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.)