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December 31, 2001

hey you old acquaintances!

hey you old acquaintances!

I am off to my sister's house for a night of drunken revelry and debauchery.

I lie. The grownups will probably be asleep by 12:01 and the kids will be running wild around the house. Either way, we are spending the night there even though she lives only 3 miles away. Too many idiots on the road after midnight. I shall return this here place maybe tomorrow night, maybe Wednesday morning.

Have a safe New Year, please. Drink responsibly, drive sober. I don't want to read about you in the papers. I'll be thinking of all you of when I send out my silent new year wishes to the world at midnight.

And happy birthday, Trav!

happy birthday, dad.

happy birthday, dad.

Today is my dad's birthday. It has been a tradition on New Year's Eve, ever since my sisters and I were old enough to celebrate on our own, that my mother and father spend this night alone. When we lived at home, we were kicked out of the house by 6pm on that night, which was fine with us because when you are in your late teens the last thing you want to do on New Year's Eve is stay home with your parents. We are still forbidden from coming anywhere near the house after 6. We come over early to give dad his presents, and we sneak a peek at what gourmet dining experience he has planned for the evening. My dad is a stellar chef who once owned his own restaurant, and was known around the fire department for his culinary skills. He makes his own birthday meal because it gives him a lot of pleasure to do so. So we ooh and aaah at the lineup of shrimp and lobster and rack of lamb, and as it approaches 6:00 he gives us our warnings that it's time to go and we better not, under any circumstances, show up at their door tonight. (honestly, I think it's the only night of the year my mom gives him any action, and he doesn't want us to screw it up for him)

There were only two occassions when the tradition of leaving my parents alone for the new year was broken. One involved me, an overflowed toilet bowl, burned cookies, a sick child, and an absent husband.

Then there was last year, my dad's 60th birthday. We planned the mother of all surprise parties for him. We invited about 60 people to a party at his house. You have to understand, my father is a ball-buster of the highest degree. He has played so many jokes on people, pulled so many pranks and just needled and annoyed so many people (all in good nature of course) that we knew this would be the perfect way to get back at him. My sister and I did all the cooking and planning. We just asked a few relatives to bring a dessert. We bought decorations and champagne and beer. At 7pm, the time designated beforehand, 60 people met in my yard (I live across the street from my parents) and we all carried the traveling surprise party to my father's house. It had snowed that day, and the sound of 60 people plus kids trudging and crunching their way through the snow, all pulling wagons and carrying boxes, brought a few curious neighbors out of their houses. We stood in front of my father's house, knowing full well that inside that cozy little home, my parents were sitting in front of a roaring fire with a bottle of wine, anticipating a night alone - just them, the wine and a fine meal. We sent DJ to ring the bell and as soon as he did, we broke out into a chorus of "Happy Birthday." I know we must have looked like idiots standing out there in the snow, holding out trays of food and bottles of liquor, singing happy birthday in front of a house still decorated for Christmas. When my father answered the door, it took him a minute to realize what was going on. The look on his face was priceless. We barged our way into the house and in 5 minutes had set up all the food and drinks and decorations. Instant party. I think dad had a good time, but to this day, I'm still not sure.

In honor of my dad's birthday today, I'll give one good memory of him. When I was in high school, people were under the impression that my father was in the mafia. I don't know what it was. So we were Italian. And he drove a Lincoln. And he had a construction business. People just assumed that with those facts....and well, my sister and I never denied the rumors. It was too much fun to have people think that my dad could order a hit on them if they ever got on our wrong side. At some point, we realized that being associated with the mafia was probably not a good thing, and we set about dispelling the idea. No one believed us. By this time, my father had become this larger than life figure, a godfather or at least sidekick to godfather who made cement shoes for a living and sent enemies to sleep with the fishies. One night we were having some friends over, most of whom were conviced they would be able to find proof around our house that my father was indeed mafia. We told my father about this, asked him to please explain to our friends that he is a law-abiding citizen, that we had enough of the charade. Of course, my father said. Of course he would put an end to that disgusting rumor. Well, we went to the school play with our friends and when we all showed up at my house afterwards, my father answered the door in a pinstripe suit and guido hat. He looked like a cross between Al Pacino and Al from Happy Days. As my friends entered the house, he said loudly "I can't stay. Gotta go make some cement if ya know what I mean." He winked when he said this. My friends stared at him with wide eyes and slack jaws. Dad grabbed his car keys off the counter, put a scowl on his face and said "I catch anyone drinking in this house, I take ya for a ride, capisce?" We never were able to convince anyone after that act that my father was anything other than an ordinary, upstanding citizen.

(I already wrote something sappy about my father on father's day. unfortunately, those archives seem to have disappeared, so I had to use the wayback machine to find the post. It's under June 17). I could expand on that, I could write so many things about him since his life changed after September 11th. I could write about his strength and how he used that strength to get others through a tough time. I could write about the proclomation he received from the City of Los Angeles for his help in their relief efforts at the World Trade Center. I could write about his awards and accolades and all he has done for the volunteer fire service and our community as a whole. About what a good person he is to have as a friend, and how he would give anyone, even his worst enemy, the shirt off his back. I could write about the sacrifices he has made to give his children and his wife everything he thinks they deserve. I could write pages upon pages about the good qualities of my father. But I think his best quality is his sense of humor, so I'll stick with the above memories of jokes played by him and on him.

Happy Birthday, dad.

December 30, 2001

the movielife

the movielife

Most of this weekend was spent watching movies, for better or worse.

I think I am going to devise a new rating system for children's movies. I will calculate the bodily function joke to regular joke ratio and award toilet bowls instead of stars based on how high the fart joke factor is. In this case, Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius would get four toilet bowls. Enough jokes about farts/burps/elimination to keep the kids in giggling hysterics most of the movie. Oh yea, I laughed, too.

On Friday we watched A Knight's Tale. Pure fluff. No real substance at all. But boy, did I love this movie. It had the Heath Ledger factor which certainly helped, but it was such a clever movie. The two things that really stuck out was the use of modern rock music in a medieval setting (it worked remarkably well), and using Geoffrey Chaucer as a main character. It was a fun movie that required little thinking. [and it had a good fart joke at the end]

Saturday morning we watched Blood and Wine. Despite Jack Nicholson's usual bit of overacting, and despite the fact that J.Lo can't act, and despite the fact that Michael Caine's days have come and gone, and despite the fact that Stephen Dorff seems to play the same character in every movie, I liked it. It had a good story, a plot that turned just enough to be interesting but not too much to get off track, and very good character development. [no fart jokes, but Jack Nicholson sometimes looks as though he is farting]

This morning we watched Startup.com. This was a riveting documentary detailing the rise and fall of an internet startup,back when startups were king. I knew of the story behind govworks.org before I watched the movie, so watching the whole thing unfold, and knowing what was going to happen, gave me a sinking feeling in my stomach. Watching these people high-five at every turn and be so elated at the prospect of a dream coming true, it was almost torture to know it was going to fail. What killed me was not that it failed, but how it did. If I ever in my life meet Kaleil Isaza Tuzman, one of the co-founders of the company, I will bitchslap him one hundred times. There was so many times during film that I wanted to personally wipe that smug, self-important look off of his smarmy face. I found myself wishing he would die broke and friendless. Anyhow, good movie. 4 stars. [no fart jokes here]

So that was my weekend in movies. We took a break from the screen today to go out to dinner with my sisters and their respective men. It was pleasant and non-confrontational and ended with me, Justin and sister #1 singing Frank Zappa's Joe's Garage at the top of our lungs, much to the annoyance of everyone around us.

Oh, and I drank. Heavily. Absolut straight up all through dinner. So pardon this post and the reviews it contains if they seem somewhat...incomprehensible.

still life: 4:30 a.m.

still life: 4:30 a.m.

I get up at 4:30 a.m. most days. The first thing I do is throw on a sweatshirt and go outside. It's bitter cold out these days, but I find the coldest days produce the greatest sights in the sky. 4:30 a.m. is a great time to be out. The stars are incredibly clear. It is quiet, so quiet that when the train blows by the Bellmore station about 8 miles away, I can hear the horn blow. I can hear squirrels rustling through the trees and someone's garbage can lid being scraped down the street by the wind.

There are very few lights on in the surrounding houses. Not many of my neighbors are up at this hour, and for a few moments, I feel like I own the world. I walk around the yard, and head into my aunt's garden next door. There are statues in her garden, angels and mermaids and odd shaped animals and sometimes, in that early morning fog of thought, I wonder if I am dreaming or really standing outside.

Today I look up and see a huge, full moon. White, thin clouds move behind it and the light of the moon causes the clouds to become luminescent. As the clouds move, they give the illusion that the moon is racing across the sky. I remember when I was young and thought this to be true, that the moon moved with the clouds, the stars chasing it an stellar game of tag. I watch this scene until my neck hurts from looking up. By now the sky is getting a little lighter and the birds are starting to wake.

The suburbs where I live is still lush with trees. On the perimeters of the blocks, on the main roads, the trees are mostly gone. But here, in the nest of houses clustered together, the trees still stand. They are huge and foreboding in this light, their bare branches reaching out to the sky. The shadows make them seem a bit frightening, and when the squirrels bounce on the branches and make the trees shake, it looks as if those limbs are admonishing the squirrels for waking the tree.

I am in awe of those trees and the regal way in which they watch over our land. How long must those trees have been here to be that tall, that thick? They were here before the houses, before the land shifted from woodland to homeland. I wonder if they are angry at what has become of their forest. Then again, they only look angry at this hour, in this season. In the summer afternoons, with children climbing their branches and exploring the hidden forts the leaves make, the trees seem happier.

When it gets too cold to stay out anymore, when my breath makes long trails of steam in the air, I walke back through the garden, avoiding the stares of the angels and mermaids, and pause by my door. I point my camera at the sky, trying to capture 4:30 a.m. the way it looks in my mind. The moon, the clouds, the flickering stars, the statues and trees that seem to possess souls. I know it will never look on film the way it looks in my head. Nothing ever does.

December 29, 2001

low maintenance resolutions for everyone!

low maintenance resolutions for everyone!

Take the What Should Your New Year's Resolution Be? Quiz

Does this mean I have to find friends that make me feel inferior? Isn't that what family is for?

On that note, I have compiled the Generic List of New Year's Resolutions Guaranteed to Not Make you Feel Like A Total Failure in 2002. If you pick a few items off this list and make them your resolutions, I promise they will be easy to follow through on and you won't have to beat yourself up for not keeping your promises to yourself. This is in keeping with my rule of life: Lower one's expectations and you are never disappointed. This applies to yourself as well. Happy resolving!

    I hereby resolve to:

  • have my weight fluctuate wildly, never really losing more than one pound total

  • spend as many hours as I can in front of the computer playing mindless games

  • spend a good portion of my money on cds/video games/computer equipment/movies

  • continue on with at least one of my vices

  • not kill/maim/cause grave bodily harm to a complete stranger who has done nothing wrong

  • make fun of a celebrity

  • watch as much television as possible

  • lay around the house often, preferably in pajamas, with a beer in my hand

  • ignore the surgeon general's warnings on any food or drink product

  • talk about my co-workers behind their backs

  • steal office supplies

  • complain, loud and often, about everything and nothing

  • have wild, spontaneous sex (this counts even if you do it with yourself)

  • deny my addiction to porn

  • take as many online quizzes as possible

  • blog at least once a day

  • at least once, hint that i may take a blogging hiatus

  • have a birthday

  • not run for president of the United States

  • not dance naked on home plate at Yankee Stadium

  • eat foods full of saturated fat and calories

Now, how easy is it going to be to keep your promises this year? Pick one or two, write them down in your journal, and six months from now look at the journal and be excited for yourself that for once, you are keeping your resolutions.

Just another public service from yours truly.

i might be wrong....

i might be wrong....

So Rudy is getting his wish. An agreement was signed Friday for the city to pay half the costs of building two new stadiums for the New York baseball teams. (the agreement must be approved by new Mayor Bloomberg).

I already stated in my comments yesterday that I am against this deal. Let me reiterate. Please.

I am a baseball fan. I am a Yankees fan. But I just don't think that this deal is all they are making it out to be. The main P.R. angle to the deal seems to be how "good" for the city the new stadiums will be and how it will boost the economy.

Someone please explain to me the boost the ecomomy theory. The current seating capacity of Yankee Stadium is 57,545. According to the Newsday article, the capacity of the new stadium will be 47,000. The current seating capacity for Shea stadium is 55,601. The new capacity will be 45,000. So both teams will be losing approximately 10,000 seats.

You would think that team owners would have learned by now that it is not a brand new stadium that puts fans in the ballpark. It is the team on the field. Builid it and they will come does not hold water in pro sports. If your team stinks, your brand new, luxurious, shining stadium will be empty. If your team is winning, even a rickety old arena would be filled to capacity. It's the nature of the sports fan. They might be lulled into a false sense of fandom for a week or so by the new food stands and pretty parking lot and jumbo scoreboard, but lose 5 games in a row and they will disappear fast. Maybe I don't get it. Can someone please explain to me how these stadiums will help the economy? If they are going to bring less fans rather than more to the ballgames, that can't help, can it? And you know damn well that the fans will be paying in the end with higher ticket prices, higher parking fees and more expensive food. So now, in addition to paying for the bloated salaries of Mo Vaughn and Jason Giambi, we have to foot the bill for retractable domes, too.

I've heard it stated many times in the past few months that New York City is in a fiscal crisis. Large budget deficits are expected the next few years. How can the city shell out this kind of money towards baseball? How is a retractable dome going to help the economy of Queens or the Bronx, or anywhere in NYC? What difference will it make to those small business that were destroyed on 9/11 that the Yankees can now play without threat of a rain delay? Is that our priority? What difference will it make to the teacher who doesn't have enough textbooks to give her students or has to teach in a makeshift classroom no bigger than a closet that Shea stadium is more accesible from the parkway now? Do you think the members of the firehouses that have to close down due to budget constraints will have their worries lessened any by the knowledge that you can now get bratwurst at a Yankee game?

If the city had a surplus of money, I would not be ranting about this. But just a few weeks ago, Rudy was begging people from other states and countries to come here and spend their money to help New York recover economically. I get this ugly feeling when I hear Rudy spout off his "good for New York" theory about the new stadiums. It smacks of opportunism. Rudy was always a baseball fan first and foremost and he was pushing for new stadiums for a long time.

Personally, I wouldn't mind not having to look at the giant blue toilet bowl that is Shea Stadium when I drive through Queens in the future. I wouldn't mind better parking at Yankee Stadium. But not now. Not when so much money could be used in more productive ways.

I know I will face a lot of disagreement on this issue. If someone could show me hard facts on how these stadiums will boost the economy and pay for themselves, I will be more than happy to post those facts right here and disprove my own rant.

December 28, 2001

where is my mind?

where is my mind?

I bet you didn't know that there is a tried and true recipe for losing one's mind. Well, not so much a recipe, as you are not exactly cooking your brain...but then again, this is sure to fry your brain so.....as you can see, I obviously followed this recipe and thus am rambling incoherently.

Recipe for Insanity


1 holiday week

1 school vacation

2 wired children

2 friends of wired children (also wired to the maximum capacity)

1 box of sugar glazed donuts

several video games (be sure to include Tekken 3 or similar fighting game)

3 grownups filled to the brim with industrial strenght caffeine


Take all ingredients. Mix together in small apartment. Add loud noises, such as brand new musical keyboard with 200 different sounds, a computer game that makes barking noises and Terminator 2 playing on a tv somewhere. Simmer for about 2 hours until you feel brain beginning to explode. Recipe is just about finished when your eyes glaze over.

To test for readiness, turn on any Carrottop or Pauly Shore movie. If you laugh, your recipe has been completed successfully. Sit back and enjoy your blissful ignorance as your brain leaves your body and you no longer care about the sounds of screaming and breaking glass coming from the other room.


I would like to formally apologize for my pissy posting yesterday about the secret santa thing and the petty way in which I behaved. I was in a mood, what can I say?

