatisfying.

UPDATE! I checked the local paper the next day and there was a little thing about the fire in the police blotter. They say it was most likely an electrical fire, and no foul play is suspected. So the whole thing about the owner hearing someone try to start her car was bullshit, apparently.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Some randomness:

I made a big mistake at work, and though the mistake was solely a result of my supervisor not informing me of something I should have been paying attention to, I still hate myself for not magically discovering what to do by myself.

A little tip: Have the Quiznobots put your sandwich through the toaster twice, so that it actually becomes toasted.

Bob Loblaw is the best character name ever, and makes me giggle a lot. "Don't talk nonsense to Bob Loblaw!" Hee hee heeee.

There's a level in the new Katamari Damacy game where your katamari is a ball of fire, and if you don't pick anything up for several seconds, your fire goes out. It is hard.

In related news, my sister has been mugging whores for money in her spare time. She says it makes her feel kinda bad, but that the hookers have the most cash on them, so what can you do? (By the way, if you want to watch a movie version of Vice City, go see Transporter 2. I think some of the scenes were just captured video from some guy's Playstation.)

Actually, I'd rather not click to "find out more about Britney's new scent," thanks.

Friday, September 23, 2005

The air conditioning in the temporary office was broken but now is fixed. I am working with the rest of the staff in a large, open conference room (with 14-foot ceilings, give or take a foot) until our permanent office is finished. Even when the loud air blower isn't on, I can feel the frigid air drifting down from the verts and settling on my body like a blanket of snow. This means that I have to wrap myself up like a poor peasant girl with my $5 pashmina I bought on the street in NY (thank you, shady pashmina vendors!!). And even then I almost have to break out my fingerless gloves.

Even though this big room is in a nice old building, the windows have thoughtfully been sealed shut with caulk and paint. So even though the temperature outside is perfect, we aren't allowed to experience any of it.

New topic: As if one needed an excuse to go to the Holyoke Mall, tonight at 7 Lord Russ is singing. At the Mall. Just like a Tiffany, or a Debbie Gibson. Or an off-season carny dressed as Santa. It will be glorious. So you should show up, unless you are below the age of 18, in which case you need to convince your parent to accompany you and make sure you don't frighten the other patrons with your loitering and your loud laughter and your disturbing youthfulness and your confusing clothing.

New topic: It was so lovely out after work yesterday that I extended my bike ride home, gliding right past my house and over to the dyke and then way over to the fairgrounds and the airport. And then I probably should have turned around, but instead I took a right, figuring eventually I'd wind my way back under Rt. 91 and to my neighborhood, which I did, except it took 30 minutes instead of 10. It was wonderful, though, even with my out-of-shapeness and lack of water. I missed doing this all summer long (that whole Manhattan thing - did that really happen? How strange!) and I had forgotten how much I love riding all alone on washboarded dirt roads through farmland, in and out of sudden patches of cold air and the smell of fertile ground and sweetly rotting leaves. The sky was beautiful, all big and colorful and cloud-studded. At times it got a little "Children of the Corn," since all I could hear was rustling corn stalks in the fields surrounding me, plus I had no real idea where I was going. For a long time there it looked like I'd end up at the river unless I made a u-turn, but then I found a more serious-looking road heading back in the direction I wanted. That lead me out of the fields and back up onto the dyke a block from where I started and two blocks from home.

Work is slow today. Can't you tell?

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Tofu, one of the restaurants that opened in the Sushi Glut of Early 2005, has closed. They helpfully put signs in all of their windows that say "Sorry, We Closed." I hate to admit that when I first read them, I thought they had accidentally left the "are" off of the sign. Even now, just for fun, I kind of say it the wrong way in my head as I pass. It doesn't give me the same kind of joy as "They taste like real meats, but consist no meats at all!!!" but it'll do for now.

It's Sept. 21 and supposed to get into the 80s again today. It feels wrong to be wearing flip-flops on the day before fall. Speaking of flip-flops, there was a local radio ad on the air a few months ago in which a woman and a man are talking about summer fun or something, and she makes fun of him for saying "flip-flops" (as in, "oh, are you going to wear your "flip-flops"?? all snotty-voiced) and he acts all abashed about it like he knows he's being an idiot for calling them that. What the fuck? THEY ARE CALLED FLIP-FLOPS. Everyone calls them that! I didn't ever hear them referred to as "thongs" until a few years ago, and calling them thongs sounds completely retarded. In fact, I would totally make fun of someone who called flip-flops "thongs." Before hearing that ad, I had no idea that using the term flip-flops meant I was juvenile, or whatever it was that the woman was trying to imply. I can't remember what the ad was for, sadly, but every time I heard it I vowed to never spend a dime in their business (though I am fairly sure the place wasn't one I was in danger of frequenting anyway).

Sunday, September 18, 2005

I blame Kelsey for linking to nordstroms, but man oh man do I want these. These are almost right, and cheaper (but not what I'd call cheap).

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Man, it is weird to sum up your post-college life in one short-ish email. I guess it would be more difficult if I had lived in a bunch of places and had a bunch of different jobs. My relationship history makes up for that, though. There's no easy summary for that aspect of my life like "I got married in '97 and we have two kids." I didn't include shorter, smaller things like my 5-week cross-country road trip I took in 1999 PB (pre-blogging), although I could have.

(By the way, when is it too early to spring the photo albums on the new guy? One month? Four? Forever? He's bad at being an "active listener," so maybe never. Seriously, throw in an "uh huh" every minute or so, that's all I ask.)

Monday, September 12, 2005

I've got a bad case of the Mondays! Ha! Ha!

No, seriously. My doctor thinks I may need surgery.

Work is kicking my ass. I really shouldn't complain, as I just spent a couple of hours putting together a lion made out of Legos. But still. I am unmotivated to the extreme. When should I finally decide to call it a day, and live the life of a pauper artist? I mean, I roll my eyes at those who refuse to "work for the man" (because it's so much more noble to work for peanuts, and to not have health insurance), but I still wish I wasn't, well, working for the man. Not because of any political or pseudo-wannabe-bohemian stance but because I would be so much happier if I was actually spending 40-hours-plus a week doing things I like to do. I could probably come up with a couple of money-making schemes, and go into business for myself. However, I have an inherent laziness and tendency to not follow projects through to the end (see: Art-o-mat blocks, still unfinished and unsent; see: www.chowflap.com; see: strip quilt project, on hold until it gets colder out; see: Fellowship of the Ring book, abandoned halfway through). I have completed many things, though, so I am trying not to get all defeatist on my ass.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

You know what's really fun? Riding a Jet-Ski.

I have to confess something to you, dear reader - before this weekend, I would have said that the kind of people who ride around on noisy Jet-Skis in a pristine natural environment were not my kind of people. But lo and behold, at this late date, I have discovered that I am that kind of people. In fact, I am maybe a little angry that I have lived this long without the Jet-Ski experience. My parents must take most of the blame for this.

I also went to Burlington and shopped fruitlessly for my imaginary dream boots. Yes, these are similar to the imaginary dream boots I have been looking for for several years. I still haven't found them, though I kind of like these and these. I am a freak, I know.

Speaking of freaking, I was gifted with a PS2 a couple of days ago. I feel guilty in advance of the wasted hours, but it's hard to feel too bad about anything when I'm in the middle of rolling up an awesome katamari, or carjacking some jerk's red Ferrari.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

It was my birthday yesterday, and by leveraging my brand I was able to be in NY for it while also getting a free hotel room. (Of course I worked two semi-full days there to make it happen, but still.) More evidence that my sister and I are twins: We both love the new Giant Robot store in the East Village, and so I went there a couple of weeks ago to do some birthday shopping for my sister. They are having a really great illustration show, and one of the artists does these small paintings on what appear to be wood laminate samples. There were about 40 or 50 of them all hung in a grid, and gthey were each about $40, so I looked for one I might wanna buy as a gift. A bunch were sold already, though (marked with a red dot), including a few of my favorite ones, like the one with the birds in a leafy tree, and a cat so curled up its head has gotten upside-down. So I didn't buy any, and instead I bought her a cool shirt. Fast forward to my birthday, and of course my sister has bought me one of the tiny paintings, and not only that, but she's bought me the one with the upside-down cat in it. Amazing, no?


