Friday, December 29, 2006

Say goodbye to my ass, because I plan on dancing it off on New Year's Eve (don't worry, it will grow back). The Aloha Steamtrain is playing at the Elevens, and that is all I have planned. For the rest of the night I'll go wherever I can.

I forgot one of my more memorable Christmas gifts: My elderly grandmother sent cards to me, my sister, and my almost-3-year-old niece. Since her hands are too gnarled, her caregiver writes everything for her. I opened my card first; it had a check for $5.00 in it. My grandmother's almost 90. I'm not going to cash a check for $5 from her. Then we opened the card for my niece, which had a check for $20, and anote saying she should buy herself a book with it. Fine, Christmas is for the children, whatever. And then my sister opened her card, which had a check for $50.00.


The card had a note saying she should spend it on stuff for her new apartment (they recently sold theirs for a huge profit and are now renting). OK. We decided that none of us should cash any of the checks, because just a few months ago my grandmother asked us all for money (I sent her a $100 bill; she was over the moon with gratitude) and clearly can't afford to give us cash. So none of this should matter to me. At first I laughed it all off, but now it feels like a diss. I told this story to H and L last night and they were incredulous. "She must have meant the $20 check for you!" they said. "Why would a 3-year-old need more than $5 for a book?" I say it's because I've gone and become single again, and since I have no family to share my salary with, I must be rolling in dough. That's my theory, anyway.

Edited to add: Apparently my grandma did not, in fact, mean to send me just $5. Whew! See first comment below for more info.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Happy Holidays. We’re in the dead week at work, where we all pretend to be productive for the few days between Christmas and New Year’s. I am planning to party hearty (aka throw a penny) on New Year’s, but my mood might change if the bank appraisal happens this week and it’s not in my favor. There’s three ways it could go:

1. Bank appraisal is lower than our agreed-upon purchase price, and the seller will not budge: Worst possible outcome. I have no cash reserves to make up the difference, and I really shouldn’t over-pay in this market, anyway. So this will mean the deal will be scrapped.

2. Bank appraisal is low, but seller makes up the difference: The best possible outcome, though extremely unlikely based on previous negotiations with seller.

3. Bank appraisal is on target: A fine outcome, and what the whole process assumes will happen.
Also: My parents got me a lovely hammock for Christmas, so I really need a porch to hang it on (or some trees in a backyard, if this particular house falls through). My teenage-delinquent cats are driving me crazy; while I was away they knocked off and broke a lovely milk-glass dish (which the awesome Brian and Marisa swept up and then drew a little comic about it to explain what had happened), and Junebug keeps jumping up on things she really shouldn't be (Hambone's too chubby) and they could really use some more space to run around in.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

I have been oh so busy. First off, in trivia news, the 'Burns are back to number one, baby, after a tie breaker that had to be broken with a second tie breaker. That was ridiculous. Next, did you know it's almost Christmas? I am trying to be thrifty so I'm making a couple of gifts, which is time consuming. Also, my friends H and L had a lovely holiday party on Saturday, and it was an all-night affair. I brought yummy cheese and made butterscotch brownies. And I got the potential house inspected this morning, and I won't say more in print, just in case the seller or her realtor is reading this. So, even though I am single again, I've been too busy to be lonely. I've been nearly alone (but not exactly lonely, to tell the truth) for a while; now it's just official. (By the way, Official Lonliness is the name of my new emo band.) I'm sure everything will hit me like a ton of bricks once (if) I move in to the house and relax. But hey, that's like a month away, or more, even! Plenty of time. Meanwhile I'm going to keep fiddling away. Fiddle fiddle fiddle...

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Year in Review.

Maybe you know you truly are a grown-up when each year stops being better than the one before. I don’t think that my past two years or so of disappointments and loneliness mean that the rest of my life will continue on this path. (After all, I have great friends, supportive family, a creative job…) I am hoping I can purchase this house, and that it will mark the beginning of positive changes in my life. I will have to raise money outside of my salary in order to have any fun, and that will mean finally getting off my ass and trying to sell some art or craft. If I don’t get the house, it’s a sign I need to choose a different path. I’ve always been frustratingly good at playing devil’s advocate, making it nearly impossible to make a decision. As practice I sometimes choose without discussion where my also-indecisive friends and I go out to dinner, but even that tiny, consequence-free act feels risky and exhilarating.

Meanwhile, today I got the Title V report on the house’s septic system. I read it with an uncontrollable expression of revulsion on my face, since it talks about sludge depths and solids levels and cesspool liquids and leaching and pumping and sewage odors… Ew ew ew ew.

Monday, December 11, 2006

From this past weekend's New York Times: "Single women made up 22 percent of the nation’s home buyers in the last year compared with 14 percent in 1995, according to the National Association of Realtors."

I agreed on a price for the house -- They would not budge on the 2k I asked for. I am 95% sure that the bank appraisal will come in low, and the stubborn seller may not reduce the price, leaving me to make up the difference in cash (which I don't have). My realtor is saying that there's no way I should pay more than the bank's appraisal, but, anecdotally, "over-paying" the appraisal is a common practice. This aspect of the process is very frustrating. I have to secure a mortgage (paying non-refundable bank fees to do so) and inspect the house (around $500) before the bank appraises the place, which can drastically change what happens next. I went to a home-buying class on Saturday (mandatory for the special mortgage I want) and the realtor that spoke was trying to explain how home prices are set by realtors by looking at all of the factors that the bank appraiser studies, but I and the rest of the group were clearly dubious. Someone asked why the bank didn't appraise it right away, or set the prices themselves, and she couldn't really give a good answer. Long story short, I won't know until the end of the month, and after spending $700 plus, if this house will really be mine. Then I'll have 12 days until closing. Yikes!

The Rug Burns won second place last week. It's fine, we are just getting back into the swing of things. First place will be ours -- oh yes, it will be ours. The purse was a bit small -- we need more players to come ante up.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The "lighted holiday banners" are up downtown (if you recall, this is their substitution for covering the trees on Main Street with lights). This may come as a shock, but I don't like them. First of all, they're on every old-fashioned lamppost, hung opposite the "Walk into something wonderful!" banners. That's a lot of freakin' banners in a town that already has a problem with too many road signs. The design on the banners is fine, sort of mod simple fir-tree shapes (way to be culturally inclusive!); the lights that border the banners seem spaced too far apart and the overall look feels skimpy. They should have just wrapped the streetlights with white lights; that would look funky and cool, while protecting the trees and not making Main Street look like the inside of a shopping mall. More than it does already, I mean.

Tonight is trivia, of course, and hopefully our full Rugburns team will be in effect. We are tired of losing, and are going to get back to the winning. Believe it.

And oh yeah, the house thing. I am countering their "final" offer with one that's 2k less. I should just give in, but the seller is being super stubborn, which makes me want to do the same. I did have a crisis of "what am I doing?" last night, and called a bunch of people to get their advice. Unfortunately, they were unable to make my huge, life-altering decision for me, but I did get yes-votes from both of my parents (even frugal Dad), which helped. So I am going for it.

Monday, December 04, 2006

I just did a workout with Maya, and at the end she said "You're doing great! I can't wait to see how you do on your next physical challenge -- that's the workout after next!"

I'm pretty excited, because the phrase "physical challenge" makes me think of Double Dare, and that is awesome. I hope I have to dig through a giant plastic nose's fake snot to find a flag!

I am finally for-reals in the process of trying to buy a house. It might be a terrible time to buy, but mortgage rates are still low, and my theory is that sellers know that it's a buyer's market and are open to reducing prices accordingly. I do have a property in mind, and I am in the middle of negotiations. The owner bought at the peak of the market two years ago, she bid over asking, and the place sold in four days. With the price she has now, she's clearly trying to recoup her costs plus her realtor's fee. But her place has been on the market for six months. I want her to give it up at a more reasonable price. The place is practically perfect for me.

Of course, I am terrified of losing my shirt (figuratively) if I get fired or something. Plus, for the past several years I have had the luxury of not having to pay attention to my expenses, and that would most definitely change. I don't exactly jet off to Costa Rica every time I feel like it, but it's nice to know that I could if I wanted to without having to save up for it.

What do you all think? Am I insane to be buying right now?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

I got to see Casino Royale on Thanksgiving night. Daniel Craig is a good Bond; he’s more tortured, he’s suitably bulky (you’d have to have serious muscle to complete those never-ending chases and near-poisonings), there’s a glimpse of humanity underneath the quips and the smooth talking. The crazy fight and chase scene that starts the movie is amazing; the guy he’s chasing is played by one of the guys who started the whole Parkour thing, so he leaps up walls and poles and over fences with ease. And the Bond “girl” is smart and sassy. In short: Thumbs up.

I have also started a new workout program. I have a personal trainer named Maya who works with me at my home every day (whenever I want to, really). She only exists inside of my television, powered by my PS2, but she is fairly interactive. When I first put her disc on, I had to input my stats and take a short fitness test, and she has been creating unique work-out routines for me based on my abilities (not very many) and what I need to work on (lots). The best part about her not being real is that when she says stuff like “Work harder! Work smarter!” and “I want you to feel muscle fatigue with this,” I can curse at her and she can’t hear me. I don’t think I could afford the kind of personal trainer that would let me spit at her, “Fuck you, I’m doing it!” Maya is always nice to me the next time I see her, telling me that she went out dancing last night, and that the skyscraper-loft setting is her favorite place to work out in the city. Good ol’ Maya.

Monday, November 20, 2006

On Friday, I got to see Donovan for free (from winning that costume contest) and I brought a friend with me. We decided to meet out in front of the theater, and my goodness, it looked like I'd be rocking out with my parents and their peers all night. The theater was almost full, and the crowd was very, very enthusiastic. Donovan had just two backing musicians; a bongo player and an upright-bass player. Donovan was, well, Donovan: He wore all black, has long hair (kind of mullet-y), has that dreamy Irish/Scottish accent, and still talks like he's a sort of mystical elven/Viking love god. A couple of times his back-up musicians left the stage and Donovan sat cross-legged on this little platform covered with a rug he called his "magic carpet."