I would also like to state for the record that my rantings in no way, shape or form reflect on the creators of the secret santa project or the project itself. I will still join next year if they do it again, because I do think the whole idea was neat. Thank you.

a message to you, rudy

a message to you, rudy

Ruler of the Free World Rudy Giuliani has officially left office. How nice for him that he ended his tenure by collecting the Person of the Year award from Time. How nice that he leaves office with accolades and applause and reverence usually reserved for the Pope heaped upon him.

I know I said some nice things about Giuliani here before. But I only said that he was handling the crisis in New York well. That was it. Has anyone forgotten that before September 11, Rudy was having a public relations nightmare? He was cavorting with his girlfriend through the mayoral mansion while his wife and kids still lived there. He threw out details of his private life to the public and then lambasted the media for doing the same. He played shameless p.r. man to himself and practically dismissed anyone who didn't share his views of the world. He attempted to turn the seedy, loveable streets of New York City into some surreal Disney World and threw his own set of morals of convenience at the City by trying to shut down any art exhibit that didn't jibe with his views, and then form a "decency committee" to hand his morals down to everyone.

But now, because he was able to mobilize the city in its worst time, and because he is a showman and a man who knows how to work the media as well as an audience, he is going to be remembered as the greatest mayor who ever walked the streets of New York. I'm not saying he didn't do a good job in the wake of 9/11, I am just saying what about all the years before that? When people were calling for his head? When the majority of New Yorkers thought he was a misguided egomaniac? I'm not one to fall into the "what have you done for me lately" trap? While I quietly applaud Giuliani's efforts during the past few months, I will not rever him or honor him or think he is worthy of Man of the Year. He has done too much before September for his recent actions to wipe out a history of being a closed-minded, power mad buffoon comparable to Jesse Helms.

As my dad used to say, it takes about 100 atta boys to wipe out just one damn you.

December 27, 2001

a bobupndown christmas

a bobupndown christmas

Who needs a secret santa, anyhow? I got a Christmas present in the mail from Shel today and it's better than anything on my wishlist. He sent me a mix cd and two stickers. Now tell me how well Shel knows me. The stickers say:

I have PMS and a gun. Excuse me, did you have something to say?

I can only please one person a day. Today isn't your day. Tomorrow isn't looking good either.

These stickers are not going on my car. They are going directly on my office door.

I love you, Shel. You are wonderful!

And now, I am going to make myself absolutely insane by taking the kids to see Jimmy Neutron.

the secret santa who never showed up

the secret santa who never showed up

So, just out of curiousity, did anyone else get stiffed by their Secret Santa? And would an email to him/her, when I find out who they are, pointing out my abject disappointment in their ability to follow rules be wholly inappropriate?

Am I being totally materialistic and crass in being disappointed? Perhaps if I had received an email from them stating that they had run out time and/or money I wouldn't be feeling so pissed. But to sign up for something that entails both giving and getting, and completely ignoring the giving part, without any valid explanation, just reeks of selfishness.

If you are reading this, secret santa person, please forget my gift at this point and just take a couple of bucks and put it towards Shel's Penny Drive for Charity and we'll call it even, ok?

a toast to absurdity

a toast to absurdity

This is all I have to say about last night's dinner: The tiramasu was fantastic. The dinner itself was nice and we generally had a pleasant time. But my stomach turns when I think about my sister marrying that guy. And the whole hypocrisy of last night's dinner....eh, I'll talk about it some other time.

A year ago this week, I was planning my father's surprise birthday party on New Year's Eve. The world at that time was a relatively sane place. My main political worry was facing life with George Bush, Jr. as my leader. Had I been able to see a newspaper from this week, I would have laughed and thought none of it was possible. Is it me or has the news taken on a very absurd tone? I mean, I know the seriousness of the situation, but every time I read about shoe checks at airports, I have to stifle the desire to laugh. It's almost surreal. Sample headline: Security Reviewing Traveler's Shoes. Now doesn't this seem a bit like closing the barn door after the cow has run away? Are we not seeing the forest for the trees? One person decided to hide a bomb in his shoe, so now all the concentration of airlines' already lame security is focused on shoes. Anyone checking bodily cavities? I'm thinkin that with all the publicity these shoe searches are getting, any plans to sneak another shoe bomb on will be scrapped in favor of something else.

And more surrealism. Sample headline #2: Police to be armed with radiation sensor during New Year's Eve celebration. This seems like something out of a 1950's sci fi novel. Cops walking around with radiation detectors? With one million people in Times Square on New Year's Eve, what are they going to do if one of those detectors goes off? Quietly move a thousand or so people to another area? Not likely. If one of those babies goes off and the cops therefore have to alert the reveler's in that vicinity, panic will ensue. There's not much room to move when there are a million people packed into one tight area. And then what? How do you run from radiation? My guess is you don't. I think these $1,400 detectors are just another band-aid on a severed limb, something to make you feel like action is being taken and you are safe. Like shoe searches, only more technologically advanced.

And then we have bin Laden, live on tape. Is anyone paying attention to him any more? The first time he was on the news talking, right after the bombing started, people were rapt with attention, hanging on his every word. He was frightening and chilling. Now, he has become like grandpa in the nursing home who tells the same stories over and over, and you wonder how much of it happened in his head and how much is real. And honestly, I'm wondering if there wasn't a series of tapes made a while ago to be dispersed at intervals, and bin Laden is either already dead in a cave somewhere, or in another country far removed from war, looking every bit like the Westeners he says he despises.

Yep. The world has changed a lot in the past year. I've become almost amused by the way things are reported now, the stretches some media type people take to make a story where none exists, to turn a non-event into major news, to find something riveting in a rather boring war. The day I saw on my television Geraldo Rivera standing in the middle of a war zone I knew this war had reached its absurdity level. Actually, it got worse the next day when someone referred to Geraldo as a journalist.

I did have a point. But I forgot what it was. Which is ok, because I don't have time to write anymore. I'm on vacation until Wedensday and I have a lot of new video games to get through before then.

December 26, 2001

and now..your moment of mushiness

and now..your moment of mushiness

I did give and get some presents that didn't come in shiny wrapping paper. Things like love, gratefulness, appreciation, laughter, huge smiles, and a zest for life that I forget to get use out of sometimes. I love my family. I truly believe I am incredibly lucky to have the family that I do. That includes not just my immediate family, but a very large circle of cousins, aunts and uncles, all of whom I see so often that I forget just how fortunate I am to have all this family around me.

I generally reserve some time the day after Christmas to go to the cemetery. It gives me an overwhelming sense of gratitude for just being here, being alive. The kids always come with me, they have learned to appreciate the cemetery the way I have, and we use the time there to talk about the lives of the people we miss. We make my way around the headstones, winding a pre-planned path around the graves of my grandmother (march 25th entry) and grandfather, an aunt I lost long ago, and a few family friends. We've added two new stops to our circuit this year. In April, my kids uncle (see april entries) on their father's side died of a heart attack at 32. They have been to his grave before, with their father, and in some way they look forward to going there. Like Natalie says, it's their way of keeping in touch with him. After that, we will go to the other side of the cemetery, where there are crypts instead of headstones, giant monuments to people who are lavished after death as they probably were in life. There, we will visit with our old friend Pete Ganci, (9/13) and while it will be sad and bleak for a moment, it will also be a little upliftng. The kids have taken a somewhat reverent tone when talking about Pete. He has become the ultimate hero to them, and we will take this occasion to once again, in our hearts, thank him.

Yes, I always get this mushy and morose the day after Christmas. After the weeks spent doing nothing but shopping and bitching and checking my bank account again and again, it's not until after it's all over and I can sit in relative peace and quiet that I count my blessings and enjoy the holiday magic. I usually do it alone, because if I went to my family and starting blubbering about how much I love them like some scene out of a sappy movie, they would have me committed. So thanks for hanging out with me this year for annual moment of mushiness.

Don't make me come over there and hug you.

364 shopping days until Christmas

364 shopping days until Christmas

When you are a child, Christmas is all about expectations. When you have children, it becomes all about living up to their expectations. Sometimes it seems all so silly to me, to have this day where we lavish each other with festivly wrapped gifts. I watch my kids open a ton of presents, maybe too many, and I wonder if they get it at all. Neither of them believe in Santa anymore, so what do they think this day is for? I actually get nervous when they open the presents, knowing that they are wondering if what they expected and hoped for will be in one of those boxes.

Eventually I stopped philosphizing and analyzing enough to see that the kids were having a grand old time opening their gifts. For the first year, there was no fighting, no screaming, no pouting, no acting like ugly spoiled brats. Have my kids matured?? Could it be? They were truly thankful for every single thing they opened, offering lots of kisses and hugs, even to each other! Now that's what I call the magic of Christmas.

Rather than go into the details of my family's foray into a day filled with sick jokes, bad puns and the usual sarcasm and cynicism, I'll just give you some random quotes heard at on Christmas day:

[while playing a board game]:

His intials are A.J.! He was in "We Are the World!" You know this!

Artie Johnson?

Ass Jammer?

I'll give 5 dollars to the first person that shoves that guitar up his ass.

What does the second person get?

You know...that woman...the one with the tits?

You mean mom?

He falls asleep if you play with his ears.

I'm the same way when you touch my ass.

What were you two doing in there?

Wrapping presents.

Is that what they're calling it now?

No, that's still called fucking. We were wrapping presents.

Who farted?

Nobody farted. I think Grandpa shit his pants.

The fun will continue tonight as we go out to dinner with the family to "celebrate" the engagement of my sister to Mr. "former heroin addict now born again catholic who thinks the whole world should bow down to Rush Limbaugh and who hasn't worked a full time job in his entire life even though he's 32 years old and whose only means of income is welfare and who sucks my sister's bank account dry and who talks about nothing but himself and who somehow after complaining that he is too sick to work even part time still manages to go to about 50 hair metal reunion concerts in one week and even though he won't let you say 'god damn' in front of him still thinks Motely Crue is the shit" and yea, you can see how much we are looking forward to celebrating this engagement. As with all social engagements that I dread going to, I just look at it as a chance for good blogging material.

Now I have to go find a place for all our new toys.

December 24, 2001

twas the workday before Christmas...

twas the workday before Christmas...

Why am I sitting here blogging at 5am on Christmas Eve? Because I have to got work today. As I sit here staring at a pile of unwrapped presents, a list that is not yet complete and a mess of house that would probably make Martha Stewart's insides shrivel up and die, I am going to work instead of taking care of all my last minute details. Not only am I going to the office, but I am going in early, at about 6:30, because I have tons of work to do and my vacation starts tomorrow. But just so you don't think that I am one of those crazy people with solid work ethics, let it be known that I am planning on being out of that building by 11 the latest, and I don't go back until January 2nd. Mind you, the court is furloughed during that time, which, in government speak means "you are to take off from Christmas to the day after New Years but you have to use your own vacation time." Merry fucking Christmas to you too, Mr. Pataki.

And as I'm sitting here reading the local news, looking for any last shreds of Christmas spirit I can cling onto, it occurrs to me that almost every day there is a fatal shooting on the block where I work. I have plenty of protection, though. If anyone comes near me, I'll just point to my shoes and tell them I'm wired.

As I write, I am sitting here wavering on whether I really need to go into the office or not. It's cold, it raining, I have so much to do today, and our time is cut short because of the 40th annual Catalano gathering of the drunken, noisy relatives on Christmas Eve, which begins at 6pm. So if any of you are as silly as me as to be up at 5am today, you have approximately one hour to leave me a comment or email me with a good reason why I should just blow off work today. Please include appropriate excuse to give my boss.

I'll be sitting here, procrastinating and listening to the comforting holiday sounds of Spinal Tap's "Christmas with the Devil." Here, have some legnog. I mean, eggnog.

(addendum: 5:30 am) Alright, who was going to take the time to remind that I am so wrapped up in my own failure to get Christmas ready on time that I completely forgot that today is my mother's birthday? Someone needs to kick my ass, right now.

December 23, 2001


santa, satan and scooby poo: worst.party.ever.

Every year I am dragged, kicking and screaming, to the firehouse Christmas party. I have been going to this thing since I was a baby, stopped when I was about 14, and then was forced to start going again when I had kids. Every year, I say no. And every year I get the lecture about the "firehouse family" and traditions and how the kids look soooo forward to it. My ass. They're crying to go home five minutes after we get there. And with good reason.

When I was little, the party was ok. There were food and games and prizes and songs and a generally festive air. Somewhere along the line, the party deteriorated into a 4 hour, mind numbing trip to hell.

Satan's minions must have been out in full force today. Hell was never hotter nor more terrifying. The party started at 1:00, and we were left to our own accord until a little after two. The kids ran around like crazy, fortified only by burnt Bagel Bites and gallons of soda. We gave them handfuls of quarters and sent them to the room with the video games, only to have someone kick them out ten minutes later.

It should be noted that save for my family, I do not like most of these people. Hell, I don't even like my family sometimes. But these people are so low-class, so low on the totem pole of life, that the only analogy I can really offer you is this: Think Clark Griswald's family in Christmas Vacation.

So there we sit, waiting for some form of entertainment, watching the clock for the time Santa is supposed to arrive so the kids can get the presents that I brought for them and we can get home. I'm sitting there minding my own business, trying extra hard not to look like I might want to talk to one of these cretins. But they have these radars. Like a homing system that let's them know a captive audience is just waiting for some incredibly boring conversation. The woman that got me is a mother of one of DJ's classmates. So she automatically assumes I want to talk to her, I need to talk to her, I live only to hear her drone on and on. She chatters about the field trip and the class bully and then repeats verbatim her monologue from last year when she described in full detail how wonderful her son, her neighbors, her whole block is. As my eyes started to roll in back of my head and my brain began to short-circuit, she told me this story:

So I was taking Adam and his friends to play mini-golf and one of the friends, Brendan, starting talking about how there is no Santa Claus and the other kids were yelling at him and he was insisting that Santa is just fake. Fake! The nerve of him telling my kid that! So after I dropped Brendan off I asked the other boys how they felt about what Brendan said and they were all so sad and shocked so I acted quickly and figured out what to tell them. I said 'guys, Brendan is a different religion than us. He's Jewish (emphasis hers). They get so jealous of you this time of year, so they act out by being mean and telling you there's no Santa. Of coures he's lying. It's just because he's Jewish.'

She then smiled at me, this grin that made me think she was awfully proud of herself for coming up with that winner. She waited for me to tell her how ingenous it was. Instead I looked at her and said, "You really are as stupid as they say!" I didn't wait around for a response.

The day then descended into the fourth level of hell, the one where you are surrounded by costumed characters that look nothing like the beloved children's characters they are supposed to be representing. There was a blue dragon, a 7 foot tall Elmo, my brother-in-law dressed as Clifford the Big Red Dog and pinching my ass the whole time, and this big brown walking piece of dirty fur that was supposed to be Scooby Doo but looked more like just the Doo. At one point he bent down to say hello to a little girl and his head fell off. Much crying and screaming of little children ensued.

Then there was the face-painting lady in the green and purple Jester's hat and hair that was such a hideous shade of orange I thought it was fake at first. When she walked in, she spotted DJ and a friend laying on the floor by the door, lulled into a coma by the dull festivities. She walked over to them and kicked Michael on the edge of his foot. This conversation followed:

Lady: Hey, I'm gonna paint some faces now. Come on, get up.

DJ: I don't want my face painted.

Lady (menacingly): Everyone gets their face painted when I'm here, ok?

Michael: I'm not getting a stupid flower on my face.

Lady: Hey! I don't do flowers! I used to do the make-up for Cats on Broadway!

Michael: Cats sucked!

Lady: Well the make-up didn't.

DJ: Why didn't you do Les Mis? (he puts on his fake old lady voice now). It's better than Cats! I'd see it again and again!

DJ and Michael go into fits of hysterics, rolling around on the floor.

Lady: Well fine, I see you don't like me. The hell with you, then!

She turns and sees me standing there and it dawns on her that I must have been there the whole time.

Lady: These kids are rude!

Me: Your hair is on fire.