Tonight on my drive back from the New Haven train station I was behind a minivan from New Jersey with one of those DVD playing screens mounted inside in such a way that it is highly visable to other drivers on the road. I cannot help myself when I see those things - I have to follow along and try to figure out what movie they're watching, traffic laws and concern for public safety be damned! Luckily for everyone, this one was easy: It was the original Willy Wonka, and it was the scene right after Charlie finds the ticket and the evil Mr. Slugworth waylays him as he's running home, and for a good minute Mr. S's face fills the screen as he tells Charlie to steal him a gobstopper. Awesome.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Yo. So here I am, back in my country home! Weird. It's like NYC was just a craaaazzzy dream. A hot, sweaty, stinky dream.

Only a few things have changed here in N-town: State Street was repaved. Something horrible happened to Good Thyme and it has tipped from borderline gross to really, don't eat here if you can possibly afford it gross. The askew block of sidewalk that tripped many people in front of 10,000 Villages has been gnawed down to a gentle slope by some insane machine. Cafe Casablanca became something I'm not interested in. Um... They just replaced the pinball game (it's always been pinball) inside of Hugo's with the exact same Buck Hunting game that, for some reason, is in 90% of the bars in the city. So of course I played it, and used my previous urban experience to bag me a Triple Buck Bonus. Onlookers pretended to share my excitement.

Things I kind of forgot about this town: The concentration of homeless people here is WAY higher here than in the city. There's no place to get a good lunch to go here, unless you want to pay $8 for sushi, or get Quizno's. I got very depressed today at lunch, walking through town looking for a nice pasta salad or something semi-fresh and semi-healthy, missing the Whole Foods' food bar like crazy. It might be time to actually start bringing my lunch to work! The horror...

p.s. to clarify my post below and the ensuing comments: In reality, symbols do not actually, physically embody what they symbolize. That means I can, say, criticize a WWII memorial, and also believe that it was very sad that there was a war where a lot of people died.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

It's my last few days as a NYC resident and I am sick (with a cold, currently in the 'coughing up chunks of lung' phase). Thus the no posting. Tragically, I have been beset by various ailments since I posted last Monday. I still managed to cross one more thing off my must-do-in-NY list, riding the Staten Island Ferry. I kind of can't understand why the Ferry is free, but it is. It was a hazy day so all my photos will suck. But it was still pretty neato. I like all the crazy wheels and chains that raise and lower the gangplanks and the contraption that locks the ferry into place against the dock.

Then all of the subway stations in lower Manhattan were closed for one reason or another, so I got to walk past the WTC site, which is, well, just a big hole. A giant gap. I was almost four years too late. But I don't mind. It's a stupid thing to visit, if you ask me. If you haven't seen the original buildings in person - and I hadn't, except at a distance - then looking at the space where they once were is not going to add any sense of scope to the event, anyway.

Sorry dudes. I'm a little down. I had plans! And my body is failing me. Crap.

Monday, August 15, 2005

I am fucking EXHAUSTED. Man, I wish I could tell you about my weekend, but I don't want to get all live-journally on you. Instead, I will tell you that my 3-hour drive to Brooklyn yesterday afternoon turned into a 6-hour drive. Actually, calling it a "drive" is misleading, because for a good half-hour I was parked on the BQE.

You see, sometimes in the summer, when cold air and warm air love each other very much, they get together and make a thunderstorm. This can bring a lot of rain in a very short period of time. Apparently, it has never rained ever in NYC, because the main highways flooded as though sewer grates hadn't yet been invented. My drive was already very trafficky and slow when I hit the Triboro bridge, but that's where it actually became stop and go - the kind of stop and go where you stop for a full minute and then go forward two or three feet. Normally, since I am now in the iPod era, this wouldn't be a problem. But I was tired and hungry, and my bag of peanut m&ms was almost empty, and I had just an inch of water left in my plastic bottle. I did have a small bag of heart-shaped sweet-tarts that I had gotten on the street as part of a promo for a reality show called "Hooking Up," but that can hardly be considered food. Anyway, I had only eaten some french toast and the aforementioned m&ms all day, had gotten not enough sleep, and was now sitting in a car in the pouring rain, in traffic that was essentially stopped.

Finally, finally, I inched forward into Queens and the BQE, but once I managed to reach an extended underpass - more of a tunnel, almost - the "stop" part of "stop and go" won the battle against "go." As the minutes stretched on with no movement whatsoever, people started leaving their cars - the universal sign of "the laws of traffic have been overthrown by forces we do not understand. Anarchy reigns!" A guy in an Audi to my right got out of the driver's seat and changed his toddler daughter's diaper in the back seat. The Honda to my left had a cute white dog inside, so the teens in the car took it out for a walk, to try to get it to pee. I think the dog had a hard time deciding if we were outside at all, since we were essentially in a huge asphalt and concrete room with two big doors. Essentially. I put my car in park and got out and met the dog, who licked my face, and talked to some other people, who said they thought the road was closed because of flooding. My away team, reachable via cell phone, confirmed that for me. There was a bus behind me, and several people got off with their bags and started trekking forward. Godspeed, you fearless adventurers.

Eventually I saw, off in the distance, the glowing red taillights that meant that people were restarting their cars. Hooray! I hopped in and slowly rolled forward, leaving the protective underpass and hitting the heavy rain again, and slowly slowly merging and passing through the single lane that had been cleared as a two-lane lake was getting pumped away by a road crew. Then I was in the clear! for about ten seconds, and then the traffic stopped again. This time, however, I was close enough to an exit to take it, and I made it off the BQE and got back on just after the flooded section.

So I got to my sister's by 9:30 or so, and they were all "hey, welcome, we got stuff to make mojitos! Whee!" and even though I was half-dead from lack of nourishment I cannot resist a refreshing mojito, and my bro-in-law had made guacamole, and we ordered thai food, and by the time I should really have left to go to my apartment in Manhattan it was raining. I gave in to what the universe was telling me and I splurged on a $19 car service.

And last night my cat kept waking me up. This is why I am so tired today. So be nice to me, please.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Look at me, belting out some crazy shape-note tune! Look at how hard I bring the ROCK.
(Second row, middle one.)

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

My hair is completely out of my control. I've always kind of felt this way, but after cutting it myself a few days ago, I am realizing just how little power I wield over it. It's getting to the point where I have to put it in a ponytail or a bun nearly all of the time unless I want to look like an 80s-style headgear-wearing nerd. The hair trimming just made my triangle-head problem get even worse. I had to do it, though, because the hair was getting so long that I was getting ringlets - though I also get ringlets when my hair is short. I'd like to blame the humidity, but I'm not outside in un-conditioned air all that often.

You straight-haired people don't know what you're missing. Sigh.

No good Eye on Manhattans lately, though I did watch a guy feed a potato chip to a squirrel in Madison Square Park. It came right up and took it from his hand. Neat. I wonder if it's the same squirrel that tried to kill me with an acorn bullet a couple of months ago?

Monday, August 08, 2005

Currently listening to: Sufjan Stevens, Come On Feel the Illinoise

Current mood: Hanging in there, baby

Currently reading: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Currently wishing: That my office had a window, and that it was fucking 6 o'clock already

Currently playing (when I'm at my sister's house): The Simpsons: Road Rage

The Found Film fest was awesome. There were some amazing things in it, including some horrible things that now, having seen, I cannot un-see. Most of it was simply hilarious.