At first I was delighted at how much he embodied the whole hippie love and mysticism aesthetic -- I mean, everyone knows Donovan is the real deal, the original model. But then, and I almost hate to say it, but he started reminded me a little of Will Ferrell's tweedy bearded hippie professor character who can't stop talking about sex with his beloved. I must admit that I snickered a couple of times. For instance, Donovan spoke rapturously for five minutes about his guitar named Kelly, all the while stroking and caressing the guitar's body and neck. Apparently though the guitar was a mere ten years old, after he and "she" had written a love song together (which he played for us), she would "play anything." Gross.

The audience ate it up, however. There was a moment of excitement when a very high and/or drunk young woman cimbed up on stage between two songs and walked over to Donovan and kissed him (he kissed back, and was very laid back about the whole thing). A crew member quickly steered her backstage. After each and every song, random people throughout the audience would pop up and give personal standing ovations. Everyone sang along to every song, which Donovan encouraged. Though me and my friends felt like the show wouldn't have seemed out of place at a state fair, everyone around us was clapping and singing and hooting with glee. Donovan was loving it all. The fake encore was, of course, Mellow Yellow, and he had us sing the horn section (fun, but having actual horns would have been amazing).

Later that night, I enjoyed the Love tribute show at the Elevens more: The songs were better, there was a full band, and they sounded great. Yay, Love tribute band!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Holy crap, it's been an entire week since I posted. Sorry about that, y'alls.

Our trivia team won first place again last week. This time, when our name was announced, only a couple of people clapped, someone yelled, "We hate you!" and someone else yelled, "Stop coming!" They were kind of kidding ... kind of. It made me really snarky, and L and I kept saying comebacks quietly to each other, like, "Stop coming? Start winning!" and such. There's so much pressure being number one, with everyone being so jealous ... people just have no idea [tosses hair].

Today at the office someone set up a Nintendo Wii and I got to take a turn on it. We only got the sports game that comes with the console, so I boxed a coworker. It was pretty neato, and fun; we were definitely sweating by the end of our 3 rounds. The graphics are nothing special, though, and while it has the ability to go online and have you play other people remotely, no games will be available until well into 2007. I had thought my sister could buy one and I could buy one and we could beat each other up and stuff, but you'll only be able to do that right away with the PS3. And that fucker is $600. It's expensive because of the amazing graphics, but it also has stuff I have no need for, like super surround sound and a blu-ray disk player. My television is more than 10 years old and time has not been kind to it.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

(Warning: If you have little patience for typical diary-like blog entries, skip this one.) My kittens are currently at the vet, prepping for their cute little furry hysterectomies. I had to drop them off before 8:30, so I had plenty of time to go and vote before work. My ward's polling place is in the gathering room of a local senior citizen apartment complex, so the lobby is always staffed by oldsters selling banana bread and coffee, which I appreciate. Election Day seems to be a highlight of their year, because there are people greeting you at every step.

Other news: I found a tiny kitten tooth in Hambone's fur on Sunday. Her adult-cat fangs are coming in and they are adorable. I took some flash photos of her mouth, because I am crazy.
Also, I have been pre-approved for a mortgage, for the amount I had figured on. I'm still not sure buying is the right thing for me to do. There are two people who work in my section of the office who bought houses as single people, and I want to talk to them about their experiences. I think one of them eventually sold his because he felt isolated. But I would like to have a little place to call my own, with enough space for my things. Not a ton, just 1000 sq. feet or so.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

I live in a picturesque little New England town with a historically-preserved (for the most part) downtown. Every year the trees lining Main Street are festooned with white lights that are lit during the long winter nights. It makes the place look even more charming, and it classes up the joint, distracting the eye from the glowing plastic Bank of America signs and such. This year, however, Miss Killjoy the executive director of the Chamber of Commerce says that it's too expensive, costing about $15k a year for labor alone. No, she'd rather have "lighted banners" hanging from the old lampposts. Those lampposts already have chamber-created banners hanging from them, tacky buggers that say the name of the town and "Walk into something wonderful!", a slogan that makes me picture a Connecticut tourist walking right into a parking meter. I shudder to think what "holiday" banners this team would come up with. I normally don't concern myself with what the chamber does, but the lit-up trees help me make it through the winters. Even if it's miserable out, say it's cold and sleeting and there's no snow, the trees look all pretty and warm glowing in the fog. And they want to keep the branches bare and gray. Also working against me? The town's Tree Committee, which wants to outright BAN strands of lights on the trees downtown, because they supposedly hurt the trees. Come ON people, these are little strings of lights, they aren't made of barbed wire, and they aren't dripping battery acid or something. Those people up there in City Hall are fucking it up for the people that's in the streets.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween, the best holiday ever. I went to a show Saturday that had a costume contest with a secret judge, and I won first prize - a pair of tickets to see Donovan! Exciting. All it took was a few nights of cutting up felt and hot-gluing it to a $15 hoodie from Target. Here are some pics:



I ended up looking quite odd and kind of creepy. I was going for kind of a finch look, but I also got "cardinal" and "owl". Next time I make one of these, I'll actually have a real bird in mind.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Ladies and gentlemen, please allow me to officially introduce you to my two cats, Hambone and Junebug. Example

They are still kittens, still getting their adult-cat teeth and grown-up meows in, but they are getting bigger every day. They both do that ridiculously-cute, trilling purr-meow combo that sounds like they're asking questions. They play with each other all the time, stalking, pouncing, and wrestling. There's never a dull moment.

Here's June looking gorgeous in the sun, with a special cameo of Hambone's adorable toes.

I officially adopted these two and gave the third foster kitten, Tom, back to the shelter, where I am hoping he didn't have to wait long for a home. He was cute and pretty and friendly so I assume he's already relaxing with his new family.

In other news, the Rug Burns suffered a tremendous defeat at trivia last night. It was the perfect storm: there were about 7 questions we didn't even have educated guesses for (which has never happened before); our regular table was snatched up by another team before we made it there; and the regular host wasn't there, which always throws off the night. We didn't even place. But that's okay, we will have to make up for it next time.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

So, we won at trivia last week, again. For a second week we were up against the Whimsical Death Monkeys in a time-based tie-breaker for first place. We are sensitive souls prone to performance anxiety and so we hate the tie-breakers, and we have resolved to win in a definitive way next time. It's getting harder; there were a lot of people there last week, more than 60, and the questions were harder, too -- we got just 24 right (I think our top score was 26 out of 30, and I don't know if anyone has beaten that). You'd think that this trivia night thing would get old, but it hasn't, so far. Others have mentioned this, but when you have 60 plus people in a smoky dive bar turn totally silent, working on a word puzzle, it's a magical thing. It's just a bummer that we all have to work the next day and can't stay after the game to drink and sing karaoke.

I looked at a condo on Graves Ave. yesterday -- it's the same exact apartment my sister lived in one summer in college with two of her friends. It's been totally renovated and some minor changes to the layout have been made, It's a nice apartment, but the condo fees are ridiculous and the place is overpriced. I feel guilty putting my realtor aquaintance through this, but I don't want to buy something I don't completely love, especially since I don't have to (my landlord is nice and I have a month-to-month, my rent is cheap, I don't desperately need more space due to an impending baby, etc.). I should just tell her that. She's only taken me out to see places twice. I feel worse about the realtor at the rental place who took me to see multiple places three times...

There was a house in E'ton that seemed perfect, but the day before I was to go see it, the owner pulled it from the market and decided not to sell. It was at the end of a dead-end street, at the foot of Mt. Tom (at the end of the street were hiking trails up the mountain), it had a view, a screened-in porch, an above-ground pool, and two stories (usually only ranch houses in my cheap-ass price range) and I have to stop thinking about it because it makes me sad. Still, it's good to know places like that are out there. I just have to keep my eyes open.

I am sorry this is boring. No crazy guys have thrown icy sodas at me lately. I've been working on a Halloween costume but I don't want to talk about it and give away the surprise. And so on.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Last night I went to a music show at the Horse. My friends' band opened, and the headliners were Eyes That Are Not Wearing Clothes (name changed so the bandleader doesn't find this upon self-googling, for reasons that are about to become clear). They had two pretty big hits in the 80s, back before I went to concerts at all, so I was kind of excited to hear some awesome vintage synth-y pop live. Unfortunately only about 12 other people felt the same way, as the place was a ghost town. Even more unfortunately, band leader and sole original band member treated the night like a sold-out arena show, though we were sparsely scattered over the room and nobody was sitting at all within 20 feet of the stage. He gave one of the hit songs a really big build up as he paced the stage, saying, "we've got a dance floor cleared here for you ... and if you can't dance to this, then you just can't dance!" Nobody got up to dance. Then, during the well-known chorus, he held the mic out to the non-existent crowd to sing into. I was glad it was dark in there because I was blushing with embarrassment for him. I'm blushing a little right now, remembering it. Compounding all of this is that the band leader is a very nice guy, and clearly loves playing his music, even if it is 20 years old. So it's not like we could laugh at him like he was a big tool; he was just doing his thing the way he thought it should be done, and was trying to give us the show he thought we wanted to see. We just felt awkward and sad and mostly, really really uncomfortable. I have heard that this band recently toured with a few other 80's hitmakers, and it sounds like that would be a much better fit.