So then Santa finally came and the kids got their presents and I was scrambling to get the kids out of there as fast as possible. As I was dragging the kids out the door I was thinking that no one could have possibly enjoyed the party less than me. Then I saw a fireman standing talking to the big brown Scooby Doo and handing him baby wipes as they talked. "I'm sorry," the fireman said to Scoob. "I didn't know when I put her on your lap that she had diarreah."

Ok, so there was someone who had a worse time than me.

the presence of presents

the presence of presents

Two more days until Christmas This can not come a moment too soon. My house looks like a cross between Santa's workshop and a garbage dump. Wrapping paper scraps and empty boxes lie strewn across the floor of every room. Presents are piled high, some wrapped, most not, and at last count there 224 presents in all. 224. When the hell did Christmas become all about the gifts? Oh wait, it always was. It just becomes more evident every year. I fully echo Jon's sentiments about Christmas being all about the commercialization, and not deluding ourselves into thinking otherwise. Giving, getting, eating, decorating, getting, giving. That is Christmas.

For an atheist like myself, there is no other side to it. But because I have children who are being raised catholic, and because my entire family - about 6,000 people including cousins - are catholics, there is that other side to Christmas. The happy birthday, Jesus side. And you know what? Even the most ultra religious of my relatives never once mentions the whole nativity thing during the course of our Christmas Eve festivities or Christmas day dinner. It's about the gifts. And Santa. And Mr.Hanky, the Christmas poo.

In the lean years (read: the years I was married), money was scarce and times were tight and Christmas was an exercise in humility. While people piled gifts under our tree and were incredibly generous, I was always embarassed because I would either have not nearly as much for them, or I would be borrowing money from my parents in order to give gifts to...my parents. Nice, huh?

In the years following my divorce, each subsequent Christmas has increased in terms of money in my wallet and gifts under the tree. I am financially better off now than I ever have been (that's not to say I am independenlty wealthy or anything, I still basically live check-to-check, but I am better off), and I suppose I am proving something to myself and to my kids and to my family by my chronic overspending. Guess what? I don't care. I don't care what psychological reasons there are behind my gift buying sprees every December. I love giving. I love buying presents. I love seeing the expressions of joy on someone's face when I give them something they really appreciate. I love buying things for people that have done so much for me throughout the year, knowing full well that a couple of DVD and some video games are much more appreciated than a heart-felt thank you note. We are all consumers, we are all greedy, we all want material possessions. Let's just go with it instead of being in denial, ok?

So I will say, rather than saying that the greatest gift of all is love and I am thankful just to be loved by Justin, that he gave me a great Christmas already, and there's still two days to go. Last month, because I begged for it early, he gave me a camera. Yesterday, he supplied that camera with a zoom lens that I was wishing for. That's not all. After six hours spent shopping, I came home with extra goodies: a Fight Club lunch box, a bobbing head Jack Skellington, Sponge Bob Square Pants Uno, and the import edition of Radiohead's Amnesiac, which comes with a nifty book. And oh! I almost forgot! I got a Buddy Christ! He is currently taking up residence on top of my monitor, and hopefully will insult and horrify the sister's born-again catholic appendage when he stops over today. Despite all my whining about the stress of Christmas time, I love this time of year. Giving, getting and rocking the suburbs with my new sub-woofer.

One last thought on gift-giving and getting. It's two days before Christmas, and a Sunday, which means no mail or deliveries today. As my wishlist remains untouched, it looks highly unlikely that I will be receiving anything from my Secret Santa. Which really sucks because that is not something you join for altruistic reasons. It's not like a toys for tots thing where you give to someone out of the goodness of your heart and expect nothing in return. The whole point of it was giving and getting. I know I sent my secret santa something within 24 hours of receiving her name, and she was pretty damn happy and thankful and yes, it made me feel all joyous and Christmas-like. But whoever happened to be my secret santa (and it is not the same person I gave to, I don't know who it is. Maybe it was YOU!), did not find it necessary to see that I got something in time for Christmas. Bah, humbug! Here's to coal in your stocking, whoever you are.

So now I must finish that most dreadful task of all. Wrapping. I'll pay you if you come over and wrap the remaining 200 presents. And serve you margaritas while you do it. Anyone?

December 22, 2001

monkey dead.

this monkey's gone to heaven

my year in music

Michele's Year in Music or: How I Learned to Stop Expecting Every CD I Was Looking Forward to to be the Absolute Best Thing Ever

enter at your own risk

I was just going to do a list type thing of my favorite music of the year, but no. You get a long winded rant instead. Enjoy, discuss and debate.

There were a lot of expectations this year, a lot of disappointments. There were also good finds in between. Overall, I think the year was a washout musically. There were very few albums that made me rush out to the store and spend my money.

By far, my best album of the year award, if there were such a thing in my world, would go to Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds "No More Shall We Part."It was everything I expected it to be and more. Haunting, melodramatic, beatiful and poetic, all in true Nick Cave fashion. Of all the albums that came out in 2001, this one definitely got the most airplay on my stereo.

Also anticpated, but not as equally loved, was Radiohead's "Amnesiac."I do like it, I like it a lot. It's just not something I can throw into the mix at any time. I have to really be in the mood for it, and it comes off more like background music than something to groove to. Knives Out, however, is a great song to clean the living room to. Listening to Amnesiac did cause me to break out my copies of Bends and OK Computer, both of which I became obsessed with all over again, so Amnesiac did have a greater purpose.

It was a good year for Mike Patton fans, as he released cds with two bands: Fantomas and Tomahawk. Neither cd is easily accesible, listening wise. They are an acquired taste, like all things Patton (Epic notwithstanding). The Fantomas cd, "The Directors Cut" is all reworked movie scores, featuring music from The Omen, The Godfather and Rosemary's Baby among others. Rosemary's Baby is particularly haunting and Experiment in Terror is oddly beautiful. Not something to listen to when you are out on a joyride, but great on a dark, stormy night with the headphones on.

There were several albums I had been only sort of looking forward to, in that whole "lowered expectations" rule of life. Incubus had disappointed me before, moving from the hard edged, mosh-able music of S.C.I.E.N.C.E. to the lovesick, mainstream Make Yourself in one swift, deadly move. I despised Make Yourself for a long time, until I stopped viewing it as a followup to S.C.I.E.N.C.E and let it stand alone on its own. So when Morning View came out, I was hesitant to listen at first. I really wanted to Incubus to return to their Faith No More influenced sound, but I had a feeling this wasn't going to be the cd that did it. On first listen, I almost keeled over dead. I immediately thought, this is Backstreet Boys for the older crowd. But for some odd reason, I kept playing the cd over and over and, even though the lyrics have a tendency to be incredibly cheesy and almost laughable, I really enjoyed the music. So chalk this one up to good but not great, not really a disappointment because Make Yourself let some of the steam out of the engine to begin with. In that same vein as Incubus (the lowered expectations rule) were Staind, Slayer and Fear Factory, although all three fall under different categories.

Staind is a band I like but don't get fervent about. I seriously dug Dysfunction, in that "I need a cd to play when I hate the world" sort of way. Aaron Lewis does have a tendency to get whiny and self pitying, but nonetheless, I enjoyed playing Dysfunction at very loud volumes. So I looked to Break the Cycle for much of the same. I don't want to say I was disappointed; that's too strong a word. But the cd just left me...blah. Yea, that's the word. I think they were reaching for that accesible sound that would get them played on the radio, something they knew they could achieve once that horrid rendition of Outside with Fred Durst hit the airwaves en masse. So Break the Cycle is a schitzophrenic sort of cd, wanting to be the old, mosh pit type Staind (see, Pressure) but resorting mostly to the top-40 craving Staind (see, Outside, Epiphany). Rated blah for blandness.

Slayer. Good old Slayer; dependable, sturdy, satanic. All I have to say about this superb album is, first of all, its called God Hate Us All. It is vintage Slayer, consistent with every other magnificent piece of head-banging, fast-driving, anger management music they have every issued. Sample lyrics:You self-righteous fuck, give me a reason not to rip your fucking face off, why don't you take a good look in these eyes, cause I'm the one that's gonna tear your fucking heart out, my hate is contagious; you've got no one to run to. Hey, some days you really need that.

Then we have Tool and Weezer, the antithesis of each other. Weezer made us wait too many years for a new cd and then gave us something shorter than Mariah Carey's skirt. Tool makes us wait too many years and then gives us leaden prog-rock with songs that last longer than a Kevin Costner movie. I hated both of these cds on first listen and they led me to two conclusions: I was never really a Weezer fan as much as I was a fan of the Blue Album; and even though I once loved Tool to the point of obsession, they have really run away with their own imaginations. Once a band considers themselves artists and not per se, a rock band, start running.

Speaking of running away screaming, is there anyone out there who even bought Stabbing Westward's

new cd? What the hell happened to them? Once one of my favorite bands (Darkest Days is still one of my most played cds), they turned to utter and complete shit. If there was an award from greatest fall from grace, Stabbing Westward would get my nomination, hands down.

Other cds that made more than a few turns in my cd player this year:

Aphex Twin - Drukqs; Deltron 3030 - Deltron 3030; Gorillaz - Gorillaz; System Of A Down - Toxicity; Wu-Tang Clan - Iron Flag; Jay -Z Blue Print; Rammstein - Mutter; Nickelback - Silver Side Up; Toadies - Hell Below/Star Above (Dollskin is one of the greates songs ever); Clutch - Pure Rock Fury

Cds, bands and individual songs that played over and over again on my stereo this year (not necessarily 2001 releases):

Cold - 13 Ways to Bleed Onstage; Self - Breakfast With Girls; Failure - Stuck on You; And You Will Know Us By the Trail of the Dead; Glassjaw - Everything You Wanted to Know About Silence; Propagandhi - How to Clean Everything; Hayden; Soundtrack of Our Lives - Dow Jones Syndrome, (total obession with) Smashing Pumpkins...and I just realized I can do this forever, so I'll stop.

I know I forgot a lot of cds, and I did want to make a list of cds I wish never came out this year and bands I wish would just go away, and maybe I will. For now, this was my year in music. How was yours?

where is my mind?

where is my mind?

I'm in a terrible rut here. Once again I was up at 3:30 a.m. On a Saturday. I was plagued by psychologically disturbing dreams last night and I had one of those moments - half awake-half asleep - when I could swear the person talking to me in my dreams was talking to me in real life. So was the person/entity in my dreams and talking to me there and I just thought I was awake, or was the person/entity really there and I thought I was dreaming?

I have become delirious. Lack of sleep, waking up before the birds, the crushing stress of Christmas - they have all combined to make me out of my mind. Yesterday at work, we (another secretary and I) were walking around with Krispy Kreme hats on and flashing the IT guy so he would re install internet access on our computers. We discovered, sadly, that bribes begin with blow-jobs, not flashes of white lace bras.

On the way home from work yesterday, I started hallucinating. I thought the garbage can on the side of the road was Santa. A kid on a bicycle looked suspiciously like Frodo. And then I thought the cop who pulled up beside me on his motorcycle was emitting laser beams from his eyes.

So today, still reeling from sleep deprivation I have a full schedule. I am meeting some old friends from back in Natalie's mommy and me days for breakfast. I don't want to go but I promised my one real remaining friend from those days that I would. These are women who, unlike me, are a) still happily married b) do not have jobs outside the home c) have additional children much younger than mine and d) like their conversations to revolve strictly around the consistency of their baby's poo and whether or not wine is appropriate to serve at the PTA luncheon. Don't get me wrong, I do the PTA and class mom stuff, I just don't want to spend all my time talking about. And I certainly don't want to sit there listening to them talk on and on about their wonderful lives and perfect little worlds while they look at me in my oversized sweatshirt that has flames shooting down the sleeves and my cigarettes and penchant for spending all my money on video games and comic books and my 22 year old live in boyfriend and well....you see where I'm going with this. When I am overtired I have a tendency to get giggly. I'll end up having uncontrollable fits of laughter at some really inappropriate time and I will be forever shunned from the world of proper mommy-hood.

Justin's dad sent him a Christmas present yesterday. 500 dollars. Yes, that's right, 500 dollars. Guess who is taking me shopping today? He decided that because he felt guilty taking that much money from his dad, he wouldn't spend any on himself. He wants to spend 300 on me and 200 on the kids. It's ok though, because whatever he buys for me will end up being for him. He already started hypnotizing me in the middle of the night..."You waaaaaaant the X-Box.......You waaaaaant a 3-D card..." I'll let him think he has mad hypnotism skills and I'll walk around the mall in a zombie like trance, pointing at video game stores and eating fellow shoppers for lunch.

I've lost my mind.

December 21, 2001

dollars and sense

dollars and sense

Tonight, CNN and MTV get together to tell people how they can help the children of Afghanistan. It's actually a message from those very children, asking Americans to help them.

There are several reasons that I have a problem with this.

What message do we send by doing this? My children come home from school wondering why we are bombing a country and then sending them money. My daughter thinks its to make us feel better about ourselves. She's probably right. That's not even the real issue.

Since the bombing started, school children in the USA have raised over a million dollars for the kids of Afghanistan. When was the last time you saw such a gung ho drive to feed the children of America?

I look around and I see homeless shelters and soup kitchens popping up everywhere. Our local church says their food bank empties out monthly. The newspaper's Adopt-a-Family drive for the holidays asks for help for hundreds upon hundreds of families who can barely afford to put a decent dinner on the table. Children are living in motels without the basic supplies needed to get through the school year. They don't have proper winter clothes. People are sleeping on the street and eating out of garbage bags. The line at the free clinic to get vaccinations for children winds down the block and around the corner. There are school districts where children are literally getting lessons in closets. Where the walls are falling down around them and there aren't enough textbooks to go around.

And we are sending over a million dollars to feed the kids of a country we are at war with. How do I explain to my children that our president wants us to feed the children of Afghanistan when they know damn well that at least 5 kids in their class are getting free lunch and wear clothes that come out church bins?

I am not really an isolationist. I don't want to see the kids over there starve to death. I just which as much fervor was put into efforts to keep our own kids healthy and fed.

Charity begins at home, and sometimes it ends there, too. Yes, I have a very narrow view. I know I am not thinking globally. But until all of my neighbors and the children of the country I live in have decent health care and enough food on their tables and the basic necessities of life, I will keep giving my money locally.

you must learn

you must learn

It's 3:30. I've been up since 3am. I am back on that merry-go-round of nightmares, too-little sleep and days spent acting like I am up for a part in Dawn of the Dead. It's going to be a bah-humbug sort of day.

As promised yesterday, What I've Learned

  • life will never ever imitate your favorite tv show

  • having one good friend is always better than having 20 so-so acquaintances

  • a teacher who fails you with a 64 when 65 is passing is not teaching you a great life lesson, he is just a sadistic fucker

  • no matter how many drugs you are given, childbirth will still hurt like a bastard

  • spending your life riding the handbasket to hell is much more fun than riding in the car with grandma and grandpa to church every sunday

  • special edition of anything is usually not very special

  • xyzzy

  • a band's third cd is usually the worst

  • george lucas is the spawn of satan

  • things like "heartache" and "lump in the throat" are not just sayings, they are real physical inflictions.

  • your parents were right

  • never trust a guy who says "there is nothing in this joint besides pot"

  • never apologize for being who you are. unless you are a serial killer.

  • if you want to be the kind of person that spreads gossip, be prepared to be the kind of person who is the subject of gossip

  • parenting a pre-pubescent girl is the greatest torture in the world

  • lower your expectations, and you are never disappointed

  • as cliche as it may sound, there is no better feeling than a spontaneous hug from a child

  • unconditional love is a gift. never take it for granted

  • the rock stars you idolized when growing up will eventually become old and bitter and you will be embarassed to tell anyone that you once wrote them a fan letter and sealed it with a kiss

  • stuffed animals do not come alive after you are asleep

  • never have orange juice after brushing your teeth

  • sometimes it's ok to be selfish

  • a list can go on forever if you don't forcefully put a stop to it

So, what have you learned?

rockin the globe

Happy Birthday, Keith.