I see things every day that could be put here under the stolen title of Eye on NYC. And I should. So now I will try to do so. Here are some things from the past weekend:

There's a homeless twentysomething white lady (with one of those cardboard signs that explain that she's going through a rough patch) who sits on the sidewalk on Park Ave between 16 and 17th Streets. Yesterday she was in front of the bodega on that block, and when I walked past her towards the subway, she was sitting cross-legged as usual, but she was leaning to the right so far that her head was almost touching the sidewalk, and she was fast asleep. It was pretty impressive, if only because that's a difficult position to get into even when one is fully awake. Three hours later I walked past her again on my way home. She was still cross-legged, still asleep, but now her head was touching the ground directly in front of her - a tricky yoga move. This time, I noticed she had set out some nail polish and a bottle of polish remover next to her. I guess she was huffing or something, but I'd rather imagine she was waiting for her nails to dry when she nodded off.

Last night when I was alone on the Seventh Ave. (Bklyn) subway platform, a mouse kept checking me out. He would run out a few inches from underneath the metal trash can (which was rusted out), pause and stare at me, and then run back. It was actually pretty cute, though he was extra skinny and dirty. I often see rats running on the actual tracks, but mice are rare.

I also finally saw my next-door neighbor. We didn't "meet," but we shared the elevator. Though only the two of us were in it, she faced away from me, possibly to prop up a large Duane Reade bag against the wall. I hear her sometimes, talking loudly on the phone, or watching TV. She can probably hear me singing along to my music and talking to myself. Once I heard her having a phone fight with a boyfriend that was clearly on his way to becoming an ex-boyfriend. I wasn't trying to eavesdrop, I swear! When I was walking to my door, it sounded as clear as if she was standing in the hallway with me.

My sister got a good Overheard inside the H&M Saturday but she's worried it's not good enough. But it totally is.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Thank you all (cough, cough) for voting. Here's what I hope to be doing tonight, though I've seen it touted all over the web today, and it might be sold out:


NYC it is! The country will have to be patient.
I have a bit of a weekend dilemma. Should I:

Stay here? The heat wave breaks tonight. There's a showing of found film and home movies somewhere in Williamsburg tonight. And tomorrow my parents are taking care of Lula for my sister, so there could be some family fun sans-infant. And it is my third-to-last weekend here as a resident, so maybe I should take advantage.

Go to my country home? I was just there, but for a rushed one-nighter. And it is so hot here in the city. So very, very hot. When one is in the sun, one can feel one's flesh actually cooking and turning into meat. Even when the heat wave "breaks" it's still going to be in the mid-80s, and of course down in the subway stations it'll be in the 100s until, oh, November. And in the country I can go swimming and look at stars and pick my teeth with bits of straw go "hee-yuk!" a lot.

Go on a last-minute, unplanned drive up to Maine? This one is fairly impossible, because the friend who came up with the idea is car-less, and my car is currently in CT with my sister and fam until tomorrow. But the idea is fairly tempting. Maine! Rugged ocean coast! Cheap lobster! Maine! Who cares how we get there!

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Things I learned today, already:

They're coming out with a new Furby, which is much more technologically advanced (i.e. creepy) than the last Furby.

The word "shitload" is in the dictionary.

Although Gary is a snail, he acts and sounds like a cat.

I eat a container of Stonyfield Farms yogurt every work day. At this rate, by the end of the month I will have enough lids to send in to get a free plush squirrel monkey.

See, kids? Even after you grow up, you never stop learning.

Monday, August 01, 2005

I am here! I was at the lake for a week. I went swimming a bunch, and also kayaked, hiked up to a place called "Inspiration Point" (beautiful view, but no Fonzie), did some archery (arched?), made an enamel (copper and glass) pendant, rocked in rocking chairs on the porch, laid in the grass, looked at millions of stars, ate five ice cream cones, finished reading a book and most of a second, and completed both Monday and Tuesday's NYT crosswords by myself. I did Weds's with a friend but we had her smarty-pants boyfriend get the last three answers we could not get.

And here I am back in the city, where bums shit on the sidewalk and air conditioning units piss on your head. Not that I hate it here. It is still exciting. I guess I just wish I was back at Inspiration Point.

Have I mentioned lately how adorable my niece is? She was also at the lake. She's very, very cute. She now will count to ten: One, too, fee, foe, fie, sis, sehmen, aie, nie, ten. And she will ask for a hug (99% of the time, she's asking her mom) by holding out her arms and saying "hut? hut?" because she can't yet do a "g" sound. Man, she slays me.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Two things:

One, I finally corrected Jennifer's last name over in the links list there, and got rid of Treacher, which I haven't read in at least a year;

and Two, I am in love with this project/idea, because I am a huge nerd.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Hello. How are you? I am fine. I had a busy weekend. I don't know what the weather was like where you are, but here in the city it was like moving through hot soup. And still is, actually. Man.

I did a fun thing on Saturday: I partook of an organized amazing-race-style hunt through Central Park. It was organized by a social club that I don't want to name (and make it easy to google), but it's an affinity group for the meal between breakfast and dinner. The whole point of this group is to make new friends; it's not a singles club, though it sort of seemed like some were hoping that it was. I went into it with no expectations. I got put into a group of 7 people; two other women and four men. My team was very bent on winning, and I like to win, so it was actually pretty damn fun. As soon as we got the map and the packet of questions and puzzles, we sat at a table and figured out our route through the park. An Indian woman saw us with our maps and said, "Excuse me, can you help us find something?" and one of the women in the group said "I'm sorry, we can't help anyone - we're in a race." Whoa! Later, at the finish line (a bar on 55th), she made fun of herself about this. It was interesting to talk to her, because I try to avoid competition, and she admits she's overly competitive and it often makes her crazed.

I know little to nothing about where stuff is in the park so I mostly let them take the lead. There are some gorgeous parts of the park that I've never explored, or haven't seen in years, like the Ramble and the whole Shakespeare's Garden area with the castle. I'll have to go back when it isn't 85 degrees and 110% humidity.

We got to the finish line a half hour before the deadline and we discovered we were first! We all sat down and had beers and chatted until the other teams arrived. One of the guys on my team works on The Daily Show and knows my friend-quaintence Eric very well. They've spent the last week getting a video ready for the Montreal comedy festival, about "behind the scenes at The Daily Show." It appears to be mainly Eric's project. This guy had also seen The Chipperton Family Vocal-tainers' Shooby Dooby Dooby Hour, and so I told him about my sister's involvement (building a fetus puppet that sings "Memories" in the show ... don't ask). So that was a cool bit of small-world-ness.

After everyone had shown up, the organizers checked everyone's answers, and declared us the winners. Yay! High-fives. Our prize? Five dollar gift certificates to Starbucks (insert defeated 'whah-whaw' horn sound here). But it didn't matter. I had to be somewhere at 7 so I left even though my teammates were all, "Stay and get drunk with us!" which was nice.

Later that night I ended up in Tompkins Square Park, sitting and watching the fireflies. I'd never been inside the park before (besides walking through it the previous night) because when I was in high school/college it was filled with squatters who had pretty much taken over the park completely, and sane people didn't really head anywhere near it. Now it's very nice and genteel. Plus, fireflies! Seeing fireflies in Manhattan made me feel a lot better about potentially living here.

Other city things I did/learned recently: I walked past the building depicted on Led Zep's Physical Graffiti album cover. I went to CB's (the attached gallery club next to CBGB's) where the Jack and Cokes are tiny and $7.50. (In Manhattan, Jack and Cokes are all made in these tiny juice glasses. What's up with that?) I walked through the West Village at night, which was beautiful and quiet. While I was there, some rich preppy people who looked straight out of an 80's teen movie asked me where Christopher Street was. I went to 15th Street meetinghouse, which Quakers have been meeting in since it was built in 1860. I and two other subway patrons argued with an MTA worker about being locked out of the 16th street exit five minutes early (the guy was in the middle of locking up the turnstiles, but it wasn't midnight yet, so we had walked out of one that was still unlocked) and forced him to unlock the exit gates so we could get out (pay another two bucks just to walk through to another exit? No way, man). I also tasted Tasty D-Lite for the first time; it's a very-low-cal soft serve chain that's everywhere in the city.