Tonight is triviaoke again. And yes, we came in first again last week, which makes it our fifth time as Super Elite Champions. Tonight our star player might not be able to make it, and we're trying to decide if we should go anyway and just expect to lose. And be pleasantly surprised if we even crack the top three. I think we should.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

So this morning it was a bit chilly in my apartment, and the hot water in my shower wasn't as scalding as it really could have been, and I called my landlord to let him know that it appeared my furnace wasn't working. At some time during the day my phone did its mystery thing where it freezes/dies and you can't tell anything is wrong except nobody is calling you but in fact they are calling and leaving voicemail but the phone isn't telling you about your messages either and basically you just have to turn it off and on to reset its dumb little brain. I got home this evening and it was just as cold (62 degrees) as before, and I man-handled my phone until I got a message from my landlord saying that the gas had been turned off. Huh. I have my most recent bill right here, and I sent payment a week ago, and it was for something like $33. Why would they shut it off? I called the gas company, and after a bunch of embarrassed-sounding pauses and questions like, "So wait, you're not Cleopatra Jones?" [name changed to protect my neighbor], the lady told me that another tenant in the building had accidentally shut my gas off. Apparently, you can just call up the gas company, tell them an address, and without having any information about who lives there, like their name, the gas company will shut off the heat to their apartment. Good to know for the next time I need to enact revenge on one of my enemies. The gas lady said she would send someone to turn it back on as soon as possible, of course, since it was their mistake. And "as soon as possible" means, of course, 8:00 tomorrow morning. This means no shower for me tomorrow, and an extra blanket tonight. I'm just lucky this didn't happen in January...

Monday, October 16, 2006

Not to be too schadenfreudey, but Man of the Year is rating a dismal 20% on the movie review site Rotten Tomatoes. My favorite review is from Entertainment Weekly: "There's not a moment in Man of the Year when Williams isn't straining or hectoring, not one thinly amusing, standard-issue liberal riff he throws out that earns the overenthusiastic laughter the stuff produces in everyone around him, dragged out in indulgent reaction shots. (Walken and The Daily Show's professionally cranky Black look particularly pained when called upon to chortle.) Williams turns out to be exactly the wrong candidate for the job, a comedian singularly uninterested in letting anyone else get a word in, but with nothing to say."

Thursday, October 12, 2006

So, I was all excited for like a minute last night when I thought of a way or rearranging my furniture that would make it easier for me to do my art/crafty stuff. Of course, I'd still have the five-foot-tall shower and the insane kitchen, and too much stuff in too small a space... I have looked at a few apartments for rent, but the problem is that the places that cost less than a mortgage are in really shitty shape. And if I rent anything expensive, I might as well own something for real instead of throwing all of that money away every month. So my choice is to deal with a shitty apartment (but with more space) or to just go ahead and buy an apartment (anything in town is too expensive). There are several buildings in town that turned condo in just the past couple of years, and seeing how much they cost now makes me angry. I'm looking at you, brick building on Graves Ave., with your tiny skinny apartments that used to be inhabited only by poor people and college students. How dare they cost as much as a frickin' house? Graves Ave. used to be nothing but unofficial low-income housing. Now my boss has bought a house there, and the cheapo apartment my sister once rented with two friends for a summer in college has been renovated all fancy and is priced at $200k. Insanity.

Monday, October 09, 2006

We went to Canada! I had Thursday and Friday off, so after our winning streak ended at trivia Thursday night (we got second place.) the boy and I drove up to Magog on Friday. Magog is in Quebec, where they speak French. Like, everyone does all the time, for real. I hadn't really thought much about it, thinking there'd be bilingual signs but that people would mostly be speaking English amongst themselves like normal people, but no. The French thing is for real. Luckily, we discovered that once someone says something to you in French, you just have to say "Excuse me?" or "Do you speak English?" and they will switch right over. At a restaurant for dinner Friday night, our waitress seemed to understand us, and we even pointed at the menu items we wanted. But although we had definitely pointed at the carafe of wine, and she even asked us "red or white?", she came back a few minutes later with a small pitcher of beer and two glasses, setting them in front of us and leaving without a word. The beer was very tasty.

In Canada they also really, really like skiing and hockey, and also foods that are fried and meats that are smoked. I do not recommend going to Magog for shopping. The clothes were all matronly but aggressively craftsy/funky, like the clothes at Zanna and Skera (locals will understand). The art galleries sold the kind of quality items that always make me feel better about myself as an artist.

What you should go to Magog for is the lake and the mountains. On Saturday we took a gondola up Mt. Orford and looked around at the pretty foliage and the view, then we came back down and drove around exploring the west side of Lake Memphremagog. We stopped at a monestary where they make and sell cheese, but they were all out. They also grow apples, so we bought apple crisp and jam for later. We also passed signs for "Arithmatic" that ended in a big field with a bunch of camper trailers in it, and we wondered what word in French that could possibly mean. Was it some kind of math competition? A horse-related thing? Turns out there's a movie being filmed there, called Emotional Arithmatic. Hah. Then we made it to Owl's Head, and took a very long and alarmingly-steep chairlift ride up the mountain. The view was superior to Orford's, just as the host at our B&B had said.

It was a lovely time all around, and it was nice to feel like we really left the country, even though we drove only 3 and a half hours from home.

Things we would do next time: Rent a boat and get out on the lake, and make advance reservations to do the zip-line adventure thing in the woods.

[An aside: I am looking forward to Man of the Year opening and failing horribly, because that might finally kill Robin Williams' career for good. "What if a comedian ran for president?" Well, Robin Williams is no comedian, so I guess we'll never know. The advertisements for this movie make me angry, that's how crappy this movie looks.]

Monday, October 02, 2006

Ok, I don't think I'm going to get that house. I may just be a chicken, but the amount of work it would take to get it to be what I want it to be is too overwhelming right now. Why can't there be a little cabin I can afford and ALSO have an apartment downtown? It's like I've got to catch a husband who'll share my expenses just to be able to afford the not-extravagant things I want. That is so lame. Anyway, I'll keep looking, and in the meantime consider finding a new apartment to rent that has square rooms and straight walls and a full-height shower and a kitchen with a layout not created by a crazy person. That might solve my most obvious housing problems.

Also, our team won first place at trivia last week, the fourth time we've come in first in a row. There was a week in there we didn't play at all, so officially it's a threepeat. We were called "unstoppable" by the karaoke master. Rock.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Tonight is triviaoke again. Did we win last week? Yes, yes we did. A three-peat, if you will. Tonight we will try to continue our streak. Eventually our luck will run out, but we will try to forestall the inevitable as long as we can.

What else has been up? I bought Lego Star Wars 2 (the original trilogy) and have been playing it and making my right arm and shoulder hurt. So that's been fun. I also looked at a funky little house out in the country today. I can barely afford it, and it needs some cosmetic work (in my opinion, forest-green carpet doesn't match lavender-painted walls, but maybe that's just me). It's in Williamsburg. The house is on the Mill River, and you have to cross the river on a wood bridge to get to the house. The setting is gorgeous, and I could do the cosmetic work while living there, but am worried (yet again) about getting all weird if I live alone in a house in the woods. I'm not scared of getting killed by a psycho or mauled by a bear, just that I'll, you know, rename myself "Starlight" and start wearing clothes I've fashioned out of newspaper and sing to myself all the time (I mean, more often than I already do). What do you all think?

Friday, September 22, 2006

"Open letters" are always a fun blog trope, so here goes.

Dear middle-aged crazy guy on Main Street Wednesday night,

I know we haven't been officially introduced, so I apologize if this letter seems somewhat forward. When you first saw me walking down the street, I was deeply engrossed in playing a game on my cell phone. For all you knew, I might have been typing an important text message, or about to make a phone call, but that's not important now. As I paused on my journey to get through a tricky part of the game, you took the opportunity to walk right up to me and say "hello," a greeting I returned in a tone of voice that was meant to convey "I am responding to be polite, but would rather our interaction not continue." My tone was lost on you, as you continued to stand there staring at me, and you said something I didn't catch -- maybe a name, like Adriana, or Angela -- I couldn't understand it so I ignored you, still staring at my phone. Despite my unwillingness to even make eye contact, you then gestured grandly at the door of the Quizno's, saying, "Would you care for a bite to eat?"

Here is where I made my error. I am going to be totally honest here, you were a little scary with the hovering and the social awkwardness, so to get you to bug off right away, I said "No!" in a tone that was meant to sound a little bit less snotty than it actually did.

After I darted right upstairs and re-emerged on the street 20 minutes later with my boyfriend, you must have seen me pass as you were leaving the Quizno's, bag in hand (I am glad you got right back on that horse and got yourself a tasty, toasty sub! Good for you!). I didn't see you, but I had no hard feelings, and truthfully felt a little bad about not being a little nicer to you. I felt bad, that is, until we walked half a block and a full container of soft drink exploded at my feet. You heard me yell, "What the fuck!?" and I'm pretty sure you heard "I think that was the guy who asked me to dinner!" as you hurried away from us, practically running across the street. Since you were too cowardly to turn around after you'd thrown your icy sugar-water bomb, I'll tell you that you successfully splashed soda all over my legs. Bravo.

Now, I accept responsibility for my inappropriately-crabby answer. And I am also very sympathetic for the mentally ill, so here is some advice. First, if you say hello to a total stranger and the person either doesn't answer, or answers but doesn't smile or really even look at you, it's best to simply move on. Second, when you get rebuffed, remember that there's always other fish in the sea. There's no need to get angry. You may feel disappointed, or frustrated. Try expressing your feelings by writing in a journal, say. Throwing soda is never, ever appropriate.

Listen, approaching strangers on the street is tricky business -- especially if you have anger issues -- so you should probably stick to other ways of enlarging your social circle. Talk to your case worker for some alternatives.

Very sincerely,

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Some acceptable names for my future nephew:


Some unacceptable names for my future nephew:


Just to put my vote in there.