My birthday wish for you: That when you "roll into Los Angeles and be like 'Yo, L.A., whaddup?" L.A. embraces you like long a lost friend, and maybe says "Yo, Keith in the hizzouse!"

December 20, 2001

Christmas with the King

Christmas with the King

Tonight's required Christmas listening: King Diamond - No Presents For Christmas

There's no presents, Not this christmas

There's no presents

Tom and Jerry, All done Sherry

They don't give a damn

I got your Christmas spirit right here, babe.

And no, I have no idea what those lyrics mean. It's King Diamond, ya know

cash money prose

cash money prose

Despite my frequent hostile outbursts in the office, my insistence on using foul-mouthed language and my total abuse of the kindness of my bosses, they have bestowed upon me a Christmas gift. It came in the form of cold, hard cash, double what they gave me last year, and suffice it to say it is more than enough to buy the zoom lens I've been craving and have enough left over to put towards a macro lens.

I am feeling very appreciated.

And as if this day wasn't smile-inducing enough, I have had a poem written about me. D has clearly managed to capture my inner soul and classy qualities. Or have I read too much into those lines?



I've been way too serious lately.

The Eighties Pop Act Test deems me:

55% Eighties Pop Act

You are The Smiths: You were a peripheral player in the eighties, people thought it was cool to be your friend, but they never really wanted to spend time with you. Go watch Twin Peaks reruns.

Take the Corporate Mascot Test at Willaston's Lounge!

Inner demons, annoying bunny, Morrisey....who needs psychiatry when you have online tests?

I also took the autism quotient test at wired http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/9.12/aqtest.html. I scored a 32: Eighty percent of those diagnosed with autism or a related disorder scored 32 or higher. I only find this interesting because when Natalie was first tested for her learning disabilities when she was little, I was told she had "autistic tendencies" and that she probably got them from me. We seem to be getting along just fine, thanks.

I was going to do my whole list of "What I Learned" just like my pal, Homer Simpson. But I need to get to work, so I will do it...at work! Meanwhile, a life's lesson from Homer:

There is no such thing as a bad doughnut.

Ain't that the truth?

doctors and hookers

doctors and hookers

I had an appointment with DJ's Dr. last night, just me and him. I went into that office frustrated, defeated and confused. When I came out, I was a different person. Twenty minutes with the kindest pediatrician in the history of the world, and my life has changed.

DJ has been suffering from a medical problem for some time now. We were told, about a year ago, that the medical problem was really a mental health problem. That all he needed was some psychiatry to fix him up. Three therapists and no change later, I was only left feeling that the problem was my fault, that somehow I manifested this thing in his head to the point where it became physical. Bad parenting, divorce, etc. somehow all played a role in this.

We had seen a different pediatrician, who suggested a specialist, who gave me three whole minutes of his time, wrote some instructions down on a piece of paper and told me to call him back in 6 months and let him know how we were doing. He barely even looked at DJ. So I decided to try one more time. This time I struck gold.

DJ's condition has a name and course of treatment. It is not as uncommon as I thought, it is certainly not psychological, and the doctor was furious at whoever told me it was, and he can recover nicely from in in due time. It will take a lot of work and discipline, but we will be ok.

The nice thing about putting a name to it is that it opens up a whole new world for me. I can read about it, I can talk to others about. There is a whole network of support out there waiting for me now that I know where we stand.

The bad thing is the guilt. I feel bad for assuming this whole time that it was something he could help, that it really was in his head and it didn't have to be that way and he was causing his own problems. I yelled at him too much and made him feel bad for something he couldn't help.

Years from now, when DJ is in therapy, I am sure he will blame me for his cross-dressing habit and the hookers in his trunk. But, hey.....don't we all blame our parents for those dead bodies?

December 19, 2001

give a little bit

give a little bit...

I would like to gently remind everyone of Shelís penny jar project. It is not too late to empty those piggy banks and give to a good cause of your own choosing. The basis of Shelís project is that so many people have given so much money to World Trade Center related charities (and that is wonderful) that a lot of the smaller, local charities who normally see their coffers fill up this time of year are losing out. Shel would like you to take any spare change you have, gather it up and give it to a local charity. Then let him know which charity you gave to so he can list it on his site and add it to the running total.

Shel has also asked that those of us who gave talk about why we gave. Itís pretty simple for me. I have always believed that charity begins at home. Every time I see Sally Struthers on the television, begging people to give to third world countries, I am reminded that there are so many people, right here in our own backyards, that are starving or without basic necessities or health care. And itís not just about food. Itís about all the other things that so many people canít afford. Counseling. Therapy. Medicine. Shelter. Protection.

There are so many different ways you can help. If you donít want to send money, thatís fine. Every shelter can use necessities like toiletries and school supplies for kids. Can you imagine not having the supplies you need to do your homework because your family canít afford them? Ask your local Kiwanis chapter if there is a specific family you can help. Buy a toy for their kids. Buy them a book. Give them a basket of food for Christmas. Go to the nearest shelter. Ask them what they need. Shampoo. Soap. Washcloths. Brushes. They seem like little things to you but to someone in a bad situation, it means their dignity.

If you canít give material things, give time. Support your local soup kitchen. Ask your local civic groups if they will be serving a holiday dinner to the needy. Drive a shelter resident to a job interview. Talk to a troubled kid. Give your used books to the hospital. Hold someoneís hand at the AIDS clinic.

I know Shel is looking for your spare change, but I think he would be just as happy if you wrote him and told him that you really couldnít afford to give dollars, but you gave time, you gave your presence.

Donít confine your generosity to the holiday season. The farther away it gets from Christmas, the more the local charities need your help. Think of how fortunate you are. You have internet access? You spend money paying an ISP every month? That makes you more fortunate than a whole lot of people. Take a little of what you have, be it money or time or something you are no longer in need of that someone else could use. Give. Then give again. Then feel really good about it and spread that goodness that you feel around.

Never stop caring, never stop giving, never stop doing what you can to make someone elseís life a little easier.

i'm a perfectionist, and perfect is a skinned knee

i'm a perfectionist, and perfect is a skinned knee

I was driving home from work yesterday, contemplating life and whatnot. I tend to do most of my thinking in two places - the shower and the car. Ok, so most of my thoughts in the car are given to pretending to be my alter-ego, Gridlock Avenger: Superhero of the Roadways and Destroyer of All Who Drive Like Morons. But sometimes I do have a rationale thought or two. And sometimes I am better off without those thoughts.

I realized two things yesterday, in a succession of revelations that caused me to gasp out loud. The first is that Christmas is a week away. One week. I am in such denial. I haven't wrapped a single thing yet. I still have presents to buy. Half of my ornaments are still in a box on the living room floor. There is just no time for Christmas. There is not enough time in the world to do all those fun, crafty things I wanted to do, to share those magic moments with my children, to set the stage for yet another version of The Best Christmas Ever. I have a week left to get all this shit done.

So it really didn't help that the subsequent realization caused me to go into a zombie like trance where I shut down all rationale thought. I am going to be 40 in August. Yea, I just realized that. I know, August is a long way away, but so was Christmas at one point, and it just snuck up behind me and smacked me on the back of the head. I don't want to be 40. I have been a thirty something for so long and I really like it this way. I do not want to give up my 3 for a 4. I feel suddenly old, like I will not be able to excuse my juvenile behavior any longer. That all my talk will have to be about retirement funds and Touched by an Angel and I'll have to trade in my Pantera cds for something more palatable to someone of my age. Maybe Celine Dion. My life basically began in my 30's. Is this where it ends too? Is someone going to knock on my door every day telling me to grow up because I'm 40 years old? Yep, August is still ten months away, so you now have ten months of my midlife angst to look forward to.

Anyhow, I failed to mention yesterday that you should go over and see Miguel at his new digs. The redesign is nice and all, but it seems oh so familiar.....

My secret santa, Kara, got her gift yesterday and she seemed be quite pleased with it. She also has a nice site, so why don't you go visit her? Happy Holidays, Kara!

I'm not even going to touch this story with a ten foot pole. I thrive on controversy and confrontation and healthy debate, by this is one issue that I am going to hang on the sidelines for.

And finally, I took some really nice pictures that I am awfully proud of, too bad my damn scanner won't work. I really think it's an XP issue...I want to go back to 98. Maybe it's Al Qaeda's fault.

It's Wednesday, it's payday, and though the pay won't last long this week, I'm still grateful to have it. I certainly will not be dropping it in the bucket of any Salvation Army bell ringers this week, but I will give them a little dose of this.

And D? Lesbian polar bears aside, I am ready for another day of pouring blood.

December 18, 2001

Istanbul is Constantinople

Istanbul is Constantinople

I had planned on blogging a whole bunch of stuff tonight. It was one of those days that was just rife with good material. Unfortunately, Natalie took the exact moment that I got on the computer to spring the news on me that she "has a huge, humungous stupid" test on Middle East geography tomorrow. I guess I'll be getting a crash course in Turkmenistan instead of writing here tonight. Did you know such a place existed?

Ooh look at that. I made a post about something I do as a parent. How consistent of me.

defending my space

defending my space

Last night I not only got an email telling me my blog is inconsistent, but a complete stranger (to me) Instant Messaged me to critique this space. These things happened at the exact same time, and I felt like an unwilling participant in a verbal gang-bang.

The email said something to the effect that I obviously did not know what I wanted to be. What was I going for here anyhow? Political blog? Personal? News? Links? I honestly didn't know I had to declare my blogging emphasis the way one declares a major in college. Can't I just be a Liberal Arts blogger, writing a little of this, a little of that?

Of course this blog is inconsistent. It is about consistent as I am, which is to say, not at all. The tone and content here depends on a solid mathematical equation used to determine what kind of mood I am in. Grams of Caffeine Intake x Number of Times Boss Called Me "Sunshine" x Road Rage Factor (based on a 1-10 scale) divided by level of hormones. You take that number, apply it to my scale of Blog Subjects (lowest being "write something mushy about how much you love the whole damned world" and highest being "i hope you all die a gruesome death") and there you have it, my formula for inconsistent blogging.

Honestly, I don't know what the theme here is. It used to be a strict news/links kind of place, but somewhere along the line it became more personal. I like it this way. I like not being confined to a certain subject or limited to one area of concentration. If you come looking for me bashing George Bush and it's not here today, come back and check tomorrow. Good chance it will be here. If you came looking for links and news, you may be disappointed to find a very personal story. Basically, I run the show here. And it's a different show every day.

As for Miss Instant Messenger, who was upset because I don't tell enough "cute" stories about my kids or talk about things I do like a real parent does, I say this. My kids are not cute. I have an 8 year old boy and an 11 year old girl. 8 year old boys do nothing but tell fart jokes and play video games. 11 year old girls do nothing but whine. All the time. There are no cute stories to be had in that kind of life. Once in a while I will write about their exploits on the field or at school, mainly because I am proud of them in those kinds of ways, but I honestly do not thingkanyone wants to read (nor do I want to write) about how many different ways a child can say "poopy head" or a young girl's misguided attempts at putting on make up.

As for my stories of being a mother: Let's just say that tying your children down and forcing them to watch Goonies while you lecture them about why it's one of the greatest movies ever is not the kind of parenting one brags about. We won't even mention the closet incident.

So thanks for the attempts to "fix" my blog, guys. I'm kind of happy with the way it is. This is my place, my rules, my prerogative to be as pissy or sweet as I want to, to talk about the weather or The Simpsons or the political climate in Greenland.

Is it Friday yet?

December 17, 2001

and in other random ramblings...

and in other random ramblings...

So George Bush had some pre-cancerous lesions removed from his face today.

Now, if they could just remove those pre-cancerous lesions from his cabinet, we'll be ok.

Two days ago, bin Laden was said to be surrounded. I actually heard a talking head on tv say that Ol Dirty Laden should be dead in 24 hours. So today, in a statement that's sure to boost the confidence of Americans, it was announced that ODL's whereabouts is "anyone's guess." I'm guessing the guy already shaved his beard, put on a pair of khakis and a floral shirt, and is taking a garden tour of Hawaii right now. Wanna play Guess where ODL is now? We all put in a dollar and whoever comes the closest to where he's found wins it all. If you want to be altruistic about it, you can donate the winnings to the Coalition to Clean up After We Bomb the Hell Out of You fund.

And I know Chris doesn't care, but I do: the lead singer of Big Country was ">found dead yesterday. If you're under 30 you're probably saying big who?, but as horrible as this band would probably sound if you put on one of their cds now, they were the shit back in the 80's. I don't even mean their big hit, "In A Big Country." "Inwards" and "Fields of Fire" were much better. Another piece of my life shot to hell.

I used to do a site of the day occasionally. I don't anymore. No idea why I stopped, maybe laziness. So I just want to take the opportunity to plug Jon Sullivan, one of my most favorite blogs in the entire world. He's got recipes. And animals. And lots of wonderful pictures. He even has pictures of the food he makes with his recipes. Always entertaining, whether he is talking about zoos or politics. His comments are just as enthralling as his site. His mom and dad always visit and his dad's a hoot. It's just one of those blogs that, when I'm having a bad day, I can go to for a smile. Thanks, Jon.

And now, my margarita awaits me. Nothing like a bit of tequila to wipe out a monstrous Monday.

let the bunny fill you with love

let the bunny fill you with love

Today's mail brought very pleasant surprises. Candi sent me brownies and a sweet/funny card. The card is hanging on my wall, the brownies...well, they were gone ten minutes after I opened the box. Candi also gave me a nice little gift today in helping me fix up the css I screwed around with and messed up yesterday. The nifty new font and colors are courtesy of her patience and kindness.

Also in the mail today was a nice big box. The return address label on the box said "Be quick before Filler Bunny becomes Killer Bunny!" I finally, finally got my Filler Bunny and Filler Bunny comics, courtesy of D and Pix, who already sent me the Dave McKean stuff last week. What did I do to deserve those two? There were two bunnies in the box and I will be shipping one off to England this week so D can have his very own bunny in a glass jar.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Candi, D and Pix. You all rock my world.

bitter pills

bitter pills

New, bitter, resentful journal entry today.

That is all. Time is precious when you are stealing someone else's computer for a few moments.

monday musings

monday musings

There are some nights when the bed is so comfortable you feel as if you are sinking into the pillows and blankets. It's a wonderful feeling that doesn't come often enough for me. Unfortunately, it also makes it very hard to get out of bed in the morning. Especially when it is dark and cold and your bed seems like a safe haven from the monsters of Monday.

So I haven't had enough coffee yet and my mind is still stuck somewhere in the dreams of last night, where I didn't have enough money to pay for my food at the deli, and DJ was running away from someone or something but was wearing cleats and couldn't move fast enough. Anyhow, all I can offer for this morning is some random musings.

Like, how the Packers' run to the top was depressingly short lived. I'm almost happy for the Bears; they were never one of those teams I hated. But I sure do feel this sense of satisfying spiteful smugness that the Lions' first win of the season came against the Vikings. How the mighty have fallen. I've been informed that despite my horrible, embarassing showing in this year's office football pool (made more humiliating by the fact that I finished tied for first last year), I am still in first place in the Monday night pool, which pulls in a few hundred for the winner. So this football season may not be a total washout for me after all.

I had a revelation yesterday. Tim Allen must have done something wrong in a past life or someone in Hollywood is blackmailing him. He is being forced to make an insipid, horrendous holiday movie every year. I'm not saying he deserves to be making good movies, I'm just saying that it must suck to be Satan's tool.

And while Time Magazine is probably agonizing over who the person of the year should be (Osama? Guliani? The Anti-Christ?),please keep in mind that Jessica has already chosen yours truly for that honor. I humbly and gratefully accept, and with the power accorded me as the Person of the Year, I hereby declare today today to be Friday instead of Monday. Go forth and enjoy.

December 16, 2001

to dream....


anyone who knows anything about lucid dreaming; experiences lucid dreaming; wants to talk about lucid dreaming or OBEs, sleep paralysis,sleep associated hypnagogic and hypnopompic Experiences or just dreams in particular.

Please leave comment or email me.