So that's what I've been doing, mostly.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Hey! Overheard in Manhattan published my overheard thing! Now I am a true New Yorker.

Monday, July 11, 2005

This might be kinda cool. Today is one of two days of the year when the sun aligns with the canyons of Manhattan.
I went to the Museum of Modern Art on Saturday, because my company is a corporate sponsor and I can get in for free (it's $20 normally). I saw some great stuff that was new to me, mostly in the drawing and photography galleries. But guess what? MoMA is a family destination now! Bring the kids. Challenging and obtuse art is fun for all ages! Step into a hushed viewing room and watch a few seconds of a weird video, and say in your outside voice, "What are they doing? I don't get it!" Show your six-year-old daughter the animated video of Henry Darger-esque people fucking in all different positions! Your son will delight in reaching his hand into the display of video monitors showing parts of the artist's nude body in order to point at the one with the penis!

It was seriously so crowded and the crowds were so noisy that by the time I made it to the top floor - where the Cezanne and Pizzaro exhibit is - I couldn't find the mental stamina to continue. I haven't been to a big-ass museum in a while, but I think touring one used to be kind of a quiet affair, like visiting a library. I blame tourism. Bring back a few more crack whores and make the city unfriendly to outsiders again!

Friday, July 08, 2005

Know what I hate? Getting dumped.

Could we make that stop happening? Thanks.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

So the Countdown Clock to the 2012 Olympics Host City Decision in Union Square Park is now at 00:00:00:00. Thank god NYC lost the bid. The extra traffic, the tourists, the public money spent on dubious things, the terrorism fears, the security nightmares - all gone (for now, at least).

On July 4 I was back in the city, so I decided to try to go see the huge Macy's fireworks spectacular over the East River, for which they shut down FDR Drive. I joined a mass of people at the bottom of the on-ramp at 17th street and waited, shuffling forward ever so slowly, as cops searched everyone's bags. On the sidewalk was a large collection of glass bottles siezed as contraband - mostly Snapple, but some wine. Wine would have been nice! So unfair. I was about five people away from the bag checker when they suddenly shut it down. "This entrance is closed!" the cops yelled. Man! So I went walking some more, looking for a place near the water (and under the FDR) to watch, but the cops weren't letting anyone get near there, either. I walked north until I reached another barricade, at which point I turned around and picked a nice-ish spot below the FDR (along with many other people) just as the fireworks began. The highway obscured a good third of the action, and of course we couldn't really see the barges themselves, but what made up for it was the kid yelling things like "DAA-AAAAMMN!" and "I love you, America!" whenever there was a really good one.

I gotta say, the Easthampton fireworks were better, though I did appreciate not having to listen to Taps, God Bless America, and the Star-Spangled Banner before the NY show.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

I am coming to Northampton for a visit this weekend, and I might buy an air conditioner just for the occasion. I feel justified in doing so because I have a $100 gift card for Home Depot that I keep forgetting about. And the last two times I was up there, my apartment was so unbearable that I left town earlier than I would have otherwise. Why is it that the heat in the Valley seems so much more unbearable than that in NYC? Is it just breezier in the city, since we're near the coast?

Two days ago on 14th street I passed a boy making time (just chatting) with a girl in a doorway. The boy's pants were pulled down so low that his entire ass (clad in red boxers) was sticking out. Seriously, I have no idea how he walks around without his pants falling completely to the ground. He looked ridiculous.

The only other news I got is: Rain + slate sidewalks + flip-flops = hydroplaning. I almost didn't make it home yesterday.

Monday, June 27, 2005

More posting soon. I have been a busy bee. I'm not sure what people want to read, anymore! Or how much I should post, and how personal I should get (that's been a problem for a long time, of course), because as some of you know, I can get very confessional when I feel like it. Knowing my mom is reading this puts a nice damper on that.

I am working hard at my job, and am learning things. It's nice to feel like I'm moving forward at work, you know? Instead of feeling like I know how to do everything and just keep repeating myself. I interviewed a funny and charming TV host this morning. What a sweetie he is. I like it when I talk to a famous person and instead of being kind of stupid or aloof, they're charming and gregarious and effortlessly funny, and clearly are perfectly suited for their job.

I could talk about a funny playtime I had with finslippy and her son on Friday. Or about the amazing fireworks I saw in Easthampton. I don't really have anything to tell about the city, though I did discover last week that the city parks have a well-enforced 1:00 a.m. curfew. In other news, my niece is adorable, and saying new words every day.

See? Not really much to tell, especially when compared with an enormous flood of half-melted giant popsicle. I will try to do better.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Re: yesterday's post about the giant Snapple pop, this site has a great rundown on what actually happened - and it's far better than what I imagined.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

[Note: See update below!]
Today from 11 to 1 p.m. in Union Square Park - a mere block away from my office, and I can feel the excitement from here - Snapple will be attempting to break the world record for Largest Ice Pop. I walked by there at 10 (late for work) and there was a big crane and many Snapple trucks standing around.

The official blurb:
Snapple is attempting to break the existing Guinness World Record for the "World's Largest Ice Pop" on June 21 by erecting a two and a half story, 20-ton kiwi strawberry-flavored, edible Snapple on Ice pop in New York City's Union Square. New Yorkers and tourists alike will be overwhelmed by the immense "ice scraper" which will stand 24-feet tall, 5-feet wide and 5-feet thick. There will be free samples for all who attend.

Damn right I'm attending. I only wish I'd brought my camera.

Update: So I walk over to the big staging area at around 12:30, and there's no ice pop - there's just a guy continually talking, like a sideshow barker, over some dance-y pop music. He says that the pop will rise soon, because it's melting. I wander around and get a free strawberry-kiwi ice pop - Snapple's selling popsicles now, check your grocer's freezer! - and notice that the Snapple Lady, I guess her name's Wendy (I've never seen the Snapple ads with her in them), is installed in a tent, signing photos for free. There's a line, but it's short, and it's in a good spot for viewing the ascension of the popsicle. So I get on line (to get an autographed photo for my niece, for the sake of hilarity) and wait, and wait. The woman behind me starts chatting with me, and says that to get here she had had to walk around what smelled and looked like a huge puddle of Snapple. Hmm... Behind various crates and trucks I can see just the smallest piece of the side of the huge popsicle, shining wetly in the hot sun. One o'clock comes and goes, and here's Wendy leaving the tent to go announce the raising of the giant pink phallus. And because I want to see that, and because I still want my free autographed photo, I wait some more. But eventually it's 1:10 and I have to go eat before my meeting, so I leave my spot on line and try to walk to the sandwich store. And then I see the hold-up; the fire department is hosing down Park Avenue, for which traffic has been entirely halted, because (as a passer-by told me) "the popsicle melted all over the road."

So that is the story of how I missed seeing the World's Largest Popsicle, AND how I missed my opportunity to meet The Snapple Lady.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

On my way to buy a $10 sandwich (comes with nothing extra; worth every penny) at 'wichcraft this afternoon, I passed a couple of twenty-something Brooks Brothers white guys on Fifth Ave. (Already sent it in to overheard .)

yuppie #1, referencing a woman who just passed him: She had a great rack.
yuppie #2: Couldn't have been real.
y1: Yeah, no way.
y2: So you're a rack guy, huh?
y1: Nah, I'm an ass.

Yes. Yes you are.
Huzzah! There is now a craigslist for Western Mass! Go and use it, tell your friends - let it spread like wildfire. Hooray.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Today after work I decided to finally check out Madison Square Park, not to be confused with Madison Square Garden (the place where the knicks play and where I saw Sting once when I was a teen). MSP is small and pleasant and also home of the Shake Shack, which I will have to go to when I am hankering for a bird dog and fries and frozen custard. The Shake Shack has only outdoor seating, which is famously busy all day long, and the pigeons and squirrels know it. I walked around on the pathways of the park, and I passed a generously-filled trash can with a squirrel foraging inside of it. I could see its tail twitching but it couldn't see me, so I came right up on it and surprised it a little, making it jump out to the rim of the can. I walked away all smugly. Ten seconds later an acorn fell hard on my shoulder, like it had been whipped at me, or perhaps just fallen from a great height. I swear this is true.