By the way, I keep forgetting to mention my team's unstoppable first-place winning streak at Triviaoke at the WWII Club (two wins counts as a streak, right?). We have unseated scarily-smart teamSenor Cardgage, who smells of pea soup. Our team, The Rug Burns, has all areas of expertise covered:

me: art history, animals
L: current events, movies & TV
H: music, world history
J: science, math, anagrams and other logic puzzles

There are definitely expertise-overlaps, and we are all, of course, proficient in odds n' ends and pop culture. Alone we are weak, but together we are strong! Come and add to our winnings have fun with us! We are actually quite modest and graceful winners.

Monday, September 18, 2006

My 2.5-year-old niece Lula rocked it on the drums at a wedding yesterday.

We were all thrilled, as we want her to grow up to be a drummer (I know, "you can't do both").

Thursday, September 14, 2006

I have been holding out on you a little bit. I swear I do not actually spend all of my free time looking at my foster kittens, but I did sign up on youTube to upload some crappy videos of them in action. Only go if you really like kittens, because there's no plot, or funny ending, or music, or editing. Here is a clip of all three of them waking up from a nap this afternoon. Once you click on the link, click on my youtube name for others.

Friday, September 08, 2006

I have some kittens here. They are very cute. They tear around the apartment like little fuzzy demons. They leap into the air after the cat dancer (tm) and pounce on each other and wrestle and run run run. They will get a toy in their mouth and carry it around, growling, while the others chase them.

Here's the trio of furry joy:

A close-up of the tabby, who has a cold (getting better, now that I squirt antibiotics down her throat twice a day):

The black fluffster (really more of a very dark brown):

And finally, adorable macro paw!

I still don't think I'll keep any of them, though I am rather fond of the tabby, and maybe the tabby and the b/w would be a good pair, except I think they are both female and I've yet to see a successful female pair of cats. By success, I mean cats who sleep all curled up together, like my pair of male cats did growing up. D and K's cats are male/female and they also snorgle together. Of course I could always give them back at the end of the month, like I'm supposed to, and start anew with other kittens, or an adult cat... Decisions will have to be made.
I have a few more pics up of the kitties at my gallery (on the top of the links on the right) plus bigger versions of the snaps above. Check 'em out for a nice kitteny dose of lurve.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

I'm gonna party like it's my birthday, gonna drink Bacardi like it's my birthday...

Actually I'm not, because I still have an unpleasant cold (that I got from a co-worker in NY, and that is currently sweeping through the office) and an actual cold sore on my frickin' NOSTRIL, because I am the nerdiest nerd that ever nerded. This morning I was on the elevator on my way to the kitchen in the basement, and the elevator stopped on the first floor. The doors opened to a crowd of 8 or so, and as they filed in someone started singing Happy Birthday to me. By the time everyone was packed in and the door had closed, everyone was singing. It was the Weirdest Elevator Ride Ever. The elevator in our building is so slow that they were able to sing the entire song on the one-floor trip. I may be experiencing some PTSD from the experience.

And! As a birthday gift to me from Karma, the shelter called and they have some kittens for me. If they check out OK tomorrow, I can drive up and get 'em! There are three 12-week old kittens, and one has a possible respiratory infection, which means I have to finally dust and vacuum my apartment before trivia tonight. Oy.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Yes, I went to a movie premiere. I did not get to set a foot on the red carpet; I and all of the other proles entered the regular entrance of the theater. Our little walkway was parallel to the R.C., however, so I did get to see the Star (short as he may be, he is still delicious) being interviewed under bright TV-camera lighting not 6 feet away. Also, once we entered the theater, a small but tight group of photographers were flashing at some beautiful willowy thing to our right, making me and the coworkers the background of the shot. I slowed my walk so I could get my blurry face into Us Weekly. Willowy girl was working it, standing with one leg forward and great posture, nice smile. I didn't recognize her.

Upstairs the concession area had complimentary popcorn and soda, though most were going for the bottled water (no calories, natch). It was crowded with the regular people who had worked on, for, and in the movie, with their children and such. We grabbed some popcorn and went in to take our seats — the nosebleeds in the back. Not that we cared, as the theater is beautiful, and it gave us a nice view of everyone else. We waited about half an hour for the movie to start, and in the interim I strained to see anyone semi-famous. I thought I saw Paulie Walnuts at one point, but it was just a lookalike. A gravelly-voiced, boozy-smelling, chunky middle-aged guy sitting behind us introduced himself to us "ladies", saying he had won a radio contest to be here, and that he was waiting for his "twin bruddah" to show up. We volunteered no information, having been overcome by creepy vibes. He asked us to watch his "stuff" — two plastic bags filled with things wrapped in paper bags — while he went out for a smoke and to find his brother. Drunk guy #1 came back with his twin, Drunk guy #2 , and it was time for the pretty people to finally sit down. A guy introduced the movie (the stars, producer, and director stood up when their names were called, to much applause) and so it began.

And it was a good movie. Even though I wouldn't have paid money to see it myself, there were a lot of great things about it, and what it does, it does very well. Unfortunately, I can't really give a fair and full review, because of the Drunk guys. They spoke at full volume throughout the entire film. Very drunkenly, and with a Long Island accent. And this is in a completely silent theater — silent because, let's remember, it's a frickin' world premiere. Here are some choice quotes:

#1: "Hey look -- it's Dick Vahmeil! Woo!"
#2: "Why didn't you talk to him when you saw him earlier?"
#1: "We'll talk to him at the pahty after, donworryaboutit."

[After a guy in the movie talks about how strength and speed isn't as important as having heart:]
"NO! Not true! No!"

[After thunder sounded in the movie:] "What the hell was that?" [After it starts to rain in the movie] "Oh, it was thundah and lightnin! I didn't know what that was!"

[After a song on the soundtrack starts playing:] "Steppenwolf! YEAH! It's Steppenwolf, ain't it?" [It wasn't.]

#2: "Giants! BOOOOOOO!"
#1: [angrily] "Shut up! Shh! The people are tryin to watch the film!"
#2: [loudly, belligerently] "It don' matter, it don' matter."

[The latter two sentences repeated throughout, often accompanied by #1 angrily getting up and changing seats to another row, where he continued to loudly "SHH!" his brother from 12 feet away before returning after a few minutes.]

At first I was amused, then scared, then just sad, and finally I was simply pissed off at having missed a good portion of the dialog. I gathered that the contest winner's brother was more of a fuck-up than he was, but that they were both sad, alcoholic failures unable to successfully navigate outside of the tiny bubbles of their regular lives. Their combination of being so oblivious to all social rules, and so quick to get angry at each other, paralyzed me. If I had gotten an usher to come over and tell them to leave, I was sure the situation would have escalated in volume to attract the attention of everyone in the theater.

After the credits started the four of us immediately stood up and started walking out, as #1 shouted at our cringing backs, "Sorry to ruin the movie for yah, ladies!" Oy. Turns out that one of the guys kept "accidentally" touching the shoulders of the most timid in our group, and that he spat on the arm of the least timid (she restrained herself from hitting him, but she did glare at him angrily and he backed down a little). So it could have been even worse for me.

Party was fine, very very crowded, unlimited video games and open bar and free snack food. After a while the memory of the drunk guys faded enough for me to unclench my shoulders. And then the next day I had my workshop at my old office, and on the drive home I taught my coworkers how to play Ghost (six editors, and nobody knew how to play! Blasphemy!), which they loved. I made it back to town just in time for weekly Trivia Night at the dub, and my team finally won second place -- but that's another story for another time.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

A few co-workers and I got some last-minute tickets to a movie premiere tonight. We will be walking on the red carpet right along with people whose jobs are to look beautiful and flawless. The comparison will result in making me look hideous, possibly troll-like. My inability to learn how to wear makeup is really going to hurt me here.

I am entirely uninterested in the movie, but I was going to be in town anyway, and couldn't pass up a chance to go to an actual premiere where There Will Be Stars; maybe it's different than just going and watching a movie. Perhaps not. It may very well be boring. I will be wearing a dress I bought at a sample sale ten years ago, I think it cost $20, along with some DSW shoes, an H&M sweater, and an old rhinestone necklace. There is also an after-party at a chain restaurant filled with video games, just to give you an idea of how fancy this will actually be. I'll let you know if I catch anyone famous blowing rails off of a Galaga cabinet.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

I enjoyed Transperformance yesterday, as I do every year. It's always inspiring, humbling, funny, loud, and sunny-then-cold. For the first time ever (I think) there was a beer-and-wine table set up. Score. Also for the first time ever, I had the genius plan of driving to a spot near the beginning off the bike path that goes to the venue, and then riding my bike into the park to avoid traffic and parking fees/woes. I am way out of shape, so it took me a while. A couple actually pulled up alongside me, asked me how to get to the park, and biked ahead after I told them, as I gasped for breath. Pathetic.

Anyway, I knew the 'Pills would do an awesome job as the Carpenters, so I decided to stay a little later than I had really considered. Truthfully, I wasn't really thinking that I should leave before it got dark, though I knew it was probably a good idea. Whatever -- I ended up staying until just past dusk - still a very faint glow in the sky, but really, it was pretty damn dark. And I had to bike home, with no headlight or tail-light. I've done short rides at night, on the street where ambient light from streetlamps and such can make it bright as day. But I headed for the bike path. As soon as I turned onto it, I knew I was in trouble. I could only see a few feet in front of me. I slowed way down and in a few seconds my eyes adjusted, and I kept going. The path was maybe one degree less dark than the trees surrounding me. I knew there weren't any big holes in the pavement, or fenceposts, and I could see well enough to keep going straight, and (usually) I could see the edges of the path. As I pedaled I whistled "Close to You" so that any bears or raccoons skulking around would at least have some warning before I plowed into them (and went flying, my helmet-free nogging smashing open on the ground). There were only a couple of moments where I felt the fear creeping in -- but I also knew that if I stopped, and actually turned around, I would get REALLY scared. So I just kept going. It was quiet and I was alone. And it was very dark. Every time I had to cross a street, my eyes would get used to the street light, and I'd have to slow down once I reentered the dark.