I've decided to go ahead and put up some poetry I've written over the course of my life. There's no comments available on the page yet, but feedback is always appreciated. It took a lot of contemplating and agonizing before I gave myself permission to put it up, so I guess it would be nice to know if anyone reads it, considering the time I spent tormenting myself over it.

There's one up so far, more to follow. Reckless.

the gift that keeps on giving

the gift that keeps on giving

I was rounding up the presents I got Justin for Christmas and I realized how impersonal our gifts have become over the years. We have reached that stage where we buy each other things we need, not things we want (Ok, he got me the camera this year, but I left him enough hints about it). I wanted to do something special this year, something sweet in addition to the cds and dvds and weights I bought him.

We have been together three years, and I think as time goes on, couples tend to forget where they came from. Those heady first weeks of a relationship, the things that brought you together and bound you together, the little things that ended up meaning a lot.

We went through a lot to get to the point we are at now. Every one in a while, we will lay in the dark of night and talk about those early days and the things we used to do and feel and say. We agree that sometimes we take each other, and our love, for granted. It's good to think about those times when we weren't so sure it would work - not because of each other but because of circumstances - and when there was a quiet desperation to our relationship. We both can relive every moment of those times, word for word, breath for breath, down to the last detail of weather and sounds.


It was this time of year when it all began. We met, online, in November and by December had forged a relationship that was almost frightening in its intensity. There was a time when we were apart, unable to contact each other, and if I close my eyes, especially in this weather, and put on certain music and can (and I don't know why I do it) relive the exact feelings I had back then.

I decided that the best gift we can give each other is to never forget those times. To remember when we weren't together all the time, when too many miles seperated us and we depended on late night phone calls and instant messaging to spend time together. When we savored every single moment we had, every word we spoke, every feeling displayed. Before the life of whose turn it is to do the dishes and stolen moments in the laundry room between dinner and homework.

So we came up with the idea of giving each other memories for Christmas. We are each to find little mementos that for some reaosn remind us of those days or mean something special to us; things that any other person would look at and view as nothing much, but to us mean the world. We will open the boxes on Christmas morning, before the kids get up and throw the day into disarray. And we will take each item out of the box one by one and explain what it is and why it reminds us of the other person or another time we had.

My box will consist of: the train stub from his first trip to New York to see me; a napkin from Perkins in Stroudsburgh, PA, on which there are scrawled directions back to Long Island he wrote for me, complete with little notes that I was to read at certain points on the way home; the first snail mail letter I received from him, January 2, 1999; a packet of sugar, which is just one of those inside jokes that no one else would understand; an issue of Sandman, which he read to me over the phone one night when I was having trouble sleeping; and my favorite thing, a cd I made of all the songs that remind me of those days and a little note saying what exactly the songs mean to me. This, to me, is the most important item. Music is an important part of each of our lives - it was our love of music that brought us together and led us to finding out other things we had in common.

Putting this cd together, and the rest of the box, has been an act of love for me. Just the act of making this present for him has already accomplished what I wanted to do on Christmas day: remember why we are togther, what brought us together, and appreciate the little things that keep us smiling and loving and laughing.

I'm anxious to see what is in the box he gives me, and how similar or different our gifts are. More than anything bought in a store, anything gift wrapped that came with a receipt, this is the gift I want to give and want to get. The gift of appreciation for everything in our hearts.

December 15, 2001

my spider sense is tingling

my spider sense is tingling

Dear Santa,

For Christmas could you please send me a time machine so I can make it be May 3rd? Please?

Thank you.

[spiderman trailer: quicktime version recommended].

I am drooling with anticipation.



For some unfathomable reason, we watched Little Nicky today.

Maybe because it was free. Maybe because it was Saturday afternoon and we were avoiding wrapping presents and doing the dishes.

Maybe we are just idiots.

I don't like Adam Sandler. Not even a little bit.

But we watched the whole thing. And...I laughed. Several times. At really bad jokes.

That's not the worst part.

When the movie was over, I went on audiogalaxy and downloaded the Scorpion's "Rock You Like A Hurricane."

Someone come over here and punch me in the head.

Thank you.

todd mcfarlane's balls

todd mcfarlane's balls

I always thought Todd McFarlane was a little bitch. Here's my proof, via (my idol) Neil Gaiman.

And I keep thinking of him after a conversation a couple of nights ago with Joe Quesada, Editor in Chief of Marvel. ďTodd McFarlane says to tell you that on this Miracleman stuff, heíll take it all the way. Heíll take it to the mat,Ē he said. ďHe told me to tell you, though, that if you could sort it all out by just getting in a room with him, man to man, and hammering out an agreement. And he made me promise to say that, if Neil keeps up, Toddís going to go public with all the dirt on Neil he can find, and Neilís fans wonít like him any more.Ē

And the last lingering shreds of respect I had for McFarlane just went away, like that.

Read the rest, it's pretty amusing. Especially the part about the baseballs.

(Mr. Gaiman does not own permalinks, so just scroll down on the Dec. 14 entry)

careful, your indie cred is showing

careful, your indie cred is showing

I'm still trying to compile my list of year-end favorites and not-so favorites. I thought I would do a wrap up of my favorite albums of the year, and after sitting here for an hour wracking my brain, I realized that this year pretty much sucked musically.

I realized something else, too. In perusing other people's lists of best albums of 2001, I discovered that mosts lists put out by major magazines only prove one purpose: to show off the author's indie cred. It's as if there is a contest between the writers of all music/entertainment magazines to see who can put out the most eclectic list. And eclectic here means "bands the majority of readers have never heard of." I'm sure at least one of those critics has sat down at his desk and thought how cool he was as he typed in names of bands that will probably never be heard of anywhere else but on his stereo. But how cool, how indie is he for putting that on his list? Oh, but don't forget, no list this year is complete without saying how much you adored Radiohead's "Amnesiac" (even if you didn't..how can you be artsy without kissing the ass of Thom Yorke?) and how The Strokes are the greatest invention the Velvet Undreground. See, you can add media darlings to your list as long as they have been compared to a hip band from another era.

Is anyone going to admit they liked a best selling album? I bet you my last dollar that there's at least one critic out there who, when the lights are out and everyone else is sleeping, is grooving to Nsync on his headphones. You know that some sweater-wearing geek from Rolling Stone is spending his day talking about Stephen Malkmus, but when he goes home, he writhes around on the floor to Linkin Park.

Why can't people be honest when it comes to music? I'm not afraid to admit that I have enjoyed singing "Bye Bye Bye" or that I really dig that Nickelback song or that I listen to Staind more than once a week. Hell, I had Sade playing on the winamp a few minutes ago. I just want these critics to admit that they like something besides bands with unpronounceable names and acoustic guitars. We all know how much you love Frank Black. Tell us something else. Be the first to put Britney on your list. Break tradition. Set yourself free.

December 14, 2001

no pledge, no state aid....

no pledge, no state aid....

In the wake of 9/11, our nation has lost its mind. The face of freedom has changed drastically, its meaning altered beyond what we once thought possible.

New York State Assemb. Steve Levy (D-Holbrook) announced yesterday he would introduce legislation that would penalize school districts if their schools don't lead students in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance daily.

What's next folks? A recitation of a daily devotion to George Bush?

Pre 9/11, this never would have happened. Nor would there be essays hanging on the walls of a public school entitled "God Bless America." We wouldn't be looked at with a curious glance if we don't have an American flag waving from our car. But now, not only are we terrorist-aiders if we speak out against secret military tribunals, but there are people who want to take away funding from schools if they don't force the pledge on students. Wasn't this a free country once? 9 out of 10 people are practicing extreme forms of patriotism and religion. God is everwhere, and he's carrying an American flag.

The pledge itself is a farce. I long ago said that the last line should be changed to "liberty and justice for those white middle class men who can afford it." Even my daughter, at eleven years, has voiced her dissent that the pledge intones that this whole nation prays to the same god, or any god at all. What do words mean in the long run? Is the nation going to crumble if a few "renegade" students or districts decide that the pledge is not mandatory? I thought this country stood for freedom: freedom of religion, freedom of politics, freedom of choice. Should someone choose not to say the pledge, it should not reflect in the school budget. That is ludicrous.

I know I am vigorously outspoken about the administration of this country. And that is one of the things I love about living here. I am allowed to be outspoken. All that is changing, however. The crashing waves of misplaced patriotism and blind loyalty are eroding the shores of personal freedom. Where were all these misguided people before terrorism struck us in the face? Did anyone care about the pledge then? Would anyone have been allowed to sing "God Bless America" in a public school then? How many flags did you see in a day before September 11th? When was the last time you were afraid to speak your mind because you would be labeled pro-terrorist if you di? I bet it wasn't before September.

This country is scaring me. The scare tactics, propaganda and misuse of the powers our leaders is making this a scary time, indeed.

I'm afraid of Americans.

questions, questions

questions, questions

Not only am I back, but you get two, that's right TWO blogger insider posts from me tonight. Seems D's blog buddy bailed on him, so I sent him a set of silly questions for this week, and he sent me ten sillier questions.

And my actual partner, Karla, sent me questions today. Follow the yellow brick road for all the answers you ever wanted revealed.


Questions from Karla

1. What's with the "Come experience my dark muffins." thing in the header of your blog page?

I try to change my title bar at least once a week. I like to see if anyone is paying attention. "Come experience my dark muffins" is what is says on my Lenore lunch box.

2. Do you have any nicknames? If so, who gave them to you and why?

Some people call me Chele. Oddly it's only friends I have online who call me that. Otherwise, the only other nickname I ever had was bestowed upon me by my ex husband and rhymes with ducken hunt.

3. What is the one place in the world you want to visit the most, and why?

Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. I don't know why. It's been a dream of mine since high school.

4. You get to write your own epitaph. What does it say?

Learned. Loved. Lived.

5. You're being forced to move to another city, and it can't be in the same state as you are in now. Where do you move to?

East Stroudsburgh, PA. Rural, quiet and cozy. And there's an Arby's.

6. What is your favorite movie?

Not possible to answer this question. Ranking up there would be Star Wars and Empire (no, not Jedi); Leon (The Professional); Die Hard, Last Boy Scout, Shrek, Dusk to Dawn and a whole slew of others, depending on my mood. Anything with Gary Oldman (except Lost in Space).

7. What is the one book that you would wait in line to buy the sequel for?

I am waiting for a fourth book in the His Dark Materials trilogy. I've read the first three and I heard there will be a fourth. Also, a sequel to Good Omens would be faboo, albeit probably unworkable.

8. Have you named any of your possessions? (car, computer, etc.) If yes, what are they called, if no, why not?

My car ( a Ford Explorer) is named Dexter. I bought it a last April and the first song I played in it was Offspring's "Bad Habit" and I've been calling it Dexter ever since, even though Dexter Holland is a wuss. My computer is often called "son of a bitch" and my vibrator is called "love muffin."

9. What genre of music and musical artist do you dislike the most, and why?

I went into a whole thing about what music I like before I realized that said DISLIKE. Excellent. I hate rapcore. I hate nu metal. With a passion. Papa Roach, Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park: take them all, shove

them in a sewer and let them sit there until rancid, fecid water chokes them to death. And let Fred Durst die first. It's nothing more than cookie cutter white boy teen angst, overproduced and overhyped. They are boy bands, people! Boy bands for the kids too cool to like NsYnc and too hung up on popularity to discover the good, non-MTV bands out there. Nu Metal is killing rock. Killing it. Slowly. With their song.

10. It's the last meal you can ever have... what do you have and why?

I'd sit at a big long table with 12 good friends, eating fruit and bread and wine and cheese and wondering which one was going to betray me.

And D's questions:

1. A small South American tree frog, a cyborg space-monkey with amnesia and a Botswanan telephone exchange operator are all in line for a job working as your PA. You get to make the final decision, which one do you chose and why?

The space monkey, of course. I have had experience with space monkeys and I find them to be dependable, reliable and fun to torture.

2. What sort of tattoo would you force Justin to get?

On his forehead, backwards, the words: Garbage goes out Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Recycling goes out Sunday evening.

3. Stuck on a tropical island in the middle of a jungle late at night you only have enough batteries for an hour with a flashlight, thirty minutes of Faith No More or five minutes vibrator power, which and why?

Who needs the vibrator when I can just have a Faith No Moregasm?

4. What were your initial fears about blogging? Do you have stalkers like Tian on Davezilla?

I feared that people would find me banal, idiotic and boring. Case closed. Unfortunately I have no stalkers. And if I did, they would have to apply and Tian would not be acceptable.

5. Speaking of Davezilla, does he have any moles or interesting birthmarks you can talk about?

Oh, man. I am so glad you asked that. I've been dying to tell someone about the fetus growing out the back of his head.

6. If you were to grade your blog on a scale of 1 to 26, with 1 being the best you ever read and 26 being the worst... how would you rate?

Totally unfair, asking someone to grade their own blog. I suppose I would give it somewhere around a 15 or so, and that's not being self-deprecating or anything like that. I just sincerely believe that in the

world of great, interesting, well-written blogs, I am rank a bit low on the ladder.

7. Have you ever noticed when digging out belly-button fluff that it causes weird feelings inside?

Well I used to notice that. Since I had that tubal ligation, my belly button seems to have lost its feeling.

8. Which dollar bill should have Dubya's head on it? Y'know... as a paperweight.

3 dolla bill y'all.

9. If you were standing before the man who grants super powers and he said you cheated on the test and were going to get the choice between radioactive earwax, the power to tie cherry stalks with your tongue or one of those stumpy little Corgi tails that serve no purpose... which would you pick?

Oh, if I could get Bob the Corgi's tail I would be so happy! Never mind that it has no powers. It's Bob's! And that cherry stalk tying trick

is SO overrated. Try tying dicks into knots with your tongue. Now that's talent.

10. You're standing at the foot of the Tower of Babel as God destroys it and it lands on you. What do you say to that?

Nothing. I've been rendered mute.

11. Five years from now your kids demand a new videogame with even more sex and violence than the last one, they also want the special virtual reality headsets and "attachments" that go with them. Buy it for them, don't buy it for them or buy it for yourself?

Will it keep them busy for a few hours so I can blog in peace? Will it cost more than my weekly paycheck? Is it available for Dreamcast?

12. What's the food of love and how do you prepare it?

The food of love is kindness and empathy and laughter. Prepare it with heavy doses of tolerance and wild, unadulterated sex.

13. Complete the following: A is to B as Michele is to...


14. Its murder on the dance floor, but you're not dancing, why not?

I don't want to be implicated.

And finally;

15. Your readers are aware by now, Michele, that justice and good governance are important issues for you. With regard to illicitly acquired assets recovered pursuant to the United Nations Convention against Corruption which shall be disposed of in accordance with domestic law: when acting on

the request of another State Party under the Convention, should States Parties, to the extent permitted by domestic law, give priority consideration to transferring the recovered assets in such a manner as to compensate the victims of the crime or to return the assets to their legitimate owners; or,

where appropriate, consider requiring that all or a portion of the assets recovered be used to support anti-corruption initiatives and programmes?




Ok, not this morning. Tonight, though. I'll be back with a vengeance declaring George Bush to be the anti-christ. With proof. And pictures.

Or something like that.

December 12, 2001

bang your head

bang your head

I need a break. I'll be back Friday morning, perhaps.

let's go to the videotape..

let's go to the videotape..

Had one of those nights last night where I was trying to get out of the dream but couldn't. To make matters more confusing and tiring, there was a movie within the dream. I could walk in and out of the movie as if it were part of my real life. Towards the end of the dream, I found this escape mechanism that, if I climbed it high enough, would allow me to get out of wherever I was (at this point I wasn't sure if I was dreaming, awake or in the movie), but when I climbed up and got to the end, there was this huge man in a wifebeater standing there, telling me to get off of his property. Woke up totally tired and confused.

kdbday (37k image)Happy Birthday KD!

