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?