The very last section of the path is really really dark, and really really long. It's also often used for foot-travel by hoboes and cracked-out teens and people who have just stolen my sister's purse right out of her living room as she napped upstairs (yes, that really happened; I lived at the end of the path one summer and police sirens screamed past us all the time). I made it, though. I pulled off at about the correct exit, and my car was there.

Today I told my friend at work what I'd done. He lives in the neighborhood there, and he got all serious, saying, "Please don't ever do that again." He walks his dog there daily, and has seen a homeless guy sleeping right on the path, plus numerous beavers crossing the path. His wife won't go there after dark at all, even with the dog and a flashlight. So. I will probably not ever do that again.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

I might get in trouble for posting this, but I consider it a public service announcement: The schedule for today's Transperformance spectacular at the Pines, subject to drastically change.

3:55 ­ Show opens with intros
4:00 ­ 4:15 ­ The Armenti Family with Ina Iansiti as The Carter Family
4:20 ­ 4:35 ­ The Amity Front as Black Crowes
4:40 ­ 4:55 - Us as Oasis
5:00 ­ 5:05 - The UnStuntWare (USW) as The Stone Coyotes
5:10 ­ 5:25 ­ Tony Vacca and Gokh-Bi System as the Jackson Five
5:30 ­ 5:40 - Spouse as INXS
5:45 ­ 6:00 - School for the Dead as The Kinks
6:10 ­ 6:25 - Cordelia’s Dad w/Western Massachusetts Sacred Harp Singers as
Von Trapp Family Singers
6:30 ­ 6:45 - Aloha Steamtrain as The Plastic Ono Band
6:50 ­ 7:05 - The Kennedys as The Everly Brothers
7:10 ­ 7:25 - The Nields as Sonny and Cher
7:30 ­ 7:45 - King Radio with Strings Attached as Paul and Linda McCartney
and Wings
7:50 ­ 8:05 - The Drunk Stuntmen as The Allman Brothers
8:10 ­ 8:25 - Winterpills as The Carpenters
8:30 ­ 8:45 - Unit Seven with Kim Zombek as Sly and the Family Stone
8:50 ­ 9:05 - Kate O’Connor and Blue Rendezvous as The Neville Brothers
9:10 ­ 9:25 - Serum 114 as Stone Temple Pilots

I am not singing with the Sacred Harp singers, because I was doing a thing with my boyfriend's family at the same time as their one practice session on Sunday. And I was not going to cut the barbecueing and Jet-Skiing short for that. I got to take the Waverunner out alone a couple of times and really flew across the water. The boyfriend thought it was capable of hitting 50 mph (the speedometer was broken). My thighs are still sore from riding the thing and trying to stay on during the turns. (That's what she said.) D, while trying to do some crazy low-speed turns, managed to tip the Waverunner over just far enough so that I, his 9-year-old cousin, and he had to jump into the water. Which was very cold. And I was wearing a long-sleeved shirt. But it was hilarious, and the cousin was totally down with it, even though it was a long, shivery ride back to the bbq site.

This weekend I also went to the Greenfield shelter and signed up to be a kitten foster-er. They said they definitely still need people, and that my situation (no pets) was perfect. They will probably not be giving me any kittens/cats until after the 22nd because the coordinator is on vacation. But that's ok. The shelter also had a gorgeous, tiny, brown tabby kitten named Louie, but I managed to resist. For now. Once I gets me some kittens, I swear to do everything in my power to get a photo onto cute overload. It will happen. Believe it.

Friday, August 11, 2006

I am nothing if not enthusiastic about things I feel are great. So when a co-worker in the NY office expressed doubts about coming up for the Big E, which he of course had never even heard of, it was time to spring into action. I wrote him an email:

Hi. I have heard that you are waffling on visiting us during the Big E. Perhaps JD hasn't been able to convey to you the glory and the splendor of this event. It is life-changing.

Did you know that there's a huge midway with many rides run by suspicious carnies? Look here:

There's the avenue of states, which has life-size replicas of each New England state's capitol building, and the buildings are full of regional food and crap to buy:

The Big E is the only place where you can get the 56,000-calorie Big E cream puff:

There's a Mardi Gras parade every single day. Mardi Gras!:

And one word: Foreigner. OK, two more words: Carrie Underwood. Jesus, take the wheel!

There are also cooking contests, enormous buildings full of "As Seen on TV" products, a petting zoo with giraffes and zebras, vendors selling t-shirts that say things like "Cowboy Butts Drive Me Nuts", a butter sculpture, crazy car stunt shows, prize-winning farm animals all over the place ... It's astounding. You simply have to go.

He responded with this: "Geez, I'm SO there! I never knew it was a cultural buffet of all my favorite things! I hope we can drive around singing "Cold As Ice" all weekend.
I appreciate the time and thought you put into that email -- it's the mark of a true friend of both me and the Big E."

Mission accomplished!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Oh dear, it has been an entire week. Sorry folks. I went swimming this weekend! At the Shelburne Falls potholes, where the water is merely just-melted ice! I was also shown a new swimming spot that apparently everyone else in the world knows about.

I thought I had something to post, but I don't, I guess. On Friday I phone-interviewed an actual star you might have heard about, but I had to ask questions like "what kind of animal would you be" because it's all about what The Readers want to know about. And that is what they want to know about.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

I'm back. I got back Saturday. Hello.

Weatherunderground says it's 97 degrees outside, hoo boy. I work in what used to be a large old post office, which has a big, loft-like open floor plan. The air conditioning here is so fucked up that they brought in a portable AC unit for my corner. Like many office buildings, none of the windows here can be opened, so they're venting the hot air up into the drop-ceiling. It's no cooler in here, though now there is a patch of cooler air about 8 feet away from me. I'm wearing a camisole and shorts and I'm still sweaty.

Remember last winter, when I said I wanted to go sledding, but didn't have anyone to sled with, and asked for sledding partners? Well, I am having the same problem, except with swimming. Unlike with sledding, I am fine with swimming by myself, but it can be more fun and safe to go with someone else. Wanna go swimming?

Friday, July 28, 2006

Here I am at Silver Bay, a.k.a. "summer camp for grown-ups" (though not so grown up as to allow alcohol). I've gone sailing three times, kayaking once. I threw a pot (a bowl), read some blogs, read "Nickeled and Dimed: On Not Getting By in America" in its entirety. Have gone swimming every day (it's raining currently, but will probably stop later). Spent a lot of time making my niece laugh. Have eaten an ice cream cone every evening. Kicked some ass in shuffleboard. Stuff like that.

Today I am wearing my "Everybody dance like there's ass in your pants" tank top. At breakfast I sat with a couple in their 50s and a couple in their 60s, and the younger woman asked me if my shirt had any special meaning. Hard to explain briefly... so I said that it was from an online comic for adults, where the main characters are cats, and one cat is kind of a loser but he managed to write a hit song that made him millions, and this was the chorus of the song. Then we talked about our various jobs: The younger guy is in the Navy, and his wife is active in Quaker causes. The older guy was a courier for the Manhattan project. He told us that his first assignment was to watch the two young women directly across the street from the project's office, to make sure they weren't spies. So he was a peeping Tom for the government. They had a secret entrance from the subway station into their office, and were only allowed to have lunch out once a week, and only with an armed guard.

So many people here do amazing things, I often feel a little jerky about my "normal" career, working for a huge corporation. One friend is a midwife, one just spent a year volunteering in Nicaragua, one is an emergency room doctor, a couple are professors... When someone sheepishly tells me they work in finance, I am relieved. Not that my job is boring, it's just not saving the world, or actively trying to improve it. But I can help the world in other, smaller ways. (Like, say, foster some kittens .... still thinking about doing that, and cuteoverload keeps encouraging me...)

Gonna go surf the web until it's time to pick up the kid from a.m. childcare. Bye, my peeps.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

In the comments, my sis mentioned a page about my cat Wedge that was in a zine my friend Avi and I made in her senior year of college (and my just-graduated year). I found the zine, scanned in the page, and you can read it here. My cat was really kittenish back then! I forgot how playful (i.e. semi-psycho) she was.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

While I'm at work it's easy to forget I've just lost a pet I've had for 13 years, so I'm feeling pretty good right now. Thanks to everyone for their kind words. I know it's just a cat, but the bonds we make with animals are often intense. I haven't cried about it since the night it happened, I've just been feeling a little depressed and quiet. At the same time, now that I am pet-less, I am thinking that I might try fostering kittens, or helping the Dakin shelter by fostering a quarantined cat named Bo (who got a bite wound of unknown origin; in MA, even if the animal is vaccinated against rabies, that means 6 months with no contact with any other animal). I don't feel like I'd get too attached to any cat right now, but at the same time I would love to help out. Plus, hello, kittens! I'd feel selfish adopting a kitten, when adult cats are not as wanted, and Wedge was an adult when I got her, so I'm extra-biased towards the grown-up cats. But having super-young kittens around for just eight weeks could be awesome. It would be pretty much non-stop "aawwwww!!"-ing. I told a cat-loving co-worker about my idea and she's already planning lunchtime visits to my apartment.

Just FYI, I'm going on vacation again, next week, the third in a series of three family vacations for the year. My laptop is coming with me.