So today is the day they are supposed to release the bin Laden tape. I'm not sure this is a good idea. What purpose can it serve, really. We all know he is guilty already. Hearing him speak his words of anger and hatred, seeing him act joyfully to the news of our tragedy, and all the while he is praising Allah, I just feel that this is only going to add fire to the fuel of ethnicism in this country. The video will appeal to the lowest common denominator, who will then use bin's words as a weapon in their war against all Muslims. On the other hand, it will do just what Bush probably intends it to do: get the rage and anger that sparks patriotism going again. Every time the rah-rah feeling in the country starts to wane, the White House will come up with some way to get everyone to that boiling point again. Airing this tape is just another tactic in Bush's propaganda parade.

I'm running late as usual. Please remember to go over to Shel's "think small act big" project and give a few pennies. And be a doll and link to it or blog about it, ok? Charity begins at home, folks.

I'll make up for lack of an interesting morning blog later on. Right now I need an IV drip of coffee and a dose of something really loud to get me going. Enjoy your hump day.

Hey, get off of my leg!

December 11, 2001

think small, act big

think small, act big

pennies1 (7k image)

This what Shel is doing for his blogaversary. Please check it out, it's a wonderful way to get in the holiday spirit of giving. As Shel points out, a lot of smaller charities are suffering because so many people have directed their charitable efforts towards WTC relief funds. Don't forget the little guys. Clean out your change jar and your pockets and give a little bit. Blog about it on your site, and give some press to local charities. Shel will list charities by location on his site.

[I donated $20 to Variety Child Learning Center, the special education/early intervention school that my daughter attended many years ago, and also to Long Island Association for Aids Care ,who also gets 20 dollars automatic donation per paycheck from me.]

Think small, act big. Please help this to catch on. I want to see this on your blogs!

i don't need your stinkin cookies

i don't need your stinkin cookies

I get to work only to discover that the banshee who designated today as cookie-exchange day is out sick. She sent an email saying, rather curtly, that lunch is re-scheduled for tomorrow and we should all be there with our cookies and could we please keep them on the fresh side? I sent her an email telling her that, unlike her, I have a life that involves plans from day to day, and I would not be available for lunch tomorrow. As a matter of fact, I am not available the rest of the week. They had that one small window of opportunity to be blessed with my presence at their insipid little lunch, and cookie lady blew it. I also mentioned to this person, who has been known to heavily abuse her sick time, that after the trouble I went through to make the damn cookies, she best be really, seriously sick or I wil personally take each and every one of my cookies and shove them down her throat. Without milk.

By 9am I had been at work an hour and decided I had enough. Overwhelmed by cramps, back pain and general crankiness, I was making for a very unfriendly work environment. My boss told me to go home before he started throwing Midol at me. I complied. I came home, put my jammies back on, crawled into bed, only to be interuppted by a phone call from my father saying he was bringing over the couch that we are taking from him today. So now I sit here, staring at the mess of Christmas tree parts and decorations lining my living room floor, laundry stacked up to the ceiling and no desire to fix up any of it before my dad gets here with the couch. Did I mention we are having company for dinner tonight?

And how is your day going? Anyone want to trade places?

i am elise

i am elise

This is what happens when you don't answer those online tests truthfully:

100elise (7k image)you are just another silly cow with an opinion on everything

Which sexy, witty blogger are you? Take the test at FeralLiving.

deep down, don't we all want to be 100% elise?

everything and nothing

everything and nothing

I had another one of those nights where my dreams exhausted me. I woke up tired and groggy and unwilling to get out of bed. I had to lay there for a while and separate my dream life from my real life. Sometimes it is hard to distinguish between the two, especially when the dream keeps coming back to me in flashes and I have to think hard on whether that flash was an actual memory or part of a dream.


I was watching the news last night, a local station, and they were doing a piece on Christmas toys. They touched on the "Dirty Dozen" toys, toys cited for their promotion of violence. Among the toys were several action figures taken from video games. Video games that have "M" ratings. I think most people buying Gundam and Metal Gear Solid toys are older people who collect action figures rather than play with them. Which is all besides the point here because, not two minutes later, the station ran a piece on the comeback of G.I. Joe. The newscaster raved about the figure and its accessories. He interviewed parents in toy stores, and beamed when the parents held up the G.I. Joe toys they were purchasing, spouting of words like "patriotism" and "pride." Little kids held their figures aloft, and mommy and daddy beamed at how their kids were identifying with the soldiers.

In my book, there's not much difference between Snake and G.I. Joe. You mean to tell me it's ok to promote violence as long as that violence is a war to defend your country? That Rock-em Sock-em robots should be banned but Joe should be under every kids tree? I'm getting the message here that the violence of war is not really viewed as violence at all, but as an act of patriotism.

Random musings:

Got my secret santa yesterday and already bought her a present! I can't wait to see who my secret santa is.

Also got this week's Blogger Insider email. My partner is the very interesting Karla of red hair and freckles. I'll be composing my questions to her today.

For days I have been meaning to tell you to go over to Ian's site and check out the mp3's of his band, The Hills Have Eyes. This is not a garage band. These are seasoned professional musicians who kick all kinds of ass.

Meet Adam, the newest addition to the sidebar, who I found through my comments. He is invisible when turned sideways. Beat that.

Shel has something special up his sleeve today for his blogaversary. It's not up as of this hour, so I can't blog about it yet, but I will. It's going to be something very good-hearted that I want you all to take part in, so please go check his site later. Thanks.

I suppose I can't procrastinate on getting this day started any longer. I have no desire to deal with people today. I am cranky, tired, crampy and bloated. My hair will not behave, my pants will not feel comfortable, my head will not stop pounding and I have to have lunch today with a bunch of squawking chickens. I'm either going to appear here tonight, ranting about the horrendous day I had, or I will be in jail for commiting murder by stoning several women to death with hardened sugar cookies. Have a nice day, ok?

question of the day

hot fudge lettuce

In my dream last night, I was eating an ice cream sundae. When I got to the bottom of the bowl, I was expecting to find bananas. Instead, I found lettuce, tomato and chives. How disgusting.

What's the most disgusting food combination you have ever tried? (disgutsting being totally subjective, of course)

December 10, 2001

c is for god damn ugly stupid cookies

c is for god damn ugly stupid cookies

I cannot bake. I can cook - I can whip up a gourmet meal at a moment's notice. But baking leaves me frustrated and in a foul mood. So generally, I don't do it. I leave the baking for the Martha Stewars wannabes in my family.

So why did I find myself standing in my kitchen tonight, elbow deep in flour and frosting? I'll tell you why. It's my sister's fault.

I work with my sister. She, like me, is a bit of a misanthrope, yet manages to be the social butterfly of the workplace at the same time. You accomplish this by making friends with a few select people, and hating everyone else in their department. Then you vocalize that hate. Loudly. Me, I just sit in my office and mutter death threats under my breath.

Anyhow, it came time for the annual cookie trade-off lunch. This is where all the secretaries get together for a holiday lunch, and bring a dozen home-baked cookies for each person attending. This is my fourth Christmas in this job, and I have avoided the cookie exchange every year so far. My sister would have none of that this year. She enthusiastically signed me up without asking. Why? Because she is a sadist. She knew I would now have to combine my hatred of baking with my loathing of my co-workers all in one day. I suppose I could have e-mailed the head cookie cutter and offered my apologies, but I decided I would give in instead. Maybe if I do it this one year, they will leave me alone for the next three.

Now, there are two people at work I like. One is the sadist sister of mine, and the other is my good, dear friend Brandy. Brandy was also "anonymously" signed up for this cookie brigade. I despise the other women who are going. The woman I hate the most is joining us, and she has the nerve to say she is coming for lunch and not baking cookies! What the hell? If I am going to stand in my kitchen and curse the cookie gods, so are you, bitch!

I had an option in regards to the cookies. I could cheat. There are various ways one could cheat when it comes to cookie baking:

First degree cheating: Go to bakery, buy fresh made, gorgeous, incredibly delicious cookies. Put on throw-away Christmas plate, wrap in something festive and pretend like you slaved over a hot oven all night making them.

Second degree cheating: Buy the Pillsbury slice and bake cookie rolls. No fuss, no mess. Just chop the roll up, stick in oven and proceed with festive wrapping and lying about the recipe.

Third degree cheating: Buy a pre-made cookie mix, follow same method as above for wrapping and lying.

I opted for third degree cheating, sugar cookie styel. Have I mentioned I suck at baking?

First I followed the directions carefully. One rounded teaspoon of dough per cookie. Well I did that and the cookies were the size of a baby's toenail. 6 cookies wasted. I made them a little bigger; somewhere between a tablespoon and a scoop. Apparently they weren't rounded enough and came out looking like lumps of brown coal. Finally, I decided to throw some flour into the mix and roll out the dough. I had no cookie cutters, but I found the cover to one of my nephew's bottles and used that to cut the dough into large circles. They came out the perfect size and shape. I was on my way to Marthaness.

I couldn't just give plain sugar cookies, could I? They had to be decorated. I was ready with green and red colored sugar and some Christmas tree shaped sprinkles. So the cookies are out of the oven, a bit cooled and I sprinkle the sugar on. It rolls off. I press the sugar on. The cookie breaks.

I put a fresh batch in and a light bulb goes off in my head. I sprinkle the sugar on before they bake! They come out looking like someone threw up in my baking pan. I bake a fresh batch and come up with a new idea. I have to somehow find something to put on top of the cookies when they are cooled that will make the sugar stick to them. Frosting! I only have pink frosting, though. I recruit Natalie to mix some red food coloring into the frosting until it looks Christmasy. She stirs and pours and stirs and finally the frosting is red, but the consistency of water. At this point I don't care. I remind myself over and over that I don't even like the people who will be eating these cookies.

I take each cookie, smear it in blood red frosting and then pour the colored sugar over them. They end up looking like a kindgergarten craft project. I'll give it one more try. What is wet enough yet not distasteful that I could put on top of the cookies to make the sugar stick? And then I see it, right there in my cabinet. Pam no-stick spray. Buttered flavor. Of course.

I spray each cookie with a little Pam, hysterically laughing to myself that I have reached so low a point. I take each non-stick coated cookie and turn it upside down in a pile of red and green sugar. Voila! I have Christmas cookies. I have baked.

They are the ugliest, worst tasting cookies this side of dog biscuits. I don't care. I made them. And I will laugh all this week at the fact that those stupid, lazy, slacking, bitching, gossiping women are eating cookies whose main ingredient is no-stick spray, and which may or may not have fallen on my kitchen floor. I'll never tell.



The Mayfly project: sum up your year in 20 words.

My entry:

January through August

a blur of smiles

then september,

only september.



and ashen

wrapped in a soiled flag.

monday, monday

monday, monday

It would be ok if this was just Monday. I could handle that. But this isn't any Monday, no. This is the start of the week that begins my descent into madness.

Panic is setting in. Christmas is 15 days away. I have not wrapped a single thing. I have started to compare piles of presents for the kids and Natalie is coming up shorter, yet I spent more money on DJ. Must even out. I didn't yet find Justin the guitar he wants, I still have no clue what to get my father and I have a package that needs to be shipped off to England but is still incomplete. I have to make 5 dozen cookies tonight, the tree isn't up yet (even though boxes of decorations are scattered throughout the living room) and time - not to mention money - are running out. Douglas Adams once said "Don't Panic!" and I used to try to live by those words, but I do believe that panicking is just in my nature.

It seems so absurd to get this crazy for one day. Hell, it's really only one hour by the time you get down to it. Presents are torn open, carefully wrapped boxes are now garbage or fireplace food, there are a few shouts of approval, some smiles, a few flashes go off and an hour later, all you are left with is bills and pictures. I do believe my inner grinch is settling in about a week early this year.

At least it's cold out and it feels a bit more like Christmas than it did last week, when it was practically balmy out. And my neighborhood really does look beautiful at night. I am proud to say that, at least on my block, everyone followed my guidelines and stayed minimal and tasteful with their decorations. One night this week we will take our annual drive around town with the kids to look at all the lights, and I will be taking pictures of the most hideous decorations for your viewing pleasure.

Enjoy your Monday - to the best of your ability anyhow. Usually enjoying Mondays for me involves lots of coffee, heaps of surliness and ignoring everyone within ten feet of me. Like most other days, I guess.

Happy Chanukah!

The Kazaams

A Fire Inside presents: The 1st Annual Kazaam Award

As the year winds down, I'm compiling my thoughts and grievances for a year-end entertainment wrap-up. Best, worst, etc. I will also be giving out an award this year. I have given this award (in my mind, at least) ever since 1996, when I dragged my kids to the movie theater to see "Kazaam." That year I initiated the "I Want My 7 dollars and Two Hours of My Life Back" award for whatever movie/tv show/cd/book that came out during the year which I feel was a blatant misuse of my time and brainpower.

Awards will be given in the categories of movies, television, music, literature and whatever else you come up with. I'm not picky. You may nominate more than one person in each category. Hell, you can nominate just about every movie that came out this year.

So for today, what is your nomination for the 1st Annual Kazaam Award for worst entertainment offering of 2001?

December 09, 2001

indymedia: all the new to turn your stomach

indymedia: all the news to turn your stomach

I wasn't going to blog tonight. Long day, busy day. Jewish relatives, matzoh ball soup - Chanukah ensues. And then I was going to blog, just for a second, to say that the Packers are in first place. And then I saw something else. And got pissed.

Indymedia, who I used to consider a decent source of information, has a posting up tonight declaring that John Walker, the American who joined the Taliban, should be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. (note: there is no author on the post, and it is under the openpublishing newswire).

Honestly, I have no idea what to say to this. While I most certainly lean left in my politics, I don't lean that far. Extremism either way annoys me. This is probably as extreme as you can get. The author of the post refers to Walker as "the ONLY American in Afghanistan who has shown gallantry and courage in the face of danger." I take offense to that remark in so many ways.

If you read this site on a consistent basis, you know I do not like George Bush. You know I abhor Ashcroft and Rumsfeld and almost everything they stand for. I am not some flag-waving patriot cheering on every move our troops make. But to write those words - to believe those words, seems almost reprhensible to me. Gallantry and courage? Exactly how gallant is it to stand amongst people, be a part of people, who plot and plan to kill thousands of citizens of your homeland? How courageous is it to sit in a cave while a two major cities of your homeland burn?

I am not saying that Walker should be shot or hung, or tried for treason. I really don't know what direction I go in on that subject. But I do know that to call him a hero, to heap honor upon him, is gross stupidty, ignorance and shows a blatant disregard for those who died on September 11. I read this article as I watched a special on CNN with my father. We watched as they interviewed the son of my father's good friend, Pete Ganci, a firefighter who was killed that day. I think about all the other rescue workers and building employees who never made it out, and I try hard to think of what kind of mind would consider an American who, more or less, was a part of making that tragedy happen, a hero.

I can't really blame Indymedia for posting the story. To deny whoever wrote it his right to post would be censorship. But to the person who did write it, I can only say may you never know the pain that the families of the victims of September 11 feel. And may you also get that lobotomy you so sorely need.

December 8, 1980

December 8, 1980

When an event happens that shapes your life, or plays a significant role in it, you tend to remember every little detail of the moment it happens. Twenty-one years ago last night. December 8, 1980. I was in my bedroom, lying on the bed with the headphones on, listening to WNEW. It was Jim Morrison's birthday, and the station was running a two hour special devoted to him. I was obsessed with Morrison at that time, and was taping the special I was listening. I know I was wearing an old Led Zeppelin t-shirt and sweat pants and I was writing a poem as I listened to the radio.

My room faced the front of the house, and the Christmas lights that hung from the roof glowed red and green and white over my bedroom window. There was a decoration hanging on the window; a big white star made out of plastic pieces melded together. The colors of the bulbs outside made the star look psychedlic. I had smoked enough pot that night to stare at the star for a length of time, imagining the colors blending into one another. My concentration would be broken every now and then by headlights beaming down the street, and I would run to the window and peer out. We were waiting for my cousin Michael, my favorite cousin, to arrive by car from Florida. I was anxious to see him and disappointed that each susbequent headlight did not belong to his car.