P.S. It looks like I'm not the only one who's gotten attacked by a Shake Shack squirrel.
Why yes, it HAS been nearly a week. I was in Northampton for a few days (and computer-free) so that's my excuse. Luckily, my wifi neighbor seems to have returned from the Hamptons and internet access has returned to my apartment.

With the heat and humidity of the past 7 days or so, it's been a toss-up as to where I'd rather be: in western MA, staying in an attic apartment with no A/C, but with places to sit in the shade, as well as easy-to-get-to swimming holes; or in NYC, staying in my well-A/C'd apartment, with other air-conditioned buildings to hop into, but where the city itself, on the whole, smells (and feels) like the well-trafficked floor of a Port-O-John. Either way I have to sweat in order to get someplace besides my lonely abode. This is a nutshell version of my 2005 Summer Problem of figuring out where I want to live. Sweating is involved. My problems will move with me. Those fuckers.

I have nothing to complain about, really. Just moaning softly over here, pay me no mind.

More later when I'm not at work contemplating that I might not be cut out for a job that requires creativity involving subjects of which I have no interest.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

On my walk to work this morning, I passed by a long line of people waiting outside of the W Hotel. It only took a moment to notice they were all women who were young, black, and curvy or fat. A few of them were signing forms of some kind. Intrigued, once at work I did a Google search for Union Square W casting call, and found this with ease: Monique's new reality show, Fat Chance. I love the internet.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

I am writing this at the computer Where The Magic Happens at chez finslippy. Yes, foolishly, she and her husband have entrusted me with their first-born male child for the evening, while they make like grownups and eat at a fancy dinner place (and they wore big-girl and big-boy clothes, yes they did!). I just put the sweetie-pie to bed, and though I had been warned that there is sometimes a post-dinner, pre-sleeping poop, there was instead just some stinky farting. What a relief! He is adorable, though. We read some books. Like some toddlers know all of the dinosaurs, this one knows all of the vehicles and characters of Star Wars (original trilogy only, of course). He is very easy to put to bed too. Recommended!
I feel strangely nauseous, perhaps from the heat, or perhaps the chicken salad at the gourmet Union Market has poisoned me. I also saw a dead pigeon on the way over here, and if I could see it, then that means the West Nile Virus could have reached me. At least I think that's how it works. I hope I do not have to vomit in the finslippy bathroom.
Yesterday in the Spring Street subway station a Chinese guy was playing an erhu (I had to look that up - it's a stringed instrument played with a bow), accompanyed by a backing tape of what seemed to be "Songs for Playing Erhu By". While I was waiting there he played "My Way." It was such a classic NY moment that it felt manufactured. I had to look around to see if Nora Ephron was in the crowd with a movie camera.
Last night I went to a bar in the East Village. Around 1:20 I decided to walk home (I hadn't gotten to take a disco nap, so I had to end it early) and the further I walked north, the more and more frat-boy types I encountered. Actually, it was sort of a strata of, first, young alternative kids (passing through the St. Marks Place area), then Guido-types (like frat-boys, but with gelled hair and better shirts), then finally to ex-frat-boy yuppies. All with their matching girls, of course. In the guido strata I passed a guy peeing on the side of the building. I almost yelled at him, and should have. People live right there, you know? It's not like peeing behind the dumpster on Pearl Street; it's more like peeing on the side of someone's house, a couple of feet from the front door. Jerk.
Also, as I walked up, a black guy around my age stopped me. "Excuse me, can you do me a quick favor? Can you call me a cab? They aren't stopping for me." Aw SHIT, that is fucked up. I said "That's horrible. Hold on." I stuck out my arm, and 10 seconds later, a cab pulled over, with someone in it already - not sure why, did he think I needed help because there was a black man standing next to me? As the guy leaned in to ask the cabbie to send a car for him, another cab - an empty one - pulled up to my wave, and I yelled "Dude!" and pointed the guy to it, and I walked away. I can't imagine this was some sort of scam (I can't figure out how that would work) so I'm going to take it all at face value. I guess cabbies pick and choose who to pick up when there are multiple fares hailing them. That is fucked.
I am coming back up to town on Thursday to attend my ex-step-child's graduation. She ain't a child nomores. It is very exciting. She decided to go to one of the colleges I toured with her. And she's going to live and work in Cape Cod for the summer. I am proud to know her.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Okay, there were some movie problems yesterday, but now they're fixed. Go on and dance with Lula!

Thursday, June 02, 2005

I continue to have brand-new experiences over here in the big city. This morning I tipped my super for feeding my cat. And a couple of days ago I called a place and had dinner (Vietnamese deliciousness) delivered, all by myself. I'm a big girl now.

I like that when you go into a bodega on your way to work here, and you buy a yogurt, they automatically put a plastic spoon and some napkins in your bag. That, my friends, is service.

I almost forgot! Go to Tallulah's blog and click on the movie link in the current post. It will make you happy, trust me. My niece is one adorable little cub. I make a cameo appearance as Girl Sitting on the Floor Pressing the Button of the Sesame Street Toy to Keep the Music Going, with Occasional Clapping.

I spent the long weekend in Northampton, my first trip home since I moved here temporarily. I loved seeing my friends again, and I greatly enjoyed being able to hear the wind rustling the leaves in the trees. I kind of missed not having an endless list of potential things to do and see, though.

My secret neighborhood wifi provider seems to have wised up, or gone on vacation, or something, because I have no internet service at home. I feel quite crippled, information-wise. I am looking into alternative ways to get access ...

Friday, May 27, 2005

When judging a kids' pet contest, I think it is okay to disqualify entrants who have pets that are morbidly obese.

I interviewed two child stars yesterday, but I don't want to say more, because I'd hate for some crushing preteen to find this site from a google search. Ask me in person about it if you want. In a few minutes I am leaving for Northampton - actually, first I'm going to the basement to get the Russian super, Alec, and bring him to the apartment to show him how to feed my cat. Then I'm walking to the subway and taking it to Brooklyn, and then walking to the parking garage. And then I'll actually leave for Northampton. I urge all of you to come to the Elevens tonight for an excellent rock show with The Fawns and School For The Dead. Ken is in town and will be playing, and that's enough reason to come right there.

My NYC education continues. I walked through the Time Warner Columbus Circle mall thing - a mall in all but name, it has only the nicest stores, like Eileen Fisher and Williams-Sonoma. They also have restrooms, but they're hard to find. After I used them and decided I had no business shopping there, I walked down Broadway to get to an H&M (on Fifth and 51st).I passed a ton of tourist attractions and a ton of tourists, identifiable by their NYC World of Disney shopping bags. There's about a ten-block radius (or more) from Times Square of sights every toursit needs a picture of: The Ed Sullivan Theater, where the Letterman show tapes; Radio City Music Hall; NBC's setup where the Today Show tapes; Rockefeller Center. I'm sure I'm forgetting a few. Almost all of the stores in this area are the same stores you can shop at at any mall in America. (See: H&M) After I shopped I wanted to take the subway from the Rockefeller Center station, but it was so well hidden I had to ask a friendly policeman (just standing there in front of the plaza with the gold statue, like a museum guard) where it was. He wanted me to take this glass elevator down to the shop-lined "concourse" and I was all, "Can I get to it above ground?" And he said yeah, just go to Sixth. So I did. I am sorry that you read this far because that wasn't really a story. I did take the V train, which I had never even seen before, so that was exciting. To me.

Time to get Alec!

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Thank you, boingboing. Thank you. Below, an unaltered frame from an old Archie comic.