Monday, July 17, 2006

RIP Wedge. She went very quietly.
I'm probably going to have my cat Wedge killed today. Though she started eating on her own while boarding at the vet's this weekend, she also started having seizures and acting weird and altered. We got the seizures to get milder by giving her some meds, and they let me take her home yesterday afternoon to observe her. She stumbles around and wants to go into weird places like inside the plant stand and in between the bookcase and the closet. She can see me, and still eats, and once while I was cuddling with her she was actually purring, but later on she peed on me when I put her on my lap (which means she had a small seizure) and she had some other minor seizure-like activities, like chomping on the side of her bed, and shaking her head while drooling. The prognosis is either brain infection or a tumor, which are usually treatable, but only after an MRI and a spinal tap, which are expensive ($1,100 plus) and invasive and can only be done at Tufts, and people, my cat is 16 years old. I know, some cats live to be 20, or 24. That's what is making this decision so agonizing. I had always hoped Wedge would just die suddenly, so I wouldn't have to be the one going thumbs up or down. Am I doing the wrong thing? If I don't do anything but keep her on anti-seizure meds, her quality of life, as it is now, is extremely shitty. Wedge has always been a fighter, very healthy and tough. Should I spend the dough and keep her alive longer? Would you?

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The vet did call back yesterday. It turns out there is something I can do for my cat: Force-feed her. They gave me some plastic syringes and told me to water some canned food down a bit, then force her mouth open and squirt a little at a time into her throat. She's not been enjoying it much, and with her squirming, the wet food ends up all over my hands, her face and chin and neck... But she is swallowing a large portion of it. She is still not getting enough food, but at least it's not NO food. Sonogram is Thursday, hopefully I'll find out what is up then.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Looks like I'm sick again, with the same post-nasal-drip sore throat thing I keep on getting. Last night I was wide awake, due to a combination of it being hot and humid in my bedroom, my emaciated cat coming and going, and the pseudoephedrine (yes, I get the real, hard stuff at the counter). So today I am all floating and throat-scratchy and dependant on Ibuprofren to get through the day. I had to come in to work, you see, because a teen star was calling me for an interview, for which she is currently half-an-hour late. I am also waiting to hear back from my vet about my anorexic cat. She sniffs at her food, then turns and walks (haltingly, ungracefully) away. After doing that routine this morning, she looked up at me and twittered her tail, her "look how cute I am now feed me" behavior, which is confusing and sad. The stuff I'm trying to get her to eat is expensive cat food formulated especially for extra-tastiness. My cat has a sonogram scheduled for Thursday, for which she is to be sedated, though I'm guessing they won't dare if she's this skinny and empty of flesh. Maybe my cat wants to die. She's had it, 16 years is enough, thanks and goodbye. I wouldn't begrudge her that, except she still responds happily to petting and attention. I still want to know what exactly is wrong, even if it's unfixable.

My sickness is an extra bummer this week because I'm going to the reunion of the Quaker youth group place I went to about one weekend a month when I was in grades 10-12. The place has never had a reunion, so it's going to be for everyone who's ever gone to the youth program -- most people are camping because there'll be too many to fit inside the buildings. I was looking forward to a lot of goofy fun, like capture the flag games and nighttime walks to the cornfield and swimming in the pond. Now I might have to be lying down a lot instead.

Update: The teen star just left a message while I was on the phone, and now I have her cell phone number. Heh ...

Thursday, July 06, 2006

I took my cat to the vet today. Turns out my old cat just has a fever, which is why she's not eating. Of course, they put a can of special AX (short for Anorexia; for those self-conscious cats who were sexually molested as kittens and now have self esteem issues) cat food in front of her and she gobbled it up hungrily. They also did a blood test, and she does NOT have leukemia, or kitty AIDS. Aw yeah, I always knew my cat did the safe bangin'.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

A week and a half ago, at the big rest-stop mini-mart on the Hutch Parkway, I overheard a beefy guy say to the clerk, "Can I get a pack of Parliament Lights, and this guy [holds up a half-eaten donut]."

For some reason I found that hilarious enough to write down on a scrap of paper.

I had a very nice Fourth, did you? I didn't see any real fireworks, but there was a lot of barbecuing and some Jarts-playing and some guitar out on the deck and such. It was lovely. Today I am enjoying the discombobulated feeling of being back at work after a mid-week holiday. I was glad to have such a good day off from everything, since I was just told that one of my favorite work-friends is leaving the office for greener pastures (good for her, but bad for me, selfishly), and god knows who will replace her, plus my cat's health has been declining alarmingly and it turns out I don't want to let her go, ever. I'm doing the best I can for her, I think. I hope so, at any rate.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

It's been raining super-hard all day, and I'm bummed about it only because a co-worker with a nice house with a nice big meadow-y yard invited a bunch of us over for a BBQ tonight to watch the fireflies. I miss having a yard, especially a yard where fireflies might like to gather (you know, NOT THAT I'M BITTER). I took a walking tour around the weird, tiny village of Laurel Park last weekend, where a bunch of tiny cottages are for sale at condo prices (all I can afford, apparently)... One of them I've seen in the real estate pages for many months, and finally saw in person; it's a nice small size, and has a nice very tiny patio, but the main problem is that it's right up next to the other houses, and there's only one parking space with no other parking anywhere nearby. Laurel Park is not designed for people who would like the occasional guest at their home. There's another cottage that's better positioned, bigger, and with a more private yard, but it's appropriately more expensive, and I'm getting cold feet about the whole thing. I have a couple of women friends who have managed to buy small houses in this town, so I should just wait it out until i can find one, too, instead of settling.

Sorry if this is terribly boring, but I'm in my early-mid-30s, and that means I am contractually obligated to become obsessed with real estate.

Edited: It stopped raining, and the bbq did happen. The fireflies put on quite a show for us. I bruised my thumb playing volleyball. Also, some work friends and I did bar trivia at the Deuce tonight; if our answer sheet had been a test, our team would have gotten an F (wait, is there anything lower than an F?).

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

I woke up at four this morning to the scent of smoke. I bolted out of bed and peered outside. The street was all foggy, though the stars and the moon were crystal-clear. Bad. I went to the side window and heard men shouting at each other and an odd whishing sound (from the hoses). Turns out it was another multi-dwelling house (just like mine) a street or two away. It's very good to know that the smell of smoke will wake me up; I've always imagined it wouldn't, and I'd have to wait for the smoke detector to go off.

The firemen never turned on their truck sirens, which is ultra-considerate to sleeping neighbors. They didn't have them on when the car in front of my house was on fire, either. Of course, that's probably because there wasn't any traffic to plow through... but still, I'll take it.

Here's a Flickr photo set of the aftermath, and a link to the story of the fire in the local paper (well, not the really local paper, which doesn't let you read articles online for free). Officials suspect foul play! At least nobody was hurt, and a pet bunny -- named, ironically, Smokey -- was saved.

Monday, June 19, 2006

I know this sounds crazy, but I swear I just saw Seth Green, the actor, inside Better Thyme Deli. He had a cowboy hat on, and was sitting at the table that's kind of hidden behind the drinks cooler, chatting with a friend who had a stuffed-full loose-leaf binder. I wasn't quite sure it was him, but then as I was extra-slowly filling up my salad bar container, I heard him say the words "my next project" and then "television show". So I am now 90 percent sure it was him. But in town for what? A coworker suggested I ask whoever's working at Pleasant Street Video today, which is a fine idea as those kids have their fingers on the pulse of the local film production schedule.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

This post is entitled "Local Wildlife."

I was walking down Main Street on Sunday, discussing with my boyfriend where we should go on our walk. I was suggesting we head over to the botanical gardens. It was crowded downtown and the motorcycles were all parked in a line outside of Starbucks. "Don't you want to get away from all of these loud, annoying motorcycles?" I said, and then half-heard a leering grizzled whiskey voice say, "Well I guess you like my ride!" It took me a minute to process that the leathery chump was talking to me, and by that time I was down the block, feeling thoroughly un-indimidated and unimpressed. Those middle-aged AA-dropout bikers have got to start trying a little harder if they really want to be seen as badasses.

[My friend Lesa should probably skip this next part.] Tonight, I was walking swiftly to my car parked in the gravel lot behind the house, when my neighbor said from her second-floor deck, "D, stop! There's a bear!" Indeed, there was a black bear not a foot from my car, digging through a trash can he had knocked over. He was the size of a large dog. I shouted, "Hey, bear! Get away!" but, like an overgrown urban raccoon, he totally ignored me and kept slowly and peacefully rifling through the garbage. After a minute or so he ambled behind the garage to the neighbor's yard. There have been black bear sightings in people's yards in town for a couple of years, but this is the first one I've actually seen, let alone the first I've heard of in my neighborhood. Yet again, I probably wasn't as wary or scared as I should have been. Not that I got any closer to him than about 25 feet, but I mainly didn't want to get closer because bears shouldn't get accustomed to being near humans.

The bears and the bikers need to join some kind of Ultimate Fighting Championship club to butch up their images.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Finally, it is time for: Vacation Highlights!

Asilomar, where it was incredibly windy in the evening, and where we could always hear the ocean. We walked down and checked out the tidepools a few times, and I got to see actual pretty starfish and cute hermit crabs in the actual wild.

Roaring Camp, where we took a steam train ride up through a redwood forest on a mountain and back down again. Because it was Memorial Day, they had an encampment of Civil War reenactors - both Union and Confederate. They were a long way from the Mason-Dixon line.

Monterey Aquarium, where there are frolicking sea otters, ocean waves you can stand under, and a very decent cafeteria. And of which I have no good photos.

Riding the Giant Dipper roller coaster at the Santa Cruz boardwalk, mainly because I got my sister to ride it (plus it was wicked fun) and my dad did too (he'll ride anything). We even bought the overpriced on-ride photo.

Going to the weird bay by a power plant that had a flock (a herd?) of wild sea otters hanging around in it. One otter seemed to have fallen deeply asleep, as it drifted slowly to shore until it grounded itself in the sand. I crept up to him to take photos, and besides occasional nose-clearing snorts he didn't react at all. Eventually (after I got bored and left) he roused himself and rejoined the group.

The Exploratorium at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco. The five grownups were a little too old for the place, and the one kid a little two young, but we all had fun times regardless, shoving Catholic school kids out of the way so we could turn a puff of smoke into a cyclone or watch an embryonic chicken's heart beating.