All the while, Jim Morrison's life story played out in the background, and I stopped looking down the street for my cousin at some point and started paying attention to the radio. I remember it was late, probably close to 11:00. I may have drifted off at some point and I was jolted fully awake by a shaky voice announcing that someone tentatively identified as John Lennon had been shot outside the Dakota apartment building in New York City. I waited, nearly numb, hoping for more news. Soon after, it was confirmed. I went inside to tell my parents, but they already knew. I think they announced it on Monday Night Football.

I was never much of a Beatles fan. But sometime in high school I went through a hippie phase and took a liking to John Lennon and his ideas. The fact that he spoke out for peace and died so violently was one of the first things that struck me when I heard the news.

The event didn't change my life the way it did the lives of Beatles fans. It didn't impact me in quite the same way as someone who was mourning Lennon the man, or the music he created. I mourned something else. I think up until that point, I still had a sense of innocence about me. I was still naive about the ways of the world. I was still all about peace and love and tranquility. I assumed the rest of the world was too. I thought we could all live in harmony and love one another and make the world a better place for future generations.

Something happened to me the night John Lennon died. I lost a lot of that idealism. I couldn't get past the fact that someone who was so fervent about living peacefully could have his life taken from him in such a way. I couldn't fathom that something like this could happen. How did we let our world get to this point, that people could just walk around murdering one another?

It was then, that very night, that my eyes opened to a new vision of the world. When Lennon died, whatever was left of the peace movement died, too. I dropped my peace sign mentality some time after that night. I gave up and gave in and became cynical like every grown-up I knew. It wasn't all because of Lennon; there were other things that lead up to it also. But the death of John Lennon - the murder of John Lennon sure as hell played a very significant role in shaping my psyche for the rest of my life.

That, more than anything, is why I remember every little detail of that night. Somehow I knew, I felt it in my gut the moment I heard the news. I knew that I would never be the same again. I ingrained that moment in my brain somewhere, marking it down as a "this day in history" of my meager little life.

21 years now that I'm a cranky bastard.

December 08, 2001

guest blogger

guest blogger

david (36k image)

Hi. My name is David. I am one. Aunt Michele is watching me tonight, so she can't really sit at the computer. I am having a lot of fun here. So far, I have found all the electric outlets in the house, restarted the computer and pushed all the buttons on the tv. Uncle Justin says funny words when I do that.

I also had a lot of fun pulling books off the shelf. This is why Aunt Michele tried to tell Emily's dad that he shouldn't be in any rush for her to walk. Us babies have a code of conduct that states that we must destroy everything that has any value once we start walking. That Emily sure is cute by the way. Can I have her number?

My aunt and uncle are fun. We just danced to Rammstein and Front Line Assembly. Now Uncle Justin is going to make me watch Ninja Scroll now. He thinks I don't know that I am watching boobs and stuff, but he doesn't know that my dad already taught me all that.

the mail brings happiness

the mail brings happiness....

I am deliriously happy. I just got a package in the mail containing what could be the greatest gifts ever, courtesy of Pix and D:

A copy of Dave McKean's a small book of black & white lies signed, to me, from Mr. McKean himself and the cd of the radio adaption of Neil Gaiman's Signal to Noise, by Gaiman and Mckean, also signed to me.

dave (44k image)

To say I am elated is an understatement. Thank you D and Pix. You made my year.

I think I am going to cry.

this is a call

this is a call

Justin and I are planning on going in to the city next Saturday for some decoration gazing and comic book shopping. I'm hoping to hook up with Chris for lunch, but I would like to extend an invitation to any NYC dwellers of the blogging world. If you would like to meet up with us next Saturday for lunch or a drink or just hanging around, drop me a line and we'll make arrangements.

i'll kill you in my dreams

i'll kill you in my dreams

I went to bed at 9:00 last night. On a Friday night. Could my life be any more exciting? I think it was a combination of things. Going back to work after being out sick all last week, and working overtime and through lunch almost every day since coming back probably wore me down. Or maybe it was that yesterday was the secretary's luncheon and I had about 8 glasses of champagne punch.

Anyhow, I slept way too long and had some of my old horrible water dreams. I won't get into that, but there was also a dream in which I parked my car outside of a store and had Faith No More's Gentle Art of Making Enemies blasting on the car stereo. I could hear it from inside the store. When I came out I couldn't find my car but could hear the song, and I just kept thinking that I needed to find the car and turn the stereo off before anyone realized that I was listening to a song with cursing in it! I finally found my car but there was a half dead guy in the trunk. I decided to ignore him and some chick with a New Jersey hairdo kept asking me if I was going to do something about the guy. So I put him out of his misery and killed him. With my bare hands. Then I went back in to the store and bought cheese and crackers on sale.

All in a night's work.

question of the day

question of the day: cover me

previous question

I love cover songs. I collect them. Good, bad or just plain wrong, If I see a cover version of a song I know, I have to have it. My favorite covers ever include Love Spit Love's version of the Smith's How Soon is Now, Electric Hellfire Club doing The Cure's Killing an Arab and Helloween's almost perfect try at Faith No More's From Out of Nowhere. And there is a whole slew of industrial bands doing weird cover songs (Front Line Assembly doing Madonna is a must have). As far as the bad go, there are plenty, but I nearly throw up every time I hear Manson doing Tainted Love. (note: this question will remain until Monday)

So, what's your favorite/least favorite cover versions of songs?

December 07, 2001

i forgot to remember

i forgot to remember

Nothing like reading some of your favorite blogs every single day without fail and then realizing at some point that you don't even have them in your sidebar.

Jessica and Jerwin (with the spiffy new design) have joined the ranks of damn fine weblogs. Well they were always damn fine weblogs, I'm just absent-minded sometimes.

blogger insider, vol. 2

blogger insider, vol. 2

This week my blogger insider pal was PixelFish of Yrth(pronounced "earth," not "yerth"as I found out today). Here's her questions and my answers. My questions to her have been answered and are now appearing on her (un)blog.

1. Which Muppet do you identify with the most and why?

Fozzie Bear. He's a bit goofy, a bit serious, always searching for someone to pay attention to him, and he tells reallybad jokes.

2. You are the last woman on earth, and it is your job to perpetuate the human race, whether you like it or not. (Doesn't that sound swell? No?) In any case, your choice of potential mates is between atman, Superman, Wolverine, and Captain America. Which one do you


While I would go with Wolverine if the issue was simply sex, I'd have to go with Batman for procreation. You run the leastlikely chance of contaminating the future gene pool with mutant/alien genes with him.

3. I noticed that you've started a project about censorship awareness and banned books. Which books most shaped your life? What books do you remember fondly from your childhood?

My favorite books from childhood, books which I still read now and again, are Half-Magic

by Edgar Eager and The Witch Family by Eleanor Estes. Those books set me on a love of adventure and magic that I still have. The books that shaped me came later on, in high school, most notably 1984 by George Orwell and Brave New World by Adlous Huxley. I think it was sometime after I read those books that I started being cynical. I view cynicism as a good thing, so I am thankful to those authors.

4. You're visiting your local zoo (or your favourite zoo). Which animal exhibit do you absolutely have to visit? (For years, I could never visit a zoo without its giraffe exhibit being closed. This crushed me more than I can mention.)

I'm at the Butterfly Zone in the Bronx Zoo. I could stay in there all day, it's so beautiful, so amazing, so peaceful.

5. If you were required to be stuck permanently in any one decade of the last century, which decade would you pick?

I guess the 1950's. My parents make it sound like it was so much fun. I want to be the kind of girl that always has a long cigarette smeared with pink lipstick hanging out of her mouth, wears scarves around her neck and her boyfriend's leather coat and holds up the handkerchief before the drag race starts. My boyfriend would look just like James Dean.

6. Pretend I'm a shrink holding up some of those Rorschach blot cards.

Tell me the first word or phrase that you think of for the following pictures:

a: 2 old people balancing midget clowns on their heads

b: 2 people tied to chairs, back to back, trying to escape

c: a crab sticking out of an odd-shaped vase

d: 2 my little ponies a little shaken up after a day spent carting kids around a merry-go-round

e: jigglypuff

7. What's in your fridge?

Orange juice, pink grapefruit juice, 2% milk, chocolate milk, Arizona green iced tea, Poland Springs water, 9 juice boxes of Sipps iced tea, a door full of condiments and salad dressings, american cheese, genoa salami, munster cheese, a bag of lettuce, something in a container that I'm not quite sure what it is, cream cheese, 3 bottles of Corona, 2 bottles of Mike's Hard Lemonade, 1 bottle of champagne, 1 package brownie dough, 1 package sugar cookie dough, butter, Lenders bagels (plain and cinnamon raisin), margarita mix, baking soda, leftover chili, snack pack puddings.

8. What made you decide to create a personal webpage? How long have you been on the web? What other webfolk inspire you, if any?

I had been searching for somewhere to vent my misguided opinions. I came across an article on weblogs on plastic and started reading a few blogs. I realized that was what I was looking for, so I made one. It was cheesy and silly at first, and I like to think that it is still a bit cheesy and silly. It started out as just a way to vent my frustrations at the world, but it also became a journal, a place to put my writings, a hobby, an obsession and most of all, a means of communication. I started the site the end of February, 2000. I am inspired in some way by every weblog I read. Everyone has something to say and a different way of saying it. Sometimes I am inspired by words and sometimes it's a design that gets me going.For sheer personal inspiration around here, there are so many people that do so much for me, and they know who they are, but Candi and Melissa were the first blogs I read daily, the first people to link me and the first friends I made through blogging. They still inspire me.

9. Did you ever make up a game as a child that only you and your siblings (if you have any) or childhood friends played? Describe this game briefly. (Ergo....not hide and seek, because nearly every kid plays that. I made up this game called Crocodile Pit. My brother Paul was the crocodile. It basically involved not letting him bite us on the legs. Very complicated.)

We played a game called "Levitation." One person would lay down on the floor. The rest of us would sit around her - one person at her head, one at her feet, and everyone else on the sides. We would put two fingers underneath her body. We had to pretend this person was dead. The person at the head would tell the story of how the girl died, line by line. Each girl in turn would repeat the line, one by one, until we got back to the head girl. We did this untilt he story was over. Next, the head girl would say "We are now going to levitate (Cindy or whoever) and raise her from the dead." We would close our eyes and concentrate. When the head girl counted to 10, we would then take all lift the girl up with our two fingers. When she was about an inch off the ground we had to let go and see if she floated. No, it never worked. We came up with this after my mom took our Ouija board away.

10. What is the accomplishment in your life that you are most proud of?

I suppose I should say my children, which is partly true. I am really most proud not of having of them, but of how I raised them, what we overcame together (especially with my daughter and her learning disabilities) and the people they have (so far) become.

free food and the people who run after it

free food and the people who run after it

I just witnessed the most disgusting display of human behavior ever.

Two weeks ago, a very beloved Judge that worked in this court died after a long battle with skin cancer. Today, his widow brought in breakfast for the court to thank everyone for their support and comfort in both the judge's time of need and hers. It was a very nice, sweet gesture on her part. She supplied platters of bagels and pastries and coffee, but did not stick around to talk to everyone that came, because it was too overwhelming for her. I am so glad she didn't stay because I would not have wanted her to see the absolute callousness and rudeness of some of my co-workers.

This court is a big place. There are a lot of employees here and you can go almost a year without ever running into someone who works in the same building with you. Most of the people who work in the back offices and downstairs will never see a judge in their entire career as a court employee.

So I went down to the lounge, got a bagel and coffee and brought them back to my desk so I can get some work done. My desk faces one of the main employee hallways, so I can see everyone coming and going all day. Today, they came in droves. Mention the words "free food" and suddenly people you haven't seen since the last holiday party are running down your hallway as if they were giving away hundred dollar bills. I swear to you, they were positively giddy with excitement.

"Free breakfast?? FREE BREAKFAST?? WHERE??"

"In the lounge, hurry before it's gone!"

Stampede ensues.

"Who is the breakfast for?"

"That judge who died. His wife brought it in."

"Kick ass, I'm starving."

The come back past my door 5 minutes later with their plates piled high.

"I have enough here for lunch, too."

"Yea I took a bunch of pastries to bring home."

"What his name again?"

"The judge who died?"


"Umm, don't remember. We'll have to ask someone."

I am so disgusted and appalled at their behavior. I won't even say something to them because I am so angry I won't be able to express myself without resorting to "you fat fucking wide ass piece of shit" type retorts.

These are the same people who, at the holiday party next week, will be stuffing appetizers and desserts into their bags to bring home for their family.

People make me sick.

friday follies

friday follies

Somebody overslept today. Somebody couldn't get out of bed this morning. Somebody is going to have to sneak into a room with internet access at work today because god forbid she go a day without blogging. Somebody is going to be really late for work.

Wait. Stop the presses. I have time for two things:

Leslie's Advent calendar is beatiful, charming and delightful. Each day has something special; a recipe, a memory, a poem...you will keep coming back every day for a new surprise.

The December issue of Small Spiral Notebook is up. Please read it. It has poetry, fiction, non-fiction and art. It's all so wonderful it leaves you counting the days until the January issue (to which I may submit a piece or two).

question of the day

question of the day: comfort food [question courtesty of jill]

We all have those foods we run to when we feel like shit. The foods that make us feel like everything will be ok, even if its just for that twenty minutes it takes you to wolf down the half gallon of chocolate chocolate chip ice cream. For me, it's peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or homemade soup. So, what's your comfort food?

December 06, 2001

inside a kid's head

inside a kid's head

I went to DJ's school today for a teacher conference. While waiting for my turn, I roamed the hallways looking at the school work that was hanging up. I found some real winners (yes, I wrote these all down while I waited).

First there werethe essays about September 11th. Written a week after the incident, most of them dealt with how the kids felt about the tragedy and why they thought it happened. Samplings (bad grammar and spelling intact):

-I don't know why the terrorists did it. They were probebly drunk.

-The terrorists are meanies, but not like the Blue Meanies in that movie i saw.

- Maybe they didn't like how much things cost hear and thats why they did it

-they think it was afganstan but we cant really say that cause if it wasnt then they would get mad and i think they are crazy there so we cant make them mad

Then there was the timeline project, where each kid had to write a little timeline of the important events in his/her life. They were all cute except for this one tragic little boy's tale:

1994: tried blooberries for the first time and was allergict to them

1995: mommy and daddy got duvorsd

1996: almost died from a stomac virus

I sense that this kid is going to wear a lot of black in the future and write morbid poems.

And then there was AMERICA. The kids had to write the word America down the side of the page and use each letter to begin a phrase that makes them think of their country. Most of them were nice. You know, A=America is beautiful B=bringing people together, etc. But there was one kid who had to be different of course:

Afghanisstan will be bomd

My country is the most powerful

Everyone loves Georg Bush


I hate terrorists!!!!

Catch bin Laden

Always look for terroriss whereever you go

I wonder if his last name is Ashcroft?

with liberty and justice for some, not all....

with liberty and justice for some, not all....

So sayeth the automatron Ashcroft: "To those who pit Americans against immigrants, citizens against non-citizens, to those who scare peace-loving people with phantoms of lost liberty, my message is this: Your tactics only aid terrorists for they erode our national unity and diminish our resolve"

How am I pitting Americans against immigrants by speaking out against losses of liberty? It's Ashcroft and his ilk that are holding immigrants and questioning them. It's those guys that are pitting us against non-citizens. This makes no sense to me. How am I aiding terrorists exactly? I would like to know. What the great thinkers of our government would like us to do is just shut up and let them run amok on our constitutional rights. I am livid. Has this man lost his mind? Has his quest for all-consuming power finally gotten to him?

Pissing me off even more is the fact that Nassau County (where I reside) has caved in to the militant thinking of Ashcroft and cronies. At first they were reluctant to interview Arabs because they thought it was illegal. Now they have reversed their position and will begin questioning those who the FBI tell them to. They are asking the men to come in for questioning voluntarily, but I can only imagine the 24-hour survelliance that will reign down on them if they refuse. God Bless America, everyone!

war and weather

war and weather

Welcome to neurotic day. Natalie is going on a field trip today to the Buehler Space Center in New Jersey. I'll be biting my nails until she gets home tonight. No, it has nothing to do with being afraid of acts of terrorism. I just have this thing about long bus trips. One year her school ran a field trip and there was a bus accident on the way home and two kids died. So I'm not thinking about all the fun she will have on this trip and what a great learning experience it will be for her. No, I'm thinking about distracted bus drivers. I can't help it. I'm a worst-case scenario kind of person.