Monday, May 23, 2005

My friend finslippy (see links at right) has a dad in the hospital and it is going very annoyingly and frustratingly. Send some positive thoughts her way, please. She just had a birthday so this really isn't cool.

So! L and H, my friends from home, were here this past weekend! This was the first time I have had houseguests, and it worked out well. I made a little bed on the floor for myself and gave up my bed for the lucky young couple. I got updated on the latest Valley news (wasn't much of it - it's only been three weeks, after all) and I tried to show them some interesting parts of the city while racking up points for coolness. I couldn't have done it without my bro-in-law, whom I had to call a few times for backup directions and advice. Things we did:
Ate lunch at Cosi, a NYC-based chain of fancy sandwich shops.
Subway'd to DUMBO; the first of several subway rides that were fraught with difficulty due to poor map-reading skills.
Walked around DUMBO, including that nice park by the river and a stop into ABC Carpet & Home, enjoying the extremely pleasant weather. I think I figured out why ABC is so alluring; there's no hidden storage or warehouse for overstock, so they just put all of the pink satin floor pillows they have in a huge pile out in the cavernous shopping area. In short: Their stuff is neato and there's an abundance of it.
Subway'd to the East Village, which was really just an excuse for more walking around, because I don't really know any specific points of interest besides, "This is the East Village." We did have a good time in the M2M Asian market where we stocked up on Pocky. I also got some whistle candy that came with a toy surprise - a colorful plastic ring with a "B" on it. It was promptly given to eL Bezo, who wore it for the rest of the trip.
Supped at the Chat n' Chew, a nice comfort-food place near my office.
Walked to the Upright Citizen's Brigade Theater, where we saw Mother, a long-form improv thingy that was funnier than I imagined it would be. Highlights include the house with a guy living inside the refrigerator and a jazz trio in the dishwasher.

Sunday brought discovery of a diner near my home that has a generous brunch special, though the food was mediocre. We got to sit in the pretty glassed-in porch area, where I lost a point by excitedly pointing out a dog pooping in the middle of a crosswalk. What can I say, I was surprised, and didn't stop to think. Also I am five years old.
Then there was some Anthropologie time for the ladies, though we were too spaced-out to try on anything. And then subway action up to Central Park for the Ben Kweller/Fountains of Wayne show. And what do you know, as soon as we emerge from underground, it's raining. And it doesn't stop until - well - never. There was a sizeable crowd there anyway (with many children and young girls), considering how grey and cold and wet it was. L and I warmed ourselves by drinking red wine. My sis joined us too. She said "It's been so long since I've been to a concert, I feel like yelling, 'wooo! ROCK!!!'" Poor lady.
Ben Kweller is a dreamy feller (heh) but he appears to be about 15 years old. FoW were as tight as ever. But we left in the middle, our spirits having been broken by near-clearing skies that never actually brought an end to the rain. We had dinner at a Union Square noodle shop called Republic, which hit the spot nicely. Then L and H left for the country and I went to Brooklyn to watch the season finale of Deadwood, which was very satisfying. And that was my weekend.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Meet my neighbors! Rich people are crazy. (Of course I'm on the side of unfussy wildness, though I don't want a tree to fall on me, either.)

p.s. This is a New York Times article, so you may have to register to read it. Go to www.bugmenot.com for an anonymous name/password.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Two little things: I am 99% sure I passed Bam Margera (of MTV fame) smoking with a couple of friends outside of the W Union Square (a fancy hotel) last night. This is my first celebrity sighting during my living-time here (when I've been here for visits, I've seen Jon Turturro on a line with his kids for the midnight sale of the 5th Harry Potter book, and Yoko and Sean Lennon in a car at a stoplight).

Also, an apartment in my building is for sale. It's a 3-room (NOT a 3-bedroom) on the first floor, and it's priced at $700,000. The kicker is that there's also a $850-a-month maintenance fee, which is more than my entire rent back home. Ah, Manhattan.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

I finally took some photos of my neighborhood, but my wifi connection continues to be very spotty and I am afraid of attempting to upload them. Anyway. Last night I did a thing the hip young people do: I took the L train into Williamsburg and went to a bar. I had to wait and wait for the train (I was meeting someone at 10:30), and once it got to the station, it was already full of hipsters. So I had to stand along with a lot of others. I had never seen so many hipsters in one location: It was a sea of vintage clothing, plastic eyeglasses, fancy yet comfortable shoes, and black jackets. For the stretch underneath the East River towards Brooklyn, the ride got very wild, bumpy, and shaky. Someone standing behind me actually said "Ya-HOO!" at one point. And then it stopped at Bedford Ave., and almost everyone got off the train, the crowd forming a bottleneck at the stairways up to street level. It was like rush-hour for the hip. On the street people were hanging out everywhere, smoking outside of bars or just wandering around; the street was all well-lit like a fair was going on, but there wasn't. It was just the neighborhood-of-the-moment (or soon thereafter - if I know about it, how hip can it be?). When I found C, the friend I was meeting, I started cracking up.

We walked several blocks away, passing many warehouses and former industrial buildings with the occasional bar or old house interspersed at random. Our destination was Union Pool, which used to be a swimming pool supply company, and has no pool table of any kind inside. They have a very nice and spacious back porch - a perfect hangout situation because you can smoke with your drink. Lots and lots of cool/artsy/dorky people there. The crowd was kind of like the people I hang out with in N'ton, except instead of there being 5 or 6 of them, there were 200. Weird.

I stayed there and met a few new people, and around 1:30 C and J, one of the new people, and I decided to go to another place. So we checked out this one bar that looked, from the outside, like it was just someone's house, but the dancing and awesome music we though might be happening was not happening. So we went to another place, Capone's, because J had heard they had free pizza. And indeed, all you had to do was get a drink and they would hand you a small pizza. And the pizza was good, but the music was loud, and nobody was dancing. So then it was 2:30 and I decided I'd better get my ass back to Manhattan. Outside a yellow cab was just letting someone out, so with some encouragement from J and C I took it. 20 minutes later and $14 poorer, I was home. And that was my big night out as a city girl.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

This morning I found a dead rodent in the doorway to the bathroom. Judging by temperature and stiffness-level, he's been dead at least a few hours. This is all normal small-town life for me, except I think this rodent was a baby rat, because though it was mouse-sized, it had the hairless long tail and the big external balls that rats have. So here's a question: How the hell did a rat get in here?? I am on the fifth floor. And my windows have screens. Can they climb up through the pipes? I am praying that my cat killed it, and it didn't die naturally of some horrible plague that will now be spread to me.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

[Here's a typical blog post for ya. Feel free to skip.] It's my first weekend living in Manhattan and how do I spend it? Watching TV with my sister and her husband. Actually, that's not true. Friday after work a local friend took me wall-climbing at a rec center way West on 59th. I learned how to belay and everything, and nobody fell on my watch. I did great with the climbing part, too, until my arms just kind of gave up. Afterwards we met some of her friends at a Thai place in Brooklyn and we had a fun dinner. And then I went home, but it was 11 p.m. by then, so it didn't feel like a waste of an evening.

Saturday I met my sis in the East Village and we wandered around until it was time for shape-note singing at the Living Room in the Lower East Side. Which was very nice to do. They're a new group, with only a few proficient singers, so I felt very useful during the songs I knew. They sang a bunch I had never done before; different singing schools have different favorite songs to call. I stayed there until it was done at 6, and then I walked around the LES some more. Man, that neighborhood has changed a lot. It's half untouched regular neighborhood where people live, half overpriced clothing boutiques filled with handmade stuff. Plus Moby's vegan tea cafe place, Teany, is down there (stopped in, they didn't have chocolate chip cookies, so I didn't get anything). While I was aimlessly wandering, my bro-in-law called and invited me over to Brooklyn for dinner. At this point I was so tired of walking I couldn't imagine making it the 20 or so blocks back to my apartment, and THEN having to figure out how to get dinner, and then be alone for the night - so of course I said yes. So he made a big pot of shrimp and scallops pasta sauce and we chowed down while I tried to catch up on this season of Deadwood. I love that cocksuckin' show.