The Musee Mechanical, a museum of working coin-operated music-making devices, mutoscopes, fortune-tellers, and more. It was my third time there and I would still go back again and again.

Seeing Avani for the first time in 8 years! I can't believe it had been that long. She showed me around the Mission, where we ate brunch amid hipsters, tried on funny hats, and marvelled at the hunky gay men sunbathing in Mission Dolores park.

The wedding, the whole reason for the trip. My first-cousin-once-removed is very inspiring: This is her first time getting hitched, and she's 55. Her wedding dress was made of cloth she bought in Pakistan ten years ago when she was working with UNICEF there. She's lived all over the world. She's a classy dame.

Of course there were also a few Vacation Lowlights!

Discovering a dead roach on the floor of our room in Asilomar as we were unpacking. Rustic!

Finding out that my niece Lula will actually throw up in the car from motion sickness, if properly provoked. (Then, helping my sister rinse the vomit out of Lula's clothes in the sink of a GettyMart.)

Being with my family 24/7 was sometimes a challenge. I should have taken more advantage of my ability to take off on my own.

I didn't really feel like I had enough time in actual San Francisco, though mostly that feeling was due to the contraints of traveling with a toddler who takes a 2-plus hour nap in the afternoon and who is supposed to go to bed at 8. The three 30-somethings traded off a night with the 50-somethings so we could go out to eat in a proper restaurant (and get take out the second night).

Coming back to several very rush-rush things awaiting me at work, which I am in the middle of tackling.

All-in-all, not a bad way to spend ten days. I posted some choice photos from all of these things (plus things I have not even bored you with yet!) in the gallery here. There are captions and stuff so it's kind of like a blog BONUS! Woo-hoo.
P.S. If you are new at the internet, you should know that you can click on the thumbnails to make the photos bigger.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

I'm back from vacation. I survived! California is very beautiful. I can see why people live there. They don't seem to understand why I live here, but then I came home (drove from NYC and got home at 9:30 last night) and the crickets were chirping and it smelled really good and earthy and sweet. I am working on a longer post full of photos but it's taking me forever, so this mini-prologue will have to do for now. Hello.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

I am amazed nearly every day at what music gets put into commercials nowadays. Yesterday I heard The Magnetic Fields' "I Think I Need A New Heart" playing in an ad for Cesar canned dog food. And an Iron and Wine song has been in an M&Ms ad for months. I hate those stupid anthropomorphic candy blobs, so that ad makes me sad. Usually recognizing music in ads doesn't bother me, though; the artists are making money off of what they do.

I am in the middle of doing all of the various small tasks that must be done before a long-ish trip. I'm leaving on vacation this weekend for a 10-day trip to California. It's for a family wedding the weekend afterwards. My nuclear family decided to make a vacation out of it, and here we are, all ready to JetBlue over to Oakland airport Saturday morning, me and my parents, my sister and her husband, and my niece. The trip is divided into thirds: We're starting at Asilomar, then going to San Francisco, and ending up in a town near SF called Lafayette. Not all of the places we're staying have internet access, so I might be hard to reach. I'd love to post photos as I go, as I'm sure I'll be taking a lot of them, and of course they will be awesome.

Monday, May 15, 2006

I had a physical today, the first one I have ever driven myself to (meaning I haven't had one since I was a kid). I wanted to get one before I started an exercise program, and now I no longer have a reason to not join the gym. Which means I've just made a huge mistake. Anyway, the physical was enlightening, in that I found out I do not actually have a heart murmur, and constructive, in that I got a prescription for lotion for my old-lady's nose (rosacea), and painful, in that they gave me a tetanus shot. I also had my first ever EKG, which was kind of neat. My heart is fine. I was hoping my doctor would scan the peaks and valleys and divine my romantic future, but instead he said something about my Q levels being within normal limits.

He also took a very brief geneological history, sketching a small chart on a blank piece of paper. In the middle of it, he asked, "Now, are you part-nerd?" I was surprised at the question, because it didn't seem to really bear on my health, but my doctor is slightly odd and open-minded, so maybe he was trying to determine how my lifestyle might be having an effect on my body... I was about to say "yes, how did you know?" until I suddenly realized he was actually saying "partnered." Thus proving that I am at least part-nerd, if not full.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

I think I should change my profile photo, since my dog got a new owner (love that passive voice) almost two years ago. It's hard for me to give up those graceful tails. It's a nice shot, if I do say so myself.

Lots of bad news yesterday left me shaken and hyper at work, transitioning to full-on exhaustion by quittin' time. And nothing happened to me personally, is the thing. Empathy makes me a delicate flower sometimes. One of the bad things: The former home of B-Side Records, and independent record store, is going to become a Dunkin' Donuts. That's right, even though there's a full-sized stand-alone DD about a third of a mile away on King Street, and those mini-DDs inside two seperate gas stations in town, they're opening up a Dunkin' one short block away from Starbucks. Even closer to the site is the just-closed Javanet, another coffee shop. People in this town do not mind paying a lot for very good coffee and very good pastry. Why would anyone choose to go to Dunkin' Donuts while surrounded by other, better options? I'm hoping it'll have a quick and quiet death. Main Street has enough chain stores.

The other bad thing is very bad, a tragedy that happened to a friend, who hasn't yet mentioned anything on his blog so I'll leave it at that. The town's community of dreamy ne'er-do-wells, bohemians, and reformed-bohemians are rallying their support behind him.

There goes an ex-boyfriend. Two of them walk by my office windows on a daily basis. No hard feelings, it's just funny-strange. I especially like spying the one who just walked by, because he's from such a long time ago. We were very different from each other back then and have diverged even further over the years.

Speaking of things outside my window, I did visit the Pride rally on Saturday. It was packed. No gay rides per se, but there was a bounce house for the kids! I always get wistful about those, ever since one magical day near the end of my first year in college, when the graduating class spent their remaining activity money on a free bounce house and elephant rides next to the dorms. That was one of the funnest days of my life. Anyway, there were many booths selling rainbowed items and t-shirts, my favorites being the ones for kids saying stuff like "I love my two mommies" and "future folk singer." There were also many dogs of all sizes, including a very impressive pink poodle. Dakin Animal Shelter had a booth; I always give them money because I got my lovely dog there. They had a few dogs hanging around: a greyhound, a very gentle but huge Doberman with uncropped ears (I wanted that one), and a small toothless terrier, so of course I had to visit with them for a few minutes. I didn't buy any fried dough, but I was tempted. The Herrell's ice cream truck was there, even though the actual Herrell's is located less than 50 yards away. I escaped the rally and grabbed a slice from Luna's instead.

One good thing I learned yesterday: It's been all but confirmed (and maybe someone can confirm it for reals) that the Moan and Dove is coming to the former Silk Road location. They'd better get it going soon so I can enjoy a big goblet of Chimay with the front of the bar all open to the elements, and buy a drink or five for my friend.

Friday, May 05, 2006

The Gay Pride parade is tomorrow (or as it's referred to in town, just "Pride," as in "Pride is tomorrow"). I like to watch the parade, which is always festive and fun and they throw a lot of candy to the crowd, but I've never been to the rally afterwards. I have always pictured it just being kind of boring, filled with crappy folk music and lots of pamphlets lying on tables. But this year, the rally is happening in the parking lot outside of my window, and amongst the many tents they've been setting up all day is a Fried Dough truck! Rapture. Maybe there'll be rides, too? Gay rides? Rides that are proud? Fried dough is enough of a reason. I might have to actually check it out this year.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Last night I went to see a show at the Iron Horse: Harry and the Potters. I would never have gone but my Rockumentary friends were opening. There was a very nice crowd there; they had to open up the upstairs seating area. The audience was mostly all high school and college-aged women, all of a certain geeky type. A few men were mixed in, and a few parents-and-kids. Harry and the Potters were insane. They're two young guys, and they do this sunny punk-ish music using a Casio and a drum machine, and all of their lyrics are about Harry Potter. They, themselves, are Harry, and they call each other HP Year Seven and HP Year Four. They refer to themselves as "we" as in "we had to go save the school, again" and "we had a problem with a troll" and the like. The HPs started it off by saying "Voldemort hates it when you dance and have a good time!" and they kept up the rocking for the entire set, ending with the super-sweet anthem "The Weapon" which was about the most powerful weapon Harry has, which of course is love. No wonder the chicks dig them. They're very energetic on stage, and they frequently jumped into the crowd and got other people to sing (shout) along. The dance floor was packed (I was standing safely in the back). A fair number of people already knew all the words to their songs. Songs about what a jerk Cornelius Fudge is, and how nobody calls Ron Weasley "the Weasel" but they really should. My friend L and I kept looking at each other with our mouths open in shock and delight. We each bought shirts: She got a "This guitar is a horcrux" shirt, and I got a "Save Ginny" shirt.

They are seconds away from getting sued, I'm sure, but I hope they last as long as possible before getting ceased-and-desisted. They're playing at Northsix in Brooklyn on May 14. I'm just saying.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

You know what's wrong with "lost pet" flyers? Lack of follow-up. I want to know if Oscar the cat was ever found, or if the puppy those hippies downtown didn't put on a leash (because, presumably, all creatures deserve to be free) ended up getting crushed by a car like I predicted. I am addicted to watching Animal Precinct, and they always provide me with closure: That dog died from starvation, and here's the asshole responsible, going off in handcuffs. This dog got its leg amputated but now has a happy new home. Stuff like that. But these lost posters, they just hang around on telephone poles and parking signs until the tape deteriorates and they fall off in the rain. It's very unsatisfying.

Speaking of telephone poles, I had to go to Hadley this morning, and several crews of electricians in those bucket-ladder trucks (I'm sure there's a name for them, but I'm not a five-year-old boy, so I don't know what it is) appeared to be connecting the power lines in the new row of poles on Rt. 9. They're widening the road there, you see, which means the telephone poles that once were snug against the roadway had to be moved back about 8 feet. So for months there's been a double-row of poles and wires. And now, progress!