I seem to be having a problem with the site loading slowly ever since I put up the blogsnob link. Is anyone else having this problem?

So the war has taken the turn that I expected it would. Is it me or has this been a war of errors? Errant food packages killing civilians, Red Cross stations being bombed, and total denial of any and all mistakes from the automatons in charge. There's no denying this one. Friendly fire is kind of hard to blame on anyone else, or swee under the rug.

Strom has turned 99. I'm still holding out that bucket for you, Strom. Come kick it anytime you like.

I'm going to enjoy another day of spring-like weather. Is anyone else around here just a bit bothered by the warmth in the air lately? To some people, it means they get to enjoy great weather in December. To me, it means something is seriously fucked up.

Yes, only I could find the drawbacks to nice weather.

today's question

today's question

yesterday's question is here

Childhood is a time of trauma. Parents do the most bizarre things to their kids, like make them wear no-frills jeans when everyone else is wearing Levi's or dragging you to the circus when you are way too old for that kind of thing. So tell us, what's the most embarassing thing your parents did to you when you were young that will force you into therapy someday?

December 05, 2001

you had to be there theatre presents:

you had to be there theatre presents:*

Just came back from mom's house for our annual "let's desecrate decorate mom's tree" festival. Generally, it's the same thing ever year. We start off all nice and pleasant, putting the 20 year old homemade ornaments on the tree, telling stories of Christmas past and watching A Christmas Story. Soon, it disintegrates into something else entirely and we end up making fun of each and every ornament, telling raunchy jokes and starting rumors about my mother.

Tonight, my sister reminded us all how my father used to come home from work every day, look at dinner and exclaim, "guess what I had for lunch today!?" and the answer would always be whatever my mother had cooked for dinner. Two minutes later, I told the story of when my little sister was about 4 and found an opened tub of butter on the kitchen table. It was July. She took it outside and covered herself, sitting in the hot sun, in butter from head to toe. We said something about almost having a roasted baby. Somehow, the stories got mixed up and when Natalie repeated it to her friend over the phone later, it came out as "and then grandma put the dinner on the table and grandpa said 'but I had roasted baby for lunch!'

I guess you had to be there.

*you had to be there theatre is the intellectual property of mercurial.org

getting over the hump

getting over the hump...

I slept last night. I didn't once wake up coughing or wheezing. As a result, I feel pretty good today. I'm not used to this feeling good thing and I'm not sure where to go with it. I could put all my energy into catching up on my work and clearing my desk off, but would that really give me any satisfaction in the end? I mean, wouldn't it be better to take that energy and translate it into something more useful, like running naked through the streets begging people for change? Oh wait, someone already does that, nevermind.

It's a bit hard to remain in a good mood when you spend your morning looking at the news. Feels a bit like armageddon out there, eh? And sometimes it just seems like same shit, different day, which is rather scary when you consider the same shit is bombings, automatrons defending their super-powers and nuclear threats. Oh, to go back to a few months ago, when my biggest worry was how to get through the rest of Bush's presidency without losing my mind. Yea, like I said, same shit, different day.

The shuttle launch was scrapped once again, leaving Natalie in tears. So I will remind you once again, that a science experiment that Natalie worked on (see position #4) is going up on the shuttle, should it ever lift off someday. Hopefully, tonight's launch will go well and Nat can finally feel like she is a part of history.

This week, my Blogger Insider partner is the lovely and very talented pixelfish, and I am thrilled to be able to throw some questions at her. Be sure to check out the entire site, including her comic, pffft!, which is how I came to discover her in the first place.

So, Wednesday has come, the week is half over and we are that much closer to the holidays, and I am that much closer to being completely broke. But hey, arent' we all?

So try to enjoy your Wednesday. It is hump day. So umm...go hump someone. Yea.

today's question

today's question: Guilty Pleasures

[you can still answer yesterday's question]

Sometimes I do things that are unlike me. Like sing along to a Bon Jovi song or watch an episode of Saved by the Bell. Afterwards, I feel dirty, like I committed a horrible sin against the commandments of good taste.

So, be it a song, a tv show or movie, or whatever else you do in the dark of night when no one is watching: what's your guilty pleasure?

December 04, 2001

breathe in breathe out

breathe in breathe out

This is the deal: I have very little voice left, I have probably hacked up a lung and half already, I'm tired but afraid to go to sleep. I am experiencing the effects of a cocktail of Levaquin, Bromatane and Albuterol. I either want to strangle someone with my bare hands, rearrange my furniture, or sleep for 64 days. Breathing has become a chore. I know, I know it's sort of essential to the whole life thing. I'm going back to the doctor tomorrow, but cannot miss another day of work because I am already so far behind that I will be taking work home over Christmas vacation.

So. I don't feel much like blogging. But I just did, didn't I?




Oh yea. I am The Scream. Man, did this test peg me right.

If I was a work of art, I would be Edvard Münch's The Scream.

I express the subconscious troubles and anxieties of the world. I hold my head and let loose the primal terror of my innermost fears, surrounded by a lurid landscape which reflects my feeble grasp on reality.

Which work of art would you be? The Art Test

Feeble grasp of reality. That's me.

[link via a large head]

barely breathing

barely breathing

I woke up several times last night gasping for air. At one point, I thought I was going to die. No matter what I did I couldn't suck up enough air into my lungs. I couldn't swallow. It was as if my throat was closed off. And this has nothing to do with being sick. This happens to me at least once a month, sometimes more, and I think I am having panic attacks in my sleep.

I used to suffer from panic attacks in my late teens and early 20's. I learned how to handle them and while they didn't go away completely, I had an easier time dealing with them. I haven't had one, at least while awake, in about 5 years.

I'm sure they are related to the fact that my brain seems to work on full function while I am sleeping. I've talked about my dreams before; how they are so vivid and detailed that I wake up exhausted. Every anxiety I have is manifested in my dream life. So it would make sense that if I were to have anxiety attacks again, they would come in my sleep. No?

The thing is, I am not a good sleeper anyhow. I never sleep straight through a night and I know I don't sleep enough. But last night was hell. I think I slept about 1 hour total and part of that was spent choking half to death. And then there's the fact that I don't seem to be getting much better. I've been on the antibiotics almost a week now. Shouldn't I be ok by this point? How long does pneumonia last, anyhow? Is there a doctor in the house?

So, no links today, no war or politics talk, no making fun of celebrities. Just me bitching about my health. But don't worry. I'm going to Price Club (Costo's) during lunch today. I'm sure I will get into a least one parking space duel, or at least hate enough people in the space of one hour to make a decent blog later.

December 03, 2001

and the evening musings....

and the evening musings....

Work sucked today in that non-specific way that only a Monday after being off for a week can suck. Depsite the donuts and caffeine and hefty doses of speed-like medicine, I still could not get even halfway through the pile of work that awaited me. And there were just some things floating around my desk that really could have been done by the person who left it there. Oh, and the joy of being out sick with a respiratory illness in the age of anthrax. At least 8 people showed me their idiotic sense of humor by asking me if I had anthrax or covering their face when they came in my office. I was so tempted to take some of the powder off the donuts and run screaming down the hall, sprinkling it everywhere, wearing a sign that said "I AM ANTHRAX!"

Cramming all of tonight's thoughts into one blog.

I'm beginning to think that Rumsfeld, Ashcroft and Ridge are all automatrons, programmed to repeat the same phrases over and over at pre-planned intervals.




Someone pull the plug, please.

Dean Kamen discovers another way for Americans to be fat, lazy and unfit.

"He was a really good boy." Yes, I'm sure he was. All good boys join foreign militant pro-terrorism groups.

U2 at halftime? It's gotta be better than that bizarre-fest that Creed gave in the Thanksgiving game. Though Bono could give Scott Stapp a run in an ego match.

And that is it for this evening. I have Sponge Bob Square Pants Christmas Special in less than an hour, and the Packers on Monday Night Football.

monday musings

monday musings

After more than a week off sick, I head back to work today. I'm looking forward to getting back into a routines, but I sure will miss talking to people on AIM during the day. I suppose not having an internet connection at work is a good thing right now, because my work is going to be so backed up I probably won't even be able to take lunch all week. I also have to spend some time today trying to find out why I got a certified letter from work on Saturday demanding that I use Family Medical Leave Act time instead of sick days. I have plenty of sick hours available, why shouldn't I use them? I'll be damned if I am going to let them get away with not paying me for the days I missed when I earned those sick days. Damn government job.

So I suppose I am back to having a life, and posting only one or two times a day. If you really miss me you can go check out the "interview" with me that Davezilla has up. Dave, the weirdly talented man who can make anagrams out of anything, honored me by conducting a fake interview in which all the answers are anagrams of my name. I'm in great company. He once did an anagram interview with bin Laden.

In other wordly news, Attorney General and power mad Ashcroft says that the FBI should be given more surveillance powers, including the monitoring of American groups, including religious ones. You knew it wasn't going to stop at militant political groups. They will keep broadening the scope of who can be monitored until every last American is deemed to somehow be a threat or belong to a club that's a threat, or once said the word terrorism in a class paper. Eventually they will treat us all like the 5,000 people they have in custody now; that is, guilty until proven so. Someday this weblog alone will probably get me accused of crimes against the country.

And just to make you feel better about this war, every once in a while, Rumsfeld will step in front of a microphone and proclaim that we "will get bin Laden." Is it necessary to repeat that over and over again? Are you convicing us or yourself? Or are you just reminding us what we are there for, in case the pro-war feeling in the country starts to wane? Gotta remember to wave those pom poms every once in a while, so the thoughts of reduced privacy and secret military tribunals don't effect our patriotism.

And just to prove what a wonderful court system we have, I point you to the news that Tom Cruise is still not gay, as ordered by a court of law. As Cruise's attorney said: "He's not gay, and the judge so ruled." Mhhm. Hon,I think the Judge was referring the actual lawsuit of the reporter having a videotape of Tom in a homosexual sex romp. No matter how much spin you want to put on something, I honestly don't think our courts have gotten to the point where they can rule on someone's sexual preference.

Go forth and enjoy your Monday. How do you do that? Be like me and make sure it's filled with Krispy Kremes, coffee, and medication that keeps you buzzing throughout the day. I'll be sorry when this stuff is gone.

December 02, 2001

this is my life

this is my life. or lack of it.

penny arcade. click to go there

And for those of you keeping track at home, we have made our final decision and are opting for the PS2 over the X-Box.

tis the season to beat the shit out of people

tis the season to beat the shit out of people

I think I got all my Christmas shopping done. Two days, a whole bunch of stores and $900 later (not including the 300 I spent at Amazon) I have had it. My great finds for the day inlcuded two things that aren't holiday gifts. A Nightmare Before Christmas metal lunchbox, complete with thermos, for myself, and the very last Optimus Prime in Toys R Us, and possibly in all of Long Island. Mr. Prime is headed to England this week, a gift for the very wonderful D. No less than 5 people accosted me in the aisles of Toys R Us, trying to get the toy out of my cart.

Have I mentioned that I hate people? I especially hate people who let their kids run around a crowded store as if they had the right to be knocking into people. You don't want to be bothered watching your kid? Leave him home, then. And don't get me started on the woman I saw changing her baby's diaper on the floor in the skateboard aisle. And the cell phones. You want to yack away with your sister in Jersey about the price of toys? Fine. Don't do it while you are blocking the aisle with your fat ass. And don't give me a dirty look when I ask you to move.

The parking lots. Oy. I am surprised I haven't killed anyone yet today. Or at least ram my car into someone's nice shiny Lexus SUV. When people are ready to draw blood over parking spots, intentionally taking up two of them makes you more hated than bin Laden. Next time, I key your car. I don't care if it's juvenile. You are a selfish, smug prick. I saw you when you came out of the store. I saw you in your way too tight jeans and extra long cigarette. And I know you not only did not strap your little kid in, but you let him sit in the front seat even though you have an airbag. Do you not read the papers? Apparently not, because if you did you would know that it is now illegal to talk on a cell phone while driving. You are lucky my boyfriend stopped me from following you because I think I would have dragged you out of the car by your bleach blond hair, beat you to a pulp and then told your kid that you don't care about him.

Ok. Done with rant. I am not going back to a store again until Christmas is over. Right now, I am going to make some hot chocolate with tons of whipped cream and hint of rum.



I finally took down my half finsished novel and am once again using the journal page for what it was originally meant. Like today's journal entry

chasing the moon

chasing the moon

At about 6pm last night, I went to pick up pizza. On the way home, I caught sight of the moon. Did you catch that moon last night? It was round and full and huge. It frightens me when it looks like that. It seems so out of place, so strange. There was a giant ring around it, giving the edges of the moon an eerie hue. Altocumulus clouds moved swiftly behind the it, making it seem as if the moon was moving and not the clouds. The rest of the sky was clear and glowed with a deep, watery blue light. I drove a little past my house, trying to get a clear view of the sight. I ended up driving for about 15 minutes, camera in hand, chasing the moon. I took a couple of pictures from the schoolyard and went home to eat cold pizza.

I went back out at 8:00, and now the moon was right above my house. It didn't seem as large or as scary, but it was just as awe-inspiring. I think of this huge, beautiful piece of the universe just hanging in the sky. I try to imagine someone walking on it, that at one point there were actually people up there. I watch the ring around the moon fade and come back, waver and brighten. The view is constantly changing. The picture is never the same when you look away for a moment and turn back to stare again. Different clouds give the view a different feel. At certain points in the sky, the moon looks welcoming and inviting. At some points it seems dark and forboding. When it moves behind the bare, clawing branches of a tall tree, it is like a halloween postcard come to life.

I am so moved by nature at times. It's all I can do to soak up every moment, every falling leaf, every snowflake, every wildflower on the side of the road. I find tranquility in clouds and rainstorms, even in lightning. I want it all to last forever, every moment ingrained in my head, or on film. I appreciate nature the way some people appreciate classical music or ballet or gourmet food. It makes me glad to be alive, glad to be a part of this incredible, evolving universe. When you are staring at the beauty of the world around you, it's easy to get lost in its art and forget all the ugliness for a bit.

December 01, 2001

World AIDS Day 2001

World AIDS Day 2001

red_ribbon (1k image)Further Reading

Love and Anger: Essays on AIDS, Activism, and Politics

AIDS Doctors: Voices from the Epidemic

AIDS & Hiv in Perspective: A Guide to Understanding the Virus and Its Consequences

And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic

Seasons of Grief and Grace: A Sister's Story of AIDS

AIDS Narratives: Gender and Sexuality, Fiction and Science

A Name on the Quilt: A Story of Remembrance

Losing Uncle Tim

World AIDS Day 2001

World AIDS Day 2001

red_ribbon (1k image)Activism

act up

aids action

others voices

stutends global aids campaign

treatment action group

housing works

visual aids

positive visions

aritsts with aids

World AIDS Day 2001

World AIDS Day 2001

red_ribbon (1k image)Personal Stories


an hiv positive teacher living with aids

a survivor's perspective

hiv over 50

phil's story

autumn farewell

elegy for john patrick montgomery

faces of aids

today's question

today's question

One year for Christmas, back when I was married, a cousin on the inlaw side came bearing gifts. Everyone got beautiful crystal vases or stemware or expensive shiny toys. The gifts were obvioulsy well thought-out and very personal. When I opened mine, there was a picture frame. A plastic, hideous green picture frame. I thanked her politely with my teeth clenched. It wasn't until later on when I examined the frame that I saw the sticker on the back, from a Christmas long ago. It was inscribed to the person who gave it to me, signed from another relative. Not only did I get an cheap, ugly ass frame, but it was a recycled present.

So, what was the cheapest/worst/ugliest Christmas gift you ever received or gave someone?