And Sunday I came back to Brooklyn for bagels and then a nice walk in the park with the fam. My parents came in. There was a lot of the five adults watching the tiny niece whilst rapt with wonder. And then there was some other stuff but it's all boring, and then it was Monday and time for work. Tonight I went to Metropol down in the East Village, a bar where they show a horror movie each Monday night at 10 for free. Today's was Hellraiser, which is as gross as I remember, with acting much worse and more hilarious than I remember. So that was fun. There are a lot of awesome places within walking distance of my apartment. I discovered a 24-hour diner three blocks away. This may help me in the future. And there's the update for you.

Friday, May 06, 2005

My new office's vending machine is awesome. Not only does it have Now n' Laters and peppermint Mentos, it has Goldenberg's Peanut Chews, which I haven't had in years, but loved when I was a Jersey girl. It makes me so happy!

Thursday, May 05, 2005

[written May 4:] The Q train is a nice one. It comes up from underground and goes over the Manhattan Bridge. I have taken it twice now during the evening rush hour. I never noticed before how quiet people are on a crowded subway train. It's like a library in there, and those that aren't reading are staring at their shoes or off into space. But when the daylight hits the keyed-up windows, all heads turn to look outside at the New York skyline and the Brooklyn Bridge and the Hudson River.

I already have a list of about 25 things I want to do this weekend. It's hard to vacation here when you're working all the time. I did some real work at work today, which is going great, even though my new office has military-grade toilet paper and no container recycling. And for lunch I went and got a fancy mixed salad. I think I might have mentioned this a year or so ago, but they do this thing here that they really should do in Northampton, where you pick the type of lettuce and four ingredients and dressing and a guy mixes it all up, chops it, dresses it, and then mixes it some more, before usually throwing a piece of bread on top and sending you on your way. I am still trying to get used to how things are priced here; my salad was $8.50. I am embarrassed to admit that when I saw the "850" the guy had written on the lid, I thought it might be some kind of code for the cashier and couldn't possibly be the price. P.S.: With tax it was $9.23.

I live and work in a kind of a fancy neighborhood. Across the street (Fifth Ave.) from my office is an Anthropologie, a J. Crew, and a Banana Republic. At this point I have browsed all of them. And at all of them, the cheapest and most common price for a skirt is $88, and for a simple top, $48. After looking at clothes for a while today, I started noticing the price, and if the skirt was $88 instead of $98 or $149, I'd actually consider it. This is why people go crazy with the spending here. There's also a small boutique place on my way home, called Agnes B or something, and I went in because the clothes looked simple and not ostentatious. And absolutely everything in there - a dress, a sweater, a silk shirt - cost $240. Good lord. So far I have bought nothing (save a couple of magazines and lots of food) but I don't know how much longer that can last.

There's Shape-Note Singing this weekend; Saturday is in Manhattan, Sunday in Brooklyn. I will try to make the Saturday one; It’s in the East Village, at The Living Room. Rock.
I wrote a long post at home but then I lost my "borrowed" wifi connection and couldn't publish it. Couldn't connect this morning either. Darnit. I did save the post, but that doesn't do me much good, as I can't just email it to myself at work or anything. ... I am looking into alternative strategies. Things here are fine, by the way. Keep them comments and emails comin'.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Today while wandering around Noho (the real one) I found a small dumpster filled to the brim with brand-new, trendy shoes and sneakers. All of them were paired, all looked perfect, except someone had slashed the uppers so they would be unwearable. The retail clearance system is cruel.
My drive down to the city was easy and traffic-free, and once I got to my new house in Manhattan I got even more lucky with a metered spot right across the (very quiet) street. Which meant that my sister could help me schlep stuff instead of keeping watch over the illegally-parked car. Rock. Everything in this apartment seems to be in order, except that there’s no microwave oven or toaster oven, so my dining habits are going to have to change a bit. That’s probably for the best…

My plan was to empty my car, drive it to Brooklyn, leave it in a garage with a newly-purchased monthly space, and subway back to Manhattan. But when we pulled into the garage, the guy very flusteredly said “Can’t – too busy! Come back at 10.” We offered to stay and wait but he waved us off. Sunday night is their busiest time. So I left, and weaved up and down the streets until I found a nice parking space where my car doesn’t have to move until Thursday morning. And since my plan is to watch The Amazing Race at my sister’s place Tuesday night, I’ll get my garage space then.

Right now I’m eating a scone and drinking orange juice bought at the two-story Whole Foods at Union Square. Tastes just like the stuff from Hadley, except for these I had to push through massive crowds (including at least one family of tourists moving at a bridal-procession pace). And to deal with the crowds, they have a whole check out system where you wait in roped-off lines for a helper person to direct you to the next available cashier. Even with at least 22 cashiers working it took me about 20 minutes to get to the front of the line. Besides the extremely thorough prepared food bar, the most excellent part of the store is the shopping cart escalator. Downstairs is where the serious shopping happens, so that’s where you can pick up a cart. To get it upstairs, right next to the human escalator is a cart one, where little knobs grab into the wire mesh on the sides and drag it along upstairs. Pretty nifty.

Last night I woke up when it was still dark to loud music playing. I assumed it was someone’s radio alarm, but it kept on going, not being shut off. Annoyed, I checked the time - 4:55 a.m.! Gah. I considered what I would do if someone had left their clock radio on while they were away on an extended vacation. But then as I listened I realized that it wasn’t just bass-y, I could hear the treble – in fact the sound was fairly clear. So I opened my bedroom door, and there was my computer, playing a song on iTunes all by itself. Somehow my cat had stepped on the mouse button, and the cursor must have been poised over “play” on iTunes…. The best part: it was a Cat Power song.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Here I go. I am about to pack up my computer, shove a whole lot of stuff into my car, and drive down to Manhattan. You might think that there wouldn't be that much stuff to bring to a fully-furnished apartment, but you would be wrong. Expect updates soon about country mouse living in the city.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Today is the last day of my extended unemployed-but-still-getting-paid vacation. Weekends don't count, as there will always be weekends. On Monday I start my new job in the city, and it's going to be much busier and more difficult than my previous job. Task-wise, my last job was very similar, but the pace was often languid, to say the least.

I have been doing a lot of organizing and sorting in prep for my leaving my apartment to its own designs for a few months (with periodic check-ins). I dropped off 26 of my 28 plants (I counted, just for fun) at a friendly co-worker's house yesterday. I also had a fun dinner at Thai Garden with A and T. Saying goodbye to them was hard. Harder even than saying goodbye to Thai Garden.

Today I am going to drop a bunch of stuff off at the Salvation Army, I'll try out my awesome new Swiffer Duster, I'm going to do a complete kitty litter clean, and maybe vacuum (maybe tomorrow for that), and then tonight there will be dinner with friends at a restaurant and afterwards there will be frivolity and drinking and semi-madness.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

I was told that the weather was going to turn crappy tomorrow, so today I went on my favorite hike on the Mt. Tom reservation. I've taken a ton of photos of it, so this time I took just a few. It's a great time to go stomping around in the woods because things are growing green, yet the mosquitos aren't flying.

Shadowy trees:

Shy Flower, figure one:

Shy Flower, figure two:


Saturday, April 23, 2005

It turns out that being unemployed while waiting for a new job to start is kinda boring. I mean, it was fun the first week. However it is still way better than actual working.

The apartment I am going to sublet comes with linens (sheets et al). A couple of ladies I know have suggested it would be "gross" to use them. They are clean, though, so I figure it's like staying at a friend's house; are you gonna wash the sheets they provide you, even though they said they were clean? Hmm? ARE YOU?

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

I have been on an imposed vacation for a week now, and am starting week two of three, so I have been spending lots of time not in front of my computer (happily). All of this is to say that I am sorry for not writing sooner. I picked the second apartment I mentioned below - the expensive Gramercy Park one. Even with the crazy price, I have enough of my "allowance" left over that I can buy my car a parking spot in a garage over in Brooklyn, a mere 15-minute subway ride away.