It's spring, and in the spring I always want to 1. buy a house or a condo, and 2. get a dog. So far I haven't taken any steps in either of these directions, which is probably a very good thing. But it doesn't mean I won't waste some time on Petfinder (look at this guy! Or this cutie, or this one. Ow, my heart hurts...) or on the MLS searches, doing a little virtual window shopping. Sigh...


Friday, April 21, 2006

So, I Learned About Diversity. And while there was some obvious stuff about how hearing diverse voices makes our product better, it was relatively non-patronizing. They were very into us tapping the very-quickly-growing hispanic market. And by "us" I mean the other, bigger magazine that shares its office with ours. There was only one instance where a co-worker said, "I mean, when I was a little kid my best friend was black. I didn't care what color she was!" Which is just such a cliche. Everyone has had that experience -- well, maybe not the people who grew up in Whitey Hills, where I live how. But still, it doesn't mean you are more open-minded or special.

There was one activity where we broke into five groups, each one being a different station on the "scale of tolerance." We could pick where we went, so of course I raced right over to number 5, Repulsion. Then the leaders read out scenarios about a fictional co-worker, and we were to write down a response to match the level of tolerance we were at. All of the old-timer cynical snarksters had run over to Repulsion with me, so our responses were pretty awesome. We hated this fictional co-worker so much that when he'd say something in a meeting, we'd start shaking our heads in disagreement as soon as he started to speak, and once he was finished we'd cut in with a "That would never, ever work." At the end the leaders had us rate this fictional co-worker's chances of success in the company, and of course we were supposed to say "0-10%" or something. But the members of the Repulsion team are so jaded and bitter that we ended up answering "50%, because obviously someone liked him enough to hire him in the first place, so there's a good chance he'll get promoted to management."

I'm not sure what the point of the exercise was.

All in all it was pretty painless. And now I can say I've been trained in diversity!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Wow, it's been a week already! I have been sick, so between all of the extra napping and tea-and-soup eating and the not-leaving-the-house, it's like no time has passed (or that ALL time has passed...). I am assuming I caught something on my Florida trip, which makes me afraid of what will happen on the big family trip I'm taking over the week of Memorial Day. It will be my first real vacation, well, ever in my adult life (and it's with my parents and my sister -- how fucking sad is THAT). I'll have to try that Airborne crap, even though echinacea has finally been proven to be bullshit. Zinc and C still work, though.

It's all pretty out. But I still feel like shit. A week ago I was looking forward to beginning my after-work bike rides in the countryside, but because my body is filled with ague, my bike remains crammed into my storage space in the basement. I didn't go out at all on the weekend, so I missed whatever spring-fever/full-moon deliriousness might have been happening downtown. Last night in bed I had a horrible tickly sore throat problem. It took me forever to fall asleep, and I had to be on my stomach with my face planted in the mattress so there'd be no post-nasal drippage. And then I woke up at dawn with my throat so dry and tickly and painful that I could not stop coughing and gagging, and I had to pop a Hall's and fall asleep with it in my mouth. I woke up with a sliver of it still undissolved on my tongue. Good times.

Diversity training is this Thursday. I can't wait. I will give you a full report.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

I have recently heard from someone in the know that the janitorial staff at my office doesn't recycle. Oh, WE recycle, but THEY take our blue bins full of paper and dump them into the bags containing the regular trash. This happens in the evening when everyone has gone home and they can do their dastardly deeds in private (save for the aforementioned someone-in-the-know, who works late). I want to write a note and tape it to the top of my blue bin that says, "Why do you hate America?" Or maybe "God knows when you lie about recycling." Or "Every time you throw away office paper, a kitten dies, screaming." Maybe all three, over a course of a week.

Monday, April 10, 2006

My trip went well. It was wonderful to wear shorts, a tank top, and sandals, and still feel warm. I saw some b-list celebrities, I went on a whole bunch of rides, ate free food and drank a couple of free drinks, walked for miles, swam in a pool, saw a bunch of wild animals... Pretty good for a one-night trip. At the evening reception thingy for all of the media people, I met a guy who recognized me from a first-person article I wrote (and was photographed for) in the old magazine several years ago. I've been waiting to be recognized from that article for years, and finally my dream has come true. I did chat with a few strangers, but it was actually kind of nice. They were all gregarious people who approached me (sitting/standing alone) so that probably had something to do with it. I only talked about the snow with a couple of guys from Boston.

Between that trip, doing a bunch of spring cleaning on Saturday and then dancing at the Steamtrain show, and going on a marathon trip to Ikea yesterday, I feel like now is the time to get back into exercising for reals. I have more house work to do tonight, and then I'll have to keep up the activity some other way. I finally discovered how beautiful and desolate and big the "meadows" are (I think it's the meadows... they're mostly corn fields, though, right? Near the dike? I hope a local can back me up here) when I rode my bike around there last year, and I want to explore those dirt roads more. I would enjoy it more if I had a bike seat that doesn't make my womanly parts "fall asleep". (Was that too much information?)

Ikea was great by the way. We thought we'd just be there a couple of hours but before we knew it almost 4 hours had passed. Oh so much tiredness at the end of it all. As usual, a couple of the things I really wanted were out of stock. Luckily, I found one of the out-of-stock things in the scratch-and-dent section. I still managed to spend $250 ($150 of that was one chair-with-footrest; both Vena Red, beech veneer). I have been reading Apartment Therapy a lot lately, and there are many Ikea devotees there. I saw a bunch of items I recognized from their "smallest, coolest apartment" contest. The commenters on that site would probably say I have too many colors going on in my living room, and they would be right. Perhaps I need some throw pillows that pull together the red Ikea chair, the orange office chair, the blue lamp, and the purple sofa together... Sigh.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

I woke up this morning and looked outside, and it was snowing. There was snow coating all of the trees and the bushes and the leafy buds on the trees and the bushes (lots of leafy buds, since it is, after all, April). It made me happy because now I have a good topic of conversation during the press event I'm attending tomorrow. I love to travel on someone else's dime but there's always shmoozing involved. I find that to be hard work. I am a quiet person until I feel like I really know someone, but in these situations I have to be chatty -- at least a little chatty, until I think up a way to escape and go off on my own. This particular event involves riding a new ride, and I really don't want to get stuck riding it with one of my "contacts," because on this ride, screaming will be happening, and that's just kind of strange and icky and too intimate to do with a person with whom you have only a professional relationship.

Anyway, it's very cold out today, and I had to break out the legwarmers (to wear under my jeans) for one last time. Did you know that not only are bubble skirts back in style, but leggings are, too? I can't believe that 80's fashion trends are back. I am going to assume the leggings-with-tunic look is not going to be worn by anyone over, say, age 25; some trends, like the shrug, or fake-vintage t-shirts, don't usually rise up into my age range, probably because people in their 30s like me wore bubble skirts the first time around (and they looked ridiculous back then, too) and have t-shirts that are old and worn-out enough to be genuine vintage. I don't think I ever owned a bubble skirt, but I do still have a pair of leggings I got as a teen from Contempo Casuals (which was very hip in my high school). They're black and have lace trim, and Urban Outfitters is currently selling an exact replica of them. Perhaps this means I can liberate them from underneath my pants! Except I don't want to look like that too-skinny blonde woman on South Street who appears to be in her 40s but dresses like she's 16. Hmmm...

One good thing about this season's fashion for girls/women: The shirts are very forgiving. They're long, and often they're not tight -- in fact, most of them are quite flowy and poofy. You can see what I mean here and here and here.

However, note that the worst trend of 80's fashion has appeared: The geometric graphic. Look at this shirt, and despair.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Another Spring sign: Rich people have taken their convertibles out of the garage and are driving them around town. I've seen two already (both little Jaguars, I think). It's only a matter of time before we see Zeke in his tiny orange car.

A friend just told me a rumor that Smokin' Lil's, the really awesome BBQ place downtown, is closing. I am very unhappy and am currently choosing to be in denial about it. The place is never crowded when I go, even on weekends when there's an hour and a half wait at the neighboring Eastside, so I suppose the writing was on the wall. Lil's is fabulous, though, and I've never gotten a bad meal there. Damn it! If only a few of those Longmeadow/Connecticut people dining at Eastside decided to try Smokin' Lil's instead, this would never have happened.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

It's a lovely day. Jill Carroll was released, the weather is gorgeous and warm, everyone is wearing a skirt (if the person is a gal) or a cool shirt (if a fella), and I "had" to recipe-test apple turnovers at work earlier and they were delicious. People are walking down the street eating ice cream cones. Tulips are coming up. Tonight I am going to have to swap my down comforter for my cotton blanket combo. It's all happening, people!

I think someone should put a Dairy Queen or a Carvel in the space where Coldstone used to be, on Main Street. I know, they're just as bad and corporate as Coldstone, and would hurt Herrell's business somewhat. But I am tired of having to hop in a car or bike a long way (long = a mile) just for some soft-serve. I needs my soft-serve in the summer, people. The other weekend it was chilly and rainy, and I went to the mall with a friend and we got some vanilla soft-serve at the brand-new DQ in there. It was a delight. There's a soft-serve shack by the seafood restaurant next to the bike path, and they do that "87 flavors" thing where they somehow add ribbons of colored/flavored syrup to vanilla. I don't recommend anything but the true chocolate and vanilla. The syrup adds even more sugar to the already-sweet-enough vanilla, so it's kind of too intense.

Last night DG asked me where "Oh snap!" came from, as my brother-in-law says it a lot. I said, "um... black people?" but the answer didn't satisfy him. He wanted to know if it was originally from a particular movie or song or something, but I honestly don't know. I mean, where did "doy!" come from? Or "junk in the trunk"? Or "dude!"? Some grad student must have done this research somewhere, right?