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.