I went to the library and looked for information on the area I'll be living in. The only thing of interest I read was in a book written by Shackleton (not sure if it's the stuck-in-Antarctic ice one or not) in 1917 or so. He praises the park itself, mostly because of the fact that it's surrounded by a heavy iron fence and is only accessible with a key, meaning that the people in the nearby tenements in the East Village can't get in and dirty it up. Sigh. I told my brother-in-law that I want to have lots of guests in for picnics so we can "reclaim the space." We'll play salsa tunes on a boombox and smoke and spit on the ground and drink. There was a suggestion made that I make dozens of copies of the key, mark them as to what they unlock, and leave them around the city. I will neither confirm or deny that I would ever do such a thing.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Happy Ruination Day, everybody! (This song happened to play during my three-hour ipod-on-shuffle drive last night.)

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Hi there. So, my company, following the rule of "the higher up you go, the less you have to pay for things," has alotted me a relocation budget for my summer living expenses. And here I am in NYC, looking for a short-term furnished sublet apartment. It is just as difficult to find as you might think. I walked about 235 miles (approximate) in Manhattan today, looking at places. All were your typical shoebox-sized places, but that's okay for four months (most of my belongings are staying elsewhere).

If you visited a 10-story building and were looking for apartment #23, what floor do you think that would be on? Two? That's what I thought. I walked into the elevator-less building and looked at the apartment numbers on the doors of the first floor and noted they were single-digit - 1, 2, 3, and 4. Huh. On the second floor, after finding 5, 6, 7, 8, it hit me that the building's numbering system was much simpler than I had imagined. Yep, it turns out, 23 is on the seventh floor. The bedroom is the size of a full bed plus an 18-inch border of floor around two sides of it. And the window looks out onto the roof, which would be fine, but means the machinery pumping air through the building is two feet from your bed. The living room is an okay size (about two parking spaces-big), and it's in the Village, and the furnishings aren't terrible. And at $1800, it's a bargain. I am serious. See how I am already thinking like a local?

The other place I saw today that didn't give me visions of myself composing suicide notes inside of them was a very, very small (I mean really, really small) sixth-floor place with nice, funky furnishings, windows with nothing but views of other close-by building walls, that happens to be on the magical Gramercy Park block where only that block's tenants get keys to access the pretty and well-manicured park in the middle. That one is $2400, with a one month's broker's fee - so $3000 a month, really. But the location! And the key to the park! And the elevator!!

Real estate is fun and everything, but having to make the decision between the lesser of two evils is my least favorite kind of decision. And I get anxious deciding whether puppies or kittens are cuter, so you know this is hard for me. I'm going to see some places tomorrow morning, hopefully, and might have to come back this weekend to see some more. Unless I just pick one of these two.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

If you do not know what a Scopitone is, you should. From the Scopitone blog, a clip of an article from a 1964 issue of Time Magazine:

"In some 500 bars, restaurants and servicemen's clubs throughout the U.S., the center of attention these days is a monstrous new machine called Scopitone. It is a cross between a jukebox and TV. For $.25 a throw, Scopitone projects any one of 36 musical movies on a 26-in. screen, flooding the premises with delirious color and hi-fi scooby-ooby-doo for three whole minutes. It makes a sobering combination."

The films themselves are also called Scopitones. They're low-budget and creative and strange. There are a bunch of websites about them, many in French (they started in France - go figure) some of which have the actual films online. One of these is Bedazzled, which is a sister site to the scopitone blog, and has lots of other amazing bits of film and music ephemera (just click back to the main site).

Here's an excellent representative, as is this one.

P.S. Even though this one may not be a Scopitone, it is glorious: Oh, yes.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Big news 'round these parts: The venture I've been working for over the past nine years is being terminated as of the end of the month. Luckily, I already have a new gig lined up, the one that takes me to NYC for the summer. My co-workers are not so lucky. It's very sad and disappointing; we're a little dysfunctional family, how dare they ruin what we have! So, yeah. That's what's up.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Hooray! This article uses the term "turd burglar," one of my favorite nonsensical insults. It is another good day to be an American.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Today is a good day. On my way to work, stomach-tumor man said he liked my hair. And now it is actual spring outside. I went to get lunch without a coat on, just a hoodie sweatshirt (and a skirt, but no stockings!), and was not cold ever. This is Progress.

Monday, March 28, 2005

It's tough to remember it right now in the rain and the cold and the wind, but it was very lovely outside on Saturday. I took a long walk that took me all over town. On my way down Pleasant Street towards Valley Fabrics I was confronted with three happy drunk guys in their 30s, all boozy-smellin'. The ringleader was wearing a Red Sox shirt and bandana on his head. He was very, very happy.

Red Sox Guy: Hey, you have a nice smile. Can you answer a question for us?
me: Sure.
RSG, putting his arms around his buddies: Which one of us.... (long dramatic pause) looks the most gay?
me: Hmmm.... (they crack up as I settle on the smallest one who has kind of long-ish hair) I've gotta say him. But none of you look gay, really! [for one thing, they'd be much better dressed...]
(The other two head off arm-in-arm to Northampton Lodging. RSG decides to keep talking to me, saying that he wants a TV show where he asks questions to random strangers on the street. I say it sounds like a good idea. He peppers me with questions.)
RSG, condensed: So what's your name? Are you in school? Have a boyfriend? Pining over someone? Man, I've been hung up on someone for three years. She's already had a serious relationship and had it end, and I still haven't dated anyone!
Me: (Minimal noises of sympathy.)
RSG: Let me ask you, how old do you think I am?
Me (Considering I can't see his forehead and he's all puffy and beer-bellied, it's actually hard to say, but I am always careful with this question, so:) Um, 28?
RSG, very proudly: I'm nearly 40! Come on, you didn't really think I was 28, did you.
Me: Well, it's hard to tell, plus, y'know, I was being polite.
RSG: So where are you heading right now?
Me: I'm going up to the fabric store, because I'm making some clothing for my niece.
RSG: Wow, so you're one of those people that, like, finishes stuff. I wish I could do that.
Me: ... Okay, well, I'm going to get going.
RSG: Deb, do you mind if I holler at you the next time I see you on the street? I'll be like "Hey Deb!"
Me: And I'll be like "Hey, there's that crazy guy!"

And that was that. I have a soft spot for the friendly drunks. It's probably smarter to just ignore them and keep walking, but I don't mind engaging in stupid banter with them. I don't entirely blow them off unless it feels semi-threatening or too creepy. I mean, RSG was coming onto me, but he didn't seem dangerous or out-of-control drunk (wasn't slurring his speech or swaying). And I'd never, say, go "party" with them, or give out any personal information off any kind. So what's the harm? Maybe someday I'll be getting robbed in an alley and RSG will lurch out of the shadows and tell his buddy to stop mugging me because I'm a friend of his. I'm just sayin: You Never Know.

Friday, March 25, 2005

I just wrote something about my hair over at Craftytown. Don't all stampede over there at once, their server might crash.

I finished watching season one of Deadwood last night. The last episode, The One Where They Do It (note: not official ep title), was awesome. Like the other HBO series on DVD, I became so addicted that it was very hard to not immediately start a new episode after the previous one was finished, no matter the time of night or what other plans were waiting. Also, I tend to become so engrossed that I start talking like the people in the worlds I've been watching (moreso with The Sopranos, lesso with Six Feet Under). With Deadwood, this means I have a strong desire to call everyone a cocksucker, and to start calling women "pieces of strange" or just simply "strange," as in, "So, are you going to Hugo's tonight to find some strange?"

I also want to speak in sentences so long and well-planned out that they could only have been written down first. But then I'd have to write everything down first, and that's just going a little too far, cocksucker.

Also, a line I want to find a place to use: "Whoa, slow down honey! You got a stage to catch?"